BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks with Jos Verstappen in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Jos Verstappen: Max will continue until 40, maybe 45

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks with Jos Verstappen in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 21, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Jos Verstappen has poured cold water on talk that his son Max will walk away from the sport before he turns 40, the father believing his son will race well beyond that.

However, 26-year-old Verstappen has often said that he does not see himself following in the footsteps of F1 veterans Fernando Alonso (42) and Lewis Hamilton (38) who remain in the sport, as life has other things to offer.

On retirement, Max in his own words: “If we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point you question yourself ‘is it worth it? I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that of course the salary and everything, you have a good life, but is it actually a good life?

“I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff. I know I have a contract until the end of 2028, and then we’ll review it again. But I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, then it’s time for a change,” reckoned Verstappen.

But Papa Jos is not so sure his son will call it quits so early and is surprised by how quickly it has all come, he told Sky F1: “He’ll never get tired of racing. I think he will continue until 40, maybe 45, but it all depends on the small things. But to be that good, how he wins his races and how many he’s won, we didn’t expect that and definitely not at the age of 26.”

Jos: It’s unbelievable, like a dream, only better

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 02: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Scuderia Toro Rosso attends a seat fitting ahead of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 2, 2014 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Max Verstappen horner best

After Verstappen Junior won his third F1 world title earlier this year, Jos said: “Max wants to show who is the best. He’s really into it, but that’s also difficult. Always being up there, in every practice session, every qualifying and then the race!

“That’s what he is doing at the moment. Of course, you need a good car and that’s what he has. Max and Red Bull together, they just work. It’s unbelievable, like a dream, only better,” declared Verstappen Senior, who was key to his son’s stellar junior career in karting.

Then Papa was also instrumental in striking a deal with Helmut Marko to get his son onto the F1 grid when the kid was only 17 years and 166 days old, with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso. History has treated him well ever since.

If indeed Max does race on until he is – for argument’s sake – 44. And during the next spell of 18 years, wins as many GPs as he has done in the past nine years, since his F1 debut, he will quit F1 with easily over 150 Grand Prix victories on his CV.

And if you do the maths, that’s a conservative formula. At this rate (and hypothetically) Verstappen could win 200 or more F1 races by the time he is a couple of years older than Alonso is now, namely 2041. And nine F1 titles too, if everything goes according to script of course!

Big Question: Can Verstappen win more than 200 races if he stays on until he is 44?