Are Red Bull “dominating” Formula One?

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2012Bernie Ecclestone told La Gazzetta dello Sport this week that he hopes Red Bull’s “dominance” of Formula One doesn’t continue in 2013:

“After three years of dominance by Red Bull it wouldn?t be too bad a thing if we were to have a change at the top of the sport, perhaps with Ferrari leading the way again.”

These remarks are partly Ecclestone telling a Ferrari-focused publication what it wants to hear. But he’s far from the only person to claim Red Bull have dominated Formula One in recent seasons – it’s a commonly-heard refrain in the comments on F1 Fanatic.

With three consecutive constructors’ championships under their belts and three drivers’ championships wins on the trot for Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull have certainly excelled in the ultimate measure of F1 success since 2010.

But does that automatically mean they are “dominating”? When you look at the margins by which some of their championships have been won, it’s reasonable to question whether Red Bull have attained the same level of superiority enjoyed by previous teams.

For

The simple fact that no one besides Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel has won a world championship since 2009 speaks loudest for some.

Their achievement stands comparison with Ferrari, McLaren and Williams’ multiple championship victories at the zenith of their powers.

Regardless of how it was achieved, the fact that they ultimately came out on top makes them dominant by this simplest of measures.

Against

Team Seasons Races Wins Pole positions
Red Bull 2010-2012 58 28 (48.3%) 41 (70.7%)
Ferrari 2001-2004 68 47 (69.1%) 41 (60.3%)
McLaren 1988-1990 48 31 (64.6%) 42 (87.5%)

It is too superficial to only consider championship results when assessing whether Red Bull have dominated Formula One. Vettel won the 2010 drivers’ title by just four points and clinched last year’s crown by a mere three.

While Red Bull have been the pre-eminent team of the last three years, they’ve won less than half of the races in that time (see table). This falls well short of recent levels of dominance achieved by other teams.

Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey has experienced more emphatic success in the past. From 1992 to 1994 Williams started from pole position in three-quarters of all races and won 56.25% of them. By comparison his achievements with Red Bull remain highly impressive but fall short of true “dominance”.

I say

Michael Schumacher, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Ferrari F2004, 2004This is a question of perception versus reality. It’s also a question of our boredom threshold, and whether we ask for more variety in terms of winners now than we used to.

Red Bull certainly dominated in 2011 with 18 pole positions and 12 wins in 19 races. Even then we still enjoyed many close and exciting races.

Vettel’s other two championships were much more closely-fought. He never led on points in 2010 until the final round and only hit the front with four races to go last year (and after one race earlier in the season). These details are easy to overlook in retrospect.

I also think it’s significant that since drivers stopped qualifying with their race fuel loads at the end of 2009, Red Bull have usually been the team to beat on Saturdays. This perhaps exaggerates how competitive they are, as they have had over 20% more pole positions than race wins.

There is also the question of how far ahead of their rivals Red Bull are in terms of pure performance. They are generally not taking pole position by a second and winning races by a minute or more in the manner of McLaren in 1988 or scoring eight or more one-twos in a season like Ferrari in 2002 and 2004. Even the RB7 didn’t enjoy that kind of advantage.

The way I see it, Red Bull are on the cusp of dominance but haven’t quite made it yet. On paper 2013 looks like being another good year for them and offers an opportunity for more 2011-style dominance rather than the close contests of 2010 and 2012.

You say

Do you think Red Bull have been dominant in the last three seasons? Does a team need to do more to win multiple world championships to be considered dominant?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Have Red Bull "dominated" F1 between 2010 and 2012?

  • Strongly agree (15%)
  • Slightly agree (44%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (25%)
  • Strongly disagree (11%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 283

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100 comments on Are Red Bull “dominating” Formula One?

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  1. dennis (@dennis) said on 4th January 2013, 11:16

    By numbers of championchips perhaps. But if you actually look into the races and realize how other drivers and teams literally threw their chances away (like Red Bull almost did in 2010) then you must have a very special idea of dominating. Especially considering the past, like McLaren in ’88 and Ferrari throughout the first years of the millenium, as mentioned by Keith.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th January 2013, 16:59

      3 Drivers and 3 Constructors championships in 3 years seems like dominance to me, the constructors more so than the drivers.
      Mind you, I have nothing against there being a dominant team, whether it’s F1, Football, Cricket, Tennis, that is what sport is all about, the “best” now and the challengers.

    • timi (@timi) said on 5th January 2013, 18:17

      @dennis I mostly agree with you.

      It’s quite simple really, there are two possible meanings of domination.
      1. Domination of recent championships i.e. Have any other teams won the WDC or WCC
      2. Domination of recent championship seasons (i.e. continuous pole poisitions
      and race wins)

      So, for me it is yes (for meaning 1) and no for meaning 2. Simples :)

  2. MilleniumBug (@milleniumbug) said on 4th January 2013, 11:17

    I feel the only season Red Bull truly dominated was in 2011.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 4th January 2013, 23:40

      I completely agree. They did absolutely destroy the field (in Vettel’s hands) in 2011, and they did have the best car for most of the season in 2010, but they are far from dominating the sport. Vettel won the titles in 2010 and 2012 by consistency and delivering when it mattered, not by having a car 1 or 2 seconds quicker than the rest of the field. Note how in 2011 the Red Bull wasn’t as fast as the Williams in 1992 for example.

  3. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 4th January 2013, 11:21

    2010 – by far the fastest car but reliability and driver errors made the team as a whole not so dominant.
    2011 – clear cut example of Ferrari-style domination.
    2012 – very, very close, in the first part of the season often outpaced and outperformed by other teams.

    To sum up, Red Bull dominated only one year. For the remaining two it was simply among the best.

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 4th January 2013, 14:00

      My thoughts exactly.

    • 2011 – clear cut example of Ferrari-style domination

      Can’t agree. “Ferrari style domination” conjures up images of Barrichello finishing second in the WDC. And finishing second in several races per season. “Ferrari style domination” (like FW18 style domination or FW14B style domination) implies that the number two driver is comfortable faster than everyone else on the grid

      2011 was more like “Renault style domination” circa 2006 – the domination of one driver.

      • Sankalp Sharma said on 4th January 2013, 20:21

        I’m not quite sure how Alonso dominated in 2006. You do remember that Michael was leading the standings with two races to go? Vettel pretty much pulverized everyone in ’11. ’06 and ’11 are not comparable.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th January 2013, 7:32

          2011 was more like “Renault style domination” circa 2006 – the domination of one driver.

          Alonso had to fight for the championship ’till Brazil. Vettel wrapped it up with 5 races to spare. I have no idea how you can compare 2011 with 2006.

          I think the best season to compare Vettel’s 2011 with was Schumacher’s 2001.

    • I’m a little late to comment, but Red Bull was pretty dominating in the last half of 2012, or at least Vettel was (top 4 finish in all races, except Italy and Brazil).

      Nonetheless, I agree with most of what you said.

  4. Girts (@girts) said on 4th January 2013, 11:23

    Slightly disagree. 2×3 titles speak for themselves but Ferrrari could have won the drivers’ title in 2010 and 2012 with a tiny bit more luck / speed / consistency. What is more, they might have won constructors’ titles as well without their one rooster policy.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2013, 12:12

      And McLaren could have been right up there in 2012 if not for numerous mistakes and technical mishaps too. And even in 2011 it could have been closer had Hamilton not messed up his own season as much.

      Dominance is really seeing a string of seasons like McLaren had in the early 90s, or Williams after that, and off course Ferrari in the 2000s.

  5. Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th January 2013, 12:05

    Keith, in the comparison between Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, wouldn’t it be fairer to either exclude Ferrari’s 2001 or 2004 seasons, to keep them at 3 seasons as well, or to include McLaren’s 1991 season to make that 4, too?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th January 2013, 12:06

      @lustigson That’s why I put the percentages in (that and the three seasons wouldn’t have the same number of races anyway).

      • Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th January 2013, 12:23

        I understand, Keith. Thanks.

        However, if you leave out the 2001 season, Ferrari’s domination was stronger than when you include it: 38 wins from 51 races or 74,5% and 30 poles or 58,8%. Additionally, if you include McLaren’s 1991 season, their domination is less significant: 39 wins from 50 GPs or 60.9% and 52 poles or 81.3%.

        So, when looking at 3-season stats for Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, it is clear that Ferrari’s 2002-2004 seasons are the most dominant regarding wins (74.5%), but McLaren’s 1988-1990 seasons are more dominant when it comes to poles (87.5%).

        Both these stats dwarf Red Bulls alleged dominance over 2010-2012, even though the outcome — 3 WDCs and 3 WCCs for all three teams — is the same.

      • Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th January 2013, 12:25

        Oh, and keep up the good work. I love these posts. :-D

      • Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th January 2013, 12:46

        I read Max’s reply, below, mentioning 1-2 finishes, and I was at it anyway, so I calculated both one-twos and front row lock-outs.

        » Red Bull 2010-2012: 8 one-twos (13.8%) and 19 lock-outs (32.8%)
        » Ferrari 2002-2004: 17 one-twos (34.0%) and 11 lock-outs (21.6%)
        » McLaren 1988-1990: 14 one-twos (29.2%) and 29 lock-outs (60.4%)

        This, again, shows that Red Bull wasn’t as dominant as Ferrari and McLaren were during their respective highs.

        • @lustigson – thanks for that additional information! It definetly does go to show that Red Bull’s “dominance” has been much more hard faught than Ferrari’s or McLaren’s; all the better for the show I say!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd May 2013, 12:17

          Yeah, that illustrates it pretty nicely @lustigson. Domination is what we saw with Ferrari and McLaren.

          The last couple of years have been the best job from Red Bull overall, thats why they won. Having the fastest car is a great start, getting operations right is part of it too. But domination would be a situation where there’s nothing but a big mishap from Red Bull preventing them from winning, instead we often had a situation where they had to profit from other’s mishaps to be “dominant”

  6. There is no denying that Red Bull have been the fastest team over the last three years but whether that equates to dominance I’m not so sure. Often, during periods of multi-year domination the team that has been doing so have had a significant performance advantage. For example, Ferrari in 2002 (their most dominant year in terms of points scored) on average qualified 0.2 seconds ahead of the nearest constructor but more crucially converted that into 15 wins and 9 one-two’s (in a 17 race season).

    Compare that to Red Bull in 2011 and they qualified on average 0.34 seconds ahead of the nearest constructor but only converted that into 12 wins and 3 one-two’s.

    So on outright pace, in qualifying at least, one has a fairly strong case for calling Red Bull dominant. But of course speed in qualifying is only part of the package and Red Bull frequently had to contend with reliability issues (in 2010/12) and other cars being much closer in the races. So relative to Ferrari from 2000-2004 or Williams from 1992-3 Red Bull haven’t quite reached a level of dominance, although of course winning three titles consecutively after being on the grid for a mere 8 seasons (in Red Bull colours) is no mean feat.

  7. Toro Stevo (@toro-stevo) said on 4th January 2013, 12:39

    “After three years of dominance by Red Bull it wouldn’t be too bad a thing if we were to have a change at the top of the sport, perhaps with Ferrari leading the way again”

    After the debacle that was F1 in the early 2000s I’d rather a decade of RBR “dominance” like that seen in 2010-2012 compared to just a single year of Ferrari dominance ala Schumacher in the early 2000s.

  8. Mclaren 1988-1990: 48 Races – 36 Pole Position by A. Senna = 75%, I love statistics like this one! ;-)

  9. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 13:02

    The only thing I don’t agree with is Red Bull are being coy on the resources they are spending to achieve their wins. If they do open the books and it turns out its all hunky-dory, then so be it. If they’re flouting the gentlemen’s agreement etc., then I guess it’s an unfair dominance up there with that enjoyed by Ferrari (unlimited testing to iron out any feasible problems & custom tyres) and Williams in 92/93 (electronic aids).

    • johnny five said on 4th January 2013, 13:18

      How do you mean “unfair”? I’m saying nothing about early 2000′s Ferrari, but William’s electronic and hydraulic wizardry was completely above board, as I recall, and it was dominant simply because it was so technically superior to other constructors.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 15:45

        I guess I should have put the quotes around unfair statement. I’m speaking generally, as the Ferrari stuff was also pretty much above board, if not necessarily to the spirit etc.

    • Williams in 92/93 (electronic aids)

      I do not agree with this at all @optimaximal. Williams pioneered such technology in F1 and rightfully so they reaped the rewards, leaving the rest of the field to play catch-up. Eventually they did catch up and McLaren with Senna duly won the last two races of the 1993 season but too late to influence the championship outcome.

      In the sense of technological development it was no different that the Ground Effect Lotus 78 for example, so no I do not agree with that opinion of “unfair dominance”. I do agree to an extent with Ferrari though: they simply out-spent their rivals to the extent where they simply couldn’t compete (albeit Ferrari also did design very good cars though) and the essentially custom tyres were no good for the sport.

      As for Red Bull, sure they have a big budget but so does Ferrari and they haven’t won a title since 2008 – so clearly money isn’t the only influence here. Also, McLaren had the fastest car last season for the most part, so clearly Red Bull haven’t simply brought out the cheque book and won three titles. There are some things money can’t buy and you need to have the design team and the drivers to win three straight titles, which Red Bull have definetly had. Adrian is a fantastic designer and has brought RBR much success with the help of everyone in the factory; Horner has been a fanatstic team leader also and with the strategists and pit crew they have made very few mistakes during the races (unlike McLaren); Vettel has driven brilliantly over the last three years and is a thoroughly deserved champion and Webber has also been very good in helping Red Bull win three straight constructors’ titles (unlike Massa).

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 16:19

        I’m not singling out Williams 92/93 car being ‘unfair’. I just didn’t clarify it well. The car was dominant because it was the best, but it was only the best because it had the technology in it. The Red Bull of 2011 was largely dominant because it has the best implementation of the exhaust technology on the grid.

        On another note – Is there any explicit proof that Ferrari outspent people in the 2000s? I thought it was more they had their own test track and the rules let them use it 24/7. Yes, some money is/was involved, but I don’t think it’s the entire story.

        • @optimaximal – I see, although I maintain that definetly wasn’t an “unfair” advantage – it was very much fair!

          I think in order to be able to use your own track 24/7 and have custom-made tyres you need to have fairly deep pockets, so the two are interlinked. Simply, no other team could afford to do so much testing and couldn’t afford to have custom-made tyres so were often left to salvage what they could with “limited” (I put “limited” in quotation marks because they were only really limited relative to the Scuderia) resources. I too think only wasn’t the whole story as they had a brilliant driver in Schumacher (probably the best driver from a team perspective in F1 history) and of course Ross Brawn – so they had a pretty formidable team line-up as well!

          • I see, although I maintain that definetly wasn’t an “unfair” advantage – it was very much fair!

            If a team is too creative/innovative, it isn’t fair to the teams that aren’t!

        • +1 @aka_robyn! Barcelona should be penalised because Messi is too skilful also!

  10. The Limit said on 4th January 2013, 14:08

    Dominance aside, the one statistic that matters is that Red Bull are triple champions, Vettel is a triple champion. I am sure they don’t care about anything else as long as they win, that is the name of the game. I agree that in 2011 Red Bull were the class of the field, 2010 and 2012 were more open seasons. However, in both campaigns Vettel and Red Bull came on strong at the end of the season when it matters the most. For me that is the biggest comparison, Vettel came from nowhere in 2010 to win the championship. All the talk was of Alonso winning in Abu Dhabi or possibly Webber or Hamilton. No one put their dough on the German. Last year, especially in the early and midseason, I thought Alonso had the title signed sealed and delivered. From Singapore onwards, with luck on his side at times, Vettel stormed to the championship with some real gritty drives. My favourite being Abu Dhabi when he really had to work at it. As for 2013, its going to be Alonso vs Vettel again. Its that simple!

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 15:54

      The only argument against the Abu Dhabi drive is the same as his Monaco win in ’11. They lucked both results by virtue of silly loopholes in the rules – in the former, they changed his car from a qualifier to a racer. In the latter, they were allowed to replace his dead tyres with new ones.

      Not taking away from either result – the AD recovery was fairly entertaining to watch.

      • I agree on Monaco @optimaximal but not so on Abu Dhabi. The option to start from the pit-lane has been a longstanding rule and any team can elect to start from the pit-lane if they feel they need to make any changes to the car. Hamilton for example could’ve elected to change his front wing at the expense of pole position but obviously that would be a ridiculous sacrifice, whereas Vettel was left dead last so Red Bull thought it would be beneficial to change his aero settings etc. to allow for easier overtaking.

        I actually thought that decision was rather clever and it clearly paid off!

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 16:22

          Yes, but the issue is Vettel’s car was penalised for breaking the rules, thus the rules shouldn’t allow them to essentially side-step the penalty and change the cars configuration to gain an advantage over cars that might have a setup geared for both qualifying and the race.

          • @optimaximal yes but I had this argument before during the event and I’ll say it again: don’t you think being sent to the back of the grid is a severe punishment in itself? I’m 100% confident they’d rather have started in 3rd than from the pit-lane (as with Lewis’ failure Vettel would’ve been within a great chance of winning) so changing the set-up was trying to salvage what they could really.

            In that sense they didn’t at all gain an advantage: they were very much handicapped from their starting position so the penalty served it’s purpose, it just so happens Vettel was able to put in a brilliant recovery.

      • Mads (@mads) said on 4th January 2013, 17:01

        @optimaximal

        They lucked both results by virtue of silly loopholes in the rules

        Its not loopholes. Its the RULES. They are written exactly like that, to allow teams to do that. Everyone know that. Every team could have done EXACTLY the same thing Red Bull did if they wanted to. They could all have taken a 1 stop strategy in Monaco. And they could all have sacrificed a grid slot to start from the pits in Abu Dhabi. Its not cheating. Its not unfair. Its just the way the sporting regulations are.
        Its as much of a loophole as pitting under safety car.

        • @mads – Exactly, this isn’t even an issue of loopholes. These are rules that have pretty existed since the beginning of the championship: you could call Monaco “lucky” but these things happen, which is why I partially agreed in that sense. The one-stop looked as if it may not have worked but the Red Flag essentially eliminated the threat.

          The set-up change though is a clearly defined rule which was used cunningly by Red Bull to aid their recovery, so I don’t see how in any way that was unfair. Any driver could’ve elected to start from the pit lane and I personally thought being sent to the back of the grid was a pretty severe punishment in itself so how people can then justify what Red Bull did as being “unfair” is frankly ridiculous. I could almost guarantee these same people wouldn’t be saying the same things if Hamilton had elected to do the same in Spain.

          • Mads (@mads) said on 4th January 2013, 19:24

            @vettel1

            I could almost guarantee these same people wouldn’t be saying the same things if Hamilton had elected to do the same in Spain.

            Maybe the problem is exactly that Hamilton/McLaren did not choose to do so.
            So while they were both penalized in similar fashion Hamilton ended up being stuck for most of his race. Vettel on the other hand did not.
            And some might see that as unfair because Red Bull changed a lot of things on the car to make sure he didn’t get stuck.
            But in the end they were both presented with the same opportunities. It doesn’t get fairer then that. Whether they take the opportunity or not is down to them.

        • @mads perhaps that is the case! So really that is McLaren’s issue for not taking the initiative to change the set-up (unless of course they didn’t see it necessary, which is a possibility).

          • uan (@uan) said on 5th January 2013, 2:59

            I think the more likely case is that Vettel literally put in an effn brilliant drive – he was in 12th BEFORE the first SC on lap 8 or 9! Did anyone, anyone, think, including all the pundits on the BBC or Sky, even knowing that he was changing his set up, that he’d come back to 3rd? I recall Jackie thinking he might get 8th or something.

            People say Vettel was lucky with the 2 SCs, but I think he was actually going for the win and with Hamilton going out, he may have actually got it.

            Regardless, it was a legendary drive, simple as that. That’s a tough pill for some to swallow.

            The same with Brazil, he was back in 6th place by lap 8 and no one can say he had a car advantage due to set up changes, and in fact, he had huge disadvantages with the lost of rear downforce and having to run with a reduced engine map to run the exhaust cooler.

            And he’s only getting better lol.

          • @uan – Exactly! Persoanlly, even as a rather optimistic Vettel fan, I wasn’t expecting any more than about 5th – so a podium was a fantastic result as far as I’m concerned! Even Christain Horner wasn’t expecting anything like that; indeed the only person that thought he could get on the podium was Vettel himself, when he said to Horner “I’ll see you on the podium”.

            Granted, he was fortunate (lucky implies he had no influence, which is categorically not the case) but he had put himself in a position to be able to maximise those opportunities that presented themselves: after all he wouldn’t have benefited from the safety car had he been languishing around in the bottom 5!

            As for Brazil, that served to prove why he won at Monza. It was noticeable that when the track dried he simply couldn’t keep pace with the guys at the front due to the damage on his car but he was able to hide the deficit in the slippery conditions (as per Alonso) and I think at one point he actually had the fastest lap for quite a few laps!

            Personally, I can’t wait for next year, as if he is indeed only getting better (which is very possible given he’s only 25!) then he has a great opportunity at becoming a four-time champion and few would be foolish enough to ague that is a very special accomplishment.

      • KimiWDC said on 5th January 2013, 20:50

        U don’t have any problem with McLaren giving Hamilton a new rear wing but u mind Red Bull giving Vettel new tyres (as the other teams did/could have done)?
        If it wasn’t for the red flag, Hamilton had to retire and Vettel would still win because u can’t overtake there

  11. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 4th January 2013, 14:33

    from the 2nd half of 2010 to the end of 2012, red bull and vettel have been the fastest (despite what others claim), the most aggressive, the most effective at capitalizing on opportunities, the least error-prone of the contenders, and the most successful. if that isn’t domination of f1, what is?

    • @f1yankee I disagree that on outright pace at least Red Bull have been fastest: I think you would be more accurate in saying from 2010-2011 and then from Singapore 2012-?. The best team on the other hand overall (as in pace, reliability and error-proneness) yes you are right in saying they have been the fastest best team from the second half of 2010-2012.

      As for domination, it depends on how you define “dominant”. The dictionary definition states:

      “Occupying a commanding position”

      To me “commanding” suggests absolute authority; in the case of F1 you are undisputedly the best and all but untouchable. Red Bull haven’t been “commanding” in that sense apart from in 2011; they have faced stern competition from Ferrari and McLaren in 2010/12 in both championships. In comparison to Ferrari, they have wrapped up both titles before the final round on three occasions (on two of those long before) which Red Bull has only achieved once.

      So no, I wouldn’t call Red Bull “dominant” but undoubtably they have been the best over the last three years, which reflect upon their retention of both titles in those years.

  12. kbcusa (@kbcusa) said on 4th January 2013, 14:46

    Red Bull emerged in 2010, but did not dominate.
    Red Bull dominated in 2011, absolutely.
    Red Bull was strong in 2012 but so were McLaren and Ferrari. Maybe Lotus thanks to Raikkonen. No domination by any of them.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 4th January 2013, 15:42

      Let’s not forget that despite Button winning the WDC in 2009, it was only a great start to the season thanks to the double diffuser that won it for him. Red Bull were comfortably the quickest team by the 2nd half of the season.

      • Red Bull were comfortably the quickest team by the 2nd half of the season.

        They were not. Hamilton took pole in four of the last seven races. Red Bull (Vettel) took just one. This is one of the F1 myths which everyone “knows” but which is not actually factual.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th January 2013, 19:53

          Race fuel qualifying made things harder to gauge, but in terms of race pace, Red Bull were best overall Britain onwards. But it certainly wasn’t comfortable to the extent that they could overhaul what Brawn and Button did in the first 7 races.

        • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 4th January 2013, 22:25

          Vettel was second in the championship and Red Bull second in the constructors, I think it’s fair to say Red Bull’s period of being at the front of the grid starts in 2009 (they have beaten Ferrari and Mclaren, the ‘big teams’, for four straight years now).

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 15:57

      Correction – RBR ‘emerged’ in 2009. The RB5′s suspension design just prevented quick integration of the trick diffuser so they were on the back foot for a few races.

  13. Bobbins said on 4th January 2013, 15:25

    Whilst in 2010 Vettel only rose to 1st in the standings after the last race, you have to remember Webber was leading the standings for more than half the season.

  14. wsrgo said on 4th January 2013, 15:26

    I think it is difficult for any one team to dominate at a long stretch in present-day F1. Having said that however, I do believe that Red Bull have come as close to dominance as it is possible in this era. There are extensive rule changes every year, generally pertaining to aerodynamics and bodywork. All this alongwith the cap on testing and the economic condition in Europe currently prevents Ferrari-esque dominance. Also, maybe a single team does not enjoy a kind of ‘veto power’ which Ferrari allegedly did in the last decade.
    But the fact that Red Bull have been such an unstoppable force in the last three years speaks volumes about how they’ve developed into a champion team. Like Williams of the early ’80s, Red Bull are here to stay for a while. Their wins under difficult circumstances (esp. 2012) show that they are no Houdini act, they have developed a knack for winning. Those who are disappointed by their dominance and others’ inability to break free(I confess I’m one of them) will always say such things, but nobody can deny that Red Bull have been the best team overall in the last three years.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 16:08

      Adrian Newey has admitted they’ve been exploiting flexible bodywork, so it’ll be interesting to see if the FIA manage to finally catch them out after 2 years of increasingly stringent tests.

      • Of course though McLaren have also been using flexi-wings @optimaximal so Red Bull wouldn’t be the only ones to be affected by the increasingly stringent tests. I’m still expecting Red Bull and McLaren to be the teams to beat nonetheless next season.

  15. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 4th January 2013, 15:39

    They dominated in 2011 but not in the other 2 years. Hopefully this season will be close but I fear with Hamiton in a slower car, it’s going to fall on Ferrari to put up the challenge and from what I’ve heard, there are still some deep rooted problems there that are going to limit their chance of producing the fastest car on the grid.

    With Ferrari struggling, McLaren without a top driver and none of the other teams able to get anywhere near the the top 3 on pace or development, I fear it’s going to be a fairly comfortable season for Red Bull..

    Regardless however it’s done, 4 constructors titles & WDCs in a row is domination in anyone’s books.

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