Red Bull still needs “competitive horsepower”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Red Bull says a lack of “competitive horsepower” remains its biggest obstacle to success.

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@gdeferran and Michael convincing me not to go out in super windy conditions at day 3. 😩😩😩🙏🙏🙏🙏

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Comment of the day

Has Sumedh hit upon the reason why Fernando Alonso will never be a Mercedes driver?

“If you could choose the Fernando today as he is, as a person, it would be much easier than to choose him with all the historical context.”

These were the exact words of Toto Wolff in that article. I think these words mean that Mercedes still consider Alonso’s historical context while evaluating him as a potential driver.

Too bad, would love to have seen Alonso in a Mercedes.

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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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91 comments on “Red Bull still needs “competitive horsepower””

  1. Moderators/Keith:

    PLEASE, Please, please
    Please stop covering Crashtor Maldonado.. he will never make a come back, and we all know it. We knew it the first time he showed up (Monaco, 2016?)… we know it now.

    Thank you.

    1. Fukobayashi (@)
      18th May 2017, 10:23

      I suggest you never visit WTF1 – the site hails Maldonado as a living legend… Satirically of course.

    2. @cm-cm You don’t know that.. Pay drivers are more than welcome in many teams.

      1. He is no longer a pay driver.

        The Venezuelan state oil money ran out years ago.

        Do you think the people would countenance £30,000,000 to sponsor an F1 driver, with most of them struggling to find enough food to survive?

    3. Your argument comes down to “What is news?”. News is what interests people. This page is a summary of the F1 related news that appears on other F1 websites, and since another website published it this news has a right to be presented. I wasn’t aware that Maldonado had visited the paddock at Barcelona, and it probably was something other readers of this page weren’t aware of as well.
      If you read to the end of that article it suggests he was there as a mentor to his cousin Manuel who is racing in F3, so maybe he trying to smooth the path for Manuel into F1.
      On its own his appearance is just mildly interesting, attracting a few sniggers, but when you see the latest Lance Stroll related comment from Paddy Lowe the Maldonado news might have more meaning. We had a veiled comment from Timo Glock regarding a possible seat at an unnamed team in a news round up … when was it … last week?
      Keith was right to include this news item because it is news and it is relevant to F1.

  2. Early signs from the United States aren’t exactly what Alonso fans will want to see

    That’s so ridiculous. No one expected anything else, and it’s only the first day of practice in a race that goes on for 2 weeks in preparation.

    1. I agree, ridiculous. I believe I read somewhere that he is still working on race setup and learning how the car reacts in traffic. He hasn’t yet switched over to anything to do with a qualifying setup. Reading too much into speed is pointless at this time.

        1. Totally cool. Cheers @f1-liners :-D

    2. Mainstream news outlets…. can’t expect much.
      Alonso went 4th fastest at the end of day 3. Even that won’t mean anything, it’s practice.

    3. McLaren Honda Andretti will be regretting that they don’t have one of the Taylor brothers in their car

    4. @fer-no65 More than that: I’d even consider Indy 500 not worth it if Alonso was dominating the times from practice lap one. So, indeed, ridiculous.

    5. Andy (@andybantam)
      18th May 2017, 22:31

      Have you ever considered that gamers from back in the day had very, very limited options when it came to Formula 1 based games.

      Remember Super Monaco GP? What about Senna’s Super Monaco GP2? That’s about as real as it got. Hustling your Team Feet car through the bends to catch Senna in his Maddona car.

      I want to have a blast in the cars that couldn’t be created virtually back then because of the restrictions of the capabilities in gaming platforms. With new consoles, the shackles are off in that regard.

      Say what you will of the Code Masters franchise. It’s still much better than F1 on my Atari ST!

  3. It’s pretty sad that in 2017, game authors needs to attract people to buy their game with the 80’s and 90’s cars and sounds…

    1. I don’t think thats the case, over the past 5 years+ Codemasters have developed a really solid product and are continually adding layers into it. Its no different than FIFA having classic players and teams (which it has).

      1. I rather think that’s meant to be a comment on how much more dramatic F1 cars sounded then. And it’s difficult to disagree.

    2. I disagree. I think people just like to “drive” old cars like their heroes did. Car lovers tend to love old cars, and motorsport fans always have “the good old days”.

      I play DIRT: Rally pretty regularly, and rarely drive the later model cars. It’s just so much fun flicking an old Ford Escort, or the monstrous Audi Quattro through corners and battling all their imperfections. Especially when using a wheel with clutch and shifter.

      When I play Forza (or even Forza Horizon) I much prefer to drive the old muscle cars, particularly the ones my heroes used to drive, all my favourite old Holdens: 1973 Holden HQ Monaro GTS 350, 1977 Holden Torana A9X, 1988 Holden VL Commodore Group A SV (the “Walkinshaw”).

      As @Kie mentioned, it’s about adding more layers and creating a better value overall game.

    3. People have always loved ‘member berries, long before the latest formula change.

      1. @bl0rq, as you say, there has always been a strong nostalgic element to the fan base – it looks more like Codemasters are cashing in on the fact that most fans now will have grown up watching the sport in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and will almost certainly have a strong nostalgic desire for their childhood.

      2. @bl0rq You have summoned me?

        1. oh yeah, I ‘member!

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          18th May 2017, 18:24

          Your Stoffel 2 is out of date again @spoutnik !
          Really hope he can show his class soon

    4. Why’s that sad..? Same in all sport games. There’s always classic teams/players/cars. It’s nothing new.

    5. Fukobayashi (@)
      18th May 2017, 10:25

      Im not sure if you’re being serious? It’s like saying Diablos and F40’s shouldn’t be featured in Forza or Gran Turismo!?

      How can you moan about additional content?

    6. Disagree completely! The problem with sports games is they’re bound to be the same year on year, just look at the Fifa franchise! How do you reinvent the sport year on year? The fact that codemasters brings additional content like in 2013 Classic Edition and again this year really speaks to true F1 fans by giving the more than they would expect from a F1 2017 game and celebrates the sport’s rich history and heritage, something very rarely seen in sports games

    7. petebaldwin (@)
      18th May 2017, 11:08

      Lots on here will disagree with you but I agree with some of it. There are still loads of F1 related adverts that use the old engine sound because it was a unique thing to F1. As soon as you hear a clip of one of the old cars driving past, you immediately think “F1.”

      The new engine sounds (whether you like them or not) are not unique. No adverts will use a soundclip of a V6 whizzing by because it doesn’t mean anything.

    8. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

  4. Will be interesting to see how Stroll goes in Monaco, and how Williams react to it.

    Hes not exactly lightning on tracks he has raced on before, so I don’t have much confidence with him racing on a track he has zero experience on, made worse by it being the bumpiest and by far the narrowest of the season. I do expect multiple incidents over multiple sessions.

    Three retirements, and 11th and a 16th. I understand the funds his Father brings, but theres also the constructors standings to contend. At present, Felipe Massa is taking on Renault and Toro Rosso by himself, made worse by me having more confidence in Palmers development rate than Strolls, and many struggle to find positive things to say about Plamer! Point is, the gap will only get bigger.

    In light of the already tough sponsorship market, the WCC, and the fact that he had a year of testing by himself Stroll needs to up his game. There are no excuses.

    1. Im actually a bit worried for Stroll in Monaco. Im tipping at least 2 safety cars.

      1. Will he make 107%, taking bets 😀

        1. He should make 107%. I’m pretty sure drivers who haven’t driven an F1 car before can put the Williams within 107% of the top time.

          However, I’m taking bets that he will be dead last in qualifying.. and will crash out in the race.

          1. @todfod Maybe he should take a Stroll around the track first to see which barrier seems the best to crash into. At least Grosjean in 2013 was actually not horrible pace-wise.

    2. There are quite a few drivers that you should look out for at Monaco as well apart from the Obvisous Stroll and Palmer.

      Stoff and Ocon are F1 rookies for Monaco as well (Ocon is doing a great job since he is technically a rookie in the first half of the season).

      And lets not forget Verstappen, he had a crash in pretty much every session he took part there. Massa has been polishing those walls since the Ferrari days as well.

      It is Monaco after all…

      1. Romain hasn’t skipped many opportunities for close encounters this Year as well

        1. But usually it is with other cars. The walls shouldn’t be worried

  5. I’m getting rather tired of these constant claims that Mercedes allow their drivers to “race freely”, in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. To be clear, I don’t have a problem with team orders as such. I do have a problem with people telling me to ignore the plain evidence being presented to me by my eyes and ears. The Mercedes drivers have the same degree of freedom to race one another as can be found in every other team. That is, they have some such freedom, but it’s far from being absolute. It would not kill them (or the F1 press) to acknowledge that.

    1. PS – the fact that the immediately following story was about Bottas describing his role as Hamilton’s rear gunner in Spain was a nice piece of juxtaposition.

      1. +1. They let them “race freely” only when they’re not next to each other or trying to beat Ferrari.

        1. And yet apparently there are some people who buy into their nonsense.

    2. MG421982 (@)
      18th May 2017, 5:41


    3. The Mercedes top brass only ever talk nonsense these days to try to make the brand look better. They must think fans were born yesterday. Mind Wolff’s prediction that Ferrari will be close this season or something along those lines was true for once.

      1. I think you folks are missing the point TW is making. As if he thinks people have forgotten the role VB has already played on occasion to help LH. The point is that VB is free to race and is not a designated number two. Nobody will be stopping VB from getting pole and running away with a race. At the same time, if circumstances arise VB may be a rear gunner again too. It is on a race by race basis. That is TW’s point. They don’t do the one-rooster thing
        and ensure, especially this early in the season, that the number one is allowed past for maximum points no matter the circumstances.

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          18th May 2017, 14:47

          Good comment Robbie I couldn’t agree more. There were times where Rosberg had his weekend and dominated and Bottas if he gets pole and a good start will do the same- Mercs wont stop him there (unless they really need to in the last few races).

          Bottas’ opening stint in Spain was slow so its a no-brainer for him to hold up Vettel for as long as he could – its just good racing. My only issue is that when roles are reversed I cant see Lewis doing the same thing.

          1. @evilhomer Yeah I hear you but perhaps things are different now that it isn’t a Merc 1-2 runaway race after race. Now that SV is in the mix so strongly I can see LH letting a faster VB go if it is his only hope of salvaging lesser points damage, by having VB attempt to take points off SV by passing him if he (LH) can’t. Previously with LH/NR sure I totally see where you have your suspicions of LH not reciprocating. Not when it was only ever going to be about those two drivers for the WDC with nobody else a legitimate threat. Now there’s SV to think about. That’s completely changed the dynamic that LH/NR had. As has VB being naturally on his hind foot on average as was always going to be the case. Yet with shining moments, which only adds to the dynamic.

  6. I think after Monaco, depending on what happens, they’ll have to really start thinking of team orders. If Vettel starts skipping away, they’ll have to hedge their bets on one driver unfortunately. Ferrari wouldn’t even think twice to move Kimi over so Mercedes need to harden up a bit

    1. Then why did Vettel have to spend several laps behind Kimi in China when he was clearly faster?

      1. @Tom Because the season is still young and was even younger in China. Do you actually think KR is just there as SV’s lapdog, to be subservient from race one? I doubt KR started the season knowing he was SV’s rear gunner by t am design. Race by race the season is unfolding to look like an SV/LH battle, but in China even famously one-rooster Ferrari wasn’t going to completely hang KR out to dry.

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          18th May 2017, 16:12

          I couldn’t reply to the above for some reason.
          My preferred situation this year is for Hamilton & Vettel to be so focused on each other they miss a young Finn sneaking through and winning one for Mika!! :)

          Kimi certainly isn’t there to make up numbers, he should have just grabbed the Pole but missed it. Fact is when he has a day out he is so fast and Kimi of old, when he doesn’t he is no where . I love Kimi, great driver and so funny but its his time…… again LOL (He will probably drive next year and win the title !!)

          1. @evilhomer Yeah it would great to see VB in the mix but as tall an order as that is he must do it quickly or it just won’t make mathematical sense for TW. VB has to get the math favouring himself, and my goodness if he can do that what an achievement as the newbie on the team with having a win-capable car also so new to him. All going to depend on how they’ll have to deal with SV race by race.

  7. “Of course, it was drivers moaning about jelly tyres they can’t push that led to Pirelli start making them from concrete in the first place. The tyre maker could try sitting the drivers down and explaining that they can’t have tyres that let them push forever AND have loads of grip AND have a really wide working range – but it’s rather like explaining to a toddler why they can’t live entirely on Sugar Puff sandwiches and Quavers.”

    That Red Bull article was fun to read.

      18th May 2017, 6:42

      Yeah…maybe call up Dunlop & Michelin and ask how you can push a heavier prototype with similar HP and even bigger torque for hours and hours in LeMans/WEC, or Continental Tires in IMSA…

      1. UNEEDAFINN2WIN, since you bring up Continental, I presume that you haven’t heard about the major problems that happened with Continental’s tyres in the Daytona 24 Hour race back in February this year.

        There were repeated tyre failures – with Continental having to issue an emergency memo telling teams to modify how they were using the tyres, including running much higher tyre pressures; that Continental supplied tyres that had been incorrectly mounted, so tyres which were supposed to be for the right hand side of the car were mounted on a wheel for the left hand side; and, because teams were stockpiling tyres due to higher than anticipated wear rates on the wet tyres, they nearly ran out of tyres for that race.

        It’s not the first time something of that kind happened to Continental either – back in 2013, there were several catastrophic tyre blowouts in testing that very nearly forced the IMSA to cancel the opening rounds of the USCC series after Continental made a major mistake with the tyre construction.

  8. What about classic F1 cars at real race weekends! Imagine a screening V10 and a howling Ferrari V12 doing 10 laps or so? Now i would go just to see that. If something like this already exists overseas then let me know. Would be amazing

    1. Well, there is the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Race Series, and BOSS GP.

    2. @johns23

      Great thought, I would probably start going to the races again if that was on the programme!

      I believe they do send out an old V10 at some races, I think it might be the Minardi 2-seater. I know they certainly do at Melbourne, and it’s the highlight of the weekend for a lot of folks there.

      1. Yeah thats right, Melbourne does the 2 seater minardi! Mite be something that F1 funds not the teams. McLaren, Ferrari or Williams could donate a specific vintage car (80’s mclaren, 90’s Williams and Ferrari) Im sure the fans would love it. Although the noise from the vintage cars mite make the 2017 cars a bit of a let down.

      2. I believe they do send out an old V10 at some races, I think it might be the Minardi 2-seater. I know they certainly do at Melbourne, and it’s the highlight of the weekend for a lot of folks there.

        They are spending too much money, if what they want to hear is noise. Better go some place else if that is the highlight of the week

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      18th May 2017, 11:11

      They wouldn’t want to send a V10 out before the modern F1 cars…. It’d remind people of how good F1 used to sound.

      1. … or remind how pleasant it is now to be able to hear your friends during a GP :)

  9. ”Mercedes to keep letting Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas race freely.”

    Unless they are directly behind one another. And the one behind isn’t allowed an alternate strategy despite his requests(The last 4 races of 2015). And the one behind isn’t allowed to use a faster engine mode to get closer to overtake (Spain 2014). And if someone in front is driving away in front of them, then the faster of the two has to make way because of team orders without having to work for the pass on his slower teammate (Monaco 2016). And the slower one has to sacrifice his race to hold up the car that was in front to help the faster teammate get closer without having to work as hard himself (Spain 2017). And if the one in front is holding up his teammate while we have a 1-2 comfortably we’re telling the one in front to speed up, instead of letting the guy behind pass him on his own accord (Abu Dhabi 2016).

    But besides that they are free to race.

    1. It was evident that after the first couple of laps that Bottas was never in contention to win the race or for that matter 2nd place either. The reality after the early exit of Raikonnen and Verstappen, the only competition they would have for the 3rd spot would be the Red Bull. With those known factors, the best strategy they would have had available to them was the strategy they chose.

      Had Bottas have been in close contention for a higher position, I am certain that Mercedes would have shown an entirely different battle plan.

    2. #WithFewExceptions

    3. @Ruben Doesn’t make much sense for you to start off with a quote referencing LH and VB, and then go on to give most of your examples from pre-2017.

      This is now and circumstances are different. And in spite of that, at no point in the last 4 or more seasons including this one has TW made his team all about one rooster from race one of a season. So far this season there has been no order or action taken against VB that VB himself didn’t agree with, yet he is still free to win the next handful of races if he were to be so lucky. If he lags, and the math starts to dictate things, much depending of course on the assumption SV is going to keep scoring big points too, then sure perhaps VB will have to take a more permanent back seat to LH. But again, TW will only do that when the math is plain for all to see, including VB, when it only makes sense.

      As to your examples prior to this season, I don’t agree with your take on them all, but suffice it to say the dynamic was completely different with Merc being dominant and no driver such as SV posing a threat.

      1. “So far this season there has been no order or action taken against VB that VB himself didn’t agree with”

        That’s some lawyerly choosing of words. I don’t recall Massa ever expressing his disagreement with team orders at Ferrari when he drove there with Alonso. Team orders are team orders regardless of whether the drivers involved agree or disagree with them.

        1. Massa was on a team famous for often using a one-rooster philosophy, so he needn’t have been surprised, although I seem to recall he, and certainly many fans on this site, did have issues when he had to let FA by, around mid-season 2010. That was a decision made when an opportunity came up for FA to tighten a big points gap due to SV in his RBR dnf’ing I believe.

          Sure team orders are team orders and it may be irrelevant whether or not the driver agrees or disagrees when he is hit with them, but surely you can see that there are times when even the very affected driver understands…in VB’s case they have been no-brainers as he simply didn’t have the pace and would only be screwing his own team by being defiant. Just like Nico in Monaco. When it’s a no-brainer even to the driver being ordered, those are times when an order is practically not even necessary. It’s like the handwriting is on the wall for some drivers at some times, depending on the circumstances, and they know they’d only be and look like a fool to hinder the team. The full opposite of a permanent one-rooster team order gone bad would be the ending of Austria 02.

          1. @robbie the problem in 2010 was that team orders were actually forbidden by the rules. Ferrari was fined, but for some reason the result stood. Don’t know if it was because of the colour of the cars, or the same reason Singapore ’08 results still stands. Funny enough, the one that lost the most in both occasions was Massa

  10. I had to give up the Codemasters F1 games after 2014, because that’s when they removed the 2 player option. As in, 2 players sat next to each other in reality. Ridiculous. Apparently, if you were born in the 80s you’re a dinosaur when it comes to computer games :(

    1. If you’re born in the 80s you’re just old in general. Just accept that your time has passed

      1. I’m older than that and the only reason I don’t play the latest versions of the game is needing to buy a new wheel setup as my g27 isn’t compatible with the latest consoles.

        1. Worse, the G27 isn’t compatible, not because of technology change, but because someone arbitrarily decided not to support the set of bits the G27 sends as it’s ID.

          There are adapters, however, that spoof a G29 and allow the G27 to work.

          1. The adapters didn’t (last time I looked) work fully, giving only limited functionality and no force feedback…

      2. @dimsim my child, tell Lewis Hamilton and Vettel that! And then place your forked tongue back between your teeth. When I approach my retirement in 2065 I shall perhaps think that my peak has come and gone. Peace and love.

  11. Lots of precedents have been set and argued over in F1 over these last few years especially. This is no different. With that kid being able to personally meet Kimi, another has been set. This may just be the biggest one of them all. Maybe ever. Now every single fan will start weeping to meet any driver. Just imagine…

    Crofty: And that’s Marcus Ericsson! He’s had an engine failure and is out of the race on lap 40.

    *The TV then shows a bunch of middle aged adults are bawling their eyes out wearing Ferrari and Mercedes shirts, hoping to meet Ericsson, who they never even knew existed prior to this*.

    1. I’m in favour of livening up of the fan experience, but there are limits. @mashiat
      (only exception)

      1. @f1-liners It’s not an American sport, so we should be safe. But then again, the new owners…

  12. Ooh scary Lewis. You think SV gives a rats behind that things ‘could have been different between us’? He’ll school you whether you like it or not. Primadonna

    1. @sjzelli

      Well, he certainly has not ‘schooled him’ yet, either in F1 or when they raced together in F3. It will be fun to see how they get on and I for one am hoping they will have lots of wheel-to-wheel battles for us this season and beyond. I greatly admire the obvious talent of both drivers and respect them both enormously.

      I hope whichever way things go, you are able to control your hatred of Lewis and try to at least enjoy the racing.

  13. The fight at the front was interesting and Ferrari was left confused by a ‘magic’ pit stop that Mercedes strategists called as the Virtual Safety Car was ending. This was not magic at all, just genius

    Great that Joe cleared that up, otherwise we might have been left thinking Mercedes were using actual magic.

    1. @jerseyf1
      Is using magic against the rules?

  14. By my understanding there has been five F1 drivers in this decade who have gone to Monaco without previous experience of the circuit – with GP2 and earlier Formula Renault 3.5 being part of the support bill most rookies had done one of those.

    No rookie has finished in the top 10 – two qualified in (Kvyat and Verstappen) but both failed to finish. Of three others, Bottas and Wehrlein scored only once in their rookie seasons so their machinery wasn’t very good to allow get them into points. The fifth one was di Resta who scored in about half of the races – ended up in P12.

    Stroll is obviously Monaco rookie and I don’t expect him to do well at Monaco. Far more interesting is to see how Ocon does – it’s his Monaco debut as well.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      18th May 2017, 11:13

      Stroll at Monaco….. Wow. I hadn’t really thought about that until now. FIRE UP THE CRANES! :D

  15. I cannot wait to play F1 2017! But I do miss playing co-op split screen!

  16. Could not be more excited for F1 2017! Historic cars (and hopefully tracks) again! ….and jeez what cars! 2002-2003 Ferraris probably the most beautiful looking and sounding cars in the sport’s history in my opinion! Mansell’s Williams, Senna’s 88′ McLaren…. and hopefully more to be announced! Epic!!!

  17. The Red Bull Spy and Unnamed source seem very optimistic. In the race they finished even further behind the leader than in Russia. Given that Spain is less power critical, it looks like Merc have made more aero advances than RB.

  18. I still can’t understand what this historical context is…is Toto referring to the 2007 mcLaren mess, the crashgate or what? and how’s that relevant now for not hiring Alonso?

    1. @alfa145 Yes he is referring to the season when LH and FA were paired together, and in suspecting LH was being favoured FA demanded equal treatment on the team. And things got complicated with spygate.

      TW’s point is that that is history and both LH and FA are well past that and therefore there is no historical context that would be a deal breaker for him in hiring FA, but inevitably comparisons will be made to 07 if indeed he hires FA for 2018 alongside LH.

  19. In world of F1, where you are only as good as your last race… RBR is fast becoming a McLaren, down on power boosting its chassis that also seems uncompetiive.

  20. “… when it comes to closed-circuit racing in general, oval racing in IndyCar is by far the most dangerous there is.”

    I agree it’s highly dangerous, but I think MotoGP is a far more dangerous racing category than any other closed-circuit category. In F1 and Indy, the drivers are fully protected by the monocoque. The MotoGP pilot has got a suit, but that’s it. If unlucky he flies directly into a wall, or get driven over by other drivers.

    Yes, Indy on ovals is more dangerous than any F1 race. But, stating it’s the most dangerous category, I say that’s overrated.

  21. Codemasters has lost my interest well and truly. I know it’s a bit of a favourite of this site but looking at the FIFA and NBA titles and the career story modes they offer, Codemasters is truly slacking in comparison.

    They don’t even try to capture the sport in its essence currently. The new engine formula has been out for a few years now and none of that has carried over, it’s like we’re still playing a game with V8’s with regards to race strategy and car management.

    Now that they’re going back to the classic cars this year (again) that’s nice and all, but I can also just load them up in Project Cars or rFactor also. It’s not exactly a huge selling point. It’s going to take a lot more than that to win me over.

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