JUNE 17, 1996
Newey on the move?
WILLIAMS's chief designer Adrian Newey is once again the target for rival Formula 1 teams - which would like to snatch Grand Prix racing's star designer. The problem is that while some teams have big budgets and good facilities with which to interest Newey, he has extremely good facilities at Williams and has made enough money in recent years to make this a less important factor.
The aim, therefore, is to lure him away by either a challenge or an offer of equity in a team. The problem with teams which are willing to offer him a share is that they are all small and do not have the kind of facilities that Newey knows are necessary to produce winning cars.
It is not the first time that teams have tried to snatch Newey. McLaren is rumored to have been trying to hire him for the last four years but he has resisted the offers because McLaren has never been able to offer him the same kind of facilities which Williams enjoys. Even now McLaren's efforts to catch up with rival teams are being handicapped by the fact that the team cannot build a windtunnel until it has found a place to establish its new headquarters. Ron Dennis's desire to build a vast new factory at Woking is still being blocked by planning authorities.
Newey may also balk at joining McLaren unless he knows he will get complete control of the technical departments. In recent years Ron Dennis has refused to hire a star designer, preferring to work with a committee system of engineers. Newey might be tempted to move if offered equity in a team, but it is hard to imagine that McLaren would be willing to do that.
Ferrari has also shown some interest in Newey and he is probably on the team's shopping list for mid-1997 when JohnĘBarnard's current Ferrari contract expires.
An outsider for Adrian's services - and the only team which might offer him equity - is Jordan. It is hard to imagine how Newey could work with current chief designer Gary Anderson and it would be frustrating as the team does not have its own windtunnel and is a long way from such investment.
Newey has a long-term Williams contract and there is no reason why he should not stay on, although our spies suggest that he is frustrated that Williams will not offer him shares in the company and keen to be allowed more freedom of design.
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