David Coulthard dismisses ‘world-defining’ impact of Adrian Newey Red Bull loss

Henry Valantine
A close-up shot of Adrian Newey smiling with a prominent Red Bull logo alongside him

Adrian Newey has had happy times at Red Bull since joining the team in 2006.

Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard said that Adrian Newey’s departure should be seen as a look back at a “wonderful period of time”, rather than a “world-defining event” in the news cycle.

After lengthy speculation, the announcement came on Wednesday that Newey will leave Red Bull in the first quarter of 2025, stepping back from Formula 1 design duties straight away to finish the Red Bull RB17 hypercar project – which will see him depart the team after 19 years by the time he leaves.

David Coulthard seeing Adrian Newey departure as ‘celebration’ of Red Bull achievements

Coulthard worked closely with Newey throughout his driving career, having teamed up with him at Williams, McLaren and latterly at Red Bull before his retirement.

But with a combined 25 Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles having been won in Newey-led designs throughout history – 13 of which while at Red Bull – concerns have been raised about how much of a loss he will be for the team as their technical figurehead moving forward.

Team principal Christian Horner has been among those to try and highlight the depth of talent within the department, and Coulthard acknowledged that, while Newey’s departure is “big news”, he hopes it can be a cause to look back and celebrate the monumental achievements Newey has helped Red Bull towards in his time with the team.

“What I think is remarkable, actually, like everything nowadays is like breaking news, it’s always sort of released as if it’s a tsunami or something that [is a] world-defining event,” Coulthard said on the Formula For Success podcast.

“Obviously in terms of the sport, it’s big news when anyone decides to move, whether it was Lewis going to Ferrari or whether it’s Adrian allegedly stopping working with Red Bull.

“But I take the view that given that I know that nothing lasts forever, especially in sporting terms, it’s actually been a wonderful period of time.

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“Eighteen years, I think the journey that he’s been on with the team, that’s the majority of his racing design career actually, and definitely more than he’s been with any other team.

“So I see that as a celebration rather than ‘oh my goodness, he’s leaving the home’.

“[Addressing Eddie Jordan] You know, you’ve got four kids, you need your kids to leave home, you need people to move on in life for it to have any sort of evolution.”

On the same podcast, co-host and former team owner Eddie Jordan – who was part of Newey’s talks with Red Bull in his capacity as the chief technology officer’s manager, praised Red Bull’s achievements and the longevity with which key personnel have been kept at the top of the organisation.

In response to Coulthard, he said: “You’re precisely right. I’m staggered that, and it shows the measure of the man and the way maybe Red Bull is run because, for the size of it, and I think it is still a family union, family bond, and that goes to the heart of it.

“You know, the Austrians, for example, with Didi Mateschitz when he was there, he created that atmosphere.

“He was a shy man, but he was very influential in how the team was run, and you [Coulthard] would know that more than most because you drove there.

“They’re not a manufacturer team, they still have different engines, whether it be Honda, which is what they have now, and whatever they’re going to in the future, we hear about Ford, and so that will be their connection.

“So as a full-blown manufacturer, what they’ve achieved in this time has been remarkable.

“And I applaud people like Adrian, like Christian [Horner], and all of those people who are able to go the distance and stay at the distance, because that in itself is a mighty job.

“You cannot expect people at this level of pressure to be able to stay unified together, which the Red Bull people have.”

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