Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015

Lotus name may stay after Renault takeover

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Renault could leave Lotus’s name unchanged for 2016 amid concerns over their potential performance.

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Susie Wolff has called time on her motor racing career:

She was never going to secure a F1 race seat, but the work she has done in trying to inspire a new generation of young girls to get into racing has been very good. Hopefully in 15 years time, we will see that her work was not in vain.
Craig Woollard (@Craig-o)

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On this day in F1

This cartoon summed up the state of the 2010 championship five years ago today.

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  • 79 comments on “Lotus name may stay after Renault takeover”

    1. Re COTD @craig-o

      I think she’s had ab immediate impact. I go to Oulton Park for the BTCC meets annually, without wanting to sound a little like Tom Jones, it’s not unusual to see young, up-and-coming, female racers. It’s not there yet, but it’s happening.

      RE All of this Renault stuff.

      It all has a wiff of wanting some definitive news so badly that people might be seeing things that aren’t really there. We’re just gonna have to wait this one out.

      1. I don’t really keep up with BTCC, but a look at the current roster doesn’t reveal any women. I’m afraid getting women into motorsport requires more than the few token efforts we have at present. Given where Susie Wolff comes from it’s interesting that the situation is very slightly better in Scotland, where young drivers like Abbie Munro and Abigail Ross are doing well in the carting and Carol Brown has picked up a number of Scottish championships. But we need to see significant numbers of girls getting into racing at the junior level before we can expect to see a female F1 driver.

        1. There aren’t any in the BTCC, but there are in some of the support series; IIRC, there’s a few in the Ginetta Juniors, and one or two in Formula MSA.

        2. @charleski
          There was one winning races in Ginetta juniors last season, she was in the championship fight but withdrew halfway through the season to start testing F4 for next year. There was another a few years back who won the championship, but she doesn’t race any more as far as I know.

        3. Nothing holds back women from racing other than they aren’t into it. Again i fail to see an issue. Plenty of rich girls could try racing if they wanted. They just don’t want to. Why are women supposed to be pressed to be in racing is beyond me.
          If it’s a free society then let them do what they want. There is no reason to push them to do racing.

    2. pretty cool video here
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qLvgDxJwF0
      And I thought the 2013 cars were faster over a lap!
      also note the 30kph top speed difference…

      1. @sato113 …and 2013 were quicker. You’ve got a pole lap against a race or practice on the medium tyre.

        1. The video is not wrong.

          Pole for Rosberg in 14 was 1:36.067 and in 13 for Vettel 1:36.338…. And yes the option tyre in 13 was the white medium compuond

          1. ah yes the option was medium wasn’t it? ok

    3. 5 years ago we had an enthralling WDC comp. What went wrong?

      1. silly pencil eraser tyres and even sillier engines, and on top of that even sillier regulations on those engines and mid season testing etc. If we were given proper tyres, + in season engine and car testing/development things would get a lot closer. Then we just need to ban DRS and explain to people that F1 used to be about the quality of the passes not the quantity. Was much more fun waiting 30 laps for a hero moment rather than watching cars artificially swap positions for 30 laps with no actual overtakes, just a few straight line drags where one car has the unfair forced advantage over the other. Like mixing cheap wine into a quality product, it doesn’t make the final product better at all, just ruins the whole lot.

          1. Was much more fun waiting 30 laps for a hero moment

            No. it wasn’t. (it was very tedious most of the time)

            Besides did it ever really happen?
            Most of the time a car on a different fuel strategy bunched up a line of cars behind, who were unable to do anything about it. And then most of the overtaking would be done ‘in the pit lane’. Renewed slipstreaming (some say drs) has thankfully ended those godawful processions; forever one might hope.

            If you want to tighten the field up through the rules, you must make ’em much more restrictive. Free rules allow for many solutions and a good chance someone strikes gold. Restrictive rules allow for limited solutions. The closer to a spec engine you get, the closer the performance of different manufacturers. So you’ve got to make a choice really: free engineering competition and live with the fact that there will be a significant performance difference between makes, or close competition and move towards a spec car.

            The difference between now and 5 years ago is mainly tyres. Todays tyres are relatively ‘long life’ and Pirelli selects adjacent compounds from the range (say Medium and Soft). 5 years ago Pirelli had just introduced the radical, suddenly degrading, very fast tyres that injected a lot of uncertainties into the racing. Moreover compound selection was non-adjacent (say Medium and Supersoft) for quite some events.

            1. Renewed slipstreaming (some say drs) has thankfully ended those godawful processions; forever one might hope.

              I don’t see why people say DRS is like slipstreaming because DRS is completely different as its both way more powerful & unlike slipstreaming the car behind retains an advantage until he hits the brakes.

              With slipstreaming you only retain an advantage while your tucked in behind the car ahead, As soon as you pull out you get hit by the drag & lose momentum which allows you to get alongside & not be driven clean past in a ridiculously easy & utterly boring highway pass like with DRS.

            2. Exactly. History has shown clearly what works and what doesn’t.

              Stable regs is the surest way to get close racing, but every few years there is a rules upheaval despite this. Maybe it’s just Bernie’s way to encourage players who are lacking motivation, but in reality it causes just as much or more.

            3. Renewed slipstreaming (some say drs) has thankfully ended those godawful processions; forever one might hope.

              You mean you prefer overtakes that require no more skill than putting on a hat?

            4. @PeterG
              It’s exactly the same, but I do agree that timing the overtake may be slightly less critical with drs.
              DRS is much less powerful than the early wings in the 70’s (People drafting past 6 cars in one lap of Monza and dropping back 5 places on the next one) or the Handford device in CART a few years ago. I think drs is laid out quite right.

              @Dave
              I prefer it when a faster car+driver can get in front of a slower car+driver. I don’t like the artificial queues of the 90’s and early 00’s. That had very little to do with proper racing. With the current state of aero development, dropping DRS would just bring those ‘trains’ back.
              And even drs passes take skill. Just look how equally fast car+drivers hardly ever pull off an drs-overtake. Look at the laps after the safety car in Mexico. The entire field close together, no passes at all. Even the super-slippery Williams of Massa couldn’t get the very-slow-in-a-straight-line RBR of Ricciardo, despite the drs-zone being almost 1 km long. And we know Massa can put on a hat.

            5. DRS is a band-aid at best, a gimmick because the powers-that-be refuse to deal with the real issue: cars lose too much downforce following through fast corners. And the reason for that is the over-complicated front wing. Simplify that and bring back ground effects, and we’ll finally get genuine wheel-to-wheel racing with no Mario Kart devices.

            6. Forgot to say, that photo is funny :D

            7. Most of the time a car on a different fuel strategy bunched up a line of cars behind, who were unable to do anything about it. And then most of the overtaking would be done ‘in the pit lane’.

              In 2010, there was no fuel strategy, and the Pirellis weren’t in place either. Which meant a majority of passing had to be done on track without DRS. The only thing wrong IMO was the mandatory tyre change rule.

        1. If we were given proper tyres, + in season engine and car testing/development things would get a lot closer.

          I also agree thoroughly. 2010 makes 2015 look like a complete joke. In 2010, there was always anticipation before every weekend, we never knew who was going to win. In 2015, the pecking order is as stale as I can ever recall. This engine freeze and ridiculous token system is not helping one bit either. It is locking the teams into almost permanent form.

          The only thing which I disagree on somewhat is DRS. Granted, circuits like Spa, Monza, Montreal, Interlagos etc.. don’t need DRS, but I would not object to DRS around Hungaroring, Monaco, Singapore, or even Suzuka.

          1. @kingshark I agree that the state of play at the moment is very bad. But I don’t think the tokens system is really to blame here. If you look at the number of tokens available and the areas which they can develop, there’s actually very little restriction at the moment. And they’ve decided to keep it just as open next year. The problem actually seems to be that Renault, Ferrari, and Honda, aren’t able to catch up because they simply aren’t working at the same level of technical ability as Mercedes. I suspect if you had complete open development, rather than closing the gap it would actually result in Mercedes pulling even further ahead.

            For me, the message is stark and clear – the technical challenge of these power units is simply too high, to the point where only one manufacturer has really done a good job, and the others are left scratching their heads and out of ideas. I don’t think we’ll see anyone catching Mercedes until this technical formula is thrown out. A shame, because I really like the technology, but it’s hurting the sport at the moment.

            1. @mazdachris I agree and think this point is often overlooked – neither the freeze nor the token system are to blame for any lack of competition.

              There was an assumption from the start that the other manufacturers were all hamstrung by the in season engine freeze conveniently ignoring that it applied equally to Mercedes. Then, over the winter when engines were unfrozen (as was always meant to be the case) we simply saw Mercedes doing a good job again but also a good job from Ferrari. Then during this unfrozen season (through what would normally be an inappropriate use of a loophole but which the FIA allowed to try to help out the manufacturers chasing Mercedes) we have seen Mercedes continue to dominate improvement in the PU and evidence that they are already using tokens now as part of their 2016 development.

              Had engines been fully open over the last 2 years I have no doubt that Mercedes would have continued to throw funds and superior technical resources at the PU far beyond what the other manufacturers could manage further widening the variation in engine performance.

          2. The main thing I’ve always thought about DRS is that it should be available less frequently, e.g. each driver has the opportunity to use DRS a maximum of 5 times in one race. So we’d still get to see some overtaking on tracks where non-DRS passing is difficult, but it wouldn’t be an artificial dance of lap-by-lap position-swapping.

        2. in season engine and car testing/development

          Both applied to 2010 as well as the V8 engines were frozen from the end of 2007 I believe & in-season testing was banned from the start of the 2009 season.

          even sillier engines

          That are a lot more powerful & a bigger challenge for the drivers than the Torque-less V8’s ever were.

      2. I was watching a season review of 2004 the other day before the Mexican Grand Prix, and while admittedly that was by no means a season that will ever be held up there with the greats of the World Championship, to see the drivers pull off some bold moves without DRS and tyres designed to degrade was fascinating. The sound. The varied manufacturers. Ferrari may have dominated (like the history books will show), but you had Renault, BAR Honda and McLaren all on pole. Some really good close action between those teams.

        Maybe it is rose-tinted glasses or nostalgia or seeing the Schumacher name in F1 again (I am a Schuey fan), but the noise, the old tracks (less tarmac run off or Spa before they’d completely ruined the Bus Stop chicane section) and less Team Radio communication (messages to save tyres, fuel etc – possibly due to not being broadcast) but if F1 wants to know how to get fans back, look to the past and the great seasons for inspiration.

        1. If we always looked to the past we would be riding around on horses

          1. With respect to the above comments, I think one of the biggest problems continues to be F1’s addiction to aero downforce. With it we are still having processions, but now we have the bandage solution of DRS to remove much of the integrity from the sport, as well as the tires meant to mix things up that really don’t, and the movement toward conservation which also dulls the show.

            Lightening up on development restrictions sounds good on paper, like the good old days, but that was when there was much more money flowing into F1, and costs remain a bigger issue than ever nowadays. In the above comments we have two views…less restrictions for closer performances between teams, or, less restrictions equalling a money race and the risk that one team just runs away with it. Either way costs go up when it seems this is not the time for that.

            They’re in so deep with these power units that I’m not sure much can be done about that, but they sure can head more toward ground effects for downforce, lessening the dirty air effect, and then they wouldn’t need the integrity damaging gadgets of DRS and problematic tires. And nobody watches F1 to see who is the best conserver.

    4. RE: Keeping the Lotus name. Wouldn’t the main rationale be to collect the prize money from this years championship? Was under the impression that if the name changes then the prize money couldn’t be collected, wasn’t this also why Marussia became Manor Marussia, also BMW Sauber F1 etc and others? So basically if that is the case, then the reason behind not changing the name is simply Renault being cheap :-)

      1. Interesting thought, but that suggests they expect to do worse in 16 or they will lose out in 17 or whatever year they finally change the name to Renault. Whatever, it suggests they have little faith in matching MB or SF engines anytime soon.

        1. If Renault do go down that route it won’t be the first time. In 2000 they bought the Enstone team (as Benetton) and didn’t rename till 2002. I guess it makes sense: buy the team, put new management in, make your changes (the results of which might not be seen until a year down the line) and then come the renaming.

          1. @unicron2002 …and then put Alonso in the car. If they have a serious plan as you’ve described and Honda don’t get on top of things in the next 12 months I could see Alonso making another Renault comeback!

          2. @unicron2002 On top of that, ‘Benetton’ had a terrible season in 2001, not in the least bit because of the Renault engine. Would be like poetry if that happens again at ‘Lotus’ (though one could argue team Enstone could already use quotation marks when being called Lotus.)

        2. Given that the team has not seen any decent investment into car development all year and has been underfunded for 2-3 years now, and they have a less than inspiring line up, I think its safe to say that Renault probably expects to make a step up only for 2017 @hohum.

          Lets not forget that Renault itself had a bit of a backlog on the hybrid stuff because with classic KERS the systems were from Enstone for “standard” ran by Lotus and Williams and Red Bull had their own, but Renault itself was only partly involved.
          It will be interesting to see how the development goes, with rumours floating around about Renault using some of that Illien ideas, Red Bull maybe putting in their own ERS development in some sort of cooperation deal (the “unbranded Renault” thing).

      2. Interesting. Anyway I don’t want fake lotus nor fake Aston Martin. I’d rather have a clothing brand owning an F1 team than a legendary name being misused mainly for sponsorship. It’s well known that Lotus is not paying for that name.

    5. Ferraris new narrow block !? I thought the regulations stipulated a 60 degree angle, can anyone out there explain how they can make the block narrower with a fixed angle?

      1. @hohum I think I know what you mean. I think hughes (that autosport guy that does the pointers for sky and get’s everything wrong), didn’t use the proper language. When I think narrow block I also assume decreased angle. For what hughes said to be possible, I’ll assume Ferrari has elongated their block, so that the V is more like a v.

        1. Technical regulations:

          5.1.7 All engines must have six cylinders arranged in a 90° “V” configuration and the normal section
          of each cylinder must be circular

          So indeed the angle is locked, but since they put a lot of components around the side of the engine the Ferrari is apparently a little bit wider then the competition, so they will narrow it down simply by moving around components as well as reducing size. The MGU-K is said to offer room for improvement in that regard.

          1. @me4me,@peartree, Thanks, so 90 degrees (not the normal 60 for V6s), and not the block per se but the overall package.

            1. @hohum, Yup, although they might very well mean the block as well. Idk how much there is to shave off though, and why it would be oversized in the first place.

            2. @hohum I don’t know why you are thanking me, I have no idea how is the engine block is narrower, just a guess.
              @me4me I saw some pictures of the 059/4 and the cylinder case was the widest part of the engine itself. As I’ve said I can only guess the cylinders to become significantly less protuberant need to become wider in diameter. I have no idea if there are any limitation on that field. Perhaps Hughes meant the PU as a whole.

            3. @peartree, I am thanking you for taking the time and trouble to have a guess and respond to my question.

      2. Another materials to shrink the size of the block – Honda used heavier materials in favor of smaller dimensions in the past. Also cylinder head design affecting exhaust manifold layout is important if you aim to narrow the engine. Obviously there are ways of narrowing the ‘engine’, especially if you count in auxiliary components surrounding it. Better say, there are many ways of doing it. I’d say: Nothing is impossible, it’s only a matter of time!

    6. I cant remember the term but it could be like a Prius where the bores are not aligned with the mains, like a bike rider moving foward whilst hillclimbing….

      1. Meant as reply to hohum

        1. thanks Alex, interesting concept.

      2. If this is true it’s another classic example of FIA regulations achieving the exact opposite of what was intended. They should never have tried to limit the design of the ICE beyond maximum swept volume and possibly maximum cylinders.

    7. I don’t understand the article about Magnaussen? I thought is was reported that he left McLaren? If so, the comment about him staying? With what team?

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        5th November 2015, 10:53

        That line refers to Hulkenberg

    8. TheJudge13 reporting just now that Renault and Red Bull have come to an agreement.

      Mario Illien and Red Bull will develop the Renault ICE and ES in Red Bull’s own secret “building 9” where they have an AVL VVT.

      1. An excellent solution (but what is an AVL with Variable Valve Timing ?) assuming the judge is right, a winning Red Bull engine or a stop gap unsupported Renault loser. The actual “Block” or short engine can’t be that bad considering how prescriptive the regulations are and Ilien should be as good as anybody at combustion chamber development, the electronic interface will be where magic is required.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          5th November 2015, 8:54

          AVL probably refers to the Austrian company specialised in Powertrain Engineering. @ hohum.
          I guess @vortexgenerator took from the article (or his knowledge) that RBR racing has some help and/or kit from AVL to improve the PU.

      2. Does this mean Red Bull will use “Lotus” engines?

      3. Does sound reasonably credible @vortexmotio, thanks. Surely Renault and the Building9 engine will take a big step forward next year. Honda too, who knows. Ferrari’s aero will be a bit better.

        Things will be starting to converge nicely to give us some great close racing, before they change everything again for 2017.

    9. One of the best laughs I’ve had all year.

      Even Renault don’t want to risk tarnishing their own name with their abysmal excuse of a PU.

      And they have the hide to complain about their customers.

      Really funny headline even if it’s not true.

    10. Glad to see progress on lotus Renault takeover

    11. Imagine Renault building a competitive car and Maldonado winning the driver’s championship.
      Would be a nice change..

    12. Did wonder about Renault… no guarantees over the chassis or engine, and they’ve got Maldonado and Palmer driving. Doesn’t exactly scream ‘put your name on me straight away, Renault’…

      1. I think the first year or Renault is some kind of ‘testing the waters’ situation. They seem keen to become manufacturer without spending much. That would explain why they took two pay drivers. If the results become better in 2016, they will become more serious and pump in more money in 2017.

        Also, taking two pay drivers help in defending and justifying on track performance. “the results aren’t good? The car is good but we have pay drivers. The results are good? It’s obviously because the car is good and not because of pay drivers”.

      2. Well they did have Renault PU’s in 2014 before swapping to Mercedes.

        We know how well they did in 2014.

        The engineering department must be cringing.

      3. Two GP2 champions. Fair point though – there’s nobody to drive the team forward like Kimi Raikkonen did.

    13. ColdFly F1 (@)
      5th November 2015, 9:06

      I am totally opposed to a 2-tier PU championship (not because the different engine designs, but because one is bound to have a more lenient fuel flow/usage restriction, etc.).

      But if this stupid idea helps to get the €12m PU off the ground then well done to Todt/Ecclestone.
      There are not many PU suppliers in F1, and due to the high R&D it will not increase any day soon. Therefore, having the PU’s available at a fair price with proper marketing exposure (included in the official team entry name) can work for everybody.
      And as far as Ferrari’s official concern (making a return on their investment) that can be resolved by committing to these engines for even longer (they are state-of-the-art technical marvels).
      And as far as Ferrari’s (and probably Mercedes’) ‘unspoken’ objection that another teams can beat them with the same engine: I could not care less. Just make a better chassis; you are the works partner!

      1. Any change to the engine rules has to be done in partnership with the current engine suppliers. If Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes decided to stop making engines, buy a 12m customer package and put their money into chassis development we’d be in a similar situation. If cheaper engines is the goal, then a plan needs to be put in place where the current manufacturers can make the transition without taking a financial bath.

      2. No, that is not how it works Ferrari and Mercedes make the engine and chassis as others make just a chassis, Ferrari and Merc are the only real teams nothing is stopping other teams making their own engines. Others are semi constructors. If they cannot afford it all the other teams should get together and make a shared engine amongst themselves, together they have enough budget and as all the teams would use it the cost is spread across many engines. Red Bull could do this all themselves but others can get together and organise an engine.

      3. @coldfly Return on investment is more than ‘getting paid the amount we invested’. A company like Ferrari, Mercedes or Renault is likely to look at so called ‘opportunity costs’ as well; the money you’re missing out on if you’d kept that investment money in your pocket or spent it on another investment.

        Fiat, Daimler or Renault-Nissan shareholders will go mad if their F1 engines start losing even more money. What kind of message will it send to other manufacturers, or smaller engine builders? Judd can’t build an F1 engine now, how on earth would they do it if they stand to lose money on it by regulation?

        There are other ways of controlling costs or offering an alternative. I’m not a fan of 2 tier engines as well, but if teams don’t want to pay, they better put up with a 2nd class power unit.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th November 2015, 16:00

          That’s exactly what Ferrari meant (and I referred to) – making a profit! @npf1.

          I deliberately refer to this as Return on Investment as in engine design a lot of money is invested upfront in R&D. Thus making a return can be achieved in various ways without changing the product itself; 1 being price, other being volume. Therefore, if F1 commits to the current design (direction) for longer, then the PU manufacturers can still get that positive return when selling PU’s at €12m/year.

    14. Funny thing this Renault/Lotus situation. Of course it is nothing new (Renault/Benneton), but still interesting how it is still necessary to try to leave an impression that “we have nothing to do with this.”
      Never mind that everybody who follow F1 more closely know that it is You, yes You, Renault, behind all of this.
      And of course Red Bull might use “unbranded Renault” in 2016. If that happens, which I am pretty sure will happen. Again, we know that it is You, yes You, Renault, building those engines.
      If the same problems with this “new unbranded engine” remain, then I look forward of what Red Bull will start saying. Bet it reminds of episodes of ‘Allo ‘Allo!

    15. With 2016 set to be a transitional year, Renault could elect to keep the Lotus name for next year. The rationale behind such decision would be to avoid tarnishing the French manufacturer’s image in case the new outfit proves to be uncompetitive.

      But they’re quite happy for the Lotus name to be dragged through the mud instead.

      1. Maybe they’ll even hire Danny Bahar as PR guy for 2016!

        1. I said ‘dragged through the mud’, not ‘turned into a smoking crater’ :P

    16. David Coulthard commenting on Hamilton’s innuendo than Merc favored Nico and even going as far as wondering if Merc ‘ordered them [the team] to celebrate extensively if Rosberg won is pretty fascinating to read, in a certain sense. Despite having found absolutely no evidence substantiating that claim, and it being denied by all the people from the team he spoke to, he still says it cannot be completely unfounded because, and I quote: “I doubt Hamilton would say what he did if it was not based on some fact. He is not a scaremonger. He either acts on briefing or on knowledge. He is not a fantasist, in the way some famous drivers seem to have been.”

      Oh, David, David… where do I begin. I would really like to know on which facts Hamilton based his comments towards the Monaco stewards being racist, or Trulli illegally passing him in Australia. Or numerous unsubstantiated claims of favoritism against both McLaren and Mercedes. As far as fantasists go, Hamilton is up with the best of them, unlike ‘some famous drivers’ he is fully into the mindgames. Which Coulthard no doubt is aware of. I do understand that Coulthard is catering to a certain crowd here, but does he not care about his reputation anymore? He used to be fairly decent when he was driving, but as a presenter he has lost a lot of credibility, so if one is looking for an objective coverage, he is not the one to go to.

      1. Indeed, such a bizarre comment in light of reality.

        I guess Coulthard is not immune to the memory issues and the tinted glasses that inevitably comes with age, but slightly weird for him to blindly wave the British flag like this.

      2. I used to like Coulthard, but recently his comments have been less insightful and more inciteful.

        I would really like to know on which facts Hamilton based his comments towards the Monaco stewards being racist

        None; he was just making a joke that happened to fall flatter than a pancake.

        1. My point exactly. Regardless of why Hamilton made that comment, and mant others like that, it was quite silly from Coulthard to try to dig at the Mercedes team using ‘Hamilton never says something that isn’t based on fact’ argument. It looked like David really tried to make something out of nothing, in the best tradition of tabloids. I really wonder if perhaps BBC needs to rethink their experts roster in favor of more dry professionalism, would be nice to have someone less prone to such blatant pandering.

    17. @keithcollantine Did we miss the tweet from Jenson saying he would be sure if he or Vettel was in the Mercedes Hamilton wouldn’t have it so easy. His words. Quite a stab at Rosberg.

    18. So it turns out it was all a big posturing play from red bull. They wanted to build on the Renault engine and call it their own. Renault didn’t want to be only supplying a b grade team ‘lotus’, so red bull called their bluff saying they would go without rather than be able to have a Renault to base their engine on. Finally Renault have caved and we will have an Infiniti engine.

    19. Renult seems to have plan in place. They are executing on schedule, timing upgrades for 2017. Good for them.

      Red Bull could learn something .. Though drama makes for better news stories….

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