Red Bull’s dominance risks triggering the reaction they are anxious to avoid

2023 F1 season

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After Liberty Media took over Formula 1 at the end of 2016 it installed former team principal Ross Brawn in charge of the series. Reinvigorating what had become an increasingly uncompetitive championship ranked highly among his priorities.

The new owners ousted Bernie Ecclestone, whose favourable commercial deals with F1’s top teams ensured the richest outfits received the greatest financial rewards, which in turn guaranteed their continued success and gradually eliminated competition for the top places.

Changing that deeply entrenched advantage would prove an enormous challenge. After Liberty Media’s first two seasons in charge, Brawn reflected that the domination of F1’s podium positions by Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari had only been broken on two occasions in that time.

Two podiums from a total of 123 is unacceptable,” he said. “Especially when it comes with an ever-increasing technical and financial divide.

Brawn brought in F1’s budget cap and performing-balancing ATR
“It’s a problem we are tackling together with the FIA and the teams, because the future of F1 depends on it.”

Brawn devised a twin-pronged solution which would prevent the richest teams spending their way to success and help those which had fallen behind to catch up. One much-vaunted element of this was F1’s first budget cap, introduced in 2021. Now all teams had the same spending limit covering much of their car development, it would force the richest competitors to rein in their spending.

F1 also introduced a new handicap system for 2021 under which the most successful teams in one season faced tighter development restrictions than their rivals the following year.

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The new rules could not be introduced immediately after Liberty Media’s takeover as they had to be agreed in line with F1’s regulatory system. In the meantime, Brawn urged fans to be patient. For a while, he penned a column for the official F1 website after every race, the gist of which could often be summarised as ‘well, that wasn’t very exciting, but once we’re done levelling the playing field everything will be better’.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Red Bull drove away from their rivals in the first two races
Brawn stepped down from his role last year having initially proclaimed his overhaul of the regulations a success. But what must he have made of the first two races of 2023?

Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid for the opening round in Bahrain and would surely have done the same in Saudi Arabia had Max Verstappen’s driveshaft not failed during Q2. But even with the reigning world champion lining up a lowly 15th, the team romped to a second consecutive one-two.

While Red Bull’s advantage in qualifying over their closest rivals was in the region of a few tenths of a second, their margin in the races was huge. In Bahrain they were the only front-running team capable of running two stints on the soft tyres instead of two on hards, and even at a canter Verstappen won by 38 seconds. In Saudi Arabia, with Verstappen pushing flat-out in his attempt to regain lost ground, Red Bull out-paced their rivals on the same tyre compounds by over a second per lap.

F1 is facing domination on the scale of Mercedes’ annihilation of the competition between 2014 and 2016. That is not compatible with Liberty Media’s view of how F1 should be. So will they react, and if so, how?

One option would be to sit tight and keep the faith that their rules will even out the competition over time. This has potentially already begun. At Mercedes the penny has finally dropped that their original design solution for the current regulations was wrong and an alternative is needed. Ferrari appear to just be discovering their car is in need of extensive changes, as the SF-23 produces respectable pace for a single lap but chews its tyres in the races.

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Then there is Aston Martin, which over the first two races have leapt forward by an average of two seconds compared to last year and bagged a podium each time out courtesy of the irrepressible Fernando Alonso. With an overhauled car compared to last year, a new factory opening soon and a 50% higher restriction on aerodynamic development than Red Bull, they may represent the best hope for those eager to see competition at the front this year.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Analysis: Can Aston Martin turn a ‘good baseline’ into a Red Bull-beater?
Or perhaps Liberty Media will decide that 12 wins in the last 13 races for Red Bull is quite enough and more direct intervention is needed to for the sake of – that dread phrase – ‘the show’.

Of course Liberty Media do not set the rules, the FIA do. But we’ve seen in the recent past how the two organisations have worked together and we have seen their willingness to tinker with the rules in the past.

A desire to cut downforce after 2020 produced a change to the floor regulations which just happened to hit that year’s runaway leaders Mercedes harder than most, teeing up their championship fight with Red Bull the following year.

Two years earlier Liberty Media introduced a revision to the front wing rules in the name of improving overtaking. This was at best a qualified success – any improvement in the racing was hard to discern, but perhaps it prevented a bad situation getting worse.

Among the strongest critics of that change was Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. But the prospect of a short-term tweak in the technical rules now would surely frustrate him far more, and not just because of the potential threat to his team’s dominant position.

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Red Bull’s budget cap breach during 2021 was punished by a fine and a cut in their aerodynamic development allocation. As the reigning champions, they were already due to have the smallest proportion of any team this year – 70% of the reference total, compared to second-placed Ferrari’s 80% – but their cost cap penalty trimmed that further, to 63%.

Red Bull can expect many more podium visits this year
That reduction means Red Bull are “going to have to be very selective and extremely efficient in how we develop this car and, of course, next year’s car,” said Horner in Bahrain. Above all, their rivals will be better placed to adapt to any change in the rules.

“It really depends if anything changes in the regulations,” said Horner. “We’re expecting stable regulations.” Whether or not Red Bull get that wish may depend on how crushing their expected success over the coming races is.

Former Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe has said that during the height of their domination in 2014 team principal Toto Wolff repeatedly urged him to avoid revealing the full potential of their car out of a concern rules changes might follow to neuter their advantage. Wolff has disputed this claim.

Some within Red Bull may already be thinking they should do something similar to prevent a rules change which could hit them where they are potentially most vulnerable. Assuming they aren’t doing so already…

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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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101 comments on “Red Bull’s dominance risks triggering the reaction they are anxious to avoid”

  1. Simple rule change like no DRS all race for top 3 in points, half DRS for next 3, regular DRS for next 4, and extra DRS zone for bottom 10.

    1. I think DRS is still too powerful but not in favour of handicapping. I would be in favour of DRS to be used selectively when in range but opening the wing on a lap makes it unavailable on the next lap. This would break DRS trains and make defending more worthwhile.

      1. I was considering this myself…

        Personally, from day one I’ve said I’d reverse the rules and make it so you choose use it any time you wanted (with no zones restriction), except when you had a car within a second (or less) behind you. That would make it just another tool to use on the car, and would potentially negate DRS trains.

        However, as things stand, I’d say a limit on the number of times you could use it at a time. So, you get within a second and you can use it X times, then there’s a cool down period of Y laps before you can use it again (unless you drop out of range).

        That said, the fact we still need it as an overtaking aid is troubling IMHO. The new regulations have made it so it’s not as necessary, and the zone lengths and/or activation interval could do with reducing. But we really need to aim for it not being needed for that purpose anymore (though I’d, personally, keep it as a tool for the drivers to use).

    2. @jimfromus
      I’m generally against anything that solely serves as a way of punishing success, so I’d also be against limitations on DRS use based on championship position.

    3. Just turn the damn thing off for everybody. Or forget to activate it… Just after the Safety Car, Max had a look at Russell but decided not to go for it. That was way more unpredictable and authentic than anything that happened after the next lap, once DRS was activated.
      Further back, some mediocre driver or other was complaining how he was stuck in a DRS train. See how they get on without it.

      1. Yes yes yes. EXACTLY

      2. @bullfrog

        Just turn the damn thing off for everybody.

        Couldn’t agree more (regardless of who’s winning).

        1. That was what was nice with most of Alonso’s overtakes in Bahrain, apart from a little DRS assist with the Sainz overtake they were all ‘normal’ overtakes. Remember those?

          1. It would appear there are two different DRS problems. Cars too fast without it and cars too fast with it.
            The all too common DRS Train because some teams have sufficient speed to prevent another car using DRS to complete a pass.
            The second issue is that somehow, Red Bull, has nailed the design and the DRS on the RB-19, at least in the low drag configuration, is incredibly powerful. Scared the wings off Hamilton. Almost 30 kph differential.
            All the other teams should be working nights trying to figure it out. Why the heck has it taken soooo long.?
            For new rules, one might suggest raise the floor edges, stiffen the plank mountings, stiffen the wings, cut the number of elements …. wait a minute, none of this worked last time.
            Maybe wait till Spa to see if things have changed.

        2. Coventry Climax
          22nd March 2023, 18:50

          Or, allow all drivers to use it anytime anywhere, no limitations. That would make it another tool for drivers to develop proficiency with, and another aspect of clever car development for the teams.
          It is after all, conserving energy and improving the efficiency of cars, which I thought the FIA was after?
          I’d be OK with both choices; the above or no DRS at all.

    4. I’m now re-thinking past opposition to the tire wars era. IMO, Ferrari used to flatter Bridgestone in those days but you could still count to some degree that one of the tire manufactures would show up with a better compound for a particula track such that the best car might not always win.

      Imagine we returned to Micheline and Bridgestone as supliers but with a stipulation that every year, the bottom 5 teams fron the year before would have first choice fore selecting their tire partner.

      1. I would be in favour of a return to multiple tyre suppliers, if and only if the teams could choose freely between them at any point. So, for instance, P1 they try out both manufacturers, decide they prefer manufacturer A’s tyres this race. Or even, they prefer manufacturer A’s medium but manufacturer B’s hard and soft.

        1. Coventry Climax
          22nd March 2023, 18:55

          That is, I assume, given we stick with the c r a p regulation of soft, medium and hard tyres -and those pointless rain tyres- at all.

          1. All I meant was, if multiple suppliers were allowed, I’d want to see a completely free market for them, so teams could change between them based on which was better for them at any particular event.

            I wouldn’t support a return to having multiple suppliers, but each team needing to choose one for the whole season.

  2. RB’s relative performance advantage isn’t yet up to the 2014-16 Mercedes average levels & I doubt any changes or tweaks solely for effectively penalizing them for success would come.

      21st March 2023, 21:36

      Agreed, but a certain Lewis Hamilton has a different opinion on the Red Bull pace…

    2. Barring mistakes, a front row lockout and 1-2 finish pretty much guaranteed on almost every track. I can’t tell the difference.

    3. I would wait untill they reach the traditional circuits as i don’t think the RB is fast everywhere……

  3. If does spoil ‘the show’ but, ultimately, Red Bull have done a better job and should get the benefit of that.

  4. Alan S Thomson
    21st March 2023, 18:35

    How about LM just stay out of the way and let the chips fall where they may.

    1. They should have done that in 2021. But instead they meddled.

      1. One thing to penalize a team after nearly ten years of dominance and another after two races of dominance. Mercedes fans seem to have no sense of proportion.

        1. In a sport, it’s the same thing to penalise a team in both situations.

  5. As much as I dislike Red Bull’s advantage*, I’d hate to see anything brought in specifically to peg them back. I don’t mind the development restrictions, and the budget cap is just supposed to level the playing field, but a mid-season rule change just to disadvantage someone who’s done a good job is patently unfair.

    IMHO mid-season rule changes should be rare and only for serious safety concerns.

    * Full disclosure: this is because I just don’t like the team or their lead driver. There are plenty of reasons, though they aren’t all particularly rational and don’t amount to the level of dislike, so I won’t try to justify it.

  6. The best way to stop RB is anyone from any other team to find a certain thing in their car that’s illegal

    1. Itsmeagain (@)
      21st March 2023, 19:44

      You mean a Russel who said their floor is illegal? Which wasn’t. Would create a great atmosphere in the paddock. Probably the teams who are pointing will have enough ‘illegal’ stuff on their cars.

      1. Coventry Climax
        22nd March 2023, 18:59

        That atmosphere is already created, thanks to the -Mr. Wolff instigated- standard complaining by both Mercedes drivers.

        1. Similar to the Horner-instigated complaining from all RBR drivers for most of Mercedes’ dominant period?

    2. @qeki Only if the FIA is willing to take meaningful action against it.

  7. FIA/Liberty lost their chance with the relatively mild penalty Red Bull got for their overspend – which they very fortunately/cleverly did (take your pick) in a year when new design regulations came in, thus locking in their advantage for the next few seasons at least. Of course, they may have just spent that extra on some nice buffet snacks and fizzy drink.

    1. Red Bull were not penalised appropriately harshly enough. If they had, we would not be in this situation.

      1. This is nonsense as the penaulty would be seen in 2024 at it’s earliest this car was already developed in 2022. So expect less upgrades from RB in 2023 what i think all the experts allready said.

        1. This is why it was too lenient: it allowed them to keep any advantage they may have gained from breaking the budget cap for 2-3 years. Only then do the effects of any restrictions start to kick in.

  8. It is not a good look for f1 to oppose andretti racing and then complain about the lack of competition.

    1. Andretti Racing wouldn’t be in a position to provide competition with F1 in its present state, no matter how well it arranged matters or how hard its staff work.

  9. With Honda committing to stay in Formula One until the end of 2025, it’s time to reevaluate the engine freeze regime. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it to continue. As I’ve said before in this forum, it’s mind boggling that Ferrari agreed to the PU freeze regime and even allowed for the ERS-H to be dropped from the 2026 PU rules. Binotto was even bragging about that at some point.

    This is a formula where engines are marginalized and the focus is solely on chassis and aero as the primary performance differentiators. This situation feels like a déjà vu…

    1. @tifoso1989 Indeed, the obvious answer is not to restrict Red Bull but to open up the rules so that more avenues for development are open to more teams. With F1 becoming ever more restrictive again in this new engine and chassis era, it once again boils down to ‘be excellent at this one thing or get stuck behind forever’.

      The main argument against this was always that it would make F1 too expensive. Well, the budget cap will restrict teams from fully exploiting every avenue open to them and keep costs under control.

      It just needs to be… you know… enforced properly.

    2. It’s not a good moment to cancel the PU freeze. All the manufacturers are already developing the 2026 PU, and it would be a huge expense to carry two development processes in parallel. Something that Audi and – ironically – Red Bull Powertrains wouldn’t have to do.

      1. That is an incredibly valid point there @jabr. I agree.

      2. This is valid.

        However, it really doesn’t sit right with me. The original reason for the freeze has gone. As soon as Honda agreed to come back into the sport and RBR no longer had to develop their own power train, the engine freeze should have been lifted. RBR have received a substantial benefit from this, because it has moved F1 back to being pretty much an aero-only development series, which is the area they excel at, and neutralised and advantage to be gained from expertise in engine development, which is something Mercedes and Ferrari are much better than them at.

    3. @tifoso1989 I read somewhere that the Ferrari PU is actually the most powerful—but due to reliability concerns they have to dial it back significantly.

      Correct me if I’m wrong: the freeze is for performance development, but things can be changed for reliability reasons (at least that’s how it used to be).

      The freeze makes sense, the engines are pretty close. The advantage RB have is Newey.

      Indeed they won all their previous championships with the Renault PU which was decidedly the weakest (both in terms of power and reliability)—and won because of a superior chassis and aerodynamics.

      1. It could well be true, which might have been a reason Ferrari was so fast last year until they found they were facing too many issues and had to tune it down to make it through the season @justrhysism

        1. @justrhysism, @bascb
          This what was reported and even Helmut Marko confirmed that the Ferrari PU is the most powerful. It was detuned earlier in the season in 2022, though that wasn’t the reason why Ferrari’s crumbled. It was the TD039. Ferrari weren’t able to replicate their performance in street circuits like Singapore and lost its advantage in the slow corners.

          The freeze doesn’t make any sense. The reason why it was implemented wasn’t the costs. It was simply because RBR didn’t presumably have a PU supplier for 2022 and by the rules they will have to get the PU from the manufacturers with the least number of customers which was Renault, something they have refused categorically. RBR also were aware of Honda’s plan to bring the development of the 2022 PU to 2021 which was also in their favour.

          The engine freeze was similar to the qualy mode bans which Horner lobbied hard to get it implemented because simply Honda didn’t have one…

          As for the V8 era, there is the misconception that the Renault V8 was a crappy engine. There is caveat RBR dropped the Ferrari engine in 2006 and went specifically after the Renault V8 after a precise request from Newey himself. The Renault V8 lacked in terms of peak power compared to the Ferrari and Mercedes engines though it satisfied Newey’s extreme packaging requirements.

          Moreover, the Renault V8 was the most developed and sophisticated engine in the V8 era. Renault managed always to pass performance upgrades under reliability fixes. Furthermore, Renault advanced engine mappings that were the source of many controversies were the baseline for the exhaust blown diffusers and enabled Newey to play his magic. It was revealed later that the Renault V8 kept only 5% of its original components where the freeze was first implemented in 2007.

          1. even Helmut Marko confirmed that the Ferrari PU is the most powerful

            I’d take anything Helmut says with a dumper truck of salt. He isn’t the most reliable source in the paddock, and most will attempt to spin things to make themselves look better than they are. Saying the Ferrari power unit is the most powerful makes the performance of the Red Bull seem even more impressive than it already is, so it’s just the kind of thing he’d say.

      2. Coventry Climax
        22nd March 2023, 19:08

        Ehm, sorry, I’m at a loss here. Am I correct you’re saying we should not want the best car to win anymore?

  10. Now if only Red Bull had recently done something that blatantly broke the rules, potentially gave them a competitive advantage and also gave the FIA a perfect excuse to bring some contrived “for the show” penalties in play.

    1. They had the perfect excuse, but squandered it. They cannot retrospectively chance the penalty they’ve handed out now and maintain any pretence at sporting fairness.

      Instead, they’ve made a rod for their own backs. Either they hand out such lenient penalties for similar offences on future, virtually encouraging teams to overspend by small amounts, or they look insistent at best.

      1. *inconsistent

        1. Coventry Climax
          22nd March 2023, 19:15

          *in future

          sorry, but that was an open goal.

          1. Lol true

      2. @drmouse The FIA can change the penalty if it finds that the overspend was bigger than was reported and was revealed to it. Though I don’t think Red Bull was trying to hide expenditure (the issue was with the overspend as revealed by information in the public domain, which the FIA should logically have seen the first time round).

    2. However they can absolutely make rule changes to even the playing field, in light of the, with hindsight, too lenient penalty, as again they didn’t overspend a lot, but that little can have been used to help this year’s car’s performance.

  11. No need for rule changes yet. Red Bull’s domination coincides with Ferrari and Mercedes not being on top of their car concepts rather than Red Bull having a locked-in advantage due to the regulations. If one is to assume that Red Bull is the current benchmark, and that Aston are the top midfield team, then it would be expected that Mercedes and Ferrari should be somewhere between those two and closer to Red Bull. That they are not is on them.

    1. Coventry Climax
      22nd March 2023, 19:18

      Actually, you could even question whether Astons current ‘position’ is due to their own effort or due to Mercedes’ and Ferrari’s failing to come up with something competitive.

  12. I love that the Redbull is so awesome, just like the Mercedes was awesome in the past, and the Ferrari before that, etc. They were the smartest people that came up with the best solution to the rulebook.

    The only was to close the field is to have seriously stable rules for many years so that others have time to figure it out and we will have closer racing with it.

  13. Itsmeagain (@)
    21st March 2023, 20:04

    Or perhaps Liberty Media will decide that 12 wins in the last 13 races for Red Bull is quite enough and more direct intervention is needed to for the sake of – that dread phrase – ‘the show’.

    Well let be honest, at this ‘place’ they are trying to influence this proces. 2 races won by RB and british media is asking questions about the substantial performance benefit of the RB team. Not only here, Ted Kravitz did his homework, and many others. Did we had the same discussion when MB was crushing their competitors for 8 years? Of course not cuze a new british driver was attracting new fans and that party coultn’t endure long enough…..

    1. Did we had the same discussion when MB was crushing their competitors for 8 years? Of course not

      I think you’re misremembering. There were very similar discussions for most of Mercedes’ dominance.

      1. Yeah, but nothing happened..

        1. Put it this way: you’ve nothing to worry about this time either.

  14. The true fans will understand and accept that the nature of the SPORT of F1 means a team can do a better job and have a big advantage as a result. They will accept that it’s upto the rest to do a better job to catch up.

    The casual netflix crowd however will likely not accept this and start demanding change as not many of that crowd really understand the SPORT as they don’t see it as such given how Netflix and Liberty sell it to them now.

    Given which segment of the audience Liberty value more i expect success penalties, further restrictive regulations or some other gimmicks to be heavily pushed going forward as Liberty won’t want to lose the netflix casuals they like pointing to as a sign of there success in turning the SPORT into an artificial filled show.

    1. Unfortunately, it’s been made pretty clear that sport isn’t why the dominance is happening, but psuedopolitical preference. And if the Netflix crowd wanted to watch psuedopolitics… …it’s a crowded market.

  15. No gimmicks, just change the regulations/specs every two seasons. That way, any dominance doesn’t last for as long. And if a team should get it right time after time after multiple changes – well, perhaps they they deserve it then?

    1. Exactly this.
      The primary reason ‘dominance’ in F1 prior to the Schumacher era lasted for a year or two at most was because there was always space in the rules for teams to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ so to speak.
      When the rules specify the same ‘wheel’ for 5+ years at a time, that’s likely how long one team will dominate – assuming they don’t invent the best wheel next time too.

      And as you say – if they do that then they probably come as close to deserving something in F1 as anyone ever can.

    2. Coventry Climax
      22nd March 2023, 19:34

      That’s not a solution that’s in line with sustainability.
      Instead, I’d favour the rules being open such that the teams are free to develop to their liking again.
      I loved seeing new ideas and solutions, whether they worked or not.
      And the (lack of) rules could be such that they favour sustainability.

      Give teams freedom again – without changing the rules again and again.
      The essence of sports is competition within a given set of -steady- rules, as opposed to change the rules again and again and again to then see how the teams respond and see what they come up with – only to change the rules again if the commercial guys don’t like the outcome.
      That’s not sports, that’s harassment.

    3. That would require the FIA to be capable of keeping the regulations intact for one whole season, let alone two…

  16. Well last 20 years, all stable rules lead to a Red Bull dominance in the end.

    Punishing anti success aero regs will eventually allow others to catch up.

    Even now quali was quite close especially p3-p20.

    Problem for F1 is fastest driver in fastest car.

    Verstappen makes everyone look like they are driving F2.

    We just have a new Mercedes-Hamilton combo.

    But watching P3 battle is a great show.

    1. @jureo Red Bull’s only existed for 18 years

  17. The only way for the field to truly close up, is rule stability.
    The more is changed of the technical regulations, the more space there is for one team to excel over the others.
    Ever changing TR has caused F1 to be in a loop of dominance of a single team and a field that finally closes up at the end of life cycle of the TR.
    On top of that it wasn’t until Brawn was hired to change the fundamental problems of the TR.
    Accept that it will take time for the teams to close up and that it will eventually happen.

    As long as the cars can follow each other and have the opportunity to try and attack the car in front of them, F1 is in a better place its been in decades. It’s only a matter of time that field will become more competitive.

  18. isthatglock21
    21st March 2023, 23:03

    Difference between 2017-2020 to now is that everything is optics, tribal & toxic. Despite being a core part of the sport re constant regulation changes expect a huge backlash from many despite their being constant changes during the Merc era helping Ferrari. Redbull never take things lying down & are pure winners whilst Merc always consider the wider picture & image, didn’t even have the spine to pursue AD21 in court whilst we know RB would never even consider giving up.

    1. It seems like most people just tuned in to F1. Every regulatory change leads to one team having it more right than the others. This is mitigated over time. That is the whole concept. So, either all missed that or they have a certain bias….

    2. Red Bull would definitely have given up if certain rumours turn out to be true, if only because it likes being allowed to compete in F1.

  19. Removing DRS completely would be a good start to remove a huge Red Bull advantage.

    1. Why would it be an objective to remove their advantage? Why (already) now. Seriously, why? We did not have this discussion in 2014 or 2015…, probably not even in 2016. I think it would be best to see how the season evolves first. We are two races in.

    2. Coventry Climax
      22nd March 2023, 19:39

      As far as I’m aware driving around on your own, in front of everyone else, does not give you DRS.

      1. It does when lapping people, which Red Bull has been doing a lot, and it does when going through the field due to driveshaft issues, which Red Bull has also done.

  20. Neil (@neilosjames)
    22nd March 2023, 0:09

    I think the ‘remove DRS’ approach is entirely wrong.

    Do the opposite. Always On DRS™. Win two races in a row, and you get your DRS flap stuck permanently open for the next two.

    1. @neilosjames That’s a severe safety hazard and must never happen.

  21. Be great to understand how Red Bull have pulled so far ahead. There’s a few rumours like they’ve managed to find a way of stalling the floor with DRS on the straights. They’ve managed to trim a lot of weight out of the chassis and presumably shifted the ballast to the rear, hence their impressive traction in Bahrain. And I think quite simply their original 2022 concept proved to be the most fruitful path and they’ve just developed it further and refined the aero and this is the result.

    I am hopeful that Aston can get somewhere near them later in the season, there’s a good chunk of time they can gain if they can get anywhere near the Red Bull’s traction out of the slow corners. And also for their new concept to be as close as it is out of the blocks is a good sign.

    1. Causing a stall in the floor would increase underfloor pressure, hence reduce downforce. You can starve the floor, but this is what drives porpoising. No telling what they have done, but an awesome job it is.
      All the teams will be getting down close to the min weight.
      For weight distribution: Technical Reg covers this, no longer a performance variable.
      4.2 Mass distribution
      With the car resting on a horizontal plane the mass measured at the front and rear axles must
      not be less than the mass specified in Article 4.1 factored by 0.445 and 0.540 respectively at
      all times during the qualifying practice session. Rounding will be to nearest 0.5kg.

      1. You’ve clearly got a better read on the tech than I have, and you’re right hats off to them. That’s the nice thing with the GPS data is you can objectively see where Red Bull are gaining their advantage. The big question is how they achieve it. What do you think is there any hope of them being caught at some point later this year?

    2. Coventry Climax
      22nd March 2023, 20:01

      Interesting. Could you point us to the articles where that is stated – and preferably also explained?
      As far as I know, stalling = ending laminar flow = inducing drag, which is quite clearly not what you would want for an F1 car. (Actually, that’s exactly how and why DRS works.)
      But that’s where wings are concerned, and I’d like, no, love, to know how it’s different for underfloor ground effect boxes.

  22. Even though I suggested the DRS mods to even things out, I was merely a suggestion, I actually love F1 because of the engineering of the cars. Red Bull has built a great car and deserve to be champions even if that happens by the 8th race. The DRS mod I suggested won’t prevent Red Bull from winning it all as Max started 15th and was in 2nd before half the laps were completed. You could put that car in 20th and it will be at the front with 10 laps to go at almost every track.

  23. Rushing to change the rules of the sport after two dull races is exactly the kind of behaviour I’d expect from today’s Netflix generation.

    Remember, this is sport, not a circus.

    1. That plus the hypocrisy.

    2. Rushing to change the rules of the sport after two dull races is exactly the kind of behaviour I’d expect from today’s Netflix generation.

      Did you miss the calls from St. Bernard to scrap the 2014 Hybrid regulations on every perceivable grounds under the sun after 2-3 races? Did you miss the knee-jerk change that resulted in the cars getting wider and heavier in 2017, undoing the 2009 OWG regulations and promptly killing a lot of close racing until 2022? The tyre revisions in 2013? The introduction of DRS to stop teams using other means of stalling the wings? The banning of trick diffusers and/or exhausts?

      F1 is stacked full of knee jerk reactions to engineering ingenuity showing the rulemakers up and it goes back well beyond the ‘Netflix generation’…

    3. @joshgeake It’s after being teased for three seasons in a row that there was going to be a seriously hot competition, and being disappointed three times (once by bad race direction, once by incompetence in the defeated team, once by apparent governance favouritism and related accretional advantages).

      Bear in mind, “the Netflix generation” has been in F1 for six seasons at most. If for half of those seasons (and the most recent half of that), the basic premise of the sport has been denied, at some point there’s a risk they will think the event is as artificial as the dramatisation that brought them there (and at least the dramatisation would have the advantage about being honest about being a dramatisation).

  24. I would appreciate not talking about dominance until their fourth consecutive year of power display. It was a courtesy that was granted to the previous team that displayed dominance. The only difference being this team did have a British driver. Yes, we know its no fun. We have been in a situation like that for almost a decade. We dont want it either but it seems very unsportsmanlike to start complaining now already. Lets see how the Mercs and AM evolve during this season first.

    1. You didn’t hear any talk of Mercedes’ dominance until their 5th year? Were you living on a different planet?

    2. Funny that, there was talk of Mercedes’ dominance at the end of 2014. Their first year of dominance.

      1. I remember talk of it only a few races in. There was a similar debate reading to this one already by that point: Should the FIA change the rules to help the other engines to catch up, or even just to peg Mercedes’ back?

  25. petebaldwin (@)
    22nd March 2023, 9:27

    Are Red Bull anxious to avoid rule changes though? We just had a rule change and Red Bull got it right whilst everyone else got it wrong…. Now in year 2, the others are copying Red Bull so whilst Red Bull have a nicely developed concept in it’s 2nd iteration, other teams either have a weaker concept or are using the Red Bull concept but are on their 1st iteration…

    If they change the rules again, it’s likely Newey will do a better job than the rest again and we’ll just restart the process from year 1. If the rules are left stable, the other teams can develop their cars and will eventually start to close the gap.

    It’s just the nature of how these things work – once you’ve got the right base design, you develop from there. Teams like Aston Martin have only just started on that process whilst Mercedes aren’t even there yet. Red Bull are a year into it already so unsurprisingly, they’re dominating at the moment.

  26. For several reasons, Red Bull is one of my least favourite teams on the grid. My feelings are contradictory. I’d love to see them knocked down a peg or two yet I would not dispute the fact that Red Bull have been anything but brilliant for modern F1. I suppose my negative stance towards them relates to the characteristics of their team manager, top driver, and the latter’s father – but everyone knows nice guys don’t usually win. Another huge annoyance to me is that Red Bull are allowed to run a B team. The fact they sometimes break the rules is a mute point. Every team should try to gain an advantage wherever they can and who dares wins.

    Regardless of what outcome I would like for the 2023 season, Red Bull’s personnel from top to bottom have done the best job this year and produced another outstanding piece of machinery. And they have one of the very best drivers in the world. Let’s move away from the artificiality embedded in this sport and stop penalising the winners rather than rewarding them. For the good of the show.

  27. Just give weight “penalty” to top teams.

    1. Coventry Climax
      22nd March 2023, 20:09

      Oh no, not that again. Just go watch other series where they do that.

  28. F1 team ‘dominance’ is an integral part to its popularity. It helps create narrative arcs that unfold over years and keep people engaged, even if it’s a function of hopes that ultimately get dashed. Trying to artifically create close competition doesn’t necessarily mean people stay engaged. If ‘close’ racing is what people wanted to actually watch IndyCar would have a large viewership.

    There’s always a balance, but the idea dominance is bad I don’t think actually correlates with people’s viewing habits.

    1. If ‘close’ racing is what people wanted to actually watch IndyCar would have a large viewership.

      Why do you keep denigrating Indycar?
      They do have a large viewership – especially for a domestic series.
      They even have more viewers than many international series and even other official World Championships.
      Not as many as F1, but then they don’t have as many events as F1, nor visit as many places as F1…. Because they are a domestic series…..

      Close racing is what people want to watch. Do you truly not grasp most people’s biggest gripe with F1? It’s abundantly clear if you actually listen to and read what people are saying.
      Dominance is almost exclusively a dirty word in motorsport. Nobody wants it except the one team benefiting from it at any given time.
      It can be respected by many, of course, but that does not mean it is desirable.

      Ask F1 viewers if they like F1 more during a heavily dominant period or when the competition is more healthy and unpredictable, and I think the answer would be abundantly clear that most don’t like it – but they’ll still watch F1 regardless. That isn’t the only aspect they watch or switch off for.

  29. As others have said, history on the whole seems to suggest that the only way teams catch-up with a dominant team is regulation stability. It’s not a quick solution of course and it may take until 2026 by which time there will be new PUs of course. I am not sure there are any quick fixes other than really artificial ones.

    I would like to see DRS phased out to be honest but this is going to impact everyone. Maybe there could be some more limits on its use to begin with e.g. only so many times in the race. I don’t like the idea of it being related to championship position though as this would be really penalising success and manipulating the results.

    1. As others have said, history on the whole seems to suggest that the only way teams catch-up with a dominant team is regulation stability.

      It’s not the stability that has teams appearing to catch up – it’s the imminent new regs.
      The big teams shift focus to their impending cars, making their current ones relatively less performant.

      New regs for 2022 = closer competition in 2021. New regs for 2026 = closer competition expected in 2025.
      If the dates shift, so does the time when the competition is at its best – not because of stability but because of the impending change.

  30. Upon closer inspection it appears TD039 is countering the work Brawn and his team did to have cars be able to follow each other.
    So adhoc management under the influence of a lobbying team, ruins the intent of the original TR.
    The FIA just doesn’t want to learn from the mistakes made in the past, and with that F1 is simply doomed to stay in the loop it was trying to break.

  31. With the cost cap and a minimum weight limit, would it be possible to allow teams to design as they want? However they choose to spend their money is their call. And changes to the car can happen at any time during the season. Would it work?

    DRS – closed all the time.

    I wonder about the point system. What if points started at 19 for 1st and then went all the way down to 1 for 19th place, ie; one point for each car you’ve beaten. Make 15th place actually worth more than 18th place. I don’t even really care many times about anything below 5th place since they’re basically out of any consideration for anything.

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