Skip to main content

Formula One car guru Adrian Newey predicts spicy 2014 season

updated 11:08 AM EST, Tue November 26, 2013
Red Bull's double act of racer Sebastian Vettel and designer Adrian Newey have won the team four world titles.
Red Bull's double act of racer Sebastian Vettel and designer Adrian Newey have won the team four world titles.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Red Bull car designer Adrian Newey says 2014 rule changes will spice up new season
  • He says it is a "guessing game" which team will have best engine/chassis combination
  • Newey says he would like the rules to consider car aesthetics more than they do
  • Englishman says he has a "24-hour" rule he applies to all his design ideas

(CNN) -- The checkered flag has only just fallen on the final Formula One race of the year in Brazil but the sport's top car designer is already predicting a spicy 2014 season.

Adrian Newey is the man behind the Red Bull racer that has powered Sebastian Vettel and the team to four straight world championships.

But the Englishman is not taking Red Bull's dominance for granted as major rule changes loom on the horizon.

Next year, each team must package its car around a new turbo engine as well as complying with aerodynamic rule changes which will mainly affect the design of the cars' front and rear wings.

"The aerodynamic changes are big," explained Newey to Formula1.com. "But they are smaller than the changes we had in 2009.

Celebrations at the Red Bull F1 Factory
What's behind Vettel's winning streak?
Vettel's dominance could bore F1 fans

"So yes, there is the chance that one team comes up with a car that is better than their rivals', but on top of that you have the engine changes.

"What is absolutely unclear is whether one engine manufacturer will be able to come up with a significant advantage.

"But the car that will brush aside all others will be a car having the combination of good engine and good chassis -- if one side is letting you down you will have a problem.

"Who will come up with the ideal combination? That's the big guessing game for all of us and will add spice to the 2014 season."

Red Bull will continue to be powered by Renault while Mercedes and Ferrari will pit their new 1.6-litre, V6 engines against the French engine manufacturer.

The 2014 cars will also rely on more hybrid power harvested from Energy Recovery Systems (ERS).

While these elements of the car are out of Newey's hands, the Englishman, who says he has received offers to join rival teams, remains in charge of Red Bull's car design as the team's chief technical officer.

Read: 'Magic' Vettel will surpass Schumacher

There has already been speculation within the sport that the 2014 cars will be less easy on the eye than this season's sleek racers.

It's a theory that also irks Newey, who still uses a drawing board to sketch out the design of his peerless machines.

"Ideally the car is fast and has a stylish design," the former Williams and McLaren designer continued.

"But everybody in the paddock will give a fast car preference over an attractive car -- that's the way it is.

"Yes, for me it would be good if a bit more consideration was given to aesthetics in the drafting of the regulations. But fast is paramount over beauty."

Newey and his team of more than 100 engineers have been working on Red Bull's 2014 for many months, even while juggling the demands of winning current championships.

Amazing brain

But the Englishman, rated as the sport's leading car designer, was still willing to share some tips on preparing for a major rule change -- even if there could be a slight danger that rivals such as Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren might just pinch some of his ideas.

"The first thing that you do is to read the regulations -- very, very carefully," he explained.

"You try to read what they actually say, rather than what they intend to say, as this is not always the same thing.

"After that I'm actually breaking it down into bite-size chunks. Then you try to understand from the regulations the aerodynamic and mechanical packaging that appears to be the best solutions for those different areas.

"You go away and research them and at some point try to bring it all back together again. For me that is the important bit: the end product should be a whole and not pieces thrown together into one cluster.

"Does it still look a good idea after 24 hours? That decides whether it gets a tick or a cross.

"Actually, you develop a sensibility for that procedure. The brain is an amazing thing: you might be doing something completely different -- maybe making a cup of tea -- and suddenly you know right from wrong!"

The most coveted designer in Formula One will find out whether he has got it right or wrong when testing for the new season begins next January.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:08 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
updated 1:30 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
updated 3:16 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
updated 8:16 AM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
updated 5:55 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Susie Wolff
Despite being a sport well into its seventh decade, only two women have ever driven in Formula 1 but Susie Wolff hopes to become the third.
updated 12:36 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
updated 7:26 AM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
updated 7:13 PM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
updated 7:17 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
CNN's Rosie Tomkins speaks to Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes on the team's driver line-up for 2014.
updated 12:13 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
updated 11:33 AM EST, Wed December 4, 2013
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
ADVERTISEMENT