Red Bull chief designer Craig Skinner has opened up about life working under Adrian Newey, revealing he has disagreed with the F1 technical guru on several occasions over the years.
Chief technical officer Newey is the most successful designer in F1 history, with Red Bull’s all-conquering RB19 car winning each of the first 11 races held in 2023 so far.
Max Verstappen’s victory at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix saw Red Bull claim the record for the most consecutive victories by a single team, having won all 12 since the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Rumoured Adrian Newey move inspired Red Bull designer’s career choice
Appearing on the team’s in-house Talking Bull podcast, Skinner has explained that he has often disagreed with Newey on many things in his time at Red Bull, with such openness and honesty key to a successful team.
Asked if he had ever said “no” to Newey, he said: “Yes, many occasions! But that’s the thing: we have quite an open [relationship] and you have to have these open conversations with people.
“When things don’t work or it’s not possible, then you have to have these conversations and then ultimately you end up finding a common ground and a way forward.”
Newey arrived at Red Bull in 2006 after multiple title triumphs with Williams and McLaren and orchestrated Red Bull’s rise to the top with four consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships with Sebastian Vettel between 2010 and 2013.
Skinner revealed that his decision to join Red Bull was heavily influenced by rumours that Newey was about to arrive, adding: “I think, at the time, it was because I was supporting Red Bull in my previous position and it was a good avenue to get into F1.
“I also was aware [of] rumours in the press that Adrian was moving to Red Bull, so I though if I was going to try and go anywhere that was a good place to go.”
Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver, recently called for the FIA to impose an August 1 start date for development on the following year’s car to prevent dominant forces like Red Bull from consolidating a lasting advantage.
The proposal was swiftly rejected by Verstappen, who pointed out that Hamilton had changed his tune since his own dominant spell, with Skinner revealing that Red Bull’s development of their 2024 car, the RB20, is well underway.
Asked to outline his day-to-day work at the team’s Milton Keynes factory, he replied: “It depends.
“If it’s just after a race weekend, often you have to go through any faults that have [occurred during] the weekend. What do we need to fix for the next race?
“There’s a lot of working on the next upgrades for this season, what we’re producing for upcoming races, we’ve got upgrade packages coming.
“There’s a lot of work now going into next year’s car, the RB20, looking at how we’re going to lay the car out. What do we want to achieve? What do the aerodynamics want and then how is that going to affect how we layout at the car? It varies day to day.
“You’ve always got to keep looking forward.
“You’ve got to pay attention to what you’re doing right now, because we’ve got a race coming up [and] we’ve got to aim to do the best we can, but then also, you’ve got to make sure you’re still at the front going forward. You can never sit back and think, ‘I’ll do it next week’ – because somebody else will overtake you.”