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Bernard E “promotes” his product
“I would bet all I have on Mercedes.”
This is Bernard E’s latest attempt to make new viewers enthusiastic about his racing series. Since such attempts have not been universally successful in the past, the ageing emperor has asked Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa for help.
“I would make the same bet,” the Spaniard dutifully delivers. “The dominance of Mercedes is scary. You can expect that they will be far ahead of the rest in Australia. I’m not even sure they can be beaten at all.”
Alex Wurz’s twitter messages sound a bit more optimistic. “Mercedes are now under pressure. They have to decide how far they have to turn down their engine to avoid lapping the whole field by lap 30.”
Normally such domination should not be to Bernard’s liking as it could induce a mild boredom for some of the fifteen viewers that are left, but he acknowledges the good job that Mercedes has done on the unloved new power units. “They have been the first to believe in the new engine regulations. That was their big advantage. Apart from that they did a great job. If you look at their unit – it’s a great example of engineering excellence.”
Bernard goes on to declare his undying love for the new engines. “I don’t think we need such an engine in Formula One. The concept cannot be transferred to the road cars. I can see nothing in the thing that’s good for Formula One. F1 is not the place to develop such a type of engine. We are in the racing business and the entertainment industry. Such an engine doesn’t help with that.”
In case you’re wondering – yes – that’s all from the same interview.
Hamilton contract negotiations going nowhere fast
Here at TJ13, we’ve been tracking the rhetoric from both sides of the contract negotiation between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
Both parties are clearly doing some of their negotations via the media. Toto Wolff chose to reveal it would be no big deal should they fail to find agreement with Hamilton when he stated that Bottas and Alonso were waiting in the wings.
Hamilton has dropped management company XIX and is dealing with contractual matters for the first time himself. “I’m not too sure I’ve enjoyed it,” said Lewis. “It’s a very, very nerve-racking experience. But I’m glad I’ve done it. If I’d not done something like this I would have always wondered if I could or could not.”
The British F1 double world champion has let it be known through ‘select sources’ that he expects to be the highest paid driver in Formula One, presumably because he is the current world champion.
Lewis’ latest comments on the matter, don’t appear to reign in this ambition. “It’s not about status and being the best paid because you’re world champion, it’s just a natural thing.”
“It’s gradual progressions along with the team. As the team progress, I want to as well. My target, like every driver is to work towards being the best.”
What this form or words means in actuality is impossible to determine, though Hamilton’s current contract for £20m is believed to be well short of the £40m Vettel is receiving from Ferrari as reported by The Times last week. Further, the Guardian reveals that Stuttgart was reticent to agree to £20m a year, and is not inclined to double this number
“Hopefully we’re in the final stages [of talks],” the Brit now reveals. “I don’t really know what the timeline is but we’re very much in the last stages of it. I’m committed to this team for the foreseeable future.”
The timeline has been that Mercedes opened contract negotiations with Hamilton back in June 2014. The team were forced to concede that whilst Lewis was competing for a championship, matters should be put on hold.
This led Toto Wolff to reveal recently, that he and the team would prefer to finalise negotiations with Hamilton prior to the season opener in Australia – when of course Lewis will again be competing for titles.
The sticking point is the amount of money. Lewis set out his stall at the beginning of the Jerez test when he claimed, “I am 30 now. I am my own man. I know my worth.”
Yet Hamilton may need to understand that Mercedes view of ‘his worth’ is be very different from his own. With a car/engine package that is so dominant, Stuttgart are not desperate to employ a driver who is the most expensive on the grid and see this as unnecessary for them to deliver both the driver and team F1 championships.
When questioned in Jerez about the contract negotiations, Lewis told reporter, “We want to stay together. We love each other, basically.”
Hamilton will now have realised that in life at times, love is just not enough. Both he and Nicole have repeatedly and publicly declared their love for each other, however, the end of the road has finally arrived for that relationship.
If reports are to be believed, Hamilton refused an ultimatum from Shertzinger, which required him to marry her and begin producing children. Refusing to comply, Lewis withdrew from the negotiations.
The irony is that Mercedes will do the same with Hamilton if he persists on demanding to be the highest paid Formula One driver in 2016.
Sources close to Hamilton have revealed Ferrari have offered to make Lewis the highest paid driver in the sport, as they seek to replace Raikkonen in 2016.
Jenson’s plan B – Olympia instead of WEC
Late last season McLaren took their sweet time to decide whether Dane Kevin Magnussen or old hand Jenson Button would partner Fernando Alonso this year. There is little doubt that had Ron Dennis’ trip to Denmark resulted in the arrival of new backers, the 2009 world champion from Blighty would have been out.
Obviously Jenson had come to the same conclusion and had started to look for alternative ways to work up a sweat. Surprisingly, however, he did not look at Le Mans as was rumoured last year. His idea was competing in the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games.
However, the same realities hit home that jeopardized his place in F1. “I’m too old,” Jenson realized. “I’m a good amateur, but everyone else on top of his professional career is competing in a different league.”
The olympic triathlon is composed of 1.5km of swimming, 40 kilometers of cycling and 10km of running. To console himself, Jenson has signed up to do the London marathon. Way to go ol’ chap.
Hippo’s completely gratuitous F1 Meme
Van der Garde’s day in court
Today Sauber had to face the music from a former driver in the Supreme Court in Victoria. Giedo van der Garde has won an action in Switzerland which sees him retain his F1 drive for Sauber as per the contract the team signed with him. He asked the Australian judicial system today to enforce this order.
Rodney Garrett, the lawyer representing the Swiss F1 team argued it would be ‘unsafe’ for the Dutchman to be allowed to drive the C34 this weekend, because he hasn’t been through the two weeks seat fitting process.
“Sauber could not allow him to race… it would be reckless and dangerous to do otherwise. It would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death,” reports Radio Australia.
The fact that the tea’s insurance didn’t covere van der Garde was also raised by Garrett along with a rather desperate query over the safety of spectators.
Tom Clarke, speaking on behalf of the Dutchman, revealed to the court that recently an F1 driver had a seat fitting and was driving the car just three days later. “Teams are very flexible to make adjustments for every specific driver,” he said.
Both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr were in court, and Clarke addressed the matter of their contracts too. “Sauber does have the ability to substitute Mr Van der Garde this weekend for one or another driver without falling into breach of those existing contracts,” Clarke stated.
Justice Clyde Croft reserved his decision until 10am on Wednesday.
German GP survives
The deadline for the promoters of the German GP to agree a deal with Bernie Ecclestone has come and gone.
German news agency DPA reported Ecclestone’s position: “I am happy to hold a Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. The promoters know it and we have met to discuss it. The problem is that they are not willing to pay the fee.”
As TJ13 has continued to report, this is déjà vu for Ecclestone – who found himself in the same position 2 years ago. His choice is also the same as then. Give the race away – or drop down to nineteen races for the year.
Neither are a preferred choice for F1’s supremo – yet Bernie is for now silent on the matter, so the race for now is still on.
McLaren in trouble
Damon Hill has given his views on the modest ambitions set by McLaren for the next few races. “It is not good enough, because only winning is good enough,” asserts Hill to the Express. “They can’t be saying they need to be in the top 10, that is not good enough for a team like McLaren”.
Hill goes on to speculate that all will end well, stating “The McLaren-Honda thing has to work at some point.”
Martin Brundle sees the Woking team’s current plight as desperate. “They are in terrible trouble, aren’t they?”
The Sky pundit then lends credence to one of the theories regarding Alonso’s non-appearance in Austrralia. “There are even a few people saying Alonso doesn’t want to get in it yet.”
Bruindle ends with a grain of hope for Big Ron and his troops. “The McLaren-Honda looked as bad as the RedBull-Renault last winter, but they finished second in the championship”.
5 days from now, we will know whether the roaring tiger has made it through FP1 and FP2.
Anderson says McLaren withholding information from Alonso crash
Ex-Formula One car designer Gary Anderson believes McLaren are withholding information following Fernando Alonso’s crash during the second winter test. He explains, “the suspension components are designed to fail and leave the survival cell and the suspension pick-ups intact.
“If the suspension components don’t fail, they could damage the survival cell, rendering a very expensive and time-consuming component to become scrap”.
Anderson concludes that because there was not a complete failure of the front suspension wish bones that, the force of impact suffered by the car would be no more than 16g – meaning Alonso would have experienced just 6-8g on impact.
Gary believes this level of force is not abnormal for the drivers. “With all the mandatory headrest padding etc, the driver will experience that level of force many times during a race weekend without any problems”.
There is of course another explanation. The suspension components didn’t fail as they were designed to – then Alonso would have experienced a far higher G-Force impact than Anderson calculates.
Whilst McLaren may have badly bungled the information dissemination about Alonso’s crash into the public domain, Ron Dennis stated quite clearly it was he who requested the FIA investigate the matter. For this reason it is unlikely McLaren are deliberately withholding vital information – unless of course Big Ron is banking on another Bianchi style enquiry – and concluding report that can be read in around 60 seconds.
Edd Straw of Autosport is clearly irritated by the constant questions this incident in Barcelona has thrown up. “What is most distasteful about this whole situation is that at the root of many of the conspiracies is a fundamental inability – perhaps a refusal – to attempt to understand the situation Alonso is in”.
The ‘situation Alonso is in’ – is simple. He has been advised not to race in Australia.
What causes questions and allegations that McLaren are hiding something are inconsistencies in statements issued by them and others.
We can be certain, there are inconsistencies between Alonso and Dennis over the current state of the Spaniard’s health. Dennis claimed he was “physically perfect” whilst Alonso has chosen to accept the advice of his doctors that he is not fit to race in Australia.
This discontinuity has clearly bypassed Ed’s attention, but simply cannot be ignored.