F1 Winter Break
Barcelona Day 3: Red Bull’s piece of theatre
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Mar 2012   |  9:27 am GMT  |  170 comments

The penultimate day of testing before the start of the new F1 season saw a dramatic piece of theatre from Red Bull Racing, who had such a significant upgrade package they needed to ship out a new car to Spain. The real Red Bull RB8 stood up in the pitlane and now the opposition know what they are up against. And by leaving it so late, Red Bull have not given the opposition much time to study their design and copy it.

Under FOTA single car testing rules, this required permission from other teams, which was granted and the car duly ran with Mark Webber at the wheel. Sebastian Vettel will take over for the final day’s testing on Sunday.

The “Version B” of the RB8 features new front and rear wings, new rear end aerodynamics, new diffuser and a new exhaust layout among the visible changes, but there are sure to be others under the skin. Red Bull has been working hard in the wind tunnel and gave their rivals the slip by changing not just the position of the exhausts and their function, but the philosophy behind it. It’s quite a statement of Red Bull’s design and production capabilities. One could almost say that they were ‘showing off’.

FIA rules state that a team has to homologate a chassis at the start of the year, so this isn’t a “new car” in that sense, but it was sufficiently revised that it was considered better to build it up in the factory in Milton Keynes, rather than have the mechanics in Spain work all night to build it up.

“The thing that everyone’s obviously asking about is the changes we made to the car but I have to say the car was not massively different to the one I drove on Thursday,” said Mark Webber coyly. “We went through our normal programme, nothing drastic happened, and we just keep working away.”

Apart from the front and rear wings the most obvious change to the Red Bull is the rear end aero and the exhausts, which used to exit “internally” low down and close to the bottom element of the rear wing, now exit “externally”, further forward and blowing across a complex pattern of channels down to the diffuser.

This is the kind of radical solution that Ferrari had tried from the outset but failed to get working and has now rowed back from, to try to build up to it over time.

Red Bull isn’t the only team with upgrades for the final two days. Their closest challengers, McLaren, brought out the Melbourne specification package on Saturday, a new nose and front wing among the changes, giving Jenson Button the step up he had been looking for, “There were some areas where we were lacking in the car, but we knew it would become better when we put the updates on,” he said.

The final day might show the outright pace of both cars, but given how cagey everyone has been this winter, it’s unlikely.

Sergio Perez set the fastest time, but the front running cars were carrying more fuel. What is noticeable is that most cars set times in the 1m 22s range. Although tyres and fuel loads were different, it nevertheless shows that the midfield is pretty closely matched.

Ferrari meanwhile took the unusual step of not allowing the drivers to speak to the media, something which has incensed the Italian and Spanish media in particular. This has sparked talk of the team being in ‘crisis’, with a car which devours its tyres, has no grip on corner exits and Fernando Alonso’s patience running out. It’s a situation which needs to be very carefully managed with a 20 race season lasting 10 months in prospect.

1. Perez Sauber 1m22.094s 114 Laps
2. Button McLaren 1m22.103s +0.009 44 Laps
3. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m22.155s +0.061 131 Laps
4. Massa Ferrari 1m22.413s +0.319 122 Laps
5. Di Resta Force India 1m22.446s +0.352 108 Laps
6. Senna Williams 1m22.480s +0.386 111 Laps
7. Kovalainen Caterham 1m22.630s +0.536 64 Laps
8. Webber Red Bull 1m22.662s +0.568 70 Laps
9. Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.932s +0.838 129 Laps
10. Raikkonen Lotus 1m25.379s +3.285 43 Laps

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Hmm Fernandos patience is running out rumours?

I would love to see him in a Red Bull up against Vettel.


What about in a Mclaren against Hamilton..... oh wait! Now I remember how that panned out, you know, having a teammate that can challenge him & all?



I wonder if at the end of his patience, he'll call the car "a truck"...... ;P


In 2017 perhaps? If Vettel is still there that is.


Every year that goes by people are realising, Ferrari are not going to win anything with him, he will be stamping his little feet as he has nowhere to go.

After being beaten by Hamilton as a rookie, the last thing he wants to do is go up against any of the top 5 drivers in an equal car, it may well further show him up....


I am wondering why it is only Fernando whose patience is running out. Does that mean the others are ok with that?


It won’t be a rumour, of course FA's patience will be being stretched, it's just the nature of top sports men and women. Hamilton is going through the same thing.

James, why does RB maintain the performance of holing umbrellas over their car and putting covers all over the place? There are already photos of the car from every possible angle, except underneath (unfortunately for the others), freely available on the internet? Is it just more RBR 'drama' or do they actually manage to conceal anything that cannot be seen the moment the car pulls out of the pits?

Also, how can RBR hope to fully understand their car with 2 day's testing? Is it sheer arrogance and yet more drama or is it actually possible?

I must say as soon as I heard about RBR flying a chassis out to testing and seeing the pictures of RBR's typically passive-aggressive mechanics shielding the car from view, I had to stifle a sigh. RBR are staring to 'wear' on me now. They feel like they are becoming a bit of a pre-madonna, only in it for what they can take. Whereas other top teams past and present maintain their involvement through the good times and the bad, I can see RGBR dropping out the moment they stop winning. They seem to be responsible for the implosion of FOTA, there is every possibility that they have not bothered to stick to the RRA, they are the team about which constant rumours circulate about pushing the boundaries of the rules a little to far, they are the guys who like to market themselves as edgy and care-free but who constantly contradict their own spirit and statements by enforcing team orders etc.

The more I think about RBR the more I think that their model for F1 is an aggressive ‘smash and grab’ – get in, extract what they can by any means necessary and get out again the moment it starts to go bad.


To be honest I just think you have a short memory.


Yes, but I guess the others are not generally considered to be best F1 driver in the world - potentially loosing another world championship in a below par car one more year.


ooos Thats "No Idea"!

Grayzee (Australia)

Yeah, what about Massa. Is he cool with it.....oh, I forgot, Ferrari is a one man team......


too bad that redbull is a one man team too!!


Based on previous form Red Bull are holding back between 1 and 2 seconds. This car will be mighty hard to beat. Ferrari will be looking for a kennel for theirs by the time they return to Europe. Mclaren will win some races and the rest will not get a look in.


How did you work this one out? I mean the car is new and they haven't got the blown diffuser at their disposition, if any thing I really believe we are in for a very big surprise in Melbourne, and that won't be coming from McLaren or Red Bulls.




Based on the form of the last couple of years, logic says a Red Bull 1-2, but I have a feeling that form won't hold. It appears that Red Bull have built an entirely new car, or near as damnit to one, while the "basic" car was out there in plain sight. Rather like Colin Chapman rolling out the Lotus 25 at the first race of the '62 season, after showing off the 24 in the pre-season. That may have consequences for reliability now, for Red Bull, just as it did for Lotus, then.

Who, then, will play the role of BRM? And of Graham Hill? I'll go out on a limb for a weird season opener: Schumi/Alonso/Button for the Melbourne podium.

Down the season for an equally weird WCC: MB/McLaren/Ferrari/Red Bull. Reliability and "good enough speed" will win out of over imperious speed and lesser reliability.

More (semi) chaos: Sauber/STR/Caterham/Williams will be the order for the mid-field fight in Melbourne; but I have a completely irrational feeling that Williams will salvage some honor against the form of recent years, and bring home some points. Relative to one another, these teams will finish in the same order for the WCC.

Lotus (I still have to catch myself to avoid saying "Renault"), given the problems they've had with chassis failure at the suspension mounting points... at this level of the sport, that kind of thing simply shouldn't happen. Amateurish. I won't be surprised to find them behind the Sauber/STR bunch, rather than ahead of them.

WDC? Schumi/Nico (reliability will accumulate points)/JB/Lewis/FA/SV, in that order, with FM edging Weber in the "wingman" sweepstakes.


I feel the same with Lotus/Renault, you'd think that stopping the development of the 2011 car to better the 2012 car, that they'd have this little niggle (I'm being nice) sorted.


You mean Lotus will win?


HRT's been holding something back, hence their absence at testing.


All the talk has been about the Ferrari being too sensitive to set up and has a small performance window. Its killing its rear tyres. Now Ferrari spent the last two years failing to get their cars to run on anything other than softs.

They clearly do not have the people that can set a car up well enough. This new car is very complex, every track is different and the weather changes daily. They cannot string it together for the year. They may get a pole or two but the car wont win races.


the deal with Ferrari is a bit upsetting. it would be hard to watch Fernando fight off the saubers and force indias…

looks like the season is already over for tifosi even before it began

with the confident redbull, and the highly renowned dev pace of McLaren, even if Ferrari were to come out with a solution in an un-godly hour...it wont matter



Don't worry, LDM promised a red year....so, expect Ferrari domination accordingly to LDM


ha ha...


The fact is that Ferrari is often at the top of the time sheets and can improve several times during the morning. Other teams can match them, only on the afternoon with much more rubber on the track.

RBR coupe of theater may end up being just that.

We know nothing how good these new parts can be.

We also know the Newey has been able to produce one of the longest string of lemons while he was working at McLaren. That can happen again.


And the Mercedes' of Rosberg and Schumacher coming up onto the podium.

We've been saying for a couple years that heads are going to roll at Maranello. If this season starts poorly, it's really going to happen--heads and not middle management.


No, MC, they *say "heads" but its always the "heads" of middle management that gets the chop.


What a load of hype people have accepted from Mclaren about their development pace.

2009 they brought along a dog of a car which took till mid season to turn around, and because they started 2 to 3 seconds behind the front runners, they obviously made the biggest gains.

2010, they developed well over the first half os the season, yet from the British GP onwards, it was Ferrari that developed the strongest in relation to Red Bull and nearly won the championship.

2011, they copied Red Bull after a disastrous winter test and replaced the exhaust for Melbourne. Yet when the blown exhaust was removed for the British GP, they lost 1.3seocnds against Ferrari and Red Bull.

Look further back, 2003, they produced the MP4/18 which was "revolutionary" yet was beset with so many problems they had to update the MP4/17D from the previous seasons car.

2004 was the MP4/19 which required a massive update for mid-season and won a single race.

The only team that seems to consistently get its development right is Red Bull. Yet it raises questions for me. I understand the development race and hiding your ideas till the last moment, but to have a car so significantly updated before the season starts is more than "showing off". It's almost like slapping everyone in the face.

Jaames, when Mclaren updated the MP4/19B mid 2004, the press said at the time that Mclaren and Ferrari were the only teams that had the facilities to be able to run a car and design a new one mid-season. This was at a time of limitless budgets.

How can Red Bull be doing this amount of design and manufacturing without spending what the RRA says is acceptable. Is this why Ferrari withdrew from its agreement?

tom in adelaide

"McLaren" can't develop anything. The engineers, designers etc employed by McLaren can. Last year that team of people did a very good job of developing a rubbish car. The team is largely the same this year, therefore it's reasonable to think they will have strong development again throughout the season. 2003 is irrelevant because that was a different group of people.


Most of Macca staff are now at Ferrari....


Agreed that McLaren's dev pace has been over-hyped, and agree about 2010 dev race. Having said all that, I think they're the best in the paddock at dev on avg, with RBR second.


It's only 'showing off' or 'slapping the others in the face' if the car is significantly faster than the others.

If they qualify & finish in ps 4-6, they'll look remarkably silly.


quote "but to have a car so significantly updated before the season starts is more than “showing off”. It’s almost like slapping everyone in the face."

It's a massive gamble IMO and could backfire drastically. How confident must Red Bull be in their CFD department if they can leave their testing till this late?

At least Ferrari have had time to fathom why their new ideas aren't working as well as they thought. Red Bull have given their opposition an opportunity to steal a march, I think.


I completely disagree with your premise here. Last year McLaren changed the car after testing in a way almost no one else could have done.

There have been some blips but their record for developing a car is a match for anyone in F1



Maybe the huge pace of development at Mclaren is simply due to the fact that they started off with a dog car? it seems easier to find pace when you have got very little to start with.



No, they do it pretty much every year


I'm surprised that such a knowledge of McLaren's history and car numbers that you did not mention that the MP4 18 that never raced was designed by none other than the otherwise brilliant Adrian Newey. His designs at this time were extreme and whilst showing potential were also fragile.

James is right - never has a team produced such a radical update with such success before or since McLaren last year.

So far Red Bull's major upgrade has not proved very reliable... we could be in for some interesting times.


But that still doesn't answer the question as to whether Red Bull's spending is through the roof? And is that why they are able to provide such a significant upgrade in so short a time span? Something sounds fishy here if you ask me.




Completely agree with James. McLaren have shown some strong developing skills. However, i still think Ferrari is top of the class at developing during the season, while RBR have the best knowledge on how to build a winning machine from scratch.


Yes James, McLaren are unmatched at developing a car over a season, but would you mind telling me why they haven't won a Constructors Championship in over a decade?


Maybe because they didn't start off with a fast enough car, for a start..

They did finish P1 in 2007 but were disqualified.


Agree with James sure they got it wrong on occasion but then everyteam can do it. Honda produced an awful car in 2007 that Earth Car yet the same team produced a championship winning car in 2009. Mclaren have produced bad cars but their 05 car was for me the class of the field beaten by the Renault only due to it being fragile. Red Bull themselves got it wrong in 2008, going the wrong way in developing their car they ended up being coundly beaten by their sister team Toro Rosso.


+1 Mclaren can turn dogs into race winners which makes their ability to develop a car astonishing.


Dont forget that last years Mclaren was a dog this time last year and they managed to get it sorted, so i wouldnt write Ferrari off yet. Red Bull are the team to beat with Mclaren not far off. Mercedes will win a race this year but its going to be between Mclaren and Red Bull.


Last Year, McLaren solved their problem by copying RB, Luckily that work on their car.

but This year, there is no magic performance like blown diffuser, most rely on fundamental design of the car. If Ferrari is truly in trouble, there is nothing much to copy from another car.


Last year was an uncompetitive year. Two teams accounted for all but one win, and five drivers took all but two of the podium places. Let's hope we see nothing approaching that this year.


I doubt they would be racing Saubers/Force Indias. But I am guessing they will either be racing by themselves between Red Bull/McLaren and Mercedes like they did last year, or they will be fighting Mercedes and Lotus Renault.


Ha, Red Bull make me laugh with their threatrics and all those umbrellas & covers they carry in their pit lanes to try and hide their car and that's why it will be so satisfying if they get beaten.

I don't recall Schumi's Ferrari years going to these extremes to try and get a match on the competition.

Anyway judging from Mark Webber's words after his run yesterday, it seems the B spec Red Bull has no magic trick under it's hood and so it's up to the drivers to make the difference i.e. mano-a-mano

And when it comes to hand to hand combat, Mclaren have a dangerous weapon in Jenson Button who has the ability to make Vettel wet his overalls & crack e.g. Turkey 2009 and Canada 2011 whereas Lewis has Webber covered e.g. South Korea 2011.

Regarding Ferrari's woes and the fact the whole team seems to be coming apart at the seams, am now not sure if they will win any race this season seeing as Prost wasn't even on the grid in 1992.

It's a shame though for it would have been fun to see Mclaren, Red Bull & Ferrari go at it. F1 is such a messy business.

The battle we want to see at the front seems will happen in the midfield as all those outfits look strong at the moment for Jenson even commented that Sauber's pace looked good yesterday.


Kimi may be losing the Lotus inter battle already for he was complaining of not liking the steering rake, the same rake Grosjean was using ---> Heard it all before from Trulli


Hmmm A bit premature don't you think?


re: "I don’t recall Schumi’s Ferrari years going to these extremes to try and get a match on the competition."

You are right, but it's all about aero this year - back when Schumacher was winning it was a combination of HP, tire manufacturer and aero. The playing field has been levelled somewhat so they are right to bring out the umbrellas and hide their aero "secrets" from the camera above them. PlanetF1 had some wonderful shots, from above, of RB's exhaust package yesterday - it's a really detailed and refined car here.


Maybe should have waited until the end of day 4 testing before posting that drivel about Räikkönen?


Yes, the hiding "game" was really sad to see. It was like "we are back at kindergarden...lets play". Will be a joy seeing the other more "mature" teams lapping faster


If you are talking about McLaren who introduced those walls around the garages, then it is very ironic.


Walls around the garages is fully understandable as teams perform alot of "internal" changes on the car in the garage.

No, I was talking about this behavior:


Image url taken from autosport.com

Maybe they got over energetic from all caffeine in the "energy" drink.


Kimi has already said that the power steering was broken and that it ended up needing a bigger fix than they first thought.


I wonder if Red Bull have bitten off a little more than they can chew by making such wholesale changes with so little testing time left?

No doubt Adrian is one heck of a designer, but even he has limits.

Roll on Australia.


Button certainly has the mindset to unsettle Vettel in a couple of races. But will that be enough to crack the faster Vettel over a full season?


he most certainly DO NOT!!


Why do people who hate Vettel also hate Kimi and turn everything upside down with them?

Weird to see.

Vettel never cracked (they were mistakes while trying to do more than what the car allowed, Button in both the races being in a much faster car). Button cracked in the 2009 season, almost giving away the championship. And Hamilton cracks every 2 races, having nuclear meltdowns.


Webber is hardly going to give the game away!


@ James Allen

Webber is hardly going to give the game away!


Hmm... Am not sure.

Me, I trust Webber. Infact Webber & Petrov are the two drivers on the grid I know that hate BS.


Don't worry, Mark can BS with the best of 'em. With so much at stake, a little white one from time to time is par for the course. As James said, he isn't going to give the game away. None of them do. How many say "this thing is gunna wipe the floor with the opposition this year" 😉

I like you goferet, you always make me smile. Don't ever change.


Of course Webber isnt going to say the car is a big step up - there's a difference between hating BS and not showing all your cards.

James could it be that Redbull are just simply happy with the version A car for the first few races and are simply trying other ideas to develop the car for races they are not strong at?

Mark in Australia

James, any chance of getting your hands on some technical mock up drawings of the changes to the Red Bull?

Would appreciate to see the detail of the upgrades that everyone will be chasing.


I'd keep an eye on http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/

He usually updates pretty quickly when big changes are made. His technical analysis and schematics are top notch.


that is an awesome site... I have just checked it. whoever maintains it...very knowledgable…

cool..thanks for the url


Caterham are looking great


By leaving it so late, has Red Bull shot them on their foot? With only 2 days to test, I am not sure if that is a sensible thing to do.

For me, McLaren looks like the best package so far and both drivers are happy.

I very much doubt if any of the front runners want to show their true speed this week. May be we have to wait for another two weeks.


That's typical Red Bull, for the last two year the definitive version of their blown diffuser only went on the car the last day of testing. If memory serves right they've done OK with that.


Hi James,

With less than two weeks to go until the start of the new season, I am yet to find out which commentary that Ten in Australia will be receiving - BBC or Sky? Are you able to shed any light on this? Cheers.


Mate, Martin Brundle tweeted a while ago that his commentary with David Croft would be on One HD - here's a link: https://mobile.twitter.com/mbrundlef1/status/172058364975661057


I was wondering the same thing about TSN in Canada, but note with satisfaction that on the schedule they are showing all the races live. I assumes this means they must be carrying Sky.. On the other hand maybe they will show the world feed with the radio 5 commentary......


When can u tell? How 'bout for TSN in Canada?


It's Sky.

"Heard Channel 10 Oz are taking my commentary with @CroftyF1 Hopefully many other countries will too for year 16. Getting my one-liners ready" http://twitter.com/#!/mbrundlef1 Martin Brundle's twitter.

Which is brilliat. Brundle is the best race guy, and Crofty is far better than Legard and a bit better than DC or that other..... oh, Hi James.. hahaha But in all seriousness, with BBC only doing half the races and radio coverage not working on TV it was either going to be Brundle/Croft or American commentators, the former being the prefered by pretty much all.


Martin Brundle tweeted this 11 days ago:

@MBrundleF1: Heard Channel 10 Oz are taking my commentary with @CroftyF1 Hopefully many other countries will too for year 16. Getting my one-liners ready


I read last week that I will be the SKY feed...... Correct James?


I do know but I cannot violate confidences. Which one would you want?


Sky please.

I don't want to spend another year listening to Coulthard pronounce Vettel as Vet-tell


The Kers Martin, the KERRRRRRRS!!!!



I now watch NASCAR 10min after race highlights on my TV via the internet , all the sponsors have therefore had exposure to me for 10 min. Also races are becoming more available via the internet.

But in F1 I have to pay $30 (ish) per month for the privilege of watching SKY and their adverts. - Doesn't make sense does it - Who is winning here .............

We know the sponsors want to pay the F1 teams and have huge viewing figures.

We know billions of people want to watch the cars and the sponsorship programmes.

What we actually have is that Bernie and SKY getting rich but it's only a matter of time till the sponsors run away realising they have been duped. Sky even has the audacity to play adverts on channels you pay for.

For us fans we just want racing that we can watch and we will happily support the Sponsors. Strangely, NASCAR gets it right.

We are all getting ripped off and we all know it.


Think the clever rip off of it all is the forcing of non TV watching people as such "like myself" into having to buy the sky package which in most cases will be the whole lot to get value for money seeing you are so far in ie broadband phone and the add on channels alongside seeing they are relatively cheap as a add on to what you MUST buy to gain the F1 channel.

Clever manipulative thinking by Bernie and SKY if you think about it especially seeing there initially letting bbc still show half to keep the storm calm whilst knowing the hardcore are going to want to watch all the races.

BUT anyway i was raged for a start and still believe initially the BBC coverage/style will be better for a start BUT SKY will improve and looking at the bigger picture for fans will be so much better due to the likely off track extra insight from the exclusive channel the likes of personal life's of drivers and key Engineers etc and round the factories etc etc.

The possibilities are endless just hope they do put the effort in to make the fans experience much better otherwise we have been lured into the £1k a yr odd SKY contracts for nothing!


As long as they can ensure they don't 'lose the commentary' three times every race, and as long as they don't introduce their own commentators, I really don't mind if it's BBC or Sky - I think they've both got great lineups this year - though I will miss Brundle if they go with Sky.

Good to know that a decision has been reached though - last I heard, it was still be decided.


You and Martin again........... Perfect

tom in adelaide

I'd prefer Sky personally, mainly because they have a much larger budget.

I'll also tune in to BBC5Live (assuming the beeb doesn't prevent access for international I.P addresses).

For anyone interested - the iOS/Android free App called Tunein Radio let's you stream BBC radio stations (and thousands of other radio stations from around the globe).


Oh I hope they don't drop Steve. Been listening to his commentary this neck of the woods for the past 12 odd years!


I thought it was Steve Slater and Gary Anderson on Star ?



Lol that's funny!

Does anybody know what commentary STAR Sports will be using? They've previously used Slater and Anderson but Anderson has gone to BBC, and Slater hasn't blogged since December which would indicate to me they've probably dropped him in favour of.... SKY commentary?


Steve Slater and Chris Goodwin are the best at commentating


Thanks for the response. Probably Sky, although I'm sure both will do a great job.


I too am very interested to know.

This year we (australian's) have two F1 drivers on the grid, but there has not been any coverage anywhere from the media about it. And with all the drama's of tv rights deals going to pay tv and an unfortunate highlights package for every other race, we as aussie F1 fans are left in the dark on how we can follow our drivers until race weekend. Very poor effort on channel ten!

Is this a sign that F1 fans are considered a niche market where the general population don't care to give us full disclosure? May e it's a sign that Australia are no longer interested in F1 as its currently costing us too much to maintain.

James Allen, you need to tell us why is happening! Send me an email in confidence at least.


You'll be happy when you see how much Network 10 Sport has planned for the Melbourne weekend. I've done long interviews with Webber and Ricciardo in the UK in the last week which will be in the coverage over the three days


i belive martin revealed on twitter that oz are getting sky , so your good manners are some what wasted with brundel and his cash bundle


i belive martin revealed on twitter that oz are getting sky , so your good manners are some what wasted when brundel and his cash bundle

Matthew Miller

lol great reply James..

I would also like to know if we're getting international commentary this year.

The Australian GP for us has always been very random. On each day.

In the past 10 years the Australian GP has been commentated by our own local commentators. (Neil Crompton, Bill Woods, lee diffy(name check), greg rust, darryl beaty and Murray Walker. We've also had changeable commentary teams during a weekend. I believe in 1 season ITV had the qualifying and we had our own commentary for the race.

omg the season is just 2 weeks away.. the winter passed so fast i can hardly beleive it.

Look Forward seeing you in Aus james 🙂


Whoever has got Coulthard & Brundle hands down (plus a bit of JA too!)


nobody has both Coulthard and Brundle. Unfortunately 🙁


Violate confidences? Is the radio that limiting already?

ps I'm thinking after you finish with F1 and a journalist/comm etc... you should/could write a great book covering all the ins and outs that are others not mentioned and how all the things happen that you and the other long term F1 journalists know about but don't mention to us.


Dave, more like a novel set in years and/or chunks on topics.

Maybe Joe Saward could do one as well given that both James and Joe happen to know more than any of us are told.

One wonders what more they could both say if they were no longer part of the F1 kingdom.

Books from both?


Wow that would be more of a set of encyclopaedias than a book! I think James has had a lot of experiences!


This article says "Most recently, Allen has worked with Ten Sport in Australia and he will continue that association in 2012."


Hoping to hear you on TSN in Canada as well James.


I hope to hear you on TSN also James. Although TSN are renowned for split screening commercials at the worst times ever.


Brundle already gave it away in a tweet. Australia(One HD) is getting the sky feed.


Hi James

In relation to this question of coverage on channel 10 I do hope we have the BBC coverage. But will what happens when bbc can't stream live? Do we just get the delayed cast?

Also do you know if there is anyway of channel 10 getting any extra content from the sky network ie before and after race shows, ie tech break downs, testing, in depth analysis. Much like RPM but dedicated to F1.


BBC all the way. Thanks for the insights to an F1 impoverished country last year. I hope we hear from you a lot more on our telecasts this year.


Sky please!!

Grayzee (Australia)

BBC please!


I'd like Brundle from Sky coupled with Coulthard from BBC.

oh yea... that's how it was last year 🙁


Brundle and SKY would be great however i think that will stay with Speed so i think it will be the BBC and the boys?..close??


Hi James,

Off topic here, but I've not seen it mentioned anywhere online...

Do you know what the BBC's iplayer offering for F1 will be like this season?

It's extremely rare that I'm home to watch the races live so rely on iplayer to catch up on Sunday evening or Monday morning, just wondering what I have to look forward to this season..??


If I could pick i'd go with sky because they have Martin Brundle. He's been part of the commentary we receive for 15 odd years so it would be hard for me to imagine a race being called without him involved.


I wonder if should Ferrari fail to fight for the titles again whether we will see a shift in perception of the team. Since 2000 they have been seen as an always competitive major player, could we see a return to the 90s with the team being seen as also rans.

F1 always tends to be cyclical, I wonder if we are seeing the end of the era of Ferrari as a major contender. If they do slip this year, I feel they need to do more to start afresh rather than copy the ways of the Schumacher/Todt era.


I bet Alonso is wishing he maybe joined a few years before or maybe he that he hadn't signed such long term deal with them.


And then arrived Newey the bigger the gap the sooner he arrives that is the way i see it.


Matt W-

Ferrari and McLaren both last won titles in 2008. If Red Bull sweep the championships again in 2012, does that mean McLaren won't be a major player in 2013 as well? No for McLaren and no for Ferrari. Ferrari have the facilities and resources to build title winning cars every season. Obviously that doesn't happen every year, but it is always a possibility.


I mean in terms of being constant major players in the title picture. Since 2008 it has felt like Ferrari have either slipped backwards or remained stagnant year on year. Mclaren in the mean time have been in every championship battle aside from 2009.

Ferrari will always be a big name but for the last decade have been percieved as the single major title threat and the team to be at if you want to be fighting for the title. I feel that could be about to change. Things move quickly in F1, another year of underachieving and they won't be seen as such a commodity for ambitious drivers.


If that happens (Ferrari as also rans)then maybe they are not so important to F1 and will no longer deserve their bonus payments for being "special".


My opinion is that Ferrari have one BIG problem, and that is Mr di Montezemolo. In the glory days, Todt was the "boss" of the F1 team and everything ran like a clock when he got everything in place. Then the politics started and the team started to trend downwards - everyone know the history.

I believe that if Domenicali will get a fair change to manage the team (without the politics from above), Ferrari could return to there glory days. (Great people do not leave a great team for reasons that does not make sense, but maybe I am too deep into the conspiracy theories of Ferrari's current situation.)


Not so sure Robert, Domenicelli is a great front guy/personality but i question he has what it takes there. One vision i have is Brawn returning within the next few yrs to take on that role along with the ultimate man dreaming and drawing wind patterns! I Think its a very real possibility.


I agree, I think if Ferrari fails to become title contenders this year Domenicalli's head will finally roll, along with a few others. Fernando will also probably walk out on the team and look for greener pastures else where - so yes, if this year turns out to be a bust, it's back to the 90's for them.

I was never really a fan of Stefano Domenicalli, I honestly thought he was never up to the job and has had too many chances already - he should have been sacked after the blunder of 2010. They should have allowed Ross Brawn to assume the role of Team Principal instead, back when he came knocking for a return in 2008 and moved Jean Todt up the corporate ladder to make way. In doing so, both men would've gotten the jobs they wanted and stayed with the team. In doing the opposite, the team now looks to be headed for a long haul in the dark ages.


cant help but think within a few yrs we are going to see a Brawn/Newey dream team at Ferrari. Watch this space so to speak!


Where will Alonso go tho is the billion dollar question? Mclaren is out. Could be red bull in replace of Webber but can't see that as they have Vettel. Mercedes could be an option in replace of Schumacher.


I think until last season Alonso would have been out of the question (for Mclaren or for him) but frankly i do not think he would mind going back now and at the same time i would doubt Mclaren would rather have another certain individual there instead (and he aint in his 30's!) But on that i reckon there is going to be so much behind the scenes action at various teams it would be hard at this stage to work out where certain drivers are better off or would like to be yr on yr. Think as a whole F1 is entering its most interesting all round stages ever as a whole. 🙂


I doubt Alonso has the hard working attitude to copy Schumacher.




Agreed, I personally believe he falls more into the Hamilton esque "give me a fast car so I can win races" catagory. Unfortunately this doesn't work so well when you are in a supposed 'lead driver' role within the team.

Lack of testing nowdays & engine/car restrictions at each race (i.e number of engines & gearboxes per season & number of allowable changes etc) doesn't exactly help, its more becoming that the team are expected to design a great car from data analysis & simulation etc & then the driver is simply there to drive the car the way the team wants him to, rahter than giving feedback as to how he wants the car to develop & then steering the setup & development work in the direction the driver demands. Shame really, its all become a bit less about what the driver brings to the table as a complete package.


It all started to weaken at Ferrari when they wanted more Italians on board in 2007! Ferrari did its best work when it was run by the french and the brits!


They are already back to the 90s, with cars that are 'almost but not quite'.

In 2010 they were just lucky the RBR of Vettel broke down so much, lost at least 66 points through mechanical failures (most of any driver in the grid), almost always handing those points over to Alonso.


I agree. I think Mercedes will spring a surprise now that their team has more strength in depth. Reckon they've focused on reliability and tyres during these tests and will have a substantial upgrade for Australia


It's still very hard to read who has the best performing car in the top teams. In spite of the Red Bull revamp, I'm begining to suspect McLaren are in front, and Red Bull perhaps a little concerned, although we haven't really seen what the revamped Red Bull will do. Judging from Gary Anderson's comment about how well behaved and stable the McLaren is through high speed corners we may be in for a shock but pleasant surprise come Melbourne. Really it is still too early to judge as the teams will still be improving their cars in the two weeks leading up to first race. - I can't wait.


Hi James, can you explain McLaren's low mileage in this test? In the first three tests, they did 100+ laps each day, whereas this test has seen less than 70 each day. Have they encountered problems, or have they been waiting for rubber to go down first, or something else?


James, I'm beginning to get the sense that some people in the media,yourself included, have acquired a bit of Red Bull bias in the way they report unless you have evidence that this version B car is a worldbeater just by looking at it.

It's almost like we should all stand in awe of everything Red Bull does (before it's even proven to work), including when they copy another team's ideas. I did not hear anyone harping about that exhaust layout on the Sauber, but once Red Bull encorporate it, its genius.

Matthew Cheshire

I'd be happy to get brundle's commentary. Assuming your radio feed wouldn't be usable for TV. Glad to see you are still doing pieces for 10, i don't miss those.Their team are OK but I tend to time the kettle for 8 minutes in...

Have they given you a shirt that fits this time? Or did you loose weight and catch them out?!

Good luck with the radio. Can we get it on line down here?

Tornillo Amarillo

Maybe Ferrari can ask for a technical support from Sauber this year :))

Like Mercedes in 2011, this year Ferrari can have a good qualy and good starts, and after that slips back (Button will be waiting as usual).

Showing off is not a good signal for RBR nor for anybody, so it is a good signal for McLaren doing a sound job. Hence it could be the year for Button again with the full support from the team he enjoys.

If 2011 was the tyres, 2012 with everybody closer, could be the year of "Strategies."


"Fernando Alonso’s patience running out"

Here we go!!


I think Red Bulls weren't getting the kind of performance edge they were expecting in the earlier tests; otherwise, why would they throw all that away and start essentially anew (so close to the first race)?..It just doesn't make sense to me.


I'm just wondering if Red Bull are immediately so confident in new RB8 that they cut short Vettel's running today or they indeed are suffering those problems they say they had. if the latter, then it seems that RB8 is more to Mark's liking than Seb's or Mark is more to RB8's liking than Seb is


Hmm James, was Ted(from sky sport) right for his statemenet about redbull showing off with their new car or am I foolish to say that the need for redbull is indeed realisaton that their car isn't all that good and what about the costs it looks like redbull are getting the same treatment as Ferrari in years gone by. Surely they overspent much the same like last year I know F1 is all politics but still there has to limit...


James one question in regards to Merc. They are quiet about their perormance, drivers are "happy" one complaint about tyre degradation, Brawn seems to be optimistic in saying they need to fight for podiums, so I'm a bit confused is mercedes hiding something or they just drumming into empty space here. It doesn't seem like they are sandbaging but their times arent that good and to me they look like they lost speed in last test. So your opinion would help to clear some clouds in my head...


Not as fast as Red Bull or McLaren at this stage


Could be some interesting battles between the Ferraris and Mercs?



The truth is nobody knows who is fastest.

So we wait for the first say 3 races.



I think it was 1998 that McLaren sandbagged , I have a funny feeling this is what they and red bull are doing by running very high fuel loads and only pushing in 1 or 2 sectors, the season will start and McLaren and Red Bull will race off and duke it out between em.


"...incensed the Italian and Spanish media..."

Media ppl have *such a sense of entitlement! LMAO

"...talk of the team being in ‘crisis’..."blah blah blah

So yesterday it was ok, but today its not? DO these ppl just sit around evenings and spitefully make up "stuff" ??


Why, oh why didn't the regs say that the exhaust pipes should exit no further forward than the most rearwards point on the car? At least then we should do away with all this 'blowing' nonsense.

I just don't get this. I thought it had been established 40 years ago, at the time of the Brabham fan car, that power from the engine should not be used directly to increase downforce.


Why would the other teams agree to RB doing this?

At this stage I would rather disrupt their evil plans and rob them of the testing on the new design than see what it is.


Well, if the other teams say no. Red Bull are still allowed to turn up with it in Melbourne, but the other teams wouldn't have seen it at *all* and had no time to react to it if needed.

Giving them 1 day of running it as a trade of for getting a look at it was probably seen as reasonable.


If in the unlikely event that this "new" Red Bull is a flop would they be allowed to go and race the one that they have been testing up till now?


Sure; it's 'just' a different Aero kit bolted the the same Chassis.


Hi James.

I was looking at some photo's of the Red Bull's exhaust and noticed that it exits directly into a longish section of body work which nearly closes around it.

This is clearly to guide the exhaust gasses are they not at risk of breaking the new regulations?

Other teams most notably Mercedes have some thing similar but in those cases the exhaust is less than 50% enclosed unlike the Red Bull's whose bodywork which appears to wrap around the exhaust.


Ferrari are in trouble. Bring back Alesi and Berger.


Have Red Bull messed up a bit ?

Looking at Saturday and the problems they had, could it be they have tried to be a bit too clever ?

Everybody is so full of "Adrian Newey the unbeatable" these days but I seem to remember he did fail, and usually due to over-complication.


Very interesting that since the last update Red Bull have suffered technical problems. Not the ideal to time to be getting these, with no running now until Melbourne

Re: Ferrari, I think its clear that they are struggling and panicking at the time. The pressure will surely mount if the test performance bears out during the 4 fly aways. Maybe Maranello will have to accept a slip back to the bad days of the eighties and rebuild. Clearly, things don;t look good there at all. Alonso will doubtless struggle to keep quiet if all this ends up being their true level

McClaren must feel very confident. With probably their strongest pre season since 2008 coupled with their development capacity and 2 leading drivers, they know they don't need to panic. In fact as long as they are in touching distance in quail and race pace with Red Bull (even if they are behind) during the fly aways will still be a confident giving position.

The enigma's (on whether they are closer to RB/McC or Ferrari) are Mercedes and Lotus. The Mercedes looks tidy and solid, which again is where you want to be pre season. The Lotus has been having a couple of glory style runs during all 3 tests and this is usually a sign that they are not as quick as the timesheet initially suggests.

Order right now looks like:






I would be tempted to put the Lotus ahead of the Ferrari if its single lap pace is strong and it doesnt chew its tyres (which I suspect the Ferrari of). Sure Kimi will love that!

Jeremy (cape town) South Africa

Let's just wait for qualify in Australia everybody!!!


people talk more about something when they are not sure about it.

let them talk...otherwise we get bored in winter


Aah its a beautiful warm sunny SUMMER in Australia 😉


Where has ferrari lost the plot...in fernando they have a master class driver ... felipe is good driver ...and having build championship winning cars .how did they lost the plot ...is it just down to Newey then how are McLaren atleast able to give a spirited fight ...

Where is Ferrari missing out in ?


Don't you just love Red Bullwith the way teh play with the opposition. Mark is not bad either. He is teh perfect team player, Let us hope the team [alys with him this year.


I would love to see some proof of this please, otherwise the only way Red Bull would play with the other teams if they knew they were unbeatable which we all know they are not. What is it with this Red Bull worship I see?


James, I must admit I've been remiss in following much of the practice data. Do you have any plans to write a season prospectus or offseason wrapup? I would thoroughly enjoy an article detailing where you feel each team and driver is at and the challenges they will face in the upcoming season.

Always love your articles and commentary!


'Under FOTA single car testing rules, this required permission from other teams, which was granted and the car duly ran with Mark Webber at the wheel'

Just out of interest, why did the other teams freely grant permission like this? Is it just professional courtesy? Seems to me an ideal to put a spanner in the RBR works.


Because they might want to do the same in the future


plus Red Bull are no longer a member of FOTA so they technically don't need permission from anybody. I guess they were just asking to keep the peace.


simple logic always brings smile on my face

Adrian Newey Jnr

James - could you shed some light as to why the other teams would grant RB the opportunity to release a "new" chassis package when it isn't really in their interest? . Surely this means that the changes couldn't have been that big? Otherwise they could have blocked it(eg think back to the F-duct introduction) and preserved their own competitiveness.


My own view regarding Red Bull is that no team would introduce such a draconian update and not run it for long in testing. It strikes of a move in response to a lack of pace / rear downforce.

If they wanted to hide its pace they could have turned down the engine, carried more fuel etc.

Seems like the mass hysteria says its) showing off, I don't buy that - the B car was unreliable and had glitches. Doesn't look like showing off to me.


@ Glennb:

I like you goferet, you always make me

smile. Don’t ever change.


Aww I thank you!

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