Red Bull Boss’ Inappropriate Behavior Could Send F1’s Best Designer To A Rival Team [Updated]

Christian Horner (left) and Adrian Newey (right) with Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell in the background between them. - Photo: Eric Alonso (Getty Images)
Christian Horner (left) and Adrian Newey (right) with Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell in the background between them. - Photo: Eric Alonso (Getty Images)

Adrian Newey is one of the most iconic Formula 1 designers of all time, and his genius has been on full display at Red Bull Racing for almost 20 years — but according to longtime BBC reporter Andrew Benson, he’s on his way out. According to sources familiar with the matter, Newey cited Christian Horner’s behavior following allegations of his mistreatment of a female employee as a primary cause for the departure.

Update May 1, 2024 at 9:52 a.m. ET: Red Bull Racing has confirmed that Adrian Newey will leave the team after the first quarter of 2025. Newey will remain on hand to design Red Bull’s upcoming hypercar and will attend select races in 2024. His plans after that are still unclear.

Right now, reporters like Benson who are deeply familiar with the situation suggest that Newey’s next move could be to a team like Ferrari. Many drivers, engineers, and designers hope to end up at the Scuderia at some point during their careers thanks to the team’s incredible longevity in F1, but there’s an added twist: Seven-time Formula 1 Champion Lewis Hamilton is also set to move to Ferrari in 2025.

Let’s back things up a little. Back in February, Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner was investigated for allegations of inappropriate and controlling behavior toward a female employee. While that fact alone could be enough to encourage anyone to question their involvement with the team, the chaos that followed has apparently been the key factor in forcing out folks like Newey.

According to, the relationship between Newey and Horner broke down “in the wake of the power struggle that took place earlier in the year following the allegations made against him by a female employee.” It is unclear what exactly is meant by “power struggle,” but it appears that the Horner investigation created a ripple effect that exacerbated lingering issues with key personnel in the team. Horner and Helmut Marko, the director of Red Bull’s F1 program, have been publicly butting heads about everything from the departure of driver Sergio Perez to his possible replacement by Carlos Sainz Jr. Star driver Max Verstappen is said to be investigating other options for 2025, while his father Jos Verstappen has publicly called for Horner’s firing.

As far as Newey’s potential departure goes, I’ll quote BBC’s Andrew Benson in full:

He has been made offers by Ferrari and Aston Martin. I’m told by sources close to him that he is seriously considering Ferrari but is not interested in going to Aston Martin.

But I would not rule out someone else coming in for him. Not every team could afford him. But McLaren and Mercedes certainly could - and going there would be less disruptive domestically to Newey, even if it would not have the same romantic draw as Ferrari.

Further, reports that Newey has felt for a while that Christian Horner has intentionally minimized the importance of the designer, starting last year. Red Bull Racing underwent a significant reorganization, where Newey was moved from the role of technical team leader in favor of Pierre Wache, with Horner stating that the team “is doing a wonderful job so they are not dependent on Adrian.” Newey’s wife Amanda called that statement “a load of hogwash” on social media.

Adrian Newey’s departure from Red Bull Racing would be a significant blow to the team, point blank. Should Newey move to a rival and design a car that could unseat Red Bull’s current machinery, that would be even worse for Red Bull. Should driver Max Verstappen also leave, well... Christian Horner better be ready to prove that he’s as important to the team as he proposes to be.

It sounds as if Newey could publicly announce his departure in the buildup to or aftermath of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix; we’ll update this story as we learn more.

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