Red Bull facing exodus as Christian Horner’s No.2 ‘approaches’ F1 teams

Red Bull's senior management could be heading for a major shake-up with another potential departure on the cards


Red Bull are facing a potential exodus after it emerged they could be set to lose another member of their senior management following Adrian Newey’s announced departure.

Newey, 65, will officially leave the team in 2025 after 19 years of service to take some time away from F1, although it is believed he could join a rival in the not-too-distant future.

The team’s chief engineering officer hinted that the internal disharmony within the team contributed to his decision to walk away, with Horner’s situation causing some animosity. And he could be joined at the exit door by Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley, widely regarded as Horner’s right-hand man in the pitwall.

According to The Times, Wheatley has ‘long-term ambitions’ to become a team principal and the 56-year-old has already reached out to potential suitors elsewhere on the grid. However, it remains a possibility that he could stay with the team after holding talks over a new contract.

Wheatley had been mentioned as a candidate to replace Horner when his future looked uncertain back in February, following an investigation into his alleged behaviour towards a female employee. But Horner, 50, was later cleared after an independent investigation was carried out.

Wheatley’s influence in helping facilitate Red Bull’s rise to the top of F1 has not gone unnoticed. One of the areas he oversees is their pit stop management, with Red Bull becoming the most efficient team on the grid in this respect.

Red Bull move to secure key figures

The Austrian manufacturer have insured themselves against a mass exodus after tying down the technical director Pierre Wache, aerodynamics chief Enrico Balbo and head of performance engineering Ben Waterhouse to long-term deals.

But like Newey, Wheatley has been at Red Bull since the early days and is viewed as an integral member of the senior team.

Christian Horner could lose another key member of Red Bull. / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

His exit would only suggest there may be some truth to Zak Brown’s comments after the McLaren CEO suggested employees wanted to leave the Milton Keynes team.

“I think the stuff that’s going on there, it’s a bit destabilising; probably [Newey is] the first domino to fall,” Brown told the press in Miami on Friday. “My guess is it’s not the last based on the resumes that are flying around. We’ve seen an increase in CVs coming our way from the team.”

In response to Brown’s claims, a Red Bull spokesperson said: “In the past few months all our technical leadership team have signed long-term contracts committing to Oracle Red Bull Racing, so we’re not sure what CVs Zak is referring to, but we don’t foresee any significant loss and certainly not the domino effect Zak is hoping for.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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