Damon Hill has urged Max Verstappen to walk away from Formula 1 as he believes the Dutchman’s not enjoying it, after Verstappen criticised F1 chief Stefano Domenicali‘s plan to overhaul the race weekend format.
Domenicali said he wants to scrap free practice altogether and introduce more sprint race weekends, but Verstappen warned he ‘wouldn’t be around for very long‘ if there’s too many changes to the current format.
“Max’s retirement threat is very unusual,” Hill said. “It is kind of strange to hear, isn’t it? I mean, what’s he going to do with himself? He should stop now, really. Stop now, he’s done it.”
“I think fun’s a very important point. Is he having fun, because I sometimes think he’s not having fun. I think you have to love what you’re doing, otherwise it’s a grind.”
Hill: Novelty has worn off for Verstappen
Currently Verstappen looks to be on cloud nine – after years spent behind Mercedes scrapping for a win or two per season, he’s won two world championships and seemingly well on his way to a third in the dominant RB19.
He leads the driver’s standings by 15 points from teammate Sergio Perez with no other team looking even close to challenging Red Bull for race wins, let alone over the course of a season.
Verstappen‘s current Red Bull contract runs until the end of 2028 and he’d previously hinted that he may not want to continue racing, but this is the strongest message yet that he won’t stay in F1 unless he feels it’s right for him.
“I think there’s an element of this with Max with him wanting not to waste his time on superfluous things that really are just invented for novelty reasons,” Hill added. “I think he’s that kind of person.
“So I can imagine him just saying it because he just thinks ‘well, I just come here and want to win grand prix. I just want one race to mean something. I don’t want to have a half-value race, what’s the point of that on your CV?’
“People aren’t going to go ‘how many Grand Prix have you won? Now how many sprint races have you won?'”