Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 4th November 2013

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Quantum opportunism (10:12)

Why Williams not functioning well (11:11)

Alonso suffers from off track excursion (11:11) update (12:57)

Rocky and Vettel show rolls on (12:33)

Kaltenborn tiring of F1? (14:27)

Mercedes or Hamilton: Who carries the can? (15:25)

Caption Competiton (15:37)


Quantum opportunism

Lotus were the team hitting the headlines this weekend. Kimi kicked it all off by refusing to attend the regular Thursday press appointments the team arrange for him. Of course this followed the public spat on team radio last from the Indian GP weekend, where an expletive was directed at Kimi – to which he took exception.

Raikkonen had suffered some criticism for his on track behaviour in India, where most analysts suggest he made a pointless and obvious defence of his position against his team mate. Mikka Hakkanen was a lonely voice suggesting Kimi took the racing line to keep his tyres up to temperature.

Of course Kimi had all his fans reaching for the Kleenex when he revealed he’d been paid not a ‘single euro’ this year by the team, and threatened to not race in Austin or Brazil if the team failed to honour an agreement reached which saw him choose to race in Abu Dhabi.

The media discussion over this matter was confusing. Some appeared to suggest this kind of arrangement was becoming more normative – where the team paid certain drivers at the end of the year when the prize money was granted by Mr. E.

Kimi again is on a remuneration deal that is weighted towards the number of points he scores. His basic salary/retainer in 2012 was reputedly between 4-5m euros, though the BBC report he renegotiated this for 2013 for a higher basic of 8m euros and smaller ‘bonus’.

Suffice to say, it is Kimi’s salary that is outstanding at this point – his bonus would only ever be paid at the end of the season. Yet Kimi was paid by the Enstone team in a similar manner in 2012 and he has no reason to believe they will be breach of contract and not pay him for 2013.

Rightly or wrongly, following the radio message exchange in India Kimi decided to up the anti over his pay. This topic is not new in the public domain, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said to the BBC during the Singapore GP, “The truth is, yes, we owe him money. He is going to be paid. Last year it was the same. We owed him some money and he got paid in full at the end of the year.

It is just the way we manage our cash flow. We are not as rich as some of the teams at the front. Maybe it is not as sustainable as it should be. We have favoured our people working in Enstone, which is understandable I think. There is nothing else behind this.”

Raikkonen said that despite being owed money by the team he would continue to race for Lotus this season. “It’s unfortunate but I want to help the team and I want to win.”

An interesting side effect of Kimi’s tantrum is that Quantum Motorsports have been handed a PR opportunity. Quantum chairman Mansoor Ijaz was quick to speak with the BBC stating, “There is no question the deal is definitely happening. It has now been completed from our side. Our deal is to buy 35% in newly-issued shares. We are essentially diluting Genii Capital. The options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on. 

We’re going to clear off the debt, and then we’re going to bring very high quality sponsors which you’ll see very soon. Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time.”

This is slightly disingenuous because the deal has been ‘done’ from Mansoor Ijaz and Quantum’s perspective for some time, it is Lotus who have been uncomfortable with some of the terms. Lopez said back in August the matter was with Genii to move forward with, and yet the team have since heavily courted Renault – both publicly and intensively behind the scenes.

TJ13 believes it is the case that investment/ownership deals with Renault or Quantum are mutually exclusive as Quantum wish to assume control of the team in the long term.

Lopez has been fairly transparent over the financial structures of the Lotus team. He told AMuS in August, “We continue to look for partners to join the team. First of all, I want to ensure that the team continues to be well-funded. Whether [Genii] gets the money back now or later, we have to see. It’s not about getting money back quickly now. [The total debt] is €120m, but four-fifths of it we owe to ourselves, to Genii, because we do not sponsor the team but finance it through loans.

We could have signed a cheap contract but we think, from the performance point of view, we need a sponsor who pays really well. We don’t want to sign something now for three, four, five years that we will regret later.”

A mischievous Mansoor Ijat confirmed to reporters that he personally had calmed troubled waters with Steve Robertson – Kimi’s manager – “I’ve apologised to Steve, we’ve apologised to Kimi.” He added, “They [Lotus] are going to pay a lot of bills this week, let’s put it that way. We’ve asked them to make sure things get paid as quickly as possible,” 

We shall see how desperate Genii/Lotus are this week. TJ13 believes Genii are determined to get the terms and value they believe they have risked much for. Mansoor Ijaz is at present making cheap political capital on the Lotus team’s very public fallout with Kimi Raikkonen.


Why Williams not functioning well

It may be that it is time for the universally loved Sir Frank Williams to relinquish all control over his F1 team. It feels pretty ruthless having to tap Sir Frank’s bonce with the gavel, but this next admission beggars belief. Williams told SKY, “I wasn’t aware he [Brawn} was available. I may now have to contact him. I can say no more,”.

How anyone presiding over an F1 team cannot be aware of Ross Brawn’s position is beyond me, and how come Claire never thought it pertinent to let her father know?

Brawn began his F1 career in the 70s when Sir Frank Williams gave him a job as a machinist.

“When he was with us he was really extraordinarily clever in terms of engineering — he is very gifted.I am sure he has accumulated infinitely more knowledge … so if he was to come he would be a great addition”

Then as if realising his PR mistake on television, Williams backtracked immediately, “the reason I am being hesitant is that I do employ people already and it is very unlikely that we could afford Ross, or that he would want to come to us, so all I would be doing if we didn’t get him would be offending everyone at the team already.”

There was a rumour a few months ago that Brawn was to acquire Toto Wolff’s 15% shareholding in the Grove based team, this has since been flatly denied by Brawn. All conversations with Brawn on his future were declared ‘off limits’ to the media this weekend.

In addition, Williams admitted to another abject failure this weekend. They have been developing the coander exhaust system like the others in an effort to increase and improve their cars’ downforce. However, they ran a traditional system this week and the car was visibly better, with Maldonado just missing out on a point. The Venezuelan had this to say, “I certainly feel that the pace and consistency of the car has improved with the new aero package we ran this weekend and I could feel that the car was improving as the race went on”. 

Yet Williams do need to look to the future, they give the impression that like Sir Frank they’ve aged – become ponderous and dithery. The team appear to have lost some edge since Patrick Head retired and are merely drifting towards their worst ever season in F1.


Alonso suffers 28G from off track excursion

Fernando Alonso participated in the normal media commitments post the chequered flag, he did complain to certain reporters that he had a sore back from his off track incident with JEV. Alonso joked, “Hopefully I am Ok for Austin – I still have all my teeth,” but also revealed, “The back is obviously a little bit painful because it was a big hit. We have the alarm on the chassis after a minimum of G-forces, this alarm for the medical car etc. Hopefully I am OK for Austin.”


Then events initially appeared to take a dramatic turn, as Alonso was photographed under a space age foil warmth blanket with his neck in a brace.  A Ferrari spokesman said Alonso had gone for a “normal precautionary check requested by the FIA”, and later Fernando was given the all-clear following a visit to hospital.

However, the twitter addict has been silent. No Samurai wisdom and his last offering was from before the race when he tweeted, “Attack and attack. We had to overtake some cars and score points for the team! Eyes on the next race … ;)”.

The G-Force Alarm in the F1 cars is activated when a force above 18G is experienced. This requires the driver to attend a medical examination, though exact times cales are not clear. Alonso is believed to have suffered a momentary vertical 28G – F1 driver’s experience lateral G-Forces of up to 5 when cornering quickly or braking hard.

UPDATE: 12:57 GMT Alonso tweets, “Hello! Thanks for all the support messages! The night was so so, I will do more tests this afternoon and try to be 100% as soon as possible!”

Could we see the absence of Kimi and Fernando in Austin? Surely not.


Rocky and Vettel show rolls on

During the race FOM TV continued to broadcast the ongoing battle between Sebastian Vettel and his engineer Rocky. The team have this 100% attention to detail attitude to everything which includes Sebastian not necessarily stressing the car/tyres when it’s not necessary.

Vettel was repeatedly given target lap times when he was around 30s ahead of the field which were slower than the times he was delivering. Still alls well that ends well, and Red Bull racked up another 1-2 result and a win for Sebastian.

In India Sebastian did donuts in front of the grandstand, failing to follow parc ferme rules, and the team was fined a ‘discounted’ tarif of 25,000 euros. She sheer delight and emotion of Vettel’s post race performance in India was well received here at TJ13, yet the repeat performance yesterday in Abu Dhabi was an ‘also ran’ moment. Anything which becomes ritualistic, loses its impact, and it was more of a relief for Webber to donut since his recent run of DNF’s.

Here’s the pit/car exchange with Rocky, Horner and Vettel post chequered flag and donuts.

Rocky,”Ah, you did your job, mate. You did your job, well done”
Vettel,”Happier now?”

Rocky,”Yeah, I’ve counted now, that’s 125,000 dollars”
Horner,”And by the way, you can pay that one”

Rocky,”And Sebastian, you do need to bring the car back, OK? Bring the car back into the pit lane, please”
Rocky,”OK, Sebastian, sorry to be on your case, but to be clear, you do need to bring it home, OK, in the garage”

Vettel, “Ahhh, let me quote, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, guys, I know what I’m doing”
Rocky,”Yeah, I’ve got evidence to the contrary”.

Neither Vettel nor Webber were investigated by the stewards for their donuts, though Christian Horner admitted, “It’s not great for the gearbox or the engine, but it’s good for the drivers to let off steam and there are only two races left.”

We may now see donuts after every race following Vettel’s apparent discovery of a loophole in the FIA’s intentions.


Kaltenborn tiring of F1?

According to the Gulf News, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has voiced her opposition to the FIA’s plans to expand the Formula One calendar from 19 races to 22 next year.

 “I simply think 22 races in a year will be too much, not just from a professional point of view but from a personal view as well, We are a small team and travelling around for nearly the whole year can be quite demanding. I think 22 races are a bit too many. If you are exclusive then you should try and remain that.”

Most people who are on the outside of F1 would love to work within the sport and especially for the race crews who travel to the races around the world. One can accept the cost argument against too many races for smaller teams, but such personal preferences appear to suggest maybe Monisha hasn’t really got the stomach for it all.

Further, smarter scheduling of the F1 calendar could reduce the travelling – suggestions on a postcard.


Mercedes or Hamilton: Who carries the can?

In these times when teams have gigabytes of information streaming from the car lap by lap and teams of analysts looking at timing sheets and set up data, who is finally responsible for what on race day?

Mercedes clearly believed Lewis Hamilton was capable of taking pole position this weekend and someone made the decision to set the car up accordingly. As Vettel has demonstrated year on year, the fastest way around the lap is not necessarily to have the fastest car.

Jenson Button was one of the quickest through the speed trap in Abu Dhabi all weekend, but this didn’t help his cause much over the single hot qualy lap.

Lewis was on target for at least a front row slot when his car failed on the last lap of Q3 relegating him to 4th on the grid. The start compounded Lewis’ problems as Grosjean slipped inside him into turn 1 which forced Hamilton to back off and he remained P5 until the first stop for tyres on lap 7. He emerged P12.

Whilst Hamilton managed to stay ahead of Hulkenberg, he emerged behind his team mate, Gutierrez, where he stayed until lap 18. When the Mexican stopped his Sauber this released Hamilton, who made short progress but soon found himself on the back of one stopping Adrian Sutil.

There he remained for 7 further laps until Sutil opted to pit. Hamilton managed just 3 further laps before he had to pit for the second time. Now on lap 30 this saw Lewis emerge behind JEV, who was on tyres some 12 laps old. Hamilton couldn’t pass and was again stuck this time behind the Frenchman until lap 44 and of course his race was ruined.

Following the race a downbeat Lewis appeared to shoulder all the blame for his poor 7th place finish. Rosberg of course was on the podium in 3rd. Hamilton told reporters in the pen, “Clearly, with Nico’s result the car is better than what I’m able to bring home with it, so I just want the guys back home to know that I’ll keep pushing, It’s the same in every race so it can’t be other peoples’ fault. Nico is getting great points for the team, so I just need to work harder to do the same.”

It could be argued that because Rosberg was able to go further on the first set of tyres, he suffered less than Hamilton. After pitting on lap 10 he emerged in 6th place (Ham P12) behind JEV, but he dispatched the Frenchman in just 3 laps.

Rosberg was then behind the other Force India of Di Resta, who held him up for 5 laps before Rosberg made it through. Lap 20 and Nico was up to 3rd place where he remained for all but 4 laps for the rest of the race.

It was noticeable that a number of drivers when struggling to overtake a ‘slower’ car deployed the strategy of running deep into the hairpin prior to the longest straight, straightening the car quickly and getting on the power before the car in front of them. I don’t remember seeing Lewis attempt this.

Yet Ross Brawn appears to echo Lewis’ sentiments, “Lewis got tangled up in other people’s races after his first stop and found it impossible to overtake in traffic. This is a clear weakness of our package at the moment and he spent most of his race behind slower cars, unable to demonstrate his true speed.

This is an issue where we need to get our thinking caps on in order to find a more effective compromise because there’s little point having a quick car if we can’t use that performance in the race.”

What’s Brawn suggesting? The team set the car up for the quickest 1 lap – ie with less wing and greater traction through the slow corners – a la Vettel? If so, this is surely deluded.

Those of us who maybe want someone other than Vettel to win and get pole, still select him each week for our GP Predictor points. What are Mercedes thinking?

Lewis should have a car set up for passing other cars. Less wing and a greater ability to overtake. Further, maybe his engineer could coach him when he sees other drivers using certain strategies to overtake.

So who is to blame?

Bad Luck on traffic?

Bad strategic thinking on car set up and qualifying?

Or did Lewis not see an overtaking methodology used by others which may have dispatched Gutierrez, Sutil and JEV soon enough for him to have been at least top 5?


Caption Competiton


What 25G???….Yeha…….. bring it on!!!!

Who and When? – other captions welcome


58 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 4th November 2013

      • “does anybody care where Pastor will end up?? LOL” <— yes. Maldonado is a GP winner & a national hero in Venezuela and an admired sportsman throughout Latin America. I am certainly interested in his career and cheer for him as long as he's not being petty or spiteful.

  1. You know, all this story with Kimi, has prompted me realise something I always believed. What you see of an F1 driver in the paddock, it’s not all that it seems.
    Button is not the very nice guy you see in front of the cameras, he’s an avid political animal behind the scenes and can be a real ba***rd (his words, not mine.
    Kimi might be the Iceman on a race weekend, but outside of it, he’s rather quite ‘mediterranean’ in his tamperament and all this radio fiasco has brought out this side of his character. He seems quite good at PR too. If he was to be paid at the end of season as last year, why go to lengths and shout at his team? Well, let’s make them the real bad guy and all sympathise with poor Kimi who understandably leaves the bad Lotus for Ferrari.
    Lewis is sometimes perceived as ‘think’. But I don’t believe this. This rumour was started by someone within McLaren who obviously wasn’t very fond of Lewis. And as to his troubles this year with the car? This doesn’t have to do with his grey matter, but rather the car and brakes not suited to his style. I think he’s done remarkably well in a new team against a driver who’s been with the team for 3 years, the car’s suited to him, and he totally outperformed Schuey at this time.
    Webber is the very likeable outspoken Aussie. But you know what, he’s an expert PR machine. He knows how to exacerbate the situation and make himself the victim. Not that he isn’t, but he makes it out be even bigger that it is.
    Vettel seems all likeable, with a good sense of humour, smiley guy, but this year, he’s shown his darker, ruthless side.
    Alonso? Well, don’t get me started, the man is the best behind the wheel, but a complete and utter…let’s stop here.

    • I agree. It’s when pure emotions are at play that you can see the real person under the pr machine…

  2. According to Permane, Kimi suffered a 25G on qualifying curb trip that cost him the broken floor & penalty…

  3. Could Brawn’s becoming a shareholder/investor in Williams sidestep the “thorny” issue of gardening leave? I’m sure there would be a way to write up that deal such that he wasn’t thence an employee of Williams.

  4. Pretty nieve to believe SFW doesn’t know what he needs to know. He may be old but he’s no fool..By saying he wasn’t aware of the situation removes further questioning…

  5. Quantum opportunism, I like that, i’ve been wondering, since June actually just how much use of opportunism Mr Ijaz might make, his history suggests that, well, that he has a history of it.
    The whole deal seems just a tad tenuous to me, what with links to royal families and so on, not the first time Mr Ijaz has claimed such links in order to enhance his reputation, Tata Motors had to deny they’d had any dealings with him, despite his claims to the contrary and at least 3 banks filed suits against him for varying amounts, though at least he paid American Express the $160, 000 he owed after they filed suit.
    This could be one to watch.

    • I agree; this whole thing is pretty dicey. From the Daily Times of Pakistan, March 2012, in regards to a court case against Ijaz:

      “Ijaz admitted that he had defaulted on a payment of $1.4 million to Banca Sammarinese de Ivestimento (BSI) of San Marino and had been charged with fraud by the bank in a New York court. He said the fraud charges were false, giving a long explanation that blamed the bank for lending him more than it was allowed to. He said the court judgement simply asked him to pay the money he accepted he owed, and did not pronounce him criminal in the fake case against him. But Ijaz accepted he had still not paid the $1.4 million he owed Banca Sammarinese, though the court judgement was made in 2010.

      Ijaz also admitted he owed $2 million on his apartment to a mortgage company in New York, where his ex-wife and daughter live, and that he was under court orders about another $160,000 on account of the same property, but that was “a family matter” so he would not discuss it. Bukhari read a list of other court orders against Ijaz over non-payment of various dues, but the self-proclaimed tycoon said he did not know of all cases against him as a trustee handled his financial matters. He did not deny the inference that he faced many challenges to his tycoon image.”

      He also claimed the was involved in spy activities. Odd. Here’s a link to a Washington Post article:


      I’m not sure I’d want this guy running my business.

      • Shows how dire are the straits in which Lotus team finds itself, thanks to the involvement of terrible venture capitalists at Genii. At least Williams – while run as a business – has been run by people w/ a passion for sport who don’t deal w/ crooked middle eastern financiers (ttbomk…).

  6. Luv it! a whole bunch of hard-hitting, scathing attacks here in the original blogs and following comments!
    a while back, I bought a really kewl high-tech Casio G-Force watch for about $100 US bucks. ya know, ya see them as a sponsor on Seb’s/RBR’s uniform… low and behold, I just found out it is too F**King stupid to automatically change time!!! WTF??
    having read all the above, I guess I am not the only one to question whether it is the World (and F1) or me who is the complete dumbass …

    • Add a zero to that for my watch, yet it still has the same need for manual changing and also with the date every time there isn’t 31 days in a month!

      So I heartily agree with your closing statement! I wonder that very same thing on most days..

      • To be fair though, an analog watch would need some more circuitry and – most of all – some servos in it, in order to be able to mechanically adjust the time, which would make it a wee bit more bulky.

  7. Well It appears that Sir Frank is slowly handing over control of the team to Claire Williams (from what’s been going in the last year or so). From what I’ve heard F1 is what keeps him going, so it’ll be a hard thing for him to give his team up entirely. Even though a family member works for Williams, I have no idea what’s going on in the team nor would I ask. As for his comments on Brawn ? He was probably trying to make out like he didn’t know what was going on, slipped up and tried to back track. He’s prone to a few gaffs every now and then. Plus he’s not really been in the media spotlight of late, it’s mostly fallen on Claire’s shoulders. She’s worked her way from the bottom to the top in the team. I think given a bit of luck and patience from fans, she may turn Williams fortunes around.

    All F1 Drivers are experts at throwing their toys out of the pram when things don’t go their way. It’ll be interesting to see if Vettel becomes as sullen as Alonso gets when things are not going his way. I still laugh about the time I saw Alonso in Oxford with a lot of beautiful women around him, he looked utterly miserable.

      • I still think the biggest mistake Williams made in recent years was getting rid of Adam Parr and supporting Bernie. Parr did seem to be moving the team along the right path, all be it a bit slowly. No chance of Williams luring Newey back (though he might like the challenge of trying to take Williams back to the top, after he’s done messing about with boats). It’s sad to see Williams in it’s current form. I’ve been to the factory twice and it’s a highly organized and motivated team, just let down on the design front.

        • Fair observation… though I heard that Coughlin was not universally liked… and it was believed he was holding the smoking gun when Mark Gillan – someone universally liked – was ‘retired’.

          • Sounds like the usual F1 Political rollocks that sets teams back. Ferrari would be like Williams now if not for it’s history (brand allure) and the money that’s pumped into it. It’s funny looking at the two teams, they are both suffering a decline in fortunes for similar reasons, the only difference is one has a bags of cash and the other does not. I just hope Williams moving to Merc engines gives them a performance boost, to move them away from the back. Might be wrong, but aero may not be the defining thing that wins the titles next season. In any case it’ll be fun watching the drivers adapting to the engines and how they will make the cars behave. I do wonder if Vettel will take to the new engines like a duck to water or if he struggles with them. He’s developed a certain style of driving over the last few seasons that’s dependent on blown diffusers and engine mapping tricks, and being silky smooth on the throttle pedal. All I want is a level playing field for the top drivers and let the best one win. But Red Bull will no doubt find a way to outsmart the rest over the course of the season. Might sound anti Vettel, but the truth is I just want to see him pushed to his limits. He’s not yet faced Alonso, Kimi or Lewis in cars that are equal or faster than a Red Bull in terms of overall race pace. I do like Vettel as a racing driver, I just find his reactions to winning to be a bit immature, but he’s got nothing on Alonso.

  8. Monisha’s comments aren’t too different from what a lot of team bosses are saying atm. All of them claim that having those many races in a year will mean more time away from home,not just for team bosses but for others as well. Mechanics, drivers, team personnel. And for smaller teams, having 2 sets of personnel might just be too much financially.

    • Exactly. Glad to see this comment here, as the attacks on Kaltenborn in the blog post reek of mild misogyny and sexism. Kaltenborn is definitely not the first team boss to lament a 22 race season (WHitmarsh is another) and the mechanics and staff of most teams have been revealed (by their team bosses and journalists reporting after speaking with them) to not favor such a radically lengthened season given how long it is already…

      • ‘mild misogyny and sexism’….. rubbish – she is quoted this weekend as saying this by the GulF News – others have been quoted here too.

        Webber was ridiculed her last year when he said more than 20 races was too much…

        A life in F1 – that’s what it takes….

        • I agree with you judge on this one, I’d give my left bollock to have a job in f1 like that. If I found it to much, I’d step back out. I live in the real world, my job is hard and it changes in requirements from time to time, so I either adapt or get an easier job, I generally go with the latter.

          • Hi Jamie

            Being part of the race team is highly prized by many of the other home based factory workers. Trust me, for every race going employee, there are scores happy to take their place…

            Whining about working at race weekends is in my experience.. Beyond belief.

            What do we want? Slogans like, “F1. A job anyone can do?”

          • Judge, you raise a great point. Various team leaders at times have candidly shared that expanding the calendar from 20 to 22 race weekends per year is likely to strain their personnel’s health. There has been plenty of subtle evidence that this is a factor.

            But your indifferent because, “Whining about working at race weekends is in my experience.. Beyond belief.”

            So when you say, “your experience” do you mean that you’ve travelled a 20 F1 race calendar and it was a piece of cake for everyone around you on the team? Just curious how many 20 race calendars you’ve done on the F1 circuit, and if you’re still doing it now?

          • Well, on Sky UK’s coverage this weekend they did call Martin Brundle the judge when he was at the Skypad…. ;D

            Scheduled correctly I’m sure it could be ok, minimising extraneous travel. But if the race team also have to always go back to the factory between each race (unless b2b), then it could get long very quickly. If I was following F1 I could pivot around Malaysia, UK, and Montreal for example staying with family to minimise extra travel. But I’m guessing the race teams don’t get that possibility.

        • “rubbish – she is quoted this weekend as saying this by the GulF News – others have been quoted here too.”

          yet, when allegedly commenting on the fact that other team bosses and personnel have lamented a 22-race season, there is no suggestion that they are “tiring of F1,” and you only make a post trying to undermine the one female team principal.

          i’m sorry, but if the post isn’t mildly sexist, then surely you’ll add to it similar innuendo suggesting that all of the males who work in any capacity in F1 who’ve not been keen on a 2-race expansion of the calendar (for whatever reason, not just b/c of the degree to which they’re already sacrificing their family relationships) are “tiring of F1″…

          It’s one thing to mention that someone has said something. it’s something else entirely to suggest that what they’ve said indicates that they’ve grown weary of their work or suggests they’re not capable of fulfilling their professional duties.

          Just explaining what I see as the inconsistencies in this approach, but if there was no mild sexism involved, then I accept your clarification.

          keep up the good work.


  9. re. “Mercedes or Hamilton: Who carries the can?”

    Both in equal measures.

    With the tyre wear and one/two stop strategies complicating races, a driver needs full help and information from the pit wall on tactics to adopt to clear traffic.

    The driver needs to be a bit smart himself too, not to allow his tyres to wear out – stuck lap after lap directly behind the hot air of the car in front. he also needs to work out a novel/best approach to make a pass stick on circuits where normal overtaking opportunities do not exist.

    All credit to Massa for doing what Button did to Lewis in September 2011 at Monza: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/14872901
    “…. By the time Hamilton got past Schumacher, on lap 28, he was only up to fourth place as Button had already gone into third with a smart overtaking move of his own.

    “It was tricky to catch [Hamilton and Schumacher] but when I did all hell broke loose really,” said Button.

    “There were cars everywhere. It was a lot of fun. I think Lewis went for a gap with Michael that wasn’t there on the exit of Turn 2 and I got the run on him and then set about getting past Michael…. “

    • As I said yesterday in commenting on the race report, Gary Anderson was critical of Hamilton on Radio5Live’s coverage of the race. He has now gone to print on his blog:
      ” … I watched Hamilton closely through the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and he spent an awful lot of it in traffic.
      He is very aggressive when he catches another car. He gets right on their gearbox, he ducks and dives every which way, and that abuses the tyres. It costs the car about 20% of its downforce and as well as overheating the tyres it overheats the car, too.
      Rosberg is perhaps too far the other way; he could be accused of being a bit too cautious, but he is certainly good at not getting right up another car’s gearbox.
      It’s so easy to over-heat these Pirelli tyres and once that happens, they run out of performance so much quicker. Hamilton is suffering for his aggression.
      Sometimes you have to think of the bigger picture. If you can’t get past immediately, you have to back off for a bit to stop the tyres overheating and keep up your confidence that you can make progress.
      If you get stuck, you’re stuck at the slower pace of the car in front. It’s better to drop back a bit, regroup, think about it and then nail him if you can. … “

      • Thanks for that PK…. I didn’t hear Anderson’s comments.

        The point you make is fair.. persistent harrying of the car in front decreases tyre and car performance.

        On the playback I watched, Lewis gets under the gearbox, but as I suggested, he is too shallow into the hairpin. He was able to outbrake Esteban, but if he had run deeper, he could have been on the power earlier – with his car straightened up.

        Lewis was also a little unlucky, as the tyres he qualified on were scrubbed/used before Q3 and hence he had to pit so early… ending up in P12.

        • The moment he lost those positions in T1 on the 1st lap, 5th was going to be about the best he could do. Given his set up, he needed clean air. And then Merc box him so he comes out 2.5 seconds behind a Sauber, which he couldn’t get past at all in the previous race.

          Call me crazy, but I’m going to blame the strategists. He was still making time on Gutierrez when they brought him in. They knew when they brought him in he would be stuck behind the Sutil/ Gutierrez group. If they left him out there was at least a decent chance he would be able to get ahead of them. If his tires went, well, he was already going to be stuck behind that group anyway. As it turns out, the 2 cars directly in front of Hamilton pitted the next lap (hindsight, but still Merc would have known their window) which would have been a nice hole for Lewis to drive into, particularly as he could have driven a real quali style in lap.

          Yes they were unlucky with qualifying, but they were watching the wrong race when they brought him in. Without the ability to overtake due to his set up, he was never going to get through traffic to make any potential undercut stick, particularly with the dual zone DRS set up that just seems to let slower traffic repass the faster cars. And it’s been several races in a row that this has happened.

          • Sorry Mattpt55

            I have to disagree…. “He was still making time on Gutierrez when they brought him in”…

            The chart below shows Lewis (grey) Esteban (pink) relative times each lap to the leader Vettel.

            From lap 10 to 18 Lewis is less than 1 second behind Gutierrez

      • try watching Jimmy Clark flying 4 wheels off the ground at 182mph plus at the top of the straight at Mosport in 1967 while setting up for a very fast, long and scary right hander. mesmerizing is how I remember it… in fact, I raced a Mazda RX-2 there 5 years later. that turn had no visual references and literally scared the bezesus outta me lap after lap, even tho I finished a close second… actually, turn 1 was a bit scary, turn 2 was full of light-in-the-air pucker time, and the entrance to Moss Corner was so full of downforce, actually getting one’s hand off the steering wheel and properly on the gearshift was a very big deal! and this in a mere modified Mazda! maybe the finest race track in the World… I for sure saw some amazing drives and races there – F1, Can Am, F5000, 6 hr WEC, Trans Am and more…

    • Like it…

      Don’t know if anyone else picked up on this, but at the race of Champions last year, Schumacher insisted the track be redesigned to prevent the cars becoming airborne as it was too dangerous….

      The speed over the bridge was pretty minimal too…

      • It wasn’t cars airborne per sé. The jump over the bridge has been part of the track every year for quite a while. The problem was, that the jump was too long and cars actually landed outside track boundaries. Not a good idea if you’re running in a stadium.

          • The drivers in the asian event were way too slow to even take off. You seem to have forgotten that the winners of the asian event were handed a humiliating first round defeat with record gaps. And they didn’t run all the cars in the asian event that were run in the final. For instance the WRC cars, which flew way too far. Also the ROC buggy’s and KTM X-Bows were prone to a wee bit of sailing…

  10. Caption competition,
    McLaren to use old car for remaining races- JB ‘its the best car I’ve never driven’

  11. (Ross Brawn), “This is an issue where we need to get our thinking caps on in order to find a more effective compromise because there’s little point having a quick car if we can’t use that performance in the race.”

    (TJ13), “What’s Brawn suggesting? The team set the car up for the quickest 1 lap – ie with less wing and greater traction through the slow corners – a la Vettel?”

    I think the compromise might better be described as a clear air set-up versus a traffic set-up compromise.

    Note that the “Race Speed Trap” records had Mr Vettel at the very bottom of the list, (21st out of 21 racers with 309.5 kph). Immediately above him was Mr. Grosjean at 310 flat. The next points finisher was Mr. Alonso at 315.3 kph (set on mediums btw).

    At the fastest end of that list was Mr. Perez and Mr. Massa (319.1 & 320.4 respectively).

    Point being that there are a number of compromises that need to be made so it’s difficult to speculate on the particulars.

    To your question of who to blame, the set-ups would mostly be the race engineering team.

    But I did notice, as you did, what he was doing in that hairpin, and that was interesting. He’s got loads of experience, so I’m guessing he knows better than I how to maximize his car’s energies there to get around a guy at the other end of the straight… yet it does leave one wondering if he should have a re-think of those particular techniques there. Alonso and others appeared more creative in using their lines there.

    • when Lewis first hit the F1 scene, his main mega weapon IMHO was his bonzai out-braking moves. at that time, “nobody” believed they were possible and always politely gave up the defense. it ain’t that way today or for the last few years. Lewis was single handidly responsible for raising the bar for an F1 competitor all the way down thru the lower mid field dudes. and now, he has not grown in his craft and has little left to offer as a real racer at the sharp end… not at all a hatter. just offering an opinion as to his lackluster performances.

      • Agree. He’s too one dimensional. I think he’ll suffer more than most next year, unless he starts to apply himself 100% to his craft.

        • I’ve said this plenty if times (and I agree with you Colin). Lewis is steering down the path of Jaques Villeneuve. Heaps of talent but star struck. Vettel may be boring he is so perfect but in the same way Senna, Prost and Schumi did, they understand what is available to them, learn how to use/exploit it and trumps everyone.

          Sadly Hamilton is too busy hanging out with his homies….

  12. once again. WOW and more WOW. I have never seen more perfectly appropriate trash talk by so many obvious F1 fanatics! I started in 1962 and I see some started even before that! this is all so amazing, incredible, and so well deserved. I am so happy to be a bit player in this site with so many awesome contributers. Bernie, the FIA, track promoters, Sponsors, Investors, TV stations, Team Owners, and ticket buyers all need to read EVERYTHING above – over and over until it truly sinks in!!! love every one of you guyz and your incredible insight which helps make my day…

  13. Incidentally: “The start compounded Lewis’ problems as Grosjean slipped inside him […]”

    now, that’s both the naughtiest line I’ve ever read on this here blog, and a potentially interesting piece of slash fiction 🙂

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