Christian Horner reveals how Adrian Newey’s Red Bull influence has evolved

Thomas Maher
Adrian Newey and Christian Horner pictured on the pitwall at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Adrian Newey's role at Red Bull has evolved through the years, as Christian Horner has explained.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has outlined how Adrian Newey’s influence at Red Bull has changed over recent years.

Newey, currently Red Bull’s chief technical officer, has been with the Milton Keynes-based squad since their formative years in the mid-2000s, and has been a talismanic figure in their transformation to one of the sport’s most dominant forces.

Coming off the back of a second consecutive clean sweep of titles, making it six Constructors’ Championships in under 20 years of participation, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner explained how Newey’s role within the team has evolved.

Christian Horner: Adrian Newey ‘can’t be everywhere’

With Newey overseeing other projects outside of F1, such as the Red Bull hypercar RB17 which sees the company’s engineering prowess put on full display, as well as the America’s Cup and, recently, the reveal that Newey is even involved in the creation of a Red Bull-backed submarine which was commissioned by the company’s late founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

The time dedicated specifically to F1, by Newey’s calculations, is about 50 percent, but he’s far more involved now than he was during Red Bull’s years of treading water in the early stages of the hybrid era.

With Renault uncompetitive and, under CEO Carlos Ghosn, unwilling to try harder, Red Bull’s cars were hamstrung by poor engines – leading to Newey losing interest. With Pierre Waché moving to the role of technical director of the F1 team in 2018, Newey’s broader position as chief technical officer means he is able to dip in and out of his various projects as necessary.

“It’s the perfect scenario, really, where we’ve built a machine that isn’t dependent on one individual but which enables Adrian to feed in and out, to mentor, to challenge ideas and so on,” Christian Horner explained in an interview with UK publication The Telegraph.

“I suppose it’s evolved over the last four or five years as Adrian has become involved in other projects. He can’t be everywhere.”

Horner pointed to how the introduction of the budget cap, coming into effect for 2021, also had an effect on how Newey could be deployed.

“Back in 2013, he was drawing a large percentage of the aerodynamic surfaces of the car and sort of engineering at weekends and so on,” he said.

“But in a cost cap world, especially with where the regulations have gone, Adrian is able to do less anyway on the drawing board. Obviously, he’s still crucial at the concept stage.

“But, as he’s taken on a broader role, the rest of the group has had to evolve and develop. Particularly after Adrian’s [cycling] accident in 2021, the guys really had to step up with the design of RB18.

“Pierre did a great job in doing that. On a day-to-day basis, that is Pierre’s responsibility now, his accountability. The relationship between the two of them is strong. Honestly, I think it’s the strongest engineering team we’ve ever had.” recommends

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Has retirement crossed Adrian Newey’s mind yet?

Newey, who turns 65 on the 26th of December, shows no signs of wanting to step aside from F1 just yet, and Horner believes that’s partly due to the lack of singular focus on F1.

“Adrian is 65 now,” Horner explained.

“He’s fit and healthy and motivated. And I think by relieving him of the pressure and accountability of Formula One, he is really enjoying it. And that machine, with Pierre and the guys, is running well.”

Newey himself says he feels able to continue at the cutting edge of the sport, at least for now.

“I think when I was in my early 50s, I thought that, by 60, I would go lie on a beach…” he said.

“But the reality is I’d get bored. I know I would.

“If I feel in myself and or if other people say to me ‘Look, your contribution isn’t useful anymore’ then I’ve got to take that on board because the last thing I want to do is to let the team down. But as long as I feel I’m able to contribute…hopefully I’m still contributing now.”

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