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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing looks on on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Parc Ferme: Newey’s end game

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing looks on on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A flurry of news stories broke cover last week regarding the movement of key Formula 1 people. It seems the silly season is no longer a season but an ongoing social media feed fest. Its focus also seems to have expanded beyond the drivers.

On the basis that there’s no smoke without fire, the departure of Adrian Newey from Red Bull Racing appears imminent.

However, to lay this at the feet of Christian Horner would be unfair. There’s been a sea of change since the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz. Out of that shadow has crawled the Red Bull bean counting fraternity, with a more bottom line than racing focus.

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This is not a happy environment for the likes of Newey, who does not relish anyone trying to tell him how it’s going to be done. The whole Horner affair has acted as a convenient and timely taxi to a potentially final F1 destination.

Flirting with Ferrari

It’s not the first time the maverick designer has looked towards Maranello. Apparently, there was a deal on the table earlier in his career, but he turned it down, citing that he did not want to upset the schooling of his child.

However, he’s been quite clear in recent interviews that Ferrari is the dream of drivers and designers alike. Understandable, Ferrari isn’t part of F1, it is F1, and now the timing is perfect.

Lawrence of Arabia

Like Max Verstappen, Newey has a wide choice of dance partners begging him to put his name on their card. If money was an imperative he would be off to Aston Martin, who with Saudi backing, are probably offering the equivalent of a small country GDP.

However, this would also bring with it the Red Bull baggage he’s trying to get away from. Lawrence Stroll’s nature is to control, a trait that he projects and will not be able to restrain. Additionally, his son is his number one priority here (not a criticism), even to the detriment of the team. An arrangement that will not meet the needs of the genius designer. I can only see disappointment here for both parties.

Stalag Mercedes

While Max might flourish under the clinical functionality of Mercedes, this is also not an ideal destination for Newey. The Silver Arrows are highly effective, however their process is more about grinding out results than creativity; and we all know what happened last time they tried their hand at the latter!

The only artist in the team is now leaving, which leaves George Russell and possibly Max. Been there and done it with Verstappen, and with the greatest respect to George, nobody speaks of him in the same reverent tones as Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso. Mercedes is not a thing here.

Ferrari tale ending

Every good book deserves a rousing last chapter to finish on. We can be fairly certain that Newey’s next move will be his last before he hangs up his pencils, and Ferrari is the obvious choice.

He doesn’t need the money (sorry Aramco), and with Fred Vasseur clearly in charge, he can be sure he will not see the shadow of pencils and calculators pass over his plans. Only Ferrari can offer the ideal canvas to create his final masterpiece – his Magnus opus.

This would be Ferrari winning the F1 Constructors’ Championship in a car designed by him, driven by Lewis Hamilton, taking his eighth F1 World Championship title. Then they both retire, wouldn’t you? It would be the ultimate F1 Epitaph for both of them.