Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain, 2014

End of Red Bull dominance ‘good for F1′ – Button

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Jenson Button, McLaren, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Jenson Button believes it will be good for Formula One if Red Bull’s dominance over the sport is broken this year.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Red Bull failing is good for F1: Slimline Button glad to see champions struggle (Daily Mail)

“Not having Red Bull at the front now is good for the sport. It’s sad to think like that but it’s a fact that they have been too dominant.”

Ron Dennis: Red Bull’s problems are partly ‘self-inflicted’ (The Telegraph)

“Some of what Red Bull is experiencing is self-inflicted. Some of it is in any new regulations – if it involves engines, someone is going to be at the top, someone is going to be at the bottom.”

Marussia aim to make Formula One mark despite meagre resources (The Guardian)

Team principal John Booth: “Most people can see the cost of the Manchester City squad because it’s on the back page of every single paper every day. They can see, when West Brom play Man City, they can see West Brom fighting, using clever strategy to nullify the advantage. But fans can’t see how hard we’re fighting. We don’t have budgets like the big teams.”

Maldonado: Lotus ‘best decision ever’ (Autosport)

“In my opinion it’s the best decision ever. I saw the car first in the windtunnel and it was fantastic.”

F1’s McLaren revs up hunt for investors (FT, registration required)

“The team has held exploratory talks with Chinese investors. ‘The net is cast wide,’ he said, when asked about the discussions. ‘It’s a question of the quality of the investor.'”

Mercedes has the edge – Massa (ESPN)

“Honestly, if you ask me which team as at the front, I think it’s Mercedes. But we’ll see, and now is the time to understand who is really at the front, when we get to qualifying and everybody is on the same fuel and new tyres. Then you will understand where you are compared to the others.”

Administrators failed to support F1, says Narain Karthikeyan (The Times of India)

“The fans need to be educated more about this sport so that they can enjoy it in the right spirit. But sadly I have not seen any effort from the authorities to popularise it.”

Kevin Garside: Could Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton next wear the F1 crown? (The Independent)

“Hamilton would rise again a year later only to see his McLaren career crushed under the aegis of Martin Whitmarsh. Had Dennis reached for the guillotine and lopped the well-meaning technocrat sooner, Hamilton might still be a McLaren driver.”


Comment of the day

It seems many readers are hoping for Williams to thrive this year:

Privateer teams like Williams used to be the backbone and lifeblood of the sport that I love. For the last decade or more, we’ve slowly lost them to big manufacturers or big business with heaps of cash, but with what seems like a revival of fortune, Williams is finding itself near the front again and I can’t state enough how big a deal that is.

I think we’re long past the time when plucky little private teams find themselves fighting for championships, which is a shame, but hopefully the likes of Williams will keep the old racing spirit alive to allow people to draw a line from little karters and small private teams in the lower formulae all the way up to the top.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Fred Schechter!

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

Happy birthday to Toshio Suzuki who is 59 today.

Suzuki had won the Japanese Formula Three championship in 1979, but his Formula One debut didn’t come for another 14 years. He made two starts for Larrousse in place of Philippe Alliot, the first of which at his home track, Suzuka.

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

101 comments on “End of Red Bull dominance ‘good for F1′ – Button”

      1. I certainly do think that McLaren beat themselves with stupid mistakes, sloppy pitwork and reliability in 2012 only to outsmart themselves in 2013, for example. And Ferrari IMO have robbed themselves of a better championship by their driver choice and way of handling them, as well as failing to understand where they were going wrong with the car for 3 years now. So in that sense, Red Bull did beat themselves, yes. But If you see it that way, then I see no problem with it at all @omarr-pepper, because whether you beat your competitors by being better prepared (as it seems Mercedes certainly are compared to Red Bull), having better reliability/making less mistakes, clever execution of races, or just being fast enough to storm away from pole more often than not, all are viable ways to win the championship. Although normally its a combination of getting those factors right.

      1. @kingshark I’m not being hilarious at all. Red Bull stood a step forward respect to the other teams all these years (even in 2010 three teams were close). This year Red Bull is two steps behind respect to the others. It’s like in bullfighting (no pun), The matador only beats the bull because before the show, the poor animal is already beaten. If he challenged a rodeo bull, the man would be in heaven in 3 seconds.

        1. @omarr-pepper
          Who’s fault is it that Red Bull is 2 steps behind everyone in development? Red Bull are Renault’s work factory team, they played a major role in the development of their V6 – and even if it’s all Renault’s fault, no one forced RBR to chose them as engine supplier.

          Whoever’s fault it might be that Red Bull is so far behind coming into 2014, it sure as hell ain’t Merc’s.

          1. @omarr-pepper

            Where (and please really tell me) do I say that RB debacle is to be blamed in Mercs? It’s theirs, RB’s fault of course. But what I say is that the season start would have been more interesting if RB had been strong, just as much or closer to the Mercedes engned teams

            And 2011-2013 would have been more interesting if the other top teams had been much closer to RBR in performance. Still, I did not hear anyone claim that “Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Lotus only beat themselves”.

          2. @kingshark

            Flawed logic. If one team is ahead of three, it’s not unreasonable to believe it did it better. If that one team is behind the other three, it’s not unreasonable to believe that team dropped the ball. Now that three (top) teams drop the ball, that’s a bit more unlikely.

            It’s not inherently right or not, but definetly not illogical.

            And yes, 2011 and 2013 would have been more interesting if the other teams would have performed better, I don’t see, nor have ever seen somebody claiming the contrary.

          3. even if it’s all Renault’s fault, no one forced RBR to chose them as engine supplier.

            That is a ludicrous comment @kingshark. I suppose Red Bull should have hired the services of their mystic fortune teller to look into her ball and foresee that Renault would build a bad engine before the development of the RB10 began, so that they had time to cancel their contract with Renault (for which I imagine there would be costly exit clauses) and sign one for Mercedes – whom she had also predicted would be runaway victors of the initial development phase?

            Such things cannot be foreseen, particularly if said outfit do not manufacture their own engines. And it is ridiculous to suggest that Red Bull knowingly elected to use and engine which would ultimately turn out to be problematic. And even more ridiculous to suggest that – by the time the truth became clear – they had the ability to change engine supplier, which is such an integral part of the car design (particularly now).

          4. @vettel1
            The teams new about these new regulation changes since 2011. Red Bull has been the Renault’s work team since Enstone turned into Team Lotus. RBR was essentially the factory team and played a huge role in the engine development for 3 years.

            Here’s a question for you; if it had been Mercedes or Ferrari who fluked up the new engines, and as a result, their team was in a terrible position for 2014 – would you still call them unlucky – or incompetent? I can bet you it would be the later, and since Red Bull are the Renault work team, why should they be held by any different standards?

        2. So is that what happened when Williams faltered in 1998 and McLaren dominated? Or when Renault broke Ferrari’s winning streak in 2005? Or when Williams dominated in 1992 because McLaren couldn’t keep up technically? Come on, you can’t seriously buy that argument.

          If Red Bull don’t end up winning anything this season because they aren’t as well prepared as the others they have no one but themselves to blame, the others would have won fair and square.

          1. @geemac hehehe, it looks like I have to explain my words over and over again… I know it’s RB’s fault, nobody else, but I say that it feels much better when the champion is beaten at the same level of powers. There’s always thrill watching the new contendants, but it’s not just the same. That is why most of the times Button is played down, because his Brawn won when Hamilton had a bad car. Button beat Vettel and it was thrilling, but many people say he never had to actually challenge Hamilton because McLaren beat themselves.

        3. That one goes completely amiss @omarr-pepper, because the bull is not the one who prepares himself, and anyway there is no competition in bull fighting.

          As Newey himself admits, Red Bull focussed too much on last year, while others started to shift their attention to this year.
          It’s a choice they made last year, and in hindsight it looks like it was the wrong one for RBR (they would have most likely won the championships even with less improvements), but it did bring them a commanding number of wins and a lot of money from Bernie.

    1. @omarr-pepper Give credit to the other teams where it’s due.Red Bull messed up this time in winter.I believe even lotus has a better car especially how they talk about its wind tunnel numbers ( but yeah , they have to be translated onto the track). I also don’t think Red Bull will be sitting around . Whether I like it or not , they will be back in business by mid season . It’s upto the other teams to build a points gap by then .

    2. @omarr-pepper The battle for the championship is both on and off the track, and this time around it was Red Bull’s engineers fighting against other teams engineers and loosing, instead Vettel being beaten by another driver. Perfectly valid to me.

    3. It’s interesting you should say that, especially since Red Bull had basically all 4 top teams from the last 4-5 seasons fall back due to efforts they’ve put in 2008 campaign. I don’t remember Red Bull or Brawn going around, moping, how it is sad and unfortunate that Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and BMW all collectively dropped the ball in preparations for 2009.

    4. I was roting for teh end of their dominance but I did not want them to go so wrong. For me, the perfect picture would be watching Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonnen, Massa, Button with cars they could aspire winning races from the first GP to the last, that would be a dream come true.

      Let’s hope they bounce back sooner than later.

    5. @omarr-pepper – I have a question regarding this relating to the new comments from Newey.

      So Newey has blamed part of their issues on not switching focus to the 2014 car early enough. The rest all switched focus much earlier.

      On that basis, if it’s an empty victory to win this year because Red Bull are struggling, was it also an empty victory for Red Bull and Vettel last year because everyone else had effectively given up?

        1. @omarr-pepper – Yeah I agree with that. Having said that, I don’t know exactly when Mercedes did give up. I suspect they told us all that they had switched to the 2014 car a race or two before they actually did!

          I suppose for me, you can only beat what is racing against you. If Red Bull have got it wrong with this car, it doesn’t (for me) take anything away from whoever wins the title.

      1. They have no “factory” support like Red Bull do and McLaren will next season. They aren’t a manufacturer team like Ferrari or Mercedes. They have no corporate shareholders like Lotus. Williams is a essentially just a big, successful family business, so I would argue that are privateers.

  1. “In my opinion it’s the best decision ever. I saw the car first in the windtunnel and it was fantastic.” – Maldonado

    Surely he’s just trying to save face. I know we’ve not had a single wheel turned on an official weekend yet, but right now, moving from Williams to Lotus has looked like a poor/unlucky decision: Lotus’s financial problems and losses of technical staff members, combined with the hopeless Renault engines, doesn’t look like it’s going to add up to anything good this year.

    1. Indeed. On the other hand, Massa who was also fighting for the Lotus seat is in heaven now. I watched an interview he gave to Brazilian tv and you could see happiness in his eyes.

    2. It has to be the nose. Or the “noses.”
      “First, I will take somebody out using the shorter one. And then a quick turn with the steering wheel, and I will hit him again with the longer one.”

  2. Surely beating Red Bull will be fantastic but not a limping bull at the moment as there’s no fight at all unless we have a level playing field. Button’s time in F1 is very limited, my guess is he’ll be out in 2 years time and lands himself a sports car drive in Le Mans?

    1. Do bear in mind that the article is from the Daily Mail – I highly doubt Jenson would say something so blatantly inflamatory, especially as he knows better than most that testing != racing.

      1. Testing may not be a good indication of speed (too many variables), but it is a good indication of how reliable a car is. And Red Bull is definitely not reliable. Their longest run in the twelve days of testing so far has been around 20 laps.

  3. One word from Schumacher that tells the world there is a way out of that tragic and unfathomable silence trumps any outcome on the track.

    Beautiful and touching end to that Guardian article. Hard to believe it’s March and Schumi’s condition is where it is. I think of him daily and hope for his recovery. Still, the show goes on, but perspective makes such things seem trivial.

  4. “Not having Red Bull at the front now is good for the sport.

    I seriously think that many people are talking too soon. We will never know the true running order from only looking at testing. I’ve said it before, Q3 in Melbourne is when we really get a proper picture of things. Regardless of how much Red Bull have struggled reliability wise in testing, I’m fairly certain that Adrian Newey and co. have not designed a fundamentally slow car which they cannot improve significantly throughout the season.

    So with that being the case, I expect Red Bull to still be in the thick of things at the front end of the grid in 2014. Sure they’ve had some pretty substantial trouble in the past few weeks, but I doubt they have designed a car like the McLaren last year which was essentially just a slow car and even from the first race, never looked like it was going to catch up to the front running teams.

    So really, discount Red Bull at your peril because I still think they are a serious force to be reckoned with, regardless of their pre-season woes.

    1. Yes they are a very strong team . It’s a question of when they will come back . But , Renault also has to do some of the work . I don’t know this time if there is some magic trick that Newey can incorporate within the rules to bring them to the top again . There is always usually something , flexi wings , exhaust blown diffusers , fancy EBD throttle mapping etc etc . If he can do a 2012 singapore-ish update , they will be back .

      1. @hamilfan Yeah but those kind of updates will only bring tenths, I’m afraid Red Bull needs to be find at least 2 seconds, which is not impossible but by the time they do the other teams will have gained a couple more themselves.

    2. I haven’t seen many people counting them out completely. Just for the WDC or WCC. The problem is time. As you say, no doubt Newey et al have a rocket aerodynamically, they just need to get the power unit sorted. Will it take 3 races, will it take 18? That’s the key here

    3. lets put it like this: had red bull a merc or ferrari engine theyd be one of the fastest teams right now. i think its really all because that crappy renault engine…

    1. He’s trying to convince us that he made the right move. But it’s about as believable as Bernie claiming he is an honest man.

      I’m just trying to imagine the look on Pastor’s face when he realised that he left a potentially front running team for a team that cannot even complete a race distance. He must have had that fuming on the inside psycho look on his face again.. LMAO

  5. Michael Schumacher…the name with which even today, many people who don’t follow F1 too keenly, associate Formula One with..he might be both loved and hated among F1 fans, but it is ….I can’t find an adjective here….it’s shocking to see how such a big figure in motorsport is battling for his life. Just yesterday, the brother of a famous Bollywood actress passed away from coma, and that made me think whether the same thing will befall Michael, when the thing will become a matter of when, not if. But who can we blame here? Was this a freak accident? Can we live our entire lives under the shadow of fear, like the survivors in a Final Destination film?

    I’m sorry for such an emotional comment, but coming to the realisation that Michael might never wake up was overwhelming. I started following the sport because of him. I know he retired, but what he’s going through now is…

    I’ll continue hoping for the miracle, that Michael wakes up and is Michael again. I can only hope, that’s the only thing we have now.

  6. I really dislike the arrogance of Button and Dennis – it appears as though they are congratulating themselves for the downfall of Red Bull, when in reality it was just pot luck. I am hopeful that the 2015 Honda engines are as poor as the Renault engines are presently, and that this will make them think twice before giving such hubris-filled public interviews. Ah, but vain hope…

    1. Maybe you could point out some of that arrogance? Maybe it’s when Button said ‘Nobody has a clue who will be quick next week’? Not to mention the quote under the Telegraph’s headline is not supported by the article at all.

      Also, I read a Daily Mail article. Now I must cleanse my soul of the evil that has infested it.

    2. @stigrennfahrer Beside the fact that the aforementioned arrogance being nothing more than a product of your imagination, If indeed RBR fails this season it’s not pot luck. Nobody’s having the same amount of problems with packaging the Renault engine as RBR do. Seems to me that the inherent strength of Newey’s tight packaging which was a blessing in the previous aero-dominated era turned out to be a bit of a curse this year.
      of course if they find a way to sort out the cooling then it might yet turn out to be a winner yet, if not this year then next. But saying it’s just bad luck is wrong

      1. I also understood (I think that was from @somersf1) that part of Red Bull’s trouble was their own devised energy storage pack that was mis-communicating with the rest of the PU, and that they had to change to the “standard” Battery pack Renault supplies their other teams (taking away a potential advantage they would have had if it had worked).
        So yes, the Renault is a worry, but its pretty much also a self made problem from/untimely wrong choices made at the team @stigrennfahrer, @montreal95.
        Red Bull (and Brawn) stole a march on their competitors in 2009, now RBR look like finding themselves in a position not unlike what McLaren and Ferrari were in that year (having misjudged KERS effectiveness as well as the focus on the previous championship meaning a slower shift in attention to the current season resulting in a not competitive start).

  7. I can not understand why every one is just writing of Red Bull after what they have achieved the past four years. A team with that pedigree is bound to challenge again very quickly

  8. Had Dennis reached for the guillotine and lopped the well-meaning technocrat sooner, Hamilton might still be a McLaren driver.

    Why does the author believe that? Dennis has failed as a leader many times in the past (falling from grace after Honda’s withdrawal in 1992, losing Adrian Newey to Red Bull, spygate, civil war between Alonso and Hamilton, just one title in the 2000s etc.). At the same time, not everything that Whitmarsh did was bad; let’s not forget that he handled the deal with Honda and took the brave decision to sign Magnussen for 2014. If McLaren return to winning ways over the next couple years, it will be thanks to Whitmarsh.

    Perhaps Whitmarsh had to be replaced but I think it’s naïve to believe that McLaren will now prosper just because the Rigorous Ron is back.

      1. If you see the interview Ron did with Sky he says that McLaren exist to win grands prix. So while Whitmarsh didn’t win any titles he did his job by winning a heap of races from 2009 – 2012.

    1. I don’t see Honda leaving in 92 as one of his failings and it is no guarantee his return will lead to success.
      Despite the fact that Withmarsh had done pretty well for a team boss relative to Mclaren’s recent form, he was seemingly loosing the plot with each passing year.
      Withmarsh seemed to be more fascinated with statistics and paper records, like his chasing of consistent points score, which on paper shows the team was performing but in reality, may just have been salvaging points. I felt back then, had Ron been in charge, he’d sacrifice those trickling of points and gone for the win(s)
      But I think what may have finally been the last straw, was the 2013 car. Mclaren realised early on the car was not very fast or quite inconsistent, but Withmarsh deciding to continue on with a car that seemed destined to be a failure exposed his weakness as a leader capable of taking those crucial decisions in times of crises.
      A car is merely a design, not a being so it made no sense to stick to what was clearly failing, when there was a possibility to try and adapt what had worked previously into meeting the 2013 regulations.

    2. Ron’s Return is basically the same as Steve Jobs returning to Apple in the late-90’s.

      Ron seemed to hint that he (and the board) believed Martin’s flaws were that he had diverged his interest in making McLaren ‘for F1′ rather than ‘for McLaren’ – all of his FOTA work, renting McLaren facilities & technologies to other teams etc.

      By cutting off all of this (they’ve cut ties with Marussia – now using Ferrari stuff – and Force India – who now run Mercedes gearboxes) and ‘vertically integrating’ with Honda (no doubt Ron will push for McLaren to get priority on engine developments, even though customer teams are ‘supposed’ to get the same engine), it’s all about driving McLaren back to the top, regardless of the cost or means.

      1. I’d say that owed a lot more to McLaren’s technical department than Whitmarsh – it was Tim Goss and Paddy Lowe who were pushing Whitmarsh to change their design philosophy for 2013 rather than the other way around.

        Let us not forget, Ron Dennis did exactly the same thing in the mid 2000’s too – Newey lobbied Ron to go down a more aggressive development route and ended up turning out the disastrous MP4/18, a car that was so flawed that it couldn’t be raced, and followed that up with the uncompetitive MP4/19 that saw McLaren fall to 5th in the WCC the year after they had only narrowly missed out on the title in 2003.

        Whitmarsh’s dismissal does not address the fact that McLaren’s real issues have stemmed from their technical department, and those issues were present under Ron Dennis as well as under Whitmarsh.

      2. @jason12 As was pointed by anon above yours is a wrong and extremely unfair comment. Whitmarsh doesn’t design the car. Under Ron’s leadership Mclaren had their fair share of blunders as well. You could say he had some blame in letting Lewis go, but in the MP4-28 Lewis would’ve also won nothing

  9. It’s far too early to say or even imply RBR are over and done with. We’ve only had pre-season testing, Red Bull have the biggest budget, the best engineers and aero department, arguably the best driver whose confidence is through the roof right now and they’ve always developed well throughout the season. If if this year does end up being a right off they lost in 09 and came back stronger than ever in 2010 and we all know what happened in the seasons after that. Plus, if things go as expected/predicted and we go from an era of Red Bull dominating to Mercedes dominating that isn’t actually a giant leap forward in terms of entertainment.

    1. Mercedes domination is may be different in that Hamilton and Rosberg may be closer than Vettel and Webber. If Webber would have been closer to Vettel we would have had some outstanding championship battles and a number of hissy fits.

  10. “In my opinion it’s the best decision ever. I saw the car first in the windtunnel and it was fantastic.” – Maldonado

    Aww!! Didn’t you see the Williams car getting developed during your tenure at the team? Case of VERY sour grapes

  11. Wow, whatever happened to the phoney winter championship? All sorts of times and performances would come out of winter testing and then come the first race, and in fact even the second, results would be totally different. Very rarely, maybe the Brawn in 2009, do you get a proper inkling before a competitive wheel has been turned.

    1. That’s true, but you do get a general idea, and the evidence is pretty overwhelming that at a bare minimum RBR for example, even if they have sorted out some reliability issues and are destined to finish the first race, have had relatively much less time to gain knowledge on tires and on setup options for their car and how those truly affect the tires. They also may not know how hard they can push their power unit whereas the Mercedes teams already know so much more about what happens to their systems and their fuel economy when they do crank it up.

      So I don’t think it is as rare as you are claiming for us to have a relatively accurate inkling as to what to expect. And that is, now that the pre-season testing is completed and an overall picture can start to be assembled. Generally, Mercedes teams should be relatively confident, Renault teams should not be, and Ferrari should be in the mix if not by pace at least by reliability in testing. Of course there may be some surprises.

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