With twelve drivers’ and eleven manufacturers’ world titles won via the single-seaters he designed, Adrian Newey has already established himself as a Formula 1 legend, having spent most of his career with major teams – notably Williams, McLaren et Red Bullof which he has been a part since 2006.
Newey, however, never gave in to the sirens of the most victorious of all, Ferrari, not without remorse. So, when asked in the Beyond The Grid podcast if he regrets having rejected Maranello’s advances, the Briton admits: “ANDemotionally, I guess so, to a certain extent. Just like, for example, working with Fernando [Alonso] et Lewis [Hamilton] would have been fabulous. But it never happened. It’s just circumstances sometimes, that’s how it is.”
The Englishman rightly listed Ferrari’s approaches towards him: “HAS my IndyCar days – which probably doesn’t count – then 1993 and, famously, 2014.”
“In 1993, it was very tempting. I went there, Jean Todt had just started. I remember he was wondering if he should hire Michael [Schumacher]. ‘Do you think this is a good idea?'”
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Adrian Newey, Damon Hill (Williams) and Mika Häkkinen (McLaren) on the podium of the 1996 Japanese Grand Prix
Newly married, Newey declined the offer for geographical reasons, his previous marriage having suffered from his work for March across the Atlantic. And when asked if he would have accepted the organization of designer John Barnard, who convinced Ferrari to let him establish a site in Guildford (England), he replied: “I’ve never asked the question, and I don’t believe it.”
“Ferrari is an Italian team. The idea of having a research and design center in a completely different location from the team… I know we have a sister team [AlphaTauri, qui se répartit entre Faenza (Italie) et Bicester (Angleterre), ndlr] who does that, but I don’t believe in that concept.”
As for Ferrari’s approach in 2014, at the start of the era of turbo-hybrid power units, Newey only gave it importance due to the major difficulties of Red Bull’s engine manufacturer, Renault, in terms of performance and reliability.
“My discussions in 2014 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration”he admits. “I didn’t really want to leave, but we were in this position where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive turbo hybrid engine.
“It happens the first year, OK, new rules. We all make mistakes. But Christian [Horner]Helmut [Marko] and I went to see Carlos Ghosn [alors PDG de Renault] to try to put pressure on him to increase the budget. Ghosn’s response was: ‘Formula 1 doesn’t interest me. If I’m there, it’s just because my marketing department says I have to.’ It was absolutely depressing.”
With Matt Kew
As a symbol: Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari passes Sebastian Vettel and his broken down Red Bull
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