Concerns rise for Red Bull’s F1 2026 plans as Adrian Newey rumours swirl

Henry Valantine
Adrian Newey in the Red Bull garage.

Adrian Newey has often been the subject of interest from Ferrari.

Sky F1’s Bernie Collins explained that, should Adrian Newey depart Red Bull, there would be “massive repercussions” to the team’s plans for F1’s huge regulation changes for 2026.

Newey has been widely reported to be considering his future at Red Bull after 18 years with the team, with their chief technology officer having been at the helm of the designs for all 13 of their Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles since they entered Formula 1.

Adrian Newey departure would have ‘massive repercussions’ for Red Bull

With the reports coming from multiple prominent sources, Red Bull responded by reiterating Newey’s contractual status with the team and said they did not know of any contracts being signed elsewhere on the grid.

“Adrian is contracted until at least the end of 2025,” a Red Bull spokesperson told PlanetF1.com.

“We are unaware of him joining any other team.”

But should he decide to depart a team with which he has enjoyed so much success, former Aston Martin and McLaren strategist Collins explained that the ramifications for the car would not necessarily be immediate, but given the huge change of regulations on the horizon, she predicts a “massive knock-on effect” for Red Bull.

Speaking of the possibility of Newey leaving, she told Sky Sports News: “It’s big news and it’s been bubbling for a little while, there’s been a lot of discussion about Adrian’s contract where he’s going to go, is it Aston? Is it Ferrari?

“It’s big, big news for any team because within a team, you have these leaders regardless of how much they actually do – which I think is what Christian [Horner] is trying to be saying, ‘you know, there’s a lot of other designers working in the background.’

“But this team is built around Adrian, he’s grown the team, he’s built the structure, and the bigger power struggle is worrying as well.

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“This will mean that Adrian will not be there for the change of regulations in 2026 and that will have massive repercussions to the performance of this car.

“Red Bull has been standout strongest in aerodynamics for the last few years and even previous to that even when they weren’t winning.

“This will have a massive knock-on effect to their championship chances going forward.”

Collins added that, at the time of recording, no announcement had been made regarding Newey’s future at the team, but there would also be implications for Max Verstappen given he has driven Newey-led designs to all three of his World Championships so far.

Alongside that, having a totemic figure such as him leaving would also be a “crucial” piece of the puzzle to depart, despite the swathes of talent Red Bull have within the team.

“We don’t know that the ball’s fully rolled all the way yet because this is a sign of a bigger power struggle,” she added.

“So, is Max happy as well? You know, there’s been a lot of discussion around that. That’s possibly a bigger question, but Max and a lot of drivers have won because of the car, because the car is strong, you need both of the combination.

“This will potentially not impact next year, even if Adrian is on gardening leave then, but in 2026 with the new regs, if he is not working on that car and there is this internal power struggle within the team that is working on that car, despite how many great aerodynamics engineers that you have, you need the team working together and you need that leadership.

“So this is really crucial for their 2026 chances.”

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