Red Bull and F1’s level playing field
On Sunday after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed the opening race of 2015 season by attaining 1st and 2nd Positions respectively in Melbourne, Australia. Immediately after the race concluded Christian Horner (Team Principal, Red Bull Racing) raised his concern to the FIA over the issue of dominance of a single entity – Mercedes AMG Petronas over the sport, he said “On today’s evidence we are set for a two-horse race at every grand prix this season.”
Horner has expressed concern over the fact that the Mercedes’s advantage stems from their engine, which is much better equipped than other manufacturers for power delivery and also efficient in varied conditions, throughout the season as evidenced last season where Mercedes and Hamilton won both championships by huge margin.
Frankly speaking Mr.Horner is a man worth listening to, and his concerns are directed towards the betterment of the sport, considering the fact that every sport sustains on the showmanship ability it can offer for fans. However, there is a big flipside to this entire issue, Mr.Horner also happens to be the Team Principal of Red Bull Racing (RBR) and has been instrumental in help the team and its former driver Sebastien Vettel attain 4 world titles.
With its former glory vanishing and the former driver leaving to join Ferrari, Mr.Horner’s concerns might be stemming out of much more than just curing the “Health” of Formula 1.
If you look at the last 5 seasons of F1( 2010 – 2014), its not hard to figure out that RBR has pretty much dominated the first part of every race this decade, so much so that Vettel is now listed in every big record book any F1 driver can hold. The Reason – Technical Superiority – The Car.
On Sunday after the race ended, Sebastien Vettel interrupted and taunted Nico rosberg in the press conference by saying “Be honest. Do you really hope so? Seriously? You finished 30 seconds ahead of us and you hope it’s going to be closer? So you hope you slow down? Is that what you’re saying?” this comes as a nasty surprise. Surprise because Mr.Vettel has been pretty much 30 second or more ahead of the entire field on more than 15 different occasions in the last 5 years,
Nasty because it actually shows a side of World Champion who refuses to accepting defeat now, and has resorted to this caterwauling. If you look at the season gone by and compared to that dominance of Red Bull, you will immediately notice that Mercedes has been more than fair in giving both its drivers equal opportunities to succeed and fight for the championship, and despite Lewis being 30 seconds ahead than the rest, Rosberg was still in reach of few seconds lapping him.
Did this happen when Vettel was Champion in any of the 4 years?. The Answer is No.
Mr.Horner has also blamed FIA to be unfair to Red Bull because during the time of their dominance by banning Aero updates such as double diffuers/Exhuast blown diffuser and many more, season by season inorder to maintain a level playing field in the sport. This may also a part of a reason that drove legendary car designer Adrian Newey away from the sport and the team, but this simply isn’t the case with Mercedes, they do not seem to be exploiting any grey areas or have any “hidden” upgrades to attain more stability and downforce that is giving them an advantage to the rest of the field.
Their car is simply better. All engine suppliers were given a head start of 2 years explaining them clearly that 2014 is the year where engines will get smaller 1.6 Litre V6 configuration engines with dedicated energy recovery systems placed to provide cleaner power delivery, thereby increasing efficiency. And Mercedes seemed to have done a better job than everybody else, especially Renualt which powers RBR.
Lewis Hamilton expressed his views on him winning because of his car by stating “While I’m the one who came across the line, there are 1,000 people who made it, so I’m a very small piece of the equation, a very, very small piece. I’m the one who has to get in and extract the best from the car.”
This here sums the fact RBR needs to understand that in the end it’s a coherent team effort, you need to put your head down and work hard to sort out your messes rather than complaining over to FIA for bans. There is wall in Jerusalem that people go to do that Mr.Horner. It sure is a tough time for F1 with one team stuck in legal battles, the others struggling to keep themselves financially viable, and amidst this there is no able leadership available to the sport at the time it needs it the most.