Daily News and Comment: Monday 25th March 2013

This page will be updated as the day progresses.

Lauda and Marko Watch – with a Wolf Whistle too.

The knives are being sharpened as the Wolf and Lauda flex their shareholder muscles and criticise their own team principal. They do not agree with the team orders issued by Ross Brawn and have gone public in saying so,
“From a sporting perspective, that was wrong,” Lauda told German television RTL. “They should have let him (Rosberg) go. We need to talk to Ross, if this is the strategy to be used from now on”.

Lauda’s new sidekick Wolf agreed heartily. “From a sporting point of view, that’s not what we want to see.” Ross Brawn was clear in his communications with Nico Rosberg that both their cars were being controlled however some have suggested he claimed Nico too had a fuel shortage.

Rosberg denies this saying, “I did not have to save fuel. Everything was alright. I will sit down together with Ross to rethink whether this was really the right decision.” Damon Hill commented after the race that, “He [Rosberg] might at least have been able to hurry the Red Bulls into a tyre problem.”

Yet Nico is uncertain of this, “I don’t know if I would have gotten the Red Bulls. But I felt good at the time. I was doing well and would have liked to see how far I could have gone.”

Helmut Marko in a body swerve avoiding the question about what ‘protection’ was Mark suggesting Vettel would receive chose instead to comment that Mercedes have a clear No. 1 and No. 2 driver policy. This is something Rosberg refutes, “I can understand how this (episode) creates that impression,” but I am sure that if I had been in front, the decision would have been the same.” Ross Brawn did confirm that were the boot to be on the other foot, that would indeed be the case.

So where are we in the body count. Schumacher out even though evidence now suggests he may have been as quick as Hamilton; Norbert Haug has been pensioned off to a life on the Berlin stage performing tribute Rock and Roll music, Nick Fry is frantically studying for his medical qualifications as he will soon be no longer CEO of AMG F1 CEO – but a ‘consultant’.

Still standing is Ross Brawn as he holds out against the invaders with resolute determination. Niki wants to be careful because if Ross were to reveal that a clause in Hamilton’s contract had been inserted to give him preference over Rosberg, we all know who accepted the praise and glory for stealing Hamilton away from his loving McLaren family.

It would not be surprising should the British Bull Dog already have Lauda’s ‘Waterloo’ up his sleeve (or buried in the yard), but it’s just a matter of timing.

TJ13 in an alternative universe

I may have taken an instantly ageing tonic over the weekend because today I am agreeing whole heartedly with those in F1 much older than me and for whom I have been critical for being a tad doddery at times. Either that or during the Sepang race I have been transported to an alternative universe. Anyway you all seem pretty okay so I’ll crack on.

Watson advises Horner to stand Vettel down.

Firstly, John Watson is saying Vettel should be stood down for 1 race. “The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix,” Watson told BBC Radio 4. “I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired.

If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team – because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday – then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be,” Watson observes.

 “You can’t take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber. That’s now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points. You can’t really fine him – it is almost irrelevant to fine him – so the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say ‘you will stand out one race'”.

Watson’s view on Webber is simple, “I think once the blood has cooled down and the team get the two drivers together, Webber will see the season out, but it will be a very fractious relationship. I don’t know what favours Mark Webber can be asked to provide to Sebastian Vettel if that should ever arise in the future.”

Mmm. Some rather rude Aussie sayings from my friends spring to mind including services provided by way of urination when spontaneous human combustion occurs.

Interestingly, when drawn on the question of Horner’s authority being undermined, a Red Bull spokeswoman told the BBC, “That’s for Christian to deal with, with the drivers. He’s managed the team successfully for a long time and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so.”

Sir Jock – words of wisdom

Here’s an excerpt from Sir Jock’s autobiography and the sentiment clearly demonstrates the rule that nobody is ‘all bad’.

Winning is often regarded as the ultimate, overriding goal. But sometimes winning is not such a big deal. If, for example, a driver wins the Formula One world championship when he is driving the very best car, with the very best engine, and working with the very best team of people, it’s a major achievement, but it’s not that difficult. The greater challenge is to win with integrity and care.”

Stewart cites those who jeer and say, ‘Integrity and care? They don’t count. Look at the scoreboard. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the reality is, in sport, business and everything else, that nice guys come last. Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing’.

 “I disagree”, concludes Sir Jock.

Red Bull cancellations

The team victory photograph was cancelled yesterday and today the regular post race debrief has been put back 24 hours until Tuesday while matters are assessed.

Vettel’s non existant contract extension

It may be time for Il Padrino to summon the prancing horses and ride like the wind to Milton Keynes. Prior to the team orders debacle there have been stories in the German press about Vettel’s contract with Red Bull. We know his current contract to drive for the team is until the end of 2014, but in Melbourne sources close to Horner were suggesting he was claiming Vettel had signed a 2 year extension.

Interestingly Helmut Marko commented that he was sure Christian would not have said this, which last week I thought a little strange.

Bilde.de are claiming that Sebastian Vettel has inadvertently confirmed to them that he has no contract extension beyond 2014. When they asked Vettel when he will decide what to do beyond his 2014 contract, he joked, “In this case, probably no later than early 2015. Not today, anyway.”

So following ‘Vettel Gate’ – the F1 soap opera – its funny how things can change… merely because people consider the possibility that things could in actuality be different from the way they are now.

Pirelli tyres not so bad now say Red Bull

Speaking about the on track battle between Vettel and Webber, Helmut has said today “It’s very hard to manage, but in the end we were lucky, because the tyres stayed together much better than we expected. They both did very fast laps in the last stint, so maybe we have to be a little less critical to Pirelli.”

Marko also said he had no problem with Vettel telling the team earlier in the race that Webber was too slow and they should “get him out of the way.” Marko believes this was the right call from Sebastian, “It was correct, because Hamilton was behind him, and was getting into DRS. Mark got the message and immediately went faster, so that worked as a team should work. He just said Mark is too slow. Look what was in the rear – it was Hamilton and Rosberg, not only were they coming into DRS, there was a danger that they could do an undercut.”

Rio wants in

It is believed whilst the world was watching the season opener; F1’s mercurial supremo was in Rio de Janeiro. There have been articles in the Brazilian media for some time suggesting that Rio’s mayor is pressing hard to host the countries Formula One event.

Now Ecclestone is saying, “The mayor has told me they can get it done. I have been unhappy with Sao Paulo for a long time. It’s a super race track, but the facilities need a big facelift. We could be there (Rio) for Olympic year (2016), but I know how hard it was for London to run just the Olympics.”

Ecclestone is keen to extend the contract with Malaysia too but is pressurising the organisers to upgrade the facility. “It is obviously not the same as Singapore,” he said, “maybe because they don’t spend the money.”

Comments on Vettel

Alex Wurz: In the end he has made his unofficial status as number 1 clear, so this changes nothing.

The Mirror: It appears a mild slap on the wrist is all an impotent team boss will be able to deliver to his star turn.

Patrick Tambay: I think the true character of Sebastian Vettel has been revealed. Outside the car, he is smiling and has the reputation for being very friendly. But when he puts on his helmet, he becomes a warrior, an ogre. He wants to win at all costs. It was roughly the same scenario between Mercedes’ Hamilton and Rosberg, but the latter, a very well mannered boy, followed the instructions of his boss.

Niki Lauda: Vettel won with all his might against the logic of the team. It was a serious mistake.

Joan Villadelprat: Having two roosters in the hen house is never easy.

Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder: He (Vettel) has done himself no favours. This has not gone down well in the paddock generally.

Boris Becker: Vettel did what a three time champ is supposed to do … take matters in your own hands!

Mattias Bruner: He did the right thing as a winner, but not as a sportsman.

Martin Brundle: The relationship that never was between Vettel and Webber is now definitely over.

Helmut Marko: They [Webber and Vettel] are probably not going out for dinner together. (This man is very strange).

Why is everyone so grumpy this week?

F1 has all been a bit tetchy this past few days. Long faces all over the podium, and melodrama and apologies and explanations aplenty. So here is some happy news. Romain Grosjean has announced he and his wife Marion are expecting their first child in the summer.

I assume he does not live in the UK because nobody can be so accurate when predicting which exact day a child will be born.

No matter – grumpy Blick reporter is reporting that the team are “not very happy about it, because (the team thinks) he should concentrate on the sport”. Sorry TJ13ers am I missing something? What is the problem here? Surely the distraction that is the lovely Marion and the required recent humping exertions from Romain are now complete.

Surely the bun in the oven and the new arrival mean that Romain will be highly focused and ‘at work’ a lot more than usual. Surely he will be glad of any excuse to body swerve the hormonal pregnant mother as much as possible, and when the baby is born – nappy and sick cleaning avoidance will again be the order of the day.

You have to laugh. Timing is everything

Bild.de reported last Friday that Sebastian Vettel insists he is not worried his friendship with Kimi Raikkonen will suffer as they go wheel to wheel for the Formula One title in 2013. The pair are arguably the closest friends among all the drivers in the pit lane, living close to one another in Switzerland and often meeting up to play badminton.

But they have never fought against each other for Formula 1’s biggest prize, Raikkonen departed Formula 1 at the end of 2009, just as Vettel began his series of titles in 2010. So will the heat of a championship battle in 2013, with Raikkonen already leading Vettel in the world championship, spoil their friendship?

“I think you have to separate the two things,” said Vettel. “Anyway, we get along very well, but it’s not like we spend every spare minute in the paddock together,” he added.

Frank Schneider observes this is an unusual association and definitely not of the ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ variety because Raikkonen and Vettel are totally different. He observes, “Raikkonen is tattooed, smokes, drinks, while Vettel lives a disciplined life free of scandal.”

Well Frank, you clearly didn’t have you’re crystal ball working when you wrote that last Friday

Here’s some new footage


10 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Monday 25th March 2013

  1. “Schumacher out even though evidence now suggests he may have been as quick as Hamilton”

    How can there be evidence of this since the car is different this year? Using Rosberg as benchmark?

    “Niki wants to be careful because if Ross were to reveal that a clause in Hamilton’s contract had been inserted to give him preference over Rosberg…”

    Is there really a clause as such? Or hypothetically speaking is there was a clause?

    • I think there is no such clause.
      I suspect that Ross was seriously worried that Hamilton would carry on racing until he ran out of fuel if Rosberg were allowed to pass.
      One thing Hamilton needs to learn is when not to race – a truly difficult thing for an instinctive racer, and possibly his biggest weakness.
      He has, for instance, shown that he can preserve his tyres as well as the best – it’s just that he seldom tries to do so, because he’s always pushing even when strategically it’s the wrong thing to do.

  2. Two jokes on the same page – Martin Brundle about the Vettel/Webber spat and yours about our one day summer. I like it!

  3. Watson’s idea of banning Vettel for a race has to be one the stupidest ideas ever. Like a team is going to deliberately sabotage their best chance of a championship?

    They do need to punish him some way and I don’t know how. Maybe tell him if he does anything out of line again they will replace him at the end of the year with Alonso, Hamilton or Rosberg who are all probably as quick if not quicker. I’m sure any of them would break contracts and jump at the chance.

    If Rosberg does end up looking as quick or quicker than the so called fastest man in F1 (Hamilton) and it will take a few normal qualifying and race sessions to know. But if then how unbelievable unlucky was Schumacher in his comeback to end up in a very poor team alongside someone like that.

  4. I believe Wolf’s remark that Nico didn’t have any fuel issue directly conflicts with his post race interview on Sky Tv. I seem to remember that In the interview he did mention, though briefly, that both drivers had to hold back for fuel.

  5. I think there should be punishment for vettel – for the sake of restoring harmony & also because vettel can’t have it his way all the time.
    Rather than suspending him for next race – I reckon the team should MAKE HIM START FROM THE BACK OF THE GRID.
    If he still wins from back there then he deserves to be champion!

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