Adrian Newey came “close” to joining Ferrari on three occasions but in the end felt it would be “wrong” to walk away from Red Bull.
Newey, rated as one of the best designers in Formula 1, has had an illustrious career, working – and winning – with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Racing.
However, one top team that he never worked for is Ferrari – despite their many efforts to sign him.
“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.”
Years later Ferrari may a third attempt at signing Newey, who acknowledges that he gave it some thought in light of the fact that Renault, Red Bull’s engine partner, were letting them down at the time.
However, in the end, he opted to remain with Red Bull Racing.
“It became evident that the Renault was a long way behind the Mercedes in particular and to some extent the Ferrari – with no obvious end in sight,” Newey added.
“Renault didn’t seem to be willing to put the funding in to really sort the problem out, which was the depressing and worrying bit.
“I was in a bit of a difficult position. 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.”