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Newey: Not working with Ferrari, Hamilton and Alonso are 'emotional regrets'

Pre-eminent Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey says it “would have been fabulous” to work with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in addition to possibly switching to Ferrari.

Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing

Red Bull chief technical officer Newey, who joined the recently crowned 2023 constructors’ champion in 2006, turned down approaches from Ferrari on three occasions.

Never working for the Scuderia leaves him with some regrets “emotionally”, as does not having the chance to design cars for F1 champions Alonso and Mercedes rival Hamilton.

Speaking on F1’s own Beyond The Grid podcast, Newey opened up on the times Ferrari courted his services.

He said: “[Ferrari approached] in my IndyCar days, which probably doesn’t count, then ’93 and famously in 2014. The ’93 one was very tempting.

“I went down, Jean Todt [team boss] had just started. I remember him talking about should he hire Michael [Schumacher] or not. Do you think that was a good idea?”

Newlywed Newey declined the offer based on the breakdown of his previous marriage, having split his time between England and working for March in the United States.

Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing

Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Asked by podcast host Tom Clarkson whether he would have agreed to the set-up Ferrari allowed for designer John Barnard, who persuaded the team to allow him to establish a remote facility in Guildford, Newey replied: “I never asked the question and I don’t believe it. If you’re going to do it, Ferrari is an Italian team.

“The idea of having a research and design centre which is in a completely different place to the race team - I know we have a sister team [AlphaTauri, split between Faenza, Italy and Bicester, UK] that does that - but I don’t believe in the concept.”

When Ferrari approached in 2014, at the dawn of the 1.6-litre turbo hybrid era, Newey was content at Red Bull but engine supplier Renault’s attitude made him consider an exit.

“My discussions in 2014 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration,” Newey continued.

“I really didn’t want to leave but we were in this position where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive turbo hybrid engine.

“That happens in the first year, OK, new rules. We all make mistakes.

“But we went to see Carlos Ghosn [disgraced former Renault CEO], Christian [Horner], Helmut [Marko] and myself to try to put pressure on him to up the budget.

He added: “Ghosn’s reply was ‘Well, I have no interest in Formula 1. I’m only in it because my marketing people say I should be. That was such a depressing place to be.”

Newey acknowledged that there was an emotional tinge to not having joined Ferrari before noting he would have also liked the opportunity to work with Hamilton and Alonso.

Asked if he had any regrets about turning down the Maranello advances, Newey said: “Emotionally, I guess, to a point. Yes.

“But just as, for instance, working with Fernando and Lewis would have been fabulous. But it never happened. It’s just circumstance sometimes, that’s the way it is.”

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