Why Newey’s new role opens door for Ferrari
He’s stepped back at Red Bull… so will Ferrari pounce?
The strength of Red Bull’s long-term commitment to Formula 1 has been called into question after it emerged that Ferrari had made yet another attempt at luring design chief Adrian Newey to Maranello.
Red Bull put out a statement from the 55-year-old, who is known to be contracted to Red Bull until 2017, saying he was committed to remaining with them “for the foreseeable future”. Meanwhile, team principal Christian Horner insisted: “He’s not going anywhere.”
But Ferrari are determined to get Newey, and have made it clear that they have a substantial slush fund available to attract new people – if they are the right people. But it’s not just the money. Could Newey be tempted by the challenge of achieving the one thing in F1 he has not – making Ferrari winners again? And perhaps after that, the chance to design the ultimate road car?
Those are the sort of rumours circulating in F1, along with speculation that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is manoeuvring into position to replace F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone as and when he steps down – whether that comes as a result of the ongoing bribery trial in Munich or not. Horner has denied these suggestions.
If Newey left Red Bull, what would that mean for a team that has been built around him? Would Dietrich Mateschitz feel it was worth the effort to try to build a completely new team? According to his right-hand man in F1, Helmut Marko, the answer is yes. Marko emphasised that Red Bull “have a long-term commitment to F1” – which he conrms means at least until the end of teams’ current contracts, which run until 2020.
Marko added: “We will do whatever is necessary. In the beginning of course the whole team was built around Adrian but he is getting older and so on. I think we have now a group of really good people and if Adrian decides he won’t be with us or in F1, I think we are prepared to take on the challenge. It won’t be easy, but that’s why we are here.”
Red Bull was built around Newey. But could he be seeking a new challenge?