Mercedes dominance is F1’s biggest problem – Button

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button describes the lack of competition for Mercedes as F1’s “biggest issue”.


Comment of the day

Could F1 use IndyCar engines?
Who could step in to supply 2.2-litre V6 engines for F1?

For those who don’t know, Mark Gallagher is referring to Chevy and Honda Performance Development. Twin turbo, 2.2L V6 engines is the IndyCar spec. I’m sure Chevy and HPD would love to sell engines to some F1 teams, since it is widely believed they lose money on the cost capped, engine leases to IndyCar teams.

They never release official figures, but the most common reported numbers are that the engines make between 750 to 850 hp, depending on whether they are set up for a road/street course versus a super speedway. I’m pretty confident that the engines could easily make over 900 hp. There isn’t a maximum number of engines that a driver is allowed to use each season, but there is a minimum distance that an engine must be run before it can be replaced without a penalty. I believe that number was 2,500 miles for the 2015 season. My rough math is that would equate to eight or nine F1 race weekends, so it should be possible to tune them for higher performance and still last 4 or 5 races. Also, Indycar uses E85 (ethanol) fuel, and the engines would instantly generate more power running on gasoline/petrol.

Like I said before I’m sure Chevy/Ilmor would sell their engines. I bet HPD would too, but I don’t know if Honda Japan would allow it. Supposedly Cosworth also has an Indycar V6 engine design, but could never get a manufacturer to fund the testing and production of it. If I’m Red Bull (and the rule change actually happens), I’d start paying Cosworth to develop and build a V6 engine for me that no one else could have(making me a de facto works team again), at a fraction of the cost of a hybrid power unit.
Forrest Lanier (@forrest)

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123 comments on “Mercedes dominance is F1’s biggest problem – Button”

  1. There was an independent engine, craig pollock had something to do with it??

    but if i remember right the date for these engines to come in was put back a year and they had to abandon it. I am assuming there was no way they could afford another year of no one paying them for it.

    1. Plus the fact that they began R&D when the engine was an I 4 not a V6.

    2. Just remembered “Pure” was, IIRC the Brand name.

    3. Looks like most of PURE engine went to the Honda PU:

      This leaves with only the Cosworth engine, which I agree Red Bull should help develop.

      1. @corix, the poster in that particular thread – xpensive – was eventually kicked out of that forum for trash posting and intentionally stirring up arguments, so I would treat his comments with a major pinch of salt. He was utterly adamant for several months that the PURE project was a means for Peugeot to enter into F1, right up until the point he then became utterly convinced that it must have been Honda behind the project…

        In reality, nothing of the PURE engine went to Honda because PURE had nothing in the first place. I have been informed by a motorsport engineer whom PURE approached that PURE was set up essentially as a vehicle to try and lure an OEM into F1 – an attempt which was almost immediately rebuffed. PURE itself did very little development work because Pollock was convinced that he could draw on the resources of an OEM to fund and develop the engine – resources that never materialised.

      2. You cannot confirm a rumour with 100% ‘pure’ speculation. No-where in that link is anything confirmed with fact..

    4. The only thing that PURE had was some fancy looking, but ultimately inaccurate engineering drawings of an in line 4 engine block.

      Even then, there was too much uncertainty over the direction the new engine regulations were heading in to actually build a prototype.

      It’s probably worth acknowledging that Honda very rarely ‘buy in’ a new technology. They usually work it out for themselves because doing it gives them more knowledge.

  2. I guess dominance is ok if you are Ferrari or RedBull or McLaren or Williams but not if you are Mercedes. That said a little more freedom to develop a competitive PU would help a lot and please both the fans who love the technical aspect of building the fastest car and those fans who are only interested in the fastest driver winning.

    1. Keith Crossley
      25th October 2015, 0:40

      HoHum Hits it Home!

      I have sat through decades of Red Cars and Blue Cars, patiently waiting for a team I back to win. We’ve had a few… and now we have 2014 (still tense for the final result) and 2015 (fer cryin’ out loud, there’s a red car in 2nd place).

      Reality has been distorted for they that are complaining.

    2. Huh? No it’s not. People were making the exact same complaints during the recent years of Ferrari and RBR success. Williams and McLaren have not dominated in a long time.

      1. Well said. Someone’s hurt Mercedes dominance was criticized….

        1. Well it ain’t me, I’ve never been critical of any team for building the best car and having fast (est) drivers, I think that’s what they are supposed to do in F1. So the corollary is I’m not emotionally bound to any team either.

          @selbbin, it’s about time Williams and McL got back to being dominant again, especially since they both had Mercedes power. Before them of course there was Lotus (real) BRM, Cooper etc. but the rules allowed for more innovation then.

          1. It’s not Mercedes being criticized for their success, it’s Formula 1.

    3. @hohum

      I guess dominance is ok if you are Ferrari or RedBull or McLaren or Williams but not if you are Mercedes.

      Oh yes, because people were not complaining during the Ferrari and Red Bull era of domination…

      The problem is that the entire pecking order is stale, this makes the racing stale. 2015 is easily the worst season since 2002 in terms of predictability. Well, at least in 2002 qualifying was unpredictable.

      1. @kingshark, Perhaps the headline should have read “Always having a dominant team is the biggest problem with F1”.

        1. @hohum
          Always having a dominant team? We’ve had 13 dominant teams (84, 87, 88, 89, 92, 93, 96, 02, 04, 11, 13, 14, 15) in the last 36 seasons (1980-2015).

          What makes 2015 so terrible is that there is absolutely no variety in the pecking order even behind Mercedes. It is also the third consecutive season with a dominant car, something I cannot ever recall happening in F1. At least not in the past 35 years.

          1. What?

            MS five consecutive titles?

          2. @andy-bantam

            The five years were broken up by 2000 and 2003, with Mclaren equal to Ferrari in the former, and Mclaren & Williams close in 2003.

    4. @hohum That is how you want to remember it. There was plenty of complaining all the way through from several parties involved…

    5. the competition were closer in other dominance’s….with more development.and testing… but now they got a huge advantage and everything was totally blocked.. if not for Ferrari finding the legally loopholes.. 2015 could have been the worse season..

      so please stop the whining.. Mercedes fans specially lewis worshippers have a Delusions of persecution.. and racism.. think everyone hate him cuz HE IS black ghetto wannabe… and drives a Mercedes rocket at match 5

  3. LOL, what else could Ron possibly do other than blocking Red Bull’s move to Honda? McLaren is the team that suffered Honda’s current engine development, McLaren made the deal with Honda for the japanese company to return to F1… for Red Bull to suddenly go with them, benefiting, maybe, from the development and public embarrasment McLaren suffered, that’s just unacceptable for Ron and the team. And who can blame them!

    1. Agreed. Furthering that, Red Bull surely will demand equal (or greater) attention and equipment as McLaren from Honda. If McLaren Honda beats Red Bull Honda on the track next year, Christian, Marko and Dieter will whine that they’re not getting equal treatment.

      1. @tim-m
        Completely agree.

        Red Bull are very demanding of their engine partners, and it would naive to think that they will lay back and let Mclaren get the newer parts and decide the development direction. There will be Honda resource sharing between Red Bull and Mclaren as well, which could slow down Mclaren’s agenda as well. So, I can completely understand why Ron Dennis would want to block the move.

        But if you look at the flip side, Honda could probably could get a lot of good input from Red Bull. Based on recent form, Red Bull is far superior to Mclaren in engineering and design, and the more mileage Honda gets, the more stable their PU development direction will be.

        I guess there are both pros and cons to the decision, but from a pure security of future point of view, Ron blocking it was expected

      2. @tim-m I’m lost as to why it is not ‘right’ from Red Bull to demand equal treatment…

        1. This is F1 where all arguments are of a schoolboy level. If this was any other real sport people would not care who supplied what to whom. Imagine track athletes crying that the Jamaicans should be denied Nike running shoes because they are faster than everyone else. Imagine the calls for the dominance to stop because they always win the races, maybe they should be given substandard equipment to make everyone happy. That would not be sporting there, and it’s not sporting here in F1. People seem to hate it when teams/people try to win. I thought the point of a competition was to find a winner, that is someone/thing that is better than the others. The goal of any competitor is to win or they shouldn’t be taking part.

    2. Exactly. McLaren took the gamble to have a works engine, did the hard yards and suffered the consequences, and now Red Bull wants to sweep in and take the benefits just as they are sorting out the issue and the engine development limitations look like being removed. They should kiss Renault’s rump and see out their contract.

  4. Using an Indycsr engine in f1 would be a sad farce. Anyway, If you want a powerful, sonorous, cheap motor, you can just go to the Chevy or mopar catalogs and call it a day. In fact I’m sure GM would supply 50 LS7s for free, properly branded. Using an Indycar turbo engine is not going to fool anyone as being “advanced” and is just a a very high cost way to get to a hp number and parity.

    1. Great minds obviously synchronized.

    2. Just make it “super Formula 5000”. Bolt a ported & polished 305 CI, electronic fuel injected Chevrolet aluminum block V8 w/ roller bearings and roller-cams to a modern F1 chassis and transmission and be done with it.
      They would sound fantastic, they would go like hell, and the engines would cost no more than $750,000 per season per team.

    3. I wonder about the COTD (@forrest), are these engines capable of completing a race without refueling? Because they had that at Indycar last time I watched.

      1. are these engines capable of completing a race without refueling?

        Depends on the size of your gas tank. :)

        However, it should be pointed out that turbo-charged engines LOVE E85– You can extract more HP because of the heavily oxygenated nature of E85, but, you’ll burn considerably more gas while doing it. My particular car (turbo) has a tune available for E85… it bumps the HP up about 20-30, but drops the MPG by about 15 to 20%.

    4. Spending millions and millions of development on hybrid-engines that have less horsepower than Indycar engines (even with E85), are apparently less reliable than Indycar engines, cost WAY more than Indycar engines and in the end did nothing to improve F1 is a very sad excuse for being “advanced.”

  5. Re 2.2liter turbo V6 engines;
    Would an annual saving of $20million more than compensate for the cost of building another new car?
    In the 70’s and 80’s 1.5 liter turbo engines were producing 1000+ horsepower, after 30+ years and nearly 50% extra displacement what is the potential of these engines and how is it going to be reined in ?
    Why not save even more money and use the all aluminium (and titanium…shush) 7Liter chevy LS7 engine, loads of torque, and judging by NASCAR engines, should easily give 850-900 hp naturally aspirated.

    1. @hohum, the turbo engines were certainly not producing over 1000bhp in the 1970’s – Renault’s first generation of turbo engines struggled to crack half that (they produced 500bhp at most on the dyno in 1977, and in reality they struggled to generate that amount of power on the track for a few years).

      In reality, power outputs only briefly peaked above the 1000bhp mark – really, it was only in 1986 and 1987 that the power output peaked above that value, and even then only in qualifying trim (peak power in race trim was closer to around 850-900bhp for the strongest engines, although even then drivers usually tended to have to turn the boost down below that because of the restrictions on fuel consumption). Geoff Page – a former mechanic at Tyrrell and a former designer at Hart – has certainly questioned the power output of the engines at the time (he’s certainly stated that the Hart 415T probably never hit the power claims that were claimed, and furthermore he’s also raised serious doubts about the power claims for the BMW M12 as well).

      I’m also a little confused as to why you are drawing a comparison between the LS7 series engine and a NASCAR engine given that the latter is a bespoke unit designed for racing that has no relation to the former (the years when a NASCAR engine bore any relation to a road engine are long gone). Equally, the versions of the LS series engine that are used in GT racing don’t produce anything like as much power as you think – probably between 500-600bhp rather than the 850-900bhp you seem to be aiming for, even if those are the slightly smaller capacity versions (the 5.5 litre engines rather than the 7 litre unit, mainly because of the extra weight of the larger unit).

      1. Well Anon, I certainly wont dispute your knowledge of the facts, but I must point out that 2017 will be 30+ years after 1986/87 and 1.5 extra liters (>25%) are not to be sneezed at.
        PS. I don’t really want F1 to go down the cheap and dirty homologated engine route.

        1. @hohum

          I notice that you’re neglecting to observe that those older engines might have been ultra powerful but we’re pretty much driven to destruction at almost every session.

          The engines we have now are designed to be powerful and last multiple weekends. Take the Mercedes engine. It supplies great power and is enormously reliable. Remember, at the beginning of the season, a maximum allocated 4 engines were supposed to last for the entire championship. It’s easy to point out that many teams haven’t managed this target, but Mercedes have, so it is possible.

          19 race weekends with only 4 engines. That’s real, undeniable technical progress.

          1. @andybantam, yes I know, and I am sure they could be much more powerful if the fuel flow was not so restricted, my point is that the indycar engines are hardly cutting edge and their power output is being restricted.

          2. @hohum

            I do see your point, but as contentious as these new power units might be, they are really impressive. It is definitely a technology that needs to be pursued. It probably won’t be too long before some of the incredible things that these engines do trickle down to end up being common place on mass market cars. It’s important stuff.

            The trouble is the timing and their turbulent conception. The financial plight that some of the teams find themselves in is probably as a consequence of their prohibitive cost. Not helped by the signing of new contracts that determine this odd, biased system of revenue distribution.

            I think that the maximum fuel load and flow rate were perhaps pinched in a little too much. There is too much emphasis on energy recovery – the expensive bit. But, here we are. Changing it now wouldn’t make any meaningful difference. Crucially, it wouldn’t make it any cheaper. It’s too late. Who ever best managed to get the energy harvesting, storage and deployment systems working within those parameters in the initial phases of design can’t be reversed by making regulation changes. That’s locked in now. It would have only made a difference if it was changed way back in the prototype stage. Opening up the fuel rate now will get more power from the ICE, but the best power unit will always be the one with the best ERS.

            I’d like to see higher fuel rates because it might encourage a little more wasted energy with exhaust popping and induction noises. That’d add some excitement.

            Another, cheaper, spec engine formula for the smaller teams, I think, would just prolong the pain of developing this technology. The only way to fix things is to allow the others to catch Mercedes. It will happen eventually, but it could take a few seasons.

            It’s in a right mess, with RBR on the brink and teams struggling to pay for these PUs, but I think F1 needs to stay the course. The mistakes that happened in the initial planning of these engines has hindered them. They’ve been publically slated by the very people who should have celebrated them. I can’t forget that F1 has a recent history of knee jerk reactions and making changes that have, with all the best will in the world, ended up making things worse. Stability is needed here.

            I actually like these engines :)

          3. @andybantam,” I actually like these engines” Me too!

  6. Apex Assassin
    25th October 2015, 0:55

    Lose these silly and expensive power units, tokens, drs, and add tyres that are grippy, predictable, and confidence inspiring and then F1 may have a chance to recapture the audience it’s pushed away and maybe in time, with proper development, it could return to being the pinnacle of MOTORsport with the fastest cars and best drivers!

    @ McLaren: they’ve never met their sales quota for the road car division. The F1 team is hemmoraging money. The Saudis are not happy. The drivers aren’t happy. The fans aren’t happy. How much longer will Ron be able to continue to pilot this once great team into oblivion???

    1. @apexassasin, Or just get those grippy, confidence inspiring and durable tyres, the rest will sort itself out given time.

  7. I wonder if Jenson would be saying this if he were driving a Merc…

    1. Well, Hamilton is. So probably.

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    25th October 2015, 1:30

    Oh come on, Ron. Don’t be a sourpuss.

    I understand why – in his position I’ve no doubt Horner would have done the same. But SOMEONE has to give them an engine? I mean it was a little funny when they threw Renault under the bus to get a Mercedes – only to be told no, then got ignored by Ferrari… but Honda too? Nah it’s not funny anymore. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of money going out the door. How ridiculously stupid would it be if Red Bull are forced to quit simply because they have no engine? What they going to do, make it a pedal car?

    Again – I understand why this has happened. You could even argue it’s Red Bull’s fault. But it’s ridiculous – people scared of being moaned at, people scared of being beaten – all the while ignoring that we’re seeing a willing team and a frontrunner being pushed into a position where they have no choice but to leave. Sure we’ll help the weaker teams or ones in trouble as long as it doesn’t allow them to beat us! Seriously, my hero.

    Given McLaren’s distasteful arrogance of late and apparent inability to see they’re no longer a frontrunning team I’d love Honda to give Red Bull the engine and watch them win races with it while McLaren dodge about in 17th and 18th for another year. McLaren just seem to be burying their heads in the sand and ignoring that this is pretty much their longest period of continual failure in their history. I mean it’s certainly not the drivers and though the engine is bad, they were still sliding backwards with the Merc unit – they got bigger problems than just Honda.

    1. They still have a Renault contract. If they swallow their pride they can easily maintain a supply.

    2. I agree, McLaren should allow Red Bull to have the Honda engine because then there will be another two teams that they will have parity with. It is difficult to tell how effective the upgrades Honda brought to America are, but Alonso did post a faster time than Button did in Final Practice 3, so the new engine is at least as good as the old one.
      If Red Bull leave then F1 as a whole suffers because F1 needs credibility to exist, and that can’t happen if Red Bull don’t have an F1 grade engine, and there are only 4 manufacturers who make them. Two manufacturers don’t want to supply Red Bull, so that leaves Renault or Honda. McLaren are a top tier team and have the ability to make at least as good a car as Red Bull can.
      There was a time when lots of teams ran Cosworth engines, and that didn’t stop some teams performing better than others.
      In addition, the extra money going to Honda will help fund the research necessary to improve the engine, and that will benefit McLaren as well as Red Bull.

    3. @rocketpanda Why does HONDA and MCLAREN have to put their heads down and allow Red Bull to jump ship and join them? It’s not their fault Red Bull decided to openly criticize, bash and whine about Renault all year long…

      Ron has said since the beginning of their deal with Honda that the only way, in his opinion, to win a championship is to be a works team for an engine manufacturer. If Red Bull gets Honda power, Mclaren will no longer be a works team, it’ll be just one team, one of the teams with the japanese engine… but they’d also be THE team, the only team, that did the lion’s share of the development, suffered in consequence and got the worst bit out of the partnership: you think McLaren being this low down the order is cheap for them? it must be a serious fail in their accounts, losing money, losing sponsor deals because the car breaks down every 5 laps or it’s just painfully slow.

      The only thing that would be of any benefit for McLaren would be the chance to run 4 engines at the same time, thus speeding up the development. Other than that, it’s all losses for them, and very big ones.

      No, Ron is totally right on this one. Tough luck to Red Bull…

    4. Could even argue?! This is totally Red Bull’s fault!!

    5. But SOMEONE has to give them an engine?

      Why? Almost the entire Red Bull organisation has managed to alienate everyone in F1. So why should ANYONE help them now?

      1. I would have thought that this was self-explanatory really.

        If nobody helps Red Bull then a team that has won four championships and numerous wins, given us numerous world-class drivers through their driver programme, a track and huge amounts of publicity and advertisement would be kicked out of the sport. Four very good drivers would be removed from the sport as well as probably nearing a thousand people out of a job. Like it or not, Red Bull are capable of fighting at the front so we would lose a team with the financial stability and technological superiority to actively take a fight to Mercedes. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant, they’ve not only left a mark on the sport but they’d be missed if they were gone. As for the Renault contract as far as I read they’d terminated it mutually with Renault, I didn’t think they could fall back on it now.

        Sure, let a team get kicked out because they cheated, (Oh wait, that’s happened and we didn’t – twice) or because they’ve committed some sort of atrocity or public shame. Even let them fall out because they run out of money. But because nobody will give them an engine? That’s utterly insane. Plus let’s not argue this is all because Red Bull are moaners and whingers – both Merc and Ferrari were pretty open supplying a strong competitor was a bad idea. Renault, granted they burnt that bridge but with the other two it’s purely because it would threaten their own team.

        So sure, let’s let McLaren block Red Bull getting a Honda engine and congratulate ourselves for letting a decent team drop out for the most pointlessly stupid of reasons. Sure someone might step into the breach to save whatever is left of Red Bull but you can bet they won’t have the money to save all of it and it’s time as a frontrunner will probably be over.

        And as for it ruining McLaren’s ‘works’ status, well that’s working terribly well for them currently isn’t it? How long until they get to a stage where they have to start making redundancies? They need all the help they can get and if that means swallowing their pride a little then they have to, because if this continues they’ll be following Red Bull out the door in a few years time.

        1. McLaren do not have to do anything. They are said to be blocking this and will do so. RedBull had a works engine and still do so it is all their fault and the loss if they leave will be a short term issue, championship teams have left before over the years. Opinions on here have no bearing on what will happen bur if RedBull go it is fine by me or they can build their own engine.

        2. Have you forgotten how McLaren’s/Dennis’ leniency was instrumental in allowing an agreement to relax engine supply rules in ’09 that made it possible for Brawn GP to compete using a Mercedes engine, ultimately helping Brawn dominate the first half of the season that McLaren were defending their WDC?

          Anyone who is insinuating that McLaren are using their vito to deny Red Bull out of bitterness, or to hinder their competitiveness, is just flat-out wrong.

          I get the impression that Red Bull’s attitude to the spirit of the rules during their dominant period has finally come back to haunt them. All of those years spent whining and moaning and their general recalcitrance did them no favours. One example I can give, again in ’09, was the dust they kicked up about the double diffuser. Protesting stewards rulings whilst developing flexible wing technology didn’t do them any favours. They did the same thing with every innovation their competitors have come up with, whilst developing similar innovations themselves. Part of the F1 game, or hypocrisy?

          I don’t want to see teams leave but I’m totally bored of listening to them whine. Unlike Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Enstone, Force India and Manor, Red Bull make and sell soft drinks. That’s their core business. Always was, always will be. The F1 team and sponsorship is a marketing exercise. Pure and simple. They’ve used F1 to promote their brand. Mission accomplished. Now they can leave.

          1. Nobody – not even Honda themselves knew how good that car was going to be. Judging on the performance of the RA108 it was reasonable to assume whatever became of the Honda team, their car wasn’t going to trouble the front of the grid.

            If you think Dennis would have been so happy to help them had he known that their car was a rocketship then you credit him with a lot more benevolence than I think he has. And if you’re right, then why was it fine to help Brawn but not Red Bull? By your logic McLaren shouldn’t stand in the way – they haven’t in the past – yet here they are. They are standing in the way for the same reason Mercedes denied Red Bull – they know Red Bull can equal or beat them and they don’t want to help a competitor – which is hindering their competetiveness. Oh, and there’s nowt wrong with that either – they want to protect their advantage. Understandable, if selfish and short sighted.

            As for Red Bull being a soft drinks maker – so what? They also own football teams and are key sponsors in multiple different sports. Maybe it is largely advertising to them but it is to most – if not all – the teams and engine manufacturers. Not only does it sell cars but the whole plethora of other sponsors they contain – Button and Alonso sell watches in shops. In fact, beyond Williams, Sauber, Force India and Manor – every other team is nothing more than a billboard on wheels, selling cars, computers, drinks… take your pick. But because Red Bull are a drinks company first and foremost that somehow invalidates them?

            Sure they’ve whinged about double-diffusers, but they lost – Brawn, Williams and Toyota were allowed to continue running the technology. It’s worth pointing out that Red Bull weren’t the only people complaining either as both Ferrari and Renault contested the technology and added the diffusers to their cars too, it was only Red Bull that couldn’t. F1 is littered with incidents where a team complains about another’s advantage so I can’t see why they’ve whined more than anyone else. As you say it’s part of the game and it’s happened long before Red Bull and it’ll happen long after them too.

          2. @rocketpanda

            I’m not trying to diminish Red Bull Racing’s credibility because their parent company is maker of soft drinks. I’m implying that their core business is different than companies who’s core business is to be a Grand Prix team. Although, the ultimate end game for most corporate companies is to make money, the subtle differences at their core means that they are bound to have slightly different priorities. That, in turn, steers the companies in slightly different directions.

            Had there been more parity between the new PU’s, like there was with the V8s, I honestly believe that McLaren would let RBR use the Honda engine. But, this situation is different entirely. McLaren are in the early stages of developing an incredibly complicated works partnership with Honda, and Dennis’ point about supplying RBR diverting focus and resource from their initial goal of working with McLaren is a real concern. So no, he’s not being a big sourpuss.

            Also, the Brawn car wasn’t that much of a secret weapon. I’m just a fan with access to the Internet and I knew it was a good package. It’s fair to assume that McLaren knew more about the situation than I did. It was common knowledge that Honda employed Ross Brawn to make an impact when the regulations changed in 09. It was also common knowledge that Honda stopped the development of their 2008 car very early on so they could pour even more resources in to the development of the 2009 car. It was always going to be a good car.

            Brawn was a small team, but are you really going to suggest that no one in F1 realised that lots of time, Honda’s expertise and Ross Brawn’s genius wouldn’t produce a great car? Still, all teams allowed them to use the best engine available at the time, in full knowledge that it would be slotted in to a good car. Granted, they didn’t know just how fast it was, but they knew it was going to be good. Like I said, it was car developed by thousands of people working for massive company, not the tiny Brawn team.

            So, the precedent has been set…

            McLaren will let their works partner supply engines to a good team, in order to secure their participation, if the circumstances are right.

            Let me be clear about my opinion of RBR so to remove any ambiguity. I don’t want Red Bull to leave. I have genuinely enjoyed some of their antics over the years. I feel that they’ve opened up the relationship that the fans have with the teams. The whole place seems more fun since they entered. But, kicking your technical partner in the teeth in such a seething and public way was an arrogant manoeuvre that carried with it strong consequences. Also, making threats about leaving makes you look childish. And, if you make these threats, you’d better be damned sure you follow them through.

            They’ve created this situation for themselves. They’ve only got themselves to blame.

            They threatened to leave, citing the lack of a competitive power unit. They were offered a 2015 Ferrari, not equal, but a decent package nevertheless, and they immediately, publically rejected it outright in such a manner that it would be impossible to back track. That PU would have been good enough to buy them an extra season to put a better deal together. Bad move. Now, they’ll take a gamble on a PU that, quite possibly, will be no better than the 2015 PU they were offered.

            Perhaps this situation could have been avoided if RBR treated Renault with a little more dignity, even if their products weren’t good enough. That criticism should have been aired backstage, not on live TV interviews.

            Their argument is beginning to lack consistency, and therefore, credibility. Now with Bernie running from meeting to meeting in the background, trying to force a rule change who’s soul benefactor would be RBR is, at best, bringing onto question the sporting credentials of the sport and, at worst, is bringing the whole sport in to disrepute.

            It’s enormously destructive. Go, or don’t go. Just stop whining!

    6. I’m really getting the feeling that somewhere along the way Red Bull really ticked the other teams off and now are finding that all bridges have been burned. As those making the decisions, like Ron Dennis, are not stupid and know what’s at stake, Red Bull’s sins must truly have been egregious.

  9. Im a fan of Button, but I cant believe he would say something that stupid. Historically, F1 is essentially about dominance swinging from team to team, and if we are lucky, the occasional overlap where teams are on a par. Its always been like that. The problem is the lack of patience among fans, fueled in part by the ability to continually bleat on the internet, and an inability for teams to reasonably develop over the season. Except, I suspect that we will see the gaps change over the winter. Its only been two years of Merc dominance, which still isnt greater than a lot of periods of dominance in the past. Cant we just wait and see? Cant we trust the other teams to catch up, if not pass Merc? Do we really have so little faith in Ferrari, McLaren and RBR? Why keep meddling with the regs, which only serve to further increase accusation of the sport being rigged?

    Leave it as it is, and sooner or later Merc will be beaten.

    1. Im a fan of Button, but I cant believe he would say something that stupid. Historically, F1 is essentially about dominance swinging from team to team, and if we are lucky, the occasional overlap where teams are on a par.

      Out of the last 36 seasons (1980-2015), only in 1984, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015 did we have proper dominance from one team. That is 12 out of 36, or 33.33%.

      What is unusual is the fact that is that we have had 3 consecutive seasons where one team has dominated. That has not happened at all since 1980.

      What is even worse is how incredibly stale the pecking order is. Mercedes, then Ferrari, then Williams, then Red Bull. Apart from a few reliability problems from Rosberg, this WDC has been 2-by-2’s from 1st to 8th.

      1. Sorry @kingshark, but this is getting awkward. Where did you get 3 years of Mercedes dominance when. Seb Vettel rocked 2013 winning the last couple of races on the trot. EmRBR dominated for about 4,5 years. Ferrari, Williams and McLaren have all had such dominant spells too.
        And its just not true, that there is no competition behind either. Ferrari is clearly catching up, RBR hasn’t been too far behind either and we have had solid fighting throughout the field in most races this year.

        1. He didn’t say 3 years of Mercedes domination, he said one team has dominated the past three years. In 2013, as you said, it was Red Bull.
          And no, there is no competition behind Mercedes. Williams only takes a podium if Ferrari screws up. Red Bull is only in front of Williams if they botch a pit stop again or the circuit is exceptionally tuned to their car. Red Bull will generally beat Toro Rosso and Force India, who both beat Sauber. Sauber blazes past McLaren on the straights after Button and Alsonso made a good start. Manor is Manor.
          Unless it rains this is exactly how today’s GP will go. F1 is BORING this year.

      2. @bascb
        I was talking about 3 years of consecutive dominance by any team, not specifically Mercedes. 2012 was the last season where it was possible to win the WDC with anything other than the team that eventually won it.

        RBR dominated for about 4,5 years. Ferrari, Williams and McLaren have all had such dominant spells too.

        McLaren dominated 1988 and 1989.
        Williams dominated in 1992, 1993 and 1996.
        Ferrari dominated in 2002 and 2004, perhaps 2001 if you want to stretch the definition of dominance.
        Red Bull dominated 2011 and 2013.

        I do not recall the last time that we had a dominant team (any team) for 3 consecutive seasons.

        1. ok, that makes more sense then, although I certainly came off the 2000-2004 period having lost all interest in F1 because of Ferrari dominating procedures and the FIA helping them sustain that wherever possible. Maybe in part because I stopped watching the races (Alonso being on it in 2005 got me watching regularly again) though.

          But the fact remains that Red Bull have been able to get wins in and I certainly have seen interesting battles all through the field both last year and this year that would go against your argument that F1 is not offering good racing currently. Something we did not much have in the refuelling years where overtaking just didn’t happen.

        2. Although, for the main part, your stats are undeniable, but I really struggle to describe Michael Schumacher’s five consecutive titles as anything else other than dominance.

          1. @andybantam
            2000 was not domination and neither was 2003. Although on paper 2001 was domination, when you actually watch the season, he really had to fight for a lot of his wins year.

          2. @kingshark

            Thinking about it since. Schumacher was that extra 5% in an awkward car.

    2. Mr win or lose
      25th October 2015, 9:01

      The biggest problem in F1 is not Mercedes dominance, but rather Honda incompetence…

    3. Did you even read the article? Keith only pick the single line that can be easily taken out of context, but that’s journalism nowadays. If you read the article, actually Jenson saying same things that always been said here by us.

  10. This engine idea is utter nonsense, Your basically turning F1 into a 2-tier championship with different sets of rules for different cars.

    And with regards to refueling, Do they want to go back to the days when 90% of the passing was done in the pits, Where 90% of the ‘racing’ was done in the pits & where the team’s primary focus was on fuel strategy to ‘pass’ cars rather than risking on-track overtaking? As a way of improving the racing refueling doesn’t work, It never did in F1 & did nothing but make the on-track product worse with less close racing, less overtaking & less emphasis on the on-track product.

    And this time round it would be worse given how its main purpose would be to give certain teams an advantage. A car thats allowed to refuel will obviously be lighter which would give it a decent advantage over a car running an engine that isn’t allowed to refuel.

    Going back to the engine proposal, Coming up with something that gives one set of regulations an advantage over another & creating a 2-tier formula will do nothing for the competition because if 1 set of rules has an advantage over the other were still going to see big performance gaps & dominance.
    Lets say for example that Red Bull went with one of these 2.2ltr engines & that the rules gave them significant advantages, Your just going to replace Mercedes dominance with Red Bull dominance & if no other top team goes with this 2nd engine spec its probably going to be by a greater margin.

    And with the engine manufacturer’s wanting to stay with the formula we have now & each owning a factory team (If Renault buy Lotus) & Honda supplying McLaren, Your potentially going to force them out of F1 by basically pushing them towards a formula none of them want.

    Turning F1 into a 2-tier championship with 2 different sets of regulations isn’t the way to go & certainly isn’t the way to try & improve the level of competition throughout the field.

    1. A point on engine cost’s,
      People keep quoting the cost of the V8’s as been around $7m, However they ignore that the actual cost of the V8’s was closer to $15m & the only reason teams were paying less than that was because the cost’s were been kept artificially low thanks to FIA/FOM subsidies.

      IF Bernie really wanted to he could actually quite easily set up a fund with the FIA to help smaller teams pay for the current power units, Jean Todt proposed they do it but as I understand it Bernie blocked it.
      The reason been that he wants to kill the current formula & helping teams by again subsidizing the engine cost as was done with the V8s doesn’t fit in with that agenda.

      1. Oh & one more point, I still don’t understand this fascination some have with taking F1 backwards.

        The V8’s were largely outdated at the time they were been used & the only people that were learning anything was the fuel/oil companies. The current formula is a much more advanced formula, The engineer’s, The manufacturer’s are learning a lot from them & there is a lot of development potential to be done & lot more power to be unlocked from them as they do that development.

        Additionally they were engines that never really challenged the drivers, They had very little torque & most of the power was produced at the higher end of the rev-range.. For the most part drivers coudl plant there foot down exiting corners & not have to worry about it.

        In contrast these current power units are a much bigger challenge, The extra torque alone means drivers actually have to manage the throttle now & spinning up the rear’s is the easiest its been since the Pre traction control days in 2000.

        Yes fine the V8’s were louder (Although I think the actual sound they produced was quite flat & dull), But is it really worth taking F1 backwards to less challenging engines that are easier to drive & less powerful with a lot less room for development just because people want more volume? I don’t believe it is.

        1. I agree.

          I’ve got a low tech formula I could watch here in the USA. It’s NASCAR.

          The core problem w the current engines is the lack of in season development for struggling manufactures.

        2. Spot on, mate.

        3. There was a discussion during the F1 broadcast during the course of one of either FP3 or Qualifying (which never actually ran) for the American GP, and that was these engines are actually much more fuel efficient than the previous engines (V10 or V8) used. I can’t remember how much it was, but it was something like 30% more fuel efficient than the previous generations of engines.
          I believe they should try and keep the current fuel consumption limits because that is something that everyone can equate to, and is an equaliser. If they do want cheaper engines, (and I believe the current engines are already as cheap as you can make a 1000 hp, 4 race + practices life expectancy, 100kg maximum fuel used in race engine) then they should have to comply with the same fuel consumption limitations and life expectancy as the current engines do.
          I don’t believe there should be a return to in-race refueling without proper safety procedures such as mandatory minimum stationary times (e.g. 12 seconds), maximum exhaust sound levels, and using automatic transmission disable switches that activate when the bowser is connected to the car.

    2. That wasn’t because of refuelling, but because overtaking on track was impossible.

      1. Refuelling took away any incentive and reason to even try and make a strategy with on track overtaking or build a car that would be well suited for that @patrickl, because pitstop strategy was so much more effective / easy

        1. @BasCB, With refuelling they were pretty much stuck on a certain strategy. Much more so than now. mAkes no sense that they would only use that for overtaking and not overtake anywhere else just because it was “inconvenient”.

          Besides, nowadays they can just stop a lap earlier and use the undercut. So why do they still overtake on track at all?

          The reality is that until KERS/DRS/eggshell tyres were introduced, the cars simply were not able to overtake unless there was a performance gap of 2 to 3 seconds.. That was much much much more of an issue.

          1. just look at the statistics @patrickl. Refuellying was about passing in the pits, and sure, the aero and the tyres not degrading at all did reinforce that, but as soon as Refuelling was ditched we started to see more attempts to get by on track.

          2. @bascb, Yeah just look at the statistics. They quite clearly show that overtaking was improved slightly by KERS and perhaps a teensy bit by banning of refuelling. Then the number of overtakes tripled again when DRS and eggshell tyres were introduced.

            So yeah they pretty much prove MY point.

    3. They have 4 tier racing in WEC and it is good to watch and has a growing fan base.

      1. Sportscar racing has always been about multiple classes with GT & Prototypes, F1 hasn’t.

        Traditionally F1 has always about having 1 set of regulations that every team/manufacturer follow’s.

        1. True but maybe this will help F1 in the current climate. If you want tradition like the 1950’s we could have 3 car teams, or soon tradition will change with some form of closed cockpit. Anyway it’s very rare where a season has more than 2 teams ahead of the rest most years it’s 1 or 2 teams going for wins so there is nearly always an artificial tier in F1.

      2. Is there any overtaking in WEC at all? Between similar cars.

        1. yes there is overtaking between similar cars in all classes, including the LMP1. We had a cars swapping positions quite regularly in several of the races this season

          1. Even though they generally run half a lap apart or more. Amazing.

            I’ve really seen only one close race.

  11. It is now confirmed we have mad men at the helm of F1. They never pass up an opportunity to make the sport more complicated, more bureaucratic and more expensive. How on earth can you introduce refueling “only for those who want it”? If it comes back, EVERYONE will have it; and we will be right back where we started. And you cannot have a fuel flow limiter for some engines, and not for others.

    No matter what one team will do a better job that the rest – whether it is regarding Aero, ICE, Recovery systems or Fuel consumption. Mercedes has currently done a good job in all these areas. So what if this happens again? Rip up the rule book one more time, i guess. Sigh.

    1. @kbdavies
      Time to start following the World Stare Out Championship:

    2. Mr win or lose
      25th October 2015, 8:56

      Agreed, but please bear in mind that 99% of what Bernie says is rubbish.

  12. I have never seen a sport with so much navel gazing as F1.

  13. Just taking off from Denver on leg two of my flight to Houston, where hopefully the plane will be able float in to a nice landing so I can make it to COTA tomorrow morning for my first live F1 experience. I must be one of the few people really excited that qualifying has been rescheduled for tomorrow morning. If I don’t drown I have a feeling I’ll be in for an unforgettable day of F1!

    1. Whoohoo, good luck Peter.

    2. I’m jealous man, rain and all.

      Stay warm, enjoy the race!

    3. I thought about how they were catering to you by postponing Qualli @us_peter. I just hope all of you will show the same great spirit the grandstands showed yesterday, that was lovely to see @daved

      1. @bascb

        Yes, it was really a great surprise that they let us storm the castle! Got some great pics from the pitlane, I’ll post some later on twitter and tag F1Fanatic and company for the good ones :) Enjoy @us_peter, I hope you made it in on time and safely. And yes…it’s STILL COLD AND WET this morning. Oh well, that’s why they invented coats and rain ponchos!

  14. Only Bernie could describe him and Todt together being able to outvote 10 teams as being democratic.

    1. @hohum
      Bernie doesn’t count the votes of the peasants.

      “I’m their king. They’re my people…I love them. PULL!”

      A scene from History of the World Part 1…Mel Brooks. :)

  15. Formula 1 is so close to getting this right, as far as increasing competitiveness throughout the grid, opening up the regulations a bit to allow in season development of the engines next year is the correct step, but I would go one step further, the easiest, cheapest, simplest answer is all in the tyres, any team that hasn’t won a race in the last 12 months is given the option to use tyres that are one step softer than the tyres allocated for that weekend, that would instantly move the midfield to within striking distance of the leaders and give us some truly shaken up grids and epic racing, but, as soon as you win a race, you are back to using the same tyres as the front runners for at least one year, the only change needed to the current tyres would be less of a gap in performance between compounds, which can reach over one sec at some tracks, I think a .500 – .800 step per compound would work best, but someone at pirelli that understands the tyres better than us can do the calculations

    1. @neko06, Stop and have a little think about how many ways Bernie could manipulate that scenario for “the show”.

  16. The budget engines need to happen.

    That way, we’ll have a good laugh when a backmarker with the budget engines dominates the championship because they got the balance completely backwards. Plus, imagine how much the engine manufacturers would love that.

    1. What needs fixing is the price money distribution and what needs to end is the back room deals with the big spender teams (merc, ferrari, rbr). That’s where the money issues come from. Cost of the engines is what it is and it is what everyone agreed when the decision was made to use the horrible engine formula F1 is stuck with now.

      Budget engines will only make sure no team who is going to run with a budget engine will get near the podium. It is an obvious balance game where one engine type is allowed free reign of development as long as they stick within their tech rules while the other engine type is artificially slowed down so it doesn’t pose a threat to the “real f1 engines”.

      Imagine if someone like sauber decided to run the indycar engine and started beating the force indias who were paying more to run the super expensive ers-kers-pers hybrid stuprids. Or oh-mu-god the saubers started competing with the honda mclarens! For a fraction of the cost no less! The indycar engines would suddenly be slowed down to “restore the intended running order”. A farce on so many levels.

      Sure it has been done before when it was minardi who was allowed to run rev limited 3 litre v10s when F1 moved to v8s but I don’t think anyone can say it was a success even back then.

      If the engines are too expensive the engines need to be made cheaper. Not to offer 2nd rate engines for the also rans just so the elite can run their elite spec stuff at all costs and win everything.

      1. The money distribution is a complete non issue. taking away Ferrari’s and Red Bull bonusses is not going to do one iota for the mid field teams. They will still at least be 200 million down on budget.

  17. “The money they spent, the R&D they spent, it was for their road cars”

    haha..typical Bernie.

    This is a clear example of how F1 has a bit of an identity crisis. What does it want to be? No one knows by the looks of it. The point is this though, at the end of it all, over and under all the narcissism, I would like to think/hope, that teams are in F1 to race. The boffins in the marketing and money departments of various corporations that support the “sport” would think otherwise, but as long as there are the likes of Frank Williams and Ron Dennis in the pitlane, I would like to think racing is the priority.

    So whats wrong with supplying an alternative engine if we can get good racing? I mean would Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda be at a loss? Bernie is right to an extent, the money they’ve spent to build these hybrid engines will go a long way as the technology becomes cheaper over the coming years, when your average road car will have it as standard. However, putting the shoe on the other foot, the manufacturers probably dont want to be put into a situation where a Red Bull with a Chevy engine that costs a third of their own engine can beat them! Would sit too well with their boffins from the marketing and money departments!

    I would love for F1 to offer an independent engine to those teams that cant afford it or for those that simply dont like their supplier. At the same time however, as I’ve said before, if there’s one organization in the world that can mess up something like this royally, its F1, which could make itself look like a bigger farce than it already is.

    1. If Bernie wants an alternative engine, let him hand Cosworth a bag of money to develop that current spec V6 they have prepared @jaymenon10. Even then its likely that the engine will end up being in a position like they were when Williams dumped them for a more competative (as in faster, more reliable, more fuel efficient and more durable) engine and they only supplied Manor.

      Alternatively, like @gt-racer mentions Bernie could just provide the budget for the smaller teams to be able to pay for the current engines (either by subsidising the engines, or just making money distribution more reasonable), if only he wanted.

      This whole proposal is more about Power (and maybe about helping RBR, although that also seems to be with the focus on keeping them in there for power reasons as they have blown Bernies whistle for a while now) and taking it back from the manufacturers.

      Any alternative engine would either be just cheaper but not powerfull enough (something no team would be interested in getting) or it would be made too powerfull, only to drive away the manufacturers who invested billions into the new engines and again leaving F1 to be Bernies playing field.
      GM/Chevrolet mentioned that a) their engine wouldn’t be immediately usable and b) they are not interested in entering F1 in the first place. I doubt they would easily allow Ilmor to sell that same engine to be used for F1, and there is no sensible reason why Honda would let the Honda engine be used for this game either.

  18. Neil (@neilosjames)
    25th October 2015, 3:10

    I do think that… after a lot of supporting it… the new engine formula has failed, or is failing. It can be fixed, but not by this ridiculous two-tier engine system.

    A good start would totally freeing up development and ripping the engine software to shreds so the drivers only have the same number of engine setting options as someone pootling round in a high-end sports car.

    1. @neilosjames, I don’t think the engines are a failure, but the fragile tyres stop the drivers from showing us what these engines can do, eventually all the PUs will be pretty much on par provided Bernie doesn’t get them tossed out before then as he appears to already be doing. Economy, HA!

  19. @ Forest Lanier in regards to the comment of the day. No, Actually alcohol fuel produces more horsepower. The difference is that more alcohol has to be burned than petrol; the stoichiometric air fuel ratio for petrol is about 15:1. for ethanol it is about 6:1, so about twice as much ethanol is burned during running. Alcohol allows a higher compression ratio to be run, which is great for a turbo charged engine. So, for the same fuel flow a petrol engine will produce more power, but for a non-fuel limited engine the alcohol powered engine will produce more power. I’d love to see this.

    1. @stever, and alcohol is lighter than petrol, but not, I guess, enough to compensate for the extra volume required when limited to 100kg. total fuel.

  20. Karthik Mohan
    25th October 2015, 3:43

    If Mercedes are the bad guys for not letting red bull have their dominant engine, then what are McLaren for not even letting red bull have an uncompetitive engine? ;) ;)

  21. Go home Bernie. And it’s better when Todt is not interested in F1.

  22. Just as Lewis is about to cement his place in the history of the sport as being one of the greatest to have ever done it, what do we get? Comments from the likes of SJS trying to pour cold water over his achievements and now the forked tongue Jenson.

    Seems like Lewis must have known all this hate would be coming his way, that’s probably why he posted that comment about ‘haters”.

    Nothing fell into Lewis’s lap, he took a massive gamble by walking away from a car that should’ve won the title in 2012, a gamble that Jenson in not so many words, viewed as being a stupid one. And now he’s rubbing the nose of those who questioned his decision into his success, it’s now being viewed as ‘luck’.

    In life sometimes you make your own luck.

    1. Very well said.

    2. Uh you should read the article. Jenson saying nothing but praising Lewis there. Never comment by just reading a line from an article with many paragraphs in them :P

  23. Regarding the Indy engines, doesn’t Mercedes own Ilmor, and therefore would it not be a conflict of interest to provide a cheap, potentially hybrid-beating power unit? Same argument for HPD/ Honda.

    Its simple. Legalise LMP1 engines. Immediately Audi, Toyota, Porsche and Nissan are F1 ready. Provide a bit of diversity in the field. This single spec for engine formula has gone on far too long!

    1. What happened was that, back in 2005, Daimler bought out Illien’s remaining holding in Ilmor – however, there was a sub division of Ilmor, known as the Special Projects division, which Daimler agreed Illien could retain ownership of.

      The company that Illien carved out of the Special Projects division remains in operation today, but the confusion arises because Illien decided to give his new company the same name – Ilmor Engineering Ltd. – as his old company. There therefore would not be a conflict of interest, because the two entities – the company now known as Mercedes AMG HPE and Ilmor Engineering Ltd. – are separate and independent entities.

      I will grant you that there is a potential conflict between HPD and Honda, although in reality I highly doubt that the proposed engine regulations will ever take effect – I suspect that they are a crude tactic by Todt and Ecclestone to force the engine suppliers to cap their prices.

      As for legalising the LMP1 engines – frankly, that won’t work given the packaging constraints of an F1 car are considerably tighter than an LMP1 car (have you seen how much of the cockpit space is taken up by just the energy storage systems in an LMP1 car?).
      Furthermore, the energy recovery systems on an LMP1 car work in a very different way to an F1 car – the regulations in F1 encourage the teams to integrate the thermal and kinetic energy recovery systems together, whereas in the WEC there is no such incentive to integrate the systems (so Porsche, for example, has two entirely separate energy recovery systems).

  24. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    25th October 2015, 8:26

    Ron Dennis is right. If Honda gives its engines to two top teams it will lead to divided loyalties. Red Bull shouldn’t have alienated Renault, now they are paying the price.

  25. Would Ecclestone really think that some teams wouldn’t opt for refuelling because their engine is more efficient?

  26. When Bernie did away with the Concorde agreement he lured Ferrari and Red Bull away from COTA with an extra cut of the prize money for the 7 seasons (2014-2020) of his new contract. Mercedes asked for the same, but were told they could only have it once they won 2 championships. It was that lure of an extra €30m per year for the next 5 years which led to Mercedes investment in hiring the best people. They gambled in a high stakes game and won.

    Thanks to Bernie no other team had as much incentive to win as Mercedes, and he should not be surprised at the results of what he did. He gambled and we all lost. That is why he started pushing to change the rules as soon as Mercedes success was apparent last year. Perhaps he still hopes to save FOM some of the money by pushing Mercedes out, which is a highly probable outcome of his reintroducing old and irrelevant technology.

    1. In fairness that amount would probably only just cover this and last years reported “losses”. The exposure and prestige it brings to the brand is worth far more.

      1. Good point. Let’s see whether Mercedes motivation (and bonuses) drop, now the money is in the bag.

  27. Awesome COTD, thanks @forrest

  28. Reading Reuters article just making more confused on what on Red Bull head. So apparently according to Bernie they think they got Mercedes engine just because there are “talks” while there are not even a handshake or gentleman agreement yet. So they got confident enough to trash Renault while probably planning to “dump” them and suddenly announce they using Merc for 2016, which of course not happening at all. That’s not how you do business. This whole thing makes me view them like entitled brat more.

    They should learn from McLaren, while having talks with Honda, but doesn’t say anything until the deal is really signed, and never using harsh words about their partnership.

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