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Newey: Close scrutiny almost a compliment

NEWS STORY
09/08/2021

Admitting that he has never known such "politicking and lobbying", Adrian Newey says he almost regards the intense scrutiny his team is under as a compliment.

In his time, Adrian Newey, arguably one of the most successful technical directors to grace the sport, having penned championship winning cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.

Since first entering the sport in 1980 it is fair to say that he has pretty much seen it all.

However, as the 2021 season becomes ever more fractious, the Briton says he has never known a team to be under such close scrutiny, never known such levels of "politicking and lobbying".

While the infamous incidents at Silverstone and the Hungaroring have set the Austrian team back, they are almost as nothing compared to the relentless barrage of innuendo the team has had to face this season, be it a "bendy" rear wing, engine upgrades and even its pit stops questioned. Indeed, in an increasingly bitter title fight, it would appear that nothing is off the table.

"We have experienced this before," says Newey in a Red Bull produced interview, "but I can't remember a time when we have received the same level of behind the scenes politicking and lobbying against our car.

"Possibly if you look back to when we were exploring aeroelastics in 2010/2011 then we were under constant scrutiny and would adapt to each changing set of regulations," he adds.

"We've been here before in the last championship battles with Ferrari which involved some rows over bodywork flexibility as well.

"I never particularly like the war analogy," he admits, "but it is a decent analogy, and you have to look at every aspect you can to improve your competitive position. That is the nature of Formula 1, and one of the things that makes it so stimulating, but it is the frequency and intensity of this year that is quite telling.

"If you take the issue with the flexible rear wing, we certainly weren't the only team to have that issue," he continues, "but of course, when Mercedes started making noise about it, they weren't worried about what Alfa were doing. They were only worried about whether we were getting a benefit, which we really weren't. But there was a cost implication to changing that part which obviously hurt.

"It is however a great testament to the depth of our team that we can respond to changes and is a great example of when our team is put in a corner we can come out fighting and continue to be just as competitive."

Incidentally, since the Silverstone and Hungaroring incident, which saw Mercedes take the lead in both championships, the whispering campaign, previously led by Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton, has seemingly died down.

"The last couple of races have been very painful for us after hitting a sweet spot over the France-Styria-Austria triple-header," says Newey.

"It really does highlight how quickly things can change. Things were looking very good, particularly after the Austrian Grand Prix, and we had a decent lead in the two championships: two races later we're slightly behind in both which is more painful when it is through no fault of our own.

"That's the nature - and the competitiveness - of the sport we're in," he admits. "We just have to keep our heads down and keep pushing."

"One of the great things about Red Bull is that we've always had a good atmosphere in the team and that's meant we've also had very good stability in the workforce, going back to a time even before we were first able to mount a title challenge.

"We lost-out in 2009 but that, and I think the experiences of winning two very tight battles in 2010 and 2012 have moulded us, and given us a level of resilience that comes in very useful now. We know how to be the hunter and the hunted which is a definite strength."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 11/08/2021 1:52

"@ Spindoctor...for a moment there I thought that my 10 negatives would be surpassed by your latest attempt. The end of season award for the 'Pitpass Negative Points WC' is still up for grabs. Good luck.... in a sporting sense."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 09/08/2021 14:09

"Oh dear.
Depressing that Newey, possibly the greatest designer\Technical Director in F1 history has been sucked-in to this nonsense.
Formula 1 has always been something of a cess-pit - remember the Alonso\Ferrari\McLaren affair? That makes the current scrutiny of RBR look like the mere gossip & innuendo it largely is. Newey's whingeing about their flexi-wing is misplaced - they bent the rules[sic] & got caught. Any inconvenience\cost implications are completely self-induced.

After this puff from the RBR PR machine it would seem a bit hypocritical for them to continue their campaign of abuse against Hamilton & Mercedes. "

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