Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 16th July 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Days of Our Lives: Charlie’s Secret Memo

On This Day in #F1: 16th July 1955


OTD Lite – 1977 – Villeneuve: The birth of a legend

Haas admits to being asked to invest on failed USF1 team

Van der Garde to race for Sauber … or not (GMM)

Hamilton’s comments on Rosberg ‘a joke’ (GMM)

Mercedes announces Rosberg contract extension

Rossi parts with Caterham

More Frick-less teams announce

Pole is crucial in Hockenheim


OTD Lite – 1977 – Villeneuve: The birth of a legend

On this day, thirty-seven years ago, a quiet and unremarkable young French-Canadian made his debut in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Gilles Villeneuve had been given an opportunity after James Hunt and other Formula One stars had been soundly beaten in a race at Trois-Riviers by this unassuming man.

In testing before the race, he had astonished onlookers by spinning at practically every corner but never at the same one twice. They learnt from him afterwards that he had to find the limits quickly as this was his only opportunity to display his talent and he would go above the limit until he spun; thus establishing the car’s limit.

Villeneuve qualified ninth – two places ahead of his fellow Mclaren driver, Jochen Mass, but needed to stop when the engine temperatures rose in his car. The mechanics soon deduced it was a faulty gauge and sent him out again. Once he let the leaders through, he trailed them until the end matching their times throughout.

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Teddy Mayer surprisingly didn’t sign him for the following season but Enzo Ferrari did. The rest as they say is history.

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Haas admits to being asked to invest on failed USF1 team

TJ13 recently published an article about the internal power struggles between team owner Gene Haas and his technical director Gunther Steiner – titled “Team Haas is falling apart with the American dream”.

One of the revelations mentioned at the time was that the Haas Formula One facility will be based in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The failed USF1 team would have been based in Charlotte, NC. A distance of a mere 30 miles.

Reports from Forbes reveal that Gene Haas turned down the opportunity to invest in the ill-fated USF1 team that was being planned for a debut in 2010. The team was set up by journalist Peter Windsor and a newcomer called Ken Anderson who would have been team principal. They had interest from YouTube founder, Chad Hurley and had links with Haas as Anderson was formerly the technical director of Haas’ NASCAR team.

Forbes – ” However, until now it had not come to light that Haas had been asked to invest in US F1.” Well, until a month ago when someone joined up the dots..

Haas had seen little of the project because of Anderson but at the time was not really interested. This changed when his executive vice president, Joe Custer, of his NASCAR team and Gunther Steiner approached him about new Formula One regulations that were to be introduced from 2014.

“Maybe a year after talking to Ken Anderson, Gunther kind of approached Joe Custer and myself and he said ‘hey would you guys be interested in doing a customer type deal?’ He was saying we could do this for a very reasonable price and that discussion went on for a while back and forth.

I started watching the races more out of curiosity about it. I was kind of amazed that there weren’t more people trying to do it. There are so many super rich people in America I kind of thought ‘why haven’t any other Americans done this?’

There’s a lot of interest but nobody seems to want to sit round the table and do it. We are not going to be swayed by any smooth talking about dreams. This is a tough business and we know what we have got to do. It is hiring the right people to execute and there is a lot of learning. There is a tremendous amount that we need to learn from this whole sport because we are pretty novice at it.”

Ecclestone was initially sceptical about the Haas application being processed by the FIA and given the failure of the previous US F1 entrant, he suggested to Jean Todt, “see how honest they are. Tell Haas to put a deposit down’ reports Forbes. And some $30m later, Haas had his entry approved.

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Hamilton’s comments on Rosberg ‘a joke’ (GMM)

Lewis Hamilton - SilverstoneBoss Toto Wolff has played down a spat between Mercedes’ race drivers over championship leader Nico Rosberg’s nationality.

Recently at Silverstone, Briton Lewis Hamilton thrilled his fans with a popular home victory, closing the championship gap to just 4 points due to teammate Rosberg’s gearbox breakdown. Contemplating the next race at Hockenheim, Hamilton said the German grand prix is “not really his home race“, as Rosberg’s father is Finnish and he has spent most of his life living in Monaco.

Rosberg, who has since been posting Germany-themed photos on Twitter and Facebook to mark the world cup and will wear a special helmet this weekend, hit back that he considers himself “100 per cent German”.

Mercedes boss Wolff, however, said the saga triggered by Hamilton’s comments has been overblown.” It was meant as a joke,” he said during an interview with the German news agency DPA.

It (Hamilton’s comments) was not reproduced in the way that he intended it. But they are fighting each other for the world championship, so there are bound to be situations that are less spectacular in reality than they are presented to the public,” Wolff added.

Asked if he was surprised by the reaction to Hamilton’s comments, the German answered: “Formula one has an incredibly high media presence, and so if something sounds controversial then this effect is only multiplied. Then there can be a momentum that is impossible to stop.

For us, the important that was to discuss this internally in a very timely and transparent way. In this case it was resolved quickly,” said Wolff.

Until Silverstone, German Rosberg appeared to have regained the upper hand in the title scrap, apparently with a clear emotional and psychological edge over Hamilton.

But Hamilton’s British grand prix win has now closed the gap to within four points. “It’s almost a fresh start heading into the second half of the season and it’s going to be a really close battle between us,” the British driver said on Tuesday.

Wolff also denied that Rosberg still has the psychological edge.

“Both of them are incredibly strong mentally,” he insisted. “Every time we talk about one of them having momentum on his side, it flips around to the other one again,” Wolff explained. “So it’s difficult to see any pattern.

TJ13 comment: Interesting the matter was discussed ‘internally’ at all. What Lewis’ may have intended as a throwaway jovial story, may have had just too much detail for it to be easily explained away as such.

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Van der Garde to race for Sauber … or not (GMM)

Giedo van der Garde has played down rumours linking him with a race seat at Sauber. The 29-year-old Dutchman is currently the Swiss team’s reserve driver, having lost his Caterham race seat at the end of last year.

Giedo van der GardeHe will drive the C33 at Hockenheim on Friday morning. But there have been paddock rumours in recent weeks about struggling Sauber’s existing 2014 race lineup, comprising Adrian Sutil alongside Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.

Reports have said van der Garde’s sponsors, including the fashion label McGregor, are offering “many millions” to Sauber if he is promoted to the race seat. De Telegraaf newspaper quotes van der Garde as saying: “I’m just focusing entirely on the first free practice on Friday.

Van der Garde, who is married to billionaire backer Marcel Boekhoorn’s daughter Denise, added that he is also ready should “the team have other things for me to do”.

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Mercedes announces Rosberg contract extension

Rosberg close up 2

Having led the drivers’ world championship for all but one weekend this year, Mercedes have now formally announced Nico Rosberg and Mercedes have signed new “multi-year contract extension.”

So two contracts in less than a week for Nico, as he signed up for marriage with long time girlfriend Vivian Sibold just days ago.

As TJ13 reported the Thursday before the 2014 Monaco GP, this deal was done back then, though leaked and not formally confirmed by either party. This contract is for several years and worth in the region of $75m.

Going into his home GP, Rosberg leads team mate Hamilton by just 4 points, though Hockenheim is a favourite circuit of the German who has won here in every category in which he has raced.

 “I am very proud to drive for the Formula One Silver Arrow of the modern era,” Rosberg says. “As a German, the heritage of Mercedes-Benz is very special for me, and I am proud to be able to represent the best car brand around the world.

It has been a difficult road to get to where we are now but everybody kept believing and, thanks to the fantastic support from Mercedes-Benz, we are now leading the way in F1.”

Hamilton has a contract which runs to the end of 2015, and there will be speculation that Mercedes may not be looking to retain his services beyond then.

This reasoning is less to do with Nico’s contract extension, and more pertinent to the kind of deals top drivers Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have been afforded. Both Seb and Fred signed contract extensions with their current teams with more than 2 years left on the original deal, which raises questions as to why Hamilton has not been afforded the same opportunity from Mercedes..

Rosberg has answered his doubters having finally been given a car capable of winning races consistently. He began his F1 career in 2006 with Williams and remained with them 4 years until the call came from Ross Brawn and the newly formed Mercedes team.

Many thought Rosberg would be soundly beaten by 7 times world champion team mate, Michael Schumacher, though over the 3 years the raced for the Silver Arrows, Rosberg got the better of Michael.

In the meantime Sebastian Vettel joined F1 18 months later than Nico, and was quickly in a car capable of winning the championship by 2009. Vettel of course had an ageing Mark Webber as his directly comparable rival during his 4 world titles, whereas now, Nico has lightening quick former world champion to beat in a straight race for the drivers’ championship.

Toto Wolff recognises Rosberg’s longevity of commitment to the Mercedes AMG F1 programme. “Nico has been part of the Silver Arrows project since day one and he has had a big stake in the development of the team since 2010. His speed, commitment and focus have all helped to give clear direction and to drive the team forward. With his performances in 2014, Nico has demonstrated to the outside world what we knew already in the team; that he is one of the very top drivers in Formula One.

This new contract brings us important stability and continuity for the future and I am delighted to be able to make the announcement in time for the home race of Mercedes-Benz and Nico in Hockenheim.”

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Rossi parts with Caterham

Alexander Rossi has announced he is parting with both Caterham F1 and GP2 teams. Rossi raced for Caterham in Renault 3.5 and GP2 since 2011 and stepped up us test driver to the F1 team in 2013.

Rossi has had a fairly disastrous year this far with Caterham GP2, scoring just 10 points and lying 16th in the drivers’ championship. He is however appreciative of the opportunity, “I’m very thankful to everyone at Caterham throughout the time I have worked with the team. We had meetings over the past couple months with the previous and new management.

The decision we took to leave Caterham is the right decision for my career.

I take with me only the positives from my time there, where I logged considerable F1 mileage, driving each of their F1 cars since Lotus Racing entered the F1 World Championship in 2010. I have proven my abilities in F1 equipment, in both testing and free practice sessions, and I’m ready for the next step.”

With one eye on his next move – which he believes should be into F1, Rossi obviously sees the Haas venture as a good opportunity for him as an American driver.

“We have a great opportunity to grow the sport in the States and I believe the timing is perfect. I’m also very pleased to see an American F1 entry, Haas Formula with plans to join the F1 grid in 2016.”

Kamui Kobayashi’s position is said to also be in jeopardy as the team are looking for drivers with truck loads of cash – and probably little driving aptitude.

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More Frick-less teams announce

Yesterday, McLaren announced they would not be running a FRIC suspension system this weekend in Germany. The unnamed spokesperson stated, “McLaren will comply with the FIA’s rulings on the matter.”

There is some confusion over what exactly the FIA’s position is on FRIC. McLaren state above, there is a ruling yet the BBC F1 writer Andrew Benson states, “To be clear, FRIC suspension has not been banned, FIA’s Charlie Whiting has said its ‘legality could be called into question.’ Teams could still choose to run it – but they would be running the risk of a rival protesting. Stewards may not back Whiting’s view.”

This is rather naïve of Benson because,  this is what Whiting actually said in a technical directive issued to all the teams two days after the British GP.

 “Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front-to-rear linked suspension system, as well as reviewing future developments some teams have shared with us, we are firmly of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question, particularly with respect to compliance with Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations.

“As these systems, in one form or another, have been in use for some time we are inclined to permit their continued use for the remainder of the current season, however, we feel we would need the agreement of all participating teams to take this approach. We would therefore be very grateful if you could indicate whether you may be in a position to agree with such an approach.

“Failing this, we would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system which appears to allow the response of the suspension at either or both of the rear corners to drive the response of the suspension at either or both of the front corners (or vice versa).”

Having issued this technical directive, Whiting does not require a team to protest and he makes this clear. If the teams fail to arrive at a unanimous agreement to continue for the remainder of the year with FRICS, “we would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system.”

This is evident from the process Red Bull were involved in following the Australian GP.  The FIA had issued a technical directive over fuel flow, the FIA believed Red Bull to be in breach of the directive and the FIA reported the matter to the stewards.

Today Red Bull and Toro Rosso announce they will not be running FRIC suspension systems in Germany.

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Pole is crucial in Hockenheim

Since the circuit was redesigned in 2002, there have been 8 races at the Hockenheim circuit. 5 have been won from pole and in 2006 and 2010 the race was won from second. Just one win has been achieved here from off the front row, Fernando Alonso in 2005.

Based on historical performance at this track, Hamilton needs to put his recent qualifying woes behind him to maximise his chance of winning this year’s race and overtaking his German rival for the WDC.

The pole sitter – assuming it is a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying – will further gain the advantage of the team strategist offering that driver the optimal pit stop strategy for the race.

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71 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 16th July 2014

      • So is there one in the offering for the guy in garage next door or could he be heading to another team at the end of next season?

        • I think it heavily depends on how his relationship with the team develops till the end of the year. People can call me delusional and paranoid but I still believe that Merc would prefer Rosberg to win the title and then off-load Lewis easier at the end of next year. This would then make it ideal for them to bring in Vettel who’s not a happy bunny at RBR and his contract also expires at end of 2015. They would then be able to create an all-German team and succeed where they failed with Scuey and Nico previously.
          The only road for Lewis then would be to go back to Macca or Ferrari if Alonso decides he’s had enough. Problem is Alonso’s contract ends in 2016. So what would Lewis do for a year (2016)? Unless Alonso breaks the contract and leaves earlier.

          • Like someone once said, “maybe go to NASCAR”…

            That’s why it’s imperative that he wins the title this year. He has been fight in an uphill battle from FP1 in Australia and won’t get any easier.

            What interest me the most at present, is to see how Nico deals with his first bout of adversity. He has seen his 25pt lead erased once before and now to see it happen again, can not be good for his “cerebral intelligence”.

            If Lewis is able to win the next 2 races before the summer break and builds a double digit lead, the only way I can see nico clawing that back, is if Lewis has another DNF.

          • “What interest me the most at present, is to see how Nico deals with his first bout of adversity.”

            Lol, if your interested in his first ’bout of adversity’, you can google Monaco 2014, it’s pretty enlightening. Or goggle his three years with Schumacher who it turns out wasn’t that slow given he was regularly out qualifying Nico in 2012 and Nico is out qualifying Hamilton 5-4 now.

            “He has seen his 25pt lead erased once before and now to see it happen again, can not be good for his “cerebral intelligence”.”

            Why? If anything it proves Rosberg can do it again as he’s already don’t it once. He built the lead before no problem while Hamilton kept cracking. Hamilton is only this close because of a Rosberg DNF. Hardly something to worry about performance wise. LH needs to re-learn to qualify anyway, his own words after Britian.

            “If Lewis is able to win the next 2 races before the summer break and builds a double digit lead, the only way I can see nico clawing that back, is if Lewis has another DNF.”

            And if my Aunty had balls, she’d be my uncle. And if, if, if…

          • …aahhh, but she might not be your uncle…. she would be a completely different genetic animal and so could in fact be anyone 😉 ……even Lewis?

          • Maybe your aunt is your uncle…

            Firstly, when I said adversity, I’m making reference to this season, so I’m not really interested in what happened in previous years.

            Also “adversity” is in relation to his DNF, Monaco was is irrelevant, because he didn’t have a DNF.

            As for him rebuilding his points lead, it’s pointless having that conversation with you, because you’ll ignore the facts so as to suit your argument. Nico didn’t gain 43pts because he finished ahead of his teammate in the 9 races so far. So it’s funny you say Lewis is only this close because of Nico’s DNF but fail to acknowledge that Nico is only in the lead because of Lewis’s DNFs. So it’s hardly something to worry about performance wise as well.

            You mention qualifying, it’s 5-4 in Nico’s favour, but what’s the conversion rate into race wins?

            Like I said, this is a fruitless conversation, because you’ll cherry pick what best suits your argument than what paints the true picture.

            Nico is has been doing a fantastic job from Monaco onwards and that’s the only thing you see, but you have refused to look at the previous 5 races.

          • @Judge.

            That made me laugh in real life. Hehehe. It might well be Lewis indeed.

            @Fortis.

            I think I just reacted to the comment ‘Nico’s first bout of adversity’. At that level, none get to F1 and/or race for wins without being able to cope with adversity. It’s a bit of a dismissive comment IMO. Let’s just see how Germany plays out…

          • ISTR speculation that Lewis may well be likely to have more DNFs as he drives the car harder so will be running out of new parts earlier.

          • “Drives the car harder”….
            And that’s based on what?

            Isn’t that what all the drivers should be doing, driving the car hard?

            So far none of his 2 DNFs can be attributed to him “driving the car too hard”

          • There is an argument that the fact Lewis had to retire in Canada while Nico was able to nurse it to the finish was because Nico was kinder on the car and the brakes in particular.

          • That’s a really interesting situation in that they had their brake bias set differently. In fact, shortly before the MGU gave out, Rosberg radioed asking for Lewis’ brake setting, suggesting that it might have been optimal for that track. However, once the MGU went it became *very* non-optimal in the sense that the smaller rear brakes couldn’t handle the increased demand and gave up.

            However, in general the following were true at Silverstone, that Lewis used less fuel, was better on his tyres and generally ran a higher gear through corners than does Rosberg, suggesting it is Nico who is harder on the car, at least at that track.

            It would be great if someone who was there and actually saw them drive had any insight, as telly rarely tells the full story in the way that seeing the drivers actually handle the car in person does.

          • It still remains subjective whether he drives the car too hard or not, hence his DNFs, because it’s yet to be proven.

          • McLaren78, Kimi’s contract is over end of 2015. Lewis could team with Fred at Ferrari for 2016. If Lewis wins the WDC this year Merc would be silly not to offer an extension though.

          • …. absolutely, Mercedes will almost definitely give Lewis an extension if he wins the WDC this year…..

            So with Ferrari entering a 3-4 year restructuring programme similar to Brawn at Merc 2010-2013, it’s a big year for Hamilton as Merc look set to be in front for a year or two more yet…..

          • Let’s first see how the FRIC-less Merc steam-roller is puffing.. 🙂

          • Unlikely. Red Bull took theirs off:
            Do you think that Merc would expect F1’s serial whiners to NOT protest the most advanced FRIC on the grid?

        • If I were Lewis I wouldn’t be worrying over contracts, I’d just be concentrating on winning the title. It’s not like no F1 team won’t want his services if he leaves Mercedes. Though he’ll likely want to stay at Mercedes and see how the other teams develop. The best way to ensure he stays at Mercedes is to win the title.

          I think too much has been made of Rosberg destroying Lewis’s mental state. The pressure cooker will reach it’s peak in the second half of the season when Power Units start giving up the ghost and other components fail giving the other driver big points hauls. Whoever manages to navigate the grid drops and other penalties will likely win the title. Yes Rosberg has rattled Lewis, but I don’t think it’s fatal to Lewis’s title chances just yet. If Lewis wins the German and Hungarian Grand Prix, I guess it puts Rosberg back to square one. and vice versa.

          Of course the spanner in the works for both drivers is a Fricless Mercedes and how it behaves without it. If it eats it’s tyres up as in previous seasons, having the best power unit may be a moot point.

          • That would be interesting, unlikely though, if Mercedes were having to do an extra pit stop to everyone else, it could make the end of races really exciting. The Mercedes’ having to push like hell to gain enough time in front of all the others to build up enough time for an extra pit stop and still come out in front.
            Without FRICS as well, with a slightly diminished advantage over the rest, the rest of the season might open up a bit!
            (I haven’t had a liquid lunch by the way! Just ever the eternal optimist haha)

  1. Judge….

    I was reading recently, I honestly can’t remember the publication. Anyways, there was an article about how Ron regained control of the team. Apparently it occurred whilst Mansour Ojjeh was recovering from his recent double lung transplant and he’s not too happy about it.

    Have you written anything in the past about the relationship between them, that you could point me to. Just want some background info on their relationship.

  2. The self-congratually stuff about Haas is pretty groundless. Did you even bother to read the text you’re refering to?

    • Everything reported about Haas shares this same tone of reporting. He makes a normal statement in the midst of an interview and in the headlines the media always adds whatever verb makes it sound as negative as possible. “Admitting” to getting a phone call or email from USF1 who were looking for sponsorship dollars at the time, is that a crime now?

      Here, write this headline about me: TJ13 commenter “j” confesses to drinking a glass of water 10 minutes ago.

  3. “Asked if he was surprised by the reaction to Hamilton’s comments, the German answered:”

    Now, Now GMM, Toto is not German, he’s Austrian, and thats not the Hamilton-esque ‘he’s not German’ its the ‘he was born in Vienna’ type! 😀

  4. Gilles Villeneuve – F1 Statistics:

    Seasonal Stats:
    Full Seasons: 4 (Died early into his 5th)
    Championships: 0 (2nd in 1979)
    -His team mate, Jody Schekter, won the title in 1979 for Ferrari. His first and only chance at a title and lost it to his team mate.

    Races Starts: 67
    Wins : 6 – 8.95%
    Podiums: 13 – 19.40%
    Pole positions: 2 – 2.98%
    Fastest laps: 8 – 11.94%

    -His fabled speed resulted in two pole positions in 67 attempts. He raced for Ferrari almost exclusively which yielded 6 wins for him, yet over the same time his team mates accrued 8 wins (Reutemann, Schekter, Pironi).

    Ultimately the facts show he was not the top driver in his team at most stages and all critical title stages. It shows he won fewer races than his combined team mates. Qualifying analysis shows this too.

    The love of Villeneuve is about romance, but sliding a car does not make one a legend. Any modern drivers with these stats and the context of not dominating team mates would be considered average at best.

    • Never saw him racing so I can’t really comment. But I don’t think that all these people that saw him racing are fools for praising him and your beautiful stats tell the truth. As Benjamin Disraeli famously said, there are 3 types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. Judging from the drivers I’ve personally seen in the last 20-25 years, I would never trust stats 100%, they only tell a small part of the truth.

      • Then why the hell are we keeping a pts score on any title?

        At the end of a year, the driver with the most points is simply a stat, is it not? There will be guys, if Nico wins, that say “oh Lewis is still better”. The point is, according to the scoring system, he’s not. That stats is all that matters. And Alonso and the others know that.

        Taking that point further, the stats that you disregard are aimply a culmination of his (Gilles) time in the sport. They do matter and matter greatly. Especially the contextual ones, like his performance against his team mates. Which is under them in terms of races achievements (wins, pods, pts), qualifying, and championships.

        Yep, he can slide a car and had nice hair. But the record shows and the ‘stats’ that he can’t beat his team mates when it counts and he couldn’t dominate them. At best, on occasion, he was unbeatable with huge car control. He is perhaps like Montoya in that regard.

        The fact he COULD have achieved more had he not died is irrelevant to what he actually ACHEIVED.

        Gilles is not a top 10 all time driver in F1. To suggest otherwise is hugely disrespectful to the Senna’s, Fangio’s, Schumacher’s, Clark’s and Prost’s of the world.

        Don’t be so disingenuous to disregard stats as simply the numbers of a situation. They are the quantification of achievement. The key is the right stats.

        • I think that even with everything in his favour, that 10-15th is the best that Gilles could muster. He would need dominance in 82-83, and a strong performance in 85, to have any argument for rising above that.

          Top 5 is usually locked in as a combo of: Fangio, Clark, Prost, Senna, Schumacher.

          Top 10 debate mostly includes: Ascari, Moss, Brabham, Stewart, Lauda.. with Vettel and Alonso now (both are over 30 wins).

          Giving a top 15 debate of Villeneuve, Piquet, Mansell, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Hamilton at the moment, IMO, with perhaps Graham Hill and Fittipaldi to make a round 20. The BBC top 20 list has Rindt instead of Raikkonen.

          Most noticeable to me is the gap between 16 wins (Moss) and 20 (Mika/Kimi).. it could be said that everyone with more than 20 wins (15 drivers) can be a ‘deserved’ multi-WDC winner, having amassed more than a full season of GP wins. We could easily have 30 ‘WDCs’, if we include Montoya and Massa, who were somewhat unlucky to miss out.

          PS. Damon Hill is the only one in that list that is usually missing from ‘top’ lists, as it is usually thought that his wins could have gone to Senna in the same car..

          • A relatively balanced view IMO.

            I think he in the 15-20 bracket personally (closer to 20), but at least you don’t have him wrestling with Senna, Schumacher and Prost for a stake at the top end of the greats list.

          • I think it’s hard for anyone to match that ‘top 5’.. the only one could possibly be Vettel on a pure statistics argument (WDC titles). In reality, Clark was a handful of laps away from 4 straight titles, while Vettel got the opposite luck in 2010/2012 to make it happen.

            For balance.. combining all the views would probably give the correct answer.. a very interesting quirk of statistics that is! Gather enough people, and the combined answers will pretty much give you the correct answer, even on something where none of them will have any expertise… the classic example being the weight of a cow!

    • I would say 7-7 at least.. laptime analysis of Imola 82 makes it seem less Bahrain 2014 and more ‘stab in the back’.. but it’s hard to just go off stats.. look at 1980 or 1981 when Ferrari had a ‘dog of a car’. Villeneuve’s win at Jarama was something unthinkable now that we have DRS.

      ’79 could be a bit like 2014.. Would anyone say that Lewis is slower than Nico? Nico is using every tool in his armoury to hold Lewis back, even the ability to manage a failing car.

      Scheckter I would say could be compared to Nico, i.e. a good top 5-10 driver over many years, with one title shot and he took it. Villeneuve could have won with less retirements, and eventually held the team order to stay behind at Monza and secure the title for Scheckter.

      • And Villeneuve would have had the golden chance of 1982/1983 in the Ferrari.. guaranteed title shots in both years, as Ferrari waltzed to the WCC. He would only have had to beat Pironi, or possibly Arnoux.

        Imagine if Hamilton’s career didn’t include Mercedes 2014 and onwards.. 2012 would have been his last shot, and he would be similar to Raikkonen in wins/stats/stature, with 1 title. But from now on, it’s more likely he can progress to being in the ‘top ten driver debate’, with Vettel and Alonso.

        • Well, let’s wait and see about throwing Vettel into the top 10 debate, as Alonso said “when one day he has a car like the others and he’s fourth, fifth, seventh? These four titles will be bad news for him because people will take his four titles in even a worse manner than what they are doing now.”

          • I agree.. but on the strength of 2008-2013, I’d say he probably makes the cut on statistics alone. He’s only 4 wins off Senna…

            Vettel also needs to start getting the upper hand on Ricciardo as the rear downforce starts to come back in.. to be kept in the frame as one of the ‘top 3’ drivers currently in F1, alongside Alonso and Hamilton.

        • “And Villeneuve would have had the golden chance of 1982/1983 in the Ferrari.. guaranteed title shots in both years, as Ferrari waltzed to the WCC. He would only have had to beat Pironi, or possibly Arnoux.”

          Yes he would have had another chance at WDC, but the only evidence we have suggests he wouldn’t have beat his team mate to it and wouldn’t have been consistent enough. Suggesting otherwise would mean he had a complete change in career trend and mind set. Possible yes, but unlikely. So why assume that, if one is going to speculate on potential future “had he lived” achievements. The fact is, he didn’t get those opportunities and had he got them, it’s unlikely he’d have done any different to his past trends.

          A great can not be classified as such based on what they might have done. It’s unfortunate, but that’s life. He had potential, but also chances to show potential transformed into results. He didn’t really do that ultimately.

          This is a court, is it not?

          • I would also argue that there is a disparity in the strengths of the team-mates Villeneuve has had.. Reutemann was a consistent driver who amassed over 10 wins and came very close to a WDC, like Webber in a way. Being so experienced, it’s no surprise Villeneuve was beaten by him, as he was at his peak. The same could be said for Scheckter, who retired soon after a miserable post-WDC 1980.

            Pironi however, had only just impressed by being 2nd driver at Ligier, who had a very good car, and he didn’t beat Laffite, who was a similar top 5-10 type driver with a few wins in a few years. Villeneuve had beaten him well over 1981, and was now number 1 Ferrari driver, so it’s conceivable he would have beaten him in 1982/1983.

            Arnoux perhaps would have been trickier, but he was number 2 to Prost at Renault (despite good qualifying speed), and Tambay kept him even as well. There’s no denying Gilles would have been in the title fight in both years, even if it’s a chance spread over many drivers in each year.

            He could conceivably have done a Hamilton of being ‘consistently close’.. and if Lewis missed out on 2008, he would have 0 titles as well now, despite having over 25 wins.. :O. Considering Moss basically protested himself out of a title in ’58, that would be double the next non-WDC driver in the win list, Coulthard on 13… simply being ‘a better version of Coulthard’ would not sit well with Hamilton!!!

          • Interestingly, this also suggests that Reutemann could have won in ’79 at Ferrari, as he has more career wins than both drivers. Reutemann in the 78 Lotus, 79 Ferrari.. he was always wrong place, wrong time! Until the dodgy race at Caesars Palace..

      • “Villeneuve could have won with less retirements, and eventually held the team order to stay behind at Monza and secure the title for Scheckter.”

        Yeah he could have won. So too could have Webber. But they didn’t.

    • I did actually see Gilles Villeneuve race live in four GP’s. Unless you saw what he could do on a racetrack you’d never appreciate how good he actually was. Most of the Ferrari’s he drove were evil handling brutes that were only competitive because their engine (especially in the V12 days) was significantly more powerful than everyone else’s. The statistics don’t lie but they also don’t tell the whole story either.

      • I appreciate that sentiment Cav. Thanks for your comment. I can appreciate car control as much as the next person. I saw JPM do some amazing things.

        But I appreciate actual achievement over one aspect of driving well, I.e. Innate car control when it’s loose. But Pls don’t forget, the cars at that time were driven like that.

        • “But Pls don’t forget, the cars at that time were driven like that.”

          No they weren’t. Villeneuve essentially started his career at the beginning of the ground effects era. And unless you’ve ever seen how a true ground effects car worked , and how differently each one was you can’t appreciate what I’m saying.

          • I have seen it. Much footage. Not live. The point though isn’t his pure car control talent, but his stake as an F1 great or not. How can one be a great that didn’t beat their team mates and secured the numbers I mention above.

            He’s in the same category with Webber, Montoya and some others. No more, no less. Great on their day category driver. I am sorry if the evidence bursts that bubble.

          • “How can one be a great that didn’t beat their team mates and secured the numbers I mention above.”

            Unlike a lot of drivers he put the team first and on several occasions followed team orders when he could have won.

          • Makes me think of Malaysia 2013.. but times were different back then.. disobeying a team order (Imola 1982) led to death under acrimonious circumstances at the next event (Zolder). Even if Webber had put Vettel in the wall to show his ‘killer instinct’ and take the win, the worst we’d have had would have been another Turkey 2010.

            I wonder if it could also be said that the world is a much more individualist place now than 30+ years ago.

          • @F1esty

            “I wonder if it could also be said that the world is a much more individualist place now than 30+ years ago.”

            Good question. One that I am not qualified to really answer. But I suspect the answer is yes. My gut tells me there is less ‘honor’ now as opposed to then. It also tell me there is less expectation of ‘honor’ now and ultimately less accountability for ‘dishonorable behaviour’.

            Though I can’t be sure. I suppose go back further, would an F1 driver today talk the officials out of giving them the F1 title ala Moss? Or more likely would they actually politic it as much as possible to get it, even after the fact, in a slimy way. Ala Prost, and from what I understand Alonso and the yellow flag BS in 2012.

          • I was wondering recently about how much more professional the sport got since BE was in control. The TV coverage suggests 1981 is when this happened. With the ban on GE, 1983 was the first time an F1 driver didn’t die in the year. Could this be comparable to the ‘Open Era’ in Tennis? And the perceived change to professionals?

            I have heard it said that Elio de Angelis was the last ‘gentleman driver’.. so perhaps with his sad death in 1986, that was when that element disappeared from F1.. swiftly followed by the drama of 1988-90, politicking to win the title, followed by revenge take-outs at T1….

            So perhaps once your life is not on the line, it becomes much easier to be ‘less honourable’. Although 1994 throws a hitch in that argument, as we know Senna died with the Austrian flag in his car, ready for unfurling on the slow-down lap.

            It could also be said that despite the dominance displayed this year, Mercedes have a strict policy of ‘the team is more valuable’, despite the drivers being allowed to race each other. But a Turkey 2010 will not be allowed under any circumstance.. or if so, more McLaren than Red Bull.

          • “though 1994 throws a hitch in that argument, as we know Senna died with the Austrian flag in his car, ready for unfurling on the slow-down lap.”

            That’s sentimentality. There is a difference between that and honor. Senna would still have seven someone into a wall if it meant a win or a title.

            Senna was sentimental, no doubt. Honorable? Debatable. Especially when the chips were down.

          • True.. there’s no doubting that the recent entries to the ‘top 5 drivers’ all have that killer instinct.. Vettel would also qualify with that..

            For Fangio, he always moved to get the best car, although Moss thinks that he lifted to let him win the ’55 British GP (as shown recently in the round-up).

            Clark seems to me almost like the one who was driving for fun, even winning the BTCC title in his ‘title streak’ period.. and despite controversy over big wins possibly lost (e.g. lap charts and Indy 66), he wouldn’t have begrudged Hill of the win, as they were all buddies away from the racing track.

          • @fiesty if you’ve not read “Bowling Alone” it contains the answer to your question, which is emphatically yes.Tthough it focuses on the US primarily (it’s the work of a Harvard sociologist) completely worth the read if you’re interested in those sorts of things.

    • I’d also add that in several of the years that Villeneuve drove there were 5, 6 or 7 drivers that won races. How often does that happen now?

      • 2010 – SV, FA, MW, LH, JB won races. (5) Massa also could have won Germany 2010, but that’s another story.
        2011 – SV, FA, MW, LH, JB won races. (5)
        2012 – SV, MW, FA, LH, JB, PM, KR won races. (7)
        2013 – SV, FA, LH, NR, KR won races. (5) Mark pathetically failed in the RBR, so could be 6.

        A glance at last 5 years shows each year had a min of 5 winners each, with at least 6 potential winners in 2010/2013 and seven in 2012.

        Damn those stats, they only speak the truth and undermine false arguments.

        • And how races were there compared to the late 1970’s – early 1980’s? 5 / 6 more a year?

          • To keep it simple, during the period I mention there was 19 races a season except for 1 which was 20. The period of GV was on avg 15 championship races a season.

            About 4 extra races. Not a huge amount extra to underpin your intended point.

            But my point is not limited to present. Go back to 1999 for example: 16 races, MH, EI, HHF, MS, DC, JH (6) won races, and Salo could have won also had he not handed a win to Eddie. Seven potential winners.

            Sorry, facts don’t lie.

  5. The pole sitter – assuming it is a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying – will further gain the advantage of the team strategist offering that driver the optimal pit stop strategy for the race.

    That assumes Mercedes know the optimum strategy.
    They fairly clearly didn’t at Silverstone, and would have been somewhat embarrassed had not Rosberg’s car given out.

  6. Three years and 75 millions dollars. Rosberg is finally getting the money he deserves.

    • Three years? Thought four. I hadn’t heard that and it is very surprising. Isn’t Hamilton on 20 million per year? Nico is Merc’s highest paid driver?

    • I think you’ll find it’s a five year deal. $15m/year (not including championship bonuses and personal sponsors). Similar to what Hamilton had at McLaren between 2008 and 2012.

      The contract would be riddled with exit clauses though, so Rosberg will be on his toes the whole time.

      • Makes sense to me.. over that time the top F1 drivers will be Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel, once Alonso and his generation retire.

        But there will be pressure upwards from those desperate for a big team drive, like Hulkenberg, who is on barely $1m per year, and could achieve similar results to those in the top cars with the same equipment… of this ‘next lot’, it is Ricciardo who is in the pound seat.

  7. There’s really nothing surprising about Mercedes preferring Rosberg to win the title rather than Hamilton, though if Hamilton does win it then they still are pretty happy as Hamilton probably will bring a lot of money through marketing and stuff. In Silverstone, while his decision to not go for the last lap proved to be catastrophic, he had set the faster first lap in Q3, so at least there is a hint that he is trying to get that faster first lap, now he needs to nail it properly in Hockenheim and repeat that over the next races.

    What is for sure is that Hamilton needs to keep stringing wins together over Rosberg. I am pretty sure Hamilton will have more DNFs along the way and maybe Rosberg will have another one, two at most, but he has to get his act together in qualifying. At least he has realized that he’s been f****** up too many times and he has to stop that so let’s see how he goes in Hockenheim.

    Personally, I don’t think the absence of FRIC will bother either driver all that much, even if car reverts back to chewing its tyres like candy.

    • My understanding of FRIC, and Lewis’s and Nico’s respective driving style, and other peices of evidence, suggests to me that the absence of FRIC would adversely affect Nico more than Lewis. I think Lewis will be able to deal with a more unstable car than Nico. I think a FRICless car, using traditional suspension and it’s normal dynamics will suit Lewis more.

  8. It’s clear that the writing is on the wall for Sutil and Kobayashi.. they had better follow Rossi to Haas and try and snag the lead driver role there IMO. I can see well backed Van der Garde and Sainz Jr in F1 soon, perhaps before the end of the year.

    While the back continues to churn depending on money, the big moves look interesting for 2016… imagine the top 3 of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso up for swapsies..

  9. Here we go again, more “Mercedes want to dump LH” shite.
    Lewis Hamilton is the most valuable driver in F1. Any team that wants to sell in the US needs him onboard, he’s big news. No other current driver can touch him. Not one has the charisma to equal him.
    That this site continually knocks him down in the face of what he brings to a team is becoming more than annoying.
    I wonder why so many of the press want to see him fall on his arse. We’ve got that failure of a mechanic and journalist Marc Priestley making snide comments at every opportunity. What’s that about? If there are unpalitable truths about LH – then let’s hear them or STFU.

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