until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

What should Newey do next after his Red Bull exit? Our verdict

6 min read

The impact of Adrian Newey's exit from Red Bull - a Formula 1 team he helped transform from an outfit rivals were struggling to take seriously into one of the championship's powerhouse operations - is no less seismic now that it's official despite being telegraphed over the past week.

But while news that he will depart, in 2025 upon completion of the RB17 road car project, has now been formally acknowledged, what he does next remains unclear.

There have been suggestions already of the potential moves he could make, but what should Newey do? Here are our writers' verdicts on what they'd like to see F1's foremost design genius do next.

Romantic move also makes a lot of sense

Scott Mitchell-Malm

Whatever Newey does it should be befitting of his status and tap into the best of what he has to offer.

It would be a shame and a waste of a brilliant mind who is still clearly engaged in F1 if he were to take on some kind of totemic role rather than something that REALLY challenged him and had him at the vanguard of technical innovation.

His core input at Red Bull wasn't being a 24/7 man who was at the coalface every day dealing with small aerodynamic ideas. His experience and his skillset makes him uniquely valuable - it's hard to imagine anyone else having the freedom to dip in and out the way he could at Red Bull.

Having that kind of opportunity again would seem to be critical. And stripping away how romantic the idea is, somewhere like Ferrari, which doesn’t have an out and out technical director or chief technical officer, could be pretty perfect - at least at the start of the 2026 rules.

Newey could basically inform the conceptual basis of the 2026 Ferrari, and tackle anything specific he gets excited by. Then leave the busy work to the rest, letting Ferrari's technical ranks layer on performance to the foundation, work out the kinks, and build on that year-on-year.

That's the kind of move that would tick every box imaginable, while also leaving Newey in the clear after making his main contribution - whenever he decides that has ended - to have a fun time developing a Ferrari hypercar or sunning it up in South Africa.

How about a Williams return?

Edd Straw

What better way to close the loop on Newey’s F1 career than to return to Williams and help to steer it back to the glory days that have been conspicuously absent ever since he left?

It might seem like a left-field option, but one of the reasons for Newey’s genius is he thinks outside the box. He isn’t primarily motivated by money or necessarily even the cast-iron guarantee of winning - if either of those were key he would stay at Red Bull - but the challenge to pick up where he left off is something that might grab his attention.

When he left first time around, the main reason was that he didn’t feel it was ‘his’ team, craving being given a stake in the team not for its financial value but to recognise his status as a lynchpin of the organisation. Dorilton Capital would do well to offer what wasn’t forthcoming a quarter of a century ago and tempt him with that symbolic stake and the opportunity to shape the team's future.

Newey could then be integrated in much the same way as he was at Red Bull, not in a full-on 24/7 capacity but breathing the creativity, knowledge and ideas that would accelerate the team’s progression massively. He could also play a key role in the technological development of the team and, given his high-profile, would likely even tempt in new sponsors.

The notion of Newey returning to Williams would be steeped more in romanticism and a sense of personal history than cold, hard logic, and wouldn’t offer the same scope for other projects bigger teams would. But it might just appeal to Newey’s sensibility.

He can manage Ferrari's jigsaw

Gary Anderson

I would stick with my original opinion on this situation. I think the best place would be Ferrari; short-term and long-term it suits the 65-year-old.

With Lewis Hamilton joining Charles Leclerc next year it gives Newey time to get up to speed with how Ferrari operates.

Even though it has everything it needs to be successful in F1 it just needs to know how to build the jigsaw and Newey can provide that for the new regulations that are incoming for 2026.

After that, he could have a highly paid consultancy job with Ferrari's road car division that will see him through his working life. What better way to end such a successful career than creating a Ferrari road car that’s simply better than any other Ferrari road car ever built?

Time for reflection?

Mark Hughes

Newey should do whatever pleases him. He’s earned the right.

If he were to sail his boat around the world he could return just as he’s contractually available, and will have had all that time for reflection.

A new challenge at F1's fallen giant

Josh Suttill

Who wants a serene, romantic end to their career at somewhere like Ferrari, when there could be a much greater challenge in the garage next door?

No team has got this era as right as Newey-assisted Red Bull and no frontrunning team has got as lost as Mercedes has.

It wouldn't need a 24/7 commitment from Newey but a Red Bull-style overseer role at Mercedes would provide a perfect challenge for Newey and would help him slot into that team's existing structure.

Mercedes is as safe a bet to get the 2026 engine formula right as probably any other manufacturer, so he wouldn't need to worry about a repeat of slow and unreliable Renault engines dragging down his early hybrid-era Red Bull cars.

He's turned down Mercedes before, ironically last time because he didn't want to 'trophy hunt' and join at the start of its domination in the mid-2010s.

There would be no danger of that now. Instead it would be a great final test of a distinguished F1 career.

A ridiculous pipe-dream IndyCar return

Jack Benyon

As IndyCar’s correspondent at The Race, it’s hard for me not to feel a strong pull towards an enticing Newey return to IndyCar - even if its spec-chassis formula would be a waste of his talent.

After all, for anyone interested in Newey's rumoured option of heading to Ferrari, it was in the US that he first rejected the notion as the team he was working with in 1984 - Truesports - was secretly helping Ferrari to develop an IndyCar that never raced, and Newey declined to join as technical director of the project, instead staying with March.

He built an incredibly tight bond with Bobby Rahal in this time at Truesports and returned from a short spell in F1 to work with Mario Andretti at Newman Haas in 1988.

See, it's not that ridiculous: IndyCar has lured him from F1 in the past!

While I’d absolutely love to see Newey overseeing a team’s damper development in IndyCar - what a spectacular story that would be - it really would be a waste of his wider talents. And travelling from South Africa to America isn’t exactly a short-haul deal.

But perhaps there is a job in IndyCar for him. While Dallara has done a strong job in the past, who better to trigger IndyCar’s next era by designing its next car?

There’s a clamour for more horsepower and a spectacular new car to refresh a formula that’s 12 years old and will be older by the time the new car comes around in 2027 at the earliest. I’m dreaming, but how great would it be to have Newey design it?

It's how he got his break designing cars in the first place at March.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks