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Understanding Adrian Newey

4 months ago

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Edd Straw | Journalist


9 January 2024

Adrian Newey, seen by many as chief architect of Red Bull’s Formula 1 glory, is typically portrayed as an aerodynamic genius. While not inaccurate, the characterisation is reductive and denies the complexities not only of the process of designing and developing Grand Prix cars, but the man himself.

The fantasy of the lone savant churning out innovative ideas in a whirlwind of drawing-board scrawls was rarely the truth even back in the days when Colin Chapman was credited with all those rulebook-ripping Lotuses of the 1960s, let alone today.

Newey is regarded as F1’s magic bullet, and legitimately so given he has been a key contributor to 25 World Championships (drivers’ and constructors’) with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, so it’s no surprise he’s regularly courted by rivals, notably Ferrari. But there’s no sorcery involved. To understand what makes Newey such a potent force, it’s necessary first to deconstruct that ‘aerodynamic genius’ epithet.

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