Bottas targets consistent points in debut season

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In the round-up: New Williams driver Valtteri Bottas aims to avoid mistakes and rack up points in 2013.


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Bottas confident of success (Sky)

“I want to do well and one day I want to be the world champion, but [2013 is] all about learning, getting up to speed as quickly as possible, minimising mistakes and bringing home points.”

Glock has high hopes for Marussia (Autosport)

“I think the windtunnel work paid off since we went to McLaren, and that looks very positive for the future.”

Clues on Toro Rosso’s 2013 Challenger the STR8 (SomersF1)

“The article also mentions the use of pull-rod suspension indicating Ferrari’s use in 2012 and that Red Bull’s Italian based team will not adopt it for 2013, even though other lead teams such as McLaren and Lotus have hinted they will assess its merits.”

Comment of the day

@Jeanrien on Red Bull pushing the limit of the rules:

I’m no fan of Red Bull but have to reckon they use the rules at best amongst teams, and it’s what is needed at that level.

If you can find a tweak in rules, something you can do which was not meant to happen but that the rules don’t clearly forbid, just go for it ans that was the case for this floor. Actually there is nothing wrong with the floor, and I’m not sure any other team really believe it’s illegal, but they have to protest to have it ban to have Red Bull stepping back.

That’s how Formula One works and should work. It’s no more illegal that the Double DRS from Mercedes and we could find a bunch of other examples.

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On this day in F1

Would you like to see the new season begin on the first day of the new year? It happened 45 years ago as Jim Clark won the opening round of the 1968 championship at Kyalami.

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38 comments on “Bottas targets consistent points in debut season”

  1. Though it’s mere speculation at this point, I’ve been wondering for the past 12 months what may have happened had McLaren adopted the pull-rod suspension at the front pre-season. Their lower nose would have benefited the design more so than the Ferrari, and with Jenson’s smooth style, it would probably have assisted in heating the front tyres for better qualifying performance.

    Had it not been for the alterations in the tyre compounds for 2013, then I reckon McLaren would have gone down this route, considering the driver line-up they had. Now, however, it may be too risky. But if any team are to do it, then they could benefit the most from it.

    1. @jamiefranklinf1 I think the major downside to any pull rod solution is the amount of work required to get it working right. It was a huge gamble for Ferrari to try it.

      The limited testing mileage has compounded the introduction of experimental technology. There is significant evidence that pull rod suspension has some significant advantages over the push rod technology, but how much pain are teams prepared to deal with trying to get it right?

      Technologies like Coanda Exhausts and DDRS can be tested in wind tunnels, but suspension can only be tested on track.

  2. So essentially what Bottas is targeting is what Senna achieved last season? Hopefully he can consistently score slightly more points than what Senna achieved though and I would like to see him challenging Maldonado as the season progresses, maybe not in qualifying (as that appears to be Maldonado’s speciality) but in the races.

    1. Even if he is that good, a new Mika Hakkinen, maybe he can’do much better than Senna did this year (as he is a rookie) and surely it will be even harder to do as good as Senna would do in a second year with the team, as for Bottas this will be the first year in F1.

      1. If I’ve to believe what Williams say then he seems to be much better than Senna, although Williams did handicap him quite severly by cutting his practice time, so they better hope he’ll be better!

        1. Give Senna equal conditions with others and normal tyres (not tyres even Button described as a nightmare) and he will perform much better than he could in 2012. He was as fast as Maldonado in the races, often he was even faster. He just needs to qualify better to have all round performance and he will do just that if he is given a fair opportunity with a midfield team. Williams dropped him because Bottas had Toto Wolff in a strong position in the team and also because Williams had invested a lot on the young Finn to start racing with them in 2013. It was not because they didn’t see potential on Senna, they just had not space for him to grow with them. They had 3 talented drivers on hand and only 2 seats.

          1. I think Williams clearly have seen more potential in Bottas, otherwise they wouldn’t have handicapped Senna for his benefit. Potential is just that though, potential: I believe he’ll be better able to take the fight to Maldonado but of course we won’t find out until at least mid-way through the season.

          2. Yes, they saw more potential on Bottas and I hope they’ re right, as it would be even harder to swallow the dropping of Senna if they were wrong and Bottas failed to deliver what they expect of him. As for the 15 FP1 for Bottas, that was settled long before Senna signed with Williams, so even Barrichello or Sutil would have faced the same situation of losing track time (being more experienced maybe it wouldn’t be such a prejudice) and also they would certainly be dropped for 2013 to give way to the Finn…

  3. Really excited about the Bottas/Maldonado battle. I think Valtteri will deliver the results and show Pastor up a little to be honest, but it will be very interesting to see.

    With regards the comment of the day, I recommend another read of the scarbs article from June which quotes regulation 3.12.5 “All parts lying on the reference and step planes, in addition to the transition between the two planes, must produce uniform, solid, hard, continuous, rigid (no degree of freedom in relation to the body/chassis unit), impervious surfaces under all circumstances.”

    So actually, I don’t agree with the comment of the day at all where it is said:

    ” Actually there is nothing wrong with the floor, and I’m not sure any other team really believe it’s illegal, but they have to protest to have it ban to have Red Bull stepping back.”

    Red Bull really pushed the semantics of the regulation words to their limit (which is some ways can be applauded), but it is wrong to think that the other teams were doing something wrong in challenging them – especially with regards to the floor.

    1. @john-h

      It is wrong to think that the other teams were doing something wrong in challenging them

      That wasn’t the point in the comment. As I stated in my original comment, I have absolutely no problem with rival teams challenging the design of the car (as Red Bull did excessively with Mercedes DDRS) and I feel the subsequent rule clarification was entirely just.

      The main issue here was whether points should be deducted and I strongly disagree with that: when Red Bull were running the component – in Bahrain, Spain & Monaco – it was entirely legal (if not treading a fine line but that is what is required to find performance) passing scrutineering at the begging of each event so consequently it was legal at the end of the event. Which makes it all the more surprising that almost half of the F1 fanatics can justify the opinion that they should’ve lost points.

      1. @vettel1 I was referring to the Jeanrien’s comment that ” Actually there [was] nothing wrong with the floor, and I’m not sure any other team really believe it’s illegal” which I disagree with.. I think some of the the other teams did believe it was illegal.

        I don’t know about the points deduction. To me, the FIA should pick up on these things in parc fermé before the teams had to point it out a couple of races later.

        1. @john-h So was I, @jeanrien ‘s comment was a reply to mine! I don’t believe the teams though it was illegal as such, just that they didn’t believe it didn’t conform to the intention of the rule (which of course it didn’t) and were requesting a clarification of the rules with the intention of having it banned.

          I agree that these things should be settled in parc fermé to avoid making a farce of the result, even though in many cases (such as with Red Bull) the results stand because the car confirmed to the regulations. All that after-race protests achieve is to make the result seem less credible – almost as if other teams were cheated – which if course they weren’t but sadly appear so.

        2. @john-h @vettel1 Okay probably at some times, some other teams could have thought the floor was illegal. But with the hiding in F1 they couldn’t be sure about what had been done by RedBull … And my point was not really about what every team thought about the floor but more about the fact that they had to protest no matter what they believed. That floor was an advantage to RedBull from something not meant to be… And in such case you will never hear any team say that they are okay with it, as they want to bring RedBull back to them performance-wise (except if they have themselves develop the same kind of thing … that’s how F1 is)

          For the legality itself, once again that’s playing with words and we have to reckon RedBull is pretty good at that which annoy a lot of people. I think for them, they are trying to cheat. But that has to be looked at like pushing to the maximum of what they are allowed to … Okay there were holes in the floor which were not supposed to be there, but there was no words to really say it was forbidden, and until proven guilty, you’re innocent. Thus that leads to new rules to forbid things which were not meant to be as the floor.
          Thus until the rule clarification, we can’t really say the floor was legal, but it was not illegal and forbidden by the rules, thus they were allowed to race it.

          1. @jeanrien – incase it wasn’t already obvious I am a fan of Red Bull Racing, so obviously I may be slightly biased. Persoanlly, I see nothing wrong with pushing the rules to their limits in the name of getting a performance gain. That has always occured in F1 and so to has other teams challenging the legality. I have no problems with this.

            What I do have problems with is when people state blatantly that the car is illegal, when the FIA (the judge if you will, to continue the innocent until proven guilty theme) had stated that they had violated no rules. I can understand that people may have a distaste for Red Bull’s rule interpretations but that doesn’t mean to say that Red Bull should be branded as “cheaters”: they aren’t.

            I think you’ve pretty much ticked every box from the above criteria, so well done to you!

          2. Thanks for the reply @jeanrien . I think I actually agree with you when you say they had to protest no matter what they believed.

            I guess you can make a grey area into anything when it comes to language, where does it end?

            FIA: “No body work is to be placed 60mm above the reference plane”
            Red Bull: “But in a curved quantum fluctuating universe, under certain conditions this bodywork can be deemed to be below the reference plane m’lord.”


      2. No, I don’t agree with the comment, either. Red Bull’s throttle maps in Germany were clearly intended to circumvent the rules banning blown diffusers.

        1. That’s something else than the floor … but you have to split the intention and the mean to reach it. And the rules mainly concern the means rather than intentions which are difficult to prove (legally I mean). The problem with the map is something with the torque, and what they did was within what was asked because they respected that even if the system was providing some “interesting” side effects (which were the intentions of RedBull and that was clear) but again, they went against the intent of the rules (totally agree on that) but never broke the wording of the rules thus can’t be punish for.

          Again that lead to some rule clarification and so on, and RedBull is on the spot again because they did something not meant to be but which was not as such forbidden by the rules …

        2. @prisoner-monkeys – indeed they were but they didn’t break those rules, so indeed they weren’t doing anything illegal. I can fully understand you may not like Red Bull’s exploitation of the wording in the regulations but that doesn’t mean to say they did anything wrong, which was the point in @jeanrien ‘s comment.

          1. But is really a good way to move forwards? With any method you can find that the rules didn’t account for being a-ok?

            I think you need to view the rules, inclusive of why the rule was there. And the Stewards should be able to look at it that way as well.

        3. @prisoner-monkeys, NO, they were meant to limit wheelspin due to lower downforce, not increase downforce by blowing exhaust.

          1. @hohum – I think PM’s right there, the reduced torque allowed for more exhaust gasses to be blown without having full torque being produced by the engine.

            Basically, the engine wasn’t producing as much torque as it could do in mid-range to aid downforce and also acting like a primitive traction control system.

          2. Exactly. It was regulating the amount of downforce by manipulating the exhaust.

            Even if Red Bull told the FIA that the system was intended to cut wheelspin, it wouldn’t be the first time a team stretched the truth when asked about the function of a device. Look at Lotus and the Reactive Ride Height system at the start of 2012 – they told the FIA that the RRH was designed to maintain a constant ride height by cutting out the effects of inertia under braking and accleration and that any gain in performance was only a by-product of this. The FIA agreed, but when testing it, discovered that the device produced considerable aerodynamic gains, which the team had downplayed.

            So Red Bull could have claimed that the throttle mapping was designed to cut out wheelspin, but do you honestly expect me to believe that the blown diffuser effect – which is what made the RB7 such a dominant car – was only an unintended consequence of the design that slipped through a tiny loophole in the rules, and that Red Bull were as genuinely surprised to find it as everyone else was?

        4. I am sure there is no rule that forbids blown diffusers.

          1. @crr917 – Yes, there is. That’s what the controversy in 2011 was all about. The FIA wanted to outlaw it, and tried to introduced a ban over the course of several races, limiting what the teams could use. When they finally banned it outright for Silverstone, all of the teams wrote to the FIA, begging for dispensations to the rule that would allow them to continue running blown diffusers. Ultimately, the FIA had to scrap the ban for 2011, and reintroduce it for 2012. That’s why the position and angle of the exhaust outlet is now regulated by the rules – it stops teams from manipulating the exhaust to get the benefit of an 0ff-throttle blown diffuser.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys – Red Bull broke no rule though, so I’m not seeing why you are disagreeing with that respect in the COTD. I can understand your distaste but that doesn’t mean to say since you don’t agree with Red Bull’s ethics that consequently they are breaking any rules.

            You have cited Lotus as an example, so clearly Red Bull aren’t the only team pushing the limits of the rules, so I ask why you don’t give every other team the same treatment?

          3. @vettel1 Keep in mind you’re trying to reason with the guy who wanted the FIA to prolong the post-season yellow-flag farce just to “teach Red Bull a lesson”…

          4. @aka_robyn – it’s worth a shot ;) I’m fine as long as the opinion can be justified, which I don’t believe it can be…

          5. Red Bull broke no rule though

            Semantics. The FIA made it pretty clear that Red Bull should have been punished more for what they did, but because they found a loophole, they got away with it.

            Tell me, if someone commits a robbery, have they committed any less of a crime if the police are forced to let them go on a technicality?

          6. @prisoner-monkeys – I think the fact you are comparing Red Bull, who’s design teams’ job is to find loopholes, to robbers says more about your opinion of them than anything else. Yes the FIA made clear that Red Bull’s rule interpretation wasnt within the intention of the rule but that is meaningless – they didn’t break the wording of ten rule which is all that matters.

            In that respect a robber is very different: they are out to take other people’s possessions and cause harm illegally, whereas Red Bull’s design team are in a competitive sport trying to find an advantage legally. The intention of the two parties is rather different.

          7. @vettel1,@prisoner-monkeys, The only way to increase exhaust gas is to increase fuel burnt, if higher gas flow was what RBR were looking for there would be no need for reduced torque.

          8. @hohum – yes, which is why they didn’t want full torque in mid range – there’d be too much power which would obviously increase the speed and hence the corner would be compromised.

            Anyway though, that wasnt really the main topic in the discussion!

  4. I think the future is looking brighter for Marussia than it is Caterham at the moment, and I can see them at least matching Caterham this year. If they can have a reliable KERS system, then that is already a good few tenths in the bag. Add pre-season testing to that, and the full use of a windtunnel and things definitely look good. The only thing holding them back in my opinion is their engine.

    I’ll also make the claim that this year will be the year of a point for one of the two teams. There has been an upward trend for the ‘new’ teams since 2010. The best result in 2010 was 13th, 2011 – 12th and this year they were able to get 11th, so if that trend continues, then perhaps a 10th place this year?

    1. I’m personally predicting more than one point to be won by them… Whether it be one 9th place or two 10th places… One, perhaps, by each team.

      But, yes… Marussia look more promising with KERS… At some points in the season, they were less-than a KERS boost away from matching Caterham, so it should be a tight battle, at least!

    2. Actually the best result in 2010 was also a 12th in Japan from Kovalainen.
      I just had the urge to check, i always thought it was 13th too.

    3. I’m hoping for Caterham to get their act together this year as currently they have the better resources and hopefully now better management. I’d really like to see another successful British “garagiste” name being successful in F1, even if they are technically Malaysian!

      1. better resources

        Agreed, the problem for them is, it’s not ok not to catch up anymore.

        1. @mike yes exactly. They’ve come 10th three years in a row now, it’s about time they scored a point at least.

  5. Something often forgotten or ignored with Marussia is that they have a little extra advantage over Caterham in that marussia have a technical partnership with Mclaren.

    A fair bit of the development work done by Marussia last year which helped them catch Caterham was done in McLarens simulator & McLaren’s wind tunnel & CFD systems.
    It was speculated in the paddock pre-season that the only reason Marussia went with a low nose with no step was because thats the way McLaren went & it was missed that when Mclaren went for a slightly higher nose, Marussia also raised there’s slightly.

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