#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 5th November 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Forensic : Mercedes dominates as 2015 arrives

#F1 Forensics: Constantin Cojocar – the man that everyone wants to be


OTD Lite: 1989 – Prost’s bravery marks out a sodden race

Mattiacci starts flexing Ferrari’s power

Mclaren and Alonso about to tie the knot?

Only ‘positive pressure’ on Raikkonen – boss

Interesting Interlagos (Updated 13:45 GMT)

Barichello return to F1

Hülkenberg Happy in Brazil

Selected team Radio from US Grand Prix


OTD Lite: 1989 – Prost’s bravery marks out a sodden race

Following the 2014 Japanese GP, many drivers claimed the conditions were too poor to remain racing when Jules Bianchi had his accident. Afterwards many observers spoke about ow the leading drivers should have stopped to make a point.

Looking back in history, most people remember the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix when Niki Lauda took one of the bravest decisions ever by withdrawing after a lap. It was the 70’s, drivers were superheroes and they never quit!

On this day in 1989, Alain Prost too showed remarkable bravery when he withdrew from the Australian GP after just one lap because of how poor the conditions were. All the drivers had voiced concerns and spoke about pitting but he was the only one who followed his convictions.

Of course, Prost never enjoyed driving in the wet but what most people forget is that he witnessed Didier Pironi’s career ending accident first hand when Pironi hit the back of his Renault in the 1982 German GP wet qualifying session. It would come to define his career afterwards.

The Samurai Jackal

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Mattiacci starts flexing Ferrari’s power

The Italian media is celebrating what could be a significant break-through with the engine freeze rules. Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari’s team principal has received affirmations from the other engine manufacturers to move the development freeze from February to July to allow the non Mercedes manufacturers a chance to catch the dominant Stuttgart marque.

Following recent meetings, Toto Walff and Niki Lauda – surprisingly without the consent of The Enforcer ‘Paddy Lowe’ – have confirmed to Mr. E this merely requires ratification from the Mercedes board..

Well there’s a U-Turn. It could be that Mercedes become concerned about their image since F1 front man Toto Wolff declared in the press conference, “You know in our case we are representing a multi-national car company. This [our participation in F1] is a branding exercise, we are showcasing our technology.”

So those of you who have been passionate about racing for decades – wise up. Formula 1 is merely a branding exercise now – according to Mercedes. Its rather ironic Il Padrino described the modern F1 car pilot as a ‘taxi driver’, maybe Mercedes are to spend billions in F1 burying the notion they build taxis.

This sudden burst of agreement, could also have come about because after a bitter civil war and coup d’état – Ferrari is once again showing signs of exerting some political clout within F1.

Interestingly, the Italian press are attributing the rise of Ferrari ‘ to Marco Mattiacci and NOT the Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne.

My, my. The footprints in the sand of one Luca Cordero have already, all but disappeared.

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Mclaren and Alonso about to tie the knot?

Fernando Alonso is seemingly about to take over the seat of F1’s Grand-pappy driver – Jenson Button.The racing director of Mclaren, Frenchman Eric Boullier has confirms their line up for 2015 includes,, “one of the drivers we talked to, so it may be. And ‘one of the options. I hope there will be a decision before Abu Dhabi, but for the moment there is still nothing of course.

One of the reasons that made ​​this such a long wait is that we want to be sure of making the right choice, focusing on someone to accept the team’s strategy for the coming years.

The latest rumours coming from Woking suggest that foundational agreement has been reached which sees the Spaniard move to Mclaren for two years. Alonso has been holding out for a contract with a break clause for 2016, should the team’s performance be below a certain level, whereas Honda wants two years with a third as an option.

Where the die has been cast – we just don’t know.

However, the pace of negotiations has been increasing as Santander marketing executives had several meetings with McLaren in Austin last Sunday.

Either way, an announcement of the Samurai’s destination is expected soon – after his prolonged stale-mate has forced Ferrari to delay the announcement of the incoming Sebastien Vettel.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Only ‘positive pressure’ on Raikkonen – boss

The pressure on Kimi Raikkonen to up his game is of the “positive” variety, Ferrari team boss Marco Mattiacci insists. It is a near-certainty that disgruntled Fernando Alonso is leaving the Maranello team, but also with a solid 2015 contract is his Finnish teammate. Any speculation Raikkonen might also depart Ferrari, however, has been mild at best, even though Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport is questioning whether the 2007 world champion should be kept in red.

That is because he has had a horror return to Ferrari this year, scoring fewer than 1 point in every 4 towards the team’s total tally as Alonso utterly dominated. Raikkonen has openly admitted he has struggled with the F14-T car, and in Austin went as far as to say he “hates” the situation. Felipe Massa, who until last year was Alonso’s Ferrari teammate, suggested recently that Raikkonen is obviously struggling mentally alongside the Spaniard.

“Maybe I am going mad,” Raikkonen sarcastically hit back in Austin. “Losing my mind. He can say what he wants, but I know the true story.” But that doesn’t mean he knows the solution. So with the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel coming on board for 2015, intense pressure might now be building on Raikkonen’s shoulders to quickly improve.

Positive pressure,” insisted boss Mattiacci, according to the Spanish daily Marca. “It is important when you have pressure to always approach it positively. We know we have a problem and we have to keep working on it,” he added.

TJ13 comment: Stop the press – Stop the press. ‘The Iceman’ states he hates something. Pressure building as he admits to going mad….

No doubt this year has proven challenging for Kimi – and Alonso has lost no opportunity to humiliate him. Even Massa would have enjoyed the fact that an apparently failing Kimi Raikkonen was the one signed to replace him this season. Remember, Felipe knows the Finn’s ability from the perspective as a team mate – following their time together in 2007-08

Yet Ferrari have kept the faith. As a World Champion, the question regarding Kimi’s future should be – is he a fortunate winner who lucked into his title or has he got the inherent speed that marked him out as one of the best of the era?

The much publicised and highly anticipated F1 team mate battle for 2015 between “fire and ice” for F1 2015 – has been as big a damp squib. Probably a bigger let down than the 1991 Scuderia F1 entrant – the 643 – which Alain Prost described – only once – as a ‘truck’.

We can move on and salivate over next years battle of the Maranello buddies. Will Sebatian Vettel prove next year, that Kimi is over hyped or that Fred was under-valued?

From a neutral perspective, should the German four time F1 drivers’ champion fail to beat a  fading Kimster, this will add fuel to the naysayers who question Vettel’s legacy to date.

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Interesting Interlagos

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There have been some modifications of the circuit this year. The pit lane entry has been moved and the circuit widened. Also the pit lane exit will emerge into the Senna Esses in a safer manner.

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Barichello return to F1

The end of the career for the driver with the most Formula One race starts ever, has for many never seemed quite right.

Rubens Barichello for many years was the sidekick of the uber dominant 7 times world champion Michael Schumacher. His farewell to F1 was a low key affair at his home race in Brazil toward the end of 2011.

He finished 14th and ironically ahead of Michael Schumacher.

It was only on the 17th January 2012, when Williams announced that Bruno Senna would be replacing Rubens for the up coming season.

Bariichello supporters were apparently set for a surprise return and maybe a proper farewell, as a Caterham source informed Adam Cooper at the weekend – “We would have run Barrichello in the last three races. We had sponsorship for this, and everything was going the right way. It would have been fantastic for F1.”

Rubens was set to replace Kamui Kobayashi and the Brazilian reflected in Austin, “It would have been great to race in front of my people once again and say goodbye properly.”

The racing statistics for one of Formula One’s most liked drivers of all time are as follows.

Career:                                 1993-2011
Races:                   326 (322 starts)
Champ’ships:     0
Wins:                     11
Podiums:             68
Career points:   658
Pole positions:  14
Fastest laps:       17
Teams:                 Jordan, Stewart, Ferrari, Honda, Brawn, Williams
First race:            1993 South African Grand Prix
First win:              2000 German Grand Prix
Last win:              2009 Italian Grand Prix
Last race:             2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
 

With Formula One drivers getting younger, and if the teams can get the kids to perform for a fraction of the cost of an ‘experienced’ driver – Rubens record of longevity may stand forever and never be challenged.

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Hülkenberg Happy in Brazil

untitledNico Hülkenberg is having yet another excellent season. He lies 9th in the F1 drivers’ championship, just 8 points behind Felipe Massa, who picked up 12 points in Austin – whilst the Hulk suffered a DNF.

The German driver has hauled the fourth best Mercedes powered car ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonene, the McLaren of K-Mag and has almost twice as many points as his erratic team mate Sergio Perez.

Interlagos has been a very happy hunting ground for Hülkenberg and the Force India driver has already put behind him the disappointment from the US Grand Prix and is looking forward to this weekend.

“Brazil is always a highlight of my season and it’s one of the events I enjoy the most. If you look at my record at Interlagos it’s a circuit where I have always performed well. I enjoy the country, the atmosphere, the Brazilian lifestyle and all that surrounds the event seems to have given me a special boost in the past and hopefully it will happen again”.

In the qualifying session at Interlagos 2010, the Hulk pulled off his finest 1 lap run of his career. He qualified the Williams car on pole position some 1.049 seconds ahead of soon to be world champion, Sebastian Vettel

This was the Williams team’s first pole position since the 2005 European Grand Prix. What was even more impressive was that having secured the number 1 grid position for the race, Hülkenberg delivered another lap and increased the gap to the rest of the field.

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“Obviously this is a new year and we will need to prepare for this event well”, reflects the German as he considers the 2014 challenge. “Interlagos can always throw a surprise with the conditions and this could be a challenge for which we need to be ready”.

The Hulk’s finest hour in motor sport’s premier racing class, is considered by many to be at the 2012 Brazilian GP. He qualified 7th for Force India but by lap three he was in 4th position.

Lap 5 saw the Force India driver pass Fernando Alonso and he moved into second place on lap 11 when McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton pitted.

Hülkenberg then passed race leader Jenson Button at the start of lap 19 to take the lead. He and Jenson established a lead over the field of around 45 seconds, before the safety car was deployed due to debris on the circuit.

Button built up a 45 second lead before the safety car was deployed because of debris on the track.

untitledNico continued to lead the race after the safety car was recalled but he was passed by Hamilton following a slide into the entry of turn 8 (lap 49).

Just 6 laps later, the Hulk was set to re-pass race leader Lewis Hamilton, however, the rear of his car slid into Lewis through turn 1 ending the British driver’s last race for McLaren. Hülkenberg was given a drive through penalty as a result of the incident, and he finished the race 5th – securing 11thy place in the drivers’ championship.

Nico explains why he particularly enjoys the Interlagos circuit. “The track itself is a proper old-school circuit. You don’t have the vast expanses of more modern tracks, everything is bunched up together – it feels almost like a karting track. It’s a very cool layout with some iconic corners, and it has a lot of Formula One history.”

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Selected team Radio from US Grand Prix

“Adrian, can you continue?”

“No. Fucking Perez just kicked me off the circuit!”

The German doesn’t mince his words which is understandable after Sutil’s best qualifying result of the season.

 

“Are you sure I can come in? Anybody else you want me to let through?”

Jenson’s planned pit stop was put on hold so the team could service Kevin Magnussen’s car instead. Button was upset as 3 cars passed him while he stayed out – hence the rather acerbic comment.

 

“Nice one mate. Let’s get after those Willies.”

The Woking team following the night of Halloween, clearly weren’t giving the Colgate Kid weren’t spooking him at all – giving him the heebie jeebies – or the ‘willies’.

 

“What was that!?”

JEV Banzais past a snoozing Romain Grosjean up the inside of turn 1

 

“The first stint was an absolute joke, I don’t understand. Whole race very nervous.”

Sebastian Vettel is appealing to his mentor – Fat Hippo – to explain his difficulties to the world.

 

“Yeehaw!”

Colgate kid turns Cowboy on nailing his unexpected third place in the Austin race.

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85 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 5th November 2014

  1. All these arguments are funny. Did Kimi forget to drive when he was put under for his back surgery? I don’t remember people wondering if he could drive when he won last year in melbourne? Or hustled the lotus in hungary. Strange are the ways of F1.

    • Lets not forget Grosjean had to make way for Kimi several times during their time together at Lotus.
      Regarging the Ferrari, I remember when Kimi last drove for them, Fisichella went from almost winning a race for ForceIndia to coming dead last in the very next race for Ferrari. Meaning Ferrari don’t need Alonso to make cars that are difficult to drive. And Kimi is now experiencing the same difficulty.

  2. Re : Mattiacci flexing Ferrari’s powers

    Mercedes might secretly joking to themselves about the morons asking for unfreeze and might just get 3 seconds a lap quicker with development allowed upto July. If thats the case, then we are in for another season like this one. I hope am wrong and we can see Mercedes vs. Ferrari vs. Redbull vs. Honda in a straight fight for wins.

    No disappointments on this season either. But its boring to see the same two guys fight at the front. We need seasons like 2003, 2007, 2010 and to an extent 2012 (although it was a tyre lottery) where many drivers had possibilities to win races. And the current field has many good drivers who can win races with a good car.

    So roll on 2015.

    • PS : I was tempted to write Mercedes Vs. Ferrari (sadly without alonso) vs. Redbull etc etc. but resisted. But as a ferrari fan I am sad that I never saw Alonso in a competitive Ferrari like we saw Schumi, Raikkonen and Massa.

      • The 2010 Ferrari was a competitive car, w/o doubt. They started off well, faded a bit, and then came back strong near the end. Of course it wasn’t as good as the RB6 that year, though it was the 2nd best car for the second half of the season (though importantly not for the last race, when McLaren got their car dialled in).

        I think perhaps you mean that Alonso never got a Ferrari that was the best, or even equal best. Schumi, Kimi and Massa all had turns in a best car Ferrari (if only slightly in the latter two’s case).

        • As you said 2010 was intermittently competitive but not consistently across for a full season.

        • I’m not a Ferrari fan, but with new staff incl Allison, ex-MB PU engineers and a Wind tunnel that actually works, they’ll be able to creep closer.

  3. “Following recent meetings, Toto Walff and Niki Lauda have confirmed this in the presence of Mr E – surprisingly without the consent of The Enforcer, Paddy Lowe, by all accounts. All that is needed now is ratification from the Mercedes board..”

    So… no cost cutting… Right? Were Sauber, Lotus and Force India consulted?

  4. “after his prolonged stale-mate has forced Ferrari to delay the announcement of the incoming Sebastien Vettel.”

    But hasn’t delayed the Bullies to publicly announce the outgoing Vettel… 🙂

  5. “Yet Ferrari have kept the faith. As a World Champion the question should be is he a fortunate winner who lucked into his title or has he still got the inherent speed that marked him out as one of the best of the era. Perhaps more interesting yet, will Sebatian Vettel prove at Ferrari next year, that Kimi is over hyped or possibly Fred under-valued?”

    I really do think that Fred requests bricks from team engineers, sticks bananas in the exhausts of both cars, and then mumbles a magical Asturian spell that makes his own car qualify 5th and finish 3rd.

    More seriously, though, I remember once reading that Fred was majestic with pull rod suspension and that it was for that reason that Ferrari switched to it while Alonso was there. Now that Fred is leaving, they’re switching back to push rod ( http://thejudge13.com/2014/11/05/f1-forensic-mercedes-dominates-as-2015-arrives/ ). Maybe other drivers struggle more with the pull rod design. Maybe it actually is difficult to make the car competitive with pull rod suspension, and for proof look no farther than McLaren of 2013 who on a whim decided to change design philosophy and got eggs on their faces (and a couple of rolling heads).

    And maybe this would explain a big chunk of Raikkonen’s performance deficit (and Massa’s!) relative to Alonso, in same equipment. Along with Alonso’s penchant for understeery cars, and Raikkonen’s need for oversteery ones…

    “As a World Champion the question should be is he a fortunate winner who lucked into his title or has he still got the inherent speed that marked him out as one of the best of the era.”

    Although genuinely shocking, I for one don’t think that Raikkonen is as bad a driver as this year makes him look like, and that’s why he is getting frustrated. As for lucking in, if you’re talking about 2007 surely, but if you’re talking about a WDC definitely not. Kimi was majestic in his McLaren years, and at least once (but I think twice) losing it out to Schumi on reliability alone. As Hamilton said in 2007, Kimi was a deserving WDC…

    • Totally agree with your last paragraph. Maybe Kimi wasn’t the 2007 moral champion, but he’s definitely a moral double world champion in my book. Only reliability costed him the titles in 2003 and 2005.

      Same goes for Alonso in 2010 and 2012, Hamilton in 2007 and 2012, etc.

      I know, ifs and buts, coulda woulda shoulda…

    • Kimi won in 2007 only because:
      1. Alonso did his best to stop Hamilton winning
      2. McLaren’s poor strategy calls didn’t help Hamilton (notably China and Monaco)
      3. Massa did a sterling job as outrider for Raikonnen and acting as a no.2 driver.
      Take away any one of the above three, and Hamilton would have been champion.

      p.s. I am back posting only because
      [mod] –snip–
      Laddie… don’t ya think you should… rephrase that?

      • I am surprised that as a long-standing contributor, my comment has gone in to a moderation queue.

        [mod] some people have gone on temporary moderated posting. The Chief Editor put some of those on the naughty step, who’ve been engaging in flame-baiting or personal provocation

      • Judge,

        I would like to put my request again seeing the above comments. Sometime ago i asked for an objective review of the 2007 season.

        • …. Let’s ask BlackJackFan to do this – his methodology of setting out the yardstick prior to examining the evidence – is the best to ensure its as objective as possible.

          • If BJF has the time, it would also be good to address the conspiracy theory that McLaren threw that title away so as not to be thrown out of the sport. Let’s not forget that in the last race Lewis’ car slipped out of gear dropping him 40 seconds behind the leaders, before out of nowhere (as if by magic!) the gearbox electronics rectified themselves. His start was a bit dubious as well.

          • I’m sure there are many juicy stories from that pre-financial crash era.. someday we might even hear a few of them.

    • I was wondering that, about them going back to push-rod. I think that will help them, and Kimi especially. Allison knows what Kimi likes in his cars, and as others have stated, Kimi and Vettel are more alike in driving style than Kimi and Alonso.

  6. It’s funny how Vettel is put into a no-win scenario by some fans before he even arrives at Ferrari. If he dominates Kimi, they’ll say that the Finn is way past it. If next years car proves better to drive for Kimi and he improves, they’ll say Vettel is mediocre. He can’t win, can he?

    I think if someone is undervalue this year, it’s been Kimi. Just a year ago he was still winning races, yet seeing him struggle with a car that’s obviously Fred centred, he’s being written off.

    The real question is if he can renew his motivation for next year. Like Vettel he’s gone through a a horrible season. Vettel gets a load of fresh motivation by the fact that he arrives at the team he always wanted to drive for. But certainly Kimi will need some new energy after this annus horribilis.

    • I believe that the reason Vettel can’t win next year is driven by the fact he’s been beaten fair and square by Ricciardo this year. Had he dominated Ric and been the closest driver to the Mercs, things would have been different.

      But in way, Rosberg was facing the same thing when partnered with Schuey. Beat Schuey, oh well, Schumacher is past it, lose to Schuey, well, Nico is not that good. It’s only after he sat next to Lewis that people started taking notice.

      It almost begs the question, are the yardsticks by which F1 drivers are measured in this era, Hamilton and Alonso?

      • There were only five races where RIC was outright faster than Seb. From Barcelona onwards they were pretty equal and Seb at times even faster, yet he was rarely able to finish ahead through a series of dubious strategy calls and unreliability. RIC is the man with most laps driven this year – 1011 IIRC – even more than the Mercs. Vettel has only around 860, so it is barely a fair comparison. Vettel was beaten by a whole lot less margin than the points suggest. And that stark difference in reliability can hardly be qualified as ‘fair and square’.

        Team mate comparisons at RB, in hindsight haven’t been easy at RB since 2009 as they are basically a one-car team. In ’09 and ’10 Vettel had the majority of failures, Webber between ’11 and ’13. This year it was Vettel’s turn again and this year the difference in build quality was the crassest since 2009.

        • Can you catalogue again where Vettel was faster than Ricciardo? He beat RIC in Singapore, but Ricciardo had an ERS problem then.

          CAN they were equal, GBR Ric was better in the race, in GER Ric was held up b/c of the MAS-MAG crash, then Ric was better in HUN, BEL, and ITA. SIN I mentioned above, then Vet was better in JAP, then they were equal in RUS. Ric was better in USA.

          MON and AUT Vet retired or had race-compromising reliability early.

          Do I have that wrong? If so, where?

          • You have it wrong for CAN, HUN, ITA, RUS and USA

            CAN: Vettel was ahead of RIC comfortably until the team botched his pitstop allowing RIC to jump him.
            HUN: Again, Vettel was clear ahead of RIC until shafted by the safety car
            ITA: Vettel was clear ahead for over 40 laps until his tyres went off as the team gambled on a way too long second stint. Team publicly appologized for both CAN and ITA.
            RUS: Vettel was on an underpowered engine on it’s last legs because they didn’t bring a new one.
            USA: No fair comparison possible. Vettel started from the pit lane with a Monza rear wing. Despite another mistimed pitstop he still only ended 4 places behind RIC.

            Spa was the only race after Spain where RIC was out-and-out faster, which prompted RB to change VET’s chassis yet again

          • ITA?!? You can’t be serious. Vettel’s early stop was a symptom of his not being able to manage the tires as effectively as Ricciardo this season. Even if he had pitted 3-4 laps later, Ricciardo still would’ve beat him that day.

            As for USA, those are 4 very important places. RBR strategy before the race put him in with a chance of finishing 6th, ahead of Alonso. Ricciardo did well to move up to 3rd. 4th or even 5th would’ve been a more natural result for the car.

            For the others, you make some good points, but on the whole I’m unmoved. We’ll agree to disagree.

          • Selective memory much? The team called him in early to force an undercut against the McLarens. His tyres were still perfectly fine then. Later they admitted it was too long for the second stint. He ran the second longest stint of the whole field.

          • Hmm, I just don’t buy that Vettel would’ve been able to make his tires last as long as Ricciardo at Monza, b/c he hasn’t been able to all season. Ricciardo was regularly between 0.5-0.8s/lap faster than Vettel in their 2nd stints. That all can’t be explained away b/c of the offset.

        • Here we go again with the number of laps each driver (Dan and Seb) have completed.

          You’re gonna have to face up to the fact that Vettel’s issue seems to lie in not being able to adapt well enough to cars with different characteristics to the ones he’s had over the past 4 or so years.

          • Aha, so one driver having all the failures doesn’t count anymore? That sounded mighty different last year when Marks car couldn’t hold together.

          • @FH, Ricciardo has been on a great run with reliability, for sure. Of course, he started out with two no-scores. Vettel has 3 DNF’s, and has been compromised in qualifying at times.

            You cannot have expected how competitive Ricciardo has been, vis-a-vis Vettel. No one would’ve expected that. I don’t think people have formed a judgment just looking at the points table, but more by watching the races where they’ve both been unhindered.

            If Vettel had out-performed Ricciardo in the races they both finished, then people would more quickly point to Vettel’s unreliability as the cause for the gap. But I think most have seen how it’s gone when they’ve both raced, and concluded that even if the reliability had been equal, that Ricciardo still would be leading in the standings.

        • Only 5 where Dan was outright faster is still quite embarrassing for Seb if you ask me.

          I don’t think anybody expected that.

          • Why? He isn’t god. He had specially adapted to the Newey cars over the course of four years. This year he was presented a very different car, which was more like the tail-happy cars RIC was already used to from his time at STR, so they didn’t start on equal footing. That was compounded by the rather unbalanced allocation of track time early on. Vettel didn’t get to in-season test until after Barcelona, while RIC had the Bahrain test all to himself.

            And I think people are selling Dan a bit short, too. I for once expected VET to struggle this year as the weird driving style he had to adopt for the EBD cars cannot be unlearned within a month.

          • vettel wasn’t the only one driving with exhaust blown diffusers, all drivers had to adapt their driving. apparently most of them unlearned that rather quickly. why would vettel need extra time? because he had the best car? that’s a rather poor argument.

          • You seem to have missed the first two years of this site’s existence. No other EBD car but the Red Bull required a counter-intuitive driving style as was neccessary to make the Newey creation work

          • i did not miss the first two years of this sites existence, but this is the first time that i hear that only the red bull required counterintuitive driving. if i understand exhaust blown diffusers correctly, the trick is to accalerate when you normally wouldn’t in order to keep the diffuser blown, so the principle was the same for all cars fitted with an ebd, not just the red bull.

      • “It almost begs the question, are the yardsticks by which F1 drivers are measured in this era, Hamilton and Alonso?”……

        Simple answer…..Yes (for Lewis) Jenson’s and Nico’s street cred went up a 100 pts or more when they partnered Lewis, because both have offered him stiff competition (well for one season each I’d say 2011&2014). Not so sure about Fred, because to date, Lewis still remains the only teammate he has had, that has matched him throughout his career. Everyone knew he was going to dominate Massa when he joined Ferrari. With kimi we expected he’d come out on top, but not by such a margin.

      • Both drivers who struggle the most with the new rear braking system are now together in one team.
        And this team alredy tries to improve the stability of the back.
        I really believe, both will be significant better next season.

        • Both of these drivers have said they’re fine with a brake by system, Vettel doesn’t like the lack of grip on the rear of the Redbull and Kimi doesn’t like the lack of grip on the front of the Ferrari, should make it fun for Ferrari development team.

          On current form of Ferrari cars, it’ll just lack grip both ends and keep the drivers happy lol

    • As Alonso has been leaving for most of this season, surely Kimi would be the only one they listen to with regards to developing next years car. Knowing that should provide him plenty of motivation, he won’t want his legacy to be two failed years at Ferrari, where people question if he was really any good surely. If he can get a car tailored to his needs and an engine that isn’t from the Early Learning Centre, then he’ll be back fighting up the front.
      People have very short term memories in the world of F1…..

      • Allison surely knows how Kimi likes the car, and it probably coincides with what Vettel likes as well. So I expect much better from both of them. Surely it can’t be any worse than this year.

          • Well, what measure are you talking about? If points, then it could very likely be worse for Vettel, but I’m talking about both of them getting back to being able to get the best out of the car. At the very least not to under-perform the car, which I think has been the case with both of them this year (Kimi more consistently poor in that regard this season).

            I don’t expect Ferrari to be nipping at Merc’s heels next year, but knowing what F1 is like, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case either. Both Vettel and Kimi have had shockingly bad seasons, but Vettel has been more of a shock to me. Kimi you can say that Father Time might be catching up with him; you can’t say that about Vettel, as he is still on the good side of the usual driver ability arc.

            As Vettel said, it’s better to pack in all the “bad” into one season. Next season is very important for both of them.

          • @the judge, but how much credit will you give vettel. It takes time to build something at ferrari (insert lazy Italians joke here ;)) look at how long schumi needed. And look how long alonso needed and he still hasn’t done it…

        • Kimi needs front end grip and can deal with oversteer. Seb needs rear end grip and flails with oversteer. Need proof? Look at qualifying and race results early in 2012 and 2013. Webber had the upper hand until RB clawed back rear downforce. Why people keep saying Kimi and Seb will want a similar car is beyond me.

    • Vettel and Kimi both struggled with the change to the hybrid era and less downforce. Vettel has improved over the course of the season and Kimi has shown flashes of his talent. Ferrari might produce a better chassis next season, the power train is the big question mark. So if you are Seb and Kimi you’ll be hoping Ferrari produces something that’s more akin to a prancing horse than a donkey.

      Of course the irony will be if Ferrari manages to improve both chassis and power train to get them nearer to Mercedes. Which may leave Alonso looking a bit miffed if the McLaren continues to be rubbish.

  7. Re: Interesting Interlagos

    It has always been. Who can forget the epic 2012 finale. Interlagos always throws up surprises. I suspect one/both of the Mercedes may be out of the podium. Someone like RIC/ALO/BOT/BUT may be winning this weekend. Here’s hoping for a 4th different winner in 2014 and a podium for Felipe baby.

    • I’m guessing you included BUT just b/c of the rain. Though the Williams’ pair will likely fall back in that case.

      With only 3 winners this year, it will equal the lowest amount of winners in a season (also in 1950, ’52, ’63, and ’88). The first two just had 6-7 European races, so that’s understandable. 1963 was a Clark walkover, and 1988 of course was a McLaren walkover, Berger lucky to win that year. This year there’s only been 3 winners, but with Ricciardo winning 3x, it’s more than just luck. Of course, he’s needed Mercedes to falter through reliability / SC / teammate contact to have the opportunity to win those races, but it’s telling that it was always him capitalizing on those opportunities.

  8. Alright, now that I am calm, it’ll be easier to put some thoughts down. Did Kimi luck into the ’07 WDC? Hand over heart, it belonged to lewis. The same way I’d say Kimi might’ve won atleast one WDC earlier in ’03 or ’05. Does that make him a one-hit wonder like JV? I don’t think so. He has shown tremendous speed, especially in the lotus when nobody really expected him to come back and be upto speed.

    As for next years car, Allison should be getting one ready that is more to Kimi’s liking. They’ve worked together before and given that Ferrari might’ve known Alonso is leaving quite a bit earlier it should in an ideal world work better for Kimi (and Vettel). Does this mean they’ll be competitive? Who can say. But atleast it wont be frustrating this way. It was frustrating by not being quick enough in the Lotus and it was very evident in his answers that his lotus was just not as quick as the red bull. If Ferrari don’t do a good job this year, he might be back to that level of frustration next year. Is it good? Maybe better than this years for sure 🙂

    Will Vettel beat him? Perhaps. What does that mean? Who cares!

  9. …. I caused my own oversteer by overdriving the car….

    ….. I didn’t get into a rhythm until say about 5 or 8 laps after Lewis passed me, then I hit the sweet spot….

    …… For sure I knew he was going to try and pass me, but I kinda defended halfway not really…..

    ….. I made a mistake that I just realised, you know, with the KERS switch (that should’ve been a button), I wanted more boost when I saw him coming (he wanted more boost in the braking zone)…

    Before the Austin, Nico said he was up for the fight and he’s going to be hunting Lewis down. Guess the judge was right when he said, Lewis is a deep cover operative operating within yards of the enemy, while Nico best suited to playing the lastest version of Call of Duty. Nico the hunter….bwahhhhhaaaaaaa

    After watching this, it would truly be an injustice of he was to become WDC this year. If the Redbull or Ferrari were in someways a match for the Merc, he’s be nowhere in the championship. Too many excuses, some of which you should expect from a rookie

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C6L1FjjJ-lI

    • In many ways, it would be like Scheckter beating Villeneuve with the odd 1979 championship system. Scheckter was never top speed, but, like Rosberg, not too far off the top either, and drove some good cars that others might have done better in (e.g. Cevert in the mid-70s Tyrrells), although he shaded Depailler.

      I’d say Rosberg matches closer to Hamilton though, more like Regazzoni to Lauda at Ferrari. Hence Regazzoni was a championship contender in ’74, when Lauda kept retiring, before Lauda dominated the next three seasons with a reliable car.

      • My history of the sport does not go back that far, only started to follow the sport seriously in 98, until then, I was just a casual viewer, was more immersed in other sports (basketball). But thanks for that bit of history, I learn something new everyday.

        But the message I was trying to convey was, that for someone who’s challenging for a WDC title, he’s making too many school boy errors. Had there been a 3rd or 4th protagonist involved in the championship, I doubt he’d still be in the running.

        Look at his statistics, 9 poles and he has only won 2 of those, 10 second place finishes. He’s in the most dominate car in the sport and he has only won one race more than Ric.

        After that lap on Saturday he should’ve won that race, but he didn’t and why? He made another schoolboy error. Bahrain he should’ve won, because he was in the better position, but failed to capitalise.

        But that video was quite damning for me, but luckily for him, he still has a 50% chance due to Abu Double.

        • To be honest, I do agree – If Red Bull match up to Mercedes soon, you would think Ricciardo is in the pound seat, as the two Mercs could take points off each other, unless Nico was whipped into being a second driver.

          But, it looks like Mercedes should still be ahead in 2015 at the moment. In that scenario, we might see a rejuvenated Hamilton dominate, and likely to pass Vettel and Senna in the win count before 2016.

          Arguably, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso and Bottas have all been better than Nico this year. Some might say he’s not even been the best ‘Nico’ for most of the year..

    • I for one am expecting Nico to be up to his tricks in Abu Dhabi like in Monaco. I can just imagine him causing some sort of problem for Lewis in qualy by conveniently spinning his car so as to bring out yellow flags. Maybe, have a few ‘problems’ in the practice sessions to make it seem genuine. I wonder who out of Nico and Lewis have the choice as to what order they go out in qualifying at the last race?

      • Does it really matter if he gets pole? He has only won 2 races when they have both started 1-2. One of those wins was by default in Australia and the other is Monaco. I’m not so sure he’s concerned either way, personally I think Lewis’s only concern right now, is just reliability. If the car holds up (and it looks like it will. I think the last technical failure they had was Nico’s gearbox @ Silverstone. I wouldn’t count Singapore as that was just a freak situation) then I expect him to take it.

      • Surprising that we will see the Manor name in F1 at last.. does the $65m allow them to ‘stand on their own two feet’?

        Ferrari should pal up with them IMO, and stick on a name like Alfa Romeo, with a seat for a young driver. I’m surprised that new owners wouldn’t put a name on, unless this list can easily be changed later on.

        At the same time, I’m still amazed that Marussia’s owner wouldn’t stick around ‘for the good times’, even if the car company is now bust, and ‘good times’ simply means breaking even, rather than ploughing endless $100ms into the team..

        PS. I hope the bottom two teams will get ‘base payments’ if they continue! Or do CVC want to save themselves an extra £66m..

  10. Time to go to Specsavers folks!

    So those of you who have been passionate about racing for decades – wise up. Formula 1 is merely a branding exercise now – according to Mercedes

    Did you really think they were in it for any other reason? F1 has been about ‘big business’, for decades. It’s time that some people removed the rose tinted spectacles. 👀

    • I suppose its been 10 years since we had a team that was a pure privateer.. lost with the demise of Jordan and Minardi..

  11. “Just 6 laps later, the Hulk was set to re-pass race leader Lewis Hamilton, however, the rear of his car slid into Lewis through turn 1 ending the British driver’s last race for McLaren.”

    Although Hulk well and truly lost it then, it is important to mention that he wasn’t helped by a stray Caterham right in front of the two cars. I think he collected Hamilton while trying to avoid the Caterham at teh same time…

    • Indeed, both were very unfortunate, that the location of Kovalainen meant both cars could not run deep into the corner, which is more needed when the track is a little damp and overtaking down the inside.

      IMO, one of the best drives I’ve seen in a long time, and Hulkenberg really deserved that victory, against the best 2 cars and Hamilton and Button (one of the best wet weather drivers ever) at the top of their game. He wasn’t helped by the ‘debris safety car’ either, that also spiced up the championship battle.

        • Onboard video – the first 12 minutes of the race, with TV feed alongside.. by the end point he’s gotten clear of Hamilton, with Hulkenberg closing up and the top 3 well clear of the the Ferraris, Massa doing his best Alonso rear-gunner impression.

        • Oh, I think many more signs are there than that. Button’s squeals this weekend: “Are you sure I can come in? Anybody else you want me to let through?”

          are the sounds of someone who is out, for good, and can finally vent frustration. In all likelihood Fred has already signed, or there is an accord in principle with McLaren.

          • He can act all haughty and arrogant now that he knows he’s out. Some like painting him as a nice guy and everything, he is anything but nice. Imagine if McLaren started treating him like Red Bull have been treating Vettel, that would make for some entertaining radio messages !

      • I also remember some very angry voices on the SC being deployed simply to annul the hugenormous lead that the front-runners have built (Button, Hamilton, Huelkenberg) and to pack up the cars. It really did seem that that was the reason, and sad way to go racing indeed.

  12. Re the Prost “rant” video, Barry Sheene also did a (much shorter) interview with Mr E. His view on the situation – “So it’s wet? Go slower!”

    • I also remember Mosley once airing the view that: “It’s wet? So what? Nothing bad can happen really because you know cars travel slower.” Tell this to Bianchi…

    • I guess they had the best packages.. Van der Garde always says he has the money, but seems to get beaten to the seats, unless the opponent has no money.. like Kovalainen.

      Nasr was due to move up to F1, and thus has. Williams no longer need him to back up Massa, now that they are a little more financially secure. He could still move to Williams after Massa retires, if his time at Sauber goes well.

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