Adrian Newey is a man accustomed to success in the F1 arena, but his ambition remains undimmed in spite of that and he insists that he will accept nothing less than another world title before he declares 2011 a good season.
The Briton, whose seven-title haul rivals that of Michael Schumacher - ironically, a driver he has never worked with - has been the man behind championship successes for Williams, McLaren and, as of last year, Red Bull Racing, but he is always looking forward to the next crown and, after Sebastian Vettel's flying start to the current campaign, has set his sights high once more.
"We have to win the championship - nothing less," he insisted to the official F1 website, "Only then, will I say [the 2011 car] is fantastic. I think the whole car is okay [after five wins in seven races], [and] we have certainly had a good start to the season, but F1 is all about development, so being quick at the start of the year isn't enough. You have to the quickest at the end
of the season!"
Newey famously almost didn't make it to Red Bull, having toyed with the idea of leaving F1 altogether after hitting the heights with McLaren, but admits that there was something alluring about joining a team that had yet to taste success and was coming from the opposite end of the field.
"Of course, I have been very lucky in my career, and winning both titles last year with Red Bull Racing was very special because I joined the team very early on," he confirmed, "I was centrally involved and built up the team from the start. It was a fresh challenge.
"I was lucky to be very successful with Williams and then McLaren, but there was also the urge for a new challenge. Looking around at what that fresh challenge could be, I looked at yachts - at the America's Cup - but came to the conclusion that being involved with [an F1] team right from the start would be the challenge I was looking for. It was kind of like leaving the road of safety at McLaren and inching my way into unknown territory."
Confessing that he has never thought about the comparison between his title tally and that of Schumacher, Newey is now working with the man many believe to be the German's natural successor, and admits that Vettel is pretty unique among F1 drivers.
"The very special thing with Sebastian is how mature he is at this age," he revealed, "I've seen so often that, when drivers suddenly rise from obscurity to incredible stardom and fame, it goes to their head. They lose ground and their head gets a bit too big. Sebastian is remarkably level-headed. He is a very private man and isn't into the fame at all.
"He thinks a lot about what he does and rarely makes the same mistake twice. And he is very hard working. He is always in the paddock in the evening, speaking with his engineers, going through the data and reflecting on what he did in the car. I think that's one thing all great drivers have in common."