Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why We Like Red Bull Racing

Editor's Note:  This post was written well before F1-Geeks watched the last race of the season.   While we hope the precepts and assumptions about RBR hold true, it may very well be that they stabbed us all in the collective eye.   We hope not, but when you timeshift, you can look more wrong than normal.

Eyebrow voodoo aside, I'm going to agree with Tim that Red Bull Racing's decision to not put Webber first in Brazil may not appear to be in their best interests.   Given my usually cynical outlook on things I started to wonder why RBR would not give themselves the very best possible chance for one of their drivers to win the championship.

Purity.  Integrity.  Pride.

It occurred to me, they have won the constructors and that should clearly indicate they have provided the best possible car to their drivers.  They have acheieved the highest level in the constructors' contest and they've done this by essentially remaining as pure to the intent and spirit of racing as possible.   From a purist's perspective they make the car, the drivers drive the car.   Yes, I understand there is a lot of overlap there but if you are going to draw a line, that's where it is.

Last year the rules around a rear difuser were unspecified enough that many teams developed it, but it was clear the intent was to restrict development there.  RBR didn't outfit their vehicles with it until Spain when it was absolutely clear that it was allowed.  I know some of you may be thinking, the rules didn't say they were not allowed to run a diffuser so it was OK to do it.  The rules also haven't said you can't seduce your rivals mother and then taunt him with that fact.   That doesn't mean it's OK to do.

No team orders always means teammates will fight for wins and championship points.   RBR's decision also kept other drivers in the hunt.  Did they do this to keep other drivers in the hunt?  No.   Did they do this because their job is to support their drivers, their team, their series, and ultimately their sport.  Yes.   A four way possibility is great for F1.  This is supposed to be the pinnacle. Not the WWF.  Yes, I know those guys actually hit each other with chairs and slam each other down on the canvas but that's not the point.  The outcome is predetermined by elements outside of the contestants.   When that happens in F1 people react.   Webber or Vettel's championship will actually mean more to more people (even the cynics) if it is won without team orders.   If Vettel sees that he's got no hope, and makes the decision to better his team himself, then I have no problem with him moving aside.   His decision.  The combatant's decision is the only acceptable one.   Neither Christian Horner nor Rob Smedley have any idea what it means to concede that.   Vettel would, Webber would, Massa does.  Only then is that decision valid.

Letting the drivers decide via contest and honor is the only way races should be decided.  I posit that doing any more ruins that spirit.  The end does not justify the means.  To RBR, the challenge is the challenge.  You can't work outside the confines of the rules (even if you don't get caught) because that that point, it's not the same contest.   How can you say you are better than some team that had to rely on trickery, subterfuge, or mom-seduction to win?

The means mean something to these guys.  They aren't going to reach their gnarled bony paw, skin dirty from the earth wherein they spend their days,  veins hollowed and withering with the loss of joy of the race, flesh black with the rot of "any means necessary", with a palsy evinced only in the soulless, and ever so slowly press the comm-link button to say "You're slower than ... you should be.  Be a dear boy..."

At that point they become Ferrari or McClaren, and isn't that exactly why we love Red Bull Racing?  Because they aren't those guys?

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