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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decent number two driver; nothing more.


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


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

any more valid for any other driver?


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

val from montreal

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

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



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


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




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

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – couple of queries.

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

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


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


Nice problem to have though…


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


@ dubdub

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


Aah I do recall that race.

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

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


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

Steven Pritchard


Rose tinted spectacles or what! 😀


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


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

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


@ JF

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


No, what I meant is a dominant car.

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

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


RB wasn’t a dominant car in 2010.


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


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


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


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


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


Drivers make cars dominant.

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Williams 94 (Schumacher)

Williams 95 (Schumacher)

McLaren 97 (Villeneuve)

McLaren 00 (Schumacher)

McLaren 01 (Schumacher)

McLaren 02 (Schumacher)

McLaren 03 (Schumacher)

McLaren 04 (Schumacher)

McLaren 05 (Alonso)

Red Bull 06 (Alonso)

Red Bull 07 (Räikkönen)

Red Bull 08 (Hamilton)

Red Bull 09 (Button)

Villeneuve, Räikkönen, Hamilton and Button managed to beat Newey cars once.

Alonso managed to beat Newey cars twice.

Schumacher managed to beat Newey cars seven(!) times.

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

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


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


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


And Alonso is not up there with Vettel anymore though.


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


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


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


And F150 Italia was not up there with RB7 though.


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

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


Apart from the legal (and closely controlled) agreements James refers to, yours is a lovely idea, but sadly, would never happen. From the past stories (StepneyGate et al) even if a kindly engineer passed a ‘hint’ on a napkin to another team, the legal people would scream and have his b***s on a plate once that idea appeared on the rival car, such is the wonderful litigious world of F1…

Don’t get me wrong, I champion the Underdog too, but it could also be argued the whole spirit of F1 is to develop your own ideas (and try to keep them secret) to be the best. If many ideas were shared, then at the end of that road all the cars would be identical. Then you’d get A1 racing, which seemed to die a death…


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

Steven Pritchard

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


I think comments like this, is written out of being jealous.

When has anybody won a championship in nothing but the best car really?

Its a very short-sighted comment and shows ignorance of modern F1. Right now on that grid Vettel is the best driver because F1 has always been about man and machine in harmony, so tough luck for all other teams who cant match redbull, its not Vettel’s fault.


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


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


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

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


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



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

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


I have no doubts that Vettel is a better qualifier, he might even threaten Schumacher’s pole record one day. Can’t think the same of Alonso, although perhaps Hammy can do it too? We’ll see, it’ll be fascinating to watch.

Poles: Schumacher 68 (record), Vettel 30 (at the age of 24!), Alonso 20 (aged 30) and Hamilton 19 (aged 27).


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


Still a Ferrari engine


Yes, powered by a Ferrari customer engine.


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Seán Craddock

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


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


Its interesting that Horner singled out Jenson as the main threat, maybe its mind games but maybe he genuinely believes Jenson will be the more reliablt threat over the course of the season.

On another note, if their B-Spec car does work then I can’t see Vettel being beaten at Melbourne.


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

I think McLaren will win the constructors’ title.


Who is your fav James?


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


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

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