The Adrian Newey ‘countdown’ which will give hope to Red Bull’s rivals

Jamie Woodhouse
Adrian Newey in Red Bull garage. Miami, May 2023.

Adrian Newey in the Red Bull garage. Miami, May 2023.

Red Bull’s F1 design guru Adrian Newey does not have a retirement date in mind, but “realistically” knows time is ticking down to it.

Newey’s career in Formula 1 stretches across five different decades, with his Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull stints all producing title-winning success.

And as Max Verstappen took the chequered flag at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, not only did it mark 100 grand prix victories for Red Bull, but remarkably also Newey’s 200th win.

With Newey’s stock arguably now higher than ever as Red Bull continue to dominate this era of ground effect aerodynamics, he remains a piece of that very tricky puzzle for rivals that they cannot dislodge, with Newey having recently signed fresh terms to stay with Red Bull while various other key figures continue to jump ship.

It seems then the only way that Red Bull’s competitors can solve this Newey headache is when he lets them and decides to retire, a decision which he admits he is on the “countdown” to having to make.

Asked by Sky F1 where the Newey journey ends, he replied: “I’m lucky enough to be doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Enjoy the job, loved it.

“Yeah of course my career can’t go on forever, so I think as long as the team wants me and I keep enjoying it then I’ll keep going, but that realistically is on a countdown. Exactly when that day is, I don’t know.”

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But what continues to motivate Adrian Newey?

This was the question that Sky F1 pundit and ex-IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was asking herself, considering the legendary career which Newey already has in the bag, but continues to add to.

She would love to hear from the man himself then why this glittering career is not already enough, and why that fire still burns to remain in Formula 1.

“As he says, he’ll keep going as long as they’ll have him and he’s having fun,” Patrick stated.

“Of course, it’s fun to win, but I’m wondering what is in his brain, like what are the things that he enjoys the most, what really motivates him? Because with that many wins in this many decades in the sport, he could have sailed off into the sunset a long time ago.

“But clearly he loves the sport, but I’d love to hear like those little fine details of what really motivates him.”

Canada 2023 should have been Adrian Newey win 201

Back in 1991 Nigel Mansell was leading the Canadian Grand Prix as he went into the final lap, driving the Newey-designed Williams FW14, but that win evaporated in odd circumstances as Mansell came to a halt at the hairpin.

Rumour had it that Mansell failed to shift gear or accidentally shut the engine down as he waved to the crowd, and Newey made a light-hearted reference to the former.

“It’s really special,” he said of his 200th win. “This would have been my first here in 1991, and then Nigel obviously was doing that and forgot to change down!”

A further Drivers’ title and Constructors’ crown look to be heading to the Newey collection in F1 2023, Red Bull having won all eight races so far as the prospect of Formula 1’s first unbeaten season remains very much on.

Verstappen meanwhile is 69 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ standings.