Newey’s Ferrari deal: Three years and $105 million!

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A month and a half after Adrian Newey announced his departure from Red Bull, speculation continues to swirl over the legendary designer’s next move, with one report claiming that a lucrative deal with Ferrari was signed and sealed as far back as last April.

In the wake of the news, pundits huddled in Miami to comment Newey’s decision, which the Red Bull engineer initially justified by the physical and mental need to take a break from the frantic world of Formula 1.

Newey later admitted that, while he would take pleasure in just “cruising for a while”, he likely wasn’t quite done yet with F1, having too many engines still ringing in his ears after more than four decades in the sport.

Newey’s past interactions with Ferrari have been well chronicled by the man himself who came close on two occasions to joining the House of Maranello during his 18-year tenure with Red Bull.

So there’s a consensus in the F1 paddock among insiders who believe that the 65-year-old design guru will end up in some capacity working for the Scuderia, likely on a lavishly paid consultancy basis.

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But BusinessF1 – a magazine known for digging up the dirt wherever it may lie in the paddock, or indeed shoveling it in there itself – has published a detailed report claiming that a deal brokered by Newey’s good friend and now manager, Eddie Jordan, was signed between the designer and Ferrari’s top brass in London on April 29, or just two days before the announcement of Newey’s exit from Milton Keynes.

Here’s the skinny according to the British magazine, to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt: Newey has reportedly signed up with the Scuderia for three years, from 2025 to 2027, and will receive a $105 million retainer for his services, although he’ll be kicking back $5 million to Jordan for looking after his interests.

Adrian Newey's manager and friend Eddie Jordan.

Interestingly, BusinessF1 suggests, but could not confirm, that Newey’s contract in F1 was not with Red Bull Technology Group - the entity that owns the Red Bull Racing F1 team - but with the Mateschitz family itself, meaning Mark Mateschitz, the son of the energy drink company’s late founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

The report also mentions that Newey is currently serving an eight-month period of gardening leave, or “the maximum any British employee can be held to”.

This seems confusing: if Newey is contracted to an Austrian company through an agreement with the Mateschitz family, why is he considered a 'British employee'? Or is he bound to Red Bull Racing by a separate agreement? It all seems more convoluted than a Ferrari strategy call.

Addressing the core of Newey’s grievances and the true reasons for his departure from Red Bull, BusinessF1’s story claims the veteran F1 engineer wrote a letter to Mark Mateschitz to express his disappointment with the changes that had taken hold within the team following his father’s passing.

It is alleged that Newey wrote that team principal Christian Horner had changed after the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, and that the family spirit that once existed within Red Bull Racing had been destroyed.

Newey apparently made clear that the problem was “deep rooted” and started well before the accusations of inappropriate behaviour were leveled at Horner back in February.

Adrian Newey and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Meanwhile, Jordan has repeatedly denied – and quite emphatically at that – that any deal has been signed and sealed between Newey and Ferrari.

Addressing a recent report by the Daily Mail that made a similar claim about Newey and the Scuderia, Jordan set the record straight in no uncertain terms while talking to David Coulthard on an episode of the latter’s Formula for Success.

“It’s really very wrong to be so blatant about [Newey] joining a certain team, and in this case he talks about Ferrari,” commented Jordan.

“I’m speaking as someone who should know, and I’m not giving any information away, at no stage is any of this kind of discussion happening [with Ferrari].

“There will be talks, and there is going to be ongoing talks, because we have yet to decide what Adrian himself wants to do.”

So, as the rumor mill continues to churn faster than a DRS zone on race day, one thing's for sure: in a sport where everyone has an opinion and a penchant for speaking out of both sides of their mouth, silence is deafening.

In the interim, pundits are left guessing like a group of over-caffeinated conspiracy theorists at a backmarker's motorhome.

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