‘Silly season’ sparks with Verstappen and Newey ‘targets’ in huge Aston Martin takeover – report

Michelle Foster
Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates with Adrian Newey at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates with Adrian Newey at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Never before has Formula 1’s silly season involved so many big names with a new report, or rumour, claiming Aramco could purchase the Aston Martin team and then make a play for Max Verstappen and Adrian Newey.

While Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari and Carlos Sainz seeking pastures new are facts, their news – coupled with Red Bull’s drama – has set into play a silly season unlike any other.

Aramco’s blank cheque for Max Verstappen and Adrian Newey

Of late, it is Max Verstappen and Adrian Newey who have found themselves at the centre of it all.

Said to be unhappy with the situation at Red Bull, which has been denied by the team, it’s not the previously mentioned Ferrari who could make a swoop for the key Red Bull players, it’s Aston Martin.

According to Formu1a.uno, having sold a minor stake in the Aston Martin Formula 1 team to US-based Arctos Partner back in November, Lawrence Stroll could be open to selling the entire team – or at least a controlling share.

Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil company who are Aston Martin’s title sponsor, are leading the running.

With that in mind, the report claims that Aramco were busy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as it was the “ideal ground to confidentially approach some very high-profile figures.

“They analysed the feasibility of making certain moves and gave blank checks for future engagements in due course.

“In this context, Red Bull’s heavyweights are in their sights. These include the triple World Champion Max Verstappen and engineering genius Adrian Newey. The fact these two are seen as feasible targets shows how much has changed in recent months.

“Formula 1’s budget cap excludes the salaries of the three most senior figures in the team – and, of course, the drivers as well.”

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As the Red Bull saga rumbles on, billed as a “power war in Milton Keynes”, the team is preparing to cut ties with Honda at the end of the 2025 season with the Japanese engine manufacturer moving over to Aston Martin for the start of a new power unit era. That will coincide with the introduction of new cars.

“This gives them the support of a manufacturer,” claims Formu1a.uno, “a fundamental ingredient for winning in F1. From the perspective of Max Verstappen’s team, the presence of Honda can only be positive.”

With the F1 team valued at a billion and Aramco the largest company in the world by market capitalisation, neither Verstappen nor Newey would want for anything. Salary included.

“If Aramco completes a takeover, Aston Martin and Honda should be considered top contenders to seize every opportunity ahead of 2026,” the report concludes.

Read next: Red Bull latest: Peace talks, Christian Horner support and Verstappen’s secret contract clause