Report: Red Bull Racing chief designer Adrian Newey to leave Formula 1 team

Adrian Newey is largely responsible for Red Bull’s car dominance since 2022. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Adrian Newey is reportedly set to leave Red Bull Racing.

According to the BBC, the team’s chief technical officer will depart the team “in the wake of the controversy involving allegations about team principal Christian Horner.” Newey, 65, is one of the great car designers in modern Formula 1 history and is largely responsible for how dominant Red Bull’s car has been since the latest F1 rules overhaul in 2022.

Horner was accused of inappropriate behavior by a team employee but the complaint was ultimately dismissed after an independent investigation. The dismissal happened just before the 2024 F1 season began in Bahrain.

“Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial,” a team statement said in February. “The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned.”

There was little transparency regarding the investigation and the accuser was reportedly suspended by Red Bull after the complaint was dismissed. Immediately following the announcement that Horner had been cleared, documents allegedly relating to the allegations had been sent to numerous journalists who cover Formula 1.

Could Newey’s departure shake up Formula 1?

It’s not much of a stretch to wonder if Red Bull’s run of dominance will end with Newey’s departure. After Max Verstappen won the 2021 title in controversial circumstances, he’s become the series’ dominant driver over the past two years thanks to his skill and an incredibly fast Red Bull car.

Verstappen posted the best season in F1 history on the way to his third title in 2023. Verstappen won 19 times in 22 races and had 21 podiums. His worst finish of the season was a fifth in Singapore.

Verstappen has won four of the season’s first five races in 2024 and failed to finish the Australian Grand Prix because of an early mechanical issue.

This current Red Bull car isn’t the first dominant car Newey has designed. Newey was the lead designer for Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel reeled off four straight titles from 2010-13 and he’s also the architect of the Williams car that won five straight constructor’s titles from 1992-97.

According to the BBC, Newey’s contract with Red Bull runs through 2025 but there’s a likelihood he’ll be able to exit his deal early and work with another team for next season. He’ll immediately be coveted throughout the garage and Ferrari has previously been mentioned as a destination if he were to switch teams. Ferrari is adding seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to the team in 2025 and has been the second-fastest car on the grid behind Red Bull since the start of the 2023 season.

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