Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Ferrari ‘pushed their power unit hard’ to close gap to Mercedes

RaceFans Round-up

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

In the round-up: Ferrari has closed the gap in power unit development to Mercedes, Force India technical director Andrew Green believes.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix and Formula E Paris on RaceFans

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku, 2018
Vettel was at the centre of controversy in Baku last year
This weekend RaceFans will bring coverage direct from the F1 paddock in Baku and from the scene of round eight of the 2017/18 Formula E season in Paris.

Dieter Rencken will be in Azerbaijan speaking to the F1 drivers and top team members. Last year’s race proved one of the most dramatic of the year and was memorable for a controversial clash between championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

As usual our coverage from the track will begin to arrive on Thursday and will include Dieter’s new daily Paddock Diary throughout the race weekend. Keep an eye out for his new weekly column on Wednesday ahead of the race.

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What they say

Green reckons Mercedes’ rivals have closed the gap in power unit performance again this year:

For sure the competition has got closer as far as the power unit is concerned. I don’t know where the power units sit now relative to each other, but it’s highly competitive area of the car. Teams like Ferrari have pushed their power unit really hard.

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Comment of the day

Does Pirelli deserve criticism for the quality of F1’s tyres:

The tyres Pirelli supply to F1 are made to F1’s specifications. A different tyre manufacturer could be slightly different but not hugely different, because that manufacturer would have to construct their tyres to the same specification as what Pirelli build their tyres to.

The impression I got was Pirelli would prefer to make more durable tyres, but that isn’t what F1 wants. As it is, F1 has rules that stipulate all cars must run two different specification tyres in a race. Even if the ultra-soft tyre could last the entire grand prix cars using them would still have to make a pit stop at some stage to fit a different specification tyre.
Stephen Crowsen (@Drycrust)

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On this day in F1

  • Today in 1993 Alain Prost put his Williams on pole position for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola

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83 comments on “Ferrari ‘pushed their power unit hard’ to close gap to Mercedes”

  1. Just because Pirelli was asked to make quickly degrading tyres, doesn’t mean they have to be over sensitive with a narrow operating temperature window, where the tyres overheat if pushed too hard through certain corners & can’t cool back down properly. Drivers can’t even make a full lap in quali on certain tracks at their maximum effort. We hear it constantly “has he taken too much out of the tyre in Sectors 1 & 2? Will there be enough for Sector 3?”

    Pirelli has had so many issues with tyres since their debut in F1. I’m surprised people still defend them using the “well, the FIA asked for these types of tyres” argument.

    1. Just the fact that the tyres, the temperature and the way they respond to minute variations in toe-in, camber etc. has such a major influence on race/qualifying results reminds me of an idea I posted before with tongue only slightly in cheek : To solve the price cap problem simply make a spec car and have each team partner with a tyre company eg. Renault/Michelin, AMG/Continental, Ferrari/Pirelli, Haas/Firestone, Williams/Dunlop etc. And may the best tyre on the day win.

      1. Great idea, and – even less TiC – this would fit perfectly with FE spec series.

        I know many of us like to criticise what we have, but at least the tyres are the same for everybody.
        And now read the Verstappen article and you will understand that F1 should have a bit more challenge for the drivers. As long as all are treated equally; let the tyres be part of that.

  2. In other news..Mark Hughes reckons that Dan Ricciardo has signed some sort of pre-contract with Ferrari.

    1. Is it dependent on Vettel retiring?

      1. A little bird told me that Vettel will go to Mercedes for 2019. That is what is holding up Lewis on re-signing. He wants serious competition within the team. Kimi is the true company man and will stay. Ricciardo will leave RedBull to partner him. Armed and ready to defend my source…

        1. Wow, this is a little shocking if proves to be true. It is possible, some parts make sense, but some others not so much. RIC moving to Ferrari and have RAI as team mate makes sense at the moment: better car, with champ cappabilities, slow team mate. Also, this is 4th year with Ferrari for VET and if he’s not going to be champ at the end of the year, there might be some good chances he will want to leave the team. Not so sure about the part where VET (and even HAM) is not bothered anymore if his team mate is somebody really competitive.

        2. Sounds like a mocking bird.

    2. @jaymenon10
      Well @peartree was right then. Dear me. (this would also mean Honda is not going to RBR)
      Bad news for Vettel then. If you would hold a gun to my head I’d still say Vettel’ 4 WDC are inflated. Webber was leading by 20p with 4 GPs to go in ’10 (didn’t Alonso had 30p on him with 3 races to go before he spooked himself too?), and well Alonso and Japan ’12…. yea….. I’ll just leave it there. He still drove the car, granted, but what I’m hinting is Danny showed us again in ’14 what happened in ’09 and ’17 = when Seb has traffic and not the best car, he lacks consistency from race to race. that’s why they went quite even on quali but not on race pace.

      So…. Danny would crush him.

      1. Right
        Vettel needed a contract break couse
        He knew he was Ferrari man.
        Can’t wait for Ric to go to Ferrari
        And see how good of nr2 driver will be
        He is NO better than Kimi or Weber was
        He will steal maybe another 6 wins in his time in F1

        1. Webber himself admits Ric is faster than he ever was.

          Do well to argue properly against the horses mouth.

        2. @prelvu

          Vettel needed a contract break couse
          He knew he was Ferrari man.

          Expect nonsense like this from Vettel fan-atics. He got thrashed by Daniel. Come to terms with it. He wasn’t good enough in 2014 and I doubt he’ll fare any better if Dan crashes his party at Ferrari.

          1. Nope, He wanted to be with Ferrari and Ferrari wanted rid of Alonso (The Destroyer of Teams). Nevermind the unreliability that Vettel suffered relative to Ricciardo that year, most of it in the FP and Quali sessions which is why DannyRics Quali stats and subsequent race positions are so good relative to Vettels for ’14.

          2. @todfod There is no comparison to be made between an SV who is in a Ferrari he is obviously quite comfortable in, and that is quite competitive, and an SV in the vastly different RBR car he had in 2014 that would have felt like a Lada to him, after a 4 year run of Championships in a car that would have felt to him like today’s Ferrari feels to him now.

            But we’ve had this conversation before. Let me just say that at a bare minimum, if indeed DR did well again against SV if they were paired together at Ferrari, it is beyond me how anyone could think it would be DR thrashing SV, or any other of the same over the top descriptors used for what happened in 2014, to just automatically repeat themselves now.

            To say DR would be thrashing SV is to say DR would be utterly dominating the grid in that Ferrari as we speak. Given that DR was just handily beaten by a relative rookie last year, I cannot for the life of me understand where this bravado comes from towards DR. This absolute refusal by some to even remotely look at 2014 for it’s circumstances, and rather just blindly take that one season and write things in stone, baffles me.

            Also, setting talent aside and the subjective debate that can create, we have yet to see if DR can handle the pressure when it is at it’s greatest, of being in a WCC and WDC capable car, and fighting a teammate for the big trophy. SV has nothing to prove in that regard. DR has everything to prove yet. Especially after last year.

          3. @robbie the only thing that you missed is when you see that sort of comparisons of the 14′ season between DR and SV, you will find mostly that people do not praise DR and his talent, but take the change to point out how bad SV is.

            It’s a trend that plagues some fans.

            Apart from that you summed it up pretty nicely if you ask me

          4. @robbie

            You’re comparing Vettel’s comfort levels in a current Ferrari to his comfort levels at Red Bull 2014. I think that’s a poor comparison to make. Red Bull was completely Seb’s team after he just won 4 WDCs in a row with them. You might say his car was a Lada, but I think that’s something every driver who’s been beaten by his teammate will say. Let’s say that Alonso was driving a Lada in 2007, Hamilton was driving one in 2011, etc. etc. As I said, it’s just excuses. Daniel was driving the same Lada, and beat Seb in qualifying, races, practice sessions you name it. Maybe Daniel is just more versatile than him? Don’t underestimate a driver who entered in to a 4 time WDC’s team and started thrashing him from the get go.

            Whether Daniel can handle the pressure is a different thing. We won’t know unless he’s in that situation, but to say that he cannot do something he’s done before just because of your personal opinion, is ridiculous. The only benchmark we have to talk about is when they raced together, and the facts showed Dan was better. Leave conspiracy theories, Lada’s etc. out of it.

          5. @asanator

            Sure. Whatever you say. Why don’t you crunch the numbers on unreliability and see how much of a difference it really makes to their points tally or qualifying record? It’s amazing the stuff people come out with here to defend Vettel’s beating by Dan. I’ve heard he was driving a Lada.. Red bull sabotaged him once they realised he was looking elsewhere… He aimed for getting less than 70% of his teammate’s points so he could find an exit clause…. he had a baby so wasn’t completely on it..

            Het got beat. Accept it. He probably will get beat again if Dan joins Ferrari.

          6. David Margono
            25th April 2018, 7:36


            The point is, it isn’t fair to discredit everything Vettel has accomplished because of 2014; that is surely not his usual caliber.

            Same for Alonso in 2007 (and perhaps 2004) or Hamilton in 2011 who had poor seasons by their standards and it’s not a reflection of their actual caliber.

            Ricciardo himself got outperformed by Verstappen last year, and the only reason it didn’t show in the points was because Verstappen got the brunt of reliability issues. Why isn’t anybody discrediting him then? It appears that 2014 is only brought up not to give credit to Ricciardo, but mainly to undermine Vettel which isn’t fair for the reasons mentioned above.

          7. @todfod

            The point is, it isn’t fair to discredit what Vettel has accomplished because of 2014; that is surely not his usual caliber.

            Same for Alonso in 2007 (and perhaps 2004) or Hamilton in 2011 who had poor seasons by their standards and it’s not a reflection of their usual caliber.

            Ricciardo himself got outperformed by Verstappen last year, and the only reason it didn’t show in the points was because Verstappen got the brunt of reliability issues. Why isn’t anybody discrediting him then?

            It appears that 2014 is only brought up not to give credit to Ricciardo, but mainly to undermine Vettel which isn’t fair for the reasons mentioned above. You may not like him which is fair enough, but come on now.

          8. @woshidavid95

            The point isn’t to discredit Vettel. I think we’re all well aware of his credentials. The point here being the conviction with which Vettel fans automatically dismiss the fact that he won’t get beaten by Daniel again. They have a bunch of conspiracy theories and all kinds of other silly explanations for it.

            If anything, I think it discredits Ricciardo as a driver, to say he beat Vettel in 2014 only because of . Give a driver his due. If you saw the 2014 season, it wasn’t like Vettel wasn’t trying his best to beat Dan, he was just getting outperformed by him.

            Regarding Max beating Ricciardo last season… Of course it took away some shine from Ricciardo. Max is considered the future of F1 and is a once in a generation talent, and he was better than Ricciardo last season. That’s the end of story. No lame excuse required for Ricciardo fans to say why he got beaten.

            Can Max beat Ricciardo again? Yes
            Can Dan beat Vettel again? Yes

            My statements weren’t to discredit Vettel, but to remind that Daniel is entirely capable of repeating 2014 in 2018.

          9. @todfod

            Sure, fair enough. I can’t say I am too fond of the excuses, but I believe the point they’re trying to make is that Vettel at his usual caliber would not be losing to Ricciardo, or at least not by the margin in 2014 if they were teammates again in Ferrari.

            I mean Hamilton lost out to Button in 2011, but I think virtually all of us agree that Hamilton is the better driver for example, since 2011 is not a reflection of what Hamilton’s usual level is like.

          10. @woshidavid95
            Even in 2011, Hamilton was the quicker of the two McLaren drivers. He out qualified Button over that year, but he dropped the ball on a lot of Sundays. He tangled with Massa a bunch of times and with Maldonado etc. It was poor race craft by his own standards.

            Vettel didn’t make those kind of mistakes in 2014. He was just slower than Dan in qualifying and was not as impressive in the race trim either. It wasn’t like Vettel was performing extremely poorly that season, he just wasn’t as good as his teammate.

            Regarding Vettel’s ‘usual calibre’ . I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I don’t know if he was his ‘usual calibre’ for the first half of 2012, the whole of 2014, second half of 2016. Got to question what his usual calibre is.

            I honestly wish Dan joins Ferrari on equal terms. I’d love to see how he gets on with the job with Vettel in his ‘usual calibre’. If he beats Vettel again, I’ll expect new conspiracy theories regarding what Vettel wasn’t motivated .. or how he was sabotaged… or how he didn’t like the car… etc . If Dan doesn’t beat him, they’ll just say 2014 was a fluke anyway.

          11. @todfod

            Of course, those periods of time you mentioned are when he wasn’t performing up to the high standards expected of him, which is what I mean by his usual level and I’m sure you’re aware of.

            You can of course argue that he doesn’t perform at that level as consistently as Hamilton or Alonso given those patches and you can of course argue they are better drivers, but the reason that it is even held against him at all means that we expect more from him given his reputation as one of the best, even if we don’t necessarily like him. After all, you have intentionally singled out patches of underperformance from him which means in most other situations, he performs much better which is what I mean by his ‘usual level’.

          12. @todfod No, what is ridiculous is to call what happened in 2014 with Seb a conspiracy theory, or my personal opinion, or a benchmark of anything wrt comparing DR and SV.

            It is more conspiratorially of you to ignore what Seb was saying and feeling about the new car, the new format, and about F1 in general. He was dejected at his terrible car and the direction of F1. He went karting mid-season because he had to remind himself of why he goes racing, because he had lost his glorious car and it really took the wind out of his sails. Read what Horner says about Seb in that season.

            I don’t know why you choose to ignore facts about what it was like for Seb, like I am just making this stuff up or something. Like there weren’t also days when Seb did better than DR in 2014. Like DR dominated every single session. Like I’m making excuses. The only logic I can put to your opinion on this is you simply don’t like SV. That’s why for you any defence of him over 2014 is seen as excuses, not reasons.

            I’m surprised you’re one of those fans whose math says DR beat SV, therefore that is proof of something lasting, and that then must mean by your simple logic, MV beat DR, therefore Max is greater than both. Simple as that. No room for reasons or excuses. Strictly the numbers. Oh…DR had more points than Max, you say. So that must mean we must ignore that Max outqualified DR in double the races, led him in double the laps, and finished ahead of him 5-2 when both cars finished. That is telling of nothing right? More excuses.

            The reality that you choose to ignore, because you don’t like SV, is a reality you are well aware of, and shouldn’t need reminding, which means this is just how you choose to spin this issue. The reality is there are thousands of variables each season as cars change and drivers change teams, and writing something in stone because of one season is ridiculous. LH lost to NR in 2016 therefore Nico will forever be better than LH. That’s how your logic works. No excuses, right? Or would they be reasons. Depends strictly on whether one likes a driver or dislikes another.

          13. @robbie

            It is more conspiratorially of you to ignore what Seb was saying and feeling about the new car, the new format, and about F1 in general. He was dejected at his terrible car and the direction of F1. He went karting mid-season because he had to remind himself of why he goes racing, because he had lost his glorious car and it really took the wind out of his sails. Read what Horner says about Seb in that season.

            Come on dude… really. I mean.. Wow.

            The only logic I can put to your opinion on this is you simply don’t like SV.

            The only logic I can put to your posts are that you prefer to believe excuses than facts. You haven’t said anything factual.. just a bunch of fluffy nonsense that defends Vettel’s loss to Dan.

            I don’t understand what is the point of your entire post? Is it to tell me my approach is too mathematical? That my logic on one driver beating another driver in the same equipment is a sign that he can never do it again? Does that make any sense to you?

            It’s obvious you rate Sebastian Vettel higher. You’re convinced that Vettel will beat Ricciardo because he lost out to him the first time in the same equipment? Vettel’s got the wind back in his sails now and remembers why he loves racing .. and he’s gained some additional nonsense since 2014 and that makes him better? Good for you.

            But as a person who follows F1, give credit where it was due. Dan was better than him and based on the factual data (and real world events that took place in 2014) , he could do it again. To believe he cannot .. shows that you might be a little Vettel fan-atic yourself.

          14. @woshidavid95

            Those periods I mentioned were over 7 seasons. So, he had poor performances for nearly 2 to 2.5 seasons out of 7. That’s around 30% to 35% of the time. The point I was trying to make is that if you’re not performing at the “star” level nearly one third of the time… your level isn’t exactly of the ‘highest calibre’ begin with.

            If we were to judge people by only their high points then Pastor would be one of the greatest of all time after his race in Barcelona 2012.

            Being in a slump (nearly 1/3rd of the time) can’t be excluded from your performance.. can it?

          15. @todfod

            It is considered ‘poor’ and a slump (Well not Chilton or Stroll levels of poor anyway) because of the expectations we have of Vettel, and I can agree on that. But the thing is unlike Maldonado, his high points aren’t a one-off scenario and he has proven to be able to go on stretches of utter dominance (2011 and 2013) or just fantastic overall (2015 and 2017, barring occasional blips like Baku 2017 or Mexico 2015) and personally for me, that is proof that his abilities are among the best.

            Personally, I feel his slump in 2014 and the latter half of 2016 were due to a lack of incentive and motivation since he was not in a position to fight for the championship or best of the rest, but I’m sure this is where we will disagree. You can of course argue that this makes Alonso and Hamilton better drivers since they usually perform at their best regardless of their machinery, but I believe Vettel has already proven himself. Perhaps he could stand to do better when he isn’t in a position to fight for the championship or best of the rest, but when it really counts he usually delivers.

          16. @todfod Obviously we’re at a stalemate again and will have to agree to disagree. Once again what has twigged me on this topic is your choice of wording. I have never said DR could never beat SV. I have though stated that I disagree with your wording that because DR ‘thrashed SV’ which I disagree with to begin with, at least without some context, you now have suggested DR would thrash SV at Ferrari, like 2014 is proof of anything. I do think SV would beat DR in a more apples to apples setting than was the case at RBR 2014, with an extremely troublesome car that gave Seb and DR both all kinds of technical issues aside from it just being a car that was disheartening for SV, whereas DR felt elevated to be in the best car on the best team he’d ever had, with no pressure. By your method of logic, how did LH ever lose to NR? Shouldn’t LH’s ‘thrashing’ of NR have written in stone that NR would forever be thrashed by LH? Or can things actually change one year to the next, even on the same team, let alone numerous years later on different teams in a different era?

            So now to suit your argument you have dialled it down to suggest I am saying DR could never beat SV. Well it was ‘thrashing’ (your word), that set me off. And to assume that even if you call what happened in 2014 was a thrashing means that DR would thrash SV again, under entirely different circumstances, in a different gen of cars, on a different team, is truly ridiculous.

            So once again, you throw out inflammatory language, you get a reaction that tries to bring more reason to it, and then you dial it down and call me the conspiracy theorist etc etc and make a claim that I have said DR will never beat SV again. We’ve never really even talked about that because it has more been about your over the top language to describe both what happened in 2014, and what you project would happen if they were paired together again. Since we’re talking about it, I’m sure it is possible that DR could beat SV at Ferrari, but I personally think that wouldn’t happen, but I certainly would not look to 2014 as proof of anything as it relates to the here and now.

            I sure don’t hear anyone else talking about DR like he’s a WDC beater. Like he is superior to SV. It is only you and a few others on this site, but nobody in F1 has promoted DR to the level you have, of 4 time WDC level, just because of 2014. I don’t hear any pundits saying DR should go to Ferrari because he will thrash SV like in 2014, because of course that precedent has already been established and cannot change. You’d think if the people that matter believed that, it would be a no-brainer that DR would be desperately trying to go to Ferrari and all the rumour mongering and headlines of speculation would be beaming with that sentiment. “DR needs Ferrari seat to thrash SV again.”

            Meanwhile, as I’ve said before, the other variable in this is that we have never seen DR compete when the pressure is at it’s greatest, so we don’t even know how he would fair mentally in such a setting, let alone against a 4 time WDC who hasn’t just had the legs cut out from under him if they do get paired together again. DR, including in 2014, has mostly won from inheriting positions through the attrition of others, and while that is very normal in racing, it also means that DR has little experience actually starting near the front and maintaining that throughout a race. DR still has everything to prove in that regard. So far he’s still starting behind Max two out of three times.

          17. @robbie
            It doesn’t get more apples to apples than racing your teammate on equal terms in the same machinery. Yet, in 2014 when there was an actual apples to apples comparison, you decided to twist the scenario by doing a psychological profile of Vettels head state vs Dan’s. If you’re going to look for excuses, you’re going to find them. Which is exactly what you did to suit your argument. At no point in time did you mention that Ricciardo was new to the team and overcame the challenges of settling in to a new team and new car that wasn’t designed for him, and started beating a well settled, more experienced Wdc in his championship winning team from the get go.
            You’ve conveniently left out a lot of facts and instead focused on the mental state of Vettel to prove your argument. Which I find ridiculous.
            Also I don’t know why you get Twigged by the word ‘thrashed’. Usually, when a teammate gets 60% of his Teammates points tally, and doesn’t take a win, while his teammate takes 3, we refer to it as a thrashing. We’ve used the same term on the Kimi Felipes and Marks of the world before, so why does using it on Sebastian make it so blasphemous?
            As you said, let’s just agree to disagree. I don’t buy a single excuses for Vettel in any of your posts, and you don’t agree with my approach of saying because Dan has beaten Seb, he’ll do it again.

          18. @todfod Equal equipment yes. Except for SV’s greater unreliability. Equal settings though? No way. Seb’s car was nothing whatsoever like what he was accustomed, and DR felt promoted and as bad as the car felt to SV, DR was still in the best car on the biggest team he had ever been on. I have pointed out the car thing on many occasions, but to suit your argument you think I’m just boiling it down to psychology. Just ask yourself this, or answer this question. Since Seb had just come off 4 Championships in a row, what suddenly changed that he forgot how to win races and Championships and was no longer riding the WDC, WCC wave from the previous 4 years?

          19. Just ask yourself this, or answer this question. Since Seb had just come off 4 Championships in a row, what suddenly changed that he forgot how to win races and Championships and was no longer riding the WDC, WCC wave from the previous 4 years?


            Dude.. now you’re missing the point completely.

            Equal equipment yes. Except for SV’s greater unreliability. Equal settings though? No way.

            Really man. I don’t think theres any point in discussing this further.

      2. Webber was leading by 20p with 4 GPs to go in ’10 (didn’t Alonso had 30p on him with 3 races to go before he spooked himself too?), and well Alonso and Japan ’12….

        So what? When it mattered, Vettel came through and won those titles (and after suffering car breakdowns in leading positions on multiple occasions across those seasons too).

        1. Points are counted at the end of a season to determine the order for that season, so stop the rant.

        2. Dean Stewart
          24th April 2018, 6:41

          My thoughts exactly @simracer Brazil 2012 to me showed that Seb can race, Abu Dhabi, Valencia and Monza (even with retiring in the latter two) that year were also mental races in which he showed both good racecraft and overtaking skills, whilst admittedly driving what was among the fastest cars on the grid. Malaysia and Hungary 2015 he had no right to win and smashed both, again not likely for a driver whom is now touted as “no better than Webber” (Really lol? Same car for five years, other than a front wing at Silverstone, showed they were miles apart).

          Ric handing him a lesson in 2014 was probably due to a few different reasons, but mostly the rule changes and how they completely nuffified RBRs advantage with the blown diffuser; Seb seemed to take to this style of driving better than most others and this gave him a massive advantage over the field. As Seb was relatively new to the sport (I think the 2009 season was only his second full season in F1) and still young it seems he adapted his driving style easier than say Webber did when the 2009 regs came into force. Lets not forget that he nearly won the 2009 title as well, I know nearlys don’t count but he still showed some blinding speed that year. We also seem to be forgetting his maiden win, ten years ago this year and still the only time a Toro Rosso driver has been on the podium, to take pole and the win in a midfield car is something that might not be repeated for a while.

          My opinion on the 2014 season is that RIC did pretty much the same thing with adapting his driving style as Seb did in 2008, and this combined with Seb not adapting as quickly led to him slightly taking the huff for a year. In the circumstances I think I would be quite raging myself; you’ve just won four titles on the bounce and the fans are becoming bored, no other team can get near you, so to combat this the FIA change the rules which turn RBR from a Pole-Win (last weekend of 2013) to a Nearly last-On the plane home before the anthems are played, I know periods of dominance in the sport usually trigger a shake-up in the regulations but it can’t be nice to go from the front to nowhere.

          For what it’s worth I was glad when RBRs dominance came to an end, but I feel even more frustrated with the sport as it is now (which I didn’t think was possible after 2011-2013 especially). When RBR were sweeping all before them there was still the odd win for someone else, Hulk snatching a pole, small victories to break the monotony. The F1 I’ve watched between 2014 and 2016 was hard to stick with; Schumacher and Ferraris dominance was bad and likewise the Merc years have been the same. I am a Ferrari fan; I get the whole passion and madness of the Italians (I am from Glasgow and support Celtic, so I definitely know the highs and lows of being a passionate sports fan!) and that appeals to me. I would love to see RIC and VET in the same team but I don’t think it’ll be anything like a walkover from either driver; I genuinely think they are very very close and it would be extremely interesting to see who comes out on top. Let’s hope we get our wish.

        3. @simracer

          So what

          He had clean air. That was my point. That’s what.

          In 10 and ’11 From pole in 75% of the last 4 races. (’11 18/19 poles) In ’13 RBR even had pole for 3 months. That’s what I wrote above, he brakes and runs fine in clean air. You didn’t read my post above?

          1. Duh.
            All race winners had clean air (at least at the finish line), and World Champions tend to win races.

          2. @xiasitlo

            He had clean air.

            Not in the 2012 title decider for one of many. And it’s a bit inconsistent from you to use Webber/Alonso leading the WDC before a Vettel comeback against Vettel, then use Vettel leading the WDC before a Hamilton comeback… against Vettel.

    3. Mark Hughes was also 98% sure that kubica signed a race deal for Williams.

  3. It’s the teams that made Pirelli do this, people defecate all over Pirelli as casual nonsensical fans, but it all started because the teams running too low pressures for the tyres until the whole Silverstone thing in ’14 (which is also a reason why Williams and Haas went struggling with their own independent route and now resort to sad copying and even more money-grabbing as their cars were build on it) – against Pirelli’s wishes – and they blackmailed Pirelli, so Pirelli now just upped the pressures for a few years and narrowed the operating sweet spot because Liberty asked them as overtaking would’ve been even more difficult this year… for spectacle reasons as otherwise Quali would’ve been it at 15/21 circuits.
    If you want to blame someone COTD – Toto, Ferrari and good old Horner. They blackmailed Pirelli into this.

    Btw, Ferrari has just found a way to effectively burn more oil, as that is the only way until 2021 to gain relative equal deployment during the race without screwing the drivability with the MGU-H and therefore torque: why do you think Kimi is driving so good (yes, yes I know, jump on me)? It’s a dead giveaway honestly. Just like how Hamilton knows what really happened with Piquet and Spygate, time will tell, how they’ve done it. But it’s something nefarious in the efficiency of the PU, I’m sure of that. But it won’t last. People don’t realize. As soon as someone at Pirelli leaks the sweet spot of the S tyre to Mercedes, or you know Horner decides to blab to Charlie about oil tanks, or something at Ferrari…. it’s done. the whole season. It’s done, completely.

    1. @xiasitlo The problem with that argument (Regarding tyres) is that teams running low pressures, Swapping the sides & running ‘extreme’ cambers was & had been for decades something that was completely normal & in fact continues to be normal in many other categories.

      These things were considered part of the sport, Teams pushing the boundaries to the extremes & often beyond them to find any advantage be it in terms of performance or getting extra a few extra laps of life out of the tyres. Teams would regularly run the Michelin tyres of 2001-2006 as low as 13psi without problem despite recommendations been higher than that.

      What the teams were doing with the Pirelli’s in 2013 was nothing they hadn’t done with the Bridgestone’s, Michelin’s or Good Years over the 20+ years prior & during those times there had been no problems caused as a result of them because the tyres were always designed with a safety margin in-place that allowed limits to be pushed beyond what was recommended.

      In order to achieve the 2-3 stop mandate Pirelli essentially did away with the safety margin & created a tyre that was unpredictable when operated at/beyond the recommended limit. For the teams this was something that was new & to an extent unexpected given how previous tyres had been fine when pushed in that way.

      When the rules surrounding pressures, cambers etc.. were introduced after Silverstone 2013 I had a long time member of the F1 paddock raise the point to me that this was the 1st time not just in F1 but also any top line category that rules had been introduced at the behest of the tyre supplier to ensure the safety of it’s product. In every other category & at every other point in F1’s past if a tyre supplier’s product was not able to withstand normal F1 practices it was the tyre supplier that had to improve there product rather than regulations been required to change those ‘normal’ practices. It was also brought up to me that in the past under those conditions teams would have simply swapped suppliers if they felt the one they were using wasn’t upto standard, Hence why teams were more behind Michelin getting the next tyre supply deal only for Bernie to stick with the ‘cheaper’ commercial option against team/driver’s wishes (Something I hear won’t happen for the next tyre supply deal).

      1. @gt-racer

        Thank you! It’s ridiculous that people still defend Pirelli today.
        Question is… do you & your friends in the paddock actually believe Pirelli could make an actually REALLY good racing tyre, without all these issues, overheating, “de-laminations” and so on and so? After reading many comments from drivers in WEC/LeMans, I highly doubt Pirelli could make a tyre that can be raced as hard or as long with as much grip as Michelin can.

        The problem I’ve always said about Pirelli is that to make 2-3 pit stops per race, the drivers seem to have to drive at what 60-80% of their & the cars limits just prevent the tyres from overheating & falling apart. Even if F1 has always had some sort of conservation, it seems since 2011 it’s way overboard & drivers can’t even seem to push for more than 5-7 laps before being told you back off & cool down the tyres.

      2. @gt-racer, I thought that teams didn’t try running the tyres on opposite sides of the car in the past because of what happens to Wurz when he worked as McLaren’s test driver.

        He famously had a massive accident back in 2005 at Paul Ricard during a test session that was caused by a tyre failure, and that happened because the tyres were being used incorrectly.

        What happened was that Michelin delivered their tyres to the circuit, but because the tyres hadn’t been labelled properly, the mechanics mistakenly fitted the tyres meant to be on the rear right to the rear left, and vice versa. With nobody realising that error, Wurz was sent out on track – he then did a handful of constant speed laps whilst on track (if I recall well, I think he said it was two laps he did) so the team could check that everything was working correctly on the car.

        Being satisfied that everything was working correctly, they then radioed Wurz to tell him that he could start driving at full speed. On the very first lap that he tried going at full speed, the tyre carcass promptly tore itself to pieces as he was driving along the back straight (you can see the tyre disintegrating in the video footage taken by the CCTV system around the circuit).

        It is therefore surprising to hear claims that it was “completely normal” for teams to swap the tyres from one side to the other when Wurz’s accident indicates that Michelin’s tyres from that era would fail catastrophically if a team did that.

        1. I thought that teams didn’t try running the tyres on opposite sides of the car in the past because of what happens to Wurz when he worked as McLaren’s test driver.

          That particular practice wasn’t something that was done all the time but it was something that teams did do on occasion as there were situations where doing so provided benefits without additional safety risks.
          I remember in 1997 for example that the Good Year tyres started blistering quite badly at Montreal through practice & that teams swapped them because it was found that doing so made them less prone to blistering. The same thing was done again later in the year at Hungary.

          The running of tyres below recommended pressures & outside of recommended cambers however was something that was done very frequently.

          @s2g-unit There is little question that they could make tyres that didn’t wear too quickly & offered good performance over a stint/race as they do so in categories such as WEC….. However if there capable of making tyres that would be as good as some of there rivals is something that people in the F1 paddock have in the past questioned (At times out loud). Certainly in other categories where tyre competition is allowed Pirelli tend to not be the choice of the front running teams.

      3. @gt-racer

        The point you keep missing is that some teams (at least 2 from the strategy group) that ran some secrets tests with Pirelli and one particular red team got caught out in ’13 (not ’14) and suddenly the others went with it. They just used Pirelli as pawn to slow each-others cars and could always blame them easily. That’s the point. They talk where their money is. And we don’t like Pirelli, so we go with it on this one. But they could’ve easily forced Pirelli to improve. Didn’t happen.

        Don’t be so blinded at Pirelli. That’s what they want you to do.

        1. @xiasitlo the 1gnorants keep pushing you down. You’re just telling as it is, as it always is. Johnmilk your coment might be amusing but it’s bedide the point. Don’t you ever question yourself to why is the 2nd half of the season always so poor. Simply put, the lobbying goes into overdrive, there’s always something underhand in f1.

    2. what about the wet tyres? Who ask them to make them so bad?

      1. @gt-racer Very interesting point about them changing the regs to accommodate bad tires. They are protecting Pirelli, because they wanted one maker, and they wanted to mandate to that one maker what to do. It makes sense given that Pirelli has still survived in F1 to this day even after repeated tire delaminations and explosions, while Michelin was ostracized after their tire couldn’t handle one corner at one track.

      2. A very pertinent question, @johnmilk

  4. I agree with the COTD.
    – From the We assume that again this year a beautiful sounding V8 engine will be in the back of your car? ” Yes, of course. As a driver, the sound is very important. The car itself is slower than the one we’re currently driving, but the sound makes up for that.”
    – I disagree with him on that. First of all, I don’t have and never have had any problem with the current engine sound, and secondly, I definitely take the current cars over the ‘much slower’ V8-powered ones.

  5. Verstappen complaining about overtaking and short braking distances which didn’t seem to bother Ricciardo in China 🤨

    Kid is fast, no doubt. But Ricciardo is all class on race day. Much to learn, the young padawan.

    1. Ric dive bombs and that isn’t as skillfull as everyone makes out. The move on Bottas was just plain rude and I expect drivers will look to do the same to him. Brundle all over him in China as if he didn’t have brand new, softer tyres on.

      1. C’mon @Schudha, Ricciardo’s drive and overtaking in China was skilful.
        And he seems to be smart enough to see that BOT will give in easier than VET/HAM/ALO.

      2. He’s been doing it for about 5 years. If it isn’t that skillfull, why aren’t all the others doing it too? And if it is ‘rude’, why isn’t the rest complaining about it or hasn’t it been banned?

      3. The difference between what Ricciardo does and what most people would call a divebomb is that Ricciardo still makes the corner and exits well.

        He doesn’t just throw his car at the inside and know despite taking the corner more slowly than the ideal line he’ll be in the other driver’s way, he still gets the car rotated and exits the corner cleanly.

        Hamilton used to have a reputation for last of the late brakers, but I think Ricciardo by a considerable margin has the art of late braking mastered.

        1. It’s suprising some people still fail to see this. We’ve all seen many drivers attempting a “pass and block” type of move: a very late brake point, a very early apex and a slow exit of the corner, hoping that you bother the other driver enough so that you still make it first to the next corner. RIC, however, has the ability to brake really late and make the corner with a decent line so he doesn’t lose speed throughout it. And, ironically, one of the reasons he’s able to make those dive bombs is that he’s usually so “far” behind that the other driver doesn’t expect that kind of late manoeuvre.

          1. He’s also quick enough to react to a lot of defences and switch sides while still getting the car slowed down and turned in.

        2. Very true, @philipgb – he shows his talent by making it look so clean and easy, and easy it definitely is not (else we’d have seen other drivers do similarly as often).

          1. This is something I’m struggling to get to grips with, the overtakes that DR did were when his car had significant pace advantage over the others he was overtaking. They were powerless to stop him, very similar to when LH had crashed his car in Brazil last year and basically drove through the pack and got to 4th I think. The overtakes DR did were good, in comparison to MV’s, but I think they have been over hyped.

            Now if DR did these moves against equally paced car’s??? I’d be saying something different. Example Max’s drive in the wet Brazil 2016 and the overtakes he did there were something to rave about.

            I think because overtakes ,in general, in F1 are few and far between and track dependent, is the reason why the euphoria over these DR moves are being regarded as some of the best ever and personally I don’t see it.

      4. Forza Maldonado
        24th April 2018, 17:10

        The overtake on Bottas was rude? I didn’t realize drivers were supposed to be concerned about their opponents’ feelings while they’re on track.

    2. Come on. This has nothing to do with complaining nor who is the best. Just an honest remark that the ’17 and ’18 cars aren’t suited for overtaking as the cars of ’15 and ’16, and how he (Verstappen) doesn’t enjoy it as much as he did before.

      1. I haven’t heard him say something like it in 2017.

      2. Being honest doesn’t mean it’s not complaining. Even if it’s the truth, it doesn’t make it not complaining. The two are unrelated.

  6. I’ve noticed Hamilton talk a fair bit about how he gets pleasure from others failing rather than him succeeding.

    1. Birds of a feather, eh?

    2. Citation needed

      1. @philipgb
        He’s probably referring to the part under ‘Links’. Top of this page.

  7. @keithcollantine Thanks for selecting my comment as COTD. It’s been interesting reading the contributions of others.

    1. Congrats on the COTD @drycrust – it is definitely interesting (and informative to me) to see the discussion it has stimulated.

  8. Ricciardo is a very competent driver and has shown nice overtakes. He seldom makes stupid mistakes (like his mabye even faster teammate).

    However, many of those overtakes come in a situation where Red Bull has choses different strategy (due to their lack of speed) and where Ricciardo uses that tyre advantage for those dive bombs. For example in China his tyres were so much faster that he would have easily passed Bottas with less risky overtake.

    1. This. He is great. I think he is kind of like Nico Rosberg, who could beat Hamilton once in a while. Even over entire season every few years.

      He would most probably outperform Vettel when he does a mistake. Currently Kimi struggles to do even that.

    2. Of course, the tyres always play a part. We know that. But I would argue that Ricciardo capitalises better when luck goes his way.

      Most of his wins have a massive good luck component, but he had to be there, and or out himself in a position to capitalise on it.

      Verstappen should have won China. But he made mistakes and Ricciardo capitalised on that. And he didn’t waste time getting past cars, taking the opportunities as soon as they were even slightly available.

  9. That was meant to be comment for @justrhysism‘s post.

  10. YellowSubmarine
    24th April 2018, 10:37

    Any word on Hamilton’s contract extension? Something tells me it might not happen…

    1. I still think he will have 2019 off then move to Ferrari in 2020 with Ricciardo there and Kimi retiring. Vettel will be at Mercedes next year as speculated above, probably with Bottas as no.2. Gasly and Verstappen at Red Bull. Baku silly season.

      1. Vettel will be at Mercedes next year as speculated above

        Vettel has a contract with Ferrari to end of 2020, he has already won two Grand Prix this year so he has no reason to leave any time soon.

        1. Yes, you’re probably right to be honest. Alonso to Mercedes in 2019?!!

        2. SV might be in the WCC car as we speak, so I don’t know why he’d want to go to Mercedes that may be falling off that mantle, or seems to be trending that way anyway.

  11. On Verstappen comment on F1 cars being less fun since 2017, I remembered a quote I read from Derek Warwick. The quote as published is given below and the link to the article which also has Brundle’s observations is here.

    “The cars I drove were more physical. You got put into this missile that had 1,350hp that you just could not change gear quick enough. I was always one of the stronger guys out there – but I thought they were tough cars to drive. Tough because of the downforce you had, tough because you were changing gear all time – no paddle-shift – and mostly tough because the power of the car was just enormous.”

    “Could a [Max] Verstappen-type driver [i.e. a teenager] have jumped into our cars and gone quick straight away? I think he would have struggled. I’m not saying it isn’t difficult today, merely that it’s very different. That said, great drivers are great drivers in any era. We’re talking about the best drivers in the world. They’d adapt.”

  12. ForzaAlonsoF1
    24th April 2018, 11:46

    Addressing Lewis and his provocative comments on winding up the red team – this is of course assuming Mercedes decide to stay in F1. I do wonder where a Merc exit would leave Lewis in the drivers market. Also, reading between the lines I do wonder if Lewis was eyeing a speculative move to Ferrari and they denied him ergo the sudden hostility towards them.

  13. How about this for a scenario?

    Ricciardo is definitely going to Ferrari and Merc have told Lewis that he is going to have a new team mate. This being either Alonso or possibly Vettel. This is why his extension is delayed.

    Lewis has been making some complimentary comments about Alonso lately. Lewis would rather have Alonso but Merc are quite keen to have a German driver and Vettel wants out of Ferrari as he is not happy about Ricciardo as a team mate.

    Could be true??? Or it might be silly season….already.

    1. @phil-f1-21 With Lauda’s extension that’s never going to happen. He is practically Hamilton’s manager and would not allow anything to upset him so it will Bottas till Hamilton retires (2020 seems likely).

      Ricciardo now realizes this so his only hope is to take Hamilton’s seat when he retires. That’s why he wants max 2 year contract at Red Bull or Ferrari.

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