Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 22th September 2013

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The music is a playing but when will it stop (09:00)

Heikki could be back (10:01)

The music is a playing but when will it stop

When the Kimi/Ferrari deal became public it would have been safe to assume that the silly season would calm down a bit. Alonso and Ferrari were painting a picture of harmony that was (and is) hard to believe.

TJ13 reported that Alonso is not as loved in the Ferrari family as Massa but they know he gets the job done. With the arrival of Kimi the balance is shifting and the once loved son is very lonely. During the week Di Montezemolo said Kimi can win the championship next year which isolates Alonso even further.

So is there anything to be read into Whitmarsh’s comments about Alonso? Jenson said he has a contract while Sergio, he has a contract with a few dots outstanding. When asked about Jenson’s statement over his contract Whitmarsh said “That’s accurate.” He then goes on to say, “Sergio has a tremendous benchmark in Jenson, who is consistent, a great quality driver, a great team player and who brings a tremendous amount of benefits to our team. For a young charger like Sergio, he knows and I know that he has to come in and beat him. He hasn’t done that consistently enough so far this year.

He is going to give it a good go this weekend I expect.

This does not sound like a very convincing endorsement of young Sergio. Could it be that his seat is in danger and that is why there is love flowing from McLaren to Alonso?

Next year will be a transition year for McLaren before Honda comes on board. They could afford to stick one of their development drivers, Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne, in for a gap year. Alternatively they could sign Massa, which should keep Carlos Slim happy.

Alonso has a lot to lose by leaving Ferrari. Not only will he leave with a reputation of spitting out his dummy if he does not get what he wants but if reports are correct re his cycle team being sponsored by Fiat/Santander it may damage that relationship.

What counts in his favor is that Santander already sponsors McLaren and as the EU market is not looking good they may decide to focus on the UK market for a while.

It is not beyond imagination that Alonso could come over in place of Sergio or that Massa could replace Sergio but for the minimal gains and potential costs to all parties it is unlikely. Alonso will stay at Ferrari and see how it goes against Raikkonen. If it goes well he will stay, if not, 2015 could be the year that he moves. Sergio will need to button up and put his goods on the table next year or he will be jettisoned from McLaren.


Heikki could be back

It has long been anticipated that Heikki Kovalainen may return to Caterham as the team believes the lack of experience has hurt them this season. With the new regulations next year his worth would increase much more.

When asked about drivers for 2014 Tony Fernandes said they were saving for 2014 but unfortunately due to the state in which Formula 1 finds itself currently “the budget plays a large part in your decision making.” However, speaking to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat newspaper Fernandes said Kovalainen had a big chance to return but he does not want to say more than that. “Heikki is still with us, he is a big part of this family.

If rumours are to be believed then Charles Pic is safe (Renault connection) and Van Der Garde is on his way out.

It may not be all bad for Van Der Garde as he brings sponsorship money from McGregor and there are other teams interested in him (or his money). Van Der Garde believes he has improved this season. “To be honest, I would like to focus on racing and do my best. The good thing is that I have shown my potential this year and improved my speed.”

He also believes he still has a chance to stay at Caterham. “I am very happy in the team.They have improved a lot but of course they need a faster car next year.

But are we as fans (and team managers) expecting too much too soon from new Formula 1 drivers? If someone as experience as Hamilton struggled to get to grips with his Mercedes how can we expect a young/inexperienced driver to blossom immediately?


11 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 22th September 2013

  1. this soap opera could keep going for a while, andrew benson elevated whitmarsh ‘ if he became avaliable i would be interested’ to mclaren want alonso for 2014. would alonso leave ferrari where ‘kimi could win the title next year’ to join mclaren where jenson would be allowed to attempt to win the title. the undercurrent appears to suggest that jenson button would be an able number 2 (Jenson is a team player – mw). added to this i read that in spain marca (seems equivalent to the sun in the uk) claims flavio says gave his blessing for fernando to stay and race raikkonen as he isnt in the league of fernando, sebastian or lewis. there seems to be plenty of potential plot lines left in this drama, i may need a race to break out sometime soon to calm my imagination 🙂

    • It will be interesting to see how/if Felipe helps Alonso. This weekend in Singapore he has out qualified him so if he gets to the corner first and can maintain pace… will he pull over? hmmm

      • I would be very surprised if Felipe pulled over or lifts his foot.
        Ferrari will almost certain shift their focus and resources to 2014 after this race.
        So buckle up Fernando, Felipe is on a warpath.

  2. “If someone as experience as Hamilton struggled to get to grips with his Mercedes how can we expect a young/inexperienced driver to blossom immediately?”

    I have been pondering this since my comment the other day about how the media and F1 teams often overegg the ‘new driver entry’ thing. I still broadly agree with what I said, but you do wonder for poor, Chilton, de Garde, and Guitierez, who will probably end up out, to join a long list of ‘1 season in a shit team that ended their careers’ drivers.

    Chiltons been a 10th behind Bianchi, recently, with very similar race pace, now whilst they are both in their maiden season, Bianchi has done Ferrari work and should surely have a slight experience edge, in addition you have to wonder if he is a future world champion in him as some comment, someone who is 1 10th off is probably not too shabby. Do I rate him that highly? No, not really, but it does make me realise how quickly dismissive we can be of guys who have so much to get to grips with so quickly.

    Van de Garde seems to be starting to get the handle on Pic, and I suspect would have out qualified him again if he hadn’t clipped the wall. It was nice to see Guitierez get a good performance, which he credited to… the teams letting him practice some extra high speed qually runs. Wow, I mean, really? I suppose they must spend so long going through new parts, set up, high fuel runs, that some of these guys might just want a go at ‘driving really fast’ for a bit, to learn.

    Going to try and temper my attitude more towards the new guys I think, but unfortuneately I don’t think it will help them too much.

    • Why does he say that? There is nothing for Slim to gain slapping Telmex on a McLaren however as TJ eluded to in a comment the other day, if Slim’s America Movil buys KPN that may be what he is after.

      Who knows, there is a lot of possibilities out there…

  3. It is unnaceptable. Ferrari should sack Alonso inmediately. What a disaster of a race. He should learn how to start a race properly and how to get the most out of the car, which clearly he does not know how to do, if today’s race is of any insight.

    • I assume either your comment is “tongue in cheek”, or we were watching a different race.
      Alonso has always managed to get more out of the Ferrari than the car seems capable of providing and his starts are legendary. He must be among the top in gaining places at the start. I am sure someone will have the statistic somewhere. 🙂

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