Contrasting messages from Ferrari over Adrian Newey pursuit

Adrian Newey has ceased his work with Red Bull F1 ahead of the 2024 Miami GP and is expected to join a rival team in 2025

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Charles Leclerc praised Adrian Newey as a ‘difference maker’ in Formula 1 as Ferrari continue their campaign to bring the legendary designer to the team following his shock departure from Red Bull ahead of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Newey will spend the remainder of the year working on Red Bull‘s RB17 hypercar project before joining up with an F1 rival in 2025, reportedly leaving due to a souring relationship with Christian Horner especially in the wake of his scandal regarding a female employee.

Leclerc was enthused about the potential to work with Newey at Ferrari and expects the loss to hurt Red Bull, but outgoing teammate Carlos Sainz was less committal.

“For sure,” Leclerc told the media when asked if Ferrari could attract Newey. “I’ve said it in the last past eight or nine months already, I think we’re in a very good moment for the team and we are in a good spiral.

Adrian Newey looks on in the garage during practice for the Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Adrian Newey looks on in the garage during practice for the Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

“Fred has always shared with me what was his medium to long-term vision of the team, I’ve also shared with him what I thought was the right thing and it’s going really, really well, I’m really happy with how it goes.

“And I think we are in a good place to attract the best people in the world. We’re a really good team already and in the last 7 or 8 months we’ve done incredible progress, but whatever and whoever can come to make it even stronger is super important.

“And Adrian is one of those guys that can make a difference.”

Carlos Sainz less enthused

Sainz was understandably less overjoyed at the news of Ferrari‘s pursuit of Newey, given the Spaniard won’t be around to reap the rewards of any success the 65-year-old could find at Maranello.

Ferrari unveil special 2024 Miami GP livery | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Ferrari unveil special 2024 Miami GP livery | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Wherever he lands, Newey will be able to influence that team’s first car under the new 2026 F1 regulations but Sainz discovered before the start of the 2024 season that he won’t continue at Ferrari past the end of his current contract.

Despite being the only driver to win a grand prix in a non-Newey-designed car since 2022, Sainz will be axed in favour of Lewis Hamilton at the end of this campaign and his next destination is yet to be decided.

“It doesn’t affect me right now in my situation, that’s why I can’t comment too much on it,” Sainz said. “I don’t know where he’s going, don’t know what his plans are so yeah that’s it. I don’t know how important he was at Red Bull, I’m not part of that team, I don’t know how fundamental he was.

“But I can guess if Red Bull has been winning so many years he for sure was an important part of that project. How much, it’s impossible for me to tell without being on the inside but it’s no secret that he’s one of the most valued engineers in the whole paddock.”

Leclerc surprised by Newey bombshell

Despite Red Bull‘s dominance on-track, it’s been a blockbuster season for F1 revelations with the Hamilton switch and Horner controversy both dominating headlines on both the back and front pages.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz pose as Ferrari unveil special 2024 Miami GP livery | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz pose as Ferrari unveil special 2024 Miami GP livery | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Still just five months into 2024, the Newey shock is the latest in that carousel with plenty more driver market announcements still to be made, and Leclerc admitted to being blindsided.

“I was surprised,” Leclerc added. “I did not expect it so it was interesting news and one of those news that makes a lot of noise once it’s out, I had it everywhere on my social media. But will it weaken Red Bull?

“Every team there are lots of people involved, but some figures of a team make more difference than others and I think Adrian is definitely one of them, as he has shown with his past, that every time he’s been in a team, they’ve been very, very successful.

“So yeah, it’s difficult for me to comment because I don’t know how exactly it works within the team. But obviously Adrian being on the market of the engineers is definitely someone to watch and someone that everybody in the paddock will want in that team.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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