#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 24th November 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard


OTD Lite: 2006 – Hamilton joins Mclaren F1 team

New deal with champ Hamilton may take time – Wolff (GMM)

Mallya slams Red Bull as F1 ‘cheats’ (GMM)

Mattiacci focused on Ferrari top job ‘at the moment’ (GMM)


OTD Lite: 2006 – Hamilton joins Mclaren F1 team

Formula One World ChampionshipAs the world awakens celebrating the birth of a new double champion, it is somehow fitting that the entrance of Lewis Hamilton to F1 celebrates its official anniversary also. It was eight years ago today that young Lewis was unveiled as the latest driver to join the hallowed turf of F1.

The story of how a eleven year old Lewis told a startled Ron Dennis that he wanted to drive for Mclaren in the future is well known and his apprenticeship led to the Stevenage karter becoming a protege of the Woking outfit. He was unveiled to the public as team-mate to double World Champion Fernando Alonso and the rest as they say is history. Race winner and title challenger in his first season, champion in his second and the winningest British driver in history.

A mercurial talent who wears his heart on his sleeve, as capable of stunning drives as he is of self-sabotage and now a double champion it was with prophetic words that Dennis unveiled his latest charge –

We reviewed the grid and, apart from the top three, we reckoned most of them had plateaued. I am distinctly unimpressed with the majority of drivers currently involved in F1. I feel Lewis is well equipped to deal with these drivers who fall into that category.”

The Grumpy Jackal

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New deal with champ Hamilton may take time – Wolff (GMM)

With Lewis Hamilton now a double world champion, Mercedes has vowed to waste no time in signing him up for the future. Officials for the German team on Sunday insisted that, with the British driver and Nico Rosberg finishing first and second in 2014, their rivalry will be back on track in silver cars next season. Beyond 2015, however, is less clear, even though German Rosberg is already signed up.

Hamilton only has a deal until the end of 2015, meaning the former McLaren driver may be looking for yet another challenge in 2016 and beyond.

“I definitely don’t feel that I’m looking for a new challenge,” he insisted after winning his second drivers’ title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “I feel like this is just the beginning.”

Before the final race weekend of the season, team boss Toto Wolff has been saying he and chairman Niki Lauda will sit down with Hamilton to discuss the terms of a 2016 contract as soon as Monday or Tuesday this week. Indeed, Wolff joked late on Sunday that those talks may kick off while Hamilton is still suffering from Sunday’s “hangover”.

Hamilton himself, however, appears in less of a hurry. “We still have another year to go,” he said, “so there’s no particular rush but this is my home. I feel very happy here.”

It appears obvious that Hamilton and Mercedes want to stick together beyond 2015. “We will clarify this in the next few weeks,” team chairman Niki Lauda told German television on Sunday. “He is happy, we are happy — I don’t see any problems.

Agreement on the actual terms of the contract, however, may be more difficult, particularly as the new two-time world champion is now being hailed as one of F1’s all-time greats.

“Lewis feels at home with the team,” said Wolff, “and we have the fastest car on the grid. So we have some pretty important arguments on our side! “But of course there is no guarantee that we will come quickly to an agreement. We would definitely love to keep Lewis, as he is an important part of this story.”

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Mallya slams Red Bull as F1 ‘cheats’ (GMM)

Rival F1 team Force India has blasted outgoing world champions Red Bull as the “cheats” of the sport.

“Red Bull gives you flexible wings,” team supremo and co-owner Vijay Mallya said on Twitter on Sunday. The former Indian billionaire’s attack on the energy drink-owned team follows not just the latest flexible wing saga, but also team boss Christian Horner supposedly enraging his counterparts in a recent meeting.

Not only Mallya, but also Lotus owner Gerard Lopez have intimated to members of the F1 media that it was Horner who openly laughed at the demise of backmarkers Caterham and Marussia. The next most endangered teams – Lotus, Force India and Sauber – have been arguing ferociously in recent weeks that the sport should more fairly distribute its almost $1 billion in annual income among the teams.

But Horner is quoted by the Times as “categorically” denying that he scoffed at their plight. “I would never decry other teams,” he said. “They have my respect. For example, we have helped Caterham get into the paddock. They got gearboxes from us (in Abu Dhabi) even though we are owed money.

But something has obviously enraged Mallya, who launched a tirade of anti-Red Bull sentiment on his official Twitter page ahead of Sunday’s 2014 finale in Abu Dhabi. “Arrogance and a superiority complex on the part of those who are paid to be in F1 should not dilute or colour those who pay to be in F1,” he said. “A big F1 team that says we small outfits should not come with bananas to a gun fight, grabs maximum money and cheats on the regulations,” Mallya added.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were disqualified from qualifying on Saturday after the FIA deemed their front wings were illegal.

A BBC report that revealed a concealed spring was specifically designed to allow the wing to illegally bend was also ‘retweeted’ by Mallya. Former Caterham technical boss Mike Gascoyne also attacked the Red Bull chief on Sunday, tweeting before the race: “Wonder if Christian Halliwell will visit the back of the grid? Will remind him of his first few years in Red Bull.”

He signed off with the hashtag: “Whatgoesaroundcomesaround”.

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Mattiacci focused on Ferrari top job ‘at the moment’ (GMM)

Marco Mattiacci has done little to reject rumours he is set to depart as Ferrari’s team boss. Reports throughout the Abu Dhabi weekend suggested the Roman and former Ferrari North America chief, who arrived at Maranello in April to replace the suddenly-ousted Stefano Domenicali, is on the verge of himself being replaced.

The rumours say Marlboro executive and F1 Commission member Maurizio Arrivabene, or perhaps even Ross Brawn, are set to succeed Mattiacci. When asked if Abu Dhabi was his last race, Mattiacci said on Sunday: “At the moment I am very focused on my job just as I was when I started in April.

It is obvious, however, that more changes may be afoot at Maranello.

Piero Ferrari, the great Enzo Ferrari’s only living son, was trackside in Abu Dhabi and he answered “I don’t know” as to whether Brawn is set to return. But when asked if the team’s former technical director parted on good terms a decade ago, however, Ferrari insisted: “Yes.

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140 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 24th November 2014

  1. There seems to be some conflicting stories relating to the concealed spring on the wing. When interviewed by TK yesterday, CH denied that there was one and that it was just a smalle piece of metal that’s attached to top flap of the wings. He also stated that that part of the wing has never been tested before.

    It would’ve been nice if more details were given by the stewards.

    • A leaf spring can be exactly that – “just a small piece of metal”.
      It was apparently under a rubber shroud of the same colour as the rest of the wing – ie concealed (intentionally or not) from a casual inspection.

      • Makes you think how the FIA suddenly got the idea to look for something like that. I think someone, who had known about it for a while, ratted them out.

          • Why would Merc have any greater insight into this than the scrutineers (did RBR personnel move to Merc recently as opposed to McLaren etc) ?

            In any event, this is a far clearer breach than the cleverly designed layered carbon fibre wings, where it’s all a matter of interpretation/ definition of what constitutes ‘rigid’…

            Article 3.15
            With the exception of the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance :
            a) Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.
            b) Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom)…

            Any sort of leaf spring arrangement is plain cheating.

          • I’m not buying the stuff at face value. Merc, Ferrari and McLaren have all more insight into RB’s solution than FIA. Finding out what the opposition does and copying it has been part of the game since day one.
            The last race had no special value to RB. Their WCC position and RIC’s 3rd in the WDC were safe irrespective of double points. So it stands to reason it was not a solution they introduced for this last race. Since FIA is run by idiots, there’s not a cat’s chance in hell they found out about it on their own. Somebody tipped them off and that somebody wanted either retaliation for something (little teams) or they wanted the only realistic challenger of Merc out of the way (FIA, Bernie or Merc) so they had leverage to stage-manage things for the case the double points would have made a difference. It was not neccessary with ROS’s bad start and subsequent ERS failure, but that wasn’t foreseeable.

          • maybe vettel left them a parting gift. after all, red bull is competition next year.

          • I don’t think he’s that vindictive. He’s realistic enough to know that he won’t be competing with RB next year. The RB11 is a Newey car (the last one for a while) and he won’t turn around Ferrari’s fortune in a few weeks. Frankly I would sort of understand it, considering the piss poor treatment the team afforded him this year, but I don’t think he’s behind that

          • All rules are open to interpretation / challenge. Well written rules don’t allow for much interpretation, poorly written ones do. In this case, I think “rigid” and “no degree of freedom” are poor choices of words.

            “Rigid” actually *is* a matter of interpretation / definition. When you’re talking about these n-th degree applications, “rigid” will always have a tolerance.

            But surely the only thing that matters here is the degree of flex under a prescribed load, not the mechanism itself. If a leaf spring was designed to flex *less* than or the same as carbon fibre in the same application then no-one would have a problem. Or would they?

            The regulation should say something like “no separate mechanisms” or “only CF materials are permitted” if they want a “simple” wing design in the interests of cost saving / purity / truth / justice / Bernie’s Way.

            As it stands now, there must be a line somewhere about the amount of permissible front wing flex due to the application of a measured amount of stickage 😛

          • But surely the only thing that matters here is the degree of flex under a prescribed load, not the mechanism itself.

            Well, the degree of flex was ruled excessive.
            The design of the part is plainly indicative of intention.

          • Little secret. Every other team designs their wings *deliberately* to flex as much as the rules allow. RB overshot the target, but it could have happened to any other team as well. I bet if you gave all cars the third degree, you’d find dodgy solutions on most of them.

          • @RogerD, ‘all rules are open to interpretation’ is exactly the story of the FIA’s rule making expertise.
            Or rather, lack of…..

          • @Fat Hippo “So it stands to reason it was not a solution they introduced for this last race”

            Except didn’t Christian say “So we’ve reverted to the wing we used at the previous race”? In which case it would kind of stand to reason that it was…

          • @Fat Hippo, regarding: “The last race had no special value to RB. Their WCC position and RIC’s 3rd in the WDC were safe irrespective of double points. So it stands to reason it was not a solution they introduced for this last race.”

            The last race was irrelevant to them so surely it makes sense to use a race like this to try out a new wing that some might consider ‘dodgy’? If they get found out for this race, they just get demoted to the back of the grid in a race that doesn’t matter either way. Next year it could be much more crucial. However, if it passes scrutineering they’ve got another little bonus for next year.

            They’ve shown they’re willing to make a stand to challenge the regs (the whole fuel flow sensor decable at round 1), so it seems like this could just be another option. The fact they reverted back to the wing from Brazil would also back this up to an extent as it shows the previous wing they’d used was fine…

          • @Phil Horner was deflecting questions as always, he’s hardly going to say “Yes we were running an illegal wing in Brazil too so we had to swap out the spec before that” They’ve already proved how disingenious they are by running a wing that clearly contravenes the regulations on moveable aero..

            I’ve done a post on the subject, creating a sort of timeline of events showing the changes to their wing since the start of the year (in the adjuster area) the latest change to the adjuster was done for Brazil and so stands to reason the wing was illegal there too. http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/bite-size-tech-red-bull-rb10-flexing.html

        • It does sound like RBR were shopped by someone. I have a fair bit of faith in Newey’s integrity. What he had to say in that BBC report sounded reasonable wrt his design. The FIA sound like amateurs – a “stick” test?? Designed to ping RBR’s particular design by the sound of it.
          Reporting here and elsewhere comes across as rather unbalanced – worded to angle blame at RBR. All they are guilty of is screwing up; failing to design their flexible wing to pass the mandated test it would seem. Another half-*ssed, on-the-run regulation balls-up by the powers that be.

          • May have mentioned this already, but earlier in the season they pulled Rosberg’s gearbox apart to make sure his ratios matched the nominated ones. Just his, no one else.

            Pretty sure someone rumbled Bauer to that. Maybe this is payback.

            Besides, isn’t ratting out your fellow teams another proud F1 tradition?

            Or perhaps a disgruntled recent ex-employee?

          • @ mattpt55, exactly my thoughts. I was guessing between the tow of Seb and Prodromou.

          • As per my comment above, I don’t think Horner’s argument stands up.
            This was a means of securing a body part which was clearly designed nor to be rigid. It’s a clear breach of the regulation.

            Who ‘ratted’ is quite irrelevant (though interesting).

          • This reply is to more than just Nigel… Horner is disingenuous. While people pretend this is the first attack on Horner, et al. at Red Bull, it, in fact is just the latest. RB has, according to most, if not all, neutral observers, cheated with its cars’ designs since 2011.

            Of course the aforementioned statement concerning cheating will be pooh-poohed by the usual suspects here, but it is just a bald fact.

            I do wish the finer F1 minds here took a look at the brief history and mercurial rise of Red Bull as a corporate entity. It is here that the researcher of this subject will find that Red Bull’s modus operandi is to throw more money around than its competition, bully them, denigrate competition, and hide its short-cuts – cheating, withholding information to the public, even in its so-called energy drink – to public success.

            Whether the playing field is beverages, Extreme Sports, music, or F1, Red Bull is a walking scandal. Unfortunately, its ties to other powerful entities makes it almost impossible for even the most intrepid journalists to out the corporation and the the machinations of the major players in each facet of its commercial ventures; Christian Horner is but one of many in this company who are unscrupulous to a fault, who care for others so little they won’t out forth the effort to mime empathy to put on a more palatable public face.

            Ending, I do not feel Seb Vettel snitched on Horner, nor do I feel any competing teams did, though, surely an astute observer from any team might notice that there was something askance with their wing from just one or two circuits around the track. Because of RB’s cheating track record, they are watched closer than their competitors. And this is not the first “oddly flexible wing” that has appeared on a Red Bull F1 car.

          • @ Matt. Document 33 of the FIA documents you posted previously indicates that the ratios of ALL cars were checked for conformance with their nominated (or re-nominated) ratios. So as to your comment – ????

          • @dwil,

            You of all people certainly don’t qualify as a neutral observer. And saying RB have cheated since 2011 is bollocks. It’s the second time in their entire existence that they have been caught with an illegal solution. In contrast to other’s, who have been found guilty of sporting fraud (Renault), Lying and theft (McLaren), blatant cheating (Benetton, BAR), RB are choir girls, so all this self-righteous indignation about RB is ridiculous at best.

          • @Gomer that’s confirming the teams reported ratios match what the FIA have on file.

            The incident I’m thinking of involved breaking the seal on Rosberg’s gearbox and physically checking the gears. It got a special document, not part of standard scrutineering. I’m out right now but will have a look when I get a chance and post a link.

    • Scarbs has done a small explanation on the illegal wing on PW’s youtube page. The audio is crap, but I think I have figured out was he is on about.

      In scrutineering, the FIA place a weight on the top edges of the wing, the upright, fixed parts of the end plate. This is how they test deflection of the WHOLE wing, as a unit. to test the other elements of the wing, the FIA use what they call the “stick test”. This is literally a stick, with a sensor on it. When the stick is pressed against any surface on the wing, it will display the amount of force being applied to the surface. The surface it is applied to must not flex more than a certain amount based on the amount of pressure that is applied. When the RB wing was tested with both these systems, everything seemed OK.

      However, At the top of the RB wing, is a small “bulb” that is part of the wing adjuster. Everyone assumed that bulb was solid, and was simply part of how the mechanics adjusted the wing. It turns out this bulb is not solid. The bulb may look like carbon, but it is actually a rubber like material that is flexible. As the car gains speed, the pressure around the little bulb changes.
      Once the pressure reaches a certain point, there is a release spring inside the bulb. This spring then detaches the adjuster from the rest of the wing. The wing is then free to move vertically up and down, changing the frontal area in relation to the air.

      So, when the car is still, everything seems fine and legal. Squeeze the bulb, and the front wing easily moves up and down with minimal pressure.
      So there are actually 2 spring mechanisms. the first is a release spring inside the small bulb. The second “spring” is built into the wing itself, designed to keep the elements of the wing in the full upright position when not in motion.

      Is this an “active aero device”? Well in my book the answer is yes. We shall see if the FIA agrees.

  2. I really hope Rosberg comes back strong next year because:

    (i) Merc are set to dominate for the next 2-3 years. With all the rumours about Matiacci, it’s clear that Ferrari have entered a period of protracted turmoil earlier in the year. Renault will remain bottom of the pile when it comes to engines (personal opinion). So Honda are the sport’s only hope. However, I can’t see that happening with Alonso at the helm. The guy is a phenomemal driver, but he hasn’t proven to me that he can take a team forward (look at this record at Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, they have all gone backwards since he joined each of them).

    (ii) No one wants another Schuey-like or Vettel-like era. I don’t want Lewis (despite being a supporter of his) to run away with his titles. I want him and Nico to fight it out like Senna and Prost did, like Mansell and Piquet did. Thankfully, Nico is not a B-rated driver (see Schuey era) nor a journeyman (see Vettel era). So there’s still hope.

    • Rosberg is another Button or Webber – good not great. Capable of beating everyone when the stars align, but not quite top flight the rest of the time.
      Button jagged his title on the back of a killer technical innovation. Nearly lost it anyways with RBR closing in.
      Webber had his chance in 2010 but blew it in in Korea, aided and abetted by his MTB crash.
      Nico may not get another chance as good as this year. Lewis will likely win the next one or two WDCs unless Honda pull a rabbit out of the hat.

      • Too soon to make that judgment, IMO.

        He might not have yet worked out how to race at the sharp end, but he’s clearly quicker than Button, with more poles in a season than Button has in his career.

        Judge him after next season.

        • Yeah, nah.
          Nico is a Gran Tourismo racer.
          Great in a Time Trial, alone on the track – cerebalising his way around.
          Struggles when he has to bang wheels with cars of a similar ability in GT mode – he just doesn’t seem to have the instincts of the best racers.
          He was lucky to get as close to Lewish as he did this year, even with the better quali record. Once LH was past him he was clueless.

          • I think that’s a bit too harsh. His big mistake was to have his crash at Spa rather than Bahrain. Bahrain was when Lewis started his unholy habit of chopping at the very edge of legality whenever Rosberg tried to overtake. Had they crashed then, Lewis wouldn’t have started to believe that Nico is a push-over. But until Spa Rosberg always backed off and that was his mistake. It will be interesting to see if he get’s a fair chance last year or if the aftermath of Spa is permanent.
            I think Brasil was more than ample proof that Nico knows what it takes to fight and I dare say he did it in a lot less controversial manner than some of Lewis’s moves (Hungary, Bahrain, Spain).
            I think people still underestimate him.

          • @hippo…..

            Just out of curiosity, what bad move did Lewis pull off on Rosberg in Spain?

            At Bahrain the chop at T1 was the only questionable move as for the rest, they were all perfectly legal. Furthermore, Nico gave as good as he got, are you forgetting his move at the start in Canada? Did he not run Lewis off the track going into T2?

            And people will continue to underestimate him until he shows that he’s able to race hard and defend his position when he’s in front.

            I think Roger summed it up perfectly.

          • Laddie, don’t you think you should rephrase that?

            Rosberg showed he can race hard and defend his position for lap after lap in Brasil. And he didn’t use a single questionable move in the process.

          • No i shouldn’t, you mentioned that he made questionable moves in Bahrain, Hungary and Spain, I’m askin you, what was the questionable move Lewis made on Nico in Spain?

            So the one time he does that, it proves something? That’s 1 time out of countless others. If you’re going to overtake someone, it’s not the job of the man in front to make it easy for you, he didn’t make it easy in Canada, but you didn’t hear Lewis complaining about it. So you can argue they were questionable moves, but the stewards and Nico himself, saw nothing wrong with them, so clearly they were legal.

          • @Hippo – if the best example of Rosberg’s skills you can find is at the race in Brazil – where it is one of the most difficult tracks to overtake at unless there is a car performance differential or change in conditions – then we’ll take that 🙂

          • You lot will spin it any way you like anyway, so discussing it is like trying to nail diarrhea to a wall. I had to laugh hard about about our favourite Hamfosi, fortis, citing the stewards. He didn’t quite take their word for it in Monaco and Spa, now, did he? Always like you need it.

          • I agree about Bahrain… all it would have taken is Nico to not react as quickly to the chop, and Lewis would have spun out off his front right, and got the blame for chopping across.

            They had the pace to recover a 1-2, but in what order (wing change vs. spin? etc.) is unknown, and if they didn’t (retirements), Mercedes would have thrown the book at Lewis.

            That would have been a big momentum killer for Hamilton, perhaps not winning the next 3 as easily, and he would have had to recover the increased deficit at some point during the season, possibly from 50-0 if his car was too damaged to continue.

      • I agree with Nigel. I rate Nico higher thatn both Button and Webber and too believe it’s early to judge Nico. As well as Vettel for that matter. As things stand, Benson at BCC (with whom I don’t always agree) summarises the best way.

        “Hardly anyone in Formula 1 doubts that Hamilton and Alonso are the two greatest drivers of their generation… Whatever happens in the remainder of their careers, both will be remembered as all-time greats, men whose skill-sets – subtly different though they are – set them apart from the rest, and on a level few drivers ever attain.”

        • Since there is not “reply” for hippo… You can always tell when a person unduly dislikes someone in sport when they categorically refuse to take or heed the words spoken by said person’s peers/competitors.

          Hippo, what did Rosberg say about racing with 2014 WDC Lewis Hamilton after China? What tactics did Rosberg attempt to resort to in the Dhabi driver’s presser? Rosberg said, before Spa, that he would hit Hamilton and then did it. What’s so difficult to understand about that? When Senna said and did the same to Prost you didn’t call that “an accident” or “clumsy driving,” did you? Hell No! And don’t try the, “How could Rosberg nick Hamilton’s tire…” tripe. EVERY professional athlete sees and performs at levels the average person cannot or can barely comprehend. What Rosberg did at Spa was but a prime example of that truth.

          Fact: Nico Rosberg with a car to his liking that was by far the best car on the track, won five races. His peer, with the same car but WITHOUT THE BRAKES HE’S USED HIS ENTIRE F1 CAREER, won 11 races.

          Jenson Button didn’t react to Rosberg’s Dhabi presser comment because he was surprised with his honesty. His expression told the story of shock that Rosberg was so desperate and so stupidly underestimating of his paddock mate that he actually thought he could use the media to bolster his abject lie —- which was actually an admission of exactly how mentally weak Rosberg is.

          NO athlete would resort to saying something that underhanded unless they were completely afraid of their competitor.

          Sure, Nico Rosberg can drive, every man on the F1 grid can drive. But psychologically, Rosberg is weak and he lacks fortitude.

          • A bit of cognitive dissonance here, it seems. I would certainly hope a driver as good as Hamilton could adapt to different brakes.

        • What sort of drugs are you on? When did Rosberg announce he was going to hit Lewis in Spa? No matter where you bought it, I’d abandon that stuff. It can’t be healthy.

    • Dunno, but I liked the juxtaposition of the headline – 2006–Hamilton joins Mclaren F1 team – with the picture of Lewis, aged 11…

    • Because he’s an old man, living in the past, and old men are grumpy. In fact he and myself are the Statler and Waldorf of the podcast when we’re both on it. 😀

  3. Re-Lewis Contract talks
    I think Lewis hold all the Aces as he is the 1st Mercedes champ since Fangio, so he is now in the history books for definite. Also 1st British multiple WDC since Jackie Stewart. Hamilton can almost name his contract conditions and price.

    • All that will definitely play a role, however, they have such a dominant car that they know they could have won the title with Nico as well. It would have been a different case if there was another strong team around. As things are they don’t have to worry about the competition till probably 2017! Having said that, Hamilton is the most marketable driver around, and that WILL play a role!

      • Depends how important the British market is, which it really isn’t. If Merc was desperately dependent on Lewis’s signature they would have extended with him during the season when he was still trailing Rosberg. Why would they deliberately wait for his negotiation position to strengthen?
        I think the end of it could well be that Lewis rides out his contract and finds himself somewhere else in 2016 after Alonso ironed out all the kinks of the McLaren.

        • It looks more logical hippo. When the contracts of Alonso and Vettel were renewed, they still had two years to run on the original contract. In vettel’s case it was one year i think. Now Mr. Toto is saying we ll discuss contracts in December which coincides with Macca. I somehow think Alonso will end up in a Mercedes in 2015 or more likely 2016

        • “… after Alonso ironed out all the kinks of the McLaren.”

          Aye right! Nothing so far in his career has shown me that he can move a team forwards. On the contrary I’ve only seen the opposite.

        • Opaque though it might be to many of us, Hamilton’s marketing value extends well beyond the UK. It’s really not about the British market.

          http://www.sportspromedia.com/press_releases/lewis_hamilton_ranked_the_worlds_most_marketable_athlete_in_2014

          SportsPro: The World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes 2014 – the top ten
1) Lewis Hamilton – motorsport, Great Britain
2) Virat Kohli – cricket, India
3) Robert Griffin III – football, USA
4) Cristiano Ronaldo – soccer, Portugal
5) Grigor Dimitrov – tennis, Bulgaria
6) Usain Bolt – athletics, Jamaica
7) Neymar – soccer, Brazil
8) Missy Franklin – swimming, USA
9) Blake Griffin – basketball, USA
10) Sloane Stephens – tennis, USA

          Whether his image entirely suits Mercedes is debatable, but I’d say their brand needs a bit of enlivening.

          • The problem is, Hamilton is not what their main customer group expects. Merc sells to old people, businessmen and taxi companies. I don’t think that’s the group that will appreciate Hamilton and going for a younger generation is sort of beside the point as Merc has no offerings for that clientele except the Smart cars,

          • @Fat Hippo, you are only partially correct. Mercedes Benz has been pushing the envelope to make the brand appealing to a younger generation than the old people you refer to. Sure, 10 years ago it was a brand for people over 60 (or maybe 50). But their new cars are really targetting the same market that Audi or BMW agewise.

            I would pay more attention to geographic considerations.

          • Which car do they sell that appeals to the younger generation? The A class is a walker at best and makes you look as queer as a 7-pound note. C class, S class, SLS are out of reach financially and the SUV’s are only fit for the terminally stupid. If you want to reach a younger generation you need hot hatches – Merc hasn’t got one.
            The young generation in GER has always preferred VW, Opel and Ford. Merc was never a factor in that market and even the family father, whou could perhaps affort the cheapest C class won’t have no connection to Lewis, who thinks he’s the next Piff Diddly, or whatever he calls himself this week.

          • @Fat Hippo,

            there is a whole lot world out of Germany, you know? No, Mercedes is not aiming against VW, Opel or Ford. If young germans favour those brands it might be because it is a market where a car is more about function than about form or status. But Mercedes is in a different market with BMW, Audi, Lexus or Infinity (to name a few), which is the premium market where th customer is willing to pay more money to have a better car. Whether there are enough buyers with money to become a demand is a different thing altogether.

            In the last few years I am seeing more and more people in their forties driving a CLA, the brand new C-Class does not look like the car to drive Miss Daisy and the new A-Class, which is a hatchback by the way, is a step in the right direction from a small van for the rich old people to buyers in their thirties.

            All their strategy, from product to advertising is going into that direction. Making the brand positioning 20 years younger.

      • Hamilton is more popular but I think that the marketing angle is but one consideration of a few with respect to the team view. I am certain that Mercedes would have supported Nico as the champion had he won it but I think the public uproar that might have been created from Hamilton having 10 victories to Nico’s 5 or 6 and the ridiculous Double points factor would have been a PR nightmare that management is just as glad to have not had to deal with.

  4. Breaking news…

    Ferrari have appointed Maurizo Arrivabene as new team principle. Guess Marco did what he was sent to do, see to the ousting of Fernando

    • This was expected from saturday. Our tech analyst @lorenzodl83 did tweet about it. But whats more interesting is the reports say that Marchionne has thanked Mattiacci for his 15 years of service in Ferrari. Does this mean he is ousted from Ferrari? Wasnt he expected to replace LDM ? I thought that was going to the announcement

      • What puzzles me, is that neither of Marco or Maurizo have any experience with running a F1 team. Fr what I heard over the weekend, Maurizo is coming from the commercial/sponsorship side of the sport.

        Is that what they really need?

    • Given the new guy is ex-tobacco, I think we can expect a whole new level of BS being spoken in the media.

      Horner and Boullier are going to have to work pretty hard to talk more crap than someone who can argue black is white to ten decimal places.

      Given the manner in which Mattiacci was appointed it’s no surprise he’s as already gone. The hired gun rides into the sunset

      • Yes but MM screwed up the exit of Alonso by hiring Vettel and being stuck with three contracted drivers for 2015.

        Fred made it clear he may have a ‘year out’ – that would mean on full pay.

        Presumably, Ferrari have agreed an exit which is not Fred buying himself out, but them either – honouring his contract in full if he fails to organise a drive – or making a reduced payout based upon the fact he gets another drive AND admitted he asked LdM if he could leave.

        Alonso’s lawyers will argue that he has been frustrated in his efforts to sign for another team for months which has been Mattiacci’s game.

        So a double digit millions payout from Ferrari will not endear MM to John Elkann or any make any of his previous achievements count for much.

    • That is really bad news for poor Seb. I would have so much preferred to see Seb at Macca rather than Alonso. Besides, it would have been the best continuation for him, from Newey to Prodromou.

      I fear that Vettel will waste the next 2-3 years at Ferrari while they’re going through this turmoil.

      • I think you’re selling him short there. He’s been friends with Schumacher since early youth, so if anyone knows a thing or two about the inner workings of Maranello, it’s probably Vettel. The thing that gave it away was a rather emotional Vettel saying that he wished he could tell Michael in person that he arrived at Ferrari, which IMHO means that a possible future in red had been a topic between them.

        • Everyone knew that Vettel would sign for Ferrai since day 1 after his RBR were over. What I’m saying, is that his boyhood hero and lure of red have gotten him there today, rather than tomorrow. It’s just my personal opinion. I think Macca would have been a better move at this point in time. Then again maybe I’m still chewing over sour grapes now that Alonso is coming back.

          • I think McLaren was never on the cards. Vettel is not the type to thrive in a corporate environment like McLaren. For a German he’s unusually emotional and has a much bigger sense of humour than most of my compatriots. The coldness of McLaren is no place for him, especially now that Muhammar-Al-Dennis is back.

    • Damn, just as we learn how to spell the name of the current principal, they replace him again.

  5. Macca are going to field young Stoffel for both days at the Abu Dhabi test.

    So excited!

    He’s coming, ready to drive for 2015, VANDOORNE VANDOORNE VANDOORNE!

  6. I must admit I’m a bit behind here as I was out all weekend so trying to avoid the news so I could see qualy and the race without knowing the result.

    But… If Red Bull have been found with an illegal car, is the penalty in this race the end of it, or could things be taken further?

    After all, it isn’t impossible that they’ve had the same ‘trick’ for the whole season or even beyond. It’s not impossible that Williams could have ended up 2nd rather than 3rd had RB been running a ‘legal’ wing surely?

    Although proving it will be tricky – after all, don’t they say in F1 anything is legal until someone complains… (or finds out)

      • They couldn’t prove McLaren benefitted from Stepneygate but they still chucked them out of the championship….

        I get what you are saying though, does make the FIA look silly though…

        • It didn’t matter if McLaren benefitted or not, neither are they required to prove that RB benefitted from the illegal wing. The ‘crime’ has been proven in both cases, that’s what matters.
          Unlike Spygate however, they cannot prove the exact time of the crime. RB can claim they only used it at Abu Dhabi, so it’ll be hard to punish them retro-actively.

    • The stewards penalty is not necessarily the end of the matter. The FIA can take other and incremental action.

      This was why Mr. ‘for the good of the sport’ Horner was compliant on Sunday – “Maybe we pushed the boundaries too far”.

        • Pushing or over-pushing the boundaries is hardly exclusive to Red Bull. We had teams busted for illegal race fixing, illegal tanks, stealing documents, lying to stewards, illegal second brake pedals, all in the last decade and none of them were Red Bull.
          Trying to break the rules without being caught has been part of the game since the 50s

          • All of which may be true, but it doesn’t abolish the distinction between interpreting the rules as far as possible, and deliberately flouting them.
            I’m not making any great moral stand here, just calling out the usual Horner BS.

          • In my recollection: in the 50’s and 60’s designers pushed the boundaries more by how they interpreted the rules… rather than actually (and secretly) breaking them in the hope they would not be caught…
            Thus, if something was deemed illegal it was easier to argue the point, although the team didn’t often win – but there was less suggestion of actual cheating. Now, when the illegalities seem to be more blatant, it is much harder to defend one’s case – though that never stops the likes of Little Jack Horner from trying…!
            The Brabham ‘fan-car’ is a good example – maybe it broke the rules – maybe it didn’t – but it was deemed to contravene the spirit of the rules…
            Hmm… ‘spirit of the rules’… When was that expression last commonly used…?
            Now nobody gives a damn for the spirit – of the rules, or for the future reputation of F1…!

            And there were fewer (and much simpler) regulations back then as well.

  7. The Haterade® is flowing freely for RBR at the mo’. Mallya certainly has the grumpy pants on. A few around here, too.
    If no-one is pushing the boundaries then how can F1 claim to be the leading edge of motorsport? How do you know where the boundaries are if you aren’t testing them?
    There’s a bit too much deifying of underdogs going on about the place as well. All the teams deserve the same level of scrutiny regardless of their last race result. Perpetual back-markers aren’t inherently more noble than WCC winners.

  8. This latest report that RBR cheated is precisely why I could never be a fan of Red Bull. Between the constant whining and arrogance of Horner to the pushing beyond acceptable the limits of the regulations their, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission” attitude is clearly not sporting making me roll my eyes every time I hear a new of a new charge.

    When they were dominating the sport, there was apparently no problems with their engine mapping or “suspected” traction control just to name a couple of things but now that Mercedes has found the dominant edge fairly and squarely, all doesn’t seem right with the universe and things must be changed for the good of the sport! Please Christian, take your ass kicking like a man, and complain privately to your PU supplier rather than whine to the rest of us.

    • You’d be hard pressed to find a team to support with that attitude. Ferrari? Impossible, remember Malaysia 1999. Lotus – impossible, they are the direct descendants of Renault. McLaren? Spygate anyon? Liegate?
      Most of the teams have corpses hidden in the basement, so I think the singling out of Red Bull is mainly rooted in people still being butt-hurt over 2010-2013.

      • No, it’s rooted in a visceral dislike for Horner (in my case, at least).

        If he’d just, once, hold up his hands and say ‘fair cop’….

        • I doubt if Horner even put up his hands and said ‘fair cop’ to his missus when he broke the news that he was dumping her for a Spice Girl…probably just span some bulls**t about how he was just pushing the boundaries of their relationship, or it only being a minor technical infringement.

      • I agree with you completely Hippo, that is why I don’t support any of the currently operating teams that you mentioned either. I was introduced to the sport while spending the summer as the roommate of a Macca obsessed fan in Japan and became a fan of them until Spygate.

        I don’t agree with you that RBR is being singled out for their success 2010-13. Just like my distaste for Ferrari has nothing to do with their success during the Schumacher era.

        Everyone in F1 looks for that edge and the exploitation of the regs but there is such thing as history of behaviour and context all which constitute a smell test which I believe most hardcore F1 fans are in tune with it.

        I will also make the point that when a driver and/or team cheats, it will be found out at some point or it will tarnish the success for there is one thing I know about F1 fans, they have long memories and Hippopotamus’ longer than that.

  9. Funny to read the comments of some ex-F1 drivers about Lewis.

    Take Stewart for example. According to him Lewis is not a great yet, but he’s on his way there. I think the man is a bit bitter, just my personal opinion.

    Moss on the other hand thinks that Lewis is already a great (with which I agree) and he would actually place him above Schuey! Well, why not…

    • With all due respect, but putting Lewis in the same sentence as Schumacher is ridiculous. I think Sir Stirling is suffering a bit of a “Heil Britannia” moment there, as have quite a number of people in the last 24 hours. Lewis, while being a great racer, has never won races in a car as bad as the 1996 Ferrari. In fact he’s never driven a car as bad as that. And he still hasn’t even a third of Schumacher’s titles, so with all due respect to Sir Stirling, that was a ridiculous statement.

      • Lewis has the potential to be one of the all time greats, but he’s got a very long way to go to achieve that. First up he has to stay ahead of Nico, hope Alonso, McLaren and Honda don’t produce something that can challenge Mercedes quickly and also hope that Vettel doesn’t help Ferrari rediscover the Prancing Horse’s winning ways.

        He’s got a tough few seasons ahead of him, it will not be a cake walk. For now I think it’s rather premature to compare Lewis or Vettel for that matter to Schumacher. He changed the very nature of the sport in terms of the fitness levels required and his aggressive determination to win, which may leave some less than charitable about his first title win.

        If you think about it Fat Hippo, the British Media are merely building Lewis up so they can knock him down when things go belly up. They would have had a field day if Nico had won the title, some would have gone with an anti German stance and the others would have questioned Lewis’s mental strength.

        As for me ? Bring on the 2015 season already.

        • Do you really think Lewis wouldn’t relish challenging Seb and Alonso in equal machinery?

          As for the British media, you’re dead right, particularly that idiot who writes for The Daily Mail Jonathan McEvoy.

          • I think Lewis would love the challenge of racing Vettel and Alonso for the title. What F1 fan wouldn’t want a 3 way battle for the drivers title between those 3 in different cars ?

            I don’t pay much attention to the British Media when it comes to Lewis, when he’s winning they treat him like a sporting God and when he’s not they question his mental strength and get digs in about his off track lifestyle.

            Anyway glad to see Williams claimed 3rd spot in the constructors championship. Hope they can push forward and actually win a race or two next season.

      • I actually agree with you Danilo, making comparisons with Schuey (or any driver of other eras) is a bit premature, not only for Lewis but also for Alonso and Vettel. Personally, I never liked comparisons across eras. All we can ever say, is who was a ‘great’ in the era. Senna/Prost/Mansell, Schuey, Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel, etc. Can’t see the difference between that and an all-time great really. For me Alonso and Hamilton are already there because they have proven themselves in inferior cars. Don’t know if Macca 2009 (Hamilton) or Ferrari 2012 (Alonso) were as bad as Macca 1993 (Senna) or Ferrari 1996 (Schuey). Difficult to compare.

        • You conveniently left out Vettel. The 2008 STR was also an inferior car, even to the Red Bull proper, which Vettel outscored single-handedly.

          • Same as Maldonado’s win for Williams! And if you argue that at that race Maldonado’s Williams was perfectly suited for the race, then I can make the same argument for Vettel’s STR. Let’s leave such examples out of the argument. Vettel will build his legacy now.

          • Plus it’s not fair comparing STR with its big brother, should be compared versus McLaren and Ferrari that year. Can’t start looking at Alonso’s Minardi races for proof of his greatness.

      • Heil Britannia, for a while I thought you were picking this up from Code Geass haha

        Back to the more serious matter. Yes, Hamilton is not even close to being a great, this is just BS spurred by the british press to knock Hamilton down almightily when he doesn’t have a great season, like in 2011 for example. As for Hamilton not having driven bad cars, I’ll say that the 2009 was easily one of the worst cars ever produced by McLaren. But he didn’t win in that car of course, as the Brawn double-diffuser was in full-effect that year and then it was followed by Red Bull owning the field.

        Jackie Stewart doesn’t like Hamilton, plain and simple. I agree with the assessment that Hamilton’s not a great because 2 titles doesn’t make him great. He’s good, but nowhere near a great yet. Vettel is actually much closer to that tag given he stringed 4 titles together, something only Schumacher did before him. Using that yardstick, you have to say Alonso is not a great either, because he’s stuck on 2 titles and hasn’t had such a great time at Ferrari. But arguably everyone agrees that he is the class of the field so he can be considered a great of his era, despite only having 2 titles to his name (I’ll say this is all mostly self-inflicted but that’s another debate).

        • Whilst not arguing one way or the other on Hamilton specifically, greatness is not measured by whether a driver wins greater or fewer than 2 titles. It is far, far more nuanced than that.

  10. Hamilton is the champion of Nico Rosberg only… not the world… there were two cars in the championship… both Mercedes works team cars and the title wasn’t decided until the last race… even then Rosberg had no chance due to technical issues. F1 is a technology and money championship. A drivers championship is only relevant if the cars are at least all competitive with each other. Where has hamilton ‘the all time great been’ since 2008? Yes he may be a member of the better half of all of the drivers on the F1 grid but an all time great he isn’t. As for Mercedes, spending 3billion dollars over 5 years should result in a constructors title shouldn’t it?… but compare the achievements of Williams this year and compare the Williams budget with Mercedes… then decide which team is the more capable.

    • All right then, let me rewrite that wikipedia page with the F1 champions, scrap 5 of Schuey’s titles, all 4 of Vettel’s, both of Mika and Alonso, all of Senna’s, 3 of Prost’s…

      • See it for what it is… any one of 10 drivers would have won the wdc had they had the Mercedes… Button is a great driver but the same applies to his championship with the Brawn. Ron Dennis alluded recently to the lack of calibre amongst the current drivers… F1 is fast running out of ideas and credibility… too much money and branding… not enough competitive sport.

        • And my point is that F1 hasn’t changed since day 1 in that respect. Best car wins and sometimes best car/driver combo. Even in the 50s when Fangio got his titles, Merc was the class of the field. The same with Clark’s Lotus, all of Stewart’s 3 titles, all of Senna’s 3 titles with McLaren. For once, I’m excited at this era and the future it holds. In the late 90s and early 00s there was only one driver around, Schumacher. At least now with Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, it’s reminiscent of the 80s. And I don’t discount Rosberg, Ricciardo and Bottas yet to shine. Stop looking at the past, at the driver front the future is exciting. When it comes to money and the sport’s sustainability, that’s a different matter.

  11. So Marco Mattiaci, the über boss, the man who put Alonso in its place, is shown the door. Reminds me of a certain ear tweeker who was also shown the way out. Everytime someone puts Alonso where he belongs, he gets sacked. You sure Alonso does not own the team? /pun intended/

    Back to the news: Mattiaci, the man who had brought glory to the U.S. branch of Ferrari and was brought to Ferrari to put the team into action… is out.

    A businessman like Marchione would not oust a good manager like Mattiacci is supposed to be for a small matter. For a small problem you just send him back to the U.S. branch or wherever you want the branch to succeed. Mattiaci has proven he can do that. Or so we were told.

    So, I am inclined to think that Mattiaci did something that really got Marchione upset. I wonder what it is: bringing Vettel? (don’t think so, he is a great driver after all). Not keeping Alonso? Signing Vettel before having fixed terms with Alonso? (a money thing?, it would surprise me because Ferrari can make 20 million Euro in a flick by developing a new market).

    There is a lot to dig there, and I really look forward to read next articles here.

    • Perhaps Mattiachi was never meant for the long haul? They brought him in to axe Alonso, so a new manager could start rebuilding Ferrari without much historic baggage.
      Marchione has been around the whole time, so if he would not have wanted Vettel, he would have stepped in. My opinion on the matter.

      • Fine. But the problem is not with Mattiachi on the short-long haul. The issue is that he is out of Ferrari.

    • A German media award. It is presented to celebs and normal people from all over the panel – sports, tv, print media or courageous civilians. This year Schumacher got one with a tear-choked Vettel being the laudator – was quite an emotional moment. Schumachers Manager Kehm and Ross Brawn took the award in his steed. It’s been awarded for 66 years now.
      It’s pretty much the highest non-government award in Germany.

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