Adrian Newey OBE

Adrian Newey OBE

Adrian Newey OBE, considered as one of the greatest racing car designers of our age, will be awarded Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding contribution to engineering. (Tuesday 9th July 2013).

Newey is currently the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing.  He has worked in the motorsport industry for over 30 years and has won nine Formula One constructors’ titles. He has also helped some of the world’s most famous drivers towards some spectacular victories.

He first attracted the attentions of the motor racing community in 1980 with his thesis on the science of ground-effect in aerodynamics, which he wrote while studying at the University of Southampton. His earliest successes came in American racing with his March sports car design winning the International Motor Sports Association’s GTP category in 1983 and 1984. Newey’s Indycar project, the March 58C, took the championship and the Indy 500. The follow-up model won the championship in 1986 and the Indy 500 in both 1986 and 1987. 

After a brief venture with March F1, Newey joined Williams in 1990. In partnership with Patrick Head, he brought home five constructors’ titles between 1991 and 1997 and made champions of Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Alain Prost. When Newey departed Williams for fresh challenges at McLaren, he confirmed his prowess with three further championships, rounding off the decade with the 1998 constructors’ title and two drivers’ crowns for Mika Hakkinen.

In 2006, Adrian moved to Red Bull Racing to take on the challenge of joining a young outfit starting out on its journey, with a chance to influence its development from the ground up. The team achieved this in just four years, winning three consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships between 2010 and 2012. Adrian relishes regulation changes in the sport so that he can bring his and the team’s creative innovation to the designs, combining artistry and superior aerodynamic achievements to create winning racing cars. 

Adrian admits to enjoying the challenge of new rules rather more than he likes the usual Formula One task of grinding out tiny, iterative gains. His capacity to grasp the potential in a new rulebook and see things that others don’t sets him apart – and in 2012 it took all of his talent to envisage the RB8, the car that took Red Bull Racing to the drivers’ and constructors’ championship for the third year in a row.

With regulation changes depriving the car of design features that had been elemental in the success of its predecessors, Adrian and the technical team managed to deliver yet another winning platform. This car helped the team to a total of seven victories and seven other podium finishes. It enjoyed eight pole positions and seven fastest laps and made Red Bull Racing only the fourth team in the history of Formula One to record three consecutive constructors’ titles.

Adrian’s determination extends beyond his drawing board (he still uses a drawing board) and in his spare time he’s a keen amateur racer. He won the Goodwood Revival TT Race in 2009.

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Monday, 1 July 2013