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Newey eyes 'bigger' challenge

2013-10-29 07:37


NEXT CHALLENGE FOR NEWEY: The 2014 F1 season will be a huge challenge for Red Bull’s Adrian Newey as the team adjusts to new engine rules. Image: AFP

NEW DEHLI, India - Red Bull Formula 1 team designer Adrian Newey's decision to join Red Bull from McLaren in 2006 has paid off fourfold but still he wants more.

The team and Sebastian Vettel racked up a quadruple double - four Drivers' and Constructors' championships in a row - at the 2013 Indian GP so now Newey is focused on trying to make it five.

Rivals might wish he took a sabbatical, switched to designing racing yachts for an Americas' Cup challenge or worked for them, but Newey has no such plans.


Vettel said: "It's been an amazing ride. When I joined Red Bull it was a bit of a career risk to leave an established team such as McLaren and join an upstart team sponsored by a fizzy-drink company but it's been incredibly satisfying. it's kind of schoolboy comic stuff, really.

"I love working with the team, I love working with my colleagues, I find the environment very stimulating. In 2014 we will have this big regulation change which is exciting and nerveracking at the same time. So that's my immediate concentration. After that we'll have to see."

Newey-designed cars have won ten Constructors' championships for three - five with Williams from 1992-1997 and one with McLaren in 1998 and the boffin still uses a pencil and pad in his Milton Keynes office, happily labelling himself the last of the design dinosaurs, while overseeing others who put concepts into practice.

Newey said: "We don't pretend to be anything we're not. We're an F1 team operating out of relatively scruffy factory units in Milton Keynes, nothing glamorous. We just try to keep our feet on the ground and have a good creative atmosphere."

Vettel has won 10 of the 16 races in the 2013 championship so far - the most recent a run of six in a row. There is every chance that by the end of the year he will have extended that run - possibly to equal the 60-year record of nine set by Italian Alberto Ascari - but it did not look that promising earlier in the year.

Red Bull started the season with cars that were basically a continuation of those of 2012, with a few refinements. The quick-wearing Pirelli tyres did not play to their strengths, particularly on fast corners, and in the early races team principal Christian Horner voiced repeated criticism until a spate of blow-outs during the British GP weekend in June forced a change and a return to the 2012 construction.

Vettel won three of the first eight races and then seven of the eight since Silverstone.


Newey said: "Going back to 2012 tyres helped us for sure - there was no single magic bullet - and other factors played a part. The 2013 tyres were much more load sensitive. It was much more easy to damage them if you put too much load into them. A bit of it was the nature of the circuit as well.

"The circuits we had as we got into the second half of the season perhaps suited the car.

"We hadn't fully got on top of the high downforce... circuits such as China and Barcelona. So probably Spa and Monza suited us as being medium and low downforce circuits and then by the time we got to Singapore we'd managed to get on top of the high-downforce areas we'd struggled with a bit earlier in the season.

"The closest comparison would be with 2011, when Vettel ended up with 11 wins and was also dominant.

"In 2011 Ferrari started well but by mid-season McLaren was pretty strong and making good strides and we were worrying that actually their development rate was higher than our own. This year Ferrari started off well but, come mid-season, Mercedes seemed to be making very good strides and we were kind of worrying that their development rate was going to overtake us."
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