‘Time to move on?’ – McLaren mind games with Red Bull continue as staff desire questioned

Jamie Woodhouse
Zak Brown and Christian Horner in an FIA press conference with prominent badges of McLaren and Red Bull alongside them.

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has taken aim at Red Bull.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has reiterated his belief that Adrian Newey’s exit will trigger “more dominos to fall” at Red Bull, claiming “people want to work for brands they’re proud of”.

The Red Bull RB17 hypercar will be Newey’s final contribution to the Milton Keynes-based squad, with his shock departure confirmed for after the first quarter of 2025, while his involvement with the Formula 1 team is over.

Zak Brown sees ‘a lot of issues going on’ at Red Bull

While the team has attempted to play down the significance of Newey’s exit, losing the services of a Formula 1 car designer with 25 titles to his name, plus the threat that he could pop up at a rival in the future, is far from a positive development for Red bull, with Brown suspecting that more departures are on the horizon.

“I think there are a lot of issues going on there,” Brown said of Red Bull when speaking to Sky F1.

“I think the least of the issues is probably on track, right? I mean, Max [Verstappen] is unbelievable. It’s an unbelievable team.

“But I think with what’s happened at the start of the year and the constant noise and now Adrian Newey is leaving, I think there’s going to be more dominoes to fall.

“A lot of these sports teams are all about culture and I think they’ve got some issues to work through that can cause some lingering challenges for them. I think we’re starting to see that now.”

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In support of his belief, Brown said there is an “unusual higher level” of CVs landing on his desk, adding that he is “sure” that other Red Bull staff members are questioning their future with the team after this Newey development, claiming “people want to work for brands they’re proud of”.

“We’ve got an awesome team,” said Brown. “There’s always CVs flying around, but we have noticed an unusual higher level.

“And I think when you have someone like Adrian Newey leave, not only do you miss his pen so to speak on the design of the car, people want to work for brands they’re proud of and bosses they want to work alongside and Adrian Newey, so I think with everything that’s going on there, and Adrian Newey leaving, I think for sure that there will be people inside there going, ‘Is it time for me to move on?'”

And if Red Bull personnel are thinking that, then McLaren has established itself as one of the most exciting destinations on the grid, with their driver Lando Norris having made himself an F1 race winner for the first time at the Miami Grand Prix.

Brown says McLaren has proven that Red Bull is “beatable”, with the target now set to pick up further victories before the F1 2024 campaign is over.

Asked if he expects McLaren to fight for more wins this year, Brown replied: “Yeah, I don’t see why we can’t be fighting for wins.

“It’s not going to be easy. Red Bull, I think still has the pace, this one race, and we were really dialed in.

“But the last few races, we’ve been quicker than Ferrari. So we’re close. We’re in the game. I think it shows they’re beatable and we intend to beat them and anyone else for that matter, hopefully, a couple more times this year. I see no reason why not.”

Next up is the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Oscar Piastri is set to also receive the fully upgraded McLaren MCL38 which Norris drove to victory in Miami.

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