Adrian Newey’s Formula 1 career has been distinguished and successful thanks to the cars he helped design, including, most recently, the Red Bulls that are giving Max Verstappen the chance to win the world title.
In his 17 years at Milton Keynes, Newey also contributed to a further eight world drivers’ and constructors’ titles, won between 2010 and 2023 with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel. Precisely in that period, however, the English engineer was approached by several teams, including Ferrari, who in 2014 tried to bring him to Maranello to give a technical change to their team.
As on other occasions, Newey rejected the proposal from the Scuderia del Cavallino, deciding to continue his adventure with Red Bull. However, never having worked for Ferrari left him with “emotional” regret, as did not having had the chance to collaborate with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Speaking on the F1 Beyond The Grid podcast, Newey spoke about the times in which Ferrari tried to bring him to Maranello, also revealing some details: “Ferrari approached me in the Indy car days, which probably doesn’t count, then in 1993 and, famously, in 2014. The 1993 one was very tempting.
“I went to him, Jean Todt (Team Principal) had just started. I remember him talking about hiring Michael (Schumacher) or not. Do you think it was a good idea?” Newey, who had recently married, decided to decline the offer due to the breakdown of his previous marriage during the period in which he was forced to divide his time between England and working for March in the United States.
Over the years there has often been talk of the possibility that Ferrari could create a secondary base in England, as happened in the case of designer John Barnard, who convinced the team to allow him to establish a remote facility in Guildford. An opportunity that Newey did not have, but about which he would still be skeptical: “I have never asked the question and I don’t believe it. Ferrari is an Italian team. The idea of having a research and design center in a completely different from the racing team – I know we have a sister team (AlphaTauri, split between Faenza, Italy and Bicester, UK) that does this – but I don’t believe in the concept.”
Newey observing a Cavallino car
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
When Ferrari tried to approach him in 2014 at the dawn of the turbo hybrid era, Newey’s intention was to continue his journey at Red Bull, but frustration with the relationship and the poor reliability of the Renault Power Units prevented him led to considering a change of scenery: “My discussions in 2014 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration. I didn’t really want to leave, but we were in a situation where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive hybrid turbo engine.” .
“It happens in the first year, ok, with the new rules. We all make mistakes. But we went to see Carlos Ghosn (the former CEO of Renault) with Christian (Horner), Helmut (Marko) to try to put pressure on of him, so as to increase the budget. Ghosn’s response was: ‘Well, I have no interest in Formula 1. I’m only here for my job.’ I’m only here because my marketing people say I should be there ‘It was really depressing,” the designer explained.
Asked if he had any regrets about rejecting Maranello’s advances, Newey replied: “Emotionally, I think, to a certain extent. Yes. But also, for example, working with Fernando (Alonso) and Lewis (Hamilton) would have been fabulous. But it’s never happened. Sometimes it’s just circumstances, that’s the way things are.”