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Max Verstappen

Verstappen will leave Red Bull due to lack of 'fun factor' says Dutch racing driver

Amid rumours circulating that Max Verstappen is set to be offered a contract to driver for Mercedes, racing driver Tom Coronel explains on the RacingNews365 podcast what considerations the three-time F1 drivers' champion must weigh up when deciding whether to cut his Red Bull contract short.

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To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen is cantering towards his fourth successive F1 drivers' title, albeit early in the season, but despite the success enjoyed by the all-conquering combination of the Dutchman and Red Bull, rumours linking him away from the team endure.

The persistent speculation has reached a new level amid reports suggesting Mercedes will offer him a €150 million per season contract, with talks expected to begin between the parties at the Miami Grand Prix.

However, the 58-time grand prix winner is under contract at Red Bull until the end of 2028, so will Verstappen push to get out of his deal early?

On the RacingNews365 weekly podcast, host Joris Mosterdijk, racing driver Tom Coronel and F1 expert Ruud Dimmers discussed the latest speculation linking Verstappen to Mercedes, as well as reports that Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey is also looking to leave the team.

On Newey: 'Go do nice things with your life'

Coronel begins by addressing the Newey situation, laying out some of the facts.

"For now, Red Bull still has the fastest car," he highlights.

"Verstappen is working with Pierre Wache, which is the man he is currently focusing on. That's not Newey at all anymore."

The Dutch racing driver draws upon his experience, saying: "When I was at Red Bull, I saw that there was a whole different click with Pierre and they were constantly talking."

The Dakar veteran believes it is time for Newey to move on. However, he does not believe another F1 team should be his next destination.

"Thank you! You're 65 too, go do nice things with your life," he says of the legendary F1 designer, before adding: "You'll have the 100 million, and then what? You've worked until you're 70... he doesn't care about the dough at all anymore, he really doesn't care about that last hundred."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

On Verstappen: 'The fun factor is gone'

Dimmers agrees with Coronel's outlook, before steering the conversation onto Verstappen.

"The Verstappen situation, of course, remains in limbo," he contends.

"The rumours are there that around Miami, he [Max Verstappen] together with Jos [Verstappen] and Raymond [Vermeulen, Max's manager] are going to talk to Mercedes.

"Then they are going to chat about what is possible. And that's not just about money," he adds, whilst highlighting the disparity in performance between Mercedes and Red Bull, singling out Lewis Hamilton's P18 qualifying performance at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Coronel, however, is convinced that Verstappen will leave Red Bull before the end of his contract. If not in 2025, then in 2026, given recent rumours about the team's self-made power unit for introduction of the 2026 engine regulations.

"There are rumours that the power unit is severely behind, that they can't get any power out of it, and that they [Red Bull] just aren't going to get it done," he comments.

In extension of that, Coronel thinks Verstappen will be offered an ambassadorial contract at Mercedes, similar to that of Hamilton.

"Then he becomes an ambassador of the brand, which is something different from being an ambassador of a can manufacturer," he remarks, in reference to Red Bull being the largest energy drinks company in the world.

"Also, take a moment to think about the future. It just adds up. He's going to take that world title in the next two years, and in 2026, he's just sitting in that silver thing. I can hardly imagine it being any different.

"I see the fun factor is a little bit gone. I see Max just doing his thing. He's just not enjoying himself there at Red Bull anymore. You can just tell that from everything, and that's the only thing I look at."

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