With Adrian Newey reportedly on the verge of leaving Red Bull, what would his potential departure mean for Max Verstappen’s F1 future?

It emerged on Thursday that legendary F1 car designer Newey had expressed his desire to leave Red Bull after being “unsettled” by the controversy surrounding team principal Christian Horner.

Red Bull have been in a state of turbulence since Horner was accused – and cleared – of inappropriate behaviour by a female employee.

There have been reports of a power struggle within Milton Keynes and murmurings that senior staff including Newey are unhappy about the situation.

Speculation has been rife about Verstappen’s future ever since, not helped by a falling out between his father, Jos, and Horner at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Relations appear to have improved and Verstappen has repeatedly stressed since that he is happy at Red Bull, but argued it is “very important we keep the key people together”.

It is now known that the three-time world champion has an exit clause in his contract that would enable to leave Red Bull if motorsport advisor and key ally Helmut Marko departed.

Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer looks at Oliver Bearman (GBR) Ferrari SF-24 Reserve Driver on the

Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer looks at Oliver…

According to BBC Sport, Verstappen “is not believed to have the same freedom in the event of Newey leaving”, but it could still lead him to question his future at Red Bull.

The Dutchman, who is tied down to Red Bull until 2028, recently praised Newey’s importance to the team, saying at the Japanese Grand Prix: “We have a lot of people working on the car, so it’s a whole team effort that has to come together.

“Everyone’s ideas get taken into account and you build the car that we have today. For sure having someone a part of the team like Adrian is a massive boost for everyone.”

Mercedes are bidding to capitalise of the drama unfolding at Red Bull by attempting to lure Verstappen away from the reigning world champions.

Toto Wolff has openly admitted the team would “love” to sign Verstappen as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for 2025, though such a move currently seems unlikely given the contrasting competitive fortunes of the two teams.

Newey has been heavily linked to join Ferrari but if Mercedes were able to poach him, Verstappen may be more likely to be swayed to join the German manufacturer, even if a switch did not happen until 2026 when new engine regulations come into play.

There have also been rumours that Red Bull may have fallen behind with their engine project for 2026, though Verstappen has insisted it is too early to be concerned.

Amid all the turmoil and uncertainty facing Red Bull, Newey leaving would surely be a test of Verstappen’s faith in the team.