Teams win key concession over F1 governance

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: The FIA and Bernie Ecclestone back down over plans to reduce the representation of F1 teams in the FIA’s rule-making body.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Teams protect stake in future rules (Autosport)

“Ecclestone had originally been keen to revise the F1 Commission to an 18-man body, made up of six team representatives, six FIA members and six members from Formula One Management. The presence of just six teams – which were going to be Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus – meant that other outfits would effectively be left with no say in how rules were proposed to the FIA.”

Hamilton backs Alonso for title (ESPN)

“His team haven’t made one mistake. He hasn’t always been the fastest but he has been up there. He has driven like the champion he is all year and I feel as though he is a three-time world champion.”

Vettel not yet a great – Sir Jackie Stewart (BBC)

“If you’ve got a superior car, it’s relatively easy to win the championship. To really show you’re one of the greatest, you have to deliver when you haven’t got the best machinery.”

Central London Grand Prix off, says Ecclestone (City AM)

“I don’t think the government would be prepared to put the required amount of money behind it.”

How Massa rediscovered his mojo (Sky)

Mark Hughes: “It’s early days yet, and no-one is seriously expecting Massa to challenge Alonso for the leadership of the team. But the Felipe Massa we’ve seen in the last two races can comfortably justify his inclusion in the team, something that could not have been said of his season up to that point.”

F1 diary: Korean Grand Prix (The Telegraph)

“Two years ago I wrote that the Korean GP could become one of the season’s best events, although I suspect that won’t happen because its promise remains resolutely untapped. The original promoter claimed the venue would become the heart of a spectacular new urban development, with a picturesque marina to one side, but it still looks like a track built on wasteland next to a shipyard.”

Japanese Grand Prix video edit (F1)

Keep an eye out for a botched pit stop by HRT which wasn’t shown during the race.


Comment of the day

The news of Felipe Massa’s contract extension at Ferrari did not win with much approval in the comments. Here’s @Dot_com’s view:

I feel like Alonso is the only winner here.

Massa will continue to lose any remaining credibility, getting trounced into number two status for another year.

Ferrari will most likely not feature in the constructors’ battle next year because only one driver will be scoring serious points.

And the fans are robbed of seeing some new talent in the seat that Massa should have been forced to vacate a long time ago.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Harris!

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

Following the end of the 2002 season Pedro de la Rosa made it clear he hoped he would not be sharing a berth at Jaguar with Eddie Irvine in 2003.

“Working with Irvine has been the worst part of the season,” said de la Rosa. “He’s very inconsistent with his decisions and it’s very hard to work with him, especially when things are going wrong.”

He was not to be disappointed – the 2002 Japanese Grand Prix turned out to be Irvine’s last.

Image © Korean GP/Sutton

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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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108 comments on “Teams win key concession over F1 governance”

  1. So by Jackie Stewart’s standards, was Ayrton Senna not a great? His McLaren was always the best car on the grid when he won his championships. Also, didn’t Jackie have the best car by having a car that didn’t break down as often as the competition from Lotus?

    1. Actually Ayrton thought the Williams was the best car.

      1. Not in 88 or 89 or 91. He wanted to leave McLaren after 92, because Williams was then what McLaren used to be.

        1. Williams was definitely the faster car at 91. Also having Prost as an opponent with the same car counts as big competition since Mclaren wasn’t behind him as much as Red Bull is with Vettel over Webber, not to mention Prost is considered better than Webber..

          1. Well, Williams were faster than Mclaren in 1991 just as Mclaren were faster than Red Bull in 2012. Prost is of course far better than Webber, but in return, Vettel beat Webber to a far greater extent than Senna beat Prost.

    2. Vettel has been lucky to have been in a “Newey-mobile” for almost his entire career. You cant blame him for being given the best car…the fact is he has made great use of it. We have seen many drivers in the past which have had really quick cars but were never able to mount to a serious championship fight. So it takes more than just having a quick car.

      1. I don’t think anybody’s blaming SV for having the best car here, nor denying the fact that even with best car under your control, some will definitely not win the title. So true. But JS is saying that does not make so called “a great driver”, to which I concur by the way.
        And even sometimes it sounds ridiculous to hear people crying ‘the great, greatest whatever’ based on some stats which is what most of the laymen remember and pay attention to, but in truth, stats are just stats which can be very much misleading and deceptive.

        1. Indeed. It’s hard to swallow but it is fair comment to say that Senna always chased the best car and won all 3 of his titles in dominant machinery. Some would say the mark of a great driver is being attractive to the team with the best car though. Open to interpretation.

          In his Ferrari years Schumacher’s only competition came from his team mate more often than not as he waltzed to 5 WDCs such was the superiority of the machinery at his disposal. This could make the victories on track less valid in some eyes but in others the fact that his presence at maranello attracted the best designers in the business to unite there and create something special is testament to the man’s greatness. Again, it’s open to interpretation at the end of the day and Sir Jackie is just being his usual “it was harder in my day” self.

          He often makes comments that belittle the achievements of the modern era drivers which narks me really because he fails to ackowledge the very different challenge that is now presented to the drivers.

          Metronomic consistency to within a couple of tenths at unbelievable speeds whilst putting unbelievable stresses on the body and mind lap after lap is a huge challenge. Jackie often mentions that the drivers nowadays don’t need to drive with the same margin because the cars are so safe as if that somehow diminishes the challenge. I disagree entirely. To me, performing at 110% for a race distance is at least an equal challenge to managing the risk of crashing whilst going as fast is safely possible. Its just different.

      2. I don’t blame him for having the best car. But I do question his 2010 merits based on all the incidents he caused in that year. Since then it’s fine.

    3. And Schumacher only won because he had tyres formulated specifically for him? Does JS discount those seven WDCs as well? And wasn’t ground-effect a big thing back in the day? Let’s wipe out those results. Active suspension, DDRS, mid engine, where does he plan to stop? Not so much revisionism as pre-visionism.

      1. Bennetton!

    4. Did not Ayrton do great things in inferior cars too though? And when he had superior cars sometimes he had a viscious rivalry to deal with too. Im sure JS would find ways to consider Senna a Great.

      I don’t think JS is insulting SV here, and some of you seem to think so. He says he’s a fan too. He is merely stating a fact. Some WDC’s are earned differently than others, and we use many methods to determine who we think are greats and why, for what they did commulatively throughout their career as well as how they won a specific WDC. Gilles Villeneuve is one of the Greats and he never won a WDC. His fighting spirit and his proven wins did that. Greatness needn’t be determined by number of WDC’s either.

      When you think of it, almost all WDC’s had the WCC winning car, so in that sense JS may be right that it is significant to see what a WDC driver can do in an inferior car as a valid measure of their abilities, but ultimately they usually don’t win the WDC with it. But JS knows that. He acknowledges it is easier to win the WDC the more dominant the car. He’s just saying dominant cars aren’t what test or challenge a driver the most toward a WDC.

      FA has a chance to change that this year, although the scales are already tipping toward the WCC leading team.

      1. I think your first sentence is key. When Vettel has been in an average car, he’s looked nothing better than that… Average. He was often out qualified and out raced by Webber earlier in the season when the car wasn’t the best on the grid. I would say they were equal for the first half of the year, reflected in the standings, and I don’t think anyone could argue Webber is a great.

        1. But really, Webber only really outraced Vettel 3 times in the first half of the season – China, Monaco and Britain. Vettel has otherwise been faster in every single race, and only sat behind MW in the standings because of the Narain incident, which the HRT admits was his fault, and the alternators. Vettel has recovered great results, like in Australia, Spain and Belgium, when RBR looked average.

    5. Actually, Ayrton only had the best car in 1988, 1989 and maybe 1990. From then on, Williams was stronger. In 1991, he proved he can win a championship in an inferior car. And Ayrton made miracles in the rubbish 1992 and 1993 McLarens and in the initially also rubbish 1994 Williams as well. He led the championship in 1986 with a below-par Lotus.

      I 100% agree with Jackie’s comment’s.

      Vettel has 25 GP wins and began in 2007. Alonso has 30 and began in 2001. Usually, the truly greatest names in F1 had the most wins in their time or was thereabout. Fangio, Moss is an exception, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher. I think only Vettel and Alonso can hope to be the next on this illustrious list. My hunch is for Alonso, but Vettel gets there more. Remember, Mansell has 31 GP wins, and was in contention for a WDC three times before securing it in 1992, still those failures (and the presence of Senna and Prost) probably cost him a place on this list. Alonso could end up the same if he loses out for a third time by inches after 2007 and 2010, despite – IMO – getting more out of his car consistently than Vettel, i. e. being a better driver.

      1. From then on, Williams was stronger. In 1991, he proved he can win a championship in an inferior car.

        Williams FW14 was very unreliable at the beginning of the season, so it wasn’t superior. It wasn’t as dominant as FW14B.

        1. Unreliable, yes, but undeniably quicker. And I point to Mansell’s blip in Montreal and the pit stop blunder in Estoril mainly – those have robbed Mansell of 20 points and it had nothing to do with the car.

          Of course, they were still on Williams on the negative side, and not on Senna on the positive – but you cannot win a WDC otherwise if you are in a slower car. Alonso is pretty much in the same situation this year with Vettel’s DNF in Valencia – he has a slower car, has to benefit from other’s mistakes to gain.

          What is the ultimate point is that both Senna and Alonso had and has to be at his very best to snatch at the opportunities, when they arise because of Mansell’s or Vettel’s retirements.

    6. Ayrton did some spectacular things in below-par cars (Donnington 1993, Estoril 1986 for example) but hasn’t Vettel? His Torro Rosso win was reminiscent of some of the great feats of driving that Senna did in torrential conditions (rain perhaps being the best indictor of driving skill).
      Vettel is definitely not as good as Senna just yet, but they have both achieved similar things, such as scoring many many pole positions and having some great wet drives. Vettel has a fantastic oppurtunity to equal the amount of world championships won by in my opinion the greatest driver ever to grace F1; if that isn’t worthy of being grouped into the same category then I don’t know what is.

      1. Vettels win in the Toro Roso, like all things, comes with a story, the story bieng that the leading teams, involved in a tight championship battle, went conservative with their strategy because it was looking hit-or-miss wether it was going to rain, both the Ferraris and Mclarens qualified way down the order because they got it wrong. Vettel went with all out wet setup and controlled the race with clear vision upfront – thats not to take away from the fact that he still did the job and won, but it is to say that its not like he just out qualified and beat Mclarens and Ferraris on genuine pace, which i think some people seem to have the impression of.

        1. Exactly. Let’s not forget who was 4th on the grid that day only to stall on the grid. That’s right, the rapidly forgotten Sebastien Bourdais in tr other Torro Rosso. The Torro Rosso was a top car that weekend, similar to the Force India at Spa 09.

          1. @jleigh – just as the McLaren was clearly a decent car relative to the Williams’ in Donnington. I am in no way suggestion it was quicker than the FW14’s, but it was close enough to allow Senna to win the race through virtue of his supreme skill in the wet.
            Yes, the top two teams that year were out of position, but Vettel was there to capitalise on it brilliantly. Perhaps that win has more in common with Senna’s Monaco drive with Toleman than Donnington or Estoril. Senna would surely have challenged for the victory had the race not been red-flagged.

          2. Let’s also not forget that same rapidly forgotten Sebastian Bourdais was a second slower than Vettel that day. And that the race before, in Spa, Vettel overtook Bourdais with slicks in the rain while fighting with Kubica making Bourdais look like he was standing still.
            And let’s not forget Vettel fighting among the top 6 in Brazil as well. Overtaking Kovalainen in the McLaren after the start and Hamilton later in the race which almost cost Hamilton the title.
            And let´s not forget… Well, I think you get the point.

        2. If you find the press conference post-race that weekend, you’ll find STR went for a dry setup on his car.

          At the same time, even when you step away from the Monza win, he still put in a bunch of consistently great performances that year (and in 07), which involved him defeating faster cars than his own.

          1. Yep, here it is, a dry set-up is what he won on:


      2. artificial racer
        17th October 2012, 23:24

        It’s all about perspective. Senna was great over one lap, but in other circumstances you could debate things. One thing about his overtaking ability, I think many of his contemporaries have commented about how Senna’s aggressive style relied a lot on other drivers taking care to avoid a collision. That sort of style can make you look like a hero or it can make you crash a lot.

        In any case none of the so-called “greats” consistently won in bad cars. Not without attrition from other cars. Attrition is either unreliability or crashing of your opponents. Either way, winning in a “slow car” due to other people’s attrition isn’t greater than doing what’s necessary to consistently win in a fast car. The qualities needed are similar: staying out of trouble and maximizing what you’ve got.

    7. Sebastian Boudrais was forgotten because he wasn’t even close to being as good as Vettel. The final standings say it all really: Vettel was 8th, only behind the two McLarens and the two Ferrari’s (both of which won the world championships), the two BMW-Sauber’s (who finished 3rd in the WCC) and Fernando Alonso (only two years ago a double world champion) with 35 points.

      Boudrais was 17th with 4 (almost 9 times less than his teammate) and only ahead of the Super Aguri’s (who pulled out after 4 races), the two Force India’s and Jenson Button.

      Now do you understand @jleigh why he was forgotten and why it is Vettel who is a two-time champion with Red Bull? And yes @f1fannl he was 0.890 seconds slower than Vettel, quite the margin if I don’t say so myself!

  2. Hamilton’s quote “His team haven’t made one mistake…” I wonder if there was an emphasis on “His”

    1. Absolutely, that was definitely a message to Whitmarsh!

  3. This is what Joe Saward wrote a week ago about the proposal to reduce the team representatives to 6:

    As part of the Schedule 9 discussions it was proposed that the F1 Commission be reduced in size with only six teams represented, rather than 12. Ostensibly this was to make things more efficient, but it looks more like a strategy to get the teams to accept increased entry fees (or taxes, by any other definition). In the forthcoming negotiation, the FIA will be able to compromise by giving the teams back their votes, if they will agree to paying the entry fees.

    Some win….

    1. Exactly. The teams are always fooled by FOM/FIA. Always with the same techniques, divide and conquer and distraction.

      Talking about distraction – what an enourmous surprise that the govt won’t pay for Bernie’s London GP idea, so comfortably launched when people began to question the consequences of the Gribkowsky affair for him / FOM / Concorde / Mercedes.

      Got to love this sport!

      1. As soon as I saw the London “race” in the news again, I thought “what’s he trying to distract us from this time?”…

  4. Ok teams get a concession. What did they concede? My guess is the smaller teams will have agreed to the sliding scale entrance fee. Its in their interest and they still get a vote. Bernie never gives anything away without something in return. The effect of the new fees is much less on the bottom 7 than the top 5. Job Done bernie – watch this space.

  5. I hope the teams stand firm. I think the teams ought to ask for a bigger share of the revenue they earn (although I suppose Ferrari and possibly McLaren have increased their share). I also hope that they find ways to cut costs without making the cars identical, otherwise there is no point in a manufacturers title.

    1. I think the teams ought to ask for a bigger share of the revenue they earn

      They will.

      When they feel that they’re not earning enough.

      Asking for more money might sound nice, but they’re not just going to get it and no-one will think anything of it. at the very least, they would have to make a trade: they get more money in exchange for giving up something else that they already have. And maybe they value that something else more than they do an increased revenue stream from FOM.

      So until that time comes and the teams feel they’re not getting enough money, there’s no point in rocking the boat.

      1. Since it is the teams that earn the money it is the teams who should be deciding how much they pay for management, not management telling them how much they can have, surely there are no other successful entertainers paying 50% of net profit to management and no other form of entertainment has costs anything like an F1 team. Finally, everytime the teams complain about costs they are saying they are not getting enough.

        1. Since it is the teams that earn the money it is the teams who should be deciding how much they pay for management, not management telling them how much they can have

          The teams do not earn the money. They win it. There’s a difference.

          everytime the teams complain about costs they are saying they are not getting enough

          Only because they want to spend more.

  6. I’m with Lewis on this, Fernando, I’ve got your back!

    1. @scuderiavincero

      … Fernando, I’ve got your back!

      Well, Massa’s stepped up to the “i’ve got your back dept”! If anything, you need a man to step up to “Vettel, I’ve got your front” dept – to hold him back long enough for alosno to catch up, or for vettel to retire, the latter being more probable!

  7. ain’t that right!!!

    “But .. Massa .. in .. last two races .. justify his inclusion.., something that could not have been said of his season up to that point.”

  8. No comment about Dan Wheldon Keith? its been a year already.

    1. @memorablec As @david-a points out, it was a year yesterday and it was mentioned in yesterday’s round-up.

      1. That year went quickly O.o

      2. apologise, it was still the 16th here in america and i did not notice it in the last roundup.

        1. @memorablec Ah that explains it. Far enough.

  9. I think I heard similar thing from Button…a race or a couple of races ago. Clearly, F1 drivers who’s in mid range of their career seem prefer Alonso over Vettel. I can understand it since they started F1 with Alonso in early 2000 and race all together for a long time. Not to mention fight against mighty Schumacher. Then suddenly Red Bull and a young gun called Vettel came out and wipe out them! No wonder they’re less friendly to Vettel than Alonso.

    1. @eggry – I think it’s more a case of Button and Hamilton asking themselves who they would prefer to race against if given the option. They chose Vettel because they know Alonso can and will be relentless. Ferrari are bringing upgrades to the next four races, minor parts that I believe will be tailored to suit the individual circuits. If they work, Alonso will be as he always is – a force to be reckoned with.

    2. I think Vettels unforced errors with his crashes into Button and Webber in 2010 in a dominant Redbull went someway to damaging his reputation as a good racer, and i think 2011, where he was rarly challanged once out in front and not fighting anyone also added to the reputation that hes not exactly the greatest racer around.

      1. Perhaps Lewis’ rep should have been permanently and significantly diminished, with all the crashes with Massa in a slower car than his Macca?

        1. Perhaps it hasnt because most people accept that Massa drove in a manner of ‘im turning in so you better make your car disapere or we’re going to collide’

          The only inncodent i believe was Hamiltons fault, was singapore where he forgot where his front wing was, but even then, its a glance to the wheel, a contact that could have been avoided by centimetres.

          When Vettel hit Button, it was a very clumsy accident where Vettel completly T-boned Button when they where both heading in a straight line heading into a braking zone. Same goes for Turkey inncodent. Very clumsy inncodents.

          1. One incident was his fault? So not his road rage at Monaco or moving across Massa at the Suzuka chicane?

            The point is, that it’s ludicrous to hold 2 “clumsy” incidents against a driver who has otherwise raced very well in his career. Look hard enough, and you’ll spot clumsy collisions caused by any driver on the grid, including Hamilton or Alonso, yet they don’t get grief for being unable to overtake or have their rep damaged.

          2. The inncodent in Monaco, no. Massa saw that move coming and chose not to avoid it, Hamilton did a few laps before when Schumacher threw it up the inside in the same place. Either Massa has poor awareness or ‘let it happen’. Same goes for India, Massa threw it into the corner almost with complete disregard for what was around him. Suzuka was one of those minor wheel vs wing inncodents while racing for position, like Singapore, only reversed order.

            Anyway, regarding Vettel. Raw stats dont tell a story. Double champion or not, Vettel still has things to prove before he can be considered great, which is Stewarts point.

            For me its not about throwing a quick driver in a slow car and saying, ok let see how far up the grid you get. It’s about how you perform under alot of various circumstances.

            In the last 2 races for example, we saw Lewis take 5th in Suzuka with a broken rear suspension, and saw him battle hard with Raikkonen with another broken rear suspension and dodgy car handling. It’s those kinds of performances that people remember, that gain reputation and notoriety, not just running out front lights-to-flag all year and racking up the stats.

          3. Not really. Stewart does have a point about Vettel still being young, and having a lot of years to do even more. But in the bigger picture, so what if LH took a 5th or a 10th with a handling issue? How is that so much more notable than what other drivers have achieved when in poor machinery?

            As I said before, Vettel has raced extremely well in his career from anywhere on the grid and has shown excellent speed and racecraft. Like various drivers in the past who are considered “greats”, who often led from lights to flag, he has good stats to go along with what we’ve seen. Two incidents from over 24 months ago don’t change that, and should not damage his reputation, just as being beaten by Button in 2011 shouldn’t affect Hamilton’s.

    3. @eggry, I think both @prisoner-monkeys and “N” mention valid points in their responses.

      To me Vettel is not yet a “great” because he is still young, and we are still to see what his career will bring. After 2006 we expected Alonso to be the top dog now (he also did, I guess), after 2007-2008 we could have expected Hamilton to storm the sport and then we saw Vettel coming.
      Its an exiting era, and I think to talk about any of those guys being “the best” is premature.

      And its not just about winning, after all Nelson Piquet also won 3 titles and where is he in peoples “best ever” ratings? I think of these 3 drivers Alonso is currently closest to the top of his powers, and could be the best at the moment.
      Vettel is doing a superb job at taking home every opportunity that wonderful car and streamlined team they have put together offers him currently. He also improved a lot on early 2010 form and is getting better and better.

      I think its wrong to see a driver as a constant, every single one of them develops over time. Best current example probably being Schumacher, who had his teammates struggling to get to grips with his speed since he got into an F1 car, then went on to be the spine of a team at Ferrari, but nowadays he is just a cunning, experienced and quite fast racing driver.

      1. I totally agree with Stewart on this one, who can expect to be considered a great at 25 or even 30 years old. The title great is reserved for drivers that have been consistently the most competitive driver in F1 during their career (their generation) and has great results to show for it.

        If Vettel continues the way he`s started for the rest of his career there`s no doubt whatsoever he`ll be considered among the greatest drivers in F1 history. But we don`t know yet, a couple of years from now there might pop up a new candidate for “greatest ever”. Alonso, Hamilton and perhaps Raikkonen could also get things going and beat Vettel on a regular basis and as such establish their own clim to be among the truly greats..

        The fascination with greatest this and greatest that is a modern phenomenon. If a young driver has one or a couple of great seasons he`s suddenly considered among the greats. In the good old days it took a hell of a lot more time to even be mentioned in the same sentence as great. T be great you have to exceptional throughout your career. The only driver in F1 these days that has both been around long enough and achieved good enough results to be up for consideration as a “great” is probably Alonso. Vettel and perhaps Hamilton might also be up for consideration in 3-5 years time if they are able to produce wins and championship. To become a legend during your career is quite an achievment and very few are able to do so.

        1. Your right that its too early to consider Vettel a great. What if the RB loses its competitiveness on the next few years and Vettel doesn’t go to Ferrari. He then has a few years in the mid field being matched by his team-mate (as he often has been when in the midfield) doing nothing special… Is he a great then? Or what if he moves to Ferrari and is dominated by Alonso. Can we then still consider him a great? I don’t think so on either count.

          1. He then has a few years in the mid field being matched by his team-mate (as he often has been when in the midfield)

            Webber has matched or beaten him in 3 races this year, two of which Red Bull won, and therefore weren’t int he midfield. So I don’t know where you get “often” from.

        2. And in the old days they drove other classes , F2, sports prototype, endurance etc. between F1 races.

    4. @bascb & “N” Oops, I guess there’s some misunderstanding in my reply. What I said was Hamilton tipped Alonso for the title, not JS’s opinion about whether Vettel is great or not. I think @prisoner-monkeys exactly responded what I supposed to say(presumably based on Ferrari upgrades) but you(@bascb)’re saying about the greats, right?

      1. @eggry, ah, I see. Now that I reread your comment, I understand what you mean. I guess its also better to see Alonso beat Vettel, because that means that its possible to beat RBR-Newey-Vettel even without having a better car, instead of realizing that team is all but unbeatable currently!

  10. “The presence of just six teams – which were going to be Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus – meant that other outfits would effectively be left with no say in how rules were proposed to the FIA.”

    The other teams can’t feel hard done by though, those 6 teams have won every constructors championship since 1979 (assuming that you see Lotus as “Team Enstone”, which is I believe how they brand themselves now). They have earned the right to have a bigger say than the rest in how the sport is managed going forward.

    1. They have earned the right to have a bigger say than the rest in how the sport is managed going forward

      Perhaps while we’re at it we could repeal all changes to voting rights back to the Reform Act 1867 – as if poor people have any right to have a say!

      1. Haha, perhaps that came across wrong! Just trying to say that it makes sense to have that group of teams involved in the decision making process because they have been around and have been successful for an incredibly long time.

  11. Regarding JS on Vettel, “Vettel isn’t a great yet”, hes saying that if your in the best car you are expected to win, and that’s what Vettels doing, but JS does have a point. I have to think a long was back to when Vettel won in a car that was not the fastest in both the race and qualifying (maybe Spain last year and Monaco, but they both have a reputation for the pole sitter winning, and Vettel did have a car advantage in Quali). For me what makes you great is how you stack up against your team mates, regardless of how good the car is. Senna for instance won his titles in a dominant car but he won them with Prost sitting on the other side of the garage, Vettel is winning in a dominant car but he has Webber in the other Red Bull (Webbers good but he’s no Prost), whilst Im pulling my hair out every time Red Bull announce Webber to stay on another year, because Im looking forward to seeing exactly how good Vettel really is, and I know that we are never really going to see that whilst he is at Red Bull because their management is more likely to promote one of their Junior drivers because they have already invested millions in them (and to be frank I don’t rank either of the current torro rosso drivers). Thats why the idea of Alonso vs. Vettel at Ferrari is such a mouthwatering prospect for me, two drivers who’s current team mates are not up to the same standard.

    “Greats” for me are how good they were with proper good team mates, why isn’t Schumi rated as the greatest? He has the most of pretty much everything on paper and to an outsider they would say that Schumi is hands down the best, but to those who know, hes not…. beacuse of the Team mates.

    1. I understand what you mean but I do think Stewart’s argument is flawed because, for as long as the world championship has been around, the best drivers have more often than not been driving the best cars. Farina and Fangio in Alfa Romeo’s, Fangio in a Mercedes, Clark in a Lotus, Stewart himself at Tyrrell, Lauda at Ferrari, Prost and Senna at McLaren, Schumacher at Ferrari and now Vettel at Red Bull.

      It pains me to say it but there is no denying that Vettel will be ranked as an all time great, his skill is beyond question and he has the best tools at his disposal in ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’12 to prove that. Trying to knock someone’s legend status down a notch because “they had the best car” is almost always nonsense. There are so few clear cut instances of a driver with a rubbish car winning a WDC, I can only think of Prost in 86 as a legitimate example of that happening.

      1. yea but the point is what if you put him against Di resta again and Di resta beats hims again? just an example. When Vettel does get a get a very good (proven) team mate he and Vettel beats him then he will be elevated higher than he can imagine, and vice versa.

        If Rosberg beats Hamilton next year and Hamilton has a competitive year, imagine what it will do to Rosbergs profile! and if Vettel dominates next years championship yet again with the RB9 being the class of the feild, it will yet again be “oh he has the fastest car, what do you expect”, Vettels greatness will come when he beats a well established name, like Alonso or Hamilton, otherwise hes just destined to be seen by many as just a good driver in a great car.

        1. Drop Valencia!
          17th October 2012, 11:52

          You do realise Vettel is the only driver currently in F1 never to be beaten by a teammate, and Webber was unbeaten until he went against Vettel… Webber is a very good proven teammate, he isn’t Prost but are we saying that Vettel can’t be a great unless he beats Alonso in the same car???

        2. Schumacher never had that kind of teammate, besides Piquet, who was at the end of his career. He is all around the world concidered as one of the greats.

        3. Which year, 2006? was it that Vettel won in the Torro Rosso? Granted it was penned by Newey, but by no means was it the fastest car on the grid. It was the following year he was promoted to Red Bull. I think people tend to forget that he won in a inferior car before he started his string of WDCs.

          1. One swallow does not a summer make.

          2. @hohum His consistently high level of performance (I.e. Eight top six finishes) was much more than one swallow.

    2. I disagree. Because those who know, know that Schumacher frequently beat the faster Williams in 97 for example. One only has to look at 96 and 97 to see Schumacher is truly one of the greats.

      Anyways, just because Webber isn’t up to Vettel’s standards doesn’t mean he’s not good comparison material.
      Last year Vettel dominated Webber in a similar fashion as Alonso is dominating Massa this year. In my opinion Webber was doing a better job last year than Massa has been doing up until Monza (or at least last year when Alonso had a smaller margin over Massa than Vettel had over Webber). So that should say plenty.

      Furthermore, Stewarts main argument is that Vettel’s succes is mostly down to Adrian Newey. If Newey is such an important factor for a team then why hasn’t McLaren won any championships from 2000-2005. And why was it only after Vettel joined Red Bull that Red Bull got their first pole position and race win?
      Also, why hasn’t Webber been able to come 2nd in the championship when Vettel won? If it’s all down to the car Webber should at least be 2nd.

      Lastly, Alonso gets a lot of praise lately. And rightfully so but his good run and his lead in the championship is down to his car as well. Not because it’s the fastest (although it certainly has been the fastest or at least faster than McLaren and Red Bull in a few races) but because of the reliability. Where Vettel has suffered from failing alternators and Hamilton and Button have suffered from various problems Alonso didn’t have a thing to worry about. Just the one roll bar failure that cost him pole but still allowed him to score a decent amount of points the next day.
      And lets not forget the heap of mistakes McLaren has made. Ferrari has barely set a foot wrong this year.

      All in all, Alonso’s success this year is just as much down to Ferrari as Vettel’s success is down to Newey.
      So if Alonso wins the title it will be because of ‘the Ferrari factor’.

      1. The reality of 96/97 with MS vs. Williams is that while Ferrari was building him designer cars, and there was a contract in place that meant MS didn’t have to concern himself with a teammate, JV and DH had to fight Head to just to get setups they wanted. Head’s philosophy was that engineers and computers could tell them the fastest way around the track better than the drivers. A starkly different approach to the massive advantages MS had at Ferrari. It wasn’t until the latter half of 97 that JV got to have some say with his preferred setups.

        And it was that same huge skewing toward MS at Ferrari that left him heavily advantaged not just over his teammate, but over the rest of the grid, that is the reason the 2000-2005 Newey cars were still not enough. But at the time I remember a quote regarding Newey…just can’t remember who said it but it might have also been Patrick Head who said Newey was bigger for whatever team he was on than MS was for Ferrari.

  12. wow, people really hate massa these days. he finally has a strong performance and couldn’t receive more derision. by the way these are the same people that were so supportive and protective of him not very long ago…whichever way the wind blows is ok with you guys. many of you are the ones that hate team orders in a team sport, “my team would never do that!”. the naivete stopped being laughable 2 years ago, and is now just bewildering ignorance.

    i agree with optimistically giving massa a 1-year extension. if he struggles again, a real possibility, then he has to get the hook. where did the 1st bullet hit? podium. where did the 2nd bullet hit? 15th. that result cannot be acceptable. having said that, his contributions (has anyone run up more miles in a ferrari?) have earned him quite a bit of mercy from the harshest of masters in the cut-throat game of f1.

  13. Wow!
    take a look at that pit-stop error from HRT in the Japanese GP race edit…
    Not sure how that happened.
    Looks like the wheel wasn’t fitted properly on the hub and the improperly aligned wheel gun violently jerked the car!

    Are wheel guns really that powerful? I had read somewhere that they produce the same amount of torque as a Porsche 911.

    1. Drop Valencia!
      17th October 2012, 11:56

      They may well produce more torque than a 911, but I can do that with a piece of water pipe and a wheelbrace, not a good comparison.

  14. “Ecclestone had originally been keen to revise the F1 Commission to an 18-man body, made up of six team representatives, six FIA members and six members from Formula One Management. The presence of just six teams – which were going to be Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus – meant that other outfits would effectively be left with no say in how rules were proposed to the FIA.”

    So, really, the only winners here are Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso, Marussia, Caterham and HRT, who would have otherwise lost the ability to shape the regulations. If anything, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus lose out because they still need a wider consensus to make changes, though they probably would have supported the ability of everyone to have input.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys

      So, really, the only winners here are Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso, Marussia, Caterham and HRT

      Well it’s about time they won something. Sorry…

      Seriously, though, I’m glad they haven’t cut half the teams out of the rule-making progress. Particularly the six who are best-placed to curb the mania for spending.

      1. Well it’s about time they won something. Sorry…

        There’s no need to apologise – I agree on every word.

        I was just trying to point out that this isn’t some great victory by the teams. If they have done anything, it is that they have kept things the way they are. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course – I just noticed some of the headlines on this (Autosport’s original headline was “Teams win stake in future rules”, but it was amended quickly) and thought people might misconstrue it to be something that it isn’t.

      2. @keithcollantine, whats wrong with spending to produce a better racecar, or should they just build 24 HRTs for next year and ban changes?

        1. @hohum In principle, nothing, but without structures for cost-containment in the rules, F1 would have already spent itself into oblivion. I don’t believe the best way to achieve worthwhile cost-controlling regulations is to only consult the six richest teams.

    2. But isn’t it:
      Sauber – Ferrari
      Toro Rosso – Red Bull
      Force India – hmmm? McLaren ? Mercedes?
      Caterham – Lotus (ironically)

      So there are even more winners and Bernie’s not the least one. Not sure about McLaren and Mercedes, but because of all aliances due to engines and gearboxes and stuff, the big ones gain some votes in some situations.

      1. Apart from Toro Rosso, all those mentions are customer teams for engine manufacturers. Also, Caterham get their engines from Renault and running gear from Red Bull. Lotus are also now just a Renault customer team, as RBR are the official works outfit (hence why Horner has stopped complaining as much about Mercedes, McLaren & Ferrari hiding spending in engine development, shifting his wording to ‘road car development’).

  15. I find Jackie Stewart’s comments interesting.

    Has he forgotten Japan/China ’07 or Monza ’08. All giant killing performances in a (granted, better than average) Toro Rosso.

    Yes, he made some mistakes, but at the age of 21/22, of course he will. So did Senna all through his career.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Vettel is the best on the grid (my opinion is that Alonso leads him and Hamilton by a slender margin), but I don’t think a two-time (soon-to-be three-time) World Champion does that by accident or any lacking of talent. He is one of the all time greats already.

    1. @ben-n

      Has he forgotten Japan/China ’07 or Monza ’08. All giant killing performances in a (granted, better than average) Toro Rosso.


    2. @ben-n I think this is what JS tried to say. Vettel did decent job in Toro Rosso which is surely not the fastest car.(well, maybe 2008 Monza might be.) but how he would react when he’s 2 times or 3, 4 times world champion and drive not-best machinery? I think he would do well(of course!), but he might be a little but frustrated and saying something like he did after the qualifying in Korea much frequently. I wonder what’s gonna happen if Alonso and Vettel are in opposite situation.

    3. I completely agree, he is probably going to surpass Jackie Stewarts’ tally for GP wins very soon, perhaps if not this year then the next. It took him 8 years to do that (albeit with shorter seasons), Vettel has scored 25 in his 5th full season. He could also well be a 3 time world champion by the end of this year (I personally think he will), a feat which again took Stewart 3 years longer than it will have taken Vettel.

      Jackie Stewart is classed as one of the all-time greats, why not Vettel?

    4. The same Japan 07 where he slammed into the back of Webber? :p Granted it was a good drive up to that point.

      1. Yeh ***, thats like classing Canada 08 as one of Hamiltons notable drives.. :]

        1. Clearly the result wasn’t favourable to Vettel at Japan ’07 – but i’m talking about the drive itself. That Toro Rosso had no right to be running third past half distance. There was no luck involved – inexperience from Hamilton (behaviour behind the safety car) and Vettel (not expecting the change in speed etc.) was all that stopped him taking a strong podium in his first half-season.

          To compare it to Canada 08 where Hamilton crashed within 15 laps (again, through inexperience, I might add), is ludicrous i’m afraid.

    5. I agree with what you say @ben-n, but reading the article, it seems JS agrees with most of it as well!

      What I take from the article is that he thinks Vettel has ample time to become a great (he himself even points to how Vettel will be passing him for wins probably this season already) and staying with that team providing the best car is the best he can do for now, and then change for something else when inevitably their run of success ends.

      1. I’m not sure one or two events where perhaps something about the combination of ingredients meant Vettel was uniquely (vs. the car’s norm for that year) ultra hooked up in an inferior (or maybe even sometimes not bad) Torro Rosso, is enough to deem someone a Great. I think JS would prefer to see some kind of sustained effort, or several stellar perfomances in different inferior cars, before he would deem someone a Great.

        Is NR a Great for his one win in China this year in a distant 5th place car? Probably a silly comment because NR is not yet a WDC. But I think my point is that this year has shown some surprises, usually down to the team happening to nail their setup that favoured the hard to figure out tires on a particular day, which they didn’t manage to do again at the next race.

        ie. in hindsight if NR becomes a WDC and we look back at China 2012 to determine if he is a Great, will we not likely say he won the tire lottery that day and in fact had a superior car for a day.

    6. I don`t thin stewat has forgotten anything, he`s just stating the obvious. You are not one of the truly greats in F1 at the age of 25. Aspiring to be one, definitely, but you`re not quite there yet.

      I personally think Vettel will continue to outshine both Alonso and Hamilton in the future. He`s got that ruthless streak in him with work ethic to boot. He`s never satisfied with anything less than perfection. That`s a good quality to have in a sport where hero to zero can be measured in a couple of tenths of a second.
      Alonso`s got that too, but not to the same extent.
      Hamilton really needs to learn from Alonso and Vettel, he might be the most talented on pure speed of them all (I`m not so sure) but he`s never going beat the other 2 over a season in a car that`s not perfectly set up and fine tuned.

      Vettels committment, attention to detail and dogged determination to win at all cost reminds me of Schumacher in his first career. Both of them refuse to quit and accept defeat.

      For those of you who do not remember Schumachers first career don`t compare it to his second career. The first edition of Schumacher was a totally different animal that was willig to risk it all and do anything to win. Look at some of his early races, especially mid- to late nineties and you`ll see what I mean. A modern F1 car is totally planted compared to what they used to drive back the, it`s totally different.

  16. Alonso is one of the limited number of F1 drivers Lewis follows on twitter. I did my research as to who was exactly in Jenson’s twitter circles, and who was in Lewis’. The latter was mostly concerned about hip-hop and music personalities.

  17. It’s funny, now that Red Bull is getting back on form everyone seems to think that it’s always been like that in 2012.

    1. Why not? Mclaren was the faster for a while(not just a race!) but they’re nowhere now.

    2. Tom Haxley (@)
      18th October 2012, 9:10

      “Plus ca change”

  18. As if a Central London Grand Prix was ever truly on in the first place. He’s was flip-flopping between the idea of that and that awful looking circuit around the Stratford Olympic site anyway.

  19. I Love the Pope
    17th October 2012, 13:13

    Vettel is better than Alonso.

  20. I can’t agree with Jackie Stewart here, simply because a great driver isn’t just one that has phenomenal results in inferior machinery (though that is impressive), but also a driver that can make the most of the machinery he has at the time. I’m not a big Vettel fan, but I sure do respect him. He may have have had the best car for the past 2 and a half to three years, but during 2011 onwards, he has done his utmost to make the most of it.

    It’s the same with 2009 and Brawn. Many people discredit Button’s Championship, but the fact remains that he made the most of the car he had at the beginning of the season.

    Sure, it’s impressive for someone like Alonso to be leading the Championship this year, despite not having the best car, but a driver also needs to be able to make the most of having the best car when that comes around. (Though I’ve gone slightly off-topic) This is why I believe Alonso is the best driver on the grid currently, because he has shown both sides of this. It is also why I believe Vettel is very good as well: when he has the best car, he puts 110% in to it. That is how he won the Championship in 2010, I believe, which puts him close behind Alonso. Hamilton, however, hasn’t shown as much in my opinion. He has shown flashes of both, but not to the extent of Alonso or Vettel. Some might argue that it’s the team’s fault, but that’s neither here nor there.

    There are obviously other characteristics that drivers need to be classed as ‘great’, such as rallying a team (Like Alonso has done, and to an extent Vettel AND Button). Therefore, Vettel is a great driver, and will continue to show it, so Jackie Stewart is just speaking nonsense…at least, that’s my opinion.

  21. LOL. One adjective ‘great’ seems so important to some. If it is, let it be. But I don”t think it’s necessary to try to convince or persuade others who think different;y with a few exceptional drives just like it’s not necessary to disapprove un-greatness with his mistakes. To his fans, current form and achievement of SV may be more than enough to have that adjective before his name, to others -including myself-he’s still to be proven, having too strong tailwind from Mr. Newey and RB’s full support.
    Now we have seen Alonso and Hamilton in the same stable, why not Alsono and Vettel in the same stable or Hamilton and Vettel together in the same car? ‘Cause they are still relatively young, we have plenty of time to judge whether he is a great driver or greater driver, or more who is the greatest etc etc watching those epic battles as far as it can be kept from the influence of politics.

    1. Yeah they should all enter the Race of Champions or Felipe’s annual cart race. Although I’ve got the feeling the best driver’s (Ham, MSC, Alo, Rai & Vet) wouldn’t want to race one another in equal circumstances as they would have no excuses and they wouldn’t want to admit that another driver is better than them. Vettel and Schumacher enter the Race of Champions and I think Schumacher has won when they’ve raced one another there….

      1. And if you lose against a 42 year old, you’re clearly not one of the best drivers in the world..

  22. It’s really good to know that the big guys want the little guys to have as much say as them. Every team has earned the right to be on the grid and they should all receive equal status (incl. Ferrari!). FOTA is already a mess so at least there’s some cohesion with the FIA.

  23. Once again I don’t really care for Jackie Stewart’s comments, and most surprising of all they are toward a driver I can’t stand. I think Vettel is a great driver, and if having the best car meant being a champion or runner up, then I pose the case of Heikki Kovalien and 2008. Or the fact that during this season Button has been beat by his team mate and that McLaren were to have the superior car for more than half the season.

    Yet Vettel and crew found a way to keep their car on top, and in the fight and only recently is it thought to be the top car. Which reminds me a bit of 2009 season with RBR (though they didn’t win the championship). So I see more of a great driver in a great car, I see a calculated driver like a Prost type and doing it while young only helps show that he is a great. So for Stewart to take away from that, and contradict himself yet again because he too has the best car and is considered a legend is asinine.

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