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Adrian Newey

Exclusive: Williams in talks to sign Newey

Despite all the speculation linking Adrian Newey to Ferrari, he could yet make a remarkable return to Williams.

Adrian Newey US Grand Prix 2022 Red Bull
To news overview © XPBimages

Williams has emerged as a surprise candidate to sign Adrian Newey, RacingNews365 can exclusively reveal.

Following confirmation on Wednesday that Newey will be leaving Red Bull at the end of this season after 19 years of service, speculation has heavily linked the most successful designer in F1 history with a move to Ferrari.

Ahead of this weekend's Miami Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his desire that Ferrari sign Newey in his bid to become a record-breaking eight-time F1 champion when he joins the Scuderia next season.

It is understood, however, that despite Ferrari's willingness to break the bank to sign Newey and conclude a pursuit that has been years in the making after previously failed attempts to recruit his services, the 65-year-old is entrenched in his view that he has no desire to move to Italy.

With Aston Martin also courting Newey, and with the financial resources at its disposal, the two powerhouses would appear to be in a tug-of-war to land the most wanted man in F1 at present.

RacingNews365 has learned, however, that Williams team principal James Vowles has also held talks with Newey to persuade him to return to an organisation where he won the first of his 25 combined constructors' and drivers' titles.

After starting his extraordinary career with March in 1988, Newey moved on to Williams three years later and turned the team into the dominant force of the early 1990s as his cars won constructors' titles over three consecutive years from 1992-'94, and again in 1996, although he had been placed on gardening leave during that season ahead of a switch to McLaren.

Under Newey, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill won their only drivers' titles with Williams in 1992 and 1996 respectively, whilst Alain Prost became a four-time champion in 1993.

'Our door is always open'

Although Williams may not possess the financial clout of Ferrari and Aston Martin, Vowles has been given the blessing of owners Dorilton Capital to lure Newey back to Grove and potentially return the team to the front of the grid after years in the wilderness.

Vowles has made a considerable impression on the team since his appointment early last year following a move from Mercedes, guiding Williams to seventh in the constructors' championship, its highest position since 2017.

Although it is understood talks have started positively, Vowles knows he faces a task to win over Newey given he is in the long-term process of rebuilding Williams' outdated infrastructure that is years behind its rivals.

The new power unit regulations for 2026 at least offer all teams a clean sheet of paper, and the opportunity to establish itself at the front of a field currently dominated by a Newey-inspired Red Bull.

Newey could yet relish the chance to restore the good name of a team where it all started for him, one that is close to home, and where he would be allowed free reign, unlike at Ferrari where he could face being stymied by a complicated infrastructure, and at Aston Martin where owner Lawrence Stroll pulls the strings tightly on his staff.

Williams driver Alex Albon, who worked with Newey at Red Bull, sees no reason why Vowles could not lure him to the team.

"It will be interesting to see his next move," said Albon. "I'm sure every team is chasing him down to try and get hold of him.

"Whatever he chooses, whether it's retirement or racing, I wish him all the best. And obviously, our door is always open as well."

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