Max Verstappen's new contract is a first for Red Bull, Helmut Marko has admitted, but the deal is crucial for the team as they prepare for a new era.
The Milton Keynes-based team confirmed on Thursday morning that their superstar driver has put pen to paper on a new long-term contract that will keep him in their car until the end of 2028.
It ensures that Verstappen is now tied down to the longest contract on the Formula 1 grid, even longer than deals recently handed to Lando Norris (2025) and Charles Leclerc (2024).
And should he remain with the Red Bull all the way until the end of 2028, given the current length of F1's calendar, Verstappen will shatter Michael Schumacher's record to become the driver with the most race starts and most seasons spent with one team.
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Verstappen contract crucial next step for Red Bull
It is clear for all to see just how loved Verstappen, who will wear the number one on his new RB18 car this season, is at Red Bull.
The 24-year-old will be just 31 when his new deal comes to end, with the potential of still having his very best years in motorsport ahead of him as both Hamilton and Schumacher won more Drivers' titles in their 30s than their 20s.
Red Bull, meanwhile, are heading into a new era, with a newly-formed powertrains division set to take control of their engines from 2023 as they gear up to become an engine manufacturer of their own from 2026.
And so it was crucial to pin down the driver they see as being the best in motorsport to a contract to take them well beyond that date.
"I won't talk about the numbers, but I can only say that both parties are very satisfied and will remain," said Marko in conversation with F1 Insider.
"The fact that we rate Max highly is apparent from the duration of the new contract. Normally, Red Bull does not make such long commitments.
"It's no secret that character at Red Bull is a very important quality, which we value very much."
Video: Verstappen signs Red Bull contract extension until end of 2028
Max Verstappen and Christian Horner open up about Verstappen's new deal to stay with Red Bull until the end of 2028.