Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 12th August 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Features: Enzo Ferrari – Part I


OTD Lite: 1990 – Mr Nice wins Hungarian GP

Hamilton & Alonso twist knife into Vettel again

Wolff misguided with answers on Formula One

Renault, Ferrari simply out-spent by Mercedes – Jalinier

2014 F1 drivers pay

Seb finished, or just a bit tired?

Maldonado talks in riddles


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…

thierry_boutsen__portugal_1989__by_f1_history-d5xh98rIt’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…

The Jackal

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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.

daniel-ricciardo-lewis-hamilton-fernando-alonso-2014-hungarian-gp_3187227

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.

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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.

d13esp758Toto 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.

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(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.

1357915433Frenchman 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”.

Renault 2014 tech sold to 'Good Ol' Boys of Hazard county

Renault 2014 tech sold to ‘Good Ol’ Boys of Hazard county

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.

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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.

Drivers:

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.

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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???

Fail!

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46 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 12th August 2014

  1. Hahha ja Thierry was not the same as jacky. Most people now, here, don’t even recall him as an f1 driver. Which he was for almost 10 years. But for his company which sells privet jets.

    • Why would Ferrari want someone that couldn’t beat DR? Surely it makes sense for them to prize over the Aussie instead? Or Bottas, Hulkenburg etc?

        • I’ll take a £10 bet with someone that Ric outscores Vet in the second half of the season?

          Any takers. Payments by paypal.

          • Deal! Unless RB declare VET the clear nr.2 to keep RIC in 3rd WDC, I think little Grinsepferd will have to work a trifle harder to beat Seb in the second half. Those Tilke-dromes in APAC have been Vettel territories in recent years.

          • Danilo, why would RB declare VET as their no2 to make sure Ric finishes 3rd? You get no prize money for that, only for WCC, doesn’t make much sense

          • Awesome Mr Hippo. We have deal. That’s ten British pounds sterling not Germany enforced ECU funny money.

            My £10 says that Ric scores more world championship points than Vet from now (12/08/14) until the rest of 2014 in the world Formula 1 championship. No adjustment for mech failures.

            If Red bull infinity racing declare that either driver is a clear number 2 for the remainder of the season then the bet is invalidated.

            Good luck sir.

          • @SpannersReady: Deal.

            @McLaren78
            Having a driver on the podium in a season where you need a Merc engine to win sod all would still be prestigous, especially since it means beating the samurai to it. And it would be a boost for RIC. The second half will show if VET leaves after 2015. If he does, they’ll make him the #2 to boost RIC. Although after the first half of 2014, I don’t think he needs much boosting 😉

  2. On the “Hamilton & Alonso twist knife into Vettel again” article

    Once again, an article to stir emotions, quite poor I have to say. A few questions to defend my position.

    1. Why does the writer omit to mention Hamilton’s assertion last year that “He (Vettel) is in a class of his own, and he is on his way to becoming the greatest driver in F1, if he is not already”? Although admittedly he did clarify his quote later saying that by greatest he means statistically greatest.

    2. Is it that inconceivable for Hamilton and Alonso praising each other to be simply based on their true belief and not to just unsettle Vettel? As if several pundits (except DC of course) and fans do not have question marks over Vettel’s greatness.

    3. Was Hamilton really wrong when he was saying Vettel missing 4 apexes and still going faster? If your car is that much faster, you just need to put less effort to keep it in tight racing lines. Simple.

    4. So Hamilton and Alonso saying that Ric is one of the best is again directed to unsettle Vettel? As if pundits and fans say something different.

    Hamilton and Alonso have battled against each other and have shown what they can do in inferior cars, as Ric does now. For Vettel, we’re still waiting. So I honestly don’t see anything wrong with any of their quotes. They were asked leading questions and gave honest answers.

    • well someone has abstained from his daily nasty dig at Vettel. It was inevitable that he would suffer a relapse at some point 😉

    • Yeah, that whole article was just taking snippets of quotes, here and there, and torquing them for a pre-ordained purpose. F1 mainstream media stuff, I guess!

          • @judge13 … hmm, but you’re taking only the quotes that fit your angle, while ignoring those that don’t. End result is that it comes off as one-sided.

            Further to McLaren78’s supplied quote, here’s more of it:

            It is an incredible achievement for such a young individual,” Hamilton said.

            “He is in a class of his own, and he is on his way to becoming the greatest driver in F1, if he is not already.

            “Big congratulations, I’m really happy for him.”

            “I hope in the future we get to race together, but until then we’ll keep trying,” Hamilton added.

            “He [Vettel] has just got to enjoy it.

            “All the rest of us are trying to catch up and we’ll be hunting him down hopefully in the following years.”

            Most every article ever penned contains a certain level of “spin” in it. I appreciate and admire spin that’s done right, but cringe and feel a bit let down when there’s been an overreach.

  3. Wow, this driver salary list tells you one thing…know when to negotiate, and Button is the best of them all.

    16m euros for Button…and then someone like Ricciardo is on 750,000!
    But the funniest of them all is Pastor on 3m! And then Hulk on 4m!

    Button of course benefited from his 2011 year when Hamilton was messed up in his head. Kimi benefited from his Lotus endeavours. And now Merc have negotiated a better contract for Nico. I’m sure he’ll live up to it though and won’t be another Button or Kimi.

  4. I can’t believe what Kimi is on. How did they justify that? no wonder their car is rubbish if that’s the sort of decision making that goes on. I sort of assumed that maybe they got him on the cheap as an outright number 2.

    • he performed well at lotus, ferrari wanted to sign him badly, and they had to make up for firing him the last time. he probably said he wanted equal pay to alonso and, given the above mentioned circumstances, ferrari agreed.

      considering that, unlike the salary, his current performance is not at all equal to alonsos, he will most likely get sacked again, unless alonso leaves ferrari, in which case they will probably keep him for lack of alternatives and unwillingness to sign two new drivers in a single season.

      • How ironic! Kimi costed Ferrari money when they had to buy a year out to bring Alonso in. Now it’s costing them again with his sub-standard performances. Alonso on the other hand has been regularly punching above Ferrar’s weight for all his years there. And yet, the last man to win the title for Ferrari is Kimi! How ironic!

        • It’s not “ironic” – it’s just a reflection of how lousy Ferrari team have been at producing a competitive car during past 6 years or so.

          Do you think you (all) are clever by attacking Kimi Raikkonen, as if he’s somehow forgotten how to drive or succeeded in duping Ferrari?

          It’s the team’s responsibility to provide its athletes with the equipment, strategic leadership, logistical support, etc. they need to win, and Scuderia has failed to do that since before Alonso even arrived!

          • Indeed… And Kimi knew this when he signed up for $22m a year… After earning a pittance at Lotus….So that says a lot about his decision making and motivation…..

    • @verstappen – I don’t put much faith in the salary listings as they tend to not include bonus numbers that can’t be determined until the end of the season. RedBull pay was said to be heavily weighted that way in the past. Vettel’s retainer seems to have been greatly increased but no word of a new contract. Confusing.

      I believe Kimi was on a pay per points system at Lotus. He exceeded expectations hence they had trouble paying him.

  5. Vettel deserves all the heat in the world, he is not a rookie, not new to the team, his teammate is not Lewis or Alonso, and he is a 4 time champion, his performance is unacceptable and is showing that he lacks that something that made Alonso special despite having less titles.

    Kimi salary is ridiculous, but I’m happy for him, he and his manager schooled Ferrari again, hats off.

    • Agree on both counts.

      Vettel has been down too long and frankly he has to decimate Ricciardo in part 2 of 2014. I won’t guess the odds of that happening, as had I guessed RIC’s early season pace v VET, I’d have been (VERY) wrong.

      The only addendum I’d add is simply VET has a small window to rise out of this, with rep intact, just like HAM had after 2011 and RAI had after 2008. Anymore destruction by Colgate and the “unique circumstance excuses” will expire. Which is why it was so admirable how HAM drove in 2012.

      Also I agree. Kimi’s management have done their job outstandingly over his whole career. This year is no exception.

  6. Re Belgium, I always thought of it as the land of chocolate, beer and cheese, plus the epic one day races. But each to his own, I guess.

    AS far as Renault is concerned, it sounds like they added Mercedes AMG at Brackley plus Brixworth plus every contractor (including cleaners) to get that number. I wonder what it would look like if they included Red Bull team and technology in their personnel number. It would probably be pretty close to Mercedes. Plus, as you point out, the fact that Merc started sooner would naturally mean that more hands touched the project anyway.

    Still sounds like the magic ingredient was Ross, though. Take that Paddy.

    • @mattpt55. re Mercedes employee numbers.

      At 31 Dec Accounts. Turnover T/O 2012 in GBP

      Mercedes AMG HPP (2012 – 502) (2011 – 463) T/O 132,950,000

      Mercedes F1 Team (2012 – 612) (2011 – 526) T/O 114,853,000

      Red Bull Racing (2012 – 65) (2011 – 52) T/O 176,310,000

      Red Bull Technology 2012 – 658 2011 – 605 T/O 231,905,000

      Hope the formatting works or this will look awful.

      • Thanks Iain:R8, that comes perilously close to confirming my suspicion about the numbers, that Viry+RB approximates the number that they gave for Merc. If you just look at the PU, assuming the numbers were roughly consistent with the interview, Merc had an “advantage” of roughly 180 workers, though as TJ13 points out the big breakthrough apparently occurred as a result of Brawn’s direct intervention and oversight, something Renault would have been hard pressed to replicate no matter how many workers they hired.

        Still, it’s remarkable how badly both Red Bull and Renault botched the intro of the new PU. I wonder what the emails from RB to Renault were demanding the second half of 2013 and how much that crippled their efforts in designing the new PU.

  7. great, Thierry was also famous for using the biggest helmet size of grid

    also he bears a strong resemblance with my older uncle, confirming again, that my belgian origins from Charleroi are not that far of the mark

  8. Amazingly the news about Vettel being ‘burned out’ made the BBC local radio news around here at tea-time. I thought something major had happened when they included F1 in the BBC Sheffield bulletin but no, just Seb being a bit tired…

  9. It’s easy to poke fun at Ferrari for paying so much cash to Raikkonen. In fact for hiring him at all. But things looked different last year when he was signed by Ferrari for this season. Kimi was among the cream of crop of the field in 2012-2013. Not only he did really well at Lotus, but it was also very surprising how little time he took to adjust after a long break in 2012. His under-performance at Ferrari is just puzzling. The only explanations I can think of right now:

    1. 2012-2013 Lotus car was actually really good. Probably among the best after Red Bull.

    2. The current Ferrari package is crap, but Alonso is a genius.

    3. The current Ferrari package is ok, but the car is designed for Alonso.

    • Vettel and Räikkönen have the same problem. They used to stabilize the car using brakes and throttle simultaneously. Apparently that is almost impossible using the newfangled brake-by-wire malarkey

      • What is most amusing about this – was the end of season in depth interview Newey gave, and in one section he trumpeted the ‘never have I worked with a driver before with such aptitude’…

        Beyond irony….

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