Christian Horner speaks out on ‘formidable’ Adrian Newey split and addresses Red Bull concerns

Thomas Maher
Christian Horner and Adrian Newey, Red Bull, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Christian Horner has paid tribute to the departing Adrian Newey.

Christian Horner has paid tribute to the departing Adrian Newey, and said he suspects the designer is off to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Earlier this week, Newey and Red Bull confirmed they will part ways after the first quarter of 2025, with the chief technical officer’s future plans unconfirmed.

Christian Horner: I’ll miss the camaraderie with Adrian Newey

Speaking for the first time since Newey’s sensational confirmation, team boss Christian Horner said he suspects Newey is simply eying up a break from F1 as all sorts of rumours circulate about him possibly joining Ferrari or Aston Martin.

Newey had been considering leaving Red Bull over a year ago, but was convinced into signing a new long-term deal that would take him through to the end of 2025 – he will now leave before the end of this contract following a negotiation with Red Bull.

“I think Adrian has had such a wonderful career,” Horner told Sky F1 in Miami.

“He’s been hard at it the last 30 years… seven years with Williams, he’s done seven years with McLaren and then he’s done the best part of 20 years with ourselves.

“I think, just speaking with him, he’s reached the point where the team’s in great, great shape, we’re performing at such a high level, he feels that now’s the right time for him to step away, take a bit of time out.

“He’s still going to be working on his RB17, the track car that we’re designing, but he felt that now’s the time to take a break.”

Newey’s departure will be a blow for Red Bull at a time when their attention turns to developing a car for the new regulations in 2026 – the chassis and power unit rulebooks will be completely revolutionary for the next rules cycle.

As for what Red Bull will be missing, Horner said Newey was always good for pushing to the very limits of the regulations.

“Adrian is a formidable engineer. He’s always scratching for that last bit of performance, his challenges – he pushes the boundaries,” he said.

“But, most of all, I’ll miss the camaraderie. We’ve shared a lot of highs and lows over the last 18 years and he’s been sitting next to me on the pit wall throughout that time.

“There’s been, what, 117 victories and quite a few World Championships along the way. There’s been a few lows! But, you know, I’ll certainly miss the camaraderie.”

Newey’s departure could be seen as a weakening of the might of Red Bull as their period of current dominance continues, but Horner said the process of Newey departing has been considered for some time – Newey himself contributing towards his succession plan.

“Our key pillars are in place for the future, the technical team are all on long-term contracts,” Horner said.

“We’ve been having to think about this moment for some time.

“This was always going to come at some point, I think the structure that we’ve got in place, which Adrian has helped contribute to morph and mould into the package that it now is, is well set to take up the baton and continue to produce fantastic cars, like we have.”

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With the rumours of where Newey might pop up next, given he’s understood to have met with Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur in London earlier this week, Horner said he doubts the designer is in any rush to sign up with a rival team.

“I think he’s going to take some time out first and think about… he’s 65 years of age,” he said.

“I think he’s earned that right to have a bit of timeout and spend some time with his wife and family. That’s what he’s what he’s very keen to do.

“Then, if he decides that he wants to have another run at Formula 1, you know, who knows?

“The ironic thing is Adrian’s always hated every single regulation change! 2026 is a unique one because it’s both chassis and engine regs. But it’s a very different world these days with a cost cap and the restrictions that we have on resources.”

Speculation over recent months had suggested that Newey’s departure could be linked to the turmoil within the team following an internal investigation by Red Bull GmbH into Horner’s behaviour as team boss.

With the employee at the centre of the investigation suspended by Red Bull, Newey was purported to have been annoyed by the off-track dramas surrounding the team – a situation PlanetF1.com understands to be inaccurate.

Horner said the tensions within the team had “absolutely not” got anything to do with Newey’s decision, pointing to the fact it’s been a long time coming.

“There was discussion pretty much 12 months ago, that it might have been the time for Adrian to look at stepping back,” he said.

“So I know it’s been on his mind for some time.

“It’s been something that we’ve been having to plan for, and what better time to go than with the run of form that we’ve had over the last couple of seasons with the way that the team is performing.

“So he’s stepping aside, not leaving the company, but stepping aside from Formula 1, when we’re at right at the top of our game.

“We’ll be very sad to see him go. He’s been an immense part of our team over the last pretty much two decades.

“But it’ll be with sadness that we see him depart, but, also everything, the show goes on.”

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