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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 1970 – Rindt, The only posthumous World Champion
Michael Schumacher is incorrectly labelled the first German World Champion, the honour in fact belongs to Jochen Rindt. He was born in 1942 in Mainz in Germany but after his parents were killed in a bombing raid during WW2 he was raised by his grandparents in Graz, Austria. He never became an Austrian citizen but raced under the Austrian racing license.
An exceptionally fast driver, blessed with great car control and reflexes – he started his Formula One career in 1964. Several seasons in Coopers and Brabham followed before he joined Lotus in 1969 and won his first Grand Prix later that year. In 1970, after a slow start in the aging Lotus 49, the team introduced the 72 which dominated for four races mid season.
On this day during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, Rindt approached the Parabolica for the fifth time when his car swerved sharp left into the barrier. A poorly fixed guardrail gave way and the car dug into the gravel before hitting a stanchion head on.
The front of the car was completely destroyed and Rindt, worried by the threat of fire, didn’t use the crotch straps in the car. He submarined forwards suffering fatal throat injuries. Later investigation found that the accident was caused by the failure of the car’s right front brake shaft. His five victories that season remained sufficient to crown him, thankfully, the only posthumous champion.
Luca Di Montezemolo resignation imminent and Hamilton gets an offer from Ferrari
Editor’s note: TJ received impending news late yesterday afternoon about movements within the Ferrari hierarchy and contract offers being made to a certain disgruntled Mercedes employee. With this breaking story likely to gather pace over the coming race weekend, we have been ordered by the Judge’s chambers to release the news story for all the early birds who would have missed the article yesterday late afternoon (GMT)
With all the recent speculation surrounding the fate of Jenson Button’s tenure at Mclaren being offered to one of a select group of three, this news could fundamentally change the F1 landscape for a generation.
(First reported late afternoon – 4th September 2014)
Having penned “The Family losing its grip on Ferrari’ the first week of August, TJ13 has been following the story closely in the Daily News and Comment. As predicted in the feature on 5th August, Il Padrino would be stepping down from his role as President of Ferrari and has since been appointed as CEO of AlItalia.
TJ13 has been informed today that Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo will formally resign his position from Ferrari following the Italian GP.
This opens the door for Ross Brawn to return to the Red Team, with Marco Mattiacci taking over from Montezemolo.
The appointment of the next President of Ferrari is key to the next part of Mattiacci’s master plan.
Were John Elkann to be appointed ‘acting President’, this would suggest Ferrari believe they have got their man to run the Scuderia, but for now Mattiacci stays on. If the role of President is made permanent next week with either Elkann or Marchionne named, then as we’ve ‘carped’ on about – Brawn will most likely emerge soon at McLaren.
Montezemolo refused to countenance recruiting Lewis Hamilton, and this issue amongst others has seen the tide of favour turn against him. Il Padrino’s departure now opens the door for Lewis to join the Maranello outfit.
XIX leaking this information is a clever move on their part as it bolsters Hamilton’s position, which some would argue has been marginalised in Brackley since the departure of Ross Brawn.
Hamilton will be persuaded by his advisors that he is better off out of Mercedes, for all the reasons Lewis has alluded too.
Most recently when describing the Mercedes AMG F1 management, a downbeat and philosophical Hamilton stated, “It reminds me of being at school … teachers will talk but they don’t do nothing, You just get a detention. They won’t even do that. There’s nothing you can do.”
Romain Grosjean claimed earlier today that it was Alonso who was the key to unlocking the game of driver musical chairs for next year. However, it will be Lewis Hamilton who is now holding the cards in this respect and whether or not he takes up the offer from Ferrari which is currently on the table.
Interestingly, Alonso revealed during the Monza press conference that the difficulties he encountered at McLaren 2007 were not down to Hamilton, and also the Spaniard addressed him as ‘Lewis’. “As I’ve said many times before it wasn’t a problem with Lewis, we had a very professional relationship and there were very competitive people inside the team – that was quite normal
I think in 2007 the team didn’t work as we wanted. It didn’t work because I was not happy with some of the philosophies and the team management at that point and had more possibilities to go into different teams the year after and we decided to go on from there. But I never had a problem with Lewis and it’s not a surprise today we still have a good relationship.”
Toto Wolff made an remarkable admission to the BBC late on Thursday when asked what the consequence would be if disciplinary action failed to control the drivers. “We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up. If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that.”
This smacks of laying the ground to be able to claim, ‘we decided Lewis would have to go’. Clearly Rosberg will not have broken any contractual obligations when clipping Lewis’ rear wheel in Spa, and further he has a freshly inked multi-year deal in his pocket to drive for Mercedes.
It is with sadness TJ13 waves a fond farewell to Il Padrino. His self obsessed behaviour and ‘from another reality’ comments and assertions, have kept us entertained for some years.
Maybe he and Bernie can buy an Island together with their retirement funds and daily smoke the pipe of peace whilst reminiscing over ‘the good old days’.
Further, this remarkable sequence of events will see the ‘Hamfosi’ and the ‘Tifosi’ wed in an inextricable union. A formidable force to be reckoned with. And following the disappointment of the much awaited fire and ice Royal Rumble – which never made the first bell – we now have the mouthwatering prospect of the might of Hollywood HAM pitted against the ancient ways of the Spanish Samurai.
Monza, Monza – always the place for seismic activity.
FIA Driver press conference – Italy
Drivers – Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Max Chilton (Marussia), Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Q: Fernando, can we start with you? Twice a winner here obviously, on the podium here in Monza for the past four years, but the podium count is down a little bit this year, just the two so far. Do you see signs, though, of encouragement from the performance in Spa?
Fernando Alonso: Well, definitely I think it’s one of the most important races for us in the year, here in front of our tifosi, and we would like to give them some good results on Sunday. I’ve been extremely lucky to have been on the podium in the last four years and hopefully I can repeat that good feeling. It’s going to be difficult. On paper it should be one of the toughest for us. But as you said, I think we saw some signs of being a little bit more competitive in Hungary and we were nearly on the podium in Spa as well with Kimi, so hopefully we can have that opportunity and as I said, being on this podium is something special.
Q: You had quite a battle with Kevin (at Spa) and obviously he was penalised afterwards and we’ll hear from him in a moment, but can you describe the battle from your perspective?
FA: Obviously, you know, we try always to fight and overtake. More than 30 laps behind Kevin in Spa and it was not easy to overtake. I had one chance with some cars in front of us and I took that opportunity and at the end I went a little bit on the grass. The race direction decided to penalise him at the end. We gained that position; we lost a couple more because of that fight but when you are fighting for sixth or seventh at the end of the race it’s not a big deal.
Q: Kevin, obviously you were hit with a penalty after that. Give us your perspective in the battle with Fernando.
Kevin Magnussen: Well, obviously I did my best to fight for sixth position. For us that was a really good result or would have been – sixth. In the end I went over the line and got a penalty. I guess that’s just something you learn from as well, it’s all good experience and I can always say I did my best. I enjoyed it as well. Hopefully, we can have another good strong race here.
Q: Without that penalty you would have had a sixth points finish in seven races. Are you getting any signs of encouragement from the team that this is the kind of form that will keep you in this seat next year?
KM: We’re fighting very closely with Force India. Williams is a step forward compared to us, but we’re fighting for position in the Constructors’ Championship and every point is very important at the moment, so keeping consistency up is very important at the moment.
Q: Well, obviously another duel that had everyone talking in Spa was the Mercedes battle at the start of the race. Nico, we’ve all seen the statement from the team and other things you’ve said since, but what persuaded you that you had something to apologise for because when we spoke after the race in Spa you weren’t sure?
Nico Rosberg: Just with time. I took the week to think about it and had a look at it and discussed with the team on Friday and I just in the end decided that it was me who should take responsibility for it.
Q: So, Lewis, in your mind, is it a racing incident? Is that how would put it in your mind now?
Lewis Hamilton: There was nothing in my mind. I think this is the first time that we’ve been in the room for a long time that there have been so many people here. For me, I’m really excited about moving forward, I feel energetic, I had a good couple of days break last week, so excited to be here, this is one of my favourite circuits so I hope that we can have a good weekend.
Q: And how do you move forward? Have you found a baseline, if you like, of trust and understanding to encourage you to believe that you guys can work together from here?
LH: I knew you were going to say that! I think I already said everything in the press release. Trust is a big word and it’s not something I would particularly apply to racing on the track. Naturally, me and Nico have been racing for a long time and I think we have set a good foundation a long, long time ago so that’s what we work from.
Q: Nico, coming back to you, this duel is often compared to great duels from the past history of our sport. Are you becoming aware that the two of you are making history this year and do you feel the responsibility of that?
NR: Yes, definitely, yes. And in Spa, definitely I was not proud of the way it went because in general I really want to contribute to ‘my sport’ in inverted commas, you know, because I want it to be the most entertaining sport in the world and if I’m able to contribute to that in many ways throughout the season then I’m very happy about that and I’m sure in many we have and that’s great.
Q: And Lewis, just a word from you on that: do you feel the hand of history on your shoulder? Are you aware of the responsibility?
LH: I don’t think I have a responsibility towards history. I mean, history is created every day. I just love racing and I’m proud to be amongst all the drivers here and I’m just trying to enjoy every single day as it comes, you know. Everything becomes history eventually and I personally don’t put us in the same ranking as the greats back in the day.
Q: Thanks for that. Valtteri, coming to you. Another podium in Spa, the fourth for you now this year. You’ve generally been the fastest man throughout this season through the speed traps at a lot of places we’ve visited, so is Monza a potential fifth podium for you?
Valtteri Bottas: Well that should be the target. We don’t see any reason why it would be not possible, so we’re aiming for that. We know it’s a good place for us, one of the good ones. We do have good straight-line speed and a special package for here, as I’m sure everyone does. I’m really looking forward to this one and I really think Sunday will be good fun.
Q: Williams wasn’t too far off a win in Austria or Canada. What will it take to get that final push to get you over the line?
VB: I think by pure pace, it is going to be really, really difficult. Mercedes is… any track they are going to be the strongest at the moment. Even Red Bull was surprisingly quick in Spa, so it’s never going to be easy but we are aiming for that and we still need to work on all areas of the car. We already have a good straight-line speed but all areas including, especially the corners, getting more grip into the car is the main thing really. We’re working on that. It’s still a long season to go, so let’s see.
Q: Max, you were obviously on pole here in your GP2 days. Is this one of your favourite tracks?
Max Chilton: Yeah, I think it’s everyone’s favourite or one the favourites of the year. I was on pole here in Formula 3 and GP2. I’m not saying I’m going to be doing that this weekend but I will give it my best shot and will try to extract the most from the car and I just enjoy being here. You only have to do the track walk this morning to see the old banking and it just gives you a good feeling for the weekend.
Q: Can you shed some light on where you and your backers are now with Marussia after what took place in Spa? You said at the time that it was not what everyone thinks it was. So, is it resolved for you now for the rest of this year and what about 2015?
MC: Yeah well there was never really an issue in the first place. It was a busy weekend, I’m not going to lie, but it was a commercial decision that was overturned by senior management over the course of Thursday evening. So, my weekend didn’t really change. I was always out of the car for practice one for Alex, our reserve driver, and so it was nice to be back in the car for free practice two, because Spa is my favourite circuit so we ended up having a good race and a good weekend.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) To Lewis and Nico. In a TV interview earlier this week that Fernando did, he remarked that both sides of the garage would now be divided – engineers, mechanics, people that know you well would favour one or the other. Do you sense that within the team that you are now a garage divided?
LH: I don’t know if that’s the case. We have a very professional team and yeah I mean they just want to win. So they’ll be working as hard as they can. Also the guys working in the garage work collectively for the pit stops. That thought doesn’t even cross my mind. I think the guys will be working flat out this weekend. They know we have the chance to have one-twos and to win the championship for both the Drivers and the Constructors and I think they will giving it their all.
NR: I general, there has been throughout the whole season a healthy rivalry, within the team also. That is why we are where we are, you know. We have the best car out there, we have the best team at the moment. That’s because we work well together as a team and if you don’t work well together as a team you can’t dominate the sport as we are at the moment so I think that’s the best proof of that.
Q: Fernando you were mentioned there as being quoted. Do you want to qualify your comments or add anything?
FA: No, whatever I say I will always be misinterpreted and always any comment you say after two or three days will be a big thing. I didn’t say exactly that but I cannot change the world.
Q: You don’t want to clarify what you meant?
FA: It’s OK.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Fernando, could you speak about your early days with Minardi and how difficult was it to begin your Formula One career at the back of the grid and not scoring points and not being visible.
FA: It was tough but it was worse at the end of the year, first year in Renault as test driver. As far as… you are driving, you are on the grid. OK, you are not able to deliver the result that you would like and to fight for the top positions but at least you are racing – which is what you have done for many years in go-karts and different categories. And then, OK, this is Formula One – but you are racing. When you are watching races on the television in the garage, that was very tough.
Q: (Peter Farkas – Autó-Motor) Lewis, do you now accept that it was simply a racing incident from Nico’s part, and Nico, do you think that, in fact now you will be at a small disadvantage because you will have to be extra careful not to have an accident in close combat?
LH: Well, again, I know it’s something you all want to talk about but after the race it was important to really try and move forwards and that’s really what I’m focussing on. What’s happened in the past is in the past and it is what it is. I’m excited to get back in the car. I have seven races, there’s still a lot of points available and so that’s my focus.
NR: It’s been very clear from the beginning that we must not have contact between us team-mates. And so from that point of view the approach doesn’t change now for the future. It’s been the same.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Nico, as the tension in the Championship battle is getting bigger and bigger, have you prepared yourself psychologically for a very vicious media attack? What we saw in the past two weeks was basically some kind of witch-hunting already against you from certain journalists.
NR: I respect the opinions and then for me I really try and focus on driving my race car fast, working together with the team, getting the best out of the situation and also, importantly, enjoying the moment. I’m very, very lucky to have such a car. It’s very seldom in F1. I go to every race now and know that I can get pole and I can win the race with the car that I have. The team is doing an unbelievable job, also with the development. Keeping it up, y’know? Pushing further and further and further. The other guys are not getting closer really, y’know? So, that’s great and I want… my focus is on that: in the moment; make the most of it.
Q: (Ralf Bach – Sport-Bild) Lewis, a question for you, we learnt from last Friday that Nico gets punished by the team for the incident in Spa. What I want to know is: did you get punished by the team for not accepting the team order in Hungary as well or not?
LH: Um…well, I don’t know really. We all get punished for all the incidents that we… we have meetings always. We always get a big slap on the wrist. But as I said I’m moving forward. In actual fact in the first… in Hungary I didn’t say ‘no’ to the situation. I said that “if he gets close then I’ll let him by,” so I wouldn’t hold him up. And afterwards I sat with Toto and Paddy and they said “you made the right choice”. As human beings, we have the right to question things that are said to us – orders – just to make sure that it is the right one. And it turns out that that one wasn’t the right one and the team said that to me in the meeting.
Q: But it was a team order during the race…
LH: It was, but Nico didn’t get close enough to go by…
Q: (Vladimir Rogovets – SB Belarus Segodnya) My question for Fernando. You had already seven years ago the negative experience in partnership with Lewis but today I see you are friends – it’s very good. I think the same between Nico and Lewis. My question: can you be the ambassador for peace between Lewis and Nico?
FA: Good! Ah, no I’m definitely not an ambassador for peace but yeah, I think 2007, I think it didn’t work as we wanted. But, as I’ve said many times, it never was a problem with Lewis. We had a very professional relationship, very competitive people inside the team and that was quite normal. It didn’t work because the team… I was not happy with some of the philosophies, and some of the team management at that point and I had more possibilities to go in different teams the year after and we decided to move forward from there. But I never had a problem with Lewis and it’s not a surprise today that we still have a good relationship and I’m sure these guys will move forward. As Nico said, they have a clear target, which is winning the world championship, both of them. They are in a privileged position, which is to fight for that goal. From the outside we will try to enjoy as maximum this beautiful battle. The sport is made of these kind of things. They have a good problem: fight for the world championship.
Q: (Andrea Cremonese, La Gazzetta dello Sport) Question for Nico and one for Lewis. For Nico, how has the booing on the podium affected you in Spa? If you think about that and are you afraid it can happen again? And for Lewis, what does it mean that you freeze the discussion for the future contract with Mercedes? Are you thinking something like Fernando’s strategy in 2007?
NR: It was definitely not a nice feeling to hear boos towards me. And I understand, because they travel a long way, some of them, to watch a great, exciting race; a big battle between Lewis and I, and they didn’t get that. I understand that and I accept that.
LH: Well, I haven’t said that I was freezing anything. We’re constantly talking with the team – but I think at the moment the priority is to win the championship. I still have a contract for a whole ‘nother year on top of this one, so there is no rush. But I do want to say that I see my future with Mercedes. I’m really happy there, so…
Q: (Luis Fernando Ramos – Racing Magazine) A question to Lewis. You fought for the 2007 title with Fernando as an opponent in the team, and now with Nico in the team. Which of the two offered you a fairer fight on and off the track?
LH: That’s not really a particularly good question. When you’re fighting with your team-mate, as Fernando said, you’re fierce competitors but outside it’s really important to remain respectful and, I think I’ve had the pleasure of working with quite a few different drivers and every single one of them has been hard to race against, in a different way, a different manner. I think generally, the majority of the time, we’ve not really had many problems. And that’s what I hope for moving forwards.
Q: (Byron Young – Daily Mirror) Nico, could I just ask why you apologised? Was it because your team bosses made you or was it a heartfelt thing?
NR: They can’t make me apologise. It definitely was a decision that came from me after hearing people’s opinions and after having looked at it myself again. I felt that it was my responsibility.
Q: What changed?
NR: Time. And hearing other people’s opinions.
Q: (Rosie Bailey – F1 Plus) Question to all of you: what do you think about the changes to the run-off area at Parabolica and how will it affect the way you approach that corner now? Will you take more risks because there’s tarmac instead of gravel?
KM: I do think we will take more risk… well, you’re not really taking more risk because it’s more safe and you can just go off the track and come back again and generally I’m not a big fan of that. I think it adds to the experience of driving at circuits if there is a little bit of a bigger consequence of going off the circuit. I’m not saying we should compromise safety but in my opinion, I don’t think we’re making the track more unsafe by having gravel there, but it’s still an awesome circuit – I’m sure – and I’m still going to really enjoying driving here, I know that for sure. But yeah, I haven’t driven it yet so we will see how it is.
VB: Yeah, I agree quite a lot with Kevin. I really think last year it was maybe a bit more challenging in a way because on the exit we were always going with the outside wheels just on the white line and you knew that if you went a couple of centimetres too wide that that would be it, you would go off, but now it doesn’t matter if you go a bit over the white line, you just need to keep at least two wheels on the track and that’s it. It’s still a good track. It’s just that one corner is less exciting.
MC: Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of it. I think it’s maybe allowed us to go for slightly more risky overtakes but I don’t see why they needed to extend it so far around. As Valtteri said, it was a bit of spice, the old circuit, where we used to run up against the white line and if you went slightly too far you would hit the gravel and you knew it was over. Now, to me, it looks like we can get away with it so I’m not a big fan of it but that’s the way it is.
LH: They’ve pretty much said everything. I think the FIA are very very conscious of safety and I think that’s nothing to shy away from, I think that’s a very very important issue but I’m old school, so I like the old circuits, back in the nineties when there was no tarmac run-off areas, where it was grass, because even last year, here, when you went round that corner, you didn’t, as I said, you know… and I experienced it last year, I went wide through a mistake and you pay for the mistake. But what is really important is that of course if you do have an incident the tarmac does slow the car down better, so that is a good move but you can’t win, both sides.
FA: I think they’ve said everything. Nothing to add.
NR: It was one of the more risky corners that we still had in our calendar so it definitely makes things a lot safer and that is the right direction to go in.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Universo On-line) Nico, in a battle for the world title between two drivers, how important is the psychological war?
NR: Of course in sport it plays a part of it. Your performance is linked to many things and your mental state of mind is always important in sport.
Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Fernando, back to the Parabolica again; the FIA said it was the drivers that wanted to see a safer corner so how many drivers were consulted and who were the drivers who actually wanted that tarmac run-off area put there because the back row, I think, would have left it as it is? Lewis you spoke very well about the safety, but Fernando, who were the drivers who said we want this changed?
FA: I don’t know, I don’t know.
Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Did the GPDA not discuss this?
FA: As far as I know, I don’t think so. There have been some discussions in the past for the entry, probably in case you have a brake failure or something to have the possibility to not go straight, just into the gravel and hit the tyres but probably from mid- to exit of the corner, that was probably a surprise for us also. Which it still is I think. Artificial grass on mid- to exit which before probably we said that we can put two wheels out of the track and two inside and don’t pay a big price but I don’t agree. I think if you put two wheels now, you will go on that artificial grass and you have to back off because you have a snap on the car and you need to back off, so you still need to be a few centimetres from that artificial grass now to do a perfect corner.
Q: (Sarah Holt – CNN) Just one more question on Spa, if I could ask Fernando and the two Mercedes drivers as well: in a situation that we saw happen last time out in Belgium, when there’s a mistake by one driver and it effectively puts another driver out of the race and then the first driver makes an 18 point gain over the second driver in a hotly contested title race, should the FIA investigate the incident a bit more closely than they did in Spa?
FA: I don’t know why I need to answer so many questions on Spa! No, I would like to answer, you know, to be honest, because I have no clear input on that. It’s FIA rules and they get us to race in a fair way and to respect the rules and they always try to do that and if in Spa they didn’t decide to go any further, they thought that it was OK like this but as I said, I was not in that incident, I was not involved. I saw it the week after but I have no clear opinion.
Q: Nico, were you asked to clarify your comments or anything?
NR: No. Just we need to trust the FIA to make the right calls, that’s our position as drivers.
LH: I think the FIA have a really tough job, particularly over the last couple of years they’ve done an exceptional job, I think, on the majority of the calls. I think their problem is always that the rules… the scenario is always different, so the same rule doesn’t always apply exactly. Sometimes perhaps it’s difficult to say which rule applies to what situation but I think there’s a very good question, to be honest, because how do we move forward from that? Does that mean that we can all now say OK, we can race a lot closer and if the guy in front comes off and is out of the race, nothing’s going to happen so then we will be more relaxed towards it or does that mean if it happens again there will be a penalty? I think we’re always asking to be able to race. It’s very hard out there to manoeuvre a car at those high speeds without sometimes having contact but there’s a fine line. But I think it’s a really good question, I don’t know the full answer to it really.
Q: (Ralf Bach – Sport Bild) Nico, is it right that Niki Lauda talked to you in the week after the Spa race and apologised for the interviews he gave directly after the race at Spa?
NR: Yes, it’s true, yes, and that was a nice gesture of his which I have accepted, fully accepted of course, and also there, it’s a thing of the past.
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Mercedes not ruling out driver lineup change
Right at the front of the grid, the 2015 ‘silly season’ is threatening to burst into life. On paper, the top teams – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – are all locked up contractually. But Romain Grosjean, the Lotus driver looking for a change of scene, thinks Fernando Alonso is still the “key” that could unlock a torrent of action.
Jenson Button, also waiting on his future, isn’t so sure. “I don’t really think he (Alonso) is the key,” said the 2009 world champion. “I think the two McLaren drivers are probably the key.” Indeed, McLaren has been the source of a lot of the rumours lately, with the Woking team wanting a truly top star to lead the new Honda era.Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is one name linked with a huge-money move, and at Monza he is not denying that talks have taken place.
“It is not the first time I have been approached in the last couple of years which obviously is nice, but it is not my style to share (publicly),” said the German. “At Spa I heard on Thursday that I’d signed for 150 million pounds for three years — I was asking where the pen was but nobody came back!” Vettel joked.
Lewis Hamilton may also still be in the running, after the 2008 world champion on Thursday denied Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s recent claim that contract talks have been frozen amid the intensity of the title battle. And the latest development is that Wolff is not ruling out a change to the German squad’s driver lineup should the increasingly bitter Hamilton and Rosberg feud prove impossible to manage. “We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different lineup,” Wolff told the BBC at Monza. “If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that.”
Further down the grid, Nico Hulkenberg gave the strongest sign yet that he is not a player on the driver market this time around. He said it “can be assumed” that he is staying at Force India in 2015. “I am very comfortable where I am sitting,” Hulkenberg told German reporters at Monza. “I have no headaches.”
It’s not quite the same situation for his teammate Sergio Perez, as Spaniard Dani Juncadella is knocking on the door with sponsor Astana in tow. “I have only read newspaper reports,” Mexican Perez said when asked about Juncadella. “I’m not worried. It’s not like a year ago with McLaren — I have a greater role in the decision-making now and I feel comfortable at Force India.”
TJ13 comment: Many of the rumoured moves have been heard around TJ13 towers for weeks and have lacked substance. But what is new is Jenson Button believing that the Mclaren drivers are key to the market. To date, not one team has shown an interest in saving Button’s career – only media speculation has placed him possibly at Williams.
However, it appears that nobody of note is after his or his team-mates seat, no matter how much Ron Dennis calls on his fairy Godmother. JB may well end up remaining at Woking for another year.
TJ13 F1 Courtroom Podcast – Episode 3
This podcast will be published in a separate article at 7pm UK time but due to the nature of the content being discussed it is being included in the news today.
Feature Track – It’s not what knocks you down – by The Flow
Monza 2014: Free Practice 1 Report – by Editor in Chief
2 weeks ago at the 2014 Belgium GP, FP1 was eagerly anticipated following a month of everyone being ‘familied up’ to the hilt on vacation.
Following the dramas of yesterday, this morning’s practice session in Monza felt like the morning after a late night out on the cheap prosecco which resulted in extended intercourse with one of Italy’s less feminine and unshaven F1 devotees under the trees at the newly castrated Parabolica. [No misogyny intended – reverse gender and metaphor if you are a female reader].
So… the farcical scenario of drivers with moula being allowed inside the most sacred automotive racing machines of them all was laid bare for all to see as Dani Juncadella took the wheel of Perez’s Force India, but just for 30 minutes, before handing back to the Mexican.
Kobayashi is back in the Caterham this weekend after Andre Lotterer refused the opportunity of ‘another go’, however, Caterham are part funding their £500,000 a month budget shortfall this week with Roberto Merhi getting a drive.
Whilst Mehi has some decent performances in junior racing categories, his stand out quality appears to his rather over exuberant hair.
Once again, the extra set of tyres provided for the first 30 minutes failed to entice many onto the track. The highlight of this third of FP1 was the repeated instructions from Caterham to Mehi to stop pressing the DRS button too early.
Charlie’s mission to ‘pave paradise and put up a parking lot’ had the desired effect as Vettel and ran wide at Parabolica. The drivers mentality is now completely altered. They begin by going ‘beyond the edge’ and work back to a line and speed which is acceptable.
30 minutes in, Juncadella jumped out of the car, his work done, finding himself four 10th’s slower than Hulknberg. Hamilton led the way, 0.007 faster than ex ‘besssie’ childhood chum Nico, with the McLaren’s remarkably close. Button was 0.094s off the pace and Magnussen 0.164s away from the fastest time.
Mr. Noah’s party was almost in perfect harmony as next up were the two Ferrari’s, Vettel, Gutierrez, the two Williams, the two Toro Rosso’s and the Force India pairing.
By the 45 minute mark the action was so thrilling that barely awake commentator’s were discussing the rather good helicopter shots and the local golf course, musing whether it would be more challenging to play than the one at Indianapolis.
Pirelli appear to be up to their old conservative tricks which we saw during the close of the 2012 season. The hard and medium tyres are an interesting choice for Monza given that in Spa the soft tyre was available. Perez has commented that this is ridiculous and it may take 20 laps to warm up the prime.
One stopping on Sunday looks a cert.
Wonder of wonders, the lawnmower powered RB10 of soon to be ex-world champion Vettel, was seen to be pushing 330kph on the run down to Ascari. Presumably the rear wing Red Bull sponsor will be receiving a rebate for this weekend.
With an hour gone, the mild mannered man from Frome sets the quickest time, whilst Colgate boy is told he has a ‘failure’ and returns to the pits, jumps from his chariot and buggers off for a late pastry or early linguine lunch..
Hollywood Hamilton has been looking relaxed this weekend, almost as though he’s done a deal to exit Mercedes at the end of the season, so long as they let him win the WDC. Lewis was also imperious on track as he was note perfect around Parabolica, setting the fastest lap with a 1:26:547, just past the hour mark.
Ever the perfectionist, Hollywood reports a touch of understeer as he feathers the steering wheel, delivering the perfect amount of drift out of Roggia.
15 minutes to go and Crashtor manages to finally put a fairly mistake free lap together and is now almost a second clear of the Marussia’s. In the ‘Russian’ team, both drivers are within a tenth of each other as they move toward race simulations.
Meanwhile Bling Bling has now extended his lead over Britney to a massive 8 tenths of a second. Rosberg is complaining of a ‘big vibration’, which of course is potion of the ‘discipline’ Mercedes are enforcing following his most outrageous behaviour in Spa.
And out comes the chequered flag…
Of note, Ericsson is once again whipped by someone who has no idea what it’s like to drive an F1 car. An ageing Button has a strategy to keep going in F1, save your energy for the last 7 race weekends, second only to Hollywood.
Fire beats Ice, and well trained Russian’s can run and run forever, as Kvyat earns the most mileage with 27 laps.
Bottas is on top of Massa once again, and the William’s car appears to have lost some momentum from the first part of the season. Maybe Big Ron can rouse the Woking troops with a ‘we will fight them on the beaches’ type speech and mount a last ditch effort to reclaim third in the constructors’ championship yet.
Roll on FP2……….
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:27.271||1.084||27|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:27.687||1.500||13|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:27.741||1.554||33|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:28.112||1.925||23|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:28.300||2.113||30|
|15||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:28.429||2.242||19|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:28.487||2.300||12|
|17||Daniel Juncadella||Force India||1:29.192||3.005||10|
Monza 2014: Free Practice 2 Report – by Editor in Chief
What weather forecast? Predictions of inclement weather in Monza are proven false, the circuit is bathed in sunshine, and a prettier setting for a motorsports event, would be hard to conceive of today.
Despite using the engine from Hungary which was reminiscent of blockbuster movie ‘towering inferno’, Hollywood Hamilton was remarkably quick this morning, beating team mate Britney by eight 10th’s. However, Paddy the Enforcer, did suggest during the lunch break – whilst masticating a youthful sprig of trefoil – that Nico may have been running a heavier fuel load.
Ricciardo was desperate for some track time after a ‘failure’ in FP1, so he, Kvyat, Hulkenberg and the returning Kobayashi hit their straps early doors.
There were some problems with the DRS systems, which manifested themselves this morning as random yellow flags were deployed. 4 minutes into the session, and it happened again. The question begged is whether dodgy Italian wiring is influencing the proceedings, as this picture may suggest… taken yesterday – close to Charlie’s booth – by our man on the ground Adam Mac.
15 minutes had gone and Mercedes decided that Hollywood’s car required urgent attention. The mechanics removed the floor and Lewis was seen rummaging around in a drawer at the back of the garage – presumably to assist…..…”Scalpel”.
At this stage Raikkonen was fastest in sector 1, Magnussen in sector 2 and, Britney was showing a clean pair of heels to the field in the final portion of the lap. Rosberg then when quickest – just – a few thousandth’s quicker that Kevin with a 1:27:005.
Mercedes provided us with a comprehensive explanation as to the problem with Hamilton’s car… “It won’t start…. so we are taking the floor off to see why”…
A resigned Lewis Hamilton’s only response to this was, “I’m just going outside…. And I may be some time”. [Sunglasses on].
After another sleepless night with a teething child, soon to be ex-world champion Sebastian Vettel appears to not quite ‘be at the races’. He was reminded to press his overtake button as he was instructed on the previous lap to which he drawled “Yeah, you’re right, I forgot,” while taking a swig from his bottle.
30 minutes gone and Button requested, “more front end” and the times looked like this….
1 Rosberg 1m26.786s
2 Alonso +0.004s
3 Button +0.189s
4 Magnussen +0.228s
5 Vettel +0.364s
6 Bottas +0.373s
7 Massa +0.595s
8 Raikkonen +0.606s
9 Perez +0.799s
10 Hulkenberg +0.962s
A certain ex-team mate of Sebastian is in the house this weekend, presumably to gloat when the Colgate kid conquers the champ again. BBC presenter Suzie Perri posted a selfie of her and Mark (I believe Mrs Judge is now on the rampage).
McLaren’s drivers where having another good session, which will presumably persuade Ron Dennis to keep them in the dark for longer about their future contract possibilities.
40 minutes in, and Mercedes have created a human shield around Hollywood’s car as sparks where flying from the spanners of the furiously engaged mechanics. This wall of flesh was presumably to prevent prying eyes from observing the small remote controlled exploding device they are fitting.
Oh No!!!!. Just when it was all going so well down in Macca-land, Magnussen was told he is out of battery… Game over!
Wait…. Say what?…. Ooops, sorry…. MY BAD…..Formula E is next weekend. Modern technology is just so confusing. (mutters to self).
Back to the on track action!
Rosberg claimed the new fastest first sector. Alonso then improved to P2 while Ro-Gro hits the kitty litter at Lesmo.
It was all happening further down the field as Kvyat is kicked off on the radio about Perez’s driving infringing his lap, Perez went 8th, Kvyat 10th and Button while was “losing (his) grip”.
The Iceman commeth again! Raikkonen got it all together and slotted in just a tenth off Rosberg’s 1m26.331s.
With 35 minutes to go Mercedes were in the Humpty Dumpty phase of “putting it back together again” on Lewis’ car. Doing a rather good job of it Hollywood is able to join in the fun with 30min to spare and goes 12th fastest. Having another go seemed to have restored his mojo and he is up to P2, just 0.061s shy of Rosberg’s time.
While Hollywood and Grosjean were working on outright pace the others were concentrating on long run pace. Vettel, the Williams’ and the Ferraris were all showing really good long run pace. Perhaps another race where the Arrows will need to box smartly to win?
15 minutes to go and Lewis went for it again but got stuck behind Kvyat, which seemed quite ironic considering the troubles the EU/UK/US are having with Mother Russia. A short visit to the pits done and a final go at trumping Britney…
Vettel in the mean time explored the additional tarmac area at Parabolica but appeared to find no additional benefit.
And with that the flag dropped, Rosberg leading Hamilton with Kimi in 3rd and Alonso 4th. Bottas showing what he is made off again sitting pretty in 5th with Button and Vettel following. K-Mag in 8th with Massa and Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.
With a little luck on Rosberg’s side today it is 1 all in the teammate wars at Mercedes.
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:26.762||0.537||27|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:26.992||0.767||37|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:27.079||0.854||42|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:27.227||1.002||39|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:27.476||1.251||37|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:27.929||1.704||33|