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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite: 1990 – Mr Nice wins Hungarian GP
On this day – Thierry Boutsen won the 1990 Hungarian GP from a closely following Ayrton Senna. It was his third and final victory in Formula One and with victory, did little to dispel the collective myth of his home country…
It’s probably fair to say that Belgium – thanks to Jeremy Clarkson – is thought of as a beige coloured place filled with faceless eurocrats who make laws that affect millions. Yet this country is a place of outstanding natural beauty, the greatest race track in the world and the birthplace of one of this writer’s Top 5 drivers ever – Jacky Ickx. (Bruznic)
With a hairstyle that was designed after having seen Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, was there anything even remotely playboy about Belgian Thierry Boutsen? In an era when television finally transmitted the speed and glamour of Formula One into homes around the world, and warriors like Mansell, Senna, Piquet and Berger appeared regularly on our screens, on the odd occasion we had the ‘nice’ Thierry.
He was inoffensive, he was neutral, he was a reliable quick racing driver and he had won two races in 1989 in Canada and Australia whereas Ickx became a 70’s superstar with dark swarthy looks – driving beauties produced by Ferrari. Life can be so unfair…
Hamilton & Alonso twist knife into Vettel again
In 2011, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso frustrated with the dominant display by Red Bull began to speak in public of the great respect they had for one another. Hamilton suggested that Alonso was “one of the best drivers, if not the best driver here.” Whereas around the same time, Alonso was suggesting that Hamilton was the only one he would be watching closely. “The other guys can win if they’ve got the best car; he’s the one who’s able to clinch a championship with a car that’s not the best.”
With what appeared to be an orchestrated attack on the Milton Keynes team, Hamilton continued in press interviews: “ I think lots of people in the paddock wish they could have Adrian’s car so they could show that they’re just as competitive as Sebastian. Fernando, for me, is more accurate. He hits all the apexes [the perfect racing line through a corner]. Sebastian misses four apexes on a single lap and still goes quickest. He goes off and he still goes quickest. And I think ‘Holy crap, I couldn’t do that lap even if I was on the limit’. His car is just that far ahead of everyone else’s. They made such a big step for some reason.”
Obviously the World Champions laughed off the suggestions and carried on hitting the opposition with Eddie Irvine’s proverbial bat which was how he once likened to being MIchael Schumacher’s team-mate: “It’s like being hit over the head with a cricket bat every couple of weeks.”
Late last season, in what appeared to be more soured emotions, as Sebastien Vettel romped to a record equalling nine straight victories, Alonso made a prophetic observation that the legacy of four straight title victories could well come back to haunt him when he wasn’t blessed with a dominant car any longer.
Vettel has endured the 2014 season with stoic resilience and has outwardly celebrated his young team-mate’s successes but it would appear the hurt suffered by his two greatest rivals hasn’t dissipated yet.
After the recent Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton called Daniel Ricciardo ‘one of the best drivers.” As the only non Mercedes winner this year, his two victories have placed him third in the championship table on 131 points, 43 ahead of his team-mate Vettel, which according to Alonso: “says it all…”
When it’s considered that he also had 18 points taken away from his debut podium in Australia, the gap between the two drivers becomes even starker.
Hamilton: “He’s been driving fantastically well from the beginning of the year. He’s shown his capability and is going from strength to strength. He’s not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock, but also one of the best drivers here for sure.”
It would take a fool to believe that Vettel’s qualities will not bring him to the forefront again and it may require a change of scenery to reinvigorate him but it appears that his two main rivals are enjoying twisting the metal.
Wolff misguided with answers on Formula One
That Formula One is recognised as the pinnacle of motor-sport has never been in doubt. Whatever era the public lived through, the best drivers, engineers and racing companies raced in Grand Prix/ Formula One.
Technology changes and F1 2014 style has 1.6 litre turbocharged engines with a variety of energy recovery systems built into the delicate framework of a state of the art race car which has caused consternation amongst the teams and more specifically a slimy toad from Suffolk who appears to be talking down the price of the show to possibly fleece the sport once again.
Since he first appeared in the Formula One paddock, Mr Wolff has been accepted as more of an investor than a racing fan, yet a glance at his CV shows him to have raced from Formula Ford through to an FIA GT1 victory which makes his confrontation with Lauda over team-orders a little difficult to appreciate.
Toto Wolff recently spoke of how the current Formula One compares to its fore-bearers. “I watched the final race of the 1984 championship in Portugal recently, and I came into it one third of the way through. These races were much more boring: you couldn’t hear the engines on TV because they were also turbos, and the only overtaking was lapping.”
The race replay would have been from an original recording made on to VHS tape, would suggest that the sound reproduction wouldn’t be exceptional
Interestingly, that 1984 Portugese Grand Prix was the race when Niki Lauda secured his third world title beating Frenchman Alain Prost by half a point. Wolff surely knew this and thus demonstrates an indifference to his fellow Austrian’s achievements.
Within one year, these same boring Formula One cars carried awesome fire power in the back, with power outputs close to 1,000 bhp and by 1986, the zenith reached 1,400bhp from a 1.5 litre engine.
Wolff continues, “So I wonder. I think we have a great product, some great races. Will we always have great races? No. But is every football match great? No. You had Bahrain, Montreal, Austria… I think we have a good product.”
Errm… Toto… Could it be that the 1984 Portugese Grand Prix was one of those boring races? Monaco 2014 for example
Many races in 1984 were far more entertaining, but Wolff demonstrates his lack of perspective as do many others, by believing F1 only began when they arrived on the scene.
(From GMM news source – includes closing TJ13 comment)
Renault, Ferrari simply out-spent by Mercedes – Jalinier
Recently departed Renault F1 boss Jean-Michel Jalinier says the struggling French marque was out-spent as the sport entered its new V6 era. Dominant with Red Bull at the tail-end of the long normally-aspirated ‘engine’ era, Renault has struggled against the new might of Mercedes as the German company mastered its first ‘power unit’ for 2014.
Frenchman Jalinier, former president and managing director, retired for “personal reasons” last month, but his departure was also interpreted amid Renault’s restructuring as it looks to return to top form in 2015 and beyond. But Jalinier said the pecking order in 2014 is more about Renault and Ferrari’s conventional approach to the new regulations versus a dramatic turn for Mercedes.
“When Ferrari and Renault are getting similar results, and Mercedes has a significant advantage, the first thing is to look at the level of investment,” he told the French magazine Auto Hebdo. “At Renault the same level of investment was maintained, while Mercedes raised the bar very high, investing a lot of money, resources and technology,” said Jalinier. “As a result, they were much better prepared than us and the Italians who have operated at the known and practiced levels of investment.”
“In the paddock,” he continued, “you did hear about these enormous and – in our view – disproportionate investments by Mercedes, but do you believe these rumours or not? In the end it was true. In terms of resources used for this project, it is clear that Ferrari and us invested far less,” said Jalinier.
“We are 320 people at Viry, but together with the chassis and the engine there were up to 1,250 at Mercedes. With those resources, it is obvious that you are not confined to one solution but can go with two or even three in parallel during the development phase,” he said. “This is a powerful force to achieve the right solution.”
Renault has been heavily criticised by its formerly title-dominant premier team partner Red Bull amid the 2014 ‘crisis’, but Jalinier insists that “with the means available, we completed the project entirely correctly”.
However, he does admit that Renault should have adopted the Mercedes-like approach of optimising a single ‘power unit’ package, rather than offering customised solutions to teams like Red Bull and Lotus. “The advantage of Mercedes was to have an optimised version of the chassis and engine specifically for Mercedes GP, their own team, that was used as is by the client teams or adapted to their own needs at their own risk,” said Jalinier.
TJ13 comment: At face value, Jalinier’s words seem measured and fair – big German industry has come in and beaten us up because we are playing by the unwritten rules… which when you apply what we actually know about these teams is complete fabrication.
Renault themselves forced the hand of the FIA to move to hybrid technology otherwise they threatened to leave F1. They initially wanted a four cylinder solution but Ferrari felt that this size engine had no relevance to their road car range. (Even though BMW managed to develop a 3 cylinder supercar in the i8). So Formula One was left with a set of rules with input from all the manufacturers .
Mercedes began work on this project several years ago whereas Renault and Ferrari started more recently. So any expenditure made by Mercedes will seem larger than their counterparts but even so, if rumours are to be believed, the finalisation of the design was recent. Ross Brawn allegedly took a look at the design last September and instructed the team to ‘think outside the box’.
The comparison between the number of team personnel available is further misleading, ie Mercedes are almost four times the size of Renault. Of course Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technologies have equivalent numbers to the Brixworth team and Maranello is not short of staff.
One thing that has crippled Renault was design faults built into their design which have taken their team around the 20 weeks – as TJ13 reported from before the initial test at Jerez- to correct. Whereas Ferrari simply designed what is essentially a reliable truck engine. As in previous years Renault assumed that the french governing body, the FIA, would relax the homologation freeze and allow equalisation to occur between the engines – except it was refused and there followed uncomfortable vacant stares from senior Renault directors with much digit drumming as they prepared their next step..
It was always a contested issue introducing wildly new technology without proper testing allowances, with restrictive limitations on development and with the knowledge that if one manufacturer achieved a dominant advantage, it would be a written off season for the others – which is what F1 has become.
Perhaps of more concern is the Renault corporate attitude which believes they and Ferrari spent similar amounts on development whereas Mercedes somehow broke an unwritten rule. Do they honestly believe Honda won’t out spend everybody to win races?
Honda spent over $1bn on their 2009 car design, which they sold packaged up and good to go to Ross Brawn for $1.
2014 F1 drivers pay
Business Book GP 2014 has now published it’s list of driver salaries for 2014.
Lewis Hamilton drops to fourth in the rankings following rise for Kimi and Sebastian Vettel.
The annual list of F1 salaries has again been published, and while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso remains top, he has now been joined by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
Current championship leader will most likely see his pay move forward next year after recently agreeing a multi-year contract extension with Mercedes, whilst Hamilton is left waiting to see whether his services will be required by Mercedes beyond the end of 2015.
Nico Hulkenberg’s move from Sauber has seen him quadruple his pay and team mate Perez is smiling as his salary has doubled to €3m.
Massa may have lost €2ma year, but he is no longer feeling the anal burn from either Fernando of the Maranello machine.
Bargain’s of the year are Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo being paid a mere €1 million and €750,000 respectively. Though it has to be said the drivers are hardly complaining as they get to travel the world and race very fast cars, as well as earning some coin.
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari €22m (20m)
= Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari €22m (3m)
=Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing €22m (12m)
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes €20m (20m)
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes €16m (15m)
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes €12m (11m)
7. Felipe Massa Williams €4m (6m)
= Nico Hulkenberg Force India F1 €4m (1m)
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team €3m (1m)
= Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1 Team €3m (1m)
= Sergio Perez Force India F1 €3m (1.5m)
12. Adrian Sutil Sauber €2m (500k)
13. Kevin Magnuseen McLaren-Mercedes €1m (NA)
= Valtteri Bottas Williams €1m (500k)
15. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing €750,000 (400k)
= Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso €750,000 (400k)
17. Jules Bianchi Marussia €500,000 (500k)
18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber €400,000 (200k)
19. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso €250,000 (NA)
20. Max Chilton Marussia €200,000 (100k)
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham F1 €150,000 (NA)
= Kamui Kobayshi Caterham F1 €150,000 (NA)
What the F1 teams spent on drivers in 2014:
1. Ferrari €44m (26m)
2. Mercedes €32m (31m)
3. Red Bull Racing €22.75m (22m)
4. McLaren-Mercedes €17m (17.5m)
5. Force India €7m (900k)
6. Lotus F1 team €6m (4m)
7. Williams €5m (1.6m)
8. Sauber €2.4m (1.2m)
9. Scuderia Toro Rosso €1m (800k)
10. Marussia €700,000 (650k)
11. Caterham €300,000 (300k)
Seb finished, or just a bit tired?
All those parents out there knew this would be the reason why Sebastian Vettel has been in free fall from the top of F1. Sebastian’s had a baby since last season and those sleepless nights sure do rack up.
Christian Horner probably doesn’t appreciate this, seeing as within weeks of his first child being born in 2013, he left his wife for ex-Spice Girl – Geri Halliwell.
Horner does reveal to Bild that he does think Seb’s a bit worn out. “First, when you have fought for the title for five years, it does wear you out a little bit, but that is not the fundamental problem”.
Aha. So what is the fundamental problem? A lightening quick Aussie substitute for Vettel’s old punch bag Mark Webber?
Danny boy is having the time of his life this year and his grin just gets wider and wider with each race win and victory over his world champion team mate. “I genuinely want to see if I have what it takes, if I am the best in the world,” the Honeybadger told CNN. “And I’ve got the best guy to measure myself to.”
Ricciardo has finished ahead of his team mate 9-2 in the 11 GP’s to date, is 6-5 up in qualifying and has 2 race wins to Vettel’s none.
Yet Christian would have us believe that this is no simple case of a young gun bustin up the old warrior and seeing him off the territory. It is more complex than this.
“The way Vettel brought out those extra tenths from the car in recent years was quite unique,” reveals Horner. “Sebastian is very sensitive to the behaviour of the car, especially when braking.”
The new brake by wire system is costing Sebastian feel, Horner adds and “the driveability was really bad, so Seb could not look after the tyres in the way that he always has done.”
In a bizarre manner, Christian describes Sebastian’s former driving style as balletic. He was a bit “like a ballerina, dancing on the throttle and the brakes,” explains Horner.
Most importantly, lest we forget… Horner concludes, “We also can’t forget how many mechanical problems Sebastian has had, many of them just little things that have disrupted his flow. So he has had less time to adapt his driving style,”
Mmm. What happened to the stories of 10 hour days in the simulator for Seb?
Sports men and women are having shorter careers across a number of disciplines. The incremental training and fitness levels required to compete at the highest level shorten the time a person can maintain this (Phil the Power Taylor is clearly the exception to this rule).
It could be that Vettel achieved a level of intensity never seen before in Formula 1 and like Tiger Woods – he just can’t get back to that place.
Or it could Seb knows exactly how good Ricciardo is?
Using the same simulator and the same car profile with the blown exhaust, TJ13 has it on good authority that Ricciardo was regularly beating Vettel’s best simulator times comfortably during 2013.
Sebastian was highly emotional following the 2013 US GP in Austin. Following his race win he had this to say to the team from his car radio. “I’m speechless?����?� I’m speechless. We have to remember these days. There’s no guarantee that they will last forever. Enjoy them as long as they last. I love you guys. We have an incredible team spirit?����?� incredible. I’m so proud of you. I love you. YES! Shake ‘n’ bake!”
Again a week later in Brazil, a victorious and emotional Vettel makes reference to this sentiment about ‘these days not lasting forever’ whilst on his victory lap.
Sebasitain from car to pits: “Guys, I’m so proud of you. I love you guys. As I said in Austin, remember this. Enjoy this, this moment. A team effort, guys. All year. All year’s hard work. Yes! We did it! This is unbelieveable”.
Of course this may simply be a general observation from Vettel that no one can keep beating everyone else forever. Yet the emotion Vettel displayed during both of these messages, leads one to question – did he know what was to come in terms of his new team mate’s challenge?
Something will have to give for 2015/16, because Red Bull have in recent years set their total budget for driver pay at just over €20m.
Ricciardo will want more than his current €750k.
Red Bull know who is the best driver and only time will reveal how hard they fight to keep Sebastian.
Maldonado talks in riddles
There are times in life when no comment is better than speaking a load of gobbledegook.
Despite the fact that Williams this year are regular podium contenders and his new team Lotus a reeling from the brain drain and languishing just 6 points ahead of Marussia in the WCC.- Pastor Maldonado says, “I’m feeling better”
The implication is clear he is speaking in comparative terms with regard to his time with Williams because Crashtor adds, “I was not feeling really bad at Williams,” adding, “I felt good.”
Maldonado may have been brought up to believe whatever he says at any given moment in time, regardless of his previous statements – is in fact true.
Mmm. So what was true during the United States F1 GP?
Pastor was inept and all over the place throughout the weekend and managed to qualify 18th – some 9 places behind his team mate Valtteri Bottas who made Q3. The Venezuelan claimed, “I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure, temperature, is not that clear. But, yeah, one more race to go so, great.”
‘On more race to go!!! – and I can get the hell out of Grove and join that team which is miles better than this bunch of fools’, may have been more like what was swimming around in Maldonado’s head.
So is it better at Lotus or not?
Crashtor has one final attempt at clearing his mind and communicating a singular understandable line of thinking.
Speaking about Williams and Lotus, he concludes, “They are both very professional, both world champion teams, but both completely different, in different ways they can reach the same results, but for sure they have different philosophies to work and to build and design the cars.”
Final attempt Crashtor???