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Horner confirms ‘B-spec’ RB8 will go to Melbourne
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Mar 2012   |  11:23 am GMT  |  249 comments

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that his team will run with the revised RB8 chassis rolled out for the final two days of the final test in Barcelona at next week’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

In a dramatic piece of Formula 1 winter showmanship last Saturday morning at the Circuit de Catalunya, the world champions unveiled what effectively amounted to a ‘B’ chassis which had been flown in from the UK the previous night with the most obvious changes new front and rear wings, rear aerodynamics, new diffuser and a new exhaust layout.

With the exhaust layout, and therefore flow of gasses over the rear of the car, particularly different to that on the launch-spec RB8 it was therefore somewhat disappointing for the team that on the final day of the test Sebastian Vettel completed a measly 23 laps following a morning off and then a gearbox problem.

But speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, Horner said the revised car had been running well when on track – which was just 93 laps in total – and therefore the revisions would now be taken to the first race.

Asked about whether the ‘new’ car would be shipped to Melbourne, he said: “It’s amazing how these things get construed. We introduced another car in Barcelona because it had an update package which was always the plan. All the major teams introduced quite a major update prior to the first race and you leave it late because you don’t want the concepts to be copied by your competitors.

“Those upgrades seem to be working okay and they’ll certainly be on the car in Australia in 10 days’ time.”

Interestingly, at the end of the interview, Horner also plumped for Jenson Button when asked for the driver he thought would pose the biggest threat to Vettel’s attempts to win a hat-trick of world titles.

Asked for a driver aside from his own team’s Mark Webber who he thought would push the German hardest, he replied: “Lewis is going to be pushing hard this year, it’s an important year for him. Jenson Button had a great year last year. Fernando Alonso you can’t rule out, he’s a world class driver, and it will be interesting to see how Kimi Raikkonen fares on his return.” But when pressed to give one name, he said: “Probably Jenson.”

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249 Comments
  1. Thabang says:

    Jenson is such a boring driver, lies in wait for true racers to have racing incidents and as such a podium or a victory lands on his lap. Please Pirelli, make tires for racing and not for touring.

    1. Richard Hyde says:

      77 competitive overtakes in 2011 would seem to suggest otherwise…

      1. F1fan4life says:

        It’s called being a terrible qualifier. He underperforms in qualifying, then he starts further back in a faster car, so a lot of those passes should not even have happened. He has to be the slowest qualifying champion on the grid.

      2. Lucas says:

        I understand those who use that argument when talking about Schumacher, who was qualifying worse than the “expected” 7-8 positions in a good part of his race weekends, but Button qualified between 2-4 in 11 out of 19 occasions, and except for Belgium it was never much worse than that, which is where a McLaren was supposed to be, so how can we call him a “terrible qualifier”?

      3. Cliff says:

        “Slowest qualifying champion on the grid”. I suspect there will be atleast 18 drivers who would settle for the word ‘Champion’ on the CV.

      4. Nico says:

        Despite being a hug fan of the guy I have to agree with this. Fantastic racer and strategist, terrible qualifier.

      5. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        And how much of an overtaker was he pre DRS? Jenson was known being a little gingerly in the past.

      6. AH Jordan says:

        Did you watch 2009??

        He made some awesome overtakes that year…

      7. Richard Hyde says:

        If you’ve got a spare 10mins have a watch of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz-A15j04_g

        Personally I think Jenson is one of the most clinical overtakers out there.

        (Apologies if linking isn’t allowed…)

      8. Cliff says:

        Leaving aside 2009, take another look at Spa 2011. Many of his overtakes were taken going into the Bust Stop Chicane, and not in the DRS Zone.

      9. Kay says:

        Re: AH Jordan,

        Jenson 2009? Those weren’t particularly hard in the car he had back then, much like it wouldn’t be hard for Vettel to shrug off his ‘crash-kid’ nickname in the car he had in 2011.

      10. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        2009 for Jenson was “passing” and not “overtaking”.

        Give anyone a hot knife and they can cut through butter.

      11. Bobster says:

        Yes. He’s one of the best overtakers in F1, as was seen in 2009 when he put in some great moves.

        You know, managing resources is one of the things that race drivers have to do. Saving your tyres at first so that you can drive fast later (in a lighter car) is just another approach. It’s as valid as, and probably more prudent than burning everything up early on and hoping you can hold it together.

        DRS has, I think, tipped the odds against the 2nd option. Pre-DRS you had a better chance building up a lead at the expense of your car and/or tyres and then trying to make it hard for anybody who caught you. With DRS you have to keep a bit in reserve becasue if somebody catches you they’re going to have a go at passing and a chance of making the pass stick.

        But we’ve seen Jenson put in passes and conserve resources prior to DRS.

        I applaud Jenson. He gave us great entertainment last year. And, at the same time, improved his reputation as a race and increased his value.

        2010 made his 2009 championship respectable. 2011 showed us that he’s a serious proposition as a race driver.

    2. D@X says:

      I agree with your sentiments totally. I love an action packed race with few or no poachers!!

    3. Joe B says:

      Yeah, Canada really just landed in his lap… Watch Brazil 2009 as an example of him just waiting for things to work out. Or Australia 2010. Or Japan last year.

      1. Tyler says:

        Good point… but part of success in F1 is race craft and being there to snatch opportunities as they arrive. Hes no dummy.

      2. You mean the race in Canada where he came from 18th place, on one of the most demanding braking circuits, in the rain, through the longest GP ever, pushing Vettel so hard that he made a very rare mistake? Yeah, that just landed in his lap!

        Being a smart driver can sometimes be boring, but he has one more WDC than either of us do.

      3. marc says:

        landed in his lap ? oh please! nothing lands in your lap in this sport of f1

      4. Liam in Sydney says:

        Well, although I agree with your sentiments, Fisi’s Brazil win is a rare exception ;)

      5. Joe B says:

        Ah, sorry, my sarcasm didn’t come across. Basically, Jenson’s a very good racer, one of the finest on the grid. Personally I think the OP is out of his tree, although the person who mentioned bad qualifying has a point (and even then I’d argue Schumacher’s been the most underwhelming champion on a Saturday).

      6. Webbo says:

        Poles: Schumacher 68 – Button 7
        Fact

      7. Joe B says:

        Schumacher v2.
        Speculation.

      8. Webbo says:

        Didn’t his Australia 2010 win only come after the leading car ran into trouble, though? Not a good example you are making here.

      9. Joe B says:

        OK then, we can talk about what an inspired decision it was on his part to pit when he did, making up 6 places in tricky conditions and putting himself in contention for the win, something that in 8th he was nowhere near. You may note he didn’t win Brazil ’09 either; didn’t stop it being a damn good drive.

      10. Joe B says:

        Webbo! I doubt you’ll come back, but: you were saying?

      11. Bluefroggle says:

        He had to plough his way from the back of the field to win. Now, correct me if I am wrong, this must surely involve a little bit of overtaking, of at least 20 cars to achieve this?

    4. Liam says:

      Didn’t Jenson hold the record for most overtakes in the first part of last season?

    5. earl rue says:

      JB might not have the most spectacular style, but to call him an opportunistic racer who’s waiting “for true racers to have…incidents” is pure rubbish. Watch his first lap of the 2009 British F1 GP as just on example of his race craft.
      JB is not on top of my personal drivers ranking, but that statement is an insult, really.

      1. Toby says:

        I’d second that. He gained a lot of my respect last year by leading McLaren forwards. He did a fantastic job.

    6. Rod Aguirre says:

      That’s called brains. He certainly knows that there are other faster drivers, so he optimizes other variables and comes on top when he can. Being fast is good, coming first is the real goal.

    7. B@Z says:

      So I guess you would prefer to watch a “true racer” like Hamilton bash his way to the front!

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Hah!! :) Hilarious. Top call mate. :)

      2. Kay says:

        Yes, I do actually, though I wasn’t the original poster.

    8. dubdub says:

      You’ve got to be joking ‘Thabang’.

      Forgetting his many great performances before this, remember Monza last year. Hamilton was stuck behind Schumacher for laps, the old boy up to his classy tricks. Button comes “cruising” up behind, passes Hamilton and then does what Hamilton has not been able to, and passes Schumacher on the outside into Ascari!

      In 2011 in the very least, Button was the driver to watch!

      1. SVS says:

        Well said!!!

        And how about him racing wheel to wheel with Hamilton in Hungary last year, and winning???

      2. Adiel says:

        Lets face it. Jenson understood the new Perrali tyres much better than any other driver on the grid come race day. I think 2011 was the best year Jenson had in F1 apart from 2009.

      3. andyhx1 says:

        Schumakers tyres were gone and actually pitted the same lap Jenson overtook. He wouldn’t have been able to pass otherwise. Hamilton pressured him and was put on the grass, Jenson was clever to wait for the right opportunity. What he lacks in speed he makes up for in race craft. Hamilton is the faster driver outright there is no question!

      4. Kay says:

        Yer you might want to rewatch that pass again. Hamilton and Schu were fighting it out, both ended up running wide / coming slow out of the corner due to attacking and defending and left a bit of gap for Jens to come through. Wasn’t exactly hard for Jenson to do that move and again, ‘waiting for things to fall into his lap’, as someone mentioned earlier with that phrase or along those lines.

      5. Leali says:

        I’m a huge Shumi fan but I have to agree on this one, Hami boy just couldn’t find the way around Jenson did, if you look back to Canada you will notice that Vetel much the same like hamilton have a shumi problem both tried to do it too hard without thinking because shumi was in front yet Jenson used his head and did what he did although Merc was dog of a car still cool head gets you places just ask shumi. This year I think Jenson is gona press vetel from the outset and I think that shumi will be there, it appears that Merc have better package this year so judging from how strong shumi finished we can see some lessons being given to youngsters from Shumi, Kimi and Jenson cause when the cars are close in perfomance experience is what gives you the edge.Hoping redbull wont force Weber from 1st corner to be No2…

      6. The Crappest says:

        Jensen was letting them race and kill their tyres, then when the tyres were falling off a cliff he passed them with ease. When you can out break someone by a few meters in an F1 car, you are going to pass them with ease.

        It might not be the most beautiful display of driving skill, but in terms of strategy it definitely works.

        Schumi has one of the widest cars on the track, he isn’t going to make it easy for ANYONE to pass him. Ever.

      7. andyhx1 says:

        If Lewis had put schumi on the grass he would have got a penalty! So your saying you should not try to overtake but wait around for 18 laps for the guy in fronts tyres to go off?? While vettel sails off into the distance? What boring racing we would have! It was mclarens fault for having the low top gear, schumi was faster even tho Lewis had the Drs and a slip stream. Otherwise this wouldn’t have been an issue.

    9. Troll Dad says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Jenson can’t overtake, he just boringly sits around at the back until everyone else falls off through no fault of theire own. Every time he got head to head with Lewis last year, he just chickened out before the braking zone, and never drove wheel to wheel round a series of corners.

      Jenson? Her off of Driving school would be faster.

      WOOOOO GO LEWIS!!!!111one!!1 Best F1 racer ever, in fact only Jason Plato is a better racer in the world.

      1. Toby says:

        ‘Jenson can’t overtake’ – yeah right…

    10. Canadian F1 Fan says:

      Don’t let Nobang work you up… he’s obviously quite out of touch on the subject and simply trolling. Regardless of where driver loyalties lie, Jenson is an excellent racer.

    11. Cliff says:

      The only problem with your argument is that you tend not to win when you have a “racing incident” The drivers are there to win and maximise the points for the team, it becomes difficult when you’re sitting in the Motorhome or getting a penalty from the Stewards.

      1. Alonso fan says:

        It’s obvious where my loyalties lie but if you watched certain drivers last year, they had the mental ability to decide that “no it’s not worth defending” or “it’s not worth trying to overtake now” because they knew it would either compromise there race, that it was better to wait for the new tyres or that DRS made it pointless. I’d say the only two from the top teams who didn’t get this was Ham and Massa……….

      2. Cliff says:

        Can’t argue with that!!

    12. Toby says:

      Jenson is a great driver[mod]. To win a race, first you have to finish. There’s no point overtaking the entire field 50 times to then crash out on the final lap.

  2. Kevin Bull says:

    I don’t understand why you keep referring to this as a ‘B’ spec car. You will only ever hear a team talk about a ‘B’ spec if they have had to redesign the monocoque for some reason, clearly this is not the case on the RB8. All they have done is introduce a fairly comprehensive update package. Is this not what everyone expected them and the other top teams to do before Melbourne?

    1. James Allen says:

      You aren’t allowed o do a new monocoque in modern F1, except in exceptional circumstances like Virgin in 2010 when the fuel tank was too small

      1. Kevin Bull says:

        Not that it is relevant but I thought the regulations had been changed again to allow teams to build a new monocoque if required, but of course it then has to undergo all of the crash tests again. Still, is the RB8 now really a ‘B’ spec car!!??

      2. Ross Dixon says:

        James that’s incorrect. That was last year. This year you can but you have to re crash test.

        I agree though, this was not a b chassis. It was the same chassis with a lot of different bits attached. The bits would have taken ages to do at track so they flew chassis number 2 out with it already attached.

        Lotus turned up a test 2 with chassis 2 of their car. This wasn’t a B car just a replica of the 1st. This is exactly what has happened to redbull but they just attached different bits to it

      3. Kay says:

        I reckon James just used the term ‘B-spec’ to help his readers understand easier. For someone like James I think he knows better, but he had to consider his audience.

      4. Kevin Bull says:

        I’m glad that someone is talking some sense on this. Come on James you are respected for your knowledge and down to earth reporting on F1. Don’t go for dramatic headlines and you could do with brushing up on your regs for 2012!!!

    2. wolf says:

      James what are the odds that the ‘B’ spec aero parts were the plan all along? If you had ‘control’ parts you could use them to validate the assumptions made with your CFD/simulator and fine tune the ‘real’ design to be deployed in the final days of testing (too late to copy). Bonus points for making the ‘control’ parts significantly slower to send your competitors down the wrong path if they try to copy them.
      Could it be that the ‘secret diary’ entry was right all along?
      http://www.planetf1.com/driver/3262/7483886/Secret-Diary-of-Adrian-Newey-Aged-53-Launch-Control

  3. SJM says:

    Red Bull look like their running scared. If you noticed their upgrades looked more like bites off other teams ideas as opposed to refining what was supposedly the most promising car on the grid.

    Funny how he rates Button ahead of Lewis. I doubt we will see a repeat of last year when Jenson had his best year and won 3 races and Lewis had his worst year and also won 3 races……wonder how many races Lewis will win in 2012 if he has a great year ;)

    1. 270 vs. 227 means Button well outperformed his highly lauded teammate. 2011 was an odd year for comparing race wins with RedBull being so dominant. I think a more accurate comparison is total points, and Jenson did very well. Horner can see that too.

      1. sjm says:

        I think he benefited from Lewis’s mistakes more. That has amplified his stock to artificial levels in my opinion. JB is quick to complain if the balance of the car is not right, whereas LH makes it work.

      2. MCGARL says:

        FAIR ENOUGH….Jenson relies on a better balance to his package where Lewis can be more aggressive with a car that isn’t quite set up as he would like, but to say the Jenson complains more is utter nonsense. I have never came across a more complaining driver than Lewis….it is generally everybody else in the teams fault but his own.

    2. Dave C says:

      Actually if you’re talking about the amount of wins as their best or worst years then 2009 is Jenson’s best year when he won 6 out of 7 races, and Hamioton’s worst year was also 2009 where he only won 2 races, and on aggregate over 2 years at Mclaren together Jenson has outscored Hamilton, even Horner admits Jenson is more of a threat to the RBR than Hamilton is this year.

      1. Cabr says:

        Do please make your way to the Betting Exchanges and put a lot of money on this outcome as you are obviously so sure….

        Play the figures how you wish to convince yourself of the outcome that makes you happy, anybody else can see that this season the most talented driver in F1 has a competitive car and is very likely to be challenging at the front, where he belongs.

        Go Lewis !

    3. Ken says:

      If I were Horner, I’d rate Button as the biggest threat too, even if it wasn’t the case. Lewis has proven that his racing takes a nose dive when external influences are nagging at him, and for Horner to outright say Button is a better driver will surely rattle his cage. The comment is a pure mind game if nothing else.

  4. Dan Orsino says:

    James, do you think there’s any chance of the B spec running into trouble with Charlie Whiting?

  5. Neil Donnell says:

    You have to wonder if the Jenson comment is the start of mind games against Lewis.

    1. Russell says:

      I don’t think so. Mentioning Button is a matter of common sense and of being politically correct. If you select Lewis, you’re making a statement: he didn’t score as many points last year, he had a few incidents. If you choose Button, it’s a conventional choice. Lewis knows that he needs to tidy things up a this year.
      Maybe Lewis has more raw speed, certainly that is what many believe. Because of this there is a sense that if he could only keep his emotions in check, he’d easily be better than Button. Button seems to be extracting the maximum of what he’s got and if that’s the case, he has no improvement potential. But he showed a lot coming to McLaren. Everyone thought he was making a mistake at the time. Yet he’s stood next Lewis and held his own. It was Lewis’ team. The team where Lewis had chased Alonso out of town – his town.

    2. Methusalem says:

      I exactly thought the same thing. If Massa was a motivated, challenging driver, Horner would have seen in him a danger to Vettel – just to irritate Alonso. Anyways, how demoralizing it must be for Webber to hear this sort fo thing from his own boss!

      1. RedChimp says:

        The question Horner was asked was what driver OTHER than Mark Webber does he think will be the biggest challenger to Vettel this year. So there was no slight on Webber at all.

      2. Kay says:

        Yer, and to think Webber and Horner were friends as well. Or so one of them said previously anyway.

  6. Michael says:

    Hi James,
    there is so much talk of the RB8 update and really no news in it at least for me. I’m a die-hard Macca fan and I’m really missing news on the MP4-27 upgrade since it does seem to be visually more drastic (F-Duct front wing, missing front splitter, maybe also DRS F-Duct plus awesome sound and mighty downshift) than that of the Red Bulls. Any chances on a follow-up by you?

    Singeling out JB is interesting and naughty. The lewis Hamilton story is all about expectations extremely high ones at that. Why? Coz he’s bloody brilliant. To call a year he wins three races plus a pole position and knocks his team mate on the nose with a 13-6 qualy record a really bad year an off-year YET calling Jensons 3 wins no pole and becoming first looser (2nd in championship) a brilliant year is unfathomable to me but goes to prove my point on expections re. both drivers. Poor Alonso left by the wayside! I’m all for the Diva(Lewis) being pushed but this is alltogether blatantly insane IMO. Thanks for the at times wunderful insights!!!

    1. JF says:

      What other comment could Horner make. JB outperformed LH overall last year point blank. Horner merely made a comment based on that. Will it happen again this year? Who knows. 50:50 in my opinion. Hamilton will likely do better in quali but racing who knows. Could go either way. Both are top drivers but with radically different modes of operation.

    2. Bakdraft says:

      Stop counting up the statistics and look at the overall performance in the race, Jenson was mighty. He made many fantastic overtakes, managed the changing conditions, managed all around him, and got to a clear second place in the championship, beating Mark Webber, you cannot deny it was a great season for him, whether it will happen again this season time will tell, but it is not unreasonable for Christian to notice what most of the paddock noticed last year, even Nikki Lauda and that is saying something!

    3. Vinola says:

      Well said.

    4. Ross Dixon says:

      Agreed!!!

      Although Lewis had a bad year because he was careless and got himself into trouble that he didn’t need to, that said I really don’t think Button is anywhere near as fast as Hamilton

    5. AuraF1 says:

      Well if a drivers best year is purely based on wins and qualifying ahead of their teammate then surely Jensons best year was 2009? He also won the championship by a much more comfortable margin than Lewis and in a car that had run out of budget and development before mid season.

      As a mclaren fan I support both drivers but I do get somewhat bored of the Lewis fanboys constantly telling everyone why he’s the greatest but just has bad luck. If we want to go off diva stats then vettel is three and a half times the driver Lewis is and he’s younger. Personally I’m not so sure you can judge ‘talent’ by pure statistics. You can certainly judge who’s the winner at the end of the season though! Personally I hope it’s Lewis or jenson – but I won’t lie jenson pipping it again and quieting some of the obsessive Lewis fanboys would be quite sweet. (a shame as I think Lewis is brilliant, I just think some of his fans are a bit odd…)

      1. Jeff says:

        In this sport, you make your own luck. You can be the fastest driver, but if you go for the banzai moves that end with DNFs a couple of times, that will quickly put you out of contention for the championship.

        Stirling Moss once quipped that F1 was the art of winning at the slowest speed possible, which is the thinking man’s way of racing, and Jenson typifies this approach. OK, Stirling is regarded as the best driver never to win a Championship, but he was racing against Fangio.

        Jenson may not be as quick to warm his tyres, and hence looks slow compared to Lewis in Qualifying, but that speed difference doesn’t seem to show up in the actual race.

        He seems to have a better race brain than Lewis, and doesn’t take unnecessary risks. He also doesn’t seem to have a magnetic attraction to Massa’s Ferrari. With a bit of luck though, that will only be a problem this year when Felipe is being lapped :-D

        I’ve always thought Jenson was quick, ever since he appeared in the Williams back in 2000. His contractual disputes between Williams and Honda in 2004 and 2005 became a bad joke, but his performance in the McLaren has been top notch.

        No doubt Lewis is quicker over a single lap, but if he can’t stay on the blacktop until the checkered flag waves, then it’s not going to help him.

  7. CarlH says:

    It’s frustrating that Red Bull can effectively roll out two concepts that seem to be near the front of the grid (if not way ahead), while Ferrari are struggling to get even one to work properly.

    1. The lack of testing has really upset the balance of power. It seems to take an entire team’s worth of engineering talent to match a single pen stroke from Adrian Newey. He is truly amazing.

      1. Can we at least wait until Australlia before getting a mouth full of Newey!

        I’ve yet to see any convincing statistics that the suggest Red Bull is out and out faster than any other teams. Most people seem to be judging this years Bull based on the fact that it’s been fastest for the last two years, and it looked ‘quite good’ on track.

        It has also been observed that the McLaren looked ‘quite good’ on track. But as it’s not been the fastest in the last couple of years there’s no hype behind them.

        I have, interestingly, seen some decent detailed statistics to suggest the McLaren is in fact faster. Now I’m not saying I believe these observations, and the analysis was done before both teams put their upgrade package on; but they are at least based on genuine data. I have yet to see anybody argue the case for Red Bull based on actual data.

      2. I completely agree, I just think that the lack of in season testing has hurt McLaren and Ferrari quite a bit. It has allowed a relative newcomer into the fold, and they have been dominating. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out this season for sure!

    2. Peter Scandlyn says:

      It’s terrific.
      What I particularly like best is that one of the also-ran Ferrari engined cars is going to trump them.

  8. Sam says:

    Assuming the Mclaren and Red Bull are close on pace and taking the last couple of years as a precedent, Hamilton and Vettel would probably be most likely to fight for pole, with Button and Webber producing better laps on the odd occasion.

    I think that could very well dictate how the team mate wars will fare. It would be great to see an on-form, but particularly consistent Lewis again. The media/armchair fan hyperbole over last season’s performance has been over done in my eyes.

    Let’s hope for a close fight

  9. Dmitry says:

    I am not sure why, but Horner annoys me as much as Flavio Briatore did (if not even more).
    May be it’s just my prejudice towards RBR as a whole, but in his every word I hear that he is the best, he knows everything and everyone around (including fans) are just dumb.

    Even this phrase: “It’s amazing how these things get construed… which was always the plan” … Christian, it’s not a case of different construction, no other team introduce (and even plan) B-spec car for the final 2 days of tests.

    1. Dmitry says:

      correction (the phrase): “It’s amazing how these things get construed. We introduced another car… which was always the plan.”

      1. Peter Scandlyn says:

        Can’t follow your logic I’m afraid.

        What exactly have they done wrong here?

        To me it shows a team completely on the top of their game. Nothing wrong with that!

      2. Kay says:

        Chris Horner has done nothing wrong, absolutely correct. But I don’t think he’s done anything that has contributed to the team either other than hiring A.Newey.

        Without Newey, Horner would at best be at Boullier’s level, or possibly even worse.

    2. Chris Normal says:

      I’m pretty sure he was referring to the media hype that the new exhaust design was a failure and that they would be reverting back to the previous design.
      As long as I can remember teams have waited until late in testing to display new innovations if possible.
      Maybe your passion is projecting personality traits into the demeanor of the opposition.

  10. Andy says:

    I think this could be the start of the head games against Lewis is coming into this year mentally weakened after last season. However as a Button man I hope he is right.

    1. D@X says:

      You can only get one reaction is you stir the hornets nest! JB wont be looking over his shoulder cause what he will be chasing will be in front of him…If LH does not have a as many racing incidents then consider it bad luck for Jenson.

    2. JF says:

      Maybe head games but could just be straight extrapolation of last years results. Button did a better job last year. He may do so again.

  11. goferet says:

    So Red Bull have decided to lay their bed concerning the untested B spec car, well me, I will just sit back with my popcorn and watch the world champions lay in it.

    For sure Red Bull will be very lucky if they get through the Australian Grand Prix without one retirement plus I read that Renault & Red Bull were concerned about the banning of the double diffuser together with the blowing of gases because the Renault engines wouldn’t cope i.e. They would let go.

    As Jenson being Vettel’s main rival this season, it appears to me Horner is stuck in the past —> In 2011 to be exact and am sure he cried like a baby when that season ended.

    First off, this is 2012 already & hence we have a new season so who says Sebi will be the bench mark, it’s a free for all at this stage because everybody is at zero points and for all we know, Webber maybe the driver to beat.

    You know something, the form Jens & Sebi showed in the second half of 2011 could have possibly been the worst thing to happen to them going forwards.

    For now, not only is everybody expecting miracles from them but also both those two pilots are full of beans and have been making all kinds of bold statements in the press of late which is always a recipe for disaster

    I mean, before 2011 begun who thought Sebi & Jens were going to have such a good season —> Not many infact during the winter championship of 2011, most experts were of the view Alonso had the title in the bag.

    But now it’s too late, Vettel & Jenson are marked men that have massive bull eyes painted on their backs right now.

    My prediction is for the title to be fought out between Lewis and Alonso

    P.s.

    *Reasons why I think Jenson can’t win another title*

    i) Like Alonso said, drivers of Jenson’s caliber (and to an extent Vettel) can only win in nothing but the fastest beast + the UK has the most 1 time champs of all countries.

    ii) Lewis has always had his best season while having the #2 car e.g. 2010 and 2007

    iii) Jenson won his championship only after Lewis had done so.

    iv) No one has ever won a title while having such dismal qualifying averages compared to his teammate e.g. In 2011 it was 13:6 in Lewis’ favour
    —> Not even Prost was this bad & with Webber & the Mercedes boys having got an invite to the Red Bull barbecue, it’s expected to get worse for poor old Jenson

    v) With global warming becoming intense each & every year = Fewer inter-changeable weather races = Fewer race wins for Jens = Diminishing prospects to clinch the title

    In my view, Jenson can never win another dry race like he did in Suzuka 2011, that was a one off because of what had happened on 11/03 and with Jenson being of dual citizenship, well…

    vi) Last day of testing at Barcelona, it was Jens that was affected by the weather & had minimal running + had that hydraulics failure —> Things like this may appear small but are usually a sign of things to come e.g. When Ferrari canceled their launch due to snow

    vii) Whenever drivers get hyped up even before a season has even begun, rest assured a major fall ain’t far off.

    Now, having said all that, the one driver that inherited the Schumi luck is none other than the Frome Flier and people throughout history that have underestimated him have always had the misfortune of falling falt on their bottoms and that’s why I won’t take any chances this time round and hence why I always say a little prayer everyday at my Lewis Hamilton shrine.

    1. D@X says:

      Classic…. especially the end bit!

      1. Peter Scandlyn says:

        I think where you got to the B s bit you shoulda hit B s.

    2. JF says:

      No driver can win a title in anything other than the fastest car. Unless the guy in fastest car can’t stay on the track.

    3. Kevin Bull says:

      Yes of course, Jenson Button will not win another WDC because of global warming! And he only won in Japan because of dual citizenship!!!! What a load of old tosh. Even after a race like Canada last year Jenson will always have a large collection of people that say he is rubbish. Doing so only proves how little you understand about motorsport and his ability as a driver. I pity fools like you who know nothing and think you know it all!!!

      1. MISTER says:

        Just don’t bother with goferet. He’s a Lewis fan and hates everybody and everything looks like a threat to LH. He doesn’t have a broad view of things…”my way is the only way” type of thinking he has.

    4. haha says:

      Your anti RBR, pro-McLaren/Hamilton posts are so biased, it is funny to read them.

      1. I find his reasoning funnier than his bias :) I tend to read posts without looking at who wrote them; but it never takes me more then the first coupld of paragraphs to know when it’s a goferet post!

      2. miso says:

        I am the sames, James Clayton. goferet certainly has a very recognisable style and view of the F1 world.

        goferet, if you read this comment I would love to see a picture of your Lewis Hamilton shrine.

      3. Kay says:

        hahaha…

        without being offensive to anyone and especially goferet, i do find his posts funny to read and i enjoy it always. To be honest though, even tho his posts are biased, some of those are quite true imo.

  12. Vinnie Nguyen says:

    Let’s just hope that any hiccups RBR have to endure in the first event happen during the practice sessions.

    Hoping that Webber can win a home GP this year, before his career is up. My heart says ‘yes’. My head says ‘eehhh….’

  13. Geee says:

    I am amazed the media has taken such note of Christians comment regarding Jenson. But not as amazed that it hasn’t been said a hundred times already!

    Did no one else watch the last half of the season last year?!

    How horribly underrated Jenson is.

    I believe he’s due to enter the 3 best drivers club in 2012 & make it 4!( if Kimi isn’t at his best that is)

    1. Kay says:

      Jenson has skills, yes, and brains as well, I give you those. He’s still a bloody boring driver!

      1. Geee says:

        I’m sorry I’m just going to have to disagree with you on that.

        Granted his qualifying form is not up to Vettel, Hamilton or Alonzo’s standard, however given the fact he is driving in that pack he came second for the most overtakes in 2011 behind Buemi & Perez & that’s after the first lap.

        I don’t think Jenson is flawless, I can see your point to an extent, putting aside last season & his championship year. I just think last year was his best yet, if he continues to perform at that level I see no reason he shouldn’t be taken as seriously as Alonzo, Hamilton or Vettel(would not be winning if in the same car as the other two)

      2. Kay says:

        I’m sorry too but I never said he couldn’t overtake. I DID say he has skills and brains. All I said was he’s a boring driver.

      3. Jay says:

        And why wouldn’t Vettel be winning if in the same car as the other two? There were plenty of times last year when the RB7 wasn’t that dominant in qualifying or a race and Vettel still came out on top.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Seems a bit of a silly comment Kay, are the overtakes not prom a min of 90% of the excitement factor to F1??? views from others please as im pretty sure im accurate with this assesment!! Last season was undoubtably the most entertaining as far from watching jenson goes and that’s including his title winning season.

        I think your too railtracked onto his complete career so far kay without singling out the most recent 3 and there only improving now yr on yr.

        I would certainly argue he put in 3 of the top ten drives of last season 2 of them being the top 2 taking everything into account grid position/race comeback and of course the factor of the pace of the opposing Redbull cars as such.

        And on that he is im pretty sure not only in my view one of the top 2 personalities on the grid (the other being a certain Aussie) so Kay enlighten us what’s to bore???

      5. Kay says:

        Being a top 10 or top 3 or top whatever driver don’t necessary make him an exciting driver.

        Vettel is top 1 in many people’s opinions and for sure he has ticked many boxes to be in top 1 for various reasons, but did that make him exciting?? I don’t think anyone would agree to rank him as exciting to see him running into the distance to take his wins. For sure he’s at the top, but not exciting. The same applies to Jenson.

        Fine, Jenson has improved himself, I NEVER said he didn’t improve, nor did I say he’s bad. I DID say he has skills and brains. The point here is not about skills or brains, I said he’s a boring driver so you can take out the top 10 or top 3 etc points out of your argument.

        So rather, Kevin Green, enlighten us to what’s Jenson done to provide excitement?

      6. Kay says:

        Further to add:

        I don’t dislike Jenson, I don’t hate him. He, in fact, is a very fine gentleman who races fair and square which is something I like about him. My comments with regards to Jenson earlier were just my very honest opinion about his racing style: boring.

        To make it easier for you or anyone to understand, put Jenson next to Hamilton or Alonso’s styles, then hopefully you’ll get what I mean.

      7. Kevin Green says:

        Kay i think you would do well to go into the highlights archives of last year and then reassess your view. I like Jenson as prev said im not a fan of any team or driver directly as such i love the whole picture and as much outwith race day. But sorry of the front runners i would say on a whole Jenson and Alonso produced the most exciting of all the drives last season with that outstanding few drives he put in.

        Lets see what this season brings as season on season i only see improvement from him which is understandable being in a far better place year on year now.

      8. Kevin Green says:

        And sorry but its clear 2 of the drives last season that Button put in were better than any of the ones Hamilton did last season inc China!!

  14. Jaled Larbi says:

    I hope the handling and reliability problems are true, i could not take another RB dominated season!

    1. D@X says:

      Agreed for once I need to see how Vettle can race behind other cars, getting tired of seeing him disappear in the horizon even before the race has started. I hope Charlie ensures there is a strict clamp down on blown diffusers.

      1. haha says:

        Have you watched the 2008 season? Vettel was in a Torro Rosso, one a race with it even, many points that was thanks to driving skills.

      2. AH Jordan says:

        But he still won from the front…

      3. Joe B says:

        A Newey designed, Ferrari engined Torro Rosso.

        Just sayin’.

      4. Kay says:

        Agree with Joe B

      5. Webbo says:

        Nothing wrong with winning from the front. How many times Senna did it? It’s not spectacular but very effective.

      6. Webbo says:

        Joe B, isn’t it facinating that a customer team can trash the famous Italian works team? Who would have thought that prior to Monza?

      7. Joe B says:

        Webbo, I’m not taking anything away from the victory – it was the first example of Vettel doing what he does so well; starting from the front and maintaining a lead, and he started at the front after judging a weather affected qualifying well. What I’m pointing out is that many people are under the impression the Torro Rosso was the same beast as it has been the last few years. In 2008 there was a lot of talk about how the sister team was performing better than the Red Bull, particularly in the second half of the season when they were able to get more from the car, using the same initial design and what looked like a better engine.

        If it’s the same Torro Rosso and all about the driver, how come Algersuari, highly rated by many, didn’t get better results last year?

      8. Glennb says:

        The scuttlebutt is that if Sebastian dominates 2012 like he did 2011, the FIA is contemplating a change to the sporting regulations for 2013 whereby Sebastian will be banned from contesting Q3. It would appear this is only way to give other drivers a chance of winning a race. It ‘could’ work but my gut tells me they should consider extending the ban the Q2, just to make sure.
        My guess is that to avoid the proposed ’13 rule change, Seb will only do the minimum that he needs to in order to win the ’12 WDC, rather than the maximum.

  15. Andrew Cumbria says:

    I think that’s Horner trying to put the cat amongst the pigeons at McLaren who are likely to be Red Bull’s closest challengers. Goes to show hes a politically astute operator.

    James will 5Live be having a start of season kick off show soon, and if so when ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Friday in Melbourne

  16. PeteH says:

    Mind games, methinks.

  17. Justin says:

    It really is amazing how the Red Bull team have managed to effectively create 2 different cars for the start of the season whilst adhering to the resource restriction agreement. Other teams must be wasting a lot of money if they are not able to do the same thing….

    1. James Allen says:

      Or they aren’t adhering to RRA as some suggest

      1. Justin says:

        scandalous!

      2. Donald says:

        We haven’t really heard any more details or leaks about Ferrari and RBR leaving FOTA. Would this tend to suggest that there are very serious goings on behind closed doors?

        It is difficult to imagine any teams sticking with FOTA if they genuinely believe RBR and Ferrari are not adhering to the RRA. Although this would make Ferrari’s trailing of McLaren even sorer ;-)

      3. Russell says:

        Oh-oh. I need help.

        Who/what is RRA?

        FOTA = the team association – right? If yes what advantage can Ferrari & RBR get out of this? What rules can they ignore?

      4. Russell

        Resource Restriction Agreement

        It’s a agreement between members of FOTA that they won’t spend more than x amount in area y, and w amount in area z.

        Red Bull, Ferrari, and Sauber are no longer members of FOTA so they don’t need to adhere to the agreement.

      5. James Allen says:

        Nor are Toro Rosso and HRT. FOTA has 7 members now

      6. Bakdraft says:

        You can’t help but feel that they must have broken the resource agreement in a major way and will continue to do so. This of course will force Ferrari to do exactly the same especially if their car is a dog, as they willhave to spend more and more money on developing parts to get themselves out of the mess. Tragic, as inevitably the ones that stick to the spending limits will easily be out developed, and thus will end up having to do the same thing. The the small teams may as well give up.

        I am very dissapointed in all parties…. but especially the greedy Red Bull and Ferrari.

      7. Yo says:

        I don’t see a problem with upgrading most of the bodywork before the first race, why would that mean much more expending, considering they have to build 2 cars while in winter testing they only use 1?

        Every team does a similar thing, except that it does not get advertised as much (you call it B-spec when it is not, as somebody mentioned before). Or do you expect them to do no development from December when they start building the launch car until March?

      8. Glennb says:

        Nor are they obliged to….

      9. Kay says:

        or they had spare resources left from ’11 and used some of those for ’12 before ’12 went underway.

      10. David Goss says:

        James

        Is the RRA actually a legal agreement? I think I read somewhere it was more a gentleman’s agreement and not actually binding. So, if it were to transpire that RBR have in fact been overspending, what would happen to them?

      11. Kevin Green says:

        How can you regulate the unregulatable especially when the majority of the cost seems to be spent sitting behind computer screens as opposed to in manufacturing time and visable use ie track testing???

    2. gondokmg says:

      If they have indeed created 2 different cars (as opposed to just bolting new bits on the second but similar chasis), then there are two likely outcomes, i.e;
      (a) it does not affect them because they do not adhere to RRA anyway, in which case the other teams aught to look into it, or
      (b) What goes around comes around and their development budget for the remainder of the season is already be compromised.

      Time will tell which is which!

  18. Godfather says:

    That’s a very brave move. Either they are very smart or very silly; I hope it is the former. Good luck to them.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      But then if it does not work (chassis set up B) on the 1st race and it appears they have clearly got it wrong seeing its based on the same chassis they can simply switch back to (and even fore again with revised) the chassis set up they had (be it with tweeks) in the pre season practice sessions!

  19. wift says:

    Hello James,

    There could be unseen problems if they choose to run the ‘b spec’ in Melbourne. What do you think? Will the gamble pay off for RBR?

    1. James Allen says:

      Thry’ve had another couple of weeks to refine it. They are being very aggressive, that’s their way

  20. David Payne says:

    It’s interesting to hear that Jenson was selected as Horner’s top rival. In a field of 6 world champions it would seem that only 3 are real contenders.

    It suggests that Lewis, whilst often brilliant, is not consistent enough. Lewis has the occasional excellent game whereas Jenson has game excellence.

    Good luck, Jenson!

    1. Davexxx says:

      Well put, and I agree; Lewis is good, but can get, shall we say, ‘distracted’ by various things. Jenson seems more level-headed and cool, takes his chances when he gets them and takes them well, while also looking after the car well. Sorry I’m re-stating the obvious here, but I believe these are what count – and I admire Horner for answering the ‘most dangerous rival’ question so honestly.

    2. Jeff says:

      If Lewis can figure out how to finish consistently, he’ll be running a lot closer to Jenson in the Championship come the end of the year. I hope he manages it, so that the competition is close.

      It remains to be seen whether he’ll be ahead or behind. The points system these days favours consistency over raw speed, and the tyre preservation aspects of today’s F1 also favour Jenson.

  21. Ade says:

    JB seems to be very much in the frame by a lot of people, his beating Lewis raised his stock considerably albeit with Lewis having a mare of a season…

  22. Steve C says:

    Whether it’s the RB8a or RB8b Mark Weber is right, everybody will be pushing this year. I can’t wait to see our USGP here in Austin. This is going to be one of the best years for F1.

  23. Kevin says:

    Hey James!
    How big a risk is this decision?

    1. Davexxx says:

      I’d guess it’s 50/50. It’s anyone’s guess whether the newer one with its tweaks, might work better, or, fail! Clearly Horner thinks that whatever went wrong with the newer car, had nothing to do with the new tweaks, so that’s where his money lies!

      1. kevin says:

        Or an aggressive strategy? they know that car A is better than the rest of the field but car B has more (development and speed) potential. In retrospect its not a bad plan. If they cant get car B to work by (say) round 3 then they can revert to car A and be not to far behind. Points are not going to be the only factor here. the engineers will know what the performance parameters are whether car B meets them. Im surprised they did not bring one of each Mark Webber (the MAN i might add) would probably have preferred car A because it would be less risky and he would love to win his home race.

  24. Andrew says:

    Love the last comment, they know that Lewis gets wound up with this kind of talk – the gamesmanship starts already!

  25. Richard says:

    I wonder about the legality of the revised B-spec RB8 because I thought it was written in the rules that exhaust gases may not be used deliberately for aerodynamic effect (ie feeding the diffuser). While the exhaust exits in the prescribed area rearward lies a scoop to collect as much of it as possible to do precisely that, however it will be presumeably be of limited use in corners because the engine mapping is also controlled.
    As to who will be Red Bull’s biggest threat is a hard choice, and I don’t think Horner really knows so has drawn on last years experience, but a few things have changed. The tyres slightly, and Lewis Hamilton may be back on form with a better car, Kimi Raikkenon is back, and Alonso will push that Ferrari as hard as he can regardless.

  26. Jonathan says:

    This is mind games, right? Surely Horner knows as well as anyone that Lewis has the potential to be the bigger threat — if he keeps his head together.

  27. Naming Jenson sounds to me like a cheeky sideswipe at Lewis Hamilton. The psychological war has started, and from last year’s emotional and behavioral antics, Lewis is going to be tested…

  28. Sri says:

    Christina Horner choosing Button as the closest rival could be construed in one of the two ways: 1. He sincerely thinks that Button with consistent but not so spectacular performances can do very well. OR 2. He is playing games with McLaren team so that there could be some confusion and intra-team rivalry which could benefit RedBull.

    1. Kay says:

      I thought same.

  29. CraigD says:

    I expect Jenson to have another good year but if the McLaren is right up there with the Red Bull and away from the like of Massa’s Ferrari especially(!), I Lewis to be back in front.

    I just feel that when it comes to that sniff of a win – which the McLaren should hopefully have more of this year – Lewis is the more who can grab the bull by the horns (excuse the pun) and have the determination to grab the win.

    When the car is not there fighting for a win race in race out, then Jenson is good at getting a solid job done, while Lewis might at times, let his head drop, over do it, etc.

    I’m a Jenson fan but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be Lewis’s year if the Red Bull isn’t able to qualify like it did last year.

  30. Steven says:

    It seems to me like hes trying to rattle Lewis into mistakes LOL

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Could be a lot of purposes in that ones to note of which “dont come knocking again we dont want you” or Hello jenson “we are interested in you” Or it could be simply as suggested mind games on Lewis to be fair at the start of any single race and putting them both at the front of the grid my money would still be going on Lewis to win the race every time.

      But putting them on the grid at the start of the weekend adding all the rest of the Variables in F1 “what everyone else is doing etc etc” im not so sure i feel maturity is giving Button the edge on the whole season and prob will still in the coming season but on that i feel being with better teams/cars as Button has been over the past few seasons it is making him a far better driver anyway.

  31. Dave C says:

    Its interesting that Horner singled out Jenson as the main threat, maybe its mind games but maybe he genuinely believes Jenson will be the more reliablt threat over the course of the season.
    On another note, if their B-Spec car does work then I can’t see Vettel being beaten at Melbourne.

    1. James Allen says:

      Gary Anderson told me last night that JB is his tip for 2012 champion too.

      1. iceman says:

        The bookies like Lewis better… I wonder if Gary has a fiver on Jenson, 9-1 is decent odds. Lewis is showing 5′s or 6′s. I fancy Webber as an each way bet at 16-1; if the Red Bull is dominant then he has a good chance of making the top 3 again.

      2. D@X says:

        I will pick my dark hoarse and he has good odds at the bookies, I will go for LH cause he has made enough mistakes to play it wise for this season…. Thats for the inter team battle, now that RBR have a new car, I believe there is a chance Newy might be over-thinking and perhaps compromise his methodology..I’m hoping cause the man is super smart.

      3. ttwan says:

        Who is your fav James?

      4. Donald says:

        I take it you’re sticking with Vettel? This is the first year for a while I’m not predicting Alonso.

        I think McLaren will be a bit split between Jenson and Lewis. Ironically, I think the real hope McLaren have is Webber hurting Vettel intermittently.

      5. James Allen says:

        Yes I think Vettel will win the title again after a tough fight with the McLaren drivers, Webber and maybe Alonso in the mix too.

        I think McLaren will win the constructors’ title.

      6. gondokmg says:

        I think if Mclaren have the pace to fight the Bulls, and tyres are not that much of an issue (as expected), then Lewis is the man!

      7. Webbo says:

        If Vettel wins again, he will achieve something, that only Fangio (twice) and Schumacher (thrice) have achieved: win three successive titles. It’s so rare that I doubt it will happen. How about a surprise Champ, one of the Mercedes drivers? Only if Ferrari and McLaren falters and Red Bull has reliability issues, though.

      8. Nathan says:

        I don’t think mclaren will come close to the red bulls in the constructors title there cars a better there pit stops are faster there better qualifiers and in my opinion better drivers

      9. KRB says:

        If it turns out like this, then McLaren will have to pick a #1 driver by mid-season, b/c RBR surely will throw their weight behind Vettel.

      10. Kay says:

        Yes James, but Gary don’t have a crystal ball lol.

      11. Jean-Christophe says:

        How could G. Anderson tip JB for thé 2012 championship? He said he couldn’t see how the McLaren could be a winning car with their low nose. Former engineer he might be, I’ve lost trust in his analysis. Not because of his conclusions but because of the way he comes to them.

      12. gondokmg says:

        Agree with that, infact I lost respect for him after his low nose comments seeing as the Mclaren looks competitive!

  32. Seán Craddock says:

    So he named all the world champions as Red Bull’s rivals? No surprise there then

    1. Sri says:

      Not all. The obvious one with all records has not been named.

  33. Andrew Carter says:

    Not a surprise, Red Bull have a very good recent history with their updates tending to work far more often than not. The last weekend of testing didn’t tell us much about the overall pace of this car, or McLaren’s for that matter, but if this isnt out front I will be surprised.

  34. Donald says:

    In a sense, Button is the non-controversial and concrete person to select because he came second in 2011. To select Hamilton over Button would therefore be more of a slap in the face.

  35. CarlH says:

    I fear that if Red Bull are even slightly quicker than McLaren / Ferrari then the fight between Alonso, Button, Hamilton and Webber will only be for second place.

    I hate to admit it (Alonso fan), but Vettel is the superior driver when it comes to qualifying, and he has the run-and-hide technique at the start down to a tee.

    Hopefully the RB8 will only be the 2nd or 3rd fastest car, then we’ll really see what Seb is made of.

    1. Well says:

      Watch the 2008 season with Vettel in a Torro Rosso giving the McLarens and Ferraris a hard time (including almost making Hamilton lose the title by passing him in Brazil) and if you then cannot see he is really that good, then nothing can convince you from your bias against him.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        I completely agree with you, Vettel is no doubt the best driver in Formula 1, yes in 2008 towards the end of the season he was fighting with the Ferrari’s and Mclaren’s in a STR and in the wet made Kovalainen in a Mclaren look ordinary, also he made Hamilton look like a panicking kid in Brazil when Seb overtook him and stayed ahead, that moment for me overshadowed Hamilton winning the title, it burst Lewis’s bubble and it’s phychalogically told Lewis there’s a new kid in the ball park that’s more talented and younger than him, from that day Seb has been the dominant driver in F1.

      2. Dave says:

        So Hamilton’s lacklustre 2009 was nothing to do with his car being an absolute dog?

      3. Jean-Christophe says:

        Vettel was able to overtake Hamilton in the wet in Brazil only because McLaren made a gamble and didn’t change his tyres. So it wasn’t just a piece of brilliant driving.

      4. Jay says:

        @Jean-Christophe – A title winning Mclaren shouldn’t have been that close to an STR in the first place.

      5. KRB says:

        I don’t think Hamilton panicked at all when Vettel went ahead in Brazil. There were no lunges, like we saw from Alonso on Petrov in Abu Dhabi.

        If that overshadowed Hamilton winning the title that year for you, then you are seriously blinkered!

        His 2008 win in Monza was a the-planets-aligned win. Hamilton, Massa, & Raikkonen all qualified low down on the grid. Yes, Heikki should have won that race, but didn’t (which causes me to question his belief that he could win the DWC in the ‘right’ car). Heikki’s only win was a lucky inherited win after Massa’s engine blew up.

      6. CarlH says:

        I have no bias against Vettel at all. I think he’s been a fantastic World Champion both on and off the track.

        I would just like to see if he can win a championship when he doesn’t have the best car.

      7. Steve says:

        just curious, who won a championship with the 2nd fastest car?

      8. KRB says:

        Hamilton, in 2008. The Ferrari was clearly faster throughout that season. Ferrari won the constructors title, and Hamilton’s teammate finished 7th in the driver’s standings! The last time that happened was in the mid-80′s.

      9. Jay says:

        @KRB – But even then you could argue that Kovalainen just underperformed, and that Hamilton benefited from superior reliability.

      10. Kay says:

        Someone already mentioned above and I’ll help to repeat…

        In a Adrian Newey designed car powered by a Ferrari…. not a bad car ya know?

      11. Webbo says:

        Yes, powered by a Ferrari customer engine.

      12. Kay says:

        Still a Ferrari engine

      13. Jay says:

        But that Adrian Newey car finished 7th in the constructors championship with Red Bull. Even if the STR3 wasn’t considered to be that “bad”, Vettel still stuck it in places it had no right being.

      14. Kay says:

        Yer stuck it in mid-field when he should just stay all the way back at last.

      15. David A says:

        @Kay – Seb stuck it in the top 6 on numerous occasions when the car wasn’t supposed to be capable of that. Vettel had an excellent season which showed why he was a potential champion.

      16. Webbo says:

        J-C, I think Hammy did change tyres, so no gamble here, just outright pace.

    2. MISTER says:

      I share your thoughts that SV is a great qualifier..but if he’s better then LH or FA remains to be seen. Ferrari last year had problems with switching the tyres on quick..therefore in a qualifying 2-laps mode..Alonso would be in disadvantage compared to SV and LH.

      This year it looks (from testing) that the Ferrari is much better on short runs and can switch those tyres on quick. This will be interesting in Q3.

      1. Webbo says:

        I have no doubts that Vettel is a better qualifier, he might even threaten Schumacher’s pole record one day. Can’t think the same of Alonso, although perhaps Hammy can do it too? We’ll see, it’ll be fascinating to watch.
        Poles: Schumacher 68 (record), Vettel 30 (at the age of 24!), Alonso 20 (aged 30) and Hamilton 19 (aged 27).

    3. Kay says:

      “Hopefully the RB8 will only be the 2nd or 3rd fastest car, then we’ll really see what Seb is made of.”

      Agree.

    4. gondokmg says:

      Vettel and Jenson are both very good, but I won’t rate either of them alongside Hamilton and Alonso unless and until they win the world championship in a car that is not clearly the fastest on the grid!

      1. StallionGP F1 says:

        I think comments like this, is written out of being jealous.
        When has anybody won a championship in nothing but the best car really?
        Its a very short-sighted comment and shows ignorance of modern F1. Right now on that grid Vettel is the best driver because F1 has always been about man and machine in harmony, so tough luck for all other teams who cant match redbull, its not Vettel’s fault.

      2. gondokmg says:

        I’m not a racing driver so why would I be jealous of any driver? It’s not as if I am fighting with them for the championship is it?

        Sorry if I don’t rate your favourite driver as much as you do, but it remains my opinion that it takes more skill to win a championship in a car that is not the dominant car than it does to win in a dominant car.

      3. KRB says:

        Hamilton in 2008. The Ferrari was faster thru the season. That was the only reason why Massa was in it ’til the end that year.

      4. Jay says:

        @KRB – The Mclaren wasn’t exactly much slower than the Ferrari, and it was more reliable, so that’s not a good example.

      5. Jay says:

        But it’s not to say Alonso or Hamilton won their titles with as many wins in a season as Vettel did with their cars which weren’t as dominant. Vettel may have had a more dominant car, but he used the advantage to greater effect.

        And I agree with Stallion, F1 has always been about man and machine. Alonso and Hamilton still needed the fastest car (or cars that were roughly as fast as their opposition with better reliability than Raikkonen’s Mclaren and Massa’s Ferrari) to win their titles.

  36. Steven Pritchard says:

    Only Christian really knows what he meant by “Jenson” comments.

    Then again, Jenson was going to be blown away by Hamilton in 2011 if I remember correctly. Jensons tyre adaptability, and Hamiltons refusal to budge from his drive flat out play station style will probably play out again this year if Lewis doesn’t learn from his mistakes last year. That will be an indicator of his maturity.

  37. Berty Basset says:

    A little off topic James but its something that has been bugging me for a while. With a team like Red-bull being able to produce a “b” spec car at the last moment it shows their production operation must be quite some setup, like the other top teams.

    So what about the back markers, they seem to struggle with design of their cars to achieve any where close to the main teams in down-force particularly. Has there ever been a case of someone like Adrian Newey or another great designer taking “pity” on them and maybe giving them a few pointers, where to work on, even back of napkin type sketches, has that ever happened? I think I already know the answer but it would be a very nice gesture if something like that did happen.

    1. James Allen says:

      There are quite strict rules on IP. Big teams now have relationships with small teams for drivetrain supply, KERS, strategy tools, wind tunnels etc.

    2. Davexxx says:

      Apart from the legal (and closely controlled) agreements James refers to, yours is a lovely idea, but sadly, would never happen. From the past stories (StepneyGate et al) even if a kindly engineer passed a ‘hint’ on a napkin to another team, the legal people would scream and have his b***s on a plate once that idea appeared on the rival car, such is the wonderful litigious world of F1…
      Don’t get me wrong, I champion the Underdog too, but it could also be argued the whole spirit of F1 is to develop your own ideas (and try to keep them secret) to be the best. If many ideas were shared, then at the end of that road all the cars would be identical. Then you’d get A1 racing, which seemed to die a death…

  38. Wade says:

    JB has proved himself time after time now so what more does he have to do now. He is up there with vettel, Lewis and Alonso. Wish people would leave him alone and yes, Lewis did win three races but it’s also how you perform out of the car too these days.

    1. Well says:

      Lewis is not up there with Alonso and Vettel anymore though.

      1. Tealeaf says:

        And Alonso is not up there with Vettel anymore though.

      2. MISTER says:

        And F150 Italia was not up there with RB7 though.

      3. Kay says:

        Yea ofcourse Alonso is not up there with Vettel when Vettel had THAT car. Put it the otherway and Vettel would be among the Trulli and Glock class.

      4. F1 says:

        Regarding raw pace Vettel is better, but considering race intelligence Alonso tops him.

      5. Webbo says:

        Alonso still has more wins than Vettel, wouldn’t that suggest he’s the better driver? Unless he’s lost it meanwhile, however that would be a bit early when aged 30, wouldn’t it?

  39. Tyler says:

    How anyone thinks Red Bull is somehow scrambling or in trouble is beyond me. Two words… Adrian Newey.

    1. Webbo says:

      Over the last 20 years, not every Newey car which was entered, did win the title, somehow the following Newey cars managed to lose the title (the particular year’s Champion in backets):

      Williams 94 (Schumacher)
      Williams 95 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 97 (Villeneuve)
      McLaren 00 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 01 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 02 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 03 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 04 (Schumacher)
      McLaren 05 (Alonso)
      Red Bull 06 (Alonso)
      Red Bull 07 (Räikkönen)
      Red Bull 08 (Hamilton)
      Red Bull 09 (Button)

      Villeneuve, Räikkönen, Hamilton and Button managed to beat Newey cars once.
      Alonso managed to beat Newey cars twice.
      Schumacher managed to beat Newey cars seven(!) times.

      So you see driving a Newey car doesn’t grant you the title automatically, it requires brilliant driving skills as well!

      Take Räikkönen for example, he’s been driving Newey cars for 5 years, yet never won anything!

  40. Dan Orsino says:

    James, would you agree that nobody is going to run away with it this year?

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think so. I think Red Bull has a very good car and so does McLaren. Ferrari will get it together at some point and Mercedes are on an upward curve

  41. james says:

    everyone is dising button but would the tyres not suit him even more this yesr plus a consistancy that quick nick would be proud of. i also noticed last year he pushed when his tyres were at there peak rather than staight out of the box therfore gaing the most out of them, something both webber and lewis struggled with.

  42. richard c says:

    you have to give it to horner he has got some front!! Personally I would like anyone to beat seb just so that smug grin of horner would go!! I also think that when RB is beaten you will see a differant Martin Brundell.He creeps and crawls round Horner but when LH takes the mantell all of a sudden he will be knocking on the Maclaren garage door. With such a close season in prospect then the qaullifying and smallest marjin,s will I hope be of benefit to LH. JB had a great last season but this is LH season!

  43. Marco says:

    As a foreigner, I am still amazed how little respect Jenson get from the English. He’s a top driver – as recognised by everyone in pit lane, but not by blinkered armchair crtitics sitting at home.

    I accept that he is not involved in many thrills and spills, but that’s not conducive to winning races any way (witness Lewis 2011).

    I hope Jenson continues to drive like he did in the second half of last year – to me that was thrilling.

    1. Kay says:

      English here and just simply speaking a very honest opinion of Jenson

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      critics sitting at home” had such high hope for Hamilton after his first year that anyone who make’s him look bad will suffer their wrath.

      Button may not have as much raw speed as Hamilton but his racecraft and instinct are second to none. When he race, he think 300km not the next corner.

      I don’t see the logic in saying a driver is better than another because he as more raw speed. If you cant bring the car home on a consistent basis, its irreverent if you are 1sec faster then the opposition on Saturday.

      Hamilton has potential and he is still young, time will tell if learn to manage races properly.

  44. Glennb says:

    “Lewis is going to be pushing hard this year, it’s an important year for him. Jenson Button had a great year last year. Fernando Alonso you can’t rule out, he’s a world class driver, and it will be interesting to see how Kimi Raikkonen fares on his return.” But when pressed to give one name, he said: “Probably Jenson.”

    How can that be considered anything other than an honest answer? Horner hasn’t made a statement per se, he has answered a question once and when pressed for more information has refined his answer to one name. Mind Games? The only minds he seems to have affected are certain JA Forum members ;)

  45. goferet says:

    @ JF

    No driver can win a title in anything other than the fastest car.
    ————————————————–

    No, what I meant is a dominant car.

    You see, there’s a difference to having equal fast cars like we had in 2005 with the Mclaren & Renault or even a close 2nd fastest car like we had with Mclaren in 2008.

    Now dominant cars are a different game all together e.g. Ferrari 2002, 2004, Brawn (first half of the season) and then the Red Bulls 2010, 2011.

    1. StallionGP F1 says:

      Drivers make cars dominant.
      In 2005 if the mclaren had been reliable kimi would have been more dominant than Vettel was in 2011 as he led most races with atleast a 20 sec gap.

    2. F1 says:

      RB wasn’t a dominant car in 2010.

      1. MISTER says:

        It was in my view. Just think back at all the crashes and problems with reliability RBR had that year. Without them, both SV and MW would’ve been miles away by the end of the championship.

      2. Webbo says:

        It would have been dominant without all the problems with reliability, that’s the point. Like McLaren in 2005 for example.

      3. KRB says:

        Sure it was. RBR even consider their 2010 car more dominant than their 2011 car (I disagree with that, but that’s what they themselves think).

      4. KRB says:

        All one has to say is that Vettel went on a run of 3 wins in 4 races (and retired from the lead in the other race) to win the title. No other car could’ve done that, that year.

      5. David A says:

        But at the same time, the RB6 was held back by reliability issues more than the MP4-25 and F10. That’s part of why it wasn’t so dominant as an overall package.

  46. goferet says:

    @ dubdub

    … remember Monza last year. Hamilton was stuck behind Schumacher for laps… Button comes “cruising” up behind, passes Hamilton and then does what Hamilton has not been able to…
    ————————————————-

    Aah I do recall that race.

    Are you referring to that race where Jenson sat back waiting like a hyena letting the Lion that’s Lewis do all the chasing and thus wearing out Schumi’s tyres making him unable to defend when Jenson came by —> Yes such a true racer that Jenson *cough*

    And to add insult to injury, Jenson got the priority for the pit stop just because he was ahead on that lap even though Lewis tyres were more worn which action put Lewis behind Schumi for further laps after the first pit stops.

    1. Steven Pritchard says:

      Blimey,

      Rose tinted spectacles or what! :-D

      1. Peter says:

        I actually agree. That’s exactly what happened. JB plays the long game. LH plays the short game on every corner. It makes him incredibly exciting to watch but the risks he takes mean the odds are stacked against him in a 300km race.

      2. gondokmg says:

        And what exactly would Jenson have done differently if he had been the one behind Schumi with Lewis behind him?

        I have no doubt that the same thing would have happened with Lewis overtaking both Schumi and Jenson because the outcome had more to to do with tyres (and Schumi’s excessive defending) than the ability of either Lewis or Jenson.

    2. Mike says:

      So according to your logic – the more successful Jenson becomes, the luckier he gets. Yeah right!

  47. Adam says:

    I think Horner’s comment relates to the fact that Button drove his car to it’s limit last year and Hamilton did not. Simple as that.

  48. Pat Guillon says:

    I think Christian Horner is in an impossible position. The only way for Red Bull to better last year’s performance is to have Vettel & Webber picking up 1-2′s consistantly. If they win both championships but the result is closer it will be perceived that they have gone backwards. That’s the problem with the top, there’s only one direction left.

    1. James Allen says:

      Nice problem to have though…

  49. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – couple of queries.

    1. how early would RB have begun on their new design? Given that they ran away with the championship, would this have allowed them to get a head start on this year’s car?

    2. What would the benefit (other than reliability) have been for running the A-spec chassis when the B-spec is clearly different? How much of the data would still be relevant?

  50. Roger W says:

    I recall a post from last year – maybe from James – that all the teams are interested in is results, last year the top 3 were:

    1.Vettel
    2.Button
    3.Webber

    So why would Horner not put Button as No.1 threat??

  51. val from montreal says:

    funny that Horner completely ignored Mercedes F1 team and their drivers …..

    Horner says Button , becuase he really fears Merc and Michael …..

    1. Kay says:

      hahaha…

      or Horner says Button, because he thinks Merc and Michael are trash? :D :D :D

  52. Joseph F says:

    Interesting isnt it. Webber had a Poor year and still managed 3rd. If the car is more to his liking this yr, and he has learned with the tires.. or the tires are also suiting him better than I believe we can expect quite an exciting yr from Webber, and the championship with multiple contenders

  53. Ed says:

    Didn’t we have these experts opining on one Kimi R, whose telling comment about no-one knowing what was in his mind but him was borne out by his performance. Why are their analyses
    any more valid for any other driver?

  54. Dave Deacon says:

    I should add that psychology is a serious part of racing. It would be interesting to have a psychologist assess F1 racers and their relationships…

  55. Our Nige says:

    Jenson will never win another world championship. It was only circumstance that won it for him in 2009; and even then he almost lost it to his teammate, the old man, Rubens Barrichelo. That is the same Rubens, who in his prime, was repeatedly annihilated by Schumi at Ferrari year after year.

    He is a decent number two but that is about it. People talk about Canada last year as if he pulled off something special. In the old days, pre safety cars coming through the field actually meant something but not anymore. Every time the safety car comes out the race is effectively ‘re-set’ and there were countless safety cars in Canada. I’ve heard people claim button is some sort of rain master after he won in Melbourne last year. Button was falling back through the field when it started to rain in Melbourne, and his teammate was destroying him. Button therefore had one option left to him; to go in and gamble by putting on wet tyres early and praying it worked for him. It did and he won. Simple as that.

    Decent number two driver; nothing more.

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