Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday, 23 December 2013

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Silly Season 2013 Review

Senility takes Bernie to the night

Fat Hippo’s Rant: Paul Hembery takes leave of his senses

Silly Season 2013 Review

Silly season is a term to describe the time of the season, when speculation is rife about, who will drive where in the next season and one must look back quite a time to find a year in which that term was more fitting than in 2013. At one point both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen where linked to the second seat at Red Bull, which would have given us the mouth-watering prospect of a clash of titans at the Austrian team, but Dr. Marko and common sense won out in the end. Considering the history of such overly competitive pairings – Pironi/Villeneuve, Mansell/Piquet, Prost/Senna, Alonso/Hamilton – one has to be clinically insane to sign two alpha males. Which makes one wonder, why Ferrari has done just that and signed Kimi to partner Fernando next year. Madness.

But apart from a few winners, like Kimi, Felipe Massa and Danny Ricciardo, the result of this year’s silly season is that several drivers are left with less than they deserve. Biggest loser of the ‘musical chairs 2013 edition’ is undoubtedly Nico Hülkenberg One has to look back until the early 80s to find the last instance of top teams ignoring a talented driver so consequently. Back in the day nobody wanted to touch an obviously lightning fast Nigel Mansell with a stick, which stranded him at a declining Team Lotus, and the same fate seems to befall Nico Hülkenberg. How someone with his undeniable talent can be left with no other option other than switching from one midfield team to another is beyond comprehension.

Lotus in itself is a rather sad story with their shady Quantum deal that never materialized, but considering their 2013 results, unless they fall apart over the winter, a Lotus cockpit is still a desirable prospect – if you can manage with not being paid that is. That such a place goes to someone like Pastor Maldonado borders on travesty. Maldonado’s only argument for still being in F1 is the money he brings. On talent alone he never made the cut, despite the fluke win at Barcelona last year. Replacing a departing Kimi Räikkönen with Pastor Maldonado is the most laughable idea since someone thought signing Jean-Deniz Deletraz was a good idea.


Another victim of the silly season is Paul di Resta. Some might argue he has solidly outscored his team mate, but forget that he has done so for only the first time in 3 years. Sutil beat him in 2011 and Hülkenberg outscored him last year and his ‘win’ over Sutil this year is down to the German suffering horrendous bad luck in the early season, the only time when the Force India was actually competitive. Adding to that, that unlike Paul, Sutil refrained from complaining about the team in public, it isn’t too hard to see, why Sutil will still be on the grid next year and Paul is left to the choice whether to take cousin Dario’s seat in Indycars or returning to DTM. Except that Dario’s seat already went to Ryan Briscoe. So DTM it is.

The real winners of the silly season are Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil and Danny Ricciardo. After the meagre years at Ferrari, endlessly shafted and embarrassed by the team in favour of his team mate, one wouldn’t have been surprised if Massa would’ve just walked off, but he got a last chance to shine at Williams. The British team is no longer the top seat it once was, but being able to run without the team endlessly ordering you to finish behind your team mate might rejuvenate Felipe’s race craft. Having outqualified Fernando more often than any other team mate of the Spaniard ever managed to, shows that he’s nowhere near as useless as his results of 2012 and 2013 suggest.

Adrian Sutil is on the best way of becoming the next David Coulthard – a driver not quite fast enough to become world champion, but solid, dependable and experienced enough to be employable by just about everyone. It is not really a surprise that he ended up replacing Nico Hülkenberg at Sauber. And unlike some speculate, it is not a ‘no other idea’ choice by Sauber either. The two parties have been in contact since early autumn – that’s fall for those, who like to replace perfectly serviceable words with ones that already have a dedicated, completely different meaning. He’s a known quantity. You can be sure he won’t do boneheaded things on the track (Shanghai pubs are a different matter) and he brings some modest sponsor money, even if it isn’t in the same league as the contents of Maldonado’s coffers. One easily forgets that Sutil should have scored his first podium in Melbourne if it wasn’t for Pirelli’s inability to produce tyres that manage a double digit number of laps. But more on that later…

Daniel Ricciardo is on paper the luckiest boy of the bunch. He’s given the task to drive the car that won the last four world titles. His problem is, that the guy, who actually won those titles is not the one he’s replacing. On one hand he has the historic chance to show that Vettel is not as good as people think by beating him, but if he fails at that, he might just as well spend the rest of his career in obscurity, hoping for the odd win when Seb has an off day or his gear box goes boom.


Senility takes Bernie to the night

The short one from Suffolk has added his two minor currency units to the double points debate, saying that he would prefer that the last three races would pay double points, as that would allow him to extort obscene hosting fees from not one, but three Grand Prix organizers. Of course the official reason is to keep the championship open until the final race, but everybody, who’s not been living under a rock for the last 40 years knows, that whatever the pint-sized troll suggests is ultimately meant to increase the income side of his cheque book.

Not only are the interwebs exploding with people speculating if those, who came up with the double points idea might have a cocaine habit, there’s also resistance from within the F1 fraternity. The knight in shining armour, riding into the sunset to defend F1’s honour is a nobleman from the Land of Italy – Luca di Montezemolo, who urges the FIA/FOM dominated F1 strategy group to scrap that idea at their next meeting in January. Rumours are that Ferrari might use their veto right to get rid of this lunatic idea, but Luca seems to prefer that the strategy bong smokers come to their senses on their own.



Fat Hippo’s Rant: Paul Hembery takes leave of his senses

Last time someone complained about the Hippo’s rant not being ‘ranty’ enough. The obese mammal promised to improve his skills…

At times Pirelli’s faceborg page this year read like the protocol of a Haters Anonymous convention and considering what they’ve done to F1, they deserve every second of it. Of course that doesn’t go down well with the big wigs at the Milan headquarters, who sign off a millions of Euros budget, only to embarrass themselves on the big stage. Motorsport-Total reports that Paul Hembery thinks he now has found the culprit for all the hate Pirelli have been subjected to – Red Bull. According to him, it was the constant complains of Red Bull that stirred the ire of fans and other teams alike and resulted in Pirelli being subjected to massive criticism of their substandard products.

*deep breath* 3…2…1

Are you daft, Paul? So Red Bull is to blame that people are fed up with your cr*p tyres? People don’t mind that your tyres can’t even run 12 laps, but they get agitated because Red Bull says what everyone thinks? You may want to lay off that Chianti. Force India, one of the cars that was kindest to the tyres, couldn’t make a set of supersofts last 12 laps on a light car and lost a possible podium position at Melbourne. China was the biggest farce we’ve seen since the Aix-les-Bains stage of the 1998 Tour de France. Drivers being endlessly told not to race each other. They could’ve just as well run the whole race behind the pace car.

Monaco was a modern rendition of ‘government office mikado’ – the one who moves first, loses. Cars were going so slow that Guido van der Garde posted a fastest lap in a wheelie bin, for crying out loud. You needed to give Mercedes an illegal 3 day tutoring lesson to stop them embarrassing themselves endlessly, knowing that they wouldn’t take it much longer to be humiliated on a world wide broadcast stage by your substandard product. And you wouldn’t want to ruin your chances for an OEM contract with Mercedes-Benz by kicking their F1 team in the plums every second weekend, would you Paul?

Having a go at Red Bull is a cheap shot. Mercedes was just as vocal in their criticism of Pirelli, loudest among them Niki Lauda, who lambasted Pirelli at every opportunity on German TV to the point that customers in Germany demanded ‘anything but Pirelli’ when time came to switch from winter to summer tyres. But having a go at Mercedes could hurt your chances in the business, unlike lambasting Red Bull, who except for the best F1 cars of the last half decade don’t build and sell any vehicles.

BKO3zy0CMAATSe4.jpg large

Perez (twice), Hamilton, Alonso, Vergne, Gutierrez, Massa – that’s the list of casualties at Silverstone. Was that also Red Bull’s fault? Did they have a squad of snipers stationed around the track shooting tyres or was your sorry excuse of a product just not fit for the purpose? First you tried to blame the curbs, but how come in the four years they’ve been where they are there’s never been a problem? Couldn’t it just be that your original 2013 tyres were utterly and hopelessly useless? How come that since the return to the kevlar belt construction no tyre fiascos where had and people even started to mildly race each other?

“But that gave Red Bull a free run, just as we predicted,” I hear you cry Paul and I say – so effing what? Is that your problem? You are the bloody tyre supplier, your job is to provide tyres that are safe to operate. Influencing the competition in favour or disfavour of selected competitors is not part of your responsibilities. Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus – they are responsible for making sure that Red Bull doesn’t run away with it – not you.

Just get your bloody stuff together, build tyres that deserve the name and stop blaming others for your failures, Paul. That’s the only way to stop the hate.


Christmas in the chambers from the Usher

As it’s this merry time of year, I thought I’d dust off something from the exhibit cupboard for his honour whilst he’s visiting the porcelain telephone today. Perhaps I could be accused of taking advantage but I think this is well worth the risk of potential future accusations that there is a Ferrari bias here a la FIA. Feel free to post ridicule/praise/groans (delete where appropriate) in the comments.

Merry Christmas from us at TJ13 🙂




53 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday, 23 December 2013

  1. Nicely written piece today Danilo, hope the TJ13 assassin crew will take a Christmas break and give you some credit for once.

    And on that note, Happy Christmas to all TJ13 writers and readers; I’m off to see the family and get gently pickled for the next few days.

  2. Well, I’m up stupidly late trying to get the technologically advanced toys sorted since I actually work Christmas Eve and Day, and I happily read your rant DS, and I must say, thank goodness, that I don’t agree with your slagging of Hembery at all.

    I’m pretty sure he was also fairly irate at the FIA/FOM nightmare as unlike your implications, Pirelli attempted to design tires to give specific scenarios to races under instructions, not because that’s what they would have chosen left to their own devices. I use the word attempted, because they were not given the data necessary to actually do that job properly.

    And the butchery at Silverstone was also where the teams ran afoul of running the tires outside spec, both directionally, in terms of camber, and in terms of pressure. So blame =shared.

    And yes, he bitched about RB, but he also bitched about FIA/FOM. And I’m fairly sure his point was rather than have the trial in the courtroom, they had it in the papers, which helped to ensure the outcome that suited them (not necessarily F1) the best. And I have to admit I kind of agree.

    That said, I have to agree with your OEM points re Mercedes, not least because Pirelli is an OEM supplier to MERC.

    Dr Z: Signor Provera, do what you must to be fair, regardless of our OEM purchases of your product.

    MTP: but of course we shall be impartial, just not TOO impartial. *wink wink, nudge nudge*

    And then there are the tutoring sessions, such a long time ago, yet I think that it was not just Merc to get such a fabulous advantage, IIRC. Cans. Worms. Open.

    Alright then off to bed and in the AM, hundreds of comments as all the bandages get ripped right off again. 😉

    • ” I happily read your rant DS, and I must say, thank goodness, that I don’t agree with your slagging of Hembery at all. ”

      I’m a Pirelli-defender, too. They’re not perfect/infallible, but they’re also not trying to ruin F1 and they’re most decidedly not incompetent. Paul is a friend and we’ve talked extensively about this and it’s unfortunate the misplaced criticism they’ve come in for. Some is warranted, but not nearly all of it.

      Anyway, Happy Xmas Eve Day y’all!

      • Been meaning to tell you for days I’ve enjoyed your cycling insights, so thanks for giving me the chance. Interesting that you know Paul as well. does Pirelli dabble in cycling as well.

        I was an amateur back in the day and actually raced with (maybe) some of your colleagues when they were still on the way up, including a very young and fast George Hincapie. I also once shared an elevator with Rebecca Twigg, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

        Happy Christmas to all you slaggards, as I’m off to work the next 24 hours straight. Occupational hazard of being a musician LOL, my holidays start after everone else’s. Have a good glass of Cheer for me..

        • Cheers, Matt! Bravo re. R.Twigg! I once shared a hotel room w/ her, but as you say, that’s ” a whole ‘ nother story” !! 😉

          Re. Paul – connection is just a serendipitous one, catalyzed by my being a fan of F1, and his being a cycling fan, too (he actually attended some of the indoor track cycling events at the London Games).

          Pirelli’s F1 sponsorship hasn’t been free of missteps, but I do think they’ve come in for seriously unfair criticism and been left twisting in the wind a few times, not least of all by teams/drivers who it was disappointing to see so politicized.

          Anyway, gotta run! Merry Xmas and talk soon! Cheers!

          • Wow, you just keep the good stuff coming. Gotta run myself, time to make the music :-).

            Merry Xmas to you too!!

  3. Agreed that Pirelli have made themselves looks a little silly at times. But I do think that FOM (Bernie) should have stood shoulder to shoulder with Pirelli as its was then that gave the stupid brief to ‘spice up the show’ with tyres that would do less than half a GP. Instead though FOM just came out saying, “this is not what we asked for” and distanced themselves from the who issue.
    Pirreli are correct to be pissed off some what, but not just at RB, at F1 as a sport. They were tasked with a near impossible brief but not supported it ground level.
    Don’t forget get teams were swapping sides/direction of rotation, using too much camber and tow not toention the low pressures, all outside the recommended working parameters of the product.
    EG. If I use my mobile as a hammer, it will break and the insurance will tell me I can’t have a new one free as I missused it and therefore I caused the problem.

    So WHY when the teams missused a product and it broke, i did the manufacturer get it in the neck for producing a sub standard item. Not to mention the FIA not being willing to back Pirreli’s recommendations for use when they tried to get teams to correctly treat their product.

    I know that things were not quite there with the tyres this season but I do feel that the paties involved need to all take their share of the responsibility as no-one took notice of the cause, just the final effect…..exploding tyres!

    • The first driver to blow the whistle against Pirelli was Michael Schumacher and I didn’t know he was driving for Red Bull in 2012.
      So Paul hush, hush… and enjoy your Christmas black pudding as long has it isn’t used on track or branded Pzero!

  4. Danilo I’ve really enjoyed today’s read, apart from a couple of queries….

    Is Massa really a ‘Winner’ out of the silly season?

    Also, I wouldn’t call Maldonado’s victory a fluke. He drove a controlled race from start to finish in Barcelona 2012, not getting flustered when he lost the lead at the first corner. He, along with the team, made the bold call to pit for tyres early which proved to be a master stroke. Yes, he has failed to deliver anything close to this since, but give credit where it is due.

    When one looks at the effect Boullier had on Grosjean and how he matured into a force to be reckoned with it shows there is still hope for Maldonado. If the Frenchman can have the same effect on the latest Lotus recruit then the pairing could be something special in 2014.

    • I agree on Maldonado. If his win was a fluke, then so was Vettel’s in his Toro Rosso days. I really don’ think Maldonado is as bad as people think, in a good car, he had the talent to challenge for wins.

    • Romain himself says it has to do with him becoming a father and regular trips to a shrink. It helped him realise there is more to life than succeeding in f1.

  5. Much better ranting from the portly one, even if I disagree with it. As has been commented above, Pirelli have done as good a job as they had been allowed to, so it’s a bit harsh to label their work ‘cr*p’.

    Regarding silly season, I won’t miss Di Resta’s moaning, and I am not sure he was ever going to be great. I’ll miss Webber more. Maldonado has definitely got a drive still due to money, he would have been out on his ear otherwise. All in all, I am excited about the driver line ups next year and think the in team battles could be interesting! ALO V RAI, VET V RIC, BUT V MAG, I could go on, roll on Aus.

    • Team battles will be really interesting.

      ALO v RAI – Alonso will most probably come on top, but it’ll be interesting to see how much he’s matured since his McLaren days.
      VET v RIC – This will decide whether Ricciardo will become another journeyman or not. And if RBR don’t have a dominant car, we’ll also see how good Vettel really is (as per Alonso’s comments).
      HAM v ROS – With Hamilton having input to the new car, it will really show whether he’s rightly considered as one of the greats of this era and how good Rosberg really is.
      BUT v MAG – Let’s hope the young Dane convinces management and he stays on for years to come. If he doesn’t beat the aging Button though, he might be relegated to another FI seat the year after.
      HUL v PER – Is the Hulk really the true talent everyone believes? Did McLaren do the right thing with ousting Perez? That battle will show all that.

      • McLaren78, that comment sounds like the monologue on film trailers, just needs a man with a rough American accent reading it and some clips of the guys being talked about LOL

        Next year is stacking up to be a good season. We all knew 2013 was never going to be epic due to the attention and resources needed for the rule change. Let’s just hope that if Vettel does win, it’s by 1 point and hopefully that it will be any 1 of 3 or 4 drivers in with a shot at the last race. Would also be nice to see them really thrash the cars, I think that in the last 3 years with Pirelli tyres, the cars have been so reliable due to the fact they are not being pushed as hard as they are desgined to be, thanks to having to eek life out of tyres that are not delivering the grip levels required to really wring the neck out these machines.

        • “Ever’body drives their mobile different, those British folks drives ’em different from those Germany folks drives ’em different. And we seen a folk from Spain, an’ he drives ’em differentest of all.”

          Like that?

      • I’m not quite sure on the alonso thing. The first races I’ll put kimi ahead. But thats just a feeling i have. Then it’ll show us how strong alonso is, mentally. And in my opinion he’s much weaker as most think. (That’s why he needs to play those mental wars, like he does.)

  6. Guys guys guys we won’t know how any team would perform before the cars hits melbourne park.ferrari are being uber confident with their engine and redbull are enjoying near works support from renault with free engines.
    i would certainly love mercedes engined teams win next year and deny ferrari their 2014 WDC,since ferrari have enjoyed fair share of success in the yearly decade.

  7. Double points are ridiculous. Why not award 5 points for pole, 3 points for every fastest lap during the race, and 1 point for every car over taken? This way even if you were behind the leader you can still score points during the race and keep the WDC close? Whomever thought of this double points business should be flayed! Well no, hung by the thumbs maybe… 😉

    • NO, no, double points isn’t ridiculous. In fact, it’s such a good idea I think EVERY race should be double points!!!

  8. Yawn….DS complains about Pirelli and supports Red Bull…..

    (But good for you for providing the content, Dan – Merry Christmas!)

  9. Danilo lives in england.
    And drinks redbull too much instead of beer,i hope it gives him wiings!!!
    That’s why he supports redbull like an idiot!
    Shame on you danilo after all “redbull is an producer of sweet water according to american f1 fans” says ‘car and driver’ magazine.they can have all sorts of acheievements but according to me it is just redbull are advertising freaks!!!

    • That’s the final warning samraj. The fact that you are the only one, who doesn’t know that I live in Germany (that’s what Germans occasionally do), tells me that you don’t even read our articles. You just come here to swear at people. If I see just one more of such comments from you, you’re so out of here, you won’t have the time to scream an expletive. And you’ll like even less what a trained IT professional can do with the knowledge of your IP address.
      The true value of this community is, that it is free of mindless trolls such as you and we’ll keep it at that.

      • ” And you’ll like even less what a trained IT professional can do with the knowledge of your IP address” ???????
        I had to pinch myself twice after reading this, are you out of your mind Danilo?
        Sorry that’s it for me here, i’m gone, the fact that there is somebody working here that threatens others to do them harm because he got hold of your IP adress, while sneaking into the office, as he puts it, is the absolute bloody limit, you should be ashamed of yourself Danilo!

        Buon Natale e Felice anno nuovo.

        And for all the others at TJ, thanks for a great, great time my friends!

        • And what please, is so cruel about banning someone using his IP adress, making sure that he can’t just come back using a different email/user handle? If samraj or anyone else thinks I’d go to the hassle of spending my few hours of spare time hacking someone’s computer, I’d say that’s a problem of your imagination, not mine. I think I used the term ‘trained IT professional’, not ‘pimple-faced skript-kiddy’.

      • “The true value of this community is, that it is free of mindless trolls such as you and we’ll keep it at that.”


        No one deserves a free pass and to avoid critical feedback if their ideas are dubious or the facts they present incorrect, but by the same token, all criticism and dialogue should have a point, even if it’s witty banter to entertain, and mindless or abusive posting is neither entertaining nor interesting.

        Not saying that samraj_F40 in particular has fallen afoul of the Community here, so much as I’m voicing my support for the norms of behavior that keep His Honor’s Chambers such a welcoming environment…

  10. Ok calm down dani,stop the nonsense.perhaps i am an out&out fan of TJ13.perhaps i still want to know why you are posting on this blog and not the incomparable judge

    • Samraj, as was stated above. Health reasons meant TJ was unable to complete the news today. Have a bit of Christmas merriment about yourself!

      • adamac39 please take care of this blog properly as danilo is properly not the man for the job.
        By the way sorry for the early harsh comments on the radio article.
        You must definitely take over his job

        • samraj, it’s not me, who comes here every second day, insulting people. When you likened me to an idiot, because I dare not to hate a team that you don’t like, you crossed a line. Many people have worked to build a community that works without people needlessly insulting each other and we will protect it from people, who can’t extend this common courtesy. Like every other message system, your IP adress is recorded. If you continue your ad-hominem attacks, we have no other choice than to ban you permanently to protect people from your verbal vitriol. Which part of that is so diffcult to understand?

          • Danilo, this is a fantastic sight, but please don’t rant, your response comes across as egotistical, the best thing to do is not bite. People only say things to get a reaction, if they don’t get a reaction they stop.

            So enjoy a christmas brandy, sit back, chill and let people say what they will say and ignore the bits you don’t like.

            Merry christmas

          • Dear Danilo, I agree wholeheartedly with Jamie.

            TJ himself said there was not nor will be censorship on this site.

            So just leave samraj to say whatever they want.

            Personally – I don’t bother reading samraj’s comments anymore as they have come across generally as mindless and uninteresting rants.

            There’s plenty of interesting comments from others I’d rather spend my time reading.

            And since the solstice has now past – we can look forward to brighter days ahead ( northern hemisphere ) 🙂

          • Folks, TJ13 already had a word with me. In a way I’m to blame for my thin Skin. I’ve worked flat out since early June, half of the weekends in between, too and some of the ‘free weekends’ I’ve had commitments in a different community (I’ve been race director at two major eSports Events). All the while I didn’t want to give up on my TJ13 contributions, so I’m afraid I’ve rubbed myself a bit raw on sheer exhaustion. I’ve decided to take some much needed time off, so the fat hippo will disappear under water until January to recharge the batteries.

            So sorry everyone for my un-hippo-like thin Skin lately, happy x-mas and see y’all again in January, when I’ve recharged my batteries.

  11. Happy Christmas too all the TJ13 staff and contributors, also all the great commentators. I have enjoyed this blog immensely this year (so much so it replaced JA on F1 at the top of bookmarks) and the great conversations that sometimes turn into battles of words but are always with respect for the person you are disagreeing with. It’s a breath of freshair especially when you see the ‘tolling’ that goes on with some of the other sites. As I know no F1 fans in person since my father passed away, it’s been so good to have a group of fans to exchange views/ideals/theories/memories with. So it’s a big thank you to all.

    It’s not an interest…….it’s a passion!

  12. Merry christmas everyone!!! It was very entertaining for the first time i discovered TJ13 a year and half ago.
    The first site i open everyday would be TJ13.i just love the ideas people share just like ‘Clear View’ said.
    i would still visit TJ13 but to not hurt everyone but it’s like my daily dose,just like any other TJ13 fan when cut i bleed F1.get well soon JUDGE waiting for your post.

  13. Its so close to christmas night in my country,readying for christmas carols when
    “Thejudge” is recovering
    “adamac39” writes a new christmas story
    “Clear view” is happy for everyone @ TJ13
    “colin” is spreading the christmas joy
    AND FINALLY “Danilo” drinking a tin of redbull in vettelheim

  14. As a recent convert to the TJ13 site I’d like to wish all contributors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to the promise of 2014’s new F1 era with this site bookmarked as essential reading.
    Now to price up a trip to Jerez as a Christmas present to myself…

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