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Adrian Newey and Ayrton Senna were together at Williams in 1994

Red Bull's Adrian Newey on why he viewed Ayrton Senna as the 'enemy'

Red Bull's Adrian Newey reveals in his recent interview that he viewed the great Ayrton Senna as the enemy for most of his career. At the time, Newey was working with Williams while Ayrton was dominating the sport and winning multiple titles.

Ayrton Senna was with McLaren while Williams was trying to recover and get back to winning ways. This was something that the Red Bull Aero wizard was able to accomplish by 1992 with cars that were in a different class compared to its competition with active suspension. While the team dominated, the only competition that it had at the time was from Senna.


Talking about his relationship with Ayrton Senna, the Red Bull aero head talked about how for the most part, he viewed the Brazillian as an enemy. Senna did eventually join Williams in 1994, hence transforming the relationship that the two had. Talking about working with him, Newey told Formula 1’s Beyond the Grid podcast:

“I mean, it was obviously a very short relationship unfortunately. I suppose I’m not as bad as I used to be on this, but part of my competitive thing was that when you have somebody like Ayrton that you’re up against battling year after year, then you kind of – not demonise him – but he’s kind of the enemy."

Newey added:

"So I met him occasionally but never really talked to him until he first visited the factory at the end of what must have been ’93."


Red Bull aero chief on Senna's death and the notorious 1994 Williams challenger

Adrian Newey also talked about how he regretted the 1994 Williams cars. It was the same car that Ayrton Senna drove and because of the car's aerodynamic instability, he had his life-ending crash in it. Talking about the car and how the move from active suspension in 1993 to passive had caused a huge miscalculation on his part, Newey said:

“The ‘94 cars, one of my huge regrets, regardless of what was the cause of the accident at Imola, the one thing you could definitely say about the car is it was aerodynamically unstable. We’d had two years with active suspension and, it’s my fault, I completely messed up the aerodynamics of going back to passive suspension and the much bigger ride height range that that has to cope with."

He added:

“It was a very, very difficult car to drive and the bumpier the circuit, the worse that became. And of course, Imola was quite a bumpy circuit, so what he did with that car was quite extraordinary, and he could do that in qualifying."

Senna lost his life in 1994 and although Newey was able to find a solution to the aero instability of the cars, it was too late.

Edited by
Parag Jain
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