#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 8th September 2014


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Previously on TheJudge13:

#F1 Race Report: Mercedes Dominates In Monza

#F1 Poll: FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2014 – Driver of the Weekend

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2014?

OTD Lite: 1996 – Schumacher pushes his luck to win again

Poll: Was Rosberg’s Lock-ups part of a Mercedes Management Punishment?

Dr. Marko feels the need to apologize… again

Marchionne: Montezemolo is “useful, not essential”

Adam Parr stirs up a storm

Lawrence Stroll to buy Sauber

Williams and Mclaren announce drivers for 2015 – sort of..

Meanwhile in Brackely

Wolff – “Stop booing”

The Italian job: A Conspiracy Theory (GMM)

OTD Lite: 1996 – Schumacher pushes his luck to win again

The teams had arrived at the Autodromo di Monza for the 1996 Italian Grand Prix with double World Champion, Michael Schumacher, having just won his second Grand Prix of the season in Belgium.

Rumours throughout the paddock suggested that Williams had signed Heinz Harald Frentzen to replace Damon Hill but he blocked out all the whispers to claim pole position from his title rival, Jacques Villeneuve.

Tyre stacks had been erected on the various apexes around the track, as modifications to the kerbing hadn’t been completed and collisions with these accounted for several cars; including early leader Damon Hill.


Schumacher walked a fine line throughout but misjudged the entry into the first chicane later in the race and the Tifosi held their collective breath. After an epic Belgian Grand Prix where he had to overcome a loose steering wheel to collect the trophy, his luck held out once again and he continued – taking the chequered flag to rapturous applause.

It’s easy to look at his record breaking career and assume that his genius was flattered by dominant cars, but in 1996, on days such as this, he made F1 fans realise why he was the best of his era.

The Jackal


Poll: Was Rosberg’s Lock-ups part of a Mercedes Management Punishment?


Dr. Marko feels the need to apologize… again

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff was not the only one in permanent crisis handling mode in Monza. Uncharacteristically, Mercedes’ other loud-mouth Lauda kept his trap shut for a change, most likely because he would be getting his wish, or did someone really think Rosberg made the same ‘mistake’ twice?

The picture was strangely mirrored at Red Bull. While Christian Horner can’t ever shut up if a camera is in the vicinity, he was virtually non-existent this weekend, at least on German TV. Most likely he’s run out of excuses. Not so, however ‘the other Red Bull guy’, Dr. Helmut Marko, who had been in the defensive, when a translation of a Vettel post-race interview from Spa for the Spanish TV surfaced in which the team’s four time world champion was quoted as saying: “Thanks, you [Spanish TV] seem to believe more in me than parts of my team.”

Between the Spa and Monza Grand Prix it emerged that for the second time this year they had to change Vettel’s chassis after it was found that it was damaged. Lo and behold, suddenly he was consistently faster than his team mate for most of the race weekend. One starts to wonder how Mark would have done with an occasional chassis change?

Confronted with Vettel’s harsh statement from Spa by Sky’s Tanja Bauer before the race, Dr. Marko went full politician and prattled on for five minutes and said absolutely nothing. The only thing of informational value was that Vettel’s chassis will be changed again, as currently Red Bull is building a completely new one for him, which makes one wonder if Vettel’s previous cars were nailed together with bit’s from the parts bin of the other side of the garage, this would go a long way to explain its reliability record.

The race was a verbatim copy of Canada as far as Red Bull’s drivers were concerned. Vettel was ahead and easily as fast if not faster than his highly-praised team mate and when the German was running 5th, Danny RIC toiled about outside the points. Enter stage left – a ‘strategy error’.

Unlike Canada, RB’s questionable pit stop call didn’t cost him the race win, but would lead to ultimate humiliation later on. Called in way too early on tyres that still had a good 5 laps in them Vettel was forced to ride out the remaining 33 laps on a single set of hard tyres. His team mate, who ran seven laps longer was thus given the chance to easily dispatch Vettel later on, who had no way of fighting back on tyres that had already gone over the now infamous engineered-in cliff.

After the race, again being confronted with uncomfortable questions from Sky, Dr. Marko publicly apologized to Vettel for the poor strategy.

How long will it take for Red Bull to stop their bovine excrement? The team is made up of a bunch of mercenaries. Now that Vettel isn’t as regular a points deliverer and would actually need a bit of help from the team, they turn the back on him and go for the guy who makes it look easier. The slave has done his job, the slave may leave now. Why does Marko even bother to apologize? It’s the second time he apologizes for exactly the same thing – first time was after Canada. If you have to ask forgiveness for exactly the same thing twice… Well you do the math.

Vettel fans should begin to develop a whole new appreciation for Mark Webber, who has put up with this for years.


Marchionne: Montezemolo is “useful, not essential”

It was a strange day in Monza. The news TJ13 broke re: the imminent departure of Luca di Montezemolo was openly debated. The Ferrari president himself denied the reports, stating he had told the FIAT board in March he would leave in three years.

“I am working, and I am here not to have a vacation: I am here because we are working very hard,” said Luca.

“We have in front of us very important months. We will present a fantastic new car in the Paris motor show in the beginning of October.

We will be in Los Angeles with 600 Ferraris coming from all over USA, to celebrate 60 years of Ferrari [in America]. We are preparing a unique and unbelievable car to celebrate this event, with only 10 cars for our best American collectors.

We are also working with [Ferrari team boss] Marco Mattiacci to improve the organisation, to improve the Formula 1 team.”

41450_marchionne-su-montezemolo-nessuno-e-indispensabileHowever, the man who has revitalised FIAT as a business decided to pay an unnanounced visit to the paddock on Sunday. CEO of FIAT and Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne told the gathered media, “Luca di Montezemolo and I are great friends, but when I read his statements, I thought they were things I would never have said about myself”.

Contradicting Il Padrino, Marchionne is clear. “The important thing for Ferrari is not just the financial results, but also it is winning and we have been struggling for six years”.

The killer blow is then delivered by FIAT’s CEO. “Everybody is useful but nobody essential, adding, “I consider myself essential, of course, but I also know very well that I am at the service of this company. So to create positions, illusions that one can operate outside the rules, is talking rubbish.

It’s the same for him [LdM] as it is for me, we serve the company. When the company has a change of plan, or if there is no longer a convergence of ideas, things change.”

Behind the scenes, Montezemolo is clearly fighting for his life at Ferrari, and it would appear despite his frequent ‘locking of horns’ with Ecclestone over the years, this is one fight he is destined to soon lose.


Adam Parr stirs up a storm

article-0-1232FBBF000005DC-721_306x423Adam Parr caused a stir in the paddock following the race in Monza yesterday. Following an interview with Lewis Hamilton, the SKY presentation team were seen reading out a tweet from the former CEO of the Williams race team.

Parr stated, “This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars”.

There has been information this season emerging from the Strategy Group gatherings, that F1 will move to allow more standardised parts which teams can buy in.

Further, the topic of customer teams has been aired extensively, and Christian Horner known to be close to Ecclestone said in May, “To encourage new teams to come into Formula 1 then a year-old car would surely be the most cheapest, more cost-effective way of introducing a team into Formula 1 that hasn’t got to have the investment in a design and R&D department, manufacturing, go through all the crash-test process, [they] can just be focused on being a race team while they build their infrastructure up.”

One would think that might be a logical way to help the small team and perhaps a new team coming into Formula 1,” added Horner.

Marco Mattiaci agreed that customer cars would provide new teams with “the possibility to have two, three years’ experience and to gain the knowledge and then to become competitive. So, this is a practical way, realpolitik, to move ahead.”

Parr’s assertion though suggests not all teams will be entering 3 cars, which would indeed be the end of F1 as we know it. 3 Mercedes cars this year would have delivered a whole different set of results, and clearly it would only be the big teams who can afford to do this.

With the announcement that Lawrence Stoller is close to doing a deal to acquire Sauber, this billionaire would ensure the Swiss team are one of the 8.

As discussed on the TJ13 podcast last week, Caterham are on the brink of failure and yesterday their much liked team principal, Christijan Albers, resigned from his role.

Albers issued this statement, “Over the past months I have dedicated all my energy to ensure the takeover of the team would go as smoothly as possible and to achieve the best possible result for our investors, sponsors and all the people involved with Caterham.

As such I worked tirelessly to reconstruct the team, while at the same time, making technical updates on the car.

In doing this we created both a better foundation for the team’s future and achieved significant improvements on the speed of the car.

I wish the team all the best for the future.”

TJ13 has been informed the Caterham team is desperate for finance, and asset stripping by disgruntled employees has occurred. Mannequins are naked in Leafield having been stripped of their Caterham uniforms.

Albers became frustrated with the failure of the mysterious Swiss based Arab investors, who have have not delivered on their promises. In the face of this Christijan has battled to pay creditors and staff, whilst keeping the team ‘at the races’.

So if there is to be only 8 teams in F1 in 2015, then Lotus, Caterham and Marussia appear to be doomed.


Lawrence Stroll to buy Sauber

There has been a flurry of hastily organised meetings between Ecclestone and F1 team bosses over the past few race weekends, and despite the ‘on message’ comments that the subject has been ‘improving the show’, more serious matters are afoot.

Ecclestone performs an annual ‘health check’ around the more fragile teams, to ensure they have sufficient funds to see the winter through, arrive with a car for testing and go racing for the following season.

Sauber announced a deal last year with Russian investor’s which should have ensured the long term stability of the Swiss outfit. Yet it wasn’t just Lotus ‘doing an Ijaz’, as the funds never transpired and Sauber have been bereft of cash all year long.

The good news for the 5th longest standing F1 team is that Canadian billionaire, Lawrence Stroll is about to acquire the team.

Stroll owns the Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Canada, a Ferrari dealership in Québec along with a collection of cars which includes two of the most expensive in the world – a Ferrari P4 and a Ferrari 275 GTB/4.


Forbes list Stroll as the 815th richest person in the world with a mostly liquid fortune following recent sales of shares estimated at around $2.3 bn.

Lawrence Stroll is a huge Formula 1 fan, and will surely invest properly in Sauber, who have demonstrated over the years unlike others, they know how to operate well on a meagre budget.

Lance Stroll, Lawrence’s son, was nominated by the Fedération Sport Automobile du Quebec as Rookie of the Year in 2008 and Driver of the Year the following year. In 2010 he won no less than four titles in the Florida Winter Tour, in the Canadian ASN Championship and the Coupe de Quebec.

In 2011 Stroll ran with the Dino Chiesa Team in the Italian Kart Championship and finished eighteenth while in the WSK Euro Series with 44 points to take ninth place in the KF3 class championship. In 2012, the young Canadian continued his experience alongside the team and won the Las Vegas Trophy, finishing fourth in the WSK Master, fifth in the World Championship CIK-FIA, eighth in the Euro CIK-FIA and twelfth in the WSK Euro.

In 2013, Stroll competed in the KF category in the CIK and WSK Championships once again with Chiesa Corse team and was recognised as the best rookie.

Stroll was signed as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy aged 11 and is therefore the second youngest driver to be signed to a Formula One team programme.

All this has led certain commentators to assume Stroll Snr is buying Sauber for his boy. However, it would be cheaper by far to pay for him to drive in another team.


Williams and Mclaren announce drivers for 2015 – sort of..

At Monza, over the weekend, Williams officially announced that they would be retaining the services of both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas for the forthcoming season. With what has proven one of the surprise packages of the year, the team has moved back into race winning potential and has secured podiums and a pole position this year.

Massa: “I’m really enjoying my time at Williams and I feel settled here. Williams is such an iconic name in motor racing and I have a lot of pride when racing for this team. This season we have started to show our true potential and I’m driving a car that is looking strong and has improved a lot as the season has progressed which is very encouraging for the future.”

Valtteri Bottas added; “I’ve been a member of the Williams team for five years now and we have developed together throughout that time which is a great feeling. The team has also made some very impressive gains this season and I’m confident that I’m at a team that is moving in the right direction and can continue to be competitive. Sir Frank and Claire have put a lot of faith in me and I’m very grateful that they continue to do so.”

TJ13 did hear mutterings this weekend, that Felipe Massa may be prepared to invest some of his $80m into Williams. Much of this was earned from repeatedly ending the race weekend with a sore botty whilst driving for Ferrari.

Frank Williams noted, “Felipe is a very experienced driver. He has learnt how to stand up to Ferdy, my hero in Formula 1 and given him a hard time in the past and I have the highest regard for him”.

This was in sharp contrast to the message that Mcaren gave in interviews in regards their future plans. With the imminent return of Honda they have been aggressively pursuing Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton and it seems that they have finally accepted that these drivers won’t be available any time soon.

Racing director Eric Boullier “We are happy with the drivers we have, to be honest. You can rate them or not rate them, I don’t care. We are happy and lucky to have the good drivers we have. If we have them next year we will be happy with that.” He commented as he quickly uncrossed his fingers.

“But we are thinking about strategy. We have to think about 2016. We are seeking who, when, how, how much, because we need to know how we want to build for the future. It is usual in Formula One, especially with A-list drivers, to have discussions not for next year but for the year after.”

It would appear that his choice of words is damning to both the current incumbents – obviously the Woking team do not consider either Button or Magnussen “A-list drivers.”

Ron Dennis added his usual spin too, “We always have the best available drivers. Without being derogatory, detrimental or negative to your existing drivers, the first thing you have to establish, before you have any process of selection, is who is available.”

“No-one could have predicted the tension inside Mercedes-Benz, or imagine a range of scenarios that could see one of those drivers on the market by the end of the year.”

“That does not mean we would automatically reach for that driver, or any other driver, in preference to what we have. “What it means is you are trying to understand who is available, and then you make a decision. It could be that decision is not to change.”

So essentially, once the Ron-speak has been deciphered – the message is clear, ‘we are stuck with these two because no-one of note is willing to commit to our poorly performing Mercedes powered sledge.”
Whilst all may appear rosy for another season for Smurf Jr, it would be wise for him to have a read through Mclaren’s history.

When the 1983 season closed, both Niki Lauda and John Watson were signed up members of the Woking team. Within weeks, Renault and Prost had had a falling out and Prost was snapped up by Dennis.


Meanwhile in Brackely

Something strange sighted in Brackley this morning…
Pigs in Brackley


Wolff – “Stop booing”

Toto Wolff has intervened on behalf of his beleaguered driver, Nico Rosberg, who once again was bood at the podium ceremony of the Italian GP.

TJ13 wrote a series of articles on “The Boo Pandemic”  last year when Vettel was being repeatedly heckled week in and week out.

“There should not be any booing on the podium,” says the big bad Wolff. “It is the top three guys who have had a mega race and whoever it is they shouldn’t be doing it. It is sport and sport should unite. But all those guys have fans; some of them are pretty emotional.”

Toto does though suggest, “maybe it is something you need to survive if you want to take it to the top. Lewis had many of them and he came back and we have seen Nico after Silverstone come back. You need extreme mental strength to make it to the end and win the championship. Both of them have it in them to bounce back after weekends. Before the incident at Spa it had been going back and forth”

Martin Brundle et al learned last year to their cost that trying to lecture in a paternal manner from the podium to a bunch of fans, just makes matters worse. Toto’s lack of experience is starting to tell in both his handling of the team and his communications with the fans of F1.

The Italian job: A Conspiracy Theory (GMM)

When Lewis Hamilton passed championship leader and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to take the win at Monza on Sunday, a myriad of conspiracy theories were launched as not everyone was convinced that the German made a genuine mistake.

Formula 1 legend and triple F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart is one such conspiracy theorist among many that have emerged in the aftermath of the Italian GP weekend.

“I thought: Hello, what’s going on here?” admitted the triple world champion, referring to the moment when Rosberg ran into the escape zone at the circuit’s first corner, letting Hamilton into a lead that would not be challenged. “He could have at least made an effort to get round the corner but he didn’t.”

Those connecting even more dots linked the move with the Mercedes drivers’ shenanigans in Belgium two weeks ago, whereafter Rosberg was internally sanctioned by the German team.

Was ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ gifting Hamilton the win part of Rosberg’s punishment, after the championship leader pulled out a further points lead on Hamilton in Belgium amid the highly controversial circumstances?

“It’s not like we now start shuffling and things like that. There is no reason why I would do something like that on purpose,” the German driver insisted.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff slammed the conspiracy, including the claim that the Rosberg ‘mistake’ coincided with television images of him in the pits grinning wryly at the TV monitor.

“Whoever picks that up and tries to interpret anything in such a picture must be out of his mind,” said the Austrian. “First of all, it’s not live. It wasn’t synchronised with the picture.”

As for accusing Mercedes and Rosberg of orchestrating the ‘mistake’ to at least give Hamilton seven of the lost points back, Wolff insisted: “Only a paranoid mind could come up with such an idea. I think there was lots of pressure on Nico because Lewis was so quick yesterday and you could see that as well.”

More sober minds, however, noted that Rosberg made more than one run through the chicane run-off on Sunday, and Hamilton also locked his brakes at the same point late in the race.

“They [the mistakes] might look a bit strange but I did it in practice [too],” said Rosberg. “What would be the reason for me to do something like that deliberately? The only thing in people’s minds could be Spa but Spa was a mistake which I’ve apologised for.”

He said the reason he went through the run-off rather than lock up the brakes and try to make the corner is because “it would have caused a flat-spot. I haven’t been 100 per cent with the brakes since the start of the season.”

“We wanted to solve the problem with new disc material, but after what happened with Lewis in Hockenheim that has been on hold,” said Rosberg.

And the newspaper Bild quoted him as saying: “Lewis was getting bigger and bigger in the mirror, so I was braking later and later. My first thought was: Shit.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, took heart from the appearance of Rosberg having cracked under his application of pressure, “I did it a couple of races ago and he doesn’t seem to like it. So I’ll try it a bit more.”

Finally, Hamilton denied suggestions he once again ignored a team order, after his engineer on Sunday told him to maintain a gap behind Rosberg until later in the race.

“They (engineers) want to win just as much as me so they’re just trying to guide me as to what they think,” said the 2008 world champion. But at the end of the day, I was the one out there and I had to decide: Ok, I can back off and keep the tyres but it might be better the other way.”

“I knew that if I applied the pressure, an opportunity would eventually come,” said Hamilton.

TJ13 Comment: Did any one notice Flavio Briatore was present in Monza (knowing wink)

126 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 8th September 2014

  1. If Adam Parr’s comments are to be believed, then who would be Ferrari’s 3rd team? They’ve got a long standing relationship with Sauber and now they’re locked into a deal with HAAS F1, so who gets preferential treatment?

  2. “Was Rosberg’s Lock-ups part of a Mercedes Management Punishment?”

    Absolutely not!

    My money is on Britney starting to suffer a bout of the Webber syndrome: being way up in the lead, and having a hard time dealing with the pressure, well in the knowledge that this might be a one in a life-time opportunity.

      • They didn’t admit it in Monaco, so if it was deliberate yesterday, why would they admit it now?

        But let’s look at other incidents where Nico has come under pressure and done the same thing. Canada (I think he looked up twice going into the last corner) Spa (trying to pass Seb, flat spotted his tyres and had to pit way earlier than he should) Austria (last lap of the race) Spain, Bahrain and even Monaco (not qualifying)

      • Of course they won’t Cassius. You are right.

        There were whispers after Singapore 08 about what happened, and many mocked others for thinking of the intricacy involved to pull off what Briatore, Symonds, Piquet Jr and Alonso did. Eventually it was proven and now it’s obvious.

        Italy 14 will, in time, come out. Just takes one pissed off involved employee. Let’s hope LH doesn’t win another championship off the back of race fixing.

        • Singapore 08

          I’m really seeing the parallels between a inexperienced driver desperate to retain his seat, and one leading the world championship who has just signed a multi year contract extension.
          i was having trouble working out Rosberg’s motivation, but now you’ve made it quite clear. Thanks for that.

          And no one at Mercedes would be in the slightest bit worried about the company’s reputation.

          Makes absolute sense.

    • I thought it was called “The Hamilton syndrome”. He suffered it, in a more dramatic way, before Webber or Button.

  3. “Called in way too early on tyres that still had a good 5 laps in them Vettel was forced to ride out the remaining 33 laps on a single set of hard tyres. ”

    Herr Dr Hippo, you’re looking at it through Vettel-tinted, conspiratorial lenses.

    Der Finger has spent most of his waking hours in Monza not making any progress in the K Man Merc-powered train. RB decided to give him a nudge, pit early, undercut everybody, and behold: Der Finger managed to finish the race in front of all those Merc-powered stallions. That’s a big accomplishment in itself, given the trash that Renault calls an engine sitting under Der Finger’s bottom.

    And what about Danny Boy? Sure it was all RB who conspired for Colgate Boy to slowly make his way up the field (from 10th, or where was in the first laps?) using the same Renault trash under his squeaky shiny bottom (I assume that Danny radiates everywhere)—at Monza, may I remind you—, conserve his tires sagely, and then when bumped his nose into the K Man Merc-powered train it was of course all conspiracy that he audaciously decided to surgically outbrake and dispose of each and every *Merc* powered stallion (something that dear old Finger couldn’t do from the very beginning), until the moment when he got in a position to dispose of his bitter and spanked-red teammate. Surely the *best* strategy at Monza using the under-powered Renault engine was to devise a strategy that put the RB Renault-powered pony *behind* all the Merc-powered train..

    Fortis is often mocked around here for his impassioned defense of Bozo, but you Herr Dr Hippo are capable of spectacular one-sided presenting of information, with selection bias all over your face. Given where Renault and Merc are, the best strategy at Monza for a RB was without doubt to undercut the Merc-powered train and gain track position and hold it till the end (which Seb accomplished very effectively); the suboptimal strategy was to overcut and make sure that the RB ends up well behind the Merc-powered train (which Danny managed to work splendidly, against odds). But I guess hippos don’t have very good vision, do they..

    • RIC managed to dispose the whole train for the very same reason he overtook Vettel. They were all on shot tyres. That undercut is useless if you face ultimate humiliation at the end. And if Vettel’s strategy was so brilliant, why did Marko apologize for it – again?

      • And if Vettel’s strategy was so brilliant, why did Marko apologize for it – again?

        Because it wasn’t – but that is with the slight benefit of hindsight.
        Was it entirely clear in advance that he wouldn’t be able to manage the tyres for so long ? Probably, but I’m wholly not sure.
        (It’s certainly not as clear cut as the mistake of sending Hamilton out on the slower and no more durable prime tyre in Hungary.)

        In any event, pitting Vettel so early forced the McLarens to pit early to cover him – and screwed them too. From a team pov, it wasn’t a ridiculous thing to do.

        The team possibly/probably benefitted overall – Ricciardo benefitted without a doubt. If I were Vettel, I’d be a bit sore about it.

      • … All good points, but Vettel is known for challenging the team strategy and quick thinking (Yes I said it) – and he seems to be just going along with them at present…. it wouldn’t be hard to believe he can’t be properly bothered because the RB10 package is not so good as he is used to…

        • I think it has more to do with what he said at Spa. The team (especially the lower ranks) turned their backs on him at the first sign of trouble, because RIC promises easier bonus money.
          Forget that he won the first GP’s for both teams and won the big prize for the lot four years on the trot. I think it’s just a bunch of ungrateful mercenaries – they would make a good foorball team.
          The fact that they had to exchange a broken chassis for the second time this year is testament to the fact that they can’t even bother to build him a proper car. How does that lot want to run three cars next year? They can’t even build two.
          I’m starting to believe they are punishing him, because they know he’ll leave after 2015. And if they continue to humiliate him like that I can even see him pack up this year.

          • “I think it has more to do with what he said at Spa. The team (especially the lower ranks) turned their backs on him at the first sign of trouble, because RIC promises easier bonus money.”

            So are you saying that they are all mercenaries, looking for the next big pay cheque?

          • I agree. As you said, Webber put up with this for years with this, probably for the paycheck and with the assumption that he’d at least get one fair crack at the whip. It even seems like they’re trying to tip Vettel into leaving this year, e.g. re-deploying Rocky. Are they dismantling his race team as well?

          • ….which is an interesting point because these ‘option year’ contracts often have bi-lateral escape clauses….

            You may be doing some ‘Ron Speak’ rather soon my friend…

          • Agreed Mr Hippo,
            I warmed to Seb considerably during last season and I do think he is getting a second rate deal from RedBull. The problem is they have ‘shiny thing syndrome’ they see something good and flock to it, forgetting about the last shiny thing they had. I do think a SMALL part of the performance deficit that Seb has to Danny Ric, is because his enthusiasm has been quelled by an under performing car not allowing for a real defence of his title, which must be hard to take given the last 4 seasons. I also think a change of scenery would do him the world of good, not to prove himself, but to feel loved by the team again.

        • Riccardo’s cheerful smile and sunny disposition is probably a marketing dream compared to Vettel at the moment. Plus the luck has gone Riccardo’s way with the race victories. While Vettel has struggled with the new dynamics in F1, he has shown flashes of his talent through the season. McLaren is in dire straights, if Vettel really wants to send a rocket up his critics backsides, he’ll go to McLaren and help to drag the team back into contention for race victories and championships. If he does indeed go to McLaren and wins a title he’ll have got the whole “He only won those 4 titles because he was lucky and had Newey in his corner” monkey off his back. But tbh I doubt Vettel really cares about that too much.

          As for the early pit stop ? I think that’s merely Red Bull acknowledging that Riccardo has the best outside chance at the drivers title. But they don’t want to admit it in public so Marko is sent out to spin things, as he did when Webber seemingly got shafted.

          So I can either see Vettel toughing it out at Red Bull for another season to see how Honda fares or he’ll jump ship in dramatic style in the winter.

      • He apologised because Seb got overtaken by Dan at the end of the race. The strategy worked very well for him in terms of staying ahead and beating the Merc powered cars though!

    • Perez pulled something like the same stunt as RIC for a podium in 2012, didn’t he?
      Dan was just “lucky” he completely ballsed up the start and ended up 12th. Seb was “unlucky” to jump places on lap one and be part of a five-way fight for fourth (?) as it was then.
      RBR called strategy based on maximising the finish for both at about lap 20, I guess.
      Again, Dan was lucky to have more options on the table (because he was nowhere and trying anything was a better option than following Kimi around for another 30 laps). To his credit, Dan showed enough skill to work the situation to his advantage.
      In RBR’s estimation, at the time, Seb couldn’t afford for anyone to undercut him, so they went early. They forced the hand of everyone in that group and came up trumps. Seb would have been grinning like a Ricciardo for a while there I’m sure.
      Dan’s been a tinny git all season, but has had to work to take advantage of the open doors.
      Was it Gary Player who said the harder he works the luckier he gets?

  4. The judge 13 F1 courtroom podcast is recording again this week.

    I really want to read out user comments on the podcast. I’d ask you to use twitter. This keeps the comments short and means they are all in one place.

    Tell us what you thought of the race and contribute to the feature: “things we learned in Monza”

    @spannersready #F1 #TJ13

    • I don’t twit, my life isn’t that interesting to me, so I feel no need to share it with the world.

      I realize combing through the comments to find interesting tidbits is tedious, but i don’t think I could reduce my thoughts into 140 characters, so I guess I’m out of luck. But consider this an open invitation to use whatever I post.

      Looking forward to the podcast.

  5. What I find amusing about the story of Lawrence Stroll buying Sauber is the part where the achievements of his son Lance Stroll are listed. He’s part of the Ferrari driver academy, and the youngest one they have ever signed, but his performances do not give me the feeling he’s there because he has an amazing talent but rather because he’s the son of an important customer of Ferrari. Almost all of the championships Lance participated in during his karting career were won by Max Verstappen while Lance’s best result was 4th… If Lawrence Stroll really is only interested in Sauber so that he can guarantee a seat for his son he will become the laughing stock of the grid and the Sauber name will lose all of it’s respect it had gained over the years. I hate to see that happen to the legacy of Peter Sauber.

    P.S. I think Mercedes made a small mistake with the image they posted on their Twitter feed, the text beneath it should have said something like:

    BREAKING NEWS: Amazing sights have been seen in the Skies over motorsport valley as F1 has become insane #8Cars3DriverPerTeam

    • I’m sure you’re right about Richie Rich, but that’s OK. If he can turn in a 107% time and his old man keeps Sauber around then that’s kinda OK.
      Or is the presence of these overindulging rich daddies just delaying the necessary F1 crash before it can arise in a new and better and sustainable format?
      Dunno. C’est sera sera 🙂

          • Could be but if that’s true how are constructor points going to be assigned? Especially when not every team has to have 3 cars. For instance Ferrari has 3 drivers so we have to divide driver points by 3 times 2 do get the number of constructor points… or is there a different formula used?

            There is so much wrong with the proposal as we know it right now that I doubt that this is the complete story or that it is even possible to change the rules like that.

          • In other words F1 has dashed the hopes of US fans once again… how many has it been in the last 10 years? (US GP, no budget cap. New Jersey, FOM asks too much. And now Haas F1, did I forget something?)

  6. I kind of think it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to have 8 teams of 3 cars.
    – It would give better opportunities for up-and-coming drivers to get in the mix for some real racing instead of just trundling round at the back fighting over next years’ travel money.
    – It would allow more scope for young driver testing on Fridays.
    – It would add another dimension to intra-team battles, Ham/Ros/Alo at Merc?, Alo/Rai/Ham at Ferrari?, Vet/Ric/Ver at RedBull?, or how about Mas/Bot/Ham at Williams and Vet/Ros/Alo at RedBull?
    – If, as this year, one team is dominating it would spread out the points more evenly (assuming the drivers were more-or-less equally skilled). For instance, Mercedes’ current 450-ish points might be shared between 3 drivers all hovering around 150 points rather than 2 drivers as around 225 as is the case at the moment. This could bring a Ricciardo or a Bottas more into play.
    – It could provide more potential surprises. Imagine if Vettel was getting ‘spanked’ by two young upstarts, rather than just one.
    ( That reminds me, during the BBC commentary, referring to Vettel being beaten by Ricciardo, one of the team talked about him “getting blown-off by a young guy” ! )

    • ( Which was almost as funny as Eddie Jordan referring to DC as an “oranga-mutang”! Top quality nonsense, as always!

        • so then how about two teams running 11 cars each? Mercedes and Redbull? ha. there will be a large amount of politics and preferential treatment conspiracy theories clouding the sport.

          • Sounds fun! 2×11 would mean you could have a number one vs number two football match between races, for extra points…

          • Yeah sounds like fun! The cars are all the same these days anyway, so if they were equal in performance then we’d have a real fight on our hands.

        • @Mark Jones
          “More competitive cars on the grid. Sounds good.”

          More competitive cars, BUT less competition. Sounds awful. The sport would become even more oligopolistic than it is now, and politics will be of even more importance than now. So far so bad..

          Much better would be to equalize (or at least make sensibly more equitable) revenue sharing; open entry rules to anyone who passes crash tests and dares to participate in Quali; have a cut-off in quali: 107 %, plus all those not in top 6 in Q1 (or Q0) cannot participate in the race. Tweak the rules for more competition, not less!!

          • I see what you’re saying, but I don’t really see much competition involving the back three teams – except for the fight to not be last.
            If those six drivers (plus another two seats) were spread out between the other eight teams you would see much more on track action as they were genuinely able to showcase their talents instead of being hamstrung by inferior machinery. True, it would reduce the number of constructors, but this year ain’t exactly the apogee of competition. I’d prefer to see 24 drivers who all had a reasonable chance to battle with each other.

          • I dunno, I think the sport is already riven with politics as it is, adding more competitive cars at this point likely would only make the sport better. I mean, apparently at the moment Williams has to ask permission from Mercedes whenever they want to use overtake mode. How pathetic is that? But if it was just four Mercedes, then Bottas and Massa could just get on with it. It’s not like we’d lose out on having distinctive cars and engines if some teams were gone. Who’d miss another battery-enhanced turbo V6 from the back of the grid?

          • To back up what Landroni said: with an EPL prize money structure, we’d have all teams competitive and less pay drivers needed. Not to mention, more people employed by F1, with more tax dollars for the places they reside in (mostly the UK).

    • If they do, it should be forbidden to have 3 top drivers. The third car should be for a driver with max 3 years experience in f1. That’s a way to give promising youngsters a chance in a competitive car…

      • “The third car should be for a driver with max 3 years experience in f1.”

        So basically what you mean is: put Alonso, Hamilton in two cars, and Magnussen/Bottas/Kvyat/slightlyYoungerRicciardo in the 3rd car? Oh, yes, that’s gonna hurt..

        • Yes exactly. Or since its ferrari it would be someone of the ferrari academy. (I think bianchi for example) But magnussen got picked by mclaren for their “main” team now. So the third car would be for vandoorne. And red bull could do a vettel, danny and kvyat (or verstappen) and so on.

          • Oh, you didn’t catch the irony. You’re talking about it being “forbidden to have 3 top drivers”, but put the likes of Bottas or Ricciardo in the right car during the 2nd-3rd years, and be surprised not if they run away with the championship. Not very nice to have 2 of the top 3, and a freshly squeezed WDC..

          • And why not? Just like it never happend before? Hamilton came in and came second in his first season. And became 1st in his second. The two top drivers should be better than a rookie and if their not, too bad.

  7. “Whilst all may appear rosy for another season for Smurf Jr, it would be wise for him to have a read through Mclaren’s history.”

    Judge, who is Smurf Jr?

  8. Oooh, it’s a Ferrari P4! Squeee!

    Why doesn’t Stroll Jr just drive that? To hell with the open wheelers.

  9. Re- Conspiracy theories of JYS

    In the post race presser Hamilton explained that in the driver’s meeting the driver’s were told that if instead of locking up and flat spotting they could go straight at the chicane but they would have to weave through the slarlem rather than running straight in the grass. This is because if the driver did flat spot his tyres it would force a second and costly pit stop, so having to slow down to negotiate the polystyrene boards is still quicker than a 25 second stop for more rubber.

    Although I respect Sir Jackie for his achievements, I fell this is controversy for controversy’s sake.

    I too felt the Rosberg mistakes were suspicious immediately the chequered flag waved. But on reading more and hearing from the drivers it made me change my mind and put it down to Rosberg not being so clever on the brakes as he has shown already this season that he can struggle with chicanes and locking up. So once I heard what Hamilton had to say (he seemed sure that multiple drivers would have done the same manoeuvre during the race given it was discussed in the driver’s meeting.

  10. I do believe that vettel learns more this year then in all his championship years combined. And i have to say I’ve seen a lot of great racers who have coped in a much more bitter way, with a bad season than he has. And that’s something that gives him extra credit, for me. Of course I would like to see him win, instead of danny boy. But that’s an other story 😉

  11. ”Toto’s lack of experience is starting to tell.”
    Aren’t you being a tad generous here…? 😉
    The guy has been around, at high levels, for a very long time.
    Is it not simply a case of:
    ”Toto’s lack of talent and man-management skills are now obvious,,,!” ? 😉

    • Deep pockets get you a long way, who honestly knew who Toto Wolff was before be bought into the Williams F1 team. I have to say his name didn’t strike a chord with me before that time. I may be doing the man an injustice, can anyone tell me where the heckle he popped up on and how he made his money as he had money before F1.

  12. One interesting speculation I haven’t seen yet…

    Given the critical nature of the double points season finish for the drivers’ championship, might it make sense for Hamilton (or less probably Rosberg) to take an extra engine (etc) change in one of the races before the final showdown ?

    Given the superiority of the Mercedes package, the resulting penalty might cost no more than finishing second rather than first – and enable him to go into the deciding race with a fresh powertrain.

    Thoughts ?

    • No, Merc are fast enough to clear a grid penalty with DRS. Lewis couldn’t afford it and neither can Rosberg. Perhaps if they were both within 14 points and more than 64 clear of the Colgate Kid in the penultimate race Merc might opt to change both engines, but even still methinks not.

      • No, Merc are fast enough to clear a grid penalty with DRS. Lewis couldn’t afford it and neither can Rosberg.

        But that’s my point.
        Sacrificing a place or two prior to the season end might be worth it if it gives you a significant engine advantage at the final double points race – and also helps make a mechanical failure less likely over the last few races.

        • I completely see your point, but Lewis had a DNF with a brand new engine in Australia. Gtranted it’s plausible, strategy wise, but bird in the hand IMO. Giving away places risk reward wise doesn’t work for me, in other words. But i am very risk averse in certain things 😉

  13. RE: JYS comments…

    A triple WDC and top 10 driver of all time… Think his perception may have some validity, as opposed to all those who want to out their head in the sand, listen to Mercedes managements obsurd denials in the face of what is clear on the screen ala Singapore 08? I highly doubt Lewis was unaware of the fixing.

    • Hey Nico, as part of your punishment, we will see to it that Lewis wins at Monza, so this is how it’s going to go down…

      Act 1..

      Lewis will turn up and be quicker than you from the get go, he will then go on a secure pole position with you in 2nd.

      Act 2….

      At the start of the formation lap, Lewis Weill develop a mysterious problem with his RS system. When the lights go green, this glitch will reappear again and as such, he will drop down to 4th behind Kmag and Massa.

      Act 3…

      Whilst he’s behind both drivers, you’ll build a 4 second lead and on lap 10, we want you to lock your front right tyre at T1 but instead of trying to make the corner and flat spot your tyres, we would like you to take the escape road and lose 1.8s of that lead.

      Act 4….

      We will box you on lap 24 and Lewis 1 lap later. You will come out with a 2.2s lead. From this moment on, we would like for Lewis to chase you down at .5s per lap. On lap 29, is when we would like for you to now deliberately lock your front left tyre and take to the escape road..(this shouldn’t be hard for you to do, you’ve done it before) and gift Lewis the lead

      Act 5..

      Lewis drives off into the sunset and claim his 6th win of the season whilst handing him back 7 pts out of the 18 you gained due to your clumsy move at Spa.

      Act 6…

      Well done Nico for playing a supporting role in out well scripted act of deliberate sabotaging your race. You have been a true team player….

      Closing scenes come on with the traditional dramatic sound track.

      And the for best supporting actor goes to….. NICO ROSBERG…

      Thank you thank you everyone…

      First I’d like to thank god, then my family and also a special thank you goes out to the Mercedes team for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful script.

      Standing ovation as he walks off the stage with his gold statue in his hand.

    • pahahaha, previous drivers’ opinions are just that – opinions. Some speak more sense than others, but Stewart’s opinions are more often than not off the ball and doesn’t seem to like Lewis much.

      You can’t say his opinion has validity to it as statements like that only hold validity when evidence is there to back it up.

      You seem desperate at convincing people that this was a fix and frankly I am worried for your health as you seem to ferreting around for info to back up your personal dislike for Lewis.

      • “You can’t say his opinion has validity” – Formula

        And you can’t say it hasn’t. Sure as hell has more validity than yours. That’s why ex-drivers are quoted all the time, from Villeneuve to Herbert to Hill to Stewert. This time, it’s a top 10’er. Cope with it bud. Lol.

        There is a growing consensus out there, across the paddock to the fans, that we saw a fix. It’ll come out. And when it does, I know you and your buds will be like “I just don’t believe it”.

        Let’s just hope fixing doesn’t decide two titles in under a decade for Lewis. Such talent and needs fixing, sigh…

        Singapore 08 – Italy 14

        • And a top 10 racing driver can’t be wrong?

          Opinions without hard facts, are just opinions!

          Why is it, that he’s the only racing driver that’s crying foul?

          So if Nico wins the championship, will you be saying Monaco 14?

          You keep bringing up Singapore 08, you do know Lewis didn’t win that race right? so let me ask you a few questions….

          Did you scream after the race that it was fixed?

          Was that incident done to aid Lewis’s title hopes or was it done to help Alonso and Renault?

          And please don’t mention what happened to Massa. Because what cost him most, was Ferrari giving him the go signal whilst he still had the fuel hose attached to his car. Had that not happened, he would’ve probably finished ahead of Lewis.

          Also going back to your ridiculous notion that the race was rigged….

          Don’t you think that if the wanted to fix the race, they could’ve done it in a much better way than what you’re claiming they did on Sunday?

          I can come up with so many ways that possible, but I’ll use the easiest one of all…..

          A botched pitstop. A sticking left rear wheel nut, problems with the jack at the rear, car stalls after servicing, car develops a mysterious loss of power.

          But hey, let’s have Nico go out and deliberately lock up in the middle of the race twice, so as to make the fix blatantly obvious.

          Bet you’ll be trying to convince everyone that Elvis and Bigfoot were seen having a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks.

  14. I hate to rise to the transparent bait, but…

    The conspiracy theory, like almost all conspiracy theories, fails the most basic common sense test and is clearly total bollocks (er…in my opinion).

    Oh, and given that team orders are fully allowed, any talk of race fixing is ignorant nonsense (in my…ok, you get the picture).

  15. Awesome report here by Mark Hughes: http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/reports/2014-italian-gp-report/

    Looks like Nico couldn’t gain so much out of looking at lewis’ data this weekend – as i have been saying all along there is no substitute for raw speed, and nico can only look at lewis’ data and hope he is somehow able to replicate it, but that wasn’t the case as lewis was just too mighty through the lesmo’s.

    Lewis was supposed to be outclassed by his more “intelligent” team mate this year particularly when it comes to fuel management, but lewis has consistently been using less fuel – work that one out ladies.

    All those who think that Nico was told by the team to let lewis through by cutting the chicane are off their rockers. No way would Nico ever agree with this and no way would the team ask him to do this – think about it, if it came to the end of the season and nico doesn’t win the title, the team would have to risk him keeping schtum about fixing the race. No way would he keep quiet if he lost the title and merc would be finished….

    I’m surprised thejudge hasn’t quashed these wild accusations – but then again, he was expecting the favour to be with Nico after Spa and maybe just can’t handle what has come out of Nico’s pathetic attempt to “prove a point”. ie. lewis coming out and destroying him in the next race.

  16. This is also quite amusing. Has Bernie forgotten about Monaco’s deal ?

    However, Ecclestone seemed to assure the circuit, Italy, and Formula One, that Monza’s place was safe.
    “I spoke to them this morning and the bottom line is simple: all we want is for Monza to have the same terms as all the other European races,” Ecclestone said.
    “I would like to cross the name out any [other race] contract they would like: and put in the name ‘Monza’.”

  17. I find this Poll interesting. As at writing the No’s are 39.83% and the Yes’s are 31.74%. A mere 8% difference in collective opinion. Hardly one sided.

    Sure the majority (by 8%), at this stage think there was nothing in it. But instinctively a lot did think something was strange and some have been swayed by the vociferous Hamilfosi. Trust what you saw, and logic.

    The same happened after Singapore 08. It was said at the time of the “conspiracy theorists” that a race fix had to be crazy, and paranoid. That there was no way someone would be ordered to crash and that the timing of the crash had to be beyond perfect in location and time. It was said it was too hard to sync all those moving parts. It was said there were easier ways. Well, it happened.

    One thing is for sure, it’s not just me and Fat Hippo who think this, as some ardent Hamilfosi in here would have you believe. This opinion won’t be undermined that easily. It’s nice to see the voters, once again, show some collective reasoned thought. They trust what they saw and the irony of it all.

    In time, Italy 14 will come out. Seems quite a few here, and in the paddock, agree. It is strange that Hamilton somehow is around and benefits (at least initially) from all the major frauds of F1. 2007 Hungary, 2008 Singapore, Australia 2009, blank helmet Testing 2013, and now Italy 2014.

      • Which part is the problem? Which part don’t you believe?

        Is it the factual quoted poll stats, which are real? Or the reasoned connection I make, based of poll stats, between there being a growing consensus in this opinion and it not just me and Fats as accused? Or do you think Singapore 08 didn’t actually happen, and that the proof and bans were fantasy? Or do you disagree that at the time, after Singapore 08, the “conspiracy theorists” called it and were chastised as ridiculous? Or do you disagree that Hamilton was not involved in the incidents I mention?

        All facts bud. Easy to quip with urban slang, hard to fight the facts eh? Lol.

        GG no RE.

      • JA misses the point entirely. Uses Nico’s denial as to why it’s not possible. FYI: Piquet Jr denird it too, initially, until he was dumped.

        Also uses Hill as credibility, where apparently JYS won’t do. Pick and ex driver op and run with it. lol

        James Allen also conveniently misses that F1 has form in this. It’s clear what happened. It’s in no ones interests to acknowledge it, but it will come out.

        Flawed. Thank you, come again.

    • @SiS
      …but don’t forget the 28 percent who responded ‘Conspiracy Theories….Meh!’,- effectively a ‘No’, which means the true figures are 68 ‘No’ and 32 ‘Yes’.

      • Disagree… I take that third category not as an extra no, but a “I don’t care, who cares” category. It’s neither an unequivocal No, nor is it a Yes.

        Simply, 39.7% odd think definitely NO, 31.9% odd think definitely YES and the remainder think MEH, don’t care, not worth thinking about.

        Why would here we two definite no categories? Again, logic dictates otherwise.

        • Additionally the point was that near a third of respondents genuinely think YES, meaning it’s not just Fat Hippo and I holding this bucket. A this is a pretty darn big slice of the pie methinks. Only 8% less than those who definitely think NO.

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