Newey to Williams? Why that's a serious alternative to Ferrari

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Why Newey is seriously considering a move to Williams
13 May at 18:00

Williams has held talks with Adrian Newey. It seems unreal that the team that ranks ninth in the constructors' standings could bring in the best designer in F1. Yet it is not such a crazy thought. GPblog lists why Newey could well choose Williams over Ferrari.

''The talks are still at an early stage, but are we in talks? Yes,'' team boss James Vowles revealed in Miami. ''I've known Adrian for a while and I spoke to him on Friday. I am also pretty sure I will have another conversation with him soon. He is an icon of the sport, there is no doubt about that.''

According to Vowles, Williams is the ideal place for Newey to pursue his career in F1: "I think we are a team without too much politics. We are a small team trying to find our way back to the front. And I think it suits someone very well who wants to throw himself into such a challenge. What's great about Williams is that it has retained a family feel.''

Why Newey might go to Williams though?

Indeed, these are factors that Newey is known to care about. Newey left Williams when it appeared he was not being known for decisions made by the management, left McLaren because of the sterile working environment and is leaving Red Bull Racing because of the behind-the-scenes power struggle between Christian Horner and Helmut Marko. So there is a clear trend in why Newey does or does not stay with a team.

Indeed, Williams has a bit more of a family feel to the team. The family itself is no longer involved in the team, but the name is still above the garage door. The owners of Dorilton Capital are doing everything in the background to bring Williams back to its glory days. With James Vowles as team boss and Pat Fry as chief technical officer, two big names have already been brought to the team. Newey, however, is of an even bigger order.

For Newey, the move to Williams would mark a return. The Briton worked there from 1991 to 1996, where he made his big breakthrough in F1. In 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996, the team won the world title and also won three world drivers' titles. All with Newey-designed cars.

At Williams, however, Newey then ran into a wall. With Patrick Head as the team's chief technical officer, it was never quite Newey's car. Head and Sir Frank Williams also made important decisions for the team without including Newey. As a result, Newey decided to make the move to McLaren in 1997.

With even more world titles and experience behind his name, chances are that Newey will now have a say within Williams' management. Besides Vowles and Fry, there is still room for an experienced man who can lead an F1 team that wants to return to the top. Newey and Fry, incidentally, worked together before during their time together at McLaren, between 1997 and 2005.

Another advantage of working at Williams, is that Newey does not have to look for a home in Italy. Before Red Bull Racing, he also did more and more work from home and was no longer at the factory every day, but the first period at a new team you will want to appear on the shop floor a bit more. With a move to Williams, Newey would not have to find a new home in Italy for that.

Why Newey would choose Ferrari

So for Newey, there are plenty of advantages to making the switch to Williams. It is still truly a family team, he may get a more important role in management and he can continue to work in England. On the other hand, however, the road is still long for Williams. The team wants to get back to the top, but is currently ninth among constructors. Newey will be 66 if he were to join Williams in 2025. If that project lasts another five years, it remains to be seen whether Newey has any appetite for F1 for that long.

Ferrari has its drawbacks. There, Newey is less likely to have much say in the team's decisions and political games have been invented at this team. Still, Ferrari has always been Newey's dream and there seems no better time to step in at the Scuderia. The team is on the rise under Frederic Vasseur, things are calm within the team and two rock-solid drivers have been committed for 2025. Then it is up to Newey to design the best car for 2026 and anything is possible at Ferrari.

If Newey still wants to win in F1 in the short term and fulfil his dream of one day working at Ferrari, that seems the most logical destination for the Briton. Nevertheless, if Newey wants to spend his final years in F1 working in a quieter environment, then Williams is a seriously good alternative, however crazy that may sound.