Adrian Newey has worked for Red Bull since 2006, which brought the team six World Championship titles – that he never worked for Ferrari, he “emotionally regrets “
Adrian Newey has worked for numerous Formula 1 teams in his career and designed many successful racing cars. And yet there were things that eluded the engineer. Speaking on the F1 podcast ‘Beyond The Grid’, Newey says it “would have been fabulous” to work with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, and possibly move to Ferrari.
In fact, Newey, who has worked for Red Bull since 2006, has turned down several offers from the Italians. But the fact that he has never been active for Ferrari is something he “regrets emotionally”, Newey said. “Ferrari approached during my Indy Car days, which probably doesn’t count, then in 1993 and, as you know, in 2014. The ’93 offer was very tempting.”
“I went, Jean Todt [team boss] had just started,” Newey said. “I remember him talking about whether to hire Michael [Schumacher] or not. Do you think that’s a good idea?” Newly married Newey turned down the offer, however, due to the failure of his previous marriage, after bouncing between England and the US, where he had worked for March.
Ferrari talks “out of frustration “
Having his own development centre in England, as John Barnard had it set up in Guildford because he didn’t want to work in Italy, was out of the question for Newey. “I never asked the question and I don’t believe it,” says the Briton.
“The idea of having a research and design centre that is in a completely different place to the race team – I know we have a sister team [AlphaTauri, split between Faenza in Italy and Bicester in the UK] that does that – but I don’t believe in the concept,” says Newey.
When Ferrari approached Newey again in 2014, at the dawn of the 1.6-litre turbo hybrid era, he was happy at Red Bull. But the attitude of engine supplier Renault made him consider quitting.
“My talks with Ferrari in 2014 were purely out of frustration,” the 64-year-old reveals. “I really didn’t want to leave, but we were in a situation where Renault hadn’t developed a competitive turbo-hybrid engine. “
Working with Alonso or Hamilton would have been “fabulous “
“That happens in the first year, okay, new rules. We all make mistakes,” Newey knows. “But Christian [Horner], Helmut [Marko] and I met with Carlos Ghosn [former Renault boss] to put pressure on him to increase the budget. “
“The answer from Ghosn was: ‘Well, I’m not interested in Formula One, I’m only in it because my marketing people say I should be in it.’ It was a very depressing situation,” says the veteran Formula One engineer. Newey admits that it had an emotional aftertaste not to have gone to Ferrari. He would also have liked the opportunity to work with Hamilton and Alonso.
Asked if he regrets turning down the offer from Maranello, Newey says: “Emotionally, I think, to a certain point. Yes. Like, for example, working with Fernando and Lewis would have been fabulous. But it never happened. Sometimes it’s just circumstances, that’s the way it is. “