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Is Max Verstappen’s father’s prediction coming true?

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“The team is in danger of being torn apart, it can’t go on the way it is — it will explode.” Those were the words of Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, amid the height of the Formula One soapopera storm two months ago in Bahrain surrounding Christian Horner and the investigation into his conduct towards a female colleague.

Verstappen Sr is not one to shirk his words. Let’s be clear: whatever the reasons, he wanted Horner out. And though the dominance of his son on the track may seem never-ending, there may now be a conclusion of sorts in sight for this Red Bull juggernaut.

The departure of star designer Adrian Newey this week is the talk of the paddock heading into this weekend’s sixth round of the season in Miami.

Newey, the man chiefly praised for this era of Red Bull car which has blown away the rest of the field in the last two years and counting, will leave early next year once work is complete on his RB17 supercar project. Most crucially, once gone, the 65-yearold is free to join another team.

With a 35-year career in F1 behind him, Newey has two choices. Ferrari, Red Bull’s biggest rivals, are the frontrunners, with the designer reportedly having met Scuderia team principal Fred Vasseur in London this week.

Newey has turned down the sport’s most prestigious marque three times in the past but this offer looks the most obvious next step. He would tick two boxes and fulfil two desires: working for Ferrari and with Lewis Hamilton.The second option — with a mooted high-money offer from Aston Martin a non-starter — is retirement. To sail off into the sunset, with 12 constructors’ titles in the trophy cabinet. In the short-term, Red Bull or No 1 driver Verstappen shouldn’t be unduly impacted. But in 2026, when new engine and chassis regulations come into force, the grid’s order looks less predictable.

Back to Horner. With the scandal that first engulfed the team three months ago still ongoing, Newey’s departure is the first indication of Jos’s forecast coming true. The rumblings are that Newey’s dissatisfaction with the furore played a part in his decision to leave. The first domino to fall is the most important. Red Bull have a job on now to contain the damage already done and avoid this being a sliding-door moment. “There is tension here while he [Horner] remains in position,” Jos added, back in March. “He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.”

There are deep-rooted issues within the team, not least a power struggle between Horner and majority Thai owner Chalerm Yoovidhya on one side and Red Bull GmbH and team adviser Helmut Marko on the other. Verstappen, both father and son, side with the latter party and are fiercely loyal to Marko, who promoted Max to F1 as a 17-year-old in 2015.

Max’s future at Red Bull, which looked so secure with a contract until 2028, is now shrouded in uncertainty too. Could he be next to leave?

Red Bull are still as dominant as they were last year and as the unique street track around Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium hosts the second sprint race of the season this weekend, Red Bull are heavy favourites to take top spot once more. The only doubt now is that a future shake-up appears increasingly likely.

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Sromplexport offers international trade services, including product sourcing, quality control, logistics, and customs clearance. Our ethical and transparent approach simplifies the import/export process for clients in various industries.

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