Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Hamilton suspects Red Bull have more downforce

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull’s car has the potential to compete with Mercedes.


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

Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton weary of Red Bull revival despite his imperious form (The Independent)

“I really do think the Red Bulls have as much downforce as us, maybe a little more, so we can still improve.”

Hamilton ready to make his move on Rosberg (Reuters)

“I’m in a good place right now and I’m hoping that this will be the year.”

Hamilton ‘close to perfection in 2014’ (BBC)

Nigel Mansell: “He has been close to perfection, just brilliant. He has been given the freedom to express himself.”

Talking upgrades with Rob Marhsall (Red Bull)

Sebastian [Vettel] will get a new chassis for Barcelona, which was scheduled at the start of the season and then the next one will be for Daniel [Ricciardo] at some time around Silverstone.”

Lotus wants new prize money structure (Autosport)

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez: “Two years ago we were told the engines would last longer and be cheaper than what we had – but they are now almost twice as expensive.”

Tony Settember 1926-2014 (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Californian Tony Settember, who started six Grands Prix in 1962-63, passed away on Sunday at the age of 87.”

EMC gives Lotus F1 go-faster stripes as sport cracks down on IT regulations (Computing)

Lotus IS and IT director Michael Taylor: “We realised quite early on that we were a long way out with technology from where we needed to be in terms of being very reactive to the business and having a very short cycle time.”


Comment of the day

Can IndyCar afford a development war any more than F1 can?

In today’s financial situation, IndyCar would simply walk down the path F1 is heading toward: spending itself to death.

I, too, would love to return to the old days where it’s ‘run what ya brung’ and the engineers were battling as hard as the drivers. But American open wheels is simply trying to remain affordable at this point and try to imagine teams who are scraping by in a spec series attempting not to get left behind in the development wars…

The reverse if what [Gordon] Kirby is asking for would happen: only a few teams would remain as it gets more and more costly to be competitive. All he has to do is look at F1 not having a field bigger than 24 cars in over two decades. Sadly, you can not turn back the clock. What once was will never be recreated.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Miguel and Tororosso!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Gilles Villeneuve was killed in an accident during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on this day in 1982.

Image © Red Bull/Getty

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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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  • 68 comments on “Hamilton suspects Red Bull have more downforce”

    1. Mercedes will still be vitorious on this GP…The others teams are improving(?) but Mercedes still get 1-2 if the 2 cars get to the fisnish line…Vettel, if i remember, never achieved a pole at Barcelona…

      1. BJ (@beejis60)
        8th May 2014, 0:46

        So? That was in the past.

        1. So… Considering he’s probably had the best car there for so many years, yet never managed to get pole.
          And his form so far this year.. It doesn’t look favorable for him.
          Just because its in the past doesn’t make it an irrelevant
          thing to point out.
          Must be only one or two tracks he hasn’t had pole at.

          1. Considering he’s probably had the best car there for so many years

            For the Spanish GP, it’s only 2010 and 2011. Still, interesting he’s never had pole at Catalunya.

            1. @david-a
              Are you talking about qualifying or the race? Because I don’t think RBR had the best car in the race in 2011, he was really good on that day.

              However, Vettel’s biggest boogie track is definitely China. He had one good drive there in 2009, other than that he’s been quite average around Shanghai.

            2. @kingshark – Yep, I meant for qualifying.

      2. omarr-pepper
        8th May 2014, 1:21

        Funny thing is all the teams bring upgrades, ALL of them, so Mercedes are no sloths sleeping comfortably. No way Red Bull can get in the real battle until it’s too late, such as 2009

    2. Sorry Keith, but when I saw the headline on facebook I busted out laughing. I’d like to reply to Lewis; “…And water is wet?”

      RIP Gilles. Eight consecutive days of the calendar, three sad anniversaries, unless I missed another.

      1. +1. I was so depressed this week, my schoolwork suffered.

    3. “Lewis Hamilton weary of Red Bull revival” – What, tired of it already, Lewis? Those Independent journalists (and editor) are real wags, aren’t they? I’m sure they know they meant “wary” and not “weary”… ;)

    4. Interesting to watch the video of Lewis in the simulator, linked from the karting video. We’ve seen the Red Bull ones with Webber, the technology still looks very similar, perhaps with more CPU/GPU power.

    5. Also, I agree with Lopez. I wonder if it’ll get as far as the EU stepping in again..

    6. Re COTD, it may well be so but I am mystified as to why what was possible 50 years ago is impossible now.

      1. Because nowadays we know so many more ways to spend gazillions of USD/EUR/GBP etc. @hohum so that when a few have it they can outspend far more then in the past

      2. Technology was more limited and inexpensive. You can’t “un-know” things. To be competitive requires MUCH more and far more expensive technology, a larger staff and computer precision. We no longer live in the days where teams can be run out of someone’s garage.

    7. Interesting to see Vettel getting a chassis upgrade while Ricciardo waits till..
      “some time around Silverstone.”
      They mention this being pre determined at the start of the season, but i wonder in what sense..
      Did they say the first chassis upgrade would be available for a driver at Barcelona if required? or did they say Vettel will have the first upgrade as #1 Driver?
      I get the feeling from Vettel that he’s superstitiously OCD about things, maybe if things had been going good so far this season he wouldn’t be changing chassis…
      As they said sometimes they don’t want too, so im interested in seeing how that works out.
      They also seem to be playing down the potential performance upgrade for changing chassis, with all these regulation changes and problems with cooling in and around the cockpit (tub) and with many drivers complaining about heat in the cockpit id say it has massive potential to be a big upgrade on the current configuration.

      So if Vettel suddenly stops getting over taken by Ricciardo and has an edge on him untill Daniel gets the same chassis we will know it was an upgrade.
      And if Vettel keeps getting over taken and edged by Ricciardo we will know if was Vettels Superstitious OCD getting rid of a presumed jinxed chassis.

      Isn’t it the chassis he gives a name too? I wonder what that one was called and if he didn’t like it, why?

      1. Maybe he needs to get spousal approval for names now?

        1. LOL!!! No more “Kinky Kylie”

      2. Interesting to see Vettel getting a chassis upgrade

        Errr, I though the last in-season chassis upgrade that ever happened (at least to RBR) was the RB5B?

        He’s getting a new chassis, but if you read the article it’s not an upgrade – perhaps a safety measure.

        Though I can’t quite understand why the chassis changes are scheduled differently.

        1. It seems that Vettel’s chassis change has been brought forward because of possible damage to the current chassis. The team have not found clear evidence of cracking, but Vettel’s feedback has made them suspect that there may be something wrong with that chassis that warrants more extensive checking than can be done on the road.

          Either way, you’re right that this is a straightforward replacement with another chassis of the same specification. The only team which is introducing a lighter chassis is Sauber, which is something they are in dire need of given their woeful performance in recent races.

        2. Though I can’t quite understand why the chassis changes are scheduled differently

          I presume this is just the time it takes to manufacture. The teams only have to produce a few per season so maybe they don’t have the tooling/equipment to have two in production at the same time, or not during the season at least when they will be making aero parts constantly.

      3. fact: SV is getting a chassis replacement – not an upgrade.

        fact: chassis replacements should not affect performance. So, concluding that this amounts to RB giving SV a competitive advantage seems unwarranted.

        fact: the only way a chassis replacement would lead to an increase in performance is if the present chassis is defective. Assuming this is the case (RB suspect that it might be), two things follow: 1.) the ‘gain’ in performance is a function of negating a previous ‘deficit’ in performance, and would be bringing SV’s car on par with DR’s car; 2.) far from showing any preferential treatment it would seem that repairing a defective car is the only logical course of action for RB

        (supposedly, this was already the case once for SV back in 2012 - )

        fact: drivers like to stick with chassis while they are performing well. So, I’m guessing that DR does not want a chassis replacement at this point.

    8. Well, RBR seem to be hanging their hopes on a Seb resurgence on a mystery ailment in his old Suzy and a new Suzy to fix everything. I wonder what they’ll say if it doesn’t improve things for him? I don’t think I’d have made a big deal about this and simply waited for results before making an issue of this. They’ve essentially painted Seb in a corner and he needs to come out well now.

      1. It probably won’t solve anything for him. At least the last gazilion times someone had a new chassis, it didn’t make any difference.

        If Red Bull didn’t managed to set the car up to his driving style, he will lose again to Ricciardo.
        And i hope this happens. It’s incredible to see a large amount of fans saying that Vettel will defeat his partner like this wasn’t his major obligation considering who he is and what he already achieved, against a newcomer with a very small fraction of his results.

      2. SV has not been painted into a corner. The new chassis for SV is not supposed to be some ultimate solution. It is just a new chassis. I’m sure they actually have other more significant upgrades that they will be anxious to see in use, which will be the next step as they observe both drivers and work collectively with both sides of the garage to advance the car. And no doubt the changes and tweaks will continue all season for all teams.

        And given that SV has been asked twice to let DR go, yet SV is the natural number one given his tenure on the team and the Championships he has, they obviously have much bigger fish to fry right now just to get the car closer to the Mercs, and hardly have the luxury of hanging their hats in one side of the garage.

      3. Well.. Red Bull has to keep their golden boy happy. Its obvious for everyone to see that Daniel has outclassed the 4 time WDC so far this year, and that probably put a lot of media pressure on Seb to get back. This is Red Bull’s way of showing Seb that he is still top dog at RB and get his confidence back up.

        If Dan still gets the better of Seb in Barcelona, I would be thrilled for Dan.

        1. Hmmm… I think SV does not need a new chassis to be convinced of his tenure and his numbers with RBR. That’s obvious for everyone to see. I think it is likely that nobody is putting more pressure on SV than SV himself, yet he likely feels handcuffed at the moment with a format of F1 that he admits he doesn’t like, and a car that is obviously needing improvement.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying seeing DR do as well as he has vs. SV, but it is early days and I have no doubt SV will win out in the end as the car evolves and he gets it somewhat more to his liking throughout the season.

          This is what we all wanted to see from SV…how he handles not having the best car, and a teammate that is challenging him, and we have only started to see how this will unfold. It’s a moving target though, and I must say given the radical changes to F1 and the fact that RBR and Renault have been a bit caught out, I’m surprised how quickly some seem to be writing off a 4-time WDC.

          I think many teams would have ‘sacrificed’ somewhat for a future unknown in order to ensure a WDC and WCC in the present. And they couldn’t have known for sure that delaying work on this new chapter would necessarily guarantee them the struggle they are currently in. If Merc hadn’t nailed things so well, all the teams would be pretty close to each other and RBR would be standing out a lot less for their deficiencies.

          Meanwhile DR is in the far less pressure situation as the newby on the team. If he doesn’t do as well as SV that’s no surprise since SV is a 4 time Champ on ‘his’ team, and if he (DR) does well it is gravy for him, so yeah for sure there is more pressure on SV, but as I say nobody would be more aware of that than SV himself. It will be interesting to see how he does if he simply can’t get comfortable in his car or with this new chapter that he has already spoken quite negatively about.

    9. Lotus owner Gerard Lopez: “Two years ago we were told the engines would last longer and be cheaper than what we had – but they are now almost twice as expensive.”

      Deja vu? this happens every year, doesn’t it? costs “much higher than expected”.

      1. I guess that until the teams receive about 80-95% of the pot it will be a returning issue just about every year @fer-no65.

      2. @fer-no65,@bascb, The powers that be seem to be incapable of thinking through these clever ideas they have to reduce costs, in most cases all they do is move the target requiring a new area of development without materially reducing the costs in the area targeted.

    10. That google glasses thing should be mandatory. Wicked!

      1. @dj-xo2
        Imagine watching the on-track battles during a GP like that, while flipping from driver to driver. Geoff Crammond’s GP4 dream come true!

        Unfortunately, Indycar will have seen this technology being used for about 5-7 years before FOM starts to know it exists.

        1. I set up the projector once on a wall and nearly got car sick watching Monaco replays..ground level, armco, so good!

        2. More like, wait a couple months until FOM starts sending out cease and desist letters to people who upload and post such video on the web.

      2. Agree. Sadly it will happen only when all other sports are already doing that for half a decade

    11. Really interesting to see that despite Ricciardo’s performances Red Bull is still pining their hopes with Vettel. Not surprising as Vettel is 4 time WCH anyway as usual RBR has gone for the #1 driver, Ricciardo is going to have to wait for the new probably lighter chassis until Silverstone.

      1. Well, you don’t expect Vettel to fight on an even terms?

      2. @peartree It’s a new chassis but according to the article not an upgrade, just a new chassis.

        A safety measure, perhaps?

        What does it mean when a driver gets a new chassis?
        RM: The chassis is the tub that the driver sits in – it’s basically the survival cell that the engine and suspension bolts to, that’s the bit that’s new. All the external body work is the same.

        Is it a benefit?
        RM: It shouldn’t be, as the idea is that they are all the same. Drivers don’t always want to change them – they can get attached to a particular chassis and when they are on a good run they like to hang on to it for as long as possible! From our point of view we’d rather give them one or two new chassis during the season that we have been able to check out in the factory using various testing methods.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard I read the article buddy, I just don’t buy into that.

      3. @peartree Sorry but I find it hard to believe, given SV’s tenure on the team and the results they produced, and given that SV heads DR by 9 points, and given that they both need huge improvements to come, and given that we are 4 races into a whole new era of cars, that you were even able to put words together to construct your first sentence without realizing what you were saying and then deleting it. You can’t seriously have expected them to already have forgotten SV and already be favouring DR.

        1. @robbie DR retired from the Malaysian GP. Ricciardo heads the teammate battle 2-1 and also leads the qualifying battle, therefore at the moment Ricciardo has proven to be the quicker driver. RBR though have faith in the champion, and rightfully so. Understand now?

          1. @peartree Not really. I think is is way too early, not just in this season, but in this new chapter, for you to be expecting RBR to be making choices based on driver status, and I don’t think that is necessary for them to do, nor needed when both drivers should be trying to advance their cars ahead of the Mercs…or what will status matter? They’ve got far bigger fish to fry than the politics you suggest, and if DR is doing so well, all the more reason to try to help SV as he obviously needs it more.

            Even though you say it is understandable you sound like you actually think DR has already earned number one status but as usual RBR is going with SV, when you say you find it ‘really interesting’ that they are ‘still’ pinning their hopes on Vettel. I think they want and need both drivers to have the equipment to do way better than they both have so far, as evidenced by them twice calling for SV to move over for DR. So DR gets a couple of favourable orders his way, SV’s side tries a new/old chassis, and they ‘ll need a lot more than that yet. RBR is pinning their hopes on BOTH drivers doing way better.

            1. @robbie I’m NOT expecting RBR to pick a driver this early on. Other teams would pick a driver but I didn’t express my view, I made an observation.
              My observation is based on several facts. Vettel is going to get a new chassis and much sooner than Ricciardo. Chassis take long to build hence the importance of prioritizing the process. In this case the newer chassis is going to Vettel and its surely not going to be slower than the previous one, meaning that RBR is prioritizing Vettel over Ricciardo. If in fact the previous chassis was damaged beyond repair Vettel in this case would definitely have to use another chassis anyway using ultrasound RBR would’ve been able to survey any damages. The reasons behind the chassis change are to say the least confusing. The conclusion is that RBR is in this case favouring Vettel.

              I say RBR is trying to manage their team in the best way possible, that means ensuring both drivers score good points and hopefully thought time progress to be challenging for the lead. Whilst trying to chase the Mercedes, RBR believes in Vettel to lead them closer and closer, RBR is certainly aware of what Seb’s capable of. In the meanwhile accidentally RBR send a disorganized and fractioned PR message that baffles me. I see no wrong in their logic for the time being. Chassis take long to produce and for logistic reasons you make one at a time, everything had been planned before the season start, as usual with every team, someone is always going to get a new chassis first.

              On the other hand some inside RBR seem not to understand why let Ricciardo through in order to better their team result but in the same time to compromise their development schedule to make a newer chassis for their star driver for the sake of it. The team planner says Vettel was planned to get a new one (real reason) but Vettel meanwhile says he’s going for a pre-season chassis, whilst his manager “knows” the chassis has a crack. In the end this creates real cracks on the core of the team, as the driver that’s performing is in fact going to be left waiting for 3 races for the same “upgrade” and also having to fend off journos about that same subject for a couple months whilst wearing a smile from ear to ear.

            2. @peartree Ok, you have confirmed a consistency along with your first post that shows you have created a storyline for yourself regarding the goings-on at RBR that contains a lot of drama well beyond the ‘observation’ you claim to be doing, so I’ll just leave my previous remarks to stand as posted.

            3. @robbie I don’t know what you do not understand. At first I wrote a short conclusion based in the recent events in the RBR camp. Then you claimed I was saying the complete opposite of what I was saying and you even made the point of explaining to me what I miss wrote by writing the same I had wrote… So I write again a longer version with a little bit more info. Now you asked asked for my opinion I wrote it on the last paragraph after spending the first couple paragraphs with a thorough explanation of the news leading to the spanish gp based on a compilation of media snippets presented in the website, if you haven’t read the news that’s your problem but I’m certainly not going to link everything that’s happened in the fortnight, and definitely not going to reply to you any longer.

    12. Google glass should be mandatory for all F1 drivers and pit crews. That Rahal video was sweet.

    13. Does anyone still believe Ratzenberger is “the forgotten one” when Gilles Villeneuve’s anniversary is today and no one mentions him? Plenty of deceased drivers who get mentioned less than Ratzenburger!

      Every F1 fan should read Donaldson’s biography on Gilles!

      1. I agree i don’t think Ratzenberger is forgotten at all, i know his name far better than many drivers who died at races previously. But as for the article not mentioning Villeneuve, Keith has said before that he doesn’t want the “On this day in F1” feature to be an ongoing list of tragedies so will generally only mention on special anniversary dates (10th, 20th etc).

      2. Any idea on Francois Cevert’s?

      3. Well, Gilles passed away 22 years ago, so there’s nothing special (no round numbers) in this anniversary. Two years ago there were plenty of features and tributes.

        1. 22? Are you sure? Senna passed away in 1994 and it’s been 20 years since then. I think it’s been 42 years since Gilles. You’re tragically off.

          1. It has actually been 32 years.

            1. @kaiie @major-dev @robbie Well, that was awkward. Took 3 people to count back to 1982.

            2. Btw, meant to mention you are so right about Gerald Donaldson’s book on Gilles. It is touted as not only the best book on Gilles but also one of the best ever books related to F1 in general. I have met and chatted with Mr. Donaldson a few times and have a few of his books autographed by him.

    14. From the 1982 article:

      He was joined by Emilio de Villota (whose daughter Maria is now a test driver for Marussia).

      Sad to read.

    15. Why would Hamilton suspect the Red Bulls have more downforce… it’s been their strength for years and counting (RIC for example was Purple through S2 at China, before losing .7 seconds in the final sector alone)…

      1. @pezlo2013 Because Hamilton must find a way to tell everyone his championship is not going to be 100% his car being the best. So he will say RBR still has the best car, most downforce whatever. All because he said ‘he would not want to dominate like Vettel does’, last year.

        1. Oh, and then meanwhile Mercedes thinks Ferrari are their main rivals…

        2. Some of these straw clutching comments really crack me up. :’) Keep ’em coming guys!

      2. Hamilton suspects Red Bull have more downforce

        This headline could actually be from any point in the last 5 years. Maybe changing the word ‘suspects’ to ‘laments’.

      3. What do you think if Ferrari main rivals are Force India? I think it would be epic.

      4. Reading comprehension at all time low. Lewis was saying red bull has more down force THEN MERCEDES because he has access to telemetry, an obviously he can see that red bull have higher corner exit speeds, which is indicitave of more downforce. But dont let facts get in the way of your theory

    16. Why Vettel is getting the chassis before Ricciardo? Why not both at the same time?

      1. Why Vettel is getting the chassis before Ricciardo?

        Normally you would expect it to be because his is older. We would have to see the chassis numbers to know and Red Bull don’t tend to give that information out as a matter of course, at least not until the season is over. Last year Webber started the year with chassis two and Vettel with chassis three. Webber’s was the first to be replaced.

        But it may just as well be because Vettel isn’t happy with how his car is handling at the moment and giving him a fresh chassis allows the team to eliminate the possibility that it might be caused by a chassis fault. As was the case for him in 2010 (and Lewis Hamilton at the end of last year).

        Why not both at the same time?

        F1 car factories aren’t mass vehicle production facilities – most of the component building resource goes on performance upgrades. Teams only need to get one chassis ready for the start of testing (as they’re only allowed to test one at a time) so if a chassis becomes tired and needs replacing that will be the first one to need it.

        1. I’m assuming too that there would be the added bonus of comparison to DR’s ‘old’ or at least existing chassis to SV’s new one, especially if it is lighter or has somehow else been altered to accommodate upgrades down the line. They will have a great way of comparing ‘old’ vs. latest greatest (if in fact that applies here) in very real terms with very real race level data. But it might be too early for that and they might not have full knowledge yet of how to change a chassis to their benefit when they might still be learning a lot about this one. So the chassis might be identical and yet can still provide info in how Keith has pointed out in that it a least might eliminate some possibilities they were considering for SV’s struggles. Not that DR is able to win with it either so they both have a long way to go.

    17. Ron (@rcorporon)
      8th May 2014, 16:03

      RIP Gilles.

      For my money he was the best F1 driver of all time.

      Getting to see the “Salut Gilles” at the start/finish line in Montreal a in 2012 was awesome. Can’t wait to see it again next month.

    18. I think Red Bull will get victory soon.

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