Buemi testing for Ferrari, Norbert to take to the stage, Lauda sole link between Daimler and AMG F1, Hulkenberg splits from manager, Berger clashes with Ecclestone over Austrian GP, Stewart thinks Mercedes should’ve kept Schumacher, Valsecchi to Lotus

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thejudge13 archive: Here’s an interesting article I wrote the week after I returned from Monza, particularly in light of recent comments from Mr. Big. By the way that week thejudge13 had 242 reads  (LINK)

Ferrari  peek at Red Bull secrets: Blick, a swiss publication are running a story suggesting Buemi could be on his way to Ferrari. To be honest the article is a rambling useless piece of ‘imagine if’ writing suggesting all kinds of possible driver options for 2013/2014.

Yet, the nugget of the story is that after 22,000km in the Red Bull simulator, Ferrari are seriously considering signing Buemi as a test driver with bait that 2014 may be a chance for him when Massa is again out of contract. I’m sure Ferrari could and would try this – but would Buemi believe the ‘carrot’ was more than a mirage?

Lauda watch: It appears that Nikki may have been involved in Norbert’s demise, as I believe it will now be he who is the main link between the F1 team and the Daimler Benz board. This in effect cuts off Ross Brawn’s sympathetic line of communication that he previously had via Haug.

Lauda said today on TV, “I was just as surprised as anybody over Norbert’s resignation. I feel personally sorry.  I have always had a very good relationship with him and would very much like working with Norbert. It is a shoack and we do not yet know how we can solve the problem left, because Norbert was solely responsible for all of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.”

Marc Surer is not convinced of Lauda’s version of events. “I think that Niki Lauda has had some influence on this. Norbert Haug was 22 years as a Mercedes executive and the company has gained much from him”. Surer then remarks interestingly, “Recently it was not good”.

Bernd Schneider, five-time DTM champion and Mercedes brand ambassador is also surprised, “I’m really floored that this has happened so fast – Norbert Haug will leave a big hole to be filled. He lived Mercedes motorsport, heart and soul and is a real racer. It will be very hard to fill that gap. ”

So as I suggested when Lauda got involved with Mercedes, it may be a very interesting year next year whatever happens to the team. If they hook up their ‘space ship’ technology suspension and win the first 6 races – it will be Lauda all over our screens telling us how great he is.

If they are dismal and Lewis can’t get into quali 3 – Lauda will either need to make heads roll – or find his could be rolling. This is why I don’t understand the timing of the Haug departure. If I was Nikki, I’d have kept him on and if the car was utterly useless – he would be the sacrificial lamb offered up.

Maybe it is Haug who has realised this and is backing Lauda into a corner if it all goes pear-shaped – jumping before being pushed. Norbert has always been the centre of paddock humour over his love of rock and roll, and I believe he once played in a band. He is suggesting he may revive this past time now he is retiring.

I can imagine it now, Norbert in a Freddie Mercury style cat suit, open from the neck to the naval – sweating under the stage lights and gyrating away whilst windmilling the microphone – I’d pay to watch that! But you can watch this….

Hulkenberg splits with manager: Interestingly, there was a 2 sentence announcement in German publication MotorSport last night saying, “Today Nico Hulkenberg is separating from his long time manager Timo Gans. Werner Heinz, former manager of Nick Heidfeld, has been appointed to take care of Hulkneberg’s daily business”.

Shout outs: Hi to Lilian Robins @halle690 who #ff’s me every week – also to @Allyr2012 who re-tweets me and favourites me all the time.

Berger wants Austrian GP: AUSTRIAN ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger sees no reason why Austria cannot return to the F1 calendar. Following the offer from the A1-Ring’s new owner Red Bull to host the  20th – and as yet unconfirmed – race in 2013, Berger who used to  co-own Torro Rosso with Dietrich Mateschitz, thinks his native country is in the running.

“If Red Bull is in the game, nothing is impossible,” he told the Osterreich newspaper. “They have everything: the track, the facilities, the contacts and the necessary status in Formula 1. And money should not be a problem.”

Berger rubbished Ecclestone’s claim that the ‘Red Bull Ring’ is not appropriate for Formula 1 because there are not enough hotels in the surrounding area.

“That opposite is true,” he insisted. “The critics should look at what Red Bull has brought into the area in terms of the hotel sector.There is a direct motorway connection to Graz, in 45 minutes you’re in the city. At Silverstone, there is a much bigger hotel problem,” said Berger.

But my dear Bernard, the planning permission granted was for only 25,000 spectators a day – old boy. Plus Bernie said ‘No way’ yesterday.

F1 debate over Lewis, Michael and Nico : Jenson Button yesterday warned Nico Rosberg to be surprised at how fast Lewis Hamilton can drive a slow F1 car. “I think he (Rosberg) will be a little surprised by his (Hamilton’s) speed,” Button is quoted by France’s autohebdo (fr) website.

“I know they have been team-mates in the past, but I think it will be a surprise for him to see what Lewis can do with a bad car”. One of my heroes turned villain – the self promoting and opinionated Jackie Stewart – however has a different view, wondering if Hamilton will do as good a job for Mercedes as Schumacher did.

“Schumacher was an entirely different animal,” the dour Scot says to the Sun. “He was completely focussed on Formula 1. It was the only thing in life he did. Lewis has a lot of other pursuits, some no doubt a distraction. Lewis’ management team will want to prove they can earn him more money with outside things. But the more contracts he has the more work he has to do for them which takes up time,” added Stewart.

David Coulthard, however thinks Mercedes was right to split with 43 year old Schumacher and sign Hamilton. “Look at Rosberg, is he faster than Michael was in his prime? That’s hard to say.” Coulthard believes Schumacher will not  even be missed. “I think it will be just as it was with other drivers before him. Who wondered in 2012 about Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld? No driver is greater than Formula One,” he insists.

A survey commissioned by the SID news agency claimed 70 percent of the German population believes Sebastian Vettel can one day surpass Schumacher’s record of seven titles.

Who goes where? Yesterday it was a Finnish newspaper calling it as Bianchi to Force India. Today we have  Davide Valsecchi hinting he may be next in line for the vacant Lotus F1 race seat for 2013 – reported surprisingly by Italian publication Autosprint.

Apparently, the Enstone based team is believed to be considering whether or not to keep Grosjean or replace him with Italian Valsecchi who at 25 years of age is the new GP2 Series champion. “I don’t wish anything bad against Grosjean,” Valsecchi tells Autosprint, “but if he’s not there then I see myself as the favourite. It’s perhaps too early to talk about it.”

It was reported that Lotus was due to make its decision about Grosjean last week, but the board met and decided to wait a little longer. Valsecchi, who would be the only Italian on the 2013 grid, added: “My goal is to get into Formula One and then prove that I deserved the chance.”

Further, is it me – or has the Honeywell announcement not yet been made? I was assured it was just crossing some t’s and dotting i’s last Sunday – maybe there is a problem.

PS I just noticed French publication autohebdo.f1 ahve just picked up the story that a FRENCH driver Bianchi may be going to Force India. #ginferonthepulse 🙂    Roll on Christmas and somebody give Vijay a kick to remind him he has a couple of decisions to make.

Esteban Gutierrez observantly admitted it might not be an easy transition to F1. The 21 year old rookie replaces his Mexican countryman Sergio Perez at Sauber for 2013. In 2012, he finished the GP2 season in third place behind Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia.

“I am fully aware that Formula 1 is not easy, because it’s the highest level of motor sport,” Gutierrez tells Brazil’s Totalrace. “It’s true that I have not been consistent in GP2, but I think this has been the most rewarding season on my career because it’s the kind of experience that gives you a better perspective for the future. I will try to look for consistency in Formula 1 and when I get it, I can start thinking about great results,” he added.

“First, I have to go step by step, adapt, and for that the beginning of the season will be very important.” Gutierrez admits he cannot say for sure that he is ready for Formula 1. “It makes no sense to say I am 100 percent ready because it’s difficult to judge. “But definitely I am doing my best and using all the time I have had on the track to improve my knowledge with the car, not only for the driving itself but also the feedback to give to the team.

“In Formula 1, this is crucial,” he concluded.

We all know why a self confessed, inconsistant GP2 driver made it into F1 ahead of more talented drivers – Valsecchi and Razia.

Winners of Silverstone media awards:

Best television channel for F1 coverage: Winner – BBC
Best national newspaper for F1 coverage: Winner – The Telegraph / Sunday Telegraph
Best motor sport publication for F1 coverage: Winner – F1 Racing
Best website for F1 coverage: Winner – BBC www.bbc.co.uk
Best F1 Blogger: Winner – James Allen www.jamesallenonf1.com/
Best F1 Tweeter: Winner – @MrJakeHumphrey

Well done James – one of my favourite F1 commentators and a man who knows F1 inside out. Being slightly picky, I’m not sure the James Allen site is a blog – but still – And I’m sure he passed me under yellow flag conditions while voting was taking place. Seriously, I’d love to hear much more of James opinions having spent a very interesting evening with him in Spa this year.

But this is the problem with the F1 media establishment – other sports and I again refer to English Premier League Football have a far more anti establishment and opinionated media – yet they do not have a Mr. Big who is to be feared and revered.

Still one of you guys who voted could yet win the hospitality passes – let me know if you do

An idea: Schumacher for head of Mercedes Motorsport?

On this day in F1, Dec 14th

When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first opened, the terrible track surface meant the first race was a disaster – there were multiple accidents and five people were killed. The owners then decided to lay bricks round the track and on this day the work was finally finished.

The famous Indy Brickyard was born. The grand opening took place three days later, when it was ceremoniously completed by Governor Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, who cemented the last “golden” brick. Only three feet of the original brick surface still remains at the start finish line.

Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen was confirmed as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren, replacing Fernando Alonso who had left after a season where his relationship with the team had deteriorated significantly. “I am so excited to join a team like McLaren Mercedes,” Kovalainen said.

“So far I have been blown away by the dedication and commitment to winning which is clear in the entire team.” In two seasons with McLaren he was never up with Hamilton’s pace, his one win coming in 2008, but in 2009 he failed to make it onto the podium.

(This page will be updated through the day – as F1 news breaks)

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21 responses to “Buemi testing for Ferrari, Norbert to take to the stage, Lauda sole link between Daimler and AMG F1, Hulkenberg splits from manager, Berger clashes with Ecclestone over Austrian GP, Stewart thinks Mercedes should’ve kept Schumacher, Valsecchi to Lotus

  1. Be interested in your views on why Jackie Stewart’s gone from hero to villain in your eyes. You’re opinionated, I’m opinionated – surely that in itself isn’t enough to dislike the guy?

    • Agreed on the opinionated front. He said some stuff about Bahrain this year which I found uneccesary and distasteful.

      Also the BBC had a spell of publishing “Stewart says” type articles (weekly) which were sycophantic and repetative around the time of Grosjean and Spa incidents.

      • Fair enough – I wasn’t impressed with his opinions on Grosjean either. But we’ll agree to differ, I still rate him as one of the all time greats and listen to what he says, not that I always agree with it.

          • For what it’s worth I’m inclined to agree – a first rate driver but… out of the car, I always found him pompously self-righteous 🙁

            And has anyone else noticed how many remarks from Button in the past couple of months seem to be geared to making him look like a nice guy rather that actually appearing sincere in what he says. He sounds like a show-biz PR agent… and he seems to be volunteering these remarks rather than answering journalists’ questions…

          • Oh wow… I typed ‘:-(‘ and automatically got a real live smiley…!
            It’s not only F1 that I’m learning about on this site…
            And I meant to say before: I like the ‘On this Day’ section.

  2. Would someone be so kind to explain to me why Niki Lauda is hold in such a high regard? He has been ousted by the boards of his two airlines and quite frankly even before that, didn’t do great job running them.

    I can’t really understand how could anyone concentrate so much power in the hands of Lauda? Besides the fact that he managed to sell the ad space on his cap for obscene amounts of money, what else business-wise has he done to deserve such trust? It could be that I’m not old enough to know some of the history, but I would love to find out, why Mercedes thinks Lauda is the proper person to make their team better, when everything seems to point out that the decision is wrong.

    • Maybe we’ll understand this better when the Hunt/Lauda film is released “Rush”. Lauda was held in great regard as a driver as was Stewart.

      This appears without any other reason to be why the media hang on their every word. Though why Daimler are behaving as they are – I have no answer.

  3. I agree with you about the James Allen site not really being a blog, especially as a lot of the articles aren’t written by him… I voted for him as best website for that reason, it wasn’t just or mostly the effort of one person.

    Must be a bit of a kick to Sky that the Beeb won best TV coverage!

    • I’m not surprised BBC beat Sky as best TV coverage.

      I began watching the 2012 season on Sky because I wanted to watch all the action including practice etc., and because of all the hype that Sky put out about their new F1 channel.

      I quickly became disillusioned with SkyF1 – IMO it was all about style over substance.

      After the first few races I changed to watching BBC when it was broadcasting live races, and when it wasn’t, I’d watch a foreign TV broadcast with the BBC 5 Live commentary and later watch the highlights.

      I also cancelled my Sky TV subscription at the same time.

    • Sky need to up their game. Herbert is irritating and needs to go. Ted and Martin are great as is Davidson – Georgie… well its a sky thing isn’t it. Lazenby improved, but I still think he’s trying to be mates with all the F1 great and good. Croft is fine, but I prefer James Allen commentary (5 live)

    • Yes Stephen, that’s right; JA also doesn’t put enough opinion in for me to call it a blog. I voted JA for best website and t13 for best blog.

      Maybe next year, thejudge! 🙂

  4. Got my vote in for best blog but I guess it’s impossible to compete with the volume James would have on his site being in TV and all. It was a bit of a Judge and Goliath fight that one.

    Your video isn’t embed, still in HTML code.

    Agree with the Sky comments. How can anybody listen to Herbert and Lazenby for a hour and a half build up to race is beyond me.

  5. Thejudge got my vote. Every comment I’ve posted has been replied to on this site. I’m sure James would if he could but its just too big.

  6. Agree with you Judge, Stewert can be sanctimonious and pompous in the extreme. These traits helped him soap box his agenda on F1 safety to which we all must be thankful but he probably should not be too involved with the inner political machinations of F1. There is a time and place to stand on the soap box, reserve it for important issues. Jackie seems to live on his and his knowledge does not keep pace with every opinion.

    • Indeed Joe, and as Chris mentioned the very public repeated offers to ‘help train’ Grosjean was completely unnecessary and pure self aggrandisement.

  7. Oh wow… I typed ‘:-(‘ and automatically got a real live smiley…!
    It’s not only F1 that I’m learning about on this site…
    And I meant to say before: I like the ‘On this Day’ section.

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