How former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan ensured Adrian Newey will not face any gardening leave following exit from Red Bull

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Co-author: Chiara Martin

As the Chief Technical Officer of Oracle Red Bull Racing for 18 years, and with 200 wins in Formula 1, Adrian Newey’s visionary designs have propelled the team to consistent success.

Newey’s contributions to Red Bull Racing are unrivalled, with six Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championships standing as testament to his fantastic career.

Despite the team’s success, reports of a fractured friendship between Newey and team principal Christian Horner have been circling for weeks, and today, the team announced Newey’s separation from the team. He is due to leave officially early next year. While he’s finished on the F1 side, he will continue working on the RB17 hypercar until early next year.

The likely catalyst for Newey and Horner’s struggles is reportedly due to the Horner scandal that hit the news earlier this year, with allegations of misconduct against Horner causing several issues within the team.

Allegations by an employee against Horner of inappropriate behaviour prompted an investigation that lasted eight weeks, but the outcome Red Bull came to cleared Horner of any wrongdoing.

However, despite being cleared by the team, a collection of private images and messages via a Google Drive folder surfaced during the Bahrain GP weekend, reigniting the controversy, and calling Red Bull’s decision into question.

The content was sent to F1 personnel, team principals, and the media, and quickly found its way onto social media, where it was scrutinised in the public sphere.

This development fuelled speculation and intensified calls for Horner’s resignation.

Despite denying the allegations, and clearing the investigation, the fallout from the scandal has been impossible to ignore, and reportedly, the bond between Newey and Horner has been fraying since.

Sources close to the team revealed that Newey’s discontent was clear and was intensified following remarks by Horner which insinuated that Newey’s role within the team was diminishing, and no longer as important to the team for their success as it once was.

In a press release that spoke of Newey taking on “new challenges” and a focus on the development of the RB17 hypercar, the Chief Technical Officer said: 

“For almost two decades it has been my great honour to have played a key role in Red Bull Racing’s progress from upstart newcomer to multiple title-winning Team.

“However, I feel now is an opportune moment to hand that baton over to others and to seek new challenges for myself.

“I would like to thank the many amazing people I have worked with at Red Bull in our journey over the last 18 years for their talent, dedication and hard work.

“It has been a real privilege, and I am confident that the engineering Team are well prepared for the work going into the final evolution of the car under the four-year period of this regulation set.”

Despite being framed as harmonious, Newey’s departure likely links to tensions simmering beneath the surface.

In the wake of the announcement, news outlets have been quick to speculate, claiming that Newey is confirmed to move to Ferrari, or he could be retiring from the sport entirely.

Eddie Jordan, a veteran of the sport and a close friend and manager of Newey spoke about the situation, suggesting that a break is best for him.

“Remember that he’s been in Red Bull under constant pressure,” Jordan said. 

“If he’s going to take time out and just cruise for a while, then everyone would understand that.

“I think that’s probably [what we’re] more likely to see, rather than diving into any other possible employment career.” 

Newey’s contract with Red Bull originally ran until the end of 2025 and would have had a “gardening leave” of another twelve months, until the end of 2026. 

The fact that he is already allowed to switch to another team in the first quarter is due to a compromise that Jordan negotiated for Newey. It was agreed that the British designer would not speak about his true feelings on the Horner case and everything going on inside the team, meaning he can leave almost a year earlier than his contract would have allowed him to, first reported by Motorsport-Total.

While the press release was friendly, it’s anything but the case between Adrian Newey and Christian Horner in reality.