Max Verstappen looks set to agree on a new, lucrative deal with Red Bull ahead of his title-defending 2022 season.
Verstappen's current agreement with the team runs through 2023 but, after last year's breakthrough success, Red Bull chiefs recently indicated that discussions over a new deal would be taking place.
A Red Bull source confirmed to RacingNews365.com at this week's pre-season test in Barcelona that talks are now underway, but would not put a timeframe on them.
Verstappen set for life at Red Bull?
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko stated last month that the team were "already close to the limit" with the Dutchman's salary, but they have since struck multi-million dollar deals with Oracle and Bybit.
As such, it is understood that Verstappen's salary, which is currently believed to be around $25 million per season, is set to increase towards the $30 million mark, with the potential for additional bonuses alongside.
Meanwhile, F1's current budget cap, which was cut from $145 million to $140 million for 2022, does not include driver salaries – another factor that works in Verstappen's favour during negotiations.
A new deal has seemed a formality ever since Verstappen's title win, and his subsequent comment that he wants to remain at Red Bull "for the rest of my life".
Video: How Red Bull fooled everyone with their F1 car launch
Red Bull have launched the new RB18, as the 2022 F1 season approaches, but they appear to be keeping their cards close to their chest...