Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 3rd August 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day. Click on each link for the full article and then comment here as you see fit.

Gary Anderson: Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari and scrapping DRS (BBC)

Gary argues Ferrari are in decline, “The way things are going, Hamilton is more of a threat to Vettel in the championship than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who has been the Red Bull driver’s leading pursuer for much of the season.

Anderson slates the use of DRS saying, “the FIA has its priorities wrong in taking away the potential for drivers to do moves like that [Grosjean] but giving them the ridiculous DRS overtaking aid to create artificial overtaking manoeuvres.

What is motor racing becoming? That was a great move by two good, aggressive drivers, and it was real. That’s what it’s all about”

Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy have lead roles in soap opera of sport (Guardian)

“Hamilton’s touching confession and the feverish speculation over McIlroy’s slump remind us once again that we are doomed to look on as sport becomes less and less distinguishable from soap opera, feeding the hunger for the noisy headlines and glamorous images that keep the revenue streams flowing for all concerned”.

Flavio Briatore says Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is not angling for a 2014 Red Bull seat (SKY)

Flavio remarks, “Fernando has a contract and contracts must be respected,” Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Alonso has never said he wants to leave. Ferrari-Alonso remains a winning pairing.”

And asked whether the Spaniard was tempted to join Red Bull, Briatore replied: “No. No temptation whatsoever.”

Chandhok’s racing idol: Alain Prost (MotorSport)

The tyre debate of recent years has led many fans to believe the halcyon days of F1 were the Schumacher/Ferrari dominant sprint years. Karun Chandhok recalls a time long before then where another driver changed the face of F1.

“Alain’s ability to put aside qualifying glory and consciously work on the long-term game seems so logical to me. Races like Mexico in 1990, where the Ferrari wasn’t very quick over one lap were just fantastic. Alain spent all of practice and qualifying working on race setup and despite starting 13th on the grid, came through to pass Ayrton and win”.

Ferrari boss re-affirms his criticism of Alonso

Full statement from Maranello below….

Maranello, 3 August –Ferrari and its fans: the priorities are very clear for Luca di Montezemolo, points he stressed in an interview published today in the Italian daily paper, Corriere della Sera and here we reprint several sections. Montezemolo didn’t just focus on Ferrari, because in his interview with sports editor Daniele Dallera, he also made some points on the current state of Formula 1 in general.

“Our fans should never be forgotten, they deserve respect and therefore they are entitled to get satisfaction. We must work for Ferrari and for them,” said the President. “Let me make it clear that it’s Ferrari I’m interested in. Drivers, we’ve had a lot, some very good, some great, but drivers come and go, while Ferrari remains.”

Montezemolo didn’t mince his word when speaking of the current state of the team, on the back of a disappointing performance at the Hungaroring and of Alonso’s frustration that is getting ever more complicated: “Fernando is a great driver and I understand him, he is a bit like me: he wants to win. He must just remember that one wins and loses together and for its part, Ferrari must give him a car capable of starting from the front two rows…It doesn’t sit well with me seeing our car is not competitive. That’s why I intervened, even if I didn’t want to abuse my authority over my men. However, it had to be done. But how? We started so well, we had begun the world championship with a very competitive car, maybe even considered the best. But something happened and instead of moving forward we went backwards. Therefore the right attitude, the one I am taking from now on is as follows: understand the mistakes, fix them and after this careful analysis develop the car in the right direction. We must put our heads down in this return match, as I describe this second part of the season after the break, a break I don’t like, but we have to adhere to it.”

These difficult times do not however rule out the hope of a comeback, which according to Montezemolo are based on two facts: “Firstly, our DNA, Ferrari’s and mine, has a characteristic that we never give up. We must get back on the path we were on up until Barcelona. We can do it. Secondly, Spa and Monza are two circuits that could suit the characteristics of our car. Yes, the conditions are in place to give a strong signal of a recovery and, on top of that, I expect results from our engineers who must demonstrate their worth. Then, please, let’s not forget that last year, at the last race, for a few laps, Alonso was the virtual world champion, at the wheel of a Ferrari and definitely no other car, which confirms this team knows how to be competitive.”

Montezemolo returned to the subject of Alonso and also talked about Massa. “Fernando has given a lot in these last years and I repeat, his disappointment, which came about mainly after Silverstone, where all of us expected to be more competitive, is understandable. But I didn’t like some attitudes, a few words, some outbursts. And I said so…I reminded everyone, including the drivers, that Ferrari comes before everything, the priority is the team. Rather like a family father pointing out the need to respect some family rules: I wish to underline the concept of family values…Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy. But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points. Then, at some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do.”

There was also time for some words about the team boss, Stefano Domenicali. “Stefano was born and raised with us from all managerial points of view. But as a sportsman, he knows he needs results. However, when one talks about Domenicali, one truth is king: under his management we have one one Constructors’ title and come very close to three Drivers’ titles. Two of those we could easily have won and then people’s opinion of Domenicali would be very different. There’s one thing I remind him of very often: he has to get the most out of every individual in his organisation, never be satisfied and if necessary, take some drastic and painful decisions.”

Having dealt with Ferrari, Montezemolo moved on to other topics, starting with a look at the strongest rival of recent years, Red Bull. “I’ve been around in F1 for quite a while, since the Seventies, so I don’t envy anyone anything. With the current regulations favouring aerodynamics, Red Bull was clever in getting a great designer, Adrian Newey, to get the most out of all aspects of the regulations. I will digress: this aspect of the rules is, in my opinion, a mistake and therefore needs changing. Luckily, the hoped for changes are coming. We don’t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order. We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world. Formula 1 also has to be a clean sport without any of the monkey business we have had to put up with in recent years. From next season, we will have a completely different F1, finally less dependent on aerodynamics. I build cars not planes. We will finally have testing again and not a farce like what we saw this year with one team doing illegal testing without even paying the right penalty for it. In this case, I would have expected more clarity and courage from the FIA. On the other hand, the benefits gained by the team that carried out the secret banned testing are watched by everyone: before then, it had not won a single grand prix, then after the test it won three out of five races. These are the sort of serious incidents that affect F1’s credibility and alter the championship.”

As to the future of the highest category of motorsport, Montezemolo repeated well known stances: “Sooner or later a generational change always occurs. It’s not too long until we reach the post-Ecclestone era for reasons of statistics. As for the rest, I don’t want to talk about it. We will have to prepare for a new cycle, capable of tackling the urgent matters and the need for a new F1. I believe the management of this sport, which let’s not forget is not just a show, should be entrusted to a group of men open to new ideas, who know about racing but also about marketing and communications and are sensitive to the demands of the fans, those who come to the circuits and therefore pay for the tickets and those who watch on TV, while being able to involve the sponsors and not alienate them. But be careful, I don’t want to have discussions with Ecclestone, I have had some in the recent past, because he was too talkative on the subject of Ferrari, but surprisingly silent on the subject of the illegal tests carried out by Mercedes. I know Bernie’s strengths and weaknesses, but let’s be very clear on one point, no one else will ever do for Formula 1 what Ecclestone has done.”

Part of the interview was given over to someone well known in Maranello, the current FIA President, Jean Todt. “When he was in charge of the race team here, he didn’t just do a good job, he did a great one. At the Federation, he has a different job. It’s not easy, he inherited a divided institution full of tension, from Max Mosley. He has a political mandate, he needs the consensus that will allow him to develop transparency, also when it comes to the rules, in a world as complex as F1.”

Inevitably, the subject of tyre cropped up and their ever more important role. “It’s true, we are a bit too dependent on the tyres, however at the same time, one must recognise that Pirelli has shown great courage and ability and, as Italians we must feel proud of the efforts of one of our great companies in F1. No polemics, but I have only pointed out that I don’t feel it’s right to change the type of tyre at the midpoint of the season, for cars designed and developed with different tyres, which is another element that contributes to organising the hierarchy. And who knows if for next season, for which studies and preparation are already underway, there could not be further changes. We need clarity.”

The interview ended with a look at the reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel and the possibility of one day seeing him at Ferrari. Sooner or later, every driver sends messages to Ferrari, a dream to be made reality for every champion. Even Ayrton Senna did it. However, even if I have lots of problems, finding drivers for the future is not one of them. Fernando Alonso is a true great, as I’ve said before. He has proved it and will prove it again, very soon.”

12 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 3rd August 2013

  1. The more i think of it the more i think that Button will be there or thereabouts next year.

    McLaren have resources, spent a lot of money learning new things this year, have put a lot of time into next years car already and can develop their car quickly during the year (usually because they have to).

    But their main weapon will be Jenson. I think his driving style is nearest to Prost in its smoothness. He is incredible with his throttle control also, which will play a huge part in proceedings due to the significant amount of additional low down torque the new cars will develop.

    Just a feeling, but I’d be willing to take on a silly wager if anyone out there was willing to propose another driver, with reasons, as next years likely champ.

    Enjoy your break, Your Honour. Stay healthy!

    • I disagree. I think all the hype about Jensen’s smooth style is just that – hype. He has huge problems with car setup and feedback, as we have seen, and is a real whiner and moaner when his team mate is ahead of him, which is often. He won the Championship because he had the best car, not because he drove brilliantly. I’m bored with him and don’t respect him as a great driver; good, but not great.

      • Question though, what do you make of Barrichello? Think Button is better than him?

        He got lucky I agree but sometimes you need a bit of luck too… Ask Alonso 🙂

      • Who is your pick?

        I’m pretty certain that JB is one of the very best out there. Next year will show a lot more about his ability than the current cars do.

        He did well against Lewis when pared up. He’s also excellent in changing conditions. Finds grip in the wet that most can’t.

        Very underrated driver.

        Looking after tyres will be important next year (again!) so ultimate pace will not

        • ….be as important.

          Prost style driving will be the order of the day, imo, and JB is the nearest to that i feel.

  2. I have to agree with Anderson however, Grosjean did leave the track to overtake Massa. If there were gravel it would not have stuck so …

    Circuits need to be wider to allow for more racing lines through a corner. Yes, there will be an optimum line but if someone goes defensive you should be able to nail them taking a different line.

    Once you have wider circuits, lets take the runways away from the edge of the track. Keep the kirbs but no runway.

    Then drop DRS and hey pronto, we have proper racing again 🙂

    • Wider tracks would help the racing, yeah. Will the idea ever reach Tilke though ? Probably not.

      I think Grosjean should just have been penalized for his shove on Button, but the move on Massa, though illegal strictly speaking, was borderline. If Grosjean gets penalized for putting all 4 wheels off the track, then every driver that goes off the track should have his moves scrutinized especially if he gains an advantage by doing it.

      Gary Anderson seems to think that Ferrari are done but I think they’ll see be there or thereabouts. The problem lies more with Alonso losing his focus than Ferrari not making their upgrades work. While Mercedes are certainly getting some momentum, the key thing is that if the tyres don’t behave favourably towards them, then Vettel will just walk with the title. It’s only if Hamilton can actually string 4/5 wins together that Vettel and Red Bull will feel the heat.

    • wider tracks wont improve passing. the tyres create so much marbles as soon as you go off the racing line there is no grip anyways. they have to make tyres that dont shed marbles first.

  3. Wow! Is LdM the biggest wanker in the world, or just Italy? The only thing he said of any interest in that whole diatribe was the second last paragraph. The rest was pure masturbation. What a tosser!

  4. Judge,
    Can you possibly confirm an artical I read saying that the new power units will now be expected to produce 850bhp all in (energy recovery etc) rather than the predicted 750 previously thought as the engineers have done a great job and therefore more provide better acceleration and top speed. Also that the areo guys at most teams believe the cornering speeds will be almost that of the current cars as they have been able to extract more downforce from the new regs than was originally thought possible, therefore meaning lap times are more likely to +/-1 second rather than the 3-5 seconds a lap slower which was first thought.
    The article was to do with Pirelli wanting to increase the size of the rear tyres and therefore the contact patch to allow for the increase in forces and demands the new generation car will put on them. I can’t for the life of me remember or find the article again but the facts were based on the data the teams and engine manufacturers are providing Pirelli with, but I’ve not heard these claims on any of the mainstream F1 pages. I was hopeing you may be able to shed some light as with this info in mind the new formula could be as good if not better than the current one as I know a lot of people are worried that F1 will never seem the same again but I feel it’s going to be great based on this info alone.

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