There is no substitute for experience.
Parents repeat over and over to their toddler, “Don’t touch the stove.” But mostly, kids learn their lessons the hard way.
And it looks as though Sebastian Vettel learned a hard lesson this week.
The post-Spa press was spiced up by an outraged Sebastian who had this to say.
Vettel was asked whether he thought his concerns were being taken seriously. He replied:
“I think it was. But what’s the answer? Same as every time, there was a cut, debris, maybe something wrong with the bodywork, the driver went wide. Bulls***. If Nico tells us that he didn’t go off the track, he didn’t go off the track. Same with me, I didn’t go off the track, it’s just out of the blue, the tire explodes. As I said if this happens earlier, then [explicit].”
and there was this:
“If this accident happens 200 meters earlier I certainly would have hit the wall”.
“It has to be said that the quality of the tyres is just appalling and we already have this issue now for years. I have no idea what we are waiting for. Pirelli’s prediction was that the tyres would last for 40 laps and we only used them for about 30 laps. Things like this mustn’t happen.”
10 days have now passed and the media briefings for now are more serene.
And Sebastian was as sanguine as any of the drivers in yesterday’s FIA press conference.
SV: “Well, first of all I think there was a lot of stuff explained or written that I think was not correct, the way it was expressed. I think it was very clear what I said. I think the most important point is that obviously we have been looking into the issue we had very clearly and Pirelli has been supportive and very open in the discussions, so I think that’s the most important thing and we need to make sure that we learn from that. Other than that we are in Monza now and, as I said, there is plenty of other stuff to look forward to.”
Aha. So poor Seb’s tirade of criticism littered with expletives was in actuality misunderstood and misreported by the F1 media.
Oh well, its important to keep one’s self image in tact and not allow yourself to believe you may have presented to the world as a petulant and spoilt child who lost a competition and resorted to a tantrum.
So what should we learn from – Seb?
That Pirelli have been supportive and very open – as you say?
That Pirelli still claim over use of the tyre was a contributing factor to it’s deflation – (not explosion by the way)
Reading between the lines. Vettel appears to be saying; Pirelli is not at fault and neither was he or Ferrari – and it so happens we are in Monza. Squirrel!
But we must question why Sebastian has completed a U-Turn greater than when the Grand Old Duke of York marched his 10,000 men up to the top of the hill and then decided it was the wrong way to go.
Seb now thinks Pirelli are “professional”, supportive, “professional”, open to discussion and “professional”.
The reason for Vettels about-face is surely obvious.
Ferrari and FOM.
Sebastian may have learned many things while at Red Bull, there can be no doubt. He developed under the tutelage of Christian Horner, and Vettel’s response following the race in Spa was clear evidence of this.
Screw the negative PR – ‘I’m going to have my say’. (And by the way in actuality the tyre ‘explosions’ were really ‘All Renault’s fault’ – if you speak to Horner and Marko).
This kind of impulsive heart on the sleeve, selfish, petulant, childish, egocentric, venal, peevish, irritable, testy, juvenile, immature, irresponsible, infantile, self-indulgent, wan….. (Note: These terms are all in the glossary of Red Bull’s PR handbook entitled – ‘How to make friends and influence people’… behaviour is ingrained in the DNA of a certain fizzy drinks brand.
However, Ferrari is a very different brand.
Ferrari is a corporate machine on a size and scale that young Sebastian just has not experienced before.
He must learn that – Ferrari’s opinions, are his opinions, his words are Ferrari’s words and even his underpants are in actuality the property of Ferrari (given some small print clause in his oak tree worth of paper contract). And there is no doubt that guru Marchionne has explained this to Sebastian – ad nausuem – over the past few days.
Pirelli is a Ferrari partner, and not just in F1. Having the premier driver at the premier team publicly rebuking a major sponsor and partner is something that neither Ferrari, nor FOM, can allow to continue.
So Vettel was silenced.
He read the corporate response to the matter, and memorised it reasonably well as any good employee should – though he was less fluent in his delivery than following his dissapointment in Belgium.
The fact that young Seb is the highest paid of all in Maranello matters not to the Ferrari Board of Directors. In fact, the reality is that all that money Ferrari pay Sebastian is not a reward for his genius talent alone – but the price of his lip-service too.
This is normative in ‘new corporate politics’.
Ferrari now owns Seb right through to his very soul – and this lesson is one Vettel now understands. To speak other than for Ferrari, could lead to young Seb pottering around in a HAAS car for a while.
But we are not hear to bash Vettel… well, not too much anyway.
He was’t the only one to play dumb on Thursday.
A strangely stammering and ineloquent Daniel Ricciardo bumbled his way through the following.:
“There was blistering. I don’t really know the difference in a way, the details: what’s a blister, what’s a cut?”
Wow. This is one of the world’s elite racing drivers. The Honey Badger has not yet been schooled in the ways of the ‘Red Bull’ it would seem – and that smile cuts him a lot of slack with us all – even when failing to answer the question.
Carlos Sainz was positively loquacious on the quite talkative as well.
Q: “Carlos, any cuts in your team?
CS: “No, not really. I think they’ve given us an explanation, the reasons. I hope they’ve done their job properly.”
Are, so lives are no longer in danger – we can trust the explanations now.
And Marcus, your thoughts please?
ME: “Yes, we had some issues with some cuts on some tyres but I think they came from debris on the track. That was the explanation that we got.”
Pirelli have now become the first tyre manufacturer to be considered for canonisation, as Saint Bernie and FOM revealed in their statement immediately issued following the press conference.
“…We are entirely satisfied that Pirelli was not at fault for any tyre-related incidents during the 2015 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.”
So it’s settled then. But Bernie cannot praise anyone without offering a veiled threat in the next breath.
“Pirelli has offered to provide to each car a single set of tyres to last for an entire Event. While we know that they would be very capable of it, a race with no pit stops would be less exciting.”
Thank you, Pirelli, for helping us to deliver excitement to Formula One fans! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
Hear that people? Pirelli is awesome (cue the Lego Movie Theme tune) and are doing an awesome job in exactly the manner just as they’ve been asked to.
So you lot – shut up or Bernie will make the races boring.
The drivers are happy, Pirelli is happy, Bernie is happy – all like a room without a roof.
There is no doubt that on Friday the teams will be happy too.
So we are all happy right?