F1 design genius Adrian Newey to leave Red Bull in wake of Christian Horner scandal

Adrian Newey helped transform Red Bull into one of F1’s best ever teams (Photo: Getty)

Adrian Newey has announced he is leaving Red Bull after 18 years with the Formula 1 team amid the Christian Horner scandal.

Chief technical officer Newey is largely considered the greatest car designer in the sport’s history and has been pivotal to Red Bull’s success since they entered the sport nearly two decades ago.

However, despite continued dominance this season, the 65-year-old will leave Red Bull at the start of next year having grown discontented with the ongoing power struggle within the team that has escalated as a result of the Horner scandal.

The team principal, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, was under investigation at the start of the year after allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ were made against him by a female employee of the team.

The 50-year-old was cleared but the claimant is appealing that decision, while the saga triggered reports of a civil war between Red Bull’s key personnel, including Horner, Newey, team advisor Helmut Marko, three-time drivers’ champion Max Verstappen and his father Jos.

In a statement, Newey said: ‘Ever since I was a young boy, I wanted to be a designer of fast cars. My dream was to be an engineer in Formula One, and I’ve been lucky enough to make that dream a reality.

‘For almost two decades it has been my great honour to have played a key role in Red Bull Racing’s progress from upstart newcomer to multiple title-winning Team.

Christian Horner says Adrian Newey is his ‘friend’ and a ‘true legend’ of F1 (Photo: Getty)

‘However, I feel now is an opportune moment to hand that baton over to others and to seek new challenges for myself. In the interim, the final stages of development of RB17 are upon us, so for the remainder of my time with the Team my focus will lie there.

‘I would like to thank the many amazing people I have worked with at Red Bull in our journey over the last 18 years for their talent, dedication and hard work. It has been a real privilege, and I am confident that the engineering Team are well prepared for the work going into the final evolution of the car under the four-year period of this regulation set.

‘On a personal note, I would also like to thank the shareholders, the late Dietrich Mateschitz, Mark Mateschitz and Chalerm Yoovidhya for their unwavering support during my time at Red Bull, and Christian, who has not only been my business partner but also a friend of our respective families. Also, thanks to Oliver Mintzlaff for his stewardship and Eddie Jordan, my close friend and manager.’

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Horner said in a statement via Red Bull: ‘All of our greatest moments from the past 20 years have come with Adrian’s hand on the technical tiller.

‘His vision and brilliance have helped us to 13 titles in 20 seasons. His exceptional ability to conceptualise beyond F1 and bring wider inspiration to bear on the design of grand prix cars, his remarkable talent for embracing change and finding the most rewarding areas of the rules to focus on, and his relentless will to win have helped Red Bull Racing to become a greater force than I think even the late Dietrich Mateschitz might have imagined.

‘More than that, the past 19 years with Adrian have been enormous fun. For me, when Adrian joined Red Bull, he was already a superstar designer. Two decades and 13 Championships later he leaves as a true legend. He is also my friend and someone I will be eternally grateful to for everything he brought to our partnership.

‘The legacy he leaves behind will echo through the halls of Milton Keynes and RB17 Track Car will be a fitting testament and legacy to his time with us.’

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was under investigation over allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

Allegations made by female employee of Red Bull concern Horner’s ‘strict and controlling work regime’.

Horner said he ‘fully denies any accusations’, and was reportedly ‘shocked and disturbed’ by the allegations.

50-year-old is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.

Halliwell said to be in ‘floods of tears’ over investigation but will stand by her husband despite warnings of a potential ‘toxic tinge’.

Hearing has been held into the matter, with independent lawyer handing in a 150 page dossier to Red Bull.

Horner was cleared of allegations on eve of new F1 season with Red Bull saying: ‘The investigation is complete and the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal.’

WhatsApp messages and images supposedly between Horner and the complainant were leaked to the media and F1 personnel – Metro have seen the material but cannot comment on what they detail.

Horner has met with F1’s CEO and the FIA president following the leaked messages, which have left Halliwell ‘stunned and humiliated’.

Jos Verstappen, father of Red Bull driver and F1 champion Max, has called for Horner to be sacked, saying team would ‘explode’ if he stayed.

Jos had a ‘blazing row’ with Horner at the Bahrain Grand Prix and his comments have fuelled speculation that Max could leave Red Bull.

Tensions are said to be very high at Red Bull between Horner, the owners, the Verstappen and key personnel , but Horner insists the whole team are united and focused solely on racing.

The female employee has been suspended on full pay by Red Bull and reports suggest she will appeal the outcome of the investigation.

Newey’s contract with Red Bull was due to expire at the end of 2025.

He joined the team in 2006 and has so far helped them win seven drivers’ titles and six constructors’ titles, with a further 12 titles won during previous spells with Williams and McLaren.

His departure will be devastating for the reigning champions and may even make Verstappen question is future with the team he has driven for nearly his entire career.

Red Bull’s loss is a gain for the rest of the grid and especially for Ferrari and Aston Martin who are desperate to sign the designer.

Newey has previously expressed regret at having never worked for Ferrari and with Sir Lewis Hamilton, who is moving to the Scuderia next year.

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