Another perspective on the Webber/Vettel strategy debate
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Oct 2013   |  9:41 am GMT  |  298 comments

There has been significant interest among F1 fans around the world regarding the way Red Bull managed its two drivers in the Japanese Grand Prix. Mark Webber was ahead of Sebastian Vettel, then was switched onto a three-stop strategy and ended up finishing behind him. Red Bull got a 1-2 finish.

With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, who headed Williams’ track operations last year, we’ve got a fuel corrected graph, which expresses the lap times of the three leading drivers during the race.

There are several conclusions we can draw from this and some useful insights into the way situations like this are dealt with by teams, so fans can understand a little better how teams arrive at key decisions in races.

The horizontal axis is the number of race laps, the vertical axis is the lap time in seconds, with the lower numbers being the faster laps. The sudden upward moves are the pit stops.

The way F1 strategy teams work is that a live computer strategy model is working all the time, modelling different outcomes and suggesting strategies. After Romain Grosjean got ahead at the start, the model would have changed and started suggesting alternative strategies.

“That model in that scenario would not give Webber the two stop and Vettel the three stop strategy. The model isn’t just working on data from that weekend, it’s working on historical data as well, based on previous performances by the teams and drivers, using coding and mathematics,” says Gillan.

“It would have told Red Bull that the sooner they made the switch the better. It will have proposed the switch to them as early as the first stint, after Grosjean won the start.

“As a team from a strategy point of view it makes sense to split the strategies to produce confusion in the Lotus team against whom they were racing.

“It’s important to remember that they had no chance of losing P2 and P3 in the race by doing this, but they had a chance to get P1 and P2.”

The surprise then is that they left it until lap 25 before making the switch. And this is what hurt Webber, because he hadn’t driven the first 25 laps like a driver on a three stop would do.

“There is nothing worse than converting from a two stop to a three during the race,” says Gillan. “Having conserved the tyres at the start of the second stint, you can see Webber was working to a two stop. Compare that pace to the third stint where he is pushing hard.

“The mindset of a driver on a three stop strategy is quite different from a two stop.”

“He beat Grosjean anyway so it’s a moot point. In my view he would not have beaten Vettel in all probability. Red Bull did the right thing.”

So why did they delay the decision to switch strategy?

“They waited a while, knowing that it would not affect the outcome (in other words the model showed Vettel winning and Webber coming second) in case of a reliability issue on one of the cars. That is a wise thing to do,” says Gillan.

This is why Webber was still being told he was driving to a two stop during the opening laps of the second stint.

“Vettel had had a few issues to deal with,” says Gillan. “He has a bit of a slack trace in the opening stint, not his usual style, and had so his engineer will have been on the radio to him asking ‘Is that your true pace?’ and assessing what stage of degradation the tyres were at.”

Vettel will have assured them that everything was fine and then once Webber is moved out of the way he bangs in some consistent, fast laps and extends the middle stint.

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the model was Vettel 1st, Webber 2nd before the race started. That is why they informed Mark at lap 25 when there was nothing he could do. Had the team told him before the race he could have pushed hard from the word go. Just dirty tactics imo.


Just watched the 2005 Japanese Gp. Here we are debating how the Red Bulls finished 1 2 in the order they did, and back then it was Raikkonen and Alonso vs the world from the last row of the grid. F1 is more exciting now? Not too sure about that....


It is always tempting to use an outlier to represent the norm, that race wasn't the norm. The two cars that were comfortably the best that year, driven by two of the best three drivers, were stuck at the back. The fastest cars will only be at the back, because of extraordinary circumstances, such as rain in quali, grid penalties, strategic or mechanical or driver mistakes and the like. They will then naturally move back up the field, to a greater or lesser extent. That can still happen now, see Vettel in Abu Dhabi last year and Webber in China in 2011, both making the podium.


Mark being slow was the reason he didnt win. Simple.

He had fair change but he couldnt keep up with Grosjean. He was 2.5s behind Grosjean when pitting first time which caused undercut to fail. And when it failed, the team had to do something. They couldnt just wait.. There was high risk that Mark fails second shot too.. And even if he nails it, Vettel would be behind Grosjean still.


I hope you do realize he was told to keep this gap


I hope you do realize he did not listen until the last 3 laps of his stint where he lost 5 tenths a lap.


But if the team wanted to undercut, he should have been 0,5 behind to make it work.


I hope you realize that Mark ignored the command. He burnt his tyres by being too close. Then, when pitting, he had no grip to close the gap on in lap.


I agree, the strategy was allowed to run in Vettels favour and Mark's chance was controlled IMO. The team have won both championships and they are not going to let a driver who's leaving, telling them at the last minute remember, outshine thsir current star.

Just as Seb knew what he was doing in the Multi 21 affair, it wasn't about disobeying team orders because he's a racer. It was to crush Marks challenge early on as he was the only real threat this season had he managed to get some decent scores under his belt.

When that went unpunished Mark knew exactly where he stood and he has been underperforming since IMHO.

Also Horner is a very polite pc type of guy in public but he's a ruthless and shrewd opperator and I remember when Jaguar was sold from under the incumbent management, it was Christian who stuck his head around the door and said Niki sends his regards. An unecessary act to people who had just lost their jobs but an insight into the way his mind works. Mark tweaked his nose by not informing him in advance he was leaving and while he wont do anything overtly, Mark will get no favours for the remainder of the season. The contrasting messages to Seb and Mark over the radios at the end of the race were both equally believable even though they were opposite in their tone. How easily and quickly Christian was able to switch emotions to suit the situation just shows you how good he is.

There is no doubt in my mind that Seb got preferential treatment over Mark in the race and will continue to do so. Christian meant it when he said that he hopes Mark can win a race before he retires but what he means is only if Seb has a DNF.:)


"Just as Seb knew what he was doing in the Multi 21 affair, it wasn’t about disobeying team orders because he’s a racer. It was to crush Marks challenge early on as he was the only real threat this season had he managed to get some decent scores under his belt."

It was also about a large portion of revenge for all those times Marks ignored team orders and raced Seb. Instances where Mark wasn't punished either, so I'd suggest that the lack of punishment for this was also in his mind when deciding to go for it.


There may be some bad blood between them from previous incidents but I dont believe that had anything to do with the multi 21 affair. Seb goes into races with a single purpose and your view would suggest that he had axes to grind which would suggest negative and unproductive thinking. Seb certainly doesn't race like that and his clarity of thought is one of his great strengths. He assessed the situation, made a decision and crushed Marks challenge from the outset IMHO. The bonus was that the team were helpless and had no possible course of action they could take leaving everyone, Mark included, in no doubt where the power lies. He may not have repeated it but seeing as the team did away with the tactic after the race we'll never know and that was another bonus for Seb.


I well remember the incident involving Vettel veering into Webber. It was clearly Vettel and it was deliberate, it was a scare tactic Vettel was using on a number of drivers including Hamilton when he did not have enough performance to beat them outright. The whole world saw whose fault it was and yet Horner and Marko were adamant it was Webbers fault. I think Horner is a shrewd operator and has become rather smug in some of his interviews with Red Bull's continued success, and while I don't doubt his management ability, he does not seem to have the same quiet authority over his drivers that Ross Brawn has for example.



I think you are pretty much spot on. I can't say I care much for CH, he has a bit of a smug, snidey air about him. Your story about his remark to the ex-Jaguar employees (which I hadn't heard) fits very well with my assessment of him.


To be fair to him he's probably the perfect team leader for F1 and I certainly dont dislike him. 99% of the time he does a perfect job and his true feelings are well masked behind the calm unflappable exterior he projects, a bit like Bernie in many ways. Just when you think you have him cornered he will slip out of it leaving you wondering "how did he do that". So most of the real CH can only be seen in the rare 1% of the time when it slips. I doubt many people with his resources would not have made it to his wifes bedside for example, for the birth of their child for example. But that is not a criticism just an insight into how he manages his priorities and why he's so successful. I doubt he has many real friends in the team or the paddock simply because those friendships could be a liability in certain situations. The friends he has are powerful and useful to a very talented and ambitious person like him. So I am not really criticising him but if I had to negotiate with him I would make sure I had a restful nights sleep the night before. 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

Agree, tks.

Red Bull has nothing to care about Webber, he's not a younger Champion in the edge to sign for a competing team.


Lap 25 was way too late to make this switch, particularly when the drivers cruise around on the Pirelli cheese wheels: if Mark was to run a shorter stint, they should have told him sooner so he could have used the grip available to him. Aside from switching their cars around what other reason exists for this? Red Bull compromised this race due to their sloppy starts, although it was good to see Vettel have a taste of what is usually situation normal for his teammate. Another thing: how is it that Vettel hasn't been Grosjeaned yet? All the other front runners have...


There are many perspectives of Red Bulls strategy but there is only one relevant one. If you have a predetermined outcome in mind and no one else was jeopardising the a top 3 Then you would change strategies for one driver for the benefit of the other -- AND WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT WENT.


No one wants to hear lies - do they ?? the more excuses, strategies, RBR makes the bigger the nose in Pinnochio.

Would anyone one of us had a problem if Red Bull confirmed that they needed to ensure Vettel won the championship ?--Not at all - cause its the truth

Does anyone still wonder why Seb and more so now RBR is not liked & being booed !


THis and your other posts so far smack of ingrained jealousy its unreal am mean what do you want RBR to do allow MW ruin a race win for them !st it was he should have been left on a 2 stop if RBR had given Vettel a 3 stop strategy and he had won you would still spout this garbage saying they should have given him 3 as well now its about being booed like Murray said only the unintelligent observers who dont understand what they are seeing are booing keep up with the boos lets see how long you can keep it up I mean Ferrari broke Massa's gearbox to move Alonso a place up you didnt boo did u? you praised Ferrari as it kept Alonso close to Vettel.

Hence anything against Vettel you cheer anything for Vettel you Boo keep it up!


Rocky no matter how many times people tell you it doesn't sink in does it.. The point Ive made a thousand times on this subject is that Red Bull lie about what they do. Everyone know Seb is quicker than Mark at most tracks the problem is the few times he ends up in front Red Bull work out a plan to out Mark in front-- there is absolutely nothing wrong with that any team would do it- Unlike Ferrari though they cover it up with some horse-s$&@ comments so some new fans, or some pea brains think it's some stroke of genius..

I think its despicable when a driver races his heart out for 2 hours risking his life to get booed and Im one of the first to oppose. What I will boo is Red Bull and there lies and if you are a real fan of Seb you should boo them too- because despite giving him a fantastic car and team - they are letting his driving down by saying the stupid things they say. Formula 1 is slowly starting to become transperant with coverage and social media playing such a big part. So the fans are becoming a lot more savvy.

Longer term fans like myself understand the dynamics of F1 and the politics behind it, so when someone comes up with clever ways of "covering their tracks" we understand it. Others just follow blindly. After Brazil 2012 anyone with half a brain knew Mark Webbers days were numbered, After Sepang he became a speed hump on Sebastian Vettels road to his 4th title.. Knowing that- do you have any doubt that even before the race Red Bull were focused on whatever would work for Seb. If not.. I'm very very sorry for you..


It's a team sport. Red bull did what was best for the team. According to James previous post on this subject, the other teams said it was right call and they would have done the same.


hey, you're right. We, those paying attention, all know of the bias at Red Bull; but we do have an extreme talent, 'in the groove' right now!

So let us please move beyond, the totally in the formula, differential support for different drivers on the team.

Let's move on; that aside... ?


I'm not a Vettel fan at all. I'm an Alonso fan and tend to argue anytime Webber gets the short end of the stick. Let's get real about this strategy call, though. Vettel is the guy that RB needs to do anything for in order to win this year and so Webber really doesn't matter anymore at all, especially since he's leaving at the end of the year. I really don't know what the big hoopla is about. Do you guys want RB to publicly admit that they pulled the rug out from underneath Mark in this race???? Come on.


I agree with KFZMEISTER, isnas much as RBR needing to do what they can for their team and with Vettel so close to another championship it would be bad business to do anything differently. As for their image, as long as their sponsors are happy that is really all that's important. In. most sports fans start hating winners, it seems to be human nature when someone wins a lot. Remember, all the huge money teams have the same chances to dominate like RBR has these past several seasons. I'm sure in time their time will come.


They would probably get more respect for just giving Mark a team order now the WDC is just about in the bag. And CH wonders why we boo.


well said elie. that has been my point throughout this debate.


Yes we do. RBR favored the soon to be 4 time WDC, not their #2. As they should have.


Fair enough, but the problem is the controlled manipulation of the result to ensure any racing between their cars was avoided.

Though this is only easy as their car is so much better, they can compromise Webbo's strategy, make the race a teeny bit boring and they still take a 1-2 finish.

They can plod around behind another guy, who is driving out of his skin, but have no urgency to overtake because they can beat him easily in clean air or on the other tyre.

A nice problem to have for the strategists, but not for the fans.

So quoting Gladiator, the strategists shout...

"Are you not entertained!!"

an I say "yes, but I'm an F1 geek so will always be entertained, but the masses (my pals and colleagues) say it could've been better and I agree with them too"


Cold logic may agree with you.

The objective is to ensure the race win, isn't it?

But at some point the team, or those within the Redbull organisation, must look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture is not a race win, but the image of the team and therefore the brand (the reason they're in the game to begin with). There's clearly a lot of negative feeling towards the team nowdays, whether that is based on sound reasoning or not, and with the championship all but mathematically sewn up they may have missed a chance to promote a perception of fair play.


Season is not over Tim. Perhaps RBR will engineer a win for Mark before season is out. He's at 9, it would be his 10th - why not?

Although, if they were running Multi21 again, I would be 100% in favor of them racing till the very end. Let the chips fall where they may!


I had the same thought. Red Bull have more success than they know what to do with. What they don't have is popularity. It wouldn't have materially affected either championship if they had risked backing Mark and failed. But it would have scored a huge number of 'points' with the fans.


Fair play? If F1 was about fair play everyone would have same engine, same car and same amount in their wallet.

Brand image RBR is laying down? I think it is this:

We make sugary drinks that are better than a Mercedes AMG, McLaren and Ferrari and cost as much as a liter of petrol for their products. Just image if we actually made cars!? 🙂


"The surprise then is that they left it until lap 25 before making the switch. And this is what hurt Webber, because he hadn’t driven the first 25 laps like a driver on a three stop would do."

That says it all, if the intention was to screw Webber that is your evidence right there....Whatever the alternative permutations available, surely the supposedly highly intelligent strategists and their resources would have known by delaying the decision, they had Webber's chances of a win done for from the get go. All through the first and second stint, Webber was being told to take it easy and fall back until they swopped to the 3 stop. Perfect way to screww someone's race I say. Its the teams right of course but Mr Horner, JUST DONT LIE ABOUT IT, be open like Ferrari and fans will understand what you on about.

And the fact that they chose to keep Webber ignorant about the possibility of a strategy switch, and literally lied to him that he was still on a two stop, without informing him that they were considering a switch to a three, says a lot about their respect for their driver and demonstrates just how much they wanted him to win...NOT!


Yeah. What I have never really understood though, is why Dietrich Mateschitz doesn't insist on fair treatment for both drivers. He is the owner of the team and apparently good friends with Webber.


Mateschitz was said to be furious at RB enforcing team orders in Malaysia, wanting to see his cars racing.

He insists his drivers both get a fair chance and the better one wins. 4 times in a row now...


If you read horners explanation. He did not lie at all, he said outright that they placed there drivers where they did to win the race.


Of course this " new wizz bang graph" hasn't changed anyone's opinion on what we were saying the first time round. Mark wasn't given the right information for 25 laps. Why doesn't some boffin show us a graph of what Marks lap times could have been if he drove to a 3 stopper from the get go?

To be honest, I'm sick of graphs and predictive models used to make sense of a race. What has F1 racing become? I just wanna know what's going on inside the drivers head when he's behind the wheel. Analyse that.

Sadly the best days of F1 are behind us. So what's this sports car thing about. Any tv coverage?


"To be honest, I’m sick of graphs and predictive models used to make sense of a race. "

Yes, why bother with facts, if prejudice is all you need?




I believe WEC and DTM live stream their races on YouTube, if that floats your boat, though they also have plenty of team orders, pit strategy and the like, and are also ultimately team sports. You race for your team/manufacturer in all top level motorsport.


If your crying on behalf of Webber is hoping everyone reading your rant is going to dislike Vettel im afraid its having the opposite effect. The more tears you and the internet community insist on shedding for poor Mr Webber the more I personally am enjoying this amazing dominance by a fantastic racing driver in what would be an otherwise dull season.

Keep it up. You may just about convince someone one day of whatever it is your trying to prove.


Read my post again. Where in it do I mention your hero??? My issues are with Red Bull trying to pretend they do not have a no 1 and 2 policy when in fact they have. As for you and your "fantastic racing driver", you can love him all you like, and I assure you it wont for a second detract from my F1 experience, so you can wallow in your blissful adoration of him undisturbed.


I feel that you are in the minority.

Dull season it is not.

However, as much as I can't stand Vettel, I have started to warm to him of late.

This strategy whether you like it or not, is and was geared to get Vettel the win and his championship closer.

I don't agree with it, but can see why they would do it.

There is and always will be a lot more to these strategies than we will ever know.

I am a webber fan through and through. I happen to think on equal terms, and strategies,equal cars, equal ..... everything, that Vettel would still beat webber.

I totally disagree with the booing he receives and whilst in singapore I had the pleasure of being at the podium ceremony on the track. The people booing were either Kimi fans or Alonso. Many people around we're annoyed at it.


I don't cry on behalf of Webber... and I still dislike vettel. I don't feel either schacher or vettel are really fantastic drivers. They are good - but what sets them apart is not their driving skill but their arrogance. They share the belief that they have the god given right to expect to win every race regardless of how is impacts on others. They are usually forgiven for some outrageous tactics because the deliver the win - by hook or by crook. They don't give a damn who they upset or offend along the way. Neither of them are sportsman. They are driven simply by the business - which, all too often, allows them to behave in the way they do/did.

Next year, with a bit of luck, could be a massive wake up call for vettel. I really hope the renault engine proves sufficiently lacking to force vettel through the growing up phase that Hamilton has been through. It will be interesting to see how he copes if stuck being lucky to fight for minor points.


@Jake - That's only what Webber fans would want to believe. Webber has never actually shown he can beat Vettel in a straight fight on track, so there's no reason to believe Webber didn't try, and that he'd only lie that he tried to pass.


"Can you PLEASE answer me one question because ive asked loads of MW fans and i never get a response. At the 2011 British gp RBR were running 1 and 2 after the final pitstops and Mark was ordered to not attack seb but he ignored it and tried to overtake, thats the exact same thing as SV did to MW in Malaysia. "

David, Webber showed his wheel, and chose not to overtake. He did not try and fail, he was just muscle-flexing. Later, to save his seat for the next year, he told the story of disobeying team orders, which helped Vettel/Horner save face.


@KBR, nothing you said explains why SV was wrong and MW is right. You just gave some pointless info about other races that went on at the time. At the end of the day they both disobeyed team orders and if you like team orders they were both wrong and if you hate them they were both right. I was glad when Mark had a go at SV and vice versa. The engine turn down is crap, when did he turn it down? Before entering the pits? No because he hadn't secured his poisition. When he went around turn 1? No because SV was alongside him. While SV was trying to pass? No because he was in a fight for poisition.

Also in Monza SV let MW pass when he had problems so to say they keep MW behind SV when he is wounded is absurd. I don't think in any of the other examples you gave MW could have passed SV.

The only difference is that if you dislike SV you will twist it to your liking and if you can fool yourself into believing they are different and SV is wrong in both instances fair play to you


@KRB - You seem to just assume that any case where Webber was behind Vettel in 2010, a team order was issued. There is no evidence you have presented to show that this was the case.

For your assumptions to hold much weight, you would also need to believe that Webber would have been able to pass (and given that you're even trying to count the points lost, that appears to be what you believe), which even sillier.


At the 2011 British GP, the DWC standings stood at VET 186, BUT 109, WEB 109, HAM 97, ALO 87. Vettel was over 3 race wins clear of everyone else, so deploying team orders then, when they were running 2-3, seemed out of place.

Also, RBR had gone to great lengths in 2010 to state that they as a team would never employ team orders. In fact, in 2010 they did use team orders, in almost all cases they hurt Webber. They issued "hold station" orders at CAN'10, JAP'10, and then didn't flip their order at BRA'10 ... in the first instance Webber was forced to stay behind Vettel in a wounded car, despite having a 15 pt DWC lead; in Japan and Brazil again Webber held station behind Vettel, even though Alonso had caught up (JPN) or was leading (BRA). 16 pts to Webber that way would've meant the DWC for him, even given his (and Alonso's) bad strategy in Abu Dhabi.

So Webber was more than a little miffed about having to stay behind Vettel once again, when he was running away with it, seeing as they - in his mind - didn't help him in any way, shape, or form in 2010.

I think the situations you mentioned (MAL'13 vs GBR'11) are quite different. GBR'11 happened b/c of the DWC situation at the time, and what had gone before in 2010. MAL'13 arose out of BRA'12, of course, but it was the 2nd race of the season, no one was walking it in the DWC at that point, and the whole turn-down-engines thing. Those are subtle but important differences.


David C, yes Webber is guilty of not being a team player at time but only AFTER Red Bull didn't treat both drivers equally and fairly in 2010 at Turkish at British GPs. Vettel put himself before the team at Turkish GP. So, Red Bull and Vettel started it.


"They are usually forgiven for some outrageous tactics because the deliver the win"

Sorry, you've just stepped into anti-Vettel la la, switch brain off, land with that one. Vettel is reasonably fair, more so than some others top drivers. Schumacher pulled some really dodgy tricks, Vettel by contrast has returned a favour to Mark from a couple of seasons back. No more, no less, a team order that Mark was roundly praised for ignoring. Whilst Vettel is no saint, he's no worse than any of the other front running drivers, and his 'outrageous' tactics aren't that outrageous at all. To suggest so, highlighting Schumahcer, just shows the bias of your post.


@Jonathan - Just give up on this nonsense. Why should someone like Vettel care about who they "offend"? People like you get offended at seemingly anything he does, with the proof being how you seem intent on comparing him to Schumacher in that regard. I'm a huge Schumacher fan, but anyone with their head screwed on, would know that Vettel has never done anything as bad as what Schumi has done, and hopefully he never will.


The difference lies in the fact that in the 2011 British GP, RBR did not ask VET to turn down his engine.

But ultimately, it is totally logical that RBR should support the only driver (the their team) that is in contention for the WDC.

WEB is leaving F1 next year. Why would anyone think RBR would support Mark over Seb?




Can you PLEASE answer me one question because ive asked loads of MW fans and i never get a response. At the 2011 British gp RBR were running 1 and 2 after the final pitstops and Mark was ordered to not attack seb but he ignored it and tried to overtake, thats the exact same thing as SV did to MW in Malaysia. So why is SV a bad guy and MW a hero?


“They waited a while, knowing that it would not affect the outcome (in other words the model showed Vettel winning and Webber coming second) in case of a reliability issue on one of the cars. That is a wise thing to do,” says Gillan.

I know it is tempting to stop a quote when it says what you want it to, but the article actually answers the question asked. It helps to read the whole thing, before picking it apart.


I cannot comment on intention here, but Mark would not have been able to do better even if he's aware of 3-stop from lap 1:

Counting fron Mark's race

Stint 1: Gro on medium, Web on medium, same age

Stint 2: Hard, hard, Web's older

Stint 3: passing not applicable

Stint 4: Gro on hard, Web on much younger medium, but could not pass until Gro hit traffic

Given Web's ability with the car during stint 4, thinking that he could successfully pass Gro during the other two is nothing more than being wishful. The reliability issue that Mark suffered in Singapore and the track record of not-listening-to-the-pit when competing against each other from both drivers, could have played a role in the delayed notification.


I think Webber would've been better if his final stint had been on the hard tyre also. He took the best of life out of the medium tyre very quickly.

Of course if he'd been 'thrashing' his car in the 2nd last stint like a three stopper should have, things may have been different, as they would have if he's been kept on a two stop.

Alexander Supertramp

I called Horner Two-Face for a reason. Ricciardo should take note..


“There is nothing worse than converting from a two stop to a three during the race,” says Gillan.

Good job guys.


There is nothing worse than blowing a pole position and getting stuck behind a slower car, without the traction to overtake.


Except having your soon to depart No.2 driver getting some well deserved Multi-21 payback on the digital Golden Boy wannbe.

(Gotta keep 'em separated)


You take that out of context

Tornillo Amarillo

+1 Even I knew that!


haha, yeh this will surely convince everyone..

Nice pseudoscientific try to cover up utilizing the words such as mathematical models, etc..

The question then is why it was not VET being converted to 3-stops since he was behind WEB, but the other way around?

And waiting till almost half of the race is gone surely buries WEB's chances of victory..


Why would you convert the driver that has gone longer on his first set of tyres, so comfortably in the two stop window, and is better at making them last historically, to do an extra stop, when the other driver abused his first set, thus having to pit early and be borderline on strategy, and has struggled with extending tyre stints since Pirelli re entered the sport?

I do love how when experts praise Red Bull for their strategy, and explaine how, when and why it was decided, they are then dismissed as making excuses for Red Bull, because they are biased. The fact that all other teams, when asked, said that they would do the same is also dismissed out of hand.

Because fans in their living rooms clearly know better than an engineer who LAST YEAR worked for an F1 team in a senior position.


If Webber was a bit more like vettel he would have ignored the call to come in early when his 2nd set of tyres were still good.

Maybe if we want more exciting races we should demand that pit stops can only be triggered by the driver and not the team. So many say the racing is boring... it is the strategy teams that are making it so. It would be much more exciting to see drivers having to choose when to pit - and show a whole different aspect to their skills. The likes of Button and Kimi would do well while those like Massa would do less well.

After all they do say it is a driver's championship...


If he had ignored the call to come in, he probably would have finished third. And while we're at it, Mark has ignored team orders at least as many times as Seb.


It's simples, we apply logic and acquired knowledge. Others believe what they are fed and happy to keep to that diet.


This reminds me of Nate Silver, then of the New York Times, soon to have his own site through ESPN.

He's a statistician, and he made predictions for the past US election, by using all the polling data available. When his predictions weren't exactly what some people wanted, they vilified him, dismissed him as a biased stats weenie.

The stats weenie got every prediction right including the presidential election, correct to each state, as well as all Senate races.

The moral of the story is that stubborn people will always dismiss knowledge, however well qualified, if it conflicts with their preconceived beliefs.


Golden boy


With respect 4 world championships vs Zero. I think he has earned this as he has constantly out performed a team mate who even tried to scupper last years championship - you reap what you sow!


Webber has been demoralised since 2010 when he matched vettel punch for punch and was the leading RB driver till the last race ....since then sicko helmut and horner have done everything to demotivate him .

The end result is vettels dominance 🙂


3 WDC.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.


No just someone who can count . Moot now but glad I made you chuckle.


If Vettel doesnt race till the end of the year he would still win the title it would be a joke to believe Alonso would win the remaining 4 races because thats what he would have to do!


Hahahahaahahaha.... you're probably one of those who wish Vettel to crash out every race from now. Man, this comment is hilarious!!


When Horner and Herr Helmut continuously underhandedly help you sow, then yes of course you will reap more than what you deserve!


There's nothing underhanded. Vettel beat Webber every year since 2008 when he was in a Toro Rosso. It's also follows logic that Webber, as a 30 something driver, would get worse, while Vettel, in his early to mid twenties would get better.


Thanks for the explanation James and Mark.

Unfortunately, people will think what their own perceptions, preferences and prejudices lead them to think and therefore believe.

For example, I think Vettel is a nice young guy who is dominating the formula with a combination of immense ability and being in the right car at the right time.

I therefore would agree with Marks analysis, which only reinforces my opinion.

If I thought that Vettel was an arrogant little upstart who was only profiting from Mr Neweys genius and the Austro-German centric team he drives for I would probably be dismissive of your analysis.

Of course I also believe that I am right and they are wrong. They of course would believe the opposite.

We see the same attitude with climate change. The evidence presented by your analysis will be challenged by some and ridiculed by others.

But again, thank you for trying. Unfortunately for some people facts are uncomfortable things.


Good post Sean, and I agree.

It's fine if you don't like team orders to get on Vettels back, but why would any of those people support the likes of Fernando, Lewis or Kimi who've all benefitted from them this season as well? It brings it all back to several issues with RBR and Vettel. They're not an established team and most importantly of all Vettel is beating lots of peoples favourite drivers. The green eyed monster comes out when he wins I'm afraid.


People arguing the point that Webber is being undermined are not arguing this point using raw data. Raw data only shows exactly what occurred on the race track. Although it may fit in to a logical reason for making this particular strategy call, it does not mean there wasn't other ulterior motives for doing it. As Formula 1 is run by people, there can always be motives not based on logical sporting reasons. The historical treatment of Webber by Red Bull is where people draw these inferences from. Sometimes these conspiracy claims push the envelope a bit but there is no denying that there is certainly a pattern of 'unfortunate events', 'mistakes', 'wrong calls' and unfair treatment. Even the most ardent Vettel fan surely can see it (if only they would admit it).

As for qualified judgement and expert opinion and experience, as good as it is, it should still be viewed with an open mind. Scientists have become the contemporary Druids of our time. Too many people think that, "Oh, they're scientists so everything they claim is truth". People should think about it for themselves, examine these claims, not just the raw 'facts' but other, perhaps illogical factors that could be at play.

One qualified structural engineer with 40 odd years experience says the twin towers collapsed under their own weight. Another qualified structural engineer with 40 odd years experience says that the twin towers could only have been brought down by an organized implosion. Go figure.

Experience, expertise, qualifications are a pretty grey area indeed.



Thanks for your comment.

You are right. There is a lot of empirical evidence that feeds peoples suspicions.

However the cold hard facts are that Red Bull exists for one purpose and one purpose only - to win. If Mr Mateschitz was in the sport for publicity only, he would be a sponsor, not an owner, and considerably wealthier than he is as a result.

Is Vettel favoured by the team. Yes he is. Why? Because the cold hard facts tell the team that he is the best chance they have of winning. More than three years of testing, simulator and racing data tell them this.

The cold hard numbers tell all of us this. Vettel, currently three championships. Webber, unfortunately for Mark and his devotees, none.

This is no different to Ferrari and Alonso. No different to Lotus and Raikonnen, although with a view to the future, that may have changed.

It is the reason the car is primarily designed around Vettels preferences and attributes. It is the reason that strategic decisions favour Vettel.

If Webber had consistently beaten Vettel in years one and two of the current team structure things may be different. Unfortunately for Mark he did not.

I will not defend the teams decisions as to how they manage their public relations strategy other than to say that these decisions are secondary to winning.

I will however defend the teams decisions in relation to ensuring their success on the track.

Any team sport favours the best performers. Coaches put their best players on the field because they believe it gives them the best chance to win. If they put players on the field for purely personal reasons they would be sacked, and rightly so.

I will not contest your comments on the fallibility of science and scientists other than to say that facts and data are the results of scientific endeavour with which we construct our lives. Science and scientists are the enablers, explorers and discoverers of facts and data. Of course facts and data can change with new discoveries and a better understanding of the complex and interdependent world in which we live. Nothing in this world is absolute other than one day we will all die. Science however may change even that one day.

Ask yourself, would Mark accept being handed a win out of charity because he is about to retire? I would think not. Would Mark like to earn a win by outperforming Sebastian before he retires? Absolutely. Will the team prevent Mark from achieving a win by outperforming Sebastian before the end of the season? I would say that after the championship is mathematically secure, I would say, no they won't. Marks fans may say that the championship is secure, but again the cold hard facts say that it is not.

I will not comment on 911. Respect the innocent. Let them rest and their families grieve in peace. Our discussion is but a triviality in comparison.


You are right. Webber probably would not like being given any wins. I would think though that he wouldn't mind having the one win that was stolen from him given back. Only way to do this is for Vettel to voluntarily move over, just once.

Also, at the rate Alonso is getting points at the moment, Vettel doesn't even have to race. So, the championship is pretty much over. There is no way Alonso is going to get 3 wins and a 2nd place and also have Vettel score no more points.

Just a thought. To demonstrate a truly super dominant team, Red Bull could have Webber win each remaining race with Vettel in second place. Vettel would win the WDC, Webber could be second and the team the WCC. If it was contrived in such a way, Webber would not like it, understandably. But, Vettel would like it even less, which speaks volumes about Vettel's personality. It seems to me that Vettel cares less about championships and more about achieving 92 career wins and 69 pole positions.

Tornillo Amarillo

But those facts are from the TEAM point of view, not from the FANS point of view.

Mathematical models always miss something.



As a long time time fan, I have always felt neglected by the sport.

A lot more could be done to feed our appetites for information and content, but Bernie knows he doesn't have to spend a single extra penny.

Of course I would like the sport to be more inclusive, but the teams will make decisions in the best interest of the team as they try to live their dreams, not ours.

Ever since the Schumacher Barrichello Austrian GP finish line fiasco, I have been resigned to the following truth:

When you own your own F1 team you will have the right to decide the order in which the cars finish.

They tried to ban team orders but of course this is impossible and interfered with a teams rights to make its own decisions.

What would you suggest that would satisfy you? A teams strategy to be decided by twitter poll?

Again, some people will always feel wronged and will try to justify their feelings by challenging the facts and the data based on their own perceptions, preferences and predjudices.

Thankfully, the racing will continue.



Thanks for your comments.

I see little relationship between facts and religion but that is only my opinion.

However some people use religion to guide their decision making, much like F1 teams use facts and data to guide theirs, so there is some similarity on that level.

Teams would rarely make decisions based on an instinct or an emotion at the technical level. On a human level I have no doubt that it happens every day.

In a race, with the limitations of time, I also have no doubt that decisions are made in accordance with the available facts and data. As the quality of the data improves so does the accuracy of the decision making. This may result in the racing becoming more predictable and clinical in its nature as the element of chance is reduced, but that is the price of progress.

I would also suggest that the somewhat simpler equation of how will the result effect a teams chance of winning the championship would also be at the forefront of the decision making process.

What the fans think is unfortunately largely irrelevant. When the fans demands are responded to we get things like DRS, which I think is silly, but it was a response to fans demanding more overtaking. I also think that KERS is silly, and again I believe that it was a response to fans demands for more overtaking, with an element of being seen to have some environmental responsibility included.

If the fans were in charge, you would have an intentionally wet track at every race (I believe Bernie has spoken publicly about this), and perhaps other artificial methods of increasing "excitement" such as reverse grids or multiple sprint races as in other forms of motorsport.

I miss V10 engines. Unfortunately smaller engines were a response to practical and safety limitations as the cars have to race within the limitations of the existing tracks. I would love to see 1500bhp cars taking corners at 300kmh, which I am sure the available technology could achieve, but no one can afford to build the tracks that would be required to do so safely.

And I for one don't want to see horrific accidents with people being maimed or killed. I miss Robert Kubica, and I miss the old Felipe Massa.

I also miss the reliability factor, but again teams will do whatever is in their power to reduce the element of chance. This is only natural.

Restricting performance and increasing reliability are responses to facts and data. Increasing excitement and unpredictability are responses to emotions in my opinion.

As for fans not watching, that is their own decision to make, but may I suggest that that is part of the problem with todays world, where people all to easily give something up that they profess to love, because an element of whatever it is they love annoys them.

Tornillo Amarillo

Sean, "the facts" are not a religion and anyway the "fan feelings" should be a part of "the facts" to be taken into account for Bernie & Teams. Some people are just saying to turn off the TV etc.

What would I suggest? I'm not so intelligent to give an answer. If I had the impudence of courting with an idea, I will tell it here, no problem. I love your comments, really.



And I don't know what the problem is. Even if RB wanted Vettel to finish first, what is wrong with it? Webber is on the way out, he hasn't won a race for a long long time, and Vettel would probably beat Webber on whatever strategy combination. He is simply faster and gets more out of the tires.

Ferrari prefers Alonso, Lotus preferred Raikkonen, but now prefer Grojean, there are signs that Mercedes prefer Hamilton but guess what... nobody thinks less of these drivers or their teams.

Ferrari told Massa to move over AT THE SAME RACE, they wanted Alonso in front, but nobody thinks less of Alonso (or Ferrari). He is a true racer. Massa didn't obey and nobody thinks less of him either. He is a true racer. Webber never obeyed team orders and nobody thinks less of him. He is a true racer. But when Vettel did it ...

Some people just turn everything against Red Bull and Vettel.


I did think less of Ferrari. I hate team orders.

Red Bull did the right thing for their team, but as soon as they switched Webber to a three stop I knew his chance of winning was over.


Then the must be honest about it and say so like Ferrari does. Not pretend they dont have a 1 and 2 driver set up when in fact they do, and then try and insult our intelligence by giving pathetic reasons to support their pretence


Not this again why didnt Ferrari tell Massa to move out of the way for Alonso why did they use the code word then?


Fair point. They should have done that, emphasising that it was based on performance and results.


Reb bull were right, I think every one more or less likes webber, but the facts are since 2010, when webber could go toe to toe with vettal, webbers lost a few tenths, and vettals gained a few tenths, there no conspiracy about giving vettal preferential treatment, hes the future, simple as that...


If there's no conspiracy theory then why lie about it ??.

Just say it for gods sake !!- that's what's got us peeved.

People, RBR Too- have often questioned team orders and that f/wit Horner has often said that they treat their drivers equally-who's he trying to kid !!- and why be such a hypocrite about Ferrari and team orders in general---Thats what so many people are missing here.

Most people understand the strategy even if they accept the motive, most people can accept Vettel is better in general, most people can accept there's a WC at stake but we just CANNOT accept the lies and double standards !!- get it..

I can see those fizzy drink tins piling up on the shelves soon.


I don't really care that vettel is winning everything. But there seems to be a massive media blitz at the moment trying to help improve seb's image.

Is this the power of red bull Pr?


james, this analysis smacks of trying to cover your previous thread where there was some very obvious well reasoned dissent. more of the same here...again. your final sentence sums it all up 'when webber is MOVED out of the way'.

i am still waiting for a response re, why did they pull webber in on lap 25. the lap charts do not show any need for that and he could well have been left out for longer.

mark gillan is extremely well qualified to make an assessment but some of his conjecture is highly subjective and cannot be tested.

i simply cannot accept that redbull ever envisaged a webber win despite his pole. combine that with the 'sepang factor' and there you have it, in a nutshell. a first for vettel and a second/third for webber was the order of the day.regarding the WCC webber was highly irrelevant as they will pull this without any problems whatsoever.

whilst i have yet to view the horner post race interview but i am told that horner, under questioning re strategy, appeared to be extremely uncomfortable. now that may not be so and i have got it all wrong but if you cast your mind back to sepang....remember the look of being caught out on horners face? remember the looks on markos face and their embarrassment at being caught out red handed. remember the apologies from vettel.

i place a lot of store in body language/ reactions. especially before having time to concoct an escape route. i'm sure james that you, when interviewing such a wide and varied range of personalities, would apply the same analytical approach with your subjects?


“There is nothing worse than converting from a two stop to a three during the race,” says Gillan.

.....You dawnt say 🙂


"but some of his conjecture is highly subjective and cannot be tested"
Those in glass houses.
Your whole assessment in this thread and the previous is nothing by conjecture and is highly subjective. Do you not listen to yourself?

"i simply cannot accept that redbull ever envisaged a webber win despite his pole." Conjecture & Subjective

"whilst i have yet to view the horner post race interview but i am told that horner, under questioning re strategy, appeared to be extremely uncomfortable." conjecture (you haven't even seen it yet claiming it as fact)

"i place a lot of store in body language/ reactions." Subjective.

Grow up


"Those in glass houses." Actually he sounds more like a broken vynil stuck on repeat forever


RBR just felt that they cannot depend on Mark to deliver the win. His record for the last 12 months was pathetic TO SAY THE LEAST. He has been squandering the opportunity of driving 1 of the 2 best cars on the grid. He was beaten by other drivers on lesser cars consistently. HOW COULD ANY TEAM TRUST A GUY [mod] TO WIN A RACE FOR THEM? RBR made the only right call and they know only Vettel can deliver the win.


RBR couldn't count on Webber to move out of Seb's way more likely... 😉


It really does read like a very sad attempt at a cover up, it really does. Week in week out, we see teams literally allow cars' tyres to virtually fall of the cliff, in what are sometimes desperate efforts to make two stop strategies work, but suddenly in this case we are being asked to accept that Webber's two stopper was non starter, this was determined even before his tyre performance drop off was even an issue in the second stint!!! Come on guys, seriously????


But why would the other teams try to make Vettel out to be a 'great', when they can easily undermine Red Bulls image by implying that they made a strategic error to 'sabotage' Mark? It would surely be in their interest to damage Red Bull in any way, especially if it is this easy. And how is it in their interests to 'big' up Vettel, anyway?


What motivates all these experts to cover up for Red Bull? Why would all their competitors back them up on this strategy, and not use this to embarrass them?


They are all part of the F1 feeding trough trying to conjure up another "Great" out of Vettel. Its pathetic really


Would Webber have finished ahead of Grosjean if he had stayed on a two stop strategy? Ask yourself this question and then judge why what happened happened.


"very obvious well reasoned dissent"

I don't think that unhinged speculation abut "body language" actually counts as "well reasoned dissent". The bottom line is that you (and those like you) feel that Red Bull have an obligation to do everything in their power to assist Webber to a race win, regardless of his own performance in that race. If RB they fail to favor Webber, you deem it "favoring Vettel".

Webber had multiple opportunities to win this race, just as he had multiple opportunities win the 2010 WDC. And he blew it all on his own, not because of "favoritism".


SteveS - RBR don't have an obligation to you or I or anyone really, their only purpose is to have as many titles along side their name.

No real racer - Mark Webber included wants to be seen as having an unfair advantage all they want is equal opportunity. Quite often this clashes with team goals - ref para 1.

You can understand that the few times a racer like Mark gets that opportunity to race fairly - he doesn't want to be "stabbed in the back" does he. We can see it from the Red Bull perspective but sometimes the curse of being a No2 driver in the top team is worse than being an equal racer in any lesser team, because at least you know you have equity. Something I truly hope Massa finds in 2014.How many of these type occasions have cost Webber race wins over the last few 4 years- I'm sure there a at least 4 or 5.


really steveS. read my post again. two separate issues here. dissent was encompassed in the comments within the thread. the 'body language' comment was another issue altogether. your rush to judgment is similar to your 'pit/car/pit communications 'it is all lies'.

in case you haven't noticed, there are only two drivers in redbull cars...if you favor one then you obviously disfavour the other, or is this logic beyond your line of reasoning?

you still haven't taken the facts onboard. read my post again in a cool measured way and you will start to understand what is being said.


Its just F1 racing...not world politics.

Don't take it so serious.

RB and any team on the grid can do whatever they want when they want wether you like it or not.

You are just a fan, they are a competitor with set goals.


We pay for their indulgence.


"Just" a fan.


yes, i am just a fan'follower, the same as you?


Your position seems to be, that because James doesn't agree with you, that he must be biased.


Why are armchair expert's conjecture, consisting mainly of lap times alone and ignoring historic tyre management, more valuable than the opinion of many experts, including Mark Gillan, who worked in a VERY senior role in an F1 team LAST YEAR.

Red Bull had one overriding objective, finnishing 1-2. They, and most experts agree, felt that splitting strategies, with Seb doing two stops and Mark doing three, was the best way to achieve this.

Leaving all that aside, why should Red Bull favour Mark? He deliberately informs them of his decision to retire moments before telling the press (and is applauded for sticking it to them by the fans), when it is custom to inform the factory workers in person. Then he decides to 'let slip' that Riciardo would replace him, when his team didn't want to make it known publicly yet (again to much fan acclaim). Two occasions where he deliberately made life difficult for them (and that is just this year), but now he must get preferred strategy? Sure.


After what happened in Sepang, I tweeted Webber and told him he should quit. If I were in his place I would have told Chistian Horner to go f$&! himself..- not just because of Sepang, not because of "not bad for no2 driver affair"- front spoiler incident of Silverstone 2011?.. But the many many instances he was not permitted to race..and was called in to pit simply for Vettel to gain track position .

There is no doubt Seb is the faster driver in the team but there have been quite a few times where Mark Webber was entitled to win the race and he was stopped. Pragmatically even some of these cases can be accepted by most but the fans, but the lies Horner has fed us must be the tip of the iceberg that they would have " fed" Mark over the years. No one does what he done in Brazil 2012 unless he was completely rejected by the team..he was gone from then on- & I knew he wouldn't last but why do Red Bull continually find the need to lie about it-- that's all that's really peeing the fans off ! It fuelling the booing and the Anti Seb fans many times over.


Marks relationship with Matesitchz is quite different to that of Horner.

I'm sure even Matesitchz understands Marks frustration but he is a business man and must leave the team to Horner and Marko despite his dealings with Mark- which is also part of the problem- conflicting priorities. There is no guarantee that Mark will stay in business with Horner when he leaves- although business is business and there have been many situations where people do manage to separate differences for the sake of that. Horner is clearly very good at it.

Further, I don't think Horner "betrays him on a fortnightly basis" as you put it. He does it a few times a year when Mark gets in front..But I don't think it's just that which would annoy Mark so much. I think it's the same as us fans -- saying one thing in public and do another thing behind the scenes, combined with "strategic decisions" has to have worn thin this past year.

Ive told a boss off when I've known he favoured certain people at work and lied to owners about it. He always had more respect for me because I had the courage to speak my mind regardless of the outcome. In fact Im the only one he kept contact with 6 years after he left. The truth is a powerful thing -- people should never fear it.


By all accounts Mark has a close relationship with Dietrich Mateschitz, and will continue to be sponsored by him, why would Dietrich allow his other employees to mistreat his friend like this?

Mark also co-owns a race team with Christian Horner, why would he remain business partners with a man that apparently betrays him on a fortnightly basis?

I'm not trying to be funny, or to dismiss your arguments, I just genuinely don't understand how these relationships can function as is, if Mark is being cheated constantly.

121's called 'blow back'. one good turn deserves another.


LOL! More like the angry mob shouting down dissenting opinions from, as it happens, genuine experts. The impression I get is that no argument can dissuade the mob from their righteous indignation at evil Red Bull, and their merciless torture of the poor hero, Mark Webber. No facts or figures or plausible theory can change their minds, because they KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, thank you very much!


Webbers issues with Red Bull stem from the fact he couldn't beat Vettel. Mark was the #1 in that team, the new kid (who was just a kid) rocks up and beats him. As a racer that's hard to take, and that is where the shit storm began.


I knew that reply was coming lol. You won't let up on JA on this story. It would seem F1 is no longer about racing first and foremost. Politics and business are.

Who's your pick for the next race Ken?


well BRad, aren't you the clever one? i am simply putting to james a valid theory that just seems to be at odds with the conclusions in part, drawn by james and his associates. that is not a crime and i am sure that james is well able to defend himself.

if you have watched F1 for as long as i have then you will also know that 'racing' has long been forgotten. F1 is a business masquerading as a sport, IMHO.

as for picking a winner in india, well that is something that i would never ever attempt to do. however i would go as far as to say that i very much doubt if webber is a likely suspect. the only way webber will get a win is if the golden child breaks a leg or some other extremity and even then i wouldn't put it past horner to trip him up. a practice born out of four years experience becomes a familiarity.


What would be your preferred strategy for Webber and Vettel?

We don't have the full information aboyt tyres and set-up etc.

But, just for fun, what would be your preference?


I had said the same thing in my previous comment on this issue. Webber all long until lap 25 was running slow conserving tires maintaining 2 sec gap as told by the team anticipating two-stopper. And then the switch happened. So all his 25 laps were wasted, he could hvae pushed Grosjean much more and induced mistakes into him if he had been aware of three stopper in the beginning itself. So why did the team wait till lap 25 to inform this model's prediction? Only to help Vettel. People don't factor reliability issues when making delayed decisions if your driver's race is getting hurt (unless you don't care about that driver's win, which is true in this case).

I wonder what the model would predict next year as there is no history of Ricciardo in RBR. Will it use practice and testing sessions before the first race? Will it, by default, use Vettel as the driver to get the better strategy?


I apologize if this is patronising, but many of our fellow readers seem to wilfully ignore the following.

They'll probably use all available information on the driver's tye management, such as all stints during preseason testing, practice sessions and qualifying, as well as simulator sessions to see the effect of drive styles. They should have quite a lot of data by the time of the first race lap starts.

Fans underestimate just how much data the teams have to analyse, probably at least all sector times of all 22 cars running during official sessions, testing, practice, quali and races. Obviously telemetry of their own cars, plus sensor radings on the cars. They also do sound analysis of their competitors. So, when deciding pit strategy, lets just assume they are doing more than just looking at the live timing, as the fans are doing.


But that's assuming they are fair minded honest operators which I think not. they will do anything including shaft their own driver to make vettel look good. its repulsive, thats why people will boo.


Vettel will naturally be seen as the favourite at the beginning, he will be a four time champion. It is up to Dan to lift him out of that position. And if you think that any top team with a realistic chance of winning wouldn't do the same, you are kidding yourself. (And if your example is Mclaren, just count their championships in this millennium. You can stop at ONE!)

A popular theory as to why RBR would favour Vettel is that he is their protege, a product of their system. Well, so is Dan.

I am comfortable asuming that the most thorough and professional team would be thorough and professional in their data analysis, to ensure the best result. They know that there is no guarantee that they will have the best, or even a competitive, car next year. In which case, you try to get the best result possible, regardless of the drivers.

RBR have done the best they can to win both championships. Vettel was clearly a better bet than Webber in this engine and aero formula, beating him comfortably in quali, points scored and race wins over the five years.


"...all his 25 laps were wasted, he could hvae pushed Grosjean much more and induced mistakes into him if he had been aware of three stopper in the beginning itself."

Are you kidding me???

He spent the first few laps trying to get past Grosjean and failing dismally. Then they tried the undercut, which should have allowed Webber to show his supposed pace...


Well that simply puts some more science behind what was perfectly obvious to those of us without a supercomputer but with a pair of functioning eyes. RB orchestrated the result the wanted. As is their right to do of course, but just don't cry and act all confused when people boo you.


Well said! They deserve the booing.


Well, RBR does not want to rip Mark openly. They can come out and say: “We do not believe Mark can pass Grosjean on the track and we believe he would had ruined his tyres by attending to do so and switching him to 3 stops at least give him a chance to win”.


Thank you. Well said.


sorry to double dip but i forgot to add that the thread opening image does rather say a helluva lot, to me at looks to me like a guy who has just given his all....for zippedy doo dah.


Zippedy ey! He busted his balls. SUZUKA is hard work, especially when your team jerks your strategy mid race. He's one fit dude MW .


So, you maintain that Mark would have beaten both Seb and RoGro, on a two stop strategy?


Doobs, I know no such thing. Seb would have had a significant tyre advantage in the final stint, if they both did two stops.


Not for certain. However he would have had a fair shot at it.


You know he would.

Scuderia McLaren

James I am now convinced you get income from the amount of comments.

Naughty boy. 😉


More like " incoming "! !!! JA cops some shalackings.


Somewhat seriously, but it would surely increase page hits, where most sites make their profit.

Not that I'm complaining, bloody loving this!


There are a lot of people commenting on here who clearly lack the intelligence and experience of Mark Gillan...


yes,james M maybe you have a point but keep in mind that mark gillan's comments failed to address some of the issues raised here amongst intelligent posters and he was really looking at the race from a different perspective.

if you start with the premise that despite one of your drivers getting pole, but he is not favoured to win by the team due to overall strategy, then the issues become clouded.

the computational variables are infinite and we all know this. to create, artificially, a scenario that goes against any suggestion of fair play is deplorable. even if webber had got a blinder and was 100metres ahead into the first corner there was no way that he would've been allowed to win.


so we should all shut up and let him give us weekly sermons????


Relax, no offence intended.


And you're at the top of that list. What sort of comment was that?..


Well duh. Name one poster here who has the experience of Mr Gillan. Seriously...

Actually I can think of 1 but I only recall him posting once before. Guy named Roland.


No one here is doubting Red Bull had a "strategy" that James & Mark have outlined here but anyone with an ounce of intelligence understands the reasons WHY.! Geez I think even most people critical of it even accept that the driver winning the championship/s should get the benefit - it's the fact that Red Bull lie about giving drivers equal opportunity to race when clearly that is Not the case. Do you understand that it do you need someone to paint you a picture.


Actually, I would be very surprised if the strategists didn't have strategies in place BEFORE the race, based on the Red Bulls not leading in the first stint. They are not the quickest off the line (MW in particular). The fact that it took them till lap 25 to commmunicate a plan to MW is astounding. Thinking back to Malaysia, where MW was leading, but SV was given the early final stop to work on an undercut of Mark (and given the fastest tyres as well) makes me wonder if maybe the strategy on MW's side of the pit wall is being run by the apprentice janitors in the team, who either have no idea or no authority?


They had to pit Seb first in Malaysia, or he would have been undercut by Hamilton, and they fitted the best available tyres to both cars, Seb having saved an extra set in quali. They have often pitted Mark first to cover the undercut from other teams, even when Seb was leading.


I figured this was the case after the race.

Mark was disadvantaged by not being told earlier he was going to 3 stop.

I can't deny VET is Faster on most tracks. He's younger, hungrier and is just fast.

I just hate how these races play out when Mark gets close and he isn't given the opportunity to race VET when he is on par.

Horner! Remember, last time these guy's raced and clashed it was VET's fault. When Mark races somebody he isn't taking them out.

Give him a bloody chance to wipe that smirk of ze Germans face.


Vet is not faster on "most" track. He's faster everywhere.


2-1 at Monaco would seem to suggest otherwise 😉


Oh, and Silverstone..


Vettel was preserving his tyres better and got better traction out if the chicane with his rear wing. He'd have overtaken Webber if they'd have gone wheel to wheel and potentially passed Grosjean too. Then RB would be in 1st & 3rd, rather than 1st & 2nd.


I don't understand what is wrong with everyone claiming a Red Bull/ Vettel conspiracy. All the information you may possibly need to be proven otherwise is available on this post and James' strategy report on Tuesday.

Webber lost the race at the start. It is as simple as that. He was on pole but had a poor start (as usual). He then spent 25 laps behind Grosjean unable to pass on track or through the undercut at the first pitstop. Therefore why does anyone think he would have beaten Grosjean on the same strategy. This would have left RB with 2nd and 3rd when more was available.

A 3-stop was the only option left - and it only just worked as Webber needed the backmarker on the penultimate lap to get past Grosjean.

Similarly, to the comment that he was unable to drive at a 3-stop pace because RB changed the strategy too late... he had Grosjean in front of him during that first phase. He may have had the potential to go faster but as he was unable to pass Grosjean, it is a moot point.

I've seen barely believable comments suggesting that Webber had given up and wasn't trying to pass Grosjean. I don't understand why there are so many Webber apologists out there.

Vettel on the other hand did everything that was asked of him - ran a long, controlled fast second phase and passed Grosjean within a lap of catching him.


I'm a Webber fan and haven't had a fanatical opinion either way. Yes I was disappointed that he didn't get the win but having read your post RedFive, I totally agree with your assessment. The same information has probably been posted adinfinitum but your post #17 put it into terms that my less than average brain could process. Thank you Sir, i am comfortably at peace now. Roll on India.


Yes Webber did spend 25 laps behind Grosjean unable to pass. Just like Vettel spent 25 laps behind Webber unable to pass!

the problem with the "strategies" is that the general viewer knows they were potentially robbed of a good fight between Vettel and Webber for the win. Stopping Webber on lab 26 was absurd!


Ok let's play that out shall we... so they put Vettel on the 3-stop, Webber follows Grosjean round for the rest of the race (as I wrote above), and so RB get 2nd and 3rd. So the "good fight" you were denied was for 2nd, not the win. Why would RB do that when they could go for the win with Vettel?

No one is denying they favoured Vettel but it is for the simple reason that he - not Webber - offered the best chance of victory given the way the first phase of the race played out.

NB interesting you put yourself on the side of the "general viewer" with no particular credential to evidence this assumption. I've watched F1 for over 25 years so I'm entitled to my view. And the hundreds of posts on this topic would seem to imply that the "general viewer" is at best split on the topic. So please don't imply that your comments are on behalf of or represent the entire viewing community.


"And the hundreds of posts on this topic would seem to imply that the “general viewer” is at best split on the topic."

Not true. If you read the posts, the overwhelming consensus is that Mark was disadvantaged. Even the most ardent VET supporters acknowledge that Mark was screwed, but argue that the championship is more important than the racing.

In JA's analysis, "Did Red Bull favour Vettel?", his conclusion was that Mark was disadvantaged, but that is the harsh reality of F1.


I think you got it right.

If Webber had have maintained the lead after the first lap, the strategies could have been different, but he got flustered, and tried, unfortunately for him, to get by Romain for about six laps, and chowed his tires, before backing off, after a pit call, (paraphrased) 'pass Romain, or back off!'

To contrast that to Vettel, who IMMEDIATELY, backed off, and conserved his tires.

It was this six laps of aggressive driving, but unable to pass Grosjean which adjusted Webber to the three stop.

It is my belief that if he tried to do a two stop, he would have got third, rather than second.


In my opinion RBR did a great race strategy. Because the goal was to get first two steps on the podium and Seb should be on top of Mark. Did they achieve this? Yes. And RBR did it in perfect way. Everything was calculated and executed in perfect shape.

The whole issue in this endless discussion due to Mark has more sympathy between fans (this is my pure opinion and if you think differently, I am fine). But RBR thinks differently and puts all bets on Seb. There is nothing wrong here apart of RBR’s public statements. This destroys their reputation but they don’t care. And we can’t criticize them because this is RBR’s way of doing business.

Imagine if you are looking marathon race. And one team adds brick in the pocket of one of his runner just to make sure he will come after his teammate. How will you feel watching such “game”? Is it fair?

Why so many concerns about humanity when Seb gets boo? (Personally I am against any boo in any cases). And there are no concerns about how Mark feels in the evening of the post-race days when he became alone after his team deliberately spoiled his race? Is this because Mark not human? Double standards? For the car it doesn’t matter to be the first or the last but for the racers who dedicate their entire life for fight on track is a matter and very big matter. I am looking further and hope his new team will treat him honestly and give him the chance to fight again and Mark will enjoy the racing again.

BTW, I am not Mark fan but have a big sympathy to this strong and brave man.


Can you imagine Horner.. "Er..Mark..can please let Seb past.. please?..Mark? Hello..?? Hello?"

Far easier to screw up his strategy.


Vettel had newer tyres and better traction out of the chicane. As he showed on Grosjean, he'd have passed Webber had need be.


It doesn't matter anyway because Vettel is the #1 driver for Red Bull and also leading the points championship!! Why should let Webber win the race? It doesn't make any sense at all.... Remember Vettel is a racer and Webber is a driver!!


Totally agreed.

Vettel is practically winning the double championship by himself.



"Vettel is a racer and Mark is a driver" was a point that was well proven in Japan when both drivers tried to pass Grosjean. Vettel need 1 lap, Webber needed several + lucky encounter with a backmarker. And this right here is the real reason why Webber had no chance to fight Vettel for the win in Japan. It wasn't because RBR were intentionally trying to screw him up, it was because he wasn't good enough at the end to catch Vettel. This also pretty much sums up the last four seasons at the team. Webber is just not good enough when it really matters (Abu Dhabi) but some idiots will always come with excuses as to why one driver will be remembered as an all-time great while the other will be nothing more than an amusing footnote in history. But by all means continue to come up with conspiracy theories. They are fun to read, even if they have 0 basis in reality.


Agree completely.

What they fail to recognise is that by keeping Webber on a 2 stop strategy they would be effectively handing the race to Grosjean. No one talks about how Webber wasn't able to pass him before the second stop or also the fact that he had a skinnier wing which made his tyre preservation even less likely to last the race.

It's like all season we have heard about poor Webber's reliability problems and yet Vettel has a Kers problem and still puts it in the front row! Then he gets a terrible start. But he still wins!! It must be a conspiracy............The problem is if those two things had happened to Webber he would have probably qualified 5th then with a poor start been p8. Vettel is the difference but the critics can't see it.


“They waited a while, knowing that it would not affect the outcome (in other words the model showed Vettel winning and Webber coming second)


Hasn't that been the problem throughout? The default stance that Vettel would always take the higher place, regardless of how able Webber is in fighting for the win.


It was a shame Webber was sacrificed, but RedBull want maximum points for the constructors and a 1-2 always pays more points than a 2-3. I feel a bit for RoGro as he was never destined to win no matter how hard he tried.


Mark is not sacrificed, he has no chance, period. RBR simply cannot depend on this slow driver to win any race for them.


james, who is the guy in the middle of the pic? he look decidedly uneasy.


FIA head of F1 comms Matteo Bonciani


thanks james. he doesn't look like a real happy guy? or does he always look like this?


SV's laptime was like a sine wave man!


Sorry for being off topic, but did anyone see the Moto GP race this morning?

I mention it because they had enforced bike changes half way through (9 laps) because there were big issues with tyre durability/safety.

There is extensive testing of Moto GP bikes throughout the season and the tyre manufacturer hasn't been asked to make them last for a short time. Also the tyres are not subject to the same aerodynamic loads and bikes don't ride over kerbs the way F1 cars do.

A number of posters have been extremely vociferous in their comments criticising Pirelli and extolled the virtues of Bridgestone.

I wondered if they might like to apologise for being overly critical to Pirelli now?


James & Mark,

First off, what a brilliant piece of analysis from you guys. Excellently delivered as well I might add. Clear and informative.

I'd be interested to get your thoughts on my theory.

My belief is that Vettel and his engineers had derived a strategy to beat Webber. They clearly looked back to the 2011 race and noted that the last stint was where an overtake was most likely based on the fact that the 2 stop strategy was right on the edge.

In all likelihood, had Webber led Vettel into turn 1 with no Grosjean to interfere, the race would have ended up the same way, only with Webber playing the part of Grosjean. Looking at the data, Webber would have had to make his second stop at the latest lap 30 to remain competitive, leaving him with a long final stint. Vettel's strategy to go deep in the second stint would play out exactly the same and he would have come out potentially 6-8 seconds behind Webber but with much fresher tyres and superior pace. It may have taken him a couple of laps longer than it took him to pass Romain, but Seb would have eventually overtaken Mark for the win as Mark would have been nursing his tyres to the finish worrying about hitting the cliff and losing second to Grosjean.

Vettel played a tactical blinder. It didnt matter who was in front of him, his pace while managing the tyres to go deep on his second stint was a masterclass under the current F1 regulations.

My theory surmises that in putting Mark Webber onto a three stop strategy, Red Bull saved him from the humiliation of being passed by his quicker team-mate in the dying moments of the grand prix when the win he craves was within his grasp.

RBR would have been crazy not to split the strategies. And Webber's tyre usage this season determined that he was the only 3 stop candidate.

As a Raikkonen fan it pains me to say it but Vettel is looking like he has put the final piece of the puzzle in place and his legacy as an F1 great is now surely secure. It was a brilliant drive.... again.

As for Mark, an excellent career now looks like being overshadowed by his inability to cut it against the best. And unfortunately, his legacy shall be deemed a such. Strategy eh?

I'd be interested to get your thoughts guys.


That is interesting. But I wonder if, rather than trying to save Webber any humiliation from being passed for the win, they attempted to save themselves from the awkward decision of telling/not telling the drivers to hold station if Webber was ahead?

Many would feel that it would have been appropriate to call Multi 21, given the happenings earlier in the year. But it's not likely that Vettel would have complied, adding further egg to Redbull faces.

Maybe by attempting to avert that controversy they have mired themselves in this one!


Horner stated immediately after qualifying that there would be no team orders in the race. Had Webber tried to eke out a 2 stop, Vettel would've caught and passed him on track just as he did to Grosjean.


Sounds interesting. The team was not expecting him to go so far on the tyres in the second stint. This was important as it meant he was stronger in the final laps on freshers tyres. He covered all the angles. But of course he was helped by Webber being moved out of the way with that early second stop.


What about letting racers race instead of preconceived plans to scew onw if your drivers. Horner is a liar they dont allow their drivers to race. They are just puppets to RBR decisions.
I may be a webber fan and now am dissapointed in my naivety wanting to beleive RBR were telling the truth in letting their drivers race and provide equal opportunity.


Based on the above theory and comments, they are letting the racers race. It's just the 'racers' include all the strategists, mechanics and engineers on each side of the garage. Team Vettel raced Team Webber, and their tactics were smarter. I'm a Webber fam completely, but that Seb boy is amazing.

James, at what point does RBR step in to override the tactics of individual garage sides?


An input parameter in the RBR model obviously was that VET had to finish in front of WEB....

Marcus in Canada

Absolutely excellent reporting.

You will find this NO. WHERE. ELSE.


My posts are disappearing o_O.

Maybe too long 🙁


However, if Webber was to drive for three-stopper from the beginning of the second stint, he would be soon sitting on Grosjean's back and his pace would not be as good as in simulation.

The start was where Webber lost this race.


Look at it another way, would the team favour the person who is staying or the one who is leaving at the end of the season?


They can favour whoever they like. People just hate being taken for mugs, that's all.


Nice try chaps but my interest in the 2013 season is over. Will probably look at the Austin & Interlagos GPs but otherwise I'll see y'all for the 2014 season!

In all seriousness why have RBRs opposition let them get so far ahead? Surely by now they would have been able to counter the RBR/Vettel strategy of gunning it like stink for the first few laps from pole to get out of the DRS zone before it's enabled? Also James why is it that RBR can crank up the pace of development so much more then others after each summer break? I think that's definitely why RBR are so determined to hold onto Peter Prodromou for as long as possible. Will his deputy leave with him do you think?

I'm hoping (maybe wrongly) that the new engines with their single exhaust pipe exiting the engine higher up then at the moment will make this blown diffuser concept a thing of the past. I've nothing against them, but when concepts such as F ducts and double diffusers get banned within a season. How come despite protests from teams exhaust blowing is still allowed? Maybe it's as much who you know, as what you know?

Until next year?!?


Try #4:

Webber has a fantastic back story full of trials and tribulations on the way to the pinnacle of motorsport. Webber is engaging, charismatic and an acknowledged “good bloke”.

I don't see that Vettel has much of a back story - identified as being very good when very young and then supported by Red Bull throught to F1. If there's a genuinely interesting character behind the prodigious talent, I’m not seeing it.

I really want to like Seb. He needs to get on Twitter and post photos of him & his mates doing skids in a jet-powered shopping trolley they built in his shed at home or something. Give us something to related to, Seb!

RBR are the other problem. Formerly the cool kids of the F1 paddock, it's all way too serious, corporatised and by-the-numbers now. We've been betrayed - "You've changed, man!" Contrast the Twitter feeds of RBR with the work of our good friends at Lotus. Chalk, let me introduce you to cheese.

What we have now is a nice, prepackaged narrative that has been developed over quite some time: Webber as plucky underdog being persecuted by a snot-nosed prodigy and his rich, officious benefactors.We don't have to look very far at all to find ‘evidence’ to confirm our narrative. In fact, the Japan 2/3 stop thing proves it beyond doubt!!!

In a nutshell, we want good stories. Webber is a great story. RBR used to be a good story, but they've lost their aura - they've changed their story in fact (bad juju). Vettel could be a good story but what we've seen (aside from results - BORING!) is dubious / conflicting.

There is not much of a story in expert opinion, logic, facts, figures & results (as remarkable as they maybe). Those things should support a good story, not be expected to tell it.


This is not X-Factor or American idol the guys on twitter have fallen behind for not concentrating on what they are employed to do, more worried about fans, and also mainly trying to get more fans imagine in 30 yrs trying to explain to a fan that Alonso was more popular and a match for Vettel. They would find it hilarious at best!

If you want twitter users you are best following one direction or Justin Beiber you wont go wrong racing is for men not boys!


Vettel doesn't want to be 'famous', he wants to be a racing driver.

It's a sad world where people would criticize someone for living a quiet off-track life with his high-school sweetheart, rather than covering himself in questionable tattoos and falling out of nightclubs.


You're missing the point.

Vettel is already 'famous'. When you dominate the highest profile motorsport on the planet - 'famous' tends to happen. The idea that he doesn't want to be so 'famous' is quaint - he just wants to pick and choose which aspects of famous that he wants to deal with. It doesn't really work like that.

I'm not saying Seb should be anyone other than exactly who he is. I'm just suggesting there's too little 'story' to the guy and that vacuum is being filled with an energy that tends to be negative. That negative energy has momentum now. Sadly, I think it's a long way back from here.

I think it's a genuine shame he's treated the way he is by the fans (the pantomime booing thing). He doesn't deserve it but he's brought it on himself to an extent though. RBR's PR hasn't helped either.

Then again to quote William Munny (Clint Eastwood) from The Unforgiven

- "Deserve"'s got nothing to do with it.


Haha nicely written!


No big surprise about what RBR's intention was. In the most pragmatic way when you have 2 cars in the top 3 they made the right move as well strategically. Especially when the guy who won the race is also the guy is who will win the championship. The cold harsh reality is you would back Vettel over Webber to win the most races.

I think the way the team and Vettel himself deals with these situations though is more the point of conjecture in my view. Horner and others high up there try to give out an image of a team sitting on the fence and giving both drivers a fair advantage. I think most fans though know the reality of this situation.

Vettel could do himself some favours (if he wants to) by being someone that is more accessible to fans. In this day and age of social media, he is the last of the old school secluded sportsman. He shuns the celebrity lifestyle, works hard and keeps his private life to himself with no real interaction apart from race interviews. For me that's where some of the problem is. You only hear of him complaining on the team radio or giving a cold interview the race after ignoring teams orders. When it seems like he a decent bloke away from the track.

It could do no harm for him or the team which is fundamentally in the sport to market themselves unlike a Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren etc. with an established racing heritage (Surely that is the only reason why Schumacher got away with his antics at Ferrari). This could help him and the team enjoy their success some more instead of him being booed every race and we have numerous news stories post race trying to dissect why the team screwed their second driver again!


I'm inclined to agree. I've seen the word "pragmatism" used a lot in relation to this sorry episode.

One would think that Red Bull entered F1 to promote their brand, with the ultimate objective of selling lots & lots of fizzy drinks.

Pragmatism would mean asking questions such as:

Does the Red Bull brand need the controversy that is being created by the race team?

Is it in Red Bull's interest to be booed at every other race?

Do Red Bull really want to be accused of overt favouritism and blatant lying?

For all those saying that Red Bull Racing did the right thing, how do you know that is the case?

For all we know, Red Bull might be severely embarrassed by RBR's actions. Red Bull may be furious with Christian Horner's inept handling of the matter.


yes rachael, some good pragmatic comments. RBR are really naive if they think that their actions can be papered over so easily. the fans are not all stupid and i would think that most fans would have some idea about what floats and what sinks, in a general sense.

dieter M is by all accounts a chap who seems to know which way is up and he has been a very good friend to mark webber despite being the the last stop on the bucks movements.i would really like to know what his thoughts are especially of the way webber was treated at suzuka.

whilst i have always disliked marko for his overt dislike of webber, horner was always 60/40 in my book. that is until he showed his true colours. i refer to sepang as a glowing example.

it is their outright arrogance now that is particularly galling and the public'idolatry' of vettel is cringeworthy. i look forward to the day when there is another team with an equally good car that csn tske them down a peg or two.


Mateschitz was furious that RB tried to stop Vettel racing Webber in Sepang.


There have been no stories, by reputable F1 websites, or by the tabloid sites with no actual reporters at the races, that has suggested, or even hinted, that those at the Red Bull parent company are 'furious' with RBR or Horner, or are demanding changes in the race strategies (which, btw, produced a resounding 1-2, when racing RoGro straight up, with all of them doing two stops, could just as likely have led to a 1-3 or 2-3 finish).

The most that can be said is that all of them are trying to soften Sebs edges, as in calmer celebrations, no ring-ading-ding, a little less finger, and so on.

Splitting the strategies was the right thing to do, and literally all other teams, when asked, agreed. And doing a two stopper with they guy comfortably in the window makes much more sense, than doing it with the guy who is borderline, because of a short first stint.


Great. Thanks Mark and James. Now we can all get some sleep.


It's really simple. Teams will always give the better strategy to the driver who is faster and delivers result with metronomic regularity - and Vettel's clearly faster and about to deliver a 4th WDC along with a 4th WCC. This is how winning works.


No matter the figures, non-Vettel fans will sing their same songs. Is this a human feature or says something about racers and fans, like father like son.


RBR wanted a one, two. They acquired a 1, 2. Even if we aceept the notion that Webber was cheated by his own team out of victory as true, there is no need for furor. SV is the clear #1, and an unmitigated success in every way, while Webber is a mere co-star in the Hollywood picture that is SV's life. Why would RBR not want SV to win over Webber?


On another note...

You liked "racing to Delta" on tires? You'll be wishing for it once we're racing to a delta on fuel.

Ross Brawn is confident next year's Championship will not descend into a fuel efficiency war. As of next season, not only will Formula One switch to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines but teams will also be limited to 100kgs of fuel. That is believed to around 60kgs less than what they currently use sparking fears next year's races could be won or lost on fuel save.

Brawn, though, insists that won't happen."From what we've done modelling and simulation I think there will be a difference between qualifying and the race," the Merc team boss told ESPNF1. "Because in qualifying you'll be controlled by the fuel flow rate and in the race you'll be controlled by the overall fuel amount."


Well that's why RBR gets booed so frequently as they sacrifice everyone and everything, at any cost, looking towards one and only Seb. That's OK with me provided they do not lye and say that drivers are having same opportunities. They don't. Period.



Totally off topic, but Bild reports that Alonso is leaving Ferrari already after this season and joining McLaren. Smoke? Fire?


He should leave Ferrari. Ferrari are garbage, maybe because they buy into their own hype, but its all smoke and mirrors. They can't buy their way into titles or preferential treatment as they did before, and if that was even an option they couldn't afford it. They haven't really put out the fastest car or even second fastest car in the last 4 years (in 2010 they had their closest, but in my opinion 3rd fastest car) and yet Alonso has been the main challenger to Red Bull. That says it all. Hey Di Montezemolo, maybe some Italian fans care about your cheesy lines about tweaking ears, but try tweaking your own ears for a change to get a glimpse of reality.

I will however say one thing about Ferrari. When Ferrari were accused of favouring one driver, they were always clear that was their strategy once one driver built a lead. Red Bull were quick to criticize them, but then try and pretend they are different. Its all smoke and mirrors. I don't respect Christian Horner, he's just the fake face placed as leader. He can't control his lead driver, and his level of respect of fans is so abysmal he consistently spins PR nonsense expecting us to believe in. He's just a pawn. I can't stand reading anything he says. I respect the team that was honest about it in the first place, rather than the one throwing stones but cheaply pretending to be something it is not.


Good post, I agree with you about everything. Alonso should leave, Ferrari need him more than he needs them and you're right about Horner. He should be in politics lol, hes a bit of a weasel.


"Ferrari are garbage"

You can't say that, it's a Ferrari, you disrespect the family, you will sleep with the fishes. 😉

Actually, I saw the absolutely awesome Rush movie this week, late I know, but I did laugh when Lauda drove past the old man in testing, stopped by the mechanics and told them how bad the car was and what he thought of it. The mechanic of course replied, you can't say that about a Ferrari...

Wonder if Alonso enjoyed that bit.


They haven't been right about everything. Leaving Ferrari maybe, I'd be surprised if he were allowed to join McLaren straight away though


Just a thought regarding the graphs - would it be possible to print the graphs without the spikes for pit stops and just connect the in-lap and the out lap with a straight line? It might make the display easier to read for some folks. Thanks much.


True. There was never a race between Vettel and Webber. Seb's engineer said so. "We are not racing Mark, we are racing Grosjean". Mark was also racing Grosjean, but unlike Vettel, he was racing him for second right from the first corner. Vettel was racing him for first!


@Kidza @dufus (how appropriate)

"Towards the end of the race you’ll come under pressure from Mark."


Marks first stint was too short, and he has struggled to extend stints, while maintaining good pace, since Pirelli came back into the sport. Seb ran the longest second stint of all, as well as a much longer first stint. He would have come up to Mark with much newer tyres during their last stint, and people would be complaining that it wasn't a fair fight and that they made sure that Mark would be disadvantaged. I believe that they weren't racing Mark, because he messed up the first stint and would already lose to Seb, if he stayed on the same strategy. They are in the very definition of a no win situation with Webber fans/Vettel detractors.


+ 1 RBR are sneaky and underhanded. Always have been.


4 points,

What Red Bull data do you have from 4 hours of free practice to make assumptions about how they play out there strategies.

Would MW have caught SV had he passed RG when he should have.

For once MW seemed to be a happy chappy during post race presentations.

Be honest this story is trying to create something thats not.



Mark and the team were very clear before the race that they were all racing. And given Mark is leaving F1 at the end of the year, if he had something he believed to be factually the case, I suspect he would have said so publicly.

You can read the whole interview at BBC-Sport.


Does DC still hold a position as "an ambassador for the Red Bull brand" (at least his web site says he does). If so a bit of conflict of interest.


Yes - and? It's an argument which I always thought for myself.

And I'm asking what people are still discussing?

I can tell you: People, who have a problem with the success of RBR/Vettel.


Before the race Mark also thought he was on a two stop strategy, or at least an optimal strategy.

The best Mark can hope for is Seb takes the title asap, Red Bull to realise it needs to stop manipulating things whilst pretending it isn't, to give Mark a slightly better shot in the final races.


Thank Gord we won't have to endure this endless conspiracy-against-Webber BS next season!


I couldnt have put it better but I guess they would just shift it to Ricciardo.


"Thank Gord we won’t have to endure this endless conspiracy-against-Webber BS next season!"

If Ricciardo is as good as or better than Webber (and to be fair, Webber is still a decent driver), then you can just replace the names and the whingers will continue.


Ricciardo is very fast and also a lot younger than MW. Consistency is what he needs to show.

For all the mistakes RBR have made over managing the pair of drivers, which have given Vettel such a bad image, he is an outstanding driver - the results speak for themselves - and it's Ricciardo's turn to try to find a way to beat him.



+1 Rich C


What must it be like to be racing other drivers, your team mate, and a computer model that has a pre-disposition not to favour you ?

He never stood a chance.


+1 Lol....You can include a media that swears there was no disadvantage!!!


Surely another reason for the late strategy decision that Gillan does not mention is the high probability for a Safety Car at Suzuka


Another reason for the late call maybe that RBR needed to hide the fact from the other teams. If Mark had changed his driving style it would have been obvious to all he was on a three stop. In the end I don't think it affected Marks result and was definitely the correct team call.


Hang on... are we over analysing this? RB did a great job securing a 1-2, The End.

Was there a preference? For the team? Yes. For the driver? No.

Vettel has been the faster driver since 2009. Webber even looked conceded at the end of the race and respectfully shook Vettel's hand. The faster driver ends up ahead of the slower driver.


OT - I read and heard a few opinions on where Vettel makes the difference, and it appears to be in slow-speed corners. For ex. Rob Wilson says that those corners are all about anticipation of what you're going to do, how much are you going to steer and accelarate. Vettel focuses on this and is just brilliant at it, it's part of his work ethics. He knows before the corner that he'll apply exactly 3% throttle and so on.

Fast corners are all about courage, feel for the car ecc, and the slow ones are all about anticipation. While all top driver generally are very good in fast-speed corners and tend to neglect a bit the slow ones as they think they can will find extra time in the fast corners, Vettel concentates also on slow corners. I think this is an interesting point of view.


Off topic, James, but I just wanted to say, great win by Timo Glock today! The self proclaimed 'f1 purists' would have loved it. Wet race where he made a bad start, so had to make plenty of overtakes (with some 'rubbing'), before a long stint of quick laps while conserving tyres, then pitting slightly too late, and having to make another good overtake late for the win!


Once RB and SV have the title in the pocket they will orchestrate the MW wins exactly like this, just dont hope that the winning streak -most wins per season- of SV throws in 'the mud'


Truly a great analysis. Thank you !

Your theory definitely makes sense. Here is my theory (another reason?) on why RBR "waited" until 25 laps to make the strategy switch. In my opinion they would have made the call to switch Webber to 3 stop strategy earlier, but they have not communicated to Webber right away as that would have alerted Lotus to evolve a strategy for Romain. In order to blind side Lotus and to confuse them as to who are they racing against, they would have opted NOT to reveal the decision right away.

One has to give it up for RBR for executing this strategy so flawlessly (they even managed when to communicate to Webber - perfectly timed to ensure Lotus reacting)to bring the team 1-2 ! It is definitely teaching strategy lessons to its competitors on the grid (remember Ferrari's inability to pit Alonso at the right time in Malaysia that they lost valuable points?)


I didn't notice "another perspective" to this article at all.

Ran the same story, albeit with the addition of the live computer model, as the previous JA on F1 article.


Firstly, kudos to JA on F1 for providing information that is not normally available to race fans. However, I have some niggling issues.

The commentary to these charts, still reads like a justification story, rather than a pure analysis of what happened on the day. My biggest issue is with the following statement: “In my view he would not have beaten Vettel in all probability.”

The author has placed this statement, on its own, in the middle of the article and has not adequately supported the assertion with facts. Instead, it is left to the reader to adopt the assumption that it must be true, because after all, Vettel is usually faster than Webber.

I believe that statement is highly disputable. Of course, the true picture is masked, because Mark’s real pace was hampered by Grosjean for large parts of the race. Also, obviously the Red Bull’s strategies were split, so they drove differently for the second half of the race.

However, if you really examine these charts closely, it shows that, on the day, Vettel was not that fast. There are several key indicators to show that Mark was actually faster, and Seb did not have the pace to beat Mark in a straight fight.

1. Vettel struggled in the opening stint.

Even though the leading cars were fighting each other for the lead, Vettel struggled to keep up with them. As Mark Gillan points out, the traces show that Seb was having difficulty. Seb was visibly driving more raggedly than usual, with numerous lockups and uncharacteristic mistakes. The fuel corrected lap times show that on laps 11-14 Vettel was even slower than Mark had been on laps 8 & 9, despite being in clear air.

2. Mark was faster on Hard tyres than on Medium

On laps 27-33, Mark was faster on Hard tyres than on Mediums (fuel corrected). As the article says, the team should have known this from practice times etc. Yet the author hasn’t pointed out that the model should have taken this information into account for optimising Mark’s strategy.

These are the two reasons why Red Bull were scared. Their modelling would’ve been showing that Mark had the pace to win the race. Everybody knows what happened after that.

The reason why Red Bull chose to disadvantage Mark is a moot point.

The more words that have been written, and the more information that has been made available, subsequent to the race, the more inescapable the conclusion.

Mark was robbed, and Christian Horner has been caught out lying to the public.


In his first stint Marks was stuck behind RoGro, so could not go faster (in fact, he pushed too hard and abused his tyres, curtailing that stint). At the start of his third stint, he knew he would not be using that set of tyres for an extended stint, and his objective at that time was to push as hard as possible to increase the gap to RoGro before his last stop, this was the first time he was going flat out on new tyres. At the start of his last stint, he knew he would have to pass two cars with those tyres, so would be protecting them a little as he was catching RoGro, so that he would have good grip when passing. Thus explaining the pace on each set of tyres.

On the other hand, Seb ran a perfect two stop strategy. In his first stint, he left a gap to Mark to protect his tyres (there was an early message from Rocky to that effect), he could then go significantly longer on those tyres. He also did the longest second stint of all, meaning he could do a relatively short final stint.

It is therefore reasonable to asume that he would have had a significant tyre advantage when he came up to Mark after their second stops, asuming Mark stayed on a two stopper. (As was the case when he came up to RoGro), making the statement: "In my (Mark Gillams) view, he would not have beaten Vettel in all probability" eminently reasonable.

Let me also state again, with no offence intended, for your side of the argument keep ignoring it:



In the first stint Seb went backwards due to graining but the team did an excellent job in holding him back and managing it. With Mark Webber he was told to drop back 2 sec and come in early- the race was lost then. Then when he was faster than everyone on track over 10 laps in his second stint on hards - he was called in again- when his tyres were still good- Marks words not mine or yours.

I'm sorry but you people who think Mark Webber had a hope in hell even before those 5 lights went out in Suzuka are still living in la la land..just leave a coin under your pillow for the tooth fairy and Mr Horner will come collect it on her behalf...good luck !

As for the teams all saying they would have all done the same thing:- that's wonderful after the race is finished and has been analysed 1000 different ways. Reality is most of them would only dream of being in a position to do it & even then they do they get it wrong - think lotus at Germany with Kimi and a little a Hungary.

Further of course they would agree to further destabilise the already heated situation between the 2 RBR drivers don't you think ?? Before all of this for ANY team to say that, they have to accept the...Uhmm .. Analysis Christian Horner presented afterwards..if you do it all fits perfectly sweet.. How many of you out there are that gullible ??- please raise your hands so that I can stop wasting my time you ! Honestly.. JA on both posts has very neutrally suggested disadvantaged Mark ( which you all know has to be very understated) yet you still play the strategy path- really are you that sharp


So you admit that they did the right thing, and say that the other teams wouldn't have, as they would have got it wrong!

'As for the teams all saying they would have all done the same thing:- that’s wonderful after the race is finished and has been analysed 1000 different ways. Reality is most of them would only dream of being in a position to do it & even then they do they get it wrong – think lotus at Germany with Kimi and a little a Hungary.'

And let me also re quote Mark Gillan: “In my view, he would not have beaten Vettel in all probability”.

Again, armchair experts are basically mocking the opinion of a former senior engineer, who was still working in the sport last year.

But I do agree with you that we are now wasting each other's time, we have both stated, restated and restated again, our arguments. Lets just call it a day here.



why would RBR have been scared by their computer model showing them MW had the pace to win the race? With the WDC for SV basically in the bag already before the race, wouldn't it have been a nice departing gift for MW to get a win at Suzuka?

I think the simple truth is this: the computer model told them what the best strategy to ensure a 1-2 finish would be, and they went for it. End of story.

And we should not forget that they gave MW a chance for the win! If they had really wanted to sabotage his race they could have pitted him much earlier second time round, so that he would have come out in traffic...


Sabotage is too strong a word.

What I said was that Mark was disadvantaged.

The team still wanted a 1-2.


For clarity the line "In my view he would not have beaten Vettel in all probability" are MG's words. It is in inverted commas and is part of MG's analysis.

As to your point about justification, the objective with the UBS Strategy Report on Suzuka and this fresh perspective was to provide come clear analysis to help fans understand how these things are worked out when the race is happening.

There is no agenda either way regarding Red Bull. We've been very critical of decisions they have made in the past and will continue to do so when we feel the situation deserves it


James it would be great if you'd make a reference to Horner and Red Bull regarding the team order debacle with Ferrari. As I recall, they threw lighter fluid on the fire, no doubt enjoying the furor surrounding their competitor Ferrari. Yet now have we not seen them sneakily handicap their driver to allow preferred treatment? Its hypocrisy and I just think it would be nice if someone compared quotes from RedBull then and now. Just my thought on it all. They were happy to give quotes out then, why not count them now.


Which Ferrari furore do you refer to?


james, rachael has made some excellent points there that are factual and should be addressed. my points re MG were that he was being subjective and that his assumptions cannot be tested so that then comes down to a question of individual opinions. yes he is well qualified to voice opinions but so are many others.

what is the point of webber taking pole without the team implementing a strategy to support him for a win? obviously he wasn't supposed to take pole and this event may have well been the last straw in the strategy direction anyway. webber is being placed in an invidious position which, as i have said before, is utterly deplorable. then horner et al wonder why people boo them.

so james, on your last point, you do not feel that redbull deserve any criticism whatso ever for suzuka? you know mark webber very well so why not see if you can get him to open up and share with us his detailed opinion of suzuka. i mean he may well agree totally with yours and MG's opinions but then again he may just differ. either way that is something i would like to see/hear/read....


Okay, splitting strategy makes sense, and more teams should do it at times; but why was it Mark that was switched? Why not give him the preferred strategy given that he was the driver better placed in the race? Why give him the riskier strategy that was already disadvantaged by switching so late? It doesn't really matter whom the simulations said would finish ahead, there's an ethics to the decision that wasn't factored in.


a very good post KenC. from another KenC hahaha


Because, Marks first stint was simply too short, he was thus marginal on a two stopper, considering he has always struggled to make the Pirelli tyres last.

Him beating RoGro on a two stopper was far from certain, as he could not run a significantly longer second stint, making the undercut the obvious choise for strategy, thus easy for Lotus to anticipate and counter, they would simply pit as soon as Mark tried to close the gap.

Vettel, by contrast, was making the two stopper work perfectly, running longer on the first stint, then running the longest second stint of all. He would have caught Mark with a significant tyre advantage in their third stints.

All this is saying that the three stopper was probably the only way Mark would have finished better than third.


I will never ever forget the way Red Bull and Vettel have treated Webber. I would never condone booing and sneering at Vettel and think he is a worthy champion but that is where my affection ends for him and the team. My only hope is that Daniel gets a better go at it next year than poor Mark had.


"My only hope is that Daniel gets a better go at it next year than poor Mark had."


Mark's not slow, but the car set-up and design favours Vettel. If Daniel is closer to Vettel in what he likes to get out of a car and is a genuine thread to Vettel I have no doubt that they will still favour Vettel. Either that or it will end ina flurry of emotion with plenty teams ready to pick up the scraps.

Giving Vettel what he wants is about more than just Vettel. It keeps them winning and manage harmony in the team to some extent. If Vettel goes, more will follow...and we all know that you don't just keep the kind of momentum RBR have and once it starts slipping you don't just recover overnight. The longer they keep all the pieces in check the longer they will dominate.


I'm amazed how in the light of all the evidence the conspiracy theorists still think Webber was screwed. Webber simply wasn't fast enough and didn't despatch of Grosjean quick enough to give himself chance of victory.

Webber is a decent enough driver, but lets not kid ourselves. He isn't on the same level as Vettel and never has been. That isn't a bad thing, his career has still been largely successful but he is unfortunate to have been around in an era with such great drivers.


All Red Bull need to clarify that Vettel is the number one and Webber number two driver. I can dig that Vettel is better than Webber. What I don't like is they keep on saying they are equal and are allowed to race each other which is not true when it arises Webber is in good form to challenge Vettel. Then the s**t begins. C'mon we all know Vettel is a fantastic driver for sure but Webber is no slouch at all, more like no luck.

You know, I watched the Malaysia's post race again and Webber was near to tears, that really hurts and I feel for Webber as he helped very much in securing the 3 WCC, that's a bag full of money for the team eh. Mind you Vettel was also very uncomfortable when Webber slammed his bottle and pushed his helmet on the table after repeating 'multi 21' twice. It was the most uneasy post race I've witnessed and you could really feel the bad vibes, even Newey was nervous as he tried to make small talk with Vettel.

I wonder if Webber gets the same bonus as Vettel for each point he scores?


"All Red Bull need to clarify that Vettel is the number one and Webber number two driver."

You need it "clarified" for you that driver A, who has won three WDC's and has comprehensively beaten driver B for five consecutive years, is the number one driver? You need it "clarified" that a F1 team favors their driver who is chasing the WDC over their other driver who is mathematically eliminated from contention? Seriously? The false naivete is a bit embarrassing.


We don't need clarification. We don't need hypocrisy. We don't need Horner saying they let their drivers race and there are "no team orders at RBR"-unlike other teams (suggesting Ferrari) when the very few times Mark and Seb race "strategy" determines the result. We are not stupid and the fans are sick of it- the ones with more than half brain that is ..


Same thing is happening at Lotus, all their energy is now behing GRO and he is currently out performing Kimi. A driver who is leaving the team gets minimal support and they certainly dont want them beating their remaining contracted driver. It looks bad on the team.

Red Bull wont allow Mark a race win unless Seb retires.


Come on 'conspiracy' people, Mark is a good driver, but do you think however conspiracy is the key in Seb/Mark performance factor?


Wins 9 Wins 35

Pole positions 12 Pole positions 42

I think conspiracy vs Mark is alas, SV's talent.


Again, is this what Formula 1 has come to. As each race goes by, it's losing me. I'm not interested in graphs and strategies and tyre degradation. I'm interested in the top drivers in the world fighting it out, flat out, for the duration of a race. End of story. It is becoming a joke. And for what it is worth, I agree with those who suggest that Webber has been very badly treated. Japan was his race – he qualified and was in front of Princess Vettel, then deserved to at least have a go at winning for himself. It is just crap and getting worse.


Vettel passed Grosjean in 2 laps, Webber took much longer. Had Webber got the job done in a reaosnable timeframe, he would have "had a go at winning it for himself". But yeah, ignore it, so you can whine for "maid" Webber.


JAMES: On the topic of tyres and pitstops, has there ever been a discussion about DTM style pit windows? Is that not something that will give everyone a win?

1. Get rid of high-degrading tyres. Which will mean

a. Can overtake off-line again

b. No managing of fragile tyre-life

c. Drivers can go max effort (or what the new drivetrains and fuel will allow)

2. Have two and three stop pit windows. (Or one and two at some tracks) Which will mean

a. Some leverage for strategy

b. Pit action

c. Varying strategy to some degree

d. Pit window will mean to a large extent teams will have to focus to get the best out of their OWN strategy.

Just a though...


I much prefer DTMs DRS regulations, you can use it once per lap, but anywhere on the track (no designated zone) and that its not active for the last couple of laps, meaning cars with fading tyres, or on primes defending against option runners, have a chance to defend.


James, thanks for the reply. Good point.


Good point and I agree with you there. That also means there's no getting DRS automatically even though you've already passed the guy you were less than 1 sec behind.

Also means getting DRS from a backmarker is out of the window.

I like it!


The Sporting Working Group discusses all these kinds of things. I don't know if DTM specifically is discussed but given Mercedes' long involvement I wouldn't be surprised.



As I posed in that post, it appears to me that you failed to answer the question, so I asked:

1) Is it Yes or NO?


2) Was Horner entirely candid in his interviews as to the reasons for changing MW to a 3 stop strategy?

I respect the fact that you declined to answer these as often Yes/No answers are incomplete and you have provided a large amount of information to inform your readers, if not offer an answer. I would, however, suggest that perhaps you should not ask closed questions in your titles if you are not prepared to answer them.

For my part I think it goes like this:

Firstly, No conspiracy theory.

Question 1: YES. RBR made a team strategy call to achieve a 1:2 finish. This call favored SEB winning over Mark. This was out of necessity for the team to get a 1:2. If they had been making strategies for each car individually, Marks may have been different, but at the end of the day F1 is about optimum team results without compromising a WDC. So bad luck Mark.

Question 2: NO. Perhaps what he could of said was "We were forced into a strategy that compromised Mark's

chances to win in order to ensure a team 1:2 victory. It's unfortunate for Mark but that's the way the race played out."

Probably would still not be well received by many, but perhaps such honesty would begin to forge some trust from a broader fan base. Or perhaps they don't think we can understand the realities of F1.


The question is answered in the original post - yes they favoured Vettel, by disadvantaging Webber.


another question that has gone unanswered was, considering the equally scrappy start that vettel made what would've horner done if webber was a few hundred metres out in front? who then would've got the three stop strategy?


It was dirty tactics from red bull. Since Webber pitted on lap 25 the only question was if the Lotus would pit also to cover the track position. Since the lotus didn't pit on the next lap it was very obvious that webber would have been in frond of Grosjean when the latter decided to pit. So webber pushed for one lap on fresh rubber being like 1.5 sec faster than Grosjean and that secured him 100% that he would be in frond of Grosjean after he pitted. Now redbul had 2 choices. First choice is to change to 3 stop plan with the outcome we all saw. But second choice was to tell webber on lap 27 to control pace, save tyres, and maintain the same pace with Grosjean. So he had to make a 28 lap third stint, with the luxury of being able to save tyres from lap 3 of that stint while always being on clear air. Was it possible ?? Up to you. Vetel did 23 lap second stint with the car heavier on fuel and not on clean air. i think it was very easy doable. But on that scenario vettel would have come behind webber on the last 10 laps and would also have fresher tyres. And we would have the same "keep potitions" drama.

Instead Redbull changed to 3 stop Ordered webber on many occasions to keep pushing and destroy his tyres, making sure he would need to pit again.


It was utterly normal tactics, nothing "dirty" about it.

The customary rules of F1 don't seem to apply where Vettel and Webber are concerned. Where these two are concerned it is apparently the obligation of the team to assist their slower number two driver to a win over his faster and WDC chasing colleague. Because ... well, because a lot of fans and members of the press want them to do so.

And it is also apparently the obligation of the team to NOT give the best parts to the driver with the most points, which is the normal procedure in every other team in F1.


In a tight championship with all to play until the last corner i would agree with you.

In the 2013 championship with Vettel 99,9% crowned drivers champion and redbull 100% crowned manufactures champions and webber on his last year on f1, i would except the "customary rules" of f1 not to apply, and the "race rules" of f1 teams would. And the "race rules" say that the driver that is in front in the race, is given the more beneficial strategy.

Instead, redbull choose to give the more beneficial strategy to Vettel, just to add one more victory on his so well known beloved statistic board.

Either on ethical side or racing side, it was wrong. It was completely unneeded.

They would have finished 1-2 with webber first if they wanted, but then they would have say to vettel to hold position behind webber. They just decided to save their selves from that drama.


Webber was given the 3 stopper because he needed a strategy to work with after he lost the lead at the start to Grosjean (as the data shows) and burned his tyres in the first stint.

Track position was given to Vettel, as RBR needed to split strategies to beat Grosjean Vettel looked after the tyres better. Webber had a clear chance at winning the race, which you seem to miss- but Webber lost it because he took far too long to pass Grosjean, which he should have done sooner. Vettel was even informed that Webber was on fresher option tyres (Vettel was on primes, which was key) and should have had the pace to beat Vettel at the end. Obviously, Webber blew that chance.


I really dont know how you think that webber given the 3 stop strategy in order to win. You have James article and 90% of the comments pointing out that he didn't get the best strategy in order to win.

Now even if he had passed Crosjean imminently he would never been able to pass vetel cause vetel did a 16 lap last stint. Meaning that whenever webber would come behind him, vettel would have fresh enough tyres to defend quite easy.

By converting webber to 3 stop redbull gave track potition to vettel. Even if webber came behind him. Even if webber was faster than vettel, (which i doubt because vetels tyres where quite fresh also) you really think the team would let them race ?? When webber gave the track position to Vettel in was over.

The only thing that we agree, is that if webber was in did committed to a 2 stop, doing a 27-28 lap final stint, vettel at the last 10 laps mwould have come behind him and would be on much fresher tyres. The question what red bull would do then ?? That's why i told you from start, they change to 3 stop to save their selves from the drama of having to tell vettel, to hold potition behind webber.


Webber was given a strategy that could and should have won him the race. He lost it not because of the extra stop, but because he couldn't pass Grosjean in reasonable time.

Had Webber stayed out and done the longest stint of anyone in the entire race in order to stretch it to a 2 stopper, Vettel, who dealt with Grosjean on track quickly and had conserved the tyres, would have breezed past him. Webber winning on a 2 stop was anything but "easy doable".


After Webber's second pit stop he would have been on clean air until the end.So he only had to manage a 28 lap stint on clean air with saving tyres from lap 3 of that stint. Vettel was heavier on fuel not always on clean air and did 23 lap stint. Alonso last stint was 23 laps battling with hulgenber for so many laps.Massas was 25 lap stint with fights also. 28 lap stint on clean air and saving tyres so early was easy if you ask me. BUT..

1. It didnt had to be 28 lap stint it could be 27 or 26 lap stint if they pit him a couple of laps l8r.

2. Even if when they pit him they could give him the choice.. control pace save tyres you have to go to the end.If you do it you win.. if not you pit at the end and go third. Give him a chance.

But either way it was easy doable . many cars did 23+ last stint and had to battle for positions also. A red bull on clean air saving tyres from lap 3 of stint don't think would have any issues..


You think Webber would have done a 28 lap stint based on Vettel doing a 23 lap stint? Vettel had saved his tyres by staying over 2 seconds behind Webber, as his team told him. Webber did not stay 2s behind Grosjean, hence he damaged his tyres. He is historically hard on the Pirellis too. Webber would have just fallen off the cliff in the final 5 laps and finished a distant 3rd... would have nice to see the moaning about the strategy then.


To all fans who don't agree with the RBR strategy, it would be fun to hear your preferred strategies.

Was there a way for a 1WEB, 2 VET, 3 GRO finish once GRO led the race at the end of Lap 1?


The race would have played out just the way Mark said it would. Mark would have continued until around lap 30 and then gone for the undercut. This could be achieved because Mark was able to close the gap to GRO on hard tyres. Seb would still have followed the strategy that he did, but not have been able to catch and pass WEB, because Mark was much faster than GRO on hard tyres.


How would you prevent VET from using the under cut on WEB at the 2nd pit stop if they are free to race?


Good question!

If Webber had got past Grosjean immediately after his last pitstop, he would have been on the back of Vettel before the end of the race with fresher tyres. Which could have ended in any number of ways!


For those with short memory, I would like to point out to 2009 Spanish GP, when Ross Brawn did the same to his race leader Rubens Barichello and told the F1 media that three stopper was a better strategy and it was just that Rubens was not able to deliver it and everybody accepted that on face value, no lengthy deep dives and looking into lap charts this and that.

The entire Mark Webber episode underlines one more time how the rules change when an English speaking driver is perceived to be at the receiving end and double standards practiced by the F1 fans as well.


James, could we get a tech article on ballasting and center of gravity, and their impact on lap times and tire wear? Seems like a relavant topic given the raging Webber/Vettel debate and the controversy over new weight limits for 2014. I would gather that Vettel's preferences have trumped Webber's in many of the design aspects of RBR cars. The question is how does the 10 kg weight difference between the two drivers impact handling and lap times?


Good question! Would be great if Mr G could answer it for us


I've sent the request to him, so watch this space!


Wow! Thanks James, the best service in the world 🙂


Sounds like one for Mr Gillan!



“There is nothing worse than converting from a two stop to a three during the race,” says Gillan. “Having conserved the tyres at the start of the second stint, you can see Webber was working to a two stop. Compare that pace to the third stint where he is pushing hard.

“The mindset of a driver on a three stop strategy is quite different from a two stop.”

If the mindset is quite diffrence, why was Webber pushing like being on a three stop at the beginning with the consequence to miss the undercut?

Whats the sence of comparing the pace in the second stint where he drove behind Grosjean with the pace in the third, when he had clean air and less fuel?

Why is it bad to adjust the strategy in the race, if plan A (2 stop and undercut) does fail?


It's pathetic that people can't accept that Vettel beat Webber (again) fair and square.


Webber is 40 pounds heavier than Vettel. Now who is the better driver pound for pound?


Vettel. By far.


Webber lost the race AGAIN by doing poor start.

Vettel does have softer driving style and saves tites better.

But still..

RedBull favors Vettel by not deciding 3-stop strategy for Webber before the race. Webber lost oportunity to fight for the win during first 20 ish laps.

Nah.. I want 80s or 90s F1 back!


I think RB gave Webber a fair chance to win the race.

Discussing diffrent strategies is nonetheless interesting.

Was the 3 stop before the start realy an option?

2 Questions arise:

1) Without the gap created by Riccardo and Hulkenberg wouldn´t the 3 stop strategy end in traffic?

2) The first stops came soon after the soft tyres began to regress. Were the hard tyres already faster than the softs before they pitet first?


Was the 3 stop before the start realy an option? --> yes because we all know how Webber is bad with saving tires, so just let him go consume 4 sets.

1) --> even if would end in traffic, RB has the fastest car around whole circuit to overtake whoever they like, provided no need to save tires and fuel.

Well Mark is not good at overtaking any more so question mark (ha!) there..

2) Didn't get that question sorry.

Seb is spoiled brat and that's it, although very very fast spoiled brat. Mark is too kind and too slow to have much to say, but as ALL top notch systems, Rb's success too is based on certain politics strategy. For example, RB couldn't chase records with Seb + Kimi or Seb + Fernando pairs.

Seb is their fav child and that's it.

I can imagine Ferrari doing the same with Bianchi starting 2015 if he makes few impressive moves next year. Bianchi came thru Ferrari academy right..?

McLaren lost Lewis, no wonder Ron Dennis was so pissed off.

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