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The return of the Horse Whisperer
This mysterious character has spoken out. From deep inside the bowels of Maranello Ferrari’s Grillo Ramapante is not happy. This is the stated raison d’être of the Horse Whisperer, “Travel the world, look, listen, learn…every now and then jump up and have your say, without pulling any punches”.
What is surprising is that following the banishment to India of Ferrari’s long-standing head of communications, Luca Colajanni, the was a suspicion that the whisperer had too departed Formula One’s fields. If anything this potential re-incarnation of the Ferrari nom de plume has excellent English unlike some previous dictats.
The last time the Horse Whisperer (THW) spoke was on the 15th October and it was to rubbish the rumours about Vettel being recruited to Ferrari for 2014. The rambling lecture from our equine friend concluded rather patronisingly, “You see how you don’t need anything to go from one extreme to the other? Reflect, people, reflect…”
So it lives and it speaks to us here today, May 2013… what was said?… I hear you cry as one.
The Horse Whisperer begins, “These are difficult times for people with poor memories. Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of information available today that people are too quick to talk, forgetting things that happened pretty much in the recent past. Or maybe the brain cells that control memory only operate selectively, depending on the results achieved on track by their owners.
“It normally doesn’t start until the summer break but F1 is already in the grip of silly season! The questions over where the drivers will be next year truly began after the Malaysian Grand Prix and that infamous team order incident at Red Bull. Now it is the turn of Mercedes to have their driver line up questioned” reports Mercedes AMG F1 fansite.
A classic example of this is the current saga regarding the number of pit stops. Voices have been raised to underline the fact that various teams, some of whom got to the podium and others who were quite a way off, made four pit stops in the recent Spanish Grand Prix, making the race hard to follow. It’s a shame that these worthy souls kept quiet two years ago”.
Dobbin is in fact a little behind TJ13 readers who have already debated and moved on from the following facts. Yet there are those less fortunate than oursleves, who are not part of such an F1 community on the ball so THW cites the 2011 GP’s in Turkey and Spain where 5 of the six podium drivers made 4 stops.
Schumacher’s achievement 2004 Magny Cours is also recalled and the Horse Whisperer concludes defiantly, “Today however, it seems one must almost feel ashamed for choosing a strategy that, as always for that matter, is aimed at getting the most out of the package one has available.
On top of that, if this choice emerges right from the Friday, because all the simulations are unanimous in selecting it, then why on earth should one feel embarrassed when compared to those who have gone for a different choice, only to regret it during the race itself”.
It appears neither Ferrari or Lotus are particularly pleased with Pirelli. Yet Lotus who are usually the F1 Kings of the cool image have been outdone by their seniors. When Lotus spoke… it was Eric. Ferrari however have the Horse Whisperer.
Vettel to replace Hamilton
It was not long ago Vettel was linked with Ferrari, as our article above recounts and recently it has been Vettel to Mercedes. Lewis appears to have felt it necessary to field questions on this matter after a disappointing race in Spain Hamilton.
How the mighty fall with swift vengeance in F1. Round 2 saw Hamilton take a podium finish which in truth was way ahead of expectations following early winter testing. It is thought Niki brimming with new found confidence having recruited Hamilton has now set his sights on Vettel, but intends to retain Rosberg over Hamilton.
Lewis responds, “It’s not something I need to think about because it’s not going to happen. Nico qualified on pole in the last race, so he clearly has the speed and deserves to be here. I have just come to the team and I’m not doing too badly, so I doubt they will be replacing me. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest. Why should it? I’m comfortable where I am. I have a solid contract and a great lawyer, as have Mercedes.”
Ecclestone left hanging until June
A spokesperson for the Munich district court has told DPA that a decision will be made not before the beginning of June on whether to proceed to trial with the charges brought against Ecclestone.
In the mean time whispers are growing about how long Ecclestone can stay in office. Even if the Munich judges were to decide against Ecclestone facing trial, he has 2 other civil law suits pending for the Autumn. One in New York and the other in London.
These litigants are suing for nearly $1bn dollars in damages and they are aggrieved that they were disadvantaged by Ecclestone’s ‘closed shop’ dealings over the sale of F1 to CVC.
Ecclestone is still defiant telling Bilde, “When my contract expires with the company, they can replace me if they want it.” Though the details of the contract are not known, some believe when Ecclestone negotiated the rights to all F1 income for 99 years, he had a similar clause inserted into his contract of employment.
The silent one who resides in Paris has spoken and adds pointedly, “Responsibility for the future of Formula 1 sits more of CVC than with Bernie”, this counters Ecclestones suggestions to the Independent that “One day when I will not be there, one of the biggest problems will be that I have really good relationships with the race promoters. Some of them have told me: ‘If you’re not there, we are not either.’ That is the danger. “
Anyway while we’re discussing hanging – is there a TJ13 reader who knows how this conundrum ends?
The Judge informs a convicted criminal that they will be hanged at noon on a weekday during the following week. He adds though that the execution will be a surprise to the prisoner. Until the executioner knocks on the door at midday, he will not know the day of the hanging.
Having reflected on his sentence, the prisoner draws the conclusion that he will escape from the hanging. His reasoning is in several parts. He begins by concluding that the “surprise hanging” can’t be on Friday, as if he hasn’t been hanged by Thursday, there is only one day left – and so it won’t be a surprise if he’s hanged on Friday. Since the judge’s sentence stipulated that the hanging would be a surprise to him, he concludes it cannot occur on Friday.
He then reasons that the surprise hanging cannot be on Thursday either, because Friday has already been eliminated and if he hasn’t been hanged by Wednesday night, the hanging must occur on Thursday, making a Thursday hanging not a surprise either. By similar reasoning he concludes that the hanging can also not occur on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday. Joyfully he retires to his cell confident that the hanging will not occur at all.
So what happened?
Nikki has been attempting reasoned argument. Speaking to Austrian publication Osterreich here are his views on the dreaded ‘T’ issue. Lauda believes Pirelli’s change of heart is good, “This is very positive – and I speak as a neutral observer and not as Mercedes chairman
It can not even be in the spirit of racing that everyone just hopes they fall into the window in which the tyres work. Often it is pure coincidence, who drives faster on a given day due to temperature. The drivers complain rightly about the fact that they can no longer go racing. But it must again be allowed full speed on the gas to rise, to show who’s the fastest – the last no one has dared”.
A co-incidence Nikki??? Rubbish 5 races in, Alonso, Vettel and Raikonen have won. Three world champions winning the 5 races on offer is predictable. Further, Vettel 3 times world champion in the past 3 years is top of the drivers standings. That is also predictable.
What is also predictable is that in each team there is a world champion, they are ahead of their team-mate in the current driver standings. It may be fair to suggest that the tyres are not allowing the drivers to push hard the entire race, but there are no co-incidences in the F1 results and standings so far this year.
Tweet of the day
from @Lotus_F1Team: “Special delivery in Milton Keynes; it seems Pirelli have been ‘hard’ at work…”
Honer says Webber can stay – or does he?
Monaco is a circuit where Mark Webber has performed particularly well. He joined RBR in 2007 but that year he retired from the race with gearbox prblems. Since then he has finished 4,5,1,4,1 and is the reigning champion of premier racing in the principality.
Webber’s season so far has hardly been stellar. Since being robbed of his race win in Malaysia, Mark retired in China and came 7th in Bahrain and 5th in Barcelona. This is clearly not what he hoped for, particularly as he looks to settle a score with his German nemesis team mate.
Sky Sports News asked Christian Horner about Webber’s prospects and he replied, “We’re only five races in; we’re only a quarter of the season through the championship. Our decisions regarding drivers will be made in the summer and Mark – if he’s delivering and motivated and has the desire to continue – of course will be a driver that we know and has achieved so much with us that we’ll consider very closely. But no decisions will be made about drivers until later in the summer.”
73 words and nothing said. Still, since Vettel wrested control of the Red Bull team from Christian he has been visibly less prone to extreme verbosity. He has adopted a new style of communication best described as “short, sharp and still not to the point”. Either that description or try, “meaningless riddles”.
Lewis Catches Alonso
According to Business Book GP 2013 Lewis Hamilton has caught up with Fernando Alonso as F1’s highest earner. It claims they earn for driving alone EUR 20 million per season.
Stepping up to the plate and becoming McLaren’s number 1 driver has done well by Jenson Button as he is placed 3rd highest paid F1 driver earning EUR 16 million a year. Vettel in 4th place earns appears to be doing pretty badly for a triple world champion with income of a mere Euro 12m.
Then we have Nico Rosberg (11m) and Mark Webber (10m), while Brazilian Felipe Massa (6m) appears to have had to forfeit some of his wages to pay for all the damage he did went crashing into Lewis. Kimi is on a retainer at Lotus of Euro 3m however he is believed to receive substantial bonuses on a per-point bonuses.
Sergio Perez is paid just EUR 1.5 million by McLaren, and the only other FD1 drivers earning 7 figures are Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg, all receiving Euro 1m.
Michael Schumacher, though retired, is believed to be still earning a whopping Euro 17m a year.
F1 losing its UK audience
The Spanish Grand Prix dropped to its lowest rating since 2009, overnight figures show. BBC One’s programme from 12:10 to 15:15 recorded an average of 3.285 million viewers. Sky Sports F1′s exact programme figure is unknown, however, it failed to make ITV Media’s top 10, meaning it had under 483,000 viewers from 11:30 to 16:20.
Here are the UK viewing figures for the Spanish GP since 2010
Spanish Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2010 – 4.04 million
2011 – 4.75 million
2012 – 4.09 million
2013 – 3.77 million
Sky’s F1 broadcasting in general is hardly setting the world on fire. Here are the viewing audiences for the week ending the 5th May.
1 – 52k – The F1 Show (Friday, 20:00)
2 – 11k – The F1 Show (Friday, 22:31)
3 – 8k – Time of Our Lives: Grand Prix Greats (Friday, 19:00)
4 – 7k – Chinese Grand Prix Replay (Sunday, 10:00)
5 – 7k – 1983 French Grand Prix Highlights (Saturday, 21:40)
6 – 7k – Inside Track: Brundle and Hamilton (Friday, 23:47)
7 – 7k – Behind the Scenes with Lotus (Friday, 23:32)
8 – 7k – 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix Highlights (Friday, 21:00)
9 – 6k – The F1 Show (Saturday, 14:30)
10 – 6k – Inside Track: Brundle and Hamilton (Thursday, 21:46)
I for one turned over to the BBC because I’m sick and tired of listening to David Croft ranting about the tyres. At times his tone was a pleading whine as he bemoaned the spectacle he was describing.
I believe NBCSC had an excellent commentary where the excitement of Alonso’s charge was conveyed throughout by those with the microphone. And on that note, it’s shocking that commentator’s display the fact they are bemused by the number of pit stops and don’t understand how the race is progressing.
Martin Brundle may have gone to Sky because he wanted to commentate on every live race, yet when the BBC is in F1 town, he may be speaking but hardly anyone’s listening.
(source: The F1 Broadcasting blog)
Caterham GP review
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal of Caterham F1 Team, candidly reviews the Spanish Grand Prix weekend and looks ahead to the next race in Monaco
Lewis Hamilton was recently on the Graham Norton show in the UK and he was discussing people who have impressed him (other than Senna). When asked who stood out above all others he’s met, he replied “Mohamed Ali of course… to just be in his presence was fantastic”.
Lewis reflects on a missed opportunity to meet the ‘King of Pop’. He was “a person I wanted to meet from time to time, Michael Jackson, I love his music and what he has done.” Lewis says that he loves wathcing movies, they are a big part of life for him, and Robert Downy Junior is an actor he admires greatly.
The one superpower Lewis would like to have, would be the ability to fly. He said, “Superman was always cool. The way he could fly around was the coolest”.
Complete the phrase, “If Lewis could fly then….”
Caterham get title sponsor
EQ8, the natural energy drink, has increased its support for GP2 team Caterham Racing and is now the team’s title sponsor with the team being renamed EQ8 Caterham Racing with immediate effect.
Nigel Burton EQ8 Commercial Director said, “EQ8 is delighted to be able to increase its links with Caterham Racing, becoming title sponsor of EQ8 Caterham Racing. This is a real step forward and an opportunity to showcase EQ8 Natural Energy Drink around the world with GP2. Motorsport is an important pillar in our marketing and activation plans.”
Buemi to drive RB7
As if this headline is not bizarre enough, Red Bull says that Sebastian Buemi will drive RB7 at the Spa Renault 3.5 meeting on June 1/2. In the opposite direction to normal!