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Adrian Newey to focus on Red Bull RB17 hypercar following F1 departure

Despite leaving the Red Bull F1 team, Adrian Newey is seeing the RB17 hypercar project through to completion

Adrian Newey

Engineering mastermind and motorsport icon Adrian Newey is leaving Red Bull after 19 years, but that doesn’t mean his RB17 hypercar project is dead. Alongside the news of his departure, Red Bull confirmed that Newey will continue to work on the track-only V10-powered machine which is scheduled to reach customers in 2026.

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Having played a part in 118 victories and 101 poles for the team during his tenure, Newey will leave the Red Bull Technology Group at the beginning of 2025. ‘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’, he said. ‘However, I feel now is an opportune moment to hand that baton over to others and to seek new challenges for myself.'

In an unusual twist, Newey is free to move straight to a rival team following his departure in Q1 next year should he wish, but this would mean that he’d miss out on three months of development for the 2026 season.

> Aston Martin Valkyrie 2023 review: a new realm of hypercar performance

Earlier this year, Red Bull revealed that while the RB17 is set to make its track debut in 2025 at the Austrian Grand Prix, its final design will be revealed this summer at Goodwood Festival of Speed before customer cars enter production in 2026. While Newey has already stepped away from the Formula 1 team, he went on to say: '...In the interim, the final stages of development of RB17 are upon us, so for the remainder of my time with the Team my focus will lie there.'

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Developed in-house by Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) and Newey himself, the RB17 will be powered by a screaming 15,000rpm naturally-aspirated V10, and promises to match Formula 1 lap times. Designed from the outset as the ultimate track car, the RB17 has the potential to push the performance envelope even further than the 1001bhp Valkyrie AMR Pro.

RB17

It'll certainly be more powerful. The V10 generates 1000bhp on its own, and it'll be supported by a 200bhp electric motor – as well as boosting power, the e-motor will act as a starter motor and be used for reverse drive. 

The F1-level track performance will mostly come from the aero package, which will include a blown diffuser working together with an active suspension system. At 120mph the RB17 will generate its own weight in downforce, with a limited peak of 1700kg coming at 150mph. The active suspension will be calibrated to withstand this dramatic load variation, and Red Bull has worked to the limits of the RB17's bespoke Michelin tyres when capping its maximum downforce.

The active suspension has been designed to give the RB17 enough setup flexibility to cater for a wide range of skill levels. The car can be raised to reduce downforce for a more accessible performance limit, and its mechanical balance can be easily adjusted to suit different driving styles. Red Bull will offer simulator training sessions to get to grips with the RB17 before heading out on circuit, too. 

Newey's engineering team has set a sub-900kg weight target for the project, which would put the RB17 in the same region as the GMA T.50s. The closed cockpit will seat two occupants more comfortably than the Valkyrie to accommodate taller drivers, too. 

The car will be predominantly built in-house by Red Bull’s Advanced Technology off-shoot, with certain elements sourced from the firm's F1 part suppliers. Components are being manufactured this year in preparation for prototype testing.

In 2022, Red Bull released an initial estimation of price at £5 million not including local taxes, making the RB17 one very expensive toy for those who want a taste of F1 performance. And without the complications of making it type-approved for road use, it’s likely that the RB17's development process will be significantly more straightforward than that of the Valkyrie and Mercedes-AMG One, which both ran into delays and serious technical obstacles.

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