Following a slightly different type of race review – I did feel I little etherial when writing it – here’s a few bits and pieces of post race stuff to tidy up.
Post race bits and pieces
Alonso: I allude in the ‘epitaph’ in the race review my disappointment with both title contenders for their points scoring efforts after the race. Alonso, “With a car that is slower than the others we can win a championship, with a car that is the same as the others we can win the championship with some races to go and with a car that is a lot slower than the others we fought until the last race”. If’s, buts and maybe’s don’t cut the mustard and it is not worthy of you Fernando to give us this spiel.
I just listened to that interview again and Alonso actually says, “With a kart that is…”, not quite the Prost reference to a ‘truck’ but not far away.
Vettel: “People tried everything, inside the lines and outside the lines, to beat us,” Vettel insists but refused to be drawn further, “Sorry but I think I’ve mentioned everything I have to mention,” he said. He does continue though, “I think it’s clear but it’s not for us to rate … we have to focus on what we have, what is in our hands and getting excited about what others are doing, what’s the point?” added Vettel.
Vettel does gloat somewhat given the on and off track struggles in 2012, admitting victory in the end was particularly sweet. “It is always important that you are happy with what you see in the mirror,” said Vettel. “There is no point in being a fake or trying to cheat.
I suppose the engine mapping, adjustable suspension holes, rumours of Ferrari departures and gear box changes all weigh heavily with Sebastian. He is World Champion and quite rightly somewhat emotional as he enters the exclusive club of Fangio and Schumacher and is the youngest of the 3 to achieve the 3 consecutive titles feat. Yet I found his insinuations about ‘dirty tricks’ completely unnecessary but it does show the pressure he has been under.
When issues like that are still on your mind after making history – it means they are ingrained deep.
Vettel and the yellow flag drama: For those of you not watching on SKY I’m not sure how much of this drama you heard post race. An eagle-eyed technician spotted that Vettel had overtaken Kobayashi whilst passing a yellow light. Speculation was rife he could be given a 20s penalty and demoted to eighth giving Alonso the title.
I’ve studied the footage and this is what I know. Vettel caught Kamui at a point on the track where there was a red and yellow light – signifying oil on the track (or a slippery surface – no way?). A few metres behind it was a yellow flashing light signifying no overtaking and Vettel remained behind the japanese driver for another corner. There is then a full green light above the armco barrier to his right.
Yet by the time the German driver was alongside Kobayashi we see another yellow light and he completes the pass after that light. Several more of these lights are visible as you follow Vettel’s on board for the rest of the lap. To compound the issue, Kamui pits immediately and so Vettel cannot give back the position if he has made an illegal move.
Pat Fry discusses the matter, but only refers to the red and yellow light, I don’t think he sees what followed. The lights following the green light were indeed those used to warn drivers of yellow flagged areas of the track, but I noticed they were solid and not flashing.
I do not know what a solid yellow light means. Slow flashing is yellow flags, quick flashing is double waved yellows – but I’m not sure what solid, unblinking lights represent. Any ideas?
Alonso said Jenson had told him about the possibility Vettel had passed illegally, but commented to Italian TV “There was some kind of hope when he told me there is some yellow flag problem but then I think it was not true,” he admitted.
And that is all we know.
Lewis: I’ve been critical of Hamitlon at times, it doesn’t mean I don’t know how fantastic a driver he is. I also know there are those senior in McLaren who lost patience with the pantomime that was Lewis’ life. Yet the standing ovation he got from the race crew – both sides of the garage – was very telling of how those who spend most of their time with Hamilton feel about him. Maybe it would be good to see him back in the future, a little more mature and with the imbibed understanding of how fortunate he has been.
Lewis was pretty gracious, “I wish the team all the best for next year and the future” and yet you can’t help feeling the Hulk taking him out kinda summed Lewis’ season up. If you haven’t seen the replays, it was the downshift from 3rd to 2nd by the Force India driver that caused him to lose the back end. For me the sight of the Caterham prompted him to do this a touch earlier than optimum and he presto – we know the result. I think the penalty was harsh.
Jenson: was of course delighted to win claiming it to be the “craziest race I’ve ever been in”. Just as Webber did last year, it will be a good springboard for him mentally going into 2013. I believe Jenson’s repeated comments about wishing Lewis was not leaving over the past couple of weeks may be the outflow of him realising the pressure is now all on his shoulders to get the results. Whatever Checko brings, will be a bonus.
Strangely having 1 senior driver may make McLaren’s job easier next year as clearly Jenson and Lewis drive the cars completely differently as do Vettel and Webber, Massa and Alonso. I suspect the car will have 1 primary direction of development.
According to Jenson, he had a very big moment the lap before Di Resta hit the wall and it couold easily have been him crashing out and the race would then have been immediately put under a safety car – giving Alonso the title.
McLaren: The McLaren animation series ‘Tooned’ finished in true British Dr. Who style. After a problem in the ‘Emulator’ at Woking, Jenson’s avitar emerges in tact but Lewis has been lost in the digitisation process – out comes a silhouette figure – “Ola bro..” – to be continued. (Link)
A 1/2 or 1/3 would have given them second place in the constructors title – about $15m Nico please?
Ferrari: Unusually no media interviews given in English by Stefano (that I could find), I can’t believe he’s up for the chop but with Ferrari you never know.
Today though we get a bit of a missive from Ferrari.com. “Certainly not winning the title is the cause for great sorrow and great regret, because we always want to win and we came close,” said the President. “ I am proud of the work done by the team in having produced the most reliable car, for never having got the strategy wrong and for making no mistakes at the pit stops. Right to the end, the team did its duty.
Even if we are the team that scored the most points in the last five races, even if I was pleased to see our two drivers on the podium yesterday, we lacked a car quick enough to get us to the front of the grid and that was the main problem we had all season.”
“As to the reasons why we did not always have a quick car, Montezemolo was very clear: “What happened this year stems what happened the previous year. On this topic, I will be asking for an in-depth analysis and an improvement in the organization and work methods, because next year, we want to have a winning car right from the first race, which has not been the case these last two years.” It’s been longer than that Luca.
Hulkenberg: As i said in my race review, I don’t attribute fault to Nico, for me it was just one of those things. he didn’t brake particularly late and it was the shift of gears a fraction early that caught him out.
The Hulk became the 13th different driver to lead a lap this year, the same number that did so in 2009. The record is 15, set in 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1960 – all seasons which included the Indianapolis 500 – as well as 1975 and 2008.
Caterham: Timo Glock was flying and Maussia believe he would have cruised in ahead of Caterham – JEV hit him and Petrov took advantage. That’s a $15-20m mistake. As I alluded to in the review, it appears that Ecclestone only wants 10 teams in F1 – less money to hand out. There is agreement for a 13th team, though no one has yet decided to take the plunge and start one from scratch since 2010. This is the main reason HRT are doomed – lack of interest in back of the field F1 teams in tough economic times.
Boullier is not amused: (Link)
Kimi again, “I know what I was doing”: Kimi Raikkonen says he knew where he was going when he took to an escape road at Interlagos – the only problem was the gate was closed. Contending with the ever-changing conditions, Raikkonen ran off the track on lap 52 and attempted to return via an escape road.
The Lotus driver headed down, following the road only to find the gate was closed. A quick U-turn sent him back the other way and onto the track where he raced to 10th place at the Brazilian GP. “I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up,” said Raikkonen.
“Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. “I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. “Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again.” Why not just stay on the track next time Kimi?
Raikkonen’s P10 meant he was the only driver this season to finish every grand prix, 19 of which he scored in to secure third in the Drivers’ Championship. I thought Kimi was on presentation avoidance duties, but unlucky Kimi its a dickie bow and dinner suit for you and off to the awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
Di Resta: Finishes on 46 points and the Hulk on 60, some 25% more. Paul has been soundly beaten by his new team mate this year, and for me has lost his mojo since being rookie of the year in 2011. Every driver can have a bad year, Lewis lost out to Jenson in 2011, so we’ll know next year how good Di Resta really is when we see who he is racing and how he fares using the same equipment. I fear he’s an also ran.
HRT have until Sunday coming: El confidential tells us all hope is gone of the Spanish team continuing. The article reveals the very folly of why HRT has failed and is in effect worthless. Apparently the lauded aspirations of the project were to inspire and produce Spanish engineers and drivers by being based in Spain. If the Carabante’s had consulted anyone with the vaguest knowledge of F1, they would have kept their historic family money firmly under the bed.
Why is there no F1 team based in Germany? Is it because there are no decent German F1 engineers? Is it becasue Germany doesn’t care about developing F1 drivers? Of course not. In certain highly specialised ventures, birds of a feather flock together – silicon valley in the early days. This is particularly true when the most highly prized resource other than $$$ is people.
TV ratings: Nothing like a home world champion to drive in the punters. A massive 13.7 million viewers watched yesterdays race on Germany’s RTL channel. I believe th BBC had 7m (not confirmed yet).
Bernie’s days may be numbered: if reports by Germany’s Suddeutsche newspaper and the SID news agency are to be believed. This is the paper that I have been following closely for information on the Munich prosecutors decision whether to indict Ecclestone as an accomplice in the bribery case of BayernLB’s ex-risk director Gribowsky.
“Formula one could soon have a new ruler,” said the SID wire report. The Suddeutsche Zeitung said there are “detailed preparations” being made to potentially replace the 82 year old Briton, if Munich prosecutors decide to charge him with corruption over the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery scandal.
The report said Delta Topco, the Formula One Group’s majority CVC Capital Partners owned holding company, is considering stepping Ecclestone down and replacing him with an interim Chief Executive if “as expected” he is charged in the coming weeks.
Apparently a majority of the CVC board are in agreement over replacing Ecclestone.
Goodbye Michael: Not a lot to say really, all the gushing tributes have been made. Schumacher finished his last race in the same place as his first grid position for Jordan in 1991 – 7th.
In his first full season driving for Benetton in 1992, Michael came 3rd in the WDC, winning just one race in Belgium where he’d made his debut 1 year earlier.
Like the other 84% of thejudge13 readers in the poll – I wish he wasn’t going. Look how close he is in the following tribute short video to the walls in Monaco this year when taking pole in qualifying. He still has it.
On this day in F1, Nov 26th
Desire Wilson was born in Johannesburg and she remains the only woman to have won an F1 race of any kind when she was victorious at Brands Hatch in the short-lived British Aurora F1 series in 1980. The daughter of a South African motorbike champion, she drove once in the Formula One World Championship, failing to qualify at the 1980 British Grand Prix.
On what she recalled was “most disappointing weekend of my life” she was given a dreadful car to drive, describing the whole event as a “a con”. A year later she drove a Tyrell in the South African Grand Prix climbing through the field from last off the grid to ninth before she spun off. Although this was deemed a championship race at the time, a few weeks later it was downgraded because of the political situation in the country.
Desire Wilson – Kyalami
(This page will update throughout the day – as stories arise)
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