The clause allowing Max Verstappen to leave Red Bull immediately

Rumours have suggested Max Verstappen may leave Red Bull due to the ongoing Horner scandal which has engulfed the F1 team


The unfolding drama at Red Bull Racing has reached a critical juncture, with the future of Max Verstappen at the team hanging in the balance amid the internal strife of the Christian Horner scandal, and now information has come to light of a clause in the Dutchman’s contract which would allow him to leave the team immediately. 

Verstappen has a deal with Red Bull until he end of the 2028 F1 season, which would make a move to Mercedes for 2025 a difficult proposition for all… Or so it seemed. Jos Verstappen’s admission that things could explode at Red Bull if Christian Horner stays on as team principal, as well as leaking to friends that Max could also depart the team have caused shockwaves throughout the paddock.

According to, an exit clause in Verstappen‘s contract that could see the Dutchman leave the team immediately, and is tied closely to the presence of Helmut Marko within the Red Bull organisation. 

In short, if Marko goes, then Max Verstappen is free to go as well. 

This clause becomes particularly relevant as the controversy surrounding team principal Horner deepens, with allegations of misconduct creating a rift within the team.

Amidst this turmoil, Verstappen‘s loyalty to Marko and chief designer Adrian Newey was evident during the celebrations at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, juxtaposed against a more reserved interaction with Horner and his wife, Geri Halliwell

Bahrain GP 2024 winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull celebrates | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Bahrain GP 2024 winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull celebrates | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The stance of the Verstappen camp, including Max’s father Jos openly engaging with MercedesToto Wolff, signals a potential shift in alliances within the F1 paddock.

The ongoing support for Horner by the Thai ownership group, against the backdrop of dissent from the team’s Austrian faction and the Verstappen family, suggests an impasse that could lead to significant changes within the team’s hierarchy and driver lineup.

Marko commented on the rumours of a Mercedes move to F1-Insider, stating: “As far as I’m concerned: I won’t stand in Max’s way.”

What next for Max Verstappen?

Sky Sport Germany expert Ralf Schumacher and F1 icon Gerhard Berger have weighed in on the crisis, suggesting that a resolution may require Horner‘s resignation to restore harmony and focus within the team. 

“As things stand now… Horner stays, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey quit and Max goes to Mercedes,” Berger said. 

Yet, with Horner‘s stance seemingly unyielding and Marko‘s loyalty to Red Bull evident, the future remains uncertain.

“Too much has gone wrong on a personal level,” Ralf Schumacher told “You can no longer repair that. It would be best for Red Bull if Horner resigned. But I doubt he will do that.”

As Red Bull contends with this unprecedented internal conflict, the implications for its competitive future and the careers of its key personnel, including Verstappen‘s potential move to Mercedes, will be closely watched by the F1 community.

John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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