Phil wrote: ↑
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:02 pm
If the talk by Helmut is anything to go by, as a competitor of RB, i’d be frightened. Even with the lacking Renault engine (although RB have been using fresher engines vs Mercedes/Ferrari), their general and tire performance in races has been extremely impressive. Assuming the Honda is at the very least slightly better would already bring them quite a bit closer.
Did you pay attention to the fact that, the excellent tire life was more unidirectional on one single compound in every race? They change the tire in the race and the pace suddenly disappears. Also, they gave up fighting for qualifying positions as they knew, even if they fight with all their might, the best that they could muster was a 3rd row start. With the mid-field being quite far behind, they could easily focus on a race biased setup, specifically targeting a compound.
With Pirelli changing compounds every year like underwear, teams have to be prepared for itching in unexpected parts for next year and give away the mastery they gained over scratching the current itch. It's going to be a reset on tires again and it's going to be learning all over again. A few more millions down the drain for each team, trying to learn the new round black sh** .
If Honda doesn't solve their reliability woes, RB might be compromised to run the PU in a conservative mode, akin to what they were doing with Renault. Merc and Ferrari have proven reliability and they add more power on top of what they have. The last time these guys introduced a newer spec PU was 3 months back in Spa and add another couple of months before the next spec goes to production and they have got 5 months to bring some more performance (six months if they started the 2019 spec PU after the this year's Spec 3 went into production in July). It's difficult to imagine Honda being anywhere closer to either Merc or Ferrari PU in 2019 and even if just one PU blows up for each of the RB driver (a very conservative ask, looking at their current state), it's almost championship over.
I would be happy to be surprised and see a three way fight. 2012 seems like eternity when we had more than 2 teams fighting for championship.