Ecclestone’s latest trial to begin on Thursday

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone will go on trial in Munich on Thursday on charges of bribery.


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Bernie Ecclestone to stand trial in Munich for bribery (The Guardian)

“The 256-page indictment against the 83-year-old billionaire paints a picture of an autocrat who was so concerned about losing power that he paid part of a $44m (£26m) bribe to a former German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, to keep his job.”

Sebastian Vettel: “There are a lot of things that I don’t really like…” (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“I’m sure there are a lot of things that I don’t really like at this stage, but in the end we have the same car.”

Button baffled by McLaren decline (The Telegraph)

“We’ve not made much progress, and this circuit has really shown where our problems are. We’re not very quick at the moment and we’re destroying our tyres, which is one of our biggest problems, and we can’t get the fronts working.”

Mercedes feared Rosberg wouldn’t finish (Autosport)

“The Mercedes Formula One team reckons that Nico Rosberg was fortunate to finish the Chinese Grand Prix following his first corner contact with Valtteri Bottas.”

Comment: Fernando Alonso has become used to taking the walk-on role – he and Ferrari need a change of script (The Independent)

“In comes Marco Mattiacci, yanked from his bed before the hour had struck 6am by Di Montezemolo, who began the telephone exchange with a line that might start a novel: ‘This is my idea.'”

Comment of the day

Was Vettel wrong to postpone letting Daniel Ricciardo past during the Chinese Grand Prix?

I have a hard time understanding why Vettel is vilified for racing while the Mercs and everyone else is admired for the same. I think Vettel was perfectly right in saying tough luck. In fact I am more disappointed in Red Bull for giving team orders. Even if it may have cost a podium (which is questionable) I still think it makes better spectacle for racing and also would have given Ricciardo more credit.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Two years ago today Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix, fending off pressure from Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen in the middle of the race.

Image © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

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

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67 comments on “Ecclestone’s latest trial to begin on Thursday”

  1. I don’t know why button is baffled. McLaren have been in the doldrums a long time, the mantra “lack of downforce” should be on their business cards, and the one year they did have a potentially winning car, the wheels fell off their organisation and their star driver had a meltdown.

    Button certainly made the right choice to leave Brawn, but Lewis made the right choice to leave McLaren.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      22nd April 2014, 3:06

      well theoretically Button may have found himself driving the current mercedes instead of the woeful mclaren had he not left Brawn.

      1. But he would have been less successful in the interim. For 2010 – 12 McLaren were the better team.

    2. @hairs

      Yeah i was thinking after this race that as a car, the McLaren is really no better than last year’s effort, maybe even worse. The difference is they are getting carried somewhat by the Merc engine, although even with that they finished behind a Torro Rosso and probably would have been behind Lotus on pace.

      They’ve looked a bit better in the other races this year so expect them not to be as weak at most circuits, but Barcelona and Monaco coming up are going to be really painful if they can’t bring some major updates for them.

    3. Hamilton should have won the 2012 championship. He ended the season with the most wins and would have won two more easily had his car not failed whilst he was leading the races.

      Lady Luck was most definitely against him that year and so was McLaren displaying a master class in errors that they seem to have become so prone to other recent years.

      1. Hamilton had 4 wins in 2012; Vettel had 5. He was 91 points behind the winner. Two more wins is only 50 points. Shame about the DNFs.

      2. Agreed, and you can add all the pitstop blunders to that, exposing him to things like Maldonado at Valencia etc. Hamilton also finishing higher would take points off Vettel as well.

    4. He’s baffled because they started on quite a positive note, what do you expect the lad to say? And for @scuderia29 to make such a comment about him leaving Brawn is a bit silly really unless you consider one of his traits ‘seeing into the future’.

      Big Ron talked the talk at the beginning of the year and I really got behind it but now it’s starting to show it’s cracks. Kinda fed up of Mclaren pitching their luck on future investment and development, put it into practice now boys!

      1. @kartingjimbo theres really nothing silly about what i said, you obviously missed the context. Hairs believed Button made the right choice to leave for mclaren, i was pointing out that POTENTIALLY that move wasnt for the best, i made no comment about jenson seeing into the future or criticising his decision, i’m looking at the situation with hindsight

  2. I always laugh when Keith uses that particular picture of BERNIE any time he’s down to something controversial. It makes him look like much more of a crook.

    1. In Keith’s defence, there’s an old saying, you can’t polish a **** (bottom biscuit). If this court case forces a parting of ways for Bernie and F1 I’m sure we’ll cope. Goodbye Bernie (in advance) enjoy your billions ;-)

    2. Maybe Bernie is soon to be the Formerly One Chief…

  3. Re: Cotd

    The difference between Red Bull in China and Mercedes in Bahrain is that by losing time Ricciardo lost the chance to challenge Alonso, and Vettel might have fallen back into Hulkenberg’s clutches. Mercedes were never in any risk of not finishing 1-2 unless they ran into each other.

    1. Spot on x2

    2. …….yes,exactly!! And dontforget that some 4rsehole at the Chinese GP waved the flag 1 or 2 laps in front of Lewis before he thought the race was finished!!!!!!! With all the technology involved by and with the FIA does that not make us suspicious that something underhand is taking place? How the fa………….k is a race being Chequered Flagged before the FINAL LAP!???????????? WAS someone critical on fuel for another 1 or 2 laps?

      1. Well, given that F1 increasingly resembles professional wrestling more than any other “sport” (whereas it used to be more like boxing), this would not be a complete surprise. The structure and management of F1 is extremely opaque. Ferrari have all sorts of special and secret privileges, people suddenly lose (or gain) jobs unexpectedly, and Bernie still seems to be able to make almost anything happen if he wants it. If the Mafia ran a sport F1 is the sort of thing you might expect. No wonder so many teams find it difficult to find sponsors; F1 does appear to be grubby and getting steadily worse.

    3. I think Vettel has a good balance between team orders and looking out for himself, the same can be said for Massa, they have both obliged their teams in the past. Vettel only just conceded a position to RIC in the last race for the team’s benefit. I think it was a mistake by the team in not giving a good explanation for the order at the time it was given. While I would personally prefer flat out racing, as most fans would. I can understand the need for orders when one car is holding up the other when there is a chance the faster could add more points to the constructors championship by making a pass.

      Hopefully lesson learned by RBR as is the case at Williams. Although RBR told Vettel they were on different strategies it was delayed and cost RIC time. Kind of funny that he wasn’t, but hey, ask Webber about “tough luck”.

    4. I disagree. For me team orders are wrong no matter the situation and I agree with COTD. It’s like saying that killing people is ok during the war but not ok when it’s peace. Politically you could be right but no matter the situation it’s still wrong.

      1. @toxic don’t compare killing people to racing, jeez… also don’t get your point?

        1. You’re right sorry for that. My point was that there is no difference between Mercedes giving team orders and Red Bull giving team orders. The team have a choice. You either use them or not. I actually feel that letting HAM and ROS to race what much bigger risk than allowing RIC to overtake VET. They could loose 1-2 if they’d crash.
          Team Orders are just wrong and destroy the show. That’s why Bahrain race was so spectacular. There was no Team Orders and cars with pretty much same speed were racing each other.
          Vettel is not to blame here. He should disobey the order completely and show us who’s better of two on the track. Simple as that.

          1. @toxic I think I follow your logic. I don’t like team orders either, pure racing is reserved for the lower categories though.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        22nd April 2014, 12:28

        I don’t have a problem with team orders if they’re needed to maximise a team’s potential to score the most amount of points possible for them.

        For example, in Bahrain, and in China, I feel Red Bull were warranted in issuing the order for Seb to move over because he was clearly holding Ricciardo up which will compromise their points scoring ability.

        When I disagree with team orders is when two team-mates are in the lead and one is told to move over simply because one driver is favoured over the other. The best example of this is Schumacher and Barrichello in Austria in 2002. I understand why teams choose to do this, but it’s really not good sportsmanship.

  4. Regarding Cotd, the reason I fell people have a problem with Vettel and team orders goes back to Malaysia last year. Not the multi 21 saga but the fact that Vettel tried to force a team order on mark in the earlier part of the race when Hamilton was on his tail and he radio’ed in saying “get mark out of the way!”, that message seems to be forgotten by most, but what stood out to me was that he had no problem with team orders when he of benefit, but when he is required to comply for benefit of his team mate, i.e. Multi-21 with Mark and just recently in China, he seems to choose when he will comply, maybe that’s why hes vilified, because he seems to blow hot and cold on the team order debate, complying like in Bahrain and then calling in “tough luck” in the last race.

    1. Its the same with every driver though.

      For example Mark Webber had no problem ignoring the team orders as Silverstone in 2011, Yet he didn’t like it when Vettel ignoring team orders worked against him.

      Remember that we only get to hear bits of the team radio, If we had access to everything I’ve no doubt we would hear every driver out there pushing for team orders at one point or another yet not liking it when things get reversed.

      1. yep it is also entertainment we should never forget that

    2. Vettel crossed the line almost 20 seconds after Daniel Ricciardo, that’s his major problem. If he wants to shut everybody up he needs to fix that. Period.

      1. @jcost You hit the nail on the head! +100

    3. The situations in Bahrain and China were different.

      He complied in Bahrain because the drivers started on different tyres and were on different strategies. Both of the drivers and the team stated that they had discussed the possibility of one letting the other passed before that race, so as not to compromise either strategy.

      In China they started on the same tyres and had run the same strategy up to that point, stopping just a few laps apart, his question about the tyres shows the way he was thinking, if the team had said “we’re going to split strategies let Daniel through”, he would have understood why.

      It could be that the team’s “normal” policy is to ask one driver to let the other through if they are on different strategies, so as not to compromise either’s race, in this situation they may still get to race each other later in the race if the different strategies converge, but that if they are on the same strategy to let them race each other.

  5. I’m not liking how Mercedes is running away with the title already. Here’s hoping for an FIA-sanctioned midseason points reset “to keep the excitement going”.

    1. As a fan previously suffering Ferrari and Red Bull dominance has made me stronger, I can cope with a season of Mercedes dominance. Man up @elbasque ;)

    2. @elbasque

      The double points rule be changed for the sake of excitement. New rule should be:

      Double points in the last 4 races for anybody who’s not driving a W05.

      1. Even if we do double points for all races for non-Mercedes teams, this will not be enough (extrapolating from the first four races).


        1. @mike-dee you’re math can’t be right, if so… we’re better wait for 2015 because it looks like it will be Merc beating record after record

          1. My math is right only for the constructor’s title where Mercedes have (significantly) more than double the points of Red Bull.

            It is not true for the WDC though as ALO would just pip ROS to the title under our revised points system.

    3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      22nd April 2014, 8:31

      Not their fault that they did a far better job than anyone else lol.

      1. Exactly. It was the same when RBR won their titles; they made the best car and their driver got the best out it, and other teams failed to match.

        That said, we still need more head-to-head battles between the Mercedes drivers.

    4. As long as Rosberg and Hamilton are close it will be more exciting than
      the last three years. I don’t mind a dominant team, I do mind a dominant team with one driver dominating the other.

      1. Unfortunately, Rosberg is looking like a Barrichello.

        1. @austus I think you couldn’t be more wrong.

  6. when is the radio transcript coming?

    1. @aqibqadeer Always good to see an article is popular! But this one usually runs to over 5,000 words and as you’d imagine there’s lots of stuff in it that needs checking. So I don’t make any promises about when it’ll be done by. Normally it appears on Wednesday or Thursday, but that’s not a guarantee.

      Short answer: “When it’s done”.

      1. johnny stick
        23rd April 2014, 1:48

        keith you are doing a great job. It comes when it comes. I am waiting too but I still think you might be working too hard and doing an awesome job.

  7. Regarding COTD: While every case is different, it’s true that Vettel shouldn’t be vilified for racing and that Red Bull deserves criticism for giving team orders.

    Dietrich Mateschitz recently said that Red Bull’s involvement in F1 would depend on “sportsmanship”, criticised the new F1 and claimed that “GP2 partially provides more racing and fighting”. I guess it’s obvious that team orders won’t create more racing and fighting. Practice what you preach.

    That said, it’s good to see that both Red Bull drivers seem to get equal treatment (whoever is faster is the number one), hopefully it stays that way.

  8. @mjf1fan

    True but Alonso was looking pretty marignal on fuel by the end of the race so might have had to use a lower engine mode for the last couple of laps. Lap charts show he slowed a bit on last 2 laps, but he could have been easing down and had it covered (although RIC was nearly in DRS range by the end so i slightly doubt that).

    In either case, the early chequered flag made it almost irrelevant, apart from maybe causing some controversy, and i think we have enough of that elsewhere in F1 ;)

    1. @keithedin

      Alonso finished 1.2 sec ahead of Ricciardo at the end and if we consider that had Vettel let Ricciardo straight away he wouldn’t have lost 4 seconds and he might have been sniffing around that Ferrari’s gearbox. That said, it would have been really difficult for him to pass Alonso and I’m no Alonso fan.
      Also as you said the early chequered flag made it irrelevant so I just want to finish this thing by saying – Whatever happens, happens for a good reason :)

      1. Fair comments. I can’t even find your original comment i was trying to reply to, maybe it was even in another thread as i had multiple tabs open. Oh well ;)

        1. Even I cant find the original thread in which I commented. May be it got deleted.

  9. Surprising to see Vettel struggling so much. His start of the season wasn’t great, but in Malaysia he drove brilliantly, in Bahrain he had problems both in qualifying and in the race, so it’s difficult to tell, but he had a decent pace and he was ahead of Ricciardo until the Safety Car came out.
    That said, his first stint with the soft tyres in China was not bad, but when he put on the mediums he was just nowhere.

    Maybe it was a setup issue, or the peculiar combo of green track and medium tyres that blew his problems with the car out of proportion.

    1. Vettel always looked better in the superior car with team preferences over an inferior teammate.

      I’m sure he never imagined Ricciardi would hit the ground running and find so much speed so soon.

      Redbull saw something special in his telemetry at those tests last year
      and obviously alot more since he joined them on the simulator and on track.
      It seems poor Sebastian didn’t get the memo.

      I hope Daniel beats him up all year…

      1. Me too. I want to see how he copes being number 2 for a change.

  10. @Vishy Well for me it makes a perfect sense to have a team orders in this circumstances. It’s a one thing to have a fight for first position between two drivers from one team with similar pace, but it’s totally different thing when one is visible faster than the other and there is only a chance to ruin a race to both of them and the team will suffer as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against team orders, but I’m OK with it when it comes to this kind of situations, when team orders are the only reasonable thing to do. In fact there should be no team order in this case if Vettel just let go the position because Ricciardo was way too fast at that moment to be kept behind in the first place. If the team comes first, as Vettel told afterwards, than he should tought about it on the track as well. Plus the team should prepare it drivers for the situation in advance by informing the drivers what the pace of each other is, thus avoiding this kind of situations.

    1. @nidzovski

      While I do get where red bull were coming from in asking vettel to let Ricciardo pass, I think mr vettel was reacting from experience. He knows that it is a long season with plenty of potential for change.

      Now most expect mercedes to maintain their performance advantage, but we are after all only just into a new set of regulations, and he’s in a team that has shown time and again that they are amazing at in season development. So for all he knows, while mercedes currently enjoy a second per lap advantage, what if red bull out developed them and made their car the fastest? A couple of DNFs for mercedes due to Hamilton & rosberg battling and the red bull drivers may be right back in the mix. He may then regret his actions earlier in the season where he didn’t battle his pacey team mate, who has become a championship rival.

      Now that scenario may seem far fetched but this is sport, it’s unpredictable, that’s why we love it so, and that’s why, while the drivers have to respect the team, they have to be selfish and fight for every point they can get

      1. @3dom
        Vettel was in no position to race against Ric this time as he wasn’t in Bahrain as well. As I said before I’m aganst team orders and in this case Vettel was just frustrated because it was second time in a row that he was asked to step a side. And he said that he let through Ricciardo because of the team. He should just said what Massa said after Malaysia that he was driving for him self not just for the team. It is done with more dignity at least.

        1. @nidzovski

          I do agree that it was the right decision for the team to make in terms of maximising their points and preventing both drivers from squabbling and ruining their tyres and possibly falling prey to other drivers behind them. I was just stating what I thought influenced vettel’s “tough luck” remark prior to him being told the difference in strategy.

          We get lots of time to analyse and dissect these situations, whereas in real time they have to be quick and decisive.

          Ultimately, while I agree that red bull’s decision to manage their drivers’ positions from the pit wall made sense, I feel that I would have respected them if they’d let them race too (less rational but we racing fans love a good battle, right?). Perhaps indecisive in my part? Hmm and I always thought I made good strategy calls from my armchair ;-)

          1. Yeah my armchair colleague :)

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    22nd April 2014, 12:00

    It’s certainly a tribute to the form of sportscar racing in 2014 that I spent the entirety of Sunday’s World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone without learning the result of that morning’s Chinese GP. The dominant “new F1” controversy raging over motorsport was ignored completely on Sunday by fans and pundits alike, and in its place was the unanimous praise of sportscar racing’s new era; an era where the money and might of Audi, Toyota and Porsche battle it out on the most public of stages. I say “most public” on basis of the volumes of spectators Silverstone hosted on Sunday, many of whom were tempted by Webber’s sportscar return, the ticket value versus the British GP, the brilliant access afforded to fans (that takes the shape of an open paddock and a pit walk/autograph session) and the deafening, glorious, spine-tingling audio melting pot of GT and LMP engines that is the soundtrack of the FIA’s WEC. From where I was sat, the enthusiasm and expanse of the crowds could only be beaten by British GP Sunday, and for the first time since Group B WRC, F1 might just have found itself a motorsport rival…

  12. The problem was Vettel would NEVER finsih ahead of Ricciardo in that situation. He was quite a bit faster than him, and finished 20s ahead of Vettel.

    1. 100% agree on that. That’s why Vettel’s question’s about Daniel’s tyre strategy didn’t have any meaning. Ric was way too fast.

  13. On comments regarding the correlation between Vettel’s form and a lack of blown diffuser … heard the same said at Silverstone this weekend, which was a fantastic weekend, so much more fan friendly than the Grand Prix there.

  14. I know it is still a bit too soon, but considering many of us doubted Vettel even though he won 4 titles and Ricciardo is now at least at the same level as he is, I think we’ll soon be able to say – give those 4 titles to Newey. Not only did he defy team orders, Ricciardo overtook him anyway, and then Vettel claims he ‘changed his mind and let him through’. Embarassing.

    I remember being a bit sad when drivers like Hill or Button became champions, but this is just ridiculous. F1 has come to a point where a merely ‘above average’ driver can become a mega-champion. You’d need Nakajima to throw away those titles, just as you need a Katayama now to throw away the Mercedes title. And no, I don’t have anything against the Japanese – Koba would become 4 times world champion if he had the current Merc advantage and Webber for a teammate. (Unless Daniel Ricciardo is a superstar and we just don’t know it yet…)

    1. I was unbelievably happy when Hill become a champion! Sorry, not a Villeneuve or Schumi fan – back then.

    2. Yeah. It sure didn’t look like he ‘let Daniel through’ did it? Looks more like he went wide defending on older tyres.

  15. Does anyone know what infantile name Sebastian has given his car this year?

    1. I bet he will name it if he wins a race.

  16. COTD Tough luck is probably the quote I would take to bed if I were Seb. Vettel made much more sense inside that cockpit that day than Sepang 2013 and obviously Turkey 2010.

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