Red Bull under attack at Miami GP as F1 rivals launch upgrades and Newey drops bombshell


Major upgrade packages; a new open seat at Haas; Red Bull's Newey news; and Ferrari's one-off livery. Here's what to watch out for at the 2024 F1 Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull Miami GP 2023

Can anyone catch Red Bull on the streets of Miami?

Red Bull

Formula 1 racing on the Floridian coast has never brought much intriguing action since the series first descended on the streets of Miami in 2022. But with the city’s International Autodrome street circuit set to host the sprint race format for the first time, could this tight and twisty course finally provide the wheel-to-wheel action it initially promised?

Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will again expect to be leading the field. The team — well used to unsettling developments this season — is unlikely to be affected by the news that its long-time chief designer and mastermind behind its success, Adrian Newey, will leave the team early next year,

However, a stronger challenge may arise from elsewhere. Ferrari has posed a consistent threat to both of Red Bull’s Miami-based victories in the past two years, while Mercedes and McLaren are set to bring major upgrades this weekend. The margin for error could be tighter than usual for the reigning champions.

Further back, the midfield battle remains hotly contested, with the likes of Sauber, Haas, Williams, Alpine and RB all finding similar levels of performance. Drivers aren’t just fighting for points either. The F1 transfer market for 2025 is in full swing, and all four teams have vacancies. Nico Hülkenberg announced he’d be joining Sauber for 2025. But with Logan Sargeant, Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas all set to be out of contract by the end of the season, can any prove themselves worthy of a continued F1 drive?

Here are the key points to look out for at the Miami GP.


Newey leaves Red Bull…now what? 

Adrian Newey Red Bull 2024 F1 season

Adrian Newey has announced a shock departure from Red Bull. Where to next?

Red Bull

The rumours were confirmed earlier this week: Adrian Newey will be leaving Red Bull early next year; the chief technical officer bringing to an end 19 years at the team, during which it has won 13 F1 world championships. He’ll spend his remaining time focusing on the track-only RB17 hypercar that’s due to be revealed at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed. He has not yet announced his future plans within the world of F1, but has been strongly linked to Ferrari, with the suggestion that he may be able to take up a new position early next year.

Reports have indicated that Newey met with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur on Monday in London, raising the prospect of a dream line-up at Ferrari, with Newey designing the cars, under new 2026 regulations, that could turn Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc into regular race winners and title-contenders.

So over the Miami GP weekend attention will be on Red Bull team principal Christian Horner who is scheduled to speak on Friday in an FIA press conference. Expect plenty of questions about his thoughts of losing Newey to such a close rival.


Can upgrades for McLaren and Mercedes lead to podium contention? 

Lewis Hamilton Lando Norris lead the field in China 2024

Could an upgraded Hamilton and Norris head the field again in Miami?

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Mercedes and McLaren have endured relatively difficult starts to their 2024 F1 campaigns. While the former has failed to score a single podium finish through the first five races for the first time since 2011, the latter has dipped in form following its late surge to the front last year. But both teams are looking for a boost from new upgrades in Miami.

Having captured a sprint race role and second-place GP finish in China, rivals of Lando Norris may be alarmed to hear that his Woking outfit is set to apply an upgrade package to its MCL38. The team have confirmed that it won’t make as big an impact as last year’s “major upgrade” did — which propelled the team from a midfield runner to regular podium contenders — but even a small bump in performance could turn Norris and Oscar Piastri into regular podium contenders.

Similarly, Mercedes is set to bring major changes to its W15 which could unlock the pace George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have been searching for. The seven-time champion has been clearly frustrated behind the wheel so far this season, and has been forced to get experimental with his race set-ups in an effort to close the gap to those ahead.

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“We’ve got upgrade packages coming to the car but also components that we hope will rectify the underlying balance that is causing us difficulty,” technical director James Allison said in Mercedes’ latest debrief video. “Much as it’s painful to talk in this way after a weekend like China, I just have to remember that there’ll be races in the future when we’ve executed those things, when we’re back more on the front foot and when we’re progressing where the pleasure of talking about it will be massive and that day can’t come soon enough.”

The Brackley outfit also plan to be “ambitious” with its set-up during the sprint, in an effort to gain as much momentum from the weekend as possible.

“We head from China, one of the most famously front-limited circuits, to Miami, a track that is more in the rear-limited end of the spectrum and our challenge will be to make sure we don’t try and replay China at a Miami that is a very, very different beast and wants different things from the car than China will,” added Allison.

“We definitely learnt during this weekend [China] that if you’re going to be ambitious, be ambitious in the sprint race and then tune it down for the main race, rather than the opposite way around.”


Ferrari’s new one-off livery headlines host of Miami GP colour changes

Miami Grand Prix Ferrari 2024

Ferrari released new one-off livery for Miami GP


Ferrari will debut a special blue livery for this weekend’s Miami GP, coinciding with the announcement of new sponsor HP and the 70-year anniversary of when the Italian-based manufacturer began importing its cars to the US.

The Scuderia has introduced a splash of blue onto its historically red cars in the past and will pay homage to those designs this weekend, but perhaps not in the way we would have wanted. After announcing that it would reveal a revised colour scheme, several fans came up with their own livery suggestions, depicting the SF-24 in the blue and white colours of the North American Racing Team — last used at the 1964 US and Mexican GPs. However, when revealed earlier this week, the new design was more reserved, consisting of blue wheel rims and a matching stripe atop the usual red livery, as well as a blue rear wing.

It’s something different, but it will surely pale in comparison to what we could have seen hit the streets of Miami…the concept design below being a particularly intriguing one.

Ferrari’s one-off livery will be one of many Miami-themed colour changes over the course of the weekend, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz rumoured to use custom helmets to match the team’s new colours. Images of Daniel Ricciardo’s ‘Pet Detective’ lid have also been leaked, but other one-off helmet designs are currently unconfirmed.

Pirelli will be getting in on the Miami vibe by presenting the top three drivers from Sunday’s Grand Prix with turquoise caps which take inspiration from the waters that border the city’s white sand beaches. According to Pirelli, each cap will also feature a “stylised palm tree, an obvious Miami emblem, as well as the stars and stripes of the United States flag.”

Miami Grand Prix special helmet designs

Sainz (left), Ricciardo (middle) and Leclerc’s (right) unconfirmed helmet designs for Miami GP



Haas’s empty seat 

2024 Australian GP Nico Hulkenberg Haas

Hulk’s on the move. But who will fill his spot?


Last weekend, Nico Hülkenberg announced that he would be parting ways with Haas after the 2024 season and confirmed that he’d be racing with Sauber from 2025 onwards. The decision was hardly a surprise given that the 36-year-old had long been linked with the Hinwil outfit, which is set to be taken over by Audi by 2026.

Hülkenberg’s departure does leave an empty seat behind him at Haas — a spot which could be filled by one of the ten current F1 drivers who are set to be out of contract by the end of the season or by promising younger talent Oliver Bearman.

After completing a dazzling step-in drive for the Scuderia in Saudi Arabia, where he qualified eleventh and finished seventh, Bearman has returned to F2 but has been heralded by many as an F1-ready talent. As a Ferrari junior driver, he is a prime candidate to be promoted into a seat alongside Magnussen, especially since Haas uses Ferrari power units and gearboxes.

But if team principal Ayao Komatsu is seeking more experience from his driver line-up, other realistic options could include Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas — both of whom could see their current seats taken up by the likes of Liam Lawson or Carlos Sainz.