Adrian Newey agreed a sensational move to Ferrari earlier this year, it has emerged.
In June, Red Bull announced that its technical chief - easily the most famous and arguably the best engineer in F1 today - is stepping back from the front line.
He will instead head the energy drink company's all-new 'Advanced Technologies Centre', ostensibly to indulge his desire for other design projects outside of F1.
On Thursday, Red Bull finally confirmed speculation Newey's first project will be working with Ben Ainslie to design an America's Cup yacht.
"Ben Ainslie Racing are really excited to be partnering with Red Bull Advanced Technologies," Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, said in a joint statement.
But a report in Russia's Championat claims Red Bull in fact came excruciatingly close to losing Newey altogether this year.
The report said the 55-year-old Briton had even "shaken hands" with now-departed president Luca di Montezemolo on a move to Ferrari for 2015 and beyond.
The report explained: "The agreement was leaked to the Italian press and Newey regarded it as an example of how political Ferrari is and so he informed Luca that the deal was off."