Max Verstappen commits future to Red Bull signing £200m deal
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Max Verstappen is on course to eclipse his Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton and become the first star of the sport to be a billionaire. That is according to one marketing expert, who has backed the Dutchman to cash in big on his worldwide popularity after becoming world champion last year.
Verstappen is something of a commercial dream. Fans watched him pip Hamilton to the 2021 title – even if it was in acrimonious circumstances – and thanks to the burgeoning popularity of F1 even those who haven’t always followed motorsport have seen his exploits.
The two racers are very different in a lot of ways. There is a significant age gap, meaning a gulf in the level of experience that they can call upon. It also means that Hamilton is far more established as a household name and global celebrity.
But different does not mean bad – Verstappen is gaining quite the reputation of his own, and in his own way. While Hamilton is the coolest guy in town, the fashion trend-setter who knows all the famous faces, his Red Bull rival has the demeanour and cheesy smile of a ‘normal’ person of his age.
Hamilton has become very wealthy thanks to both his talent on the race track and marketability off it. His annual income was estimated at around £62m last year by Forbes, putting him in eighth place among all the sportspeople in the world.
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Verstappen has now proven that he can match his British rival as a driver, and could be set to do so as a businessman. Marketing expert Chris Woerts has backed his fellow Dutchman to be able to earn huge money from sponsors now that he has sorted out a huge new contract with Red Bull.
“Max will have made more than a billion by the time his career is over,” declared Woerts, who has worked with huge global brands like Heineken and Coca Cola in the past. “He has a cracking deal with Red Bull and he is wanted by all the big companies. The money is coming in like a waterfall.”
That deal he refers to with Red Bull was announced during the off season, after he had become world champion. The five-year extension he signed puts him up there with Hamilton as the highest paid driver in the sport’s history, and could be worth more than £200m in total.
Now that he has the reputation that comes with being a title winner, he has also begun to work on other ventures away from motorsport. He has a decent portfolio of high-paying sponsors including a lucrative deal with streaming service Viaplay.
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That deal came with the help of his father Jos, also a former F1 racer, who works with the firm as an analyst. Verstappen Snr has also helped to set up a travel firm in their name, which helps Dutch race fans to arrange to follow the racer around the world as he competes.
Verstappen’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen, has insisted that his deal with Red Bull will always remain the priority. However, he too admits there is plenty of scope to add more sponsor partnerships when the right opportunities come along.
“It has definitely taken off,” he said. “But we will still see if it (a commercial offer) fits into our total picture and whether we are not going to get into Red Bull’s waters. We try to get the right deals from the mass of offers.
“It is clear that the international breakthrough is there. We are working on a few new things and they look good. The team radiates that fighter mentality. I think a lot of brands want to identify with that. Max and Red Bull are fighters and will continue to fight for the number one spot.”
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