Adrian Newey  Great Britain

driver portrait
Profile

Widely regarded to be Michael Schumacher's greatest rival, with a brain the size of a planet, Adrian Newey has more championships to his name than most. But whereas Schumacher has cemented his place in the history books with seven drivers' championships, Newey beavers away behind the scenes designing race and championship winning cars.

Former driver and commentator Martin Brundle is quick to admit Newey's quality, saying, "If I was doing my Fantasy F1, and I could only afford Newey or Schumacher, then I would have Newey."

Despite leaving school at 16, Newey graduated from Southampton University with a first in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1980, his thesis on ground-effect aerodynamics secured him a job with Fittipaldi Automotive. He joined March the following year, where he was involved in a number of projects including GTP, Indycar and Formula 2 as designer and race engineer.

A brief spell at FORCE was followed by a return to March as chief designer, and when the team was taken over by Leyton House he became technical director, although inconsistent results saw him fired in the summer of 1990.

In what was arguably the defining moment of his career, Newey joined Patrick Head at Williams and by 1992 had sealed the constructors' title. Between 1991 and 1997 Newey's cars won 58 grand prix, four drivers' titles and five constructors' championships.

Newey's role in Williams' dominance of the 1990s cannot be underrated. The importance of a well-designed car was highlighted in the 1992 when Ayrton Senna was helpless to stop Nigel Mansell winning the title in a Newey-designed Williams car.

However, in 1994 tragedy struck with the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola. Along with Frank Williams and Patrick Head, Newey stood trial for manslaughter and after a lengthy procedure he was finally acquitted of all charges in May 2005.

With no prospect of promotion to technical director with Head a shareholder at Williams, Newey was forced to look elsewhere and in 1996 he joined rivals McLaren, winning two drivers titles with Mika Hakkinen. In 2001 he signed a contract with Jaguar but was convinced to stay by Ron Dennis.

After endless speculation that Newey was headed for the exit at McLaren, he joined Red Bull for the 2006 season. Though the 2008 season was a disappointment, 2009 proved a real breakthrough with five victories and 14 podiums, including a back-to-back one-two finishes for Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel at the British and German Grand Prix in July.

In 2010 Red Bull went one step further and swept to both drivers' and constructors' championship with by far the fastest car. So quick was the RB6 that it took 15 pole positions and its rivals complained on several occasions that it was illegal - although no proof was found to back their theories.

2011 didn't see the Red Bull dominance relent either as the RB7 saw reliability added to awesome speed. While Vettel said that the car wasn't as dominant as its predecessor, a record of 36 finishes from 38 starts meant that it didn't need to be. Vettel guided it to his second drivers' championship as the car delivered 12 wins and 18 poles from the 19 races.

An avid sports car collector, Newey has participated in the historic Le Mans event several times and in 2006 destroyed his Ford GT40, escaping with just a cut finger. In 2010 he was gifted a Red Bull RB5 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by his team.

Top of the PageTop

Latest Articles

Top of the PageTop

Latest Photos

July 1, 2014

Adrian Newey and Christian Horner prepare to take to the track at a Red Bull media day

May 9, 2014

Adrian Newey in the Red Bull garage

April 4, 2014

Adrian Newey speaks in the Friday press conference

     

Adrian Newey Formula 1 photos

Top of the PageTop