Verstappen: Newey exit won't affect my future

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MIAMI — Max Verstappen said Adrian Newey’s imminent departure will not have an impact on his immediate future and insisted it is “not as dramatic as it seems” for Red Bull’s dominant title-winning team.

On Wednesday Red Bull confirmed the F1 design legend will leave the team in early 2025, ending a 19-year spell with the team. Newey has been an integral part of turning Red Bull into one of F1’s premier outfits over the past two decades, although he has scaled back his involvement in recent years, moving to a less day-to-day role as chief technical officer.

When asked on Thursday, ahead of the Miami Grand Prix weekend, if Newey’s departure would impact his future at the team, Verstappen said: “Not at the moment… the rest people are making up a lot of stuff because they don’t understand how the roles are in the team but of course I cannot deny I would have preferred him to stay. Just for how he is as a person.

“His knowledge and what he will bring potentially to another team if he wants to job. Besides that, I trust the people we have are incredibly good.

“If someone really wants to leave they should leave, that’s what I wrote to him, if you think that is the right decision for yourself and your family, you have to do it.

“At the end of the day, F1 is a shark tank. Everyone thinks about themselves at the end of the day. I know that. I’m not stupid. So that’s fine,” he added.

Red Bull has anticipated Newey’s departure for a while. Sources have told ESPN the team signed technical director Pierre Wache to a new five-year contract at the start of 2024 with the likelihood of Newey’s departure in mind.

Verstappen was quick to praise the strength of Red Bull’s overall team. “Of course from when he started at Red Bull [Adrian] was incredibly important for the success they had. Over time, his role has changed a bit and a lot of people don’t understand what he was actually doing.

“I don’t say he wasn’t doing anything but his role has evolved. A lot of good people came into the team that haver strengthened that whole department. Of course I would have preferred him to stay, for sure, because you can always rely on his experience and just as a person he is a great guy to chat to and relate to.

“He is very bright and smart but he would also talk to the driver and interpret that into the car, in terms he would try to imagine himself driving but I also really trust that the technical team we have outside of Adrian is really strong. They have shown that for the last few years how competitive the car is.

“From the outside, it looks very dramatic but if you know what is happening inside the team it is not as dramatic as it seems.”

Newey’s future is now subject of intense speculation.

ESPN sources have said he’s had offers from both Ferrari and Aston Martin, although it is understood he has not yet made his mind up about what the next step of his career will be.

During a podcast last year Newey said he regretted never having the chance to work with either Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso during his storied career. He now appears to have the chance to tick one off the list — Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025, while Alonso has signed a deal to keep him at Aston Martin through 2026.

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