Ferrari’s ‘stupid’ Adrian Newey decision ‘probably’ cost them Max Verstappen

Michelle Foster
Adrian Newey looks at the Ferrari.

It is not just on track that Adrian Newey was planned to help with.

Ferrari’s “stupid” decision not to throw billions at Adrian Newey to steal him away from Red Bull “probably” cost the team a shot at signing Max Verstappen.

Considered to be one of the greatest engineers to have ever designed a Formula 1 car, Newey has won more championships than any one person with his tally up to 25 after Red Bull’s double in 2023.

His ability to “see air”, as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner put it, sets him apart from his rival design gurus.

‘It would be lovely to see Max in a Ferrari, wouldn’t it?’

It has seen several teams make a play for the Red Bull man with Horner revealing Newey was “half an hour” away from signing with the Scuderia after Red Bull’s championship run ended when engine supplier Renault dropped the ball in 2014.

“Adrian came very close to leaving, he was within about half an hour signing [for Ferrari],” he told the Eff Won podcast last month.

“Ferrari came hard for him. They promised him the world. You can have a Hollywood lifestyle, fly into the factory from Monaco every day and you won’t pay any tax and you can design a road car and this, that, and the other.”

However, the Red Bull team boss managed to persuade him to stay, and, almost a decade on, Red Bull are once again Formula 1’s most dominant force.

Winning all but six races in the new ground-effect aerodynamic era, the Newey-designed cars – especially in the hands of Verstappen – are predicted to reign for years to come.

It has former Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor musing as to what could’ve been had the Scuderia forked out “billions” to sign the 64-year-old. recommends

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“It would be lovely to see Max in a Ferrari, wouldn’t it?” he said in his post-season YouTube stream.

“Talking about the stupidity of all the other teams and how one man, Adrian Newey, has made everybody else look ridiculous.

“If only Ferrari had the brains to hire Adrian, eight years ago, even seven years or six years ago, pay him two billion or whatever it was, they would have got all their money back and more because they would’ve won four or five World Championships by now.

“Ferrari not doing that is actually more stupid, I think, then how Adrian makes everybody else look at the moment in terms of stupidity if you like.

“Because if he’d gone to Ferrari, absolutely no doubt that Ferrari would have been winning more championships.

“Probably Max would’ve gone with him.”

But he lamented: “They wouldn’t do it, would they? Just didn’t do it.”

Earlier this year Red Bull locked Newey into a new contract extension while Verstappen is on the books through to the end of the 2028 season.

The triple World Champion, though, has not ruled out swapping to Ferrari when his Red Bull days are done.

In an interview with Sportweek, Gazzetta dello Sport’s weekly magazine, he said: “It has an incredible history in this sport and is a great opponent to compete against. When my current contract expires I will be 31 years old and I think I can still do well.”

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