F1's Max Verstappen, Red Bull Agree to New Contract; Reportedly Tops $53M per Year

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMarch 2, 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands walks away drenched after celebrating with his team in the pit lane after becoming F1 drivers world champion after winning the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec. 12. 2021. The most dramatic Formula One season in years ended, of course, in one of the most dramatic finishes possible when Max Verstappen snatched the world championship away from Lewis Hamilton with a pass on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi GP. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

Defending Formula One champion Max Verstappen has reportedly signed a massive contract extension with Red Bull Racing.

According to the Daily Mail and De Telegraaf (h/t ESPN), Verstappen's new deal is worth £40 million a year, which equates to around $53.3 million in U.S. dollars.

The 24-year-old had been set to become a free agent after the 2023 season, but he is now locked in with Red Bull Racing for the foreseeable future.

Verstappen is now believed to be the joint-highest-paid driver in F1, as his contract mirrors the reported $53.3 million Lewis Hamilton makes per year.

Since making his Formula One debut in 2014 at the age of 17, Verstappen has been viewed as the next big thing in the sport.

He spent parts of his first three seasons with Scuderia Toro Rosso, and in the midst of the 2016 campaign, he made the move to Red Bull.

Verstappen finished fifth in the standings that season, and he would go on to finish sixth or better in each of his first five seasons with Red Bull entering 2021.

The talented driver came close to a championship in both 2019 and 2020 with third-place finishes in the standings, paving the way for him to finally reach the top in 2021.

Verstappen remarkably won 10 of the 22 races last season and finished second on eight other occasions, allowing him to finish just ahead of Hamilton in the standings.

The triumph ended Hamilton's streak of four consecutive championships and six in seven years, and it catapulted Verstappen to the top of the sport in an emphatic way.

Given what Hamilton continues to accomplish at the age of 37, Verstappen still has many years of high-level racing ahead of him, which explains why Red Bull Racing was willing to invest so heavily in him.