Adrian Newey: The Engineer Who Almost Joined Ferrari
Adrian Newey is a legendary figure in the world of Formula One engineering. With an impressive track record, he has played a pivotal role in the success of multiple teams, including Williams, McLaren, and Red Bull. Known for his innovative design solutions, Newey has led struggling teams to the front of the grid and has been instrumental in securing twelve World Constructors’ Championships for his cars.
However, Newey’s journey in the world of Formula One almost took a different turn. According to a recent interview between Dax Shepard and Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull Racing, Newey was on the brink of joining Ferrari. It was only through a last-minute effort that Red Bull managed to keep him within their ranks.
During the period from 2014 to 2021, when Mercedes dominated the sport due to a change in regulations and the introduction of hybrid engines, Red Bull faced a challenging phase. It was during this time that Newey received a tempting offer from Ferrari. The Italian team proposed that Newey would commute daily from Monaco to the Maranello factory, with the company assisting with any tax-related matters. Moreover, Newey would have the opportunity to design a road car, a project he had always dreamed of.
In a bid to retain Newey’s services, Horner came up with a counteroffer. He proposed that Newey could create a road car under the Red Bull banner. At the time, Aston Martin was the title sponsor of the Red Bull F1 team, and Horner approached the automaker’s CEO, Andy Palmer, with the idea. The prospect of collaborating with one of the greatest designers in history appealed to both parties, and they agreed to join forces.
The collaboration between Red Bull and Aston Martin resulted in the creation of the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Initially introduced in 2016 under the codename AM-RB 001, the car’s official name was announced in 2017. Production of the spectacular vehicle finally commenced in 2021.
The project brought together various partners, including Cosworth, responsible for building the Valkyrie’s powerful 6.5-liter V12 engine, and Rimac, which supplied the KERS hybrid system. With a staggering total output of 1,140 horsepower, the Valkyrie is truly a force to be reckoned with. Newey’s expertise in aerodynamics is evident in the car’s sleek and futuristic design, which Horner has famously referred to as “a diffuser on wheels.”
The Aston Martin Valkyrie represents the epitome of a road car, with its exceptional performance and uncompromising aerodynamics. It possesses the capability to outpace many race cars on the track while remaining road-legal. The collaboration between Red Bull and Aston Martin not only resulted in the creation of a groundbreaking car but also marked the beginning of a new era of dominance for Red Bull in Formula One.
In retrospect, it becomes clear that Ferrari played a significant role in the development of the Aston Martin Valkyrie. The temptation presented by Ferrari’s offer to Newey prompted Horner and Red Bull to initiate a partnership with Aston Martin, thus giving birth to a remarkable vehicle and reviving Red Bull’s fortunes in the world of Formula One.
As fans of both engineering brilliance and the sport itself, we owe a great debt to Ferrari for unintentionally steering Newey towards the creation of the Aston Martin Valkyrie. With its unrivaled performance and iconic design, the Valkyrie stands as a testament to the remarkable talent and dedication of Adrian Newey.