Felipe Massa, Williams, Albert Park, 2015

Williams may have fallen behind Ferrari – Massa

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Felipe Massa, Williams, Albert Park, 2015In the round-up: Felipe Massa admits Williams may have fallen behind Ferrari in overall performance despite having out-qualified them in Australia.

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

Ferrari aiming high, won’t settle for second (Crash)

"At the end of the year we were 10, 12 or 15kph quicker than Ferrari, now they are similar and maybe even a little bit better than us."

Williams adamant it has engine parity (Autosport)

"We have no doubts over the parity of the engines from Mercedes during the Australian Grand Prix"

Helmut Marko: Wo liegt der Wert der Formel 1? (SpeedWeek - German)

Helmut Marko says neither Renault, Ferrari nor Honda will be able to catch Mercedes under the current regulations.

Carlos Sainz Jr: “I think we can keep up the good work” (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"We struggled a lot with fuel consumption and everything. It was a shame because to be honest we couldn’t fight much for a position, we were very limited down the straights as we expected."

Red Bull wants to quit? Let it… (The Buxton Blog)

"Abiteboul, far from admitting Mea Cupla, stood firmly in his employer’s corner and came out swinging. It was Red Bull which had ordered the rush. It was Red Bull which had insisted on running brand new parts. It was Red Bull which was the architect of its own downfall."

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Comment of the day

What are the reasons for the German Grand Prix dropping off the calendar this year? @Banana88x offers a few:

I guess it´s still the ‘hole’ that Schumacher left when he retired. Fans never have been that enthusiastic about Vettel, not to mention Rosberg. Ticket prices were horrific last year and a lot of people complain about the new rules and regulations.

Plus the Nürburgring financial disaster let me understand why they don´t want to take the risk of this grand prix. We will see a German GP next year but after that I´m pretty pessimistic about the future.
@Banana88x

From the forum

Snapshot

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2015

A neat picture of Lewis Hamilton during last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

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  • 79 comments on “Williams may have fallen behind Ferrari – Massa”

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      21st March 2015, 0:12

      Will Buxton is bang on! Fantastic article!

      1. finally someone tell it like it is. Stop crying, you sour losers, keep on doing energy drinks, and let the real racers be racers…

        1. Finally, a journo with guts. Well done Will Buxton!
          Let’s face it, RBR aren’t the “cool, fun, hip” outfit they used to be. In the early days of their ‘Energy Station’, DC in a superman cape at Monaco and pretty Red Bull girls RBR was a revelation. However, with success has come a much more serious and closed approach, which is understandable. My point is they aren’t the breath of fresh air in the paddock that they used to be. I’m happy to have Red Bull remain in F1. But, as long as proper racing outfits take over their factories and F1 entries, I sure won’t be sad to see the door hit them in the back-side if/when they sell up and leave.

      2. Shared this on Facebook earlier. Brilliant piece of straight shooting.

      3. Yeah, that’s one of the straightest F1 opinion pieces I’ve ever read. Absolutely right on. Work on doing better, accept being in the midfield, or sod off.

      4. +1 Recommended reading indeed, thanks for flagging it. Good reminder about Red Bull’s last temper tantrum, over tyres in 2013, the damage caused to Pirelli by the teams using the tyres outside the recommended parameters, and the irony of this enabling Mercedes to solve its tyre issues and prepare for 2014 and the present.

      5. Love Will Buxton on our American coverage! Love everyone else on the NBCSN crew, but without him our F1 coverage would be leagues behind everyone else!

      6. Couldn’t agree more.

      7. Amazing article. Spot on!

      8. ColdFly F1 (@)
        21st March 2015, 3:30

        fully agree – all real fans (RBR or not) should read.

      9. This is what many of us have been trying to say, but in a more crystallized perfectly written premise, history and summary. Excellent Will Buxton!

        Amazing how Ferrari is so quickly reversing years of fan backlash, mostly due to whinging and threats, with a positive attitude and real on-track improvements.

        To me this harkens back to the attitude of my favorite racer ever, Jim Clark. Never really heard him complain much (if ever) and would never throw anyone else under the bus. He let his performance on the track do the talking.

      10. Will’s post is excellent. I particularly liked his account of the tyre changes in 2013 – I hope it leads some people to re-assess their criticism of Pirelli at that time.

      11. I am yet to see a team that is so adept at ensuring that they are not liked or embraced by fans.

        Redbull, for one reason or another, has not been a darling of fans since their involvement in Formula 1, which is why it amazes me how much effort they make in muddying an already muddy reputation.

        When one is down, that is when you need friends and help the most so I would have thought they would use this opportunity to mend fences with fans and most importantly, at least give Renault the recognition it deserves for the years of successful partnership, rather than throwing the company under the bus at the slightest opportunity.

        1. Glad to hear Williams insisting they have the same engine as Mercedes, which by the way makes better sense considering speed trap and top-speed-on-straights performances.

          Massa’s claims on various occassions that they might not have the same engines, who knows, might have in some little ways contributed to Redbull bosses demands to clip Mercedes’ wings.

          Now, if it so happens that an engine “equalisation mechanism” is introduced, and it also happens that Mercedes had in fact supplied their customer teams with the same power units, Massa and Williams might find themselves handicapped.

          So, Massa had better shut up (unless he has concrete evidence) and fight at the front or keep talking and find himself wrestling at the back of the grid.

          1. “Filipe… Valteri is faster than you…”

      12. Buxton is missing the larger point though – he’s right about RB. But I follow F1 since the 80s and have seen many teams dominate the sport. But never before did I know the WCC winner with such certainty before the first race even started. Even during the MSC-era there were others to mount a serious challenge.
        Imo, F1 is headed in the wrong direction if it thinks that removing competition is the only way to control costs.

        1. – Imo, F1 is headed in the wrong direction if it thinks that removing competition is the only way to control costs.
          -“removing competition”?

          How are they removing competition? Do you mind explaining?

        2. Mclaren in ’88?

        3. But never before did I know the WCC winner with such certainty before the first race even started.

          Considering how dominant cars have been in the past, that must only be because testing these days is so limited, thoroughly covered, and organised so all teams are on track together. If the same testing existed in the past, you would have surely seen this on an awful lot of occasions.

        4. Alternative scenario: teams like Ferrari and McLaren improve significantly this season and next, meaning we get to see three+ strong teams (not artificially weakened) competing on track. I think there’s a good chance of that happening and it’s worth the wait. Picturing the entire season from pre-season testing and one race is premature to say the least. Not that Red Bull will have much choice about the matter whatever happens, given the other teams seem happy enough with the situation as is – Red Bull are stuck unless they want to sell up (to Renault say), keeping the team intact, in which case nobody will care if the brand name leaves anyhow.

      13. Couldn’t agree more brilliant article. It looks as though ultimately RBR are going to be scoring a massive own PR goal. Who wants to buy a product from a bunch of moaning whingers that can’t accept the natural cycle of success and failure? Never really liked the stuff anyway;-)

      14. maarten.f1 (@)
        21st March 2015, 8:13

        I agree with the point he’s making, though I do think his comparison with McLaren and Williams is flawed. Those are companies that exist to race in Formula 1, they don’t have much else going on. Red Bull is in F1 for commercial reasons: to promote their brand. If they quit F1, they’ll still sell their energy drinks, they’ll still have plenty of other endeavors to promote their brand (some of which are much wider known than Formula 1).

        So no, of course you’re not going to hear companies like McLaren or Williams threatening to quit the sport. Simply because they can’t afford to. But the point of Buxton’s piece remains, if Red Bull wants to quit, let them. I’m sure F1 can carry on without them.

        1. agree with most of what you say, but, i don’t think neither mercedes, Renault or ferrari will sell any car less by not being on F1

      15. Surprised how many people have forgotten RB was a mid-field team and worked themselves up to 4 titles.

        1. By targeting the 2009 regulation changes…

      16. I couldn’t agree with the blog more if I’d written it myself. Let them go, and good riddance.

      17. Rubbish from Buxton. First of all, could everyone stop pretending that the entire period from 2010 to 2013, a period which saw some of the closest and most competitive racing ever in F1, was simply one of uniform “domination”? That word does not actually mean “When a team I don’t like is winning”, which is the way everyone keeps using it.

        Secondly, the tyres were changed in 2013 with the agreement of the teams, including Ferrari. The FIA could have, and should have, simply banned teams from running the tyres on the “wrong side” of the car, or with extreme camber, or under-inflated. There’s plenty of precedent for the FIA to take such a step. But in this case it was felt that doing these things was what was giving certain teams an edge over RB and so these questionable actions were permitted until the tyres started exploding and threatening peoples lives.

        1. @rm
          What close and competitive racing? We saw close and competitive racing in 2012, but that does not make the entire era competitive.

          Let us remind ourselves that 2003 – one of the best seasons of all time in F1 history – occurred in the middle of an era which is wildly regarded as being one of the most boring of all time.

      18. Some fair points, but I can’t agree with everything he wrote.

        Only Ferrari, Lotus and Force India had properly designed their cars around the tyres in 2013.

        This should be:
        Only Ferrari, Lotus and Force India got lucky with their cars around the tyres in 2013.

        And so extreme measures were employed: adverse and extreme camber, under inflation, and the switching of tyres to opposite sides of the car. Every team reacted, even Ferrari. It all combined to create the blowouts of the British Grand Prix. The teams could now claim Pirelli’s tyres were dangerous and needed redesigning. Pirelli came out strongly in its own defense, arguing that the tyres were being used by the teams against Pirelli’s own recommendations and in a manner which could, under certain circumstances, become dangerous.

        Don’t forget that after Hamilton’s and Massa’s tires exploded, Pirelli told the teams during the race to use the tires within the right camber, the right inflation etc. But even then, Vergne’s tire exploded.

        The FIA told the teams it would inforce the use of the right camber, the right inflation etc. the following races, yet one of Perez’s tires exploded at the Korean GP.

        The 2013 Pirellis were dangerous, there’s no denying that.

        I’ll repost the comment of retak in Tuesday’s news round-up because I think it is spot on:

        This “Red Bull are not a racing team” and “Red Bull are just a fizzy drink company” thing needs to stop. Has anyone taken a look at the people behind Red Bull recently?

        Let’s start with Horner. Former F3000 driver and started his own F3000 team, which he took to championship victory – as team principal, not driver – in 5 years. I think it’s a safe guess to say that he would have eventually started his own F1 team if Red Bull hadn’t hired him first. And if by some miracle Red Bull does leave in the next few years, I’d expect Horner to stay as team principal, maybe even by trying a Brawn and buying part of the team himself. The man is a racer to the core, as much as any ‘old school’ F1 personnality you can think of. He just happens to be relatively new on the scene, so he’s always dismissed as ‘not a True F1 Person’.

        Next comes Helmut Marko. Former F1 and endurance driver, as well as a Le Mans winner. He also has a long standing habit for the grandiose when talking to the press. Guess from whom most of the threats of Red Bull leaving are coming?

        Even Newey is an amateur racer.

        Then, of course, it leaves the big boss Dietrich Mateschitz. While he’s never been a racer or competitor himself, his interest – and by extension Red Bull involvement – in motorsport has only gone up over the years. I’d only start to worry about Red Bull leaving when he starts to talk about it.

    2. “Abiteboul, far from admitting Mea Cupla, stood firmly in his employer’s corner and came out swinging. It was Red Bull which had ordered the rush. It was Red Bull which had insisted on running brand new parts. It was Red Bull which was the architect of its own downfall.”

      That’s exactly what I didn’t really understand last weekend. If Red Bull are a Renault works team now, and with 2 teams mind, how come they made Renault development’s issues so “independent” from them? Surely there are decision which both companies discuss in detail now that they are the only team they supply…

      If anything it was a major failure by both, but not just from Renault only. McLaren doesn’t point out to Honda: “hey, you made a rubbish engine”. They are working together… how is it different from Renault and Red Bull?

      1. They don’t? They constantly point out the Honda engine as their clear weakness. However, the attitude with which it’s stated isn’t as sour perhaps.

    3. If Mercedes are smart, they show up in Malaysia with their engines detuned slightly to reduce their advantage just enough to make it harder to justify any kind of rule change — follow the Prost philosophy of going just fast enough to beat the opposition and nothing more.
      Of course, this would be immeasurably worse than lapping all but the top 5 again.

      1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
        21st March 2015, 2:17

        I’m sure they would like to do that in an ideal world but the problem of course is if they ever run into problems. If they get 10 laps from home and hit a problem or have a pit stop error they’re going to want to be as far down the road as possible to prevent anyone catching them, or as few as possible. You’re going to feel silly if you lose a race because you purposely didn’t push and make a big enough gap then suffered a non-race ending issue.

      2. It is pretty difficult to change the rules when the main thing mercedes has is good overall package. And half of that is the engine which is just plain difficult to “re-regulate” for more balanced field because the engine is already so locked down by rules. And you can’t really force them to use common parts for certain parts of the engines because of the different engine configurations.

        Only thing fia could do is to reduce the fuel flow maximum which would probably cancel merc’s power adventage but at the same time they’d probably need to go from 100 to 90 or even 85kg/h which would cut down the power a lot from already pretty weak and boring engines. And not really a fan favourite either when there have been talks about 1000hp engines…

        As for the other parts of the car there are no single bits on the merc that could be banned to bring the mercs closer to the rest. There are no bendy wings, bendy floors, f-ducts or any else single bits in the mercs that makes them good. It is the best package overall. Best engine, best chassis, best drivers backed by team with deep pockets, very skillful engineering teams and manufacturing/design resources and manufacturer connections that are all best of the best in their own areas in f1.

        At this point the only way to pull merc closer to the rest is success ballast which I’m sure is not popular option.

        1. My problem is that I am morally opposed to anything which is designed to penalize someone for actually being successful, as long as they’re not doing it by being anti-competitive, or, well, cheating.

          Or whining, if we’re talking about Red Bull.

        2. there are no single bits on the merc that could be banned to bring the mercs closer to the rest.

          The FIA never contented themselves with banning just a single bit of the Bulls to bring them closer to the rest. Over the years they issued many rules changes and “clarifications” aimed at slowing down RB. Some of the changes had no result at all. Some slowed down RB but only briefly before they regained what they lost. Some changes had more lasting results.

          If the FIA wanted to slow down Mercedes they could do so, it’s just that they seem to have no interest in doing so. One possibility would be a “rules clarification” banning the Mercedes style short nose, which is believed to be a significant part of their current performance edge.

        3. for me, it’s just amazing how far away mercedes is right now. Not only they have this amazing PU (just look how Williams leapfrogged almost the entire field) but also has a amazing car overall (even when Williams did such a big step forward, they still are almost a half a second or more away in average from the entire season) and all that without any single complain about cheating. How many dominants car like this the F1 had? the mp4/4, and..? i would like the F1 kept this set of rules for a long time, to see how the other teams must really push to get close to Mercedes (as ferrari did with their new car) and see if Mercedes gets to the roof of the developement that could be made in a car with these set of rules. 5 to 6 years with this rules can be pretty amazing…

      3. They can just change the engine settings from the steering wheel right? If they do find themselves in need of some extra speed they could simply turn the wick back up again.

        The team would have to tell the drivers that they are not allowed to race though.

      4. Why should they? They haven’t done anything wrong – they’ve just done a better job than everyone else, like Red Bull did from 2010 to 2013 and Ferrari did from 2000 to 2004.

        It’s the responsibility of the other teams to catch Mercedes, not the responsibility of Mercedes to reduce their advantage.

        1. I agree. However during RB years and Ferrari domination whatever was said to be their advantages was open to chase without restriction. Now you are restricted on PU development. This is unsporting. Imagine the whole car was frozen after the last test. The order would never change and if the following year you could only change 50 percent year after 40 percent? Yes they did a better job and deserved to win but others need an unrestricted chance to catch up. Merc should not be pegged back. Engine development should be open to all unrestricted and if Merc stretch their advantage I will then hold my hands up and say everyone had a FAIR chance Merc are just better under current rules. If 2004 rules were fixed until now and development restricted Ferrari may have won 15 straight titles (good for me).

    4. In fairness to Red Bull, it’s not like they didn’t do anything for F1 goodness. They give chances for many bright drivers, have a pretty large fan-base (Seb before, now Dan), bring back Austrian GP from nowhere, even investing in the grass-root more than anybody else.
      Yes, racing aside, they’re only there for marketing purpose. However, the same can be said about Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren/Honda, even Renault. Maybe it’s only privateers that gotta more intention of racing than them.

      It’s not that different with di Montezemolo whining last few years. But I kinda felt Red Bull was cornered so much by the public perception of hypocrisy. Not that I defend them, but let’s think about it. Will the sport fare much better with Red Bull at all?

      That being said, if I were Mateschitz, I wouldn’t be happy towards Horner and Marko, it’s not helping my brand at all, instead otherwise. With this condition maybe I will plug out this brand of the sport, and become a mere sponsor for any top driver. Or, make this team a public company, sell the shares, keep it below Red Bull Group or something, attracting so much investor, thus more financial stability and more space for develop outside F1.

      1. correction: Will the sport fare much better without Red Bull at all?

        1. i don’t know much better, but i don’t see why it will fare just the same as now. If Mclaren, Williams or Ferrari leave, ok, they it’ll go down, but for red bull? it didn’t fell when Benetton morphed into Renault, right? It’s Marketing for them, as long as the team, and technology they’ve developed goes one, no one will miss’em

      2. Red Bull laying so heavily into Renault was seriously misjudged: keen to keep all the credit to themselves for 4 successful seasons, and hoist the blame on their engine partners when the going gets tougher a year later. It’s like the Sauber debacle, too quick to blame and badmouth and you’ll find sympathy quickly dries up.

    5. Will Buxton deserves a standing ovation & a bottle of the finest whatever-he-likes-to-drink for that article. I wish I could broadcast it everywhere… I’ll just have to reblog it for now :)

    6. I just see Red Bull’s comments as marketing. People are talking about Red Bull thanks to their comments, just as much, if not more than Mercedes. Unlike Ferrari in the past, they don’t make cars, so they really have absolutely no concern over saying the regulations are too difficult for them.

      I really doubt they’ll leave, but if they do, fair enough, other than that it’s just marketing. Red Bull this, Red Bull that, it’s all still instilling those 2 words “Red Bull” in your head so that when you see it in a shop you almost sub-consciously gravitate towards it.

      1. I am a fan of Red Bull. But I view this as bad publicity. I almost gravitate away from their products now. They are on of the best companies in the world at marketing their brand, which is why I find their comments very surprising. I really wish their PR department would tell them to shut up.

        1. Maybe the Red Bull HQ PR department should monitor Christian and Marko like they enforce with the RBR PR dept on their drivers.

          1. To be honest, I think that Red Bull need to do some serious damage control and fire Horner and Marko. I can only imagine how much cringing the people in Marketing and PR are doing every time they see another headline involving Horner and Marko!

            1. Yeah @irejag! Maybe some “cleaning around” like Ferrari did isn’t a bad option for them right now! They need a new start because what we are seeing its normal… big teams also have bad times! I think that RB it’s not used to lose, but what doesn’t kill you make you stronger! Look at Williams, Ferrari, etc.

      2. Let’s face it: Red Bull Racing and the junior team Toro Rosso only exist for two reasons: Inflate Dietrich Mateschitz’s ego and be used as a tax write off. If racing the middle of the pack does not serve the purpose of ego booster, I can see the primary team being sold to Audi/VW and Toro Rosso back to BMW.

        Newey’s brilliance can not overcome the horsepower deficit and the chassis can not make miracles any longer. I do see RBR leaving the sport as a strong possibility.

    7. Williams should use their recovered form (sponsors, price money, chassis development) and find an engine manufacturer to become a works team. Use
      Merc for the next year(s) and capitalize on its power to get sponsors and price cash, but it won’t serve for (hopefully eventual) challenge for the title. Non-works outfits have sadly no chance.

      The question is who? I’d love to see Williams-BMW again (though I think the last partnership didn’t end on the best of terms). BMW needs to come back to F1, they’re losing so much on image against Mercedes.

      The other option would be Renault, after the (by the looks of it inevitable) fallout with RBR.

      I’m happy that Williams got the best engine and get a boost back, but it will never be a title contender.

      1. Having McLaren-Honda and Williams-Renault would certainly be a flashback.

        1. I like that, lets see if we can get Sir Frank to talk to his old mates and talk them into Williams becoming the Renault works team and demote Red Bull to customers.

          1. McLaren-Honda, Williams-Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes. Then we would just need a strong Lotus, maybe as the works team for another engine manufacturer (Cosworth?), and we would have an F1 history dream team :)

    8. So what Pat Symonds is basically saying. 1. Ferrari are superior by far in the aerodynamics department(like last year…Singapore…cough,cough.). 2. without that Merc unit Williams would be nothing. seriously they touched lucky and Lotus are trying the same, desperation in my view….When Schumacher trumped F1, it sure as hell wasn’t the engine, because BMW had that locked down in speed terms….

      1. The next non-Merc(Sauber-Ferrari) car finished nearly 60 seconds behind Williams
        Looking at the speed trap, perhaps Wiliiams’ power advantage is less than 20 bph.

    9. I think the crucial thing here is how bad the engine freeze rules are. With more and more of the engine being frozen each year, you have to question the logic of that being an effective cost cap. Would a blank slate design really cost more than trying to fix a fundamental design flaw you are locked into?

      Ferrari have shown that the performance can be closed in on, I’m fairly sure next year or the year after we will have parity in performance between Mercedes and Ferrari.

      I suspect Honda have gone down the route of outright performance with little concern on reliability. There is a reason McLaren seem calm, they will know the figures and potential of the engine and that development in season for reliability is permitted. Honda will have looked at the rules and realising they are going to be locked into a design, prioritised performance so they can worry about reliability later.

      The simple fact is Ferrari are already showing they can catch and aren’t complaining, Honda aren’t complaining and seem confident they can catch. Even Renault isn’t the one begging for equalisation, they just need the opportunity to catch. It’s Red Bull commenting on the aspect of the sport they know nothing about and hopefully they will be given the credibility they deserve on the subject.

    10. It now must seem bitterly ironic that in that one move, Red Bull had led a charge which removed the one variable which Mercedes had been unable to resolve themselves, setting the foundations upon which, aligned to a magnificent power unit and beautifully designed car, the team would launch its dominant 2014 campaign.

      A case of being careful for what one wishes for, perhaps.

      This is a great point by Buxton. Mercedes had the best qualifying car in the first half of 2013, but they could not fix their eternal problem with rear deg of tyres. When Pirelli introduced much harder tyres for 2014 (initially at the request of Red Bull), Mercedes became not only dominant, but they also never suffered with rear tyre deg again.

      Even last year, you could often see that in races like Austria (where Pirelli brought super-soft and soft tyres), Mercedes’ advantage wasn’t anywhere near as big as it was in, say, Spain (where Pirelli brought the mediums and hards). Merc’s dominance ever since the new regulation changes has been more than just because of their engine or chassis, the harder tyres suit their car perfectly.

      A classic example of “be careful what you wish for”.

      1. That’s a bit of an overstatement– the harder compounds were introduced for Hungary, if memory serves, and that was the last race Mercedes won in 2013. Red Bull won the last 9 races of the season, giving Vettel 13 wins for the season. Even with the harder tires, while Mercedes drastically improved their long run degradation issue (and it got cooler), they still had issues with the W04.

        Harder, more durable tire compounds were always on the table for 2014, because of the massive increase of torque, especially at low RPM due to the massive MGU-K units.

      2. That’s a bit of an overstatement– the harder compounds were introduced for Hungary, if memory serves, and that was the last race Mercedes won in 2013.

        That was because Mercedes gave up developing the W04 midway through the season and prioritized 2014 instead:
        http://en.espnf1.com/mercedes/motorsport/story/121871.html

        By contrast, Red Bull continued to develop the RB9 until the very end of the year, and they themselves admitted that they focused late for 2014:
        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/03/10/newey-rues-red-bulls-late-switch-focus-2014/

      3. When Pirelli introduced much harder tyres for 2014 (initially at the request of Red Bull) ..

        Repeating this does not magically make it true. The more robust tyres were not in fact introduced “at the request of Red Bull”.

        And please be aware that it is the tyre construction which was changed, not the compounds as you keep alleging.

    11. God love Buxton’s article, really and sincerely – Red Bull getting their way with the Pirellis on the back of Ecclestone’s lobbying stank back then too – but he sure can’t spell Mea Culpa or use it properly in a sentence. Just saying.

    12. Good work by Will, seemingly unaffected by the paddock Kool-aid yet Red Bull does have a point. Without an equalization process in F1 this could go on for years without any hope of improvement. For a marketing company this becomes problematic. For a bunch of adrenaline fueled racers not as much, until they go bankrupt or perish in a plane-crash, sell-up, etc. Red Bull’s argument, un-sophisticated as it may seem is the latest in a series of wake-up calls to F1 and the FIA to build-in a process to become competitive again.

      1. Well can Red Bull achieve their marketing objectives by making themselves unpopular?

        I suppose it works for Ryanair, but still, it seems counterintuitive, in the drinks market.

      2. Well, from what I’ve read Ferrari have closed from being about 50-60 hp down on Mercedes at the end of 2014 to being only 20-30 hp down in 2015 (which is similar to gaps we saw at certain points in the V8 era). With Mercedes likely continuing to experience some diminishing returns in the following years I think the Mercedes and Ferrari engines may be roughly equal in the next one or two years.

        But I guess Renault don’t really stand much of a chance of catching up for a long time…

      3. Without an equalization process in F1 this could go on for years without any hope of improvement.

        Signs seem to point to a regulations/formula shift for 2017. Any changes in regulations designed to promote “equalization” in the interim would fly in the face of the spirit of racing. Why punish the faster, more successful teams and reward the slower, less successful teams who just didn’t get it right for whatever reasons?

        Ferrari have shown that there is room for improvement in this formula without resorting to manipulative rule changes designed to punish success. I’m not a Mercedes fan, but I am a fan of what they have achieved and hope others will follow rather whinge and point fingers.

    13. about will buxton’s article i think its what everyone wants to hear but not necessarily true for example suggesting that ferrari, force india, designed their car around the early 2013 tyre they just got lucky those tyres were too soft and unsafe

      1. and red bull were leading the championship even before the tyre change werent they?

    14. I wonder if Red Bull are ready to start building their own engines, or whether Honda’s woes are staying their hand. Red Bull are new enough (or their management is) that they haven’t experienced the boom and bust cycle of team-running (as Ferrari, McLaren, Williams have). After their rise to success (which was expedited compared to other new and midfield teams) they had four years of hard-fought success (I won’t mention technical infringements). This is their first slump, and I bet others on the grid are thinking “Welcome to the reality of it”. Mercedes will eventually see the same. If Red Bull are as committed to the sport as, say, Williams, then they’ll weather this out, work hard and be patient. They’ve got an advantage in the budget department. My respect for them would increase hugely if they built their own engine, it was crap and they ended up at the back. And at least then they couldn’t blame somebody else.

      1. I would assume that building engines is such a different and specific discipline that it would be very difficult to just turn your hand to it regardless of other vehicular expertise. Mercedes didn’t even start building their own F1 engines from scratch- they invested in and eventually took over Ilmor.

    15. While I am in total agreement with Will Buxton’s article, let’s not forget Red Bull floundered from the midfield to the back for a good number of years post Jaguar. They put a strong engineering team together (i.e. threw money at it) and began to reap the rewards.

      In other words it’s not like Red Bull bought into a winning outfit. They genuinely built up from a low point and established a respectable winning team.

      All this latest tirade appears to do is verify the accuracy of the age old adage, power corrupts. With their multiple years at the top they have lost sight of that fighting spirit from whence came the success.

      I think what we have here is Horner fearing for his own job, his legacy confined to the Vettel diffuser years as Mateschitz rattles the cage.

      Time to shake that can of Red Bull and pop the ring pull indeed!

    16. Helmut Marko says neither Renault, Ferrari nor Honda will be able to catch Mercedes under the current regulations.

      First of all, I’m not sure it’s Marko’s place to say what Ferrari (nor I guess Honda) are capable of. Ferrari have clearly done a better job than Renault over the winter, so I’d hardly place a lot of stock on what he knows.

      Secondly, it doesn’t matter if the other engine manufacturers aren’t able to catch up, because there are 3 other teams all powered by the same engine. If, as Marko seems to adamant about, Mercedes advantage is all due to the engine, there are three other teams who should be capable of fighting for the championship, which is better than most years. However, if it’s that Mercedes have done a better job in every area, then I think perhaps he had better shut up and start working harder/smarter.

    17. The tyre change in 2013 was in the construction, not the compound. Initially they changed from a kevlar to a steel bellt iirc, with a softer sidewall. It was basically too weak to take Red Bull’s downforce – an anti-RBR tweak.

      Then Merc tried running it backwards to make their rears last and Pirelli let them. Some other teams followed. But the change in load direction killed the join between the sidewall and the belt, causing the sudden failures.

      So then the old construction was reintroduced and Red Bull were back in business while Mercedes were back with their rear temperature problem.

      So I don’t think Will Buxton has got it quite right. It was an anti-RBR fix that was unfair, and had to be withdrawn for safety. Though I agree with his general sentiment: I wouldn’t miss them.

    18. With all due respect, I have to say: “Mr. Marko You’re talking nonsense!” Mercedes is catchable! Anyone claiming otherwise lacks engineering knowledge and technical wisdom to prove otherwise.

    19. I don’t fully get why people are talking about Red Bull as just a drinks company and that because of that they should just quit having made threats to.

      Why don’t I? Because the people at RBR who did spell out the threats and cries were people that are not in F1 for only marketing purposes.

      Horner graduated to RBR from managing Arden (which he started doing after failing in his racing career), and Helmut Marko lost his eye in Motor Racing – in F1, even!

      On the other hand, RBR’s owner, the guy who’s only there for marketing purposes, has so far uttered none of the awful things coming out of RBR.

    20. “Arrivabene says Ferrari achieved its aim by getting the better of Williams, it is ultimately Mercedes it must continue striving for ”

      How can Ferrari confidently claim to have got the better of Williams with only a single race having happened – that too on a street circuit ??

      Are Ferrari too soon at their bragging best !?

    21. Just the second year of Mercedes success, and remember that there is just one race this season and you guys are crying. C´mon…

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