Newey: Sebastian is well on the way to establishing himself as an all-time greats

Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Newey have been a dominant combination over the past four years

Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Newey have been a dominant combination over the past four years

Adrian Newey does not equate record breaking statistics with greatness, but nevertheless is convinced that triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel will etch his name among the greats of Formula 1.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Newey was asked if he felt that Vettel would match, or even better the seven world titles of Michael Schumacher – he replied, “Yes, of course it would be fantastic if Sebastian could go on to eclipse Michael’s record. But that doesn’t necessarily define greatness.”

“When we talk about the all-time greats, the names of Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, they come up, as well as Michael of course, [Juan Manuel] Fangio of course, all those names jump to mind. Some of them have had, in terms of championships, a fraction of the success of Michael,” said Red Bull‘s design guru.

Adrian Ndewey and Sebastian Vettel have celebrated victory on a number of podiums in recent years

Adrian Ndewey and Sebastian Vettel have celebrated victory on a number of podiums in recent years

“So there is that intangible thing that defines greatness, which isn’t simply results. And I think what Sebastian is well on the way to doing is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats,” he concluded.

At 26 Vettel has already bagged three Formula 1 world titles and is cruising to his fourth. Vettel has won 33 grands prix, 32 of which were in Red Bull cars designed by newey and one victory (his first) in a Toro Rosso which was a evolution of the Red Bull RB3 – also a product of Newey’s drafting board.

Subbed by AJN.

  • pfft

    Well, senna could drive a sick dog and make it look like a race horse. If vettel can haul a bucket of crap into the top 5, then we can consider him great.

    1996/7/8/9 schumacher hauled a sub par prancing donkey into places it should never have been. Just like prost in 1990.

    Jim Clark was faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. In any open Wheeler. He always out performed the car.

    Legends are usually borne out of hardship (senna lotus Monaco, schumacher 1998 etc). The numbers don’t lie, but sometimes a third placing in a bucket shows the true mettle.

  • Eevel_Empire

    Well said pfft

  • Don

    Strong support from Adrian as well as the rest of Redbull for Vettel because he does what’s required from the team WIN!, Truth is two drivers from the same team at the same time will not win the drivers championship (this is for the teams who haven’t realized this), creating what appears to be equality between teamates is good for constructors championship, but inner team battling can lead to disater, alonso v Hamilton etc., so a #1 is chosen at some point of the championship by the teams who really want to win, two lions in the same den can work at times ,but the same two lions competing for one prize will have either a winner, loser conclusion, or a lose lose conclusion.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Alonso is talking about greatness, Vettel is doing it. Ever since he was fastest in his first ever F1 session with a mediocre car, he is always performing 110%. Well done lad, keep it up.

  • KC

    “Adrian Newey does not equate record breaking statistics with greatness”

    Take note, all you people who go on about how many titles Newey has won!

  • KC

    “He always out performed the car.”

    Probably THE most stupid phrase in motor racing. Nobody ever has, or ever can, out perform their car. The best drivers come close to getting 100% out of their cars.

    Fangio, Senna, Clark, Schumacher etc all won their titles in cars much better compared to the competition than Vettel has had.

  • KC

    “Legends are usually borne out of hardship”

    Vettel Brazil 2012 was a legendary drive, one of the greatest championship winning drives n F1 history.

  • pfft

    @KC

    Brazil 2012? When vettel had the fastest car and stuffed his start, crashed, took out an innocent competitor and was gifted positions by schumacher et al?

    He nearly lost his championship that day. Hardly a legendary performance.

    Oh, Clark, Senna, Schumacher all raced buckets at various stages of their careers. Their best performances were often in years that they had no chance of winning the title. Geez, read much?

    Re:110%…I humbly defer. I was caught up in hyperbole. 100% is, by definition, the maximum one can attain. Thanks for getting caught up on semantics. Are you anti-semantic?

  • the fan

    vettel’s in a good position to be the all time best, but until he steps out of that RB and starts doing what he’s achieving now then thats the time the world will give him all the credit he deserves.

    of course fanboys wont agree :p

  • Hawk

    Newey is simply saying Vettel is not about to be considered a great. he even sparingly considers Schumi a great. just does it out of politeness.

    “So there is that intangible thing that defines greatness, which isn’t simply results. And I think what Sebastian is well on the way to doing is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats,” he concluded.”

    what a useless statement.

  • Taskmaster

    Most of the greats have been single team successes (Clark, Senna for example), a few have been with two teams (Schumacher). The majority of moves from one team to another were not heroic efforts to bring a struggling second rate team to the fore, they were to move from a team that was once great but struggling to a faster team. Senna from McLaren to Williams for example, Fangio as another, who moved from team to team to drive the best cars he could get into. So, the idea that a driver MUST switch teams to show his greatness, by suffering some sill notion of struggle in an inferior car is complete rubbish. As far as exceeding a cars core capacity? Yes, drivers can wring a few tenths out of a car beyond what its basic capability is. Some do it like Hunt did, by shear force and bravado, others do it with a finesse that eludes description, like Vettel, Schumacher, or Hakkinan. While this is still within 100% in the purest definition, it is still more than the car can deliver to other good drivers who might fit into the seat. At Red Bull, Vettel simply drives the cars better than Weber, extracts more of what Newey builds into them, and is able to dig deeper and drive at the very limit of its capacity when its needed. He would do this in the Ferrari, the Mercedes, or any other car, so there is nothing that inherently marries his performance to Newey or Red Bull, other than the fact they now deliver a car with the most capacity to tap into, which Vettel capitalizes on and succeeds with. To say this makes him a lesser driver is nonsense – it is what defines him as one of the top drivers now on the grid, and potentially one of the greats, whether or no detractors will ever accept this is completely irrelevant.

  • Tinto

    Who the heck Newey is to tell us who is the greatest, we know better than him… Or not!

    Detractors never die, no matter what many F1 personalities say about Vettel greatness, there is plenty of naysayers. You may think they are honest in Vettel’s denial, but they are not. Loosers.

  • KC

    “vettel’s in a good position to be the all time best, but until he steps out of that RB and starts doing what he’s achieving now then thats the time the world will give him all the credit he deserves.”

    You’re not “the world”, you pathetic jackass. Apart from a tiny handful of crazed loudmouths who comment obsessively on web sites, the world already accepts that Vettel is an all time great.

  • KC

    “He nearly lost his championship that day. Hardly a legendary performance.”

    He won his championship that day in a brilliant come from behind drive of the sort Senna never delivered in winning HIS championships. It was one of the all time great championship winning drives in F1 history, one in the face of “hardship”.

    “Clark, Senna, Schumacher all raced buckets at various stages of their careers.”

    As did Vettel, you historically illiterate fool.

  • KC

    ” I was caught up in hyperbole.”

    No kidding. If that was your only instance of hyperbole you could be forgiven, but you also wrote the following.

    “vettel had the fastest car and stuffed his start, crashed, took out an innocent competitor and was gifted positions by schumacher et al”

    But I suppose that is less “hyperbole” than it is blatant and cynical dishonesty. You might as well have gone to to remark about how poor Hulkengerg was crashed into by Hamilton – at least then you’d be consistently stupid instead of selectively so.

  • Speedo Reido

    How dare you idiots even comment here when we have KC to talk down to us and telling us what to think.

    Thanks KC for setting us straight.

    You pompous ass.

  • xyler

    Not only a victory can be a grate race. F.e. think about Lauda-comeback 1976 in Monza.

  • F1R

    Be nice if they could have the title of this article written in proper English !

    Anyway, the fact that Seb will overtake Senna in the amount of world championships is a sacrilege. It’s likely Senna could have added to his total had he not been killed but to call Vettel one of the ‘greats’ is laughable. His talent doesn’t touch that of Senna, Schumacher etc.
    Even today the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen are each more talented than him. Throughout his 3 championships (and now onto his 4th), the car has done most of the work.
    Neweys aerodynamic skills, which are better than anyone else’s, period, have provided Seb with the best and easiest car to drive on the grid. Seb’s contribution has been consistency and the ability to maximise the car (unlike Webber). Not the most difficult job in the word with cars like he has had.
    Any day that the Red Bull car, whether through set-up or whatever else, has not been the class of the field, Vettel was not able to extract more from it than say Alonso, Hamilton or Raikkonen would.
    He’s a decent driver in an outstanding car. That’s all he will ever be, in my opinion, until he proves what he can do in a car that isnt 2-2.5s a lap quicker than the rest.
    I seriously doubt he could have matched what Kimi has done in the Lotus since his comeback and Seb hasn’t even been away.
    I seriously doubt he could push that Ferrari to where Alonso has and the same with respect to Hamilton in that Mercedes.

    Add to all that his silly and sometimes arrogant personality as a person and what you have is not an all time great, but a driver who drove an all-time great car.

    Yes, it’s cliche with Seb but it makes it no less true. Without Newey Seb would NOT be where he is today.

  • gilgen

    f1r. And pray, how do YOU know? I would far rather take Adrians word for it, than yours. Back to your X-Box now!

  • KC

    “He’s a decent driver in an outstanding car. That’s all he will ever be, in my opinion, until he proves what he can do in a car that isnt 2-2.5s a lap quicker than the rest.”

    Looks like your opinion along with a fiver could buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Why do people saying egregiously stupid things keep acting as if their opinions (opinions not shared by ANYBODY who knows anything about F1) are worth more than a used piece of toilet paper?

  • KC

    Aww, poor widdle Speedo has his widdle feelings hurt. Ask your mommy for a kiss to make it all better.

  • Rob Ducker

    KC
    like it or not Vettel will never be granted “great” status you so obviously think he deserves until he leaves RBR and performs like Fernando Alonso did in the first 2/3rd of last season. Why the first 2/3rds? The car was an absolute pig…it even twitched on the straights. Never have I or many many others seen a driver so occupied not just in keeping his car in front: but keeping it on the track: that car was the downfall of Massa who, until it improved in the last 1/3 of the season, found it undrivable.

    Obviously his record speaks for itself just like Schumacher. But Shu’s car was a great car but he, the driver, is never going to be regarded as a great for that very reason. Vettel’s strengths are the amount of work he does with the team in making his car perfect. He is obviously able to relay the exactly right information to his engineers to get it set up right. But 2.5 seconds a lap right? Nuh sorry – give Newey the credit for that.

  • Taskmaster

    Be nice of critics of any driver based comments on actual information and not the tired old “I doubt, me thinks, it’s likely that” statements that would get you thrown out of a proper debate.

    Senna won his 3 championships in one car, designed by the one team of Nicolas/Murray, whose creation won 15 of 16 races in 1988, then half of all the races 1989 through 1991. Whether he would have done more had he lived is romantic guesswork and nothing more.

    Schumacher and Rory Byrne were the pair to play to in 6 of the 7 championships earned there, winning 9/17 in 1995, then 48 of 85 2000 thru 2004. 2004 was so dominate, rules and regs attempting to tighten competition were put in place specifically to keep that from happening again. Could Schumacher have done this with another designer or team? Nobody knows.

    Meanwhile, Vettel won his first race in an inferior car (STR) in 2008, then put that team 6th in the WCC, neither of which the team has never equaled since he moved on. Then, he pulled off a 2nd in the WDC, in a car that Weber/Coultard were never able to win with before, winning twice as many races as his team mate (4:2). He backed this up with the WDC and helped Red Bull to the WCC every year since. He has had inspired drives from pit lane and back of the pack, he’s managed to improve year over year in consistency and reliable performance through entire seasons. If this is not the path to greatness in F1, then who cares.

    Why this one driver is singled out for such continual visceral bashing and undeserved denigration is truly baffling. I don’t have a specific favorite, as that’s pointless. I do however see that some UK media favorite drivers, like Hamilton, get a free ride with mediocre performances while Itlaian press darling Alonso gets attributed with powers beyond reality and media neutral Raikonnen is afforded more latitude than he deserves. These too seems as odd as hammering away at a young German who is really interesting to watch on race day, if not in career evolution.

  • F1R

    KC, is it your personal mission in life to just insult and berate anyone who has a contrary opinion on Vettel to your own ? You have to answer everyone ??

    Get over your Vettel love and if you’re going to invoke Starbucks then maybe you need to be the one smelling the coffee.

    Nor do you speak for ANYBODY else. You have no idea about what I know about F1. You’re just another jerkoff who thinks anyone with a contrary opinion to yours is an idiot. Like you’re some know-it-all genius.

    If you can disagree with the FACT that the superiority of the Newey-designed Red Bull cars have not been a decisive factor in Vettel’s success then you are narrow-minded, blinded and in denial.
    The same can be said if you think Vettel’s name can be uttered in the same breath as Senna, Clarke, Fangio, Schumacher etc.
    He is not the most talented driver on the grid, that much is certain so you can only put down the amount of success he has had to the car. Couple that with the fact that Red Bull have the best aero guy in the business and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math.

    And just for the record, my opinion has just as much value as yours or anyone else’s that you’ve insulted here.
    That yours comes from a place that is biased and non-objective doesn’t really give you that much credence.
    At least I gave Vettel the credit for where I think his strengths as a driver are. I don’t have to hate him as a driver even though I dislike him as a person. It’s not Sebs fault he has been given the best car on the grid, but it needs to be recognised that the cars contribution has been greater than the drivers.
    I can give you at least 3 drivers who alongside Vettel in the same car, with the assumption that Red Bull would give them equal chances and equally reliable cars, who would easily equal or outperform Vettel.
    There was no way RB were ever going to sign Kimi alongside Vettel. They know he won’t be a number 2 or be Vettels bitch and they know he would threaten Vettels stability in the team.
    He’s no Senna/Prost.

    Say what you like, the truth hurts.

  • Speedo Reido

    Why thanks again, KC. I guess you put me in my place with your little rant.

    I yield to your techncal superiority.

    You should go ‘Pro”. I hear professional gas-bags are in high demand this time of year.

  • F1R

    gilgen, Of course you would. It’s much better to take the opinion of someone who works in the same team as Vettel, who has to tow the company line and obviously couldn’t criticise Vettel if he wanted to. But I doubt Newey would put Vettel on the same mantle as Senna.

    Me? Well I don’t have to tow the Red Bull company line so I speak based on what I see as a viewer of F1 for the past 35 years and read and listen from decent sources and not tabloid pap.

    Plus you’re going to go with the opinion that more meets your own so your comment is rather pointless.

    And I don’t own a games console. PC’s and sim-racing are more my thing.
    Now go and read some more Newey or Horner quotes so you can feel all fluffy and warm about yourself.

  • pfft

    @KC

    You are an interesting fanboy. Your opinion of Vettel’s ‘choke and crash’ drive in Brazil 2012 baffles me.

    I can’t see what part of his drive was legendary. His chokingbin qualifying? His average start? Spinning out and taking out another competitor (by accident, admittedly). Then circulating and taking advantage of pitstops, having people pull aside for him and finishing a mile away from the front. Sounds like luck.

    Schumacher Brazil 2006…. try that for a comeback. A lap down and fights through to finish 4th. Without the first lap flat tyre, he vould have lapped the entire field.

    Still, Schumacher’s best drives came in years like 1998, when his car was off the pace.

    Vettel has only once raced a non-newey car…. the bmw. Toro Rosso was still a newey design before they changed the rule.

    He scored a win when the car was the fastest (remember? His teammate, bourdais qualified just behind him in third).

    I know you’re butthurt. I was damon hill fan because I loved the idea of a test driver and son of a champion doing well. Eventually, I had to accept that I had rose colored glasses on.

    But never, ever did I try to pretend that one of his ‘pigs ear’ races was a ‘silk purse. ‘

    That would be delusional. It’s even more dangerous for someone as young as you, KC. Teenagers are an ‘at risk’ age group for all sorts of terrible things that result from mental illness.

    Get help, KC and god bless.

  • KC

    “Your opinion of Vettel’s ‘choke and crash’ drive in Brazil 2012 baffles me.”

    If you think that vettel choked and crashed in Brazil 2012 then I would imagine that you find a great many things to be baffling. Try adjusting your brain.

    “I can’t see what part of his drive was legendary.”

    You mean, apart from coming from dead last, in the rain, in a damaged car, to win the WDC? No, I suppose apart from that silly little stuff there was nothing very special about it at all.

    “Spinning out and taking out another competitor ..”

    You are desperately delusional. What competitor did you imagine you saw him “spinning and taking out”?

    “Vettel has only once raced a non-newey car..”

    What is it with you and this “Newey car” BS? Newey cars do not confer speed or wins on drivers as if by some supernatural magic. Kimi Raikkonen drove those “Newey cars” for several years. Given your near total disconnection from reality you may not be aware of this, but Kimi won zero WDC’s in those “Newey cars” you worship s much. Webber drives these “Newey cars” you are jonsing over, and he struggles to win ANY races.

  • KC

    ” is it your personal mission in life to just insult and berate anyone who has a contrary opinion on Vettel to your own ?”

    It is my personal mission to expose stupidly and correct ignorance wherever I find them. And God knows, there is a great deal of both to be found around here.

  • KC

    “You have no idea about what I know about F1.”

    You don’t know jack about F1. Immense numbers of people who DO know a lot about F1 keep saying Vettel is the real deal, an extraordinary driver. So the question is, why do you think you know more than the team principals or former F1 drivers and engineering staff?

  • pfft

    @Kc.

    Yes, he came from last after turning in on a competitor and spinning out. He was desperate. Wouldn’t Mummy let you watch the first lap? Too scary for you? Gives you bad dreams?

    He should never have been that far down the field in the first place.

    Despite the damage, his car was still fast. His pitstops the best, too.

    He didn’t win the championship that day. He had a good points lead and threw most of that lead away. That is called choking and lucking into JUST emough points to cling onto a championship.

    Kinda like schumacher in 2002 (?) At the finale. He only had to ginish eighth to win the title and kimi had to win.

    He nearly threw it all away and only just held on. Hardly a legendary drive.

    Look Kacey/KC, I think vettel is supremely fast. But whenever his car isn’t perfect, he mopes around and swears and whines and gets beaten by Webber. Even Helmut ‘buttbudy’ Marko said of seb, “Sebastian needs the car to be operating in very narrow window of performance to get the best out of it, whereas Mark only needs four wheels.”

    I’ve never seen Seb overtake someone who’se car/tyre combo was less than 1.5 seconds slower. Prove me wrong and provide examples. And don’t include contrived team mate rubbish like multi21 or 2010 Turkey.

  • pfft

    Silence. Just as I suspected.

    Yes I’m taunting you. Taunting you with logic and reason.

  • F1R

    pfft, I think you might have overloaded his tiny brain.

  • F1R

    KC, If it is your personal mission to expose stupidity and ignorance then you are succeeding. In fact to expose it every time you write a post. You’re doing very well so far. You ‘god’ doesn’t know though, unfortunately for you, as god doesn’t exist.

    You don’t know jack about F1. Immense numbers of people who DO know a lot about F1 keep saying Vettel is the real deal, an extraordinary driver. So the question is, why do you think you know more than the team principals or former F1 drivers and engineering staff?

    So because I disagree with what people from Vettels OWN TEAM are saying about him, I don’t know about F1. Genius logic. I don’t know why I’m even affording you the time of day. People with your intellect are beneath me.
    But of course you are going to agree with what some people in F1 say about Vettel if it agrees with your opinion. Then you think you can logically bolster your own opinion because of it.
    Well I’m sure for every person in F1 who thinks Vettel is the ‘real deal’ (whatever that is supposed to mean), there is another who thinks he isn’t.
    You don’t have to blindly agree with someone in F1 to ‘know your stuff’. They are not always right which is why you will find people in the F1 paddock with different opinions.
    But if you want to be that blind sheep who cannot think or question for himself it would certainly go some way into why you believe in this mythical ‘god’ figure.

    If you want to quote ex-F1 people then what about the ex-F1 team owner who questioned the legality of Vettels car in Singapore. Now surely, by your logic, he must know better than you or I. So if I agree with him that something is dodgy with the car (which wouldn’t surprise me), does that make me less ignorant of F1 ? By your rules it must do.

    Talk like a mature adult and offer something objective instead of being this blinded sheep.
    You still won’t admit that the Red Bull cars over the past 4 years have played a significant and decisive role in Vettels successes.
    Even Newey himself said it wasn’t the resuts alone that makes you great. Unfortunately, and thanks to his car, results is all Vettel has had. He`s never had to properly fight for a victory – oh but the one time he did (Turkey) he felt he was entitled to pass Webber, then he couldn’t even manage that properly without taking them both out then he had the audacity to blame Webber for it.
    You and him make good bum-chums.

  • Speedo Reido

    Well said F1R. Couldn’t agree more.

  • PB

    @F1R – well said.
    @KC – you need to look back further than the current 4 years to see just who are the greatest drivers in Formula 1. This sport goes back to 1948 and since then there have been many great drivers who have battled with challenges of their day. Vettel has a long way to go before greatness can be achieved – and do it without a Newey designed car.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Newey should just quit Formula 1 since anyone winning in his cars will be deemed not worthy of those accolades.

  • Jack

    Lets just wait for next year when the rule change will seemingly shake up the pecking order. Perhaps the Red Bull will not be the pick of the class, if that is so, then we will actually see what Vettel can do.

  • Go

    KC: “He won his championship that day in a brilliant come from behind drive of the sort Senna never delivered in winning HIS championships.”

    Senna actually won his first after coming back from 15th on the grid after stalling at the start.

    Ever post of yours has so many blatant inaccuracies and pov weasel remarks it it a disgrace. I’ve watched F1 since 1987 and have had discussions with fans of every age, but your fanboy Bieber blinkers and ignorance is of GOAT level.

  • Go

    Christ, reading KC’s other posts; how can someone be so forcefully arrogant and sure of themselves while displaying such blatant ignorance about F1? This extreme combination of both can really only mean he is a very young person or something.

  • Tom

    @ pfft

    “His chokingbin qualifying? His average start? Spinning out and taking out another competitor (by accident, admittedly). Then circulating and taking advantage of pitstops,”

    ——————-

    Gotto disagree with you there mate. Yes he didn’t do the best job in qualifying and didn’t get the best of starts (Webber squeezing him at the 1st corner didn’t help either). The contact with Senna was a racing incident (hence none of them were penalized). But after that point, his drive was quite brilliant (I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was legendary).

    He was dead last with a damaged car and with a lot of pressure. But from that point onwards, he didn’t make any mistake while several other front runners did (Alonso running wide and letting Hulkenberg pass him, Hulkenberg losing his car and crashing while overtaking Hamilton, Webber spinning etc.). And the team couldn’t hear him on the radio which led to some messed up pit stops which again put him on the back foot. He didn’t really gain anything in the pits on that day, he lost a lot of time.

    Considering all that, I would say it was quite a remarkable drive.

    P.S. – I’m a Räikkönen fan

  • GoldLeaf

    Statistics only tell part of the story, but we all know when someone has pulled off an amazing drive. Usually, that’s apparent when someone comes back from a serious deficit that has caused them to lose time. Sometimes we see it when a driver really does get 100% out of the car that no one else could get 80% out of. If you think about it, the driver could be considered a “component” of the car and might be more important than the engine. Whenever one driver is clearly dominant, it’s a combination of many factors including the driver’s skill and talent, the capabilities of the car he’s driving, the rules in effect at the time, the level of the competition he faces, and pure luck. Despite all of this, some individuals definitely stand out as greats, but we all have our own way of deciding who fits into that category.