One of the biggest names in British motorsport engineering is considering his future in the light of the latest regulations changes to hit Formula One because the sport is losing its challenge.
Adrian Newey, the designer responsible for creating championship-winning Williams and McLaren cars during the 1990s, and who followed David Coulthard to Red Bull in 2006, says the rules are now too restrictive and he will be looking to work elsewhere “within the next two or three years”.
His career at Red Bull has never really taken flight – he arrived with the Milton Keynes-based team too late to make any real impact on the 2006 car and the two more recent models have been dogged by reliability problems and under-performed on expectations.
Coulthard, who had spent virtually his whole F1 career in Newey cars, managed to wring a podium out of the RB2 in Monaco in 2006 – one of the team’s more impressive results until Sebastian Vettel’s triumphant win in Italy in a Red Bull chassis this year.
However F1 fans and commentators have high hopes of the innovative RB5, which features a fundamentally redesigned aero package, a new approach to weight distribution and a unique front wing, and are tipping it to provide Red Bull with a breakthrough win in 2009.
But Newey, who also worked in the IRL, told Autosport this week: “I would definitely like to step back in the not-too-distant future. The rules are becoming more and more restrictive.
“While it has been exciting to have such a big regulation change for this year, ultimately those regulations are more restrictive than the one’s we’ve just come away from.”
He said he would like to retain some connections with F1, and could see himself working as a consultant, but only with a team whose engineers were on board: “It has to be that the engineers at the team would want me to be a consultant, otherwise it just wouldn’t work.”
Whatever he decides to do, it’s certain that the man who gave rise to the phrase “Newey vs Schuey” has already secured his place in the Formula One history books.