F1 News

Most Popular

The Secret Diary of Adrian Newey Aged 53¾: Festive Round-Up
Sunday 8th December 2013

Yes, there’s one thing we can ALL do better than Adrian   (Sutton)

Goodness me, trusty tome, it seems only five minutes ago that I was writing my August entry and here we are 17 trophies later.

I think I should probably jot down a few musings for a festive round-up and then rejoin you after testing. It’s been another busy season collecting more silverware than my P.A. Jana knows what to do with. Although she has made some inappropriate suggestions, none of which I think are physically possible and are more in the line of Vlad The Impaler (Her kind of territory, I know).

I can’t cover the last umpteen grands prix, so I thought I might jot down some whimsical updates before setting the nose to the proverbial grindstone as we bash the RBR10 into some kind of workable shape. Shape will be one of the most prominent things next year – if you thought the 2012 cars were ugly, the class of 2014 will be so ugly they’ll make Pastor Maldonado look like Chris Hemsworth. (Incidentally, there’s no truth in the rumour that the Williams team nicknamed Pastor’s helmet, ‘the vanity panel’. Though most amusing.

It’s sad to see Mark leave the team, but as Christian has said, he has chosen exactly the right time to go. The end of the season. Typical of Mark he had some characteristically pithy things to say before he left. “You know Prof,” he said to me, “when I joined F1 there were loads of guys I looked up at the drivers’ briefings. Now it’s more like a youth club meeting.”

There are many moments from Mark’s career at Red Bull that I will always treasure. Our first Red Bull win, our first Monaco win, Jana dancing the Lambada with him at the Red Bull Christmas Party. Those things do not dim easily from the memory. And it was a lovely touch from the race team to get all those Aussie bushwhacker hats for when Mark came round to the grid in Brazil. (Though Eddie Jordan rather spoiled it by saying “Keep hold of those hats boys, you might need them for the end of next season as well…”

Jana is still inconsolable about losing Mark and getting Daniel Ricciardo in his place. Although she’s eased up on the Sebastian bating she’s now turned her considerable ire towards Dr. Marku who she says is “like one of those old men you see sitting at bus stops with a bottle of cheap cider, swearing at traffic…except they give him job.”

She quite enjoys the fact that Daniel has been told to lose some weight for next season because of the huge hike in engine weight. If he comes into the office she says, “Are you looking for Adrian, fat boy?” and laughs. Daniel just grins back at her and then she says “you have too much teeth for your own good.” I really do think she’s developing a soft spot for him.

At the other end of the scale, the love affair between Luca Montezemolo and Christian has come to an end, with the mutual respect replaced by long-range sniping. I think it narked Luigi when Bernie suggested that Christian would make an admirable successor and he came up with some negative comments for his Hoarse Whisperer (or as I’ve seen some describe it Whore’s Whisperer) column..

Christian hasn’t reacted in public to this but in the canteen one lunchtime he told me that he’d sent Luca the DVD box set of Scrapheap Challenge for Christmas, “with a note to watch Epsiode 6, where the Ferrari wind tunnel appears.” Most ticklesome. As Christian remarked, “they could have used some pallets, corrugated iron and an extractor fan and got the same result for a lot less money.” Like Lotus.

Although we’re hard at work getting the 2014 car together that doesn’t stop idle speculation about what’s going to happen in F1. It will be interesting to see what Ross Brawn does next year. I know both his drivers really look up to him. At 6’2” almost everyone in the paddock looks up to him – the same can’t be said of Paddy Lowe, who I believe doesn’t go anywhere near the Cheltenham Festival in case someone hands him a saddle and puts him on a horse for the 2:30 handicap hurdle. Most chortlesome.

As I’ve already remarked, it’s been a month of collecting trophies and it was nice to let my hair down (so to speak) at the Autosport Awards where I may have had a little too much refreshment – certainly not on The Eddie Jordan scale, but enough for me to comment that the build up to 2014 was “somewhere between mild panic and crisis management.” Christian gave me one of those looks afterwards but said nothing.

At the FIA awards the following week in Paris I was chided by the good lady for my attire. Whilst she was looking her usual glamorous best, my unruly shirt collar stubbornly refused to remain inside my dinner jacket much to the amusement of the team principal. “You know what your problem is Adrian,” said Christian smiling his slow, easy smile. “Not enough downforce…”

Adrian’s Diary from August 2013