Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 23rd June 2014

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Look out Lewis!!!!

F1 Farce

Ecclestone: I’m innocent.. honest

Vettel lucky

Fire and a puddle of luke warm water

Oh how the mighty have fallen

The lesson according to St Bernie

Williams Heritage scheduled for Goodwood Festival of Speed

It’s time to play…..

Tweet of the day


Look out Lewis!!!!

Rarely has a sportsperson had fans so dedicated to the cause. Yet the marmite (vegimaite) – reaction to Lewis Hamilton… love him or hate him – was more than evident following yesterdays Austrian GP.

Outraged fans were tweeting SKY en masse, demanding information on the conspiracy theory which see’s a “German” team favouring a “German” driver over their hero. This was all based upon the fact the Lewis pit stops were significantly slower than Nico Rosberg’s.

The adding fuel to the flames, Anthony Davidson pulled up a graphic which demonstrated had Lewis had a similar time in stop 1 to Rosberg, he would have appeared from the pits in second place not third behind the Williams of Bottas.

Hamilton was stationary for more than 2 seconds longer than his team mate during his two visits to the Mercedes pit box to change tyres, yet he finished just 1.9 seconds behind Rosberg at the finish. Figure the deductions made.

Yet a quick look at the statistics reveals, in the 8 races this year, Lewis has had the quickest pit stop on four occasions – Malaysia, Bahrain, China & Canada. Hamilton retired in Australia before any pit stops and he was stacked behind Rosberg (as happened in 2013) in Monaco.

Mark Webber appeared to be revelling in his opportunity to stir the pot of angst between the Mercedes’ drivers as he performed the podium interviews. He revealed to Hamilton he had lost 2 seconds in the pits and asked him what was going on? Specifically, Webber suggested it may be Lewis inability to correctly position the car for the stop which was the reason for his slow tyre change times.

Lewis conceded, that the delays “could be my positioning, I don’t know… I’ll obviously investigate.”

The implication is that Hamilton is more reckless arriving at the box and not hitting the mark where the crew are waiting. This means they have to shuffle along to remove and refit the wheels – causing a loss of time.

In fact, Mercedes did reveal later that “Hamilton was long” on his first stop. He overshot the mark thus causing a delay as the pit crew adjust to where the car was from where they expected it to be.

Still the debate raged, was it this which had caused Hamilton to lose the race? Lewis was asked by SKY’s Pinkerton whether if he’d had a few more laps he could have won the race, but the Brit admitted that wouldn’t have been the case.

“Nico’s done a great job,” said Hamilton. “He’s finished every race and fortunately hasn’t had any car problems so it’s inevitable [the gap].”

So Lewis’ fans can rest easy, there is no conspiracy theory – or at least any concrete evidence of one yet which suggests Mercedes are favouring Rosberg. These things happen in F1 – remember the most unlucky driver the sport has ever seen… Mark Webber???

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F1 Farce

Stupid decisions have been part of F1 since its inception, and the observation that some of the planets finest minds are involved in the sport has never prevented them at times acting foolishly.

Yet the plethora of ‘mad’ ideas in 2014 appears to many F1 fans to have accelerated, starting with the double points for Abu Dhabi decision made back in January. Fake sparks and trumpet exhausts are just a couple put forward in an attempt to “improve the show”.

In conjunction with this is FOM TV’s obsession with virtual advertising, which has caused the producer of the world TV feed to miss crucial on track advertising – such as Ricciardo’s pass for the lead in Canada.

The latest silly TV graphics notion was seen yesterday with a lap or so of the race left…… Bernie thanking Mateschitz…..

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The same TV director missed the 2 Williams crossing the finish line scoring 27 points – a remarkable achievement after last season’s cumulative total of 5.

One wag on twitter suggested we may see the following at Silverstone

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Ecclestone: I’m innocent.. honest

The message is getting through to a number of senior F1 figures that their sport is being greatly damaged in the eyes of potential international investors and sponsors, by its consistent association with headlines including the words, “Bribery”, “Corruption”, “Ecclestone”.

Further, many are now questioning the longevity of the Ecclestone business model and its ability to drive further revenues into the sport. Bernie’s lack of ‘digital’ Savoir-faire is increasingly being perceived as a road block to a transition F1 must make to market itself better to a global audience.

It appears Ecclestone’s legal team are fighting back in a desperate attempt to persuade those who need to know that Ecclestone is in fact innocent of the wrong doing he is currently charged with in Munich.

An article in Forbes states the following:

“New evidence from German prosecutors has called into question whether Bernie Ecclestone paid a bribe to steer the sale of Formula One in 2006 to the private equity firm CVC.

Mr Ecclestone is currently on trial in Germany for paying the alleged bribe but close inspection of the 256-page indictment against him reveals a key hurdle to the prosecution’s case.

Mr Ecclestone admits paying Gerhard Gribkowsky, the former chief risk officer for German bank BayernLB which owned a 47.2% stake in F1′s parent company SLEC. However, Mr Ecclestone denies that the payment was a bribe and claims that Mr Gribkowsky threatened to make unfounded allegations about his tax affairs if the money was not paid.

According to the indictment, Mr Gribkowsky did not have the power to give the green light to the sale to CVC which raises the question of what would have been the point in Mr Ecclestone bribing him. The decision to sell was made by a majority of BayernLB board members and Mr Ecclestone has not been charged with bribing them.

BayernLB was paid $814 million for its stake which valued F1 at $2 billion and was double CVC’s initial offer. The indictment reveals that Mr Ecclestone knew Mr Gribkowsky could not get the BayernLB board to accept the lower offer. “The Accused knew that BayernLB was not ready to sell its shares for offers of between $400m and $500m, so the resulting sale price from an enterprise value of $1bn (as CVC brought into play) would not meet the expectations of the bank. The Accused knew that a sale at this price would fall through since he reckoned that even Dr Gribkowsky could not negotiate this price with BayernLB.”

The indictment adds that Mr Ecclestone was aware of this because “BayernLB did not agree to offers in the order of between $400m and $500m which were made between April and July 2005.”

According to the indictment, Mr Ecclestone encouraged CVC to pay more as he “reckoned from the start that BayernLB would not turn down an offer based on an enterprise value of $2bn for 100% of SLEC and the proportionate sale price derived from it for BayernLB’s shares.” He was proved to be right”.

This is all jolly well and good, but reveals nothing new and omits certain important information.

Gerhard Gribkowsky was a board member of Bayern LB and a special advisor to them on their F1 investment. Such was his designated remit, for around a year he spent almost all of his time working on the F1 project as a liaison between Ecclestone and the bank.

Simply, Gribkowsky was BayernLB’s F1 expert. His recommendations would have carried substantial weight and Ecclestone knew this.

It’s rather moronic to suggest bribing such an individual is inconceivable because they are not the ultimate arbitrator who can make the favourable decision required.

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Vettel lucky

For those from more superstitious backgrounds it would not be unfair that they believe Sebastian Vettel has committed heinous sexual crimes with a holy man. The evidence for this would be that It is the number one car in the Red Bull team which appears to suffer all the mechanical failures and ‘bad luck’ going in 2014.

Yet Mr. Vettel was a lucky boy yesterday. Whllst racing for position – last position – he clumsily ran into the rear of Esteban Gutierrez. Given previous precedents, this would surely attract a penalty from the stewards would have been the opinion of most F1 fans and pundits.

Yet Vettel escaped sanction – and then retired his car.

The reason Sebastian was not punished was revealed much later by the race stewards, who stated, “In light of the new guidelines from the Formula One Commission, there is no further action warranted.”

Ironically, Gutierrez received a ten-second stop-go penalty during the race for an unsafe release from the pits and will take a ten-place grid penalty for the next event at Silverstone. Clearly the stewards are not feeling any incremental leniency if you’re not a quadruple world champion.

Fire and a puddle of luke warm water

So, we are almost half way through the 2014 season and the natural order of things is becoming apparent in the battle of the team mates.

Last September TJ13 broke the Richtar scale 9 story, revealing we would be seeing a return to Ferrari for Kimi Raikkonen. Much of the surprise at this move was because the Finn had previously been so ignominiously jettisoned by the red team in favour of Fernando Alonso in 2009.

This set up delectable, tantalising and intriguing possibilities together with months of speculation on whether the self appointed Spanish Samuari and ‘best F1` driver’ designate by many would be challenged to the extreme.

FIRE and ICE was the billing – and the F1 world waited with baited breath.

Mmm. Well the ice man hasn’t shown up yet this year. James Allison rather unwittingly damned the Finn following the Spanish GP when asked whether Kimi was struggling more with the car than Fernando. His reply was to the effect, “he’s just slower”.

So far, Alonso has finished 8-0 ahead in the races with an average finish position of 5.125 to Kimi’s 9.5. Fernando has led his team mate by 417 laps to 89 and out qualified Kimi by 6-2.

Yet the most damning statistic is the average gap between the red team mates when looking at their qualification times. Fernando is 0.723s quicker on average than Kimi across their best qualifying runs in the 8 GP events of the season so far.

The only other team mate pairing where one driver is being so consistently whipped by the other is in Caterham. Kobayashi’s average qualifying time is 0.869s quicker than rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Being a big fish in a small pond looks to be a far better place to be than a minnow in Alonso’s Paraná infested swamp.

Still, at least Kimi can console himself he is being paid tens of millions this year even though his ice image is looking more like a puddle of warm water.

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Oh how the mighty have fallen

Dieter Mateschitz, the self styled modern Archduke John of Styria, decided some years ago to magnanimously invest tens of millions in upgrading the old Austrian A1 Ring racing circuit, and ultimately to bring F1 back to his beloved fellow Austrians.

At the grand homecoming this weekend, no one could have dreamed of predicting the utter humiliation that would befall his Red Bull racing empire.

Only new kids on the block, Ricciardo and Kvyat made it into the final qualifying session as the quadruple world champion and JEV were not even in the top 50% of cars starting the race.

Astonishingly, in a race where there were just 3 retirements, all were bearing the Red Bull branding in one language or another.

The most malevolent of Red Bull Racing critics couldn’t have written this script if asked to pen a likely tragedy for the object of their derision.

Mateschitz sloped off, didn’t watch the race and was left to ponder whether it was really all worthwhile. Yet the Austrian spectators enjoyed the sun, drank lots of beer and seemed fairly happy with their lots

Corporal Horner was sent out to regale against the evil tyrant who had conspired to bring such humiliation on the house of ‘Taurine’ – offspring of Napoleon himself – Renault. Yet no one was really listening, and those who were, didn’t really care.

Empires rise – empires fall…….. Dynasty’s come – dynasty’s go.

Ask the Royalty that is Ferrari. Alonso trundled home 5th, some 18 seconds behind the Mercedes who were in ‘car management’ mode for much of the last 10 laps.

Even though the Spaniard had managed a podium third in China, such was his delight with his 5th place he declared this result as his finest this year. “I think that I can consider this to be my best race of the season, because finishing 18 seconds off the Mercedes in a race without a Safety Car or any particular incidents, is a good result.”

What Fred was really thinking was, “Yeeeessssssssssss…… 25 seconds ahead of the old enemy!!!!!!” in the guise of the embattled Bull Rider of Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren too know how hard the bump is coming down to earth after ruling the F1 world. Even with the world beating Mercedes engine, their world champ JB was outside the points again.

McLaren were saved from being stone cold last in the Mercedes engine customer battle by young gun Magnussen who dragged his woeful MP4-29 into 7th place, behind a Force India and both Williams’ cars.

So where has the gazillions of the recent Titans of F1 been spent, one may ask?

Such was the German rout on Austrian soil, Kevin Eason of the Times wrote that Mercedes, “‘had smashed up Red Bull’s metaphorical china shop’. He continued, “The rampant Red Bulls of the past turned up on the lush home ground of the Styrian mountains like a bunch of clapped-out old cows destined for the knacker’s yard”, 

In a more understated manner, Paul Weaver of The Guardian’s penned that “in their home race Red Bull also had an anticlimactic time”.

So off Mateschitz, Marko and Horner stomp, vowing to build their own engine which will surely be better than the one created by the 3rd most successful F1 engine designer of all time….

…. The audience snigger, unobserved by the players… behind the back of their hands. Though most are unsure whether they have just watched a comedic act, or a tragic farce.

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The lesson according to St Bernie

If you spend enough time talking to F1 paddock folk, you’ll get the impression that Bernie Ecclestone has some mesmerising power which at times causes rational intelligent individuals to spout the equivalent of verbal diarrhoea.

At the team principal’s press conference in Austria, with the exception of old school Franz Tost, each of the team principal’s in quasi-religious fervour repeated platitudes including the words, “the show”.

“I’ll be back”, Toto Wolff, even inferred he couldn’t care less whether the smaller teams survived of not because there was a plan B for those left to deliver 3 cars each to make up the grid.

This nonsense is a regurgitation of Ecclestone’s theories on how Formula 1 should be run, and he repeated it again this weekend.

Ecclestone was passionate about the fact that tal;k of cost cutting is a complete waste of time, because he believes a ‘lack of finance’ will weed out the weaker teams on the grid.

“In fact, I would be happy [if the grid shrank],” Autosport reports, “It’s like a poker game. You don’t know the other players…. They should not be in the game…. You should not be in this business if you cannot afford it.”

In the F1 lesson according to Bernie, a new theme emerged as a target for his derision. “We have too many rules that are not necessary… When a driver crosses a white line he will be punished. That’s wrong. “Drivers are racers and they want to go racing, so let them do so. The stewards should be locked in their room and take a look into any infringements after the race, not during the competition.”

This incomprehensible psyco-babble still had me attempting to figure out the consequences hours after it was spoken.

Drivers can do what they want?…. Who needs white lines?… Stewards locked away?

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Williams Heritage scheduled for Goodwood Festival of Speed

After several attempts at interpreting this mantra, the Damascus light hit me between the eyes. This is what F1 folk do… instead of responding to Ecclestone with a pre prepared scripted answer to anything which emerges from his mouth…  “bo$%^ks mate, you talking s$%t”,…. they find a way of accommodating a Bernie sentiment into the real world…. When in fact it should remain in the senile, incontinent and delusionary realm from whence it came.

From its humble beginning as essentially an English garden party back in the early 90’s, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has expanded into one of the highlights of the motor-sport calendar.

Teams and drivers attend this unique event in the grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex where the entrants drive up a 1.16 mile hill climb in demonstrations for the enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd. With access to the teams and drivers of the current Formula One being so restricted, the Festival represents the perfect opportunity to get close to legends of man and machine.

Williams Martini Racing will be present with a show car and mocked up garage and trucks for the spectators but maybe of more interest to the historic fans is the fact that the recently formed Williams Heritage will be present in what is one of their first display events.

The 1996 World Champion – Damon Hill – will attend on the Sunday and drive the FW18 in which he won his world championship. The car will also be used by current Williams driver, Brazilian Felipe Massa who will attend on the Saturday; the first time he has re-visited the glorious event since he drove a Ferrari F2002 in 2003: “It will be nice to go back as there is always a great atmosphere at Goodwood and it’s a great event with amazing fans that have a true love of all motor-sports”

Jonathan Williams of Williams Heritage added: “The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a highlight of the motorsport calendar and it’s always fun to showcase Williams’ historic assets to thousands of highly knowledgeable fans. The FW18 is one of the most successful Williams cars, so to see Damon reunited with it will be very special and something that I’m sure fans will appreciate. With the establishment of Williams Heritage as a distinct division of Williams, the plan is to conduct a growing number of these events in the future and to showcase and support our past racing cars and technology for a new generation of fans.”

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It’s time to play…..

A little later than usual this season folks… but here it is. The game show we all love to play…… ‘Maranello Meltdown’.

The catalyst is usually the Spanish Grand Prix. With the equivalent of 9 Grand Prix worth of mileage run during winter testing, plus 6 races proper, teams have a realistic idea of where they’re going to end up by the end of the season. And Fernando knows whether Ferrari need to be kicked by him because they’re nowhere – or kicked to encourage them to greater efforts in order for him to retain a sliver of hope.

The puddle of melted water – that is Kimi – started to lose it during the race in Austria. His engineer put in a perfectly reasonable [some think] request for the Finn to up his pace by 0.2s a lap because he was in a fight with Jenson. The former superhero ‘man of ice’ retorted, “Well, give me more power!”

Following a fairly quiet 4-5 weeks following his announcement as team principal, it appears Marco Mattiacci is doing what he was sent to do – ruffling a few feathers.

Rumours of frayed tempers and highly charged exchanges between those wearing red uniforms are rife in the Italian and Spanish social media and newsprint.

Pat Fry is widely expected to be on his way out, though whilst James Allison is concentrating on the 2015 project, Fry is tasked with improving the sloth like F14T and Marca reports loud and heated exchanges between Fry and Mattiacci following the Canadian GP.

Initially Ferrari sources rubbished this, though Mattiacci himself gave credence to the revelation when asked about the instance by Spanish TV in Austria. “I like meetings where people talk openly and honestly and no one is silent,” grinned the Sicilian junior padrino. “After Canada, we held meetings to discuss our weaknesses and in what direction we should go for the future.”

Following a period of mourning for his friend Dominicali, Fernando damned the new team principal with faint praise of ineffectuality and inconsequence. More recently, Alonso appeared to admit that Marco would in fact get things done – and hopefully right.

Yet, the journey for Ferrari to ‘get with the programme’ can either be prolonged and with less pain – or a bloodbath. Signs are that Mattiacci realises that a programme of transformation may just take too long and it’s time to draw that hatchet…

Mr. Fry’s days look to be numbered… and in double rather than treble digits….

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Tweet of the day

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137 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 23rd June 2014

  1. Surely the unluckiest driver Formula One has ever seen was Chris Amon? Even his contemporaries recognised his talent… At least Webber won races 😊

      • Amon won a few of the non-championship races.. in my mind I would count them as wins. But he was very unlucky with Ferrari unreliability in ’68!

    • Jochen Rindt, for me, is the unluckiest driver in F1. The following is why:

      1: He suffer terrible reliability and BE did a bad job managing his career.

      2: The guy choked to death by his belts under severe deceleration at Monza. What a way to go.

      3: He is the only driver to posthumously win the F1 WDC. He died at the Italian GP practice but had enough pts to win the title.

      Now as a guy who raced, that is devastating to me. It makes me nauseated. To think a life long dream, winning the ultimate, the precious, can happen and you are dead.

      Gentlemen, that’s unlucky.

      Webber simply didn’t know how to use a clutch. Jaguar, Williams was the same.

        • Clearly has to be Hamilton. If it wasn’t for other people screwing up, he would have won every race and every WC since 2007.

          • I always think it’s interesting to compare Hamilton and Mansell… they could both end up having a lot of wins but not as many championships to go with it. Both have a very aggressive style, so perhaps not being able to back off a little when needed is what hampered their various title efforts…

      • Indeed, watching the footage of the 1969 British GP the other day, I have to say, Rindt in my mind should easily have at least 10 wins. His death was very unlucky…. the belts he had only just been persuaded to wear, and he was thinking of retiring soon ‘to make it out alive’.

      • Peter Collins deserves a mention, became a factory Ferrari driver, with a terrific life ahead of him, actually gave up the drivers title to Fangio because he felt there would be plenty of time in the future, and then died at the Ring a few years later.

  2. Hamilton´s fan should take a break. They love to think the world is against Hamilton. There is no conspiracy and Rosberg beat him fair and square. Face it.

  3. I said something in a previous post.

    Webber’s question was leading and Lewis did well to avoid being drawn into any form unnecessary controversy.

    I myself was a bit annoyed at the length of his stops, but that was an emotional response. Both drivers have had fast and slow stops in comparison with each other.

    What Webber should’ve done, was asked Christian if they gave Seb his car from last year. Because at present, Seb can’t get any luck, even it was being given away for free.

    Judge..,

    How much worse (that’s if it can get any worse) do you think the fall out between Redbull and Renault will get? They’re locked into supplying them engines for next season and with engine modification for next season being limited, could we see them having another season like this?

    Dietrich didn’t even watched the race, so it must have been alittle embarrassing for everyone involved.

    • Mate I think Red Bull will build their own engine. But having said that, Toro Rosso qualified better so what gives?

      Re Hamilton – yes Mark did ask a leading question and a very astute answer from Hamilton. When I saw those long pitstops I did think it’s bad. Ham puts in blistering laps, enough to get undercut but pitstop costs him lead. I’d be well annoyed … Here is the question.

      I think we’re soon going to see team orders. The Strat-6 at the end of the race was the start IMHO. No more racing right up to the flag. Mercedes scared and missing Brawn? You bet!

      • @don

        Re: redbull building their own engines

        With the engine freeze in 2016, shouldn’t they have started that process a longtime ago? A year isn’t long enough to do R&D with such a complicated system? Now I know we are talking about some very smart people here, but it took Mercedes almost 4 years to get it right. So that being said, should we expect Redbull to have a few lean years before they’re challenging at the top again?

        • You are right Fortis – that may be a driving factor for them to stay with Renault but remember Nissan (Infiniti) has the LeMans entry and if I remember correctly it ran a full lap on electric power at the LeMans. So they may well go with them.

          Alternatively, Volkswagen has been doing a lot of work on their rally cars (I know it’s different but hear me out). It’s only 4 cyclinder turbo engines but they produce some serious power. Add two cylinders plus ERS… Maybe? And what about Porsche – running their power-unit in LeMans – they could come in as well.

          Having said that, I like the ring of a Red Bull Energy Unit 😉

          • Re Nissan

            Yea they did do a full lap on full electric power, I think they hit a top speed of over 300kph

            Now I get the idea with the VW idea, but what about integrating their engines with the Nissan electric unit?

            How would it be branded from a constructors point of view?

          • Branding is a no-brainer – Infinity is their title-sponsor and 100% owned by Nissan. In fact it IS Nissan. It’s just another name, like Lexii are just Toyotas in a fancy frock or Honda/Acura.

          • @fat hippo

            I’m referring to the possible joint venture between Nissan and VW that DQ had suggested.

            That message was posted after you had made reference to VW’s corporate compliance and it’s involvement in F1, I only saw it after refreshing the page. That was something I wasn’t aware of, so thanks for that bit of info

          • add 160hp from the ERS and we have 700hp.. add another 2 pistons and a V and we may just be right up there 😉

            Thanks Manky! 🙂

          • @ Don

            you also have to remember a couple of things

            1) – this is a road car based engine – not a bespoke racing engine

            2) – the engine is still probably down on ultimate bhp for reliability

            so – 544 bhp is a nominal output – the engine could produce more …

          • It’s not quite that easy. There are VERY tight regulations as to cylinder spacing, c.g., bore, weight, materials, mounting points, etc. etc. I suspect a new engine would have to be built to meet all the regs.

          • @ Gomer

            you are correct 🙂

            if peeps can cast their minds back to the original engine proposals circa 2008/9 – Audi were rumoured to be entering F1.

            But Audi wanted a 4 cylinder engine.

            Ferrari and Red Bull ( i.e. Ade Newey ) wanted a V6 design.

            Ade said it was because it was easier to mount a V6 than a straight 4 – which is of course utter bullshit. He just wanted to keep blown diffusers – as a 4 cylinder engine would only need one turbo.

            As it turned out – the rules eventually ended up with one turbo – and Ade was FUBAR’d …..

            As soon as the regs got firmed up to V6’s only – you never heard anymore about Audi entering F1.

        • Merc probably gradually increased their efforts, but indeed the turbo layout was done in early 2012 if I remember correctly. However, now all the secrets are out, and everyone will incorporate that for 2015 (can’t change things before then); during 2015 they’ll add in the new features for that year to meet the challenge of 2016 running and engine freeze. 1.5 years should be enough to get it up to spec, Honda are using just a little more time than that.

      • You should get your facts right, matey. Thet Strat-6 is an engine management strategy and both drivers got the same cal within seconds.
        And what is the point that STR qualified better (which they didn’t. RIC was 5th, Kvyat was 7th)? Three cars retired during the race – one RB and both STR’s, so its fair to say it was a fairly disastrous event for the dark side of the force.

        • That’s my point. Take away the more powerful engine settings for both drivers which makes it much harder to overtake.

          Re Ric – sorry.. brain fart 😛 You are right.. He was 5th… my bad 🙂 Renault is baaaaaad 😛

          • why is it harder to overtake if they both have to reduce engine power? Yes the chasing driver is a bit slower, but so is the leading one. Hint : 1+1 isn’t eleven 😉

          • I know… its 11… maybe my logic is different but you go faster you strain engine more. You are also likely to make mistakes… IMHO…

          • 1+1 is 3.

            There are 10 types of people in the world – those who understand binary and those who don’t.

          • Strat6 is pretty much full on attack for the Merc boys. Contrary to what Ted said on Sky (suggesting it went Strat 1-12, 12 = most power) that’s not the case. It’s the other way around, Strat 1 is fuel save and coast mode. Strat 6 is pretty much full on attack (I’m sure they’ve got Strat 7 & 8 for qually). In Bahrain they both raced on Strat 6, and that’s what Nico was told to use in Barcelona as well.

            They will at some point as you suggest have to call the fight off though. Given the brake issues, and lessons perhaps not learnt in Canada, I was amazed that with 15 laps to go and a safe as houses 1-2 they let the guys race to the flag.

          • @paul

            How much off a +/- effect woukd it have on the team, if they were to go back to running the 6 pistons on their brake calipers compared to the 4 they’re using now?

            I mean they’ve got so much pace in the car, surely they can sacrifice maybe a 10th or will it affect their ability to store enough braking energy?

          • @Paul

            Actually it’s not apart of the rules as to the number of pistons that are allowed in the calipers. The rule only governs the size and diameter of the brakes.

            Brake by wire….
            http://www.formula1.com/news/technical/2014/922/1192.html

            Technical regulations

            11.2.2 No more than two attachments may be used to secure each brake caliper to the car.
            11.2.3 No more than one caliper, with a maximum of six pistons, is permitted on each wheel.

          • @ **Paul**

            Lenny Kravits actually said that strat 1 was the most powerful …

            DOH !

            maybe he needs a new notebook ?

        • Well, the other point is that they were told what setting to be on, i.e., the chasing car couldn’t choose his own setting.

          • I’m wondering whether the fuel saving advantage Hamilton has was being fully utilised. I know he could have started with less fuel, but if he had extra fuel over Rosberg at the end, he should have had the opportunity to use it. I’m not sure if strat6 is an electrical setting rather than a fuelling one though.

          • @ Simon. Pretty sure this is a percentage so come the end of the race I think they’ll have very very similar quantities of fuel remaining.

            I did wonder why Lewis always had used less fuel than anyone else, at pretty much every race this season. I came to the conclusion that it was one of the following:

            – Mystic Hamilton Karma (the preferred option for his fans)
            – A very favourable fuel sensor (as Merc purchased lots of them, but isn’t that just the flow sensor I asked myself!)
            – The two drivers are running different levels of fuel, thus the percentages can be different for identical amounts of fuel remaining (most likely IMHO).

            It seems to me that Lewis starts with a heavier car, but has less worry about fuel saving, whilst Nico goes a bit lighter (hence his % used it higher). They’ve both got pros and cons, such as:

            Lighter car:
            Better off the line
            Easier on tyres
            Easier on Brakes (hmm! Now that’s a theory for Canada!)
            Etc

            Whilst a heavier car benefits with basically having more power for longer. This would fit in with Lewis having a fuel hungry reputation at McLaren (as I tweeted the Judge the other day!).

            @Fortis
            “How much off a +/- effect woukd it have on the team, if they were to go back to running the 6 pistons on their brake calipers compared to the 4 they’re using now?”

            Not that simple I’m afraid ! The number of pistons in the caliper is part of the FIA rules (IIRC). They all have to run 4 pots. So the question doesn’t really matter mate.

          • @Paul

            Actually it’s not part of the technical regulations. It’s a personal choice that’s been adopted by a few of the teams.

            Technical regulations

            11.2.2 No more than two attachments may be used to secure each brake caliper to the car.
            11.2.3 No more than one caliper, with a maximum of six pistons, is permitted on each wheel.
            11.2.4 The section of each caliper piston must be circular.

            http://www.formula1.com/news/technical/2014/922/1192.html

          • The only reason Lewis uses less fuel than Nico is that Lewis is always behind and following, so he has a tow. It’s just like bicycle riding; I think it’s Lewis’ turn to break the air but he just can’t seem to go that fast …….so poor Nico has to do all the hard work and Lewis just cruises along behind, taking advantage.

          • ooo controversial Gomer! Although I did think the reason why Lewis used less fuel was because Nico breaks the air for him however…

            Could it also be that Lewis’ corner speed is higher than Nico’s and therefore he needs less fuel to accelerate? I have no idea so am asking a question 🙂

          • Ha, given the fact that Lewis’ use of fuel is less both when he’s won and come second I’m afraid the slipstream theory will have to be right out the window, though it was funny.

            More to the point his higher corner speed has been attributed to better lift and coast which also saves fuel so a more likely explanation.

          • Thank you Matt, thought it may be to do with that… now then.. Massa seems to be one of the least fuel hungry drivers… you suggesting he also have a higher corner speed than the rest? 😉

          • @ Don – Not controversial at all, simply factually based reality facts.

            Fact: Nico needs to show Lewis how to go around the corners, so Lewis has to follow.

            Fact: Nico parts the air for Lewis, allowing Lewis to use less fuel.

            Fact: Lewis can’t do a fast quali lap unless he is following Nico. Think about Monaco where Nico lead Lewis around at the end of Q3, showing him how to go fast. Unfortunately, Nico went too fast and had to take the escape road.

            Fact: Lewis spun repeatedly when NOT following Nico, because he didn’t know how to go around the corners.

            QED

          • @ Simon. Didn’t you see where I said these were reality based factual facts? How can you say they are not facts when the fact is I said they were reality based facts which means they are real, not made from air?

          • ” ….. facts which means they are real, not made from air ”

            unlike Fortis96’s – ” facts ”

            ha ha 🙂

          • @ Manky. Exactly right. Too bad Fortis96 doesn’t understand things as well as I do.

          • Paul – I think you have it the wrong way around. Paddy Lowe stated early on this season that F1 is now an efficiency formula. So like Matt said, Hamilton is better at lift + coast in the races, so can carry less fuel and gain about 6 seconds each race.

            Same for Williams – with light drivers as well, they use less fuel and more coasting… but this means they don’t have multiple opportunities to overtake.. e.g. Malaysia, which has cost them when out of position from wet Qs.

            This lift + coast efficiency strategy is a bit like Vettel’s RB high downforce strategy – it works best out front… else you are following in a tow and can’t pass. Williams used it well in Austria, but we only saw the fuel meter once or twice and it looked like there were doing it a bit less than usual. Perhaps they just carried more fuel and used it for their high top speeds/low drag.

          • @ Manky. Not particularly keen on bully’s. Pull in your horns a bit please.

  4. I admit to having been a fan of Kimi at Lotus, because his return to Formula 1 just fit perfectly and his good results and consistency made the sport a lot more attractive to me.

    That said, his Ferrari performance has been abysmal so far and I half expect the Italian team to buy out his contract AGAIN. Maybe he can go rallying next year with a further ten million Euros in his bank account while Ferrari will finally snatch up a faster driver after they didn’t take a huge interest in Hülkenberg.

    • …. Kimi is costing Ferrari big time in the constructors…. If Williams had done what they did yesterday and banked the points on offer in previous races, they would be ahead of Ferrari now…..

      Further, how good was the Lotus of 2013???

      • interesting…Judge how good do you really think the Lotus of 2013 was relative to the competition? And what do you think of Kimi’s performance at Ferrari so far, are Ferrari getting a bit fed up?

        • Kimi is really nothing special. At the beginning of the season I said 50 points gap to Alonso. I didn’t realise how generous I was being. I’ll go for 100 by season end. Any takers?

          • You forget that Kimi is now the oldest driver on the grid… he likes his cars a certain way (strong front end), and until Ferrari get it to his liking, he will usually be down on Alonso, who can seemingly adapt to anything and everything.

            To be honest, it looks like Kimi and Jenson are starting to slow down a little, or rather lose consistency, which has now become a strong point for both drivers in the last year or two. Retirement is probably imminent by 2016 and the wrong side of 35.

        • I think it’s very interesting to point out that the Lotus tuned to his liking produced 2 wins, unlucky not to have more…. mid-2012 to mid-2013.

          Once Kimi was on his way….. attention switched to Grosjean, and he moved the car in his direction. Result – many podiums and close to victory in late 2013.

          So, I guess both can lead development, or luck in with the tyres…. but at Ferrari, I suppose Alonso will be the number 1 for car direction at all times. The issue we will see now is how long it takes to get the other Ferrari a strong front end.

    • As long as Ferrari continue to search for a magic bullet fix, a quick go faster solution, they will remain in a slump. They need a full re-engineering and sustainable infrastructure to start a series of strong years.

      It took 4 years with the best driver of his generation (and maybe top 3-4 of all time), the best leader/strategist of his generation (Brawn), one of the best designers of all time (Byrne), a mega engine director (Martinelli) a highly capable politically astute figure head (Jean Todt) working on funds, rule rewriting, pounding the A Hole of the FIA and FOM etc and a quiet Montezemolo.

      I mean, they keep filling bins up with red painted carbon fibre. They need to take a full 2 years back step. Take the pain. Cut the premadonas. And start again with sustainability in mind.

      • Excellent points.

        Unfortunately will be lost on the hysterical one.

        The dream team was kicked off by Bernard telling Luca to give Todt a job. Because they hadn’t won a rasher for well over a decade he was given some time. But the main reason that this happened was his relationship with Michael, which protected him from being booted out in the lean years. Michael had a great relationship with Ross and Rory from days past also, and his status gave him more power than people realise.

        How well has Luca done since he ‘helped’ disband the dream team?

        Exactly.

  5. You really can’t help but feel sorry for Alonso. He went to Ferrari with the promise of joining an illustrious group of drivers who have won championships driving the prancing horse, only to finish runner up to Seb for the past 4 years.

    Now with the new rules and Ferrari producing more of a limping donkey compared to the rampaging stallions of the past. When a driver of his caliber is now saying something like this…

    “And although many in the paddock rate him as the best driver on the grid, Alonso says he would rather have more titles than their respect.

    “It’s been five years like this,” said the 32-year-old.

    “There is always the satisfaction that everyone believes that you are performing at your best.

    “There’s the respect from the drivers, team principals and fans for the job that you do, but I’d prefer to have no respect and win more trophies.”

    You really have to ask the question, what’s next for Alonso?

      • Maybe, but referring back to the article you published awhile back about his migration into owning his own team, that doesn’t seen like it’s on the horizon anytime soon.

    • Alonso and Vettel’s careers so far are the proof that titles and stats tell only half the story about how good a driver is. I’ve been saying it for years now that Alonso and Hamilton are the benchmark in this era and I still haven’t changed mind no matter how many titles Vettel has won or even if Rosberg wins the title this year.

      And what’s next for Alonso? Le Mans! Won’t be surprised if Ferrari enter a team at some point in the future especially if F1’s popularity carries on decreasing and fans turn to Endurance, MotoGP, DTM and other motorsports.

      Only the other day I saw that ITV4 will start covering Formula E and I DO intend to watch it. Don’t have Sky, despise them, don’t want to be paying 60 quid a month to watch only two races! Money and media-moguls destroyed the premier league and the same thing happens now to F1.

      Rant over!

      • I was thinking WEC as the next step for Alonso too but now I’m not so sure: would Alonso really be happy taking wins as a team as opposed to a solo* effort?

        *Okay, F1 wins are hardly a solo effort but, at the end of the day, most of the glory is attributed to the individual behind the wheel. With WEC, Alonso would have to share the spoils with one or two other drivers.

          • Mm, I could definitely see Alonso entering WEC. I’m just wondering whether he could be satisfied winning in a series where the glory is attributed less to an individual and more to a team of drivers and the manufacturer (at least that’s the impression I’ve always got from WEC but I’m not a big follower of it so could be wrong).

        • @ Lynn

          re – solo effort

          it reminds me of a comment made by Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller at Le Mans.

          He said – your brought up in racing to be selfish as your trying to beat everyone else – even your team mate.

          Then you come to endurance racing and you have to share a car and the glory – it takes time to adapt to a different mindset.

          It’s like being told that you now have to share your girlfriend with two other guys …..

          😀

          • ….it takes all sorts Mankey……. so many questions.

            Are they pitching in their girlfriends too?

            If so are their girlfriends better looking than your own?

            Mmm………

          • Interesting Manky.

            BTW, how many ex-F1 drivers (ones who actually achieved some success in grands prix, and other than Webber) have moved over to endurance racing and how have they fared?

          • @ Lynn : Alex Wurz won Le Mans 3 times and has been more successful in endurance racing than in F1 (3 podiums in 69 races). There are of course others, like Michele Alboreto, Mark Blundell, JJ Lehto, who won Le Mans and had some (moderate) success in F1.

            Graham Hill however is, as far as I know, the only Formula 1 world champion who also won Le Mans, and has remained thus for more than forty years. Well, that is if you don’t count Mario Andretti’s second overall place and winner of his category in the 1995 race.

          • @ Michael S

            F1 champs that have won Le Mans –

            Mike Hawthorn

            Phil Hill

            Graham Hill

            however – Graham is the ONLY driver to have won F1, Le Mans and Indy 500

            P.S. – second place is NOT winning …..

          • @ Cav

            to be fair –

            I didn’t mention Derek or another Le Mans great – Jackie Ickx either – who unlike Derek did have a fairly successful F1 career – as I thought Lynn was asking about recent history.

        • @ Lynn

          there’s a lot of ex F1 drivers that are in WEC – but Webber aside – not in the top LMP1 teams in recent years.

          The drivers like Allan McNish etc. – who had a lot of success in endurance racing didn’t have any success in F1.

          You’d have to go back to the 90’s for that – Alboreto, Brundle, Blundell, Herbert etc. – but they were just F1 journeymen.

          You have to go back to the 50’s & 60’s to find F1 Champs being successful in endurance racing – but that was the norm then – drive anything you can, anywhere.

          • Thanks for the answers guys. I see Jacques Villeneuve also has done some Le Mans and did pretty well though didn’t quite manage a win, otherwise he would have become the only driver alongside Graham Hill to get the Triple Crown of Motorsport (phew! Sorry any Villeneuve fans but the idea of him entering that elite class… >:-[ )

      • Given how bad they’re at building a car to the current regulations, what chance do you think they’ve got going up against Audi and Toyota? WEC Is a differently kettle of fish, this is the domain of Audi and Toyota, they won’t be able to bully anyone to get things in their favour.

        I doubt they could even tempt Alonso into driving for them at Le Mans.

        • I wouldn’t underestimate Ferrari’s outspending power. Porsche was king in the 80s and most of the 90s, then Audi came along and after a year they started dominating. Bentley and BMW won in their second attempt and I think McLaren in their first, you never know.

      • Sky is not 60quid a month for 2 races, FFS, I get TV, Broadband and phone off sky (including F1 HD) and a sky+HD box for £49 a month. Now that is only £11 a month more than I used to pay Talk Talk for just phone and broadband. I wish people would look into these things instead of spouting anti -Murdoch rubbish and propaganda found in some corners of the internet. Call Sky and ask! It’s cheaper than you think and no Suzie Perry either, win win!

        • CV

          that’s still £30+ a month for TV

          in todays economic climate – many people can’t afford it.

          Especially as you have to pay £12+ a month for a TV licence on top of that.

          Which if the BBC hadn’t wasted on fat cats and paedophiles salaries – then F1 would still be on free to air !

          • Agreed that the BBC fucked us F1 fans good and proper, but what I’m saying is that everyone has to buy a telly license, everyone has a landline and everyone has the internet, so really I pay. £11 a month for the TV package from Sky compared to getting phone and broadband from talk talk as I already paid my tv license, that works out at £132 a year for 19 full race weekends, that is £6.95 per race meeting, which I think I very acceptable, plus I get the bonus of sky+HD so I can record it and watch again or check disputed facts and a load of other channels the family can watch in between races! Win win as I said in my 1st post.

          • @ CV

            that’s where I totally disagree with you

            ” … everyone has to buy a telly license, everyone has a landline and everyone has the internet … ”

            Not EVERYONE – that’s bullshit.

            I’ve got some friends that can’t afford TV’s or landlines or even the internet.

            Or for that matter even a mobile phone.

            That surprise you ?

            They’d love to have all these things.

            But there are lots of single people and families that are living in poverty and can’t afford luxuries like those you mention.

            Some of them can’t even afford to heat their homes properly of feed themselves or their children properly and rely on charity to survive.

            And none of these mates are unemployed !

            To say EVERYONE has X, Y & Z ….. – is living in fantasy land

            I think you need a realty check.

          • That said, I am on BT and they give a shocking service…. legally they and some Canadian ISPs are open to legal cases for ‘throttling’ speeds for certain users… that does not stand up legally!

    • Bit of a strange comment from Alonso there. Wasn’t he critical of Vettel, suggesting that the German’s four titles meant little if people didn’t actually believe in Vettel’s ability? Therefore if Alonso had more titles but no respect from the paddock/fans wouldn’t he be in exactly the same boat? How could this be preferable?

    • ” You really can’t help but feel sorry for Alonso ”

      I don’t feel sorry for him.

      He was an idiot.

      He burned his bridges and left a team with a championship winning car.

  6. You can tell when the hack with the gavel is back. One article ridiculing Vettel and one taking the piss out of Red Bull. It’s like old coming home week. 😀

    • ….and one suggesting Kimi is a shire horse…. along with a swipe at any Lewis paranoia….

      TJ13 friends at RB in MK have asked to be included more in our DN&C as they’ve been feeling left out this year…

      .. we can but oblige 😉

    • Oh get over it you whining sulky hippo. What of Vettel’s performance in qualifying this weekend without an issue? Why again is he slower than Ricciardo. I’d love to see what bullshit excuse you’re going to come up with now as the excuses of “oh he can’t unlearn a technique he’s been using for years in a matter of a few races” is getting old and he has now had months to get to grips with the car. The best drivers can adapt, and if Vettel doesn’t sort this out sharpish you’re going to have to admit that maybe, just maybe there are drivers out there who are better than him and perhaps he’s not one of the best…

      • You should really check your facts before starting to rant. The hippo is better at that than you 😉

        Saying he didn’t have issues in quali is not quite correct as they had to change the clutch before the race. Also the team apologized to him because they didn’t manage to find a useable setup for the car. And considering that RIC dropped like a stone in the race too puts his quali in context, too.

        Vettel will probably be out-qualified for most of the season for two reasons.

        a) RIC is a saturday man. He rarely makes up positions during the race. In race trim he isn’t that much faster than Vettel. If it wasn’t for the team’s cock-up Vettel would have won in Canada – starting from behind RIC.

        b) RIC still has a massive advatage as far as mileage goes. I charge you to calculate how much more laps he’s done than Vettel. You’ll get something that measures in race distances.

        All those taking the piss out of VET forget that he had every single mechanical problem this year, raced for GP’s with a cracked chassis, but whenever the damn thing doesn’t nom itself he usually makes the best of it (Spain, Canada, Malaysia)

        And btw. the adapting the driving style mantra is not my idea, but the team’s.

        • Vettel lost power when he used boost so they told RIC not to use it. He was crippled for the race otherwise he’d have been much closer to the front, probably near the Williams/ FI

          • …There’ll be no kissing the car and tarmac in India this year, for more reasons than the obvious…

            BTW – I quite enjoyed that Vettel moment to be honest. Sent a few chills of historic proportions down my neck….

            Still onwards and upwards, F1 drivers will get too old more quickly with this new generation coming through….

            30 may be the new 35……

      • Seb was poor in qualifying without question. I normally support him on the interweb just because so many are biased against him. Ricciardo is no slouch, but really when push comes to shove I think Vettel, even with the lions share (and some more) of the car issues at RBR will end up with more points.

        The incident with GUT (was it?) looked like a racing incident to me, nothing more really. He pulls out to overtake, and GUT moves over clipping the front wing. A penalty either way for that would be massively harsh.

        It’s another weekend were no one really knows what Vettel could have done though, because of that car failure. It’s really spoiling what could be a decent internal team battle. I think I’d be correct in saying that Vettel has had only three race weekends where his car didn’t fail in Quali (or impact it such as a grid pen) or the race. Those are as follows:

        Malaysian GP – Vettel beat Ricciardo on pace, DR had a pit stop issue late on but SV certainly had him covered anyhow.
        Chinese GP – Ricciardo had Vettel soundly beaten on pace, overtaking him (when the team asked him to let him past as he was on a different strategy at that point)
        Canadian GP – Riccardo won the race, but really the result of which RBR won this race was decided on pit strategy and nothing to do with the drivers relative performance. They made errors on Vettels strategy but nailed Ricciardos – such is racing. Pace wise I think they were basically on a par.

        So thus far, when both the cars work, it looks nip and tuck between them to me.

        As for Hamilton and Alonso been faster? Fernando over a race, yes I think so. Lewis in Quali ? Maybe. But then you look at Hamilton getting beaten by Nico ‘Journeyman’ Rosberg and Massa went through a phase of beating Alonso in qualifying last year. I’ll get some splinters but I’m staying sat on the fence 🙂

      • To be fair to Vettel, he’s handling his situation pretty well on the face of it. It must be a right old slap in the face to go from being world champion year upon year to such an annus horribilis (so far). He’s languishing behind his teammate in the points, can barely complete a few laps without something on his car failing, his prized technical team are disbanding and, if Domenicali’s comments following his resignation have been interpreted correctly, Vettel’s future move to Ferrari looks to be scotched (and would be unwise even if the opportunity was there). Yet there’s been little sign of tantrums, to the outside world at least. Even if he was throwing major strops behind closed doors, I’d have some sympathy given his current predicament. Here’s hoping he can get some clean races soon so we can get a better idea of how he is compared to Ricciardo and the other competition.

  7. Regarding Fernando and Kimi; the job of F1 journalists should not be merely to state the obvious. We can all see what is happening. What we want is for you to find out and explain to us +why+ this is happening. There is no way that Kimi is 1.5 seconds slower than Fernando under anything resembling normal circumstances. Kimi hasn’t lost all his driving ability since last season, just as Felipe hasn’t suddenly become a better driver after leaving Ferrari. What is really going on behind the scenes to make great drivers look like terrible ones when they go to Ferrari or drive alongside Fernando? I’m not saying Fernando isn’t a great driver, or even the best driver, but that just isn’t enough to explain the dramatic loss of form suffered by anyone who takes that other seat alongside him at Ferrari.

      • Thanks for proving my point with that reply

        I guess real analysis is just too hard and why bother when simplistic narratives like “hey look how slow Kimi is!” Will get you more clicks

        • We’ve written about this and Ferrari admit it is a mystery… Allison said as was in the piece, “he’s just slower”

          • I can believe he is slower.. But the difference is huge and seems to be growing. He’s often right there with Fernando after 1 lap and then spends the entire race going backwards with poor strategy, multiple issues with the car, etc. Is he really getting anything like equal treatment?

    • “just as Felipe hasn’t suddenly become a better driver after leaving Ferrari. ”

      After 8 races this year Massa has 30 points. After 8 races last year he had 57 points and 1 podium. I wouldn’t say Massa has improved from last year. Bottas is effectively Williams number one driver with Massa there to score as many points as he can for the constructors WC. So his role is unchanged from Ferrari.

    • “There is no way that Kimi is 1.5 seconds slower than Fernando under anything resembling normal circumstances.”

      That’s my thinking, too. Kimi may be losing his speed, but I would be very surprised if he were off the cliff. My money is still on Ferrari not providing Kimi with a car (perfectly) suitable to his driving style, not least because for too long now Fernando’s development direction has been a priority. If my memory serves me, Kimi already has a history of being slow in a car/tires not suited to his liking, and becoming quick once the car/tires evolve or change characteristics. I’d wager something similar is happening.

      This said, Fernando is perhaps the best at driving (prancing and red-colored) leaden bricks. This is known..

      • http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/114613
        “We had to go down [on the engine settings] but also after two laps I had brake issues,” explained the Finn, who eventually finished 10th.

        “They asked me to cool the brakes but I was trying to fight against the other guys. So it was quite difficult after two laps being asked to slow down for brake issues.

        “We know those kinds of things should not be happening, and we have to fix them. We cannot go into the race and start slowing down after two laps because of issues like that.

          • OK, but chew on this, both Ferrari and Mercedes are suddenly having brake issues that we’ve not seen before. Why is that?
            Is it just the nature of these two tracks, and if so will we see similar issues at Silverstone or did one of them get the answer wrong and the other copy off the exam.

            What do you think?

        • The question is.. Are these same kinds of issues happening to Fernando? And if not then why not? Sadly, F1 journos don’t see it as part of their job to ask these kinds of questions.

          • @ davis

            ” Sadly, F1 journos don’t see it as part of their job to ask these kinds of questions. ”

            you are totally spot on

            As the Judge has repeatedly pointed out – they’re on a gravy train and don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them …

            🙁

    • In a flame suit, it could be pointed out that Ferrari looked strongest in early 2010, before Alonso’s input…. but they also were strong at times in 2012 when Massa seemingly couldn’t drive the car at all. Aldo Costa was behind the ’10 car, and now the ’14 Mercedes however…. so it’s hard to say, but Alonso’s development generally makes his performances better and his team-mates worse.. I’m thinking Trulli, Fisichella, Massa..

  8. RE: Kimi.

    Kimi’s peak performance operates in the range the size of a five cent coin. His peak is as high as anyone’s, IMHO, and higher than Alonso’s.

    Alonso’s great strength is his peak operates on the length of a football field. He does not have a concept of form, or feeling. He drives anything, as fast as he can go.

    In past years, at McLaren or Ferrari or Lotus it has taken Kimi up to a full half season to get to grips with a new team, or a new car under different regs. It’s a big weakness. But to watch Kimi when comfortable, when he is in the 5c window, well frankly it brings a driving erection to my pants.

    We have seen a tiny glimpse of comfort in Spain. Kimi is a front limited circuit king. Spain, Spa, Britian etc.

    • Totally agree. Fernando is capable of driving a dog of a car and dragging good results out of it even when it is not to his liking – Kimi much less so.

      He seems to be a bit too sensitive when it comes to cars that are not to his liking but I suspect that when a car is given to both drivers that handle how they individually like a car to handle, Kimi will be slightly quicker than Fernando due to his “extra sensitivity” if you like.

      But the problem is, is that the teams cannot always provide a car that is perfect for how the drivers may like, and that is a situation where the likes of Fernando and Lewis shine.

      IMHO, the only driver on the current field who has the best balance between the two variables i mentioned is Lewis. In an absolute dog of a car some may argue that Fernando would be ever so slightly better than Lewis, and this may be true, but Lewis will still drag that car into positions others cannot. When the car is to his liking though, the guy is immense, and in my opinion undoubtedly the fastest guy. His peak performance as you say will probably be the highest out of the current crop of drivers.

      • I would put Lewis in the same league as Fernando. They are the gold standard right now. The big question for me is… Why is it that lesser drivers can be teammates with Lewis and still thrive and reach their full potential, but anyone who is paired with Fernando suddenly looks like their career is over? I wish there was more analysis of this but I agree with the other commenter about the “gravy train” of F1 journalism. It is access journalism and if you ask the wrong questions, the access goes away.

      • Some interesting points.. Kimi’s mastery is weight transfer as Rob Wilson always says. Kimi’s record at Spa is amazing too. I guess that with age he might be losing his adaptability ever so slightly… that said, he was on it straight away in 2012.

        Massa I also wondered if he seems to like a certain type of car…. in 2008 with development in his direction, he flourished and Kimi withered… while Massa was a beast at Istanbul of all places.

        Jenson seems to flourish when Lewis went off the boil… I’m thinking 2011…. he also likes a nice front end, possibly Perez as well (which makes it surprising they didn’t gel as team-mates for car development, but that’s McLaren that is slumping).

        Aggressive drivers like Hamilton, Hulk etc. like a moving rear end. Alonso I’m not sure where to place, someone that can seemingly drive both…

    • “In past years, at McLaren or Ferrari or Lotus it has taken Kimi up to a full half season to get to grips with a new team, or a new car under different regs.”

      I disagree. Raikonnen’s first year at McLaren he suffered 10 DNF’s, 7 of which were caused by engine / mechanical failure and was faster than Coulthard when he actually was running. His first year at Ferrari he won his first race, had 2 more wins and 2 podiums in the first half of the season. In neither case, 2002 when he joined McLaren or 2007 when he joined Ferrari were there significant new regs. He didn’t then have the record of someone who takes time to learn a new car or fit into a new team.

      Raikonnen was brought in to replace Massa as number two with the intent of securing as many points as he could in the constructors WC. If he pushed Alonso that would be a plus, but his role was to score the points that Massa was throwing away.

      • “Raikonnen was brought in to replace Massa as number two with the intent of securing as many points as he could in the constructors WC”

        …and that worked out just fine.. huh?

        • It was you who trumpeted Raikonnen’s move to Ferrari as a 9 on the Richter scale, while I maintained it was a mistake. Even Chilton could probably have scored the same number of points as Raikkonen if he was driving for Ferrari.

          • There’s a story there.. Why is a huge organization
            Like Ferarri incapable of fielding a cmpetitive 2nd car? I don’t think it makes any difference who the driver is. There is nothing wrong with Felipe or Kimi.

          • You raise a good point sir. I have a theory though… the poison is Alonso. He moulds the car to his preference but then no other driver can drive the car. That means one driver says lets go this way, and the other lets go that way so as the engineers try and please both they end up miles away from where they should be. The engine though.. heavens knows what happened there!

            Maybe he is not that good at developing cars? The Renault he had was an ex Schumi special. Ferrari won with Kimi after Schumi left. 2007 was close for the Spanish Samurai but it was not to be, even with a competitive car (and all the internal team battles).

            Massa is not slow, we know that but he seemed like a sloth against Alonso, especially after the “Alonso is faster than you” episode…

          • Perhaps. I wish more were written about this. Instead, we just get the default narrative… Ferrari keep producing crap cars but Fernando is so great that he is competitive anyway. I’ve never bought into that. He is not without any agency of his own and must have a huge input into the characteristics of each car.

          • @ Don

            that’s a good point you raised about whether Fred can develop a car.

            He also stepped into a pretty decent McLaren too – and the design / development wasn’t down to him then either.

            Lewis probably had a lot more to do with it.

          • “Maybe he is not that good at developing cars? The Renault he had was an ex Schumi special.”

            Schumacher left Benneton in 1995 and Alonso joined Renault in 2003. Do you think Alonso was driving an 8 year old car in 2003?

          • Thanks Cav.. I think I need to go and sleep… I’ve been getting my numbers messed up all day. I retract my Schimi special 😛

      • It would be quicker/easier if you were to respond to the posts with which you agree…

  9. “grinned the Sicilian junior padrino.”

    Mattiacci is from Rome, which the last time I checked wasn’t in Sicily.

    • …omitted ‘trainee’

      Italy have Brazilians playing for their soccer team don’;t they???

      What’s a birthplace between friends 😉

      • Doesn’t England have a guy born in Jamaica playing for them? Maybe England should get some Brazilians playing for them – then they might win the odd game or two.

        • …hey I’m all for ignoring the reality of nationality on that basis….

          …in fact Ferrari’s golden F1 era was when their race team was run by a bunch of foreigners…. wasn’t it? 😉

        • Or some of England’s most successful cricketing teams being filled with South Africans and a Scotsman …..

  10. @TJ – is there any way to alter the settings on the blog to, firstly, make it wider and secondly, to allow comments to ‘nest’ a few levels further? It’s really difficult to follow who is replying to who once it gets over 4 or 5 levels deep.

    As for the width, it would read so much better if it was wider. Any decent browser will reformat pages that are too wide so it seems daft to put unnecessary constraints on the width. Doing so makes the articles a bit of a pain to read as well as making the comments badly formatted.

  11. Just listened to the Sky f1 podcast for the first time. One interesting thing, and one jokey thing to mention:

    1. Apparently, both Alonso and Kimi went into the pen after the race, and then left after giving no interviews (in Pinkham’s words “gave no interviews to Sky or BBC, the two big ones – English speaking etc). Seems like odd behaviour, especially for Alonso, considering he was essentially best bar the dominant Mercs and unreachable Williams.

    2. Apparently Twitterers have noticed that the 3 races Mr Webber has attended this year, Seb Vettel has retired. Discuss. 🙂

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