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Miami GP: Red Bull Adrian Newey drama set to cause tension as Mercedes, McLaren bring upgrades to Sprint weekend

Miami is back to host its third Grand Prix, but this time it's a Sprint weekend! Watch every session live on Sky Sports F1, with the first competitive action coming in Sprint Qualifying at 9.30pm on Friday; the race itself is at 9pm on Sunday

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A look back some of the funniest celebrity encounters at the Miami Grand Prix.

Ahead of this weekend's Miami Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 analyse the biggest talking points going into sixth round of the 2024 Formula 1 season.

The F1 news cycle appeared to have calmed over recent weeks following a frantic start to the season, but a series of developments since the Chinese Grand Prix have set off more drama.

Reports that legendary designer Adrian Newey has decided to leave Red Bull will undoubtedly create renewed doubt over world championship leader Max Verstappen's future with the team.

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Rapper LL Cool J introduces the starting grid at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix.

Sauber's announcement that they have signed Nico Hulkenberg from Haas for the 2025 season ahead of their transition to becoming Audi in 2026 is likely to stimulate further movement in the driver market.

On the track, Verstappen will be seeking to create more history as he looks to continue his dominant start to the season.

However, the fact that Miami is hosting a Sprint weekend for the first time could create unpredictability and a threat to the Dutchman's streak of pole positions.

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen beat Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to take victory at the first ever Miami Grand Prix in 2022.

Despite their weakest weekend of the season so far in China, Ferrari will be hopeful of bouncing back, but must be careful that a growingly fierce battle on track between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz doesn't reduce their chances.

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Every session is live on Sky Sports F1, with the competitive action getting under way with Sprint Qualifying at 9.30pm on Friday night.

Newey bombshell puts spotlight back on Red Bull

When the most spectacular paddock on the calendar, in the Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium, begins to fill with F1 personnel on Thursday, there is little doubt that Newey's reported desire to leave Red Bull will be at the top of the agenda.

There had been murmurings for a while that the 65-year-old may not be completely happy, but Thursday's reports that he has decided he wants to leave will have sent shockwaves through the sport.

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Sky Sports News' Craig Slater explains that Adrian Newey could be set to leave Red Bull and might join Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari in the future.

On a pure performance basis, F1's best designer leaving a team that is enjoying one of the most dominant spells in the sport's history is promising for those who desire more competitive racing at the front of the grid.

Beyond the sporting impact, the fact that Newey's desire to leave is reported to be directly related to how he feels about Christian Horner is likely to put renewed pressure on the Red Bull team principal.

There has been a period of sustained turbulence at Red Bull following the investigation earlier this year by their Austrian parent company into allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Horner by a female colleague.

The grievance against Horner, who has always denied the claims, was dismissed on February 28. The woman who brought the complaint has since appealed the outcome.

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Ex-Aston Martin strategist Bernie Collins is worried about how Red Bull might perform from 2026 onwards following the news that chief technical officer Adrian Newey has left the team.

Pressure on Horner could be increased by the reaction of Verstappen, who is unlikely to be happy about the prospect of Newey's departure.

Despite Verstappen's contract running until 2028, he is understood to hold exit clauses and Newey's exit will only increase doubt over whether the Dutchman will see out the deal.

Outside of Red Bull, it will also be interesting to see how potential suitors for Newey, such as Ferrari and Aston Martin, will react to the news.

Hulkenberg move to energise driver market?

Another topic of discussion in the paddock will be the driver market, after Hulkenberg's switch from Haas to Sauber altered the landscape.

While the German's move - ahead of Sauber's transition to becoming Audi in 2026 - was widely expected, confirmation of it could trigger a flurry of movement in F1's remarkably fluid 2025 market.

Hulkenberg is the 10th driver to be confirmed for the 2025 grid, which means half of the seats are still to be filled.

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Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft believes that Ferrari's Carlos Sainz will soon be heading to Audi.

At least one of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu won't be driving for Sauber in 2025, which will no doubt intensify their representatives attempts to find options for next year.

Hulkenberg's departure from Haas also opens the door for British teenager Oliver Bearman to make the step up from F2 following his hugely impressive debut for Ferrari when Sainz was unable to race in Saudi Arabia.

While there could be more movement in the seats expected to be towards the rear of the grid, it is Sainz who looks set to dictate much of what may happen at the sharp end.

The Spaniard would appear to have several options after making a strong start to the final season of his stint with Ferrari.

Ferrari duo set to continue battle... in blue

Sainz's impressive form, punctuated by a victory in Australia, has set up an intriguing battle at Ferrari with his team-mate Leclerc under pressure to prove he was the right choice to remain at the team alongside Lewis Hamilton next year.

While the pair were engaged in some thrilling battles on track last season, the fact that Sainz is leaving the team and doesn't need to worry too much about the consequences of his actions means the gloves are off.

Leclerc was upset by the way Sainz defended against him, as he was forced off track by his team-mate during the Sprint in China.

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Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft says he doesn't mind if team-mates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz squabble and admits that Ferrari won't care too much either.

A day later in the race, Leclerc appeared to return the favour as he forced Sainz off at the first corner in an incident which saw both Ferraris lose places.

This time it was Sainz who was unamused, as he appeared to refrain from fully expressing his frustrations in his post-race interview with Sky Sports F1.

While the affable duo, who get on well away from the track, are likely to play down the incidents when they face the media in Miami on Thursday, the contest is worth keeping a close eye once their visors go down on Friday.

Viewers will need to be extra sharp to keep track of the Ferraris, as they run a one-off blue livery to publicise the agreement of a title sponsorship deal with American technology company HP.

Verstappen's chance to surpass Hamilton

Amid the considerable noise around Red Bull, Verstappen is maintaining an incredible level of performance.

The Dutchman's pole in China was his sixth in a row, creating the longest streak of his career. In Miami, he can level the seven successive poles that Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost each managed, and is two short of Ayrton Senna's all-time record.

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Max Verstappen secures another win for Red Bull at the Chinese Grand Prix with Lando Norris and Sergio Perez also finishing on the podium.

He has won four out of five races this season and may well have also triumphed in Australia were it not for a brake issue forcing him out of the contest.

While Verstappen has largely insisted that records aren't of huge importance to him as he attempts to stay in the moment, there is an eye-catching feat he could pull off in Miami.

If he were to claim the 59th win of his F1 career on Sunday, Verstappen would move above Hamilton into fourth on career-win percentage.

The 26-year-old has currently won 30.53 per cent of his races, but that number would increase to 30.89. Hamilton is on 30.56 per cent for his career, but seems highly likely to dip lower, with his wait for a first win since December 2021 set to continue.

Will Mercedes, McLaren upgrades have a major impact?

While victory seems an entirely unrealistic prospect for Hamilton following Mercedes' dismal start to the season, the seven-time world champion's hopes could at least be boosted by the arrival of upgrades for the W15.

Mercedes' only top-five finish at the first five races was delivered by George Russell in Bahrain, while Hamilton has failed to finish higher than ninth since coming seventh at the season-opener.

It's unlikely that these early-season upgrades will make a huge impact, but given the tight margins we've seen between Mercedes and Aston Martin, the Silver Arrows could at least make ground in that battle.

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Sky F1's Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill discuss the problems at Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton's decision to join Ferrari next season.

The other issue for Mercedes is that they won't be the only team bringing upgrades, with McLaren, for one, having also confirmed updates are coming to the MCL38.

McLaren will also not expect enormous gains but having seen Lando Norris claim a brilliant second behind Verstappen in China, will be hopeful of at least slightly closing the gap to Red Bull.

Teams bringing upgrades will face the additional challenge of attempting to find an optimal car setup with the new parts after just 60 minutes of practice, given Miami is hosting a second successive F1 Sprint weekend.

The new Sprint format, which seemed to get the thumbs up from most after its debut in China, will at least allow for teams to alter their setups when the cars are released from parc ferme following Saturday's Sprint, and ahead of full qualifying.

Sky Sports F1's live Miami GP schedule

Thursday May 2
6.30pm: Drivers' press conference

Friday May 3
3pm: F1 Academy Practice 1
5pm: Miami GP Practice One (session starts at 5.30pm)
8.20pm: F1 Academy Practice 2
9pm: Miami GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 9:30pm)

Miami GP schedule

Saturday May 4
3.25pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
4pm: Miami GP Sprint (race starts at 5pm)
6.30pm: Ted's Sprint Notebook
7.05pm: F1 Academy Race 1
8pm: Miami GP Qualifying build-up
9pm: Miami GP Qualifying
11pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction
Midnight: Ted's Notebook

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