Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has revealed the team is already close to its limit of what it can afford to pay F1 champion Max Verstappen ahead of new contract talks.
After clinching his maiden title in Abu Dhabi in December, Verstappen declared his desire to remain with Red Bull for the next 10 to 15 years.
A few days later at the awards gala in Paris, team principal Christian Horner stated his intent to hold onto the 24-year-old Dutchman for the long term.
At the time, Horner said: "I look forward to racing with Max for many years to come and I believe the best years are very much still to come."
It had been anticipated discussions over a new contract would have commenced by now, even though Verstappen already has a highly lucrative deal in place through to the end of 2023.
Although there have been delays, speaking with Austrian magazine Autorevue, Marko confirmed: "We will have talks with Max in the next few weeks.
"His manager [Raymond Vermeulen] was difficult to contact because his son was at the 24-hour race in Dubai [in mid-January] together with Jos [Verstappen]."
It is understood Verstappen currently earns around $25million [£18.7m] per annum, plus a race-win bonus of $1million [£750,000].
For winning the title, there was a further bonus of close to $10m [£7.5m].
With Lewis Hamilton understood to be earning between $30-40m per season with Mercedes, Verstappen may have to accept being second best on the grid in terms of salary.
Marko revealed: "With Verstappen, we are already close to this limit. There will be an end at some point."