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The Independent Online

As if losing the drivers' and constructors' world championships to Renault was not hurtful enough for McLaren, more bad news is imminent. Senior staff at David Coulthard's Red Bull Racing team were told yesterday that Adrian Newey, the force behind McLaren's super-quick MP4/20, with which Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya won 10 of the 19 Formula One races this season, will be joining the technical director Mark Smith to "design racing cars".

Newey nearly joined the team, when they were known as Jaguar Racing, back in 2001. On that occasion the McLaren chief Ron Dennis was able to persuade Newey to stay. Recently, Newey has been getting restless, and though the MP4/20 rekindled his enthusiasm for Formula One after he had a spell of hankering to design America's Cup yachts, he decided to seek fresh challenges.

"I will certainly be in Formula One next year," he said at the Chinese Grand Prix in October, "but that does not mean that I will be with McLaren. It's unlikely that I will leave, but my contract only goes up to January."

Newey is widely regarded as the best designer in Formula One, and Red Bull will have pulled off a coup if this contract holds up.

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