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Sir Frank Williams admits Newey way out ‘a mistake’

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Williams F1 team Principal Sir Frank Williams has admitted that he made a big mistake when he accepted Adrian Newey to depart the team following a disagreement over shares. After the Williams exit he went on to grow to be the most victorious designer in F1 history.

Williams and Adrian Newey parted company in 1997. Following helping the likes of Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve win drivers’ titles at Williams, Newey has gone on to design the leading McLaren and Red Bull competitor.

“He wanted some shares that I didn’t want to give to him at the time,” Williams told F1 Racing magazine. “[That] was arguably, with hindsight, a mistake. Adrian is quite a remarkable individual.”

This season Brazilian Bruno Senna has come in to substitute Rubens Barrichello on the second race seat, but behind the prospect the changes are even more important with three new members of the technical team. Technical director Patrick Head retired and Sam Michael moved to McLaren, while Mark Gillan has come in as new chief operations engineer and Jason Somerville head of aerodynamics.

“I’m not an engineer but I’ve seen lots of good cars and lots of bad cars – and ours wasn’t quick enough,” said Williams.

“It was deficient in most of the areas that matter, but we were completely lacking in the most important one of all, which is aero. And probably a bit of horsepower. It just wasn’t a quick car.

“The Renault engine gives us hope. We have three new technical people – one is our technical director, one is chief of aero and one is running the cars. They have different backgrounds coming from three different teams.”

“There’s still a problem, it’s called Adrian Newey,” Williams admitted. “There’s only one of him.”


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