Newey wants to ‘manage as little as possible’

Adrian Newey has revealed a secret of his success at Red Bull — the team lets him get on with the job of designing F1 cars in peace.

“For me, here it’s ideal,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “I want to manage as little as possible, and spend as much time as possible thinking about the car.

“At Red Bull that’s fundamentally different than when I was with McLaren,” the Briton added.

Newey, however, acknowledges that he would have enjoyed some more time to stew over the RB9; the new Red Bull with which Sebastian Vettel will charge for an ultra-rare fourth consecutive drivers’ title.

Newey admits it is a “small miracle” that the RB9 was able to be unveiled at all this week at Jerez, due to Red Bull having to push last year’s development right to the end of the title charge.

“This is also one of the reasons why the RB9 is an evolution,” he acknowledged. Finally, Newey gave a sobering analysis of the amount of input Vettel and his experienced teammate Mark Webber have in the design of a new car.

“Not so much,” he smiled. “Basically, we know by now exactly what Seb and Mark want from a racing car.”


Newey ‘a little late’ with 2013 Red Bull

Team boss Christian Horner has admitted car designer Adrian Newey is “a little late” with next year’s Red Bull.

The Briton made the admission on the Red Bull-sponsored Austrian television channel Servus TV. Pre-season testing for the 2013 season will begin in Spain in early February.

The fact the RB9 is running behind schedule is undoubtedly due to the fact that, while many other teams turned their attention to next year during the 2012 season, Red Bull continued to develop its title-winning RB8 right up until the recent Interlagos finale.

“2012 was the hardest season I’ve ever been involved in,” Newey is quoted as saying. “In 2010 we had a fast car, maybe not totally reliable, but very good,” he said.

“Last year the car was good and reliable. This year we sometimes had a very good car and sometimes had a reliable car, and we didn’t always understand it, which initially was frustrating.

“The biggest change was the exhaust system which we had developed for two years and suddenly we had to start from scratch,” added Newey.


Vettel hits back at Alonso’s ‘Newey’ jibes

Sebastian Vettel has hit back at championship rival Fernando Alonso’s claim that the Ferrari driver is really fighting against Red Bull’s renowned designer Adrian Newey.

Watching his title hopes slip further under the wheels of Vettel’s dominance in India, Ferrari’s Alonso said after qualifying: “When we had similar cars to everyone, we were leading the championship.

“Now we are fighting against a Newey car,” he added, in English. “They are first and second all the time; it’s not only Sebastian.”

Alonso’s comments were not just a momentary slip of frustration.

He is also quoted in Italian: “If you want to win the championship you need to have the same resources as your competitors.

“We had them before and were at the top, but now we don’t and we are behind. We’re not fighting with Vettel and Webber, but with Newey and his car.”

And in the Spanish media, Alonso is quoted as saying: “Yes, Vettel is not a bad driver, but at the last race his teammate (Webber) had the pole.

“Sebastian is a double world champion, but he has a car that is first regardless.”

When asked about Alonso’s comments, championship leader and India pole-sitter Vettel said F1 is a “competition amongst teams and all of their members”.

“So I don’t think that this would be a fair statement towards any team member,” he told F1’s official website.

Alonso, meanwhile, sounded defiant when he said he remains “100 per cent sure” he will be champion late next month. But he also admitted when contemplating Sunday’s race: “If they (the Red Bulls) start well, go away and have an easy race, that’s the worse news for us.”

On a visit to India, Spanish king Juan Carlos I responded to Vettel’s dominance with humour, predicting that for Alonso “to win, we need only to put some thumbtacks under Vettel’s car”.


Marko: Lauda is looking to poach Newey

Niki Lauda has already made a move on Adrian Newey.

Austrian great Lauda, having negotiated Mercedes’ new Concorde Agreement and wooed Lewis Hamilton to the German squad, has also joined the team as non-executive chairman. And according to Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, “Herr Lauda has been looking into how long Adrian Newey still has a contract with us”, he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

The report said Briton Newey, F1’s most respected car designer and aerodynamicist who reportedly makes EUR 8 million a year at Red Bull, is under contract until 2014.

“There is an existing contract to be complied with,” insisted Marko, who is team owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s right-hand man on F1 matters. “And what would he (Newey) do at Mercedes anyway? With Ross Brawn there are three other technical directors. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” Marko insisted.

Austrian Marko said Newey has not been Mercedes’ only target.

“They also wanted to have Vettel,” he alleged.


Newey no longer key to success

Red Bull is lamenting the limited role that can be played in 2012 by F1’s aerodynamic genius Adrian Newey.

For the past few years, the energy drink owned team has enjoyed its dominance largely because of the airflow magic wrought by Briton Newey. But in 2012, with reigning back to back world champion Sebastian Vettel just one of the five different winners so far, Pirelli rubber is king.

“I doubt Williams really know why they were so strong,” team boss Christian Horner, referring to Pastor Maldonado’s shock Barcelona pole and win last weekend, is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

Horner insisted that, rather than the winner being the team with the best overall package at each race, success this season is about “understanding the characteristics of the tyre and the window in which they work”.

“It’s not that the midfield teams have made a quantum leap aerodynamically from last year to this year,” Horner insisted. “But from a performance point of view, this is what they have done.”

The logical conclusion is that aerodynamic cleverness has taken a back seat. So will Red Bull knock a million or two off Newey’s huge annual retainer?

Horner laughed. “Adrian is not just an aerodynamicist, and aerodynamics are still important anyway. But now it’s about harmonising everything, and these tyres are simply remarkably complex. Two races ago Nico Rosberg dominated, but in Spain he was almost lapped. It is very difficult to predict what’s going to happen next — a nightmare for the bookmakers,” he smiled. “A lottery.”

The situation has split F1 into two camps: those who love it, and those who do not.

“It has become like a GP2 championship,” Maldonado, the junior category’s 2010 champion, is quoted by The National newspaper. “The drivers can make the difference and the teams can still work on the strategy and the car.”

The bizarre situation has left everyone scratching their heads, like Jenson Button. He can scarcely believe that what looked a championship car – his 2012 McLaren – was beaten in Spain by Shanghai winner Nico Rosberg, who was almost lapped.

“The Red Bulls did a better job at the weekend than us in terms of points, but still they weren’t quick when you compare them to Williams, Sauber, Lotus and Ferrari,” he told PA Sport. “Five different teams winning five different races, we really don’t know what’s going on, and I think that’s the same up and down the pitlane.”