Webber expects tight battle between top teams

F1 Fanatic round-up

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2012

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2012

In the round-up: Mark Webber believes Red Bull’s rivals have reduced their advantage over the winter.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Mark Webber expects rejuvenated rivals to give Red Bull stern test (The Guardian)

“I think it is going to be really tight. The racing will be between several teams for sure and it is difficult to understand who is doing what at the moment, because we have such a big variation in fuel and tyre conditions and all sorts of stuff.”

Grosjean: Lotus feels as good as before (Autosport)

“Nothing really different. It doesn’t change much. Exactly the same good feeling as in Jerez, we can push and we can trust the car – and you can really play with it, which is enjoyable.”

Rubens Barrichello on IndyCar switch (Racer)

“I think you are not going to see me comparing things to Formula 1. I think they are different. They each have their enjoyment, and I can tell you I’m only doing IndyCar because I had a lot of enjoyment when I was driving the car. So, for sure, I think this is going to be a fun year. I have to get used to different sorts of yellow flags and different strategies and things like this that I’m not at all used to, but I think it’s going to be great.”

Analysis – Red Bull RB8 ‘blown’ rear suspension (F1)

Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has seemingly designed the RB8′s rear suspension so it can be aerodynamically influenced by the air flowing from the newly-positioned exhaust exits.”

Neale talks up McLaren chances (Sky)

“We have set our policy out to have two number one drivers so we are bringing packages for both of them [to the car].”

F1: A busted hush (GrandPrix)

“The majority of the teams need to stand up and admit they’re in trouble. The irony is that the hugely competitive nature of F1 – you know, the pig-headed business where you never admit weakness to your rivals – is actually killing the very business these people are pretending is in fine fettle.”

Little love left for Melbourne in asphalt jungle (The Age)

“The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is nothing if not a tart. Last week, it gave away 70,000 free tickets to this year’s race. It said this was to compensate locals for their inconvenience. Locals were more suspicious than touched.”

Shooting F1: Doing My Homework (Jamey Price)

“Having never been to the circuit, I needed to know what corner was good for morning, mid day and afternoon sunlight and what kind of lens I might need for each. The rest I could make up on the ground.”

‘Danica delirium? is just the marketing drive F1 craves (Daily Telegraph)

“Patrick, while adamant in her desire to stay in the US, represents the marketing phenomenon Ecclestone craves. By her instant impact in NASCAR, she has infiltrated an arena fuelled as much by gasoline as raw testosterone. Ultimately, she could find the challenge of shredding the same enduring preconceptions in F1 too tempting to turn down.”

Comment of the day

Fred Schechter is looking forward to Rubens Barrichello’s arrival in IndyCar after watching him test last week:

It was so great to see him out there Saturday. He obviously was going even faster Sunday. They were going faster than last year?s qualifying speeds.

Since I’ve still never been to an F1 race, this was my first time watching him live. Such a delight. Definitely more use of the car and the team looked very comfortable with him on Saturday (it was his second test with them). So excited he?s here!

He?ll be fine on the ovals people, relax, remember 326 races, 322 starts, 11 wins, and second in the championship twice, and third another two times. Rubens will be just fine.

I?ll be putting my money down with the punters for a championship like when Nigel [Mansell] was here. Go Rubens!
Fred Schechter

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Disappointment two years ago today as the USF1 team closed down before the new season had begun.

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60 comments on Webber expects tight battle between top teams

  1. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 2nd March 2012, 0:20

    Wish I lived in Melbourne – I’d gladly have a free ticket!
    As much as I hate how Bernie is acting, I thought the article in The Age sounded like a cinical blog, rather than decent reporting.
    So, we have Billionaire Tyrants butting heads, ‘dwindling’ support for one of the best races of the season, and a bunch of articles written by clowns who received their journalist degrees off the web.

    The F1 Season must start real soon!

  2. smison said on 2nd March 2012, 0:47

    Every year we hear the same thing about Melbourne… blah blah bloody blah…

    Have to admit I do get anxious whenever it’s mentioned but then remember all the articles from the year before saying the same thing… Kind of like Webber’s retirement? :)

    I do hope they move the race to Homebush though… if only to be closer to me!

  3. Eastman (@eastman) said on 2nd March 2012, 1:17

    Bernie had his chance to lure Danica across the pond. There’s no way he’ll snag her now, she’s in an ideal situation. And during coverage of this weeks Daytona 500 received the lion’s share of coverage despite falling out of contention in the first two laps. He should start looking at the next wave of female racers, pick out a looker and start the marketing machine.

    • DVC said on 2nd March 2012, 1:39

      I was going to complain about the idea that you should be picking a driver on their looks, but have decided that is a fruitless approach when teams are picking drivers on their money.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if drivers were picked purely on performance.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 2nd March 2012, 10:19

      Bernie owns a team?

  4. soundscape (@soundscape) said on 2nd March 2012, 2:16

    Ah the old Melbourne GP hate-machine has kicked it up a gear. The Age is usually my favourite of the major newspapers, but every year they bash the race. It hurts me.

  5. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 2nd March 2012, 4:32

    On Danica going to F1: No, no, no, no and no. Over-hyped and under-whelming in talent. One race win in Indy Car after 6 years in the series (in both the IRL and current incarnation) does not scream “burgeoning talent ready to wow F1″ to me. And to top it off, she fairs better on ovals than road courses. Saying she should change to a series that races ONLY on road courses seems unwise to me. This is a sensationalist idea that should be shot down like the turkey of a concept that it is.

    • Hamish (@hamish) said on 2nd March 2012, 5:01

      I’m sure people called Jenson Button “over-hyped and under-whelming in talent” after it took until his 7th season to win a race.

      He ended up doing alright in the end.

      • davros said on 2nd March 2012, 6:58

        The reason it took Jenson 6 years is because of lack of decent equipment, it’s totally different in America you don’t have the same inequality.

        • Ross said on 2nd March 2012, 9:03

          Sebastien Bourdais, Juan Pablo Montoya, Cristiano Da Matta, Alessandro Zanardi… all champions of CART/Indy that weren’t able to translate that talent into F1 championships, why would any person whose career best was 7th in the Indy Car be viable for a F1 seat?

          • racer2011 said on 2nd March 2012, 10:31

            why would any person whose career best was 7th in the Indy Car

            5th in 2009, Best of the non penske/ganassi cars who really are the class of the field & won all but 1 race.

        • racer2011 said on 2nd March 2012, 10:29

          but teams can make a difference with that equipment.

          penske & ganassi have the best equipment, its very rare to see a driver not in these teams win a race.

          in 2009 danica was the best non-penske/ganassi driver & finished 5th in the championship standings, ahead of all 3 of her andretti autosport team mates including ex-series champion tony kannan.

          danicas got talent & a lot of it, i remember watching her in atlantics finishing 3rd in her 1st ever race on a track she had never seen & she went on to score poles & many podiums in that series on her way to 3rd in points.

          i also remember her testing a gt1 bmw at road atlanta where she out performed bmw factory driver bill auberland who insisted on going out & doing a soft tyre/low fuel run just to go faster than her time, he still failed to best her time & she was signed to the team on the spot. team then had issues with the car & had to pull out of the alms season, she then went atlantics with rahal.

          let us not also forget that she finished 2nd in the 2000 formula ford festival & was catching team mate anthony davidson in the closing laps.

          • Ross said on 2nd March 2012, 10:42

            my mistake, 5th instead of 7th…

          • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 7th March 2012, 19:05

            And how many times have we seen talented young drivers do well in lower categories such as GP2, GP3, Formula Renault and so on, only to make it to F1 and become entirely ordinary or even disappointing? This seems awful similar to Danica’s situation. 5th place in ONE year still doesn’t say much.

    • Maciek (@maciek) said on 2nd March 2012, 7:16

      Meh, I don’t see her doing any worse than half the pay drivers currently there and as far as publicity stunts go, there’s not too many down sides to the idea. I say give her an HRT drive at the Austin GP!

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 2nd March 2012, 16:48

        Based on? Sorry but today’s pay drivers all have better CV’s than Danica, they’re not Deletraz. As I said in the original post, even the worst of the current F1 drivers will drive circles around her. And if you put her in HRT as a one-off she’s gonna fail the 107% barrier.

        Nothing she did so far can be even the slightest proof that she’s F1 material

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd March 2012, 7:12

    Is there any word on when Marussia and Hispania are going to launch their cars? I was under the impression that both would launch on March 1, but that was before the MR-01 failed its crash tests.

    • Ross said on 2nd March 2012, 7:56

      Hispania were hoping to launch on Sunday, but that depended on whether they got the car ready or not in time… sounds like another first round launch…doubt we’ll see the Marussia car before Melbourne either

      Autosport report.

    • Snafu (@snafu) said on 2nd March 2012, 7:38

      It certainly looks odd but i think its because of livery and the light position when the photo was taken

    • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 2nd March 2012, 9:17

      @ross That’s how it would’ve been designed. Every tiny piece on that car would be designed, tested, re-designed, tested, strengthened, lightened, tested and then re-designed and tested again before even being considered viable to go on the car. There’s obvious aerodynamic benefit to have the rear wing end-plate shaped like that. Something that hours of CFD and wind tunnel testing would discover.

      • Ross said on 2nd March 2012, 10:03

        Why do people insist that engineers are perfect, if they knew everything there would be now need for testing. There are 12 teams on the grid each with their own ideas of how to reach the top step of the podium. Some are right, some will be wrong, to think that they are all correct all of the time seems a little naive.

        • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 3rd March 2012, 11:59

          @Ross I’m in no way saying that they’re perfect, they obviously make mistakes (Williams FW33…), but something like that would be scrutinised with a fine-tooth comb. There’s no real subsitution for on-track testing, but CFD and the wind-tunnel can atleast point them in the right direction.
          Look at how Red Bull have completely over-hauled the rear end of their car already. All that on-track time would have had a huge impact on that.

  7. Ross said on 2nd March 2012, 7:39

    Back end of the RB8 looks more and more impressive after each round of photos…

  8. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 2nd March 2012, 8:04

    So tired of this “F1 needs Danica” talk. Maybe Bernie should also add a couple of ovals to the schedule for her sake? Because anywhere else, even the worst of the current 24 F1 drivers will drive circles around her, as she’s rubbish on them, nowhere near F1 material. NASCAR suits her (limited) talents just fine.

    To summarize: The Telegraph-lame.

    • racer2011 said on 2nd March 2012, 11:40

      people say shes terrible on road circuits yet she has some good results on them.

      2nd place in formula ford at brands hatch, several other very strong finishes in formula ford.

      many poles/podiums in toyota atlantics on road circuits. 2 front row starts on road circuits in indycar (beating all her team mates both times), 2nd place finish on a street circuit & several other top 5′s.

      she outqualified team mates like dario franchitti, tony kannan & marco andretti on road/street circuits many times in indycar & outpaced them in races on them as well.

      she ran the nascar nationwide race at montreal last year & was running a good pace inside the top 10 before she had a braking problem.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 2nd March 2012, 16:28

        “some” good results is not enough for F1. If she was a male driver, with such CV the concept that it’s enough to get to F1 would be more than laughable.

        People like Rio Haryanto also I bet had some good results in Formula Ford/Renault and probably in karting as well, so?

        To say that she many times outqualified Franchitti and Kanaan on road courses is laughable let alone out-raced them. How many times that was 1 out of 10? And don’t mix the above 2 with M. Andretti. Because he’s rubbish as well(comparatively speaking).

        Why doesn’t The Lame Telegraph talk that way about Simona de Silvestro? Because in her 2 seasons Simona showed way more potential for F1 than Danica ever did. Ah, she’s not as pretty. Now I get it.

        • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 7th March 2012, 19:09

          THANK YOU. I felt the same about Simona being equally if not more talented than Danica, but get far less press and attention. I won’t pin it on looks (I think there’s other factors such as having a full ride for the entire season, money to get more press, etc), but I’ll be damned if they wouldn’t give the same to-do about other drives both male and female with the same performance record.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 2nd March 2012, 15:52

      I don’t know excatly what would be the benefits of Patrick in F1 (More cash? More pubblicity?) but pay-driver for pay-driver, nothign would change. But I think she’s, talent-wise, worse than any F1 driver.

  9. OOliver said on 2nd March 2012, 8:19

    When you take away all the marketing hype and take a close look at the product, you will find Danica is just an average driver.
    America is all about marketing and building hype, but the end product is just about average or even sub par.
    She had an opportunity to runsome tests in an F1 car but she new her limits.
    There are more capable female racers in europe, and if its for the face, we can race one of the grid girls.

    • rUN_FOR_IT_SCOOBY said on 2nd March 2012, 8:59

      I agree OOliver, she comes 26th in the 2nd tier series and she gets all the press, I’m a over it. I guess we have to remember it’s all about the expo$ure her sponsors get even if she crashes out on lap 2.

  10. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 2nd March 2012, 10:15

    Elsewhere on the Guardian site today: an interview with Christian Horner.

    “Small Talk” is supposed to be light-hearted, but Horner comes over as, frankly, a joyless *******.

  11. Dom said on 2nd March 2012, 13:57

    I really want McLaren to succeed this season, not only because I’m a fan, but also because I respect their policy to have two number 1 drivers. I want them to do away with the theory that has surfaced over the recent years, that this policy will always cost you the championship. Many of us, while supporting particular teams, support the drivers first because we like their personalities inside the car and out. I feel that too many of our fave drivers such as barrichelo, webber, and massa have been stifled recently because the team put their team-mate’s ambitions above letting them race, and the teams have done this quite shamelessly at times.

    I don’t want our favourite drivers stifled, I want exciting racing, and so I want the team that is willing to promote this philosophy to succeed

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd March 2012, 15:39

      Couldn’t agree more.

      That said, I will always understand the need to put emphasis behind one driver once the math dictates that to be a prudent thing to do as the season winds down. It is sometimes necessary in a two car per team format.

      And that should never be a problem, even for the driver for whom the season hasn’t worked out, as long as both drivers had a fair and equal shot at the start of the year. That way there is no need to blame, point fingers, feel resentment, etc.

      Example…FM nearly won the WDC…actually owned it for half a lap the year LH won it…ie. he was not stifled that year. ie. Ferrari has backed FM well, imho. So at Hockenheim 2010 when I believe both strong Red Bulls were looking to not finish the race, Ferrari saw an opportunity mid-race to have FA gain 25 points on them with a win, having already been leading FM in the WDC chase. Many looked on that as an unnecessary and unfair decision, but I didn’t. I believe that Ferrari, prior to the race, had no intention of doing this during that race, but the opportunity suddenly came up and they had to act quickly. The math suddenly dictated that they had an opportunity to promote the driver that was looking to them to be their go-to guy that year. Premature as it seemed, I think it was the right thing to do. FM complained…said he was ‘no RB’ and I was thrilled to hear that from him. Proved to me that Ferrari was letting both drivers vie for the WDC up until they saw the math say otherwise. Helped me gain some respect back for Ferrari actually while many thought is was a sign of unfairness to FM. Had there not been a team so strong as Red Bull at the time, I think Ferrari wouldn’t have seen as much need to make that tough decision. And if one strong team is out there giving it up for one strong driver, other teams end up having no choice but to make those kinds of decisions seemingly prematurely.

      That is why I agree wholeheartedly that F1 and the viewing audience is far better off with the top teams taking on the best drivers they can get and letting them duke it out on the track fair and square.

      • Dom said on 2nd March 2012, 17:22

        I never viewed the Ferrari “team orders” fiasco like that before but in terms of that I’d probably agree with you. I still don’t agree with red bull’s decision to stop MW having a run at SV as early on as silverstone even tho SV looked like the guy to back with such a championship lead. There is still that doubt in my mind that they would have asked SV to do the same if the tables were turned. I’d like to see MW ahead of SV by the summer just to see how they’d act.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd March 2012, 17:51

          Yeah, me too Dom…would be great to see SV challenged by MW, not just (hopefully) some other top teams. I too have my suspicions about Red Bull in the same way you do. For me it goes back to a couple of seasons ago, when MW had to give up the one remaining new front wing to SV on a certain race weekend that I cannot recall the venue.

          Now in fairness to Red Bull, SV was leading MW slightly at the time, and apparently SV was making better use of that new wing, so I didn’t see huge conspiracy in that, but when MW ended up winning that race anyway, the radio comment we were allowed to hear was of MW saying something to the effect ‘not bad for a number 2 driver.’

          Even if he was being paranoid, and the team was legitimately supporting both drivers equally, and legitimately had to make a tough ‘best-case’ decision about that front wing, to me they failed to manage MW’s feelings about that…failed to assure him SV wasn’t being favoured, hence his comment over the radio once the race ended.

          So that season (2010) ended up with SV winning the WDC and with rumours swirling over MW’s future, I believe it was Horner that said that SV was the team’s future and he could see MW retiring soon.

          That said, I don’t recall hearing MW complain last year about favouritism on the team, even though he didn’t fair nearly as well as SV, so I remain suspicious like you, but would feel a lot worse about the situation if MW was implying things were not on the up and up on the team.

          • Dom said on 2nd March 2012, 21:37

            I think again it was silverstone in 2010 that SV got MW’s front wing & MW won the race (think SV got a puncture at the start of the race & had to fight his way back into the points). I think the wing switching was one step too far for webber after red bull defended vettel over the crash in turkey when in my mind webber just held his line and vettel moved into him.

          • Solo (@solo) said on 3rd March 2012, 18:16

            MW won’t challenge Vettel. The team is fully focused on Vettel and the only way to break that is if Mark actually buts a drive significantly better. Just matching Vettel’s driving will still put him behind so his doomed.

  12. hellokitty said on 2nd March 2012, 15:16

    Is this headline a joke? It might as well have read “Webber expects to get wet next time he takes a shower.”

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd March 2012, 15:46

      Why? Last year Red Bull (SV) dominated. This year it is potentially different and they may have some strong competition from Mac and Ferrari if not others. Stronger than last year at least, which everyone wants. Are you saying you think that is obvious and therefore MW need not point it out?

      • hellokitty said on 2nd March 2012, 16:35

        what I am saying is that EVERY YEAR there is a TITLE BATTLE between the TOP TEAMS. D’ya understand now!

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2012, 16:45

          Your complaint would make sense if the headline was:

          Webber expects battle between top teams

          But it doesn’t. The headline says:

          Webber expects tight battle between top teams

          i.e. he expects it will be close, which it wasn’t last year. Do you understand?

  13. Shimks (@shimks) said on 3rd March 2012, 8:37

    Again, a good collection of articles, although I think Maurice Hamilton’s piece on the teams’ financial worries is a little confusing. Are “at least six” teams in trouble, or “at least two or three teams”, or is it “the majority of the teams [who] need to stand up and admit they’re in trouble”? It would be very interesting to also hear Keith’s gut feeling on how bad things are. This is extremely important to all of us fans.

    Very interesting to see Mark Webber include Lotus on the list of “phenomenal teams out there”.

    I’m really frightened for Rubens on ovals. :O(

  14. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd March 2012, 15:14

    Don’t know what I’m missing but I’ve never heard talk of Danica Patrick coming to F1 before. I’m relatively new to this Formula 1 lark, since 2009, but even since then I’ve never heard anything mooted around!

    • Solo (@solo) said on 3rd March 2012, 18:20

      From time to time some article like this will pop out or some journalist will ask Bernie about women in F1 and Danica or Danica herself about F1. In the end there never was anything on the table at all but when journalists have nothing to do they find something to talk about.

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