Tag Archives: Christian Horner

Webber’s Chances at Red Bull?

Mark Webber has signed up for another year at Red Bull Racing in 2012, and claims that he has no intentions of retiring after this season. The question stands, is this the right decision for Webber? Many people suspect that Webber is knowingly signing up to race as a number two driver to reigning champion Sebastian Vettel. However, Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the Red Bull squad, promised that Webber will be treated with equality.

Will Webber get an even shot at the championship as Vettel?

Mark Webber has had a huge amount of success at Red Bull Racing relative to his stints in other teams. He claimed two victories in 2009, four in 2010, and one more in 2011. However, after narrowly losing the championship to his team mate Vettel in 2010, Webber seemed mentally unconfident. In 2011, he never had the same precision, consistency, and blinding starts that he enjoyed in the 2010 season. In 2010, he dominated his team mate in numerous occasions; Monaco and Barcelona come to mind. The 2011 season saw a dramatic change, in which Vettel was at all times more in sync than Webber. Surely Vettel stepped up his game for the 2011 season, but was Webber seriously discouraged by his defeat in 2010?

Vettel simply dominated Webber in 2011, along with the rest of the field

 

Webber claimed to have issues adopting his driving style to the new Pirelli tires at the start of the 2011 season, and many suspected that the downforce provided by the blown diffusers suited Vettel’s driving style over Webber’s. However, it truly seemed that Webber lacked the sparkle that he held in 2010. By most standards, Webber had an excellent season in 2011; he won a race, two pole positions, and several podium spots. The problem is, Vettel won 11 races and 15 pole positions in the same car.

 

The question may not be if Webber is given a fair chance in 2012. The question may in fact be, is Webber even capable of challenging Vettel in 2012? If the blown diffuser really gave Vettel an advantage, maybe Webber will be able to gain back some lost ground. However, Webber faced a crushing defeat in 2010, followed by a season completely under the shadow of his team mate. Unfortunately, I feel that Webber has passed his prime, and will not be able to overcome his team mate again.

Unfortunately, Webber is unlikely to dethrone Vettel

Red Bull Racing maintains that they are happy with Webber’s performance. He has done a great job in the past three seasons in Red Bull, and retired only once in the 2011 season. However, if Webber wants to be treated as a first driver, he may have to look elsewhere. If Vettel keeps his performance at the level it was in 2011, he would be a challenge for any driver on the grid to keep up with.

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German Grand Prix Analysis

We’ve just passed the halfway point of the 2011 F1 season, with Lewis Hamilton being the latest driver to stand on the top step at the German Grand Prix. So far this season we’ve seen domination of the field both in qualifying and often in race pace as well by the Red Bull Racing RB7. Sebastian Vettel in particular has had a commanding run, winning 6 out of 10 races so far. However, there has been a recent shift in momentum between the constructors.

Vettel will most likely come out on top this season

Sebastian Vettel is still miles ahead of the competition, with the closest competitor being his own team mate -Mark Webber. This is a comfortable position to be in, especially when drivers like Webber, Hamilton, and Alonso are very evenly matched at the moment. We’ve seen three different race winners aside from Vettel, which means that no one is consistently winning like Vettel does, allowing the Red Bull racer to widen the gap. When Alonso won at Silverstone, the gap still widened because Sebastian Vettel beat Webber who was his closest team mate. It seems that no matter what the result is, his advantage increases. The only times that his lead has decreased was in China when Hamilton won, and in Germany when Hamilton won again. That said, Sebastian seems to have trouble when racing wheel to wheel. Many have said he is unable to overtake, and is only a great driver when out in front. There is some evidence to show; Button forced a mistake from Vettel in Canada, Vettel made many errors while running in 5th position in Germany. I’m not entirely sure I believe it, but it could be true. With an increase in pace from Ferrari recently, we may be able to evaluate how he drives wheel to wheel more certainly.

A rare error from Vettel gives Button a victory

Webber is also looking reasonably strong. He secured pole position in the past two grand prix, but was unable to convert them into victories, securing third in both Britain and Germany. His starts this year haven’t been brilliant; he has lost positions at the start more than he has gained. His race pace, however, has been quite good. He must be pleased with the fact that he is matching his team mate in both qualifying and race pace, especially in Germany when Vettel finished behind Webber for the first time this season. It is almost certain according to both Webber and team boss Christian Horner that Webber will be racing for Red Bull in 2012. Hopefully he will be able to put up more of a fight next season.

Webber has shown impressive pace recently

Ferrari have had a great run in the past few Grand Prix. They have scored more points than any other team in the past two races, and Fernando Alonso has scored more points than any other driver in the last three. Fernando Alonso is still in the title race, but he says he will “need the help of McLaren” to try to tame the Red Bull team. The chances of Ferrari winning either the driver’s or constructor’s championship is quite slim. If I were at Ferrari, I would accept the fact that Red Bull have the best car this year, and start work on the 2012 machine, which Ferrari have promised will be “aggressive.” Time will tell.

Great victory from Alonso in Silverstone

McLaren have also had spots of success; Hamilton won the third race in China, Button in Canada, and Hamilton again in Germany. They have the most wins after Red Bull, but it seems that they cannot convert great performances into great team results. Although they had victories in Germany and Canada, in both races only one of their cars crossed the line. A team like McLaren cannot afford to be only “running” one car, because they have two great drivers both capable of podium positions and victories. Button claimed he is “not fighting” for the championship anymore, and will just “do the best he can” at each upcoming venue. If McLaren doesn’t raise their consistency, Hamilton could be the next to follow Button’s path.

An error from Mclaren means Button leaves the pits with an insecure wheel

Renault have had problems recently. Their season should have been great, and has gone downhill since the start. Ace driver Kubica suffered a horrible rally crash before the season, and was lucky to escape with his life. Whether he’ll be back in 2012 or not is not clear, let alone returning to his previous performance levels. With Petrov and Heidfeld scoring podiums in the first two races, one could imagine that Kubica could have been much stronger. Renault have not had great results since those two podiums; the most points they’ve scored in a race since the first two was ten points in Canada and Turkey. If they want to have any chance at beating Mercedes this year, they have to step up their game, bring both cars across the line, and increase their qualifying performance.

Kubica should be on the podium in 2011, but suffered a heavy rally crash meaning he probably will not race this year

All in all, I think this is Red Bull’s year. Other teams have too much ground to cover to catch up to Red Bull. The chances of Red Bull winning both titles this year is very high, so one should not risk next year’s car in an attempt to catch up RBR this year -they will most likely fail. Ferrari have promised an “aggressive” car for 2012, they should get working on that and accept that Red Bull have it in the bag.

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