Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey has explained how the team's lack of performance in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 almost drove him to join Ferrari.
After four consecutive World Championship 'doubles' between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull were toppled in '14 as F1 switched from the old V8 engines to the complex turbo-hybrid units.
Mercedes' acing of the new regulations allowed them to dominate F1 for nearly a decade until a rejuvenated Newey helped Red Bull's Max Verstappen to snatch the 2021 Drivers' title before the team claimed both championships in a crushing '22 campaign thanks to the all-new technical rules.
However, shortly after the inception of the 1.6L V6 units back in 2014, a previously "happy" Newey began to grow disillusioned with F1 - thanks in part to Red Bull's supplier Renault - with an oft-mooted switch to Maranello a possibility.
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Renault struggled badly in the early days of the new engine formula, with a lack of power coupled with chronic unreliability leading to strained relations between them and Red Bull.
This reason led Newey to considering his future in F1 as he began work on other projects, including in Sailing's America's Cup with four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie.
"Back then I was pretty disillusioned with the whole thing to be honest in as much as obviously I nearly joined Ferrari," Newey explained to The Race.
"Although I felt happy at Red Bull, and didn't really want to move teams, the only thing that had pushed me towards even thinking about moving was that we were stuck with an uncompetitive engine.
"We had a supplier that seemed more interested in the marketing angle that came from being in F1 than actually being competitive.
"If you have an engine partner who comes up with a power unit that’s below the competitors but shows a real desire and a will to fix it and go forward, then you accept it.
"But one that won’t recognise it’s behind and doesn’t seem to be interested in doing anything about it is altogether more difficult. So it caused me to lose motivation."
Honda "changes things"
Red Bull were unable to leave the Renault deal at the time as Mercedes and Ferrari refused to supply power units to a main rival while Honda were performing even worse than Renault during their ill-fated spell with McLaren.
Only after McLaren and Honda split did a potential new option open up for Red Bull, with the Japanese firm spending a year with Toro Rosso in 2018, before the Milton Keynes outfit opted to also run the units - which would propel them back to the front of the grid.
It was Honda's "drive and motivation" to improve that stood out to Newey when the partnership first began.
"I didn't want to change teams and that's where the [Aston Martin Valkyrie] road car project came in.
"It kept me motivated and occupied for a bit and once we'd signed the deal with Honda, it was clear that we had a partner that might not be quite there at that point, [but] had the drive and motivation to get there, which changed things."
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