Adrian Newey exit: Why Red Bull legend’s departure is ‘a good thing’ for F1

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Adrian Newey with an inset of Jenson Button alongside him

Jenson Button defeated the might of Red Bull and Adrian Newey to scoop his only F1 title in 2009

Jenson Button, the 2009 World Champion, has hailed Adrian Newey’s Red Bull exit as “probably a good thing” for F1, claiming his departure could create more competition at the front.

Newey’s shock departure from Red Bull was confirmed on Wednesday morning in the UK, with the design legend officially departing in spring next year where he will be free to join another team immediately if he wishes to do so.

Jenson Button hopes Adrian Newey’s Red Bull exit re-energises F1

The departure of Newey, who has designed title-winning cars for the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen over the course of almost two decades at Red Bull, is a massive blow to F1’s reigning Constructors’ Champions.

Button, who saw off the threat of Vettel’s Red Bull to claim his only title triumph 15 years ago, believes it is a “shame” if personal reasons have driven Newey’s decision.

But amid rumours that the 65-year-old has received contract offers from both Aston Martin and Ferrari, the former Honda and McLaren driver feels Newey’s departure could re-energise the sport.

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Appearing on the Sky F1 podcast, he said: “He is the best designer in the world. His mind works in a different way to most of us.

“I’ve not worked with Adrian Newey in Formula 1 but I’ve had to race against his cars for many years and you see the fine detail that they go into with his cars and we were amazed.

“Even in my Championship-winning year with Brawn, we still saw the development of the Red Bull and what Adrian Newey was able to do in such a short space of time.

“Obviously he’s not doing it on his own – you need a great team of people behind the greats – but he’s staggering through the decades of how he’s still kept up to speed and still able to develop amazing F1 cars.

“If he’s not happy, it’s a shame because Red Bull are in such a good place in terms of performance at the moment.

“But for the sport, it’s probably a good thing if we saw him somewhere else and give another team an opportunity.

“The trouble is it takes years to develop a car – it’s not overnight – and also I don’t think he’d be allowed to work with another team for a few years,

“I read somewhere that it was 2027 that he’d be allowed to leave and he’d have gardening leave until then, so he’s not really going to help a team until 2029, I guess, which is a long way down the road.

“But it obviously hurts Red Bull and it probably hurts the atmosphere in the team a little bit as well, knowing that the major guy in the team that develops this wonderful car they have year on year is not happy and wanting to leave – if that is the truth.

“It’s definitely a big story, the biggest story that Formula 1 has seen for a little while.”

Button went on to recall his experience of driving Newey’s classic Jaguar at the Goodwood Revival event, admitting he was impressed by the F1 design guru’s attention to detail.

He explained: “I was lucky enough to drive his Jaguar E-Type at the Goodwood Revival a couple of years ago.

“These are classic cars, it’s not an F1 car, but again the fine detail he went into [was incredible].

“He came in with books of information on the car and all the things he’d finely tuned and all the drawings that he had done of the car.

“He knew every single detail and the car was exceptional. It was two-and-a-half seconds quicker than any other car out there. And this is a classic car, we were very limited in what you can do.

“So it just shows you that whatever he does, he will do his best and he’s not just along for the ride.”

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