Tag Archives: RB8

Webber vs. Vettel: The Season So Far

Two races into the F1 season, and we as F1 fans have been treated with a fantastic couple of races in Australia and Malaysia. There have been some surprising results, the strong showings from Sauber in the first two races, Mercedes’ lack of race pace, and Fernando Alonso’s stunning victory in Malaysia. One area of interest in the F1 world lies within the Red Bull Racing team, more specifically between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. 


The Red Bull team mates have another head-to-head season in front of them

Last year, Webber was completely dominated by Vettel. Although Webber scored more points than he had in 2010, he was completely outgunned by his younger team mate, and won only a single race. Many thought 2011 could be the end of Webber’s run among the top driver’s, although some had hope that he could rebound in 2012. 


Webber was relegated to #2 after the 2010 season

So far, Webber is looking strong. His main downfalls in 2011 were a lack of qualifying pace, and a tendency to lose several positions before the first lap was over. His pace during the races, however, was often quite strong, and on par with Vettel’s lap times. So far this year, he has outqualified his team mate twice in a row, showing possible signs of an improvement from Webber in qualifying. Webber lost out to Vettel in the first race when Vettel secured second place, and Webber could only manage fourth. In Malaysia, Webber secured another fourth place finish, while Vettel scored zero points after a tire puncture late in the race. 


Webber in the pits in Malaysia



The Malaysian Grand Prix was somewhat chaotic, and therefore did not give a clear picture as to how the drivers and teams stacked up. If Webber can manage to beat Sebastian in qualifying, and be consistently quick on the first lap, he stands a strong chance of beating his team mate. 


Webber loses positions in Malaysia

For Webber, one can be sure that one of his primary goals this year is to beat his team mate, or at least race on the same level. After being completely dominated by Vettel last year, he must feel that he has to prove himself worthy of a Red Bull seat. So far, Red Bull have been slightly slower than McLaren, who seem to have the quickest car at the moment. If Red Bull are able to bring significant upgrades to the next few races and gain some aerodynamic advantages, then the title is fair game. 


So far, McLaren have proven to be quickest


So far this year, it seems that F1 fans around the world could view Round 2 of the titanic battle between Webber and Vettel that took place during the 2012 season. If Webber keeps up his pace, he could bring the fight back to Sebastian Vettel. Most likely, it will take a few more grand prix before we are able to determine how they stack up against each other. As of now, Webber is ahead of Vettel in the championship, but this could all change in an instant. If Webber is considering staying in F1 for much longer, he must seize this opportunity to fight back and finish ahead of Vettel. 


2012 could be the season for Webber to win races again


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Mercedes Predictions

Mercedes, along with Marussia and HRT, are the last teams remaining yet to unveil their 2012 designs. Mercedes have announced that they are trying to find a balance between track time and car development in the wind tunnel. Last week in Jerez, Mercedes used their 2011 car fitted with the new 2012 Pirelli tires, in an attempt to learn as much about the tires as possible, while still developing the car in the factory.

Mercedes used their 2011 chassis at the Jerez test

Adrian Newey has announced that he has a different explanation. Newey firmly believes that there is something Mercedes is trying to keep from the other teams, most likely at the front of the car, which could give their team an advantage. Brawn GP, which would become Mercedes GP after their 2009 season, were famous for their double-diffuser technology that allowed them to dominate the first half of the season. Perhaps Ross Brawn has again found a solution that could give them an edge over the field, and would like to keep it secret. Brawn followed a similar strategy in 2009, after missing the first test and bringing the double diffuser only to the second.


Brawn GP designed the double diffuser in 2009, giving them a large advantage over other teams


Mercedes could be hiding a new innovation that would give them a similar advantage to that which team principle Ross Brawn enjoyed in 2009, or they could be simply gathering tire data before they use their 2012 chassis in order to have a controlled run for data analysis for the tires.


So far, the largest design controversy has been Newey’s “slot” in the step of the RB8’s nose. What looks like a mail slot in a post box has been cut into the top of the ‘step’ in the nose. Red Bull claimed that this is only for cooling the drivers’ feet, but there is a high level of speculation that this is not the only purpose. Similar to the F-duct of 2010, teams will have to figure out how the system works without seeing it, given that it is inside the car. However, the system could be for cooling purposes, there is no definite answer as of now concerning the purpose of the slot.


The RB8 slot: for cooling, for aero, for both?

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