F1 design guru Adrian Newey and former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan hilariously recalled the drama sparked by an unsigned cheque in a bid to lure Newey to the team.
Newey has established himself as one of the most successful F1 designers of all time, having created title-winning designs for Williams, McLaren and now Red Bull.
But, while it is well-documented that Ferrari attempted several times to change the course of Newey’s career, he reflected on the time when Jordan tried to lure him away from Williams to his team.
Adrian Newey used £500k cheque as McLaren bargaining chip
While both were speaking on the Formula For Success podcast, Newey recalled how Jordan appeared at the local pub when he worked for the Oxfordshire-based Williams team, armed with a cheque to try to secure his services for Jordan Grand Prix.
Amidst the reminiscing, Newey incorrectly recalling a £150k offer sprung Jordan into action.
“I didn’t really know Eddie very well,” Newey began. “I obviously knew who he was, of course.
“And anyway, I was at the local pub in Oxfordshire, when I was at Williams, and it was a pig roast or something, a Sunday lunch in the middle of the summer. And suddenly, EJ appears at this flipping barbecue in the pub.
“‘Eddie, what are you doing [here]? Do you like a beer? What’s the craic here?’
“And it became evident that it wasn’t just a coincidence, he hadn’t simply turned up that day. And he basically said, ‘Well, you need to join and here’s a check for 150 grand.'”
“It was 500!” Jordan objected, Newey replying: “No it wasn’t!”
As it turned out, Jordan had also left his signature off this cheque.
“It wasn’t signed, you didn’t sign it,” Newey pointed out.
Jordan then added a further layer to the story, revealing that Newey then took this cheque to McLaren boss Ron Dennis to use as a bargaining chip, Jordan joking Newey “defrauded” him.
“Anyway, he took away this cheque, unknown to us, he wasn’t happy with Williams, and he was negotiating with Ron,” said Jordan, “so he brought my cheque to Ron Dennis to show that he had it already in agreement with me and that we’d have to buy it out.
“So it means some of the money would come back to my pocket, which it never did, he actually defrauded me.”
“That’s bullsh*t,” Newey replied while laughing, before admitting: “I think you’re right actually, it was 500.”
Newey would go on to join McLaren, though explained how it was a tale which Jordan did not let him forget for many years after.
“The problem with that of course is having given that cheque back to him, he doesn’t do it now finally, but for about the next 20 years, every time I saw EJ, it would be, ‘I f*cking own ya,'” Newey revealed.
The Red Bull RB19, designed under Newey’s watch, set a new standard for F1 dominance in 2023, claiming 21 grand prix victories out of 22.