Adrian Newey reveals unique Red Bull attraction over Williams and McLaren

Sam Cooper
Adrian Newey with his notebook on the grid.

Adrian Newey won titles at Williams and McLaren before joining Red Bull

Adrian Newey has revealed it was the ability to shape a team from the ground up that convinced him to join Red Bull.

While moving to the Milton Keynes outfit seems obvious now, at the time it was a surprise choice for the famed designer who left a job at McLaren to link up with Christian Horner.

But Newey has revealed he wanted to create something of his own and not feel like a cog in the machine.

Rawness of Red Bull attracted Adrian Newey

By the time Red Bull came calling in 2006, Newey had already designed six Constructors’ Championship-winning cars and McLaren were by no means a spent force.

So it seemed a strange move for Newey to give up the relative assurances at McLaren and join the inexperienced Red Bull.

But what most drew him to Red Bull was that exact reason, with Newey wanting to build something from the ground up rather than be another part of a winning constructors’ history.

“Being lucky enough to have success at Williams and McLaren, they were both great teams that have won races and championships long before I arrived,” he said during the 4th Annual Race Industry Week.

“And perhaps, in both cases the competitiveness had gone down a little bit.

“But when I joined, my job was very much a design based job. It was trying to improve the competitiveness of the car.

“Both teams were well established.”

Newey also reflected on his first job in F1 at Leyton House Racing which he felt left him with unfinished business.

“If you wind back slightly further than that, the first team I worked for in Formula 1 became Leyton House.

“And that grew out of March. So for me, it was a natural transition from IndyCar into Formula 1 without effectively changing teams so much.

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“That’s a tiny team. We were literally 50 people and about four or five engineers. Our performance was a bit erratic, I have to admit, but considering the size of the team, we had a car that could be very competitive.

“But the team started to lose money. [Owner] Akira Akagi had been a bit of a naughty boy and ended up in prison for quite some time [Editor’s note – Akagi was found guilty of being involved in the Fuji Bank scandal.]

“So that team I left because it was clear the writing’s on the wall.

“But it felt very much unfinished business that had it had funding and bit more time maybe you could have got somewhere.

“So when the Red Bull offer came up, it was really the attraction of being involved in a team more or less from the start and therefore able to kind of mould it and set it up in the way that I felt would work from an engineering point of view.”

Newey’s choice has vindicated many times over with Red Bull adding another six Constructors’ titles to Newey’s honours list.

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