#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 3rd November 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Race Review: Hamilton shows his class in Austin


OTD Lite: 1991 – When money matters more than lives

F1 now guaranteed ‘Abu Double’ title finale(GMM)

Santander to stay even if Alonso leaves – report(GMM)

Understanding Ecclestone

One in the eye for the engine naysayers

Big F1 teams respnd quickly to the cry for help from the smaller ones


OTD Lite: 1991 – When money matters more than lives

The Australian Grand Prix was started in torrential rain and it’s victor, fourteen laps later was Ayrton Senna. The race had been scheduled to last for 81 laps but conditions were so bad that cars were aqua planing into concrete barriers surrounding the circuit.

Nigel Mansell who was classified second had ended his race needing a hospital visit stated it was purely luck that no-one was injured more severely. Mansell: “everything was ok other than it was a complete joke, I mean there was debris all over the place – there was even a truck down the back straight as well as four cars..

Mansell: “everything was ok other than it was a complete joke, I mean there was debris all over the place – there was even a truck down the back straight as well as four cars..

The Mclaren drivers started the race because of commitments to Mclaren in the chase of the Constructors crown due to Williams being in a position to claim the title. After the controversy of double waved yellows and Bianchi’s accident in Suzuka; it proves that even a quarter of a century ago, money and glory were higher goals than the safety of the ‘nuts behind the wheels’

“The Warrior that uses the sword when is insulted can not be considered brave, brave man does not flinch, because he has higher goals”

The Samurai Jackal

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F1 now guaranteed ‘Abu Double’ title finale (GMM)

Lewis Hamilton on Sunday continued to charge towards his second world title, but his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg is guaranteed to still be in the title fight for the finale that could be referred to as ‘Abu Double’.

Just before to the US grand prix, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said: “If he (Rosberg) does not beat him (Hamilton) today, it will be difficult for him (Rosberg). So he is very motivated,” Welt newspaper quoted Lauda as adding. But despite German Rosberg starting from pole in Austin, Hamilton surprised him with an audacious overtaking move and went on to secure his fifth straight victory.

Afterwards, Lauda told Bild newspaper: “Lewis has shown again that, at the moment, he has Nico under control.

Hamilton’s win, and also Rosberg’s gap to third place in the drivers’ championship, means that – finally – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is mathematically out of the running for the 2014 title. “For us as a team,” said Lauda, “the drivers’ championship is ours.

Only the identity of the silver-clad champion is still unknown, and it definitely will not now be decided until the final race in Abu Dhabi next month. That is because – like it or not – the race in Abu Dhabi, already dubbed ‘Abu Double’ by some sections of the media, will count for twice as many points as usual.

It means Rosberg could fail to finish in Brazil next Sunday, handing Hamilton a points tally of up to 49 points that, normally, would easily guarantee him the championship with a race to spare. “For me, that’s great to hear of course,” said Rosberg, “so I’m sure it will be an exciting end to the season for the fans.”

The big issue, of course, is that the scenario of Hamilton having won six races in a row, and eleven of the 19 in total, could still see Rosberg crowned champion. Asked if he fears that outcome, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in Austin: “No fear, but the double points has the potential to overshadow a season.

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Santander to stay even if Alonso leaves – report(GMM)

The Spanish multinational Santander is staying at Ferrari even if the closely-aligned Fernando Alonso jumps ship. That is the claim of the Spanish sports daily Marca, reporting that the banking group has pledged to fulfil its 2017 contract with Ferrari independent of Alonso’s next move.

If true, it is suggested a departing Alonso might still retain some personal backing by the group, particularly as his likely destination – McLaren – has a historical connection with Santander. Marca also claims Alonso has been in contact with Telefonica, the Spanish telcom.

Separately, the newspaper claims that while Alonso is clearly McLaren-Honda’s ‘plan A’ for 2015, the strongly Eric Boullier-linked Romain Grosjean could be the ‘plan B’. Marca says Grosjean was seen entering McLaren’s headquarters in the Austin paddock on Saturday accompanied by his manager Julian Jakobi.

Could that be because Alonso is heading elsewhere for 2015? Gerard Lopez, the Lotus team owner, said in Austin that he can imagine the Spaniard returning one day to Austin. Suddenly, however, Lopez is playing down his talks with Alonso. “With Fernando … I talk a lot of football,” he smiled.

Lotus chief Federico Gastaldi agrees: “Unfortunately, we are far from Fernando’s radar.” Indeed, German television RTL claimed on Sunday that Alonso to McLaren – with a very long-term contract – is a done deal. But that comes amid persistent rumblings that Alonso is refusing to give up on trying to squeeze into a dominant Mercedes cockpit.

Even Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver due to enter negotiations for a new deal with the Brackley team, is not deaf to the speculation. “Does he want my seat? I’m sure Fernando is pushing hard for my seat,” the Briton is quoted by Italy’s La Repubblica, “but I won’t give it up. I love my car.”

At the end of the day, the coolest analysis of the situation surrounding Alonso’s future is that he is probably heading to McLaren. The hold-up is simply a deadlock between the Spaniard and Ferrari over the reported $50 million contractual payoff.

Fascinatingly, after scoring more points for Ferrari in its defence of fourth in the constructors’ standings, Alonso made a comment suggesting the team will be able to afford to pay him off when he leaves. “I’m happy to score points for the team,” Spain’s El Confidencial quotes him as saying after the US grand prix, “as at the end of the year it (fourth place) means tens of millions of dollars for Ferrari.”

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Understanding Ecclestone

Trying to understand Bernie Ecclestone’s micro motives is not easy, and there are many in the paddock who have known him for years and still fail to ‘get it’.

Further, personal relationships at times confuse the issue, and Ecclestone is cut a lot of slack due to individual acts of generosity and kindness he has bestowed from time to time.

Ecclestone is not a man of the 21st century, and it may be he fails to realise the power of the internet. His modus operandi in days gone by, would be to give comment to ‘local media’ for local effect – say on a difficult promoter – and his words would not often be consumed by the global F1 community and fans.

Those days are long gone, and we frequently see Ecclestone making contradictory statements in fairly short periods of time, which appear to make him foolish.

Yet whatever Bernie says – there is an agenda.

Clearly Ecclestone’s when threatened by what would have been a disastrous boycott of the race in Austin from Lotus, Sauber and Force India, it appears Bernie was forced to admit this weekend that “The problem is there is too much money being distributed badly – probably my fault – but, like lots of agreements people make, they seemed a good idea at the time.”

This is clearly at odds with the Mr. E mantra that all the teams have “more money than God” and another well aired saying which states, “team’s shouldn’t spend more than they earn”.

The smaller teams over the weekend revealed piecemeal the contents of a letter they had sent to Jean Todt earlier in the year (details of which was published last week in the TJ13 DN&C), which listed the costs to buy and engine, build a car and go racing with minimal development.

$120m dollars is the magic number.

Further, Gerard Lopez revealed in the FIA press conference that there are teams who receive $160-170m from the sport for just turning up. Yet Marussia at present stand to gain some $64.5m for finishing 9th, and therefore have to find the best part of $55m A YEAR, just to fulfil their obligations to the F1 calendar.

A team finishing 11th may have some $100m to find beyond appearance fees and dependant on whether they are eligible for the $35m grant they ‘may’ receive. This is paid only if a team has finished top 10 – 2 of the past 3 years.

Gerard Lopez articulated well, that much of this cost has been imposed on the teams. The single biggest item is that of the engine supply, which is somewhere north of $25m and

So the smaller teams are not being frivolous

The threat from the 3 smaller teams who remain in the sport – despite Ecclestone’s dismissive tone – appears to have forced the man from Suffolk to appease them, because as with any victim backed into a corner – they have little to lose.

It has been reported that the boycott of the race was only avoided by Ecclestone agreeing that “something has to be done”, but this was just 90 minutes prior to the red lights going out. Bob Fernley confirmed “The fact that it’s been acknowledged is enough for the moment to be able to progress.”

However, the threat of a race boycott from Lotus, Sauber and Force India now hangs over both Brazil and Abu Dhabi unless Ecclestone moves the issue forward.

In fact Ecclestone’s statements about the inequality of wealth distribution is clever. It places the responsibility on the larger teams to “tear up their contracts” for the financial remuneration they receive from FOM,

“It is up to them,” he said. “It makes sense of course.” This now shifts the focus from whether the total pot of money distributed form FOM ($900m) is sufficient when considering the $1.7bn of income the sport receives each year.

So once again, Ecclestone is on a path to divide and conquer.

Bernie has firmly returned the ball to the court of the teams, stating it is their problem primarily, whilst from one of his other faces and tongues he claims “We’ll have to do something about it.”

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One in the eye for the engine naysayers

Those who have criticised the new era of Formula One engines had one of the fundamental pillars of their criticism knocked down this weekend in Austin.

Let by ring master Bernie Ecclestone we heard at the start of the 2014 season that it was unacceptable that the pitch of the V8 engines had been replaced with something quite different. Further, that the new V6 power units were impotent and that GP2 cars were now almost as quick over the same lap as the Formula One cars.

In less than one season, despite significantly reduced down force due to new aerodynamics regulations, Austin Texas saw the F1 pole position lap in fact quicker than the one set in Austin in 2013.

Nico Rosberg’s qualifying time of 1’36.067 was 0.271s quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 pole position time  and a mere four tenths of a second slower than the track record set in 2012.

There are those who will claim this is due to the 1 step softer choice of compounds Pirelli brought to Austin, yet this should be mitigated by the fact that the tyres on the whole are at least a half step harder than their 2013 predecessors.

Following winter testing it was believed the 2014 cars were 3-4 seconds a lap slower than the 2013 equivalents, yet the development this year was always likely to be greater than in previous years.

The normative gain in pace of the Formula One cars from when they arrive in Melbourne to the end of the season is suggested to be around 2 seconds a lap. Hence if Austin is representative, there has been a gain of 7-8 seconds per lap this year, which in terms of in season development eclipses anything seen in modern memory

It appears many in the paddock are accepting that the new engine ‘noise’ whilst different is not inferior to that of the V8, whilst at the same time suggesting the level of volume could be improved. This is something the engine suppliers are apparently working on for 2015.

On the matter of naysayers, Horner’s repeated kicking of the Red Bull Racing team’s engine partner during the previous 4 years dominance of the sport, is looking rather ‘fragile”. Daniel Ricciardo has still completed more racing laps than any other driver in Formula One this season.

A return of the red mist crazed Mexican – Sergio Perez – reveals he has now completed the least number of laps this year when compared to the drivers who have all competed in each race weekend event on the calendar – and less than Chilton, Ericsson and even Jules Bianchi.

 

Driver

Team

Total Laps

% Completed

Ricciardo Red Bull
1001
99.3%
Button McLaren
994
98.6%
Bottas Williams
985
97.7%
Magnussen McLaren
985
97.7%
Raikkonen Ferrari
950
94.2%
Alonso Ferrari
941
93.4%
Rosberg Mercedes
937
93%
Hamilton Mercedes
923
91.6%
Hulkenberg Force India
910
90.3%
Vergne Toro Rosso
846
83.9%
Vettel Red Bull
844
83.7%
Kvyat Toro Rosso
840
83.3%
Grosjean Lotus
836
82.9%
Massa Williams
828
82.1%
Gutierrez Sauber
809
80.3%
Sutil Sauber
733
72.7%
Chilton Marussia
769
80.8%
Ericsson Caterham
714
75%
Bianchi Marussia
754
83.9%
Maldonado Lotus
751
80.8%
Perez Force India
766
80.5%
Kobayashi Caterham
621
73.2%
Lotterer Caterham
1
2.3%

 

2014 Team Reliability

Team

Starts

Finishes

%

In Points

%

Mercedes

34

29

85.3%

29

85.3%

Red Bull

34

29

85.3%

29

85.3%

Ferrari

34

31

91.2%

26

76.5%

Force India

33

28

84.8%

24

72.7%

Williams

34

30

88.2%

24

70.6%

McLaren

34

32

94.1%

22

64.7%

Toro Rosso

34

25

73.5%

12

35.3%

Lotus

33

23

69.7%

3

9.1%

Marussia

31

25

80.6%

1

3.2%

Caterham

31

20

64.5%

Sauber

34

21

61.8%

Data provided by Pitpass.com


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Big F1 teams respond quickly to the cry for help from the smaller ones

Having launched the ball fully into the bigger F1 team’s court, suggesting they should take a reduced share of the overall pot of finance awarded to the F1 competitors, Bernie Ecclestone is getting his response.

As sure as eggs are eggs, night follows day and “It requires the feminine temperament to repeat the same thing three times with unabated zest,” the early responses from those in charge of the larger F1 teams is predictable.

First up, known for his charitable and generous attitude to others, Christian Horner remarks. “That is awfully nice of Bernie to suggest that”.

Every team has negotiated his deal with the commercial rights holder and I think it is an issue that needs to be asked of him about the distribution of money.

We have signed agreements, and I am not convinced that even if you double the money to Caterham and Marussia it would have solved their issues.

Their issues are more fundamental on what are the cost-drivers rather than what is the income.”

Clearly Christian is still living in the Bernie Fanatsy-Landia which pillories the smaller teams for being wasteful and failing to operate within their means. Yet following the world financial crisis, F1 sponsors are harder to come by.

Further, the consistent talk of teams’ being unsustainable together with the consistent rumblings of corruption and malpractice within the upper echelons of Formula One, is hardly conducive to wooing larger multinational companies to become involved with a potential relationship that may backfire on their directors with the shareholders should another scandal break.

Son of Bernie then refutes the notion that he and his team should contribute to the injustice the smaller teams find themselves facing, and bats the issue back to the Mr. E with a well-timed cross court backhand.

“If the commercial rights holder wants to put in place more money to the smaller teams then that is their choice and their responsibility.

Teams are here to compete, not sponsor each other.”

So what of Ferrari. They who bask in the glory of the Italian tradition and the colour red along with oodles of cash for being Ferrari, surely will see F1 requires appropriate and measured comment from the older brother of the competitors.

Well, new kid on the block – Marco Mattiacci – surprisingly is not up for relinquishing anything from the Maranello coffers to save the way of Formula One as we know it.

“Ferrari is very focused to make the cake bigger”, said the Italian, “and not to change the different ways of how to slice the cake. We don’t need to overreact.

We need to first look at how to increase revenues, that is priority number one.

It is exactly this attitude which inspired the old adage “fiddling whilst Rome burns”. Let’s analyse this carefully and when all hope is gone of saving the next three Formula One teams in danger, we’ll deliver a meaningful and considered response.

Then in a Wollf-esque display of utter arrogance, Mattiacci adds, “The second is to make sure that who comes in F1 is very aware of the challenge of F1.

This sport is innovation, innovation costs money, a lot of investment, and long-term investment. So we keep investing in F1: that’s our focus.”

Mmm. This message was delivered loud and clear from the Mercedes AMG F1 team principal during the Friday FIA press conference. Read: ‘F1 is for multinational players with gazillions to burn on brand building – if you ain’t got the wherewithal, don’t darken our doorstep – and just bugger off’.

Mattiacci then becomes surprisingly philosophically verbose on the matter. “Define middle teams, small teams … Formula One need competitive teams,” he said. “There are many corporations around the world that should capitalise on the phenomenal motor sport platform like Formula One is.

We are doing an excellent job with the Haas F1 team [set to join in 2016] and it is very clear what he [Gene Haas] wants to do. He has a long-term plan and a project, a solid investment and a good business reason to get into Formula One. I think that we are working very close with them in order to make a successful story, but yes we need competitive teams.

“I’m not here to say [we want] small or middle [sized] teams, but competitive teams with a solid background and solid business background.”

Well listen here Peter Sauber – with your 22 years of history in the sport. Times have changed and you should now bugger off because Mattiaci with all his Formula One experience has decided you don’t know what you’re doing.

Monisha Kalternborn eloquently observes that the Ferrari model is based on attracting sponsors. “Wasn’t it Marco who also said that he’s getting questions on ROI (return on investment) from his partners?”

How does he plan to keep that so well going if the way things are going here? What if his partners – who are probably paying a lot – come and say ‘What’s my return on investment with results? What’s my return on investment with viewers going down, with the show not being attractive?’

So I wonder if his business model is going to work if he didn’t have the backing of those kind of partners or a manufacturer? Because I think if the manufacturer wouldn’t put that money in there you would have a business model that is defunct. And I know what I’m talking about.”

Moving on and in a remarkable U-Turn since his emperor like pronouncements last Friday, Toto Wolff has a softer view. “We know why we ended up here… It was important for Bernie to re-sign the big teams who are the main cast of Formula 1”.

So the renegotiation of the failed Concorde agreement was bodged Toto?

“Today we find ourselves in a situation which is not good as two of the smaller new teams have left and some of the others are struggling.

It is a matter for the teams to discuss it with Bernie. It is his call and if the so-called bigger teams can do something then I think we should sit around a table and discuss it”.

What a philanthropist Toto has become. Or maybe Stuttgart have given him a kicking since his portrayal of the arrogance of Mercedes last Friday dragged their new found reputation as winners through the mire.

Well, neither has occurred. The Hybrid Mercedes once again parks itself at the door of Maranello as Wolff retorts, “As Mercedes I don’t feel we are the primary target because we are far away from what some of the other teams get, so let’s see what Bernie comes up with.”

Folks, believe what you will – but asking the Turkey to join you for Christmas dinner, will solicit the response you would expect when suggesting asking the Turkey to join you for Christmas dinner.

Unless the FIA acts swiftly, even talk of the EU commission investigating anti-competitive arrangements will deliver too little too late, and Formula One will become DTM. 6 Mercedes, 6 Audi’s and Six BMWs – and won’t that just be swell.

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84 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 3rd November 2014

  1. Following the US GP result, this means that Lewis can now afford two 2nd places and still win the title. If it was Alonso or Rosberg is his place, they would exactly that. Not able to get the pole, then just cruise to 2nd place without risking a battle for 1st. Lewis on the other hand? The boy is a born racer and he could still risk by going for 1st if he doesn’t get the pole in either of the last 2 races.

    Of interest, this is the first time in Lewis’ career that he has been outqualified by a teammate. Moreover, Lewis has to get pole for the remaining two races if he wants to have as many poles as Nico at the end of the season (Nico leads 9-7). So, if they both have 9 poles by the end of the season, does this mean that the inaugural pole trophy will be awarded to the one with most 2nd places, or will they share the trophy? If it’s the former, then Nico is guaranteed to have won this already.

    • I’m sure Rosberg has already won the pole trophy this season. That was the seventeenth race and Rosberg is up 10-7.

      • He’s 10-7 up on qualifying results, not on poles. On poles he-s 9-7 up as Massa won that other pole of the season.

      • Convo entry forgetting that Massa got pole in Austria.

        9 Rosberg, 7 Lewis, 1 Massa.

        If Lewis gets the next 2 poles it’s a draw for the cup, and presably as mclaren78 says, Nico will win on count back.

      • I’m no Hamilton fan, but I’m counting it as 7-7 on the basis of the Hungary fire and brake failure for Lewis. Neither were his fault, but as it stands the old ‘quickest over 1 lap’ myth about Lewis is well and truly shattered.

        • Has it? How about looking at it this way, what if knowing barring a mechanical failure, he will always start on the front row. What if he has switched his focus from getting pole to just gearing his car for the race instead?

          Maybe what he’s doing is shattering the myth that he doesn’t look at the long game, because he’s too focus on thrashing the car ever lap.

        • As @f1esty points out often, Hamilton’s dip in qualifying form can be explained by his need to stop eating and shave off weight. Remember at the start of the season how sickly and undernourished Hamilton was coming across. And this comes into play in the most high-pressure part of the weekend, quali, where peak performance comes into play.

          • 🙂 If you take out the two big outliers in their head-to-head this year, Hamilton is ahead by 1 tenth, which also matches up with their longstanding peaks, Hamilton a little faster than Rosberg for pace.

            But I do reckon here that Lewis was always focussed on the race, even if Nico was quicker over one lap. Hence his dialling in the harder set better and getting the better of Nico with car settings.

        • I agree, as has the myth about him not being a cerebral driver, he can save his tyres, save fuel, exhibit good racecraft, Austin shows us he can go away and alter his style to correct issues (Sky sports post race interview) and apparently Peter Windsor was saying the Merc engineers have been impressed by how quickly he takes in all the info in the debriefing… so he wasn’t just bragging in the early season interviews.

          Next up we have F1 wonder myths number 3: ‘Vettel can only win in fast cars’

          • @adam…

            So the argument that lewis spend enough time with his engineers has just been proven to be a load of nonsense.

            I remember when he was told that, he said pretty much what the engineers said…..”

            If it takes me 30 mins to tell them what I want and it takes Nico 3 hrs, we cover the same thing, it just takes him longer to do it”

            But I think someone is being overlooked in all of Lewis’s success this year, and that’s his race engineer, Jock Clear. He engineered Jenson to his title and I think he did the same for Damion at Williams, so he has a wealth of experience to pass down to Lewis.

          • @Fortis – Completely agree in regards to the Jock Clear statement. He seems to have been a calming influence on Lewis and he’s probably the best engineer Lewis has had. Wasn’t he Schumacher’s engineer as well?

    • The winner would be based on 2nd place count back and I think lewis has 1 more than Nico

      • mmm, you’re right. Actually, Lewis has 6 to Nico’s 4. So if Lewis gets pole in the last 2 races, you would fancy Nico getting the 2 2nd places, so it’ll be 6-6. So then you go on count back for 3rd places in which case Lewis has 3 to Lewis’ none. So Nico wins again.

  2. IMHO I think it’s a travesty that double points for Abu Dhabi wasn’t dropped earlier in the season. I think it cheapens the sport and the achievements of everyone in the previous 18 races. You might as well have double penalties, and two trophies and a Jeroboam of champers for each of the top three.
    Further proof – if any were needed – that it’s time for Andy Warhol to step down.

    • Yeah, I heard him talking on Sky before the GP. And it’s clear that the senile and grumpy toad is out there to gut the sport. It’s sad to see how people are afraid of him, to the point where the journalist was beating around the bushes instead of asking questions…

    • I’m definitely no fan of double points, but it’s not as if something superficial as such hasn’t happened before. People forget that from 1967 till 1990 only the best results from a number of races were counting towards that championship. If all races were counting for example, Prost would have won the title in 1988.

      I think the question is different. If at the end of the season you have Lewis with 11 wins and Nico with 5, would people start seeing Nico as an undeserving champion?

      • To answer your question, if Nico won the title with only 5 race wins, most fans would be really pissed off, and not only because Nico has only 5 race wins. Let’s look back at the season. First of all, Nico never overtook Hamilton, not even once. Second, Nico made a whole bunch of stupid ridiculous mistakes, such as the collision with Hamilton in Belgium and then locking his wheel TWICE in Italy. The way I see it, the problem is not that Nico won only four races so far (just look at Ricciardo’s “only two” wins). The problem with Nico is that he hasn’t really proved that he is better than Hamilton.

        • Melbourne – Hamilton’s spark plug casing fails, Rosberg wins from 2nd.
          Monaco – ‘park-gate’ takes away Lewis’ chance to win from pole.
          Austria – Hamilton snafus the end of his pole lap, an easy win lost.
          Germany – Brake fails in Q2.

          It’s easily conceivable that Rosberg could have less wins than Ricciardo this season (4-3 it’s currently 4-3), despite a much better car, and possibly even none at all if Lewis had not been unlucky. That would be Mansell-Patrese like dominance.

      • The most bizarre year was 1979.. effectively making it two halves of a championship. Under ‘best X counting’, as most other years from that period, Gilles Villeneuve would have won, even after team orders at Monza.

        But, as it was best 4 results from each half that year, the positioning of the middle race, France, became crucial in deciding the title, after Sweden pulled out of the first half post-Peterson/Nilsson deaths. Villeneuve and Jones thus dropped points there, and the title went to Scheckter.

        PS. In one word, yes, although hopefully Hamilton could even have a snafu from the car and still recover for the podium/title.

  3. Nico Rosberg has revealed why Lewis Hamilton was able to get by him. I think this some really lame a55 excuse….

    “I made a mistake because I used the wrong thing to get more KERS,” said Rosberg, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the move.

    “When I saw him coming I decided to go for extra boost but I never got it.

    “I thought I was using the right thing, but there was a delay in that one.

    “If I did it with a button it would be immediate, but with a switch there is a delay, so I never got the extra KERS.

    “I had a big drop off, which is why in the last metres he got a good jump on me.

    “So, that was a mistake that I didn’t know about.”

    Although Rosberg accepts he could have been more aggressive in defending the inside line against Hamilton, he thinks it ultimately would have made little difference.

    “I am sure I could have done better, but it is a judgement thing,” he said.

    “If I defended a lot he would brake late on the outside and get me on the next one.

    “I thought indicating I am closing the door would have been enough to stop him from trying, but it wasn’t.

    “Because I was part way over already, I thought that was enough for him to think he should not try, but it wasn’t.”

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/116597

    • He said elsewhere that he hadn’t managed to get into a ‘rhythm’ until after being passed.

    • I found ROS post race interview in Sky to be far more interesting. He discussed the myriad, tiny ways where he was just a little late in making adjustments, compared to HAM. I still maintain HAM adding 2 turns was key, as with under steer he never would have been able to make the move lap 24.

      HAM also lucky that ROS was paying attention, as that move could easily have ended in tears, though it was a clean move.

      • Hard not to notice and adjust at the pace they were travelling.

        One slightly provocative comment from Hamilton post race was that he was ‘nursing’ his car when he could in the last stint.
        Did he have more pace in hand, or was he just playing with Nico’s head ?

        • I’d say he had more pace in hand, because everytime Nico cut the gap, he answered back on the next lap. Also, if you factor in that he overhauled a 2+ seconds lead after the first stops and then on the same lap he passed him, he was able to pull out a gap of more than 1 seconds.

      • Rosberg’s tried to block but it was already too late and would have been responsible for causing accident. I think it was more Rosberg not paying attention

      • I dont think rosberg was paying much attention at all to be honest. He didnt expect lewis to jump down the inside but when he saw him coming, rosberg moved towards the middle and then proceeded with a big jink to the left when lewis was alongside. Lewis did well to reacting to that jink, or they would have made contact. It was reminiscent of when lewis passed seb in 2012 when seb decided to make a sudden movement to the right just as lewis was about to get alongside nearly wiping lewis’ front wing clean off.

        Drivers dont seem to like hamilton passing them 😉

      • @matt….

        I’m sorry, but that wasn’t a dangerous move, it was no different to what Nico did to Bottas @ Sochi or what Seb did to Button in the same race.

        • Didn’t mean to imply it, but he did come from very far back, making it more risky as the driver he was passing might not have noticed him come up alongside,because they weren’t expecting it.

          Imagine, say Maldonado, Perez or Gutierrez instead of Rosberg and you might have had contact.

          • But he got there in time before Rosberg needed to turn. Rosberg just appeared to be braking casually.

    • Should of, would of, could of….. Yet again Nico underestimated Hamilton

      “I thought indicating I am closing the door would have been enough to stop him from trying, but it wasn’t.”

      Errrr, Bahrain!

    • In the Russian language there is a proverb, a bad ballet dancer always blames the big balls (his own of course). This time, as many others, Rosberg lost the race fair and square. This guy just can’t compete with Lewis. How many times did he overtake Lewis over this year? Zero.

  4. Off topic a little, but where is @Still I Surprise, he has vanished off the site and from Twitter. Anyone know anything? I didn’t always agree with the guy but he made some good points.

    • So does that mean you can reveal the secret that you’re keeping quiet?…. 😉 🙂

    • SiS seems to have gotten tired of ‘social’ media. He made a joke about Greek philosophers about 10 days ago on twitter, I answered drink the hemlock, SiS replied ‘hahaha that’s what I was thinking’ and then closed down his twitter account and website.

      I miss him and hope he will reconsider.

  5. Re: engine naysayers….

    Also lets not forget that the cars are heavier than last season and are using a third less fuel.

    • And an engine a 3rd smaller too. The cars all looked very quick this weekend, much more spectacular than the start of the year. I personally was impressed.

    • Nice write up judge…… i’m a little disappointed though, because i was looking forward to the hippo taking is pound of flesh out of Mr Horner for screwing over der finger… 🙂 🙂

      Always glad to be of service to the courtroom, even from my hospital bed…..

        • @CV…

          Thanks mate, yes I’m in the UK. Nothing serious just an old sports injury that flared up of the weekend, causing me some excruciating pain, going home tomorrow.

  6. Something else to pick up on the Engine naysayers as well – On Nico’s pole lap from onboard, the car looked absolutely beautiful to drive through the sweeping corners of sector 1. To my eyes that car changed direction abssolutely effortlessly, which is quite remarkable seeing how the cars’ aerodynamic downforce has been diminished by the new regs compared to previous years. Big gains being made indeed. Haven’t seen any other qualifying onboards, but the Merc was just supreme.

    Having said that, the cars didn’t look great through the long right hander coming up to the penultimate corner in the race – you could hear the drivers hustling with the throttle through there and at one point I thought lewis had a problem there in the race as he seemed to take an age to get back on full throttle. Though I anticipate that will change as the cars go through the development curve over the coming years.

    • The cars looked better through S1 than the V8’s ever did, and you could hear the wheels screeching out of T1 too. It’s also worth noting that according to the onboard graphics, the Merc’s only used 86Kg of fuel for the whole race. It’s clear to me that on the faster, flowing circuits where they aren’t fuel limited, the cars are absolutely fantastic to watch. It’s only at the traction heavy tracks like Australia, Singapore and Sochi where the engines look tame.

      The engines themselves are great and I hope we see them produce more power next year. As for the sound…drop the fuel flow limit and let’s hear them rev higher! The Merc’s were revving at around 12-13K at Monza and they sounded fantastic…more of the same next year I hope!

      • I heard a rumour last year that the Mercedes engine was producing in the region of 900bhp but was limited by the rear tyres. So we need bigger rear tyres and smaller wings to give more mechanical grip and less reliance on aero.

        Then racing will be even better!

    • I agree, the car’s direction change looked sublime in the esses on TV; Nico was carrying great speed fully committed and gained time there on Lewis.

      This matches up with average speed analysis giving Lewis the slow speed, Nico the high speed. Vettel also beat Webber at slow speed, opposite at high speed. Hence Rosberg/Webber better at classic tracks, Hamilton/Vettel at Tilkedromes/Kart/Street tracks.

      I imagine these two are better at trailbraking.. it would be interesting to compare Alonso and Raikkonen when they are closely matched.

      PS. I wonder how much the cars gained over this year – up to 3 seconds? I think 2015 Melbourne will beat 2013 Melbourne.. soon 2011 Melbourne (fastest opening race pole there, Seb was on rails).

  7. Re: engine naysayers. My point exactly. I always said f1 is f1 because no matter how strickt or stupid the rules are them geniuses always find a way to go faster then ever. It might take a while with changes this big but they still manage it… that’s why I never was against the changes. They still manage to show us why they are the pinnacle of motorsport.

      • It was even more evident when he did his notebook section and he went into where Marussia hospitality suite was situated.

        There seems to be strong rumours that they’ll be back for Abu Dhabi.

        • As much as I hope Marussia do make it back, is there really any point without Caterham? They’ll just be running around at the back with nobody to race anymore.

          • Ah, but with proper funding from now on, they would probably be challenging Sauber for wooden spoon. Bianchi would’ve beaten Gutierrez at least.

    • Did you not read my race review??! *swoons* LOL I tried to make the point throughout the weekend but framed it oppositely, that not having those teams did nothing to improve the racing and in fact most of the race was made through about P14-P9, and it was a shame we couldn’t have seen Ericsson or Rossi maybe giving it a go for those spots.

      But that’s just me. Frankly the plucky underdog narrative is a big seller and given that these teams will often (when they’re not run by Romanians) give greater access is a very important point overlooked by those at the top in their golden towers.

    • I’ve missed the number of cars. Not the drivers nor the teams. Both did little for the spectacle. And neither had a driver of wich I thought this one might be the next big one…

  8. High praise from Moss on Hamilton, wow!

    “Hamilton looks to be unassailable, quite frankly. He’s up with Jimmy Clark, and people like that.”

    • It would be interesting to see if Moss rated himself or Hamilton higher – I think they are both similar, and might end up the same in most people’s estimations. It would have been the same with Clark and Surtees, but like Vettel-Alonso, one got better cars, the other mostly bad ones.

  9. If there are potential talks for a redistribution of funds to help the smaller teams does this mean we we could potentially see pay drivers signing up for Uber shortly? The point in the increase of funding is so that the sport is more competitive and entertaining. Surely, seeing Vandoorne, Palmer, da Costa, Sainz Jr. and the like or giving second chances to Di Resta, Kobayashi or Vergen would be better than Ericsson, Gutierrez, Maldonaldo and Chilton?

    • Well, from that list, only Chilton is not a junior champion…. but really, the F1 grid should at least be a ‘champion of champions’ type of level, although as money talks, there will always be a place for money at the current table, as last place needs some way to survive.

      • If you mean best of the best only, I completely agree. I’d further state that despite their junior victories that Max, Pastor, Este and Marcus have been given enough of a chance and frankly, they don’t cut it, we all know it and it just eats into the credibility of the sport as being the pinnacle of motor sport.

        • Maldonado is a strange one, he always seems to yo-yo between brilliance and being lost. If we could only see him at his best, we’d think he was great.

          Max for Palmer is an easy switch to make the grid a ‘champion of champions’, but that relies on Marussia making 2015. I see 10 teams in 2015, and 11 in 2016 once more with Haas, probably swooping up a lot of the ex-Caterham employees.

          Gutierrez has also shown a lack of consistency, while Ericsson simply needs experience, although he’s lost that ‘something extra’ since testing the Brawn in 2009.

          When it comes down to it, consistency is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and thus, Frijns, Vandoorne, consistent champions really need to be on the F1 grid, ahead of those who might shine on their rare day, like Van der Garde.

          • Ignore the above comment – I was testing out the keyboard (my caps lock key is sticking, and it’s really annoying!) What I was supposed to say was:

            I didn’t realise Ericsson had tested for Brawn. My learned fact of the day. I’d rather see van de garde than Ericsson.

          • Yes, at the time he had just won Japanese F3, and was on a similar level to Ricciardo in British F3 guest appearances.

            Having won Formula BMW UK in his debut car season, he looked a good prospect, and so did Brawn’s last running of 2009 at the Young Driver’s Test. But then he moved to GP2..

  10. The easiest way to cut costs is to reduce R&D for the smaller teams. That means allowing teams to buy chassis from another manufacturer. People will need to wake up and just accept that this is the only solution where everyone wins. The big teams will always be at the front because they build their own car and the small teams will stay solvent and eventually build their own car if they want to move up the grid. Didn’t Frank Williams do this when he started out? I don’t see the problem here.

  11. A question to ponder upon.

    Is there a correlation between the ban on radio-transmitted driver-nannying and Nico’s plight in performace?

    I’m aware this is going completely against the perceived notion that he’s intellectually far superior of Lewis.

    • Ted Kravitz alluded to this in his post-race notebook this weekend and ended by saying “Is it connected ? You decide.”

    • Kravitz mentioned that in his pre-race. I have been pondering it since.
      It is entirely possible that the radio ban is negatively effecting nico more than Lewis.
      I would argue that it is not that the pit was telling Nico what to do before, but that Nico is just getting less data than he is used to, and this is effecting his decision making.
      If this truly is the case, I think that he will be able to overcome the situation through software. By next season the team should be able to reprogram the wheel to give him the information he truly needs, without having to rely on the pit to relay it.
      Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear all the radio messages? All the teams are able to listen to all the other teams, there are dozens of FIA officials listening to all the radio communication, all the transmissions are recorded. There is no reason the public shouldn’t be able to hear all the communication, hell they let celebrities listen in on headphones when they are in the garages visiting. Its not like what is said on the radios is secret and encrypted.

      • someone asked james allen the same question, and he responded that it is possible, but that the fallout from spa is the bigger reason.

        i think it might be a combination if things:

        before the radio ban, communication from the team allowed rosberg to cover hamilton, e.g. braking later at certain turns etc., now he doesn’t receive that information anymore, thus, hamiltons natural speed shows more. this would fit with rosbergs performance in quali too, since there he is able to study telemetry, find out were hamilton is quick, and improve on his own driving.

        since spa, rosberg is afraid to make a mistake and crash again. thus, when he is in the lead, he is nervous (in austin, he said he couldn’t find his rythm until hamilton overtook him) which affects his performance negatively and at times leads him to making mistakes (monza, sotchi)

        even before spa, rosberg knew that hamilton was the quicker driver with more experience when it comes to fighting for championships. after doing his nice guy thing for a while, he realized that the only way or him to beat lewis was to play hardball and throw him off balance. he did so very successfully in monaco, but when he tr it again in spa it seriously backfired on him. he got booed by the fans and very obviously lost the support of the team now he is back to looking flustered, just like he did during lewis first winning streak at the beginning of the season.

  12. I finally had the opportunity to hear this year’s power units live this weekend at Austin. I didn’t like them. Although I have to say they sound much better than in TV. The turbo and the tyre squealing went unnoticed on track and I saw the cars at most of the corners because I was trying different places to take photos. I could only hear the internal combustion engine. However what was really a turn off for me was that those ICEs were clearly revving way below their limit –something we know happens-, producing a dull sound. The Ferrari Challenge cars produced more noise and a more interesting note, and many people were asking why Formula 1s didn’t produce a similar sound.
    By the way, Caterham and Marussia were missed. The track “felt” a little bit empty.

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