Newey: From F1 to yachts

Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is showing interest in yachts, specifically, the America’s cup. Newey joined Red Bull last year amidst speculation he was considering quitting the hectic Formula 1 lifestyle as it was burning him out and he was looking for a more peaceful, less stressful life.

Last week, Newey was spotted in Valencia at the America’s Cup gathering. “I was here because of the Red Bull connection,” Newey explained. “But I have a personal interest in America’s Cup as well. To me, what’s fascinating about the America’s Cup is that it is a rare opportunity to combine the design technology of the boats with sport.”

At University, Newey studied aeronautics because aircraft were the closest thing to racing cars. His final year thesis was on ground effect, and since then, Newey has been involved in the world of F1 aerodynamics.

Yachts are not so different from Formula 1 – both disciplines use the same tools, although yachting also includes hydrodynamics. “You ask yourself,” Newey continued, “where else is this blend of technology and sport outside of the motorsport umbrella and the answer is precious little. There is not much yachting beyond where there is significany technology involved. It is probably fair to say that the America’s Cup is the Formula 1 of yachting.”

Newey’s interest in yachts stretches back nearly 25 years to 1983 where Australia II had a historic win – the cup was snatched from America’s hands after many years of dominance by a boat which was deemed to be significatly technologically superior.

Because of the mix of water and air, is yachting a harder discipline to learn than Formula 1? Newey believes it is, up to a point. According to Newey, Formula 1 cars are ‘messy’ aerodynamically whereas yachts are ‘clean”. Yachts have not got the exposed wheels and rule-driven agenda that Formula 1 has to deal with, and yachts deal with sailing up- and down-wind efficiently, as well as coping with the constantly changing waves and wind.

“There are a lot of other variables that we don’t have to cope with in Formula 1,” Newey admitted. “Does that make one more complicated than the other? No. You can’t say that. They are both complicated and if money was no problem, would consume just as much resources in both cases.”

“If I was to stop motor racing for whatever reason, and I am a bit young to retire still, then getting involved in the America’s Cup would be an interesting challenge. It really is as simple as that.”

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