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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Williams eyes Newey return
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at the Hungaroring

Newey (left) with McLaren's David Coulthard
Newey (left, with David Coulthard) is an integral part of McLaren's team
Frank Williams has admitted he would be interested in trying to lure McLaren's designer Adrian Newey back to his team.

Williams denied speculation in Formula One that he had already had a meeting with Newey, whose contract as McLaren technical director ends in July 2005.

But asked by BBC Sport if he would be interested in rehiring Newey, Williams said: "We'd certainly have a look."

McLaren F1 chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said he did not think Newey would move to another team.

Whitmarsh said Newey was contractually obliged to let McLaren know by a specific date if he intended to leave.

He would not reveal the length of that notice period, but did say that Newey had not given any indications that he might quit McLaren.

"Adrian has certainly given me and Ron (Dennis, McLaren's team principal) the impression that he's happy within the team," Whitmarsh said.

"Do I believe he is going to go to another Formula One team? No, I don't believe he would. I don't believe there's any will, motivation or justification for him to do that.

The relationship between Adrian and the team is probably stronger and better than it's ever been.
Martin Whitmarsh
"But will he reach the point in his career where he wants to take some time out, either take a break or step back a little bit? He may do.

"Adrian is a very focused individual and at the moment he is totally focused and working hard on next year's car.

"And I think that's what's important to him - making sure we are out there to win a championship next year.

"The relationship between Adrian and the team is probably stronger and better than it's ever been."

Newey, regarded as the best aerodynamic designer in F1, worked for Williams for more than six years before moving to McLaren in 1997.

Newey, who did not attend the Hungarian Grand Prix and was not available for comment, told BBC Sport last month he did not know what his next career move would be.

It had been thought he would take a break from the sport, perhaps to pursue opportunities in his other interest, yachting - he has spoken in the past about wanting to design a boat for the America's Cup.

Williams would be expected to benefit if Newey returned.

The team dominated F1 while Newey was their chief designer, but have won only nine races since his departure.

Williams are perceived to have struggled most with the aerodynamics of their cars in recent years and luring Newey back would be a massive boost for them, and a correspondingly large blow to McLaren.

Newey left Williams because he wanted more say in the running of the team.

Team owners Frank Williams and Patrick Head refused to loosen their control or offer him equity in the outfit.

But Head stepped aside from his role as technical director earlier this year to take on a position focusing on long-term strategy.

That might mean Williams and Head would be prepared to shift from their earlier stance.

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