Revealed: What stopped Adrian Newey joining Ferrari before Red Bull

Henry Valantine
Adrian Newey arrives at the track. Barcelona, May 2022.

Red Bull's Adrian Newey arrives at the track for the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, May 2022.

Adrian Newey revealed he was “very tempted” to join Ferrari twice in the 1990s, but refused as he did not want his young children to change schools at the time.

The legendary Formula 1 designer made his name initially at Leyton House before moving to Williams in 1991, where he and Patrick Head formed a formidable technical partnership that saw the team dominate the sport at the time – including introducing innovations such as active suspension, which was eventually outlawed when F1 cracked down on so-called ‘driver aids’.

Given his burgeoning reputation at the time, the Scuderia came calling for his services in 1993 when Williams were at the pinnacle of the sport, but it turned out the move to Italy would have been too much upheaval for Newey and his young family – though he admitted the temptation was very much there.

“I was very tempted to go there in the past, it is a legendary brand,” Newey told Sky Sport Italia.

“They contacted me in 1993, I think, and then in 1997, when I went to McLaren from Williams.

“And that was a very difficult choice: at the time my children were very young and I didn’t want them to change schools. Honestly, if I was 20 years younger…” recommends

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Newey’s designs have won 23 Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles throughout the course of his career to date, with the sport’s move to ground effect aerodynamics also playing into his expertise, given his university thesis was written on the subject.

Given the record-breaking season Red Bull enjoyed last year and the flying start they have had to 2023, with seven wins out of seven, Newey explained the thought process he has when new technical regulations are released.

“When new rules come out, like in that transition period between turbocharged and normally aspirated engines, I spend a lot of time thinking about what opportunities the new rules give you,” he said.

“I always look for loopholes, situations where the rules ask you to do something but don’t force you, allowing you an original way of proceeding.”

Though his contract with Red Bull was due to expire at the end of 2023, it has now been widely reported that the team’s chief technology officer has extended his deal to stay with the team for years to come.

Max Verstappen is searching for a third consecutive title, and is the seventh driver to win a title in one of Newey’s cars, and he revealed just what it is that sets the current Drivers’ Championship leader apart.

“I think Verstappen is the prototypical perfect driver,” he stated. “He has an insane talent for controlling the car and innate driving qualities.

“When he arrived he made a lot more mistakes because he was very young, he was always pushing the limit, but now he’s different.”