Verstappen’s legacy continues to grow after he racked up his third Formula 1 championship in a row.
2023 was a record-breaking year for the driver and for Horner’s Red Bull team.
“The great thing is he hasn’t really changed since joining us as an 18-year-old,” Horner told Sky.
“Of course, he’s matured and he’s a young man now, but that enthusiasm, that determination, that grit, phenomenal car control and natural ability – none of that has changed.
“None of the fame or the wealth has gone to his head. He’s still the same guy.
“He’s still very popular in the garage. He keeps himself to himself, he will talk his own mind, he will tell you what he thinks, he’s not trying to be a stereotype.
“He is who he is. I think you have to have a lot of respect for that.
“He has the benefit of experience now which he’s using extremely well.”
Verstappen topped the list of F1 earners in 2023 after his stunning on-track success, pocketing a reported $70m.
He did so while providing typically forthright views, particularly on the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which weren’t entirely what F1 hoped to hear.
Verstappen will be red-hot favourite to win a fourth championship in a row next year but he won’t match the longevity of Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.
“He’s a competitive guy,” Horner considered.
“The calendar is gruelling, he’s 26 years of age.
“You’re looking at drivers who are 42, he probably can’t imagine himself driving for that length of time.
“I doubt he will. I think Max knows his own mind, he’s his own person.
“He has his own strength of character and I think while he’s motivated and committed he will continue in F1.
“I think if he loses that motivation I don’t think he would stay around that long. Will he be racing when he’s 42? I very much doubt it.”