Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Red Bull and Ferrari can win this year – Webber

2016 F1 season

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Mark Webber doesn’t believe Mercedes will win all the races this season despite their commanding start.

Mercedes has won all four races so far this year and could tie the all-time record of 11 consecutive wins at the next round in Spain. But Webber tipped his former team to turn their season around soon.

“I think Red Bull are sleeping there,” he said, “they’re going to really come in the next part of the season, from probably Monaco onwards they look extremely competitive.”

“So yes I think there’ll be different winners. Mercedes won’t win every race this year, Ferrari and Red Bull will definitely have a chance to win grands prix, no question about it. But the championships of course look very safe with Mercedes.”

Webber doesn’t feel Mercedes’ sustained success – winning all bar six of the last 42 races – is necessarily bad for F1. “In Formula One we always had teams dominating for long periods of time,” he said.

“We had the Williams era, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and now we have Mercedes. I think the thing to focus on is the racing, the quality of the cars, the drivers have to be excited, the drivers have to be passionate.”

“If we have these components in, you’re going to have still a little bit of domination at the front but we have to make sure the whole concept is something the people love, enjoy and watch. And that’s the essence of the sport. It has to be cutting edge, it has to be futuristic and it has to be the fastest show on earth by a long way. And that’s what we’ve got to work towards.”

“We talk about tyres too much”

Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016
Drivers “cannot push to the limit”
However Webber urged the sport to ensure drivers are able to push hard throughout races and questioned whether increasing tyre testing was a good move.

“Is it better to have more tyre testing? I’m not sure,” he said. “I think it was good in terms of controlling costs that they had a bit less testing in Formula One but they probably went too far. So to have a little bit of in-season testing for the teams is nice.”

“But I think there’s still too much talk about tyres. We talk about tyres too much in Formula One. We need to talk about more the drivers, of course the cars, but we constantly are talking about the tyres.”

“In Shanghai there was a lot of overtakes but if you ask the drivers really are they genuine overtakes, not really. They can pick where they want to pass. Old tyres and new tyres, that’s the difference in the pace.”

“And the drivers really only race in the first two laps and the last ten percent of a grand prix. In the middle of the race they are managing things. They are managing batteries, managing tyres, they really cannot push to the limit. And this is the part of the race we need to look at, that it’s not fabricated.”

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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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22 comments on “Red Bull and Ferrari can win this year – Webber”

  1. Lewis can win aswell, but it just has not happend.

    My best bet is Singapore. Last 2 years in a row Mercedes had difficulty there. Dont know why, but their car seems to be good everywhere but there.

    Red Bull might also be thinking of Monaco… But Mercedes have so much quali advantage no way. Where can Ferrari win? Any hot race. Should Merc fail due to reliability issues, Ferrari can jump in.

    1. From an amateur perspective I always find Red Bull and Ferrari’s better at rate of acceleration.

      The power of the Mercedes is mainly unleashed on the higher end of the transmission.

      This is why we see a lot of Red Bull, Ferrari´s having a really good start in some of the races.

      But someone prove me wrong here !

      1. Great observation. Mostly Mercedes struggles to put the power down initially and in slow corners. Atleast Lewis was struggling to put down power compared to Williams.

        Might be the reason for bad starts.

        Most probably not a feature of the engine, but might be their engine is more optimized for top end power. Though with 8 ratios they should be able to be in high power band all the time.

        1. Looks can be deceiving. What looks fast may not be and what doesn’t look fast may be. For f1 car to maximise its use of the engine power and electric power system they want to use all of that at the exit of the corner as soon as possible. So much so that once the driver starts to accelerate out of corner he is at the limit of the tires. As the speed increases the torque output at the rear tires decreases due to gear ratios. The higher gear you are the less torque you get at rear wheels.

          When that happens the electric motors kick in. In ideal situation you’d have the electric motor keeping the car at the limit as long as the car has enough power to do so.

          It is really crucial that you deploy all your power output at the earliest possible moment because any extra acceleration you get makes your speeds higher and you carry that extra speed all the way until the next braking zone. If one car can deploy its electric power earlier than other it means that its topspeed are higher, it gets there quicker and its average speed from corner exit to next braking point is higher as well.

          Because mercedes is so much faster than everyone else it really does only mean one thing. Merc can accelerate out of corners fastest and to do so they need to be the first ones to accelerate. And they also probably have highest corner speed as well.

      2. @redbullf1 I’m no expert but at corner exit the amount of power the driver can put down is limited by tyres, then at some point later the engine (power unit) output will be the limiting factor. This could be part of the reason behind what you’re seeing. Also, because you are tyre limited at corner exit and during starts, it could be that it is more difficult for the Merc drivers to control that extra torque, therefore being marginally slower in those sections.

  2. Fairly sure bet Ferrari will pick up a win where Merc fail to finish, Im also fairly sure they wont win all races and take Mclarens record of winning all but one race, just because its 21 races this year thats pretty crazy on 6 engines.

    Dunno if it bothers anyone that one team win alot, seems like its always been that way in F1 for me.

    Totaly agree with tyre talk, im sick of hearing tyres, slow down watch the tyres! bah!

    1. Tyres were fine in Russia very much like the Bridgestone or Michelin era’s with virtually no deg. Merc have an outstanding chassis and engine but I really think it is their understanding of the tyres as much as anything, they can switch them on quicker and have little deg, Ferrari are kinder on the tyres but not enough to make a difference and cannot switch them on as easily. Last year in Singapore Merc could not get they tyres to work and they went fro nearly a second in front to a second behind, last year in Spain Ferrari were with Merc until they swapped to the hard tyres then they lost a huge amount in a few laps, Red Bull for me got the tyres right in China and were a surprise.

    2. @jackobite – Domination is fine when a team does better than the other teams. Domination is not OK when teams don’t have the option to do better than others. Whatever McLaren (for example) do this year, they don’t win a race because they don’t have a good enough supplier.

      I didn’t mind Red Bull dominating and often said it’s the other’s fault for not designing a good enough car. An example would be Brawn with the double diffuser. They did a better job than the rest but the option was there to copy Brawn and as we saw, others quickly caught up.

      This is different though because there is no catching up. You can’t say “Oh… it’s the engine! We’ll just copy that then” because the teams don’t have control over that. Half of them are relying on Mercedes so they know they’ll NEVER have a better PU than the works team!

      1. I pray to the F1 god (Bernie) every night that Mclarens bravery to go with Honda gets rewarded, Honda can do it but its a race against time imho.
        Renault? I would have bet money they would be on top… or if not on top of Merc right there with them but it looks bad for them, Ferrari will get it together for sure and who knows what Redbull will do I guess VW have shot themselves in the foot but it would be great to get another big manufacturer into F1, Id hate to see F1 run on one to two engine suppliers that would be a sad time.

      2. Red Bull should build their own engines. If you build an engine it is a performance part as much as a silly wing so if you build the engine you should benefit the most. Red Bull a long with the smaller riff raff can build an engine together if they want so rightfully their complaints should fall on deaf ears

  3. I’d be surprised if Mercedes is to win in Spain. I think it’s going to be a fight between Vettel and Ricciardo.

    1. I hope so but depends where the Torpedo starts and what he does at the start.

      1. with torpedo you mean Kvyat? :)

    2. Andy (@andybantam)
      3rd May 2016, 18:34

      That would be excellent. Presumably, there’ll be the usual raft of update packages as teams look to optimize their designs. I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see the gap close a little after Spain.

    3. @peartree, ill be surprised if you aren’t surprised!

    4. Yes l agree, be nice and good for f1 if other teams take up the podiums in a some of the euro’s….red bull especially ..with their chassis and drive out of the corners are a huge chance for a few wins….DR with his cool head under pressure and talent has shown he can already win…and more importantly the guy doesn’t make make mistakes..

    5. Why? going off their previous form? If thats the case i would expect Mercedes to finish 1-2. Mercedes are not getting caught by anyone unless the both have technical issues

  4. I’m not convinced that either Red Bull or Ferrari will are any closer to Mercedes this year. The Mercedes still seems to be capable of just driving away from them over the course of a race.

    For either to win, I suspect we’ll need a double DNF from Mercedes.

    The team that “should” be up there given their PU is Williams but sadly they seem to have fallen back again. Hopefully they can improve their chassis quickly and put up a better challenge.

  5. I don’t think Ferrari or Red Bull have cut the deficit to Mercedes by more than a tenth or two since last season, which still leaves them a larger part of a second behind them on quali and race pace. Mercs are still the dominant force, and can take victory at each and every circuit this year. But, as we’ve seen every year, there will be races where Merc will be hit with bad luck in terms of mechanical issues, safety car periods, etc. and someone will capitalise to take a win.

    This year I expect 3 races to be won by non Mercedes drivers. If I had to predict, I’d say Hungary, Singapore and Spa.

  6. We need a replay of Canada 2014 to happen again (and again (and again))… throw a midfield driver in Perez as it was, and some other front runners and you got a battle with tension filling the spectacle to the max.

  7. Breaking News: on Dutch news sites is written that Kvyat is immediately replaced by Verstappen. Verstappen will start for RBR in Spain.
    I’m looking for confirmation

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