‘He cannot accept that’: Ex-F1 champion opens up on Adrian Newey

Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has designed 23 title-winning cars in F1.

Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost has recalled his time working alongside Red Bull chief technology officer Adrian Newey, somebody he’s both “loved talking to” but also seen very “angry” in recent years.

Newey is arguably one of the greatest engineers Formula 1 has ever seen, with the Red Bull chief having designed 23 championship winning cars, both Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships combined.

His last two designs are perhaps his best to-date, with Red Bull’s RB18 having claimed 17 wins last season, whilst this year’s RB19 has secured consecutive 1-2 finishes at the opening two races of 2023.

Newey’s first title-winning car was Williams’ FW14B in 1993, which Prost drove to glory before retiring from F1.

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The Frenchman recalled how he “loved” spending time with Newey and how he used to draw all of his cars by hand, with him being somebody “you never have an argument with”.

“I loved talking to Adrian,” Prost stated on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Adrian is listening to you, asking questions all the time. You never have an argument with Adrian. You’re talking with Adrian and he is listening, and then he does what he thinks is the best, but he never tells you what he’s going to do – or if you’re right or you’re wrong. Nothing. Just listening and talking.

“I love that, you know, that is why he’s the best – because you know why? Because everybody thinks that Adrian is still one engineer.

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“I mean, I don’t know now, but he was at McLaren and I remember going in his office and [he was] drawing some parts of the car by hand – I mean, it’s unbelievable.

“But also the ways he is working and listening, and it’s fantastic for the engineers working with him, it brings energy and synergy in terms of the brain, that capacity is fantastic.”

Prost has seen both sides of Newey, though, with the technical officer not always being happy.

Prost recalled being “afraid” of talking to Newey when he was working for Renault, who used to supply power units to Red Bull.

Renault’s power units were incredibly unreliable, something which created an unwelcome atmosphere amongst the two teams.

“Yes, because I saw in that my experience I had with him a little bit when I was at Renault, and we had a few mechanical shudders with the engine,” Prost said.

“I was the one that Renault pushed in order to go and talk to Max’s family and Adrian or also Helmut or Christian.

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“I remember in Spa, going to the office and I was almost afraid but anyway, it was not a good experience.

“But I saw Adrian very, very upset sometimes, very upset because he’s a competitor and he thinks that he’s making the best car and he wants to have the results – and if it’s because of the engine or reliability, he cannot accept that.

“But I saw him, the real competitor, sometimes he can be angry – because I never saw him like this before.

“And he’s not young, he has fantastic experience, fantastic records but he’s still there, motivated and being angry like he was, I really appreciate that very much.”