Adrian Newey has revealed why he nearly joined Ferrari and what ultimately kept him at Red Bull, after having become “pretty disillusioned” with the Austrians’ situation in the opening years of the hybrid era.
Whilst the energy drink-owned side dominated 2022 and claimed their first Constructors’ Championship since 2013, the hybrid era as a whole hasn’t been the kindest to the team.
Red Bull struggled at the start of the hybrid era in 2014, with the team having been ridiculed by a poor powertrain from Renault.
Renault and Red Bull’s partnership was highly successful before the hybrid era began; however, the French manufacturer failed to deliver a competitive package to the Austrians from 2014 onwards.
The team’s power unit was so bad that Newey was linked to a move to Ferrari, with Renault having been more interested in the “marketing angle” than winning races and championships.
“Back then I was pretty disillusioned with the whole thing to be honest in as much as obviously I nearly joined Ferrari,” Newey explained to The Race, whilst reflecting on what nearly drove him to switching to Maranello.
“Although I felt happy at Red Bull, and didn’t really want to move teams, the only thing that had pushed me towards even thinking about moving was that we were stuck with an uncompetitive engine.
“We had a supplier that seemed more interested in the marketing angle that came from being in F1 than actually being competitive.
“If you have an engine partner who comes up with a power unit that’s below the competitors but shows a real desire and a will to fix it and go forward, then you accept it.
“But one that won’t recognise it’s behind and doesn’t seem to be interested in doing anything about it is altogether more difficult. So it caused me to lose motivation.”
After spending some time working on other projects, including, the astonishing Aston Martin Valkyrie, Newey came back into the F1 picture once Red Bull had replaced Renault with Honda.
Honda initially powered the Austrians sister side in 2018, before Red Bull also used the Japanese manufacturer.
Since then, Red Bull have remained at the front, with Newey admitting that unlike Renault, Honda “had the drive and motivation” to succeed.
“I didn’t want to change teams and that’s where the [Aston Martin Valkyrie] road car project came in,” added Newey.
“It kept me motivated and occupied for a bit and once we’d signed the deal with Honda, it was clear that we had a partner that might not be quite there at that point, [but] had the drive and motivation to get there, which changed things.”