#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 27th August 2014

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#F1 Forensic: Newey and Ricciardo wins at Wolff’s den


OTD Lite: 1976 – Birth of Mrs Judge’s favourite

Mclaren struggling to attract top drivers to the team

Mercedes lost out to RB again

Meanwhile at Brackley

Bernard E: Do they have money?

Lewis Hamilton always puts team first

Vettel made ‘many mistakes’ in 2014 – Webber(GMM)

Verstappen tipped for Friday debut at Suzuka(GMM)


OTD Lite: 1976 – Birth of Mrs Judge’s favourite

1976 was an epic year in Formula One’s history. With the legendary battle between the dashing James Hunt and the acerbic Niki Lauda, Formula One moved from the monotone back pages into the glorious multi-coloured medium of television.

With his near fatal accident and remarkable recovery, Niki Lauda assured his legend whereas James Hunt led a populaton wilting under an extreme summer heatwave into rapturous applause as he secured the title during a live satellite transmission from Japan.

images

On this day, on the other side of the world, a baby was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia who would go on to become one of the most popular drivers in Formula One in the twenty first century. A rugged real-life Desperate Dan blessed with stubble that had its own shadow at 00.15 – never mind five o’clock, Mark Webber defined what Aussie Grit was about.

Outstanding performances in a terrible Jaguar brought him an offer from the fabled Williams team at a time that they were in decline. In 2007 he joined the fledgeling Red Bull outfit where he would remain a front runner until he retired in 2013. With nine victories and a championship challenge in 2010, as he once remarked; “Not bad for a number two.” The ultimate accolade following his retirement was being honoured with his very own month – Webbuary..

The Jackal

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Mclaren struggling to attract top drivers to the team

The future of Mclaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen are not secure beyond the end of 2014. With Ron Dennis returning to the helm at Mclaren, Boullier has told his drivers to accept the situation despite the lack of clarity on their future – something that Button described at the weekend as an “unusual situation“.

Boullier expanded on the team’s reasoning: “I guess it’s unusual because we are coming out of August and not having a firm commitment from the team, we are working on the strategy for the driver line-up for the next years. For me it’s important to say years because we are looking for three years and maybe five years.”

“It’s true with Ron being back since January and me being new to the team we have asked for a little bit more time than necessary, but we can afford this time. Even if it is uncomfortable for the drivers, which I understand, we have to put our priorities first.”

Over the recent months rumours have been flying around that Mclaren had spoken at different stages with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Honda, the team’s new engine partner is investing heavily for its return to Formula One and has targeted one of the recognised ‘star’ drivers as essential for next season.

The problem, this year, has been that with Mclaren using the same power unit as the dominant Mercedes, the rapidly improving Williams team and the mid-grid Force India, their lack of comparative pace and development has effectively left any of the aforementioned drivers unwilling to commit to the Woking cause.

When Ron Dennis took over control of Mclaren in 1981, he was saddled with Andrea De Cesaris and John Watson. For 1982 he enticed Niki Lauda back to the sport and put into action the development of his own engine with Porsche designing the Tag-Turbo which dominated the sport in 1984-5 with Lauda and Alain Prost. By 1988, Mclaren had become the number one team and Senna had joined. The writing was on the wall when Senna offered his services to WIlliams for 1993 for free, yet would negotiate a race by race contract with Mclaren for his services.

Phillipe Alliot, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard were some of the incumbents during an era when the greatest driver drove for the competition and although Mclaren courted Michael Schumacher, he preferred the challenge of racing for Ferrari.

Hakkinen won a couple of Newey designed championships and by the time of his retirement it was junior drivers with potential that Mclaren could encourage to join the team – even Juan Montoya joined in a fit of pique after feeling snubbed by Williams. But left in similarly dramatic circumstances.

Unusually in 2007, double world champion Alonso joined the squad after being “honeymooned’ by Dennis and had alongside him the mercurial Hamilton. Yet by season’s end he had left, preferring the uncompetitive Renault to another season with the team. Over the last few seasons, Mclaren has bled engineers and top quality drivers for reasons unpublished and once again they are left scraping around for drivers to commit to the cause.

In the never-ending saga that is the title sponsorship of the team, an exclusive contract with an ambitious partner that will only last for two years and a team in the middle of another rebuild – having not been Constructors Champions for sixteen years – Mclaren may have to rely on two drivers who have not been signed up for next year yet or possibly to be replaced with Grosjean – who Boullier manages.

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Mercedes lost out to RB again

The track isn’t the only place where Mercedes is getting beaten by those pesky Austrians. They also lost the race for the services of Max Verstappen. Toto Wolff seems to harbour no hard feelings though, as he acknowledges that without a farm team, Mercedes simply can’t compete with the RB offer.

“It was the best decision from his point of view. They [Red Bull] offer a long-term deal, which we cannot offer. We could only offer GP2, a few tests and maybe a few outings as Friday test driver. Since we are quite happy with our drivers, we would have to think of ways, how to give him track-time and if such opportunity doesn’t present itself, the whole program is useless.” (The interview obviously happened before Spa 😉 )

The subject of Mercedes’ failed hiring attempts has meanwhile had his first taste of an F1 car. Just over a month before his seventeenth birthday, the Dutchman tested a demo version of the RB7 painted in Toro Rosso colours at the Oval at Rockingham. It was a short shakedown though as they only performed some runs up and down the pitlane mainly for exercises to acquaint the youngster with the complicated steering wheel and – undoubtedly – to explain why it has neither a touchscreen nor an installation of candy crush.

Verstappen is slated to make an appearance in the fancy-frocked RB7 at the VKV City Racing Event in Rotterdam on Saturday and Sunday.

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Meanwhile at Brackley

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Bernard E: Do they have money?

It hasn’t been too long that Mr. E considered F1 done in Europe. But one thing he’s still considering is a Mediterranean GP – in Greece of all places. On 30th May, Formula One Licensing, one of the many companies in F1’s web of companies and subsidiaries secured the trade mark “Formula One Mediterranean Grand Prix”.

Recently returned to his job full-time after bribing his way out of the bribery charges brought against him, he confirmed to CNN that the topic is still on his to-do list. “The Greeks want that. They want me to talk with their PM with their Mayor. We have to find out if they have any money.”

TJ13 comment: No, Bernie, it’s not what the Greeks want. The Greeks want something to eat, health insurance and a job, because most of them have neither of those. And if they have any money, it’s coming from Germany, France and the other Eurozone countries that haven’t yet ruined their economy. It’s the Greek politicians, who want it. The same ones who ruined Greece in the first place.

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Lewis Hamilton always puts team first

In Hungary three weekends ago, the team asked Lewis to not hold up Nico Rosberg who was on a more aggressive strategy. This was followed by “let Nico past on the main start/finish straight

Hamilton maintained his speed and told the team “I’m not slowing down for Nico“. Rosberg asked again why he had not slowed down for him and after the race commented that it was “obviously not good.” But the leadership in the Mercedes team changed tact after the race and said Hamilton had acted correctly because Rosberg did not get close enough to him.

Hamilton himself stated that: “I was in the same race as him. If I’d let him past he’d have had the opportunity to pull away. I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that to be able to better his position. I wasn’t going to ease off and lose ground to Fernando or Daniel to let him overtake. I can’t express the pain I feel over the issues I’ve had in the last couple of races. It’s very, very difficult to swallow.

Following the summer break and a chance to recharge both body and mind after what has proven a dramatic and highly pressured season – Hamilton has come back more reflective and has changed his stance in regards his obligations to the team.

After the Belgian race, the BBC carried an article in which Hamilton has promised he won’t retaliate against team-mate Rosberg when the F1 circus arrives at the historic Monza circuit. “I have to make sure we’re not racing wheel-to-wheel” so as to avoid any further conflict.

I will always put the team first and I won’t take anything into my own hands. The weekend was damaging. I don’t know how I’m going to get back those 29 points, but what I do know is I’ve a great group of people behind me. The poor guys on my side of the garage have had quite a lot of bad races.

And on Sky Hamilton was asked about the his reaction to the incident on the second lap, ” I don’t have a reaction, I think. This year, the team have allowed us to race and we’ve been good at racing wheel to wheel close. I think I heard someone say it was inevitable we were going to crash one day; but I don’t feel today was that inevitability”

“I took the inside line and braked very deep otherwise he would have come around the outside into that section. I still made the corner on my normal line and then I got a big thud. He was in my blindspot I could see quite far behind me I knew that he was behind so I continued my line… I thought for sure there’d be an investigation.”

“I’m mostly gutted for the team – and of course for myself because I lost points and that makes my championship harder – but I’m really convinced this weekend that the team said ‘Okay, now we’ll allow you’. I don’t know why they suggested that – we already were racing hard with each other – but they said ‘Now we want you to be able to race’ And I don’t know how literally he took that because for me the priority was still for the team to finish”

Immediately following the race both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda placed the blame upon Nico’s shoulders, absolving Hamilton of any wrong-doing and yet when Rosberg was asked about the post race team meeting, he replied: “Its important for us, in the more difficult times, to really discuss and reason. And I think as a team we’re always managing to do that because we have a very strong leadership with Toto and Paddy foremost and then with Niki who’s helping out. And I think that is the advantage that we have this strong leadership.”

Lauda has made no secret of his support for Lewis this season. With a team seemingly in disarray at all levels he has been Hamilton’s ally throughout and his throwaway remark about his “helping out” reflects on how Rosberg views him. As to strong leadership, TJ13 has been stating for some months that without Ross Brawn at the tiller – the Brackley team would self destruct.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Vettel made ‘many mistakes’ in 2014 – Webber

Mark Webber’s honest clarity has been missed from the formula one paddock in 2014. Amid the typical PR-speak, the Australian – having left Red Bull and the paddock for semi-retirement and Le Mans – was always relied upon for a blunt assessment.

On his former teammate Sebastian Vettel’s troubled 2014 season, for instance, Webber told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV this week: “Vettel is having problems with the new rules. He has improved, but from the first race you could see he was making many mistakes,” Webber added.

But Vettel himself, whilst not denying he made mistakes, thinks bad reliability has been the headline of his struggle in 2014. At Spa, he even said it is “unfair” to directly compare him with Daniel Ricciardo this year, because the Australian has had a clear run with the sister RB10.

Now, Vettel tells German television RTL: “People see the raw result and have their opinion. But they don’t always see what is really going on. We have had so many technical problems; burned up so many engines and wasted many components.”

“Daniel has performed very strongly, there is no question,” said the four-time world champion. “But I think the races he won, we would have also been able to win if things had gone a bit differently.”

For that reason, he said he is not beginning to question his own talent. “It’s not as if you forget how to drive over a winter and suddenly start doing everything wrong instead of everything right,” said Vettel. “The hunger is still there and I think we have a good chance to fight for the world championship if we position ourselves better.”

TJ13 comment: Alonso was prophetic when he suggested late last year that Vettel’s success would be questioned when he didn’t have a dominant car any longer. It was always to be expected that birthday boy Webber would rejoice at his hardships this season, but for many neutral fans his humility and natural likeability has shown through despite having a season from hell seemingly.

Whether he remains with the Buckinghamshire Austrians or leaves to pastures new, a humbling season could very well be the making of his eventual legacy in the annals of F1 history.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Verstappen tipped for Friday debut at Suzuka

Max Verstappen made his debut in a formula one car on Tuesday. The well-connected Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claims Red Bull, having newly signed the 16-year-old son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, has targeted October’s Japanese grand prix as a potential first official outing for Max in 2014.

That is despite Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost saying at Spa that Verstappen’s first Friday practice outings will only be in “Austin, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi”. But Red Bull may now be speeding up the teenager’s already-accelerated F1 programme even more.

“Max is in England for a brief introduction,” Max’s father Jos is quoted as saying. He is referring to an outing for Verstappen at Rockingham, at the wheel Red Bull’s title-winning 2011 car, in Toro Rosso livery. It is a shakedown ahead of a forthcoming demonstration event in Rotterdam. “It (the Rockingham debut) is not a test,” Verstappen’s father said. “Today (Tuesday) he is driving back and forth on the straight to get used to a formula one car.”

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko confirmed: “Everything went well. Max did everything right, but I expected nothing else. When you talk to Max, you realise quickly that he is a confident young man who knows exactly what he is doing,” he told Bild.

But even Red Bull’s very own Sebastian Vettel, who made his F1 debut as a teenager, has described Verstappen’s age and experience as “borderline”. “There is some sort of limit and Max is very young,” the German said on a visit to Sochi this week to try the new Russian grand prix layout. “I guess he should go to school, but he is not going to have much time for that next year! He already has a lot of racing experience, and his talent is obvious,” continued Vettel. “So why shouldn’t he be in formula one?”

TJ13 comment: With the Formula One landscape changing, dissolving into a new dawn, the players get younger and the viewers turn away from what was once a challenging sport. Adrian Newey has spoken recently of the lack of education that the non successful karters will suffer, Vettel mentions his age as borderline and Villeneuve has attacked the Superlicence qualifying criteria.

In years gone by drivers had what was known as ‘self belief’ which carried them through different trials on their ascent and journey into F1 and adulthood. In the 21st century that term has changed to ‘entitlement’ as though they deserve a place on the Playstation grid. There are no apprenticeships anymore just instant results and with Formula Three carrying none of the prestige it did over the decades, basing Max’s ability on a weak field may prove crippling to his career.

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139 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 27th August 2014

  1. RE: OTD Lite: 1976 – Birth of Mrs Judge’s favourite

    Im surprised nobody connected the dots between Vettels current form and his form at the start of 2012. Everybody thinks its all because Ricciardo is that good? My opinion? Mark Webber would have been a match for Vettel this year just like he was in the first half of 2012 after the blown diffuser ban. Only difference between WEB and RIC: Ricciardo is just 25 y/o and completely motivated.

    • What! What! What did you say about Ricciardo. You god damn racist. I, I, I just… I just can’t believe this veiled, reverse racist tirade against Ricciardo. What?! Don’t you like Australians who smile too much, does that offend you. Should he be subservient to all non Australians. Well maybe he CAN smile and have a Career too.

      I bet, -ventilin puffer-, I bet -cough-, that you never even typed that comment Alex! You disgust me, with your moronic and racially motivated hatred of Ricciardo. Just a troll.

      Judge, please ban immediately.

      ——

      Sounds crazy, doesn’t it Hamilfosi.

      Alex, I trust you know I was being facetious. I agree in part. I think Vettel will be back before long.

      • You need to see a doctor. Your fixation with Hamilton and his fans start to become a worrying sign 😉

          • Err, no because you don’t understand racism. The comment is nothing about Ricciardo’s race or culture, and I’m guessing Alex is also Caucasian (you can’t really be racist when you’re the same race, self-loathing maybe).

            It. Really. Is. Not. Very. Complicated.

          • I’ve known M78 for some time in different places and despite his unnerving support of the Woking troupe he has always been a great commenter.
            Then again we’re like brothers in arm currently, both our teams are shocking…

            All the best to you both, enjoying the sarcasm and banter 😉

          • Thanks Carlo, much appreciated! We always need a bit of banter, otherwise we’ll be as boring as drivers walking the corporate line race in race out.

          • @Gonch

            “The comment is nothing about Ricciardo’s race or culture…”

            True. But neither are any of the critical comments about Hamilton I have seen here. And yet… similar responses, like my facetious one, are bandied around like like it’s going our of fashion. It’s ok though, I thought it a simple point, but perhaps the irony is a bit too subtle or point a bit too complex for you.

            @M78

            Mate when I said you were one if the good ones, I meant one of the moderate fans. Not one of the rabid Hamilfosi. I wasn’t having a go at you mate. I can’t wait for my yellow spade by the way. 🙂

          • @ SiS
            I know big man, I know it wasn’t directed at me, I was just teasing you hence the wink at the end. I really enjoy having you at this site. It’s good banter.

    • I have been saying for a long time now that Vettel without a strong rear end can’t seem to cope that well, using the early part of 2012 as evidence. Only now are the majority of people seeing it like that…

      • I’m sure my Yoga teacher could suggest some exercises to help with that little problem…. 😉

        • Mmm. I’m hearing Vettel was getting whipped by Danny in the simulator last year…. Set up with blown this and that and the like… Seb’s going to Macca…. Jenson’s got away with it for 3 years there…. 😉

          • “Seb’s going to Macca….”

            Confirmed, Judge, or mere supposition? I can’t figure who would be getting the worse deal in the circumstances. Seb is obviously an incredible driver, and McLaren is clearly a top-draw team, but currently both are relative unknowns to observers..

          • Except that only you say seem to have that information and in regards to Vettel your credibility is – let’s say – not the best 😉

  2. The question about Honda is: will they build a mega engine? Based on their last stint in F1, I’d say no.
    But they have a year extra, so if I were Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton, I would consider it.

    I was wondering the other day if McLaren might be sandbagging this year with development. Like ‘the car’s bad, so let’s not spend much money on it, but don’t tell Jenson!’

    • developing a championship winning car takes time, lots of money and rule changes, so yes, i think 2016 is too soon.

      if i were hamilton, vettel or alonso, i’d stay put and wait to see how things will develop. button, magnussen or even grosjean would probably be replaced in a heartbeat, if a top driver were willing to sign in a couple of seasons.

      • But Button seems to be terrible at developing a bad car… So he needs to be cut loose so as not to hinder progress.

        • Not to mention, he’s past his 2010-11 best, of being 2 tenths from the peak pace (Hamilton, then Vettel). I’d say he’s dropped another few tenths since then (he is approaching his mid-30s after all), hence matching Perez and Magnussen on pace, but beating them with racing nous to pick up consistent points finishes.

        • Geeze, Button’s not a freakin’ aerodynamicist for chrissakes!

          Macca’s failure to develop this year’s silverish-grey tub-o’-shit isn’t down to the drivers’ fault!

          • Well… The driver does have a significant input in indicating to the engineer what works, and what doesn’t. Given how Button can royally screw up set-ups (to the point of getting lapped by his teammate), this type of uncertainty can throw off engineers. So while drivers are no aerodynamicists, true, their feedback does have significant impact on how successful car development is.

            Someone (don’t remember who) had a very interesting theory on how Button’s career success came mostly when Davidson was on testing duties for his teams, and evaporated whenever he was taking lead in the team..

          • That would be me, @landroni 🙂

            It was prompted by a thread on F1Fanatic, which then made it’s own thread. Davidson was the test driver there for the 2004 BAR, the 2009 Brawn (originally Super Aguri) and now 2014 Mercedes. There was also 2007 when the Super Aguri was faster than the works Honda, using last year’s Honda…

          • But Button has 2002 for himself – “best of the rest”, and unlucky to lose his first podium in Malaysia. A great bounce-back from the disappointing hangover of 2001, after a good debut 2000.

          • @f1esty

            Have you considered taking you comment, polishing it up, adding some stats and some pictures, and submitting it to the Fan Features? That would be an awesome read! I’ve always been a fan of the guy (until I found TJ13, of course), and it’s fascinating to learn of how little use Jense was for his teams.. Unless, of course, the car was already set up, tuned and ready to go!

    • I think all the 3 top drivers who are incidentally quite unhappy too, would want to wait and see what Honda comes up with ’15. Maybe one of them will even agree something with a caveat therein along the lines of I’m coming in ’16 if in ’15 you finish second in the WCC. I can’t see (don’t want to see) Alonso back at Macca. I think it’s between Vettel and Hamilton. They will both want to see how they fair next year vs Ric and in the Merc warzone respectively and then decide if it’s worth a punt with Honda based on their ’15 performance.
      The best Macca can do now is put Button in an ambassadorial role and recruit Grosjean alongside K-Mag.

      • It’s so hard to say, but I think I’d keep both current drivers then.
        Is Grosjean while adjusting to a new enviRonment better then Button?

      • @McLaren78 “I think all the 3 top drivers who are incidentally quite unhappy too, would want to wait and see what Honda comes up with ’15. ”

        Alternatively they might wait and miss the opportunity, when somebody else jumps ship this year. A hard choice for all three, and who knows what the PU’s will be like in 2015. Renault appear to have made progress, and they could easily be level by next year. For arguments sake, if PU’s were as level as 2014, where would you put those three drivers?

      • They don’t want to wait a year, it is better to move there, improve the team and score in ’16. You just have to take the gamble.

  3. The judge, how long do you anticipate it will take McLaren to produce a title winning car? Next year is looking too soon at the moment right? Maybe 2016?

        • That’s basically what all the teams have been waiting for, Newey to either sign with one of them or to swan off to design boats for the America’s cup. Though Ross Brawn managed to leap frog Newey through meticulous planning on the 2014 Mercedes from power train to chassis design. Might have been a different story had Renault developed a more reliable and competitive power train. But that’s been the story of the last 20 odd years – Either Brawn has had the upper hand or Newey has.

          Ferrari wise ? I think it’s going to take a while longer before the prancing horse stops hiding in the stables and gallops out for a championship victory. 2016 might be too optimistic.

          McLaren ? Either the wheels have fallen off into a ravine or Ron Dennis is being devious – using 2014 to gain knowledge about the Mercedes power train for Honda, and developing parts for 2015 and not really caring about McLaren’s results this season using Eric to spin tall tales to the McLaren faithful and sponsors (what’s left of them).

  4. Apparently the GP in Greece will be funded privately and not by the goverment. Having seen the track layout, I will predict that the race won’t happen. Why?

    Because the FIA would never allow such an incredible track onto the Formula 1 calendar. Loads of quick corners and no silly, gimmicky corners? Good luck Greece.

    (That said, if it does happen, I will definitely be there!)

    • I previously mentioned Greece for FE’s empty slot. I think it’s a great location with iconic land marks that would make for a great street race. But I also mistakenly said at that time the economics of putting it on were absurd for a broke country like Greece. I believe it was Matt who said FE is free to host outside of set up. Perhaps Greece should be chasing FE. I’d hate to see F1 go there, like Valencia, and it all fall apart a few years later in a shambles.

      • Still

        I have lots of greek friends, they were angered when the government aproved the construction of a track in Patras, Peloponeso region, back there in 2012, but now the situation appears to be different as it is a street circuit and also privately funded

        sincerely I hope they make a race there, for both categories, the greek economy is so drained and any event that could give them some income would be good

        • No event makes an income with F1. The hosting fees that Bernard extorts are much higher than any income from tickets and merchandise

        • That’s interesting RT.

          ButwWhat does a private investor get out of funding a street track and paying for F1 hosing fees?

          This is a real question. What purpose does it serve them financially?

          I get it with the governments promoting their areas.

          Could it be government via a “private investor” to appease the masses their public funds / loans are not being wasted?

          I don’t know, speculating.

          • Still and FH

            I guess the promoters bleed and sweat to make some dough, given the fees charged by Bernie and his crew, but, when I say income I am referring to the profits gained by the surroundings and the host city itself

            actually I remember in 2012 the São Paulo City government did a research along with the City’s Commercial Association, and they found that the city earns something around USD 120 m during the race wk, and if you consider the greek city have lots more in terms of tourist attractions, it could be a great situation, a tiny relief for the city and their beaten economy

          • Still

            they could make a profit, and the greek government could be offering them some tax relaxment, or subsidising something, as it will be a profitable situation for the tourist and hotel industry, they could promote and bring new tourist who will spend there and probably will return

            I know I am biased for having greek friends, but I do like the country and the greek people and I hope they can pull something to help them, and of course it would be a fantastic race venue

          • Judge

            this is the value accounted by the City Government eith the Hotel and,Commercial associations, they estimate about 75 to 95 k visitors during the race week, many of them come just to do business and they usually spend a lot in meetings in restaurants and clubs

            and, you know I am not related with FOM, I am just a stck market investor, and also I am cheering for the greek people

            cheers

          • Judge

            this is the value accounted by the City Government with the Hotel and Commercial associations, they estimate about 75 to 95 k visitors during the race week, many of them come just to do business and they usually spend a lot in meetings in restaurants and clubs

            also, here the tickets are much more expensive than there, last season the cheapest was around USD 320 just for the race and 650 for the 3 days
            mind you, the cheapest, known as the “piss” grandstand ’cause the “fine” people sitting there above, usually piss and throw the stuff at those who are under

            and, you know I am not related with FOM, I am just a stck market investor, and also I am cheering for the greek people

            cheers

          • @R/T

            “I am cheering for the greek people”

            Yeah me too. I’d love a FE, or F1 race in Greece. My fear remains in relation to Bernie and FOM’s legal rape of these sorts of places. Then they get out of fashion, or if they don’t toe the line, they get discarded and left in a total mess in an already tight local economy. Valencia is a great example. Korea soon another maybe.

            My parents are Greek, born and raised. They came here to AUS at 12 and 15. They met, had 3 little SiS’s… So for me it’s a bit close to the heart to get it right and if they do, it’s a reason to visit family.

      • Sure Carlo, how did I miss that? Maybe I missed it, but how was this article defending Lewis?

        The lead headline was nothing but pure sarcasm, given that in the judges report after Hungary, he pretty much threw Lewis under the bus, for “not putting the team first”

        Oh come now, this was in now way meant to be offering any support to Lewis.

      • mmm, I wouldn’t say it’s a piece that’s defending Lewis, it’s just factual stating what he said one weekend and what he said the other. There’s no clear position on Lewis, however, it does criticise Merc leadership as does everyone else, they are as ‘cojones-less’ as Horner.

    • Well, he does…as long as his own race is not jeopardised! He’s no different than any other no 1 driver, no 2s are a different story though.

      • except that he claims #1 status by his own decision, against the policy of the team. Strange way to always put the team first. Just sayin’…

        • Don’t forget that he can play games too. Before Spa he said that the fight against Rosberg is like playing poker and that 2008 was a much easier year. Now that Rosberg is perceived as the bad guy and he’s in the naughty step by the bosses, Lewis grabs the chance to play the good student. Fair game I say for someone perceived as ‘thick’.

          • I doubt Nico is on the naughty step. And wouldn’t you say it is a bit late to suck up to the team AFTER you’ve snubbed them publicly? He tries, sure. I wouldn’t bet on the effectiveness of the maneuvre though

          • If the manoeuvre doesn’t work out, it will succeed with the fans and journalists, and maybe that will destabilise Rosberg a little bit. Now we’ll see if Nico is as single-minded/determined/ruthless as Schuey and Vettel.

    • Yes I smirked at that comment too Anil.

      The key one was, “I have to make sure we’re not racing wheel-to-wheel” so as to avoid any further conflict.

      The change has already begun, as predicted… This speaks to a comment I made yesterday about Hamilton fearing his racing against Nico and “not knowing what to expect”.

      • Well, to avoid further conflict he must first start getting the poles and disappearing into the mist as Vettel was doing, otherwise there’ll be more fun and games

        • Or just keep rocketing by hapless Nico off-the-line from 2nd, when viable…(but yeah, pole would help).

          Hopefully there won’t be additional opportunity for Nico to prematurely end Q3 just as LH is about to pip him.

          • Yes, but really they shouldn’t throw a yellow there if it goes down to the end of the escape road (of course they will, but it should only count at that corner, and shouldn’t affect Q laps behind IMO. Sure, if someone crashes into them under yellow, throw the book at them, but that never happens unless the car stopped really needs a double waved yellow.)

          • @f1esty

            “Yes, but really they shouldn’t throw a yellow there if it goes down to the end of the escape road”

            You never know when Britney accidentally puts it in reverse while checking his manicure, and then accidentally reverses back to the track while checking the mirrors to adjust his make-up.. Plausible deniability, you know.. 🙂

  5. This popped up on the RSS feeds today. I thought I’d share

    A wise man will always be happy, for he submits himself to reason, and governs his actions by counsel, not by passion. He is not moved with the utmost violences of fortune, nor with the extremities of fire and sword; whereas a fool is afraid of his own shadow, and surprised at ill accidents, as if they were all levelled at him.

    Lucius Annaeus Seneca

  6. Hamilton squealing to the press could be a masterstroke. Not sure if he meant it to be or was just being whingey. But getting the fans to think Rosberg is a cheat will affect him a lot.
    Seeing him get booed on Sunday it looked he was going to cry, he didn’t much like it. From now on he’ll tip toeing around Lewis when he meets him on the track. Which will play into Lewis’ hands. Think the tables might turn on Nico like they did for Lewis after Monaco.
    Finally the gloves are off! The rest of the season should be epic.

      • SIS, i see you’ve laughed your arse off many times before as stated in your comments previously. Just wondering, how have you not run out of arses to laugh? How many do you have, it must be a pain when going to the toilet??

        • Oh Formula… It’s all very love hate between us isn’t it. Well my friend I have just delivered my second and third feature to John at the TJ13 team and I’m guessing our love hate scale may tip significantly soon enough. 😀

          Oh and by the way… Lmao. Really.

    • Tables may well turn, but that would depend on thing only, whether Rosberg is ruthless enough or not. If Hamilton was booed at the podium I’m convinced he would then collapse. That would affect him heavily. But that never happened with Schumacher or Vettel, they’re both ruthless, they don’t care about fan opinions. Same probably goes for Alonso. I always though Rosberg as a ‘good’ guy. He was definitely shaken after the race, his mouth walking the corporate line, but his eyes were telling a different story. Let’s find out. What a season!

    • Hamilton squealing to the press could be a masterstroke. Not sure if he meant it to be or was just being whingey. But getting the fans to think Rosberg is a cheat will affect him a lot.

      While calmly articulating his perspective and retelling events as he saw – and experienced them – does “help” Lewis to ensure the narrative presented by media is more correct and not biased in Rosberg’s favor, fans don’t need Lewis to whine on camera to think Rosberg is a cheat.

      Nico’s own actions – and the reporting of anonymously-sourced statements from throughout the paddock – already accomplish this.

      I think Lewis has been mighty restrained w/ the press this year. Remember, according to his own words, Lewis doesn’t play “mind games” – he proves his superiority out on the track!

      • “anonymously-sourced statements from throughout the paddock – already accomplish this.”

        Would that include the statement made about how Nico apparently admitted in the Merc team meeting that he’d deliberately crashed into Lewis? Or is that more Lewis’ “calmly articulated” perspective?

        • Would that include the statement made about how…

          No it wouldn’t. Are you being disingenuous?

          Because I was specifically referring to Ted Kravitz’s reporting from Monaco, in which he revealed that a clear majority of the sources he queried in the paddock attributed the premature cessation of activity in Q3 to intentional subterfuge on Rosberg’s part, though they of course (as Kravitz noted) would not permit their comments to be attributed, hence why TK reported on them in the aggregate.

          Nevertheless, Mark, Hamilton telling the media what Nico said during a team meeting is highly credible and would certainly be considered valid testimony in a court of law here, as it’s most decidedly not hearsay. After all, Lewis was sat right there w/ Nico and presumably heard the man’s actual words.

          That Mercedes broadly confirmed Hamilton’s on-the-record assertions – only to then post-up via press release (or however they handled it) that the “point” that Rosberg sought to make was somehow less than one that involved intentionally causing a collision w/ his teammate – is extremely cynical but totally not surprising, given that in life in general, and not just sport, few individuals or organizations are willing to voluntarily bring sanction/punishment down upon themselves, no matter how deserved, if they’ve escaped being held accountable for a breach of some sort.

          Furthermore, the fact that Rosberg did not directly refute Hamilton’s assertion, or even offer an apology (if it was a mistake) or a credible explanation of why Hamilton would say such a thing (and instead just parroted the “racing incident” deflection) only adds further credibility to Hamilton’s claims of what was said by NR in his presence.

  7. Whatever you think of Justin Bieber and his music, he attracts loads of young (female) fans.
    So if Max’ arrival in F1 has the same effect, it’s the best thing that could happen for the sport – even if it’s a trade between 10 million old purists and 10 million teenage girls!

    As for the rest, I await his development and form my opinion in the next 5 years.

    • Granted he’s not done much results-wise but t’other Max has the looks to attract the female fans but I’m not aware of any mass movement…

      I think the biggest problem he is going to have is that he’s doing his learning in front of the cameras rather than in the lower formulas where his mistakes won’t be pulled to pieces by all and sundry.

      If he can weather that and is given long enough to learn then there is no reason why he can’t be a success…

      • I think we’ll have a good idea of where he’s at by 2016. ‘Long enough’ for Max is usually not long enough for others.

  8. I prefer a 17 year old with a lot of talent over any of the paydrivers on the grid. I’d trade 1 Verstappen for Chilton, Ericsson and Guttierez.

    And F1 has way bigger probems than its barely existent learning curve.

        • So are young pay drivers OK then?
          Half the teams on the grid wouldn’t exist without pay drivers because the sport is too expensive. Even with pay drivers those teams really only make up the numbers. Get rid of the likes of Chilton, Ericsson and Guttierez and the teams go bust. No one really wants that, do they?
          Make the sport less expensive and the point of the sport (as tenuous as it is) is largely lost – it’s supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. It’s tough to sell F1 as the leadingest, edgeiest, bestest motorsport on the planet and then tell the teams not to spend too much.
          The whole idea of F1 is bonkers. That’s one of the things that makes is great. The circus that follows the craziness around the planet attracts fools who are soon parted with their spare coin and then some. And that’s a good thing, for mine. The sport needs it.
          As long as the pay drivers are competent steerers and their teams can turn out a <107% car then let them race. The money they bring ultimately supports / makes possible the high-end racing at the sharp end of the grid.
          Assuming this new Max lives up to at least some of the hype then I think that we can be happy that a quality driver has been spotted and promoted to the big show without having massive personal sponsorship. And we already have Bottas, Magnussen, Kyvat. The system works (kinda).
          It's easy to sneer at pay drivers, but they've always been there and should remain a part of the landscape. I'd be one if I could 🙂

  9. Is anyone else bored senseless seeing comments about race. Can we just sack it now.

    • Punishing Rosberg is pointless, he has more money than good sense as do most drivers. If Merc were serious, they would put Lewis on optimum strategy and give him the undercut next 2 or 3 races regardless of quali, assuming he has a shot at winning in the first pit window.

      Don’t find that to be a likely outcome IMO, though they may simply give Lewis extra strat 6 time, instead.

      • Still not sure why Rosberg needs to be punished considering it was Hamilton cutting in front and leaving no space and attempting the old bully line again. Didn’t that get established the other day by Judge’s article? Still not sure why the FIA haven’t given Lewis a 5 spot penalty for Monza? But I guess it’s good they don’t get involved too much. Are we really going to read too much into what the British media says about their darling British driver?

        • LOL, you crack me up. I saw it as a racing incident, but one where Rosberg would have been culpable under the old rules. Lewis didn’t change his line so accusing him of giving Nico the chop is absurd.

          But the issue has naught to do with the FIA, or even the judge, but how Mercedes might deal with Rosberg as it seemed apparent that internally he was going to be held to blame, and in fact he admitted as much in the post race briefing, that he could have avoided contact and didn’t to make a point.

          Personally I don’t think he intended to make contact and effed it up, but there you go, play with fire and all that.

          So, the question was if Merc choose to do anything, what might they do? You’re more than welcome to play if you like. Personally, like I said, nothing seems to be the most likely outcome but if they wished to, those methods I mentioned previously would IMO be the most likely and effective means they could employ.

          • Hmm ok. Your game, your rules. Let’s see…

            If I were intent on punishing Britney, I’d probably force him to pick from the following punishment list:

            Grade lvl1 Card:
            (for love taps)

            1) Wash Lewis’ dogs
            2) Collect Lewis’ dry cleaning in Monaco for 1 week
            3) Polish Lewis’ assorted diamond earrings
            4) Listen to Nicole whinging about her career for no less than 1 standard hour
            5) Perform the “pretty fly for a white guy” song in front of assembled media with no backing track

            Personally if I were Rosberg, I’d pick the earrings in the hope I’d see a reflection of myself occasionally.

          • LOL, hopefully he’d pick #5. That would be worth it’s weight in gold.

            Though not my game, the larger question of dealing effectively with drivers is always fascinating and given RB’s adventures with Chylde Vettel in the recent past (or Bushranger Webber, depends on your predilections) as well as Mercedes current shambles, I find it interesting to speculate how Team management might effectively enforce it’s will on the drivers. Brawn seemed to manage it reasonably well, but in this era it was more than an exception it seems.

          • @mattpt55

            I think you have the most sensible wrap-up of the ROS/HAM incident: FIA-wise, it’s (mostly) a racing incident; while internally, Merc-wise, it’s ROS who crashed into HAM. That’s how I gather your POV, anyhow.

            “[..] but one where Rosberg would have been culpable under the old rules.”

            But which new rules do you have in mind, exactly?

            As I point out in http://thejudge13.com/2014/08/25/voice-of-the-f1-fans-an-alternative-analysis-of-rosham/#comment-82411 , the *July 2012 memo* (the one about “no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his”) simply does NOT apply to defending a corner, so is not applicable in this case. It only applies to behavior on a straight (think Magnussen’s penalty for his move on Alonso at Spa or Vettel’s penalty for his move on Alonso at Monza).

            So we’re left with the *March 2012 guidance*. Having watched and re-watched Davidson’s slow-mo, it’s clear that Hamilton first covers the inside while on the Kemmel straight, then towards the braking zone retakes the racing line. The March 2012 guidance seems to apply in this case. I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that Charlie’s guidance, strictly speaking, is that when moving back to regain the racing line (and only then!!), the driver doing so should leave the chasing driver at least one car width of space on the track. From what I see in this lawyerly gibberish, this guidance doesn’t regulate anything else that happens *after* the defending driver has regained the racing line (and left one width of space to the chasing driver): at best it’s ambiguous, at worst it simply says nothing about what should happen within the corner, the following straight, or until the end of the race for that matter. And HAM clearly complied with the guidance (in it’s strictest sense), as ROS had more than enough space alongside him when going into the braking zone.

            And what guides us after the drivers enter the braking zone? Old rules, and racing norms. And that’s where the balance is swinging between a racing incident and a clumsy ROS driver error.

            Here’s Davidson’s slow-mo analysis:

            [vimeo 104256018 w=500 h=281] F1 Hamilton vs Rosberg Belgium GP 2014 from Liver Stoner on Vimeo.

          • @landroni, yes that’s a very accurate representation of how I see it. And you are epically correct IMO as to how these rules are applied. Don’t forget that the genesis of these rules dates back to Bahrain 2012 and a certain young German’s incredibly eager defense against 2 separate world champions, one of whom deployed his full arsenal of 100% Catalonian Leather handbags in the aftermath which has led full circle to the current entertainment (though I’m fairly certain you already knew that, LOL).

            But what I was referring to was the new era of “lax” enforcement that the stewards have embarked on under Whiting’s guidance, allowing them the freedom to “work it out on track” and actually race. Prior to that guidance virtually any contact was investigated and more often that not punishment resulted.

            BTW nice work on researching. Can’t wait for your first article 😉

          • Stop the two sides of the garage seeing each others’ data until after the race ?

          • “Lewis didn’t change his line so accusing him of giving Nico the chop is absurd.”

            But the fault lies with Lewis because he didn’t change his line – he ignored the fact that another car was on the inside line and turned in to the left hander anyay – turning across the nose of another car.

          • As we discussed on the podcast, the reason the stewards chose not to intervene is because a greater responsibility is now placed on the lead driver to accommodate the driver who is chasing…. Pretty easy with modern cars and circuits to ‘claim the racing line’

          • @tj13 yes, I get that is your consensus but the only steward I’ve heard speak directly about it other than to call it a racing incident (which as previously stated is my view under current regs) was Warwick who said he thought it was “silly” on Rosberg’s part. Obviously he wasn’t on the crew, but it seems to imply he felt Rosberg more to blame.

            @landroni I think 3 reasons

            1. Straight

            2. Ferrari/Alonso

            3. It may have done damage to ALO placing that was not apparent to viewers.

            Also MAG is a rookie so they are liable to be stricter, a pattern I’ve noticed this year. BTW he also got dinged for penalty points as well.

          • @mattpt55
            “new era of “lax” enforcement that the stewards”

            Funny you should mention that (actually it completely slipped my mind). Funny because you seem to be suggesting that had the stewards investigated the incident under the, err, un-lax rules, Rosberg would have been deemed at fault. Hear the Judge, though, and Hamilton would have gotten the penalty ( http://thejudge13.com/2014/08/24/f1-features-the-deflation-of-puncture-gate/ ). So which one was it? 🙂

            While we’re at lax enforcing, I’m wondering why Shieldy got his penalty for the Kemmel move on Alonso? It felt like something sufficiently benign that could have been left alone. Or did Fred accidentally hit the Charlie button on his steering wheel?

            “Can’t wait for your first article”

            Thanks, Matt! I’m still getting warmed-up for now. I already have an idea, but I’ll look into that when I get some free time from work, and when I actually dare to..

  10. OK, this is how I see it.

    In equal equipment and an equal state of mind Hamilton is quicker then Rosberg. Has anyone actually seen Rosberg pass Hamilton in a race where tire conditions were not an issue?

    However Rosberg is not as hard on the car and thus usually has less reliability issues. Hamilton drivers harder and breaks more often and also puts the car into more perilous places on the track and leaves himself more open to other driver mistakes too.

    Neither are the equal of Alanzo who does not break cars or crash out and still can make a car go as fast as it is capable of consistently.

    By the way I don’t think any top driver will risk going to McLeran next year until both Honda and the team prove they can do a lot better then they are now.

    • Have you got any supporting evidence for you claim that the failures he has suffered has some direct correlation to how he drives the car?

      Failures:
      Australia- split spark plug housing (see official report on F1.com)
      Canada- brake failure due to the failure of the MGU-K
      Germany- Failed brake due to mounting issues (see official report on F1.com)
      Hungary- Fire caused due to fuel pressure issues. Also during the race, lost power after 2nd pit stop which cost him .5 sec per lap (see interview on F1.com)

      If you can prove that those issues were due to how he drives, then I applaud you.

      Now for the “he puts his car in perilous positions”

      The only time any manoeuvre he has made that resulted in contact, was Germany (sutil, Kimi & Button). I won’t mention Spa, what’s the point. Btw, prior to Germany, the last time he collided with anyone, was Spain 2012( I might have missed one, but I don’t thinki have, but I’ll check and correct myself if I have). when Pastor did a Rosberg on him.

      • But did you count the times he didn’t make contact because the other parties (mainly rosberg, who, let’s face it, misses the set of balls to call his ” either you move out of the way or we crash” bluf) moved out of the way. And after all its quite hard to crash if you’re in front. And the times he hasn’t been in front, Germany and Hungary, it didn’t go so wel. Not counting belgium for obvious reasons.

        • Sorry, but did you actually read what I wrote?

          I did point out the contacts he has had with drivers this season and they all occurred in Germany, so I’m a little confused as to which driver he made contact with in Hungary, whilst attempting to get pass.

          I also mentioned, that prior to Germany, the last time that happened was Spain 2012 and that coming together with Pastor was similar to what happened on Sunday. But I’ve done some digging and I recalled his coming together with one of the FI’s in Brazil last year.

          I also get from your comment (I could be wrong), that you think his attempts at padding others, are always on the risky side, am I right?

          • In Hungary I count the time that he almost hit the wall. Because the original post spoke of the times he gets in a “bad situation” due to him self. He just counted the comming together with others. But in my opinion a wall is as race stopping as an other driver. And you can’t miss the fact if your first or second(with a car 1 to 2 sec faster) the chances of running in to someone are not that big.

        • ” rosberg, who, let’s face it, misses the set of balls to call his ” either you move out of the way or we crash” bluf”

          Perhaps not any more.

      • @JoePapp

        Oh man, how I would have loved to have been in that hug too, right there. What a bromance we’d have had…

        I was probably hugging the TV during that podium ceremony. No word of a lie. 🙂

        Anyone ever see that Scrubs song, “guy love”, between JD and Turk? Lol.

        • LOL good stuff, @Still I surprise…

          It’s great how even with all of the money and cynicism and manufactured drama, criminality, fraud, cheating, fakery, etc. in elite sport, it can’t help but produce moments of genuine human emotion that overwhelm and dominate the spectacle.

  11. ‘Brought to you by TheJudge13 Technical Analyst: Lorenzo De Luca Newey and Ricciardo”
    Invest in some commas, or did you mean to write analysts?

  12. Silver Spoon (SS), I mean Max Emilian Verstappen, good for F1???

    With Palmer, Nasr, Coletti, and Cecotto (also “a son of a F1…”) all in GP2, all having proven their worth, unlike SS, what could this be but yet another power play ploy by the F1 team employing 800 people for the development and maintenance of two cars?

    I don’t know how many of you are U.S. residents and are fans of sports across the board, but here Red Bull’s efforts to overtly extend its “reach” is stunningly Amero-gauche.

    RB basically owns ESPN’s X Games (and the Entertainment – “E” – before sports – “S” – network, though not an innocent in this game by ANY stretch, genuflects accordingly) and moves most of Extreme Sports popular culture (leave it to a corporation to move a culture, rather than the people in and of the culture). RB is also responsible for muting what was growing criticism of the hyper-caffeinated and when imbibed improperly, dangerous, world of “energy drinks.” Buying researchers, academicians, and quietly funding government legislators who enjoy being bought for free cases of the stuff, is just part and parcel of the manner in which RB does “business.”

    Perceived in this light, Verstappen being gifted an F1 ride is no accident. It is not at all in RB’s interest to heighten the F1 experience – or lend credence to the phenomenal expertise of F1 drivers; it is in their interest, though, to grow Red Bull’s BASE.

    And while some of you might think it’s cute or cool to attract myriad teenage girls to F1(the buck-toothed Verstappen is decidedly NOT visually appealing but never discount modern photo-enhancing tools!), you really do not want the Barbies or their Kens begging their parents for “the card” so that they can not only take seats from erstwhile F1 fans. As they have with American sports, they will seek to use their gifted views as up close and personal “fans in the stands” positions to co-opt and, ultimately, replace important F1 reportage, rendering it useless with their, “Hey, I watch the races, therefore my opinion is as much truth as people who know the sport,” mentality.

    There’s already enough of that among adults. At least with most of the adult “lamestream opinionators” (a phrase with words Sarah Palin would invent) there is some knowledge behind the misinformation; it makes answering with an adequate retort, somewhat fun.

    (BTW, surprised I have no counter to SIS-yphus – pushing the, I hate the very mention of Lewis Hamilton, boulder upward and,well upward – et al.?… Here’s this for you: from reading the back-and-forth in the “LH, Alternative View” post, I am happy to see there are many readers, especially “Fortis,” who can ably combat those with an animus – whatever the root – toward LH.)

    Also, in America, if someone had the gall to name their son “Max Emilian,” the words accompanying the laughter would be, “They have to Black, right,” or, “Oh my god, rednecks are crazy!”

    From Maximilian to Max Emilian!!! I can’t stop laughing!

      • Don’t worry Verstappen…

        He fails to miss that Mercedes also were desperate for him. Kind of undoes the whole conspiracy theory.

        The rest is just great blissful comedy. They do say ignorance us bliss, don’t they? LOL

    • Great po$t… They’re not a benign sponsor, that’s for sure.
      What’s your take on Monster? Basically seem to be copying everything RB does?

      • Why is it a surprise that RB are in F1 to sell their drinks?
        No team / sponsor is in it for the good of the sport.

        • In his reporting on the slow meltdown of F1 over the past several years, Dieter Rencken has done a great job to distill the truth in what you’ve said as it relates to Red Bull, but he also (successfully, imo) argues the opposite is true for Williams, that their fortunes are desperately linked to objectives and policies that would absolutely be considered to be “for the good of the sport”.

          I have the specific column saved as a bookmark somewhere, but it’s paywalled Autosport+ anyway. But yeah, Red Bull corp. has zero long-term dependency on Formula 1 for anything having to do w/ the success of its own business, but the opposite holds true for the Williams GP team, so please note this exception to your otherwise seemingly accurate statement.

  13. With all the talk about Verstappen, you start wondering how it is going with last years Dutch talent: Frijns. Last year he was doing great in GP2 and there was much talk that he deserved a chance in ’14. This year he is the test driver of Caterham (whatever that means nowadays) and I guess he will not get a seat in ’15. He did get a offer from Red Bull (twice) and turned them down.

    So I think that Verstappen did the right thing to take the seat for ’15, you might never get another chance because next year there will be another fresh talent.

    • This is why Frijns should have accepted…. he would have then been in the Felix da Costa seat, and probably moved up when Kvyat did, who would probably have ousted Sainz when he had his yips, joining Frijns now, with Verstappen in the next pound seat. Instead, he’s been a test driver for 2 years when you are basically not allowed to test…. he badly needs the support of someone like Mercedes IMO. Maybe BMW in DTM?

    • I think that Verstappen did the right thing to take the seat for ’15, you might never get another chance because next year there will be another fresh talent.

      From Verstappen’s perspective – and I admit I don’t know enough about his career thus far to comment definitively – I think what you’re saying makes sense: that you take the opportunity and accept the offer if it’s made, b/c the likelihood of being asked again later is far from guaranteed (unless the driver in question is so obviously and supremely talented, but still unrefined in their youth or developing, that there isn’t much question about their future progression into the fully-paid tier 1 – F1 – ranks. So is that the case w/ Verstappen? Probably not, right?).

      The risk of accepting entry into F1 before being truly competitive while still very young, of course, is ending up like Jaime Alguersuari, who became the youngest Formula One driver to start a Grand Prix in history at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix – at the age of 19 years, 125 days. He got his two full seasons w/ STR, but in the end failed to impress – despite quintupling his WDC points b/w 2010 and 2011 and finishing in the top-10 seven (7) times in 2011. He was replaced by Ricciardo.

      And more or less “washed-up” as a top-level motorsports competitor before age 22!

      It’s only now, in 2014, that he’s getting another chance in a “top-level” (??) FIA series: Formula_E. But by last year he’d admitted he had given up on trying to return to F1.

      Bringing it back to Verstappen, if he turned-down the drive admitting that he wasn’t ready, what’s the likelihood that he’d have another chance at F1 in a couple of years? I don’t like the idea of children racing in Formula One, and next year, at the age of 17 years and 166 days old, Verstappen will become the youngest driver to start a World Championship race and break Alguersuari’s existing record by almost two years! But I doubt I’d turn-down the deal in his shoes! FIA should mandate minimum age of 18 for a superlicense though. The idea of a 17 y.o. competing in the F1 WC is just ridiculous (if only for the fact that he’s still technically a child – it just offends my sensibilities! I want to watch men (w/ hot girlfriends or mistresses, btw) race in Formula 1 – not boys!!)!

  14. On F3… Ocon is another good talent…. Blomqvist and Auer aren’t bad either and Fuoco might be good in time. But, the main problem is that the field is split with GP3 – Lynn, Stanaway, Bernsdorff, Kirchhoefer are all racing there instead.

    PS. Stanaway was basically unbeatable in the open competition of iRacing – that’s how high the levels are. He made it into the iRacing World Driver’s Championship (think a PC GT Academy.. top prize $10k) while recovering from a broken back…

    • …roughly 25,000 monthly online members. And only the ‘DWC’ top regulars could beat him…. IRL, think Alo-Ham-Vet etc. and that matches where Stanaway is in real life. There’s also the mythical Lewis Hamilton account (originally L. Hamilton for obvious reasons) from 2011..

        • Not participating, but may have previously had a go in his mid-2011 slump.. The account registered to Lewis Hamilton’s credit card was also named “L. Hamilton” while he was an active member – possibly to try and fly under the radar, although this only made it stand out, as every other account has a first name… (a cynic would say, typical!)

          Loads of racers from racing series, even well known ones (Dale Jr was the top ranked oval driver the first few years and regularly drove, winning the first oval WDC race. Now he’s winning again in NASCAR instead) have/were given accounts.. Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Jacques Villeneuve… you name it, they probably tried it.

          JV used an Xbox pad! It was big in America, where their sims are probably behind F1 level, excepting Dallara. There’s a video of Michael Waltrip teaching Trevor Bayne Daytona on iRacing…. Bayne then won the Daytona 500 from nowhere… Justin Wilson used it to win Watkins Glen regularly in Indycar. There’s also footage of Indycar drivers racing each other on iRacing in a LAN.

          Lewis drove one race in the rookie series – Mazda MX-5s at Aida…. starting from the back (didn’t bother with qualifying), he charged through the field, won, fastest lap…. he wasn’t even the only professional racer in the field either (Dion von Moltke racing too).

          He also did some hosted sessions at tracks in the F1 car (2009 Williams), and was top pace right off the bat….. people obviously joined them ASAP when they came up (pit-stalls being limited to the individual track number), and some reported it not being his voice, while others were very convinced it was him.

          So, it’s hard to say – but there’s no doubting that Lewis paid for an account (or one was given to him upon request), and that whoever was driving it had a considerable level of skill (be it he himself, or his brother etc.). It’s not like Hamilton has never raced on the PC – see the piece he did of him, his brother, and Jake Humphrey racing each other on F1 201x online!

          • Fascinating! Didn’t know this.

            Didn’t Bottas turn out to have been very successful in some online racing series before F1, competing under his (obviously) real name and what not, and it was only really after his ascendency to F1 that people outside the sim community but into motorsports heard about the story?

          • Hehe, yes, on LFS: http://www.lfsworld.net/?win=news&nid=764 I’ve only tried the LFS demo version. The best LFS’er, Hugo Luis, now competes in the iRacing DWC vs. Greger Huttu, and has won it once so far, Huttu the other 3 times. They are the best two sim-racers in the world, no doubt. Finnish and Brazilian: Ironically we had Raikkonen and Alonso/Massa in the Ferrari at the time too. Huttu was born in the same year as Raikkonen..

            https://twitter.com/ValtteriBottas/status/317307712411152384 – I have the same wheel at Bottas 🙂 (G25).. he didn’t bother to upgrade to G27 either!

            “Also Esteban Gutierrez was racing in a French F3 League on rFactor like 5 years ago”.. some drivers you could find first on a sim… for professional US racers this is usually where I first see their name, as I’d never have heard of them otherwise.

            Barrichello showing Webber at his house: https://twitter.com/rubarrichello/status/139466524632154112/photo/1

            He plays it with his kids too! Ultimate dad… https://pbs.twimg.com/media/AdmXw4CCIAE0HDs.jpg
            https://pbs.twimg.com/media/AaeoJu7CQAA_Wv0.jpg

            For Mrs. Judge: Webber showing it off in Monaco: http://i.imgur.com/7iNl3.jpg

          • @f1esty

            Fun stuff! Thanks a lot for sharing.

            I find it incredible how extremely highly payed individuals—who have the privilege to drive real-life F1 cars and assorted sports cars—play, essentially, with the same toys that your average student could get her hands on.. Pretty cool, if you asked me..

          • @landroni Yes! In the early years, you couldn’t get Dale Jr off iRacing… only when his performance got too poor in NASCAR, did he stop playing and start concentrating on the day job…. thus, he is winning again and in the title hunt.

            Indeed, someone like Bottas could now easily afford a top of the line simulator, complete with movement in every direction…. but this also allows us to get a direct comparison with our racing heroes! You can’t top that, really….

          • @f1esty

            On top of my humble request for the Jense (Not) Developing Cars article, would you consider tackling a review of the popular simulators: what they offer, what they’re good at, and who from the famous ones hangs on them? Fat Hippo had a very nice piece on simulators, outlining GP4 and GranTurismo ( http://thejudge13.com/2014/03/10/hippos-view-from-the-waterhole-the-digital-racing-dream/ ), both of which were excellent experiences once I tried them. But I see that there are other addictive simulators available, like iRacing, rfactor, GPL, and having an article making some sense of all of these would come very nicely.

            “someone like Bottas could now easily afford a top of the line simulator”

            I was very surprised that Bottas would be playing at F1 2012, the most arcadey of the F1 {2010:2012} (and probably 2013) releases. What could a professional F1 pilot find enjoyable in F1 2012??

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