Formula 1: Mercedes fans hit with disappointing news after Baku

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

Adrian Newey signing a contract extension with the Red Bull Formula 1 team quashes Damon Hill’s speculation that he could end up at Mercedes.

Legendary Formula 1 car designer Adrian Newey entered the 2023 season with an expiring contract at Red Bull, but he and the team have agreed to terms on a new deal to keep him with the organization for the foreseeable future.

The move comes as no surprise to most, with Red Bull giving Newey a great deal of freedom as the team’s chief technical officer. He has been with the organization since 2006.

However, Mercedes fans will ultimately feel quite let down after this news was confirmed, given speculation from 1996 world champion Damon Hill earlier this season that may have gotten their hopes up.

Hill, who continuously predicted Mercedes success throughout a 2022 season that saw the Brackley-based team fall to third place following an eight-year run of constructor championships, started a rumor back in March that Newey may be looking to sign with Mercedes.

Here is what he had to say.

"“I can’t help ignoring this thing he [Newey] did in Bahrain, where he stood in front of the Mercedes on the grid, with his clipboard, and stood there for a long time looking at their front wings. Anybody who knows Adrian will know ‘wait a minute, he’s already got the most dominant car in F1, why’s he looking at the Mercedes front wings?’“Was he really looking at the front wings? Or was he just standing in front of a Mercedes saying, ‘I’m interested’. Is that what he was really saying?”"

George Russell was looking at the RB19 during the red flag in Melbourne, and anybody who knows Formula 1 knows that he does not drive the most dominant car in Formula 1 as things stand right now. Does that make him a shoo-in to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull next year?

But Newey wasn’t all that interested in Mercedes and decided to remain with the Formula 1 team which has employed him for almost two decades.

The speculation surrounding Newey’s future brought a whole new element to this year’s silly season and goes to show just how instrumental he has been in regard to the immense success of the Milton Keynes-based team — and more specifically, their 2023 challenger, the RB19.

Newey has played a role in winning 23 Formula 1 world championships across 13 seasons with three different teams. His cars have won 11 constructor titles and been driven to 12 driver titles.

Max Verstappen won the 2021 world championship in the RB16B, marking Newey’s first since Sebastian Vettel won four in a row from 2010 to 2013. Then in 2022, Verstappen won again in the RB18, Newey’s most dominant creation of all-time. With 17 wins, Red Bull won their first constructor title since their run of four in a row from 2010 to 2013.

Newey also won five constructor titles and four driver titles with Williams, and he added one constructor title and two driver titles with McLaren.

Through four races this year, Red Bull are unbeaten, and their only non 1-2 finish was a 1-5 finish in Melbourne after Sergio Perez started at the back.

The team’s dominance last season came amid predictions that they would take somewhat of a step back, given the new rules and regulations that were introduced to the sport and the fact that they had invested so much time and effort into making their 2021 challenger a championship-caliber machine.

Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list. dark

Red Bull have won more races since the start of the 2023 season (four for four) than they have lost since the middle of last April (three of 22).