Ferrari is facing an increasingly tough fight to secure Adrian Newey's services after it emerged Aston Martin hosted the Formula 1 design legend for a secret factory visit.

Aston Martin has long been known to have been interested in Newey's services, with revealing back in March that its owner Lawrence Stroll had made a personal offer to him.

Now, as Newey weighs up what he plans to do next – amid a number of teams eager for him to join their projects – sources have revealed that he was hosted for a secret visit to Aston Martin's Silverstone facility recently to see how the squad shapes up.

It has been suggested that Aston Martin's staff were requested to vacate the factory for the duration of the visit in a bid to try to stop news about Newey's visit being leaked out.

While Ferrari has long been a favourite for Newey, there have been doubts about whether or not he would be interested in the kind of upheaval that would be required for a commitment to the Maranello organisation.

Instead, a shift to have input from a British team would be more logical, and there appears no shortage of interested parties.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing inspects the car of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari on the grid

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing inspects the car of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari on the grid

While Ferrari and Aston Martin have been the clear favourites to secure Newey's services, sources suggest that McLaren and Mercedes are also pushing hard behind the scenes to get him on board – even though both squads in public have kept quiet about things and insist they are happy with their current technical line-ups. Williams too has openly tried to court him.

Aston Martin certainly has the ambition that Newey would like to see from a team, and a move there would lead to the renewal of a working relationship he had at Red Bull with its technical director Dan Fallows.

It would also open the door for a partnership with Fernando Alonso, a driver that Newey himself has talked about having had a desire to work with at some point in his career.

Speaking last year about the drivers he had hoped to design cars for, Newey said: "Working with Fernando and Lewis would have been fabulous. But it never happened. It's just circumstance sometimes, that's the way it is."

Alonso himself also expressed hopes last year that he could do something with Newey in the future.

"He's a legend of the sport," reflected Alonso. "We've been very close a few times to working together and we spoke about this."

"I wish one day that I was working with him… I'll drive the [Aston Martin] Valkyrie [road-going track day car project initially led by Newey] at home and maybe I'll feel something already when I jump in and that will make me happy."

One other interesting aspect to Ferrari's bid to lure Newey has been recent intrigue about the future of Enrico Cardile, the head of its chassis and aerodynamics department.

Cardile is understood to have had a serious offer from Aston Martin to join the squad, which could be tempting for the Italian if he felt that Newey's arrival at Ferrari would overshadow the contribution he has made to the squad.

This could also act as a warning sign to Ferrari that it could risk unsettling some of its stars if it does a deal with Newey.

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing

The situation surrounding Aston Martin and both Newey and Cardile is proof that team owner Stroll is not sitting back in his desire to keep adding strength to the outfit in its bid to get to the front of F1.

Speaking recently about the mindset of Aston Martin, Alonso said: "There is no other team in the paddock with the ambition and the plans for the future that Aston has.

"But at the same time, you need to achieve those goals and you need to deliver those results.

"This team was very new two years ago. It doubled more or less the amount of people that worked in the factory. They were in an old Jordan building, now they are in a super modern factory."