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GP Week : Issue 216
Mixed messages are coming from within red Bull racing after a weekend which clearly illustrated that (a) renault has made no progress, indeed possibly regressed since the end of last year and (b) the red Bull-renault relationship is getting seriously strained. The evidence of the weekend suggests that Mercedes has improved its act, along with Williams and Ferrari, leaving the former champion construc tors languishing – in this case behind sauber, and close to being embarrassed by its (Toro rosso) junior team. While Team Principal Christian Horner has begun a campaign for engine ‘equalisation’ – based on his claims that red Bull was continuously ‘equalised’ during its period of dominance, red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has gone as far as suggesting that red Bull could quit the sport altogether in protest over the current engine rules. Marko may be frustrated, but red Bull is contracted to F1 until at least 2020, and any serious talk of withdrawal prior to that would be unlikely. For his part, Horner points out that ‘equalisation’ isn’t a new concept in F1: "When we were winning, double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was prohibited, engine mapping was changed. Anything. With Mercedes, nobody says a word. "I think is it healthy to have a situation where the FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism. I think perhaps they need to look at it." The big issue with the renault seems to be that it has actually lost driveability (ie become more ‘peaky’ in power delivery) since pre-season testing: “ The engine is just quite undriveable,” said Horner. “You can see and hear that from the comments the drivers are making – the most clear evidence is that off the start Daniel got a reasonable initial start and then driveability comes in. “It masks so many things regarding corner entry, corner exit, degradation, slip control of the tyre. You’re not able to drive the car properly. so you then start moving your brake balance around to try to compensate, so you are so far away from optimum. You start to lose temperature in brakes, and then the tyres aren’t working as they should. It’s a spiralling effect.” F1 >>> nEWs RED BULL FACES REALITY CHECK Perhaps the most entertaining element of sunday's grand prix was the podium interviews, conducted by celeb guest Arnold schwarzenegger. Arnie's F1 knowledge is clearly zero, and most questioning concerned physical fitness, but Lewis Hamilton stole the show with his unscripted quip: "Man, I thought you were taller than that!" To which the great man responded: "I'm not wearing my high heels ..." The self-promoting ex-governor of California ended with a verbal duet with Hamilton, both quipping: "I'll be back!" It certainly was different ... DomInAToR mEETS TERmInAToR 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: