Max Verstappen signs lucrative long-term deal with Red Bull

Formula One world champion's new contract will keep him with British-based team until the end of 2028

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Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has signed a lucrative five-year contract extension with Red Bull worth a reported $54 million a season.

Verstappen's new deal will keep him with the British-based team until the end of 2028.

The 24-year-old's current contract was due to expire at the end of next season but he has been rewarded for beating seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to the title in last season's epic finale in Abu Dhabi.

"I really enjoy being part of the Red Bull Racing team, so choosing to stay to the 2028 season was an easy decision," said Verstappen, who will begin his championship defence later this month at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"I love this team and last year was simply incredible. Our goal since we came together in 2016 was to win the championship and we have done that, so now it's about keeping the number one on the car long-term."

Red Bull said in the five-year extension was in addition to the original deal that covered the 2023 season. Verstappen will line up alongside Mexican Sergio Perez this season for the second year in a row.

Team principal Christian Horner said: "To have Max signed with Oracle Red Bull Racing through to the end of 2028 is a real statement of intent.

"Our immediate focus is on retaining Max's world championship title, but this deal also shows he is a part of the team's long-term planning."

Verstappen, who made his Formula One debut with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old back in 2015, clinched his first Formula One crown after beating Hamilton in controversial circumstances in December's Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was poised to capture a record-breaking eighth world title before a controversial safety car restart allowed Verstappen to pass his British rival on the last lap.

Michael Masi was last month removed as F1 race director over his management of the race.

The 20-time race winner, who took his first victory on his Red Bull debut in 2016, will now be in a similar league pay-wise to Hamilton whose current Mercedes contract, set to expire at the end of next season, is reportedly worth Β£40 million ($53 million) a year.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 12:06 PM