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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite: 1931 – Birth of a ‘Giant’ of a man
Today we celebrate the birth of one of the legends of motorsport. Peter Collins would go down in Italian motorsport lore as one of the most honourable men in racing history. Having won two Grand Prix during the 1956 season, he slowed and allowed Juan Manuel Fangio to take over his car at the Italian Grand Prix after the Argentinian had retired his own.
This self-less move stunned the great Fangio “I was moved almost to tears by the gesture… Peter was one of the finest and greatest gentlemen I ever met in my racing career” With the result, Fangio would take his fourth title – Collins had been in line to win the crown himself! Enzo Ferrari also took the young Briton as if he were a son, so touched was he by his graciousness.
Collins’ friendship with Mike Hawthorn would become a tale of two great drivers who would forever be known by the tag “Bon Ami Mate” and he would race in support of Hawthorn’s bid for title glory in 1958. After a quite stunning win at the British Grand Prix, he lost his life tragically at the Nurburging when he spun out of control and vaulted a banking and slammed into a tree.
Hawthorn was devastated and decided to retire at the end of the season. He too would be dead after a crash on the highroad in Engand proved fatal that winter.
The Samurai Jackal
McLaren gives Alonso deadline for 2015 decision (GMM)
McLaren has warned Fernando Alonso he is running out of time to commit to the British team for the 2015 season. Media reports in the last days have suggested the Spaniard, whose five-year stint at Ferrari appears definitely over, has now decided to re-join McLaren to spearhead the team’s new works Honda era.
Italy’s Tuttosport said the contract is for two years with a total value of EUR 70 million. On a visit this week to Mexico City’s rejuvenating F1 venue for 2015, however, Alonso denied the reports.
“There is nothing new,” he insisted. “I have decided nothing for next year — nothing is definite yet. With Ferrari I am seeing what is the best decision for next year, whether I continue or not, but I will try to choose what is best for my future.”
“I have something in my head, but every week for the past two months there have been these rumours, always with a different team. I respect Ferrari greatly,” Alonso said. “It is a team that I love. For Ferrari it has been a difficult year, and for me it has been five difficult years.”
On the face of it, it seems Alonso’s only choice is McLaren or a sabbatical, leaving Jenson Button increasingly nervous about the likely end of his F1 career. In his latest interview with Hermes, former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen agrees: “Jenson’s behaviour lately reflects a certain loss of confidence. I think when you are striving for success in the long-term, your behaviour looks different.”
McLaren acknowledges that it has put Button and Kevin Magnussen in an awkward position as the Alonso talks drag on. Team boss Eric Boullier may now be losing patience. “We want to have Fernando’s decision between Brazil and Abu Dhabi,” the Frenchman is quoted as declaring clearly to the German newspaper Bild. “We have had good conversations with him, he would fit well with us and he has signalled that he wants the job. However, we want a long-term solution – three years – not just a contract for one.”
Honda is making no secret that it wants a driver of Alonso’s top calibre for 2015. The BBC has reported Alonso is on the verge of agreeing a two-year contract plus a further option for 2017.
“We cannot comment on the drivers as it is a subject for McLaren and Honda,” said the Japanese marque’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai, according to Spain’s Marca. “But Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are very strong drivers and all the teams want them. Any one of them has a chance of being in the team in 2015,” Arai added.
The big favourite is clearly Alonso.
“There are simply moments in your career when you know that you have to change teams,” McLaren legend Emerson Fittipaldi said. “Fernando has arrived at such a moment.”
Rosberg missing aggression for 2014 ‘combat’ – pundits (GMM)
Lewis Hamilton has produced championship-winning performance alongside former title favourite Nico Rosberg in the latter stages of 2014. That is the claim of former F1 stars turned pundits including the outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who said Mercedes’ British driver deserves his title ‘check mate’ following five straight wins.
In contrast, Hamilton’s teammate Rosberg, once the runaway leader in 2014, has fallen 24 points off the pace with just Brazil and then the ‘double points’ finale in Abu Dhabi still to go. “In the crucial moments, Hamilton has just been more aggressive,” French Canadian Villeneuve told the German magazine Sport Bild. “And that’s the only way you win a world championship.”
Indeed, in the wake of his latest triumph in Austin, an increasingly bullish and relaxed Hamilton said he found a new gear after Spa in August, when he and Rosberg famously collided. “Spa was like ‘I’m going to turn this up. This means war!’, that kind of feeling,” Hamilton said.
Another pundit, David Coulthard, agrees with his contemporary Villeneuve that Rosberg might be missing the final piece of the title-winning puzzle.
“I am almost embarrassed to criticise Nico,” said the former McLaren and Red Bull driver, “because he is 95 per cent the perfect driver. He is much better than I ever was technically, and he has the speed too,” Coulthard declared.
“But what he has not yet proven is that he has the necessary hardness in combat. He needs to change that urgently in the last races of the season — not only because of the championship, but because of his reputation.”
Brazil moves tractor after Bianchi crash (GMM)
Organisers of the Brazilian grand prix have tweaked safety measures in light of Jules Bianchi’s life-threatening Suzuka crash a month ago. Globo reports that the tractor destined to be on duty in the famous ‘Senna-S’ has been relocated.
“The Bianchi accident certainly made us think,” said Luis Ernesto Morales, the chief engineer at Interlagos.
“One of the changes we have made was the adoption of a new post at the new run-off area at the Senna-S, so that there will not be a tractor entering there. Undoubtedly, the changes have improved the safety procedures,” he added.
During the wet Brazilian grand prix in 2003, Michael Schumacher spun off and narrowly missed a tractor that was removing Juan Pablo Montoya’s stricken Williams.
You know you’ve never been in the Judge’s bunker…
if you think only Australia is full of scary creatures…
— mattpt55 (@mattpt55) November 5, 2014