Red Bull Technical Director Adrian Newey says he was in no hurry to stay in the Croatian hospital he had been admitted to after a cycling accident last summer, telling his wife to ‘get [him] out of here]’.
On holiday in the Balkans with wife Amanda during F1’s summer break last year, Newey swerved to avoid a group of children while cycling at night and fell onto some rocks, cutting his head open.
A trip to hospital the following morning revealed a fractured skull and a bone chip above the upper eye muscle, prompting Newey to grill his doctors on his prognosis.
“The three wise men appeared at the bottom of my bed — a neurosurgeon, a maxillofacial guy and the anaesthetist,” Newey told the Evening Standard.
“With the eye, they said they’d need to act quickly or the bone could sever the eye muscle and I’d lose movement of the eye.
“Okay, what’s the risk of damage to the eye? ‘Oh, no risk.’ Any risk of brain damage? ‘Oh, not much.’ Give me a percentage. ‘Five, maybe 10 per-cent.’ At which point I told my wife to get me out of there.”
Ecclestone and Horner lend a hand
Newey had been holidaying with Bernie Ecclestone just days before, and the former F1 supremo joined forces with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner to have Newey flown to London and operated on by a neurosurgeon there.
Newey’s resultant recovery meant a month-long absence from his Red Bull duties, but he returned to the pit wall in time for the Turkish Grand Prix, and was heavily involved during the season’s final seven races.
But any hopes Red Bull rivals might have had of Newey taking it easy after his brush with death might be dashed by his response to such a notion: “No, I’m sufficiently pig-headed that it didn’t change much.”