Traction control has been banned in Formula One since 2009, but some people in the sport claim championship leader Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull car has some form of traction-control system after he was lapping the Singapore Grand Prix circuit more than two seconds per lap faster than his nearest competitor, USA Today and the BBC report.

Former Red Bull team boss Giancarlo Minardi, who initiated the speculation, was watching the Singapore race from the sidelines and claims the Renault engine in Vettel's car was making a "sound similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system was used in previous seasons."

Former champion and Mercedes-Benz driver Lewis Hamilton made statements that line up with Minardi's accusation, and says that Vettel is at full throttle "at least 20 meters before anyone else," and that the last time he could do that was when the cars were running traction control in 2007 and 2008.

Vettel responded lightheartedly, saying he believes Red Bull has a better engine-control system than its rivals, and that the first time it worked was during the Singapore race.

Former champion and rival Fernando Alonso brushed off the speculation, saying the Red Bull car has been making the sound since winter testing and that it has passed every tech inspection this year. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who was in second place pursuing Vettel at Singapore, also denied the speculations, attributing Vettel's quicker pace to struggles in his own car, which was hampered by rubber in his front wing, costing him 1.7 to 1.9 seconds per lap.


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  • 84 Comments
      sloturbo
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would be interesting to put all drivers in RB9s and see what kind of lap times they can do. Seb is good, but I don't think he is that good.
        fordskydog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sloturbo
        It would be more interesting to put them all in Marussias and see what happens...
      AcidTonic
      • 1 Year Ago
      Would be more believable if they were complaining about Sebastian Loeb..... That guy for sure has *built-in* traction-control thus HE is illegal in F1.
      Kay
      • 1 Year Ago
      20 seconds ahead in X laps and mark cant match u... its not vettel..
        calstag
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kay
        Right, because Webber is the best thing to have happened to F1 since Prost and Senna and is clearly so much better, Vettel has to resort to cheating to have beaten him four years on the trot...:rolleyes:
        MVM
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kay
        Yes it is.
      FRD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Could be something trick going on with the transmission. Vettel says we will never figure it out.
      chanonissan
      • 1 Year Ago
      while some might think infiniti just is advertising, this platform was help design by infiniti and the new KERS system. http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1060449_red-bull-racing-to-use-nissan-battery-tech-in-formula-1-kers http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/05/infiniti-working-on-kers-energy-recovery-system-with-red-bull-f1.html
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      So the engine management software is so good it can predict and prevent wheel spin? Awesome!
        Pavel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        I'm guessing you can map the driver's reaction to to wheel spin back into the engine management and adjust the power delivery back to minimize wheelspin.
      tivenkenneth
      • 1 Year Ago
      Somewhere, Smokey Yunnick is smiling. The best way to tweak the rules is not to get caught.
      Pat
      • 1 Year Ago
      If it was just the car, he would be constantly, and significantly ahead in qualifying ... but he's not ... He certainly has a better car, but is likely driven by the competition in the race itself and he probably outperforms in that specific scenario.
      Charrop
      • 1 Year Ago
      So then is it true that Vettel's car is better than Webber's, or is Webber still a rubbish driver? (Likely both)
        ufgrat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Charrop
        I think they move the suspect components to Webber's car between the races. He certainly doesn't get the launch of the line that Vettel does.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      F1 - typically so boring on the track that they have to make up exciting stories off the track.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an aside- why is Infiniti plastering its name on the car, when the car is running a Renault engine? That is just embarassing.
        Pat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        How so ... Infiniti is a sponsor. Also ... Inifiniti is made through a tie-up with Renault ... Maybe Mr Gnosh feels that there is more to gain in promoting Infinifi vs. Renault?
          JayLagan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Pat
          If Mr Ghosn thinks that, then he's absolutely right. Better to have F1 bragging rights on a luxury marque than on an "everyday" brand. If Toyota and Honda ever decide to come back to F1 as fully fledged teams, they should should consider using the Lexus and Acura marques for their team names. It makes more sense. But what do I know....? :O)
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Pat
          not that they are actually building system for redbull. http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/05/infiniti-working-on-kers-energy-recovery-system-with-red-bull-f1.html http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1060449_red-bull-racing-to-use-nissan-battery-tech-in-formula-1-kers
        Bobby_Sards
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        It is advertising for North American spectators.
        kA
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Renault-Nissan Alliance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault-Nissan_Alliance They're trying to push the Infiniti brand in the UK, and since a large chunk of the F1 audience lives there, it makes sense to advertise through F1.
        fordskydog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        I hate infiniti.... They have no place appearing on an F1 broadcast. They are purely a marketing campaign that wants us to believe they are a technology campaign.
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @fordskydog
          at least you told the truth you hate infiniti.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1060449_red-bull-racing-to-use-nissan-battery-tech-in-formula-1-kers http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/05/infiniti-working-on-kers-energy-recovery-system-with-red-bull-f1.html
      JayLagan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really? Are Vettel haters really this desperate? I'm pretty sure that if Fernando Alonso was winning all these races and championships, NOBODY would be throwing accusations of cheating. No. It would down to his "natural talent" and that would be the end of the story. But for some reason when Vettel wins, there's something fishy. Well, I find it amazing that Fernando Alonso's "talent" is only ever apparent when he has priority status in the team and EVERYONE has to support him. When he was at McLaren and was told he had no such status (and, therefore, had to drive like everyone else) he came third in the championship. I'm not saying Alonso has no driving ability, because he does. What I'm saying is he's only ever "world class" when he a team fully behind him and a second-in-command driver willing to yield positions to him.
        Neez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JayLagan
        Those are the exact statements Lance Armstrong supporters argued with. :-( They all have the same tires and cars, i really doubt good engine tuning could make that much difference to get you more traction earlier. And i doubt good engine tuning could get your engine to sound that much different. Seems more like software is cutting throttle with wheel slippage, which would explain the sound. Humans can cut in and out throttle that quick to make it sound like that.
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