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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Newey: Countdown to F1 retirement has "realistically" started

Pre-eminent Formula 1 car designer Adrian Newey says the “countdown” to his retirement has “realistically” begun but he aims to continue until he is no longer wanted or enjoys working.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, on the grid

Motorsport.com revealed in May that Red Bull chief technical officer Newey had recently agreed a contract extension to remain at the Milton Keynes outfit which he moved to in 2006.

However, the duration of this latest deal for the 64-year-old has not been publicly disclosed.

Newey joined Max Verstappen on the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix podium last weekend as Red Bull celebrated its 100th championship win. It was also noted to be the 200th victory for an F1 car penned by Newey – with the caveats that any possible involvement in the 2008 Toro Rosso STR3 and the 1997 McLaren MP4/12 are discounted while his influence on the 1997 Williams FW19 is included.

Newey said, despite penning 13 cars that have so far won a championship, the success he has played a part in has all been secondary to fulfilling an original childhood “dream” to become a paid F1 designer.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It's been an amazing journey. My dream always from a kid was to be in engineering and motor racing, so when I got my first job in motor racing and got my first salary, that was really the big moment. Everything else has been a bonus.”

Newey singled out his first race victory, which arrived courtesy of Nigel Mansell triumphing for Williams in the 1991 Mexican GP, and end-of-season title deciders as his career highlights.

He continued: “They’re obviously all special. The ones that of course stand out are the first one in Mexico, and then the ones where the championship has gone down to the wire.

“You can argue that is the end of the championship, so, of course, it’s that race - Abu Dhabi with Sebastian [Vettel] against Fernando [Alonso, 2010] and then Max against Lewis [Hamilton, 2021].”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 2nd position, Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, on the podium

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 2nd position, Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, on the podium

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Asked when his career in F1 might come to an end, Newey said he had no immediate plans to retire as he is content at Red Bull - where he feels wanted and where he enjoys plying his trade.

However, he did acknowledge that the “countdown” to his F1 retirement had “realistically” started.

Newey said: “I’m lucky enough to be doing what I have always wanted to do and enjoy the job. I’ve loved it. 

“Of course, my career can’t go on forever, so I think as long as the team want me and I keep enjoying it, I’ll keep going.

“But that’s got to be…realistically, it’s on a countdown. Exactly when that day is, I don’t know.”

Additional reporting by Sam Hall

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