Daily News and Comment: Friday 24th April 2015


UPDATED 09:29 GMT A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

There’s nothing quite like a Marko scorned;

Confessions of a once dominant F1 team principal;

Jenson is on his bike;

Red Bull in the home of classical music;

Senna’s Toleman for sale;

There’s nothing quite like a Marko scorned

Helmut Marko plucked Sebastian Vettel from relative obscurity as he replaced the sacked Scott Speed at Toro Rosso mid-season.

The rise of the young German was meteoric as he joined the big bull team and won quadruple back-to-back championships between 2010 and 2013.

Over the course of Vettel’s career at Red Bull Racing, Helmut Marko would frequently demonstrate his never failing commitment to Sebastian by commenting negatively on the German’s team-mate Mark Webber. The last of these outbursts was at the start of the 2013 season, when he suggested of the Aussie that he has a little trouble with the pressure” and “falls relatively easily into a downward spiral”.

Doktor Marko appeared to take the surprise news that Vettel was leaving Red Bull relatively well, though it was Marko who first briefed the media that Vettel was heading to Ferrari. This appeared to be of some embarrassment to Sebastian as for several weeks after the press were briefed, he was unable to reveal the new F1 team he would be joining.

“It was a fantastic time. We at Red Bull knew him for a very long time… but life goes on” mused Marko last October. Then amusingly implied the decision that Vettel should move on had been made jointly.

The Marko comment, “We need drivers who are fully motivated,” again could be viewed as a gentle dig at Sebastian’s performance thus far in 2014, as he trailed his new team-mate in the driver standings by some margin.

Sebastian was seen over at the Red Bull garage this weekend, of course wearing the bright red overalls of his Ferrari team. The reception Seb received from the mechanics appeared to be convivial, but then again he did deliver 10,000 euro bonuses for them each time he won a championship.

Helmut doesn’t appear to be missing his protégé. When asked about life after Vettel, he replied: “Sebastian had his advantages, but Ricciardo proved last year that in terms of speed and car development – he is at the same level”.


Hell hath no fury, like a Marko scorned – then again maybe the good docktor has now recovered from any feelings of rejection he had when Sebastian declared he was off to Ferrari.

This in fact could just be, Herr Helmut – ‘moving on’.


Confessions of a once dominant F1 team principal

Christian Horner along with Helmut Marko have been the main protagonists who have revealed to the world that the Red Bull Racing love is not what it has been for their quadruple world championship winning partner, Renault.

Yet in a candid interview with F1’s official site, Horner’s rhetoric has mellowed somewhat and the Red Bull team principal appears resigned to the reality that is F1 racing – that you can’t always win.

Given that Red Bull have used three of the four engines allowed for each car in a season, Horner addresses the certainty of multiple 10 place grid penalties coming their way – and soon.

“It is frustrating. For sure we are going to use more than four – we’ve used three in three races – so the chances of us staying within the limit of four is close to zero”.

The Red Bull team principal reveals that unanimous agreement at the F1 strategy group has been reached to change the sporting regulations for 2015 and that an extra fifth engine will be allowed for each car this year.

“The teams agreed unanimously in Malaysia to introduce a fifth engine, but the engine penalties will affect others too – not only us. For us we would need that number to increase to seven, eight or nine engines for the season. Unfortunately these are the rules and we are not looking great within these rules. Hopefully these rules will become more realistic in the future”.

However, this proposal will also require unanimous support from the teams who are not part of the F1 strategy group quorum when it makes its way to the F1 commission in 2 weeks time.

Horner is also looking for a regulation change for 2016, which will also require unanimous agreement that will see in season engine development allowed next year too.

“If they freeze this engine effectively in February next year then you are going to freeze advantages and disadvantages. I think it has to be opened up to allow more development as this is a very immature technology. The downside is cost. Or you come up with regulations that make the engine less of a performance differentiator and take costs out. Whatever you do you will have happy and unhappy faces. So the real question should be what is best for Formula One. But the teams have to look out for their own interests, so there will always be those that try to exploit the rules and it is against everything that a competitive team is to give away an advantage”.

Despite the bad blood, which has been spilled in public between Red Bull and Renault, Horner appears to be taking a more pragmatic view of this relationship going forward.

“We have a contract with Renault for 2015 and 2016 and it is in Renault’s interest as much as in ours to sort the current issues out as quickly as possible.

In reality our best chance is with Renault – and vice versa. We have won 50 Grand Prix and eight world championships together – so sometimes frustration boils over”.

Just as it seems the memory of happier times together is dawning on Horner, the Red Bull/Renault reconciliation hits the buffers as the Spice Boy jumps to the defence of his paymaster’s threats to leave Formula One.

“Dietrich doesn’t talk publicly very often – but when he does you have to listen. What he was conveying was: Renault should do either the job properly or not at all. You can’t be half pregnant”.

In an interesting justification of Red Bull’s commitment to Formula One, Horner then makes some bold claims indeed about the level of investment that the fizzy drinks company has made into the sport.

“Red Bull has been in the sport for around 20 years: first as a sponsor, then as a shareholder and then as a team owner. Dietrich Mateschitz has invested more in F1 in the last 20 years than probably any other team or company in the sport”.

And if Carlsberg were running Formula One – ‘probably’ would mean a whole lot more entertainment than Red Bull could ever provide.

In conclusion, Horner faces up to the reality the rest of us realised back in Monaco 2014. Newey’s influence on the Red Bull F1 project is on the wain.

“Yes, he has taken a step back but he is involved in the RB11 as in every previous car. The difference will come from RB12 onwards. Yes, he is not that close any more – but he was in Bahrain. He is still mentoring and guiding the technical team”.

Red Bull’s position may seem rather dire at present, but if MacHonda get their act together by the mid season break, the former world championship winning team could be left scrapping for P5-P7 in the constructors’ race they used to dominate.


Jenson is on his bike


Red Bull in the home of classical music


Senna’s Toleman for sale


The Monaco Grand Prix, 1984. Rain so heavy that the street circuit has more in common with a water park than a race track. Young Brazilian prodigy, Ayrton Senna – taking part in his first season of Formula One and his first street race – starts a lowly 13th on the grid, in a Toleman-Hart.

The Toleman-Hart is a good race car, but it’s up against formidable opposition – McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, Renault, Williams, Brabham, Ligier and illustrious others. And while Senna’s talents are becoming more defined with each race, today he’s trailing the big guns of F1 – Prost, Lauda, Mansell, Piquet, Arnoux, Tambay, and Rosberg, to name but a few.

Yet heroically and almost unbelievably, by lap 32 of the waterlogged race Senna is ahead of all his rivals, including race leader Prost. At which point the race is stopped and Senna believes he has won. A controversial decision to base the final race placings on the lap before the red flag means that Senna’s victory is immediately ripped from his grasp: it’s a bitter moment.

However, Senna’s charge through the pack in such treacherous conditions was one of the defining moments of his career, marking out the Brazilian as a maestro of the wet and the elevating the Toleman-Hart from a position of underdog to ‘must watch’.

Prindiville is now privileged to have the genuine Senna Toleman-Hart TG184-2 for sale in its London showroom. This iconic piece of Formula 1 history has proven provenance and its previous owners include ex-F1 star Stefan Johansson. The car is in exceptional condition, retains the general livery from Senna’s epic Monaco drive, and comes complete with a thick history file and a full set of studio photographs.

Before use by a new owner the Toleman-Hart will require re-commissioning: this work is included within the purchase price of the car.

With the 2015 Formula 1 season about to get underway, and the exploits of Ayrton Senna certain to be revisited when comparisons between drivers of today and yesterday are made, right now is the perfect time to invest in one of the cars that helped create the legend.

Source Prindville www. prindiville.co.uk

27 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Friday 24th April 2015

  1. “Sebastian had his advantages, but Ricciardo proved last year that in terms of speed and car development – he is at the same level”.

    Should we take it that drivers DO develop cars?

  2. “You can’t be half pregnant”.

    Interesting choice of words from the Spice Boy. These days the state of “being pregnant” is often considered in the terms of the partnership, as in “we’re pregnant”. As Spice Boy left his wife while she was still pregnant with their (second?) child, I’d say he’s done a pretty good job of at least leaving her “half pregnant”.

  3. Yesterday i visited the Liuwman museum and there is a quite from Enzo that reminded me of RB and Newey. “Aerodynamics is for people who don’t know how to build engines “

  4. Man you guys really have a problem with Red Bull 🙂 No one there can do anything without someone here making fun of them or resorting to call the team member names. It’s all good with me though, but it seems there’s some underlying pain from Red Bull here and I don’t see what it is about that team that gets everyone here so riled up. I’m glad they came along and did what they did to F1, is it really their fault that the sport is such that you can buy success? What were they to do, quit the sport since they can now win? I agree they’re whining now, but it’s no different to the other teams, and particularly Lewis and Alonso being insanely jealous by Red Bull and Vettel’s success.

    • Yes and Ferrari and Mercedes also get the Grease when they’re the squeaky wheel, just RB proving unusually adept at keeping themselves in crosshairs ATM. As was Sauber and FI currently.

      Of course it’s well known that the site does have a predilection for Webber, but no one tries to hide that as it’s all done in the name of domestic tranquility.

  5. I just want to highlight something very interesting that I saw today.

    Toto Wolff said today in an interview that Mercedes will sacrifice one of their drivers, “…to achieve a good finish, or win the race” if needed during a race, (from the excellent interview by Chris Medland on F1i.com).

    What many of us may not realize is that we nearly saw this happen two weeks ago at Shanghai.

    When the safety car came out a few laps before the end of the Chinese GP, Mercedes knew that Ferrari were likely to pit at least one of their cars for fresh rubber if there was at least a lap or two of green flag racing. Mercedes was vulnerable because their rubber was old and they would’ve been sitting ducks, so Ferrari would likely have won.

    Mark Hughes mentioned this very dramatic moment for the two teams in his Chinese GP Report on Motorsport Magazine, (no one else made note of this, that I’ve seen, btw). He pointed out that Mercedes was in the raw position of having to decide if they should sacrifice one or both of their drivers. If they did get some green flag racing, then whoever was on old rubber wouldn’t have had the speed to compete against the fresh rubber. If there was not any green flag racing, whoever pitted would’ve sacrificed their position for un-needed new rubber. Fortunately, Mercedes saw the marshalls struggle, and they didn’t have to make that decision.

    But that was the type of scenario that Toto was referring to. Toto is making very clear they will implement such a decision in the future if needed.

    Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth by each driver’s fans when they do have to implement a split strategy!

    The good news is we now better understand the Mercedes team’s strategic goals. The primary goal appears to be to win the Constructors championship. A secondary goal is to provide equal support to both drivers. But the primary goal always over-rides the secondary goal(s), such that they won’t hesitate to sacrifice one driver to earn a higher amount of constructors points overall.

    We’ve been warned!

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