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Lotus don’t need to do much to win the title?
In F1 as in life there are different characters with different forms of rhetoric. We have the gushing and the emotional, the manipulative, those who speak first and think later, then there are those whose comment is considered; their analysis has depth of thought and their opinion is read by others as well considered.
James Allison of Lotus is one the later, and his persona to the media is the same as when he is speaking to you one on one. James was asked this weekend whether he felt the team were where they should be in the championship table. His responses revealed a fair amount.
“I think in the constructors’ championship we’re not far off. As a driver pairing our car ought to be somewhere there or there about”. He added, “In the drivers championship clearly Fernando’s well out of position”.
Pressed on whether this meant he was in fact surprised that Kimi was pushing for the championship James coyly replied smiling, “I just said Fernando was out of position I didn’t say anything else. I think that Kimi will have a very strong season this year and we don’t have to improve our car much to keep him properly in the title hunt all the way through the year”.
“The car is good enough to win anytime if we set it up right”.
This to me was a striking and bold assertion from James. Had this pretty big claim been made by someone like Mike Gascoyne, who suggested that his team in 2011, “would p%^s some of the midfield teams of this year” and score points, we could be forgiven for being more circumspect. Yet for James Allison to stick his neck out inviting the excecutioners axe, represents the absolute confidence Lotus have with their 2013 car and drivers.
James suggests that a few mistakes have really costs Alonso big points so far this year. On the decision by Ferrari/Alonso not to pit on lap 1 in Malaysia for a new wing, James being non-judgemental begins by saying, “It’s difficult to comment because to some extent there but for the grace of God go we – when we have a good race”
“But I was there at the time and I remember thinking as he went pst the pit entry and didn’t come in. There was a wing hanging off on one bolt and the likelihood of getting around the next lap was slim”.
“It was an unusual failure and one that will be easily fixed. The thing at the time which surprised me was that having happened once they allowed it to happen a second time by activating the DRS wing again”.
“Had they just continued the race from that first failure they wouldn’t have been overly compromised. It was fairly clear it was going to happen a second time”
Both of these decisions look to sit fairly and squarely with the team who have far better strategic decisioning abilities.
Further vindication for Perez
Aexander Rossi adds to the driver analysis that believes Jenson slowed more than expected when defending the corner in Bahrain where his team mate touched him from behind.
Further, 3 corners later when Jenson ran Perez wide and over the white line Rossi believes, “Jenson didn’t give Sergio the space. I think Jenson was getting frustrated and it was coming out here. When you’re pushing someone beyond the white line and the kerb it is a bit touch and go at that point”.
In an extended interview following the race, Martin Whitmarsh continually refused to be too critical of Sergio. “It’s clear, I’ve told him and Checo knows, that hitting Jenson from behind was over the limit”.
Whitmarsh goes on to repeat the sentiment in a number of ways that Jenson ‘was mature’ and ‘an adult’. He clearly stresses that Checo’s driving challenge of Button was not going to become an issue and was obviously protecting Sergio from being criticised.
Jenson addresses Martin in jest, “To be fair I totally blame Martin for everything. ‘You need to be more aggressive???’, I think were you’re words you said to him [Sergio] last week. I don’t know why they came out or for what reason?” – guffaws all round.
It has taken some time and a number of drivers’ analyzing replays of the incident but there is clearly some consensus which acquits Perez from responsibility for the rear end contact with Jenson in Bahrain.
Further, Button was clearly rattled by Perez and went on to unfairly run him off the track. To round it all off Jenson’s boss refused to establish preferential treatment for the team’s no.1 driver even though he was pressed cleverly and pointedly by Button to do so.
Button was doing to Perez what he learnt he could do with impunity at Montreal Canada 2011 race.
Sam Michael says this in defence of Button
“…. Checo is a young hot-shoe. He’s 23. He’s started just 41 grands prix, and he hasn’t won one yet. He’s stood on just three grand prix podiums.
By contrast Jenson is 33. He’s started 232 grands prix and has won 15 of them. He’s stood on 49 grand prix podiums. And of course he’s also a world champion. … ”
Jenson that good? Really? Sam Michael forgets that most of Jenson’s podiums and wins are due to driving a superior car than Checo has ever driven to date.
Re. James Allison, the one other person I tend to take at their word is Ross Brawn. I take the utterances of Horner, Domenicali, Whitmarsh et al with a pinch of salt. Correction, I take a whole container of salt when Whitmarsh is in full flow (likewise Jenson Button).
Hmm… I’m not so sure Mr Brawn has been entirely open and honest in the past, especially when with Ferrari… 😉
Perhaps you’re referring to his comments more recently.
He is very precise with what he does say, and what he doesn’t say tells you more.
Neatly astute, Sir… 😉