#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 15th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Forensic : Mercedes Powerhouse parades in Sochi

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Episode 8 – Waiting for the Window Cleaner


OTD Lite: 1983 – Brabham’s last world championship success

Vettel not allowed to drive for Ferrari till 2015

Mercedes spend third of a billion to win 2014 titles

Alonso caught out by ruthless operators

Father admits Bianchi could die from crash injuries (GMM)

Manfredi mystified at Kobayashi’s comments


OTD Lite: 1983 – Brabham’s last world championship success

If I had to select a way to win a title, I would want to pass the leader on the final lap of the final race and claim it in the most exciting manner possible. Not for me the cynical ploy of barely doing sufficient to take the glory. Of course a title is won over the course of a season but any racer wants to seal it with a victory. Or is that just a romantic notion?

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On this day thirty one years ago, Nelson Piquet took the final place on the podium in South Africa to secure his second world title. With challenges from Ferrari’s Rene Arnoux and Renault’s Alain Prost failing during the race – Piquet gave up his certain victory and finished third behind team-mate Ricardo Patrese and Alfa Romeo’s Andrea De Cesaris to take championship honours.

Nelson would go on to take his third title in 1987 before leaving Williams and would experience sporadic success until his retirement. Yet despite having driven some of the most iconic cars of the 80’s he seemingly leaves many people cold as to his placing in the top drivers of all time. Surely as a three time champion he would be more highly lauded..

The Jackal

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Vettel not allowed to drive for Ferrari till 2015

Ferrari has not announced the marriage. Sebastian Vettel has issued no comment via the media but the ADHD leadership of the jilted Red Bull team has told the world that their former champion will not be released from his contract until five days after the final Grand Prix of the season. In other words – the Finger – will not drive a Prancing Horse at the end of season Abu Dhabi test. So the first Seb will climb into the post-Ferrari leadership coup will be at the Winter test in Jerez on the 1st February 2015.

Sources in Italy suggest that Vettel put pen to paper in Japan and that Red Bull then broke an agreement with Seb and Ferrari in regards jointly issuing a statement of the driver movement.

The Milton Keynes team decided they would not be true to their word and blabbed (sing-song) “Seb-ast-ian’s goi-ng to Fer-rar-” reminiscent of rhyming chants used by kindergarten children.

Of course this has created difficulties for Fernando Alonso’s negotiations – which probably never entered the head of the scorned Christian Horner, who appeared hell bent on one last desperate attempt to show Sebastian who is the boss. FAIL.

TJ13 has commented on a number of occasions, that the Red Bull culture represents the behaviour of a very rich spoiled kid, who has all the best kit and – by default wins everything for a period of time. At times Red Bull’s churlishness and lack of class has been glaringly obvious.

Take the team’s decision to defy the FIA over fuel flow metres in Australia. This challenge and the belief that Milton Keynes would defeat Paris was surely fuelled by a notion of invincibility with the Red Bull management.

It may well be, that the era of the fizzy drinks company is finished. If the team fail to win a title in 2015, then it could be open season in terms of ‘payback’ from the more historic F1 teams. Will we see Red Bull’s smug and supercilious attitudes rammed back down their throats…. or will Newey’s last robo child, stem the tide of revolution against Matesc….  Ming the Mercilous” and his co-horts.

In Ferrari-land, Alonso’s imminent departure appears to have filled the quiet and usually mild mannered Kimi with confidence. He has spoken out – without cussin – and told his rookie F1 boss, that the specific chassis he has been using is “rubbish”.

Kimi is now to get a new chassis for Austin.

So Sebastian, Kimi and we now wait with baited breath to see whether James Allison’s first creation of a prancing horse will first be beautiful and second be able to beat a Red Bull.

Someone suggested this may be Sebastian Vettel’s car

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Mercedes spend third of a billion to win 2014 titles

When Niki Lauda was assigned to the Mercedes F1 team his brief from Stuttgart was simple. Report back with what was needed for success. Niki made a regular nuisance of himself in Brackley, kicking around looking for car parts hardly utilised which may be recyclable. Having demonstrated he was interested in cost saving,

Niki then demanded Stuttgart put their money where their mouth’s were as the budget for Brackley at the time was around $100-130m per annum.

Just like Tony Fernandes, Richard Branson and Jose Ramon Carabante, in 2010 the Daimler Benz board had been led to believe they could compete in F1 for no more than $50m per annum.

Whilst Bernie and Max were sniggering behind their poker masked faces, Ross Brawn was borrowing and stealing to ensure the rebirth of the Silver Arrows would be no humiliation.

The words from a number of ‘experts’ is that Mercedes AMG F1 & Brixton combined have spent sums of money approaching $1.5bn on the project to win the F1 Constructors’  title. That said, this needs to be seen in context over a 5 year period.

The team were acquired for around $100m from Ross Brawn following the incredible year of success for the “Brawn team” as a ‘privateer entry’ which went on to win the WDC and the WCC.

Budget’s for 2010-2012 accumulated across the Mercedes F1 brand racked up to almost $1/2 billion, with the 2013 spend, whilst undisclosed, believed to be enormous – as the climax of the V6 engine design was reached.

What is surprising given Stuttgart’s historic penchant to penny pinch, is that Mercedes AMG F1 & Brixton have spent in the region of £325 million this season. Of that figure, £134 million has been focused on the continued development of the power unit. The remaining £190 M being the cost of running the Formula One team.

This is the largest spend ever by the Daimler group on their F1 project and given the internal strife over Daimler’s involvement in F1, this is indeed a staggering achievement from Dieter Zetsche

To put this into context, this kind of spending power has equalled that of the Red Bull F1 ‘machine’, who have dominated F1 the past four years.

So we had Ferrari, then Red Bull and now Mercedes blowing eye watering sums of money to win the ultimate prizes in Formula One. Is this really what the fans want?

Who says money doesn’t buy you happiness or success?

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Alonso caught out by ruthless operators

Over the summer, Fernando Alonso was speaking directly to Mercedes. At the time the relationship between a clearly unhappy Lewis Hamilton and the Brackley team was at a low ebb. The behaviour of the team with the exception of Lauda at the time portrayed the impression that Mercedes were favouring their German driver, Nico Rosberg

However, we now know from Alonso’s entourage, that Ferrari stepped in and blocked any possibility of the move, despite many believing that the Asturian held all the cards.

It appears this is why Fernando relented from his agitations and entered into negotiators to extend his contract.

TJ13 has asserted a number of times this year, that there appears to be a shift in the attitudes of teams to pay drivers big money. Ron Dennis went public in 2012, stating if Lewis Hamilton wished to stay at McLaren, he would have to take a pay cut.

Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel had been paid no more than $11m pa prior to 2014, despite reports that Alonso was receiving 32m euros ($40m) a year from Ferrari. Following his historic achievements, Vettel secured a more appropriate deal for 2014, though relative to Alonso, this was still an inferior sum.

Daniel Ricciardo was recruited to the Big Bulls for around £250,000 ($400,000).

Fernando appears to have been content to extend his contract for a similar level of remuneration to his present deal – though some reported a 20% increase was being demanded). However, it appears Ferrari were not playing ball.

The notion purported that Ferrari have offered Sebastian Vettel £50m ($80m) a year, looks absurd. This British tabloid publication is known for printing copy first and checking the facts later.

Yet the rumour persists that Fernando Alonso may have been promised something by Mercedes for 2016, so he is attempting to secure a 1 year deal with McLaren and Honda – who in turn are not playing ball. The new Japanese partner of Woking is believed to be insisting on no less than a 2+1 year type arrangement with the Spaniard

Whether the contract is with McLaren or Honda – is a moot point. A deal with either means driving for McLaren Honda for the duration of the term.

Until recently, Alonso believed he had negotiated ‘an option’ to leave Ferrari, though in Sochi a member of the Fernando entourage revealed they thought – too many bridges had now been burned with Mattiacci.

Ferrari fans hoping upon hope that Ross Brawn is about to return from the wilderness to Marenello, are set to be disappointed. Brawn would wish to have complete control of the racing team and most likely want Alonso to remain. Fernando given a whiff of a Brawn return, would most likely never have pushed as hard as he did to leave the prancing horse.

The driver market this year is becoming one of the most fascinating for some time, and whilst there are those who criticise Alonso for his conceited belief/self confidence of his standing within the sport, Fernando has been a touch unfortunate, and found himself standing upon shifting sands, which were not on the expedition road map.

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Father admits Bianchi could die from crash injuries (GMM)

Jules Bianchi’s father has revealed the medical condition of his son remains “desperate”, more than a week after his Suzuka crash. Philippe’s comments to the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport preceded an official update from the family of the seriously injured Marussia driver.

In a statement distributed by the F1 team in conjunction with the Mie hospital, the family said “a number of medical challenges have needed to be overcome” since the 25-year-old slammed into a recovery vehicle during the Japanese grand prix.

Germany’s specialist Auto Motor und Sport claims the mandatory G-force sensor located in Bianchi’s earplugs recorded an incredible 92G impact. The report said the neck cowling around Bianchi’s head was later located near the destroyed car’s engine compartment, while the near-indestructible monocoque was cracked from the bulkhead to the cockpit.

Philippe said: “His doctors have told us this is already a miracle — no one has ever survived such a serious accident. Everyone keeps asking me how Jules is but I can’t reply, there is no answer,” he told the newspaper.

“One day he seems a bit better, other days a bit worse. The damage from the accident is very bad but we don’t know how it will evolve. Every time the phone rings we know it could be the hospital to say Jules is dead,” Bianchi’s father admitted.

“When Jules gets a bit better we can transfer him, maybe to Tokyo and things will be a bit easier,” he added. “But who knows when that will happen — if it will happen. We have no certainties, we just have to wait.

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Manfredi mystified at Kobayashi’s comments

Who says characters or more accurately caricatures are dying out from the F1 circus?

One of the much loved characters in the smash hit BBC comedy series of the Fawlty Towers from the 1970’s is a character by the name of Manuel. He is a well intentioned soul, amiable but  a disorganised and confused Spaniard from whose poor grasp of the English language is used to comedic effect.

Manuel hasn’t got a clue what’s going on most of the time and is frequently characterised as such as he repeatedly enquires “¿Qué?” (“What?”), to the most simple of instructions.

Another of the phrases Manuel is frequently scripted to say is, “Hi know nothing” when he is quizzed by Sybil as to what exactly is going on.

Formula One has recently discovered its own version of Manuel in the form of Caterham Team Principal, Manfredi Ravetto.

Whenever Ravetto is questioned about the “new, much lauded Swiss based Arab investors” and their identity or intentions, Fawlty Towers devotees will be hearing him reply – “¿Qué….. Hi know nothing… Mr. Fawlty”.

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Formula One drivers are contracted to speak with the media following each GP. However, when a driver retires from the race, he can fulfil this obligation before the chequered flag – and we frequently hear these mini interviews whilst the cameras stay with the track action.

For F1 fans who have followed the sport for some time, there was one of the strangest interviews given mid race from a retiring driver during the Russian GP.

When asked by Sky Sports Natalie Pinkham why he’d been forced to retire from the race and what the problem was with his car, Kamui appeared bemused. “Actually nothing. I don’t know what happened, just the team decided to stop.”

When pressed what he had been told to impress him to return the car to the garage immediately, Kobayashi revealed the message was, “Just box [pit], back to box and stop engine. That’s it. I really don’t know what reason. I’m a little bit surprised.”

During other press interviews, Kamui suggested that maybe the team had retired the car due to mileage concerns.

No matter. What is clear is that this is an experienced Formula One driver, who has retired cars from races not infrequently. He obviously new instantly, there was something extra-ordinary – or strange – about the request to retire the car and honestly revealed it when questioned minutes after removing his helmet.

The mystery later deepened, when during the SKY F1 feature, “Ted’s Notebook”, a rather sceptical Ted Kravitz revealed the team had informed him that Kobayashi’s retirement had been due to overheating.

“So there you have”, quipped Ted. Adding not so cryptically, he didn’t know “who to believe in Formula One anymore….. but if that’s what the team are saying……. I guess we must believe it”. Ted supplemented this statement with a wry smile and an quizzical look for comedic effect.

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Today, Ravetto has popped his head above the beleaguered parapet. The tone of his comments are most Manuelian.

Can you hear….”¿Qué?…… Hi know nothing” of why Kamui reported what he did in the following?

“Actually, I was very surprised to hear Kamui referring to some mileage-saving instruction coming from the team’s management,” Ravetto said in a staged Q&A, then issued by the team.

“We saw via telemetry that there was a potential issue with the brakes and we decided to avoid any risks; Kamui officially confirmed this as well and I’d like to add that he had also asked us to change the previous set before qualifying because he felt some vibration.

“To be clear: yes, we instructed Kamui to retire because the safety of our drivers is our first concern! Regarding Kamui’s comment, all I can say – and again, I’m answering with facts – is that the team has continuously made progress since the British Grand Prix, we’ve managed to qualify very well in the last two races, getting very close to Q2, and in Suzuka we repaired Kamui’s heavily damaged car in time for the next session without any problems, so I cannot understand his comment.”

Yes, some of us remember Pedro de la Rosa flying straight off the circuit during the early laps of a race as the death throes of the HRT team set in. There were questions asked then about whether HRT were compromising their drivers’ safety due to using brakes well past their mileage cycle.

It could be Manfredi is playing on this memory – who knows.

Yet if the true reason for Kamui’s retirement was problematic brakes, why was Kamui not informed of this – were he unable to feel it – the moment he climbed out of the cockpit?

Manfredi moves out of character and now begins an offensive and continues the polemic that – Fernandes left dirty great big invoices unpaid – which the alleged new owners knew nothing about – and now that they do these Swiss based Arab investors don’t have much cash, and clearly cannot afford to pay the team’s debts.

Knowing that this team, under previous ownership, was due to stop racing before the British Grand Prix, we – the new management – are proud of having completed not only the European season but also the Asian season!”

[Only because you are avoiding the UK authorities Manuel]

This gives us confidence to approach the last three fly-away races in America and the Middle-East with an extra-boost. Our performance is steadily improving and recent results plus our great qualifying performance in Sochi are putting us on a level the team has hardly shown previously.

We are on a high and we keep fighting day after day, even if there are a few negative comments or skepticism from some people who would be happy to see us failing: we can live with this, we have no problem at all; what we do is answer with facts, starting with the technical improvement of the car and stabilizing of the team’s financial side – but we just want to remind everybody that we are those brave ones who try to firefight; we are not the ones who left the team in a critical status! I can tolerate misinterpretations on everything except this. And, by the way, we historically seem to be quite successful in contradicting the rumour mill…”

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As far as contradicting the rumour mill is concerned, TJ13 reported bailiff’s in Leafield – several days prior to the matter becoming public knowledge.

Later on the first day we published this information, coincidentally, Adam Cooper published something of a rebuttal to what had been presented here which clearly came straight from the Leafield Press Office.

The Bailiff’s returned time and again, and the rumour was in fact vindicated, Manfredi.

TJ13 wrote on the 7th October, the Caterham cars would not be returning to the UK, despite the fact there were 3 weeks between Sochi and Austin, and the UK is kind of on the way.

Another alleged rumour vindicated this week, as the cars are presently at Kolles new Forza Rossa team base in Germany.

So what confidence can we have in Manuel Manfredi ? About the same as was placed in the ‘dumb’ waiter in the sitcom Fawly Towers.

Ravetto is the man who resigned his directorship from the very Caterham Company which is now subject to a winding up order hearing and has applied to be taken into Administration.

Manfredi may be, as he claims ‘on a high’. But the come down is coming – soon – and it will be brutal for many of the long suffering folk from Leafield.

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88 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 15th October 2014

  1. Re: Alonso

    You have to feel for him. The Redbull PR machine is perfectly working. Further its intriguing why Ferrari stopped his talks with Mercedes for a possible drive. Looks like Ferrari saved some Non-compete fees there.

    Would be good if he manages to drive and win in a Mercedes W06 hybrid next year.

    • I think that’s the issue. It’s one thing going to another team like Mclaren and struggle, but to join Merc and destroy them looks very bad on Ferrari. Would sum up his wasted years.

          • @Fortis96 would you share some of your thoughts on how Alonso is to blame for the poor cars Ferrari has produced of late.

          • “@Fortis96 would you share some of your thoughts on how Alonso is to blame for the poor cars Ferrari has produced of late.”
            Ferrari clearly had a leadership problem, and Alonso was part of it.

          • To say that Alonso is responsible for poor Ferrari cars because of “lack of leadership” is utterly ridiculous statement. Alonso’s job is to drive. Everything else is secondary. Despite of that, he also provided an incredible amount of leadership. The whole team was inspired by him and was working for him. The real problem with Ferrari is that they lost their technical edge a long time ago. Ferrari has produced shitty cars for much of the past five years. If it wasn’t for Alonso, Ferrari’s main worry and hope would have been to stay ahead to Force India and Sauber, at best.

          • I didn’t say he’s explicitly to be blamed, but he has some part to play in it.

            Being the lead driver, the car is developed around his needs and driving style. Just like many argue about Jenson’ abilities to develop a car, surely the same can be attached to Alonso.

            Read the beginning of the 4th paragraph of what @landroni wrote, the RB was built and taylor made to suit Seb’s needs, the same was done for Alonso, it’s just unfortunate that they as a team, didn’t do a better job.

            So it would be totally unfair to attach all the blame to Ferrari themselves, after all, is it not a ‘team’ sport? Or is it different for Alonso?

            Dare I say it, Ferrari’s fortunes went downhill when he joined compared to the previous years (05-09), because the team was more focus on getting Alonso his 3rd title rather than focusing on the TEAM as a whole.

            That’s just how I look at it.

          • Add to that, prior to this season, listen when he speaks, he rarely used the word ‘team or we need to do a better job’, when he spoke, it was more like, ‘they need to do better’, totally segregating himself from any blame.

            He has played the game well, by giving the public the impression that the team has failed him instead of they’ve all failed each other and as such, won the sympathy vote.

          • Well said Fortis96. Alonso was supposed to be next Schummi. So, LCdM gave him the same privileges and support in the team as German had, but clearly Alonso lacks MS’s skills to develop the car (also his driving style was not helping – all WDC: SCH, BUT, VET, RAI have opposite style to ALO). LCdM was right that from financial perspective that deal was even better. Ferrari got tons of money from Santander. That’s way from business perspective Ferrari was and is ok, but from motorsport … hmm.

          • @Fortis96 Thanks for explaining your points, I get where you are coming from now, although Alonso is not solely to blame for Ferrari’s woes, he has made his position untenable by his own doing and it’s blown up in his face. I still think a sabbatical could possibly be on the cards, he is trying to get his cycling team together again so it may pay him to sit out if he can get a 2016 contract signed and sealed. Unless we do end up with 3 car teams but that is looking less and less likely.

            I’m actually wrting an article on how much direct input a driver has with regards car development, I’m just waiting on some requests for information on how engineers see it.

          • I agree with most what said here before. Except don’t forget that schumi had the biggest advantage over alonso. In season testing… so comparing the two isn’t really fair to alonso.

          • Dear Bruznic,
            But you seem to forget that ALO had a simulator. It didn’t work properly at the begging, but that was why RAI did not like it, while ALO didn’t say a word about results from the sim. (That also explains ALO’s value in developing the car).

          • @think tank I never believed that a simulator is the same as real testing. A lot can be done on it but it’s not the same. And i believe kimi just hates going on the virtual tour.

      • Merc would have taken both titles this year with Rosberg and Ericson and Rosberg would have looked like a driving god, similar to the Hamster in TG. (Or Ericson been tied in points:-) )

        So what exactly would Alonso prove in a Merc?
        Merc is better then Ferrari?
        Not even Ferrari is disputing that for now.
        And why on earth would Merc want the major headache called Alonso.

        Since Toto is Bottas manager and Bottas is a well behaving and quick driver, my bet is that he will be next Merc driver, when ever that will happen.
        Williams seems to be Merc’s Toro Rosso with all the ties between them.

    • “Further its intriguing why Ferrari stopped his talks with Mercedes for a possible drive.”

      maybe alonso would have been better advised to keep his mouth shut when mattiacci arrived, instead of making disparaging remarks. i think this was a powermove from a new boss who felt that alonso needed to be taught that drivers are employed to drive and do as they are told, not to manage the team at ferrari.

    • I don’t think we have to feel for him at all. The guy has immense talent but his fetish for politics does not go down well with a team boss who has self respect and who operates in the interests of the team – He got away with it for many years in ferrari because he had his buddy domenicali in charge and other buddy LDM. Having said that, even LDM had enough and gave him a public ear tweaking just recently. Now both are gone, and in place is a team boss with a backbone and won’t stand for his bullsh!t ways.

      It is no way to warm yourself with a team, and he has been relatively fortunate that he had a team mate (felipe) in ferrari that was a number 2 and now RAI is struggling to get the most out of the car due to issues of his own – the team basically had no choice but to support him as he was delivering the goods consistently but given a team mate that could match him, he would have been long gone. Obviously he’s frustrated, but the politiking fu$kwit that he is just can’t resist to big up his own talents and demean the team. I think Ferrari can get back to winning ways due to the changes they are making, but it’ll probably take a couple of years. To make matters worse, Vettel joining Ferrari could stick the knife further in by doing what Alonso couldn’t do – win a championship with ferrari….

      Mark hughes wrote a great piece on this on motorsport magazine – he p!sses those off at the top. Hence, he finds himself in this situation – Politic your way out of this nando….

  2. I think Alonso had an exaggerated sense of himself and his ability and needed to be brought down to earth.he basically forced Mattiacci to stand his ground by questioning his authority and making outrageous demands .

    The media has blown so much smoke up this guy arse that its gone to his head and made him delarius,evident by rambling interview where he claim to be the indispensable puppet master in F1.

  3. “Sebastian Vettel has issued no comment via the media but the ADHD leadership of the jilted Red Bull team has told the world that their former champion will not be released from his contract until five days after the final Grand Prix of the season. ”

    “TJ13 has commented on a number of occasions, that the Red Bull culture represents the behaviour of a very rich spoiled kid, who has all the best kit and – by default wins everything for a period of time. At times Red Bull’s churlishness and lack of class has been glaringly obvious.”

    The original article used “bitter” to describe the RB management. And not that I condone the Milton Keys management, but… from what I see RB management has every right to be bitter.

    They spoiled their boy wonder with wunderbar Newey creations tailor-made for him for 5 straight years, including 4 straight WDC. They even heartily tolerated his flirting with Ferrari while still peaking up at RB, they who developed him and invested in him for quite some time.

    However, at the first sign of candy going out, the Spoiled Brat first throws a “hissy fit” and then throws all this toys out of the pram, crosses his hands and angrily announces that he’s angriest forever and won’t be playing anymore. Later, when confronted with a teammate who bested him—the shiny new 4-time WDC—for a full season (many factors notwithstanding), he kicks and shouts about faulty chassis and forces his parents to make him a couple of shiny new ones (to not much avail, it must be said). But before the sun goes out, the parents realize that actually the brat has run away… And that he was preparing his escapade while they were working on the chassis…

    No wonder that they’re mad!! After all the love and support the Spoiled Brat has collected for the past almost 10 years or so from the Bullies, no wonder they’re bitter at how their kid has learned to behave! But hey, they shouldn’t be surprised either with parenting like this…

    • “The original article used ‘bitter’ to describe the RB management”.

      ….but jilted which replaced the term bitter in the revision….

      includes notions of being unjustly being abandoned, bitter, sad, poss being reactive…. and is a less accusatory term from the writer…. the reader can take from this what they will

      • Judge,

        When RB’s PR machine is working “overtime”, why Ferrari are silent. Not even a word from Ferrari, but Marko, Mateschitz, Horner everyone saying everything they can possibly.

        Any idea why Ferrari is still silent on this matter.

        • … Until yesterday, Luca de Montezemolo was still the President of Ferrari and the Scuderia – and despite his public ear tweaking last year – he and Fernando ‘get on’.

          There may be a short period from him ‘leaving the house’ – in an attempt to demonstrate the new Chairman and Team Principal are not being precipitous – but an announcement will be forthcoming very soon.

          Further, even IF Alonso has still an option to remain for his final year of contract at Ferrari – it will expire imminently….

          but Kimi is not yet fully immune from being dumped for a second time by Ferrari with a year of his deal left to run.

          • It would be an irony if kimi gets the boot again contrary to all the reports of Alonso and Ferrari divorce. The entire media (SKY, BBC etc) that reported alonso-ferrari split would be a laughing stock.

          • Judge, is there still a possibility that alonso could stay? He looked pretty relaxed there, well from a tv perspective and now it’s kimi getting upset.

            For all his faults, as a race driver, he’s astounding. Antony Davidson who I’m guessing knows a thing or two about racing drivers thinks Kimi is driving as well as he ever did, just he’s paired with Alonso now and that’s the problem.

            From a PR perspective also you’d have to wonder how Ferrari would look if Kimi is quicker than vettel, they’d look pretty foolish having forced Alonso out.

          • ….Depends on where Vettel’s going. We hearing Kimi has renegotiated a deal which sees him take a 20% pay cut but has an option of staying to the end of 2016

          • Lorenzo has just posted an interesting tweet – Raikkonen 20% pay cut and option for 2016 – is this contingency planning, now that Bianchi is out of action? I’m surprised they aren’t moving for Hulkenberg tbh.

          • Judge,

            Surprise surprise.. LDM has spoken about Fred today and i quote (using the google translator) ” Fernando goes away for two reasons. Because one wants to venture into another room and two because it has an age in which you can not wait to win again. E ‘was disappointed that he has not won over the years and need new ideas”

            Your thoughts

    • That’s not a lion you can hear roaring in the Serengeti, but rather that of a water loving hippo……

      Be afraid, be very afraid…..

    • As I commented in the previous article, Red Bull have every right to insist on the terms of their contract, petty though that might be.

      However, it really doesn’t sit well with their request for Mercedes to waive their right to prevent the unfreezing of engine development next season.
      If you expect sporting generosity from others, it’s a good idea to display a little of your own….

    • from my point of view, SV ran away because he is grown up, his parents didn´t show him their love any more and moved all of their attention to the younger child.
      In this case it is quit natural to leave the house of the parents.

    • This is the world of professional sports and even more acutely, the world of F1. The word “loyalty” is a notion for sissies and believers in the tooth fairy.

    • For someone, who [MOD] so often about being bullied and unjustly attacked, you certainly have a knack for insulting and launching ad-hominem attacks against an F1 driver you obviously never met.
      Have you ever considered that he leaves now, because next season the chance to switch to Ferrari might not be there? It is likely he could have switched to them after 2015 as well, but this year he can switch 100% sure. So why take a gamble.

      [MOD]

      • Whoa! Our “good manners” discussion clearly revolved around showing a minimum of respect to those with whom we interact on TJ13. Drivers and officials and managers and dictators and the assorted toads and leprechauns are pretty much ball in these lands.

        [MOD – ad hominem content] – have to start somewhere

        “Have you ever considered that he leaves now, because next season the chance to switch to Ferrari might not be there? ”

        Oh, that definitely must be part of the reason for his leaving. But this fact certainly changes nothing as to Seb’s behavior since the beginning of the year; this year’s performance; and his manner of leaving a team that provided him with so much throughout his career.

        [Mod – ad hom]

        • I certainly don’t go on a rampage like that about drivers that I don’t like. I don’t like Alonso for instance. Show me just one comment where I’ve been unloading on him (or any other driver actually) like you just did,

          As for your criticism of Seb’s behaviour. He owes Red Bull nuff anything. He was signed up because he has the talent, not as a charitable gesture. Both Red Bull teams were winless before Vettel changed that. They built the car and he delivered, Neighter team nor driver owe each other anything.
          And what is he supposed to do in your opinion? Stay with a team that for some reason or other has completely stopped supporting him from the first test until his career is being washed out?
          People always rave on about him being behind RIC so often, but fail to mention that at least three times he was ahead on the road and was then washed back behind RIC due to no fault of his own, but rather poor decisions by race control (HUN) or the team (CAN, ITA, JAP). And that’s not even mentioning that he has a massive deficit of 4 whole GP distances in practice and test time over Daniel. Why should he stay with a team that performs so badly for no discernable reason, just out of a wrong sense of ‘loyalty’.
          How loyal was Lewis to the team that nurtured him since he was 14?
          How loyal was Fernando to the team that gave him his two titles?

          • You should try finding a way to contribute by other means than wasting other people’s bandwidth with posting images. You can do that on reddit if you’re bored…

          • @hippo….

            But to be fair, this has been his worse season since he has been with the team, surely he could’ve given them at least another year after all they’ve achieved together.

          • What for? They’ve not helped him much with getting on top of the problem, messed up several of his races and humiliated him with team orders in the 3rd race of the season. What is there to suggest that this would be better next year? Should he risk ending up like Webber? And as I said, there is no guarantee he can switch to Ferrari after 2015, but there is one right now. So why should he take such a gamble.
            Btw. Lewis ran away after a bad season, too. But his going then left at least the option of coming back one day instead of waiting until he gets too frustrated with the team and starts burning bridges. Same goes for Seb. What chance is there for Fernando coming back to Fezza after all the bridges he burned?

          • @hippo….

            Come on now, they did nothing to try and help him get on top of his problems? They built him 3 different chasis….

            And like you said, they didn’t build them just for fun. As for the team orders in Bahrain, even you can understand why that was done. Seb clearly didn’t have the speed, so why hold up Ric just so as to protect him? In that situation, the team was put first rather than Seb’s needs.

            If he wanted any incentive as to why he could’ve given them at least another year, all he need to look at his 4 WDC, 30+ wins and poles. Clearly they know how to produce a championship winning car.

          • “I certainly don’t go on a rampage like that about drivers that I don’t like.”

            Well, that’s a matter of opinion, to put mildly, but let’s not delve on that. For what it’s worth, I don’t feel I went on a rampage here. I mostly disagreed with the version of events presented in TJ13 (today and yesterday, and in other pieces I think), so expressed a different version of events, giving my reasoning and my interpretation of the events. I felt inspired so made the prose a bit more spicy (not unlike what I did for other F1 characters in the past), but clearly I upset some sensibilities here. (BTW, I’m on record supporting Vettel on other occasions when he got belittled by other commenters, for bad reasons IMO.)

            “Stay with a team that for some reason or other has completely stopped supporting him from the first test until his career is being washed out?”

            I guess this is one of the main points where we don’t see eye to eye. In your view, RB has “has completely stopped supporting him from the first test”. I respectfully and strongly disagree.

            I think the way it’s phrased, this argument holds no water: It simply makes no sense for a team to suddenly stop supporting their jewel, freshly squeezed 4-time WDC simply because a “rookie” just came into the team. To me such a turn of events simply doesn’t make any sense, not for a team _completely_ built around one driver. Now one could of course argue that RB is all about new, fresh, prepubescent faces, which is not false. But still, this doesn’t account for Webber being kept in this Twilight Zone-obsessed team for 7 straight years.

            In my view Vettel has been eying a move to Ferrari for quite a long time now, and prepared the move quite in advance (which is fine). I also feel that he turned his back on the team from the very first test (as symbolized by the ‘hissy fit’). I also believe that his turning on the team got the more forceful as he started struggling against his teammate.

            Now I’m trying to stray clear (honestly!) of the whole Danny vs Seb saga all over again. I’ll just mention that you’re right in bringing up the testing mileage, but this should be partly neutered by Vettel being a hugely experienced 4-time WDC vs a “novice under the pressure of the spotlight”. But it definitely shouldn’t matter anymore at this stage in the season (e.g. in Sochi Seb failed to reach Q3). You also keep insisting on ITA, and I keep repeating that in ITA Seb got beaten fair and square. (I’ll avoid discussing the others, since I’m simply tired from the Italy debate alone.) And lastly, it is obvious that across the season Vettel’s actual performance (either race or quali) on track was below that of Ricciardo. Your insisting on how unlucky Seb was this season brings up the memory of Spanners in one of the podcasts (from memory): “And we learned that every weekend Massa was very, very, very, very unlucky.” At the end of the day on-track performance is _always_ a combination of luck and skill. Now it might very well be that this year’s Seb was very, very, very, very unlucky. But I personally do not subscribe to that; I feel that there are sufficient pointers to Seb’s skill failings this season: he really doesn’t like a twitchy rear, and errors like Pouhon do Seb no favors.

            “Why should he stay with a team that performs so badly for no discernable reason, just out of a wrong sense of ‘loyalty’.”

            On this point I’ll simply direct you to our very own TJ13, a piece he wrote in the beginning of the year. Of course I couldn’t find the reference, so from memory it goes along the lines of:
            When constantly hearing the argument of RB “performing so badly” one may be forgiven for thinking that the team is dicing it out with the Sauber and Lotus boys. A quick glance at the tables will show RB firmly saddled in 2nd place well clear of competition, with their lead driver in 3rd place. Hmmm… Not bad for a “team that performs so badly for no discernable reason”. (Oh, by the way, the ‘no discernable’ part is simply the Renault pony under the car. All else is quite very Newey-esque and performing brilliantly.)

            So is it really for this reason that Seb leaves for a team that is placed 4th in the standings, not quite that far away from McLaren and Force India? Nah, that can’t be it…

            “How loyal was Lewis to the team that nurtured him since he was 14?”

            Then, and now, I felt that he let down McLaren. It was actually very strange how he turned his back on his father, too. But if you’re comparing Lewis and Seb, how long did Vettel stay put? To put provocatively, half a testing session? Half a season? After winning a title, Hamilton kept put with his “home” team for *4* more years, including some real donkeys of cars, before deciding that he has had enough of Lowe’s reliability and that loyalty wasn’t the beginning and end of it all.

            ” How loyal was Fernando to the team that gave him his two titles?”

            Oh, I believe Fred put all concerns over his loyalty to rest after McLaren 2007… This applies retrospectively and futuristically.

          • Re: Moderated comments

            @Fat Hippo, I heard you were the comments moderator of this website. If untrue, please ignore the below. IF true, and if it is though who moderated out my comments, then this is absolutely unacceptable.

            Judge, I formally protest. (And if there is a formal procedure, please direct me to it.)

            Why didn’t you moderate your own “ad hominem content”, where *you* disrespectfully address other commenters. There is an obvious conflict of interest! You cannot reasonably perform this task when you yourself stand accused of periodic (although I would say: systematic) abuse towards others. I cannot see a person more biased for this task in this case.

            You even moderated my please for you to address my arguments and not to refrain from insulting me!! I also noted that *I* didn’t insult *you* in my original comment today. How is *that* ad hominem? Damn it!

            Absolutely unacceptable!!

          • Both Hippo and yourself have been moderated.

            There are many commentators if we trail back several days who would suffer the same injunction. However, there are more pressing matters to attend to – you are not being made an example of – you are far from alone – and almost always your content is well thought out and brings enlightenment to the TJ13 community – and for that I thank you personally.

            The (lets hope) temporary ad hominem moderations will be performed by ONLY our Editor in Chief – AHJ

            They say it takes 28 repetitions to form a habit – maybe soon we’ll all form better habbits

          • I didn’t moderate any of your comments. I moderated only one comment all day, so unless you use two accounts for trolling purposes, you’ve not been moderated.

          • @FH, do you really believe that RBR stopped supporting Seb right from the get-go this year? That is ridiculous. Seriously, give your head a shake. He’s the 4x reigning WDC, with a new-to-RBR driver coming in. At the start of this year, most of their eggs would’ve been in the Vettel basket no doubt, and rightly so. One could say that RBR hung Ricciardo out to dry early doors with the whole FFM’s thing, costing him 18 pts. Then they totally botched his pit stop in the next race, costing him 12 pts and pushing him back 10 spots in Bahrain.

            His drives in Bahrain and China, though, were very good, and no doubt it was then that RBR perhaps revised their Vettel-first-for-the-most-part philosophy. Surely they would’ve known about Vettel’s exit clause … I seriously doubt that they wanted to dupe him into exiting the team.

            You’re right that he owes the team nothing. They pay him, and he drives. I have to disagree with your trying to equate Lewis’ situation in leaving McLaren, with Vettel’s this year. The equivalent would’ve been if Hamilton left McLaren in the Fall of 2011, during the season where he was beaten by Button. He didn’t leave then, and in 2012 he drove brilliantly (his best season of driving, imo), and while the points table showed Lewis and Jenson as being close that year, anyone who watched that season would know that Lewis had comprehensively outperformed Button.

            Lewis leaving wasn’t to do with the support he was getting vis-a-vis Button, in the team (ok, perhaps a little bit), but more a judgment that McLaren had problems (pit stops, strategy, reliability) that weren’t being tackled, and wouldn’t be going away anytime soon. He knew the new reg’s were coming in, he heard from Brawn that they’d be ramping up for that new era, and he would know that only the works team would be able to get the integration of PU and chassis into the sweet spot.

            As for Vettel, it would be a brave man to predict that the 2015 Ferrari will be better than the 2015 Red Bull. The RB10 is the 2nd best car on the grid this year, with possibly the best chassis. Surely the Renault PU will make a bigger leap forward over the winter than the Merc (b/c of the difference in relative slack), so looking just at 2015, Vettel surely would know his chances would be better with RBR than Ferrari. But the big bugbear for him would be that he’d have to take on Ricciardo again.

            So while you might be right that it was “now or never” for Vettel, in terms of his eventual move to Ferrari, I don’t discount what effect going up against Ricciardo again played into his decision. I never expected Ricciardo to beat Vettel this year, and in the manner he did. Anyone who says they did is lying. I knew DR was very quick, but his racecraft has been noteworthy this season. Who knows, it might all just be down to the harder tires this year … it seems that DR and LH get on quite well with them, and they are both seen as “hard-driving” drivers.

            I guess I expected Vettel the competitive beast, who hates to be beaten, to want to come back in 2015 and beat Ricciardo. But I can see both sides … the Ferrari project one would think will take a couple of years at least, to get to a point where they’re truly in the mix. So there’s no time for Vettel to waste in terms of getting that going in the direction needed. But on the other hand it does seem like he’s getting the hell outta Dodge, and away from RIC.

            One thing is for sure … Vettel knows how to do the business when he has a great car. Ferrari just need to give him that car.

          • “@FH, do you really believe that RBR stopped supporting Seb right from the get-go this year? That is ridiculous.”

            Yes I do, or do you know any good reason why RB excluded Vettel from running in the first in-season test at Bahrain? They were the only top team not running both regular drivers and with his problems adapting to the new cars, Seb needed track time more than anything else. How much more blatant can it get?

          • Hmm, maybe b/c the sputtering Renault PU meant that RBR wasn’t getting the track time anyways? I’m not sure what insights Vettel could’ve gained from repeated trips out onto track that then ended after 4-5 corners.

            If you believe that RBR (DM, CH, HM) decided from the start of the year to screw Vettel over, then what can I say? You could literally believe anything then, which does at least explain how you thought there was race-fixing in Japan.

          • The Bahrain test was after the season start. At that point the engine managed to run the distance – at least in one car.

          • Ok sorry, read that wrong. Although Massa and Button both didn’t take part as well. I think you’re reading too much into Seb not participating there.

          • @FH
            “so unless you use two accounts for trolling purposes”

            Damn you, Fat Hippo! So what now, me and my type are trolling TJ13? Please refrain from sending such subtle and below the belt abuse in my direction. (And please don’t hop on the “he’s whining” bandwagon.)

          • Frankly, landroni, you’re becoming ridiculous! ‘subtle abuse’? Get a grip, man! I’m a lot of things, but certainly not subtle. Talk about abuse – you’ve never heard abuse in your life if that upsets you. You attack everybody and his dog in here, and with a predilection – me. If I bite back, go cry somewhere else.

        • Come on gentleman, let’s keep the debate civil and respectful, no need for personal attacks.

          Omg!! I can’t believe I just said that, my medication is finally working….

          • I think it’s good seeing you make that comment. As you can see for yourself in the comments above if you debate your point in a way like you did(civilised 😉 ) you only get a good discussion wich is more fun for everyone.

  4. Sadly my hopes of Jules Bianchi makeung any sort of recovery are slipping, the fact that Jules is still heavily sedated and ventilated still after 17days, fills my heart with sadness. I can’t imagine the emotional stress his family are under but I have kept them in my thoughts and preyers.

    #ForzaJules

    • CV, I’m not picking because it is a sensitive subject but it’s only ten days. Sochi followed Japan by just a week.. I do understand the sentiment though

      • Good spot there Carlo, my mistake, I forgot there was only 1 week between races, I still get a bad feeling from all that has been said by the family and explanations from medical professionals.
        I got everything crossed he will recover at least to a level he can have some quality of life.
        I’ve always like the Marussia team, Graham Lowdon and John Booth are 2 very grounded guys and I have massive respect for the fact they are even racing given the budget they have. Not to mention standing 9th in the WCC.

    • Sadly, it now appears that the recorded 92G was the impact on his helmet – no wonder no one else has ever survived such an impact.

      This again raises large questions about the tractor – if it had something around it or a lower bulkhead, we’d just be talking about a side on impact at high speed, like Perez at Monaco 2011.

      This crash is instead more like Wendlinger 1994 – with direct helmet contact. He woke and raced again – we must hope the same for Bianchi, with attention paid to Guerrero who also did the same from the same injury in the late 80s.

      • “Sadly, it now appears that the recorded 92G was the impact on his helmet ”

        Oh boy!

        “This again raises large questions about the tractor – if it had something around it or a lower bulkhead, we’d just be talking about a side on impact at high speed, like Perez at Monaco 2011.”

        But not if he had hit a marshal. Then we would be talking about one utterly mutilated volunteer marshal. And we would only be vaguely concerned about the tractor design or that of the helmet.

        As I argued before, I believe the main issue is not tractor design (although this should be addressed). The main issue is cars circling at near-racing speeds while marshals or tractors or stricken F1 cars lay on spinning/skidding trajectories. *And* missing gravel traps.

        • True, the speed would have been between Pryce and Brundle, so it’s fair to assume a marshal would have life-threatening injuries.

          I think if they just got the driver out of there and back over the barrier ASAP, that’s the safest solution under the current yellow flag conditions – the cars are safe for hitting other cars at any speed, that’s what the crash tests mandate – barrier or car – the cars will be safe, e.g. Kubica 2007.

  5. Racing has always been about spending the most money to go fastest. I’m not saying it’s right but it’s like that at every level. When I raced shifter karts I could often get within a second of the the pole against kids half my age or more. But they had new tires and refreshed engines every weekend. They would often hire an engine tuner or driver coach for the weekend. I’d be stretching tires over a couple of weekends and running the engine a bit richer to save some wear and tear.

    • I mentioned the Judges article in the comments, James seems to have approved it. His blog seems to get updated late, especially after GP weekends. Whilst he’s not on the pulse, and clearly doesn’t have free reign to mouth off as he wants to keep in the circus to cover the sport, I do consider JA as one of the good guys, his and Gary Andersons commentary was some of the best when they were together on 5 live.

      • Sorry replied to the wrong one there, although the latter links subject is more apt. I was referring to the JA link above, and my comment is on his latest article about Caterham and Kamui.

        • The first link about whether to ‘freeze or unfreeze’, was inadvertently posted, i was meaning to post the link from F1.com, but only realised after i had click the post button

    • ….More fire fighting by Manuel. We spotted he’d squirrelled the cars away to Germany – and now this…. “hi know nothing” 😉

  6. Liked the Brabham team in those years (although i’m a Ferrari “fan” since the 70’s as a kid), think the BT50 is one of the most beautiful F1 cars ever, and Piquet was a really smart driver. He learned from the best at Brabham. One of the first to take psychological warfare to another level 🙂 and one of the most spectacular overtaking moves ever: overtaking Senna on the outside outbraking him and sliding his car around. (Piquet driving the Williams)

    • Brabham BMW BT52. Now that’s what I call an F1 racecar…

      Yes the aero is all wrong (John Barnard would introduce the coke-bottle shape not long later) but all those delta shapes (the wings, the side pods in plan view)…

      Not to mention special “jungle juice” fuel for the insane turbo with the ‘kick like a mule’ turbo lag…

      Aahhh memories!

  7. It was subsequently confirmed by BMW to Charlie Whiting that Piquet’s engine was about to blow in that South African finale. If the driver had not slowed down, he would most likely not have finished. Once again the score is Piquet 1, clever-dick commentator 0.

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