Audi, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Red Bull could quit F1 if Audi tie-up doesn’t happen

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Audi, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015In the round-up: Red Bull’s motorsport director Helmut Marko says the team will quit F1 unless Renault improve their engines or they attract Audi to join as a new engine supplier.

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Red Bull say they will quit F1 unless Audi join forces with them (BBC)

"If we don't have a competitive engine in the near future, then either Audi is coming or we are out"

Lotus warns drivers over Spanish GP clash (F1i)

"I've been through it with both of them and sort of banged their heads together a little bit. It's difficult to absolutely 100% point the finger at one of them but it's unnecessary."

Stevens accepts Manor test absence (Autosport)

"He went around the outside of turn one, and I wasn't overly blessed with room. If I had kept my foot in then there would have been contact."

Toto Wolff 'sceptical about so-called gaps' (ESPN)

"We are always sceptical about so-called gaps. It can turn against you pretty quickly if you don't stay on your toes and that is what we have done in the last couple of weeks."

Alonso brake issues caused by visor tear-off (F1)

"The brake issues that forced Fernando Alonso's retirement from his home Grand Prix in Spain on Sunday were caused by a visor tear-off blocking the right rear brake duct of his McLaren MP4-30."

Ferrari cannot challenge Mercedes this year, says team principal Maurizio Arrivabene (Daily Mail)

"I said at the beginning of the year that I don't want to point the finger on aerodynamics, engine and all of this. Otherwise we are creating the usual mess where everybody is freaking out left, right, up and down."

Ferrari looking for answers at Barcelona test (Reuters)

"What is clear, because we are not blind, is the fact that in the last sector we were losing half a second. I am not escaping from the reality, it is there."

Five things we learned from the Spanish Grand Prix (The Guardian)

"The FIA, Formula One’s ruling body, is to set up a database for motorsport accidents all over the world. The organisation has conducted a two-year experiment with eight countries and is now making the database available to 139 national motorsport governing bodies."

Lewis Hamilton: 'Ferrari rumours are b*******' - Mercedes man expects to sign new deal at Monaco (The Independent)

"That is not the case. It’s utter b*******. All stories that have come out money-wise are generally b*******."

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Comment of the day

Robin Frijns, one of the drivers who featured highly in F1 Fanatic readers’ Alternative 2015 F1 Grid, had a winning weekend at Brands Hatch. FlyingLobster27 contributed this to the Weekend Racing Wrap:

I watched the Blancpain Sprint Series, round two at Brands Hatch.

Two rather nice one-hour races, with feeder series darling Robin Frijns finally getting to race. He had crashed his car in warm-up at the first race of the series in Nogaro, but he and Audi GT3 maestro Laurens Vanthoor (but mainly just Vanthoor) absolutely destroyed the field this time, winning by the best part of 20 seconds in each of the races.

Of course, that means that is was the fights for the podiums places behind Frijns/Vanthoor that were interesting, notably with former Superleague star Craig Dolby and rising GT star Kévin Estre taking the fight to the BMW Team Brasil Z4s.
FlyingLobster27

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On this day in F1

On this day 30 years ago ex-F1 racers Jochen Mass and Jacky Ickx shared victory in the Silverstone 1000km driving a Porsche 962C. Here are the closing stages of the race, part of the fore-runner to the World Endurance Championship:

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  • 118 comments on “Red Bull could quit F1 if Audi tie-up doesn’t happen”

    1. For Red Bull, the good thing about joining forces with Audi would be that new engine manufacturers are always immediately successful and a better bet than experienced multiple title-winners.

      1. haha nice.

        First to worst

        1. They are acting like 2 year olds in the sandbox. Let them go.

          1. “If you don’t let me win I’m going home. And I’ll take the ball with me.”

            1. @celebmir bang on haha, the only difference is Red Bull don’t have the ball.

            2. I would be doing that too, when the investment does not justify the return, you would be a pretty stupid businessman to continue in this embarrassment of motor sport called F1. And you will find that allot of fans will leave the sport just like allot of teams and manufacturers will also. F1 is not motor racing anymore, it is a mess created by the FIA where the rules and regulations and the outrageous engineering demands have overtaken any driver skills and have made F1 an embarrassment of motor racing. This has nothing to do with ‘They are acting like 2 year olds in the sandbox’ the only kid in a sandbox is you.

      2. Yep. And the advantage to Audi will be that they will be more or less ignored as being the ones who helped bring about the success when it comes. Sounds like a great deal, right

        1. Don’t forget also being humiliated for a few years until they get up to speed with the others when they first enter. I’m sure all manufactures deep down are masochist that just love hearing Horner and Marko shιtalk of them.

      3. They are right to be annoyed but maybe they should look at McLaren trying to help Honda and working on building a PARTNERSHIP rather than a simple customer-buyer relationship.

        The bad thing in his remarks is not just putting more faith in Audi than the multiple title-winners Renault but the idea of leaving. Looking at their leaving plans, even if Audi enters the sport, they will not think about a partner who’s not willing to endure 1/2 years underperforming which is very likely so I think VW group will look elsewhere if they decide to field an F1 team in coming years.

      4. They are starting to disgust me. Threatening to quit F1 is one thing, even publicly blaming Renault I could “understand”, but now they are openly saying that they want to switch engines to a competitor? And on what planet would Audi come to F1 and be competitive at day 1?

        They won 4 consecutive championships with Renault, two of them with an advantage if not the same, at least similar to what Mercedes has at the last two seasons, they were the only team to win 3 races last year, but all of a sudden they can’t handle being outperformed for a year. Oh but I forgot, Renault engine was weak even then, it was the mightly, rules-bending chassis.

        If I was in charge at Renault, I would waste another year with Redbull to improve my engines, then buy Torro Rosso and rebrand it as “Monster Energy Renault Racing”. :)

        1. ‘Iosif’ two wrongs don’t make a right. Yes, Red Bull did dominate, but we have had 6 years of this ridiculous domination of one team. F1 and the fans are the loser here, with these new regulations of this ridiculous ‘hybrid technology’ its breaking F1 into pieces. This one team dominance of this sport is ridiculous together with the FIA ridiculous rules to top it off. The FIA are living in Disneyland with fairy tales as their rule books, F1 has become too regulated and an engineering impossibility, F1 is not racing anymore, F1 has lost the pure contest of engineers and designers competing to make drivers race harder and wheel to wheel or more competitively around a racing circuit. F1 has become a bureaucratic mega bucks nightmare of unfixable proportions which only the mega factories or sponsors can compete in.

          What a shame that after following this sport as a kid from the early 60’s this sport has been ruined and has become a bore fest and an unwatchable sport. I hope that someone will reinvent F1 in another format that is simpler and one that will concentrate on engineering, design and fore mostly close driver racing, like in the old days. And what I mean by the old days is up to the early 80’s because after that F1 has become more and more complicated and it has gone further and further from racing.

          1. Michael Brown
            13th May 2015, 17:17

            Red Bull has never dominated to the extent that Mercedes has.

      5. When and where have anyone involved with RedBull past or present ever mentioned the Audi word? The media says Audi, but RedBull have of now been mentioning VW, and VW group, I’ve been saying all along that Audi is not the target!

        1. Audi is owned by the Volkswagen Group.

          1. And Red Bull sponsors the DTM Audi of Mattias Ekstrom, which won the race last week. ( FIrst DTM race I’ve watched, thought it was very enjoyable)

        2. @peartree, The BBC say that the line “either Audi is coming or we are out” is a direct quote from Marko – given that Marko is still employed directly by Red Bull Racing as an advisor, I would say that constitutes an individual working for Red Bull who has made a direct reference to Audi.

      6. I hope Audi doesn’t buy RBR, let Red Bull exit and lose the maximum possible amt. of investment

    2. Arrivabene will someday one day appear in an HBR article as an example of good leader. He tries to create solidarity, positive atmosphere, realism and yet keeping the pressure to push through. If they keep the course probably by 2016 Ferrari can genuinely challenge Mercedes. This championship is pretty much Mercs (and Hamilton’s) to lose

      1. he’s achieving more than that: Simpathy. Every time Luca talked to the media, it was a turmoil but i think that every time Arrivabene speaks, is more endearing for the -in other times- ferrari haters.

        1. It seems he is already incredibly well respected by absolutely everyone in the paddock, like no other team principal (apart from Lauda, although Arrivabene hasn’t been in F1 nearly as long).

      2. I was thinking the same thing. The momentum factor created by the positive culture is also hugely important– you can just tell Ferrari is seriously on the way up.

        It’s also amazing how quickly Red Bull was able to dissipate its previously winning culture on the backs of their 4 years of excellence.

        1. @ifelix , @chaddy – Total agreement here. Arrivabene is like a breath of fresh air in an organization that was gasping for oxygen. I wish a few other team leaders would take his positive example. He is also one of the main reasons I am supporting Ferrari as a team for the first time this season. And I’ve been an F1 fan since the 1960s.

          1. wow its early days. Yes he is doing a good job so far but lets remember:

            1. He fell into a good car, his management is not the reason that car is fast. That is a previous teams work.
            2. He has yet to do deal with any kind of hardship. Ferrari were expected to be know where but due to point 1. they are beating expectations.
            3. Lets judge him when he has had to deal with some issues like Ferrari internal politics or failure to meet expectations or his no.1 driver throwing a wobbly. All things that will eventually happen.

            So far he almost couldn’t go wrong. This time next year they are expected to be fighting for the title. Then that will be a true test of his management & his team.

            1. Agreed.

              While ferrari’s internal politic may have been at high gear in last year and the car they built wasn’t good they still scored very respectable results with alonso in that car. Now this year the car is great. Vettel is getting p3 positions in almost every race and the sleeping finn sometimes even manages to trail him couple spots behind.

              I get that arrivibane is a nice feeling guy. Likable, genuine person. But that should not be mixed with his skills as being the leader of the red team. That is what see in the long run. Demonicali was also a nice bloke but wasn’t able to turn the ship towards wins. And as much as arrivibane is a nice bloke a lot more of the current successs of the ferrari team lies on the shoulders of mattiaci and di montezemolo.

              Atm ferrari is on a good track. But in the long run we will see whether ferrari really needed a likable leader like arrivibane or a more financially and economically inclined and maybe more stern person like mattiaci. After all we are all ferrari outsiders here and none of us really knows the true qualities of either of the ferrari bosses. But just because of a person is likable does not make him good at his job.

          2. ColdFly F1 (@)
            12th May 2015, 7:37

            Arrivabene is like a breath of fresh air in an organization that was gasping for oxygen.

            And that for a chain-smoker ;) @bullmello

            PS – on Q85’s points:
            1. good management is the main reason it is now all coming together;
            2. his first test was when he walked into the door at a team in disarray
            3. let’s keep in judging him; but so far so good (and I was extremely sceptical before he started – expected only politics and little team leadership based on his background!).

        2. Ricciardo would fit in well – a public face for the new positive culture, a proven winner unlike, say, Bottas – plus all his Italian connections, and he deserves better than that bunch of sore losers he’s with now.

          It might wipe the smile off Vettel’s face though. Again.

          1. Ricciardo’s Italian connections would work against him. Ferrari don’t won’t Italian drivers or drivers of Italian heritage.

            While Brazilian drivers Massa and Barrichello drove for Ferrari in recent years and they were both of Italian heritage they were there because of South America being such a massive market for Fiat. If they were actually both Italian they would of never got anywhere near a Ferrari F1 race seat.

            1. Bianchi, Marciello and a few others in their young driver programme says they do not ignore Italian drivers or people of Italian heritage. If you are very good you will be considered.

          2. Huh! I will like to see a Riccardo to Ferrari thing just so i can get a glimpse of Vettel’s face when he hears about it, lol.

    3. Why would Red Bull want Audi’s help? They want to be the car in front not two inches off the lead cars rear end.

      1. ForzaAlonsoF1
        12th May 2015, 18:28

        I actually LOL’d!!!

    4. People can criticise Red Bull all they want, but at least they are having the machismo to shake things up and try to initiate change.

      This whole push for Audi makes me excited, for whatever the reason Ecclestone being gone would be the best possible outcome for Formula 1 at the moment.

      1. Red Bull have every right to be unhappy with their engine supplier, but if they had some class they would put a muzzle on Helmet Marko, and they would be expressing their concerns directly to their supplier, behind closed doors, rather than letting Helmet Marko sling mud at Reanult in the media. That does not solve any of their problems, and makes them look immature. For a company that is so good at marketing, it makes me wonder why they haven’t already put a muzzle on Marko. All he seems to do is draw criticism to Red Bull, and make the job of the actual team leadership harder than it needs to be.

      2. @skipgamer. Right, machismo, eh. Calling your long term engine partner names is shaking things up and initiating change? Calling for a back to the past old engine with Bernie is initiating change?

        Sorry, but to me this feels like a lot of Bull…t

        Sure, would be nice to have Audi, or any other of their brands in F1. But why would Audi go with Red Bull if they did? For the great prospect of not getting PR from winning with them (although Audi would likely do a better PR job than the Renault guys did) and getting bashed when things are not working out? Sorry, but I can’t see that happening.

        1. Renault made a really, really mess of it last year and this year. Last year RBR had the patience, didn’t burn Renault to much, although they weren’t really happy last year.

          This year, with a worse engine (how is this even possible!) RBR are frustrated as hell. Because of all the engine troubles and lack of power they are in no position to develop their car as they could in 2010-2013.

          So yeah, RBR are calling names, because they feel betrayed in a way. I can totally imagine the frustration of RBR in this dead lock position. Yet another season wasted, and probably also the next, if they keep Renault (at least with Audi they can work on something new, knowing that this also could take a few years, like McLaren). People should have a bit more empathy with RBR, with all their hard working employees.

          1. Actually Red Bull were calling names last year this time almost more than they are now @favomodo

          2. RedBull messed up with their chassis this year, and with similar performance from the Renault engines last year. So when Merc and Ferrari improved, Renault stayed where there were – and that is what is making you feel that they went backwards. This year’s car has been beaten by Torro Rosso twice in qualifying and once in race – with the same Renault engines. That explains RedBull’s case.

    5. As a Red Bull fan, I am quite concerned over their engine situation. As an observer, it appears to me that it is more than just the engine that is causing problems though. Their sister team has the same engine and they don’t seem to be suffering as much, which means that there must be an issue with the whole package of the car.
      I would like to see them rid themselves of Renault, but I don’t see Audi coming into the sport, and I don’t see Ferrari or Mercedes offering an engine contract. That only leaves Cosworth as a current F1 Engine supplier? Well, Honda too, but I don’t think Red Bull will turn to them.
      I kind of think that they should sell the team and act solely as a primary sponsor for a year or two until they find a new engine partner.

      1. @irejag – It’s hard to imagine a corporation like Audi signing on to replace Renault and setting themselves up to being publicly ridiculed by Red Bull’s key people if things don’t go right. My wish would be for Audi to buy Red Bull outright to be their own constructor and engine supplier. Can’t see them doing it any other way really.

        1. As with anything Red Bull related it would be wise to read between the lines. Not to long ago there were whispers that Renault development is so far behind that they technically in breach of contract. If that is the case, you can bet this is in court right now – and is quite confidential at this moment. Most likely due to a settlement being worked out. If this were the case, the actual words being used by Red Bull right now are likely a political stunt and not really intended for you and I the general audience.

          Audi could have communication restrictions in a contract that would prevent this style of bad-mouthing. Renault might have – but if they are in breach Red Bulls language might have restrictions lifted and we get statements like this. If they have a pre-contract with AUDI (very possible) then the comments being made by Red Bull are politically motivated to strengthen their position within the contract dispute. I dont claim to know how the current language being used by Red Bull would benefit their case – but I do know Red Bull plays chess not checkers and gut reacting to a statement being made by them is a few steps behind.

          1. You are way of the mark because Red Bull has no need to get out of any contract with Renault since their contract expires in a year.

        2. I agree with most of what you say, however, most of the ridicule we read about coming from Red Bull has been little bits of quotes here and there. It would not surprise me if the media has a twisted their words and quoted them out of context in order to create stories. I don’t trust media to give us all of the facts.

    6. Is it just me or is throwing any sort of material onto the track just a plain bad idea. Of course cleaning a dirty visor is pretty important and tear away visors make that a simple solution in the middle of a dynamic environment. Wonder if dropping those into the cockpit is a better idea.

      1. @dstaplet that as a really good common sense idea. I was thinking the same thing as I am sure other drivers have had issues caused by brake ducts etc being blocked by tear offs. Having said that it must be quite difficult to hold a piece of film in gloved hands in the airstream whilst doing 200mph and it may not actually be practical.

      2. I guess a potential issue with dropping it into the cockpit is that it could get wrapped round the pedals or get under the drivers feet which could cause them to slip off the pedals or something.
        With the throttle been fly by wire I guess there is also a risk they could interfere with the sensors that control that or some other telemetry sensors that may be down in the cockpit.

        Would the air pressure difference not also just suck it out of the cockpit anyway, You often see the seat beat straps & drinks tubing been sucked upwards & we have had cases in the past where the drivers helmet has been pulled upwards (Was it Button at Hockenheim in 2004?).

        1. Yeah, those are all valid reasons not to do it. They took the route with the least amount of risk involved, driving around with an extremely dirty visor is a massive risk (can’t see the braking zones or use visual cues to do so) and having to make a pit stop to get it cleaned is not very practical. Throwing it in the cockpit may interfere with the brake and accelerator and other systems.

          1. How about making those visor things melt after being removed or something?

    7. I’m caring less and less about whether or not Red Bull stay in F1. It’s a team full of hugely talented people (especially the drivers) and I don’t really want to see them out of the sport. On the other hand, Red Bull is just another big corporation treating Formula 1 as a marketing tool instead of a sport, so if Red Bull do decide to give up because they’ve gone all of 2 years without winning the title, then good riddance.

      1. @jackysteeg – It’s really sad for for Red Bull how bitter and ungrateful they have become in such a short time after winning 4 consecutive driver and constructor titles each. I feel sorry for their fans.

        1. I don’t because they went and became fans of such disgusting team. I will never forgive them for going to bed with Bernie and ruining FOTA when the teams finally for the first time managed to keep Ferrari away from sucking Bernie’s nether regions.

      2. I’ve always felt they treat it, as you say, as a marketing tool and not a sport. And funnier still, I’m in America, and though I see Red Bull commercials all the time that highlight seemingly every other sport under the sun they seem to have a hand in… not once have I ever glimpsed a trace of F1 in the mix. Never. So from a State-side perspective, it seems as though they never cared whether anyone here even knew they had an F1 team in the first place.

      3. Even if Redbull would leave the sport the team will not. There is too much money in the venture. Naturally it will be sold, not disbanded and the talents will be go on.
        I would not miss Redbull, as a brand. I would miss the team but that is highly unlikely.

    8. I can’t believe Red Bull would give Audi a public ultimatum. Negotiations like that usually take place behind closed doors. It feels totally classless, hardly an incentive for Audi.

      1. @estesark – It is rather classless, but that is RBR’s ungrateful and bitter act these days. I don’t think they will tie in with Red Bull or anyone else. They may buy a team and build their own complete package. They don’t need Red Bull’s nonsense. Without Newey’s full attention to F1 it looks as though the Bull has stuck themselves in quicksand.

      2. @estesark

        I just cannot see Audi wanting to partnering up with Red Bull.

        Audi is a team with great racing pedigree and heritage, just as Renault is. First of all, would they want to partner up with a drinks company that uses the sport as a marketing gimmick? Would they want all the success they achieve with Red Bull to be attributed to the car designer? Would they want to be publicly slated when things aren’t going great?

        Lastly, would they want to work with someone like Horner? The man has proved himself to be a sore loser and a classless whiner. Additionally, without Newey, Red Bull isn’t half the team it used to be. Audi would be more keen on a partnership with Mclaren than Red Bull.

        1. I’d say if Audi wanted in, they might have a look at buying Sauber (for being relatively close, although it does not have a wind tunnel, but then again, Audi/Porsche/VW surely can solve that), or scooping up Enstone, which has modern tech and might be for a good price. Buying RBR could be an option as well, the team is well equipped. But it would be more expensive, I guess. @todfod, @esesark.

          Sure enough this “come in or lose your chance” talk will not go down well with many in the company.

          1. Correction: Sauber does have a wind tunnel, a very good one and Audi used it multiple times during the development of their LMP cars. Even Ferrari (who supplies engines to the swiss team) had a go in the past…

            1. yes, sorry. Sauber have no simulator and probably outdated CFD

          2. @Bascb I think if Audi were to join F1 they’d be looking to go down the HAAS route of completely building their own turnkey operation without the baggage of association with a previous manufacturer. They have the expertise and the facilities to do it already. But realistically there’s no way that Audi would want to join F1. They’ve made that perfectly clear over the years – they simply see no value in it, and it would be a hug investment with no guarante of being anywhere near competitive. If you needed any more discouragement than the obviously toxic political situation (would they join a sport where they’d earn less money than half the teams for identical results?), just look at the plight of all the most recent teams to join, and look as well at how Honda are having to go through a very embarassing learning curve in public right now. No freedom of design, no means of showing off their technological distinctiveness, just an enormous investment in something which might be competitive but might be a disappointing joke pootling around at the back of the grid. Why ever would they bother?

            1. I agree that its hard to imagine Audi just “rebranding” a team they bought, rather building their own team from scratch.

              My guess is that even if they might be interested, it will take at least another year for anyone there to decide and then some time until they get into it.
              But seeing how Renault and Honda struggle with getting into a stride, not sure that is a good lure for them.

            2. @Bascb To see one of F1’s most experienced teams currently languishing behind the midfield will tell you that the technical challenge is ridiculously high. Not that I think it’s a challenge that’s beyond Audi – their sportscar outfit is at least as technically accomplished as any current F1 team. But the whole ethos of F1 at the moment is of building a ‘paint by numbers’ solution – each car and power unit is substantially the same, with the only differences being in the minutiae of the detail. This is literally the opposite of the Vorsprung Durch Technik philosophy of Audi – they wouldn’t be able to come up with their own engineering solutions as they would be so restricted by the rules that their car would be more or less technologically identical to all the rest.

              Participation in motorsport isn’t, for Audi, just a case of taking part for the sake of success, as it would be for the likes of Red Bull. it’s about showing off their technical prowess – showign the vorsprung durch technik in action. It’s not about winning. it’s about showing that you have created the best technology in the world. In sportscars, Audi does that magnificently. In F1, even if they are successful, it wouldn’t enhance their brand identity at all. Any more than it has for Mercedes, really.

            3. @mazdachris: An excellent point that illuminates the heart of the problem. Engineering prowess in modern F1 has little to do with overcoming physical constraints, it’s about finding loopholes in the rules that other teams haven’t spotted.

            4. I just wonder if in fact there is nothing to substantiate Audi’s potential entry into F1 with RBR, and it is only being brought up as a shot across the bow at Renault.

            5. @MazdaChris

              I can’t find it right now, but I saw an article recently that compared the investment and return (in terms of brand value) between Mercedes’ F1 team and (I think) Audi’s WEC operation, and it found that Mercedes were getting much, much more bang for their buck. For all its problems, F1 is still the most visible motorsport category in the world, and there’s definitely value to be found there – if you can be successful.

        2. ForzaAlonsoF1
          12th May 2015, 18:50

          As a further addition to your notes on Christian Horner I’d find it morally wrong [for VAG] to enter into business with a man who himself is morally bankrupt. I refer to his leaving his heavily pregnant wife of many years for a former Spice Girl. I personally could not do business with a man who thinks this is okay but gets all uppity when an engine manufacturer with whom he celebrated dominant success falls short on a promise.

    9. I was listening to an analysis of the Honda PU by Craig Scarborough on Peter Windor’s YouTube channel, and Peter mentioned that – according to his sources – the engineers at Woking are saying that the Honda PU possibly accounts for only 30-50% of the deficit to Mercedes, and hence the chassis is seemingly the cause of over half the deficit. McLaren-Honda were ahead of all the Renault-powered cars in the speed trap at Barcelona, so this would make sense.

      On one hand, that’s a bit worrying, as if it’s true then that’s 3 bad chassis in a row for McLaren, suggesting they are in a bit of a slump at the moment. However, the positive is that the Honda PU may not be as far behind as many thought it was. I imagine that making up a chassis deficit would be easier than making up a huge PU deficit, given the token situation.

      In a way, McLaren’s situation is a bit like Ferrari’s in 2014 – Ferrari had acquired the services of the highly-rated James Allison in late 2013, but he arrived too late to have a significant influence over the 2014 car. However, he clearly managed to produce a very good chassis the following year when he had more time to influence the culture and direction in the technical team.
      Similarly, McLaren recruited Peter Prodromou in late 2014, and while he has influenced the 2015 McLaren, I imagine he arrived too late to have as much influence as he would’ve liked – similar to Allison at Ferrari, I think that the following year will be when he is really able to “work his magic” on the chassis. If the Honda PU is indeed now ahead of the Renault, then a big Ferrari-style power jump between seasons – coupled with an improved chassis – could see them make a big leap forward for 2016, much as Ferrari did for 2015. So there may still be some faint cause for optimism if McHonda have everything in place to make big improvements in the future – but that’s a very big if.

      1. I think a part of it is that the car has not been developed all that much since they launced it, largely due to not having much mileage to gather data with it in the pre-season and lack of running in early races @polo.
        But if that is part of it, then we should now start to see some improvements of the chassis after seeing the McLarens finishing a ocuple of races.

      2. I think Mclaren are in way more trouble than Ferrari was.

        Ferrari haven’t been innovative over the past decade or so, but they have been great at copying innovation from front runners. They learn’t from their mistakes in PU design, and once they found the loopholes to re work on their PU, we knew they would start closing the gap in terms of performance. Being an engine manufacturer with a year to learn from your mistakes is a BIG advantage, as compared to relying on an external partner who has been absent from the sport for so long. Ferrari took a year to catch up to Mercedes, but I expect Honda will take at least 2 years.

        Regarding chassis design, James Allison has been in a leadership position before, and has been a part of several different championship winning teams. Prodromou has only been a part of team Newey’s aero, and this is his first try at taking full responsibility to creating a race winning car. He will have a steep learning curve over the next couple of seasons and Mclaren should be prepared for it.

        Honestly, I just cannot see the bright side to the situation Mclaren find themselves in. I think Mclaren and Honda would have to write off 2015 and 2016, or at least use them as 2 seasons of testing to prepare for 2017.

        1. @BasCB That’s a very good point about the lack of mileage and therefore lack of development.

          @todford You make a lot of good points here – especially regarding the fact that Peter Prod has never really led a technical team before.
          Thinking about the way Red Bull-Renault have fallen back in both the chassis and PU department this year, it’s clear that simply even closing the gap at all is not guaranteed if people aren’t in the right places.

          I probably wasn’t clear though, I didn’t really mean that I think McLaren are in exactly the same position as Ferrari 2014 – clearly their position is a lot worse at the moment – and they certainly won’t be able to challenge for the championship or even win races next year IMO. But perhaps there is the potential to make a leap up the grid, even if that just means leaping up from finishing 10th to 5th. Something tells me McLaren’s journey to the top will be a slow and painful one though…

    10. Pretty unusual for a team that has a contract and commercial ties with a car brand specifically mentioning the name of another car brand that it would prefer to do business with!

      RedBull and Renault’s relationship is a complete mess these days.

      1. AUDI pre-contract signed?

    11. The Bernie Ecclestone Award for prestige given to F1. Awesome.

      I’d put Sir Frank’s achievements at a level way above the prestige of that accolade.

    12. Leave, Red Bull… if you want to quit, quit.

      1. Audi can take the space freed up by Red bull and have a full factory team

    13. If F1 cannot survive without Red Bull, then maybe F1 shouldn’t survive.
      Threat quits by any team are like a 4-year-old telling his mom he doesn’t love her anymore because she won’t let him have ice cream.

    14. Cant the red bull use the Honda engine? I believe the engine in next year will become competitive.

      1. Depends on the Honda deal with McLaren. Besides, like McLaren, Red Bull sees the benefit of being a works team.

    15. The only reservations I have with the Red Bull-Audi stories is that I can’t see the incentive for the engine supplier. Audi have been linked to Formula 1, roughly from memory, about every 2 years for the past 20. Each time the decision from them is that they won’t enter either because they feel they would need to take over a team or that they have some issue with the way F1 is currently being run. Don’t we all.

      I simply can’t see a VW Group brand needing F1. They are successful in rallying, touring cars and sports cars, all which could be considered more ‘road relevant’ than F1. Then they need to endure a partnership with a team which is understandably in a decline. Would a power unit change put Red Bull ahead of Mercedes? I highly doubt it. The slow progress of 2 of the 4 PU suppliers will be a factor in any brands desire to enter F1 and the
      difficulty to develop in the current F1 climate, with limited test days, would deter most applicants. There would have to be a significant rule change a la 2009 and 2014 for anyone to consider it.

      On top of all that, there is not a great deal of positive news in F1 recently. There are complaints, many justified, concerning Bernie, prize money, the number of teams, time to test, DRS, tyres, noise level, number of GPs outside Europe, number of historic GPs being replaced, front wings eliminating overtaking and overly officious rule makers.

      I love F1 as much as anyone, but the sports in a bad way at the moment. I say that because I can not really see a fresh appeal that brings in, then interacts appropriately, with new fans.

      Given all this, what really is there for Audi to get out of F1?

      1. What is there really for Mercedes to get out of F1?

        1. I’m not sure it can be compared… Merc bought in to a team and system they had confidence in at a time that the new rules for powertrains would benefit them. Anyone coming in would be insane to think they could top Merc, Ferrari, Renault and Honda under the same rules… So the original question is valid- what would Audi get out of F1 other than a fantastic way to burn piles of money.

          1. Yeah, Merc had a tremendous 2010 through 2013. It would be impossible for AUDI to recreate the success merc had in those years. In fact the success of Merc 2010-2013 would be so hard to duplicate that I suggest no other manufactures ever enter F1 because as you stated, the only thing achievable is to burn money.

            Should we start over? What is there really for Merc to get out of F1 that AUDI cannot within 5 years?

      2. @rbalonso – I agree with most of your points.
        But on the other hand, F1 is still drawing eyeballs especially in countries like China, which are a big market for the likes of Audi, Porsche, VW itself and Bentley and Lambo as well – that is the draw.

      3. If they were going to join F1 it would be more about the advertising rather than the road relevancy, it is still the most watched motorsport on the planet and its pretty good for a brand to be winning in it, such as Mercedes (even if they are more famous for luxury rather than speed).

      4. number of GPs outside Europe

        Actually I remember reading that manufacturers, like Mercedes or Ferrari, want to have more GPs outside Europe to promote their brand at these new markets. Probably more Ferrari’s are being sold out of Europe anyway.

      5. @rbalonso A key difference now is that the former VW/Audi Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech who was pretty Anti-F1 & who had a strong dislike for Bernie has stepped down. The guy who is likely to take the role (Martin Winterkorn) is more Pro-F1.

        There was also a lot of talk in the motoring industry last year that Audi were doing feasibility studies for F1 & they brought in Stefano Domenicali to help with that. Its also said that during said feasibility study most of the people on the Audi board were for an F1 program (Which could be a part of why Piech left).

        The chances of it happening now are the strongest they have been probably for over a decade.

      6. I agree with all your points guys, but I believe if Audi are to make any form of entrance into F1 it would be as a factory team and not as a customer. Since 1995, Renault has won 9 constructors championships as either an engine supplier or full team. Ferrari have 7 and Mercedes 4. Yet Renault have been brutally treated by Red Bull and currently receive nothing but bad press. Even in Red Bull’s glory days the influence of Renault was always marginalised. Set up of a team, even taking over Red Bull would be a mammoth project, especially given the cost of F1 and with 3 very serious rivals in Ferrari, Mercedes and Honda. Even as an advertising exercise I think it is better to win in many disciplines than to lose in F1.

    16. It would be slightly amusing if Red Bull did get Audi and Audi has the same issues (or worse than) Renault did but Renault sorted their issues out and built a very good engine.

      1. It would be even more amusing if Toro Rosso stayed with Renault in that scenario, just to underline the irony of the situation.

      2. @dstaplet13 – Does Audi currently supply engines only, without being a constructor, in any major racing series? I don’t believe so, but could be wrong. Hard to feature them doing that in F1. Seems they would go the full team route.

        1. Yes, the same reasoning that led BMW to doing the whole car rather than just supplying engines @bullmello. And Mercedes also saw that this route is the way to go if a manufacturer really wants to showcase their brand in F1 (and RBR is doing a good job of convincing Renault of the same!)

        2. @bullmello – I suppose they have their own works team in those other series, but they can still supply engines to RB and have their own works team (which might not go over well with the top brass at RB if they are just getting a customer engine).

          Even if Audi do not come in to f1, I wonder if RB will switch engine suppliers and give Honda a go and leave Toro Rosso to become the Renault works team.

    17. What a selfish ultimatum.

    18. Neil (@neilosjames)
      12th May 2015, 5:32

      I can’t see Audi going engine-only, they only need look at Renault’s experience to see how easily the engine supplier can be shunted aside and lose out on publicity when paired with a brand as strong as Red Bull.

      Expect they’d want at least a substantial share of the team… Audi Red Bull or something. 50% Mateschitz, 50% Audi, with a clause stating that every time Horner or Marko whinged about something the whole extended Porsche family could punch them in the face.

      1. clause stating that every time Horner or Marko whinged about something the whole extended Porsche family could punch them in the face

        hahahahahha

        +1

    19. I don’t think Audi and Porsche will racing against each other in WEC for very long, so maybe Audi could join F1. I’ve heard rumors about Audi buying Toro Rosso, building their own team and supplying Red Bull with the engines. But I don’t feel them doing that, F1 doesn’t seem the right place for Audi.

    20. FlyingLobster27
      12th May 2015, 7:39

      Wow, thanks for the COTD, @keithcollantine ! For one, I really enjoy the new round-up feature, keep it going!

      About Audi’s links to F1, I don’t see what they can get out of it. Audi have always been innovators, from the rear-engined Auto Union GP cars to four-wheel-drive in rallies and Diesel racers in endurance racing, but I fear that any solution they could imagine to bring forward in F1 would be promptly protested and banned. Mercedes were clever with their split turbo, but that’s mostly just moving legal parts around. I bet variable geometry turbos, like Audi use in their LMPs, wouldn’t be (possibly already aren’t) allowed.
      Note that this isn’t specifically criticism of F1; it’s just the constrained nature of formula racing.

      1. I think there’s a lot Audi could gain from ERS techonolgies, and they could make it road relevant. I don’t believe this will be the sole reason that Audi will enter the sport, but I do think that having another German manufacturer to challenge and beat Mercedes is a great incentive.

        1. FlyingLobster27
          12th May 2015, 10:17

          @todfod, I think you’re right in saying that Audi vs Porsche, although both are playing the game, doesn’t make as much sense as Audi vs Mercedes. Also, Diesel is getting bad press lately, so maybe moving back to petrol would also make sense – and an F1 PU might be the way to go, because Porsche are already on that front, and already on 8 MJ, in the WEC. But Audi, and VAG in general, needn’t go to F1 when they’re already in a series that allows them to develop ERS more freely and more efficiently (more testing time for instance).

    21. I feel like Red Bull’s exit could be an incentive for an engine manufacturer to come in into an established set-up, with a winning culture and established knowledge and build on from that.

      Not sure if Toyota would want to come back, but buying Red Bull would make more financial sense than all that waste during the early noughts.

    22. If Red Bull quit F1, I will stop watching it. Or at least threaten to.

      1. Unless you already own two Rolex watches, and are thinking about a third, Bernie won’t care if you stay or go.

    23. McLaren haven’t won a constructors’ title since 1998 and both them and Ferrari haven’t won a drivers’ title for years, yet they aren’t crying around all the time. Red Bull thrashed the competition four years straight and as soon as they had lost their momentum they started showing their annoyance, already last year, and now they have someone precise to blame they don’t waste the opportunity to do so. If Audi came on Red Bull would most certainly become only a sponsor, unless the Germans simply supplied the engines which I have my doubts about. Nonetheless it is quite an admission as the Audi rumours were trashed for months and now seem serious. And despite the dramatic situation in which the sport finds itself, to have Mercedes and Audi enter in the space of six years, Honda coming in as an engine supplier, Lotus, Williams and Ferrari on the grid, one could be forgiven for thinking this is one of the most interesting line-ups since we had Alfa Romeo and Maserati. At that point Toro Rosso’s future would be in jeopardy, and if Renault take over that would be good news for the sport as a whole, though I’ve always liked them as a team and think that we need a Minardi to face all these manufacturer giants.

    24. Marko needs to shut up. For good. Who in hell will like to join forces (and put a lot of cash on the table) with a company that takes all the fame for themselves when they are winning and let you rot in public with you are not winning? Why Helmut Marko thinks that Audi will enter a fray knowing that Mercedes have now a solid winner package? And, on top of that, dragging a “partner” like Marko? What Red Bull Racing is doing to Renault is just shameful.
      At one point I thought that I wouldn’t mind if Red Bull collects its stuff and quit. Now I am starting to think that maybe it would be a very good thing for F1 if they just go.
      For decades the F1 fans have been in love with Minardi, because of the raw passion the small team put into racing, even when their cars were at the back of the grid. To me, Marko and RBR represents the perfect opposite of that. I can´t see why F1 needs them.

    25. RedBull is just a drinks company. Who was it to say that? Lewis? 100% right!

      1. A drinks company who have been highly successful in F1.

        I’ve always felt that the background of a team is unimportant & that its only the on track success that matters. Red Bull have had that success (And may have more in the future) so the fact the parent company is a drinks company should be irrelevant when talking about the race team as there a team with just as much passion & will to succeed as any of the others.

        It’s also worth considering that the boss of Red Bull Dietrich Mateschitz has a massive passion for the sport & wanted to get involved with it because of that.

    26. I would not be happy to see Audi enter F1.

      First of all because I like what they’ve done with their sportscar programme, they’ve grown into a respectable team on merit and I think endurance racing became a long-lasting part of Audi’s heritage. I would hate to see them bring that era to an end as I doubt they would support two programmes, both in the WEC and F1. Also, it’s worth noting that this case translates in a gain for F1 and a loss for the WEC.

      Second of all because of their potential association with a less respectable team – Red Bull. With the way they’ve been treating everyone, starting with their constant bashing of Renault and ending up with Marko making public statements about VW’s own corporate affairs and throwing an ultimatum out there for Audi… let’s just say their philosophy is opposite to that of Audi’s and that I don’t really see this developing into a healthy partnership.

      Third of all, Formula 1’s current way of conducting business is unsustainable. We can all agree on that, I believe. More manufacturers joining at this point will be interpreted as another success for the Ecclestone model and it will only encourage the big heads out there to do more of the same and will give them an extra incentive to push customer teams away. I believe this a the point where F1 needs to be sanctioned, not encouraged. F1 needs more and more manufacturers to come in and say: “We’re interested and we would like to join the sport, but we’re not gonna approve of the costs implied, the politics and the way this championship is being run at the moment”.

      F1 needs to acknowledge its own issues and grow a backbone more than it needs new manufacturers at this point.

      1. They could do both WEC & F1, Especially if the F1 program is only an engine supply.

        After all they already do a lot more than just WEC with factory backed GT teams, a full factory DTM teams, A factory run tt cup that runs alongside DTM as well as other commitments.

        Also worth pointing out here that as expensive as F1 is right now, Its actually cheaper than WEC because a lot of the technology & development there running in LMP1-HY is massively expensive. Audi are said to be spending more on there WEC program per-year than most of the F1 grid combined.

    27. Surely Marko has just told Audi to wait till Red Bull folds, and buy the assets?

    28. It’s certainly a bizarre thing for Marko to say. I’m thinking it’s still all part of a push for equalisation this year with Ecclestone working behind the scenes telling everyone who matters that F1 can’t sustain the loss of Red Bull at this juncture.

    29. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      12th May 2015, 13:18

      If it wasn’t for the fact they are 4 cars and F1 was already low on teams I’d be happy to see the whining gits leave, the sport was fine without them before, it would be fine after if not for the overall lack of teams.

    30. The point about Mercedes F1 is that the team is just called Mercedes. All the publicity is undiluted Mercedes, with a teeny bit of Petronas. They’ve spent a lot of money, but they get value out of it with all that undiluted coverage.

      So as has been said I just can’t see Audi settling for anything different. They won’t want to bother with Red Bull Audi. It would make them look junior to Mercedes, and as Keith’s amusing tweet indicates it would just lay them open to Renault’s lose-lose proposition.

      I can’t see Renault getting their engine back up to the top for next year either, and I sense that’s Dietrich’s horizon. So I reckon he’ll sell the teams, or flounce off and disband them, since he doesn’t need the money. Perhaps Bernie will buy them, and sell them on at a 300% mark-up.

    31. Why are Pirelli moaning about teams choosing their own tyre compound? On the related BBC article, it says However Pirelli is concerned there would be a risk of some teams picking tyres that were too soft for certain tracks so they could achieve better grid positions by using tyres that were unsuitable for races.

      Grid position is fairly meaningless today with DRS. If you’re losing your rears and don’t get enough traction out of the corner leading onto the DRS zone, you’re absolutely defenceless.

      Surely they could still limit the compounds on safety reasons? Perhaps have several compounds but always bring a “super soft”, “soft”, “medium” and “hard” option. The teams can pick 2 out of them but they aren’t always necessarily the same compounds at each race?

      1. @petebaldwin
        IIRC in 2012 pirelli said they want to expand their tire range upto 6 or 7 instead of current 4 dry compounds SS/S/M/H.
        I think that would be worth a try now and allow teams to choose any compound apart from Softest compound of all at high downforce circuits likes of Sepang/Spain/Silverstone/Suzuka and Hardest Compound at Street circuits or Low speed circuit tracks likes of Monaco , Hungary etc unless they allow it to choose the softest compound/Hardest Compound.
        Also take out the 2 compounds must run rule, if a team believe they can run Hardest compound with out need of stopping then it will be possible for them to stay ahead of faster cars through out the race. Vice Versa if they feel that they can position themselves with pushing and do 3 stopper instead of 1 on choosen softer compound let them do it by pushing through out the race.
        Consider 2015 Spanish GP If Merc want to run whole race on hard/medium in the places like spain let them be and this allows Ferrari to run Softer tire through out the race and may push the mercedes. if they choose particular compounds then they will optimize their cars setup to the track/tire even more than finding a compromise of both tires like now which will allow teams to run more aggressively

    32. I don’t agree with all the defending of Renault going on here. Just because it is Red Bull criticizing them does not mean Renault are in the right.

      The Renault PU was very poor last year. The fact that it worked well in one drivers car, and that the driver in question was Ricciardo, seems to have blinded a lot of people to that truth. But the other seven drivers with Renault power in 2014 suffered quite badly. And this season Renault seem to have taken a step backward rather than forward. If, this time next year, the Honda PU is still weak and unreliable then I guarantee McLaren is going to be complaining about it.

      As for the lack of publicity Renault received when RB won, that’s due to Renaults own poor marketing. They’re the ones who decided to put the Infiniti brand on the Red Bull car.

      1. I’m still shaking my head about the Infiniti branding. Infiniti is basically a U.S.-only brand—almost all of its roughly 150K yearly sales are in the U.S. However, F1 has very poor exposure in the U.S., and it’s not like Renault/Nissan/Infiniti is doing anything in the U.S. to leverage their F1 involvement for marketing. Right now, it seems they are gearing up to make WEC a very big deal for them…under Nissan branding. The Infiniti brand is going to confuse most people in the world and it has no traction where the cars are actually sold. This tells me that Renault just doesn’t have a solid marketing concept for F1 or no real desire to put skin in the game, brand-wise.

    33. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
      12th May 2015, 16:18

      The Bernie Ecclestone what?

    34. I think Bernie should be wishing to get a Frank Williams award instead of Frank caring for any Bernie award.

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