Daily News and Comment: Monday 8th June, 2015


“We’re not idiots”

The debate will rage on amongst the Hamfosi and those who consider Lewis partly culpable for the debacle in Monaco that led to Lewis Hamilton losing the race.

However, normal service was resumed yesterday in Canada when Mercedes racked up their fourth 1-2 of the 2015 season.

After the race, Toto Wolff observed: “The calls we made on the pitwall today were faultless – the execution was really good, so we’re not always idiots. It’s very rare, because today was very tight. We needed to keep concentrated.

“If you have a weekend like Monaco, it’s difficult to digest and come out of it in a good way.

“The team needed that result today. Lewis’s race engineer ‘Bono’ [Peter Bonnington] lost his father a couple of days ago, and we wanted to keep that out of the public, and it’s important not to get dragged into a black hole – because we still finished first and third in Monaco.”

The team micro managed their drivers home whilst both were apparently suffering issues. Lewis Hamilton admitted his new engine settings were probably more “thirsty” than Rosberg’s, whilst Nico was advised regularly during the race that his brakes were marginal.

The real Alonso steps up

Fernando Alonso wants a third world title before he retires. Many believe he is the best driver of his generation and deserves another drivers’ championship, though Bernie Ecclestone said today this will not happen.

The Spaniard not known for his tact and diplomacy, has so far this year been remarkably reserved in his criticism of the MP4-30 and the team’s new engine partner Honda. However today, Alonso’s frustrations boiled over for the whole world to see.

Fernando admitted disobeying team orders to save fuel during the early part of the 2015 Canadian GP, and claimed the team looked like “amateurs”.

“I don’t want, I don’t want,” Alonso protested on the radio when told to save fuel. “I have really big problems now, driving with these and looking like amateurs.

“So I race and then I concentrate on the fuel.”

Alonso claimed after the race that he intended to save the fuel later on, but was circumspect whether in fact this would become necessary.

“We had to save a lot of fuel at this track, and right from the first lap I was told to save fuel, but I was in the middle of a few battles.

“We are 35 km/h behind Ferrari on the straights, we had to save fuel, we had to save tyres because we were stopping once, and I was fighting with them.

“After two or three message I told them to let me fight now and have some fun and then I’ll save fuel at the end of the race when were are alone.”

Despite this public confrontation with the team, Alonso reverted to type when speaking after the race.

“This year we are paying the price of it being the first year and having a lot of things to do, but otherwise I’d be here talking about having finished fifth or sixth.

“I believe in this project. I’m enjoying the experience. Everything I see has coherence and optimism for the future, which is something I couldn’t see before. So, patience.”

Following the race, Jenson was asked if the team was moving in the right direction and whether “things were getting better?”

An ironic tweet from Alonso ensued.

How low can you go?

Daniel Ricciardo ploughs his own furrow in an F1 world where being a corporate clone is the model for a driver. The grinning Aussie has taken on the mantle from his countryman Mark Webber, who never played the political correctness game – and said what he thought.

When interviewed after the 2015 Canadian GP, Ricciardo was unable to help himself from laughing. Though this merriment was not born out of any kind of joy, like from his win here last year, but rather from incredulity.

Ricciardo finished a lowly thirteenth, just 19 seconds from being two laps down on the winner of the race.

The Aussie was asked if this was a new low point in his Formula One career.

“After today I think so, I hope so. I thought we’d reached the low point but today was a new one. Hopefully it’s only up from here.”

The Canadian GP appears to be a ‘Monte Carlo or bust” experience for Ricciardo. He recalled his final year with Toro Rosso to illuminate the point

“Nothing works, we didn’t have pace, it’s nearly a mirror race of 2013 for me. [Then team-mate] Jean-Eric [Vergne] was sixth, his best result of the season, and I was like 15th and we were like a second slower and didn’t really have any answers for it. Then the year after I win and now I’m struggling to keep up with anyone on track so I don’t know, I mean at the moment all I can do is laugh because race cars are complicated. Some days you don’t understand them.

“Unfortunately we haven’t really got on top of it all weekend but we didn’t expect to be that slow in the race. That was interesting, I mean obviously I knew I wasn’t fighting for points but I was still pushing and trying to get as much as I could out of it. It was just one of those races where you’re going round and round an yeah, like, I don’t know. It’s like banging your head against the wall, just nothing good’s coming out of it.”

The Russian driver has indeed turned his fortunes around over the past two races where he has finished ahead of Ricciardo. Two months ago, the word in the Red Bull family was that Kvyat could find himself making way for Max Verstappen, by the time the F1 circus resumed following the summer break.

Whilst still behind, Kvyat now has 19 points to Ricciardo’s 35

42 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Monday 8th June, 2015

  1. “so we’re not always idiots”

    What an idiot amateur… Or is it professional idiot? Can you imagine St Ross ever muttering anything along these lines??

    • OK, should have read to the end.

      “The team needed that result today.”

      Can’t be too difficult with that car of yours, can it?

      “Lewis’s race engineer ‘Bono’ [Peter Bonnington] lost his father a couple of days ago, and we wanted to keep that out of the public, and it’s important not to get dragged into a black hole”

      Then why drag it into the public and on the front pages in the first place?

      • Toto got fried in the media after Monaco. People questioning the leadership of the team and its decisions. He was just saying that the pitwall’s calls and execution were really good and that should show everyone (including the critics) that Mercedes (leadership, pitwall, etc.) are not idiots. Toto was explaining why the team needed the result that it got in Montreal. People should remember that English is not Toto’s native (first) language. I think that he does okay given that he only has a moments notice before he has to make comments. My cousin is very much like my father so I understand a bit more the things that he says in situations and how they are said.

        Ross Brawn ran the team one way and Toto, Paddy, and Niki run it another way. Championships are still being won and that’s what matters.

        • Mercedes have a massive advantage and should therefore be dominant. Pit calls in Canada were not difficult.

          Toto Wolff has no where near the experience of Ross Brawn. And probably never will have.

        • And for the record TJ13 did not “fry” the Mercedes management. In fact a number of articles were written explaining how easy it was given the circumstances for the ‘mistakes’ of Monaco to happen… And that Lewis contributed to the confusion.

          Citing a special privileged relationship is not really what TJ13 comments are about.

          You would be better just commenting from your own viewpoint, it doesn’t matter to anyone here who anyone else is – or if they are related to an F1 celebrity figure.

          • I never said that TJ13 fried Toto. I was saying the media in general. It was just an observation from my own viewpoint. Landroni has made a comment about Toto’s comments and I was offering my comments on what Toto said and why I thought that’s what he meant and why I think that he should be given some leeway as far as the way that phrases his comments. I something put what I call a “personal moment” in my comments like other people on this site sometimes do. I know that people here don’t care who anyone is and that’s why I like the site. Ross Brawn has contributed many great things to the sport of Formula 1 which is wonderful. He was successful. Toto took a different path to his current position and hopefully will have many years of success.

        • One thing I did note was the same question being pressed again and again..in the end the team got a win in Monaco and a win in Canada so it can’t be all bad. I can understand the language problems that can arise in a quick fire debate and if English isn’t your first choice your pretty much on your back foot. I for one think the whole paddock need medals.. How many countries are represented there? And with English being a second/third/fourth option I am always amazed that a driver can understand his English pitwall. Seb does a fantastic job of using slang from the UK, normally this doesn’t translate well and can throw a spanner in the works.

  2. Can you really blame Alonso? My old Ford focus drives quicker than that McLaren. And it has a better miles to the gallon…

    • Yes you can to some extent. Maybe if he wasn’t such a divisive character, he probably would still be driving the prancing horse.

      Who knows, he could’ve been teammate with Seb

      • I meant for having that kind of radio talk. Sure he’s to blame for it. his politic games. His blame. Simple.

      • If he was still at Ferrari he wouldn’t be winning championships.
        There was no point in saving fuel, better to finish from last from running out of fuel then trod at a snails pace.

        • Well with this current Ferrari and his tag of being ‘the greatest driver of his generation’ I think he’d be able to mount a challenge, which is a damn sight better than what he’s enduring now.

          But I’m sure if that was any other driver who did and said what he said, you wouldn’t be so kind.

          • Yes I would. I hate that lift and coast bullshit. What we have here is failure to race. If I want to see fuel economy I’ll watch le mans ( Which is this week) I want a 2 hour sprint race.. this is F1. F1 is racing. Flat out.

          • What he said was realistic, he should have said, “WTF for, fuel or no fuel this PU is a piece of crap”. What point was there in saving fuel when it would make no difference, they were going to finish out of the points anyway you look at it.
            The guy just wanted to feel like he was racing before ending (if he finished) a couple laps down. I heard nothing out of Alonso that was a jab a the team.

            “Who did and said what he said” what do you think you heard and saw Fortis?

      • Well said Fortis. Fernando wants to be at the front so bad that he’s willing to completely run his car into the ground to get there or see to it that his fuel only last half of a GP. This blow up is an example of why I didn’t want Alonso at Mercedes. He destroys the team he’s with bit by bit if things don’t go exactly his way.

    • The mchonda is a complete dog at the moment, i don’t believe they have a single good point on which to work from, the engine is weak,and that surprised me as Honda have always produced a stormer of a ICE unit,even the chassis appears to be flawed. The team have two first class drivers who have a habit of nursing bad cars,if these two can’t get the asthmatic shopping cart to the end of a 2hr race then its time to stop,take a match and throw it in the fuel tank.

  3. so I’m probably taking Toto’s quote a bit of of context, but
    “so we’re not always idiots. It’s very rare”……sorta implies that 99% of the time they are idiots 😀

  4. What exactly were Honda up to during 2014? They had the opportunity to discover the designs of the other 3 engines, they had unlimited testing available and a lot of money to play with. I imagined they’d have an engine that would soon be up there, even if the McLaren chassis was lacking. Instead, the Honda uses a lot of fuel and produces less power than the much maligned Renault. Oh dear.
    I didn’t know what to make of EJ’s suggestion the Ron Dennis needs to stand down and admit the current problems are down to him. EJ believes Martin Whitmarsh was a better team principle and McLaren would have done better to have kept him. Perhaps Martin should have made a greater effort to keep his desk tidy and kept the OCD Dennis happy.

    • @Gregor

      For one it was Whitmarsh who confidently signed the Honda deal. For another, the previous two years have seen McLaren in a complete free fall, all under Whitmarsh’s guidance. This year is of course much worse, but Big Ron can still hide behind Honda’s crackers which provide him some sort of plausible deniability…

      THis said I can’t help but feel that Big Ron’s position is getting untenable by the race. If he has shaky support in the board room, we may see his head on a spike in less time than it takes to say… Fred. And if that happens, then Fred would well and truly be a black cat among the F1 teams. Oh dear, who will wanna have him in their backyard then?

      • Sorry Landroni, I seriously doubt Whitmarsh was solely responsible for bringing Honda onboard.

        Ron may not have been on the pitwall, but you can bet your last dollar, that he was still involved with the day to day workings of the team.

        • Good point. Big Ron was definitely a power behind the throne, but with mixed luck in influencing decisions. He couldn’t force reverting to 2012 car when 2013 turned out crap from the start; but he could force Whitmarsh into ditching Perez and pushing for Magnussen. It’s plausible he was partly behind the Honda deal, with Whitmarsh getting the photo shoots…

      • Ron is too much of a control freak to allow Whitmarsh to have been responsible for the Honda tie-up. As he said in an interview yesterday, he decided that once Mercedes were running a works team, McLaren would never be in a position to beat them. Despite having the same engines, Mercedes would always be one step in front. So McLaren went in search of a new engine supplier. Perhaps they should have doorstepped VW.

  5. ““I believe in this project. I’m enjoying the experience. Everything I see has coherence and optimism for the future, which is something I couldn’t see before. So, patience.””

    Is there any photographic evidence available, to see if Fernando was physically drooling irony out of his mouth? Patience and time is one commodity Fernando is in dire lack of right now… As for “believing in this project”, when the Fred to McLaren rumours were still just that, rumours, he said about his future contract something along the lines of “nothing big”. I’d put Fred more readily in the atheist camp as far as the McLaren faith is concerned…

    But anyways by now Fred can probably activate any and all performance-related exit clauses in his McHonda contract.
    “#137 No points gained until the Canadian GP.” Check…
    “#213 Looking like amateur idiots.” Check…

    “After two or three message I told them to let me fight now and have some fun and then I’ll save fuel at the end of the race when were are alone.”

    You have to give it to Fred—he’s not wrong. Why save fuel when you know the Honda cracker in your back won’t make it anyway? You may as well give it a good run at the start, and then retire mid-race, as it would have happened anyway…

    • And where would he go? A return to Ferrari is definitely off the cards and his hope that there would be a serious falling out between Lewis and Mercedes went down the drain Monaco. So unless he plans to go and race in the Tour de France, he might just have deal with.

      But how ironic, he started his career with in a back of the grid car with Minardi and he might end it in the same place with McLaren.

      • @Fortis96

        True. No Ferrari, no Merc, no Red Bull.

        Williams then? Bottas is waiting for an upgrade, and Ferrari may very well look his way when sending Kimi for an ice-cream run. And Pat Symonds, one of the Singapore-cheat architects, is there so it could be like a reunion.

        But at this point even Lotus seems like a better prospect than the Honda crackers. Not winning, but at least not spending your time tweeting during races either… Fred is well accustomed to Enstone, and that would be yet another reunion…

        • Williams won’t pay him what he thinks he’s worth, so that’s not going to happen. Lotus is a no no as well. It’s McLaren or bust and right now, it’s a massive bust!!

          • I got the impression that after F1 he would go over to WEC, time will tell if this Honda can come good but as a base line starter motor its at the bottom of the pile. I have not seen one glimmer of hope for Mchonda and it does make you wonder why Ron hasn’t landed a title sponsor,maybe they knew this yrs mongrel wouldn’t be up to the teams standard so didn’t want to embarrass the sponsor..worth a thought??

        • Williams couldn’t and wouldn’t afford Fred. And how would Massa react? This is it for Fred. The Last Chance Saloon. Never mind, he will always be remembered as the “best of his generation”. That generation being the years between MS and LH.

          • @Gregor

            “Williams couldn’t and wouldn’t afford Fred.”

            This is a non-issue, I suspect. Just like Jense last year between some drive and no drive at all, Fred too will drop wide down his pants and even go drive for free if necessary.

          • @Gregor

            “remembered as the “best of his generation”. That generation being the years between MS and LH.”

            That would be 05 & 06 right?… 😂 😂

        • Renault buy back, hiring Alonso instead of Maldonado? 2009 superteam? So that’s 3 more years development to 2006 and 2005.. I wonder if they would keep a ‘Renault-Mercedes’ 😛

      • His best chance now is probably Porsche entering with an F1 version of their Le Mans cars, hiring Alonso and Hulkenberg, leaving McLaren-Honda to Magnussen and Vandoorne…

  6. I’m always amazed at how much loathing their is for Alonso. Jesus, him and Lewis both made a pigs ear of being team mates. His only crime seems to making all his other team mates since look ordinary. JB was complaining on the radio too, just his with an almost ironic laughter.

    I would love to see Alonso at Williams, we know Alonso would ofter finish 40 seconds up the road from Massa when they were team mates, Williams would love to find 40 seconds on thier race pace.Would put them in the mix with Ferrari.

    Wouldn’t help Alonso problem of trying to beat the Merc’s.

    • @Jamie Norman
      “we know Alonso would ofter finish 40 seconds up the road from Massa when they were team mates”

      And we know Alonso would finish 40 seconds up the road from Raikkonen… This has more to say about how good the scarlet trucks were during Alonso’s tenure at Ferrari (and his skills in leading car development), both terrible, than about how bad Felipe or Kimi are as drivers. This also shows how much Fred can wrestle a really, really awful handling car.

      Put Fred in a quick car, and he won’t find much more speed than Felipe or Valtteri.

        • @McMaster

          Feel free to substantiate. Last time Fred was in a seriously quick car, in the 2007 McLaren, he couldn’t do particularly better than a rookie named Lewis…

          • Yea…and Hamilton turned out to be such an average driver, didn’t he.
            Landroni there must be some reason that top teams have consistently tried to hire Alonso for the biggest pay cheques in racing. I remember the cry of “McLaren will never hire Alonso again” and they did and they offered him a record deal.
            I don’t believe drivers have much input on development of the cars, but if, as you believe, they do, then wouldn’t the 2015 Ferrari be the result of Alonso’s input…or did Vettel redesign the car between January first and the first test date?

          • Hi landroni,

            in defence of Alonso – there’s a difference between a car that is not the quickest and a car that is a dog to drive (the 2012 was a dog’s dog). In the 2010 the Ferrari could be considered to be fairly quick, and I would say he did particularly better than Massa then.

            As this is bound to bring up Germany, note Massa did finish ahead of Alonso in the odd race in 2010 early on, enough for Alonso to have been WDC had he indeed been “numero uno undisputed King of Ferrari out of the way Felipe baby” from the get go….people seem to forget Felipe had his opportunity but was out of it by the time Germany rolled around.

            Same thing with Vettel at Red Bull, there is no gain in a team making a slower driver king of the team for the sake of it, they tend to support the guy they have confidence in, who earns that confidence via performance. Whilst I always liked Webber for his racecraft (aerial acrobatics and all), I was still cheering on Seb in 2010 as the genuinely faster driver (living in Germany at the time probably helped).

  7. All this usual Fred outbreaks spell the beginning of the end. I can see him retiring at the end of next year if McLaren doesn’t score a podium or win by then. Which they won’t.

    As a McLaren fan this is really heartbreaking. I really hoped that by Silverstone they would be knocking at the top 10 door. They’re still so far from it!
    Then you look at Merc’s domination coming at the back of RBR’s domination and F1 is really not that interesting anymore.
    If it wasn’t for Hamilton (of whom I’m a fan due to his earlier association with McLaren) I would have probably switched off by now,

    • As a life long Ferrari nut,you are my opposite @mclaren78 but even I can feel for them. Given time I know they will come good,believe me I know your pain..i managed a few yes supporting a team which had a thirsty v12 and facile mechanic’s… Hell,Italians discovered electricity so why don’t their cars like the rain?😂
      Chin up son,its always darkest before the dawn

  8. McLaren signing Alonso was a naive decision, we can dress it up how we like but he’s always been a… shall we say difficult character. Amazing in a race car and able to get results from nowhere. But when your 2s off the pace does having a driver that makes the difference between say 8th and 10th really matter? For a back marker maybe but not the might of McLaren.

    So we move to the other side of Alonso, the difficult side. That is far from what the team is going to need in this rebuilding. He’s behaved so far but I can’t say I have much confidence of it lasting till the end of the season.

    Just my 2 cents!

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