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The Secret Diary of Adrian Newey Aged 53¾: The Love Of Luigi
Sunday 11th August 2013


Mark gives Adrian some last-minute glove puppet advice (Pic: Sutton)

Adrian reveals that Fernando Alonso couldn’t possibly join Red Bull due to the Christian and Luigi love-in

Deary deary me trusty tome, I think I am going to have to cross out the word ‘Diary’ and insert the far more apposite phrase, ‘Occasional Jottings’. The last time I attended to your crisply white vellum pages was back in April, when I discovered you hidden behind an old copy of F1 Racing magazine with McVulcan on the cover. Since then, you have been thoroughly accessible but unattended thanks to our great fight with the filthy Stuttgarters.

So indeed it is with guilt hanging heavy on my shoulders, like a dense soupe de poisson with excess gruyere, that I attempt to record some of my latest musings for posterity. Events in the office have not been running smoothly of late, or at least ever since the Wild Australian Boy announced he was hanging up his F1 helmet at the end of 2013 (To be honest, I never quite understand why at the end of a career you have to hang something up. Because you don’t hang up your gloves or your helmet… unless your car ends up in a tree… though technically speaking Mark’s has at Le Mans).

Jana, my truculent PA, has been beside herself with grief at the thought of losing Mark. I look across to her from my drawing board occasionally and I know she’s thinking about him, because she has her head in her hands and is muttering, “Why, why, why, why…?” repeatedly. If it was Sebastian who was leaving we would have bunting all round the office.

I don’t know if her hostility towards Sebastian is entirely down to Herr Vettel or a little to do with envy for his admirably efficient press assistant Britte, who she refers to wispily as the “Boots-the-Chemist-blonde”. All I know is the needle is still there and the anger she felt when Sebastian “stole a win” in Malaysia has only intensified now she knows that Mark is retiring and that Malaysia might have been the only win of his final season.

As for the potential contenders for the seat she is equally dismissive, she thinks Daniel “smiles too much, so he might be a simpleton” and from her time at McLaren she knows the lady who was tasked with the job of filling up Kimi’s beer vending machine in the McLaren motorhome. Finnish beer is very difficult to get hold of in Brazil, but the burbling I-speak-your-weight one was a tricky customer to deal with and made no exceptions. His mates look like roadies for a Finnish grunge band. Jana thinks he has “all the tattoos of a Premiership footballer but only half the brains.”
Most amusing.

When Fernando’s manager came to see us in Hungary to discuss the drive, she perked up considerably and used an inappropriate analogy about “someone who could spank the little boy’s bottom”. Unfortunately for political reasons the Fernando Alonso drive will come to sweet F.A. (that’s Fanny Adam and certainly not anything else). As I think I mentioned before, there is a good channel of communication between Christian and Luca Montezemolo, and he was rumoured to have offered our joint services to Maranello.

I later found out this rumour was likely the result of their press weevil, Luca Colajanni, feeding rumours to journos along the lines of ‘Vettel to the Scuderia in 2014’ story. I’m sure if Luca hadn’t got a job with Ferrari he’d have ended up in the Vatican Bank or an episode of The Borgias.

However, they do talk on the phone and I think Christian muchly harbours the ambition to step into Luca’s shoes as the big boss of Ferrari one day. His major problem is that he isn’t particularly Italian. He would probably have to change his name to something like Cristiano di Horner. Luca Montezemolo once admitted to a magazine that he himself added the ‘di’ bit to his own name to make it sound grander and one website has gone a stage further and constantly refer to him as Luigi Montezuma.
Most rib-tickling.

So Christian is not going to risk a future job opportunity by signing the talented Mr. A, even though it would be fascinating to have him on the team.
For my part, I have to confess I am spending a lot of the grands prix weekends these days avoiding Niki Lauda and his big brown envelope. Despite having a ridiculous number of technical directors in Brackley, the filthy Stuttgarters don’t seem to have enough and the offers get more and more ludicrous. The latest was £2m a year, plus an entry into the 2014 Mille Miglia with a classic, factory-prepared 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR and Carole Vorderman as my co-driver.

I think I have made it quite clear that although I admire Carol’s ability with numbers, and that she’s a bit of a petrolhead too, that’s as far as the admiration goes. But most worrisome that he should make the link. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave my esteemed technical team, even if they do sometimes get a bit fed up with me taking my drawing board on the plane to fly-away races. As one of them said to me the other day, “Adrian, it’s very hard to eat an inflight meal with a set-square wedged up your nose”. What’s more, my major engineering project to benefit mankind has yet to reach the manufacturing stage.

The prototype ESVM1 has been built but there have been a few teething problems. The idea behind it has been given increased impetus by this new 5:2 diet fad. The good lady, my commander-in-chief at home tried the 5:2 and said it had a lot of benefits; for two days of the week you can only have 600 calories, which amounts to fasting. And one of the easiest ways to avoid calories on fasting days is to have interesting and nutritious low-calorie soups. Which is where I come in. My Elite Soup Vending Machine (ESVM1) can be adapted to dispense a range of soupy delights, both exotic, spicy and low-calorie.

The big problem we have at the moment is not getting the cups out in time. The bespoke, locally- sourced ingredients are nicely dispensed but, deary me, the cup is late in getting into position, thus resulting in an under-delivery of the total soup package.
Most bothersome.

I caught Christian banging the side of the machine the other day.
When he saw me and my naturally furrowed brow, he said: “You know what the problem with this machine is Adrian…”
“No, I enquired,” slightly puzzled that Christian had come up with an engineering solution of any kind.
He smiled his slow, easy smile.
“Not enough downforce…”


The Amazing Webbo
The previous musing from Adrian