Red Bull charge out as favourites
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull charge out as favourites
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Feb 2010   |  2:09 pm GMT  |  105 comments

The car everyone has been waiting to see broke cover this morning in Jerez, ahead of the second official F1 test.

Picture 9
On paper, Red Bull are favourites for the championship this year because they had the fastest car at the end of the season and had taken a direction in design and philosophy that other teams have clearly copied with their 2010 cars. The new Red Bull is an evolution of last year’s car and as long as Adrian Newey and his team have got their sums right and haven’t built in any reliability issues, this should mean that the new Red Bull car should enjoy a small margin over the others. Time will tell.

In the unchanged driver line up of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, the team has a strong combination capable of winning both championships. Webber is the idea team mate for Vettel because he is fast enough to be a number one driver in his own right, which pushes Vettel to the absolute limit. Although Vettel outqualified Webber the majority of times last season the margins were often very small.

Critically, both drivers showed last season on a number of occasions that they have what it takes to dominate a race weekend; Vettel did it in Silverstone and Suzuka particularly while Webber was untouchable at the Nurburgring. This will be vital this year if they are to press home any competitive advantage they may enjoy and bring home the championship.

Although Vettel also made some expensive mistakes last season, which cost him a shot at the title, he was the more consistent of the two. He is expected to grow as a driver from these experiences and we should see a relentlessly strong Vettel, a real competitor for the Hamiltons, Alonsos and Schumachers of this world. And this has to be the year when Webber adds consistency to his list of attributes. Somehow it is a quality he has struggled to show in F1. With a car capable of winning races, he has to find a way to rack up big points every weekend, regardless of what his team mate is doing.

Picture 8
The car looks very impressive; sculpted, toned and well-developed with a sensational front wing. Last year’s car was the fastest car built to the spirit of the regulations (ie no double diffuser) and the team did extremely well to incorporate quickly the double diffuser into its design and make their car the pace setter. But it wasn’t perfect; Newey decided not to change the gearbox or suspension and fitted the updated diffuser around them. This year the rear end of the car has been designed around the double diffuser and knowing Newey it will be an extreme interpretation.

Although the team lost some valuable development time last Autumn when they thought there might be a chance of getting a Mercedes engine, they have a potential advantage this year in that the Renault is the most fuel efficient engine in the field, although it is apparently quite close with the Mercedes. This will help them on lap times in the sense that they will have to carry less fuel to cover the race distance than their competitors. If the front of the field is tight, it could make a difference. Against that the Renault gives something away in outright power to the Mercedes, but this did not seem to hamper Red Bull’s competitiveness much last season.

This year there is a premium on preserving the tyres and this is one area where the Red Bull car will need to have improved from last season. In comparison with the Brawn it was a little harder on its tyres, which helped in getting the raw pace in qualifying, but this year will not be helpful on long runs with a heavy fuel load.

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and Newey admitted satisfaction at seeing many teams emulating his ideas from last season. But that smile on his face will only last as long as his car stays in front.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

If I’m not wrong, the last time a Newey’s car won something worth mentioning was in 1999.

Maybe this is about time to add another trophy, but that says a lot about Newey winning cars of lately.


From what we have seen so far, it could hardly be described as “Red Bull charge out as favourites”. 🙂


Vettel and RBR had an open invitation from Jens to take the title last year. They didn’t take it. You don’t get a repeat invite in F1.

Raikkonen tips Vettel for this year, but I’m not so sure.

As for Webber, he did well against Jens in AbuD, but was lucky not to be penalised for his tactics in earlier races. He should be really flattered with what James has written here!


They’ll be there or there abouts. To be fair, they only have to make a small step to be at the pointy end, they won the last 3 GPs of ’09 so the car was great. The aero is obviously very good, and they seemed to make good progress with the suspension at the end of the season, the Singapore update seemed to transform the car.

The drivers seem to work together well and go in a similar direction with setup, they obviously don’t like being beaten by the other but get over it within 30 mins or so. No settling in time for either of them, Sebvet will have more experience and Mark will be a lot fitter this season.

The engine is probably the weak link, but Renault seem to be working on it.

I think the pull-rod is a good idea, if the diffuser loophole is closed for next year RBR will have 2 years of experience with what appears to be the optimal ‘single’ diffuser solution.


I really do think last year was a one off for RB and we’ve seen that tends to happen in F1. I’m really hoping for a strong RB to challenge but there is no way they’ll win either titles, there will always be stronger teams as a whole. Vettel is a strong driver but he’s still making many mistakes that drivers such as Alonso, Schumacher and Hamilton wont make and Webber is just… Webber nothing much to talk about.


James, the guys don’t seem to agree with you this time. Just because they ended the last season as the best car, don’t seem to convince the mayority.

I think like the la rosa said, after what we saw at the valencia tests, massa and alonso are the favourites, hamilton and then schumacher. Rbr still too early to see.


In the Newey Q&A on the F1 site, he mentions that the car is designed around Webber, as it is then trivial to fit in a smaller driver – Mr V.

At McLaren, they presumably had the car designed before Jenson was signed and he is taller than Lewis – not sure about HK.

He had comfort problems on day 1.

Is there an issue there for McLaren?


yes!!! #:)


I’ve been wondering about the cars and various wheelbase lengths we’ve seen, mostly due to fuel tank sizes, and other layout designs.

It was a major talking point in 2007 after McLaren utterly dominated the 2007 Monaco GP. Many people talking about Ferrari being a longer wheelbase car and being quicker on the fast corners, whilst McLaren’s shorter wheelbase allowed them to dominate races like Monaco and Montreal.

So again, I’m wondering will we see teams like Renault who appear to have a much shorter wheelbase looking very quick around places like the streets of Monaco.


would love to see some stats on the current cars as to their wheelbases.

This year the Ferrari looks shorter than the Maclaren.


Nope, it’s waaaaay longer.


Judging by the photos at redbulls opening i would say Mark Webber looks amazingly fit compared to Vittel, who honestly looks a bit on the plump side, but that maybe his hat playing tricks on my eyes.

Every one bigs Vettel up, but Webber last year wasnt far off, this year he could be right on it by the looks of his training results.


I see the car being very good. They have very good drivers…me thinks Weber a tad over rated…Vetel is the REAL deal… The lump in the back worries me… No engine equalization and down on HP.. sure they get better mileage which means less fuel…BUT… will that translate to the speed needed. I don’t think so


Just viewed the article on my phone, it looks good and I’m sure it will be quick. I expect a strong season from Webber. Last year he didn’t test and was not 100% for a few races. Vettel whilst being very talented is strong from pole and makes too many mistakes. Last time I looked Webber was 14-1, I fancy a few quid on that.


old proverb…”A fool and his money are soon parted”………..#:)


I thought this was a very low key launch and from what they were saying thought Red Bull lacked confidence in their car. I think they can come good during the season, but from today feel that they are worried they are not going to be as competitive as they would like at the start of the season.


but hasnt most the launches been low profile


The launch of Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes was much more high profile compared to the traditionally more flamboyant and showy Red Bull. The quietness of their launch was conspicuous – are they just being more serious now or are they a bit worried?


Maybe they’re just feeling the ‘crisis’ as well, and want to spend their money on improving the car and reliability, instead on fancy launches. They’ve proven their point that they are serious contenders already last year, so they don’t have to beat the drum so much anymore…


I think they are trying to downplay their role as favorites, as it only means pressure. And I think Red Bull still has problems keeping reliability in check (as we’ve seen today), so this might be a worry for them.

And James, what wondered me was that they stopped dead on the track with an oil leak and actually had to take out the whole engine. But doesn’t an oil leak show up on the telemetry? And couldn’t they have send him into the pits the moment they noticed a problem, or could it be so sudden that this wouldn’t work? Any idea James?


From the reports it mentions that once the problem was noticed Webber shut down the engine as a precautionary measure….it was a simple component that failed – you aren’t exactly going to risk an oil fire on a car you have launched only a few hours earlier are you??


Horner was already moaning about how strong Merc are so I guess that he is unhappy with the engine situation.


They would have liked to get the Merc because of the power, but, the Renault still proved good enough last season, still had enough power and it is more fuel efficient.


he must be. He has money to develop, and the rules don’t allowe it. It is behind in power, and reliability, and he knows the car must be a little better than the rest to compensate.

i doubt it is going to be.


Horner is moaning because he feels they missed once in a life time chance and needs someone to blame. Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari are engines that won most of the stuff in the last 20 years so I think Horner needs to show what he can do when at a head of the team.


You can’t really blame him though. With a Renault on parity and no diffuser loophole his car would have run away with it. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.


Something I dont understand.

If a care has a minumum weight of X. The driver would weigh lets say y. The total weight of the car = X + y. Now if I remember correctly Mark’s weight is at least 1okg greater than Seb’s or they build a slightly lighter car if it is the combined weight that has a minumum. That would mean less placed balast for Mark. Does that not have a value in terms of ultimate laptimes? Maybe Mark if he had the same jockey weight would be quicker?


In 2010 the minimum weight is 620 kg for car and driver together. The car weight alone is not measured AFAIK. Yes, this means that a driver that weighs 20 kg more has 20 kg less ballast to play with. It’s been this way for a long time.

There have been suggestions to remove the variance of driver weight by creating a rule that driver, helmet, and seat together have to weigh a certain amount, meaning that lighter drivers would have to add more ballast to their seat. So far, nothing has come of it.


Thats why the min weight of car and driver was increased to 620 kg (I think) from 605KG less of an affect. So now all drivers should have enough ballast to do what they need with it.


They will build all their cars as light as they can and then bring the car + driver weight up to the minimum with ballast.

Maybe someone else has a better idea how much a car without driver and ballast weighs but at a guess I’d say it was somewhere around 400KGs.


This has been a problem before actually. Kubica always complained that being a taller and heavier driver than Heidfeld, he was at a disadvantage. He had less possibility to shift ballast around and thereby improve the balance of the car. There has been discussion if the weight should be determined by the car without driver, but I guess they stuck to the old system. So yes, lighter drivers (Massa being the lightest I think) have an advantage in this respect.


Hi James,

Just an idea….since there is no refueling allowed this year…. is there anything in the regulations that says fuel can or can’t be taken out of the car? ( the situation when there are yellow flag laps…. then the car would not need as many laps to go to the end and can benefit from a lighter car?)



To me RBR are in position to win 2010 constructors championship: they changed chassis to rebuild and improve double diffusor, have got Renault fuel-saving engine, engine cover seems to provide low centre of gravity and are oversighted by Andrian Newey…


I think Newey’s cars always have some reliability issues. I mean, last year, Renault engine only ended Red Bull’s races. I might be wrong, but I don’t remember Renaults retiring with engine failure. Also, all those McLarens that Newey built. Those were the most fragile cars in the history of F1.


Not really. A lot of McLaren’s problems came from the Mercedes engines.


yeah!..i remember in 94 when he had some steering problem with 1 of his cars!!! #:/


no quite. The most fragile were champman’s lotus. But the good cars use to be on the limit, so, easy to brake.

Champman used to say, the perfect racing car is the one that after winning a race falls apart.


The most fragile cars in the history of F1? You must be joking.


I think it’s generally accepted that the old Lotuses were probably the most fragile of all F1 cars. Colin Chapman always cut the meat to the very bone.


Sure ,this years Red Bull isn’t looking radically different from last years.

That doesn’t mean to say Newey will not have incorporated clever tricks under the hood.


Yes, Newey said they are. Surprised me a little that did. Yes, pullrod will give better CoG but will result in less space for a large multi-deck diffuser like I hear McLaren have. Clearly Newey wanted to evolve what they had. After all it worked well last year even in compromised form. And knowing him he’ll have found a way to still enable a high performance diffuser.


It stopped on the middle of the track today.

for a start, not too bad.


Well it look nothing special does it ❓ Can’t agree that RedBull are favourites, if I had to pick a team who are most likely to be it’d be Ferrari as they started on their car first, hope I’m wrong as I’m a McLaren man 🙂


The RB5 and RB6 kind of remind me of the 1991 and 1992 Williams, which were also designed by Newey. The 1991 car was quick but just missed out on the title, very similar to last years RB5. And then the 1992 car came along, which looked very similar to the previous years car in the same way that the RB6 looks like the RB5, and it blitzed the 1992 season. I sincerely hope that this pattern doesn’t repeat itself and Red Bull does the same. Don’t underestimate this car, they’re not just gonna suddenly drop off the pace after a strong end to 2009. But here’s hoping for a close 2010 season, Mercedes v Red Bull v McLaren v Ferrari


Totally agreed…. this is going to be a vintage season. Can’t wait.


It looks like reliability is still an issue: Webber had to stop at Jerez due to an oil leak.


last night i read it was an engine failure, but before that it was an oil leak!? #:)


If Red Bull can improve on last season’s performances, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes should be very afraid!


People should understand by the very nature of F1 those behind can always improve more than those in front.

Ferrari and McLaren would have learnt from both their cars last year as well as seeing how other designs faired, which is why so many are taking the RedBull line.

The biggest looser to my mind is Brawn who only won last year because the FIA wanted a fairytale and allowed them to use their double diffuser, this was a massive advantage which allowed a good driver to soundly beat time after time far better and faster drivers.

Last year was Mosley’s last chance (I HOPE) to force his will as he wanted,can anyone here imagine how he would have felt if McLaren had won again ❓


“The biggest looser to my mind is Brawn who only won last year because the FIA wanted a fairytale and allowed them to use their double diffuser”

Sorry mate, but that is complete and utter garbage. If the FIA wanted a fairytale winner, why didn’t they pick Force India? 3 teams took a gamble with the DD, and it paid off.

Rules is rules, and if you use them to your advantage then you’re more likely to succeed.


I have conflicting reports on the Red Bull. One stating that they turned to a push rod setup this year to fit the defuser and one saying they were able to keep the existing pull rode system.

James can you shed any light on this?

What advantage might they have lost in going back to a push rod system?


No need to ask James, just look at the pictures. The rear suspension is a pull rod setup.

For a pushrod setup the damper would be mounted near the top of the gearbox, forcing the rear bodywork up or creating the moulded bulges we see on some other cars.

Staying pullrod means less space for the diffuser, but a much tighter bodywork over the rear end and a more effective beam wing.

To be honest I am surprised at this move. If he has managed to package a competitive diffuser in there this thing will be a rocket.


Can someone please explain to me what the differences between the two systems are? thank you!

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