Mika Hakkinen strongly suspects that Max Verstappen will move away from the Red Bull Racing team in the future. With victory at the Japanese GP, Verstappen secured his second Drivers' Championship crown, following in Hakkinen's footsteps of becoming a two-time F1 champion. The scope for future titles with Red Bull remains high, with the Dutchman committing to a long-term contract with the team, which runs until 2028. However, Hakkinen warned that whilst Red Bull have succeeded in attracting a talented team of people, circumstances can change and trigger driver transfers. "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."
Hakkinen: Drivers move when car performance drops
Red Bull's championship success and win tally points toward a strong technical team who have fully grasped the new technical regulations, brought in for the start of 2022. This is likely to aid the team with future car evolutions, owing to their strong foundations in car design. However, Hakkinen warned that performance drop-offs - due to staff leaving or not meeting targets - is often a trigger for 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 just wanting to go somewhere else."