FIA Driver’s conference
I used to be frustrated by these events, but having been 3 months since the last – I have changed my mind. It is glorious in its incompetance. If you haven’t been able to watch it here it is in full.
The drivers are like naughty schoolboys sat in lines behind desks. Today Vettel in the centre leans over a number of times to Kimi whilst other’s are speaking, whispering and grinning, Kimi is trying not to get in trouble.
Lewis’ earings are very bright and make his ears look pretty big. Funny how Hamilton has been the centre of attention all week in the UK, but he gets asked only 1 question from the floor whereas Ricciardo gets a few.
At risk of being hung drawn and quartered, I would advise Lewis to stop banging on about how much more time he has to himself now he has left McLaren – in fact Jenson has answered this today (below).
It’s great to see the FIA pushing the boat out with some innovation at this event. We had a shakey camera turned on the audience for questions asked from the floor.
I liked what Ricciardo had to say following the nonsense suggestions that saving tyres and missing Q3 would be preferable to qualifying well. I’m sure a TJ13 reader will correct me if I’m wrong, but races were not won in 2012 by deliberate opting out of Q3 or failing to try and put in a good time and settling for 8,9,10.
I know Alonso won in Valencia from 11th, but he was a ‘victim of circumstance’ in that Vettel would have won by a country mile without an alternator failure.
We will see a lot of pits stops in the early races as the teams get to grips with the tyres, but as with last year this will settle down as the season progresses. In 2012 we were practically at 1 stop strategies in the last few races, such had the mastery of the rubber progressed.
From what I’m hearing the tyres will be ‘1 lap wonders’ in qualifying where on each set there will be one optimum lap. I quite like this as it makes qualifying a specialist skill.
Webber surprised me with his surliness over the Marko question. Fair enough he has answered this many times back in Europe, but he should know many of these reporters are not full time F1 reporters and are sent by their publications for the first race of the season.
Further, his answer should be well drilled and he would be better served making light of it dismissing Marko rather than being moody and churlish with the questioner.
Jenson defends McLaren against Lewis’ accusations of being over worked
Asked about Hamilton’s remarks by Press Association Sport, Button said: “Yeah, I was very surprised to hear that. The freedom you have in this team is phenomenal, and that doesn’t just go for me.
In this team you have to work, probably harder than you would at other teams, at sponsor requests and what have you. This is an F1 team that is not a mass-production manufacturer.
For a team like McLaren you need big sponsors to exist in this sport. You need to understand that initially when I came to this team it was a shock, it really was, after winning the world championship [with Brawn in 2009].
At Brawn there were six sponsor events throughout the year, but here it is so much busier. I went ‘Wow! Really?’ But you learn to understand, you learn to adapt and realise it is part of this job, and you need that to succeed.
It is not about just working with the sponsor, it is about doing a great job with the sponsor because you want them to work with you for a long time, you want to move forward with them.
So I understand from that point of view it is very busy here, your time is restricted because you are flying around, travelling more and doing more sponsor events.
But in terms of what you can do as a driver, and the way a driver can help the development of a car, this team is amazing.
I feel you have so much freedom and so much help if you need it, and whatever your issues are you get help here.
I’ve heard so many rumours – and not Lewis as such – and read so much in the media about the way this team is, and it’s so far from the truth.
It is such an open team, a friendly team, and a team that will do anything to help you.”
This story really surprises me and you have to question why Paul is banging this drum over and over. The Mirror reports, “It was the tiniest of errors but, compounded by a twist of fate, it cost Paul di Resta a £5million pay deal and his dream break into F1’s big time”.
We all saw Di Resta outperform the returning Hulkenberg in the early part of 2012 and this article suggests, “the 26-year-old Scot was winning last year’s war with German team-mate Nico Hulkenberg over who would replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari”.
Apparently Stefano Domenicali was a fan of the Scott and we know that Martin Whitmarsh spoke with him as a potential successor to Lewis Hamilton when he announced his move to Mercedes.
Then the moment of fate came during the Japanese GP weekend. “It was the beginning of Friday’s Free Practice Two,” said Di Resta.
“I found myself slightly offline and on the dirt. The track had been resurfaced and it was difficult to see exactly where the asphalt finished. There was loose dirt thrown on the circuit by other cars.”
Paul was launched into the barriers and we are now told this fundamentally damaged the monocoque’s rigidity. This was allegedly not discovered by Force India for 3 races and in the mean time ‘the Hulk’ finished all 3 races in the points and was snapped up by Sauber.
At the same time, Ferrari decided to stick with Massa, and McLaren decided that Sergio Perez, backed bythe world’s richest man, was the driver for them.
Paul informs us, “We were even down on straight line speed for three Grands Prix and, after changing various different components, the last thing we changed was the monocoque in Abu Dhabi. “It was like flicking a switch and we were back.”
He finished the race ninth and Hulkenberg was unclassified. In the mean time Hulkenberg had signed for Sauber just four days before Di Resta was back at the races.
“I am a firm believer of ‘What’s for you won’t go by you,’” said Di Resta. “I have shown before I can get the job done if I get the machinery.”
The problem with this story is that Hulkenberg did not go to Maranello, so how this damaged monocoque and subsequent poor performance for 3 races denied Paul the Ferrari drive – I don’t get it.
As far as I remember Di Resta was never in the frame for Sauber and expressed his surprise at his team mates ‘side ways’ move when the Swiss team recruited the German.
The real tale is that 2013 is de ja vu for Di Resta. A German team mate – out of F1 for a year – returns as his team mate.
Force India have announced today Adrian Sutil sponsor Medion moble as a team partner once again.
A contrast of World Champions
While Lewis Hamilton claims his move to Mercedes is to create a bigger legacy, Christian Horner believes ths is not something that concerns Sebastian Vettel
“I don’t think it is something he is obsessed about,” said Horner. “His obsession is success and his drive and desire is based around delivering.
He has grown up in the Red Bull environment and has been a member of the Red Bull group for more than 12 years now.
He feels very comfortable in that environment and there is certainly no preconception within him that he feels he needs to drive for Ferrari or any other team in Formula One.”
Horner recognises that the Adrian Newey winning cars are a big influence on Vettel. “It is down to us as a team to continue to deliver race-winning equipment. The relationship is very strong but it is always difficult to look too far into the future”.
Speaking about how Sebastian deals with matters off the track Horner couches his driver in contrast with the recent perceptions of Hamilton.
“His approach is that he is there to deliver for the team and that what we pay him to do. We don’t pay him to be a superstar – He wants to prepare in the best way he can.
Therefore, not having distractions is the best way of him preparing and delivering. He lives as normal a life as he can. He has had a long-term girlfriend who he has been with since his schooldays; he enjoys living in the countryside not the city.
He enjoys the simpler things in life and his focus is absolute on what he wants to achieve”.
Christian dismisses the notion that Vettel and Red Bull’s recent dominance is off putting. “Is it unhealthy for the sport? I don’t think so, as long as there is competition. That’s not down to us. It’s down to the rest of the grid.”