#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 1st September 2014

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Previously on TheJudge13:

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 9th Jordan

Voice of the #F1 Fans: Jenson Button: ‘Fake it ‘till you make it’

#F1 Features: The Generation Game – #SocialHysteria


OTD Lite: 2002 – Belgium GP masterclass by Schumi

Parabolica changes welcomed by ‘happy’ Grosjean

Boy Wonder Verstappen crashes in Rotterdam

Greeks would rather an F1 race than to eat

Ferrari exit could open for Alonso on Monday – report (GMM)

The Force India roller coaster

F1 losing sponsorship money

Honda admit leaving F1 too early

From the twittersphere

F1 brakes glazing


OTD Lite: 2002 – Belgium GP  masterclass by Schumi

Throughout the seasons I have watched Formula One, I longed for a time that Ferrari would enjoy being the dominant force as Mclaren and Williams had experienced in the preceding years. When Schumacher took the title in 2000 the tifosi could barely conceal their delight and their hopes for the coming years. So it proved as the best driver and a perfect collection of individuals would lead to a domination that had never been experienced in the sport.

Yet between the German driver and his team boss, Jean Todt, they almost crippled F1 fatally and practically destroyed a 50 year old legacy. With the cynical abuse of power – and forcing Rubens Barrichello to gift MS the Austrian GP in 2002 – the fans and the FIA had turned on the most famous team in the sport. When Barrichello was allowed to win races it felt like gifts handed out to assuage the criticism aimed at the Maranello squad.

02bel02

What all motor-sport fans wanted was an honest display and if it meant Michael winning every race, so be it, “demonstrate your superiority.” On this day, at Spa-Francorchamps, Schumacher displayed possibly the most brutal display of perfection witnessed in the modern era.

Starting from pole, he was leading by two seconds at the end of the first lap. By the fifteenth lap his advantage over RB had grown to fifteen seconds with Montoya in third a full half a minute behind. Many reports called this victory drive a ‘massacre’ but that didn’t merely apply to the opposition. It should have underlined the disparity between the Ferrari team-mates..

The Jackal

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Parabolica changes welcomed by ‘happy’ Grosjean

When TJ13 first posted pictures of the tarmac having been laid across the iconic Parabolica corner at Monza, fans were vociferous in their condemnation of the continued dumbing down of the sport. Of course safety was cited as the drive behind the decision but many felt that it would merely allow mistakes to go unpunished.

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The first podcast produced for TJ13 covered the news with outlandish suggestions to bring back some element of punishment for transgressing the confines of the circuit but it appears that the so-called professionals welcome this unfavourable change.

Romain Grosjean recently spoke about the upcoming Italian Grand Prix and offered what many will regard as a spokesman for the drivers: “Monza is a great track, with a long history of racing. There is a unique atmosphere in the surroundings of the park which makes the environment definitely special. Of course the Ferrari fans are part of this and it’s nice to be able to run in a place so legendary.”

Italian Grand Prix, Monza 05-08 September 2013“The Parabolica curve is very fast and demanding and so from the point of view of safety this is a good thing for the drivers who have a little more margin. I remember that in the past, if you braked a little later, it was very easy to go straight into the gravel and then hit the guard rail at high speed. Now I think you will see the drivers find the limit a little faster than before, because we know that there won’t be gravel and the possibility of having an accident is greatly reduced.”

Irony is obviously not a pre-requisite of a Formula One driver’s armoury. Maybe Verstappen’s age is not an issue any longer – it seems that you need cotton wool wrapping everything.

Charlie says, “About 35 per cent of the gravel has been replaced,” according to Autosport, adding “This has been requested for safety reasons by the FIA and the drivers, just as it has been at virtually every other circuit that F1 races on.

Of course we know that it is not as punishing to a driver who leaves the track but that is the price that we pay for much improved safety: a price both the drivers and I believe is worth paying.”

Let’s hope a driver doesn’t suffer a brake failure entering Parabolica and sails straight into the barrier at speeds far higher than those were a gravel trap to be in place.

Further, this a rather a different tale from the original FIA leak which suggested the work at Parabolica had been carried out with a view to the return of motor bike racing to Monza – as reported by TJ13 early last month.

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Boy Wonder Verstappen crashes in Rotterdam

It was almost inevitable. Max Verstappen’s first public outing in an F1 car and he mirrors an accident that Kamui Kobayashi suffered in Moscow last year. Of course, the Japanese driver is a veteran, in comparison, but any doubters will rejoice this turn of events – with a lad claiming recently that he drives in a similar manner to Fernando Alonso…

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Greeks would rather an F1 race than to eat

In 2004, Formula One ran a demonstration in London’s Regent Street with drivers including Jenson Button and Nigel Mansell. It attracted thousands of spectators and initiated talks from within Bernie Ecclestone’s inner sanctum of taking F1 to the cities of the world.

At various times, London, Rome, Paris and New York have been put forward as possible venues but the logistics of holding a race – and the fees demanded by FOM – have put off regional and national governments.

With the debut of the FIA Formula E championship just days away, its green credentials and free hosting fees have seen a plethora of cities sign up with Beijing, Buenos Aires, Miami, Monte Carlo and London being amongst the venues for it’s inaugural series – with many others expressing an interest in the new FIA backed initiative.

It is hardly surprising that F1, or more specifically Mr E, have turned their attention to nipping this newcomer in the bud. Be it Group C sportscars, European truck racing or the Indycar championship extending beyond the American mainland, Bernie has run campaigns over the years to remove TV rights from these rivals and cement the position of F1 as the pinnacle.

With recent news that the financially crippled Greece was looking to host a Grand Prix – came disbelief from all quarters in regards to its funding when the Greek people were suffering hardships from badly run governments and continuous borrowing from the Eurozone.

As always, the gospel according to Bernie suggests that the Greeks are anxious to host a Grand Prix and stated he would meet the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras to see if the project is viable.

The circuit would be built in the town of Keratsini-Drapetsona which lies 10kms from Athens and is the site of one of the oldest Mediterranean ports – similar, in fact, to the Spanish Valencia track which hosted a race between 2008 – 2012 before falling into disrepair.

The design of the Greek track has been released by the Dielpis Formula One Group, which was founded by local entrepreneurs and affiliated racing clubs. Whilst the Hellenic state is currently facing deep economic problems, the event would not be financed by public funds… but by private funds apparently.

GP-Mediterraneo-Greica-Atene-Mappa

To get the project ready for a race debut, it would cost in the region of 800 million euro whilst an annual agreement of between 30-40 million euro would be required in negotiations with Mr E.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Ferrari exit could open for Alonso on Monday – report

Formula One World ChampionshipMonday could be the magic day in Fernando Alonso’s current Ferrari contract. Boss Marco Mattiacci has been happily – and unofficially – ‘confirming’ for 2015 the Italian team’s existing driver lineup of Alonso alongside Kimi Raikkonen. But actual confirmation of the news, for example in the form of a press release, is in fact not expected this weekend at Monza.

“There will be no announcement at Monza with regards to the drivers,” Mattiacci is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint, “because there’s nothing to announce.” He says that is because Alonso and Raikkonen are already under contract for 2015.

Technically, that’s true. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims that September 1 could change everything. Correspondent Michael Schmidt cited ‘internal sources’ as confirming that Alonso’s contract contains a clause that opens the potential exit to the Spaniard if he is not within 25 points of the championship leader on September 1.

Prior to Monza, Alonso is actually closer to 100 points behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. It doesn’t mean Alonso will jump at the chance to leave, but Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports that – despite their history – McLaren chief Ron Dennis has made an astonishing offer of $32 million per year to Alonso.

The report said Dennis, although having spectacularly fallen out with Alonso in 2007, “has spoken with Alonso” about the Spaniard’s return to Woking to head the new Honda-powered project. Alonso, however, might be alarmed by the latest rumours emerging from Japan.

The rumours suggest Honda, returning to F1 in 2015 after a six-year absence, is currently “far behind the performances” achieved by leading engine supplier Mercedes as it works on its all-new turbo V6 ‘power unit’ for McLaren.

TJ13 comment:”It’s not unusual,” warbled Tom Jones several decades ago and once again Formula One proves that the aptly titled ‘silly season’ is just that. In seasons gone by drivers have left teams because of performance clauses built into their contracts – hardly one way traffic though as teams will remove a driver they believe is under-performing too. The performance clause is historically acknowledged as around the time of August, and the team has to be in the top three otherwise the driver can initiate the escape.

What is unusual is the specific 25 points ( a race win ) behind the leader. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 Alonso has trailed the championship leader by 41,46 and 102 respectively. In 2012 he led the title race by the time the teams reached the end of August.

In the last few days Ron Dennis has stated “we’ll always look to employ the best drivers available – but they have to be available, don’t they?” Or in other words, if the driver is unhappy elsewhere his legal team will find a way including the contract fine print – although Honda have already stated that they had given the date of the 15th August as the cut-off point. It was extended for various reasons to the 20th but eventually Honda attention turned to Sebastien Vettel as a replacement. Even with an Alonso victory in Spa and the Mercedes duo failing to score, he would have remained over 60 points behind.

Most misleading of all the quotes perhaps is the “astonishing offer of $32 million'” which when compared to the earnings list published a few weeks ago sounds remarkable until the reader becomes aware that $32 M is actually the equivalent of £20M, or in effect £2M less than Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are currently earning…

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The Force India roller coaster

The wheels of the Indian judicial system may indeed move slowly, yet there is a relentless nature to the process and an inevitability that justice will be done – something Germany may view with green eyed envy.

This is certainly true in the case of Shahara top honcho – Rubrata Roy – who has been banged up in a New Dahli jail for ripping off millions of small Indian investors in a property pyramid-esque scam.

TJ13 first wrote about the possible deck of cards collapse at Force India some two years ago, and now one of the two major shareholders is indefinitely incarcerated and the other feeling the pinch of the long arm of the law.

Within the past hour, The Times of India reports the United Bank of India have made the first move in what could well result in criminal proceedings against Vijay Mallya. “We have declared Vijay Mallya and three other directors of Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulters,” United Bank of India executive director Deepak Narang stated.

A ‘wilful defaulter’ cannot borrow money from the institution who has declared them to be as such, and the other 16 banks which financed the doomed Kingfishers Airlines will all follow suit.

Further, the $660 million, owed to the consortium of banks is likely to see criminal proceedings brought against Mallya in the future.

Finally, the banks will seek to recover as much of this debt as possible and have already agreed to sell on collateral Mallya put up against the loans. This includes shareholdings in United Spirits, a business bought by Diageo from Mallya,Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd, Mallya’s family Goa villa and Kingfisher House in Mumbai.

There has been further suggestions that Mallya’s last company – United Breweries which was founded by his father is also at risk, as the banks and the Indian judicial system persue him relentlessly to repay the loans he took.

Force India were never offered as collateral to the banks, and indeed this year Mallya has been good to his word on the inward investment the team would enjoy.

However, gone is the promise of 50 million ‘whatevers’ and this has been replaced by an upgrade in the CFD capacity. Yet the funds for these upgrades was just recently forthcoming, and the new cabinets had acquired at the turn of the year had lain empty for some months.

The reason Force India has been slipping in the pecking order is due to the team’s inability to properly design and model new aero parts for the car. Now, with 7 races to go, they have the resources to resume the hunt and with McLaren just 2 points ahead, the team are bullish of their chances of finishing 5th.

Longer term as Mallya is squeezed incrementally; his ability to raise cash to fund the team will get tougher. So as with Caterham, it’s likely the Mexican’s who visited Silverstone during the factory shutdown will wait it out for the Force India team to hit rock bottom – before offering the proverbial One currency unit as consideration for a contract to buy.

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F1 losing sponsorship money

There was once a day when trackside sponsorship and ticket sales were the prize for the race promoters, together with any title sponsors the national event could attract.

If fact in 1971 the organisation of the Belgium GP was in chaos and only became viable when Ecclestone persuaded Freddy de Dryver, boss of Bang & Olufsen Benelux, to put up the missing cash. In return he demanded the event be called – The Bang & Olufsen Belgium GP.

This is apparently Ecclestone’s declared position on the matter. Whereas Adam Cooper reveals in his latest piece for Autosport Premium, that Ecclestone sold 70,000 tickets and programmes that day together with some trackside banner advertising – made a killing – and the new commercial era of F1 was born.

Ecclestone created a huge demand for race title sponsors along with circuit perimeter advertising, such that in 2009 – with the exception of Monaco which never has a race sponsor – only the Chinese GP was without a major title partner for its race.

By 2014 the look of matters has changed significantly. Spain, Canada, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia and the USA events had no title sponsors. Having been offered a new 3 year tyre supplier deal for F1, Pirelli stepped into the breach and sponsored both Hungary and Spain. This still leaves 6 of the 18 events who can attract title sponsors without one.

Today, UBS have announced they are scaling back their F1 spending from 41m to 25m euros.

The current deal UBS has with F1 expires at the end of this year and was struck between Ecclestone and previous big boss of the Swiss Bank, Oswald Gruebel.

For their 41m euros, UBS got to entertain 1,000 clients at races during the year in the paddock club, be afforded the honour of title sponsoring the Chinese GP and have UBS banner advertising around the circuits of the world.

Global austerity arrived and a new leader of the Swiss financial institution, Sergio Ermotti, was appointed. He is believed to be no fan of F1 and for some time it was feared UBS would pull out of the sport completely.

According to Blick, USB’s new strategy will be to focus on the customer relations opportunities afforded by F1. The 1,000 guests a year will stay, however, circuit perimeter advertising will be restricted to Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Monaco. Further, UBS will no longer be title sponsor for the Chinese GP.

F1 clearly has a problem with its business plan – will it be Monte Carlo and bust before the people who should care, wake up and smell the roses?

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Honda admit leaving F1 too early

Just as tyres were the relentless topic for debate in 2013, this has been somewhat replaced by the topic of power units in 2014; a natural progression.

At the height of Renault and Red Bull’s woes, speculation was rife that Red Bull were wooing Honda for 2015. Further, that Honda’s European F1 power train assembly facility would be based in Milton Keynes – as are Red Bull Racing – fuelled the speculation beyond the multiplication of 2×2.

Today speaking to Formula1.com, Yasuhisa Arai to discusses the Japanese manufacturer’s progress, their relationships and states he is confident of a successful return to F1.

With the apparently frailty of the Renault power train and the question over whether the French manufacturer would remain in F1, it appears Jean Todt has scored a success in his power train battle with Ecclestone.

Ecclestone poured scorn on the need for the engine changes, yet Todt championed the need for change in tandem with the argument more sustainable power trains would be attractive to new manufacturers entering the sport.

Arai makes it clear that the rule changes were what attracted Honda back into the sport. “Yes, it definitely was one reason for Honda to come back into Formula One, but there was also the fact that the lap times compared to the old engines are very similar, and that means that we are talking about a technology that is very advanced. You can match the speed of the old engines, but with much smarter – and resource-saving – technology”.

Partnering with anyone other than McLaren in F1 for 2015 is all but ruled out by Yasuhisa when he states, “In 2015 we don’t have the plan to supply any team other than McLaren. In 2016 or after, if some teams or partners ask us to supply them too, we will take a look at that situation. But even in 2016 McLaren will be our main partner in F1”.

Honda may have left the sport prematurely at the end of 2008, when they handed over a chassis to Ross Brawn who then bolted on a Mercedes engine and delivered both drivers’ and constructors’ titles to the newly formed Brawn GP; interestingly Arai admits this when he states. “When we left F1 in 2008 our engineers believed that our technology, our engineering methods, were correct – and we definitely believe that this is still valid”.

Honda reportedly spent $1bn on the never to be seen 2009 F1 programme and it may be they have done so again in anticipation of 2015. Cost appears of little consequence when Arai states, “Even if we supply other teams from 2016 onwards our main focus will always be to win – to make the engine better through more data – and not necessarily to look at a return on investment. If you win that comes automatically”.

With Allison and Mattiaci talking about “the long game, the Tiffosi could be excused for feeling 2015 is already another write off.

The recent tongue lashing the triumvirate of disjointed bosses at Mercedes AMG F1 received from Stuttgart, may indeed indicate their optimum opportunity has already been achieved.

Renault and Red Bull have had a relationship in 2014 which has been epitomised remarkably by playing a most public blame game and the latter are losing their guru and technical genius. Further, Renault have more than once cited that finance has had forced constraints upon the development of their programme.

Reasons to be cheerful Arai? And if the architect of Mercedes AMG F1’s 2014 success has taken an extended Tenkara fishing expedition this year, even with McLaren and Boullier as partners, the Japanese smile will be nothing less than from ear to ear.

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From the twittersphere

As the BBC continue in vain to re-create the “3 amigos” feel they once had to their F1 presentation team, it appears we will be seeing some driving around the old Monza banking on Sunday

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Why exactly you punish someone for doing what the ref describes as ‘within the rules’ is still puzzling F1 fans. However,

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..and who will be smiling this week on Sunday afternoon?

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F1 brakes glazing

It appears Lewis Hamilton was not the only one who suffered brake glazing during the qualifying session for the Belgium GP. Felipe Massa believes a significant reason for his poor 9th drid position in Spa was due to the fact that the Williams car is designed only to use a Carbon Industrie (CI) only braking system.

“It’s impossible to warm up the [CI] brakes [in the wet]”, says the Brazilian as he urges Williams to re-design the car to accept both Brembo and CI systems.

Rob Smedley explains the difficulty for the Grove based team. “You have to set out at the start of the year essentially with your mechanical fixing that fixes the brake disc to the car able to accept both. If you haven’t done that, then it’s a very big change to make to the car. It’s something you couldn’t just do between sessions”.

Massa was used to running Brembo at Ferrari and admits the glazing of the CI disks has been a problem for him. “Yes. It’s not the first time we had [glazing] this year”.

It appears the Brazilian will not get his wish this year as his former race engineer states, “With a certain amount of resource we have to consider where to put that resource the best. We can’t put all of the company on to changing to Brembo material”.

That said, Smedley reveals it is almost certain the FW37 for 2015 will be designed to accommodate both braking systems.

Seeing as the Mercedes W05 can run both CI and Brembo brake systems – even splitting their use between the front and the rear, why was Lewis Hamilton running CI brakes in qualifying at Spa this year?

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36 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 1st September 2014

  1. Chin up Max. Listen to Mr Balboa;

    The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.

    But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. . It’s How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.

    Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers and blame other people. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!

    • The little crash was nothing; what was worrying was that previous to that after he was pushed back, when he couldn’t find reverse, he accelerated before the turn worker had a chance to get over the barrier. That was stupid.

    • A few guys have done this sort of thing over the years during demo runs… Guys much more experienced to boot.

      Maldonado in Venezuela in 2012 I think… Obviously Kobayashi in the Ferrari as mentioned in the news… Alesi in a Prost was doing donuts and ripped if his rear wing… Pizzonia in a Jaguar did some damage (not to mention rolling a road car with journo’s in it)…

      It happens. 16 or not. There are others over the years, can’t quite recall all.

      • Well it’ll keep the naysayers going until 2015 at least. Most drivers make this kind of mistake when doing public displays, it’s not something you can take and conflate into Verstappen not being ready for F1. The proof of that pudding will be over the course of the 2015 season. He’ll either do reasonably well, be out of his depth or exceed expectations.

      • When Pizzonia was rolling that car, I’ll bet the journos were wishing Lotterer got the drive instead….

        I seem to remember a McLaren hitting the sides of a demo run course, when it was barely wide enough for one car? Might have been around 2007..

      • It’s hardly as if spinning about in a forty foot coned circle is a required skill on track. Ask Massa, he tried and got no respect for his display.

  2. smh, even if the greek grand prix was financed privately (probably by people who should be paying their taxes instead of lining bernies pockets), who is going to watch it? how many greeks are there who could afford the luxury to spend an average salary on a grand prix weekend? or are they planning to give the tickets away for free?

  3. @tj13 Driver salaries were quoted in euros, not pounds sterling from a GMM report I checked dated 12 Aug 2014. ALO, RAI, & VET were at 22m EUR which is equivalent to just under 29m USD. If true, 32m USD would be a 3m USD increase. At this point I imagine Alonso’s frustration is not with his compensation but with his lack of another championship. And father time keeps marching on….

  4. I’m concerned about the hype surrounding young Max Verstappen, people are going to expect miracles from the boy the way he is being built up to be the ‘next big thing’. The problem I can see is the pressure that this hype will put on those young shoulders, can someone of such a tender age cope if he should end up face down in the mud rather than scoring Toro Rosso’s 2nd victory, especially given that during his short career, he is obviously used to winning.

    I kind of hope that Max really is the next big thing, but the concerns I have about how well he can deal with not winning yet keep up the commitment to give everything just won’t go away.

    • +1, Clear View

      Much my main worry, also. But he’s got a long while to go, and time seemed so slow when I was sixteen, really it is a long time to learn in, and maybe putting him out there immediately, silly stunts or not, will be readily turned into appreciation for how much Max has to do.

      Thing is, he can’t be touching a current engine spec car, can he? Tricky timing, restricted to trying out last year’s specs…

      • I believe that max is driving an RB7 in the clip, but in Toro Rosso livery. So that’s a 2011 car possibly the one with full blown defuser. I’m interested in seeing him in an FP1 session to see if more torque and less downforce suit him or if he will struggle.

      • @other John
        Re: old spec cars
        I did wonder about that, still do in fact, is it possible to sort of fake the current set up? Other engine map, kers settings etc.
        It’s not the same but maybe if you lower top speed with 40 kilometers, you get the same torque as the current engine?

        At least you should be able to fake routines, like warm up lap, launch, div. settings etcetera.

        Appreciate all the balanced comments here by the way. Bantering and balancing arent mutually exclusive!

        • @verstappen
          I wandered the same thing last year, that through so clever software and changed gear ratios, I’m sure it would be possible to emulate the way this year’s cars deliver the power to the wheels, although the lost downforce may be a little harder to replicate as the blown exhaust is part of the design fabric and I’m certain that it would be near impossible to remove it (especially as RB used it to a fuller effect than all the other teams) and keep the car balanced aerodynamicaly. I’m sure that even if they can tweak the car to give Max a feel for the torque from stopped to medium speed at least.

          It’s nice having grown up discussions, like a breath of fresh air……..

  5. I don’t carry the right passport to claim any kudos by association, but I just want to throw in a shoutout here for a couple of Australians with 2014 motorsport titles to their names – Will Power and Josh Sheehan (IndyCar & X-Fighters respectively). Nice work, gentlemen.

    • has the smiling assasin picked up his bandini trophy yet, or is he waiting till monza to get it from the other side of the garage 🙂

  6. Hey, Alonso, if you are reading this, Williams looks much more interesting than Macca for 2015. Just saying.

    • If I were Alonso, I would check the dyno readings from Honda and Renault for 2015 and then decide: Mercedes, McLaren, red Bull or Williams.
      But would red Bull say no?

      • I got a feeling that RedBull will slowly become less and less competitive as the seasons start to click away now that next year is the LAST car that Newey will take a full on role in designing. So if I were Alonso I would strike RB off my list of possible employers.
        Also after this season one of the Mercedes drivers will be WDC and would Fernando want to go to a team where last year’s champ resides, so that is Mercedes off the list too.
        Williams look ok but is there a space? If Valtteri goes will Alonso want to partner Massa again? And If Massa goes will FA want to go up against a young hot shot who it tipped for great things and who is also well established within the team? I think not, so that is Williams out of the window too.
        This just leaves McLaren or Ferrari, both of which have the potential to pick up the pace of competition for next season, Ferrari know what they must do to the PU to get it competitive and also it will be the 1st James Allison penned car since his return to Marinello and let’s not forget that Allison was already a key designer at Renault (Enstone) when Alonso won his 2 WDC’s so that would definitely give him some faith in the chassis for next year and if the issues with PU can be sorted then Ferrari may well be contenders in 2015.
        As for McLaren it’s a pure stab in the dark, rumours are going round that Honda are struggling with their PU (given that the rumours about the Merc and Renault engines were spot on even before testing started, then it’s highly likely that the Honda rumours are also true) and let’s face it, McLaren have provided some very substandard chassis’ in the last 2 seasons so it’s anyone’s guess as to how McLaren/Honda will fair.
        So to sum it up, Alonso’s only real choice is to stay driving the red cars for at least 1 more season, as with Macca it could easily be hero as much as it could be zero!
        Difficult choices for Fernando. At least he doesn’t really need the money lol

        • Clear View, nice points. I do not really agree with Bottas moving from Williams. Why should he? Williams might be the second best car out there for the next few years (I agree with RB less promising for the future).

          And I don’t think Alonso would have a problem sharing team with Bottas, whom I consider a very fast driver but not yet at the top of the game (or his own potential for the matter).

          I really think that Alonso could be a contender for this year WDC if he drove a Williams but I support Alonso so I am biased.

          • @regis
            My logic behind why Alonso won’t got to Williams (if there was a space) is because he knows what it is like to be shown up a little by a youngster already (2007) and moving to a new team takes time to bed in so Bottas would have all the advantages plus, even though Kimi is at Ferrari, it’s still Fernando’s team, he has pretty much singlehandedly kept Ferrari from what could easily been total embarrassment in the constructors championship.
            Yes I agree that had Alonso been next to Bottas in the other Williams he would be within touching distance of Nico and Lewis. I just don’t see him as a williams man. He is too political and Williams is more family than corporation.
            Alonso is one of 3 drivers I really like to watch race so I think it would be great to see him in a really competitive machine, the guy has got some real class in the cockpit and no-one can really deny it.
            I really don’t think he will jump ship from the scuderia, not this year anyway, maybe for 2016 if they are still p!ss poor next season and only then if a competitive drive becomes available.
            What I think he will do is try and play Ferrari, if he does have a get out claus it maybe that he says to Ferrari “i won’t invoke my get out, but I want that extra money I have been asking for”, I think it’s all smoke and mirrors if I’m honest. Next season could be Ferrari’s last chance to get WDC with Alonso. Perhaps FA thinks a serious ultimatum to the team is what is needed.

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