Adrian Newey reports: A test of Red Bull strength or another show of Aston Martin ambition?

Henry Valantine
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey.

Adrian Newey was the reported subject of an approach from Aston Martin in Jeddah.

After a report emerged on Friday that Adrian Newey had been approached for a supposed big-money move by Aston Martin in Saudi Arabia, a few thoughts sprung to mind.

Not only is Newey’s probably the most sought-after non-driver signature in the sport (and probably coveted above almost all the drivers on the grid, in truth), the timing of such a play – if true – is intriguing.

Adrian Newey report – a test of Red Bull strength?

A report from Autosport on Friday emerged that Lawrence Stroll reportedly tabled a “big-money” bid to try and lure Newey to Aston Martin, ahead of their looming power unit partnership with Honda from 2026 when Red Bull start Red Bull Powertrains in earnest alongside Ford.

Before we go further, we need to state that Aston Martin declined to comment on the contents of the report when approached by PlanetF1.com, and Newey is under contract at Red Bull until at least 2026, having signed a new deal with the team last year – with PlanetF1.com understanding he is “very much committed” to the team.

Other teams making moves for Newey is nothing new, however. After all, heading the design of 12 Constructors’ Championship-winning cars (and powering 13 Drivers’ titles, too) is likely to turn a few heads.

He has spoken before about having turned down Ferrari on multiple separate occasions throughout his career, and other approaches the public know about due to the nature of Formula 1 being as it is, and offers going around to different team personnel all the time.

But should such an offer have been made by Aston Martin, it’s proof of two things, at least from the perspective of Lawrence Stroll.

First, that he is willing to use his rivals’ uncertainty to his advantage – as anyone successful in the ‘Piranha Club’ world of Formula 1 does.

For all the off-track talk that had plagued Red Bull heading into the season, namely the investigation by Red Bull GmbH into Christian Horner that was subsequently dismissed, and Jos Verstappen’s later public criticism of Horner’s position which has suddenly given Toto Wolff the aim of signing their prized driving asset, if the stars align.

And second, Stroll is showing the confidence and ambition to target the strongest and most influential people in the sport to push his team to the front of the grid.

Having already brought former Red Bull head of aerodynamics and long-time Newey colleague Dan Fallows to Silverstone as technical director two years ago, among a host of other hires, Fallows’ signature was just one in a long list of people Aston Martin have brought in as their hiring spree supplemented their expansion into their impressive new factory, along with a new in-house wind tunnel to match.

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Factor that with having had both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso behind the wheel, it cannot be said that Stroll has not been putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to trying to make Aston Martin winners in Formula 1.

It would only be natural, then, to want the most successful designer on the grid as another step on that ladder – and any offer coming Newey’s way from any team will always be a test of his resolve, given what he has helped build at Milton Keynes.

Newey’s loyalty to Red Bull has been impressive in its own way, joining the team in their second year on the grid back in 2006 after another reported ‘big-money’ move from McLaren at the time.

But from the outside at least, what he has had at Red Bull is the opportunity to work with a team and build it from the ground up in his own image – which would be an extremely difficult thing to leave behind, for anyone.

Add into that the quite sensational success he and the team has achieved together from almost the beginning, and that bond grows even stronger.

So if he ever did decide to leave, a different challenge would have to bring with it either something completely fresh, or for Red Bull to have reached an unsustainable place away from the track – which does not appear to be the case as it stands.

There is no sign that his place at Red Bull is set to change, so if any team were to try and lure him away, it would have to take something that could go beyond the 18 years of his and Red Bull’s current working relationship, as well as breaking off the partnership that has created the sport’s current dominant car/driver duo.

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