Just as F1 fans and rivals get their hopes that Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel could finally be knocked off their perch, Mark Webber has issued a warning.
Now a Le Mans driver with Porsche, the Australian claims that the German’s biggest strength is low speed corners, and with the new power units having much increased torque lower in the rev range, the demands of controlling the throttle could play straight into Vettel’s hands.
“It’s probably not what people want to hear at home,” Webber told reporters, “but I think that helps Sebastian. That’s right up his alley, that’s perfect for him.”
Despite the warning much of whether Vettel can exploit any advantage in the technical corners will depend on if Adrian Newey and Renault can offer a package that works.
With the great designer admitting this week his well-known style of producing very tightly packaged cars has played a part in exaggerating the problems with Renault’s new power units, they will be hoping fixes to both the RB10 and the engine will work in Bahrain.
Certainly having the car and engine in perfect harmony will open the opportunities up for Red Bull and Vettel to make up for time lost in Jerez, but surely making that happen will take longer than usual.
The fact is these 2014 power units with integrated ERS systems not just on the engine but also the turbo mean getting the basic fundamentals of the unit is crucial.
With the issues seen in Jerez and in subsequent ‘filming days’ with Lotus and Toro Rosso, it appears unlikely that the French marque is yet to completely understand where it’s main issues lay.
And those issues could be different with each car, particularly the RB10, oddly the Lotus and Caterham teams actually seem to be getting the best from the Renault unit with the Enstone team completing a full 100km day at Jerez and both have headed straight out on track in Bahrain, yet as I write this now Red Bull nor Toro Rosso have yet to complete a lap.
As for Webber, the 37-year-old has announced he will be commentating for Australian TV at the opening round in Melbourne.
“I was in the boxing ring (the F1 grid) just a couple of months ago so hopefully I can use that experience in commentating to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of drivers and so forth,” Webber added.
“I am really looking forward to the season ahead with Porsche, and with a later start to that championship in April, it gives me an opportunity to return to Melbourne and have some fun from the other side of the fence.”
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