- Red Bull
Newey's step back allows others to flourish - Horner
Red Bull believes Adrian Newey's step back from Formula One this year creates a "healthy situation" and will allow other members of its design team to flourish.
Last year Red Bull announced that Newey would dedicate less time to F1 in order to focus on new projects, including working with Ben Ainslie's sailing team. Newey has still had a considerable influence on this year's car and will continue to attend half the races, but according to team boss Christian Horner the members of the team below him will benefit from his step back.
"Basically during the last quarter of last year we put into place a senior technical team that is led by Rob Marshall and Adrian feeds into that team," Horner explained. "He'll be combining his time in Formula One with some work in Red Bull Advanced Technologies, but he still has a passion for Formula One. He'll be splitting his time roughly 50:50 between the projects and he'll be attending probably half the races, so he is still very much involved, he still feeds into that group, but it also gives the chance for some of the guys below to grow as well. It's a very healthy situation and he's continuing to feed and mentor the group, but with the guys below also flourishing as well."
Chief engineering officer Rob Marshall explained that he is splitting the burden with three other colleagues to make up for Newey's reduced role.
"There's four of us, myself, Dan Fallows [head of aerodynamics], Pierre Wache [chief performance engineer] and Paul Monaghan [chief car engineer], who have shuffled together to fill in a bit of the gap that Adrian has left, but obviously he is still around to guide us and give advice. It's all face to face, although we have the odd phone call if one of us has a brain wave or equally there's a panic on. Nothing is really urgent [enough to demand Newey's attention immediately] and most things can get written down in a book and discussed when we see each other face to face, which is probably every other day now or one in three days rather than every day. It's still easy."
Horner is not ruling out Newey returning to the front line at Red Bull Racing, especially if the rules become more open.
"Who knows? That's someway down the road, but he is still motivated and you can see that. If the regulations change, become more open and more enticing then perhaps that will whet his appetite to get further involved. But he is at a stage in his career and life where he is enjoying the prospect of a couple of new challenges as well, but at heart he is still a racer and still very passionate about Formula One and extremely competitive."
Arguably a bigger change at Red Bull was the loss of head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou to McLaren last season. However, Newey himself believes Fallows is more than capable of filling in the gap.
"I was sorry to see Peter leave because we've worked together for many years right since I first started at McLaren, and we've had, I hope, a good working relationship. I wasn't overly surprised [he left]. Peter wanted some things in the team that we couldn't offer him and so he decided to look elsewhere, which is the nature of motor racing. Has it affected us? No, I can honestly say our new head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows is doing a good job but in a different style of course, because we are all human at the end of it and have different strengths and weaknesses compared to Peter, but I wouldn't say overall it has had a big effect on the team to be honest."