Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has revealed not working with Ferrari, Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton remain the biggest regrets of his career.
Newey is Formula 1’s most decorated designer and had a 24th championship added to his name last weekend when Red Bull were crowned Constructors’ Champions.
The British technical guru has been responsible for designing all six of Red Bull’s championship-winning cars to date, with Max Verstappen on the brink of securing the Drivers’ title with the all-conquering RB19.
Prior to joining the Austrian outfit, Newey previously won titles with both Williams and McLaren but has disclosed he has turned down several approaches from Ferrari.
Opening up on rejecting the Italian marque’s advances on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Newey explained: “[Ferrari made an approach] 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 Principal] had just started. I remember him talking about should he hire Michael [Schumacher] or not. Do you think that was a good idea?”
At that time, Ferrari operated out of its factory in Maranello and a separate facility in Guildford, UK to adhere to a request made by the side’s then-designer John Barnard.
But Newey insists he doesn’t “believe” in that method of working, despite Red Bull’s sister side, AlphaTauri, utilising two separate bases in Faenza, Italy and Bicester, UK.
When asked whether he would have worked under the conditions Barnard had imposed at Ferrari, Newey responded: “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] that does that – but I don’t believe in the concept.”
Newey came closest to trading Milton-Keynes for Maranello in 2014 when Ferrari made a ploy for his services that comprised a “ridiculously large” financial offer.
After storming to four consecutive championship doubles, Red Bull was pegged back by an underpowered and unreliable Renault powertrain that thwarted the side from challenging the might of Mercedes upon the switch to V6 turbo-hybrid engines.
Newey concedes that he held talks with Ferrari through the early stages of that season having become disenchanted with Red Bull’s uncompetitive position.
“My discussions in 2014 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration,” Newey commented.
“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 [ex-Renault CEO], Christian [Horner, Red Bull team boss], Helmut and myself to try to put pressure on him to up the budget.
“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.”
Aside from opting against taking on the mantle of trying to return Ferrari to the top, Newey admits he would have liked to have worked with Alonso and Hamilton.
Pressed on whether he had any regrets over turning down Ferrari, Newey replied: “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.”