Newey now “focused on Formula 1” again – Horner

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has switched his focus back to their Formula 1 programme following his work on the Valkyrie hypercar it developed with Aston Martin.

The collaboration between the Formula 1 team and its title sponsor will come to an end this year as Aston Martin will brand Racing Point’s F1 team from 2021.

Speaking to RaceFans in an exclusive interview, Horner said that means Newey is “now focussed on Formula 1.”

“Obviously the last three or four years he’s been very much involved in the Valkyrie project. And [it was] during a period where he didn’t enjoy Formula 1 quite as much because he with the power unit we had at the time, we couldn’t compete.

“Now obviously he sees that we’re in a much more competitive position. So I think he’s enjoying what he’s doing, he’s motivated. It keeps him young. And he’s still got a huge work rate which keeps the young guys on their toes.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie, Silverstone, 2020
Newey developed Red Bull/Aston Martin Valkyrie road car
Red Bull’s senior engineering team includes chief engineer for car engineering Paul Monaghan, head of aerodynamic Dan Fallows, head of performance engineering Ben Waterhouse and Pierre Wache, who became the team’s technical director in 2018.

“It’s never just about one person, as we all know,” said Horner. “Adrian in his function does a great job in mentoring and leading the technical side of the team. But we’ve got great strength and depth. It’s not just about one role, about one person.

“As Adrian over the last couple of years has stepped back with the Valkyrie project we’ve brought in and strengthened the technical group with the likes of Pierre Wache and so on. And the team has continued to win during that period. The team will always be obviously stronger with Adrian in it and focussed on Formula 1.”

As with their other front-running rivals, Red Bull will face the challenge of resizing its team to fit the constraints of the new budget cap for the 2021 F1 season.

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Adrian Newey, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Newey has attended testing and many races this year
“We’re going through that evaluation at the moment,” said Horner. “What is the exact impact of each of the cap? We’re doing quite a lot of analysis, obviously, into that.

“But our strength is our people. You have to look at all aspects of the business but the thing that you all want to protect the most is your people.”

Horner admitted Red Bull is in the “luxurious position with two grand prix teams owned 100% by one owner”, meaning some staff could have the opportunity to relocate from Red Bull to AlphaTauri, which is also partly based in the UK.

“If there is any reshaping that needs to happen, then we have the ability to look at that option, obviously, as well. But our target and my target is to ensure that we have as minimal disruption from this as as possible.”

Horner has run Red Bull’s Formula 1 team since it arrived in the sport in 2005. Following yesterday’s announcement that Sir Frank Williams will relinquish his position in charge of his team after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Horner is poised to become the longest-running team principal in Formula 1 today.

Christian Horner, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Horner will become F1’s longest-running team boss
But he does not see himself leaving his role in the near future. “I’m still relatively young,” said Horner. “I’m 46 years of age.

“I’m very motivated to get this team back into a winning position, into a consistently winning and championship-winning position. That’s my motivation. I enjoy the competition. I enjoy competing. I enjoy the people that I work with.

“I’ve never looked at, you know, I never look too far down the road. I’ve been here 15, 16 years. It’s gone like that. It’s gone incredibly quickly.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Newey now “focused on Formula 1” again – Horner”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    4th September 2020, 7:41

    I’m getting more and more the impression that Dr Helmut Marko and Christian Horner work directly oposite of eachother. I remember Marko saying before the winterstop ‘Yeah dude, Newey is completely focussed on the F1-project again 200%’ (but then obviously in his monotone Austrian voice with creepy look).

    This however feels more like a ‘he just wrapped things up last month’ kind of thing, meaning once again Red Bull dropped the ball at the start of a season and then improves during the year.

    Really makes you wonder at what point in time Red Bull will actually decide to properly start a season and not come up with excuses or empty promises of ‘yeah but this yeah, we’ve actually done it properly’.

    1. I learn very fast to ignore Dr Helmut Marko he is just a very expensive PR man. Christian tell much more information which is more correct.

    2. I think it’s Newey’s instinct, and now the Red Bull culture, to always be pushing the boundaries, @barryfromdownunder. So that tends to means late and edgy and not quite the polished article on any given deadline.

      But it can mean the only way to challenge Mercedes, perhaps.

    3. I didn’t see any mention of when he came back to focusing on F1 in the article. Horner is probably just talking generally about how he has come back this year.

    4. I don’t understand this criticism. They are the fastest team bar one. They finish on the podium every weekend despite not having the strongest engine. Please explain to me how they ‘dropped the ball’.

      Ferrari have dropped the ball this year, Renault have dropped the ball every season they have been in since they returned to F1. Red Bull are doing great.

      1. “Please explain to me how they ‘dropped the ball’”

        refusing to realize the high rake concept might need to be dropped if progress is to be made comes to mind.

  2. So is next years Racing Point is going to be a pink version of the Valkyrie, or will they wait until 2022 when they go to the 18″ wheels …

  3. Interesting take on having 2 teams. Reading between the lines he’s implying that as Red Bull budget shrinks, Alpha Tauri’s may rise and they could shift some Red Bull people over. Makes you wonder how much informal synergy of ideas comes from owning both teams (not just having a customer). Not saying it’s illegal, but strategically probably quite a smart move.

  4. Horner has run Red Bull’s Formula 1 team since it arrived in the sport in 2005. Following yesterday’s announcement that Sir Frank Williams will relinquish his position in charge of his team after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Horner is poised to become the longest-running team principal in Formula 1 today.

    Wow, never noticed this, Horner is becoming a legendary team owner in his own right!

  5. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    4th September 2020, 16:04

    Something Topical – I remember reading in one of Jeremy Clarkson’s columns (he went to school with Newey) that they used to call him ‘No Brains Newey’ as he was always in the metalwork studios rather than playing football…

    The man is a genius and I’m looking forward to seeing a car perform that he has had the opportunity to really focus on.

    1. He’s said that if he didn’t go into engineering and F1, he would likely be a drug dropout, and he seemed to mean it.

    2. Did Jeremy Clarkson went to school? You could have fooled me.

  6. I’ve been waiting for Newey to ‘come back’, and it makes sense it’s now with the new regs and better engine, so I believe it. I wonder if he will finallly drop the high-rake concept. The main problem seems to have been the wind tunnel, but that’s years ago and still they start the season poorly. Will be more than interesting to see what ‘new’ Newey comes up with.

    1. @balue Yeah I agree great news but he’s been hovering in the background overseeing things all along anyway, but still, yeah, can’t hurt having him around full time.

      As to the high rake concept I’m going to make an assumption that it will have to stay on their car for next year, and it does them pretty well, but that with the new ground effects cars for 2022 I’m going to take a guess that those cars will all be much more level to keep air sealed underneath in order to maximize the effect of the tunnels underneath and create a vacuum down onto the track. Of course there will be skirts doing that too since they are attached to the suspension and not the body this time.

      1. nice to see some fellow tech/aero nerds here :)

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