More Red Bull departures predicted with Adrian Newey set for crunch talks on F1 future

Thomas Maher
Adrian Newey, pictured 2023.

Red Bull's Adrian Newey looks on.

One of the very first F1 drivers Adrian Newey worked with during his career believes a departure from Red Bull would result in an exodus of talent.

With speculation emerging during last week that Adrian Newey is set to leave Red Bull – whether for retirement or a competitor – Ivan Capelli believes if it does happen, Red Bull will suffer from a mass exodus of engineering talent.

Ivan Capelli: Nothing has been resolved at Red Bull

Speaking to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Capelli – who worked with Newey at Leyton House between 1988 and ’90 as the designer swapped from IndyCar to F1 – said that he only sees Newey leaving if he feels fully up to the challenge of hitting the ground running somewhere else.

“At 65 years old, going away is a major challenge in which you put everything back on the line,” Capelli said.

“And, by the way, it occurs to me that by logic he will not leave alone, an engineer of that calibre takes his loyalists with him, since in a new structure he will have to be immediately operational and active. That is, if it happens at all.”

If Newey does choose to leave Red Bull, PlanetF1.com understands it could be 2027 before he could begin working with a rival team – this is due to his existing contract to the end of 2025, as well as a year’s gardening leave.

According to Capelli, he believes Red Bull is a “simmering” powder keg following the internal investigation into team boss Christian Horner, which was later dismissed by Red Bull GmbH.

“They threw some ashes on the fire, but it keeps burning,” Capelli said.

“Even in China, after Verstappen’s last win they showed Christian Horner and Helmut Marko close together under the podium applauding. All facade, nothing has been quelled or resolved.”

Newey has been linked with a potential move to Ferrari, a team for which he’s never worked for in the past. Capelli believes Newey’s experience would stand Ferrari in good stead if he does make a switch.

“He is the man who encompasses 40 years of experience, who even in the last rule change was able to interpret the rules immediately, finding solutions to what for others instead became an Achilles heel, such as porpoising,” he said.

“Because he had experienced these situations 35 years ago with ground-effect cars. It is a wealth of experience, wisdom, and, beyond his personal dystonia, organisation of work that borders on perfection.

“What sets Adrian apart from everyone is his ability to evaluate his own work in a very aseptic way. Last year he won 21 out of 22 races and said, well, this car has no more development and it’s going to be remade. And from a conceptual point of view he made a completely new single-seater: let’s draw a line, blank sheet, and start again.”

With Newey having never worked for an F1 team based outside the UK, Capelli believes the cheque book will have to be opened very wide to attract him away from his home.

“As far as I can tell of his thinking, he is unlikely to come to Italy unless there is a financial proposal that would put anyone to shame,” he said.

“By habit, by conceptuality of work and mental organisation, and the way he is used to it, I see him still very much rooted in England.”

Put to him that it would be Ferrari that would need to change its approach in order to accommodate Newey and his talents, Capelli re-iterated his stance that him leaving Red Bull would result in other senior engineers leaving with him.

“For me, he would come with his lieutenants. And there would be a further revolution that might not give an immediate result,” he said, before saying it would make most sense for 2026 with the change in technical regulations.

“If we set everything to 2026, it fits,” he said.

“In 2025 he is not directly involved except for some details.”

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Is Adrian Newey actually leaving Red Bull?

While some reports have stated with certainty that Newey is set to leave Red Bull and has already indicated this desire to the management of the F1 team, PlanetF1.com understands there has been no formal tendering of resignation or official communication intended to signal his departure.

Newey is yet to comment publicly on the speculation, while Red Bull’s official stance has been to say that Newey remains under contract until the end of 2025 and they are “unaware” he is joining any other team.

The 65-year-old is understood to be engaging Red Bull in talks over his future following the publishing of the speculative reports of his resignation, in order to establish what comes next.

Separate from his F1 duties, Newey’s brainchild RB17 hypercar will mark Red Bull’s first foray into becoming a car manufacturer in its own right, with the machine set to begin production in 2025.

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