Formula 1 design ace Adrian Newey says his enthusiasm for the sport has been rekindled by the progress his Red Bull Racing team has made this year.
Newey has said several times in the past that he does not have much interest in sticking around F1 if there is too much regulation stability, because he does not find it challenging enough. However, with Red Bull Racing having emerged as title challengers this year thanks to the impressive RB5 that made the most of F1's huge regulation changes, Newey said that his feelings about F1 have been lifted.
"I feel enthused by the progress that the team has made, yes," Newey told AUTOSPORT. "As I have said many times, I love regulation changes. I think they sort of reset the baseline, whereas periods of long stability are really about tiny iterations, so are really a different mindset. I am not saying I don't like it, but size probably counts more than anything else in those situations.
"But we've got some decent regulation changes next year. Primarily, it is great to have seen how the team has grown over the last year, and to see the confidence and the smile on everyone's faces. Although it is a relatively new team as Red Bull, on the other hand, you could say it is actually Jaguar – or even Stewart Grand Prix."
Red Bull primarily lost ground in the title chase to Brawn GP this year in the early stages of the season – when the BGP 001 had an advantage through its use of a double diffuser. Red Bull lost an FIA International Court of Appeal hearing into the legality of the diffusers, and had to adopt the design onto its own car later in the season. Although the team was left wondering what might have been if the diffuser issue had not come up, Newey says there is little reason to feel down about the situation.
"I think overall, of course, it is easy to be frustrated. Motor racing is full of ifs and buts – but the reality is that if you said 12 months ago, 'You are going to win six races and finish second in the World Championship,' then obviously I would have bitten your hand off.
"So, we cannot be disappointed. It was a fantastic year for the team. The bottom line was simply that we ran out of time in the second half of the year. We had a good car, but we ran out of races. The teams that came up with the double diffusers, they got that jump and good luck to them. That is the nature of F1."
Newey is confident that the experience Red Bull Racing gained in 2009, when it took the title fight all the way to the final round, will be valuable as it bids for overall glory next year.
"I hope so," said Newey when asked if he was optimistic for the forthcoming season. "As we all know, motor racing does not tend to follow logical progressions from year to year. It is not that simple. McLaren and Ferrari, for sure, will be bouncing back from below average years from their point of view. Brawn/Mercedes will obviously be tough again and other teams will step in.
"But I think our team has really developed a confidence and belief in itself now. We continue to develop the infrastructure, and that will hopefully bring us a decent result."