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Adrian Newey

Why there is doubt in what Newey says on his F1 future

Adrian Newey indicated several times in Miami that he did not yet know what his future would look like and whether he would remain active in Formula 1, so why is he essentially already on gardening leave now?

Newey Miami
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull recently announced that Adrian Newey will be leaving the team in early 2025. F1's top designer has admitted to feeling tired, and behind the scenes, is also reportedly unhappy with the internal rumblings at the team.

Newey resigned his Formula 1 activities effective immediately and is now working on the RB17 - Red Bull's hypercar, which is due to be unveiled at Goodwood Festival in July. He will also attend select races this season to support the team's trackside activities.

"Formula 1 is all consuming," Newey recently told Sky Sports F1 about his reasons for leaving Red Bull. 

"I've been at it for a long time now. 2021 was a really busy year because of the tight battle with Mercedes through the championship, and at the same time, putting all the research and development into the [RB]18, which is the father of this generation of cars. There comes a point I think - I just felt, as Forrest Gump said: 'I'm feeling a little bit tired.'"

When asked how long he had been mulling the decision over for, he replied: "A little while now, if I'm honest. I guess over the winter a little bit, and then, as events have unfolded this year, I thought - I'm in the very lucky position where I don't need to work to live. I work because I enjoy it, and as I say, now's a good time to step back and take a bit of a break and take stock of life."

Though one might question those statements, up front, surely Newey would not lie, but he is being persistently linked with a move to Ferrari, and perhaps even Aston Martin. If so, his current situation helps in completing a switch quickly...

Gardening leave

As things stand, Newey is currently already on a disguised gardening leave. He will remain with the team until early 2025, but once he leaves, he can immediately join a rival at that point. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner stated in Miami that Newey was no longer in important briefings and has no access to sensitive data.

Had Red Bull held him to his contract, Newey likely would not have been able to join another team until 2027. His Red Bull contract ran through 2025 and normally gardening leave - usually away from the team - would see him unable to go elsewhere until later in 2026, or perhaps even 2027, given his status in F1.

This time, that is not the case. Of course, you can see that as a token of appreciation from Red Bull, especially since Newey has meant so much to the team and they owe him a lot, but it just fuels rumours that he wants to join another team soon. 

In 2026, the regulations will go through a major overhaul, so the Briton has the flexibility to potentially influence designs for that new era if he joins a team in early 2025. If, as he says, he really wanted to have a break, he could have accepted normal terms of departure and joined a new team for 2027. 

For now, it is still guesswork whether Newey will really remain active in Formula 1 and whether there was a clear reason behind his Red Bull exit being constructed in the way it has. 

The rumours surrounding a move to Ferrari persist, especially since Newey previously indicated that he would have liked to work at the Scuderia, as well as with Lewis Hamilton. In 2025, he has the unique opportunity to combine those two desires. Or, as he suggests, will he go for a rest after all?

What do you think Newey will do? Let us know by voting below in the latest RacingNews365 poll. 

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