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Podcast

Flat Chat podcast: What will F1 design legend Newey do next?

The latest Flat Chat podcast from GP Racing magazine weighs up the design legend’s claim that he aims to go caravanning around Europe rather than moving to another Formula 1 team. And as Ferrari adds a new upgrade package to its car this weekend, can it challenge a crisis-hit Red Bull?

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, who attended Repton school with Formula 1 tech talisman Adrian Newey, once described caravan holidays as “two weeks of defecating in a bucket”. As Newey exits Red Bull, pursued by several chequebooks, he says he’s planning to tour Europe in a motorhome before he returns to the drawing board.

GP Racing columnists Mark Gallagher and Alex Kalinauckas join editor Stuart Codling to ask if this is really the plan. Newey’s former boss at McLaren, Ron Dennis, described Adrian as “the most competitive man I’ve ever met”. Surely such an individual can’t walk away quietly – having put in an order for a new yacht he may be planning to work more on remote, and perhaps aim for a consultancy role rather than a full-time technical directorship.

One of the teams believed to have made Newey an offer is Ferrari. This month GP Racing looks at new boss Frederic Vasseur’s role in re-establishing Ferrari’s sense of purpose and self-belief. Our podcast panel asks if Vasseur’s presence and reputation also boosts the Scuderia’s chances of attracting high-calibre personnel (such as recent hires Loic Serra and Jerome d'Ambrosio from Mercedes) who might otherwise have been put off by the high-profile tumult of seasons past.

And as Charles Leclerc’s race engineer Xavi Marcos is moved to “bring his valuable experienced gained as a race engineer with the Formula 1 team to the development of other important company programmes”, we reveal that his new role is as vague as that opaque official quote suggests. Is Leclerc destined for nearly-man status in F1? It’s rare for a driver to change engineers more than once, so this has been the last opportunity to play that card as a rationale for competitive shortcomings.

The podcast also investigates the reasons for Mercedes’ third year of fielding a car which doesn’t work – and not understanding why. This is a team always afraid of complacency even during its dominant years – has this fear driven it to take too many risks?

And as the F1 world digests the implications of a Stefano Domenicali interview in which the F1 boss appeared to suggest the 2030 regulations may offload hybrid engine technology in search of lightness and better noise, the podcast panel reveals how senior engineers knew, from the very first meetings to discuss the hybrid formula 14 years ago, that lack of noise would be a problem. But would reverting to naturally aspirated V8s be a good look?

 

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