Newey reveals he turned down approach from Mercedes after 2014

2017 F1 season

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Adrian Newey revealed he turned down an approach to join Mercedes’ F1 team while he was “depressed” about Red Bull’s competitiveness after the V6 hybrid turbo rules came in.

The Red Bull designer told the BBC he was contacted by Mercedes and Ferrari the when Red Bull’s fortunes took a downturn after their fourth world championship victory in 2013.

“We had this change in engine regulations in for the 2014 season. The new hybrids which I think has not, in truth, done the sport any favours. We’ve ended up with this situation where we have a big disparity in power unit performance. ”

“And with our particular engine supplier we seemed a bit doomed. I got quite depressed about that. Ferrari approached as did another team, Mercedes, as well. And it’s kind of make your mind up time.”

Newey said he preferred to remain with Red Bull partly because he’d joined the team within a few years of it being set up and helped make them a championship-winning outfit.

“But I guess Red Bull, having built it up from nothing, I felt a paternal bond to the team, to the people that worked there. I enjoyed a very close and strong relationship with Christian Horner. So it kind of felt like walking out on a family.”

He reiterated his criticism of the current engine regulations, saying the sport has been fortunate to have a competitive championship in the fourth year of the formula.

“It’s a bad thing. I think we’ve been lucky this year. We’ve ended up with two teams, Mercedes and Ferrari, battling for the championship. But it’s been the first time in the hybrid era we’ve had two times fighting for the world championship.”

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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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24 comments on “Newey reveals he turned down approach from Mercedes after 2014”

  1. Thank heaven he stayed in RBR. Imagine that scary Mercedes PU at his disposal what a monster he would have created !
    On another note, RBR are trying desperately to push for a chassis formula by moaning about engines in every single opprtunity. Marko,Newey,Horner,Mateschitz,Max,….FacePalm :)

    1. @tifoso1989 – absolutely, imagine the depression amongst the rest of the grid if he’d joined forces to build the 2016 Mercedes car.

      That said, part of the reason for him staying on with Red Bull is that his value to RBR gives him a degree of latitude and freedom (e.g. his boating interests) that would probably not be available in the other two teams – Mercedes run a very ship in a structured and corporate manner (refer Brawn’s ouster), and Ferrari is famous for the Italian Inquisition.

    2. Red bull are not wrong though. F1 is a two tier championship with engine manufacturer teams totally dominating and the key reason is the engines. The hybrid engines are killing f1 just like they killed lmp1. Expensive and boring on all aspects.

      1. So you complain about costs, but then bang on about going back to V10 engines that were even more expensive than the current V6 turbo engines and would make the problems you complain about even worse?

        1. V10 would be cheaper and would give better racing.

      2. If it’s boring, don’t watch it.

        Red Bull cry’s as if they were as slow as Sauber… they’ve won multiple races this year. Act like it.

        As was stated above, it’s blatantly obvious they are crying on demand to get their way politically. Red Bull has better aero than most the other teams, Mercedes has the better engine… calling it a two teir championship is disingenuous as all hell.

      3. @socksolid
        Spending ~300 million on chassis alone isn’t expensive ?

        1. There are 4 teams in f1 with budgets above 300 million. I doubt it all goes into chassis but maybe you have some insider information? Plus at least a team can improve their chassis. The engine comes somewhere else and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. F1 has been chassis building championship pretty much always. Only in this hybrid era do we see this kind of total domination 4 years straight. It is two tier championship.

    3. But do not forget the opposition did not wanted a decent engine in the RB car. Both Ferrari and Mercedes declined to deliver a engine. Not very sporting is it? They seemed really afraid of a Newey/fast engine combo.
      If they had done it RIC would be WDC by now.
      And you can hardly disagree with the critics about the Renault engine.. it really is very unreliable. Let’s hope for the sport next year the differences are smaller.

      1. Since when is it sporting to help your rivals beat you?

        You can say they were scared of red bull… that’s fair.

        But that’s not what it means to be a good sport.

        Your being disingenuous. —oh, and Ricciardo will never be a WDC, the man doesn’t have it.

      2. @seth-space Wrong! Mercedes/Lauda offered Mateschitz to sell them an engine. Then Mateschitz went to Ferrari to see if he could get a better deal and got rejected. Only then did Mercedes rescind their offer because their condition for selling that engine were trust and that there would be no bad blood from Mateschitz (who had been very negative about Mercedes).

        So he brought this on himself.

        1. @patrickl
          The real reason why the Mercedes/Red Bull deal wasn’t finalized is that Red Bull did have a secret agreement with VW group (Audi) to sell them engine starting from 2018 or 2019. That was before the DieselGate scandal which scrapped VW plan to enter F1. So the plan was to transfer as much informations as possible to Audi and help them build their PU based on the benchmark Mercedes PU.
          Once Toto figured out the plan he went straight to Mercedes board of directors and blocked the deal. Lauda was naive to say the least when he accepted to deal with RBR.

          1. @tifoso1989, Could be, but that sounds more like a rumor than something which actually came straight from what we heard from the key players in this charade.

        2. Sources?

  2. Somehow i can´t get rid of the feeling that this “big disparity in power unit performance” whouldn´t seem so unfair to him if red bull had the best unit.

    1. And I would add Horner to the list. They are both bad sports hiding under pseudo history of F1. Have a look at the current Williams documentary to get a feel of what F1 is all about.

    2. @zad2, They most certainly didn’t complain about the big disparity in aero performance until 2014.

  3. Complex power units don’t do the sport any favours. Complex aero doesn’t do the sport any favours.

    And funnily enough Newey is critical of the one he doesn’t have and can’t influence. The fact is Red Bull with a Renault power unit is so very close to being the best package. It’s their driver whose been the top scorer in the last 5 races.

    They all have the same formula to build a car to, Red Bulls approach of being a privateer who purchases a power unit is clearly inferior to Ferrari and Mercedes approach of building everything.

    1. That’s funny, complex engines and aero are why I watch… it I wanted to watch simple cars with simple engines, I could watch nascar.

      F1 is pinnacle of motor sports,THATS WHY WE WATCH.

      1. I’m not advocating for the removal of technology from F1, simply stating a fact that the competition of teams against each other (the definition of the word sport) is done no favours by the complexity of the power units and aero. Those two aspects are what cause a tiered system where we don’t really see a huge amount of actual competition between the teams.

  4. Oh look it’s redbull moaning about engines…. What a shock. Funny how when Renault engines were the best for working the blown diffuser redbull didn’t have a problem. Redbull can blame engines all they want but the simple fact is Mercedes have build better cars than them for 4 years. And Ferrari have build a better car this year. Hell just look at the redbull car now and it’s a basically just a copy of the Ferrari. Maybe if newey spend more time working on designing the 2017 car redbull wouldn’t have spend the whole season blaming Renault for their car not being good enough.

    1. define copy

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