Confirmed: Adrian Newey Is Leaving Red Bull, with Destination Unknown

by Steven Cole Smith
2 May 2024 2 min read
Confirmed: Adrian Newey Is Leaving Red Bull, with Destination Unknown
(Getty Images)

It’s official: Adrian Newey is leaving the Red Bull Formula 1 team next year to do… what? Now that he has made his departure formal, that’s the big question: Where will the greatest engineering mind in F1 go next?

According to Red Bull, Newey will pack up and go sometime in the first quarter of 2025. Newey is not a job-hopper – he has spent 19 years at Red Bull and has presided over up and downs, with substantially more triumphs than disappointments. Since he joined the team in 2006, Red Bull has won seven F1 Drivers’ and six Constructors’ Championship titles, with 118 race victories and 101 poles. There’s no question Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is a genius behind the wheel, but an unknown percentage of his winning equation is that he is driving an Adrian Newey car.

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2024 F1 Grand Prix of Japan Red Bull celebration
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates with Adrian Newey and teammate Sergio Pérezl after last month’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Until he leaves, Newey, Red Bull says, will focus his attention on the two-seat, 1100-horsepower hybrid RB17 track-only hypercar that Red Bull is developing. Production is expected to begin for 50 well-heeled customers in 2025. Reportedly, the car’s price will be about £5.2 million. “The final stages of development of RB17 are upon us,” Newey said in a statement, “so for the remainder of my time with the team my focus will lie there.”

After that, the motorsports world is Newey’s oyster. Every F1 team on the grid would love to have him, and some heavy hitters have made it known that they’d be willing to pay him big bucks for a contract. At the top of the list is Ferrari, which would be delighted to pair Newey with the newly hired Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time champion hoping to reinvigorate his career.

Not far behind Ferrari in the Newey lottery is Mercedes, which is on its own rebuilding programme after losing Hamilton to Ferrari. And then there’s the perennially rebuilding Aston Martin, helmed by the uber-wealthy Lawrence Stroll, who, like Ferrari, has ostensibly made Newey an offer.

Somewhat less likely is that Newey, 65, would simply hang up his calipers and retire, a suggestion bolstered by the news that he has special-ordered a sumptuous yacht. Or, given the obvious pleasure Newey has taken in designing the world-beating RB17, there’s a chance that he could sign with an automobile manufacturer to build more road-going vehicles. 

Newey and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner will part ways early next year.

If you take one of his departing statements literally – “I feel now is an opportune moment to hand that baton over to others and to seek new challenges for myself,” he said – retirement doesn’t seem to be in the cards quite yet.

The smart money seems to be on Ferrari. Joining them in early to mid-2025 would arguably put him there too late to have much of an impact on the 2026 F1 car, which will be built under a new set of regulations, but he may be there in time to leave some famous Newey fingerprints on the car.

The F1 community waits with bated breath.

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