A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
OTD Lite 2001 – Montoya arrives in crash-bang-wallop style
Is it really fourteen years ago that Juan Pablo Montoya put the wind up Michael Schumacher on only his third Grand Prix start?
The 2001 Brazilian GP will go down in history as the emergence of a true great. Someone who at last had the nerve to take on and beat the dominant Schumi. Except it all went wrong. To this day, fans of the Colombian still do not fully understand what the hell happened for him to leave within 5 years.
Personally I think JPM was not designed to fit into the bland corporate world that F1 is built around. Look at Hamilton, for example; he wears his heart on his sleeve and the public relate to that whereas someone as regulated as Nico Rosberg measures every word that is uttered to the press and therefore is seen as insipid and uninteresting.
Wasn’t it always thus? Anyway, JPM took the lead and pulled away from the German until he came up to lap Jos Verstappen on lap 39… and Jos made a mistake his son would be scolded for and forgot to brake as they approached turn 4 taking both himself and a very grumpy Colombian out of the race.
The Grumpy Jackal
Button misses irony of suggesting Vettel lucky
Last week TJ13 reported that Jenson Button had come out defending his Mclaren team after Fernando Alonso claimed he had had problems with the steering which contributed to his Barcelona crash. Jenson has seen the data and as per the team’s view there was nothing that indicated a problem with the Woking challenger.
At the time it appeared that factions within the team were already in a war of words with the Spaniard before he had even stepped into his MP4/30. Yet yesterday it seems that Button was back-pedalling in his support of his new team-mate with his views on Sebastian Vettel’s latest triumph.
“He has definitely lucked into a situation. I would say, I am sure he had the same information as Fernando when Fernando left the team. It is one of those situations which sometimes works out for you, for example (Daniel) Ricciardo was overtaken by his new team-mate, Daniil Kvyat, and lapped by his ex-team-mate Vettel on the same lap. Who would have thought that at the end of last year, so sometimes you do luck into a situation.”
This of course suggests that Alonso had an option to stay at Ferrari. In recent weeks, much of the main stream British press has suggested that the Spaniard left Ferrari and only then was Vettel recruited. Which ignores the fact that the Seb to Ferrari rumours have been around F1 since 2011, but Alonso always vetoed his recruitment.
Back in April last year when Stefano Domenicali resigned his team principal role at Ferrari he was called by three drivers which included the reigning four time champion. As the season progressed and Marco Mattiacci made his presence felt within the Scuderia – the Samurai began supporting the team and he would “do what was best for the Ferrari team“; yet still attempted to stay at Ferrari because he had a valid contract till 2016.
In Japan Vettel announced he was leaving Red Bull and the Milton Keynes hierarchy, as classless as ever, announced he was joining Ferrari. Of course Alonso went on the offensive but Italian sources claimed he was told categorically there was no longer a place at Maranello for him.
As to Button’s conjecture that the information available to Vettel would have been known to Alonso – this is extremely unlikely. F1 teams are notoriously secretive with plans when a driver is leaving or is about to be replaced for the following season but patterns emerge.
Ferrari had replaced so much of their technical staff throughout 2014 that a change was bound to happen. With the highly rated James Allison taking full control of the 2015 design much was expected of this years challenger and with a number of Brackley staff hired by Maranello last season the engine was bound to be progressing in the right direction.
As to luck – surely the greatest piece of good fortune befell our beloved Button just before the 2009 season started. With Honda pulling the plug on the F1 project it looked for a time that the Briton’s career was over yet with the Mercedes engine in the back of his Brawn GP car he went on to secure his only title..
Legend returns to guide Mclaren-Honda back
Osamu Goto is considered a legend in Japan and within Formula One. He was the brains behind Honda when they entered F1 for the second time in the 80’s – they had been a F1 entrant back in the mid 60’s.
As is the Japanese way, 1983 was a tentative start to a journey that would see the Japanese manufacturer re-write what was possible with engine technology. They literally tore the Europeans apart with successive Constructor crowns from 1986 to 1991.
When Honda withdrew from F1 at the end of 1992 Ferrari approached Goto to join their engine department where he was their head of R&D – before moving on to work with Sauber’s fuel sponsor, Petronas, in conjunction with their Ferrari sourced engines.
With Honda experiencing severe problems with their technology – the call was made to Osamu to return and work alongside Yasuhisa Arai for the company that was his life for so many years. Giles Simon – Honda’s advisor – worked with Goto at Ferrari back in the late 90’s and knew that he would honour his past if given the chance.
With Osamu having worked with Mclaren previously and his extensive knowledge of F1 turbo technology – this move can only be considered beneficial to the Woking team and to the recovery of a once great manufacturer.
Allison claims blood-letting necessary for Ferrari future
At times over the winter – publications mocked the purge that was being carried out in the hallowed corridors of Maranello. Many of the senior engineers at the Gestione Sportiva were replaced throughout the year with all the Sergio Marchionne inspired culling culminating shortly before Christmas.
Stefano Domenicali had left in April but some sources suggest this was at the request of the man who would take over the Presidency. Rumours that could be believed when the two men were seen together at the Italian Grand Prix.
In his place came Marco Mattiacci – a close friend of John Elkaan and Marchione – and he initiated changes within the organisation. Once Luca di Montezemolo had been ruthlessly replaced, the major restructuring began.
Il Padrino claimed that the Ferrari victory was due to work that had begun back in February 2014 – although this would question why was it not applied to last year’s car! Despite this James Allison is confident Ferrari is now a much leaner outfit. With 1,300 employees designing and building just two Formula One cars this term is purely subjective though.
Allison: “Any changes like that are not done lightly and are not easy to do, but are done looking to the long-term to try to make sure we have got a team of people in place that we know can build to the future and just make us stronger month by month. We will increasingly benefit from those changes in the months and years ahead rather than making a difference overnight.”
“It feels great to win in any colour, but there is something absolutely fantastic about this team. Every team works hard, but at Ferrari they work especially hard. At Ferrari we also have the history of the team bearing down on us and everywhere you go in the factory there is ample evidence of massive success in the past, and anyone who works there in a period when it’s not successful is cowed by that fact.”
“And then they have the weight of an entire nation on them as well, and those are pressures that they soak up and when the pressure is released by a day like this, boy does it feel good. Everybody here won’t be able to find proper words to tell you how wonderful it is.”