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Red Bull ready for war to keep Newey

2014-05-20 08:10

PLAYING THE LURING GAME: Red Bull F1 designer Adrian Newey (above) is being pursued by Ferrari. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is ready to fight to keep him. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made it clear he is ready to rebuff any bid by Ferrari to lure design genius and technical director Adrian Newey.

Horner, who has guided Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team to four consecutive Formula 1 titles with Newey-designed and developed cars, has been briefing reporters to regard any Ferrari interest as "purely speculative".

However, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, after overseeing a change of team leadership at Maranello (Ferrari HQ) and announcing his disappointment over the team's current form, appears more keen than ever to recruit F1's most successful designer.


Horner said: "This speculation about Newey's future is almost an annual thing but he has always made clear his feeling towards the team, the paternal feeling he has for Red Bull. He has been involved since the beginning and is much more involved in this team than he has been at any other.

"He enjoys the working environment so I think the speculation is purely that - but you can understand why Ferrari would be looking."

It is thought in some quarters, however, that after a four-year spell of sustained success Newey may be ready for a new challenge as Red Bull battles to catch Mercedes, which has won all five races so far in the 2014.

As the F1 circus heads to Monte Carlo for the glamorous and spectacular Monaco F1 GP (won by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in 2013) another 'Silver Arrows' success looks almost inevitable. Rosberg is hoping to end team mate Lewis Hamilton's run of four victories which has lifted the Englishman to the top of the Drivers' points table.


Hamilton, given his currently dazzling supremacy in all conditions and his natural flair for street circuits, looks clear favourite to extend his lead in the title race. Indeed, given Monaco's reputation as the race weekend for setting up deals and doing business, another Hamilton win could be conducted against a backdrop of Ferrari pursuing a range of targets as it tries to rebuild its flagging fortunes.

Ferrari's disappointing start to 2014 has extended to a year the period since its most recent F1 win and new team chief Marco Mattiacci has not ruled out "going to market" to hire big technical names.

His comments are seen to signal a new bid to lure Newey away from Red Bull but Montezemolo said in Barcelona that he wanted Mattiacci to focus on the team rather than look outside it for improvement.

He joked: "He [Mattiacci] needs to do a full immersion in F1, taking care that I don't ask him to become a technician or an expert in aerodynamics, engine or suspension."

Few Italians laughed. Like its lead driver, double F1 champion Fernando Alonso, they know Ferrari is struggling to keep pace with rivals. Even Alonso has admitted that Mercedes is "racing in a different category"; he and team mate Kimi Raikkonen were sixth and seventh in the most recent GP in Spain.


"This season has been so-so - we haven't been quick enough," Alonso said. "We were lapped in Spain, ninth and 10th in Bahrain. We are not on the first row of the grid but we are third in the championship.

"So, apart from Mercedes which is racing in a different category, we are first or second on any given weekend. There's not any prize for that, it just shows how competitive we are - whatever we have we will fight all the time."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 NAME Monaco F1 GP weekend.


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