Top ten greatest Formula 1 designers (Part two)

Top ten

Guest writer Tim Ferrone concludes his choice of the ten greatest Formula 1 designers of all time.

5. Mauro Forghieri

Mauro Forghieri, FerrariMauro Forghieri’s long service for Ferrari began in the early sixties. He designed the cars which saw the team enjoy one of its greatest periods of success in the second half of the seventies.

His ascendancy at Ferrari was accelerated by the departure of several top team staff in a dispute over pay in the winter of 1961/2. Success wasn?t long coming – in 1964 the team won both titles, John Surtees winning the drivers’ championship in the 158.

However, a relatively fallow period followed for the remainder of the decade. The British ‘garagiste’ teams ran the table, equipped with the potent and well-packaged Cosworth DFV. By the late sixties Forghieri realised a technological re-think was required, and halted progress on the team’s V12 engines.

Instead he set about creating an engine that featured opposing cylinders. His aim was to lower the centre of gravity of the car using a flat-12 cylinder layout which also allowed for a lower drive train, and hence smoother air flow to the rear wing. Initially restricted to lower than optimum revs, the engine was soon optimised, and became the mainstay of Ferrari?s F1 efforts for the decade, being used for a remarkable 11 seasons.

Forghieri’s skill was not limited to engine design – his strength was in conceiving an entire vehicle. The first signs of progress came in 1974, the 312B3 scoring a trio of wins and keeping its drivers in the championship hunt until late in the season. Ferrari ended the year runner-up in the constructors’ championship, eight points behind McLaren.

Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari 312T4, 1979This was the precursor to three consecutive years in which Ferrari and its drivers should have scored championship doubles. Arguably, only Lauda’s fiery crash at the Nurburgring in 1976 prevented them from doing so. The 312T used at this time benefited from improved weight distribution, reduced roll and better aerodynamics.

After Lauda’s departure the flat-12 engine enjoyed its final championship success in 1979. Ferrari comfortable won the constructors’ title and Jody Scheckter the drivers’ championship.

Internal politics took their toll as the team floundered in the middle of the eighties, and it wasn?t long before Forghieri departed the team, at one point going on to design the promising V12 engine for the Larrousse/Lola team.

Perfectly suiting the Ferrari ethic for much of his career, Forghieri’s sheer mechanical brilliance was the cornerstone of Ferrari’s success in the seventies.

4. Patrick Head

Patrick Head, WilliamsWhen Frank Williams (picture, right) enticed Patrick Head (left) to join his cash-strapped F1 team in 1977, a partnership was formed which would produce some of the most dominant F1 cars of the next 20 years.

Head’s first design hit the track in 1978. The following year his simple yet effective FW06 turned Williams into race winners. The neat chassis made superb use of the ground effect principles which Lotus had already demonstrated the benefits of. Only early-season unreliability prevented it from being a championship contender.

Head’s next creation, the FW07, was even more competitive and brought Williams sustained success: back-to-back constructors’ titles and a drivers’ championship win for Alan Jones.

The effectiveness of the underfloor aerodynamics on Head’s latest creation was demonstrated by the fact that it was often found to perform better without a front wing. The team were still racing the car at the beginning of 1982.

Head’s role within the team increased in importance when Frank Williams was paralysed in a road accident in 1986. That year the team were constructors’ champions once more, thanks to Head’s FW11 chassis and the prodigious power of Honda’s turbo engines.

Nigel Mansell, Williams-Honda FW11B, Imola, 1987Williams were the class of the field again in 1987 with the FW11B (pictured). It was also during this period that Head began harnessing the use of active suspension, acquiring the knowledge and expertise that would lead to their absolute dominance at the beginning of the following decade.

The partnership of Patrick Head with new recruit Adrian Newey started midway through the 1990 season, and eventually spurred the team on to their highest of highs, delivering constructor?s championships in five seasons between 1992 and 1997. It was a relationship that played to the pair?s respective strengths – Newey aerodynamics, Head engineering.

The departure of Newey and rising dominance of Ferrari lead to Head moving across to the role of ??head of engineering? in 2004. However by this stage, the Williams team had begun a slow decline from the sharp end of the F1 grid.

Head was also a superb spotter of design talent: besides Newey, Neil Oatley, Ross Brawn, Frank Dernie and Geoff Willis were all recruited by Williams and went on to excel in their fields.

Thanks to Head?s technical and design stewardship, Williams became one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport.

3. Rory Byrne

Rory Byrne, FerrariByrne arrived in F1 with the Toleman team, having joined their Formula Two squad. The team made slow but discernible progress over their first few seasons, and gradually the results began to materialise, thanks to Byrne?s improving understanding, manifested in greatly increased driveability and ambitious design.

The 1983 car innovatively sported two rear wings, a trait which which was soon to be copied by the other teams. The signing of a young Ayrton Senna for the 1984 season nearly brought the team’s first victory at Monaco.

After he left the team were taken over by Benetton, and the team finally scored its first win with BMW power courtesy of Gerhard Berger in the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix.

Byrne spent a brief spell with the doomed Reynard F1 project before returning to Benetton. With Flavio Briatore and Michael Schumacher in the cockpit, the team went on to great things.

The team were one of few to get close to Williams in their dominant 1992 and 1993 season, Schumacher picking up a win in each. The B193 bristled with cutting-edge technology including a semi-automatic gearbox, active suspension and, briefly, four-wheel steering.

Schumacher won the world championship in 1994 but the team were dogged by allegations of rule-breaking, particularly concerning the mysterious ‘option 13′ menu discovered hidden in their car, which rivals insisted contained banned launch-control software.

Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Renault B195, Magny-Cours, 1995Doubts over the class of the Byrne-era Benettons were dismissed by another consummate performance from Schumacher at the wheel of the Renault-engined B195 in 1995.

Desperate to recapture lost glories, Ferrari lured Schumacher to their team and the top technical staff from Benetton quickly followed, including Byrne.

The 1998 car was his first design, and the following year the team took the constructors’ crown. This was the first of a record six consecutive titles scored by the team, while Schumacher went on to take five drivers’ titles on the trot.

Formula 1?s “dream team” formed an extremely close working relationship with tyre supplier Bridgestone, and aided by a state of the art wind tunnel and unlimited testing, honed their machines to a level the opposition couldn’t match. In 2002 Schumacher finished all 17 races on the podium – an awesome display of performance and reliability.

If Ferrari thought that was good, even better was to follow in 2004. Schumacher won 12 of the first 13 races, ending the year with a record 13 victories.

Fundamental to the success was Byrne?s oft-repeated mantra of ??evolution, not revolution,? seeking to slowly hone and refine a car?s potential, rather than wasting time searching for a “magic bullet” in the unlikely event that it might create a vast step gain.

Never was this mantra more obvious than during this period with Ferrari when, from an already strong base, Byrne and his team sought to systematically improve every area of the car, component by painstaking component. He set the benchmark for engineering detail, whether that was by reducing sidepod size millimetre by millimetre, or through the use of electronic differentials, periscopic exhaust outlets and all-titanium gearboxes.

Unlike most contemporary designers, Byrne could be decidedly old school in his approach, making use of drawing board over the near-ubiquitous computer aided design (a trait shared by his main competitor Adrian Newey), but his achievements were underpinned by a supremely hard working ethic.

Byrne began the process of stepping back from the team at the end of the 2004 season, leading to his complete retirement in 2009. However he remains connected with Ferrari in a consultancy capacity.

Byrne’s role in lifting Benetton to their competitive peak, followed by leading Ferrari into the most dominant period in Formula 1 history, highlight the enormous scale and consistency of his achievements.

2. Colin Chapman

Colin Chapman, Jim Clark, Lotus, Monza, 1963Colin Chapman was Lotus. Although the team enjoyed some success after his death in 1982, and subsequent teams have acquired and used the name, the true Lotus will always be associated with their successes under Chapman in the sixties and seventies.

An interest in cars led Chapman to modifying and later building them. He also raced some of his creations competitively.

Success at trials level served only to fuel the desire and led to progression into sports car racing. Already empowered by a minimalist philosophy of design, victories were not long coming, leading to rapid growth and an entry into Formula 1 for the 1958 season.

Incredibly, despite being up against the might of established manufacturers such as Ferrari and Cooper, Chapman’s team was to claim both drivers’ and constructors’ crowns within five years of top level competition.

Chapman was both the team boss and the principle brains behind the design direction of the cars. Ever keen to follow his own path, Chapman?s ethos was expressed as “simplify and add lightness”.

It was a basis that was to prove devastatingly effective, resulting in three constructors’ championships in the sixties, and four in the seventies, as well as driver?s titles for the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti.

Chapman was an innovator, ceaselessly striving for an idea that would give him an edge over the competition. This often involved taking an idea from another field, such as aeronautics, and finding a successful application for it in motor racing.

The monocoque chassis, use of aluminium materials, various aerodynamic principles, inboard brakes, suspension struts, side-mounted radiators, the engine as a fully-stressed part of the chassis, active suspension and, perhaps most famously, ground effect aerodynamics, were among the ideas he conceived, collaborated on or adapted in the relentless pursuit of the ideal combination of speed and handling. Many of these concepts remain fundamental to modern day top level motor racing, which is its own testament to the importance of his ideas.

Chapman was not without his critics. Some felt his pursuit of lightweight materials meant that he was too quick to sacrifice structural integrity to save weight and reduce lap times.

Chapman suffered the loss of two of his world champions within two years of each other: Jim Clark, his great friend whom he?d scored many of his greatest Formula 1 triumphs, and Jochen Rindt, who died before being crowned champion in 1970.

Rindt was another driver who question whether Chapman’s cars took too many risks in the pursuit of speed. Yet he still chose to drive for Lotus, knowing the competitive advantage that came with the risk.

It is hard to overstate Colin Chapman?s influence on Formula 1 design, even approaching the 30th anniversary of his death. It is for his brilliance as a designer, interpreter of ideas and innovator of Grand Prix winning cars, that he is most remembered.

1. Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey, Red BullIts difficult not to rate Adrian Newey as the best of his kind ?ǣ not just through sheer volume of victories/titles, or because he is currently on a roll, but because he?s the only designer to have won constructor?s titles with three different teams.

Moreover, there can be no doubt that his role in each success was absolutely fundamental in the process. His obsessive pursuit of aerodynamic perfection has left his design fingerprints on every F1 car he’s touched – from Leyton House, to Williams, to McLaren and now Red Bull.

Having achieved a degree in aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Southampton, Newey was quickly recruited by the ailing Fittipaldi F1 team in 1980, prior to a move to March. A period spent as race engineer across various different series followed, giving him a crucial insight into the workings of a racing weekend.

It was in IndyCar that his creative input really began to catch the eye. His outstanding design efforts for March helped secure two championships and the Indianapolis 500 before his North American links lured him back to F1 competition with the US-led (but short-lived) Lola team.

It was on his return to the Leyton House (who had taken over March) that his cars began to catch the eye of the rest of the paddock; extremely sleek and slender in design, he sought then (as he still does) to package everything into the car as tightly as possible, the impact of which lead to drivers Mauricio Gugelmin and Ivan Capelli complaining of having too little room in the cockpit.

But the car’s potential became plain for all to see when Capelli came within an ace of scoring a shock victory in the 1990 French Grand Prix.

Riccardo Patrese, Williams, Estoril, 1991It wasn’t long before he moved to Williams. The 1991 FW14 outwardly had more in common with the Leyton House CG901 than the FW13B. Despite suffering reliability problems in the first half of the year as the team ironed out the gremlins in its semi automatic gearbox, it quickly became apparent that the car was the class of the field.

Active suspension in 1992 extended the gap further, allowing Nigel Mansell to dominate in a car that perfectly suited his aggressive muscular driving style. Together they were often a demoralising two seconds per lap quicker than the opposition.

The team repeated their success in 1993 with Alain Prost, the rest of the field still struggling to catch up.

The governing body helped Williams’ rivals by banning much of the technology that had made the FW14B and FW15C so crushingly superior. In 1994, with Ayrton Senna taking over from Prost, the team found the FW16 a tricky proposition.

The team were trying the latest improvements at Imola for the San Marino Grand Prix when Senna, under pressure from Schumacher and yet to score a point, crashed and was fatally injured.

Williams were shellshocked by the crash and Newey, having designed the car, was hit especially hard. A lengthy trial took over ten years to exonerate him from responsibility for the crash.

Despite the trauma Williams held on to the constructors’ title. Newey’s final machines for them put them back at the top, with back-to-back drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 1996 and 1997.

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren-Mercedes MP4-13, 1998Newey joined McLaren in 1998, in a switch that was well-timed to take advantage of a major change in the aerodynamic rules. The MP4-13 was fast straight out of the box, and Mika Hakkinen went on to win back-to-back drivers’ championships, McLaren taking the ’98 constructors’ crown.

The combination of Mercedes power and the finest aerodynamic package on the grid meant that the McLaren was the class of the field. Ever-innovative, this period encompassed Newey?s design and use of the so-called ??fiddle brake,? a second brake pedal that allowed the drivers to independently brake the wheels on one side of the car, and in so-doing reduce understeer.

A relatively fallow period followed during the dominance of the Schumacher/Byrne/Ferrari years, and Newey was ready for a new challenge by the end of 2005. He accepted a role at Red Bull, inspired by the opportunity of taking a mid-field team to the pinnacle of the sport. Too late to impact on the 2006 car, he set about helping restructure the team, and setting up for the future; even negotiating a switch from Ferrari to Renault engines, preferring their capacity to run with smaller fuel tanks and radiators ?ǣ as ever, seeking the most slim-line and efficient design.

In perhaps his most impressive achievement to date, Newey’s Red Bull had become a front-running team by 2009. The RB5 was only missing one ingredient that would have made it the car of the year from round one: a double-diffuser, a regulations-dodging enhancement that was controversially ruled legal by the FIA.

One was fitted mid-season and, though it was too late to keep Brawn from the silverware, from that moment on Red Bull have been the team to beat in Formula 1. Drivers and constructors titles followed in 2010 and 2011, the latter another season of Newey design dominance, with 12 wins and 18 pole positions from 19 races.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2009Working closely with chief aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou and chief designer Rob Marshall, Newey stole a marsh on his rivals with the development of exhaust-blown diffusers. The development had first been seen in 1983, but Newey took it to the ultimate.

Engine gasses were used to generate rear end grip both whilst the driver had his foot on the accelerator pedal, and through the use of complex engine mapping technology, even when they did not. Though the majority of the competition were able to catch on to the importance of the effect of exhaust blowing, they were never truly able to bridge the gap.

It speaks volumes for the regard in which Newey is held that the lack of early-season domination of the 2012 car has been greeted with surprise, even when placed up against the enormous resource and technical capacity of the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Newey himself surmised that the exhaust-blowing effect in particular was so well-honed, that its banning at the beginning of this year was partially to blame for the RB8?s relatively slow start to the season – shades of 1994. Red Bull returned to winning ways by round four of the season and have been on pole position for three of the last four races.

While enjoying a reputation for making intricate and beautiful cars, top flight motor sport is quite rightly a results-based business; and its here that Newey?s track record acts as a powerful indicator of his uncanny ability to focus upon the absolute fundamental areas of design within a given season?s regulations, before going on to design and maximize a car around them.

Perhaps even more so than an Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton, Newey is the one man in the paddock every team would love to have on their payroll.

You can follow Tim Ferrone on Twitter.

Over to you

Of course, there were many names who nearly made the list, and arguably should have done.

What of the likes of Tony Rudd (partially responsible for the ground effect Lotus), John Barnard (numerous innovations, great success in the eighties), Derek Gardner (championships with Tyrell, and the man behind the infamous six-wheeler)?

Should the list include McLaren’s Steve Nichols and Neil Oatley, and the likes of Carlo Chiti, Frank Dernie, Maurice Philippe or Keith Duckworth, vital to the design of many fine cars, yet perhaps not as well credited as others? The list goes on.

Who do you think should have made the cut? Have your say in the comments.

F1 top tens


Read more top tens

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Ferrari spa, Williams/LAT, Williams/LAT, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Renault, Lotus/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/Sutton, Bridgestone, Red Bull/Getty images

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76 comments on Top ten greatest Formula 1 designers (Part two)

  1. F1Tim (@f1tim) said on 18th June 2012, 15:30

    Pleased people are enjoying the articles; the intention was very much to provoke debate. Personally I’m less focussed upon the relative merits of one designer over another, and moreso on their achievements and capacity to innovate, but throwing them into a list is a great way to prompt thought, even if comparisons over different eras can be fairly speculative.
    Oh, and apologies also for the odd oversight. Should of course have been ‘evolution not revolution’ etc – perhaps Keith could be kind enough to amend my error. Anyone who’s ever tried to write whilst ‘on watch’ with two children under five knows just how frequently one becomes distracted!
    Tim Ferrone

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th June 2012, 19:50

      I think its pretty courageous to put them in a top ten @f1tim, as shown by some of the comments so far! Good job on that and well explained how and why. I think its nice to see people mentioning other greats missing from the list, and having just finished reading a book about the history of motorsports, a lot of those names deserve making this into a top 100!

      What I would now like to see is a view on who is up and coming for next generations, as by now Byrne and Head have all but disappeared from the sport and surely the Newey era will not last for ever. So who are the top 10 people waiting in line?

  2. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 18th June 2012, 17:01

    It frightens me to see just how horrendously overrated Chapman seems to be in these comments.

  3. Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 18th June 2012, 17:09

    even when placed up against the enormous resource and technical capacity of the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes.

    I’m not sure RedBull has lower budget than all those teams, and we can even suspect they have the highest budget of the entire paddock as they are probably the team most worried about cost restriction …

    I can’t deny Newey is a great aero guy, but still can’t see him as the n°1 of the list. Indeed it can be argue as I find his innovations less “out of its age” than others. And he had less global implication than others, he is probably the best for aero and maybe space agency but that doesn’t make him the top overall (we saw number of sub system issues on RedBull, so many difficulties to have a KERS competitive due to the restriction of Newey on space. So quite a trade off on the size and efficiency of KERS with numerous issues).
    And definitly he has the luxury that the whole team is committed to his ideas.

    I don’t want to take off him what he has done, but just moderate “how great he is” and I don’t believe he is the absolute one as it is presented. Once again very very difficult to compare era and all those designers having all have an impact at their time and on F1 … Nice presentation, should have avoid the “ranking method to me”

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th June 2012, 19:55

      In a certain sense, your post shows how much its important to focuss an F1 team around something @jeanrien, be it Newey (and driver Vettel) at RBR or Schumacher at Bennetton and Ferrari, or Head/Newey at Williams, or Clark/Chapman … , or now Ferrari focusing on Alonso!

      Sure, RBR does not have a smaller budget than the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, but those teams do have long standing manfacturer support and a specialized infrastructure built up in the past.

  4. javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 18th June 2012, 19:54

    I wonder how these designers deal with the situation of safety in their minds.

    Many(if not most) of the designers on this list have built cars that were unsafe for drivers, and in some cases, these drivers died.

    When Chapman was looking to strip more and more weight, did he think, “Hmm, this car will kill its driver in anything more than a light crash”. Obviously, he chose winning over all other factors, and I guess, at that time, that is the only logical decision.

    When Head’s fancy hydrolic suspension got banned, and the resulting car killed Ayerton, did he blame himself?

    What a dance it must be for a designer. The work so closely with the drivers, probably becoming friends, yet all the while building the means for that man’s death.
    I cant imagine it…

    • Drop Valencia! said on 19th June 2012, 0:35

      the designer isn’t building an electric chair…. Does the guy that invented the pencil roll oven in his grave that a dozen people kill themselves every year by accidently stabbing themselves in the head wih them? It is good that we now have rules to make safety a priority, yesteryear was another era, but I will say that in many 2nd and 3rd world countries, human life is still of very little value, and it is confronting when you come across that from our relatively new age western ways.

      • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 19th June 2012, 15:40

        I dont think “our … new age western ways” are that much different than 50 years ago, particularly in the value of human life.

        Indeed, In the 60s and 50s, they were electric chairs. Colin Chapman built notoriously light and dangerous cars… BUT they won a lot, and glory trumps risk when drivers think they will live forever. Though it is a shame so many spectators had to die as well.

        Sure, in the modern age we have lots of saftey and all those “new age western ways”, BUT, it was only a few years ago that a Toro Rosso abruptly blew BOTH FRONT WHEELS OFF at the same time. Was that a design decision? Did the designer decide to make those parts lighter knowing they were on the edge of safety? He must have made a value judgement that included the distinct possibility of driver fatality, yet chose that direction anyway.

        My commentary is that such decisions must be very difficult on the conscience.

  5. sato113 (@sato113) said on 18th June 2012, 22:54

    how come the 2007 and 2008 red bulls were only midfield cars? didnt newey design them?

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 19th June 2012, 12:16

      @sato113 in 4 years from a midfield car to a world conqueror is the fastest turnaround ever. What more do you want? Self-disrespecting comment I’m sorry to say with no logic behind it whatsoever.

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 19th June 2012, 15:58

        hey i’m just asking!
        anyway the 2007 and 2008 cars had no relation to the 2009-2012 cars because of the rule changes introduced in 2009. that is why i’m curious.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 19th June 2012, 17:12

          As to that, there was an interview where Newey said that in an old set of regulations it’s much more difficult to turn the fortunes around of a team that was not a top team. It’s much more of an expensive fine-tuning exercise(the Byrne approach) which plays into the hands of teams like Ferrari and Mclaren.
          Anyway the 2007-8 cars were an improvement over their predecessors and even won a race(don’t forget that the 2008 Toro Rosso was a RB with a different engine)

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 19th June 2012, 20:59

      They also had David Coulthard driving, past his best by then, rather than Vettel. Webber raised his game – he had to – when Seb arrived.

  6. ob1kenobi.23 (@ob1kenobi23) said on 19th June 2012, 4:07

    While I have no issues with most of the list, like a previous poster I am surprised that Rudolf Uhlenhaut does not feature.
    He was responsible for the awsome W 125, the W154, the W163 & the W 165.
    The W 165 was designed & built in a matter of months & construction only completed on the ship on the way to Tripoli.
    This was the only time the car ever raced & it won.
    Post war he was responsible for the 300 SL & the 300SLR.
    The 300 SL won on its first outing at Le Mans.
    He then created the iconic W 196 which was pretty dominant in 54 & 55.
    It was his want to test the cars himself & was often faster than the regular drivers such as Caracciola, Lang, Fangio, Mosss.
    Imagine if Adrian went faster Than Seb. or Mark
    Even his company car was a thing of beauty & capable of around 200 mph in in 1955.

    http://www.supercars.net/carpics/1201/1955_MercedesBenz_300SLRUhlenhautCoupe2.jpg
    The man himself with the 300SLR
    http://silodrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/300-SLR-Uhlenhaut-Coupe-1955.jpg

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 19th June 2012, 5:46

      We have to confine ourselves to the postwar F1 series when talking about F1 designers or we will be arguing about Ettore Bugatti , Offenhauser et al. forever.

  7. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 19th June 2012, 12:12

    I agree with @prisoner-monkeys on that. Colin Chapman should be the first, Newey p2. Otherwise a great list apart from one more small thing: I would put Barnard in the top 10 instead of Ducarouge as I think his achevements are greater.

  8. Andy (@turbof1) said on 19th June 2012, 14:14

    So I assume the V6 engines in 2014 will play into Newey’s magic hand?

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 19th June 2012, 21:40

    Had to be Newey really. I’m sure there are many, many ideas out there that could be exploited for F1 but this guy seems an expert at being able to work within a given framework. Admittedly he dropped the ball with the double diffuser but was able to hit the ground pretty fast with it once they had it figured out and managed to really put the pressure on Brawn GP.

  10. Pandaslap (@pandaslap) said on 20th June 2012, 4:01

    I had been eagerly awaiting this second installment – thanks for a great read.

    I like Newey as no.1. This year’s steady improvement might be some of the best evidence yet. Even when regulations rein him in, his cars rise to the top.

  11. Boomerang said on 20th June 2012, 9:25

    Mr. Newey’s Engineering skill is beyond any dispute. Results speak for themselves. However I don’t like him as a person. It’s a personal thing and doesn’t mean a thing to enyone else but me.
    In my opinion he’s the best Designer of contemporary F1. However to put him ahead of Collin Chapman is a far fetched attempt. Collin lived in an Era that enabled ( him ) breakthrough Designs others only followed in years to come, even to this day. The greatness should be measured by the influence on other People’s designs that stuck with them for years. Except ‘barge boards’ application I don’t see anything special from Mr. Newey. Indeed his cars are nicely packaged but that’s not a breakthrough Idea. That’s a matter of refined approach he’s exercising in a very fine way for 2 decades now.
    Nothing spectacular compared to Collin…

  12. Chris Turner said on 9th July 2012, 12:11

    Frank Costin? Vanwall, Protos F2, road cars – the wooden Marcos and Amigo. Light weight and good aerodynamics.

  13. Phil Poulton said on 25th July 2012, 21:40

    I think it has to be Chapman – but his reputation is tarnished by the safety record of the Lotus’s he designed. Moss, Clark, Rindt, Petersen….. Newey has to abide by crash test rules etc. etc. and only if you’re on the inside will you know how restrictive that is/was. Saying that, making the engine (DFV) an intregral part of the chassis + ground effect are two of the biggest innovations ever in F1. That and John Barnard’s paddle gear-change are big steps we still see now and think ‘who thought of that – it’s obvious’. For me, though, the man – maybe John Cooper – who finally realised the engine needed to be at the back gets my vote!

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