Ferrari and Mercedes control F1 – Newey

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In the round-up: Red Bull designer Adrian Newey believes Formula One is controlled by his team’s two biggest rivals.

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Comment of the day

Are McLaren right to keep faith in their ‘size zero’ design philosophy?

I don’t think retaining ‘size zero’ makes sense. Compromising the engine for sake of aero in an era where engine is king seems fundamentally wrong.

Also, the more stable the engine rules remain, the different approaches converge towards a common global optimum solution (As was seen during the V8 era, the engines were quite equal with Renault slightly better in fuel efficiency and Mercedes slightly better in raw horsepower).

The Honda solution for the engine is significantly different than the Ferrari and Mercedes solution. And evidence suggests that the Ferrari and Mercedes solution is closer to the global optimum than Honda’s solution.

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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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115 comments on “Ferrari and Mercedes control F1 – Newey”

  1. Red Bull needs stop complaining. Rules are the rules. Nothing says Ferrari or Mercedes have to sell engines who shows at their door. Just like there are no rules to share aero components.

    1. Maybe people need to stop seeing it as complaining, instead merely commenting.

      As I’ve said before, it makes very little sense for a non car manufacturer to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build an engine for 2 cars .Car manufacturers however can subsidies the cost of engine development by transferring IP down through to their road cars.

      While I don’t believe that the manufacturers should have to share their engines, it would for the greater of the sport, It would make a much better show next year to have 6 cars fighting for wins rather than 2. Mercedes and Ferraris reluctance to offer Red Bull a fighting chance just seems anti competitive, and genuinely underminds their own achievements.

      1. Mercedes and Ferraris reluctance to offer Red Bull a fighting chance just seems anti competitive, and genuinely undermines their own achievements.

        Did it also undermine Red Bull’s achievements between 2010 and 2013 that they refused to share their aero secrets with their rivals? Of course it didn’t.

        This is a preposterous assertion not made any more credible by the fact Bernie Ecclestone keeps pushing it for Christian Horner. Because despite what Newey says, Red Bull has the ear of the most powerful man in F1 like no other team today. If Dietrich Mateschitz asked Ecclestone to bend over backwards and grab his ankles, the next thing you’d hear would be the sound of 85-year-old cartilage snapping.

        1. @keithcollantine Thanks for the nightmares…

        2. LOL….. 👏. So true Keith, best comment of the year !

        3. Hi Keith, Great blog. I love it.

          However, I do think you need to separate cars from engines here. RB produced a great car and aero for many years and probably still do, but the regs says that they must produce their own car design. When it comes to the engine, it is a bit different. Firstly, you don’t have to produce your own. Secondly, the engine technology developed can be transferred to road cars. That is what attracts Merc, Renault, Ferrari and Honda. If aero gains could be transferred to road cars, then more manufacturers would also make chassis’s. But it can’t which is why these teams have partnerships with aerospace companies instead.

          In the rules, everyone has to produce a chassis and aero, but they don’t have to produce an engine. There also happens to be no incentive to produce an engine if you are not a car manufacturer.

          I know RB are spoilt brats, but lets leave them aside for a moment and just look at their comments. I feel they are actually correct. Let’s take Williams, Sauber, Force India and Manor. Two of those teams are icons of F1 who have no chance of winning in a long time because of the engine rules. The other 2 deserve their place, but will probably always be placegetters. RB may now have fallen into the same group as these teams and we might all like to see a bit of Karma, but that doesn’t mean what they are saying is incorrect.

          RB are complaining more than they usually do because they are losing, and we all know they would be saying nothing (like Merc) if they were winning. And yes, Bernie licks their hairy wombats and that is annoying for all of us. However, they are probably right here. F1 is controlled by too few people with money and the current engines are potentially difficult to get right with limited testing. The irony is that RB are one of the select few who control the sport, so that’s another reason why we hate it when they complain.

          I am also going to play devils advocate to my above claims. Last year, the engines were, Merc by some way. Renault next and then a small way back was Ferrari. This year, Ferrari has closed the gap very slightly. Renault has imploded. Honda has not got it right by a long way. Let us imagine that Renault actually managed to improve their engine instead of produce a stinker. That would leave them in front of Ferrari and closer to Merc. They may have actually stolen a few more wins than Ferrari managed. Renault didn’t do that unfortunately (have you ever seen footage of Riccirdo’s start in Melbourne where he gets of the line well and then his engine gets hiccups constantly as he accelerates). Let’s imagine for a second that Renault improved their engine from 2014. What would the argument about engine look like then. Merc in front, but with RB close behind and Ferrari chasing the scraps. The whole year would have been different and the whole discussion around engines different as well. I guess Honda can be glad that Renault imploded otherwise they would have looked even worse.

          Are the engine rules that bad? Or did Renault just stuff up through arrogance and join the Honda ranks. I am sure that if Renault had improved their engine by 0.5sec/lap to Merc. The the whole discussion this year would have been different. Firstly, we wouldn’t have seen RB complaining (as much), and racing would have been closer. It may even have gone down as one of the classic seasons. Heck Ricciardo won 3 races with a 1sec disadvantage last year. Image what he could have done with a car only 0.5 second slower than the Merc. But Renault imploded and it didn’t happen.

          In any case, RB are right. F1 is controlled by too few companies. The irony here as you point out is that RB are one of the companies that control F1 along with Ferrari and Merc. RB’s claims fall on deaf ears, but in any case they are right. Sauber, Williams and Force India are pure F1 teams that deserve a chance to win at the top level, but that won’t happen while the boys at the top control the sport. I mean Williams have won the WC, but can you imagine Sauber winning the WC. It’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime and if it does, it will be a Brawn style fluke. Name a team more deserving of a WC than Sauber and then explain to me why they can never win a championship without saying it is because the big boys won’t let them.

          RB are right. Merc, Ferrari and Red Bull control too much power in the sport. Yes, it is ironic that they are the ones complaining since they are also the problem, but that doesn’t make them wrong. It just makes the hypocrites.

          1. I am going to reply to myself here. After thinking about my above comments, it only make me more peeved with Renault. They had the second best engine last year and this year it is distant third. They were 1 second off the pace last year, but they should have been at least only 0.75 seconds of the pace this year if not 0.5 seconds. They really did ruin a great championship this year.

            Everyone hails Ferrari’s progress this year, but if you think about it, they really just filled the RB gap when Renault failed. They got a bit closer to the Mercs, but only as close as RB was in 2014. RB won 3 races last year, but imagine how many they could have one with an improved engine. It might have brought the championship alive. Ricciardo was theoretically in the championship hunt with 3 races to go last year. Imagine what he or Kvyat could have done this year with an improved engine.

            I am an outsider so I am not sure of the intricacies of the engine rules and difficulty in producing them. I am 100% sure the engines are hard to get right and are more difficult than any other engine that has ever been introduced to F1. However, It doesn’t escape me that Renault’s woes this year have framed the entire discussion of F1. With a good Renault engine, the sport may have been in good health.

            “F1 is crap because Merc is winning by miles” is the normal discourse. How much does Renault’s demise have to do with this discussion. I think it is massive. Ahh, it does make me angry (and I don’t even work for RB)

            In Renault’s defence and as I have said above. These are almost definitely the most difficult engines ever brought to F1. I can get angry at Renault all I like from my arm chair, but Honda and Ferrari prove that these engines are an unwieldy beast.

            So who is to blame? The FIA for introducing the new engine regs, the cartel of top F1 teams (as RB claims), Bernie, the public or the promoters. Let’s just blame Bernie and RB. They are easy targets. Somehow I don’t think it is that simple.

          2. The thing is, and it can’t be mention enough in these discussions, Renault were the ones who wanted this hybrid formula more than anyone. Then they build the worst engine.

          3. Yep MH. You are right. Renault wanted these engines. And then they produced crap.

            The question is why? Are Renault crap or are the engine rules so hard to get right? Probably a bit of both, but I tend to feel it is a bit more of Renault failing than anything else.

            Have you ever seen the footage of Ricciardo’s start in Melbourne this year (2015). There is some footage that I can’t find now, but it doesn’t have any commentary, just the engine noise. It is seriously pathetic. Ricciardo gets a good start and begins to overtake and then his engine splutters a number of times and by the first corner he is 3 places back. That is in a straight line. Imagine what it is like driving that engine through a corner and trying not to spin the wheels. I think it is amazing that Kvyat and Riccardo don’t spin off more often at the start of the year. If you can find that footage, you will probably think those 2 guys deserve to be higher up the ranking of best drivers for the year. I didn’t see any footage from Alonso or Button at the start of the year, but if the Ricciardo footage is anything to go by, those guys probably had it way worse.

            It all leads to an epic fail by Renault. What could have been possible this year if they had improved their engine? Ferrari probably would have never won a race and Renault would have rebuilt some of their credibility after 2014. RB wouldn’t have gone searching for a new engine. We could have all spent the year saying how crap Ferrari and Honda are. The engine rules probably wouldn’t have even been a discussion beyond them not being noisy enough.

        4. I think it’s a debatable point @keithcollantine or at least I have an unconventional view on this.

          The success of RBR from 2009-2013 was largely down to great aero concepts which others couldn’t have. While they never shared the secrets of their aero is because they were never supposed to in the first place just like McLaren or Mercedes or Ferrari or any other team. It can’t be compared with engines as aero concepts were not sold in the F1 market.

          However, the engines are supposed to be sold in the F1 market to customers who are willing to pay for it. Frankly, I see no difference between a Manor or a Sauber or a Red Bull as at the end of the day they’re buyers hunting for the best products within their budget.

          My point of debate comes in where an engine seller decides that it is his to decide which customer he wants to sell it to and which one he wants to avoid. This is where the point of anti-competition comes in. Similarly, RBR would have been in breach if selling of aero concepts were on the market and they select their customers according to there wish.

          1. I have come a long way now, reading, and thinking about this and finally I agree with Keith and most RBR critics.

            You only have the possibility to either take out the engine as a competitive part to develop theoretically by each team itself, therefore making it something like the tires, which in the end in most racing series are now a single supplier one size fits all thing. So in end steer it to a one engine formula.

            Or you leave it like it is now. Either you make your own engine, get an independent engine partner, or you have to be content with whatever other engine manufacturers currently competing in F1 are giving you.

            If this doesn’t look attractive you have to leave. On the contrary to most RBR critics however who call this by definition “spoilt prat” behavior, I think it is technically completely legitimate to leave if conditions are genuinely not to your liking any more. (Of course it could still be spoilt prat behavior… I don’t want to argue about that where RBR are).

            I am for the latter, however rules should be attractive for engine manufacturers to enter and stay (currently they are not). So there is a real problem, and a different spec low cost engine is not the solution but causes even more problems in my opinion.

          2. Forgot the “@neelv27“. Please see my comment above.

          3. @neelv27 says that ‘engines are supposed to be sold in the F1 market to customers who are willing to pay for it’. This was once true for the Bridgestone and Michelin tyres, which is where the often recounted tale of ‘must supply X number of teams’ probably originated. It is not true for engines. The engine manufacturers are not supposed to do anything; indeed, the engine manufacturers aren’t actually participants in the championship, only the teams are. This is is described in great detail in Article 8 of the F1 Sporting Regulations (2016 edition).

            In more general terms, the idea that the engine is all important in today’s F1 is not what is taking place in the championship. Mercedes powered teams are found all up and down the grid, as are Ferrari powered cars. The truth is that the Mercedes is also a fantastic car – as unfortunate as that might at times be for the viewers.

          4. are not RBR under contract and cannot leave. They are also under contract with Renault, no?

            you see, RBR cannot just leave, they have to lose, and they will pay to lose. This is what is not fair.

            you can say RBR are paying the price for taking a risk that did not pay off for them, however you can also say that the manufacturers have taken control over the non factory teams, and have made the sport anti-competitive, which absolutely stinks of fraud and racketeering. Renault charged RBR a pretty penny for their loses, Merc determine who has a shot at winning (Toto Wolff’s business partners). F1 stinks, there is nothing keeping it going, no real competition, no interest except to push your brand and ask for permission from the large manufacturers. It’ was a hostile take over, and all the smaller teams who were on their knees are now begging on their stomachs for forgiveness.

        5. Yeah sorry Keith but I’m sure you have taken a look at Mercs IPMs from 2012-14 and know that they literally threw money at R&D until that Engine was unstoppable. In contrast Renault figuratively threw Peanuts at their R&D.
          In 2009-2013 FER MER MCL and RBR all had similar budgets and it was more a case of RBR having the best guy and maybe the best infrastrcture. THEY WERE SIMPLY BETTER AT WHAT WAS REQUIRED.
          The biggest difference is however that back then EVERY TEAM could make their own progress and now it all hangs on which engine is the best.

          And OT: Of course RBR are really angry with Renault! They wanted this damn hybrid engine formula the most of all manufacturers! They threatened to walk away from the sport to get them. Then they get there wish and go build that POS while RBR can’t do anything about it even though they’ve got the budget and infrastructure to take the fight to anyone.

        6. Hear hear. Red Bull makes fizzy drinks. Red Bull Racing makes F1 cars…very good ones at that too. This attitude that Red Bull somehow is a victim in this situation is total cobblers. The position they are in now is down to nothing other than the way the people employed by the F1 team dealt with F1 issues, nothing else.

          F1 is a complex and complicated sport and to be successful you need to do an awful lot of things right. To say that a team making an engine which is the class of the field is a bad thing and while also saying that a team that happens to be good at aerodynamics is somehow ok is very, very odd indeed.

          You need a lot to succeed, not just a good engine.

        7. the next thing you’d hear would be the sound of 85-year-old cartilage snapping

          You owe me a new keyboard!! Comment of the season.

        8. If that’s how you read it, but I doubt if Bernie actually plays anyone’s puppet. Like it or not this is his sport you base so much of your time & energy in.

          There is the possibility that Mr E simply thinks for himself that an independant engine supplier and a greater level of engine performance parity across the board would be good for the sport, which would happen naturally if teams were open to develop at will.

          As for the aero… I believe Mr Newey would have a price tag that should they really really want it both Mercedes and Ferrari could afford.

          If Mercedes and Ferrari both think they couldn’t win if RBR had their engines, who are we to think otherwise.

      2. Red Bull could have taken those millions and made an engine that would beat others as well. Had they made that engine well, surely they would then not have even considered giving it to a team like McLaren or the Enstone squad. But they would have happily supplied the likes of STR, FI, Manor, Caterham (before their demise) etc.

        1. Didn’t Merc spend half a billion dollars on their power unit?

          You see you don’t just dump half a billion dollars on something when you are already engaged in a contract with another engine manufacturer. RB also don’t have existing human/industrial capital to sink half a billion dollars in to something like that, it would probably cost RB 5x what it did Merc to yield the same results given the lack of resources/specialization RB have in the motor department.

          It’s not so cut and dry, and saying ‘millions’ isn’t even glancing off of the surface of the problem.

    2. People need to stop complaining about Red Bull complaining. They are merely stating the facts. Same as with their comments about the Renault engine, anyone care to argue that one in hindsight? No, I didn’t think so.

      Also, to be fair, this is Adrian Newey quoted, not Red Bull.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        21st December 2015, 6:07

        And some commenters should stop complaining about others complaining about RBR complaining!

      2. They are not stating facts, they are putting their PR machine behind a push to get rules that favour them EF1.

        In Max times, they would have been told to back off on hurting the F1 image.

      3. People need to stop complaining about people complaining about Red Bull complaining.

    3. +1 and weren’t RBR already one of the teams who got extra from FOM by the Concorde agreement? Yes it was!

      … and to be honest – you can’t compare RBR with Ferrari or Mercedes… or McLaren or Williams… give it 10-20 years and maybe then you could request similar status.

      I’m not fan of giving extra to anyone – I really hated what the relationship was between FIA and Ferrari in the late 90s and early 2000. But RBR is just a sore loser for the last couple of years. Didn’t complain that much when Coulthard and Klien were driving…

      1. There are 4 Engine Manufacturers in F1, Ferrari and Mercedes already provide engines to well over half the grid, it’s not like they are not doing their share! If Redbull want to complain, I suggest they turn their attention to the other two manufacturers who are only providing 3 teams with engines between them. And to Bernie and Jean, whilst I am not necessarily against an off the shelf engine provider, surely we already had TWO last season in Renault and Honda and still have one in Honda.

  2. If the Mercedes or Ferrari engines are so much more dominant then why have no other Mercedes or Ferrari engined cars won a race, yet the Red Bull Renault has?

    1. Because they only sell their engines to mid-field low budget teams, in other words, teams that are not a threat. Also, because they were not obligated to sell the upgraded versions of their engine (but that will change next year).

      1. Ohh it won’t change.. Also Ferrari already stated that team approached too late… So they have to n supply with older engine… Next year sauber is getting the 2016 version… Toro rosso a 2015..

        When they agree to open a bit the development during season.. One of the thing they reverted was the decision to sell only engines from the same year as the maker..

      2. There was a rule chance forbidding selling old engines but it was scrapped because of ferrari.

        1. Change not chance.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            21st December 2015, 6:09

            agree that was a stupid change @socksolid; the original rule was clear and fair!

      3. ColdFly F1 (@)
        21st December 2015, 6:11

        McLaren and Williams can hardly be considered ‘mid-field low budget teams’ @philippe!

        1. McLaren has its own engine and Williams are definitely a low budget team.

          1. @paeschli Depends whether you ask Manor or Mercedes.

          2. You must be new to the sport considering your failure to understand the McLaren reference.

      4. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        21st December 2015, 18:33

        @philippe hey we share almost the same avatar!!

        1. I know! Lookin’ good! ;-)

  3. I don’t understand why Newey is saying this nonsense. Why on earth would F1 need engines, fuel and sw the same for all teams? This is the pinnacle of MOTORsport competition, why would he think of having such a vital part of the car the same for everyone… we almost had that post 2006 and we all complained about the engines being equalised. Does he want a formula aero? The problem at the moment is just that teams cannot develop them as they wish, making it hard to recover a disadvantage.

    1. He certainly didn’t complain about engine parity between 2010 and 2013.

      1. They actually did.

      2. Probably because even with the weak engine they had.. V8 era was more about aero and chassis.. Now is more about engine.. So he complains..

        1. They chose that weak engine. Newey wanted the Renault because of the packaging and cooling benefits it offered, hence why the Fezzer was palmed off to STR. Again, a problem of Red Bull’s making. But it wasn’t such a big deal between 09 and 13 because those rev limited, gutless, sewing machine engines were all pretty similar in terms of outright performance.

      3. because the Red Bull team at the time had an advantage of use of the software helping the exhaust blown diffuser/coanda effect blowing. There was no equality either @selbbin. And it was them winning off course.

      4. @selbbin No, back then it was up to Ferrari and Mercedes to tell us we needed a formula more reliant on engines.

        1. it was Renault pushing for that in the first place, only then Mercedes and Audi/VW with Ferrari sort of joining in at the time @xtwl

          1. Which makes it all the more understandable that RBR are slightly cross with them no?

    2. Of course Newey wants a formula aero, he is arguably the best aero designer in the sport!

      1. Now Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne are gone of course. ;)

  4. Maybe RBR would have ended up with a Merc or Ferrari engine had they done their negotiations in private as most other teams do …. but no RBR took every opportunity to publicly slate Renault for their poor engine performance and let’s be honest, who want’s a business partner like that.

    I have a lot of respect for Adrian Newey, who is probably the best designer if F1, but he and the rest of RBR have made their bed and now need to sleep in it and stop with the persistent moaning about how unfair it all is.

    1. HAHA never ever were Merc or Fer going to give them a competitive engine, don’t kid yourself.

  5. Once again, RBR are throwing their toys out of the pram. The senior management and staff really need to grow up! I can’t remember a team crying as much as RBR when they weren’t winning. They might have been frustrated, but not crying to this extent! Have they ever heard of the saying ”Actions speak louder than words”? They really need to take that into account.

    1. Try opening your ears and listening instead of just jumping on the generalization bandwagon (where’s the pitchforks), and you will see they have something to complain about. Look at Honda’s entry into the sport, then answer me this….. Do you really think that without the stupid engine homologation and then silly limited token spending Honda or WOULDN’T have caught up or at least been much closer with Mercedes and Ferrari. Same applies to Renault, you can’t quote ‘these are the rules, that is f1, its always been that way’ because it HASN’T. Engine regs at the moment are a crapshoot, and whomever got the initial jump holds all the cards. i.e Mercedes. Ferrari has closed, but again lets face it, were only even with Merc when exploiting a fuel flow reg grey area, and as soon as that loophole was closed they were again behind on power during the race. but hey, what whiners, they aren’t right when they say its a lopsided competition….

      1. No one got blind sided by the rules. They were set in advance. Basically, you’re asking for an arms race. That’s not good for F1.

        1. Also they had an entire year to sort all minor problems before jumping in the f1 wagon..

          1. j3d89, in the case of Honda, they potentially had much longer than that – Honda was present during the initial meetings that drafted the current regulation package, so they knew well in advance what the requirements of this engine formula would be.
            Furthermore, they had begun work on their engine package in 2012, according to Racecar Engineering, only for that to be invalidated when McLaren requested a change in the packaging requirements that forced them to downsize the ancillaries, including the switch to the smaller turbine type that has caused so many issues.

  6. Re : COTD
    McLarne, its a typo keith ;)
    For the near future, Ferrari and Mercedes will dominate F1, but Newey had made a car when it dominate 4 years wasn’t it? Different era, different dominators. He just need to accept the fact that he’s not improving enough, simple as that.

    1. @deongunner That’s not true. For all we know the RB chassis is the best out there but simply because of the Renault engine it can’t go anywhere. The engine advantage is protected by the rules, and therein lies the ‘unfair’ advantage if you like.

      1. That chassis certainly was not even close to the best in the first 4-6 races (they started to get there only once they managed to get that shorter nose on it and then it took a race more to get further parts working with that)

        1. Exactly, they were even made to look poor by on a few occasions in the early part of the season by STR.

      2. Instead of trying to sell to the world that their poor amazing chassis would have dominated had they been given the Mercedes engine, Red Bull should look at their competitors – Ferrari clearly know that they have to improve (and CAN improve) in all areas to catch and overtake Mercedes.

        Even McLaren and Honda feel that they ARE able to compete both on engine (with a concept they think that once they get it working will be better) and chassis. Clearly there are different engine approaches possible and competative. And it is not at all impossible to catch up. But it does cost money (exactly like aero development) and it yes, in season development is somewhat more limited (although Aero is limited by CFD and windtunnel “budgets” too).

        1. @bascb You’re conveniently skipping the part that the best chassis (not saying Red Bull had that) still could not win without a Ferrari or Mercedes engine.

          McLaren are the worst example. They didn’t want to be related to Mercedes and chose a very poor alternative. They can’t but praise their engine supplier every time they can because at the moment they almost their only sponsor too. Ferrari had a very poor 2014 so improving wasn’t that hard. A proper chassis in 2015 alone did wonders compared to the 2014 car.

          The advantage Mercedes has is protected by the rules and impossible to catch up, unlike the aero advantage that RB had. Do you really think Renault entered for these rules? They entered only with 2017 in mind, they will not spend money on the 2016 engine at all. Red Bull and any other Renault team can have another season of fun with this terrible engine and hope 2017 comes quick.

          1. Sorry, but I really think you see things upside down here @xtwl.

            Off course a team cannot win without an engine in the car. Then again, no team can win without having a good engine, good aero package and slick operations. Its F1 and its top level motorsport, its not easy.

            What McLaren are doing makes perfect sense, provided they make it work. Honda is not bad at all, just a year or 2 back on development and setting themselves reall hard tasks. Will it work? Hard to tell. But IF it does, it could be a dominant package of itself.

            In 2014 Mercedes had the best engine and best chassis but their operations were not superb, Red Bull had a very good chassis but not too great engine but the team works slick and Ferrari had neither a great car nor a great engine or a well running team. Mercedes improved on all fronts, Ferrari hugely improved their engine and also got better on the other fronts, Red Bull failed to bring a good chassis to the start of the year and Renault managed to do a worse job at the engine.

            But that just shows that the actions of the team and their partners DO make a difference, that catching up (or failing to do so) is very much possible and not at all inhabited by the rules in place.

            Renault entered because they found that their approach with Red bull didn’t work for them anymore than being a customer of MErcedes worked for McLAren. They very certainly will spend a boatload of money on the engine to get it closer up, and the rules opening up even further (“black boxed” areas being permitted for development over the winter again).

            I think the engine will get closer, and I think that Honda could get a lot closer as well. Then in 2017 we will all mourn the fact that aero is king and no one can get close to Adrian Newey again and close racing is not possible etc. And if they throw in changes to the engines, we will see which of the engine companies will be a second ahead that year.

          2. @bascb I think we pretty much agree on the rules and their effects, you’re just overly optimistic and I probably overly pessimistic.

          3. @bascb

            catching up is very much possible and not at all inhabited by the rules in place.

            First I think you mean ‘inhibited’ and second – you’re the only person who thinks the current rules are NOT putting a damper on things and limiting. Sure, other teams could catch up – given an abhorrent number of years. 2017 can’t come soon enough.

          4. ha, thanks for catching that mistake there @johannes!

            As for the part about catching up – a complete rule overhaul for 2017 will just mean that one or two teams get it spot on and will dominate and the rest will have to spend a lot of money to catch up, with the poorer teams having a harder time at it.

            Instead stable rules always means that all teams get closer together, as the limits of design are met earlier by those at the top of the field and their “tricks” get more widely adapted by the others.

    2. @deongunner @keithcollantine Project Four.

      There, fixed :)

  7. Chassis man wants F1 to be more about chassis, engine men want it to be more about engines, drivers want it to be more about them, Bernie wants it to be more about selling Rolex and fans want it to be more about sport and less about soap opera mud slinging nonsense every week.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        21st December 2015, 9:31

        And I thought was a site without those (IMO) annoying emojis!

  8. Here we go again, a Red Bull person says something that is true and we must all again bring up the past season and how so called childish they were, can we not give it a rest. Yes, we know you don’t like the team…

    1. Sorry, but it just is not true at all @xtwl.

      1. What’s now unhealthy about Formula One is that it is dominated by engines. The chassis regulations are very tight, but the engine rules have scope for experiment. We are in a situation where only Mercedes and Ferrari are strong enough to win championships. And they eventually control the sport. I hope the FIA takes control of the situation.

        @bascb How is that not true? RB could build the very best chassis next year but still be nowhere near the top because they are just so much down on engine power they can’t even be properly competitive on tracks like Hungary.

        1. Right the first sentence you quote is nothing about fact, and its certainly not true @xtwl. F1 is not “dominated by engines” by a long stretch. Aero improvements were what helped Red Bull to podiums, Mercedes having the best chassis as well as their engine is what makes them dominate currently. Williams messing up their procedures cost that team a lot of points and not having a great aero package cost them any chance to compete with Ferrari despite the better engine.

          What is unhealthy about F1 is the unfair competition from the “haves” like Red Bull, Ferrari and to a slightly lesser extent, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and now probably Renault. Its FOM funnelying money off to pay debts taken to pay their shareholders huge amount of money. Its Bernie and Red Bull (and Ferrari last year) constantly talking the sport down instead of investing in its promotion. Its the FIA having given up on making rules for petty money.

          And maybe throwing the rules up for grabs and changing it constantly is unhealthy. Because the easiest way to ensure a close field and relatively lower cost, is to keep the rules in place for a longer time. That way all engine manufacturers catch up, all teams can gradually apply the best ideas into their cars and components can even carry over and make manufacturing cheaper.

          1. @bascb Bringing up the financial model doesn’t change that a dominant team is also not healthy for F1. Right now that dominant team is Mercedes and whilst others can catch up on aero the real possible championship contenders cannot really overthrow Mercedes because of the engine. With other words the formula is protected and controlled by he who has the strongest engine, Mercedes and to a lesser extent Ferrari.

            As I said above I believe you are overly optimistic with Renault and McLaren their chances, and even those of Ferrari.

          2. whilst others can catch up on aero the real possible championship contenders cannot really overthrow Mercedes because of the engine

            You have let your love of Red Bull cloud your judgement into believing their propaganda @xtwl.

            While I am far for certain McLaren and Honda will manage to do it, if they did not believe they could (and aero is the smaller of their problems) why is Honda still there? Ferrari showed that they could, their engine is now almost on par with Mercedes through development in the winter and during the season. This year the FIA has opened up a far larger area that can be developed, and Honda and Renault (using Illiens ideas as well) will certainly work hard to take advantage of it and will improve and catch up at least somewhat.

            Red Bull has no “rigth” to having any certain engine anymore than anyone has a “right” to sign Vettel or Hamilton or Alonso or Verstappen. Or any right to sign on Newey. If one does manage it, the others will just have to do with what they can get their hands on. In the past Renault was an asset for Red Bull (despite the team constantly bashing the engine even when they were winning), now its not. Either they convince someone else to be their partner (like McLaren did), they stick with what they have and work together to improve. Its the same for everyone.

            Seeing endured dominance of one team is not great in any sport. But on the other hand it is exactly what every team will strive for. And if they excell and manage that (like Red bull did, and McLaren, Williams and Ferrari, Lotus … did before) we can just enjoy their great job and on the other hand hope for someone else to come up with a way to beat that. Its not inherently bad. And its not true that there is no way of catching up.

            Do I expect Ferrari to be better than Mercedes next year? No, I don’t. And I don’t expect McLaren to be back in the game. Renault will probably struggle somewhat. But if Red Bull build a great chassis, and Renault does not worsen once again, then I can see them fighting for podiums and given the circumstances alow it even a win. Because the team still operates at an impressive level. Despite their complaining, its all in their own hands to change things around, stop moaning, get working.

          3. I have nothing with Red Bull, I didn’t even like the team when my favorite driver drove there, despite whatever they did to him.

            despite the team constantly bashing the engine even when they were winning

            First – this is not true. There have been many times when Red Bull praised Renault.

            Second – You’re constantly commenting besides the point Newey is making. If you have an average chassis you will get on the podium with a bit of luck, see Perez, Grosjean and Williams. If your engine is a Renault or Honda you need both Mercedes cars hitting extreme trouble (Hungary and Singapore) before they can even think about it and even then there are the Ferrari cars.

            Despite their complaining, its all in their own hands to change things around, stop moaning, get working.

            For example there is almost nothing Red Bull can do. Their chassis is surely top 3 and whatever they find they will NEVER find the gap the Renault engine brings them to Mercedes to win races. Same for Ferrari.

            McLaren is a team doomed to fail. They have been since 2013. They should have stayed with Mercedes as the Honda dream is something only naive people believe in (IMO of course). Ferrari on the other hand is making an upwards movement, yes. Though even then they were still miles behind on most tracks. Will they be closer next year, it doesn’t really matter as the engine of Mercedes is still without a doubt the better of the two, even if the Ferrari chassis were to be better.

            What Newey and some others at Red Bull simply are saying is with a bad chassis you can get somewhere, with a bad engine you need a whole lot of luck to even get a chance at a good result. And it is exactly that department where Red Bull has no control over, the terrible engine they have. For a million euro investment they sure can complain about a faulty set of rules that just protects the advantage of Mercedes and Ferrari.

            So to come back to your quoted sentence, it is NOT in their own hands, they can’t make the Renault engine gain 40bhp over a winter break. They should say what other teams are afraid of saying as they have some power in the organisation of F1.

        2. @xtwl And Sauber could buy the best engine in the world and still not be competetive if they don’t have Newey to design their aero. It goes both ways, that’s why the picture painted by Red Bull is not true. Yes, Sauber could spend a busload of money on aero (if it had them) and perhaps some other aero whiz could be found, but the same can be said about engines.

          1. Let’s say tomorrow Newey decides to join Sauber then. He could make them a wonderful chassis for 2016 and in season updates that find a billion seconds per lap, no problem put it on the car. But their engine partner Renault also suddenly finds let’s say a super 10 seconds per lap. Ah, to bad, you can’t implement that because of the rules. If you had to divide 10 points over engine and chassis you sure can bet that every team would go for a 6/4 or even 7/3 to engine…

  9. I feel quite upset about Verstappen’s comments. It’s one thing to disagree with the penalty points system. Fair enough, he is an F1 driver and he has his own point of view. However Max, please ask the fans what they think, rather than say “I don’t think that is what the fans want to see…”

    My opinion is that the penalty points system is a much improved system compared what was in place previously. The stewards used to issue fairly meaningless and ineffective reprimands, but my biggest issue was their inability within the rules was the punish consistent poor driving. It seems to be working with Max – “definitely I have to be a bit more careful.” Good. He’s driving a fast weapon around racing circuits for a living and should take care!

    If Max (or any other driver) was banned for a race, I don’t think it would be the end of the world. Straight off the top of my head I can think of three drivers who a race ban has previously benefited (Romain Grosjean, Jorge Lorenzo, Paul Tracy). I’m a fan of Max, but I’m more a fan of incentivising fair and safe driving.

    1. Totally agree. Stricter rules means not only less dirty driving, but also better racing as ALL cars are more careful which means that unlikely outside pass doesn’t end in a push off, Max..

    2. good point made there @georgeod

    3. I’m a fan of Max, but I’m more a fan of incentivising fair and safe driving.

      But that’s exactly the problem: Verstappen is even ahead of Maldonado… If he were to miss a race, the biggest loser would be Formula 1.

      1. @f1infigures And most of those penalties are well deserved, it doesn’t matter how spectacular your overtakes are if on others you hit a cars rear and crash both cars out. You do not deserve to not get a penalty because you did something cool the other race. VES is a brilliant talent but that doesn’t mean he is above the law.

        1. @xtwl @georgeod
          It’s not about being above the law, it’s about whether these penalties seem fair or not. In only one occasion Verstappen collected points for crashing out (Grosjean Monaco). So in 2015 he was, according to the stewards, not a reckless and dangerous driver. I am in favour of the penalty point system, but punish a driver for being reckless, not for ignoring blue flags or for exceeding track limits.

          1. Obviously a driver should be punished for ignoring blue flags or for exceeding track limits, but for these we have drive-throughs and time penalties.

          2. but punish a driver for being reckless, not for ignoring blue flags or for exceeding track limits.

            @matthijs So basically get rid of blue flags and track limits then…?

          3. @xtwl You may not have read my second post. Obviously a driver should be punished for ignoring blue flags or for exceeding track limits, but for these we have drive-throughs and time penalties.

          4. @matthijs Ah, but drivers can receive both. Here lies the good part for me, if a driver once ignores blue flags he will get the penalty at the race and that is the end of it. But if we have people like Maldonado, and this season to some extent Max, continuously breaking the rules it is good there is a system that keeps track and punished repeat offenders at the end.

          5. @xtwl I disagree with you about Verstappen ‘continuously breaking the rules’, but I appreciate your opinion. It’s not like Max is a saint :)

          6. @matthijs I’m not saying it as he’s a bad guy trying to get away with things but he does have a high count of penalty points for one season, whether they are fair or not is up for debate. He got away with things I thought should have been penalized but got penalties for things that were normal too.

    4. This penalty points system stopped making sense when Verstappen received a penalty point for overtaking someone off the track.

    5. @georgeod

      I feel quite upset about Verstappen’s comments. It’s one thing to disagree with the penalty points system. Fair enough, he is an F1 driver and he has his own point of view. However Max, please ask the fans what they think, rather than say “I don’t think that is what the fans want to see…”

      I agree with you, though that’s not exclusively a Max thing. Pretty much everyone involved in F1, drivers, team managers, aero guys, formerly relevant people, indulges in this pet peeve of mine. Whenever there’s something they don’t like, their self-centeredness makes them think that this must automatically be bad for EVERYONE. Especially the fans.
      Even if a driver were to be punished for comitting a war crime on the track, his reaction would predictably be “Boo-hoo, bad for the fans!”

      So all in all, Max’s (is that how you genitivise his Name? I’m a bit fuzzy on the rules …) statement is pretty much just full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The information one should extract can be summarised as: Max Verstappen does not like being punished.
      What a surprise.

    6. @georgeod I think you’re missing the point. I think he’s not against the penalty points as a principle or even a rule, he’s against the arbitrary nature by which they’re enforced, the egregious lack of consistency in application and the effect that will have on his conduct in the next few races. And he’s right. He got penalty points for Grosjean. Fair. Was that consistently the case all season? No. He got penalty points for speeding under the safety car. Fair? Yes. Consistent? Yes. Penalty points for ignoring blue flags. Fair? No. Consistent? H*ll no! Penalty points for overtaking off the track. Fair? Arguable. Consistent? Incredibly not. Penalty points are doled out on a whim by stewards on an inconsistent and unfair basis, to the extent that Verstappen is now genuinely close to a ban. And much as everyone loves to make him look like some ridiculously rash and unready kid, he’s been a fair and aware driver all season long. He doesn’t deserve that, and he rightly points out that some of the penalties have been either handed down in a draconian manner, or have been inconsistently and unfairly applied. And he’s right. Whatever you think of Verstappen, I will bet you any money he agrees with penalty points in theory, but the practice is unfair and uneven, and he is right there.

      1. @hahostolze Good comment. I like how you make the distiction between fair and consistent. You sum up my problems with the penalty points quite nicely.

      2. Well said hahostolze !

    7. I happen to agree with Max, in some cases. As an example. he got a couple of penalty points for the Button overtake in the AbuDhabi race. Many of the contributors here agreed with the fact that those point were “harsh”.

      I do think that he didn’t phrase this correctly. It now indeed seems that he’s whining/complaining.

      This is his penalty point list (taken from this site):
      2pts – Monaco collision with Grosjean
      3pts – Safety Car speeding in Hungary
      1pt – Button Overtake, unfair advantage, Abu Dhabi
      2pts – Ignoring Blue Flags (Hamilton), Abu Dhabi

      Just 1 penalty point for overtaking.

      3pts for Safety Car speeding: Maldonado also got this penalty in Malaysia.
      Merhi got 2 penalty points and a 5second penalty for the same

      There were no PitLane Speeding Penalty Points awarded. Strange. I would assume speeding in the Pit Lane is inherently more dangerous to a person. Speeding under Safety Car is dangerous to the race result. I would regard putting danger to a person above danger to a race result. Just my opinion off course.

      1. Speeding under Safety Car is dangerous to the race result.

        Why is speeding under Safety Car not dangerous to the trackmarshalls involved?

      2. Max said he expected that he had to give the place back to button, but he decided not to, cause it would loose more time then the 5 sec. The penalty was not for the overtake, but refusing to give the place back. Safety car was stupid by max, so that’s fair, blue flags was also his own stupid fault, he should know he has to let the guy pass within 3 flags, so that’s fair too. So there is only really the crash with Grosjean. That was probably because the data showed that grosjean did not brake early and the guy who hits from behind usually gets the penalty. Every penalty was correct, so max is whining a bit. If he had shown better control he wouldn’t have the speeding under safetycar, blue flags and unfair advantage.

        1. I think most of us agree that Max is whining a bit.

          1. I can’t say I have detailed all of Max’s indiscretions, but I agree with his point, which I think a lot of you seem to be missing. He is simply against a system that prevents a driver from racing for fear of a ban.

            The debate on what penalties were properly applied and what ones were unfair is besides the point. The inconsistency probably will always remain because circumstances are often different from one event to another.

            I agree with Max. Not saying I have the answer, but there are so few genuine non-DRS passes anymore that I am against anything that puts a gun to drivers heads to not race…to have to hesitate at a time when split second decisions are needed, is anti-F1 imho. But then, so is DRS so I don’t expect F1 to care whether they are harming their own show by handcuffing drivers further than they already are…handcuffed from racing to the point where they already know they need to make major changes, and are, for 2017.

            I’m absolutely fine with Max’s opinion and think it shows that he is a true racer. I’m sure he gets that penalties are necessary as he points out with suggestions of a different way, but just don’t stop racers from doing what they are there to do…race.

          2. @robbie Personally I don’t have a problem with a system that prevents a driver from racing for fear of a ban, as long as the ban is imposed on reckless driving such as Maldonado rolling Gutierrez at pit exit in Bahrain ’14 or the famous Grosjean-ban after Spa 2012. Or Senna driving Prost off at Suzuka ’90 for that matter.

            But I doubt that Verstappen will be more careful once an overtake opportunity arises. It’s just not in his nature.

  10. @georgeod and if you are right about Verstappen’s comments, which is possible, then I refer you back to my comment about how unfairly they’re applied and then I can relate to Verstappen’s frustrations.

  11. Thank you for the birthday shout-out Keith!

    1. Happy Birthday @huhhii, I hope you’re having a great one.

      1. @coldfly Thank you and Cheers! Pretty sure I’ll have a great day today but I’m not so sure about tomorrow.
        I think I’ll watch the last few laps of Brazilian GP 2007 at least a couple of times later today :)

  12. Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.

    -Enzo Ferrari

    1. Enzo was wrong.

      1. How was Enzo wrong? RBR are currently proving his point.

      2. Enzo was also stubbornly wrong about mid-engine superiority. Not to disparage him :)

    2. @pjtierney Why not post Enzo’s comments on MR cars and how correct that comment was then?

  13. Wow. I just lost some respect for Newey.
    No, I never saw that coming.

    1. Poor baby, Newey. While F1 may be the pinnacle of motorsport hypocrisy, it’s just not fair that RB is allowed to control so much of it.

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