4 min read

Adrian Newey leaves Red Bull

It has been rumoured for a while, with the recent turmoil in Red Bull surrounding Christian Horner being the backdrop to all this - but Adrian Newey - the most successful ever F1 car designer and a foundational component of Red Bull's success over the last 19 years is leaving in early 2025. He will continue working on the RB17 hypercar project until then, but his F1 responsibilities have ended immediately.

Red Bull confirm designer Adrian Newey exit
Red Bull confirm their design chief Adrian Newey will leave the team in 2025.

Earlier this year, the news of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes for Ferrari was massive - gaining more mainstream news attention. But in the F1 world, this news is up there in terms of significance.

F1 is largely a constructor's championship, as much as fans might try and pretend otherwise, the team and the car are the key component. It takes drivers like Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, Schumacher, etc to take advantage of the superior equipment they're given to dominate in the way they have, but the team and the car are a bigger deciding factor in whether you win championships.

That's why this news is so big. Adrian Newey has built and designed some of the best cars in F1 history and has had more success than any other designer. Red Bull owes a lot of its success to Newey, the drinks company that came into F1 and beat giants such as Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren (not to mention the other car manufacturers that had all the budget and expertise, yet can't hold a candle to RB's success).

But it is important to emphasise: Adrian Newey does not design and build the cars himself, and as he's gotten older, others have been much more involved. That's not to take credit from Newey, he's responsible for the engineering and technology teams at Red Bull.

Off the back of Newey's departure, it's unlikely Red Bull will suddenly fall flat in the areas they're very strong in currently, not this year, not next year, and not even for the new 2026 regulations. If Red Bull retains the leagues of talent they have now outside of Newey, then they're in a strong position to continue to build on their dominant aero and mechanical package. Their only threats are:

  • Losing more key people
  • Red Bull Powertrains develop a substandard PU - this is the first time Red Bull are building their own engine.
    • But they have also acquired many people other teams in this area, including the previous dominant engine manufacturer: Mercedes.

What now?

The question everyone is wondering: What's next for Newey? He's 65 years old, he's spent a lot of time in F1, he's had all the success you could want. Will he retire?

Many fans are hoping to see Newey in a new team to see if he can help bring them to glory. Arguably the most popular hope is that Newey goes to Ferrari, to help return F1's most iconic team to winning championships.

Adrian agreed in the past that he had some regrets about never working for Ferrari, and not getting the chance to work with Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.

He can tick two of those boxes if he leaves for Ferrari. It would make for a great story for Ferrari:

  • Signing the most successful F1 driver of all time: Lewis Hamilton
  • Signing the most successful car designer of all time: Adrian Newey
  • Having one of the most promising drivers in F1 in years: Charles Leclerc
  • A new team principle, well liked and respected: Fred Vasseur

That's ignoring many of the other moves Ferrari have been making over the years in attempt to return to their former glory. They've been making moves, off the track and on - and they do currently look like the team most likely to be able to challenge Red Bull in the coming years.

It's an exciting prospect, but I think we can't rule out the possibility that Newey retires from F1 entirely. There are strong rumours that suggest he may in fact be close to signing with Ferrari, but it's a big change for him - he'd likely have to move to Maranello - would he want that change in his life right now? Maybe, maybe not.

Either way, whilst the action on the track in F1 isn't particularly interesting right now - with the chain reaction that Lewis leaving Mercedes for Ferrari has caused - there's a chance we're in for some more surprises in terms of transfers between teams.

Toto Wolff is making no secret that he wants to sign Max Verstappen, Jos (Max's dad) is publicly sharing concerns about Red Bull and its future, and there are grumblings about Red Bull's PU development not going so well. Mercedes could be making a convincing argument for Max to leave a team that has given him the most dominant run F1 has ever seen.

Exciting stuff all around. We may have to wait until 2026 for any of this to have any real impact, but it's still something to look forward to through the drought of competition at the front F1 is currently struggling with.