Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 27th June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 00:54 09:52 11:31 11:36 11:58 12:03 12:14 12:37 14:21 14:40

Intrigue over Interviews

It is now 00:54 on Thursday, the day of the FIA drivers’ press conference and no announcement has been made as to who will attend the conference in just 15 hours. Most unusual.

Hill says Hamilton has a lot to learn

Damon Hill the 1996 F1 world champion has launched a surprising broadside on Lewis Hamitlon. Speaking to the London Standard Hill says, “I don’t want to say Lewis is naive but he has a lot to learn. He genuinely wants to pursue his career in his own way. But the sport that he’s in is a very Machiavellian place. To succeed in Formula One you have to be a bit ruthless, have a focus, and almost a business mindset. Maybe he doesn’t want to have that. He wants to get in his car and show what he can do.

For people like Lewis, there are two career paths: the Beckham model (he’s managed by the same management group). That model has shown that some people can transcend their sport. Lewis’s management seem to be suggesting that he should follow the Beckham model. Lewis has clearly a lot going for him in the personality area. His girlfriend is a famous singer. But what is the measure of someone’s success? Is it fame or is it actual success?

Maybe XIX (Hamilton and Beckham’s management company) don’t realise there is a significant difference between celebrity footballers and Formula 1 champions. The latter make split second decisions, which either result in a 150 mph crash into a wall or a successful overtaking move. Footballer’s decide whether to pass, tackle, dribble or shoot.

Whilst nobody has done a scientific study comparing IQ tests between both sports participants, it would be surprising if Formula 1 drivers were not a great deal further up the intellectual ladder than the average footballer.

Part of the reason for this is that to be a successful F1 driver, you have to interact with crucial members of the team who are highly qualified in engineering, strategy and analysis. Science rules the sport and the driver has to be in some way immersed in that culture.

It’s easier in football to become a celebrity, there are many leagues across the world and many teams attaining glory each year. In F1, 1 team and 1 driver win each year. All F1 drivers are celebrities to some extent because in the world there are just 22 of them.

Winning is everything in F1, celebrity perfumes and fashion ranges mean little to fans and the world beyond F1.

Lewis has a problem identified by a senior and well know F1 personality who told me last year that they thought he was “just a bit thick”. XIX believe this is not a problem because they made Beckham a global brand outside of football and he is certainly no rocket scientist.

Yet Beckham became a consistent ‘on message’ brand managers dream whereas Lewis is an emotional roller coaster. When he moved to Mercedes he said, “we won’t win anything next year”, then in Barcelona testing 2 he believed Mercedes could win the world championship. Last week he admitted he needed to “get my shit together” and today he is claiming he can win the British GP.

F1 drivers are primarily judged by their relative performances to other F1 drivers and to this end Lewis is unfortunate. Formula 1 is in a golden age of driver competition and Lewis has to fight for supremacy with Vettel, Raikkonen and Alosno, whereas is days gone by the duels to be F1’s top dog were often just amongst 2 top drivers.

The choice for Lewis is in fact simple and Damon Hill hits the nail on the head when he asks what does Lewis want? “Fame or success?”

Who the hell is running Red Bull? (This story pre-dates the Webber announcement)

The picture at Mercedes AMG F1 has at times appeared to be unclear in terms of who is the boss of the team. Lauda joined the party last year as non-executive chairman and then Wolff jumped on the band wagon having seen Brackley as a more likely home for success than Grove.

Clearly Brawn has emerged from the travails of the International Tribunal as the master of all that he purveys – for now anyway. Yet Paddy Lowe will be appearing in Petronas colours for the first time this weekend and who the hell knows what will happen down the line.

However, the longer we observe Red Bull F1, the question has to be asked who is running the team? Who is the official spokesperson and who decides fundamentally which drivers will be contracted to pilot the Newey designed machines in 2014?

Webber has recently been making it known that he has an option to stay with the team for 2014, and it is common knowledge he has an excellent direct relationship with the teams billionaire owner with whom all his contracts have been negotiated direct.

Where does this leaves Marko and Horner?

The Guardian is reporting today that Christian Horner still holds a candle for the Lotus world champion driver Raikkonen. Horner comments on the team’s 2014 driver lineup stating, “Kimi would have to be an option [for 2014], if he were to be available. We’re in the fortunate position that there are an awful lot of people who would like to drive a Red Bull racing car”.

Then playing the political correctness card Horner adds, “The pairing we have has been tremendously successful. How much longer Mark wants to go on is a question only he can answer. From our perspective we will only change for something better than we currently have.”

The state of affairs between Webber and Vettel has clearly not altered as Christian remarks, “There is a professional relationship but there’s nothing beyond that between them. They both know what they’re employed by the team to do and there are no pretences.”

So why is this internal debate being carried out in public? Webber who is not known for his BS states… it is his call whether he stays or goes, yet Horner calls this into question with his open-ended comments over Kimi.

The suggestion is that it is Mark’s call to stay – unless ‘something better’ is available.

All this is very confusing and we have to ask; who the hell is running Red Bull F1 racing? Mateschitz, Marko, Vettel or Horner?

Webber retires from F1

There is little that surprises me in the world of Formula 1, however the announcement later today that Mark Webber will retire does indeed do that. Silverstone appears to be the time of year when the Aussie gets himself organised for the following season, and he will be sportscar racing for Porsche and  turning his back on Red Bull.

Webber says, “Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding performance and technology at the highest level. I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG says, “I’m very pleased to have secured Mark Webber for our LMP1 project as one of the best and most successful Formula 1 drivers of our time. Mark is without doubt one of the world’s best race drivers, he has experience at the Le Mans 24 hour race and on top of that he’s been a Porsche enthusiast for many years.”

Webber is being welcomed with open arms as Fritz Enzinger, Head of LMP1 adds, “I learned to appreciate Mark’s qualities when we were both involved in Formula 1. He is one of the best drivers I could imagine for our team. I’m absolutely delighted that we have such an experienced and fast regular driver onboard from 2014.”

Whilst there was a lot of debate following Sepang over Webber leaving Red Bull and joining Porsche, TJ13 was led to believe this to had settled down. Indeed Mark informed TJ13 that he was looking forward to the new turbo era of Formula 1.

So there is now a contract offer on the table from Mateschitz, who said recently of Webber, “Whether he retires, only he will choose, but Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014. He is always welcome with us.” It seems though that Webber is being Webber… he has always said what he thinks and attempted to control his own destiny as best he can – and he has decided its time to leave the F1 stage.

Many now realise how good Michael Schumacher really was since Lewis took his seat in the team, and it maybe a similar situation will arise when Vettel races against his new team-mate in 2014. Make no mistake, Mark Webber is a top driver and he could easily move to another team were he just hacked off with the way Red Bull have treated him.

Of course we thought driver line ups were looking pretty static for 2014 in the top teams, but now this opens the door for a re-shuffle once again. Everyone’s favourite will be Kimi, but don’t count out Paul di Resta (remember you heard that here first).

untitledMark has raced the Le Mans 24 hour race twice, in 1998-99 but after flipping the car in 99 he said would never race the circuit again. Clearly the offer from Porsche appears to be to great for him to resist.

This weekend will be an emotional one for Webber, because unlike many of his fellow racers he has made his home in England, paid his taxes and lived in a country he has come to love. The British F1 fans have little chance of success from their home grown drivers in this years Silverstone event, so their adopted Aussie son is likely to be the focus of their hopes.

I’ve seen many F1 drivers retire over the years, but I feel particularly sad to see Webber leave. I like what he represents in a modern sport driven by greed and corporate branding (well that’s the idea).  A fantastic racer and an even more fantastic person.

As a pom, there is no higher accolade that I could offer him other than to say Webber alone has persuaded me… Australians are not all bad 🙂

BBC feeling the pinch?

Yesterday TJ13 reported that the second largest public broadcaster in the world was pulling out of F1 at the end of the year citing finance as the primary reason. BBC F1 lovers already understand the pinch the largest public broadcaster has been feeling since they decided to sell the complete live rights to broadcast F1 in the UK to SKY.

We remember fondly the days of Jake flying in by helicopter to Monaco and Eddie wing walking his way into Silverstone. The cuts have clearly gone even deeper this year as below is a photograph of this years ‘big arrival’ feature the Beeb have laid on for Suzie P.

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McLaren support the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and ruling 

Speaking on behalf of the team from Woking, Sam Michael says that “We support the decision of the FIA. You can always have a personal opinion of protests and hearings, but at the Tribunal a group of lawyers considered completely dispassionate the case. Their judgement we have to trust, because if not, who’s going to control the sport? We respect the Tribunal. They made their position clear.”

Michael pays tribute to Mark Webber on the announcement of his retirement, “Mark is damn fast, one of the fastest drivers in the entire field. We grew up in the same country, but because he is younger than me, I did not meet him in Australia”. Sam Michael worked with Mark Webber at Williams F1 and he concludes, “I can imagine me how difficult it must have been for him to take as a driver set foot in Europe.”

Horner on Webber

Christian Horner has commented on Mark Webber’s decision to leave the Red Bull team saying, “I am sure Mark thought long and hard before making what has no doubt been a very difficult decision. His achievements in Formula One are extensive and I am sure he will continue to push hard and build on that record until the end of the season”.

We support Mark’s decision, he has been an excellent addition to the team since joining us in 2007 and we wish him all the best in the next stages of his career.” A team spokesperson added, “The decision on who will replace Webber will not be made until later in the season.”

FIA press conferences

We now know the line up for today and tomorrows FIA press conferences.

Drivers: Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta, Max Chilton, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Principal’s: Ross Brawn, Paul Hembery, Christian Horner, Stefano Domenicali, Martin Whitmarsh and Eric Boullier.

Tomorrow could be tasty, I wonder if Horner and Dominicali will refuse to be positioned adjacent to Brawn and again sit on the back row and talk amongst themselves like naughty boys – as they did in Canada. At least we won’t have ‘THE empty seat’, resplendent with its full glass of water ready and waiting.

Webber retirement revealed by a slip of the tongue?

Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller let hints of the Webber appointment slip earlier today Australian time during interviews at the launch of the plug-in Panamera. The Porsche boss also told motoring.com.au that Porsche would stage a multi-car comeback at the French endurance classic.

Indeed, he stated Porsche could enter as many as three factory cars to take on the might of Audi and Toyota.“The decision was at first two cars but as we all know from the statistic point of view, three cars may make a success more sure. But then we need three drivers more and one complete team more. So we will wait and see what the rest of the year will bring and at the end of the year we will discuss again whether we can afford the third team and whether it makes sense or not.” 

Mueller was evasive on the details of Webber’s signing. He did confirm, however, that Porsche has already signed three drivers for its LMP1 program. Nonetheless, his statements clearly reflected Webber’s imminent arrival.“We should have the team [of drivers] complete in the [Northern Hemisphere] autumn because they should have the opportunity to learn the car and to give the engineers the feedback and so on.”

When quizzed whether Webber F1 commitments would make this timeline difficult, Mueller told motoring.com.au’s Bruce Newton: “But he would have some time between the Formula One races … and he is such a good driver he would overcome this.” 

And if Red Bull team sponsor Infiniti stopped Webber? “That would be a pity,” the Porsche boss stated.

Mueller contend’s Porsche’s LM P1 program needs the best talent. “We are looking for the best drivers and it doesn’t matter where they have been before, they have to be fast and they have to fit to our team… If someone is fast and if he fits to our team, so why not? And if Mark Webber is such a guy, why not?” (source: motoring.com.au) Clearly Webber needs to be released by Red Bull to do some track work with Porsche in the autumn, and so the timing of the announcement is not surprising.

The official announcement was to be this afternoon, as Webber clearly wanted to say goodbye to the Silverstone crowd. His two wins at the circuit put him in the company of Moss, Acari and Stewart and only Alonso of the current drivers is a multiple winner in Northampton.

Lotus ‘the device’

Lotus fans have been longing for this day, and TJ13 reported 2 days ago a source informed us that they will use their ‘device’ (DDRS, PRD or DRD or whatever the hell we call it) in the race at Silverstone. Eyes on the ground are reporting the build process is currently under way and the ‘ears’ are unveiled astride the main airbox intake.

Williams/Nissan Partnership

I have to smile because for me Nissan was Datsun back in the day – and that was not good. However, Williams Advanced Engineering division will team up with Nissan’s performance arm Nismo to develop fast road cars.

Nissan explain they have chosen Williams as their partner because, “of its expertise in aerodynamics, simulation and material science”. Williams is also a world leader in hybrid technology, and played a pivotal role in developing the now defunct Jaguar C-X75 hypercar prototype.

Autocar comments, “Thus far Nismo’s products have targeted mainstream performance car buyers. Although they have sold well, Nismo is known to feel that it needs to produce an outright performance car in order to cement its credentials against more focused rivals. However, it was previously thought that the hardcore Nissan GT-R Nismo that’s expected to be revealed at the Tokyo motor show this year would perform that role”.

Could it also be the Nissan will step up to the LMP1 class at Le Mans and a Williams-Nissan partnership will help them achieve this ambition.

Williams boss Frank Williams said: “This partnership is particularly exciting because of the ambition and potential of the Nismo brand. Both parties share a passion for racing and cutting-edge technology and this collaboration will see us work closely together to develop cars that will be at the very pinnacle of automotive technology.”

Ironic Note: Williams have deserted the Renault-Nissan F1 engine partnership for Mercedes.

Massa’s new role

The trauma of the uncertainty surrounding his Ferrari drive for 2012 has clearly affected Felipe. Even though Stefano has hinted strongly he will remain with the team in 2013, Massa is hedging his bets.

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Clarity at last on Pirelli tyre tests

The FIA have clarified the conditions behind the in season testing contract they have with Pirelli.

Firstly, Pirelli have to prove that the test is organized, paid for and carried out by Pirelli. The application must be submitted at least two weeks before the test. Secondly, Pirelli needs to send a precise test plan to the FIA. If the authority is then granted to the test, they will send an observer to ensure the plan is adhered to.

The other teams may send observers, and they cannot veto the test as long as Pirelli fulfills its obligation to invite each team to such a test. The test and tyre data must remain in the possession of Pirelli and may not be communicated to the test team.

There we have it then – why was this not specified in the contract which the FIA gave to Pirelli? Incompetence and lack of foresight are the most likely reasons.

This will not necessarily resolve Pirelli’s problems, because teams have been offered testing opportunities and they turned them down; most likely because there was no perceived advantage for the team in helping Pirelli test prototype rubber.

However, after all the bluster from Red Bull, not even Marko and Horner can have the face to refuse Pirelli again – as apparently ‘anytime you get to run an F1 car you are learning something’… was I word perfect on that Christian?

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65 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 27th June 2013

  1. Although you might get a few million footballers tracking you down for those comments I reckon you’ve hit the nail on the head with Lewis’s wishy washy demeaner.
    I think to be a champion you need humility
    – something neither Lewis or Seb have much of.
    Cf. Alonso – he oozes humility.
    He deserves champion status because he rarely says that he will win, but often does.

    • To be honest, I don’t think ANY recent F1 champion or contender has more than about 1% humility when it comes to their belief in their own talent. I suspect that humility in an F1 World Champion is something that went away long ago.

      I’m not talking about humility when away from racing (the stories of how nice and kind and generous various racers are AWAY from the track are legion – but that’s got nothing to do with how they are when competing), and I’m not talking about the “public face” humility which is only a marketing brand of the driver.

      I don’t think many of us understand what it truly takes to get to the top in a world like this and, as Damon alludes to, it is (amongst other things) a ruthless, competitive, “I’m better than everyone else” attitude. I think they ALL have it, it’s just that some disguise it better than others.

      Lewis, Seb, Fernando, Jenson, Kimi… I’ll bet you find little humility in any of them if you’re close to them and talk about racing. The rest is just public perception.

      In my opinion.

      • Jim Clarke was the last champ to have humility imo.

        Humility is weakness to these lads. As it is to the teams. Jenson is prob the most humble around now. Fernando gives a good impression of it occasionally, but i don’t really buy it.

        Will really miss

      • I just saw this comment, and one thing I would add as a sort-of clarification, is that, while it is ruthless at the top of elite sport, fans and aficionados and the general public must not think that the sportsmen lack concern for their competitors, and respect – the kind based on commonality of experience (experience in a super-elite world). And if F1 I think this would probably apply most to safety, as it is in pro cycling…while sprinters may take horrible risks, and GC riders as well (when they’re sprinting, and descending mountains, respectively), the consummate professional is not so egotistical to think that his talent and ruthlessness can substitute for mutual self-preservation such that he would carelessly put both his life and a rival’s at risk beyond what would be considered reasonable by them both.

        Hope that makes sense (just wanted to give a brief response).

  2. “Lewis has clearly a lot going for him in the personality area. His girlfriend is a famous singer.”

    Yeah, where? In North America the only thing Flopsinger has going for her are commercials for those glue on finger nails and hair shampoo. She’s a nobody.

    • Cav, sorry, I like and respect your contributions here a great deal, but I have to say that I don’t think it’s ok to run someone down who has had a great deal of success in a ridiculously competitive business – especially to use terms like “Flopsinger” and say that she’s a nobody.

      I have never, knowingly, heard a song that she has been involved with and, frankly, I’d probably dislike it if I did. But the woman has been very successful in her field and is, undeniably, famous as a result – perhaps just not in your cultural sphere.

      I’m not trying to pick a fight in any sense whatsoever, just want to say that this is an F1 blog and insulting a driver’s girlfriend should be, I think, out of bounds.

      • The ‘cheeky girls’, ‘Jedward’, ‘Geri Haliwell (solo)”, ‘Victoria Beckham’, ‘Jordan’, ‘Paris Hilton’, ‘the crazy frog’ and ‘Milli Vanilli’ have all had “success” in this field – Mmm.

        I wind my kids up and call her ‘shirtlifter’ – due to her pole dancing style of music where the lyrics invariably consist of sentiments such as “I’m all yours baby – do to me whatever you want – wherever you want – however you want” and other embarrassing female sexual submissive rhetoric.

        She’s not admired by feminists, strong women or proper musical artists – anywhere. A mere product of sex marketing.

        • I’d add Spice Girls, any girl band or boy band etc etc.

          “or proper musical artists – anywhere.”
          That just about sums up the music industry doesn’t it? The watch word is Industry. Any industry on this planet is about business and profit. There is no accounting for artistic merit.

          I have been a lifelong fan of Prince, a man who famously took on the music industry in 1995 because they effectively owned him. He won.
          He followed this up with legal fights against youtube and itunes, because “business” once more was not paying money to artists. Once again, he won, and musicians all over the world have good reason to say thanks to a modern day Mozart.
          To this day, in concert, he will always say at one point, “real music by real musicians’ or “real music for real music lovers”

      • Sorry to have offended your sensibilities but she is a public figure. You won’t like this either nor will the Hamilton fans. Scherzinger aka Flopsinger is in my opinion and those of lots of others, nothing more than a Filipina gold digger. She’s leveraged her relationship with Hamilton to sell records in the UK and no where else. Outside of the UK she’s a nobody.

        • Rather sad to see Cav’s comment about Lewis’s girlfriend. Personally I can’t quite see why we need insulting comments about driver’s relationships when there are a myriad of other interesting things to talk about.
          Factually she was born in Hawii, not the Phillipines. She had achieved worldwide success before she met Lewis. so hardly leveraging her relationship with him.

          Here is an extract from Wikipaedia about her:
          Since the beginning of her career in 1999, Scherzinger has sold 80 million records worldwide.[2][3] In 2009, Billboard ranked her, along with The Pussycat Dolls, as one of the top ten most successful musical acts of the 2000s.[4] In 2011, Rolling Stone ranked Scherzinger the ninth best dancing musician.[5] She also appeared on VH1’s list of the “100 Greatest Women in Music” in 2012 and was ranked eighth “Sexiest Artist of All Time” in 2013.[6][7] In 2013, Scherzinger was The Harvard Foundation’s “Artist of the Year”.[8] Scherzinger’s work has earned her awards and accolades, including two MTV Music Video Awards, three Billboard Music Awards and a Cosmopolitan Award.

          I feel in the interests of clarity and factuality this may correct Cav’s rather slanderous description of her

          Hopefully your honour will allow this as character evidence

  3. I am afraid you have the conundrum that is Lewis’ career described perfectly. In today’s F1, seat-of-the pants driving brilliance is almost secondary to technical acumen, perfect team player pitch, and ironclad personal discipline. Due to a confluence of feeder formula competition at an all-time high combined with the methodical data-driven regimen of today’s top teams and the happy coincidence of so many top line drivers at the peak of their career, the phenomenon of Lewis 2007 & 2008 seasons is not likely to be repeated. Alonso, the drivers driver in an era of unprecedented talent, who has lost 2 of the last 3 championships in the last race of the season, is the perfect example, something he understands intuitively, and something that is just dawning on our young & fast aging Lewis. The spectacle of Michael Shumacher dominating all during a fallow period for top line drivers (he had no one in his class from the day Hakkinen retired), which Lewis probably expected to emulate, simply cannot happen today, and hopefully never will again.

    • I disagree that Hakkinen was in his class to be honest.
      A man who had to be gifted his first 2 wins, then won a close WDC in a dominant car on the best tyres as Goodyear was withdrawing at the end of 1998.

      Ferrari in 1998 were just getting their factory together, Brawn and Byrne’s first Ferrari was the 1998 car and was in no position to take on Mclaren, yet Schumacher almost did. If only he didn’t suffer pressure, he wouldn’t have stalled on the Suzuka grid!

      In 1999, he just beat Irvine, because Schumi had broken his leg. Again, if Schumacher had been more of a team player, he would have beaten Hakkinen in Suzuka and Irvine would have been Ferrari champion, but that didn’t sit well with MSC or Todt, it was LdM who called Schumacher back after his daughter said “Daddy’s outside playing football”… on a broken leg!

      It’s not MSC’s fault when he was born, but his competition was not of the highest calibre, without having a Ferrari team built around him too.

  4. Speaking as a North American, Beckham had little impact here. There were the odd commercials with him on TV but that was about it. There are already enough sports stars in hockey, baseball, basketball and football flogging products. And honestly most North American men view soccer as a girl’s game. And if XIX think that a black guy with a funny accent covered with tattoo’s is going to break into this market they are sadly mistaken.

    • Fair point, but Beckham was wheeled out to secure the London 2012 games along with the failed England world cup bid, so maybe it’s just in Europe and Asia where he was this transcendental celebrity

    • “And if XIX think that a black guy with a funny accent covered with tattoo’s is going to break into this market they are sadly mistaken.”

      —ehhrmm, what does Hamilton’s race have to do with anything? Are you taking the piss or are you seriously that ignorant (and racist?) to derisively refer to Hamilton as “a black guy with a funny accent covered with tattoo’s[sic]”?

      You’re not even correct, b/c Hamilton is mixed-race, having been born of a Black British father and a White British mother.

  5. Lewis might be slightly “thick” but I really don’t think he could have been as successful as he has been without something going for him. I see his story as being on the wrong end of a whole new kind of driver in Vettel, even though they are only a few years apart.

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the book “Moneyball” but it traces the quantization of baseball statistics by truly bright mathematicians, which allows the Oakland A’s to regularly compete for the championship despite spending less than half the money of the teams with whom they compete.

    IT’s really quite a good book, but I bring it up because I see Vettel as the logical end product of this kind of thinking. I truly believe the lad has been taught to drive by data, not feel, and the end result has taken Hamilton, Alonso and all the rest of us unawares. And just to be clear, I am not saying he is a bad driver, on the contrary, he is clearly one of the best on the grid. But what he means by that and what the rest of us mean is not necessarily the same thing, and watch out for him when he matures enough to have a “Prost”ian approach to the margins. You’ll see this when the only time he competes for fast laps is to improve on his record of bagging the most Grand Chelems.

    BTW, the answer to your last question is clearly yes, which is why they are currently so entertaining.

  6. Mateschitz runs Red Bull. Webber is leaving to drive the Porsche LMP. Kimi will slot in at RB.

  7. Well, Webber’s exit from RB was as predictable as the Amen in church after Malaysia. My money had been on a seat swap with Kimi though.

    Kimi to RB would be an interesting move in my ways. Seb would be the first world champion in a very long time to accept another champion within the same team, especially as it is a no-win scenario for him. If he gets beaten by Kimi, his detractors will have a field day. If he beats Kimi, they will simply continue saying he wins, because he’s the golden boy at RB.

    From RB’s side it would be a risky move, too. The last time that such a strong pair of drivers in a top team has worked out was, when Fangio and Moss were at Mercedes.

    • Prost and Lauda in 1984/5?
      I’d also argue that 1988 and 1989 worked out pretty well for Mclaren.

      It depends if you mean that 2 top drivers in the same team can co-exist, or if you mean that eventually the team will break up?

      It’s almost accepted that in modern F1 you need the main man going for the WDC with an able lieutenant to back him up to take points away from the competition and secure the Constructor trophy as well.
      Otherwise you run the risk of 1986 being repeated, where the Williams drivers, Mansell and Piquet hated each other so much that they raced to the detriment of the team, allowing Prost to sneak in and win the WDC

  8. when webber continued to sign deals at red bull in spite of all the controversy, i suspected that he was promised that, if he continued to perform, he would get his shot once vettel clinched his third title. because if he wanted to remain a no.2 he could have gone to ferrari, a team with more prestige and alongside a driver he has a better relationship with. when he was quick at the beginning of the year i felt confirmed, especially when vettel was told to hold station behind mark in malaysia. i guess the fallout from sepang then convinced mark that he was never going to get a fair shot, which is why he decided to leave f1.

    • To be fair, Webber never drove like a future world champion. He had the chance in 2010, but he simply gave up instead of fighting after he and Alonso got stuck behind a Russian pay driver in a souped up Clio.
      And if you win a single race in a season (2011) where your team mate wins 11, you’ve not earned a shot at the title.

      • I thought you had a better understanding of F1 than that. 2011 was a ‘unique’ year in F1, due to the significant counter intuitive driving style Newey’s design required (accelerate when you should be braking) – Vettel mastered this and then the car was a world beater. When Vettel moans about tyres he should remember that year.

        Webber was very close in 2010, and it was probably earlier in the season which was his real undoing as opposed to the race in Abu Dhabi – which is a modern day Monaco procession without tyres and DRS.

        Vettel has since improved and grown in confidence and is clearly now the better driver.

        • And I thought you had a better memory, your honour 😉

          The only reason why 2010 was decided by the snoozefest in Abu Dhabi was that the RB6 was as reliable as a tissue paper boat in early 2009 and more often than not the defects befell Vettel’s car. Add to that numerous inexperience-driven mistakes, else Vettel would have wrapped up the thing much earlier.

          The problem of Mark is his inconsistency. On a good day, he’s nigh-on unbeatable, but his good days are too rare. He has had many races where he was lackluster at best, even before he joined RB. Nobody proved better than Alonso last year that for a serious shot at the title, you can’t afford to have off-days and mark has definitely too many of those.

          • And even though the team tried to help poor unlucky Sebastian out – by giving him Webber’s wing – who won the British GP? 😉

          • That ol’ story will be warmed up again and again 😉 Well, Webber won even without the magic wing, so it cannot have been THAT important. Why they did that in the first place is anybody’s guess.

            The really interesting bit about 2010 is though that RB could have told Seb in Brazil that ‘Mark is faster than you, acknowledge’, which would have given Mark the championship lead. But the result as seen in Abu Dhabi would have given Alonso the title. I doubt it was a masterstroke, more like blind luck, but it makes good ammo for the pub quiz.

          • For me the Silverstone story is its the exception that proves the rule. I think Marks a top bloke, but I agree with Danilo that he is too inconsistent. Its a drivers job to adapt, something the true greats seem to be able to do. Vettel adapted to the diffuser but Mark didn’t or couldn’t, thats the way it works, if you have an advantage, you either find a way to make it work, or you loose. Trulli was a great talent but couldn’t adapt to the tyres so always looked mediocre, and suffered a similar lacklustre F1 career.

          • Vettel is very good and Newey builds good cars. That’s what po’s people so much about them. The problem at RB was always that Mark and Seb have vastly different preferences in driving style. So whenever one of them was good, the other suffered.

            Take last season. When the EBD was nixed, the car lost a lot of rear downforce, which hurt Vettels driving. That’s why Mark was better in early 2012. When the massive update came and RB had clawed back most of the rear downforce, Vettel set off on a winning streak and Mark faded into obscurity.

            I never understood the wisdom of employing two drivers with fundamentally different driving styles.

    • Apparently Mark doesn’t agree with your conclusion :

      “Webber made it clear that recent Red Bull controversies – like the ‘Multi 21’ team orders affair in Malaysia – had not influenced his decision however.

      “No, I’ve had a personal plan and I’ve stuck to it. This is the next chapter,” he said.

      He added: “I never asked the team for more work but I’ve remained in touch with Dietrich Mateschitz over the last six to eight months and he’s been absolute quality for me.

      “Going forward I will remain tightly inside the Red Bull family, working with the brand, and watching and supporting fellow Red Bull athletes push the boundaries.”

      also I find strange that Lewis,who drove a McLaren in 2012, be the one carrying the Mercedes-Benz’s message about W04 improvement over the 2012 version. It should have been more fitting, in my view, for Nico to deliver these observations…. what’s up doc? 🙄

      • It’s really down to the fact that LMP1 has rolling starts that has Webber leaving, lol.

  9. Sad for Webber – really liked the plucky bloke – will miss him (didnt see this coming at all) but still not overly surprised

    – but as my lady says, at least now he will be able to eat something.. 🙂

  10. G’day TJ13

    Long time follower, 1st time reply!
    Just wanted to say “thanks” on on final remark….re-Webber and Aussies!

    “We arent all that bad…lol”

    Cheers and Beers

    S

    • Was brought up on a diet of Dennis Lillee and Thomo if that helps explain my deep rooted angst 🙂

      I have to say as the debate in the UK rages between one view which says criminals should be locked up and the key thrown away – and the other which promotes rehabilitation…

      …the nation of Australia is strong evidence in for the latter 🙂

  11. I find it lamentable that half of the comments today have been focusing on a mini-Lewis-bashing session including his girlfriend, etc, etc. Some almost resembled the nonsensical posts I used to see in the BBC website and have refrained from reading any longer.

    Whatever his abilities (intellectual and other), he will go down as one of the greats of this era. He hasn’t won a title and so many races just by luck. I don’t tink he’s as thick as anyone thinks.

    We are blessed to witness Alonso, Lewis and Vettel, even Kimi, at the height of their careers. They’re all unique and exciting in different ways and have different strengths. But at the end of the day, what will win you titles is the car, even if you’re the second or third best driver around (…hmm…Mr Hill?)

    • Oh no. Red Bull are out of the dock and now McLaren fans are kicking off with the court’s rulings.

      In twitter speak (resignedly) I guess that’s the #LifeofaJudge

      • Well, I agree with McLaren78 here. Some of the comments about his girlfriend were rather uncalled for. As far as I can see, he complained about some comments, not your article – like, let’s say, I did recently 😉

        • And I agreed with the commentators criticisms about his girlfriend, so I added comment to the article.

          IMHO she is a gold digger, and messing with Lewis’ head. He is worth in cash terms infinitely more than she is…

          • Judge, you may know her well enough to make this assessment (or be informed by those who do). On the other hand, there can’t be a single successful driver’s girlfriend who is ISN’T worth infinitely less than their beau. In fact, I would have thought the disparity is likely to be less in this case than most.

            If you are not reliably informed, I think this is shoddy.

          • I can tell you Lewis head would be in a better place if she was not around. Of that I’m certain. Hence my opinion.

            I want to see the focused awesome driver Lewis was in his early career, not the distracted moody roller coaster Lewis we have today. He appeared carefree too back then.

          • I am in whole-hearted agreement in wanting to see the focussed, awesome-driver version of Lewis back in F1 and I am quite willing to believe that his relationship is at least one of the things that is keeping that from us.

            However, a girlfriend certainly doesn’t need to be a “gold-digger” for a relationship to be distracting – I’m sure many of us have had distracting relationships and I absolutely certain that none of mine were due to gold-digging as there was no gold for which to dig.

            Overall, it’s the name-calling that I object to in all of the relevant comments. I’m sure that such a learned bunch as there is here doesn’t need to resort to that – ESPECIALLY when we’re not even talking about the driver himself.

            Ok, I’m done on this subject – I don’t think we should be talking about it at all, so I’ll try to stop perpetuating it!

    • I have never been a fan of Damon Hill in the slightest. Seems like a nice bloke etc but never came across as a “racer” to me. I tend to admire the mentality of a racer, be it Villeneuve, Senna, Mansell, Alesi and Alonso. In Motorbikes it would be Fogarty and Rossi, and now this new kid Marquez.

      It’s not about their actual race craft, it’s about their attitude.

      Anyway, I digress… I always felt Hill has been much maligned. Maybe part of that dates back to him having been a test driver and then ending up in a Williams.
      On occasion in 1993, he had the beating of a triple World Champion, but Renault’s statement pre season about, at last having a French World Champion driving a French engined car, was ominous as to equal treatment within the Williams team.
      In 1994, Mansell was drafted back on the behest of Williams and the sponsors after Senna’s death. His feedback just backed up what Hill had been saying all along.
      It would seem even Williams didn’t believe in the man, because he was sacked in 1996.
      In 1997, he took a back of the grid car, Arrows/ Yamaha into race winning contention by Hungary. Iirc, the Arrows both qualified well at Spa also.
      In 1998, he took a poorly performing Jordan, who after Britain hadn’t scored any points and won in Spa. Fortuitously, but still quite a turnaround.
      In 1999, he had quite obviously lost his motivation, but I would suggest that his work throughout 1998 and 99 paved the way for Frentzen to be a Championship contender.

      I don’t watch Sky, for personal reasons, so I can’t comment on Hill as a pundit, but I believe he is a greater driver than given credit for.
      Think back to this for reasons why,

      • To be fair, Damon calls it as he sees it.

        He refused to work Bahrain 2012 on principle – right or wrong, and unlike Lazenby and Herbert he has his own mind and good insight, and expresses it well.

        • I was and still am a massive Damon Hill fan. People need to look back at that time and really ask who would of done a better job?
          (dont anybody dare say Alesi)

          Not the best by any stretch of the imagination, but still for a bit luck could of been a 3x world champion.

          My fav memory, was his Jordan win, MS was quick ther Damon for sure, but poeple forgert at the start of that race, Damon was still 3-4 seconds quicker than anyone else, bar Micheal.

          And another fave was (i forget the year, might of been his championship year) it was Brazil, wet and Damon just drove off at 3 secss sometime more per lap away from everyone, inc MSC. Its down to it being the Williams.

          The following Race MSC does the same, and its all him.

          Damon very much underated, rant over, sorry judge

  12. Gutted about Webber.

    Most enjoyable driver of recent times, due to never say die attitude and underdog status.

    Mishandled by RB too, just to show their driver approach was correct. Equal cars, equal backing, equal status, equal parts and he would have been much closer to the smiling assassin.

    A true legend, and a great guy. He’ll be missed.

    • He proves that to be respected and admired, you don’t have to win everything.

      I’ve been told on a number of occasions by F1 folk who have served 20-30 years in the sport. “Never underestimate the part that luck plays”

      IMHO there have been a couple of key moments where Webber didn’t get the rub of the green, and he could easily have been a 1 time world champion.

      His star at Red Bull, regardless of whether you think he has been treated as a No.2, is considered higher than Button – who of course is a WDC.

      Horner said today, Button was not on their ‘radar’.

  13. Mark Webber will be sadly missed in F1, he is one of the last true gentleman racing drivers left in the sport. What you see is what you get with him, always honest and fair minded. He has had to put up with a lot of bad sportsmanship from Vettel and bad decisions from his team.
    As the BBC dont do sport any more, where will I be able to watch him racing? I only have the basic Sky package, is it being shown on one of their sports channels?

    • Who has the rights to various motorsport events changes from year to year. Eurosport may have it in 2014.

      There are always free Internet feeds we will publish on the site in future.

      • Thanks that would be really helpful.
        By the way, if you could choose any current driver to replace Webber, who would you choose? I think my choice would be Alonso. He can get the best out of any car and it would be good to see them competing on equal terms.

        • This is an hypothetical replacement….I realise he is under contract already 🙂

        • Glad to oblige. My view is The Hulk, though PdR may give them some Uk fan support. Plus. PdR. Will be compliant, he already got rejected by McLaren in favour of Perez.

  14. A nice series of news highlights slightly spoilt by the inclusion of an alleged quote from a “..senior and well know# F1 personality…” In any language that is cheap and cowardly. That could be from anyone, spewing poisoned patrisan bile. To quote it anonymously, knowing the perception it would reinforce was sloppy on your part in my opinion. Lewis is indeed lost and has been since he split from his Father, as manager. I would not say he is a little thick per se, just immature. Witness his longing to appear as one of the “homeboys” that just permeates everything down to the way he speaks and looks (not exactly home counties), I wish he was more stylish and less jewelled and tattooed, but these adornments are the symptoms of the 21st century metrosexual insecure male syndrome (I could go on). Lewis needs to grow up and concentrate on his driving and teamplay – and listen to some real music!, not that abomination known as hip-hop. His driving and application from 2004 to F1 also showed he is far from “thick.” Rant over.

    Nice coverage of the Pirelli case by the way, More on the motivations of RB please.

    • I agree with your comments re “.senior and well know# F1 personality…”… I mean good god. But exactly how does Lewis need to “grow up”? The number of comments that I read where that same tired line is expressed its unbelievable. Presumably, he has regressed since last year, because by most accounts he drove very well, and as we all know, was let down by the team and faulty equipment. As for he should “listen to some real music!, not that abomination known as hip-hop”, well, what should he listen to in your opinion, heavy metal scream-o, country? I personally don’t care what he listens to, and I don’t see how it’s relevant in any way whatsoever.

  15. Hamilton would probably be a more focused (but not necessarily better as his ability is still intact) driver in the paddock if his girlfriend wasn’t around. But then again : last year he was on track for a decent title charge that was derailed by McLaren’s noobish mistakes and his car failing him when he needed it the least. Good fortune favours him less than, say, Vettel. I won’t go in the “what if”s but Hamilton was in position to win 3 more races than he eventually won, and that he failed in those 3 (Barcelona, Singapore, Abu Dhabi) was not because of him so for me, it doesn’t put his talent into question.

    Coming from Hill, you’d think it’s only Hamilton who’s lacking this. Alonso, who is considered as being at least as good as Hamilton, and also more focused and result-driven, is just as unable to derail Vettel’s yearly charges towards the title and even with a pretty healthy lead, ultimately it just wasn’t enough because the Ferrari was just not as fast as the Red Bull towards the end of the season. Does that make Alonso a bad driver ? Not in my book, but Hill would imply this, judging by his comments.

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