HomeSportsFootballF1: George Russell accuses Max Verstappen of 'whingeing' for more money

F1: George Russell accuses Max Verstappen of ‘whingeing’ for more money

Red Bull’s Formula One world champion driver Max Verstappen AFP / Patrick T. FALLON

Mercedes driver George Russell is not mincing words when talking about reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen. After the latter spoke up against the extra demands brought on by the new 24-race calendar for 2024, Russell thinks that the Red Bull star is only “whingeing” because he wants more money.

The 2024 schedule was released earlier this week ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend. The upcoming season will be the longest in Formula 1 history, with 24 race weekends confirmed. The season will begin with the first event running from February 29-March 2 in Bahrain. That will be followed by a race in Saudi Arabia the following week. These two opening races are not new, but they are quite notable because the main race will take place on Saturday instead of Sunday to respect Ramadan.

Then, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai will return for the first time since 2019. The event was last staged a year before the coronavirus pandemic first broke out. The race in China has been absent since then for obvious reasons, but its return in 2024 stretches the calendar all the way to the final weekend from December 6-8 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Needless to say, everyone in the Formula 1 community including the drivers will be on the road and working nearly the whole year. There will also be winter testing and development work in the offseason, meaning there will only be pockets of time wherein the drivers, mechanics and everyone else can truly get off work.

There will also be Sprint Race weekends, making the typical weekend schedule even more hectic. All of these changes plus added marketing and PR duties are piling on the demands on drivers and everyone else working with the teams.

Verstappen has been vocal about his criticism of the changes, hinting in the past that he would retire early if he felt that the changes were no longer allowing him to have his desired quality of life. He reiterated the same sentiment when asked by the press about his opinion on the 2024 extended calendar.

Russell thinks Verstappen just wants more money

In response to Verstappen’s comments, Russell hit back by saying that the highest-paid driver currently on the grid is just trying to boost his chances of earning even more than his current £40 million-a-year salary.

Verstappen already set records with his massive deal, which keeps him at Red Bull all the way until the 2028 season. By that time, the flying Dutchman will only be 31 years old, which is young for retirement following the current trend of drivers being able to stay in the sport while pushing 40.

Needless to say, if he continues to dominate the sport or at least remain competitive, Red Bull or another team may put out all the stops to get him to sign a new deal. Russell thinks that all of Verstappen’s comments about the extra races and added work is his way of trying to leverage for more cash.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton may be able to negotiate a new deal with Mercedes to earn more per year than Verstappen, but that won’t change the fact that the current championship leader will still be earning the most overall in the foreseeable future.

“I think he’s whingeing because he wants more money!,” said Russell, as quoted by Planet F1. The British driver then went on to say that the “threats” coming from Verstappen about possibly experiencing burnout and quitting the sport earlier than expected is just some kind of tactic to raise his value.

“He’s the highest paid on this grid and rightly so for what he’s achieving but even so, I think it’s all a big tactic of his, that threat of retirement,” said Russell. The Mercedes driver admitted that he hopes Verstappen won’t retire before he does, saying that he wants Verstappen to stay because he wants to be competing against the best of the best.

“I’m head-to-head with Lewis at the moment and I want to be doing that with Max and Charles etc. and I think we’re in a really great place at the moment as a sport,” he added.

Despite his criticism of Verstappen’s opinion about the lengthy calendar, Russell admitted that the Dutchman has a point especially when it came to all the added work commitments for drivers. ‘It is challenging, we can’t just keep adding more commitments, more races, there’s got to be a point where if you are adding something somewhere, something has got to be taken off,” he said, clearly agreeing with what the Red Bull star said in the first place.

He called the extra work “overtime,” hinting that he may personally also think that added compensation for everyone involved might be needed due to the added work.

George Russell
Mercedes driver George Russell POOL via AFP / CHRISTIAN BRUNA
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