As a mark of the esteem in which he is held within the team, and out of gratitude for his efforts that have resulted in two title-challenging cars in swift succession, Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey has been presented with one of last year's RB5 models to keep as his own – and he promptly proceeded to tear enthusiastically up the hill with it at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.
The gift was a sign of the Milton Keynes-based outfit's appreciation for what the talented aerodynamicist has contributed since joining Red Bull back at the start of 2006 – off the back of a record-breaking career in F1 that has seen the Englishman dubbed the only man in history to win more grands prix than the legendary Michael Schumacher, through his ultra-successful designs over the past two decades – and he admitted it had left him somewhat overwhelmed.
“I'm overcome, actually,” confessed the 51-year-old. “The guys have obviously put a tremendous amount of effort into preparing the car for me. You can see it – the paint and the lines are absolutely perfect, the work that's gone into doing the helmet and everything else is incredible. Also, the fact that the guys have given up a weekend to come down here and run it for me is fantastic.
“I was nervous before my first run, as I'd never driven a car with a hand-clutch before and had never left-foot braked except in a go-kart – but it's really fantastic to drive! A slight fright was that I wasn't prepared for how long first gear is, so as I was pulling out of the paddock it was pushing me on a lot.
“I was saying to myself, 'hand clutch, hand clutch', but the automatic reaction is to go for the left foot! We went up the hill on wet tyres, so it was a gentle drive. It was just so great to be in the car and it's such a great noise from the inside.
“The plan now is to club together with some other guys I know who are lucky enough to have cars and hire a circuit, preferably a modern one with a bit of run-off where I can enjoy driving the car without worrying about having a spin in front of a crowd!”
“I was delighted to hand over this RB5 on behalf of Red Bull to Adrian,” added RBR team principal Christian Horner. “It's a really significant car for us, as it's the first model type that won six races for Red Bull Racing last year. Adrian's made a mess of his lawn with several different cars from his collection, but this one will definitely tear the grass up!
“Hopefully he will look after it carefully, and we're happy to hand it over with the relevant crash helmet and overalls to make sure he's safe. We've also given him a set of spares, just in case!”