Newey sees Red Bull Racing falling further behind in 2016

Adrian Newey look at Ferrari F150


Red Bull Racing’s mastermind behind the quadruple winning constructor and drivers’ titles is this weekend in India supporting his son Harrison who competes in the final race of the MRF Challenge. Adrian Newey stepped back from his frontline Formula One design duties in Milton Keynes to pursue ‘other projects’ from the beginning of 2015.

Newey believes Formula One has fundamentally changed since the introduction of the V6 hybrid turbo engines and the change means it is nigh on impossible for his Red Bull Racing team to compete at the front. He believes the proper balance between engine, chassis and driver contribution to performance has been lost in Formula One.

Red Bull and Bernie Ecclestone have been championing the building of an independent engine for Formula One, where the manufacturer does not have a competing team in the competition. However, the current F1 power unit suppliers recently satisfied Jean Todt by agreeing to cut the cost of the V6 Hybrid engines to customers to 12 million euros from 2017. This headed off the threat from the FIA to open up an alternative engine design to tender.

Red Bull Racing were second in the constructors’ title in 2014 following the introduction of the new hybrid engines. Though with Newey stepping back together with their war with Renault last year, the former world champion team slipped to fourth place in the table. If Newey is to be believed, fans of Red Bull have few reasons to be optimistic about their recovery in the coming season. “Our hope for 2016 is to just maintain that gap, but with Ferrari and Mercedes expected to step up, towards the end of the year we might be further behind than we were last year,” says Newey.

Clearly the Milton Keynes team are bitter about not being able to secure a Mercedes engine deal and Adrian Newey suggests things have changed for the worst since the golden era of Formula One. “Cosworth came with a winning engine in 1967 that was exclusively for use by the Lotus team. It became very clear that the engine was going to be dominant.

“Then, Lotus agreed to waive its exclusivity to allow others to use it for the good of the sport. Unfortunately, that sort of attitude doesn’t seem to exist any more. If the sport is not healthy, what’s the point in winning?”

Bernie Ecclestone has not given up hope of delivering an alternative F1 engine and in his recent interview with the BBC the 85 year old claimed, “Until we get an engine that can be built at a lot less cost, yes, there will be trouble ahead.”

Critics of Red Bull Racing’s consistent complaints at the current F1 regulations level the four years of Milton Keynes dominance as evidence of hypocrisy. Yet Newey believes things were very different then. “Though we managed to win four titles, in 2010 and 2012 the battle went down till the last race.

“Secondly with aero and chassis it is out on view, people can see designs, understand and copy. But with the engine formula you can’t see your competitor’s engine. The only way to catch up is with huge investments and people moving. Ferrari improved from 2014 to 2015 but it cost a lot and needed people from Mercedes.”

Newey could well be right about Red Bull Racing slipping further down the pecking order this year, though that would probably require either McLaren Honda to resolve their power unit issues or Force India to build on the great work they delivered on their chassis in 2016.

Red Bull’s stance has garnered some sympathy from F1 fans who are tired with the Mercedes dominance, yet should Ferrari mount a proper challenge on track this season, Red Bull’s cause may lose momentum even further.

16 responses to “Newey sees Red Bull Racing falling further behind in 2016

  1. These comments coincides with Helmut’s recent ones that Renault should focus more on them rather than their own team.

    “look at the former Lotus team, which is now the Renault team, then I think it would be wise if Renault already aims its arrows at us,” Marko told Motorsport-Magazin.

    “With the team they have now, and these drivers, the Renault factory team will achieve practically nothing.”

    With comments like, I wouldn’t be at all sad if Renault provided them with another crap PU again.

    • Me neither. I was warming to Red Bull a little but statements like that do damage to them to be honest. Self entitled rubbish at its ugliest.

    • As if fortis ever wanted RB to have a competitive engine haha. Cool story. It wouldn’t matter if RB solved the world hunger or EU immigrant crisis. His position probably wouldn’t change if his life depended on it.

  2. I agree with Renault aiming lots of arrows at RB…and pincushioning all those complainers in the back of their hands, those being what they’ve been giving Renault.

  3. Well, if RBR can’t race at the front I hope they can find something to bitch about so they can contribute to the sideshow in some way, like last year.

    Off-track F1 id great pantomime at it’s best. You need villains, those we love to hate – on stage and in real life. I rather RBR chuck darts at Renault than hear the stultifying drone of 21st century corporate-speak.

    BUT, for 2016, I just want on-track action at the sharp end, FFS. I seriously don’t care who. A proper fight between just the MB pair would do. The OCD helicopter parents running that crew need to allow it though.

  4. ‘Cosworth came with a winning engine in 1967’……..1967 FFS; nigh on 50 years ago. Wake up Ade…..

    • …it wouldn’t be a bad idea to return to 1967 levels of downforce, grip, and gridgirls.
      (and hair, especially for Newey!)

  5. We may not like the incessant deriding comments from RBR, but the sad part is that they are right. These power unit REGULATIONS are not good for the sport, at least currently. We will all say it takes time for them to become bedded in and for the sport to benefit, but were are almost into our third year with them. At the end of this year we will be half way through the life of these regulations.

    However I think that if Mercedes dominate in 2016 the same way they have in ’14 and ’15 with Renault and Honda showing no signs of major improvement, then I believe more dramatic changes will be forced upon the Poo (PU) Cartel – that is Todt, Ferrari and Mercedes.

    I predict popcorn time from about Monaco onwards.

  6. ‘Cosworth came with a winning engine in 1967’…

    Was that Cossie engine produced after a fair an equal competition between all engine manufacturers who had agreed the parameters and had an equal chance to produce an engine similar to the Cossie?
    No cigar for Adrian!!

    Any news on the bespoke Red Bull ERS? That should push them up the grid

  7. F1 must have an independent engine supplier to break the hold of ferrari/mercedes. does anyone really get excited about seeing mercedes compete with mercedes and even then that is suspect! if, and that is a big if, ferrari can in fact fight with mercedes then that will be welcome relief but to do so will mean that not only do they need to catch up to the ’15 car but they must find even more to move ahead of mercedes! is that possible? i mean mercedes are certainly going to find more over the break. these WQC’s are ‘hollow’. no competition. one can only hope that red bull can take it to them but i wouldn’t want to hold my breath on that one.

  8. This is nothing new. Engines have always been a big differentiator, except during the Mosley cost-cutting era where we reached parity between engine suppliers. We just have to let the technology mature and hopefully the those lagging will manage to close the gap. Ferrari have proven it is possible, and I think Honda will too.

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