Horner: New exhaust layout doesn’t suit Vettel

F1 Fanatic round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2012In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel reverted to the team’s previous exhaust configuration in China as the new one doesn’t suit his driving style.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Christian Horner: “It?s going to be a fascinating championship…” (Adam Cooper)

“There were some characteristics about the upgraded car which weren?t particularly suited to [Sebastian Vettel’s] style of driving, which is to carry a lot of speed into the corner. The decision to come here [with two specs] was very much Adrian [Newey’s] and a technical decision, because we want to make sure we get a direction and a clear comparison.”

Fresh Protests in Bahrain (Sporting Life)

“Police and anti-government protesters were again involved in a running battle on the outskirts of Bahraini capital Manama just days ahead of this weekend’s Formula One grand prix.”

Crown prince wants Bahrain to emerge F1 winner (AFP via Google)

“We must unify our efforts to make sure Bahrain is the big winner of this prize.”

Formula One should forget the money and pull out of Bahrain (Daily Mail)

“Filthy lucre should not always enjoy the last word. And the world would be no poorer for the loss of the Bahrain Grand Prix.”

Byron Young via Twitter

“Sitting here on a day in which I have smelt Molotov cocktails and tasted teargas wondering what the hell F1 is doing in Bahrain?”

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix a calculated risk, says race chairman (The Guardian)

Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani: “The race will be positive to the country, positive to the economy which has suffered a lot in the last year and a half, and it will put things in perspective.”

Bahraini Embassy roof protester threatens to jump (BBC)

“Moosa Satrawi is highlighting the imprisonment and treatment of prominent human rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Hasan Mushaima, the leader of a banned political party in Bahrain.”

Hamilton in no rush to commit future (The Telegraph)

“When I need to, which can be within any time frame I want so long as it is before next year, then I will decide about my future. But the team are doing fantastic. I could not be happier in the team.”

Ted’s Chinese Notebook (Sky, UK only)

Ted Kravitz: “Felipe Massa again with an extremely strange strategy, seemingly going against what the tyres were doing, although that was dictated by starting on the harder tyre. But it seemed like he was almost a guinea pig for Fernando Alonso. I’ve never seen Felipe so down as he was during practice.”

Kimi Raikkonen – “A podium should be possible” (Lotus)

“It looked the best [strategy] for us and it worked for Romain [Grosjean]. If we had the same information again, we?d probably try the same approach. It didn?t work, but you don?t know these things unless you try them. We will now know better for next time. We were pretty close to finishing on the podium. We didn?t. That?s racing.”

Ferrari among teams exploring Mercedes-style DDRS (ESPN)

Technical director Pat Fry: “We’ve been looking at it for a while. I think it’s just a case of weighing up what the performance is on our car. It’s bound to vary differently from car to car and particularly if you’ve had that system in mind and developed your car to work around it, you’re further up the development curve.”

Lotus considering ??double DRS? options (F1)

“Lotus are looking into the potential benefits of developing their own version of Mercedes? ??double DRS? system, after their protest against the solution in China failed, effectively rubber-stamping it and similar designs as legal.”

It beats a box of chocolates (GP Week)

“I fear that the obvious nepotism of Susie Wolff’s appointment at Williams undermines the achievements of [Michele] Mouton and the efforts of Alice Powell (19), Carmen Jorda (23) and Vicky Piria (18), who are working their way up the traditional ladder without the benefit of such wealthy and well-connected backing.”

Comment of the day

Some great stats on Nico Rosberg’s first race win from Ilanin:

It is 1007 days since Mark Webber won the German Grand Prix in 2009. This is the second longest interval between maiden race wins in F1; the only person whose first victory ended a longer drought is actually Rosberg?s team-mate. Michael Schumacher’s victory in the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix was the first maiden victory since Alessandro Nannini?s win in the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, 1095 days previously.

Conversely, there were no seasons between 1957 and 1983 which didn?t contain somebody?s first grand prix victory. In 1982 five drivers (Patrese, Tambay, Alboreto, Keke Rosberg, and de Angelis) won their first races, and Tambay, de Angelis, and daddy Rosberg made up F1???s only ever three races in a row won by drivers who had not won a Grand Prix before. This might explain why there were no new winners in ?83.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Walton174!

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Romain Grosjean who is 26 today!

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146 comments on Horner: New exhaust layout doesn’t suit Vettel

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th April 2012, 6:58

    That piece on sticking with a box of chocolates is really taken from my heart. I hope that with now 3 promising female drivers in GP3, this is a positive trend to girls / women stick with their racing and get into F1 on merit.

    Lets hope that in a few years, ilanin will be having another COTD comparing the podium of the first female F1 driver in ages to women who drove in the past!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th April 2012, 8:48

      @bascb – Based on testing times, I think Alice Powell is the only one of the three girls with a real chance. It doesn’t help that GP3 is absolutely dominated by ART Grand Prix – they scored nearly twice as many points as Arden last year – but Piria and Jorda are with Trident and Ocean, which aren’t exactly the best teams to be with. Status, at least, has picked up some good results and run some talented drivers (like Wickens, da Costa and Sims), so Powell might stand a chance to impress. But even then, I think she has a lot of work cut out for her, mostly because she’s going to held to a higher standard than male drivers. Sure, it’s a double-standard, but motorsport has been dominated by men for so long that the future of women racing drivers rides with the first few to step forward. That’s why teams have to be careful about who they take, because if they promote a female driver too soon – or promote her for the wrong reasons – and she disappoints, it’s going to set back the possibilities of female racers being able to thrive in motorsport. Personally, I would love to see a female Formula 1 driver who can experience success, but it has to be the right woman and she has to be racing in the team for the right reasons.

  2. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 17th April 2012, 7:11

    Correction :

    Crown prince wants Bahrain Bahraini government to emerge F1 winner (AFP via Google)

    “We must unify our efforts to make sure Bahrain Bahraini authorities are the big winner of this prize.”

  3. mattg21 (@mattg21) said on 17th April 2012, 10:17

    I’m looking forward to the solutions the teams will design in order to introduce the double DRS onto their cars. As with the teams solutions to the McLaren F-duct.

    I wonder how radical the rear wing will become in design after exploiting this loophole in the rules, or is it a far more direct solution that the teams could come up with?

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 17th April 2012, 11:18

      Seeing as it’s likely a monocoque change as pipes or tunnels are added running down the length of the car, I think it’s safe to say if we get a sniff of any team attempting a crash test in the next few months, its because of this.

  4. Adam (@swansf1) said on 17th April 2012, 11:07

    With regard to Vettel, I think he is similar to Rosberg in his ability to blue print the performance of the car. Some drivers like Hamilton and Alonso, as we have seen in past and present respectively, have been able to wrestle dogs around a circuit at a reasonable pace. Vettels’ strengths and WDCs seem to have been born of his consistency, which has developed as he’s matured in the last 3 years. That combined with an astonishing car made him untouchable last year. However, I think his performance this year is just showing where that RB is in terms of pace.

  5. Nara (@narazdache) said on 17th April 2012, 11:56

    There is definitely something Vettel does not like in this car. I mean he is top driver, proven many times. Plenty of experience. But I was surprised after qualifying he said “car couldn’t go faster, best he could do”. But then we see his lap and he simply misses couple apexes in critical corners.

    I think frustration is getting best of him, he should just chill out, too many mistakes trying to go faster.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th April 2012, 13:48

      @narazdache It’s a good point but I think you can attribute his missed apexes to not being comfortable and confident with the car. If he feels that the car will slip away from him if he pulls in earlier than usual then he isn’t in a position to go any faster. He reduces the efficiency of hitting the apex by compensating for a lack of grip.

    • AlexNK said on 17th April 2012, 16:52

      I’ve heard that Ant said that Vettel missed a couple, but I was not able to see it myself, even though I’ve gone through the footage a couple of times. Maybe he saw more onboard footage that was available in the broadcast I had. What I did see was that in Q2 Seb did almost identical laps, within thousands of each other, and with no obvious mistalkes that means that there was simply no extra performance to be extracted from the car. I believe that’s what he meant when he said that ‘the car couldn’t go faster’. If he really *did* miss not one but two apexes on a single lap, then he must have been incredibly consistent in repeating exactly the same mistalkes on another lap and it cost him precisely the same amount of time. Sorry, but that’s a bit hard to swallow.

  6. The Limit said on 17th April 2012, 13:35

    Ofcourse Felipe Massa in a ‘secondary’ driver to Fernando Alonso, ofcourse Ferrari favour Fernando in almost every instance! However, one must remember, what choice did Ferrari have when they took on Alonso for the start of the 2010 season?
    We all remember what happened at McLaren when the team did not give Fernando the ‘support’ he desired, and rightly or wrongly, the damage that decision caused McLaren was huge. You had a team split between two drivers, at war with itself, and it cost them a championship in the process.
    In my opinion, Ferrari made the decision to back Alonso in order to bring stability to their team to offset any risk of a repeat of the McLaren scenario.
    When you stop and think about it, its a logical thing to do!
    Alain Prost was just the same, you were either behind him or in his way! However, for Ferrari, look at the flip side! They no doubt have one of the very best drivers around in their team, and even when the car is a piece of crap, a driver who is capable of getting the job done.
    I always felt the events of Germany 2010 did massive damage to Felipe Massa’s confidence, only a year after nearly being killed whilst driving a Ferrari. I can not imagine how that betrayal must have hurt Massa, who almost lost his life whilst driving for a team that had now turned its back on him. We all know F1 is a ruthless business and there is little sentiment at times, but what Ferrari did that day was especially cold hearted and cruel, yet not unlike them. In other words Massa’s head has dropped, he knows he is about as welcome as David Cameron in a pasty shop and this, in my mind, has effected his driving and cold finish off his career totally.
    As for Christian Horner, his excuses over Vettel’s woes are not surprising at all to anybody. Vettel’s position within Red Bull Racing is well documented, and most people would agree that Mark Webber is nothing more than a ‘secondary’ driver to the German. Ofcourse, the big difference this year is that Webber unlike Massa is beating his team mate. Only three grands prix into the new season and we are already seeing good progress being made by Webber, at the expense of the defending double world champion. The problem Horner will have is if this trend continues how does he handle the situation? When Vettel was so dominant last year it was all too easy, but if Webber does better in the championship this year will Red Bull Racing support him ‘fully’?
    My gut reaction is that Red Bull Racing will find themselves in a situation like McLaren are in, with two drivers close together in the championship in terms of points, and if that is the case, I fear Horner will again support Vettel more.
    What is impressive about Webber is that he does not appear to let this knock his confidence, if anything it spurs him on. That is the one big difference between Webber and Massa in my eyes when they are faced by team mates clearly being favoured over them.

    • Malibu_GP said on 17th April 2012, 17:21

      I believe that is precisely the difference between those two…

    • Alzarius (@alzarius) said on 17th April 2012, 17:56

      “When Vettel was so dominant last year it was all too easy, but if Webber does better in the championship this year will Red Bull Racing support him ‘fully’?”

      I doubt they will show or give Webber more support than Vettel. Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. They gave Webber’s new front wing to Vettel 2 years ago.

      • Mads (@mads) said on 17th April 2012, 18:25

        But at that point in the season Vettel was well ahead of Webber in the championship and seemed a lot more on form.
        The roles was reversed to what we see right now, so you can’t really use that as an indicator.

        • katederby (@katederby) said on 17th April 2012, 19:23

          If by “that point of the season” you mean when the wing swap happened, then Vettel was just 12 points ahead of Webber and by the end of the British GP Webber was 7 points ahead.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 17th April 2012, 19:49

            Yes 12 points ahead, with a total of 3 wins lost to reliability issues that Webber hadn’t suffered from. Overall it wasn’t unfair to conclude that Vettel had been driving better then Webber in that season that far, thus making it obvious to hand the advantage to him to be able to get into the lead of the championship.
            That Webber was ahead afterwards isn’t really relevant, because they could never have known that before they made the decision.

            As I say, these days the roles are reversed so we can’t really use that event to know whether they will favour Vettel again, because back then they had an argument. Whether one agree with what they did or not is a totally different matter.

          • you make it sound the Webber drove brilliantly in the British GP and Vettel was just so-so (and Webber did drive brilliantly), when in fact Vettel had his tire punctured in the first few corners and was dead last at the end of the first lap. And without the help of a DRS or multiple tire changes, he came back and finished 7th with some pretty solid passing to boot. Vettel drove a brilliant race that day, under adverse circumstances.

            As for Webber’s “not bad for a number 2″ comment, I’m sure he wasn’t using that quip in Korea or Abu Dhabi at the end of those races :)

  7. The Limit said on 17th April 2012, 19:45


    Exactly, and Mark Webber went onto win the British Grands Prix that year despite Christian Horner and co. giving Vettel Webber’s new wing! If the same scenario occured at Ferrari I doubt Felipe Massa would be able to come back and win the race.
    Another point aswell is that Mark Webber was points leader in 2010 in the latter stages of the season, but his crash in Korea pretty much scuppered his chances. I am convinced that there will be fireworks between Webber and Vettel, as we saw in Turkey two years ago, due to Webber’s uptick in performance.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 18th April 2012, 15:18

      I think there are some debatable points in the above handful of posts.

      I think FA at Mac was not demanding number one status. He just felt LH was being favoured and he called for equality on the team. Something had FA convinced that the team was favouring LH, and he became vocal about it. Part of the blame needs to fall on the team for not ensuring FA felt equally treated.

      So I don’t think Ferrari needed to avoid a repeat of what happened at Mac with FA/LH. All they needed to do was ensure FA felt an equal on the team vs. his teammate, but of course as the well documented proven WDC FA is we all know FM is not a driver who is equal to FA so there was not even a debate needed as to whether or not FA was going to be happy with his treatment on the team.

      We have all seen that life is easier for a team manager when one driver dominates the other on the track, thus eliminating any need for team orders. But that doesn’t mean the paying audience is getting value for their money if a team could have hired a better driver and had two gladiators duking it out on the track, or if a team intentionally holds even a good driver back in favour of another. We the viewing audience get robbed of potential true racing in the pinnacle of racing when teams make decisions to make their own lives easier by eliminating the need for tough decisions to be made.

      At the British GP 2010, Red Bull claimed they gave SV the wing because he was leading in the points at that particular time, and he seemed to be the one getting the most out of said new wing. Whatever the truth, just as Mac didn’t convince FA that he was an equal on the team, neither did Red Bull do enough to convince MW he was an equal, hence his comment at the end of the race when it won it…’not bad for a number 2, eh?’

      Yet MW was points leader in the latter stages of the season…ie. how subservient was he then? How held back was he? How favoured was SV if MW could do that? I think MW himself would disagree and probably take great offence that he is being called “nothing more than a ‘secondary’ driver to the German.” He raised a fuss in 2010 that weekend, he said if he knew this was going to be the way he was going to be treated he wouldn’t have signed for Red Bull, he went on the lead the points chase late into the season. Last year he was dominated by SV. And yet he is still at Red Bull this year when if anything, and if he is actually nothing more than a secondary driver, one would think he would have spent last year complaining that this was not he signed up for, and you would think he would have found a different ride for this year if that was the case.

      I think there is more racing going on at Red Bull than some believe, thank goodness. And I think that it is natural to appear to favour a driver who has just proven himself again by winning the WDC again, and who now is struggling. Of course they want to help him. He has proven what he is capable of. I’m sure they feel for him. But thank goodness it seems they are also working with MW, who as I say, is still on the team, which must mean he either has no integrity, or in fact has been well convinced by the team that he is not just there to be a secondary driver to the German, in spite of how it went last year.

  8. katederby (@katederby) said on 17th April 2012, 20:27

    @mads Ah ok, so a 12 point lead is “well ahead” even though there were 225 points left to win? Fair enough.

  9. what I find interesting about the comments regarding how Vettel is whinging about straight line speed in the race and Webber isn’t, is the total lack of understanding that we only hear what the F1 live feed gives us. It’s not like the comments they air are the only ones that are made by all the drivers during the race. We have no clue what Webber is saying or not saying. He’s probably saying the same thing at different times. I can also imagine that Vettel and his engineers are trying to find solutions to improve his track position and he’s relying the info that the back straight isn’t going to help him. After the race he talked about how he was trying everything to maintain position, adjust diffs, break balance, etc. and I’m sure he wasn’t doing that all on is own. His engineer was probably asking him to try certain things in certain places as well. That working as a team thing. Nor do we know if Rocky said something like “stay close and use DRS for the pass” and then Vettel had to respond the way he did, to say hey, that’s not going to happen.

    The other thing that this often missed is that the drivers always sound more stressed on the radio than they probably are–in the sense they sound more frustrated/whining than there probably actually feeling because they are talking while driving an F1 car on the rivet which is incredibly physically demanding.

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