Newey: 'Max unintentionally does that to his teammates'

F1 News

Adrian Newey on how to be a teammate of Max Verstappen
27 September at 18:13

Adrian Newey managed to help no fewer than seven F1 drivers win an F1 title with his excellent car designs. In the Beyond the Grid podcast, the Brit gets a question he hasn't been asked before. 'Which two of those champions would make the best driver pair?' Newey includes in his answer what it is like to drive alongside a driver like Max Verstappen.

Which champions will be in 'Team Newey'?

Newey was involved in designing the cars in which Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen became champions. The Red Bull Racing designer can be seen as the best designer F1 has ever seen. Although Newey is the man behind the aerodynamics of the RB19, he also has interesting things to say about the drivers he has worked with in his F1 career.

The Brit would not answer the question of which two of the seven drivers mentioned would make the best driver pair. Newey: "In the process of doing that, I'm favouriting and singling out someone, and I don't think that's fair. Any world champion is clearly a great driver. All those guys are very different in their character and their makeup. Some of them have a very high level of self-belief, and I think that has been one of their keys, but not all of them. They're so different."

Newey is somewhat surprised by the question. Normally, the designer gets asked precisely who he thinks is the better driver. Newey calls it interesting to think about who would make good teammates: "What a teammate wants to is, especially if they are young and ambitious, is show that he is the best, and he probably comes in thinking that he is the best. That can then just destroy a driver's self-confidence."

Albon found speed Verstappen hard to grasp

Working towards Verstappen in his reply, Newey recalls how Alexander Albon dealt with the Dutchman's speed: "I think Max [Verstappen], with his incredible ability, has done it, but not by any deliberate action. I think Alex [Albon] struggled to come to terms with how quick Max was, as did Pierre Gasly and others examples, so if you're going to have two teammates where one is exceptional and the other is brilliant but not quite at that level, the other one needs to be somebody who will, at some point, accept that he certainly can't beat Max, for instance, on pace, you're going to have to do it in some other way."

Newey concludes by saying that Max cannot be beaten on speed, but there are always possibilities: "It has been done. If you look at Nikki [Lauda] and Alain [Prost] against each other, then Alain always was the quicker driver, but Nikki managed to win the championship, and you could probably argue the same for Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton]."