“Not fair” to split strategies between cars – Rosberg

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Nico Rosberg backs Mercedes’ stance on strategies, saying it would be unfair to allow their drivers to use different strategies in some circumstances.



Comment of the day

Vettel has the biggest lead over his team mate
The state of play between the team mates heading into the last race of the year:

Only Lewis Hamilton (66pts currently), Sebastian Vettel (131pts currently) and Max Verstappen (31pts currently) are guaranteed to finish ahead of their team mates in the championship. However Bottas (19pts ahead), Perez (16pts ahead), Grosjean (22pts ahead) and Nasr (18pts ahead) all seem highly likely to beat their respective team mates this year. It’s still wide open at Red Bull (10pts in Kvyat’s favour), McLaren (5pts in Button’s favour) and Manor (Merhi ahead on count-back) though.
Craig Woollard (@Craig-o)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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100 comments on ““Not fair” to split strategies between cars – Rosberg”

  1. Kaltenborn would surely sign Maldonado in a heartbeat if she could though.

    1. @deej92 Maybe that’s her strategy. Downplay his value then snatch him up when Lotus/Renault release him at the end of 2016 ;)

      1. @deej92 Not that he has any other real value other than money.

    2. She’d sign himtwice if she could

      1. If anybody can, it’s Kaltenborn.

      2. @spinmastermic – Good one! :-)

      3. @spinmastermic Haha! good one !

      4. Didn’t got it-can anyone explain this to me, please?

        1. I believe he is referring to the fact that last year, Sauber signed four drivers for two places in the team.

      5. @spinmastermic Which was the very reason she said that….or possibly, according to @sward28

    3. Maldonado is annoying many F1 fans here I’m sure.
      I really hate it that he’s still in F1 (or racing in global), he’s too dangerous and crazy.

      But he can keep a struggling team alive with his money so that’s why he’s still here.

    4. Kaltenborn would surely sign Maldonado in a heartbeat if she could though.

      That’s not saying much. She had what, 5 drivers who all had some form of agreement for two seats? Van de Garde, Sutil, de Simone, as well as Ericsson and Nasr?

  2. Nico has a very short memory Bahrain 2015 comes to mind. Did the team not switch strategy, which was done in an attempt to ward off Seb, but nearly cost Lewis the lead of the race.

    As for his man against man theory, he’s only saying that now he has won 2 races. He knows pretty well that if the cars weren’t so aero sensitive like they were last season, he’d still end up the loser.

    1. Also in Hungary 2014, the team ordered Hamilton to let Rosberg past, even though Hamilton was on the harder tyre Rosberg, on the softer tyre, was unable to get past, in fact unable to get within passing distance. Hamiltons comment was “”I’m not slowing down for Nico. If he gets close enough to overtake, he can overtake me.”

      In Brazil a couple of times Hamilton demonstrated he was fast enough to get close enough to pass, but unable to do so because of the disturbed air. Getting close enough to pass, but been unable to do so usually destroys your tyres so further attempts become impossible. Bottas and Massa at Silverstone comes to mind, just to show it is not just one make of car.

      Mercedes and all the teams need to recognise that people usually, Italians/Ferrari being an exception, want to see their favourite driver use all possible methods to win the race, people do not come to watch processions just because that gets the “team” the best result. Maybe the Team championship needs to be removed or revised and have a different way of calculating. How about only the highest team driver’s points count?

      I also agree with Hamilton and Vettel that the aero needs to be reduced and mechanical grip increased so passing is possible in equal cars and not rely on different tyre type or age or DRS.

      1. there is no such thing as mechanical grip, it’s called static friction, and the mechanics involved in optimizing drag and suspension settings to optimize around a particular track/conditions/strategy are much more involved than uttering mechanical grip/balance.

        as for limiting down force, it has been done, so to has been the lowering of the nose and getting rid of the EBD. You see the problem is cars like those in WEC have less problems following other cars because they are not as restricted in terms of aero or power train as F1. It’s the rules and people’s obsession over believing they can solve problems by applying rules that is the real problem in F1. It’s a philosophical problem, it has nothing to do with mechanical grip. Don’t repeat what you are told, it’s seldom ever the case.

    2. The difference is with a straight battle between team mates giving one a more favorable strategy is just not a great idea. In a fight with a different team, that makes huge sense.

      There have no doubt been numerous occasions where Rosberg would have liked getting a strategy to beat Hamilton instead of having to get past on track. Its not the first time either for Hamilton, but since he has been the better racer of them so far in the last few years, it’s come up less often for him.

      1. He did get a strategy to try and beat Hamilton – Bahrain 2014. He went SMS whereas hamilton went SSM. Hamilton was on the slower tyre, whereas Rosberg the fastest, on a rubbered in track, with less fuel weight than when Hamilton was on softs.

    3. Nico has a very short memory Bahrain 2015 comes to mind. Did the team not switch strategy, which was done in an attempt to ward off Seb, but nearly cost Lewis the lead of the race.

      I think you might have a slightly off memory there. Rosberg was on the exact same strategy as Hamilton at Bahrain 2015, he got the first pit stop in an attempt to cover the undercut from Vettel. No different from Hamilton at Austria 2014. The only driver who actually got on a different strategy was Hamilton at Spain 2014.

      As for his man against man theory, he’s only saying that now he has won 2 races. He knows pretty well that if the cars weren’t so aero sensitive like they were last season, he’d still end up the loser.

      In order for that claim to have any validity, first you have to prove that Hamilton was significantly faster than Rosberg in either of these races.

    4. Ya Hungary 2014 is a bad example because Nico got screwed by the safety car (weren’t there a few ‘curve balls’ thrown at the grid that day?) and so the team was trying to help him make up for that with a change in strategy. Far different when circumstances get changed by a SC or two, or weather or what have you right? Versus LH simply deciding on speculation that he should have a better strategy mid-race in Brazil to impede NR from achieving second in the WDC standings for the team, and get himself a ‘Senna’ win out of pure ego, Nico and the team be damned.

      I agreed with the team decision then (getting back to Hungary 2014), and I also agreed with LH at the time that he would have let NR go but NR wasn’t close enough to allow that to happen without LH having to slow, which would not have been fair to him. Can’t recall for sure, but one can fairly postulate that perhaps NR couldn’t close the gap due to the dirty air effect on his car and tires. Ie. the dirty air effect that LH and SV have now publicly loathed, have helped them both keep a lead how many times?

    5. I think your overlooking all the races this season when Nico has had to follow Lewis into 2nd place using the identical strategy. Nico didn’t play amateur strategist asking to come in early to get past using the undercut.

      Also Lewis is the quicker driver and as such will be 1st more often, so Nico not wanting to gain an advantage by running a different strategy and instead race it out on track will benefit Lewis more than it does Nico, so credit to Nico on that.

      1. Nico didn’t play amateur strategist asking to come in early to get past using the undercut.

        And that’s another reason to add to the list of reasons Nico will never be WDC.

        1. Makes we wonder what would happen if Hamilton just said, well, I’m coming in, have soft/medium tyres ready for me! Would they just let him sit there in the pit?

          More generally, I don’t get the point in Mercedes unforcing this ‘equality’. Why not let the drivers choose strategy? I say this as a Hamilton fan well aware that it might actually be in Rosberg’s favour overall. Other teams split strategies on the off chance that one driver might then be able to beat a faster car. It’s only because they feel they’re safe that Mercedes can afford to play safe.

      2. Didn’t you read the posts above? In fact Nico DID get a different strategy to attempt an attack on Hamilton two to three times (depending on what you count).

        1. I did read it but its not true, the team told Nico to come in early after making a mistake, he didn’t ask. It was Hamilton that complained that Nico closed the gap, and the team explained it was a slower stop for him. Also it wasn’t really a different strategy, he got to come in the lap before Lewis on the same strategy.

          1. @alanore In the case of Bahrain it was 2014 where Rosberg got the alternative strategy. There were other instances.

          2. “Didn’t you read the posts above?” ;-)

            The post explicitly mentions Bahrain 2015

          3. @alanore, Yes I did. That one was corrected by saying in 2014 Rosberg DID get a different strategy and then you start about the already debunked 2015 race again. What’s the point?

  3. “It’s not the first time [Maldonado] has been involved in such an incident”

    Prize for the most obvious sentence goes to…

  4. Give Verstappen Rosberg’s seat!

    1. VES himself said he’s in no hurry to join a top tier team yet.

    2. What, so Lewis can win the title even sooner?

  5. Regarding the comment of the day, the gap of 5 points at McLaren is massive, considering their form.

    1. That’s what I was thinking, and a gap of 0 points at Manor would also be difficult to change unless there are an awful lot of retirements, which is unlikely.

      Annoyed as I had a bet on for Alonso beating Button :(

  6. Fred Schechter
    17th November 2015, 0:24

    I still sit here baffled after all these years.
    There’s one simple item American racing gets right.
    It’s not a difficult concept.
    There’s space at every track.
    There’s plenty of people and gear.
    It’s more compelling to watch.
    It allows teammates to be on identical strategies and battle it out on track.

    1. There’s space at every track.

      There are actually a few tracks where there wouldn’t be enough space for every car to have there own pit box.

      There are a few others that would probably be just about OK if the pit cycle was drawn out over a few laps but wouldn’t really be safe if you had a lot of cars pitting at the same time.
      Would also be complete & utter chaos at the circuits with narrow pit lanes, Unlike on Ovals you don’t have 2-3 lanes for cars to filter out into so if a lot of cars pit at the same time your just going to see cars sitting in the box waiting for other cars to pass before been released.

      Also remember that F1 cars have a much smaller turning circle than a Nascar, LMP car or even an Indycar (Where we do see problems fairly often when a lot of cars pit together) so they require a bit more space to get in/out of there pit boxes.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th November 2015, 6:25

      There is one thing F1 gets right: pit stops in under 3 seconds.
      No need for 2nd box

      1. @coldfly

        No need for 2nd box

        It that was true then ‘stacked’ pit stops would be far more commonplace.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          17th November 2015, 14:17

          risk mitigation Mr @keithcollantine!
          Even though technically you can ‘stack’ 2 cars when they run (say) 5 seconds apart; you don’t want to risk that both have to wait if the 1st stop doesn’t work, or manage the possible confusion when getting that second set of tyres.

    3. I do agree with the concept in general because it would eliminate the problem of sub-optimal strategy that alters close battles between team mates – especially when the battles for the win are usually between the one team.

      But it would require an extra pit crew per team. Can you imagine hiring (and transporting around the world) another 15-20 people to work on a car – maybe only once a weekend – on the off chance that you want to pit both cars at the exact same time?

  7. The Merc rosberg hamilton is just a case of double standards. This what happens when the team in front has the power to control the whole show.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th November 2015, 10:32

      And their team calls influence our Prediction Championship ;-)

  8. Excellent commentary by Gordon Kirby, as usual. What he says about how Ecclestone has treated F1 promoters in the US could be applied just as well to Germany, France and Italy. There is no sense of tradition or working to grow the fan base in places that have so much history in making F1 so famous and valuable around the world. If these countries cannot promote a F1 race and pay the ever increasing fees, Bernie could care less. He can find plenty of money in other places without any tradition or history of building F1 into such a valuable enterprise. As long as Bernie lines his pockets and CVC makes bundles of money Bernie will continue to crow about what a great job he is doing. Not that this is a revelation.

    I hope the COTA F1 race is not lost. I also hope that Monza is not lost. I hope having a race in Germany is not lost. I wish we still had a race in France. Too bad those running F1 do not have the same hopes and wishes.

    1. Bernie will not calm down until he has 20 Pastors on the grid and 20 Tilkedroms on the calendar.

  9. I don’t see why it’d be difficult to let the drivers’ engineers work separately on strategies. If Nico’s engineer though Lewis could undercut him via either a 3-stop or options on the final stint, then they could just cover that risk by doing the same first. It leaves them with the freedom to run their own strategy and keeps the blame on their side of the garage. Or am I missing something?

    1. Mercedes have a single strategist not one per driver. It’s his job to work out the teams best result as they don’t have any concern which way round they finish if it’s going to be a 1-2. There is no benefit to beating themselves and they only put results at risk in trying.

      The team give the drivers who remember work for the team the strategy that gives the best team result. If they want to fight over which way round that is then it’s their job to do so on track so long as it isn’t at the expense of the result for the team.

      1. @philipgb The problem is that whilst this works fine (relatively!) at the moment because Merc can regularly score 1-2 finishes and don’t care what order they are in, the situation is going to be much more tricky if/when Ferrari are closer behind and giving them a real race.

        They can’t focus on being ‘fair’ to teammates when it’s another constructor they have to worry about beating them. The reality is that they will probably have to work on getting the best strategy for Lewis as he will be the one who is most likely to fight for the WDC and if Nico continues qualifying well then they will have to favour Lewis on strategy or risk shooting themselves in the foot as Nico holds up his team mate and costs him positions and points. Many teams split strategies to try and get the best result when there is no clear single best strategy (the idea that there is only ever one way to go is rarely correct, the difference between two strategies is often fairly marginal and the driver can make the difference in his execution of what, in theory, is the less-optimal solution as Lewis has shown in the past).

        The problem here is that Mercedes could hit 2016 completely unable to implement sensible strategies for beating others as the only recent experience they have is of providing the same strategy to their drivers. Ferrari, on the other hand, are are getting plenty of practice running sensible real-world strategies to race Williams, Red-Bull and Mercedes and we know that they will have only one driver to focus preferential strategy on when their time comes to compete for the WDC again.

        1. There is a problem with running separate strategies for drivers. Right now, Mercedes has one objective – getting the best team result. Adopting individual strategists means that they would have two objectives – getting the best result for the team and getting their driver ahead of the teammate. Optimizing for two goals rarely gives the same solution. Imagine Lewis running behind Nico and his strategist choosing between two options. One offers 60% chance of getting both Nick and Lewis two positions up, but in the same order Nico-Lewis, and the other strategy would move them up only by one position, but with probability 30% of getting Lewis ahead of Nico. Which one would he choose? And which one would make Lewis happy? Having separate strategists actually means a split in the team, it effectively becomes two teams with all the emotional and other consequences. I am not blaming Mercedes for not wanting to go that way.

          The teams mentioned in the post (Red Bull, Ferrary) had the luxury of having an underperforming no.2 driver. When one driver qualifies second and the other seventh, there is next to no chance that the P7 frogleaps ahead of the other driver. Thus they can afford to run individual strategies (in fact, they again optimize for just one objective), with the tacit understanding that they would not be getting in each other way when they meet on track. Which brings us to Williams mentioned in the post, they (and other teams) typically run split strategies when the qualifying results are not close.

        2. I think that is fair to say. If Ferrari or another team continue to close the gap in 2016 you would expect to see Mercedes would hedge their bets on different strategies to cover their competitors off.

          I can also understand why Mercedes want a single strategy for both drivers. We know the Merc has a problem following it dirty air, so when racing each other both drivers would be looking for an early stop to try the undercut or defend against it. It then become like a gamble of how early you can make a stop and still have tires to reach the end – the last thing Mercedes want is to lose a 1-2 finish on the final couple laps because their tires have gone off.

        3. @jerseyf1

          They have split strategies and imposed team orders when they’re stuck behind other cars. They still work towards the ideal team result, which if the drivers find themselves in different situations like out of sync pit stops has included split driver strategies.

  10. I’m pretty sure F1’s contribution to the UK economy is quite accurately calculated given the teams and everyone who is involved will pay whatever taxes they are legally liable for. The government will have cold hard data on it’s value.

    In fact given the amount of commentary on tax avoidance for the drivers and Bernie you’d have to say that the government if anything values it’s contribution higher than the people involved do.

  11. I’d argue that Katlenborn has likewise become very annoying. Teams want more in-season development, she complains and says no. Teams want to reduced costs, she complains and says no. FIA wants to lower engine costs or teams like Sauber, she says no. It feels that every time the teams collectively or the FIA try to do something to help, Katlenborn and others are rejecting the idea. About the only things she wants it more prize money. This is an honest thing to fight for, but I feel that she’s letting rejecting other important proposals for the sport in her fervor for the prize money to be fairly distributed.

    1. @Niyoko, with regards to the engine costs – what Kaltenborn rejected was the FIA’s proposal for the 2.2 litre engine because, as has been pointed out, it is a false economy given that the need to redesign the car and the likely requirement for refuelling would erode much of the claimed cost savings. What she has been supporting though was the FIA’s proposal for a cap on the cost of the current engines instead, which was what the FIA wanted to introduce in the first place.

      As for in season development, Franz Tost has tended to be the one pushing for more restrictions – for example, Tost has suggested that the teams should only have a fixed number of upgrade packages which can be introduced during the season. Tost has also been leading the charge for in season testing to be eliminated, so to point solely to Kaltenborn is a bit misleading.

    2. Teams want to reduced costs, she complains and says no.

      I’ve no idea what you’re referring to there, because Kaltenborn has (quite rightly) been talking for years about the need to bring down costs.

  12. This is Just amazing. Take a look at the revenues from NFL and how much PROFIT does the 32 teams (yes, 32) each one. and that’s just the USA market alone. Imagine what could happen if F1 were in hands of more competent hands, rather than the greedy people we have today.

    1. Fikri Harish (@)
      17th November 2015, 3:05

      F1 has massive development costs. You can’t compare it to NFL and/or the Premiere League. And it’s the teams themselves that don’t want any financial restraint be put in place because then they can’t spend their way to victory.

      Yes, F1’s revenue sharing is totally messed up but even with fairer revenue distribution, F1’s perpetually rising development costs means that there is absolutely no chance any of the F1 teams could enjoy the same profit NFL teams make.

      1. Sure there are massive development costs. But NFL is not “cheap” either. When you have 32 teams and the spending just on player salaries is around $100 million per team.

      2. but even with rising developement cost (than anyhow eventually will be carried by street cars, then car buyers will end up paying for that R&D returning the money to F1, that’s how technology transfer works) the top team spends how much? 400m? Ok, NFL has a revenue of 6 BILLIONS dollars on the US market alone. So, if you can rise that much money in one country -as big and powerful as it is- i suspect than in the rest of the world is -at least- the same amount of money to be made. So, thinking about 6billions from revenue to F1, 50% to CVC and 50% to the teams, shared equally. it would be more than 270 million for EACH TEAM, without taking in count sponsorship money. that would be a LOT of money. can you imagine what Manor can do with a 5 times bigger budget? and Force India? i surely would like to see that.

    2. @matiascasali Unfortunately it was the EU which forced the commercial rights out of FIA’s hands and into the greedy paws of Ecclestone. Now the EU is asked to intervene again and we can only sit and wait to see how much damage they will do this time around.

  13. @gt-racer or anybody. What do you guys think is the reason that the people in power don’t want to remove so much emphasis on aero?
    We’ve known for years this is the problem? Why are they avoiding it?

    1. @s2g-unit Cars would be a lot slower when cornering. Those speeds are what really sets F1 apart from most other racing series, and are also the most impressive feat,

  14. It’s very very rare to see a team principal criticize a driver!
    It may give people an impression that she criticized him heavily just because he is Pastor.

  15. How is it that this one merc strategist thing comes up whenever hamilton is not benefiting from the strategy. Most of the races Rosberg has been stuck behind Hamilton without being able to do anything about because of stategy and the inability of modern cars to follow each other. I however cannot recall Rosberg asking for a different strategy

    1. “How is it that this one merc strategist thing comes up whenever hamilton is not benefiting from the strategy”

      You mean like Bahrain 2014 when Rosbergs strategy was split? or Hungary when Rosberg was put on the soft tyre and Hamilton was ordered to move out of his way so Rosbergs strategy could run its best course?

      Short memories eh

      1. Hungary 2014: They were on completely different strategies in the first place as Ham has started from the pits

        Bahrain 2014: The strategy was predetermined. Leading Driver OOP
        Second Driver OPO

        And I can think of Spain 2015 as a counter argument

        1. So they couldn’t have pre-empted a different strategy for Hamilton given they know exactly how hard it is to pass around this circuit after what happened last year?

          “And I can think of Spain 2015 as a counter argument”

          A counter argument to your own point that this debate only comes up whenever Hamilton is not benefitting from strategy?

          1. My point was that a single strategist chooses the strategy with the best interest of the team in mind. Therefore if it is possible to improve the amount of points the team can get they will scrap the leading car has the first call policy. When however the team finds itself in a 1-2 situation then they have no reason to swap their places as they will still get the same amount of points. Of course there can be a situation where one driver is fighting for a place in the WDC and the other is not affected by the result but that hasn’t come up yet.

    2. True, but maybe that’s the difference between ROS and HAM.

    3. @papalotis, The difference is that Hamilton is actually able to get close Rosberg by being faster, but in the end it’s impossible to follow close enough to pass. When Rosberg is behind Hamilton he’s usually unable to get in range to even contemplate an attack.

  16. Data from Red Bull’s rivals indicates the upgraded Renault engine gave 20bhp less than the previous version.

    What?!? Is this a joke or something?

    People here can blame Red Bull all they want but in the end it’s Renault’s fault the team is such a mess right now. Renault wanted the new engines and then decided to spend the least they could in the development of said engines. When Red Bull saw what a mess the engines were, they offered their help. Renault’s answer? “Nah, we’re good and don’t need your engineers”

    1. @paeschli I laughed, but I know a Australian and a Russion who probably didn’t.

  17. I have been very cynical of RBR treatment of Renault in the past, however Renault are starting to blow my mind recently and I am starting to see why RBR are super frustrated.

    According to that article, the new engine was 20hp less than the older one Kvyat ran. I know they didn’t use the new turbocharger, so maybe it was needed that to deliver gains. However, if the gains weren’t there, why run the unit at all. Or more importantly, why not run the new turbocharger. They said they would originally have the new engine package available for Spa and then Russia, and then it was 100% ready in Austin and now it’s not ready. What the?

    They told RBR that the new engine that RIC ran that it would deliver a 0.2 second lap time gain. It delivered less power, not more. At least it didn’t blow up I guess!

    I saw RIC was cynical in the press about Renault’s claims of a 0.2sec advantage and I saw people respond and say “More bad RBR treatment of Renault”. If that is all RBR and RIC had to say about this is is a small miracle. I would be ropeable.

    Let us also not forget that at the start of this year, Renault delivered an update to their underpowered engine of 2014. That update offered the same HP level, but it blew up constantly and gave worse driveability. If you can find it, there was on board footage of RIC’s start in Melbourne without the commentary so you can listen to the engine. He gets off the line well and then you can actually hear the engine spluttering and see the changes in power level as he accelerates and loses positions.

    I have seen heaps of comments about why or why not McLaren should allow RBR to take the Honda engine. What I don’t see is people questioning why the hell RBR would want the Honda engine. Seriously, on paper it seems like a no brainier to stick with Renault. Renault offer about a 1sec deficit to Merc. Honda offers a 2.5sec deficit to Merc. Why would anyone in their right mind go there? The answer has to be because Honda will go forward from here. Renault may not.

    Shame Renault Shame. The only thing I can think is that Renault is deliberately damaging their own brand because there is some big takeover bid coming and they want to devalue the stock so someone else can buy it cheaper. They can’t really be this poor can they? They are a big name with plenty of F1 experience. But basically after 2 years of development, they are in a worse position to where they were at the beginning of 2014. People find conspiracy theories on this site for everything, but their performance is so unbelievable that it must warrant some kind of conspiracy theory.

    1. As another note on this. If the press is to be believed, Mario Illien was contracted by RBR at the start of the year to help Renault. At RBR cost it must be noted. He developed a new engine design, but recent comments suggest that Renault threw that in the bin and continued with their own design. Which is apparently now 20HP on their old design.

      Heck, RBR tried to help Renault, but they know better. Yeah right. Renault deserve the scorn that RBR has given them.

      It’s like RBR offering to give Sauber Adrian Newey and a team to develop their car and then Manor turning around and saying get stuffed with your designs. Ours are better. Dumb. Even if you think your designers are good, work with them, not against them. RBR are trying to help and at their cost. Don’t be arrogant and shun that even if it does hurt. Poor engine design hurts more. It could have all been hidden behind the scenes and Renault taken the glory.

      1. Can’t agree more.

        Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the role Mercedes played in this whole debacle. Wolff tried everything to convince the board to not supply Red Bull with Mercedes engines. Every race we have to listen to Hamilton saying he wants closer racing, but in the end he was against a Red Bull – Mercedes deal.

        People should really stop blaming Red Bull for this whole mess. Faced with Renault’s incompetence, they started talks with Mercedes. Everything was going well until Wolff started to mess things up to protect his stake in the Williams team.

        1. The Merc board were tempted by the idea of linking to Red Bull as part of a wider branding strategy @paeschli, but Mateschitz didn’t come back to them over the marketing once he thought he had the engines.

          Meanwhile Toto pointed out to the board that RBR were talking to VW and could soon be passing on all kinds of IP.

          Why you think a racing team principal and a racing driver ought to help another team beat them by handing over a very hard-won advantage I do not know. There are 1200 people all trying to find milliseconds of time, so they can achieve their common objective, and the engines are part of that.

          1. I don’t actually think this is true. I know that it is reported in the media that RBR didn’t come back to Merc chasing the engine deal, but it doesn’t make any sense at all. Why wouldn’t they want Merc engines? We only have Lauda’s comments on that one and those are inconsistent. What Lauda said in that original meeting by his own admission is that Merc would supply RBR based on a few conditions.

            The main two main conditions were
            – “Mateschitz had to abandon his dislike for Merc” Is this even true, but even if it is, I am sure he would have gotten over it for the best engines in F1. Second best is still miles off.
            – RBR had to make sure they had no contract with Renault of which the currently had a deal for 2016. I think this is the clincher deal.

            RBR terminated their deal with Renault on the previso that they had a Merc deal, but then Merc did a hand brake turn. Well played by Merc I guess. They want to be the best and they orchestrated the demise of RBR. That’s their job. RBR probably would have done the same to Merc in reversed positions.

            If you think I am wrong about this, go back and read Lauda’s comments. But read between the lines as well. One main point here that undoes Lauda is that he says RBR never came back to Merc. That doesn’t make any sense for 2 reasons. Merc have the best engine and it is heaps cheaper than the Renault. Why wouldn’t they want it? Secondly, Merc say RBR never came back to them to ask for the engines, however following that, they had a meeting at the boardroom level to formally say RBR can’t have their engines. The board of Mercedes have better things to do than to debate whether a team that doesn’t want their engines can have their engines.

            To add another dimension to this, RBR denigrated Renault early in the season, but really haven’t said anything about them for the last 4 months despite continuing and probably greater disappointment. Could it be that RBR needed a reason to break the contract with Renault to secure the Merc contract so they bagged them in the media to obtain this goal. Now the deal is off the table they have shut the hell up.

            It makes a hell of a lot more sense than a team with very capable and management staff being so stupid as to denigrate their engine supplier to the point that they no longer have an engine and now have to beg for one. I mean if we on the outside can the the folly of their ways, surely those with the inside knowledge and very capable skills could see the folly of their ways?

          2. It’s a mistake imo @mickharrold to rationalise against the evidence, when the subject is F1. Red Bull were slagging off Renault in SpeedWeek on 4th November. Just because that was stupid doesn’t mean they didn’t do it :)

            And afaik they’ve never denied Lauda’s version.

          3. I agree @lockup that “Just because it is stupid, doesn’t mean they didn’t do it”. I fully agree that some of the worst decisions in the world were stupid and based on emotion. RBR may just be really stupid and have acted on emotion on this one. I just don’t buy it fully. I am sure there is a part of stupidity on RBR’s part in this, but I just don’t think they are that stupid. They have millions of dollars riding on this and they pay very good people to make decisions, and I find it hard to believe that what we see is the be all and end all of it.

            For instance, who knew Mario Illian was contracted by RBR since the start of this year to help develop the Renault engine. 11 months later we get told this (Not by RBR or Renault). There is a lot we don’t see and it would be silly of us to think that our small view of the facts is correct.

            Usually if you see something that doesn’t make sense (like RBR with no engine supplier) there is more to it than we can see. I am not saying that we should go against the evidence at all. I think the evidence suggests that there is more to it than we see. Otherwise it is just plain stupidity which is possible, but unlikely.

            That is my point about all of this. A lot of the events in this saga are unlikely. Take for instance RBR considering taking Honda Engines. On paper it is stupid, but there must be more to it. Take Hamilton moving to Merc. At the time that was seen as a stupid decision as well. In hindsight, that was an easy decision. He clearly knew more than we did at the time.

          4. Well IMO Mateschitz wanted the engines without the marketing tie-up @mickharrold, and he thought he could have that on a handshake with Lauda followed by some strategic inaction. With all the success and being a 6ft4 billionaire he quite likely felt that was only reasonable.

            Toto saying he had to finish with Renault before they could talk didn’t help. But now it appears Dietrich didn’t finish after all.

            For me it was always unrealistic to expect, and even demand, the best engine. In F1 nobody is going to spend $500m trying to win, and then help you beat them. It was beyond entitled to ever think otherwise.

          5. Why wouldn’t they want Merc engines?

            Because Mateschitz despises Mercedes and has been quite frank about this.

            Right after the talks with Lauda they turned to Ferrari to for engines. Perhaps also in an attempt to play the two engine manufacturers against each other. Then Ferrari offered an outdated engine spec and Toto Wolff convinced the Mercedes board not to let Lauda sell their engine to RBR and that was that.

            They tried to have it all and ended up with nothing.

        2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          17th November 2015, 12:28

          Armchair punditry at it’s finest there Patrick. The Wolff is likely not nearly as instrumental to this as you ascertain, please refer to lockup’s comments which have not been refuted by RBR and thus can be taken as more reliable.

          At the end of the day none of us know the ins and outs of this potential deal gone sour unless Lauda and Mateschitz are lurking in the F1 Fanatics comments section….

          1. @offdutyrockstar Well I’m going to refer to @mickharrold comments then ;)

            […] Mateschitz didn’t come back to them over the marketing once he thought he had the engines.

            Meanwhile Toto pointed out to the board that RBR were talking to VW and could soon be passing on all kinds of IP.

            Like said above, it doesn’t make any sense at all. And our source is Niki Lauda, not a very reliable one at that.

            You could say the Lauda comments weren’t refuted by RBR, but they weren’t confirmed either …

            Either way, from the outside it looks like Red Bull talked trash about the Renault engine so that they could use a performance clause of some sort to get out of it. They were promised a Mercedes engine after all. Once the contract with Renault was broken, Wolff managed to scare the board with talks of a VW – Red Bull deal, which never happened or will happen for obvious reasons …

  18. It’s funny Rosberg said changing to different strategy means win by luck. Someone should remind him winning by luck means winning by circumstances outside of their influence like sudden SC or unexpected weather changes. Changing to different strategy and make it work is called effort.

    1. The luck part he mentions is not the strategy as such but drawing the better strategy choice by luck @sonicslv

      1. Yes I think he was referring to their computer models and whatever other tools they use telling them that a 3-stop was the way to go and so that was the plan. To then change the plan for one driver mid-race and him win would have been more on the luck side as their computer model did not recognize that possibility, or it was due to weather or a safety car circumstance or what have you.

        1. @robbie Actually the simulation predict 2 stop as the better way. But that’s not the point. The false premise here is changing strategy will give you win by luck, which is totally ridiculous, because 1) the driver still need to make the new strategy work, and 2) unexpected intervention (SC, rain) have same chance to give advantage to either the original or alternate strategy.

      2. @bascb But it still doesn’t make any sense. Changing the strategy actually requires you to put more effort than if it was the original strategy. If you choose to convert from 3 stop to 2 stop then you need to prolong one of your stint. Likewise going from 2 stop to 3 stop usually means you lose track position. Also if anything happens it’s not guaranteed that the one changing strategy will always get the benefit of “luck”. For example just look at Monaco this year. Or another plausible scenario if Hamilton was allowed to convert to 2 stop and SC appeared. He will lose any gap he had from Rosberg with worn out tire versus fresh tire on Rosberg’s. Changing strategy means changing strategy. Using luck as an excuse just makes him looked like he’s afraid Hamilton will certainly win if they have different strategy.

    2. @sonicslv Luck could play a part though. Like in Bahrain 2014 when they did give Rosberg an alternate strategy and the SC took away Hamilton’s gap.

      1. @patrickl That same race shows that the driver still need to work for it and Rosberg fails to capitalize the chance he got. The opposite of the spectrum is Monaco this year where changing strategy actually made Hamilton lost the race. The point is “luck” can work both ways, and at the end luck is just that: luck. Besides if changing strategy is depending on luck then everyone who pit earlier and able to undercut is always lucky?

        1. @sonicslv So, in conclusion, luck could indeed play a part …

          1. @patrickl Not related to strategy though. I just see all of this as an excuse because Rosberg not sure if he can still win if Hamilton trying all he can to challenge him. The luck is just excuse to justify stacking the deck against Hamilton so he in worst position possible. To his credit, this wasn’t possible if Rosberg doesn’t get the pole and stay ahead after first lap, but all this luck talk just make him looked like he doesn’t have confidence against Hamilton.

          2. @sonicslv, Well yes it is. A different strategy always increases the chances of “luck” having an impact. Either good or bad.

            Of course the driver behind is up for that and the driver in front won’t like it. So of course Rosberg doesn’t want this to happen, but when he was behind, he was fine with it when he DID get a different strategy and “luck” almost handed him the win :)

  19. Would the last sponsor to leave McLaren please turn off the lights.


  20. Data from Red Bull’s rivals indicates the upgraded Renault engine gave 20bhp less than the previous version.

    It was disappointing to hear this about the new Renault engine. I had a look at the FIA maximum speeds attained during the race, but all of the results don’t use the same designations as the official track layout, meaning we can’t be sure whereabouts on the track those results apply to.
    There is one column called “Finish line”, so this probably applies to the start-finish line, although it might apply to the speed trap, which is located at 90 metres before Turn 1. In this column Ricciardo has a higher speed (337.7km/h) than Kvyat (335.6 km/h). If this was the only column in the data then one could believe the new engine was better than the old one.
    In the other two columns, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 (presumably the end of Sectors 1 and 2), Kvyat has the higher speed (329.6 and 246.5 respectively) compared to Ricciardo (329.2 and 243.2 respectively). While Ricciardo’s last result, the 243.2 km/h doesn’t look so bad, only the two Manor cars, using last year’s technology, had a lower speed, so there something amiss here. Even the Honda powered cars were faster on the part of the track covered by Intermediate 2.
    If we look at the lowest sector times, the results for Sector 1, Sector 2, and Sector 3 are Kvyat: 18.884, 39.959, and 17.369; Ricciardo: 18.922, 39.684, and 17.296. This means Ricciardo’s quickest times were fractionally ahead of Kvyat’s for two of the sectors, and fractionally slower for 1 sector.
    All in all, the only conclusion one can come to is there is very little difference between the old engine and the new one.
    I would like to hear what Renault’s explanation is, because Red Bull have raced with one engine and proven there isn’t any justifiable reason in converting the rest of their cars to the new engine for the last race of the season.

    1. @drycust My question is why Ricciardo the only who used the new engine? Why don’t give same the new engine to one of the STR boys too? Actually why not give that new engine to STR since last race in USA? They can afford to take the penalties anyway. You shouldn’t take a conclusion based only on 1 sampling. It could be Ricciardo has worse set-up or genuinely perform worse than Kvyat in Interlagos. I’m not defending Renault here, but for me there are still too many unknown variables to consider.

      1. @sonicslv I have no idea why only Ricciardo was given this engine, nor why it was now. I guess the fact no one actually crashed out of this race probably makes it arguable this was the right race to do it at.
        The really important question though, is did Red Bull give this new engine a fair try or not? For example, did they make it fail, e.g. a bad aero setup, or did they try to give it the best possible circumstances, e.g. a good choice aero setup, and it failed? If they tried to make it fail, then they should be happy because they got what they wanted. If they gave it the best chance to succeed and it still failed, then the onus is on Renault to explain why.

        1. @drycrust The reason why they only give it now is because they don’t want to take the penalty in USA, where the track is traditionally suited to them and they can try for great result. Dunno why they won’t do it in Mexico probably they feel the same way or just want to take safe route on unknown track. As for Ricciardo only probably they want comparison with old unit which kinda weird, but if it does indeed the reason, just showed how much they believe/appreciate Renault words now.

          The question is why STR is not getting it where the benefit of having more mileage/testing is clear, but @patrickl explained that below. Although I think Renault and/or Red Bull should’ve arrange something for that, but then again considering their level of relationship, neither side probably actually care.

          I don’t think Red Bull will intentionally sabotage the new engine (either only few people knows or all the people in RBR is in it), but it’s still too early to judge from just 1 race. Either way Renault do need to explain why and let’s hope the answer is not something that will make their relationship even worse.

      2. @sonicslv STR explained why they are not using it. They claim it would cost too much money adjusting the cooling for it.

        Agree that it’s a bit too early to write of the engine improvements after one race. Apparently not even all the new parts were installed and we don’t know how much they tuned it down for reliability reasons.

  21. It’s still wide open at… McLaren (5pts in Button’s favour)

    I would argue that McLaren should be counted as an “almost certain” team finishing order too. Given the frequency and quantity of points scored by them this season, it is unlikely that Alonso will catch Button: He would have to finish 7th or above even if Button failed to score. He has only done so once this season, with a 5th place finish in Hungary, and the team has only had 2 of them, with Button finishing 7th in Austin.

    As to the discussions about splitting strategies and letting drivers have more say, I doubt that will happen while we have more than one driver per team. We have to accept that F1 is a team sport, and the drivers will always be subservient to the team.

  22. I find it so funny when Rosberg says ‘the fight must be ‘man against man”, yet all the thinking and strategizing is done on the pit wall, and he prefers it that way. When Hamilton, who obviously has better situational awareness, tries to make some input regarding strategy, he is typically turned down. No Nico, the fight is not ‘man against man’. It is being controlled by the pit wall, and the last few races – included Monaco, lest we forget – have favored you.

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