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Adrian Newey to leave Red Bull - chief technical officer’s F1 career highlights

Adrian Newey is set to leave Red Bull after spending nearly two decades with the team. He has been a key part in helping the Milton Keynes-based squad secure multiple titles including six constructors’ world championships.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Newey renewed his contract with Red Bull last year, but it has been confirmed by the team that he will leave during the first part of 2025. There had been growing speculation about his future in recent weeks, and he is said to be unsettled with the current situation at Red Bull and the allegations surrounding misconduct by team principal Christian Horner - claims that were dismissed after a lengthy internal investigation.  
The team’s chief technical officer was contracted to Red Bull until the end of the 2025 season, but it is understood that he will be free to join a rival team next year. 
It is unknown where Newey could head after leaving Red Bull, with Aston Martin reportedly approaching him with a big-money offer at the Saudi Grand Prix weekend. Ferrari has also been linked with a move for Newey.  
He will now focus on the final developments for Red Bull’s first hypercar – the RB17 – which is set to be revealed at Goodwood in July. 

Who is Adrian Newey? 

Adrian Newey is an F1 engineer and the current chief technical officer at Red Bull Racing. He has held several roles across his 44-year career, including time as a race engineer, aerodynamicist, and car designer.  
Newey was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 December 1958 and attended school alongside former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson. He then attended the University of Southampton, where he graduated in 1980 with a first-class honours degree in aeronautics and astronautics. 
He started his career in motorsport straight after graduating when he was hired by the Fittipaldi F1 team. A year later he joined the team at March, where he worked as a race engineer for Johnny Cecotto in European F2.  
Adrian Newey, Leyton House March designer

Adrian Newey, Leyton House March designer

Photo by: LAT Photographic

Newey’s first car design project was the March sportscar that won the IMSA GTP title for two consecutive years. He then moved to the constructor’s Indycar project in 1984, where he helped with the car design, alongside working as race engineer for Bobby Rahal at Truesports. 
For 1985, Newey designed the March 85C, which won several rounds of the CART World Series for Indycars and carried Al Unser Sr to the title, and Danny Sullivan to victory at the Indianapolis 500. He then decided to move to Kraco Racing in 1986 to work as an engineer on Michael Andretti’s car. The March 86C, which he designed, carried Rahal to the CART and Indy 500 titles. 
Newey was set to return to F1 at the end of 1986 when he was employed by the Haas Lola F1 team, but the squad withdrew at the end of the season. He then returned to the CART championship at the beginning of 1987, joining Newman-Haas Racing to work as Mario Andretti’s race engineer. 

How long has Adrian Newey worked in Formula 1?  

Adrian Newey has had a career in Formula 1 spanning over four decades. After starting out with Fittipaldi Automotive in 1980, he eventually returned to F1 in 1988 when he was rehired by March as chief designer. 
The March 881 was the first F1 car designed by Newey, and surprised many with strong performances in the hands of Ivan Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin. The best result was Capelli’s second place in the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix, with the Italian even challenging the McLaren of leader Alain Prost before backing off to avoid engine issues. 
The team became Leyton House Racing in 1990 and Newey was promoted to technical director. But he was quickly fired that summer, just days before the French Grand Prix. He decided to turn down the offer to become technical director for Arrows, instead choosing to move to Williams as chief designer. 
Newey worked alongside technical chief Patrick Head at Williams between 1991 and 1996. The FW14 of 1991, designed by Newey, proved a match for the previously dominant McLaren, with Nigel Mansell taking it to second in the championship, 24 points behind McLaren’s Ayrton Senna. 
Adrian Newey, Patrick Head and David Coulthard, Williams

Adrian Newey, Patrick Head and David Coulthard, Williams

Photo by: Sutton Images

In 1992, Williams and Mansell dominated the constructors’ and drivers’ championships, with Alain Prost claiming a clear victory the following year with the FW15C. Williams’s performance took a dip in 1994 when the car struggled against Benetton’s B194, designed by Rory Byrne.  
The team faced devastation in 1994 when Senna, who had joined Williams at the start of the year, crashed fatally in the San Marino Grand Prix. Several members of the Williams team, including Newey, were charged with manslaughter. He was acquitted in 1997, an outcome which was upheld following an appeal in 1999. Newey was given full acquittal in 2005 after the Italian Supreme Court had reopened the case two years earlier.  
Williams brought in David Coulthard to alternate with the returning Mansell alongside lead driver Damon Hill. Form improved and Williams claimed its third consecutive constructors’ championship, although Benetton’s Michael Schumacher controversially won the drivers’ crown. 
Newey’s relationship with the team’s management began to disintegrate at the end of 1994, and the following year he was unable to progress to become technical director. After defeat at the hands of Schumacher and Benetton in the 1995 championships, Williams and Hill claimed a constructors’/drivers’ double in 1996, but Newey had already been placed on gardening leave. 
During his six seasons with Williams, Newey’s cars won 59 races and took 78 pole positions, as well as four drivers’ and constructors’ titles.  

When did Adrian Newey join McLaren? 

Adrian Newey joined McLaren in 1997, where he attempted to improve the MP4/12 that was designed by Neil Oatley - alongside working on a new car for 1998. That machine, the MP4/13, carried Mika Hakkinen to his first F1 crown, and won McLaren the constructors’ championship.  
There was another double success for Hakkinen and McLaren in 1999 with the MP4/14, but the MP4/15 was narrowly beaten to both titles in 2000 by Schumacher and the Ferrari F1-2000 designed by Byrne. Newey looked set to leave the team in 2001 when he signed a contract with the Jaguar F1 squad. This was headed by his former CART colleague Rahal, but McLaren boss Ron Dennis convinced Newey to remain with his team. 
Adrian Newey and Ron Dennis on the McLaren pit wall.

Adrian Newey and Ron Dennis on the McLaren pit wall.

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Rumours accelerated around Newey’s desire to leave the team in 2004 but were continuously denied by Dennis. In April 2005, Newey signed an extended contract to the end of the season before announcing that he would remain with the team for 2006. 

When did Adrian Newey join Red Bull Racing?  

Despite stating his commitment to McLaren for the 2006 season, it was announced in November 2005 that Newey would join Red Bull Racing from February, for the team’s second season. Due to his late start with the team, he had minimal influence on the 2006 design, and the team started with disappointing results. 
Red Bull scored just two points in the first six races, but things took a positive turn when Coulthard claimed third place at the Monaco Grand Prix. Coulthard, who had driven Newey’s cars at both Williams and McLaren, was full of praise: "It's just a natural talent. There are always exceptional people in any sport, in any field. And clearly, for more than a decade, Adrian has been the leader in his field.” 
The 2007 RB3 was the first Newey-designed car, and gave Red Bull its highest result in the constructors’ championship: fifth, improving on seventh in the two previous years. Mark Webber scored the team’s best result with third in the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, but the RB3 was unreliable, and both Webber and Coulthard retired seven times each across the 17-race season. The RB4 in 2008 looked very different from its predecessor but conceptually remained much the same. Newey described it as: “an evolution, so it will make it easier for the team this year as they have learned how to work with it." 
The team scored just one podium in 2008, with Coulthard taking third place in the Canadian Grand Prix. Webber scored points in five consecutive races in the first half of the season, but the team scored just five points in the last half of the year. 
Newey described the RB5 of 2009 as “quite an aggressive design”. Sebastian Vettel gave the team its maiden F1 win in the Chinese GP, which was the first of two 1-2 finishes – the other came at Silverstone – in which Vettel led home Webber. The car took six wins and 16 podium places over the 17-event season and gave Vettel and Red Bull the runner-up positions in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.  
The RB6 of 2010 built on the success of its predecessor, with Newey referring to an attempt to “refine and evolve” the RB5. “One obvious difference is that the 2009 car was not designed to suit a double diffuser and we had to try and put one on as best we could around the existing rear suspension and gearbox,” he said. “With this car, we have been able to design that part of the car by scratch.” 
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position and 2023 world drivers champion, in Parc Ferme with Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, his team after the Sprint race

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position and 2023 world drivers champion, in Parc Ferme with Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, his team after the Sprint race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The RB6 proved to be a bigger leap for Red Bull, winning nine races and 20 podiums. The team took its first constructors’ championship, and Vettel the first of four consecutive drivers’ crowns.  
The following year, the RB7 proved to be the most dominant car on the grid, with Vettel winning 11 out of 19 races in 2011 and Webber taking one further victory. Vettel and Red Bull again won the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. 
The RB8 started the 2012 season on a rocky footing, with the first three races won by McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes. Newey said he found the regulation changes “frustrating”, and the cars were impacted by higher chassis and new regulations around the exhausts.  
Newey said: “Regulation restrictions like the lost exhaust are a bit frustrating in truth, because they are exactly that, they are restrictions, they're not giving new opportunities or revenues particularly, they're just closing a door.” But adjustments produced aerodynamic gains that resulted in another Vettel/Red Bull title double.  
After a difficult start in 2013, a mid-season change in tyre spec resulted in the RB9 becoming the most successful car on the grid. Red Bull secured yet another constructors’ title and Vettel won his fourth and final drivers’ championship.  
Red Bull then faced a difficult few years, with the new V6 turbo-hybrid power units introduced in 2014 proving a difficult challenge for engine supplier Renault. In June 2014, Newey extended his deal with a “multi-year contract”, but it was announced that his involvement with the team would be reduced. However, just months after the announcement was made, team principal Christian Horner revealed that Newey would remain as the chief technical officer. 
Over the following years, except for the RB11 in 2015, Red Bull won just a handful of races each season and the team was unable to take any titles until 2021. That year, the team took 11 wins and a further 23 podiums before Max Verstappen claimed the drivers’ championship in a dramatic final race. 
Newey shared that he had spent “arguably longer than we should have done” focusing on the RB16 in 2021, and that they had continued to develop the car over the year in an attempt to win the championship. This gave the team limited time to develop the RB18 for 2022, with Newey saying: “That gave us a lot to do over the winter. What we tried to focus on was getting the fundamentals of the car right as this year’s car, and then hoping that would give us the development potential to kind of refine it.” 
After a close battle with Ferrari during the first half of the year, the RB18 was able to pull ahead and prove its dominance. The team took the drivers’ and the constructors’ championships, the first time the team had won both titles since 2013. 
The RB19 is arguably one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, winning 21 out of the 22 races that took place in 2023. Newey told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast: “This has been our biggest run of success that I’ve certainly ever experienced. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved in cars that have been dominant in the past, but we’ve never had this level of consistency.” 
The RB20 has continued the team’s dominating streak in 2024, with Verstappen winning four out of the five first races. The Australian Grand Prix was won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after Verstappen suffered a brake failure, which resulted in him retiring from the race.  

How many world championships has Adrian Newey won?  

Adrian Newey is one of the most successful engineers in Formula 1 history, with multiple championship titles to his name. His cars have won 12 constructors’ championships: five with Williams (1992-94 and 1996-97); one with McLaren (1998); and six at Red Bull (2010-13 and 2022-23). 
Newey-designed cars have also produced 13 drivers’ championship titles across his career: Nigel Mansell (1992); Alain Prost (1993); Damon Hill (1996); Jacques Villeneuve (1997); Mika Hakkinen (1998-99); Sebastian Vettel (2010-13); and Max Verstappen (2021-23).  
Here are all the titles won by Newey-designed cars: 
Season 
Constructors’ Champion 
Drivers’ Champion 
Car 
1992 
Williams 
Nigel Mansell 
FW14B 
1993 
Williams 
Alain Prost 
FW15C 
1994 
Williams 
NOT WON 
FW16 
1996 
Williams 
Damon Hill 
FW18 
1997 
Williams 
Jacques Villeneuve 
FW19 
1998 
McLaren 
Mika Hakkinen 
MP4/13 
1999 
NOT WON 
Mika Hakkinen 
MP4/14 
2010 
Red Bull Racing 
Sebastian Vettel 
RB6 
2011 
Red Bull Racing  
Sebastian Vettel 
RB7 
2012  
Red Bull Racing 
Sebastian Vettel 
RB8 
2013 
Red Bull Racing  
Sebastian Vettel 
RB9 
2021 
NOT WON 
Max Verstappen 
RB16B 
2022 
Red Bull Racing  
Max Verstappen 
RB18 
2023 
Red Bull Racing 
Max Verstappen  
RB19 

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