Why has Red Bull been the car to beat in recent seasons?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Feb 2013   |  9:59 am GMT  |  307 comments

Already it is clear from winter testing that the battle at the front in F1 this year is going to be very close. It’s an important season for all the top teams – Ferrari and McLaren in particular, but also Lotus and Mercedes, are keen to put a stop to Red Bull winning the title for a fourth consecutive season, while Red Bull themselves want to keep that momentum going.

How have they managed it? Clearly having technical chief Adrian Newey onboard is a major asset and his group’s designs and innovations through this period have kept Red Bull’s noses in front. Apart from the blown diffuser year where they dominated in 2011, the two other titles have been closely fought and have come by finding that vital edge when it comes to development.

JA on F1 readers have frequently asked during this period, “Why has the Red Bull been consistently the leading car over the last few years?”

We put this question to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, who was Chief Operations engineer at Williams until the end of last season. What follows is not an exhaustive analysis but gives some indications of areas where Red Bull has the edge.

“On paper they do not have the best tunnel, or necessarily the best facility,” says Gillan, “But what they do have has been stability in their very impressive technical leadership, spearheaded by Adrian Newey and his excellent lieutenant Peter Prodromou, who heads the Aero Department.

“They also have an excellent trackside support group, headed by Stefano Sordo, which is instrumental in ensuring correlation between the full scale car and the wind tunnel model and also driving the development process in the right direction.

“This group ensures that the car is wind tunnel mapped and therefore developed in the appropriate operating envelope, with the correct weightings (i.e. importance) placed on the various areas; from low-speed, high steer and yaw conditions through, to say, straight-line braking stability criteria.”

Getting the weightings right across all the various areas is key to having a car which performs aerodynamically in all situations.

“If one does not add enough weighting to an important part of the map, the car’s handling is likely to be deficient in this particular area,” says Gillan. “Red Bull Racing usually get this right.

Photo: Darren Heath 2010


“They are also class leaders in flow control and aeroelasticity (getting the carbon fibre wings to flex, as above), with the FIA’s latest regulations limiting front wing deflection being another attempt to diminish the impact of aeroelasticity.”

So potentially with the tough new FIA rules on flexing, this is an area where the team might have lost a little more than their rivals and this is one of the key data areas the team will have been analysing from the Jerez test.


As for their class leading flow control, Gillan says, “If one analyses the flow viz pictures (photos where the fluorescent paint is visible on the car during practice) taken of the RBR rear wing at the end of last season, one sees probably the most stable flow features on any rear wing throughout the grid.”

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307 Comments
  1. Kay says:

    It’s just Newey, not RBR.

    Place Newey into any team and that team would succeed. Without Newey, Horner and RBR wouldn’t be anywhere close to the front.

    1. James Allen says:

      How do you explain Newet at McLaren 2000 – 2004 with no WDC?

      1. justafan says:

        Schumi in his prime was simply too good to beat, even for someone like Newey.

      2. Wayne says:

        Sorry, just stopped by to say “HAM 142.9 on TG, that is all” ;)

      3. sergiu says:

        Rory Byrne…

      4. tank says:

        +1. Can’t wait for next year to see those designers head to head.

      5. Anop says:

        James, one explanation would be Rory Byrne at Ferrari and the other would be Ron Dennis at McLaren :-)

      6. Stefanos says:

        Rory Byrne?

      7. mark says:

        Very true james people forget newey didn’t win any titles 2000-2010 admittedly part of that was settling into red bull but it does prove having newey is not a 100% guarantee of title success

      8. Andy Hart says:

        Cause mclaren always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot!

      9. Simmo says:

        I can! Ferrari

      10. AndyFov says:

        Don’t you mean Bridgestone?

      11. Richard says:

        I think Newey has more freedom with Red Bull to pursue his goals, whereas with McLaren his talent would have been diluted or restricted by other influences within the team. Put another way there is no room for democracy within an F1 team where the pursuit of performance through aerodynamic excellence must be paramount in the current F1 formula.

      12. Ed Bone says:

        A combination of Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Bridgestone tyres, Ferrari, Bernie Ecclestone, Max Moseley, Ferrari and the “existential relationship”.

      13. Simmo says:

        and Ferrari

      14. tank says:

        er, Rory Byrne.

      15. Ed Bone says:

        Agreed. RB was the final piece in the jigsaw. I’m sure, however, if Adrian had been given the role, he would have been equally successful in that environment.

      16. For sure says:

        I thought there was a guy called Schumacher? I heard he was pretty good lol

      17. Sid says:

        Schumi was there in 05 and 06 as well… he was not the one who made the only difference

      18. rags says:

        tyre manufacturer!

      19. Elie says:

        I would say Mercedes engine that kept blowing up.

      20. KAlan says:

        As has been pointed out, there was a guy named Rory Byrne who was a match for Newey, the mighty Ferrari resources at his disposal plus jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Schumacher, but above all, the bespoke Bridgestone tyres. They were the biggest difference.

      21. Bayan says:

        Schumi and Ron

      22. Quade says:

        Aside the MP4-16 and MP4-18 which were too radically designed to succeed, the FIA and Max Mosely desperately hated McLaren at the time Newey worked there.
        Those were the times that F1 was run in a most shameful fashion, in fact Bernie has spoken of how he talked Max Mosely out of banning McLaren for THREE YEARS! In those circumstances, it isn’t any surprise that try as Newey did, it would have taken nothing less than angels from above to give McLaren a WDC.

      23. grat says:

        I think Newey explained it recently, when he said the biggest thing he liked about Red Bull and Christian Horner, is that they stay out of his way and let him get on with his job.

        Conversely, it seems sometimes that Ron Dennis might be the biggest control freak on the grid.

      24. Kay says:

        2000 – 2004, Newey wanted to do something else, he even got as close to almost leaving McLaren!

        Plus his cars during that time weren’t slow, just had huge problems with reliability due to his preference in having ultra compact designs which didn’t really help cooling.

        Going back to 2003 / 2005, despite having a poor reliability car, Kimi did still manage to put up a good title fight. Also during one of those years, Kimi had to use a car that was over a year old AND still be competitive. That shows the car’s designs was good.

      25. Gareth says:

        I seem to remember that mclaren was plagued by the reliability issues through those years, although when the car worked was able to pull clear of the field many times.

        don’t you think Rory Byrne has been away to long now to get up to speed with the latest technologies?

      26. MookF1 says:

        Do you not think the majority of wins in modern F1 have broadly come down to money?

        Schumacher has said that he believes Redbull have the resources he had back in his Ferrari winning days. Its pretty obvious that the RRA was not being adhered to but admittedly no hard evidence is in place.

        I know money doesn’t always guarantee success, take Honda for example and the catalyst is the likes of Brawn, Byrne or a Newey and the designers they bring and lead, as well as specific driver combinations. Yet I think at the top like in most pinnacle sports formulas, money buys points. As long as Redbull spend more money than Mclaren, continue with their lead driver strategy (while Mclaren don’t) and Ferrari have issues on the design side, they are going to remain odds on favourite.

      27. mosar says:

        powerful but massively unreliable Merc engine?

    2. All the time you have to leave the space! says:

      lol this designer didn’t win anything from the years 2000-2009 until a certain team and a certain driver came along and then won the triple double, who was this designer?

    3. Harvey says:

      Sorry I disagree newey is head of development guiding direction, below him are obviously lots of clever people, to say that it’s all newey is a bit insult to all those engineers, f1 cars are complex bits of kit, to be dominant like RBR you have to be strong in all areas, clearly newey is a smart guy but it irritates me when people say its all him

      1. Niko says:

        You got that right! I totally agree. Newey alone can’t make the differenz. C. Horner was putting the team together over years. Where was RBR in the first years, although Newey was there? Nowhere. If I remember right they had just a podium finish in Monaco with DC. Newey is good to have, no doubt, but so is everyone else underneath him.
        Furthermore Tilke doesn’t design the tracks himself, he just leads the team who does!

      2. Richard says:

        I absolutely agree with you that there are many talented people in Newey’s design team and indeed the Red Bull team at large, but he is the man with the hand on the tiller, and it’s the design team that contributes most to the teams success as without a good car they would have no chance of winning anything.

      3. Grabyrdy says:

        I think James makes clear in his article that it’s not just Newey, it’s the team around him. On the other hand, he’s had presumably lots of input into assembling that team. And as we all know, it takes time (as the article also says).

        As for Christian, he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to defuse the bombs that Marko regularly and unnecessarily lobs into the mix. Even with them, he’s done a good job, and without them he’d no doubt do an even better one.

      4. ZF1 says:

        +1

        It takes a massive team effort like Ferrari in the early 00′s and Williams in the early 90′s and Mclaren before that to dominate the sport as RBR have done.

        Todt – Marko
        Horner – Brawn
        Newey – Byrne
        Prodromou – Costa/Tombazis
        Vettel = Schumacher

        You can argue that there are/were very strong and comparable people leading the various parts of the team. I’m sure there would have been such people in the dominant Williams’ and Mclaren teams too.

      5. The Catman says:

        Agree 100%. Well said.

        TC

      6. John says:

        Who at Ferrari were in charge when Kimi won his latests championship?

    4. Wade Parmino says:

      Newey, Vettel, even Webber and the other engineers are what has made Red Bull successfull. Don’t know if Horner is all that important though.

      1. RodgerT says:

        The team principal is the one who orchestrates all of those moving parts. So I’m sure Horner plays at least a little part.

      2. Glennb says:

        and they’re on a roll. They’ve hit upon a recipe that works at the moment and looks like working again this year. Everything comes to an end but it sure must feel good right now :)
        It’s not just about Newey. He’s one person in a huge team. As has been said already, he hasn’t always been on winning teams. He’s just one important cog of many, with all due respect to him.

      3. john r says:

        well newey knows how to delegate & trust those he appoints to do a job & do it well

      4. Tim says:

        In Vettel’s 1st championship, I think Horner was vital. That year, Whitmarsh called Vettel the ‘crash kid’ and had every right to during the 1st half of the season (the Turkish GP fiasco). Horner stepped in and became Vettel’s Yoda after that. Who knows what he said to the kid but soon after Vettel started to consistently score points and podium when he wasn’t winning. Vettel has gained more maturity since then but he still has his moments – and Horner still has to remind him to ‘use the force.’

    5. The Catman says:

      Saying “just Newey” is so demeaning to the other people at Red Bull, Adrian is just the visible bit of the iceberg

      TC

    6. f12many says:

      its a fix, the results are fix. you have the same v8 engines and yet red bull dominates year after year. its hard to think that the teams know about the advantages and disadvantage and yet just looks on as red bull wins title after title. personally give an equal car and alonso will beat everyone hands down atleast in f1. its just a ploy to make f1 racing interesting.

  2. Wayne says:

    That Flo-Viz looks like it was applied with an artist’s brush – amazing.

    1. tank says:

      Some separation in the corners though, think if they fillet the joins to the end-fences they might stop that happening :P

  3. goferet says:

    Maybe the Red Bull cynics could say that Red Bull has been the car to beat during these tough financial times because they have secretly been the biggest spenders and why they have been against the RRA.

    Of course as the article indicates Adrian Newey and his team of boffins have had a major role in the team’s success but if one includes money to the equation, that’s like putting a Bull on steroids hence 2011 season.

    Anyway, hopefully some brave lads can step up and put a halt to Red Bull’s recent charge although am sure it’s business as usual at Red Bull.

    P.s.

    I was very surprised to hear Vettel say he was already thinking of hitting the gym, all this a mere minutes after Interlagos 2012.

  4. goferet says:

    In more ways the one, Adrian Newey made history last year.

    You see with the exception of Mika, no driver had won more than 1 WDC title in a Newey car so Vettel’s 3 titles is a first.

    Also no Newey car had ever won more than 2 back to back WDC titles in the same team however Newey cars won 4 back to back titles from 1996-1999 though this was in two different teams >>> Williams and Mclaren.

    Now looking at the drivers, it’s pretty odd that it has only been Schumi that has been able to halt Newey’s cars >>> First in a Benetton in 1994 and then in 2000.

    So I find it pretty ironic that baby Schumi is now doing the business in a Newey car.

    1. Gee dawg says:

      very interesting view…intriguing point!

    2. Brad says:

      very nice info indeed!

    3. Sid says:

      Interesting!!!

  5. Csrweb says:

    Surprised the fact they have Vettel wasn’t mentioned. Can’t win a race without a driver! You don’t become a triple word champion for nothing.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Not for nothing. For Adrian Newey and Co.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        As much as people seems to dislike Vettel, he has comprehensively outdriven Webber. A similar comparison could be made in the Schumacher days when Ruebens and Eddie weren’t in the same league. Therefore I think the package (including driver), as James suggests, is the key. Otherwise Webber would have been WDC at some time in the past few years.

      2. RobF says:

        How do you know that Vettel’s dominance of Webber isn’t down to Vettel getting bits of kit that are not afforded to Mark? As we saw in Silverstone a couple of years ago, a newer spec wing was taken off of Mark’s car and given to the German, which to me proved back then that Red Bull clearly favored Seb.

    2. Kay says:

      I think it goes both ways.

      Without Newey, Vettel couldn’t get wins (as evident from first half of 2012).

      Without Vettel, Newey couldn’t get his cars to win either (as evident from Webber who couldn’t pull as much performance out of the car like Vettel could).

      1. James Allen says:

        It’s called Teamwork and it’s been the key to success for every winning outfit since racing began…

  6. Jonathan says:

    Red Bull – Class leaders in aeroelasticity….. in other words, as many of us have believed, rule breakers!

    The regs clearly state the front wing must be rigid. Obviously policing this is difficult as anything must flex to some degree – but the FIA have been very poor in making any real effort to enforce this rule. The revised tests were barely worth doing – they only made a very minor change. It would have been very easy to say a front wing must never have evidence of scraping along the track – that would also make the drivers stay on track a bit more rather than deliberately drive over kerbs.

    It is about time that the cars were monitored whilst racing – it would be pretty simple to set up a set of laser beams across the track at several points.

    If a beam at 45mm was broken before a beam at 20mm then it has to be the front wing being too low. No doubts and no point in protesting. I would suggest a penalty structure of say 3 fails gets a warning, 4 to 6 gets a 10 second penalty and any more gets a black flag.

    Red Bull must be spending a fortune in making sure their wings do flex rather than the smaller sum the other teams spend in trying to avoid it.Rules are rules – they must be applied properly or changed. All teams try to bend rules to their advantage so they need to be clear and enforceable. Engineers need to be allowed to innovate in other areas which is why some rules need to be revised. Isn’t it about time F1 started using bigger wheels? That would give engineers a massive amount work to do in revising suspension systems – and reduce the problems of puncture related damage.

    1. Onko says:

      How right you are,and its sad to accept that in the past to recent, the finger has mostly been pointed to the Red Bull,the infringements were exposed be it front wing,holes in the floor,engine maping and so on
      the body intrusted to govern let its governance on the side walk and the record books says Red Bull Racing won three world chapionships and two back to back.I look toward to next year where ( Aero )will be very much non event but the true engineers ennovation,how good it would be if there were more then one tyre suppliers, two or three, mayby then the old magic of motor racing would return, The great man Enzo Ferrari once said let compotition be the compotition makes a better breed.
      Cheers.

      1. JCA says:

        They where not braking the engine map rule, the rule was ‘clarified’, thus changed, to stop them. If you technically abide by a technical regulation then you are not cheating.

    2. B says:

      To counter this – the rules are simply the rules. They build a car that goes as quickly as it can and is legal. Simple. The rules say there is a minimum weight, sure, the teams could build a car that weighs two tonne and it’d be legal, but why would they do that when building a car that weighs only just enough to be deemed legal is enough and would obviously be faster?
      Take the same thinking and apply it to wings, sure, they could build a front wing made of steel that didn’t flex 1mm with a tonne of force against it, that would be legal, but why would they, when building a wing that they can use to make the car go faster whie still being deemed legal?

      1. Jonathan says:

        At least you accept rules are rules… but it would seem you do not agree with them being enforced! Most people who have read the rules understand that the front wing should not flex. Depending on where you sit is where things change.

        Newey and co see this and say damn I want it to flex. Then they read a bit further and the rules say the scrutineers may use a limp wristed approach to testing rigidity. So they laugh as they head back to their desks and work out how to pass a pathetic test but still flex as much as possible when in racing conditions.

        They all know that, strictly speaking, the wings do not comply to the basic rule. However since all they have to do is pass a simple test they will continue to push the unenforced boundaries.

      2. Glennb says:

        and if everyone else could figure out how RBR make their wings they’d all make ‘em like that. If your car passes scrutineering, its legal. I seem to recall Massa having a super flexi wing at one point last year. It didnt work worth a damn so was OK with everyone.

      3. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

        The rules have parameters, they are not absolute. Every part of the car flexes to some extent (even the engine block flexes, minute amounts but it’s not 100% rigid), the FIA understanding this have to establish the parameters of what constitutes a flexing wing. That is where the deflection tests come in, so the wings have to perform within the parameters of the test and if they do, it is deemed as not flexing, even if it flexes at forces greater than those imposed by the test.

        This is not cheating, F1 designer are always looking to exploit loopholes and gray areas of the rulebook, this is where the performance differentiators are. As long as they comply with the letter of the law they are legal.

      4. ashboy says:

        people now the rule about not drink driving. Some people go out and say i can have one drink and pass a breath test.
        The same applies here, the FIA rules stated (to allow for mistakes in manufacture) the wing to be able to flex by +/-20mm (think that was the figure). RBR worked out how to make the wing flex by +/-18mm every time thus inside the legal limit. The FIA relised what they where doing and tighten the rules. You can spout “spirit” of the rules all you like but the law is the law, its black or white.

    3. Timmay says:

      This employee of Ferrari is very bitter right now.

      1. Jonathan says:

        Are we to assume you want to continue the myth that the FIA persecuted ferrari when they were winning? … when the changes rewarded reliability at a time when the red cars were the most reliable? That and never restricting the supply of bespoke Bridgestone tyres filled with nitrogen.

        I will never forget the comments from Eddie Jordan. He said that once in a while they were given the same tyres as ferrari – and found them to be much faster than the tyres they were normally given.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I’m assuming you remember the FIA changing the tyre rules for 2005, where the tyre had to qualify and last the complete race distance.
        All observers knew this would penalise Ferrari the most as they were the only front runner that could develop the Bridgestones, whereas every other front running team, Williams, Mclaren, Renault and Toyota used Michelin..

        As to reliability, the red cars are still the most reliable. Look back at the 2005 season and then tell me that reliability isn’t important.

      3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        But were Jordan paying the same amount to Bridgestone that Ferrari were? If not, then I humbly suggest that he got what he paid for.

    4. JTodt says:

      Totally agree. I recall DC’s rear wing flex when he was driving for RBR. Now, four years on, Newey has mastered the art of flex. Just like the flexi nose of 2012 – that just blows me away!

      http://blog.axisofoversteer.com/2012/11/Red-Bull-flexi-wing.html

      1. Jonathan says:

        Wow! thanks for this link – I had not seen that.

        Maybe this is why Red Bull make such an effort to conceal their car whenever possible – just in case someone sees the how much the car flexes when a technician pushes it back into the garage.

      2. Jonathan S says:

        Teams always conceal their car to prevent other teams to copy/plagerize their ideas. The concept of aero elasticity is not new (both in and out of F1). The test procedures are written in the rulebook clearly and were enforced accordingly. Just because this sounds new to you doesn’t mean that Red Bull was illegal. Last year all the teams experimented with this with some success (except Mercedes, since they have packaging issues with the double DRS ducting) – didn’t we all remember how many times Ferrari brought new aero parts to races only to found out they had a wind tunnel problem? They even put this F1 inspired solution to the front wing of their 458 road car!

    5. SteveH says:

      As you say, nothing is inelastic, not even a 5000 ton block of concrete. The rules specify tests to determine if the component is legal; pass the test and it demonstrably is. The whole point of F1 is (or used to be) to build the fastest machine that meets the regulations. F1 is becoming boring with the restrictive lack of innovation; motors are totally controlled, with the 2014 regulations even defining bore, c.g., turbo location, weight, cylinder spacing, rpm, etc. etc. How about leaving room for innovation? Limit fuel, as they have done, displacement, and number of cylinders (or not) and leave the rest to the engineers. Wow, that would be fun. F1 is getting boring; I don’t even buy the Autocourse Annual anymore; the cars and engines are too similar, except for expensive, meaningless aero tweaks. If F1 keeps going to total pay TV coverage this old fan will quit watching, not that FOM will care.

      1. aveli says:

        vettel has won 3 championships in a trot, the youngest person to have ever done that and yet he is not seen as the best driver in the sport. he doesn’t attract as much attention as hamilton for example. if the rules weren’t as restrictive as they are, people will not be interested because they could correctly predict who would win each race and each championship. it would stop being a sport because the idea of sport is to find out who would win. drivers are paid more than all the employees in a team for a reason.

      2. SteveH says:

        Okay Aveli, then let’s just have F1 race IndyCars and become a spec series; may the best driver win.

        Seriously, technology is a huge part of the F1 game and is what makes it really interesting. I think people would be more interested if the rules were looser and innovation allowed.

    6. Veena says:

      I wish you would have been there when schumi won those five titles.

      1. Jonathan says:

        I was … but nearly gave up watching the farce. It was as if Bernie insisted on all other drivers, regardless of team, had a clause in their contracts that said they would be sacked if they did not get off the racing line as soon as they saw a red car in their mirrors. That and no penalty could be applied to MS no matter what he or his team did.

      2. Doobs says:

        Maybe he really just was that fast

      3. Jonathan says:

        That is the saddest bit of all… he was the fastest. He didn’t need the blatant favouritism, the insulting team orders, dubious tactics and so many blind eyes. His reputation would have been a lot less tarnished had he raced on a level playing field. His records might not be as great (and he might not have made his comeback) but he would be admired by many more.

    7. Nick says:

      RBR are not rule breakers. The rule states specific requirements about deflection when a certain mass is applied, and they pass that test. Criticism of the FIA is valid because clearly the rule doesn’t achieve what it’s intended to, i.e. preventing wings flexing on the track, and yes, there much more clever ways they could actually write the rule and measure compliance. However, RBR at present are doing nothing wrong. In fact, if a team wasn’t doing what they were doing they should be ashamed of themselves.

      1. Jonathan says:

        Nick you are wrong!

        Red Bull are breaking the rule that says front wings should not flex. Red Bull are laughing at the FIA’s pathetic efforts to enforce the rule and will continue to do so until the testing is made sufficiently strict enough to make the rule enforceable.

      2. James Allen says:

        I think you’ll find that the whole point of the article is to say that FIA has really ramped up the tests, so they’ll all find it harder to use aeroelasticity in 2013. Red Bull weren’t the only ones doing it you know…

    8. Chris says:

      No offence Jonathan, but what you suggest is ludicrous in the extreme. Laser beams, my word, this is F1, not Star Wars. Your suggestion doesn’t take into account broken wings either, and it made me smile that someone could be that bitter about a team doing well :(

      Also, wouldn’t other parts of the cars break the beams anyway?

      1. Jonathan says:

        Really?!

        The phone in your pocket has more computing power than many of the satellites orbiting this planet. F1 is way beyond star wars in many areas.

        There are 5 laser beams I can think of within 100yards of where I am sitting that contribute to the control of gates.

        If you understood what I had written you would see I have thought of broken wings – that is why I suggested 3 failings getting a warning – more than enough time to get beck to the pits to change a front wing.

        An illegal wing would always break a laser beam 2 feet or so before a front tyre which is the first part of a car which can legally be lower than 50mm. That is why I suggested 2 beams – the tyre would break both beams at near enough the same time whilst an illegal wing would break only one of them.

        The real point is that, with so many talented engineers trying to find ways to comply with scrutineering tests rather the rules the FIA need to devote at least a few clever people and systems to police them.

        As for the suggestion of being bitter I can admire engineers pushing limits but I loathe the way Bernie holds so much sway in the way the FIA lurches from one interpretation to another through a season.

        these issues spring to mind:
        ferrari’s complaint about Michelin tyres
        Honda’s fuel system suddenly being declared illegal
        Renaults mass damper being outlawed
        McLaren’s dual brake pedals being outlawed
        Engine mapping regs brought in for one race and then relaxed for the next.

        The FIA should be anticipating some of these ideas rather than being solely reactive – usually with ill thought through knee jerks.

    9. Aero.Racer says:

      I’m sorry, but everything flexes. There are no truly rigid structures, and that is why the FIA would need to put a limit on how much a structure can flex to be legal.

      The carbon parts on race cars are pretty flexible when you handle them and fasten them into place, and putting a significant aero load on a structure is going to make it flex somewhat.

      How I interpreted what Gillan said is that despite the new regulations, aeroelasticity won’t go by the wayside as several disciplines are finding that there is significant performance to be gained by analyzing the deformed structure, whether it is an airfoil, gear tooth, etc.

    10. grat says:

      Unfortunately, the culture within F1 is that the intent of the rule is meaningless, it’s all about the letter of the rule. If the rule is written such that the front wing must pass test “X”, then if the wing passes test “X”, the wing is legal.

      If the rules were written such that “Any car observed with a wing deflecting more than 1 degree in any direction shall be disqualified”, then it wouldn’t happen.

  7. goferet says:

    It’s been fascinating watching as the FIA keeps taking away Red Bull toys to see if they would staple on their shoe laces.

    First we have seen the banning of the double diffuser and this didn’t slow them down.

    After that, came the banning of the off throttle blowing of gases >>> despite throwing off the team a little bit at the start of 2012, this too didn’t bring them on their knees.

    Next up came the banning of qualifying engine maps which too didn’t yield anything in terms of putting a leash of the team

    And now we have the strict rules on the flexing of the carbon fibre wings and if the team lose this year, this one area may turn out to be the secret of Red Bull’s success over the past couple of seasons >>> and hence should have been banned first.

    1. Stefanos says:

      Another way to look at it is that Red Bull have benefited greatly from bending one rule after another until they were brought back (slowly) in check.

      Its probably easy to keep bringing such innovations to the track, roll them back and start again, if one decides not to adhere to the spending restrictions everyone else is (and it only becomes evident 3 titles later, when one can always just quit FOTA).

    2. Csrweb says:

      The FIA need to be careful as to not favour or target one team too much. The last thing you want is to force teams out of the sport, especially with these financial times.

  8. Dave C says:

    The article is flawed because last year Mclaren was the fastest car, in 2009 Brawn was the fastest car and even in some races of 2011 the Mclaren had a faster car on race pace, people in the UK especially Hamilton supporters always look for an excuse why he is so overrated, he has about 3-4 top drives in a year then rest of the time it’s the car!? Now to answer the question: Redbull has won everything because they have the BEST driver in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      While that’s not the topic i must answer.
      Best driver in F1 is Fernando Alonso. Ask drivers, ask teams, ask experts.

      1. Dave C says:

        Is that why Alonso is scared to go up against Seb at Ferrari because he has veetoed a move against teaming with Vettel? Its because Vettel’s raw pace is too solid for Fernando to handle and he knows it, even Hamilton is too fast for Alonso.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I would be very careful what you choose to believe.

        All contracts are top secret documents, which only the senior management and driver are privy too, I would hazard a guess that Mr Alonso didn’t pass on this information to the press.
        So, as in days gone by, some media outlet decides to write a story supporting a particular point of view and hey presto, it’s the truth.

        Having watched Top Gear tonight, is that why RBR didn’t want Hamilton there, because he would show up Vettel for what he truly is?

      3. aveli says:

        vettel set the fastest time on the top gear show.

      4. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        You should give your sources to Mr. Allen, nobody knows about any veto at Ferrari but you :D

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Abveli, you may care to YouTube the 17/2/13 episode of TopGear.
        Hamilton returned for a lap around the track because the last one he did was wet and “oily”.
        I won’t spoil your anticipation by how much quicker he was than Vettel.

    2. [MISTER] says:

      Vettel which won by only 3 points over Alonso while clearly having a superior car? /rolling eyes

    3. Vipin says:

      Lets see what will ur best driver do when he gets a car in coming years.

      Fernando Alonso proved in 2012 that, right now he is the best F1 driver in the grid and everyone knows what happened in 2012.

      1. Jonathan S says:

        Fernando was the best driver in 2012 However everyone saw that even his teammate that almost got fired outpacd Fernando convincingly in the second half. Now someone tell Webbo to do that! (Gosh I sounded like Helmut Marko :p)

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I remember reading something about the two cars being different specs and due to wind tunnel correlation it was hampering Alonso. Was it he was getting updates that weren’t working or Massa getting new parts that were performing better? No doubt will know.

        Also made me smile when everyone had an opinion about Fernando being out of favour at Ferrari, or the relationship was breaking down because he wouldn’t be at Jerez. By all accounts, everyone things it was the brightest thing to do

    4. AuraF1 says:

      The Brawn in 2009 was pretty bulletproof – oddly though the Red Bull has had it’s fair share of failures – especially in 2010 and some notable ones last year – so it’s impressive that they’ve won so much when the car hasn’t been super reliable.

      The argument about the ‘fastest’ car is always interesting though – the red bull philosophy seems to be to accept one of the lowest top speeds for an ultimately planted car. It’ll be fascinating to see if the DRS limitations mean red bull really try a totally different approach.

      1. Anne says:

        Brawn GP seemed unbeatable early in that season. Later a lot of teams catched up. and Button and Brawn won at the end mostly because of the points they won earlier.

        RB, except in 2011, they go step by step. Maybe early in a season you don´t see anything all that amazing but they keep adding upgrades and making changes. They have the money to start all over if necessary. So by the end of the season it is almost impossible to beat them.

      2. grat says:

        The 2009 Brawn car was an oddity– Honda spent millions developing it, then gave it to Brawn, with no cash for development.

        Because of the double-diffuser effect Brawn took advantage of, the car WAS unbeatable, until everyone else caught up.

        Also, 2009 was a year of major rules changes. The team that understood those rule changes the best (Brawn GP) won. Hamilton is certainly hoping that the next major set of changes (2014) will work to Mercedes’s advantage.

        Will be interesting to see how much Adrian Newey will compromise his aero design for the packaging required by the 2014 electrical systems– He’s sacrificed KERS (and possibly the alternator) in previous RB chassis.

    5. Val from montreal says:

      + 1000 %

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        From one German to another…

    6. KRB says:

      What’s that maxim again? Give a fool enough rope, and they …

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Or,
        It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt..

    7. Elie says:

      Wrong Dave- they have the best team that are more consistent.

    8. Robert says:

      One only has to go back a year or two to when Jenson Button (who is my favourite driver) hounded Vettel off the road on the last lap in (I seem to remember) Canada to really understand who is the “best driver”. Clearly, that incident shows that it is not Vettel, but…..Alonso. JB couldn’t have done that to Alonso or probably even Lewis…but Vettel cracked. I don’t particularly LIKE Alonso’s prickly personality, but I have to hand it to him, he is simply the best total driver out there.

      1. Yak says:

        I seem to recall seeing Alonso going off in Brazil last year at turn 1, more than once (and one of them under yellow flags). Why is that not a sign of Alonso cracking under the pressure of the championship-deciding race? Vettel makes one mistake and suddenly he can’t handle a bit of pressure, but Alonso can throw himself off the track twice during the championship decider and it doesn’t count for anything?

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I think because Alonso made that mistake himself chasing the cars in front. I think the implication is that Vettel on a clear track, but being closed down, makes mistakes, whereas Alonso when being pressured from behind doesn’t.
        Imola 2005, Singapore 2010, Germany 2012 are all good examples of his ability in this regard.
        Maybe if I use goferet’s logic, I could tie in Vettel and Schumacher to this particular trait.
        Adelaide 1994, Jerez 1997, Suzuka 1998, Silverstone 1999, Suzuka 2003, Monaco 2006, all races where high pressure situations brought about significant mistakes from MSC
        All his other WDC campaigns were won before the final rounds.
        Look at Vettel, 15 points behind in 2010, he had nothing to lose, no pressure, Ferrari screwed up to gift him the title
        Last year, however great his recovery, he had the luck of the gods when he hit Senna’s car and spun on the first lap

      3. grat says:

        I think at this point, Hamilton is a very close second. I’m still not entirely sure what happened to Alonso in Japan, but I’d say Suzuka for Alonso, and Valencia for Hamilton, were the only mistakes either driver made during 2012.

        Vettel is very quick, and improving, but he keeps making what I think of as rookie mistakes, even last year when he took out his front wing behind a safety car in Abu-Dhabi (and I’d have been less impressed with his charge to third if Red Bull hadn’t completely re-configured his car before the race).

      4. KRB says:

        I agree completely grat. If I don’t regard Vettel as the best, it’s not as though I consider him garbage. I rate him as the 3rd best driver on the current grid, behind Alonso and Hamilton. He is a quick qualifier – possibly 2nd fastest behind Ham on that score – and as others have said, is very good at driving very good cars (which, though it sounds easy, still requires great skill).

    9. Nigel says:

      ” Redbull has won everything because they have the BEST driver in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel.”

      But clearly, given their resources, the Red Bull is not a “reasonably priced car”…

      :-)

  9. James says:

    Red Bull have a simple yet effective model for success.

    They have a settled, highly experienced & highly creative team of engineers, a settled & successful driver lineup (arguably the strongest on the grid), a settled team principal who knows what he is doing, and perhaps most importantly lots of money to spend.

    Success didn’t come immediately, they needed several years and the clean slate of 2009 regulation changes to achieve it.

  10. FW14, FW14B, FW15C, FW16, FW17, FW18, FW19, MP4/13, MP4/14, MP4/15, MP4/16, MP4/17, MP4/17D, MP4/19, MP4/20, MP4/21, RB4, RB5, RB6, RB7, RB8 & RB9.

    Adrian Newey: Priceless

    1. Seán Craddock says:

      RB3 as well

    2. Sikhumbuzo says:

      Benneton, Ferrari, Brawn and Mercedes.

      Need we say more. Ross has done it with 4 different cars to Newey’s 3.

      1. Graham Reeds says:

        Umm, yes, because Ross Brawn hasn’t won anything with Mercedes yet apart from a solitary win in China.

        Adrian Newey, when not in F1, was designing winning cars in IndyCar/CART.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      What’s your point? Cars he designed?

      FW14b, FW15c, FW18 and FW!9 all designed in collaboration with Patrick Head.

      MP4/13, MP4/14 were the only two to win championships. The rest achieved nothing.

      RB7, RB8 and RB9 winners also.

      So out of 22 cars he designed, only 9 have won championships.

      1. Glennb says:

        ‘only’ = 41%
        Not too shabby ;)

      2. Doobs says:

        “God” would do better.

  11. Red Bull are today where Ferrari was in the early 2000′s. The FIA is having to plug every loophole, that comes to light, in the regulations to keep the team from running away with the championship and to keep it interesting.

    If the flexi-wings are not an option, Mr. Newey will find another way that is fully legal and within the word of the regulations.

    As a Ferrari fan myself, I hate to admit it but he is a true Formula 1 legend.

    1. Anne says:

      I need at least 15 years of RB in a dominat place or close to that to say they are a legend. Ferrari, McLaren or the old Chapman Lotus had a lot more history.

      1. Rockie says:

        No need to be bitter about it as through your replies one can see you dont like RBR.
        Remove the schumacher years from Ferrari and then you get the true picture.

      2. Anne says:

        Excuse me, where was RBR in the 50´s, 60´s, 70´s, 80´s? Nowhere to be found. Well Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus made history in those days. Sorry I´m not one of those fair wheather fan. I don´t fall inlove with every new commer that wins a championship.

      3. The he I am referring to is Adrian Newey. Take him away and I believe you would have a team in the midfield.

        Anytime after major regulation changes, we see one or two teams leading the way in pioneering new developments at the edge of the rules. It seems to take another set of major changes to shift the balance of power to another team. 2014 is going to produce huge surprises. Mercedes, Williams or a Toro Rosso with James Key even, might just pull something out of the hat. And its never a good idea to discount Sauber

    2. Martin says:

      I think Red Bull are more where Williams were in the early 90′s, FIA kept changing things to stop them but in the early 2000′s FIA did very little to stop Ferrari but stopped others from challenging them,such as banning certain Michelin Tyres when Williams were threatening to win the title in 03 I think.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Thats the popular view, sadly rather naive too

      2. Martin says:

        In your opinion.

      3. Doobs says:

        Fia tried many years to slow down Ferrari when Schumi dominated.

  12. tonic says:

    James, surely the driver also has something to do with making a car hard to beat. After all, even the very best designed car can be beaten at the start of a race if there isn’t anyone competent enough to pilot the car around the track.

    And not just any driver. But a driver skilled enough to allow all the other ingredients so necessary for a sustained run of success, technical, aerodynamic, manufacture and assembly, track side support and so-on, to unite, harmonise and blossom to create a truly winning team.

    Accept this and you will start to see the skill of a driver such as Sebastian Vettel. Skill not so much in just driving the car around a track, but in terms of uniting forces to perpetuate the process of winning.

    This is what Ron Dennis had hoped Lewis Hamilton would be able to achieve at McLaren. Unfortunately it turned out not to be so.

    1. Steven says:

      If they hadnt screwed up so many pitstops this year, and the car had held together the times it didnt Lewis would have bagged the WDC. He lost about 150 points through no fault of his own. McLaren let Lewis down.

      1. shortsighted says:

        I agree. Lewis has been one of the faster drivers in the current group of fantastic F1 talents. To belittle him is to overlook the pace that he has. I love drivers who can drive fast in the dry or wet. He consistently beat Alonso when they were in the same team.

      2. Doobs says:

        ..backed by honest Ron.

  13. Denis68 says:

    “Why has The Red Bull Been The Car To Beat In Recent Seasons”

    Would have thought that was easily answered James, When you have the best designer the sport has ever seen and the best driver currently in F1 how can you not win the title.

    Before people start saying that Alonso is the best remember that when you beat the best you become the best and Vettel has beaten Alonso for the past three consecutive seasons.

    Alonso has a resigned look about him nowdays, He knows better thsn anybody that this young German has his measure.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      Vettel didn’t beat Alonso in the same machinery. In the past 3 years, Alonso always had an inferior car and in 2 of those 3 years, Vettel barely beat Alonso.
      Why don’t you ask yourself what could have Alonso achieved with a car like RBR had? Yeah, I thought so!

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Only one of the two close seasons can even count aganst Vettel, which is 2012. 2010 was only close due to the RB6′s inner workings being constructed from wet toilet paper.

        In Red Bull, Alonso would have achieved exactly what Vettel has. Nothing more, nothing less.

        I’m not even his fan but Vettel has got to be one of the most underrated drivers on the grid, which is ridiculous considering he is a 3x WDC.

      2. [MISTER] says:

        But would’ve Vettel achieved the same results in the Ferrari? I seriously doubt, since he was only able to finish with a 3 point lead in a far superior car.

        Anyway, we can do this all day long, but my view of Vettel will not change until he gets outstanding performances (not results, but performances) in a car which is not on rails against top drivers in superior machinery.

      3. Tim says:

        Your comment raises an interesting question. Why is that fans of SV have to keep reminding everyone how good he is? Winning 3 x WDC on the bounce should be enough, but for some reason it doesn’t appear to be sufficient.
        I wonder what SV has to do to convince the doubters. Perhaps he never will. Certainly winning 3 x WDC is no guarentee of being thought of as a great. Nelson Piquet snr or Stirling Moss, for example…..

      4. Brad says:

        Here’s the scary part Tim, I don’t believe it’s only going to be 3 titles for Vettel in the coming years, even if fans think that it is all down to Newey. Maybe then all of us will realise just how brilliant that young man is!

      5. Val from montreal says:

        Vettel’s CV as of NOW , lets begin …

        1 ) Youngest Pole setter , Monza 08
        2 ) Youngest winner of a GP , Monza 08
        3 ) Youngest point scorer , USA 07
        4 ) Youngest F1 world champion
        5 ) Youngest F1 double world champion
        6 ) Youngest F1 triple world champion
        7 ) Third driver in history to win 3 titles back to back
        8 ) Record for most poles in a season = 15
        9 ) Record for most laps lead by a driver in a season
        10 ) Runner up in WDC in 2009 , first year at Red Bull
        11 ) 3rd all-time in poles behind Senna and MSC …
        12) 4 wins behind Alonso —- AND HE’S ONLY 25 YEARS OLD !!

        [mod]

      6. [MISTER] says:

        Those stats don’t make Vettel better than Alonso at this stage.
        Just because Schumi had 7 WDC and Rosberg 0, didn’t change the fact that Rosberg was faster and the better driver in the last 2-3 years.

        We will see when Vettel will not have the fastest car how he will produce those stats.

        The stats show Vettel as the WDC for the past 3 years, but most fans know Alonso was the better driver.

        Ohh, and using caps will not change my view of Vettel over Alonso.

      7. roryfireplace says:

        as a fellow Canadian i applaud your trotting out of the facts, at just the right time! Vettel surely is on his way to being one of history’s greatest drivers.

      8. hero_was_senna says:

        I knew it was too good to be true when you claimed you’d be gone after your previous hero retired.

        F1 has changed fundamentally over the last 15-20 years.
        Boys are now required to race these cars, everything is hydraulically powered, run by computers and essentially is Playstation in orientation.
        Of course he will be the youngest at everything.
        Senna didn’t start his first F1 race till he was 24 years old. That was how an apprenticeship was served back then.

        All you have done is quote stats that anybody could call up. So what?
        Your Schumacher, won 91 races, has 68 poles to his name and 7 WDC, yet isn’t recognised as the greatest of all time, just statistically the greatest.
        Senna didn’t get into a dominant car until 1988, yet had 16 pole positions having driven for Toleman, and 3 seasons with Lotus, the last of which was with an poor active suspended car.
        In 1988, with a car shared by a great named Alain Prost, he qualified on pole 13 times out of 16. Slightly better than 15 out of 19.
        1989, again against Prost, 13 poles from 16 races.

        Vettel is undoubtedly one of the best three out there currently, but some perspective would be useful.

    2. Dunky says:

      In two of Vettel’s title winning seasons Alonso took it down to the wire in a far inferior car.

      I don’t like either of them, but I can tell you impartially that Alonso is a better F1 driver than Vettel.

      1. Dave C says:

        Took it down to the wire so you think its all his achievements? Ok look at 2010 please tell me how Alonso won in Bahrain and Korea? Yes exactly twchnical failures by a Newey car that hands Alonso victory, much like Valencia 2012, its also easier when your own team mate basically fights for you like Massa does unlike Webber who takes points away from Vettel, these ‘close’ championships are not close at all, Vettel is now the fastest and most consistent driver in Formula 1, and if was at Ferrari he’d blow Alonso away and Alonso knows it thats why he doean’t want Seb there.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Sorry Dave, but where was Massa and his unstinting support early last season?
        Webber only takes points away because early in the season they are racing each other.
        I can’t wait to see Massa do that with Alonso, he hasn’t yet in 3 years of trying

      3. roryfireplace says:

        gosh…i’ve been a Ferrari fan forever and was an Alonso fan as well. but his constant whining about having an inferior car has really turned me off. he used to brag about being the best development driver…so stop whining and develop the car! Vettel’s head-down-get-the-job-done attitude is what’s winning him races….you can’t win when you focus on negatives, which is what Alonso did all season long. he started every single race with a little black cloud balloon attached to his rear-wing…that slows you down, man!! positivity is it’s own reward!

      4. Doobs says:

        Nobody more positive than Alonso bud; 2010 when nowhere in the points halfway through the season he predicted he could still challenge for the WDC and everyone was like “yeah whatever dude” but sure enough the Ferdinator nearly took the champs and made fingers wet herself. Vetter has full support of RB (whatever mark webber thinks) as well as TR cars which was embarrassing how they literally fell off the track to get out of his way. He needs to do a Lewis and try out for another team to prove himself.

    3. Nesto says:

      Vettel has beaten Alonso 3x, twice very narrowly in the final race. All times, he had the superior car to Alonso and most the time, the best car on the grid. Unreliable at times but that’s the price RBR takes with their faster design.

      1. Denis68 says:

        Don’t forget one thing in that Vettel is only 25 years of age, six years younger than Alonso. There is plenty more speed to come out from Vettel but I’am not so sure about Alonso.

      2. buttox says:

        experience gives racecraft (we all know that vettel needs it) not speed.

      3. Doobs says:

        He’ll just burn out faster

  14. Alex W says:

    No doubt the tech side of RBR is top quality, and it pains me to say this, but Vettel is probably just as vital, if Petrov was in that car, RBR would not have been considered a WCC or WDC capable team, except for a one off WDC for Webber in 2010… Vettel still does not get enough credit for his role.

    1. KRB says:

      Those that dismiss Vettel totally out of hand are as silly as those that do the same with Hamilton or Alonso. Those three are the top three drivers in the sport right now, without question.

      When the comparison is between Vettel and Petrov, then of course Vettel is vital. If the comparison was Vettel v Hamilton, or Vettel v Alonso (i.e. how would Hamilton or Alonso have fared in the RB5 to RB8) then the fact it was Vettel driving is not as vital.

      1. Dave C says:

        Really is that why Hamilton couldn’t really challenge with the fastest car last year? Don’t say unreliabilty because Vettel has plenty of them. Vettel in the same car as Alonso and Hamilton would more than likely beat them.

      2. KRB says:

        The McLaren was not the fastest throughout the season … it started off as such, and was the fastest in Brazil (Vettel should’ve won at Austin; he knows it, those who know, know it too).

        The RB8 was very rarely worse than the 2nd fastest car at every race. So they were always grabbing useful points at every race, whereas McLaren were woeful in Bahrain, Valencia & Britain.

        And why wouldn’t I say reliability?!? Hamilton retired from safe leads from two races, plus was taken out while in the lead at Brazil. Add in horrible operational errors from McLaren early on, and horrible luck at Germany and Belgium, and it’s clear to most reasonable observers (i.e. not you) why Hamilton wasn’t able to challenge in 2012. 2012 was Hamilton’s best year yet in terms of driving prowess, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

      3. Rockie says:

        Vettel is key to RBR’s success example we have seen so many times now all you need do is compare Alonso and Hamilton to their team mates wait you cant even compare Massa n Alonso. The RBR is only dominant in the hands of Vettel.

      4. roryfireplace says:

        and anyone who thinks Mark Webber was never given an equal chance at RedBull is completely dillusional. i’ve always been a fan of Mark’s…one of the best and gutsiest racers on the grid. but in a month of Sundays he’s only going to match Seb on one of them…the other three is going to falter in some way. Adrian Newey is indeed special…but so is Seb. and in a way that Lewis Hamilton has never demonstrated…singular focus!

      5. Brad says:

        I thank you for your unbiased assesment

      6. Doobs says:

        But he still gets less support from,withinmthe team (marko) the marginal reliability and dodgy pit stop calls. Not bad for a number two driver.

  15. chris green says:

    great post james and mark – thanks

  16. Schumerak says:

    I think part of Red Bulls ascendancy has been due to their reluctance to use KERS in all of its capacity. McLaren and Ferrari both suffered with the 2009 models because they readily adopted the technology as ‘works’ teams, and even as recently as last season Newey was only putting a small unit in so he could keep as true as possible to his tight packaging mantra. I sometimes wonder what would have happened in the Brawn GP and Red Bull championship years in the KERS unit had been mandatory, but I suspect that they would not have been so dominant.

    James, is the ERS for 2014 mandatory ? I presume it would be impossible to complete a GP without one due to the fuel restrictions but would be interested to hear your views on this..?

    1. Random 79 says:

      As I understand it, ERS is part of the engine formula for 2014. It’s not a separate unit like KERS, so I think the basic answer to your question is yes.

    2. KRB says:

      I’m not sure if EDS is mandatory, but to race without it over a season would be akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

    3. Robert says:

      Simple answer is that if KERS had been mandated for 2009, Brawn GP would not have even HAD it, so tight on funds were they. JB took a 50% pay cut, and they let go half their staff, and still barely made it to the starting line. If there had been mandatory KERS, they probably could not have afforded to start the season…

  17. Random 79 says:

    I remember when teams like Williams, Ferrari and others were unbeatable. Then they declined for a while before they started to rise again.

    It seems like Red Bull has been winning forever now – and I suspect that would go double for any kids who have started watching the sport in the last few years – but let’s not forget that up until 2009 RBR were nowhere. At one stage they were even getting beaten by Torro Rosso! Four years is a good stint – and will probably end up being at least five – but no team lasts at the top forever.

    Full credit to the entire Red Bull team – they deserve all the success that they have achieved together – but right now they are at the top of their curve so there’s only one way to go. It doesn’t mean that I hope that they fail, it’s simply just a matter of time.

    Great analysis as always James – you made a good call in bringing Mark on board. :)

    1. Anne says:

      But that Toro Rosso in particular was designed by Newey.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Of course it was designed by Newey – STR at that time had virtually the same car as RBR!

        STR had always gotten their car from Red Bull – at least up until 2010 when they had to start building their own – so in 2008 when they beat them in the WCC it was on their own merit.

        Look at this way: If two teams are racing each other then it’s an even fight, but if you give both of those teams the same secret weapon (AKA Newey) …then it’s still an even fight.

      2. JC says:

        And driven by Vettel ;)

    2. Vipin says:

      That’s the truth what you said.

      And some Wings fans don’t accept it until they see it happen.

      1. Random 79 says:

        They say Red Bull gives you wings…but they never mention the part where you come crashing back down to Earth!

      2. Vipin says:

        Yeah Mate!

  18. JB says:

    Very good article. Well done James Allen.
    Is interesting to see that Gillian appear to know “RB secret of success” but does he really?
    Because what he is simply saying is the fact everything at RB executes as planned. That marks their consistent 3 years of success.

    From the Jerez test, it looks like RB remain the team to beat. The switch over to 2014 will be vital and i am keen to see how each team’s strategy pans out.

  19. Andrew says:

    You surely have to add Vettel to that winning formula, I don’t think Red Bull would be celebrating their third WDC with Webber as number 1 driver or even Button. Vettel has been consistently brilliant.

    1. Craig Baker says:

      Maybe you are correct but I believe Button and Webber are more highly regarded than the boy.

      1. . says:

        The only ones not highly regarding Vettel are fans of other drivers. ‘Normal’ people know Vettel is special, no matter what the haters throw at him.

      2. Doobs says:

        Speak for yourself. I’m normal but I don’t rate Vettel. Hamilton and Alonso are head and shoulders superior. Massa and button too.

  20. Sri says:

    You may have the best car, but still not win a Championship (ask McLaren). So the other part of the story is track side too – they have a team that makes minimum mistakes – the pit crew, strategy team and of course Vettel.

  21. ArJay says:

    The power of the drawing-board in the right hands?

    Pier Luigi Nervi – 1945:-
    “…the accuracy of study of any mathematical or formulistic proceeding is pure illusion, the limited acuteness of which may only be increased and completed by work of intuition and understanding of static phenomena, of a personal nature which cannot be translated into absolute numerical laws.”

    Applies to dynamic phenomena as well?
    The importance of intuitive empiricism today’s numerically analytical world?

  22. Sead Marusic says:

    Great insight on RBR success, and it seems that their advantage is purely down to man power…given that at least couple of other teams have the same if not bigger budgets.

    Mark, I have question for you…bit OT, though.

    We all know that big secrecy is surrounding F1 teams, and that’s easy to understand why.
    But what I have hard time to understand, why there’s such secrecy about information on engine power or torque.
    What kind of advantage can, say, Williams get knowing that information of Ferrari engine? It’s not as if they can have one.
    All we can get is speculation on engine power and almost nothing on torque.

    Can you tell what is the power and torque of current and past engines you have worked with?
    Or you’re (still) not allowed to tell?

    Cheers

  23. Sebee says:

    You ever get the feeling that someone else will win only when RBR mess up?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      If the Ferrari is generally 2 to 3/10ths behind RBR in qualifying this year, I expect Alonso will make the difference come race day.

      1. Brad says:

        Heard this before, every year from 2010 onwards. Does’nt he bring his infamous .6 seconds to the development of the car, so he should be .3 sec ahead every race, based on these figures he should win comfortably….Wonder what you going to say if he fails AGAIN

  24. aveli says:

    is that all? is this why they won all the championships in the last 3 years? there must be a lot more to it than that. the other teams must be technically better if their car becomes slower simply because the fia stops them from using flexible wings/noses.
    a lay person like me would say that they were dominant because they spent more, put a lot more effort into each stage of the season and were operationally lucky, when things went wrong, they didn’t lose everything while other teams weren’t so lucky albeit their cars and drivers were as fast.

  25. Rob says:

    The FIA appear to be incompetent – all this flexi wings and double diffuser scams seem to be intentionally allowed… even Ross Brawn announced the double diffuser scam, and the FIA did nothing.

    The FIA need more intelligent people onboard – not impressed at all with their current leadership under Charlie Whiting…

    1. Quade says:

      The FIA isn’t led by Charlie Whiting, its Jean Todt.
      If you think this FIA is incompetent, what would you have thought of the Max Mosely era?! Then, things were truly hairy.

  26. jonnyd says:

    i love how the money aspect is completely ignored in this article.

    1. Emanuel says:

      You might want to ask Toyota, how far all the money in the world gets you in F1. There are things you just can’t buy, and while having money helps a lot, brilliant people and a portion of luck make all the difference. Off course that is totally subjective, but who would watch F1 if it was all logically explainable and predictable?
      There is more to RBR than Vettel and Newey, but these two are both extremely brilliant in what they do and I for one enjoy watching them being awesome as long as it will last.

      1. jonnyd says:

        Toyota started from scratch. Red bull used to be Jaguar who used to be Stewart Ford.

        Toyota also decided to use their own engine rather than picking a partner to work with. There are many reasons why Toyota failed.

        A quick google of the budgets for 2012 and just some general knowledge will show how much resources Redbull have. Newey will have a massive department dedicated to Aero (in terms of heads) that he could ask to focus on 1 specific thing –

        Redbull probably have more heads to focus on a particular aero part of a car, than Caterhams entire design team put together.

        That is not skill. That is money.

        Regarding Vettel…well put Alonso, schumi, Kimi, Hamilton in the Redbull, and they would have won this year also. Of course there are definitely 1st rate drivers and 2nd rate drivers (vettel and webber are a prime example) but the sport has been and will forever be 99% car.

        F1 is pretty logical and explainable…follow the money.

      2. Emanuel says:

        You know 2012 was in the past, right?
        How many WDC does Sebastian need to get to be viewed as 1st rate driver?
        Ever heard of too many cooks spoil the broth? I agree that all the Red Bull money plays a big part, but the secret to success is certainly not money alone.

      3. Sue says:

        The idea that any driver could have won in the Red Bull is entirely supposition. Hamilton and Alonso have demonstrated they do no have the mental strength at the sharp end of the season that Vettel has, also we have no idea what impact on team cohesion another driver would have.

      4. Doobs says:

        Sue, there’s no one tougher than Alonso, but he’s no robot. I guess you didn’t see fingers drive off the track when jb was pressing in canada 2011 or heard him squeal like a girl when lewis passed him unexpectedly, or ranting do something when he couldn’t get past, running off the track in brazil……this despite having the best car.

  27. [MISTER] says:

    Or having gone beyond the rules..since they were asked more than once to modify their cars..
    Or spending more than any other team or more than what was agreed..and being the only team who do not like the FIA to police the spending..

    Yeah..not interested in that kind of winning!

    1. . says:

      Sour grapes much?

      They never broke the rules. In fact, for 3 seasons now the FIA changes the rules specifically to make the RBR go slower (even mid-season) so the so called ‘legendary’ teams can catch up. How embarrassing is that?

      Also, there is no spending limit in the rules of F1 and Ferrari spend more (thanks to Alonso’s ridiculous salary probably).

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        The RRA does not include trackside promotional spending or driver salaries.

    2. RodgerT says:

      McLaren was told to change their floor around the time of the Canada GP last year, and were having their front wing looked at because it was flexing along the main axis of the wing instead of the tips. I believe it was Sauber who started holes that weren’t holes approach.

      Every team skirts the regulations as much and as often as possible, you only hear about it when it can be made newsworthy by linking it to the team at the top.

    3. KRB says:

      Yeah, the after-the-race modification requirements are particularly irksome. If you do it once, then ok, don’t do it again. But if you do it again, then the FIA should insist that the team clear any new innovation with the FIA as being within the rules before being allowed to race with it. Remember that their engine maps this year were providing a form of traction control. That was a pretty serious breach of the rules, but their results were allowed to stand.

  28. Martin says:

    There are rumours about the quality of Red Bull’s simulation capability being better than McLaren’s for example too.

    Renault appear to be very open minded in how to adapt an engine into the best overall package, not just aiming for the most power/best economy.

    Fundamentally, the team started on a design philosophy in 2009 with the pullrod rear suspension and from that point has evolved the package through exhaust blowing. Initially having those two ideas got them ahead of the field. The willingness to push boundaries with flexing wings, holes and anything else kept the car towards the front. By sticking with the philosophy of the car, rather than following others to any great degree, it increases the likelihood that new ideas will work as they are considered in the context of a long history of development.

  29. Andrew Woodruff says:

    “On paper they do not have the best tunnel, or necessarily the best facility”.

    Who does have the best tunnel?

    Ferrari’s wind tunnel issues are well documented, and I believe McLaren don’t currently have an ideal situation in that department either. It begs the conclusion, if none of the top three teams have optimised onsite wind tunnels, it can’t be the most important factor.

    Human brainpower and experience is the key. The question is, nowadays when so much of the processing and analysis is done by computers, who is going to be the next Newey, Brawn, Head or Byrne. As is the case in all industries (including my own, accountancy) apprenticeship experience is not what it used to be – nowhere close. There is less scope for creativity, and fewer opportunities for trial and error style learning at the start of a career.

    Do we know who Newey has mentored over the years? Has he taken on apprentices? I’d like to hear is views on this subject!

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Newey always praises his teams – and gives a lot of credit for being able to recruit and run his aero and mechanical teams as he sees fit. It certainly sounds like he has a number of the best, including younger teammembers. Obviously Newey has a gift – but a lot of his success seems to have been building his team and keeping it stable, without interference.

  30. Brent says:

    All the money they need doesn’t hurt either.

  31. david nelson says:

    What exactly (or even vaguely) are we looking for on cars with fluorescent paint on them. Is no movement/flow a good thing? Are various runs (like my skirting boards) a good thing? What is a good sign & what is bad? Anyone willing to tell?

    1. Anne says:

      Once the paint drys the car sensors send information about the car behaviour to the computers. And yes, the teams get what is right and what is wrong about that particular painted area.

      1. RodgerT says:

        The only sensors involved with using flo-viz are the eyes of the designers.

    2. Martin says:

      Go and find an earlier piece by Mark on this site, he explains just what you are asking.

  32. Cos says:

    As someone with a less than baisic understanding of the inner workingsof F1, yet a hunger to learn and understand I can only thank you for the response from Mr Gillan.

  33. Andy says:

    If you have the right people and the right skills and attidude you can achieve success. Consistant winners know how to build momemtum and consistant winning. Once you lose that momentum it becomes incredibly difficult to be become successful again. Williams are a classic example. Ferrari almost have a slow pendulum effect, where they swing between championship winners and also rans.
    McLaren seem to have the ability to remain reasonably consistant, whereas BAR/Honda/Mercedesetc have never really had it.
    Red Bull are on the crest. They have the momentum and that empowers them to go further. Yes they have the best designer, but it is not just about one man.
    It’s common to see similar trends in other sports, football is a classic.
    It makes you realise just how difficult it must be for the much maligned new teams, to survive, let alone come anywhere near a podium, when established teams have lost the ‘mojo’ and are struggling to get it back.

  34. Val from montreal says:

    The only season Red Bull had the “car to beat” was 2011 …. In 2010 4 drivers could have won the title that year , Vettel won it … In 2012 It was the same story , multiple drivers had a shot and Vettel once again pulled it off … Without Vettel Red Bull’s success would be much much less ….

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      The RB6 was borderline un-touchable in terms of pace. It just struggled to hold together for a full race distance. Easily their most dominant car to date pace wise.

    2. KRB says:

      In 2010 Vettel and RBR managed to not blow it, instead of winning it. RBR has even said that the RB6 had an even greater advantage over the competition than the RB7 (not sure I agree with that, but that’s what they themselves have said).

      In 2012, after Monza, Vettel had only one win, and was 4th in the WDC. It was only the late DDRS innovation from Newey (and Hamilton’s DNF in Singapore) that allowed Vettel to rattle off four wins, and catapult into the WDC lead. In the last two races, Vettel lost what should have been a nailed-on victory (in Austin; Hamilton or Alonso in the RB8 would have won handily), and then miraculously surviving a first-lap driving brain fart in Brazil. Vettel should thank Kimi for taking evasive action as Vettel inexplicably slowed before taking Turn 4 as though it was mid-race with no cars around! I still have no idea how his car survived the hit from first Senna and then Perez, which put both of their cars out.

      Put Hamilton or Alonso in Vettel’s 3 cars, and it would not have been close in 2010 or 2011. I would go so far as to say that Hamilton in that RB7 would easily beat Seb’s 15 poles. While not a fan of such “walkover” seasons, I would like to see what records would fall if Hamilton had such a dominant car at his disposal. In Euro F3, he won 15 of the 20 races (DQ’d from a 16th win), and I would say the dominance gap then was less than what Vettel/RBR had over the others in 2011.

      1. Jonathan S says:

        Vettel only lost in Austin because of a backmarker and the particular layout of the esses.

      2. KRB says:

        Backmarkers are part of the game, and the track is the same for everyone. Vettel gained DRS off of two backmarkers, on two of the laps prior to Hamilton passing him, so he benefitted as much as he suffered from them.

      3. Rockie says:

        Obviously you need to go and watch 2011 again to see how close it was its a jealous and bitter response from you in formula bmw he won 18 out of 20 races. So dontt understand your point FACT about Vettel if the car can win he always wins that can not be said of Hamilton or Alonso who waits for others to retire

      4. KRB says:

        How close it was?!? Seb got 15 poles, and RBR all but one! Nearly every quali session, Vettel was coming up with an extra 4-tenth’s in Q3!

        As for Formula BMW, you’ll forgive me if I regard Euro F3 as a more challenging competition than F-BMW, which is an entry level comp for single seaters, and is also only national in scope.

        I think Austin ’12, and Canada ’11 are prime examples of places Vettel ought to have won, but didn’t. I think both Ham and Alo are better at bringing a should-win car home than Vettel. It’s just that they haven’t had that car as many times as Vettel’s had in the last 3 years. Just my opinion.

  35. vracer says:

    Elegantly simple answer.

  36. Val from montreal says:

    So Schumacher’s triumph in 1994 has to be regarded as the biggest shock these last 25 years in Formula One , because MSC beat Newey+Senna , a combination that the “experts” thought was unbeatable at the start of 1994 ….

    1. KRB says:

      Umm, seeing as Hill finished only 1 point back of Schumacher in the other Williams, do you really believe that Schumacher would’ve beaten Senna over an entire season?!?!

      1. KRB says:

        Hello Mrs. Schumacher!

    2. Anne says:

      If I´m not mistaken Rory Byrne was part of the equation for Schumacher. And… Senna die early in that season. So we don´t know what could have been

    3. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Oh yeah, because the slight issue of Senna only participating in 3 grand prix’s in 1994 had nothing to do with that.

      1. KRB says:

        … add to that the necessity of Schumacher’s “indiscretion” in Australia to ensure he finished ahead of Hill, again by only one point.

        And of course the whole “cheating” controversy.

    4. Andrew Woodruff says:

      Surely the less said about 1994 the better.

    5. hero_was_senna says:

      ………
      I can’t even be bothered to comment on your stupidty!

      1. Doobs says:

        Ifs buts maybes coulda shoulda didn’t.

        Results are results.

  37. CH says:

    is it more due to the suspected breach of the RRA that got them ahead in their development race?

  38. Anon says:

    A seemingly infinite amount of money going into Red Bull technologies, Newey and Horner is probably the answer.

  39. Sufyaan Patel says:

    So, to put it in a nutshell, theyre assessing and improving on all aspects of the ca0r. Not overlooking certain areas/details or focussing too much time on others and as a result, they end up with an extremely well balanced package and very aero efficient.

    Although it will be closer this year, I feel RBR will be on the ball in such a manner that the other teams will require near perfect weekends to topple them. I think Alonso will have to push/dig deeper at times and we may see yet more magic from him. Or possibly even mistakes if he has to push harder.

    I cant wait for the season to begin :)

  40. Methusalem says:

    What role does Renault-engine play? Renault has won 11 of the 22 since 1992 and 5 of the 8 last championiships.

  41. richardc says:

    It,s time for cards on the table…. RBR have done an amazing job for the last 4 seasons,FACT! however I believe they have been fotunate in that the rules they have streched have gone unpunished/let go. The flexi wing they used was a massive advantage but the FIA were unable to prove this to be the case. Only Newey with his years of experiance knows just how far to push these rules. Good luck to them,if it was not them it would be someone else.

  42. Lee says:

    Not sure I agree on this. Although it ebbed and flowed last year I think on balance Mclaren had the best car in terms of performance, which the article focuses on. Red Bull won the WC because they had the best overall package.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      Red Bull won because the other teams spent all season tripping over each other. McClaren and Hamilton should have won last season hands down

      1. Lee says:

        Well thanks for agreeing with me. Red Bull had the best package, made the fewest mistakes in order to maximise their points total. McLaren should have won because as I said they ad te fastest car. They didn’t win Red Bull won because they did it better.

  43. Richard says:

    Red Bull have proven just what a cohesive unit they are in all areas of the team. – They have raised the bar! If I can use the analogy that it’s a bit like high end analogue hi-fi systems in that the front end of the system is the most important. As in the designer in F1, unless the design is good, then no matter what you do further down the chain the team would never win a Grand Prix. On the other hand any number of drivers can win a grand prix in a good well designed car. To answer the original question it is the uncompromising attitude of the the design team that holds the key to Red Bull’s success.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      and the overspending in the last 3 years..and the rule breaking and Newey! :)

      1. Richard says:

        Well F1 is all about being on the limit, rule bending if you like! It is not proven that they have overspent, indeed they deny it. As to the flexing front wing, they have simple been clever in providing a wing that passes the all tests. All the teams are free to employ who they like, but Newey and his design team has been single minded in their pursuit of aerodynamic excellence.

      2. [MISTER] says:

        They must’ve overspent otherwise why not agree like all other team to the RRA or agree that FIA to police this.

        I was not refering the the flexi wings when mentioning the rule breaking. Was more aimed at holes in the floors and engine mapping.

      3. Richard says:

        Well rule of law is innocent until proven guilty. They may just be thinking about the future, because these guys know what it costs to get to the front, and any future curtailment could seriously damage their development. Who knows unless they are asked to show their accounts then perhaps we will never know for sure one way or another. In terms of rule breaking it can often be a question of interpretation.

      4. Doobs says:

        Like lance Armstrong. Right …on…that…limit….

  44. luqa says:

    As others have pointed out, its a TEAM effort- of which the leader of the Technical TEAM is Adrian Newey. The old cliche there is no “I” in team holds true. Similarly, there is no room for egos. All are pulling in the same direction- much like in a ‘tug-of-war’.
    Besides having the necessary resources at your disposal to develop a car, you also need a good engine. It’s a well know fact the Renault engine is not the most powerful engine out there and is probably down 30-50 HP on the Mercedes and Ferrari- which despite sounding bad could actually be a benefit, since it probably also consumes less fuel in the process of producing its power.

    The other element of course is the Driver. Give some credit to SV! If it were only down to car and engine, MW who is no slouch himself should’ve been World Champ at least once over the past few years of RB domination, or at least Runner-up in the years SV took the cup. jcw

    1. Anon says:

      I don’t think the Renault engine is that much weaker in terms of power, apparently it is a small engine to. No disrespect to Mark but he’s in his late 30s and prior to Red Bull stepping up in 2009 no one saw him as an outstanding driver. I think one of Red Bull’s biggest strengths is that they know when they are beaten, look at Canada 2012 when everyones tyres were going off and Seb pitted but Alonso didn’t which ultimately cost him valuable points.

      1. Richard says:

        It’s not a question of knowing when they are beaten, but knowing the most appropriate strategy for any given situation. – They are switched on at all times, and they rarely drop the ball.

      2. KRB says:

        I agree. RBR are more willing than others to accept that a win is out of reach, and just to realize their “natural” point-haul on any given race weekend. They are very good that way. Obviously in this past year say, if the car hadn’t turned good after Monza, then perhaps they would’ve had to push the issue and gamble, and might’ve come off looking foolish. But even then, they are more willing than others to play the long game.

  45. Brett says:

    The bit I get tired of is the over fascination with Vet in a team that is obviously on the edge of all rules, agreements, understandings, handshake deals (when I say on the edge, I mean breaking) these guys should be held in contempt, not celebrated

    1. Doobs says:

      Right on. Fia chose to issue clarifications several times instead of DSQ.

    1. ArJay says:

      Acronym explication:-

      Most Overwhelming, Newey’s Engineering Yardstick.

  46. Greg says:

    Newey does get too much credit, though he is there leading the team.

    RBR found the pefect base of a car, but it would only be perfect if all the areo points hit there targets to make it work. Thats not down to one man, but someone worked out the optimum and they hit the target, hence the best balanced car. I think thats why they don’t develop as well during the season compare to other.

    Next year will be different with a new lump in the back, a whole new formula/calculation will be needed and any top 6 team could make a huge jump if the get the wheelbase and weight right first time.

  47. Brace says:

    Bernie needs strong Red Bull because Horner is his only ally and he is the back-stabber and line-breaker among the teams.
    If Red Bull didn’t win as much in last 3 years, Horner’s position in concord negotiations wouldn’t count any more then Sauber’s.

    Bernie was doing his bid in lobbying behind doors to make enough of a difference when at the end of the season it all comes down to just a handful of points.

    Every situation where Bernie could influence just a bit, he made sure he was there to see it go the Red Bull way.

    Red Bull broke RRA agreement behind the backs of other teams, which is unheard of. No matter the rivalry and decades of bitter fights between Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, there was never such a classless act of breaking a gentleman’s agreement. Nor have I ever seen classless winners and sore losers like Red Bull.

    1. Tim says:

      you have hit the nail on the head. The idea of the spirit of the regulations has been completely abandoned by RBR.

      1. Rockie says:

        But Ferrari breaking Massa’s gearbox was not abandoning the spirit of the regulations?

      2. Tim says:

        No, did I suggest otherwise? However, I would argue there is a significant difference in the scale of the two infractions. Are you seriously suggesting that reneging on the resource restriction agreement (allegedly) over several seasons and breaking a gearbox seal in order to affect grid positions in one race are the same? It’s a bit like saying an employee who takes a couple of paperclips home is the same as someone who embezzles half the companies profits. Both examples involve theft but the latter is far more serious.
        For me RBR sail far to close to the wind on too many occasions and their results and success are consequently tainted.

  48. FerrariFan says:

    Informative and interesting. Thanks. I have a question regarding recent regulation changes.

    Banning of EBD
    Strict front wing tests
    Banning innovative engine control
    Banning DDRS and use of DRS in qualy

    All these over the last few years seem to be aimed at one team RBR. I am no fan of them, but is this politics played by other teams or are RBR always pushing the rules?

    1. Brad says:

      Well, it’s actually very simple… you have to push the rules to be the leading team, to see where and how you can gain. I have absolutely no problem with that

      1. Tim says:

        I agree, there is no problem with pushing the rules and RBR are very good at that. But breaking the rules is another matter altogether. I guess you could argue that it’s only cheating if you get caught but for me RBR cross the line of acceptable conduct on too many occasions.

      2. Brad says:

        How did they “break the rules” Tim? Did the FIA punish them, or is it just you biased opinion? There’s alot of armchair experts out there, surely you’re not one of them….

      3. Doobs says:

        Surely you’re not one either brad?

    2. RodgerT says:

      All motorsports have a long history of people pushing the boundaries of the rules, even spec series where the cars are supposed to be the same.

      Some incidents just get more attention than others due to the profile of the team or driver involved.

      1. Brad says:

        True Rodger

  49. Scuderia McLaren says:

    As always, with success of this magnitude it is always a combination of things. In no order, I think the following point were critical to RBR success and what the other teams didn’t do.

    1: RBR signed RRA. Then didn’t adhere to it.
    2: The Adrian Newey-led design and aero team consistently pushing the boundaries with innovation, not copying.
    3: Sebastian Vettel drives excellent cars very well. Possibly better than anyone on the grid. Sebastian also is very happy and free and mentally strong at RBR. This has a positive yet unquantifiable impact to success. Lewis has figured that out.
    4: Stability in key personnel is important.
    5: Not doing anything design wise badly. No fundamental flaws. Therefore focusing on adding performance year on year, GP after GP. Not fixing things and needing B spec chassis.
    6: Development parts turn around time. From Drawing board to car the manufacture rate is AMAZING.
    7: Reliable tools. Their wind tunnel and rigs are correlated to real track time well. The tools to build and improve cars can be relied upon hence pt 5 and 6.

    All the above conspired to create greatness. The FIA can’t rule against the above, only the symptoms and outcomes of the above.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      To be clear, some of the top teams have some of the above points. No team has all if them. RBR are not unique in any one area, but unique in that they are doing all things F1 related very well.

    2. Rockie says:

      This has to be the best response I have read so far.

    3. Bring Back Murray says:

      That’s an interesting point re:3. If Lewis had the mental stability that Vettel had then it would have been a much more even fight over the last 3 years.

      Right time, right place for Vettel.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      I would imagine Point 1 is fundamental in bringing about point 6

    5. KonPatTsh says:

      good points

  50. JC says:

    No need to complain on RBR using the full extent of what is written in the rules and take full advantage how those elements are tested or verified. That is exactly what motor racing is about. Kudos to the ones that push the envelope as far as possible. Again some credit to SV as he has been the one winning the championship in a good package but not that good to have a 1-2 every year with a big gap to the other teams
    Just my view…

  51. eric weinraub says:

    Simple, lack of testing. Do you think for one minute that if McLaren, Mercedes (with Schuey pounding out 1000s of KMs), etc and the others were out there pounding out 1000s of miles of test laps that RB would be winning, nope. I’m a wealthy man and I’d put a considerable sum on a bet that if there’d have been REAL in season testing we would have not had a repeat champ… these cars are stagnant. the tires suck. the rules are rediculous… RB are laughing all the way to the bank

    1. Tim says:

      But wouldn’t RBR be doing the testing miles as well?

    2. ArJay says:

      If unlimited testing returned, Adrian Newey would be in his element being amongst the last of the so-called “old-school” intuitive empiricists.

      Consequently, Red Bull would probably need considerably less testing and thus less budget in comparative terms in order to be competitive. Conversely, if their test-spend equalled that of competitors they might still enjoy the same advantage as they have in recent years.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        To counter your argument, between 2000 and 2008, there was unlimited testing.
        Mr Newey didn’t have one single championship win during that period.
        If you want to include 1998 and 1999, lets look at the facts.
        1998, the only competition was Ferrari, which was in the first year of a rebuild programme with Brawn and Byrne, having released the Guildford design office and brought everything in house.
        Mclaren had also terminated a Goodyear contract, because Goodyear was retiring at the end of 1998. They were on the best tyres that season.
        1999, Schumacher broke his leg, without his direction, Irvine still nearly won the drivers title and Ferrari did win the constructors. The writing was on the wall.

        If anything, Newey is more effective in these non testing days than he ever was previously.

      2. ArJay says:

        2000 – 2005 : Ferrari dominated for 5 of the 6 years. Having Fiorano indicates a possible order of magnitude more ‘unlimited testing’ than their rivals. ‘Unlimited’ does not imply ‘equal’

        2006 – 2009 : Red Bull with Newey restructured the ashes of Jaguar, much the same as Ferrari had to restructure its own ashes : 1996 – 1999.

        Access to the teams’ respective distances covered in testing for those periods would be required for an objective analysis.
        Any links?

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Your points are relevant, but Fiorano was an out dated facility by the late 20th century. It’s place has more to do with historical links to Ferraris past than its future.
        Ferrari had brought Mugello and updated all its facilities by early 2002, and much of their testing was conducted there because of the high speed corners. If you look at circuits F1 uses now, Barcelona dominates because of the high speed corners which test the aero. Fiorano was ideal for Hungarian and Monaco set ups.
        Beyond this, Ferrari used Imola extensively and early on used to test alone because they didn’t want to show theirs or Bridgestones hand pre season. They even tested in the heat of Bahrain whilst the others pounded around Barcelona or Silverstone.

        I won’t disagree that Newey had to rebuild RBR from the ashes of Jaguar, the remnants of the former Stewart team, but you suggested he would be in his element regarding unlimited testing. Something that he had when he worked at Mclaren, a hugely wealthy, works Mercedes team with Hakkinen, DC, Panis and DLR all testing as extensively as Ferrari.

        For all the posters who believe Ferrari were always assisted by the FIA, bear in mind, their whole culture was based on testing, which is why their infrastructure is being built up for simulation tools like the competition now.

      4. ArJay says:

        Valid and interesting arguments.

        However, I would need access to the team’s respective distances covered, as previously stated, in order to make an objective assessment. Those, and a myriad other statistics which very few are party to.

        It’s a case of being ‘blessed’ with the 20/20 vision of hind-sight coupled with access to 1/20th of the relevant data for most of the posters here, including myself.

  52. . says:

    He forgot to mention that they also have Vettel. Webber could not have won the championships with those cars. In fact, he does not even finish in the top 3 in the final standings in most of those years.

    I think many people are underestimating the talent of Vettel. Adrian Newey does not though, he said that Vettel flatters his cars.

    There is a lot of sours grapes going around these days by the establishment and the ones who wished other drivers would ‘dominate’. Instead those drivers seem to want to be rap stars and samurai fighters.

    1. Val from montreal says:

      Lol ! Maybe Ferrari could paint a samurai on Alonso’s car and Mercedes could add some “bling” to Hamilton’s W04 ??

    2. Tonic says:

      Quite so.

      By the way, does everyone know that XIX employs agencies/call centres to write on sites like these in support of their management stable. In other words, for F1 that means Lewis Hamilton.

      Perfectly legitimate but it does give a rather misleading impression.

    3. Doobs says:

      Webber gets nowhere near the support Vettel does

  53. Mark says:

    Newey by himself would not win a thing, far too much emphasise and success gets put to him, there is no doubt he’s good but the people around him and the facilities are the unsung heros for sure.

    Great team, lots of money and a driver suited to the car who is consistent, pretty much sums it up.

  54. Tim says:

    Well said.The concept of an agreement amongst gentlemen appears to be something that CH et al are incable of grasping.

    1. Doobs says:

      To have a gentle men’s agreement, you need an agreement and some gentlemen. Neither of those in the fruit drink company.

  55. Sammy says:

    Does anybody know if Alonso is driving the Ferrari on March 03?
    I can’t seem to find the Ferrari drivers schedule for the last 4 test days.
    Thanks!

  56. Peres Mircea says:

    I saw an oppinion here that Red Bull has a better simulator than Mclaren. It’s ridiculous. Newey said last year that they do not have the best facilities and resources but their engineering team is integrated much better than everyone else, correlated with the fact that they have the best F1 brain, from here is their relative supperiority.
    But Mclaren is a beast of technology. Their facilities and simulator are second to none. I think that RRA doesn’t allow them to fully exploit what they have in their organisation.
    They clearly have the best car overall last year, and it would have been a total domination without Red Bull’s DDRS introduced in Singapore.
    Mclaren losed Newey, Fry, and a lot of other technical staff, but they are like a german machinery:fast developing young engineers on the base of their facilities. Okay they did not have best leadership or the most efficient way of organisating the day to day life of the team on the track. Look Ferrari is fishing every new engineering element available on the market, like Mercedes. What is Mclaren approach? They rarely do this, because they have in their organisation all what they need. Look on the team’s websites on job opportunities. Mclaren carefully is building it’s future by promoting young graduates. Their job opportunities makes very clear in wich section of the organisation is needed fresh blood, and with precise date availability for every section. Look at Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes how ambiguous are with their job opportunity. You cannot see Mclaren’s perfectionism in developing, they only fish big names available on the market.
    Even if Paddy Lowe goes, Mclaren has 2-3 young Paddy Lowe. It is hard to have another genius like Newey, but Mclaren will always have very good engineers, and they will always have a consistent fast car. After Newey goes out of F1 what about Red Bull?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Maybe true, but their championship returns are truly dreadful.
      Only 4 championships since 1991.
      Sadly Mclaren seem to conjure up images of domination, something that was true when you had the best drivers in the world, winning with dominant Honda engines, but since?

    2. KRB says:

      You look at McLaren, and you’re right, they have everything in place to win, and should be winning regularly. The fact that they haven’t means that something somewhere is not right, and has to be addressed, but continually isn’t.

      Last year was truly incredible to watch how many opportunities were carelessly frittered away. Early on it was as though McLaren just didn’t regard pit stops as a crucial piece of the puzzle. Once they realized that they were, and dedicated resources to it, they were amazing. But the damage was already done.

      And it’s true what Paddy Lowe said about their bad luck with reliability, in that near all of their failures happened during races rather than in free practice or qualifying sessions. But it was more than just a failure here ‘n’ there … it was close to a semi-regular occurrence.

      I’m still at a loss to explain how Lewis ended up with less points in 2012 over 20 races, than he earned in his 2011 “annus horribilis” over 19 races. If I hadn’t saw the why and the how with my own eyes, I never would’ve believed it possible the level of convergence of bad events that befell Hamilton last year.

      1. Doobs says:

        Maclaren is it’s own worst enemy at times. The structure is why Newey left in the first place.

  57. Thompson says:

    The answer to the question has two words in it – Sabastian Vettle….

    You guys can go on and on and round and round Vettle is the reason behind the success of RBR.

    If DC and Webber were still the drivers they would be nowhere with the exact same people in place – Vettles understanding of the car is amazing and it suits him and he suits it.

    simple.

    1. KRB says:

      The definition of a backhanded compliment if I ever saw one!!! How many people do you see getting Hamilton’s name wrong??? Says it all right there, doesn’t it?

    2. Doobs says:

      If mw or dc had the same support, he would be WDC too.

  58. Paul says:

    Adrian Newey really does deserve the plaudits. There are other teams that have equal or more resources and money. The difference Newey makes is that he is a visionary. He isn’t a typical ‘incremental improvement’ type engineer, he’s a lateral thinker and his original ideas over the past 3 seasons have made the difference over the competition. Vettel has been fantastic too and made the most of the advantage Red Bull have had. Mark Webber on the other hand hasn’t done. This shows how the RB has been the best car but not by much. Had it been as dominant as many regularly like to point out Vettel and Webber would have had a hell of a lot more 1-2s than they’ve had. RB have been nowhere near as dominant as Ferrari were 2001-2004.

    1. KRB says:

      Just checked it on StatsF1 …

      For 2009-12 (75 GP’s), the number of 1-2′s:

      Red Bull: 12
      Brawn GP: 4
      McLaren : 3
      Ferrari : 2

      For 2001-04 (68 GP’s):

      Ferrari : 20
      Williams: 3

      So on the results you are right. Most would say that the driver pool was not as deep during Ferrari’s dominant run, especially in the opposing teams, as it has been during Red Bull’s dominant run. So while the top drivers in opposing teams can sneak some wins here ‘n’ there at present, it’s still not enough to overcome the dominance gap over a whole season.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I’m not going to argue that Vettel isn’t the faster driver of the two, but you’re overlooking two things:

      First – In the early part of their relationship Mark and Seb had an unpleasant habit of knocking each other out of the race. You can’t argue that Turkey 2010 wouldn’t have been a 1-2.

      Second – If Mark hadn’t had so many problems with his KERS over the last couple years (2011 in particular), I reckon we would have seen a few more 1-2s. Hopefully that get it sorted this year so Mark can have a decent crack the WDC, as in 2010!

      Third – Comparing Ferrari 2000-2004 to RBR 2009-2012 is like comparing apples to oranges. You might as well compare them to Mercedes in the fifties – completely different cars under completely different regulations.

      Fact is that while not perfect, Red Bull have been the dominant team under the current regulations…and I do mean ‘team’, not just Newey.

    3. Random 79 says:

      Oh, and Fourth – I’d be very surprised if there was any other team that had more cash to spend than Red Bull.

  59. Tim says:

    Thank you for an article that calls BS on the assumption that Adrian Newey is responsible for everything at Red Bull. It’s a structure and it’s running well. Adrian Newey isn’t the only gear in that machine.

  60. Steven h says:

    think red bull just spend a lot more money then any other team

  61. vicnsi says:

    I am now very worried and concerned that F1 designers’ influences may be quite minimized or hardly felt this year:

    In this article – http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2013/2/14272.html – Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery uses the phrase ‘With Deliberately Increased Degradation”, while describing the new Pirelli F1 tyres……

    I wonder: Is anyone else here now cringing and wincing like me at the thought of artificial, contrived & fabricated F1 race results this year, due to ‘deliberately-degraded’ tyres?

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      No, all race tyres “deliberately degrade” to a set degree.

      1. vicnsi says:

        Sergio Perez has raised concerns about the new Pirelli rubber after witnessing “extreme” degradation at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday…http://planet-f1.com/news/3213/8513158/Perez-Warns-Of-Extreme-Degradation

        Perez: “I hope it changes, because if we are in this situation in Melbourne we are going to see something like seven or 10 stops.”

        Wooohooo!10 pit stops!!!

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Modern technology means that all race tyres for any catagory are designed to last a certain amount of time, whether it’s half a season or 20 laps, making accusations of “contrived” ludicrous. The degredation is being exacerbated by the cold weather, we had predictions of 5 or 6 stops per race in 2011 as well which never happened.

        The teams are all in the same boat so it’s up to them to get it right, or are we now at the point where we have to give an underperforming team a helping hand?

  62. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Why Red Bull is the car to beat after 3 Championships?

    It’s the number 1 team with the number 1 engineer and Vettel is treated as the number 1 driver…

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