Red Bull tech chief Adrian Newey has revealed that never having the chance to work with two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso is one of the great regrets of his F1 career.
Alonso stepped forward as Red Bull’s greatest threat a decade ago, running Sebastian Vettel close in the World Championship in 2010 and 2012.
After losing the title to Vettel by just four points in 2010, then-Ferrari driver Alonso missed out by just three two years later despite stitching together one of the most impressive individual seasons by a driver in F1 history.
Adrian Newey reveals ‘tremendous respect’ for Fernando Alonso
Newey seriously considered a move to Ferrari in the first year of the V6 hybrid era in 2014 before deciding to stick with Red Bull, with Alonso himself frequently linked with Red Bull over the years.
In an interview with the BBC, Newey has admitted that he would have liked to have worked with Alonso – and opened up about one occasion when the pair came close to joining forces.
Asked if there are are drivers he would have enjoyed working with, he said: “In terms of drivers, Fernando is one I have always…”
It was then put to Newey that Red Bull very nearly signed Alonso, with the pair meeting to potential discuss a deal in a car at Spa airport following the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.
Newey replied: “You have a good memory. That’s a regret that that never happened because I have a tremendous respect for Fernando.
“The truth is, first of all, I try to live in the present and the future and not the past. Regrets? No. I just feel tremendously lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had and to have worked with the people I have done and met the people I have done.”
The Belgian Grand Prix marked the first victory of Vettel’s historic nine-race winning streak to clinch the 2013 title and was the first round back after F1’s summer break.
At the final race before the summer shutdown in Hungary, Alonso courted controversy by claiming that he wanted “someone else’s car” as a gift for his 32nd birthday the following day.
Alonso’s comments saw him publicly rebuked by Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who issued a statement via the team’s official website to remind the Spaniard of his responsibilities.
Di Montezemolo said: “All the great Champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own.
“This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”
Alonso later claimed Di Montezemolo had received “wrong information” and denied he had held talks with Red Bull.