Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Red Bull believe Mercedes’ attempted to persuade the FIA to give them a three-race ban shows the championship leaders are worried about the threat they pose.


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

Spy Games: China (Red Bull)

“Actually it’s quite reassuring: it means we’re getting close enough to get them rattled and sweating a bit. Back in February that looked pretty unlikely.”

Top Russian Rally Axed Due to Sochi F1 Grand Prix (Ria Novosti)

“The 2014 [Silk Way rally] was scheduled to cross Russia and Kazakhstan over 3,000km and eight days in July, but organizers said they had decided to cancel it to allow the event’s government backers to focus on promoting October’s F1 Grand Prix in Sochi.”

Lotus: Renault gains worth two seconds (Autosport)

Gerard Lopez: “We saw a clear step up from Renault’s side in China. The guys are almost talking about two seconds, which is huge.”

Rosberg expects gap to grow in Spain (ESPN)

“We want to go to Barcelona with the biggest step, that’s our ambition. Barcelona is a chance for us to extend the advantage that we have and that’s the approach that we have going to Barcelona, 100%.”

Horner: Vettel will be back (Sky)

Sebastian Vettel: “There are a lot of things in my head. Formula One got very complex and I think as a driver I think we have lost a lot of features and given a lot to the engineers. So it’s not that easy to understand and stay on top of everything.”

The First Time – with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (F1)

“What was the first thing you did this morning?
NR: Switched off my alarm because I woke up before it. And the next important thing that I did was weigh myself, as weight is such an important thing in F1 these days.”

Can Haas reverse the tide of history? (MotorSport)

“First of all, Haas’s California-based company Haas Automation is the USA’s largest manufacturer of CNC machine tools so that Haas enjoys tremendous manufacturing and financial resources. Haas founded his business in 1985 and started his NASCAR team in 2002. Seven years later Haas went into partnership with two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and Stewart went on to win his third NASCAR championship and first with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2011.”

McLaren well off the pace in Shanghai – again (The Telegraph)

“[China is] a vital Grand Prix, but not exactly what you would call charming.”


Comment of the day

Nico Hulkenberg is fourth in the drivers’ championship at the moment – is a talent the top teams have overlooked?

I am getting tired of people praising ‘his majesty’ Hulkenberg, it is still too soon to call that he is “mopping the floor” with Perez, and certainly there must be a reason why no top team (the ones with money) have not even approached him (perhaps he is not a driver aggressive enough to win races?).

I am just saying, they know better…

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Wonderduck, Hydro and BenH!

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On this day in F1

High drama off the track and on it at the San Marino Grand Prix 25 years ago. Gerhard Berger was incredibly fortunate to survive an inferno when his car crashed at Tamburello and caught fire.

After the race restarted the two McLaren drivers fell out over which one of them was supposed to take the lead at the start. Ayrton Senna went on to win from team mate Alain Prost, but it was a major turning point in the deterioration of their relationship.

Berger missed the next round in Monaco while he recovered from his burns, but was back in the cockpit for the following round in Mexico. Here’s what happened to him:

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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158 comments on Red Bull pleased to have “rattled” Mercedes

  1. Grego Franco (@francogrego) said on 23rd April 2014, 2:24

    Red Bull is the one getting rattled and sweating a bit because they lost the case and haven’t won a race. If they don’t win, Dietrich Mateschitz will pull out of F1. Hehe.

    • Aqib (@aqibqadeer) said on 23rd April 2014, 6:37

      if he pulls out of F1 it would be bad for everybody because then we would lose two teams red bull and toro rosso so I hope he doesn’t even though we are getting a new team still i want to see 24 cars on the grid next year

      • JackJ said on 23rd April 2014, 7:34

        That just opens up space for other manufacturers like BMW or Toyota to return. Hopefully.

        • OOliver said on 23rd April 2014, 10:18

          We need teams with a long term perspective on F1, and not the glory hunters. Toyota, as much as I like the company itself, just wasn’t good for F1. They wrecked a lot of drivers careers in the process. BMW did something similar and almost completely erased Sauber’s F1 legacy.

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 23rd April 2014, 11:25

          There has always been one space available on the grid, and since HRT pulled out there have been two. Toyota and BMW have shown no interest whatsoever in coming back to F1, because they got utterly burned last time they were involved in the sport. Both have realised they can have a much better time racing in other series’ for a lot less money and a lot more success. I.e. Toyota’s 1-2 finish at the WEC season opener last weekend.

      • quinnolabar said on 24th April 2014, 1:47

        If he pulls out the Milton Keynes team will still exist, just as it had before. Same goes for Toro Rosso. Having the energy drink brand pull out wouldn’t be the end of the world. The teams and personnel would still exist, like Honda to Brawn to Mercedes. Don’t worry about the grid size is all I’m saying.

    • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 23rd April 2014, 8:36

      Reallly? Why? Because the Milton Keynes team didn’t exist before Red Bull? Because Red Bull was immediately successful and have not actually been involved long before they had any success?

  2. Dev said on 23rd April 2014, 2:37

    Hulk is good but i think he needs to step up one more level, which i think he can & he will win world championship for Ferrari in 2016.

    • If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Perez a part of Ferrari’s junior program though? If Perez is able to challenge and beat Hulk in the same car, might Ferrari overlook him once again?

  3. JohnnyT said on 23rd April 2014, 2:39

    mercedes pushed very hard to have red bull banned for fuel sensor-gate, its because they know red bull are catching them & will be challenging for wins pretty soon.

    mercedes know red bull have a great car again & are been held back by a poor power unit. if red bull had a mercedes engine they would be there fighting for wins already most likely.

    i am hoping red bull catch right up quickly before its too late so we get to see a proper championship battle between more than just the mercedes teammates.

    • JackJ said on 23rd April 2014, 7:39

      No. They pushed very hard because Red Bull choose to ignore the rules. Even Red Bull’s own sensor showed their car was illegal. It’s surprising that they got off scot free.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th April 2014, 18:57

      No they didn’t push very hard…just made a suggestion. And I doubt they are worried that RBR is catching them. RBR had among the most catching up to do, so that makes them appear to have made bigger strides, when in fact they still lag behind, and definitely are improving, but so will Mercedes.

      Personally I’d be surprised if RBR caught up to Merc this year, but if they do that will be quite a feat and they will deserve kudos for that, but don’t forget they will have to get by TWO Mercedes that are likely going to be getting the lion’s share of the points. Ie. even if RBR catches up it will be too little too late, and even if they somehow miraculously surpassed Merc in performance, I think it will still be too late.

  4. trotter said on 23rd April 2014, 2:52

    It seems that if you don’t have Alonso or Hamilton in your car, you can never be 100% sure how fast the car is actually. You can never quite know how much trouble is down to the car and how much is down to the driver not being able to extract 100% from it because he doesn’t feel 100% comfortable with handling. Every year just gives further proof why it is those two that are considered the best drivers in F1.

    • Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:20

      Every year just gives further proof why it is those two that are considered the best drivers in F1.

      Fun fact: Pkenty of people disagree with you and there is absolutly no way to prove anything. Untill the day Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel drive the same car we will never really know.

      • JackJ said on 23rd April 2014, 7:41

        Alonso and Hamilton did drive the same car. Both lost out to Raikkonnen.

        • Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:59

          But that is no reason to say Kimi is the supremo of F1 is it? It it were all just reading the statistics it would be rather easy to just say Vettel is the best. However we all know there is more to it than just statistics although we should never discard them. If Alonso were to outdrive for example a Marussia scoring one point that would be one hell of a drive, although it is a stupid one point.

        • OOliver said on 23rd April 2014, 10:21

          But Raikkonnen was gifted by Massa.

      • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:43

        Which will never happen, so with that in mind, this is the best we’ve got.

        • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:29

          @Sam – We definitely do know that Alonso and Lewis are the benchmarks in F1.
          Let’s look at how they have performed generally in relation to their benchmarks in 2013 (though you can take other seasons and still arrive at the same conclusion).
          If not for Lewis, Merc will have a single pole from Rosberg. We would be saying the Mercs have bad quali pace, but excellent race pace. If not for Alonso, The Ferrari would seem much worse than we currently know it to be. In fact, we would NEVER know it has podium material based on Kimi’s driving. No to RBR – If not for Ricciado, we would be basing the Red Bull car on Vettel’s driving – which is currently NOT that great.

    • Darren Danga said on 24th April 2014, 10:30

      Well put I think lh fa are simply agrade above everyone! It also makes me thonk that mw was not so great thats why sv didn’t have nuch respect for him on the track!

  5. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 23rd April 2014, 3:20

    He’s tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up, he’s not getting the feeback from the car that he wants. The compound effect of that is he’s damaging the tyre more – which is very unusual for Seb since Pirellis were introduced [in 2011]. It’s highly unusual for him to be going through the tyre life quicker than the average.

    From the sky article this quote from Horner is something to take note of. For me, I’m wondering from what changes we’ve seen from 2013 to 2014 has seen this particular symptom crop up for Seb. Is it that he is spinning up his tyres more out of corners with the amount of power pumped out by the turbo engines, or is it that he’s locking up his rears more as he enters a corner with the new fly by wire braking systems? Or is it the lack of grip in corners, that he’s throwing the car around too much, causing it to slide and use up the life of the tyres more? Possibly a combination of 2 or more of those, maybe something else?
    Or it could simply that like he’s said, he’s got too much rattling around in his brain, instead of focusing on the driving itself… Asking questions mid-race about RIC’s strategy gives us an indication that maybe he is not as focused on the track and the work inside the cockpit as he could be, however, with the recent saga of team orders in RBR, no one can blame him for asking the questions.

    • Franz said on 23rd April 2014, 4:19

      It may well be a case of all of the above: Vettel likes a planted rear end on the car & the previous RBs had rear grip in spades. I think most here with decent memory will recall Vettel & Webber not being too far apart when there wasn’t some counterintuitive trickery going on in back that Seb had mastered, but Mark never got on with… Webber has said it several times. Most pundits agree (and anyone standing trackside or listening closely on TV could clearly hear) that there was definitely some different throttle mapping going on with Vettel’s car coming off low speed corners, & the timing sheets have repeatedly backed up the theory.
      This year’s cars have lost rear grip, added a ton of torque & gone to harder compound tires: three different deficiencies that affect one area that held a lot of his advantage. Another is the reportedly abrupt power delivery of the Renault PU. Either way(s), Vettel has lost A KEY WEAPON (IMHO) in his arsenal. Does that make him rubbish? Certainly not, but he has lost an edge. There is no guarantee that he’ll be able to regain his blistering form without a car he likes either. Drivers are sensitive with regards to their preferences: Lewis with his brakes, Kimi with his steering, Jenson likes a neutral car, & Seb/Adrian didn’t quit until they recovered that lost rear downforce last season (Mark still didn’t care for it), the drivers all have circuits they go better on… Vettel will either learn to deal with it or not (or Adrian & co might dream up a new trick… the Vettel fans will cheer & say it’s proof he’s the greatest & people like me will say he just got his preferred party trick back… Lol!), but the fact remains that just like he was well suited to the Pirelli era, other drivers seem better suited to this formula. It’s not like it’s unheard of.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 23rd April 2014, 5:33

      OR maybe he is just normal without the EBD and exhaust trickery .Remember 2012 before development work started . Mark was beating Seb. Again they will develop around Seb this year .If they cannot , then Ricciardo will have the slightest edge over his WDC teammate. But Maybe , Ricciardo is just better . Why can’t nobody even think that . I am amazed !

      • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 23rd April 2014, 6:08

        @hamilfan People have been thinking that RIC has been better than VET. That is clearly not my view, although, I’m not denying that is a possibility. However, given how long I’ve been following F1, I’d like think that I’ve got an idea or two about what makes a good driver vs a great driver. While I think RIC is good, I do not think he’s the next Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher. On the other end of the spectrum, all throughout VET’s career, I have believed that he was as good, if not better than Michael. This is given in part by how VET rose to RBR rather than solely based on his achievements while at RBR. VET had impressed in Williams as Friday test driver and then a couple of years later in Toro Rosso, and I think its these achievements that everyone has conveniently forgotten when they spruk about the “newey” factor contributing to all 4 of VET’s championships. While I do not deny that the brilliance of Newey has had an impact, however, for those following F1 in recent years have learned only in 2014 what “domination” looks like in the form of Mercedes GP, and in none of VET’s 4 championships was the RBR out and outright THE fastest car without equal. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that VET has outperformed every team mate he has been paired with.
        So forgive me when I am not quick to jump off Seb 4 races into the season. Nor would I expect any Hamilton fan to jump off HAM if he finds himself in the same situation.

      • Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:25

        @hamilfan. EVERYONE is thinking about that. To say it after just four races is probably premature. And those who love to say it are quick enough to dispatch of any problems Vettel might have which might I remember you other greats have also had.

        If Vettel has trouble with tyre wear, that easily acounts for a massive drop in performance and lap time. Look at Hamilton and Rosberg in Spain for example.

  6. The team rattling is Williams and not Red Bull. Both Williams drivers managed to rattle Alonso and Rosberg at the first lap!

  7. trotter said on 23rd April 2014, 3:37

    Hmm, anybody else’s comments disappearing? My comment was posted, and there was absolutely nothing remotely vulgar or anything like that in it, and now it’s deleted. :/

  8. macrob said on 23rd April 2014, 3:52

    As for the COTD, I think I need to explain myself: I really think Hulkenberg is an exceptional driver, but I also believe he is way overrated, he is lacking “something” (stronger mentality? be more aggressive?…) and perhaps is one of the reason why no top team has placed a full bet on him yet (still they know better than I do…). Just a point to prove myself, how many podiums for Nico? Nill…Perez (whom many people consider rubbish next to Nico…) already has 4 btw, and driving for the same teams. Perhaps we could at least consider the possibility that the Hulk needs to learn a little bit of Perez aggressiveness to get the results?…

    And just to be crystal clear, I think the best drivers in F1 right now are Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, in that order.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 23rd April 2014, 5:35

      I believe Hulk can better Alonso and Lewis with time . He need not do a kamikaze move to get results .

    • Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:18

      But also Kobayashi has a podium. I don’t think many people rate him higher than Hülkenberg. Hülkenberg has his weight and height against him. That might even be the only reason top teams are not choosing him.

      Besides that Alonso and Hamilton have already praised Hülkenberg as one of the best drivers on the grid. Whitmarsh and Ferrari top men have said they would like Hülkenberg if he wasn’t so tall. Lotus on the other hand could not take Hülkenberg because they NEEDED the cash loaded Maldonado.

      So your arguement to say “teams know better and they haven’t chosen him, ergo he is not good enough” is a no no.

      • Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:11

        Never mind drivers who have scored a podium, Maldonado has a race win to his name. Now, who here wants to say Maldonado is better than Hulkenberg? Go on, someone be brave and say it ;)

        One off results aren’t everything in F1, results over the course of a season show more in my view.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:17

      As you can see from my comment lower down the page there is a perfectly rational reason in every circumstance why Hulkenberg was not selected for promotion, and none of them are do with being “not good enough”. And aggression? On-track aggression is overrated, as Maldonado appears not to have learnt yet, and as for a aggressive strong mentality? In his opening races for Sauber I think he alienated a few by being too demanding, and wanting improvements. He is the complete racing driver, and based on his peerless junior career, comparable midfield results to those of Vettel and mature, calm head, he will be a multiple champion, of that I’m sure.

  9. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd April 2014, 6:18

    I’m all for positive thinking but come on Red Bull, you can’t honestly believe that you have Mercedes “rattled”. Lets look at the gaps between the first Mercedes and the first Red Bull at each race so far this season.

    Australia: 24.5 seconds (while Red Bull were breaching the fuel flow limit)
    Malaysia: 24.5 seconds
    Bahrain: 24.4 seconds (build up over the last 1/12 laps)
    China: 27.1 seconds

    That wouldn’t be giving me cause for concern if I was Mercedes.

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 23rd April 2014, 6:56

      @geemac While I agree with the premise that RBR really are kidding themselves about having Merc rattled. I do however think your use of the gaps in Australia, Malaysia and China are all misleading, not because of the fuel flow issue, and if anyone thinks that RIC gained a massive “performance” enhancement from the the fuel flow issue didn’t read the report on how little over RBR had gone over the Fuel Flow limit, but I digress.
      Back on topic, I think all the gaps you’ve posted don’t tell us anything, however the telling factor is Bahrain, you are spot on, in the last 10 laps Merc showed their true colours by building up a 24 sec gap in such a short time, suggesting that Merc are sitting on a very comfortable performance margin above and beyond the other 3 races. The other staggering bit of information to take from that Bahrain gap is that ROS and HAM were battling for the lead and were still stretching out the lead, normally drivers lose time when dueling with another driver, as the person defending is not always taking the fastest line through corners, but more defensive lines to ensure that gaps are not open for attacking drivers to take advantage of.
      So for my mind if Merc were to push the boundaries like every other team are atm, they could lap the entire field, such is their margin. However, right now they are sandbagging quite a bit, not being greedy, and probably doing so to ensure that their tyres last long enough, and that the hardware/machinery can last not only the race distance, but also ensure that they can ensure their power plants last the required number of races, as well as the other components that have to last differing amounts of race as per the rules.
      Mercedes in 2014 are doing what Williams did to the field in 1993, or what McLaren did in 1988, just positively dominating in a car that is well beyond the reach of their peers. Domination like this is amazing to watch, but heart wrenching for all the teams/drivers of other teams not in the dominating car, because they poor their heart and soul into it, and realistically, the best they can hope for is a podium behind one or both of the Merc boys. This is why drivers like VET, GRO, ALO, RAI are all struggling given their fortunes in 2014.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:36

        I agree that the figures aren’t the be all and end all and I agree that the Bahrain figure is the most significant, but at the end of the day Mercedes are, as you correctly said, winning races by comfortable margins at a canter. Not exactly stuff that would give Mercedes any reason to be rattled.

        That Red Bull spy article is clearly just a wind up attempt and I’m sure more than a few people will fall for it (though query whether any of them will live/work in Brackley/Brixworth/Monaco). At the end of the day Red Bull are the world champions, they are the works team of one of the sports most decorated engine manufacturers, so if anyone is in a position to try chase down Mercedes it will be them.

    • Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:14

      @geemac And there is no evidence whatsoever that Mercedes was even pushing. Considering Bahrein there is no reason to not think they could’ve lapped every car in the three other races.

  10. Aqib (@aqibqadeer) said on 23rd April 2014, 6:32

    i am a red bull fan but i think they should focus on improving their car rather than politics

  11. Sam (@) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:02

    I always thought everyone on F1Fanatic agreed on the talent that is Hülkenberg. Might have been the only thing we all agree on.

    And I agree with COTD. Teams do know best. You should look up who already said Hülkenberg is a top talent. Just to name two random guys; Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

  12. BenH (@benh) said on 23rd April 2014, 7:34

    Looks like I’m missed off the Birthday list again @keithcollantine. Think thats 4 years in a row now! Must be worth a COTD ;)

  13. trotter said on 23rd April 2014, 7:43

    Off topic. Just saw a random Hamilton article on another site.

    I’m sick of drivers who are fighting for the championship saying things like “I’m not thinking about the championship” and similar. Well what the hell are you thinking about? Your homies? I know what that thing used to mean when drivers would say it from time to time, but these days, it seems that every driver who has even a slimmest chance to get the title, must keep saying he’s not thinking about it.

    Ok, idea is to try and get the best possible result at every race, but when it comes to Maldonado shoveling you off the track, you better start thinking about the championship and decide which fights are worth picking.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2014, 8:52

      Ok, idea is to try and get the best possible result at every race, but when it comes to Maldonado shoveling you off the track, you better start thinking about the championship and decide which fights are worth picking.

      I suspect you’re referring to Valencia 2012, in which Hamilton did nothing wrong and Maldonado was entirely at fault.

    • Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:25

      These kind of denials do wear after a time i admit. Must be one from the Jose Mourinho school of championship pyschology. I’m just grateful that at least the two Mercedes drivers are going into weekends saying ‘it’ll probably be between me a my teammate for the win’ rather than ‘we’ll see how the weekend goes and maybe we’ll be competitive’.

      To note one exception though, Alonso talks about the championship all the time, and how many points he is behind and how hard they have to work to close the gap. Maybe that’s because he never seems to have a realistic shot at winning it (in recent years), or at least, not on outright pace.

  14. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 23rd April 2014, 8:57

    The rattling was as strong as the evidence Red Bull provided during their appeal hearing.

    Seriously, Red Bull needs to focus more on racing rather than politics and PR war.

  15. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 23rd April 2014, 10:03

    @COTD – Yes, there is a good reason for Hulkenberg being ignored by all the big teams…

    Ferrari 2012 – Ferrari withdrew an offer to Nico after Massa’s pace picked up…and after he started sacrificing his own season for the good of Fernando’s.
    McLaren 2012 – Were wrong-footed by Perez’s podiums, and Hulkenberg was in contractual negotiations with Ferrari at the time over Massa’s seat.
    Red Bull 2013 – Were obliged to justify the millions in investment in their Young Driver Programme by promoting Ricciardo.
    Ferrari 2013 – (Mistakenly) felt it necessary to promote a more experienced driver for the technical challenges of 2014, and Raikkonen had been driving out of his skin in the first half of 2013.
    McLaren 2013 – Didn’t want to be seen to be “righting a wrong” by promoting Nico, and had to justify their investment in their programme by promoting Magnussen.
    Lotus 2013 – Not enough wonga…

    If driver promotion were purely talent based, then Hulkenberg would be in a McLaren or a Ferrari now, but unfortunately for him, they are much more multifactorial. Hulkenberg deserves every bit of praise he gets, in that he has done as good a job, if not better, in the midfield than Vettel did in 2008 (and yes, he did win in Monza, but prior to that Gerhard Berger had negotiated the sale of the very latest and best Ferrari V8s; an advantage Hulkenberg didn’t have when he so nearly won the 2012 Brazilian GP). As every race passes his ranking versus the very best in the world improves; I would personally say he is the fifth best on the grid very closely behind the awesome foursome of Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen. In F1 three things are certain: Pirelli tyre degradation, the stopwatch and that Nico Hulkenberg will be world champion…

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