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Red Bull train sights on second title

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Sarah Holt | 15:09 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

Red Bull clinched their first Formula 1 constructors' title at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday and experts have been marvelling at just how an energy drinks company came to topple the racing powerhouses of Ferrari and McLaren six short seasons after buying the ailing Jaguar team.

Driver turned BBC pundit David Coulthard, who raced for Red Bull from their debut season in 2005 until 2008, believes the success of any F1 team is built first on the strength of its technical department.

"Bringing in designer Adrian Newey was the first piece of the jigsaw puzzle of putting together a successful team," Coulthard explained.

"The technical chief is the king of the castle and Adrian had already won more grands prix than Michael Schumacher."

Coulthard was influential in persuading Newey, who had masterminded six championship-winning cars for Williams initially and then for McLaren, to join Red Bull in time to design the 2007 car.

Team principal Christian Horner says the next step was to create the "right environment" in which Newey, who had become disillusioned at McLaren, could work.

The English designer needed a nimble operation that allowed him to spend more time at the drawing board - the only literal drawing board you are likely to find in F1, where computers are king - and which was capable of responding quickly to his 'eureka' moments.


Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber celebrate a Red Bull one-two at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Relations between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have been strained this season. Photo: Getty

"Adrian is like the conductor of an orchestra and he has to have the relevant players so we had to make some key appointments early on," Horner told BBC Sport.

"Guys like our head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou, who was also at McLaren, Rob Marshall who joined us as chief designer from Renault and Paul Monaghan and Ian Morgan on the engineering side.

"Unlike Williams and McLaren, who already had [established] structures which Adrian just fed into, with Red Bull he started with a clean sheet of paper."

After two seasons spent moulding the team's technical department, Red Bull came alive on the track in 2009.

Sebastian Vettel scored the team's first win in China ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. It was to be the first of six victories in Red Bull's breakthrough season.

When I asked Horner to put a percentage on how important Newey - who Mercedes boss Ross Brawn ruefully described in Brazil as his nemesis - was to Red Bull's success, he said it would not be fair to do so.

But most F1 insiders believe Newey's design genius is Red Bull's main weapon.

Red Bull also helped their 2010 championship charge by retaining both stability and momentum in the team.

While rivals Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes bedded in new drivers, Red Bull stuck with Webber and Vettel.

Between them they have captured pole position 14 times and won eight races for Red Bull on their way to the constructors' crown.

"Mark and Sebastian are both vitally important because they had to deliver their part on the track," Horner added.

"They are different personalities and characters but they share a common determination and drive, which is winning.

"Mark and Sebastian are not superstars in the factory, they are two drivers and they show great camaraderie with their team.

"Mark lives near the Milton Keynes factory and so you often find him out riding his mountain bike with members of the team up in the hills.

"I vividly remember Sebastian's first visit to Red Bull when he was 17. He had only just got his driving licence and so he drove over to the factory just because he could. He turned up in reception and said, 'Hi, I'm Sebastian Vettel.'


Adrian Newey celebrates with Red Bull at the Brazil Grand Prix

Adrian Newey gets front and centre in Red Bull's Brazilian celebrations Photo: Reuters

"Sebastian injects a lot of enthusiasm because of his infectious personality and sense of humour."

The relationship between Red Bull's two drivers has, at times, threatened to undermine the team's title ambitions and Horner has played a crucial role in defusing a powder-keg of internal team tensions.

First, Horner had to smooth over relations after Vettel took Webber out when trying to pass him for the lead at the Turkish Grand Prix.

At Silverstone accusations of favouritism towards Vettel blew up after a new version of the front wing was taken off Webber's car and bolted on to Vettel's.

In Brazil the pride in winning the constructors' title came only three days after Webber had cast a shadow over the team by publicly claiming they were not supporting him emotionally.

Though reluctant to talk about his own role, Horner said: "Inevitably when you have two fiercely competitive animals, who are both competing for the same target, there will be times when tensions bubble over.

"Yes, we've had blips this year where tensions have run high between the drivers but we've always recovered from those very quickly - and that's about not being afraid to deal with issues head on and being as transparent and open and straightforward with the drivers as possible.

"Red Bull are probably the least political team in the pit-lane. It is all about racing, it is all about the sport."

What Red Bull are not, however, is a privateer racing team such as Williams, or a manufacturer team like Mercedes or the Fiat-owned Ferrari.

They are a marketing arm for Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz's energy drink company and that brings no guarantees that Red Bull Racing are in F1 to stay.

The team are understood to run on a similar budget to McLaren - around 200m euros - with Ferrari's coffers stacked a little higher.

But Horner sees no reason for Mateschitz to cut off the F1 team saying: "There has never been any timeframe on Red Bull's commitment.

"They have been in F1 for the last 15 years as a sponsor, a shareholder [in Sauber] and now as a team owner, so they are as committed, if not more so, as any other team in F1.

"Dietrich always had a clear vision for Red Bull to run at the front and to become a winning race team. It been a lot of hard work but I'm very proud of what's been achieved."

Red Bull are famous for throwing parties but the celebrations will not have lasted long in Sao Paulo as there is still one more prize to be won.

Red Bull go two-handed to Abu Dhabi where the desert will decide if Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Webber, Vettel or McLaren's Lewis Hamilton will be crowned champion.

"It's nice to get the constructors' championship out of the way," smiled Horner among the confetti strewn outside Red Bull's garage.

"Now we can focus on the drivers."

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:46pm on 08 Nov 2010, U14474051 wrote:

    If you were to sell your F1 team, you'd realise the best price when it held both WDC and WCC. I think he'll sell it.

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  • 2. At 7:59pm on 08 Nov 2010, Sunlight_on_the_Garden wrote:

    Nice blog, Sarah. First of all - congrats to Red Bull, they totally deserve the constructors' title. I just hope haven't undermined their drivers' challenge by allowing Vettel to beat Webber - this is all too eerily reminiscent of 2007.

    I also agree with you and DC about the pivotal role of Adrian Newey - he was the mastermind behind Williams' domination between 1991 and 1997 and McLaren's successes in 1998-1999. I wonder how long he'll stay at Red Bull, though, he seems to get bored after a few years.

    One minor inaccuracy - "First, Horner had to smooth over relations after Vettel took Webber out when trying to pass him for the lead at the Turkish Grand Prix" - Vettel took himself out, Webber finished third in that race.

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  • 3. At 10:38pm on 08 Nov 2010, Ben wrote:

    Red Bull aren't the first commercial entity to be successful in the sport, Benetton achieved success back in 1994/5 and after Schumacher left, taking the brains with him, the team slipped back in to obscurity.

    With Red Bull, it is a similar story. Only instead of the team being built around its lead driver, this is built around Adrian Newey. Whichever team was employing Adrian Newey following the fundamental rule changes between 2008/2009 was always going to be at the front of the field following that. Even last year, without a double diffuser, the Red Bull was almost as quick as the Brawn and was faster than every other car on the grid. Since Silverstone last year the car has been class of the field.

    It should also be mentioned, that much like Benetton, Red Bull have bought out a fully functioning F1 team, in their case Jaguar, which had been bankrolled by Ford. Sometimes, the way that people talk, it makes it sound like the people in the Red Bull canning factory are spending their tea breaks putting together a Formula 1 car.

    This is a fully equipped Formula 1 team first, it just happens to be bankrolled by Red Bull and branded accordingly. It has the best designer in the industry and has two established and proven drivers. It is no surprise they have achieved what they have, once you look past the fact they are called 'Red Bull'


    Incidentally, is there any chance that Eddie Jordan's 'poem' could be included in videos on the site. As much as I thought I was going to find it cheesey when it began playing I actually really enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best video pieces of its kind that has been done all season.

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  • 4. At 11:38pm on 08 Nov 2010, dangerous_beans wrote:

    Great blog Sarah! Very nice historic explanation behind the Red Bull team's components - looking forward to the last race: I hope (and think) that Webber will manage to glean pole with Vettel in second, Alonso's engine will fail leaving lewis and jenson to pick up 3rd and 4th respectively... I hope team orders do not come into it as I strongly disagree with the 'unsportsmanship' of it as a spectator - though I fully understand why, as a business side of things, it is - saying that it still feels false to do switches of such obvious nature (imagine if Vettel did run 1st til the last lap and does a Barrachelo on the finish line... that'd put an interesting spin on the most heated debate of this years championship...)

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  • 5. At 05:01am on 09 Nov 2010, ArsenalF1 wrote:

    Red Bull started F1 the same season I started watching it, which is why I've pulled for them since that RB1 chassis was being thrown around the track by Coulthard and it really does make you wonder how a team could go from occaisonal points-challenger to usual pack-leader in 6 seasons. Any guesses on the next team to rise from seemingly no-where to challenge the likes of Ferrari and McLaren? I have a suspision that Force India are a team on the move, but then again, what do I know... As previously stated, I've only watched F1 for 6 years...

    PS I really hope Webber comes out on top, I feel like Vettel will get loads of chances to be World Champion, but I doubt Webber will get very many more like this.

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  • 6. At 07:33am on 09 Nov 2010, Roger D wrote:

    Congrats to Red Bull, they deserve both titles this year. But to finish this properly, Webber needs to win the championship in his own right...which he can do. There is no doubt that Vettel will be a world champion in future but Mark has to beat him (and Alonso) fair and square this Sunday.

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  • 7. At 09:03am on 09 Nov 2010, Ponty1 wrote:

    2 points:
    1. I don't believe that Sebastian Vettel had his driving licence at 17 and drove to the Red Bull factory to introduce himself, you must be 18 before you can have driving lessons in Germany, never mind a driving licence.

    2. I cannot see Lewis Hamilton beating Vettel, he is just not good enough. So I reckon Vettel will drag Webber into the final laps and then let him pass to win the title. vettel has many years of driving ahead of him and will surely break Schumacher's record of 7 titles.

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  • 8. At 09:37am on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    krautbeckerfan possibly biting at a classic , but Hamilton is good enough to beat Vettel, having done so for the past few years. That Vettel has a car at the top of its game, in a team with the best designer and is still in 3rd position in the WDC outlines he's not even the best in his team. Like football championships, it's the best pne over the season who wins, not in parts. Vettel is hot headed and immature and it's his own fault his desting doesn't lie in his own hands.

    When Vettel raced Hamilton in the euroseries, Hamilton dominated and Vettel won nothing. Then runner up the next season behind Di Resta (in the same car). So, as ever, he's not even the best placed person in his own team, so to suggest he's better than a world champion (youngest ever may I add), and someone who finished 2nd in his rookie season in the same team as a double world champion (whom he beat fair and square), is rubbish from the get go. What Vettel needs to do, to prove he is a good driver, is to be measured against a quick team mate which, sorry mate, Webber clearly isn't.

    Vettel needs to mature.

    My pick is for Alonso to take a 10 place grid penalty, meaning qualifying in 15th. Hamilton to take Pole with Button splitting the RBR drivers. I think Vettels engien will let go. The elephant in the room is engines for Vettel and Alonso and I think the heat in the sand will lead to both having issues. Trust me, Hamilton is not out of this yet. Webber is the only front line driver who has an advantage on the engine front and with the Renault unit showing heat issues in Brazil, well, lets just say it's all to play for...

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  • 9. At 09:55am on 09 Nov 2010, Catalin wrote:

    I do not envy the position Christian Horner is in, but I think he is one of the best F1 managers out there and he is smart too.

    As for the title I wish it will go to Mark. Seb will have many chances to get it.

    Greetins from Romania!

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  • 10. At 12:08pm on 09 Nov 2010, billysere wrote:

    slightly harsh there by #8me thinks.

    To think vettel is not as equally talented as hamilton (at the least) is disapointing, Vettel is possibly on the verge of becoming the youngest WDC ever. All he needs for that to happen is, a RBR 1-2 and one of the remaining drivers to be able to beat alonso.

    Regarding the duo racing each other in previous seasons, do remember that they are not exactly the same age and hence would not have entered the series at the same time. The fact that vettel has been in formula1 for so long already shows he is a talent.

    Also, how can you regard Mark Webber as slow? remember what he did with his minardi all those years ago? besides this is the guy who has lead the most laps this season, not bad for a slow driver when the likes of your beloved hamilton are in the field is it? (cue complaints about the car).

    Also with regards to vettel currently being 3rd, take out mechanical faults and vettel would have won this year a while ago. A point even the experts would agree on.

    Rant Over.

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  • 11. At 12:11pm on 09 Nov 2010, Munsters Rebel wrote:

    @ HairyReturnRiskyInvestment

    My good man 2 facts you have to keep count with:

    1) When LH won his WDC Mc:Laren was one of the best 2 teams in F1...
    2) FA was in a state of civil war with MCL and LH was CLEARLY favored by them.

    In all fairness Sebbe needs to mature a bit more but LH is just a wee bit hyped up as a driver!

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  • 12. At 12:31pm on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    Vettel will not win this.

    Lets also remember, LH nearly won in 2007, aged 22, in his rookie season. He was not favoured, he was equal. Alonso was clearly unsettled by being blown away by a rookie. Vettel has been in F1 how long?

    Wasn't the RB5 one of the best cars last year? Did he make mistakes then as well? I seem to remember Turkey being another issue for him in 2009...

    Now, factor in how many retirements LH has had this year, and you can quite clearly state the same of him, that he could actually be leading the WDC coming into this race.

    Vettel has been in F1 as long as Hamilton. 1 year at TR, 2 at RBR, and joined the 'circus' in 2007. He's also 3rd place in clearly the best car on the grid. His immaturity has caused him to be there. At 25, remember, LH was already champion having finished 2nd in his rookie season.

    Di Resta rinsed him as team mates.

    I'll respect Vettel once he matures and hasd a proper team mate. No offence, but Weber is clearly not the class of the field, he's not even in the same picture.

    Sorry, but I don't rate Vettel as all that just now. He will improve and I'll change my mind, I hope; there's no better thought than another year like this, but with the cars more evenly matched (with Mc and Fez pulling their socks up). However, at the moment, he makes too many mistakes. Remember this is his 4th season in F1.

    As I said, the Elephant in the room is the engine situation at RBR and Ferrari. The season will have a few more twists and turns I suspect.

    Kudos to RBR mind, as a team, in their 6th season, you have to be impressed.

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  • 13. At 1:18pm on 09 Nov 2010, Munsters Rebel wrote:

    @ HairyReturnRiskyInvestment

    Engines while ya know LH his engines have been known to fail too! I mean how come JB his car never works fine in qualifying but in the race it works peachy?

    I started the season with the opinion that LH and JB were overrated and I have to admit that JB has surprised me a lot! I think he his a pretty decent driver.

    And no LH was the golden boy from McL he was the protegee of the team principal and the whole structure really!

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  • 14. At 1:28pm on 09 Nov 2010, MGUK82 wrote:

    First up - congrats to Red Bull for their constructors title(from someone that's been supporting McLaren this year).

    I've never held a grudge against the team, hell DC drove for them for the first four years of their existence(unless you count the Stewart and Jaguar eras) and I liked how they were able to chill him out!

    I do think they've messed things up with driver relations this year but if Lewis crashes out on the first corner at Abu Dhabai I'll be cheering for Webber to take the title, then Vettel.

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  • 15. At 1:33pm on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    JB isn't the driver LH is and that's simply fact. I like JB, being West Country just like him, but the truth is he's not as quick. No great shakes, as not many are. LH is up there with 1 or possibly two others as the best on the grid. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

    LH wasn't the golden boy, he was the protege, but you don't become that quick by being groomed, in the purest sense of the term, you don't suddenly get quick, you are quick, or you're not. If you're not, you buy into F1, if you are, you can get opportunities. His father got him to where he was when he approached Ron Dennis. The rest,a s they say, is history. But to say a multi million pound business who rely solely, or did, on F1 as their income stream, would put the whole business on a rookie and pay a 2 times WDC £20m a year just to stitch him up is a simpletons folly. The facts remain, LH was quick, right out of the box, in a car he'd not driven until the day a WDC * 2 did. That he then run rings round him, from the get go, is on record.

    Not many Merc engines have failed this year, one if I can recall correctly, and that was due to engine blocks not being removed from JB's car in Monaco. Now, how many Ferrari and Renault engines have let go? Quite a few if you count the TR, Sauber and Renault team as well.

    You may not like LH, it appears you don't, but to suggest he's overrated is a bit foolish, to say the least. Put him in that RB6 alongside Vettel and one thing I can guarantee is that it would be in the bag by now...

    I am looking forward to that elephant making some noise, opefully, on Sunday afternoon, not in practise.

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  • 16. At 2:02pm on 09 Nov 2010, Dave F wrote:

    This "LH wiped the floor with FA & he was a rookie against a 2 x WDC" line is getting tedious. They finished level on points & Lewis came 2nd in the drivers because of one extra 3rd place finish over Alonso.

    So, the fairest summation is "LH and FA were both as good as each other over a 17 race season".

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  • 17. At 3:51pm on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    No, one was a 2 times WDC, the other hadn't ever raced a Formula 1 car before. Finishing above him in the standings, in my view, is wiping the floor with him.

    The next season, he became the youngest ever F1 champion.

    It's all moot; it's RBR's to lose and there is, as I said before, a rather large elephant in the room. I am convinced there are a few more twists and turns. It would appear Alonso and Vettel are using their race engine this weekend in practise. That's not an ideal scenario in anyones view.

    I'd wager a vast amount of money Alonso is not the WDC this year. A large amount of money.

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  • 18. At 4:19pm on 09 Nov 2010, Ponty1 wrote:

    HairyReturnRiskyInvestment:
    The past, you are living in the past. Hamilton has gone backwards since, whilst Vettel has developed tremendously. If Hamilton is that good, why doesn't he beat Webber and Vettel? And Alonso? Never mind the car, allegedly the MuckLaren had the fastest lap and top speed in Brazil...

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  • 19. At 5:35pm on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    Mr Krautfan,

    Vettel has developed tremendously? Want to look that up in the dictionary? Last time I looked, he was in third position, in comfortably the quickest car on the grid. His elder team mate, one whom he confidently predicted he would beat, is beating him. He's taken the quickest car in the whole world of F1, a car may I remind you, that has taken 14 poles this year, and he's in third place. I think we all know where Alonso, Kubica or Hamilton would be right now if they had that car. Hamilton has also beaten them a few times this year, in a slower car. That does say a lot.

    Hamilton has not gone backwards, he's in 4th place, in a car widely recognised as being the 3rd best car (team) on the grid currently. Yet, he is still in contention.

    Lets also look at the reasons why he had the fastest car in Brazil shall we? For it's obvious you're not too savvy at F1:

    1. Track was rubbered in
    2. New tyres on his car for the closing laps
    3. Old tyres on all the others (apart from his team mate who also clocked some quick laps)
    4. RBR were conserving engines, and turned up the wick everytime Alonso tried to challenge.

    Congratulations to the British RBR for the WCC, Adrian Newey son, you're worth whatever they pay you.

    Vettel is the perenial flower boy, always holding the door open for the champion. World champion when he matures, make no mistake, but not this year, and next year we'll see Merc return to the party and Mclaren rarely have two years with a bad car.

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  • 20. At 6:23pm on 09 Nov 2010, timepasser wrote:

    Hairy ...
    In general i agree with your view of the Vettel ,Hamilton balance. Ill state im a Button fan first , then highlight some of the ,only small things that i think are stopping Hamilton from becoming a several time WDC. He has a habit of pushing his tyres too hard , too early and his radio message on Sunday confirmed that ,not for the first time .He is a masterful overtaker ,but what you can do to a Petrov or Heidfeld and make it stick ,will not always work against the more wiley front runners. In interviews he shows genuine suprise and dissapointment, underlining his real conviction as to his "total racing style".You did nt mention the biggest tool in his box , his ability to find a quick lap first up and right at the death. That is probably what sets him ahead of Button who can race as fast ,but is nearly always further back . While Vettel needs to grow up a lot and stop thinking winning from the front row passes for being world class . Hamilton needs only a minor tweak to be ,the real deal.

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  • 21. At 7:04pm on 09 Nov 2010, JimDavis wrote:

    What will Red Bull do if with 20 laps to go, Webber is ahead in a 1-2 and Alonso's engine blows? Will they risk another all or nothing finish?
    Is this what Hamilton is praying for?

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  • 22. At 7:20pm on 09 Nov 2010, JimDavis wrote:

    A few things I don't really understand from this board.
    Most people talk of Red Bull having the fastest car as if it is the fastest 100% of the time. Besides the fact that it is difficult to be the fastest car when part of your car is imbedded in your team mate’s car, it is only the fastest in certain situations. Newey just made sure the car was faster in the situations which most occur.
    Also, while it is nice that people want Webber to win because they feel this is his last chance, and he may not get a better chance, he'll probably be driving for the same superior team next season, so probably will have a better chance of being champion than Hamilton or Button in 2011.

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  • 23. At 8:50pm on 09 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    I think hamilton and Button will come back next year, #20, I also think Button was brought into the team to bring a bit more to Hamilton's game. I don't think Hammy is the best out there, but he would be very close to the top and, for me, has the best ability, as you said, to get a quick lap straight out of the box.

    As for Sunday, I keep repeating, there is a large elephant in the room and I believe he'll be making himself heard on Sunday.

    Webber, imo, will not be in the car next season, this is it for him. I also don't actually put him in the top 5 drivers in the WDC, I know results suggest otherwise, but he does have, obviously, the quickest car out there with Vettel. But, as you said, having the fastest car and bringing home the bacon are two different things.

    When Vettel learns that the race doesn't have to be won immediately, and starts winning from the back as such (I agree absolutely #20), he'll not be, in my eyes,the real deal. There's a lot more to come from him, I know, but this is his 4th season in F1.

    Hey ho, I am genuinely looking forward to Sunday and whatever happens.

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  • 24. At 10:56pm on 09 Nov 2010, VettelDRFC90 wrote:

    To all the people out there who hate or don't like Vettel - listen to yourselves. You are detracting from arguably the best talent in F1 at the moment, a driver who is insanely fast and will be a multiple F1 Champion. Possibly even this weekend. He has more to do than the others (Hamilton has no chance in all fairness, to which he has admitted) but I whole heartedly believe he can do it. He CAN overtake as he has shown many times, and he can only get even better over the next decade.

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  • 25. At 08:13am on 10 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    Sorry VettelManUtd90, whilst I will admit the boy Vettel has a bundle of talent, he's not the finished deal yet and whilst he can do it, it's all out of his hands.

    I also dispute that he can overtake; I have not actually seen him performa smooth overtake of a on backmarker, for position, all year. He's yet to tick the box that says can move through the field safely. The boy can hardly overtake his own team mate at the moment. He may be quick, in fact I'd have to give him that, but it's useless if you're quick, but can't keep it on the black stuff. Look at Alonso, as much as I don't like the man, you have to admire the driver. He's constantly been in a slower car than Webber or Vettel, but through consistency, through being clam and measured, he's in pole position for his 3rd WDC. If Vettel analyses his mistakes this year, he'd understand that if he has lost races, damaged his car, from trying to quickly to take a position. Even Hamilton has ironed that out of his game. A future WDC, no doubt, but he simply has to mature. But yes, he will get better and once he does, he will be formidible.

    It's all but over for Hamilton, but this isn't as clear cut as it may appear; both Alonso and Vettel are having to practise using their race engines which we all know is far from ideal, and Webber had heat issues with his engine in Brazil. We can also all remember, I hope, Vettels isues last time he raced in the desert.

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  • 26. At 08:14am on 10 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    *I have not actually seen him performa smooth overtake of a non backmarker

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  • 27. At 10:19am on 10 Nov 2010, Siobhan wrote:

    Why does everyone keep saying if LH or FA was in Vettel's car that they would be WDC by now?? Vettel had 4 mechanical issues this year, I think all was when he was leading comfortable, so you can't say Hamilton or Alonso would have won cause they too could have suffered from the same issues as Vettel.. There is 2 definite cases of this 1st race and race in Korea.

    I agree that yes Vettel has made driving errors, the clash with his team mate and the clash with Button but Hamilton has done the same.. it is called racing..

    Whatever happens or whoever wins, I just want to see an exciting end to a great and fun season

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  • 28. At 2:56pm on 10 Nov 2010, RondoTheMagician wrote:

    @27 Siobhan

    Obviously you can't blame Vettel for mechanical errors but even taking these out of the equation, I think both Alonso and Hamilton would have given a better return from 9 pole positions and a further 4 starts from P2 over the course of the season. When Hamilton was in the position Vettel is now in (i.e. superior car and number one driver priority within that team) he demonstrated far more control from the head of the field. Alonso has also proven his ability against tough opposition both in terms of rival drivers and rival teams. Neither had the same performance advantage that Vettel currently enjoys.

    I think Vettel's good - don't get me wrong - but if he was in the same team as a Hamilton or an Alonso, I think you would see him lagging a lot further behind in the championship. His deficiencies (albeit probably few, and correctable) are being masked by the quality of the car around him.

    Will be interesting to see if McLaren and Ferrari can close the performance gap to RB next season. Mercedes too - Schumacher may not have the pace of old but the Brawn/Schumi combination really knows how to develop a car to its limit. Renault / Kubica could come alive too if they could just sort themselves out. If the old guard can claw back the difference (to be honest, they've been caught napping for the last two seasons) I think we'll see the true level that Vettel (and Webber) are operating from as drivers.

    Who else would like to see Bobby Kubica swap seats with Mark Webber next season???

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  • 29. At 4:19pm on 10 Nov 2010, Siobhan wrote:

    "Who else would like to see Bobby Kubica swap seats with Mark Webber next season???"

    Yes please!! And loving the Brawn/Schumacher combo..

    I think for the very beginning I was impressed with Vettel. Especially his win in the Toro Rosso, when at that stage Red Bull had never won a GP. I also like the fact, in the year Hamilton won, that he wasn't afraid to race, he over took Hamilton, only for Glock to slow down (no fault of his own) and Hamilton to win but he showed courage, he took the race as he wanted to.

    I told my work mate, the first time I saw Vettel drive in F1, that he was a person to watch and he is doing a great job.. Young but he will get there in the end.

    Yes he is in a superior car but not without its failures and since the incident with Webber, I think he has grown more, showed the team he could deliver when needed (such a shame about Korea, he didn't put a wheel wrong) and will keep up the fight and not lie down.. I am not a Hamilton or Alonso fan but this is the reason I admire them too.. they never give up and will give it 100% every time.. sometimes it doesn't pay off but when it does, it is pure magic happening on the track.

    Isn't that what we all want to see??

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  • 30. At 4:36pm on 10 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    @28 - Spot on, right on the money.

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  • 31. At 5:19pm on 10 Nov 2010, RondoTheMagician wrote:

    @29 Siobhan

    Absolutely - it's a bit like snooker - sure, a 147 is impressive, but it's the tactical battle that makes it entertaining. I'm no Hamilton fan myself but I must admit, I'm starting to admire the guy. I think Button's calmness is starting to rub off on him.

    The reason I want Alonso to win the WDC is that even when the chips are down and the odds are stacked against him, he still throws everything he's got into closing the gap. Hamilton has a similar approach. Both have nerves of steel and a gritty determination that gives them that extra half-a-second-per-lap that their machinery suggests they have no right to find.

    Vettel - and Webber - are smooth as silk when cruising out in front. It all collapses as soon as they find themselves down the order or under serious pressure from a rival. They lack patience and guile. Again - their flaws are masked by the quality that Adrian Newey has crafted around them. Vettel has the potential (and the time) to iron out these problems and become a serious contender in the future. In fact, I would agree that even over the course of this season alone, he has come on leaps and bounds and matured as a racing driver. But I think describing him as "arguably the best talent in F1 at the moment" is a bit premature and, frankly, a bit offensive to about half a dozen other drivers on the grid at the moment.

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  • 32. At 6:45pm on 10 Nov 2010, timepasser wrote:

    possibly something thats coming out of all the young drivers profiles is age helps mechanical reliability a lot.Not having a pop at Vettel ,but would Alonso or Button have had 4 failures as they tend to be easier on their cars .Anyone remember Takuma Sato , buttons team mate at Honda .Was like lightning over 1 lap and raced the wheels off the car .Brundle analysed the two,s quali laps Sato,s all over the shop but pacy .He also had several spectacular explosions and crunches .Only going to show its easier for us posters to talk about driving a car smoothly than it is for fast young racersto do it lol.

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  • 33. At 7:28pm on 10 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    @32 Hamilton was like that out of the box, at 23.

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  • 34. At 09:31am on 11 Nov 2010, Siobhan wrote:

    "arguably the best talent in F1 at the moment"

    Yeah I agree here, it should say "has potential to be the best talent in F1"

    I like the snooker reference... Schumacher, when he first joined Ferrari, reminded me of Jimmy White, always in with a shot but ended up Second and Vettel reminds me of Hendry, fantastic player but took years to gain his first title and then no stopping him

    I can't say I would like to see Alonso win but I think he will. He has delivered when needed.

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  • 35. At 10:45am on 11 Nov 2010, grahamd237 wrote:

    Mr Hairy...
    wud LH hav been champ had glock not let him thru at the last corner of the last lap in interlagos 2008???
    Everyone @ Ferrari knew kimi had it in the bag...n all of Mucklaren were mourning LH's defeat...until that last corner!
    No wonder LH n glock r such gud friends!!!

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  • 36. At 2:39pm on 11 Nov 2010, U14537907 wrote:

    @grahamd237

    Oh, just a couple of pointers:

    It wasn't Kimi, it was Fellipe.
    Glock was on Slicks, in the rain. I could have run past him.
    Hamilton is not freidsn with Glock, he is friends with Sutil. Same nationality, so you're not too far out there. On all other points, you're wrong.

    Watch Hamilton this weekend. With that elephant in the room making noises at last, we could have a pile up, engines letting go. I am looking forward to thsi weekends race more than I have for a long time.

    ABA

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  • 37. At 12:00pm on 12 Nov 2010, David Bond wrote:

    This reads like an MBA case study:

    1. Get a vision of success.
    2. Get the genius who shares the vision. Make them comfortable.
    3. Build a team around the genius.
    4. Motivate the team.
    5. Stick with the team.
    6. Manage the conflicts.
    7. Profit/Win/Success.

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