PEOPLE: ADRIAN NEWEY

Name: Adrian Newey
Nationality: Great Britain

Adrian Newey, Australian GP 2005

Adrian Newey, Australian GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

The son of a veterinary surgeon from Stratford-upon-Avon, Newey grew up fascinated by cars and loved to make model kits of racing machines. He did not have any money to go karting but he bought some old machinery. It was not competitive but Newey learned how to improve performance by making technical changes. He was not a good student. He attended the famous Repton public school but did not continue to A-levels, leaving school at 16. He attended the local Leamington Spa College of Further Education and studied for an Ordinary National Diploma which helped him to win a place at Southampton to study aeronautics and astronautics. While he was there he met March Engineering's Ian Reed who was so impressed that he offered Newey a job as a draftsman. Newey gained a First Class honors degree, having written a thesis on ground-effect aerodynamics.

When he left university he joined Fittipaldi Automotive but moved to March in 1981. He engineered Johnny Cecotto to second place in the 1982 European F2 series in a factory March and that winter designed the March GTP sportscar which went on to win two successive IMSA titles. At the end of 1983 he was given the job of designing the March 84C Indycar. This was followed by the 85C and 86C. The 84C won seven of the 16 races and Tom Sneva - driving for Mayer Motor Racing - finished second in the CART series. Rick Mears drove one of the cars to victory in the Indianapolis 500.

In 1985 Al Unser won the title in a March 85C and Bobby Rahal followed up in 1986 with a second title. Midway through 1986 Teddy Mayer asked Newey to leave March and join the FORCE Formula 1 team to try to improve the car. Things did get better but by November it was clear that the team was going to close down and Newey was hired to race engineer Mario Andretti in the CART series. In August that year he was rehired by March Engineering to become chief designer for the March 881 Formula 1 car. The car showed well but things were less successful in 1989. When March was taken over by Leyton House Newey stayed on, being appointed technical director of the team. The Leyton House period was not a big success and after the CG891 and CG901 were both flops Newey was fired by the team in the summer of 1990. Patrick Head of Williams was quick to offer him a job and Newey became chief designer at Williams, producing the Williams-Renault FW14 - a continuation of the theme he had begun at Leyton House.

Newey oversaw the design of the FW14 and all the subsequent Williams-Renaults which dominated Grand Prix racing in the 1990s. His Williams designs between 1991-1997 won a total of 58 Grand Prix victories, four Drivers' titles and five Constructors' Championships.

By the end of 1996 it was clear that Newey did not want to stay with Williams. He joined McLaren at the start of the 1998 season and it immediately began to win, enabling Mika Hakkinen to get two successive World Championships.

He came close to leaving McLaren to join Jaguar in the summer of 2001 but was convinced to stay and played an important role in the team's return to winning with the MP4-19B and the MP4-20. At the end of the 2005 season he moved to Red Bull Racing.

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