#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 10th November 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Race Review: Rosberg leads Mercedes 1-2

#F1 Polls: FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO PETROBRAS DO BRASIL 2014 – Driver of the Weekend

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 GRANDE PRÊMIO PETROBRAS DO BRASIL 2014?

“Podium like a win”

What’s in a signature?

Force India on the brink again

F1 engine spending war looms closer

Double points should make no difference

“Podium like a win”

After a third placed finish at the Brazilian GP, a jubilant Felipe Massa said the podium finish had felt more like a win. An odd statement at the best of times, but even more strange when one analyses the context which Felipe talks in.

Having won the race in 2008 and 2006, you would be surprised that the winning in Brazil brings back good memories for Massa given that on both occasions the title ended up going to a different driver (2006 – Alonso took the title and 2008 – Hamilton claimed the title). A win at Interlagos surely cannot bring back happy recollections.

Furthermore, in 2007 and 2012 Massa was forced to yield to Raikkonen and Alonso respectively to aid their title bids. 2012 being infamous for the tears that flowed following one of the most intense title fights for years, after Massa had made such a remarkable comeback from his head injury he suffered in 2009.

Yesterday he said, “I’m very emotional after everything that happened here today. It was like a victory because I didn’t have a car competitive enough to beat the Mercedes. I think the fans understood that and that’s why they celebrated as they did.

He continued, “Maybe I’ll be back here next year fighting for the championship again, and hopefully this positive energy will be here again to help me.”

Felipe demonstrated this weekend how much of a confidence driver he really is, despite mistakes he had the measure of the non Mercedes AMG field and his team mate in Brazil. The put downs he suffered at Ferrari during his tenure as Alonso’s number 2, clearly dented this confidence,

Yet in 2015 a World Championship challenge is surely beyond the realms of possibility despite the Williams car designs upward curve. Would really allow themselves to be beaten by a customer team?


What’s in a signature?

Finding your mojo as a Formula One driver is essential to ensuring grade A performances out on the black stuff; but what drives that? Well, the answer, naturally, is going to be different for all drivers – since they are all human.

Confidence is a factor for all the F1 drivers and the highly rated Nico Hulkenberg is no exception. As TJ13 recalled last week, Interlagos is a place of fond memories for the Hulk following his 2010 pole position and his stint during the 2012 race as leader for quite some time.

Given the recent confirmation by Force India that Nico will be driving for them next year, Hulkenberg appeared much more relaxed in Brazil than in recent F1 events.

The German had this to say following the race, “It was quite a cool race and very satisfying to finish in eighth. With a three-stop race you are always pushing, but my race was not too complicated and I was on my own for a large part of the afternoon. I also had a few nice battles and it was good fun. The car felt a bit better today compared to earlier in the weekend so I was more comfortable and really able to push.”

Finally back in the points and looking consistent, the Hulk continued, “The team made the right calls on the strategy and we maximised our performance with the tyres in these very hot conditions. I finished just behind the two Ferraris and maybe with one or two more laps I could have finished sixth instead of eighth, but that’s racing.

With another 10kg set to be added to the minimum car and driver combined weight for 2015, there is great potential for future success for the German. That said, there are those who may be begin to question how long can Hulkenberg be considered an upcoming driver and not just an also ran like Sutil or Di Resta – whose careers slowly petered out?

If Nico’s re-discovered confidence is rooted in him putting pen to paper for 2015, then the results now come. At 27 years of age, Hulkenberg is now an experienced F1 pro, so 2015 must be the season where he must show his mettle.

Though with the recent U-Turn by Ecclestone over funding the smaller teams better, Force India are once again going to be relying on Mallya’s Millions – which appear to have all but dried up.


Force India on the brink again

TJ13 has been writing since the inception of the website that Force India is ‘in trouble’ and that at some point the house of cards will come a tumbling down.

In fact a non-regular TJ13 commentator recently cited the team’s continued existence as evidence that TJ13 ‘knows nothing’. Yet in Formula One –  just as in other aspects of life – whilst the inevitable is coming, mankind is often delusional.

In the UK, companies are required to file their previous year’s accounts, 9 months following the conclusion of their financial year. Failure to do this will see penalties levied by the taxation authorities.

However, these penalties at times are deemed worth suffering – so that a company can hide for longer a set of financial results they wish not to make public.

Uk companies can elect to run their financial year beginning in any month on the calendar, though many retain 1st Jan – 31st Dec as their annual financial reporting periods.

Force India’s latest numbers reveal as TJ13 has been reporting an unsustainable future for the Northamptonshire-based team.

Its latest set of accounts reveal a £38.5m in the year to December 31, which is to be added to the £33.4m loss from the previous year.

In the notes to the annual report, it is clear that Force India Formula One Team Ltd received £17m during the year from its parent company, Luxembourg-registered Orange India Holdings Sarl.

The Force India team is jointly owned by Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy, together with Dutch entrepreneur Michiel Mol, through their Sahara Adventure Sports and Watson investment vehicle which also owns the majority of Orange India Holdings.

Auditors Grant Thornton highlighted the funding Force India received from Orange India Holdings as a cause for concern. “These conditions indicate to us that the continued support of the company’s parent, Orange India Holdings… is necessary if the business is to continue as a going concern.

“There is no evidence available to us to confirm that Orange India will receive the continued support it needs from its shareholders and in turn that that continued support will therefore be available to Force India Formula One Team.

This material uncertainty may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Clearly, Subrata Roy has been otherwise engaged in his cell in New Dehli as he attempts to raise over $1bn for his bail alone.

What is clear is that Force India has been short funded by £33m and £38m in its past two financial reporting years and this state of affairs is unsustainable.

There was talk earlier this year of a Mexican consortium meeting with the Force India executive to discuss a buyout, though with the vultures circling, why would anyone buy a Formula One team by negotiating with the owners, when they can pick up the pieces at a fire sale – or last minute forced arrangement with the creditors to write down their debt substantially.

TJ13 recently revealed the letter sent to Jean Todt by the smaller teams earlier this year stated that the cost of keeping a mid-field team racing in Formula One is around £120m (£75m) a year.

Force India has been able via sponsors, money from FOM and finance provided via Orange India – the shareholders – to fall on average £35m short of this break even position for the past two seasons.

This state of affairs will not continue for ever.


F1 Morality laughable

During the Brazilian GP weekend, we saw the Administrator for Caterham F1 launch a crowd funding project to get the team to the Abu Dhabi race weekend.

On hearing of this project TJ13 tweeted, “The @brabsracer crowd fund is an altogether different proposition than crowd funding an #F1 team like @CaterhamF1 #TJ13 #HowToLoseYourShirt”

This is no long term funding plan any Formula One team could employ, however, through the sale of memorabilia, older Caterham F1 car parts and sponsorship to be displayed on the cars in Abu Dhabi car, the target of raising £2.35m is 46%  complete.

This has bought some time for the Green Team whose debts of £16m are not exactly huge, particularly as around half of this are owed to Renault.

“Everyone involved is incredibly grateful and excited to have raised over £1m of support in less than 48 hours,” said Caterham Administrator, Finbarr O’Connell. “The Caterham F1 Team is almost half way to its funding target. I am not packing my toothbrush as yet though and there is still a lot of fundraising to be done by the team. However, it is clear that this campaign is becoming international and I have been contacted by media organisations from all over the world since Friday”.

The crow funding initiative attracted scorn and criticism from within the sport, in particular from Bernie Ecclestone and Christian Horner.

The F1 Supremo described this fund raising initiative as a disaster for the image of Formula One. “We don’t want begging bowls. If people can’t afford to be in Formula One, they have to find something else to do.”

Yet the man who many hold responsible for F1’s current financial plights was shocked when told 24 hours into the crow funding project that the team had already raised nearly £500m in the first 24 hours of the project.

“Really?” he said. “It’s up to the fans if that’s what they want to do.”

Outspoken NBC pit lane reporter, Will Buxton appeared furious at the crowd funding proposals. He tweeted, “If you’ve got some spare £,€ or $, there are amazing charities who could use your support. An F1 team is not a charity. It is a business. The $ given to Caterham so far could buy 100,000 meals for those in need via @mealsonwheels. Think about it. Thats 284 people fed for a year”.

It appears Buxton may now be spending some of his inordinate amount of relaxation time between Grand Prix helping our elder citizens – such is his obvious passion for “Meals on Wheels”, Further, the ‘Buxton Brief’ on how people should spend their money and a morality investment index will now be published as a monthly addendum to the financial times supplement.

From a Caterham staff perspective, “Everyone involved is incredibly grateful and excited to have raised over £1m of support in less than 48 hours,” O’Connell said. “The Caterham F1 Team is almost half way to its funding target. I am not packing my toothbrush as yet though and there is still a lot of fundraising to be done by the team. However, it is clear that this campaign is becoming international and I have been contacted by media organisations from all over the world since Friday.

Most importantly, a new financially sound interested party has entered the arena and is considering acquiring the team. This new interest is wholly due to this campaign. It will be a very novel moment in Abu Dhabi when the team’s supporters will be able to watch the race in the knowledge that they put the Caterham F1 car on the grid”.

Eddie Jordan threw his weight behind the initiative and has been commended by Finbarr O’Connell

“I have been very grateful for the support the project has had from F1 thought leaders like Eddie Jordan, a fellow Irishman. Whilst I am also incredibly grateful to Renault and Total for their support of what the team is doing I really want people to focus on the other human engine to this team, being 200 people in Leafield, in the Prime Minister’s constituency, who have been working without pay for the last 6 weeks in order to rescue this team. Without them there would be no team and they deserve everybody’s support.

We are working non-stop to get the Caterham F1 Team back racing and one of our most useful, innovative and effective options right now is Crowdfunding. We want to get as many sponsors and fans as possible involved this week and make our comeback something we can all be part of and proud of. This team deserves a future and I know that there are plenty of fans and companies out there that agree with us, so I can’t think of a better way to get us all together and show our support to the team than this one, the Caterham F1 Team #RefuelCaterhamF1 project.”

There is a notion that it would be one in the eye for the Formula One establishment were the fans and interested parties be able to fund the Caterham team for an outing in Abu Dhabi.

It may give the likes of Wolff, Horner and Mattiacci as principals of the biggest spending teams something to consider, as they plot and plan for their third cars to run and drive the midfield further back in 2015.


F1 engine spending war looms closer

For those who follow Formula One closely, the observation that the civil war of self-interest has escalated to all-time highs in the history of the sport – is hardly dramatic.

In Austin there is the promise of a fairer distribution of funds to recognise the escalating costs forced upon the mid-field and small teams. 1 week later, Ecclestone states this is no longer an option.

Further, the bitter row over the engine regulations has spiralled into grid-lock, as Mercedes refuse to agree to accept this late in the day, changes to the 2015 regulations which would allow an incremental unfreeze – over and above the 48% re-design freedom’s allowed.

The threat from Renault and Ferrari is that unless their proposals to alter the 2015 regulations are enacted, they together with Honda will by majority decision force a complete unfettered development war on engine development from 2016 onwards.

Having proposed such an idea, Christian Horner then interestingly observes what a disaster it would be for Formula One.

“I think that is the only option because, with a majority vote, the 2016/17/18 rules can be opened up,” states the Red Bull team principal. “So we will have to face the pain in 2015 to open it up in 2016/17/18, which is ridiculous.

We will all end up spending a lot more money over a longer period of time.

What should happen is that a window should be opened to allow Renault, Ferrari and Honda to try to close that gap.”

Its worthy of note that McLaren and Honda are not exactly jumping up and down on this matter at present, and Horner is assuming that Honda will agree to a complete unfreeze for 2016 in the engine development regulations by June 2015 – the deadline.

A Formula One engine has been deconstructed into 66 general ‘tokens’ and for 2015, 32 tokens can be completely altered and redesigned – which is just under 50% of the entire engine.

Mercedes’ have offered to allow rivals an incremental 5 tokens for their 2015 engine designs, though this has been rejected by Ferrari and Renault who were demanding and an additional 13 tokens.

Ferrari and Renault also requested engine homologation be pushed back from February to March, but Mercedes have rejected this.

The talks continue.

Whilst not an employee of Renault, Christian Horner has become the self-appointed voice for the French engine manufacturer and he claims, “It is all rather frustrating because we sit down and talk about things…. you leave the room and think you have agreed something and then it changes.

“It is a ridiculous situation that we cannot find a solution to, and I have no idea what the outcome will be.”

It may be stating the obvious, but there’s no guarantee for Mercedes that by agreeing to 13 tokens instead of 5 and an extra 4 weeks for the teams to homologate the 2015 engines, that prior to the 2016 regulations being agreed in June next year – Ferrari and Red Bull Renault together with Honda will merely push through an unlimited engine development war for 2016 regardless.

The F1 strategy Group has been a complete and utter disaster and the FIA need to regain control of these and other regulatory matters – and quick. Clearly allowing incremental power to the larger teams and FOM has created more chaos and will simply see F1 team spend rise exponentially until we have a DTM plus single-seater racing series costing astronomic amounts per annum.

As TJ13 reported on Friday before the race in Brazil, Ecclestone stated, “We’re going to try to get rid of these (V6) engines”.

Christian Horner paid lip service to the suggestion from the F1 Supremo that the V8’s could once again return to the sport. “No one likes to take a step backwards,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said, “but sometimes you have to realise when something has gone wrong.”

Yet, Niki Lauda was brief and to the point on the matter. “If V8 [engines] come back, Mercedes will be gone.”


Double points should make no difference

When asked after the race about Abu Dhabi and double points, Toto Wolff had this to say. “Hopefully double points will not make a difference. It would put a big shadow over the championship if it was turned by a technical issue.”

Given the complete dominance of the Mercedes AMG F1 cars in Brazil last weekend and the chance of rain in the desert being zero then barring any reliability problems a 1-2 in Abu Dhabi is a given.

This season has seen both Rosberg and Hamilton drive through the entire following misfortune and still manage the top or second step on the podium. Any non-terminal issue in qualifying or early in the race, would surely see either driver perform this feat once again.

So, under the non-double points system, with both cars finishing the final race, for Rosberg to win the title Hamilton would have to finish 7th place or lower in the final race and Rosberg win – along with a few other highly improbable scenarios

Under double points a Rosberg win in Abu Dhabi requires Hamilton to finish 3rd or lower for again the German to win the drivers’ title.

3rd or 7th are equally as unlikely given that the Mercedes AMG F1 cars suffer no mechanical issues during the race. Should the reliability gods strike one or other of the Mercedes drivers, then double points will be rendered meaningless anyway.

Then again, Lewis’ determination to win every race, could see him running second and put it into the wall as he tries to push too hard in a vain attempt to pass Rosberg.

But the expected Mercedes 1-2 – in any order – next weekend in the desert will give Hamilton his second drivers’ title.


40 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 10th November 2014

  1. I’m really really thankful we have Alonso, Button, Ricciardo and Vettel in F1 this season. They’ve generated so much good racing between them that it’s partially offset the borefest up front. Speaking of which…. Mercedes trying to accept blame for Lewis dropping it? What was that all about? No mention of NR getting slower pitstops this weekend either – that’s a pick and chose type of scenario for the British media I guess.

    It’s a damn shame we don’t go into the final race with a winner takes all scenario. I suspect Abu Dhabi will be a massive let down with the Mercs cruising round, their Williams rear gunners never attacking – or keeping back a distance Toto is happy with. Given Paddy Lowe’s comments I tend to think that should Lewis car break down Paddy will be fighting with Lauda over who presses the Rosberg engine destruction button to ‘keep it fair’.

    • “borefest upfront”? – Must be a pretty exciting borefest if you’ve dedicated your next paragraph to the aforementioned…

      That “borefest” has generated the most headlines this year and the title decider goes to the last race. No doubt you found the Vettel era exciting though?

      • 2013, 1st half of the season good, 2nd half boring as sin!
        2012, Great year for F1, very close.
        2011, ZZZZzzzz!
        2010, Very good season.
        2009, had it moments, but dull in parts too.

        It’s not about who’s winning, it’s about the competition at the front. This season, like 2011, there is only one teams cars that can win races when reliability doesn’t rear it’s head.

        Yes Britney is keeping Lewis fairly honest, but they can both make dreadful errors and not be punished for them such is their cars inherent pace.

        So yes it’s boring to see the same guy on the podium race after race, irrelevant of their performance or lack of.

    • What were Paddy’s comments that you mention? Maybe Bernie will be vying for that self-destruct button too … he basically trashed Rosberg on the F1 site saying no one’s heard of him.

      I think it’s a bit rich to ask for a winner-takes-all scenario, when one driver has 10 wins, to 5 for the other guy. With such a gap in race wins, it’s a wonder that Lewis requires a P2, and nothing less, to seal it. I’d like to see a winner-takes-all scenario, anybody would, but I think Nico winning this year would be a travesty for the sport. Still it’s a very real possibility though!

      I agree that their advantage is very big, and I hope the field closes next year (and not just the Merc-powered cars, but the three other works teams too).

      • @KRB it’s funny, I was thinking about this in terms of cycling last night. It seems to me that as currently structured the WDC very much favors consistency over winning, given that Lewis has double Nico’s wins and yet he has to finish 2nd or lose the WDC, which fact will be keeping Lowe et all awake late at night.

        In cycling you get a winner based on lowest elapsed time and a winner based on sprint points, which rewards winning and high finishes.

        Oft times winners of the elapsed time rarely win individual stages and winners of the points rarely are close in elapsed time. Both competitions are exciting if they are close and it seems to me that the WDC is currently trying to do both and that is the source of much unhappiness. Instead of double points, perhaps the WDC should add a second category to reward each kind of driver. It might prove more robust than gimmicky over the long haul.

        • Hi Matt –

          I’ll pipe in but not w/ the intention of beating you down. Just to say that the analogy b/w F1 WDC season long competition and cycling shouldn’t be to compare the entire F1 season w/ a single multi-stage race (where, you’re correct, the winner posts the lowest cumulative time), since in no case in the Grand Tours (Giro, TdF, Vuelta) are the overall contenders even trying to win most of the stages – or any stage for that matter…they simply want to build the biggest time advantage, which may or may not including actually winning a stage (and sometimes stages are “gifted” to a competitor who helped you maintain or increase your lead).

          Rather, a better comparison would be to cycling’s (what used to be called) World Tour season long standings where most all of the big races – including single day classics and stage races of various lengths – all offered points towards a season-long competition. And iirc, several times that has been won by a top rider who nevertheless didn’t win a Grand Tour or really even dominate the year. They were just very consistent, like you say.

          I think Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez are good examples of this kind of consistent competitor who wins but not a majority of events! JR finished first of the UCI world rankings in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Valverde won the UCI Pro/World Tour rankings (same thing as jR) in 2006, 2008 and this year, 2014. Valverde has won a GT but the point still stands…season long consistency is what’s required. However, in pro cycling, no one is trying to win the UCI world tour rankings…no one really cares because there’s no great substance to it, not like winning an actual Grand Tour or even a major classic. Sure, it’s nice, but it’s nothing like winning the F1 WDC.

          The analogy probably is also tough b/c cycling has a separate one-day race to decide the World Championship, whereas in F1 it’s judged cumulatively.

          That’s all!

      • I think everyone knows Lewis deserves this title. It’s just a shame that we’ve not got a scenario where both drivers really have to go for it in the last race. Lewis can just follow Nico round and bring it home. That’s a bit of a shame – although personally I’ve hated double points from day one. If Nico wins on double points it’ll be a farce. Hamilton has proven this season he’s faster over race distances than Rosberg. Nico has proven he’s quicker over 1 lap – even if we remove the issues for HAM in GER & HUN, as you then need to remove CHI for ROS. It’s close though.

        RE: Paddy, he’s made comments numerous times about the importance of ensuring both cars are equally reliable and reliability shouldn’t dictate who wins the WDC. I think Merc are happy both cars have had similar luck at this point, and if that were to change? Well who knows what they’d do given what we’ve heard about Monaco and Monza.

        • I think that Merc has been trying to stage manage things to ensure neither of their drivers is running away with it. Nico was far ahead after Lewis’s DNF in AUS, so then Lewis goes on a rampage of 4 wins until he is just a wee bit ahead then came CAN and AUS with ROS again going far ahead due to Lewis bad luck, so ROS has a ‘timely’ gearbox problem, bringing Lewis back to his heels. Enter HUN and SPA and Nico is ahead again due to the incident. He’s told to chuck the race at Monza and Lewis gets ahead far enough to be the run-away favourite towards the championship with ROS still within a shout.
          It could all just be coincidence, but with the indications that there has been behind-the-scenes influence on the race order at least once, Merc have nobody else to blame for these speculations, just as RB had to take the blame for the endless sabotaging-Webber conspiracies when they could only build one functioning car and Webber wasn’t in it.

          • Without going into the details and conspiracy theories, I would expect that MrE would have told merc management to make sure there’s excitement until the end of the season. So merc can win the WCC as early as they want as long as they keep the WDC open until end. How openly that is discussed with the drivers is another matter. But they are hardly that blind either but understand that the topic shouldn’t be talked with press. Both still have a chance to win, one better and other needs luck (or bad luck actually ) but still.

          • @Henrik

            This has been my suspicion for months. The whole situation has been manipulated since the beginning. Hamiltons engine failure in Australia was just Murphys law showing it’s head. Plan all you want, sh*t happens you can’t predict, and that forced them to give HAM the next 4 wins to keep things close.
            The point in the season that sealed it for me was the Monaco disaster.
            I raised the question in a post around that time, when Nico may have said he was “trying to prove a point”. My posit was that he was not trying to prove a point to Hamilton, but to Merc management.
            I believe that point was …

            “Make as many plans as you like, I’m still the guy in the car and you can’t control me.”

      • If Nico’s win by consistent points would be a travesty for F1, do I assume correctly that you are a supporter of Bernie’s proposed medal system. No silly points to add, just count the number of gold medals and we got our winner.

        • His consistency kept him in contention and even without the double points the decision would have gone to the last race. The trouble is that the arbitrary double points skew the picture. Imagine this scenario: Lewis DNF’s and Nico comes home fifth. With the normal points rule Lewis would win the championship by 7 points. Due to dbl points however Nico would win the WDC by three points as the result means Lewis has effectively DNF’ed twice in a row and Nico has finished 5th twice. It’s not that hard to see what a monumentally stupid idea that is. Also among the midfield teams it could undo a whole season if one of them double-DNF’s while some other team has a good day. It’s just ridiculous.
          I have a bet with Richard that RIC outscores Vettel after the summer. Currently it’s 83:71 in RIC’s favour, which means Vettel would need a 3rd with a RIC no better than 9th for me to win the bet. With the double points a VET 3rd would suffice even if RIC finishes 6th. Where’s the logic in that?

          • I’m by no means talking in favour of double points. It was more to 10 wins against 5 wins should guarantee the WDC point.
            Anyhow I don’t really believe Nico has any chance any more, merc is reliable enough and Lewis can start from pit lane and will still make it to P2 by checkered flag. And there really is no realistic challenger to come between them. That assuming that Nico would even win Lewis in the first place.

          • …. If it were about number of wins – the system of points would be different

            They changed the points system substantively back in 2003 during a Ferrari era of domination – to make the season last longer.

            The last tweak to the current points system sought to redress the balance – but it has had a minor impact.

          • RE: VET vs RIC, it does stand to reason that RIC should outscore VET in the 2nd half of the season given Vettel was obviously going to have to take PU number 6 at some point, whilst RICs not had any where near the same number of issues, even including yesterdays suspension failure.

        • Henrik, the thing is that for this year, it’s hard for the points system to create logical separation of the drivers. The dominance of the Merc’s is such that, if both cars finish and you’re 2nd, then you’ve lost. But you only lose 7 pts to your opponent. If by chance your opponent DNF’s, then you make a huge relative gain of 25 pts on them.

          When both cars have finished this year, Hamilton has beaten Rosberg 9-4. One of those times was Hungary, where Rosberg started on pole, while Hamilton started in pit lane. While Rosberg has impressed this year in qualifying, he has been thoroughly mauled in the races.

          A system like F1 had in the past (pre-1991), where only the Best X of Y Results counted, would be better. Best 15 of 19 would help eliminate reliability as a factor. It does sorta act like Bernie’s gold medal system, but really, when one driver has won 10 races and the other 5, most would consider that game over. It’s only the unequal reliability that has kept Nico in the fight to the last race.

          If you could guarantee me that both Merc’s would finish trouble-free in Abu Dhabi, I would feel a lot more comfortable that Hamilton and F1 would dodge the bullet of the idiotic double-points gimmick offering up an absurd outcome for the title race.

          As it is, a Lewis DNF, and all Rosberg needs is 5th place (would need at least 2nd with single points).

          I am girding myself for such an outcome.

          • “One of those times was Hungary, where Rosberg started on pole, while Hamilton started in pit lane.”

            Shows, you know nothing. Rosberg was shafted by the safety car while Lewis massively profited from it. Later in the race both drivers were on different strategies and there was a clear agreement within the mercedes team that drivers do nbot interfere if they are on different strats. Lewis disregarded that by ignoring team order to let Nico past. He got a taste how difficult it is to follow the same car at Interlagos. So putting up Hungary as an example for Lewis’s brilliance is ridiculous. He cheated the team out of a win, that’s what he did, as Rosberg on fresh tyres could have caught Alonso and Ricciardo, but Lewis put his own interests above those of the teams. I think that is what Vettel got quite a bit of flak for last year – so it’s just fair game to heap the same scorn on Lewis.

  2. Does anyone know if there is a video link to yesterday’s podium interview? I’ve heard what has been said, but I’d like to see it for myself as the damn BBC don’t show it in their highlights.

    • Which bit of the podium interview were you interested in out of curiosity? I did see something on twitter about Rosberg swearing as he left the podium (YT link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YljMqjPVIw).

      I did listen to the original recording, but it was tricky to hear anything he said. Given he speaks evey language under the sun there is no guarantee it was English – so lip reading is tricky!

      • Look in yesterday’s “how do you rate the race” comments section, Adam Parsons post a link of the video showing what happened.

  3. Re: Hulkenberg

    He has already shown his ability. The 2015 season in a car like a Force India is another wasted year of his career. It’s really shocking how many young drivers got admission to the top teams in 2012-2015, and yet Hulkenberg seems to be perpetually stuck in the midfield teams like Force India, Sauber, and Williams. And it’s all because he worked his way to the F1 by his own hard work instead of being under an umbrella of a junior driver program of RBR or Ferrari. He really needs a break and a seat at a top car, now. On the other hand, drivers like Kvyat and Magnussen could have spent an extra season or two at the lower teams to prove they’re worthy of the top rides.

    • Not to bash Hulk or his fans, but there’s hardly a conspiracy against the guy. Sure, his weight is a slight disadvantage, but if he was really a superstar-in-waiting, then a top team *would’ve* signed him. Since all of the current era’s drivers are maniacs for training – or at least exceptionally professional and at least pursuing lifestyles that aren’t detrimental to athletic performance – one could be forgiven for thinking that Hulk simply – obviously – just doesn’t have the natural giftedness of Hamilton or Alonso (or Bottas or Ricciardo?).

      Hulk is just solidly midfield and “nothing special” amongst a crop of already elite, highly-motivated and successful competitors. He’s in the midfield not because he didn’t enter F1 through RBR or Ferrari junior driver programs, but rather, because that’s the level of his innate talent. Just look at Perez – Ferrari connections severed so he could go to McLaren and bumped right back down to the midfield after one unremarkable year in a poor car.

      I’m suspect Hulk is psyched just to be getting paid this year.

      Sure, give him an outing in the best car and let’s see how he goes. But I don’t think he’s got a really magical ability. But he’s more than a journeyman, at least. Just not a superstar.

      So Force India is about right for him (if they manage to stay solvent).

  4. Can i interject for a second….

    I’ve been reading the comments and the common theme is about consistency from Nico, but have you all compared both drivers finishing over the season…

    Nico….16 finishes (5 wins 10 seconds & 1 fourth)

    Hamilton….15 finishes (10 wins 3 seconds & 2 thirds)

    So from that, both drivers have been very consistent over the season. But should that not be a expected when you’re in a car that is that dominat?

  5. Re: Engine spending war…

    And therein lies the problem with F1, no one can seem to agree to a compromise. At first Mercedes refused and now have offered an extra 5 tokens, but Horner and his cronies want twice that amount.

    He’s talking about massive spending in 16/17/18, I’m not sure that’s a battle Redbull or Ferrari would win against the might of Mercedes. I’m sure if Renault were supplying engines to more than one team on the grid other Redbull (who gets theirs for free) and Torro Rosso, who might also get theirs for free, they’d reconsider spending such vast amounts. They’re currently charging the most for probably the worst engine on the grid.

    • Something has to be done around the power units differences. If the difference was 20hp I doubt we’d see many complaints, but we’re talking a gulf in difference between the Merc powered cars and the others. I’d hope that by allowing changes we can get to a 2013 status where PUs were fairly similar, which did result in far far closer racing that we’ve had in 2014.

      • That would only happen if Mercedes weren’t allowed to develop their engines as well. It has been reported that next seasons Merc engine will be about 70bhp more powerful then over weekend Brundle stated that Mercedes already know where they can find another 40bhp if the unfreeze was lifted, now can you imagine what would happen if Mercedes were to again show their spending power? I’m aware of the laws of diminishing returns, but who’s to say that would be the case?

      • Something has to be done about the way funds are distributed in F1 can total costs in general. I’d hope that by allowing changes we can get to a situation where teams can can place competitive entries and we get far closer racing. I have no sympathy for Redbull and Ferrari. If they don’t want privateer teams then Mercedes should win everything.

  6. Regarding double points –
    This is a 19 race year with New Jersey failing to show after the calendar posted back in September 2013. It feels as if maybe something with the points count of 20 races to 19 created this double points to fulfill a contractual number in a Concorde type agreement.

    With that in mind in Abu Dhabi

    Rosberg wins that would equal 7 total wins for season or

    Hamilton wins with a total of 12 total wins for a season.

    The whole argument of Rosberg winning less races but still championed…

  7. Just seen that podium interview. F*ck me, Piquet was chuffing awful – Excellent at the stereotypical old grandad who blurts out words without processing it first. Absolute car crash

  8. Forgot to mention when reading yesterday:

    “…the team had already raised nearly £500m in the first 24 hours of the project.”

    Wow, £500m, that would pay for the team for years ….. think you meant £500k judge …

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