Max Verstappen signed a new deal with Red Bull which is set to land him one of the biggest pay days in Formula One history.
It is understood the world champion’s contract extension, which could be announced as early as Thursday, is worth as much as £40 million (US$53,4 million) a season.
The salary increase matches Lewis Hamilton’s £80 million (US$106,7 million) two-year Mercedes deal which expires at the end of next year.
Verstappen, 24, has been rewarded for beating Hamilton to the world title last year – and it is anticipated his new contract will keep him at Red Bull for at least five more seasons. Verstappen’s Red Bull team did not comment.
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has long been an admirer of Verstappen, with his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner claiming the Dutchman would be his rival’s number one target when Hamilton retires.
relations became strained between the two parties during last year’s bitter title fight.
For his part, Verstappen, who made his F1 debut when he was 17 before becoming the sport’s youngest winner when he triumphed on his Red Bull debut a year later, has always said he will remain with them if they delivered a machine capable of fighting for world titles.
Verstappen will open his championship defence later this month when the new season starts in Bahrain on 20 March.
The Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, meanwhile, will not be allowed to race at the British Grand Prix after Motorsport UK confirmed the UK ban on Russian competitors.
The organisation has confirmed the ban will extend to Russian and Belarusian drivers in all motorsport disciplines.
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