Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber, Sochi, 2013

Sochi circuit ‘ready to host Russian Grand Prix’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber, Sochi, 2013In the round-up: The track which will hold the inaugural Russian Grand Prix this year is declared ready for racing.


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New Sochi circuit wins FIA seal of approval (Reuters)

Charlie Whiting: “Everything has been done to the highest standards and I’m extremely pleased. I can say without hesitation that the circuit is ready 60 days in advance, which is very rare really.”

Grosjean in no rush to secure F1 future (Autosport)

“Hopefully they get a good engine. Then, from there, we can assess what they are capable of doing.”

Get with the programme (MotorSport)

Helmut Marko: “I don’t know why we get so much shit about the guys that fall off the programme. When they leave they are still earning maybe a couple of hundred thousand Euros or more racing elsewhere – which they would not have been doing otherwise.”

Lewis Hamilton in mood to assert his authority in F1 title race (The Guardian)

“The handcuffed closeness of Hamilton and Rosberg in the season so far would suggest the championship is more likely to be decided in Austin or Brazil – the penultimate race – but hopefully not in the double-pointer farce that will be the final event in Abu Dhabi on 23 November, a desperate contrivance that will represent a low point in Formula One.”

The Real Reason Bernie Ecclestone Settled His Bribery Trial (Forbes)

“Mr Thomas told Forbes ‘we have to keep in mind that Formula One must go on and if it went on with this trial for the next five months then it would mean that problems in Formula One could arise so Bernie said ‘OK I do not intend to go on with this if I get a settlement without conviction and the presumption of innocence is still valid’. The rest of course was just a question of money and that was what Bernie had to decide. I think he really decided on this because he wants to go on with Formula One.'”


Comment of the day

The curious news that Caterham will run Andre Lotterer instead of Kamui Kobayashi this weekend produced some mixed responses:

Gutted to see Kobayashi out, but at least they’re replacing him with a genuinely skilled driver rather than some hack with a wad of cash.

Lotterer is one of the most skilled drivers outside of F1. It’s just a shame that the car he’s been given won’t give him a chance to display his immense talent.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Toto Wolff’s great predecessor Alfred Neubauer, chief of the pre- and post-war Mercedes grand prix and sports car teams, passed away on this day in 1980.

He masterminded victories for the three-pointed star in the Formula One world championship, the Le Mans 24 Hours and many other great races. But Neubauer and Mercedes pulled out of motor racing after the horror of the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours, when his driver Pierre Levegh was launched into the crowd and killed along with more than 80 spectators.

Image © Sauber

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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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  • 44 comments on “Sochi circuit ‘ready to host Russian Grand Prix’”

      1. Woah woah woah. Did Kamui Kobayashi – a Formula One driver and racing driver since he was nine years old – really just spell ‘Motorsports’ wrong? I don’t mean to be unfair, I know he’s Japanese and English isn’t a first language and he’s done incredibly to learn as much as he has (I for one couldn’t understand a symbol of Japanese) but you’d have thought Motorsports would be one of the words he uses a lot and could therefore spell.

        1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
          21st August 2014, 0:41

          Chill bro, it was probably just a mistake. Who cars anyway, you know what he meant

        2. @bradley13
          I thought you were going to say something like – “whoa, can’t believe he didn’t know he wasn’t gonna race”
          But no, you had to pick on the typo.

          Come on. What has the internet come to? Can you even speak another language?

          It is like that with Keith all the time. He writes an incredibly interesting article and some guy posts a comment “there is a typo in line 15” WHO CARES?!
          Just be happy you guys are getting free access to great content.

          1. If there was some sort of non-article-comment way to let Keith know about typos and stuff, it would be nice.

          2. Also: Alonso can’t spell to save his “live”. ;)

            1. @ferrox-glideh don’t forget the “chicken!” (chicane)

            2. Also he should have said kept instead of gained … Stop complaining about the English of non English drivers.

            3. +1
              Drivers who can speak fluently more than one language and some blokes pick up a small typo…

          3. The trouble is that typos in any article on the internet grate and should be fixed regardless of the content or its quality.

            1. Absolutely @matt90. It’s where my kids do most of their reading – I’d like it to be right.
              @austus is right, we need a way to help Keith and the other contributors keep the quality high. Crowd-sourced proof-reading isn’t a new idea.

          4. Can I just point out I did say ‘not to be unfair’. I’d have just expected someone who has been in motor racing since they were nine to be able to spell the word motorsport. And if it’s a typo it’s even worse, because they can easily be corrected by reading through before you post. And in answer, yes I can speak another language. I speak German.

    1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      21st August 2014, 0:19

      Good to see Grosjean isn’t being passive with his 2015 seat. He should battle for a decent seat and commands much more sway than most, excluding pay drivers.

      I’d love to see it happen just to wipe it in Bernie’s face and to dismiss all uncertainty that double points was one shoddy idea; but i’m doubtful the championship will be settled before Abu Dhabi. Something would have to go pretty catastrophically sour in Nico or Hamilton’s performance to allow that to happen, then again I suppose it’s absolutely happened before to others. I’m hope Hamilton keeps his head and doesn’t revert to the anxious mental strain he had before the break. With his head in check he can work wonders.

      1. Yeah, considering there’s only 11 points between them at mid-season, making another 40 for Rosberg or 62 for Hamilton is a big ask.

    2. I don’t think there is any pressure on Lotterer, regardless of him being a 3x Le Mans winner and a WEC Drivers Champion. He is making his debut at over 30 years old and will be trying to compete in a very poor car. Remember some recent mid-season switches have seen experienced F1 drivers move into race-winning cars and still found it impossible to make a positive impression:

      Giancarlo Fisichella: Force India -> Ferrari 2009
      Heikki Kovalainen: (“sabbatical”) -> Lotus 2013

      1. He cant do any worse than Badoer. He might end up at the back but at least he wont be at the back in a Ferrari :P

      2. But it can also have good effect on rookies. Like Kamui Kobayashi -> Toyota 2009

        1. Although I know he had tested the car before and was racing that year (unlike Badoer and Kovalainen).

    3. “The handcuffed closeness of Hamilton and Rosberg in the season so far would suggest the championship is more likely to be decided in Austin or Brazil – the penultimate race – but hopefully not in the double-pointer farce that will be the final event in Abu Dhabi on 23 November, a desperate contrivance that will represent a low point in Formula One.”

      I really hope that is case, Brazil and Austin can give an epic decider without the need of Double Points, but if it is deciced in the “Abu Double”, then it will be a miserable end to a great championship. If that happens, I can’t imagine the criticism that F1 is going to receive.

      1. I hope that they are within 2 or 3 points at Abu Dhabi, so that double points don’t make a difference, but the championship is decided in the last race, the right way.

        1. It will if one finishes 7th and the other DNFs. Unlikely but possible.

      2. Had they of known of how close its been this year, do we think they would of bought in the double points? mmmm…..

      3. Hey, nobody complains about Senna his 1988 title and that was a stupid rule aswell.

        I see a few things happening. I think Lewis his fanbase is probably ten times as big as Rosberg his fanbase. Including most of British media which reaches a lot of foreigners, where as German media does not.

        So this is what we will hear if Lewis wins the title with double points – Rosberg was superb all season and fought Hamilton well. However he deserved the double points because he got more bad luck. He was the faster guy all season though. La die da.

        This is what we will hear if Rosberg wins the title with double points – Lewis was obviously the faster guy all season but bad luck and double points made sure Rosberg was able to take the title. Another victim of reliability ruining a title together with this gimmick that is double points. Also that Monaco pole….

        1. Good point on Senna 1988 and the infamous “best 11 finishes” rule

        2. @xtwl I’d argue that the 11 best finishes rule was brought in in the spirit of fairness where reliability was at times a serious factor. Also it had been set out before the championship began and applied to all of it. Therefore drivers could adjust their approach to the races knowing that beforehand. The 11 best finishes had been used for years as well and there were only 4 seasons where best results weren’t used between 1950 and 1990. Its a huge part of the sports history even if it didn’t greatly alter championships. So for me its not a stupid rule but certainly would be if it was applied tomorrow!

          1. @rbalonso The McLaren did not really have that much problems. Prost and Senna share 3 retirements across the season. I’m simply pointing out how the crowd possibly would’ve reacted had it not been Senna who claimed the title but Prost as I feel we’ll have the same dynamic with ROS/HAM.

            In what spirit is the double points rule brought then by the way? So Alonso could possibly get a title and rob Vettel of another one by winning in Abu Dhabi?

            1. @xtwl I think the sport feared Hamilton running away with the title from day one and having 3 of the past 4 seasons being a non-event from mid season. Fortunately Rosberg has been able to bring excitement to the championship. I believe the fia knew well in advance of the season that Mercedes had a huge advantage and wanted to keep the championship alive for the ‘show’ of red bull or Ferrari coming back late in the season. That to me is not in the spirit of fairness as all rounds deserve to be equal.

            2. @rbalonso There was talk about the double points rule from december 2013 on untill 23 januari it was definetly going to happen. Pre-season testing began januari the 28th. What could they have known? And 3 of the past 4 seasons, 2010 and 2012 where thrillers that were both decided in the final round..?

        3. But in the end, it doesnt matter how one wins. Everyone remembers Senna and Prost in 88 and 89, despite them crashing at each other; everyone remembers Schumacher’s 94, despite him crashing into Hill. In the end, whoever wins will have his name on the trophy, and thats it.

          1. @xtwl. 3 of the 4 I meant as 11,13 and 14. It was an open secret that Mercedes were miles ahead from mid 2012 and had always stated their focus was 2014. Hamilton’s move was reflective of that. I agree that all these are hypotheticals but they were strong paddock rumours for a long time. Also Renault expressed concerns about their unit late last year around cota if I remember correctly.

          2. @austus In general you are right. The names are on the trophy. Right now most seem to only care that LH has had more DNFs and therefore should rightfully be leading, but forget that when he won his WDC just barely, over FM, he had only 1 dnf that season to FM’s 3.

            Yes, the names are on the trophy, and you can’t turn back the clock, but the flavour of the victory can be affected. I didn’t think, and still don’t, that MS deserved that 94 WDC, and the weekend that LH won his WDC he in fact did almost everything possible to lose it, while FM didn’t put a foot wrong and did everything he possibly could with a pole and a win, to try to secure the WDC. Ie. LH didn’t exactly stamp his authority on the WDC (while FM did) and therefore makes me wonder how LH will react the next time the pressure is truly at it’s greatest.

      4. petebaldwin (@)
        21st August 2014, 10:23

        @cocaine-mackeine – Thing is… Brazil and Austin can’t give an epic finale this year because of double points. If the title is decided at either race, it’ll be because either Rosberg or Hamilton has managed to get over 50 points ahead in the championship which is just a bit dull.

        Frankly, I think it’ll go down to Abu Dhabi and we just have to enjoy it for what it is. The rules were put in place at the start of the year and by definition, are fair as they are the same for everyone. Teams have known that a DNF at Abu Dhabi would be a disaster so they have the opportunity to keep an engine slightly fresher or replace parts they would usually take onto a second race etc.

        I don’t like double points but it’s happening so we either give up on this season and stop watching or embrace it.

        1. @petebaldwin I don’t believe the only options are to stop watching or embrace it. Even BE has called it unfair. I was going to watch the full season all along, and now the WDC could win it ‘just because’ which puts quite a different flavour to it. I don’t think many will embrace it if the feeling is that one driver was robbed. And all it could take for that to happen is a little contact on an innocent Merc car that sends him down the grid a bit but penalizes him hugely.

          I suspect the only ones embracing this are the ones who benefit financially, while the rest of us are either going to be unaffected in the case of the results being no different if there hadn’t been double points, or be ticked in the case of someone being robbed because of them. What a shame it will be if such a great rivalry ends in such potential anti-climax.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            21st August 2014, 16:59

            @robbie – I agree with most that you say there to be fair. What I meant, was that double points is going to happen this year. They aren’t going to change it – hopefully next year they’ll sort it out but not for this year. On that basis, my opinion is to just accept and embrace it for this year only on the provision that it’ll change next year!

            Thing is, drivers can win the title down to luck or “just because” even without double points. It’s happened several times in recent history (Hamilton on the last lap in Brazil for example….)

    4. Those Super formula cars are possibly the 2nd fastest open wheel cars anywhere in the world, Below just F1.

      They have more power, Downforce & Overall grip that GP2 or Renault series car, And while there just down on the power of an Indycar they have a lot more downforce/grip & were 5 seconds faster than what an Indycar managed on the Motegi road circuit.

    5. If all the drivers disagree with double points they should protest it.

      “We will not drive unless the Double Points rule is dropped.”
      That would MAKE them change it.

      1. That would require the GPDA to actually do something. And the drivers who arent members do the same with no obligation (one of them being “apolitical” Raikkonen). Not gonna happen.

        1. Indeed. For whatever reason, Hamilton isn’t on the gpda either. Unfortunately, modern F1 drivers are a little more puppet-like than the old days, with agents sorting out contracts and engineers telling them how to drive. I don’t see any collective stand against uncle Bernie and Jean on the horizon.

      2. It gets to my nerves listening a bunch of team executives whining about the double points now when they were part of the “deal”. They had the chance to avoid this farce but they didn’t stop it.

        Formula One sometimes looks like a country run by a dictator. On Monday everybody says blue is better than pink but if the leader (dictator), on Tuesday, says pink is the best everybody will have the same opinion about pink by Wednesday.

      3. Maarten van Berge Henegouwen (@)
        21st August 2014, 9:38

        Or a driver (Nelsinho Piquet?) crashes before 75% and gets the race suspended.
        Then only half of the (double) points will be awarded!

    6. Quite happy Sochi is happening. Looking forward to it. There really is no reason why it can’t be as good, or even better, as COTA two years ago.

    7. Quite happy to see Lotterer in F1. I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be off the pace in relation to Ericsson, but it’s still nice to know that top drivers from other top categories are still excited by F1…the last time I checked…apart from us, everyone in motor racing, including F1 itself, hated F1…

      1. Given Ericsson’s performance thus far, I’d wager Lotterer will finish in front of the Swede, but maybe not for Qualy. Ericsson will have to hang his head in shame if he gets outperformed in Qualy or the race.

    8. Don’t be so hard on Ericsson, maybe Caterham would not even exist without him, they sure need the money.

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