Adrian Newey, the designer of Red Bull Racing‘s single-seaters, has repeatedly stated that he did not expect his team’s lead to increase in 2023. Red Bull won 17 races in 2022, and this number rose to 21 victories in 2023, thanks to an even more dominant car.
“It’s true. It’s a complete surprise. For the 2022 season, we had the biggest regulatory change in terms of chassis since 1983, in terms of returning to ground effect cars,” Newey said.
“We thought that at the dawn of the second year, with virtually unchanged regulations over the winter and a car that is actually an evolution, our advantage would be reduced, or even eradicated. This is clearly not what happened.”
He acknowledges that rule changes stimulate his creativity: “I’ve always liked regulation changes. Not just because of the loopholes that may exist, but also to understand the requirements of the regulations, how they affect the fundamental principles of the car’s configuration.”
“For 2022, there were several things we had to do differently. It was the return of ground effect, the venturi effect, and I was certainly aware of the pitfalls having worked in IndyCar with this format in the 80s.”
Newey is not surprised that other teams struggled to understand the issue: “It’s not easy to simulate porpoising in a wind tunnel, and even more so in the context of CFD. It’s a transient issue and the car doesn’t move relative to the road.”
“You don’t see it if you’re not looking for it. That’s the problem with all simulation tools. They depend on what you put into them. If you haven’t looked in the right place and you haven’t put the right elements in, you won’t get the right answers.”
The engineer uses his drawing board, but it’s not a miracle solution if there isn’t a brilliant idea behind it: “The drawing board allows me to get ideas out of my head and put them onto a medium with which I can develop them, but you always need that spark.”
“The subconscious is an amazing thing. I’ve often found that when I’m stuck on something, I give up and go for a coffee or something else. Then, one day, a week, a month later, a solution pops up.”
And it’s actually his experience rather than his methodology that helps him quickly sort through his ideas: “It comes with experience. It also relates to the managerial aspect and the development of my work. Collaborating with my colleagues is an aspect I greatly enjoy.”
“And even if I think an idea isn’t good, it’s possible I might be wrong. I certainly don’t want to stifle anyone’s creativity, and it’s important to encourage it. But we also need to be efficient, especially in the era of cost capping.”
Newey admits to having fewer moments where things seem obvious to him than before, as the processes are more complex: “It’s rare, but it happens, and it’s very satisfying. You might think it’s the best idea in the world, but you have to be very disciplined to test it.”
“It’s a long process, but if it leads to something that’s put on the car and makes it go faster, it’s very satisfying. Once reliability is out of the way, we have only one master, and that’s the stopwatch.”
Newey’s Red Bull Dominance 17 Wins F1. Newey’s Red Bull Dominance 17 Wins F1
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