Red Bull Racing have ended speculation about Adrian Newey’s future at the team by announcing that the paddock’s most successful designer has agreed a new multi-year deal with the team.
Rumours in recent weeks had linked Newey with a move away from the team, with Ferrari courting his services with a deal believed to be in the region of $20m per year.
However, the designer is set to step back from Formula One operation with a team statement reading that in the future Newey “will work on new Red Bull Technology projects, as well as advising and mentoring Infiniti Red Bull Racing as it develops its Formula One cars over the next few seasons. The details of the new projects will be announced in due course.”
There have been rumours recently that Red Bull plans to build a technology centre close to its Milton Keynes F1 HQ and that Newey will be brought in to oversee a range of ambitious projects from racing machinery to aircraft.
Speaking on the grid in Montreal, Newey said he will be involved in the design of the 2015 Red Bull but then would step back: “I’ve had a great time in Formula One but it’s time to get involved in some other things. I’ll be involved in the layout of next year’s car and then will be mentoring the team after that.”
Asked by BBC Sport about the change of role, Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, said, “I think Adrian has reached a stage where he’s keen to take on some additional challenges as well, so it’s great news for the team, for Red Bull, that we’ve got a multi-year agreement and it’s exciting also for Adrian.
Horner said he would clarify in the next few weeks when Newey will be stepping back from the day-to-day design and management of the technical side of F1 but he was evasive on how succession will work at the team: “We’ve got tremendous strength in depth. It’s not like he’s not going to be about anymore so it’s great for the team, Red Bull and for him.
“[Adrian has] always enjoyed the environment at Red Bull, enjoys working with the people, so it was a pretty straightforward discussion in the end.”
Newey was looking around for his next challenge and Ferrari was one of the possibilities, but it appears that Red Bull has secured his services, which means he isn’t falling into the hands of a rival team.
Even if the team is going to lose his genius at the drawing board in a day to day sense, at least it’s not going to be used as a weapon against them by Ferrari or anyone else.