Ferrari and Lotus were lucky the Pirelli tyres introduced during the winter helped them become competitive, according to Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey.
Speaking on the Sport und Talk programme on Red Bull’s television channel Servus TV yesterday, Newey disputed the claim the two teams had developed their cars to suit the original 2013 Pirelli tyres better.
“We had a big change over the winter, an unexpected change,” said Newey. “Pirelli introduced a new tyre which was much more sensitive, it was very easy to overload it and because our car, a lot of its lap time is under braking and in the high speed corners, where you’re putting a lot of load into the tyres, we couldn’t really exploit that without the tyres going off very quickly.”
“I think Lotus and Ferrari are making making big noises about how clever they were over the winter to read that far. But to be perfectly honest they were just plain lucky, we were a little bit unlucky, and of course the the politics take over. So it’s been a challenging year but a very rewarding one.”
Lotus and Ferrari won three of the first five races but haven’t taken any victories since. Pirelli revised its tyres following the British Grand Prix in which several drivers suffered high-speed tyre failures.
Red Bull felt “fragile” at mid-season
Newey said in addition to pressure from Ferrari, Red Bull were also worried about Mercedes’ form in the middle of the season.
“It’s been a difficult season at times for us,” he said. “We started off, strong result in Malaysia, one-two in the second race. And then kind of our competitiveness went up and down a little bit.”
“It was a very close fight, Ferrari were very strong early in the season, Mercedes came on strong sort of around Monaco time. So come that middle of the season point we were not… we were in the lead of the championship, but it felt fragile, it felt as if Mercedes particularly at that point were on a roll.”
Newey admitted their focus on developing a car for next year’s rules change may have been compromised by their focus on securing the 2013 titles:
“We kept pushing, we introduced quite a few changes to the car, updates some in Hungary just before the summer break, then more in Spa. And that seemed to give us momentum.
“I guess really we’ve kept pushing all the way to Singapore in terms of introducing new parts, even Japan, which you could look back on now and say perhaps we pushed harder than we needed to because in doing that of course it’s taken resource off next year’s car.
“It didn’t feel that way at the time, it felt as if we needed to keep pushing and it’s been tremendous to have this roll that we’ve had at the end of the season.”
2013 F1 season
- Take F1 Fanatic’s new 2013 season quiz
- F1 Fanatic’s new year thanks and credits 2014
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2013 season review
- The drivers, teams and cars of 2013
- Schumacher’s condition “slightly improved” after second operation
Browse all 2013 F1 season articles
Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty