Mercedes could be Adrian Newey's next F1 team according to Damon Hill
Damon Hill, a former F1 champion, has speculated that Red Bull's chief designer, Adrian Newey, could go to Mercedes after his contract ends.
Newey has been one of the most important figures in the Austrian-British team, creating some of the most iconic and revolutionary cars that have won several constructor and driver titles. However, his current contract with Red Bull is coming to an end, and he could either renew it or look for new challenges with other teams.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill praised Newey and explained how the exceptional skill of designing a strong car has allowed teams to win countless world titles, both constructors' and drivers'. He said:
"For those people who are not that familiar with the backroom people in Formula 1 [that] makes things happen, Adrian Newey, by a long jaw, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, car designers in Formula 1 history. His success rate is unbelievable. Every team he has been to, he has won a constructors' championship, drivers' titles, I've lost count [of] how many."
Furthermore, he pointed out how Newey was standing and observing the Mercedes W14 and its front wings during the Bahrain GP. Though this could mean anything, Hill speculates that the chief car designer at Red Bull might be looking for a new challenge that the Silver Arrows could pose. He stated:
"So he is a key man, and what he has to offer any team is invaluable. I can't help ignoring this thing he did in Bahrain, where he stood in front of Mercedes on the grid with his clipboard and stood there for a long time looking at their front wings. Anybody who knows Adrian will know 'wait a minute, he has only got the most dominant car in Formula 1, why is he looking at Mercedes' front wing?'"
"Was he really looking at the front wings, or was he just standing in front of the Mercedes saying 'I'm interested', is that what he was really saying?"
Toto Wolff shares timeline by which Mercedes could return to the top
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has spoken about how long it will take his team to make amends and bounce back to the front of the grid. He stated that it could take anywhere from six to 12 months, provided they have a steep developmental curve and keep heading in the right direction.
“I think the length [of time] is probably between six and 12 months, because that’s the time that it really took for us [last year] to figure out what was actually happening with the car. That means we just need to have double the development speed, so a stronger development slope. The logic and rational speaks that for Red Bull, their gains are going to be incrementally smaller if the concept is mature."
After the 2021 F1 season, Mercedes' performance took a major hit, especially due to the new technical regulations that were introduced in 2022. Ever since then, they have been unable to compete for race wins and championships.