Newey, the man chiefly responsible for this year’s RB19 car which secured the 2023 constructors’ championship on Sunday in Japan, has worked for Red Bull since 2006 but has been approached by Ferrari three times throughout his career.
The 64-year-old engineer worked for Williams and McLaren prior to his time at Red Bull and revealed to the Beyond the Grid podcast that Ferrari offered him a role three times, with a move in 1993 the most tempting.
“[Ferrari approached] me in my IndyCar days, which probably doesn’t count, then ’93 and famously in 2014,” he said. “The ’93 one was very tempting.”
However, Newey detailed that the breakdown of his first marriage – impacted by his time in the United States with IndyCar – meant he opted against making a move to Maranello, Ferrari’s HQ in Italy, due to his second marriage.
Another advance in 2014, Newey admits, was due to Red Bull’s engine issues at the start of Mercedes’ hybrid-era dominance.
“My discussions in 2013 with Ferrari were purely out of frustration,” Newey said. “I really didn’t want to leave but we were in this position where Renault hadn’t produced a competitive turbo hybrid engine.
“We went to see Carlos Ghosn [ex-Renault CEO] to try and put pressure on him to up the budget. Ghosn’s reply was ‘Well I have no interest in Formula 1. I’m only in it because my marketing people say I should be.’ That was such a depressing place to be.”
Asked if he regretted turning down Ferrari, Newey responded: “Emotionally, I guess, to a point. Yes.
“But just as, for instance, working with Fernando and Lewis would have been fabulous. But it never happened. It’s just circumstance sometimes, that’s the way it is.”
Newey has been involved in six F1 drivers’ victories at Red Bull and is on the cusp of a seventh with Max Verstappen able to secure his third championship next week in Qatar.
The Brit has won a total of 12 constructors’ championships with three different teams during his long and successful career in Formula 1.