#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 28th August 2014

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OTD Lite: 2008 – First American F1 champion passes away

Mclaren looks at progression of Vandoorne

Global disbelief surrounds Verstappen recruitment

Button admits F1 retirement possible after 2014

Mercedes chiefs resolve to ‘cool hot heads’

Meanwhile in Monza…


OTD Lite: 2008 – First American F1 champion passes away

Having started in Formula One with the Maserati team in 1958, Hill’s rise to prominence began as he joined the Ferrari F1 team for 1959. Having won Le Mans the previous year with a Ferrari 250 Testarossa, he was known to the Commendatore and enjoyed mixed fortunes in his first season with the Scuderia. His victory at the 1960 Italian Grand Prix would prove to be the last front engined victory, and for the 1961 season, Ferrari entered their first sublime rear engined creation – the ‘sharknose’ Ferrari 156.

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Five victories that season, shared between Hill and Wolfgang von Trips and the debut victory for Giancarlo Baghetti captured the constructors crown. The only remaining title was the drivers which was decided in the most horrific circumstances possible. On the last running of the Monza banked circuit, as the drivers came towards Parabolica on the second lap, Trips and Jim Clark tangled. Losing control, Trips was launched up a spectator bank and the ensuing crash killed the driver and fifteen spectators.

Hill returned the following season, but his heart was no longer in motorsport, “I no longer have as much need to race, to win. I don’t have as much hunger anymore. I am no longer willing to risk killing myself.” His last full season was 1964 with a one off drive at Monza in 1966. He continued in sports-car racing until he retired from the sport completely in 1967.

“I’m in the wrong business. I don’t want to beat anybody, I don’t want to be the big hero. I’m a peace-loving man, basically.” He returned to America and built up an award winning classic car restoration business and it’s a bitter twist, that the next American World Champion – Mario Andretti – would be crowned at Monza following the death of his team-mate – Ronnie Peterson.

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Mclaren looks at progression of Vandoorne

Mclaren proved in 2007 that their system of driver training was measured and, significantly, brought into the sport a rookie superstar – Lewis Hamilton. The experiment proved so successful that after Kevin Magnussen’s third place finish in Melbourne, it seemed that lightening had indeed struck twice.

Unlike the rapid advancement of the Red Bull system which churns out more dross than quality in keeping with its corporate image, Mclaren take the measured approach to driver advancement – which made the signing of Sergio Perez for the 2013 season something of a surprise.

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne has been part of the Mclaren Junior system for some time now and the team believes that he is ready for the transition to a full time seat in Formula One although the paymasters are considering another season in GP2 against being placed in a smaller team next year.

With Boullier admitting that Mclaren are looking at three to five year driver plans it could emerge that he may be drafted into the senior squad as Mclaren rebuild with their Japanese partners, Honda.

Yet Boullier sounds a cautionary note: “It is a little bit too early to take a decision, I think if you have to go to F1, first he needs to feel ready, and I am happy that he feels ready. He also needs the opportunity to step into F1 but not in any condition.”

“We are now assessing all scenarios. I think GP2 is one of them, as he still has to learn more about GP2, get more wins and obviously fight for the championship. He is doing a good job for the first year. You can see really clear progress over the last few races. He is very dedicated and I am happy to see he is getting there – but it is too early to have plans, so everything is open.”

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Global disbelief surrounds Verstappen recruitment

Max Verstappen’s recruitment by the Red Bull Corporation – to run in their junior team from next year – has created headlines around the world – something that Red Bull may well have foreseen.

With Adrian Newey offering measured views about the ‘kids’ that compete at the top level of global karting and Villeneuve attacking the futility of the Superlicense scheme there have been countless opposing views from different observers of vastly differing age groups.

Mika Salo, a pundit for Finnish television has questioned the wisdom of Verstappen debut next year. He race in Formula One against the lad’s father Jos and has similar feeling to 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

“I think it’s really bad for formula one, in my opinion, a guy that young should not be allowed to drive in F1. It should be the very top category of racing for which drivers train for years. F1 is not a junior series, what happens when it doesn’t work out after two years? An unemployed F1 driver at the age of 19,” he said.

Mark Webber who raced for the Red Bull team for six years also commented that he had a wonderful career, “but when I see that a 17-year-old is coming into formula one, I think it’s not hard to see that it’s over when you’re 38!” As yet neither Nigel Mansell or Damon Hill have been quoted with their opinions but Mansell took the 1992 title aged 39 and Hill succeeded in his quest at the over-the-hill age of 36.

As ever the confrontational Helmut Marko has completely missed the point in his quest to reduce Formula One to a Red Bull advertising arena, arguing that while other teams “talk about young talents, we make it a reality. I bet 100 euros that in his first race Verstappen will be able to compete with (Daniil) Kvyat,” he was quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

Brazil’s Totalrace published perhaps the saddest comment of all is Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost. “Of the drivers we have had, I think he (Vergne) is the best, although Sebastien Buemi also did a good job and has shown talent for Toyota (at Le Mans), I hope he (Vergne) has the chance to develop and to show more, because for me, he deserves to be in formula one.” Which begs the question why replace him?

Recently Fernando Alonso wanted to renegotiate his contract with Ferrari for $50 million annually but with the new comers earning a pittance in comparison there is little surprise that Ferrari baulked at his wage demands. Which raises the question that if this era of F1 is so easy to compete in, maybe we should review how we place these gladiators in the pantheon of the greatest. If experience counts for so little, how can an argument for the serial winners over the last decade be offered.

There has always been teen sensations in sporting endeavours, be it tennis, at the Olympics or football for example (soccer for the readers stateside) but in motor-sport you have to look at the phenomenons of motor bike racing for comparable achievements.

Valentino Rossi entered the 1996 125cc championship aged 17, but didn’t reach the top level until 2000 having accumulated four years of racing experience in the junior championships. In recent years Marc Marquez has been breaking records and his entry into the 2008 125cc championship coincided with him being 15 years old. His entry into MotoGP arrived in 2013 after the required years of experience.

Essentially no manufacturer would entertain the thought of recruiting a 17 year old, to the top level, who has practically zero experience of dealing with engineers and global business expectations. The likelihood of a Newey, Allison or a Brawn communicating with, essentially, a young boy is almost absurd, unless the technology has actually reached a point that an engineer no longer needs a driver’s feedback.

At the same time, would you allow a brilliantly gifted individual to perform life saving surgery before he has begun his studies…

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Button admits F1 retirement possible after 2014

Jenson Button has admitted for the first time that he might be forced to “retire” at the end of 2014. As McLaren and Honda look ahead to their new works partnership beginning next year, it is clear the Woking based team is hoping to sign a truly top driver.

Disgruntled Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been linked with the seat, but so too has Ferrari’s frustrated Fernando Alonso. The Telegraph claimed the Spaniard could make an enormous $32 million per year with McLaren, Honda and also his sponsor Santander pitching in.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and the Eric Boullier-linked Romain Grosjean are also believed to have been considered by McLaren, so while the situation remains unclear, the future of 15-year F1 veteran Button hangs in the balance.

We haven’t sat down and talked about it,” the 34-year-old Briton and 2009 world champion told the BBC. “If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it, but I feel I have so much more to give and I can’t imagine life without motor sport and especially formula one,” Button said.

TJ13 comment: In the UK there is an old saying – ‘Mutton dressed as lamb’. In effect it is used to describe vain women of a more mature age dressed in the fashions that their teenage counterparts would be wearing. In the 21st century, this particular fashion has seemingly died out because much of what young women wear is effectively grunge style clothing.

Jenson Button debuted in F1 fourteen years ago with Williams, was called out as a non serious playboy by none other than professional playboy Flavio Briatore – so maybe a case of the kettle calling the pot black – before landing a drive with BAR and settling down to a career that to many people has exceeded all expectations.

A World Champion in 2009, and multiple race winner, Button has never been quite accepted as truly top drawer. If the car didn’t work, nor did Jenson. The corporate world made it clear earlier in the year that he is not an attractive proposition to them and it seems that Mclaren are agreeing.

His strongest ally at the team was Martin Whitmarsh who has obviously left and with Ron Dennis making it clear that he needed to work harder and Eric managing Romain Grosjean, even without a signature signing – his tenure in Woking seems to have run it’s course.

Rather than hanging on in desperation, he should be seeking other opportunities himself. After all, if Felipe Massa can fall on his feet after Ferrari ousted him, then Button must surely have something to give other teams..

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Mercedes chiefs resolve to ‘cool hot heads’

Mercedes chiefs have resolved to cool the simmering feud between title-warring teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that when the pair – who collided during the Belgian grand prix – came face-to-face in Germany on Wednesday for a sponsor photoshoot, they barely acknowledged each other’s presence.

In the few days since Sunday at Spa, the drivers have been exchanging their barbs through the media, but team bosses have reportedly now instructed Rosberg and Hamilton to quieten their dispute. “Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and I agreed that hot heads should be cooled this week,” team chairman Niki Lauda confirmed. “Each word only triggers a reaction from the other. The drivers know now what responsibilities they have,” he added.

The explosive coming-together at Spa-Francorchamps is still the dominant topic in formula one, but the governing FIA has resisted calls to open an investigation despite Hamilton having accused Rosberg of crashing on purpose. The driver steward in Belgium, Emmanuele Pirro, has revealed to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport that his fellow FIA officials needed only “10 seconds” to decide against investigating the clash. “There was no intention,” he insisted. “Perhaps Rosberg was a little cunning and clever to try it, but in the end the main problem was what happened within the team.

Alain Prost, one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time, agrees that what happened on lap 2 was just “a racing incident. You have to remember that from the cockpit you can’t see your big front wing, and every weekend we see two or three incidents just like it,” he told Russia’s f1news.ru. “Lewis did not want to leave him more space, and Nico didn’t want to leave the track and perhaps made a small mistake in assessing the situation. But he didn’t do it intentionally, because the chance is much higher that you only damage your own car. Of course, the consequences were very serious for Lewis, but it was still a racing incident, albeit inflamed by the media and the fans and even the team,” said Prost.

Mark Webber, who until his F1 retirement had an intense rivalry with Sebastian Vettel, tipped the dispute to certainly roll into next weekend’s Italian grand prix at Monza. “The two of them are going into a media nightmare in Monza,” the Australian told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV. “The whole story is going to be replayed all over again and it won’t be easy for them to concentrate on the job. They will only be paying attention to one another, as they know the constructors’ title is as good as over. But Mercedes will overcome this controversy and get both titles,” Webber predicted.

TJ13 comment: Mr E will be rubbing hands with glee. Of course this has nothing to with a German juidicial system finding him innocent/guilty/masonic… no pure and simple this is TV gold. With Lewis the most marketable  athlete in F1 involved in a bitter feud, all the talk of the last few seasons of dropping viewership has stopped.

Back in the 80’s the combination of Senna, a mythologized driver in his own race suit versus the Frenchman Alain Prost, became an ever expanding news story as they pushed the barriers of fair play to the limits. Watching two men in the goldfish bowl of TV dominating the season so completely but pushing each other to new limits made for fascinating viewing. The sad part of motor-sport is that something primeval makes many people want to watch for morbid reasons. They want to see the big crashes – whereas the aficionados ( like us ) watch for the skills and the artistry.

Of course, Mercedes want to control the situation and Webber is probably right that they will win the drivers title too – but many pundits believed that a dominant Williams would lead a driver to the title in 1986 as well, yet circumstances allowed Prost to win it.

As has become fashionable in schools where the bully has to apologise to their victim, the victim says how they feel and the world is rosy once more, real-life isn’t that simple. Once out of the headmasters office that victim has no support and the bully is angered at his perceived humiliation. It probably doesn’t help that at this particular school we have three deputy headmasters who have differing views on how to run the organisation..

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Meanwhile in Monza…

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96 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 28th August 2014

  1. The Verstappen / surgery analogy is a good one. he could be supremely fast, but my opinion would be to wonder what is lost by him learning his ‘trade’ a little more for, say, three more years?

    Plus, Red Bull have the responsibility to him as a person, and to make sure they are doing the right thing for the individual – he’s not just a bit of meat to drive a car.

    • Will you allow Pastor Maldonado to perform a live saving surgery?
      I do not really see the point, providing the guy is fast and not dangerous to other drivers. But if we had to remove all the drivers that are dangerous (Flying cars in Spa, Rejoining the track at full throttle and causing a multi-car incident) or not fast enough, then I can think of a few drivers that could go first.

      The only sales pitch that I would buy is from the Public Relations department. Allowing a 17 yo into F1 seems to lower the courage and the skills needed for such a job.

      But even so, I can see two potential gains from here: he either fails in which case we can conclude that 1) F1 keeps being for heroes only and 2) RB are the masters of “let’s try the impossible and next year we appoint another kid” or he becomes the new Marquez in which case this will be the best possible PR movement ever for F1.

      My only concern is safety. Let the kid drive!

      • The best I’ve seen is inked in one of the bridges on the M25 (this is the orbital motorway around London for those not familiar with the UK). It reads “Give peas a chance”. It makes me chuckle every time…

    • Totally agree Spanners.

      He’s seems to be messing with ppl’s pre-existing paradigms. ‘It just can’t be done…’

      Well lots of things that couldn’t be done, were done, and thus we evolve. Records fall. Paradigms get reset.

      He’ll be fine IMHO. It’s not a top drawer, front of the grid car. Let’s look at Crashdonato now, let alone his first year. Let’s look at Felipe’s first year.

      He has to go pretty damn bad for someone to say he’s to worst entry to F1 and it’s his age. Before we know it he’ll be 18, 19 and the topic is done.

      Also, F1 is just not that extreme a physical challenge anymore. I’d have a different op, maybe, if we were talking about 01,02,03,04 F1, or 86,87,88,89. F1.

      Plus it makes me happy DWill doesn’t like him in F1, so isn’t that a bonus too? 😀

      • It’s not an old man concept here, keep the kids out etc. I don’t think age matters to be honest as has been proven in other sports over the years. After all safety in F1 is beyond anything they had even 30 years ago and if these young adults can sign up to risk their lives in war-zones at that age then they are old enough to go racing.

        What bothers me more than anything is that this highlights just how easy F1 has become. Physical, psychological, whatever parameter you want to apply.

        An argument could be made that Hamilton who has lived most of his life in the insular world provided by Mclaren is still finding out who he is – in full view of the world’s media and there are times when he appears the proverbial rabbit in headlights.

        If he Verstappen had been brought in by anyone bar Red Bull, I think he would be accepted as a talent that was being nurtured but something about the RB organisation makes this feel as though it is great publicity for their end product.

        I wonder also how many people remember his father’s meteoric rise and subsequent downfall. Would the sport be more accepting if he wasn’t Verstappen’s son? Would Michael Schumacher’s son Mick, be accepted differently because of his father’s legacy?

        • Fair enough Carlo, I hear what your saying. Good points, and I agree with this one in particular (but rarely voice it because F1 today is what we have).

          “What bothers me more than anything is that this highlights just how easy F1 has become. Physical, psychological, whatever parameter you want to apply.”

          My issue too, like yours, is the F1 of today allows it. It’s crazy. The formula today is pretty slow lap time wise. G-Force wise. Some think it’s only a few seconds, but it’s a lifetime. It’s night and day, watch quali in 2004 for example and now. They are mini Le Mans races. Not sprint, open wheel, GP races. No refueling has a lot to do with that as well.

          That’s why I have no issue with the kid. He’s a symptom. He’ll get so much prep, so much sim time, ample testing and learn the gameboy buttons and be driving no harder than an F3000 of yesteryear. If he has good butt feel, he’ll do ok. It’s a low traction formula.

          As per age, I am a bike fan as you know. I see 15,26,17 year olds in world championship racing all the time… Be it road or dirt. 17,18,19 is pretty normal for open class bike testing and racing.

          Thanks for the response. I hear your editing my Button article too… 😀 hope there are no rabid Button fans around.

          • Yes I have your offerings in my grubby mitts as we speak. Interesting takes. But as per your avatar, are you delusional? Button fans – seriously? 😉

          • Rubbish. Fastest racing lap at Spa for nearly 29 years was recorded last weekend….

            G Force … Yes a diff matter….

          • @Judge.

            I found track records that have been broken in the last few years are assisted by track change, ala spa final section.

            Otherwise they remain 2004 ish records.

          • C’mon Judge,

            Take the track layout back to the period I am suggesting, say earlyish 2000’s, and the current cars won’t take their pole or fastest lap records.

            The issue with spa is the variations over the years give incorrect record assumptions. Which is why there is records per layout for Spa in particular. The back end final sector used to be far more time consuming.

            Let’s see if any pole or fastest lap records are broken at Monza, which is relatively unchanged layout wise. Any unchanged circuit usually holds decade old records to JPM or Schuey or Raikkonen.

          • My issue too, like yours, is the F1 of today allows it. It’s crazy. The formula today is pretty slow lap time wise. G-Force wise. Some think it’s only a few seconds, but it’s a lifetime.

            This is well-distilled down to the source of the angst for many, and it has nothing to do w/ engine noise!

            F1 = now so easy that children can literally do it.

            Doesn’t matter that MV is a great karting pilot. “The Show” demands that some limits be respected – and that is that F1 remain a sport for men – I mean, adults at least. It became bad enough in 2007-08 that a top-driver like Hamilton arrived w/ his papa watching over him in the paddock, rather than having his primary entourage-member be a super-hot blonde, for example, minimum 1 year younger than him at least. Now we’re to have children who still require adult guardians to sign the release forms racing??

        • Don’t see what all the fuss is about myself, I don’t think Red Bull would risk signing a 17 year old to drive in F1 if he falls flat on his backside, that would not make for good PR. The other thing to keep in mind that a lot of other F1 teams were trying to sign him up, Red Bull pulled a race seat out of the proverbial F1 hat to entice him there way. Some of what’s been said sounds like sour grapes.
          Anyway It’s a lot of hot air and opinions at the moment, Verstappen will either prove the naysayers to youth right or he’ll leave them with eggs on their faces. What interests me is if Verstappen exceeds expectations fairly quickly, and assuming Vettel has swanned off to Ferrari Or McLaren will they throw Verstappen into Vettels seat at Red Bull.

          F1 is probably easier than it was back in the 80’s or early 90’s. But the technology has changed and safety has taken the edge off pushing the boundaries of F1 car designs. Which is something we’ll just have to accept.

          • @Judge

            “Red Bull do not care 1 iota about F1’s future…..”

            I have been think about that point. Beyond wondering whether or not that is strictly true, I began wondering, “what teams truly do give a sh|t about F1’s future?”

            If RBR indeed don’t care, as you say, are they unique in that?

            To me, it seems the following don’t really care beyond their own short sighted ends and purposes:

            Red Bull
            Mercedes
            Force India
            Lotus
            Toro Rosso
            Marussia
            Caterham

            The only teams I could suggest, at a stretch, that perhaps have a genuine eye on F1’s overall health and future beyond, or adjacent to, their own place in F1 might be:

            Ferrari
            McLaren
            Williams
            Sauber

            And yet… even in those cases, it’s clear that their unique positions and therefore idea of F1’s future are quite different in many key areas. So whilst they “care”, their own agendas still trump in the end.

            Which brings me to my final point. Why should Red Bull Racing be held to a higher standard than the other teams?

            I think the dislike for Red Bull may rest in that their value and raison d’être is derived from non-motoring or Motorsport loving privateers. It’s an “outsider” using F1 to equal effect as anyone else.

            Please don’t ban me. 😀

          • Red Bull don’t care about F1’s long-term future b/c CVC through FOM don’t care about F1. That’s why the loathed “Customer Car Concept” (‘CCC’) was replaced last year in the minds of F1’s tsar(s) by ‘Eight-3’, an equally radical concept that sees F1’s entry list culled to eight teams, each entering three cars.

            To quote Dieter Rencken, “The real reason F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone and his Strategy Group pushed so hard for the customer-car plan is none other than money. His pet majors would enjoy additional income streams, while the pesky independents would have lower operating costs (plus be easier to replace, should one or more disappear, due to lowered costs of entry), with racing (in theory) being closer due to reduced performance spread.

            This would, in turn, allow commercial rights holder Formula One Management – headed by Ecclestone and a subsidiary of CVC Capital Partners, the venture fund which acquired majority shares in 2005 under a contentious transaction – to reduce payouts to teams, bolstering the fund’s profits even further…”

            It’s all – and only – about money for these scumbags, and Todt was bought off long ago.

            I accept that F1 has to be economically viable to survive – it’s not just a sport but a business as well. But the profit-seeking is too extreme and egregious now…the sport’s decades of history and the passion of its loyal fans totally undervalued or irrelevant in the quest for more short-term gain.

            Fck CVC and Fck Ecclestone. Sir Frank and daughter Claire Williams are two of the only really genuine well-intentioned, right-thinking properly-motivated people running a team in this sport! Adam Parr would STILL be a better choice to run F1 than anyone else – and what poetic justice it would be for Mr. E to finally turn to dust and be replaced by the man who he feared so much that he threatened to bankrupt and destroy Williams F1/GP inc./co. if he [AP] wasn’t removed from the F1 milieu.

    • “At the same time, would you allow a brilliantly gifted individual to perform life saving surgery before he has begun his studies…”

      Looks like the judge hasn’t seen Doogie Howser M.D. 😛

  2. Some times there just are these kids who are better than everyone else at a certain age. Micheal jackson was just 11 when he started to out perform the greats of that decade. Stevie Wonder was 12. Wayne Rooney was 16 when he entered the first squad of Everton. Célestin babayaro was 16 when he first played champions league. Samuel Eto’o was 17 when he played his first world cup. Kobe Bryant was 18 when he signed with the lakers. All I know is that the dutch are crazy about max since he started. I’ve read nothing bad about him until they dropped the bombshell of him entering f1. For all we know, he might be the next best off all time.

    • Let’s look at some drivers that started their F1 career at the tender age of 19.

      From the 60s, Ricardo Rodriguez (hardly anyone knows him) and Chris Amon.
      From the 80s, Thackwell, hardly a legend.
      From the 90s, Tuero, anyone remember him?
      More recently from RBR’s factory, Alguersuari, where in he now?

      Then again, there are some shining examples like Alonso, Vettel and very recently Kvyat. Alonso is already a legend, one of the greatest, Vettel will at least go down as a mutliple champion and Kvyat has shown some promising signs.

      It’s the nature of this new age for people to get better at things earlier in age. Not just in sports, but everything. It all has to do with how quickly technology moves on and the availability of information to the young ones. Max may be too young for F1, or F1 has become easier. Then again not a single person has actually thought, maybe F1 has not become easier, but the preparation to get into F1 has become a lot better than it used to be and when 10-20 years ago a very talented driver would be considered at the age of 19-20, now they are at the age of 16-17. Only time will tell if young Max will become a Jaime or a Nando?

        • Let’s not forget a certain Jarno Trulli. World Karting champion a season of German F3 and in to F1 with Minardi.

          It’s difficult to quantify. I remember reading an article about Alonso and when he was a kid had a poster of Giorgio Pantano on his bedroom wall. The guy was an incredible talent but it never transferred into cars and is almost a forgotten talent.

          • Ahhh Pantano… I recall him. Had a go in that canary yellow Jordan for about half a season in the earlyish 2000’s I think.

            Now that’s a waste of talent. I recall he was a pretty dominating jnr. People are now lamenting on JEV, and previously Alguesuari and Buemi. At least they got a few seasons.

            Pantano was good, just didn’t seem to get … I don’t know, “traction” on his career. That last push to get a good full season, or two, under his belt to shine.

            Shame really. I thought at the time why Ferrari didn’t take more interest and place him at Sauber.

            And I believe the time he was racing, the guys needed proper muscles. Proper athetic bodies to cope with the crazy quali pace, and then of course the races which were essentially at quali pace every lap of every stint, with the cars in near quali trim.

            Now you see Vettel or Button walk by the camera and whilst they are all fit in a cardio sense, they do not seem like they could handle a common cold, let alone a flat out, epic G’s, lap after lap, head being ripped off, eyes popping out under braking, balls pushed back into their bodies through eau rouge or becketts or anywhere in Suzuka.

            I recall once seeing in the early years Alonso as a youngster so totally destroyed after being pulled from a Renault (not the Malaysia race he lost the water feed). He was saturated and just decimated. And Alonso ain’t no wall flower, now or then. Schuey sort of bounded by, gazzle like, fit as f^#k. Crazy days. Heros then.

            Oh I lament. Never mind me. Those days are done. Back to the bitch fight that is ol’ Bling Bling v Britney. Bring on Monza and that 8th gear. At least they may break a top speed record, though I think JPM’s pole record won’t be close to being broken. Another epic lap.

          • “Back to the bitch fight that is ol’ Bling Bling v Britney.”

            Hahaha, that really made me laugh, genius!

          • @SIS. Agreed. Even though i never watched F1 at the time when physical fitness and muscle power was paramount, i’d just love to see the drivers of today using every fibre of muscle in their body to manhandle a beast of a car like back in those days to see who has what it takes to cope with that and see the skill of the driver really shine through. Although, call me biased, but honestly I think Lewis would be mega in those types of cars 😀 and you could probably bet Kimi would be right up there as well.

            Some of the drivers of today just look as if their bodies are getting the bare minimum amount of food.

          • On the BBC at Spa – EJ ” Nigel Mansell had a neck that was as thick as your leg”. DC “That’s not saying much if it’s my leg…”.

          • Well, if his mum could beat Jarno Trulli, World Karting Champion, and his dad wasn’t too bad either, then Max…… should probably be the fastest Max on the grid, at least..

      • This is Raikkonen all over again. People are crapping their pants at this moment, but will enjoy every bit of it next year.

        The fact Verstappen is dutch could make some of difference aswell. If he had been british for example….

      • @mcl78
        Good point, there’s nowadays so much info around! I tought myself music software by just doing. Nowadays YouTube is full of how-to’s.

        And Schumacher was the first one to tackle everything, from training to food.

        So that school of thought is relatively new and had evolved very much in recent years.

        Yup, as I said good point

      • Thackwell never got a decent chance, just like Pantano (almost signed for Jaguar, but got trumped by Marko/RB/Klien, thus settling for Jordan with no testing).

        But Rodriguez, Amon, Alonso, Vettel, Kvyat is a good enough list to point out that the future is moving in a younger direction…. I reckon Lewis Hamilton would have been able to drive from 20, and he was offered a shot by BMW (who then used Kubica to replace JV the next year instead).

        Jim Clark famously said that he would definitely have been able to do what he did if starting at Amon’s age, simply extending his career..

  3. Is something missing from Franz Tost’s quote? Or was the question that was asked? How can he say “Of the drivers we have had, I think he (Vergne) is the best…”? What about Vettel and Ricciardo? Sounds very strange.

    • Indeed. I would say though that JEVs treatment is incredibly harsh, this is a guy who on a Sunday often put in a better showing than Ricciardo. RIC was better on a Saturday without doubt, but given how close they were surely the Ricciardo experiment proves that JEV could do a great job for another team.

      If I were Ron Dennis I’d seriously consider giving him a year at McLaren, getting rid of JB (Sorry Jenson! – the last of the nice guys in F1!), whilst Vandoorne has another year of experience in GP2 pre F1.

      • True, but that is no different from the case of Heidfeld and Kimi. Kimi was faster but Nick was getting the results in their Sauber days.
        But the F1 mantra is that you can’t learn speed, but you can learn your racecraft. Heidfeld never learnt to be faster, but Kimi did learn to be a better racer.
        Guess JEV and Ric are a similar case.

  4. I think there are a whole host of objections reasonably made against children even testing in F1 cars.

    However, simple way to prevent that from ever happening again is for FIA to insert a single line into the rule on superlicense issuance specifying minimum age of 18 years for issuance of the license, if it’s not there already (didn’t check).

    Next would be for the GPDA to get its shit back together and refuse to race with obviously untried unprepared babies who belong in feeder series’ for another year or two.

    The companies that sponsor or own the F1 teams will always take advantage of lax or poorly thought out regulations to try out almost PR-like appointments like this … if you give them the chance they’ll take it.

    With the physicality of driving less than previously, FIA still could claim that superlicense driving exerts a force on the body and requires motorskills development that are set at baseline adult values, on average, including – AGE! lol. So Some 17 y.o. who would exceed all the typical adult rookie parameters could only apply for a special dispensation for the license.

    F1 is a sport of men, not boys. But if you’re read Dieter Rencken’s recent article on the need for a marketing dept, you realize why things are fkced!

      • I find it extraordinary someone can hold an F1 superlicense without needing to first have an ordinary drivers license. So they can’t drive the rented Fiat to the race track, but they can then drive the F1 car round the track.

      • HA! Brilliant. Of course even someone as young and apparently dopey as Verstappen will have a whole harem of racer-chasers throwing themselves at him – wonder if he partakes tho, or is off to bed early when at training camp? lol.

  5. “His entry into MotoGP arrived in 2013 after the required years of experience.”
    Who’s to decide what the required experience is?

    What if Verstappen is simply one of those rare talents that can make anything happen (like Marquez, Senna, Schumacher, Rossi etc.)?

    What if by this time next year Verstappen does his thing and all is good?

    What if in 5 years from now we can say Verstappen was rare in making his debut at the of 17?

    All people do is being negative and having no patience whatsoever. And ofcourse the media are trying to milk this thing like crazy.

    • In my opinion the only valid point came from Newey by the way.
      Good education remains a must, even for an F1 driver.

      • Well, more than just education in a academic sense. Have a careful look at the adult performance of Hollywood child stars to see the price the professionalism of childhood extracts.

        Tennis and golf too offer instructive examples. Even highly functional and successful athletes (think Tiger Woods) pay the price for sacrificing their childhood when they reach adulthood.

      • Red Bull has said to Max Verstappen that even though he is a F1 driver he will be required to finish school (through the internet). So he not only has to prepare himself for F1 but he also has to continue finish his school. Helmut Marko said that they want Max to have a fallback option if for some reason he is out of F1 and cannot continue a career as a driver (e.g. if he fails but also if he has an accident and breaks his back or something)

        • It’s a stupid and farcical situation IMHO…. and if teams can do this consistently, the driver market for senior talent will be destroyed….

          • I didn’t think about macro impact on the driver market as a whole. Very interesting point.

            All my comments have been specific to Max.

            I guess when Kimi’s entry was relatively successful, driver ages started to drop to the low 20’s and late teens (Alguesuari)….

            Now I suppose, this could happen again.

            Interesting point.

    • I don’t know much about Moto GP, but looking at Marquez’s results pre-top level, it seems to me that it was exactly the same as Hamilton (outstanding… then definitely given enough time to come in firing on all cylinders.. could even have started earlier at the top if need be).

    • “What if Verstappen is simply one of those rare talents that can make anything happen (like Marquez, Senna, Schumacher, Rossi etc.)?”

      —then there will be no harm in waiting to debut him in F1 until he’s an adult.

      I still can’t believe that FIA Superlicence doesn’t have a minimum 18 year age restriction on it! I wonder if they’ve (FIA) never been confronted before w/ such a silly suggestion of giving one to a non-adult?

  6. I have a different view of what Torro Rosso’s role is in the development of young drivers than most people. In my view Torro Rosso is only a development squad and once a driver has developed he has to leave (usually after 2/3 years). If the driver is talented enough he may be recruited by the Reb Bull senior team and if not picked by Red Bull the driver may be picked up by one of the other teams. The problem is that when a driver is not talented enough for Red Bull (or the drivers Red Bull currently employ are good enough to keep) it gives off the impression that the driver should leave F1. While I say it doesn’t mean said drivers are bad drivers or they aren’t as good as pay drivers it means that his development period is finished and the driver has to look somewhere else because Torro Rosso only does the development of young drivers and they are not there to keep drivers in F1 who are good.

    Simply said Jean Eric Vergne’s time is up not because he is a bad driver but just because his development period is over and there is no room at the Red Bull senior team.

    My view is probably wrong and Red Bull sure doesn’t do anything to convince others that is the way they run their team but this is the impression I get from following the Torro Rosso team over the last couple of years.

    • Okay just read an interview with Franz Tost about Jean Eric Vergne and he basically said that my view of Torro Rosso is the correct one 😀

      Franz Tost:
      Defending Toro Rosso’s decision to replace Vergne, Tost said it was not because he isn’t a good enough driver.

      “Don’t forget the philosophy of Toro Rosso. It’s the team for the young drivers and after three years you are no longer a young driver.”

      • Yes, you’re right but this is no mystery. STR is unsentimentally focused on training-up the yutes and extracting all potential from them in preparation for passing up to the big brother team, if a vacancy, or more likely, completely out of F1 since there are never enough seats for all of the drivers who could be there on merit.

        Yet Ecclestone doesn’t care if teams collapse. He only cares about CVC’s wealth extracting process. Worse hands F1 couldn’t be in.

        Has CVC announced a long-term succession plan yet?

    • The reason things got ‘inflamed’ in the media is mainly because of Rosberg’s admission that he could have avoided the incident but chose not to.

      There are two options:

      a) He made a mistake.
      a.1) You admit you made a mistake.
      a.2) You don’t admit you made a mistake, but just say that you wanted to prove a point so as not to be perceived incompetent in your racecraft. In addition, that aims to destabilise your teammate.

      b) Purposefully, you chose to not avoid a collision.
      b.1) You say you made a mistake to avoid creating bad blood and a backlash from the team and media.
      b.2) You say it as it is, i.e. you chose to prove a point by not avoiding a collision.

      So…which one was it then Mr Prost?

      • Hard to comment on what caused the inflammation of the issue, people were already booing and slating Rosberg long before his alleged comments. Anything Hamilton related gets turned into a bloody drama to be honest, I think Rosberg saying he held his line is very different from him saying he did it on purpose.

        I still see racing incident.

        • Racing incident but interesting long-term consequences.

          Rosberg tried to do a Hamilton, failed and will now probably be even more reluctant to ‘risk’ a pass.

          Lewis will have a point to prove and if a similar situation happens he’ll have popular opinion on his side no matter who is to blame.

          Nico might have gained 18 points over Lewis but over the rest of the season it may work against him to the tune of more than those 18 points…

          • Whilst the popular opinion will normally favour Lewis due to his larger fan base, I think any contact or moves that require the other driver to lift off or take evasive action (e.g. Bahrain / Canada start) will post Spa be highly frowned upon by Mercedes. That’s what I feel sure will come out of this weeks meetings.

            If Lewis makes contact with Nico it will be deemed as intentional, if he meant it or not. That’s not a good place to be in for him given previous comments like the one at Monaco about doing what Senna did and so forth. Nico has him where he wants him, Lewis can’t fight as aggressively as he normally does and he can’t hit Nico. Naturally Nico can’t hit Lewis or be massively aggressive, but I think that suits Rosberg far far more than Hamilton.

            Part of me does sympathise with Lewis, because as I said, anything involving him and there is a media frenzy. That said Lewis courts the media, so it’s to be expected. You can’t have it both ways.

          • Rosberg tried to do a Hamilton, failed and will now probably be even
            more reluctant to ‘risk’ a pass.

            Coulthard said more or less the same thing,
            strangely though, nico did a hamilton, gambled (again ala hamilton) and won (the battle with hamilton)

        • I would call it a racing incident as well…until Rosberg started talking.

          What I think happened was this. Lewis beat him in hardline racing in Bahrain, Spain and Hungary. Rosberg knew that Lewis may disappear again, win the race and reduce the gap to 4 points despite the fact Nico started on pole. Plus the whole orders thing from Hungary was eating him inside.
          Hence, the usually cool and measured Rosberg, decided to try his luck and see if he can bully Lewis out of the corner. He probably miscalculated his move a bit there.
          What he said afterwards was along the lines of, I didn’t lift off, Lewis should have moved. He didn’t say I hit him in purpose, but that he decided to not avoid hitting him.
          It’s a bit like trying to punch you and then arguing that you should have moved your head if you wanted to avoid the punch. I didn’t intend to punch you, just that I didn’t avoid catapulting my fist towards your face at enormous speed and at the same time denying that I miscalculated and needing to admit a mistake.

          • Sorry, but has anyone considered that he made the move due to the rules on pitstop?

            We saw in Bahrain how Lewis defended heavily before the first stop, so by being in front by the first round of pitstops, the driver in front at that time, gets first choice/refusal on what strategy they’d take.

            That could also be a factor in Nico’s thought process.

          • Yeah Mc78, thats pretty much my take too, the first part at least.

            The issue at Monza could be, sure Rosberg might seem to have Hailton on the back foot, but if Lewis can not be a pillock again and get himself on the front of the grid, then Nico better hope his ‘Webbers starts’ trend doesn’t continue, as he’ll either find himself in Hamiltons position into turn one… then what does he do? OR he’ll find himself in the same position again, then what does he do? (The answer is the same as at Spa… wait for DRS.)

          • “I would call it a racing incident as well…until Rosberg started talking.”

            Er, you mean until Hamilton started talking about Rosberg talking, right?

            Agree with the sentiment that Nico took on Lewis’s own attitude, effectively played a Lewis against Lewis, and came out ahead. However the punching analogy (which has cropped up elsewhere too) is totally wrong.

      • Rubbish… Things got inflamed since following the team going to the stewards in Monaco and defending Rosberg, another employee of the team chose to go to the media and state the data he had seen proved to him Nico did it deliberately… Ie my bosses and team mates are liars….. Game over from then….

  7. “Team chairman Niki Lauda confirmed ‘Each word only triggers a reaction from the other. The drivers know now what responsibilities they have’ “.
    Does that mean that they gave Hamilton another warning regarding his uncontrollable liking for discussing internal topics with the media? The same day they told him they aren’t interested in discussing contract renewals with him until the end of the season?… Interesting.

    • Hamilton won’t be muzzled – or repressed! Not by Rosberg fanboys like you, nor Aryan car execs in Stuttgart!

      Hamilton can – and will – write his own ticket to wherever he wants to go in Formula 1.

      I like how you pretend that he’s somehow in danger of whatever b/c Merc allegedly won’t discuss a contract renewal with him. Ha!

      It’s almost like you approve and support the idea of a team favoring one of its drivers over the other and maneuvering to prevent the more talented but disfavored one from winning the WDC b/c the corporate board of the team’s major sponsor thinks the value of the favored driver’s winning the WDC = 10x greater than if the better driver wins.

      Now just take the next step and be fully honest and open about supporting Merc’s desire to see Rosberg crowned undeserving WDC!!!

  8. Regarding 17 year olds, is f1 becoming so technically dominant that youth trumps everything? I’m not saying driving an f1 car is easy but is the engineering of f1 cars creating this? Are we looking for light weight and reaction times? Are the constant clicking of buttons and switches ie: diff, brake, eng mapping, clutch, brake, shift up then down, etc. Easier to train to the Xbox generation?

    for example, the Newey designed RB6-RB9 “counter intuitive required” driving style, vettel took the last four years.

    Could we be seeing the design going on the wrong direction for f1? Just a thought.

    • Well since F1 solved its decades-old problems with turbulence preventing racing and passing not through reducing the downforce levels on the cars so they could run closely through corners again, but instead through introducing yet another gadget that could flip up the rear wing if you were in the right zone, then I would say that F1 is more interested in push button engineering and technical fiddling than in drivers driving race cars on proper race tracks. So since the value of a driver now is in how much he weighs and what his last name is, it seems obvious that young Max will be an F1 driver next year, and will probably do well.

      • Your Honour, remember these wise words?

        “…Fernley sees the question of cost control inching towards customer cars of some sort, with five or six majors supplying technology to the mid-grid and tail-end.

        “In my view the FIA are key to this,” he says. “The FIA actually could become the saviours of Formula 1, in that without the introduction of a cost cap, we’re onto a strategy that’s already in place and already being enacted by CVC.”

        Asked what the ‘strategy’ is elicits a straight answer: “Customer cars. I believe that a deal has been done in principle, and it’s not by coincidence that the five teams that are benefiting from a non-equitable split of funds from the commercial-rights holder are also the same five teams that are in the Strategy Group, and also the five teams that potentially could benefit hugely from customer cars.

      • Judge, here was more great rhetoric that went unchallenged/unacknowledged, from Aug/Sept 2012:

        Formula 1 is in sporting, regulatory and technical disarray, but for once the buck does not stop at the very top – simply because there is no clearly defined ‘top’.

        What will forever be known as the ‘Mosley Deal’ – the disgraced former president may argue that the FIA collectively voted to award the rights to Ecclestone, but it is indisputable that the transaction occurred during his watch and with his input – means the FIA is no longer in control of its own championship. Nor, for that matter, is Ecclestone, for he long ago sold his material interest to the highest bidder, who has no interest in the sport other than creaming its proceeds for its own purposes.

        Where once the teams held the whip hand, as evidenced by their collective power in 2009 when they forced through a more-equitable Concorde, a disunited FOTA is floundering about in the deep end, while the six teams at the top table cannot even agree on something as elementary as young-driver tests.

        F1 has but three chances of pulling itself out of this self-inflicted quagmire…”

      • JS actually wrote recently that he was coming to the sad conclusion that he cared more about the FIA, than the people at the FIA themselves!

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