Adrian Newey, Red Bull, 2013

Ferrari and Lotus “got lucky” with 2013 tyres – Newey

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.”

Adrian Newey, Red Bull, 2013“So that tyre change hurt us and helped some other people, such as Lotus, Ferrari perhaps. For me that was purely luck.

“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.”

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176 comments on “Ferrari and Lotus “got lucky” with 2013 tyres – Newey”

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  1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    5th November 2013, 18:48

    @noob Vettel is a racing driver, he is there to race, and race hard. I don’t see why he should go around gifting people wins. Plus, it was the second race of the season and RBR were having serious tyre issues that time, nor was the RBR dominant like it is now. Vettel wanted every point he could muster, considering the margin of his WDC win in 2012!

    1. <@shreyasf1fan>

      Vettel is a racing driver, he is there to race

      All are there to race. Move on.

      I don’t see why he should go around gifting people wins

      Well Webber might have gifted him that win, by following team strategy

      RBR were having serious tyre issues that time

      That is exactly the reason why the ‘team’ asked Vettel to maintain his position.

      Vettel wanted every point he could muster

      This is the essence, Vettel thought only about himself, not the team. What if his tyres gave away, no body knew when they would hit the cliff, and with that aggressive driving he put the team at risk.

      Anyways, my post was to show what Adrian Newey, being such an integral part of the team, thought about the incident, and deemed it proper to mention it as one of Vettel’s mistake. We are all race fanatics, and trust me the battle between Webber and Vettel was the best I saw this season, but sometimes we need to see the larger picture. I for one, am a fan of the team first, then the driver. I love RBR, and support both its drivers.

      One more thing. After the race, the body language of Vettel and his words did convey that he felt he had done a mistake. I personally was ok with that, but when he re-tracted his apology, that’s when I lost a bit of respect for him.

  2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    5th November 2013, 18:52

    RBR probably has the most arrogant people on the paddock. Vettel’s “balls” comment, and now this. Yep, they are doing a great job. Real class would be putting your head down and work on 2014, because you are getting their behind kicked by Merc and Ferrari next season! ;)

  3. Some one give him lessons please… He has lost his mind.. After the winter break , there has been no car as quik as Red Bull(to a least extent MERCEDES), Ferrari and Lotus by far have been out of contention..!! there is a limit for sarcasm Mr.NEWEy….!!!

  4. Newey (the genius) saying that Lotus being adapted to the tyres is pure Luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well the baby of James Allison has proved to be the best car that handles every kind of tyre since last year, maybe Ferrari was pure luck (which i don’t believe because there is no luck in F1, design,simulation,wind tunnels, CFD, testing….., if you get all of these right then it’s not up to luck) but Lotus has worked also the new tyres
    so Newey is following the RBR PR politics which i’m not surprised (i know how much love he has for Ferrari), after all they are paying him millions but why he didn’t left that for Marko (the specialist) or even Horner……….. I think this time RBR are trying to add some credibility to this claim being pronounced by Newey (which i already saw on the forum), he is the genius and everyone who will criticize his opinion will look like an idiot

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th November 2013, 19:06

    What I take out of that is that Mark Webber is not there and Marko is there. I think that shows the key players at Red Bull.

    What, who said Vettel is #1 at Red Bull? Shame on you, you cucumber!

    1. Very insightful and I fully agree. The fact that Mark Webber was not there for this interview when H. Marko, the “undercover’ team handler was, just shows how this whole team has been setup and managed to make Vettel a hero/legend/superstar. And, kudos to them, they have succeeded.
      I feel a little sorry for Mark because he deserved better than that.

      1. Or maybe Webber had other commitments, and couldn’t make it.

        But please, don’t let that get in the way of the conspiracy theory. I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun.

        1. If people are incapable of assessing plentiful objective evidence, they are biased and their ability to discern, compromised. Assuming that Mark had another commitment, why HM was at the interview? People are willfully blind when they don’t want to admit that HM conveys mastritch’s orders to the team, including the underlying policy that Vettel must come ahead of Webber, at all costs.

          1. @svianna

            the underlying policy that Vettel must come ahead of Webber, at all costs

            Is that why Vettel was ordered not to overtake Webber in Malaysia?

          2. Assuming that Mark had another commitment, why HM was at the interview?

            Because Marko didn’t have another commitment.

            I can’t believe I had to type that.

  6. Clearly he doesn’t undertstand the definition of ‘luck’, because teams like Lotus, Ferrari and Force India designed their cars to be easier on tyres that somehow makes them ‘lucky’, to be honest Red Bull were ‘lucky’ to have the tyre change mid season, so I think Newey is pushing his luck, his team benefited from the mid season tyre change and now he says other teams were ‘lucky’ because their cars worked the tyres better. Maybe if the Red Bull design their car to work well with the tyres next year and win the championship all the other teams and the media should say they were lucky, then Newey will understand that what he’s saying now is nonsense.

    1. Those teams were easier on the tires because they had no downforce to talk about compared to RB. Hardly an overwhelming achievement.
      Oh look, we failed to design a car that could match RB (or merc) on outright pace. Good thing we got tires which will fall apart after 4 corners so we can keep up.

      1. Having more downforce isn’t the only factor that affects tyre degradation, if having less downforce decreases tyre degradation then why do Marussia do pit stops? They do pit stops because low downforce doesn’t make them easier on tyres, many other factors come into play. Also if you think the point of F1 is to design a car that is fastest in outright pace then you don’t understand the sport, if outright pace was all that mattered then they would only do qualifying as that establishes the cars outright pace, no tyre degradation involved, sounds like that is what your idea of F1 is.

        1. @speedking84, your point re qualifying made me think, but on reflection I think you are only part right, F1 unlike other series is about the ability to build the fastest car that can race for 300km, not the fastest car over 1 lap.

        2. Force india openly admitted they don’t want new tires because their car is not producing enough DF to make them go pop. That was after silverstone. On the other hand, pirelli said numerous times how RB9 puts the most vertical load of all cars on the tires by a large amount (aka most DF). Hembrey confirmed this again during FP2 in india when he had a guest appearance on BBC. And newey says exactly the same thing in this interview. sorry, but I am inclined to believe those guys over some keyboard warriors.

  7. I don’t understand how understanding how the tyres work and how your car responds to them can be any less technically challenging than designing the front wing or setting up a DDRS system. If anything adding tyres into the equation only makes the whole process tougher, so if a team can understand them and then design a car or strategy around them, it should count as practical engineering. At the same time, I have always maintained that being easy on the tyres was as much of a skill that a driver should have as raw pace. Otherwise, would it mean that Di Resta or Sutil doing a one stop was less commendable than Maldonado or Perez blitzing away?

    I can’t see how you could just get “lucky” in Formula 1. It isn’t like someone rolled a die and called out design strategies. If anything Red Bull can count themselves “lucky” to have Vettel in their team. Maybe they can count themselves “lucky” because the owner isn’t shy of spending those extra dollars required for development.

    1. toyota had the biggest budget ever in F1 and achieved exactly nothing with it.

    2. The reality is that there was insufficient data on the tyres when the cars were designed and built to know exactly what was required to get the best out of them.

  8. Even if RB didnt benefit from the new tyres (which they did), two of their rivals, and Vettel’s two biggest rivals this year, lost a bit of an advantage. RB was having trouble keeping the tyres alive, while Lotus did that amazingly (and still do), and Ferrari was better than most.

  9. Someone said that a tyre change mid season never happened before but if my memory is right, something similar happened in 2003. I was very young at that time, can someone confirm?

    1. 2005 indianapolis. michelins couldn’t take the oval sweeper because of new tarmac which was ripping their tires open. Bridgestone were aware of this new tarmac and brought harder compounds to cope with it. All michelin runners withdrew from the race on the formation lap as the tires had been deemed unsafe to race.

  10. Well, with a designer of his calibre, I’d be afraid to question his judgment…

    1. @electrolite

      Well, with a designer of his calibre, I’d be afraid to question his judgment

      Why? He’s a fallible human just like everyone else, plus one of his high”calibre” designs killed Ayrton Senna.
      He’s also politically-motivated to deliver a narrative that minimizes the impact of an unfair, unjust mid-season tire change.

      1. Still going on with senna :S His design didn’t kill him as much as bad welding did. How is that newey’s fault?

  11. Seb looked like he was about to doze off in that video.

  12. He basically said that, already in 2012, Red Bull’s speciality was high speed in the corners, which is demanding on the tires. Other teams, like Ferrari and Lotus, relied on other things, like higher speed on the straights or whatever, which are not so demanding on the tires. When Pirelli introduced very sensitive tires for 2013, it naturally hurt Red Bull and helped those other teams. I don’t see that as a criticism of Ferrari or Lotus, it just happened that way.

  13. You forgot your “sarcasm font” Adrian.

  14. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    6th November 2013, 0:59

    Just lost what respect I had for Newey…

    1. Wow — didn’t take much, did it?

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        6th November 2013, 1:26

        Nope. Just a gratuitous comment that lacked class, IMHO. Whether right or wrong, it was simply unnecessary, and honestly gives you a pretty good look into how Newey views other competitors.

        1. I really don’t think it’s the insult some people are making it out to be, but I equally don’t think there will be any convincing those people of that — so hate away!

          1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
            6th November 2013, 2:04

            I don’t think he meant it as an insult either.

          2. Being condescending to others can be pretty insulting by itself, intentional or not.

  15. Finally the cat is out of the bag. Newey and RedBull go hand in hand.

    Arrogant words that I didn’t expect from a man whose has conducted himself with dignity till now.

  16. You don’t need to be Adrian Newey to understand that the other guys have no idea of what they are doing. The 2013 tyres handicapped the cars, they had a massive flaw, but fortunately the Ferrari was good on its tyres and the Lotus aswell. I would argue though that Allison may have had a hand on Lotus good tyre management, Lotus does run an intricate suspension system. In the end its a question of philosophy. Adrian designs his cars with all the fundamentals and then his team programs the simulation machines from the tests they do and only then the computer tell the math right, the other teams do the opposite they tell their computers to make the car and then start whining when things go wrong, it’s all about fundamentals, I would say Adrian has also learned that lesson a while back.

    1. @peartree

      Adrian designs his cars with all the fundamentals and then his team programs the simulation machines from the tests they do and only then the computer tell the math right, the other teams do the opposite they tell their computers to make the car and then start whining when things go wrong, it’s all about fundamentals, I would say Adrian has also learned that lesson a while back.

      Now , you seriously think Ferrari don’t use fundamentals and just plug things into the computer do you ?
      Tyres are a part of the equation , If Newey did not pay heed to that , then you can’t just say there is no equation , can you ? Maybe luck is involved a lot but to say that “Ferrari got lucky” undermines their work a lot and is too childish a remark for his stature. why can’t you just use less insulting words . I believe all this is PR . RBR have got poor PR actually . That is the one thing they desperately need now .

      1. @hamilfan RBR PR tend to look bad to me. When I said that other teams forgot the fundamentals and went instead for the cpu route, it was just an hyperbola.
        For instances with the F12, Ferrari tried to gain a large chunk of time with the re-arrangement of the front suspension, revolution to instead of evolution. Why? because the computer told them that it would benefit the car aero wise.
        In the end things weren’t so clear, in parallel McLaren have done the same thing, McLaren has recently admitted that their version of the front pull-rod has had an effect on the rear aero compromising it. Both McLaren and Ferrari have blamed their simulation tools and air tunnels which are the same for their respective failures, reality is that they are desperately trying to find a way to surpass RBR, the only thing they are doing is to look stupid but brave. Adrian remarks are ballsy yet true. Tyre are a very important part of the equation but that doesn’t mean Ferraris car in particular hasn’t got aero problems, or does it?

  17. Sorry Adrian, they just did a better job than you, the same way that since Silverstone you have done a better job than everyone else. To say anything else is to be disingenuous. I find this sort of comment to be totally out of character for one of the sports true gentlemen.

  18. Well Well Well ……. I am surprised that he said that ( I must admit that the first thing I thought after I looked at the headline is typical media spin but I was wrong . He used the exact words ! ) . Isn’t there even a faint possibility that Ferrari and Lotus could have actually done some homework . That is too arrogant for my liking .
    For people who want me to take what ever he says as the gospel truth because he is the greatest ( A view which I condemn . you can be the greatest and be an annoying dash at the same time ), Where was he during the Schumacher dominance ?
    There will be a time Adrian……. and I will be waiting for it .
    Such a shame after watching that beautiful interview of his son and him in Indian GP ( and now ,
    to be treated with these remarks . I actually liked his demeanor a lot . :-(

    1. Homework based on what exactly?? 100 km of free-practice running with 2013 spec tires on 2012 spec cars? hahahaha. They lucked into it, end of story.
      Based on your criteria to dislike someone you probably don’t like anyone at all. Did you take di montezemolo as arrogant when he said for the press that ferrari will not be beaten “by some drinks” company. How about hamilton when he admitted he ignored team order to let alonso trough in hungary 08?

      1. @juzh

        Homework based on what exactly?? 100 km of free-practice running with 2013 spec tires on 2012 spec cars? hahahaha. They lucked into it, end of story.

        What do you expect 90s type free testing in maranello ? If it is insignificant then why run FP3 in Brazil with new tyres at all .

        Based on your criteria to dislike someone you probably don’t like anyone at all.

        Maybe I lucked into liking people who don’t think that way.Then judging by similar comments here on F1F , I am not so lonely after all .

        Did you take di montezemolo as arrogant when he said for the press that ferrari will not be beaten “by some drinks” company.

        Yes I did . LDM is arrogant .

        How about hamilton when he admitted he ignored team order to let alonso trough in hungary 08?

        I did not follow f1 very closely in 2008 , but I believe Alonso and Hamilton were teammates then and you are referring to 2007 .
        Yes Hamilton was a bit arrogant when he was younger in Mclaren maybe . But he has come a long way since 2011 . Even now I hate it once in a while when he talks about vettel out of desperation of not being able to challenge him.
        I am not saying Newey is wrong . He may be right for all it’s worth . But there is a way of saying things and this is not the way.

      2. You Sir, are not helping your own image by mockery of factual statements.

        As Boullier said:
        “Last year, when we were designing our 2013 car, each team received information from Pirelli and everyone did the best job they could to develop a chassis which would make best use of the tyre characteristics.”

        “We even ran with some experimental 2013 tyres at the end of last season, to assist us in confirming our development paths.”
        Full artcile:

        Kimi was just four points behind Seb at the time and how did that turn out? To basically state that everybody else are clueless about what they are doing just because the single skill of designing high cornering speed is no longer highest priority is beyond arrogant. Especially when in the meantime you have lobbied your way into changing that priority back!

        Regardless of safety argument, with which I totally disagree, it would suit the 2013 winners with A LOT of humbleness considering how that victory was obtained. Please imagine the opposite scenario for a second: RB is dominant for the first half of the season but Lotus and Ferrari have accidents because they can’t heat up the tires. They are complaining about safety and FIA forces Pirelli to change the compounds mid season. Lotus wins the rest of the races and takes the title. How do you think Newey and Horner would feel about that?

        This is seriously ugly!

  19. This is naturally going to cause a bit of a stir, coming from someone from “the hated team” at the moment. He might be right, he might be wrong, it would be dependent on how much information the teams receive about the next seasons tyres, and whether that information is sufficient to design a car that hits such a tiny sweet spot so well.

    I’m inclined to fall in with Newey’s line of thought, I don’t think anyone knows these tyres well enough in advance to rely on anything more than luck for the early success they had. We’ve seen it each year with Pirelli, it takes the majority of teams many months AFTER having tested and raced on them to get them under control. Yet we expect some teams were on top of them when they finalised their designs in December the previous year? Hrmph.

    Maldonado’s win in Spain last year sums it up well enough for me, there’s a window of performance with the Pirelli’s that you can just stumble into and look like a genius for short periods of time, and I know they work hard, but there has to be some luck involved if you just plop straight into that window from the get go. I think that is all Adrian is saying.

    IF Newey is right, then Lotus/Ferrari’s claims of having been smarter than the rest are just as bad as Newey asserting that it’s luck if he’s wrong. RBR don’t have the fanbase and are winning everything, so they’re always going to cop a lot of crap in these kind of situations, so I don’t expect a lot of people to think like that.

  20. I don’t think Adrian is arrogant. He doesn’t talk Dr. Marko or Mateschitz style. He is saying that because of the “unexpected” tyre change shortly before the start of this season Ferrari and Lotus could not have developed a car to suit the “unexpected” change in specs. I would say it’s a coincidence, not luck. And I fully agree.
    If Ferrari and Lotus (and some others too) knew exactly how to switch on the tyres they would just do it. History shows that it’s not as simple as that! I am still surprised that nobody had something to say about the fact that it was Ecclestone who influenced tyre tweaks. It is like Sky TV changing the size of the goal posts in football to spruce up the show!

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