Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 7th October 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

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McLaren and Alonso for 2014 (01:30)

McLaren, Brawn and Uncle Tom Cobbly (10:08)

Todt the unbelievable (10:50) updated (13:18)

Fernando makes waves again (12:40)

Mercedes respond (12:57)

Stewards and Race Control (13:10)

Schumacher on Retirement (21:15)

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McLaren and Alonso for 2014

TJ13 has continued to state that the relationship between Fernando and Ferrari is terminally destroyed. It may be that Il Padrino can let ‘bygones be bygones’ and take a pragmatic view of their number one drivers antics.

Yet Alonso has taken a severe kicking from Maranello this summer which included being publically humiliated on his Birthday, as Montezemolo published a statement on Ferrari.com stating he had tweaked the Spanish world champion’s ear.

The mainstream media are even reporting that Ferrari’s recruitment of Kimi over Hulkenberg was because they had little confidence Alonso would be with them in 2014.

Last week TJ13 reported Kimi’s new contract is bigger than Fernando’s, something which would represent another smack across the face for Fernando. Even if this were not true, the Italian media have since reported it to be the case without a Ferrari rebuttal from La Stampa or the Horse Whisperer.

Martin Whitmarsh is one of the more considered team principals in terms of what he says to the media. He also presents a public perception of believability and being fairly open and honest. He appears to find it difficult to lie to or deliberately mislead – by being slick and evasive – those who interview him than say someone like Christian Horner.

When Whitmarsh was asked about Honda earlier in the season, his grinning response which lacked a denial pretty much confirmed what he himself did indeed confirm days later in Japan.

This weekend Whitmarsh has stoked the rumour machine over the McLaren 2014 lineup. Following reports that McLaren F1 racing lost £3m in the last financial year, Martin makes a point of telling the Guardian, “We could afford to bring Alonso here next year. In all probability for 2014 the die is set but who knows in the future. I shouldn’t be stoking wild rumours of his return in 2014 but would we welcome him back, be delighted to have him back in the team? Of course we would.”

Brundle claimed live on SKY that he hears this weekend that the Jenson 2014 deal is done. However, Brundle’s record on ‘inside advance’ stories lacks the pedigree of Eddie Jordan’s. He declared the Pirelli deal for 2014 ‘done’ – as per his source – at the Canadian GP.

McLaren are indeed stalling, and we must ask why? It was confirmed this weekend by SKY commentator David Croft, that they have made no approach to Nico Hulkenberg and indeed have had no discussions with him over driving for them 2014. Why? Are they merely happy with their current drivers or is there a bigger fish than ‘the Hulk’ out there they hope to net?

Why don’t McLaren just confirm their current drivers for 2014? One theory is Jenson is hanging out for a 2 year contract to see him through to the new Honda era, whereas the team are offering just one more year.

Perez situation is more interesting. We are now 14 races into the season and there are just 5 more left. The team are clearly in possession of all the facts regarding Sergio’s abilities, yet the failure to confirm his position for 2014 suggests there are issues beyond the Mexican’s control under consideration.

The biggest decision McLaren must make is not about drive lineup, but over who will replace Vodafone as the team sponsor. Woking HQ is believed to be negotiating a record team sponsorship deal in excess of $150m a year and this in itself has consequences.

Whilst nobody can guarantee McLaren will build a title winning car, but a sponsor spending this kind of money is most likely to expect to have confidence in McLaren’s drivers abilities to make the most of the equipment they are provided.

In the meantime, Fernando continues to demonstrate his disconnect with the team. When asked whether he could still challenge for the title this year, he told SKY, “It has been the same for the past four years; and now we are the fourth fastest team in the field”. Alonso does mitigate this criticism when he adds, “But we have been able to fight for the title three times, so we can be proud,”

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McLaren, Brawn and Uncle Tom Cobbly

Following the initial stakeout of his territory when the Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe posse came charging over the hill, Ross Brawn has been hinting for some time he will leave Mercedes sooner rather than later.

This weekend he informed the chairman of the Mercedes AMG F1 board he will leave at the end of the year.

Sometimes, it is as simple as 2+2=4.

Martin Whitmarsh stated this weekend, “This year we cannot be satisfied where we are. So we have been recruiting in the technical team, strengthening that quite a lot actually.

There have been quite a few new starters this year. There are some yet unannounced that will be headline grabbing when they are announced, so there are things going on clearly. We have to look at ourselves as a team, from the top of the management all the way through to our technical team, to make sure we can return to winning ways as quickly as possible.”

We know McLaren have recruited Sauber’s chief designer Matt Morris already, yet that doesn’t fit the ‘headline’ grabbing category to which Whitmarsh alludes.

The mild mannered Englishman, who is known as ‘the bear’, has a CV unrivalled in the world of F1. Having flirted with sportscars for a couple of years, Brawn returned to F1 as technical director of the Benetton team.

Schumacher won the WDC in 1994 and 1995 and the team took the constructors’ title in the latter year also. Brawn was credited by much of the specialist press at the time with being an important part of these championships, particularly in terms of devising race strategy.

The ‘bear left Benetton a year after Schumacher and joined Ferrari in 1996 and immediately in 1997 the team from Maranello began challenging the dominant McLaren’s and Williams teams for titles, even though the Ferrari was an inferior machine.

Schumacher’s first three years were all about re-building, and then as technical director in 1999 Brawn oversaw the design and development of the car which won what was to be the first of 6 consecutive constructors’ titles.

Brawn was considered the linchpin of the Rory Byrne and Jean Todt collaboration during this period. However in inimitable Ferrari fashion, having relinquished the title to Benetton late in 2006, Ferrari announced that Brawn was to leave the team.

Red Bull tried desperately to attract Brawn’s services as they sought to put together a package and key personnel to lure Fernando Alonso to drive for the ‘new’ team.

Yet Brawn was in November 2007, it was announced Ross would become the team principal of the Honda team. Though the team were average in 2008, Brawn knew they could build a championship winning car for 2009. Yet with the withdrawal of Honda at the end of 2008, Brawn was left to go it alone and renamed the team Brawn GP.

The title was all but Jenson’s after just 7 races in 2009 and Brawn was to sell out after just one year to Mercedes Benz.

The next 3 years may have been the leanest period for Brawn since he joined Benetton, but in 2013 the team from Brackley finally began winning races and dominating qualifying sessions.

Brawn had great respect amongst the Honda racing people, and even though the manufacturing company pulled the plug on the works team in 2008, Ross’ relationships with the Japanese remained strong.

It is thought he may operate during 2014 in some kind of liaison role between McLaren and Honda.

Having suffered the imposition of ‘’bull in a china shop’ Lauda appearing on the scene, and then Toto who? rocking up with a rival to Brawn in tow – it is hardly surprising that ‘the bear’ would choose to run for the hills.

McLaren have for some time appeared weak from a technical leadership point of view, because Whitmarsh is clearly little more than a media and man manager. The recruitment of Brawn as the technical figurehead in Woking is an appointment which could only be ‘bested’ –  in the headline grabbing stakes – to the announcement that Newey is to head up a car design department for a Red Bull rival.

So is it really as simple as 2+2=4, or may ‘the bear’ still end up elsewhere?

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Todt the unbelievable

Todt the unbelievable

We have heard extensively from David Ward about his plans to reform/revolutionise the FIA in recent weeks. It is a matter of weeks before voting takes place to elect the next president of the FIA

Today Jean Todt has launched his campaign website. It would not be unreasonable to expect this site would have a post which detailed Todt’s manifesto.

Nope.

Okay then, maybe there is an outline of some broad themes that will define his approach to another 5 years running the world’s motorsport governing body.

Nope.

There could have been listed a roll call of Todt’s achievements during his first term.

Nope.

So what is there contained within this publication to inspire the FIA members to vote for the incumbent president.

Well, the heading is, “Jean Todt and his team 2013: Moving forward with the FIA family”.

Excellent… Moving forward is a good idea. But then it wouldn’t be clever to run a slogan saying, “doing nothing again for 5 years”.

There are a few pictures of Jean at work and play and is a short letter to those who are interested and it says the following.

“Dear Friends,/em>

My team and I are pleased to welcome you to our campaign website for the FIA Elections on 6 December, 2013.

This site is dedicated to discussion and debate about the future of the FIA, a process that I hope will be conducted in a constructive manner, respectful of both the federation and individuals alike.

On this site you will find information about our team, our record in office and our plans for the future. To begin we will present a comprehensive review of the strengthening and modernisation of the FIA undertaken during my first term as President.

In the coming days we’ll explain in more detail the key reforms we have introduced during the past 4 years.

Then, over the coming weeks, my team and I will outline our plans for a new term, and our strong desire to continue to move forward together with you as part of the FIA family.

Yours sincerely,

JT”

A twitter account purporting to be David Ward has commented suggesting, “Empty road ahead? Just read Jean Todt’s manifesto but sadly doesn’t include his future plans. So he can still borrow some of mine!”

Here’s the link for those interested.

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Fernando makes waves again

It appears Fernando Alonso is still making waves at and for Ferrari, though these waves are not tidal in terms of a points landslide.

During the Korean GP, Alonso had been critical of Pirelli. After qualifying he told assembled reporters, “The tyres cannot do five kilometres. If you push them, you finish the tyres. It’s something that is not normal. We have to be honest and the quality of the tyres is very on the limit.

Pirelli’s commercial director, Paul Hembery, took exception to this and issued a terse response suggesting, “Of course Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers, so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion. I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres.

The politics of hacking off Pirelli from a Ferrari perspective clearly eluded Fernando and following the race, team boss Stefano Dominicali felt he needed to set the record straight.

He explained to SKY that following Alonso’s outburst he felt it necessary to speak with Hembery. “I think it was important to have communication with Paul after these words from Fernando and I think that was important for the relationship and also we are in the same boat and we need to make sure it is not an issue. We need to help them and we need to work together to make sure we get out of this difficult moment.

Dominicali was pressed on the matter and it was suggested that Hembery’s response to Fernando had been ‘strong’ to say the least. Stefano added, “We had a meeting to clarify position together with Fernando and he apologised and I think we need to look forward. At the end of the day it is important that the thing needs to be rectified altogether because it is important to hear the frustration of the driver to make sure they can do a better job.

Alonso has taken it upon himself to speak for Ferrari by using the Royal ‘we’ on previous occasions, most notably in his support of the retention of Felipe Massa for the 2013 season. This kind of behaviour and the subsequent mopping up exercise Maranello have to suffer is clearly not the result of driver and team working in anything that could be described as harmony.

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Mercedes respond

TJ13 had received reports that Lauda had revealed to SKY Germany that Ross Brawn will be leaving the team at the end of the year. This is either untrue, or Mercedes don’t know know what their left and right hands are doing.

The team have responded on twitter as follows.

untitled

Regardless, this is not a decision for Mercedes. Brawn suggested back in July he would be handing over to Paddy Lowe by the end of the year and moving to a new role. Whether that role is with Mercedes or not only time will tell.

Yet the debacle of the media leaks over the arrival of Wolff and Lowe added to Lauda’s attempt to do a ‘back door deal’ preventing Mercedes from having to attend the International Tribunal is just not Ross Brawn style. A shoot out at the OK Coral may suit Niki, but it isn;t the way Ross Brawn operates; and he clearly was not consulted on the arrival of Lowe, though dealt with it in a gracious manner.

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Stewards and Race Control

Since the launch of TJ13, there has been regular examination of the failings of the function which includes race control. On Sunday we saw the bizarre sight of a fire truck lumbering up the straight between turn 2 and turn 3 as Vettel came through the corner flat out.

The Safety car lights were quickly deployed by Charlie Whiting, and the drivers received their ‘catch up lap’ delta times immediately.

Immediately following the race, race control were briefing journalists such as Ted Kravitz that this was a unilateral decision taken by the local fire marshal and was not instigated by Charlie or his team. “A right blocking” had apparently been administered and there were suggestions the responsibility given to local marshalling would be re-examined.

Overnight, this position appears to have changed.

The Telegraph reports that following these initial criticisms, Charlie Whiting now admits he had made the call for a fire truck, although he had not anticipated that it would be dispatched from Turn One, ahead of the leaders.

I’m not sure whether Vettel’s eyes need testing but he told German media, “It wasn’t clear whether it was the safety car but then the safety car board was flashing and I lifted… and obviously saw that there was another car on the track,

Mistakes happen fair enough, but to blame the Korean’s without proper consideration seems rather unprofessional. Charlie bobbed off for dinner and kept everyone waiting last year on a couple of decisions post Japan and Abu Dhabi in 2012. An hour’s consideration would have done no harm before briefing reporters like Ted Kravitz.

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Schumacher on Retirement

It appears Schumacher is enjoying his retirement. Sporting traditional German fashion the Schumachers descended onto Octoberfest…

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER AND WIFE CORINNA SCHUMACHER

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77 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 7th October 2013

  1. i still dont get alonso/ mclaren, earlier whitmarsh hinted in his thoughts that alonso doesnt like strong team mates, so what would that make button?

        • Me neither, but I doubt that Button would be a problem for Alonso and threaten his position as team leader. However, if Alonso is hired then that is a de facto demotion of JB and should prompt the latter to either retire or go and find another seat.

          • I think it’s just McLaren letting Fernando know that no matter what happened, the door is still wide open.
            I call this “the Kimi effect”.

          • One thing that McLaren has consistently done over the years is not establishing a driver hierarchy, even to the point where it hurts them (Senna/Prost, Alonso/Hamilton). It’s up to the drivers to establish a hierarchy, so I don’t see it as an immediate demotion of Button. He held his own against Hamilton over the years and even outscored him over their time together.

          • I agree, if they built a car that suits Button, he will really push Alonso. But if the car is not a leading contender, then I can’t see Alonso losing out to JB. Alonso and Hamilton are the only ones that can really outdrive a bad car (maybe Hulk too?)

          • you could also say that hamilton won two seasons, and button won one. if alonso is hired it’s not going to be a schumacher/barrichello or alonso/massa thing, but more in the mold of hakkinen/ coulthard. what i meant to say is that i doubt that alonso will be faced with button suddenly leading him in the championship like hamilton did in 2007. and hiring a driver who is more expensive and/or widely regarded as much better than you when you are a team leader is a demotion. you don’t hire alonso if you expect him to be beaten by button.

          • In reply to Danilo Schoeneberg ” … He held his own against Hamilton over the years and even outscored him over their time together. …. ”

            Not a true reflection of Button’s performance against Hamilton, when you take all facts in to account.

            Hamilton was hindered by multiple issues that had nothing to do with his abiltiy: to mention but a few – car failures, poor pit stops, fuelling issues during qualy3, and bad strategy calls.

          • @PK: three years is long enough to eliminate random chance (the relative Poisson error goes as 1/sqrt(N), which even if there is only a 10% chance of a failure will ensure that the uncertainty is minor). This means that if a driver over such a long timespan is outscored (or in this case, matched) this is real. If Hamilton had more issues, these may stem from his driving style. Point is, they are highly unlikely to be statistical noise.

            I think it’s therefore safe to say that Danilo’s point holds.

          • Auq: “…. This means that if a driver over such a long timespan is outscored (or in this case, matched) this is real. … …. statistical noise. ”

            By your theory, there would be no Lotto millionaires and no-one would ever get hit by lightning.

            Even if the chance of Lewis getting his run of “bad luck” was 1 in a million, the 1 in a million does happen.

            The human race could not exist under the laws of natural selection, the chances of it happening are far far too infinitely small. Clearly applyingyour statistical theory, humans must only exist because of God or Intelligent design.! 🙂

          • Hamilton vs Button 2010-2012
            Qualifying 44-14 for Hamilton
            Race were both finished 24-13 for Hamilton
            Retirements Hamilton 13 and Button 8
            10 wins and 9 poles for Hamilton
            8 wins and 1 pole for Button
            Hamilton 657pts and Button 672
            Make of that what you will!
            My personal view is Alonso would dominate Button.

          • @PK: if you read my post carefully, you’ll see that I used the words “highly unlikely”. I can therefore do nothing but discard your Lotto-related comment as being due to having misread my post.

            Don’t even get me started on the statistics of the emergence of life… have you ever counted the stars out there (beyond the few thousand we can see)? Right… expectation value is N*p. So contrary to what you’re implying, the exact same statistics that I used to show that the difference in technical issues between Hamilton and Button is not statistical, also point at the potential ubiquity of life in the Universe (except… we don’t know what p is).

            I think your argument may be invalid… 😉

          • IMHO Button is just more reliable than Hamilton – at least back in that phase of his career. He did a lot to wreck his stats by cluttering into everything that moves in 2011, when he was completely beside himself.
            Button just gets on with the job and brings the car home, even if it is one position lower, but he DOES bring it home.

  2. highly possible. fernando hasnt been himself lately. sounds like hes given up, but wont admit it. and hes been “kissing up” to the team a little too much. i wont be surprised if hell drop the bomb on the second to the last race of the season.

  3. Aaaand, in the least surprising news ever, motorsport-total just reported that Ross Brawn leaves Merc at the end of the season.

    • Whitmarsh had mentioned that they have made some really bog signings in the technical department. Immediate thought would be Brawn, but then again I can’t see Whitmarsh or Brawn working under the other.

      I really hope that nothing happens till the end of the year so that we have something to speculate over the winter…then again the championship is all done and dusted now, boring, so…

      • Brawn is turning 60 next year, would McLaren or any other team really be able to keep him away from fishing? Maybe on a consultancy basis, but travelling along with the circus?

  4. I cant help wondering how LH must be feeling, having supposedly signed to Mercedes under the promise of Ross being a secure fixture there, only to find that all the other cheifs have crowded him out, and he’s now possibly going to Mclaren…..

    I wonder if we may see a Hamilton and Alonso partnership back at Mclaren in 3 years, with Ross giving them big cuddly bear hugs to keep them both happy:-)

    • If Merc don’t produce a title-winning car, Lewis is going to walk, no shadow of a doubt. Newey would have left to built boats by 2016 and the only two options would be Ferrari and McLaren. Problem is, Vettel will most probably go to Ferrari and Alonso will have a veto at McLaren. I can’t see Vettel wanting Lewis at Ferrari or Ferrari wanting to partner the two. So Lewis might be pushed to stay at Merc past 2015 until Alonso retires.

      So could Brawn take Whitmarsh role and Whitmarsh move to a Toto-like role?

      • Who knows?

        The reason I left the story open is because I hear talks with Williams and even mutterings he may return to Enstone are not dead yet..

        • I was suggesting the Fernando should join Williams a few weeks ago, with Williams giving him some shares. Ross for Williams works too.

          The only reason I’d rate the McLaren story as a higher possibility is Honda.

          However, if Williams are serious about getting back to the top (or nearer to the top) this is most definitely the way to go.

          You’d get serious sponsorship following Ross and Fernando, and a manufacturer too. Renault for one would definitely be more interested go this that the lotus option.

          I could also see the Volkswagen group getting involved through one of their brands.

          Also, its only a matter of time before a Hyundai (short term) or a Chinese manufacturer (medium term) come into the fray.

          BMW have made a few noises recently too (even if some are denials – someone is putting the story out).

          Williams just need the balls to make it happen. And that’s something they’ve never lacked previously.

          • Cosworth, with a decent budget and manufacturer R&D, could do a job. They’re like a ready to go Ilmor for a new manufacturer to F1.

            All the pieces are on the table. Someone just has to complete the jigsaw.

  5. I only see good things coming for McLaren if the Ross and Fernando show lands.

    Regarding team structure, Ross would go in and take up the technical side of things without any issues. His dealings with Martin would be fine, and I’d see the structure working very much like the Honda model. I don’t think he’d care much for ‘status’ in the team, as long as he was told that his calls would be respected he’d be comfortable with that.

    I think it would be easier for McLaren to get in new talent with Ross there, and they’d also retain existing talent due to his excellent man management skills.

    Fernando would love working with Ross. It would suit his zero bullshite style, he’d trust and respect him. He’d also know that even if things were a little poor on the car front that it wouldn’t be long before issues would be sorted. He would have no dealings with Ron (someone i respect immensely, but can cause difficulties with his single mindedness) so he would view it as a clean slate and almost a new team.

    Jenson would enjoy Fernando too. He’d be pushed and challenged by the best, and would relish measuring himself against the popular consensus that Fernando is the cutting edge (which may be unfair to Seb, something we won’t know till he leaves the protective world of bullville).

    Add Honda into the mix and i think we’d have the dawning of a new super team very reminiscent of the late 80’s.

    How very exciting!

    • “…reminiscent of the late 80′s”

      I’d say reminiscent of mid-80s with TAG-Porche given Alonso is more in the mould of Prost. If Hamilton returns then, you’ll have the ‘fun’ part of the late 80s with them two there.

      • Good points, agree to a degree. On a driver style front I’d compare Fernando with Senna and Jenson with Prost. Its a little lazy, i know as the cars are different, but Prost was gentle and smooth whereas Senna could drive in an unsettled dog of a car and still be quick due to his outer worldly car control.

        Prost always seemed to get the best from a car up to its limit, but Senna wrestled the car above its limits and made it do things it probably should not have been capable of.

        Fernando isn’t anywhere as good as Senna at doing that, but he’s the best at it currently (with a hat tip to Lewis).

    • “He’d also know that even if things were a little poor on the car front that it wouldn’t be long before issues would be sorted.”

      In the same manner that Schumacher joined Mercedes expecting the same process?
      Considering Mclaren has a reputation for out-developing every other team year on year, I wouldn’t be holding my breath.
      I personally have never bought into this legend, they have had to out-develop their competition because generally they have been significantly behind the others at the start of the year.

      As to Alonso and his fabled 0.6 he brings to a car, the years have proved otherwise.
      2004, he was generally out-qualified by Trulli, but one Renault would progress and the other fall back in races. So his one lap speed has never been taken for granted.
      2005 had a handicapped Ferrari and a self destructing Mclaren.
      2006 it was purely between him and Ferrari as Fisichella was no competition to him.
      2007 he had the benefit of Ferrari data to set his car up.
      2008 he won two races, one fixed and the other quite brilliant, although technically both Ferrari’s and Mclarens were wiped out at the first corner.
      2009, Renault hardly moved forwards, and this is the Enstone team that punches above their budgetary weight. Kubica joining the team started to move them forward
      Since 2010, he has fought for the championship, and has at times been remarkable, but there is no sense of guidance ala Schumacher, rather a bullying personality.
      Ferrari need a strong personality leading the team but it has to be someone who regards himself as a team player.

      Don’t misunderstand my criticism, I still think he is one of the best out there – in a race – but I don’t think he is the overall best any more.

      Vettel has been out-standing this year. When he has the car to win, he wins, but if he hasn’t he brings it home in the highest position possible.
      Let’s not forget, this guy is still 26 years old, and his development from boy to man has been done in one of the harshest sporting arenas in the world.

      • Hi Carlo!

        Re Mercedes, Braun GP had to let so much of their workforce go that Ross needed to rebuild the team when the Merc deal was done. I agree, it took longer than expected, but it was still a factor. I also think their was a lot of politics in the background, more than the public were aware of, which hampered progress and ultimately resulted in Norbert getting the heave ho and the current senior management team in place.

        Regarding his results, i could probably do a good impression of Danilo here and give you plenty of information to support why Fernando was very good throughout his career ranging from Jarno being much better than he is given credit for, especially over one lap, Gancarlo being also very good (the Ferrari stint has ruined his standing) Renault pulling out of F1 meaning serious budget impacts and restructuring etc.

        I do agree with you on the qual front. However, i would qualify that (excuse the pun please!) by stating that he is just good at this versus excellent at racing.

        Also agree that Seb is exceptional, but i need to see him in another car with an ultra team mate like Lewis, before i could rank him above Fernando. As it stands, i have him level with Fernando and above Lewis.

        • I think Lewis is as good as Alonso. I agree that Seb needs to be measured against another top driver and in a less dominating car before we can place him in the same league. Have to admit though that we’re splitting hair here. All 3 plus Kimi are in a league of their own with unique and different qualities each one of them.

          • I suppose i rate Fernando a little higher than Lewis by the fact that I’d trust him more to lead a team i think hes mentally much stronger than Lewis, although Lewis is probably quicker (defo in quali).

            But your totally correct in your observation on the top drivers and hair splitting 🙂

      • Hey HWS. I nominated u in the James Allen comp. Should be a reply to post 1. I hope you win it and if so, look forward to the write up. Good luck.

        PS: Prost was better than Senna.
        😉

        • Funny funny man scud! Prost better than God! Fgs man, centuries ago you’d have been burnt at the stake or fed to the lions by my ancestors for such trash talk! 😉
          Have a read of my feature on Mansell’s first win and Prosts first championship, that explains everything.

          Anyway welcome to the site, I always enjoy our banter and thank you for your vote. Hadn’t even realised

          • Thanks for the welcome mate but I can’t stay. There is too much ‘Webber-love’ (yes new word) in the air around here. TJ13 knows all about it. 😉 Was just trying to get in touch with you somehow.

            PS: You do know Honda have openly admited that Senna would be given stronger Honda motors because they openly prefered him. Prost accused them one time of this and they openly admited it. Apparently it was balancing the ledger as they viewed Senna as a “fighter” and Prost a “politician and manipulator.

  6. Alonso cannot afford to leave Ferrari for 2014.

    My reasoning is, if he does, his legacy will be tainted forever as someone who cannot race a comparable team-mate. All his blubbering of how it was one man at Mclaren that caused the problems would, at best, be sniggered about. Whatever happened to self belief?

    Regarding Brawn to Mclaren? It depends if Brawn really wants to continue or if he chooses to go fishing once more. I have never understood the recruitment of Sam Michael, and I can’t imagine he’d be at Mclaren too much longer if Brawn does arrive.
    The other thing that comes to mind, Mclaren in 1988 was run by one man and there was a hierachy within the technical team that were focused on their individual roles.
    When Newey, regarded as the one of greatest designers of modern times was at Mclaren, he brought championship success for 2 seasons whilst Ferrari were rebuilding, Williams were lame due to Renaults withdrawal but otherwise his cars slowly deteriorated in quality until he finally left.

    Is there something fundamental in Mclaren’s modus operandi that doesn’t allow individual expression but rather governance by committee?

    • I don’t think that Fernando would stay at Ferrari for that reason.

      I predict that he will react the same as he did at McLaren, for the same reason. In his mind he was let down at McLaren. He felt, rightly or wrongly, that he was not given what he agreed to at McLaren. Personally, i think he misjudged Lewis and his speed. I also think he felt let down as he was an F1 champ and expected that the team would let him win due to this.

      At Ferrari he got away with being critical when he was doing well in the team. This year things haven’t gone so well, and because they know he doesn’t really have a chance to win they can bite back.

      Personally, i think Luca cuts off his nose to spite his face too often. For every good decision he makes he makes a bad one too. All driven by his monumental ego.

      He fought Todt during a period of unparalleled success, decided to let Michael go when he was the best in the world, then didn’t want him back when he decided he wanted to drive again. Brought in Kimi. Kicked out Kimi, with a massive pay cheque. Brought in Fernando. Started all this stupidity around biting daggers and britney

      • Sorry, phone went mental there. Ignore britney…

        Started all this stupidity around biting daggers and birthday criticisms. Over some throw away comments?

        The best decisions he made was appointing Todt and Michael. Since then, Ferraris success has happened in spite of, and not as he would like everyone to think, because of him.

        Like or loath Fernando, he has kept his side of the bargain by driving the wheels off what he has been given. Luca and Dom have not delivered the cars.

        Luca wants Fernando out because he’s called him out.

        I believe Fernando knows exactly what he is doing now. After all, he’s learned how to sort things out by Kimi.

        I predict the outcome will be Fernando to McLaren in 2014. What I’m not certain of is will Fernando drive for Ferrari this year, or will he secure his pay off and a years holiday.

        All because of Luca and his lack of application of common sense.

  7. Judge, any position on Lewis’ comments? Does he simply say the truth and what the fans think?

    For the record, he said that Alonso and he should be fighting at the front with Seb and not for a 5th place and that fans are falling asleep during dominant era for RBR.

    To be honest, I kind of agree with him. I’ve lost interest this year and would definitely like to see battles at the front among the top 4 guys.

    • He says what a lot of fans are thinking. But Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus haven’t built good enough cars for their stars…

      I too enjoyed a number of Sunday afternoon siesta’s during the Schumacher era…

      It was Mad Max who contributed significantly to the end of that dominance, but there’s little chance Todt will act similarly..

      I am concerned everyone is pinning their hopes on the 2014 season rule changes and new engines to shake things up, yet it is likely one team will dominate early season as did Brawn, and be too far out to be caught by the rest.

      And Red Bull are as likely as Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren to be that team which gets a lightening start from the blocks…

      • no domination lasts for ever. at some point egos, money and a lack of motivation will bring every era to an end.

      • @TJ – Being a little facetious one could say that Ferrari and lotus (and to a lesser degree Force India) did build good cars for the 2013 tyres. So they did build a good car.

        The bullshite part is all the others didn’t hence the politics and general character assassination of the P zeros.

        Disgraceful…

  8. PADDY LOWE….who the hell would want him to be technical director anyway? He is directly responsible for the piece of crap that is this years McLaren is he not. I distinctly remember the launch of the car and all his waffle. He’s a miserable looking git to boot 🙂

    • …and he was responsible for the title-winning piece of crap in 2008 and the one last year that would have won the title had it not been for McLaren’s operational mistakes.

      • “McLaren’s operational mistakes.”

        From his reply to me further up, it seems Auq thinks it is all down to Lewis and Button being crap drivers. Nothing to do with operational cock-ups. 😉

        • @PK: If you don’t understand a post, you could also ask for it to be clarified rather than going around putting words in somebody’s mouth. What you’re doing is approaching ad-hominem bitching. This is very impolite and detrimental to a healthy discussion. So if you honestly didn’t get it I’d ask you to re-read my post – otherwise please cut the crap. Thank you.

          • TO No one in particular….

            Hey, I understand how you feel but whatever anyone says, Cav is entitled to express himself here.

            Let’s not get Martin Brundle-esque and start making value judgments from our own moral perspectives about whose views are acceptable and whose are not.

            Blatant abuse is not acceptable, but we rarely get close to that line….

          • To no one in particular…

            Ok guys/gals… let’s chill a bit – we can be pretty robust here without accusing people of being ‘fanbouys’ or deluded…

            Let’s debate opinions and not impressions of the alleged reasoning behind others comments or semantics.

            I don’t have a problem with PK’s comments….

            We need new people and let’s be careful about getting comfy with our discussions just being amongst regular and historic commentators….

            There have been a number of people join us in the last 3-4 months who are adding to the value of our community….

            I remember when there were less than 10 people who said anything in the comments section…..

            In the past 30 days we have had over 100 different people comment….

          • Damn right judge!
            Cav is our militant brother “in Rosso”, he might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but when the sh*t hits the Ferrari fan, Cav and Carlo are the ones i’d like in my team 😉

          • Judge, I actually agree with the aim you’ve set out in these posts. However, I do think that putting words in somebody’s mouth when they clearly posted something else, as well as the associated naming/shaming is very unfair. That’s what I commented on. Now the “oh god there are three” and subsequent puns were unnecessary, I agree with that. I felt it was socially acceptable for me to respond to that as I did (naming Cav), because the poster clearly put me in the same category. None the less, I apologise because it was unnecessary.

          • No apology required my friend. Your posts are always enlightening and well considered.

            My comments were not aimed at you particularly – but there has been a Cav bashing going on recently (mostly over the past weekend)

            …and as much as he lambasts what I say at times – he is entitled to his opinion.

            Sometimes as Brundle says, ‘silence is the way to respond’ – God I can’t believe I just did that…

          • I couldn’t agree more – after all, that’s what a forum is for :).

            Other than that, you should be careful not to give away your identity… can I call you Martin? 😉

      • Further to the comments about brawn and Lowe. I personally really hope Brawn stays at Merc, I just have more confidence when he’s at the helm. On Lowe, did he not design alternate Mclarens? And I believe, though not sure, he designed the odd numbered years (anyone know if that’s true?) which doesn’t bode well. 2009-awful. 2011- not good enough. 2013-awful.

  9. Take off your blindfold McLaren78, 2008 was 5 years ago and my last year in F1 but then again I’m 45 now and may be senile. Technical director must assume responsibilities for everything Ross Brawn style. We’ll see I guess!

    • Not in favour of ousting Brawn for Lowe, but he’s not that bad. If you can’t have Newey and are stupid enough to oust Brawn, Lowe is ok. I feel for lewis though. He went there for Brawn

  10. Addressing other TJ13 comment – ‘Coffee-Shop’ Joe seems quite comfortable with Toad’s term achievements. Must be a nearness thing.

  11. Quote from the Telegraph:
    ““This is our third season with Paul; we’ve had 2½ seasons of fantastic effort from him, so we wouldn’t judge somebody over two or three races,” deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Sky Sports. “It’s not my decision at the end of the day, it’s a decision for [team principal] Vijay [Mallya] and the shareholders.””

    One of the shareholders is Michiel Mol… Hope for Frijns?

  12. TJ13 and all those that are a little disingenuous with Lewis demeanour.
    If you could find a little time, I implore you to read through the article at this web address below.

    http://f1elvis.com/2012/09/26/lewis-hamilton-boy-to-man/

    It’s not the full version of what I read a couple of years ago.
    I tried to find it using Google, but this is the best I can do.
    The original one to my memory (written by one of McLaren retired engineer) was quite critical of Lewis towards the end of his article.
    Anyway, if you can find the time to go through what has been written about him, it may change your belittling outlook towards him.
    I have seen video clips of him when he was in carting and GP2, doing battle with Vettle in the same powered cars and getting the better of him.
    I believe Lewis feels, if he was given the opportunity to race Vettle in the same powered cars, he would beat him.
    And yes I know, we all have our prejudice, but I too believe he could do it and would so love to see a battle like that happen over a season.

    • I can see where you are coming from however did Hamilton not join Mercedes to help build a team, a great team to conquer all?

      To look over the fence and say, if I had that car I could also win does not cut ice. You don’t so make your own one work. All the greats either got themselves into great cars or made their cars great. Hamilton seems to be unable to do either.

      He is also inconsistent in what he says. A couple of weeks ago he said Vettel’s domination is not bad for the sport. This weekend he says it is… Which one is it then?

      He’s quick, give him that but he is no great in my eyes. He has a lot to learn in life and having a chip on your shoulder and being a victim is not the way to become a great driver.

      • “All the greats either got themselves into great cars or made their cars great. Hamilton seems to be unable to do either.”

        Respectfully disagree! Lewis has won races that others wouldn’t be able to in that car on that day. And if only titles count, then that would make Nelson Piquet one of the greatest and Gilles Villeneuve a nobody!

  13. What makes you say he chip on your shoulder?
    I see envy, that is not the same as a chip that you throughout when your argument stall’s.
    It such cowardice way of saying you has a problem with who he is.
    The site about F1, less keep it there.

    • I’ve read the article and followed Lewis closely since his appearance into F1.

      The article makes him out to be disingenuous and manipulative, so why the attack on Don?

      Personally i really liked the initial Lewis but an not so made up with the spoiled, unstable, pouting and bad losing Lewis he is now.

      I an aware he’s done most me his growing up in public but that doesn’t excuse the poor moral compass it takes to go through such a transformation.

      I would love or him to actually sit back and properly think how blessed (for he his very religious) he actually is and to remember whats important. Being photographed withstreet kids seemingly have him a different perspective on life. I’d love to see that stick for a little longer than the duration of the photo opportunity.

      Most of the F1 guys share traits with Lewis. However, most are not trying to manufacture a reality through Simon Fuller, which is why i can kind of stomach what they say.

      The good news is that Lewis cares less of what i think than i do of what he thinks – I’m just another voice in an ocean of noise. So i think he doesn’t really need you to have a go at people like Don for stating their opinion – what do you think?

  14. I don’t mind him going that.
    Just leave the chip bit out, it smacks of what going on inside him and that he has a problem.
    When Paul di Resta made comments about him betting Vettle, was that chips on his shoulder?

  15. I think a lot of people delight in an opportunity to have a go at Hamilton. If you listen to people who have actually met him, you see a different Hamilton. He’s emotional and he can’t hide his emotions, ok, but he isn’t vindictive, he doesn’t politic his way around the team, he fights fair, he asks no favours and he’s a dammed fast and exciting racer. Each to his own, but I’ll take that over some of the other prima Dona’s.

    • Hi Anna

      I think that is a fair summary of the ‘new Lewis’, however, his Ali G comments – which are now some time ago – along with others displayed a different Lewis from the one we now see.

      He’s growing up in front of a worldwide TV audience and he does wear his heart on his sleeve.which does provide us with some entertainment at times – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      Thanks for your contribution…

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