Daily F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 14th May

This page will be updated throughout the day

Tyre debates roll on

As I wrote yesterday, the Pirelli tyre issue is a diversion from big rifts in F1, which may well get worse over the coming months. Kevin Eason of The Times declared Mateschitz comments as, “a declaration of self interest” as it appears the Red Bull billionaire expects that if you spend the most, you should come top.

Unsurprisingly, Ecclestone has thrown his two penneth in also apparently from a perspective of self interest. “The tyres are wrong, not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did a half race. Pirelli know it and they’re doing something about it. We’ll go back to last season’s type of tyres, which gave us some close racing.”

Bernie is not happy with Pirelli at the moment. Paul Hembery was his golden child as the F1 show got exciting at his behest, but since Ecclestone declared and leaked through Martin Brundle in Bahrain, that the tyre deal for 2014 and beyond was ‘done’ – it is clearly not and so Paul is at present out in the cold.

Pirelli are not happy with the contract and are refusing to put pen to paper at present. Ecclestone’s criticism today is therefore convenient one may feel.

It may be convenient, but again Bernie makes himself foolish with his rash comments. His once unpredictable nature is now becoming all too predictable. Most obvious of all is Mr. E’s contradictory statements that suggest Il Padrino’s observations about his age and faculties is close to the mark.

Pirelli were indeed asked to produce tyres that did a lot less than half a race. Eric Boulier observes to RTL, “Pirelli was asked to build tyres that last 20 laps, and they’ve done that. If our car can do it, the other teams should work just as hard.”

Lotus team Boss Gerard Lopez wades in to the debate, though it’s not clear how much he watches football. “I can understand that this is being discussed again, but that’s like football…  As soon as one team hits the post a few times, the argument to make them [the goalposts] wider apart begins… I think the discussion is just stupid” (AMuS) .

This is clearly from whence the phrase, ‘shifting the goalposts’ is derived. Quiet apt… in a surreal way I guess Gerard.

Lauda tells AMus impressively that he is speechless on the matter. He added, “I shall say nothing more”. Yet Alonso is matter of fact about his rubber boots, “We know what we are doing. Tyres are not a mystery to us”.

It appears this is the case because in Friday practice Ferrari were quickest on the medium tyre, but Alonso chose to run stints 2,3 and 4 in the race on the hard tyre. Pedro de la Rosa explains, “Fernando made the calls [which tyre when] because he has an uncanny feel for them”.

Sounds like F1 racing at present is all about the driver’s skill and feel for what is required and when. Ferrari will not want big changes to be made, even though the German media are today reporting that by Canada we will return to the 2012 compounds.

Just an hour ago, Paul Hemberey tweeted, “From Canada changes to be made to bring back 2 to 3 stops. Some structural changes combining elements 2012 and 2013 products.” This is still no revolution, and as TJ13 reported over the last promised change – it won’t be enough to satisfy Red Bull.

This was planned for after Canada anyway, and so has only seen Pirelli bring forward something that was in the pipeline already.

We are yet to hear from Il Padrino on how his pow wow with Mr. E went at the weekend. This will no doubt have included matters bribery charges, the unsigned Concorde agreement, bribery charges, Marussia, bribery charges, testing, bribery charges and tyres.

These are heady times for F1 politics and it was interesting this weekends F1 testing vote was just 6-5 against more track time. Alliances are shifting and Ferrari are strong.

Mischief over Pat Fry?

Without mentioning James Allison, today’s publication asks the questions, “Pat Fry was missing from the pit wall in Barcelona. Yet Ferrari won the race and were able to handle matters without such an important absentee. How was this possible without Fry on the wall, he plays the role of quaterback, but this did not affect the execution of the perfect race”.

Pat Fry was taken ill last Saturday and had an emergency appendectomy a matter of hours later which is why he was not present for the race. So is this mischief making by the Italian publication? We know Pat Fry has been under quite some pressure in recent times, particularly in India 2012 over the row that never was.

Following a disappointing qualification seeing Alonso just 5th on the grid Fry had said to SKY, “In order to be where we wanted and where we were capable of being, we needed to be perfect today and we weren’t”. There had been tension between Alonso and the Ferrari technical team over the lack of upgrades to the car. Alonso had previously stated in Japan – after qualifying 7th – he had been ‘perfect’ implying the car was not good enough.

Clearly in India Pat Fry coined Alonso’s phrase to fight back. La Stampa (mouthpiece for Ferrari) reported that Alonso “flew into a rage’ upon hearing Fry’s comments and had intended to hit back with a Tweet along the lines of: ‘I want my 1.2 million followers to know that the key aerodynamic components at the rear of the Ferrari are still the same as they were in May.”

The rift was denied and swept under the carpet and battle with Vettel was resumed for the final 3 races of the season.

Yet times have changed indeed. Alonso seemed to damn the F138 with faint praise during winter testing when he described it as ‘being closer but not the quickest’. Now Ferrari’s 2013 F1 offering is looking impressive. In fact had Alonso been ‘perfect’ (not made 2 bad judgement calls) in Malaysia and had the DRS not failed in Bahrain, his two wins and second place would have been joined by another 2 podiums. No wonder Red Bull are concerned.

It seems Fry and his team have made the car of the F1 class of 2013 and Stefano was quick to praise their efforts following the win last Sunday. He said, “We read the race very well, when one considers how tyre management and calling the pit stops today made the difference and I can say without being presumptuous, that the team of engineers didn’t put a foot wrong. I think that is down to Pat Fry, even he wasn’t with us today on the pit-wall.”

No problem there then. To be fair, the Autosprint piece does go on to say what a fabulous team Ferrari is and that winning a race when losing the ‘quarterback’ should in fact be expected.

Yet to me the inference is clear – but then the Italian press can be gushing at times as well as prone to mischief making. #ViviaItalia #ForzaFerrari

Ecclestone may be gone before Concorde is signed

History shows that you can only beat everyone into submission and rule the roost of a regime perceived as unfair for so long. The reason is simple. Eventually the ruler makes enough enemies who have enough power to bring them down.

While I was away this weekend, as TJ13 predicted last October, reports are now emerging that Ecclestone will be charged in Munch.

Today the Financial Times is running an article suggesting that Mr. E will attempt to do a deal with the Munich prosecutors, yet ‘a source’ is quoted stating, “”Irrespective of whether he manages to settle,” a source told the newspaper, “he would be gone from F1 by the end of the year.”

Defiant as ever, Ecclestone was quoted by Reuters in Barcelona saying, “I’ve not heard from anybody. Let’s wait and see what happens.”

The Financial Times (FT) is one of the world’s leading business news and information organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy.

Just as La Stampa was an interesting choice of publication to leak the row between Fry and Alonso, the FT is an equally interesting choice for the publication of quotes on this matter from an unnamed source.

The charges will be placed before the court in the next 2 weeks for them to decide if there is a case to answer. Ecclestone’s lawyers, Thomas and Sharp, have already tried to have the matter struck down but without success.

Most unusually the German indictment is to be translated into English, which will of course make it easier to fill pages of copy in the British newspapers.

No hearings are likely to be scheduled before the autumn, but I am reliably informed by my German colleagues that due to the judge’s comments in the original Gribkowsky case where he cited Ecclestone as the source of the bribe which convicted the German banker, it will be most difficult for Thomas and Sharp to argue there is no case to be heard.

German media attack Red Bull arrogance

AMuS writer, Michael Schmidt, in a remarkable piece comments today that Red Bull are blinkered, arrogant and selfish. In an open letter to Dieter Mateschitz he lambasts him for his selfish attitude and reminds him of certain matters of F1 history which he may have neglected to remember.

Phrases like, ‘blinded by success’ and ‘God given right for Red Bull to win’ are littered in Schmidt’s attack on the Austrian team owner.

He continues his attack, “I want to remind you…” that this form of racing induced by the tyres began in 2011 when Red Bull romped away with both F1 titles.

Schmidt amusingly makes the same point I did yesterday that if the Red Bull requires 8 stops, then stop moaning and make them and infers they have a poor car design because Lotus can do the same race in 3 and Ferrari 4.

He continues the argument that their car is badly designed and eats tyres by observing that on similar compounds and in similar temperatures, Vettel in 2012 was 2 seconds slower in qualifying, and notes back then DRS was available for the entire lap.

Michael goes on to mock the idea that 4 stops is a modern phenomenon and has no place in F1 and reminds Mateschitz of a jubilant Brawn and Schumacher who revelled in their genius strategy when they outfoxed the opposition with an unexpected 4 stop race in Magny Cours.

TJ13 comment: If I may interject for a moment Michael, I think we have an even better example – closer to home for our friends in Milton Keynes. Vettel’s winning strategy in Barcelona 2011 was stopping lap 9/18/34/48. Fernando on Sunday stopped on laps 9/21/36/49.

Also there were 77 pit stops in the race in 2011 in Barcelona and 79 on Sunday.

This was an entertaining read and whilst a little shocking in its direct address and mockery is hardly surprising in its accusations that Red Bull are “blinkered, arrogant and selfish”. (AMuS)

McLaren sposnor

With all the tyres, tyres, tyres debate I forgot to mention this yesterday on my return. Anyone spot something on the McLaren this week? I’ll give you a clue.

©Motorsport-total

If you missed it check out this TJ13 article on impending McLaren sponsor decisions here

Tweet of the day

by @MarkGallagher62 with the comment

“”Nice to see Pirelli being treated so well by F1”

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PRESS RELEASE: GMT 14:23

HEMBERY: “PIRELLI WILL PROVIDE THE TEAMS WITH A NEW RANGE OF TYRES MIXING THE STABILITY OF 2012 AND THE PERFORMANCE OF 2013”

Milan, May 14, 2013 – This year’s Pirelli P Zero Formula One tyre range will change from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards, using a revised construction. The move follows the Spanish Grand Prix, which had four pit stops per driver. The new range will combine elements from the 2012 and 2013 tyres to have both durability and performance.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Our aim is to provide the teams with a new range which mixes the stability of the 2012 tyres and the performance of the current ones. As a company, we have always moved quickly to make improvements where we see them to be necessary.

After evaluating data from the first few races this year, we’ve decided to introduce a further evolution as it became clear at the Spanish Grand Prix that the number of pit stops was too high. The Spanish Grand Prix was won with four pit stops, which has only happened once before in our history.

These changes will also mean that the tyres are not worked quite as hard, reducing the number of pit stops.

With limited testing time, it’s clear now that our original 2013 tyre range was probably too performance-orientated for the current regulations. However, having identified this issue, we’re determined to rapidly resolve it. It’s worth underlining that the current regulations for winter tests limit the opportunity to test the tyres under the same conditions as the race season because of the lower temperature and restricted time.

The Teams are of the same opinion as we are in wanting longer testing times and different locations for the next tests. We developed the 2013 tyres on the basis of careful simulations that were, however, not sufficient, taking into account the improved speed of cars (up to 3 seconds per lap).

We’ve also taken this step to avoid the delaminations that were caused by track debris. It’s important to point out that these delaminations, which occur when the tread comes off, do not compromise the safety of the tyres as the core structure of the tyre is not affected in any way, helping drivers to complete the lap and to change the damaged tyres safely.

These delaminations were due to damage from debris that overheated the tread. We’d like to thank all the teams for their continued and extremely valued support as we worked with them to identify the correct compromise between the pure speed that makes us the world leader in the Ultra High Performance sector and a global spectacle that is easy for Formula One fans to follow.”

Comment of the day

@takiinoue – “Esteban Gutierrez says 11th in Spanish GP like a victory to him… What a embarrassing comment! 11th is shit like me!”

Caption competition

Answers in the comments please 🙂

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Driver Fines

Previously speeding in the pit lane cost a driver $200 per kph over the speed limit. This will now be reduced to $100 and a limit of $1,000 be set as the maximum to be paid. Never was the phrase, “better be hung for a sheep, as a lamb” more true.

64 responses to “Daily F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 14th May

  1. First of all, I don’ think that these changes will make a huge difference. The title will still be between Vettel and Alonso and Merc might now be able to consolidate 4th position in the WCC. I’m glad this change did occur though.
    RBR and Merc fans will rejoice, Ferrari and Lotus fans will protest, and McLaren fans…oh well.

  2. I really don’t understand all of the complaints about the tires – how such-and-such a driver cant push/race/win without a super-grippy bulletproof tire on their car and therefore Pirelli have done a terrible job and are RUINING their enjoyment of F1.
    Well boo-hoo.
    There are so many technologies that are banned /obselete that would change the pecking order of the teams and drivers.
    If people want to see flat out racing then why is no-one complaining about the full tanks of fuel – bring back refuelling if you want to see 70 consecutive qualifying laps.
    I’m sure if clutches and manual gear changing was brought back the order of the drivers would also be very different (JB is rumored to be very skilled in this regard for example)- so do sequential gearboxes ruin the racing because they diminish the spectacle and skill on show by the drivers? Maybe, but nobody seems to care about that.
    If I was pushed though – I would say it seems to me that the most vocal opponents of Pirelli on other fan sites are fans of the last 5 WDC winners, who find it unacceptable that their fresh faced idols suddenly cant cut it because something else is required of them, of course, these things generally tend to settle down (or rise to the top) in due time, but there seem to be a lot of people who expect every driver to be winning every race..

    • Completely agree. To my mind, Red Bull have had so much time to see this coming and chosen to do nothing about it, possibly because for the last three years they’ve mostly had things their own way. They chose not to develop KERS in 2009 and focused on fighting the Brawn (also without KERS), whilst McLaren, Ferrari, and a few others spent the first half of the year trying to get their systems to work, belatedly joining the sharp end of the racing for the second half of the season. 2010 should have seen these teams reap the benefits of their half season in the wilderness, only for KERS to be dropped for a year. I think that having to play catch up with the technology is the reason why Red Bull had continual gremlins with their KERS system over the last 2 years. Their current car is evolved from several generations of aggressively-raked, downforce-heavy, rear- tyre-hungry cars, that have been allowed to pander almost too much to Newey’s aerodynamically pure, technology-lite vision of F1. Now that everyone else has caught up, and the tyres have changed a little, it’s dawning on them that the car they’ve produced doesn’t provide a wide enough platform for them to sustain a challenge over the season.

      • Dobzizzle – I do believe we may have found another writer for TJ13.

        Just posted the Pirelli press release. I still hear that they will try to reduce the number of rather dramatic delaminations and firm up the deg a touch, but these tyres will still not deliver the durability as in 2012.

        • If there’s any justice left, i hope you’re right Judge, i can’t even bring myself to comment on the tyre change, i feel sick to my stomach.

      • Surely more the fault of the FIA for not enforcing all teams to take up KERS in 2009. You can only play by the rules.

  3. I’ve not actually seen much moaning from the Merc team to be honest, they keep saying that they are not doing a good job, and various other things, but I’ve not seen them blame Pirelli, despite the Mirror trying to make it look like it with their headline today, when you read it, Lewis basically says ‘Ferrari and Lotus seem to have a handle on them and we don’t, and have to catch up’. Its mainly Red Bull who are doing all the btiching, and they are winning both championships. You’d think if anyone was entitled to have a go at Pirelli it would be Brawn et al, given how the tyres longevity has effected them during races, but they seem to acknowledge it is their job to get with the programme.

    That said, I’m in the camp where I think maybe a bit of toning back wouldn’t hurt, but certainly a balance between 2012 and 2013 would be where its at in my opinion.

    Once again, James Allen and Gary Anderson seem to know whats happening race and strategy wise, indeed Anderson said outright, he reckoned the best strategy was to go hell for leather and do 4 stops, and if the tyres are looking good convert to 3, so he was onto Alonso’s game from the start, so the other commentators need to get a little better at their job if you ask me.

    • I would say Red Bull are worried because they can see what’s coming – Alonso has had two , lets say flawed, races, and one would assume due to lady luck having her way, that Alonso should be luckier from now on, bar the occasional odd result.

      Vettel on the other has a current 2013 record where 4th is his worst place so far – therefore luck dictates that Vettel will likely have at least 1 dnf sometime in the next 14 races and/or at least one bad race – he never seems to go well at his home race!

      Also, Lotus in 3rd are only 20 points behind [43 points for 1-2 finish], ferrari are only 14 points behind. This would be too close for comfort for them, since both teams have two good drivers, good car, both better at tyre management it appears, showing their lead at the top of the constructors is not safe atm.

      And take into account Raikkonen’s consistency [last retirement for him was 2009 german gp in a ferrari, last non points finish was china ’12] and Lotus reliability, and the fact of a very decent car, Raikkonen is certainly the dark horse for the title this year.

      • Definately, Romain has had some bad luck, and a sub par car for the first few races this year, but has looked strong at Bahrain and Barcelona, so could well be pivotal in terms of the constructors if his ‘bad luck’ is finally out of the way and could well get some good results to help Lotus. As you say, in combination with Massas return to form, or should it be returning (I’m not sure he’s quite ’2008′ mode yet). In contrast, aside from Malaysia, Webbers look pretty mediocre this year, all this could mean that Red Bull may find themselves after Brazil this year as third in the constructors, and Vettel third in the drivers… here’s hoping.

  4. Just an idea. The fact that Pirelli brought forward the change, certainly helps the teams to go back to CFD and the wind tunnel and learn the revised tyres as quickly as they can before they switch resources to 2014. So this might have played a role apart from Bernie’s/RBR’s pressure.

    And something else that noone seems to have considered. Is it that improbable that the tyres were actually not that safe? What would have happened if there was a big accident in the next 2-3 races? Maybe Pirelli wanted to make this change and RBR provided them with the final push/best excuse. If they really didn’t want to make the change, they wouldn’t. They hold the trump card right now as no agreement has been signed for next year.

  5. Leaving aside the teams who had problems with the tyres, compare Maldonado’s Q3 time from last year with Alonso’s this year:
    Maldonado 2012 – 1:22:1
    Alonso 2013 – 1:21:2
    Nearly a second difference (and at least a second’s difference for the pole sitters).
    The cars are clearly faster this year, and yet the race times are significantly slower. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the tyres have changed the nature of the racing.

    On the other hand, changing this year’s tyres halfway through the season, to the clear benefit of a couple of the big teams, seems unfair.

    Conclusion – Pirelli messed up a bit.

    • It unfortunately looks as though it will play into the hands of the ‘we want more testing’ brigade – as this appears to be Pirelli’s defense

      Though on reflection I fail to see how that will help – unless the whole schedule for developing and launching the new car moves forward.

      • Why not require each year’s championship winner to donate one of their cars to the next year’s tyre supplier for testing ?

  6. Caption competition:
    “Now children – with our tyres, the drivers will have to drive more slowly and the roads will be safer for all”.

  7. I wrote on this site a couple of weeks ago that this would be Ecclestone’s last year running F1. The tie-up between Ferrari and Marussia have given Luca the perfect opportunity to get rid of him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ferrari are secretly funding Marussia and keeping them going. Marussia haven’t signed the Concorde Agreement which essentially means that CVC can’t float F1. Luca has probably made it quite clear to both Ecclestone and CVC that there won’t be an agreement until Ecclestone goes. Ferrari have indemnified themselves as it appears Marussia is the hold-out. The Munich bribery trial may also end Ecclestone’s reign but if it doesn’t Luca holds the trump card with Marussia. Either way Bernie’s done.

  8. “it appears the Red Bull billionaire expects that if you spend the most, you should come top.”

    I doubt Red Bull spend more than Ferrari.

      • True. And Horner’s hair stylist probably consumes a lot of the budget as well. Thank goodness Newey’s bald.

        • I reckon if Horner has a hair stylist, he aught to be paid well.. its like a badgers arse, makes my little lads barnet look managable

    • Or this is the FIA’s way of returning the favor, since Red Bull pumped massive amounts of money in the WRC to save it.

      • I’d say the launch of their new line of drinks going down well, especially in Europe, shows they are getting a fair deal.

  9. Seeing as only Ted has had a go so far…here’s my caption idea

    Bernie: “This is the chosen host to receive my mind upload”

  10. Caption competition:
    Girl: “Mr Alonso, is the man in the white shirt from the muppets…”

    Fernando: “Errr… what is this muppets?”

    Girl: “They are noisy interfering creatures with goggly eyes and strange hair”

    Fernando: “yes, that would be him”

  11. Caption competition:
    “Errr, Mr.Bernie, what does Red Bull little good luck troll mean?”.

  12. Caption competition:
    “Off we go with Bernie Wonka to the tyre factory.”

    • Ho, ho, ho… This the only one that genuinely made me laugh out loud…!

  13. Caption Competition:
    “Andy Warhol enjoying day out from Spanish retirement village.”

    • Excellent vision Dobzizzle. I thought only I had spotted the Warhol likeness. I posted a side by side comparison last Autumn

      • Hehe. Though the credit for that must go, once again, to my l’il bro – he got me onto the Warhol/Ecclestone conspiracy some years back. I just realised that Warhol ‘died’ in 1987, the same year that ‘Ecclestone’ was appointed vice-president of the FIA’s promotional affairs, with authority over Formula One and the other motor sports authorised by the FIA. Hmmm. On another note, what’s with Vettel’s one-of-Biff’s-gang-in-Back-To-The-Future shades? He’s just behind Andy in the photo.

        • Ha Ha, I was thinking around with ‘Father Ted’ and a ‘Albino Roy Orbison’ but the warhol is definately for the Gold medal! Excellent sir!

    • Unsurprising. When questioned repeatedly about his McLaren source, he appeared at the time to ‘protest too much’.

      I need 2 independent sources to publish a scoop – unless I know beyond doubt my source is so solid they are risking a 30 year relationship which no F1 story is worth risking. .

      And to be honest if you know someone that well, they’ll not lie to you – they may tell you the party line – or give their opinion but the strength of information is always qualified by them.

      To comment on a blog, “If they’ve lied to me, I’ll never use them again” is crass – IMHO.

      • hehehe, I’m enjoying this … war of words. Soon though, I might have to utter the words: fight,fight,fight,fight. That would be fun to see.

        • The whole attitude of this ‘disrespectful’ person sounds like a kids’ playground…
          Have you noticed at the bottom of the blog is a fixed panel that reads: ‘joeblogs’ – in Britain Joe Blogs is a term for a nonentity, a bit like John Doe and Joe Hacks in America… 😉

  14. hey judge, just seen a tweet from @scarbsf1 about article in the tech regs 12.6.3

    Tech Regs Article 12.6.3:

    Tyre regulations will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.

    That brings a different view doesn’t it?

    • Your getting well into twitter for an old boy aren’t you 🙂

      I’ve been trying to get an answer on this specific issue from Pirelli since the announcement just after lunch (GMT), without luck so far.

      Its interesting as they are usually forthcoming on these kind of explanations.

      TJ13 gets all Pirelli’s press releases and is accredited with them too. So the silence is deafening at present.

  15. the body of an old boy, the mind of a fool!! 😉

    I figured if I could show my dad how to program a VCR, then I should be able to handle twitter, lol

  16. The Judges views often match mine, but I must disagree with the lambasting of Red Bull and Mateschitz. RB, like any other team have spent a lot of money on developing a car that is clearly more aerodynamically efficient than the others only to see their entire effort being thwarted by substandard tires. If the roles were reversed Ferrari would have cried foul just a loudly. And it isn’t as if Mateschitz was the only one, who complained. As a fan of F1 the current situation is unsatisfactory to the extreme. Almost all races so far have been dreary eco-runs of drivers driving to delta-times as opposed to driving as fast as the cars could allow. Eco runs are for hippies in G-Wizzes not for the best drivers of their generation in the supposed pinnacle of motorsports.

    I see a number of problems with the current fiasco. First of all, Pirelli have developed the tire using a 3 year old car that is nowhere near the performance levels of the 2013 cars. Additionally their test car is provided by a current competitor, which intended or not, could give that competitor an advantage. The fact that Lotus almost consistently runs competitively with one stop less than the other teams looks a bit too coincidental.

    Since teams are no longer allowed to select their tire manufacturers, I would say Pirelli has to make sure that their tires do not disadvantage any team. Whether they do that is severely in doubt as Paul Hembery has stated publically more than once that RB would be too strong if they made their tires more durable. As a sole supplier of a car component such a statement is not acceptable and surely played a role in Mateschitz’s temper tantrum as well. Knowing that your product impedes a competitor and even publically stating it as a reason for not changing the product is quite questionable at best. It is not Pirelli’s job to dumb down the Red Bull enough to give the others a chance, it is the job of Ferrari & Co to pull their fingers out of an orifice and catch up with Newey. He isn’t some sort of demi-god. He’s just an aerodynamicist and every team has one of those. In fact last years McLaren was better than the Red Bull, but they blew it by their endless pitstop blunders. So the fact that we’ve had three RB titles lately isn’t due to RB outspending the competition. Ferrari is the team with the biggest budget and McLaren’s is almost exactly the same as RB. McLaren should have won both titles last year, but were too inept and Fernando Alonso should have won in 2010 were it not for the fact that he couldn’t get past a Russian pay driver in a souped up Clio. So instead of lambasting RB for building an aerodynamically clever car the criticism is maybe better placed at the competition, who need the help of a supplier to keep up. RB only ran away with the title in 2011. In 2010 and 2012 they got the WDC handed to them by inept competitors.

    The lack of testing is another problem. When Pirelli gave the first glimpse of the new tires late last season, the 2013 cars were mainly designed already and suddenly Pirelli finds themselves with their britches at their ankles because this years cars develop a lot more downforce than their geriatric test mule. Instead of pounding about in an old car the tires should be developed in public testing open to all teams in current cars.

    • Finely put arguments

      Yet to suggest Pirelli have made a tyre to disadvantage a particular team with the paucity of information they receive on the new cars is somewhat spurious. Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren are all suffering.

      Agreed, it is a chicken an egg scenario – how can the teams design their car around the tyres when their designs begin in July/August and the tyres appear in Abu Dhabi – it is clearly not possible.

      But this is not the precept for the teams designs, and knowing the Pirelli factor from the past 2 years should make them consider their designs accordingly.

      If Red Bull, Horner and Newey are so ‘innocent’ that they don’t understand the regulations will be moving away from high rake/downforce/off throttle blowing designs – all of which Red Bull have mastered – then that is their lack of foresight.

      Newey still moans to this day about 2009 regulations and how his interpretation of F1 car design should have been the best – in fact did so at the press conference in Spain. Fact is -it wasn’t.

      • I didn’t say that Pirelli specifically designed the tires to thwart Red Bull, but the thought must have played a role somewhere, else Hembery’s comments after Malaysia and Barcelona make it obvious that they are aware of the fact that their design impedes RB and probably Mercedes, too.
        If nothing else, he’s proven bad timing. As a supplier one should expect them to be impartial. Hembery countered calls for more durable tires by saying it would mean handing the title to Red Bull. Even if that was true, so be it. They’ve designed the most aerodynamically efficient car and if the powers that be want cars that rely less on aerodynamics they need to make the rules accordingly. Red Bull has built what looks like a perfectly legal car, but they cannot use the advantage that they have worked as hard for than all other teams. I know that I would bitch about that, too. What’s the point in designing a clever car if all will be for nothing because a tire supplier delivers a component that is deliberately weaker than it could be. And sorry, I cannot subscribe to the ‘They should redesign their car to fit the tires.’
        Tires that cannot withstand the forces generated by the cars are also a safety risk. There are two possible answers to that. Either Pirelli delivers a tire that can or the rules have to be changed to lower the forces that cars generate. Forcing the teams to undo an advantage that they legitimately acquired through their design ideas is not the correct approach.

        Newey’s moaning might be annoying, but it’s part of it. Everyone moans if things don’t go their way. Have we already forgotten the incessant whining of Montezemolo last year about how aerodynamics are too important? Wasn’t the song he was singing between 2000 and 2005, when Ferrari had the superior designs. Now it’s Newey’s turn to throw the toys out of the pram, because he gets all his clever ideas nixed by substandard tires. And I bet Mercedes will start to whine soon, too. After failing for three years they finally have a quick car, but cannot do anything with it because of the comedy tires.

        There was nothing wrong with the 2012 tires. We got enough pitstops and drivers could even push them hard occasionally. As far as I remember the ‘aggressive’ approach of Pirelli was their decision, not a FIA requirement.

        • He has now seen their design and can comment as such. When the tyres were specified the RB9 was in Newey’s head.

          The last few eastern races weren’t particularly exciting. 1 stoppers and rather processional

        • Mercedes problems have nothing to do with comedy tyres. 2013 seems to be following similar templates to previous years

    • Red Bull were also highly inept in 2010. Take for instance Turkey or Korea. The fact of the matter is 2010, Red Bull had the best car on the grid.

      • If you look into the history of F1, the world champion drove the best car on the grid in most cases. Of the last 20 years only Schumacher in 1994 and Kimi in 2007 come to mind and Brawn had lost that status by mid-2009 and just coasted home and 2012 is debatable. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Having the best car doesn’t mean running off with the title, else Lewis Hamilton would have been 2012 champion as especially in the early season the McLaren was significantly better than it’s competition.
        Yet inexplicably the discussions involving Vettel or Red Bull are often not very honest ones or at least the facts are ‘fine-tuned’. You have talk about them just throwing money at the problem, when actually Ferrari has the biggest budget and McLaren spends just as much. Or there is talk about them dominating F1 and making it boring when two of Vettels titles came down to the last race and were by less than 5 points and massively helped by other teams wasting a lot of chances.
        Since 2009 RB have been fairly consistent in making a car that can challenge for wins and titles, according to what has been considered the definition of a good F1 car since the invention of front and rear wings – a car that maximizes corner speeds through generation of down force.
        Along comes Pirelli and changes the rules on what is a good car to ‘tire eco machine’ and is ruining F1 in process. Not so much, because that nixes RB’s aerodynamic advantage, but because it actually stifles racing. We didn’t hear drivers being told not to fight against being overtaken in the past very often, did we?

        Four stop races have happened in the past, too, but back then a 4 stop strategy was used to outfox the competition by essentially running 5 qualifying runs. At Barcelona a four stopper was chosen by most out of necessity since they couldn’t squeeze more than a dozen laps from a tire that clearly wasn’t fit for use on a race car.

        • I disagree about 1994 WDC and want to add some of my own.
          Whether MSC had an illegal car in 1994 is subject to conjecture, but he certainly had the best machine at his disposal
          1995 the Williams was by far the better car, but unreliable, so MSC won the WDC
          2005 Alonso may have won but the ultimate car was the Mclaren MP4/20. You can’t blame drivers or competition for its poor reliability
          2007, not convinced that the Ferrari was not the best car. I’d say it was even with Mclaren

        • 2003 would have been much closer had it not been for the Michelin tyres suddenly being declared illegal. People seem to forget how close the mid season races were.

          and 2006, you could argue that the Ferraris were the fastest car by 5 races in.

          I dislike people slagging off Vettel, saying he has been lucky. Especially when he was so dominant in 2011. Had he not won so many races then maybe people would have a point.

          • I agree, it’s not nice to be disrespectful to Vettel…
            But as far as I’m concerned you can say what you like about that finger… and the inane expression that always accompanies it… 🙂

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