Adrian Newey, F1’s serial title-winning designer, decides to leave Red Bull after nearly two decades

Design genius Adrian Newey has overseen all of Red Bull’s title-winning cars – including the one that is currently dominating Formula 1; Newey joined the Milton Keynes-based team from McLaren in 2006 and has turned down Ferrari offers in the past despite repeated links to Italy

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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.

Legendary designer Adrian Newey has decided he wants to leave Red Bull.

First reported by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday, Sky Sports understands from senior figures within the sport that Newey has informally communicated to fellow senior Red Bull colleagues his wish to cut his near two-decade ties at F1’s world champion team.

“It’s a fluid situation but there is definitely substance to the notion that Adrian Newey has decided he wants to leave Red Bull and he has turned his thoughts, in effect, away from the team,” said Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater.

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“That’s what several senior figures close to Newey have been telling me. He has communicated informally with some senior Red Bull figures that he would like to leave the team.”

Senior sources at Red Bull say the team has received no formal resignation from Newey, who holds the role of chief technical officer at the Milton Keynes-based outfit, and that they still believe there is still room for dialogue with the 65-year-old.

Red Bull said in a statement: “Adrian is contracted until at least the end of 2025 and we are unaware of him joining any other team.”

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Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater reveals Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey could be set to leave the team over the alleged ‘power struggle’ within the team.

Newey is understood to have extended his contract to the end of 2025 last May.

Newey has worked at Red Bull since 2006 and been a central figure in their subsequent rise to become an F1 superpower, leading the design of the cars that have taken the team to all 13 of their world titles.

Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive drivers’ titles at the team in 2010-2013, with Max Verstappen taking the last three and currently dominating the early stages of the new 2024 season with Newey’s latest creation.

His recent designs have absolutely dominated the sport since the current ground-effect regulations were introduced in 2022, with Red Bull winning 25 of the last 27 races.

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Red Bull’s chief technology officer Adrian Newey describes the car as an ‘extreme version’ of what they had in 2022.

‘Red Bull’s apparent power struggle has been destabilising’

The bombshell news about Newey, which would send shockwaves around F1 should his exit ultimately materialise, comes amid 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 team principal Christian 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.

“I think perhaps [this Newey news] is more to do with the power struggle that has been the background to the Horner situation,” added Slater.

Image: Newey in discussion with Horner, the pair who have spearheaded Red Bull's success in F1

“It has been destabilising. It will have been a factor I think in making him question to what extent his future lies with the team.”

Newey is one of the most revered and successful figures in Formula 1’s history and had previously designed multiple title-winning cars for McLaren and Williams before being convinced by Horner to join a then-fledgling Red Bull team in 2006.

“I have been reporting for the last few months that the key relationship at Red Bull between Newey and Horner has cooled,” added Slater.

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The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew and The Times’ Charlotte Duncker talk about how Adrian Newey’s departure affects Red Bull’s future prospects.

“There has been more of a distance between them over these last months than there has been previously and that has had to do with some of the friction going on behind the scenes at Red Bull.

“The perceived power struggle there and also with the fact that Newey on occasion, given certain comments that have been made, has had his role within the team and his influence on designing these championship-winning cars perhaps rather undervalued with some of the comments that have come out from Red Bull.”

What is Newey’s contractual situation and could he join Hamilton at Ferrari?

“He is contracted at Red Bull Racing until the end of 2025,” reported Slater.

“As I understand it, he would have to serve another year of gardening leave were Red Bull to hold him to the full extent of his contract – which would mean he would not be able to work for another Formula 1 team until 2027.

“Red Bull, as I understand it, are also unaware of any formal approach from another Formula 1 team to Newey. The one or two individuals I have spoken to who are close to Newey have said that if he is seriously considering leaving, he has not made up his mind about what direction his future career should take.”

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Max Verstappen discusses the importance of Adrian Newey at Red Bull and praises the chief technical officer for what he brings to the team but says he prefers to drive older generation cars.

Newey has long been linked with a switch to Ferrari, having confirmed in the past he had turned down three lucrative offers from the Italian marque, with speculation around such a tie-up only heightening since they signed Lewis Hamilton for 2025.

“One or two other significant figures have explained to me that they do believe that Newey’s wish would be, if he is to work for another F1 team, that would be with Ferrari,” Slater added.

Recent reports also suggested that highly-ambitious Aston Martin were making a play for the Englishman’s services in their own quest to get to the front of the grid over future seasons.

Newey’s current role at Red Bull had been expanded in recent years to include projects with the Milton Keynes outfit outside of F1, including the creation of their first hypercar, the RB17.

Red Bull had repeatedly said in recent weeks that Newey remained committed to the team.

What would be the impact of Newey’s departure?

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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.

Sky Sports F1’s Bernie Collins:

“There are a lot of other designers working in the background, but this team is built around Adrian.

“He’s grown the team, he’s built the structure, and the bigger power struggle is worrying as well.

“This would mean that Adrian will not be there for the change in regulations for 2026 and that will have massive repercussions for the performance of this car.

“Red Bull has been standout strongest for aerodynamics the last few years, and even previous to that when they weren’t winning.”

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