Hakkinen: ‘I don’t think Max is going to stay with Red Bull for the rest of his career.’

Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen has a strong hunch that Max Verstappen will eventually leave the Red Bull Racing team.

Max Verstappen clinched his second Drivers’ Championship title with victory at the Japanese GP and joined Hakkinen in becoming a two-time F1 champion.

With the Dutchman signing a long-term deal with Red Bull that lasts until 2028, the possibility of winning championships in the future remains high.

“Verstappen has a long contract with Red Bull. A multi-year contract. It’s positive because it shows he has faith in the team,” said Hakkinen in his video column for Unibet.

“Like I said, they have good technicians and designers, but the F1 calendar is extremely brutal.

“All those races are incredibly consuming, many of the women and men have families. The travelling is gruesome. They want to spend time with their kids and families.

“It may happen that people – who are in very important positions, the head of the technical department – can suddenly say they’ve had enough and can’t continue anymore. It can be a problem, in my opinion.

“The drivers have their private jets, there’s a car waiting for them. It’s a whole different lifestyle.”

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The Milton Keynes-based team’s championship success and win total indicate a strong technical team that has a firm understanding of the new technical regulations introduced for the 2022 season.

Due to their solid foundation in car design, this is likely to help the team with upcoming car development and evolution.

Hakkinen has however cautioned, though, that performance declines brought on by staff departures or failure to meet goals frequently lead to a driver switch.

“It’s great Max is committed and signs long contracts. It shows he trusts them,” continued Hakkinen.

“But there is always that risk when key people leave, the car performance doesn’t match expectations, that’s when the driver starts to think, whether it’s time to change teams.

“I don’t think Max is going to stay with Red Bull for the rest of his career. But this is just my opinion.

“Historically, drivers have switched teams – despite having multiple championships – for different reasons, whether it’s money or