Christian Horner sets record straight on Adrian Newey relationship after ‘falling out’ claim

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of a grinning Christian Horner with an inset of Adrian Newey

Does Christian Horner find himself captaining a sinking ship after Adrian Newey announced his departure from Red Bull?

Christian Horner has insisted that he “continues to enjoy a great relationship” with Adrian Newey after claims that a “falling out” played a part in the F1 design guru’s decision to leave Red Bull.

Red Bull announced last week that Newey will leave the team in early F1 2025, having played an instrumental role in the team’s success with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen since arriving from McLaren in 2006.

Christian Horner responds to Adrian Newey tension rumours

The confirmation of Newey’s departure comes after a rocky start to the year for Red Bull, who despite remaining dominant on track have been battling various off-track dramas – including an investigation into Horner’s conduct, which was dismissed in February.

Following the news of Newey’s exit, Sky F1 reporter Craig Slater claimed “a falling out” with Horner had influenced his decision to leave with the pair growing distant over the last 12 months.

Slater’s claim arrived after Newey’s wife appeared to take exception to Horner’s remarks last winter that Newey’s importance to Red Bull had diminished, taking to Twitter to described the long-serving team principal’s comments as “a load of hogwash.”

Behind the scenes at Red Bull Racing with PlanetF1.com

👉 Inside Red Bull: Christian Horner and the other major players in Red Bull’s hierarchy

👉 Life after Adrian Newey: Meet the man set to take over Red Bull’s technical programme

Speaking to media at last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, however, Horner was adamant that he and Newey remain on good terms.

And he revealed that Red Bull have been taking steps to prepare for the design guru’s departure since 2014, when Newey came close to joining Ferrari.

Asked if he is confident that the reasons behind Newey’s departure are not related to the controversy surrounding the team boss, Horner said: “I’ve spoken to Adrian at length about that and Adrian’s position is very clear.

“We have enjoyed a great relationship, and we continue to enjoy a great relationship. We are friends as well as work colleagues and he’s done a huge amount for this team.

“We’ll be sad to see him leave, but he’s left the team in good shape and we’ve got a great team of people and strength and depth to take us forward.

“If you speak with Adrian and look at the statements that he’s put out, Adrian’s decided that the timing for him is now – after pretty much 35 years [in F1], with the team and the strength and the engineering depth that we have – to step away.

“We knew that time was coming and we’ve built a structure in place to be able to pick up the baton and carry on with it. That’s something that’s been put in place over the last five or six years.

“I think that we’re well positioned for the future in the technical team that we have.

“We always knew this day was coming and it’s something that from 2014, when Adrian came very close to leaving, that structure was assembled.”

Horner has taken satisfaction from the fact that Red Bull managed to hang on to Newey for far longer than his previous F1 employers Williams and McLaren.

He added: “Unfortunately, nothing is forever.

“Adrian was at Williams for seven years, he was at McLaren for seven years and we managed to have him for 18 years, so I think we’ve enjoyed some great moments on and off track.

“It’s been a wonderful journey with Adrian. He’s a friend, he’s the godfather to my children and we remain friends.”

Newey is rumoured to have received contract offers from Aston Martin and Ferrari prior to his decision to leave Red Bull, with reports in Italy claiming he met Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur in London before travelling to Miami.

A move to Maranello would see Newey form an F1 superteam with Lewis Hamilton, who announced in February that he will join Ferrari on a multi-year contract fro F1 2025, and team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Speaking to Sky F1 in Florida, however, the 65-year-old insisted he has “no plan” as it stands – but did not rule out a return to F1 at some stage.

He said: “I think Mandy, my wife, and the dogs, we’ll probably go travelling, we’ll probably get a motorhome or something, go down through France and just enjoy life.

“And then maybe at some point, I’ll be standing in the shower and say: ‘Right, this is going to be the next adventure.’

“But right now, there is no plan.”

Read next: Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp and Facebook channels for all the F1 breaking news!