Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2017

Red Bull sure “different concept” will pay off

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull remain convinced they will catch Mercedes and Ferrari despite their lacklustre showing in Australia.

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Comment of the day

Is Formula E inevitably going to rival F1 in the future?

I partially agree that Formula E is not a particularly exciting formula in terms of its spectacle at the moment – due to noise, circuits, poor quality drivers etc…

But I think it naive to assume it won’t massively improve. Already the introduction of technology that means they won’t have to swap cars midway through the race will massively improve the ‘show’. Give it a few years and Formula E could be producing cars good enough to race on traditional F1 circuits in an exciting way.

The technology race that will occur within that sport is possibly more relevant to modern cars than F1 has been ever. I think any manufacturer would be daft not to at least consider getting involved in some way.

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On this day in F1

Fernando Alonso revealed a rib injury would keep him out of the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix on this day last year. The McLaren driver has missed one race in each of the last two seasons due to injury.

March on F1 Fanatic

A selection of F1 Fanatic’s top reads from last month which you might have missed:

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  • 68 comments on “Red Bull sure “different concept” will pay off”

    1. Here is the link to the Road and Track article.

      1. Shaun Robinson (@)
        31st March 2017, 8:32


      2. So basically F1 needs to go back to ground effects to resolve the overtaking issue !

    2. This isn’t on topic for the round up but with the look back at the 1997 season I found on the amazon app for the PS4 they have every season review from 1988-2013 free! It’s worth checking out…… on topic I can’t wait to see the new Indy cars. Maybe f1 can learn something and go for more ground effects

      1. @racerdude7730, the thing is, there is a counter claim that the changes aren’t being made to make passing easier but because there was a backlash from the teams over the cost of the aero kits from Chevrolet and Honda, coupled with the fact that the Chevrolet road racing kit was superior whilst the Indy 500 kit that Chevrolet made was so unstable that they had to slow the cars down in 2016 to avoid accidents.

      2. Sorry, could you explain that a little further? So is it on Amazon Prime? Is it PS4 exclusive? Are we talking about the Official season review videos?

        1. racerdude7730
          31st March 2017, 19:20

          its part of the amazon prime subscription i guess free isnt a good work but its not extra like alot of the stuff is on the amazon app. Im sure its for all the stuff that you can watch the amazon programming. I just happen to use the ps4.

          1. racerdude7730
            31st March 2017, 19:22

            Word* They would have the be the official because F1 dont let their video coverage out to anyone really.

            1. Sorry took so long to come to this article to comment, but could you tell which country are you in @racerdude7730 ? I can’t see any f1 videos in the german amazon prime video store, not even for buying…

    3. Of course Sauber wouldn’t switch engines mid-season, that’s a silly thing to even ask with how integrated the engines are with the chassis of a car. The bigger headline comes at the end of the article where Kaltenborn says they are open and talking about the option for next year. I think that all but confirms a cessation of the McLaren partnership.

      1. Yeah.. I don’t think any team, even one as cash strapped as Sauber, would consider switching to Honda power this season. Next season, I could see them switching to Honda. They need a ‘pay engine’ to keep their team afloat… and it’s not like they have much to lose. They’re pretty much last anyways.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          31st March 2017, 10:54

          Can you imagine it if Honda somehow nail it for next season and McLaren leave them at the end of this season…

          1. Alonso’s career-luck is such that:

            1. If Alonso stays at McLaren and the team moves to Mercedes power, then Honda will find the sweetspot and Sauber becomes a regular podium finisher with McLaren still near the tail end of the points or worse.

            2. If Alonso moves to Mercedes to take over Bottas’ seat alongside Hamilton, then McHonda will dominate the 2018 F1 season with Alonso and Hamilton fighting for 5th and 6th.

            3. If Alonso quits F1 Honda, Mercedes and Renault will all magically have great engines and effectively create the engine parity Alonso wished for during the 2017 Australian GP pre-race press conference!

      2. Agree Tristan, @todfod. Changing engine mid season would only be an option if the current supplier somehow convinced themselves that they wanted out and would not honour any contracts (except paying huge pay-offs)!

        I think Honda has been looking at getting more engines on track for a while now. It is even an obligation for an F1 engine supplier. And it seems that McLaren has stopped blocking it since Ron was dumped as the boss. If Honda ends up powering just Sauber, all the better for Sauber (i don’t expect McLaren to do that, because there are no good options to replace it for them, and can they really do without the 100 million from Honda AND pay for an engine?)

        1. @bascb
          Ron was never blocking a supply to a team like Sauber etc. It was about Red Bull.
          Red Bull is a commpetitor that could win over them or steal Honda from them so of course Ron saw no reason to accept such a thing.

          1. As far as we were informed Ron was against ANY other teams being supplied by Honda @solo, because he feared that their focus would be at other things (i.e. production capacity) than just McLaren. Just think about the sheer amount of engines/components they were building just to supply McLaren (because they had miserable reliability), and it is clear why.

            Off course for the longer term, Ron would have probably been perfectly fine with other teams using the same engine, provided they were not direct competitors. But short term, nope.

            1. @bascb
              No not really. We were never informed of such a thing. All we were informed is that Ron blocked any chance of Honda entrtaining the idea of providing Red Bull at that time.
              Then Honda made a follow up saying they couln’t do it anyway.
              Both then used some excuses about focusing on the team and fixing reliability first etc but that was just excuses for Ron to avoid saying “Like hell i’ll give Horner my engines”.
              People just assumed that Mclaren was generally blocking engine supply to others after that but reality is Honda never had other teams other than Red Bull approach them so we could really see if Mclaren was against it in general.
              We have no idea if Mclaren will have said NO to Honda providing Manor or Sauber etc. There is a very good chance they would have been totally fine with that. They aren’t stupid, they knew that more engine data could have helped but they certainly wouldn’t accept Red Bull.

            2. look @solo, I don’t think it all matters much by now. But you are wrong.

              The first time it came to question it was not about Red Bull at all, but about the likes of Sauber. And the statements from McLaren / Ron were a clear no to Honda supplying anyone else. That was a year before Red Bull tried to dump Renault (again) for a mercedes

            3. @bascb
              I am not wrong at all. You people just created your own story.
              And no there was never a question about Sauber. Just because some reporters asked it doesn’t mean Sauber asked and you are talking about the first bloody year now. Honda couldn’t even finish a race let alone provide another?
              And when they first entered and got asked by reporters(NOT SAUBER) Mclaren didn’t answer but Honda did by saying they couldn’t at the moment, maybe in the future. It wasn’t even a denial and Mclaren said nothing.
              Where to you people find this stuff is beyond me.

            4. Sigh. Off course I am talking about the first year, where Ron Dennis DID answer that he was against Honda supplying other teams. And yeah, the reliability was kind of the point, wasn’t it.

              Really, you opened a discussion from over a year ago and start talking about how “you people” are wrong etc. Please when (if) you do so next time, come with some solid background reading and provide some basis for telling others they were wrong all along.

      3. There’s a reason that Sauber have an out of date Ferrari engine, and the most likely one is that they’ll change engine suppliers. However, I don’t think that necessarily means that the McLaren Honda deal is ripped up, rather that the silly exclusivity built into it by Ron Denis would be no more. All that exclusivity has led to is a slower than possible development cycle and a chronically underperforming McLaren.

      4. Sauber would lose its points for the season if it switched engine suppliers mid-season (not sure if this would also render it ineligible for the equivalent points payout – interestingly, in 90s-era Concorde Agreements, it would still have got the money for whatever position the points would have earned). This would have certain problems for it that would prevent any deal going through before season’s end, no matter how great it was.

        I’m not sure if Sauber is going to go for a current Honda, upgrade to a current Ferrari or try for Manor’s Mercedes supply. I can’t see it going for the “last year’s Ferrari” solution as that was driven largely by a lack of money that was a legacy of the pre-Longbow situation. I somehow doubt the financial problem will persist into 2018. Don’t be surprised if Sauber plays each engine supplier off against the others to get the best deal, regardless of its preferences for ultimate supply arrangement.

    4. I believe in RB, we all believe in RB. RB is saying all the right things but you can tell by their faces they are disappointed with how far they’ve come relative to Ferrari and Mercedes. In the article Horner says they are losing equally from both the chassis and drivertrain side. The team is tried to make the best basis and now they’re trying to take the next step, however they’ve complained of struggles when setting up the car and are frankly quite puzzled about it. I’m sure they’ll get through their problems, there’s certainly potential at RB.
      RB and Ferrari have a markedly shorter car than Mercedes.
      I’ve read the Mercedes wheelbase is a never before seen, whopping 20 cm longer than Ferrari, another car that’s very long? The Force India. Mercedes speak about being above minimum weight, the SFI was over maximum weight. The Mercedes is 90% there, but that car has some serious understeer like the SFI and all of that has to be caused by the long wheelbase, both teams got it wrong, and by a long shot. Massive job to shorten the wheelbase but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that, Ferrari have done it in the past, and in the last couple seasons, cars usually differed from one another by 5-10 cm.

      1. @peartree The SFI is not overweight.

      2. mark jackson
        31st March 2017, 5:40

        Mercedes got it wrong? They were 3 tenths faster than Ferrari in qualifying and would have won the race had Lewis not panicked with Sebastian on his tail and destroyed his first set of tires.

        1. It doesn’t matter the evidence presented, Lewis gets blamed.

          The tires weren’t destroyed when he stopped he had 30% more thread life, the problem he was having was they were overheating, which caused him to slide everywhere and produced oversteer.

          1. mark jackson
            1st April 2017, 0:19

            It’s never Lewis’ fault huh? Why is it so hard for you to admit that Lewis was off form and Sebastian and Valtteri were faster that him on that day? To me, it’s obvious Lewis pulled another “Monaco” and lost the race by wanting to change tires too quickly. Ultimately it’s down to the driver to give feedback to the team about his tires.

      3. @peartree its RBR who is over weight not SFI, SFI is trying to get under weight even more so that they can use ballast by making drivers more slimmer instead of not using the ballast to gain better balance.
        The Suspension developed to cope with the Heavy tires is what causing the Over weight of RBR and Merc thats the only thing i assume which should have been stiffened alot to cope with the Forces act on the suspension hence the over weight.
        Also i see RBR alot nervous for the first time since 2008 the car just doesn’t stick under braking has some good downforce but not enough to match Merc or SF. Lets see how this season goes but last year despite they are back the car looks uber quick and very controlled to inputs of driver now its quite opposite. They are lost in setup since Barcelona Pre season test 2. So its hard task for them to get back but not impossible for a team like them

        1. Also i see RBR alot nervous for the first time since 2008 the car just doesn’t stick under braking has some good downforce but not enough to match Merc or SF.

          It the first extreme change to the successful RBR concept they’ve been using since 2009. Their pre-’09 cars were all relatively poor (granted, mostly down to reliability).

      4. …the SFI was over maximum weight.

        If it was over the maximum weight, surely it would be banned from competing?

        Wait, is there even a maximum weight?

        1. There was back in 1950, but not for some decades. However, above a certain weight, it would not only be difficult to get the car into the 107% rule, but also through the safety testing, as the weights moving about would generate dangerous amounts of energy. So there is a maximum weight in practise, but it is not written down as no team is stupid enough to produce a car that would breach the practical maximum weight.

        2. @optimaximal I believe there’s only a weight minimum requirement. A team must at least hit that number. No team want’s to be over obviously as beeing any heavier than you need to bee will cost laptime.

        3. @optimaximal No, there is no maximum weight.

      5. There are so many factors in F1 car that can cause understeer but the wheelbase isn’t one of them. I’m 100% sure. Making conclusions by your reasoning the buses would be most understeering vehicles on the road. We all know they behave very neutral! Suspension geometry, especially axis of longitudinal oscillation regarding the distance to CoG, which makes the car to roll, is the factor to begin with. If you ever tried to fly an airplane one of your first challenges should have been coordinated turns. No skid no slip but coordinated turn. Translatin’ it to F1 racing the suspension has to provide aero package a good position trough the corners. No yaw is the name of the game. If suspension does its job, aero takes over, generating desired results. Consequently understeer can be a result of suspension geometry, wrong setup or rearward downforce distribution. Long wheelbase? I don’t think so. It should even help tyre management.

        1. Boomerang you are a little too sure. Mark Jackson I think China will be more representative. I said that I’m convinced that the long wheelbase may be what’s causing the understeer, on the basis that both cars complaining of understeer are the 2 longest wheelbase cars. Science does help understand why longer wheelbase may cause understeer. The buses you mentioned have as most Mercedes on the road a type of suspension that not only turns the wheels to the direction of travel but also tilts the wheel in order to have greater turning circle, this changes the suspension geometry massively and such systems are never used on racing cars. As you pointed out Mercedes and SFI probably thought the rears were going to be critical so to ensure more rear grip they lengthen the wheelbase, which enduces understeer and protects the rears at the cost of the fronts, which should also help with creating more aero surfaces.

      6. When the car was launched, Aldo Costa explained why they went for a longer wheelbase car and the benefits that it brings. So it’s nothing that’s to be viewed in a negative light, because they wouldn’t have gone with that concept had if it didn’t have positive benefits.

    5. Interesting article on the Red Bull. I am not sure if that is the philosophy they have followed in their previous title-winning years. Their cars were always badly performing in traffic but better in clean air. But they have gone for some sort of a reverse strategy this time. Quite a risk. May be, they are forced to take this route because they know that the Renault engine is not as strong as the other two.

    6. I think it’s encouraging comments from Red Bull. A lot of people were writing them off already and the mood seemed a little downbeat in the Red Bull garage. I think they can make the gap up to Ferrari and Merc by mid season as long as Renault delivers and they develop the chassis quicker than Ferrari and Mercedes.

      1. Funny @todfod. It doesn’t surprise me at the least that Red Bull is in need of improving their car, but they are working at it with solid pace. THey had a not great car in several recent seasons (it was certainly not just the engine, despite them saying so) and have always managed to unlock its pace during the season (unlike Ferrari, for example).

        To me it will be interesting to see how Ferrari manage to keep themselves at the front, afterall they were on pace at the start of last year too but dwindled after the early races.

      2. Downbeat yes but writing them off no @todfod
        No one is writing them off but what actually happened is every one expected RBR to go toe to toe from the start of season which didn’t happened considering the rules are in favour of RBR , Hence they got alot disappointed which is the reason of Downbeat Demeanor in RBR garage. They can always get back up but this time the rate must be double than what it was in last seasons and the longer it takes the shorter it will be for them to fight with Merc this season in WCC and WDC which is what their expectation for 2017 since rules are drafted.
        @Bascb I think Ferrari from 16 is different to now they had pace but not as much as Merc especially with the dark q3 modes to turn up and go much faster. in 2016 Aus GP Ferrari has track position but not enough pace advantage to eek out extra time on softer tires compared to Merc then throw in the strategy blunder the car isn’t quick can’t beat the car is fast as they can only run in same pace with a step compound softer tire, same happened in Montreal got the track position but only managed to go as fast as Merc on soft vs them on Super soft and as soon as they both are on soft gap is stabilized and unable to close it.
        Although i believe that they written off developing the 16 car some where between all the storm in tech department last year and started the focus on 2017 car and only used what ever works on 17 car to test them.
        Now we only have one race as a data sample but Ferrari is as fast as Merc on same compound with race trim tips the favor to Ferrari although Merc can improve alot i think they both can fight each other until a very big upgrade from Merc.
        for RBR they have to fight in chassis area the car as i stated earlier was alot of less balanced compared to the pace setters. And i dont think they have solid pace they have Ok pace as the only reason they finished less than 30 sec is down to RBR in right strategy in terms of tire compound as quickest way to finish the race is US and SS instead of US and S which is what both Merc and Ferrari choosen. They can improve alot but right now the gap is bigger mostly down to chassis and less due to Engine

        1. Everyone *expected* Red Bull to win, but this is the first radical change to the chassis concept since they achieved regular success. I guess issues are to be expected!

          1. @optimaximal
            I think you can’t unlearn what you learned already and F1 Engineers aren’t an exception for that.
            Lets wait a bit more to see whether these are issues are really issues or only a step in wrong direction which needs time to get back into game. If its only issues then RBR will be back quite quickly if it wasn’t then 2018 is the season they will look for. I feel they are issues only and they will sort out very quickly

      3. You’re assuming that both Mercedes and Ferrari are just going to stand still and wait until Red Bull catches them up.

        1. Well, Ferrari have a history of underdeveloping during the season relative to it’s competition. We’ll see this year.

        2. Nope. I just said they have a history of developing faster than any other team on the grid.

    7. Its not a great news for us FI fans to hear that the car lacks speed as against other mid-field. There is only so much that strategy can always do and help.

      Hoping that the un-balance and the understeer gets sorted soon.

    8. Formula E has “poor quality drivers” – umm what?

      Apart from the awful F1-reject Gutiérrez, the FE field has few weak drivers in my opinion. If F1 drives were purely allocated on talent, many of them should be there.

      And sub-par drivers don’t last long at all – Ma Qinghua, Villeneuve – don’t last long.

      1. @graham228221 Was just about to post something very similar. Of those in the current top 10 standings I count at least 8 that have either F1 race or testing experience, not to mention they have all either raced for top WEC or DTM teams. And even outside that top 10 you have António Félix da Costa, Jérôme d’Ambrosio, José María López – all with high quality racing experience and a multiple WTCC champion.

        I’d take most of those above Massa, Ericsson, Stroll and Palmer.

        1. What happened to Da Costa, it seemed like he was the coming man in the Red Bull driver programme and yet he seemed to never get a shot at it. I suppose Carlitos and Verstappen leapfrogged him

      2. @graham228221 @tonyyeb I meant in relation to F1 although that isn’t very clear. In comparison to most series I agree its got a pretty good lineup. I still wish Vergne had got more of a chance in F1.

    9. “On this day in F1 – Fernando Alonso revealed a rib injury would keep him out of the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix on this day last year. The McLaren driver has missed one race in each of the last two seasons due to injury.”

      Expect Alonso to miss around 14 races this season due to ‘injury’ if that Honda engine doesn’t improve by the European races!

    10. Regarding the Indycar article on R&T, I hardly believe an actual Indycar can deliver 5500 pounds of downforce at any speed…

    11. I know this has been discussed before, but I cant remember what the answer was. Why doesnt F1 design cars with aero like LMP1? Where the downforce is generated by the floor? Its similar to ground effect but it doesnt have the sliding skirts.

      Is it because of the worry that cars will start flying in the event of a crash?

      1. @jaymenon10 1) A lack of appetite to change the regs *again*
        2) Political pressure from teams heavily invested in driving aero performance via wings & top-down downforce.

    12. For sure the ‘for sure’ count is a healthy 2 today.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        31st March 2017, 10:19

        For sure. Good to have Massa back :-)

        1. For sure we need to improve this ‘count’ as quickly as possible. But honestly, it’s the same for everyone ;)

          1. For sure it is.

    13. I dont get why they didnt keep Nasr. That was a fantastic drive in Interlagos to get Sauber past Manor. Him with 1 of Wehrlein or Giovanazzi surely was a better idea.

      1. Should have dropped both and take wehrlein and giovanazzi

      2. Nasr’s sponsors pulled their backing.

    14. People act like Newey is some form of God and he’s unable of producing a lemon of a car.

    15. MrF1GuyV12POWAHHH (@)
      31st March 2017, 20:01

      I’m hoping RB improve (just because I like their lineup a lot).

      Pretty surprising that a team known for crazy aerodynamics has produced a car with poor aero

    16. Only just seen that I got COTD – well chuffed!

    17. Glad to hear noises of an impending Newey inspiration this early as this year’s developmental race will be almost as entertaining as the race-day action. Any team that finds a way to reduce the downforce penalty incurred in “dirty air” when in close pursuit will leap forward. Downforce losses in the wake being proportional to the initial value in clear air, it would not be far off the mark to identify Merc as the current downforce leaders. Their package suffered most in pursuit scenarios Down Under…

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