Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s chief technical officer, is widely considered to be one of the greatest race car designers of all-time, with his designs winning several F1 Championships.
However, in a recent interview, Mercedes’ technical director James Allison suggested that the media has overhyped Newey and allowed the Silver Arrows to “fly under the radar” while the Red Bull designer attracts all of the attention.
“The media do a good job of telling everyone that Adrian Newey builds the best chassis, and that has convinced everyone else to copy that concept [having a shorter wheelbase car],” Allison told Auto Motor und Sport.
“In the meantime, we have flown under the radar with a car that everyone only ever believed lived on its powerful engine. Our car is also very good aerodynamically.
“Now for the serious answer: Every team has chosen a way, whether they copied Newey or not. To deviate from that approach is fraught with risk.
“If you go from a low position to a high position or vice versa, you will get worse results over a period of time.
“Because you have invested a lot of work in your concept and brought it to a very good level. Any attempt to deviate from it is first of all a step backwards.
“And it will take a while before you reap the benefits of the other concept. It is difficult to be brave, to switch to a new concept. That’s why everyone sticks with what they have,” Allison added.
Continuing, he noted the difficulties Mercedes had with their 2017 car and said Racing Point deserve credit for changing their design philosophy last year.
“Look at how long it took us to cure the weakness of the 2017 car. We knew what was causing the problem.
“But understanding how to change fundamental things about the car without going over the cliff is extremely time-consuming.
“It’s like when you have to steer a super-tanker. You make small changes and it takes time for the tanker to change direction. And if you steer in the wrong direction, it can take a long time to stop it.
“So Racing Point deserves a lot of credit. First, that they had the courage to change the concept. Secondly, that they had the competence to make the change quickly and smoothly,” he added.