The ‘sadness’ of ‘pin sharp’ Adrian Newey’s Red Bull departure revealed

Thomas Maher
Adrian Newey, Red Bull, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Adrian Newey will depart Red Bull by the middle of 2025.

Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan has opened up on the “sadness” he feels at the departure of Adrian Newey.

Newey has stepped back from his F1 duties with Red Bull ahead of his full departure from the Milton Keynes-based team by the middle of 2025.

Paul Monaghan: Adrian Newey still ‘pin-sharp’

Newey is currently working out his period of gardening leave, in which he’ll work for the next year concentrating on the RB17 hypercar currently in development by Red Bull Technologies.

The chief technical officer, who has overseen the designs of all of Red Bull’s F1 machinery since 2007, has stated he plans on taking a step back from Formula 1 in order to take a breather from motorsport after almost 40 years working at the top level across F1 and IndyCar.

While a sabbatical or outright retirement may be on the cards, Newey has been strongly linked with a move to join Ferrari ahead of 2026’s significant regulation changes, having never worked with F1’s most iconic team.

While the split of Newey and Red Bull has been one of publicly amicable admiration between the two sides, Red Bull is confident the succession plan of top-level engineers already in place – aided by Newey himself – won’t result in a dip of competitiveness.

Technical director Pierre Wache, head of aerodynamics Enrico Balbo, and chief engineer Ben Waterhouse have all recently re-signed contracts with Red Bull, while sporting director Paul Monaghan is expected to re-commit his immediate future to the team.

Chief engineer Paul Monaghan has spoken out on the potential impact Newey’s departure may have on the team, labelling it “a loss” for Milton Keynes.

“If he wants to stop, I have full respect and say, ‘OK, it’s entirely his choice’,” Monaghan told GPBlog’s Tim Kraaij.

“On a personal basis, I will miss his input and the humbling explanations when I haven’t understood something. He then embellishes you on how it’s supposed to work and what we’re supposed to do. It’s just different, isn’t it?

“But times change and he’s made his own decision. I’m a bit sad because it’s a loss to the team, and he’s contributed so much to it that I think it’s just a shame.”

Opening up on the news of the 65-year-old’s decision, Monaghan paid tribute to the contributions made by Newey over the past two decades.

“I suppose my overwhelming reaction to Adrian’s leaving is one of sadness,” he said.

“He contributed so much to the growth and the evolution of the team and drove us towards the first championships – 2010, ’11, ’12, and ’13, with such vigour and commitment. It was always quite eye-opening when he got those little opportunities to see what he wanted to achieve and his thoughts.

“They were equally wonderful lessons, and I hope I was humble enough to learn from them. He’s a pretty switched-on chap. The track record rather speaks for itself as we evolved through the first years of the hybrid [era] and then obviously picking up the Honda engine.

“Then again you see different cars with a different set of rules in 2022. He was never, whatever anybody says, cut off from the process. He was still pin sharp for me and quite insightful.”

More on the latest Red Bull F1 news

👉 What happened to Max Verstappen? Imola troubles explained after Friday horror show

👉 FIA reveal extensive list of big Red Bull and Ferrari upgrades at Imola

While Newey’s focus on the F1 side of the business reportedly dwindled over the last few months as his role evolved into one of a broader overview, Monaghan was able to point to a past example of where this particular skillset proved invaluable in helping the team unlock more performance.

“Yes, there were plenty of them,” he said when asked about the lessons he’s learned from Newey over the years.

“Quite often, it is rather humbling for me [laughs]. We had a bit of trouble with the consistency of the steering in the car. We couldn’t understand it. And so there’s some circumstantial evidence as to what was going on.

“You can talk to him a bit. Then we slowly evolved to think, OK, now we’re beginning to grasp something. Now we’re evolving. Now we’re learning.

“It was a collaborative process. His openness to ideas, thoughts, and considerations was always brilliant. It didn’t matter where the idea came from.

After some thoughts, inquiries, and a few questions, if he thought it was a good idea, we would proceed with it at whatever pace we had to go, whatever size of the change might be. If he thought it was a stupid idea, I generally found out fairly quickly.”

Read Next: The McLaren and Ferrari data that shows Red Bull have work to do