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Red Bull set to dominate?

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Andrew Benson | 11:09 UK time, Tuesday, 6 December 2011

To some, the decision of Red Bull and Ferrari to pull out of the Formula 1 Teams' Association, the umbrella group that represents the teams' interests, could look innocuous enough. In reality it could have far-reaching consequences.

The F1 teams have put a brave public face on it, but behind the scenes there are serious concerns that it could lead to a period of Red Bull domination about which their rivals can do little.

The move by two of F1's most powerful teams was provoked by continuing distrust about whether all of the competitors were adhering to the terms of a document called the Resource Restriction Agreement.

The RRA sets out limits on the amount of staff, external spend and aerodynamic research teams can employ and covers work on the design of the car - with drivers' salaries, marketing and engines excluded.

Sebastian Vettel

World Champion Sebastian Vettel's (left) team Red Bull and Michael Schumacher's (right) former team Ferrari announced that they have quit the Formula One Teams Association (Fota). PHOTO: Getty

It is not a budget cap per se, but it does have the effect of keeping costs under control, to the point that the biggest budgets have dropped from in the region of £300m in 2008 to an estimated £150-200m in 2011.

To cite just one example, the RRA limits the amount of hours a team can dedicate to wind-tunnel testing - a key way of honing an F1 car's aerodynamics, the single biggest performance differentiator.

And the more wind-tunnel hours you do, the less simulation of aerodynamics on a computer is allowed (and vice versa).

Because there is only so much of this work that a team can do, there is only so much money they can spend.

The problem that has arisen is that some of the teams - led by Ferrari and Mercedes - believe Red Bull have been exceeding these limits since 2010, the first of their two consecutive title-winning years.

Red Bull insist they have always operated within the RRA - and they counter their rivals' accusations by pointing out that it is easier for an F1 team allied to a car company (as Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren all are) to hide extra work than it is for one that operates in isolation.

A year's worth of talks to try to reach a compromise agreement with which everyone is happy have come to nothing, leading to a situation where Ferrari and Red Bull have run out of patience. They signalled their intention to quit Fota late on Friday - although they have to give two months' notice.

Ferrari's statement was long and detailed, talking about their reluctance at a "difficult decision", their ongoing commitment to cost-reduction and other changes in F1, and emphasising their own central role in Fota since it was set up in 2008.

Red Bull's ran to only two sentences: "Red Bull Racing can confirm it has served notice to withdraw from Fota. The team will remain committed to finding a solution regarding cost saving in Formula 1."

This in itself has led to more suspicion.

It is clear, more than one insider has said, why Ferrari pulled out of Fota - if the organisation could not sort out an RRA, what was the point of it? - but Red Bull's reasoning was very different.

The implication being that the world champions did not like the RRA because they had no intention of adhering to it. Fota had become an inconvenience.

Red Bull were not available for comment.

This suspicion has been poisoning the atmosphere within F1 all year, despite attempts to reduce it.

As well as the endless meetings aimed at bringing the two warring sides together, there was an investigation in the summer by external consultants into the way the teams were detailing their use of resources.

But while Red Bull believe this effectively cleared them of wrongdoing, their accusers disagree. "The analysis showed more than one concern about what Red Bull were doing," one insider told me.

The next step, as laid out by the RRA, was for a full audit of the accounts of the team about which there were suspicions - if a certain number of teams wanted this to happen, the accused team had to agree.

But this point was never reached, and after further meetings at the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix, Ferrari and Red Bull ran out of patience.

So what happens next? Is this the death knell for Fota? Will the departure of Ferrari and Red Bull lead to a domino effect of teams leaving the organisation?

Alternatively, will a rump stick together, recognising that there can still be strength in numbers, not least in the forthcoming negotiations with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone over a new Concorde Agreement, the document which binds the teams, the commercial rights holder and governing body the FIA together?

That may become clearer after a Fota meeting on Tuesday.

More importantly, does this mean the end for resource restrictions in F1 - and will the sport therefore revert to the 'arms race' spending that led to the RRA in the first place?

On the face of it, the answer to that is no. The RRA is still technically in force. It is a legally binding document which lasts until at least 2012, or perhaps even 2017 - depending on whom you believe, and which version of the document you are talking about.

In theory, if Red Bull's rivals feel that they are breaking the RRA, they can sue them. If that sounds unlikely, one insider I spoke to for this article raised it as a possibility.

Equally, though, Red Bull and Ferrari are due to meet the other members of F1's big four - McLaren and Mercedes - next week to discuss resource restriction and how to move forward on it.

That hardly sounds like the actions of a group of people on the verge of legal action.

In public, everyone in F1 says they want to avoid a return to unrestricted spending.

One of the main reasons for this is that (effectively) unrestricted money is no longer available to top F1 teams - the effects of the credit crunch have reached even this notoriously expensive sport's rarefied climes.

Many of the smaller teams are living hand-to-mouth to a degree, with only the top four existing in relative comfort.

But even they have limitations on what they can spend.

McLaren are a private team who have to live within the budget they can raise from sponsorship and other commercial partnerships.

Mercedes, huge car company though it may be, has set clear limits on the amount of money its team can spend.

Even Ferrari, who 10 years ago could effectively spend what they wanted, now have to be careful with money.

But Red Bull are different, or so their rivals believe.

Team principal Christian Horner insists they have far from the biggest budget in F1 - he ranks them about third or fourth.

But his rivals raise their eyebrows at that, pointing out that Red Bull is worth billions and that the soft-drinks company is weathering the global economic downturn well by comparison with car companies and traditional corporate giants. In that sense, their rivals say, they really can spend what they want.

So whether founded on reality or not, and whether the accusation at its heart contains any truth, the fear at the heart of F1 is quite simple.

If Red Bull, despite the RRA, are prepared to spend what they want, as well as having the best designer in Adrian Newey and arguably the best driver in Sebastian Vettel, who can stop them dominating for years to come?


  • Comment number 1.

    The problem with being in a winning team is that others eye that with envy and start to point the finger in an effort to slow them down, but I suspect that the truth is very much as Christian Horner says, and that they are no more guilty than any other team. - They have the technical prowess in aerodynamics and the other teams are not just being beaten, but being trounced by it. Therefore I think it very lightly that they will dominate for some time unless one of the other teams can improve to their level which currently seems a tall order.

  • Comment number 2.

    A much better article from Andrew, a thankful return to impartial, non-partisan journalism.

    FOTA, to me, has always seemed like the Press Complaints Commission, the thin veneer of a working organisation, the participants policing themselves, arguing behind closed doors, putting on a united front, whilst behind the scenes fighting with fierce rivalry, always wondering why someone else can and would dare to do better with the same resources. FOTA always should have been about uniting behind items that form common ground, such as the relationship with the owners of the F1 brand and Bernie Ecclestone, not making and breaking their own rules (allegedly) as they go along. The PCC seems to be broken, as does FOTA, both needing outside direction on the rules of play.

    Now to the BBC/SKY deal, perhaps that could do with some outside control and oversight too?

  • Comment number 3.

    I've always been suprised that car manufacturers invest in F1 by running a team like Mercedes rather than just supplying the technology e.g. Cosworth. Car manufacturers these days are small companies compared to say any of the Arabian peninsula/Emirate states, Yemen excluded, wh I'm sure would lvoe to own an F1 team, there isn't lots and lots of benefits, Ferrari and McClaren excluded, touring cars and/or rally cars for Renault and Mercedes would be far more beneficial you'd think.

    It's amazing just how big Red Bull is as a cultural phenomenen [sp] - if anyone on here remembers Wipeout2097 on Playstation 1 - they were branded partner on that and had their motto's all-over it. Don't think even Virgin managed that!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    So they have an agreement over spending and development time but are not audited unless it is thought they are doing wrong. It is no good protesting that everyone is cheating if you aren't prepared to take that test yourself. The only way to solve the problem is to audit all the teams every year.

    If F1 needs any help with any of their other problems I am available to help.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I always believe there is no smoke without fire, Red Bull are always very coy about things like this and are therefore hard to read. I could conceivably believe that they do have the biggest operating budget in F1, for instance look at the up start teams from 3 years ago, they are all still at the back of the pack, although are slowly gaining ground on the midfield teams.

    This is due to the nature of their budgets. Now Red Bull have only been around the best part of a decade and have made gigantic leaps in terms of position on the grid, to becoming double world champions. IMO this is only achievable with a budget mirroring if not exceeding that of Ferrari and Mclaren.

    To out develop, out perform and thoroughly dominate formula 1 like they did this year takes a lot of skill, dedication and MONEY! The fact they cannot see a future with FOTA makes it apparent that they wish to stay ahead of the field without restrictions on what they can spend.

    This obviously means they have the ability to spend more...

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.


    Absolutely agree that unfortunately the sport is often controlled by those teams with the loosest purse strings. It is of course not surprising. The best drivers cost money, the best designer costs money, the best personnel and equipment etc. etc. etc.

    The pressure on Red Bull Racing is, one can imagine, beyond ridiculous to maintain performance. It may seem as though they are pulling every trick to stay on top but for men like Newey and Horner, they are pulling every trick they can to SURVIVE. If Red Bull produce another series of cars like the RB2 or RB3 which were about a second off the pace, the sponsors will pull out, the drivers will leave for greener pastures and the men at the top of team leadership and technical departments will be held to account.

    I would argue that chasing the front is easier than setting the pace. One only need look at the utter collapse of Williams this year to see the potential end for Red Bull should they lose their competetive edge.

    What we should all be looking for is another designer who can take the fight to Adrian Newey and not worrying perhaps quite so much on how Red Bull keep their heads above water.

  • Comment number 10.

    Surely the age is coming where the Formula One tag should be applied to Le Mans style GT cars OR the era of the empty box - where you say so long as a car protects a driver and only has say a V8 NA engine, you can do as you like.

    Otherwise the way, cheaply, simply and effectivly is to have all the cars the same apart from potentially the powerplant.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm looking forward to SKY F1 as well. F1 is a money loser for the BBC so would rather see the money spent on something else. Highlights (ha, this is F1) are fine by me.

  • Comment number 12.

    it is not F1 without some of accusations that the top is exploiting the rules and regulation illegally.

    You can look at this as sour grapes.

    However Red Bull's statement leave raised eyebrows why they leave FOTA and sister team STR haven't. The accusations about overspending remain such until proven but nothing concrete has been put forward to do so.

    Ferrari's side is interesting as Luca DI Montezemolo has been pushing to have 3 cars and more testing and having started FOTA is taken a lesser role as such

  • Comment number 13.

    I believe this is still about Bernie and the money issues which almost caused the breakaway, the restrictions on R&D, the influx of new teams that seem years away from being competitive if ever deals with sky that will make Ecclestone and Murdoch even richer as if they need more. The F1 week ends turning into giant rock circuses. The qualifying sessions reduced to a few hot laps some even decide to sit it out and save a set of tyres. Magic buttons fort overtaking or if all else fails Charlie can pull out the safety car to make it look more competitive. Offshore trusts in his wife’s name sounds very Phillip Green, loosing more GP’s in Europe an ongoing bribery trail in Germany in which Bernie is mentioned and that’s just the tip of the Ecclestone iceberg ask Max and Flavio!

    Damon Hill quoted Bernie as saying "You can have anything you like, as long as you pay too much for it,' but we can't pay too much for something... The problem is money goes out and away. There's a question whether that money even returns to Formula One."

    Flavio Briatore said of Bernie "Nowadays Ecclestone takes 50% of all revenues, but we are supposed to be able to reduce our costs by 50%

  • Comment number 14.

    instead of writing this blog maybe you and the rest of the bbc should answer our questions on this blog-

  • Comment number 15.

    @ Andrew Benson

    Really good article Andrew, might be a good idea to just put @14 link to BBC/Sky at bottum of page saying for everyone who wants to comment on that go their so blog isn't ruined by tv comments!!

    Some interesting quotes from "Auto Motor und Sport" where it is critical of what Red Bull has being doing concerning the RRA

    "When the Dutch company Cap Gemini, visited the factories of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Sauber and Williams, one of the six reports showed in almost all categories, the word 'no information' on it. It was "Team 4". Everyone knows who that meant."(Red Bull)

    "Companies House in London published annual figures for 2010. Red Bull is at 175 million pounds (205 million euros) and 646 employees, McLaren is 135 million (158 million euros) and 628 employees, Mercedes with a budget of 126 million pounds (147 million euros) and a comparatively modest 487 employees."

    Again Andrew, good article!!

  • Comment number 16.

    "If Red Bull, despite the RRA, are prepared to spend what they want, as well as having the best designer in Adrian Newey and arguably the best driver in Sebastian Vettel, who can stop them dominating for years to come."

    Just having Newey and being prepared to spend any amount with even an average driver would be more than adequate I would imagine.

  • Comment number 17.

    I love how everyone says F1 is a team game, to combat the remarks of how its just about the car, and the driver. Well all we ever hear is adrian newey, adrian newey, aerodynamics of adrian newey.
    Without consulting wikipedia, do you know who made the Brawn F1 car? Maybe even the Ferrari's that Schumacher dominated with?
    Why do we keep hearing about this one man? Its annoying.

    It seems that RedBull have been breaking the spending limits, or being sly about spending, like have its engines coming in for free due to a deal with infiniti.
    Looks like Ferrari are deciding that untie their hand from behind their back and start fighting redbull.

    A team doesnt just become good. RB had always been midfield-ish. The driver can only take the car over the finish line first, if its a good car. This comes from the design. To have a design that good, they couldnt have 'fluked' it.

    RedBull leaving shows this. They know they only got ahead by spending above and beyond. If they managed all of this dominance whilst in budget, surely they would be saying bring it on.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Dave

    Rory Byrne was arguably better, but of the current designers at the minute Newey is head and shoulders above anyone else.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ Dave

    and if it wasn't for a Honda Japanese engineer coming up with the double diffuser Newey's car would have beaten Brawn that year too!

  • Comment number 20.

    I just hope F1 doesnt return to what we had 2001-2004 with one team and one driver dominating, Ferrari and MSC for those who dont know.

    It is no good introducing new overtaking aids, KERS DRS Pirelli Tyres, if they are anly used to decide 2nd and down.

    I will say this, in 2008 when budgets were £300million we had loads of overtaking, and one of the closet, most exciting and best ever seasons. It was easily the best season of the 2000s and better than 2010 or 2011. It was better than many back to the early 1990's. Hamilton vs Massa, Kubica and Raikonen, Vettel in a STR.

    I get that they want to cut costs, but not if it means we get less racing (but we get less racing as F1 moves to skym but thats a whole different issue).

  • Comment number 21.

    Something clearly needs to be done here. The sport is put on an unfair footing if Red Bull really are going against the RRA whilst other teams are adhereing to it. If Red Bull are going to cheat then the RRA needs to be thrown out to allow teams to compete fairly - otherwise there needs to be very stringent monitoring/rules for teams to follow to ensure unfair advantages cannot be gained.

  • Comment number 22.

    Setting aside the complicated machinations of the RRA, F1 must avoid another period of one team/one driver domination at all costs. The 'sport' just about survived that during the Schumacher/Ferrari-winning years between Hakkinen/McLaren's '99 title and Alonso/Renault's in 2005, by which time the latter combo was such a breath of fresh air that they had almost everyone who wasn't a Ferrari fan rooting for them.

    So, 'technically legal' floppy wings and floors are still not enough? Red Bull would now like to spend whatever the hell it wants.

    Red Bull is not Ferrari and Vettel is no more likely to win races in the right car than numerous other current drivers… and if we're heading for another long period of domination where those other drivers never get a look-in, for whatever reason, this time F1 fans WILL walk!

  • Comment number 23.

    If Red Bull hadn't run away with both titles, this wouldn't be an issue, the same thing happend when Ferrari and Schumacher were dominating the sport, everyone claiming they had some kind of unfair advantage. Is it unfair, that they built the best car, had the best driver and had the best pit crew? No, it's up to the other teams to pull their finger out and close the gap. Should Barcelona only be allowed to play with 8 men as they are the best club side in the world? Should Djokovic play with a wooden racket to give the others a chance?

    I'm not a Red Bull fan, but i don't like other teams moaning that they simply aren't good enough to beat/match them on a regular basis.
    Mclaren troubled them at times, but that was about it, Ferrari (of whom i'm a big fan) had a shocker of a year, highlighted by the fact that Vettel singlehandedly out scored both Alonso and Massa combined.

    It'll look bad on the other teams if they were relying on rule changes and restrictions on Red Bull from the FIA and Fota to close the gap to them, exactly what happend to Ferrari from 2004 - 2005. You don't dominate the sport for 5 years and then suddenly become the 3rd best team, miles off the pace.

    *Seen a few ads for sky's F1 channel, hope its decent and worth advertising it months before the season even starts!

  • Comment number 24.

    andrew benson i think hit the nail on the head because whereas Ferrari had big explanion of why they left fota which most i agree with & thought were common sense because that rule now where no testing is ludicrous because how can rookie drivers get experience if there no testing

    but & with Red bull have a 2 sentence line & no explanion & dodging the the subject leads to the implication being that Red Bull donylike the Resource Restriction Agreement because they have or had no intention of adhering to it as & Fota had just become an inconvenience to them & Adrian Newey

  • Comment number 25.

    @23: As far as I've understood from the media, this issue is with RBR spending more for the 2010. This means this accusations started sometime mid 2010 or end of 2010. By that time, RBR have barely won the championship due to Ferrari messing up the strategy for Alonso.

    My point is that you statement "If Red Bull hadn't run away with both titles, this wouldn't be an issue" is not backed by any facts. It is possible that RBR was accused of spending more at a point when they were not champions..I'm not even talking about being double champions.

    Like someone said, there's no smoke without fire..

  • Comment number 26.

    So every team that wins the title must have had some unfair advantage?

  • Comment number 27.

    Redbull's domination is coming to an end in the hands on Lotus powered by the Ice Man.

  • Comment number 28.

    Tough one to resolve though it may not be the case. Newey is awesome but remember he designed all those McLarens, I know - often unreliable, that were beaten throughout the Schumacher Ferrari era. It's quite a gap from Hakkinen 1999 till Vettel 2010. Can that seroiusly all be put down to not getting on as well with Ron? Perhaps more credit is due the whole Red Bull technical team.

    Maybe they could give Newey Virgin Racing when Branson pulls out and see what he can do?

    Pop quiz for everyone.

    Who was the first ever athelete Red Bull sponsored?
    A: No not some extreme snowboarder or surfer, but Austrian F1 racer Gerhard Berger!

    Good article Andrew, but can you pass this link on for Ben to answer some of the latest questions please.:

  • Comment number 29.

    @26: No, I did not suggest that. I just pointed out that your statement was wrong, because at the time these accusations have started on RBR, they were not even 1 time champions. So these accusations did not start because they won titles, but because they might be founded on something you and me will never lay our eyes on.

  • Comment number 30.

    People talk about how KERS, the DRS and the new Pirelli tyres have helped overtaking this season, and they have, but I'd like to see refuelling brought back. Drivers would be able to extract the maximum out of the car for longer in the race and it would add much more overtaking as teams would have the option to run different strategies to try and jump cars in front. As good as the Pirelli tyres were at the beginning of the year, once the teams got to grips with them (no pun intended) it kind of levelled out again. This wouldn't happen with refuelling.

    I shall be watching F1 only on the BBC next year.

  • Comment number 31.

    Good article, thanks Andrew. I'm dreading the next season - at present the only decision for me is whether to shell out a lot of cash to get sky coverage if it's going to be as boring a season as this one (Jenson's Canadian race excepting). The sport could really do with more equality in the grid - there's not a lot of point in having sub-107% cars trawling round for years on end at the back, the field needs to get closer. The only way I can think of doing this without messing around with wings/engines/DRS etc etc is to simply disallow comms between driver and pitwall. Lets see how good the driovers are when they are not hand-held all the way round the track, when you have no Rob Smedley's telling Massa to shift his brake balance, when Lewis cannot be told his clutch is almost gone. Lets put the driver back in charge of the cockpit - at least then you might get some Sutils & di Resta's challenging the front end guys who can't tell when 3rd gear has gone.

  • Comment number 32.

    @30, I shall be watching F1 only on the BBC next year.

    Unfortunately then, and I know you may have no choice, you won't enjoy the full F1 Championship live to see how Red Bull will do, as in previous years or as the Spanish, French, Italians and Germans can next year.

    On the BBC you'll have to wait a month after the Australian GP for the first live race and you'll have a 2 month gap before Spa, you'll miss Suzuka, Canada etc live BUT on the bright side you can see Valencia 2012 live on the Beeee Beeee Ceeee with Mart-nope- sorry with Jake telling everyone how great the Olympics are ;)

    No the the stinking BBCSky deal
    Yes to RTL with 5Live (or another internet English commenatary stream)

  • Comment number 33.

    23. At 15:08 6th Dec 2011, Typical_English_No8 wrote:
    If Red Bull hadn't run away with both titles, this wouldn't be an issue, the same thing happend when Ferrari and Schumacher were dominating the sport, everyone claiming they had some kind of unfair advantage. Is it unfair, that they built the best car, had the best driver and had the best pit crew? No, it's up to the other teams to pull their finger out and close the gap. Should Barcelona only be allowed to play with 8 men as they are the best club side in the world? Should Djokovic play with a wooden racket to give the others a chance?

    Your comparisons are terrible. Barcelona clearly spend more than almost all of their rivals apart from 1. They take 3x more money than the next closest rival in La Liga and are funded heavily by the Catalunya banks.
    Comparing a tennis player to a team sport is just ludicrous.
    I find the fact that Red Bull have left very suspect. If you're in budget why not stay in the competition and say try and beat us?

  • Comment number 34.

    There is a theory that the reason that one of the reasons Red Bull are so quick is because they have pulsating KERS, which is quite self explanatry. There KERS never turn off on a lap and keep pulsing away. I am not saying I believe this, it is just a theory, some people are absouletley positive about its exsistence but have the access to prove it. They say it is the reason Red Bull always pull off a great lap at the end of qually to always get pole.

    Red Bull clearly spend a heck of a lot more money than other teams though. Think about it when Hamilton won in 2008, next season the McLaren was rubbish (in the first half). Why? Because they had focused on beating Ferriari and Massa so their 2009 car was bad. The same thing with Brawn, they won and the next season the Mercedes is not a race winning car. However Red Bull win a season just and clearly were trying hard to win and next season their car is even better, so it is clear that they have enough money to focus on two cars at once. If Next season the same happens it will be obivous to all.

  • Comment number 35.

    * don't have the access

  • Comment number 36.

    F1 like all sports on global scale are dominated by only a few teams. As a result the competition disappears and the sport becomes almost a pointless exercise between a few possible winners. Like in monopoly starting with all the hotels and your competitors have none. Soon the spectators stop watching as it becomes exceedingly dull. Sounds very much like F1 now really!

  • Comment number 37.

    Also - a permanent board of stewards would do well for the sport - Consistency is key, and the odd point here or there lost by drive-thru's makes the world of difference. Do away with "penalised after the race" incidents - if it isn't served on the track then it can't be a penalty (all this requires is some cahuna's from the stewards).

  • Comment number 38.

    So it's the usual story in sport then... the richest team will dominate and the rest of the pack are either powerless to make a stand, too scared or don't care enough. As long as the other teams understand that situations like this make sport less entertaining for the fans. A lengthy domination by a rich team (especially in a sport with so few) is likely to reduce its fan base.

    The one advantage F1 does have over other sports is, on TV at least, the race leader is often ignored and the the more exciting racing, further back, is given more air time.

    Speaking of air time; the BBC should have done the decent thing and handed over the TV rights to a terrerestrial channel, rather than selfishly attempting to keep what it could, while allowing the rest to go to Sky. As good as the BBC coverage is, having half of the coverage is pathetic (even more so in that it covers some of the poorer race-quality circuits and misses out on the season opener). With any luck in future the BBC will decide it can't afford to show any F1 and a more deserving terrerstrial channel gets a chance to treat fans with a little more respect.

    It's time people had an option to opt out of the yearly BBC TV tax and let it attempt to compete realistically with all the other channels. Or at worst allow other channels to compete for the right to the licence fee income. The BBC has been given to easy a ride for too long. It's time for a change. A modernisation of the system. And a more realistic (and competition-fair) approach to 'entertainment'.

  • Comment number 39.

    My point is that if Red Bull hadn't been anywhere near as successful from the middle of 2010 to the end of 2011, this wouldn't be as bigger issue as it is. If HRT spent millions more than the rest of the field but still finished last, would anyone care? No.

    My point was, why should the best team be directly punished for it's success as Ferrari and Schumacher were. Hence me using the best club side in the world and the best tennis player as examples if you were to directly penalise them to make it a more level playing field. And i can't see why you think Red Bull leaving Fota on the back of these unproven accusations is suspect. Don’t forget, Red Bull isn’t just an F1 team, it’s a huge multi billion pound company, do you think that the F1 team is going to be allowed by it’s owners to knowingly bend/break the rules and agreements they’ve signed up for? If they were found out it to be in breach of any rules it would damage the Red Bull company image as a whole, not just the F1 operation.

  • Comment number 40.

    Undeniably it is horrendously expensive in F1 with a front running team such as Red Bull, however such is Newey's prowess technically that it is quite likely that the money spent on development is very well spent indeed and not wasted. The indicator here is that every round of new development parts that went to the car worked to improve performance, and that is an indicator of a design and development team that is critically always being lead in the right direction. Other teams by comparison are floundering! Given the aforementioned, I suspect that Red Bull are genuinely within budget guidlines of the RRA.

  • Comment number 41.

    @39: I see you now try to change your own words, but luckily for you, I won't bother with you anymore. Nice try tho'.

  • Comment number 42.

    I am a huge Ferrari fan and always want them to win but sport in't like that. There has always been periods in many sports where a team or an individual dominates and its up to the other competitor's to up their game. It has to be said that Ferrari were only one well timed pit stop away from winning the 2010 drivers title in Abu Dhabi so it hasnt been complete dominance by Red Bull. Over the course of this year the Red bull car has not been a million miles ahead in race trim. It has certainly controlled pole position which is still crucial in F1, even with KERS and DRS available. If Vettel had qualified lower down the grid on a few occasions then we would have seen different winners for various GP's. Can't wait for next year when personally i think we will see less dominance from one team. All you have to remember is Canada 2011. A Great race with a guy winning it from the back of the grid

  • Comment number 43.

    @40: You seem to only take into account if the development has worked out. I am also thinking about all the research and tests that were done prior to even starting to think of putting something on the car.

    From your comment I get the impression that you believe that everything you saw on the RedBull cars is all they have been working on. That's definitely not the case.

    Ohh, and how can you believe if RBR are or not within the RRA budget? I mean, how can you tell if RBR had 10 development projects which all worked good (meaning spending was well addressed) or they had 35 development projects from which only 10 worked fine (meaning the spending was massive) ??
    Do you have access to some information from RedBull that ev everybody else doesn't?

  • Comment number 44.

    The statement still stands, if Red Bull had performed terrribly and won nothing despite 'allegedly' spending more than any other team, no one would care, Apart from you obviously.

  • Comment number 45.

    Looks to me like now that RBR are at the top of the tree they can't be bothered to keep up the pretence of being the poor relation to the big boys any longer. They just want to power on and increase the gap at the top with unlimited spend. Hmmm sounds very much like the Premiership. What RBR need to remember is it was the change in rules that they are now happy to ignore that reigned back the big boys that gave them - and Brawn before them a chance to do a 'Blackburn Rovers' and ignite the imagination of the more fair weathered type punters.

    Yet between them RBR and Ecclestone are now doing their level best to drive those punters away - but unlike the dominating years of Ferrari F1 is now tucked away in the backwaters of satellite (thanks Bernie) and will probably not recover from any extended RBR domination.

  • Comment number 46.

    In my opinion, while Vettel is clearly very talented, consistent and successful; he is not the best driver. Just because he can put in the fastest qualification laps in the fastest car doesn't make him the best. Yes we saw 1 or 2 nice overtakes from him, but until we see him come from the back of the field on a number of occasions with skilful overtakes, and obtaining results above his car's ability, I will remain far from convinced.

  • Comment number 47.

    @44: for the last time.
    In your first comment you used the word "issue", then later on you changed it to "as bigger issue as it is". I was just not happy with you initial comment because you tried to suggest that is was because RedBull were on top that Ferrari are accusing them of over-spending. I have tried to explain to you that these accusation have started way before RedBull become a winning championship team.
    Can we agree on that and stop with this non-sense?

  • Comment number 48.

    You only have to look up Red Bull to see what a huge, multi-billion Euro industry they are, who have plenty of money to sponsor numerous teams and individuals in numerous sports. Watching F1 these days is a little bit like watching the Red Bull Show starring Christian Horner, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

    We know that they are able to pull out stunning laps in Q3 and at the start of each race, and corner like they're on rails, although nobody quite knows how. It's great that they have brought competition to McLaren and Ferrari, but do we really want to see the same thing happen for years to come? This sort of domination is only good for RB, certainly not for F1. As for Vettel being 'arguably the best driver' in F1, I think there are several drivers who could do the same job, or better given the same circumstances, but that's something else we may never discover.

  • Comment number 49.

    Red Bull own two teams – Red Bull and Torro Rosso. Not to mention a number of drivers.

    So is this effectively double bubble, in the sense that they can do twice as much testing than other teams? I realise the two teams probably can’t pool resourcing or budget, but there’s no limit to the sharing of information or ideas.

  • Comment number 50.

    ’92 Mansell *,93 Prost *,94 MSC ,95 MSC ,96 Hill *,97 Villeneuve *,98 Hakkinen *,99 Hakkinen *,00 MSC,01 MSC,02 MSC, 03 MSC, 04 MSC, 05 Alonso, 06 Alonso, 07 Raikkonen, 08 Hamilton, 09 Button, 10 Vettel *, 11 Vettel *

    Every star is an Adrian Newey win, even in the years he didnt win more often than not his team came 2nd or 3rd..

    If you are going to spend some money, spend it on salarys. These are not taken into account. Ferrari should stop complaining, Rory Byrne won them plenty in the years Newey couldnt..

    Red Bulls progress is perfectly expected and in line with past performance..

  • Comment number 51.

    When the F1 leaves the BBC can we all start talking about how DRS is horrid. I reminds me of old rubbish F1 computer games where the cars behind always have the edge. It's false, not entertaining (unless you're very very sad and stupid) and an insult to motor sport. It's as if DC, EJ and the tall one don't want to step on the Gods feet.

  • Comment number 52.

    i wouldnt include mercedes in a big 4,they have only 2 podiums in 2 seasons,while mclaren and ferrari have by their standards been poor.i hope they both can pull their finger out and design a good car and give the drivers a chance to do something,instead of scraps that redbull throw

  • Comment number 53.

    How strange? just at the point when Fota needed to display a united front in preparation for the new Concorde Agreement two of F1's bigger players put self-interest first. I think we can all guess who has encouraged them to do 'what's best'. We all know the kind of sportsmanship in Ferrari's DNA but I had hoped that as Red Bull came to the top they wouldn't follow that example. There has been a lot of mistrust and bad feeling about them since the RRA came in, but not just for technical reasons as their blanket approach to snaffling new drivers raises eyebrows too. [ reminds us of Benetton throwing their weight around about a hot shot kid that Jordan had found ] As for Sky -forget it I'd rather listen to F1 on the radio than give money to Murdoch - hopefully he'll sell up and move on.

  • Comment number 54.

    An interesting blog, thanks.

    The reality of F1 is that it is not about racing, or entertainment - it is all about flashing obscene amounts of cash, so that that greedy little toad, Bernie, can line his daughters pockets. There is no competitiveness in F1 anymore, just clinical tracks that offer the entertainment value of watching moths fly into a light bulb, and thanks to Bernie's fiddling the rules, not even funky strategy makes a blind bit of difference. Qualifying, which was once the holy grail, is such a non event now it might as well not happen.

    Then we have all the one eyed bigots out there that are waffling on about no to SKY. With no desire to elaborate on what I've already said about being F1 being such poor value for money, or holding such poor entertainment value, I think it is quite a coup. Get rid of it. It is like the toxic debt the banks dropped recently - if SKY are stupid enough to want pay millions to broadcast this mindless rubbish, then let them. Me, I pay my TV license, and I'm quite happy to watch the intelligent drama and documentaries that BBC are famous for. Not this pie in the sky, non entertainment called F1.

  • Comment number 55.

    @43 The development race is a critical path so I contend that most if not all Red Bull brought to the car worked and was successful to a lesser or greater extent. It's a continuous stream the direction of which Newey will be very closely controlling. It simply has to be for them to be so successful. By contrast last year McLaren were doing the reverse, and had to seriously backtrack to go forward in another direction. So plain to see if you look for it! I suspect that the Red Bull car was so good that it only needed fairly modest fine tune to the aero to keep them in front. It was clearly the most agile car throughout the season. The McLaren car while improved only seemed to be as fast because of the superior straightline speed countered it's inferior cornering ability. Heaven knows what the Red Bull car would have done with the higher power of the Mercedes engine.

  • Comment number 56.

    #54 'Not this pie in the sky, non entertainment called F1.'

    A perfectly reasonable personal view, had you not just posted about 150 words on a blog, on a website, devoted this to this 'non entertainment' you hate so much.

    Either you are very sad, very bored, or just here to annoy people. Whichever, trust you will enjoy watching your recordings of Downton Abbey instead of F1 when the new season starts...

  • Comment number 57.

    Oh for xxxxx sake, now they've pulled his post so I look a right idiot prattling away about nothing :-(

  • Comment number 58.

    A well-researched and interesting article, why couldn't all of Mr Benson's have been like this rather than his standard fare of just repeating what everyone already knows? Please keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 59.

    I for one wont be watching on sky I refuse to give that crook a penny of my money, I will leave that to the mugs that wanna read his lies support his illegal methods and allow the destruction and ownership of our sports through pushing up unrealistic commercial deals that should never exist. All the money is then creamed off the top into the pockets of a few and long term the sports suffer as with the money comes illusions of grandeur and financial irresponsibility.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is very convenient that Red Bull and Ferrari would leave, weakening or even breaking up FOTA. This reduces the chance of a breakaway series threat which improves the selling value of F1.

    Now we know it is near the time that CVC must cash in on their portfolio that includes F1, pitpass has some good articles on this. We also know that F1 was sold to CVC at the height of a breakaway threat that allegedly affected the value of the F1 sale and led to recent German court cases.

    Very convenient indeed for the greedy pudding bowl-cut little mans fatcat shareholders. :)

  • Comment number 61.

    so @ SJG_OTH - Red Bull are only winning because they have been spending loads - and this is the ONLY way to win?

    So can you explain this? BRAWN GP.

  • Comment number 62.

    Wouldn't the solution be just to have one, centralized bank account which all the teams would get their sponsors to pay into? Then it would be very easy for the FIA to see exactly who is putting the money and be able to limit the spending out.

  • Comment number 63.


    The Brawn car was designed and built with Honda money (loads of it) before they pulled out of F1, notice how their performance failed to keep up with RedBull the 2nd half of the season, they did not have the money available.

    To build a fast car you need to spend a small fortune, to build a winning car you need to spend a vast fortune.

  • Comment number 64.

    F1 is loosing its credibility. Here is the reasons:
    1. FOTA's rules and regulations should be judged and maintained by a totally separate 3 party that is not made up of the sponsors, care makers, owners, etc...; instead a board that can ensure this sport will develop and sustain itself for the future of the sport.
    2. My second point is the inconsistancy in the judgements given this year to the many so called infractions by drivers by the different marshalls at each of the Grand Prix'. Here again, why is there not association of marshalls; similar to umpires in cricket or tennis.
    3. Finally, if Red Bull dominates the sport and you only have Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes as challengers; why bother introducing other teams. They can and never will be able to make it anywhere near these top teams.

    To me it looks like FOTA and FIFA, yes both these organizations need to really believe in the true sense of fair play and sportmanship and play by the rules. If Red Bull and Ferrari can thumb their noses to the regulations in this day and age of the worls economic issues, both teams have lost favour with me.

  • Comment number 65.

    @56 telnolies, YOU are one of the minority, YOU are one of the one eyed bigots. you believe that because YOU like F1 in it's current guise, that the whole of the UK needs to be force fed mindless rubbish.

    I grew up in a kart, and raced karts until the second of my children were born 6 years ago - a career that lasted 31 years and that i am very proud of. ask my wife, my kids, i bleed motorsport, i love motorsport, i live motorsport, so your ignorant premise is just another assumption made by a stupid fool.

    to get a good fix of racing, i watch many other things other that F1, because as the BBC have realized, F1 died the day the toad got his finger in the pie. The last good days of F1 were when we had real tracks, with real men, driving cars that were not dependent on £300 million budgets. when f1 was about REAL engineers, solving real mechanical problems. the tracks now are too forgiving - 20 years ago, if you made a mistake and missed a gear, your engine blew and you were out, 20 years ago, if you pulled a stupid lewis hamilton move, and left the track, then you sat there like a muppet until the end of the race. today it is all clean and clinical, no thrill, no skill, no guts, no glory. it is an artificial series that the toad has tried to tweek and twiddle, but he has failed, he is a failure, and the sooner the germans put him in jail and throw away the key, the sooner we will ALL have real racing back in f1.

  • Comment number 66.

    @59. flightorfight

    "I for one wont be watching on sky I refuse to give that crook a penny of my money..."

    but you're willing to let that crook bernie ecclestone rob you and all the teams so that you can watch mindless rubbish? idiot.

  • Comment number 67.


    As bad as Bernie is I don't think his company CVC as been involved with phone hacking innocent victims.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hey Buck keep your space Helmet on! Sounds like yr at that miserable age when everything was better in your day!

    How you know I let Bernie rob me, I don't by the way the toad as you call him don't get a penny off me either nor do the Bbc. Don't be upset if your one of Murdoch's sheep feeding his empire of corruption im sure he is very grateful.

  • Comment number 69.

    An earlier poster got it right. The real Formula One died some years ago. Thats why its been amazingly easy to give this current version of it up. I dont want to watch it, not even half of it, any more. Once you start to be honest with yourself, its easy to let go. It's really not all that good. I have a feeling most of us watch it out of habit, I know thats the case with me. I'm 36 years old and apparently have been watching since I was 1 year old. The last time I watched F1 because it excited me was back towards the 1990's, 1980's. Ever since then I've watched it because it was the process of a sunday afternoon. Habit. Can I honestly hand on heart say I enjoy it. No, I dont think I do. If I were to be brutally honest, some races bore the pants off me and its all I can do to stay awake or drift off to do something else.

    It's only because I'm feeling brutally honest that I can admit this to myself. At any other time I'd defend formula 1 to the hilt against non believers, and repeatedly have done so on these pages over the years. Now though, I just cant be bothered. There's nothing really left to defend, not if we're being honest. The soul was torn out of it years ago.

    In some ways, I'm actually embarassed to have followed such a greedy sport for so long. It was no big thing for me to give up football. I definitely dont miss watching these self obssessed people become infinitely rich and spoilt. It will be the same case for F1. All it means is I have to find something else to do on a sunday. Maybe another form of motorsport, a more honest form, a form still connected to its fans.

    And then again, maybe not. I've repeatedly heard over the years about how F1 was all about the fans. If I can swallow a lie once, there's a risk of swallowing more.

    Maybe I'll take up knitting on sundays. ;)

  • Comment number 70.

    You only have to look at football to know whose right and wrong about Red Bull. The teams with the biggest budget have been consistently at the top for years, and now, as a direct comparison to Red Bull, we have new boys Man City topping them all. City, as we all well know, were taken over by Arab Billionaires a couple of years or so ago. The F.A. are, supposedly, going to put caps on football spending but who'd bet against City still being at the top for as long as they have their billionair owners.

  • Comment number 71.

    I love all the BBC die hards that are upset at Sky - what did you think was going to happen? The BBC pour money down the drain on - lets face it - rubbish tv shows and now they cant afford the F1

    Loads of people make do with going down the pub for the football then watching Match Of The Day, maybe all non Sky viewers could just go down the pub for the race? ha ha

    I personally think Skys coverage will be much better, it might not have Jake and the same BBC banter, but if you look at how good Skys football coverage is compared to when BBC show the world cup, I cant imagine they will drop the ball with the F1.


  • Comment number 72.

    @ sjg_oth

    "I always believe there is no smoke without fire". I've heard you're a huge fan of the Sky deal, and have been very coy about this, not even mentioning it in your post. Either that, or I've got an axe to grind and want to muddy the waters a bit and put you under greater scrutiny.

  • Comment number 73.

    well truth is bernie doesnt like the fota therefore it will die... as simple as that... :)

  • Comment number 74.

    Seems like Sky have taken the cream of BBC One and Five Live's F1 team.
    When will BBC be announcing its team?

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    ... and for the better as whitmarsh will go back to focus on making his team win and not making friends with the other team principals :)

  • Comment number 77.

    @ flightorfight.

    the most stupid reasons i have ever heard, of course you let the toad rob you - you watch this rubbish called f1, don't you? you are one of the stupid masses that ACCEPTS it, even though the way it consumes money is obscene and the entertainment value is worse than poor.

    while you are being banged over a barrel by the toad and your shallow beliefs, YOU feel that Sky stance on Israel is a significant issue? my word, what a complete load of hogwash. only a brainwashed Palestinian terrorist word have the gumption to write such garbage on a public forum.

  • Comment number 78.

    @77 Buck Rogers

    Calm down, dear! (advert pastiche, not condescension!!)

    We understand that you live and breathe motorsport. We appreciate that you have strong views on Ecclestone & F1, as do many others...

    ...but please, manners. Calling people STUPID and IDIOTS is not constructive debate. It's just juvenile name calling.

    Please stick to reasoned argument.

  • Comment number 79.

    Personally i think the issue will never be resolved so long as there is this rra. Whats the point in having it if the teams are not even audited throughout the year, they could be doing whatever they want and nobody would even know about it. There will always be a huge gap between the front of the grid and the back of the grid even if the budgets were all the same. It has been this way since formula one began. The only way to resolve this would be to give each team the same engine, same tyres and same basic car model and say right add what you want using x amount of money. Give all teams an equal testing facitlity and equal testing time. But this will never happen. Maybe red bull will win again next year, but one thing is for sure, their dominance won't last regardless as to what happens with the rra and fota.

  • Comment number 80.

    If you really want to reign red bull or anyone for that matter in, though it saddens me to say it, is ban Adrian Newey.

    He's brought amazing success at whichever team he's been at. Once he's left they go down the pan, so to speak.

  • Comment number 81.

    So let me get this straight - the 5 years that Schumacher and Ferrari CRUSHED anyone in its way was not really that big a deal, nor were the years of McLaren's dominance, but we cannot have Red Bull MAYBE win three in a row? Clearly, Vettel is just unreal as a driver - eliminate him and 43 points (a first and second place finish) separated the next 4 drivers. So we have to prevent Vettel from dominating? Yeah, unless he is driving for Ferrari, that is.

    The solution should be simple to everyone - pool all the money and give it out evenly to everyone. Isn't that the European way of doing everything?

  • Comment number 82.

    Someone's got to work out if the claims are jealousy or factual. If FOTA can stick together Ferrari and Red Bull may regret their decision to leave, but with all the politics in F1, keeping FOTA together is going to be hard.

  • Comment number 83.

    "SRBass wrote:
    In my opinion, while Vettel is clearly very talented, consistent and successful; he is not the best driver. Just because he can put in the fastest qualification laps in the fastest car doesn't make him the best. Yes we saw 1 or 2 nice overtakes from him, but until we see him come from the back of the field on a number of occasions with skilful overtakes, and obtaining results above his car's ability, I will remain far from convinced."

    What was he doing when driving a Torro Rosso? That team was and still is one of the back markers. He's aleady shown what he can do in a nothing worth tooting about car.

    I see Sky are already boasting about what they're going to show. Ugh. Sky's viewers won't go up by much, but that doesn't matter to BE and co. because sponsors want money spenders and that's not going on in the Western World any more.

  • Comment number 84.

    I've suspected strongly that Redbull F1 Team have been breaking rules right left and center for the last few years now. I honestly think there as rotten as they come and the fact everything they do goes unnoticed really does wind me up quite frankly.

  • Comment number 85.

    Buck, Buck, Buck you are pure comedy insulting people whilst trying to maintain the guise of intelligence, i can imagine the vein throbbing in yr forehead as you type don't have a cow man! Seriously I could come back everyday and read the insults you have dished out towards several posters, wow, yr life must be hard bro making all those enemies everywhere you go. I can only pity you : )

  • Comment number 86.

    Also Buck so what if I dislike the BBC & Sky for the way they cover the Israel Palestine debacle and support people like Murdoch and Ecclestone who are greedy and seedy Israelite's ever since Yentob's tenure. At least I have some values also if you dont watch F1 what the hell you doing here, should you not be hiding under a bridge waiting to scare some children.

  • Comment number 87.

    No smoke without fire...

    I believe Ross Brawn commented about how Red Bull were spending. Forget which race it was now but Red Bull brought several updates at which Mr Brawn commented that they must've cost £800K+ to develop. He'd know about such things I suspect. I also believe he went on to say about keeping pace with RB developments and if this is the sort of resources they (RB) can draw on he would concentrate on next year.

    I'll see if I can dig out a link.

    Oh yeah watch out for double-decked-hot-air-channelled-from-the-radiator-barge-board-diffusers next year, kinetic fusion synergy fronge pieces, engine wuffle valves and all other manner of innovative widgets, which will be banned for 2013!

  • Comment number 88.

    20 races next year, i'd never get any DIY done!

    BBC/Sky. Don't care. I watch it recorded anyway so I can skip through the race and watch the interesting drama unfold about the politics, cheating and backstabbing! ;)

  • Comment number 89.

    "If Red Bull, despite the RRA, are prepared to spend what they want, as well as having the best designer in Adrian Newey and arguably the best driver in Sebastian Vettel, who can stop them dominating for years to come?"

    FOM? Or the FIA?

    The question should really be - will anyone have the balls/backing to make such a demand?

  • Comment number 90.

    @ Ian Lowson

    Your probably referring to Monza were Webber crashed out and the Italians lifted his RB7 up on a crane and let it dangle there for everyone to see the under-body.

    What is also interesting, Vettel crashed in practice(think Korea) and when they were lifting it around with the crane he jumped over the wall and ran over to them.

    Some people were speculating the real reason Red Bull didn't want Vettel setting fastest laps at the end of the GPs was they didn't want more suspicion arose about how good the car actually was. To those who think it was all Vettel and not the car making the pure pace difference, Webber got the trophy for most fastest laps during the year in his RB7.

  • Comment number 91.

    my situation is paradox.

    since the news about the sky deal was anounced i went insane with every form of anger towards the beeb, sky and Eclestone.

    but now i found my self in a lucky situation that one of my close friends has sky, he has offered me to see all of the races.

    it is a shame it had to come to this....

    so Martin, Ted, Davidson, Pinkham and Croft i am comming..... (reluctantly)

  • Comment number 92.
    Links to the BBC and Sky teams that are potentially showing Red Bulls domination of 2012. page 7 (@681 or @74 on this blog for Sky team/ @686 for BBC team)

    Also some good links from the autosport awards! All on this hidden blog here posted near the end: (page 7 @668 check end of Brundles clip) -

  • Comment number 93.

    Interesting to see who's jumped ship! I notice Sky didn't want Jordon in their presenting team. The BBC viewing figures are inevitably going to fall, and eventually they'll pull out leaving Sky to (probably) decide who takes their place slowing clawing total control of the TV coverage.

  • Comment number 94.

    Being a cynic, I wonder if the real reason Red Bull and Ferrari withdrew from FOTA is because Bernie has offered them a special deal for the new Concorde agreement. These are the two teams he would want most in any series in the future and he has previous with Ferrari.
    FOTA has been weakened by these withdrawls in both its bargaining position with Ecclestone and makes an F1 breakaway less credible.

  • Comment number 95.

    >"In theory, if Red Bull's rivals feel that they are breaking the RRA, they can sue them .... The next step, as laid out by the RRA, was for a full audit of the accounts of the team about which there were suspicions - if a certain number of teams wanted this to happen, the accused team had to agree. But this point was never reached"

    So, reading between the lines here it, sounds as if one or two companies (Ferrari?) think that Red Bull is violating the RRA, but they cannot persuade many of the other companies to agree with them.

    It's also possible that this is all a pretext by one of the other big companies - Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren - to scrap the RRA because they see it as a impediment to their own R & D. In other words they do NOT think that RB is in violation, but they are claiming otherwise in order to spend more money themselves.

  • Comment number 96.

    >"Some people were speculating the real reason Red Bull didn't want Vettel setting fastest laps at the end of the GPs was they didn't want more suspicion arose about how good the car actually was. To those who think it was all Vettel and not the car making the pure pace difference, Webber got the trophy for most fastest laps during the year in his RB7."

    The last part of that ("Webber got the trophy for most fastest laps during the year in his RB7") completely undermines the conspiracy theory you present in the first part.

    I'd think that winning the WDC and the CDC would already have tipped off most people to the fact that the RB7 is a pretty good car, even without Webber's fastest laps. But I admit I have trouble understanding conspiracy theories.

  • Comment number 97.

    >"In my opinion, while Vettel is clearly very talented, consistent and successful; he is not the best driver. Just because he can put in the fastest qualification laps in the fastest car doesn't make him the best. Yes we saw 1 or 2 nice overtakes from him, but until we see him come from the back of the field on a number of occasions with skilful overtakes, and obtaining results above his car's ability, I will remain far from convinced."

    I've never seen e.g. Lewis Hamilton "come from the back of the field on a number of occasions with skilful overtakes, and obtaining results above his car's ability". I don't think I've ever seen ANY F1 driver do such a thing. Even Senna, who had some amazing drives, had them in a very superior car. And Hamilton's best "come from behind to win" was going from fourth to first.

    Many commenters on this board seem to be quite unfamiliar with the history of motor racing. Historically speaking, the RB cars of the last two years are not especially dominant. There were times in the past when the winning driver might lap the entire field up to the second place driver. There is much more technological parity in F1 at present than at any point in the history of the sport.

  • Comment number 98.

    >"I will say this, in 2008 when budgets were £300million we had loads of overtaking, and one of the closet, most exciting and best ever seasons. It was easily the best season of the 2000s and better than 2010 or 2011."

    Oh, come off it. The ONLY thing you like about 2008 was that Hamilton won that year.

    2010 was an even more exciting year - going into the final race there were four drivers who could have lifted the championship.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ Twirlip

    The thing about Webber and the fastest laps underlines the pace of the car because some people would have you believe it was just because Vettel is so good! Winning the world championship does underline how good the car is but they would always say the winning margins were small in the races which you have aluded to.

    The difference between now and previous years were there was no limit in spending is you could show how dominant your car was without any fear of the consquences. Now with the RRA in place if a car shows itself to be completly dominant questions are asked. It's not a coincidence Red Bull was also easily the fastest everyday in the younger driver test and of course Vergne gets all the praise because he is just so good like Vettel.

    Not saying that Vettel isn't good, he is obviously very good and is still young so time will tell how good.

  • Comment number 100.

    "Seems like Sky have taken the cream of BBC One and Five Live's F1 team.
    When will BBC be announcing its team?"

    "so Martin, Ted, Davidson, Pinkham and Croft i am comming..... "

    I'm not.

    Are these commentators likely to be strolling with an excusively for Sky mike or is there any chance of a pit lane report from Ted for muggins here?

    BBC have still haven't let us know just what we are in for, unless I haven't spotted it. How much of the race is in 'extended highlights'?


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