Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 16th December 2013

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Boullier exit talks do the rounds (03:10)

Christmas comes early for Massa (04:50)

McLaren and Brawn

Constantin v Ecclestone verdict

Sauber new investors

Numerology in F1

Pirelli Tyre test

Festive F1

Red Bull for Formula E


Boullier exit talks do the rounds

With Twitter being awash with the rumours of the impending exit of Eric Boullier on Friday, all sorts of follow-up questions were conjured up. Who would replace him? What future does this leave for Romain Grosjean (given Boullier is his manager)? Why so out of the blue?

The many theories sent out in social cyberspace were amusing to say the least. One I particularly enjoyed was that this was the first signs of the Quantum deal being back on. The deal would be all signed off as long as Mansoor Ijaz and his merry men could install the driver they wanted in the 2nd seat at Lotus. Boullier was rightfully outraged and submitted an ultimatum of his team principal position at Lotus.

Screenshot_2013-12-15-09-27-03

Boullier tweeted the above message to reassure all who may have been worried (assuming this is his real account).  The normally highly active social media team have been oddly silent on the topic, when a solitary tweet could prove or disprove any rumours being banded about.

F1 may be a crazy sport – but surely not this crazy….right?

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Christmas comes early for Massa

The winter love-in continues in Maranello as even the annual Christmas dinner attracts attention. Massa was present to receive a special gift from the red team. Il Padrino thought a fitting goodbye gift to be an engine from an F2008.

While this may seem like a kind memento of the time with the team, it does also seem quite an odd one. A reminder of the year you were so close to winning, until Timo Glock suddenly ran out of grip in the final sector, on the final lap, of the final race of the year doesn’t seem like the best thing they could be giving to the Brazilian (whether he did so on purpose to allow his old racing friend Hamilton to win the title I’ll leave for readers to decide).

The predictable family love was bound around in speeches. Massa described Stefano Domenicali as a “big brother.

It’s in these circumstances that one understands what it means to be really loved and the atmosphere at Ferrari and the unique feeling of being part of the family is something I will miss a lot.” He continued to say, “Thanks also to you Fer. We will meet again on track and this time I will try not to let you through.”

No doubt Massa will be looking forward to being on a equal playing field to his teammate at Williams. Once again, it sparks the debate of how the 2014 power struggle will go between Raikkonen and Alonso. One thing for certain, it will be great to watch it develop.

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McLaren and Brawn

TJ13 has been led to believe and stated since the sp[ring this year, that there was only 1 destination for Ross Brawn when he decided to leave Mercedes. The Englishman had on a number of occasions commented to associates his time living abroad was over – ruling out a Ferrari reunion.

McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, now admits there have been talks between the Woking team and Brawn. “We were having a chat and we’re mature motor racing people so of course you’re going to talk about life. But going beyond that, as you would expect, it’s normal stuff. People probe around, the possible, the impossible”.

Brawn confirms too that he will not be taking up a new F1 position in the New Year. “I am starting my fishing trips early next year and only time will tell if Formula One and me ever get together again.”

“My understanding is he intends to take a year off,” concurs Dennis. “That’s my understanding of his intention.”

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Constantin v Ecclestone verdict

The Constantine v Ecclestone trial is set to run into the New Year before Judge Newey makes a final decision. He is ‘reserving judgement’ and expected to take several weeks to study the evidence.

Legal experts believe the judgement will depend on whether the judge believes the payment made by Ecclestone to Gribkowsky led to an under valuing of the shares sold.

Philip Marshall QC argued on the final day that Ecclestone wished to “get rid of the banks’ involvement” because he believed his position running F1 was at risk.

This case has served a purpose for other litigants in that both the Munich prosecutors and the German bank BayernLB now have access to certain documents made available during this trial which were previously denied.

Sauber new investors

TJ13 reported 2 months ago that the Russian deal to invest in Sauber and the imminent arrival of Sergey Sirotkin had fallen though. The Russian money men did for a while consider legal action which suggests Sauber were not happy with the offer and it was they who made the repudiation.

We also reported the ‘word’ at the time was that new investors from Dubai were showing interest in acquiring/investing in the Sauber outfit.

The arrival of Adrian Sutil brings dome $10m. Prior to sponsorship money, this provides Hinwil with just short of $70m for the 2014 campaign. That said, there are some 50+ writs filed with the  Swiss courts against Sauber from suppliers who are claiming monies owed.

Giedo van der Garde is being strongly linked with a driver for Sauber and this too will bring at least another $10m in funds.

Leading Swiss F1 journalist, Roger Benoit, is critical of his nation’s F1 team. He believes, “the fans have a right to be informed about the delicate financial situation” but the “lights are out” in the Sauber press office.

Whether this is just paranoia or not – who knows? Yet, Benoit believes of the new investors; “They want to take over the team and install new management|”,

Benoit ridicules the teams assertion that they have had Sutil on their wish list for some months. He cites Peter Sauberin October stating, “”We would prefer to continue with the current drivers!”

For now, all we have is silence from Sauber.

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Numerology in F1

Numerology is the study of the purported divine, mystical or other special relationship between a number and some coinciding observed (or perceived) events. During the course of human history there have been many and varied systems developed.

Pythagerous in the 6th century BC believed that because mathematical concepts were more “practical” (easier to regulate and classify) than physical ones, they had greater actuality. St Augustine developed this idea in “Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.”

As did Pythagoras, Augustine too believed that everything had numerical relationships and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships or have them revealed by divine grace.

Today, numerology is often associated with the paranormal, astrology and other divinatory arts.

Drivers like Hamilton and Alonso – who believe in ancient wisdom – may have been expected to select their numbers in line with a numerological system in common with their beliefs.

Yet Fernando is understood to favour the number 14 because it is his lucky number. If this is in fact the case, Kimi may well steal a march on him in psychological terms. The Finn has told Ilta-Sanomat he has chosen the number 7 to wear on his helmet at Ferrari next year.

The number 7 has interesting Judeao Christian numerological symbolism. In both religions the number seven implies a totality of perfection or completeness. Alonso may wish to think again his frivolous selection and seek a more appropriate answer from his Samurai mentors.

Apparently, the Japanese numerological system of Angel numbers already states that Fernado’s compatriot – Rafael Nadal – has the number 33. It is representative of a transparent human lover who spreads the love asking for nothing in return.

Angel 33’s will have a significant effect on many people because their way of life will become a great example. Other A33’s are Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola

Then we have numbers which are from the dark side of the force. Damien Thorn. a fictional character and the primary antagonist in “The Omen Series” is the Antichrist, the sone of the devil. He was born at the 6th hour on the 6th day of the sixth month – bearing the ‘mark’ 666.

It is rumoured, Crashtor has requested the F1 driver numbering be extended to three digits as this is his preferred option.

Valtteri Bottas is opting for 77, not because he believes himself to be doubly perfection, but because he has started using the twitter hashtag #bo77as.

Some believe this may be JEV’s last season in F1, so with balls of brass, the Frenchman believes he can carry of the iconic number 27. Also making reference to history, Nico Rosberg has asked to carry number 6, which was raced to the 1982 title by his father Keke.

Sergio Perez for no apparent reason has plumped for 11 and a number of drivers wish to remain coy over the 3 options they have requested from the FIA. “For now I’ll keep mine quiet,” says Daniel Ricciardo, adding dreamingly: “it’s a beautiful thing F1 drivers will have freedom to choose what number they want to race from next year.”

Known for his antiestablishmentarianism and general bad boy rebellious attitude, Vettel should choose the number 69 and see what his marketing guru’s can then derive.

Lewis still has time to catch a wave of numerological biblical significance to psych himself up for 2014. The man with ‘Still I Rise’ emblazoned across his back could elect for the number 8 which as yet has been eschewed by others, In the Old Testament, this is the number of victory.

Jules Bianchi may not understand the pecking order regulations for choosing. He tweets to tell his followers he has opted for 7, 27 and 77, adding. “We will see what i will get …” Seeing as drivers further up the food chain have already opted for these, it may be the FIA leased some specialist equipemtn to assist Jules in the process

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Pirelli Tyre test

The driver lineup for the Pirelli 3 day tyre test starting tomorrow is now complete.

Red Bull – Sebastian Buemi
Mercedes – Nico Rosberg
Ferrari – Pedro de la Rosa/Jules Bianchi Friday

Toro Rosso are using 2 drivers equally

Tue – JEV

Wed
am – JEV
pm – Danill Kvyat

Thur – Daniill Kvyat

Red bull are the only team not providing a race driver. Brackley confirm Lewis’ absence is due to the fact he has begun his high altitude training.

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Festive F1

Its at this time of the year when the teams’ PR folk are playing festive games with the fans, and most driver line ups are sorted. There is of course the small matter of the solvency of Lotus and Sauber to be confirmed, but we can turn our minds to less serious F1 matters.

F1 team mate duo’s. Of course there is Senna and Prost, Michael and Rubens, Lewis and Fernando, and more recently Webber and Vettel.

Back in September when the Richter scale 9 hit F1, we all began to salivate (for differing reasons) at the thought of the Kimi and Fernando team mate duo.

WTF1 suggests they may in fact have a lot in common with another none F1 duo, who had a very festive Christmas number one hit.

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Red Bull for Formula E

The Formula E bandwagon is slowly building up a head of steam. During the early part of Autumn we had week on week reveals of where the 10 races straddling 2014/15 would be hosted. The as the nights drew in, the teams were announced one by one.

Big hitting names began to appear, Alain Prost associated with E. Dams, Andretti and Andretti racing, Audi and the much loved historic Super Aguri name is being revived. The in a fanfare of publicity, the big finale revealed Venturi Racing would be the final team accepted for 2014/15 with shareholder Leonardo di Caprio.

Sebastian Vettel revealed in Brazil, Formula E was not his cup of tea. “I don’t like it at all,” the Red Bull driver said. “I think the people come here to feel Formula One and there’s not much to feel when a car goes by and you don’t even hear anything else but the wind.”

Yet never one to miss a marketing trick, Mateschitz has ordered his faithful general – Helmut Marko – not to miss out on yet another global marketing opportunity. He told Bild, “We have been asked [to enter Formula E], but at the moment our full focus is on Formula One. We will look again at this series and re-evaluate after the first season,”

There’s plenty of time as the final race of the first season isn’t until 27th June 2015 and next up in the Fe razzmatazz will be the driver reveals.

The drivers will be next. Ex-F1 drivers and even young hopefuls and they will be rolled out week on week until all 20 names are in the public domain.

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71 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 16th December 2013

  1. Just saw that SKYSportsF1 had pulled an article by Martin Brundle critical of F1 FOM BE recently:

    Formula 1: Brundle claims Ecclestone’s ongoing battle is making F1 ‘look grubby’

    http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9071005/martin-brundle-claims-ecclestones-ongoing-battle-is-making-f1-look-grubby

    now gives a 404 and it wasnt caught by the Wayback Machine:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20131214075712/http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/9071005/martin-brundle-claims-ecclestones-ongoing-battle-is-making-f1-look-grubby

    But there’s still a Google Cache of it (quick someone take a screenshot!):

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:-RgKdJ72eVkJ:www1.skysports.com/news/12040/9071005/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-a

    • Judge if you want to mention this info in the leader above (in the main section) please feel free to copy & paste the text and just delete my comment(s) down here. Cheers.

      • I didn’t read your last sentence and when I got the article up I did a sreen shot lol.
        Seriously though I don’t see what is wrong Sith it aprt from a poorly constructed headline. Brundle actually says some very decent things about Mr E.

        The whole pulling of the article smacks of not wanting to rock the boat, perhaps Sky are well on with negotiating a deal on the world feed and don’t wanna piss off Bernie as I guess it will be him who can open the doors for Sky.

        • CV, you’re right it’s ironic that SKYSportsF1 pulled the article (probably, as you and others point out, to avoid rocking the boat or falling out of favor), when in reality it’s not saying anything that isn’t being said – or at least thought – by anyone interested in or connected to F1 w/ even just half a brain and the least bit of honor…yet it also includes one of the nicest (if slightly unsettling!) bits of praise for Mr. E that I’ve ever read (what does Martin Brundle get into that he’s actually thought it through to the point of determining that Bernie would be the first person he called if he’d gotten into trouble so serious that he needed a billionaire to bail him out?!).

          I wonder if what B.E./FOM really objected to was the naked statement of no-confidence some of the current policies/actions being taken by Bernie, referred to here:

          “He adds, ‘I think there are a few things that many of us see that we would like to change and do better and do differently but Bernie’s in charge and you need a go-to man.'”

          Can’t imagine Bernie appreciated that! But I’m of the belief that it always looks 100x worse for a media outlet to censor a story once it’s been published w/o acknowledging the action or giving any explanation, and an enterprising journalist could make a nice little scandal out of it by pursuing SKYSports now and demanding to know why they purged the article as if it was some pro-Trotsky piece in “Josef Stalin Times” newspaper! lol…

          I mean, just look at the trouble that Glenn Greenwald (then still w/ Guardian) caused for Al Jazeera when they deleted a controversial op/ed!!

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/21/al-jazeera-joseph-massad-retraction – “Al Jazeera deletes its own controversial Op-Ed, then refuses to comment | The bizarre behavior by the media giant reflects brewing tensions as it seeks to enter the US television market”

          Good job getting the screenshot! Great minds think alike!

    • I saw that a day or so ago. I stunk of not wanting to upset the F1 management. I mean, if Brundle lost his paddock pass that would not be great for SKY.

  2. You somehow couldn’t do without the nasty dig at Glock, could you? Newsflash: Hamilton and Sutil were old buddys, not Hamilton and Glock. Research fail 😉

    • Ah yeah, the 2008 Ferrari MP4-23, i remember that one, fabulous piece of machinery in the hands of Hamilton 😉

    • Glock and Hamilton were said to be good mates off the track from their year (2006) in GP2 together.

      • They ran in different teams, so I would be surprised about that. He once was good frienbds with Sutil, but that ended over Hamiltons refusal to testify in the glassing trial and he’s good friends with Nico as they live in the same house in Monaco, so either he befriends every German he runs into or there is a mixup here 😉

        • I’m not sure of the logic of your argument here. Because he was friends with Sutil he can’t have been with Glock? Is more than one German friend too much for a man to take??

          • No, but German TV – for reasons I don’t understand – makes a big thing out of driver friendships. They usually get at least one ‘feature’ in the pre-race ballihoo.We had Nico/Hamilton interviews, Vettel/Schumacher, Alonso/Webber and Kimi/Vettel, yet Glock and Hamilton were never mentioned, so I’m pretty sure they aren’t buddys and it isn’t the most important thing in the world either. I mainly objected the judge’s insinuation that Glock may have let Hamilton pass deliberately, which I think is a ridiculous idea.

  3. Your honour

    I’m not completley sure it’ll be a power struggle, i think it’ll be as one sided as the Alonso/Massa partnership.

    I think it’ll go something like this on past history, the first few races Kimi will have him, Alonso will be trying to hard and make mistakes, then he’ll settle down and it will all get a bit one sided

    • Or what if ferrari builds a car that’s even worse than the 312t5 was. So they can’t have a power batlle amongst them self.

    • Whack a piece of glass on top of it. Protects it from dust while at the same time turning it into posibbly the most unique coffee table in the world.

      • Except for the one in the Top Gear Office 😉
        Although I don’t think it’s an F1 engine in their case.

          • It was from a challange they had to buy a Porsche for £1500 or less, then do the task and sell the cars for as much as they could get at the end, jezza done spares or repair and took the engine block turned it into a coffee table then had it valued at £1500, he said he sold it for that, so it may not be at the top gear studio anymore but it was defo a Porsche engine.

  4. Well, Judge, if we are to start regurgitating conspiracy theories about 2008’s last corner overtake, how about the witch-hunt of that year, or even better, that McLaren and Hamilton lost the 2007 title in purpose by stalling the car at the start of the last race, so that McLaren don’t get thrown out of the sport!

    • We should make one up about 2010 and 2012 concerning more lost titles for Lewis. Oh but for a few less mechanical errors (and picking the wrong wing at Monza and Spa in each year..). Furthermore we could make one about Alonso.. minor mistakes cost him the title in both years as well…

      I like the one about Ferrari and 2008 the best though. Closely followed by Ferrari and late 2006 driver shenanigans.

  5. HaHa, Glock made me think of Trulli, and that made me remember the comically epic crashfest that he and Sutil had in 2009. LOL, that image of Trulli jumping up and down and gesticulating wildly while Sutil just stares at him like he’s from another planet is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And then there was the presser in Brazil, LOL. http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2009/oct/29/adrian-sutil-jarno-trulli-brazil

    Notice the apparent love between Kimi and Fernando in the pic. Might be choice for a caption competition.

  6. Just read that Lewis won’t be attending the Pirelli test but Nico will do all 3 days. Considering Lewis is the main front runner to struggle with tyres all year, you would expect him to wanna get all the running he can in to help this issue. I used to really root for Hamilton, but I’m starting to think he is only interested in self image and not how well he drives anymore. I have no doubt that in the next few years he will either release an album or start appearing in films. I don’t see him taking another WDC on driving skills alone, maybe reliability will hand him one but in pure skills, he is letting things slip a little, it hurts a little to admit.

        • Surprised he won’t be doing the test as well, but don’t forget Merc missed the YDT so maybe only one of them was ever going to do it and they did Rock Paper Scissors to see who’d have to skip it. Or vice versa 😉

      • He did score the best ever result on the Williams F1 engineering questionnaire given to all drivers they have ever had… Also turned down a place at a top UK university to study aerodynamics or some such to continue full time racing (being in F1 shortly after).

    • Sorry to say this as a Lewis fan from day one of his F1 career, but I too agree that he has gone past his peak.

      He doesn’t have the patience/intelligence to hack the driving style needed for F1 these days.

      The main reason I now watch F1 is to see how good/bad I am at predicting results on the Castrol GP predictor game.

      • The thrill of almost topping the TJ13 leaderboard is definitely the best thrill I got from the last half of the season…

        While it adds more ammunition to the ‘Lewis isn’t focussed’ debate, I can see that Rosberg would have better technical feedback. Lewis doesn’t seem to have that as much, but is better from a flat out pace POV. Button picking the right wings in 2010 Monza and 2012 Spa are evidence of this as well (almost win and win.. winning both would have put Hamilton in striking distance of 2 more titles.. reliability apart in 2012).

        Out of all the drivers Mercedes have available (Hamilton, Rosberg, Bird, Hartley and Davidson), that they’ve only picked one to do all 3 days speaks volumes (to me anyway, it probably doesn’t to them!).

    • Let’s wait till the end of ’14 before we make any final conclusions on Lewis. This year wasn’t the make or break for him in my opinion. But next year, new rules, active input into the car, we’ll see. It will also be the making of Nico…or not.
      And as for his peak, he’s either at it now, or hasn’t reached it yet. Very often a good/dominant car masks the true skill of a driver and whether he’s at his peak or not. 2012 was Lewis’ best year, and this year too he seemed mature. This year was also Vettel’s best year. These two can still get better. Alonso on the other hand, I feel 2012 was his peak year.

      • It’s hard to say for peak years but would you consider 2005 Raikkonen’s peak, with Alonso’s peak 2012, Hamilton 2012 so far and Vettel 2013 so far? It’s clear we’ll need someone like Hulkenberg to step up and challenge these two in the future, as the former two face their mid-30s pretty soon…

        Also, there are pre-peak years where they were peaks up till then. I’m thinking 2003 for Kimi (or 2005 if you take mid ’07-08 for him, or even his return mid ’12-13), 2005-6 for Alonso, perhaps 2010 as well, and 2007/8 for Hamilton, including 2010. Vettel, late-2010-2011 when he learned to dominate with the EBD.

        So, these do co-incide with title shots, e.g. Lewis might have been at a peak in mid-late 2009 when he was on title pace (but hampered by the first half of the season’s beta McLaren/title hangover car, same for Massa or Raikkonen at Ferrari).

        • It’s true there were other years that could be considered mini-peak years. But in ’12 for Alonso and Hamilton and ’13 for Vettel you also some maturity, consistency, an ‘armour’ that made you think “There’s no way I can beat this guy”. But you do need the car!

          • What are you guys talking about w/r/t “peak” tho – peak what? Peak athletic ability? Peak technical skill? Peak reaction time? Peak fitness level? Peak results output? Peak mental strength/focus, confidence, self-assurance, discipline, etc.?

            Unfortunately, in F1 results are so, so dependent on the performance-capabilities of the car, and then how the racing operation is planned, managed & executed by the team (incl’g strategy) plus the reliability of the platform, that it’s difficult to speak confidently about any driver being at a “peak” unless we identify very specific terms.

            Physically there’s no reason to think Lewis has reached his peak yet, not like Webber, for example, who we assume to have been in decline now for at least 12mos or so based on his own admissions.

            Reaction time, I’m not sure b/c I’m not that familiar w/ the neurophysiology, but I don’t think so here either…plus Hamilton has developed such expertise and confidence that he directs the team to adapt its designs (like for the steering wheel) to meet his specific reqs for best performance (but then we see him struggle to adapt his braking style, although this is understandable at the same time, no?).

            If Hamilton is at-risk of having “peaked” in any sense it might be related to motivation, confidence, discipline, focus and work-ethic. That’s not me being critical of Hamilton, and I’m a fan of his after all, but just observing the evolution of his career you can see what appear to be environmental differences (perhaps intentional and related to his marketing and non-racing brand development strategy) … I was very surprised to hear he go on-record saying he’d be OK if he never won the WDC again. That was surprising. Whether or not it’s indicative of his having peaked mentally, idk…

            Hamilton has always struck me as someone who could benefit from having at his side 1) a good woman w/ no drama (whether or not that’s N.S. I have no idea) and 2) a good sports psychologist (whether visible to public or not =/= important); and possibly 3) a manager/confidant who could also insulate Hamilton from any negative/predatory entourage characters (IF that’s a problem…again, Idk…). Admittedly I don’t know the guy but I wish him a return to consistent success and all the happiness in the world and I thank him for his commitment to the sport and for living his life so publicly and providing such inspiration and entertainment!

          • It is a difficult one to quantify, as car strength dilutes our data. But we can estimate that there is a physical peak in the mid-20s, a fully experienced driver in the mid-30s, and perhaps a complete driver somewhere in the middle. The complete driver is simply the best of all the factors, as a total at any given point in time.. perhaps like an all time ELO or something. I’m lacking knowledge in this area.. I’m sure there are better examples than that. What’s the term for the polygon of 8 or so variables? There must be an equivalent in cycling terms.. all of the factors like blood stuff, power in watts, weight, muscle to fat ratio, etc. Thanks for your reply to my questions the other day Joe – fascinating response!

            In this instance, we could say that Alonso’s pace was best in 2005/6, Total driver in 2010/12, from experience gained in 2007-08. But he might tell us a different picture, citing karting times, Minardi days, uncompetitive Renault times etc. 2011 was a washout as Ferrari were beaten on the exhausts for example, yet Alonso still did well in the championship. Without this insider information, we are left to speculate based on what we see/can pull from the moving driver data available.

            If Webber moved to Renault in 2005/6, maybe we would have a better indication of him as a faster but less experienced driver.. leading to a better conclusion of him as being a total driver, pre-2010. Maybe being destroyed by Alonso would have hampered his career, as it did for Fisichella, who knows 😛 . Webber was most probably in a decline since Silverstone 2012, and resigning for RB for one more year, over Ferrari.. it could also be a resurrection of EBD-like diffuser performance from the improved coanda exhaust. But he does cite motivation, and it’s only natural for someone in their late 30’s to have a performance decline.There are always exceptions, but they must be rare (think Schumacher, Fangio etc. or even say Tom Watson basically winning the Open in his 60s just recently). Certain factors like Reaction Time are pretty hard-coded to gradually decline I think, and not as malleable as other things e.g. muscles, but that’s for a neuroscientist to say.

            On Hamilton you are right, and many have speculated on this issue. It’s fair to do – we are just trying to think what will give him his peak performance overall. He himself has cited things like the team Button has around him. Perhaps it is that simply winning the WDC was Hamilton’s ultimate goal – starting from a council house in Stevenage, that would seem as unlikely as anything in itself. For Vettel, maybe his goal was always to beat his local hero Schumacher – so aiming for 8 titles and all the records means he saw 1 title as merely the first step on the road to success.

            I think there is also a certain intelligence about Vettel – it’s hard to think that English is not his natural tongue for instance, slightest German accent apart. That’s not a slight on Hamilton at all, it’s just that Vettel has that something about him, that perhaps he has learned from seeing how Schumi was vilified for his errors of judgement in trying to win at all costs (94, 97, Monaco 06) – and has now overcome somewhat his own ‘multi-21’ controversy (only brought about because of this era’s increased usage of team radio and behind the podium filming). Anyone who has seen Vettel throughout his rise (e.g. bringing about ‘the finger’, being so likeable to the press until 2013) cannot deny that he is a canny and thoughtful operator! He is 100% dedicated to being successful in F1. That we don’t know much about him apart from his F1 activities also points to this..

            That’s not to say that Vettel doesn’t get up to much outside of F1, for Kimi for example must certainly get up to some shenanigans.. but we don’t hear that much about that either, and come race day none of it will impact at all on Kimi’s performance either.. With Lewis wearing his heart on his sleeve, for instance, it seems that his own internal happiness can quite significantly impact on how well he drives. Something like cycling must also be a mental game, and in this respect Lance was always the strongest as well, or it seemed that way at least. Maybe he was just ultimately confident in his program! 😛 But he does seem to have some psychopathic tendencies..

          • PS. I did wonder whether the extreme % body fat loss that those guys doing well like Wiggins and Froome had was just an indicator of immense mileage.. in an opposite way from inactivity and muscle shrinkage (and body fat increase?). It’s been used against them as a sign of doping by critics/speculators, but in that respect I thought Dave Brailsford wanted to be open and offered for their data showing this not to be the case to be viewable? Not sure what happened after that.

            The only examples I can think of from running would be someone like Paula Radcliffe, who was perfectly suited to long distance running and took that to its perfect conclusion (Marathon WR by over 2 minutes). I assume the tour is like a marathon back-to-back for like a month straight? And the sprinters are like the Bekeles and Farahs, who could keep up over a marathon, but only have a chance to win a stage in the kick finishes brought about by slower overall pace until the time trials/mountains etc.?

        • Hi I.D. – fascinating comments overall. What you speculated about Hamilton’s motivation and achieving goal of winning title in 2008 resonated especially w/ me. I even think I remember reading speculation about this previously, that the focus for him for so long had been to win that first WDC that he was ineffectual at maintaining a comparable level of focus, motivation in subsequent years. I don’t think it was Lewis himself who said that, however, but I genuinely hope he continues to be successful but strengthens his character and ability to resist emotional distress (although it makes him a fascinating and very compelling subject).

          I also thought your comment re. Vettel 100% was very very true. (“He is 100% dedicated to being successful in F1. That we don’t know much about him apart from his F1 activities also points to this..”) Such a difference b/w how Lewis puts himself “out there” as a person, not just a professional sportsman, and Vettel, who is fastidious about guarding his personal life (or so it seems).

          W/r/t Lance … psychopathic isn’t the right term in this case, though I understand what you mean (psychopathy being a medical diagnosis, and LA is definitely not a psychopath). But all super-successful athletes manifest selfishness to some degree…it’s just how that is managed or allowed to develop and obviously some are much less restrained than others.

          W/r/t body weight and extreme thinness on the Tour…it is comparable in some respects to 3weeks of marathoning, w/ only 2 days off, but w/o the repetitive trauma from impact specific to running, which creates injuries not typically seen in cycling…and the daily caloric demands are such that it’s simply not possible to replace energy expenditure through regular eating, hence the inevitable weight loss. What’s suspicious though is when riders are turning up to the start as thin as if they’d just finished the Tour, and that’s a potential doping sign indicating the use of these exotic compounds that increase metabolic rate w/o catabolizing muscle but are also potentially very toxic…all very hush-hush and speculative at times, unfortunately. Cycling has a long long way to go before TdF winners deserve to be not at least casually suspected of potentially doping. They have every incentive to dope if they can avoid detection and even very small gains are valuable. Impossible to say w/o being there in the room w/ them though what any particular rider is doing nowadays that the controls have become tougher.

          Kimi…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZwluGshJ_E

          OH! The Big Lie w/ Brailsford, Wiggins, Froome is that they will only release current data w/ some very limited historical data and no data from several previous years that would permit actual trend analysis and seriously put at risk the legitimacy of the performance levels they’ve manifested in more recent years. Point being that it’s great to release 3-4 years worth of data for example but if you withhold even only 2 years at beginning of career, speculation becomes that you’re doing that b/c the data doesn’t fit the profile of a Tour winner that you’ve either cultivated or manufactured…lol.

        • OH and sprinters depend more on topography of the stage/course for chance to win than they do on relative decrease in pace…that is, when sprinters win they typically win on flatter stages that obviously end in sprint finishes, but not because the GC-contenders who are strong in TTs or mountains rode easier those days, but rather, b/c the finishes simply suit the attributes of the sprinters, and not the TT/climbers. And when you see sprinters winning in the mountains or climbers winning on the flats, it’s typically b/c of superior tactics and they outfox the contenders so that the specialists aren’t even in position to win (ex. Eros Poli – a huge Italian sprinter type – winning stage 14 of 1994 Tour de France which passed over Mt. Ventoux…he won by going on an epic solo breakaway otherwise he would’ve been dropped and left behind on ventoux). cheers!

          • Although it wasn’t a Mountain stage, still recall Thierry Marie winning an epic stage breakaway of over 200k in the 90’s. Love it when that happens

  7. “… TJ13 has been led to believe and stated since the sp[ring this year, that there was only 1 destination for Ross Brawn when he decided to leave McLaren. … ”

    Leave McLaren? He hasn’t even started at McLaren, yet ! 😉

  8. On numbers, I think for a lot of the drivers it may be karting numbers that have significance to them, e.g. Perez. ‘Double perfection’ is apt (current flying finn and future flying finn), although I thought of 14 as that as well from doubling 7. It’ll be nice to see a 27, even if it is on Vergne. Magnussen rumoured to take 23 (his dad’s F1 number), although being at the end of the queue those guys will have to strike lucky.

    On drivers – if VDG brings more cash than Gutierrez then a swap may in effect be possible. If not, then EJ’s diagram of 2014 drivers is still holding firm! Gutierrez may be down on sponsorship, after 15m euros followed Checo to Force India..

    • I hope Bianchi gets 27, that would be good to see him in the Ferrari eventually with that number. If they don’t pick him now and he has it they’ll look bad! I hope Vergne gets 25 or 21, 25-26 being Ligier numbers in the past. Else, indeed Bianchi will have all 3 picks taken and the FIA will need to think up another rule for this outcome. Cruelly, he would be stuck with a non-27 number until the end of his career, even if he was then in a Ferrari. Should there be a chance to change when a driver leaves? A bit like swapping football shirt numbers (there, it’s used to generate more merch sales from getting new shirts.. here, it’s the opposite to try and get more sales… is the target market the less fanatical fan?). It seems Massa is plumping for 19 so far? A number he could have had next year anyway in the old number system. But would he have wanted to carry the ‘number 2’ driver number at Williams?

      • “Should there be a chance to change when a driver leaves?” — I certainly hope so, though it would be interesting to conceive how best to manage that process…

        And I also wonder if there is some horse-trading going on b/w the drivers themselves during the number-requisitioning process? I would have to think so, no? Yes F1 drivers are fierce competitors blah blah, and yes they have commercial interests to consider and must make a living, but they are also colleagues who have the shared experience amongst an elite fraternity of regular high-risk activity that few can understand/relate to.

        I don’t think the entire grid would get together to BBQ and work out their #s as a group so everyone could get close to what they wanted, but I could certainly imagine situation where 2-3 rivals collaborate to all get the # they want, or 2 conspire to ruin things for a 3rd out of spite! lol… 😉

        • Imagine if they knew about the numbers ploy at the annual end-of-season drivers dinner! They could indeed have all laid out what numbers they preferred, and blocked someone like Bianchi (low down in the picking order.. also pecking order, in this case!) from getting the 27! Hamilton and Raikkonen were absent this year.. unless Lewis was the one taking the photo.. But, it doesn’t matter for them anyway, as they are 4 and 5 in the picking/pecking order, and numbers 1-3 wouldn’t want to block them and lose their own number.. unless Vettel plans on always running 1 and blocking another driver’s number as his backup…

          • Imagine, the race for the driver number has almost as many strategies as a safety car filled race. I can see all the drivers hitting the strategists up for advice before making their choices LOL.

          • Kimi: Yes, yes, yes, I know what I am doing. 7. Kimi only picks one number..

  9. Re- tyre test

    So Jev and Kyvat are not race drivers? Someone should let Toro Rosso know a bit quick, they may still pick up Di Resta or Pic if they move now lol

  10. “Brackley confirm Lewis’ absence is due to the fact he has begun his high altitude training.” —- in other words he’s in Vail for Xmas holidays and some light skiing already? 😉 lol…

    • perhaps Joe, although I can’t find the story now…he is said to be spending Christmas with the Ex, Nicole Schertzinger. Somewhere in America….

        • Wouldn’t surprise me if there is some baby news come September 2014.. probably she’ll stroll into the paddock, providing the evidence.. Hopefully Lewis doesn’t get used to following in Vettel’s footsteps from now on.. although that said, imagine Vettel and Hamilton, mk.II…

  11. It appears that I occasionally play some kind of Devil’s Advocate on this site so I wish to reject the (to my mind) arrogant assertion of… ‘Leading Swiss F1 journalist, Roger Benoit,’ that, “the fans have a right to be informed about…” ‘
    In my opinion NOBODY has any such RIGHT to be told anything… One, if you like, has a right to ask a question… but Sauber (et al) are in no way obliged to answer – I think only in court does one HAVE to answer.
    Anybody, or company/organisation, is able to make statements / announcements as they wish, AND to keep quiet, if they have nothing to announce, or choose to say nothing.
    Of course, in the meantime, many journalists will endeavour to offer their own explanation – which they are entitled to do, as long as they are honest – and don’t run headlines that ‘accidentally’ forget to put a question mark at the end… 😉
    PS: I do realise this is a bit of a one-man crusade… 🙁

    • If they told us what was what 100% of the time, there would be no journalism profession! It would be a surreal reality, a bit like in The Invention of Lying! Good ol’ Ricky Gervais…

      Funny thing, this right to know.. taken too far.. latest funny one I saw was World of Warcraft (massively multiplayer online game, a bit like Lord of the Rings or something playable online) being infiltrated by special operatives.. ‘investigating if terrorists use it to communicate and plot!’ That’s actually quite a neat idea (intel can’t survey it like phone/net comms etc.), probably they will do this in future now (I’m sure quite a few do indeed have their own ways of communicating already, just this seems more unlikely than perhaps some other choices?).

      Generally, transparency is the way forwards, but the only problem of that is, if it’s not in your interests to do so, then why would you hurt yourself just to stick to a principle (in business anyway, perhaps everything else as well. Idealism is great, but not if no one else believes so either. But making them believe can be achieved, only it takes time – Mandela shows it can take 27 years, and he had the whole ANC behind him as well, so it wasn’t a one-man army. Aung San Suu Kyi shows that can take as long, if not longer, as it will take her a whole lifetime to possibly achieve her goals)?

      We can see how badly the USA has reacted to having its dirty laundry aired in public, in the cases of Manning, Wikileaks and Snowden. Perhaps, Wikileaks let the other side win by being caught up in their retaliation, but they also split from inside over what should be released as well (further principle vs. reality compromise). Assange is now holed up and can’t do any more damage, but this is one of the world’s greatest hackers we are talking about, so perhaps he doesn’t have to move from his laptop..

      • re. Assange, yes he’s fairly well neutralized at least w/r/t mobility, and maybe he is going personally insane or becoming demented (idk just speculating) but it’s still kinda mission-accomplished for him, since he (w/ Wikileaks) changed the world and have broken the gov’t’s MSM-enabled stranglehold on control of very very sensitive and/or embarrassing information. Wikileaks may never have another success like they did w/ collateral murder video, and manning will rot in prison, but i don’t think Snowden will ever see inside of a jail cell, and most definitely leaks will continue. the USGOVT radically overplayed its hand post-9/11, this I know w/o doubt.

        But yeah seriously why should a private company have to accede to the demands of…a journalist of all people? The reporter can rant rave and have as much of a tantrum as he wants, but he doesn’t impress by haranguing the team which deserves the degree of privacy to which it’s legally entitled imo.

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