Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Silverstone, 2012

Tost happy with “highly skilled” Toro Rosso pair

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Silverstone, 2012In the round-up: Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says he is satisfied with both his drivers so far.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Franz Tost Q&A: Vergne, Ricciardo impressing so far (F1)

“What I am expecting is that a highly-skilled driver shows at least one sparkle. Daniel did that for me in Bahrain as it was a really fantastic performance and Jean-Eric did it in Monaco. To be in [seventh] as a first timer in a Formula One car at Monaco is quite remarkable.”

A further update on Maria (Marussia)

“Maria [de Villota] has been making small but significant steps. She was moved out of the Neurological Critical Care Unit on Monday and is no longer receiving sedation. Her family remain by her side and she is communicating freely with them and the medical team. Medical assessments are ongoing to monitor Maria?s improving condition.”

Webber on British GP and Red Bull deal (BBC)

“I’m sure everyone understands the lure of racing for Ferrari, but in the end there were just too many pros to staying at Red Bull Racing – it was as simple as that.”

No deal yet on Singapore GP renewal (Silverstone)

“Organisers Singapore GP said in a statement that negotiations on the terms of a second five-year contract were continuing. ‘What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five-year extension.'”

Force India duo sure team progressing (Autosport)

Paul di Resta:”[In] Valencia we were very strong and in up and coming events we should be relatively optimistic that we can do something. I think we have made step forward.”

Montezemolo: “Mugello is at the cutting edge on the world stage” (Ferrari)

“It would be a dream come true to one day also see a Formula 1 world championship race take place at Mugello.”

Trying too hard? (Sky)

Mark Hughes: “The Silverstone weather seems to have underlined just how narrow that window is in a car conceived around ultimate aerodynamic performance. The combination of this year’s Pirellis with the loss of full-blown diffusers has made the penalty for dropping out of the perfect set of conditions much more severe and seems to have exposed the McLaren – a car that is super-fast when all is right – as particularly sensitive.”

Skidding around (The Economist)

“What accounts for F1?s difficulties? One problem for mainstream American car-racing fans may be its complexity. To cater for what Europeans deride as rather basic instincts, even NASCAR, where cars overtake as many as five times in a single lap, has had to rev up the excitement lately by encouraging drivers to be more aggressive towards each other. ‘It is perplexing that America has such an appetite for racing on ovals rather than on a more distinctive track,’ sniffs Sir Martin Sorrell, a non-executive director of F1.”

Comment of the day

Verstappen on Ferrari’s plans for the seat next to Fernando Alonso:

The fact that they had talks with Webber says enough. The absolute certainty is that they were looking for a replacement for Massa.

I think Kovalainen might be the best choice, because they must be looking for a driver that can make a bad car look good, like Alonso. I mean, when the car improves and becomes more driveable, Massa gets ‘his form’ back. I think Massa?s been in the same shape all year, but just now the car works better.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Abishek, Sohan and Speeder_76!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Nigel Mansell’s crushing win in the 1992 British Grand Prix prompted a track invasion at Silverstone:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
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  • 88 comments on “Tost happy with “highly skilled” Toro Rosso pair”

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      12th July 2012, 0:11

      Well, being RB2, I don’t know if taking Tost words as remarkable or even so important. What Horner or Marko think, that’s the question. And so far, what has it been so impressive in these 2 young drivers? They are good, but crashing is not the best they can do right?

      1. I think Vergne in particular is a talent. Probably not the next Vettel (which STR is tasked to find), but he’s a good racer, which somewhat makes up for his shocking qualifying record. He was really good in British F3, a real test of skill for any prospective driver.

        1. I can’t really see what Red Bull are achieving by having drivers in a car that is at the back of the midfield. They would be better off impressing in GP2!

          1. The problem is they would absolutely flatten the current GP2 field it’s so poor. Better to test them at the highest level, which would allow them to prove they are A-team material.

      2. doesnt matter what tost says.. helmut marko asked them to win a race for toro rosso in order to promote them….

        1. Which is next to impossible in the current car Toro Rosso has.

          Vettel was just lucky to end up in the STR3 of 2008, which was clearly the best Toro Rosso car to date. I think it’s just not fair to drop them without any decent chance in a good car. I have seen both Ricciardo and Vergne in F3.5R, and both are very talented.

          I have no doubt in my mind that if they drove the Williams FW-34 this season, they’d do a much better job than Senna and be more consisted than Maldonado. A podium would be entirely possible and I wouldn’t count out a win.

          Another thing, which in my opinion ranks Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne above Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersauri, is that they have karting backgrounds. Vergne started karting at the age of 4 and Ricciardo at the age of 9. Comparative to Buemi or Alguersauri whom neither had any experience in karting and went straight to Formula junior.

          There’s certainly no doubt in my mind that karting at younger age makes a better driver.

          1. I said in the last thread.

            Toro Rosso wont be dropping any driver this year. They have made clear that they will at least give their driver a year and half to work with the team. By Example:
            -Liuzzi 2006 and 2007 (2 years)
            -Scott Speed 2006 until august 2007 (1 1/2 years)
            -Vettel August 2007 to 2008 ( almost and a half a year)
            -Bourdais 2008 to july 2009 ( 1 1/2)
            -Buemi 2009, 2010,2011 (3 years)
            -Alguersuari August 2009, 2010, 2011 (2 years and half)
            Klien never drove for Toro Rosso. He only did for Red Bull.

            So I don`t see Riccardo or Vergne being fired any time soon.

            I have no doubt in my mind that if they drove the Williams FW-34 this season, they’d do a much better job than Senna and be more consisted than Maldonado. A podium would be entirely possible and I wouldn’t count out a win.

            You wont get any discussion on my side abouhis statment. +1

            Vettel was just lucky to end up in the STR3 of 2008, which was clearly the best Toro Rosso car to date.

            Bourdais, and we could said he is not a bad driver, has the same car for a year and didn`t get the same results.

            One of your former drivers mentioned the word ‘severe’ when it came to his experience at Toro Rosso. Do rookies require a firm hand?

            Any idea who said this?

            1. One of your former drivers mentioned the word ‘severe’ when it came to his experience at Toro Rosso. Do rookies require a firm hand?

              Wasn’t that Alguersuari? afterall, he was virtually fired after he was given the “go-ahead”. And he’s not part of Red Bull now.

            2. @fer-no65
              The ones that left Toro Rosso in really bad terms are: Alguersuari, Speed, Bourdais … I think that Liuzzi had a lot of time to process that he was fired ( the notice came in august 2007). But I really want to now…

            3. @celeste Alguersuari explained how he was “fired” and criticized the Red Bull Young Driver scheme a bit, in a fair but harsh way.

        2. @joac21

          helmut marko asked them to win a race for toro rosso in order to promote them….

          No he didn’t. “We are looking for winners” doesn’t mean actually win a race. It means they are looking for the sort of driver that can drive beyond the expectations of the car he is in, like Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton.


          Vettel was just lucky to end up in the STR3 of 2008, which was clearly the best Toro Rosso car to date.

          Luck doesn’t come into it. It was the 6th-7th fastest car on average that year (so, yes, better than this or last year), but he finished 8th in the driver’s championship, instead of the expected 11th-14th. It’s his performances, not the car’s that marked him out as the best STR driver to date.

          1. I wouldn’t go as far as calling Vettel’s 2008 teammate, Boudrais, a good driver (by F1 standards). Before he was dropped, a 20 year old rookie Buemi was beating him.

            1. I assume you meant to reply to @celeste .

              Bourdais wasn’t that good in F1, but it doesn’t change the fact that Vettel beat Bourdais to a far greater extent than Buemi did, with Alguersuari only really being equal to Buemi.

            2. @kingshark and @david-a I would say that both Bourdais and Buemi have both very similar results. Granted Bourdais have spend a year already in F1.

              As Tost said there is a lot to hiring a driver than being fast. Marko has said that while Liuzzi was fast, but he was never a driver that was really big at working with the team.

              Berger has called Speed the “most stupid driver” that he has ever met.

              Last year Bourdais admited that one of his biggest troubles while being in Toro Rosso was how much Italian was spoken, he said that while Vettel spend a lot of time learning to speak he coudn`t because he already has a family.

              So I guess that Toro Rosso really likes their guys with their head down working.

              One note, is funny that people often mention how the STR3 being a Newey car and sometime say that it was thanks to the car tha Vettel got his win in Monza, but the the STR4 was also a Newey car (equal to the RB5) and neither Bourdis not Buemi and not Alguersuari (drove 8 races in that car) got the results that Webber and Vettel did that year.

          2. On average over the whole season perhaps, but likely only because the car received a major update, so had started off the season poorly. It was probably better than that from just Monaco onwards, plus it was a closely competitive grid that year behind the top 2 or 3 teams, who were often inconsistent. Luck does come into it- that Toro Rosso was a very good car, the best from the manufacturer, and he was lucky to have it. Of course I’m not saying that skill doesn’t come into it either, but the point is that he is probably the only driver other than Bourdais lucky enough to drive a Toro Rosso actually capable of winning.

      3. @omarr-pepper I think Horner and Marko will always take Tost’s input being the one who works on a daily basis with both drivers. If they’re looking for another Vettel, Torro Rosso is not the river they’ll catch a fish as good as Seb. However, those kids can race but I’m yet to see a jaw dropping performance.

        1. I have always thought that the people involve in the hiring process at Red Bull to be:
          Adrian Newey
          Chris Horner
          Helmut Marko
          Dietrich Mateschitz

          While they are at Toro Rosso the drivers will be under Franz Tost, Giorgio Ascanelli and Marko supervision. So they do give feedback about a driver dvelopment. By example, while a lot of people was surprised that Buemi and Alguersuari were droped Ascanelli was quoted in an interview from back at novenber of 2011 saying that he thought that both drivers were complete and didn`t have a future at Toro Rosso:

          Ascanelli told Autosport that the current drivers may have peaked. “I believe they (Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari) are complete. They have done what they can and I don’t think that after 50 races there is a margin for improvement.”

          After he was fired in 2007 he gave this interview:

          Q: You’ve also been quoted as saying that Adrian Newey blocked any move to Red Bull Racing. Is that what you meant?
          VL: “There was a plan many times for me to go to Red Bull Racing, but I just think I didn’t convince some people in the team. I think Adrian was one of those. It’s not that he blocked me. He just wasn’t convinced, and that is all it was. I’m not angry about it. It is part of the game. And again, there are no bad feelings.”

          1. @celeste
            Like I said, his input is part of the hiring process but it’s not binding. Decision is down to Red Bull “board”.

      4. Crashing is what rookie drivers do, not that either STR driver has crashed very much. Let’s not forget up to as late as mid 2009 Vettel had his fair share of crashes, maybe even a few more.
        So let’s give Daniel and Jev a another season and a half, at the very least to prove the talent they showed in British F3 and Renault 3.5 can translate to F1.

    2. The Mark Hughes article is poor. He makes a point of Hamilton not being able to get a good grid spot because he had only one flying lap on inters in Q3. If Hughes bothered to check his facts he would see Hamilton had 3 flying laps in Q3 on inters and none were good enough.

      The only drivers who did actually hamper themselves were Schumacher and Kimi with both leaving themselves only one lap on inters and both out-qualified the beloved Hamilton.

      1. You are correct (just watched Q3). He did complete 3 flying laps on intermediates after pitting with 7:25 remaining on the clock.

      2. Why are you hounding Hamilton? when Alonso out qualifies Felipe by 10 places everyone praises Alonso for his god given talent, but when Hamilton does the same to Button (IMO far better than Massa) for the past 4 races you still find condolence in who ever qualified higher than him. I’m not at all taking a dig at Alonso at all, but personally I think the two stand out drivers this year have been Hamilton and Alonso, with noting to separate either driver, both of then have been above par at ever race. I know you are digging at Mark Hughes but i think your comment about Hamilton is a bit unfair.

        1. He’s hounding Hughes, not Hamilton.

          1. @kenny I think @snowman is hounding both Hughes and Hamilton. But I don’t agree with @harvs when he says that Button is much better than Massa.

        2. @harvs

          I am hounding Hughes not Hamilton for making a very bad mistake in the article. I said beloved Hamilton not because I was criticizing him but because that’s probably the main reason Hughes made the mistake.

          I agree Hamilton is one of the standout drivers this year and he has made Button look really bad along side him.

      3. Wait, I think your confused. He’s saying McLaren have a problem because Hamilton couldn’t get his tyres up to temperature before his final flying lap in Q3. He had 3 laps to this but could’t manage to after completing 1 out-lap and 2 flying laps before starting his final flying lap.

      4. I think that article is doing a pretty good job in showing where McLaren’s problem lies with the car.

      5. If Hughes bothered to check his facts he would see Hamilton had 3 flying laps in Q3 on inters and none were good enough.

        It does read a bit like Hughes is trying to explain away the British drivers’ poor performances at the British Grand Prix for the sake of British readers.

    3. Tost is happy… until he isn’t.
      Ask Alguersuari and Buemi about that. I thought they were doing a stand up job for Torro Rosso.
      At least they were often in the spotlight for the right reasons (competitiveness).

      1. Tost is happy… until he isn’t.


    4. What Verstappen said is exaclty what i always thought about Massa, nothing changed, but the car, another example is Germany 2010. I think Ferrari are certantly aware of the Massa calibre, and should perhaps get a driver that actually knows how to drive, someone like Heikki or perhaps a gp2 driver just to see what cames out of the raffle, but the economy doesnt really allow that to happen so taking in account that unfortunately no one wants to move Vettel hasnt got the guts to get out I can only see 2 men brave enough to sign for Ferrari, Lewis (F1 shattering move) or my man Paul, no one else really wants any business with alonso, Heikki would obviously play second fiddle, so that seems to be the state of driver line-ups for 2013.

      1. Massa has indeed suffered poor form, of this there is no doubt and no argument, but to bash some one when he improves is overly harsh. His struggle has been placed under a bright, hot spotlight, when compared to Alonso. Alonso who is at the peak of his competitiveness, Alonso who has driven better over the past two and a half seasons than at any other point in his career. He is doing stuff now much like Schumacher was doing early on in his Ferrari career, out driving the car and performing miracles on track. I dare say most of the other drivers in the paddock would have been put to shame by Alonso had they been in that second Ferrari.

        Felipe was a good driver and can be again, just as Ferrari was once the top team. The aerodynamic changes of 2009 radically shifted the field, Ferrari has stumbled ever since and RedBull has ascended to the top. When one is ready to throw a driver under the bus they need to look at all the circumstances of his drop off in performance.

        1. I dare say most of the other drivers in the paddock would have been put to shame by Alonso had they been in that second Ferrari

          Sure. However, Massa’s current form is making Alonso look less fantastic. Ferrari drivers are now pretty close, not Red Bull close but much closer than McLarens.

      2. my man Paul

        We’ve found Paul’s new manager!!

      3. @ukfanatic

        Vettel hasnt got the guts to get out

        You don’t seriously think it’s unreasonable of Vettel to give up a seat in the most competitive team of the last few seasons. This is just a cheap way of having a go at him.

        1. This is just a cheap way of having a go at him.

          I think people are really just looking for ways to prove that Vettel isn’t as good as his two World Championships suggest he is. After a topsy-turvy 2010 season where the title was only decided once Alonso and Webber crossed the finish line in Abu Dhabi, Vettel utterly dominated in 2011, and it wasn’t the most popular of drivers’ titles. The comments after every pole position and win – particularly with regards to his finger-pointing – suggest as much to me.

          I think this was one of the main reasons why people wanted to see Lewis Hamilton at Red Bull. They were under the impression that if Hamilton drove for them, he would win everything, and thus prove that Vettel’s dominance in 2011 was really down to the car and not the driver. But now with Webber having re-signed with the team for 2013, Hamilton obviously cannot join them, and so now people are looking for other ways to prove that Vettel’s results aren’t down to his natural talent.

          1. I think people are really just looking for ways to prove that Vettel isn’t as good as his two World Championships suggest he is.

            No it isn’t. This is someone saying Vettel is doing something wrong by not leaving a top team, which is patent rubbish.

          2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            12th July 2012, 15:55

            I think people are really just looking for ways to prove that Vettel isn’t as good as his two World Championships suggest he is. After a topsy-turvy 2010 season where the title was only decided once Alonso and Webber crossed the finish line in Abu Dhabi, Vettel utterly dominated in 2011, and it wasn’t the most popular of drivers’ titles.

            I agree with you PM. That’s the “fair” opinion some people have about Vettel’s title in 2010. The same happened to Raikkonen in 2007, when he had to wait until the BMWs crossed the line, and wait for the possible DNF of these 2 cars for the “fuel-gate”. And nobody says Kimi was just lucky to win the championship or that he didn’t deserve it. (Despite Hamilton’s gearbox problem in Brazil)
            Hamilton’s case is a little different because at the end he got the place he needed to be champion. Even when IMHO it was … no no more opinions about that last lap in 2008.
            There’s always a bit of luck in the races right? You can see how Alonso is the leader now, but “IF” Vettel would have continued in Valencia the things “WOULD” be closer.
            Of course reality is the only thing that matters.

            1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              12th July 2012, 15:56

              @prisoner-monkeys please read the opinion above :)

            2. I think in case with Raikkonen is due to he already lost two World Championships by the similar amount of points prior to 2007.

              Seems like great drivers come back even stronger after such losses.

              ps. Now I came to think of Webber having a slump year after 2010. But he gave it up in Korea him self.

        2. I wasn’t attacking Vettel, I’m quite surprised to hear that! Are people trolling me? Vettel has been giving hints that he will stay at RedBull and so did Horner, why would the 2 times world champion leave the unbeatable machine that Red Bull and himself have created. When he is happy with the setup, he wins 100% of the races, to add up we know that he likes his records. After last season I have nothing more than respect for him, socially he still goes beyond the limits while being funny, but on the track he seems not to disapoint.

          I’m just someone whishing to see driver line-up changes, a fear stressed by alot of people in here.

          1. @ukfanatic Then what did you mean by “Vettel hasn’t got the guts”?

            1. In this situation, Vettel and Hamilton are the only top drivers available, Vettel is the champion, therefore if he wants to make a move to Ferrari he has to have huge balls. Most drivers want to drive for Ferrari, also most drivers know that it is a risk to do that. Did i make myself clear? I also replied to someone like myself hoping to see some changes “no one has the guts”. Perhaps you could make a poll about Vettel if you’re still doubting his public apreciation.

    5. As an American who grew up on nothing but NASCAR and only “discovered” Formula 1 a year or so ago, I found that the article by The Economist really hit the nail on the head. F1 has a reputation amongst NASCAR fans as being a sport where overpaid European drivers ride around a track for 2 hours and never have the ability to pass each other.

      Is there more overtaking in NASCAR than in F1? Of course. But in NASCAR, passing doesn’t require as much skill or planning. Kyle Busch has to start in 43rd because of a rules violation? Doesn’t matter, he’ll be in the top 10 by the halfway point of the race. Tony Stewart lost 10 places because of a bad pitstop? He can make that up in the next 20-30 laps. And it’s for that exact reason that qualifying is attended by a few thousand fans each week, a mere fraction of the fans that fill the stands on Sunday afternoons.

      Can F1 gain a massive following in the USA? I’m not so sure. But if there’s ever been a time in which F1 could pull some fans away from NASCAR, it’s now. The racing in NASCAR this year has been so abysmal that some (Bruton Smith) have suggested throwing a caution every 20 laps to keep the field bunched together; there’s a new circuit being built here in Austin; and a few American drivers (Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly) are close to getting into F1. My feeling is that bringing F1 back to America will create some fans in the area around the track, but will fail to produce a long-term following. However, hopefully I’m pleasantly surprised.

      1. I Love the Pope
        12th July 2012, 2:41

        I’m American and I cannot stand “Turn Left Series” or “Hillbilly Wrestling on Wheels” or NASCAR as it is officially known. I can’t stand the fat cars and the endless circles. They also claim to be so rugged and tough, yet cannot race if there are a couple of rain drops.

        I turned to F1, though it often meant taping the races and watching them in the morning. It was worth it. I would never go NASCAR again.

        1. I think the extent of F1’s popularity in the USA is persistently underestimated. A patronising attitude seems to persist among some along the lines of ‘Americans only like WWE racing, F1 is too complex for them’.

          There is no doubt NASCAR is the most popular racing series in America. Nor do I expect it ever could be supplanted by a foreign championship – in American sports, domestic series trump all else.

          But this is a huge country we’re talking about – 311 million people. Even if F1 only has a minority following, that’s still a significant number of people. If 5 million people in the UK watch the British Grand Prix on TV that’s 8% of the population – it would be 1.6% of America’s.

          The USA has consistently been the second-largest source of readers on F1 Fanatic, despite not having had a race since 2007. At the last count over 10% of connections to the site came from the USA.

          That’s more than Canada, which has had a race almost every year for decades and a world champion 15 years ago, and more than Australia, which has been on the calendar since 1985 and has two active drivers, one of which won the last Grand Prix.

          F1’s target in the USA does not need to be supplanting NASCAR as the single most popular form of racing – the’s unrealistic anyway. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful. However it will require those responsible for promoting F1, by which I do not just mean the teams, to put some effort in.

          1. I think F1 shouldn’t even be aiming at the NASCAR fans at all, as its quite a different series with a wholly different focus (although having a decent portion of those fans tuning in for F1 regularly wouldn’t be bad!).
            Instead F1 should try and get the people who are interested in other aspects of motorsports and technology. I do think promotion and getting a better TV deal, so more awareness is achieved are needed.

            Its hopeful that some teams have started doing a bit of PR, but its far from enough to cater to the US fans that are there and to help them get their friends to join in!

          2. Well said @keithcollantine. I was watching a documentary the other day about a Chinese TV programme and they attracted 40 million viewers in a single province and it happens because China is ridiculously populated.

            Yu have the numbers to back your case on American fans, it’s down to GP organizers and FOM to build from that base and make it even bigger.
            It doesn’t have to be a minority sport just because US is big, they should try their best to expand it (share wise) like it did in many geographies recently, sit there and be happy with current numbers with such potential left uncovered isn’t good enough (It’s not the case, I guess).

          3. We also need better TV coverage. We are bombarded by endless commercials and idiotic comments sometimes. I watch on line and record the coverage here. It’s amazing how much we miss because of so many interruptions. Also the coverage on Fox is pre-recorded. The only ones that I have any respect for is David Hobbs and Will Buxton.
            After all, we are paying to watch and the coverage is below sub standard. I would gladly pay to get the same as you get in GB.
            I live in CT and I will be going to Austin come november. There are more fans of Formula1 here than it’s made out to be. I was at the last race at Indianapolis and I met fans that, like me, drove all the way from Atlanta and Miami. There IS an F1 following here, real Die Hard fans, who get no respect.

            1. This site’s audiende as @keithcollantine pointed out says a lot.

          4. @keithcollantine
            What’s missing here are some basic facts about F1s popularity in the US:

            F1 is broadcast in the US on SpeedTV which is a cable channel that is not included in basic cable packages, you have to pay extra for it beyond the basic cable fee.

            The races that are live in early afternoon in the UK are live on Speed at 8AM East Coast time and 5AM West Coast time. These races only get about 2-300,000 viewers, a drop in the bucket in a country with a population of >300,000,000.

            The asian races are live at 2-4 AM on the east coast, 3 hours earlier on the west coast, these get even fewer viewers.

            Canada is broadcast live on the Fox free to air network and the 3 following races (Valencia, GB, Germany) are shown delayed only on Fox at noon.
            Aside from this there is Zero media coverage of F1 in the US and only small mentions of results in newspaper sports pages.

            There is a very tiny percentage of the population with any interest in F1 (like me) and due to the dearth of coverage in the US media it is no surprise that they turn to internet sites for their information in droves. Remember that only 1% of the US population is still more than a million people. F1 doesn’t just face an uphill battle in the US, it has to climb Mountains!

            1. Like I said above, F1 should fight for bigger audience, it’s not because iUS is a big country that its goal should be attracting a minority equivalent of British majority…

              FOM and race Organizers must do more.

          5. Amazing post Keith. I know many other U.S. fans and have made some new fans out of several friends. It’s not just up to Wiley old Bernie to make F1 a success in America, it is up to us, us fans. We are ambassadors of the sport and can have a big impact.

      2. thedefinitiveianhuang (@)
        12th July 2012, 2:42

        Until Americans are consistently exposed to F1, F1 will never gain meaningful traction of any sort in the US. F1 currently is a good, marketable product–it just needs to be marketed.

        Just look at how it’s shown on TV: All bar 4 of the races are on the Speed Channel, which is a channel that few Americans receive. And, yes, many other sports are only shown on cable channels in the US, but at least those sports are mentioned elsewhere, such as the sports segment on local news channels. F1? None at all.

        And even for the 4 races shown on free-to-air TV, the coverage is abysmal. There was no pre-race coverage to speak of, there were countless ad breaks (two 90-second breaks in a 5-minute segment during the Canadian GP), and little post-race coverage. Why, the broadcast of the British GP even failed to include the podium ceremony!

        The teams could do their bit, too, by including F1 in their ad campaigns. I remember seeing a Red Bull commercial on TV, showing all of their sponsored ‘extreme sports’ athletes, with BMXers, snowboarders, and whatnot. But was there even a glimpse of Vettel? Nope. I could imagine Fiat, Mercedes, and Infiniti all including a cameo of their F1 cars in their ads, as does Audi nowadays with their R18. Think of it as subliminal advertising for F1 as a whole.

        (Infiniti has started using Vettel in their ads, but those only show up during F1 broadcasts.)

        On the bright side, there could be some more coverage of F1 during the two GPs in the US. IndyCar is also barely mentioned on TV–except when the Indy 500 comes around. Perhaps mentions of F1 during the Austin and NY Grand Prixs would be a good start.

        (Here’s an odd idea: With IndyCar and F1 both sorely needing more coverage in the US, why not have them do a doubleheader race in, say, Long Beach? F1 could host a night race on Saturday, and IndyCar could have a race on the Sunday after. IndyCar and the ALMS already have doubleheaders, but an IndyCar / F1 doubleheader could generate significantly more publicity.)

        1. What you wrote made me laugh…what facts are you basing this opinion on? How did you come to such a conclusion??

          F1 is fine, Nascar is fine and Indycar racing is fine. Each has there own audience and comparing them is a waste of time. There will never be a double header and each series promotes itself as best as it can.

          As fans we can wish for things but the reality of it and todays economic situation worldwide may keep some of your ideas off the table for some time.

          F1 fans are thrilled at having two races in the US. Nascar fans are happy with that type of racing too. Indycar made significant changes this year and it seems as if they are on the rebound.

          The big problem is and will always be money….when the going is good everybody is happy. Today with the lack of overall funding each of the series is feeling the pinch.

          1. They’re certainly all fine, and I enjoy watching each of them. The point I was trying to make is that many NASCAR fans won’t give F1 a chance because it has significantly less overtaking. It doesn’t necessarily make one better than the other; they’re just different.

            Media coverage is certainly the major cause of the lack of support in the states. If more people want to see it, there will be more coverage. And if there’s more coverage, more people will get interested, and the whole thing snowballs. The question is this: how does the cycle start?

            The local media here in Austin is helping drum up some support; the TV stations have segments on Circuit of the Americas’ progress a couple times a week, they’ve started showing highlights from F1 races during the sports segment, and they’ve interviewed people like COTA’s president and Alexander Rossi, for example. That’s why I think most of the support will be in the areas where the tracks are being built.

            1. Excellent posts man,
              I could not agree with you more. The problem is not money, it is awareness, it is marketing. F1 is exciting, it is glamorous, technical. Anyone who thinks for a second that it can’t appeal to the youth of America is nuts. I am glad to see a support base developing in Austin, knowing Austin, it doesn’t surprise me, but all F1 has to do is show Americans that it is the biggest, the best, the pinnacle and they will flock to it. Why? America loves winners, get Rossi in a top level car in 5 years or so and just watch the interest soar.

              The Olympics are coming up, and soon millions of Americans will be watching sports, some of which they don’t even give a hoot about, just to aggressively cheer on our athletes. F1 could be the same way someday.

          2. I thought what he wrote made a lot of sense. Especially the bit about including F1 in ads in the US.

          3. thedefinitiveianhuang (@)
            12th July 2012, 7:58

            I will admit that the IndyCar/F1 doubleheader is a bit of a fantasy; hence why I called it an “odd idea”. It’s much like the London GP idea: a dream, but a bit hard to implement.

            Now, as you say, fans of all three series are happy as they are. But that wasn’t the point of what I wrote. I was talking about marketing F1 to Americans who have never heard of it, or have no idea what it is.

            Now, I will also admit that my observations are not based on any easily available data (in other words, data that I could easily Google.) But speaking of observations, why don’t you head out and observe the invisibility of F1 in mainstream American society? Stand on a busy street corner and ask random passerby if they can name a F1 team that isn’t Ferrari or McLaren. How long would you have to wait for a correct answer? An hour? Two?

            And I, too, have to laugh at your statement that ‘each of the series is feeling the pinch’. Well, unless you forgot about F1, in which case I will have to tell you to proofread your comment. F1 is rolling in cash at the moment. There are countless venues queuing up to pay millions to Bernie in order to hold a race. Hong Kong, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa… To be honest, the US is quite lucky that it’s going to have two races, when other promoters–and governments–can pay much, much more to line Bernie’s wallets.

            And on to the money bit. Inserting F1 cars in ads would practically cost nothing to the manufacturers–isn’t that what filming days are for? Mercedes have done some rather humorous ads with Schumacher and co. How much would it cost for them to bring broadcast those across the pond?

            Moreover, putting full coverage of the F1 season on FTA would not be a matter of money, unless you’re talking about making money. Now, the reason why Fox (and not Speed) broadcasts 4 races each season is because FOM specified that in its contract with Fox–otherwise, Fox would just keep all of the races on Speed. Couldn’t FOM mandate that Fox broadcast all of the races on its FTA channel in return for a reduction in broadcasting fees that Fox would owe? At the rate that FOM is raking in the cash, I’m sure that they could even eliminate Fox’s broadcast fees–and Bernie would definitely gain favor with the manufacturers by doing so.

            If I were Bernie, I would consider the cost of mandated American free-to-air coverage an investment. The money made from the increase in American interest in F1, not to mention the potential to attract more manufacturers to the championship, would definitely make such a small expenditure worth it.

            1. Better said this time, most of what you said I also believe in. Money is still the issue and F1 has altered its day to day actions because of it, just look at the restrictions financially each team deals with. People are willing to pay to get a race in their country yet the teams themselves are forced to spend less due to the belief that cost savings save costs. It is still about MONEY and the haves or have nots….

      3. Economist is probably world’s best press outlet. Better TV coverage would help, on that matter F1 needs to learn from NASCAR, I’m not even a fan of that series but they make it very interesting with good TV show.

        I don’t get the point of easy overtakes being interesting, it’s like asking a 12-11 score in every soccer game. We need goals but why should it be as easy as saying “hello”? Sponsors and FOM must draft a plan aiming at increasing Americans exposure to the sport prior to US held GPs and keep it after.

        1. It has often been said that what would go a long way to generating more interest in F1 in the US, more promotion, more audience, a snowball effect, would be if there was an American driver in F1. I fully agree that it doesn’t have to be about convincing Nascar fans to follow F1…as Keith points out there are plenty of F1 fans in the US as it is. Even without a race there.

      4. I do not get Nascar. Like I really can`t watch more than 10 minutes.

        The article gives a point about how US fans maybe not being atracted to F1, but I think they are forgetting that one of the objetives to have a F1 race is to have turism on the zone.

        Personaly as an international fan I couldn`t imagine going to an F1 race in Europe, Brasil is all kind of dangerous and getting a Visa to Canada is really hard, so it is to get one for Mexico. But a lot of people has American visa.

    6. The complexity issue between F1 and nascar is a red herring on a few levels: first, at the basic spectator level, they’re neither of them very complex: teams build race cars and hire drivers, then the race them around the track for a set number of laps and try to get in front of each other. First one across the line wins. Everything else is just details, and other than the rules F1 keeps changing, I don’t know that the details are any more complex one way or another. And secondly, the same people watching Nascar all summer follow american football in the fall, which is a hell of a lot more complex than either. The complexity isn’t a turn-off, Americans just like their homegrown race car series better than F1. But that’s hardly surprising, given the utter lack of promotion and coverage of F1 in the states.
      I think the supposed contempt the fans of each series has for the other is just ignorance of the other sport. F1 passes are an art, but you wouldn’t know that without watching a few races, and oval tracks aren’t “just left turns” to a driver traveling in a pack going 200 mph. If F1 wants to be loved in the US, they need to promote the series like any other product. Advertise, send the stars on talk shows (preferably not the ones my grandmother watches), do more roadshows in big cities, this isn’t rocket science.
      Why didn’t all the music reviewers come home from SXSW raving about the upcoming race? There’s just been no hype for it at all, nothing besides dry newspaper articles about logistics and funding. If it weren’t for F1 sites, I don’t think I’d even know that there was a race on in Austin this fall.

      1. The complexity issue between F1 and nascar is a red herring […] teams build race cars and hire drivers, then the race them around the track for a set number of laps and try to get in front of each other. First one across the line wins. Everything else is just details.

        Yeah, if you ignore the “details”, where the complexity resides, they are both exactly the same…

        1. Sure, but how much of those complex details do you need to understand to follow a race? You don’t need to know the offsides rule to get what’s going on in a soccer game.

      2. And secondly, the same people watching Nascar all summer follow american football in the fall, which is a hell of a lot more complex than either.

        When it comes to sports complexity, I think Americans have very complicated sports. Soccer is worldwide popular because it’s quite simple, even basketball has its set of complicated rules someone new to it will find hard to understand (I’m thinking about British fans at London games) let alone American football and baseball.

    7. If F1 wants to be loved in the US, they need to promote the series like any other product.

      Yep. Promotion and as mentioned above, marketing.

      I am sure with all the money Bernie has, he could simply buy a TV network like the OWN – The Oprah Winfrey Network, and just have the full F1 coverage 24/7. He would then gain massive support and additional promotion from external sources for his network from all over, including that of the teams. But I guess he has so much money from the current setup, or perhaps there is too much politics involved to setup something like that.

      1. Oh gosh, as much as I would love a dedicated F1 channel, I hope we don’t get one for fear I would spend all my waking hours watching it!

      2. Promotion, marketing, building awareness: they cost money.

        Big fees from promoters: they bring money.

        An 82-year old miser who knows he’s not long for this earth but has his money-grubbing instinct perfectly intact, won’t give **** about “investment”, “building a future” etc. He’s here to extract the most while he can.

        As long as the ultimate “decider” of F1 is someone who is, by personality and age, a short-term profit maximizer, it’s difficult to see any meaningful development in F1 promotion apart from unerringly finding the next sucker (be it a Middle-Eastern robber dynasty, a prestige-building emerging economy, or a duped U.S. locality) to pay his extortionate fees.

      3. The problem with this is that it is almost diametrically opposed to Bernie Ecclestone’s usual business model. That is to say, that he has been focused solely on generating as much short term return as possible for CVH, by charging huge sums to those who wish to host and promote F1. It seems unlikely that he would radically alter that business model for North America, and instead forsake his profits in the interests of building a fanbase. Especially when you consider that:
        1) F1 teams are asking for an increasingly large slice of the pie, whcih has seen the margins for CVH cut significantly with the last couple of iterations of Concorde
        2) The general feeling is that the status of north America as a global superpower is in decline, and the money chasers would be better served by focusing on the BRIC countries instead.
        3) While North American may be the largest market for car manufacturers, it’s worth considering that there are only three ‘true’ car manufacturers on the grid, two of which make high end supercars which probably have more to gain by being in the countries of the ‘nouveaux-riche’ such as the aforementioned BRIC countries, and the oil-rich nations in the middle-east. And the third seemingly unwilling to commit itself to buying into the sport in the long term, and refusing to agree to the proposed new Concorde agreement.

        When you consider these things, it’s amazing that Ecclestone is even paying lip service to North America, and it’s really only by virtue of the fact that there are some passionate Americans willing to stump up the money to make a GP happen (on Ecclestone’s ever-greedy terms) that there’s likely to be a GP in America whatsoever. The idea of Ecclestone then handing out freebies in terms of media coverage or even, heaven forbid, putting his hand into his pocket for the pleasure of it, is as unlikely as having a GP on the moon…

    8. As a side thought, I would love to know if anyone from the business side of the sport reads F1F from time to time. It would surely be of benefit, it is here I have seen by far the most passionate and intelligent of fans.

      Have you ever heard of anyone peeking in to listen to us Keith?

      1. @adam-tate I have, yes – I’ve made a few connections that way.

    9. I’ve observed a few comments over the last few months by various people here suggesting that Vergne and/or Ricciardo don’t have what it takes to succeed in F1.

      I think people need to be a little bit patient They’ve only had 9 grands prix with Torro Rosso (Ricciardo also having 11 grands prix with the speed-challenged HRT).

      Hamilton’s instant success in his first season, and to a lesser extent Vettel’s first win in a Toro Rosso, seem to me to have given some people unrealistic expectations as to what drivers should achieve early in their careers. Hamilton and Vettel are the exceptions rather than the norm, and the failure to be instantly successful proves nothing about a driver’s talent or ability to win in the longer term.

      Very few would have suggested, after his first 7 grands prix, that Romain Grosjean was a potential winner. Alonso finished no better than 11th in his first season. Webber, Button and (Nico) Rosberg all took more than 100 grands prix to stand atop the podium.

      Of course it is impossible to draw perfect comparisons between different drivers, in different cars and against different competitors, at the rookie stage of their careers. Suffice to say, more drivers than not will need time, and a truly competitive car, to show their wares. Anyone who thinks they can make definitive statemens about who will or won’t succeed, this early in a driver’s career, is simply guessing.

      I for one hope they succeed (disclosure – I’m a big Ricciardo fan) but in any event I think they deserve at least 2 full seasons before any firm views can be sensibly formed.

      1. Hamilton’s instant success in his first season, and to a lesser extent Vettel’s first win in a Toro Rosso, seem to me to have given some people unrealistic expectations as to what drivers should achieve early in their careers.

        I think people are well aware that Hamilton and Vettel have phenomenal talent, and nor do I think people are expecting too much from Ricciardo and Vergne because of what Hamilton and Vettel have achieved. Nevertheless, Toro Rosso have just six points after nine races this season, whereas nine races into 2011, the team had seventeen points.

        Yes, expectations are high. They have to be. The drivers in the Red Bull development program are being sought to partner Vettel at Red Bull Racing. The team might not be looking for someone of equal talent, but they are looking for someone who can cut it in a team that has won World Championships, so there is a minimum expectation of what Ricciardo and Vergne should achieve. As we have seen with Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, and more recently with Lewis Williamson, Red Bull can be utterly ruthless with their driver choices.

        I think that Webber re-signing with Red Bull for 2013 has given them a reprieve, and maybe they can afford to relax a little – Vergne in particular needs to stop over-driving the car – but when they’re fighting with the Caterhams during races, I’d say neither Ricciardo nor Vergne is living up to expectations.

      2. I also think it’s too early to judge Vergne and Ricciardo, but Alonso truly shone with his performances in the Minardi he was driving, and earned a promotion to Renault for his second season, where he won a race and 2 poles.

    10. I think both Toro Rosso drivers have shown promise this year, and their pace in the race is pretty reasonable at times. However, they have to start nearer the front if they want to give themselves a better chance of scoring points. Vergne has to improve his qualifying performances, and Ricciardo has to sort out his starts, which are quite frankly atrocious. On the first lap of the British GP, I saw a glimpse of the Toro Rossos running together and I thought “not again, Daniel!”. In fact, it seems there is some magnetism between their cars, as they can often be seen scrapping together, regardless of where they started the race.

    11. My first COTD, feels good!

      1. congrats

    12. “It would be a dream come true to one day also see a Formula 1 world championship race take place at Mugello.”

      And yet when Rome was talking up the idea of holding a race, Luca was the one putting the most pressure on the city to drop it …

      1. Rome was proposed as a street circuit where as Mugello is Ferrari’s own track, so his inclination is justified

    13. Verge & Ricciardo may have potential, However I still feel that STR as a team would have been better off keeping Algersuari or Buemi alongside 1 of the rookie’s.

      had they kept 1 of there previous drivers alongside one of the rookies i think they would have scored more points & would probably have a better car given more feedback from soneone that knows what an f1 car should feel like.

      this is why i think the SRT philosophy of finding the next red bull driver is stupid. a team should look at doing whats best for themselfs, which drivers can get them the best results etc…
      Perhaps Buemi & Algersuari wouldn’t have been the next vettel for red bull, However both were dragging results out of STR, scoring consistent points & by all accounts were both considered good drivers who had talent to deserve to be where they were.

      by running STR they way there are there just harming young drivers career & harming STR as a team. young driver development should be done in the junior categories, no f1 team should be run solely to find talent for another f1 team, they should be run to do whats best for themselfs.

    14. That’s a great read from The Economist regarding F1’s appeal in the US though this bit doesn’t sit too well with me…

      As for F1 itself, there is no doubt that the sport wants to be in America. Corporate sponsors for the teams clamour to have exposure to the world’s biggest economy. F1 executives suspect that one reason it has not established a lasting presence is that NASCAR finds ways to reduce F1’s appeal. Some people close to the sport wonder if F1 could get together with NASCAR, which is family-owned, through a merger or an acquisition. That would likely lead to a permanent American home for F1—not to mention an education in oval-racing.

      Why on Earth would the sports want to merge? Why even treat them as competitors? They’re worlds apart! I enjoy NASCAR and oval racing, I think it adds more strategy to a race than meets the eye. The last thing the US wants is for F1 to show up and instantly start going on the agressive to comete with NASCAR. F1 has managed to sufficiently embarass itself enough already without coming across as desperate. Let it establish itself for a few years and see how it goes.

      1. Agreed @andrewtanner It’s like merging football and tennis, because both involve a ball.

    15. I had never seen the track invasion footage before! Amazing! I can’t imagine seeing anything like that happening. What a special way to finish a weekend. I’m sure if I was around back then and an F1 fan I’d have had a tear in my eye watching that. The atmosphere is amazing. I love how it sounds like a football team has won the championship when Mansell steps out onto the podium! I haven’t seen anything like that since the crowd thought Massa won the title in Brazil ’08 and you could briefly hear the crowd over the cars.

      1. You should have seen the track invasions at Watkins Glen in the mid 60’s. After the last event of the day throughout the weekend the crowd invaded the whole track, with their cars, going in both directions at the same time! A friend of mine rolled his Sprite in the Loop/Chute.

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