F1

Newey to quit McLaren and join Red Bull

Newey to quit McLaren and join Red Bull

Red Bull Racing announced on November 8th that Adrian Newey will join the team as chief technical officer at the end of February 2006. Presumably the appointment will be a blow for McLaren, for whom Newey has been technical director/designer...

Red Bull Racing announced on November 8th that Adrian Newey will join the team as chief technical officer at the end of February 2006. Presumably the appointment will be a blow for McLaren, for whom Newey has been technical director/designer since 1998, although the Woking outfit claimed the split was amicable and a mutual decision.

Adrian Newey.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Red Bull sporting director Christian Horner is delighted about Newey joining the team. "It's a massive recruitment for us," he told Reuters. "Given the choice of Adrian Newey or Michael Schumacher, I'd go for Adrian every time. It's of that kind of magnitude. I think that it sends out exactly the right message in that we are totally serious about what we want to do and what we want to achieve."

Horner claimed that Newey had not been tempted by money but rather by the challenge of a new team. "Adrian's motivation wasn't money or fiscal," he added. "His motivation was to take on a new challenge within a smaller team environment."

"I have a decent relationship with him and I think he sees the aspirations of the team and Red Bull and it feels right. The size of the challenge ahead is not to be underestimated but it's one that I'm sure he's going to throw himself fully into."

In the mid eighties Newey was chief designer for MarchF1 and then technical director for Leyton House. In 1990 he moved to Williams and the cars he designed between 1990 and 1997 for the Grove outfit won four drivers' titles and five constructors' championships.

Newey then joined McLaren and produced cars that won the constructors' in 1998 and gave Mika Hakkinen two consecutive drivers' titles in '98 and '99. He was nearly enticed to join Jaguar -- which was taken over by Red Bull -- in 2001 but shortly after Jaguar announced his signing, McLaren retaliated by stating that Newey was staying put.

Newey's contract with McLaren expires in January and he had often been linked with a return to Williams. The designer has previously said that he was considering taking a break from F1 and had expressed and interest in yacht racing, but evidently Red Bull made him an acceptable offer.

It's something a coup for Red Bull to gain the services of one of F1's most highly respected and successful designers, and the move appears to confirm the outfit's commitment to the sport. Newey will be reunited with David Coulthard, with whom he previously worked with at Williams and McLaren.

Red Bull will be Ferrari-powered next season and, along with Coulthard, will also field Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Neel Jani. Klien is expected to stay at Red Bull alongside Coulthard while Liuzzi and Speed will pilot the Toro Rosso cars, and Jani will be tester, although this has yet to be confirmed.

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