Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Red Bull ‘stronger than expected in every race’

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull have been surprised by their competitiveness so far this year.

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Comment of the day

Would an arbitrary rigging of engine performance be worth it to see a more competitive field?

Honda is like the slow student in a class, no matter how much they study, they will still remain last. If the subject matter was easier (engine formula was easier), then I could see Honda closing the gap by 2018. But the rate they are at now, they will constantly flunk the engine test year-in, year-out. Renault have improved a lot this year with the help of Illien, but up until last year, they looked incapable of closing the gap as well.

I hate arbitrary and artificial capping of performance. It curbs innovation. But I also want to see a closer fight between the teams, and if an artificial capping on performance can do it, then I wouldn’t complain too much
@Todfod

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  • 46 comments on “Red Bull ‘stronger than expected in every race’”

    1. Artificial performance fixing is a terrible move. With F1 on pay tv in many countries, there is a case for saying remaining audience are a higher per cent of hard-core traditionalists, more willing to pay for the product. Dumbing down the competitive sport elements of F1 with more gimmicks, like enforced performance equilisation, is likely to help with the downward trend in viewing figures.

      You can play about with more random “for the show” rules on free tv, you will still get viewers. On pay tv you must keep the rules in a way to keep hardcore fans engaged, or go gimmicky, lose the fan base and struggle in a real battle to attract more casual fans to pay for subscriptions instead.

      1. I consider myself a hardcore fan, 20 years + of viewing, but what bothers me more than the ‘pure philosophy of F1’ or the ‘purist approach’ is that we haven’t even had 2 evenly matched teams fighting for a championship since 2008.

        In the Red Bull domination era, it was still close, as engine performance was similar for all teams, and the differentiator was aero and chassis, which gave all the teams a fighting chance to close the gap. And at no point in time were customer teams absolutely incapable for fighting for wins and the championship,nor were they disadvantaged by older engine specs or missing software from their PU supplier.

        An engine performance capping is merely replicating the performance differentiation between PUs during the V8 era. Sure, you can say it’s artificial, blah, blah, but the end result is a better competition and more performance out of customer teams. .

        Regarding your view on the hardcore fans. I can guarantee you that the way the sport is going right now, they won’t be any hardcore fans left anyways. So it’s better to try and fix a problem with artificial means than to let the problem grow to a point where the sport doesn’t have a fanbase at all. Sometimes the end result is more important than the method.

        1. Keep the engine un restricted by rules and stifle the aero…but Red Bull won’the like that.

    2. I disagree with comment of the day.

      I’ve seen slow students work incredibly hard and end up with a really decent result. It just takes a bit more time to get there.

      I am confident, as I believe Honda and McLaren are, that Honda’s engine will get there eventually. It will take a few years, but they can do it. It’s easy to forget how big the gain has already been this year. Yes they are still behind but if they make leaps similar to the one they made this year, which they can do now they have all the teething issues more or less sorted, they can be competitive.

      1. We should just keep ignoring the fact that Mercedes is blocking Honda from a “good of the sport upgrade” similar to the one Renault was granted in the V8 era.

        This same clause is written into the current V6 regulations and even Adrian Newey has commented on it.

        1. I missed this. Is it on F1 Fanatic?

          1. RaceProUK (@)
            23rd April 2016, 10:50

            No, because it’s absolute nonsense.

            1. RaceProUK (@)
              24th April 2016, 19:58

              Apologise? You must be crazy. That article says absolutely nothing about Mercedes blocking anything.

              Just accept you have absolutely no proof of your libellous accusation.

      2. @strontium Agreed. I do not see the logic in suggesting that Honda is forever out of it like they are in some other world that will never see them learn and evolve.

      3. I agree. Being slow is often a sign of “out of one’s depth”, which was brought on by lack of effort in the first place. Hard work gets better results than being lazy.
        The example of Red Bull and the Renault power unit (or is it a Renault engine and a Red Bull hybrid system?), shows hard work and leaving the engine specifications alone is paying off.
        I do wonder if part of the problem was the sinking lid on engine improvement Tokens meant an engine manufacturer probably wanted to conserve Tokens for the future, so they would delay improvements because more research would inevitably show those improvements can be improved upon. Now that Tokens are being cast aside next year in favour of a price limit on engines, it will probably give Honda more flexibility in improving their engine.

    3. “I think the trend in Formula One now is that Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda can win the championship because the other private teams won’t.”

      I absolutely agree with that, and Ferrari themselves think it too: they said after China that Red Bull’s strong pace showed that the Ferrari engine they were looking after would’ve been a terrible deal for the Scuderia.

      Imagine that chassis with a strong engine. Why would Ferrari give them a chance? They give engines to Haas and Sauber because they know they cannot beat them. Haas looks strong, but see them stop once they get too close for comfort.

      Same with Mercedes. They upgrade the engine at will but leave the other customer teams wishing for more. It’s kinda masked up because the Merc engine is far superior to the rest, so it works for the likes of Force India and Manor, but Williams’ desire to win races will never be fulfilled on customer engines.

      1. @fer-no65 Isn’t that how its been for most of F1’s history though?

        The full manufacturer teams & the factory backed teams have always held an advantage over the customer teams, Thats why the top teams have always pushed to get the factory backing rather than taking a customer supply.

        During there most dominant periods the likes of Williams & McLaren had the factory engines for Tag/Porsche, Honda, Renault or Mercedes. Heck even Red Bull had the Renault factory backing for at least 3 of the 4 years they were winning WDC’s. During those times the factory teams were always getting the latest updates before the customers & in a lot of cases were getting those engines either free or heavily discounted with the factory often becoming a team partner.

        There is a lot of things that fans today complain about as been ‘wrong’ or whatever when it comes to engine supply that are things that have always been there & were never things that anyone really ever complained about. Teams only been given year old engines for example, It used to be commonplace that the factory team got the current-spec & all customers got a supply of year old (Or sometimes older) engines & it was never seen as an issue. Factory backed teams always got the latest upgrades before anyone else & again that was never seen as an issue because it was just a normal part of the sport.

        1. Of course the top manufacturer teams always had a better shot, but teams like Sauber and Lotus still challenged RBR, Merc and Ferrari not too long ago. Now with very strict fuel regulations and furthering the trend against ‘aero’, the ‘power unit’ is becoming much more a significant factor in determining who wins and who loses.

          Will RBR win a race, only if Merc let them, will any other team catch up Mercedes? It is very doubtful, their margin of performance suggests a distinct technological advantage that the other teams are not even close to imagining.

          The best way to get competition is to open up the regulations, ie, let teams and manufacturers come up with different solutions. Keeping people to a very strict regime of regulations limits variability, diversity, etc … and thus limits opportunities for teams to literally overtake their opponents. Merc own this set of regulations, it won’t change, not with out costing the other teams more money than Merc has invested, probably. This is the true price of rule rigging, someone always benefits, and the rest pay more for the price of being screwed over.

        2. Funny how when we open up aero regulations we get non-manufactures winning races and championships.

          But of course, aero is bad. Says Mercedes fans.

          1. Those non-manufacturers always had the best engine at the time, wasn’t that the point of the comment?

            Many say aero is bad because it affects racing, going back to when they changed the cars with aero bits all over the place following 2008. I don’t think it’s just Mercedes fans at all.

        3. Not when all the grid, save Ferrari, ran a Cosworth DFV, Hewland drivetrain.

          1. Until Renault decided to try the alternative 1.5l turbo option.

        4. Very true@gt-racer, F1s history is full of races won because of a better motor, In fact motor racing has, as the name suggests, historically been mostly about who has the best motor.

      2. Williams’ desire to win races won’t be fulfilled with a budget that wouldn’t buy half the Mercedes chassis (unless there are some shenanigans in the race).

        What teams won under the 2009 rules package?

        Brawn? Developed as a factory Honda with manufacturer budget, they couldn’t keep up with the development rate of other teams because they didn’t have the money anymore.

        Red Bull? Can you say money?

        Ferrari? McLaren? Mercedes? They had huge budgets.

        For all intents and purposes, these teams can be considered manufacturers. They had huge budgets, and all except for Brawn and Mercedes in 2012 were the main teams for their engine partners (Red Bull was the de-facto Renault main team, McLaren was the Mercedes main team).

        There were 3 surprise wins. 1 from Williams, from a combination of Red Bull struggling at the beginning of the season and Hamilton being removed from pole for being underfuelled. 2 from Lotus with Räikkönen. One at Abu Dhabi 2012, a win that was basically Hamilton’s until his car broke. Vettel had also started from the pits after being excluded from qualilfying, which would have reduced Räikkönen’s chances. Admittedly, the Lotus seemed like a proper competitor in 2013, and with a bit of luck they might have won a couple of races more.

        Still, that’s 3 wins from non-manufacturer teams in 5 years. It took a bit over 3 years for the first non-manufacturer win to happen, and it was in a period where the teams struggled to understand the tyres, rather than pure performance. And 4 years for a customer team to be reasonably competitive (at a season where most teams were already focusing on the 2014 cars, which must have had some influence in the results).

        Lets go back even more, to the 2006-2008 era. How many customer teams won races? 1. And that was Vettel in a Toro Rosso that was basically a Red Bull old chassis, in a wet race that took most people by surprise. You might count BMW-Sauber too, but they were basically a manufacturer team, weren’t they? The 2000-2005 era? You had Williams, but they had BMW’s support, so does that even count? And Jordan, but they had a freak win in 2003 and could only beat Minardi in the standings.

        So, even if you count Williams-BMW and Sauber-BMW as customer teams, since 2000 there have been 16 wins by customer teams. Out of 289 races. That’s a 5.54% of the races won by a customer, or roughly 1 every 20 races.

        Now take out Williams-BMW and BMW-Sauber. That’s 5 races won by a customer (1 Williams, 2 Lotus, 1 Toro Rosso, 1 Jordan). 1.7%. That’s 1 customer win every 58 GPs. Right now, we are exactly 41 races into this PU formula. 56 GPs have happened since Räikkönen last won for a customer team.

        Now, the only change with these engines is that Red Bull hasn’t been able to procure a competitive engine. But we’re talking that Renault and Honda are capable of winning, so Red Bull will use one of those engines. Does anyone think that if the Renault or Honda engines become competitive enough to win, Red Bull won’t be there? Even if their engine isn’t 100% up to the latest spec?

        Red Bull are playing the customer victim card. Poor them, they have no engines. Poor them, they can’t compete. The fact of the matter is that they, unlike Force India or Sauber, have an special agreement to receive more money than they deserve. They, unlike Williams, Force India, Sauber or Manor, have had the opportunity to become a full-fledged manufacturer, yet they chose to remain a “customer”. They chose to rely on another company to provide them with engines. And unlike the “true customer” teams, they even had the power to influence (or at least try to) the rules so that a PU supply would be guaranteed.

        So when people call Red Bull a customer team, they should think twice. Red Bull have more in common with Ferrari and Mercedes than with Force India or Williams or Sauber or Manor. They are not the “small guys”. They are part of the “big guys” that screw the “small guys”.

        As long as the huge budget difference remains, we won’t see customer teams winning races outside of freak events. Red Bull can call themselves a customer teams as much as they want, they are not.

        Everyone seems to blame the PU rules, but the numbers show this has happened with 3 different engine specs, through countless rule iterations. If customer teams aren’t winning, it isn’t because of the engine.

        Oh, and we weren’t even talking about races. We were talking about championships. When was the last time a customer team won an F1 championship?

        1. Brawn wasn’t that far away, Lotus and Sauber both had strong performances not too long ago. And the guy everyone loved to hate managed to win in a car that had no business winning. But those days are long gone. and the hard line fuel limits will keep the customers in their place.

        2. So do the same stats analysis for the ‘engine era’. What percentage of races have customer teams won since 2014? Make the same allowance of unusual circumstances you made for the ‘aero era’.

          1. Evans, Jordi has looked at that aspect within his post when he points out that, statistically, the number of races we have had since the last non manufacturer team won is currently below average (i.e. based on historical averages, we wouldn’t expect a non manufacturer team to have won a race yet).

            @xsavior, as Jordi rightly notes in his post, Brawn really is not representative of your average independent team. Whilst they were technically an independent team by the time the car hit the track, that car had already been developed with the resources of a full manufacturer team (Honda) – the BGP009 was just one of the three parallel development programs that Honda collectively spent the best part of $1 billion on, which was more than the budgets of the next three largest teams combined.

            It also has to be said that Sauber’s best performances in recent years came in 2012, when they took four podiums – a year where many posters complained that the results were “too random” and complained that they weren’t a true reflection of the field.

            As for Lotus, whilst it is true that they did perform very strongly in 2012 and 2013, that was in part because the team was heavily overspending in both of those years when they gambled on ranking higher in the WCC. Even if the engine formula hadn’t changed in 2014, they probably would have dropped back given they had to tighten their budgets to try and manage the debts they’d built up over the previous years (Genii has admitted that the team had been consistently overspending since 2010).

    4. More than 10 years ago I read an interview with Bernie in which he said that in 10 years F1 cars would be built by designers rather than engineers. I thought he was talking nonsence. Now, looking at the 2017 rules with these arrow-shaped front wings to make the cars look AGRESSIVE, rear wing pilons leaning backwards to make the cars look AGRESSIVE, engineers spending their time and resources to improve the SOUND…well, I must admit Ecclestone was not completely wrong.
      I may be panicking and exaggerating, but I really hope we won’t end up with something like recent Pininfarina FE concepts, which are AGRESSIVE, but just ridiculous and look like a fantasy of a five years old boy.

      1. ah aGGressive :/ :/ :/

      2. Agreed. I really dislike those FE concepts also, there’s no sense of quality… they just look ridiculous. I think they’ll be OK though judging from the sketches I’ve seen so far (apart from those ridiculous front wings, but that’s another debate)

    5. ‘I don’t take a lot of notice.’

      Might be the most accurate thing Bernie has ever said!

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        23rd April 2016, 10:53

        Given how willing some sections of the media are to twist words to make more sales, I don’t blame him for not taking notice :)

    6. If Renault can bring that extra 0.4s from Canada onwards, it would be absolutely awesome for the 2016 season. Red Bull are more capable than Ferrari in developing a championship winning chassis, and if their PU is around 15-20hp down on Ferrari and Mercedes, they have more than enough talent elsewhere to make up that deficit and start fighting for wins.

      1. The only fights for wins are behind closed doors. The days of fighting for wins on track are over. lol.

      2. Unfortunately provable and a myth post 2014. Red Bull will be winning nothing anytime soon they can only get Merc and Ferrari sloppy seconds as it should be until they build their own engines like a real team.

    7. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
      23rd April 2016, 9:06

      Ricciardo is a cool dude.

    8. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      23rd April 2016, 9:52

      So Vandoorne has qualified fourth for his Super Formula debut, 0.010 off of being third – the guy is a bit ridiculous. He could yet be a factor for the title in yet another unprecedented rookie campaign…

    9. ColdFly F1 (@)
      23rd April 2016, 11:31

      2017 bodywork: Key changes at a glance – a layman’s view:
      Front tyres: 245mm -> 305mm (better braking, heavier-better steering)
      Rear tyres: 325mm -> 405mm (better traction, better braking)
      Suspension track : 1800mm -> 2000mm (11% longer to overtake)
      Front wing span: 1650mm -> 1800mm (more broken wings)
      Rear wing: 750/950mm -> 950/800mm (easier to drive under the boomgate)
      Maximum Weight: 702kg -> 722kg + tyres (slower)

      1. RaceProUK (@)
        23rd April 2016, 17:38

        Suspension track is a width measurement; wheelbase is the length measurement, and IIRC, the regulations controlling that aren’t changing.

    10. Apex Assassin
      23rd April 2016, 16:39

      The fuel flow and fuel allotment regs need to be scrapped altogether. Same with the rev limits.

      And Alonso needs to rejoin the mortals back on Earth. I can name at least 3, probably 4 customer teams that are and have been crushing McFailen Honda and there is no reason to think that won’t continue especially as Renault will eventually spend some tokens and improve that sad joke they call a power unit.

    11. I believe Bernie would pay £20m to have a female driver in F1. At least.

      1. @lockup It’s a shame that he didn’t back Simona then when she was on the Sauber merry-go-round! Maybe he or Red Bull will look at Sophia Floersch, unless everyone’s attention is on Mick Jr (what’s in a name?).

        1. I’m guessing @fastiesty that Bernie’s not interested in any more Susies. He wants a contender. Red Bull will pick up Floersch if she’s good enough – here’s hoping. Yep hoping for her a whole lot more than Mick!

        2. @fastiesty, to a certain extent, given the total mess that Sauber got itself into over its driver choices, it might be something of a blessing in disguise not to have signed a contract with them. After all, even if she did have a written agreement, van der Garde knows all too well how little that was worth…

          1. Well, indeed, de Silvestro and Frijns were the first ones out the door when the money ran out. Now they are driving in Formula E, where pay drivers have basically been dropped for results given the lower cost of the series.

    12. I love the news about AMG doing a car with F1 derived powerplant. Just imagine! Omg and luckilly they want to price it around 230k. Not that unobtainable. I would love me a car with 1.6 V6 turbo-hybrid with 50% efficiency. Mmm.

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