Recent rumor: should Red Bull win the world title this year, technical director Adrian Newey will leave Formula 1 and will take up designing sail boats for the America’s Cup series.
Newey has been threatening to do this for years. I suppose if he’d already made that career shift, he’d now be threatening to give boat design up so he could design fighter jets — or maybe skateboards.
Newey has stated that F1 becomes most interesting for him in periods of tech reg changes. When rules are in flux, it gives clever deigners the opportunity so find unexplored advantages within the parameters of the reg specs. This is exactly what happened in 2009. Brawn and Red Bull began their design process early during the 2008 season, and were able to find an edge. Meanwhile, the likes of Ferrari and McLaren were caught napping.
Newey also implied that during periods of racing stability he tends to get a bit bored, as there’s a certain “design convergence” amongst all the teams, with each team copying whatever appears to be effective on the cars of all the other teams. With everyone copying everyone else, it’s much more difficult to find that edge — until the rules change again.
That being the case, I think it would be a good idea to have a mandatory overhaul of the tech regs every three years or so, just to mix things up, and give designers like Newey and Ross Brawn an opportunity to get a leg up on the bigger teams.
That’s assuming, of course, that there are any big teams left three years from now, aside from Ferrari and McLaren.