Kurt Verlin
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Adrian Newey to Leave Red Bull Racing

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Adrian Newey and Christian Horner at 2023 Catalonia F1 Test
Photo: Morio via CC

Adrian Newey, the most successful Formula 1 car designer of all time, and the man behind all of Red Bull Racing’s 13 championship victories, is set to leave the team with which he has spent half of his 36-year career.

Newey’s contract with Red Bull Racing is good till the end of 2025 and is believed to include a non-compete clause that would prevent him from working with another team until 2027. However, his lawyers are working on “securing an early exit” so that he could start work at another team just in time for the new 2026 regulations, according to the BBC.

Related: What is happening at Red Bull Racing?

Newey, though 65, is one of the most coveted designers in the sport. While rival teams Mercedes and McLaren have stated a lack of interest in poaching him from Red Bull, Aston Martin Racing and Ferrari are known to have made offers.

In his 2017 memoir, How to Build a Car, Newey detailed how he gave up an enormously lucrative Ferrari contract to join Red Bull in 2006, in part because he favored the latter company’s work culture. But after allegations that team principal Christian Horner had sexually harassed an employee, and the fallout that ensued, that favor may have been lost.

Supposedly, Newey was also upset at a late 2023 interview in which Horner seemed to minimize Newey’s role in the team. On X, Newey’s wife Amanda commented on the article in which the interview was featured: “What a load of hogwash.” This seems odd, as Horner still gave Newey plenty of credit, while also highlighting the importance of the team’s other personnel — and Newey himself has repeatedly said his role had evolved to be more hands-off over the years.

Whatever the reasons for Newey’s departure, he is expected to make the announcement prior to the Miami Grand Prix this upcoming weekend, but no sooner than Thursday — out of respect for the 30th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death. Senna died on May 1, 1994, while driving a Williams F1 car designed by Newey.

Newey joining a rival team in 2026 could be a major shakeup for F1. With new regulations on the horizon, he will have the chance of exploiting fresh rules and getting a leg up on the competition, like he has done many times in his career. Newey’s departure will also indirectly benefit Mercedes, as the latter continues to try poaching Max Verstappen from Red Bull.

And if Newey goes to Ferrari, he will have the opportunity of working with Lewis Hamilton, whose own move to Ferrari was historic. It could be the start of a promising era for the Italian Scuderia, which is currently undergoing a renaissance Fred Vasseur’s stewardship. A dream team with a French boss at the helm of Ferrari? Now why does that ring a bell?