Adrian Newey reveals the true secret behind Red Bull’s incredible success

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Sergio Perez celebrating a race win. Barcelona, May 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Sergio Perez celebrate a one-two finish at the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, May 2022.

Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey has shed light on how the team’s technical staff operates behind the scenes.

While many of Formula 1’s top-level teams have had periods of readjustment as senior technical staff have come and gone, Red Bull have had a long period of stability which has allowed them to unlock the very best performance their personnel can offer.

Even aside from team boss Christian Horner and motorsport advisor Helmut Marko (an unofficial intermediary between the team and late owner Dietrich Mateschitz), both of whom have been with Red Bull since their maiden season in 2005, Adrian Newey came onboard in 2007 after being tempted away from McLaren.

Over the 16 years since, Newey’s designs have led to six Drivers’ Championships and five Constructors’ Championships, with the Milton Keynes-based squad nailed on to secure both titles once again in 2023 barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Stability a vital part of Red Bull’s success

It’s in the team’s upper-management stability that Newey believes some of their strength lies. Under Newey, whose title is that of chief technical officer, Pierre Wache has been technical director since 2018 – an internal promotion after joining Red Bull in 2013.

Chief Designer Craig Skinner has been with Red Bull since 2006, starting off as a CFD engineer and progressing upwards, while aero lead Enrico Balbo started work for Red Bull in January 2018 after swapping over from Mercedes.

Head of performance engineering is Ben Waterhouse, who kicked off his F1 career with Red Bull before putting in stints at BMW-Sauber and Toro Rosso before returning to Milton Keynes in 2017. recommends

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It’s only recently that someone has moved to break up the band, with chief engineer Rob Marshall departing after 17 years to join McLaren as technical director.

“Theoretically I’m in charge of everybody but I never look at it that way,” Newey told Sky Italy.

“We try to run a very flat structure, where we encourage everyone to communicate and minimise the email culture, encourage people to talk – if it’s an aero designer, talk to the guy designing the mechanical solution for that aerodynamic shape.

“I think it’s about trying to have a very involving place to work. Then we have some very good senior engineers too.”

What’s the next big challenge for Adrian Newey and Red Bull?

However, the big challenge facing Red Bull over the coming months is that of the aero testing restrictions placed on them as a result of their success on track, as well as an extra punishment for a minor overspend breach of the 2021 budget cap.

With less aero testing time than those behind in pursuit, Newey pointed out that the stable regulations for 2024 mean that the work carried out this year will translate over into next year’s machine.

“We have to assume we are going to get pushed, so we have to keep developing,” he said.

“In F1, as soon as you become slightly complacent, you can be overtaken quite quickly.

“The regulations for next year are quite stable. Whatever we do in research for this year, will still be relevant for next year.”