Switching back to old chassis a “sanity check” – Vettel

2014 Spanish Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Sebastian Vettel revealed the chassis he will switch to this weekend is in fact an old one he previously used during testing.

“I think we concluded after China, where we were quite a little bit behind, to change the chassis,” Vettel said in today’s press conference ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

“So actually it’s not a new chassis it’s an old one that we used in testing in the winter. And we have some experience with it so it’s more a sanity check rather than a real problem with the other chassis so it’s just to try everything we can and basically reset and start again.”

“We don’t think there was anything wrong with the old chassis but nevertheless we decided to change so we should get an answer this weekend,” he added.

One of the problems Vettel has been coping with on the RB10 is excessive oversteer, he said:

“I think in general I don’t mind when the rear is moving, I don’t mind suffering or having oversteer in the car. But if it is too much obviously it starts to bother you when the car slides too much. Then you find yourself correcting more than actually being able to push or get the maximum out of the car and it slows you down.

“So I think that has been part of the problem so far. There’s lots of reasons behind it so it would be nice to have just one problem and one fix for that but obviously it got a lot more complex this year, there’s a lot more factors than just the car set-up so we’re still learning a lot.

“We did already a lot of improvement but there’s still obviously a lot to do. But I think generally you never change your… I think, the way you like to drive the car or your style I think doesn’t change.”

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24 comments on Switching back to old chassis a “sanity check” – Vettel

  1. Steven said on 8th May 2014, 15:04

    I wonder if it’s a matter of getting used to having no blown diffuser, poor engine mapping/software, or just a bad PU in general.

    It’s interesting that he says all that; if he’s having such difficulties with the car but still able to get within a tenth of Hamilton’s pole time (in Malaysia), that RB10 could be one hell of a car if the bugs get sorted out soon.

    I can’t help but wonder if RBR can close the gap and then win on Abu Double. Perhaps it’s far-fetched, but I guess we’ll see.

    • Anorexic Grizzly Bear said on 9th May 2014, 18:06

      It’s interesting that he says all that; if he’s having such difficulties with the car but still able to get within a tenth of Hamilton’s pole time (in Malaysia), that RB10 could be one hell of a car if the bugs get sorted out soon.

      I noticed this too. I wonder if it’s true, that Vettel really is an apparently awesome driver (and not just lucky “winner”/recipient of four WDCs in a row thanks to best car), or is this just another salvo in the PR/PSYOPS war b/w teams and, by extension, the brands they represent and the heroes they strive to create?

  2. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 8th May 2014, 15:18

    You can help but love Alonso. He is as skillful at delivering cutting, underhand but viciously subtle insults as he is at driving a grand prix car. In that interview he essentially said…

    Don’t expect to see me on the podium unless I am immensely lucky.

    Yes, I did drag a poor car to the podium last time out.

    Vettel cost Ricciardo a podium.

    I have more experience than Vettel with average cars because he has had a dominant car most years.

    Sheer brilliance. If he can’t win another championship with Ferrari, he might as well go toe-to-toe in a political battle with Ron Dennis at McLaren; I know who my money’s on. That said, Vettel was cleverly evasive when asked about his driving style by Andrew “assertion” Benson. In reality Vettel has been specifying entry understeer in his cars in recent years and then turning the car mid-corner with a lot of throttle, but to listen to his description of his style you’d think he is Ken Block. If he is right about not being able, or even willing, to fundamentally change his driving style to suit these cars don’t expect to see him anywhere near Ricciardo anytime soon. I am certain that Vettel’s woes are stylistically related, with his previous style comprehensively incompatible with immense torque and lower rear grip.

    • Akin Aslan (@hamfanatic) said on 8th May 2014, 16:13

      Vettel didnt like understeer, he always had a car with an very good front end, even if he had some bit of oversteer he could just flore it because of the brilliance of Adrian Newey s blown diffuser it would stick to the track. Now he just cant do that. And when you compare the red bull (which is said to be the car with the most downforce) to other cars , you will see that the red bull isnt sliding as much as Vettel is suggesting. He just needs to adapt to the torque and stop whining about engines etc.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 8th May 2014, 17:14

        @hamfanatic – That’s not quite right. Yes, as Vettel said, he always use the throttle through the apex, thus allowing him to control rear roll and slip angle through the corner with his dexterous right foot, but in order to translate that early throttle input into a phenomenal exit, not just a spin, you need a) the rear of the car designed by Adrian Newey and b) a rearward aero balance (i.e. an understeering car). It was Mark that always had a rear-limited aero balance (sharp front end), and used “passive” oversteer, i.e. not throttle induced, to help turn the car. However the line between a useful rear slip, as Webber liked, and plain oversteer, as Webber hated, is fine, and with this in mind the every changing balances we see with Pirelli tyres probably explains the drop off in form we see from Mark. As for Vettel, he needs to change is driving style, he simply won’t be competitive until he does, and whilst I’m sure he’ll readapt, changing the bread and butter of your career takes time…

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 8th May 2014, 16:23

      I am certain that Vettel’s woes are stylistically related, with his previous style comprehensively incompatible with immense torque and lower rear grip.

      But surely the driving style required to drive current F1 cars is closer to what is needed in the junior formulas, I don’t think he had blown diffusers in karting and formula BMW right?

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 8th May 2014, 17:23

        @mantresx – Most single seaters, apart from the current generation of F1 cars and the GP2/11 chassis, “couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding” if you are not in the right gear at the right time, to quote Martin Brundle. This saw Vettel using the throttle as a handling device through the apexes of corners, sometimes short shifting to dull rear slippage. Regarding the blown diffuser, it has the effect of moving the cars aero balance rearward, so in the junior categories Vettel presumably replicated that with the wing angle and suspension geometry.

    • Anorexic Grizzly Bear said on 9th May 2014, 18:07

      great comment, @william-brierty. your appreciation of the subtle is commendable!

  3. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 8th May 2014, 15:21

    If it is the chassis from winter testing, at least it won’t have a lot of mileage on it yet.

  4. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 8th May 2014, 15:55

    “I think in general I don’t mind when the rear is moving, I don’t mind suffering or having oversteer in the car. But if it is too much obviously it starts to bother you when the car slides too much. Then you find yourself correcting more than actually being able to push or get the maximum out of the car and it slows you down.

    The reason you are getting oversteer is because you can no longer just nail the throttle mid corner and get all that lovely blown diffuser driven rear downforce. Vettel is going to have to reset, go away and learn how to make these new cars work, just like he apparently did when mastering the 2009-2013 cars.

  5. Ron (@rcorporon) said on 8th May 2014, 16:06

    As a RBR fan the start to the season has been rough for me… here’s hoping that the new (old) chassis brings my guys some success!

  6. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 8th May 2014, 16:08

    Rob Marshall: “Sebastian [Vettel] will get a new chassis for Barcelona, which was scheduled at the start of the season and then the next one will be for Daniel [Ricciardo] at some time around Silverstone.”
    Seb Vettel:“I think we concluded after China, where we were quite a little bit behind, to change the chassis,”
    You got to synchronize your comments guys. Was it before the season or after China…

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 8th May 2014, 16:15

      I was about to point out the same.
      I don’t know what’s wrong with admitting they’re trying to do anything they can to help Sebastian improve, he obviously doesn’t mind saying it so why are they still protecting him?

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 8th May 2014, 16:44

      Maybe he was scheduled to get a “new” chassis, but after China they decided to use the one from testing?

  7. trotter said on 8th May 2014, 16:09

    Red Bull are always giving away so many conflicting information, that you can’t help feeling that there is some bull**** going on and they are trying to gain some shady advantage.

  8. Damonw said on 8th May 2014, 16:54

    Vettel is in desperation mode, Ricciardo is doing a number on him at the moment. Still the season is long and there’s plenty of time for Vettel to get to being the faster driver.

  9. trotter said on 8th May 2014, 17:34

    Helmut Marko: There was a crack in the chassis, so we are changing it.
    Rob Marshall: It was planned and scheduled since the start of the season, so we are just routinely bringing a new one.
    Vettel: We are just comparing the new chassis with the old one, to be sure everything is right, but it’s not the new actually, it’s the one from the testing.

    I don’t know how any of these three make sense even if you just try to match two of those, let alone all three statements.

    • Franz said on 8th May 2014, 18:04

      It’s the norm: the RBR brass fawns over Vettel, making excuses for him first (usually there are a few contradicting ones) then trying their very best to appease His Lordship (this part is normal: teams try to give their drivers the package they need, but team RBR seem to work FOR Vettel & not the other way around). I only hope we don’t see a repeat of what happened with Webber, where they’ll persist on a development path that suits Vettel but hinders Dan, despite the fact that Ricciardo has proven the car is pretty darn good. We know from experience that they have no problem picking favorites, so here’s to hoping they reward Dan for his stellar job & not spend all their efforts hunting for Seb’s favorite driver aid. Time for Vettel to step up: the package is obviously a competitive one, so he needs to get on with the business of matching his team mate. This isn’t the time for spitting the dummy out & crying to uncle Helmut & uncle Christian.

  10. Palle (@palle) said on 8th May 2014, 21:25

    Good opportunity for Vettel critics to loathe him again, eh. Being a 4 times Champion, of course he has to complain and they have to work flat out to try to catch up. And despite Ricciardo’s impressive results, no one can argue that the RB10 – at the moment – is competitive with the Mercedes.
    But this weekend will surely bring some interesting upgrades up and down the grid.

  11. Andre Furtado (@f1andy83) said on 8th May 2014, 21:50

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. When Vettel has a car h likes, he wins races and championships. When Ricciardo has a car he likes he gets third place (when cheating), but good solid 4th places.

  12. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 8th May 2014, 22:58

    Certainly isn’t the first time a driver changes chassi because he isn’t feeling confident and lacks the feeling from it. Hope it helps Vettel getting going again. Some feisty battles with Alonso and Ricciardo would be nice.

  13. Pennyroyal tea (@peartree) said on 9th May 2014, 0:35

    I think part of the issue is that these cars don’t like to be driven in “V lines”, the front tyres don’t warm up enough and the rear axle hasn’t got the sidewall grip. Vettel makes dramatic changes to steering lock on corner entry and uses mostly rear grip to achieve higher entry speeds enabling him to straight the car quicker in traction zones. Another driver that drives in similar manner is Raikkonen and he has in fact blamed his style for his performances. I do believe that as the cars get more grip Raikkonen and Vettel will achieve a better feel with the car. I think something similar happened in 2012 when Webber was out performing Vettel until RBR got his set-up right and the exhaust right.

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