Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Newey free to join F1 rival in 2025, Red Bull warned of “unmitigated disaster”

Adrian Newey’s agreed departure from Red Bull leaves him free to join a rival Formula 1 team next year, despite warnings of it being an “unmitigated disaster” for the squad.

Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing

Red Bull announced on Wednesday morning that Newey would be leaving the world champion outfit early next year after deciding that he no longer wished to remain a part of the team.

He will continue working for the Milton Keynes-based operation until the early part of 2025, which will involve finishing his RB17 hypercar, and will in the meantime attend specific races to work trackside – including this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

However, it is understood that he will no longer play an active role in technical developments at the team and will not be involved in meetings on future car progress.

While Newey originally had a contract that ran until the end of 2025, and had a further non-compete clause that could have sidelined him for another 12 months, his legal representatives have agreed with Red Bull to an earlier parting of ways.

Red Bull has announced that Newey’s contract will end in the first quarter of next year, with it understood that from March he will in theory be free to join a rival outfit.

Other teams have inevitably been interested in luring Newey on board, with Aston Martin and Ferrari both known to have made lucrative offers to secure his services.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

It is understood that Newey has ruled out any interest in going to Aston Martin, but Ferrari does remain an option – with it suggested that team principal Fred Vasseur met privately with the famed F1 designer on Tuesday to try to move things forward.

And while no deal is in place yet, negotiations are likely to continue as Vasseur makes a personal push to try to convince Newey to join him in time for Lewis Hamilton’s arrival at the squad next year.

The timing of Newey’s availability is not perfect in terms of hitting the ground running with the new 2026 car rules, as much of the design concepts will already be in place by the time he can provide his input.

However, it still comes early enough for Newey’s influence to be felt and potentially have an impact in how things shake up for F1’s new rules era.

One of Red Bull’s rivals says it is flabbergasted that the door is open for Newey to be available early enough to help for 2026 – as it could hurt the world champion squad so much in helping one of its main competitors move ahead.

The situation has been likened to how then McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh agreed to let Brawn GP have customer Mercedes engines in 2009.

This decision helped Brawn go on to win the world title and grab the works Mercedes deal from McLaren’s grasp – consigning its rival to years in the wilderness.

A team principal, who did not wish to be identified, said: “It would be an unmitigated disaster for Red Bull if Adrian was let go early to join a competitor.

“Christian would look like a complete fool. Just as Whitmarsh did at McLaren when he handed Brawn the keys to Mercedes, which kickstarted their years of dominance in F1.”

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP BGP001 Mercedes battles with Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24 Mercedes

Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP BGP001 Mercedes battles with Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24 Mercedes

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Red Bull turmoil

Newey’s departure from Red Bull comes off the back of early season turmoil from a power battle for control of the team.

This was originally triggered by a female employee making a complaint about the behaviour of Horner, with the subsequent developments escalating into a civil war involving the Thai and Austrian energy drink's owners, plus other senior figures within the operation.

Horner has tried to keep things under control at the team, but Newey’s exit will do little to calm those who fear that there could be further upheaval in the future.

Rival teams have suggested that there has been an influx of interest for jobs from Red Bull personnel in recent months, while the future of star driver Max Verstappen remains uncertain.

While Horner himself insists that the Dutchman is committed to the squad for the short term, this has not stopped Mercedes doing all it can to try to lure him away.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Verstappen’s father Jos had already warned earlier this year that Red Bull risked exploding if Horner stayed in charge, and the Newey development has done nothing but further embellish his thought.

Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday, Jos Verstappen was quoted as saying: “The team is in danger of falling apart. I was afraid of that earlier this year.

“For internal peace, it is important that key people stay on board. That is not the case now. Newey is leaving and earlier this year it also looked like Helmut [Marko] would be sent away. For the future that is not good."

Factions within Red Bull that have tried to get rid of Horner over recent months may renew their efforts now to see through on their bid in the wake of Newey’s departure, and use it as a warning of the need for change at the top to stop the squad breaking apart.

Additional reporting by Laurens Stade

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Ferrari unveils one-off F1 Miami livery
Next article What drives your dreams? A chance to WIN a Dream Weekend in Monaco

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe