Newey: Going back to the 2012 Pirelli tyres clearly helped us

Adrian Newey during the Canadian GP weekend

Adrian Newey during the Canadian GP weekend

Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has admitted that Pirelli’s mid-season tyre specification change helped the quadruple back-to-back World Champions in 2013.

Sebastian Vettel, who clinched his fourth title in India last weekend, had already won races this season at the time of the ‘tyre-exploding’ British Grand Prix, where after Pirelli came under pressure to revert to last year’s Kevlar-belted construction.

Red Bull lobbied hard for the change, and car designer Newey has now admitted that the 2012 tyres gave the team a performance boost.

“Going back to the 2012 tyres clearly helped us,” he is quoted by France’s L’Equipe.

“Our car works very well in fast corners, which is where the 2013 tyres suffered most. They were pretty easy to damage, so we couldn’t really use this advantage that we had over the other teams,” added Newey.

Sebastian Vettel won 10 of the 16 races so far this year in the Red Bull RB9

Sebastian Vettel won 10 of the 16 races so far this year in the Red Bull RB9

Although Vettel’s name has been under the title spotlight for the past four seasons, many in the paddock believe Newey to be the real champion of that period.

But Newey insists that Vettel has grown into the role of a truly top Formula 1 driver, since lifting his first title in a head-to-head with teammate Mark Webber in 2010.

“His driving has gone from very talented but slightly raw at times in, let’s say, 2009, to incredibly well rounded now,” he told the Guardian.

“In 2009 and 2010 you could occasionally criticise him for making slightly ill-judged moves and … having accidents.

“You could criticise him, possibly, for not being able to overtake. I think some people, possibly, felt that, if he didn’t start from pole and control the race from the front, then he was not so good,” added Newey.

Sebastian Vettel with Adrian Newey after the Malaysian GP

Sebastian Vettel with Adrian Newey after the Malaysian GP

“You really can’t make those criticisms any more. It’s difficult to see a chink in his armoury.”

Vettel’s fellow four-time World Champion Alain Prost agrees: “He doesn’t make stupid mistakes anymore,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild.

So as the podium boos of recent races now fade, Vettel’s four titles – surpassed only by Juan Manuel Fangio (5) and Michael Schumacher (7) – have gained him a new level of respect.

Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa said: “Vettel has been magnificent in his work,” he told Marca, “and he stands out with Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton. “It is impossible to take any merit [away] from his successes.” (GMM)

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  • jumpugly

    Anything you say Adrian.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Another biased “news story”.

    “I’d say that Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna are two of the all-time greats and Sebastian needs to be considered in that line.”

    “Sebastian must now be considered one of the all-time greats.”

    Newey made the above two statements, and many more like them. And they are all buried five fathoms deep by the F1 press, who greatly prefer to quote him saying things like “In 2009 and 2010 you could occasionally criticise him for making slightly ill-judged moves and … having accidents.”