Jackie Stewart, the former owner of what is now the Red Bull Formula One team, has predicted that famed racecar designer Adrian Newey will revitalise the squad’s fortunes.
Red Bull team chief Christian Homer only began talks with Newey, who had been at McLaren since 1998, after the 2005 season ending Chinese Grand Prix.
The arrival of Newey at the team comes at the same time as Red Bull’s switch to Ferrari engines for 2006. It also means he will link up once again with David Coulthard, who has taken all but one of his grand prix wins — at Williams and McLaren — in cars designed by Newey.
It is now four years since Newey almost joined the team, when it was known as Jaguar. Bobby Rahal, Jaguar team principal at the time, claimed he had a “legally binding written agreement” with Newey, but McLaren lured him back.
Stewart sold his eponymous F1 team to Ford, which rebadged it Jaguar for the 2000 season and kept Stewart as a team patriarch. Ford then off-loaded the squad to Red Bull in time for ’05. It is still in the same Milton Keynes premises as when Stewart Grand Prix entered Fl back in 1997. “I think it’s good for both sides,” said Stewart. “Adrian needs a jump start after burning out at McLaren. It happened when he switched from Williams to McLaren — burnout, then a boost. Now the shift to a different culture will revitalise him and the team. David [Coulthard] has been rejuvenated by switching to a new team, and he has worked well with Newey in the past.”
Stewart also compared Red Bull now to when he owned the squad: “I was sitting with Christian at a dinner and it was interesting to compare notes. They have over 450 people now, whereas we had less than half that. They have installed two mezzanines, but they need to find somewhere else soon.”