Newey Twice Close to Ferrari
Adrian Newey is one of the living legends in the F1 paddock. The British engineer, born in 1958, began his career in the world of racing in the early ’80s and contributed to the success of Williams, McLaren, and Red Bull in Formula 1. Despite having worked with several prestigious teams, there is one missing from his list: Ferrari. However, he came close to joining the Scuderia on two occasions during his career.
As a guest on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Adrian Newey delved into the details of his negotiations with the Ferrari team. “I would say there were two occasions when I came close to Ferrari, and I wouldn’t count some discussions I had when I was still involved in the world of IndyCar in the early ’80s with the March Group,” Adrian Newey began. “The first of the two was in 1993, and I was genuinely tempted at that time. I had a conversation with Jean Todt, who had just taken over the team, and even then, he was thinking of bringing Michael Schumacher to Maranello.”
Ultimately, Newey decided not to move to Ferrari, partly for personal reasons. As a newlywed at the time, he didn’t want to risk another failed marriage due to his constant traveling between the UK and the United States. When asked if he could have had a setup like John Barnard’s, with a dedicated office in the UK, Adrian Newey responded, “I would never have asked for such treatment. I don’t believe in the concept that a team’s design department and racing team should be separate. AlphaTauri does it by dividing between Bicester and Faenza, but it’s not for me. If you want to support the Ferrari cause, Ferrari is an Italian team, and you need to be in Italy.”
In 2014, the temptation to move to Ferrari was driven by frustration due to the poor competitiveness of the Renault power unit. Adrian Newey added, “The negotiations with Ferrari in 2014 were purely driven by frustration. I didn’t really want to leave, but we were in a situation where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive hybrid turbo engine. In the first year of a new regulation, it’s natural to make mistakes with the engine. We went to Renault to speak with then CEO Carlos Ghosn—myself, Christian Horner, and Helmut Marko—to try to convince him to increase the budget for the 2015 engine, and he said, ‘I have no interest in Formula 1. We’re in this championship only because my marketing people say we have to be.’ It was truly depressing.”
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