No home advantage for Webber at Red Bull

2011 Australian GP team review

Red Bull began 2011 the way they ended 2010 – with Sebastian Vettel charging to victory.

But the scale of his advantage will be a worry to team mate Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’23.529 (-0.866) 1’24.395
Race position 1 5
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 2 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Sebastian Vettel 98.109 93.006 92.713 92.803 92.342 92.605 92.502 92.537 93.24 92.572 92.669 92.902 93.698 112.075 98.385 91.548 90.8 91.81 91.018 91.055 91.288 91.084 90.875 92.24 91.699 91.328 91.568 91.113 91.339 91.054 91.707 91.611 91.406 91.871 92.597 113.737 99.321 93.632 91.005 90.53 90.14 90.419 90.503 89.844 90.47 90.669 90.297 90.471 90.71 90.732 90.873 91.087 90.671 90.656 90.899 89.962 90.516 91.946
Mark Webber 101.467 93.725 93.208 92.933 92.899 92.916 92.9 93.262 93.33 94.248 114.995 100.221 93.661 94.118 94.236 92.497 92.534 92.905 92.73 92.529 92.301 92.342 92.472 92.746 92.92 111.733 97.841 91.348 91.386 90.924 90.796 90.397 90.562 90.474 90.8 90.496 90.627 90.482 90.739 91.67 113.49 97.445 89.686 90.108 89.803 89.804 90.53 90.122 89.713 89.6 90.165 89.825 89.996 89.695 91.124 90.203 90.472 92.279
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel

Just like last year, Vettel was the fastest man in all three parts of qualifying.

He set a new fastest lap of Melbourne with a time of 1’23.529 at the beginning of Q3. He was on course to better it with his final effort until he ran wide at turn 14, but still had the best part of a second in hand over his team mate.

Though secretly concerned about the vulnerability of his KERS-less car at the start, he got away cleanly and was almost two-and-a-half seconds ahead by the end of the first lap.

Vettel was never headed in the race, except for three laps after he made his first pit stop. It was a near-perfect start to his title defence.

Mark Webber

Webber’s form in his home race has often been a weakness and the yawning gap to his team mate will have been doubly painful.

After qualifying Webber said: “Obviously, disappointed to get bumped off the front row as well. Tried my best. Mystified to the gap to Seb, to be honest. I will have to go through it and have a look at where I can improve and go from there.”

By the end of 58 laps’ racing Webber was 38 seconds behind his team mate, partly due to needing an extra pit stop for tyres.

An error on his out-lap following that third pit stop cost him fourth place to Fernando Alonso.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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106 comments on No home advantage for Webber at Red Bull

  1. open mind said on 29th March 2011, 2:49

    not finding much discussion of the possibly illegal “start only” kers system redbull is rumored to be using… if you search you will find some stories on that… a system charged in the garage and only used for the start for advantage and allowing better cog balancing with the weight savings and better aero because they don’t need to fit the entire system in the car… my point is that if it is proven to not rely on a charge from the field it would be illegal… as it would not be recovering any kinetic energy… also a huge benefit from more braking control… also… seeing talk of wing flexing again…
    newey is good… but i bet some close looks will be made…

  2. Ozzy said on 29th March 2011, 3:32

    The answer is very plain to see: After the ‘inconvenience’ that Webber was to RBR and Vettel last year this year they will be giving him a lesser car than Vettel. Expect Webber be behind vettel in grid and races and RBR announce that they are replacing Webber for next season. Regrettably Webber lost his chance last year at South Korea.

  3. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 29th March 2011, 4:08

    To beat Vettel in race pace Webber have to up his driving. He need to bring some magic out of himself.

  4. John Cousins said on 29th March 2011, 5:31

    Um… I think that you are all forgetting that last season there was barely a 10th of a second between them! Have a look at the difference in build between Mark and Seb. If having 1 lap more fuel makes a difference in lap time, then surely the diference in stature has one too. I know they both have to meet minimum weight but it’s got to do with where the ballast is placed in the car. I find it hard to believe that Mark could be THAT much slower or damaging to his tyres than Seb without some kind of mechanical defect playing a role. I guess we will see soon enough though.

  5. dragon said on 29th March 2011, 5:33

    Well, watching it all unfold at the actual race was hugely disappointing. Me and my mate were trying to convince ourselves that Petrov had yet to pit, and were both a little shocked to learn he was racing in position, and Webber was actually 5th.

    It’s hard to say, being the first race of the season, whether Webber is still trying to come to grips (no pun intended) with the tyres, or the lack of pace was due to something more sinister. I’m hoping Red Bull clear this up, because 8 tenths is inexcusable if there’s no underlying reason. We all say they’re professional sportsmen, but I always felt that the pressure of a decent car – and therefore an expected podium, at the least – at Albert Park is a bit much for Mark, especially seeing as he’s typically very strong in Malaysia…it’s like a weight has been lifted.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 29th March 2011, 12:20

      This actually isn’t that different from the first race of last season. Webber qualified in a similar position in Bahrain last year, and finished down in 7th place. I think Webber isn’t always fully prepared for the 1st race of the season. It takes him a couple of races to warm up, while his teammate is on the ball right from the beginning. Guess we wil have to wait until after Malaysia to see if its true though.

  6. Wadey said on 29th March 2011, 6:22

    So I have something to say. This is very 3rd level knowledge. I reside in Canberra of Australia and I’m on a forum here that the Australian Defence Community is on. There was a mention on Monday from someone on the forum that – “On race day I managed to get into the RB garage for a tour. Some one else, whom I didnt know, snuck off during the tour to take a photo with Marks Car. However, He actually tripped and knocked the car! The engineers rushed over and apparantly he broke a piece of the car that couldnt be replaced”.

    Thats all I heard.
    Again – who knows how true it is. But this fella was on the tour and saw it happen.

    As for Webber himself – he is prone to silly mistakes in the latter part of this career but I still think he is a great driver. I have always noted that he seems very nervous here. I have been to the last 4 GP’s in Melbourne and he never wants to talk to anyone, he is really cagey in the press and quiet frankly – rude. But everywhere else he goes he is fine. I just think that he struggles under the weight of the Australian Media here and it gets into this head.

    No pace since Hungary is a bit harsh. Especially considering he was 0.001 off Vettel during quali in Japan! How about the P1 result also? I just dont like people who rubbish him without thinking first? And by comparison, chucking Fissi into a Ferrari – that was rubbish! What about Barrichellos antics?

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 30th March 2011, 11:30

      Oh please, come on.

      First, Mark was much slower during qualifying, and it was one day before the race day.

      Second, I don’t go to races, so maybe someone will enlighten me if there are any ‘tours’ on race day and garages are open. I doubt it.

  7. Oliver said on 29th March 2011, 12:01

    I nowview RedBull the same way I view those scientists who are allowed to carry a big injection that they use on their victims victims patients (ah got that right finally), with the wide eyed patient confused and unable to reason rationally.
    If Webber had a choice he should have changed teams but now there is no chance in hell he will be allowed to come close to Vettel. Driver equality is only as good as your last engine map or gear ratio. Because there is no way Webber is almost a second slower than Vettel, heat in tyres or not.

  8. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th March 2011, 12:59

    So after one race, we know that Webber is finished. If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t he just quit the season?


  9. xline said on 29th March 2011, 14:33

    Red Bull in my view will turn out to be a “Milli Vanilli” fake. Nothing about that team comes across as really being kosher. Everything about that car flexes like trickery. They call it ingenious I call it illegal aids and just because you can’t prove it and just because they keep passing the FIA test doesn’t mean it is legal and within the spirit of the rules. Really it’s a shame to watch. The thing about the Red Bull nose flexing under aero pressure was clear to me when Vettel’s complete nose section suddenly broke off under braking in 2010. But it seems that now they have perfected the laminating process and the whole nose flexes perfectly downwards re-angling the front wing generating higher down force levels in high speed corners. That is not something you teach your children to do I would believe – “Listen son/ daughter, if you can get away with it it’s okay” No! it actually isn’t. It’s cheating. “Without humility victory is a hollow gain”. I now know why there is a Bull in the Red this whole experience is bull!

    • I hear you but Redbull wouldn’t be the first or last team to be like that.

      Look at the Brabham fan car of decades gone. It wasn’t exactly in the ‘spirit’ of the sport but it wasn’t deemed illegal.

      They just had more advanced technology at the time and capitalised on it.

      Other teams will also be doing sneaky stuff guranteed.

      Heck I was working as crew cheif at a race the other week and we even did a sneaky bit of cheating.

      I don’t think it’s right, but if you don’t the other teams will.

      • xline said on 29th March 2011, 21:33

        That’s exactly it Tom. Knowing you won because you cheated makes for a stale feeling afterwards and not a totally sovereign one. also I would not teach or preach “If you don’t do it some one else will” that is no argument it’s a cop out and a bad one on that. some one just wrote that he is beginning to feel just as gutted and disgusted about Red Bull, Newey and Vettel as he did back then with “Schummel” Schumi, Brawn and Ferrari.

        I am guessing people are sensing that there is some wrong something really off putting surrounding Red Bull.

        • John Cousins said on 30th March 2011, 7:39

          I think that is total ********. If you think there is a team in F1 that isn’t “bending” the rules in more than 1 area then you are kidding yourself. There are no “squeaky clean” tems in F1… none… There is too much as stake and it is simply a case of if the stewards can’t prove it illegal, it means it is legal. That’s the way it always has been and always will be.

        • dragon said on 31st March 2011, 0:43

          lol @ xline
          Red Bull have a fast, LEGAL car. Get over it. If the RB engineers can build a car that passes the FIA test, then perhaps you should take after whichever other manufacturer you support, and quit b***ing about the problem and instead hope they can figure out what it is that RB are doing. Pulling out the ‘cheaters’ card are the words of a sore loser.

    • Crackers said on 30th March 2011, 1:29

      Formula 1 is in essence an engineering competition. Rules are set out to define limits of how the teams can design their cars. What Red Bull seem to be able to do better than any other team is design their car right up to those limits. As an engineer myself, I can respect that.

      Other teams may not have the technical expertise nor the funding to be able to spend the money to push car design to its limits. Red Bull certainly aren’t the first team to do it, and definitely won’t be the last.

      Lets not forget that the cars undergo rigorous scrutineering after a race and if the FIA were to find any part of the car outside of the rules, they would not hesitate to disqualify the cars, much as they did to Sauber. What Red Bull are doing is not cheating, simply designing the car to the limits as no other team seems able to do. Saying that they are cheating screams bitterness on your part that your team does not have the ability to keep up with the innovation of Newey and his group of engineers.

  10. Icthyes I agree with you, with the power of the media these days and how we can analyse so much data soo quickly from races, people can jump to conclusions far too quickly.

    Look at Alonso last year, before Germany everybody was disregarding him from the championship and laughed when he suggested he’d still be in the fight at the end of the season, but there he was finishing second in the championship just loosing out to Vettel.

    Also it seems like people have forgotten that Mark was leading a substantial portion of the championship last year as well thanks to some consistent points scoring.

    Ok that may be his best chance at it, but after one race I don’t think he should be discounted as a big contender.

    0.8secs in quali and similar difference in time in race are massive and I find it very hard to believe that’s he just gone off the boil and isn’t competitive anymore.

    I think it’s a combination of home race pressure and a problem with his car.

    As for all of the conspiracy theories I’m not too convinced.

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 30th March 2011, 11:41

      I agree with everything you wrote. You can’t tell much after one race. Now it’s up to Webber to show his character.

      And all the conspiracy theories about RBR and about their car just make me smile.

  11. Oliver said on 29th March 2011, 17:04

    Questioning a driver’s ability and concluding about a driver’s situation within a team, are two different things. Alonso’s driving ability is not apparent to all. But we have all seen how Webber was openly criticized by his team for something that wasn’t his fault. So you can see why its easy to conclude. Redbull can chose to turn his car on and off as they please and leave Webber scratching his head as to his inconsistency.

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