Red Bull out-developing Mercedes, claims Vettel

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel believes Red Bull have made larger strides forward in the development race than Mercedes at this stage of the season.


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Upbeat Sebastian Vettel claims Red Bull are ‘making bigger steps’ than Mercedes (Sky F1)

Vettel: “We can see that the others, especially these guys [Mercedes] are quite a bit ahead, a little bit quicker than us and always have enough in hand to respond. At the moment, though, it looks like we are making bigger steps than them and let’s hope it continues like that.”

‘I thought he was going to put me in the wall’ – Rosberg (ESPN)

Rosberg: “I had a really good start, so I was happy about that because it’s not so easy this year. So it’s very difficult to get it right – but it felt great and got away well and then Sebastian, I thought he was going to put me right into the wall, but he stopped just before – so thank you for that!”

Jenson Button wants more from McLaren (BBCF1)

Button: “I don’t think the high speed here and the heat worked for us but there is no getting away from the fact that we are weak in high speed. We do have strength and that’s why we are able to keep teams behind us but at speed we have got a lot of work to do.”

Lewis Hamilton Q&A: All our hard work paid off (

Hamilton: “It was pretty special to win this race. In the past I’ve always had a difficult time here in Malaysia. It was never that the pace was not there – it simply never went my way. So today: what a great feeling.”

Something NOT about a head injury! (A Former F1 Doc Writes)

“I needn’t go into ANY detail about why this regimen of starvation and dehydration is ridiculous from a medical point of view. This has got to stop. And it’s got to stop now. And given the competitive pressures of the sport, this will not be easy.”

Williams having financial problems according to Todt (

Todt: “I am worried that we will lose teams. Many are crying out for help, and our job is to listen to these cries. Formula one is in intensive care and time is running out — by the end of June, a solution to this problem must be found.”

Ecclestone brings his top guns to the table as trio hold high-level meeting to thrash out F1’s future (Daily Mail)

“Bernie Ecclestone brought together Donald Mackenzie, the affable but publicity-shy head of F1’s owners CVC, and Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal whom he has nominated as his preferred successor.”

F1 Savaged for ‘Worst Minute’s Silence Ever’ Before Malaysia Grand Prix (International Business Times)

“Formula One bosses have been savaged on Twitter for holding “the worst minute’s silence ever” before the Malaysian Grand Prix to remember the passengers on flight MH370.”


Comment of the day

After Daniel Ricciardo received a 10-place grid drop for the next race in Bahrain following his disastrous third pitstop, @Rigi believes that a harsh punishment for such incidents is the correct approach for the FIA to take.

It’s a shame about it being Ricciardo, who is a great driver but just very unlucky at the moment. But I see it this way; pit stop safety is very important. I’ve been at the Nurburgring race last year, and when Webber’s tire hit the camera man I was shocked because I genuinely thought that guy might’ve just died live on television. I do not wish to see this again, and any penalty for infringements during pit stops is, in my opinion, very justified.

Punishing Red Bull only instead of Ricciardo? How? A £20’000 fine won’t really matter in a £200 mil budget. In my view, there is no way to punish a team properly in a way in which the driver won’t be affected. It’s not the drivers fault, one may argue.. well, the driver is a member of the team just like lollipop man and the cook of the motorhome are. So if a team gets punished, the driver should be punished a swell. The way the FIA runs penalties for pit stop infringements is good and I sincerely hope they stand by it.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

1994 F1 seasonJean Alesi broke his neck when he crashed his Ferrari while testing at Mugello on this day 20 years ago. His C2, C3 and C4 vertebrae were damaged in the accident at the Arrabbiata corner.

Doctors at the track initially failed to diagnose the injury, which was only discovered after Alesi’s mother told him to go to hospital for an X-ray. He was forced to miss the Pacific and San Marino Grands Prix while he recovered.

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102 comments on Red Bull out-developing Mercedes, claims Vettel

  1. OOliver said on 31st March 2014, 8:50

    Exactly and maybe also a fine. The driver realising the situation stopped immediately to comply with the safety regulation, why should he now take further punishment for the team.

  2. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 31st March 2014, 9:12

    Looking at the 1994 feature, was there any sense at the time of impending disaster, or that the cars were too dangerous? Or was it just regarded as bad luck that Lehto and Alesi had been seriously injured in testing crashes?

    Lehto’s return to racing, and his first attempt at a standing start in the Benetton, played its part in the dreadful events at Imola.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st March 2014, 9:42

      I do recall worries that the cars would be difficult to handle since everyone had been reliant on traction control over a mechanically good suspension @bullfrog, and the 1st races showed that Williams clearly lost a lot (but that meant others had a chance), I think, but it has been 20 years, so I can’t say for certain now, and at the time it was only the 2nd F1 season I consistently watched.

    • Kazihno (@kazinho) said on 31st March 2014, 11:31

      I would say no.

      There were predictions before the season about big accidents. But there were big ones in the seasons with active suspension so it’s not like they were rare events.

      Even after the big collision at Interlagos between Irvine, Verstappen & Brundle the talking point was “look at how strong the cars are after something so big” instead of “these big accidents are happening too frequently”. There was an over-confidence that the drivers were safe from serious harm because no one had suffered serious injuries for almost 10 years.

      As I’ve said elsewhere on this site: The “ancient era of Formula 1″ ended on May 1 1994. It was like a meteor hit the earth that day.

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 31st March 2014, 9:46

    Wow, yesterday was surprising. Not so much in the result itself, but in the seventeen second gap between Hamilton and Rosberg. Had someone said that one Mercedes would finish seventeen seconds ahead of the other before the race, I would have suggested that Rosberg finished ahead of Hamilton struggling with tyre degradation, but no. It appears I have been brainwashed by the Sky F1 pundits into thinking that Lewis is too hard on the car! But did Rosberg not have an issue? He used more fuel than Hamilton but found himself seventeen seconds behind and, for much of the race, in the sights of Vettel; how does that happen? Maybe we’ve just forgotten what an incredible racing driver Lewis Hamilton is? When he’s happy, knows he’s doing a good job and has got a “sweet balance” as he described it after the race, he’s invariably the best racing driver in the world, which just confirms the value of operation Hamilton appeasement. He’s great at “wow” qualifying laps, “do-or-die” maneuvers and extracting the maximum from his car, but pace modulation and race control were never Hamilton strong points; are they now? Yesterday affirmed two suspicions of mine: 1) that Hamilton is indeed the title favourite and 2) his main title challenger, if he can maintain the internal team momentum, is Vettel, not Rosberg.

    And that is your Radio 4 style “F1 Thought of the Day” with me, WilliamB.

    • Evans said on 31st March 2014, 11:00

      The way I read it was that Merc wanted to keep the RBR pushing to its limits just in case that would trigger a failure on it. They always had enough to pull away if they needed and keeping Rosberg baiting Vettel would also give them good data, preserve their engine a bit (Lewis didn’t race in AUS so he was fine), keep their drivers from fighting and valuate just how much the RBR can push.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st March 2014, 14:15

      At one point LH was told NR was having rear tire issues so he (LH) should watch out for that too. I just wonder if this was just NR’s setup at this particular track that had him using his rears a little more, and if the next track might be different.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 31st March 2014, 14:37

        @robbie – Yes, I would imagine that would have been some tangible reason behind that seventeen second gap, because it rather goes against both testing and practice form in the race runs, although Hamilton was, marginally, stronger in those race runs on Friday, but not to the tune of seventeen seconds. Rosberg used more fuel than Hamilton and simply appeared not to have the performance of #44 car, although, as I said, Hamilton described his race balance as “sweet”, and we know the value of Hamilton appeasement. In essence, when Hamilton is comfortable he has the potential to be every bit as imperious as Vettel was last year.

    • @william-brierty
      Spot on but i may add Fernando too into the list of WDC Contenders as Reliability is key which is what Ferrari has
      Currently Mercedes is the fastest car by a second over its rivals sounds too big but i think RBR will be there So we may see a 2010 showdown Style between SV and LH. Lets wait and watch the show.

  4. Kazihno (@kazinho) said on 31st March 2014, 11:40

    Re: Driver weight loss.

    Making a higher mandatory minimum weight limit won’t do anything to address the situation since lighter drivers will have the advantage of placing extra ballast on the floor of the car and drivers will still be under pressure to maintain stick figures.

    If they want to do something about the weight issue they can have 2 minimum weights: The CAR must be no less than 610 kg, the DRIVER AND HIS/HER SEAT must weight no less than 90 kg. The weights are not combined.

    Any ballast to make (minimum driver + seat weight) = minimum combined weight has to be placed in a specific location within the cockpit and at a minimum height from the ground reference plane.

  5. Maciek (@maciek) said on 31st March 2014, 13:42

    Well that’s about as clear and loud a warning bell over F1’s financial unsustainability as you’re ever going to get, isn’t it? I mean, there’s lots to dislike about Jean Todt (like the fact that there’s no way he should be married to a woman of Michelle Yeoh’s calibre – she was mine I tell you!) but when the head of the FIA comes out publicly in this manner… say now, wasn’t there a former head of FIA who warned about F1 finances only to have his kinky sex life dragged out in public while at loggerheads with a certain short British fellah? Just saying.

    And speaking of sneaky tricky, how healthy is it for the sport when it’s financial directors meet with one(!) of the team principals to discuss its future?

    Seriously, I think my brain blows a fuse every time I hear someone say how Ecclestone has been good for the sport.

  6. leonGTV6 (@leongtv6) said on 31st March 2014, 14:27

    “We do have strength and that’s why we are able to keep teams behind us”…Which teams Jenson?Williams and Toro Rosso? And you call that strength? What about the 40secs behind FI? It’s an embarrassement for such an illustrious and historic team like McLaren.There’s a lot of work to be done, otherwise McLaren will become an erstwhile British glory (like the original Lotus).

  7. Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 31st March 2014, 16:17

    That ‘minute’ silence was miles too short and far too irreverent

    • Mr win or lose said on 31st March 2014, 18:11

      True. It reminds me of the eleven seconds of silence for Mandela at the World Cup draw last year.

  8. Rigi (@rigi) said on 31st March 2014, 16:49

    yay, i got my first COTD :D
    thanks @keithcollantine

  9. Egorov (@egorov) said on 31st March 2014, 21:08

    F1 Savaged for ‘Worst Minute’s Silence Ever’ Before Malaysia Grand Prix

    That’s a shame, I myself timed this one right now and it was 30s only… even Bernie looked surprised that it was over so soon…

  10. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 1st April 2014, 10:18

    Re comment of the day, fine the team 100k or dock them five points from the constructors if they have any, they will soon sit up, even 100k for Red Bull will get the team boss jumping on the pit crew to make it right.
    Also, perhaps the FIA should require all teams to demonstrate their pit stop procedures under controlled environment and if any practices that are highlighted as too dangerous or not within safety margins for the FIA then order a rethink. So things like a universal approach on release, all staff to have their hands up and wear bright gloves or something. I know it may sound daft, but to rely on teams to develop their own systems is proving very dangerous.

  11. pxcmerc (@pcxmerc) said on 1st April 2014, 14:52

    Red Bull are not as close to Mercedes as they think, or at least are publicly admitting. Nico had some sort of issue or was intentionally running slow in Sepang, and Lewis was cruising for 90% of the race, both probably could have gone quicker.

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