Horner: New exhaust layout doesn’t suit Vettel

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel reverted to the team’s previous exhaust configuration in China as the new one doesn’t suit his driving style.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Christian Horner: “It’s going to be a fascinating championship…” (Adam Cooper)

“There were some characteristics about the upgraded car which weren’t particularly suited to [Sebastian Vettel’s] style of driving, which is to carry a lot of speed into the corner. The decision to come here [with two specs] was very much Adrian [Newey’s] and a technical decision, because we want to make sure we get a direction and a clear comparison.”

Fresh Protests in Bahrain (Sporting Life)

“Police and anti-government protesters were again involved in a running battle on the outskirts of Bahraini capital Manama just days ahead of this weekend’s Formula One grand prix.”

Crown prince wants Bahrain to emerge F1 winner (AFP via Google)

“We must unify our efforts to make sure Bahrain is the big winner of this prize.”

Formula One should forget the money and pull out of Bahrain (Daily Mail)

“Filthy lucre should not always enjoy the last word. And the world would be no poorer for the loss of the Bahrain Grand Prix.”

Byron Young via Twitter

“Sitting here on a day in which I have smelt Molotov cocktails and tasted teargas wondering what the hell F1 is doing in Bahrain?”

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix a calculated risk, says race chairman (The Guardian)

Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani: “The race will be positive to the country, positive to the economy which has suffered a lot in the last year and a half, and it will put things in perspective.”

Bahraini Embassy roof protester threatens to jump (BBC)

“Moosa Satrawi is highlighting the imprisonment and treatment of prominent human rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Hasan Mushaima, the leader of a banned political party in Bahrain.”

Hamilton in no rush to commit future (The Telegraph)

“When I need to, which can be within any time frame I want so long as it is before next year, then I will decide about my future. But the team are doing fantastic. I could not be happier in the team.”

Ted’s Chinese Notebook (Sky, UK only)

Ted Kravitz: “Felipe Massa again with an extremely strange strategy, seemingly going against what the tyres were doing, although that was dictated by starting on the harder tyre. But it seemed like he was almost a guinea pig for Fernando Alonso. I’ve never seen Felipe so down as he was during practice.”

Kimi Raikkonen – “A podium should be possible” (Lotus)

“It looked the best [strategy] for us and it worked for Romain [Grosjean]. If we had the same information again, we’d probably try the same approach. It didn’t work, but you don’t know these things unless you try them. We will now know better for next time. We were pretty close to finishing on the podium. We didn’t. That’s racing.”

Ferrari among teams exploring Mercedes-style DDRS (ESPN)

Technical director Pat Fry: “We’ve been looking at it for a while. I think it’s just a case of weighing up what the performance is on our car. It’s bound to vary differently from car to car and particularly if you’ve had that system in mind and developed your car to work around it, you’re further up the development curve.”

Lotus considering ‘double DRS’ options (F1)

“Lotus are looking into the potential benefits of developing their own version of Mercedes’ ‘double DRS’ system, after their protest against the solution in China failed, effectively rubber-stamping it and similar designs as legal.”

It beats a box of chocolates (GP Week)

“I fear that the obvious nepotism of Susie Wolff’s appointment at Williams undermines the achievements of [Michele] Mouton and the efforts of Alice Powell (19), Carmen Jorda (23) and Vicky Piria (18), who are working their way up the traditional ladder without the benefit of such wealthy and well-connected backing.”

Comment of the day

Some great stats on Nico Rosberg’s first race win from Ilanin:

It is 1007 days since Mark Webber won the German Grand Prix in 2009. This is the second longest interval between maiden race wins in F1; the only person whose first victory ended a longer drought is actually Rosberg’s team-mate. Michael Schumacher’s victory in the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix was the first maiden victory since Alessandro Nannini’s win in the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, 1095 days previously.

Conversely, there were no seasons between 1957 and 1983 which didn’t contain somebody’s first grand prix victory. In 1982 five drivers (Patrese, Tambay, Alboreto, Keke Rosberg, and de Angelis) won their first races, and Tambay, de Angelis, and daddy Rosberg made up F1?���??s only ever three races in a row won by drivers who had not won a Grand Prix before. This might explain why there were no new winners in ’83.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Walton174!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Romain Grosjean who is 26 today!

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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146 comments on “Horner: New exhaust layout doesn’t suit Vettel”

  1. Nick.UK (@)
    17th April 2012, 0:10

    All the better for Mark. It is so nice to see him challenging Vettel again.

    1. Yep, the last two years Webber might have had the same car (arguably) but both of the RBs were Vettle’s cars.

      All of us here were expecting a trademark Webber flip when he got his nose up on Sunday – he was just teasing us. Surely a good one still to come.

      1. I thought he should get nr 53…

    2. I find it odd that Horner never mentioned even once that the EBD didn’t provide Mark’s driving style a lot of benefit… but this year he decides to make an excuse for Seb’s form just 3 races in to the season.

      1. @todfod because it did. Webber’s style massively clicks with any car that has exhaust driven downforce, as long as there is no off-throttle wizardry. Seb only has really had an advantage when the exhausts weren’t helping downforce or when there is the off throttle mapping.

        1. @raymondu999 the point is though, that Horner obviously never felt the need to protect Webber or make excuses for him not beating Vettel. 3 races into this season and Webber is 3-0 in qualifying over Vettel and 2-1 in the races, suddenly, Horner is making excuses for Vettel’s ‘poor’ form. I believe @Todford was making a tongue-in-cheek reference to the blatent Vettel favouritism.

          1. You gotta be real here too, he defends Vettel only because he is being asked provocative question, part of the game.

            Very tough race, no one could overtake even having speed advantage.

            I’m not a Vettel fan, but looking at the beginning of the race and his position, he endured a difficult race and brought result home. This is what good driver does.

          2. It is very easy for Red Bull to decide the future development of the RB8. The present RB8 is more suited tom Mark Webbers style of driving than Vettels and has not won a race.

            Redd Bull will have to go down the path of developing the car to suit Vettels style as he is much more likely to win races than Mark Webber.

            Just look at this year. Yes Mark Webber har outqualified Vettel three times out of three. But what has he got to show for it? Three times fourth place. Mediokre.

            Vettel on the other hand was able to snatch second in Australia, was on course to fourth (maybe third?) in Malaysia and now fifth with a decent attempt at second in China despite a miserable qualifying.

            Even in a car more suited to Webbers style Vettel got more potential when it comes down to mixing it up at the front. Webber has not once this season been able to give the frontrunners any reason to worry, Vettel has..

            If Red Bull should decide to continue developing the RB8 to Mark Webbers style they will be decent as Webber is a great craftsman. But they will not be number 1 again, and will certainly not win any championships this year.

            If Red Bull go down the route of getting the car to suit Vettel`s they might be back in top spot again in a not too distant future.

          3. I think the difference from last year to this year is that last year SV dominated, so it was up to MW and his side of the garage to adapt, but it’s not like they were going to dial the car down to suit MW and take something off the great season SV was having. They gave reasons why MW wasn’t doing as well and we all knew it came down to the EBD effect. So I think Horner WAS giving reasons on MW’s behalf last year.

            To complain in only 3 races this year so far that Horner now is making excuses for SV seems folly. Horner is no doubt being asked a great deal about what happened to last year’s dominant car/driver combo when we all know EBD has been curtailed a great deal and the Red Bull was designed around it.

            Non-fans will call it excuse making, fans will call it reasons, but I think SV deserves the time to adapt, and meanwhile, relative to SV MW is doing much better. There are reasons for that that they are trying to work out to help both drivers.

          4. Yes, even MW defended Lewis last year. I don’t recall similar mover from Horner on behalf of Mark Webber, however, he’s old enough to defend himself, Seb’s just a a baby…

          5. @jcost Yeah, I often forget how young Vettel is and how young RBR are as a team…

      2. But he did say that the tyres didn’t suit Webber several time, didn’t he? I don’t see why Horner would mention the EBD when it was the tyres that were the main problem for Webber last year. I see no evidence that the EBD didn’t suit Mark either, he did well enough with it in 2010.

        1. +1,

          Also, in 2009, when they didn´t have the EBD Vettel beat Webber 15-2 in qualifying.

          Now Webber is totally happy with the car and Vettel isn’t and Webber is only marginally beating Vettel in quali and realistically only beat Vettel this race (Vettel was running fourth in Malaysia with no signs of Webber catching him). That means when Vettel gets to grips with the car Webber will be behind again. As he has been for the last 3 years.

          The fact that Webber pitted as soon as he did this race was also rather telling to me. He clearly still can’t make his tyres last as long as Vettel can.
          That’s going to cost him this season.

          1. “Now Webber is totally happy with the car”….and yet you say “He clearly still can’t make his tyres last as long as Vettel can”

            I doubt either driver is totally happy with a car that isn’t winning races right now.

            @sharmin…2010 was different…the 2011 car was designed around EBD and we heard quite often throughout 2011 that for MW it created issues in how the car felt for him vs. Vettel regarding off-throttle engine mapping feeding hot gases to the diffuser. It clearly suited Vettel more than MW last year. Imho, if SV wasn’t so dominant in that car they may have heeded MW’s needs more, and I’ll assume they did try to dial the effect down for MW to try to help him out, but they weren’t about to change anything that might negatively affect SV’s run.

            Now they are trying to find solutions for both drivers as neither of them are showing this car to be the dominant force it was last year when EBD hadn’t been curtailed in the regs like this year.

    3. I don’t buy it, last year they had dial-a-downforce with the engine mapping and I’m pretty sure that SV got more when he needed it to outqualify MW, no doubt MW got the best theoretical compromise between downforce and reliability/fuel consumption but SV got more for that last Q3 run if he was behind MW. Not suggesting MW was being sabotaged merely that SV was getting number one advantage.

      1. I agree completely here. Vettel really did have a great season last year, but RB was naturally giving him #1 status and it’s much easier to look good when your car is at times a full second quicker than the rest. This season is going to be much closer so perhaps RB can’t afford to give Seb the advantage he may have had last year.
        I must say though, that many drivers can look good in a very quick car. To me, it’s much more impressive to see what a driver can do when his car is not the quickest. So this will be a good test for Seb, and all in all he’s done well so far, just had come bad luck.

  2. “Felipe Massa again with an extremely strange strategy, seemingly going against what the tyres were doing, although that was dictated by starting on the harder tyre. But it seemed like he was almost a guinea pig for Fernando Alonso. I’ve never seen Felipe so down as he was during practice.”

    Doesn’t bode well for Massa if they’re concentrating on Alonso and using him to get data that Alonso can use. Once Ferrari get the F2012 working the way they want it to, they could well decide to cut him loose.

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      17th April 2012, 3:04

      @prisoner-monkeys – Don’t forget the team even told Massa to give up him spot during the race to Alonso. As much of a facade as Ferrari puts up for the media suggesting they “really” support Massa, I really can’t see it. I almost wonder how good Massa would have been, or could be if he was on a team that actually supported him…

      1. @braketurnaccelerate – At least this time, it was obvious what they were doing. There were no coded messages, unlike Germany 2010. And as the commentators pointed out, Massa was on a wildly different strategy. Whether or not Ferrari were simply using him to give them more information on what they could or could not do with Alonso remains to be seen (Kravitz is, after all, only speculating), but if they are, can you really blame them? The car is nowhere near what Ferrari were hoping or expecting it to be, and Massa has consistently proven to be half a second slower than than Alonso – so letting both drivers race isn’t going to achieve anything. With Alonso driving the F2012 beyond its limits (he reckons that 6th place was possible in Shanghai), it makes sense for Ferrari to pour everything they’ve got into his car so that they a) can retain their WCC position at the end of the season, and b) stand a fighting chance of actually doing something when they get it to work properly. The catch is that they have to sacrifice Massa to do it, but Massa has been on the backslide for a while now. It’s a shame that it has come to this, but let’s not beat around the bushes – he hasn’t been the same since his accident in Hungary, and he’s probably never going to recover to the same lofty heights of 2008. Even if he were to receive the team’s full attention.

        The only positive that might come of this is that by giving up his season for Alonso’s benefit, Massa might satisfy the Powers That be enough to stay with the team in 2013. But I don’t think that will do much. He’s a marked man, and he has to know that his days are numbered.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          17th April 2012, 6:07

          I really don’t think the accident was much of an issue. I think Alonso is the only real issue. Look at the beginning of 2010 after he came back from the accident, a 2nd at Bahrain and 3rd at Australia to open the season. Then, they go to China and we have the “pit issue” with Alonso. Felipe’s results seem to flounder until the German Grand Prix. Dominating the race, probably would have won and then told to pull over. After that, his results really started sliding into mediocrity… I also think the way the German race was handled by Massa upset the upper echelon of the team, a lot as well. It happens in other professional sports as well. If a team starts to second guess a player, or the player feels betrayed by the team, results will ALWAYS start to slip.

          I realize Massa needs to just buckle down and put in a string of good races, but once you’re at odds with the team, I doubt there is much more you can do for yourself mentally…

          1. I agree.

            Ferrari only supports one driver. They did it with Schumacher. When Kimi was there they supported Massa and then Kimi was the one feeling the same as Massa do now.

        2. I disagree with your comments in that I think that Massa hasn’t been slower than Alonso since returning from injury. What has happened is that straight after he jumped in the Ferarri simulator to be assessed, he was offered a contract where by he would be an aid to assist Alonso, he’d always be a step behind in development but if he did manage to creep ahead he could only do so if it had no negative impact on Alonso.
          So it’s impossible to assess his ability in this team. This is becoming blatantly obvious now when ferarri are floundering at the back of the pack. The delta between race driver and test/assist driver is huge.
          Having said that, I don’t feel sorry for Massa, he has sold his soul to the red devil, so to speak, and now he has to live with it.
          I’d love to see him move to a decent upcoming team, Sauber, Merc, Lotus, and watch him take out all that pent up frustration on the track :)

          1. I’m afraid his current form is ruining his chances of joining an upcoming team. He’s delaying too long his departure from Ferrari. If he keeps posting poor results no jaws will be dropping in other garages and his marketability will be hammered. Massa should leave Ferrari ASAP to protect his own future elsewhere, otherwise he will not be on the radar for the likes of Lotus, Mercedes or Sauber unless he can bring tons of money with him, but he’s not that popular in Brazil these days I’m afraid sponsors will soon be putting their money on Bruno Senna whose seat at Williams is temporary as per some analysts.

          2. @jcost Unfortunately I think it’s already too late.

          3. I don’t think Ferrari are paying a driver not to score points. I would understand if Massa finished the races close behind Alonso but in Malaysia he was nearly lapped by his team-mate. I think Felipe is really struggling with the car, it’ s not only a psychological issue. I can’t imagine him destroying his reputation of a good driver just to help Alonso because with his performances he’s buried any chances to go to another team. And I wouldn’t blame Ferrari so much, don’t see other teams tolerating such underperformances.

      2. Karun Chandok was commentrating for Star and the time he saw Alonso behind Massa he said “Massa will now get a call from Ferrari asking him to allow Alonso pass him”. The next second call from Ferrari :)

      3. In this case I thought it was actually the right call to tell Massa to let Alonso through. We’ve seen this with Force India a couple of times in recent memory too. When the strategies are that different, you’re not helping anyone if you try to defend from your teammate in that situation.

        Massa suffers a lot from being one of the most defensive drivers when he’s being attacked – he’ll happily sacrifice several seconds a lap to keep a car behind him, which drags him back into the clutches of more than just the one person he defends from. There’s a bigger picture to think about, and being able to keep a faster car behind you for a couple of laps at the cost of around 8 seconds of tracktime isn’t a good strategy.

        I don’t like how Massa is treated in general by Ferrari, but in that situation at that point it was totally the right call to make.

    2. it was massa good pace starting on the hard tyre that made everyone else jump on it so soon.

      so the strategy wasnt that bad. if anything on that strategy he should of used the soft tyre late in the race and been flying…..

      1. He did use the soft tyre at the end, but for some reason he wasn’t flying…unlike Vergne who was bombing along on soft tyres. I wondered at the time why he didn’t get in among the Saubers and Alonso (would’ve been interesting!) again after his 2nd stop. Maybe he was stuck behind di Resta.

  3. I will say this, Sebastian. Part of what makes a legendary driver is the ability to adapt your driving style to get the most out of your car. I’d like to see if you can adapt yourself to the newer-spec car, and if you could, you’re all set for future championship challenges :)

    1. Indeed. Look at Alonso. Sure he isn’t the most popular driver out there but you can’t deny that he has talent.

      I’d also like to see vettel rise to the challenge like Alonso is.

      1. Alonso has shown himself to be remarkably adaptable to various cars. I have never been a fan, but his driving these last 2 seasons (and this year’s twitter feed) have rather changed my impression of him.

        Consider that even Schumi was complaining about the handling characteristics of the Mercedes/Pirelli combo when he returned. Think of how often we’ve heard one of my favourite drivers, Jenson Button, complain about a lack of grip. Both world champions. I can’t recall Fernando ever doing something similar, he notes that he’d like his car to be faster but then he just gets on with it and scores more points than his team has a right to expect.

        1. Alonso has definitely changed a lot since his Mclaren fiasco. I think the 2 years back in the doldrums at Renault probably gave himself some time for self reflection. He has been spot on since he moved to Ferrari, always being very supportive of the team and the company. He hasnt said a single bad thing about anyone at Ferrari, even when things havent quite worked out on some weekends.

          He has come in there and he has brought the team around him, he is doing exactly what Schumi did, built a team that deliver him a car that will win the championship. This is already happening, the key changes in the technical department is proof. Slowly but surely Ferrari will get there, they have deep pockets and their only goal is to win.

          Vettel is probably exactly where Alonso was after winning back to back, starting the year in 07. Being a young double world champion, he probably fancies himself quite a bit, slight arrogance and perhaps feels he only deserves to drive the best car…I would . I believe it will be a bad year for Vettel, and he may have a few more bad ones to come, but it will only make him stronger.

          1. COTD!

          2. I wouldn’t say Alonso has to build Ferrari around him as they are already built so to speak.

            I think he is a fantastic influence over the team though.

          3. +1 for COTD (I know Keith doesn’t listen to these but whatever :P), very good analysis.

    2. Yep. Didn’t hear Webber moaning over the team radio about his straight-line speed. Or Alonso – who tried making some moves in the corners instead (although side-by-side on the marbles round a 5th-gear corner wasn’t his brightest idea ever).

      1. Yeah, I was surprised with the “no speed on straights” shouts. As if it was any different from previous years, but of course, it’s been one of the few time for him that he’s had to work his way through the field in a Red Bull car. And with the car not being tip top on corners this year either, it’s been hard work.

        Seems Mark’s been used to that from last year, as he’s always on the backfoot and he has to work his way up there, like he did last sunday.

        1. The Red Bull has always been slow on the straights, hasn’t it? Shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

          1. Exactly, they were near the bottom of the speed trap stats at nearly every race last year. If I was thinking about this with my political hat on I would say it was more of a subtle hint to the FIA about the Mercedes DDRS than a complaint to the team….

          2. @scalextric Right you are and like @fer-no65 said they’re usually fast in the corners. If Vettel doesn’t have either attribute I can appreciate his frustration.

          3. @scalextric I think this difference this year is Vettel is not starting races from the front and driving away – he’s in the pack and needing straight-line speed to overtake.

    3. Might I suggest that we might see of bit of self doubt seep into the Vettle helmet – there might be some brittle years ahead a la Hamilton.

      1. @julian and @bullfrog, lol, Alonso’s definitely the driver I thought of. His ability to drive the nuts out of that Ferrari tells me everything about why he was the man to beat Michael Schumacher :)

        @thecollaroyboys I certainly hope Vettel doesn’t endure a season like that, unless of course it means having a brand new world champion :P

    4. Mark Webber lost a straight fight to Alonso’s Ferrari on the long straight, which is a dog of a car as suggested by many, in which case Vettel has every right to be worried about the straight line speed of the car. About Webber beating Vettel this year, not happening. Even with a older exhaust configuration and slower car Vettel finished right behind Mark, not considering where he started. Vettel might not have the quali edge anymore, but he still got better race pace than Mark.

      1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        17th April 2012, 6:07

        Yes, but the straight line speed of the Red Bull has always been poor, and this has also been a Ferrari strength. so that doesn’t say as much as you think it does. And in regards to your race pace comments, the reason Vettel has better race pace is because he is kinder to his tires then Mark is, not because of a difference in actually driving ability.

        1. “the reason Vettel has better race pace is because he is kinder to his tires then Mark is, not because of a difference in actually driving ability” – Why GOD Why?

        2. @jarred-walmsley

          the reason Vettel has better race pace is because he is kinder to his tires then Mark is, not because of a difference in actually driving ability.

          That makes as much sense as saying that the reason Alonso is finishing higher then Massa is because he is faster, not because he is a better driver.
          In what universe would either of those statements make sense?

          1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            17th April 2012, 11:13

            Okay, badly worded point there, I wasn’t really paying attention when I wrote it and now I look at it I agree it doesn’t make any sense. What I meant to say was the reason Vettel has better race pace is because he is kinder to his tires then Mark is and thus has to make a pitstop less, not because he is faster.

      2. Not sure about Vettel having better race pace than Webber this year… haven’t seen that yet but it’s early days .

        1. He’s putting in the same lap times but is able to pit 3-4 laps later. Just like last year when Webber wasn’t (much) slower but ran out of grip sooner.

          The only difference now is that Vettel doesn’t have the confidence in the car he had last year meaning he doesn’t have the edge on Webber in qualifying anymore.

      3. Its all about where you finish. Everything else is pointless. Webber has finished ahead of VET two times out of three. If you want to nasty Webbr has finished the WDC in front of HAM every season since HAMs WDC. That said, Mark isnt. WDC and isnt likely to be. And i am his biggest fan!

      4. @ridiculous The thing is, you never hear Webber complain about top speed because he’s used to it. Now that Vettel’s also fighting in the pack he has suddenly remembered that they don’t have top speed which is the case for years already. What’s the point complaining like it is some special problem and not a normal characteristic of the car? Buckle up and adapt!

        Regarding Webber beating Vettel yes it is very much happening. 3-0 in qualy and 2-1 in races are ample enough proof. And before you say, well before the stupidity with Karthikeyan he was in front in Sepang, I remind you that it was purely because of Webber’s misfortune in the pitstops. It’s not like SV was faster or anything.

        And way to turn things on their head with the “older exhaust, slower car”. It’s not like SV chose the older, slower configuration because of his unimpressive inability to adapt to the newer clearly faster configuration. Which was Scuderiavincero’s main paoint all along…

        1. If I close my eyes and count misfortunes I know where it would lead me. 3-0 in quali? Race day is on Sunday. 2-1 in race? In 2009 Webber finished 6 races ahead of Vettel when both finished out of 17 races, 2010 5 races finished ahead of Vettel out of 19, 2011, its just 2. 2012 has just started. I’ll let you know how it ends

  4. Newey can’t possibly be happy about that. This might cost Vettel dearly.

    1. @pamphlet – How so? Red Bull swtiched the exhaust layout because Vettel feels more comfortable with the older design. It stands to reason that Vettel would make up for whatever advatange is lost by using the old exhaust simply because he would have more confidence in the car.

      1. That would be correct, but again, it’s the older exhaust. I know Newey’s a genius, but I highly doubt he’s still working to improve that one. At least, not as much as he’s working on the current layout. It’d be stupid of him.

        1. I think Newey is smart enough to listen to what is working better for each driver and try to solve the issue no matter the vintage of the exhaust. It’s smart to have two different versions out their to compile data on. It might be the case that since last year’s car was designed around the EBD, and now the effect of EBD has been greatly curtailed for them, it’s a case for Newey of whatever works best for each driver is what he will develop. I don’t see anything wrong with him taking cues from the drivers and running with that. It’s still progress even if it is based on an older version but tweeked. If there’s something about that one that is working better, why would he ignore that. THAT would be stupid imho.

          1. Yeah, @robbie, that is also what I understand. One of the drivers is OK with the car, the other defenitely not able to make the most of it. So now they ran both versions of the exhaust and Newey’s brain is spinning into higher gears thinking up a solution that will enable both to get more out of a complete package and bring a potential winner to the track a further 2-4 races into the season.

          2. Horner has indicated that RBR will abandon one of the designs in the future. They cannot afford investing time and money on two different exhaust solutions all season long.

    2. Even the new design only came 4th, and they won’t be happy with that. I suspect that before long, F1 development being what it is, both designs will be superseded by another new one. Hopefully it’ll suit both drivers, but what matters most is it’s a winner.

  5. Vettel has already established himself towards the upper ranks in F1 history, but RB’s new car not “suiting” him isn’t much of an endorsement for the guy. A talented driver for sure, but perhaps not as versatile as the great ones? I’m not sold on him yet.

    1. Even the ‘versatile great ones’ have usually needed way more than 3 races to help improve the situation…sometimes it has taken them 3 years. If the car is not there for you it is not there. SV didn’t suddenly lose his ability to win. Nor did he design this car to suit him less. The rules changed and the car that was designed around EBD last year, is not the same car as last year. SV deserves time, and I too am not necessarily sold on him…I want to see how he deals with this adversity this season from the mental/pressure side of things, not just in geting the car physically better.

  6. @keithcollantine the daily mail link there doesn’t work

    1. The Daily Mail doesn’t work. They don’t care about Formula 1, and they certainly don’t care about Bahrain. They’re just looking for excuses to avoid having anything to do with anyone who isn’t British, or at least anyone who isn’t white.

      1. Spanish sports newspaper “MARCA” is reporting that HRT team personnel find themselves unable to reach Shakir circuit due to riots in the streets of Manama.

        1. @jcost – Whatever is actually happening does not validate The Daily Mail‘s ulterior agenda. They don’t like Muslims, and if calling off a Grand Prix means that dear old England has less to do with the Islamic world, then they’re all for it. The circumstances of the cancellation don’t bother The Daily Mail. They just want to stir up trouble because they don’t like Muslims. Or, as I said, anyone else who isn’t a middle-class white monachist.

          1. Also, it’s impossible for HRT to have been held up by riots because I believe that none of the teams are landing in Bahrain until tomorrow.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys I’ve seen evidence Red Bull and Williams personnel are there already.

          3. @keithcollantine – Personnel, yes. But as far as I know, none of the equipment has arrived yet. So unless the teams are getting around in rental cars with RED BULL RACING and WILLIAMS F1 daubed on the sides, I don’t know how the protesters would be able to impede their progress, because there are multiple routes between airport and circuit.

          4. I don’t know what’s behind Mail’s coverage but I doubt it’s a matter of racism, if so, that’s sad.

    2. @fer-no65 Fixed it, thanks.

  7. Neway will focus to improve vettels spec exhaust from now on and stop to continue the development of webbers one.

    1. Possibly.. Poor Mark

    2. Contrary to what you have said

    3. Got a link or anything to support that?

      1. Pre-race link in espn forums. Can’t find anything there, especially their tendency to make some artciles disappear

        1. @ridiculous Well it doesn’t seem to be the case according to this:

          What was also perhaps significant was that Newey seemed to be spending most of his time on Webber’s side of the garage rather than Vettel’s. Adrian is not someone interested in looking backwards. His focus will be on unlocking the greater potential of the revised car and as such he will have been far more interested in Webber’s progress in China than Vettel’s.


      2. I read it as a tongue-in-cheek comment based on RBR’s past form.

      3. @Keith Collantine-

        I found this article on Speed’s website claiiming that Vettel will revert to the “Webber-spec” exhaust configuration from Bahrain on:

        Apparently they are quoting Marko. Hope that helps!

        1. …somebody doesnt know how to paste links!

    4. Doubt Newey will listen to driver regarding this matter. Any driver who got some self respect will know better than telling Newey what to do or if his calculations are wrong.

    5. Rubbish. Looking at his past history, hell make an effort to improve the new exhaust config to improve its performance where the original works for Vettel. Then he’ll tell Vettel to get on with it as the new configuration is faster. Newey expects the driver to adapt to a faster car, its not his problem if the driver like a car more suited to him thats ultimately slower.

  8. I don’t see how Vettel struggling a bit this year has diminished his reputation as some people suggest.

    The way I see it, he’s a great driver,in particular I thought his defensive driving on Sunday was brilliant, he kept Hamilton behind him far longer than I expected. Just because a certain exhaust layout doesn’t suit his style does not mean he’s a bad driver that needs the best car to perform well. Michael Schumacher has been known to like a ‘pointy’ car and the previous two years Mercedes did not suit his driving style. Does that mean Schumi isn’t an all-time great? No. Neither does Vettel’s current run of results mean that he isn’t a great driver or a deserving double world champion.

    In 2010 he was the ‘crash kid’ and won the WDC. Then his ability to overtake was called into question, and that surely has been put to bed over the last season. Now people are doubting his ability to handle a less competitive car. I’m not a Vettel ‘fan’. Red Bull aren’t my team. But with Vettel (and to a lesser extent Hamilton) it seems like the goal-posts are always moving with some people.

    1. “But with Vettel (and to a lesser extent Hamilton) it seems like the goal-posts are always moving with some people.”

      Agreed. People seem to either heap excessive praise on VET and HAM or slaughter them for being the most over rated drivers of all time…it’s very odd!

      1. Also if people call into question his ability to adapt to a new layout then what would you call Webbers inability to adapt to last years layout? Surely this year they are close together even though Vettel doesn’t like the car but last year when Webber didn’t like it the difference between them was astronomical.

        1. +1

  9. I’m a bit puzzled with Vettel at the moment. Watching qualifying on Sky, Anthony Davidson spent so much time talking about how Vettel feels uncomfortable and missing all the apexes yet he came out and said he liked the balance of the car. Can someone confirm whether Vettel was missing these apexes in previous years or is he hiding something?

  10. Could you show any more bias Keith in your choice of articles?

    1. I’ve no idea which article/s you’re objecting to.

      Red Bull? Bahrain? Hamilton? Massa? Lotus? Double DRS? Women in F1?

      What I can say is the articles or quotes chosen for the links may be chosen because they provide new information, or offer a particular point of view, or are funny, or are pertinent for some other reason.

      Where possible I try to show both sides of a story, but if there’s more relevant/worthwhile/compelling material on a certain point then that’s just the way it is.

    2. @mclarenfan
      Haha what??
      @keithcollantine is a signpost. He takes all the information you can’t be bothered to look for yourself, sums it up brilliantly in 1-2 sentences, and even posts the link for you to find. He’s an un-biased, objective signpost that tells you “what this is and where you can find it”, not “what this is about but with my opinion on it and what you should think”.
      Maybe there just werent enough McLaren articles for you, and looking at your username, I’d probably be right.

      1. Well, I do offer my opinion sometimes, but usually not here – that’s what Comment pieces are for.

  11. @Collaroyboys,
    I too was having a flashback of hos sportcar days.

    1. Jack Flash (Aust)
      17th April 2012, 3:44

      You mean Webber’s two 150-200mph flips of the Mercedes-CLR GT in 1999. Not his fault, as it was an Aero design fault, but truly spectacular. Peter Dumbreck his teamate doing the same on the same race weekend. Mercedes quit the Gt series that year.

      To me, I was more thinking of Vitaly Petrov’s effort at Korea, where he looked like he bounced off a grass-gutter and ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ style jupmed his General Lee Renault back onto track, where his steering column promptly broke off into his lap. Or for Webber, the 2010 Redbull GIves Youn Wings effort at Valencia. Mark Webber has earned some serious Frequenct Flyer points over the years… JF

      1. ‘Rudderless Russian’ appeared in Malaysia last year

      2. FlyingLobster27
        17th April 2012, 12:43

        “Mercedes quit the Gt series that year.”
        They had left GT at the end of 1998, because the GT1 class – which had become a de facto prototype category – was discontinued. Mercedes were not racing in a regular championship in 1999, however after their cars became connected with aviation, and not the Rolls-Royce kind of connection -, AMG did abandon sportscar racing all together and went on to focus on the DTM.

  12. The regulation this season has make the cars more mechanical, which is also the reason why the grid is so close, because mechanical grip is cheaper to develop than aerodynamic (I believe). I can see Vettel relying more on aerodynamic grip, either EBD, or double diffuser, to help him “carry a lot of speed into the corner”. The faster the car goes, the more downforce it has. F1 drivers always have their input to the car, small things like the steering wheel layout, bigger things like the suspension or etc. They give their feeling to the engineers and hope the engineer will create a car that suit the driving style. RBR is nice (/rich) enough to make 2 setups in a single season. And only time can tell which is better.

  13. Since Mark is their leading driver in the championship standings, it is only logical that Red Bull will continue to develop the new, faster exhaust system and ditch the one Vettel is comfortable with.

    1. I’m a Webber fan, but that shouldn’t be the reason for it. The reason should be that they see in their simulations and other means that this configuration is faster and MW times on the track compared with SV are only proving it. Championship position is irrelevant this early in the season

  14. There were a barage of comments last year from some of F1’s greats in both the media and ex-driver formats who said Vettel could be one of the greatest.

    How wrong they were. I dont care who you are, you are not a great driver if you can only driver one form of a car quick. Ie, the 2010 and 2011 spec RB. If Vettel was ‘great’ he wouldve dragged that car a lot higher than what he did in both quali and race – and he didnt. And guess what, he didnt do it in Malaysia either…

    I suspect that Mark has a strongly ability to convey issues around the car to the engineers etc as he has spent a goof part of 10 years in *********. Vettel…. hmmmm…. couple of races in a BMW, STR then enter a RB at what may have been their peak.

    It is fantastic to see MW doing better. Especially after lasst years couch heroes calling for his exit – I ask now – Where are you? Probably conjuring up something else to waste peoples time on.

    without the likes of Newey and other great designers/engineers – where would these drivers even be today?!

    1. If Webber was so good at making a car work for him what was he doing all last year?

      1. Completely correct – i dont really have an argument for that.

        I guess what i was attemptimg to get at was how quick everyone was to suggest that Vettel could be the greatest driver that ever lived…. etc etc. Now he is no where.

        I think i know what you will reply with that will be along the lines of – well what about your development comment? I guess i would say that RB would have been some what alinged to Vettel at that point considering he had just won a WDC…..

    2. It seems to be a popular belief that an F1 driver either does or doesn’t come out of the womb fully formed with every skill they will ever need to be a great world champion, and all that’s left to be done for the rest of their life is to go about using that never-changing, never-improving skill to get whatever results they can before their career ends.

      However, I actually kind of disagree with that. It seems likely to me that certain drivers develop skills, or improve on skills they already have, and sometimes do so at different rates than other drivers. Strange, I know, but it’s a pet theory of mine.

      On the basis of what we’ve seen of Vettel’s approach to improving his own driving over the past few seasons, I think the problems he’s having now are just the next challenge he needs to study and learn to deal with effectively — and I have no doubt that he will eventually do it.

      1. Agreed…and pertaining to some comments above as well, hinting that SV is just whining, or the team is defending him while MW outperforms him ie. so what kind of a WDC is Vettel? One that can ‘only’ succeed in a dominant car? Like WDC’s suddenly don’t need a WCC winnning car as the stats overwhelmingly prove out?…I say, give the lad some time. If you want to see him adapting to a car that isn’t dominant like it was last year, how about giving him a chance to do that? I’m sure they learned a lot last weekend. Last year’s car was designed around EBD. That has now for the most part been taken away from them while another team has a trick front wing that can segregate them from the field. So while the other teams are finding their way, as I’m sure Merc will still be working to see that they can be on top of the tire degradation issues, even on a variable temp weekends, let’s give these teams/drivers some time. Let’s let them get back to Europe where we are always told the teams will be able to affect changes more quickly after these first fly-away races.

    3. HewisLamilton
      17th April 2012, 15:52

      Is the season over? Who won the championship? Who won the Constuctors? I totally missed the season. (complete sarcasm)

      Vettel is already written off huh?

      1. No, we haven’t written him off yet. But so far this season, he’s been out-performed by Mark Webber 3-0 in qualifying and 2-1 in the race. He was complaining about the straight-line speed of his Red Bull, which has always been slow down the straights, when Webber drives the exact same car; he never complains, but just overtakes with a slower car? Just an interesting fact.

        1. I’m not convinced we know all the ‘facts’…the car is obviously not dominating like it did last year when it was designed around the EBD…so far we know SV obviously isn’t gelling with the car like he did last year, and perhaps the car better suits MW for now whereas it didn’t seem to last year. I think this is all pretty normal stuff for F1.

          But to make is sound like ALL SV is doing is complaining while MW NEVER complains, seems unlikely. I think if you are an MW fan you might word it that way, but I think what is likely more accurate is that SV is stating what he is experiencing with the car, presumably to make it better for himself and the team. If he sounds frustrated at times I think that is perfectly understandable given how he had it last year. He wants to win some more. And MW seems to have less to ‘complain’ about because he seems to be a little more comfortable in the car, but we are not flies on the wall. We don’t actually know all that MW is saying back in the pits. If we were to hear that we might conclude that MW is also ‘complaining.’ My point being…maybe neither of them are really complaining…just commenting on their experience for it to be taken by the team as information in an effort to take that and make changes and hopefully progress.

  15. I’m in no way going to jump on the bandwagon of people who will inevitably say “Seb only won the WDC for the last 2 years because he had the fastest car”. I’ve been watching the sport long enough to recognise that he is a special talent, regardless of my personal preferences regarding teams and drivers. What makes Vettel a special talent is (apparently) his ability to understand how the car works and then drive accordingly. His high corner entry speed style was probably born out of understanding perfectly how to exploit the blown diffuser on the RB6 and RB7. To get back on top he’ll need to stop whinging about lack of straightline speed and work on understanding how the car works and then start driving accordingly.

    1. I think the Vettel comments today have been some of the most balanced and interesting in weeks. Yours also seems fairly balanced. My opinion is that he’s consistent and will likely keep finishing second through fifth all season. An odd win or two could actually win him his third championship if the McLaren drivers take points off each other. But it’s shaping up to be a really good season.

      But I’ve got a question that I’ve been wanting to ask for years! What is whinging? I mean I suppose it’s complaining. But it must have some kind of subtle difference – so I’m asking anyone here to help me understand when to use whinging and when to use complaining… or is it just whining spelled differently?

        1. Thanks for the reply. It’s one of those things, though, that I’m not sure if google really helps. For example I still have no real idea what the difference between a bloke and a chap is. It seems like it can be positive or negative depending on who is saying it and how they are saying it. I was thinking whinging – seeing as how often I see it on this blog – might have extra emphasis or something…

      1. A complaint is more focused and likely more legitimate. Winging in its worst form is like when little children get tired and complain about almost everything just because they are not happy.
        Bloke tends to be more working-class, neither positive or negative EG “this bloke came up to me and …”. While a chap could be substituted for bloke in the first example for posher speaker it tends to be more positive EG “he’s one of the chaps” (one of our kind) . Context is everything and essentially the both just mean “man”.

        1. Also winging is less intrusive than whining, perhaps a more specific whine in a less whiney voice but still trivial.

          1. Cheers Jon E, that goes some way to helping me understand the subtle differences. Very much appreciate you giving me your time on this one!

  16. That piece on sticking with a box of chocolates is really taken from my heart. I hope that with now 3 promising female drivers in GP3, this is a positive trend to girls / women stick with their racing and get into F1 on merit.

    Lets hope that in a few years, ilanin will be having another COTD comparing the podium of the first female F1 driver in ages to women who drove in the past!

    1. @bascb – Based on testing times, I think Alice Powell is the only one of the three girls with a real chance. It doesn’t help that GP3 is absolutely dominated by ART Grand Prix – they scored nearly twice as many points as Arden last year – but Piria and Jorda are with Trident and Ocean, which aren’t exactly the best teams to be with. Status, at least, has picked up some good results and run some talented drivers (like Wickens, da Costa and Sims), so Powell might stand a chance to impress. But even then, I think she has a lot of work cut out for her, mostly because she’s going to held to a higher standard than male drivers. Sure, it’s a double-standard, but motorsport has been dominated by men for so long that the future of women racing drivers rides with the first few to step forward. That’s why teams have to be careful about who they take, because if they promote a female driver too soon – or promote her for the wrong reasons – and she disappoints, it’s going to set back the possibilities of female racers being able to thrive in motorsport. Personally, I would love to see a female Formula 1 driver who can experience success, but it has to be the right woman and she has to be racing in the team for the right reasons.

  17. Correction :

    Crown prince wants Bahrain Bahraini government to emerge F1 winner (AFP via Google)

    “We must unify our efforts to make sure Bahrain Bahraini authorities are the big winner of this prize.”

    1. While the Crown Prince is laying on the make-up, others are looking underneath:


      which includes a link to the Amnesty International report released today. The full report is very sobering, and names names, as it summarizes many statements of intent made publicly by the Bahraini authorities and the lack of will to live up to their own words, even cynically going against them.

      1. Might as well give you the Amnesty International Report link:


        1. Thanks for your link, I’ve read most of the report. It’s truly astonishing to see what is going on with my favourite sport.

          Everyone in F1 is calling for security. I don’t think the protesters have a strong desire to murder every driver, mecanic and spectator. The only purpose of the army protection would be to keep protestors away : that way they won’t disturb therace, no TV can film them, and they can all suffer and die in silence. What everyone will see is a F1 race in a calm state where law and order reign.

          Utterly disgusted by this situation!

      2. BTW, since when has F1 become a moral Apostle? We all know how hostile F1-business is. Amnesty has nothing to doing on a F1 track ….. my 2ps :-(

        1. According to Bernie Ecclestone, 1985:

          We pulled out of South Africa years ago (in 1985) because of apartheid.


          It’s complete rubbish, of course. The only reason there wasn’t a race in 1986 was because of pressure from television companies and unions refusing to handle cargo from South Africa:

          1985 South African Grand Prix flashback

          1. Yes, still its related.

  18. I’m looking forward to the solutions the teams will design in order to introduce the double DRS onto their cars. As with the teams solutions to the McLaren F-duct.

    I wonder how radical the rear wing will become in design after exploiting this loophole in the rules, or is it a far more direct solution that the teams could come up with?

    1. Seeing as it’s likely a monocoque change as pipes or tunnels are added running down the length of the car, I think it’s safe to say if we get a sniff of any team attempting a crash test in the next few months, its because of this.

  19. With regard to Vettel, I think he is similar to Rosberg in his ability to blue print the performance of the car. Some drivers like Hamilton and Alonso, as we have seen in past and present respectively, have been able to wrestle dogs around a circuit at a reasonable pace. Vettels’ strengths and WDCs seem to have been born of his consistency, which has developed as he’s matured in the last 3 years. That combined with an astonishing car made him untouchable last year. However, I think his performance this year is just showing where that RB is in terms of pace.

  20. There is definitely something Vettel does not like in this car. I mean he is top driver, proven many times. Plenty of experience. But I was surprised after qualifying he said “car couldn’t go faster, best he could do”. But then we see his lap and he simply misses couple apexes in critical corners.

    I think frustration is getting best of him, he should just chill out, too many mistakes trying to go faster.

    1. @narazdache It’s a good point but I think you can attribute his missed apexes to not being comfortable and confident with the car. If he feels that the car will slip away from him if he pulls in earlier than usual then he isn’t in a position to go any faster. He reduces the efficiency of hitting the apex by compensating for a lack of grip.

    2. I’ve heard that Ant said that Vettel missed a couple, but I was not able to see it myself, even though I’ve gone through the footage a couple of times. Maybe he saw more onboard footage that was available in the broadcast I had. What I did see was that in Q2 Seb did almost identical laps, within thousands of each other, and with no obvious mistalkes that means that there was simply no extra performance to be extracted from the car. I believe that’s what he meant when he said that ‘the car couldn’t go faster’. If he really *did* miss not one but two apexes on a single lap, then he must have been incredibly consistent in repeating exactly the same mistalkes on another lap and it cost him precisely the same amount of time. Sorry, but that’s a bit hard to swallow.

  21. Ofcourse Felipe Massa in a ‘secondary’ driver to Fernando Alonso, ofcourse Ferrari favour Fernando in almost every instance! However, one must remember, what choice did Ferrari have when they took on Alonso for the start of the 2010 season?
    We all remember what happened at McLaren when the team did not give Fernando the ‘support’ he desired, and rightly or wrongly, the damage that decision caused McLaren was huge. You had a team split between two drivers, at war with itself, and it cost them a championship in the process.
    In my opinion, Ferrari made the decision to back Alonso in order to bring stability to their team to offset any risk of a repeat of the McLaren scenario.
    When you stop and think about it, its a logical thing to do!
    Alain Prost was just the same, you were either behind him or in his way! However, for Ferrari, look at the flip side! They no doubt have one of the very best drivers around in their team, and even when the car is a piece of crap, a driver who is capable of getting the job done.
    I always felt the events of Germany 2010 did massive damage to Felipe Massa’s confidence, only a year after nearly being killed whilst driving a Ferrari. I can not imagine how that betrayal must have hurt Massa, who almost lost his life whilst driving for a team that had now turned its back on him. We all know F1 is a ruthless business and there is little sentiment at times, but what Ferrari did that day was especially cold hearted and cruel, yet not unlike them. In other words Massa’s head has dropped, he knows he is about as welcome as David Cameron in a pasty shop and this, in my mind, has effected his driving and cold finish off his career totally.
    As for Christian Horner, his excuses over Vettel’s woes are not surprising at all to anybody. Vettel’s position within Red Bull Racing is well documented, and most people would agree that Mark Webber is nothing more than a ‘secondary’ driver to the German. Ofcourse, the big difference this year is that Webber unlike Massa is beating his team mate. Only three grands prix into the new season and we are already seeing good progress being made by Webber, at the expense of the defending double world champion. The problem Horner will have is if this trend continues how does he handle the situation? When Vettel was so dominant last year it was all too easy, but if Webber does better in the championship this year will Red Bull Racing support him ‘fully’?
    My gut reaction is that Red Bull Racing will find themselves in a situation like McLaren are in, with two drivers close together in the championship in terms of points, and if that is the case, I fear Horner will again support Vettel more.
    What is impressive about Webber is that he does not appear to let this knock his confidence, if anything it spurs him on. That is the one big difference between Webber and Massa in my eyes when they are faced by team mates clearly being favoured over them.

    1. I believe that is precisely the difference between those two…

    2. “When Vettel was so dominant last year it was all too easy, but if Webber does better in the championship this year will Red Bull Racing support him ‘fully’?”

      I doubt they will show or give Webber more support than Vettel. Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. They gave Webber’s new front wing to Vettel 2 years ago.

      1. But at that point in the season Vettel was well ahead of Webber in the championship and seemed a lot more on form.
        The roles was reversed to what we see right now, so you can’t really use that as an indicator.

        1. If by “that point of the season” you mean when the wing swap happened, then Vettel was just 12 points ahead of Webber and by the end of the British GP Webber was 7 points ahead.

          1. Yes 12 points ahead, with a total of 3 wins lost to reliability issues that Webber hadn’t suffered from. Overall it wasn’t unfair to conclude that Vettel had been driving better then Webber in that season that far, thus making it obvious to hand the advantage to him to be able to get into the lead of the championship.
            That Webber was ahead afterwards isn’t really relevant, because they could never have known that before they made the decision.

            As I say, these days the roles are reversed so we can’t really use that event to know whether they will favour Vettel again, because back then they had an argument. Whether one agree with what they did or not is a totally different matter.

          2. you make it sound the Webber drove brilliantly in the British GP and Vettel was just so-so (and Webber did drive brilliantly), when in fact Vettel had his tire punctured in the first few corners and was dead last at the end of the first lap. And without the help of a DRS or multiple tire changes, he came back and finished 7th with some pretty solid passing to boot. Vettel drove a brilliant race that day, under adverse circumstances.

            As for Webber’s “not bad for a number 2” comment, I’m sure he wasn’t using that quip in Korea or Abu Dhabi at the end of those races :)

  22. @ALZARIUS.

    Exactly, and Mark Webber went onto win the British Grands Prix that year despite Christian Horner and co. giving Vettel Webber’s new wing! If the same scenario occured at Ferrari I doubt Felipe Massa would be able to come back and win the race.
    Another point aswell is that Mark Webber was points leader in 2010 in the latter stages of the season, but his crash in Korea pretty much scuppered his chances. I am convinced that there will be fireworks between Webber and Vettel, as we saw in Turkey two years ago, due to Webber’s uptick in performance.

    1. I think there are some debatable points in the above handful of posts.

      I think FA at Mac was not demanding number one status. He just felt LH was being favoured and he called for equality on the team. Something had FA convinced that the team was favouring LH, and he became vocal about it. Part of the blame needs to fall on the team for not ensuring FA felt equally treated.

      So I don’t think Ferrari needed to avoid a repeat of what happened at Mac with FA/LH. All they needed to do was ensure FA felt an equal on the team vs. his teammate, but of course as the well documented proven WDC FA is we all know FM is not a driver who is equal to FA so there was not even a debate needed as to whether or not FA was going to be happy with his treatment on the team.

      We have all seen that life is easier for a team manager when one driver dominates the other on the track, thus eliminating any need for team orders. But that doesn’t mean the paying audience is getting value for their money if a team could have hired a better driver and had two gladiators duking it out on the track, or if a team intentionally holds even a good driver back in favour of another. We the viewing audience get robbed of potential true racing in the pinnacle of racing when teams make decisions to make their own lives easier by eliminating the need for tough decisions to be made.

      At the British GP 2010, Red Bull claimed they gave SV the wing because he was leading in the points at that particular time, and he seemed to be the one getting the most out of said new wing. Whatever the truth, just as Mac didn’t convince FA that he was an equal on the team, neither did Red Bull do enough to convince MW he was an equal, hence his comment at the end of the race when it won it…’not bad for a number 2, eh?’

      Yet MW was points leader in the latter stages of the season…ie. how subservient was he then? How held back was he? How favoured was SV if MW could do that? I think MW himself would disagree and probably take great offence that he is being called “nothing more than a ‘secondary’ driver to the German.” He raised a fuss in 2010 that weekend, he said if he knew this was going to be the way he was going to be treated he wouldn’t have signed for Red Bull, he went on the lead the points chase late into the season. Last year he was dominated by SV. And yet he is still at Red Bull this year when if anything, and if he is actually nothing more than a secondary driver, one would think he would have spent last year complaining that this was not he signed up for, and you would think he would have found a different ride for this year if that was the case.

      I think there is more racing going on at Red Bull than some believe, thank goodness. And I think that it is natural to appear to favour a driver who has just proven himself again by winning the WDC again, and who now is struggling. Of course they want to help him. He has proven what he is capable of. I’m sure they feel for him. But thank goodness it seems they are also working with MW, who as I say, is still on the team, which must mean he either has no integrity, or in fact has been well convinced by the team that he is not just there to be a secondary driver to the German, in spite of how it went last year.

  23. @mads Ah ok, so a 12 point lead is “well ahead” even though there were 225 points left to win? Fair enough.

    1. Please let us not get into a discussion about definitions, it will bring us nowhere.

      1. I’m sure of that

  24. what I find interesting about the comments regarding how Vettel is whinging about straight line speed in the race and Webber isn’t, is the total lack of understanding that we only hear what the F1 live feed gives us. It’s not like the comments they air are the only ones that are made by all the drivers during the race. We have no clue what Webber is saying or not saying. He’s probably saying the same thing at different times. I can also imagine that Vettel and his engineers are trying to find solutions to improve his track position and he’s relying the info that the back straight isn’t going to help him. After the race he talked about how he was trying everything to maintain position, adjust diffs, break balance, etc. and I’m sure he wasn’t doing that all on is own. His engineer was probably asking him to try certain things in certain places as well. That working as a team thing. Nor do we know if Rocky said something like “stay close and use DRS for the pass” and then Vettel had to respond the way he did, to say hey, that’s not going to happen.

    The other thing that this often missed is that the drivers always sound more stressed on the radio than they probably are–in the sense they sound more frustrated/whining than there probably actually feeling because they are talking while driving an F1 car on the rivet which is incredibly physically demanding.

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