Are Red Bull “dominating” Formula One?

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Bernie Ecclestone told La Gazzetta dello Sport this week that he hopes Red Bull’s “dominance” of Formula One doesn’t continue in 2013:

“After three years of dominance by Red Bull it wouldn’t be too bad a thing if we were to have a change at the top of the sport, perhaps with Ferrari leading the way again.”

These remarks are partly Ecclestone telling a Ferrari-focused publication what it wants to hear. But he’s far from the only person to claim Red Bull have dominated Formula One in recent seasons – it’s a commonly-heard refrain in the comments on F1 Fanatic.

With three consecutive constructors’ championships under their belts and three drivers’ championships wins on the trot for Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull have certainly excelled in the ultimate measure of F1 success since 2010.

But does that automatically mean they are “dominating”? When you look at the margins by which some of their championships have been won, it’s reasonable to question whether Red Bull have attained the same level of superiority enjoyed by previous teams.


The simple fact that no one besides Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel has won a world championship since 2009 speaks loudest for some.

Their achievement stands comparison with Ferrari, McLaren and Williams’ multiple championship victories at the zenith of their powers.

Regardless of how it was achieved, the fact that they ultimately came out on top makes them dominant by this simplest of measures.


TeamSeasonsRacesWinsPole positions
Red Bull2010-20125828 (48.3%)41 (70.7%)
Ferrari2001-20046847 (69.1%)41 (60.3%)
McLaren1988-19904831 (64.6%)42 (87.5%)

It is too superficial to only consider championship results when assessing whether Red Bull have dominated Formula One. Vettel won the 2010 drivers’ title by just four points and clinched last year’s crown by a mere three.

While Red Bull have been the pre-eminent team of the last three years, they’ve won less than half of the races in that time (see table). This falls well short of recent levels of dominance achieved by other teams.

Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey has experienced more emphatic success in the past. From 1992 to 1994 Williams started from pole position in three-quarters of all races and won 56.25% of them. By comparison his achievements with Red Bull remain highly impressive but fall short of true “dominance”.

I say

This is a question of perception versus reality. It’s also a question of our boredom threshold, and whether we ask for more variety in terms of winners now than we used to.

Red Bull certainly dominated in 2011 with 18 pole positions and 12 wins in 19 races. Even then we still enjoyed many close and exciting races.

Vettel’s other two championships were much more closely-fought. He never led on points in 2010 until the final round and only hit the front with four races to go last year (and after one race earlier in the season). These details are easy to overlook in retrospect.

I also think it’s significant that since drivers stopped qualifying with their race fuel loads at the end of 2009, Red Bull have usually been the team to beat on Saturdays. This perhaps exaggerates how competitive they are, as they have had over 20% more pole positions than race wins.

There is also the question of how far ahead of their rivals Red Bull are in terms of pure performance. They are generally not taking pole position by a second and winning races by a minute or more in the manner of McLaren in 1988 or scoring eight or more one-twos in a season like Ferrari in 2002 and 2004. Even the RB7 didn’t enjoy that kind of advantage.

The way I see it, Red Bull are on the cusp of dominance but haven’t quite made it yet. On paper 2013 looks like being another good year for them and offers an opportunity for more 2011-style dominance rather than the close contests of 2010 and 2012.

You say

Do you think Red Bull have been dominant in the last three seasons? Does a team need to do more to win multiple world championships to be considered dominant?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Have Red Bull "dominated" F1 between 2010 and 2012?

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Strongly disagree (11%)
  • Slightly disagree (25%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly agree (44%)
  • Strongly agree (15%)

Total Voters: 283

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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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100 comments on “Are Red Bull “dominating” Formula One?”

  1. By numbers of championchips perhaps. But if you actually look into the races and realize how other drivers and teams literally threw their chances away (like Red Bull almost did in 2010) then you must have a very special idea of dominating. Especially considering the past, like McLaren in ’88 and Ferrari throughout the first years of the millenium, as mentioned by Keith.

    1. 3 Drivers and 3 Constructors championships in 3 years seems like dominance to me, the constructors more so than the drivers.
      Mind you, I have nothing against there being a dominant team, whether it’s F1, Football, Cricket, Tennis, that is what sport is all about, the “best” now and the challengers.

    2. @dennis I mostly agree with you.

      It’s quite simple really, there are two possible meanings of domination.
      1. Domination of recent championships i.e. Have any other teams won the WDC or WCC
      2. Domination of recent championship seasons (i.e. continuous pole poisitions
      and race wins)

      So, for me it is yes (for meaning 1) and no for meaning 2. Simples :)

  2. I feel the only season Red Bull truly dominated was in 2011.

    1. I completely agree. They did absolutely destroy the field (in Vettel’s hands) in 2011, and they did have the best car for most of the season in 2010, but they are far from dominating the sport. Vettel won the titles in 2010 and 2012 by consistency and delivering when it mattered, not by having a car 1 or 2 seconds quicker than the rest of the field. Note how in 2011 the Red Bull wasn’t as fast as the Williams in 1992 for example.

  3. 2010 – by far the fastest car but reliability and driver errors made the team as a whole not so dominant.
    2011 – clear cut example of Ferrari-style domination.
    2012 – very, very close, in the first part of the season often outpaced and outperformed by other teams.

    To sum up, Red Bull dominated only one year. For the remaining two it was simply among the best.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

    2. 2011 – clear cut example of Ferrari-style domination

      Can’t agree. “Ferrari style domination” conjures up images of Barrichello finishing second in the WDC. And finishing second in several races per season. “Ferrari style domination” (like FW18 style domination or FW14B style domination) implies that the number two driver is comfortable faster than everyone else on the grid

      2011 was more like “Renault style domination” circa 2006 – the domination of one driver.

      1. Sankalp Sharma
        4th January 2013, 20:21

        I’m not quite sure how Alonso dominated in 2006. You do remember that Michael was leading the standings with two races to go? Vettel pretty much pulverized everyone in ’11. ’06 and ’11 are not comparable.

        1. 2011 was more like “Renault style domination” circa 2006 – the domination of one driver.

          Alonso had to fight for the championship ’till Brazil. Vettel wrapped it up with 5 races to spare. I have no idea how you can compare 2011 with 2006.

          I think the best season to compare Vettel’s 2011 with was Schumacher’s 2001.

          1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
            24th May 2013, 0:49

            +10, exactly that

    3. I’m a little late to comment, but Red Bull was pretty dominating in the last half of 2012, or at least Vettel was (top 4 finish in all races, except Italy and Brazil).

      Nonetheless, I agree with most of what you said.

  4. Slightly disagree. 2×3 titles speak for themselves but Ferrrari could have won the drivers’ title in 2010 and 2012 with a tiny bit more luck / speed / consistency. What is more, they might have won constructors’ titles as well without their one rooster policy.

    1. And McLaren could have been right up there in 2012 if not for numerous mistakes and technical mishaps too. And even in 2011 it could have been closer had Hamilton not messed up his own season as much.

      Dominance is really seeing a string of seasons like McLaren had in the early 90s, or Williams after that, and off course Ferrari in the 2000s.

  5. Keith, in the comparison between Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, wouldn’t it be fairer to either exclude Ferrari’s 2001 or 2004 seasons, to keep them at 3 seasons as well, or to include McLaren’s 1991 season to make that 4, too?

    1. @lustigson That’s why I put the percentages in (that and the three seasons wouldn’t have the same number of races anyway).

      1. I understand, Keith. Thanks.

        However, if you leave out the 2001 season, Ferrari’s domination was stronger than when you include it: 38 wins from 51 races or 74,5% and 30 poles or 58,8%. Additionally, if you include McLaren’s 1991 season, their domination is less significant: 39 wins from 50 GPs or 60.9% and 52 poles or 81.3%.

        So, when looking at 3-season stats for Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, it is clear that Ferrari’s 2002-2004 seasons are the most dominant regarding wins (74.5%), but McLaren’s 1988-1990 seasons are more dominant when it comes to poles (87.5%).

        Both these stats dwarf Red Bulls alleged dominance over 2010-2012, even though the outcome — 3 WDCs and 3 WCCs for all three teams — is the same.

      2. Oh, and keep up the good work. I love these posts. :-D

      3. I read Max’s reply, below, mentioning 1-2 finishes, and I was at it anyway, so I calculated both one-twos and front row lock-outs.

        » Red Bull 2010-2012: 8 one-twos (13.8%) and 19 lock-outs (32.8%)
        » Ferrari 2002-2004: 17 one-twos (34.0%) and 11 lock-outs (21.6%)
        » McLaren 1988-1990: 14 one-twos (29.2%) and 29 lock-outs (60.4%)

        This, again, shows that Red Bull wasn’t as dominant as Ferrari and McLaren were during their respective highs.

        1. @lustigson – thanks for that additional information! It definetly does go to show that Red Bull’s “dominance” has been much more hard faught than Ferrari’s or McLaren’s; all the better for the show I say!

          1. My thoughts exactly. I actually dozed off during some races in the 2002-2004 period, while I’ve been on the edge of my seat — well, sofa, actually — for most Grands Prix of the last few seasons.

          2. @lugiston Well there were a few boring ones (India 2011 springs to mind) but yes overall the racing is much much better and races are far from a foregone conclusion before they start.

        2. Yeah, that illustrates it pretty nicely @lustigson. Domination is what we saw with Ferrari and McLaren.

          The last couple of years have been the best job from Red Bull overall, thats why they won. Having the fastest car is a great start, getting operations right is part of it too. But domination would be a situation where there’s nothing but a big mishap from Red Bull preventing them from winning, instead we often had a situation where they had to profit from other’s mishaps to be “dominant”

  6. There is no denying that Red Bull have been the fastest team over the last three years but whether that equates to dominance I’m not so sure. Often, during periods of multi-year domination the team that has been doing so have had a significant performance advantage. For example, Ferrari in 2002 (their most dominant year in terms of points scored) on average qualified 0.2 seconds ahead of the nearest constructor but more crucially converted that into 15 wins and 9 one-two’s (in a 17 race season).

    Compare that to Red Bull in 2011 and they qualified on average 0.34 seconds ahead of the nearest constructor but only converted that into 12 wins and 3 one-two’s.

    So on outright pace, in qualifying at least, one has a fairly strong case for calling Red Bull dominant. But of course speed in qualifying is only part of the package and Red Bull frequently had to contend with reliability issues (in 2010/12) and other cars being much closer in the races. So relative to Ferrari from 2000-2004 or Williams from 1992-3 Red Bull haven’t quite reached a level of dominance, although of course winning three titles consecutively after being on the grid for a mere 8 seasons (in Red Bull colours) is no mean feat.

  7. “After three years of dominance by Red Bull it wouldn’t be too bad a thing if we were to have a change at the top of the sport, perhaps with Ferrari leading the way again”

    After the debacle that was F1 in the early 2000s I’d rather a decade of RBR “dominance” like that seen in 2010-2012 compared to just a single year of Ferrari dominance ala Schumacher in the early 2000s.

  8. Mclaren 1988-1990: 48 Races – 36 Pole Position by A. Senna = 75%, I love statistics like this one! ;-)

  9. The only thing I don’t agree with is Red Bull are being coy on the resources they are spending to achieve their wins. If they do open the books and it turns out its all hunky-dory, then so be it. If they’re flouting the gentlemen’s agreement etc., then I guess it’s an unfair dominance up there with that enjoyed by Ferrari (unlimited testing to iron out any feasible problems & custom tyres) and Williams in 92/93 (electronic aids).

    1. How do you mean “unfair”? I’m saying nothing about early 2000’s Ferrari, but William’s electronic and hydraulic wizardry was completely above board, as I recall, and it was dominant simply because it was so technically superior to other constructors.

      1. I guess I should have put the quotes around unfair statement. I’m speaking generally, as the Ferrari stuff was also pretty much above board, if not necessarily to the spirit etc.

    2. Williams in 92/93 (electronic aids)

      I do not agree with this at all @optimaximal. Williams pioneered such technology in F1 and rightfully so they reaped the rewards, leaving the rest of the field to play catch-up. Eventually they did catch up and McLaren with Senna duly won the last two races of the 1993 season but too late to influence the championship outcome.

      In the sense of technological development it was no different that the Ground Effect Lotus 78 for example, so no I do not agree with that opinion of “unfair dominance”. I do agree to an extent with Ferrari though: they simply out-spent their rivals to the extent where they simply couldn’t compete (albeit Ferrari also did design very good cars though) and the essentially custom tyres were no good for the sport.

      As for Red Bull, sure they have a big budget but so does Ferrari and they haven’t won a title since 2008 – so clearly money isn’t the only influence here. Also, McLaren had the fastest car last season for the most part, so clearly Red Bull haven’t simply brought out the cheque book and won three titles. There are some things money can’t buy and you need to have the design team and the drivers to win three straight titles, which Red Bull have definetly had. Adrian is a fantastic designer and has brought RBR much success with the help of everyone in the factory; Horner has been a fanatstic team leader also and with the strategists and pit crew they have made very few mistakes during the races (unlike McLaren); Vettel has driven brilliantly over the last three years and is a thoroughly deserved champion and Webber has also been very good in helping Red Bull win three straight constructors’ titles (unlike Massa).

      1. I’m not singling out Williams 92/93 car being ‘unfair’. I just didn’t clarify it well. The car was dominant because it was the best, but it was only the best because it had the technology in it. The Red Bull of 2011 was largely dominant because it has the best implementation of the exhaust technology on the grid.

        On another note – Is there any explicit proof that Ferrari outspent people in the 2000s? I thought it was more they had their own test track and the rules let them use it 24/7. Yes, some money is/was involved, but I don’t think it’s the entire story.

        1. @optimaximal – I see, although I maintain that definetly wasn’t an “unfair” advantage – it was very much fair!

          I think in order to be able to use your own track 24/7 and have custom-made tyres you need to have fairly deep pockets, so the two are interlinked. Simply, no other team could afford to do so much testing and couldn’t afford to have custom-made tyres so were often left to salvage what they could with “limited” (I put “limited” in quotation marks because they were only really limited relative to the Scuderia) resources. I too think only wasn’t the whole story as they had a brilliant driver in Schumacher (probably the best driver from a team perspective in F1 history) and of course Ross Brawn – so they had a pretty formidable team line-up as well!

          1. I see, although I maintain that definetly wasn’t an “unfair” advantage – it was very much fair!

            If a team is too creative/innovative, it isn’t fair to the teams that aren’t!

        2. +1 @aka_robyn! Barcelona should be penalised because Messi is too skilful also!

          1. davidnotcoulthard
            5th January 2013, 9:11

            And Madrid and PSG! What about that?

  10. Dominance aside, the one statistic that matters is that Red Bull are triple champions, Vettel is a triple champion. I am sure they don’t care about anything else as long as they win, that is the name of the game. I agree that in 2011 Red Bull were the class of the field, 2010 and 2012 were more open seasons. However, in both campaigns Vettel and Red Bull came on strong at the end of the season when it matters the most. For me that is the biggest comparison, Vettel came from nowhere in 2010 to win the championship. All the talk was of Alonso winning in Abu Dhabi or possibly Webber or Hamilton. No one put their dough on the German. Last year, especially in the early and midseason, I thought Alonso had the title signed sealed and delivered. From Singapore onwards, with luck on his side at times, Vettel stormed to the championship with some real gritty drives. My favourite being Abu Dhabi when he really had to work at it. As for 2013, its going to be Alonso vs Vettel again. Its that simple!

    1. The only argument against the Abu Dhabi drive is the same as his Monaco win in ’11. They lucked both results by virtue of silly loopholes in the rules – in the former, they changed his car from a qualifier to a racer. In the latter, they were allowed to replace his dead tyres with new ones.

      Not taking away from either result – the AD recovery was fairly entertaining to watch.

      1. I agree on Monaco @optimaximal but not so on Abu Dhabi. The option to start from the pit-lane has been a longstanding rule and any team can elect to start from the pit-lane if they feel they need to make any changes to the car. Hamilton for example could’ve elected to change his front wing at the expense of pole position but obviously that would be a ridiculous sacrifice, whereas Vettel was left dead last so Red Bull thought it would be beneficial to change his aero settings etc. to allow for easier overtaking.

        I actually thought that decision was rather clever and it clearly paid off!

        1. Yes, but the issue is Vettel’s car was penalised for breaking the rules, thus the rules shouldn’t allow them to essentially side-step the penalty and change the cars configuration to gain an advantage over cars that might have a setup geared for both qualifying and the race.

          1. @optimaximal yes but I had this argument before during the event and I’ll say it again: don’t you think being sent to the back of the grid is a severe punishment in itself? I’m 100% confident they’d rather have started in 3rd than from the pit-lane (as with Lewis’ failure Vettel would’ve been within a great chance of winning) so changing the set-up was trying to salvage what they could really.

            In that sense they didn’t at all gain an advantage: they were very much handicapped from their starting position so the penalty served it’s purpose, it just so happens Vettel was able to put in a brilliant recovery.

      2. @optimaximal

        They lucked both results by virtue of silly loopholes in the rules

        Its not loopholes. Its the RULES. They are written exactly like that, to allow teams to do that. Everyone know that. Every team could have done EXACTLY the same thing Red Bull did if they wanted to. They could all have taken a 1 stop strategy in Monaco. And they could all have sacrificed a grid slot to start from the pits in Abu Dhabi. Its not cheating. Its not unfair. Its just the way the sporting regulations are.
        Its as much of a loophole as pitting under safety car.

        1. @mads – Exactly, this isn’t even an issue of loopholes. These are rules that have pretty existed since the beginning of the championship: you could call Monaco “lucky” but these things happen, which is why I partially agreed in that sense. The one-stop looked as if it may not have worked but the Red Flag essentially eliminated the threat.

          The set-up change though is a clearly defined rule which was used cunningly by Red Bull to aid their recovery, so I don’t see how in any way that was unfair. Any driver could’ve elected to start from the pit lane and I personally thought being sent to the back of the grid was a pretty severe punishment in itself so how people can then justify what Red Bull did as being “unfair” is frankly ridiculous. I could almost guarantee these same people wouldn’t be saying the same things if Hamilton had elected to do the same in Spain.

          1. @vettel1

            I could almost guarantee these same people wouldn’t be saying the same things if Hamilton had elected to do the same in Spain.

            Maybe the problem is exactly that Hamilton/McLaren did not choose to do so.
            So while they were both penalized in similar fashion Hamilton ended up being stuck for most of his race. Vettel on the other hand did not.
            And some might see that as unfair because Red Bull changed a lot of things on the car to make sure he didn’t get stuck.
            But in the end they were both presented with the same opportunities. It doesn’t get fairer then that. Whether they take the opportunity or not is down to them.

        2. @mads perhaps that is the case! So really that is McLaren’s issue for not taking the initiative to change the set-up (unless of course they didn’t see it necessary, which is a possibility).

          1. I think the more likely case is that Vettel literally put in an effn brilliant drive – he was in 12th BEFORE the first SC on lap 8 or 9! Did anyone, anyone, think, including all the pundits on the BBC or Sky, even knowing that he was changing his set up, that he’d come back to 3rd? I recall Jackie thinking he might get 8th or something.

            People say Vettel was lucky with the 2 SCs, but I think he was actually going for the win and with Hamilton going out, he may have actually got it.

            Regardless, it was a legendary drive, simple as that. That’s a tough pill for some to swallow.

            The same with Brazil, he was back in 6th place by lap 8 and no one can say he had a car advantage due to set up changes, and in fact, he had huge disadvantages with the lost of rear downforce and having to run with a reduced engine map to run the exhaust cooler.

            And he’s only getting better lol.

          2. @uan – Exactly! Persoanlly, even as a rather optimistic Vettel fan, I wasn’t expecting any more than about 5th – so a podium was a fantastic result as far as I’m concerned! Even Christain Horner wasn’t expecting anything like that; indeed the only person that thought he could get on the podium was Vettel himself, when he said to Horner “I’ll see you on the podium”.

            Granted, he was fortunate (lucky implies he had no influence, which is categorically not the case) but he had put himself in a position to be able to maximise those opportunities that presented themselves: after all he wouldn’t have benefited from the safety car had he been languishing around in the bottom 5!

            As for Brazil, that served to prove why he won at Monza. It was noticeable that when the track dried he simply couldn’t keep pace with the guys at the front due to the damage on his car but he was able to hide the deficit in the slippery conditions (as per Alonso) and I think at one point he actually had the fastest lap for quite a few laps!

            Personally, I can’t wait for next year, as if he is indeed only getting better (which is very possible given he’s only 25!) then he has a great opportunity at becoming a four-time champion and few would be foolish enough to ague that is a very special accomplishment.

      3. U don’t have any problem with McLaren giving Hamilton a new rear wing but u mind Red Bull giving Vettel new tyres (as the other teams did/could have done)?
        If it wasn’t for the red flag, Hamilton had to retire and Vettel would still win because u can’t overtake there

  11. from the 2nd half of 2010 to the end of 2012, red bull and vettel have been the fastest (despite what others claim), the most aggressive, the most effective at capitalizing on opportunities, the least error-prone of the contenders, and the most successful. if that isn’t domination of f1, what is?

    1. @f1yankee I disagree that on outright pace at least Red Bull have been fastest: I think you would be more accurate in saying from 2010-2011 and then from Singapore 2012-?. The best team on the other hand overall (as in pace, reliability and error-proneness) yes you are right in saying they have been the fastest best team from the second half of 2010-2012.

      As for domination, it depends on how you define “dominant”. The dictionary definition states:

      “Occupying a commanding position”

      To me “commanding” suggests absolute authority; in the case of F1 you are undisputedly the best and all but untouchable. Red Bull haven’t been “commanding” in that sense apart from in 2011; they have faced stern competition from Ferrari and McLaren in 2010/12 in both championships. In comparison to Ferrari, they have wrapped up both titles before the final round on three occasions (on two of those long before) which Red Bull has only achieved once.

      So no, I wouldn’t call Red Bull “dominant” but undoubtably they have been the best over the last three years, which reflect upon their retention of both titles in those years.

  12. Red Bull emerged in 2010, but did not dominate.
    Red Bull dominated in 2011, absolutely.
    Red Bull was strong in 2012 but so were McLaren and Ferrari. Maybe Lotus thanks to Raikkonen. No domination by any of them.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      4th January 2013, 15:42

      Let’s not forget that despite Button winning the WDC in 2009, it was only a great start to the season thanks to the double diffuser that won it for him. Red Bull were comfortably the quickest team by the 2nd half of the season.

      1. Red Bull were comfortably the quickest team by the 2nd half of the season.

        They were not. Hamilton took pole in four of the last seven races. Red Bull (Vettel) took just one. This is one of the F1 myths which everyone “knows” but which is not actually factual.

        1. Race fuel qualifying made things harder to gauge, but in terms of race pace, Red Bull were best overall Britain onwards. But it certainly wasn’t comfortable to the extent that they could overhaul what Brawn and Button did in the first 7 races.

        2. Vettel was second in the championship and Red Bull second in the constructors, I think it’s fair to say Red Bull’s period of being at the front of the grid starts in 2009 (they have beaten Ferrari and Mclaren, the ‘big teams’, for four straight years now).

    2. Correction – RBR ’emerged’ in 2009. The RB5’s suspension design just prevented quick integration of the trick diffuser so they were on the back foot for a few races.

  13. Whilst in 2010 Vettel only rose to 1st in the standings after the last race, you have to remember Webber was leading the standings for more than half the season.

  14. I think it is difficult for any one team to dominate at a long stretch in present-day F1. Having said that however, I do believe that Red Bull have come as close to dominance as it is possible in this era. There are extensive rule changes every year, generally pertaining to aerodynamics and bodywork. All this alongwith the cap on testing and the economic condition in Europe currently prevents Ferrari-esque dominance. Also, maybe a single team does not enjoy a kind of ‘veto power’ which Ferrari allegedly did in the last decade.
    But the fact that Red Bull have been such an unstoppable force in the last three years speaks volumes about how they’ve developed into a champion team. Like Williams of the early ’80s, Red Bull are here to stay for a while. Their wins under difficult circumstances (esp. 2012) show that they are no Houdini act, they have developed a knack for winning. Those who are disappointed by their dominance and others’ inability to break free(I confess I’m one of them) will always say such things, but nobody can deny that Red Bull have been the best team overall in the last three years.

    1. Adrian Newey has admitted they’ve been exploiting flexible bodywork, so it’ll be interesting to see if the FIA manage to finally catch them out after 2 years of increasingly stringent tests.

      1. Of course though McLaren have also been using flexi-wings @optimaximal so Red Bull wouldn’t be the only ones to be affected by the increasingly stringent tests. I’m still expecting Red Bull and McLaren to be the teams to beat nonetheless next season.

  15. petebaldwin (@)
    4th January 2013, 15:39

    They dominated in 2011 but not in the other 2 years. Hopefully this season will be close but I fear with Hamiton in a slower car, it’s going to fall on Ferrari to put up the challenge and from what I’ve heard, there are still some deep rooted problems there that are going to limit their chance of producing the fastest car on the grid.

    With Ferrari struggling, McLaren without a top driver and none of the other teams able to get anywhere near the the top 3 on pace or development, I fear it’s going to be a fairly comfortable season for Red Bull..

    Regardless however it’s done, 4 constructors titles & WDCs in a row is domination in anyone’s books.

  16. “On paper 2013 looks like being another good year for them and offers an opportunity for more 2011-style dominance rather than the close contests of 2010 and 2012.”

    Why do you think that, Keith?

    1. It’s an interesting poser, because nothing has changed enough to specifically munt Red Bull, like the exhaust blowing issue.

      That said, they have banned secondary uses of the DRS, which was at least part of the reason for the end of term push as they finally resolved some of the balance issues that were hurting Vettel earlier in the year.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        4th January 2013, 16:41

        Red Bull will be fighting for the Championship no doubt but there isn’t any reason to suggest it’ll be like 2011.

        For me, it’s all going to hinge on what Ferrari can give Alonso. If it’s a quick car, it’ll be a great battle but if it’s considerably slower than the Red Bull as it was at times this season, it could be a dull year as I can’t see anyone else putting up a decent enough challenge.

      2. Maybe Keith knows something we don’t.

  17. In 2010 they had a car that should have dominated, and did so in the qualifying, but the close championship fight until the very end proves they didn’t dominated. Last year, they didn’t have the fastest car and the title was decided by 3 points.

    They did dominate 2011, but other than that they didn’t.

  18. I am a Red Bull fan, so I am quite happy to see them win 3 in a row, but I really don’t think they have dominated in any year except 2011. The truth is that I want to see them win as many championships in a row, but I don’t want to see them dominate, that would just be boring, but winning championships by only a few points each time would be fine by me.
    I would love to see McLaren, and Ferrari get stalled in car development so that teams like Williams, Sauber, and Lotus can catch up and get into the mix a little bit more but still have Red Bull win, of course.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      4th January 2013, 16:43

      As things stand, if McLaren and Ferrari’s development stalls next year, Red Bull will be winning races by laps, not seconds.

  19. Slightly agree.
    The 3 world championships in a row are here. And if the field is as close as it is now, maybe we have to redefine dominance.

  20. They’ve certainly been the car to beat. But they only point where they’ve ‘dominated’ Formula 1 is when Vettel has dominated Formula 1. So I’d tend to disagree.

  21. In the Ferrari-Schumacher days, fans complained about the dominance and how the chammpionship ended sometimes before mid season. There were times i didnt want to watch the sport simply because i knew Schumacher would win the race. Dominance in F1 makes it ‘boring’ to the fans. 2011 was Red Bull dominance. However can you compare 2004 to this season where the championship went to the last race separated by 3 points in the end. Red Bull have won the last 3 years but they are far from dominating…

  22. andrew simmons
    4th January 2013, 19:13

    Well in 2010, the only reason Vettel didnt seal the title earlier was his own crash into Webber at Turkey and his crash at spa. The only reason anyone else was in contention was BECAUSE of the problem in Spa and Turkey. Otherwise, Nobody wouldve been close. He took 5 wins, wouldve been 6 if his engine didnt blow in Korea. But that equates to two retirements of Alonso/Hamilton. Webber won 4 races. So thats 9 races. Alonso won 5, mclaren won 5.

    2011 was still domination. 2012 was dominant too. See, how many tangles and incidents did RB get themselves into? Vettels terrible performance in Malaysia. Engine failure in Valencia. Alternator in Monza. He benefitted in that the faster cars were took out at Spa. He benefitted Kimi took Alonso out in Japan. He crashed into senna twice in Abu Dhabi, nearly took out an STR under the safety car, and he still literally cruised to 3rd and didnt even need to do any work. Brazil was his own fault, he nearly threw his own championship away. He had 10 podiums, 5 of those were wins.

    The only reason Vettel would never have won, wouldve been because of his throwing away of the championship. The only reason Alonso was in contention was because of everybody elses failures. They were always 3rd fastest from Barcelona onwards.

    So yeah, RB have been dominant over 3 years. Theyve took the most wins each year, theyve took the most poles each season (equal to mclaren in 2010 though but spanked on wins), Redbull had 7 fastest laps in 2012 alone. RB had 8 poles to Mclarens 7 Course tyres skew that but lotus is 2nd with 3 fastest laps. Go figure.

    So in a nut shell, redbull as a team ruled the roost over every other team.

    1. Vettel also would have sealed the title earlier in 2010 if his car didn’t fail in the first 2 races of the season while leading, leaving him with 37 points instead of 75 after 3 rounds.

      Vettel didn’t have a terrible performance in Malaysia 2012- an HRT hit him, and it was duly penalised.

      Kimi didn’t take Alonso out in Japan.

      Vettel didn’t “cruise” to 3rd in Abu Dhab without working, he cut his way through the field to grab the podium.

      Brazil was partially Vettel’s fault, but also let’s not forget that Bruno had to dive up the inside of 2 other cars in order to get to the inside of Vettel. A tad over-optimistic if you ask me.

      And your numbers regarding poles and wins in 2012 are also wrong. Mclaren took 7 wins, 8 poles, losing a ninth pole because of a penalty, while Red Bull also took 7 wins, 8 poles, including one pole (for Webber) because of a penalty for Schumacher. Fastest laps are a rubbish indicator of overall car pace, with too many variables affecting them.

      Yes, I agree Red Bull did the best job over the last 3 years, but 2012 was a competitive and closely fought season between 4 top teams. And with the reliability issues in 2010, they didn’t have it completely their way either.

      1. andrew simmons
        4th January 2013, 20:44

        Your completely insane. Senna took the racing line in brazil. Didnt dive up anywhere. Vettel cut across 3 car lengths. Anyone with a brain cell saw that.

        Vettel probably wouldve sealed it two races earlier. but you take the points lost from Hamilton in Monza and from Alonso in Monaco (which wouldve been at least 3rd place for both) and those 10 points vettel lost is covered for bahrain. Australia could be covered by Alonso’s loss in Spa for example.

        Just like Malaysia. Anyone with a brain cell saw Vettel swiping infront too soon and he couldnt recover, just like Button was abysmal. just like he did in Turkey 2010. And Mclaren took 8 poles. They didnt lose one, they were disqualified for having an illegally underfuelled car therefore the pole never existed therefore Maldanado started pole. Just like Schueys Monaco pole, Webber took pole position due to a prior penalty.

        Kimi drove into the back of Alonso where there was no space to go around the outside apart from onto the run off into the gravel. So he drove into the rear of Alonso by placing his car in a position which it never shouldve been in.

        1. Your completely insane. Senna took the racing line in brazil. Didnt dive up anywhere. Vettel cut across 3 car lengths. Anyone with a brain cell saw that.

          Senna didn’t dive up anywhere? Vettel was 7th going into that corner. Senna was 10th. To get alongside, he had to outbrake the 2 cars between them, yet you’re telling me Senna didn’t dive up the inside of anyone, and that I am insane? Laughable.

          Vettel probably wouldve sealed it two races earlier. but you take the points lost from Hamilton in Monza and from Alonso in Monaco (which wouldve been at least 3rd place for both) and those 10 points vettel lost is covered for bahrain. Australia could be covered by Alonso’s loss in Spa for example.

          Yes, but Alonso spinning out at Spa/crashing at Monaco and Hamilton having a collision in Monza are also driver errors. Vettel made his share of errors, but lost far more points and wins than either of those 2 in 2010 to mechanical failures.

          Just like Malaysia. Anyone with a brain cell saw Vettel swiping infront too soon and he couldnt recover, just like Button was abysmal. just like he did in Turkey 2010.

          The stewards disagree. Analysis on the forum disagrees. Karthikeyan himself admitted the error, and so he disagrees. You’re telling me that you, the almighty, all knowing armchair fan are the only one with a “single brain cell”? Ludicrous.

          It was nothing like Turkey 2010 where Vettel did make a mistake. Karthikeyan made an error, and cut Vettel’s tyre.

          And Mclaren took 8 poles. They didnt lose one, they were disqualified for having an illegally underfuelled car therefore the pole never existed therefore Maldanado started pole. Just like Schueys Monaco pole, Webber took pole position due to a prior penalty.

          I’m pointing out that you mistakenly said Mclaren got 7 poles to RBR’s 8. Also, that Hamilton set the fastest lap in qualifying in Spain, and Schumacher did so in Monaco, but didn’t start on pole. Because of this, Mclaren lost a potential pole, and Red Bull gained one. Red Bull weren’t “dominant” in 2012.

          Kimi drove into the back of Alonso where there was no space to go around the outside apart from onto the run off into the gravel. So he drove into the rear of Alonso by placing his car in a position which it never shouldve been in.

          And yet you’re so insistent on 100% blaming Vettel for the Brazil incident? If Kimi supposedly shouldn’t have been there, Senna shouldn’t either, in Brazil. At least Vettel was going towards the apex of the corner, Alonso had even less reason to have contact given that he was on the pit straight and had room to his right.

    2. He crashed into senna twice in Abu Dhabi, nearly took out an STR under the safety car, and he still literally cruised to 3rd and didnt even need to do any work.

      I’ve heard of “creative writing”, but that’s downright Lewis Carrollesque!

      1. andrew simmons
        4th January 2013, 20:36

        Well how many overtakes did vettel do? 5 or 6? Most of them back markers and the williams. Now tell me he carved through the field ala Alonso in Valencia or Hamilton in Barcelona.

        Exactly. he didnt overtake his way, fighting tooth and nail wheel to wheel. he drove around miles slower cars and still ended up driving around Button on harder more worn tyres who left the door open. Button is a horrible racer.

        1. You my friend are making some utterly ridiculous statements. I value the FIA’s opinion more highly than most (and I group you under most) so the fact Karthikeyan received a penalty in Malaysia speaks volumes: hardly “abysmal” if you ask me. Whether the Brazil incident was Senna’s fault or Vettel’s is up for debate: personally I share the FIA’s view that it was a racing incident (as was Alonso’s collision with Räikkönen in Japan, although of course that was in no way Alonso’s fault in your mind, which I strongly disagree with. If anything it was more so Alonso’s for squeezing Räikkönen too hard).

          As you seem quite happy to criticise Vettel’s Abu Dhabi drive I shall return the favour by criticising Alonso’s Valencia drive. You claim Vettel made “only 5 or 6 overtakes” but fail to mention the fact Alonso only actually made 7 overtakes by my count (source whereas Vettel essentially had to do two recovery drives (he was back at the back of the pack after the incident with Ricciardo). I’m not trying to take away anything from either of the drivers’ races as they were both brilliant drives but as you are stating highly exaggerated and quite simply false claims you leave me no choice.

          Quite honestly, with all the claims you’re making, I think you need to garner a few brain cells.

        2. “andrew simmons”, Button may not be considered to be the best, but 15 wins + a WDC don’t come from being a “horrible racer”.

  23. Thats what Formula 1 is all about, all teams make mistakes. Mclaren could have dominated this season without the pit stop and reliability problems

    1. andrew simmons
      4th January 2013, 20:37

      Yeah but thats mechanical not driver error.

  24. People are getting bored quickly because its a German driver and a ‘drinks company’ team winning.
    Had it been a Brit in a Mclaren or a Ferrari, people would be liking it. I bet in Germany, they’re not getting bored of it.
    2 of the last 3 seasons have been epic, despite Vettel/Red Bull coming out on top- its up to the others to provide good cars for TWO drivers and to employ TWO good drivers, like Red Bull do.
    To say RB is dominant is ridiculous, they weren’t even the fastest car in 2012.

  25. I think its difficult to argue that any team can be dominating f1 at the moment, when at most circuits, the entire field is covered by less than 2-3 seconds per lap. Then thinking that the top 10 is generally covered by little more than a second.

  26. If we continue to get races and championships as exciting as we have had since 2010, then I really don’t care if Red Bull win the grand prizes at the end of the season. I’ve really enjoyed the battles that have taken place over the past few seasons. In comparison, even as a Ferrari fan I found the Schumacher dominance of the early 2000’s to be quite boring. As long as the racing is good it shouldn’t matter to the sport who wins.

  27. When Red Bull are on form, they dominate. They won four consecutive races late last year, and dominated three of them (Singapore doesn’t count, because Lewis Hamilton had the pace to win until he retired). During the Japanese, Korean and Indian Grands Prix, I felt like we’d gone back in time a year, because the season was suddenly boring, with one car winning the race based on its qualifying pace.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys

      Well McLaren won 3 races on the trot in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, and it should have been 4 (Hamilton going out with gearbox failure in Singapore). So heading into Japan McLaren was looking pretty dominant, as much as RBR was from Japan – India. The final 3 races were pretty dominant for McLaren as well, and only the DNF in Abu Dhabi kept Macca from sweeping them.

      But I guess dominance doesn’t feel too bad when it’s from a non-Drinks Company or when it’s Hamilton and not “finger boy” lol. Really, when you think about it, McLaren should have had just as dominant a season in 2012 as RB had in 2011. They screwed up royally – and it also shows how good Red Bull was as a team last year.

      1. @uan – Ah, but McLaren never looked totally secure in first place when they won those races, and it was turn-about; no one driver won all the races:

        – In Hungary, Raikkonen and Grosjean looked like they could have caught Hamilton.
        – In Belgium, Button controlled the race, but the first-corner pile-up helped him a lot.
        – In Italy, Sergio Perez started reeling Hamilton in late in the race.
        – In Abu Dhabi, there was that untimely retirement for Hamilton, but Raikkonen never let him get too far away. And Vettel’s exclusion from qualifying probably helped a lot, too.
        – In Austin, Hamilton was certainly quick, but he really had to work for the race win.
        – In Brazil, Nico Hulkenberg kept pace with them, and probably could have caught Hamilton if he had been a bit more patient.

        On the other hand, Vettel maintained complete control over the race from start to finish in Japan, Korea and India. Nobody looked like they could catch Mark Webber, much less Vettel. Those three Grands Prix were really more races to see who would come second, which is something I never felt in any of the races that McLaren won. There was always someone who looked as if they could catch up (even if that someone changed from race to race).

        1. I actually agree with @prisoner-monkeys. Sure, McLaren definitely had the fastest car throughout most of the races you have mentioned but due to operational errors, surprise pace on others or mechanical failures they never really maximised the opportunity to crush their rivals. Which perhaps speaks volumes of their ability to screw up and Red Bull’s ability to dominate but nonetheless few can argue Vettel was looking pretty ominous from Japan through to India, leading every lap and only just missing out on pole in Korea. It was pretty much a formality who would win by turn one.

        2. I think Redbull and Vettel showed how to utilize the Fast car to others. It may look boring but the precision and quickness of vettel cannot be underestimated. Not only his 3 straight Dominant wins in 2012 but also the Races from past 2 years. I Personally believe his Drive in Valencia was his Supreme in this season. He had a Alternator failure but his drive until First SC was his Best of all. You cannot add +4 sec gap over a driver like Lewis Hamilton by 2 laps time. For sure if it was some one else then every one will praise them for sure but it was Overlooked as it was vettel’s Natural Display and i call that was Domination.

          1. @harsha – I agree wholely. His achievement I feel in Valencia was slightly forgotten due to Alonso’s but I voted him DOTW nonetheless. To have such a gap that he could pit and still be leading (unlike Suzuka: he achieved the Grand Chelem by staying out longer than everyone else on that occasion; no doubt still a dominant display though!) spoke volumes in just how at one he was with that Red Bull. I thought it a real shame that his alternator failed as that would’ve been an emphatic victory, although in retrospect it may have taken some of the shine off what was a brilliant race!

  28. Drop Valencia!
    5th January 2013, 6:40

    If you put Petrov/Heidfeld in the ’92 Williams I’m sure they would win the WDC and WCC, same the ’89 Macca and 2002-04 Fez, but the 2010-12 Red Bull? unlikely in 2010, possibly in 2011, absolutely no way in 2012.

    1. In fairness, I think Heidfeld was rather decent. But the 2003 Ferrari/2010 RBR weren’t particularly dominant, being taken to the final round by other cars.

      1. Drop Valencia!
        6th January 2013, 0:01

        I am a fan of Heidfeld/Petrov, I honestly think they could win in the most dominant teams in history, but would be silly to suggest Inoue/Nissany combo, they couldn’t even win in the FW14b

  29. Simply put, no they haven’t. They’ve been the best team but that by no means is a measure of dominance. They have their down moments like every other team but what they excel at is almost flawless execution in their decisions, something which the likes of McLaren struggle with. They work hard, but the other teams sometimes make it easy for them.

  30. They had one of the fastest cars ever (compared to the field) in 2010 with RB6. The team was then not as mature as now, otherwise they would had blown the championship.
    They were dominating not only the field, but the develompment race aswell. If you look the recent Ideas on F1, double diffuser aside, they hit everything right.

    Other teams had ideas, but the ones that worked came from Red Bull.
    Mc laren had the U shaped sidepods, the octopus exhaust.
    Lotus had the front exit exhaust.

    If they didn`t had a bigger dominance, was purely by constrains in the rules that were every year tweaked to cut their advantage. They would be miles ahead if rules remained static.

    1. Tyres made an impact too. How many races we saw Vettel sitting 10 secs. ahead and saving tyres. There`s no point in destroying your tyres to build a 40 secs lead, that a safety car could cut short, and having to fight the remaining laps with worn out tyres.

  31. The car is dominant, the drivers not so much. Most cars have advantages and disadvantages that can be exploited at different tracks. RB is fast everywhere. That is domination. The car has no real weaknesses.

    1. The car is dominant, the drivers not so much.

      Not really. In 2012 in particular, the RB8 wasn’t dominant in terms of speed, given that they took the same wins and poles as Mclaren, who lost more due to their operational issues. And you can’t go telling me that Vettel/Webber’s wins were because of a dominant car, but Button/Hamilton’s wins were down to their driving.

  32. Fastest car? Yes. Dominating? No. I think they were unlucky with their suspension costing them the full advantage from the double diffuser in ’09, in ’10 they had the fastest car, and some reliability issues and heavy in-fighting. ’11 was probably their closest to absolute dominance but while they won constructors with about 1/5 of the season left, towards the end they definately were not fastest. In 2012 the pack really closed up to, and in some cases, passed them performance-wise. They were pushed very hard by ferrari and alonso, they in no way dominated. It may be too early to say but I wouldn’t bet on total dominance from the RB9 in the upcoming season either.

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