who is adrian newey explained

Why Is Adrian Newey So Good In Formula 1?

Who is that man inspecting the fastest Red Bull car each time before the race in the boxes? Yes, it is their Chief technology officer, Adrian Newey. It seems that nothing is impossible for this craftsman. Making the gapping car into the winning one? Not a problem. Car’s porpoising? Easy peasy! If Adrian Newey were a constructor, he would be the second-most successful after Ferrari in Formula 1‘s history, as cars he designed for three teams won the twelve constructor’s championships. Newey has revolutionized Formula 1, raising the bar of the ‘best F1 car’ so high that the rest of the grid chew their elbows. However, why he is so good? What’s the secret of Adrian Newey? Let’s figure it out.  

#1. The Impressive Education In Astronautics

Adrian Newey was born on 26 December 1958 in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom. In his teens, he was a rebel. 

Thus, his attendance at the historic Repton public school finished soon when he broke a school concert and blew out a stained glass window. 

However, Newey gained a National Diploma in engineering college, but that was nothing, as then he went to the University of Southampton and finished it with a first-class honors degree in astronautics and aeronautics. He wrote a thesis on ground-effect aerodynamics. 

Just how many car designers with astronautics degrees do you know? Yes, he is the unique one. Adrian Newey’s education was ahead of time, as he was more than just an engineer; he knew everything about aerodynamics and physical laws to break them in the future. 

So, no wonder with such education, the young master immediately became Chief Aerodynamicist for the Fittipaldi F1 team, while his racing projects had gone like hotcakes. 

#2. The Stunning Experience In Racing

Another reason for Adrian Newey’s success in Formula 1 is his designing experiences in different racing disciplines, including CART and Indycar. 

CART and IndyCar

Imagine, his first racecar, March 82G GTP, won the IMSA GTP title twice in a row, while the March 85C and the following  March 86C both won the CART titles and Indianapolis 500. 

But, it didn’t seem enough to him, and in 1988, Newey created his first F1 car project. March 881 for Leyton House finished on the Podium three times! 

Newey’s name became the synonym for the victory; his career rose, making the community buzz until the scandalous in 1990. The March driver, Christian Danner, asked to replace Newey, as he believed the car hadn’t been given enough fuel per race, and Newey was fired despite the real problem being a fuel leak. That was just a new beginning.  

adrian newey designed cars
img_0007” by gruffler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Formula 1

So, despite Newey’s reputation being shadowed, it didn’t prevent him from immediately taking the role of Chief designer for the Williams F1 team to create winning cars in Formula 1.

No wonder Newey’s Williams FW14 won the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix. With the Williams F1 team, Newey’s cars brought 5 constructors’ championships before he left the team. 

Some assume the case was in money, while others believe the reason was the team decided to replace his friend driver Damon Hill on Heinz-Harald Frentzen. However, that was a big mistake for Williams

In the new 1998 Formula 1 season, Adrian Newey started with McLaren and finished with his McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13, winning the constructor’s championship, but he left McLaren to join the stunning project. 

Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz was impressed by Newey and persuaded him to Join Red Bull after poor results in their debut in 2005. There passed 4 years before Newey’s winning line started again with Red Bull-Renault RB6.

Look at Adrian Newey’s championship-winning cars:

adrian newey championship cars
by grixme.com

So, during his Formula 1 career, Newey has worked for Williams, McLaren, and Red Bull, but he has never ever joined Mercedes and Ferrari. 

Perhaps he is the one person who separates Ferrari from winning, and the team knows it, as they proposed millions of dollars for him to join ‘Prancing Horse,’ but he has declined the offers.

#3. Aerodynamics Is The Key

Adrian Newey became the best F1 designer because his approach was different but vital. Aerodynamics has been crucial to F1 car development since the 1990s. Being perfect with terms, Newey bets on better downforce rather than maximal speed, as he believes aerodynamics is the most significant performance differentiation.

And his creations met the expectations. For example, Red Bull RB18 and RB19 are the best Newey championship-winning cars. 

With a winning rate of 77%, RB18 was the Bull’s fight-back after the long-term dominance of Mercedes and brought the Bulls the 2022 constructor’s and driver’s championships.

However, the RB18 didn’t have the maximal speed, as at the straights Mercedes and Ferrari were better, but the best aerodynamics made the RB18 faster to pass the turns and accelerate quickly, causing better performance overall.

Same story with RB19, which has a stunning 95.45% winning rate. The heir of RB18 became more reliable and stands as the most successful car Adrian Newey ever designed.

So, Newey changed the game, as he designed not the fastest but more performed cars, and the engineers from other teams needed to jump to a different universe to find how to make a car better than Newey’s and not violate the rules simultaneously. 

#4. Ability To Visualize The Speed

You wonder, but Adrian Newey still creates his winning car designs using paper, pencil, and rubber. He avoids computer-aided design (CAD) software because he likes the freedom of drawing and the ability to easily change things with a rubber.

However, such tools help him visualize car components, feel the overall car’s downforce, understand the airflows, and find the best ways to improve the car’s performance. 

He is a painting artist beyond the age, as his creations meet the expectations in real life. Such a feature makes Adrian Newey a rare and unique figure in the sport. 

#5. Designer To The Bone

What is more, design is more than just a job for Newey. He could be a spacecraft designer but rejected it because he is passionate about race cars.

Primary, with over 200 subordinates, Newey is the chief engineer for the Red Bull F1 team, working closely with Pierre Waché, Rob Marshall, Ben Waterhouse, and Paul Monaghan.

However, outside of Bulls, he is working on different projects. Thus, in 2021, Aston Martin and Red Bull presented Adrian Newey’s designed Aston Martin Valkyrie (RB001). The closest LMP1 race car charged with a V12 engine, Valkyrie became the fastest street-legal car in the world.

Moreover, Newey wrote the book, which still is a must-have for those who choose engineering. Newey’s ‘How to Build a Car’ is a bestseller in the discipline over the years. 

Is there anyone better than Adrian Newey?

James Allison is Newey’s closest opponent on the grid. Starting his career with Benetton and Larrousse, Allison joined Ferrari and has played a part in the design of one of the most dominant F1 cars, the Ferrari F2004. After switching to Mercedes in 2018, Allison designed another winning F1 car – the Mercedes W11. 

Today, James Allison has ten constructors’ championships with three F1 teams: Ferrari, Renault, and Mercedes. Comparing James Allison and Adrian Newey, Allison bets on the car’s speed, as his designed Mercedes had advantages in terms of pure speed, which is a bit different approach.

adrian newey winning cars
Podium 2010 Malaysia” by Joost Rooijmans from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Adrian Newey has been the most successful F1 designer in the Formula 1 for the past decade. Everything his pencil touches starts to race and brings victory soon for a reason. 

First, it is the education that Adrian Newey gained, as by delving into astronautics and aeronautics, he extended his knowledge about aerodynamics into the details, resulting in him being suited so well to the new regulations in Formula 1. 

However, working with different racing series and F1 teams made Adrian Newey an irreplaceable master.

As for mastering, he is the best one, as there is only a pencil and the paper he needs to feel how fast the F1 car can be

Last but not least, Newey has never stopped improving his skills, as he loves what he does, and despite the opportunity to work with spaceships, he has been faithful to Red Bull for nineteen years. 

He says: ‘Motor racing is that blend of design and competition, and it is fascinating.‘ 

So, while his rivals call him an evil genius, fans label him an outstanding talent, but Adrian Newey prefers the ‘last dinosaur in the industry;’ however, he is always ahead of time.