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Formula 1

McLaren F1 boss predicts more Red Bull exits after Newey

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

McLaren CEO Zak Brown took multiple shots at Formula 1 rival Red Bull in the wake of news of its tech guru Adrian Newey's impending departure.

Brown described the news as unsurprising and hinted at the possibility of a wider exodus from F1's dominant team across a pair of rather cavalier answers during the team bosses' press conference at the Miami Grand Prix on Friday.

Newey's exit, the terms of which will allow him to join a rival project should he choose to do so as early as the first quarter of 2025, is widely thought to relate to the recent allegations against Red Bull team principal Christian Horner - who remains in his post after being cleared of wrongdoing by an investigation ordered by the Red Bull team's parent company.

Speaking to Sky Sports during the Miami GP build-up, Horner refuted the suggestion that Newey's exit was related to anything internal at Red Bull.

But Brown's answer about the matter suggested he not only sees a strong link between the Horner situation and Newey's exit, but perceives Red Bull as a "destabilised" team.

"Am I surprised? Six months ago, I would've been surprised," Brown began.

"Given everything that's gone on since the start of the year, and knowing Adrian very well, he's a very high-integrity individual, I am not surprised he is moving on.

"I think the stuff that's going on there is a bit destabilising.

“It was probably the first domino to fall - my guess is, not the last, based on the resumes that are flying around."

Brown was later pressed on the claim that more Red Bull staffers were seemingly on the market - and doubled down.

"Yeah, we've seen an increase in CVs coming in our way, from the team."

The same question was posed to Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack, also in the press conference (alongside Williams's James Vowles and RB's Laurent Mekies) - and Krack refused the suggestion Aston Martin was likewise seeing "an increase in CVs" from those currently at Red Bull.

And Mekies used the opportunity to crack a joke, saying "well, we have to be very careful with CVs coming from Red Bull, otherwise Zak is getting upset!", in a reference (which Brown did seem to enjoy) to the McLaren boss's long-standing and very public concerns over how much cooperation there is between the two Red Bull-owned teams.

Adrian Newey

In terms of the impact the exit of a person of Newey's calibre can have, Brown said: "I think Adrian is the most successful designer of all time, so in addition to the technical [aspect] that he brings to the racing team, people want to work for people like Adrian Newey, and work alongside him.

"So I think they'll be missing what he brings to the team from a pure technical point of view, and then I think the leadership and the excitement people get from working with him will be missed."

And yet, despite all that, Brown didn't make it at all sound like McLaren was in active pursuit of Newey.

"And as far as McLaren's concerned [as a contender to sign Newey], I'm very happy with all the work the men and women at McLaren are doing.

“I think we've started to show since last year, the second half of last year, that they know how to put performance on the car. So I've got all the faith in the world with the team that we have.

"We're on a quest to get back to the front, and I think we have the people, the talent, the equipment, the drivers to get there, so we're just going to stay the course."

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