Adrian Newey received Mercedes phone call in attempt to sign him – report

Michelle Foster
Adrian Newey inspecting the RB19 with his notebook in hand.

Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey inspecting the RB19 with his notebook in hand.

Toto Wolff reportedly had one of his colleagues phone Adrian Newey in an attempt to lure him over to Mercedes with Red Bull’s Helmut Marko having the last laugh.

Newey has long been lauded for designing championship-winning cars with his latest three creations, the RB16B, RB18 and RB19, all race winners with the former two having also won titles.

The RB19 is expected to continue that run with Red Bull dominating this year’s championship with five wins from five races, four of which have been 1-2 results.

Their superior performances have been largely attributed to Newey, “the only bloke that can see air”, with Mercedes reportedly keen on enticing him over to Brackley as they try to turn their “poisonous” W14 into a race winner.

According to F1-Insider.com, Mercedes went as far as to approach the design guru in the weeks before he committed his future to Red Bull.

‘Shortly before Red Bull’s mastermind Adrian Newey extended his contract with Red Bull a week ago,’ claims the publication, ‘he received a phone call from a former Red Bull employee, who is now one of the personal assistants of the Mercedes team boss and shareholder is Toto Wolff.

‘On behalf of her boss, the lady tried lure the top-class aerodynamicist to Mercedes.

‘Newey, however, declined with thanks and preferred to commit himself to Red Bull for another year.’

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That opened the door for motorsport advisor Helmut Marko’s latest jab at Mercedes.

“Mr. Wolff does not seem to have the full confidence in his own people to fix the problems with their car,” he said.

But while this is reportedly the first time Mercedes have made a play for Newey, it’s not the first time a rival has tried to sign him.

Back in 2018 the Briton revealed Ferrari having made several plays in the past.

“It’s come close three times,” Newey told Sky Sports F1. “Initially in my IndyCar career where Ferrari decided to build an IndyCar, I was offered to join as chief designer on their project but didn’t feel it was right so I turned that one down.

“Then, much more seriously, Jean Todt offered for me to join as technical director in 1996. At that point, I had offers to stay at Williams, join McLaren or join Ferrari.

“I thought long and hard about it but I had a young family at the time, and decided I wanted to stay in the UK.”

The Scuderia made another offer in 2014 when the Red Bull engine supplier Renault dropped the ball and the team went from winning World titles to struggling to reach the podium.

“I was in a bit of a difficult position,” Newey recalled. “I didn’t want to walk out of Red Bull because it feels like home and I’d been heavily involved from the start with Christian [Horner, team principal], building the team up from the ashes of Jaguar to where it was today.

“I didn’t want to walk out on that but equally I didn’t want to be in a position where we were operating with one hand tied behind our back in the engine department.

“It was a very difficult decision. Ferrari came up with an incredible offer, very attractive, and it caused me a lot of sleepless nights deciding what to do and who to go for. In the end, it would have felt wrong to walk out on Red Bull.”