The #TJ13 #F1 (Not so) Daily News and Comment: Wednesday, July 15th 2015


Surer: Bottas would be a step back for Ferrari

Pirelli admits to mistakes and demands more testing

Surer: Bottas would be a step back for Ferrari

The silly season has been quite animated and quite early this year with the second seat at Ferrari being the hottest property on the market after Kimi Räikkönen has tried repeatedly and very hard to embarrass himself.

One of the names mentioned quite often is Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, but Sky Germany TV expert Mark Surer thinks it would make no sense to hire Raikkönen’s compatriot.

“This all so highly rated Bottas is slower than the Massa, who was sacked by Ferrari two years ago. If they hire him, they would make a step back.” Surer told “I can see that Massa drives on the same level as Bottas, so Ferrari would not do themselves any favors by hiring the Finn. In that case they could just as well sign Massa again.”

Asked about a more suitable candidate, Surer explained that there is a current driver, who for no good reason has been overlooked for years, and has a Le Mans win to prove his talent.


Pirelli admits to mistakes and demands more testing

The task of Pirelli has always been to produce tyres that force teams to make two or three pitstops per race. After the early 2013 season descended into a PR disaster with Pirelli having overshot the mark by producing tyres that were downright dangerous and unfit for the purpose, the Italians have gone conservative and the result is a string of one-stop races in both 2014 and 2015.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery has now admitted that, especially this year, Pirelli have failed to achieve what was asked of them. But he refuses to accept the blame unconditionally, saying that three four-day tests in the winter and two two-day tests in the season is not nearly enough for Pirelli to gather the necessary data with current cars.

“We have no testing opportunities,” Hembery explains. “It’s okay to ask us for a certain performance, but in return we must be given the chance to do our job properly. We need an agreement that gives us enough testing and enough data to make it happen.”

Of all the people, Romain Grosjean has recently called for tyres that go off the cliff immediately at the hands of a reckless driver (still bitter over Monaco, Monsieur?), Hembery says it would be too extreme, saying the goal is to find a compromise between tyres sturdy enough to let drivers push and tyres fragile enough to punish overly reckless driving.


52 responses to “The #TJ13 #F1 (Not so) Daily News and Comment: Wednesday, July 15th 2015

  1. Massa’s post-Ferrari career has been curious… one could infer many different implications in relation to Ferrari, Alonso, Bottas and Williams. But all such implications may assume a static Massa. That is to say, a Massa that performed – more or less – to the same level between his Ferrari stint and his Williams stint.

    I think in Massa’s case – someone who I believe is greatly governed by state of mind – the change has simply been a totally rejuvenating experience for him. Don’t underestimate the crushing and insidious effect of being an overtly propositioned No.2 to Alonso at a team like Ferrari; especially for a mind like Massa’s.

    Perhaps the inference is that Massa really stepped up, and the implication on Bottas (and Alonso) is not as clear and simple as a “1+1=11” type analysis.

    Just a thought on sports psychology. Just for the Hamfosi, and for the racial record, here is a white-ish (not black) driver who is being called mentally weak too.



    • ..also for the record, I think Hulkenberg would be better for Ferrari than Bottas – but not for the “he only performed at Massa’s level, therefore…” simplistic reason. I also wouldn’t mind Ricciardo there either, personally.

      • @WTF_F1

        While he did have some sparks (pole in Williams or dicing for the win in Force India), Hulkenberg hasn’t really shown so far that he has the potential of being above and beyond the likes of Maldonado, Kovalainen, Perez, etc. According to F1Metrics, anyways. If Ferrari take him above Bottas or Ricciardo, it will probably be because they seek a solid No.2.

        • When has bottas really shown that he has what it takes? More than hulk anyway. He has one of the best cars since last season yet he didn’t got a solid 3rd place in the standings… you might not like hulk (since you always give this answer any time he comes up 😉) but he does a better job than bottas, simply because his car is worse…

          • @bruznic

            you might not like hulk

            Oh, but I do; the stats don’t. What I say is that reasonable caution is in order…

          • Stats aren’t always right. Remember there was a guy who told the Beatles guitar music was out. And that they’ll never make it. And look what happend…

    • @WTF_F1

      My thoughts precisely. Once rid of the demoralizing No.2 static at Maranello, Massa has had a lift in performance back (or closer) to his peak envelope (2008-2010 sofar). For me Massa and Bottas matching each other is, strangely, a validation for each of them… Kinda like two drunkards holding each other… 🙂

      for the racial record, here is a white-ish (not black) driver who is being called mentally weak too.

      I was wondering these days… Can we think of F1 as a white, rich male dominated environment? Where do we stick all the Maldonado’s and Senna’s in this oversimplification? They don’t have the degree of Hamilton’s pigmentational impairments, but they don’t go along either with the Scandinavian-like pigmentational deficiencies…

      • He gets paid for being appealing to German TV audiences, so he has a clear (career) reason to be biased.

        • No he hasn’t. I know the pundits of four broadcasters (BBC, SkyUK, RTL, Sky Germany) and if there was a contest for the most unbiased, Surer would win it hands down. In fact Sky Germany have a history of kicking people out if they get too biased. That’s why Surer’s always been there, but there’ve already been at least three co-commentators since Surer took the job.

          • Your comment that is he the ‘most unbiased’ is rather ambiguous. You are only saying that he is less biased than others, which still isn’t unbiased.

            That pundits can get kicked out for being too biased doesn’t mean that they are unbiased. I strongly suspect that his popularity with the Germans has an effect on his job security & pay and so he will think twice about giving some opinions and is more willing to share other opinions. That he has to walk a line between too little and too much bias doesn’t change that.

            It’s like the Lewis stuff. If you comment on him on TJ13, you know you that you will get a lot of views/comments. Even if you don’t intentionally want to treat him differently as a driver, just this knowledge of how people will respond will change your decision making and thought processes. It’s normal for humans to do this (our desire for approval is key to civilization) and I don’t condemn people for being human, but I do recognize how these mechanisms work and their effects.

      • ‘Sky Germany TV expert’

        He is a pundit on German TV, so a German pundit. He is not a German German pundit though.

          • Perhaps my English is lacking, but can’t you call a pundit on German TV a German pundit, regardless of his nationality? If so, my comment seems correct (although pedantic).

    • Oh no you can’t say that. That’s racist! 😂 oh wait… he isn’t black. Carry on.

      • It actually does fit the definition of it, reducing a person to a stereotype that he can’t see beyond his nationality / race – which wasn’t actually his nationality / race anyway. I was gunna let it slide, Bruznic. But we can depend on you… LOL 🙂

        I think, around here, sometimes, it’s only “racism” when Hamilton’s getting shit – most of which is Hamilton-focused and therefore not racially based, unlike the naughty, naughty comment above. There are some that severely dislike Hamilton around here, but I think most are because they severely dislike Hamilton because of Hamilton, rightly or wrongly.

        Anyway… Ironic. Whatever.


          • That would help… thanks.

            I feed off tone, context and body language in real life; so I find it difficult online, sometimes.

          • Ok, let’s say this. 90% of what I say here is sarcasm and for fun. I’m of believe that life is to serious. So I try to make my self laugh as much as possible (and if possible even other persons 😉) this one was because I think the whole racism thing is getting out of hand sometimes. And this is mainly due to people who can not have a laugh. In my opinion you can joke about everything. But I do however see your point that it is hard to see that in text. That’s why I try to use a smiley here and there.

          • Haha, no, no… even now I think we slightly misunderstand each other. You don’t need to explain yourself to me; I like your irreverent manner. I actually agreed with your originally sentiment and appreciated it was expressed jokingly. I joke often too, almost always. Life is too serious. I have no issue with your comments, at all. I was just extending on your original thread of thought, your quip – or at least what I think was your thread of thought. Peace, WTF

          • Oh so somebody likes my irreverent manner, wait till my wife hears about this! 😉 yeah maybe we got lost somewhere a bit. Blame it on English not being my first language. That’s the easy way put 😂 But at the end we came back togheter and it was all positive so it’s all good.

        • I love this sport. Having sat in the stands at a few of the key races over the years I will always remember my Silverstone experience. I was sat in a sea of silver and black,a lone red shirt and flag fluttering in the glorious British weather.did I feel threatened? Did I feel alone?..not in a million years. The chaps and chapesses around me all yelled and waved as Lewis flew past while I was shaking my head wishing that Massa could control his car in the wet..on a plus note he did spin right in front of were I was sat and I had a little hero moment and a wave. If this was football and I was supporting the opposition could I,would I even dare to show my true loyalty?.I would have been stoned at best,hanged at worst for even daring to support something other than their chosen one. That is the f1 I love. There is no race boundaries or small minded views,I know its probably a harsh statement but Motorsport fans do have some education and class,we share a love of fast cars and great drivers and even if our own followings are spinning and making a hash of a drive we still applauded a true driver.
          Now..many fans love Lewis,i don’t..its not a race/colour/background thing.He is a great driver and does wear his heart on his sleeve.Its not his outspoken comments or even the Gangsta rappa look..the fact is..he doesnt drive a red car so as a Ferrari fan how can I support him?😱 I am also not a fan of Seb..but again I am torn…he does drive my stable so I have to cheer. #trailsofaferrarifan. I really don’t like any discrimination and 99.9% of our fans are the same. We worship not black or white,yellow or brown but a mixture of green,red,silver,blue.These are the colour that count in our sport and lets keep it that way.

  2. So everybody on board the hulk train. Leaving station bottas, arriving at the end station in maranello. 😂

  3. Bottas is not dominating Massa enough to be a Ferrari or any top team’s driver. And that says a lot because I do not rate Massa that high to be honest.

    • @Sash
      Massa at his best (2008-2010) was better than Mika Hakkinen at his best (1998-2000), and a host of other WDCs at their best…

      He who manages this move on Lewis Hamilton cannot be all that bad…

      • Sorry but one overtaking per career doesn’t make you great.

        Massa was good one lap driver and did a good job if he started from pole at Ferrari. But if things didn’t go well from the quali he wasn’t that impressive.

        That’s based on my memories about him driving at Ferrari; the doesn’t provide the easy stats anymore; so my beer filled F1 TV session memories might have some differences to actual stats but I hold my beliefs that he’s not that great.

  4. Would Ferrari really want two German drivers? Having said that, they did have two French drivers for a while, back in the 80’s.

    But I’m sure Ferrari will surprise us. As they did when they resigned Kimi, who was more or less sacked for lack of motivation in 2009, if we may believe the rumours.

    • Ferrari have already said they don’t want two drivers from the same country, so Hülkenberg’s chances are close to non-existent. The truth though is, that id you look at the most talented available, you can’t really pass up the Hulk. Bottas has been ordinary at best, Ricciardo has been downright piss-poor lately and most other top drivers are bound by long-term contracts. I guess in the end it’ll probably be Marciello or Fuoco.

        • Can I throw in the Nasr name here?

          Sad to think everybody would have been mentioning Bianchi if it hadn’t been for his accident…

    • If McLaren do dispense with Button’s services – or Button with theirs! – Ferrari could do a lot worse than swap one world champion for another.

  5. I think Massa’s level has been pretty static over the years, We know Kimi and him were fairly close in terms of performance when team mates, and both got beaten by similar measure when paired with Alonso. I think it’s more case of people not wanting to accept just how good Alonso really is. We have two drivers who were pretty equal when team mates, and roughly the same distance from Alonso when against him, i think that is enough data to work with. So for me Bottas hasn’t done enough, good yes, great no. But perhaps Ferrari don’t want great, they have publically put all the eggs in the Vettel basket, who whilst being a 4xWDC was more a case of a very good driver, in a great car and whilst Kimi not being able to string a weekend together, pace wise has been a lot closer to Vettel than he was to Alonso. So Ferrari need to be seen to be doing something about the underperforming Kimi, signing Bottas makes sense, quick enough to keep Vettel honest, but not enough to embarrass their star signing and more importantly the new management team. (Never underestimate ego management have). I think Hulkenberg is very good, bit of a mojo driver, but his record in lower formula is brilliant, and he has flashes of brilliance, Frank Williams who knows a thing or two about drivers says you should measure drivers by their peak. We must not forget, that Hulkenberg sacrificed his own chances of a podium to ensure Force India got a podium with Perez, which the team openly thanked him for. So for me Hulkenberg would seem a good choice, great team player and quick, but maybe potentially a little too quick to be put alongside Vettel.

    • I’m sorry, but Massa was handicapped by Ferrari so as to give Alonso what he’s so badly craving, a 3rd WDC title. On many occasions Massa had the better of Alonso, but the guy was never the same after the Hungary incident.

      The battle between Massa and Kimi was a fair fight, which brought Ferrari a WDC and back to back WCC titles.

    • I think it’s more case of people not wanting to accept just how good Alonso really is.

      …in a dog of a car.

      While I subscribe to the above (both that Alonso is a fantastic driver, unconditionally, and that Massa and Raikkonen are overall close in performance in recent years), I see Massa’s and Raikkonen’s performances alongside Alonso more as an indictment of the quality of the Ferrari chassis post-Brawn/Todt/Schumacher. Along with Alonso’s prowess in fighting an unruly chassis and putting it in places it doesn’t belong.

      According to the F1Metrics model, the 2014 Ferrari chassis was worse than the 2014 McLaren chassis… I think this kinda says it all about how low the Ferrari performance has sunk in recent years… Scratch that. With identical, average drivers the 2014 Ferrari was worse than the Force India…

      It was only thanks to the prowess of both Alonso and Raikkonen that Ferrari didn’t fall even further down the order…

  6. Winning Le Mans doesn’t prove that Hulk is that special of a driver given that he was aided by 2 other drivers, he’s getting all the plaudits because he’s currently driving in F1 and that’s the first time it has been done for almost 20 years. After all a certain Johnny Herbert won Le Mans.

    As the judge pointed out after the Le Mans race, it was the night stint by New Zelander Earl Bamber which was the most impressive and propelled them to the win.

    I’ve always maintained that Bottas was nothing special and Massa would get the better of him this year, he’s being overhyped. In fact I think Grosjean is a far better driver than he is, as we saw in 2013. Yes he’s prone to the odd mistake or two, but when the car is right and his mind is right, he is quicker than both Hulk and Bottas.

    But Bottas will probably get Kimi’s seat, because his name is on the lips of everyone in the paddock at present.

    • First of all the night stint was by Nick Tandy, and what people forget is, that Tandy got a free run because Hulk took over the car in 5th and handed it over to Tandy in the lead. And most of that was also night-time driving.

      Hülkenberg doesn’t need LeMans to prove his worth. Except for F1 he won every series he ever started in, including winning the A1GP for Germany all on his own with an unprecedented number of wins. His problem is, he’s too tall and therefore too heavy, because on talent alone he should have been in a top car for years.

      • I agree with the hippo. Hulk did much more than just depend on someone else’s night stint. Le mans is won by a team. But the individuals in that team get the result. They all get the necessary cheers. We only hear the ones for hulk because we only discuss formula 1.

      • Yeah, exactly Hippo, and single seater fans are trying to do what they always do, and that it point to the single driver that ‘won’ a multi-driver event, and you can’t. Each played his part, though often we can see some real standout performances from individuals within this, as in the case of Hulk and Tandy here, would they have won without either of those two stints; impossible to know, but the two of them clearly sealed the deal, but if Bamber had been being carried the whole thing still would not have been guaranteed.

        Hulks a good call, he’s got the most balanced attitude in F1, is quick, consistent, and press friendly whilst beign drama free… sod what nationality he is, I reckon with him and Vettel you have good consistent points hauls sorted, and a fairly drama free pairing. Its just a shame they as a brand will clearly want to expand their reach elsewhere.

        I agree wholeheartedly with @WTF_F1 above, that Williams Massa is more like 2008 Massa, and has his mojo back. This to me suggests Bottas is decent and potential Championship material. In addition, I get the impression that Bottas is in a bit of a slump too, which might not be helping him. However, I still think the fact that this looks like ‘rehiring Massa’ like we rehired ‘Kimi’ and ergo more admissions that ‘oops we make bad calls on drivers and don’t know what we are doing’, may well put them off hiring Bottas, even though I don’t think sacking 2013 Massa (who wasn’t even that bad then if you believe the testing new parts theories) is the same as hiring 2015 Massa/Bottas.

        All in all they may just keep Kimi for a year who knows, but can we hope for a rookie in, that would be about as far from Ferrari policy as you can get, but then, how well has that served them?

      • Too tall has been a problem in F1 for years, i remember Newey complaining Hill’s feet were too big. I always thought a way round this would be to have the driver and the seat = a minimum weight, negates any advantage of just being little.

        • Too tall brings other issues, airflow into the airbox for instance and aerodynamic issues in general. Alexander Wurz’s career was pretty much killed because he could kiss the moon’s arse while standing on his knees.

        • Jos verstappen used to cut the toe piece of his shoes off in order to have room in the car… don’t know if it was in the Benetton or the arrows. That slips my mind.

        • Given the recumbent position of the modern F1 driver – this is less problematic – just make the minimum internal length of the cockpit longer

        • So, if the driving compartment had a fixed size (pick a size, let’s argue!), say for a 6’4″ or 198 cm (make it a round 2 meters) driver and a fixed weight of 200 pounds or 91 kilos for the seat and driver and ballast (weighed after FP2 or other time of your choice)?

  7. Surer’s LeMans winner wouldn’t happen to be the same driver whose talents I lauded last season but upon mention I was roundly panned for including as a driver to be promoted to a seat with a top team?

    Oh, it is the same driver… 🙂

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