Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: The PR Amateurs From Brackley


Over the last few seasons Mercedes started to poach personnel from other teams. Nobody was safe and using conservative estimates the team now employs more designers than other teams have employed in their whole history. This is in part because apparently most things are done by committee in Brackley and partly following the old tried and tested Bayern München motto if we employ him, the opposition can’t. Unfortunately their shopping list apparently did not include press officers as they leave their PR work to the two least qualified individuals – Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff.

The two alumni of the Christian Horner School of How to Run a Team Like an Idiot have failed spectacularly at keeping their two squabbling drivers in line. Red Bull had their Waterloo at the Malaysian Grand Prix last year, Mercedes is having it – well every weekend really. Both Nico and Lewis have at various stages disobeyed what they were told to do by the pit wall brigade. Lewis most memorably did so in public as recently as Hungary.

So what did tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee do? They followed their idol Christian’s example, did nothing and let the drivers run roughshod over them. Obviously both Wolff and Lauda at some point realized that they were looking like idiots and tried to correct that. And boy did they make a monkey’s breakfast of that!

Our Chief Editor explained it at length in the last podcast. With the shambolic handling of the Spa incident Mercedes have opened the doors for all sorts of conspiracy theories just by making each and every mistake imaginable. They let Lewis get away with publicly duping the team after Hungary, but pilloried Rosberg for what was essentially a clumsy racing incident. Of course that’s going to raise suspicion about double standards being applied, because that is exactly what was done.

Not only have the Britney brigade been left scratching their heads about how it was okay to embarrass the team live on TV, but a racing incident the likes of which have happened countless times before, warrants a tribunal session at Brackley and a punishment. A secret punishment at that. Apparently it was not fit for minors, or are there any other reasons for not saying what it was?

Of course the reason became obvious when TJ13 heard from two independent sources within the Mercedes team confirming – that part of the punishment was that Nico was ordered to throw a race win on purpose, which he did at Monza. In some parts of the world that is called race manipulation, but since Pat & Flav’s creative timing of a safety car in Singapore 2008 that’s not exactly been a new feature in F1. Of course going public to say: Nico caused a loss of eighteen points to Lewis at Spa. We expect him to relinquish positions when possible to give those points back. would have made far too much sense. It is always better to do so in secret and lying about it in public.

You’d think that’s enough idiocy to last a lifetime, but Nikki and Toto are far more ambitious than that and mucked up the Singapore race too. It had all the ingredients of a classic, when their two drivers were separated by a mere 0.007 seconds after qualifying, but somehow they managed to break Nico’s car. If that was through negligence, accident or deliberate tampering doesn’t matter anymore as due to prior events all three of those are in the realm of possibility.

For a globally active brand like Mercedes, cars that suffer spontaneous combustion in qualifying or break catastrophically by being stationary in parc fermé is bad news. Nobody wants to park his S class in the driveway, only to find out the next morning that their prized possession has turned into a two ton paperweight or is actually on fire.

Most people capable of coherent thought – hell even Christian Horner for that matter – would have apologized to the driver for effing up and started a thorough investigation. But that would make far too much sense for the headless chicken brigade from Brackley. Instead they knee-jerked a lame excuse of a broken wire and released a lot of hot air about how car failures should not decide the championship. Why? Lewis has suffered pain in the nether regions three times already, Nico two times and if you’re manipulating results a la Monza, what sort of bleeping difference does an exploding motor make?

But wait, that’s not all. Toto and Nikki had another kneeslapper up their sleeve. Five days of ‘forensic examination’ later, they found out that Nico’s car died due to an invisible foreign substance, which three hours later was upgraded to an invisible substance routinely used in maintenance of steering columns. I’m surprised it wasn’t hostile pixie dust.

This new spin on things begs some questions. If that magic potion is routinely used in maintenance, wouldn’t the fact that it caused a catastrophic failure mean it was applied in the wrong way? Wouldn’t that mean someone effed up massively? And if Nico was required to give the points back to Lewis, does that apply to the team as well? And how come you’re doing maintenance work with alchemistic substances (you somehow can’t manage to tell us its name) in parc bloody fermé?

It’s pretty obvious that the bow & tie brigade at Brackley has completely lost the plot. They have a favourite outcome, don’t tell anybody what it is and are utterly inept at stage-managing said outcome. What they are currently doing quite masterfully however is damaging the name Daimler-Benz.

59 responses to “Hippo’s View From The Waterhole: The PR Amateurs From Brackley

  1. RE: Monza race – Of course it’s so inconceivable that clever, cerebral, talks 5 million languages, Rosberg can make a mistake in a race and so therefore must be down to race fixing. It’s not as if he has cracked under pressure before like in canada when racing lewis right? And, if you don’t believe him doing it deliberately, at Monaco this year in qualy as well.

    I do agree with you in the fact that management handling of Spa was poor, but now that Nico has had one more DNF, it must be down to the team doing it deliberately and consequently wanting to show millions that Merc reliability is poor….

    When Lewis was getting the DNF’s and a brake problem in Germany that turned out to be a strange one off, and the engine spontaneously combusting in Hungary qualifying, it was all part and parcel of what happens in Formula One. But now it’s Nico that has so far only had 2 DNF’s, it’s a conspiracy – on a driver that is to be with the team for years to come – that is designed to stop him from winning the title.

  2. No comments? Oh my lord it must be hard to face the fact that Lewis did not win in Monza, Rosberg gave the victory to him as part of the punishment.

        • …but as I have said before, if that is even remotely true, I’ll lose quite a lot of respect for Rosberg.

          • Two independent sources confirmed that Rosberg was required to give up a lead to Hamilton as reparation for Spa. That doesn’t make it 100% true but it does make it highly likely. Whether or not Monza “counted” is debatable, but it is unlikely that the team ordered ROS to do that specifically, he likely took it upon himself, seeing as how fast HAM looked that weekend it amounted to a get out of jail free card.

            I wouldn’t lose any respect for ROS, it was in fact clever of him as had HAM’s RS modes worked he likely would not have had the opportunity to yield a lead. Basically, it amounted to a status quo ante and removed any potential sting from the “punishment”.

            Regardless, real issue is how badly Merc have handled both the drivers and development as the car was basically bulletproof until Canada, when the untidy hands of Lowe began to show. Their reliability has been awful and there is every possibility that one of their cars will not make the last race in fighting trim. Tragedy indeed, as their hasn’t been a proper battle between these cars since Spain IIRC. And no, not going to go look it up. Enjoying Saturday afternoon cocktails.

          • The ‘cheap bit of plastic on the spark plug’ failure that Lewis had at Melbourne was basically the only thing stopping them from consecutive 1-2s until Canada at least, or the whole first half of the season… they’ve technically only been beaten fairly by the Hungary Safety Car so far.

            Moving on from that, it seems amazing that 2015 could be a straight up battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, given one has shown a 2 second advantage so far. Under that scenario, it has to be said that Daniel Ricciardo would be looking very strong at the moment..

          • How high up are these two independent sources at Merc? All of the staff at Mercedes would’ve known about the big meeting that Friday. It wouldn’t take much for a rumour to start about the fallout from that meeting. It’s what happens in big organizations.

            “I heard Nico has to give a kidney to Lewis, that Lewis will have cryogenically frozen, should he ever need it in future.”

            “No way, that’s too extreme … I heard that he has to give Lewis a win at one of the next races, plus back rubs before every practice session.”

            So unless the sources are high, high up, I wouldn’t then go treating them as determined fact.

            Mainly this information has allowed some commentators to indulge their inner Emotional Little Biatch (ELB), as some sort of cathartic release. Every F1 fan in my experience (myself included) will have bouts of ELBing here ‘n’ there. It’s those that can quickly recover from any ELBing episodes, that mark themselves out as reasonable observers of the sport.

        • two. independent. sources.

          “Two independent sources going by the anonymous monikers of, “Fat Hippo” and “Still I Surprise (aka, the Troll House Cookie Twins),” reportedly told Peter Windsor they sat in on the Mercedes AMG meeting where Rosberg was instructed to allow Lewis Hamilton.”

  3. It certainly does feel that rather than even having a favoured driver, like Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes instead feel like they’ve got to put on a show. Given the Monza incident, Lewis’s compete lack of attack in Austria and now the “contaminant” at Singapore I’m left wondering if I’m watching the motor racing equivalent of the X Factor, with Toto playing Simon Cowell.

    MotoGP this season hasn’t set the world on fire, but at least I know Marquez is actually the best in the sport. I don’t feel like I’m watching manufactured races, the same with regards to Mercedes ‘races’ cannot be said. Looking back at Monaco was Hamilton’s drop in pace because he was told it was Nico’s turn to win? Possibly, that’d explain him potentially getting upset in the car. If one driver can destroy the other, let them, that adds a small slice of credibility to a title during a season where only two drivers could win from day 1.

  4. “And how come you’re doing maintenance work with alchemistic substances (you somehow can’t manage to tell us its name) in parc bloody fermé?”……….

    Maybe I must have missed that story, but where was it said that this occurred in parc ferme?

  5. Just so I understand this correctly….if Rosberg wins it is solely down to his skill and talent as a driver and despite the team favouring Hamilton. If Rosberg doesnt win or has mechanical or technical problems, then it is the team sabotaging him, even though they have extended his contract. Whereas, if Hamilton wins, it is down to good luck, disobeying orders (even though he said he would let Rosberg pass him if he got close enough, but he didn’t get close enough), instructions for Rosberg to give up a place to him (even though he was being caught at over 1 second a lap, so the pass was going to happen anyway). I could add more, but I wont.
    Nice to see such unbiased articles that we expect from you Mr Hippo. 😀

  6. That the Hippo’s closest living relative is the Whale should have no bearing Hippo’s delightful ‘ Whale of a Tale ‘. It is quite fantastic really and i thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    “pilloried Rosberg for what was essentially a clumsy racing incident”……..uh…….um. The teeth of the Hippo are so huge that they have large cavities in their heads to accommodate them.

    I love this place!

    No hard feelings. Cheers!

  7. I’m not sure how deeply I subscribe to conspiracy theories about behind the scenes stage management, but the Merc team has been a mess this year. Between the laughable reliability, the equal approach to driver discipline which has been anything but, and the dire managerial interviews, it’d be hilarious if they weren’t about to take both titles. As it is, it comes across just as badly as the Red Bullsh*t years in terms of arrogant incompetance.

    However, anything that paints LewLew as anything other than a heroic saint battling all odds, and clearly not only a step but a whole plane of reality better than all others, will have his hoardes battling you with their wrath.

  8. Fat Hipo more like Fat Dumbo….talk about Derangement syndrome.Firstly you lost all credibility by the 2nd paragraph ,when you falsely claim the Lewis refusal to easy of the gas to let Nico pass, was some petulant act of defiance and big middle finger to the team.There is such a thing as an unreasonable request or order and this was one them .
    Im not sure if your RANT is light hearted jest or mischievous dishonestly or worst ignorance

    The criticism of Merc handling of Spa by Hipo and even or very ereverend,funny and learned Pod cast team,only make sense if you are a middle age white male with a Madmen mentality.and yes lol fat Dumdbo is an middle age white male.

    The old system where teams hold all the institutional power are truly over.Technology social media have made Drivers, Lewis specifically into Mega brands with allot of influence in a way we have never seen before

    Therefore when Nico had minor incident with Lewis in Spa, placed him 29 points behind.Instead of apologizing Nico goes on to rub salt in the wound,by mocking Lewis. Apparently mind games to Nico is to CHEAT, the team is then force to support him.Nico mocks Lewis ,who then feel a sense of injustice and overdrives and make mistakes.

    In Spa Nico Arrogance went too far by saying he did it to proven a point,implied some deliberate action to cause or to not avoid an accident.That meant the immediate involvement of the FIA,which meant a possible race review and potentially race disqualification,loosing Merc all the points for Spa.
    If Spa was opened and Nico was found guilty,who to say that Monaco could not be revisited…bring the The team and the Merc brand at risk, exposing the team for covering it up and damaging the championship.

    In essence Merc were forced to respond in that way because of Lewis Mega for Brand status, and Huge social media following.
    when Lewis drop the bomb that Nico said he did it on purpose,the media went into a frenzy.

    Imaging if 2 days latter Lewis 29 points down gives an inteveiw with Jay leno accusing the team of race fixing then post it on his twiiter.can you imaging the uproar.
    you guys dont calling him Hollywood for nothing.In some Freudian way you ve been acknowledging his media powers and his ability to drive the media narrative

    Looking at it this way Nico needed and deserved a public flogging.or things could have gotten very messy

    • “you guys dont calling him Hollywood for nothing.In some Freudian way you ve been acknowledging his media powers and his ability to drive the media narrative” – The not so Good Samaritan

      Wrong and Delusional. He’s called Hollywood based in a blend of two factors;

      1: because of his clear desire to join and hang with the glitterati of LA, perhaps at the cost of truly committing to F1 ala Fangio, Schumacher, Senna, Prost etc.


      2: his archetypical Hollywood diva demands, requirements, blow outs, bi polar demeanour, such as having his doggies with him, tweeting team telemetry, the repainted bright red (classless) plane and hanging with his homies recordings tunes because he’s #blessed and #deep.

      The list is not exhaustive, by any means, but it’s certainly not because of his media powers and savvy, as I am quite sure he’s a media dream only from the perspective of how many times he puts his foot in it. Lol

      • So your mad because he painted his own private plane red??……. No ain’t this something!….. You do know it belongs to him and as such is free to paint it whatever colour he sees fit? You know just like how you’re free to paint your own house, car, bike, boat etc whatever the hell colour you like

        “Hanging with his homies…..”

        The more you talk, the more you out yourself for who you truly are.

          • Yeah, sorry Pauly, not how it works. Not sure why it’s funny.

            Here, let me help… You see when one comments, one can tick a small box that sends replies and new comments to ones registered email.

            In this instance I got a “bing”, had a quick look and sure enough, it’s that cretin I just ignore and move on from…

            But being the nice guy that I am, I thought, I’ll let him know… Maybe he can save some effort.

            As to finding relatively nothing “almost too funny”, there are pills for that. I myself don’t take them, because I enjoy the laughter, but hey I’m a nice guy so just another sincere suggestion to a mate.



          • Fortis is, of course correct. And my “dwil” is an artifact from starting a WordPress blog nine years ago. Everywhere else my name is clear: DK Wilson. I DO NOT GO BY AN ANONYMOUS MONIKER so I can hide, as do you. And what is it you’re hiding — “HOMIE?”

            Yes your choice of words says much about you. have you EVER used the term “homie” to describe ANY other driver’s friends???

            Annswer: NO.

            But the person who runs this site clamors after anyone who insinuates race into the doings of Lewis Hamilton or F1, yet it is YOU, you anonymous SISsy who injects race into nearly every comment you make about Lewis Hamilton.

            Oh, and Senna wasn’t Hollywood???? I forgot anyone who doesn’t live in an English-speakeing country is quite obviously 3rd world to you.

            And it is an informed statement, judge 13. Think about it. Where did Ayrton Senna first kiss Adriane Galisteu??? ON THE MOST POPULAR TELEVISION SHOW IN BRAZIL!!!

            But, since it’s Brazil, that can’t be a Hollywood act, huh?

            You’re sad.

          • If you say so, Dill Will… Refer to my first response to you, son. Still relevant now.

            Oh and here’s a freebie, try letting go some of that anger. You’ll feel much better.

  9. I have genuinely never read so much shit in one page of the internet; congratulations.

    I came on here when you started and thought you could be a decent source of info, but the truth is, you don’t have a clue.

    You’ve been ploughing on for about 18 months that Mallaya was going under, yet they still appear to be here…

    Good god man, any credibility you had has simply disappeared; you’re a buffoon.

      • Harsh? I was going for truthful. Seriously, I started reading this chaps stuff ages ago and not one thing that has been said has come true. Nothing. Being generous I’d say he wasn’t all that keen on Hamilton and makes a point of knocking him at any given opportunity. This is simply another manifestation of that.

        To be frank, the whole site’s a joke. I come on here now for parody.

        • Yep. Used to be good,then GMM, then Hamfosi, then conspiracy, then unnamed anonymous sources (but trust me, says the Judge), then endless repetition of the same old sh*t by the same people, then football, then………

          The good stuff is the historical articles, driver rankings, Matt’s technical stuff, etc. Thanks guys for doing those; I know a lot of effort is put into them and it’s appreciated.

        • Em, article was not written by TJ but by a contributor.

          Think TJ got Kimi and Alison to Ferrari right?

          Anyway, door on left, pls close on the way out will you.

      • Let me also add that some of the shit posted on this latest pile of shite is actually libellous; they’re actually accusing Mercedes Benz of cheating. I guess they’re just so very lucky so few people read it, otherwise the site would be closed down and thejudge13 being ironically judged himself.

        Puerile nonsense

    • To be fair, his position is declining, he’s no longer on the billionaire list.. Mallya probably sectioned off the F1 team well, so that it cannot be chased as they chase his assets. Roy Sahara is in jail, yet still owns a stake in the team.

  10. It’s going to come down to a combination of luck and mental fortitude from the two Merc drivers as to who takes the title. Which perhaps is fitting. But the fact that Merc management have already interfered with this team mate battle, and have threatened to interfere further, is very disappointing.

    So it remains to be seen now if Nico can fight back from the mental sabotage that he’s been hit with, and also if Lewis can keep his newly found momentum rolling. It should be fascinating.

    • Interestingly, that final paragraph could apply the other way around at Monaco.. I could see it taking another incident like that to swing the momentum back towards Nico. That, or another inopportune car failure..

      • “that final paragraph could apply the other way around at Monaco”

        Only if you subscribe to the idea that Nico parked it on purpose. Please don’t tell me you’re in that mad camp as well? Say it ain’t so, Iestyn!

        I think all can agree that Lewis has the raw pace advantage over Nico. I feel Nico countered that well through pressure and tactics until Lewis cracked. Some luck was involved, too. However all that work done by Nico has been undone through how Merc management treated him in the wake of Spa. With that, Lewis has shrugged it all off, and I don’t even know if it’s possible for Nico to get back in the game in time.

        • Oh dear, you sound like you work for a Government agency. If anyone questions an incident and doesn’t believe the official party line they are a conspiracy nut job. It’s ok to question things Marky boy, it doesn’t make you a nutter.

      • No mud grazer, it is you who doesn’t understand his own headline. Had you stuck to opining about Public Relations rather than inserting ad hominem attacks on all involved and then taking time out to do as you always do, which is slight Lewis Hamilton, no matter how you have to twist the truth or just flat out lie to suit your ends, you would’ve been okay.

        So, do us all a favor, tailor your headline to your next post. If you’d done it with your above ludicrous diatribe its likely many of us criticizing you now would never have read this purposely fact-twisting blather.

        Maybe something like: Merc Cheats for Lewis as Hamilton Steers Merc’s PR to Suit His Ends – Toto Says, “Yes Sir,” with the following subhead; For Seb’s Sake Red Bull, It’s All Horner’s Fault There’s no 5th WC!!

        • “Had you stuck to opining about Public Relations rather than inserting ad hominem attacks on all involved” – Dill Will

          Hypocrisy thy name is Dill Will… Do you read you often unprovoked attacks, or do you just like stopping by to throw a grenade then crawling back to your little metaphorical cave on the internet?

          Wait! Don’t bother… Save yourself the effort and save us all the vitriolic spew.

  11. I was keeping myself well and truly aout of the discussion here, but I want to take this moment to laugh really hard at the Hamilton fan brigade, because some of them have outed themselves as utterly clueless.

    First of all, the Fat Hippo rants have been around for over a year. The sheer nature of a rant means it is exaggerated at some points. Some facts are true, some are blown out of proportion for entertainment value or sarcasm.

    Secondly, some see an attack on Lewis, when the center piece here is the inept Mercedes management – mainly the two muppets Wolff and Lauda. You lot must have a lot of confidence in your preferred driver if you feel the need to see criticism of the management as an attack on Lewis.

    • Unfortunately there are a lot of humourless thicko’s out there who take the internet way too seriously and can’t just enjoy reading something without then feeling the need to bash their keyboard in rage.
      Having an opinion that doesn’t match theirs is illegal as well.
      There are very few interesting formula 1 websites out there but this is definitely one and I always look forward to articles such as this. Keep up the good work, cheers.

      • Wrong. I don’t like people trading opinion for fact and I don’t like people who attempt to create a bully pulpit and then use it to abjectly lie, take quotes out of context, obfuscate actual events until they no longer resemble the event, and then try to tell readers they’re just innocently reporting the truth… particularly with sports, where accurate statistics are kept, where each person’s finishing position is there for all to see, and where the event itself is played out right before your very eyes.

        But there are two adages for people who watch sporting events and then recontextualize the facts played out before them them: 1) Some people would rather believe their lyin’ eyes than see what’s in front of them and 2) It’s far easier to fool someone that it is to convince them that they are a fool.

  12. Wow. If half of you postees put the same energy into trying to write an article instead of just ranting and dissing then you may find you help to create the kind of site that you purport to like, rather that just clogging up the comments section with vitriol and hatred and putting off more mild-mannered or younger readers who are put off from posting by the constant stream of self-congratulatory negativity.
    What’s wrong with opinion? Or is it just ones that conflict with yours that are so offensive?
    There’s nothing stopping you from writing an equally ‘biased’ article with your counter-arguments, thereby contributing something positive to the experience.

    • Well said sir/madam. The internet has created an army of critics who hide in anonymity. It is of course far easier to tear apart an opinion, that is markedly different to your own, than it is to present original thought for others to mull over and consider.

      Amongst the contributions Hippo has made over the last twelve months is a number of “Hippo rants” – of course, last year was perfectly acceptable because Vettel was winning and beating Webber because the RBR team were working against him… I wonder, if it hadn’t been Lewis at Mercedes but a.n.other that would probably have been acceptable too – right?

      It’s worth remembering that many contributors that write for the site do not have English as a first language and sometimes meanings are lost in translation – but it does not make their input unworthy.

      Personally, I enjoy writing articles here and rather than repeat facts and figures that anyone could find on wikipedia – I choose to embellish my writing so as to provoke thought and emotion. If you don’t enjoy it I won’t be offended but I challenge you, pick a subject for OTD Lite and write 100 to 200 words on it and send it in.

      The Jackal aka Carlo aka @herowassenna

  13. don’t get too worked up guys. the hippo is the epitome of a german f1 fan.they believe the german drivers have an inherent right to win and if they don’t, it’s because foreign forces of evil conspired against them. he was probably one of those who cheered back in the day when damon hill went into the gravel at hockenheim.

    and yes the quality of this site has gone down since thejudge decided to be his own troll in an attempt to bait clicks. back when it was only the hippo you could ignore his rants, but now the comment section has degraded into a mud slinging contest. the best thing is to ignore the trolls and just try to have informed discussions with the other posters. if you stop feeding the trolls they will probably get bored.

  14. Fat Hippo +1000!
    Herr Dieter Zetsche needs Lewis to be WDC to justify to his board the enormous salary paid to Hamilton and Lauda!

    Thus the culprit for the snafu in “Sing a poor”, Rosbergs side indeed, is a poor sod, mechanic’s gofor, which failed to understand what was asked from him by the Austrian duo : “make sure that Nico’s car will have to start from the pit lane!”!
    The poor guy misunderstood the request and did everything to ensure Nico’s DNF instead of just a lost of time at the start of the race!


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