Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 23rd July 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Forensic: FRIC-less Mercedes still class of field

#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Hockenheim 2014 – #GermanGP


Perez under fire?

Lauda eats humble pie

Kimi safe at Ferrari?

Resolving issues

Minardi ponders on Hamilton’s future

Alonso could be free to leave Ferrari – sources (GMM)

A blast from the Mexico past

FIA Press Conference Schedl: Hungarian GP

Two F1 races in Germany

Big bucks on offer for Vettel (GMM)


Perez under fire?

One of the more interesting and out of the ordinary radio transmissions during the German GP was between the Force India pit wall and Sergio Perez.

Gianpiero Lambiase:Checo, we need you need to lift and coast.
Checo:What about the rain at the end of the race?
Gianpiero Lambiase:We’re not expecting any…That’s the last time I’m going to ask you!

Whilst it’s normative for race engineers to express some frustration with their drivers, this last chance saloon rhetoric is unusual.

Recently when on the SKY F1 show in the UK, Otmar Szafnauer picked his words very carefully when discussing the coming together between Perez and Massa in Canada. “Had Sergio not been involved with Massa….” appeared a most balanced appraisal from the Force India’s Operations Manager.

Had this been Horner or Lauda, the tone of the rhetoric may have been different. “Had Massa not taken out Perez…”, for example. Maybe Otmar is just a nice, laid back American guy.

TJ13 reported earlier in the year that a contributory factor in the ‘exiting’ of Perez from McLaren was because of his attitude, which at times bordered on arrogance. This was corroborated when former Mclaren team manager, Jo Ramirez, spoke out on the matter.

Sergio was just not good enough as a person. He didn’t really cooperate with the team, he was too cocky. His attitude was very bad,” he claimed.“He was unpopular with the engineers, with everyone. I often criticise him in the media, but I do not criticise him as a driver. He’s a good driver”.

Ramirez continued, “It’s such a shame, I was at the Jerez test this year and spent time with McLaren and Sauber, and no one was able to say something good about Sergio. They all say that he needs to change his attitude if he wants to stay in formula one.

We ran an exclusive story here in 2013 which outlined the decline in Paul di Resta’s popularity within the Silverstone team, following a ruckus between his personal trainer (ex special forces) and one of the race crew. Di Resta backed his personal trainer who Paul directly employed.

Maybe we saw the first signs of another driver failing in the popularity stakes with the Silverstone based team last weekend. Clearly Perez had been instructed to act in a certain manner on a number of previous occasions and failed to comply.

That said, if TJ13 sources are to be believed, Sergio may be racing for Force India (or whatever they become) for quite some time when the new investors are able to buy out Rubrata Roy’s stake.

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Lauda eats humble pie

Having become rather jingoistic and partisan by slagging off the McLaren and Ferrari 2014 cars – as sh^t – Niki Lauda appears to have been struck with a sudden bout of remorse.

I apologize to Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the president and the Italian fans”, he says. “I called Montezemolo and apologized for the error, which should not have happened.

Lauda’s revisionist view of affairs is now that, “We really have a great car, but Ferrari is slowly [ getting ] stronger.

Well most things in life are relative. Stronger, faster, better….

It should be noted, so far there is no apology from Lauda to ex-employer ‘Big Ron’ for describing his team’s efforts as “sh^t” too.

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Kimi safe at Ferrari?

Meanwhile in red-land, new team boss Marco Mattiacci is learning quickly how to defend the indefensible. When asked whether Kimi has a future next year with Ferrari following his 10-0 drubbing by Alonso in the races so far this year, Matiacci responded. “You are talking about soccer, ten to zero.

This is not Formula One………. I disagree totally with your analysis. 10-0 could be tennis, soccer, but not Formula One. I’ve never seen this scoreline [in F1]. Kimi is the driver that we need. We need to make more points, but he is the driver that we need.

Kimi might believe this is fine and loyal support from his boss. Yet Mattiacci squarely places the responsibility for Raikkonen’s plight on the Finn’s own shoulders.

I think he knows what he can do better. It’s not up to me; he’s a professional driver who won a world championship with Ferrari. He’s motivated and he knows his area of improvement.

He can see Fernando ahead and that visibly it’s a tough moment but we are all together in this. He has the upmost confidence and support from Ferrari.

Oh dear…. Marco has given his driver the dreaded vote of confidence… which roughly translated means in any sport…. “you’re safe for now……but as soon as we have a replacement lined up, you’re out the door”.

Besides the departure of Domenicali and the sacking of Marmorini, Ferrari-land has provided lean pickings for the F1 satirists, who are usually in full anthemic ‘Forza Ferrari’ flow at this point in the season. Maybe it is the utter lack of any hope since day 1 in Jerez – a hope which is then so cruelly dashed annually mid-season – that has forced a measure of pragmatism upon the Italian racing team.

However, if Niki Lauda et al keep rubbing the nose of the Prancing Horse into its own manure, we might just see some fireworks after the hard earned summer break.

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Resolving issues

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Minardi ponders on Hamilton’s future

Niki Lauda is a forthright, often brusque, speaker of his mind and at times can be grating with the way he expresses himself. This may be an Austrian trait because his compatriot – Helmut Marko – has a similar ability to ingratiate himself with fans of Formula One. But whereas Marko speaks only in support of his paymaster, Lauda as a triple World Champion speaks as he finds about the Formula One circus in general.

Similarly, Giancarlo Minardi has acquired a reputation for speaking his mind but maybe as a former team owner his words are a little more measured. His previous views in regards the state of punishments for the drivers appear to have been heeded and he rejoiced after the recent German Grand Prix with the stewards becoming more lenient in their handing out of punishments for what many consider mere racing accidents.

“Hockenheim was a race full of over-taking and duels and it seems the stewards have finally realised that for the sake of the show they have to give more freedom to the actors – in respect that we have to allow for racing contacts which are a trademark of the show.”

“The embarrassing domination of Mercedes allowed a cake-walk for Rosberg but Hamilton entertained with breath-taking over-taking on his way to claiming a podium and there was an exciting duel between Alonso and Ricciardo. It was a Grand Prix that took revenge on all the negative talk earlier in the season.”

Minardi was the first to voice concern over what he believed was Red Bull’s traction control last year in Singapore and has offered revelations in regards to possible returns for BMW and Cosworth. The latter gaining ground with news that many employees at Brixworth have been approached by the neighbouring engine design facility.

Following the conclusion of the German race he offered, once again, a possible new direction for the Mercedes squad which with regular speculation about Mclaren speaking to an unhappy Hamilton may shape the future of the two parties.

As TJ13 suggested during the weekend of the Monaco GP, Minardi now corroborates the view,”It’s significant that there has been no extension offered to Hamilton and in those circumstances Hamilton may well be looking for a new berth in 2015. Besides, with Bottas threatening the fourth place of Alonso, the Finnish is highly sought after and his manager is a certain Toto Wolff”

Which brings us back to Lauda. Much was made earlier this year about Lauda flying Hamilton back on his private jet after the Chinese Grand Prix leaving Rosberg to take a regular flight. The Austrian has also been a vocal supporter of Lewis and has stepped in often to state that Hamilton would recover from his various misfortunes.

Wolff has kept a public calm with matters regarding various team fall-outs, but he has not held back when suggesting he had better things to do than attending stewards meetings because his drivers are playing games with each other.

Whether the German manufacturer would prefer a German World Champion or not, it would appear that it is not only the drivers at war within the Brackley camp. Lauda was responsible for the signing of Hamilton back in 2012 and he took responsibility for decisions and investments after Mercedes confirmed him as non-executive chairman.

Wolff came into Mercedes in January 2013, to take over former Mercedes boss Norbert Haug’s role. He retained his 16% share of the Williams team, but of more significance he also owns 30% of the Mercedes F1 team and it was he who enticed Paddy Lowe to join the Silver Arrows after originally having agreed terms with him for the Williams team.

Of perhaps more significance in the Machiavellian background shuffles is the fact that Wolff also co-owns a sports management company with Mika Hakkinen – they look after several drivers, one of which is Bottas – and Hakkinen’s manager when he was competing was a certain Keke Rosberg…

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Alonso could be free to leave Ferrari – sources (GMM)

Fernando Alonso could be contractually free to walk away from Ferrari. Technically, the Spaniard remains under contract to the struggling Maranello team until the end of 2016. “I’m sure he is very frustrated,” Niki Lauda told the Spanish newspaper El Pais earlier this week. “But he can’t just go to McLaren because he has a contract that he can’t get out of unless he’s sacked. Sometimes you choose a car and you’re wrong.”

Mercedes team chairman Lauda, however, may be incorrect. There are at least two recent examples of drivers with solid Ferrari contracts who did not wear red the next year. Ferrari said in 2004 that Rubens Barrichello would drive for the team in the “2005 and 2006 seasons”, but the Brazilian actually raced a Honda in 2006. And Kimi Raikkonen famously took a sabbatical in 2010, after Ferrari bought out his contract to make way for Fernando Alonso and Santander.

Now, Italian media sources say Alonso might not necessarily drive a red car in 2015, even though Ferrari reportedly wants to extend the deal even further. The sources, including Autosprint, say Alonso could be free to go at the end of this season due to a contractual performance clause, requiring Ferrari to finish at least third in the constructors’ championship. In Hockenheim, Ferrari fell behind Williams for that position. Autosprint cited German sources in saying Alonso, 32, has already made contact with Mercedes.

Meanwhile, in the wake of speculation Ferrari might oust the struggling Raikkonen ahead of 2015, boss Marco Mattiacci insisted the Finn is a “driver that Ferrari needs for next year”. That also ties in with the information of the respected Ferrari insider Leo Turrini. “Maranello has not the slightest intention of questioning Raikkonen’s contract,” he said in his Quotidiano blog. On the other hand, Turrini claims Alonso “has not yet responded to the proposal for the extension of his contract”. And not only that, “Ross Brawn will accept a role only as an external consultant”, he added.

TJ13 Comment: It should be noted that unlike the report implies, it was Ferrari’s decision to release the drivers. Barrichello remained at Ferrari in 2005 and made way for Felipe Massa to join the team and Raikkonen took a sabbatical because Ferrari had grown tired of his apparent indifference and, quite frankly, his poor performance in relation to Massa.

If Alonso has a performance clause within his contract, which was triggered by the results in Germany, then he becomes a free agent in regards to any future moves which could explain why LdM and Mattiacci were trying to extend his contract until 2019 when he went to Maranello immediately following the British Grand Prix.

But as TJ13 has speculated in recent weeks, Alonso not extending his contract will signal to Ferrari that they have to change their driver focus for the future and Ross Brawn had already been confirmed as a consultant only. In the wake of Bob Bell leaving Mercedes last winter, and the arrival of several engine experts in Maranello over the past months, it may be that Ross Brawn’s consulting expertise is already in play.

Brawn’s insistence on a consultant role only, is coherent with his views on team leadership at Mercedes. It was Brawn who delivered the recruitment of personnel, built the infrastructure and presented Stuttgart with the W05 wrapped in a pretty bow on a plate – as sole decision maker.

The poison which Mattiacci will attract as he scythes through Maranello, wielding his ruthless blade of intolerance with ineffectiveness, is not something conducive for a long term leader attempting to build a positive future.

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A blast from the Mexico past

Having won the previous round at Watkins Gen, Jochen Rindt entered the 1969 Mexican GP with high hopes in his Lotus Ford. Graham Hill had broken both his legs and the Lotus team decided not to replace him for the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

For the second race running, Bruce McLaren failed to make the start and at the off, Jackie Stewart took the lead, hunted down by the Brabham pair, Sir Jack an Jacky Ickx.

Rindt was in fourth, though any hope of repeating his win in the US was short lived as he retired on lap 21 with suspension issues.

But what a good looking car….

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FIA Press Conference Schedl: Hungarian GP

It appears Bernie’s belief that people will just go back to watching F1 on TV regardless, is reflected in the driver line up for this event.

Thursday, July 24, 1500 hours local time (1300 GMT)
Marcus Ericsson (Caterham), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham), Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Sergio Perez (Force India), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)

Friday, July 25, 1600 hours local time (1400 GMT)
Eric Boullier (McLaren), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Vijay Mallya (Force India), Marco Mattiacci (Ferrari), Claire Williams (Williams)

Please, please, please…  someone ask Mallya, how his crony Rubrata Roy is doing after 4 months in jail during the New Dehli summer – and whether his Sahara company has any money to contribute to the team!!!

Likelihood of that?

Zero

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Two F1 races in Germany

In his usual divide and conquer style, Bernie Ecclestone set the cat amongst the pigeons last month when he suggested he wanted to do a long term annual deal with the Nurburgring race promoters, suggesting Hockenheim would be out in the cold.

Hockenheim duly protested, stating they have a contract for another two races in 2016 and 2018 and would not be forced off the F1 calendar.

Ecclestone responded, muttering that Hockenheim needed to get real and cough up more cash for the FOM treasure chest if they were to remain in his privileged club.

Robertino Wild, the new Nurburgring ring chief employed by the circuits new owners, Capricorn, has today rather magnanimously responded to the effect that Hockenheim’s deal should be respected.

Wild tells Bild, “Bernie Ecclestone and I want to complete our deal over the next couple of months which establishes Formula One for the long-term at the Nurburgring.”

This is rather disingenuous as the new owners are prevented under clauses in the sale contract to enter into contractual deals until January 2015.

Regardless, Wild adds, “This will be done by accounting for existing obligations, with respect to the Hockenheimring.”

So, despite the fact that Hockenheim, which attracts significantly larger crowds historically than the Nurburgring, suffered its worst attendance in years, there may now be two races on alternating years in Germany – one most likely given the title, ‘The European GP”

If cost saving is the plan for F1, maybe Bernie could organise a “Super F1 weekend”, where the cars race in Spa on Friday, Hockenheim on Saturday and at the Nurburgring on Sunday. After all it’s a mere 322km and takes just over 3 ½ hours to complete the trip.

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Mmm. What happened to Bernie’s mantra of keeping Formula 1 exclusive. Oh well, all can be sacrificed on the altar of more cash for FOM.

For those involved in promoting races and scheduling the F1 calendar, it appears to be a pre-requisite to posses fewer brain cells than an amoeba.

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Big bucks on offer for Vettel (GMM)

‘The Sport’ said Mercedes sees the reigning world champion as a potential new teammate for fellow German Nico Rosberg beyond 2015, after Lewis Hamilton’s current contract expires.

And Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, who has Vettel under contract until the end of next year, said McLaren has made the four-time title winner an “outrageously” high offer.

“Of course they target him,” Marko added.

Fascinatingly, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff did not deny the German marque might be interested in Vettel.

“This world is too competitive to want to go into our plans in the public,” he said.

“We are talking about a handful of top drivers. All the best teams fight over them.

“We try to build a picture of how the market moves until we come to our decisions,” Wolff added.

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153 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 23rd July 2014

  1. “Maybe we saw the first signs of another driver failing in the popularity stakes with the Silverstone based team last weekend.”

    These were my first thoughts on this, too. First Sauber weren’t unhappy to see the back of Perez, then McLaren.. Will Force India follow soon?

    Last time an attitude-impaired F1 driver had a ruckus with their team (yes, Pastor, talking about you here!), they quit Williams with a splash and ended up in a sinking Lotus. And last I checked, Pastor apparently was happy to extend his stay with the Enstone wreck for one glorious additional year at the back of the field. Now that Marussia is starting to challenge Lotus on more than the odd occasion, I can’t see how Pastor can spin this into anything resembling positive. If my count is right, end of 2015 Pastor will have been 3 full years at the back of the F1 field.. Maybe attitude is a necessary complement to driving skills (and sponsors) in the F1 world?

  2. OK, Charlie Brown is definitely going senile:
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/115099
    “Whiting emphasised that the rules state that drivers have to rejoin in a safe manner, and what Raikkonen did was on the verge of not being acceptable.

    Speaking to AUTOSPORT about the situation, and whether the FIA would get stricter on the matter, Whiting said: “There is no policy change, the standard policy is written in the rules, any driver having left the track may rejoin but must do so safely and without gaining any advantage.

    “It was my view that Kimi did not rejoin very safely and should have taken more care.”

    Still nothing to say about the *ditch*, Charlie? The Raikkonen accident happened because there was a hole next to the track limits, NOT because of how Kimi did or did not rejoin the track. And last I checked the FIA spent 1h to fix the barriers that didn’t need fixed, but still failed to spot that gaping hole lying between the barrier and the track. Maybe in need of better glasses, Charlie?

  3. A couple of seasons back, when Lewis posted the telemetry from Spa I wrote on a blog on the Saturday night that I thought he’d already done a deal to leave McLaren, hence he didn’t give a damn about sharing the data. His body language and actions both said he didn’t want to be at McLaren. That turned out to be true, and was confirmed by media ~48 hours later.

    This season I thought I saw some very similar body language at Monaco, along with some very frustrated radio messages. Post getting out of the car we saw a very very unhappy man. I’ll mention here the eye problem Lewis had in Monaco too, because somewhat miraculously when he hopped out of the car there was no bloodshot eye, and there are reports he pointed at the wrong eye when explaining which one got something in. So what was that? The devil in me thinks that was Lewis knowing he couldn’t beat Nico at Monaco, getting upset and mulling over his future at Mercedes. Alternatively it could simply be that he had something in his eye !

    I think we saw similar body language in Germany, he can just about manage to be courteous to Nico, but nothing more, and Nico is starting to do the same in return. Consider how Webber and Vettel were on the podium together, they at least spoke a bit, these two are virtually blanking each other. Keep in mind that Nico didn’t do anything wrong in Germany, this was a fair race, Lewis had a car issue. Go and have a look at the pictures of the team celebrating P1 & P3. Compare with Nico at Silverstone when his gearbox broke. The images tell their own story about how each man feels.

    The semi persistent car issues that have blighted his season were the straw that broke the camels back in 2012, and I think this time he knows there is a World Title at stake, yet again there are car issues when Lewis has the fastest car.

    Normally I take Minardi’s comments with a pinch of salt, but the fact that Nico was well into his contract negotiation the weekend of the Monaco GP (as it was initially reported then he’d signed a two year deal, and Nico didn’t deny this), and Lewis has apparently only just opened up talks? Maybe there is more to this than just Minardi stirring things up, I think for Hamilton to excel he needs a team mate who isn’t that quick, he needs to be number one in the team. With the exception of 2007, when Alonso’s political games backfired, Lewis has tended to drive considerably better when he doesn’t have a team mate who is on form or who is as gifted as him. Like Schumacher, Lewis needs to be number one in a team, needs to feel loved by them all, needs to be the go to guy, I’m convinced some of the McLaren departure was due to the team getting on with Jenson so well. At Mercedes he’s not got the status that he craves, and I think he wasn’t expecting Nico to be so tough to beat.

    If I were a betting man I would have had some money on Lewis to leave Mercedes after the Monaco Q3 incident and his reaction. Where he goes? Well no one knows, RBR is out but everything else is up for grabs really. A return to McLaren perhaps? Now Ron is back in town and Honda engine is coming? Ferrari? Every F1 driver would like a stint with them on their C.V. I’m quite sure.

    • I think Lewis at Ferrari would be great, Alonso at McLaren – getting his ass kicked by another rookie, like vandoorne or Frijns – and Bottas to Mercedes
      Yeah!

      • Oh my word, not Lewis at Ferrari! Not Alonso back at Macca! This is the worst case scenario for a McLaren/Hamilton fan!

    • Interesting observations.

      Personally I think it would be highly unwise for the Mercedes board not to stitch up Hamilton. Despite himself, he’s one of the very quickest on the grid. Even if got to the stage of Rossi/Lorenzo 2009 with a dividing screen in the middle, it would be a strong team.

      It would be very interesting however to see him back at McLaren with Ron.

    • Nico is in the final year of his contract, so it would make sense to start negotiations with him first, rather than someone who still has another year and more to run on their current deal.

      But would he really want to give up a guaranteed championship winning car to go back to something that’s unknown at Mclaren? The switch from Mclaren to Merc was an easy decision to make. He knew that they wouldn’t be producing a championship winning car in 2013, so going to Mercedes wasn’t really that big a risk to take.

      Going back to Mclaren next season, would be a much bigger risk than when he joined Mercedes. If it’s in his thoughts to go back there, IMO, I think it would be best to wait and see how they perform next season first. The fact that he has already started renegotiations on a new deal, somewhat says that’s not an option at present.

      • Not sure if I made it clear in my original post, but Nico had a deal for two years apparently sorted by Monaco. Last week he had a 5 year deal all sewn up too. Why did Merc negotiate on the Rosberg 5 year deal before sitting down with the Hamilton contract team when at that point Lewis had the shorter contract was really my point.

        I’d see going to McLaren as no bigger gamble than going to Merc was. In 2012 McLaren had the fastest car in F1 for 3/4 of the season, during Spa when he did the deal they’d at that point had the fastest car pretty much all season long bar the odd race here and there. What made Lewis think that in 2013 the McLaren would suddenly drop the ball given the rule changes were minimal? Mercedes at that point were possibly the forth or fifth best team in the sport, and had previously had some torrid times. Other than someone saying “oh yes we’ll have the best power unit in 2014” there’s no way he could have known Merc would be dominant this year, just as there is no way to know if McLaren will dominate in 2015, the best they can offer is engine dyno graphs, simulations and bits of paper – but all teams could produce that, just look at what Renault said about it’s PU back in early Jan!

        • Actually Nico’s contract is for 2 years with the possibility it maybe extended. Not really sure where you got that he’s on a 7 year contract.

          And I’m certain that his old contract was up at the end of this season.

          • Sorry, my error. I thought they’d announced it was a 5 year deal just last week, but that was just rumour. I didn’t get 7 years from anywhere. Two year deal @ Monaco became a multi year deal last week (media reported 5 years). That’s not 2 + 5, that was 5 instead of 2.

            The judge has kindly clarified the deal though. Either way the general point remains about why they’re looking at NR’s contract again. Nico has had his contract renewed pre Monaco (widely reported), then amended last week with extension possibilities.

          • ….I reported a two year deal on the Thursday prior to the Monaco GP, because that was the solid agreement I was informed about at the time…

            ..though it does appear though that the extensions have followed that arrangement…

        • Actually it would be a bigger gamble. Mclaren will be in a transition phase with the integration of Honda and like the judge wrote a while back (don’t quite me, I could be a little off with my recollection of the article)… Honda doesn’t even have an engine on the dyno has yet and they’re still building their new facility (again don’t quote me, I’ll need to find the article). Also given that it took Mercedes so long to plan and build their current car, I seriously doubt that Mclaren will be able to produce a car that is anywhere near as good as the one he’s currently in.

          So to go back there, and go through another period of development and uncertainty, when he could just see out his contract next year and see how well Mclaren-Honda performs during that time.

          Sure they had the fastest car for 3/4 of the 2012 season, but what did they do? Instead of evolving their current package (like redbull) they ripped it up and started from scratch, something that they’ve been doing from 09 and something they’ll probably do again next season, if history is anything to go by.

          Going back to Mclaren is a significantly bigger risk, because there is too many unknown and he’s already in a car that’s 1 second+ faster than anything else on the grid. The rules for next season, won’t change drastically, so it’s fair to assume that the Mercs will still be the team to beat next season and possibly the year after. My advice would be, to tuck his chin in, role with the punches and drop the “everyone is against me attitude” that many see him portraying and get on with the job at hand.

    • Just read Joe Saward speculating on Williams selling Bottas to pay for Alonso – Felipe massa’s worst nightmare coming true!

      • …get it right, if you cite JS here – it’s Coffee Shop Joe – or CSJ 😉

        ,,,and you must be wrong anyway, CSJ speculate???? It’s facts from inside the paddock…….. all the way – don’t you know…..

      • just thought about yesterday, even before JS [don’t care about his blog]

        and I think Alonso would be fighting for the Championship like Kimi did in 2012 if he was at Williams, given his talent and the fact they did an honest car

      • I read that and wonder how much stirring is going on….

        I mean, it would be a great dream to see a world champion back in a Williams but I wonder whether they’ll be able to provide a top level car for two years on the go.

        Actually, it is so difficult to know if earlier Williams cars were hindered by poor engines or if the McLaren and FI are both bad cars with the Williams just being mediocre. Although what that says about the performance of the Ferrari and Renault engines I don’t know…

        Williams do seem to be the main challenger to Mercedes at the moment but…. look how far back they are in terms of time. Is their car actually good? If the teams and engines were more even I’d say they may actually be struggling to get in to the top 6 or even top 10.

        The question is can they build on it or will they stay the same distance behind and other teams overtake them?

        Personally, I’d love to see Williams back on top as they were the dominant team when I was growing up with F1 but based on recent history I feel it is a stretch.

      • Then it will happen. Ol’ Smug Joe has been to every GP since 1938 or so and is never wrong.

        • I’m not sure why there is so much Joe bashing here, Saward writes some very thoughtful posts and the comments are intelligent and thoughtful (mostly). I read this blog and comment occasionally; what I notice here is the small community of commenters, maybe a dozen or so regulars. Saward, on the other hand, generates comments from a large group of regulars, some with very close industry ties. If you are doing a good job, Judge, which I think you are, there is no need to put other blogs down – yours will shine from its own inner beauty and incredible perspicacity.

      • Are we being serious here? Alonso at Williams? The team that has become the lackey of Merc and don’t dare to challenge them? The best Alonso will achieve is always come behind a Merc in both the constructors and drivers. That would be a bad move. If I was him I would go to McLaren. Ferrari will not challenge until he retires, RBR are off the picture and Merc seats look already filled for the foreseeable future.

        • Any proof for the claim that Williams take orders from Merc? Bottas vs Hamilton in Hockenheim didn’t look to me like a Williams just rolling over…

          • No proof, just speculation. Let me put it this way. Wolff to have his pockets full (since he has shares in both), would want to see Merc with the constructor’s and driver’s title with Williams in second place in both championships. Rosberg P1, why not Bottas P2? And mark my words. Williams will only challenge for a win this year once Merc have won the constructors title. Let’s not be blind to the obvious!

          • I don’t think so. First of all, Wolff has already sold 5% of his share earlier this year and now only has a minority share of 10% and – according to himself – his role is now that of no more than an investor – read: no voting rights.

    • I made a similar observation, recently, but not on body language. After one of the last 3-4 GPs (can’t really find the reference), the reporter asked Lewis after the race/quali a question while quoting Wolff, and to my shock Lewis’ reaction was along the tunes of: “Toto said this? Yeah, he likes being on that side of the garage.” So much for not burning bridges..

      I remember TJ13 indicating that a happy Lewis is a quick Lewis, with the obvious corollary, which bodes badly for his title chances later this year.

    • I am a Hamilton supporter, and my take on Lewis’s unhappiness is slightly different.

      I don’t think he believes Rosberg is beating him fair and square.

      i think he believes firstly that that Toto and Merc favour Rosberg, and secondly that Rosberg has been luckier than him so far.

      I also think Lewis knows that this year may be his only opportunity to bag a 2nd championship.

      I guess that if Lewis doesn’t win the next two races, he will not recover mentally from the blow. His contract negotiations (if Toto’s claims last week that they are talking about extending the contract) will suddenly come to nothing.

      Not only that, Lewis may then get bought out for a “sabbatical” and replaced by Bottas.

      I cannot foresee Lewis ever being signed by Ferrari ( Il Padrino has alluded to that in the past ), and I cannot see any other team being prepared to pay what he thinks he is worth in view of his “cerebral” issues.

      p.s. I think the reason Merc began contract extension talks with Lewis after Sunday’s GP was down to Dieter Zetsche ( Chairman of Daimler AG ) – you could see that he was visibly impressed/excited by Lewis’s drive through the field.

      • …. happy days…. a cerebral and reasonable interpretation of Hamilton and his current situation from a member of the ‘Hamfosi’ 😉

        It sounds crazy, and I hadn’t considered this… but you raise an interesting point, maybe a sabbatical would do Lewis the world of good…

        …he’d realise what he’s missing – drop all the ‘nonsense’ – and come back better and stronger than ever…

        • Are you saying that the “Hamilfiosi” have now become cerebral and intelligent because someone wasn’t championing his cause?…..

          Guess they’ve learnt something from his teammate.

          • ….TJ13 is officially declaring it as the ‘Hamfosi’ – Hamilfosi doesn’t scan as well 😉

            Plus Lewis likes the abbreviation HAM for obvious reasons… because he is – yeah right….

          • Its Hamifosi, which is not only a compromise between the two, but also has a nicer cadence the either of the above, and thus is easier to say.

      • That really seems to be Lewis’ biggest problem. He’s too easily affected mentally. We saw that at McLaren when he was on and off and on again with whatsherface.

        To be honest, that is partly what is making this season so interesting to watch and why I’m sneakily hoping Rosberg wins. If Lewis could find a way to stop being paranoid and just drive the way he can then the only reason he wouldn’t have sewn up the title by now is that there is no competition to take points of Nico.

        I think I posted a while back that Lewis will more than likely talk himself in to losing the title this season.

        That alone will make it difficult for him to move elsewhere – a true ‘top’ team won’t take a driver who has mental issues. He may well find himself limited to mid-field teams taking a punt on his talent pushing them forward.

        Hopefully he can sort his head out, Fred can get a competitive car, Renault can pull Red Bull back to the front and Honda can produce a good engine so we have a four or even five way fight for the title in the near future.

        • …my only correction to your wish list would be, “Renault can pull Red Bull back to [near] the front”…

          The bitter pill of not winning is long overdue for some in Milton Keynes – a little time away from the limelight may allow space for reflection and they’ll learn some lessons in graciousness…..

          …OK now that’s completely ludicrous – I’d settle for just less bitchin’

      • @PK the thing is, even if LH loses the next two races, he’d still be only a race behind. With double points at the last race, the likelihood is it won’t be settled till then.

        • But if he loses the next two races he’ll have frothing at the mouth and be wasted mentally. For a persistent challenge he’s not thick-skinned enough.

          • @mattpt55

            My point is exactly as Fat Hippo replied:

            ” … if he loses the next two races he’ll have frothing at the mouth and be wasted mentally. … ”

            f1fanatic has a scenario of Lewis winning the next 8 races and then losing it all in Abu Dhabi:
            http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/22/hamilton-win-13-races-lose-world-championship-title/

            Entirely possible, knowing that Lewis would go hell for leather to win the ninth race in a row, even when he knows that he needs to get just eight points for the title to be his in the last race in that f1fanatic 8 wins scenario.

          • If that happened PK, LH winning the next eight races and losing the title at the finale, then including the five he’s already won he would then have 13 wins and no title. Prior to that, the most wins without winning the title is 7. That would be the most epic disaster in motor sporting history. That would be pure mental devastation. Even more than the Abu Dhabi 2010 finale for Alonso. I would wish that on my worst enemy. I believe in that scenario, LH wouldn’t recover for a long time, if at all.

          • I’d rather that, personally, than the opposite though.
            No one dreams of a 1 win title, but equally to win 13 and fail at the end would be pure pain.

  4. There’s a clear division within the Mercedes team and funnily enough they don’t even try to hide it much. Lauda in German TV lobbies heavily pro-Hamilton and the ‘shuttle service’ home from China made it pretty clear where his loyalties lie. But it also leaves a bit of interesting speculation. While Lewis is off in a private jet with Lauda, Nico flies home with the boys. That looks quite interesting in connection with Lewis’s comments about Nico’s background yacht’s ‘n all, y’know.

    Toto meanwhile is preferring Rosberg. Motorsport-Total ran a story two days ago, that Toto and Nico do not only meet during racing weekend. For instance they went ice rallying together in the winter.

    There is definitely potential for conflict between Lauda and Wolff. Funny little detail. Ican only remember one instance that both of them [Wolff & Lauda] have actually been interviewed together. Horner and Marko are often interviewed as a package.

    • I always respect Brawn greatly and your post only makes me think Brawn was yet again correct in his view of team leadership. You need one point man, as he put it. My sense is Wolff, to me, reeks of a “snake in the grass’ type. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. On the other hand, despite having been enlightened on a few more aspects to Lauda’s double dealing style, I still tend to think he is healthier for Mercedes overall.

      • I see it the exact opposite. Lauda has a history in ‘leading’ teams. He was a consultant (Helmut Marko role) at Ferrari and he was team boss of Jaguar. And both times his achievements amount to a grand total of zilch with a bit of nada.
        If anyone is that teams is a snake in the grass, it’s Lauda.

        • Good points re: Jaguar Ford and mid/late 90’s Ferrari. I’d probably trust your take re: Lauda than most.

          Can you say why you think Merc did install Lauda though, given Lauda’s history? And also, do you think I am wrong about Wolff?

          • What they were thinking to install Lauda? Beats me. I’m starting to think that he was solely installed for his contacts within F1. Also don’t forget his status as ‘TV expert’ for F1. Mercedes gets about 5 hours free advertising time each race weekend as they usually conduct the interviews in front of the Merc garage.

            As for my take on Wolff. He could easily be ‘shifty smurf’ with his stake in two teams, but other than probably helping Suzie to get a test ride, I’ve not seen any signs of influence of Wolff on Williams. And he handles the issue relatively openly I think. He’s been asked several time about the conflict of interests, but he’s been fairly open about it.

          • “I’ve not seen any signs of influence of Wolff on Williams.”

            Other than, and I’m of course speculating, cowing Williams into avoiding any serious fight with Merc in Austria.. When I listened to Claire Williams being interviewed in Germany, it didn’t seem like she exuded any will or confidence of taking the fight to the Merc. All that talk about going steady and not taking risks, etc., is code for “we’re not allowed to fight the Mercs in normal circumstances”. Go figure.

          • I agree I don’t think Williams are meant to fight Mercedes. I was sat wondering why Williams weren’t on the radio to Bottas on Sunday telling him Lewis had to do 16(?) laps on the supersofts and if he fought him off initially they’d have the pace to keep P2. Instead they went on about saving the tyres and lets bring it home. Likewise in Austria, if Williams had mirrored the Mercs strategy both Bottas and Massa would have potentially stayed in the fight. As it is, it feels like Williams are Merc, what Torro Rosso are to Red Bull.

          • …Let’s wait until Monza – I think we may well see a Martini striped set of overalls on the top step of the podium

          • I don’t think that’s the case and even if so, I don’t think it’s down to Wolff. Claire isn’t a romantic. She’s pragmatic like her old man and knows which battles to pick. What’s the point in putting your cars at risk for the off-chance of holding a car back that’s more than a second faster than yours. In a pinch the Mercs would just DRS past. Anybody in F1 is realistic enough not to ruin their tyres in a fight you can’t win.
            In Hockenheim Bottas was told not to put up much resistence against HAM. Only when they were sure the tyres were holding up they told him ‘ok, now you can fight’. and he did and he won. If Wolff had any influence as you say, Bottas would have let lewis pass – they just wouldn’t have given him the second message.

          • ” …. If Wolff had any influence as you say, Bottas would have let lewis pass – they just wouldn’t have given him the second message. … ”

            conspiracy theory:

            Perhaps Toto DID have a word with Williams, to make sure Bottas kept Lewis behind so that Rosberg the favoured one would build his points advantage over Lewis ? ? ?

            ;-0

          • Unlikely. Merc first and foremost wants the WCC, preferably as soon as possible. They know that one of their drivers will win the WDC anyway. I doubt anyone gives much of a toss who of them it is.

          • “Let’s wait until Monza – I think we may well see a Martini striped set of overalls on the top step of the podium” – Judge

            That’s interesting. I guess you are reading my posts.
            😀

          • @landroni re williams no fight against Merc.

            Disagree. Williams are in a rebuilding year. Rob Smedley was clear that Williams have to build a solid base of engineering and strategy capability, before they chase wins and championships. The last few races of the year might be more interesting for them. The other issue is getting a solid number of points in the team championship. More points equal more money, and the ability to attract sponsors and engineers.

          • Was Wolff not instrumental in Williams moving from Renault to Mercedes engines? He would have known that Mercedes would be the ‘go-to’, and Williams are effectively the second Mercedes team now, with Force India and McLaren now the ‘poor relations’.

        • ..maybe we have Blue Krait and an Eastern brown here…….

          …though elevating Lauda and Wolff alongside two of the most venomous creatures on planet earth may gratify them…. and we wouldn’t want that 😉

    • I’d like a history lesson please – who was reponsible for bring Toto in to Mercedes?

      Personally I quite like his style of management but there is a very strong split between him and Niki wrt drivers.

      I can see at some point one or other of them will have to go though and I’m wondering who is in the most secure position.

      • I’d say it was the Mercedes Board as he was drafted in as a successor to Norbert Haug, responsible for all Mercedes-Benz motorsports activities, not only F1.

        Lauda was hired before him, but his power is limited to the F1 team. Lauda holds 10% stake, wolff 30%

      • Here we go…

        Aabar Investments (Abu Dhabi Sheik’s slush fund – sorry Royal Investment Company) used to own about 9% of Daimler Benz (global auto manufacturer) and had a share in the F1 team following the buy out of Brawn.

        Niki used to be ‘global ambassador for Aabar (Red hat)

        Aabar gambled big style on Daimler Benz futures, got massively burned and skulked off to invest in Branson’s inter-galactic spaceship programme – selling all Merc related shares (racing and otherwise)

        Merc didn’t want to own 100% of the F1 team, due to whining investment funds in Germany who were stakeholders in the Stuttgart company and didn’t believe Merc should be in F1 – enter Lauda and Wolff to buy the Aabar shares.

        Wolff is a bit like CVC, and most of the cash he spends belongs to other investors

        Da daaaaaa!

  5. Re: Perez

    “Gianpiero Lambiase: “Checo, we need you need to lift and coast.”
    Checo: “What about the rain at the end of the race?”
    Gianpiero Lambiase: “We’re not expecting any…That’s the last time I’m going to ask you!”

    Whilst it’s normative for race engineers to express some frustration with their drivers, this last chance saloon rhetoric is unusual.”

    I definitely noticed that too! It stood out like dogs balls when I heard the engineers response to Perez. Very unusual and very telling. You are definitely barking up the right tree TJ13. Not that you need someone like me telling you that.

    • I had a chuckle when I heard that but the immediate thought is what exactly is the engineer going to do? It’s the sort of thing a teacher would say to a 5 year old child followed by taking a toy or sweets away.

      You could turn this the other way actually, maybe the engineer needed to keep Checo better informed about the changing of conditions. If they’d discussed the probability of rain at the end then maybe he should have been told it was no longer likely. Or if there was still rain expected but he was still using too much fuel that needed to be communicated.

      The only problem is that we don’t get all the radio transmissions so don’t know if that sort of thing was already discussed.

  6. Re: Hick racing video.

    That’s … That’s… Words escape me. Revolting? If that happened to me, that driver wouldn’t be able to press pedals with his feet again.

    At the same time, I understand it is what it is. Oval, moonshine, cornfed, god fearin, good ol fashion ‘racin’.

    • Well the two drivers are obviously major league blithering idiots. Neither of them should make it past the gates of a race track again. What shocked me more was the reaction of the audience. There is one guy demanding race control to do something, while the rest of the ‘miller lite’ fuelled inbreds just celebrates two of the theirs beig complete idiots.

    • “Still”
      you nailed it
      typical hicktown america
      highly alcoholic drinks, religious s___ and oval racing

      • All correct except for the ‘highly alcoholic drinks’. They drink American Beer, read: Bullp*ss. You can show up wasted out of your skull, drink a few cans of that stuff and you’ll be sober again…

        • @FH, OK, I’m going to assume that those words were written in haste, and you left out the words “mass produced” and “corporate” because, TBH, otherwise your characterizations are roughly 20 years out of date.

          We here in the colonies have adopted and embraced the craft brewer and there has bee a veritable renaissance in American Beer. Even our local pub has multiple varieties of craft brew on tap and they vary from 5.5% to around 7% alchohol. I will spare you the laundry list unless you persist. 😉

          • Hippo

            the “moonshine” is quite alcoholic

            matt

            don’t know if you already have tasted it, but the Brooklyn Lager, from NY, of course, is quite surprising

          • Thanks for that Matt. I too have taken to consuming local and regional craft beers and ales. There is and has been some damn good stuff being made over here in the Colonies. I’m in the area where most of the ‘Murican beer hops are grown. Good stuff.

          • Yes, the artisanal booze movement has caught on. Our Anglican cousins like to mock, but mainly that’s down to fear, because they know how good our product is. 🙂 Gin is the hot number right now, and I would think rum is not far behind. I’m guessing PacNW, which is home to some amazing brews and vino as well.

            My favorite pub now has a grapefruit Negroni on tap. Words cannot express the awesomeness of this cocktail. But be careful if you’re having more than one, LOL!

        • Hippo

          the “moonshine” and the other southern fermented drink are quite alcoholic, but I agree with your comments regarding their “beer”

          also it applies to brazilian beer too, barley and wheat with traces of corn, though during the World Cup the foreigners, including your country fellows, liked it, ’cause it is crisp, soft and not a bit heavy

  7. Hey Mattiaci, you know how you went on about Ferrari being too risk averse, and that you were going to try and sort that out, change things up a little. Hows about taking the overrated, bad tempered, Finn out and giving a new guy a chance… you have a few promising young guys on your driver programme, like Bianchi. What have you got to lose, another 11th place?

    • “… overrated, bad tempered, Finn … ”

      I’ve always considered Kimi overrated. Without Massa’a help, he wouldn’t even have got his only F1 title.

      • I agree, and McLarens in fighting cost two better drivers the title. Grosjean also seemed a lot quicker at Lotus, though did lack Kimis consistency, and wasn’t without his own demons, but in fairness he sorted those, and he also got the bum end of the stick strategy and upgrade parts wise at Lotus. Whilst Kimis far from being a nugget, and seems to have superb car control, but he’s not Alonso, or what I think Kubica could have been. If they want to find a potential future star, or someone to get up amongst them, then surely they’d be better looking at Hulk or Bianci.

  8. Here’s hoping they don’t ruin the Mexican GP circuit layout too much. The first 2 sectors there are fantastic.

    I have heard however that the incredible final corner is going to be replaced by a mickey mouse section that goes through a baseball stadium?

    • Here is the said stadium marked in Red. It was built in 1993

      There have been a number of ambitous ideas for the circuit, though time and budget may see only some tweaking of 2-3 corners – the usual car park run offs, new pits and grandstand

        • Looks like it might be costly and what’s the point. The final turn resembles parabolica in Monza, why screw with near perfection

          • FIA safety regulations.. 🙁 I would say use SAFER barriers all around it, and a semi-street feel would be epic, along with the same at the old hairpin (which extends the lap and provides a second passing spot). But I’m sure they’ll go through the baseball stadium inside the corner and use the seating for the badly-needed grandstands.

      • That’s not the baseball stadium you honor, the dark green or gray area inside the last corner -left side of the oval in the photo- is. The Mickey Mouse section that Anil refers goes through that area and exits between the granstands just before the bridge in the middle of the turn.

  9. Anyone know why Niki Lauda has been grovelling to Ferrari? Why does he care about upsetting them?

    • Because he was an F1 champion with them? It’s just bad style to do that. Well Lauda has no class in any case, but he does at least want to keep up the appearance as in the non-German speaking world his image isn’t as desastrous as in Germany and Austria.

          • You’re a kopite as well judge?…

            What’s our chances this season, now that El pistolero is now at Camp Nou?

          • Better than last year. We will be the pace bullies of the Premier league…. ‘Catch us if you can’ will be the new Kop anthem.

            I see that Dutch bloke is already making excuses for Man U over the punishing pre-season tour in the states. Reckons players will be jet lagged and it will compromise their early season form…..

          • He’s just getting in his excuses real early, typical Utd trait….

            We just need to get the Remy, Lovren, a left & right back and we should be set to go. Truthfully, didn’t want to see him go, but £75m for a 27 year old, is too good a deal to turn down. Also glad to see Gerrard hang up his international boots, so that should at least add another year to his league career.

            The game against Roma is on tonight on BT Sport

          • “£75m for a 27 year old…” Whose ancestors hail from Transylvania and who has a penchant for taking regular cannibalistic nibbles at those around him whilst on the field of play…..

            I’d say its a bloody miracle

          • @Bruznic……

            thanks for that as well, Brendan will turn him into the next superstar, he did it with Suarez and he’s now doing it with young Sterling and Sturridge. If you like, I wouldn’t mind if you guys gave us the other kid as well, Bakkali

            @ The judge…

            We’ve got good owners, that’s why they laughed in the face of the Gooners with that stupid bid.

          • Manchester United’s squad is pretty much shot, it requires rebuilding and fine tuning. Van Gaal knows the current squad is pretty poor, I don’t expect the early part of the season will be anything to shout about (unless Van Persie is banging in the goals).
            My beloved Manure will be lucky to nab 4th spot let alone anything higher than that in the coming season. So my attention will focused on Williams winning a race or two. I’m not that bothered who wins the drivers title, seeing how either Lewis or Rosberg wins it is the more interesting aspect of the fight. My own view is the drivers title will likely be decided on whose power trains last longest and which driver gets the least grid penalties or brake failures. Plus how they handle the pressure when it goes down to the wire. Lewis has been there before, Rosberg hasn’t. Though that might not mean a whole lot, given how some think Rosberg has snuffed out Lewis’s race winning psyche.

          • Did you just call you beloved Man Utd, Manure?…….. ha ha….

          • @fortis… bakkali is someone who will never get far. played 3 good matches on a fairly high level and thought he was allready there… got cocky and is banned by PSV eindhoven to their b squad. he needs to realise the sun doesnt shine out of his behind or else he’s finished

          • Still, there’s no doubting that Suarez is in the top 5 in the world right now though, alongside Messi, Ronaldo, Bale and Rodriguez. Before this year, probably Falcao instead of his countryman. He almost brought us the title, until Gerrard slipped up (a growing trend.. the total opposite of 05/06).

            But it looks like we have done better than Spurs did spending their Bale cash.. lets just hope the players are more Sterling, Sturridge than Aspas, Alberto!

            PS. Lol at SAF buying unseen Bebe over James Rodriguez… the world of regional agents and kickbacks must be a murky one…

          • The next El Clasico – it’ll be interesting to see Messi, Neymar, Suarez vs. Ronaldo, Bale, Rodriguez…

  10. On drivers’ moves

    I think it’s actually pointless to be honest. The top 4 teams (Ferrari, Mercedes, RBR, McLaren) have an obvious interest in the top 3 drivers (Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel) and everyone is coming on with 101 different permutations and theories.

    Lewis at Ferrari, Lewis back at McLaren, Lewis renews at Merc, Alonso at Merc, Alonso at McLaren, Alonso stays with Ferrari, Vettel at Ferrari, Vettel at Merc,Vettel at McLaren…even the absurd Saward-generated scenarios of Alonso to Williams!!!

    • I don’t think Alonso to Williams is as absurd as it sounds. Considering what Alo did with red turd this year, he would have won Canada in a Williams and probably Austria, too.

      • How many drivers have driven for McLaren, Ferrari and Williams?
        I think it is something like when Lewis went to Mercedes – people thought it was a bad idea and look at him now

        • Merc is a works team, Williams is not. And Alonso does not care if he wins the odd 2-3 races, he wants titles. I just can’t see him at Williams! Absurd

      • Hippo – Alonso to Williams will likely require Fernando to take a steep cut in his retainer. Otherwise Williams can’t affored him. Selling the Bottas contract? How much for promise not yet proven?

        • 3 podiums in a row looks pretty proven right now.. also being faster than Massa, who looked impressive in 2008. That should put him not far off the current top drivers..

      • With Frank Williams throwaway mentality, any former world champion should consider carefully…

  11. “Barrichello remained at Ferrari in 2005 and made way for Felipe Massa to join the team and Raikkonen took a sabbatical because Ferrari had grown tired of his apparent indifference and, quite frankly, his poor performance in relation to Massa.”

    If we can that say that Rubens “made way for Felipe Massa” then surely we should also say that Kimi made way for Fernando? Let’s not forget that Kimi finished 2009 very strongly in an uncompetitive car. And there’s plenty of evidence that the decision to ditch Kimi was made mid 2008, before Kimi’s struggles with the revised 2008 car began. Also, no team would re-hire someone they thought indifferent to their job, nor would they replace Massa with someone they believed to be inferior to him.

    I think the real problem is Ferrari. For some reason they’re only capable of getting one side of the garage to function properly, maybe it’s because of all those years with a clear #1 driver policy. Kimi and Felipe are both still great drivers as they’ve shown recently at Lotus and Williams, but put them in that de facto #2 car at Ferrari and yes, they suck. If Fernando does leave next year and Kimi becomes de facto #1, I predict we’ll suddenly see the Kimi of 2012/2013 again.

  12. Are you Kidding me? It’s safe to say that Lewis is the most quick and most talented driver in the grid, not even mentioned that is the face of the f1, the guy is “box office”….He has his time of mental lapse, but is common in drivers that are designed only to win (like Senna) so every team in the grid will be glad to have Lewis, Rosberg is good but not as Lewis.

    Clearly the best two drivers in the grid are Alonso and Lewis, one has what the other doesn’t.

    • “… the guy is “box office” .. ”

      Agreed.

      The problem is, his “H.A.M.” box-office attraction is not the kind that most F1 corporate types want to be associated with. That is the risk he is facing with the Merc top brass. They would rather have a Vettel type character who fits in with their corporate image, even if he has zero presence on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc. than one with millions of followers.

      • Not if he’s helping them bring in the big bucks. These corporate types are only interested in how big the profits will be come the end of their fiscal year. They’ll be willing to take a knock image wise, just as long as his actions aren’t criminal, if the money is right at the end of the year. Case in point, Suarez joining Barcelona. they’re a brand that’s just as big as Mercedes. Given his past Hannibal Lecter moments, you would’ve thought that no one would want him, (as a Liverpool supporter, I was hoping so too), but they’re not concerned about that, it’s what he will contribute on the pitch that is important. If he helps them to continually win, then that’s more money in the coffers for them.

        Now I don’t know the figures, but i’d guestimate that since he has joined Mercedes, their merchandising sales has increased drastically and also guestimate that there has been a decline in McLaren’s merchandise sales as well. With him, they’re able to tap into markets that they might have thought previously weren’t possible, hence why he was just voted the most marketable sportsman. He gets people talking, whether its for the right or wrong reasons.

        • Fortis96, your points are valid. Hamilton has a value to Merc just as Suarez had with Liverpool. However, once he crosses a certain threshold, he will be dumped by Merc – just as Suarez was by Liverpool.

          In that event, as to whether there will be a savior for Lewis (as there was for Suarez in Barcelona), I fear that he won’t won’t find any takers.

          That will be regrettable, because – as another Hamilfosi – it will end my interest in following F1 live.

          • Come on, do you really believe that Liverpool dumped Suarez? They knew since last year that he would leave and they were trying to play the nice, ‘ethical’ club. Don’t buy it!

          • Slight correction…..

            Suarez wanted to leave Liverpool, they didn’t actually dump him….

            But the rest of your statement is true. But I would doubt that his management company as well as his dad would let him get close to, muchless cross that line. He has come close a few times.

            That’s why he is box-office, you’ve just got to look on here whenever the judge post anything that has to do with him. You get the ‘Hamilfosi’ and the naysayers going at it each day. And the judge knows that, hence why you’ll find a lot written about him on here. He polarises opinions and that’s good for the sport as well as forums and blogs.

          • I wouldn’t say dumped… more like got a promotion! Barca will pay more than Liverpool for sure!

      • So, you prefer Vettel who is demonstrating his level this year or the best Driver because of his personality?

    • If I were merc and trying to buy Lewis and get a good deal on the contract i.e cheap . I would put out a lot of rumours to make them/him think it was not a done deal simples

  13. If Mexico comes on board… we have 20 races. If it doesn’t, or one drops out.. we can have the European GP and rotate Hockenheim with somewhere like Magny-Cours/French GP. Or 21 and an extra engine for all..

    PS. Rindt isn’t over the track limits! They used all the racing surface that was available back then..

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