F1’s road relevance important for Mercedes

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche says the current F1 rules packs is a major part of the sport’s appeal for Mercedes.

F1 Fanatic Live

F1 Fanatic Live will be running this weekend during the Formula Renault 3.5 races from Spa and the IndyCar races from Detroit. There’s one each on Saturday and Sunday – look out for the live posts on the home page ahead of the start.


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

Merc: Exit talks were held (Sky)

“With the objective to save fuel, be efficient and have very high performance, that’s exactly what we have to do with our production cars and we use exactly the same technical components. That’s why it’s making even more sense with the regulations than in the past.”

De Silvestro: gender no issue in racing (Autosport)

“I’ve never felt it was tougher or different, because I think the important thing is to prove you can be as fast, and if you are winning races or upfront people just consider you a race car driver.”

Monaco Grand Prix onboard video highlights (Canal+)

Half an hour of onboard video footage from the Monaco Grand Prix (seemingly not region-locked).

The First Time – with Williams’ Felipe Massa (F1)

“What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?
FM: I think it was 1988, when I was with my dad in Interlagos.”

Head for Goodwood for that old-fashioned Formula One roar (The Telegraph)

“Other famous F1 machines confirmed to tackle the 1.16-mile course past Lord March’s family home include the infamous Benetton-Ford that Michael Schumacher hustled to claim the 1994 drivers’ championship at the expense of Damon Hill, who was denied by a single point after a controversial crash that took them both out.”

Organised chaos of the Sky lane at Monaco (The Independent)

Sky presenter Simon Lazenby: “Last year [with the V8 engines] I couldn’t hear myself think at the street circuits. Do I miss it? You know what? I’m quite happy with my hearing as it is! Damon Hill will back me up – he loves it like this.”

The loss of alcohol sponsorship won’t be the end of Formula One (Sportsmarketer)

“The total spend across all teams and FOM comes to around $60m, with Johnnie Walker contributing the most at around a third – but most of that goes to FOM for circuit signage.”


Comment of the day

One topic has driven more comments than any other this week – the fight for supremacy between the two Mercedes drivers. Is this a positive development for F1 or has it already become tiresome?

To be honest, I very much enjoy this rivalry. This is in fact the only thing interesting to look out for in F1 this season so far. For example I am not quite sure whose going to win the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix although odds may be favouring Hamilton slightly. Which explains, the season is exciting.

And I am quite hopeful that Red Bull will be as quick as Mercedes by the end of the year which makes the competition even more exciting. As Ricciardo will probably take points from either of Mercedes drivers and will be fun to see how will it pan out in the drivers’ championship ultimately.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

The second round of the 1954 world championship was held four-and-a-half months after the first and featured none of the F1 regulars – it was of course the Indianapolis 500, won for the second year in a row by Bill Vukovich.

As the newsreel announcer below points out, “he took the chequer only 70 seconds ahead…”

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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64 comments on “F1’s road relevance important for Mercedes”

  1. Friends, not friends, friends, not friends ….

    1. These drivers act like 8 year old girls, worse even. In the midst of all racing junior career they don’t know yet what is friendship, that’s sad. The saddest part is how self centred they are.

      1. Yeah, I wish these drivers were real men like the good old days… Friends never fell out in those days it was all good hard racing and then back to jimmy’s for cucumber sandwiches and a friendly game of cribbage.

        Jeez, give these two a break.

  2. Now that is a classy tweet from LH. Way to go guys.

    1. Agreed.

      Can’t wait for Canada!

    2. Just to add…NR said a few days ago that would happen…that Monaco would pass and they’d still be friends.

      1. I guess Rosberg knows Hamilton well enough to be a real friend then @robbie :-)

    3. I was glad to see that as well. Hopefully their (probable) battle for the WDC will go down to the wire, and the two can manage to keep it fairly civil. I am SO looking forward to Canada!

      1. Nice to hear they’ve made up. I know I’ve said a lot worse about my friends and after a bit of time all was swell, that’s what friendship is at the end of the day. It’s for this reason I still think Mercedes have one hell of a driver line-up. RBR and McLaren of old have shown us just how explosive team-mate rivalries can be, but with Nico and Lewis being old friends I expect any emergence of animosity between the two will be short-lived

        1. I’m going to say lies or just a cover up to get the press of their backs but surely if they were really friends they could have used a new photo? You can tell it’s an old one (Lewis’s arm). I suppose it could just be something to show that if they weren’t friends he wouldn’t be posting pictures like that but then again if they were friends and Lewis seems the sort of person to do this, why not use a ‘selfie’? Don’t actually know where I stand on this.

          1. Maybe they should have followed Red Bulls lead with something like this?… https://www.racefans.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/vett_webb_redb_2010.jpg

    4. What’s up with LH’s hair though..???


  3. I’m not sure you can have a serious friendship with someone who keeps changing what they supposedly think and feel on a weekly basis.

    1. Then I imagine being friends with Lewis Hamilton is the same as having a second girlfriend.

  4. The driver line-up I am generally most disappointed by for failing to live up to my expectations is Alonso and Räikkönen. Alonso again has been a relentless points scorer, but besides in China he has managed to remain surprisingly anonymous.

    Räikkönen hasn’t remained anonymous, but for the wrong reasons – he has been dealt a pretty consistent thrashing from his teammate, which was evident even in Monaco during qualifying. And he has not had a very error-free season, unlike the other recognised excellent drivers (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso etc).

    And the one to exceed my expectations – without wishing to appear biased – has to be Red Bull. I have always had a insitinctive feeling that Ricciardo was a good driver and his situation never fully allowed him to show it, but my has he flourished. His car control is brilliant, his tyre conservation skills akin to Vettel last season and his qualifying (perhaps unsurprisingly) very good indeed.

    Once Vettel finally has a smooth running, “normal” weekend, I think we have yet another fantastic rivalry in the mix – which will surely only add to the excitement.

    1. Actually I don’t think Vettel has shown to be quicker anytime this season but you could say that Raikkonen was pretty even 3 or 4 times.

      1. @peartree I disagree. Alonso has comfortably beaten Räikkönen in most races and has yet to finish ahead of his teammate, unlike Vettel (Malaysia).

        And in qualifying – not historically Alonso’s strong point – it’s 4-2, pretty conclusively in Alonso’s favour in most of those cases.

        And @fastiesty, I can’t recall those occasions – the puncture in Monaco and?

        He hasn’t impressed me this season, it must be said. And reliability isn’t to blame.

        1. @vettel1 Ricciardo retired in Malaysia, who knows if China turn around wasn’t going to happen in Malaysia. I think Raikkonen which is the newcomer to the team is having issues on Fridays and that’s hurtin him nevertheless he has been on pace in Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Monaco as with Vettel he’s been slightly slower than Ricciardo at most places but the difference is Vettel was the majestic leader of the last generation.

    2. Kimi was hit from the rear at least two times this season, taking away two top 5 finishes (possibly a podium at Monaco). Like Vettel, once he has tuned the car to his liking, he will be on form once more.. think Lotus 2012.

      Vettel just needs to re-adapt his muscle memory for a less planted rear end (as he did for one during mid 2010-2013).. then indeed it will be another great rivalry. Depending on his adaptability, it could be from 1 month to 6 (probably the faster end for Vettel).

  5. That onboard footage from Canal+ is really cool!
    Vettel says just before retiring “I’m just destroying other people’s race” (at 7:25 of video).

    1. I noticed that, and I thought it was a pretty selfless radio message. I was quite happy when I heard that.

      1. Michael Brown
        31st May 2014, 1:23

        I’ve noticed he’s been like this a lot this year. In Spain, he apologized to Lewis when his car failed in qualifying, causing a yellow flag.

        1. Indeed. That’s the sort of maturity which is nice to see from drivers when things don’t go their ways.

    2. Yeah, huge ups for Seb there, taking into consideration the affect he is having on other drivers while probably at one of the most frustrating points of his career.

      1. It was very interesting that he bit his tongue when he let his frustration show momentarily I thought.

      2. Yep that was nice. Respect for Seb there!

    3. That on board from Monaco is epic.
      Ooh! Look. on board from China, Spain, Bahrain, Malaysia and Melbourne. That’s my evening sorted. Thanks canal+!
      (Quick, watch it before Bernie notices!)

      1. :-) Best way to see Monaco must be from on boards @scalextric. Just bookmarked for a nice viewing time later for me

      2. @scalextric I loved the onboards, first time i’ve seen them too… You get so much more of the story from onboards, e.g. the lead up to HULK’s epic manouvre on JEV was purely because JEV let MAG through leading up to Mirrabeau, then he just didn’t apex cleanly through Lowes Hairpin and then got poor traction and HULK must have nailed it and pounced…. Epic

    4. @mtlracer I agree, but did you notice that “Martini” was blanked out on Bottas’ car? Strange… Already alcohol banning?

  6. Last time I checked, F1 rivalry intensity was measured by Unicycle riding ability, so this is at least an 8.

    1. And Nico is ahead though Lewis is within DRS range. So…

  7. I didn’t know Lewis and Nico could ride unicycles.

    1. @kingshark Considering we only see about 0.1% of any driver/team members lives I’d wager there’s a hell of a lot about them we don’t know.. Which is why I always try not to judge them :)

  8. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    31st May 2014, 1:33

    Re: Mark’s Tweet.

    Those Isle of Man TT riders have got big balls. The biggest of probably any Motorsport.

    Very underrated, and under attended.
    I wish we got tv coverage of it here in AUS.

    1. We do it’s on Speed TV 7.30pm tonight

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        31st May 2014, 14:11

        That’s pay tv.

  9. So Felipe Massa’s father took him to Interlagos (São Paulo) in 1988, while the Brazilian Grand Prix took place on Jacarepaguá (Rio de Janeiro) that year, about 350 kilometers away. That’s interesting.

    1. @roald Oh my, that’s a big goof up

  10. That onboard footage is just incredible :) very nice to see the race like that!

  11. The correlation of F1 to road car is not only important to Mercedes. Ferrari is said to be equipping the new version of the Ferrari La Ferrari with a F1 type V-6 turbo hybrid power unit by the beginning of the year. Bet Ferrari wish they had Mercedes like results to use in their adverts.

    1. That’s a bet I’m not going to take, would be nice to see a return of the Dino with a 2-2.5 L v6 turbo hybrid. @bullmello

      1. @hohum – That would be a nice car. Makes sense to go hybrid and use the same technology on the road cars.

    2. Ferrari would just use their 16 WCC and 15 WDC in their adverts instead :-P

      1. Just so long they fail to mention from when those titles are, they’ll be fine ;)

        1. I doubt any of the manufacturers really care about road relevance – otherwise they would be in other forms of motorsport – like lemans or WRC – or just spend the money on making their road cars better. the only thing they care about is success to promote their cars. Honda, Toyota, BMW – they all left because they couldn’t win. only Ferrari doesn’t need success in f1, they are Ferrari and everyone will always love Ferrari road cars even when they don’t win in f1 – they are the quintessential F1 team that everyone knows. they have won enough to not win for the next 10 years and people will still support the brand – all the rich manufacturers have enough money to stay in f1 at a great loss, but they are greedy and exit when they cant win. Mercedes almost left because they couldn’t win, so they were happy for regulation changes – not for correlation to road cars – but because it gave them a chance to start fresh at the same point as everyone else to produce a winning package. now they have, they will stay in f1.

  12. Thanks for the Monaco onboard footage Keith, it’s a must see if you haven’t watched it yet people.

  13. Great video from Canal+. Thanks for sharing Keith.

    That Kimi move on Kev was just hilarious. I wonder what Bianchi was thinking when passing the duo :)

    1. It makes you think how much better would be the broadcast if they would be showing that during this. Not only it looks amazing in Monaco, but you can also hear so many different noises with these new engines including bottoming and tires. So much potential wasted here.

  14. Wonderful Onboard video . Thank you ever so much Keith . FOM , this is what you need to spice up the racing not some cheap DRS , some cheap double points and circus tricks ! And yeah let me mention it before I forget , we want to see Nico Rosberg when he tries to pass Lewis and not the facial expressions of his girlfriend.

  15. Somewhat of a contradiction to what Hamilton said the other day about them just being acquaintances. But at least he’s decided to steer away from adding more fuel to the fire.

    1. He was in a bad mood, probably.

    2. It was just the wrong time of the month for Hamilton.

  16. Regarding road relevance, I wrote a piece about it a few days ago, questioning whether F1 needs road relevance.

    In the current F1, I can definitely see why road relevance is important: Honda would not have returned, and I can imagine Renault and Mercedes dropping out too. But to be honest, road relevance is boring – I would prefer to see a 1994 Ferrari over a 2014 Ferrari.

    Hence I think a solution might be to have a very strong budget cap on engine development, such as to lure privateer engine companies such as Cosworth, Mecachrome (PURE) and perhaps even Judd to F1. The rules could be opened up to allow for V6 turbos, but also V8s, V10s, V12s, whatever they like. As a result, the noise debate will be obliterated since we will have a whole palette of interesting engine noises.

    Of course this is not feasible right now, since it will get vetoed anyway. I guess if something like this will eventually happen, it will require an entirely new way of thinking. Thinking about it, it’s weird that a sport that is becoming more of an entertainment event is sacrificing a lot for the sake of being ‘road relevant’ in the eyes of the engine manufacturers.

    And what about Mercedes, Renault and Honda? Just let them go to the much more road relevant LMP1 (who are doing a much better job with their regulations anyway). Problem solved.

    1. @andae23 Very well put

    2. LMP1 is more road relevant, but it has nowhere near the commercial penetration F1 has.

    3. @andae23 Having read your article and your post above I’m not sure I can agree, although I know many will. I don’t see a problem with F1 being road relevant, and I think that sentiment has grown over the years. I think that what has evolved since the 50’s and 60’s and even 94 is that we now know more than ever how badly we have been treating the planet environmentally. In another decade, how relevant will engines up to and including V-12’s be to anything? But I guess your point on that is that relevance to anything is not the issue. F1 should stand on it’s own, including with privateer engine makers, I guess to help put more of the racing back in F1 and less entertainment? Although racing has always had to be entertaining or it would never have become what it has. Entertainment is not a 4 letter word. I’m not sure I’m clear on what ‘lot’ has been sacrificed for the sake of road relevance.

      One of my thoughts given the great rivalry we are seeing at Merc is that it becomes less relevant what or who is powering the cars, and their noise quality, when the racing is there.

      My main concern right now is not the engine or it’s noise, not that Cosworth and PURE is not involved, but that with double points, which could be eradicated with a simple nod by Todt, will potentially ruin a fantastic rivalry by seeing one driver robbed of the WDC and the other only win it because he had the luxury of double points. That to me is more relevant than anything for this season. And for now, I’ll take Mercs word for it that if road relevance is something they need to see in F1, then that is the current lay of the land. I don’t see how in 10 years, going to a choice of engines, and I guess therefore free reign on fuel consumption, is going to be relevant to F1 or the road. I wonder if gone are the days of excess in everything, racing simply for the sake of racing because you have a bottomless pit of money and resources and don’t need to account for those dollars in any way that relates to selling cars other than via badge recognition. I suggest the movement of F1 to more road relevance is going in the right direction toward a necessary economizing of those big dollars put toward F1 by having them mean something more in the long run…to everyone. As long as the racing puts us on the edge of our seats…win, win.

      1. @robbie Good points.

        One of my thoughts given the great rivalry we are seeing at Merc is that it becomes less relevant what or who is powering the cars, and their noise quality, when the racing is there.

        I have to agree with that, there is pretty much no correlation between engine configuration and the quality of racing. The main thing I would like to see is variation, which could be accomplished by 1) more engine manufacturers; 2) more allowed engine configurations. I just think it’s a shame that F1 pushing for being road relevant has closed up the engine regulations so much. Nonetheless, it’s not critical; the engine business in F1 is relatively healthy at the moment anyway.

        1. Even if the engine configuration regulations were opened up its almost certain that everyone would end up with the same one as one configuration will prove better than the rest.

          When turbo’s were 1st banned for 1989 initially everyone went different direction & we had V8s/10s/12s, But 10 years later everyone had gone to a V10 because a V10 proved to be the best configuration.

          The V12’s were too big, Heavy, used too much fuel & that all meant compromises had to be made with car design & packaging which is why Ferrari decided to switch to a V10 for 1996.
          The V8s were smaller, lighter, better on fuel & more drivable but they didn’t have the torque or overall power of the other configurations which is why it eventually died out as soon as Ford had a V10 which Minardi could afford.

          1. Also remember that the current V6 turbo with hybrid systems is the engine formula which the engine manufacturer’s involved wanted.

            F1 like Indycar went to the engine manufacturer’s & asked for input on the engine rules & both series ended up with V6 Turbo’s, Only difference is that Indycar doesn’t have the hybrid systems.

  17. The article with Simona De Silvestro does point out what i was always thought about motoracing, that gender is mostly irrelevant. In contrast to what some were claiming in the past years, it seems to me that F1 is a man’s world simply because of the low number of women that are interested in pursuing a carrer in motorsports rather than it being a case of them getting overlooked or rejected for reasons unrelated to performance.
    I think it all has to do with how well someone races and if a woman proves she can get the same results, she will get the place she deserves.
    The only real difference I can see is sponsorship, in the sense that it seems women can have an easier time finding sponsors or getting the coverage in media sponsors require.
    I’m not trying to say there aren’t any people against women racing in F1 but there aren’t enough of them to become a real problem

  18. Banning alcohol sponsorship is a bad idea.

  19. F1′s road relevance doesn’t entertain people. That sound of downshifts combined with visible extreme speeds does.. with new FormulaE and all they are heading in opp. direction. V12 can end this boring sport!!

    and saving environment? yea with so many retirements all that money/resources getting wasted because of complexity of Hybrid engine.. F1 has been about engine/parts running at extreme which cant be the same in Road cars as they need better reliability..If mercedes can make a winning car then their engineers can make innovative solutions for road cars too… so unless its for producing Laferrari i dont see Its relevance F1.

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