Grapevine: Newey Set to Turn Back on F1

McLaren technical director Adrian Newey looks almost certain to turn his back on Formula One at the start of next year, Autosport-Atlas reveals, after agreeing only a brief extension to his current contract with the team

Grapevine: Newey Set to Turn Back on F1

Newey, regarded as one of the best car designers of modern times, has been at the centre of speculation about his future plans since the middle of last year when speculation linked him with a possible return to Williams.

But insiders have told Autosport-Atlas that Newey has now agreed a six-month contract extension with McLaren, with his original deal due to have run out at the end of July this year.

The contract extension means that he will definitely stay on board for the design of McLaren's MP4-21 before probably handing over responsibility to someone else prior to the start of the 2006 season.

It is not known whether Newey is open to any further offers to stay with McLaren beyond January 2006, but it understood he has ruled out taking on a consultancy role with the team and the short length of the new contract indicates that his mind is made up about walking away from F1 sooner rather than later.

Speaking about his future plans, Newey has made it clear himself that he wants to pursue activities outside of F1 - in particular his participation in historic car rallies.

"I want to have a better quality of life," said Newey. "I want to compete in old-timer events. I want to drive my Ford GT40 and a new two-litre Abarth Spyder which I have just bought and which used to be raced by Arturo Merzario."

Newey has also previously been linked with involvement in yacht design, but this now appears to have been put on the back-burner for his historic car activities.

McLaren were unavailable for comment to confirm Newey's contract extension.

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