June 20, 2024
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says it would be a “privilege to work with” Adrian Newey if the designer joins Ferrari following his departure from Red Bull.

Newey can start work for another team as soon as he leaves Red Bull in early 2025. Ferrari, who Hamilton joins next season, are keen to sign him.

The seven-time champion said: “If I was to do a list of people I would love to work with, he would absolutely be at the top of it.”

“Any team would be fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him.”

Meanwhile, world champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said that he “would have preferred” Newey to stay at the team.

But he added that the rest of the technical team at Red Bull is “really strong” and the loss of Newey is “not as dramatic as it seems”.

Newey, 65, is regarded as the greatest designer in the history of Formula 1, and has won 13 drivers’ championships and 12 constructors’ titles with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.

Hamilton did not say whether the idea of attracting Newey to Ferrari had come up in his negotiations with the team last winter.

But asked how much he would like to work with him, Hamilton said: “Very much. He’s got such a great history, track record. Just done such an amazing job through his career. I think he’d be an amazing addition. [Ferrari] have a great team already, but it would be a privilege to work with him.”

Dutchman Verstappen added of Newey’s departure: “If someone really wants to leave, they should leave. That’s what I wrote to him.

“If you think that is the right decision for yourself and your family, you have to do it.

“F1 is a shark tank. Everyone thinks about themselves at the end of the day. I know that. I’m not stupid. So that’s fine.”
Briton Hamilton has raced against Newey cars for his entire career and has faced two periods of domination by Red Bull – from 2010-13 and since 2022. They sandwich the Mercedes era in which Hamilton broke records to become the most successful F1 driver in history.

“Racing against a team he has been so heavily a part of over the years has been a massive challenge,” Hamilton said. “But we have to remember there is a lot of people in the background – it is not one person, it is a whole team of people who do the job.

“Of all the amazing experience he brings, the people he works with will continue to do an amazing job. I don’t anticipate Red Bull not continuing to build great cars moving forwards. But any team would be fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him.”

Charles Leclerc, who will be Hamilton’s team-mate at Ferrari and has been with the Italian team since 2019, said it would be “amazing” if Newey joined.

“Adrian is one of those guys in the paddock that you hope to be working with one day in your career,” said the Monegasque driver.

Newey’s decision to leave Red Bull comes in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and coercive, controlling behaviour made by a female employee against team principal Christian Horner, which the 50-year-old denies.

Verstappen has repeatedly been asked whether Horner has his full backing and has given equivocal answers, while emphasising that he wants the senior team at Red Bull to stay together.

Newey is arguably the single most influential person on that team.

Verstappen said Newey had been “incredibly important” for Red Bull’s success over the years but emphasised that “his role has changed a bit and a lot of people don’t understand what he was actually doing – I don’t say he wasn’t doing anything but his role has evolved”.

He added: “Of course I would have preferred him to stay, for sure, because you can always rely on his experience and just as a person he is a great guy to chat to and relate to.

“He is very bright and smart but he would also talk to the driver and interpret that into the car, in terms he would try to imagine himself driving.

“But I also really trust that the technical team we have outside of Adrian is really strong. They have shown that for the last few years how competitive the car is.

“From the outside it looks very dramatic, but if you know what is happening inside the team it is not as dramatic as it seems.”

Verstappen’s contract with Red Bull lasts until 2028 but Mercedes are pursuing the Dutchman and hope to persuade him to move to them in time for next year or 2026.

Asked whether losing Newey would have an impact on his future, Verstappen said: “Not at the moment.”

He acknowledged that the developments at Red Bull this year were “a bit unexpected”, but added: “It is always very important to remain calm and focused on your job, know who you’re working with, feel comfortable.

“At the end of the day, we need to have the fastest car. That’s what I always demanded, that’s what we finally got for a couple of years now. And we have a very strong technical team that are part of the team for a long time. It goes on like it was going before.”

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