Adrian Newey exit may revive F1 but could destroy Red Bull

Adrian Newey (left, alongside Christian Horner) has been a huge factor for Red Bull (Picture: PA)

Red Bull Racing’s announcement that, after nearly 19 years, their technical supremo Adrian Newey is to leave the team is seismic.

Newey is the most successful car designer in the history of Formula One, and wherever he goes next – assuming he stays in the sport – championships are likely to follow. Even perennial last place qualifier Logan Sargeant could win in a car designed by Newey.

He is far more influential than whoever is sitting between the steering wheel and the engine.

Before we get to where Newey might go, let’s assess what led to this parting of ways. Newey has turned down big-money offers from the likes of Ferrari in the past, preferring to live in the UK.

Having won titles with Williams and McLaren, he led Red Bull’s technical operation to six constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ crowns.

The squad have been unbeaten for the last three seasons, and their chief technical officer signed a new contract last year to take him through to the end of 2025.

But he has decided to bail with claims he is unhappy with the power struggle that appears to be going on between team principal Christian Horner, backed by Red Bull GmbH’s 51 per cent Thai shareholder, and Red Bull’s Austrian HQ, backed by the son of its founder, who owns 49 per cent.

At the heart of this corporate tug-of-war are allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Horner towards a female employee, something he denies and was cleared of by an investigation, although his accuser is currently appealing that decision.

Horner and Newey have been close friends and although both insisted in the wake of the latter’s announcement this was still the case, the relationship between the pair certainly seems to have been strained.

Max Verstappen's dominance could be hit by the exit of Adrian Newey

Max Verstappen’s dominance could be hit by the exit of Adrian Newey (Picture: Getty)

An interview last year, in which Horner suggested Newey was replaceable, did not by all accounts go down at all well.

For now, Red Bull is siding with Horner, even though it may have cost them their technical guru and could lead to the departure of three-time world champion Max Verstappen. Red Bull are dominating the standings but are on the verge of total destruction.

Speaking to a Dutch newspaper this week, the driver’s father Jos added fuel to the fire: ‘The team is in danger of falling apart. I was afraid of that earlier this year. For internal peace, it is important that key people stay on board. That is not the case now. For the future, that is not good.’

Newey is in Miami this weekend. He will remain with Red Bull until ‘the first quarter of 2025’ after which he will be a free agent.

He will be kept away from future F1 car development, focusing his attention on the brand’s hypercar programme.

Ferrari is the obvious destination. Newey is said to take a dim view of Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Aston Martin’s Lawrence Stroll. The latter would write a blank cheque, but that’s not enough to 
sway Newey, who is worth more than £40million.

If the 65-year-old is to remain in Formula One, the only challenge that appeals is the prancing horse, who have not won a title since 2008.

Few would bet against Newey – whose cars have triumphed in more than 200 grands prix – bringing home the pancetta.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff visit the Empire State Building before heading to Miami for the 2024 grand prix

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff visit the Empire State Building before heading to Miami for the 2024 grand prix (Picture: Shutterstock)

With Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel from next year, the most famous marque in racing have momentum on their side, as well as heritage and romance. As a red-blooded petrolhead who collects vintage Ferraris, Newey (pictured) may not need any more convincing than that.

He reportedly met with team principal Fred Vasseur on Tuesday to discuss next steps. While no deal is done, it has been claimed his wife is already scoping out homes in the Maranello area.

It sets us up for a salivating 2025. While this year might be a dead cert for Verstappen and Red Bull, the future of F1 is up in the air.

Newey’s exit may prompt a brain drain from Red Bull, and this will leave Horner dangerously exposed.

Carlos Sainz and and Charles Leclerc flank team principal Frederic Vasseur as Ferrarigoes blue in Miami

Carlos Sainz and and Charles Leclerc flank team principal Frederic Vasseur as Ferrarigoes blue in Miami (Picture: Getty )

Blue is the colour… Ferrari is the name

Ferrari will race with blue wheels and their drivers will wear blue overalls this weekend in Miami, partly because of sponsorship by HP (the computers and printers, not the sauce), but also in a nod to the prancing horse’s earliest days racing in America.

The Ferrari cars have an unfamiliar look in Miami

The Ferrari cars have an unfamiliar look in Miami (Picture: Shutterstock)

The colour harks back to NART – Ferrari’s North American Racing Team – which saw Britain’s John Surtees win in a blue-and-white Ferrari in 1964.

Drivers Alberto Ascari and Clay Regazzoni also chose to race in blue kit rather than red.


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