Open top menu


I'm Matthew Somerfield, a freelance journalist focused on the technical elements of Formula One. It has been a pleasure to provide content via this site for the last 5 years, which has led me to several paid freelancing jobs along the way. I'm currently plying my trade with and working alongside the legend that is Giorgio Piola.

This has seen the content here diminish as a result and I'd like that to change. In order to accomplish this I need your financial support, as I need to break free of the shackles of doing this part time. If you like the content I've been producing and want more of it I'd ask that if you can spare some change each month it'd go a long way towards transforming this site into the technical behemoth I know it can be.

As such I've set up a 'tip jar' over on Patreon and will continue to set goals and rewards based on our success -

19 Jun 2013

Well it's kept twitter awash with the usual anti Red Bull sentiments over the last day or so with Autosprint running a story that Red Bull may be using a form of Traction Control, pointing the finger at their revived pace during the Montreal weekend.  It's a story that developed initially over on F1Technical's forum with a picture of Mark Webber's car laying rubber on the circuit after his collision with Van der Garde at the chicane.

The image shows breaks in the rubber lines as Webber's car takes off down the straight whereas we tend to find when these lines appear on the circuit elsewhere they don't have the breaks.

Some footage of the incident has of course arrived via YouTube and I'm sure will be taken down in due course but for the moment here it is below:

It's a none story for me but I felt compelled to write a few words about it whilst the buzz surrounded the matter as confusion arises throughout the fans.  Traction Control is, as we know banned in Formula One and any attempt to try and use it would be easy to see due to the use of the SECU.  As an explanation for the tread marks I think we have to consider the following:

  • Mark is not only looking to lap Giedo but also has Fernando in close proximity and so will be prepared for his advances should an error creep in
  • During the incident with Giedo, Mark has his right hand side of the car on the grass
  • The angle of approach means he had to slow considerably and exited along the straight completely off the standard racing line (Usually the drivers allow the car to drift out left to carry more exit speed)
  • The slow speed he exited and likely buried the throttle and KERS at the same time would be enough to cause some drivetrain oscillation.
  • On top of this people are forgetting the vertical sidewall deformation this years tyres have which combined with the above would likely cause some wheel hop and the stagnated rubber pattern.
I have looked through the available onboard footage from Montreal and the incident isn't included, so I cannot establish whether Mark made changes on the corners exit to his diff or whether it was simply a case of too much right foot and KERS.  The fact of the matter remains that calling this a use of Traction Control is a reach by people trying to understand where Red Bull's pace came from in Montreal.  The team did take a plethora of upgrades to the race which I looked at here:



  1. Hi Matt,
    Look at this picture (Force India):

    and this (Rosberg, Mercedes):

    Not only was Red Bull


  2. Except kers doesnt become active until 65ish mph so no, he wouldnt have used it.

  3. If you are able to rewatch the race, (around Lap 37-38) there are 3-4 more clips that are showing the incident from different angles, including Webber's on-board shot and slow-mo replay from the side (the rear part of the car oscillating visibly there).


Total Pageviews