Adrian Newey future: Christian Horner delivers bad news to F1 rivals

Michelle Foster
Adrian Newey and Christian Horner in front of the Red Bull gantry. Bahrain March 2023

Adrian Newey and team boss Christian Horner in front of the Red Bull gantry. Bahrain March 2023

Christian Horner has issued a hands off warning to Red Bull’s rivals when it comes to Adrian Newey, the team boss adamant he’ll be a Red Bull man for “many years to come”.

Signed as Red Bull’s lead designer back in 2005, Newey has played an integral role in all six of Red Bull’s championship winning cars with his latest creations, the RB18 and 19, said to be the most dominant car ever seen – at least according to Lewis Hamilton.

Billed as “the man who can see air”, Formula 1’s move from over-car airflow to ground effect aerodynamics has set Newey’s cars apart from the chasing pack.

But with his Red Bull contract up for renewal, it has pundits speculating as to whether Newey could be plying his trade elsewhere come 2024.

Speaking after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill told F1 Nation: “I can’t help ignoring this thing he did in Bahrain, where he stood in front of the Mercedes on the grid, with his clipboard, and stood there for a long time looking at their front wings.

“Anybody who knows Adrian will know ‘wait a minute, he’s already got the most dominant car in F1, why’s he looking at the Mercedes’ front wings?’

“Was he really looking at the front wings? Or was he just standing in front of a Mercedes saying: ‘I’m interested’. Is that what he was really saying?”

Horner says that’s not happening, the Red Bull team boss adamant Newey’s “heart” is with Red Bull and that it’s only a matter of time before he signs a new contract. recommends

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“His heart is still very much in Formula 1 and his commitment to the team is, it’s not something…” Horner told Sky Sports News.

“We don’t talk about contracts or longevity of contracts, but he’ll be here for many years to come.

“There’s always going to be rumours in this paddock, that’s Formula 1.”

He added: “He’s such an important part of our team and popular part of our team.

“It’s great to have him with us for the long term, but also to be involved in some of the things we’re now getting involved in.”

‘He’s the only bloke that can see air’

As 2022 heralded the arrival of ground effect aerodynamic cars and the porpoising that goes hand-in-hand, Red Bull’s RB18 stood apart as the one car with hardly any bouncing. And that’s because of Newey.

Having worked with ground effect aerodynamic cars back in the 1970s, the Briton’s experience with the phenomenon that is porpoising gave Red Bull an advantage over the rest of the field.

It’s one they’ve carried into this year’s championship with the RB19 and it means they’re able to run the car closer to the ground than their rivals.

F1 technical director Pat Symonds says he knew at last year’s pre-season that Red Bull had nailed the new regulations, saying when he “got to the Red Bull floor, and I saw it on a structural level, they are on top of this.”

Newey has been applauded for that, Horner saying of his design guru: “He’s the only bloke that can see air!

“He lives in the matrix. He’s been the conductor of the technical orchestra for all these years now. He’s still very hands on, he’s still at his drawing board. I think it’s probably the only drawing board in Formula 1.”