Hulkenberg should have had a seat sooner – Gutierrez

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Nico Hulkenberg’s former team mate Esteban Gutierrez is surprised the likes of Ferrari and Lotus passed him over for a drive.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Gutierrez surprised Hulkenberg ignored (Autosport)

“He is a very good driver, one of the best qualifiers and it was surprising to see him struggling to get a seat.”

Big Data & Cloud Technology In Formula One (Gulf Business)

“To be a step ahead, we need to be able to correlate all this data so that we can understand what solutions must be given priority and where to focus our resources.”

Lots of prizes for Ferrari (Ferrari)

Raffaele Marciello: “For 2014, we are still weighing up which is best between GP2 and the World Series and I think the decision will come soon.”


Comment of the day

The 2013 season was rated lower than the last three championships and TheSpuditron gives some reasons why:

In past seasons, I have watched the pre-race build-ups for every single race, eagerly awaited the race itself, and watched all of the pre-race analysis. I even watched highlights of the races I had only just watched hours previously.

This doesn’t happen any more. These days, I think hard about getting out of bed for the early morning races. For the normal time races, I’d sometimes tune in for the start of the race. Most of the time though, and during this season in particular, F1 has struggled to hold my attention.

Sure, that last race was reasonably OK, but it was the best race of the season, and let’s be honest here, for the “best race of the season” to be just “OK”, is pretty rubbish.

The fact that Vettel has obliterated the field this year isn’t really a factor to me. Gimmicky tires and ridiculous DRS zones have knocked my interest quite a bit though.

I’ve been holding out for 2014 to possibly reignite my feelings for F1, but with talk of two compulsory pit stops and uglier cars than those 2012 stepped nose things, I’m not banking on it. I hope it will be better, I really do.

I’ve followed F1 since 1995-ish, but if 2014 turns out to be “reasonably OK” again, that’s not going to be good enough for me and I’ll be done and dusted.
TheSpuditron (@Spud)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Myles Woerner and Samuel Tatipamula!

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

Ayrton Senna was given a suspended two-race ban by the World Motorsport Council on this day 20 years ago.

The WMSC ban, which was suspended for six months, was imposed after an enraged Senna punched Eddie Irvine after the Jordan driver unlapped himself during the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix.

Here’s the audio of the argument between Senna and Irvine, recorded by Adam Cooper, which led to Senna hitting him:

Image © Sauber

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56 comments on “Hulkenberg should have had a seat sooner – Gutierrez”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    9th December 2013, 0:08

    As somebody said the other day, the only possible place he could have ended is Lotus. Ferrari doesn’t want young drivers, Mercedes was full already, McLaren has that Magnussen plan (and a bad previous experience with Perez), Red Bull had to make Toro Rosso worth it, and Lotus, with the budget problems, may be worse than FI next year. So he got the best he could and let’s hope some big team hires him in 2015.

    1. @omarr-pepper Ferrari is eyeing Bianchi and Marciello for 2015 this is if they can score Vettel if not they might as well be sorry for not picking Hulk. McLaren is on a path of destruction they are prone to destruction if they don’t start making sane decisions, not that Magnussen isn’t a good youngster he deserved to get a seat but sometimes these guys come to F1 knowing too much, I think bringing an ignorant youngster with money is the better choice, he is fearless and therefore fast from the get-go if he doesn’t lose himself so kudos to Toro Rosso. I agree with you Lotus are probably going to be worst middle team after losing the staff and the money.

      1. Think so too although I guess Vettel will be joining 2016 – however if ALO or RAI leave by 2015 then my bet is that Ferrari will take on Bianchi (if he maintains his level of performance) or go for another gap filler.

      2. @peartree Kimi has a two year contract (some even claim with a option for a third year) with Ferrari, so i there must happen something exceptional for him to leave, but it has happened before so…..

        1. Well with all of the Alonso talk, it is possible

        2. @alexanderfin Yes I suppose, thanks for the info though, it really doesn’t change much if Vettel wants to sign for Ferrari in 2015 or 2016, I don’t see neither wanting to be in the same team as he.

  2. Two words Esteban, no money. Bet you don’t know what that’s like.

    1. @carlitox yes, at least he knows that Hulk is either one of the greatest drivers ever or Esteban himself is terrible.

    2. maarten.f1 (@)
      9th December 2013, 6:30

      @carlitox I disagree. It’s just bad luck, or bad timing. Hulkenberg is a fantastic driver who does deserve a seat at a top team. His bad luck is just that the top teams have other top drivers employed. Sometimes it’s not all about talent or money, it’s also about being at the right place at the right time. Perhaps in the near future he’ll get a chance, or perhaps he’ll be one of those “could’ve been”s.

      1. Maybe. But based on the last 2 years, Lotus is a top team, at least they have shown they can win. And they employed Maldonado instead, who is by no means a top driver (not even his win makes him a top one for me).
        I agree that he had bad timing with Ferrari, but Lotus ditched him for the lack of sponsors.
        But who knows? It took 7 years for Webber to have a winning car, and we all knew how good he was…

  3. Hulkenberg should have a seat already

    He does.

    1. “He is a very good driver, one of the best qualifiers and it was surprising to see him struggling to get a seat.”

      Pretty clear he notices that – he says he was surprised to see it be that difficult.

      1. I was quoting the original headline.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    9th December 2013, 0:31

    Gutierrez surely knows that Hulkenberg has a seat right?

    1. Not that much of a stretch to assume he means at a top team is it?

    2. Hey, sorry, that was rude. One of my dogs might not be coming home and it’s got to me a bit. Sorry.

      What I should have said was, I think he means at a top team. Hulkenburg is pretty unlucky given how everything fell just in place to prevent him a spot.

      Or alternatively, maybe the big teams aren’t as impressed as I was,

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        9th December 2013, 0:52

        That’s okay.

        After I heard Maldonado’s rumors to go to Lotus with his pot of gold and Lotus’s money problems, and Magnessun being practically a shoe in for Mclaren, I didn’t really expect Nico to get a seat anywhere in the top teams.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        9th December 2013, 0:53

        Hope your dog comes back :/

      3. It has also been translated from Spanish. “Struggling to get a seat” does not imply that he doesn’t have any seat, anyhow.

  5. Wait a minute…

    Gutierrez has yet to secure a seat for 2014, but is understood to have visited Caterham earlier this week.

    So is it Heikki and Esteban at Caterham next year?? Who knows maybe it could work, for some reason I don’t see that being worse than Van der Garde/Pic.

    1. VDG is not that worst. I agree he might not be great or a champion in making but he is a decent driver and IMO better than GUT

    2. I’d be surprised if they hired Heikki tbh; in practice sessions he didn’t look any quicker than Pic or Van der Garde. I could see Caterham going for 2 paydrivers what with the costs going up next year. On balance that would seem to be Van der Garde and Gutierrez.

  6. I keep hearing these stories about people falling out of love with f1 all the time, and i find it truly impossible to imagine and indeed dread a day where I would think twice about tuning in to watch a Grand Prix.

    For me it is more than just a bit of entertainment and something to stick on the tv on a Sunday afternoon, it is my absolute passion. Small details like DRS & tyres that wear out quickly don’t matter to me at all, different rules come and go, I don’t watch it for that and if you can be swayed off the sport by such things are you really that bigger fan? If your interest lies on such a knife edge to the point where a regulation change or 2 can make you pass up on it, you are surely not loving it anymore and you just need that excuse to finally turn your interests else-where.

    I watch formula 1 essentially, and firstly, for the man vs man rivalry and ego clashes that you see throughout any Grand Prix you will ever watch no matter how boring it is rated by everyone and how entertained we are all supposed to be.

    If Sebastian won every race for the next 15 years I would still get up in the middle of the night to see a fly-away race live, because maybe today is the day the un-beatable man is beaten. No matter what happens to Formula 1, for as long as it exists, or for as long as I will live, I will watch it, because it is a race, that involves drivers that all think they are the best in the world, and then they go head-to-head, and for me that is enough.

    1. Agreed. Stayed up all night for every race in the “Schumacher years” where he would practically win every race by 30+ seconds, even though I had school on Monday.
      Now I’m tired at work on Mondays but it’s always worth it, no matter how rubbish a race is.

    2. @rob-wilson – Sounds like you have been a fan long enough to realize that F1 constantly changes and evolves and that is part of the intrigue. It is true that some races are better than others, some seasons are better than others, but there is the chance to be surprised or amazed at any moment in any race.

      A lot of different sports used to hold my interest and now F1 is really the only one that persists. A fan since the mid-1960s I’m not going to stop watching because of rule changes or equipment that isn’t like it used to be. Next season, things will change and it will still be interesting to see who adapts the best, who wins and loses and who surprises us with the unexpected.

      Yes, sometimes things could be improved upon and sometimes the people that mange F1 make poor decisions, but I will still watch. This is well said:

      No matter what happens to Formula 1, for as long as it exists, or for as long as I will live, I will watch it, because it is a race, that involves drivers that all think they are the best in the world, and then they go head-to-head, and for me that is enough.

    3. I’m sorry but I have to disagree, for me the quality of the racing and the cars is far more important than the drivers ego ( r u a Maldonado fan?) this last year has not been about the fastest cars and drivers racing each other, it has been a contest between the tyres and the car and driver that could drive at the precise speed that would save them an additional pit stop without losing any additional time to get to the end of the trial race. I don’t mind if Vettel continues (as I expect) to dominate the WDC provided a driver in an equally fast car can battle with him for position all race long and the same thing can happen right through the field.

      1. @hohum – I think things will possibly change for 2014. The reg changes are bound to benefit certain drivers and teams more than others. We just don’t know yet who will be up or down. It seems likely that fuel management might replace tire management with the incoming fuel restrictions such as they are and that Pirelli are expected to bring more durable tires. Should be interesting to see if less fuel weight combined with the minimum weight changes have an effect on tire wear or performance. With the fuel restrictions and the possible need to conserve fuel at times during the race, at least teams have control over when to turn the fuel up or down. With tires, when they are gone, they are gone. With fuel, different strategies could come into play or situational use. Plus, more KERS, less aero, fixed gear ratios. Don’t if any of the reg changes are good or not, guess we’ll have to watch and see.

        1. The reg changes are bound to benefit certain drivers and teams more than others. We just don’t know yet who will be up or down

          Didn’t Mark Webber say in the BBC intro to the last race that next year, the throttle will need to be moved very gently due to the torque available, and that this way of driving had “Seb” written all over it?


          1. OK, Webber’s exact words in response to the question “Which of these drivers will adapt best to the new rules?” were:

            “Probably not what people want to hear at home, but I think it’ll help Sebastian. That’s right up his alley, perfect for him.”



        2. @bullmello, those thoughts are all that is keeping me interested in F1 now, I hope that at least one of the teams will find a low drag set up that is faster overall than the high downforce/fuel saving formula I imagine the top teams are planning on. Other points of interest, with fuel onboard 2014 and 2013 cars should weigh the same +- a few Kilos, 8 gear ratios combined with a much broader powerband and variable final drive ratios shouldn’t really cause any problems, RBR will still have the best aero package for downforce but without exhaust blowing the others should be a lot closer, no matter how conservative the tyres if they want 2 stop races they won’t allow close combative driving. I can’t keep up with the engine development regs but I hope we will see improvements coming through so that different engines have the edge as the season progresses before they get homogenised.

          1. @hohum – I hope we are very pleasantly surprised as we watch the cars circulate in anger as the actual racing begins for 2014. Some of the new regs make sense for competitive racing, some we will have to see what happens. Hopefully there are some possibilities for different teams and drivers to show what they can do. The mandatory 2 stop idea needs to be done away with. The FIA should let the season progress with the myriad of reg changes already in effect and see what happens before adding anything else.

    4. I love this comment!

    5. @rob-wilson – Once upon a time, I felt exactly the same way. This year, it became a reality.

      My frustrations with Formula 1 stem from the way the sport seems to be stuck in a rut. The endless complaints about the tyres annoyed me, especially when teams tried to pressure Pirelli into making tyres that were good for them and pretending that it was in the best interests of the sport. The trial-by-media approach was very unsporting, especially when teams proved they could make the tyres work with a little bit of effort. And I really got the feeling that a lot of the success teams experienced had more to do with someone else getting things wrong (like McLaren and Sauber) rather than that team (like Force India) getting things right.

    6. @kiethcollantaine we need a like button here.

      Can’t agree more. Its not just the drivers fighting on the track its teams fighting with a lot of different strategies. Making changes to rules is bad and can make me feel like its over but come Sunday I sit in front of TV watching the race. It is a very complicated sport and just because one driver is winning continuously I will not leave the sport. When you say these are the 22 best drivers in the world, they should be able to drive their best in the given set of rules and conditions. Its not just overtaking. There are a host of different reasons to love f1.

      1. we need a like button here.

        No we don’t. It’s way better to read about why someone agrees with a comment, or which bits of it they like more than others.

        At the moment F1 has the 22 most self-important race engineers in the world warning their drivers not to race, and I don’t want to watch that.

    7. Well said @rob-wilson. It may not have been the best of seasons but it still had some great moments. Yes things like DRS and made to degrade tyres are a bit annoying but they are a part of the sport, the fact remains that F1 2013 still looks and feels like the sport I love. We have been spoiled by having great season after great season since, well since 2005 I think, each one being better and better and better than the last. We shouldn’t be crying “the end is nigh” because of one “bad” season.

    8. I agree. I love F1 not just for a rule. It’s more than that.
      F1 is about the technology, rivalries, politics (not as much as it used to be), rumors, tyres etc.
      And next years first half cant’ be dull, it just can’t be :)

    9. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one for whose passion isn’t dulled by changing regulations. It’s frustrating really that the regulations that bring the complaints were brought in to fight a problem (Lack of overtaking) that never really bothered me. Ironically, it’s likely the same people complaining now about the sport being “artificial” that were complaining back then.

      Yep, I hate DRS. I’m indifferent to the tyres. But that’s the rule set as it is and those things are a miniscule portion of the sport as a whole. It’s the enormous and intricate make up of this sport that sets it a part from everything else for me.

      Roll on 2014.

    10. See I don’t really get this undying devotion – to watching a sport on tv. I mean, if a sport you love starts to stink, well, you know, it stinks. If you really find that DRS and tyres don’t matter to F1 but drivers’ egos do, then well, I guess not every one watches sport for the same reasons.

      1. The thing is F1 is a bit different to most sports. Few sports will actively try to improve the sport for their existing fans (and try to win new ones) by changing the rules and shifting the goalposts for the competitors every few years. Few sports are as honest about what is wrong with them as F1 and try so hard to remedy the problems. Yes they get it wrong (DRS, the ultimate sticking plaster solution in my book) but sometimes they get it spot on and improve the sport dramatically (3 part quali anyone).

        The only sport I can think of that does the same is Rugby Union (incidentally my other favorite sport) which is constantly tinkering with scrum and breakdown rules to speedup the game and make it more exciting. I fall asleep watching a hell of a lot more football matches than I do F1 races, but I don’t see FIFA proposing to make the goals 6 inches wider or only allowing teams to play with 3 defenders.

    11. @rob-wilson Difficult to say, but I disagree. One of your main arguments is that essentially F1 doesn’t change, like the ego-clash which was pretty evident at the Malaysian GP. However, I feel like the underlying values of Formula 1 have changed quite a fair bit over time.

      Back in the 1950s, the procedure was that a country announced they would give a certain amount of money to whoever could drive around a circuit the fastest under a certain set of regulations. Big factory teams and ‘garagistes’ would build a car and hire the most competent pilots to claim the prize money.

      Today, a small part of that remains (for example the FIA giving money to whoever wins the constructors’ championship), but most of it is different. Today a Grand Prix is essentially just a number of cars doing laps, while half 0.5 billion people read the sponsor names on the side of the car, along the track and during the commercial breaks.

      Even the regulations have been composed specifically to make sure as many people watch the sponsor names as possible. And it’s so much more than just DRS and rubbish tyres, i.e. “a regulation change or 2”. Even the drivers struggle to get their motivation up to yet again go on stage and show the sponsor names to the world.

      So I do not agree with your sentiment at all. I’m fine if F1 is still about racing, but as soon as racing is replaced by commercialism to a degree I can’t bear anymore, then I’m out. It’s that simple.

    12. Couldn’t agree more @rob-wilson. People seem to have these huge overreactions to every single little change in F1, and it’s always puzzled me. Personally as long as I see the best drivers in the world doing their best in fantastic cars every race weekend, I’ll be a fan.

  7. I hope in 1-2 years Hulkenberg get into a top team, Probably We can see him beat Seb :D Seb might not comparable to like Schumi considering his age during during his golden era the race might be boring when he dominates, but I always love seeing youngsters try beating him at that time, like a video game in the end of the level you need to fight the BOSS. so I still can hope at least the same during Seb’s era with Magnussen,Hulk or whoever young talented driver can do the same like kimi,montoya,button,fernando did

    1. Hulkenberg is actually only a few weeks younger than Seb, but I take your point about David and Goliath.

  8. Interesting to read Guttierez comments on Hulkenberg. As for the COTD, I do feel myself lulling into a same meh feeling towards F1 that I came to get in the top year of Ferraschu dominance.

    It also had that inevitability of seeing the same team/guy come out on top, and it also had the gimmicks like the grooved tyres, the qualifying format, the refuelling leading to a race to catch up, then hand at the back of a car and try to pass in the pits (now we have a similar way with the tyres at times and with DRS on the track) and at times rulings that fell out in their favor.
    I actually stopped following it for a couple of years before getting more interested again mid 2005 until now.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    9th December 2013, 8:47

    @Spud – You epitomize a widespread attitude among F1 at the moment. When GP2 is what you are looking forward to most during a GP weekend, then something is seriously wrong. I love F1. Since 1998 I have watched every single session televised, and every race and qualy build-up, but when you’re sat watching an FP2 session that has only served to confirm the untouchable nature of Sebastian Vettel, your mind begins to wander. Watching the long-runs in FP2 has almost become a chore, and when making frequent cups of tea and playing with my Westie becomes more entertaining than watching the sport I love, then you start to question why you are actually watching it. And please, if Simon Lazenby keeps going about how “incredible” Vettel is, and how he has “run out of superlatives” I am going to scream. For an individual that happily weathered the darkest days of the scarlet years, even I found it difficult to stay awake at times this year. For me, there have been no stand-out moments, no incredible overtakes, no awesome battles for the win. I honestly think we could mention F1 in 2013 in the same paragraph as the 2002 F1 season. Please 2014, save our lost F1 fan souls…

    1. No awsome battles”

      That is the problem in a nutshell, no awsome battles, and the Vettel/RBR combo are not the reason that we dont have battles anymore it is the regulators fault entirely, after years of half hearted efforts to reduce the effect of turbulent air on a following car they kicked a huge own goal by introducing a tyre regime that made it absolutely suicidal for a driver to put pressure on the car in front by continually attacking at every corner and braking zone, such as we used to see not that many years ago, they may not have made the pass but at least they tried and tried and tried again.

  10. Oh come one you all! I’ve been watching F1 since 1989, and even before that, it was far from perfect. Can you imagine a time where drivers had to not push to be able to finish a race and not run out of fuel? Where to have a certain motor would give you the possibility to push while others had to watch the fuel??
    Much better today watching the tyres than watching the fuel in the middle of the Senna, Mansell, Prost and Piquet era.
    I don’t like either of these things, but F1 was never really fair, it’s just F1. And I love it!

  11. we are obviously talking about “top teams” regarding their performance this year and a few years back. how about Force India becomes a top team? we didn’t see the Brawns and the Red Bulls coming in 2009, also after a massive change in regulations. and who would have believed that Ferrari and McLaren would be struggling even for scoring some points back then, after dominating the whole last season? maybe the Lotus without Räikkönen on board might be trapped and follow a similar path.
    i am absolutley glad that the Hulk was even able to secure a seat, there was a time during the season, i was afraid it simply won’t happen, as there are more eskimos than seals (i hope this sounds similar in english :) ). maybe what it looks like stagnating for him, from the midfield signing to the midfield, might be a good decision…

    1. @andrewt “There are more eskimos than seals” is a fantastic expression. I’m going to start using it as often as possible! :-)

  12. Hulkenburg – a potential great or another trulli? a good driver in midfield, so far he is a trulli, but lets see what he does next year

    1. From there also are links confirming permanent numbers and a budget cap in 2015.

      Two wonderful ideas, coupled with a horrible one, (double points for the final race).

    2. Thanks for pointing it out, does anyone have more about that?

      1. I would find it a very bad idea as each circuit can already clearly disadvantage some teams, this would be doubled. Better be good at Interlagos :(

  13. Of all the guys who shared a GP2 season together who didn’t end in a backmarker team(Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Maldonado, Perez, Petrov) Hulkenberg is the only one without even a Podium finish.

    And it’s not like he hasn’t had the chance for that to happen.

    Maybe the big teams see him as just another Heidfeld instead of Schumacher’s second coming some fans wish he was.

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