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In an interesting article over at AUTOSPORT, Red Bull design genius, Adrian Newey, has admitted that the new regulations are a part of the reason he is deciding to slowly back away from Formula 1. It was announced this week that Newey would still remain at Red Bull but focus on new projects and advise the F1 team. That’s a big change and the regulations are a large part of it:

“I just feel, to be perfectly honest, the current regulations are very restrictive, which is a shame,” he said.

“It’s difficult to find new areas to explore because they are so tight.

“At the same time, I’d like to see if I can apply my ability – whatever that might be – to other areas.

“I’ll be fully involved with the team over the next few months.

“During that time we will look at how the engineering structure will run in the future, and then once I get fully into the new projects, I will step back and take on much more of an advisory role and, if you like, mentoring some of my colleague engineers.

“If they have questions or would like my advice then I’ll be available to give that.”

It’s an interesting comment as many have suggested that the current regulations were largely driven by the engineers. If Newey is being driven off because of them, clearly he wasn’t one of the people advocating the changes. Makes one wonder just who was?

Newey’s oversight will be immense for Red Bull but it is a massive change and some have suggested that Sebastian Vettel’s longevity at the team are tied to the fact that Newey is at the team designing the cars. Is this a slight change in procedure or the end of a dynasty? Adrian has been involved in F1 for a long time and has designed many championship-winning cars. It’s a shame if the current regulations claim another victim in the form of Adrian Newey.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Yep, it is a shame, but wasn’t it a known fact? Newey has hinted about that many times in the recent years, despite the fact that his cars were wiping the track with the rivals.
    I have heard the same from other engineers as well. On my words: “Why don’t you guys do this?!” – We are limited by regulations.

  • Sizziano

    Well people have been screaming for a smaller part played by aero for years……so this makes sense.

  • “… the current regulations are very restrictive… I’ll be fully involved with the team over the next few months.”
    That sounds like bye-bye…
    And it is in synch with many F1 fans around the world. When you make them all the same ( like Indycar), when you run them on less fuel, limiting revs to 15k when they were, once, running at 19k (and can run faster), when you reduce tire longevity to make pit-stops action (on TV) decide the outcome of races (Indycar & Nascar), when you reduce downforce, when you reduce top speeds, when you reduce driver capability (with too much to do in the cockpit), when you reduce proven advantages (mass dampners, blown infuser, stability control, etc.) – in the end the very basis of F1 is reduced and fan numbers will self-reduce at the same time.
    I wonder if the electric series will catch on… it’ll be almost the same car now.
    Something has to give here. For the first time in 50 years of following F1, I’m bored. Not with the drivers, not with the technicians’ capabilities – but with the ability of and interest in hand-cuffed execution. Newey moving on perhaps sound the death-knell… Bernie, listen up!

    • Stefan Bellof

      Hear-hear! I’ve been an avid F1 fan going on 35 years now, and have never been less interested in the sport than this year–I’m hanging on by a thread! In addition to everything you mentioned, I believe a big part of what’s hurting the “spectacle” of F1 is it no longer feels like the winner of a given race is clearly the fastest driver in the fastest car. By that I mean it’s no longer 24 drivers going balls-out from flag to flag, getting the maximum out of their cars, driving to the limit. Instead, drivers are constantly being intstructed by their computer-informed engineers on exactly how much fuel they need to be using at any given moment, how their and each of their competitors’ fuel levels are doing, specifically at which parts of the track they need to maximize their ERS, etc. The sport was a hell of a lot more interesting when the only communication was via pit boards and drivers simply had to go fast and manage the races themselves.

      And don’t get me started on DRS, which along with the ban on refueling, has almost completely ruined Formula 1…

    • Kurt

      I completely agree and couldn’t have said it better myself. I have not been following F1 for as long as you, but the variety of designs in response to regulations that allowed – inspired! – innovative solutions was what I loved about it.

  • MR

    They’re also in the midst of cost-cutting themselves out of existence. Yes, the sound of the new motors is awful, but the thing that has me wanting to switch off is one-team domination. Sure, new rule packages will shake up the order, but that just means a new team will utterly dominate. Engine freeze and testing bans guarantee that no one has a chance to catch up if they’re off the pace in Melbourne. Sorry, but software updates ain’t gonna claw back the 1.5 sec/lap delta that exists now. Hell, Nico was down 160 hp and they still only barely caught him!

    They could save lots of money by packing up shop, if that’s the ultimate goal of the series…

  • I would love to see him get involved with the Team Australia America’s cup challange.

    • Or a Pike’s Peak Hill Climb effort. One of the last remaining truly open-class competition. …that and Land Speed Record cars.

    • More likely:
      Team Austria

  • This should not be a genuine surprise to anyone. Imagine telling a 5-star chef that they must strictly follow a specific recipe from the Better Homes & Garden Cookbook, or telling a top artist that they must only use the prescribed colours in the designated numbered areas. That’s what Formula 1 is doing to it’s engineering talent. Why would you want to compete in sport that does not respect and encourage your craft?

  • It is very sad to hear that one of the greatest minds in F1 is leaving because the system won’t let him perform. As an engineer, I loved F1 because the innovation, how engineers came up with solutions to make their car faster. As an aerospace engineer, I loved the wing designs and they way the air was manipulated to obtain the most downforce and less drag. But in today’s F1, that innovation and engineering have been taken hostage in the name of “safety” and money saving. At this rate, Bernie should stop calling it F1 and rename the series to GP1.

  • Expect Newey to design road cars?, nah it’s not the pinnacle of motor sports and am hoping he dives into the America’s Cup. I suspect F1 is going downhill from now which is sad though. Yes I do understand the point when manufacturers wanted to leave because V8s are no longer relevant and this is the course F1 has to take. Well I’ll still be watching but of late I feel I’m losing interest bit by bit. After attending all the Singapore races I’m definitely giving it a skip unless Bernie drops the ticket price by 50%, bit harsh but that’s how I feel as a fan for this so called road car revolution.

  • Jason Anthony

    Any chance we could see Newey making a shift to sports cars? Yes, the WEC has moved to a hybrid system much like F1, but unlike F1, the constructors have much more room within the rulebook to design their cars. The WEC is one of the few places left in modern motorsport where there is still variety and ingenuity allowed by the rules. It seems like sports car racing has become the home for a few disillusioned F1 “refugees” lately.

  • The Captain

    Looks like he threatened to “go build boats” to the only team on the grid that would love to have their name on the side of a boat.

  • Ian Robinson

    No real surprise, but i think he will stay within redbull, and redbull racing will branch branch out into more forms of motorsport.