Christian Horner rejects claim Red Bull unrest led to Adrian Newey exit

Christian Horner's reaction to Adrian Newey leaving Red Bull in full.

Adrian Newey and Christian Horner in the Miami paddock
Adrian Newey and Christian Horner in the Miami paddock

Christian Horner has revealed that Red Bull have been forced to “plan” for Adrian Newey’s ultimate departure from the F1 team, while dismissing claims unrest within the organisation led to his exit.

Red Bull announced ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix that Newey’s 18-year association with the team will come to an end in the first quarter of 2025.

The statement from the team came after days of reports that Newey was set to bow out of Red Bull.

One theory mooted was that Newey had fallen out with Horner and that the design guru had grown frustrated with the off-track drama associated with Red Bull.

This claim has been rejected by Horner, who made clear that Newey had considered leaving the team 12 months ago, meaning Red Bull have had a contingency plan in place.

Speaking to Sky in Miami, Horner dismissed suggestions that unrest off track led to Newey leaving.

“Absolutely not. This has been coming for some time,”he said. “There was discussion 12 months ago that it might have been the time for Adrian to look at stepping back. I know it’s been on his mind for some time. It’s been something we’ve had to plan for.

“And what better time to go with the run of form we’ve had over the last couple of seasons with the way the team is performing. He’s stepping aside, not leaving the company, from F1, while we’re right at the top of our game.

“It will be very sad to see him go. He’s been an immense part of our team. It will be with sadness that we will see him depart. Also, like everything, the show goes on.”

What will Horner miss about Newey?

Newey’s played an instrumental role in Red Bull’s success over the years.

Red Bull dominated the start of the 2010s with Sebastian Vettel before stealing a march over their rivals in 2022, leading to Max Verstappen’s run of titles.

Horner admitted that he will miss the “camaraderie” with Newey on the pit wall.

“Adrian’s had such a wonderful career,” he added. “He’s been hard at it for the last 30 years. Seven years with Williams, seven years with McLaren and then he’s done the best part of 20 years with us.

“Just speaking with him, he’s reached a point where the team is in great shape. We’re performing at such a high level. He feels that now is the right time 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 feels that now is the time to take a break.”

“He’s a formidable engineer. He’s always scratching for that bit of performance. He challenges. He pushes the boundaries but most of all, I will miss the camaraderie. We’ve shared a lot of highs and lows over the last 18 years. He’s been sitting next to me on the pit wall throughout that time.

“There’s been 117 victories and quite a few world championships. There’s been a few lows. I will certainly miss the camaraderie.”

How will it affect Red Bull?

Horner remains unconcerned that Newey’s exit will result in a mass exodus.

He explained: “Our key pillars are in place for the future. The technical team are all on long term contracts. We’ve been having to think about this moment for some time. It was always going to come at some point.

“I think the structure that we have in place, that Adrian has helped contribute to morph and mould into the package that it now is. It’s well set to take up the batton and continue to produce fantastic cars like we have.”

Horner’s verdict on Newey’s next move

With Newey a free agent from 2025, his future is up in the air.

Newey has been heavily linked with a switch to Ferrari but Aston Martin and Williams remain interested.

“I think he’s going to take some time out first,” Horner commented. “He’s 65 years of age. He’s earned that right to have a bit of time out, spend some time with his wife and family.

“That’s what he’s very keen to do. If he decides that he wants to have another run at Formula 1 who knows. The ironic thing is that Adrian has always hated every single regulation change and 2026 is a unique one because it’s both chassis and engine regs.

“It’s a very different world these days with the cost cap and the restrictions that we have on resources.” 

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