#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 22nd January 2015

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Holy shit! Let’s just make stuff up.”


OTD Lite 1959 – Hawthorn – Like a moth to the flame

Hamilton talks down urgency for a contract extension

Force India launches new car in Mexico

Pat Symonds confirms huge aero loss with new noses

Austria, the new Germany

Caterham doomed, Marussia close to salvation

Alonso to drive MP4-30 first


OTD Lite 1959 – Hawthorn – Like a moth to the flame

Winter in the UK does not compare well to countries with warmer climes. It can be both hauntingly beautiful with low levels of light or it can be suppressed with heavy grey clouds supplying anything from fine misty rain to heavy oppressive downpours.

The facts are simple; the reigning F1 World Champion – Mike Hawthorn – was over-taking a Mercedes 300SL driven by Rob Walker on the Guildford by-pass when he lost control of his car at high speed and spun hitting a tree which caused fatal injuries. A tragic accident of course but possibly avoidable?

Hawthorn was driving a heavily modified Jaguar Mk 1 which he christened the ‘Merc-eater’ as he hated anything German. It was fitted with Dunlop Duraband radial tyres which had been designed to counter the commercial threat of the Michelin X and Pirelli Cintura.

Rob Walker, who played a part in the accident commented: “Duraband were OK in the dry but, because of the hard compound, they could break away in wet conditions. When they did, it was without warning.”

Walker explained the accident in 1998 to Eoin Young and Eric Dymock,

“That day it was pouring with rain and when I saw it was Mike we both accelerated down the hill flat out, using all the gears. We went through the first left hand bend, followed by the right, at his stage we were going very fast. I had just changed into top which I seldom did under 100mph in the 300SL and Mike was a bonnet length ahead.”

“At this point I thought… This is OK for a World Champion but for me it was a bit too much so I backed off a cars length. Going into the right hander the Jaguar slid the rear out about five degrees, this I thought was just Mike playing around, then the car clipped the kerb and spun round 180degrees. The Jaguar spun round to face me then started going backwards.”

“By now things were getting worse, he clipped the bollards in the centre of the road, the MK 1 traveled backwards across the road clipping the very rear corner of a lorry traveling the other way. I saw the MK1 disappear in a cloud of mud and spray as it left the road.”

The accident was so severe that only the petrol pipe joined the two pieces of car together! Hawthorn’s body was found on the rear seat of the car – beyond any medical help.

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The Grumpy Jackal.

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Hamilton talks down urgency for a contract extension

Recently Toto Wolff revealed that should Mercedes not be able to agree a new contract and terms with Lewis Hamilton to continue to race for the Brackley based team beyond 2015 – Alonso and Bottas were possible alternatives. Some would interpret this as hardly someone who is 100% confident that a deal with Lewis will be finalised.

Hamilton spoke out on the matter yesterday to SKY Sports. “I’m comfortable and confident and trust that they’re not speaking to anyone else and they know that’s the case with me,” stated the current F1 world champion.

“As soon as I left the last race, I was at the factory for a couple of days, but I haven’t sat down with the team,”  he added, “but, again, we said last year we’re not in a rush. We’re relaxed. The team have acknowledged they want to continue with me and vice versa, so there is no stress”.

TJ13 has repeatedly contrasted this approach from Mercedes to the one’s adopted previously by the teams who employed the services of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. The German and the Spaniard – on a number of occasions – were offered retention agreements long before the commencement of the final year of their employment.

In early October, Toto Wolff was questioned over the timing of the proposed contract extension talks with Hamilton. He told the Guardian, “We have agreed with Lewis we want to concentrate on the championship and leave him alone. We want to give him the same possibilities as Nico, and for him not to get involved in commercial, financial and legal discussions until after Abu Dhabi”.

Wolff added, “My commitment to him as well is we’re not going to talk to anybody about any terms or contracts until then.”

The week before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Toto told Austrian broadcaster ORF, “We have agreed that we want to continue [with Lewis as a driver beyond 2015] and Lewis has said the same but at some point we decided that it was not the right time to do it. The duel was so intense so we thought it was a good idea to talk after Abu Dhabi.

“Now we have agreed that we get together on Monday in Abu Dhabi to talk about it,” added Wolff.

So who is telling the truth. Toto or Lewis? Or was the post Abu Dhabi Monday meeting cancelled – and if so why?

Niki Lauda has now added his two penneth on the matter. Speaking to Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung. He claims that the article published by La Gazzetta last week suggesting Hamilton had been offered a deal worth 20m euro plus add ons for performance was “nonesense”.

“We had agreed with him [Hamilton] that we will only talk when he comes back from Colorado, around the first test in early February in Jerez. To date, neither Toto Wolff nor myself, or anyone else from Mercedes, has talked with Lewis about money and length [of a new contract].”

Tying up a valuable sporting asset whether it be a football player or a Formula One driver is not something left into the final year of a contract – unless the club/team are prepared to let the player/driver go, which can be for a variety of reasons.

The fact that Wolf felt it pertinent to mention publicly the names of Bottas and Alonso as possible replacements for Hamilton compounds the impression that the team are fairly relaxed over whether Hamilton stays or leaves. This is hardly the message of love Lewis may be wanting to hear.

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Force India launches new car in Mexico

Force India unveiled its VJM08 yesterday with a new colour scheme for the upcoming season.

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The car was officially unveiled by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in Mexico City as the team released promotional pictures to the media.

New features include a revised rear suspension lay-out and modified sculpting of the sidepods. In contrast to the Williams which was shown in F1 Racing, the VJM08 has a wider nose.

Force India will not run this car until the second winter test in Barcelona and will use their 2014 car at the first test in Jerez which begins on 1st February.

Mallya said at the launch: “The 2015 car is a refinement of what we learned in 2014. Another major step forward is the technology change, in that we are now using a 60% wind tunnel in Cologne which is a far bigger step than we have ever taken before. Traditionally we have been in Brackley where we used to develop our car with a 50% model and an outdated wind tunnel.”

“With this new and important tool available to use we hope the 2015 challenger will really prove its worth in competing with the big boys of F1 when we start the European season. We are lucky to have two exceptional drivers who will hopefully steer the Sahara Force India challenger to the front of the grid, and hopefully a few podiums during the current year.”

As noted previously here on TJ13. Teams who do not test their new season’s car at the first test, invariably do badly when it comes to the actual racing.

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Pat Symonds confirms huge aero loss with new noses

As ever, the FIA reacted to criticism of the ‘ugly’ noses that proliferated Formula One as F1 designers sought out the best aero solution for the given design.

For the 2015 season, the design of the noses has had to change to meet the required measurements as set down by the governing body.

In Austin last year, Lotus ran with a modified nose in FP1 and found a substantial loss of downforce which required a complete rethink of the aerodynamics flowing off of the front wing.

Pat Symonds also suggested that the Williams team had had to change their design ethos to lessen the impact of the new nose detailing.

“The change in regulations offered us a slight headache, the new front bulkhead and nose geometry had much more of an impact than we had initially anticipated and the effect on the aero was profound. The team have worked hard on pulling back the deficit these regulations have made for us.”

Despite WIlliams developing their car well into the last few rounds they are confident that all the work will not impact on this season and has in actual fact been beneficial to the team.

“The desire to beat Ferrari to third place in the constructors’ in 2014 meant we pushed our development through to late autumn, but the size of the team is now at a point where it was able to sustain this development whilst still working on the FW37.”

“We felt we came up against design barriers in the FW36 and so took the opportunity to remove those barriers for the benefit of the performance. The FW36 carried a reasonable amount of ballast, so we were able to make alterations to the design for added performance without the fear of adding excessive mass.”

“The notion for the FW37 was to look closely at the FW36 and its performances. We then went about recognising what had worked well and identifying and resolving the areas that we felt needed to be improved.”

“Although the aerodynamics of the car were impressive there is always room for improvement particularly as we handle the new 2015 nose regulations.

Whilst the technical side of the team was never his focus, Frank Williams clearly still relishes the heat of competition: “The team had a fantastic season last year and we aim to replicate this with development during the winter and to start 2015 in a strong position.”

“We have a group of very talented people here at Williams, who want nothing more that the team does well. We added some high profile names to the important list of partners we work with.”

“After a great first year of collaboration with Mercedes, we look forward to developing our relationship and we will be fighting for even more podiums in 2015.”

“I feel that it will be another exciting season, so I’m looking forward to seeing the cars on the grid for the first race.” he concluded.

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Austria, the new Germany

Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton will again be the drivers’ Formula One champion in 2015. Speaking to Sky Sports yesterday he said, “Whether he is (favourite) or not, I think he’s going to win it.”

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The Metro

F1’s supremo also believes that Hamilton provides great publicity for F1 and will attract a new breed of fan to the sport. “He’s a rapper. So we’re going to get to a completely different audience as well now,” he added. “He’s going to be good as a world champion.”

Ecclestone also confirmed the uncertainty over the German Grand Prix rages on. When asked about his failed bid to buy the Nurburgring, Ecclestone replied, “I agreed to buy it – they agreed to sell, and someone came along and offered a bit more money… so they sold it to that person… who couldn’t complete…lost an initial payment – and now somebody else has bought it.”

Craig Slater then asked F1’s Supremo whether Hockenheim was now firmly on the cards for the 2015 German GP, to which Ecclestone responded, “not really”.

The concluding asked was, “Is there a chance we might not have a German GP this year?” Mr. E replied, “Yep… well we’ve got one – it’s called Austria”.

Where is our friend the Germanic ranting Hippo when you need him? 😉

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Caterham doomed Marussia close to salvation

Following the cancellation of the final auction of the defunct Marussia team’s assets, speculation was rife that Gene Haas would be buying the team and running the 2014 car in 2015.

Haas has almost certainly bought the Banbury factory and certain peripheral items during the first auction of assets by the administrator.

Sky are now quoting Haas as stating he has “no interest in purchasing Marussia or any other team”.

Bernie Ecclestone has also commented on the matter, stating yesterday, “I had a meeting with someone this morning that said they want to and think they can buy Marussia, so that would be good. Caterham, I don’t think there is much chance of saving them, but Marussia there is a chance,” claims the top dog in Formula One.

Finbarr O’Connell claims he is still hopeful he can sell the Caterham team, though he recognises the point in time is fast approaching where no one will be interested in buying an F1 team to run in 2015. “I’m not going to stifle any interest, but time is definitely running out,” commented the Irishman who famously became an F1 team principal for a weekend in Abu Dhabi.

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Alonso to drive MP4-30 first

Over the next few days, the teams will begin to finalise their testing programmes for Jerez, and reveal which driver will be in the cockpit on which days.

Mercedes have already stated that they will run their drivers alternately over the 4 day test, beginning with Lewis Hamilton on day 1, following the unveil of their new car.

McLaren today have announced that Alonso will be the first of their drivers to feel the force of the new Honda engine behind him, then he will also alternate with Jenson for th remaining three days.

The first winter test is an important part of the life cycle of the team and the drivers fairly quickly understand the potential of their newly designed steeds.

That said, testing can throw the odd curve ball.

Jenson Button was delighted in 2013, with his McLaren MP4-28 and Felipe Massa was so impressed with the cars performance that he commented twice how ‘unbelievable’ the new Woking design was performing. Of course it was unbelievable as it was later discovered a suspension arm had been fitted inverted

When Big Ron is not about, there are those in the MTC who quietly joke, that this was the best that particular car performed all year.

Then again, it was obvious fairly quickly in 2014 that Renault had a huge problem. As TJ13 revealed the night before the first test, the Renault customer teams had been told the engine they had each been provided with was only good for 250km – FOR THE WHOLE TEST – a mere 56 laps.

In just under two weeks time, we will have a definite indication from the drivers as to how they believe their car will perform this year.

TJ13’s Adam MacDonald, John Myburgh and Andrew Huntley-Jacobs will be at the Jerez test and bringing you a telecast on our YouTube channel each day from track-side and the paddock.

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72 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 22nd January 2015

  1. I don’t want to rain on Force India’s parade, but it seems that everyone who has used the Cologne (toyota) wind tunnel, have produced truly awful cars, wasn’t the McLaren 2013 car designed using that tunnel and did Ferrari not use it while theirs was under ‘refurbishment’ and look how well that went. If I recall correctly they all had correlation issues. Let’s hope Bob “the builder of fast cars” can get his sums right where others failed.

    • As I said before maybe that was due to the teams them self. Toyota ‘ s le mans project is going well…

  2. I think this contract move is a way to get Hamilton/Rosberg on a more even footing. As Rosberg proved, he’s not that far off Hamilton. And even if they lose him, they can still win with Alonso, Rosberg or Bottas (the cut price option, who would play team number 2 if a Rosberg win was wanted).

    • It sounds like you were in the Mercedes boardroom when someone said: “here’s a great idea, let’s cut our reigning WDC’s salary down to somewhere around Nico’s”?

      It’s interesting how, driver A can beat driver B by 11 races to 5, more than double, B was unable to pass A in any race, A passed B more often then not, B couldn’t win 2 races in a row and A finished every race on the podium, yet somehow, B has proved he’s not too far off A!

      Just saying.

      • I agree, but you need to see this from the business side.. why have Red Bull got Ricciardo/Kvyat? They’ll save so much on salary, that they can further improve their car, even enough to mask the new generation Renault engine.

        If McLaren-Honda aren’t second best team next year, or third at worst, then hiring Alonso and Button will look ridiculous; they have Magnussen in reserve and Vandoorne winning GP2. Similar performance, fraction of the cost.

        You’re in a bad position when you need Alonso just to make sure you beat teams using half your budget or less, like Ferrari last year, or McLaren with Button. It’ll be interesting to see where Ferrari are with Vettel/Raikkonen in early 2015..

        At the end of the day however, Mercedes will retain Hamilton as F1 is merely a marketing exercise to them. Else, they could run Rosberg/Bottas and have their own German multiple world champion to replace Schumacher.

  3. While I always wondered if guilt over the Le Mans disaster haunted Hawthorn (and perhaps why Moss was sporting enough to give him the WDC, even though he lost 1956 to Fangio from non-enforcement), it’s ironic that it kept Mercedes out of motorsport for 30 years. This also freed up the garagistes to dominate F1 from the 60s onwards.

  4. Fact, the above statement on Lewis and Toto is your own personal impression and not ‘The’ impression.

    Other people may see it as: If Lewis stays, both parties will be very happy, but if Lewis goes, Mercedes won’t have a say in the matter and will forced to sign up their 2nd or 3rd choice drivers, then maybe niether party will be happy.

    PS.
    ‘This is hardly the message of love Lewis may be wanting to hear.’

    Were you trying to say: ‘This may not be the kind of message Lewis wants to hear’?

    It didn’t seem occur to you, that if he decides to leave in 2016, he might not even care who gets his seat.

    Or maybe it did……

    • Well, I don’t get the inpression Mercedes is really worried about Hamilton signing or not… Who knows, maybe Lewis has had an offer to go to McLaren Honda and is now hedging his bets. Waiting out to see what the MP4/30 is like before he commits longer at Merc.

      One thing though, I dnt think Mercedes needs Hamilton. Having a car that is 2s a lap faster than anyone else gives you a very strong hand… best driver or average driver. So, if Merc will hold their advantage Hamilton will have to toe the line if he wants a championship winning car.

      Don’t you just love this 😉

      • You may not be aware, but in the 2014 Formula One season, over a whole race distance, Mercedes NEVER got close to being 1 second a lap faster than the next fastest team. The closest they got to that mark was in Spain and that was 0.742 of a second. Mercedes only managed to go +0.5 of a second faster than the next team, 4 times over the whole season, with their average, over 19 races being under 0.4 of a second per lap.

        • Perhaps because they were never challenged to really push hard? Bahrain, when LeCo had their first proper race they pulled a massive gap very quickly.

          As we have seen with Seb, if you stick it on pole and get away just far enough so you dont have to worry about DRS… well you’ve won the race… not taking mechanical failures into account.

        • Pardon? When Nico and Lewis went all-out in Bahrain they were 2.5 seconds faster than the third placed car. And that is quite remarkable, considering that two battling drivers slow each other down. The 2014 Mercedes had a bigger edge over all other cars than the 1988 McLaren. It was unprecedented dominance and it isn’t surprising that the only races not won by Merc were races during which they beat themselves. Realistically no other car was even remotely able to match them.

          • Well, from what I saw, Force India’s Sergio Perez was holding up the faster cars, which was borne out by the fact that the 7 cars behind Sergio were only 9 seconds apart crossing the finish line. The Merc’s were flat out while Sergio’s car got fatter in the slower bits.

            In Hungary, Daniel Ricciardo caught Alonso and Hamilton at over 3 seconds a lap then went away from both of them at 2.6 seconds a lap. Make of that what you will…..

          • Good points Martin

            ….though at the time of the Hungarian GP TJ13 reviewed the lap times and related tyre wear… It is fairly clear Hamilton used up a lot of his tyres – staying just out of Rosberg’s range for an overtake – after Nico had caught him at over a second a lap..

            Which is also why Lewis couldn’t pass Alonso in the dying laps of the race.

          • to add judge…..

            It was also reported that he was losing engine power after his second stop, which they said cost him about .5 per lap

            But we need to add that Ricciardo was on a 3 stop strategy and was on fresher option tyres, compared to Lewis and Fernando (i think Alonso did 2 stops, could be wrong) who were on worn out primes and did a 2 stop.

        • Fortis, it will be more fun next year when they end up as McLaren team mates! Bottas to Merc for less money than Britney.

          • Ron better get his cheque book out, because it won’t be a rookie vs a double WDC anymore…..

            But we all know that wont happen, so Bottas to Mercedes wont be happening anytime soon

      • @Don_Quixote….

        If you are looking at it from a pure racing POV, then sure Mercedes don’t really need him given their advantage, but has the Hippo has stated on a few occasion, Mercedes are in the business of selling cars. So having Lewis is a far better prospect for them given his popularity globally. Surely they couldn’t use Nico or Pastor for argument sake, to crack markets in Asia and North America.

        Was it Oliver who said on one of the podcast that he walked through the airport with Alonso in Texas and no one really knew who he was, i doubt that would happen to Lewis in Murica land.

        • Murica is that part of the US that doesn’t buy Mercedes – a pick-up with a gun rack is their preferred transport. Flyover country, NASCAR. America on the coasts does buy Mercs and I am not sure if Lewis has any impact on their purchasing power. Sad to say, we are a very divided country.

        • There would be very few Texans that would know any F1 personnel. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and generally found they know nothing about almost anywhere other than Texas.

  5. So were Mercedes fine with Nico possibly leaving after this past season? I think you’re reading far too much into all of this. If and when he re-sign’s, I hope you’ll review all the digital ink and energy spilled over this. The only reason anyone even cares is because it’s Lewis. No one asked Nico if there was any stress about contract matters last year … because no one cared.

    • You are missing the point. It is not normative for a team/club to treat their star player in this fashion…

      That is worth all the digital ink already spilled – if not more…

      Maybe you should appreciate writers who take the time to follow a story over the long term – and provide you with what has been said along the way –

      eg
      Toto “we have a meeting on Monday”
      Lewis “its not been discussed”

      Try removing the fan boy glasses occasionally…

      • judge i think you should try watching some American sports and you’ll realise that it is in fact normative, it also happens in the EPL quite frequently as well, you just have to look at what happened between Liverpool and Gerrard. Star players are offered contracts way in advance and still refuse to sign, because they’re still weighing up their options.

        • @Fortis
          ….It hasn’t been happening in F1 with world champions who are prized by their teams. Comparing apples with sausages is pointless.

          Lauda confirms Hamilton has not been offered a contract – which discusses money and length of time – 2 fairly critical matters to any contract.

          Your example in fact goes to prove the point, Liverpool are not bothered about retaining Steven Gerrard – so he is leaving.

          We are being fed the line by Mercedes continually that all this is no big deal – ‘Lewis is busy’ – ‘we’re busy’ – we’ll get to it sometime soon.

          The message is clear, the are far more important matters for both parties to attend to at present – which is BULL – Wolff’s threat to employ Alonso or Bottas if necessary was either a direct public negotiating ploy, or a really stupid thing to say to the media. So the conclusion is – something is in play.

          • But in your original comment, you said “it’s not normative for a team/club to treat their star player in that fashion”…. So your comment wasn’t slowly based on F1.

            Lebron James was prized by the Miami Heats and he left and went elsewhere, despite being offered a massive salary.

            So no I’m not comparing apples to sausages. And there’s always a first time for everything. Cheer up, no need to be so aggressive 🙂 🙂

          • It is not normal in F1 – I gave an example of how where else at times it is also not normative – I didn’t use EPL or NA Sports as the rule – as you argued…. hence apples and sausages…

            I’m bored with Lewis fans attacking the messenger – better they engage with the issues without bitching at writers…

            It’s going to be a long year for the Hamfosi – there will be lots of Lewis news – and as we all know – he’s caused controversy nearly each F1 season for about 5 years… Which is great for those of us who are not fans of any particular driver – we can enjoy the show without feeling the need to get emotionally involved and defend a hero 🙂

          • @the judge….

            My comment came before you edited yours….

            When this story was first published here, I did mention that Toto was playing a dangerous game with those comments, because it could come back and bite him on his a$$, if Merc were to lose their advantage.

          • I’m saving my ammunition for when the season starts, that’s when i’ll be coming at the messenger with all guns blazing….. 🙂 🙂

            But seriously, like i said earlier, Toto needs to be careful with his comments.

          • Look out for stories coming about divisions in the Mercedes AMG F1 camp – Lauda v Wolff particularly.

            The uber happy ‘we’re all relaxed’ front is not the reality.

            When companies and teams put out extra positive PR – particularly which has the “nothing to see here – move along” kind of message – it is often an over reaction to what is going on behind the scenes.

          • this is most definetely about divisions inside the team. the underlying problem at mercedes is, that the current leadership are not the ones who are responsible for the success. therefore, they have something to prove, namely, that they can add something of value to the team. that’s why lauda hired hamilton, even though with the 2014 car, nico or schumi could have walked the championship just the same. it paid off when lewis won 11 races and the wdc. hiring lewis was laudas project, so him winning the championship was a lauda success. toto on the other hand still has something to prove. hiring paddy lowe was his project, so if he can show that a paddy built car can win the championship without lewis, he one up’s lauda. on top of that, bottas is his driver, so of course there is an interest to get him a mercedes seat. i said it a couple of times already, i think the team will unravel pretty quickly because of the mess that is it’s leadership. the stalling contract negotiations could indicate two things in my opinion: either someone is trying to push lewis out of the team, or lewis wants to wait and see how the frictions inside the team develop, before he signs another long term contract.

      • Come off it! Try not torquing every story the way you’d like it to be. Do you have any proof that there was no meeting in Abu Dhabi? Of course not. People say different things all the time, because it might mean different things to different people at different times. Perhaps the meeting in Abu Dhabi was just a framework meeting, a roadmap, etc. Wolff then might consider that a full contract meeting, whereas Hamilton doesn’t. It’s beyond silly to take every quote as definitive. It’s not how people work.

        • @KRB
          Can you read? Hamilton states, “As soon as I left the last race, I was at the factory for a couple of days, but I haven’t sat down with the team,”

          Wolff clearly said there was a meeting scheduled.

          You are wrong – it is exactly the detail of what is and isn’t said which is very revealing.

          Further, you are a die hard Lewis fan from copious previous comments – and clearly vicariously paranoid on your hero’s behalf. Just because Mercedes are not affording him the respect offered to Vettel and Alonso by Red Bull and Ferrari in days gone by – don’t shoot the messenger.

          • As I said, if you go just by quotes you’ll get it wrong near 100% of the time.

            The “respect” angle is just too lame for words.

            Wouldn’t say I’m a die-hard, though clearly I am a supporter. As a fan of quick and exciting drivers, Lewis is the quickest and most exciting. So a natural fit.

            You guys have been coasting far too long on the Kimi-to-Ferrari scoop. Seems sometimes like you’re trying too hard to find the next one. The Lewis contract saga stories are a symptom of that.

          • Really? Dedicated reader I see.

            The Renault scoop at Jerez last year 6 months after the Kimi story was far bigger in terms of traffic impact – and an ongoing story for around 6 months

            I could go on but…. sometimes its just not worth the digital ink.

          • I can’t help but feel the Judge is being given a hard time here over nothing, whats he’s reporting is accurate and concise and doesn’t seem have any personal bias from what i can tell.

            I don’t always agree with everything that is written, but remember guys when you come here and pull apart his articels, ask yourself this;
            Why do you come here?
            Has this site been proven to be reliable?
            And how much are you paying to access this site?

      • Judge – I really like how you’ve parsed these tea leaves to note the tenor of (or lack of) negotiations.

        One could say that Lewis is on the back foot with Mercedes despite the 2014 championships.

        If Lewis is more interested in money (vs championships), then he’ll be more valuable to teams who’ve been fighting for 2nd place behind Mercedes in the constructors championship.

        If Lewis is most interested in more championships, it appears he needs to go sit down with Mercedes soon, though it could be for less money. Mercedes is offering F1 drivers a chance to win a championship. Some drivers are hungry enough for championships to drive for near free to do so.

        But you may be wrong about it’s not normal for F1 teams to treat their world champion drivers like this… Well, maybe you’re not wrong, but when Frank Williams was winning championships left and right, he seemed to enjoy turning out his championship winning drivers after every season. So certainly this Mercedes tack has a precedent.

        • The common theme between those two situations is that it’s mainly the car that won the championships.. I’m not saying Prost or Hamilton are not the best driver in the field at one point or another, but in that situation, most of the drivers would win the title in that car.

          • Right. Unlike the Hamiltonians around here, I think The Judge is correct to point out that Mercedes don’t value Lewis highly.

            I believe The Judge is incorrect to state it’s “normative” for F1 teams to highly value their championship winning driver in situations like this given that very strong precedent of the Williams team cycling through all of his great drivers when they were either strong or dominant.

            I’d guess there are other precedents besides FW, perhaps even many precedents.

            Despite my disagreement on that point, well done by The Judge to have spotted this apparent valuation by Mercedes of Hamilton.

          • Firstly duck 😉

            Secondly – believe button looked for a new home after his WDC. Kimi got a golden handshake.

            The Williams link is interesting. I would hazard a guess that Mansell and Hill made demands FW were unreasonable. In the case of Wolf and Toto I would think its just a case of incompetance…

          • It would be incompetent for Mercedes to overpay Hamilton when there are other drivers, (including Rosberg), who could win championships in their car.

            There are factors besides winning, such as marketing of course. But still that all comes down to value and money.

            I think The Judge is correct in that Mercedes is in the driver’s seat (so to speak) in these negotiations.

            For Lewis to do well, he should clearly identify his primary goal, either more championships, or more money.

            If Lewis desires more championships, then he will need to be aggressive with Mercedes and finish a deal early, though he could perhaps make more money elsewhere.

            If Lewis desires more money, then he should talk to the well moneyed teams fighting for 2nd place in the constructors championship behind Mercedes. The battles behind Mercedes were very tight, very competitive, and Hamilton proved his worth (again) in such situations in 2014 by the manner in which he beat Rosberg.

    • Of course people care because it’s Lewis. 2 x WDC & one of the best pedallers out there is being conspicuously left swinging in the breeze by his current employers – errr… yh, we care.

      As for Nico, MB cared enough to negotiate a contract extension with him in private well before anyone in the media thought to ask him about future plans. I’d say MB cared a lot.

      Higher stakes in play with Lewis, no doubt, but that’s hardly news, is it?

      • B/C Nico was their hole card in dealing with Lewis. Clearly capable of winning WDC his long term signing gave them leverage with LH, they can offer him a take it or leave it deal and not worry on the sporting side, though the marketing boys might have a bit of a tizzy.

        Of greater concern is Wolff’s long term viability as he continues to violently injure himself whilst exercising, this time Twitter is saying he’s been dragged off to hospital after a gym accident. Embarrassing details are not yet forthcoming

    • Jordan: “and when you are alongside an opponent, and the WC or race is at stake, a quick swerve to the right and boom, off they go. The win or WCship will be yours. Just remember Michael, it will work well on Street Circuits or places like Hungary, but be carefull on proper circuits with gravel traps, and make sure you definately get them.

  6. @the judge…..

    Re: Pat’s comments…

    Do you think Mercedes has the upper hand in relation to the new nose rule, given that they and Ferrari were the only teams that didn’t go with that god awful design last season?

      • Thanks mankster, I did read that awhile back.

        Based on the video link that LDL post last year, it was only Ferrari who had a nose that would be legal this year. Now given that the Mercedes concept is not entirely different from Ferrari’s, then I’m assuming that compared to the others, they’d find it easier to recover that lost downforce.

        Now that I think of it, I think there was a piece in DN&C stating how much downforce the concept that Williams and the others were using gave the team. So given Mercedes level of downforce, they had an advantage of the others who would have to employ a different aero package. It was something along that line, hence why I asked the question, because I wasn’t too sure…

        Hopefully the judge could post the link to the article.

    • In my searching, I’ve found F1i.com has the best transcription of the offending radio interview of Mr. Streiff. Of course F1i.com is a French site, and my French is un peu do mauvaise… but google translate does a decent mangling of it.

      • The FIA’s pr url is fia.com/communiqu-de-la-fia It has a significant punctuation error, which thankfully AutoSport corrected in Jonathan Noble’s write-up of the FIA’s pr.

      • I’m not sure if understand Streiff’s meanings, but he appears to:
        1) accuse Dr. Saillant and Mr. Todt of milking money from the ICM,
        2) accuse the FIA of having incorrect insurance for this matter,
        3) encourage the Bianchi family to avenge Jules legally against Nicolas and Jean Todt.

        LOL! Wow!

        Perhaps someone else can find and share transcription of the interview, and some better English translations / meanings?

    • Wow! Legally attacking a handicapped person, while being perfectly in the wrong about the substance of the affair. Very brave of them. And if I went into xenophobic remarks, how very French of them (and I’m speaking from personal experience). The FIA is sinking to a new low. And Todt may suddenly realize that his omelet ended up on his face for breakfast.

      So let’s see:
      “Shame on Jean Todt, the President of the FIA who “organized” and “ordered”, during the last WMSC in Doha Qatar, a report on the accident of Bianchi, prepared by his group of 10 friends (including Prof Gérard Saillant) so as to clear up FIA mistakes [errors] wrt to insurance companies. It’s the reign of bloody market capitalists! [This is actually French for “reign of the greenback” or similar for our Anglophone readers]

      “In effect, Jean Todt is thirsty for money and power. Money embezzled via FIA foundation and the ICM [not sure what’s that], where he is vice-president and Gérard Saillant is president of this “research institute”. The most important thing today is for Jules Bianchi to be able to recover the maximum of his physical and intellectual abilities and that his family could avenge Jules, afterwards, so as to kick Jean Todt from the FIA… They have the juridical means, as what they’re enduring right now, other than the pain, is a disgrace. Same goes for his son Nicolas Todt, ex-manager of Jules, because in life everything has a price.”

      Clearly the lad has had enough of Monsieur Todt… I can empathize with the sentiment.

      • landroni – Many, many thanks for that!!

        ICM is the Brain & Spine Institute in Paris. Their website is icm-institute.org and has English language.

        Navigate from their header to -> “The Foundation”, then to -> “Organization”. The first listing is Chairman of ICM, Dr. Saillant. The second person listed is Jean Todt as Vice-Chairman of ICM.

        Now we can see better the perspective of Philippe Streiff’s accusation of embezzlement of funds from ICM in his radio interview.

        What is additionally interesting is that that article was published at 9AM on Tuesday, June 20th, so the radio interview would’ve happened prior to that… I’ve found no mention of that radio interview in English press, sites, or twitter. Finding this article in French was hard enough. It may be that Streiff’s comments would have been seen and heard by very few folks. So why bring out a big cannon to shoot down a mosquito?

        • In the context of bullying Gary Harstein, this is very interesting.

          I now believe Todt’s position is untenable.

  7. So, has Alonso let the cat out the bag that the new McLaren is a load of old rubbish before the first test, by pronouncing he doesn’t except any wins this season? Ooops!

  8. Here’s a crazy idea. We know tons of personnel have been leaving merc. And Ferrari have been rebuilding like crazy. If Kimi performs badly this year (and I hope to all the gods that this won’t happen), could Lewis be thinking of jumping to Ferrari next year? Good out until late summer to decide based on what’s going on this season maybe?

    • Possibly, if Ross decide to put away his fishing rods away in the corner in his office at Maranello.

    • That’s the “lip mic” that he was using (to cut out most of the extraneous noise, wind etc.)

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