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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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.


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.



“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?


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!


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.


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!


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.


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?



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ..


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.


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.


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.


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….


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.


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?)


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’


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!


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.


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.


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.

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