Former McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard recently shared the story of how Christian Horner first approached Adrian Newey, the team's CTO.
The Austrian team first came into existence in 2005 with Horner being a very young team principal and David was one of the first drivers for the team. David had been a part of championship-winning outfits like Williams and McLaren where Adrian Newey designed cars that had worked like a charm.
In Red Bull's early days, Horner, being a younger team principal than even his driver David, was trying to lay down the framework of the team. In the process of eventually becoming the juggernaut, the first step was signing Adrian Newey.
Talking about the time the Red Bull boss thought of approaching Newey, David Coulthard narrated the story behind the signing. He told F1.com:
“I’d worked with Adrian at Williams when I was a test driver and then a race driver, I’d worked with him at McLaren, so I’d known him since I was in my early 20s."
"All credit to Christian, he was the one that had the thought, ‘Could we get Adrian?’ I think when I joined the team, I was so immersed in, ‘Right, what are the differences to McLaren? What things are better? What things are worse?’"
“Christian had the vision of, ‘This is where we are right now, but how do I put the best army together to fight the battles in the coming years?’ When he initiated the conversation about Adrian, I was like, ‘Well, let’s go and meet with him!’"
"I’m actually standing at the top of King’s Road, just off Sloane Square, as we speak, and we had that first meeting down in the Bluebird Cafe in a private room there, because I was a member."
It did not take long to convince Adrian Newey to sign with Red Bull
Coulthard further expanded on what happened in the conversation. He revealed that after the first round of conversations between Horner and Newey, the designer agreed to meet Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz in Austria. From that point onwards, Newey did not take too much convincing to make up his mind.
“It was the first time that Adrian and Christian really came together and started a process that led to him meeting Mr Mateschitz in Austria and then ultimately agreeing terms to come and join the team. I don’t feel it took a lot of convincing, because I’d known him for so long. Thankfully he went, ‘Yeah, okay, I’m up for this challenge. Where do I sign?’”
Red Bull first tasted success with Adrian Newey in 2009 when it won its first-ever race and then went on to win the title in 2010 with Sebastian Vettel.