Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has cooled worries over Max Verstappen’s future in F1 but has ruled out the Dutchman emulating Fernando Alonso’s stay in the sport. Verstappen signed a new long-term deal through to 2028 with the World Championship-winning constructor ahead of his second title triumph last year. But the 25-year-old has previously suggested this contract could be his last in F1 and recent claims that the sport’s format could continue to change, specifically during Sprint weekends , pushed Verstappen into a threat of quitting sooner. Speaking to Sky Sports, Horner insisted Verstappen remains passionate about racing but is unlikely to yearn for the longevity of Aston Martin driver Alonso, who will turn 42 this year. “Max is his own man and he’s very, very strong in his opinions and on his outlook on what he wants to do in his life,” said Horner. “I don’t see him being a Fernando Alonso and still racing at 41 or 42 years of age, or maybe not in Formula 1, but what his love and passion is, is racing. “If he’s not racing on track at the moment, he’s racing in the virtual world, he’s driving GT cars for fun, and his passion is just driving and racing, and while that burns within him, he’s going to keep going. “But how long that burns for, that’s each individual’s own journey, they’ve got to find that out for themselves.” ‘Brutal’ calendar will take toll Verstappen has also alluded to the length of the F1 calendar in recent times with the ever-expanding schedule only failing to reach a record-breaking 24 races this season with the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix. “23 races is a brutal calendar and it’s tough,” conceded Horner. “It’s tough for the drivers, it’s tougher for the mechanics that are travelling at the beginning of the week and returning on a Monday after an event. “It is a brutal calendar and it does take its toll at some point.”

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