Button: Verstappen should try to convince Newey to stay at Red Bull

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Button: Verstappen should try to convince Newey to stay at Red Bull

Max Verstappen should try to convince legendary designer Adrian Newey to stay at Red Bull, says Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button.

It emerged last week that Newey has informally communicated to fellow senior Red Bull colleagues his wish to cut his near two-decade ties at the current world champion team.

Verstappen has won three successive drivers’ titles in Newey-designed cars, and is on course to make it four in a row having won four of the first five races of 2024 going into this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

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Button, who will be part of the Sky Sports F1 team in Miami, said on the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast that Verstappen may be underestimating his potential influence on Newey.

“I don’t think it’s unsettling for Max. He’s pretty focused on the job in hand,” Button said.

“I think for someone like Max, is he going to be around in three or four years? We don’t know that either. But if he wants to be racing in F1 and he still wants the great Adrian Newey working and developing his car, it’s a big deal for a driver to go to a team principal or a chief designer and spend time with them. Most drivers wouldn’t do that.

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Ex-Aston Martin strategist Bernie Collins is worried about how Red Bull might perform from 2026 onwards following the news that Newey could leave the team

“I think it would be really, really good for Max, or whoever his team-mate is in the future, to actually spend time with Adrian and sit him down and just go through the reasons for him wanting to be around or not wanting to be around.”

Newey has worked at Red Bull since 2006 and been a central figure in their subsequent rise to becoming an F1 superpower, leading the design of the cars that have taken the team to all 13 of their world titles.

Button continued: “Drivers don’t realise how much pull they have in a team. They think they do the driving, they do the PR work, they do the engineering meetings, but the amount of pull they have in a team is massive, especially someone like Max.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, 2009 world champion Jenson Button says he doesn’t expect any problems between Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc at Ferrari next season

“And it’s just that human aspect of spending time with key personnel on the team, that maybe are thinking about possibly leaving, spending time with them and working out reasons why. And maybe you can work it out with that individual.

“And I think that’s something that the drivers don’t realise, but I think are starting to a little bit more, the power they have not just in the world of Formula 1 and social media, but within a team and keeping a team of people together, building that great team of people around them.”

‘Newey exit could hurt Red Bull atmosphere’

Newey’s possible exit, which would send shockwaves around F1 should it ultimately materialise, comes amid a period of sustained turbulence at Red Bull following the investigation earlier this year by their Austrian parent company into allegations of inappropriate behaviour against team principal Christian Horner by a female colleague.

The grievance against Horner, who has always denied the claims, was dismissed on February 28. The woman who brought the complaint has since appealed the outcome.

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Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater explains that Adrian Newey could be set to leave Red Bull and might join Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari in the future

Button says that Newey’s departure could “hurt the atmosphere” at Red Bull, but doesn’t expect an instant impact on performance.

“If he’s not happy, it’s a shame because they’re in such a good place in terms of performance at the moment, Red Bull,” Button said. “But for the sport, it’s probably a good thing if we saw him somewhere else, give another team an opportunity.

“The trouble is it takes years to develop a car. It’s not overnight, and also I don’t think he’d be allowed to work with another team for a few years. I read something saying that he would have to be on gardening leave until 2027.

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Sky F1’s Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok discuss the long-term future of Max Verstappen and the possibility of him joining Ferrari at some point in his career

“So it’s not really going to help the team until 2029, I guess, which is a long way down the road. But it obviously hurts Red Bull and it hurts probably the atmosphere in the team a little bit as well, knowing that the major guy in the team who develops this wonderful car they have year on year is not happy and wanting to leave.

“If that is the truth, I don’t know. I’ve not heard it from anyone here, so I can’t say one way or the other, but it’s definitely a big story, the biggest story that Formula 1’s seen for a little while.”

‘Max will finish his career at Red Bull’

Newey’s potential departure is likely to create fresh speculation over Verstappen’s future, with the Dutchman having already been linked with a move to Mercedes.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said he would “love” to sign Verstappen as a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, and as recently as the Chinese Grand Prix admitted he was “waiting” on a decision from the Red Bull driver.

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Jenson Button discusses whether Adrian Newey’s departure from Red Bull might affect Max Verstappen’s future with the team. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now

Button, however, is expecting Verstappen to remain with Red Bull.

“Max isn’t going to leave, he doesn’t need to leave,” Button said.

“He’s in such a strong position right now. I personally feel that Max will see his career out at Red Bull. That’s what I feel. Whether that’s three years, five years, whatever it is, I think he will finish his career at Red Bull.

“It’s exciting for us when a driver says he’s going to leave and he’s already in the best car and he’s a three-time world champion, it’s like, ‘yeah, this is great.’

“But it’s already exciting. These years are years we will talk about for decades of Max Verstappen, the great, and Red Bull.”

Don’t miss an episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. Subscribe now on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Spreaker

Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP schedule

Miami GP schedule

Thursday May 2
6.30pm: Drivers’ press conference

Friday May 3
3pm: F1 Academy Practice 1
5pm: Miami GP Practice One (session starts at 5.30pm)
8.20pm: F1 Academy Practice 2
9pm: Miami GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 9:30pm)

Saturday May 4
3.25pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
4pm: Miami GP Sprint (race starts at 5pm)
6.30pm: Ted’s Sprint Notebook
7.05pm: F1 Academy Race 1
8pm: Miami GP Qualifying build-up*
9pm: Miami GP Qualifying*
11pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up*
9pm: The MIAMI GRAND PRIX*
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction*
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

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