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Horner addresses Verstappen contract claim after confirmation of Newey's Red Bull exit

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 23: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Christian Horner has played down any concerns that Max Verstappen could leave Red Bull following news of Adrian Newey’s impending exit, with the team boss denying that the world champion has a clause in his contract linked to Newey.

It was announced in the days prior to the Miami Grand Prix that Newey will depart the Milton Keynes-based outfit in the first quarter of 2025, bringing an end to a partnership of nearly 20 years between the legendary designer and the team.

READ MORE: Our writers share their views on where they’d love to see Adrian Newey next after his Red Bull departure

During that time, cars designed by Newey have collected six constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles, with three of the latter belonging to Verstappen.

When asked during the weekend in Miami whether Newey’s exit had made him question his own future at Red Bull, Verstappen denied that this was the case. Horner has since backed this and insisted that the Dutchman is content with his current situation.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Oracle Red Bull Racing talks

Newey will leave his role at Red Bull in the first quarter of 2025

Quizzed during an interview with Sky Sports F1 on rumblings that Verstappen could leave, Horner responded: “You report those rumblings every week but he’s still here. Look, Max is very happy in the team, he’s got a wonderful group of engineers around him, he’s got a great car, he’s in the best car on the grid, he’s driving in the form of his life.

“It’s not about contracts, it’s about being content, and I think that’s the same for any driver. He has that, he has that dynamic around him, and I think what you’re seeing with him is a driver that’s revelling in that environment.”

READ MORE: ‘A huge loss for Red Bull’ – Team bosses give their take on Newey’s exit and whether they hope to sign the designer

Pushed further on whether Verstappen – who has a deal to race with the team through to the end of 2028 – might have an exit clause in his contract involving Newey, Horner said: “No. I mean Max’s contract is obviously always going to remain confidential, but there’s no clauses with Adrian that link Adrian in any way to Max.

“They’ve enjoyed a good relationship over the years, as have our previous drivers, but Max as well understands that there’s been a planning process to this and it’s not just a knee-jerk [reaction], so the structure will not change with Adrian stepping back.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Sprint winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing

Horner says that Verstappen – who has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2028 – is content at the team

While Newey will be departing his role as the squad’s Chief Technical Officer, Red Bull also have the likes of Technical Director Pierre Wache, Head of Aerodynamics Enrico Balbo and Head of Performance Engineering Ben Waterhouse in their technical team.

Horner has stated that the structure will “stay the same” amid Newey’s exit, explaining: “Adrian’s role was unique. Adrian is unique. He drew on a drawing board and the way he operated was totally unique. He didn’t have anybody report to him, he was a free spirit within the organisation.

READ MORE: Newey opens up on when he first thought about leaving Red Bull as he admits to feeling ‘a little bit tired’

“The organisation stays exactly as it is, we’ve got strength and stability and strength in depth, and we’re grateful for the time and the shape that he’s left the technical team in.”

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