Newey: rule changes made Red Bull F1’s fastest car

MADRID – Like a driver waiting to make a pass, Adrian Newey saw

his opening when Formula One announced its first major revamp of

design regulations in 16 years.

Newey has a track record of building winning F1 cars and took

advantage of the changes last year to make Red Bull the fastest car

on the circuit this season. After six races, Mark Webber and

Sebastian Vettel are atop the drivers standings and the Austrian

team is leading the constructors’ championship.

“It was fairly stable set of regulations (before that), there

was nothing new coming out really, it was just very small (changes)

based on existing, well-known principles,” said Newey, the team’s

chief technical officer. “You have a new set of regulations then

you have the opportunity to do something different.”

Newey’s influence propelled Red Bull into the thick of the

championship race in 2009 when it emerged as the only competitor to

eventual champion Brawn. Reliability issues cost Red Bull in the


“I enjoy trying to be creative, to come up with new ideas and

new solutions,” said the soft-spoken Englishman, who was spurned

by several teams before getting his first chance with Fittipaldi

Automotive in 1979.

“In particular, I think when you have regulation changes I find

that quite stimulating because that’s normally when there’s an

opportunity to come up with new ideas and new solutions.”

Brawn’s double-diffuser – a part on the rear of the car that

improves airflow – proved to be last season’s key piece of

technology, helping the team win five of the first six races en

route to the championship.

F1, which put an emphasis on aerodynamics with the changes,

banned the part for 2010 but will revive it next year.

Newey said bringing it back is an example of F1 tinkering with


“I think the double-diffuser takes some of the design freedom

away,” he said.

Newey became interested in cars through his father, a

veterinarian who was an amateur engineer. Newey, who has also

designed winning cars in IndyCar, CART and F2, says design

breakthroughs are rare.

“It can be all-consuming. I try to absorb the problems during

the day and then the brain ticks away in the background in the

evening and sometimes I wake up in the morning and the solution is

there,” Newey said. “Sometimes.”

Newey is particularly enjoying the fruits of his work this

season as Red Bull appears to have overcome its reliability

problems and could provide F1 with another championship first.

“Ferrari, McLaren, in particular Mercedes, are very

well-resourced teams and they can properly research and manufacture

at a high rate,” Newey said. “The challenge is to continue to

stay ahead.”