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adrian newey was keen to work with alonso and hamilton

Newey looks back: 'Would have loved to have worked with Lewis Hamilton'

27 September 2023 at 15:25
Last update 27 September 2023 at 17:32
  • Ludo van Denderen

Twelve constructors' titles and 12 drivers' championships: without a doubt, Adrian Newey is one of Formula 1's greatest ever designers. The latest car he designed - the RB19 - currently is virtually unbeatable in the hands of Max Verstappen. In the podcast Beyond the Grid, Newey was a guest to talk about his career, also zooming in on what he did not do in his career.

So these days, Newey is Red Bull Racing's celebrated designer. It is not strange to think that occasionally, other teams knock on his door for his services. Ferrari, for instance, already did so three times. But Newey never made the switch to the Italian team, although, in retrospect, he found the 1993 offer very interesting. Still, he decided against a move to Italy, as a previous employment for March, and, therefore, the frequent travelling between England and the United States cost him his marriage.

Newey saw nothing in working remotely

Even if Ferrari had decided to open a branch in the UK to accommodate Newey, he would probably still have declined employment in 1993. "I never asked the question, and I don’t believe it. If you’re going to do it, Ferrari is an Italian team. The idea of having a research and design centre which is in a completely different place to the race team - I know we have a sister team (AlphaTauri, split between Faenza and Bicester) that does that - but I don’t believe in the concept," says Newey.

The master designer also spoke to Ferrari in 2014, most F1 followers probably know. "My discussions in 2014 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration," confesses Newey. "I really didn’t want to leave, but we were in this position where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive turbo hybrid engine. That happens in the first year, OK, new rules. We all make mistakes."

"But we went to see Carlos Ghosn [disgraced former Renault CEO], Christian [Horner], Helmut [Marko] and myself to try to put pressure on him to up the budget. Ghosn’s reply was ‘Well, I have no interest in Formula 1. I’m only in it because my marketing people say I should be.' That was such a depressing place to be."

Didn't work with Hamilton and Alonso

During his long career, Newey worked with a lot of top drivers, including Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Jacques Villeneuve, Sebastian Vettel and most recently Max Verstappen. Legends like Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are missing from his long list. Newey thinks this is a shame. "But just as, for instance, working with Fernando and Lewis would have been fabulous. But it never happened. It’s just circumstance sometimes, and that’s the way it is," Newey concludes.