Newey ready to party at the double
Abu Dhabi :Champions Red Bull can perhaps be thankful that Adrian Newey is designing their world-beating Formula One cars rather than drawing up plans for the end-of-season party.
His attempt at a celebration in Brazil last weekend, when the team clinched the constructors` crown, was somewhat less successful than the machines that have won eight of the 18 races, secured 14 pole positions and four one-two finishes.
Acclaimed as a technical genius after designing championship-winners for three separate teams over the last 20 years, the Briton told Reuters that Sunday evening in Sao Paulo had been "slightly surreal".
After dinner and some Caipirinha cocktails with team boss Christian Horner, they decided to go to a nightclub before their pre-dawn flight but failed to find the correct entrance with throngs of people outside.
"Christian, myself and some of the Renault boys tried to get to the front of the barriers because we weren`t sure where we were meant to get in, saw our team manager Jonathan Wheatley inside and thought we must be in the right place," recalled Newey with a chuckle.
"So Christian and I jumped over the barriers -- at which point we got some gorilla in a suit approaching us.
"Christian was lifted back over the barrier on all fours, I thought `I`m not being lifted, thank you` so I put my hands up and said `Stop`.
"At which point the Renault boys obviously thought that it was Paris riots time and it all got a bit heated. So we never did get in. That was our Sunday evening celebration."
Nobody could really accuse the Briton of being a boring boffin, poring over a computer deep within the factory in the search for the next big loophole in the rules.
For a start, he still has a drawing board in his office at the Milton Keynes factory and likes to do much of his work the old-fashioned way.
"I guess it means I am the last dinosaur in the industry probably," he smiled. "I don`t know. it`s what I grew up on.
"There are other people from my era that started on drawing boards and all of them have converted without exception now. For myself, I like the ability to sketch at a decent scale. What I like about a drawing board is that I can lay things out."
Newey spends roughly half of his time in the factory at the drawing board, sketching ideas and developments that are then formatted electronically into computer aided design (CAD) systems.
The 51-year-old is the first to admit that he is not a man manager, like Ross Brawn was at Ferrari, although he works closely with others in a strong team effort.
He is someone who needs fresh stimulus, although fully committed to Red Bull for some time to come, nearly walking away from Formula One altogether when he was at McLaren.
"For a while I looked outside the sport, at yachting," said Newey, a keen sportscar racer who has competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours and escaped unhurt from several big crashes. He also has his own Red Bull Formula One car.
"But then I realised that fresh challenge could be achieved by joining a new team and trying to achieve what we set out to achieve at Leyton House all those years ago."
Newey was briefly technical director at short-lived Leyton House in 1990 before being fired. He joined Williams with instant success but the disappointment still gnawed at him.
"Certainly part of the motivation in joining Red Bull in the first place was to see whether, put back in that position again and being involved in the team from the start, it`s possible to achieve what I believe we could have done with Leyton House had we had the opportunity," he said.
At Williams in the early 1990s, and then at McLaren, Newey joined winning teams with a well-established infrastructure. Red Bull, who had taken over the Jaguar team, were different.
"This one has been very special," he said of the constructors` crown won for the team by Australian Mark Webber and Germany`s Sebastian Vettel, who are fighting for the drivers` title on Sunday.
"In joining Red Bull, the challenge was to join a team almost from the start and be involved with everybody else in trying to develop the infrastructure.
"Which, if I`m perfectly honest, was a bigger challenge than I anticipated when I first joined and it has been hugely satisfying to get it to the point where we have achieved that."