Hakkinen praises Newey: ‘Thanks to his work at McLaren that I had great cars.’

Max Verstappen won the championship while driving the Newey-designed RB18, which dominated the majority of the 2022 season.

Newey, widely regarded as F1’s greatest-ever car designer, has produced 13 championship-winning cars with three teams over the course of his career.

Before working for Red Bull, Adrian Newey was a design leader at McLaren, where he oversaw the creation of Hakkinen’s two championship-winning vehicles in 1998 and 1999.

“I am very happy for Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey,” Hakkinen wrote in his column for Unibet.

“It was thanks to his work at McLaren that I had great cars with which to win both my World Championship titles and he is still winning at Red Bull all these years later.

“He really is the most successful designer in F1 history, and although I know he has a great team of design engineers working with him, his technical leadership is just brilliant.

“Even during Mercedes’ dominant years, Red Bull remained competitive and it’s amazing to see Adrian’s team take advantage of this year’s new regulations to win another title. Congratulations to him.”

Verstappen’s strong performance in Japan, when he extended his lead to 27 seconds in a curtailed wet weather race, was praised by Hakkinen as well.

“His race start was incredible because it looked as though Charles had taken the lead but Max has so much confidence and held on,” he said.

“You can use that outside line at the first corner in the wet. It’s typical of what a kart racer can do, and Max used all his experience to take control and put Charles behind.

“From then on he was in a class of his own – really on top of the car.

“To win by 27 seconds after such a short race was brilliant. Max’s 12th win of the year really shows how much he deserved this year’s World Championship – he dominated.”