Button doubts wisdom of Hamilton’s Mercedes move

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button says he think Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes, who he drove for from 2003-9 as BAR, Honda and Brawn, isn’t the right decision.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Jenson Button: Lewis Hamilton has made wrong decision to leave McLaren (The Guardian)

“He has chosen to go his own way at the end of the year. It is his decision, although I personally don’t think it is the right decision.”

SIC to negotiate with FOM for reduction of fees to host F1 (The Malaysian Reserve)

“Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd (SIC) will seek for a reduction in the payment to host the Formula One (F1) race which first came to Malaysia in 1999, following a similar successful move by its Singapore counterpart.”

The Horse Whisperer – From one extreme to the other (Ferrari)

“It’s a pity that Montezemolo had simply stated a principle, nothing more, nothing less. At Ferrari there will be room for anyone who demonstrates they have the talent to drive a scarlet car and to work in harmony both with and for the team.”

Massa decision set for Tuesday (Sky)

“Luca di Montezemolo has revealed he will sit down with Felipe Massa at Ferrari’s headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the Brazilian’s future before making a final decision on a contract for 2013.”

‘Massa kerb’ for Indian Grand Prix (The Times of India)

“The Ferrari driver, who was quickest in the practice sessions for the Indian Grand Prix, retired midway through the race with a broken left suspension after kissing too much of the kerb on turn eight of the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida. That kerb has now been christened as the ‘Massa kerb’.”

NBC Sports Group gets US Formula One Rights (NBC Sport)

“The deal that begins next season will air four races on NBC. The remaining 16 races, and all practices and qualifying sessions will be on cable NBC Sports Network in what’s expected to total more than 100 hours of annual programming.”

Whitmarsh glad to leave Korea (The Telegraph)

“This economy, this culture, we can make a success of it here but we probably need to think of the formula and how to do that because the location of the circuit does not make it easy.”

McLaren want Hamilton to feel the love (Reuters)

Lewis Hamilton: “I have not been distracted once this year… I am still 100% a part of this team, right until the last minute. People will continue to say there’s a rift between me and Jenson and there honestly are no issues between us. We’ve been fantastic team mates really.”

Mixed emotions for Mark in South Korea (Mark Webber)

“I didn’t have enough clutch at Suzuka last weekend and here I had too much. The initial launch wasn’t good and that resulted in me having a mediocre run to the first corner.”

Analysis: Red Bull DDRS (ScarbsF1)

“Red Bull’s adoption of DDRS is also surprising; as it’s the first time a team have exploited this technology since Mercedes introduced it for the start of 2012. This might be in part due to the system being banned for 2013 and teams are looking at the passive Drag Reduction Device (DRD) as tested by Lotus\Mercedes.”



Comment of the day

@TimothyKatz kept an eagle eye on the development of BBC’s “Vettel to Ferrari” story yesterday:

I’ve been watching that story – the headline has changed three times this morning. From the original, definite position to “might” and now it’s back to “set to”.


Now they’ve changed the headline to “Ferrari plan for arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but Massa stays for 2013”.

From the forum

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112 comments on “Button doubts wisdom of Hamilton’s Mercedes move”

  1. It’s amusing that they named the kerb, but why can’t some of these new tracks give names to some of their corners!

    1. When corners are named, there’s often a story behind it. For example, the first corner at Mount Panorama is named “Hell Corner” because when the circuit was first built, there was a tree stump on the apex and local motorcycle riders believed that anyone who got too close to it and clipped it would go straight to hell for making such a foolish mistake.

      Likewise, Massa’s Kerb has a story behind it, which is why it now has a name. But what would you call, say, Turn 14 at Buddh? Nothing really happened there last year, so there’s no story to draw on to name it.

      1. Some circuits just have a theme to their corner names and name them from the start – at Magny Cours, for example, the corners are named after other racing circuits, though I can understand that there’s only so many different themes that make sense.

        Thing is though, even when corners are named most drivers and many commentators will just refer to them by numbers because it’s easier than learning all the names – I’ve even heard turn numbers being used at Monaco and Spa on occasions, two of the circuits where people really ought to know the names.

        1. @ilanin OK, so what is the name of Turn 7 at Monaco?

          1. Mirabeau Bas.

          2. Exactly right! and turn 5 is actually Mirabeau haut but nobody calls it that.

          3. Ah, that’s easy! :D
            Portier. Or is it the one before Portier, if Beau Rivage is counted as T2? Is it then counted as a left, or a right, or two left-right corners? What if the kink to the left at the braking zone for St. Devote is actually T1, making St. Devote T2? Is the left kink before the hairpin also a turn? How many turns are there in the Tunnel? How about Rascasse? One left, then right and another right, before Anthony Noghes (two turns again?)? Did they add a chicane somewhere in the lap for this year, rendering the numbers I remembered last year useless?

            This always gets me confused when I start counting in my head when during a race, a certain Turn 17 is mentioned. :s
            Of course I’m not denying all my questions are answered by looking at the official track map, but it’s not something many viewers have access to.
            I guess it just can’t be made easy.

          4. The point is they use numbers for precision and even that doesn’t always work, the right hand kinks at Spa at the beginning of the old pits and at the start of the Kemmel straight used to be classified as corners but for F1 are not anymore.Also at Spa Turn 2 Eau Rouge is the left at the bottom of the hill bridging the creek and Turn 4 Raidillon is the left starting up the hill to Kemmel but what is the right hand Turn 4 in between? Is Turn 8 Bruxelles or Rivage, Malmedy and Stavelot are nowhere near where they used to be and you’d be hard-pressed to find a commentator calling Turn 15 Paul Frere but they constantly talk about the Bus Stop Chicane which has been gone for years. Then you have tracks which actually lease the naming rights to corners! This is why drivers have a track map in the cockpit with numbers so the team is sure about which corner they are referring to.

          5. right hand Turn 4 in between

            Make that Turn 3. It really does get confusing.

    2. I don’t remember that well what the reactions were last year after Felipe’s incident but I’m 99.9% sure the organisers came under some heavy criticism for those elevated kerbs. Taking this into consideration it’s good they have some sense of humor. On any other circuit I presume this would have been an event that no one ever spoke about again, let alone mark it into the circuit’s permanent history.

      Nice one, India. You’re allright! :)

      1. Indeed its a funny touch and helps to give the track some familiarity

      2. The whole point is only one driver fell foul of that kerb. He then did it again.

        “Fool me once…” etc.

      3. Next Korean GP will see the Hamilton turf turn then ? But that’s quite difficult to say in the excitement of a grand prix …

      4. What it is, is character building, stuff like that will give a circuit it’s history. And that’s something that is sorely needed by the Tilkedromes.

  2. I bet Massa was hoping to hear they’d taken that kerb away, not extended it and named it after him…
    Luca could have some fun with that at the meeting tomorrow. “Felipe! Good news…and bad news.”

    1. Good of SIC to renegotiate. Hopefully it’ll mean cheaper tickets for future Grands Prix! :)

  3. I agree completely with Button. In fact, I fear with the rule changes for 2013 Mercedes will fall even further behind and McLaren will (again) be the car to beat. Double DRS and the stepped nose will disappear so as opposed to the rest of the grid McLaren can just improve their car.
    And I doubt McLaren will keep on getting reliability issues. Their luck has to change at some point.
    I think it’s a very good possibility Perez will become WDC next year. Hamilton will be kicking himself in the head if that happens.

    1. This is the problem with people judging Hamiltons decision. Lewis has said hes moving because he wants a new challenge, hes been with Mclaren forever and wants to move, in this regard, it cannot be called a ‘mistake’, because its what he wants, even if he knows he may be uncompetitive for a while.

      Merecedez, like Ferrari, also have the benefit of being able to design the car with their new engine in mind, long before Merecedez customers (or Ferrari customers) get their hands on it.

      1. And what good will that challenge be if he’s constantly fighting to get into Q3 and into the points in the race. I think the real reason Hamilton is moving is because he’s fed up with all the problems his car has had and the mistakes his team has made. Something I doubt will continue on. In fact, the team hasn’t made any mistakes recently anymore so the only problem now is reliability.

        Furthermore, I seriously doubt the rule change will be of such benefit to Mercedes. McLaren didn’t jump ahead of the pack when the engines went from V10’s to V8’s back when Mercedes were fully focused on McLaren so I see no reason for Mercedes to do so when the V6’s are introduced. The same goes for Ferrari.
        Renault was top dog at the end of the V10 era and continued their dominance into 2006 with the V8.
        If the rules stay the same for 2014 as they will be in 2013 then whoever is leading the pack at the end of 2013 will most likely be leading the pack in 2014 as well.

        I think Hamilton’s move to Mercedes will be similar to Alonso going back to Renault. In terms of results it will be counter productive but he’ll get some much needed experience out of it. After 2-3 years of mopping around in a midfield car he’ll move back to a top team to try and win championships again.

        1. The Regulations will not stay the same as 2013 for 2014 and they have been available for over a year


          1. A narrower front wing, a lower nose and less angle on the rear wing.

            That’s not life changing.

            Anyway, it’s no indication whatsoever that Mercedes will suddenly come out on top.

          2. I’m so sorry for Perez. He will throw away his best years, like Raikkonen and Hamilton did at Mclaren.

          3. That’s not life changing.

            It sounds no less extreme than the regulations that gave rise to Brawn and Red Bull, briefly at the expense of McLaren and Ferrari…

        2. I think you misunderstand the concept of challenging oneself.

          1. So Hamilton didn’t have much of a challenge the past 4 years? That explains how he so easily became a 4 times World Champion…

            Oh wait.

      2. It`s ok to want a new challenge, if you have achieved all you can achieve with your current team. But Hamilton hasn`t, he lucked into one title in 2008 and hasn`t been close since despite McLaren giving him a car able to challenge for the championship several years. McLaren is still a top team, Mercedes is not.

        He`s not moving because he wants a new challenge, he`s moving because he`s frustrated he hasn`t won any championships since 2007. He hopes that Mercedes can do a Ferrari ala Schumacher with him as the number 1 driver. I`ve seen his frustration grow every time Vettel either wins a race or a championship. Hamilton truly believes he is one of the greats in F1-history and cannot accept that others are racking up wins and championships on an industrial scale, he`s supposed to do that, not Vettel.

        The move to Mercedes is a bit of desperation on Hamiltons part. It might turn out as the smartest move he ever made or the worst. If Mercedes can produce a championship contender in the next couple of seasons and possibly win a title Hamilton will be hailed as a hero. If Mercedes continues to produce the same kind of car as the 2012-car then Hamilton is likely to melt down and selfdestruct. Remember, he`s never been in a mid-field car before, if his results are less than good and he gets beaten by Rosberg that`s effectively the end of the Hamilton-myth. Then he`ll be remembered by posterity as a young driver given a golden opportunity no other rookie has ever been given, he was good but not great. It`s definitely a gamble on Hamiltons part.

        I believe Hamilton will beat Rosberg on pace, but will Hamilton be able to cope with driving a midfield car? Will he start making stupid mistakes when the pressure is on and the media starts questioning his ability? The key for Hamilton is to keep his cool whatever happens, work hard and be a true team player. If he`s able to do that, and given Mercedes resources, he should be able to have a very good career at Mercedes.

        1. The problems at McLaren are insurmountable under current management, ask Newey, ask Raikkonen, ask Alonso, ask Dave Ryan, ask anyone who has been and left the team in recent times. He is moving to Mercedes for ‘a new challenge’ and no doubt greater success – is it really that hard to understand?

          McLaren are not interested in championships, it’s the mighty dollar that drives them and their idiotic 1 in 4 wins bleating serves to promote the ‘brand’ rather than the sport.

          operational errors, fueling errors, pitstop errors, gearbox failures and suspension failures are a string of results only McLaren could be proud of – as long as there is that magical win every four races eh!

          A racing team is only as good as the talent it employs. McLaren would go a long way if it acknowledged that fact.

    2. And who is Button to judge Hamilton’s decision. You don’t need to work for the same company for the rest of your life. Moving away for a new challenge can sometimes be helpful. Mclaren currently is living on past glory. How many drivers and constructors championship have they won in the last 15 years? This should have been leading this year had it not been the many operational and reliability issues they’ve been faced with.
      There have been rule changes in the last 15 years yet Mclaren hasn’t made the most of it. What makes anyone think that 2013 is going to be any different. Who thought Brawn, in their first year will win both the drivers and constructors championship?
      There is nothing to say that Mercedes fortunes won’t turn around next year!

      1. And there is also nothing to say McLaren’s fortunes won’t turn around next year. And when they do, they’ll be able to capitalize on their already great package.

        1. artificial racer
          16th October 2012, 19:28

          There’s nothing to say they will either! Mercedes has a highly talented team. They have so far failed to find the right balance of tricks to compete at the top, but they are still improving each year. The double DRS was clever although in retrospect, probably a distraction.

          Personally I get the feeling that Hamilton was hoping for a different atmosphere with different people. McLaren doesn’t always seem to treat him with respect… they are kind of like a parent who never really sees their child as an adult. And there’s things like not being able to keep the trophies.

        2. Seems like your fighting tooth and nail for McLaren, while at the same time playing double standards. So McLaren can have a turn around season but don’t cast the same idea for Merc GP?

          So please tell us what makes McLaren the tell all? Also another thing just in case you weren’t aware, they have been making mistakes for years back to the Kimi era with them. It has only gotten progressively worse since then. Also the gearbox failure at Singapore was McLaren’s fault and they have had 3 suspension failures as of recent. So I must ask what season are you watching. Perhaps the Holden Vodafones have got you confused.

      2. @dt

        And who is Button to judge Hamilton’s decision.

        His long term team mate and fellow Mclaren driver?

        I dunno, it kinda seems like he’s in a good position to comment on it…

    3. Button’s looking at it the wrong way. The wisdom of Hamilton’s decision to move to Mercedes is only questionable when you consider it for sporting reasons, i.e., Who is most likely to produce a championship-winning car?

      Hamilton didn’t choose to move to Mercedes for sporting reasons. He did so for commercial reasons (higher basic salary and possibility of personal endorsements, which isn’t allowed at McLaren) and, most probably, for personal reasons too (not feeling entirely “at home” at McLaren any more, if various whispers from the paddock are to be believed).

      Of course, Lewis can hope that Mercedes build a competitive car next year, or that they take advantage of the new engine regulations to become world-beaters in 2014, or even that he can build the team around himself in the way Schumacher did at Ferrari, but that to me seems like rationalisation after the fact. It can’t have been the key motivating factor for his decision.

      1. I doubt it was. As I said before, I think Hamilton is fed up with all the problems and mistakes.

        Singapore was probably what (finally) made him decide to go to Mercedes.

  4. The BIC have made a number of changes to the track, widening corner 8-9 fro 5-15m, laying Astroturf (lets hope they use something a bit better than the Korean version of UHU glue), 6 more video screens, and leveling all the kerbs to the same 25mm height together with a number of new sausage kerbs. (http://wp.me/p2HWOP-c1)

    They’ve sold the grand total of 4,400 tickets too starting at $38, amusingly most of these were sold the day Schumacher announced his retirement. (minimum wage for New Dheli workers is $5 a day).

    1. Interesting. I suppose they wanted to seize the last chance to see him race for real. Not really a fan, but disappointed I never got to (but at least I got to see him tool round for a bit at testing this year).

    2. They’ve sold the grand total of 4,400 tickets

      Only 4,400 tickets sold when the circuit’s capacity is 100,000+?! Jesus, this is gonna be embarrasing…

      1. I don’t understand why so many people seem to think it is critically important for races to be totally sold out. The bulk of the audience will come from television viewers.

        Furthermore, last year’s Indian Grand Prix was sold out. I find it hard to believe that they can get just 4% of their audience to return given the popularity of the event. I suspect thejudge13 is trying to make a political point – I’ve noticed that a lot of his blog posts are scathing criticisms of the sport’s organisation, and I’ve often felt that he’s misrepresented things to make a point.

        I suspect that these $38 tickets are general admission for Friday and Saturday practice.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys I can see two reasons on why is a big deal even though as you mention “The bulk audience will come from television viewers.”

          The first is, there are places dying to host a GP that would be packed to the rafters. And seeing an empty grand stand is just disappointing for the fans at those locations.

          Second, and most important, a big part of the races (or any sports for that matter) is the atmosphere. Imagine an empty stadium in the Football WC. It would be crazy.

          If people do not go to the races, how do organizers expect to even break even after playing the hefty fees and all their costs? I think attendance is important for the sustainability (financially at least) of the sport.

          1. *substitute paying for playing….. :P

          2. The first is, there are places dying to host a GP that would be packed to the rafters.

            Where, exactly, would those places be?

            Argentina talked up the idea of a Grand Prix, but to hear the Argentine members of the blog tell it, the entire thing as a dog-and-pony show to distract the masses from the sorry state of the economy.

            France has suggested they want to hold a race, and by all accounts, they will get in. But the government isn’t providing any funding for the race, and both the circuits put forward as candidates for the event – Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard – need to deicde if they want to keep going.

            Turkey is said to be looking at getting back on the calendar, but they have the same problem of empty grandstands that you claim potential host venues would fix.

            And there are other nations that have talked about a race in the past – Mexico, Croatia, the Ukraine, Vietnam, South Africa, etc. – but have made no move to turn the fantasy into reality.

            So I’m very curious as to where all these countries that are “dying to host a race” are.

          3. Well, I must admit that maybe there are countries that would have enough fans to host a successful race but they do not have either the means or the will to pull it off. Argentina or Mexico being excellent cases. However, I do still believe that seeing the stands empty is frankly appalling.

        2. One might reasonably point out that since ticket sales are one of the very few revenue streams the circuit actually gets to keep, poor attendance is a bad thing for the long-term viability of the venue. Support from regional and national governments is always vulnerable to shifts in the political climate.

          Of course, with the sheer number of circuits that want to elbow their way onto the calendar these days, we probably need some of the present circuits to lack long-term viability.

        3. @PM “Political statement”???

          If you clicked through, you would discover this is from the Times of India almost verbatim, (UHU glue comment exceped) so I wonder if its the Indian newspaper that are making a political point?

          Seems like a fairly dry list of facts to me.

          Also I think there was an article I read last year about the organisers giving away tens of thousands of tickets and shipping the masses in by free bus to fill the circuit.

          Any way I do agree with @PM, who cars if no one goes to the track. Used to love Turkey as a circuit and for a good race, but it was canned cos no one went???

          1. If no-one pays money to go to a venue, how do you expect that venue to survive?

        4. @prisonermonkeys

          I don’t understand why so many people seem to think it is critically important for races to be totally sold out.

          Neither does the FIA. But I can give you two reasons.
          1. The organisers and the promoters of the Grand Prix, along with the circuit owners have a huge load of costs to cover, over the course of one year, especially when we’re talking about a circuit where we have only F1 or a couple of other competitions racing over the course of one year. Ecclestone’s and the state’s money alone can’t cover that. They invested a lot in that venue and they need a return or even a profit to survive or at least to justify their investment. Ergo, they need to sell tickets!

          2. A grand prix with even half full or quarter-full grandstands looks bad on TV as well. Not only at the racetrack. It’s just bad for the sport’s image, for the promoter’s image, for the country itself. No one likes to see an event at which no one shows up. Especially when we’re talking about a country like India which has the second largest number of residents in the world. 4,000, 5,000 people, even 10,000 people in those grandstands still denotes a humongous lack of interest towards motor racing. It’s just…bad.

          1. Should have build cricket field in the middle of the track!

      2. This morning I heard one school in India is registered to a Guinness world record for accommodating 45 thousand students. Which part of India I don’t know.

  5. Whoever the horse whisperer is, I hope a) he realizes he comes off as snobby and arrogant, and b) The only person who it could be is Luca or someone close enough to have intimate access to the team (and it’s website), which makes him even more snobby, and a bit of a **** to the Ferrari fans who don’t deserve that.

    1. @mike James Allen says “I know who writes the Horse Whisperer column and he’s a prominent figure within the Scuderia”. Big team, lots of prominent figures …..

      I agree he comes across as pompous, but I wonder if that’s a consequence of a translation of the original script from Italian to English. I often think some adverse opinions about drivers and teams are formed on the basis of translations that are not precise in their choice of words.

    2. @mike My guess is it’s Luca Colajanni, Ferrari’s PR manager (not sure if that’s the Luca you were talking about). Also I wonder whether the tone taken in the Horse Whisperer is deliberately a little aloof and condescending to get it’s point across and get noticed.

      1. Of course it’s on purpose! Haha.

    3. @mike I absolutely adore the Horse Whisperer (and for once I’m not being sarcastic)! In what sport other than F1 would you even have something like that? I think it’s so much more fun and interesting than the usual PR. (And yeah, @davea86, my money is also on Luca Colajanni.)

  6. I can’t help feeling that the Korean GP would be very successful if “Team Samsung/Hyundai” had racing and tipped to do well due to the very powerful 5valve Hyundai engine with its Samsung electronics. That will never happen of course due to the FIAs desire to standardise the powertrain. The result will be more tracks wanting to negotiate down the hosting fees.

    1. “had BEEN racing”.

    2. I don’t see how teams being free to develop the powertrain as they saw fit would result in circuits negotiating reduced hosting fees, considering that the teams and event organisers have no cross-over, and the policy-makers – the FIA for powertrains and FOM for circuit contracts – are completely separate in carrying out their duties.

  7. Zantkiller (@)
    16th October 2012, 1:28

    I’m scared of how much Felix looks like the love child of Webber and Coulthard.

    1. I think it was just a bad haircut for Baumgartner. Is he a Red Bull employee in a similar line to Webber and Vettel?

      1. I believe he just reached out to Red Bull for funding and they obliged given it fits in with their Xtreme Sports brand.

  8. Mmm. NBC huh. It appears their big announcement to the world that they are now the F1 broadcaster to nearly 300m people in the most powerful nation on earth has some problems. Lead article picture has sub-title underneath “Sebastian Vettel at the South Korean F1 Grand Prix is just one of Formula One’s worldwide events”. Problem is the pic is of Mark Webber http://wp.me/p2HWOP-bq

    Further, as part of their education of the people of the USA in all things F1, they appear not to understand each driver has a team. There is an alphabetic list of all the drivers including the reserve drivers who are not differentiated – no team names – just engine types. http://scores.nbcsports.msnbc.com/nascar/drivers.asp?series=FORM1

    Note in the list, apparently Red Bull reserve driver Buemi has a Ferrari engine – does Adrian know this?

  9. Regarding Button, his advice seems curious. He is the guy who went to Honda/BAR/Brawn when they were nothing special. They got worse, then better, then worse, before coming good for one year. Thus his single title. So Button’s decision to stick with the perennially revitalizing team, instead of jumping up to a solid one when he could, was proved sound. I’m sure it wasn’t by grand design, but the outcome is the proof. Now Hamilton is following his move to go to the Brawn-run team.

    1. But let’s not forget that the technical team at Mercedes that Lewis is going to is infinitely stronger than the BAR team Button left for back in 2003. At that time Button also had few other options, for example he could have gone to Jaguar which was not exactly a team on the up. I fail to recall any time when Button could have gone to the best teams of the 2000’s – Ferrari, McLaren, Renault or Williams in the BMW years. He was contracted to Williams if you recall then backed out of the contract!

      Lewis’ situation is quite different. He has almost everyone chasing him and has chosen Mercedes, a team with championship history (with Brawn) and with a very strong engine, a technical team growing stronger almost by the day, and a very strong budget. They are race winners this year and but for a few mistakes could have been on pole and won in Monaco had Schumi not had a penalty. To be honest I like the move, and if he pulls it off (a title with Mercedes) he’ll be lauded as a greater champion than if he stuck around and won with a front runner in McLaren.

      I think that if he can rally the team around him, like Lewis managed in 2009 with the dog of a car he had at the start of the year, he can do a Schuey. I’m not a Lewis fan (although my 3 year old daughter is as a result of Tooned so well done McLaren!) but I honestly wish him the best of luck at Mercedes.

      1. @clay,

        He has almost everyone chasing him and has chosen Mercedes,

        Don’t want to be picky, but think this was not the case unfortunately, esp among the top teams.
        Generally I agree that situation is quite different from when Button was thereabout. But still whether it’s good or bad decision is uncertain. He may have to work really hard as well as to grow up more in every other senses of life. When have done his best, that should be enough regardless of his result. What he have done, not the result will then guide him going forward.

      2. Let’s not forget that Jaguar is now Red Bull!

        1. Jaguar with a squillion extra dollars.

      3. Everyone wanted him did they, his management have already said that Red Bull and Ferrari didn’t want him . What other teams wanted him?

    2. Button essentially committed to BAR Honda on the back of his 2004 result. The car was fantastic and only really lost out to Ferrari because of, well, you know. 2005 was a bit of a mess, but it all seemed good when they became the Honda works team

      Of course, they gave the car design to Shuhei Nakamoto and basically stuffed it all up.

      1. the car was not good, the tyres have been

  10. On the Vettel rumors, I personally want him to pair with Alonso in Ferarri either 2014 or 2015. It may be contrary to Ferarri’s team operation policy of having obvious No.1 and 2, but it would show true capability of Vettel and can reel out a lot for F1. And probably 3-4 WDC titles under his name at that future time and at the end stage of Mr. Newey’s donimance, it’s worth proving himself against another top gun for his own career.

    1. I think a move to the struggling Ferrari team would signal the end of Vettel’s career. Alonso will probably beat him to fourth(or lower) in the ch’ship.

  11. NBC doesn’t say that they’ll broadcast the races live, just that they’ll be live-streaming them.

    1. You see, that’s the problem there’s always been with America (the continent), you can show races live but, only real fans will wake up at 5-7 am to watch them or you can show them delayed (which would attract more people) but then live timing is useless and by the time you see it you already know who’s won or retired or whatever, I’m not saying that’s the main reason why it’s not popular in the States but it definitely is a problem.

    2. I think they’ll handle it a lot liike the Speed/Fox folks did…live practice/quali/racing on NBC Sports Network, with some delay on the GP’s actually shown on NBC. Since I’m sure they won’t show the races without commercial breaks, I hope they at least utilize the “squeezeback” split streams during breaks like you often see in IRL and NASCAR broadcasts. The number of breaks taken in the Speed broadcasts were definitely my biggest complaint about their otherwise stellar coverage….well, that and

        1. I can’t wait to see if Varsha,Hobbs and Matchett can top THIS at Austin.

          1. hahahaha well-played

  12. People will continue to say there’s a rift between me and Jenson and there honestly are no issues between us. We’ve been fantastic team mates really.

    Hard not to think about it when he goes MAD about a ridicule “unfollow” on a social network, and that wasn’t even true. Kind of childish from this guy, not only the fact that he went mad about it, but the way he talks about the relationship now.

    1. Of crouse, it hard not to think about it when the media spread **** around without confirming the stories validity, and then continue to question him over it weeks later.

      1. Most of us new they were never close friends. If there’s one thing Mclaren have done a good job at for the past 3 seasons, it’s the PR department.

        I heard this story on Autosport:
        “Lewis has checked out of the team and the team have checked out on him”.
        LH was late for a meeting and JB joked that “Perez wouldn’t be late”.

        1. They may not be close friends but they are not the enemies critics are trying to portray them as.
          @fer-no65, I don’t understand your concept of being childish…

  13. About the Korean track, I really wonder who saw such idea of a city “like Monaco” raising from nowhere with a racetrack in the middle and said: “yes, that’s a good idea, we should do it”.

    1. @fer-no65 – Most of the wealth in South Korea is concentrated in the north of the country, around Seoul. But Mokpo, which is about ten kilometres from the circuit, has one of the country’s biggest industrial areas, and the city is home to one of the country’s biggest and busiest ports. It appears that the idea behind having the circuit at Mokpo was to introduce some foreign investment and foreign presence in the area in an attempt to stimulate grown and encourage a population shift towards the country’s south. thejudge13 recently claimed that Bernie Ecclestone arranged for the circuit to be built in the south to snub the north after a previous attempt at establishing a race fell apart, but the event receives money from the Korean government, which gives them a say in how the race is run. If they wanted the race closer to Seoul, they would have been able to influence that.

      I would wager that putting the circuit in the south would have been one of the conditions of the government support. They want to encourage growth outside the capital, and spread the balance of economic power around a bit (because if you concentrate your economy in one place and you hit a recession, the entire country suffers; spreading it around lessens the blow). They probably saw the race as a way to do that, getting an international event into a region that was largely untouched by development, but with a strong industrial base.

      1. But the location is still a disaster. It is so not F1.

        1. @howard – Then what would be “so F1”, then?

          Look, for instance, at this picture. Okay, some landscaping might be needed here and there, but the circuit is surrounded by greenery and you’ve got those mountains in the background. And then there’s this one, with the bridge across the main straight which eschews the space-age architecture of Abu Dhabi for something more traditionally Korea. I’d like to see more of it, though.

          Yes, the physical location is a bit of a dud, though if the area were to grow a little bit, then I don’t think it would be so bad. But the circuit isn’t drowning in smog, like Shanghai; or weaving around sand dunes, as the circuit in Bahrain does (though I actually think it looks quite good in still photography); or through boring dockyards and around anonymous harbours like Valencia (that said, I think the pit buildings look fantastic).

    2. If they set tax to 0% for individuals in that area, might help :)

  14. from “massa kerb”

    With just two weeks to go for the GP here, the track, though, still looks quite dusty. The Jaypee Sports International Limited is racing against time to get the 5.14 km circuit in the best possible shape. Track sweepers have been working overtime since the beginning of this month.
    “From October 1, we have banned any movement of cars on the track. We have got specialized track sweepers with builtin brushing and water-mist system too.”
    Changes AT BIC
    Special track sweepers at work, utilising built-in watermist system

    they seem pretty firm on pushing their big sweeper agenda. i wonder why these places aren’t running giant vacuum cleaners to, you know, actually clean up – it seems like the kind of machine india and korea crank out by the boatload.

  15. I loved the debate between robbie and mazdachris yesterday on the Vettel-Ferrari article. I hoped one of those would become COTD. Two very well argued differences of opinion.

    Personally, I think Fernando has made a mistake by allowing Vettel to come in to Ferrari (provided he has). Vettel is as much a team builder as Fernando is. He is definitely faster over one lap than Fernando too. And Vettel too has that romantic notion of driving for Ferrari. Like Alonso and Michael did. All these things mean that Vettel is destined to do well at Ferrari. I can’t understand why Fernando thinks he can own Vettel once he comes to Ferrari.

    Or it could all be an underhand tactic to cause friction in the Red Bull camp during the business end of the championship. Personally, I think it is the latter.

    1. Can’t wait to see these two compete.
      It’ll answer a lot of questions.

      1. No it won’t. Remember: FERNANDO IS FASTER THAN YOU! And if he isn’t, Fernando will throw a tantrum, tell tales on his own team and move to the mid-field also-rans for the pleasure of being undisputed no. 1. We’ve been here before.

        Mark my words, Vettel will not go to Ferrari all the while Alonso is there. The real question is whether Ferrari will dump ‘Nando to get Vettel if the former hasn’t won anything by contract doomsday.

    2. Personally, I think Fernando has made a mistake by allowing Vettel to come in to Ferrari (provided he has).

      I think its brilliant. History remembers the driver with more championships…. and Fernando knows that Vettel will probably finish his career with more WDCs than Alonso. He wants to get Vettel in the same car as him and then beat him.. so putting a little * next to Vettel’s records mentioning that he lost to Fernando.

  16. I have to agree with Button that it’s a mistake for Hamilton to go to Mercedes. We can speculate endlessly about the competitiveness of Mercedes in the coming years, but I think he’s going for the wrong reasons. The whole ‘building a team around you’ is a fine romantic idea, but I don’t see how it got into Hamilton’s head (or who talked it into him) that Lewis would be the person to do that. In my view, that would amount to rallying people in a team to your cause, perhaps enticing key personnel from other teams to join your organisation (the way Schumacher got the key people from Benetton to join him at Ferrari), but I don’t consider these people skills to be Hamilton’s forte.

    Perhaps it’s as good a time as any to leave McLaren. They’ve had good times together over the years, but there have also been frictions, most recently the contract negotiations themselves, I think, for which I blame both Hamilton and McLaren; Hamilton for caring about stupid notions like branding, and McLaren for not making him a decent offer intially. I’m very disappointed that Red Bull and Ferrari, both of which had driver decisions to make for 2013, showed no interest. I would have loved to see Alonso vs. Hamilton in red, or Vettel taking on Hamilton at Red Bull. I can understand that Red Bull have owe a degree of loyalty towards Webber, but Massa should have been fired a long time ago, his recent return to form notwithstanding. Cowardice, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’. Don’t forget that for all the trouble Hamilton vs. Alonso caused in their first encounter, they did win the constructors championship for McLaren in 2007, before the FIA took it away. Pairing Hamilton and Alonso may create frictions occasionally, but it could also bring out the best in both. After all, they would do everything in their power to improve their performance, in order to beat the other guy.

    1. Cowardice, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’.

      Smartness, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’.

      1. I tend to agree. At least they have a clear policy and some form of rationale behind it. Any driver joining Ferrari now – even Vettel – should be aware that he will be a number 2 to Alonso – and perhaps the only way to overcome the number 2 problem is to hit the ground running and absolutely blitz the beginning of the first season.

        1. @dirgegirl, McLaren also have a policy: to get the best two drivers available to them, and I find the rationale behind that policy much easier to understand.

          Luca di Montezemelo has often championed the idea of allowing three cars per team, but what would be the point if you don’t get good drivers to drive them? For almost three years of fielding Massa’s car, all they have to show for it is a handful of podiums.

          1. @adrianmorse – I’m not saying that I think Ferrari’s driver policy is optimal. I prefer McLaren’s philosophy myself. But I do think that it’s wise of Ferrari to be open about their policy and reasoning, simply because any driver who goes in knows what they’re getting.

            And let’s not forget – Ferrari have underperformed in WDC and WCC recently, but they’re leading McLaren in the WCC at the moment, despite Massa… obviously it’s debatable how much of that is down to driver policy rather than reliability / astroturf / first lap incidents…

    2. A Lewis/Vettel or Alonso/Vettel pairing would be much more interesting to me than a repeat of Lewis/Alonso.
      We’ve already seen that one before.

    3. “I have to agree with Button that it’s a mistake for Hamilton to go to Mercedes”

      How can it be a mistake to leave a team that has literally thrown your championship out of the window for you?

      This season should/could have been wrapped up by now for Lewis, he could have been double, if not triple champion by now (if they didnt ruin his 2007 chances) And i can totally see why hes leaving. To win a title you need all ingregients to be right. Quick car, reliable car, good pit crew, good strat, it all needs to come together, and Mclaren have proven that they actually cannot get this combination right on a race by race basis.

      Bang on all you want about building the quickest car, but when you make countless operational errors, and cost YOURSELF the title, its entirly pointless having a quick car.

      1. How can it be a mistake to leave a team that has literally thrown your championship out of the window for you?

        First of all, McLaren’s operational mistakes and reliability issues remind me of the motor racing adage that it’s easier to make a quick car reliable, than to make a reliable car quick. Also, judging by Schumacher’s poor reliability run at the start of this season, Mercedes are hardly a beacon of consistency.

        Second, if he goes to Mercedes because in his assessment Mercedes have a better chance of providing him with a chance to win the title than McLaren over the next three years, then it’s the right decision to move. If he decides to go to Mercedes for the challenge of building a team, and the opportunity to develop his brand, then it’s the wrong decision, in my opinion.

        1. “First of all, McLaren’s operational mistakes and reliability issues remind me of the motor racing adage that it’s easier to make a quick car reliable, than to make a reliable car quick.”

          Yes, its a cute saying, but is it actually true? particularly in Mclarens case.

          Did they tell Raikkonen that during his stint there when they cost him titles too?

        2. Just being out of McLaren is great decision by Lewis.
          Merc has promise; McLaren will certainly continue to disappoint:
          1. If the car is fast – poor pit stops
          2. Improved pit stops – poor reliability
          3. Improved reliability – poor pace, strategy, etc, etc, etc…

          1. +1. This vicious circle never ended for Hamilton, especially this season. Right time to move on.

        3. @adrianmorse Don’t discount $$ as a major factor in these decisions

          Hamilton for caring about stupid notions like branding

          It was brand development and licensing that got Schumacher to double his $40 million annual salary and become a half-billionaire:

          Also McLaren lost the 2007 WCC to Ferrari by 1 point (204-203) “before the FIA took it away”.

          1. Also McLaren lost the 2007 WCC to Ferrari by 1 point (204-203) “before the FIA took it away”.

            Had McLaren not had any constructors’ points confiscated by the FIA in 2007 – for both ‘Spygate’ and what happened at the Hungaroring – they would have out-scored Ferrari.

            If you take ‘Spygate’ out of the equation but keep the Hungaroring points confiscation, then Ferrari would have scored more.

          2. Yes they lost 15 Constructor points for the Qualifying shennanigans in Hungary which McLaren chose not to appeal. If they had appealed and won it would have been McLaren 218 – Ferrari 204 before the FIA struck all their points post Spygate.

  17. RIP Dan Wheldon. You are not and will not be forgotten.

  18. I think the notion of Hamilton having the Mercedes team ‘rally around him’ is one of the main reasons he has parted with McLaren. He has, for several different reasons, lost the support and possibly the respect of the McLaren team. For Ron Dennis himself, the man who was pivotal in Lewis joining McLaren, to not be on speaking terms anymore with him tells it all. Alot has gone on there that we do not know about nor are we ever to know about. When we look back at history, one fact is undeniable. No driver, no matter how talented, can win championships without the full support of the team.
    For those that scoff at this suggestion, I remind you of the situation Alonso found himself in five years ago. He had an opportunity to win the championship with McLaren, but the team sided with Hamilton instead, with Ron Dennis almost admitting as much at the 2007 Chinese Grands Prix with his ‘we were racing Fernando’ jibe. McLaren is Jenson Button’s team, and has been for awhile.
    Deep down this is why Lewis is moving on, this is why he opened his mouth on Twitter in Belgium, and possibly for his mood swings last season and this. He is not the top man at Woking anymore and he knows it. By going to Mercedes, he has taken a massive gamble. If it pays off or not, he must garner the full support of that team even when times are hard. He has to dominate and be professional, no more crap on Twitter, he must be focused.

    1. I agree quite a bit. But I’m not sure it’s that massive a gamble. The Macs last year and this have not been Red Bull beaters in the end anyway (other than occasionally of course but not for the crown), and it just feels like he had to go for enough reasons such that he won’t be looking at it as a gamble, but a refreshing change and a new challenge and a chance to zero the scales. He couldn’t zero the scales at Mac anymore. Too much baggage perhaps. Internal pressures and hard feelings that shouldn’t be clouding the goal but perhaps did. It wasn’t nearly enough to be just about the hope that the coming years’ Macs are good enough. And Brawn might be right that in 2014 you want to be with a manufacturer based team.

      And I can’t see LH doing otherwise than what you suggest, because I think the change itself will do him a world of good. And Mac. Maybe even JB. I think it’s going to be plenty fun to watch next year. If LH squanders this chance for more silly reasons, then he will have painted himself thus. But surely that won’t happen. Tell me he wouldn’t let that happen.

      I hope and trust LH and NR both work well together and have a healthy co-operative effort, and a healthy rivalry that sees them push each other, fully supported by the team, and thus advance the team and their standing to eventually challenge at the top. Sitting a distant 5th in the WCC, they’ll all need to be pulling together with focus.

  19. Gosh. CotD, and I’ve only just noticed.

  20. . . . and Andrew Benson’s story now has yet another headline “Ferrari plan for arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but Massa stays for 2013”.
    It must be really difficult keeping a developing story relevant, particularly when one of the central characters, Horner, insists it’s untrue. “Sebastian Vettel, without a shadow of doubt, will be part of the Red Bull Racing team in 2014.” But I suppose that’s the difference between online and print media, where a journalist or editor would think long and hard before sending a story to print, just in case it could be out of date by the time it hit the streets.

  21. I love how much time Scarbs puts into his blog, his articles are easy to understand and structured well.

    I guess it’s easy to think that Hamilton is making a mistake, but ultimately it depends on what HE wants. It’s only up to him to decide if it’s a mistake. If he’s trying to make a success of a new team but he fails I will respect him more for trying than deciding to go with the easy option by staying with McLaren.

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