#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 31st December 2014


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OTD Lite 1998 – Arise Sir Frank

Boullier optimistic for 2015 after giant strides by Mclaren

Zanardi carries strong opinions about drivers abilities

OTD Lite 1998 – Arise Sir Frank

Sixteen years ago, Frank Williams was awarded a knighthood by Her Majesty the Queen of England for his service to motor-sport. His team’s tally of nine constructors titles and seven drivers titles – over the preceding 18 years – had proven that this single minded and at times ruthless individual had followed a path which earnt respect and admiration throughout the world.

To my mind, after the passing of Enzo Ferrari, there has only been one team owner who has shown the necessary ethics to stand shoulder to shoulder with Il Commendatore.

As much as Ron Dennis would like to think himself a fair man in competition, there are far too many instances of favourtism within the Mclaren team to include him in this exclusive list. Sir Frank has proven over the decades that he tolerates no driver above the call of his team and has unceremoniously removed any driver deemed unworthy of one of his cars. Often to the teams own detriment.

Williams Formula One team founder Williams poses during a party at the Silverstone Race circuit

Williams has never been so dramatic as to utter Enzo’s favourite saying, but his actions speak volumes – Williams cars win races, the drivers lose them..

The Grumpy Jackal


Boullier optimistic for 2015 after giant strides by Mclaren

Eric Boullier will not be taking any time off over the festive season as he continues with his reorganisation of the Mclaren team. Despite finishing an excellent second and third in Australia, Mclaren were never to trouble the podium again during a year that forced the Woking engineers to reevaluate their performance against a rival with a substantially smaller budget – Force India.

Boullier admitted; “Being behind the Force India was a concern and it rang warning bells for the team. We were not at the same level of Mercedes but we still had the best power unit in the business.”

“It was difficult to understand the downforce problems with a wind tunnel that does not work. It is far more complex putting in place processes with the construction of the car and it took a lot of analysis to understand where the problems lay. We believe we understand where the problems were and we have become more efficient and this experience will be fundamental to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Boutlier continued with own spin on the struggles Mclaren suffered this season, “It’s easy to look at Australia and being on the podium but we knew from our numbers that we were the sixth best team on the grid. By year’s end we were the third so there has been major improvements!

As usual the Frenchman has a habit of revising some truths and it is possibly of major concern to any of the team’s fans that whilst he alludes to being the third best team, he is effectively ignoring some of the facts.

Of course, Mercedes maintained the advantage all season long and WIlliams were clearly the second best overall package in Abu Dhabi – but to ignore the fact that the Red Bulls had been disqualified from the fifth and sixth grid positions, and that season long rivals Force India were working to a significantly smaller budget than Mclaren may not sit so easily with the more cynical.

Of course, as witnessed throughout 2014, care has to be taken with Eric’s quotes but he remains optimistic for nest season, “My goal was to complete 95% of the restructuring of the team by the end of the season. We reached that target in time for the switch to the Honda power unit and it will be a new challenge with a different design concept. I hope 2015 will be more positive as we know the direction we want to head towards…


Zanardi carries strong opinions about drivers abilities

In an interview with Leo Turrini, Alex Zanardi offered his opinions on the upcoming season and his thoughts on the drivers that lead the field.

Unsurprisingly the Ironman believes that Lewis Hamilton will maintain his advantage this year but not purely because of the inherent qualities of the Mercedes, “In my opinion, Hamilton is the best amongst the current crop of drivers and perhaps the only who comes close to him, in absolute terms, is Alonso. But I still think Lewis is a step above.”

How did he feel about Ferrari’s new driver – Sebastian Vettel? “I think he is a great driver, maybe not at the level of Hamilton or Alonso, but we are talking about a very very competitive driver who has arrived at Maranello with the right spirit.”

Of more concern for the tifosi is the fact that Ferrari have two drivers who suffered in comparison to their respective team-mates this season. With the warning bells from Sergio Marchionne stating that next years 666 Ferrari was not designed in an effective manner it will be important for the drivers to recover from their underperforming from the 2014 season.

“Apart from the car which is obviously a significant part of the equation, it will be interesting to see how Vettel and Raikkonen recover from their lacklustre experiences. Seb was put under by Ricciardo and this cannot be disputed and in the same manner Kimi completely lost his battle with Fernando which again cannot be argued. It will be very interesting to watch the two Ferrari drivers as they come to terms with a Ferrari that has already been claimed is nowhere near good enough. It will be fascinating”


24 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 31st December 2014

  1. “By year’s end we were the third so there has been major improvements!”

    Someone spiked Eric’s eggnog at the teams Christmas party…

    • I figured he meant that they’d leap-frogged Caterham and Marussia into third worst team on the grid – nice work, Eric!

      After all the recent trash talk from Ron & Eric, I’d like to think that their bollocks are on the chopping block this season. If Honda turn out a reasonable donk then it’s hard to think of any excuses that will cut it this time next year.

      Consistent podiums or bust for this pair, surely?

      • On that note, McLaren and Ferrari have been fighting it out for the wooden spoon of ‘least efficient F1 team’ in recent years, going by bang for buck spent…

    • McLaren are great at talking … as a Macca supporter, it’s quite infuriating. 3rd best?! 3rd at ABU which Macca’s always done well at, and they weren’t really, as Merc, Williams and RBR were all ahead of them there.

      Prodromou as the “final piece”? Just shut up already!!! Win a race first, then talk a little. Win a few races, talk s’more. Until then, STFU and just get it done!!

      • @KRB I share your sentiments, I am a McLaren man from way back and I just makes my blood boil to see just how well they have done recently at failing miserably! They and Ferrari have got a little lost of late, they should be duking it out between themselves for the constructors every season given the level of resources they have at their disposal. Prodromou is being touted as the saviour of the McLaren design office, 1 man does not design the whole car! (no matter what Christian Horner might say). I have no doubt that he has learned well from the genius that is Adrian Newey, but until he heads up a design department that builds a cars that win a few constructors and drivers titles then he is still at the same level as us mere mortals, just because I went to birding school doesn’t make me posh, so it’s not a given that Prodromou will be at the same level as Newey (i have got my fingers crossed though)

        • I’ve heard that Newey is referred to as ‘God’ in the RB design office, in much the same way Robbie Fowler is at Liverpool.. considering he had 10 years straight designed the best car in F1 (91-00), and draws his design by hand, it’s apt 🙂

          Considering that Williams only won the title in 92, 93, 96 and 97 and McLaren in 98 and 99, it’s true to say that Williams drivers lost the title, although it’s also fair to say that Senna might have won a few of those lost mid-90s ones.

  2. Haha was going to say I believe it’s Honda that needs to make the strides. If they turn out a grand total of 20 laps at Jerez it’s not really going to matter how good the chassis is.

      • You may well be correct with your sarcasm.
        However, Honda is a big company, and being Japanese, will not want to “lose face” by failing miserably. The bad publicity would be enormous.
        Also they have had much longer than the other manufacturers and teams to develop their powertrain and have had the benefit of seeing the pitfalls of other team’s designs. Added to that, they have had unlimited testing available to them, as they were not restricted by the rules governing other teams. That alone must be a huge advantage.
        I know the powertrain is only part of the equation of building a successful Formula1 car; chassis design and drivers play a huge part too. McLaren have 2 former world champions as drivers, which should bode well. As long as the chassis is half good, they should be in with a shout of winning races. 🙂

        • Transpose Sony where Honda is, and being hacked 3 times in recent times for the bad PR…. truth is, Honda are behind, probably in how the new electronic parts interact (hence the electrical failures at Abu Dhabi), and have already apologised to McLaren for causing them trouble (that part I can imagine).

          • Can you point out where it’s said categorically that Honda are behind, is this just rumours, or does anyone have evidence. I wonder whether the Merc PU would have been able to run in the car in November 2013, who knows……..the fact that McLaren even tried shows they mean business. Let us not forget the state RedBull were in at Jerez, now if they had been in that situation in November 2013 think where they would have started the season given how quickly they and Renault set to solving what they could. They still finished second in the constructors. Now if McLaren are where RedBull were in Jerez, then they have 3 extra months to get on top of it, so see RedBull 3 months into this season (around Canada) and they were winning their 1st race.
            What I’m trying to say is that you really can’t write off 2015 for McLaren until we see how they are at say 3 races in.

          • I tried to find where I had read it but couldn’t.. so I’m left with what I’ve heard on the grapevine, which should be more reliable than internet speculation.

            Don’t forget that it’s not a static performance level.. Honda may have a competitive PU ready now by 2014 levels, but that’s behind in 2015 if everyone else has moved up a gear, especially Mercedes.

            Now that Macca have Alonso, it’ll be painfully obvious that any lack of speed comes from the car-engine.. if things go badly, they could fall behind Ferrari, Lotus and Force India.

            Otherwise, they have to surpass Red Bull and Williams, who should have got 2nd in 2014, if not for Massa’s poor early form and not optimising all their results.

  3. Williams cars win races, the drivers lose them..

    And arguably, Williams lost a championship in 1993 by ditching Mansell in favour of the French politician…

  4. McLaren was third best the years end? Please. McLaren ended the year exactly where its WDC position is, fifth. By the years end, Williams was winning podiums. Red Bull was winning podiums. McLaren was winning nothing, besides a few points. They did terribly. You can’t whitewash it.

  5. Re McLaren…funny one on ESPNf1 as part of their “year in review” piece:
    “February 2014: Button and Magnussen confirmed as drivers for 2014”.

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