How fraught 2021 season played a part in Adrian Newey’s decision to leave F1

Thomas Maher
Adrian Newey with his notebook on the grid.

Adrian Newey with notebook in-hand.

Adrian Newey has opened up on his decision to leave Red Bull, having confirmed his departure coming into the Miami GP weekend.

The chief technical officer of Red Bull, Adrian Newey, will leave the team after the first quarter of 2025, after almost two decades working at Milton Keynes and aiding in their transformation from a midfield team into a dominant force.

Adrian Newey opens up on Red Bull quit decision

Leaving Red Bull behind, Newey is yet to confirm what he has in mind for his future as rumours swirl that he could be set to join Ferrari.

But the British engineer said he’s had a blast of a time working with Red Bull and said it had been quite a “career risk” when he left McLaren to join the former Jaguar squad in 2006.

“It’s been 18 years, it’s been an amazing ride, starting at Red Bull from a very young team, the ashes of Jaguar, and being involved with Christian in building up to…” he told Sky F1.

“Honestly, when I joined, I had no idea where we were going to end up. It was quite a big career risk for me. It’s just been an amazing ride since and it’s been a tremendous honour working with all the amazing guys and girls at the factory. The race team, it’s just been fabulous.

Asked why, at this point in time in the early stages of what appears to be another dominant year for Red Bull, he’s chosen to make his intentions clear almost a year before his confirmed departure, Newey pointed to a particularly fraught time period in which he had been stretched to his limits.

2021 marked the final year of the old regulations, as well as the development window for the revolutionary 2022 regulations – resulting in Newey having to concentrate on the ongoing development of the RB16B right until the end of the championship, while also honing the new ground-effect RB18 machine.

“Formula 1 is all-consuming,” he said.

“I’ve been at it for a long time now. 2021 was a really busy year because of the tight battle with Mercedes through the championship and, at the same time, putting all the research and development into the RB18, which is the father of this generation of cars.

“I don’t know. There comes a point, I think, where I just felt, as Forrest Gump said, ‘I’m feeling a little bit tired’.”

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As for how long Newey has been considering making the decision to walk away from Red Bull and, for now, F1, Newey said the nagging feeling in his mind had taken over during the winter break.

“A little while now if I’m honest, over the winter a little bit,” he said.

“As events have unfolded this year, I thought I’m in a very lucky position where I don’t need to work to live. I work because I enjoy it. I just felt that now’s a good time to step back and take a bit of a break, take stock of life, and go travelling.”

With the possibility of a switch to Ferrari understood to be a possibility after meeting with Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur while en route to the Miami Grand Prix, Newey confirmed he has no plans as of yet.

“I think, with Amanda, my wife and the dogs – we’ll probably go travelling in the motorhome or something and go down through France and just enjoy life,” he said.

“Then maybe, at some point, I don’t know when, I’ll be standing in the shower and I’ll go ‘Right, this is going to be the next adventure’ but, right now, there is no plan.”

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