Daily News and F1 Comment: Wednesday 23rd September, 2015








Button’s farewell to F1 imminent

With just 6 races of the 2015 Formula One season to go, Honda’s hopes of delivering a competitive power unit have faded into obscurity. The McLaren-Honda partnership has this year has delivered just 13 finishes from a possible 26.

Both cars retired again at the Singapore GP, and in modern Formula One, its impossible to talk of winning or being competitive any time soon when reliability is such a big issue.

It appears Jenson Button has had enough. He stated at the weekend, “The joy of being in the car is only there if you are fighting at the front and you feel as though you are achieving something.”

“If you’re fighting near the back, you’re driving an F1 car, but you can easily get joy driving something else”, explained the British world champion, adding: “It’s about fighting at the front. It’s about the possibility of standing on top of the podium.

“That’s the joy of Formula 1.”

The prospect of trailing around towards the rear of the mid-field next year for someone who has tasted the heights of fighting for a world championship must be terrible. Especially when he could easily get a seat in a manufacturer team in the WEC.

Jenson has been a fine ambassador for the McLaren-Honda failed 2015 bid and has held at bay much of the criticism with his refusal to criticise either of the partner’s.

Even following the latest disappointment in Singapore, Button was positive about the effort being put in.

“It’s not an easy situation for anyone and the best way is to work together, to make sure personnel and money is being put into the right area”.

“I know the Japanese are working flat-out. They have no rest”.

The man from Froome concluded, “But as McLaren-Honda, we need to make sure everything is going in the right direction.”

And in reality, there is little evidence on track of that being the case yet.

Honda blamed for lack of other manufacturer interest in F1

They say, ‘Never kick someone when they are down’.

It’s simply playing dirty, striking someone who can’t defend themself. Then again, Formula One isn’t described as the Piranha club for nothing.

Bernie Ecclestone is now blaming Honda for the apparent lack of interest from other auto manufacturers joining the sport.

“I think this is putting off other manufacturers. 100%,” the F1 supremo tells Forbes.

“They have seen Honda come in and not do a very good job which hasn’t helped”.

Ecclestone bemoans the lack of manufacturers further: “If Honda had come in and blasted away people would have said ‘if they can do it, we can do it.’ Now it’s the other way round, they say ‘if they haven’t done it, what chance have we got?’”

The fact that Honda returned to Formula One surprised many, since they sold their team in 2008 to Ross Brawn for $1 – after reportedly spending $1 billion dollars developing what became the Brawn car.

The F1 gods then rubbed it in further, as Brawn went on to win the F1 honours in 2009.

However, in reality the finger of blame for the lack of manufacturers entering Formula One for the new V6 Turbo power unit era lies not at Honda’s door, as Ecclestone concludes.

“It’s ironic because the whole point of the new engines was meant to introduce new manufacturers.”

Manor F1 request privacy in Suzuka

This weekend at the 2015 Japanese GP, will be a bitter sweet experience for many.

Sweet, as people remember the life and person of a much liked young French Racing driver called Jules Bianchi.

Bitter, because of the memories of the events at the Suzuka circuit in 2014 that led to his death.

“There is no escaping the fact that this will be an extremely emotional week for us,” said Bianchi’s old team boss John Booth.

“Many of the team members who were with us in 2014 are back with us this year, including our colleagues at Scuderia Ferrari and of course Will [Stevens] and Alexander [Rossi], both of whom were in Suzuka last year in their roles as reserve drivers.

“We think of Jules every single day; he will forever be a huge part of our team. Without doubt, our memories are overwhelmingly happy ones, celebrating his incredible achievements in our race cars and the enjoyable times we shared along the way.

“Jules’ funeral reminded us that he was a special gift to so many people, not least of all the magnificent Bianchi family, who are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Booth called on the media to respect their feelings this weekend. “We were Jules’ team, and with that in mind I would ask everyone to understand and respect that, this weekend, we wish to deal with the experience of returning to Suzuka in a very private, introspective way”.

“Jules has not only been constantly in our thoughts since that terrible day in 2014, but his name has also been on our car at every single race.

“That tribute, our incredibly fond memories of Jules and the camaraderie we have within our team are all we need to race on in his honour in Suzuka this weekend.”

It would be useful if the F1 media focused on the results of the FIA’s investigation into Binachi’s crash. Questions are still outstanding; one being why the promised Virtual Safety Car has still not been delivered as intended?

Another is why F1 drivers are still able to drive at ‘unsafe’ speeds when they are signalled to be under caution.

British fan charged after invading the track in Singapore

Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia could face six months in prison or a hefty fine for his “rash act” at Sunday’s Singapore GP, reports The Telegraph (CCTV footage included).

Force India ‘B’ spec car fully ready for Mexico

Force India missed the first test in Jerez, stating the £500,000 cost of the four days could be better spent. However, the team were at the time suffering financial difficulties and the 2015 car was in fact impounded by one of their suppliers.

The 2015 car was finally unveiled at the British GP in July.

However, Force India have been testing the car and associated new parts at each race weekend since and expect it to be optimised by the time the Mexico GP is held F1i.com

Wolff explains decision to refuse Red Bull engine supply

Despite Niki Lauda’s assertions that Red Bull Racing had not formally approached Mercedes for an engine for 2016, Toto Wolff appears to counter this assertion. What this says about communication at Mercedes AMG F1? – we can but speculate.

“We decided with our board that we as an engine supplier – and as a team – have worked hard and long to achieve the success we have today, after taking the decision to enter the sport again as a works team in 2010”, says Wolff in an interview with F1.com

Hamilton concerned over rivals upgraded performance

The assumption made by most F1 observers was that Singapore 2015 was an aberation, and Mercedes have not really lost ground to their rivals. Toto Wolff described their issues as “circuit specific”.

However, Lewis Hamilton is not so sure. “I wonder if it was just that our car didn’t get slower but that maybe others upgraded their cars.” The Independant

McLaren 99.9% sure new sponsors are imminent

Since Vodafone terminated their title sponsorship of the McLaren team one year early, the Woking outfit has been on the back foot whenever questioned about new sponsors.

Hugo Boss, a long term partner of McLaren quit and moved to Mercedes and Santander will end their relationship with the team this year.

Jonnie Walker offered to become the McLaren title sponsor in 2014, but were rejected as their offer of around $70m was considered insufficient for that level of sponsorship status by Ron Dennis.

The liquor company is also now considering their future relationship with McLaren-Honda.

Eric Boullier is confident there will be positive news on the sponsor front “soon”. SKY F1


18 responses to “Daily News and F1 Comment: Wednesday 23rd September, 2015

  1. Re:Jenson Button – “But as McLaren-Honda, we need to make sure everything is going in the right direction.”
    TBH, McLaren couldn’t do much worse if they started the races going round in the opposite direction…

    • It does look like he’s lost touch with the reality of F1 now. Unfortunately, he’s no Alex Ferguson who could continually move with the pace of development in sport.

      • You’re are criticizing Button because he doesn’t throw the team under the bus ala Alonso? True leaders and gentlemen know that you praise in public and reprimand in private. please correct me if I am off base here.

        • He might not do it in the press conferences, but his radio conversations, says otherwise.

          Just saying….

  2. Might aswell put the blame on Renault aswell. They were winning back to back championships and now they are nowhere; what does that tell manufacturers?
    All the while its the FIA (again) to blame as its the token system thats severely hampering progression.

    • Alex, one like to think it’s the token system that’s at fault, but here are some facts:
      *Ferrari hasn’t yet spent all their tokens for 2015
      *Renault hasn’t yet spent all their tokens for 2015
      *Honda hasn’t yet spent all their tokens for 2015
      …while Mercedes did spend all their tokens.

      I argue the current formula’s progress is limited by the:
      *money it takes to redesign any engine part
      *lead-time and testing required to manufacture and validate any new part (which equates money also if done right)

      At some level we have to agree Mercedes understood there’s a marketing benefit to F1; it just is. As such they spend the money and get a 2 hour Sunday advertising campaign showing the power and reliability of the brand. Ferrari seems to think the same since they hired many folks to reinforce their previously very small teams that developed the Turbo and the ERS and now it looks like they perform.
      It may be Renault and Honda just don’t have the same marketing benefit from F1, thus don’t invest. How many extra Civic/Jazz/Megane are you going to sell if the F1 car does well? It’s harder to argue this benefit if one doesn’t have a 458/AMG/(cough VW Veyron) in their showroom.

      • The cause of the problem is not the token system, but the stupid engine regulations. Going green has killed F1. End of story.

  3. Ah Hugo Boss, “long time McClaren partner”. It’s possibly inappropriate to make this observation, but never mind. Herr Boss was an early and fervent long-time Nazi party member and actually designed those stylish SS uniforms – not to mention those of the Hitler Youth and SA. Is it just me that sees a certain resonance?

  4. So now Button is holding a gun to McLaren’s head – hinting he’ll leave if a competitive winning car is not on the horizon. Pathetic.

    He’s only interested in fighting for podiums? Just because he’s been WDC he thinks he can bang on about the uncompetitive car. There’s plenty of ex-WDC’s in F1 history who have sucked up the lean times and continued to work on developing cars they knew were never going to win a race.

    Button is where he is today because he chose (nay, actually fought) to stay with McLaren with full knowledge of likely struggles Honda would face – and in F1 there are no quick solutions for their problems.

    Jenson’s just a tired old man with a bad case of buyer’s regret.

    Ahhh, I’m tired of this. Please quit.

    • You dare to criticise such a stoic member of the F1 fraternity? Such a true and honourable gentleman, a man who would never publicly criticise or a demean another driver much less a team. A gentleman who honours both verbal and non-verbal contracts.

      Such a true and upstanding gentleman, a true reflection of the British empire…..

      • Never before in the field of F1 endeavour has so much bullocks been written. Get a grip, man.

        I’m sure old Jense would be mortified at being compared to the British Empire.

        • That’s because he’s a Jedi, Roger.

          Oh wait, no, he has an English accent and knows how to speak well… he is for the empire / Sith.

          Only the American sounding slang people are republic / Jedi… Sorry, my mistake.


          Hey it could be worse; he could have an accent from “down under mate”, and be relegated to being a rogue bounty hunter who provided “DNA” to build a crazed army of warriors. Sounds like an ANZAC to me… lol

          …as well as being the galaxy’s greatest sperm donor. ANZAC’s for the win… 😀

          To summarise; in the SW universe:

          British = Bad
          American = Good
          Australian / New Zealand = Warrior, sperm donor
          Middle Eastern = Tusken Raider

          Georgie, well done.

          • You’ve got waaayyyyyyyy too much time on your hands, you should try gardening……😂😂😂😂😂

          • @Fortis96

            Sorry, but I don’t subscribe to a linear concept of time, but more a series of events that we perceive in a linear order.

            Such events may not have happened in the time proportions we perceive them; thus it’s impossible for me – or you – to accurately know if I have too much of it.

            But if you’re saying, “you’ve devoted too many events to this site in a life of limited events”, then yes, you might he correct.

            But then, they’re my events to spend; though I am forced to respect your perception of time as I can’t adequately disprove it in the same way I can’t disprove that the way you see pink is the real pink, or the way an apple tastes to you is the real apple taste.

            What’s real? Is any and every perception real?


            Now that hashtag, that’s real…

          • There you go sounding like Ron Dennis, you went through all that just to say, you don’t like gardening….

  5. I can’t help feeling cynical about Manor’s approach to the Japanese GP. Rossi’s debut made Will Stevens looks mightily unimpressive, the fact he was hindered by radio comms problems in Singapore only strengthens his position.

    Whilst I sympathize with the Bianchi situation – it seems like they just don’t want to have to answer questions about how pointless their contribution to the 2015 season has been so far.

    I hope the rumours regarding Mercedes for next year are true. Another year wasted with an uncompetitive car might justify Bernie’s disdain for that team!

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