Adrian Newey and moles (of the spying variety)

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    I’ve seen two references to Adrian Newey being spied on recently which piqued my interest.

    This quote from Newey was in a round-up in June:

    “Perhaps the most outrageous example of gamesmanship I came across was when a team planted an engineer at one of my former teams for a year.

    “He was a mole and then the other team took him back, and I am even told that during that time he was getting two salaries.

    “I think we have had an example of that too at Red Bull, although perhaps that was slightly less clear-cut. It is a bit like double agents.”

    From: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/motorsport/4363959/Adrian-Newey-F1-is-full-of-double-agents-but-I-find-it-flattering.html

    And now this in (a very interesting) column by Mark Hughes in this week’s Autosport:

    Adrian Newey has forged ahead [at Red Bull], his technical imagination unrestrained by the restrictions imposed on him at McLaren – where a ‘mole’ from the technical team would relay Newey plans to [Martin] Whitmarsh, who would then frequently temper the more legally ambitious of them.

    I guess if you’re going to spy on anyone in Formula 1 it would be Adrian Newey. So I wonder who’s spying on him at the moment…


    i don’t understand why mclaren would go about that in a duplicitous manner. “this is ok, this we can fight, this one is too far and indefensible.” seems like the kind of thing that should be done right up front. maybe it was involving their dual design team approach?


    I imagine that everyone is spying on everyone else. Its just its either in plain sight or more descrete. I mean, whenever a car (e.g. a Redbull) is on the grid before the race, they have an army of “engineers” standing over every inch of it blocking TV/cameras/other people from looking at it. This has been going on for decades, how else would people have figured out that the Lotus 78 has groundeffects, or the Brabham BT49 with its hydropneumatic suspension and copy them. Those arent secrets you scream from the rooftops.

    What is it they say about imitation being the highest form of flattery.


    I remember that on Peter Windsors show he had an (ex-?)technical director commenting that he always liked to send his collegues pictures of their newest and well hidden tricks with remarks of what to improve. Made it absolutely clear that all the teams get HD pictures of what the others have the second it gets on the car!
    And probably they all know about something new coming up on a car up front too.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    This kind of feels like PR stuff to me. Red Bull have been embroiled in three separate techncial controversies – floor holes, throttle mapping and adjustable ride heights – and now Newey is talking about how every team is secretly copying him.

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