I see a correlation between the performance of the Red Bull, and Vettel's own performance vs Webber. The tendency has been that when the car is average/normal, they are quite closely matched, albeit with Vettel having a definite edge,
That doesn´t make much sense. Your whole point was about driving styles and how they match the car characteristics - but the competitiveness of the car is also a result of its general performance level and the strenghts and weaknesses of others. Just look at 2010: Vettel and Webber were much closer (even tough the Qualifying scorecard is 13-6 in favour of VET, the gaps were often really tiny)
that year than in 2011, but the Red Bull was far away from being a normal/average car - and it could also be the other way around.
...but as soon as Red Bull get exploiting the exhausts, shifting the balance more rearwards with the car, Vettel is able to exploit it, and Webber struggles.
I´ve heard similar descriptions in recent times, but i think they are all inacurrate. Vettel doesn´t need/prefer a planted rear or a car with basic understeer, if you like. He needs/prefers a predictable rear - meaning that the downforce at the back doesn´t change all to abruptly, independently of its general downforce level. That´s the reason for choosing the Mk.1 exhaust in China. This specifaction delivered less downforce at the back than the other version - in fact it couldn´t even really be called an EBD as the exhaust gases didn´t serve a real purpose there. This also points out, why all the portrayals of Vettel being a "EBD specialist" are not quite right. In fact he would prefer, cars not having EBDs at all rather than having EBD equipped cars, whose downforce levels mainly vary due to the position of the gas pedal. He wasn´t so good in 2011 because of the EBD, but because of the EBD-overrun. That´s an important difference - because the latter guaranteed constant downforce levels at the rear.
The reason I find all this interesting is because Vettel's stunning speed in qualifying, often putting huge margins on Webber - a known qualifying specialist from his Jaguar/Williams days - is, I believe, as much a result of Webber underperforming a dominant car as anything else, often giving the illusion that Vettel has put stuck a merely competitive car on pole by dint of him being a driving God. I know this won't sit well with most Vettel fans, and i'll duly get flamed for it, (and that's fine, it's a sensitive topic for some) but things like telemetry data don't lie, and there have been numerous examples of how Red Bull is able to carry sometimes incomparable amounts of speed through fast corners than anyone else, or opening its DRS in places no one else can (according to James Allen something in the region of 15kph more through turns 10/11 at India, being just one example).
- Once again you´re confusing the car´s characteristics with its competitiveness in relation to others.
- The scenario of Webber underperforming rather then Vettel "overachieving" could be said about every other intra-team-battle.
- Regarding corner speeds: Both McLarens were the fastest cars in S1 (the Suzuka-like Esses) in Austin and had also higher topspeeds than RB on top of that (a combination RB never had once). I guess, i can assume, that Vettel produced a miracle then in sticking his RB on pole and also defending his position against Hamilton in the race for so long, right? I´m not sure whether you were talking about 2011 or 2012. If you were also talking about the latter, then i might remark, that there were also several other races, in which RB didn´t have by far the best speed figures through high-speed corners.
The fallacy I see in the logic of many is that the RB7/RB8 couldn't be a dominant car because it's only ever one guy on pole, and the other guy often doesn't make the front row - yet you don't need both drivers dominating to know when someone is in a dominant car. Just look at Mansell/Patrese in 1992 to know what i'm talking about.
All people, who refer to the FW14, when talking about the RB7, either have a bad memory or haven´t seen the 92-season at all. That car once enabled Mansell to outqualify Ayrton Senna by 3 seconds, who was still best of the rest in that session.
Besides that: Patrese was ahead of every non-Williams car in qualifying in 10 out 16 GP weekends, despite being extremly far away from his own teammate....and also finished ahead of every non-Williams car in 70% of his own race finishes (iirc Webber had a ratio of 12% in 2011). And to add the RB8 in that comparison is just a complete joke.
The RB8 obviously hasn't been as consistently brilliant as the RB7, but make no mistake, when it was dominant, it was dominant.
It was dominant in 4 out of 20 races this year: Valencia, Suzuka, Korea and India.
Edited by LiJu914, 03 December 2012 - 13:35.