16 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: Vettel ‘like all true greats’
Adrian Newey has paid tribute to the 'hidden' abilities Sebastian Vettel has displayed on his way to four F1 world titles.
Adrian Newey has broken down what he thinks makes Sebastian Vettel the best driver of his generation, echoing similar comments applied to champions of the past.
Asked to name 'the one or two qualities' the four-time world champion possesses that separates him from others on the grid, Newey produced a longer list, praising the German's ability to multi-task as well as his work ethic.
“I think he, like all the true greats, has the ability to drive the car and, at the same time, have enough mental reserve to be able to understand how he's driving the car and be able to play that back and understand when to push and when not to, how the race is unfolding,” he explained.
“I think he has very good recall, which means that, when he gets out of the car, he's able to play back in his own mind what he's experienced, and digest that. He works hard in the evenings with the race engineers and the result of all that is that, when he steps in the car again the next day, he's learned that little bit more. If you apply that over many races, then he keeps improving.”
Critics like to point out that Vettel has, in his championship years at least, had the best car in the field, but Newey insists that there has been no miracle when it comes to producing race-winning machinery.
“There's no magic bullet, it's the usual development story,” he suggested, “This year's car was a very close cousin of last year's, with relatively small evolutions over the winter under essentially stable regulations. We really started this year where we left off last year from a car point of view, and it was just about developing it, understanding it.
“I think the change in tyres back to the 2012 tyres was also obviously something that had an effect on the car and possibly suited us – but it's difficult to know exactly. It's just general development, no magic.”
While Newey is generally credited with the success enjoyed by Red Bull, there is a bigger design team contributing to the process, but losing a member of that line-up – such as Peter Prodromou - is something the head man takes for granted in a competitive industry.
“Movement is the nature of F1 – and you only have to look at the people sitting at this table,” he told the assembled media, pointing to the likes of James Allison and Paddy Lowe, “I think it's healthy in many ways that there is a bit of movement, otherwise it would all go stale.
“I am sad that Peter's leaving because I've worked with him for many years, but I guess he has his reasons for wanting to move on. I think we've got good strength in depth in Red Bull so we will carry on as well.”
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