Red Bull owner Mateschitz says Formula 1 is “no longer about the racing”
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2013   |  12:53 pm GMT  |  359 comments

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz says Formula 1 is “no longer about the racing” after tyre management played a huge role in the outcome of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

A remarkable 77 pit stops were made during the 66-lap race with several drivers being told to lift off in certain corners to protect the high-degrading Pirelli tyres.

In an interview with Autosport, Mateschitz said his two drivers – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – were not able to push their Red Bull to the limit without ruining the tyres.

Mateschitz said: “Everyone knows what happens here. This has nothing to do with racing anymore. This is a competition in tyre management. Real car racing looks different. Under the given circumstances, we can neither get the best out of our car nor our drivers.

“There is no more real qualifying and fighting for the pole, as everyone is just saving tyres for the race. If we would make the best of our car we would have to stop eight or ten times during a race, depending on the track.”

Championship leader Vettel finished fourth in Barcelona, behind race winner Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, saying after the race: “Our car is quick enough to match them [Ferrari and Lotus] any day.

“But if you talk about a race distance looking after these tyres it is a different game. The car is quick enough but there is something we probably do to the tyres that makes them wear more.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner agreed that tyres were playing too big a role in the results of races.

He said: “It’s too confusing for the fans. When we’re saying to Sebastian Vettel, you’re racing Kimi Raikkonen for position, but you’re not and don’t fight him, that’s not great. Pirelli are a capable company and they can get on top of it, but it’s a bit too much at the moment.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the Italian manufacturer will make changes to the tyres.

“For British GP we will change our tyres again, whether we will do it with all the compounds I cannot say yet,” he said. “Certainly we will work on the construction.”

However, Hembery added that it’s a tricky situation for Pirelli because while Red Bull has been critical of the 2013-spec tyres since the start of the season, other teams are in favour of the current compounds.

“Lotus and Ferrari don’t want to change the tyres and we don’t want to be accused of wanting to make Red Bull won the world championship,” he added.

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DM, F1 is “no longer about the racing”.

Much the same way we can say Red Bull is no long about making fizzy drinks.

So for F1 to go back to racing, maybe Red Bull should go back to making fizzy drinks only?


Great stuff from Mateschitz!

F1 is the pinnacle of Motor-racing.

F1 is not meant to be the pinnacle of tyre-management.


Is he for real? What do you call what Alonso did at the start then.? He raced for position. Then he raced for 4 super stints. They where clever at their strategy and Red Bull where not. But Mr Mastzchnitzel or what his name is are right about one thing. F1 is not about racing anymore. It has become a drive-as-slow-as-can-and-save-your-tyres-so-that-my-team-can-look-good.


Soon all cars will be PUSHING ALL OUT again!

Can’t wait….


How interesting. Mateschitz is probably playing his cards close to his chest like most commercial negotiations.

Let’s see if his commercial negotiation instincts plays out effectively in the F1 world – with F1 fans being a key factor.

Right now Red Bulls complaints are in stark contrast to those teams which have observed that if Ferrari and Lotus can find a solution, they will too.


But if Mateschitz is right – and F1 is no longer racing, then the pressure his financial clout puts on F1’s governing bodies must be ENORMOUS!

It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out. Glad I’m just an armchair fan, and not playing negotiation poker with my own money.


I agree with Dieter Mateschitz- This man has done more for sport- not only F1 but almost any sport you can think of,than any one or body in the world ! You are indeed a armchair fan and I am sure you have never been to a Grand Prix in person. On TV it is just as unreal as all the soapies your wife watch.


Tough luck Red Bull. Thats how the cookie crumbles. Red Bull are happy enough when they are winning, but as soon as they encounter problems they lose their cool. Dont get me wrong its nice to see cars pushing to the limit, but saying that Alonso didnt seem to struggle and he looked to be pushing his ferarri.

Its no good Blaming regulations, RBR have not won every race so far and they complain about it. Deal with it like all the other teams. The tyres are the same for everyone.

Nice job Pirelli for creating an exciting start to the season. Keep up the good work.


So what if Pirelli could make a tire so hard that a set could last for say, four races? Or more? Who would complain then? Anyone?

Alone In The Dark

James – are you confident that Ferrari and Lotus genuinely know what makes their cars light on tyres? Mercedes, as would be expected, know how their tyres are failing, but claim to have no idea why they are failing in this way. So, is there any chance tyre degradation is to some extent a quirk of a car, rather than a deliberate design feature or a data-driven customisation?

I think F1 needs to decide what factor is acceptable means of differentiating between cars. My impression is that most people don’t want a procession, but don’t want overtaking primarily via the pits. Some are happy with overtaking due to tyre degradation, as it may be under the control of engineers and drivers, even if the pass might not be due to overtaking skill. There appears to be some support for carefully chosen DRS zones which allows a slightly faster car to pass – hopefully with a degree of difficulty.

Personally, I’d love it if the cars could be constrained so that there best 4 or 5 teams are closely matched enough, that the difference can be made by the suitability of a car and driver for a given tyre, circuit, or temperature. It is consistently achievable though?


I think many people would agree on a well-balanced formula for good races:

– 2 pit stops

– DRS that will help you get alongside in the braking zone but not make it too easy

– Tyres that degrade and play a part in strategy but not to the extent that drivers don’t push hard

This might be the ideal result, but let’s not underestimate how tremendously difficult this is to engineer, especially with the variation in circuits and lack of testing.

Of course, whatever the outcome Bernie and CVC will be pleased that people are talking a lot about F1 (and not about activity in the Bavarian prosecutor’s office).


FIA & Pirelli, please stand firm against pressure from all those people, who are whining (like Mr.Mateschitz, who are not doing good marketing for his product or team), and the talk about “true racing”.

Is true racing the processional driving we have seen much too often in F1, where the only excitement is the last 2 minutes of Q3, and the rest is not racing, but test driving, that confirms the aerodynamic engineering battle ind CFD-computers and windtunnels ?

To me true racing is when driver and team needs to setup the car, and define and execute a race strategy according to conditions: the track, weather and tires. Which are the same for everybody! And then react to what competitors are doing. These elements should be at least as important for the race as the car. F1 is a constructor formula, and the engineering is important- but it is boring if engineering is the most decisive element, as seen so often (then you for sure need an energy drink to stay awake).

I truly hope that Mr.Todt and FIA together with Pirelli withstands the inappropriate pressure from the likes of Mateschitz (and keep Ecclestone out of it as weel), and makes their own judgement. Pirelli’s statement that 2-3 pitstops is appropriate is well judged, and then of course there will be examples of someone executing a 1-stop or 4-stop strategy. In the Spanish GP case was, that Red Bull got beaten by Lotus and Ferrari – NOT BECAUSE OF TIRES – but because of better strategy and better driving.

4-stops shouldn’t become standard, but this is excatly what Pirelli says. So let them do their work.

The argument about drivers not being able to push is used wrongly and completely overstated.

Racing is not only driving flat out, using your right foot. Intelligent driving is important, and those people complaining about drivers not racing in Spain, totally misses the point, that the spanish GP had a lot of fighting for position(to win, Alonso had to do 5 overtakes and a undercut, and then still preserve his tires better than competition).

FIA and Pirelli has done a lot for better racing. I hope they are brave enough to not listen to Mateschitz and others.


+1. Fully agreed.


The best comment on this story so far. Sums up my feelings perfectly.


The tyre situation has got out of hand. While it has produced an element of uncertainty and has eliminated flag to flag processions, when Guttierez gets fastest lap in 11th position it shows that tyre management has become the key – which should not be what racing is about. Tis year Pirelli have gone too far – the ideal balance should be the choice between 1 or 2-stopping, but 4 stops, no …

Kostas Galanis

Sorry I can’t understand your point. It could be 10 stops if it’s the fastest way. Ferrari had brilliant strategy and the others got it wrong. Barcelona is a well known tyre-eater, the pit-stop lane is short…boom! 4 pit stops. Faster than those who saved tyres. Isn’t that racing too? By Mateschitz’s logic we should bring back traction control too. Why should the drivers bother about that too? Flat out and let electronic systems do the rest? No.


F1 Racing please not Formula Time Trial.

And it’s not just the tyres that are causing the Time Trial mentality. The whole GP weekend is now about doing the fewest number of laps. Might as well just have 1 practice session not 3.


phew….after reading all those posts it appears that there are many and varied positions taken by all and sundry.

like james, i do not advocate a tyre supplier making the decisions about who will or won’t achieve a max result. that is nonsense.

i have two observations that have not had too much air time. firstly, if my recall is anywhere accurate the so called ‘processions’ were not entirely the result of hard tyres that lasted a very long time but they were more to do with ‘aero’ and dirty air . today there is DRS and KERS. that is enough to ensure that passing is possible and they are both aero/power delivery systems.

secondly, the bigger picture….the real movers in F1 did not want to see red bull win a fourth title. not good for the viewers. same old same old!!! how do they, the movers, alter the conditions to open up the competition without drawing too much attention to themselves ? in my limited knowledge the teams with ability to build cars with prodigious down force would suffer greatly if the tyres were made softer. ergo RB and a few others.

i am appalled at the current state of the sport/business. i have followed F1 since inception and this is almost the bottom of the barrel regards artificiality i have ever witnessed. F1 is supposedly a development series. let us get back to that scenario as a soon as possible and along the way discard these tyres for good.


Well done for reading them all!


He’s right…. although I was delighted Alonso / Ferrari won, it was frustrating to see a procession of F1 cars… might as well had the safety car out for the 66 laps eh. In fact… why not do what they do in the racing cars in Disney World… but them on rails… everybody is ‘racing’ but deep down they know the car can’t be driven outside its rails… so ya Ferrari won… yeah… but zzzz zzz zz z


Are merc seeing the effects of having a more active suspension? Of the tires are on the ground more they will wear more. Great for a quick qualifying lap shocking over a whole race, more tyre contact on the road???


I seem to recall Schumacher getting lambasted in the past few seasons for asking the question whether Formula1 was about racing or preserving tyres. Maybe if others had listened and supported his view point then a less compromising tyre to allow a sprint to the finish style of racing may well exist this season.



He argued that the tyres are affecting the racing more than they should.

Now we can see how right he was – when there is almost nothing else to discuss on the track but tyres.

Fastest lap of the race by Gutiérrez, several other fastest laps: Sutil. Just because they were racing for minor (if any) points they could really push for a lap or two. All the leading figures could not race at all. Just manage the tyres – and is this really what we want to see?

Perhaps some channel switchers with no background in F1 and only superficial interest in it do. Unfortunately following their lead is very dangerous indeed as it leads straight to what wrestling has become these days. Also, ski racing is on this slippery path.

BTW it has always been a good idea to listen to what Schumi was saying. Way more intelligent than most other drivers.

Kostas Galanis

Oh come on! His Ferrari was designed around Bridgestone tyres and vise versa. Spare me with the hipocricy. We’re doing fine, I’m the best driver. Something goes wrong, blame the tyres, the moon…


My point isn’t so much whether Ferrari designed around Bridgestone etc and benefitted from their relationship.

The “Hipocrisy” I’m referring to are the media and fellow F1 racer’s lambasting Schumacher’s view that the narrow operating margins of Pirelli tyres were spoiling the racing, a viewpoint his distractor’s now appear to be agreeing with, that is the hypocrisy I’m referring to!


hi james,

during winter testing each team had 100 sets tyres(35 in Barcelona)last test. lewis /nico did 500 laps between them.

Pirelli said the tyre degradation was high,due to the fact the temperature was low at the track.the tyres couldn’t operate in their intended working range.

in spain yesterday the ambient temp was 20c and track temp was 34 to 37 c,the tyres still worn out quickly.(on most cars)

so what are the intended working range for these tyres?

how can lewis/nico do 500 laps on a test day and the data they gathered seems to be useless.

I might email paul henbery 0:) if you cant answer.


Remember Mercedes was going (nuts in my humble opinion) to a 3 stop strategy.


Don’t bother. As i already laid out, even Pirelly do not have a clue about these tires.


Everyone needs to stop getting hysterical and get some much needed clarity regarding this tyre issue.

The main point is that you simply cannot race on them. Yes you can win, but NOT by racing. If every one crawls around in a competition, somebody will still win. This is what a sport should be about.

Ferrai did not race in Barcelona as claimed by so many people. Lotus did not race, Merc did not race, RBR did not race and McLaren did not race. Not only that, they did not even defend most of the time. This is why the tyres are bad on so many grounds.

This is also not an issue about degrading tyres, but the fact that no matter the compound, they start to degrade immediately – after the first lap; irrespective of whether you push or not – again cue the constant tiptoeing on them. Surely, that cannot be right.

But the biggest nub of it is Pirelli’s incompetence; as they simply do not understand the tyres themselves. All their predictions regarding the tyres have been wrong. From the working temp range, to how long they should last, to how many pit-stops expected on them. The construction is also shoddy, as evidenced by the number of delaminations – 7 so far this year (and we are only in the 5th race. Cue Hembery with yet another excuse again. This time, it is that the cars are using them harsher than expected.

Yes, they are the same for everyone, but this does not make them a good thing. If you tied every footballer legs together and asked them to play, it still would not be a good thing, just because “its the same for everyone”? Yes, it’ll make for a good spectacle, but that’s about it. Or am i misssing something here?

Surely, F1 better than this.


“This is what a sport should be about”.

Sorry, i missed out “NOT” in the statement above.

Kostas Galanis

Ferrari did race. They had a plan to push the tyres and make 4 pit stops. I think Alonso claimed something about 90%. And if the tyres are bad, they are the same for everyone. Changing them midway through the championship is favouritism. Unless it’s for safety reasons but I heard no such claims. Red Bull will have to accept that given the circumstances they got something wrong, get on with it and if there’s gonna be a change at the tyres . . . be it next year.


“Ferrari did race”

No they did not. That statement has been shown to be false. Also, Alonso’ statement that he was at 90% has also been shown to be false due to analysis of his fuel corrected race laps vs his qualifing lap.At most, he was at 70%.

Even racing at 90% in notacceptable. 90% of what? His ability? Or the car’s ability? Neither one is acceptable.

Point is, no one was racing. Even Ferrari.


Great comment! Thanks 🙂


Le’s see:

Pit stop 1 Pit stop 2 Pit stop 3 Pit stop 4

Sebastian Vettel (Spanish GP 2011) Lap 9 Lap 18 Lap 34 Lap 48

Fernando Alonso (Spanish GP 2013) Lap 9 Lap 21 Lap 36 Lap 49

Total Race Time Vettel 2011: 1:39:03.301

Total Race Time Fernando 2013: 1:39:16.596

Two tenths a lap faster the 2011 Red Bull, with blown exhausts in their full glory and with Hamilton pushing Vettel to the end of the race. On the other hand, in 2013 Alonso cruising during his last stint.

If this does not tell you something… Red Bull are not doing a good enough work with this years tyres, but as you can see by the above stats, there are teams (at least four: Ferrari, Lotus, Force India, Marussia) that have done a very good job.

On the other hand, the above stats tell us that the tyre situation in 2011 was exactly the same. The difference is that now there is a team (Red Bull) that is trying to manipulate fans and pundits opinions to their own interest, using terms as “this is not true racing”, “drivers are not able to push” etc, which run deep on F1 fans. I have to say they are doing it very good, and this could give them the championship at the end if tyres are modified.


Leave the tyres alone!! The racing is great. Before we knew who was going to win after the 1st corner of the 1st lap. Now I’m not sure until the last corner of the last lap. Every race seems to be different and very difficult to predict and that’s the way it should be. Also in rallying they have different surfaces to drive on so that mixes it up now in f1 as you can’t change the Tarmac easily the tyres are doing a similar job. It’s up to the driver to adapt which requires greater skill.


I have to say I’m disgusted by the amount of undeserved hateful comments Red Bull gets. Their only fault is doing what every team in Formula 1 is supposed to do: building the fastest car and winning. Instead of admiring it, they get tons of bitter comments from bitter fans for saying everything we are all thinking: this is not indeed racing. They are not the only ones complaining; pretty much everyone but Ferrari and Lotus are unhappy about the situation. But no, it’s only Red Bull “moaning and whining.” Wake up, people.

Yes, they have their own agenda, but they are not wrong. If the situations were reversed, the very same here who are crying for tyres not to be changed would be crying for them to be changed to “take away Red Bull’s unfair advantage.”

But then again, I’m not surprised. I said before the start of this season that I expect FIA to find a way to keep RB from winning again. But I didn’t expect that they would do it that way. I thought they would find something illegal on their car, not this. Have to say I feel sorry for them. To spend a lot of effort and millions to design a perfect car–perhaps even the fastest car–and to have all of that become pointless because of the crappy tyres is a huge blow. If I were DM, I would leave F1. But then, it would make a lot of bitter people here happy.

Respect others’ achievements, people, even if you are not a fan.


Not in my case. I want RB to compete. I want Newey building their car and I want Vettel there. What I do not want is RB dictating the rules. What I don´t want is RB always winning every single pole and every single race just because Vettel take off and flys on the truck. That´s boring. How can we make it a real race? No with the current tyres policy. Maybe going back to basic at least a little with more mechanics and less aerodynamics. It is up to the teams and FIA to make an agreement. What should we do this season? Well deal with what we have. And with Pirelli making tyres that last a little longer. So we can have 2 or 3 pit stops only.


What our beloved sport needs now is a second tyre

manufacture coming in and that should sort it out. The cost of this to happen versus the cost of negative publicity for F1 and ultimately Pirelli its a no brainer

Come on Bernard sort it out


Another point:

If Ferrari, Lotus, and to a certain extent Force India, Toro Rosso, McLaren & Sauber are trying to cope with these new tyres, then RBR and Mercedes have to do the same. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. No crying like babies please!!!!

If RBR is fed up of F1, make space, we want to see teams with tradition and history. The majority of the other teams have it, aluminium drinking cans don’t have history … they are recycled!


What I can’t figure out is this:

RBR hired the best F1 engineer and dominated Formula 1. Well done and good luck to them.

When things are beginning to go wrong they are protesting … but the other teams were very careful to protest about flexible nosecones, the use of exhaust wind currents. There were a number of penalties due to heavenly interpretation of the rules (the one litre fuel in the tank, for example) etc, etc. I hope Bernie and FIA won’t listen to the moans of a team with no history but full of drinking cans!

Champions Wearethe

It was in 2005, when Red Bull made their first season in F1. Back then, you could not push the car because you could only use one set of tyres per race. How they didn’t realise back then already, that F1 “is no longer about racing”?

I agree, that F1 is no longer about racing, but disagree with the reasons he gave. The tyres are same for everybody, if you can’t make the tyres last, it is your problem.

Red Bull is not used to look up to other teams, but they should. For example, Lotus have done their homework. I really don’t think the tyres should be changed during the season. It would be unfair for the guys that got things right.

“Real car racing looks different” said Mateschitz. That’s true, again. For example, in the early sixties there were no cars wearing Red Bull logos, there was no DRS, there were wingless cars, great circuits and everything…

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