Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 7th July 2014


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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the 2014 BRITISH GRAND PRIX?

#F1 Race Review: Hamilton ‘rejoices’ as Mercedes gremlins hit sister car

#F1 Polls: 2014 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX – Driver of the Weekend

#TechF1 Treasures- The #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents #BritishGP

OTD Lite – 1968 French Grand Prix

Mattiacci begins shaping Ferrari’s future

Inspector Boullier assures Mclaren they are in safe hands

Grosjean on move as Lotus shifts gear (GMM)

Raikkonen to miss Silverstone test after crash (GMM)

Button the unwanted

Bianchi and De la Rosa to test for Ferrari in Silverstone

Silverstone Race in Numbers

OTD Lite – 1968 French Grand Prix

Today marks the 46th anniversary of the death of Jo Schlesser at the 1968 French Grand Prix held at Rouen. It was to e the fourth fatality of the season, following Jim Clark, Mike Spence and Lodovico Scarfiotti and would bring about changes in safety throughout the Grand Prix championship.

68-schlesser-f1Honda had developed an innovative car with an air-cooled 120deg V8. To keep the weight of the car down they produced a magnesium skinned monocoque but regular driver John Surtees found it unstable and refused to drive it. With Soichiro Honda present for the French GP the drive was offered to a local driver Jo Schlesser.

On the second lap through Rouen’s downhill sweepers, Schlesser lost control and crashed. The car overturned and caught fire, and the full fuel tanks and magnesium chassis made the flames too intense for conventional fire extinguishers. Schlesser perished in the flames.

Honda withdrew from Grand Prix racing at the end of the season and Schlesser would be forever remembered in the Formula One cars his friend – Guy Ligier – built. Each Ligier car was designated JS – –


Mattiacci begins shaping Ferrari’s future

Back during pre-season testing, TJ13 reported on rumours that Mercedes power-train engineers were being approached by Ferrari with offers of lucrative remuneration packages, and relocation costs covered, to move them to the sunnier climes of Italy. Around the same time, more offers were coming from the Cosworth factory a mere 14 miles from Brackley.

With Niki Lauda, in subsequent months, suggesting that the Mercedes team were over-manned there was always going to be an exodus of staff moving to different employers and yet over the weekend Lauda felt the need to counter suggestions that the dominant Silver Arrows were losing staff to the competition. “We have all the important engineers firmly under long term contract.”

This would normally be of little significance except the Italian media is reporting that in the last few days ten new engineers have started working at Maranello – which include three engine experts from Mercedes and four people from Red Bull, three to be utilised in the aerodynamics department and the fourth a simulation expert.

Marco Mattiacci has ordered a ‘strong discontinuity‘ on the technical side and continued “The mentality is going to change and we will take more risks whilst reintegrating the different departments. We can no longer take small steps and be careful in our decisions but I want a structure like Mercedes – where they have Wolff, Lowe and Cowell.”

One of the first heads expected to roll is Ferrari’s current engine chief, Luca Marmorini, although MM states: “I won’t name names. We are redesigning our organisation throughout” Guido de Paola who was the head of the 059/3 design project has also been moved into the road car division where designing the engines is far less time constrained and the management of the engines is now headed by Matthias Mariz, a skilled organizer who is restructuring the engine department according to the Mattiacci’s plans.

Marmorini began his F1 career with Ferrari in 1990 before leaving to join the Toyota F1 team in 1999 and becoming it’s head of engine development. In 2009 he replaced Gilles Simon who had been head of the Ferrari engine department after replacing Paolo Martinelli.

Simon and Martinelli produced engines that dominated different era’s from the mid 90’s and were at the cutting edge of Formula One design – at best the dominant configuration, at worst equal to any other power-plant. Yet Marmorini’s design brief at Toyota was to chase reliability over performance due to corporate pressures.

It would seem that this has become too imbedded in his psyche and is likely to have cost him his position in Maranello. After all, Ferrari engines of the past five seasons have been wonderfully reliable but never benchmarks in consumption, power or creative solutions as used by both Mercedes and Renault.

After several races where LdM displayed his authority, and MM sat like the ventriloquist dummy absorbing all the detail, it seems his initial assessment is complete and now his sleeves are being metaphorically raised. Even the Samurai himself seems convinced: “He has good vision and a very clever approach and we are going to be stronger and stronger.”


Inspector Boullier assures Mclaren they are in safe hands

Here at TJ13 towers, Eric Boullier has become a figure of ridicule over the last few months. With his insistence that Mansour Ijaz was a reliable character in his negotiations with Lotus – despite a simple Google search proving otherwise – and his continued promises of technical improvements and forthcoming title sponsors at Mclaren slipping by on a weekly basis – his latest mutterings should be taken with a considerable amount of salt.

Despite a strong race at Silverstone the team’s haul of points is somewhat fortuitous. The unpredictable weather in qualifying, two of their biggest rivals not escaping Q1, Bottas claiming second after starting 14th and Rosberg retiring doesn’t prove much in the way of development.

In addition – over the weekend – came news that Hugo Boss, a team sponsor that has been part of the Mclaren portfolio for decades had switched its sponsorship to the Mercedes team.

Of course, Eric, had an appropriate answer. “No, we have thirty two sponsors, even though you don’t see them all on the team shirts.” Although he should have added you don’t see many on the car either…

Back in April, Santander chief, Emilio Botin, offered an explanation for the current state of the bank balance at Woking when they stated they wanted to remain the sponsors at Ferrari due to its position as the biggest brand in sport. “There is only one Ferrari team, period. We were interested in being with Mclaren still because we have a bank in England, but it was a small sponsorship. When Hamilton was there it was justified, Button is a great driver, but it’s another matter. The partnership we have with Ferrari is the best we have had throughout our history. It is the key for Santander being known around the world.”

Boullier continued: “I can promise you the support from Honda will be considerable. If you want to conquer this world you need to be a high level team, and we are. You also need a good engine and the support of a manufacturer. We will have all of that next year.”

Monsieur Boullier carried on with his light-hearted routine when speaking of the MP4/29’s short-comings, “We lack aerodynamic downforce but I knew this would happen, I noticed it immediately when I arrived, when they showed me the features of the car in the various departments.”

So there we have it folks – Boullier, clown extra-ordinaire, the perpetrator of legends and myths and design guru to the teams.


Grosjean on move as Lotus shifts gear (GMM)

Romain Grosjean could be left out in the cold as Lotus looks to change gear for 2015. It is now an open secret that the Enstone based team intends to switch from Renault to Mercedes customer power at the end of the season. “I can’t confirm it yet,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff smiled to British television Sky on Saturday.

Less clear is the reason for the move. Certainly, Lotus – fourth overall in both 2012 and 2013 – has struggled notably for reliability with Renault’s underpowered turbo V6. But the team’s links to the French marque are historically solid, as Lotus was once called Renault — the works squad. Since then, the Enstone team has retained the solid backing of Total, the French multinational that is now working hand-in-hand with Renault to improve the fuel that powers Red Bull’s world championship hopes. Also strongly linked to Total is Frenchman Grosjean.

But the 28-year-old’s career was also tied closely to another Frenchman, Eric Boullier, who doubled as his manager. Today, Boullier is the team boss at a rival team, McLaren. So the final straw for Grosjean could be Lotus’ Renault split. The arrival of Mercedes power would no doubt mean the end of the team’s association with key Grosjean backer Total. “Things are open,” Grosjean agreed at Silverstone, “but it’s not because Eric is there (McLaren) that things are that simple.”

What is clear is that if the Lotus-Mercedes deal is formalised as expected in the next few days, Renault is unlikely to find a replacement customer. “There will be less revenue, this is true,” Renault’s Remi Taffin admitted, “but not at the level that would put us in difficulty. Indeed, perhaps concentrating on fewer teams will help Red Bull to achieve their goals,” he is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint.

Therein lies the probable truth, as it seems that the recently highly-critical premier team Red Bull has applied pressure on Renault to narrow its focus. Dr Helmut Marko revealed to F1’s official website that Renault will only supply “one version” of its 2015 specification power unit to users Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham. “Not like this season,” he said, “where Lotus had a different version to us, which tied up too many resources at Renault and distracted from the development.”

According to paddock rumours, another change at Lotus could be the loss of multinational backer Unilever – and the sponsors Clear and Rexona – to McLaren. It could help the Woking based team to woo the increasingly frustrated Fernando Alonso from Ferrari. The Spaniard is famed for his ‘never give up’ attitude, but after qualifying at the back of the grid at Silverstone, Alonso admitted the time has now come.

“Yes. Anyone apart from Rosberg and Hamilton saying they can be world champion this year is lying,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “And I don’t like to lie.” And he is also quoted by Spain’s AS: “I’m not saying that we can’t do anything this season, but to be eighth, ninth, twelfth or nineteenth is not going to change our lives.”

TJ13 comment: In what appears to be one of the least well kept secrets of recent weeks, it seems just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for Mercedes to supply the Enstone team with their power unit next year. If Red Bull are, as rumoured, going to fund the complete Renault engine programme, then the loss of Lotus will be insignificant, yet Marko is being disingenuous claiming different engine programmes between the Renault runners. It is well known that Red Bull software engineers were working in Viry for weeks; but only on Red Bull engines which would benefit Toro Rosso as well.

With Boullier ensconced in Woking, there would be little trouble bringing Grosjean on board to replace one of the drivers – despite Ron Dennis desiring a top level driver. Of more interest is the news that Unilever is looking to move it’s sponsorship to Surrey. One of Unilever’s most famous products is Vaseline and with Lotus having tweeted a picture of two rabbits last year, with the implication being Kimi shafted Lotus, this sponsorship would tie up well with the wishes of the management to bring back Fernando Alonso. After all, it’s a product the Spaniard would know well after its liberal application whenever he has turned on his team…


Raikkonen to miss Silverstone test after crash (GMM)

Kimi Raikkonen is expected to sit out this week’s post-British grand prix test at Silverstone. Circuit workers took an hour to repair the unprotected armco barrier that the Ferrari driver struck on Sunday before taking a further hit by Felipe Massa. The Finn limped away from the scene on the arm of a marshal and into the medical car, and it later emerged that Ferrari telemetry recorded an impact of 47G.

Reportedly, Raikkonen’s first words on the radio after the impact were: “Is Felipe ok?” But it was Raikkonen who “took a hard knock on the ankle and also has pain in a knee,” Ferrari confirmed. “He will now have to rest but he will be back in time for the next round in Germany,” the team added. Boss Marco Mattiacci confirmed that Raikkonen will be “resting” from now until Hockenheim, which implies that he will not be in action for the test this week.

Bild newspaper said Ferrari junior and Marussia racer Jules Bianchi is the likely substitute. Mattiacci is not confirming that yet. “We still have to take a decision,” he said. “I want to be 100 per cent sure that he’s super fine, but no major issue at the moment.”

34-year-old Raikkonen’s long-time trainer Mark Arnall told Turun Sanomat newspaper that the driver was “examined thoroughly” after the crash, and has definitely not damaged any bones. “He is sore,” said Arnall, “but thankfully he has escaped anything worse.” And the 2007 world champion’s manager Steve Robertson added: “His left ankle is severely bruised, but nothing is broken. We assume that Kimi will be fit again for Hockenheim.”


Button the unwanted

At this weekend’s British Grand Prix Jenson Button managed to secure 3rd in qualifying and finish the race in 4th while K-Mag qualified 5th and finished behind Alonso in 7th. Looking at the weekend it appeared Button took note of what Dennis said early last week and did what he could do with the car he had, qualifying and finishing in front of his team mate.

Yet, stories of his imminent departure from McLaren just do not want to go away and in the Silverstone paddock it was rumoured that Dennis had actually told Button there won’t be a contract for 2015. When asked by a reporter about the contract for next year he merely said he is not thinking of his contract now and he is will also not discuss contract negotiations.

McLaren has made no secret of it that they are looking for a lead driver but have denied that Button has been told to look elsewhere for 2015.

However, speaking to Speedweek, Boullier admitted that he is talking to other drivers saying he but they may stick with Button as they cannot expect to sign a top driver with an uncompetitive car; once they have sorted their car out they will decide about their driver lineup.

Meanwhile, Button waits to hear his fate… why?


Bianchi and De la Rosa to test for Ferrari in Silverstone

After Raikkonen’s massive shunt during yesterday’s British GP he will now be rested. In a statement released by Ferrari today they confirmed testing will be carried out by Ferrari Academy driver Jules Bianchi and test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

On Tuesday de la Rosa will be conducting testing duties with Bianchi will stand in for Raikkonen taking over testing duties on Wednesday.

According to Ferrari this is de la Rosa’s first opportunity to drive the F14 T for real after having done “many kilometres in its virtual cockpit on the simulator“. The session will be used to make a comparison between simulator and track which will give he engineers valuable feedback.

While the Spaniard is on track in Silverstone his compatriot, Alonso, will be will be conducting a comparative test back in Maranello in the simulator.

This is a rather interesting test and it appears for Bianchi, if there has ever been a need to shine it is now.


Silverstone Race in Numbers

  • At this weekend’s race Lewis Hamilton got the fastest lap of the race on lap 26 – 1m37.176
  • The fastest man on the circuit though was Valtteri Bottas who had the highest speed for all three intermediate sections – I1: 319.3kph ; I2: 252.3kph ; Finish Line: 240.6kph (Vettel was 2nd fastest in I1 and Finish Line while Hulkenberg was 2nd fastest in I2 – Race winner Hamilton manage 310.4kph in I1, 249.1kph in I2 and 238.3kph on the finish line)
  • While Bottas may have had the highest speed in the sectors it was Hamilton who had the fastest sector times – S1: 30.670s; S2: 39.637s; S3: 26.812s
  • Bottas was also the fastest of the day through the speed trap (no surprise here) – 329.5kph
  • Nico Rosberg had the fastest pitstop of the race – a total time of 28.329s from entry to exit of the pitlane (Riciardo was second best with 28.483 while Hamilton was over 29s for both of his stops)

Lap Chart
2014 British Grand Prix Lap Chart


80 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 7th July 2014

  1. I have no idea why McLaren would hire Romain. I was listening to Anthony Davidson (and I’m guessing he has a clue about racing drivers). He suggested Kimi is driving as well as ever, the difference is he paired against Alonso now and not Romain. And that lotus had a v good car and two average drivers. He didn’t hide his admiration for Alonso.

    My point is if McLaren want someone to replace either of there drivers, why replace them with some who is likely to be half a second off the v best, when we know Button is only a couple of tenths, if we use Lewis as a yard stick.

    • you have a point, Jamie

      the Lotus car is good, despite lacking power and its eletronic integration issues, and JB remains a fast driver

      the only point in moving Romain to McLaren, is the financial backing he will bring

      also, I don’t know, if Total or Mobil will ou could agree something, in terms of sponsorship

      it’s a delicate situation

    • By this logic (and I don’t disagree), it turns out that Massa was no worse than Kimi. I remember how people were furious about Ferrari not firing Massa in the middle of 2012 season, but there were a few cool heads who said, “you know what, this is pointless. Not even Kimi or anyone else that Ferrari can hire is going to be any better”. Maybe they were right.

      • I agree with you about Ferrari keeping a cool head with Massa. I didn’t believe he’d lost any speed, just Alonso was quicker. (Did anyone catch Frank Williams let slip his thoughts on Massa in a sky interview after he got pole? “I’m surprised he got pole, to be honest I didn’t think he was any good)

        Who do you put alongside Alonso? It would take an Eddie Irvine approach, or how Button approached being Lewis’s team mate, just accept the other guy is faster and do your best.

        The problem is anyone who gets paired up with Alonso, looks pretty crap, so who’s gonna wanna go there? Especially after watching Kimi getting butchered.

        • Jamie, can you provide a link to video of Sir Frank saying such a horrible thing? Or at least clarify in what program on what day they aired that? (post quali on saturday or pre-race Sunday in Austria?)

    • you have a point, Jamie

      the Lotus car is good, despite lacking power and its eletronic integration issues, and JB remains a fast driver

      the only point of moving Romain to McLaren, is the financial backing he will bring

      also, I don’t know, if Total or Mobil will or could agree something, in terms of sponsorship

      it’s a delicate situation

      • Does Macca really need RG’s sponsors? Are the sponsors even compatible? What’s the total value of RG’s sponsorship? A few million? Hardly worth firing Button for…

        Listen, if Macca can’t get Alonso or they can’t get Hamilton, who else is there to get? There is no other driver on the grid with the superstar marketability of those two drivers, and Macca can’t even offer either a more competitive car now than what they necessarily will have in 2015.

        Is Honda even investing enough in their engine development to be able to field as their first power unit something competitive w/ Merc v2.0?

  2. I thought I’d leave commenting yesterday and wait for the dust to settle a bit.

    This weekends race for me was a 6/10 and that was purely for the Vettel Alonso handbag battle. The race at the front never happened which was a real shame. That was shaping up to be incredibly close. The gearbox issues Nico had made it look like the harder tyres were the faster option, but I’m absolutely confident they were no faster, and the sudden gain in pace relative to Nico was down that gearbox problem, not tyres.

    I really don’t think anyone could have called how the inter-Merc battle would have played out given Lewis was a tenth or two quicker, but Nico had track position and first call on those pit stops.

    As it is both Mercs have had a DNF due to the car failing now. The Canada one is a little different as they had the exact same issues, one car came home, the other didn’t. Given what some members of the team suggested that wasn’t pure luck. The championship is nice and close again though, always a good thing, and maybe Nico’s DNF will stop the conspiracy brigade or is that too hopeful?

    Sticking with the Merc theme, I’m wondering if they’ve underperformed recently ? At Silverstone we saw them taking upwards of 2s a lap out of the cars behind. When your car is that fast (*struggles to recall that last time a team had a clear 2s advantage?*) the races like Austria where both Mercs struggled just shows they got it very very wrong that weekend, yet still had the performance to take a 1-2. The evidence of Silverstone says that the other teams haven’t caught them at all, the gap in performance is just as big as ever, and the only way in which a non-Mercedes can win or get second is a reliability issue or a collision. There is a very real chance that every race will be won by them in 2014.

    Having such a large performance advantage isn’t great for F1, not that it’s Mercs fault they’ve done a better job, but it does mean that like a couple of Vettels and Schumachers titles this years winner will only have beaten their team mate. This is why I hold the view that to add credibility to such easy wins you’ve got to really destroy your team mate when they’re not the current best in sport, Vettel did that to Webber, MSC to Rubens/Verstappen/Irvine, Alonso to Fisi, Senna to Berger, Prost to Rosberg, Mika to DC etc etc.

    • I’m glad Merc are smothering the field and I’m gladder still that Nico had to abandon today and Lewis got the home win. 10/10 and I hope Hamilton smashes Rosberg in Germany in 2wks’ time.

      • I’m pretty certain Merc will give Lewis another slow pit stop if they get the feel that Lewis has the upper hand. Why wouldn’t they want a German driver winning in Germany in a German car?
        For me, it’s official now, Merc are pushing Rosberg for the title and anything to the contrary is delusional.
        Slow pit stops, messages from engineer to Lewis (“If you decide to abandon the lap, do not slow down Rosebrg!”), etc. It doesn’t take a lot to destabilise those drivers at that level and especially in two equal cars. If they know they don’t have the psychological backing of the team that can drag them down.

          • The first 3 sentences might be delusional according to your opinion as it’s just speculation, but the rest is factual, second race in a row with slower pit stops and the message from his engineer. You just don’t put ideas as such in your driver’s head. At that level, every little thing matters. I’m not the only one that believes that Merc would prefer Rosberg to win it, these rumours were circulating even before Monaco.

          • Whilst I don’t think anyone can argue that Lewis has had some slower pit stops (not sure how much of that is to do with positioning etc?) I think you’re a bit nuts to suggest that Mercedes don’t want Lewis to win as much as Nico. I think Merc would lap up the drivers title whichever way it comes !

            Merc have invested massive amounts of money in both the car and in employing Lewis. Why wouldn’t they want him to win? That’d be like Barca signing Suarez then hoping he doesn’t score! Granted I guess that’s sort of what happened with Alonso at McLaren,but Merc don’t have a Ron Dennis type of character, with his penchant for a surrogate son, in play.

            The vast majority of staff in the AMG Merc F1 team are British. Those who do the pitstops, strategy, build the cars (& power units) are primarily Brits.

          • Very often it’s just the impressions that are created and manifest to something sinister in drivers’ minds that then drags them down. If I was Hamilton and my car had broken down twice and had slower pit stops in 3 races, it doesn’t take long before you start questioning why always me. Silverstone may be the turning point for Lewis, better relations within Merc post-Monaco and all the rumours going round.

          • “… Merc have invested massive amounts of money in both the car and in employing Lewis. Why wouldn’t they want him to win? … ”
            1. Toto Wolff didn’t employ Lewis
            2. Lewis isn’t German
            3. As Rosberg is almost equal to Lewis in speed, the Germans might as well back him.
            4. If Rosberg wins, Toto can let Lewis go with pleasure; having proved that they don’t need an expensive driver to win the title.
            5. Despite all the above if Lewis wins, Merc can still claim that that’s what they paid him all that money for.

            BTW, have you noticed how Toto doesn’t seem too bothered by Lewis’s failures, whereas his dismay at Nico’s loss is very plain and there for all to see and he goes out of his way to protect Nico?

          • I’m not so sure. There have been some strange happenings, but hard to make the leap to saying they’d prefer Nico.

            Do we all think that Mercedes is in F1 for the long haul? Will they be in F1 in 20 years’ time, having competed in each of those years? I for one don’t believe they will.

            So the question is, what do we remember about Mercedes’ time in F1 in 1954-55? Sure, we remember that M-B had great cars, but who do we remember alongside those great cars? Fangio and Moss, two stellar drivers from that era. We don’t hear so much about Karl Kling or Hans Hermann, simply b/c they were not at the same level as the two aforementioned drivers.

            Great drivers drive for great teams. Each benefits from association with the other … the driver gets a great car to compete with, while the team gets the cachet of being seen as a team that the recognized top drivers want to drive for.

            So what will Mercedes want to be remembered for, for this current stint in F1?

            If Merc can keep their advantage for this season and next, then Hamilton could possibly be in the 40+ wins category, in the top 3-4 in all-time wins. So in 20 years time, when people think back to Hamilton’s best moments in his career, it will be synonymous with his time at Mercedes. You can’t buy that sort of long-term marketing.

        • @McLaren78, Lewis has been suffering issues with the cake tin, which is part of the brakes. In Austria, his was damaged, as a result the mechanic had to be careful to not damage it further when changing tyres.

          Yesterday there was a clear issue at the left rear, though if anyone reported on it I missed it. With so much on the line paranoia rears its ugly head quickly, but sometimes a problem is just a problem. 😉

          • Better a slow-stop than an improperly fitted tire … that would be a 10s stop-go, PLUS a 10-place drop at the next race. That is a heavy, heavy penalty.

            * I think the penalty for that should be a clear team penalty, by dropping both the team’s drivers on the grid next race. That would for sure nix any intra-team shenanigans.

          • Could not agree more. Also things like wing adjusts add time to stops so it’s important to not go crazy when looking at these things

        • With all due respect man, that’s hogwash. Lewis was pried away from McLaren by no little effort of Lauda himself and at quite a financial cost that they had to justify before the board of directors. To implicate that they now deliberately disfavor Lewis is ridiculous to the extreme. Lauda personally got him to switch to Merc and no matter how often Toto Wolff grins into the cameras, Lauda is still the chairman and would rip Toto a new one if he found out that there was some skullduggery going on against the man he hired himself.
          Toto took the job of Norbert Haug – motorsport chief of Merc – which basically amounts to grinning debilitated into the camera and dropping his pants if Merc needs someone to spank if they fail. Lauda is the one with the whip, not Toto and Lauda quite clearly prefers Lewis.
          I think it was pretty obvious when Lauda flew Lewis back to Blighty in his private jet after Malaysia while dropping Nico off at the airport to take a scheduled flight with the rest of the team

          • I’m sorry hippo but Norbert did a bit more than that. I’m not saying wolf is doing more than that. But Norbert did…

          • Wolff is the head of motorsports and as such responsible for all Mercedes programs. But withing the various Mercedes teams (DTM, F1. GT) he’s always working under a superior. His superior in the F1 team is Niki Lauda. He calls the shots, not Toto.

          • “His superior in the F1 team is Niki Lauda. He calls the shots, not Toto.”

            How come? Lauda acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

          • The way the two of them explained themselves at the start of the season on RTL, Wolff concentrates solely on the business side and Lauda calls the shots in racing matters. Wolff has no say in racing decisions.

          • (just for fun and to kick the silly season off)

            …and what if Merc want to bring Vettel to Merc since he seems a bit unhappy at RBR right now? They would never partner him with Lewis because the team will implode. But they can partner him with Rosberg and have their all German line-up in a German team again.

          • In which case favoring Nico would be patently illogical. They would end up with two WDC’s in the team and that has rarely worked in the past. Only Lewis/Button come to mind and now Alonso/Kimi, but only because there were/are stark differences in speed.

          • Danilo, I nearly fell out of my chair reading that. Thanks for the laugh!

          • Hippo, I just want to say that I agree w/ you that Lauda expresses a clear preference for Lewis.

            I don’t understand how much power w/in the team Lauda wields vis-a-vis Wolff and Paddy L., but he seems like an important ally to have.

            Besides (and you know this, Hippo, whereas most others don’t seem to get it) – Mercedes’s most lucrative potential business growth is not from the domestic German markets. It’s from outside of Europe, outside of North America, in places where Lewis Hamilton is infinitely more marketable than Nico Rosberg.

            Hamilton winning is better for Merc’s overseas marketing effort than Nico winning.

          • Me too Fortis, but I’m fine with it. We replaced Rush, Fowler, Owen, Torres. St John and Hunt before that.

            We’ll be grand 🙂

        • Not so much a fan of racing huh!

          I’m a fan of Lewis winning – by all means, fair or foul.

          Whatever it takes to bag a second WDC (as long as no skullduggery undermines his points-haul as an individual driver).

      • @Joe Papp

        Me too.
        To borrow a German word, I love schadenfreude “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others Nico “.

    • > There is a very real chance that every race will be won by them in 2014.

      No there isn’t as they didn’t quite win at Canada 😉

    • @Paul thanks for coming back to play. WRT the pace on the primes, Lewis set fastest lap on them lap 27 or thereabouts, so I think the pace was genuine, not just a byproduct of Rosberg’s gearbox issues. Whether they were faster than the option is hard to say, but they were clearly faster than Mercedes expected. But the pace they had certainly enlarged Lewis’ options. If he stuck with the original 2 stopper, he would have been chasing Nico on fresher faster tyres and had a smaller gap to cover. But if they would have proved durable chasing Rosberg, he could’ve stayed out and retained track position. Then Rosberg would have been left to shred his tyres to chase down a 10+ second gap while Lewis conserved his fuel and tyres. To try and then try to get past would have been a tall ask, but you are right it’s a shame we didn’t get to see that play out, though I’m delighted that the WDC has reached parity again.

      WRT to destroying your teammate, there have been 6 races that both drivers have finished, Lewis has won 4, Rosberg 2. Not sure what you mean by destroyed, but given Mercedes egalitarian bent (as far as drivers are concerned) it seems pretty impressive to me.

      • Agreed.
        My impression (confirmed by the auccessful one stoppers) is that Hamilton could comfortably have run to the end without that precautionary final stop – 28 laps on the hards vs 24 on the mediums (with a full tank of fuel) would not have been demanding.

        Rosberg effectively squandered his track position by stopping so early (lap 18). I don’t know whether this was a mistake, or simply because his tyres were gone.
        Whichever it was, even if his powertrain had been faultless, he’d lost control of the race at that point – and I can’t see any way he might have made up 24/5 sec for the extra stop he’d have to make.

        • Not sure his tyres were gone, because his engineer told him that the wear rate of his tyres was only 50%. It could’ve been that information that resulted in Lewis running a longer first stint.

          Because even after nico came out on fresher options, he was only losing a couple of tenths per lap, I think the most it was on any lap, was 6 tenth. I was expecting to see him take at least 1s per lap.

          When Nico pitted, the gap was only 2.8, when Lewis did his stop, he came out 5.7s behind and let’s not forget that he had a slower stop as well. So the pace he had seem to genuine.

          But the DNF did rob us of a what could’ve been a tight finish.

        • Before the race nobody really knew how long the tyres would last as so many of the practices had happened in wet or changing conditions. As Lewis stopped only 2 laps short of half-time he was clearly slated to be a one-stopper (also owing to his grid-position), while Nico was a scheduled two stopper. Since there was too little difference was between mediums and hards all two-stoppers held the poop-end of the stick while the one-stoppers gained significantly (Bottas, Ric for instance)
          Lewis’ second stop was a luxury.

          • @FH, Lewis was clearly slated for a 2 stopper as per Paddy Lowe interview. They ran Lewis deeper in the race to minimize time loss on the hards. They pitted him once they thought the hards would be faster than his worn mediums. Merc simulation had 2 stop 6 seconds quicker than one stop.

          • Well, the one-stoppers seemed to fare much better. Take RIC for instance. His fastest lap was a whole second slower than Vettel, yet even without getting stuck behind Alonso, Danny would probably have marginally stayed ahead of Vettel or been caught only in the last laps with no guarantee that Vettel could have overtaken him. So to me the one-stopper looked like the better option if only marginally. It certainly worked better for the podium finishers.

            Merc doesn’t count they would have won anyway, even on a three-stopper

          • @FH I’m not arguing that one stop turned out to be the best strategy, it clearly was. My point was that Merc’s pre-race strategy was to 2 stop both drivers.

            As far as Mercedes, I think Hamilton would’ve had time for a bathroom break and a slice of pizza and still won the race had he pitted again, LOL.

          • My point was that Merc’s pre-race strategy was to 2 stop both drivers.

            And mine was that in the hypothetical race where Rosberg’s car held together, it would have become obvious to Hamilton that staying out would be the simplest way to win.
            Rosberg’s early stop for another set of mediums committed him to two stops, and he would have been left with around 20 seconds to make up on Hamilton at well over a second a lap.

            The pre race strategy was clearly wrong.

  3. Benson at the BBC is confirming Bianchi will be driving for Ferrari on Wednesday. Who gets the Marussia test – Ellinas, González or someone new?

    • http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/114869
      It seems that while Bianchi will be driving for real, Alonso will be providing benchmark performance in the simulator. I take this as a direct benchmarking of Bianchi vs Alonso, and a first sign of Ferrari’s intentions to drop Raikkonen sooner rather than later. I guess Raikkonen is once more in for a nice, sweet check and a cruise in WRC.

      • Alonso will be in the simulator because de la Rosa, the most expert user of that simulator will be on track. They want de la Rosa to verify if the car behaves as he expects from what he has learnt in the simulator while having Alonso double checking with the data the on track team will provide to the simulator team from de la Rosa´s runs. Remember that Ferrari´s simulator hasn’t been accurate in the past.

      • post-Silverstone 2014, a banged-up Raikkonen to finish his Ferrari contract at end of 2015 – you read it here first…


  4. Is there something going on the this website? The reply to post button is gone, as has the thumbs up button. Some posts are actually going completely off to the right of the page and only about half the text is visible. If I use the slider bar to scroll trough the page, once it gets to the bottom the page will re-load and go back to the top. I’m using a laptop with Windows 7.

  5. ” … it was rumoured that Dennis had actually told Button there won’t be a contract for 2015 … ”

    Button is/was a Martin Whitmarsh “brownie points” scorer (in the sense the OED says the expression was derived from U.S. military slang for sycophants”.

    Dennis doesn’t like such behaviour.

    BTW, did anyone note the comment on BBC by Eddie Jordan that he thinks next year there will be switch/swap: Alonso to Merc and Hamilton to Ferrari?

    • I saw that too. I can see the benefit for Alonso, having a car that can actually compete and win races, but what is in it for Hamilton?

      • …and wouldn’t Rosberg kick up a big fuss about it knowing that Alonso will try his best to get preferential treatment and no1 status?

        I see more chances of a 4 way swap, Alonso to Merc, Lewis to McLaren, Vettel to Ferrari, Rosberg to RBR.

        • I don’t see any swapping happening. Beware the media, especially a notorious ally of Bernie’s like EJ, even if he was well-informed about Lewis’s departure from Macca for Mercedes.

          Nevertheless, to gauge the possibility of Lewis’s returning to McLaren, find the answer to one question: Is Ron Dennis willing to allow Lewis to keep all of his original GP trophies (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and return the ones he’s unjustly (though legally, per previous contract terms) retained?

          If he is not, then Lewis will simply not be joining McLaren. And if you think it’s not that simple, just review yesterday’s podium interview, and note Lewis’s disparagement of the crappy Santander stock-trophies, and his inquiry on live TV to DC as to the whereabouts of the gold British GP winner’s trophy…and note how significant was his reaction when he finally got it, and what he did subsequently.




          If Dennis will not allow him the pleasure of retaining what’s rightfully his (and thus far there is no indication that he will make a concession), then Lewis will not return to the team.

    • why on earth would hamilton want to go to ferrari unless he was getting fired by merc?
      and why would merc want to hire alonso? they have a car they could probably put gutierrez in and he would have a shot of winning a wdc. hell, they could probably give it to damon hill or mika hakkinnen, who haven’t competed in f1 for more than ten years and they would drive circles around the competition. so why waste money on alonso if the already employ two very capable drivers?

      • Because Alonso brings w/ him sponsor interest and support that FAR outweighs his salary costs.

        His Honour has made this very clear in recent times while slagging Button…even Santander chairman says Button is not marketable like Alonso, which is why the bank’s big $$$ goes to Ferrari (and that only Lewis compares to Alonso in their [marketing] eyes).

  6. Still no reply or thumbs up buttons. Another issue has started. Some posts are just 2 or 3 letters that go straight down, making the post unreadable. I haven’t made any changes to my browser (Firefox). Much of the site is unreadable now. So unless someone knows what the fix is I’ll say adios.

    • Which will find no argument from me. It was a delight to see them adopt opposite tyre strategies and a real shame we didn’t see the dénouement.

    • @cav The site looked fine on my mobile running Android and is missing thumbs up in Chrome. Try a different browser/platform. Sounds like some kind of rendering issue.

    • I noticed a few problems with accessibility, mainly having to use https and thumbs disappearing. Not sure why but just took it as Internet gremlins.

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