Motor racing-Formula E boss bets $250,000 on Verstappen taking F1 title again

Formula One F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - November 25, 2023 Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates after qualifying in pole position REUTERS/Rula Rouhana/ File photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula E boss Jeff Dodds has promised to pay $250,000 to charity if Red Bull's Max Verstappen fails to win a fourth successive Formula One title this season.

Red Bull won 21 of 22 races last year in the most dominant of campaigns while 26-year-old Dutch driver Verstappen took a record 19 victories.

Red Bull have also won 38 of the last 44 races.

"Unless he's injured or something crazy happens, 99% he (Verstappen) gets that trophy," Dodds said in an interview with TNT Sports.

"If any one of the other 19 drivers wins it (the F1 championship), we’ll give a quarter of a million dollars to the charity of choice of the other driver that wins it.

"It wouldn't be the worst day in the office to give a load of money to charity. But absolutely he is nailed on to win that season."

All-electric Formula E has proven less predictable than F1, with three different winners in three races so far in the 10th season that started in January, but attracts a far smaller audience.

France's double champion Jean-Eric Vergne is the only driver to win more than one Formula E title since the city-based series started in 2014-15.

"If (McLaren's) Lando (Norris) wins, we'll go and visit him and give him a quarter of a million dollars for his charity. Absolutely, no questions asked," said Dodds, who took the helm of the electric series last June.

Verstappen set the pace on the first day of Formula One testing on Wednesday, with the season starting there on March 2.

Dodds said Formula E was on a rapid development curve and getting faster and faster.

"You're going to see acceleration in these (future) Formula E cars that leaves every other motorsport pretty much for dust," he said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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