Former F1 driver predicts unusual Verstappen career move


Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok believes Max Verstappen will step away from the championship at the end of the 2025 season to take a sabbatical.

The former HRT and Lotus driver feels that by taking a year out in 2026, the Dutchman will be well placed to assess who has adapted best to the completely new regulations introduced that season.

With major power unit and chassis changes in the rules, there is no guarantee that Red Bull will remain the dominant force in Formula 1. This uncertainty has sparked speculation that Verstappen may be looking for a way to end his contract with the team, which currently expires at the end of 2028.

Therefore, Chandhok believes the 26-year-old may opt to stay on the bench for a year before finally deciding who to join, once the dominance hierarchy is better understood.

“More and more, I think Max will stay at Red Bull until 2025. I think he will take a sabbatical from 2026, have a year out of the country, see what happens. And then, in 2027, he can go anywhere, right,” He claimed 40 years on Sky Sports F1 Podcast.

“He's going to go – he's talked about his ambitions to do Le Mans and other forms of racing, so I think he'll do something in 2026, have a year off in Formula 1, and see who the new rules kick in.” [regulations].

“Louis [Hamilton] He will have completed his two-year contract at Ferrari – '25, '26 – he [Verstappen] “He could go to Ferrari in '27, he could go to Mercedes in '27, he could go back to Red Bull in '27. I think it can happen.”

“Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.”

The Sky Sports presenter and commentator highlighted just how strange the current driver market is when he made his bold predictions for Verstappen.

He stressed some of the factors that led to the ridiculous season being as dynamic and unpredictable as it was – including the situation at Red Bull, which has sparked a lot of speculation about Verstappen's future.

“Nothing is outside the realm of possibility. We have a really strange driver market,” he stressed.

“We had a driver registered to race until he was in his mid-40s in Fernando Alonso, and you have another driver signed up to one of the biggest teams in Formula 1, where he will start his contract at 40.

“You have a young driver [Andrea] Kimi Antonelli, who hasn't finished F3, hasn't completed a full season of F2 and is still a player, maybe even later this year – they're talking about mid-season replacements. So, there are some unusual things going on in the driver market, right?

“We never thought about Verstappen leaving the team until everything had unfolded around Red Bull in Bahrain or before Bahrain. So, it's a really strange market and very difficult to read about.”



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