Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

First race indicates Red Bull have increased lead

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Red Bull’s performance advantage in the first race of 2011 was comparable to their strongest performances of 2010.

The RB7s were almost 1% faster around Albert Park than any other car, and 2% faster than anything other than a McLaren or a Ferrari.

This chart shows the percentage difference between the quickest laps set by all the cars in race weekends this year and last year.

At the far right of the chart it’s clear to see how Red Bull pulled ahead in the first race of the year:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011teamcolours.csv

Bahrain 2010Australia 2010Malaysia 2010China 2010Spain 2010Monaco 2010Turkey 2010Canada 2010Europe 2010Britain 2010Germany 2010Hungary 2010Belgium 2010Italy 2010Singapore 2010Japan 2010Korea 2010Brazil 2010Abu Dhabi 2010Australia 2011
Red Bull00000000.36000000.570.0600000.00
McLaren0.790.90.020.451.080.820.1600.391.050.862.190.080.150.170.420.50.960.030.92
Ferrari00.230.220.381.070.620.910.440.50.901.540.51000.620.190.50.41.7
Mercedes0.241.150.480.390.990.970.651.291.071.131.672.931.811.210.780.991.91.132.21
Renault1.081.731.080.851.550.40.860.810.561.591.752.910.31.311.140.491.31.271.392.02
Williams1.081.551.071.262.711.462.431.770.861.741.793.250.781.310.80.831.482.160.813.73
Force India1.171.911.161.491.941.821.430.720.941.992.273.480.831.513.332.062.32.461.533.7
Sauber1.722.182.071.972.132.531.843.031.721.851.753.351.442.072.371.542.151.741.42.45
Toro Rosso1.92.051.211.572.772.152.292.431.022.672.443.972.012.092.162.522.373.252.362.74
Lotus4.995.814.095.125.314.434.574.173.155.275.146.794.564.375.245.025.164.194.156.41
HRT8.017.876.766.097.516.345.765.835.147.446.519.675.065.967.177.147.185.75.7310.16
Virgin4.456.764.024.996.384.815.165.114.485.765.996.75.434.855.066.045.44.814.737.04

As we saw during the race weekend, Red Bull were finding much of their extra speed in the final two sectors of the lap. They seemed to be finding much of it through the quick turns 11 and 12, carrying extra speed onto the straight down to turn 13.

This is consistent with what we saw from them last year: like the RB6, the RB7 appears to be best in medium-to-high speed corners. Pictures showing the car’s front wing dipping low and generating extra downforce – in spite of the increased load tests placed upon them this year – offer a clue to how they are doing this.

But, as we also saw last year, the extra downforce carries a drag penalty, and they were only quicker through the speed traps than Lotus, Virgin and HRT.

This particular problem will have been exacerbated by them not being able to run KERS due to reliability concerns.

The characteristics of the Sepang circuit are closer to those of most other tracks than Melbourne, so we should see a different picture next weekend. Will Red Bull be further ahead or will the other teams reduce their advantage? Have your say in the comments.

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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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130 comments on “First race indicates Red Bull have increased lead”

  1. Sush Meerkat
    3rd April 2011, 8:45

    How does Adrian Newey do this with his cars?, its witchcraft I tell you!

    1. HAHAHA, He is really good. Hope Mercedez or Maclaren can catch up..

      1. Sush Meerkat
        3rd April 2011, 9:08

        If I was an engineer at the Brackley Merc HQ i’d feel dejected man.

        In 2009 they beat Red Bull by spending a Billion Dollars*, if Brawn never made it to the 2009 grid Red Bull would have romped to victory that year.

        Judging by how fast Red Bull Racings cars go through corners they must rock out at night around Milton Keynes’s boring endless roundabouts

        yes, ONE BILLION DOLLARS!
        http://www.robertjschwalb.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/dr-evil.jpg

        1. If the Double Diffuser loophole hadn’t been found, Red Bull would have stormed it on Newey’s experience and innovation. It was by some way, the most beautiful car on the grid. A work of art, and no less. The rear end on it, was astonishing.

    2. I think it is Vettel aswell. That boy is QUICK

      1. Sush Meerkat
        3rd April 2011, 9:18

        He’s quick when in front yes, boy has issue’s when behind a car though.

        1. where did u get that from ??? didn’t he finished 7th at silverstone after being last ?

          1. Vettel has issues when behind a car he is supposed to be racing. Crashing into Webber and button last season for example – no one has truble passing folks 3 secs a lap slower.

            Don’t forget the only reason we had a close season was because of mistakes by Red Bull all season long. Why was vettel last at Silverstone? Dropped too far behind Webber and the pace car and no one told him to move closer over the radio.

            But the boy is quick and barring disaster he should live on the front row this season and hence win more often than not.

          2. Sparky, I believe the pace car incident was at Hungary.

      2. And there are 2 guys undeniably better and quicker than him. 3 if you count that one in hospital. Additional 3 with better skills, yet slower if you think of raw speed.

        It’s just a kid in a hell good car.

        1. Sush Meerkat
          3rd April 2011, 9:37

          And there are 2 guys undeniably better and quicker than him. 3 if you count that one in hospital. Additional 3 with better skills, yet slower if you think of raw speed.
          It’s just a kid in a hell good car.

          ohhhh controversial!

          Thats fighting talk!

          1. It’s not really fighting talk, it’s idiot talk. He proved in an STR he’ll be a damn good driver, and now he’s just got a good car to go with his skills. I still can’t believe I defend someone I loathe so much, but the level of ignorance from some posts on this site needs to often be addressed.

        2. Easy to say…but prove it? You can’t. The combination of brilliant driver and car should never be over-looked. No one knows if Kubica would be any better in the RB7 or Vettel in the R31. This sport doesn’t run on hypothetical conclusions, just results.

          1. Vettel has only just beaten Webber 2 seasons in a row.. I haven’t heard people claiming Webber is with Alonso and Hamilton as the best.

            He has a couple of off weekends each of the two years, a bunch of mechanical faults and a team that clearly hate him, if Vettel is only just besating him then there better be a bloody massive reason why if Vettel is to be da vunderkid.

            And no 7 hundredths of a second in Australia last year and the best car by far to win from pole until a mech fault isn’t a reason. It’s an example of why vettel isn’t at the top.

            Regardless of your mech faults during the races and such, or how many poles you get etc…

            If you can only beat your teammate on average throughout the year by less half of 1 tenth and your teammate isn’t rated as top stuff then you aren’t.

            That is a fact. If Alonso was barely faster than Massa then either Massa is bloody fast driver and has fully recovered or Alonso isn’t that fast. Similiar with Hamilton and BUtton.

          2. I’m not debating how drivers should be compared. I see the point your making but the problem is that it’s subjective. We could go on about if’s and but’s all day both for and against Vettel…but you can’t categorically rank drivers on anything but results.

            Points make prizes! ;)

          3. Cluffy_Wedge
            3rd April 2011, 12:50

            If you exclude all his mechanical failures of last year he would have won the WDC 2 or 3 races before the end of the season, Schumacher style.

          4. The mechanical failures are leveled out by his car being faster by, on average, half to a whole second a lap.

            The blunders he made himself. He lost about just as much points due to all those.

        3. From where do you know they are quicker? Have you seen their telemetry? It is purely speculations and very subjective when we haven’t seen them in equal equipment.

          1. ‘zactly my point mads.

        4. Heh. I was thinking you meant Hamilton, Alonso and.. hospital.. who’s in the hospital atm… Stewart? Why would he drag Stewart into this comparison?

          Heh.

          1. Ok, so let’s start from Monza win in a STR. First of all, try co recall the quali and who was where. Having Hamilton and Raikonnen out of the top 10 really helps. Second thing – try to recall what kind of STR was it. No, not today’s purely Toro Rosso car, but a customer Red Bull. My conclusion: respectable but not epic win, without signs of genius and with a load of luck.

            Now, of course I speak of Alonso and Hamilton. Those guys won titles with cars which weren’t so superior throughout the whole season. RB6 was probably the most dominant car since Schu’s F2002 and F2004. Remember what he’s done with those to the rest of the field? And what Vettel did? Almost lost the tile to Alonso or Webber, won only half of races in which he started from PP. IMO Hamilton or Alonso would have made a commanding WDC victory out of it. Vettel has top-tier speed, but the rest of hist racecraft is not as good which makes him as a whole a worse driver, not a bad driver but worse than few others. Of course it is my entirely subjective opinion and of course you have right to disagree. Although I honestly advise you against calling someone an idiot, just because you disagree.

          2. I agree with you Cyclops, but I think for us to truly know Vettel’s true pace we would have to see him in the same equipment as the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and kubica.
            But my guess is he’d be pretty close!

          3. Hm, was Sush Meerkat’s reply moderated out? No offense to whoever is doing the moderating, but I would just like to state for the record I wasn’t offended by it at all. Definitely came across to me as a banter-type response, not genuine name-calling.

          4. Cyclops, if the other manufacturers don’t pick up their game, then all the RB7 has to do is prove to be slightly more reliable than the 2010 iteration of the car and Vettel will sew up this championship Brawn-style. I think his racecraft in midfield battles is horrible, and everyone at Milton Keynes probably realise it’s his biggest weakness – but I doubt they care too much as long as he keeps pulling out pole positions. And I find it difficult to believe either Hamilton or Alonso would qualify quicker in that thing than Seb is at the moment, brilliant drivers though they are.

    3. car perormance? ur missing an f in the url

  2. After speaking a guy from the factory in a pub at the weekend, it appears McLaren have their own flexi front wing in production and should be taking it to Istanbul!

    1. How on earth do they flex? What’s the max weight the FIA apply in teh test, and what’s the max of the force at high speed?

      1. I think it is made with some kind of liquid crystal technology, dont quote me on that!

      2. Sush Meerkat
        3rd April 2011, 9:03

        How on earth do they flex? What’s the max weight the FIA apply in teh test, and what’s the max of the force at high speed?

        Apparently its to do with how the carbon fibre is lacquered, it makes it strong on single points which is good for load test, but the entire piece can flex without breaking.

        even standard Carbon Fibre weave is weird like that too, its durable in one direction but turns to dust when hit in the wrong spot.

        You could probably punch through a Ferrari’s body kit if hit in from the inside, although I wouldn’t recommend it, carbon splinter drive themselves into muscle.

        Speaking of which I saw a French girl shatter a graphite arrow with her hand at an archery competition when I was a kid, it made me treat them with respect because holy hell it looked and sounded painful.

        1. i think none of you have a clue. If the top dogs cant figure it out then no one here can!

          1. hah yeh I think only Newey really knows, but you should have a look at the F1 Technical forum on the page about the red bull flexi wing, the have some pretty good ideas: http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9629&start=150

      3. If I remember correctly its 100kgs on each side of the wing (so 200kgs in total).

        1. Surely a pressure test is a better method than just loading weight? How they would conduct that I don’t know ;)

      4. The max downforce at speed on the whole car is about 2000kg. So (for simplicities sake) about one quarter of that goes to each half of the front wing. That would be 500kg.

        Now the FIA tests the wing with a load of 50kg and 100kg. And “amazingly” they cannot detect that the wing flexes at speed ….

        Even if the flex was lineair, that would mean the wing could flex up to 5 times the allowed limit in the flex test. That’s 5cm to 10cm!

        1. I agree. Seriously. How the FIA cannot see that this test is flawed to the point of ridiculing the fact that they’re doing the test at all, is beyond me. Probably beyond anyone in F1 as well, no matter what side of the fence they fall on.

      5. The beauty (or rather should I say ugliness) of the Bull wing is that the team can give a “doctored” one to Vettel, and a “normal” one to Webber, and that lefts Mark puzzled looking at Seb’s one after qualy since both of them are externally identical. That way they are able to loudly proclaim their “no team orders” policy while favouring their chosen one as they wish…

        1. What a ridiculous claim.

      6. I think the flex actually comes from the entire nose flexing down rather than the wings themselves. That is how they are getting around it because the test measures the wing flex, not the nose cone itself bending down.

        Think of the extra downforce you could get when that whole front section bends down a few mm and increases the angle of the entire front wing assembly at speed. And it would also explain their slow straight line speed.

        1. Look at the animations and you see that the nose tip doesn’t move down relative to the rest of the car at all.

          The wing endplates do move down relative to the center of the wing though.

          What did happen last year was that the whole front of the car flexed down. That was due to the flexing front floor. This is pretty much eliminated by the new floor testing.

    2. why not take it to speang or malaysia though. can’t be that hard if they’ve already designed and made it…

  3. What are the chances of a retirement if they run KERS? They are so worried about issues like last year, they must be really wishing that other teams did not have KERS.

  4. Any news on webbers car? Was there a fault? Heard rumours it might have been a chassis issue. Can you shed any light on this keith?

    1. Sush Meerkat
      3rd April 2011, 9:09

      Nah Webber stayed quiet, although I hear Jenson had massive front locking.

      ba dum tish!

      1. I doubt there was a problem with Webber’s car. He was purely slower than Vettel, nothing more to it.

        1. Essentially yes, but there’s more to it, They were closely matched for the first part of the weekend. It can’t really be setup related because they both drive in a smiliar fashion, and they often borrow one another’s setups if they see it working. But, I’d be VERY surprised if it turns out that 0.8 was the difference between them purely on pace and nothing else.

          1. They were closely matched for the first part of the weekend.

            Yes too close, wouldn’t want a repeat of last year ;-)

        2. The team have confirmed a problem with Webber’s car, in the region of a seized rear centre spring… so not just Webber suddenly so much slower than Vettel.
          But it’s no reason to scream Germanic favouritism or conspiracy … just tough luck for Webber.

  5. I read in Autosport (I think) that, compared to last year, Red Bull have increased their lead by 340%. Last year they were something like 0.2sec ahead and this year it was 0.7 at the same track. Thats got to be very worrying for the other teams.
    Sorry for the lack of any proper explanation or hard facts but its very early in the morning and I haven’t slept yet.

    1. Surely it doesn’t necessarily tell the full story though. For one thing, in race pace Hamilton was hindered by his floor, so was unable to set a comparable lap time. Plus as last years race was wet and confusing, I’m not at all suprised that at least during the race they had less of an advantage that time round.

      1. I have to agree with you there. It was all off the top of my head, I can’t remember the details. We’ll find out how things are next weekend.

        1. Yeah I don’t think we’ll really know where the ground lies till we see the top 3 teams running properly and consistently around a high-speed and not typically suprising track. Tbh though if anything I thought Australia provided hope that maybe if McLaren can improve on what is a little tested design then maybe there will be a fight on at least in race trim and off the start line if Red Bull don’t use KERS.

  6. I think Red Bull will be faster, if they get their KERS working. But McLaren and Ferrari should be able to improve.
    The first by having their package in carbon fibre instead of using titanium as well as refining the exhausts.
    The latter by getting the tyres and setup right. And I expect Red Bull to run into some trouble with their KERS during the weekend.

    But a definite favourite for pole stays Vettel.

    1. Malaysia has longer straights and that could help Ferrari but many fast corners that Red Bull faces better.

      1. Sounds like ferrari’s advantage. You can’t overtake in a fast corner! (Not without serious risk anyway)

        1. You don’t need to overtake if you can build a large enough gap in the fast corners.

  7. This chart shows the percentage difference between the quickest laps set by all the cars in race weekends this year and last year.

    Ah, but there you go. Over the race the gap is usually significantly smaller than that. This year the factor of DRS in qualifying may also be skewing this, because I believe it gives certain cars a bigger advantage than others. And the qualifying gap should have been 0.2, 0.3 or even 0.4s less due to Hamilton’s KERS problem.

    Maybe 0.7s is the natural fast-lap pace of the Red Bull on a “proper” circuit. But I’m waiting to see what the introduction of KERS does to the Red Bull and what McLaren will be like now they actually know how the car works.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I know why fast-lap pace is used as the differentiator between the cars performances, because race pace data can be so unreliable. Just that the race never sees a direct translation of all of that advantage.

      1. Sush Meerkat
        3rd April 2011, 9:17

        because race pace data can be so unreliable.

        Just look at the first 3 laps Vettel done at Melbourne.

        I’m assuming Red Bull has a huge advantage because Vettel was like “Hey everyguys!, I’M OVER HERE!” vrooommmmm..

        1. And the laps after that? Maybe he was working the tyres too much at the start? Maybe McLaren aren’t as good at getting the initial performance out? Maybe Red Bull are that good but at the expense of wearing out the tyres too faster?

          Too many ifs.

          1. Sush Meerkat
            3rd April 2011, 9:43

            Its like your a superhero comic book character, I see your common sense is tingling!

            Damn you Itchyes! *punches arm rest*

          2. Why should the gap be smaller because Hamilton had a KERS problem?

            THe REd Bull’s didn’t KERS at all. The gap was just Hamilton without KERS vs RB7 without KERS.

            RBR weren’t running KERS because they couldn’t get it working. Hamilton wasn’t running KERS because he couldn’t get it working. Sure Hamilton was carring around the packs, but they aren’t anything more than the ballast in weight terms and the difference due to position is less than 1 tenth let alone the 2-4 that you are quoting.

          3. Why should the gap be smaller because Hamilton had a KERS problem?

            A car set up to run KERS that suddenly loses KERS has big brake balance issues. Ergo he should have been closer.

            Hamilton wasn’t running KERS because he couldn’t get it working

            He was running KERS. It stopped working in qualifying when he was running it.

        2. Just look at the first 3 laps Vettel done at Melbourne.
          I’m assuming Red Bull has a huge advantage because Vettel was like “Hey everyguys!, I’M OVER HERE!” vrooommmmm..

          Haha, that’s gotta be COTD.

    2. Well the RB7 just has massive downforce. That doesn’t necessarily always have to be the best approach. The downforce that car produces was enough so Vettel could go flatout through large parts of the corners with the rearwing open. That must have given him a massive advantage in qualifying, but that advantage is gone on race day. Still, even without DRS and KERS I guess the RedBull is the fastest car but not by the margin we saw in Vettels qualifying lap.

  8. Wonder what kind of gap Vettel will pull out at Silverstone, Hungary, Suzuka and Spain this year! Hungary suited the Red Bull like nothing else last year.. 1,5 seconds this year? I wouldn’t be surprised! And that’s probably just over Webber ;) Then another 0,5 down to next car..

  9. Red Bull will have a much faster car at Sepang because there are more examples of Melbournes turns 11 and 12 there. Fast corners are where the Red Bull has always done well. I also suspect that the car will be very good if it rains.

    KERS might be a problem for them off the start, but after that, they don’t really need it.

    1. I disagree. Mclaren will be closer to Red Bull because Red Bull might be good at fast corners but it is as good at tight corners too. While Mclaren lose time from Red Bull mostly at tight slow corners.
      Red Bull also aren’t as fast as Mclaren in straight line speed and Sepang has more straights.

  10. It’s clear that Malaysia, Singapore and Monza had more potential than the races that ended up showing.

  11. I think it’s panning out like lastyear, there was real high hopes that mclaren were going to close the gap on redbull after a few promising gps, but in my eyes they just went backwards later on as the season progressed. I still think Ferrari will be their nearest rivals throughout the season. I hope I’m wrong and they all are close to the untouchables

  12. RBR were really on the ball in Melbourne, Vettel was flawless. Can’t help but think this advantage will be short lived come Malyasia. DRS could potentially play a bigger part. And KERS will have them scratching their heads.

    1. Sepang will be a Red Bull track, particularly if it’s dry. McLaren won’t be far behind. Button, in particular, was enthusing about how well planted the car was. But if the things the Ferrari was doing out on track at Melbourne are anything to go by, then I think it’s going to be a long weekend for them.

      1. But them straights will have them quaking a little. Their superior downforce would usually negate their speed on the straight but they were only just above HRT, Virgin and Lotus in the speed trap at Albert Park. Basically, without KERS they’re going to feel it more at Sepang than most places.

  13. Until the other teams can figure out what makes that Red Bull front wing do the things it does and still pass the FIA wing test, they are always going to be a step behind.

    The only thing that may slow down the Red Bull’s is tyre wear, and they don’t seem to be too shabby with that.

    1. What concerns me about the other teams is even if they figure out the front wing, where else is Redbull using this technology to pass load tests?
      Are they barely passing load tests on the floor, rear wing, or other internal bits that we can’t see?

      1. You’ve got a point the front wing is so obvious but where else could such tech be used.
        I wouldn’t be surprised if Mclaren or Ferrari finally manage to copy it and then all of a sudden the test gets revised. It could be a waste of money and resources but the other teams have not choice but to copy.

        Even if Williams who I have a bit of a soft spot for copied it and got the the front of the grid I’d still be against it.

  14. They don’t mind having a car with high drag coefficient as long as they are good in corners.Some track may punish them but I guess won’t be too big a problem.

    1. Sadly i got to agree with you there.
      I think their disadvantage would be just at the beginning of the race, in some races like Korea where they got two long straights, they’ll have a huge disadvantage until they reach the first few corners where they can pull out of everyone’s reach!
      Lets just wait 6 more days and see what happens.

    2. This is the problem with the Tilke tracks: lots of medium and high-speed corners where downforce outweighs the drag penalty on the straights. Sad to think Monza and maybe Montréal are the only speed-fests left on the calendar. We have plenty of Tilkedromes, a decent amount of slow point-and-squirt circuits (Monaco, Singapore, Valencia, Hungary), the odd high-downforce track (Barcelona, Silverstone) but a very disappointing number of tracks where speed rules or forces cars to make compromises between the two (Spa is all I can think of, a testimony to high power-to-grip ratios making good races)

  15. No looking good for Ferrari…

    1. Pretty worrying that Alonso finished 9 seconds behind a broken McLaren. I thought Albert Park would suit that Ferrari.

      1. To be fair to Alonso, and I’m not his biggest fan, he did do three stops compaired to Hamiltons two. If his tyres had lasted it could have been a different story.

        1. Yes, good point. But the fact he had to make them is a worry. It’s not like last year where people on one strategy were saving the life in them but someone maxing out all their sets could make up the time lost by having to take on an extra one. This year they’re pretty much maxing them (as much as they can without destroying them in 3 laps) because they fall off no matter what you do with them (besides crawling around, which is obviously not viable).

          So the extra stop won’t have been a tactical ploy. I imagine they would have been just as slow nursing two sets that had gone off pretty badly compared to being comfortable with three okay sets.

          1. Maybe he didn’t need to have made them? They might have been overly cautious.

  16. People, I am reading between the lines here …… take a look:

    “McLaren made a huge leap forward – by copying our exhaust, it has to be said,” Newey said. “But the bottom line is they still made huge leaps forward. I am sure they will be pushing us hard. We think it (the exhaust) works for us. It seems it also works for McLaren. It’s a form of flattery but it’s a bit of a pain if they then beat you with it.”

    I think some1 is very concerned here :)

  17. I’m unsure whether or not it was broadcast on tv, but Newey did his fox chasing the chicken sniff out on all the other teams cars, carefully eying over all of them on pre warm up lap on the grid at Melbourne. Slowly drifting from car to car having a good look at their wares. That’s how he knows Mclaren copied his exhaust and that’s how he stays ahead. By the way, the whole time he was sniffing around, there were 2 RB guys who’s sole job was to stand at the back of the car, blocking anyone else’s view.

  18. red bull will dominate the fast corners in sepang but suffer on the straights.

  19. But, as we also saw last year, the extra downforce carries a drag penalty, and they were only quicker through the speed traps than Lotus, Virgin and HRT

    I find this to be staggering!! In a way, this shows how good Red Bull really are. If there is a way of solving this problem, then surely Red Bull will be completely bulletproof and walk (so to speak) to the chmpionship.

    1. From what I remember they weren’t particulaly fast last year but admittedly they didn’t walk to victory. They can always gear front wing styles and angles to improve straight line speed enough to keep in the thick of it.

  20. OK, guys.

    The wing issue first: Every wing has the point where the lifting force is concentrated, sort of speak. Consequently, FIA tests are OK. The idea how Mr. Newey and guys at Red Bull use front wing flexing is brilliant. In fact the idea is to harness the airflow under the side pods. It is a bit complicated to describe it only in words but when you combine it with the pitch of the cars floor…, it just works great, not easy to achieve though. Well done everyone at Red Bull!!!
    RB7 is very neatly packaged and you cannot isolate one component and say it’s the key of RB7’s success.
    Surprising and humiliating at the same time is that the others are still not getting it.
    They’ll be even better at Sepang :-(

  21. What a bummer! Looks like Lotus have taken a real step backwards from where they left off the end of last season.

  22. I think all the other teams must act quickly to be able to beat Red Bull as Vettel is too quick when at the front row and may stay on until he gets another championship. But he may have an issue when he’s behind a car though according to the previous incidents last season. Its either Mclaren or Ferrari could beat them.

  23. I think Redbull having itsguyd standing at the back of their cars is just to detract from where the true performance is produced which is probably elsewhere, such as in front.
    The fact the nose dips as the load increases means there will be a gradual increase in drag, which will be at a maximum when the car is travelling its fastest

    Now since there is no way we can measure how much the nose flexes, isn’t it possible Webber may get the same looking wing, vanes, winglets and all, but one whose nose doesns’t dip or dip to such a degree as the one on Vettel’s car. This might explain Webber’s slower time compared to Vettel.

    I will also like to remind the FIA that they have banned flexible aerodynamic components, parts that flex under aerodynamic loads. They were prepared to view video evidence when Ferrari had those flexing rear wings, but now they are not even bothering to investigate the issue.

    1. Now since there is no way we can measure how much the nose flexes, isn’t it possible Webber may get the same looking wing, vanes, winglets and all, but one whose nose doesns’t dip or dip to such a degree as the one on Vettel’s car. This might explain Webber’s slower time compared to Vettel.

      Why on earth would Red Bull hinder one of their drivers from the very start of the season? What if Vettel’s car had broke down or crashed or he had just made an error?

      I will also like to remind the FIA that they have banned flexible aerodynamic components, parts that flex under aerodynamic loads. They were prepared to view video evidence when Ferrari had those flexing rear wings, but now they are not even bothering to investigate the issue.

      The FIA have since then increased the loading on the front wing when being tested. That is all that they can do. In short, the Red Bull car passes the new and much more stringent front wing flex test.

      And you may have noticed that all of the teams cars front wings flex to some degree when out on track. So if you are going to ban wings with any flex in them, you will have to ban all front wings.

    2. Hahaha.
      “I will also like to remind the FIA that they have banned flexible aerodynamic components, parts that flex under aerodynamic loads.”

      Come on Guys! Everything flexes to some degree!! they have a test in place that every team should pass, and Red Bull nose passes. => Their car is legal. Full stop.

      That’s the key here. Meet the given regulations and then finding performance the way you can.

      In some way it was unfair that FIA changed thru the season the way they tested this last time. Because you build and develop a car to the rules you are given beforehand.

      1. Because you build and develop a car to the rules you are given beforehand.

        This is what gets me about the Brawn double diffuser. It was perfectly legal in the regulations, even though it went against what the regulation was trying to achieve. Toyota and Williams had one too at the beginning of the season. Some teams just got caught out. The regulation has since been amended.

        Red Bull have something that is also within the regulations, it’s just that the other teams are taking much longer to figure this one out.

        1. But it’s not in the regulations. The regulations specifically rule against it. They’ve just managed to find a way to cheat the tests and the FIA seem curiously unbothered by the video evidence to the contrary.

          Here’s an analogy: when I did my GCSE Maths we had a “calculator-free” exam in which we couldn’t use a calculator to work out our answers. Imagine I find a way around this and am able to use a calculator in the exam, even though the teacher regularly checks to see if I have one. Then they later check the CCTV and see me using my calculator, but they decide to ignore it. Huh?

          1. They’ve just managed to find a way to cheat the tests and the FIA seem curiously unbothered by the video evidence to the contrary.

            The FIA cannot ban something on video evidence alone. It can only introduce stricter tests in order to avoid the use of flexible structures.

            With regards to your analogy:

            The FIA are satisfied that Red Bull have passed their exam in exactly the same conditions that everyone else tried to. No one can “cheat” during the exam. It then only remains to be seen how well you passed the exam, and if you then went on to further education.

          2. I think you’ve missed the point of my analogy, that it was proven that the method for checking against cheating wasn’t good enough.

            So how that translates into real life is that we have evidence the FIA tests are flawed and they’re not doing anything about it.

            The FIA cannot ban something on video evidence alone.

            Video evidence is deemed acceptable to determine things like cutting corners, apportioning blame for collisions, etc. If a piece of the car is hanging off dangerously, the stewards can black flag someone just by looking at the TV. Now, something like the flexing wing would be open to abuse misinterpretation if it was solely down to TV evidence, but it’s evidence enough that the rule enforcers should be coming up with a test that proves what’s going on so blatantly.

      2. There are a hundred different ways people earning three, four, five times the amount we do can fiddle their accounts legally to recoup even more of that money to avoid paying tax. I bet you’re not in support of them doing so and increasing your own tax bill in the process.

        The “it’s legal” argument really has no mileage in it. VXR made a very valid point, video evidence was enough last time but not now?

        1. Actually the wording in the rules says explicity that the bodywork MAY deflect, they just give a limitation to this flex and therefore the tests…

          If you put in the regulations that it can’t flex, then no car will be deemed legal…

          Why are you all talking about cheating, and what on earth has the taxes to do with all this????????

          1. That legal does not equal okay.

            3.15 Aerodynamic influence :
            With the exception of the cover described in Article 6.5.2 (when used in the pit lane), the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance :
            – must comply with the rules relating to bodywork ;
            – must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom) ;
            – must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.
            Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the
            ground is prohibited under all circumstances.
            No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.

            Now it’s true that the rules go on to say there’s a limit to which they can deflect under a certain load. But the key part is the reference to the sprung part of the car. The whole car moves, yes, but at the same time (and the wings wobble but that’s unavoidable). The wings however clearly move relative to the rest of the car and don’t even have the excuse of something making them do so like when the wings wobble as they go over the curve.

          2. Moving is not the same as flexing.
            Moving is forbidden, no word in the rules about flexing.

            The same way as “may deflect” within this parameters, is not the same as stating it can’t flex!!

      3. As has been said, the rules say that it shouldn’t flex, the red bull passed the tests, that DOESN’T make it legal. It just means that it hasn’t been proved illegal.

        1. Agree 100% with Icthyes and Skett.

          People referencing a comparison to the double diffuser really are show they 1. Haven’t got a clue what they are talking about or 2. Haven’t read the posts they are putting a alternate point of view against or 3. Haven’t read the rules.

          The DD was a loop hole no rule breaking.
          The front wing breaks the rules. Fact. It goes against what is in black and white, not an intention, the actual words.

          What annoys me the most is if anyone final copies it spending 100’s of thousands maybe more I bet it get banned, and so it should.

          1. The front wing breaks the rules.

            Here’s the black and white.

            3.17 Bodywork flexibility

            3.17.1 Bodywork may deflect no more than 20mm vertically when a 1000N load is applied vertically to it 800mm forward of the front wheel centre line and 795mm from the car centre line. The load will be applied in a
            downward direction using a 50mm diameter ram to the centre of area of an adapter measuring 300mm x 150mm, the 300mm length having been positioned parallel to the car centre line. Teams must supply the
            adapter when such a test is deemed necessary.

            That’s it. No more, no less.

            The Red Bull car passes this test. Nowhere is there any mention of visual evidence being required to collaborate what is found during the FIA test.

          2. We do understand the point. But the video evidence shows that even though they meet 3.17, they’re still breaking 3.15. The former is the test, the latter the actual rule.

        2. The rules don’t say that the wing shouldn’t flex.

          1. 3.15 clearly says they can’t. ‘Must remain immobile’ sounds an awful lot like ‘mustn’t flex’.

          2. Tech regulations 2011, article 3.17.8 wrote:
            In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 are respected, the FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion.

            Just sayin!

          3. Both 3.15 and 3.17 are rules. It is not practical, from an engineering point of view, for all parts of an F1 car to conform to rule 3.15. Therefore it is necessary to introduce more rules that limit the amount of movement in a specific part of the bodywork.

          4. All cars break rule 3.15.

          5. Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the
            ground is prohibited under all circumstances.

            End of story no?

    3. The flexing degree of the front wing will never give or take 0,9 seconds per lap. Only if Vettel’s front wing were connected to the car with rubber bands and Webber’s wing mounted to the car with armed concrete. There would be no point for Red Bull to do such things. Especially at the first race of the season. They would always want to lock out the front row no matter who they might support the most. They still want to constructors championship don’t they? If they want Vettel to win the championship so much that they need to sabotage Webber’s chances they would wait for the later half of the season when it makes sense, and when it will be clearer whether they need to sabotage him or not.

      1. Excepting they have only perfected the super flex on only one wing and that goes to Vettel. Why should they do it early on in the season? Well why not. Seeing that already they have good reliability, there is no point having the drivers fighting each other. Just establish the hierarchy early on so when they both have equal cars it will be easy to make driver 2 comply with team orders for the sake of the championship.
        I have learned not to trust Redbull. I could give them the benefit of doubt in the past but not anymore.

  24. If Red Bull are so fast, how come Webber only came 5th?

    I’m not sure the speed advantage has less to do with the RB7, and more to do with the pace of Vettle

    1. Webber isn’t that far behind Vettel. More to do with car set up than driver ability.

  25. Keith, I think the RB7 will have an even larger speed advantage in Sepang, since the track has more medium- and high-speed corners than Albert Park. And I am fairly certain RBR will use KERS there. They did not use it in Melbourne not because of reliability issues, but because the RB7 is not as kind to its tires as for example the MP4. Horner knew they could win Melbourne w/out KERS, since that track does not have long straights. By not running KERS, the car is lighter by about 20 kg, and there is less load on the tires. In Sepang, they will have to use KERS to fend off overtake attempts on the long straight. So while the RB7 should enjoy a clear speed advantage, the race may become interesting later on, if the RB7 is indeed consuming its tires faster. I would not be surprised if RBR run 1 more pitstop in Sepang than McLaren and Ferrari. I am sure they will have done the computations on that. I think Lewis will be very dangerous there, and I also think it is a critical race for Ferrari. Alonso has to get a podium there, at the very least.

    1. I think you’re confused. Red Bull will have had ballast placed where the kers system would have been. If their car was 20kg over the minimum weight with kers installed there’s an issue there, all the teams want to be as close to that limit as possible!

      1. KERS gives you a completely free, no strings attached 80 bhp for 6.6 seconds per lap.

    2. UKfanatic (@)
      3rd April 2011, 21:08

      Mclaren did a nice job in melbourne, Ferrari showed that they arent prepared and red bull showed the F1 world that the Kers = less performance. In Sepang like you said im expecting even more performance from the reds but dont get me wrong the mp4 isnt good on the tyres mclaren seem to have alot of downforce but not enough to challenge the redbulls, top speeds are proving to be only worth it on overtaking opportunities and last weekend we saw 6 speedy Ferraris maybe cause of a good kers. last 2 year we saw mercedes topping the radar now we see Ferraris massa was struggling for downforce and steaming on the straight ferrari and mclaren were on reverse rolls.Vettel 1st Ham 2nd 3rd Button

  26. UKfanatic (@)
    3rd April 2011, 20:53

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/04/03/car-perormance/ lol

    anyway, Really interesting article, mclaren said recenttly that they feel that they are in abetter position now than last year, this arcticle shows that this may only be truth if we compare with the final stages of last year

  27. 3.15 clearly says they can’t. ‘Must remain immobile’ sounds an awful lot like ‘mustn’t flex’.

    Rule 3.17.1 relates to a specific area of bodywork and clearly allows said bodywork to not comply to:

    – must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom) ;
    – must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.

    3.15 applies to bodywork that SHOULD NOT have aerodynamic influence, which clearly a front wing does.

    1. Rule 3.15 does not apply to front wings (and several other areas including the rear wing). If it did apply, then every team would find themselves with wings that do not comply to rule 3.15. All F1 car front wings, Red Bull’s or HRT’s, flex well beyond what is allowed in rule 3.15. Rule 3.17 allows this to happen. Therefore rule 3.15 does not apply.

    2. Yeah, that’s why they call article 3.15 “Aerodynamic influence”, because it describes bodywork that does not have an aerodynamic influence *rolls eyes*

      How about this section of 3.15:

      Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the ground is rohibited under all circumstances.

      No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.

      How does a wing endplate designed to touch the track satisfy these lines?

      Or how about the specific artcle 3.17.8 which states that 3.15 is the main rule and that the flex tests are merely there to make sure that cars adhere to 3.15?

      3.17.8 In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.15 are respected, the FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion.

      1. No car currently competing in F1 currently complies or can ever comply with article 3.15 in its entirety. It is just not possible, under the current regulations, for any car to physically or practically comply fully with article 3.15.

        Therefore, bodywork that cannot comply with article 3.15 is governed by article 3.17, which can, if deemed necessary, be revised at any stage during the current world championship.

        As of now, article 3.17.1 of 3.17 states:

        3.17 Bodywork flexibility

        3.17.1 Bodywork may deflect no more than 20mm vertically when a 1000N load is applied vertically to it 800mm forward of the front wheel centre line and 795mm from the car centre line. The load will be applied in a
        downward direction using a 50mm diameter ram to the centre of area of an adapter measuring 300mm x 150mm, the 300mm length having been positioned parallel to the car centre line. Teams must supply the
        adapter when such a test is deemed necessary.

        And the Red Bull car, and all other cars, comply with this.

        Bodywork is allowed to flex beyond what 3.15 allows. Indeed, all other F1 cars are only asked to comply with 3.17.1 since it is not possible for any F1 car to fully comply with article 3.15.

        If you uphold the use of article 3.15 as being the only rule governing the movement of bodywork, then no F1 car would be allowed to take part in the upcoming Malaysian GP.

        How does a wing endplate designed to touch the track satisfy these lines?

        Is it specifically designed to touch the track? No it is not. Does a McLaren/Ferrari/Renault/HRT front wing move further than what is allowed in article 3.15? Yes it does. Is it only an illegal front wing if any part of it touches the track? No it is not, since you cannot rule out suspension movement and track camber as being the cause of that.

        Does article 3.17.8 state that article 3.15 must, at all times, be fully adhered to? No it does not. It merely states that further measures may be introduced in order that rule 3.15 is “respected”. AFAIK no further amendments to article 3.17 have been made.

        1. Is it specifically designed to touch the track

          Pretty much… YES

          1. It is designed to increase downforce. If it touched the track all of the time it would eventually break. It gains nothing by having to touch the track.

          2. It is designed to increase downforce

            Designed by bridging the gap. There you go then it is illegal after all.

  28. Pretty simple really. People that dont rate Webber also dont rate Vettel, they think he’s overrated and not in the league of Hamilton or Alonso.

    Whereas people that do rate Webber rate Vettel.
    Personally I rate Webber, (or previously have – sure something was seriously up in Melb this year), so I rate Vettel. Webber was always quicker than all his previous team mates so my thinkings the Vettel boys a bit special, and watch his onboard footage!

  29. Very cool chart. Comparing the back runners or the middle runners is interesting too.

    I am wondering where Williams are this year. Last weekend didn’t really their true potential. I think they are the 5th strongest team. But Mercedes didn’t show their full potential either and I wonder if they’ve leapt forward. Then there’s Renault. Oh, I give up!

    Can anyone enlighten me on where they think Williams are in 2011?

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