The F1 news machine has been in top gear even before the 2024 season started. The pre-season started with news that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had signed with Scuderia Ferrari (full article here). There have been plenty of other newsworthy movements since. This week it was made public that Adrian Newey will be leaving Red Bull Racing after two decades. With his future destination unknown, it’s the perfect time to celebrate his incredible legacy. We’ll take a look back at five of Newey’s most dominant and innovative car designs that cemented his place as a true engineering mastermind.

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Adrian Newey – The Man

Adrian Newey is a titan in Formula One. His career began with a bang, not in F1, but in the US with designs that conquered both IndyCar (feature image above) and IMSA. However, it was F1 where he truly made his mark. During stints at Williams, McLaren, and most recently Red Bull, Newey’s cars have racked up an astonishing number of victories and championships. He’s a master of aerodynamics and car design, and his creations have redefined what’s possible on track.

A Championship Legacy

While we will take a closer look at some of the greatest car designs from Adrian Newey, it’s vital to remember that Adrian is a serial winner in F1. Here’s a breakdown of his championship-winning designs.

Drivers’ Championships (13)

Williams (2): Damon Hill (1996) & Jacques Villeneuve (1997)
McLaren (2): Mika Hakkinen (1998 & 1999)
Red Bull (7): Sebastian Vettel (2010-2013), Max Verstappen (2021, 2022 & 2023)

Constructors’ Championships (12)

Williams (4): 1992, 1993, 1996 & 1997 (FW14B, FW15C, FW18 & FW19)
McLaren (2): 1998 & 1999 (MP4/13 & MP4/14)
Red Bull (6): 2010-2013 (RB5-RB9) & 2022 & 2023 (RB18 & RB19)

The Five Best Cars Designed by Adrian Newey

5. McLaren MP4/13 (1998)

McLaren MP4/13

This car marked a successful return to form for McLaren after Williams’ dominance. Mika Hakkinen won eight races and the driver’s championship, while McLaren secured the constructor’s title in 1998. The MP4/13 was known for its excellent handling and aerodynamic efficiency.

4. Williams FW18 (1996)

Williams-Renault FW18

While Newey had already left Williams for McLaren by the time this car raced, it was his brainchild. The FW18 dominated with Damon Hill at the helm, winning 12 out of 16 races and clinching both championships. Its influence on future F1 car design is undeniable.

3. Red Bull RB9 (2013)

Red Bull RB9 picture here with Adrian Newey and team.

This car embodied Newey’s genius during the blown diffuser era. With Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, it secured 13 wins from 19 races in 2013. The RB9’s design proved so effective that other teams struggled to keep pace.

2. Williams FW14B (1992)

Williams-Renault FW14B

This car was a revolution. It is considered by many to be the most innovative F1 car of all time. Its active suspension and innovative aerodynamics, particularly the raised nose section, led to dominance in 1992. Nigel Mansell won 9 out of 16 races, securing both championships for Williams by a significant margin.

1. Red Bull RB19 (2023)

Red Bull RB19

This car holds a strong claim to being the best ever. With an astonishing 95 per cent win rate (21 wins out of 22 races, only a win by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz denied a clean sweep) and both driver and constructor championships secured, it stands as a testament to Newey’s mastery of the 2022 regulation changes, particularly the return of ground effects aerodynamics.

Newey’s Future in Motorsport

Newey’s next move is shrouded in mystery. Rumors swirl of a potential link-up with Ferrari, where he could join forces with Lewis Hamilton to revive the Scuderia’s championship hopes. This dream team would be a formidable force, but Newey also harbours ambitions beyond F1.

Red Bull’s focus on racing limited his ability to design hypercars, something other teams like Aston Martin and Ferrari are eager to offer. While both Aston Martin and Ferrari are frontrunners, a return to Williams – where his F1 journey began – could be the ultimate sentimental twist. With finances being a non-issue, a Williams homecoming might just be the fairytale ending many F1 fans crave.