Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016

Reduced gap to Mercedes “bodes well for 2017” – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team have reduced the gap to Mercedes in recent races and will be closer next year.

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Comment of the day

Is Nico Rosberg better in wet conditions than people give him credit for?

Yes he had struggles at Monaco this year but that is one race out how how many he’s done in the wet? Most of which where he’s been competitive.

Was he not leading Hamilton for most of the wet Japanese Grand Prix in 2014? Hamilton didn’t pass him until the rain had stopped, the track was dry enough for intermediates and DRS had been enabled which was a big factor in how Lewis got by. In the pure wet conditions Hamilton had no answer and it was Hamilton that ran off the track at one point.

And his issues at Monaco were not even because it was wet, It was down to him not been able to get the tyres into there operating window due to the setup he was running that weekend not putting enough load/temperature into them. An issue many others have had in the dry with the current specification tyres and incidentally the same issue that Rosberg was having at Mexico last weekend.
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  • 56 comments on “Reduced gap to Mercedes “bodes well for 2017” – Horner”

    1. COTD of the day is lacking depth and information…

      When Lewis got by ROS in Japan, it was still relatively wet and when he did, he gaped him by almost 2 seconds by the time they got to Degner 1. Even when it was raining heavily, ROS didn’t have a lead bigger than 1-2 seconds. So no Rosberg was not a match for Lewis in the wet.

      You say Monaco was the only race he struggled in the wet this year, sorry, but did you not watch the British GP?

      His Monaco issues had nothing to do with tire temp, but rather with his brakes, something ROS himself said he was struggling with, nothing to do with setup. In Monaco Rosberg was struggling to match the pace of Ric & Ham throughout the entire practice sessions and was the slower of the 3.

      So what was the reasons for Austin?

      1. there are other examples, look at their first season together, rosberg was always faster in the wet – don’t judge on one or two recent races..
        as for your last question, that has nothing to do with COTD, it was a dry race.

        1. @kcpart he started by saying how you can’t judge off one race. He answered back with the same type of argument to prove his point, that’s what i gathered anyway.

          Monaco and British GP this year Rosberg was not good, fact. Does that determine his ability in wet conditions, no.

          I think he means Austion 2015 which was a wet start.

    2. Good one COTD.

      In this day and age in F1, could any driver be rubbish in the wet? No chance. Some may be a tad quicker, but generally they’d all be pretty evenly matched on ability. Obviously the setup of the car has a significant bearing on how one performs.

      1. I disagree on this.

        We’ve seen Massa being extremely cautious in the wet for years. More than say, Schumacher, Alonso or Raikkonen to only name is team mates.
        Someone recently posted on another forum I know a video of Rosberg smashing his car in the wet in Monaco in 2008. Different cars, different teams, same driver, same result.

        If Nico can’t put enough temperature into his tyres, then it is a lack in his racecraft. I don’t see how this is different to crashing your car: in both cases you are not up to the task.

        1. Prost refused to drive in the wet if it didnt suit him

          1. What a misleading comment, Prost drove in many wet races – I can recall the one year he had a issue with the conditions in Australia based on safety- watch what happened to Senna in that race….

          2. @nosehair, only once, in the 1989 Australian GP, and it is worth noting that Senna – who crashed out after running into the back of another driver – later said that he thought that Prost was right to withdraw from the race and that it had been too dangerous to race in those conditions.

      2. Regarding the comment of the day, was that not the Suzuka race where Lewis sat behind Rosberg for many wet laps, clearly with a lot of pace in hand, and then eventually just flew right around the outside of him into turn one? I think it was, and it showed the difference in natural ability between the two in a very dramatic way. I would certainly not be using that race to defend Rosberg!

        1. @paulguitar How about wet Silverstone last year where Rosberg was closing in on Hamilton very quick before Hamilton got saved by a pitstop on the right time. Or wet COTA last year where Hamilton had no answer for Rosberg who came from fourth to first, overtaking both Red Bulls and Hamilton and romped away to get a lead of 10 seconds in the wet!

          As much as talent is needed getting the tyres to work is at least as important and I am not the one who will determine how big a part your driving talent plays in that particular skill. For all we know Ide could’ve been the best at it,…

          1. Rosberg was absolutely fenomenal at Silverstone that day!

            1. He was what?

              Up until it started to rain, he was being trounced that race. The rain brought him back into the race as he was able to keep heat in his tires on a damp circuit. Before that he was stuck behind one of the Williams and didn’t look he was ever going to get by.

              He was ‘phenomenal’ for a few laps in the damp conditions, but don’t make it sound as it was for the entire race.

              @PorscheF1

              And then came the infamous “gust of wind”

          2. @xtwl At Silverstone 2015 Hamilton’s tyres went dead as they wore too thin to maintain temperature, that’s a different thing entirely. Rosberg’s most ardent fan couldn’t claim he’s 2s faster on skill. His tyres had lasted longer for the same reason mine would have :) At COTA he was quick as the track dried, again. Though he can be quick of course, as long as he can get his tyres warm.

            1. You sound like “This doesn’t suit me, so I’ll just find an excuse..”

            2. Sounds like you can’t actually refute it, @kanan.

        2. “and then eventually just flew right around the outside of him into turn one?”

          Yes, As soon as DRS was enabled he DRS’d his way alongside & been on the drier part of the track (It was when the track was at its driest & they were all on intermediate tyres) was able to complete the pass.

          At points during the wetter parts of that race Nico actually managed to pull away & it was Lewis that made the mistake & ran off at turn 1 as he was trying to catch up.

          1. @PeterG

            It is not inconceivable that at certain points during the 2014 Suzuka race Rosberg was quicker, but the important point is the finish line where Hamilton was ahead. I am not convinced Rosberg had anything in hand, either. The fact that Hamilton’s pass involved DRS is irrelevant. F1 cars have DRS in the current format, all of them, and Rosberg had it once Hamilton went past and was unable to fight back. So, Nico was comprehensively outdriven that day, no ifs or buts.

            And as @lockup says above, Silverstone 2015 Hamilton had a tyre issue which briefly made him look very slow but only an extraordinarily eccentric Rosberg fan would think him 2 seconds per lap faster without an odd set of circumstances.

            So, I don’t intend to bash Rosberg, who I think is a quick and competent F1 driver. I suspect though that, in a nutshell, it will be Lewis rather than Nico hoping for rain next weekend.

          2. He ran off at T1 on the lap before he made the pass and no the track was not dry, it was still wet.

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WIZB3un2tFY

      3. Remembering Silverstone this season where Rosberg got overtaken by Max on a damp(not even wet) track, round the outside through Chapel. Max was a lot(not a tad) quicker in those conditions that day.

    3. http://www.autosport.com/premium/feature/7264/can-rory-byrne-fix-ferrari-problems

      Typical Ferrari. Going back to Rory Byrne. Evidence that they are still living in the past… And that’s hardly their biggest problem.

      1. what the problem with that. Red Bull did the same thing with newey.

    4. Well, it would bode well for 2017 if the rules were stable… it’s just going to be a repeat of 2014 — we’ll all be excited about the previously dominant team losing their way, but quickly get bored of the latest team to steal a march on the opposition. Even so, there’s a chance Mercedes could nail it again and it’ll take another 3 years for everyone else to catch up.

      Of course, I’d love to be proven wrong. But recent history suggests otherwise.

      1. I agree, if the rules weren’t changing , all the teams would likely close up on the competition.

        With the rule change, we won’t know who is where until they start testing and it’s quite likely that we may have only 1 team “get it right” and some get it very wrong.

        Very much shades of 2014 is my fear.

        1. Yeah, but these rule changes focus on the aerodynamics, and the tyres while the 2014 changes focused on the powertrain side of the car, so even if one team handles the upcoming changes better, it shouldn’t be as difficult for other teams to catch up as with the engine/PU performance gap, but let’s wait and see. In 2009 when the rule changes focused on the aero there wasn’t really a dominant team (Brawn GP was dominant only for the first part of the season, so that’s why I don’t count it).

    5. Open questions: Is the engine going to change in 2017 as well? So far everyone has mentioned the wider tyres and different bodywork, bit if the engine remains the same, we will just see Mercedes flying away since lap 1 again.

      1. i think next year the aerodynamics wew more important than the engine,so there could be a shake up.but what i hope is that we will see multiple winner next year,just like MotoGp this year.

      2. The engines spec has locked in until 2019 or 2020 iirc, however development tokens have been removed so there’s unlimited development allowed (within the regulations)

        Why people are excited about the potential for competition is due to the new aero regs; it will allow for the other teams to find alternate avenues for development. It’s expected Newey will have the most accurate understanding of the new dimensions (they were also part of the process for determining them) so Red Bull will be strong again.

        Also McLaren have stated they have multiple (non-engine) developments to improve performance that they haven’t yet implemented due to the weakness of the engine that it would just be a waste, it’s expected for them to be seen next year.

        Torro Rosso won’t be on a year old engine so there’s potential excitement there (but it will be a return to Renault power so who knows.)

        Also just in general the new supposed increase in tyre grip will further benefit those teams with weaker engines, allowing them to make up more in the corners assuming they have the aero/mechanical setup for it.

        So there’s reason to be quietly hopeful that we will see a more competitive field, but given my previous predictions (I thought Renault would be a lot stronger in 2015 with Red Bull as their works team, although it turned out they fell out without a good working relationship) I could be way off base.

        1. As I understand it the draggier cars will make them a bit more power-sensitive, because with lower top speeds extra bhp will be worth a bigger differential in kph, with the square law.

          I’m expecting Merc vs Red Bull, with a premium on qualifying and starts because passing will be harder than ever. All overshadowed by a big crisis angst scenario as F1 discovers that 5-9s faster is a disaster.

          1. “as F1 discovers that 5-9s faster is a disaster.”

            As long as it’s not because they should have been running the halo :x

            1. Well halo would have got the blame, for sure :)

          2. @lockup ”passing will be harder than ever.” – Not necessarily.
            ”the influence of the front wing will be lower, since the floor and the diffuser will generate more downforce, allowing more overtaking.” – Eric Boullier.

            1. Yeah I know Jerejj, and it was a McLaren concept. Pat Symonds doesn’t agree though, and he is an engineer and istr one or two others. There will be more grip from the tyres, and more tow, it’s true, but there will also be less time spent on the straights , less speed change, less braking and over a shorter distance, less tyre deg delta and fewer losses of traction on corner exits to help the guy behind.

              And there is the safety issue, because most accidents happen in corners, and everybody has forgotten that’s why grooved tyres and narrower cars were introduced to start with. So I’m waiting for the gasps of astonishment when somebody notices they’re going into the same barriers with a lot more energy.

            2. @lockup Of course I’m no Symonds but I think some engineers also see the virtues, not to mention those that have voted for these changes and are the reason they are coming, obviously do to. And of course as always different tracks will treat different cars differently.

              Less time spent on the straights? By how much, and so what? Less speed change? Perhaps not if they can exit corners quicker and go into the next one deeper. Less braking over a shorter distance? Perhaps harder braking too though, making for speed differentials to be maintained if that is a concern. Less tire deg delta? Good, more apples to apples racing then. Fewer losses of traction to help the guy behind? The guy behind will also have fewer loses of traction then, which will help him. Safety issue? The cars and tracks have never been safer and the teams who have voted and agreed these changes seem fine with higher speeds…they’ve had these higher speeds in the past but with less safe cars and tracks. Gasps of astonishment? As they say the huge majority of the audience, watching on TV, won’t really notice the higher speeds so much nor will notice one smack in the wall today vs. one next year as being any more ‘scary’. For me it’s knowing these cars are hard to drive, and that the drivers are performing enthralling feats even when it’s hard to relate via the TV, or perhaps because it is hard to relate via TV.

              Anything different than what they’re doing now, especially wrt tires, can’t possibly hurt.

            3. Things can ALWAYS get worse @robbie. In fact they used to be worse, it’s just that we were younger then. There will be less speed change and less time on the straights because more drag means lower top speeds and more downforce means higher entry and exit speeds.

              The current cars were promoted as having more torque than traction, so that, as we have indeed seen, sometimes the car in front breaks traction for a moment when the car behind doesn’t. They fall off quite often, too.

              And let’s not lose sight of the motivations behind it: they’re 18 months old; it was Bernie, (who just wants change and drama); teams who wanted to unseat Mercedes end of; and F1 engineers who, given the choice between sleeping with all Lewis’ girlfriends at once or making a racing car go faster, would choose the latter :) Just because they decided to do it, doesn’t mean it was a great idea.

            4. @lockup For sure just because they’ve decided to do it doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. We’re living that right now.

              I’m hopeful that the added drag and downforce will force them to run less wing for respectable straight line speeds because they’ll have more mechanical and ground effects grip to rely on in the corners.

              I don’t think we need assume the cars will no longer be able to break traction. As to motivations, I’m sure there’s more than you cite, including input from drivers, teams, and fans who are a diminishing audience for F1 right now anyway. A movement to usurp the dominant team? Very common in F1.

              You are already convinced this is a mistake. I say let’s actually see the cars racing in anger before we make these assumptions. And then if it’s bad, at least there’s far more potential in these new cars for improvement, mainly by them finally being off the current tires.

            5. @robbie You are already convinced this is a mistake.

              No I’m not, I’m just making a prediction based on the evidence. It’s not an ‘assumption’ that the cars will break traction less easily, is it? Or the rest of the schoolboy physics I cited. It’s a pity you can’t discuss F1 without trying to make every difference of opinion about me personally.

          3. If anything I would describe what we have now as being closer to ‘disaster’ than anything the new chapter could bring.

            What’s the big fear? Processions? No passing? Even if that happens next year, which I find hard to fathom but we’ll just have to see, at least at a minimum the drivers should be more taxed than they are now. That’s a good start. The main thing is they get off these terrible tires, and that’s a great jumping off point to tweek things going forward to deal with processions if in fact they occur.

            I’ll take anything different than what they are doing now as a positive sign up that they get that change is essential. Folks can speculate all they want, as do I only in a positive light, but at least they’re trying. No guarantee of course because they’ve tried gimmick tires thinking they were onto something and that’s failed, so on to a new chapter that, as I say, can’t possibly be worse, but if it somehow is there’s way more room for improvement than the current tires (don’t) allow.

            1. @robbie, I do think that people fear processional racing – I have a feeling that people won’t really care about whether the drivers are being taxed more than they are now after a race or two and will just revert to complaining about drivers being unable to pass each other.

          4. @lockup, the relationship between straight line speed and engine power is an approximately cubic relationship, not a square law relationship.

            1. @anon Fair comment but we have processions now. So if we’re going to have processions let’s at least know the drivers aren’t limited by the tires and forced to just be passengers. But I’m not going to assume the new chapter will bring processions anyway, because it’s hard to grasp the overall impact of the new wings combined with the new floors and diffusers, the wider cars, and the wider tread-wear vs. thermal-wear tires, which will all amount to the first time a combination of all these factors, including these modern PU’s, will have ever seen an F1 track.

            2. Ah okay Anon, I’m sure you know better than me. Anyway all the more reason to think power will matter more rather than less next year. Horner has mention this, as part of his PR preparations ;) Hopefully the outputs will be closer, anyway, especially Honda’s.

            3. @robbie, I do agree that we will have to wait and see what the final result of the 2017 regulations is, because we have yet to see what will happen once the cars are on track.
              I do agree that you are right that a number of individuals seem to have already decided that they don’t like the upcoming changes and will be looking to validate their preconception that the racing will become more processional, irrespective of whether that actually holds true or not (though @lockup, please do not consider this to be a personal attack on yourself, more a general observation of the fan base).

              @lockup, with regards to the comments made by Pat Symonds, whilst it is true that he is an engineer (having qualified as an aeronautical engineer), he is also in a position where there is inevitably going to be a political edge to his comments as well.

              From his point of view, a formula which increases the importance of aerodynamics is going to be detrimental to Williams because, ever since Newey left them in the 1990’s, Williams have generally been considered to have a weak aerodynamics department. Even amongst the independent teams, Williams isn’t doing well in terms of chassis design and aerodynamics – Force India, widely reputed to have a smaller budget, are generally held to have produced a superior chassis this year.

              In that sense, there is a strong incentive for Symonds to fight against the proposed rule changes – Williams will almost certainly lose quite a lot of ground if the rule changes did go through, so there is also a strong element of wanting to retain their current competitive advantage.

            4. Fair point Anon but I also don’t see any confirmation of the idea that ground-level air is less disturbed by the car in front than wing-level air. The preceding car sucks it up off the ground, like water and manhole covers, and fires it up over the car behind, leaving low-pressure turbulence in its wake; the more so next year with the bigger diffuser and lower rear wing.

              I haven’t noticed any authority deny this common-sense prediction. All I’ve seen is Charlie saying ‘don’t worry about it we’ll increase the authority of DRS.’

              And the changes didn’t set out to improve the racing, they only set out to make the cars faster on a lap and ‘look faster’. I haven’t seen anything to suggest they were outcome of a considered process.

            5. @lockup It’s a pity, and I’m surprised you took my wording as some kind of personal attack but perhaps had I said you ‘seem’ convinced, that would have been better. After all, you have been consistent for a while now in your postings about your doubts about the changes and the motivations behind them, so yes, you have sounded convinced they’ve gone the wrong direction again. If you weren’t ‘convinced’ of the problems you think will arise next year, citing the likes of Symonds’ opinion, then you wouldn’t be making the types of predictions, as you prefer to call them, that you have.

              I’m convinced, and therefore predict, that there will, at a minimum, be some tracks where the teams will run less wing because they won’t want to be caught too draggy on the straights, such that there will be a more favourable (to close racing) ratio of mechanical grip to aero, with the ground effects and the tires. I’m certainly convinced that if this isn’t the case immediately, it is the direction they need to continue to strive for, and given the nature of the changes I think F1 knows that too.

            6. @lockup But in your comment just above to anon where you talk about dirty air still being a problem due to turbulence from the leading car, you’ve not made one mention of the big fat tires and their mechanical grip, which cannot but help wouldn’t you agree?

              You state ‘the changes didn’t set out to improve the racing’ and that it is only about single lap speeds, only about making the cars look faster, and it has not been a considered process. Such massive changes and they weren’t considered? Really?

              I don’t think someone just snapped their fingers and decreed this is what the teams will now have to deal with. I think the teams would have had to have agreed to these changes long enough ago to be able to budget and adapt, and therefore this has been very much a considered process. They’ve just come off having learned what hasn’t been working, namely the current tires and the slow race speeds.

              Taking that into consideration I think we’re in for a better era starting next year. Single laps speeds faster? Great. I think race speeds will be too. Cars will look faster? Great. Large mechanical ‘non-thermal’ tires? I think those are by far the biggest news and this shouldn’t be so much about dirty air which already exists and is not new, but the fact that now they’ll be on good tires again.

              And if I’m right in the prediction I’m convinced at this point to make, the fat draggy tires will cause them to not want to be sitting ducks at the end of straights, so they will run less wing for top speeds and fuel economy and rely on ground effects and tires for cornering speeds, and less wings will be less disturbed in the inevitable dirty air that will always come off any car ahead no matter their configuration of wings and ground effects. If teams will make sure they create so much turbulence behind them that the dirty air overcomes the new mechanical grip for the trailing car, and processions worsen, then the potential is certainly there with these new cars for them to tweek the regs to eliminate a harmful excess of dirty air and let the tires prevail, for closer racing.

              In other words so much more theoretical dirty air that the new tires will be overcome, will be the equivalent of F1 shooting itself in the foot, and having already done that with the poor tires they’re on, I’m confident these changes are indeed well considered, and certainly a perfect solution or balance is extremely hard to achieve.

            7. I didn’t say it was an attack @robbie. I am here to discuss F1, is all, not ‘me’. It’s not about 2017 cars to claim my points are less valid because ‘I have already decided’. That is about me, not F1. I am always up for a debate, as long as what I say is not misrepresented and the subject is not me and my many serious failings. Just F1, the evidence we observe and how we interpret it.

              I have mentioned the extra grip from the tyres, anyway. That and the extra tow there will be. But the wider tyres are part of the extra drag, and they can’t be trimmed out. Also the front wing is more inset from the edge of the cars, and if you recall the original wide front wings were put there by the OWG to collect inwash from the car in front to aid following. But this time they swept back the front wing to make it ‘look’ faster. That’s the level of thought that went into it.

              What they should have done IMO is put the wider tyres on the existing cars, but we are stuck with it now so obviously we can only watch while it plays out. I think it will turn out to belong down there with the radio ban, knockout qualifying and double points, because -5-9s is ridiculous and too fast for the tracks, so I plan to make the most of the rest of this season, before it goes downhill; and hope I’m wrong.

      3. @omarr-pepper Renault never had the better engine in 2010-2013 yet won many races. So I’m very sure Mercedes has had a special meeting highlighting the fact that Red Bull is close, and if Ferrari again find what they did right in 2015 they might be too.

        1. @xtwl
          Renault didn’t have the most powerful V8 back in 2010-2013, Ferrari and Mercedes V8 were more powerful but the thing is the V8 Renault was the most advanced and sophisticated engine of them all.
          Renault were able to evolve their V8 under engine freeze regime having always as excuse reliability purposes, RBR superior advantage came from the Renault engine which was very compact allowing Newey aggressive packaging, the exhaust gases resulting from advanced engine mappings were behind the EBD (they were investigated in Valencia 2011 for going too far with engine mappings), the double tank which was introduced for reliability helped to balance the car in every moment in the race (Vettel’s penalty in Abu Dhabi 2012 was due to the fact that there wasn’t enough fuel in the premium tank despite the required quantity was in the car because the fuel circulate between the two tanks)
          Ferrari and Mercedes asked the FIA many times to introduce the same updates under reliability purposes but their request were refused because their engines were reliable.
          Finallly, RBR superior chassis and aero were behind their success back in 2010-2013 but some of that would have never be without the V8 Renault

          1. Absolutely @tifoso1989, this is forgotten by some (particularly by Helmut Marko) but the qualities of the Renault V8 did not lied only on its raw power. In fact, Red Bull had a Ferrari contract and Newey asked specifically to change for Renault. He knew what he was doing.

    6. There have always been “double standards” and some drivers are simply untouchable. One of them was Schumacher and now is Hamilton: he will NEVER be penalized until he shots at someone with a rifle. If Hamilton was penalized all the times he deserved this year he’d now have lot less points and championship would be already over.

      1. Sorry, i posted in the wrong article: was referring to Verstappen statements about “double standards”. Sorry for this off topic.

      2. We’ve come a long way from the days when people claimed Hamilton was being unfairly singled out by the stewards:

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/11/03/lewis-hamilton-35-incidents-fia-stewards-fair/

        I thought that view was wrong at the time and I think the opposite view is wrong now.

    7. That I am punished, but not Lewis, indicates that there are double standards

      I agree with this statement. Hamilton should have received a 5 second penalty. Maybe it wouldn’t have affected the end result from Hamilton’s persepective (i.e. he finished first), because he finished 8 seconds ahead of Rosbeg, but it would have stopped arguments about whether Verstappen should have been given a penalty or not.

      1. Agreed on this.

    8. Christian is mistaken. The only Mercedes they are catching is Rosberg’s. Using him as a reference is a big mistake. None of the Red Bulls have been close to Lewis this year – and Monaco was no exception. And we haven’t even take Lewis being in engine management mode for the latter part of the year yet.

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