Red Bull aiming for hat-trick of titles in 2012

2012 F1 season preview

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The Red Bull RB8 is put through its paces in Jerez

The F1 Fanatic 2012 season preview continues with the first of our team profiles – on reigning world champions Red Bull.

Of last year’s 19 races Red Bull scored 12 victories and set pole position 18 times. So their goal for 2012 will be continuity, not change.

And that’s exactly what they’ve got within the team: world champion Sebastian Vettel remains alongside Mark Webber, and ace designer Adrian Newey has revealed his latest creation.

But Red Bull can’t prevent change in the technical rules – which is arguably the greatest threat to their supremacy in 2012. It offers a glimmer of hope to the rivals they battered into submission in 2011.

Car 1: Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel is aiming for his third title in a row

In 2011 Vettel raised the bar so high you might think he left little room for improvement. “You would be surprised,” he said.

“We sat down during the season and especially after the season and before this season again, trying to identify where we think we can improve, and yeah we got a couple of points.”

He will surely have dwelled on a few near-wins that got away: the tyre strategy in China, the last-lap mistake in Canada, the gearbox problem in Brazil.

Then there was his off-colour performance in Germany – a reminder that even the best of them have off-days.

Last year Vettel regularly exploited the RB7’s margin of advantage, however slender it became at times. He took pole position and drove away from his competitors with monotonous regularity.

But the rules changes for 2012 mean he’s not taking it for granted that this year will be a repeat of 2011: “I think it will be very, very tight this year and everything else would be a surprise to be honest.

“Looking at the cars, you know there’s not much room we have left to play [with] for designers and to find something extra. You know, the last two years we have had two big things taken away, the double diffusers, plus, for this year, the system around the blown exhaust.

“So we are missing that and therefore I think it’s difficult to really create a difference. We’ll see, obviously we hope our car is better than all the others but it will be difficult, and I think the cars will be fairly similar, as in the gaps will be even closer than they have been.”

Car 2: Mark Webber

Mark Webber needs to bounce back from a disappointing 2011

The situation in the other half of the Red Bull garage is quite plain to read. While Vettel is on a long-term contract until 2014, Webber had another single-year extension on his deal last year.

Meanwhile the team has stepped up efforts to find a new recruit. Having deemed Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi not worthy of a seat with the top team, junior outfit Toro Rosso are now testing a fresh pair of hopefuls wanting to follow in Vettel’s footsteps.

But despite the disappointment of losing the championship late in 2010, and the pummelling he took last year, Webber is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

“I think off the back of last year many sportsmen or women when you don’t get the most out of a situation you always want to come back and improve and do a better job.

“The bar has been lifted very, very high in the last few seasons and it’s the challenge I’m looking forward to. I’ve had a really good winter and prepared for the season as best I can so I’m looking forward to the new season, I just cannot wait to get racing. We can talk a lot about it but we need to get on the track.”

After struggling with the new tyres at the beginning of last year, Webber made progress throughout the season. He needs to carry that momentum on into 2012 and build on it if he’s to have any chance of beating his team mate.

Red Bull RB8

Aerodynamics is king in Formula 1 today. And that goes a long way toward explaining Red Bull’s dominance in recent seasons.

They have been the benchmark team since the last major change in the aerodynamics rules in 2009. Since the second half of that year, once they got to grips with the double-diffuser concept, they have usually had the car to beat.

Though it would be foolish to pin all their success on a single element, their exploitation of the exhaust-blown diffuser concept was key to their performance last year and in the latter stages of 2010.

Curiously, this coincided with Vettel exerting a much greater degree of superiority over Webber – which could well be related.

The restrictions on exhaust-blown diffusers this year will force Red Bull to look for an advantage in other areas, as chief technical officer Adrian Newey explains: “We have lost the exhaust technology, with the restriction [on] exhaust outlet position, that we were able to develop and perhaps be ahead of the pack on in the last couple of years, that led to a big rethink over the winter.

“Whether that will affect us more than other people is difficult to know of course. We designed the RB7, last year’s car, around that exhaust position and were probably the only people to do so, so it may be that we’ve lost more than other people through that.

“The exhaust allowed us to run a high rear ride height, it’s much more difficult without that to sustain a high rear height so we have to go back down and have to redevelop the car around that lower ride height.”

Red Bull enjoy significant strengths in other areas, not least their pit crew, which was one of the quickest and most consistent in 2011. That will serve them well if the predictions the RB8 won’t be as dominant as its successors are realised.

Red Bull’s championship form

Red Bull’s victories and championship positions since they entered F1 in 2005:

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Championship position 7 7 5 7 2 1 1
Wins 0 0 0 0 6 9 12

Red Bull in 2012: Your view

What do you expect from Red Bull in 2012?

Will Vettel retain his drivers’ championship – and will the team hold onto the constructors’ trophy – for a third year in a row? And how will Webber fare this year?

Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season preview

Browse the 2012 F1 season preview

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Red Bull aiming for hat-trick of titles in 2012”

  1. Obviously, anything but a championship will be a disappointment for RB.

  2. I have a feeling, which I hope is not out of optimism, that the championship fight will be a closer thing this year. Mclaren and Ferrari (despite their issues) seem to be settled which is reflected in their testing program. Fingers crossed for a tight season :) !!!!

  3. I hope that Ferrari, McLaren and possibly Mercedes will give Red Bull a run for their money in 2012. I wouldn’t be happy to experience the second season in a row dominated by one driver as much as it was the case last year.

    I also hope that Webber will be in a better shape this year and that’s not because I would like him.

    Last but not least, I hope we won’t see a repeat of Silverstone 2011, I mean, no team orders please.

    1. As for team orders, if they are necessay then sure. As fans we have to get over it and accept that they are legal. But when they were so unecessay like at Silverstone, it is just a disgrace.

      If Red Bull were so scared of an accident resulting from a possible overtake from Webber last year, the order should have been to Vettel to be sure to get out of his way should he have a better run out of a corner or send on down the inside. Vettel had such a lead in the championship that to do the order against Mark was just insulting. Sure, Vettel was infront so should have the ‘right’, I hear some people say, but I disagree. Everyone should have the right to overtake someone they are quicker than, nobody deserves to have the driver behind told to slow down so they dont overtake them.

      1. So because Vettel had been performing a lot better then Webber previously to this Vettel should be given an order to move over?… How is that for a way to motivate a driver to do well.

        In what world does it make sense to reward the bad performing employee at the expense of the good performing employee, without a legitimate argument that it would help the company do better then it would otherwise.
        Red Bull would gain exactly 0 points by reversing the order. Also, even if they applied team orders to move Vettel out of the way, the cars would still have to at some point be side by side, and no matter how safe it looks there is a risk. One driver could have a blowout and take the other driver down with him in the process.

        And really, would it be any more fair to force Vettel out of the way? Then to leave Webber behind… I don’t think it would.
        Webber should have his right to overtake, but why on earth shouldn’t Vettel have the right to defend his position?

        1. Just to clarify I didn’t mean the order should have been to tell Vettel to move over. What I meant was that if they were so sure a crash would result if tried to overtake (like has only happend twice in two seasons – he has been crashed into by others though, but he only caused two collisions, Massa in Monza 2011 and Hiekki in Valencia 2010) then they should have told Vettel to be extra carefull.

          I know what I’m trying to get at even if nobody else does, lol. I understand the contradiction though.

          1. Actually on the 2012 season review DVD, you can see/hear that Vettel says “Be wise” on the radio, when Webber starts to get closer, then Horner tells Mark “Maintain the gap”.
            That was Vettel hunting for glory, after the race there is another slice of the radio conversation, with Newy apologising form Webber.

            I think they gave team orders to assure Vettel that he is the No.1 at RB. There are no other (real) explanations

      2. Team orders have always been legal and expected when properly used. Flagrant, blatant use of team orders have never been encouraged and were outlawed post-Austria 02. But to me, making team orders ‘legal’ doesn’t change anything. We don’t or shouldn’t need them or want them in cases like you have cited with SV and MW at Silverstone. When it seems blatant and unnecessary it just takes away from the entity of F1. Even if it seems hypocritical to want teams to ‘hide’ team orders, I think that is preferable to Silverstone as cited, let alone Austria 02 that caused the rule change to begin with.

        1. @Robbie – Team orders have not always been legal, but they have always been there.

          They are also, a binary condition, either you have them, or you dont. Who is to judge blatantcy, or intent.

          Indeed, I feel team orders DO NOT take anything away from F1 as it is a Team Sport. There is more to think of than the Drivers Championship when all the monitary reward comes from the Constructors Championship.

          There is a big difference between “Bad Behavior” and “Bad Taste” What RB did with MW was in Bad Taste IMHO, but it is only right for an organization to operate in its (perceived) best interest, especially when there is so much at stake.

      3. I’m against any team orders of this kind unless one driver is fighting for the championship and the other one hasn’t got mathematical chances anymore. But they were particularly unnecessary at Silverstone 2011, I think there was no reason not to let the drivers just race. Seb had a comfortable lead in the championship. What the team did was against their own official policy in 2010.

        1. My sentiments exactly, Girts.

          @javlinsharp…I don’t think we disagree entirely…you are right that team orders have not always been legal, but as I said, and I agree with you, they have always been there.

          I think blatancy is when a team order slaps you in the face like Austria 02, in which case it is bad for the sport. And I agree with Girts that there is a mathematical time to use them, and that to me is at a time when even the driver that loses out to the team order should understand by that time that it hasn’t worked out for him and he should not hinder his teammate who has a WDC chance (if neither have a shot there would be no need to instigate the order). I also think that a well managed team should not even need a team order. In my perfect F1 world, both drivers have a fair shot from race one of the season, and when it all comes down to it one driver should not even have to be told to not hinder his teammate with the better chance at the crown. He should see that he had his chance, it didn’t work out, and his duty is now to the rest of the team. Doesn’t mean the one for whom it hasn’t worked out has to go out there and block competing cars either, just not hinder his own teammate. Most quality WDC potential drivers will say they don’t want the help anyway, that they are capable of winning on their own merit, but you are right javelinsharp that the whole team and the sponsors must be considered in terms of securing the title.

      4. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
        29th February 2012, 21:24

        Its totally clear that Webber is the no.2 at red bull. Silverstone is an example of this. If that was Button and Hamilton Mclaren would have let them race just like in China 2011 and Turkey 2010. Have you all forgotten this aswell??
        Red bull favor question.

        1. Off course they do. Because Vettel is the better driver.

          I don’t understand why people keep tripping over Red Bull and their favoritism when it makes perfect sense for them to support Vettel more than Webber.

          In 2009 Webber had more experience and made less mistakes than Vettel but still fell short in terms of speed and points. In 2010 Vettel’s car had failures on a regular basis and Vettel still made costly mistakes but Vettel became champion. Now (2011) we see the difference when Vettel suffers as many failures as Webber and doesn’t make costly mistakes.

          Vettel showed why Red Bull favor him.

  4. “Will Vettel retain his drivers’ championship – and will the team hold onto the constructors’ trophy – for a third year in a row? ”

    I really, really hope not. I don’t want them to have a bad car, but I do want a more even competition, like in 2010. While the action behind Vettel was often entertaining to watch last year, the end result was so seldom in question that the championship, as a whole, was boring. If the RB8 is just as dominant, though, I really hope Webber is back on form.

    That may well be the case. Didn’t his form relative to Vettel take a bit of a nose-dive when EBDs first appeared in mid 2010 (don’t quote me on that, this is stuff I’m dredging from my memory, such as it is)? And didn’t Webber have his best time of it when the EBD technology (mainly engine maps) was less advanced and it was something that needed to be driven around? I’m thinking of his mid summer 2010 dominance. I remember reading something way back when that the way the engine map worked meant the driver had to drive in a specific way that Mark was just better at. Don’t remember where I read that, though.

    Regardless, I hope the car is as good as the competition and Mark is back to the top of his game.

    1. I do remember something to do with the throttle control off the starts, Webber had more finnesse with it and drove it better off the line.

      There was an article somewhere that stated Red Bull had modified the engine map/engine software to negate this so Webber lost his advantage and from then on Vettel drove better (T-boning button not withstanding).

      1. Tom Haxley (@)
        29th February 2012, 14:47

        Maybe Webber has a little more “feeling” like Button for the sensitive nature of the back end of a F1 car.

        Once the EBD became so good, the rear grip was such that he lost that little advantage?

        Quite clearly something in the car, EBD or Tyres etc changed mid 2010 and suited Vettel more. To the point where Webber last year was very very poor. We know the car was good, We know Webber is decent from 2010.

    2. Yeah, I seem to remember it being something like Webber being better at overlapping throttle and brake to generate the rear downforce while cornering? Don’t quote me on that though.

    3. “Didn’t his form relative to Vettel take a bit of a nose-dive when EBDs first appeared in mid 2010”

      Take a look at the difference between Vettel and Webber in 2009 for your answer. Especially the first half of the season. No double diffuser, no exhaust blowing. Vettel beat Webber 15-2 in qualifying. It was only until! the double diffusor started working for Red Bull before Webber got closer to Vettel.

      The only reason Webber was able to match Vettel in points in 2009 and 2010 was because Vettel made costly mistakes in both years and his car broke down a lot in 2010.

      Webber just doesn’t have the pace that Vettel has.

      1. Nice qualifying stat, bro.
        Fuel adjusted, it’s actually 10-7. Hardly a whipping, especially when you remember Vettel also had 12kgs or so extra ballast to place wherever the car needed it, and still does (although Mark is looking particularly slim this year, isn’t he?).

        I’m convinced the EBD technology either helped Vettel or hindered Webber. Webber’s pace at Silverstone with the FIA-imposed restrictions was clearly more competitive. Admittedly, Silverstone is one of Webber’s best circuits, but it supports the theory.

        Full disclosure: I’m a Webber fan.

        1. But Ace, according to this forum, it was actually 13-4 in favour of Vettel when fuel-adjusted.

          Yet another example of how exaggerations have to be made just for Mark to look almost as good as Sebastian, when the truth shows Vettel to be in another league.

    4. “Didn’t his form relative to Vettel take a bit of a nose-dive when EBDs first appeared in mid 2010”
      Yes it did, but the EBD had been on the car since the beginning of the season.
      What happened around mid 2010 was that RB was able to introduce the retarded engine maps to keep the airflow going to the rear when the driver lifts off.
      The car with the basic version of the EBD, Webber seemed to extract lot of speed from because he changed his line to suit it, to be on the throttle for as long as possible. While Vettel seemed to struggle with that.
      When the car got the new engine mapping the car drove like a normal F1 car again and then the balance shifted towards Vettel.

  5. I don’t care if they win again, what I want is the others to stand a chance, unlike last year.

    Same with Vettel. If he wins a 3rd WDC, but a hard-fought one, then it’s okay.

    1. I’d like Ferrari to win because I support them, but it’s sport and they can’t always win, and I’m prepared for a defeat.
      And I think RBR’ll win both titles.

    2. I feel exactly the same @fer-no65! I hope there is a good fight for the championships. I’m sure Red Bull will be one of the contenders, and they do seem a clear favourite to win it again, but I would like it to be a little less clear-cut.

  6. Keith, typo
    they battered into submission in 20121.

    1. @w-k Fixed, thanks.

    2. I think Keith has had a sneaky look at Bernie’s 2012 race calendar.

  7. I think along with winning his second championship in 2011, Vettel also let us all know that he can actually overtake after all the criticism he received (sometimes correctly) in the past.

    Some of his moves, in particular that on Alonso at Monza, were truly awesome and reminded us that at least part of the championship was won by not just driving off into the distance from pole.

    In terms of Webber, unless he beats Vettel in 2012 I think this will be his last year at Red Bull and possibly in F1. I know it’s unlikely, I would really love him to win in Melbourne.

    1. Did he? After racing off into the distance we saw precious little of it.

      1. I seem to remember Vettel’s pass on Rosberg at Spa and overtaking Hamilton at Korea being quite nice ones.

        My comment says ‘in particular’ his move at Monza as he kept his foot on the gas over the grass. That takes some balls.

        And here I quote myself again:

        reminded us that at least part of the championship was won by not just driving off into the distance from pole

        At least part, not the main reason.

        I’m no Vettel fan, but in my opinion he did show that his racecraft had improved although granted he still needs to prove himself starting somewhere in the middle of the grid and climbing through the field.

        1. Oh and his overtake on Button at Melbourne which was crucial….

    2. Tom Haxley (@)
      29th February 2012, 14:50

      1 swallow does not make a summer and all that.

      Vettel is superb, no doubt. I think we all hang onto that one chink in the armour (that we have kind of made up) that he can’t overtake as well as some others.

      If the RB8 is slightly slower this year and Vettel still gets 1st place from further down the grid, then we can truly kiss goodbye to the next 5 years lol.

      I think we all want an even grid, if Vettels weak spot is overtaking then we all hope the RB8 is slower this year so we can see that weakness ;) As much as it must be fun for Vettel fans to see him racing off, its not great for the sport.

      And once he master overtaking like he seems to do for everything else then no one can argue his quality

      1. Yeah I think that if there is still a question as to SV’s ability to pass, last year was not necessarily the one to look to given that even a well done pass on FA at Monza was done using the best car vs. a 3rd place car in the WCC. Not saying it wasn’t a great pass…just saying…

        I hope for SV to be highly challenged by some much more equal equipment, and even with the Red Bull likely very very strong, perhaps not the strongest at ALL venues. So let’s see how SV does passing cars that are pretty much equal to his. Let’s see him handle the pressure of a see-saw battle all season long amongst hopefully at least one Mac and one Ferrari and let’s see SV handle the pressure when it is at it’s greatest, and then we’ll really know what we have for the next 5 years as you suggest, Tom.

        Don’t get me wrong…not saying SV can’t do it…just want to see him tested to the max to the last race of the season with SV going into it with another driver or two with every bit the same chance to win the WDC.

        1. Equal equipment – how are people gonna define that? If Vettel wins, people immediately say he has the best car. If you then argue it’s not, because Webber only takes 5th, then they say it’s Webbers fault. No, I can only see people concluding the RB8 is the reason, once Vettel wins again. It’s pretty much like Button, Vettel needs to be teammate with a driver which reputation is equal or better than his own, to prove how good he is. Such a shame, i think he’s brilliant already, but people obviously always put things in doubt.

          1. What I was implying was that if on any given Sunday, or perhaps depending on the venue, we see a Red Bull win one weekend, then a Mac win the next race, then a Ferrari win the next, then back to a Red Bull etc, throughout the season, then we will see an SV that is more challenged than last year by some fairly equal equipment. Close racing, lots of passing and/or being passed for race leading positions, unlike last year.

            I don’t think we will ever get away from the concept that a driver is coloured by his car. When it is a dog the driver doesn’t look so good, especially if he has never been in a better car and shown us he is capable of better. All drivers throughout history have the vast majority of the time needed the WCC winning car to win the WDC with, or on the odd occasion a very strong second place car proved to be enough. So when the car is good, naturally some people are going to say it is ‘just the car.’

            So beyond the car, when a driver has what is shaping up throughout the season to be the best car, I look to see that they don’t squander it, and can keep themselves together mentally when the pressure is at it’s greatest…when they are leading races and/or the WDC ideally with someone nipping at their heals and in it within a shout. I don’t think last year SV was pressured as much as many drivers have been in the past enroute to a WDC. Not his fault though. Just the way he had it last year. He’s got plenty of time to persuade everyone that he is a fully rounded racer and I just think 2 years ago he showed too many mistakes that the team defended him on, and last year it was a bit ‘easy’ relatively speaking. Not trying to denigrate the job he did. As I say, he didn’t squander it. But nor was he highly pressured as some have been in the past.

            I think I am far harder on LH who I think has shown an ability to crack under the greater pressure, having lost a few WDC’s that were his to lose, then winnning his just barely on a day that again saw him almost throw it away while FM did everything right that he possibly could to control his own destiny. And then there’s last year and LH’s umpteen errors. There’s a driver who to me still has to prove he could lead a close WDC fight to the end and keep it together mentally. I have less faith in LH’s ability to do that than I have in SV’s.

  8. there’s only 1 way i’d like another RB championship title….and thats if Mark gets it…plain and simple (though unlikely :S )

  9. Yeah for now all I can do is echo what I think most are saying and thinking…Red Bull, being the reigning Champs, are the natural target and therefore we must assume, especially given the relative rules stability, that they will still be the team to beat.

    I think we all hope it is as SV says, a much closer battle (SV fans excluded I suppose). From everything that has been said so far I expect Mac and Ferrari to be much closer to them, and hopefully Merc, Lotus, and Force India too. I think everyone but SV hopes that he at least has a harder fought road to the WDC/WCC.

    As to AN’s comment about them perhaps being hurt the most with the EBD rules change, I think he can at least take comfort that all the teams are much more restricted now in what they can do with their exhaust, and so even if Mac or Merc or whoever have come up with something clever, I think it will only be a little clever, and easily duplicated by the other teams if in fact they decide they have to go a similar route with the exhaust.

    So while AN tells us last year’s car was designed around the EBD and therefore they didn’t do that this year given the restrictions to the concept, at the same time that tells me that if they have to go with someone else’s exhaust configuration and abandon their’s mid-season or sooner due to it’s apparent success, it won’t harm the performance of the car and should enhance it as the car was never designed around the exhaust to begin with. I’m sure AN already has a good idea what the other teams are doing, especially given that we can even read what Mac is up to on this site, so I’m sure AN already has some ideas on the drawing board ready to go, as I’m sure they have already fastened differently shaped exhaust pipes on the car and tested their effects at the factory and/or at the recent test sessions.

    1. “SV fans excluded I suppose”

      Not really. I’d love to see as many (perhaps all champions and Rosberg) contending for the championship as possible.
      It will be a good way of reminding people what Vettel was doing when he wasn’t in a Red Bull. People who say Vettel is nothing without a dominant Red Bull clearly didn’t watch him the second half of 2008.

      I’m not saying Vettel is the only reason Red Bull dominated 2011 but he’s got a part in it. It can’t be coincidence that only after Vettel joined Red Bull they started winning. Just like it wasn’t coincidence that Vettel was turning heads in a Torro Rosso. And I’m not even talking about Monza ’08.

  10. Apart from making another boring season, it would be annoying that Red Bull simply went from a nowhere team with lots of money buying in and winning everything.

    It might give the youngsters a easy thrill but there is only one man responsible for that team’s success and it ain’t Vettel.

    1. It isn’t down to one man, it’s what we call a “team effort”.

      And it isn’t annoying, it’s the current result of spending years sponsoring drivers in younger categories.

      1. Cream always rises to the top, if Vettel is as good as we think he is, he probably would be in F1 by now though some other route, had Red Bull not sponsored him there.

  11. Two things won Vettel his dominance last year – his qualifying performance, and his pace on high fuel. Of course there were other elements, such as his clamping down on errors that affected him in 2010, and of course how good his car was.

    If the pack behind can stop squabbling with eachother then we’ll have a great season. Webber’s two big weaknesses in 2011 were ironically Vettel’s biggest strengths (bad qualfying and starts).

    It’s quite nice, because Vettel had to take a leaf out of Webber’s book after 2010, and Webber will have to do the same for this year.

    1. as in, Vettel’s book :P

  12. Looking at that graph… could this be the year that Red Bull finally achieve 0th place in the Championship? They have got so close in the last two years.

  13. Though it would be foolish to pin all their success on a single element, their exploitation of the exhaust-blown diffuser concept was key to their performance last year and in the latter stages of 2010.

    Curiously, this coincided with Vettel exerting a much greater degree of superiority over Webber – which could well be related.

    A coincidence that didn’t go unnoticed by many Webber fans, I’m sure I bored plenty of people by mentioning it on numerous occasions.
    Webber needs a better chassis than he was stuck with for the first 3 races too if he’s to stand a chance.

  14. themagicofspeed (@)
    29th February 2012, 20:21

    Oh dear oh dear. So glad I didn’t bother shelling out a ridiculous sum of cash on a sky subscription when to be frank it’s looking likely to be another crappy season. Ferrari can pretty much be written off already, which is hugely dissapointing and only confirms that now the magical dream team is gone, Ferrari has rejoined the path it spent 21 years on between 1979-2000. Without the right people doing the right jobs they will slide to the back and be an embarrassment to all those who remember the Schumacher days. Red Bull will whitewash again, or McLaren with their two walking Santander adverts that sometimes like to drive F1 cars. Im so glad I’m not paying to see this season cause I’ve a feeling I’d be bitterly disappointed if I had.

    1. I think your more dissapointed that the Red Cars havent been been as quick (or so it would seem) as the Red Bulls and the Santander adverts*, then anything else. But I understand that, I was sad when it was apparent the MP4-25 was a dog for the start of 2009 but Ferrari can turn it around.

      All teams make bad cars, (if the 2012 Ferrari is such a thing) look no further then 1980 when they went from a WDC in ’79 to a dog of a car, and they could test it back then! Dont write the season off before its even started

      *Assumptions based on Speculation, Timings and general comments and not to be taken literally as gospel

      1. themagicofspeed (@)
        1st March 2012, 14:07

        I think the bottom line, fundamental performance if you take it as an average across all testing, can show a rough idea of the order of at least the top 3 teams (below that there’s too many variables). On average, across all tests, Ferrari have been the slower of McLaren RBR and themselves, bar a probable low fuel run putting them fastest. I think RBR are sandbagging, McLaren are genuinely quick out of the box as per their target for this season (quick from the start and constant development). Ferrari looks like a limp pony, as much as I hate to say it

  15. I certainly think Vettel would be the best bet for the title. But I have a feeling it won’t be that clear cut. After all, Ferrari should have a stronger performance, at least after they get to grips with all their innovations. And the McLaren looks to be strong from the start.

    I really hope Webber can claw back a bit of relative performance on his team mate now that the car is slightly less nailed to the track, that will also make it more interesting a championship.

  16. The good news is Vettel can’t win it this year, no driver can win their first 3 in a row, not Fangio, Brabham, Piquet, Prost, Senna, Schuie, or any others I have missed…..

    1. There’s always a first time for everything. ^^

  17. In spite of the changes made to the RB8, it is hard to tell if the talk regarding a more competitive 2012 is realistic or just good sportsmanship/publicity.

    Vettel, Webber, Newey, and the best crew around… Red Bull is spectacular and, until there is compelling evidence to the contrary, a dominant 2012 is on the way.

    We fans should enjoy watching this while we can and appreciate greatness when we see it.

    1. The second half of 2012 the Mercedes crew were already constantly beating Red Bull in the pits. And the McLaren crew beat them too when it mattered (making Button leap Vettel in Japan for instance) so it’s not at all unlikely Red Bull can be bested, even at their own game.

      1. 2012 : O
        What time machine do you use? an old DeLorean?

  18. Vettel & Red Bull DEJAVU as simple as that.

  19. I do expect things to be much tighter at the top this year, mainly because of how McLaren have managed to hit the ground running with regards to testing. We all now that testing isn’t necessarily indicative of pace when it comes to race day, but I think with McLaren’s track record of quick development RBR will have a fight on their hands.

    I expect Webber will be much more competitive. He achieved the highest number of fastest laps last year, so clearly he has the pace, it’s just being able to apply it when it matters. A years experience with the Pirelli’s will help bucket loads and I expect to see him at the sharp end much more often.

    Vettel I expect to be pretty much the same. It will be interesting to see if he can carry his confidence into this year as well as he did last year.

    I don’t mind who wins the championship. I prefer a close battle like everyone else, if RBR just happen to win that close battle then so be it!

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