Red Bull Racing’s switch to Honda power for 2019 has rekindled designer Adrian Newey’s motivation according to the energy drink’s motorsport boss Helmut Marko.Newey was the chief architect of the Milton Keynes-base team’s outstanding period of success between 2010 and 2013, when Red Bull won four consecutive team and driver titles.
Thereafter, the design guru became less involved in F1 and sought to apply his engineering skills to other projects like the America’s Cup or the conception of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie hypercar project.
Newey has immersed himself once again into F1 since 2017, although his designs were held back by the relative deficit of their Renault engine compared to Mercedes and Ferrari.
The team’s new engine supply deal with Honda which begins this year is a challenge that has spurred Newey’s interest and motivation.
“Newey doesn’t want a normal working day anymore,” explained Marko. “He is working for us on a daily allowance.
“He was very fascinated and interested in the Valkyrie project. You always need new tasks for him.
“If Newey knows that you have no chance with the engine, then you don’t have the same Newey as now.
“He was at the Honda Development Centre in Sakura [in December]. We’ve found a way to meet his personal needs. It brings value to the team for us.”
The 60-year-old’s contract with Red Bull has entered its final year, and Marko is hopeful of keeping its designer onboard, especially with F1’s big regulation overhaul sitting on the 2021 horizon.
“Newey’s a crucial factor. When the new aerodynamic rules came, we were completely off. By Barcelona we had a competitive car again,” said Marko.
“That’s Newey. He sees what’s not right, even in the design stage, without all the technical data.
“He can tell you: ‘That won’t work’. He doesn’t have a computer – you feel right at home in his office! He just has a big drawing board.
“Another person translates it into the computer language so that the others can understand it. [But] what he designs is 95% correct.”