Vettel admits that Red Bull goes to Melbourne with the RB10 Plan-B car

F1 Testing in Bahrain - Day One

Crisis-struck Red Bull is taking a vastly different car to Melbourne – the RB10 ‘Plan-B’ car – for the first race of the 2014 Formula 1 season. As we reported here last month>>>

That is the claim of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, even though the German is not expecting to be competitive this weekend after a disastrous winter for the team and engine supplier Renault.

“Only in the comic book world do such processes (to improve) work that quickly and immediately,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“But only in Melbourne will we know how far away from the competition we actually are.”

Formula One Testing, Day Three, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday 1 March 2014

Renault’s Jean-Michel Jalinier has now admitted that Renault-powered cars will not be in a position to win in Melbourne, but he expects the picture to change significantly within “three to five races”.

Vettel also noted that Red Bull is working hard.

“The car we will use in Melbourne will only be the same as the one we tested in the winter on the outside,” he said.

“Inside, it will be different,” added Vettel. “It’s hard to say where we are, but we are certainly not among the favourites to win.”

New teammate Daniel Ricciardo, already in his native Australia, said the first challenge will be getting the RB10 to the chequered flag.

“We don’t really know if it will last the distance,” he told Fairfax Media, “because we haven’t proven it [in testing].” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

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  • Spartacus

    Curious to know.. Has Vettel named his car for 2014 yet?
    He used to name all his cars withe exotic female names (eg. Kinky Kylie) at the beginning of every season, didn’t he?

  • Stirling McLane

    Funny, I was wondering exactly th

  • Stirling McLane

    *I was wondering exactly the same thing. I propose “Hot Flush Hannah” :)

  • hahaha

    Yes yes and lucious liz, kate’s dirty sister, etc. But I think he will call this years car “LAME LUCY” 😀

  • Rocketeer

    hmm.. Sizzling Sue? Burning Betty?

  • Tom Burns

    He has a ritual where he and his mechanics go for a meal in melbourne on the build up to the race and think up the name. so it will be named by friday :)

  • KevinW

    There are two fundamental approaches to design. Start with an extreme approach to learn where the limits are, then back down to the highest performing package, or start conservatively and escalate improvements until you achieve optimized performance. Newey has always followed the former, while Mercedes, as an example, has followed the latter. The question of ultimate success will come down to whose core platform is superior and how fast can it be developed. We won’t know that for some time, as the conservative effort can look strong early, while the extreme approach may struggle in the off. McLaren has shown what happens when the extreme package is ill conceived without hope, Brawn in 2009 showed how extreme can win early, then fade from lack of development pace, allowing competition to catch up 2011 Red Bull showed what happens when extreme not only is strong out of the box, but continues to improve through refinement. 2013 showed a good design improve to become unbeatable. Red Bull have not failed yet, but the early fight with the car is troubling, and indicative of the amount of effort they will have to put into the car to recover. If the core platform is superior, it will be revealed as the over-reach issues are resolved. If it is inferior (unlikely), that too will be revealed through lack of development progression, at which time a decision is made to move on to focus on to the next season and write off the current as a bust. This won’t happen until very late in the season, as we all know.

    My bet is on Ferrari. They seem to have a very innovative total package that is responding to development. If they can continue to build on that, Red Bull is going to have a very hard time catching them if they have a bad early start. Mercedes is its usual strong conservative self. I’m not convinced they are strong enough, nor do I see the team proven leaders in the development race. Williams may be the wild card this season, they seem innovative, are now funded, and the hungriest of the lot, with the exception of the dysfunctional McLaren, who will not be miraculously transformed by Dennis, although will improve to some degree or another.

    BTW. The cars are named in a bar with Vettel and his crew when they get together before the first race – usually the night before FP1.

  • karlich

    I’d be curious to know how much can be and is different “on the inside”. Of course, a lot can change, but the power unit and several other components can only change so much given the short time they had since testing and the statement that the RB10 will remain the same on the outside. I am also a little weary of why a team would go down the road of running a “different” spec that’s untested.

    Somehow, and this is speculative at its best, I can’t shake the feeling that Vettel is being misunderstood or misquoted here, maybe both. Sure, the software will have changed, who knows, maybe the drive by wire system will have been brought in from STR and of course they’ll have plenty of new developments they had lined up for Melbourne – as does every team. But radically different innards of the RB10 simply don’t seem plausible.

    Well, either way, Vettel is scheduled to appear tonight on ServusTV’s talk show and I am hoping he sheds some more light with regards to their deal for the Australian GP.

  • KevinW

    We assume that the new car is actually a new car as in developed since Jerez. I suspected from the start that Red Bull brought test mules (perhaps RB9 derivatives) to the tests to gather data and test their most extreme ideas, while back at home the real cars were being developed and revised based on what they learned along the way. I don’t think they had enough data or components from Renault, and were behind their schedule in other areas, so took a dual approach. Get a test mule tossed together to pass all the requisite safety tests and to roll out for testing. Don’t worry every detail (there are noted missing parts on the car, like camera pods, and rear doo-dads around the monkey seat, for example), just get something to bolt the PU into, along with some experimental gadgets du jur, and get it out for a run. This gives them data, relevant comparison to the RB9, data points on which to establish areas of improvement required, go-no-go on experimental ideas, etc… I suspect the Australia cars are actually the very first real RB10 cars. If they have done as much as I suspect in parallel, and have resolved 85% of the software issues between them and Renault, I suspect they are going to deliver some very strong laps, and perhaps give everyone who has them written off plenty to think about. They’ll develop this further, as they always do. Whether or not this is good enough, and much further they need to go against what appears to be a very strong Mercedes contingent and nicely developed Ferrari we will know soon enough. Vettel is far to calm for the Red Bull to be as bad as everyone in the media is making it…He knows something we don’t, and I suspect we’ll get a taste of that this weekend. I could be all wet of course, that’s happened before…

  • Jerry Holloway

    That would be a real silver lining for RB, I’m skeptical. I think Vettel’s calm is more the result of him being a smart guy. He knows it would do no good to freak out publicly, so he is playing it cool. Kudos to him.

  • KevinW

    I could go your way too. His comments at the end of last season, about enjoying it while you have it, may have been founded on knowing 2014 was going to be rough going in. This is going to an interesting year for Vettel watchers, both haters and fans alike. He’s not he kid he was that first race in Indy.