Jules Bianchi, Force India, Magny-Cours, 2012

No government money for French Grand Prix

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Jules Bianchi, Force India, Magny-Cours, 2012In the round-up: The French government will not provide money for an F1 race at Magny-Cours or Paul Ricard.

Driver of the Weekend

At the time of writing the Driver of the Weekend Poll is incredibly close, with just a handful of votes separating the top three drivers. Cast your vote here:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

No state subsidy for French GP (Reuters)

“The French Autosport Federation (FFSA) will check whether the two candidates for a Formula One French Grand Prix in 2013 will carry on with their bids after the Sports Ministry said on Tuesday no state subsidy would be provided.”

The original statement in French can be read here.

Government wants Grand Prix beyond 2015 despite $56 million bill this year (The Age)

“Ms Asher pinned the blame on the rising subsidies on the escalation fees written into the contract that the previous state government signed with Bernie Ecclestone?s Formula One Group. ‘The Brumby Labour government signed off on a contract that is too expensive for the taxpayer in my opinion,’ she said. ‘This is a very, very expensive race and I personally am not happy with this level of subsidy.'”

F1 flotation delayed until markets improve, says Bernie Ecclestone (The Telegraph)

“The float won?t happen this year, but next year it will if the markets change. No IPOs have gone through, only [football club] Manchester United. I was surprised that they let it go through at the price. First the price and secondly the amount.”

Multi-million pound infield restoration now underway (Donington)

“The original Donington Park infield was excavated by contractors working for the previous operator?s ill-fated Formula 1 circuit rebuild in 2009. Now placing that whole episode firmly into the history books, the new Donington ownership and management has, following a successful council planning application this summer, now committed to transform the circuit over the next two winters.”

Know when to fold ’em (Darren Heath Photographer)

“All around the world Schumacher is worshipped as a sporting great and his marketing power is the main reason Mercedes employs him. But just as the world is waking up to the mountain of evidence against seven-times Tour de France ??winner? Lance Armstrong, the seven-times F1 world champion cannot be surprised by those who doubt the legality of what went before.”

Michael Schumacher needs to come back in 2013 (USA Today)

“Rosberg has 93 points in 2012, to Schumacher’s 43 – an unfavorable-looking comparison for the elder statesman. But a closer analysis of their numbers suggests they aren’t, in fact, that far apart, judging from the seven races Schumacher actually finished. In six of them, Schumacher placed higher than Rosberg. On average, Rosberg is scoring 6.6 points per race in 2012, only slightly better than Schumacher’s 6.1 average in the seven races he finished.”

‘Pace not an issue’ (Sky)

“Through fast, aerodynamically-demanding corners [the Ferrari F2012 has] been very competitive and there’s no reason to suppose it won’t remain so. As such, it should be well-suited to Suzuka, Korea and India, maybe not quite at its best at Abu Dhabi but with nothing too worrying about the layouts of Austin or Interlagos. In fact, the car’s versatility – its competitiveness relatively immune to changes in track temperature, tyre compounds and rainfall – could well turn out to be the most valuable asset of any car in the coming races.”

Alonso still on pole to win title ahead of Vettel (BBC)

Jaime Alguersuari: “I have been really enjoying my commentary role at BBC Radio 5 live this year but I won’t be going to the next three races. It had been planned for some time. It’s better for me to prepare for next year, to keep my training up, as I’m sure I will be back driving in F1.”

Hamilton and Lauda (GrandPrix)

“I can’t think of anyone better qualified to tell Lewis what he doesn’t want to hear in respect of his racing. And life in general, come to that. Lauda’s greatest ability is to apply searing common sense to every problem, no matter how intractable it may appear.”

Can Lewis Hamilton still win the championship? (Unibet)

My latest article for Unibet, looking at whether Hamilton’s Singapore retirement ended his championship chances.


Comment of the day

Change the tracks or change the cars? @JamesF1 has some thoughts:

Whilst it is true that changes need to be made to the track, a focus needs to be made towards making cars more able to follow each other closely. Since 2008 we?ve seen major steps forward in this, but cars still seem to struggle in the dirty air behind the lead car, up to approx 1 second behind it (depending on the track).

I like the Singapore Sling. Yes, it is a unique corner and unique challenge to the drivers, but if F1 folks quickly acted on every driver?s whinge and complaint, the sport would change one weekend to the next. No thanks to that!

It would be a shame to lose the bridge sections of the track, they provide stunning imagery, and Massa at least showed it is possible to overtake here too.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

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

Victory in the Spanish Grand Prix 25 years ago today kept Nigel Mansell in the hunt for the drivers’ championship.

Ayrton Senna tried to complete the race without a pit stop but found himself struggling on worn rubber at the end of the race. He held up a growing train of cars which included Nelson Piquet after a slow Williams pit stop.

When Senna dropped back it left McLaren team mate Alain Prost and Stefan Johansson to take the final two podium positions.

Here are Senna, Prost and Piquet doing battle – the latter spinning at one point on his way to fourth place:

Image ?? Sahara Force India F1 Team

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 75 comments on “No government money for French Grand Prix”

    1. I read darren Heath’s blog and found it totally disgraceful for someone who claims to be a pro. stick to taking photos.

      Comparing schumi to armstrong is disgusting and needs no explanation as to why. jumping on the band wagon of the schumi hate is also laughable and very comical. It stinks of someone trying to be something they are not and perhaps believe they are more important in the F1 world than they actually are.

      He totally misses the fact that of recent michael has been on par or ahead of rosberg. totally forgets the first 6 races of the season when Schumi was regularly running in top 3 places before something broke. Forgets the great battles with seb and kimi at spa. the coolness of his performance valencia. Yet this guy talks about him like he cant drive.

      Heath is after attention. Im not MS biggest fan, infact im a die hard Hill, JV and now alonso fan. His blog is a joke and thats being polite.

        1. @snowman thanks for that. A good read!

        2. I thought Heath’s blog post was both fairly contemptible and a sloppy and disjointed piece of writing, but I don’t blame Keith for posting it here at all. It’s certainly what a lot of people are talking about today and therefore a “top link” in the way I would define it, anyway.

        3. @Snowman @cristian A few people have complained that the Darren Heath article on Schumacher shouldn’t be in the round-up.

          I included it as there’s been a lot of discussion about Schumacher’s future recently and his crash in Singapore has added to the debate. There was a comment piece on Schumacher in the round-up yesterday which was positive, today there’s one negative and one positive.

          I like to include different perspectives and it doesn’t necessarily follow that every point of view in the round-up is one I agree with (as I have often said about Comment of the Day). It is inevitable that there will be a discussion about how Schumacher’s comeback affects our view of his entire career, and I’m sure we’ll have a debate article on that here in the future.

          Furthermore, I noticed that the article did not have space for reader comments, and I can think of no better place to invite them than here. Heath was very keen to retweet every word of praise he had about the article yesterday, including some glowing feedback from F1 journalists, and if linking to it here has given an opportunity for more than one side of the debate to be heard then I think that proves it was the right thing to do.

          1. Gotta say that initially I agreed with the other commenters. To me this was not an article as much as it was the opinion of someone uncredentialed in either journalism or motor sport. Being a photographer doesn’t make you a reporter. There is no attempt to report in the piece it’s basically a fan’s opinion. However, your justification makes sense. If Heath thinks he’s a journalist now because he got good feedback, perhaps this will pull him back down a peg.

            1. I don’t know why you’re indicting Heath for not being a journalist. It’s clearly a 1) BLOG POST that states 2) SOMEONE’s OPINION.

              The fact that he’s been an F1 photographer actually makes him more qualified than most of us to suggest that there is going to come a shift in perceptions of Schumacher to allow for more negative consideration, in the same way that now the MSM is finally full of articles critical of Lance.

              You seem awfully bitter, mean-spirited, snarky and excited about pulling someone ” back down a peg” when they don’t appear to have made the same assumption about themselves as you made about them. Regret much?

          2. As I mentioned, I communicated personally w/ Darren Heath concerning that post, and he had some fairly harsh words for F1 journalists who write something very different than what they feel or think about MS. It was good stuff, actually, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing the actual exchange here since it was private. But it was interesting perspective…

      1. “Comparing schumi to armstrong is disgusting and needs no explanation as to why.”

        Each has seven “world titles”. Each dominated their respective sports for several years. Each has been the focus of controversy on multiple occasions.

        With no bearing on the politics behind them, and trying not to interfere with my personal opinion of either of them, surely any lay person can see parallels in their careers. Comparing Lance Armstrong to Michael Schumacher is perfectly valid, if debatable.

        1. If you read the article, he was trying to imply that Schumi was a cheat (fair enough, that’s par for the course), but that fans would “wake up to it eventually”. But all his allegations against Schumacher of illegal cars (of which only the B194 can even be debatable) and over-aggressiveness (a much more valid point) have been out there for years. If we liked him even back then, why would we suddenly change now? If anything, Schumi is more accepted by the fans now, not less. The other, more sinister, possibility is he was implying something even worse.

          1. @Journeyer agree with you and the driving into Damon Hill is quiet debatable some still say he wasn’t deliberately ran into him.
            Maybe Michael Schumacher didn’t give him enough permission to take the pictures. Anyway i found the article very biased.

      2. +1 Schumi has had some bad luck, but Mercedes is the guilty one for him not yo be higher than Rosberg. I don’t know if what is being say about Armstrong is true but you should have more respect for what Schumacher as a sportman has done.

      3. I think what annoys me a lot about his article is that he’s saying it not after Valencia, Spa, or even Monza. He said nothing when Schumi was beating Rosberg there. But one mistake, and the long knives are out.

      4. Yeah I agree too. I’m a Schumacher fan so know I have fundamental bias, but I’m also a cynic who doesn’t forgive his indiscretions, knows very well how murky the politics of the sport is, and always suspected Crashgate from the moment it happened. :P

        The basic points about Schumacher being a creature of circumstance, with the unique and unparalleled dominant advantage he had from things like the Bridgestone tyres for all those years, is right enough.

        But Heath is acting as if Michael has always been some mediocre driver now (which he MAY be now, at worst). He’s no expert. Any driver can tell you how good Michael is. Anyone who has seen some of his wet weather drives would never doubt him.

        I’m willing to admit his 7 titles are a stretch, and that he’s surely not as good as Senna or perhaps even Fangio or Clark etc. That was a great deal of luck and circumstance. But you make your own luck and it’s not just the speed in the car.

        The fact that Michael could so fundamentally shape an entire team, an entire tyre company and an entire SPORT around his needs may raise questions in terms of sporting ethics, but it is undoubtedly an astonishing achievement and to me that’s always been the kicker which has cemented his greatness, rather than anything in the car. It’s the work ethic, the off-track stuff.

        Even ignoring his prodigious pure speed and on track talent, only Schumacher could ever have achieved as much as he did given the resources (both external and internal, as in, born-skills).

        1. Seems James H and 85q get a mention in a pretty comprehensive critique of D Heath article I found. Plus side – I found you guys from it and boy do you chew the cud real good. http://t.co/MqR7B7cs

          1. Well, Alex, you might find that critique very comprehensive, but to me, a blogger writing anonymously from his perspective of: :

            …. primarily a fan of F1 of over 30 years and over that time I have made a number acquaintances and friends across the F1 spectrum. Some of these people are cogs in their team’s machine, for example a factory engineer, and yet these are the people who know much and will talk to a friend.

            compared to a well known and renowned sports photographer writing a blog with his own opinion does not make the anonymous blogger a better source.

            Most of us here will know far less than that blogger, and almost everyone here will have less experience of the F1 paddock than Heath.

            What I find interesting from that blog you point to, is the fact that while it goes a step further than Heath in using harsh words, it has even less to base them on, because first of all, both Schumacher and Armstrong were seen, and by many are still seen, as great heroes for their unrivaled success (7 times champs in a big sport).

            Both were/are focused on achieving success by all means available, and both seem to have stepped over the line in achieving their success. We know some facts, many things remain unproven. To me the fact one could have had a technical advantage over the rest of the field to help him achieve his success, while the other used drugs for the same goal does not make much of a difference.
            Saying that many of the things with cars were never proven for Schumi (in part from the FIA not investigating or being unable to prove) and conclude that its unfair to compare ignores the fact that the UCI also never proved that Armstrong did in fact cheat, even it it now transpires that maybe they should have done so on evidence present.

            And for me, it doesn’t even mean their success was not deserved, nor does it mean they were not the best at their game in their time. But it does make both have a negative side to them which gives good reason for some to be harsh on them.

        2. I am not a massive Schumi fan @hosford90, but I feel that your post does a great job of articulating why Heath’s blog post was disappointing, and why it seems odd to now suddenly loose respect for Schumacher’s definitely big list of achievements and expect/hope him to move over asap.

          The pics afterwards were great though.

      5. Yes, the article is a bit harsh…on Armstrong. A large part of the evidence against Schumacher is on film, for all the world to see. After years of accusations the evidence against Armstrong, if there is any, has yet to made public.

        If Armstrong is a cheat, then the comparison with Schumacher, who is without doubt a cheat, is valid. But as yet there is no way of knowing.

        1. where do you stop on being a cheat. one thing we michael isnt (or we hope not) is a drug taker. being agressive and ruthless on the track is one thing, taking drugs to enhance your body is another.

          If schumi is a cheat then so is lewis and fernando, so are red bull with their endless car parts that step over the mark. In my opinion none of the above are. yes at times michael has overstepped it. Hill being the most blatant, and then moncao 06. But to class him as an out and out cheat like a drug taker is madness.

          1. So, taking PEDs (which, in Armstrong’s case, is an unsubstantiated accusation) is worse than endangering the lives of one’s fellow drivers? If Lance had simply run the competition off the road it would have been alright?

            That’s madness.

            Not that Hamilton and Alonso have anything to do with what we are talking about here, but since you bring it up, I haven’t seen either of them deliberatley drive into a competitor, or park their cars on the track with the intention of blocking a competitor’s qualifying lap. Yes, I’m afraid that Schumacher is, indeed, and out and out cheat. Of the worst sort.

            1. Doornbos Hungary 2006 (albeit a practice session)?

              While you could argue that some of Michael’s actions were dangerous, such instances of “cheating” did not literally cover every race he did. There were plenty (a vast majority infact) of fair on-track battles too. Armstrong was stripped of his titles, since unfortunately, it was alleged that he took drugs for his entire career dating back to 1996, covering every Tour De France that he won.

            2. Anything that Michael has done has been in the heat of battle, on the field as it were. His indiscretions have been punished. We wouldn’t argue that a player who has been sent off on the football field is a cheat with this vigour, yet it is the same thing.

              Drug taking (and I’m not convinced Armstrong is a drug taker) is different though. It’s pre-meditated and an affront to all that sport stands for. So, yes, drug taking is worse.

            3. @DVC Taking PEDs is worse than endangering someone’s life? Committing a foul in a football match is the same as endangering someone’s life? I don’t know how to respond to that, except to use your word…madness.

            4. @kenny just getting in an F1 car for a race endangers people’s lives. It’s all a matter of degree after that. I haven’t seen Schumacher do anything that I would regard as being more dangerous than another type of accident that could happen driving an F1 car. (With the only possible exception being the wall run with Barrichello, for which he actually admitted error and apologised, saying he didn’t realise how close it actually was.) And there is absolutely nothing that Schumacher has done that even remotely comes close to dangerous when compared to what the drivers were doing before the 1980s. Hundreds of spectators were killed in the pre-war years and you’re worried about a driver in a modern car with modern safety requirements crashing into another car with modern safety requirements in a manner for which the two vehicles were actually designed to cope for!?

            5. @DVC Now you’re saying that Formula 1 cars are designed to be purposely run into each other. You’re nuts. This conversation is over.

            6. @kenny: Whether you consider the conversation over or not, F1 cars are designed to be run into each other. That’s what all those crash tests are for. It doesn’t matter to the car whether it was intentional or not.

      6. I’m sorry to say, but that Heath article is a disgrace and shouldn’t be in the round-up. His reasoning is almost idiotic and the article is written by a man who lets his grudges think for him.
        I’m a Schumacher fan, I admit, but, as someone else already said, can accept the shortcomings of my favourites. Surely the Shumacher we see today is far from the one we used to see, but the fact that someone his age is making a return and very often( and most often lately) is faster than his highly rated 15 year junior teammate is still an important accomplishment.
        The first part of his career is beyond doubt for any person with a decent amount of intelligence. You may not like him, you may think Senna or Clark were better, but I don’t see how that can stop you to aknowledge that he was(and still is) a great F1 driver.
        I have a request for you Keith that, in the future, you won’t post in the round-up articles that aren’t based on any logic and their existence doesn’t serve any purpose, you learn nothing by reading them and the act of writing them was a futility.
        This article is like taken off a tabloid or some cheap newspaper!

        1. @cristian

          This article is like taken off a tabloid or some cheap newspaper!

          Keith often includes articles from trashy tabloids if they’re F1 related :P. As he said above, we can make our own minds up about the article and discuss it in the comments here.

          Darren Heath is a well known, long-term member of the F1 community and therefore I think deserves to have his say, whether or not it’s a load of old codswallop.

          1. I fully agree here @george, the discussion here on the subject alone proves full well, that it was the right thing to do by @keithcollantine including it in the roundup.

      7. I very much agree with Darren Heath. And I know it’s unpopular, as will he, but that doesn’t change anything. Yes it’s an opinion and not a neutral journalistic report, but isn’t that what personal blogs are for? But in my eyes it’s more than an opinion, it’s an attempt to put things into perspective and to make sense of the huge difference in Schumacher’s rates of success in his 1st vs. his 2nd career in F1. And DH’s interpretation is exactly what I’ve come to think about this over the last 2.5 years. It’s the first time Schumacher races without a car circumventing the rules, the first time since his 5 Ferrari WDCs without his team having a veto right against any tech reg changes, having to use the same tires as everyone else, the first time he hasn’t got number one status in his team (apart maybe from his first full season) … AND: I’m neither pro or against Schumacher, I’m simpy trying to make sense of this huge disparity from the then to the now.

      8. I was shocked to read Darren Heath’s blog post criticizing Michael Schumacher and comparing him to Lance Armstrong. To his credit, Heath followed-up w/ me and we discussed, but ouch…what he alleged re. Michael was discomforting, especially given my direct involvement in the recent and ongoing anti-doping investigations in cycling.

    2. Great article about Lauda and Hamilton.
      That ford history amazed me. No wonder they left F1 in such melancholy way.

      1. @edmarques

        Yeah it was a great article..I guess it also explains why Ford is in a total mess right now!

    3. i do not follow paul on twitter – and need to be a conformed follower to see his tweets- what reason has he given for ‘leaving’ twitter?

      1. There were a couple, but I think the main one is that someone at Pirelli took Paul’s reacting to peoples’ tweets as him “not working”.

        It’s a shame that happened, because I think having access, direct access, to someone like Paul at a company like Pirelli, really gives a company a face and instantly makes it stand out when it comes time to shop for, in this case, tyres.

        1. i see. do i take that to mean he was a bit of a hot head at times? that might be too harsh a term to use. thank you for clearing that up by the way.

          1. No, not a hothead at all. He just tried to make sure he replied to all or most of the people who tweeted him. And because not all of it was about F1, or tyres, I think someone at Pirelli thought that meant he wasn’t doing his job, but rather just chatting.

            He might have been, I don’t know. But someone else might have interpreted it as a “personal touch”. You don’t always know how your boss wants you to fulfill your duties.

            1. If that’s how it went @ral, the guy who decided that never got marketing – due to those tweets Pirelli became accessible and had direct contact, interaction even, with fans.

            2. Shrug. I don’t know. I don’t work at Pirelli. Here’s what Paul said before closing his Twitter account:

              I wanted to understand the platform, balance work to social and how it needs to be done. I want to thank everyone for their support and questions, been fun. Have learnt that fans have huge appetite for interaction. Of course you also see how people can hide and abuse on such platforms and if you do your ‘job’ and reply, others think you not working.

              Make up your own mind. But I personally don’t agree with Prisoner Monkeys’ take on it.

        2. Probably someone who has no idea what social media is. A shame. I don’t think it’s the last we’ve heard of Paul on Twitter, though.

          1. Actually, from the sounds of things, Hembrey might have been getting a little distracted by Twitter, and wasn’t carrying out his duties properly or fully.

            1. Was the bit quoted where he called out people for anonymously raging on each other? Paul’s a good guy and I learned a lot from him this year.

    4. Sounds like Heath want’s some traffic to his site. There’s little other reason for writing cr*p like that without evidence. And it should be noted that I’m no fan of the Schu in any way shape or form.

      Melbourne wants a cut in their fee and it’s a bad deal. Big suprise. No story there, it’s just the annual press release recycled.

      1. While not sure I share Heath’s harsh words on Schumacher, I think that a lot of what he says comes from being both a long standing paddock insider and a very sharp observer. Don’t forget he was always interested in the technical side of the cars as well and his pictures have been incremental in clearing some things that were later forbidden.
        He also was among the first to mention the engine sounds on the cars late 2010 for example (not to mention McLarens 3rd brake pedal years back).

        1. @bascb

          Ok, lets say everything he said was true. The barge boards in 1999, was that not the year Schumacher broke his leg and was out for most of the year?? Eddie Ervine the big cheat!

          Bridgestone providing the wrong tyre side?? Did Schumacher make the tyres?? Is a company like Bridgestone really going to destroy their reputation by cheating?? They were in a tyre war with Michelen so would Michelen just have stood by with this going on??

          Who was the president of Ferrari during the Schumacher donimation?? Who was elected by people who know the sport inside out to be president of the FIA?? Are they really going to hire someone who was suposed to be known in the paddock as helping his team cheat to 5 championships??

          Does Bernie Ecclestone ever say a bad word about Schumacher?? Does Mika Hakkinen, his greatest rival or Alonso, Raikkenon, Button?? Would some of these drivers not say about him cheating them out of championships instead of some photography guy that tries to make you think the whole paddock thinks this.

          The article only makes sense when as someone pointed out it says about

          Please now take a few minutes to enjoy my pictures from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix by clicking here

          Should have known this guy was trying to flog me something with talking that much trash.

          1. @snowman I really don’t think there’s much to gain with discussing these issues like you do here. Neither I nor Heath are trying to prove these things about Schumacher to be true. Nor is Heath saying everyone in the paddock thinks they are.

            Heath does write that there are many question marks, some proven, some not proven but as clear as Red Bull not infringing the flex-wing rules because they passed the test, and some at the same level of many of the so far not proven allegations against Armstrong.
            Fact is, neither you nor me are likely to have more insight in the merit of those points than Heath himself, although there are bound to be people who could tell us more about them.

            To say that Bridgestone would not risk going to the fringes of the rules, is like saying Newey does not try to go to the limits with exhausts, or aero-devices. Or teams cooling their fuel right up to what the FIA can prove is already cooling it during the refueling days. Its like saying Michelin did not try to get around the rules on grooved tyres with their tyres that narrowed the grooves/widened the contact area with wear. Everyone in F1 is looking to go to the limit, sometimes over it. Some of those are proven, others are just rumours.

            You know Bernie well enough to know that he says just what he needs to say to get the wanted result. And talking down Schumacher’s legacy is certainly not in the best interest of F1, so he will not do that.
            Current drivers are all bound to their teams and not many a team would want their drivers talking about unproven things. But just look at what drivers like Herbert, Brundle, Barrichello, Hill and even Frentzen say about Schumi. And when did you hear fellow Germans Glock and Heidfeld talk about him in superlatives? Sure, that might be sour-grapes, but it proves he is a controversial person, which is exactly what Heath writes about him.

            If you think Heath needs his blog to have people look at his pictures, I think you should have a look at the places his pictures are published, this is not just some photography guy.
            One of his first big ones were the pictures of McLaren’s 3rd brake pedal, this is a guy who has always been interested in technical issues in F1.

            1. Schumacher is controversial alright but the Heath article just seethes of hatred for the man.

              McLaren’s third pedal is a big exclusive and what all these photographers are looking for but it doesn’t make out he’s Craig Scraborough.

              He talks about Schumacher should have had more success because Mercedes was a factory team, like you would think Rosberg had a couple of wins each year in this great front running factory team.

              Darren is that eager to throw something at Schumacher he blames him for the barge boards in 1999 when Schumacher wasn’t even fighting for the championship because he was out with a broken leg.

              The only one of them drivers that say anything really bad about him are Herbert and Barrichello. Both were severely beaten as team mates and Barrichello after making a big thing about how he was going to Ferrari as joint number 1.

    5. Maurice Hamilton’s Lauda tale is very impressive. I can’t say I like him(because he saying so much about past&today) but he’s really great guy. Makes everything simple, and worth hearing his view. I think, if Hamilton comes to Mercedes, Lauda would be driver consultant or sort of couch like Helmut Marko or Alex Wurz whichshould be good for person like Hamilton.

      1. Lauda said a few days ago Hamilton will stay at McLaren and his links with Mercedes make me believe he knows something.

        1. @jcost – I don’t think Lauda actually has any solid connections to the team yet. He has been mentioned as a possible recruit for a shake-up of the team’s organisation, but as far as I’m aware he does not have any formal position with or connection to the team. If he did, he probably wouldn’t be commenting on the Hamilton situation, unless it was a formal annoucement from the team that Hamilton would not be racing for them, and he clearly isn’t doing that.

          1. Indeed, only yesterday Lauda rubbished the rumours of him being part of convincing Hamilton and denied any thing towards him taking up whatever role with the team.

            1. Well Telegraph has a different story

              The impression given off by McLaren over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend that they had done enough to hang on to Lewis Hamilton gained further weight on Tuesday when Niki Lauda, who has been part of Mercedes’s negotiating team, predicted the 2008 world champion would remain at Woking.


    6. Also ‘On This Day in F1…’ the Portuguese GP took place in 1992. I remember it well as it was my first GP and Mansell won followed by the 2 Mclarens. What an amazing experience it was! I am so pleased I got to see Senna drive.

      I wasn’t much of a photographer back then but here’s a link to what I took if you are interested. Unfortunately there are none of Senna. What was I thinking!!


      1. @cbriddon Very cool pics, thanks for those.

    7. IMHO Schumacher still has some pace is his pocket but he’s far from being the beast who won 7 WDC and being “paired” with Rosberg makes me wonder whether the younger German is as good as I once thought.

    8. “The French Autosport Federation (FFSA) will check whether the two candidates for a Formula One French Grand Prix in 2013 will carry on with their bids after the Sports Ministry said on Tuesday no state subsidy would be provided.”

      That’s interesting. It looks like France really could appear in 2013 – probably during that three-week gap everyone was so quick to point out – even if they weren’t on the provisional calendar.

      I wonder where this leaves Turkey. The same people who speculated that the calendar could see three new rounds in 2013 specifically mentioned the Turkish Grand Prix as one of the three looking to get back on the calendar.

    9. His legion of fans will not hear any of it, of course, insisting that all is fair in the sporting arena and that Schumacher simply possessed more skill, hunger and derring-do than his rivals. Many still blindly insist he still does…

      (Darren Heath)

      Ah, a few days after mentioning people who dislike F1 drivers will always reach back as far as they can, this guy proves me right. The above quote is a nice one, aimed from a ‘hater’ to ‘fanboys’, completely devoid of inviting sensible discussion. Does he also fancy commenting on YouTube?

      As a guy who loved Schumacher since I was a little boy, I was one heck of a fanboy between ages 8 and 16. I went as far as drawing mustaches and ‘dunce’ hats on Villeneuve, Hill, Hakkinen in magazines and later despised Raikkonen and Alonso. All for beating my hero. Of course, at some point, a person grows up. Sadly, some people never seem to move from those absolutes. These people are often found in YouTube comment sections (watch any Senna vs Schumacher video, both sides go mad) or high schools.

      Personally, at 22, I’m not too crazy about Schumacher’s second career. I’ve kept at collecting his miniatures and still scream like a little girl when he does good, but that’s seldom the case. Still, as a fan, I support him. However, I also realize the fortunes Schumacher had. Arguably, Piquet-Senna-Prost-Mansell and Alonso-Hamilton-Vettel are more fierce competitions than Schumacher versus anyone with a Newey designed car or later Alonso. Not to mention the monetary, technological and psychological advantages. And he and his team have likely broken rules as well. I still think he was the best driver between 1994 and 2004, but seasons like 2003 or 2005 showed his weakness: he can outperform the car somewhat, but not by the margins aforementioned drivers could/can.

      The facts are plain to see: with every race his statistics and legacy get weaker while the doubts about his ability during his heyday grow stronger.

      How many drivers have faced this? Still, people tend to mention 1992 more often than 1995 when talking about Nigel Mansell. Or 2005 instead of 2009 when talking about Alonso. Stats and figures are nice, but memories weigh more than facts. I really wish more F1 discussion would be without the conspiracies, my favorite driver is better than your favorite driver, etc. It’s somewhat sad to see a professional F1 photographer falling into just that.

      1. I really appreciate this comment; like you say, if you make the mistake of scrolling down to actually read YouTube comments (yikes), you’re only going to find some pretty crazy extremes about any big name drivers. I’m not a fan of Schumacher’s, and never really have been, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of appreciating his many accomplishments in F1, nor blind to his talent. And when even a non-fan like me is cringing at a blog like this one, you’ve got to wonder…

        As to Darren Heath, I’m a fan of his work, but as an aspiring F1 photographer myself (what? a girl can dream) I can only cringe slightly when he puts up the occasional blog post like this. I’ve shot my share of celebrities at various Hollywood events, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to turn around and claim to have any real insider scoop on anything to do with any of them. That’s just not a photographer’s role. He’s certainly a presence within the sport, but how much of an expert can he really be on the inner workings of the paddock? Does he know more than the average TV viewer? I’m sure he does, he’s been shooting this sport for years. But I can’t help but feel he’s stretching that credibility in a post like this one. He’s as entitled to his opinions as anyone, but sometimes you have to wonder whether he’s just trying to aggravate an easy target audience to generate more site traffic. Which is a shame, because his work speaks for itself, and that really isn’t necessary.

        Then again, maybe he just felt like going on a nice, pot-stirring rant.

        1. I think it’s probably more about Heath’s inability to take a step back an show some respect where it is due than lack of knowledge. He is not the only F1 journalist, who suffers from this syndrome. Such articles might bring you more popularity and make the haters cheer but they certainly don’t make you a good journalist. My favourite sources for opinions on F1 and analysis today are Autosport, James Allen’s blog and F1 Fanatic, not least because they can express their opinions without getting rude or childish.

          1. @Girts James Allen is a great source, definitely, and knows how to keep it professional. But see, that’s the thing; Darren Heath is not a journalist. He’s a photographer. And speaking as a photographer myself, there are some very important differences between the two! (Not that there aren’t actual journalists within the sport, as you say, who don’t sometimes do the exact same thing.)

      2. @npf1 You are a legend. You have a Twitter account I can follow?

        My COTD for sure.

      3. @leucocrystal
        Thank you! You’re right, I named Schumacher vs Senna as an example, but earlier I was watching a Hamilton vs Alonso video and found the same kind of bickering. I’ve found some of these fans in reality as well, but the thing I like about most of my peers who enjoy F1 and this site is the sensibility. As for the role of photographers, I’m also unsure if they’re ones to speak for masses of F1 fans. He is a good photographer, but the following line kind of gives away his motives with this blog post:

        Please now take a few minutes to enjoy my pictures from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix by clicking here.

        Thank you for the kind words! I’m not on Twitter, though.

    10. I read Darren Heath’s blog article. I agree with some of his points and I also strongly believe that Schumacher should retire at the end of this season. But I think that the article is a bit too one-sided.

      We should not forget that Schumacher is now 43, which might be the perfect age for the WTCC but F1 has different requirements. Moreover, one of Schumacher’s strengths earlier used to be his great state of fitness and I think that drivers are generally more fit these days so today Schumacher’s well trained body might not give him the advantage it once used to.

      Besides, each period in the history of F1 has required different strengths and skills from the drivers. A 45-year old Juan Manuel Fangio would make a mockery of himself if he could travel in time and was given an Red Bull RB8. While the difference between F1 in 2004 and F1 in 2010-2012 is obviously not that big, F1 changes all the time and you cannot expect that even great drivers will always be able to adapt to each and every change.

      It is OK to say that Schumacher should leave F1 now but one should not belittle his past achievements just because of the current performance.

      1. I’d say the car differences between 2006 and 2010 are massive. I couldn’t really comment, but the massive shake-up in 2009 radically changed the way the cars drive.

        I’m guessing Raikonnen managed somewhat better, not just because of his age and continued top-level racing, but because he did drive in 2009, even though the car was a pig.

      2. If you think the article was one sided…

    11. I’m very pleased to read that Donnington are making good that awful mess in the middle of the circuit. It was like looking at an unclaimed corpse.
      Stil, I do think it’s a shame that the track changes didn’t go ahead, it would have been a really interesting development for this superb circuit. But without a financially viable headline race, the money wasn’t there.
      Here’s to the new Donnington!

    12. Not a lot of love for Bernie in this round-up. Escalating contract costs, the legacy of the Donington nonsense… I believe one of his companies owns the Paul Ricard circuit in France (which the gov’t aren’t prepared to subsidise). Poor old gent.

      1. Not a lot of love for Bernie in this round-up.

        Hi, welcome to the Formula 1 fandom.

    13. I just don’t believe Alguersuari when he says he’ll be back in F1. His constant affirmations otherwise just sound like a man in denial.

      1. @danbrown180 His dad was on the grid at the Hungaroring Formula Renault 3.5 race recently saying Robin Frijns deserves a shot in F1. He’s right, too.

    14. I agree with the French government refusing to fund a race, if there is to be a French GP in the future it should be 100% commercial as the government has better things to deal with. If there is demand for a race in France it shouldn’t need any public funding.

    15. I think the fact that Michael finished only seven races in itself a counter argument. Yes, he suffered from almost exclusively all mechanical failures this year in the team, but he had lapses of concentration as well, like Barcelona or Singapore. Or Singapore last year, in entirely similar circumstances.

      On the other hand, he is still there, when he does concentrate. He can still do things, only a few could. He is still one of the greatest champions of Formula 1. If not the greatest. So it’s a controversial topic. Rumours that Mercedes nonetheless prioritises Hamilton, in which case this topic is kind of pointless.


      So does the final plan go ahead in Donington? The one with the Nürburgring-esque sequence?ű


      I saw that Toyota Hybrid in Paris a few weeks ago. Yay. :D

    16. Been a while since my last comment of the day! Aerodynamics is something we’ve tended to discuss less since 2009 when the aero was overhauled, and less so in the last couple of years because of the EBD/(D)DRS/F-Duct/KERS etc. It’s something that still needs to be addressed, but it seems that aero has been tucked away for a little while. IT would seem ERS, V6 Engines and the rest of the 2014 rules have brushed aero under the carpet.

      Also, I think it’s only right that France has to find a private and/or commercial financer for it’s race. Many of the European tracks have to this. France’s government have bigger fish to fry for now.

      1. @jamesF1 But..3 of the things you mention in your post are about aero :P Unless you mean just the standard use of aero on the bodywork? DRS was brought in to try and address the aero issue but heck, the racing is good this year.

    17. Whatever anybody says of Michael Schumacher, we are all guilty of forgetting just how much he has helped this sport progress in the public’s minds. For so many years, especially after the death of Aryton Senna, Schumacher was and to a point is F1’s biggest star. He is not perfect, but then again so are so many of the other drivers who have won championships. Only three weeks ago we were debating Lewis Hamilton’s antics following the Spa grands prix for example, so lets be realistic.
      In my mind, Schumacher gets all this negative press because he was so dominant and won the most grands prix and championships. It is because of his success that he has so many enemies, and when they see Michael struggling like he is now they can’t wait to pull the trigger on his career. Am I saying Schumacher was undeserving of any criticism? No. I thought the events of Adelaide 1994 and Monaco 2006 were two classic examples of a great driver resorting to childish tactics to gain an advantage. My point is, the others do it all the time and it is excepted. Alonso in Hungary 2007 is one that springs to mind, like Schumacher, a classic example of talent being sidelined by childishness.
      As with Keith, I never quite bought Alonso’s presumed innocence in the Crashgate scandal in 2008. I always felt it would have been better for Fernando to come out in public and say something, saying nothing to me only suggested that he had something to hide. Or had been told to keep his mouth shut!
      Many of us would like to see Schumacher’s return to F1 as being a success, an Indian summer of sorts, but the longer time has gone by the less that looks likely. Some have boasted that Michael is beating Nico Rosberg now often and that that is a good thing, perhaps! Though we must bear in mind that Michael Schumacher ‘used’ to make a habit of beating the entire field every other week and did so for years. The fact remains that between 1994 and 2006 if an F1 driver wanted to be champion they had to beat Michael Schumacher. Only six times was this achieved, by only four drivers. Statistics like that speak for themselves.

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