Red Bull will be title contenders – Abiteboul

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In the round-up: Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul believes its engine customer Red Bull will be able to challenge for the championship this year.

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It seems quite a lot of you would like to see the back of DRS but would other changes be needed too?

All the wings and turning vanes create turbulence and lots of little pockets of drag. Not one big neat vacuum like you get in sports cars or NASCAR. The perfect example is when Ducati in added wings to its Moto GP bikes. They became near impossible to slip stream.

I’m not defending DRS. I’d also like to see it go, but if F1 really wants easier overtaking the cars need less complex front wings, bigger diffusers and, most importantly, ground effects needs to come back.

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On this day 25 years ago Nigel Mansell won the final Mexican Grand Prix to be held on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez before the circuit was altered ahead of its return to the F1 calendar two years ago.

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75 comments on “Red Bull will be title contenders – Abiteboul”

  1. COTD sums up exactly what should happen, so why doesn’t it!?

    1. ExcitedAbout17
      22nd March 2017, 8:28

      There’s nothing wrong with DRS!

      The problem are the rules limiting use to trailing cars in specific situations.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with DRS!


        1. (assuming you don’t agree) what’s the problem with DRS technology in your opinion? #nase
          (not the rules governing the restricted use of it)

        2. Having DRS on the car isn’t the problem. The problem is that only the attacking car can use it gives that driver the advantage and makes passing easier and cheaper.. Drop it or keep it, either way, but if you’re going to keep it, let everyone use it the same instead of giving an advantage to some drivers over others.

          1. No. It’s really quite simple. Keep it as it is, but only put DRS zones where it is always nigh on impossible to overtake, and never put them on the long main straights.

      2. without those rules it would be either pointless or dangerous or both. i’ve said this elsewhere, but i’ll repeat: in some cases it has been effective and good (barcelona, singapore) but in other places it has been a disaster (spa, canada, china, especially). there should be such a wealth of data that the organisers ought to be able to tune it for each track (including not having it at all).

    2. If you want closer racing; wouldn’t having DRS so that any car within 5 seconds can use it to push up within a second then it’s down to the driver?

  2. Estaban de los Casas
    22nd March 2017, 2:25

    Because FIA officials dream up ways to level the playing field by trying to lower costs. Problem is that these changes usually create greater costs from teams seeking the solution to the rules changes. Seems like the drivers question the benefit of recent changes and the cars seldomly could run wide open due to fuel restrictions, tires that so quickly crumble into uslessness and on and on and on. All of which lessened the sport and frustrated teams, drivers and fans. 2017 finally offers sensible changes that return performance to the skillsets of the drivers themselves. I believe Lewis and Seb will really show their potential because the cars look tough and will seperate the men from the boys. I only fear the that the edge of performance may be too tempting and most of us remember 94 and those changes and the impact to the sport and too the fans from going over the edge. I believe we the fans are really going to see things not seen in years cars with big balls. Go Lewis

  3. Cotd is I hope what Brawn is going to bring to the direction of rule making, the top teams use aero as much as for their own speed as to take away the speed from others, they want to win, and the rule makers don’t have to please them let alone let them do the rules as has been the case in f1 for the past couple rule changes.
    Bottas hints what has become evident, Mercedes didn’t had the greatest setup after testing. Marko hinted the same, Marko said Mercedes had some problems with the floor of their car, essentially Mercedes had some correlation problems with the said floor that said everybody expects them to sort those issues pretty quickly.
    I don’t trust Cyril.
    I’m not surprised SFI thinks Haas is not doing so badly, many people put haas just above Sauber and Mclaren albeit provisionally. There’s a consensus that Ferrari run their PU at a higher level than Mercedes and that from what SFI perceived Renault ran their PU higher than expected and Honda the opposite. In the end the pecking order is expected to remain similar and the gaps bigger as we entered an era that is no longer limited by the tyres and also an era where money became ever important.

    1. The goal was to make F1 faster. And more aero freedom was lobbied bij some big teams to make them less reliant on engine power.
      Obviously the cars wil get faster and faster and eventually get too dangerous.
      They can then gradually make the wings smaller, decrease the amount of planes i.e., to keep control over cornering speeds and make them less sensitive for dirty air.

  4. Seb must be soaking up the Australian culture, his bigger and heavier car that is worth a fortune has been named Gina, how appropriate.

    1. Lol, literally.

      1. ExcitedAbout17
        22nd March 2017, 8:32

        And Ferrari adopted Hope as middle name ;)

    2. Ya daft cobber! Gina Lollobrigida wasn’t Australian!

      1. Think hohum is talking about the big heavy Gina Rinehart.

  5. There is one reason why I never considered Webber or Rosberg ‘no2’ drivers, not because Webber is my favourite, but because they had an immense hunger to not be a ‘no2’ driver. That even counts for Guttierrez at Sauber against Hulkenberg, or Palmer next to Magnussen. Whatever the media said they were not content with that title. Something I feel was not the case with Barichello, for me one of the best examples of a ‘no2’ driver.

    I believe Bottas will work in similar fashion once he notices how much pressure a teammate can give him. He hasn’t had any competition from Maldonado, some from Massa, but will be amazed what it is to have a absolute alpha dog next to him now. He will rise to new levels of performance, or he will be shown the way by Lewis. I don’t expect him to beat Lewis but the reaction to being beaten is what makes a driver a ‘no2’.

    1. I consider Webber a typical number 2 as well, although I agree that Barrichello is probably the most “number 2” of all, simply because his teammate was the most “number 1” of all. Mark may not have liked it, and sometimes even fought against it, but Vettel totally owned him. Red Bull could have easily replaced Webber with someone else, no big deal. He was just there as a good-but-not-special driver to fill the second car. Coulthard is another typical number 2 in my book. Rosberg was on his way to being remembered as another one, but his championship helped erase much of that, even if we all know that Hamilton was better.

      1. Rosberg was better which is why he won the Championship. If Lewis hadn’t botched 4 starts he would of been World Champion. I don’t recall Rosberg making as many mistakes?

        1. You do realise he means Hamilton was “better” overall because he beat Rosberg in 3 out of 4 seasons? Or are you saying Rosberg was the “better” driver because he beat Hamilton just once?

          “If Hamilton hadn’t botched starts”. Rosberg botched 2 starts and he was appalling in the wet. SO it came down to the uneven spread of reliability. Make no mistake I am taking nothing away from Rosberg but I am addressing your tinfoil reasoning.

        2. “I don’t recall Rosberg making as many mistakes?”- I missed this gem. You clearly weren’t watching all season were you then? I’ve mentioned some of his mistakes in my initial retort to you. Here’s others- most penalised driver. Austria “mistake” which cost him a podium. “Germany” mistakes off the start and then penalty for his move on Verstappen- just to name a few. Yup, just addressing your tinfoil reasoning.

        3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
          22nd March 2017, 11:11

          Rosberg’s engine didn’t blow up and his car was faster than the rest of the field, that is why he became world champ don’t get it twisted. He was not better at all.

          1. Rosberg knows how to care for his equipment is what that sounds like. Twisting a little of your own there. He was better in that he is the Champion. More points = better than 2nd most points.

          2. Can you provide conclusive evidence of “Rosberg caring better for his machinery” please dbHenry.

          3. Yes. His engine didn’t blow up like Hamilton’s did despite it being older and having done more miles. Pretty conclusive I’d say.

          4. Blazz – Study the data from the failures, that which is available to the public at least. Do your own homework.
            I am not writing an essay to satisfy your Ham love.

          5. dbHenry- I have done the studying and found nothing to back up your dirty rhetoric. Hence provide yours so you can back up your point.

            @Baron. “Yes. His engine didn’t blow up like Hamilton’s did despite it being older and having done more miles. Pretty conclusive I’d say.”

            Nothing conclusive about that, just your opinion. Perhaps, with the Merc engines, the longer it runs the more optimum the working life of the engine because they can start to see the components that need replacing before they go kaput, unlike a new engine?

            Isn’t that “conclusive” too?

            And if we’re going to take that line lets visit some other case studies and see if your consistent with your logic.

            Was it Vettel’s fault for mechanical problems in 2014?
            Was it Alonso and Button’s fault for mechanical problems last year?
            Was it Raikonnen’s fault for mechanical problems during his stints back at Ferrari or indeed if you want to go back, during his Mclaren years?

          6. Take your Ham lover glasses off Blazz, the World looks good without them!
            Like I said, do your own home work. I’m not doing it for you.

        4. All things being equal, if Hamilton’s engine hadn’t cost him 25 points in Malaysia… Rosberg would still be at Mercedes, and still without a title.

          But please, don’t let the facts get in the way of your ranting. :)

          1. All things being equal, if Massa’s engine hadn’t cost him 10 points in Hungary… Hamilton might have left McLaren a little sooner, ended up at Ferrari in 2010 and still be without a title.

            But please, don’t let that get in the way of your ifs and buts game. :)

      2. @ironcito. Fair assessment of recent number 2s.

        @Fran. Rosberg won last year (in my books) fair and square; and a subjective statement of Hamilton being ‘better’ can be hard to swallow for some, but over multiple seasons I would suggest Hamilton has delivered more.

        More objectively (but speculative), if a new team entered F1 and had a choice of drivers between the two, where the motivation of the team was Constructor points, I would [again] suggest Hamilton’s name would be chosen more often than not.

        1. Sorry but anyone who finds it “hard to swallow” when comparing the two Merc drivers’ records since 2013 has an agenda. You don’t even have to just rely on their F1 record, go back to karting through all their junior categories and Hamilton has had the better of Rosberg. Not saying Rosberg isn’t talented, just saying Hamilton is the better all round driver. Even in Rosberg’s championship winning year Hamilton outqualified him and won more races.

    2. sunny stivala
      22nd March 2017, 6:16

      if Bottas beats number 44 the dramas at Mercedes will start all over again.

      1. 77-44=33 Max to Mercedes in 2018 confirmed

        1. digitalrurouni
          22nd March 2017, 13:40

          LOL COTD for me

          1. So that means Bottas and Max at Mercedes in 2018? 😀

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          22nd March 2017, 22:34

          My Vettel favouritism has clouded my judgment

  6. I really hope RedBull and Ferrari can get it on so that the season wont be as monotonous as last year.

  7. I think the still existing problems in F1 is a good thing. They widened cars, changed the tyres, yes, they still have DRS, but if they got rid all the problems at once, the F1 community would have nothing to complain about! And that bring so much joy to so many people!
    Take good in small portions, step by step. This is just the first Bernie-free year. Relax.

    1. @robo do not underestimate us, we would find something to complain about

      1. ExcitedAbout17
        22nd March 2017, 8:47

        I’m annoyed with people dissatisfied about less complaints.

        1. so you are complaining about people that complain because they can’t complain enough?

          I’m going to complain too. It’s not Saturday yet!!!

          1. ExcitedAbout17
            22nd March 2017, 9:04

            Please don’t moan about me being annoyed with people dissatisfied about less complaints ;)

          2. This is starting to sound like a parliament

          3. This is the most meta discussion I’ve seen on this site.

    2. F1 community would have nothing to complain about!

      @robo People will complain about overtaking.

      Next thing we know people will cry for the return of in-race refueling.

      (and then we might as well have someone demand traction control)

      Either all that or people will come to their senses (FIA and Liberty included) and…..ground effect?

      1. @davidnotcoulthard, there are already fans who have been calling for the return of refuelling, some of whom have been doing so for several years now (in the fan survey that was done a few years ago, 60% of the respondents would have been happy for refuelling to return).

        João Leite is right though – most of the fan base would still find something to complain about irrespective of whatever the sport does. There will always be something that isn’t aesthetically pleasing enough, challenging enough, economical enough, competitive enough or in some other way will never quite satisfy the fans.

  8. Neil (@neilosjames)
    22nd March 2017, 7:42

    Just a shame greater aerodynamic complexity, more than anything else, favours the bigger, wealthier teams… and they’re the only ones with the power to influence rule changes.

    One of the many disadvantages of giving the turkeys a vote on whether or not to have Christmas this year.

  9. Interesting is the fact the Red Bull is a very clean design and able to follow the other teams already. The engine was capped during the tests and had an not optimal functioning ERS system.
    So RBR with optimized car, better and optimized engine could be a nice surprise.

    The long Merc with lots of corrections on the aero looks like a very vulnerable car aero wise.
    The Ferrari looked very balanced and fast in corners and, even more important: reliable.
    The Williams a midfielder with top aspirations and a strong engine.

    So … let the games begin!

    1. @seth-space – If the Red Bull that races this weekend is as clean looking as the one in testing, that will be a true testament to Adrian Newey’s genius.

      Its easy to make something that is complicated look complicated. It takes genius to make something that is complicated look simple.

      Having said that, it would be remiss of me to not add the corollary: then there’s the Honda approach – make something that should be (relatively) simple look complicated.

      1. the Red Bull looks simple because it is ! what we have here is the residual effect of red bull winning 4 championships in a row….the funny thing is that aero design had nothing to do with those championships. Let me refresh your memory… Blown diffusers and who had the best mapping….when those mappings were outlawed red bull lobbied the FIA to keep theirs using reliability as an excuse, the FIA fell for it and the winning continued… Thats it in a nutshell there was no super aerodynamics ever. In 2016 red bull won a few races later in the season after refining their trick rear suspension which allowed the rear of the car to run lower with less drag on the straights…. where is the superior aero in that?
        I truly believe that Red bull is running the clean aero look this year to minimize the fact that their engine was not powerful enough last year and will not be powerful enough this year

  10. The excitement on the grandstands in that Senna video gave me shivers. My god f1 was massive.
    Did we lose a bit of that or do I just need to go to Japan for a race? :)
    The only one I`ve been to so far was Malaysia ’15, so my experience of an f1 race might be different from what it`s supposed to be, but I feel like it`s all a lot more prosaic somehow now.

    1. It’s Japan. They are very enthusiastic in Japan about F1. Also, it’s a title race so that would produce more excitement everywhere.
      Well, maybe not in India…

      The 2015 race in Hungary was a pretty similar experience for me. The crowd went nuts when Vettel and Raikkonen blew passed Hamilton and Rosberg at the start. And again when Hamilton went through the gravel a couple corners later. Then the heartstopping moments of Hulkenberg’s front wing breaking and him crashing. Raikkonen losing power. You could see the crowd react to all of it in a big way. And the podium ceremony was almost as big a celebration as a Ferrari victory in Monza.

      Granted, that’s the best race I’ve been to and also one of the best races in recent years.

  11. In other news you can bet if McHonda finishes the race or not.

    The pinnacle of motosport.

    Anyone want in on this? I want to bet that at least one of them doesn’t even start. Too much?

    1. @johnmilk i reckon both start with grid penalties having detonated there engines for the season already (one each in FP1, FP2, FP3 and qualifying = no more engines!!!!)

      1. ahah! A bold one @rick1985, don’t think they have time to change so many engines.

        1. ups wrong tag @rick1984

    2. @johnmilk

      That’s really easy money. I would bet a good amount on both Mclaren’s not finishing… and neither driver goes beyond lap 29 in the race.

      1. Easy but not too profitable @todfod. Odds are 4/1 atm

  12. Did Bottas not admit that his 2015 season was subpar because he got distracted by all the talk that he could be Kimi’s replacement in 2016 and that was pressure he couldn’t deal with?

    So what’s this about he doesn’t feel pressure?

    1. Highly doubt it. Got a link?

      1. Since you doubt my words, here’s the link you requested.

        1. @kgn11 Fair enough. Can’t say I’ve paid enough attention to him up until now to have noted that…however…when you claim that was pressure he couldn’t deal with back in 2015, I think you are taking license, since if you read your very link you will see that not only did he feel it didn’t hurt him much (ie. he did deal with it to at least some degree) it was also something that he took as part of the game and a learning point. It was new for him, and now he has that experience of being asked the same thing over and over by the media.

          This also has nothing to do with today’s discussion that VB himself says he is feeling no pressure at this particular time. For you to say ‘what’s this about he doesn’t feel pressure?’ is disingenuine because nobody, including VB, is saying he doesn’t feel pressure. Just that he, strangely by his own admission, is not feeling any now.

          I see that as a result of the fact that even though he may only be there for one year, nobody knows Mercs next move on that front right now, and all he has to do is go out there with the best car and team he’s ever been on, and do his best. If he is strong and gives LH some grief it’s gravy…if he doesn’t, nobody is surprised as he’s up against a 3 time WDC ingrained on the team and he’s never even had the equipment to win a race before this.

  13. Webber’s commentary seems a bit odd to me. Firstly, many have already decided that VB is a number two simply because he is the newbie on the team vs. a proven WDC, and that only makes sense. How can VB be anything but starting off on his hind foot in this situation? It’s just natural.

    And secondly, as if VB isn’t going to be trying his best at all times! Telling him he must take the fight to LH or be branded something he has already been branded, seems quite redundant. All VB can do is what he was going to do all along, and he will not be able to control how he is branded, as MW himself points out when he admits he and FM were considered number two’s even when taking the WDC fight to the last race. Hey, I’ve never had a problem with MW or his commentary before, but this just seems like a bunch of words to fill some space in a mag.

  14. Gina – that is how Trump pronounces “China”

  15. Gina Carano? why not ;)

  16. It’s good to see Renault pushing back a bit. By saying Red Bull will be title contenders because of the improved Renault engine, Cyril Abiteboul is doing the reverse of what Red Bull has done so long (blaming the engine). Now Abiteboul is making it sound as if Red Bull isn’t a title contender, it’s because of their aerodynamic performance, not because of the engine. And of course, when they are a title contender, it’s also partly because of their engine.

    1. + 1

      Yep. That’s exactly what I thought as well. Unfortunately, Red Bull need Renault a lot more than Renault need Red Bull, so we really won’t see any backlashes from Horner even if the engine doesn’t deliver.

    2. I take everything renault says engine related with a healthy dose of scepticism…look at their recent history… promises upon promises and they never delivered. what makes 2017 any different? new season and eternal optimisim? lol i expect renault powered cars to have issues in the early part of the season only to have renault detune the engine to finish out the year . history is the best predictor of the future : )

      1. @mark You say: ” history is the best predictor of the future”

        This is also history:
        Renault has collected over 160 wins as engine supplier, ranking third in Formula One history.

  17. The same man who had a role in Caterham’s demise, called Newey a liar when their 2015 engine was a dud, booted one of the successful teamowners in youth categories (Vasseur) out of the team refusing to handover decision power over the team, preferred Palmer over K-Mag and insulted said K-Mag over his motivation after he left for Haas.

    I’d almost be more willing to borrow my car to Pastor Maldonado than trust Abiteboul.

    1. So you think it is all A-Bit-Bull (see what I did there?) “S”?

      1. Yes i do… he has been talking and talking and talking about how great the renault engine will be since before preseason… they were not reliable during testing so why would anybody beleive the nonsense he is spewing when they couldnt even get it right for testing?

        1. In all fairness they did improved last year and thanks to that RB managed to jump Ferrari. He also said that the problem that appeared during test has been fixed.

          I agree with your previous points, I’m not his biggest fan nor renault for that matter, however when performance is the issue they seem to tell us how it is.

          Of course he is also trying to put pressure on RB, by basically saying that if RB aren’t at the front it is not their fault anymore. Fortunately for us he putted a time frame on that afirmation, and it is right this weekend, not much for us to know if it is true or in fact just a-bit-bull.

  18. Daaaaaaaaaaamn Gina!

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