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