#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 6th February 2015


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OTD Lite – 2011: First ever Polish winner cuts career short

Legendary Forghieri blames Alonso for Ferrari’s recent struggles

Alonso can see a marked difference at Mclaren because of Eric

The Usher’s Caption Competition

Force India block Marussia Manor return to F1

OTD Lite – 2011: First ever Polish winner cuts career short

It’s with considerable sadness that the Jackal applies digit to keyboard today in memory of a talent that could have proven spell-binding if circumstances had turned out differently.


Four years ago, Polish driver Robert Kubica crashed out of a rally in Italy suffering initially life-threatening injuries which thankfully proved wide of the mark. The accident almost caused the loss of his right arm and despite the very best medical attention the injuries proved too grave for a return to the top flight of motorsport.

Despite using the Ferrari simulator it appears that his fine hand control has not returned to what would be required for a competitive drive and this hugely popular man is resigned to competing in world rallying – albeit with some success.

At one time, he was recognised as the greatest threat to the Hamilton and Alonso duo – with both having the hugest respect for his ability and so it remains that the Pole will only have his 2008 Canadian Grand Prix as his lasting legacy in Formula One.

The Grumpy Jackal


Legendary Forghieri blames Alonso for Ferrari’s recent struggles

Legendary Ferrari engineer, Mauro Forghieri, offered some insight to the Ferrari team and its rebirth from a dying force. “In my humble opinion, at this very moment, the SF15-T seems “more healthy” if we wanted to compare it with the F14-T. By this I mean the car seems to respond positively or negatively to the different solutions the engineers trying this is important as they develop the car.”

“Another important aspect of the team in 2015 is the enthusiasm which has been missing for a number of years. You only have to look at the applause given to Sebastien Vettel when he pitted in Jerez to understand how well the team has gelled together and this is all under the direction of Maurizio Arrivabene who is a great motivator.”

“Last year, Kimi complained continuously about the car and he had little confidence in it and felt it had been designed around someone that wanted direct reactions. Yet in Jerez he seemed genuinely pleased with the direction the car has taken. Lets not get carried away yet though, Barcelona will be a bigger test of the teams pace. But with young team that is designing this car, the enthusiasm can be felt. They have constant ideas about how to improve the car whereas the older generation do not respond with the same speed and energy.”

“Most young people are not ashamed to learn from their senior colleagues – something the British are very good at. Here in Italy we all believe we are children of Leonardo Da Vinci and therefore important whereas in fact the greatness of a man is measured by his humility.”

“I was tired of seeing Ferrari mired in recent years and this great crime was perpetrated by Alonso, Tombazis and Fry. They created a team within a team and generated negative conditions in regards alternate policies. Instead of uniting people they actually worked on deepening internal divisions which brought about a blame culture that was too scared to aim for results in their work.”

“Fernando is a great driver – there is no doubt but he was in a car that wasn’t right for him. Remember how he addressed his criticism of the technical department in the public arena? Wherever he went, he never created a good atmosphere or helped with the cohesion within the team. These factors are essential to progress. With Alonso we had Ferrari people fighting against each other and this is something that every driver should avoid.”

“Fortunately there is no bad blood between Seb and Kimi and they drive and work in similar ways so everything has changed and I’m very happy and confident.”


Alonso can see a marked difference at Mclaren because of Eric

Currently, caught in the middle of the honeymoon stage, Fernando Alonso cannot say a bad word about his new team. The Mclaren he left in such acrimonious circumstances eight years ago was a very different team to what he is experiencing now and he believes it is all to do with the racing director.

“I think it’s different – it’s more open, I’m different as well, I was 25 years old when I joined McLaren the first time so I’m definitely different. I think it’s the perfect time to re-join because we share some goals. With the arrival of Eric [Boullier] the team is much more open and let’s say international, there are people from many teams joining McLaren this year.”

It’s worth noting that Alonso is a very savvy individual when it comes to playing the political game and as was demonstrated during his time at Ferrari much of the message he conveys is not in the words he gifts the media but in the messages that are left unsaid.

After all, when discussing his options of joining the Woking team last year, he asserted that he never had a problem at Mclaren except with one individual – Ron Dennis.

On a different note, the Spanish Samurai is excited by the prospect of working with the Honda concern. Yet in what seems an age old problem for most F1 drivers, their selective choice of history seems to tie in with when they entered the sport: “Honda after 22 years is coming back, too, so the whole team is believing in the project and excited to do well.”

Of course, it would be simple to suggest that the Spaniard’s reference to Honda’s return with Mclaren is because the intervening years have shown a poor return for the Japanese giant.

Still, as ever, Fernando will mould himself to whatever suits his purposes best – “I’m delighted to work with the Honda guys and saw from the first day how passionate they were about motor racing in general. It’s not just the Formula One project, it’s the way they live and they think. It’s the culture, I’m a big fan of Japanese culture and they carry that experience over to their work. I know sooner or later we will deliver what we want to do because I really think with Honda if they want to do something they will achieve it.”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher




Force India block Marussia/Manor racing return

Manor Racing F1 – the ex-Marussia team – had almost made it over the line and out of insolvency. They had requested prior to the season’s finale in Abu Dhabi, the other teams consider allowing them to run a 2014 car for the first few races of 2015 – due to the fact they had lost a significant amount of time in car development.

When asked at an end of season FIA press conference whether they would agree to allow Marussia to run a 2014 car in 2015, all the big teams’ Principals gave their assent.

Manor Racing made a formal request to the strategy group this week to allow them time to develop a 2015 F1 car – but in the meantime, run their 2014 challenger.

The 2014 monocoques require fundamental re-design due to the new safety regulations on the height of 2015 noses. It is impossible to just fit a modified nose to the chassis.

Bob Fernly speaking to Adam Cooper admits to the fact that Force India vetoed this application. He cited compliance as an issue and that the application was from Graham Lowden but should have been sent by the administrator.

“No details were supplied of who the new owners would be or the operational structures that would be put in place. Given the lack of information, uncertain guarantees, and the speculative nature of the application, the decision was taken that it is better to focus on ensuring the continued participation of the remaining independent teams.”

Clearly Force India will benefit from a share of the re-distributed $65m prize money Marussia had earned, as will the other teams.

Further, Force India clearly have issues themselves. They were to attend the first winter test in Jerez and run the 2014 car with the new Mercedes engine. They failed to show up claiming that the funds would be better spent on readying their new car for Barcelona.

TJ13 has been reporting during the winter that the Silverstone based team are having financial difficulties. Now reports are emerging from Silverstone that the VJM08 will not be ready for the second test, and that ‘suppliers’ have been partially to blame.

As TJ13 podcast commentator suggested, the solution could be – “Try paying ‘em Bob”.

Formula One is dog eat dog at times, and to a certain extent Force India’s actions against Manor Racing are only to be expected.

However, unless Mallya gets the investment the Silverstone team requires, we may be observing a season opening with just 16 cars on the grid.

The Strategy Group members are Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Williams all on a permanent basis. Added to them is the next best placed constructor, which this year is Force India. Each team has a vote, while the FIA has six votes and Formula One Management has six votes.


56 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 6th February 2015

  1. Caption Comp

    Kimi- the secret password is “Alonso is a wanker!”
    Man behind door- no Kimi, it’s now “Seb is our saviour” weren’t you paying attention in the briefing room?
    Kimi- just open the F-ing door I know what I’m doing.

  2. just saying, cause I am a great Stoner fan, but Alonso situation at Ferrari reminds his seasons at Ducati

    both extremely talented and driving or riding around their machines limitations, therefore disguising the faults

    in Stoner’s defense, the fact that he was a “worker” staying many nights with the team, but even though, he and Alonso appear to share the same kind of personality, with Alonso being more able in terms of politics and internal games

    • Actually Stoner’s situation at Ducati was somewhat similar to Alonso’s in relation to who could ride/drive the machine they both developed. Let’s not forget that Stoner was only person who was capable of winning on the Ducati. Not even the G. O. A. T Rossi and Jerry Burgess couldn’t get it to work for them and the problem still exists at present.

      • and I think that Rossi indeed is the greatest in part ’cause he was at the best team with best equipment and without opposition in equal machinery, just compare from 2006 to 2012, when Stoner shared the track with him, he wasn’t that dominant, even with the all conquering well developed M1

        the stats shows 2 titles for Rossi, 2 for Stoner, 2 for Lorenzo and 1 for Hayden, with Stoner leading in number of wins and pole positions numbers during those seasons

      • regarding Ducati, I think the only other rider capable of riding it would be Kenny Roberts Sr in his youth when he took those titles, just because he knew, just like Stoner, to use the rear wheel and the throttle to overcome Ducati’s lack pitch and front grip into the corners, Marc probably could do the same as Stoner’s engineer said they almost share the riding style

        • @ R/T

          I think you are completely wrong in your comparason of Stoner / Ducati and the Alonso / Ferrari situation.


          You forget that Casey left Ducati – not just because they wouldn’t listen to him on the development direction of the bike – but mostly because of the way they treated him during his period of illness …

          He was made a pariah simply because he was too ill to race.

          As you said – he was the only rider that could ride around the faults in the Ducati.

          However – unlike Alonso – he knew what the problems were and wanted Ducati to change the design of the bike to make it easier to ride for anyone – NOT just for him.

          BIG difference there.

          The problem was that the designers wouldn’t listen to Casey – and thought THEY knew best – not the guy riding the bike.

          Since Audi bought Ducati and Gigi Dall’Igna took over –

          1) ALL these ” know it all ” designers have been sacked !

          2) Ducati are redesigning their bike to be more in line with other manufacturers – and along the lines of what Casey asked for way back in 2008 …..


          Ducati shafted Stoner – that’s why he left

          Whereas Alonso shafted Ferrari !

          • BTW

            I forgot to mention that Valentino & JB asked for the bike to be re-designed too.

            But the ” know it all ” designers refused them too – hence the disastrous 2 years Rossi had at Ducati.

            Both Vale & Casey recognised and agreed on the same fundamental problems with the Ducati.

            No one at Ducati would listen.

          • @ mankster

            you are completely wrong, too, in your assesment of my comment

            I am not, by any means, criticising Stoner, I am a great fan of his style, in and out of track, and being his fan I know how much Ducati shafted his position, noticeably when he was sick, they even mocked him behind the scenes, they thought he was doing “faux pas” to break the contract, also there were situations where the team f_cked his race, like in Donington ’09

            anyway, thanks for the reply


          • @ R/T

            You said –

            ” I am a great Stoner fan, but Alonso situation at Ferrari reminds his seasons at Ducati ”

            I never said you were criticising Stoner

            I said that your comparison with Alonso / Ferrari – WAS WRONG

            They were completely different scenarios …..

            Try reading what I said – not your inaccurate interpretation of what you think I said.

            And I repeat –

            I think you are completely wrong in your comparason of Stoner / Ducati and the Alonso / Ferrari situation.

  3. LdM was the problem with Ferrari and not Alonso. He hired the wrong set of people who produced different designs of the same car. Alonso always complained but he never was the employer.

    • How could he be the only problem, when he threw everything behind Alonso so that he could win the title? How did that same philosophy not affect them when they had Kimi and Massa?

  4. “I think it’s different – it’s more open, I’m different as well, I was 25 years old when I joined McLaren the first time so I’m definitely different. I think it’s the perfect time to re-join because we share some goals.”

    Shouldn’t they all share the same goals, seeing McHonda get back to winning ways and winning championship again? It would be interesting to what goals they share that are different?

    So he’s excited to ‘work with the Honda guys’….hmmmm and the McLaren guys, what about them?

    • All utter crap. It’s quite clear that McLaren was his only choice in F1 after Ferrari let him go. He’s desperate for a seat in that Merc, although who wouldn’t be, and it’s also clear that McLaren seems to be a stop-gap for him as the guy does not now have time on his side. He’s not getting any younger, and he better be working like mad with McLaren-Honda to make sure the car is competitive sharpish. Although, it will probably take a year or so for them to progress and start challenging again. He’s been lumbered with them and anyone who thinks that he wants a ‘new challenge’ is mistaken – he hasn’t got the time for that. He’s in his prime and the clock is ticking – unless relations between Lewis and Nico go catastrophically wrong in the near future, he’s gonna have to stick it out and hope his talents are just as good as they are now when the McLaren is competitive.

  5. Caption comp……

    So you think you could sneak away for an ice cream break without anyone noticing?

  6. Caption: Let me put on these sunglasses so that nobody can tell who I am… Where did that ice cream van go off to?

  7. Because Ferrari employed the wrong set of technical personnel and it only became obvious s time passed and the rules changed. Which was MM let go of the lot.

      • Because it appears that Alonso’s relationship with Ferrari broke down completely and Ferrari finally made a move to sign Vettel. Kimi wise ? Two reasons 1. Ferrari would have to pay him for 2015 and 2. Kimi gets on with Vettel it seems. So there is a level of stability with Kimi being Vettel’s team mate. If it works out well, then I wouldn’t be surprised if they take up the contract extension option with Kimi. Not that he seems that bothered about it.

        • Not to mention that Kimi is a pro you can trust. Not talking about being the fastest and other lucky stuff but a reliable professional who doesn’t bad mouth the team or share team meeting secrets or private contact conditions. As long as you pay his salary of course.

  8. Seems like it wasn’t only FI that blocked the move to allow Marussia/Manor to join the grid this season…….

    “”They wanted to come in with last year’s car and it didn’t get accepted,” Bernie Ecclestone told the Independent.

    “It needed all the teams to agree and there were three or four of them that didn’t agree.”

    He also confirmed that the decision was likely motivated by money, as the £34 million in prize money set aside for Marussia would now be redistributed amongst the nine teams, whilst they would also earn additional money from the 2015 season as a result of a smaller grid.

    “The money that they should have got gets distributed amongst the teams that are racing. That’s a pretty good reason [to vote no] I suppose,” he confirmed.”

    • If I have the choice to believe the BBC or Bernie – it’s not a hard choice to make. He couldn’t even remember if it were three or four teams. He tries to deflect the shitstorm that FI so richly deserve.

      • I wonder if FI are trying to play hard-ball and squeeze a few more bucks out of Bernie. After all, it is in his interests in a way that Marussia survive – although we never did find out the size of the grid that triggers various contract clauses.

        With FI, Lotus and Sauber being on dangerous ground it may well be to Bernie’s benefit to have 1 more team on the grid. He may just need to ‘loan’ FI a few quid to tide them over and get their vote reversed…

      • For trying to avoid bankrupcy?
        They boasted about saving 500k!

        No wonder they do this.

        I don’t like VJ but given their situation, I can understand this action. You could argue that they brought this upon themselves, but even then, you cannot ask them to save their neighbours with their own survival at risk.

      • It was reported a few days ago that Bernie was expecting Force India, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and another team I don’t remember to veto Marussia. That epitome of human crap called Dietrich Mateschitz said they will vote against it. Now, why do those cheaters need 10 more million? If F1 were serious they should had been expelled some time ago.

          • Actually Fats, what Juan said was correct – I’ve read the same.
            Probably a piece of quality GMM crap…..

          • That’s my point Peter. “I’ve read somewhere” is not a quotable source. What we do have, however, are dozens of links to media outfits in different countries and languages that all say Force India nixed it unilaterally. Which one is more likely to be the truth?

          • That’s the problem, I don’t remember where I read it, otherwise I would have provided a link. The closest I can find right now is this:
            Helmut is quoted there saying they wouldn’t agree to allow Manor/Marussia to race this year, which is line with what a remember having read. Maybe they were lucky Force India voted first and they didn’t have to be the bad ones.

          • Okay, when I read Ralf Bach, I had a jolly good laugh. He’s the Eddie the Eagle of German F1 journalists.

            The whole thing falters when Marko is quoted as saying “Our second team Toro Rosso.”

            Neither Marko nor Mateschitz would publicly say that. In fact they try their utmost to make it look as if STR is completely independent to avoid trouble with FIA.

  9. @ The Jackal

    Re : KUBICA

    It’s not the ” fine hand control ” that hasn’t returned that is the problem – although it certainly isn’t what it was before the accident.

    Remember that an F1 car has paddle shifts – so that would not compromise him.

    In fact he has been allowed to use paddle shifts in his WRC rally car up till now in deference to his inability to use a sequential stick shift which was required by the regulations – ( note * Paddle shits are now legal in WRC 2015 ).

    Robert gave an interview ( last year I think it was ) for WRC tv. The problem is he can can’t produce enough ” leverage ” to turn a steering wheel fully to 180 deg or beyond. This seems to be a combination of muscle tissue damage, and the effects of bone and joint reconstruction.

    He stated that on the Ferrari simulator he was fine on many of the tracks, bur street circuits, and Monaco in particular, he was incapable of turning the steering wheel enough to negotiate the hairpins or tight corners.

    He also pointed out this was solely due to the confined cockpit of a modern F1 car.

    In a WRC, WEC or normal road car he had no such problem. Due to the larger cockpits he could ” get his elbows out ” and use his shoulder muscles to get the required turning of the steering wheel.

    An F1 car apparently requires more usage of the wrist / forearm / elbow – the main area that was sadly damaged in his accident.

  10. Oh dear… Force India blocks Marussia’s application in the Strategy Group.

    This is the same FI who have been saying that the Strategy Group was potentially illegal and that there isn’t enough help for smaller teams. And one of the reasons is that ownership wasn’t clear? The same FI who have a part-owner who has been in jail for many months…and another who (if I remember correctly) isn’t allowed to leave his own country – presumably because he’s a flight risk.

    Whatever your view of whether Marussia should be in F1 or not, this is just about the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen for some time (and there’s a LOT of competition for that).

    I’ve always had quite a bit of respect for how Force India go about their racing – the achieve good results and do a good job despite the distractions around their finances and owners. That ended today. In my opinion, they just lost a lot of respect and I’ll view them differently from now on (Note: I understand that Bob may just be doing his master’s bidding, but I’m afraid that’s not an excuse).

    • “and another who (if I remember correctly) isn’t allowed to leave his own country – presumably because he’s a flight risk.”

      Err is that the same owner who was in Mexico last week??

      I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye.

      FYI FI were the only team to actually offer any real assistance for the last GP and it was FI’s truck and driver (FOC) who got Marussia’s cars to the docks.

      It wasn’t their fault there was a customs hiccup which prevented them from being loaded and getting to the final race of 2014…..

  11. “The Strategy Group members are Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Williams all on a permanent basis.”

    FI are on the SG as the *best* performer outside the entrenched five. If FI stays out in the cold, and if my computations are correct, the next best placed team is Toro Rosso. Which in plain terms means that all of a sudden Christian Horner will have 2 votes on SG, while Bernie will have the votes of 1/3 of the team voting privileges….

    Which means that poor old Bernard shall have 8 votes out of 18 in the SG (6 FOM and 2 bullies). So for any given occasion, any vested-interest vote from either Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren or Williams can immediately shift the balance of power on any given decision. Take that for regulating impotence, Monsieur Todt!

  12. Forghieri doesn’t mention the Ferrari’s continual lack of downforce and the poor engine they built last year.

    You can blame Alonso all you want with out any real basis, but if you look at his Ferrari lacking 80bhp, like it did last year, or lacking many points of downforce as compared to the championship winning Redbull of the previous 4 years then who really is to blame becomes apparent.

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