Mid-season tyre tweaks helped Red Bull – Newey

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Adrian Newey concedes the mid-season tyre compound change played into Red Bull’s hands.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Newey excited by new challenge (Reuters)

“‘Going back to 2012 tyres, for sure, helped us,’ said Newey, while adding there was “no single magic bullet’ and other factors also played a part.’The 2013 tyres were much more load sensitive. It was much more easy to damage them if you put too much load into them.'”

Swiss launch criminal probe into F1 bribery scandal (FT, registration required)

“The investigation by Swiss prosecutors was triggered by the receipt of third party complaint. It will attempt to establish the facts of the case, whether it falls under Swiss jurisdiction and whether the payment was criminal under Swiss law. No charges have been laid.”

Ecclestone Bribery Fight Spreads to Second Front With UK Trial (Bloomberg)

“The delays have slowed Formula One’s progress toward a planned share sale. The racing circuit suspended plans for an initial public offering in June of last year, citing market conditions, and hasn’t resurrected the plans amid Ecclestone’s legal wrangles.”

Good point, fun race (Toro Rosso)

“At the start of the season it looked like it could be anyone’s title shot but from the summer [Sebastian Vettel’s] not let anyone even look at the trophy. He’s just ran away with it. It’s very impressive and I can’t wait to have the best in the world as my team mate.”

Red Bull: Vettel learned from multi 21 (Autosport)

Newey: “I’m not saying he won’t disobey team orders again. But he will learn how to handle things.”

F1 world champ Sebastian Vettel ‘on his way to being the greatest, if he isn’t already’ (The Mirror)

Lewis Hamilton: “He’s on his way to being the greatest F1 driver – if he isn’t already.”

Congratulations to Sebastian! (Michael Schumacher)

“A big compliment and many congratulations to Sebastian – terrific performance from him and his team, cool year, he really deserves this fourth title!”

Domenicali: “Crucial weeks” (Ferrari)

“These are crucial weeks that we have ahead of us to the end of the year, because the work we are doing in preparation for 2014 is vital if we want to be the team that puts an end to this Red Bull dominance, just as we and Fernando have been their main rivals over the past four seasons.”

Fifth place motivates Perez (Sky)

“We managed to complete a clean race and it’s a great result. There’s no question that I had a lot of pressure – and always great champions can perform with pressure.”

Checked with… Lewis Hamilton (F3 Europe)

“When I drove the cars it was just raw racing. Most of the drivers can get really technical with the car in terms of set-up, ride height, cambers and this kind of things. For me Formula Three was the time when I learned all this stuff. Formula Three is just the best school for Formula One.

Red Bull RB9 – flexible tea tray theory (F1)

“Red Bull might have found a way to attach the tea tray such that heat expansion in the materials used in its mountings raise the tray by 1 or 2mm at higher speeds, when increased downforce is naturally compressing the car closer to the ground.”

Vettel’s Message To You (Red Bull via YouTube)

Vettel ‘exceptional’ to clinch title (BBC)

Gary Anderson: “I believe Pirelli has gone too far in making the tyres softer again to try to provoke more pit stops. If there is only one pit stop sometimes, so be it. I would rather watch a good, hard, race-long battle between two cars fighting for position than tyres dictating how the race unfolds.”

Something has to be done in Formula 1 (MotorSport)

“How do you turn F1 into a show without also turning it into a pantomime? I have been much taken with the measures made by Alan Gow and others into turning the BTCC into a true spectacle once more. If you like close, hard racing from first lap to last, it’s a one-stop shop.”

Who can stop Sebastian Vettel making it five F1 titles in a row? (The Guardian)

“The good news is that 2014 will bring with it a big regulation change, with a move from 2.4 litre V8s to 1.6 litre V6 turbos, and a lot more besides that. It will be a clean sheet for everyone. The bad news is that the Red Bull designer, Adrian Newey, is at his best when presented with a fresh challenge.”

Are customer cars in F1 a bad thing? (Racecar Engineering)

“I feel that customer cars in F1 would actually improve the show, as long as the majority of cars on the grid were bespoke designs. I also feel that as this customer cars issue has been on the table for so long now it is almost certain that sooner or later customer cars will return to F1.”


Comment of the day

While Vettel claims the big records a couple of drivers are closing on some unwanted ones, as Julien points out:

Adrian Sutil can break the record for most races without a podium next year (if he still drives in Formula 1). Sutil has 106 races under his belt with a best finish of fourth.

The record holder is Pierluigi Martini with 118 grands prix without a podium, fourth is also his best finish. If Sutil is able to score a podium in the future he is by far the record holder for races before first podium Martin Brundle holds that record with 91 races before his first podium.

Also Charles Pic is on his way to a record in Formula One: most races without scoring a point.

Luca Badoer holds this record with 51 races without a point. Although with the modern point system he would have scored 26 points.

Pic has driven 36 races without scoring a point. If he drives with Caterham in Formula One next year, which is pretty certain, He has a good chance of breaking the record.

And if he does score points than he can also break the record of most races before the first points. That record is currently held by Nicola Larini with 44 races before he scored his first points.
Julien (@Jlracing)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Gavin Brown and Striay!

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

And a happy birthday to Tiff Needell who turns 62 today. He made two appearances in F1 in 1980, taking over from the injured Clay Regazzoni at Ensign.

His recent autobiography details his subsequent career in sports cars, touring acrs and the BBC’s Top Gear series, and is worth a read:

Images © Red Bull/Getty, Pirelli/LAT

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

49 comments on “Mid-season tyre tweaks helped Red Bull – Newey”

  1. Speaking of records, If Fernando Alonso wins his third title next year or indeed any year in the future, it will be longest interval between Championships for a driver in Formula 1.
    The current record is seven years for Niki Lauda between his 1977 and 1984 titles, Alonso is now Seven years and counting.

  2. Newey: “Mid-season tyre tweaks helped”

    No ****! :0

    1. Exactly!! :)

    2. its all because silverstone, so the championship title bored everybody

    3. Its good though, to see someone (the most important one for talking about the car IMO) actually admit it, instead of maintaining that had nothing to do with how they got on top of their rivals this year @silence

  3. Good to hear from Newey that tires played in RBR hands, but of course that was not the deciding factor. They excel in developin the car. They are currently beating the second place with Vettel points, impressive!

    1. but of course that was not the deciding factor

      Are you serious?? In my honest opinion, I believe it was the biggest deciding factor! The move to 2012 tyres was always going to play into RBR`s hands! It was obvious! Who won in 2012? Yeah… exactly!
      Sure Vettel drove very well this season but to say that the tyre change had nothing to do with this championship is utterly naive!
      The proble with the delamination could have been solved in a different way. They shouldn´t of had gone back to the 2012 rubber.

      1. @karter22, Vettel was leading the standings even with the older tyres. He was 1st in the standings after Silverstone even though he should have got 18 points in that event. (not 25. I think the true winner of Silverstone was Hamilton. Vettel was lucky to be in a position to get 7 extra points and then unlucky to lose 25. Net: -18).
        Even without the new tyres, Vettel would have won the championship. May be not this early. But he would have. Especially knowing his dominance in the Asian leg of the championship.

      2. @karter22 Of course I am serious. As I said, I am glad that Newey admitted the change suited them making their work easier in the process. But I believe it was not the only deciding factor, even Domenicali himself admitted that much.
        If want to discuss if the change of tires is wrong or right, I say that changes in mid season are never right, end of it.

      3. @karter22 I agree with your argumentation but you need to get your facts straigth. These tires are not just simply the ‘2012 rubber’. I have seen countless posts claiming this but it is simply not the truth and I find it awkward evreyone who seems to have an opinion about the pirelli’s this year has a problem getting their facts right. The new compounds introduces in Hungary were brand new tyres, 2012 metal belt on this inside and 2013 compounds on the outside so they would stay at least a little bit softer like last year.

        1. If you wish to ask someone to get their facts right, it would help if you had yours right mate. The 2012 spec construction used kevlar belts, not “metal on the inside”. The tread compound is inconsequential in this argument, as the advantage red bull stood to gain here was from the kevlar belt construction, as used in 2012. It is because of the different effect on aero. Rbr understood the kevlar belted tyres, and their 2013 car was/is almost identical to their 2012 car.

        2. Red Bull started the season with a car that was basically a continuation of the 2012 one, with a few refinements.

          The quick-wearing Pirelli tyres did not play to their strengths, particularly on high speed corners, and in the early races team principal Christian Horner voiced repeated criticism until a spate of blowouts at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in June forced a change and a return to the 2012 construction.

          Vettel won three of the first eight races and then seven of the eight since Silverstone.

          Newey’s words “This year Ferrari started off well, but come mid-season Mercedes seemed to be making very good strides and we were kind of worrying that their development rate was going to overtake us.”

          This pretty much tells you that the mid season type change was the pivot on which Red Bull’s star rose and everyone else’s star fell. Pirelli obviously wanted a tyre change as the poor performance of this years spec would hurt their brand. Sure other things played a role as well but this was the biggest factor by far.

          Here’s hoping that 2014 has more of racing and less of financial shenanigans.

  4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    29th October 2013, 1:06

    @keithcollantine – Permane cursed at Kimi, (Unknown Team Member) simply cursed while speaking to Grosjean. Very different. It’s wrong to try and pin what (Unknown Team Memeber) did as cursing AT RoGro.

    1. @braketurnaccelerate

      Permane cursed at Kimi, (Unknown Team Member) simply cursed while speaking to Grosjean. Very different.

      That’s forcing things to the point of irrationality.

      1. What was said to Grosjean? I don’t remember.

        1. @matt90 “We’ll talk about this in the office afterwards but for now big ******* smile on the podium, big ******* smile.”

          I’m tempted to agree with Todd on this one, although I think under the circumstances it was understandable.

          1. Yeah same. I’m not saying it necessarily needed an apology, particularly a public one, but those are two very different things. In one the tone was fairly aggressive, so the use of a swear words emphasises that anger. The other was used in a completely nondescript sentence where its use only emphasises that it really should be a big ******* smile.

            The ‘not appropriate’ which Keith references in that tweet is more than the word itself, it’s the manner of address and the context of the swear word. So the comparison between the two incidents is non-existent.

    2. I think in Romain’s case the curse word was most likely simply added to not have the message played in the world feed (which didn’t work in the end, if I recall correctly).

      Unless, you don’t have any eye for the context, you can clearly hear and understand what’s the difference between with those radio messages.

    3. @braketurnaccelerate Of course it’s different:

      1. Cursing at Kimi is wrong.
      2. Cursing at others is understandable (in the thick of the action when emotions ride high, it’s a men’s sport, …).
      3. When in doubt, see point 1.

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    29th October 2013, 1:38

    Massive round up! Great work Keith!

  6. I would rather watch a good, hard, race-long battle between two cars fighting for position than tyres dictating how the race unfolds.

    Yep, I remember last year in the US GP that the tyres were very conservative but it was a great race nevertheless.

    About the Abu Dhabi run off, it took me two years to realise that it went under a grandstand, is so far away that is pointless in my opinion.

    1. and if it all unfolds on the last lap while the TV director shows something else, what’s the point?

      I hope Pirelli don’t make the same mistake at Austin that they just did in India: Last year was a one-stop race, we can’t have that, bring the softer ones this time (and if they’re unsuitable, complain loudly that there’s not enough testing). This second year’s vital for building up F1 in the States, and a tedious or shambolic race on the wrong tyres would do a lot of damage.

  7. Good touch Lewis.

  8. From Gary Anderson’s column:

    It makes no sense. The sport should fix the problem [difficulty of overtaking because of aerodynamics], not try to bandage it with something else [namely, degrading tyres].

    I thought that the soft tyre spiced up the racing in India, which might have been very boring if Pirelli had brought the medium and the hard. Of course, it would be better if we could have an exciting race (though it depends on your definition of excitement) without the bandage of racing a qualifying tyre (not to mention DRS, of course), but with current circuit design that is not going to happen.

    Someone mentioned recently that the ‘slow corner – long straight – slow corner’ had become an integral part of Tilke’s circuit design philosophy some time ago as that was understood to increase the chances of overtaking – a straight following a fast corner would be useless as the following car could not get close enough to the car in front due to the aerodynamic wake.

    These days, I have the feeling that (because of Pirelli tyres?) a faster car can actually get reasonably close in a corner, but out of a slow corner the leading car just pulls an incredible gap (made much worse due to KERS) which makes it difficult to overtake even with 600m DRS zones (we did not really see that much overtaking in India, despite some complaining that DRS was far too strong).

    So what is needed is a change in circuit design philosophy – a thorough analysis of exactly which types of features can encourage overtaking, and hope that a) this is robust against different generations of cars and b) that not all new circuits will look the same, again. One problem is that billions of dollars have been invested in massively expensive (and often barely used) circuits all over the world. For some circuits, relatively minor tweaks could improve the chances of overtaking (for instance Yas Marina), but fortunately, because of DRS, circuit owners don’t need to!

  9. “put a big ****** smile” and ” get the ** out of the way”

    The former was said in calm manner trying to get his driver to smile.

    The latter was said in shouting manner trying to **** off his driver.

    Great comparison. I wonder why you didn’t compare Romain’s numerous forcing Kimi wide incidents and his ignorance on obeying team order. Team were surprisingly quiet when it happens the other way round.

    Keith = kimi hater.

    1. i dont get the anti-kimi thing either. i remember when lewis and mclaren exchanged some mean words, everyone had to apologize to everyone. now, because kimi is not the role model that boring square motorfans expect every driver to be, he deserves the abuse. thing is, he probably doesnt care at all, so indees no apology was necessary. i think its also important to point out that kimi gets 50k per position, which in this case certainly made permane the more eager for a position swap.

    2. Moooom! Keith is being mean to Kimi!

    3. Keith = kimi hater.


      There’s nothing in Bouiller’s comments to suggest that he’s apologising to Kimi. He’s apologising for the content of the message and how inappropriate it was for OTA transmission. But why this time?

      If anything, Lotus has had a deluge of hate mail from some Kimi’s more demented fans and felt the need to say something to quell the tide of crazy.

  10. RE customer cars.

    I don’t mind the idea of them as long as teams that do make their own cars are not massively disadvantaged. Saying that, if you design slow **** boxes, then you shouldn’t enjoy infinite protection.

    Perhaps if customer car teams were restricted to single car entries or unable to score constructors points, or constructor points were only worth 1/2.

    I’d like to see each of the 4 USGP/HRT spots taken up by a year old red bull, ferarri, McLaren and Merc/Lotus. That would be good for showcasing up and coming drivers/old favourites.

  11. I also feel that as this customer cars issue has been on the table for so long now it is almost certain that sooner or later customer cars will return to F1.

    Is that an argument? It certainly is an implicational one, hidden in “rationality”. Does an opinion become true automatically just because it has been around for a certain amount of time? And how long is this time?

    1. The reason why some feel that customer cars are more likely to be allowed is the fact that the FIA has stripped the smaller teams of all of their voting rights by eliminating the sporting and technical working groups. The only teams with voting rights are Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Lotus, Williams and McLaren, and only a majority vote is required for new measures to be passed on to the WMSC.

      Now, Red Bull and Ferrari are already pushing very hard for customer cars to be legalised and McLaren have indicated that they are open to the possibility of customer cars. Although Williams are strongly against customer cars, with some indication that Mercedes supports Williams’s position, it would not take much for customer cars to be voted through – which is why Force India, for example, have said that they fear that the new political structure, by cutting out the small teams, is basically set up to drive them out of the sport to create the need to pad out the field with pliant customer teams.

  12. I imagine that Lotus didn’t feel the need to apologise to Grosjean because there have been insinuations that Raikkonen has lost his motivation. Since they feel that they stand a chance at second or third in the Constructors’ standings, they probably don’t want to give Raikkonen a reason to phone it in. So they swallow their pride and apologise to him. Meanwhile, there are no questions lingering over Grosjean’s commitment, so they don’t need to play the PR game with him. If they apologised – and I would like to believe that they did – then they probably did it on private. But given the criticism he has taken in the past, Grosjean’s skin is probably thick enough that he won’t take a few choice words hurled in his direction too personally (if at all).

    1. I understand it had a lot to do with Kimi fans suddenly dumping their “likes” of the Lotus pages on FB, dropping twitter follows etc. So not so much to do with reacting to Kimi but rather to his fans @prisoner-monkeys.
      Funny really, because these fans will stop following them and liking them the moment Kimi goes over to the SF anyway in a couple of months.

      1. @bascb – I originally wanted to say that, but I didn’t want to upset the applecart. Raikkonen’s fans can be extremely hostile towards anyone who doesn’t think of him the way they do, but I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks that way. The attitude of his fans is one of the key reasons why I don’t like Raikkonen and why I think his presence indirectly damages the sport. At a time when a lack of respect towards drivers has been a big talking point, I’m bothered by the lack of respect that is sometimes shown towards other fans.

        1. yes, I see we agree on this. Kimi himself is one thing (really good driver, “interesting” person) but his fans … I guess the examples of tweets to Premane posted by Keith say it all.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys @bascb

        The attitude of his fans is one of the key reasons why I don’t like Raikkonen and why I think his presence indirectly damages the sport.

        I couldn’t disagree more. I understand that it might be hard to disassociate a driver from his fans but you just have to do it. Every popular driver has many fans, who are aggressive, annoying or simply have low IQ. My advice: Unfollow / block them on Twitter and quit forums that don’t curb their nonsense.

        Even if you are right and Raikkonen really has particularly many nasty fans, a driver cannot be made responsible for the behaviour of his fans as he doesn’t command them. Raikkonen has never asked his fans to be hostile. In fact, he has never asked them anything at all.

        1. @girts, let me make myself clear, I really dislike these fans who aggressively “fight” for their idol.

          I do not have anything against Kimi Raikkonen as a great F1 driver and are not too bothered by his attitude (neither hailing him for being a great personality, buying T-shirts with his lines etc, nor slamming him for it as a driver).
          Indeed I did stop reading many of the more heated comments (as I try to do when it gets too much over the top with fans/anti-fans of other people).
          A phenomenon we did see with voting for top driver etc, was that there is a clear distinction between voting when we are all registered users and when voting about best driver, DOTW are open to everyone on the internet. It seems that whenever Kimi is involved his fans are able to skew the vote far more than for most other driver fan groups (If I remember right, Kubica came closest), so I do think there is a truth to saying that Kimi fans are a bit exceptional in this aspect.

        2. @girts – Maybe it’s a select few who give the rest a bad name, but Raikkonen’s fans can really make life unpleasant when they want to.

  13. If RBR have designed the floor to ‘move’ at high speed, changing the ride height, surely this falls under the definition of a ‘moveable aerodynamic device’, which is banned?

    Does the plank move? Yes
    Does it aid aerodynamics? Yes

    Whether it moves with hydraulics, electrics or heat expansion it is surely still a ‘moveable’ device. Very very clever bending of the rules if true, as I agree it would be almost impossible for FIA to enforce unless they started taking a blow torch to the tea tray!

    1. I think this is a bogus theory. it would require that temperature of these thermo-elements is direct proportional to speed. Which is impossible without active cooling and then you need massive cooling too to keep reaction times short between changes of high and low speed.
      If they found a solution to move the tea tray then it’s more likely that it works similar to the DDRS idea with air pressure and the car would still pass scrutiny (similar to the flexi-wings)

    2. The rules prohibit driver-operated movable aerodynamic devices, apart from the DRS, hence why a number of teams were looking at a passive system controlled by air flow.

      If Red Bull have a moving tea-tray, controlled by air passing over the car and thermal conductance, that’s perfectly fine, providing it doesn’t lower the car enough to damage the plank or require any direct input to control it. This is the F1 innovation that everyone wants to see.

    3. Yeah, well that is why the FIA tested it by heating it in India and see whether it moves. It apparently didn’t, so it was not declared to be an illegal moveable aerodynamic part.

  14. Thanks for the COTD. Certainly Sutil and Pic don’t want to see this in the spotlights. Haha

  15. I dunno. I still can’t get excited about Vettel winning these four consecutive titles. Nothing against him, but this is not my favourite era of F1 we’re witnessing now. I mean it’s impressive, but it’s impressive like… like a talented band I know I’ll never get into, or something like that. There’s just something too clean and shiny about Vettel and Red Bull. It’s kind of like getting Coldplay when I want some Slayer. Anyhoo, that’s not too pertinent or nothing, but F1 overall just leaves me cold these days. It’s overproduced.

    1. @maciek Im definately with you on that one. I believe its the same with most sports. Its vinyl vs Ipod :) Its less sport more show…Vettel sadly hasnt got a 1/10 of the charisma or rawness as a Prost, Senna or Manselll. Vettel is as much boring as Schumacher was a cheat…but even Schumacher got bored of winning in 1995 and needed a challenge and went to Ferrari in 96. And the sport was the better for it, from 96-2000 Formula 1 was entertaining because Schumacher wasnt in the best car. Vettel however seems to be only motivated to beat every record he can in his Formula 1 career….its very ambitious but very boring at the same time. He kind of reminds me of a child that cant handle anything but winning. His piercing index finger is a statement to us all (in case we didnt watch him win the last 4 championships) that he is – the best. If Schumacher had been as ruthless in his pursuit to show the world he was the greatest there ever was and the greatest there ever will be, he wouldve just gone to williams in 96 (the boredom). Most of the other champions enjoy a 2-3 year max period of winning and dont have time to get sick of winning as the car they were driving is not the drive of the field anymore. Kudos to redbull

      But hopefully next years regulations will mix it up a bit and the natural law of peaks and troughs will come at last to red bull and in the process take some of the boredom out of an already over regulated, processed sport where technology and advancements have made the sport robotic : Jean Alesi in a Ferarri V12 at the old Hockenheim…or Vettel’s finger? (or four ;)

  16. I don’t think that random grids, a “small GP” on Saturday or points for the fastest lap would make F1 much more interesting. OK, random grids would probably spice things up a little and create greater unpredictability but they wouldn’t change the balance of power in F1. What is more, implementing all that would rather equal admitting that F1 is unable to “fix” itself with sensible methods and has to invent (more) gimmicks to please the fans.

    If F1 wants to make racing more exciting, then it first needs to cut costs further and distribute income more equally. Red Bull budget alone doesn’t guarantee you titles but Force India budget guarantees that you certainly won’t win titles. That has to change if the aim is to make F1 more exciting and not just create an illusion that “something is being done”.

    1. I really don’t see how either would really spice anything up. The only ones for whom a qualifying sprint race would make it interesting is for the people who would be in the grandstands. A small race on Saturday would just dilute the importance of the race on Sunday for me.

      What makes qualifying interesting currently, is that its a completely different thing from racing. We get to see the cars being pushed to their maximum over a single lap (if only they just dumped the complications with starting on the same tyres). And then on Sunday we see a combination of speed, race skill, team work and a dose of luck to decide the weekend.

  17. Does anybody have the faintest clue how much time that movable tea tray takes away? The lower ride hight would drastically help the defuser, can’t imagine how much faster the Bulls would be if the rules on blown exhausts were loosed up again. Come to think of it, this has probably been RB’s most well rounded chassis to date (if the results haven’t spoken for themselves) . The usual Newey trickery made the RB9 dominate the high speed/aero reliant corners, the KERS ECU traction monitoring system helped out when things got mechanical, and unlike other years there was no speed deficiency on the straights.

    1. and unlike other years there was no speed deficiency on the straights.

      That was probably more down to the design team thinking ‘right, we’ve monstered all the low-speed circuits but we’ve never *really* worked at Monza or Spa – lets sort that out’ right from the start of the cars development.

      At the end of the day, those two tracks have bespoke requirements when compared to any other layout and, given how good RBR are at bringing upgrades successfully to races (& having them work), it probably wasn’t a huge deal to fork some time to develop bespoke high-speed packages.

      We don’t know if there’s any interesting KERS stuff going on (wait for the interviews with Adrian next season to see if he drops hints), although the Bulls definitely sounded different in the pits at India, Japan and Korea compared to any other car – much more deep and throaty. Maybe they have got some (legitimate) exhaust fun going on again.

Comments are closed.