Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 11th March 2014


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The Month Of March

Welcome to the Hunger Games

Time to cancel the Sotchi Grand Prix

Horner tips Mercedes driver for 2014 title (GMM)

Barrichello hopes Massa fights for title (GMM)

When does marketing cease to be marketing?

Berger thought of Schumacher after own ski fall (GMM)

Hamilton looking forward to more open competition

The Month Of March

Hans Joachim “Striezel” Stuck driving a Jägermeister sponsored March 761 in 1976. The orange livery advertising the foul tasting booze would survive on various racing cars until the mid-nineties when it was painted on Michael Bartel’s DTM Opel.



Welcome to the Hunger Games

“Sorry, I can’t eat that or Adrian [Newey] will send me on the treadmill again.” That isn’t the Fat Hippo impersonating Vettel after a glass of beer too many. It was Vettel’s answer when some thoughtful young lady brought him a buttered pretzel during an early morning interview while filming a commercial a week before the Jerez test.

Back then I added a piece to the news for it, but retracted it again as I didn’t think it was ‘news enough’, but now it appears as if Vettel’s quip was a sign of a nasty bout of ‘Hunger Games’ being played behind the scenes as more drivers come out and confess that they’re forced to starve themselves to lose weight. The loudest among them was Jenson Button, who explained that even drivers in the 70kg territory have to lose weight to come close to the minimum weight of the car/driver package. Else they will suffer a competitive disadvantage by being limited in the application of ballast weight and cannot balance their cars as a result.

For just about every driver taller than Mr. E that is a problem. For people like Felipe Massa, who can ride a Dachshund without the feet touching the ground, that’s no problem, but for taller drivers like Danny Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg the necessary weight loss can be detrimental to their health. Early year photos of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton show both of them looking like prison camp survivors, especially Alonso appeared unhealthily skinny.

Vettel, at 1.74m of height and 64kg is not exactly a behemoth, but even he has to stay away from any food that’s not absolutely necessary. For the taller ones it soon becomes ridiculous. Anorexia in competitive sports is nothing new. Females in ice skating disciplines pairs and ice dancing tend to be very skinny as they need to be lifted by their partners, who usually don’t weigh much more than a grocery bag themselves. A decade ago, weight loss was rampant among ski jumpers and reached such ridiculous extremes that the governing body tied the ski length to the jumpers body mass index (bmi) to make extreme weight loss less effective in gaining an advantage. The also introduced a minimum bmi. Going below it, the jumper will be banned from competition until his bmi is back to less health threatening numbers.

F1 drivers never were of a chubby disposition and as a result of that they face a serious problem with the weight loss. The Fat Hippo currently registers at 114.6 metric tons. If I were to use the ashtray instead of just driving through a pothole to knock the ash off my cigarette, the additional movement of my right arm would burn some fat and lower my weight. But F1 drivers don’t have any fat to begin with. They have to lose muscle mass and that requires an insufficient intake of calories. It is patently unhealthy. Ricciardo has admitted he can’t even eat pasta. Rosberg baked his own calorie-free cookies that ended up so bland, nobody wants to eat them.

This is just another example of F1 being completely ridiculous. Instead of forcing through an anti-RB rule that most likely ends up helping RB (double points) against the will of just about everybody, they should have taken one hour to decide to increase the weight limit. As it stands now I feel a strong urge to make a donation to Miserior whenever I see Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.


Time to cancel the Sotchi Grand Prix


Just a few days ago, I (Fat Hippo) wrote a news item arguing that the Sotchi GP should not be boycotted in the light of the Crimean crisis, but reality has overtaken me on it again. A few days ago Vladimir Putin decided that he is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler with an atrocious accent and decided to order acts of war to be committed in Ukraine. Russian regular forces have attacked military installations on Ukrainian soil and have been preventing OSCE observers from entering the Crimean peninsula for four days. Yesterday they did so with the use of weapons for the first time.

Russia is a signing member of the OSCE treaties and now violates them to bring the Crimean Peninsula “Heim ins Reich”. Putin has committed several acts of war against a sovereign country and that’s where the bucket stops. We can try “appeasement” and will likely end up with the same result we got in 1938 or we grow some balls and declare war on Russia, else we will witness Belarus, Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Moldova being attacked and annexed next.

The “free world” has only watched so far and Putin plays and relies on it. It is time to make hay. Russian sponsors and drivers have to be banned from F1. There shall be no race in Russia and Putin shall be shown his place with the business end of a battle tank. He made all diplomatic efforts impossible the moment he chose to invade a neighboring country against all international law. The last time that happened, Hitler threw the world into deadly conflict, we must not be idle now. Stop it before it is too late.

The current crisis was sadly foreseeable. During my time in Russia I learned that many Russians are extremely right-wing and anti-semitic. Most of their views make the tea party look like a communist joke. A rather shocking line I heard often was: “Where the Ukrainian walked along, even the Jew can’t find anything of value anymore.” These are the same people, who now “protect” the Russian interests in Ukraine. Someone once said: “He, who doesn’t learn from history is doomed to repeat it. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”


Horner tips Mercedes driver for 2014 title (GMM)

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is predicting an all-Mercedes silver duel for the 2014 title.

Lewis (Hamilton) and Nico (Rosberg) — who else is there?” he is quoted by the Times after a disastrous winter for reigning quadruple world champions Red Bull. Horner may not sound confident about Red Bull’s chances with its struggling Renault-powered RB10, but he is not writing off the Milton Keynes based team.

If people write us off, that’s their choice,” he said. Horner insisted Red Bull is “up for the challenge” of nonetheless climbing a “pretty steep mountain” in 2014, acknowledging that the team’s position right now is not good.

It seems the Mercedes-powered teams are in good shape and we are, er, not,” he smiled.

Renault is taking much of the blame for the crisis, but car designer Adrian Newey admits Red Bull might also have been wiser.

Looking back,” he told the April issue of the Red Bulletin magazine, “it would have been smarter to concentrate full power on the new car earlier on.

(But) in August, no one could have guessed that we would be so far ahead by the end of the (2013) season,” Newey added. Outside Red Bull, there are cries of relief that Red Bull’s run of dominance appears over.

One team destroying it for four years, having ass-whipped so badly, is not good for the sport,” Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is quoted by the Express. I’ve been flying through all these airports and keep bumping into someone from a different country who says they used to watch F1 but not anymore,” he added.

McLaren’s Jenson Button fully agrees that Red Bull’s problems are good for F1. “It’s sad to say we think like that but it’s the case. They’ve been too dominant,” he is quoted by the Telegraph.

Horner, however, suggested that Mercedes’ advantage could prove just as boring in 2014.

If they were to finish two laps ahead of the opposition in Melbourne, that wouldn’t be a surprise, based on what we’ve seen in pre-season testing,” he is quoted by the Mirror.

They invested more, they invested earlier. They have got themselves into a good position.

Horner claims that with the ‘power unit’ so important in 2014, Red Bull is at a slight disadvantage compared to its main rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

The split between chassis and engine is obviously different in our team than it is at Mercedes and Ferrari,” he is quoted by the Guardian. We’re not totally integrated.” But even Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull’s billionaire team owner, thinks a change of colour at the top of the order in 2014 could be welcomed by F1.

Two hearts beat inside me,” he told German news agency DPA. “As a fan, I am glad it is more exciting again — maybe our dominance is at an end.

With reports of a recent ‘hissy fit’ already denied, Mateschitz tipped Sebastian Vettel to “cope” with his new position on the grid.

I don’t think he will have a problem coping with the current situation,” he said. “Just like the entire team, he accepts the challenge.

Vettel, speaking to Austrian Servus TV, agrees: “We were very successful in recent years, achieving many things, but we always knew it would not always be so.

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda would agree with that assessment of the pecking order. “I say it reluctantly,” he told the Austrian broadcaster ORF, “but I’m assuming that the first three grid positions (in Melbourne) will have Mercedes engines.


Barrichello hopes Massa fights for title (GMM)

Felipe Massa can take his Williams all the way to the 2014 title.

That is the view of Brazilian countryman and F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello, who completed the last of his more than 300 grands prix amid the same Grove based team’s slump in 2011. Williams’ slump, however, appears over now, with the specialist German magazine Auto Motor und Sport finding that the new FW36 could even be faster than the works Mercedes based on race simulations at the Bahrain test.

“Felipe has a good chance at Williams,” 41-year-old Barrichello, likening Massa’s Ferrari exit to his own “rebirth” at Brawn GP, told Globo. “I hope he can go very well, win races and fight for the title, just as I did that year (2009).”

Barrichello is travelling to Australia this week, where he will continue his role in 2014 as an expert pundit for Brazilian television.

“I’ve been following all the tests and am anxious to see if the Williams car is as competitive as it seems,” he said. “The team to beat at the moment is Mercedes, but Williams is there.”


When does marketing cease to be marketing?

Repucom have been at it again, This was the company that announced to the world that from their analysis, Infiniti was the first company ever to receive the equivalence of $1bn of advertising from its F1 exposure as Red Bull’s partner. How this magical number is calculated is less clear.

“Sports holds a prominent role in the global media landscape as a means to drive audience, passion and engangement”, explain Repucom. “In response to this, we provide market leading media analytics, focused on the impact of sponsorship in various broadcast environments. We measure, evaluate and audit sponsorship activations and campaigns across TV, online, radio and social networks, print and mobile devices.

This capability is powered by the largest and most advanced media monitoring network in our industry globally. It is wholly owned and operated by REPUCOM, ensuring we offer our clients an unparalleled level of transparency and accuracy from a single and completely independent source. We are the trusted, neutral reference on the global sports market”.

So there we have it….Crystal…..

James Allen does a better job of explaining Repucom’s magic box. “The global index, which was created in-house by Repucom, quantifies consumer perceptions of celebrities, ranging from TV and film stars to sports and businessmen. It measures the individual’s key attributes, such as their appeal, influence, trendsetting, trust and aspiration through the companies Celebrity DBI in order to offer a defined list of the most influential and marketable people in their respective industry”.

Mmm… Anyway, just in case Ferrari were thinking of ditching Fred, Repucom says they should think again. Alonso has a global recognition factor  of 71% ahead of Lewis Hamilton at 65% and Felipe Massa on 61%.

Global superstar and 4 consecutive time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, is globally only 4th.

“It may be a surprise to some that globally, Sebastian Vettel does not score as highly in terms of public opinion as the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Massa,” said Nigel Geach, Senior Vice President of Motorsport, Repucom.

“Alonso’s dominance in the rankings is down in large part to his international deals and association with the Ferrari brand. Despite Red Bull’s recent successes, globally, 59% of F1 fans have an interest in the Ferrari team, representing the highest levels of interest in any F1 team and with races screened across 160 global markets to a cumulative global TV audience of 1.8 billion, one can see the importance this can have on perception.”

Here it is then, the Repucom List of most marketable F1 drivers.

Top 5 Global Celebrity DBI Score/Awareness
1. Fernando Alonso 70.57 – 71.14%
2. Lewis Hamilton 64.91 – 63.65%
3. Felipe Massa 60.98 – 58.14%
4. Sebastian Vettel 60.64 – 54.30%
5. Kimi Raikkönen 59.98 – 56.40%

Top 5 UK Celebrity DBI Score/Awareness
1. Jenson Button 82.87 – 88.58%
2. Lewis Hamilton 81.69 – 90.74%
3. Fernando Alonso 67.21 – 70.02%
4. Sebastian Vettel 63.80 – 64.79%
5. Felipe Massa 62.66 – 62.32%

Top 5 Domestically Celebrity DBI Score/Awareness
1. Fernando Alonso 89.61 – 98.35%
2. Felipe Massa 88.84 – 99.20%
3. Sebastian Vettel 87.97 – 97.58%
4. Jenson Button 82.87 – 88.58%
5. Lewis Hamilton 81.69 – 90.74%

Interesting that Lewis loses out to Jenson in his domestic market, yet globally he is placed second.

Anyway, what is the actual marketing going on here? Is this a score card for those who want to partner their international goods and wares with Fred and his mates?

Or is this in fact a subtle piece of marketing on behalf of the drivers directed at their employers?

Anyway – many F1 fans will refuse to recognise this report because it is contains a driver poll which does not include Senna…. So in the trash it goes….


A certain site asked this question on twitter just now….

“Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has been revealed as the most marketable driver in Formula 1. Do you agree? Tweet”

daniel mullen ‏@danielmullen14  replied, “”No I don’t think Fernando is the most remarkable driver I think Ayrton Senna is”.
I rest my case 🙂 🙂 🙂


Berger thought of Schumacher after own ski fall (GMM)

Gerhard Berger has admitted he thought of fellow F1 legend Michael Schumacher when he lay injured in the snow late last week.

Austrian Berger, a former Ferrari and McLaren driver and ex BMW and Toro Rosso F1 chief, is now recovering at home after surgery for a badly broken arm suffered when he fell at the Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental resort in Austria.

Unlike the comatose Schumacher, who tripped on a rock and struck another with his head in the French alps, 54-year-old Berger fell on a forest road onto a concrete drainage pipe.

Further to the left and I would have hit my head on it,” he told the Austrian news agency APA.

Good and bad luck lie so closely together.”

Berger confirmed that he had surgery on the injury to insert a plate with twelve screws in his arm.

“Even a nerve was injured, so I cannot really move my wrist, but I will again. The bottom line is that it was painful, but I’m glad it was that and no more.

“I already have some plates in my body, so it’s just one more.”

Asked if he thought of Schumacher’s serious injuries when he was laying in the snow, Berger admitted: “Of course I did.

“It was similar to him — I was not going fast or doing a risky move.”

Berger, who recently attended the Bahrain tests, will watch this weekend’s Melbourne season opener from home.


Hamilton looking forward to more open competition

Lewis Hamilton is a divisive figure in Formula One. There are no doubts he has mood swings and that his emotions are available for viewing at all times. I believe – in the enlightened world – that’s referred to as ‘wearing his heart on his sleeve.’

Yet his character is assassinated constantly for whatever utterance is made; such as his comment following the 2011 Monaco GP with its racial tones.

In the modern age with every utterance transmitted around the globe in seconds, this could be classed as a fatal flaw. Yet we – as fans of the sport – constantly feel nauseous with drivers that just tow the party line. We are all passionate about this sport and we want these warriors to reflect that but when they do they are metaphorically destroyed.

In a recent BBC interview he answered a few questions that critics may dismiss as whining and bleating but if these words had been expressed by Alonso, Button or in the past Webber – would they have been accepted with a slight nodding of the head?

“One team destroying it for four years, having your ass whupped so badly, is not good for the sport,” he said.”You want a championship that goes to the wire. I hope the changes enable that to happen this year.”

Of course this is a selfish view but Alonso speaks in similar tones; especially regarding “racing against Newey”. It was whilst interviewed in Brazil that Alonso made a comment about Vettel’s character and abilities being put under the microscope when he doesn’t have a dominant car any longer.

Who could have guessed it would be so soon?

Neither Alonso or Hamilton have enormous respect for the current World Champion’s abilities and while it appears Red Bull will try to circumvent rules or use their influence to bring tyre changes to suit their car; there are many observers of Formula One who feel the same. Irrespective of the close finishes in 2010 and 2012, why is it that Vettel – a four times champion – does not command the same respect someone like Schumacher does? The latter is regarded by many as the best of his generation but nobody feels that of Vettel… yet.

Hamilton continues: “I’ve been flying through all these different airports and bumping into someone from a different country and they’ll say: ‘I used to watch F1 but I don’t watch it anymore. And I’ll say: ‘This is the year you need to watch because this is such a new year. So much is changing. So it’s really going to be the most exciting year for any fan who is currently watching or who wants to start watching.”

It would be easy to believe the hidden message in these words is – “I have the best car and I will dominate from now on; so of course the world is a rosier place.” But will it be Hamilton’s year or is he just in with a shot?

Hamilton appears to have a good eye on his opponents saying, “Fundamentally, I think Red Bull still have an amazing car,” he said. Hopefully we’ll have a better engine than them, which will help a lot. Ferrari seem strong. They will undoubtedly be strong competitors. More surprising is people like Williams. They’ve now got our engine and they now have a competitive package and I think they’re going to be a real head-turner this year. I’m really excited for them. And McLaren are back, so it’s going to be a great battle.”

When asked about his preparations for the year he claimed he was better prepared than in the past and “secretively” more fired up than ever. “Naturally you train through the winter to be in that place but you don’t always have the package to show all that work. Every now and then you get a year where you’re able to use it. I’m hoping when we get to Australia it is that year and we’re able to show we’ve got the package to back it up with. I feel ready. I have strong opponents, but I’m excited.”

Of course he has a team-mate to beat first and with many tipping Rosberg to have an edge this is shaping up to be one of the most interesting intra team battles since Vettel/Webber in 2010.

Bernie Ecclestone, mischievous as ever, told Germany’s Sports Bild: “Hamilton will win the first race and will be World Champion this year.” When questioned as to his change of allegiance – the ‘forgetful’ 83 year old remarked that Hamilton had the best car and was already World Champion in 2008.


122 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 11th March 2014

  1. Whoa, hold your horses judge! We should be all very carefull when comparing political figures of today with Hitler. I am not a fan of Putin, hell, i am not even Russian, but this has gone too far IMHO.

    Quick F1 trivia! Which country invaded another country in 1974 using far-far less persuasive reasoning than Putin and nobody reacted that way? This country hosted F1 races from 2005 to 2011 and nobody objected!. Now is a member of G-20.

    Talking about double standards from the Europeans/NATO…..

    Otherwise you blog is a joy to read. Please keep that way. No politics please…..

    • ….I think the writer who clearly identifies himself is not suggesting Putin is Hitler incarnate, but is demonstrating evidence of the early traits of a dictator…

      • Thanks for replying to my comment. My command of the English language is not very good (alas, it will never be!) but still, i stand by my comments. As i said before, an excellent F1 blog!

        As far as i know, canceling or boycoting events like these never helped. Yesterday, a Russian athlete was beaten to the gold metal by an Ukranian athlete in Sochi Paraolympics…

        • I argued the same that boycotting the event wouldn’t help, but that was before Russia opened an undeclared war against another country. If you look at the history (I suggest you read this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudetenland#Sudeten_Crisis) you will see that the Crimean Crisis is frighteningly similar to what happened in Czechoslovakia in 1938. We shouldn’t justify Russia’s aggression by pretending nothing happened and just go on, else Putin will ‘protect’ Russians in other countries, too.

          • Thanks for the link. I will definately read it. I think we can talk for ages about international potlitics and history, but, eventually we will agree that we disagree.

            I say, bring on Australian Grand Prix!

          • And there are already similar cases from the recent past.. Abkhazia in 2008, and the eastern part of Moldova. Chechnya was shut down hard, and South Ossetia is the next one. It could be said that the tide is turning towards Europe, but Russia will not give up its sphere of influence without a fight (or likely an annexation).

        • Anything that can be done to exact a cost on Russia in practical terms and w/r/t its international “prestige” or perceptions of the country would be good now, as it’s not possible for Ukraine to compete fairly against Russia’s overwhelming military superiority.

          I agree w/ the US politicians who called on FIFA to kick Russia out of the World Cup if it does not withdraw from Crimea immediately, and I think cancelling the Russian GP would also be responsible (though that would be for FIA to do, being brave).

          I don’t think penalizing individual Russian athletes is the answer though, so no yanking licenses for Russian drivers or cyclists, for example. But no international federations should sanction events on Russian soil as long as they have invaded Ukraine.

          Russia must pay a price for this wantonly immoral, illegal violation of Ukrainian sovereignty!

      • Putin sees the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century, his also apparently paranoid that the US wants to topple him via NATO etc. Viewed through that sphere, then you can sort of understand Putin’s motives. Obama not striking Syria has made Putin see Obama and in turn the US as weak. Thus he’s pushing and prodding things in Ukraine to see just how far he can go before the US Military/NATO snarls in Russia’s direction.

        Should F1 race in Russia ? Certainly not while Putin is using hatred and fear towards minority groups to distract the Russian people from the massive corruption his mafia like Government are engaged in. If there is a war between Ukraine and Russia (possibly sucking NATO into the fray), then it’ll be a moot point about racing in Russia or not.

        If people are only just noticing that Putin is a dictator, then they should pay more attention to what’s gone on in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, we took our eye off the ball and that allowed Putin to gain power gradually over time.

        • Russia is not the first country with an undemocratic and corrupt leadership to host an F1 race. There is also a long list of countries that at various times occupied foreign territory and still had F1 races:


          • Jacob, please remind me of the last time in this century or beforehand when USA invaded a sovereign state and annexed her territory???

            Classic Whataboutery™, your post.

            Just b/c Bush/Cheney fought wars (that millions of Americans opposed) doesn’t mean we can’t ALSO oppose Putin’s shameful invasion of Ukraine.

    • VX, you can’t black out politics. You can’t just say that what happens in Ukraine doesn’t concern you. It is the first case of one country invading another since Iraq invaded Kuwait. We can’t just go there and have a jolly race or do as if Putins antics don’t exist.

      • In principle, i agree. If we are going to apply that thinking in a fair and objective manner, then we must cancel some other F1 races as well.

        • I can’t think of any other F1 venue in a country that has waged war on another in violation of international law.

          • Human Rights perhaps? What about the China “occupation” of Tibet? Just saying…

          • Yes, indeed and if you remember, some NATO countries with a conscience refused to side with the US. On the topic of the US, I think their record is just as bad as that of Russia and if it was for me, we wouldn’t have an Austin GP. We wouldn’t even have diplomatic relations anymore. While they were busy tapping the phones of the leaders of allied countries, they somehow missed that Russia was preparing an invasion. Guess there’s no oil in Crimea…

          • Indeed – and there are other similarly repressed areas of China, like the Muslim areas (hence separatist bombings, as China demolishes their old historical quarters like in Kashgar) and inner Mongolia (who have already been effectively Sinocised, if that is a word). I see China as the remnants of an empire, like the Soviet Union or the UK before 1920 (including Ireland).

            The invasion of Iraq looks puzzling looking back, but I don’t know about the first gulf war, oil politics in the region or the history of Iraq and Iran. But, I do notice that there are ethnic Arabs in the small region of Iran/Kuwait that Iraq tried to invade.

            On the oil front… the US has become more self-reliant on its own shale gas, so now it doesn’t need to import oil from around the world.. hence it is now backing out under Barack Obama from being the continual world aggressor.

            Is there any credence in the view that since Germany imports a lot of gas from Russia (and won’t want to hurt its own economy) that it won’t sanction any EU action against Russia, concerning Crimea?

          • Iestyn

            It’s not just the gas from Russia that Germany is dependant on – so too are many of it’s businesses.

            The likes of VW have invested heavily, and Russia is a very large export market worth about 36 billion Euros.

            So no vested interests there then for dear old Angie 😉

          • Ah yes, I forgot that Russia is a big export market for Germany as well.

          • there’s a pacifist country named USA … hahaha
            invaded Afghanistan, Iraq under false allegation, helped to sink Libya in a full scale war, toppled Honduras and Paraguay presidents, both leftist, financed and supported those far right extremist nazis in Ukraine and now are trying to take Venezuela too
            bunch of criminals
            Russia done nothing compared to USA lately

    • I’ve been to Turkish Cyprus on holiday, and it was an eye-opening experience. The place was very bleak, and there wasn’t much prosperity, apart from the hotels that were there for tourism it seems. I read about Famagusta the other day.. I’m surprised no one (EU/NATO) came to aid the Greek Cypriots as things went from bad to worse and Turkey invaded to ‘protect its citizens living there’. That the situation has been left for 40 years.. lets hope it can be resolved before 50, to bring Turkey to the negotiating table for their EU application. The plan for Famagusta to be a shared area and ‘eco-city’ is at least a positive resolution for the problem, and helps to get things moving in the right direction again.

      • Turkey is a NATO member and it has always been an extremely important to the West because of its geographic location. When USSR existed, Turkey was on the front lines of the Cold War and a very important ally of Israel. Who cared about Cyprus? Let’s sweep it under the rug already. (joking here of course)

      • I thought Godwin’s Law only applied to non-Hitler/Nazi discussions, which then became so connected. Here the connection was already there, in the editorial.

  2. Loved your piece on Russia, Fat Hippo!

    I am relieved that some international spectators have such a clear view on current Russian event. Let me know when you are in Ukraine, I will buy you a beer!

  3. I like Jägermeister but an even better drink is Underberg which is great to settle the stomach after a heavy night out.

  4. Typical of horner the snake trying to hype up mercedes and downplay any good results lewis and nico get even before the season has started. As if they didn’t have a car that at some points may have been capable of lapping the field.

    • Don’t forget Marko as well, he’ll be chirping in with his own take at some point before Australia no doubt.

  5. Very cheap demagogy on the situation in Russia. Sports and politics shouldn’t interfere with one another, any additional comment on that only emphazises that you’re missing the point…

    • So, BDP, would you have staged a Grand Prix in Iraq in 1990, while Saddam was busy invading Kuwait? You can’t be serious. We are witnessing the biggest breach of international law since 1990 and you seriously suggest that we just pretend that nothing happened and stage a jolly race in Russia?

      • OK i tried to avoid naming names, but here it is:

        In 1974 a foreign country invaded Cyprus in order to “protect our compatriots”. It was a real war. People were killed. People are still missing. Almost 35% of Cyprus is still under occupation. This country hosted F1 races for 6 years and nobody objected. Why? Because the invader was “one of us”. The “good guys.” Our “allies”.

        Do i believe that those F1 races should never have happened! Nope.
        Why? Because if we start applying this reasoning we won’t have any more international events in the distant future.

        • Turkey are hardly “one of us” in Europe. Heck, them can’t even enter the EU due to their human rights records.

          Agree with what you say about races though as otherwise we would be without China, Bahrain and possibly others as well.

        • This is a very good point. It is clear that Ukraine and Crimea are part of a nasty proxy war between NATO-member states (specially USA) and Russia. That’s why 90% of people in the west are so “outraged” and why you see such huge amount of flawed, crude information and propaganda from both sides about this conflict. I honestly think there can be no “right” side or country in the current events, as anti-Russian forces in Ukraine as well as Yanukuvich and Russia have both done lots of stupid things.

      • The biggest breach of international law since 1990 was the baseless US-led invasion of Iraq. Cancel the GP. Let Kvyat and Marussia race. Sanctions, no war. Retired US Army here.

  6. I find the weights that the drivers are being asked to maintain for a gruelling F1 season dangerous, surely the health of the participants should be of paramount importance, especially when any momentary lapse of concentration can have serious repercussions not just for the driver but for those around him.

    The teams were very vocal in their opposition to double points, so am surprised that they have not been equally as vocal on this point as they stand to loose the most if their driver is less than 100% when behind the wheel.

    • I still blame Mercedes for vetoing it for 2013. 701kg this year, to 696kg or 691kg next year would be a better solution, as development goes forwards. If they win this year at a canter, then it was a pointless veto (someone with balls, maybe the FIA, should have disallowed them vetoing the weight after test-gate, but that was started by an FIA snafu so..). But it’ll be interesting to see if lighter drivers like Massa are more competitive than usual this year. Perhaps Simona or Susie should have been driving in 2014!

  7. Hippo, you fail to mention that the minimum weight is being increased next year to accommodate for heavier drivers…

    • Min weight being raised next year doesn’t prevent health risks incurred this year, does it?

    • On the political theme of the comments – imagine if we said things ‘are OK in Syria, because we’ll sort it out next year’! In the meantime, who knows how many people would have died for various reasons.

  8. I don’t want to engage in lengthy polemics about the Ukrainian events here, but it’s flawed and highly simplistic to draw the parallels between Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Russian occupation of Crimea. Such a cheap shot. In fact, every time there was a territorial conflict between any two countries in the last 40 years, someone started drawing parallels with Hitler, no matter how tired this cliche had been getting. “Putin as fascist” story has been played so out many times by the major magazines, such as the respected The Economist, many years ago, even long before Georgian War, that it doesn’t even sound new or clever any more.

    Moreover, it’s hard to ignore to the openly neo-fascist orientation of many political forces in Ukraine. I understand that Russian TV is certainly using the neo-nazi orientation of the Ukrainian organizations such as “The Right Sector” and “Svoboda”, as well as the lengthy history of collaboration with real Nazis and the subsequent glorification of Ukrainian Nazi-collaborators like Bandera by the Ukrainian officialdom, for Putin’s propaganda purposes to justify the interference in Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian neo-Nazism is real, has a long history in the western Ukraine, and it’s hard to ignore it. We can only speculate right now how much influence Ukraine’s neo-Nazi organizations will have in near future. So I personally agree with the allegation of using “very cheap demagogy” in the reply above.

    It’s also funny that you bring up Russian anti-semitism. The Ukrainian anti-semitism is a lot worse, and this (besides the Holocaust) is why the Jewish population of Ukraine has gone from one third of the total down to single digit percent numbers in the 20th century. Pick a random immigrant from ex-USSR in the USA, and chances are high that this will be another Jewish person with roots from Ukraine. The famous word “pogrom”, now effectively part of English vocabulary, traces its roots to ethnic riots primarily on the territory of present day Ukraine and Poland as you can check in Wikipedia or other sources.

    Having said that, it’s clear that Russians are typically more xenophobic than people in the west. However, this xenophobia is for the most part directed at the Muslims due to high immigration rate of people from Central Asia and Caucasus, and also at the Americans because for the decades the Soviet and now Putin propaganda machine told then that America is the enemy. NATO wants to surround Russia with bases (and really, can you blame Russians for saying that?). Russians don’t feel much xenophobia towards Ukrainians, except for the people from extreme West part of Ukraine where anti-Russian feelings are strong and the area used to a hotbed for Ukrainian nationalism and also collaboration with Nazis during WW2.

    As for ethnic jokes, they have always been part of Russian culture. There are rich genres of ethnic jokes in the Russian humor concerning specifically Jews, Ukrainians, Armenians, Georgians, Nazi Germans, Russians (yes, Russians too), etc. Some of the Jewish jokes are invented and told by Jewish people themselves as it is quite healthy to make fun of yourself. I cannot count how many times I have heard jokes in the Russian kindergarten or school that started with: “A Russian, a Ukrainian, and a Georgian were flying on an airplane..” Most of them were truly benign and not xenophobic IMO.

    Regarding the Russian GP, you have to remember that F1 is a business, not a political gathering like G8 summits. F1 often refrained from making a political statement. They raced in the Communist Hungary, but decided to skip the South Africa during the Apartheid. And in fact, why should F1 boycott Russia at the time when the Paralympic games are going pretty smoothly in Sochi right now? Aren’t Olympic and Paralympic games supposed to be more “political”? Yes, some delegations did not send dignitaries, but even Ukraine sent a delegation of athletes. They did make a political statement by sending just one athlete to march through the opening ceremony, and I certainly support this type of mild protest.

    And, it’s not clear to me what human losses you’re speaking about. The occupation of Crimea so far has been bloodless. This situation in Ukraine certainly needs to be monitored further, but I am sure Bernie is counting on the fact that by the time of Sochi GP, the occupation of Crimea will be largely “accepted” and old news. What do I mean by accepted? Russian troops are still on formally Georgian soil, but Georgian athletes were at Sochi Olympics even though in 2008 their president was calling for all countries to boycott to Sochi games.

    • The Ukrainian anti-semitism is a lot worse, and this (besides the Holocaust) is why the Jewish population of Ukraine has gone from one third of the total down to single digit percent numbers in the 20th century

      “Besides the Holocaust” ? And you’re complaining about comparisons with Hitler ?

      If you want to understand the source of Ukrainian antipathy towards Russia, the you might consider the events of the 1930s:

      • When I saw that the population of Ukraine wasn’t mostly Ukrainian, I’ll admit I was surprised. This gives answers.. quite shocking ones really. I can’t understand Stalin.. what I know so far is that he is a Georgian, who wrote his first paper on ‘integrating ethnicities into the Russian Empire’, but, when he was leader, all that was consolidated was his position as number one (at whatever expense).

        The sad thing under all this is that Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all share common ground, and with certain things different in medieval history could all be one huge united country/people.

        I read recently that Xi Jinping is securing himself as the number one in China for the rest of the 10 year term, over the increasingly isolated prime minister (who is not part of his faction).

        • Russian nationalists like to say that Ukrainians are nothing but Polonized Russians who instead of being conquered by Mongols in the medieval times, were conquered by Poles. And therefore, Ukraine should be within the sphere of influence of Russia, or maybe part of Russia. After all, both countriesl trace roots to the same ancient state of Kievan Rus (Kiev is now the capital of Ukraine).

          This view is of course very simplistic, and Ukrainians become enraged when they hear this. I think there is one very important distinction between Russia and Ukraine, and that’s in the political culture. Ukraine traces its roots to the republics such as the Cossack Hetmanate and Zaporozhian Sich. Those were quasi-democratic republics where peasants were free (before being annexed into Russian Empire in 18th century) while Russia was an absolutist monarchy where peasants were serfs (effectively slaves to landowners). This may explain the crazy drive that Ukrainians always had to be free from Moscow and also their preference for having a democratic and popular rule. This may explain their impatience with and a penchant for revolt against inept and unpopular governments in Kiev, as well as previously in Moscow, as we have witnessed more than once in the recent time.

          So I have respect for freedom-loving Ukrainians, but I wish they would tone their nationalism down. As you observe, Ukraine is a multiethnic country, with the biggest minority being Russians, and Ukrainians need to provide sufficient guarantees to protect the rights of the minorities. So far, when the politicians from the west Ukraine dominate in Kiev, they always try to “Ukrainize” the East provinces, and if Kiev has a president representing the East, Kiev tries to Russify the country. Why can’t they just have a federation, where all people choose how to rule themselves locally? I don’t know, but some of their maverick politicians have started to talk about it only now, after all the crazy events that happened in the last 10 years.

      • You take my sentence that says that many Ukrainian Jews had fled Ukrainian anti-semitism as well as the Holocaust, and then turn it around and say that therefore I shouldn’t complain that Putin is being compared to Hilter. Where is the logic here? Putin as Hitler vs Hitler killing Jews in Ukraine? Please. Stop making cheap, false, out of context analogies.

      • Yes, I know about Holodomor, but Stalin did a lot of crazy shit not only to Ukrainians but many other minorities as well as the Russians. Everyone suffered from oppression. Granted, this doesn’t stop nationalists with equating the crimes of a _georgian_ dictator of USSR with the crimes of Russians.

    • I don’t want to engage in lengthy polemics about the Ukrainian events here, but …

      …but that’s exactly what you decided to do.

      • Given the length of my reply, you may speak some truth. However, in my defense, I should point out that I was not talking about the recent events in Ukraine even though a lot can be said about what happened in Ukraine since popular protests started in Kiev in November. Instead, I was addressing the cheap “Putin as New Hitler” claims, which doesn’t have much intellectual backing IMHO.

  9. “A few days ago Vladimir Putin decided that he is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler………….”

    What a load of BS. Odd though the EU doesn’t have an issue with a mob that overthrows a legally elected government. This site should stick to F1 and not engage in editorializing or grandstanding about subjects it clearly has little understanding of.

    • A mob where Ukraine’s neo-Nazi groups took a big part. (Although I do not imply that all Maidan protesters were fascists, even though that’s the main Russian propaganda line). There is no winner or loser in this war. There is no good or bad. So it’s highly irresponsible for non-political organizations to start taking sides here. Ukraine’s internal conflicts from 10-15 years up to right now are not just a manifestation of internal politics but also of the fact that Ukraine was the ground zero for a nasty proxy-war fought between the West and Russia. As soon as you start taking sides, you’re either helping the sponsors of hyper-aggressive anti-Russian expansion of NATO or on the other hand you support the hyper-aggressive empire building of Putin. It’s appropriate for sports, racing, and other organizations to refrain from making political statements.

      One thing that most people certainly should oppose is human losses, and so if Crimea was a place of a violent and deadly war, I’d revise my position.

      • Although politicaly-oriented discussions are leading to nowhere, and many times things get out of control, i must say i really enjoyed the exchange of comments and -most of all- the civil behavour of the commentators.

        • VX – you will find that any commentator that comes in and starts attacking others will be dealt with in a darkened room. If that doesn’t work, we have the Hippo as back-up 😉

      • How is this a “proxy war”?
        Russia is attempting to annexe parts of a neighbouring independent nation.
        The West (with whatever degree of hypocrisy regarding past actions) is saying, correctly, that this is illegal.

        • It’s a proxy war, and it has been going on for more than a decade. You know, the war is not always with weapons in hands. Western governments, private organizations, politicians, and individuals have been sponsoring Ukrainian opposition groups from abroad and encouraging them to stir up a revolt. This goes back to the Orange Revolution of 2004/2005 where the foreign involvement is well documented. Certainly, I don’t think it’s bad when foreign governments genuinely care about the condition of people living in the country. However, when their “western” guy won in the Orange Revolution, the west has done nothing to lift up the country and to improve the condition of people living there, which only confirms that all those revolutions in Ukraine are sponsored from abroad primarily to stroke the ego of America and also to put NATO as far east as possible.

        • I liked to see Petrov racing, but I don’t think I am a fan of anyone. Ok, maybe slightly a fan of Vettel perhaps because he did make a history of sorts recently, but I am not sure yet. What I like in F1 is to see a good fight, rather than cheer for one driver. I like the same thing about politics.

          I spent my childhood in USSR but now I have been living in America for a long time. I read Russian and still follow the Russian press and blogs, both state sponsored and independent. Sometimes I even get to talk to people who came straight out of Russia or Ukraine just weeks ago. As a result, I think I know both sides of the politics surrounding the events in Ukraine, while most people living in the west get a sterile, processed, selected, and almost always anti-Russian and anti-Putin side of story. For example, the coverage of Sochi Olympic games on CNN (a political channel) was for the most part vomit inducing even though the Olympic games got extremely positive coverage on NBC Sports Network (a sports channel that’s used to mostly cover sports).

          Now, as you can imagine in most English language forums, the overwhelming view will be based on the information fed to people through their western media overlords. Even though I sometimes point out those discrepancies, I want to say that I am no die-hard fan of Putin, although I do think that he is at least better than the previous rulers of Russia (like Yeltsin and his elite). It would be great if Russians suddenly saw overnight all the great virtues of democracy and human rights and tolerance and federalism, and so on, but their history is different, and they will never become like say Canadians or Americans overnight.

    • Perhaps if you read the whole piece then you would understand the context for that quote by Hippo (who, as an aside, I believe is German?)

      If you read the full piece and understood it, then I think you will find that Hippo understands perfectly well what he is writing about.

      As for ‘legally-elected government’, well that is the whole case in point isnt it? Perhaps some background reading on Malaysia etc. will illuminate.

      • “Perhaps if you read the whole piece then you would understand the context for that quote by Hippo (who, as an aside, I believe is German?)”

        Text book straw man argument.

      • I’ve been to Malaysia many times, to visit family living not far from Sepang. Interesting that there are still sedition laws on the books. My mum even said they are not bothered about finding the missing plane because everyone onboard was Chinese!

        Joking aside, China also said that they think Malaysia should be doing more to find the plane. So far, we have heard more about the Vietnam authorities’ efforts. When China lectures you on human rights, you know you have issues!

  10. It’s a mess, that’s it. The world is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    The question is: start WW III already or wait a few years in wishfull thinking?

    F1 will probably go there. And I don’t know what to think about that. Bahrain using F1 in their ‘unif1ed’ slogan should’ve been clear cut: politics, so don’t go.

    But here you’ve got daddy stealing and you won’t perform your clowns act for the family. Is that helping the kids? Or the police?

    I hope it all goes away. This can gave gargantuan consequences for the lives of maybe everyone on the planet.

  11. I stand by what I said last time when I commented on your last piece (which I disagreed with) on Sotchi Hippo. Bernie will be hell bent on having the grand prix in Russia go ahead regardless of what ‘top bloke’ Putin does or believes he is entitled to do.

    The only thing that will stop him will be political pressure from Western governments, whilst I expect the de facto line from most of the teams will be the age old “I dont know much about politics, so I dont want to comment on that, but we are just here to race etc”.

    Money talks in this sport and so far the people that have the biggest voices seem to have a fair bit of oil. I think it was Michael Schumacher who said back in 2013 that it is the oil that has ruined f1, and continues to ruin it to this day.

    How many teams are now in the pocket of mother Russia…? Remember the Lotus tweet anyone?

    Oil, corruption, and blood will be all over Formula 1s hands if this Grand Prix goes ahead.

  12. This is NOT a political blog! Judge, please do not allow more posts as such, there are far better websites to go to and read about politics, as this is the best site for F1. Let’s stick to F1, shall we?

    And as regards to politics, it is futile arguing about it, throughout history the strong play games using the weak as their pawns. History is littered with examples of double-standards and ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys using excuses and inventing reasons for whatever they want to achieve.

      • Exactly. In the days that petrov still sat in an f1 car, not one of the Russians I spoke with had an idea who he was and what he does. And if I explained they’d even seem to care less…

        • Most Russians will not notice if Petrov or Kvyat is racing there. But they will notice it if the GP is canceled.

          • Do you think so? Why would you say that?

            I’m not disagreeing with you, just interested on why the GP would be so noticeable for Russians.

          • Most Russians are not F1 geeks, so they don’t know who Petrov, Kvyat, and other Russians are in motorsport unless they read


            But the GP itself is well publicized and tens of thousands (or +100 thousand?) are expected to attend.

      • Ahhhh. Who is F1 in this instance?
        Answer that and and you shall be enlightened. 🙂

    • A little political discussion, specially if does not involve trolls or name calling is good. Although, the post was “too political” for my taste.

    • This is NOT a political blog! Judge, please do not allow more posts as such

      Well, I for one would not want to visit or contribute to (even via commenting) a site that censored its contributors (“contributors” not ‘readers’ who might have rude comments censored, for example)…

  13. “Time to cancel the Sotchi Grand Prix” – is it Sochi or Sotchi?

    I digress. All this talk about taking action against Russia is just dreaming in a fantasy land.

    There will be no boycott of F1 in Russia. There will be no meaningful action taken against Putin and/or Russia by anyone – not by USA, UN, UK, EU or even Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea is completed by the end of this month.

    The West is absolutely powerless to do anything against dictators in Russia. The same will apply if/when China annexes the Senkaku Islands or Taiwan.

    I doubt whether anyone will do anything if North Korea ever launches a full scale war on South Korea.

    Ukraine lost their full deck of cards the day they handed over their nuclear weapons to Russia.

    Back to F1.
    Australia, bring it on. Can’t wait to start scoring on http://gppredictor.com/

    The experts have already made their choices: http://gppredictor.com/experts
    Andy Priaulx expects Vettel to get pole and fastest lap!

    • There will be no boycott of F1 in Russia. There will be no meaningful action taken against Putin and/or Russia by anyone – not by USA, UN, UK, EU or even Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea is completed by the end of this month.


      I’m boycotting F1 in Russia and speaking out against Putin’s militarism and the illegal invasion of Ukraine, urging my thousands of Twitter follows not to support Russian companies or events – and I’m just the first person who I thought of.

      On the wider stage, though:

      Ukraine crisis: Russia sanctions could start this week, says France

      Western officials meet in London to discuss asset freezes and travel bans to persuade Moscow to withdraw from Crimea


      EU tells Russia: start Ukraine talks or face sanctions

      Sanctions, including asset freeze and travel ban on military and officials, could be imposed day after Crimea referendum

      You continue though…

      The West is absolutely powerless to do anything against dictators in Russia. The same will apply if/when China annexes the Senkaku Islands or Taiwan.

      I doubt whether anyone will do anything if North Korea ever launches a full scale war on South Korea.

      I’m sorry, I don’t know you, and I don’t endeavour to insult or disrespect you, but I don’t think you have a very strong grasp of the fundamentals of US foreign policy or her treaty commitments or non-treaty pledges involving mutual defense.

      If you visit http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/tif/index.htm you can review our “Treaties in Force” but should know that the Taiwan Relations Act guides US-Taiwan relations, and while it does not require US military intervention in case of PRC attack on Taiwan, the US may intervene, and and the act stipulates that:

      the United States will “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States”.

      This act also requires the United States “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character”, and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”

      Successive U.S. administrations have sold arms to Taiwan in compliance with the Taiwan Relations Act despite demands from the PRC that the U.S. follow the legally non-binding Three Joint Communiques and the U.S. government’s proclaimed One-China policy (which differs from the PRC’s One-China Policy).

      • Hi Joe – You’re comment went into moderation because you posted more than 2 links, this is an automatic spamfilter the site uses to stop the spambots

        – I only just noticed – apologies.

      • We live in an interconnected world of the global trade. As a result, the European Union or a major country such Canada or USA cannot impose real costly sanctions on another major trade partner such as China or Russia without imposing a big cost on itself. USA is not a major trade partner of Russia, so most of its sanctions will be quite meaningless in real terms (but they can make a political “statement”). If the west wanted to hurt Russia, the EU could shutdown trade with Russia. This could really hurt Russian government as most of its revenue comes directly from the exports of oil and natural gas. But there is one problem. For example Germany imports natural gas from Russia and exports quite a bit of cars to Russia. It would be truly costly for Germany to apply any meaningful sanctions. The same may be true of other countries in EU. So what they do right now is impose some “symbolic” sanctions on Russia (deny visas to some people and freeze their bank accounts, maybe kick Russia out of G8, although the “worst” G8 news for Russia I heard is that they won’t attend G8 summit in Russia) but 6-8 months later they meet with Russian politicians, shake hand and do business as usual. This is realpolitik.

        Now going to F1, I don’t think now that it would have been absurd or even unfair of Russian GP was canceled. At the same time though, I wonder, why should Russian GP be canceled when Ukrainian Paralympic athletes are competing in Sochi Paralympic games right now?

  14. I personally think it’s never a good idea to completely isolate a regime. Scold it? Sure, but if you isolate a whole country, it will only become more radical. The more Russia interacts with West, the more Russians can learn from it. But in complete isolation, the people will turn inward and only consume their state information (propaganda) and this won’t help anyone.

    I do think it’s too simplistic to say that Ukraine made a mistake by giving up its nuclear weapons. Ukraine a very corrupt country, ranking right there next to Russia or worse on corruption, with a very poor economy. In fact, the shitty economy and corrupt leaders representing all bands of political spectrum is the big reason for the constant political unrest in Ukraine. (At the same time, Putin likes to take credit for economic stability in Russia, and this is a big part of reason he is genuinely popular in many parts of society). The Ukrainian military is in a very sorry state, specially with regards to equipment and its maintenance. If Ukraine had nuclear weapons, it would have been scary even if Ukraine had no plans to use them.

    • The more Russia interacts with West, the more Russians can learn from it.

      I hope you’re not suggesting then that Russia “learned” to invade Ukraine, violate her sovereignty, threaten her territorial integrity and prepare to annex Crimea by “interact[ing] with the West?

  15. Here’s what the international community should do once this fight over Crimea kicks off for real…

    When my brother and I ever fought over something, and we didn’t resolve it ourselves and/or blood or broken bones emerged, my parents would simply take the toy and give it to someone else, like a cousin, and say ‘if you can’t learn to share, you don’t deserve the toy.’

    Now putting aside the fact that there maybe a connection to me being a serial killer / unable to truly love and that type of punishment my parents were so fond of (joke), why not simply do as many parents do with squabbling kids give Crimea to the Greeks.

    The Greeks you say? Well they occupied it around 1050ad and did a good job. Those Byzantines knew what they were doing. Much better than those fucking Ottomans. To this day I refuse to sit on one.

    Anyway right now the beautiful genetic code of the descendants of Hercules (Dorians), the Ionians, the Achaeans and the Aeolians essentially sit dormant in a useless, fat, lazy and corrupt country right now. The modern Greeks present no military threat to either side and could do with the economic injection.

    Therefore Russia and Ukraine loose the militarily valuable area of Crimea altogether for setting the ground work for another war.

    To those who say this is a simplistic solution and impossible to implement, I say, well yes of course it is. But do what,,, because not one comment here has a) ascertained the real issue at hand, b) the complexity of the issue and c) offered any other solution.

    It’s all bullshit, and so is this comment, but at least my comment is entertaining.

    Be careful of your thoughts, ask yourself where did they form, ask why do I think that way, ask what information did I absorb consciously and inadvertently that helped create my view. What controls the channel I watch, who wrote the article I read.

    Oh and… Just so you all know, I found our Alonso has Poland Syndrom the other day and freaked out.

    • Now we know why he’s so fast!

      PS. What about giving Crimea to the Crimean Tatars? Realistically though, I see that option as leading to a civil war that would quickly escalate.

      • Surely territorial integrity and the sanctity of borders is one of the most fundamental, guiding principles of international relations?

        Yes, there were examples even recently like Kosovo of opposed secession and diplomatic recognition, but in that case Russia of course supported Serbia and opposed the taking of her territory.

        Crimean Tartars are safer in a Ukrainian Crimea than under Russia administration, based on historical record at least…


  16. Goooooooo Lewis!

    This is the year to move up to the next level in WDC terms. I hope the stars align at the right moment and his season doesn’t peak too early. Although saying that I think Merc have learned from RedBull with regard the development race and I think they are so keyed up to mount a title assault this year I can see them bring developments to the very last race so RB don’t run away with the second half of the season.

    I’m soooooooooo excited, I will be watching all the action live, who cares its a stupid o’clock in the morning.

  17. On a personal lever i prefer Button, but i wouldn’t criticise Hamilton for saying what he says, though i may have a chuckle.

    Off a tangent here, but why does Button seem to lowly rated by many? The only two team mates he didn’t beat in their time together were Ralf and Fisi.

    I can only put it down to inflexibility of car preference. I honestly believe if the car is to his liking, he is the fastest man out there, on the flip side, if the car isn’t how he likes it, then he’s probably one of the slowest. He’s probably the driver with the widest performance window. But you don’t win WDC by fluke or beat two WDC’s in the same car by accident.

    He’s pretty down to earth as well, here’s a brilliant snippet from an interview a few years ago;
    ‘If I do step out of line, which I’m sure I do now and again, maybe I get a bit too big for my boots sometimes, then I’ll be pulled back in again,’ added McLaren star Button.
    ‘My girlfriend will say something, maybe Mikey, or my manager will definitely say something. He’s very outspoken.
    ‘Even two of my friends who come to a lot of races, straight away will say if something is wrong.
    ‘I remember taking pole in Montreal (Canadian Grand Prix) in 2005, but I crashed when I was third.
    ‘When I went back to the paddock one of my friends, Richie, was there having a beer, which really annoyed me.
    ‘I said to him “You’re never coming again. Did you not see what happened?'”, to which he replied “Well, it’s not my fault you were crap”.
    ‘This was straight after the race, and he was right, so having people putting you in your place and who are not afraid to say what they think is really important.
    ‘So we’re all on the same level, we speak to each other in the same way and take the mickey out of each other.
    ‘When things are good they’ll tell me things are great, but when things are bad, they’ll obviously console me, but they still let me know I could have done a better job.’

      • Sorry, PK. No-one wins a WDC by fluke. He won 6 out of 7 races when he had the, admittedly, best car at the start of the season – still no easy feat. He looked like he was going to lose it as he tried to play the numbers game with a car that wasn’t being developed. However, he secured the WDC with a world-class drive. And you can apply the “but for…bad luck” argument to almost every WDC.
        If your name’s on the trophy, you averaged out better than your peers, and you won a World Championship.

      • They had the best package, but Toyota and Williams also had the diffuser, but fell back with lack of development (Toyota could have won a race, if they weren’t set to quit early on). In the same way, we could compare Button 2009 to Hamilton 2014 – he still has to beat Rosberg, who should win a few races, and then contend with the fastest developer, be it Ferrari, McLaren or Vettel doing a 2009 Hamilton. But, reliability is now more of a factor than 2009, so bringing the car home will also be an increasing part of the skill set, and this might be somewhere where Button is naturally quite strong.

  18. “and while it appears Red Bull will try to circumvent rules”

    There was an old American TV show called Dragnet where the catchphrase was “Just the facts, ma’am”. Unless you can you be more specific and identify exactly what rules Red Bull have or will attempt to circumvent, that statement is nothing more than a specious argument.

  19. Jamie. In the seasons that Lewis snd Jenson were team mates, Lewis was a title contender. Jenson never was

  20. Something tells me that this is going to be the Hamilton-bashing season in the judge’s chambers… 😉

  21. Lewis deluded again ?

    ” Hamilton continues: “I’ve been flying through all these different airports and bumping into someone from a different country and they’ll say: ‘I used to watch F1 but I don’t watch it anymore…. ”

    That’ll be in the Private VIP lounges on the way to or from his own private jet …… ( which I’m sure is absolutely littered with die hard F1 fans )

    Hello – reality check needed !

  22. I disagree regarding the weight of the drivers. They will basically be like professional cyclists with big necks. And cyclist aren’t suffering from whatever ultra fit athletes can suffer when they have a fat index at 6 %. Though prof cyclists aren’t healthy either which I don’t think is down to their low weight and diet but their extreme training.

    F1 drivers probably have a similar diet now but consume less calories as they don’t train as much (and intense) as cyclists.

    A 2014 F1 driver will resemble a prof mountain climber in cycling I think anatomy- and physiologically wise. But I don’t think it’s critically unhealthy at all.

    • Well, as a professional cyclist currently serving a doping ban, I can thankfully (respectfully) refute your comments and advise you that, firstly, low weight is a result of training and diet – it’s a state of being, not a mechanism. Caloric restriction and the work done in training are means by which a cyclist reduces their body weight.

      Furthermore, in order to optimize the power to weight ratio, weight is maintained artificially low – beyond what can be achieved through “normal” training and diet alone – by the use of pharmaceuticals, including cortisone (an immunosuppressant) “diet drugs,” appetite suppressants and thyroid and peptide hormones, to name but a few.

      Lastly, while being fit and light is not necessarily equivalent to being unhealthy, what the risk to health is most likely to follow from in the SUPPRESSION AND WEAKENING OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM that results from high volumes of aerobic endurance training + caloric restrictions (+ doping products, which are still used by some at the elite level).

      F1’s current weight restriction is an arbitrary and moronical policy, but it’s not universally derided by the teams b/c it confers an advantage on those employing drivers who are “small” (ie, not Webber-esque). So those teams have no incentive to agree to increasing the weight minimum by even 4kg, for example, b/c that would eliminate an artificial competitive advantage they arbitrarily “realized”.

      F1 drivers should NEVER have to adopt the nutritional, training and doping strategies of pro cyclists, and especially not for an entire 19-20 race calendar!

      Note: Judge/Hippo, please feel free to extract, copy/paste this into a more prominent position in the daily news brief if so desired.

      • Thanks Joe for your knowledgeable reply. As a doctor I think having to maintain an artificially low weight for a prolonged period of time would have to unhealthy but I didn’t have the background knowledge to back it up. Really appreciated your inside information!

        • I feel slightly embarrassed that I posted so many political comments on an F1 blog, but to be honest, the primary motivation for this was Fat Hippo’s misguided piece on “Putin as new Hitler”. If he just said, “the invasion of Crimea is highly controversial as it violates international law and so the GP should be canceled”, I’d have no issues with that..

  23. I don’t really see why we need to be talking about Putin and Russia here. We don’t talk about Tibet/Iraq/colonialism(guilty!) blah blah. Besides, as knowledgeable as our commentariat here is, they seem to have forgotten one thing about F1. We race where Bernie gets paid. As simple as that. He would race in 1990 Iraq if Saddam paid him in gold taken from Kuwait. How else would you explain all the races in the calendar today? Is even one country free from blame? Nopes.

    As for drivers’ weight, oh how much fun would it be if Simona or Susie were racing and a women’s magazine picked up on her team telling her to reduce her weight and compare it to the fashion industry and how even they are working on fighting anorexia while a supposedly forward thinking global sport is pushing women to starve themselves! That would be fun! Especially if they mention how women are being disadvantaged from competing on an even keel with men considering biologically it is more dangerous for women to have body fat % very very low which current F1 drivers seem to have. Oh down with patriarchy 😛

    • If you don’t want to talk about Russia’s illegal, immoral invasion of Ukraine, then no one is forcing you to either read the post on it or comment in reply. Surely you wouldn’t want to deny those who do desire to discuss this issue w/ friends who are F1 fans the chance to do so in a respecting and safe environment?

  24. “Berger thought of Mary Poppins while skiing” (GMM-stop-press)

    50-Something Gerhard Berger who fell in a snow-drift while chasing a white rabbit into a drain-pipe, admits his mind was somewhere else at the time. Asked if he was thinking of Alice… Berger smiled, and asserted he was thinking of Mary Poppins, especially her all-powerful umbrella.
    Asked if he often thought about Ms.Poppins Gerhard lowered his head and admitted to also liking Peter Pan – and Tinkerbell.

    [ Seriously: get well soon, to all skiers, and others who suffer… Such as readers of GMM. 😉 ]

  25. All of you who’ve posted Whataboutery™ comments in which you seem to excuse Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and preparations to annex Crimea because other states like USA and UK have fought wars recently miss two very salient, very obvious facts:

    1) Russia has not only INVADED a sovereign nation in violation of international law, WITHOUT a UN resolution btw, Putin has ordered the annexation of Ukrainian territory! Invading another country in 2014 and stealing her lands!

    2) It doesn’t matter what militarism the US or UK or China for that matter have engaged in in the past – that doesn’t somehow magically make it not-illegal and not a violation of international law for Russia to invade Ukraine, and it doesn’t absolve conscientious humans from denouncing Putin’s criminality and seeking to support and defend Ukrainians against Russian aggression.

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