Horner: Newey visit 'a trip to the doctor'
18 May 2017 – Christian Horner has compared Adrian Newey's appearance at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix to "a trip to the doctor", as Red Bull attempts to get on terms with current leaders Mercedes and Ferrari.
Red Bull has emerged as the third-fastest team under Formula 1's new regulations, significantly behind the Mercedes/Ferrari fight, but comfortably clear of the midfield battle.
Newey, the outfit's long-time technical chief, played a reduced role in the design of the RB13, having split his time "50/50" between F1 and a hypercar project with Aston Martin.
However, since pre-season testing, Newey has ramped up his involvement once more, resulting in a visit to the first European round in Barcelona, where Red Bull introduced a sizeable aero upgrade kit.
"He's been listening very carefully to what the drivers have had to say, so it's a bit like a trip to the doctor," said Horner, when asked about the purpose of Newey's visit.
"He's been very keen to understand what the drivers' feedback and comments are, and I'm sure he'll be looking to evolve this package accordingly."
Asked to clarify if Newey is more involved than he used to be, Horner added: "He's been involved probably 50 per cent of his time in the background of this car.
"Since testing he's been very involved, and I think that will continue for the time being.
"He hasn't wound down [Red Bull Technologies/Aston Martin duties], but within a cycle, his element is now done, or is coming to a conclusion.
"Obviously there are other iterations that he'll be looking at as well later in the year, but for now his focus… the vast majority has been focused on Formula 1."
Horner added that Red Bull will continue with an aggressive development approach throughout the 2017 season, with any lessons learned also applying to 2018.
"We've got plenty going on and because the rules are so immature, in many respects, there are still lots of gains that are being found," he added.
"Mercedes brought a massive update [to Spain] and, while there was status quo in track position, we feel that we've got a bit closer and got a better understanding of a clear development direction.
"We're working very hard to try to close that gap down, which is not an insignificant amount.
"Because there's stability in the rules, whatever we're learning is relevant to next year anyway, so we'll keep pushing all the way through this season."