F1 Q&A: Norris, Newey, Magnussen, McLaren – your questions answered after Miami GP

You describe Adrian Newey as the GOAT design engineer. Who would be the GOAT team principal and why? Would any current principals be on the list? – Edward

The answer to this is only ever going to be subjective, but there are some obvious contenders.

In chronological order, first of all, you have to look at Enzo Ferrari. He started off as a team principal before he founded his own company, which has since become so iconic that it is impossible to imagine F1 without it.

There was Alfred Neubauer, who led the Mercedes Silver Arrows in grand prix racing in the 1930s and then the dominant era of 1954-55.

Colin Chapman, team boss and chief designer of Lotus from the 1960s until the early 1980s, is held in extremely high regard for all his success, and the innovations he was behind, including monocoque chassis and venturi-floor ground effect.

Luca di Montezemolo, who turned around Ferrari from a period of uncompetitiveness to their return to domination with Niki Lauda in 1975 – laying the foundations for three titles in five years from then until 1979, would be in the conversation. His 20-plus years as as Ferrari president, including overseeing the Michael Schumacher domination of the early 2000s, adds to his claim.

On that subject, you’d have to include Jean Todt, team boss of Ferrari at the time, who assembled the Schumacher-Ross Brawn-Rory Byrne super-team.

Ron Dennis changed the face of Formula 1, and raised the bar massively, in his leadership of McLaren in the 1980s.

Not only did his team introduce innovations, such as the first carbon-fibre chassis in F1 in 1981, but he increased levels of professionalism exponentially, expanded F1’s commercial horizons – such as with his partnership with TAG, which funded McLaren’s Porsche-built engines from 1983-7 – and led McLaren to unprecedented levels of domination with Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Honda engines in 1988.

His 35-year leadership of McLaren compares with anything anyone else has achieved in F1.

In the present day, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have to be considered, too.

Wolff is the most successful team boss in history, leading Mercedes to eight consecutive constructors’ titles from 2014-21, as well as seven consecutive drivers’ championships.

Horner is threatening those numbers, having led Red Bull to four consecutive title doubles from 2010-13, and currently on two doubles and counting since 2022, and doubtless another this year. And that’s in addition to Max Verstappen’s 2021 win, however controversial that was because of the circumstances surrounding the Abu Dhabi finale.

SOURCE: BBC Sport   (go to source)
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