Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 8th August 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

The #F1 Bar Exam: 7 August 2014


OTD Lite: 1982 German GP – Tonight in the Blue corner…

Montezemolo looking likely to leave Ferrari

Arrogant Paddy Lowe claims credit for Mercedes performance

Fernando compliant

Parabolica paved. “What’s the fuss?” Brundle (UPDATED 15:46 GMT)

Flight bans to Russia

Whitmarsh finally gone


OTD Lite: 1982 German GP – Tonight in the Blue corner…

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Rocky Marciano, Nelson Piquet, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis…. what? Piquet?

Before you all assume I have taken leave of my senses, today marks the anniversary of one of the funniest battles in Formula One history. Forget battles of the four wheeled variety, or James Hunt decking a marshall. Forget also Senna bipping Eddie Irvine on the nose for his insolence or Schumacher trying to nab David Coulthard at Spa in 98. No, today’s trip down memory lane has more in common with the silent movies.

Following Didier Pironi career ending accident from the day before, Ferrari fielded one car for Patrick Tambay who went on to win his first ever Grand Prix. But what most people remember is the flying Brabham of Nelson Piquet coming up to lap Eliseo Salazar on the 18th lap. The Brabhams had been running for some races with softer rubber and half fuel tanks to build a cushion so as to pit and have the advantage of new rubber for the latter stages of the race.

As they came up to the Ostkurve chicane Salazar left the racing line for the Brazilian then forgot to apply the brakes and kissed the Brabham into retirement. Piquet vaulted from the car in rage and began to try hitting a man still wearing a crash helmet. When that proved ineffective, he tried to doe-see-doe the shocked Chilean.

The Jackal

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Montezemolo looking likely to leave Ferrari

Reports were emerging last night from Italy’s Affaritaliani online newspaper that Luca Montezemolo is about to be unveiled as the President of the newly formed Alitalia-Etihad airline. James Hogan, the President and CEO of Etihad Airlines has been in detailed negotiations with the former boss of Confindustria and the current president of Ferrari. Il Padrino has recently been the subject of much press speculation including a feature published on TJ13 on Tuesday -#F1 Features: ‘The Family’ losing its grip on Ferrari .

The rumour is building in Italy is that Montezemolo will leave the Ferrari team after 23 years in charge and will be replaced by the Fiat boss – John Elkann. When Fiat recently merged with the Chrysler concern to form FCA, LdM was noticeable due to his absence – and there has been a marked cooling of relations between Elkann and Sergio Marchionne towards the ‘old guard’ represented by 66 year old Luca.

None of the rumours mention the role of Marco Mattiacci so far, who on a whim, LdM promoted to team principal: “Immediately I looked inside the company, because inside the company we had very good potential people, and Marco Mattiacci, for his characteristics and what he’s done in the past in Tokyo and China and America, he has the capability to manage people. There were no other alternatives because, first of all, I made the decision and also I did not have time to think of somebody else and I didn’t want to leave an open position. In 99% of the time I am happy to let people grow up in the company.”

With friends like that…

Mattiacci is a close friend of Elkann and Marchionne and belongs to the new school of management having won prestigious industry awards for his leadership. At the time of MM’s recruitment, Il Padrino spoke of his dissatisfaction with where Ferrari were in terms of competiveness: “I did not expect a team so less competitive of my expectations at the beginning of the season. We have to understand and be clear of what are the problems, why we are not competitive and to improve the situation as soon as possible without losing our calm. We have to have it clearly laid out in front of us what the short-term goals, medium-term goals and our long-term goals. This is what is important to first understand and then react.”

Yet it was Aldo Costa’s damning revelation recently that revealed where the problem with Ferrari lies. “In 2008, we in the racing team thought it essential to have a new wind tunnel to remain competitive. We were told there was no need. In Ferrari, all the strategic decisions were always made by (Luca di) Montezemolo. He took them when Ferrari triumphed and when Ferrari ceased to triumph.”

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As the TJ13 feature explained, MM is embracing new technologies and putting in place structures for the long term future of Ferrari whereas LdM is seemingly stuck in his ways in his wish to return to the old ways of development.

James Allison noted: “Any team in F1, good or bad, are all pretty impressive organisations – and it is much, much easier to make them worse than it is to make them better, you need to make big changes and small changes at the same time. The changes that need to be made are in an absolute sense quite small, but there are lots of them and they have been happening for some months. Marco’s arrival has helped galvanise more of them, and I think that across the board in Ferrari there are changes that are extremely helpful to moving us in the right direction.”

Over the years it would seem that Luca’s aristocratic family genes have risen to the surface as he increasingly adopted an Enzo  Ferrari-like mindset. The one stark difference is that Enzo owned the company, LdM has only ever been an employee.

Yet as one chapter closes, another one starts…

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‘Arrogant’ Paddy Lowe claims credit for Mercedes performance

In what appears to be a staggering claim of monumental self importance, Paddy Lowe has taken credit for moving Mercedes on since taking over the reins after Ross Brawn decided to leave.

He joined the Brackley based team from Mclaren in June 2013 in the role of executive director and along with Toto Wolff who together with Niki Lauda in effect forced Brawn into retirement. Brawn knows the old adages of “too many chiefs, chefs…” etc and issued an ultimatum to the unholy trinity. Either he was in charge and spoke for the team, or he was offski..

Loew says, “The team was on the ascendency over the last two to three years, and through last year was starting to win races and get pole positions more regularly. Credit to Ross, he had been part of that process. I think I’ve come in and taken that forward to the next level.”

“I see gaps that Ross hadn’t covered and fill in those gaps. Rarely are there places where I’ll go ‘what was done before was wrong, and we’re going to go 180 degrees.’ It’s more about adding to what existed before. Ross has been out since December, and time passes. So, no disrespect to Ross, but that’s old history.”

“It’s been a fantastic year. It’s a year we realistically couldn’t have dreamt of achieving. So far, we’ve produced historic results and we want to keep that up. Formula 1 is very unforgiving; you’re only as good as your last race. So, we’ve just got to make sure we’re not falling back.”

Lowe at times has looked over-whelmed with his role in managing the Mercedes team, and appears furtive during the media interviews – as though checking his shadow isn’t about to pounce.

Wolff and Lauda are consistently merrily blabbing away to whomever will listen, as they flex their respective corporate muscle.

The lack of decisivenes was not more apparent than in Hungary, when Lewis ignored an instruction given over the radio. Mercedes have learned from their mistake and from Brawn’s previous example and elevated Lowe as the man to make the order in future.

It will not have escaped Stuttgart’s notice that both drivers obeyed Brawn’s instructions with little debate. Then again, this could merely be a reflection of the differing levels of respect.

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The irony of his words appears to escape the “great” man – Lowe.

Paddy has been gifted a stunning, reliable car that had the Formula One fraternity quivering in Jerez when they considered the daunting prospect of utter domination for the year by the Silver Arrows.

It could be said that the “Paddy effect” and the application of his finely honed abilities has in fact delivered hope by the bucket load to the likes of Williams and Red Bull.

What is evident, is that under Lowe’s leadership, the cars have become increasingly unreliable as the season progresses.

It must not be forgotten, that in 2012 Mclaren had the quickest car in the field, yet under Lowes technical guidance unreliability and operational errors scuppered any chance for Lewis Hamilton to becoming the drivers’ world champion.

Paddy’s final McLaren design was the 2013 MP4/28, which on level was the worst car McLaren have ever produced. It was the first Woking design since 1980 which failed to secure a podium position in an entire season.

Those who were concerned, other teams may take years to catch Mercedes now live in hope.

Add arrogance to demonstrable incompetence, and in Paddy Lowe we have the classic, “Pride before a fall” scenario….. just waiting to happen.

Frank Williams must be spinning his chair…… around and around……. in gleeful anticipation of a 2015 season – not seen at Grove for many a year.

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Fernando compliant

As reported earlier this week in TJ13 Daily News and Comment, Ferrari have sent a message to Alonso indicating their indifferent to his $50m salary demands.

Fernando may have got the message, as he breaks his holiday silence on twitter to state. “A thing that’s not true, even if is copied a thousand times, will remain false….. Always helpful to remember this”.

That said, there is ambiguity in Alonso’s rebuttal, as he could be referring to the “Fred to Macca” stories which have been circulating simultaneously.

Whatever the reason for Fernando’s hurried ‘clarification’, the tone of his communication is not normative for him at this time of year. The Spaniards usual rhetoric from the summer to the season’s close contains the message, ‘Ferrari should be thankful for how wonderful I am”.

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Parabolica paved. “What’s the fuss?” Brundle

The paving over of the gravel trap at the entrance of the famous Monza parabolic curve has cause outrage amongst F1 fans and personnel alike.

One TJ13 reader suggested next will be a chiacne at Eau Roughe (though this was in fact done in 1994) or the tightening of the Suzuka Esses to reduce speeds to 40 mph.

“Why the hell do they take away the challenge in F1?” German F1 correspondent Bianca Garloff questioned.

A number of media outlets received a press release from the Autodromo circuit, suggesting this had been done with a view to the return of the World Superbikes Series to the circuit in 2015.

Bizarre to spend so much money, when that contract is not signed off and has never been reported in the bike press as a pre-condition.

Karun Chandhook onserved, “another great corner that will lose its challenge.”

“Parabolica will never be the same corner again,” added former F1 driver Jerome d’Ambrosio.

The man who ducked asking Lewis’ about his disagreement with the team, during the podium interview in Monza, Thinks differently.

“Monza’s Parabolica corner is about the track not run off. Providing it costs heavily to run wide may as well be tarmac as race ending gravel”, said Martin Brundle on twiiter. He accordingly received a tirade of opinion which shall we say, ‘begged to differ’.

The SKY presenter responded, “Charlie W told us in Hungary that cars slow twice as fast on tarmac as gravel.What’s racy and exciting about gravel?”

TJ13’s expose series on what “Charlie says”, left most readers in no doubt that at times Charlie makes the uttering of a baboon sound intelligible.

Then came a quite bizarre suggestion from Brundle.“Smart thing to do would be making all run offs like Monza chicanes where you’re forced into a slow section before rejoining so it hurts more”. ??????

Brundle appears to have fallen under Ecclestone’s “F1 good news only” dictat, and his views are swiftly denigrating him to the status of willing ‘lap dog’.

Fans are in favour of safety, yet broadly criticise the car park run off areas first seen in the Tilkerdrome’s.

They understand better than an ex-F1 driver apparently, that the penalty for getting it wrong for a driver without the skill to keep it on the grey stuff – in the days of gravel traps – was race over.

In a year where Mercedes are the dominant team, it brings home the fact who know their F1 history, that smaller teams – back in the day – had windows of opportunity to score podiums or even win races.

Gravel traps meant top cars and drivers’ chances of a DNF were incrementally higher, thus increased the level of uncertainty of the race outcome.

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Flight bans to Russia

TJ13 reported earlier this year, that Marussia had quickly and quietly changed the regiseterred address of their parent company to a back street in Dublin – to thus avoid the impending sanctions,

Today the BBC reports, “In addition to the food imports embargo, Russia is banning Ukrainian airlines from transit across its territory, Mr Medvedev said in televised comments to the government.

The Russian government is also considering banning transit flights for EU and US airlines in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine, he said”.

Following a lucky escape from incarceration, the wheels of genius inside Ecclestone’s head are free to whirl at full speed once again. The official HQ of FOM logistics, may well as we speak, be re-registered registered on the new Monte Carlo haven of the Black Sea – Crimea.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors travel to the inaugural Russian GP will find the paperwork required easier to complete. According to a statement by the Governor of the Krasnodar region of Russia, application procedure for visas has now been truncated.

This was agreed at a recent meeting between the Sochi F1 race organising committee and the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

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Whitmarsh finally gone

Having been spotted fell walking in Derbyshire and tending his ‘Hyper Belle Hibiscus’ and “Summer Icicle” collection – for some months; Martin Whitmarsh is as of today, no longer an employee of McLaren.

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~ by thejudge13 on August 8, 2014.

81 Responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 8th August 2014”

  1. I wonder what the penalty today would be if you try to hit someone…

  2. “Paddy has applied his abilities and allowed others such as Williams and Red Bull to begin to challenge them”

    My thoughts exactly upon reading the news yesterday. :)

    You’re calling Paddy the Enforcer “arrogant”, but I take issue with that. I suspect that the guy is now doing a Perez: he is trying to speak to the media to give an impression that he is still there and of relevance. Perez is doing this to keep his sponsors on board, while Paddy the Enforcer is possibly starting to be afraid for his job. Once the Merc steamroller puffs out, how long do you think the Merc board will take to start a bout of “off with their heads!” for those responsible for booting Saint Ross out? And who will go? The Wolff is sitting pretty on his shares, while Paddy the Enforcer is pretty much out in the cold, especially since he is singularly unsuited for a high-profile job not locked inside an office..

    • “…you’re only as good as your last race…”

      Well, considering the horlicks he made of strategy calls in Hungary, I guess he’s modestly claiming to be a bit crap.

  3. i never understood why they made ross brawn go. mercedes early lack of competetiveness was mainly due to having to rebuild the team an because they believed in a cost cap that nobody else took seriously. it was not due to mismanagement by ross brawn. and to replace that with a structure like they have now? did they think red bulls success came from their messed up management structure?

    • @anijs
      Brawn had to for Lauda and Wolff, they wanted to have a back up plan to be able to exit elegantly. They wanted to keep Brawn, but Brawn said no thanks!

    • Brawn wanted the final say – eg which saved Merc from a guilty verdict at the International Tribunal last year – Lauda wanted to do a deal…

      Toto and Lauda didn’t want this – so he left. He gave them an ultimatum….

      • That’s just hilarious…..the mouse has started to sqweek!

        So Brawn built Honda into a finely honed machine. Honda pulled out so they crowbarred in a new merc donkey and won the world championship. After letting a massive amount of staff go.

        He then sells to Merc and goes about building the company back up. Merc want to do it for a fiver, and not much happens till the dollars are being spent again.

        Merc go off and buy every top designer in the known universe (bar about 3) spend a billiontymilliontysquillionty pounds and put in the dream (bullpoop world champions) team of Toto and Niki.

        Which Ross navigates around, keeping both under some form of control, while managing the development if this years car and fronting for the Merc legal department.

        Eventually he goes, because Dr Z and the other suits like that Toto is pretty and Niki is a move star.

        The cars hit the ground running and decimate everyone. Initially.

        We’ve now got the competition catching up, team mate warfare, to senior managers openly taking sides of different drivers and an increasing level of performance problems (which, to be fair, would be expected) and now, NOW, the mouse feels its time to flex his timid little whiskers and impress everyone with his epicness? You couldn’t make it up….

        Btw, my translation of his stream of consciousness is this:
        Ross led the rebuilding of the entire team, was responsible for tieing together all of the disparate departments and making them sing off the same hymn sheet. And was pretty much finished when I arrived. I’ve landed, smiled a lot, moved around a few chairs in the meeting rooms, changed the jacks roll from Andrex to Charmin and asked the lads and lassies if we can go faster, not blow up and fix the brakes. I’m still looking for the stripey paint the mechanics sent me for, the bucket of steam the designers sent me for and the invisible hay for the magic horse that lives in the bike sheds in brackley. I do hope the horse is not too hungry, I’ve been looking for days now for the upside down rainbow that signals the located of said magic hay….

        • Epic lol – all we need now is for Pat Fry to rock up in Brackley and the circle is complete…

          God help any passengers on Alitalia flights if tarred with same brush Paddy joins Luca 😳

          • Oh sweet divine, could you imagine it.

            I’d say Michael O’Leary will be quaking in his boots about Luca’s appointment…..not!!!

        • @Colin, LoL, I love the analogies, perhaps the real reason Ross was ousted was because he couldn’t be bothered to look for the magic hay due to being too bizy rebuilding the team and the 1st horse died……

        • …… Brilliant!

          Time to start writing for TJ13 :D

          • I will discipline myself to write something soon.

            I really need to burst this myth about F1 needing Ferrari as much as they do, ie its all one sided, although my ire will be satied somewhat if Luca gets the old heave ho.

        • @Colin

          WOW. But you forgot to mention his Russian wife. Cue neocon derived anti Russian rant 1….2….3……

          • “She’s hot… probably KGB” :P

          • …. With guns secreted around her person and a cyanide high or two in tablets form….

          • Well, Bernie did schedule in 2 clear weeks to get the equipment back out of Russia… but this might be more common with new tracks to the calendar, hence mention of Mexico being a last race of the season when it returns.

          • Of greater potential problem… Japan and Russia are back to back

          • Sounds like there’s no problem to get the equipment in there then! Really, it should be a week later, so there must be a reason Bernie put it B2B with Japan. JS suggested that new races get more time to get all the stuff out in time for the next race.

          • F#%k Russia.

          • @Joe Papp

            Comment of the week.

          • I love Russia. Its really the only country in the world that still thinks its ok to just militarily capture an area because it has oil.

          • @Pierce
            “I love Russia….”
            Yes, it brings back fond nostalgic memories for all nations which subjugated empires….

          • @Pierce/Joe Papp

            Unlike Americans, who invade for Bananas, and other fruits.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars

          • @f1esty said “She’s hot… probably KGB”

            Watch out for a remarkable improvement from Marusssia next year.

          • @Iain:R8 ——————- << the difference, of course, being that Russia under Putin is doing something decidedly more sinister, more cynical, more barbaric and even less justifiable NOW – in 2014 – than USA did almost 120 years ago in the “Banana Wars” you’re so quick to tenuously cite as if there’s any comparison to be made b/w modern, neofascist, authoritarian Russia and still-liberal USA in comparison!!

            Please – tell us when was the last time the United States invaded a sovereign nation with the intent of capturing territory and illegally annexing otherwise-undisputed lands, which it then followed through on?

      • Your Honour, check it out!! >>>>

        论坛 » 赛车论坛 » F1赛车场 » 翻译团-赛车
        F1 Features: ‘The Family’ losing its grip on Ferrari 1回复 522浏览

        http://bbs.hupu.com/10112734.html

        ——

        Cool!!!

        • Do they have the right to mirror articles just like that?

          • Super stuff.

            Syndication agreement req and potential market of 1.5 billion awaits!

          • @landroni — >>> no, and the only reason I even knew to check there is b/c on that site is posted all of the Autosport-Plus content that is otherwise hidden behind a paywall.

            Hence why I was so excited to see His Honour’s courtroom being reported on in China – – it’s like a sign of honor/respect that they care enough to rip him off!

          • Did they credit the source? Might get a few English speaking Chinese commentators join the courtroom…

          • Your Honour,

            They DID cite/credit the source, doing so quite fairly in the opening lines:

            F1 Features: ‘The Family’ losing its grip on Ferrari 由 mp4-20 发表在虎扑赛车·翻译团-赛车 http://bbs.hupu.com/fyt-f1

            F1 Features: ‘The Family’ losing its grip on Ferrari

            http://thejudge13.com/2014/08/05/f1-features-the-family-losing-its-grip-on-ferrari/

            Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari, was absent from the recent board meeting (AUGUST 1st) which approved the full merger of the FIAT-Chrysler companies. The board requested share holder approval which has now been granted…”

  4. Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Michael Schumacher must be collectively chuckling at the state of Ferrari now. Strip those ppl out of LdM’s quarter century reign and it looks pretty shit overall.

    Even Raikkonen’s 2007 WDC was massively benefited from residual Schumi/Brawn momentum, car, processes, that ended only the year before.

    That was Schumi’s car really, and in Schumi’s hands I don’t think Alonso/Hamilton would have been only 1pt behind at the end. A united force backing Schumi in 2007, with his car, would have ended it again with rounds to spare.

  5. RE: OTD Lite: 1982 German GP – Tonight in the Blue corner…

    Salazar 100% to blame for that. Total mental F-Up. I’d have been pissed too, though I probably would have just rugby tackled him. Not much point in hitting a helmet.

  6. Pride before the fall, how true!
    Lewis already made a clever decision in his career by moving from McLaren to Merc. Well, he may have to make another one, i.e. not renew with Merc, or if he does, make sure he has some pretty good get-out clauses there. Dominant cars only last for 3-5 years, but with Lowe there, it might be just for another couple of years max and after that…ENTER McLaren Honda domination!…unless we have the seesaw effect of 90s and this time we’ll have Merc/Williams instead of Benetton/Williams.

    • True, but I think Williams’ success is dependent on the Mercedes engine.. that said, their car is currently better than McLaren, so unless McLaren pass them again, and Lotus magically revive with a Mercedes motor, they should be safe in the top 4 teams for now… with 6th at worst, and then Force India behind in 7th.

      But if Mercedes go backwards…. it could easily be game on for a Red Bull revival and overhaul in 2015, not 2016. And it’s currently Ricciardo in the driving seat there…

  7. Seriously, I will be delighted if Luca goes.

    So much so that i might even consider rooting for them again.

    I’ll let father time take care of Bernie….

  8. I’m very disappointed with Paddy Lowe, he is taking the glory that really belongs to Ross Brawn, what real difference could Paddy have made by not coming on board until June last year when the project had been running for over 2 years already. Very little is my guess.
    I didn’t like him at McLaren and I still don’t like him now he’s with Mercedes. He strikes me as someone who is more than happy to steal others thunder.
    To be honest I’m wholly unimpressed with the entire Mercedes management team, at least Lauda tells it how it is (most of the time) and recognises talented player, but Wolf is just all me me me, look how great my team is, has anyone checked in on the Mercedes DTM entrants recently, they are doing shit. I believe because Toto is neglecting his other Mercedes duties to ensure the part that he has money invested in is doing just fine thank you very much and I’ve already aired my feelings on Lowe, when it does all come crashing down around them, sooner rather than later in my opinion, Lowe is lined up nicely to be the scape goat. They can’t sack Toto as he is part owner and Lauda doesn’t do much to get sacked from!

  9. Paddy astonishes me especially in his post race interviews. It almost seems like he has no idea what actually happened in the race when questioned by the press. It’s no wonder Merc have little ability to respond when the race stops following their script.

    Still, he is but a reflection of the corporate arrogance that is the Punch and Judy show, who can tolerate no light brighter than their own. Also, he will make a more than convenient scapegoat when the time comes. Which looks to be sooner rather than later at the rate he is “progressing” Ross’ team.

    Which brings up the real question, whither Ross? Since Ferrari seems to be receding into the distance is he truly set for early retirement? Personally, I would love to see him fetch up at some midlevel team and began thrashing the big boys as I’m finding it increasingly hard to like Merc now that he’s gone, save for comedic relief.

  10. Strange fellow, Alonso.
    Why does he feel the need to react to Lowe’s claim that he and not Brawn make Mercedes’ succes?

  11. Williams dodged a bullet as Toto had originally recruited Lowe to work with him at Williams but when he got the job with Merc he took Lowe with him.
    Sir Frank must be thanking the F1 Gods for not getting saddled with Paddy, or Toto for that matter.

    • Pat S is far superior IMO.

      Agree that team willy dodged a rather short, timid and sqweeky bullet.

      The mouse would be taking credit for recruiting Alan Jones by now…..

  12. I always used to respect Brundle and agree with his opinion, but since he moved to Sky I have started becoming more and more disillusioned with him. Real pity, good, impartial and observant commentators are becoming a real rarity nowadays.

  13. Judge, if a comment goes into Moderation, and it’s because of one word like sh$& or whatever, should we re-type it and post again?

  14. “Yet it was Aldo Costa’s damning revelation recently that revealed where the problem with Ferrari lies. “In 2008, we in the racing team thought it essential to have a new wind tunnel to remain competitive. ”

    So now we know that:
    1. Luca pushed Brawn out
    2. Luca pushed Todt out
    3. Luca pushed Schumacher into retirement
    4. Luca refused to build a new wind tunnel, against the better judgment of senior technical staff
    5. Luca hired Domenicalli, to put Ferrari into Italian hands
    6. Luca sacked Raikkonen, after he won a WDC for Ferrari
    7. Luca sacked Aldo Costa, unceremoniously
    8. Luca fired Domenicalli, unceremoniously
    9. Luca hired the henchman Mattiacci without thinking, as he had no time to think

    So, hysterical one, whom should we blame for Ferrrari’s recent misfortunes?

  15. Re: Parabolica – Is is beyond these so-called geniuses’ collective abilities to conjure-up a ‘third-way’ run-off surface (for instance – some kind of micro-gravel), that improves safety AND still penalises off-track excursions? Or how about a dust-trap section that offenders would have to drive through to re-join the track that would coat the tyres with a layer of dust (or oil) that would take about half a lap to scrub off, thus penalising errant drivers without compromising the (apparently) improved stopping power of the tarmac run-off.

    • Personally, I’d prefer to go the way of The Running Man and inject more high-stakes penalties, though instead of the flame-throwers and chainsaws maybe we could have highly-abrasive tarmac run-offs that really shred the tyres, or EMP-style dead-zones that interfere with your electronics.

    • I still like the idea someone suggested last time this was debated… small explosive grenades planted randomly in these areas, with just enough explosive power to blow the tyre… ;)

      • Nah.. Gravel traps: simple, safe, efficient. Those who can’t hold their own or those who screw up royally should get what they deserve: at best a screwed car that may get out of the trap, only just; at worst a DNF.

        Let’s hope Charlie Brown doesn’t get his hands on the Suzuka gravel traps, or he’ll butcher its layout altogether.

      • Well they do want to ‘spice up the show’…. ;)

  16. @dobzizzle Parabolica ruination.

    How about using a version of the sticky foam, which was developed for the US Military. So that if a car goes off circuit, it gets slowed down by the goo. Like, sticky toffee effect on clothes. Or the underfloor could be covered in velcro (hook and loop) and the circuit could be…….

    http://defensetech.org/2006/03/07/sticky-foam-gets-serious/

  17. Sad to hear about Whitmarsh.. What next for him?

  18. Every comment from Brundle or Charlie or anyone in F1 about removing the gravel bit by bit at every track is a case of either stupidity OR they are just lying to fans.

    If the asphalt needs to be there to slow down the cars why is it only the front half nearest the curbing that always gets paved? If this is for safety then pave the back 3/4 of the trap with coarse sticking asphalt so that if a car goes off badly enough to need the full run-off area they have a chance to brake and steer away from the wall. Leave the gravel next to the curb and full width gravel at the exit of the corner.

    When they only pave the front two car widths of the runoff with the same material they use to surface the track then it’s obvious that the real purpose of this change is to add some more track so that when drivers make mistakes they can continue on at full speed and rejoin the track without losing much time.

    The question is who benefits most from these changes? It was mentioned in the article but it is the front running teams that benefit most from paving over all of the run-offs and the small teams who lose out. The way the tracks are now when Lewis spun off in Budapest in turn 2 he just drove back onto the track. When Nico went way wide in turn 1 he just kept driving, didn’t lose a place, didn’t lose any time. In the old days one or both Mercs might have retired along with enough other cars to give Marussia or Sauber a chance at points. The same lower teams that no longer have a say in anything being outside of the “big 6″.

    • Thoughtful wrap-up. All gravel traps replaced with genuine gray-stuff are there to allow drivers to make errors without any consequences. How sad..

  19. Not entirely related to the stuff posted above, but f1 should get Michael atherton to do the post race interviews. That man doesn’t give up without drawing blood with his questions :)

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