‘This salary suits that’: Ex-racing driver explains why Verstappen deserves his $250mn new contract

Max Verstappen now has a new deal with Red Bull that keeps him at the Milton Keynes side until at least the end of 2028.

Former racing driver Robert Doornbos has claimed that Max Verstappen is worth every penny of his eye-watering new salary at Red Bull, arguing that he has “changed the sport.”

Verstappen has won 20 races in his career; they have all come with Red Bull since his surprise debut with them in 2016, and half of them arrived last year.

That was en route to his maiden world championship as he defeated Sir Lewis Hamilton to win the 2021 championship on the very last lap of a season full of shocks and surprises.

He broke a streak of seven consecutive seasons of Mercedes drivers claiming the Drivers’ Championship – six through Hamilton and one via Nico Rosberg in 2016.

Due to investment in the energy drinks brand since December’s extraordinary and thrilling finish on the last lap, Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has previously stated that he sees it as the “most important” of the team’s overall nine championships since 2010.

Team principal Christian Horner has also opined that financial interest in the pinnacle of motorsport as a whole has never been higher, and the two big name sponsorship deals the Milton Keynes side have made with Oracle and By-Bit are indicative of the astonishing ulterior success the 24-year-old’s championship victory has yielded for the team.

He has now been rewarded with a new contract that keeps him at the side until at least the end of 2028, and it is said to be worth $250 million over five years.

Doornbos believes the outlook in Formula 1 has changed because of his compatriot, and therefore suggests he deserves every bit of his bumper new salary.

“He has changed the sport,” he told Dutch publication AD.

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“With his driving style, his feedback, his positioning and of course his result of last year.

“It’s a world sport, and thanks to him more people than ever watched it last year.

“Formula 1 has really grown and Max has played a big part in that. This salary suits that.”

The new contract now means that Verstappen has the longest deal in F1, with McLaren’s Lando Norris holding the second longest after he signed a new contract until the end of 2025.

The Briton’s team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, is tied down until the end of next year, while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel are currently out of contract at the end of 2022.