Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Designer fashion

It's rumoured that one of the great F1 designers, Adrian Newey, is set to leave McLaren for the relative freedom of Red Bull. This might seem a strange move for a man that's designed winning cars at two of the three most successful teams in F1 history. But to me it makes sense. I suspect he feels that one of his greatest achievements was the 1988 March 881, a car that so nearly won the French GP that year against opposition with budgets ten times that of his team.  Of course he might be tempted to choose the Williams FW14, the first of the cars with which Messrs Mansell, Prost and Hill dominated the mid 1990s. But I like that old 1988 March, lightweight, elegant and full of innovation.

It's acknowledged that this year's McLaren ended the season as the fastest car on the track. It certainly wasn't Newey's fault that the Mercedes engine wouldn't hold together at the start of the season. So he really has nothing left to prove. If he stays and McLaren win next year's championship, so what? If they lose, it'll be his fault. But going to an underdog team like Red Bull, which is where last year's McLaren driver David Coulthard has suddenly shown so much promise, will give him a great incentive. We have a new set of rules next year (again) and that will even the odds a bit. And if Newey can drag Red Bull up the grid, that'll be a major achievement and show that he is what we all believe him to be. A truly great engineer.    


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