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Previously on TheJudge13:
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Please use the comments section to ask an opening question for our podcast regulars to answer. Remember, the best answers are often given if the opening question is not F1 related. (Ed’s Note: What have we started!)
OTD Lite – 2001: Alonso confirmed at Minardi
Is it really fourteen years since Fernando Alono was announced as the new driver for the Minardi team. Under the stewardship of everyone’s pantomime villain – Flavio Briatore – the Spaniard had been placed in the Paul Stoddard run team for the forthcoming season.
Winning a Spanish championship in his first season out of karts, he would compete in F3000 and secure victory before the end of the season whereupon he was promoted to the Minardi seat through his contacts with Briatore.
Some giant killing performance in his rookie year signaled him as somebody to watch and would spend the 2002 season testing for Benetton-Renault. With the boss replacing Button with the fiery young Spaniard – the British press instantly took a dislike to him and in many ways they have carried an antipathy towards him ever since.
The problem being that Alonso has done nothing in the intervening years to prove that he is anything but a driven person with an almost win-at-all-costs mindset. In itself a quality that many athletes would love to have but no doubt they enjoy sleeping a restful night.
A falling out with Renault in 2005 when he felt alone, winning his second title despite having signed for Mclaren over a year before, blackmailing Ron Dennis when their relationship disintegrated, a notorious race win in Singapore in 2008 and a far from happy time at Ferrari make the Spanish Samurai an enigmatic if flawed human being.
But what an incredible talent.
Raikkonen believes Ferrari have a good base to work from
After what proved a numbing 2014, Kimi Raikkonen would have preferred any car to the ‘heap’ that Maranello provided last year.
With significant direction from the James Allison led design team – it was always likely that the new Ferrari would have traits that allowed the drivers to access its performance like his previous designs for Lotus.
With the Iceman topping the times again, making it four days that a Ferrari powered car held the foremost position it was inevitable that the car would be an improvement.
“For sure it’s much better than what we had last year,” Raikkonen said. “I think the whole package is better all-round; the engine and the car itself, everything has improved. Obviously we still have a lot of hard work to try and improve things but it’s a good starting point.”
With the morning starting wet and drying out as the day went on Kimi was pleased with how the car handled in both conditions: “We didn’t do so many laps but it felt pretty nice compared to last year, and it’s the same for the dry, the car is behaving well.”
“We’ve got a good amount of laps and things are working, we’re not really having many issues. That’s the main thing plus the feeling is pretty fine, so that’s good. We do our own stuff, we don’t know what the others are doing. Yesterday I said we had a good starting point and the team has done a good job over the winter to prepare this car. We have something to work with now.”
Massa reveals the worlds worst kept secret – Mercs to dominate again
Yesterday Nico Rosberg offered his opinion on who he believed had had a good start to the 2015 campaign and his most likeliest rivals for the forthcoming season. Today Felipe Massa put into words what the rest of the paddock actually believes.
“It’s always difficult to give a good answer at the end of the first week of tests. There’s still a lot to understand, not just from us but from others as well. It’s still clear that Mercedes has an amazing car. Ferrari maybe made a step forward but I’m still convinced that we can be there fighting again.”
“I think it was similar. I still have a good feeling on the car. At the beginning I think it was very positive because we did not have any reliability problems, which is quite good. I think it was a good start and we need to prepare everything we can now to go to Barcelona in a more prepared way. We need to test everything we need thinking about Australia. It was a good start and I’m still happy like I was yesterday.”
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