Can anyone catch Red Bull?

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Webber has gone from eighth to first in just two races
Webber has gone from eighth to first in just two races

After six races the battle for the 2010 championship has taken shape.

With both Red Bull drivers sharing the lead of the drivers’ championship, the question now is whether anyone can get on terms with the flying RB6s.

Webber vs Vettel

Mark Webber didn’t have a great start to the championship. Poor qualifying in Bahrain limited his points-scoring opportunities, then at his home race he crashed into Lewis Hamilton.

In Sepang he out-qualified Sebastian Vettel, only for his team mate to barge past at the start and take the win. Four races in, he was eighth in the championship.

Now after consecutive lights-to-flag wins in Spain and Monaco he’s jointly leading the championship with Vettel.

If the world championship is going to be contested exclusively between the two Red Bull drivers from this point on it looks like being a tight battle. As well as being tied on points the balance of power in qualifying stands at 3-3.

The others are at least still in touch – there are eight different drivers who could be leading the championship if they win the next round (see graph below). This time last year Jenson Button left Monaco knowing he could fail to score at Istanbul and still lead the title race.

The development race

If any of the other teams are to stand a chance of beating Red Bull they have to start by building a car that’s as quick as the RB6.

What Ferrari and Mclaren need is a performance upgrade the likes of which Red Bull themselves produced at Silverstone last year to bring them on terms with Brawn.

Rival designers will surely be thinking more seriously about adopting Adrian Newey’s novel pull-rod rear suspension arrangement used on the RB6 and its predecessor. This reduces the amount of bodywork at the rear of the car, allowing the diffuser and rear wing to be used more effectively.

But it’s unlikely a change of that magnitude could be made during the course of the championship. The same cannot be said for other teams’ developments, such as the F-duct, which Red Bull is considering introducing its version of at the next race.

However the RB6 does seem to have two weaknesses. While last year’s car thrived in wet weather conditions, in the rain at Shanghai Vettel and Webber found it worked its tyres too hard.

Its other failing is unreliability – a problem which has affected Vettel more than it has Webber.

Which tracks favour which cars?

If Red Bull continue to exhibit the kind of performance advantage they had at Barcelona on similar circuits, then the next race at Istanbul should be easy pickings for them.

Two races after that F1 heads to the revised Silverstone circuit, whose new ultra-fast sweep at Abbey could have been made for the RB6.

Tracks like Montreal often throw up surprise results. Ferrari could go well there thanks to their strong engine and F-duct giving them excellent straight-line speed, and Bridgestone bringing a softer mix of tyres which the F10 seems to work best on.

McLaren have tended to show good race pace – Lewis Hamilton would not have been able to split the Red Bulls at Catalunya in the early stages otherwise – but need to improve their qualifying performance.

As for Mercedes, the next race should prove a useful measure of whether their long-wheelbase solution has helped them get closer to the front runners.

Of course it could bring them just far enough along to start taking points off Ferrari and McLaren, which would suit Red Bull just fine…

How do you see the rest of the championship unfolding? Will Red Bull put their reliability problems behind them and dominate the rest of the championship? Can Ferrari or McLaren stop them? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: Red Bull duo take joint championship lead ?ǣ points in full after Monaco

2010 F1 drivers' championship
2010 F1 drivers' championship (click to enlarge)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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114 comments on “Can anyone catch Red Bull?”

  1. Ah to have a crystal ball… one thing I noted was that Kubica was hopeful the Renault would be strong in Montreal and he might sneak a podium. If that is the case, you’d have to assume the Red Bull would be strong there too.

  2. The short answer to this question has to be …no. The RB6 is just so inherently quick on all types of circuits that I don’t see them being caught. Even if the rest of the “contenders” manage to improve throughout the season, Red Bull are hardly going to take their foot off the gas.

    The RB6 is only going to get better and better and better. And as that happens, Webber and Vettel are only going to get more and more and more confident.

    1. Short answer has to be… yes.

      We asked the same with Brawn last year and they got caught by Red Bull at Silverstone.

      Then we said would Red Bull ever be caught after they won Silverstone and Nurburgring and yes they were caught by McLaren.

      Title fight is by no means over.

      1. It is over.

        Brawn had no money to develop the car last year, the car they finished with wasn’t fair off the car which that started with.

        Red Bull have one of the world biggest drinks companies/richest people in the world funding them, so its unlikely they will drop development because of funding, there supposed to be bringing another big aero upgrade to Turkey.

        Mclaren won’t improve as much as they did last year, the reason there performance gain was so great is because they had such a dog in the first place, its a lot easier to make a slow car fast, then it is to make a fast car, faster.

        I preferred red bull when they where crap :(

        1. on that note – does anybody know how big the RB budget is? I have the impression that they aren’t spending nearly as much as Ferrari and McLaren are.

          RB have a foundation in place now that will not only make it hard to catch them this year, but, barring any major regulation change, for the next 2-3 season.

          They seem to be the best at being able to update the car during the season. With a lot of the midfield teams and sometimes the top teams it is more a process of trial and error. RB bring updates and just go faster …

        2. I didn’t really mind when they sucked, they are just too far ahead, it would have been so much better if the 3 top teams were a bit closer together in terms of performance,

      2. True, but Brawn simply didn’t have the revenue to fight back in the face of Red Bull’s charge in the second half of the 2009 season.

        In addition to that, Red Bull have a far more significant performance advantage than Brawn had at the same stage last year and they have more than enough cash to fend off the challenges of Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. I don’t see them being caught.

        1. Plus the other teams don’t have a double diffuser type upgrade available to them. That was the major advantage Brawn had over the RB5 at the start of last year and once RB got it on their car the Brawn was no match for it.

          1. Jarred Walmsley
            19th May 2010, 20:24

            Exactly, the Brawn last year was the fastest car simply because of the double diffuser, now thats not to say that the performance was only because of the Double Diffuser as they still performed well once the other top teams had it still just not at the very top.

            Whereas this year the RB6 has no specific advantage point it quite simply is the best all round car and it should erode the Ferrari and McLaren’s top speed advantage once it gets the F-Duct on it.

          2. And consider that this years “double diffuser” is the f-duct and McLaren already got it and so does Ferrari and yet the RedBull is faster. RedBull get a f-duct as been indicated might be ready for Turkey it would only make them even more out of touch by the other teams. As is there is a good 0.5 sec the others need to claw in on Red Bull to really bring the fight to them. It’s possible for sure assuming Red Bull fails to move forward for a few races. They get f-duct they might become uncatchable on tracks like Turkey, Canada, Silverstone, Spa and Monza. Don’t see Europe (Valencia, Hungary, Singapore, Abu Dhabi to be tracks where F-duct performance will be of importance and there Redbull and Renault looks to have possibilities to be very strong. The only circuits I think F-duct might be of very high advantage is Monza and Canada possibly Korea where the later is very similar to Malaysia where Red Bull dominated.
            Mercedes pick things up they will start stealing points of Ferrari and McLaren. Even if they don’t do it then Ferrari and McLaren for sure got a though job a head of them but if any team can do it it would be those two but I believe Mercedes will pickup enough to start to fight with them which as Keith say will be to Red Bulls advantage.

            At this point to me it looks like the only thing that really would prevent Red Bull from championship is themselves (reliability) but with Ferrari and McLaren being their own enemies (engine reliability, strategy errors, tire heat up issues, rim/tire failure, left component) I’d say they have as much if not more to loose then Red Bull. It’s F1 and still early days and many races left so much can still happen.
            By my figuring their failures have lost them more points then what Red Bull lost to their reliability problems.

            Hamilton 18pts Monaco, 5-10pts Malaysia = Total 23-28pts

            Button 6-8pts Monaco, 6-10pts Malaysia, 2pts spain (6sec longer pitstop the Schumacher) = total 14-20pts

            Alonso 15-25pts Monaco, 10-15pts Malaysia, 15-18 pts China = total 40-58 pts
            Massa 10-15pts Malaysia, 6-8pts China, 2-4pts Spain = total 18-27 pts

            Red Bull :
            Vettel 6 pts Bahrain, 25pts Australia, 10pts China, 3 pts Spain total : 44pts
            Webber 16 pts Australia, 2-4pts Bahrain : 18-20pts

            Alonso have actually lost the most followed by Vettel. But Ferrari as a team lost the most followed by Red Bull.

            Funny thing the one team of the three that “faultered” the least and lost the least is laying 3rd as team in standings today and the two of the drivers that lost the most is 2nd and 3rd.

            So why is it again everyone is saying Red Bulls been dodged by Reliability issues etc etc? The numbers above shows the top 3 teams lost about as much to screwups and failures. I guess the only reason is that Red Bull been sooo fast in Qualy and should be far a head of the others and almost all their failures been because of reliability whilst the others been a mix of reliability and human errors (strategy, pit stop, mechanics and even driver accident) where Red Bulls main problem been fairly consistent mechanical reliability.

      3. I disagree. Brawn had a couple of tenths tops over the rest of the field initially, and they couldnt develop the car.

        Red Bull have an entire second, and they have significant updates to come.

      4. Turn 9 at Barcelona Red Bull were taking flat in 6th gear while everyone else dropped back to 5th gear and backed of the throttle exiting the same corner 20kph slower. In tight and twisty Monaco Webber was four tenths faster than the opposition and continued to reel off fastest laps until he was instructed to look after the car. Red Bull will add an F duct next race and get closer to the same straight line speeds as the rest of the field so they will pull further away.

        Teams will relaise soon that they can’t catch up and so they will focus on their 2011 car. If they are smart they’ll take a close look at the RB5 with a simple diffuser and the RB6 front end and make it a closer race next year.

  3. When RB is able to solve the brake problems and the reliability issues it will be hard for the rest of the field to catch up…sadly!

    1. bigbadderboom
      20th May 2010, 9:50

      Thats the real issue for me as well Tom, RB could be their own biggest competition. Consistancy is what will win this championship, can RB get deliver? Probably but if they get pushed those problems with reliability may come to the surface again.

  4. The rise and rise of Mark Webber.
    Interesting though to see the spread of points between
    the top 8 drivers after
    Round 1 was 25 points (obviously) and
    that the spread of points after Round 6 is just 22 points.

    1. I would’ve thought that the Top 8 spread in Round 1 was 21 points (25-4).

      1. The current top 8’s points in round one, Kubica was on 0.

      2. I was looking at the top 8 drivers as we stand as per Keith’s graph (that includes Kubica who had no points after Round 1)… perhaps that wasn’t clear.

        1. That chart shows what a great championship we are having doesn’t it! :D

          1. Interesting that Vettel, Alonso, and Button each have 1 race without any points and round out the top 4 behind Webber. Webber has points in every race.

  5. Other teams can’t catch Red Bull.

    You cannot find 2 tracks as opposite in character as Barcelona and Monaco. If Red Bull got 2 1-2s there, they can get 2 1-2s anywhere.

    The biggest threat for Red Bull is its own unreliability.

    1. I doubt Red Bull will dominate Monza though, the lack of engine power and unreliable brakes will cost them dearly.

      1. Brakes is an interesting points – they appeared to be marginal on cooling at Monaco which makes you wonder how they’ll get on at Montreal and Singapore.

        1. But McLaren obviously had problems as well as other teams having to mount extra large brake ducts.
          As Monaco does not have any straights, there probably is not much cooling of the brakes.

          But it will be something for us to look forward to.

        2. i seem to recall that last year quite a few of the teams pushing for thicker/larger brake discs for this season… only to have it poo-pooed by Williams… surely this would’ve helped the brakes issue?

          1. i seem to recall that last year quite a few of the teams pushing for thicker/larger brake discs for this season… only to have it poo-pooed by Williams…

            I don’t remember that. Got a link?

          2. I remember that too. It was mentioned on the BBC F1 Forum last year. I can’t find a link though Keith

          3. Yep, that’s the one. Thnx Kate.. So Keith? Was Williams being spiteful because everyone else wanted to drop KERS except for them?

  6. Interestingly, you haven’t added Michael Schumacher’s points in the graph.

    1. He’s further behind Hamilton than Hamilton is behind Webber. That may change, of course, but for the purposes of this article I wanted to concentrate on the drivers in the top eight.

  7. Ferrari are rolling out a big upgrade for Turkey. With alonso’s driving, new f-duct, and new aero they might be able to match redbull or at least get closer. However it looks like redbull are also upgrading for turkey, etc.

    Its hard to say, but it has made for some great races so far and im super excited for the rest of the season. Especially spa, wonder if alonso/massa will drive eau rouge 1 handed :D :D :D

    1. Oh no, not at all.

      Eau Rouge is a corner where you can go faster if you have more downforce.

      The reason Eau Rouge is special is because, drivers can’t see the top of the corner, thus they might don’t push enough. If they don’t push enough, they get lesser speed, thus lesser downforce and thus they suffer on the long straight following it as well.

      On the other hand, if a driver pushes more, he has higher speed, thus higher downforce and thus can gain a lot of speed on the long straight.

      This is why, Spa is a driver’s circuit. Also, it explains although the average lap speeds at Monza and Spa are pretty much same, but downforce levels are vastly different.

      1. But isn’t Eau Rouge easy flat now? And given that downforce levels have changed little over the decade, I’d think that’s still true today.

        1. Yeah I was wondering this myself. Although with full fuel tanks maybe it won’t be easy flat?

          1. Eau rouge might not be easy flat at the beggining of the races this year, ditto 130R, maybe abbey, copse, turn 1 at hockenheim whose name escapes my memory.

            Probably just downshift though, probably no lift.

        2. Is that not partially due to the fact that “flat” isn’t as “flat” as it used to be due to restrictions on the engines?

        3. But even if it is relatively easy flat, it is still a tight corner which makes cars with little downforce slide and scrub off speed.

      2. Isnt eau rogue the right hander at the bottom of the straight and raidilion (spelling) the left hander at the top?

        I wouldnt assume that they would be stalling out the rear wing over all of that section. But i think they will be on it atleast until the turn-in to eau rogue.

        1. Eau Rouge is the left-hand kink at the bottom. Radillon is the kink at the top.

    2. Soumya Banerjee
      19th May 2010, 11:39

      the only thing that can stop red bull are red bull themselves….shame that the season is becoming a tad too predictable and over-reliant on qualifying…i had hoped for a hamilton-alonso battle as they are the 2 best drivers on the grid. It seems a good driver in a great car(Webber in his RB6) can cream great drivers in good cars(Alonso in his F10 or Hammy in his MP4-25)

      1. I agree. Although I think Vettel and Webber are two really solid drivers, they still are not in the Alonso & Hamilton league. The RB6 is as dominant as the Brawn was last year.

        I think the only thing that can screw up RB chances are driver mistakes and a few reliability issues. But for either Alonso or Hamilton to capitalise on those mistakes they have to consistently finish on the podium just behind the RBs. Its gonna be interesting to see whether Webber and Vettel crack under pressure though.. as none of them have led a championship before.

        1. Soumya Banerjee
          19th May 2010, 15:50

          Probably RB6 is even more dominant. And Brawn wasnt that well funded as Red Bull so their development pace was not very good.
          I heard somewhere that an ex-Brawn GP engineer agreed that the extent of RB6’s domination is more than that of the BGP001. Cant find the link to the story though.

  8. keith could you also insert a contructors graph below the drivers one? you gotta have both!

  9. are they catch-a-bull? well it would be nice, we don’t want a pre-dict-a-bull championship. I’m sorry don’t hold me respons-a-bull, these are terri-a-bull :)

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      19th May 2010, 11:10

      Despic-a-bull, HG :)

    2. Soumya Banerjee
      19th May 2010, 11:40

      LOL…you have spoken my heart out completely

    3. are they reli-a-bull? :D

      1. They’re indefeat-abull ;-)
        This year is incred-abull!

        Their lead is sustain-abull ..

        we could go on and on

        1. These sorts of puns are indefense-abull :p

  10. The Mclarens were able to do a comeback last year, they can still do it this year. I think Webber is going to take the championship though.

  11. Keith, whose picture is next to my initial? I don’t know this person

    1. It will be the Gravatar that’s associated with your email address at gravatar.com

      See here: Get a picture next to your name

      1. Soumya Banerjee
        19th May 2010, 11:43

        Keith isnt the championship getting too boring? The races are much better than last year esp shanghai and melbourne…but there seems to be few battles at the head of the field…i would rather have boring races and an interesting championship(2007 ok some races were gr8 but not the majority) than a few above-average races and a championship based absolutely on saturdays

    2. Looks like a young Bill Gates to me!

  12. I hope it will be a tough fight with Alonso evidently driving on the limits of the car and team to make it WDC in his first year. Makes me remember of some of Michael Schumachers drives in 96/97.
    Lewis and Jenson charging on to take points where they can, especially in the wet.
    Kubica will probably not get further than some podiums to take away points from all other. Michael might go for a win this year, if the car allows him, Rosberg might have a good chance, if Mercedes improve the car and he hits the sweet spot on setup.
    And i hope Felipe Massa to show some magic at Turkey, even though the hard tyres might spoil that.

    These things combined make it Red Bulls to give away their advantage throug team mistakes and technical glitches, or maybe the odd driver error first from a Vettel proving he is not nr. 2 and then from Webber if he gets behind.

  13. Brawn looked uncatchable at the beginning of last year, by the end of the season their advantage had all but disappeared and if their rivals hadn’t missed several good opportunities it could have ended a lot closer than it did.

    Red Bull’s reliability also hasn’t helped them – they’d probably be running away with it if not for that, as it is they’ve only just got the championship lead, despite all their promise. If they have more reliability issues then they might not hang onto it.

    I think that they’ll probably remain the team to beat, I wouldn’t rule out them being caught.

    1. First Brawn did not have as big an advantage as RBR has now.
      Further Brawn did not have money to spare, so he focused a lot of engergy towards this years car early, as they were clearly ahead so they took a risk with that.
      Red Bull have a lot more to spend and Newey to do something reasonable with the money, so it will not be to hard to keep the improvements coming all year.
      For RBR this is their season, and i think they would not mind too much if they had to compromise next year a bit for clinching both titles now.

  14. I think this should be the year Red Bull take a championship, and as much as I think Vettel is the better driver of the two, I would like Mark to take a WDC and be able to retire a happy and fulfilled man. Vettel will surely have time to prove himself later on. Don’t think Webber will ever have a chance like this again….

    1. When Webber wins this year what in the world makes you think he would retire? The man is just getting where he’s always wanted to be ..

      1. oh, sure… wouldn’t want Mark to go just yet… but just saying, hopefully he won’t eventually retire like say, DC… who had it all to win, but just didn’t cut it.

        1. I agree with this. It would be really cool if Vettel won and became the youngest WDC to add to his other list of youngest titles. But it’s also prime time for Mark to finally get a WDC after 8 years in F1. He is not getting younger and few drivers seems to last much more then 8-10 yrs in F1. Well exception Rubens which just don’t seem to want to go away (like a bad penny just keeps turning up), 17 yrs is pretty impressive but don’t think he will be much longer end of this year or next I would guess.

    2. Go Red Bull!!

      im a Mclaren fan, but love all the teams. as an aussie ive loved to watch the rise of Webber, hes always been quick, faster than his team mates by a long shot until Vettel arrived, and look now hes raised his game to beat even the much lauded young superstar. thats a class act.

      best chance webber had was in 2005 but Theissen wanted his own team and i think by that stage BMW was keen to create a good reason to ditch williams and i thinkk BMW sabotaged that championship, not to mention they had probably the worst auto start software on the grid…

      so i think its great, Red Bull as a team show more team spirit than any other, it has to be said these are nice guys, play cleanly, are really clever and telented. Webber and Vettel are both great guys and awesome racers who deserve the opportunity, and Newey aside from his genius has always been a gentle and human face in F1.

      richly deserved!!!

    3. James Allen thinks the same about him ( http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/05/mark-webber-success-better-late-than-never/ ).
      And Frank Williams has allready stated, that they misjudged Mark Webber when they dropped him.
      Looks like everybody is changing his mind on Webber now, just like a lot of people were doing last year (and at the beginning of this year) with Button.

      I certainly hope Mark makes it a fight not soon to forget, he is the only even fooded competitor to Vettel and the only one who can beat him without needing any major failures or team mistakes.

      1. So many people changed their mind about Webber in just two races!

  15. To understand where red bulls speed is coming out from is not that easy. Their race pace is almost the same of Ferrari and McLaren but in a single lap they seem to be uncatchable.
    We have to consider what differences the rb6 has to the other contenders: they are the only team (of the top teams) to have pullrod suspension and to have a unique exhaust sistem that feeds the double diffuser.
    Another element to analize is that their contender is a natural evolution of last years car while McLaren and Ferrari rebuilt completely their cars and this maybe could take time to the teams understand properly their potential and where areas of the cars can be improved.
    If the speed is coming from theese elements it will be almost impossible to catch them because it will mean that the other teams have to rebuild completely their contenders.
    The only thing that McLaren, Ferrari and even Mercedes can do is to come out with something revolutonary (like Mercedes did with the rollbar structure) that redbull cannot copy.
    Let’s wait and see if they get out with a b-spec car as was written a few months a go:
    http://en.espnf1.com/ferrari/motorsport/story/7644.html

    1. Soumya Banerjee
      19th May 2010, 15:52

      What about the active suspension system?

  16. Hope not! Go Webber!

    well, no, not really. a close championship is always a good one so i do hope they get a run for there money. i think ferrari is the best chance (not based on anything, just one of those inklings). it’s good (in a sense) to see all of the top teams having reliability problems. that always makes things a bit unpredictable.

  17. If Red Bull go on to dominate I hope Webber takes the title. The thing is, they are that far ahead it may be too late by the other teams catch up. I don’t think we are getting to see their true pace yet, they may even be sandbagging in races!

    1. only sandbagging they are doing is once in the lead they set a moderate pace and just leading enough to control the race and have enough time in pit stops. I’m sure from lap times that if they really wanted they could have in Spain, Monaco and Maylasia totally crushed their competition but at the risk of crashing out or waring out the engine. keep just enough a head to control and minimize stress on the engine to make it last.

      1. yes and by not having to drive the car hard for most of the race, it makes the cars much more reliable. Cars that are pushed to the edge every race just to make up points will see failures.

        I think this is an important point that most people are missing when they talk about Red Bull and reliability. Last year they had to push to the limit to catch Brawn, this year they can coast and sandbag and win the championship without stressing their cars

  18. While other teams may be able to catch up with Red Bull on outright pace by the end of the season, I think by then it will probably be too late to stop Red Bull winning both championships.

    The only way I see Red Bull not clinching both championships is if they suffer too much from unreliability, but then other top teams have had their reliability problems or Alonso, Hamilton and Button would be much closer to Webber and Vettel.

    If there are a few more non-straightforward races, either affected by rain or safety cars at crucial times it could stop Red Bull from maximising their points.

    If the other drivers manager to keep in touch with Webber and Vettel then there is the possibility that they will take enough points off each other so Red Bull only win the Constructors.

    1. But if Webber and Vettel take points off each other by continuing to score 1-2 and 1-3 results it doesn’t matter because one of them would win the title, which ever one it was.
      But it’s a big ask over the remaining 13 races.

  19. I Think this championship isn´t over yet. Right now RB are the best but there are too many tracks where i believe RB can be challenged: Montreal, Valencia, Hungary, Monza, Singapure, Korea, Brazil and Abu Dahbi.
    Also wheather conditions can play a factor especially in Silverstone.
    Finnally, we must not forget how were mclarens and ferraris in the begining of the last year and how they were in the end of it.
    SO, hopefully we ´ll have a big fight till the end of the championship between RB, FERRARI, MCLAREN, RENAUT and MERCEDES with FORCE INDIA in some places taking some points to the front runners.

    1. Soumya Banerjee
      19th May 2010, 15:53

      Im counting on it too. We dont want a predictable championship.

  20. Well, last year no-one thought Brawn would be caught, and they were. This was partly due to one of their upgrades actually upsetting the balance of their cars, and Because they stopped developing halfway through the season. But by then Red Bull had already started to catch up.

    That Red Bull dominated Monaco is a worrying sign for the other teams, because it suggests they have a very good all-round car. However, brakes could be the Achilles heel of the RB6, so tracks like Montreal and Singapore could prove difficult for them in the race.

    As the teams understand their cars, I think they’ll close the gap on Red Bull, although the RB6 will probably remain the best of the lot. The only way I see them being stopped is Barcelona-style results, where they are split, and Webber and Vettel exchanging wins, occasionally being beaten by Alonso or Hamilton for victory.

    Either that or the other teams make big steps, and given that Red Bull seemed to be so far ahead that they are only really making tiny changes to the car (see the LG Technical report on James Allen’s blog), they might just do that – it seems that the F10 and MP4-25 have more potential for development than the RB6. Of course, there will always be things about the RB6 that can’t be copied onto other cars, but I do doubt their superiority will be this large for the whole season, leaving them open to being beaten on race pace a surprising amount of times relative to what’s happened so far this year.

    1. In reality Red Bull was close to Brawn even from the first race.

      If not for their own blunders (driver errors and strategy errors) they would have won several more races out of the first 7 than just China.

      After Red Bull got their big DD upgrade, the Red Bull was well ahead of every team. Although not by as much as they demonstrated in the last 2 races.

      The problem is that the biggest contenders not in a Red Bull lost huge amounts of points too. Hamilton and Alonso have been having an awfully bad season so far too.

      We can hope that McLaren or Ferrari catch up, but how likely is that?

  21. The answer to this question is a resounding ‘NO’

    The reason – Adrian Newey, the best racecar designer and aerodynamicist in Formula 1 today, and has been for a great number of years.

    He’s the man the rest have to beat.

    1. Soumya Banerjee
      19th May 2010, 15:56

      You have not heard of Rory Byrne? His cars may not be flashy as that of Newey’s but they have usually defeated those designed by Newey in a straight fight.

      1. I was talking about current designers, Rory Byrne retired in 2009 i believe.

        The current designer (at Ferrari) is Nicholas Tombazis who designed the 2010 car.

        And yes i’ve heard of Rory Byrne along with a great many other designers, i’m sure you don’t want a list !

    2. The interesting thing is how few championships Newey has actually won. In fact, one of his cars hasn’t won the Drivers’ or Constructors’ championships since, what, 1999?

      Keith did an excellent “Schuey v Newey” article a while back, which does underline your point – though Schumacher did win out quite a few times!

  22. Its really hard to say. I reckon alonso wouldve dominated monaco and won and the standings wouldve looked alot different. But in all fairness the redbull is pretty unstoppable otherwise. Ferrari and Mclaren better start capitalizing on redbull mishaps. Because once they get it all together, dont see the championship getting any more interesting than it is right now.

  23. Having worked with GP2 teams previously, specifically on the aero side of the packages, I think that with the combination of the lower engine power than the mercedes and also ferrari to a point, combined with the relatively high level of downforce the RB6 seems to produce, I think the team will suffer at the high speed circuits like Spa or Monza for this fact.

    Having said that, I’m a massive RedBull fan, and I think Adrian Newey is an absolute genius, so it also wouldnt surprise me if they come out at these circuits with some completely new parts that could blow the other guys away……..

    1. Very, very interesting input, IMO.
      I remember a recent interview with Ross Brawn (can’t remember where I read it) where he said that after studying carefully the RBR performance over several tracks, they reached the conclusion that the main difference witht the other cars resides in their performance in fast corners.
      Also, in Barcelona, for example, the two Ferraris were at the top of the speed trap, so it seems that top speed is not the main problem for Alonso and Massa.
      I would like to know your thoughts about this two points, if possible, and how they influence the next races….
      And thanks for sharing with us your experience.

  24. At the moment it looks as though Alonso is the main guy capable of mounting a challenge to Redbull considering the combination of driving and car performance. If he and Ferrari stop making silly mistakes he could have had the lead in points right now.

    Keep in mind the 1 d.n.f and probably the only driver to have basically done 3 races from the back of the grid and he is only 3 points behind the leaders.

    1. I agree, Alonso looks like he can still fight the Red Bulls. Add his DNF points from Malaysia and he’d only be one point behind – but bear in mind without his own DNFs, Vettel would be miles ahead!

      But there’s Hamilton too. A bit of luck and he’ll be right back in there too. Take away his Spain DNF and he’d be right behind the Red Bulls. And if you wipe out everyone’s DNFs, although he’d be 39 points behind Vettel, he’d only be 4 behind Webber; Alonso would be a further 7 points adrift.

      So really it looks like those 4 guys for the championship, on performance. Based on the current table, however, Alonso has the easier fight.

    2. Hamilton has actually been the one up front fighting with the Red Bulls in China and Spain.

  25. Red Bull will win this years Championship. The simple reason is that they are too far ahead and have too much potential for the other teams to invest large amounts to catch them and pass them. All the other teams are already championship winners and Red Bull is the one with the duck that needs to be broken.
    I really suspect that if the trend we have been seeing continues for the next few races, the other big teams will put focus onto 2011 car development and not worry too much about this year. Red Bull however will keep putting as much effort as they can into making sure 2010 is their winning year.

  26. Its a very long season and I won’t rule out McLaren and Ferrari catching up.

  27. The pack behind them is now very tight with Renault in the hands of Kubica able to also challenge for podiums on merit, so this will work even further towards RB’s cause if they can manage to keep a healthy advantage in qualifying, which I think they can do.

  28. Although they seem more dominant for some reason I find Red Bull oddly likeable still, yet there was something I really disliked about Brawn. Not sure what it was!

  29. The season is very long this year (19 tracks!) and Alonso is still 3 points behind the RBR duo. Also the other contenders are close to the top and they won’t stand still to watch them win easily. Moreover, Ferrari and McLaren don’t want to have another “sabbatical” year without success, so they’ll push developments to the maximum, differently from last year.

  30. I think what people need to remember is that Webber went to the Spanish Grands Prix needing a good result, he had been overshadowed by Vettel for the first races of the season. Webber’s brace of victories shows just how easily things can swing in ones favour, and all it takes is a dnf and all can change.
    I must admit, Webber has impressed me alot. I always considered him an alsoran, and I was clearly wrong about that. He clearly sees the opportunity that having a great race car has given him, and that if he fails to deliver, the curtain could easily fall on his career.
    I certainly would not cry if he turned out to be the 2010 world champion, it would be unexpected but equally well deserved.

  31. i think RB6 is hard to catch…but i doubt any of the redbull drivers will win the world championship..IMO…Alonso will take the drivers championship while Redbulls will be the constructors champion..

  32. The way Webber won the last two races says it all really. No ofence but is just a good driver and he dominated the races without pushing. That car is really really good.
    That being said MCL and Ferrari may have a chance. There are 13 races left.
    MCL looked strong in BCN (stronger than ferrari) so that proves their car is not so bad.
    Ferrari are close as well but they need to fix their reability problems and stop making mistakes.

  33. what would it look like with last year point system?
    vettel – 34
    alonso – 33
    webber – 30
    button – 27
    kubica – 24
    massa – 23
    hamilton – 22
    rosberg – 20

    hmmm…

  34. Unfortunately, I think Red Bull may be uncatchable at this stage. I fear that the other top teams will take far more points off each other than Red Bull. I suppose an inter-Red Bull fued could erupt like Mclaren 2007, but quite honestly I don’t see it happening. Still, it would mean the third new world champion in a row, so I guess that keeps it interesting, especially as Webber must know that it could be his only chance to win a WDC before Vettel gets even better (and perhaps a more reliable car).

    1. It would be a fourth new WDC and a fifth different WDC in a row:
      2006 ALO
      2007 RAI
      2008 HAM
      2009 BUT
      2010 ???

  35. The current facts don’t point to massive RB domination. The constructors points are bascially tied, and the WDC race is within a race win for several drivers. We are too far into the season to talk about luck and circumstance. Even in terms of their alleged speed advantage, that story is not convincing. We are coming from a race where Alonso showed the most speed throughout the weekend. The race before Hamilton split the RBs in the race and set fastest lap by a chunk of time. If not for the very rare mechanical DNFs of Hamilton and Alonso, they would be right with the RedBulls in the WDC table. No one should be afraid of RedBull at this stage. If were Horner, I would be very concerned that the main rivals have already discovered how to go faster, and that they will string together a whole weekend very soon.

    I still see Alonso or Hamilton winning the WDC this year. You can sell a lot of sugar water, but Red and Silver make racing cars and they will rise up. They have already spotted RedBull a period of advantage and this never lasts in F1. In a couple months, we will be looking back on this period just as we now look at last summer when RedBull tragically squandered a massive performance advantage, allowing Hamilton to drink several of their late season milkshakes, and thus and allowed Brawn to back into their championships.

    1. Wishful thinking mate. These are the facts: RB have taken all the poles this season (Alonso was almost a second behind in Spain, tellingly) and their race pace is at least as good as any of the opposition, if not better.

      For this year’s race strategy concerns, they have then best car by far.

      If they hadn’t made so many bad calls when the strategy game changed they would have been further ahead. This coupled with a few reliability gremlins is why the championship is so close at this stage. IF they stop making the sort of mistakes that they have made, they are going to be extremely difficult to beat.

  36. Before the season started everyone was talking about the BIG4. So that means 8 drivers. And 8 drivers you show in the graph. Interestingly, Kubica it´s not part of the “BIG4”. Where I´m going is this: he is replacing Schuma and the other Merc driver is 8th. So which team is really the weakest of the BIG4 (or may be even outside them) is clear…

  37. Between the two I see Vettel as the stronger candidate but equally Webber is a deserving WC.The car may struggle in low down force circuit like Spa & Monza & wouldn’t surprise if the same happens for Montreal.It will be both Alonso & Hamilton from their respective team to take the challenge up to the Bulls. Not sure whether Mercedes can they are the team which are struggling now & I wouldn’t be surprise to see them fight with Renault for the 4th place in the championship if their car don’t turn in pace in the next race.

  38. Just a point to discuss on the pace of both the RB5 and RB6. There’s no doubt that it’s the fastest car on the grid, but by just how much? When fans and fellow drivers alike talk of the supreme downforce of the RB6, they fail to mention one thing – the fact that both drivers are ridiculously quick over one lap pace. Webber has made a habit of dragging uncompetitive cars up into Q3, and has almost always blitzed his (sometimes much more notable) teammate in both qualifying and race performance. And then finally in 2009 he had a teammate who not only matched him, but beat him over single lap pace. Could it be that the actual talents of both drivers are being undermined, and more credit being given to the car, due to the fact that they’re both incredibly fast and have pushed each other to new boundaries? We’ve seen that the RB6 doesn’t really have more race speed (except in Catalunya) than McLaren or Ferrari. I know the car is quick, but sometimes I just feel the efforts of the two drivers, being so evenly matched, is overlooked.

    1. Rob Gallagher
      20th May 2010, 3:37

      I don’t believe the RB6 is fastest because of the car’s drivers, I still think that while they do not have a device that lowers the car they do have a process, this could be in the form of gas being released or perhaps a block of wax wedged above a spring on saturday that then melts overnight after qualifying and raising the car for a full fuel load.

    2. and once Webber fully recovered from his broken leg & shoulder he was able to match Vettel

  39. Are the RB6’s catchable?
    Tough question!
    Drivers – Both Vettel and Webber are quick drivers.
    I think that their driving ability is very close and both “seem” good team players.
    Vettel benefitted last year from his smaller stature
    (more movable ballast) and Webber’s recovery from his bike riding accident.
    Both have shown cracks under pressure, though both seem to keep bouncing back
    Alonso and Hamilton are very alike(No wonder they repel) they are very good, very agressive and have huge egos(sometimes to the detriment of the team).

    Cars – The RB6 is an underpowered car, that has good traction, very good downforce and stability at high speed. Their ability is to carry speed through corners. They have to stay in front, they have no way to attack when they are behind. I read somewhere that they 20 and 21st through the speedtrap at Barcelona. They are going to struggle at Monza, Spa and any low downforce circuit and will likely be beaten there. Force India, Maclaren, Mercedes and the Ferrari will, of coarse, be quick at those circuits.

    Red Bull proved last year that they can develope a car.
    Sure Mclaren improved a lot last year, but when Mclaren finaly caught up 3/4 the way through the season, then Red Bull stepped it up again and were the fastest car at the end of the season. Red Bull know their car; every update is a speed increase.

    If the double diffusers had been disallowed by the FIA last year (they were within the rule, but not within the spirit of the Overtaking Working Group) Red Bull would have walked away with the title. I think they deserve to win this year and I believe they will!

  40. I think Keith’s comment on the wet weather competitiveness of the RB6 will be proved to be in error when we get full wets rather than inters fitted. But I also think that it is early days yet. Turkey will be interesting indeed. Monza and Montreal and maybe even Hungary they will be weaker but less so Spa IMHO.

  41. I disagree. RB have a great driver line up! Webber will win the World Championship this year, Mark my words! sorry about the pun)lol Hopefully he resigns with RB in 2011 but if he goes to Ferrari, what a dream come true!

  42. thank goodness. they were not allowed to use merc engines.. thats a major pheww

  43. Since the mid-point of last season to now, Mark Webber has been a complete revelation. I am not sure what it is – it might be the pressure on securing his seat at Red Bull, or the competition from the upcoming star Vettel, but Mark has really put his experience and skill together and has shown that he is a top-class driver. After recent performances, I would certainly rank him amongst the top 3-4 drivers.

    I hope he stays in the sport for years to come, he is one of the fittest drivers and could easily remain competitive for another 6-7 years (and hopefully bag at least 1 or 2 WDC’s in that time). I never rated Mansell, but there are a lot of parallels with his career and Mark’s

  44. or maybe its because he is lucky enough to be behind the wheel of the fastest car on the grid for once. not sayin he isn’t a good driver, but the car has a lot to do with it.

  45. Now here’s a twist in the Webber-vs-Vettel debate: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83744

  46. I personally hope not, and even though Webber is a “Mexican” (Australian parlance), I hope he can take the WDC this year.

    Be good to see the WCC go to a different team for a change apart from the two usual suspects.

  47. All the evidence you need about Red Bull’s preference for Mr Vettel is evident on their web page. They have Vettel leading the title race after Monaco.

    Obviously they do not agree with the FIA countback system and prefer to go on alphabetical order of surname.

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