#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 10th December 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Well that solved entirely nothing…


OTD Lite 1957 – Legendary Lotus announces entry into Formula One

FIA report into Bianchi crash all but ignored

Niki Lauda somewhat annoyed his co-management

DTM superstar Eki rubbishes F1

Mclaren encourages new wave of Latin into MTC

Hulkenburg seriously impressed by hybrid Porsche


OTD Lite 1957 – Legendary Lotus announces entry into Formula One

Fifty seven years ago today and well before my time, however you count – yes life did exist before the young Jackal fled the lair.

But I digress. So fifty seven years ago, the ambitious Colin Chapman announced that his Lotus company would be entering the Formula One championship with a modified F2 car.

Photo by Anthony Fosh

Photo by Anthony Fosh

The Lotus 12 would have an updated ‘five’ speed transmission and would field both Graham Hill, Cliff Allison and Alan Stacey for what proved a solid formative year for the new constructor.

By 1961 Lotus had won their first Grand Prix and the following year Jim Clark secured his first ever victory. By the time the team had been involved in the sport just five years they were dominating the F1 championship. The last championship winning season was 1978 and Lotus had won the Drivers title on six occasions and the Constructors prize seven times.

To give some perspective to these statistics, by 1978, Ferrari had secured eight WDC and  five WCC. When people speak of the real Team Lotus and it’s significance to the sport – the numbers never lie..

The Grumpy Jackal

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FIA report into Bianchi crash all but ignored

The FIA report from the 10 man ‘expert’ panel was published a week ago. Yet the F1 accredited media and the mainstream daily publications have barely failed to engage properly with the report – other than for a few headline grabbing snippets.

The 2 page summary of an alleged 350+ page document of ‘evidence’ – which the public are prohibited from reading – should leave F1 fans cold as the intended message was clear. ‘Jules was speeding and the Marussia car may have been in breach of the design regulations for 2014’.

Further, the FIA appointed panel have raised not one question regarding the FIA’s policing of safety standards, the FIA delegates decisions made given the impending and specific storm conditions approaching Suzuka and neither do they address the legitimacy of the decisions made prior to the race, which saw the race sanctioned to proceed – when the transport options for a trauma patient by road, were significantly outside the strict governances which are clear and simple for all to understand.

TJ13 will be recording a podcast tonight with former F1 doctor, Gary Hartstein, where all the issues will be examined fully.

There will then be a series of articles posted here which reflect the forensic analysis listeners to the podcast will hear.

Yet it was never going to end well when the FIA investigate their own people and the appropriate nature of their own regulations together with the manner in which they were enforced.

Jules is still in hospital, catagorised as ‘critical’ and fighting for some kind of existence, which will see him at best – become a physical shadow of himself prior to the accident. He was a talent rated very highly by Ferrari for the future.

The family stated last night that Jules is still in a coma, but now breathing without artificial assistance.

“Jules is strong, so we try to show strength”, remarked his father. “We’re just trying to give him all our positive energy. “

Set against this, there has been a threadbare and negative report delivered to the world, which has directly implied criticism of Jules and Marussia without a shred of supporting evidence.

This has been the response of our beloved FIA, headed up by a supposed friend of the Bianchi family.

#FORZAJULES

Niki Lauda somewhat annoyed his co-management

Niki Lauda is rightly considered a legend in Formula One – not only as a member of a select group of triple World Champions but also for his unbreakable spirit in his return from an accident that had caused a priest to believe it appropriate to administer the Last Rites in 1976.

Following his retirement from the sport he turned his full attention to building an airline and by all accounts he was as brusque in his business dealings as he was when he was ‘just’ a racing driver.

Lauda’s time in team management has been a challenge at times and many believed when he first was signed as a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes F1 team that this also would end in tears.

Yet due to Ross Brawn’s years of work, the tears eschewed by the Silver Arrows team at the end of the season, were in fact tears of joy.

In a rare moment of self-reflection – Niki – formerly known as ‘the Rat’ – admitted that his forthright manner has upset the Mercedes board – though he added, this was despite the fact that he was right!

“Sometimes management is pissed off with me because I tell them what’s going to happen, we had a board meeting in Stuttgart with all our bosses there and I said: ‘They will hit each other’. ‘How can you say this?’ they asked. ‘Because I know.’

Of course it goes without saying that a brand as well known internationally as Mercedes should be aghast at this potential outcome but Lauda continued,

“The drivers know that I also defend them. I’m the only one who speaks the same language – being part of them and part of the management. So we have a very good relationship. They find it very hard to convince me of things I don’t think are right.”

Only after the collision in Belgium did the Austrian legend feel he had to step in and take some serious decisions.

“We’ve only had one serious discussion about these things – only in Spa. There was nowhere else we had a problem, so really we’ve had peace between the two, no aggravation. In our meetings before the race they are relaxed, they know what they are doing.”

“They know the responsibility for Mercedes – that we want to finish first and second. This is a team order. And then one or the other wins the race and the other one has to be second.”

So Niki will continue to be the go between in the team – whilst Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe continue to direct the juggernaut that is Mercedes.

But watch this space – Lauda ‘the destroyer’ is not done yet.

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DTM superstar Eki rubbishes F1

AUDI DTM driver Matthias Ekström, twice champion of the series aboard a four-ringed vehicle, has rubbished the claim that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. He did this when speaking to Red Bull owned Austrian broadcaster ServusTV.

Following the rather unflattering comments from Jarno Trulli, the Swede, who drives everything if asked to, as long as it makes ‘vroom’ noises upon pressing a pedal and has at least three wheels attached to it, is already the second driver, who refuses to consider F1 the top-flight of motorsports any longer.

“Everyone says F1 is the biggest thing,” Ekström says, commenting on a replay of Lewis Hamilton’s off-track excursion at Interlagos. “But if you do such a mistake, you should end up in the woods or the gravel trap and then forced to go home.”

Eki, as he is called by fans and opponents alike has long been a critic of tarmac run-off areas and is credited with coining the phrase ‘parking lots’ for the vast areas of asphalt that used to be gravel beds on most tracks.

“There is no denying that they have the fastest cars, but that does not mean that the Räikkönens and Hamiltons of this world are any good in rallying for instance,” he mocks Kimi’s less than flattering foray into rallying and NASCAR racing during the Finns F1 hiatus.

Unlike fellow Scandinavian Räikkönen, Eki has won rallys, rallycross races and dazzled the ‘murricans when he was leading the NASCAR race at Sonoma in 2010, one of the few road courses in the series, after having started 38th! Only being punted off the track by one of the series regulars prevented the sensation with only 18 more laps to go. So one is inclined to believe that Ekström knows what he’s talking about.

In light of people coming to F1, who are barely old enough to shave, one might agree with Eki’s scathing verdict. The more interesting question however is, why Red Bull let one of their sponsored drivers (he drives a RB branded Audi in DTM) make such disparaging remarks about a series they’ve won four times on the trot. Could it be that Red Bull follow the Bernard Ecclestone school of wrecking the product before taking control of it for a bargain?

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Mclaren encourages new wave of Latin into MTC

It would appear that the Mclaren canteen may need to brush up on its Italian menu, to facilitate the palette of imminent new recruits heading down to Surrey in time for the 2015 season.

Andrea Stella – Fernando Alonso’s race engineer of the last few seasons – is reportedly following his driver’s lead and will be leaving the cauldron that is Ferrari and settling into the much calmer waters of the McLaren Technology Centre. He will presumably be lined up to take on the role of race engineer for the Spaniard – should he ever be declared as signed.

So even though pit to car radio is now limited in the TV broadcast, it is looking likely that we will once again be hearing coded conversations in Italian gracing the airwaves.

Another significant arrival at the WTC is reportedly Luca Furbatto, although it would be misleading to refer to him as a new signing in the strictest sense.

Early in 2014, Furbatto informed Toro Rosso that he was to leave the team and he has been on a rather extended gardening leave ever since. He joined the Faenza team in 2011 – having left Mclaren. Considering the small budget he has was given to work with – his reputation has been enhanced through his work with the former Minardi team.

His initial brief from Mclaren is said to be running the company’s GT program with a view to progressing to the F1 team some time next year – but a fly in the ointment is that Ferrari have already sounded him out in regards a placement in Maranello. With the impending departure of the Greek designer Nikolas Tombazis, this could prove too big an opportunity for Luca to refuse.

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Hulkenburg seriously impressed by hybrid Porsche

Nico Hulkenburg – Force India’s 2015 driver has begun his preparation for the two events he will compete in with the Porsche WEC team next year. The 6 hours of Spa and the classic Le Mans 24 hour race.

This of course is dependent on whether the ‘fake’ Korean GP takes place which clashes with the WEC event in Spa.

In the cool winter sun at the Aragon circuit in Southern Spain, the Hulk completed 33 laps of the 5.345km circuit before midday. He then tested the car later in the evening as the cooling conditions reflected better the conditions in which the classic races would be run.

Interestingly Nico’s tweet mirrored the comments of Andre Lotterer after his F1 debut in Spa. “Great to drive, impressive loads in the fast corners and enormous hybrid power”

Nico Hulkenberg Porsche LMP1 RX 680 2

With Formula One seemingly hitting the self-destruct button and drivers of the quality of Alonso, Jenson Button and Hulkenburg looking to join ex-F1 star Mark Webber in the WEC series – could this be the renaissance of the World Endurance championship, which in its heyday fifty years ago, was credited more highly by even the great Ferrari when compared to F1..

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80 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 10th December 2014

  1. Go for it Judge!!

    ‘Yet it was never going to end well when the FIA investigate their own people….’ –
    So far there hasn’t been the slightest interest raised in the media by this. All seem to have accepted the whitewash and moved on. Jules has been branded, harshly even if correctly and it’s all water under the bridge now.
    Teflon Charles doesn’t even rate a blink.
    All say ‘get well soon’ and that makes them feel better, while they resume their snuggle with the FIA.

    • Kudos to TJ13 for pursuing this.

      I suspect that some of the reasons for the Bianchi crash not meriting much scrutiny in the mainstream UK media may include:
      1. It was Bianchi who got injured, who in their world view is not a megastar (as Senna was), and therefore sadly does not merit their undivided attention.
      2. Bianchi is not a Briton.

      As for the FIA’s attitude, I think it is because:
      1. Japan may not have the same/similar Health & Safety at work legal framework as in UK (or as in Italy as was for Senna).
      2. FIA believe and know that they are an organisation that answers to nobody.

      Best endeavours to TJ13. Hope you succeed.

      p.s. the above are merely my thoughts on the possible explanation for the way FIA and media are behaving. I do not agree with them.

    • Wasn’t Brawn on that investigation panel? When I heard that, I actually thought someone in F1-land had f’d up ‘cos I thought there’d be no way that Ross would roll over for anyone, that the report might actually be a useful document. I thought his reputation had pretty much transcended F1 and he would happily go all honey badger if he smelt a rat.
      Tell me he’s working on a minority report, TJ. Tell me he ain’t just another stooge for the status quo…

    • Yet it was never going to end well when the FIA investigate their own people….’

      Noting the accident panel members, and their reputation and experience. The implied questioning of their probity, is ridiculous. Are you really saying, they produced a fraudulent report?

    • My hero also
      “When people speak of the real Team Lotus and it’s significance to the sport – the numbers never lie..”
      and the memories live on (for some at least)

      • Re: Team Lotus

        Interesting to compare Lotus with the technical leadership of Colin Chapman, and Red Bull + Adrian Newey. I think that Chapman/Lotus achieved more with less, and certainly in a shorter time span.

      • I agree.. it’s why we need the name in the sport.. and more, if possible. But it’s fair to say that Red Bull are following in those footsteps, using design ingenuity to get ahead.

  2. ‘They will hit each other’. ‘How can you say this?’ they asked. ‘Because I know.’

    lol:) I suspect there’s not many here who didn’t think the same thing!

    Three corners before the collision I said they were going to hit each other but I did think t it was going to take a few more laps:)

  3. “I trust Chalie Whiting Implicitly”.

    Those are Dr. Hartstein’s own words from the first TJ13 podcast on the subject.

    Those are the words that prompted me to do the timeline.

    Those are the words that still to this day nearly enrage me.

    “Get a second opinion” is a mantra in the medical field, and it pains me to hear a medical doctor speak in such absolutes about anyone’s actions when hundreds, if not thousands of innocent lives are at stake.

    No one is above reproach.

    Especially not Charlie Whiting.

    Mr Whiting needs to be held accountable. Dr. Hartstein has interjected himself into this discussion in multiple venues, and should be asked to explain himself.

    Great work as always Judge, and kudos to your entire team for taking this on.

    • “I trust Chalie Whiting Implicitly”.

      Those are Dr. Hartstein’s own words from the first TJ13 podcast on the subject. Those are the words that prompted me to do the timeline. Those are the words that still to this day nearly enrage me.

      Please share. It makes it appear that you might have some day to day experience of working with Charlie Whiting and his team, like Dr Hartstein. Please let us know your personal experience of Charlie Whiting, so we can see why you are nearly enraged.

  4. Ekstrom’s talking nonsense rubbishing Kimi’s efforts in other disciplines of motorsport just because he does it.
    Let me use an analogy. Is Usain Bolt less skillful than Jessica Ennis? So the more specialised, high profile, most watched athletics event versus the multi-discipline heptathlon? Who are you most inclined to call super-human the most?
    Let’s face it. If Force India for example were offering Eki an F1 drive he would jump at the opportunity. I agree with Judge. All looks like a ploy and started as early as Vettel’s comments at the start of the year.

    • One might equally argue that you’re ‘talking nonsense’ denying that he makes some quite defensible points.
      After all, we can directly compare the efforts of (say) Kubica and Raikkonen in rallying, just as we might compare them in F1.
      Versatility is arguably as much the mark of a great driver as is excellence in any one discipline, and it’s a sad reality that today’s F1 drivers rarely get the opportunity to demonstrate it.

      • But on the other hand who is to say that he would do well in f1? So he might be better at rally but until proven to be better at f1 this words are meaningless.

        • Well. He’s driven all but F1 cars. In fact he consequently avoided open-seaters. He debuted in touring cars while still karting.
          Considering he’s won STCC, DTM, rallyes, rallye crosses and did a lot better in both Rallying and NASCAR than Kimi did, I tend to think he probably wouldn’t be too rubbish in F1 either. His lack of openseater driving seems more like a deliberate move than lack of talent/opportunity.
          What he’s saying in a ‘hippo-esque diplomatic’ manner is that F1 drivers are specialists and not too versatile anymore. I for one prefer the old-skool champions like Mario Andretti, who drove everything under the sun and won with pretty much everything (although he was famously unlucky at Indy and LeMans), and that’s what Eki was on about.
          A series where people come in, who barely know about the birds and the bees, and can keep up, cannot be the ultimate test in motorsports.

          • I for one prefer the old-skool champions like Mario Andretti, who drove everything under the sun and won with pretty much everything

            Agreed – however unrealistic that might be today.

          • what does it tell us about touring car drivers if people who “barely know about the birds and the bees” can keep up in f1 but they can’t?

            if he had driven competetively in f1, i’d say he has a point, but since he won everywhere but f1, i just think that f1 needs a very specfic set of skills that requieres drivers to specialize, meanwhile other racing series are comparable in what a driver needs to be competetive.

          • “what does it tell us about touring car drivers if people who “barely know about the birds and the bees” can keep up in f1 but they can’t?”

            What top level TC drivers are there who came to F1?

          • Paul diresta. Who was champion in dtm and was nothing in f1. Only some British media thought he was the next best thing…

          • Agreed. And the fact that there is no punishment for mistakes, with the paved run offs, devalues the “best drivers in the world” theory. If Hamilton, for instance, had spun in the same place in Brazil last year he would have been parked in the gravel trap. Where mistakes like that should leave you.

          • And, my dear hippo, I know what you mean. As mentioned million times before I’m a huge jacky ickx fan. A more all rounder hasn’t been found till this day. Doing it on 2 wheels as a junior, winning in touringcar, f1, le mans (prototype), Dakar… but that still makes me stand by my point, ekstrom his words would be more worth of he’d competed in f1.

          • Paul de Resta was pretty good at DTM.
            But it is all a moot point as specialisation is the thing nowadays.
            I was brought up on the days when you would watch your heros (Jim, Jack, John, Graham or whoever) compete in sports, saloons, GTs and Grand Prix cars on the same day.

          • @The Fat Hippo: “What top level TC drivers are there who came to F1?”

            exactly…

          • To flip it around again then – DTM was an interlude for di Resta but he still beat Ekstrom – thus Ekstrom isn’t as good as di Resta. Although Paul’s results this year don’t speak for that, but as I understand, Mercedes only have an eye for F1 now.

            Interestingly, they will now prioritise Wehrlein for FP1s, and possibly Merhi. Is Juncadella now out of the picture after dropping it in Interlagos FP1? Consigned to DTM? On that note, I hope we see Frijns in BMW’s 8th car next year, just to see how quikcly he gets it vs. DTM.

        • It’s just smack-talking. His record isn’t anything to write home about … he was beaten to the 2005 DTM title by Gary Paffett!! The piece mentions the one NASCAR race where he was leading, but fails to mention that Jan Magnussen was also in that race, and finished higher than him.

          The analogy I’ll use is one from Hollywood (and yes, I had to look this guy’s name up) … Ekstrom is Sean Friday telling us why it’s so obvious that Demi Moore is hot stuff, and that Mila Kunis is just some ugly, fat bimbo. He can say that b/c there’s no chance of him getting with Mila Kunis. Of course if there was, he’d be in there, in a flash (“Demi who?”).

          I guess Lewis would be Ashton Kutcher in this analogy.

          I have no doubt that Ekstrom has made a whole catalog full of mistakes through the years. The reason why no one remembers or highlights them is that a) they’d be on the whole expected, and b) NO ONE CARES.

      • Nigel, what you say was true in a bygone era when the driveability of a rally car and an F1 car could be considered comparable. F1 is so technologically advanced these days with their funky gizmo steerign wheels and ERS etc that really needs the driver to develop some different skills compared to a rally car for example.

        My post was not intended to belittle Eki’s achievements but to rather point out that he should sit back and look at the whole thing a bit more objectively rather than sell himself as an uber-versatile great driver that is even more worthy than the Hamiltons and Raikkonens. Because that’s exactly how I read his comments!

        • Mc78, you have it exactly right. The specialist will always get paid more, attract more attention, and get more adulation over the jack-of-all-trades. While the specialist’s abilities are by definition more focused, they are the best in their area. It’s the difference between the Best Average, and the Best, period.

  5. Re: Hulkenburg seriously impressed by hybrid Porsche

    I wouldn’t mind if TheJudge13 started reporting on WEC news just like it does with F1 news. At least the WEC doesn’t do so many stupid things as has been done by F1 in the last few years and most of the conversations would actually go about the racing instead of the politics surrounding the racing…

    • The political nature of F1 is only going to get worse the closer things get to the moment when Bernie is no longer around. What may trigger the fight for control of the Sport is the EU Commission ruling the current arrangements as a cartel. I think Red Bull is a possibility in terms of attempting to buy the sport on the cheap. Or Todt has been a lot shrewder than he appears to be and is simply calculating that the commercial rights to F1 will revert back to the FIA due to the current chaos and the EU poking around.

      As for the F1 media ? They will pay lip service to Bernie but they will only get the knives out once he’s out of the picture. I suspect there a lot of stories to be told about Bernie’s running of the sport, that they dare not tell due to Libel laws in the UK and fear of losing access to the F1 circus.

      However we should all hope that whatever happens, F1 can rise from the ashes in a form that’s fit for the 21st Century. Though the good thing for motorsport fans is there is a wealth of other series that lack the political drama of F1. WEC could very well profit from fans who are turned off F1.
      Might actually watch some of it in 2015 (rather than catching highlights while skipping through channels).

      • Unless WEC or DTM are in a free-to-air TV, even if it’s only half the races, there’s no way they’ll attract that many of the F1 fanbase.

        • Both are on free-to-air TV. At least over here in the fatherland and if reports of AMuS are correct, F1 will be for the last time in 2015 and be Pay-TV only over here too, as Broadcaster RTL is the biggest paymaster of all broadcasters and cannot refinance it with the drastically falling viewership numbers. This years ratings have been catastrophic for them

          • Well, Blighty still has a bit of way to go before it starts airing those for free.

          • I wouldn’t be surprised if as a result of RTL not broadcasting the races the popularity of F1 will fall drastically and as a secondary effect the amount of money sponsors are prepared to pay will be reduced since four of the most important markets in Europe (Germany, UK and France, Italy) will not be reached as easily as in the past.

          • I can imagine a lot of support moving towards Audi and Porsche in WEC/Le Mans on FTA, and DTM shows Germany as technological, while BTCC is more entertainment focussed.

            F1 could fall behind both for many I would imagine, especially if there is no consistent winner (Hamilton over Rosberg). The technology still isn’t being promoted enough over what is seen e.g. at Le Mans.

        • And wec does know that the youth embraces social media and the Internet. Every race is on their site(live stream). They tweet. They do competitions on twitter and Facebook etc…

        • At least with the TV package I have here in the Netherlands I can see every WEC race except LeMans live and complete on MotorsTV (hope that will stay the same in 2015) and LeMans is on EuroSport and a local Dutch TV station. The racing has been better and now that the F1 stars are coming to WEC it might get even more interesting… let’s hope that F1 will not become so unpopular that by the time the poisonous dwarf leaves the world of the living that it’s not too late to safe F1

          • The big inhibitor for WEC catching on is the time factor … it’s 6 hours of television. It’s the cricket of motorsports. Of course there are some that can commit the time, but many more that cannot.

            2 hours for an F1 race is a tidy amount, and the norm among major sporting events.

        • F1 is stupid. If they want to employ a paywall model, they should do it themselves. they already produce everything and have a webpage. all they need to do is charge a moderate fee and let people get access via the internet. the nba is doing it with it’s league pass and is very successful with it. you could even bundle it with access to other series such as gp2, produce behind the scenes coverage, visiting factories and whatnot and give access to the FOCA TV archive. Then you can have a cheap deal for the casual fan that covers the races, a more expensive one for the hardcore fans that gives more insight and a premium package for the complete nerds who wont to access everything.

          the current business model is based on extracting large fees from third parties, be it promoters or tv stations, which can’t be refinanced. this is not sustainable and will lead to collapse in the not so distant future. whe the races take place in places where nobody goes to watch them, and the coverage takes place on pay tv where nobody watches, then the sponsors and manufacturers will no longer see a reason to invest in f1. since the revenue from tv deals and hosting fees barely makes it to the pockets of the teams, they won’t be able to keep racing. and at that point, f1 will die. the only question is, if bernie will manage to outlive it or not.

        • I was thinking more about those who have pay tv opting for WEC or DTM over F1.

          F1 needs to be free to air, as it has a much wider impact for sponsors and the manufacturers. The Premiership works as a pay tv model as you don’t have to subscribe to Sky Sports or BT sport to see the games, you merely have to go to your local pub. I doubt F1 would ever catch on like that, even if you have got a British driver going for the title.

          The question for the UK in terms of F1 coverage is will the BBC renew it’s current deal or will we see ITV entering the fray for the rights given it’s lost the live rights for the champions league for next season (it’s already lost the FA Cup rights for the next 4 seasons to BT and the BBC), meaning it’s got a big dent in it’s live sport coverage and thus ad revenues will go down. And when Sky Sports F1 deal comes up for renewal, I would guess BT Sport may decide to muscle in (it’s got Moto GP at the moment, may want to add F1). Lots of permutations to come when the tv deals are up for renewal. Though if the EU Commission decides the current set up of F1 is a cartel and the commercial rights return to the FIA, will that also invalidate the tv deals across the globe ?

  6. Re-FiA report
    Do you think the report was 350pages long because they were using a large font and double line spacing when they printed it off?

  7. I don’t really buy into the “versatility vs. specialisation” argument. Times change, and specific facets of motorsport have evolved, meaning that it’s not necessarily possible to drive to the very highest level in varying forms of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the drivers who follow a path from a young age to specifically end up in F1 are ‘worse’ than a driver who chooses to try and drive everything. There are similar parallels in the world of science and mathematics – the early, pioneering scientists and mathematicians were all polymaths and dabbled in various different fields that allowed them to construct their hypotheses. However, modern scientists and mathematicians are often incredibly specialised yet their work pushes the boundaries of their field more than the previous generations were able to. To use the analogy that ‘specialist’ F1 drivers are necessarily ‘worse’ than other drivers who try multiple championships simply because they haven’t driven many different types of car would be to suggest that those modern day scientists are ‘worse’ scientists than less specialised scientists simply because they have chosen to deeply research and engage with one aspect of their field – something that obviously isn’t necessarily true.

    I feel the same about the constant gnashing of teeth about the fact that drivers are frequently younger these days. A frequent argument put forward is the less demanding nature of the cars these days, yet there are quite a few reasons why drivers would suffer less physically these days. The cockpits are a tighter fit for drivers these days (not to mention the improvements in their harnesses compared to decades ago), meaning less physical energy would be required to hold themselves in place as they’re placed under the various loads generated by the car. Similarly, advances in our knowledge of food, drink and how the body works mean that drivers are going to be better prepared physically and will recover faster after races as they’ll have a better diet prepared and will have access (I’d assume…) to other supplements and the like that will directly target certain aspects of their recovery to make it happen faster. When we look at the older days of F1 when there was the glorified smoking/drinking that the drivers would indulge in on race weekends it’s pretty clear that hydration and nutrition weren’t particularly high on their agendas. Consequently, in the immediate aftermath and in the days after a race they would feel more exhausted. Something as simple as not consuming enough fluids during the day can make people feel fatigued, so it’s not hard to see how a more carefully regimented diet would make taking part in a race less exhausting for a modern driver. This is simply being aware of and accommodating the demands of racing rather than the demands themselves simply being lesser (I don’t doubt that in some ways they have changed, but not acknowledging the differences in preparation/recovery for drivers is going to make it seem like an exaggerated change).

    The changes in technology in recent times has meant that younger drivers would find it much easier to prepare mentally too – access to simulators being one example. Being able to get a rough feel for how a car will act and to learn circuits without having to be there on a race weekend will inevitably mean that drivers will reduce their times faster, so that in itself will be an advantage that will mitigate their younger age to an extent (in terms of experience). A familiarity with technology and an ability to multi-task with technology more naturally (due to younger people being so-called ‘digital natives’) will also allow them to deal with the newer cars more easily too, as the amount of interaction with the various displays/buttons/switches on the steering wheel will be less of a hurdle for them to overcome compared to an older person trying to do the same.

    I’m not saying that we should have 4-year-olds jumping into F1 seats, but the knee-jerk reaction so many commenters use on here to try and down-talk the as-yet totally unproven ability of younger drivers doesn’t really seem to acknowledge the realities of the modern world much (such as, even jokingly, referring to a 17-year-old only just knowing about “the birds and the bees” – check out teenage pregnancy rates ;))…

      • Thanks Adam – that said, I did completely forget to mention about drivers having tailored gym/work-out regimes now that would also mean they’re physically fitter and able to handle the stresses/strains of driving better. Again, something that I doubt really happened as much in the cigarettes/booze days 😉

  8. I see McLaren’s ‘big news’ today is… that they will announce their drivers tomorrow, after a “clinical and emotionless analysis of the options” (c. R Dennis).

        • “We will contract both drivers and make a decision at a later date. Signing these contracts has given them no guarantee of a 2015 F1 drive, but means we can decide at any point throughout the year, or even go back on that decision and change it later on if we see fit.”

      • Well for McLaren’s sake, they better hope that the driver they’ve dropped hasn’t signed up for WEC and makes the announcement before the media briefing. If I were either driver, it’s something I’d do. Legal consequences be damned.

  9. I have heard some big news regarding McLarens thing tommorow! Apparently, Ron has had a sliding screen installed, and on one side is a stool, and on the other three stools. Aparently he has booked the services of the Judge and AJ’s regional pal: Cilla Black for the day too, and she’s going to be doing some sort of interview with Fernando and the potential drivers. He’s be on one side with Cilla, and he’s be asking questions of Jenson, Stoffel, and Kevin on the other. The driver who gives the smuttiest answer and gets the most ‘wooos’ from the audience gets the drivers.

    I can’t help but feel I have heard of this before somewhere?

    • I really hope it’s not. The British media has been on campaign to drive Magnussen out of F1 just for the sake of having its darling JB in there. He’s 34, not going to get quicker, definitely not going to win races like Alonso might and rubbishes the whole idea that McLaren likes to bring young drivers through.

      Magnussen or Vandoorne alongside Alonso would be pretty cool. Alonso gets undisputed #1 status, which he obviously craves, Magnussen/Vandoorne get to learn from one of the best racers of his generation (though hopefully they don’t learn the political BS that Alonso loves to create). If Button’s experience was so valuable, McLaren wouldn’t be mid-table mediocrity right now.

      Dropping Magnussen after his one season when he got McLaren their solitary 2nd place this season and overall showing good pace in qualifying and reasonable race pace is as good as telling him his career is over. Same with Vandoorne, especially with all the fuss about the lack of money and reduced amount of teams and whatnot. McLaren just don’t ever seem to learn, thank God Hamilton left that lot.

      • How about if KMag is made the reserve driver, while Button gets one more year? Apparently he’s taken a sizeable pay cut, to stay on.

        McLaren-Honda get an all-champion line-up (along with Ferrari). How many would that make? Gonna include pairings where one wasn’t champion yet, but was clearly a champion-in-waiting, before eventually becoming one.

        ’84-’85 LAU-PRO; ’86 PRO-ROS; ’88-’89 PRO-SEN; ’07 ALO-HAM; ’10-’12 HAM-BUT.

        • If Magnussen is made reserve driver, his F1 career is as good as dead. Buemi is, or at least was, the reserve driver for Red Bull, people hardly even know he’s still there doing the donkey work for Vettel-Webber then and Ricciardo-Kvyat now.

          True, McLaren-Honda get an all-champion line-up by keeping Button but imagine the headlines when Alonso is making Button look distinctly average. Now if Button has agreed to take a substantial pay-cut (-50%) then I guess it makes sense from a business point-of-view as McLaren-Honda get a WDC on the cheap (at least compared to Alonso I mean).

          It will be entertaining to watch 2 political beasts in the same team, Button may have found his match, if not better, in that arena.

          • The difference here is that McLaren will eventually plump for one of their reserve drivers as the Button replacement. Vandoorne can now cruise to the GP2 title and come in on a high after Button’s final swansong… while K-Mag is slightly hindered by a lack of running, banned from GP2, and would have to step in after a year of testing with no testing…. just watching Alonso.

          • Not to mention that a year in GP2 would be perfect for Magnussen, to take the edge off his aggressiveness while passing, and would be a worthy final head-to-head vs. Vandoorne for the Button seat once he retires.

        • Ah, just McLaren. But still, it shows that they should have a junior team, with WDCs at the top team and eventually replaced by ready juniors e.g. as Bianchi would have done at Ferrari.

      • Sorry but I don’t believe there is any useful ‘learning’ aspect a younger or rookie driver could gain from Alonso.
        Could’ve missed it. If you’d like to point me I’ll take a look and reconsider.

        • What I had in mind were things like :
          1) racing directly against a double-WDC with virtually 0 pressure because said double-WDC basically thrashed all his team-mates (Hamilton being the notable exception but 2007 was just a particular year)
          2) Trawl through all the data coming out of Alonso’s car to see where he makes up time, how, why, what else, what doesn’t, become a good copy-cat basically.

          I agree that these fall in the “Easier said than done” category but when you’re a rookie and you’re facing a WDC, the safe bet is that there are very little expectations.

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