Red Bull ‘traction control’ rumours rubbished

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel mocks innuendo about Red Bull having ‘traction control’.


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Vettel teases rivals with traction control comments (Reuters)

“Vettel, who could wrap up his fourth successive title this month, simply smiled on Thursday when asked whether he would be as dominant in Korea as in Singapore. ‘Well, since traction control will not matter so much, we may struggle a little bit more,’ he told reporters with heavy emphasis.”

Vettel’s Red Bull car not illegal – Alonso (BBC)

“They are using something different compared to the other teams but something that is completely OK. They pass all the checks every race so it’s up to us to do a better job.”

Horner rubbishes cheat allegations (ESPN)

Christian Horner: “You’d be fairly stupid to introduce traction control onto a car that is governed by a single ECU that is granted by a tender of the FIA and that is scrupulously checked by the FIA. I can’t imagine any team in the pit lane would even entertain it.”

Webber hits out at penalty (Sky)

“I saw both Mercedes on the straight when I was in the escape road. This camera angle is from that way but if you look at it from the other way, I had a good view before they started turning in – I’m in the escape road, so I can see down to the kink.”

Drivers want weight limit increase (Autosport)

Jenson Button: “I can’t see a reason why we can’t put the weight limit up by 10kg. It wouldn’t penalise half of the grid next season. It’s one of the easiest things to put right – and it could save a driver’s career, or make a driver’s career. It’s definitely something worth pushing for.”

Vettel’s treatment is a disgrace, says Moss (The Telegraph)

“It?s disgraceful. Why do they do it? Because he keeps winning? He can?t help that. He is a nice bloke. Sebastian Vettel is a jolly nice bloke.”

Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: Back situation ??looks promising? (F1)

“If I would not race I would not be here. It would be pointless to come here and be a tourist. Right now it looks promising, so let?s see how it goes tomorrow.”

Barrichello possible for Sauber in 2014, says Kaltenborn (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has confirmed that Rubens Barrichello is a candidate for a 2014 seat.”

Alonso: “we need a lot of luck” (Ferrari)

“Fifteen days ago we were fourth fastest behind Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes and there are very few new things on the car this weekend.”

Mediapro extends Formula One deal (SportsPro)

“Mediapro has renewed its deal for the Spanish media rights to Formula One for two more years.”

Korean Grand Prix Betting: It pays to look beyond Vettel (Unibet)

My Korean Grand Prix preview for Unibet.


Comment of the day

@Colossal-Squid on the ‘illegal traction control’ rumours.

Remember when F1 was about innovation and brilliant engineering? Now when one team engineers a brilliant car, or uses throttle mapping or KERS or some kind of other ingenious way to help traction instead of looking at every other team and asking “why didn?t you think of that?” we have people saying Red Bull is cheating.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Iceshiel and Strferrari4Ever!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jochen Rindt won the world championship on this day in 1970, just under a month after he’d been killed during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

Jacky Ickx was in the unenviable position of being the only driver able to keep Rindt from the title when the teams arrived at Watkins Glen for the penultimate race of the year. His fourth-place finish confirmed Rindt at the posthumous champion.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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91 comments on Red Bull ‘traction control’ rumours rubbished

  1. Hamish said on 4th October 2013, 0:10

    I don’t know about you but if someone was to ask me to list the characteristics of a good driver I wouldn’t say 5 foot 5 and weighing somewhere in the mid 60’s.

    Bearing in mind Nigel Mansell won the 1992 WDC weighing what Mark Webber would consider heavy.

  2. Hamish said on 4th October 2013, 0:12

    What is it with F1 drivers and Sneans?

  3. Roald (@roald) said on 4th October 2013, 0:56

    I don’t mind a heigher minimum weight, if only we’d get more horse power in return! Fact is the engines are less powerful than before while the cars are heavier. Keep down those lap times!

    And PLEASE don’t bring back Barichello, just the thought of it makes me angry. Seriously, if Frijns has to move over while Barichello gets to drive I don’t know if there’s any hope for Sauber anymore. Is this the team that has brought so many young, promising talents into Formula 1? And besides that, Barichello shouldn’t even want to comeback, he’s had his run and won more races than most drivers ever will. Just get over it man, you have never won a championship and driving until you’re 60 is not going to change that. God I hate it when drivers don’t know when to stop and teams keep prefering “experienced” drivers. As if youngsters that spent their entire youth in karts and junior categories don’t know how to position their hands on the steering wheel. Blame the ban on testing for the popularity of “experienced” drivers.

    • Hamish said on 4th October 2013, 1:14

      Would the simple way to counter this whole driver weight argument would be for the ballast to be put in the middle of the car as opposed to the front and rear?

      Whilst Webbers 72kg frame sits in the cockpit, Vettel has 62kg in the cockpit and has 10kg of ballast to allocate, which can be put at the front or the rear.

      Thats just wrong.

      • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 4th October 2013, 1:20

        I agree, One could argue though that that can be made in ADDITION..

        ps. I strongly doubt Webber is only 72kg, with is frame, he would have to be way more slender(unhealthily so) for that..

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th October 2013, 1:22

        I reckon Ballast should be in front of the steering wheel above the shaft, then it might neutralise the trend.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 6:16

          Maybe it should be something like putting a “standard” on weight of driver+seat and have ballast on the seats of lighter drivers (say 80 kg as a standard for those combined – leaving about 4-5 kg for the seas itself, which should be ok)

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th October 2013, 8:11

            Except the base of the seat would be gold and the back carbon fiber.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 8:23

            Nothing wrong with that HoHum!

          • BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 4th October 2013, 10:26

            This is what I’ve said for ages: Make a seat and driver standard weight (85kg for example) so that it neutralises the need to be unhealthily lean like Webber has been for the last few years. The remaining weight is added to the seat with ballast. Even if the teams put it all at the bottom for a lower centre of gravity, it would be better than at the moment where this ballast can be placed almost anywhere. It could be enforced that teams don’t do this anyway.

            I’m pretty sure they do this in some karting championships: ballast only allowed to be placed in the seats.

            Failing that: fat suits!

    • Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 4th October 2013, 2:07

      I’ve also been banging on about this for years. I think there should be a universal ballast point, lets say under the seat and all drivers + race seat + ballast should = 100kg. Fair for all and no advantage for lighter drivers to place ballast wherever they can.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 6:17

        I think a 100 kg is a bit high, I doubt a seat weights more than 2-5 kg, and a driver would not be over say 80-85 anyway (except for a 2m giant).

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th October 2013, 8:15

        That would be a huge advantage for a smaller driver, all that extra mass at floor level, to really compensate the ballast needs to be about shoulder height.

        • BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 4th October 2013, 10:28

          Although having it here would be better than allowing free roam as they allow at the moment.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 4th October 2013, 13:12

            Or designate a specific zone in the back of the seat which is the only allowable location for the driver-equalising ballast. Stipulate a maximum weight for the seat without ballast to ensure that the don’t simply make the base of the seat heavier than necessary.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 4th October 2013, 15:28

      I think all ballast weight, or at least say 80-90% of it should go into or behind/below the seat. That should neutralize it some, albeit the COG will still be a bit lower than if a team had a heavier driver.

  4. Gridl0k said on 4th October 2013, 0:59

    Just look at that GPDA pic and think how weird it is to see a roomful of drivers without a sponsor logo in sight…

  5. HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th October 2013, 1:09

    How disapointing, I was really hopeing that F1 could provide some technical interest again, other than aerodynamics and tyre degradation.

  6. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 4th October 2013, 1:13

    On COTD..well didnt the chasing pack say the same in 1994? Before his death, Senna was convinced that the Benneton was illegal. So its not new.

    Where I come from, traction control = your right foot.

    • erix said on 4th October 2013, 8:11

      Traction control was found inside Benneton software, but not proven to be used. Today, if anywhere near traction control would be Ferrari launch control, 100 kmh in 2.1s?

  7. LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 4th October 2013, 1:14

    So, who is missing from the pic above? ;)

  8. HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th October 2013, 1:16

    My take on stewards decision on Web/Alo taxi. ” Right let’s get down to the party, oh no that looks bad from this camera, press will be all over us if we don’t give them a reprimand, let’s make it quick and get out of here”.

  9. Luis Conde (@luchingador) said on 4th October 2013, 1:45

    No Kimi and Lewis, or are they having dinner at a private table? xD

  10. Chad (@chaddy) said on 4th October 2013, 1:50

    Excellent COTD

      • In every decade when someone displayed an enormous advantage it’s been accused to cheat so te COTD is a complete rubbish…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2013, 4:12

      I disagree with it completely. The COTD would have us believe that there was a golden era of technical innovation that has since been replaced by teams accusing each other if cheating. But even if that golden era of technical innovation ever existed, the teams still had to observe the rules. And right now, one of those rules is a ban on traction control. It’s not a new rule, either; it’s been around for years. So if Red Bull are using traction control, then it doesn’t matter how innovative it is – it’s against the rules. They don’t get a free pass for being clever. In fact, another word for “clever” is “devious”, which implies that such a system would not only be designed to produce traction control, but developed in such a way that it would remain hidden during scruitineering. And if that’s the case, then it’s cheating, and it should be punished accordingly.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 6:21

        I think you assume something from that COTA that just is not there @prisoner-monkeys.
        What @colossal-squid was saying is that its a shame that instead of being amazed and intrigued by teams finding clever things to go fast many of the fans and media covering the sport now start accusing teams of doing something untoward. That is not saying anything about freedom etc, just about perception of the fans.

        RBR is not using traction control, but its possible that they use other things to get partially the same effect. I call that clever. Its far less on the edge/over the edge than their flex wings ever were.

      • maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) said on 4th October 2013, 7:31

        @prisoner-monkeys I think it applies more to “the internet”. Since the rise of the internet, the number of armchair experts who can vent their (uninformed) opinion has risen as well. The whole traction control controversy has no basis. Like Horner said, everything is controlled by the ECU and there’s no way they would put traction control on a car. However, that doesn’t stop people from spouting nonsense about it.

        As for the teams complaining about cheating, that’s nothing new. It’s just the way the game works, and has always worked. If another team has an innovation you don’t have, it’s the easiest to complain to the FIA before figuring out how to do it yourself. But at least that has some sort of basis, at least the people who complain about it are experts in the field.

      • @prisoner-monkeys you’ve said it yourself, it’s been banned for years. So why then do you make a stretched assumption that they’d even try to imliment a illegitimate TC system? There is a standard ECU which all teams use, so there isn’t a chance they could “hide” one.

        The far more likely explanation is that it’s just Renault’s 4-cyclinder operation on acceleration, which has happened since the start of the season.

      • Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 4th October 2013, 12:57

        The term ‘traction control’ is ambiguous, the regulations only attempt to prevent the effect by enforcing the use of a spec ECU. If Red Bull are, lets say, KERS harvesting under initial acceleration out of corners, using the resistance of the motor/generator to reduce wheel-spin then that would be entirely legal.

        Much like exhaust blowing and double diffusers, just because you are achieving an effect which the spirit of the regulations attempt to outlaw, that doesn’t mean you are doing anything illegal.

  11. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 4th October 2013, 1:56

    Hmph, once again I forgot to submit my birthday. Oh well, maybe next year :)

  12. Gary Anderson delivers a firm smack-down to the “cheat” and “traction control” theories. And has a shot at the Vettel-is-not-a-top-driver crowd whiles he’s at it.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th October 2013, 3:20

      I don’t know if Gary Anderson still works for the BBC or that he got a new job in the Red Bull PR department

      But it is Vettel who has given the input to Red Bull’s engineers – and especially their chief technical officer Adrian Newey – to enable them to create the car in the way he uses it.

      The logic suggests the opposite Newey create the car to suit Vettel’s driving style (he forgot to mention that Vettel teaches Adrian Newey some aerodynamic courses because Adrian doesn’t know how design a dominant car )

      As far as I can see, Vettel is the only person who drives in a fashion aimed at using this to best effect. The rest have it on their cars but have not adapted their driving style to use it as well as possible.

      So Anderson has access to all the drivers telemetry and compared their driving styles with the data gathered from their cars and the simulators too, speculations with absolutely no facts but the most ridiculous one has yet to come

      I’m not sure Hamilton has it in him to understand the concept of the car, how it works and then go out there and exploit it to the maximum.

      Why he is so sure then about Sebastian ??? Vettel last year has shown some limits in understanding the car in Malaysia he used the old exhaust version while Webber used the coanda effect exhaust which was proved to be the most efficient of the 2 versions
      Hamilton has proved many times that he can put an F1 car in a place in which the car didn’t belong, we know that he has some technical limits but they were only shown when he was partnered with Button who is one of the best technical drivers

      You see Alonso trying to lead the team. Is that because the team needs to be lead, or because that is the way he is? Vettel, by contrast, is a young guy with a huge amount of faith in Newey, quite rightly. If he’s told: “This is the way the car works, you need to find a way of using it”, I think he would go out and dig deep to try to do so.

      Another free attack to Alonso, i can’t see the relation between Alonso’s character as a team leader and his driving abilities, it is true that Alonso isn’t a very nice person sometimes and has some unpredictable reactions but he is regarded as the best driver on the grid for his ability to drive any car and put it in places that the car didn’t belong using his driving skills,tactical intelligence, tyre management ……
      I can’t see Alonso objecting to drive a Newey car after all it will not be as bad as the cars he has been driving in Ferrari

      • Albert said on 4th October 2013, 3:46

        So much written, so much complained about, but so little said :-(

      • My goodness, Anderson really hit a nerve it seems.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 4th October 2013, 7:38

        I really like Anderson. He’s usually balanced and makes good use of his experience.

        All drivers give input to their engineers. I doubt someone involved in single-seat racing like Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Raikkonen or Webber don’t give quality tips to their design team but in the end, it’s up to the engineers to make it work. Vet is not teaching Newey nothing, but he (and Webber) are the best guys to tell Newey how is the car going and once they have different driving styles, Newey has to pick a direction, IMHO Vettel is the safe bet because he’s faster than Webber. Like Anderson says, probably guys like Alonso or Hamilton would be able extract the same kind of performance Seb manages to get out of his car.

        In summary, I think Anderson says it all: Sebastian Vettel is a very good driver in the best car, when it happens you end up with some dominant performances…

      • Hamilton has proved many times that he can put an F1 car in a place in which the car didn’t belong

        The gravel trap at Monza, for instance.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 6:27

      We already had articles doing much the same out yesterday (and before see Sommers F1 tech Blog), the only part Anderson adds is criticizing Hamilton, and assuming he wouldn’t be able to do the same job in working with the team to exploit what the car can offer, and he compliments Vettel on his adaptability. That part is the only thing new in Andersons article

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 4th October 2013, 7:55

        @bascb Bear in mind that he also said:

        Of course, the only driver with whom there is a direct comparison with Vettel is Webber. It’s almost certainly the case that other drivers – such as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – could not drive in that way because the exhaust effect on their cars is not as great. They may well be able to drive the Red Bull in the way Vettel does if they were in it.

        Lewis has said he’s been giving lots of tips to Mercedes to transform the car onto something that fits better his driving. In his second season paired with not so experienced Heiki he managed to win WDC, that’s remarkable. Anderson was not very nice but…

  13. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th October 2013, 2:31

    You’d be fairly stupid to introduce traction control onto a car that is governed by a single ECU that is granted by a tender of the FIA and that is scrupulously checked by the FIA

    So they were fairly stupid in Hockenheim 2012 when they were caught by the FIA with an illegal engine mapping introduced onto a car that is governed by a single ECU that is granted by a tender of the FIA and that is scrupulously checked by the FIA
    Amazing how this man has a short (or selective) memory !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Albert said on 4th October 2013, 2:47

      when they were caught by the FIA with an illegal engine mapping introduced

      You mean the one the FIA didn’t consider against the rules after the investigation?

      A link here, since it’s evident Horner is not he one with selective memory ;-)

      “While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written the map presented does not breach article 5.5.3 of the technical regulations,”

      Let’s try not to twist the facts just so we can make a hit at Red Bull. I know it’s a common trend of non-RDR/Vettel fans, but it’s getting old.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th October 2013, 3:27

        You clearly missed the point, i’m not twisting facts, my point was that Red Bull were able to introduce that map which doesn’t breach article 5.5.3 but has to be changed for obvious reasons in the car that is controlled by the FIA, so Horner claim that it is impossible to do such a thing is not true

        • Albert said on 4th October 2013, 13:50

          First: you said it was illegal when it wasn’t. That’s twisting the facts, or, at best, a mistake. Let’s make that clear first.

          Secondly, that pretty much proves what Horner said:

          a car that is governed by a single ECU that is granted by a tender of the FIA and that is scrupulously checked by the FIA.

          He said it would be stupid to do it since the FIA checked it every race, which is exactly what happened in 2012. So Horner is right, that’s the proof that ECUs are scrupulously checked, and anything out of the ordinary would be found.

          In your poor attempt to discredit Horner you ended up proving what he said. That’s what happens when you twist the facts and don’t think your arguments carefully enough.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th October 2013, 4:55


      they were caught by the FIA with an illegal engine mapping

      It wasn’t illegal at the time or the cars would have been disqualified.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2013, 6:29

      To be fair @tifoso1989 that engine mapping was not in fact illegal. It did bring the FIA to clear the rules about engine mapping, because it was doing things that was not intended by the rules to be possible. So now something like that would be illegal. But thats nothing different from previous cases of using what the rules DON’T say exactly enough.

    • BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 4th October 2013, 10:59

      It wasn’t illegal.
      It wasn’t traction control.

  14. Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 4th October 2013, 3:46

    @kaiie Happy birthday mate! ;)

  15. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2013, 4:04

    I don’t set much store by Horner’s comments. He’s quick to point out that the ECU is supposed to prevent traction control, but it was also meant to prevent throttle mapping and the use if blown diffusers, but they still found a way around it.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 4th October 2013, 5:33

      @prisoner-monkeys precisely! They find their way around things . that’s what Red Bull do for a living and the others try their best. Vettel is just taunting his opposition by saying they can’t find RBR’s secrets . As Fernando put it , all this talk of illegal systems is rubbish . They have a perfectly intelligent legal system in their car which gives Vettel all that he needs to win and some more in the bag if required . How it works ? what they do ? The others just can’t figure out . I hope Rosberg actually comes back stronger this race just for all the arrogant comments Vettel made about him.

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 4th October 2013, 7:23

        I hope Rosberg actually comes back stronger this race just for all the arrogant comments Vettel made about him.

        Vettel made comments about Rosberg? I thought he just made the general comment that Red Bull are working long hours whereas some others are taking it a bit easier and leaving the paddock early. And from what I have read in previous years on this, I think it is actually true.

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