I don’t know Adrian Newey. I do know his pedigree and success in Formula One and how cars that were birthed from his designs seem to dominate. I’ve heard he is a delightful guy and quite the competitive spirit. I also have watched Newey on television for years and it wasn’t until Mark Webber mentioned something about Newey, in context of the tire issues in Silverstone, that I put it all together…hey, I can be a little slow at times.
AUTOSPORT has a nice story about Webber’s thoughts regarding the 2013 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Specifically the article draws a parallel to the 2005 USGP at Indy when all Michelin-shod cars withdrew from the race. Webber reckons the two incidents are different as to when the issue was discovered and you should give it a read here.
The comment I found interesting is this:
“When you’ve someone like Adrian Newey he doesn’t forget what happened at Imola in ’94,” Webber said. “These things aren’t small for him.
“He’s a clever guy, and he gets as emotional as any of us. These things need to be handled correctly, and Pirelli will handle them correctly.
“If Adrian has an opinion on something, especially when it’s a safety factor, then you have to respect it.”
I’ve noticed, over years of watching Newey on TV, that he does seem to get very emotional and amped when a car has an issue on track. I’ve read statements in the press that he’s made concerning safety and always found them to be genuine and overtly charged about safety.
I also know that Ayrton Senna was in a Newey-influenced car at Williams when he perished and Webber’s comments do shed a little light on how that incident still haunts the championship-winning designer to this day. Has all of Red Bull’s clamoring for new tires after the 3rd or 4th race in the 2013 season been a cry for help as they failed to get on top of things with this years tire construction or is it something else?
Most team,s and many fans, would consider it a red herring if Red Bull were demanding tires changes after the Bahrain Grand Prix but I suspect deep down inside, Newey was not asking for changes simply because his RB9 design wasn’t working properly with the new tires. That very RB9 is currently leading both driver’s and constructor’s championships.
My hunch is that the car isn’t working as well as they had hoped but tire delaminations at speed were very concerning for Newey. I am not suggesting he is the only man in the paddock that is concerned about driver safety but I do think he is, just perhaps, a little more sensitive to the situation than most having experienced, first hand, the most recent death in Formula One back in 1994.
Perhaps when Newey does speak about safety, we all should listen a little more carefully and not jump to the conclusion that he is just crying for help as his car is a failure…two scenarios that certainly aren’t true in 2013 and as Silverstone almost taught us, severe injury or death is just around the corner if we don’t listen to men like Newey when it comes to safety concerns in F1.
Webber, among others, feels that Pirelli will get on top of the tire issue and I join him in that thinking. Pirelli know how to make a safe tire.