Daily News and Comment: Friday June 5th, 2015


A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

Verstappen: No respecter of persons

Who do the FIA have in mind having issued an offer for a new team to join F1?

Manor sign a team sponsor

Verstappen: No respecter of persons

As Formula One drivers draw towards the close of their careers, they tend to see themselves in the role of elder statesman and frequently comment on the antics of the new kids on the block. Usually in a manner offering advice, or criticism.

Mark Webber in the aftermath of the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, found himself taken out of the race by rookie Sebastian Vettel who was only in his sixth F1 race.

Both cars were out of the race and Webber wasn’t happy. He said, “Well, it’s kids, isn’t it? Kids with not enough experience, doing a good job, then they fuck it all up”.

With the hindsight of history, Webber’s comments are tinged with irony when one considers how quickly kids grow up.

Felipe Massa now takes on the Webber mantle. He was highly critical of Verstappen following his rear ending of Romain Grosjean during the 2015 Monaco GP. During the driver interviews following the race, Massa had said he expected the FIA to punish the young Dutch driver, and this was brought up in the FIA Driver Press Conference in Canada.

Massa explained, “When I had the interview after the race he was not penalised, and they asked me what I think? I think he needs to be penalised, because what he did was wrong. So that’s what I said.”

“I think especially when you are in your first year, 17 years old, if you do something like that and you’re not penalised, it’s completely wrong. I think the FIA needs to be strong in a proper way, which is what they did, actually. That’s the only thing I said, I don’t change my mind. That’s what I believe, we need to follow the rules. I thought what he did was wrong.”

Without waiting to be asked, Verstappen was ready with his response. “Well, everybody can have their opinion, that’s the first thing but I looked at my data, I didn’t brake any later. I have braked later in the race before that but on the lap I crashed, it was exactly the same lap as the lap before and I got my penalty”.

But the young Dutchman was not done. More irony was to follow as he recalled this race weekend last year, when Massa rear ended Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the race. “I’m focusing on Canada right now,” said Verstappen. Adding “and maybe you should review the race from last year and see what happened there”.

This kid is gold dust for Formula One. Yes he may have joined the sport a year earlier than was ideal as his ex-boss Franz Tost admitted.

However, he has all the hallmarks of a world champion. His air of self belief and now his readiness to fight his own corner, whilst amusingly issuing a put down to one of the most senior drivers on the grid.


Who do the FIA have in mind having issued an offer for a new team to join F1?

It just won’t go away. Audi/Porsche to join F1 is the never ending story that has been written by the mainstream F1 media since about 2007.

It is true, the FIA do not issue annual invitations for teams to join Formula One. The last was in December 2013 and from the outside, the process for applications looked to be a take it or leave it offer – with just about five weeks for potential competitors to complete their applications.

The application process requires a detailed business plan, including comprehensive funding information. This in no way is a vague offer to tender from parties who may just be interested in joining Formula One.

Last week, another offer to tender was issued, so presumably the FIA has been in detailed discussions with an interested party who is good to go with their application.

The timescales again are tight. The FIA requires an expression of interest to be declared by 30 June, with full applications to be submitted by 1 September.

Given the customer car frenzy at the Strategy Group, the favourite candidate to be grilled by the officials in the Place de Concorde has been ART. They are currently running with McLaren livery in GP2, have a Japanese driver in Nobuharu Matsushita and the McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandroone.

ART applied to join Formula One for the 2011 season, and Autosport reported they set to become the thirteenth team following the mass exit of the manufacturers.

Though eventually the team issued this statement. “ART Grand Prix had forged strong bonds with several technical and financial partners but with unfavourable economic conditions they could not gather the necessary guarantees to ensure the stability of the project in the long term.”

Michelin was a significant partner, and they failed to win the bid to supply F1 with tyres, which was no coincidence.

More significantly in the here and now, is that Nicholas Todt is a co-owner in ART. So if anyone can open the door at the FIA, there’s no one like Daddy.

However, Giles Richards writing in the Guardian believes it is Audi/Porsche who have ticked the FIA’s fancy, and are the reason this new offer to compete in F1 has been made.

Mercedes current commercial success is touted as the carrot Audi crave. Giles explains, “The Audi marque has been most associated with an entry, one it has always strongly and understandably denied. Their endurance racing program has been hugely successful with the team winning the Le Mans 24 Hours 13 times since 2000.

They were, however, joined in the World Endurance Championship by Porsche last year who have come on leaps and bounds in a short period of time and are genuine contenders for this year’s 24 Hours”.

This is hardly ground breaking news so far. But Giles persists. “The car they have developed, the Porsche 919, is petrol-driven, as opposed to Audi’s diesel, and utilises hybrid and turbo technologies similar to those in F1.

Equally, despite being built to different regulations and designed to run for hours, it is no slouch. The team took pole at the Silverstone round of the WEC this year with a time of 1min 39.721sec, which would have put the car seventh in qualifying at the British Grand Prix in 2014.

Perhaps, as F1’s background wrangling continues, it is their intention to be on the grid for real in 2017 that lies behind the FIA’s new team prospectus”.


Manor sign a team sponsor

The phoenix from the ashes of the Russian owned Marussia team, who were ditched by their ‘owner’ immediately following the inaugural Russian GP, continues to rise.

Having been fined by Bernie for not participating in the 2015 Australian GP, John Booth and Graham Lowden’s band of hardy racers continue the fight to remain in Formula One.

In the past week they have recruited the talents of the highly experienced technical director and co architect of the might Mercedes AMG F1 team – Bob Bell. Fabio Leimer has also been recruited and his funding will probably see him succeed current Manor driver Roberto Mehri.

This weekend Jules Bianchi’s old team will take another step to establishing their claim to a place on the Formula One grid as they reveal their new sponsor, AirBnB.

AirBnB are a web based international holiday property rental business and will have their logo displayed on the car and the team clothing for the remainder of this year.

Team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick identifies that Manor and AirBnB have an affinity. “The success story of AirBnB is phenomenal, the company has invented an entire industry from scratch We are two like-minded brands that have innovation and the discovery prescribed. We both want to influence our respective industries positively.”

Manor are expecting their 2015 car to arrive around the summer break and will also be hoping to ditch the 2014 Ferrari engine they currently use, for the 2015 version, which should immediately and significantly improve their pace.


32 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Friday June 5th, 2015

  1. After Monaco I though all young Max had to look out for was not doing too many Maldonado like things but now i’m afraid he’s started to sound like Villeneuve. Let’s hope that’s because he’s Canada, he’s saying all the wrong things in public and he’s made sure the spotlight is on him, just like Villeneuve usually does ;-P. He should have just reacted in a way that the spotlight is off him but instead he defends himself in a way that he not only make it look like he doesn’t see the risks involved but he also picks fights with other drivers, not smart. He better make sure he doesn’t get into trouble on track because off track he’s made a mess of it and he can’t afford to mess up on track.

  2. ‘Felipe the hypocrite’ is just annoyed due to ‘Verstappen, Son of Verstappen’ taking Felipe Jr’s (Felipenino’s?) toys when they were playing together in the kids crèche after the race. It’s well-known in the F1 paddock that Verstappen Snr is a helicopter parent and will deliver a “Verstappen-Slappin” to any child who doesn’t let his boy get his way in the F1 paddock crèche…

    But seriously… I actually iked ‘Verstappen, Son of Verstappen’s’ responses in the press conference. There’s no point in him being deferential, especially to a driver like Massa.

    Good times ahead, I think. I agree that the kid is certainly gold dust for F1, and has the hallmarks of a future champion.

    • Agree completely. Wouldn’t suggest he waste any time listening to this past it driver. But, if he wants to go this way, listen the Jens. At least he’s done it!

      • How about waiting to see what Max achieves in his career before slating Massa as a ‘pass it driver’. For all we know, Max may never come close or supersede anything Massa has done in his career.

        Even in his ‘pass it driver’ phase, I think Massa would school him if they were teammates…

    • Max should have apologized for the error, assuming Grosjean isn’t lying about braking later. But there is nothing wrong with reminding Massa of his own errors. If 1 mistake is enough for Massa to attack Max, then he can’t complain if others point out when he did something similar once.

      • “Max should have apologized for the error, assuming Grosjean isn’t lying about braking later.”

        Max should have apologized for the error, even if Grosjean braked earlier. Grosjean was entitled to brake when he needed to (excluding a deliberate test-braking incident)…

        • Exactly. Max is at fault. Simple. And his response isn’t one where he seems to learn from his faults.and that’s not good in my opinion. One can only become a better person is one learns from his mistakes.

          • The goal though isn’t to become a better person, it’s to become a world champion…

            😀 Bit deep, I suppose, but it’s my experience.

          • But aren’t world champions the ones who learned the most of their errors and therefor make less?

    • Max Verstappen might have impressed you and the press after only a few races, but he’s got to get past Helmut Marko before he goes any further. If what we’ve seen since Monaco is any indication of how he reacts to critism, Max may have a similar career to his father.
      Don’t forget, there are many more nearly men in F1 than champions.

  3. “Well, everybody can have their opinion, that’s the first thing but I looked at my data, I didn’t brake any later. I have braked later in the race before that but on the lap I crashed, it was exactly the same lap as the lap before and I got my penalty”.

    Which doesn’t say much, does it? He may have braked at the same point as on the previous lap, but Grosjean’s Lotus was much closer to him than the lap before. So guilty for rear-ending Grosjean still he is.

    Given his rhetoric, let’s see if he keeps it up Grosjean & Maldonado style…

    “But the young Dutchman was not done. More irony was to follow as he recalled this race weekend last year, when Massa rear ended Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the race.”

    On which the stewards ruled that Perez aggressively changed direction in the braking zone, something that put the blame squarely on his shoulders. Seems Mad Max looks at all the wrong examples on how to drive a car: Grosjean, Perez… Expect more fireworks…

    • I agree with your assessment. It was not a crash during a time trial. This was during a race with changing conditions which must be taken into account. Simply hitting your marks is not a defense when you run into someone.

      • @Bill McKidd

        To which Mad Max will cheerfully say:

        “What would you do differently?”

        MV: “Not much… I was attacking. I wanted those points [..]” and “I don’t think there were so many things I had to do differently […]”

        and later “I will not change my driving style.”

        So clearly he will keep disregarding that there may be slower cars in front of him legally and naturally obstructing passage, to young Max’ unmistakable frustration. This whole Mad Max affair is bound to get more interesting before it gets dull… 🙂

        • It seems to me that the problem with the Mad One really is his age. I remember telling both my kids when they reached the heady status of becoming ‘adults’ that “Now you’re 18, clearly you know everything. You’re about to spend the next 40 years finding out that you don’t.”

          Maybe Verstappen Snr should have a similar conversation with the fruit of his loins….

        • As he said, there weren’t “so many things [he] had to do differently” – just braking a touch earlier would have meant there was no contact, but would have denied TJ13 commenters from being able to rack up countless posts about how he’s a dangerous driver, can’t drive safely, etc.

          I doubt there are many drivers on the grid currently who haven’t had some contact with another driver in front of them in a braking zone/on entry to a corner. It’s just something that can happen from time to time.

          I don’t believe that he’s “the next Senna” or whatever the latest praise is that’s being heaped on Max, but similarly I don’t think he’s suddenly a liability because of one crash. I’d say that it looked much worse than it was due to the positioning of Monaco’s barriers relative to the track limits – at a Tilkeodrome with a mile of run-off it would have been nowhere near as dramatic and wouldn’t have caused the same issues as it did in Monaco, and I doubt that there would be the same level of consternation being displayed about it. If we’re talking about reckless braking points, look at Rosberg’s lap 1 move on Hamilton in Sochi last year – if you braked that badly at Monaco and carried that much extra speed into a corner there, you’d be in a pretty bad way. However, because of the run-off it was no big deal.

          • Irony of Hamilton almost rear-ending a slowing Grosjean in FP1: Noted.

      • @bruznic

        In my short experience with Dutch people, I never really felt arrogance. Not really. Petulant, disengaged self-confidence, maybe. But arrogance, not really. Although I see how the two can overlap…

        But before we get into national stereotypes, let us not forget that our young one was born and raised in Flanders, Belgium (to a Belgian mother and Dutch father), and lived there for most of his life and lives there now (when not busy rear-ending F1 cars). Just like Nico, Max seems to have floating national identification… 🙂

        • I know. He’s from maaseik. Wich is 7km from where I live. And I stand by my arrogance remark. I’ve been working (and still am) in the Netherlands for 10 years and they are arrogant. But that doesn’t mean they are bad or anything.(I myself can be a bit arrogant too 😂, takes one to know one) I wouldn’t like to go back to Belgium to work… because they say what they think and that’s a quality that I like most about them.

          • “they say what they think”

            Indeed so, and this was so very refreshing after prolonged exposure to the French…

        • Well, am I mistaken, or is Verstappen not ethnically Dutch? and Rosberg ethnically German, maybe Swedish?

          It’s easy to confuse nationality with ethnicity. E.g. I’m British, but specifically half Ancient North Welsh. The oldest people in Britain.. the English are just the latest immigrants to arrive :P.

          • “Well, am I mistaken, or is Verstappen not ethnically Dutch? ”

            Depends how you count the chicken… 🙂

            In Europe “ethnicity” is often defined linguistically. And the ethnic borders are blurred to say the least. His mother is Belgian (Flemish, I presume), his father is Dutch. Insofar Flemish are historically Dutch, then yes, you may say that Verstappen is “ethnically Dutch”. But some people will take offence at the notion (there are multiple sticky points in the above). Anyways… before travelling the guy freely chooses between his Belgian and Dutch passports, so, ye know… we make of that what we will.

            “Rosberg ethnically German, maybe Swedish?”

            Another stray case of national identification. Nico is born to Finnish father and German mother, and he too bears two passports (at least two, anyways). Raised and lives in Monaco, speaks at least 4 languages (but none of which is Finnish, as far as I know). Ethnicity? I’d rather someone struck me in the head with a hammer than attempt to pinpoint that… 🙂

            And all this before we investigate whether his parents (Max’ or Nico’s) are of mixed “ethnicity”…

          • True, lines of nationality and ethnicity are blurred.. I would have said Kumpen sounds Dutch/Flemish as well as Verstappen, less French/Walloon sounding, and Rosberg sounds Germanic – so likely the part of Finland settled by Swedes when Finland was part of Sweden? It doesn’t sound much like Raikkonen or Bottas.. Finnish/Estonian are closer to Hungarian than any Germanic languages (hence Hungary as their ‘home race’).

            By choosing Dutch, I guess Max has nailed his choice.. in roughly the same situation is Stoffel Vandoorne, with a Belgian racing licence. Variety wins!

          • “Raikkonen or Bottas.. Finnish/Estonian are closer to Hungarian than any Germanic languages (hence Hungary as their ‘home race’).”

            And since Hungarians are European Mongols, anyways, let us call Hungary as the “European Asian GP”, where Mongoloids of all stripes can meet to break bread and share some history together… 🙂

    • I agree. Thejudge forms the opinion that “whilst amusingly issuing a put down to one of the most senior drivers on the grid” but neglects to state that Massa dealt with the putdown quite effectively by reminding Max that the stewards ruled that Perez aggressively changed direction in the braking zone,

  4. Manor landed AirBnB for sponsorship? Wow, so why doesn’t McLaren go after Uber?

    • That would be good, you would have Jenson and Nando giving fare paying customers lifts during the race. The car goes like a taxi at the moment. Might as well make some money out of it.

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