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Has Adrian Newey given us a glimpse into his future plans?

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Welcome to FanAmp's new series: Word on the Track! The Formula 1 rumor mill is always spinning, so Terry Widdows from F1 Coffee Corner is here to shine a light on the facts, figures, and break down the real stories behind the headlines.

F1 Coffee Corner has the inside scoop on Adrian Newey's possible next moves upon leaving Red Bull Racing after 19 years with the team. Will he work for Ferrari? Will he work for Williams? Will he leave the sport for a completely new adventure? 

What are the facts?

  1. It has been a couple of weeks since we heard the bombshell news that Adrian Newey after 19 years with Redbull is set to depart the MIlton Keynes based team in the 1st quarter of 2025
  2. He will, in fact, finish out the 2024 season at Red Bull, but will not be involved in developing the 2025 and beyond car design.

What have we heard from Adrian Newey, himself?

Since that announcement, just before the Miami Grand Prix, there has been wild speculation into what the future holds for the most successful designer in F1 history. However, in his most recent interview with Oyster Yachts, who are the British luxury sailing yacht builders, he may have given us a clue to his thinking. There may even be a few clues around the paddock to where his future lies.

Will Newey retire? Likely not.

One of the things that was discussed was retirement for Adrian, ironically due to his partnership with Oyster, who are designing alongside him - building his luxury yacht. Many are predicting that after achieving everything on the track that the car designer would set sail on his new yacht into the sea of retirement, having achieved everything there is to achieve in Formula 1.

However in an interview with Oyster this week it would seem that Adrian has other plans and - maybe - some unfinished business in the paddock.

During his interview, he spoke about how 'he is looking forward to a break' - quoting Forrest Gump, in that he was tired. He then went on to talk about advice he received from Bernie Ecclestone and Roger Penske. Ecclestone and Penske (who at the ages of 87 and 93 are still working) gave him the advice to 'carry on working' telling him, 'the brain is like a muscle and needs exercise'. This is the key behind their ability to keep working long into their later years. Adrian finished off by saying that 'whilst he feels a little tired now at some point he will probably go again due to his love of the sport'.

With this interview in mind... which pit box could we be seeing Adrian in?

Will Newey find a home in Maranello with Ferrari?

There is, of course, no shortage of offers for his services. The talk of the paddock is a dream move to Ferrari to revive the fortunes of the prancing horses and set up a dream partnership with Lewis Hamilton - two parties which Adrian has long talked about the potential to work with. While these are things that he would, admittedly, love to do is there another project that is of a more personal nature to him.

Recent paddock events point to a different project more.... a project that, even a few weeks ago would seem more at home on the set of the new Brad Pitt film rather than the news pages of F1... but a project that when you look in depth to it suddenly starts to add up....

Terry's Take: Newey will go to Williams Racing

That project? Williams Racing. I'm sure that by now there are some who firmly believe I've lost the plot writing this... I mean why would the man at the TOP of the pit lane head down to a team at the bottom of the pit lane? Well read on as I describe just how a move back to Grove may just be on the cards. 

Williams are, of course, a sleeping giant within the sport. While many newer fans will only know about the team facing financial troubles, new owners, pay drivers and a team that's happy just to get around the points, there is a rich heritage to the once family-owned independent team... A team that has won 9 constructor championships, 7 drivers championships, and has amassed 114 race victories and 313 podiums. A team that, in their 'heyday', EVERYONE wanted to drive for. A team that set Adrian on the path to where he is now...

Newey's history with Williams Racing

It was 1991 when Adrian Newey left March/Leyton House and made the move to Williams to team up with Patrick Head. The Newey-designed Williams almost managed to deliver Nigel Mansell the World Championship - seeing its challenge halted by reliability issues. The 1992 season was different though, and proved to be the 1st of Adrian's Career Championships. Williams secured the drivers championship and constructors championship before repeating the feat again in 1993. 

The 1994 season was tragic for Adrian. Whilst the constructors championship was secured, the death of Ayrton Senna weighed heavy on his shoulders, a burden he still feels today. After being placed on gardening leave from Williams, and before the partnership of Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve secured the 1996 titles - he moved to McLaren, seemingly shutting that door forever.

Why would Newey move to Williams, now?

Fast forward to 2024. In Miami, James Vowles opened up to the press about how he had asked Adrian to consider joining his project at Williams. A project that the designer - who isn't motivated by money, who doesn't care for the publicity and modern day media of F1 - may just be tempted by.

It's 30 years since that tragic day in Imola, the same date that was chosen to announce Adrian was leaving Red Bull. The new regulations for 2026 and FIA wind tunnel and CFD design rules mean no team can start car development until January 2025 for the new set of regulations. Williams, at the lower end of the standings, would benefit from increased aerodynamic time due to the sliding scales used to allocate time based on the constructors standing. They're facing a slew of barriers on top of that. The cost cap means the teams all have the same budget to develop their cars. The factory that many may see as an issue - being stuck in the 90’s in terms of equipment.

Sounds bad... BUT to a CERTAIN designer who still prints off his emails to read them and designs cars on paper with a pencil... it might just look like home. The fact that the team will continue with the Mercedes engine is important to Adrian after the Red Bull Renault issues, which have been well documented as a frustration to him. As well as the opportunity to put to bed the talk that the most recent Red Bull cars were not a credit to him... What better way than to wake this sleeping giant from its slumber. 

What should we look out for in Imola?

As for the paddock... well the developments this week could be a sign of this happening. The rumor mill is strong that Williams have opened talks with Alpine Driver, Pierre Gasly, to partner Alex Albon. Who, in some exciting news this week, extended his contract with the Williams team on a multi year deal on Thursday. With this coming on the back of talk that Adrian has decided his next destination already (paddock sources), both drivers who are, of course, known to Adrian from their Red Bull days, and the aforementioned interview, the signs are there.

Surely Red Bull would not let their most successful designer leave in the 1st quarter of 2025 to one of their big rivals (Ferrari) with NO gardening leave (allegedly).... but could Eddie Jordan, his manager, have made a case for a small team at the other end of the grid that Red Bull don't see as a threat? What is it they say?  There is no such thing as a coincidence especially in F1!

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