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Newey: Plans for more active aero "appropriate" for F1

Legendary Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey says the championship’s plan for increased active aerodynamic parts “doesn’t concern me” because the technology is “the future of road cars”.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, rear wing detail

F1 has long had active aero on cars – the rear-wing-opening overtaking aid, DRS, for instance, has been used since 2011 – but this is set to increase in the 2026 rules reset.

The FIA and the championship’s promoter are currently finalising the design rules for 2026 onwards, when simplified hybrid engines are also being introduced.

Early ideas, such as a reverse-DRS to possibly slow down a leading car, have been abandoned, but the FIA’s head of single-seaters, Nikolas Tombazis, recently said “there will definitely be a change of incidence of the wing on the straight to achieve the low drag" and "there will be something equivalent to the current DRS", that is possibly also used when cars are in corners.

When asked about the idea of expanding active aero use in F1 in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Red Bull chief technical officer Newey said: “It doesn’t concern me.

“The more active aero is really to try to make up for a power unit that’s lacking in energy.

“The active aero becomes essential to make up for the power unit that’s lacking in energy. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

“Trying to drive for greater aerodynamic efficiency of the vehicle is clearly a good goal.

“And why should active aero not be part of that? After all, it’s become a part of it in road cars.

“There’s a huge amount of cars you see with spoilers lopping up and down on the boot lid and so forth.

“So, why not have that in racing? Active aero only got a bad name when wings were falling off back in the '60s. We’re well beyond that now.”

Newey also stated that “F1 typically has been a good way to popularise things on road cars”.

“If you look way back, things like disc brakes [that has been the case],” he added.

“But then [also] slightly more recently carbonfibre sportscars – fake or real carbonfibre trim etc.

“All those things that a buyer in the high street wants an association and manufacturers of course provide that association.

“So, active aero has to be the future of road cars, so I think it’s appropriate that Formula 1 should be showing, displaying the power of it.”

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