Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 12th May 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA

#F1 Race Review: Hamilton wins again in Spain.

#F1 Polls: FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA – Driver of the Weekend


Kimi Raikkonen angered with Ferrari strategy

Rosberg grasping at straws – again

Internal struggles in Maranello

Boullier bull$%^”

Mr. Horner telling fibs? Surely not

Mateschitz speaks warmly of ‘sporting’ values in sport…

A battle Royal

Phase 2 of the master plan

Renault 90% there


Kimi Raikkonen angered with Ferrari strategy

Since his debut in 2001, Kimi Raikkonen has portrayed a nonchalant image to the fans and the press. His notorious dislike of journalists and marketing that dominate Formula One has found him arguably the biggest support of any driver on the grid. To this day he is known as “The Iceman” – a superhero of the track. But this weekend we may have discovered his Kryptonite.

“Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing…” a famous quote used by his fans in defence of how cool Kimi really is – was actually the first time we had heard any emotion from the Finnish driver. It was very far removed from what Ferrari fans had witnessed in 2008 and 2009, when, the little respected, Felipe Massa usually had the beating of this World Champion.

But following this weekend, Finnish broadcaster MTV3 claims that Kimi Raikkonen was having ‘long talks’ with Ferrari hours after the finish of the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite having qualified ahead of Fernando Alonso, and contained his attacks, he was kept on a two stop strategy whilst Alonso changed to a three stopper. This left the Finn powerless to defend towards the end of the race and he was furious. As he drove back to the pits he asked the team who exactly had made the pitstop decision..

During post race interviews he was asked if he felt like number two. “No” and then during a subsequent interview with Sky he was asked who made the strategy to pit Fernando first. Raikkonen mumbled something then walked away. Some time later Raikkonen said, “I just wanted to clear up some things.”

“For me today it was a hard race. It was difficult to get a good balance on the car and the lack of grip overall was the main problem. A two stop strategy was not the correct choice as it became impossible to push till the end. Overall it was better here than last time out, possibly because the circuit characteristics are different to where we have run so far, but we cannot be happy with sixth and seventh positions – we still finished far away from the others. It will take time but we will do everything to improve.”

Alonso has played the intra-team politics to his advantage this season. With the departure of Domenicali he has further isolated Raikkonen within the Maranello concern and the constant murmurs of his own impending departure has re-enforced his position of strength within the squad..

Yesterday may have been the tipping point.

When people think of Finnish drivers, they will call up Mika Hakkinen or Heikki Kovalainen – both quiet, self contained, no pressure type guys – at least to the outside world. But most people forget about Keke Rosberg, the 1982 F1 World Champion who was never afraid of making his point with anyone.

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Rosberg grasping at straws – again

For a sport that is ground-breaking, and always looking to the future for solutions, it proves frustrating just how much time is spent looking backwards at it’s history. Almost as if to give merit to todays cars, designers, tracks and technicians – we are forever measuring them up to legends.

After the fifth race of the season we have countless ‘professional’ opinions being voiced that Mercedes may well provide a clean sweep of all races this year. Of course that means that the 2014 season should be likened to the 1988 season, when Mclaren almost swept everything before them. A turbo-charged car running with fuel limited rules piloted by the two best drivers in the world…

This is where the comparison fails. Whilst Lewis Hamilton is arguably in the top two or three drivers of his generation, Rosberg is not. Since Melbourne, Rosberg has had no answer to Hamilton, not just his inherent speed but also his race-craft. The fairest comparison to make with historical teams would surely be Mclaren in 1998 with David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen or Ferrari in 2002 and 2004 with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello; possibly even include the Vettel/ Webber Red Bull years.

Yesterday the deluded Rosberg declared, “I think one [lap] more to be honest. I could have given him a go. I wasn’t close enough but one more I could have been . Unfortunately that was it and I am a bit gutted. Still second place, second in the Championship and many more races to go. I will go to Monaco to go one better and try and repeat the win from last year.”

The problem with this aspiration is that Lewis, the 2008 Monaco GP winner, is comfortable in the Mercedes this year, whereas last year he was struggling with brake issues, Rosberg won at a notoriously slow speed where back markers were lapping faster than the leaders at times and only the year before Schumacher took pole position in Monaco with Nico in third position.

The only black cloud on Hamilton’s horizon is his own state of mind. Radio transmissions during the race showed the levels of tension he was feeling and an interesting observation on Twitter came from Dr Gary Harstein, “Lewis’s sarcasm means he feels like a victim, like his interests aren’t being looked after. Highly unstable mindset for a race winner.”

Let’s hope he doesn’t believe all the reports of Mercedes prepared files for Rosberg, preferring the German driver to win or possibly the fact he could be sitting there without Ross Brawn on his side but trying to understand the language used by Wolff, Lauda and Rosberg.

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Internal struggles in Maranello

We have become used to observing annual fun and games from the major Maranello players who have been attempting to resuscitate a decrepit Italian horse – cavallo  morire – rather than tame the Cavallino Rampante. In fact the notion of a decapitated horses head may be a more apt metaphor describing Ferrari’s leadership in recent times.

Stefano Domenicali became the sacrificial lamb to appease the internal pressure rising within the home of the Scuderia; a pressure which recognised the failure of the Ferrari F1 team was indeed due to leadership.

There is no doubt that Il Padrino has recently taken his eye off ‘the family’ as he pursued matters of greater significance than cars racing around the track. So now we hear from Montezemolo, “I am back,”,which may indeed beg the question, where has he been? A question his FIAT masters are entitled to ask.

The Ferrari PR machine was set to work overtime this weekend, as the noises coming from key individuals during the weekend was interesting to say the least.

On Friday, Montezemolo gave a bizarre media conference for the written press, where Marco Mattiacci was seated alongside Il Padrino, yet remained silent throughout the entire event. The message was clear. As with any convert to the more charismatic wing of the Christian church, “a full immersion”, a baptism is being co-ordinated for Mattiaco.

“Mattiacci knows how to run the company, how to handle the group – this is very important. Now he has to do a full immersion in Formula 1”, insisted Luca.

When asked in the drivers’ press conference whether there had been any change at Ferrari since Domenicali’s departure, Alonso’s Oscar winning performance was remarkable. “Not really. At the moment, everything is more or less the same”, the Spaniard replied with a dead pan expression.

Mmm. This weekend, Montezemolo was in the garage more than anyone can remember, making sure the TV cameras caught him in shot during practice and qualifying sessions. On one occasion as Kimi was about to leave in his F14T, we saw Il Padrino clock where the camera was and give his Finnish driver a fisted salute of encouragement as he pulled out into the sunshine.

Alonso too was on message big time on Thursday as he too identified Mattiacci as a new convert in need of a bath. “We had some meetings, obviously, to try to help him in all the areas

This notion of a new head of the team, who at present must remain muted in front of the world’s media, while Il Padrino waxes lyrical is a nonsense and does nothing for Mattiacci’s authority in the near future.

If Mattiacci was parachuted in from above Il Padrino’s head, the current presentation to the media of his impotence is understandable. Yet the reality will again soon be, a frustrated Spanish driver, criticising the team’s woeful performance.

Il Padrino is already sabre rattling when he says, “I did not expect a team less competitive than my expectations at the beginning of the season.” Too right. One car lapped in Barcelona by the Mercedes pair and the other behind a neutered Newey designed Red Bull pair and a Williams.

Mattiacci will eventually find his own voice and regardless of the complexities within a Formula 1 manufacturer, he will identify the incompetence’s and inefficiencies in the Ferrari processes. Then heads will roll. The only question will be who is lined up for the firing squad.

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Boullier bull$%^”

TJ13 has observed twice already that McLaren appear to have recruited our dear French friend Eric, more for his love of PR than abilities as a Sporting Director – whatever that means.

Eric didn’t care last year that he had to repeatedly stand before global F1 TV audience and state his unswerving faith in someone, of whom a small amount of Google research would demonstrate was a conman.

This year Eric stepped up brightly to announce a ‘new’ revolutionary partnership between Macca and Gillette, when in fact it was an extension of one already in place. Yet he delivered his statement without flinching and with aplomb,

Before the Barcelona weekend, Eric was at it again. He claimed that the first of the European races would “mark the start of a fresh push and spirit within the whole organisation.”

Mmm. McLaren admitted 2013 was their ‘annus horribilis’, yet even during those miserable 19 races, they never went 3 races without a point. Barcelona 2014 saw that run complete.

Having topped the constructors’ table after the race in Melbourne, McLaren have now slumped to 6th – and are clearly the worst on current form of the Mercedes powered cars. Even Red Bull with their put-put Renault engine are setting world champion driver new challenges. To relieve his boredom, they engineered him starting in P15 so that he could prove his worth by driving to P4, with merely 40 minutes experience in his car all weekend prior to qualification.

Of course in F1, it takes time for change to happen. Mercedes are now in year 5 of their return to F1 as a works team, and they finally have a championship winning car.

The sacking of Whitmarsh and the return of Big Ron will not bring about a revolution overnight, and for Woking F1 fans, this is likely to be another long difficult year.

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Mr. Horner telling fibs? Surely not

Prior to the race in Barcelona, Sebastian Vettel must have felt he’d sleep walked into a nun’s chamber and unwittingly violated her chastity. The retribution from on high was monumental. 4 laps in FP1. No laps in FP2, Engine failure during qualification and then a gear box change to relegate him further down the field.

It made unusual viewing for the fans to see Horner et al wandering around the rear end of the grid as Vettel’s car was made ready for the race.

On his final lap to the start, Sebastian complained of a problem in his car – a locking front wheel. Christian Horner was asked about this live on SKY, and he informed the viewers it was simply a software issue and was now under control.

In actuality, the usual serene pit crew of Vettel had in their haste to replace Seb’s gearbox, had forgotten to fit an anti-roll bar. Vettel claimed, he realised this because in qualifying Turkey 2010, one broke on his car, and it created the same inexplicable locking wheel he was suffering yesterday.

Still, its good to see Christian Horner is still a firmly committed member of the “truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth” society. Admitting a cockup is clearly worse than telling porky pies.

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Mateschitz speaks warmly of ‘sporting’ values in sport…

As probably the highest profile countryman in Austria, his thoughts are often quoted in the country’s daily news. Once again Dietrich Mateschitz has attacked the new era of F1 from the point of view of the fans; albeit a massively privileged one.

What I like is it still comes down to the driving. What I do not like is this plethora of regulations, restrictions, rules, penalties – essentially over-regulation. It was used to be about winning as fast as you could. This is no longer possible due to the regulations which should be applied in the car industry’s research and development not in motor-sport. I am sympathetic to the fans, we should race again and not just save gasoline. Currently the driver can no longer go to the limit. It’s hopeless contesting the regulations that the FIA has introduced, they are the authority and it’s supposed to make the sport safer…

F1 has always been heavily regulated to keep the speed of the cars under some form of control and historically very few races have ever been driven flat out. There has always been a balancing act which used to be managed by the drivers during the race, yet with the electronics available now, drivers are being told constantly to change settings on the car or applications which will reduce consumption, improve tyre life, harvest more electrical energy etc.

Back in the 80’s – one rule that was applied to curb the outlandish performance of cars was initially a 220 litre fuel limit then a 150 litre limit, and still the engineers unlocked more performance. During the period 2010 to 2013, most cars went to the grid under-fuelled and they would control their pace during the race accordingly, it just so happened that Mr Red Bull never complained because his cars were winning.

In regards Ricciardo’s exclusion from the Melbourne result, the narcissistic Dietrich offered his views: “The 18 points that Daniel had removed was not because the fuel sensor was not displayed correctly but because we did not follow the directive. There was a punishment but it should have to the team not the driver. These are sad times. This was not a sporting decision.”

There are undoubtedly many observers who feel that it was not particularly sporting to ignore the instructions and thus gain what has been acknowledged around 0.5 seconds per lap advantage.

There are also critics of Red Bull’s ‘sporting’ policy in German football too. In May 2009, RasenBallsport Lipezig was created by Red Bull. Due to German rules, the sponsor’s name is not permitted in the title, hence the naming and no one person or company can have a majority control with the law suggesting a minimum seven members. RB Lipezig has nine menders, all employees of — Red Bull.

With FIFA, football’s governing body, implementing changes that won’t allow clubs to spend more than their income, this has provided another front for Mateschitz to contest the rule makers over – always in the name of sporting competition of course.

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A battle Royal

If anyone was in any doubt which team will lift the 2014 drivers’ and constructors’ F1 championships before Barcelona, then they should remove their head from the pit of sand in which it was buried.

Conversely, there are those predicting that 2014 for Mercedes will be as 1988 was for the McLaren MP4-4, which won 15 of the 16 races during the season. Christian Horner believes “It is possible but improbable.” The Red Bull Principal then makes a strange comparison, “but things can change. We won the last nine races of last year and [look at us now] – things can change very quickly”. Mmm.

Such was the Red Bull folly of chasing utter dominance in 2013, they have left themselves short of key production time for the more complex of components. Vettel’s gearbox failure in Barcelona means another gearbox must be manufactured before Monaco to allow for a failure, and as TJ13 has revealed previously, the machine time for this is in the order of 265 consecutive hours, in itself a battle with no margin for error.

Yet the main war for the year will be between the 2 Mercedes drivers. Who top the table with 100 pts (Hamilton) and 97 points (Rosberg). Their nearest rival is Fernando Alonso who is already a distant 51 points behind the leader, and driving a car which is 3rd or 4th best on the grid.

The British press have been revelling in the psychological blows they claim Hamilton has been raining down on his German team mate. Someone not following the sport, would believe from a casual reading of these columns that Rosberg was akin to a punch drunk boxer stumbling into the 12th round a mile behind on points.

Yet the reality is that Lewis has won 4 races, but is a mere 3 points ahead of Rosberg.

You could argue there is a similarity between the two silver arrows drivers and the Senna v Prost battles. Clearly Lewis identifies himself with the emotional and temperamental Senna, whilst Nico has been posited as more of the professor.

Prost fared well in his battles with the enigmatic Brazilian, mostly due to his refusal to change his modus operandi – one which saw a philosophic and pragmatic racer return week after week and seek to maximise the resources at his disposal. Yet the media enjoyed scope to describe these confrontations as a war.

Niki Lauda has spoken out on the battle royal between his 2 drivers, and suggests “My strategy is very simple. So far, my drivers have not clashed in any way and I want that to go on until there is no third driver challenging for the title.

Then they can drive over each other if they want to – and whoever survives is the world champion. I want them to see everybody else off and then, when there is no other enemy, it is really going to be warfare,” says the former triple world champion, not known for mastering the art of the understatement.

However, the reality is that Lewis has struck the first blow. He did so in Bahrain. A review of his defence against the silver arrows of Nico, which at times swarmed him like a plague of locusts, reveals he was not just uncompromising but fair – he did in fact seek to dominate his team mate.

Simply put, had Rosberg on several occasions kept his foot in to own a slice of the track which was rightfully his, the two would have collided – with unknown consequences.

Regardless of Mercedes instructions to the drivers, it is clear the 2014 title will belong to one or other of them, and as such the niceties of race track protocol must stop from hereon – particularly if Nico is to have a shot at beating Hamilton.

Lewis has a history not so long ago of regularly having to trot along to the stewards and explain his rash behaviour on track, something which clearly rattled him and appeared to become some kind of self fulfilling prophecy affecting his driving accuracy.

Prost agrees, “Nico needs to be more aggressive,”  he mused to a BBC reporter last night. He must ensure Lewis understands the consequences of his actions, and gives him no free passes from causing a collision.

Visions of Suzuka 1989 and 1990 come flooding back, and indeed if nothing else, an incident similar to either of those would give some false hope the an already forlorn and defeated opposition.

For Rosberg to win the drivers’ title this year, he will have to get under his team mates skin and expose the fragility of Lewis’ mind when he believes the world is against him. Despite his post race explanations, Hamilton is already feeling a fair amount of pressure as evidenced from the terse and touchy radio communications he relayed during yesterday’s GP.

An incident with his team mate and a trip to the stewards would remove the veneer of serenity Hamilton is attempting to portray to us all, and the war his team chairman describes would truly be on.

And where better to engineer this than the next F1 venue… Monaco? Flashbacks of 2011 would be inevitable in Lewis’ mind together with all the furore cause by his Ali G comments following his 5th visit to the stewards in the 6 races completed.

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Phase 2 of the master plan

Jean Todt trumped a grand symposium proposed by Il Padrino in Maranello, by issuing a call to all 11 teams to meet in Geneva in January. It was unanimously agreed they would form a plan to implement some form of budget cap for 2015 and beyond.

Since then the Formula 1 Strategy Group has attempted to kick the budget cap into the long grass, with larger teams saying they don’t support the principle… “its impossible to police”, they say…. “its not fair”, they protest….

Yet leader of the disenfranchised “Rebel Alliance” – Sir Robert the Gallant of Force India, has marshalled his small band into a formidable resistance. He, Monisha, John and Cyril are all adamant that the Formula 1 strategy group cannot overturn a unilateral decision made by the 11 teams. They are prepared to get into bed with the uber authority of the EU if necessary, and then their gang will be bigger than the others.

In the meantime, the big 6 teams of the F1 strategy group have been tasked by Todt to at least find ways of seriously cutting costs in F1 – as a compromise to the cost cap. Mr. T genuinely trusted these teams to make an honest and proper effort at this….

Well now, it appears Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Lotus have been playing games, using the oldest deferment trick in the book which is; agree to some kind of change, but make the timescales and steps of change so minimal in their increments, that any change at all is barely noticeable.

Mr. T is now very cross at this prevarication. He has seen the proposals made by the teams of the F1 strategy group and responded with something akin to an apoplectic fit of rage. “What was proposed? It was a joke,” said the Frenchman during the Spanish Grand Prix. “We know the budgets are between $100 million and $400 million and the proposals that they seem happy with are to reduce budgets by $2 million, which is ridiculous”.

Of course, if the teams can’t agree a budget cap or cost reduction measures, then there is only one thing left for Mr. T to do. Re-write the sporting and technical regulations before June 30th in a manner which will upset the big 6.

Our glorious leader of the FIA after years of inaction and ineptitude appears refreshed and good for combat. “When we speak about costs we must speak about reducing it by 30-40 per cent. Then we can feel comfortable,” he declared with fortitude.

Wow! And Mr. T has mandated this term of his presidency to be judged on cost reduction in F1.

Mr. T claims to have some ideas of his own and will now meet with the “Rebel Alliance” to discuss these along with their proposals. Well as to that…. TJ13 reported last week, Mr. T has appointed as part of phase 2 of his master plan…. a select group of individuals, ex-senior F1 figures, working behind the scenes with the FIA to deliver sporting and technical regulation changes which will significantly curb the teams’ abilities to spend money.

Anyway, you can bet your bottom dollar that Mr. T’s ideas, to which he refers, have come from the ‘Heads’ of that select group of individuals.

These shadowy characters know all the tricks in the book, yet now as ex-players they are the sage guardians of the future of the F1 dynasty – and they know it is time to put behind them partisan attitudes and deliver change which will shock those with huge treasure chests into the reality that is 2015 and beyond.

If one were waxing lyrical, one could infer Ms. Todt has played a blinder – by allowing the big 6 to delude themselves into believing they can fiddle whilst Rome burns, and when they realise what’s happening – it will be too late. They will have little to say or respond with when they must comply with what they perceive to be – draconian propositions drawn up by the guardians.

Time is indeed short, but the FIA can impose the 2015 regulations without unanimous agreement from the teams, and the odds at present are that they will do exactly that.

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Renault 90% there

In the war of the politics of blame between Renault and Red Bull, Remi Taffin confidently asserts following the Barcelona GP. “Overall we made good progress this weekend with energy and fuel management and the driveability of the power unit has been improved.

I’d say we are about 90% of the way on our recovery now, with final refinements to come. We’ll test these next week and are confident we’ll introduce another step forward for Monaco.”

90%???

90% of what?

Are we to believe if we calculate another 10% efficiency into say Ricciardo’s qualifying lap, that is the pace Renault can achieve when all the bits of their engine talk properly to each other?

Of course the exact calculation is much more complex – so I’ll leave a smart TJ13 reader to demonstrate their algorithmic skills – but Ricciardo managed a Q3 time of 1:26:613. So 10% better is 77.952..

This would mean Hamilton would have been second to Red Bull’s Aussie driver in Q3 by over 7.5 seconds.

What is this psyhco-babble?

Ok so where is the baseline 0%? The moment the ghost from Christmas future arrived in Viry and implanted the vision of a V6 Turbo engine and all its bits and pieces in the chief designer’s mind?

Maybe we should knock of some 10% of Ricciardo’s race time, but this again gives us a Renault several laps ahead of the Mercedes… any Mercedes… more dominant than any F1 car in history.

Those who ask stupid questions should not be indulged by those who should know better giving even more stupid answers.

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66 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 12th May 2014

  1. 2009 Malaysian GP free practice. Raikkonens engineer was doing a Rob Smedley and telling him where to brake, Raikkonen told him to stop with that nonsense.

  2. Well, I don’t know if Hamilton felt like a victim yesterday, and I am not quite sure which sarcasm Hardstein was talking about. But the slow pitstops, different tire choice, front wing settings and the team calling him in a lap earlier than he apparently wanted to come in, did look as if Mercedes was helping Rosberg out a bit. Not saying that they were doing those things on purpose. But if I was in Hamiltons position, trying to gain a well deserved championship lead in an unstable car, those would be a couple more problems than I would want to worry about during a race.

    • Someone should ask this Dr Hardstein if he has every driven a F1 car before. Because that’s just a load of BS!!

      Everyone makes it look like Lewis is just this dumbass kid, who doesn’t know left from right. His car wasn’t setup to his liking and he had his teammate bearing down on him, should he have acted like he was somewhere on the beach in Monaco just relaxing? How about looking at nico instead, after all he’s the one who keeps coming 2nd. He has just been outscored by 28pts in 4 races and seen his lead wiped out. He’s the one who’s in need of a psych evaluation at the moment.

      • I think you have a valid point. Lewis won even though his car was not up to scratch… even if he did set his car up bad (if he did) he still beat Nico.

    • It’s easy to pick on Lewis. Even before the season started, it was how will he cope with the new technology? his teammate who speaks how many different languages? work ethnic? spends more time with his engineers? His cerebral ability to adapt to this new form of racing. Well so far this season, all those questions have been answered with an emphatic “yes I can”.

      Nico has never accomplished anything of significance since he has been in the sport, so for now everyone is hyping up his so called “cerebralistic” abilities, now that he has a good car, is beyond me.

      • People write about Lewis because people respond (positively or negatively) to Lewis and those responses are what the journalists want. I agree, the dominant narrative at Merc has been Rosberg has the advantage with his ‘engineers mind’ due to new technology, but consider the people telling the story are trying to stick eyeballs to screens, not necessarily examine deeply the ‘truth’.

        Still, no reason to knock Rosberg as it’s not like he’s out there writing these stories himself. He’s just trying to beat his teammate.

        • Lewis seems to generate polarized reactions in people.
          To me he appears to be pretty happy and getting the job done – at least 4 out of 5 times:-)

    • I am so sick and tired of Gary (Loud Mouth) Harstein, still trying to pretend he knows everything – he and Cavalino make a great pair – always so dogmatic and didactic…
      – – –
      “Lewis’s sarcasm,” [what sarcasm…?] “means he feels like a victim,” [no it doesn’t – it could do, but it’s not a given fact.], like his interests aren’t being looked after. Highly unstable mindset for a race winner.”

      Many other drivers, some greater than Lewis, have felt at times their interests weren’t being looked after. For someone who has just won four out of four races it could be equally argued that simple sarcasm is also a very stable mindset… 😉

      I quite agree that: “Radio transmissions during the race showed the levels of tension he was feeling…” but why should anybody need to be even mildly criticised for being so wrapped up in what they are doing…? so, I’m afraid I disagree with you that Harstein made, “an interesting observation.”

      Can’t we leave these twits to just tweet to each other…?

    • Dr Gary Hartstein… professor of clinical anaesthesia, amateur psychologist and professional loudmouth?

      Do I have the right one ?

  3. I think Kimi is quiet and self contained only if the circumstances against him are beyond his control…

    However, I suspect if he’s having to fight for his position in the team he is more likely to show the other side of his personality… There is always the point which tips someone into fighting for what they believe in or want…

    He had no problem letting Permaine know exactly what he thought last year…

  4. @ RAI
    In order to clarify some things.
    First, “Raikkonen mumbled something then walked away.”
    Actually, he said “I don’t know”. Because he didn’t know at that moment, so once again he showed, that he didn’t want to wash the dirt in public – a trait of the true Icemen.

    Second, “Alonso has played the intra-team politics to his advantage this season. With the departure of Domenicali he has further isolated Raikkonen within the Maranello concern and the constant murmurs of his own impending departure has re-enforced his position of strength within the squad”.
    It’s funny how you cannot find the right clue. All politics in Ferrari is about the main sponsor – Santander. LdM (or Fiats CEOs) wants sposnsor’s money that is why he supports ALO, especially in his home GP. Kimi is not isolated – tech people in Ferrari work with him.
    It is a grand myth that Fernando knows how to develop the car. No, he does not and will not. That is why he wanted to have in his team Webber or Kubica (he was not afraid of them as a racers, but he knew that they are both very good in developing a car). Kimi knows how to do it. He showed this skill in Lotus. Check what Allison is taking about both drivers. Kimi does not only work with his engineers, but also with Alonso’s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://formula1.ferrari.com/video/allison-keep-improving-race

    “Yesterday may have been the tipping point.” Yes, because even “La gazzetta dello Sport” have noticed that the strategy ruined RAI race. That will be heard in Italy and Maranello.
    Beg your pardon for my English.

    PS. Anyway, I think your site is one of the bests.

  5. what’s “morire cavallo”? Perhaps you meant Cavallo morente — also rhymes (better) with Cavallino rampante

  6. I like the comparison between Rosberg and Coulthard or Barrichello. Recently, blackjackfan said Rosberg would have been 47th in his non-WDC series.. in time I can see him coming up to about 10+ race wins and being remembered a bit like Barrichello, with a touch of Coulthard, around the top 20. Both could win on their day, but were ultimately beaten by more consistent winners, who were the best drivers of their generation, hence being consigned to ‘runners up’, like Rosberg now.

    I do think Barrichello was more consistent than DC, but Coulthard could have equally the same ‘peak’ moments, and arguably dipped earlier than Barrichello (but so would anyone compared to a 20 year top level career, apart from Schumacher); I would also say that Coulthard had better cars over their careers overall. In F3/F3000, Rubens beat DC both years they competed together, Rubens then joining F1 at 19/20, while DC got into Williams through the back door like Hill.

    It’s fair to say Rosberg’s career can be seen as a patchwork of both (in F1 at 20, Williams, Mercedes powered best car, wins at first against great team mate who was not at their best, now stuck behind multiple WDC firing on all cylinders).

    • where would button rank than, had he not won a wdc with brawn? rosberg is unlucky in that mercedes decided to sign hamilton. otherwise, he could have very well won five races in a row by now. I wouldn’t compare him to dc or barrichello just yet. his cars have mostly been crap so far and the field is much more competetive than it was back in the late nineties and early 2000’s.

      on the other hand, the decision to sign first schumacher and then hamilton suggests that mercedes don’t see him as a top level driver. otherwise, they could have signed a cheaper no. 2.

      • I agree, Rosberg’s not Prost or in the top 3 drivers, but he’s no slouch. He beat Schuey 3 years in a row, irrespective of whether Schuey was at his best or not. I think he’s better than Rubens or DC and at minimum, on par with Button.

        Back in the late 90s, early 00s, there were Schuey and Hakkinen and then the chaos. Montoya and Raikkonen did come later and they were much better than Rubens and DC.

        Right now (thankfully), we’re almost back to the 80s in terms of talent and competitiveness. Alonso, Lewis, Vettel, Kimi (admittedly in decline though) and even Rosberg and Button (who did beat Rubens).

        • I like how we compare drivers as if they are retired. Part of this sport apary from natural talent is being able to adapt yet keep your cool. Rosberg is just as capable to change the history books as anyone. If rosberg believes he cant refine his driving why is he still racing?

          Look at Liverpool fc and the young players specifically I was cursing at the screen last year wishing they would just go away. fast forward to this year and the individual improvement per player is obvious.

          Just saying, talking about barrichello and DC is one thing trying to compare a portion of a career to another’s entire career is pointless.

      • “rosberg is unlucky in that mercedes decided to sign hamilton.”

        Not quite. In my understanding it was Rosberg who enticed Hamilton to Mercedes, for the simple reason that after having beaten Schumacher for 3 years—and people not quite acknowledging his worth—he wanted to have a proven quantity as a measuring stick in the other car. Which he duly got.

        As I said previously, I would hold my horses before passing judgment on Rosberg and relegating him to a perennial wannabe. This year Rosberg could have been much farther away from Hamilton if the latter were truly dominating (certainly more than <1sec on several occasions). As far as I go the contest is still very finely balanced, and various factors (including Hamilton's mindset, Rosberg's mindset, trips to the stewards, engines blowing off, etc.) can still very much affect the evolution in the WDC standings this year.

        I believe Rosberg is doing an incredible job alongside a very, very quick racing driver; and should Rosberg find his grit and throw off the gloves, then things could turn very interesting indeed.

          • Here’s one for you your honor, “if it was Lewis who had that 25pt lead, what chance would you have given Nico to claw back that deficit in the same 4 races?”

          • …the mind set changes though doesn’t it – when you’re behind you have push a bit harder – when you’re protecting something, you play more defensive….

            I think Rosberg will play a long game and wait for the F1 ‘gods’ to move in his favour.

            Remember, his father only won 1 race the year he was world champion 😉

          • So basically you’re saying, his only chance is if the F1 god’s intervene? 😃

            Yes his dad won only 1 race on his way to the championship, but I seriously doubt winning just one this season will have the same outcome, especially when it looks like only 2 drivers will be fighting for all the wins.

          • Of course I didn’t mean he can do it with only 1 race win. However, the first 5 races demonstrate that as with Keke, the most race wins this year may not win the title.

          • Just joining the debate – no axe being ground…
            “Remember, his father only won 1 race. . . .”
            But that year five other drivers won two races, and five other drivers won one race – any of half a dozen drivers might have taken the Championship.
            It seems the situation this year is slightly different… 😉

          • Also… (Sorry, I’ve started, so I’ll finish…)
            1982 – after five races the third place driver in the Championship (Keke) had 78% of the leaders points.
            2014 – now, Fernan has 49%…
            It is perhaps more pertinent that Nico currently has 97%… 😉

            And what if Fernan’s only win this year takes double points…? HoHo.

  7. Gosh Judge, maybe it’s just me, but 2 articles today that I’d say showed a bit of anti-Hamilton sentiment there or at best hope that Rosberg will soon get the better of his team-mate.

    • …bored with the stories saying Hamilton is dominating – in in true journalistic tradition – here’s the flip side 😉

      Lewis mindset during the race could be argued to have appeared weak – strange for one apparently dominating and crushing his opponent psychologically

      Nico has to exploit that…

      • To continue to play devil’s advocate, I think Lewis would have struggled to get past rosberg had he lost out at the first corner. It’s definitely not a one way street in performance terms.

      • And where’s the evidence to say Nico is stronger than Lewis mentally?

        Ok, so he answers or reacts differently to things, is that reason to say he’s mentally fragile? We call for drivers to be themselves, show some character and when they do, they’re criticised and labelled for it. F1 is a high pressure environment, whereby it’s the result that counts. Every driver is pushing to the limit to find that last ounce of performance and are entitled to get frustrated and show it as well.

        If his team and crew chief aren’t making a big deal about his tone over the radio, then why are all these armchair spectators continually bitching about it.

        • …Lewis admitted he was mentally fragile when comparing himself to Jenson and “his bubble” and admitting he needed one too…

          There are two sides to every coin….

          Positive – heart on his sleeve, honest
          Negative – emotionally up and down

          • I think it’s all just games. Rosberg says: “Break me down mentally? I think he will struggle with that one.” and Lewis has said for the second time (after Bahrain) that Rosberg was faster…but still not won.
            On the outside it looks as if Rosberg is laughing and not being affected and Lewis might be a bit rattled thinking Nico will soon get me. But who tells me that Rosberg is actually starting to break down slowly behind closed doors and just gives off a different persona in front of the cameras right now. Not saying this is how it is, just a flip side of what everyone thinks/sees.
            Only time will tell.

          • Ok, so he said that once and that was under different circumstances and at a time when he was dealing with a lot in and outside the cockpit.

            So is that any reason to bring it up, everytime he does or says something that “we” all think is morally incorrect? No it doesn’t.

            Who says it’s not nico the one who’s cracking mentally? Did you see the look on his face when he got back to the paddock after qualifying, he looked he just had the bejusus scared out of him. He’s trying portray that he’s not being affected by what has happened in the last 4 races. You’d have to a Vulcan to not be affected by it. He got trounced in Malaysia and China, in races he had the upper hand, he still lost. So how can you not be affected by that.

      • i think you’re missing the fact that lewis absolutely had to win this race, because of his dnf judge. the cars seem to be very reliable and nico is guaranteed to come second every time hamilton wins, unless he dnfs. he didn’t so far, so coming second in barcelona would have set lewis back more than rosberg was set back by hamiltons win. in essence, there was more pressure on hamilton than there was on rosberg, even though hamilton won the last three races. i don’t think his mindset was weak, but he was under pressure, and even more so because of team errors. add to that, that wrong calls and bungled pitstops cost him two wdc’s already. so his mindstate wasn’t weak, he just wasn’t driving out of a comfortable position.

      • Lewis was not exposing a weak side to him in the radio messages, rather quite clever I think. He asked his engineer how his pace was at the end of his second stint to which the reply was that it was very good – He then replied, “so why did you bring me in then” – If his pace was good then why did they bring him in? They knew that he would be under attack from rosberg on a better tyre at the end so it made sense to keep him on the mediums a little longer, and in fact lewis stayed out one more lap than when he was called in – did he know his pace was fairly good and therefore stayed out a bit longer in anticipation of Nico’s strategy? Who knows, but he made sure people at home knew that if indeed rosberg did get past him, then it was because of the strategy and that was his way of telling the team that if he loses out then it’s on them and they can’t mess him about on strategy – If so he’ll make it known that it wasn’t his fault. Turned out it was a good thing that he stayed out one more lap, otherwise rosberg may have caught him at the end…Lewis knows what he’s doing, don;t underestimate him….

    • I’m waiting for Seb to try and say this in an interview with a straight face:

      “Personally I feel for the fans because Lewis keeps winning.

      “The fans will be waking up in the morning to watch the start of the race and then going to sleep, and then waking up when it ended because they already knew what would happen.

      “I am pretty sure a lot of people are doing that today.”

      • Well, he’ll probably not say this for one simple reason, Merc are not Ferrari or RBR and will let Rosberg race Lewis (and even push for him to finish P1 if we start believing the conspiracy theories based on Lewis’ slow pit-stops).

        • MB are only banging on about letting them race because they know that Nico will always blink first. Between the lines of Lauda’s spray was an admission that their two drivers aren’t actually allowed to go for it until the WCC is safe.
          Conspiracy theories abound when the natives are bored or threatened. It’s part of the appeal of the sport. It’s all complete bollocks, of course, but kinda fun. Good for getting a rise out of fanboys quite often. Pick your dots (facts), ignore any context and then connect them up to build a pretty picture. It’s what passes for journalism quite often 🙂

          • However, it does seem strange they brought Hamilton in when they did, when he was driving fast laps on the softer tyre. They knew that Rosberg would be swapping to the quicker soft tyre and Hamilton to the slower harder tyre. Fortunately for Hamilton, he stayed out a lap longer than the team intended, otherwise Rosberg would have caught him and probably passed him before the end of the race.
            There can only really be conspiracy theories though, that Mercedes favour Rosberg, if the team consistently give Hamilton slower pitstops.
            But it must be difficult for Mercedes. It is like having twins and both children are wanting to win a singing competition. You try and support them both, but what ever you do each child will think you favour the other child more. At the end of the day, though, the parents are happy to have both children 1 and 2 in the competition, in any order.

      • Diiference is Merc have been dominating for 5 races so far, RB 4 years….

  8. With the increasing prevalence of smart devices with unruly autotext features, I’m not normally one to be a spelling or grammar nazi, but…
    I think you’ll find the correct Latin phrase is “annus horribils” with two n’s.
    Roughly translated, “annus horribilis” means “horrible year”
    Roughly translated, “anus horribilis” is a rather unkind comment about the aesthetic quality of someone’s posterior.
    With reference to one of the royal sheds burning down, I remember a local newsreader once announced with as much faux concern as possible that the Queen had an anus horribilis. Mucho lol’s ensued….

  9. Judge, any inside info on the whole Ferrari for Newey saga? Any chance of this happening? Or just another failed attempt?

    • … I believe its true – Ferrari are about to implode and are desperate.

      Interesting reading Alonso’s tweets this year. He’s being a very good boy – and most of his stuff is in Spanish or Italian – and not English.

  10. * Mateschitz speaking more Red Bullshit ?

    Since the FIA stopped Red Bull tampering with the fuel flow sensors Dietrich has had to adopt a new line of attack in trying to remove or increase the fuel flow limit.

    ” It was used to be about winning as fast as you could.

    … we should race again and not just save gasoline. Currently the driver can no longer go to the limit. ”

    What total and utter bollocks !

    I have to question if he has ever watched an F1 race ?

    It was, and still is, about winning by being faster than your opponents – not necessarily as fast as you could potentially go.

    Was anyone saving gasoline yesterday ? The fuel usage telemetry didn’t show it.

    More sour grapes as per usual from this ignoramus …….

  11. I am surprised by all the concerns about Ferrary yesterday. To my understanding, the driver in front has the choice to pit when he wants, and specially before his teammate in the optimal lap considering a given strategy, since taking the box route one lap in advance may mean a couple of seconds.

    Which was the winning strategy yesterday? 2 stops. That’s the strategy of the three drivers on the podium and the strategy of 8 out of the top ten.

    So, it seems that Kimi went for the dominant strategy.

    What’s on the menu for his teammate? Shall Alonso just follow Kimi’s strategy so that he does not end in front of him?

    I suppose that if we think that there is no 1st and 2nd driver… then they are able to race each other. What’s what Alonso did? He went for the non-dominant 3-stop strategy trying to go a different route that paid on the end. And it paid, probably because there was no big difference between both strategies and Alonso found a little less traffic with the three-stopper than Kimi found with his two-stopper.

    If Kimi is not satisfied, he should have called the other strategy, or even pit one lap after Fernando’s first pit-stop, copy his strategy and undercut Alonso in the third pit stop. But he did not. Whether it is him or his side of the box who is to blame, that’s beyond me.

    I think that’s what Kimi would want to discuss with the team, in private. And I acknowledge that he did it in an elegant and sporty fashion when in front of the camera.

    • … I’ve noticed that a few times… both Kimi and Lewis appear completely reliant on being told their tyre strategy – whereas, Vettel, Jenson and Alonso more frequently are ‘involved’.

      .. However, those who started in the top ten utilising a 2 stop strategy finished either where they started or lower down the order…

      Vettel and Alonso 3 stopped and made gains….

      This was exactly my frequent complaint last year… the analysts are calling the strategies (always conservative) which are not necessarily quicker than driving the rubber off the tyre and getting some new boots and doing it all over again…..

      • Begging your pardon but Massa started 9th and finished 13th on a three stop strategy.

        Likely the thinking of the analyst isn’t “which one is faster” but can I be caught by someone on the alternate strategy. Which, from Mercs point of view is no, except by my team mate. Traffic and tyre deg also probably play into the choice which is why drivers are at a disadvantage because the pit wall has so much more info.

  12. Is it unheard of that 2 drivers of one team make little mistakes at Monaco, coating them pole?
    Is it possible that a red Bull or a Ferrari even snatches pole to even claim the win?
    More power than grip is what this sport has missed. Monaco will be ultra-dense with excitement – which might not even manifest itself. Bring it, bring it, bring it onnnnnnnnmmg!

    • Last year 2 mercedes’ went on to take first and second place with cars that weren’t up to the task. So yes it could be.

    • Yeah Monaco is a total one-off, where the slower cars definitely have their chances. I remember 2002 when Ferrari had that magnificent car of theirs that wiped the floor with the competition that year, yet Coulthard managed to win in Monaco. Mercedes will obviously be strong, there’s no doubt over that one, but I can see Red Bull getting pole and the win. But if Hamilton/Rosberg can nail the perfect lap in qualifying then most likely they will take the win.

  13. Judge – Just wondering if you got my email I sent on Saturday – it had a story about VM selling more of his drinks consortium (was mentioned in yesterdays news), and a possible issue with the website that I thought you would be interested in.

  14. I thought Lewis’ radio transmissions were one of the highlights of the race. I don’t think I rate Hartstein’s diagnostic abilities if he calls it “highly unstable” – surely that results in an error? I didn’t see Lewis crack under pressure. Of course it helps having a much more competitive team-mate, but since when have 4 wins in a row been this watchable? What I find frustrating is the way so many continue to find his manner disagreeable, or clearly flawed. The guy doesn’t do boring. And a good amount of the criticism aimed his way should have at least some sense of what he adds to the box office spectacle of F1. Ultimately people rate sporting figures not just in terms of their ability but also for their style, so for instance Roger Federer isn’t just his skill but the serenity he carries. The irony with Lewis is he has at least as much style as anyone in F1, and on the track is arguably the most exciting driver. Taking issue with some of his content is fine, but even his worst detractor has to admit, he isn’t simply a fallible character like say, Maldonado. Things like posting the telemetry tweet, or numerous ill-judged remarks, are part of what makes him newsworthy. If you have his talent you get a certain license to stray, same with Mark Cavendish.

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