Former F1 Driver Believes Verstappen May Leave Team After Newey's Red Bull Exit

"Max signed a new deal at the beginning of last year. I would not be surprised if Max did not have a release clause in the event of Adrian going."

by Sead Dedovic
Former F1 Driver Believes Verstappen May Leave Team After Newey's Red Bull Exit
© Clive Mason/Getty Images Sport

The departure of Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing's Global Chief Technical Officer, could change many things within the Austrian team. The focus is mainly on Max Verstappen's reaction to Newey's departure. Many expect that the Dutchman will also leave the team and pursue a completely different path.

A potential candidate for his signing will be Mercedes. This is the team that Verstappen has been most linked with in recent weeks. Statements from Toto Wolff, Mercedes' boss, support this. Wolff is ready to do everything possible to sign Verstappen, aware that it won't be an easy task.

One of those who decided to comment on this situation is former F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who highlighted in a media interview that Mercedes is one of the options for the Dutchman. Although his current contract ties him to Red Bull until 2028, Verstappen could leave this team much earlier. Herbert discussed the option of Newey's departure as well as Helmut Marko's.

"Max signed a new deal at the beginning of last year. I would not be surprised if Max did not have a release clause in the event of Adrian going. He has one if Helmut Marko does. The ongoing shenanigans have made it a very uncomfortable place to be."- he said, as quoted by Mirror.

Herbert believes that Mercedes is the only current realistic option for Verstappen. Mercedes is the team that could offer him a lot in every aspect, but it's hard to expect that the Mercedes car can match Red Bull's. Herbert stresses that Verstappen did not anticipate this scenario. Christian Horner's case has changed a lot within the team, disrupting the dynamics. 

Red Bull is leading this season as well, with huge chances of winning another championship. Despite everything, the situation within the team is far from positive.

"If Adrian does go, he is the one who has the ideas and creates what Red Bull has in the last couple of years. I imagine Max would be absolutely fuming. Remember Jos, his dad, had predicted that this saga could erupt and it is getting very close to exploding.

Would Max want to be part of that? Absolutely not. The only option he would really have is Mercedes whether it is next year to give himself time to bed in ahead of 2026 and the new regulations. That is the only place where there is a seat. Fernando Alonso would not want Max [at Aston Martin] if Lance Stroll is removed."- he continued.

Johnny Herbert
Johnny Herbert© Jack Thomas/Getty Images for Fox Sports

Herbert is someone who believes in Verstappen's qualities, expecting that media pressure and chaos cannot affect the Dutchman's mentality and goals for this season. Verstappen is a special driver who doesn't allow anything to shake him, ready to win another championship.

This is also one of the reasons why he is such a dominant driver, with good indications that he will continue to lead the way in this sport in the future.

Herbert believes that the ongoing speculation benefits the sport and the media, creating excitement and potential outcomes. While it may favor Ferrari or Mercedes in the short term, ultimately, it benefits everyone by bringing new teams into contention.

He reflected on Verstappen's ability to elevate his performance when needed, as demonstrated in previous races. Even on a street circuit like Miami, where upgrades might favor other teams like Ferrari, Herbert doubts it will be enough to challenge Red Bull significantly. Verstappen's strength lies in organizing distractions and focusing only on his driving, unaffected by external factors.

Max Verstappen and dealing with the pressure

The leadership of Red Bull has reason to be concerned. At times when they had everything in their hands, and were on the right track for great things in the future, the situation with Horner has spoiled and destroyed everything.

Sometimes it's hard to deal with pressure, especially when you see the media putting pressure on you and things aren't going well. Fortunately for Red Bull, the conflict within the team hasn't affected the results. Part of the reason for this is the outstanding performance of Max Verstappen, who tries to ignore all the speculation and rumors surrounding him.

His future is the most interesting topic for many, given how dominant he has been in the current and previous seasons. Indications suggest that his dominance will continue for at least a few more years. The world of F1 is often unpredictable, so any scenario could be realistic.

Verstappen and Mercedes, once fierce rivals, could now become a new sports story, this time with Verstappen as a Mercedes driver. It would be truly incredible to see Verstappen in the colors of Mercedes and on the F1 tracks with Toto Wolff. The F1 world would be shaken by that.

Red Bull