Adrian Newey admits ‘quite depressed’ feeling by huge 2022 regulation changes

Henry Valantine
Adrian Newey, Red Bull

Adrian Newey has designed title-winning F1 cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.

Adrian Newey admitted initially feeling “quite depressed” by how the 2022 generation of Formula 1 cars would shape up, before technical changes were made.

The Red Bull chief technology officer wrote his university thesis on ground effect aerodynamics, which are now the predominant feature on today’s Formula 1 cars, but he acknowledged that, initially, the lack of scope in the first draft of the rules seemed too “prescriptive”.

With Red Bull’s rivals feeling the same, some of the rules were slightly relaxed, which allowed for more design freedom – and it has been Newey and his team of designers which have earned unparalleled success since.

Adrian Newey opens up about initial feelings over F1 2022 regulations

The 2022 regulation changes were among the most widespread ever seen in Formula 1, with the switch to ground effect as part of a wider push to make the cars more ‘raceable’, and able to follow each other without losing as much performance.

Another consideration was looking to bring the cars closer together in terms of performance, while maintaining the meritocracy that Formula 1 has always been.

But for Newey, he believed that the initial regulations did not quite provide that scope.

“I must admit when I first saw the early draft of these regulations, which would’ve been in 2020, I was quite depressed by them,” Newey told Autosport.

“They seemed very prescriptive. Other teams felt that as well and so we managed to get a bit of relaxation on some of those restrictions.” recommends

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However, when he had the chance to look a bit further at the regulations, he was able to find different design solutions that would benefit Red Bull.

The team has won both World Championship doubles since the new regulations were introduced, with Max Verstappen winning a record 15 races in 2022, before winning 19 in 2023 in the all-conquering RB19.

“Actually with those restrictions in mind, once we got into the details, then it’s much more room for interpretation within the various boxes of gradient types and so forth than it appeared at first sight,” Newey elaborated.

“And I think that was visible at the start of last year when obviously teams arrived with a variety of visually very different solutions.

“So, I must admit I personally enjoy regulation changes, because it gives a chance to look at new avenues, providing it’s a creative set of regulation changes.

“Where 2026 will be in that is yet to be seen. So, I do enjoy the opportunity to look at things from a fresh perspective and view, if you like.”

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