Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014

Greece makes plans for grand prix near Athens

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014In the round-up: Greece is still pursuing a bid to hold an F1 race.


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

Greece ‘keen’ on Mediterranean Grand Prix bid (CNN)

“Athanasios Papatheodorou – track architect for the prospective race promoter Dielpis – says that ‘the Prime Minister himself has supported fully the initiative for organizing F1 races and is looking forward to the instruction from the relevant international federations to realize the Dielpis Formula One project.'”

Nico Rosberg escapes punishment from FIA for Lewis Hamilton collision (The Guardian)

“‘A comment alleged to have been made in an internal briefing and later denied by the team itself does not constitute such a ‘new element’ [that would merit a new investigation],’ added the [FIA] spokesman.”

Verstappen has first F1 run in RB7 at Rockingham (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

Max Verstappen has had his first F1 outing today at Rockingham – still some 35 days short of his 17th birthday.”

McLaren and Whitmarsh part company (Reuters)

“McLaren and Martin Whitmarsh have agreed amicably to part company.”

McLaren wants five-year driver plan (ESPN)

“We are working on the strategy for the driver line-up for the next years. For me it’s important to say years because we are looking for three years and maybe five years.”

McLaren considering Vandoorne F1 role (Autosport)

“We are now assessing all scenarios. I think GP2 is one of them, as he still has to learn more about GP2, get more wins and obviously fight for the championship.”

Len Terry 1923 – 2014 (Joe Saward)

“He was then convinced to return to Lotus and became Colin Chapman’s design engineer, translating his ideas into designs and making them work. In this role he played a key part in the design if the Lotus 25 and 33 models.”

In praise of Derek Warwick (MotorSport)

“This former works Lotus, Renault, Brabham, Peugeot and Jaguar driver who won Le Mans, the World SportsCar Championship and is now President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club named a stock car race with his family at Wimbledon Stadium as his greatest ever.”


Comment of the day

I was underwhelmed by the first video lap of Russia’s new F1 track in Sochi but @ECWDanSelby liked what he saw:

If the whole video was on-board, it’d be a lot easier to tell, but I’d say the circuit actually looks pretty darn fast.

Many of the corners (up until the final sector) look surprisingly quick. A car with decent downforce will be lifting/dabbing the brakes on most of them.

It actually seems like quite a different style circuit for Hermann Tilke (again, with the exception of the final sector, which is just Abu Dhabi). Even in this (comparatively) slow car, the corners come thick and fast and seem never ending, but they’re all pretty quick.

Usually Tilke’s circuits include the mandatory long straight, and a mix of bends. This seems to be many quick flicks.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Vettelfan, Pemsell, Monosodico and Konstantinos!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

On this day 25 years ago it rain at Spa and Ayrton Senna did his stuff, leading home team mate Alain Prost.

But Prost had the feisty Ferrari of Nigel Mansell on his tail. Mansell was taking a particularly creative line at the exit of the La Source hairpin, and pressured Prost until he almost caught Senna, the trio separated by less than two seconds at the flag.

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  • 130 comments on “Greece makes plans for grand prix near Athens”

    1. Which halfway sane top driver, other than a rookie, would sign a 3/5 year with McLaren? For money, I guess…. All the big talk, but no big game behind Boullier/Dennis.

      1. 3/5 year -contract-

        1. Most contracts in F1 reportedly have performance clauses for both driver and team, so if the team didn’t perform the driver would have an out. That’s supposedly the situation Alonso is in right now with Ferrari. He’s under contract for another couple years, but there’s apparently a clause in his contract that says he is free to leave if the team is not at least third in the constructors championship at a certain point in the season. I would think that any top driver signing up with McLaren would demand a similar clause in any contract they signed, thereby limiting the danger of being stuck in an uncompetitive team for eternity.

          1. I wonder if Ferrari have a 6th or higher clause with their drivers.

            1. It’s apparently 3rd or higher, at least with Alonso @austus

      2. This practically rules out an Alonso-McLaren reunion.

      3. Its not really about giving anyone a 3 or 5 year contract. Its about McLaren planning what they will do after next year and the year after that (i.e. what with Vandoorne, do they count on Magnussen long term, what about Nyck de Vries, as well as the potential to sign Alonso, or Vettel? for a long term deal).

        1. I think it´s a long-term-plan as in “we fail to attract a star-driver in short-term (aka for next year), so let´s try to get one later”.

          1. that too, yeah

    2. 5 year driver plan McLaren? Sounds decent, and straightforward. Now, some advice eh? 2015: Button and Magnussen. 2016-19: Magnussen and Vandoorne ;) Maybe get Grosjean if Magnussen wants to move on.

      I do like the idea of a Grand Prix in Greece, and I know there was minor speculation a few years back, but if this one were to happen that would be cool :D

      Now, just a small bit on the whole Mercedes situation. Nobody batted an eyelid when Hamilton crashed into Kimi in Germany and damaged Kimi’s car, or when Vettel did the same, or when Alonso hit Vettel last race (which was a rare mistake from Alonso but it just shows it happens even to the best of them), but when Rosberg bumps Hamilton there is no end of controversy. It just doesn’t seem right. I know the effects of the collision were severe, but even so, the nature of the incident itself was the same accidental nudge.

      1. 5 years sounds like Button isnt going to be there, maybe Hulkenberg or Grosjean, but that sounds pretty much midfield.

        1. Quite a few of the current top drivers in F1 will probably not be around in five years time – even a relatively recent graduate like Bottas will be in his early 30’s by then, and even if he wasn’t forced out, you suspect that Button might choose to retire by then anyway.

          As others have suggested, you have to assume that Boullier is talking about a long term strategic plan for the team, with the five year projection probably encompassing a range of up and coming drivers in case some of their shorter term options don’t work out. It’d be pretty awkward if, for example, McLaren decided to built their five year plan around a single driver like Vandoorne, only for said driver to then be poached by another team.

      2. @strontium The obvious difference re the Mercedes situation is that none of the incidents you pointed out involved team mates. I recall there being a pretty large stink when Vettel ran into Webber in Turkey some years ago. At least in that case, he only took himself out of the race, but the points loss for RBR was similar. I also recall Vettel getting a consoling pat on the back from Marko after he returned to the pits. I would doubt that Rosberg has been getting much love from Lauda and Wolff since Sunday.

        1. More importantly: in the incidents @strontium pointed out we didn’t have an executive director admitting that his driver “could have avoided crashing but didn’t to make a point”. To me it’s the biggest difference, because it means Rosberg did it on purpose, even if the FIA won’t pursue the case.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            27th August 2014, 9:18

            @maroonjack , I think @strontium makes a good comparison.
            There is a big difference between ‘playing chicken’ and ‘crashing into somebody’ (deliberately), even though the result can be the same.
            In most of the examples above it was a case of ‘playing chicken’, and saying you want to ‘make a point’ all but proves it was a game of ‘playing chicken’.

            I personally see this is a racing incident and Rosberg at fault (yes there can be fault in a racing incident). And it was not a very smart move from Rosberg as chances are he would only harm himself. BUT Rosberg has been too meek so far in his career and at one point had to show he could be assertive or even aggressive as well.

            1. @coldfly It wasn’t “playing chicken”. It was too late for that. Other drivers looking at the situation already said as much. If you’re following another driver and you see that your overtaking attempt will not stick, you should back off. The time for playing chicken is when you’re side by side, not when you’re more than half car length behind and the other driver is already committed to his racing line.

              You say it was not a very smart move from Rosberg. I disagree with that too. I think it was a smart move and it turned out really well for him.

              I always thought that Rosberg was an underrated driver and I supported him throughout his career. When people were saying that Schumacher was driving poorly after his comeback I was saying that it was Rosberg driving exceptionally well. Still, he’s not as good as Hamilton or Alonso. Lewis’ misfortunes helped Nico tremendously, but it looks like they weren’t enough so he had to resort to this. It’s not the first dirty trick this season, so by now he made his point loud and clear, but in doing so, he lost my respect.

      3. @strontium Magnussen-Vandoorne has to be their long-term driver line up…. Ron will know that that £10m saved on top driver salary can be better utilised in car development.

        1. If I was McLaren I would pay up toget Bottas. Both Williams and McLaren arent locks to be good but A money talks and B they are basically the Honda factory team from next year onward.

          Honda’s #1 priority and the most promising young driver other than RIC…..Now thát would be a good 5yr plan, no?

          1. Bottas is a good call, but, being managed by Toto Wolff, it’s likely he will stay at Williams or be called up to Mercedes in the event of a meltdown (of Prost-Senna proportions)

        2. @fastiesty and Kevin Magnussen is a capable driver. It’s his first year but I’ve seen many positives in his driving. His year is far from flawless but he has put on some noteworthy drives.

          1. @jcost Vandoorne is likely ready now too. 2010 F4 Eurocup 1.6 champion (beats Nato), 2011 Eurocup FR2.0 5th (behind Frijns, Sainz Jr, Kvyat, Stevens), 2012 FR2.0 Champion (beats Kvyat), 2013 FR3.5 runner-up (to Magnussen), 2014 GP2 3rd (behind DAMS and Nasr). FP1s next year should be a minimum, even if like Bottas used to gain experience before a full debut.

            1. A likely 4th in the 2011 F. Renault NEC (behind Sainz Jr, Kvyat, Frijns; actually 3rd from Frijns missing races) and champion in 2012 (ahead of Dennis, King, Hill and de Vries, if completing the season) also hint that he’s taken the maximum learning out of each year.

              His main championship finishes read 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th (with a 1st and 4th fair to add in under the circumstances). Never finishing below 5th in a season reminds me of Hamilton and Hulkenberg, and he’s faced strong contemporaries (Frijns, Magnussen, Sainz, Kvyat all F1 level).

    3. Interesting that Mansell was allowed to use run-off to make the circuit longer (but faster) and they disqualified Senna in Japan that same year for using run-off to make the circuit shorter (but merely to stay in the race). I liked Spa having road markings. It makes it feel faster somehow.

      1. @matt90 He’d definitely get a track limits penalty now….

      2. Still love Spa anyway, but I liked sector three better with the old bus stop chicane.

    4. If Mclaren want a long term driver does that mean Jenson is out?

      1. My gut is that Button will at least be around for another year. They may want someone who has been with the team long term and who has a lot of experience (who they know inside and out) for development when Honda come on board.

        It makes sense to me…..but stranger things have happened and Button may indeed go. I have a sneeky feeling Ron does not rate Button…

        1. Button is good, but if you can get a better driver (Alonso) you should always go for it in my opinion. I don’t think they’d be as stupid as to put two rookies in the car though, especially with the new engine coming. So if no-one better is available, it’ll be Button for next year.

      2. I would have thought with Jenson’s knowledge of Japan and his previous work with Honda, that at least in the short term he could be one of McLaren’s biggest assets.

    5. On the COTD.

      Of the thirteen deceleration events only three seems to be high-speed (T4, T8 and T9) – which is more than I first expected, to tell you the truth, that section from T7 to T10 is bound to be decent and previously I thought even those will be carbon-copy 90-degrees.

      The rest of the corners, sadly, are indeed 90-degree cookie-cutters and they are likely to be low-to-medium-speed turns.

      The only other point of interest for me should be that strange increasing radius T14 – I expect a lot of rear ends wanting to break free as the drivers try to squeeze on the power, especially as most of the corners – as per ‘good’ Tilke – are off-camber.

      1. I know it is somewhat fashionable to criticise F1 tracks nowadays, but I’m a huge race track fan and I do know what makes a track layout great, so I just try to be realistic with these assessments.

        Of course, Tilke had his hands full with the FIA safety regs, and I know it is likely not really possible to design better tracks for F1 at the moment, but this makes no difference to the current crop in absolute terms – they’re still quite rubbish compared to the likes of Oulton Park, Suzuka, Brands Hatch, Lime Rock Park, etc.

      2. I’m pretty bad at circuit lay-outs but, the start will be quite messy no? With the kink named T1 and then a big braking zone at T2 it will be quite tricky.

        1. Yes, I agree, that T1 should be a bit tight at the start, not quite, but a bit similar to the first kink on the long flat-out section of the Macau start-finish straight.

    6. A Greek Grand Prix, when the country is bankrupt and received a massive bailout? A bankruptcy that was caused in part by all the money they spent on the Athens Olympics, and now they want to spend upwards of a billion euros on motorsports. I’m glad they’ve got their priorities straight!

      I know they say the cost is going to be covered by private investment, but I can’t think of any recent addition to the calendar, besides Austria(with all of RB’s money), that has been entirely financed by private investors. That’s why there is a grand prix in Austin(Texas contributed money from their public events fund) and not one in New Jersey(the state government won’t help to cover the cost).

      1. A Greek GP is not something I was expecting… Portugal has two great top circuits (Estoril and Algarve) and is not even thinking about it; Valencia left the circus because costs were unbearable but “private investors” in Greece want to build a brand new track and host a GP at exchange of over 20 million USD per year? Guys, good luck.

        1. The best way to make a small fortune in F1…

    7. That’s great if F1 is becoming more international. It will get the Greek fans much more involved in F1. Just tell Hermann Tilke not to design the circuit otherwise it will just be another dull, boring Tilkedrome with Tilke-esque 90 degree unchallenging corners with tarmac runoffs that don’t punish the drivers for exceeding track limits.

    8. Speaking of the Russian Grand Prix, why is called like that? why not spell it it in russian like the Hungarian one (Magyar Nagydíj), I’m not saying they should use russian characters but maybe the equivalent in roman alphabet.

      1. …and before anyone says something yes I know Magyar Nagydíj is in hungarian not russian

        1. Gran-pri Rossii

      2. It probably will be on all the title cards, media and the podium. The German podium always says ‘Grosse Pres’ or something similar, iirc.

        The fact that F1 is a global sport and English is the most prolific ‘international’ language means everyone uses it.

      3. @mantresx following this line, should Grand Prix be reserved for French speaking countries/regions only? That would’ve left us with only Grand Prix du Canada in Montreal and Grand Prix du Monaco in Monte Carlo…

        In Brazil they already call it GB Brasil (Grande Prémio do Brasil in Portuguese) but…

        in Britain it could be Great Prize of Great Britain. Would love two know local versions in China, Japan, UAE, Bahrain, Germany, Singapore and Malaysia

        1. In Britain it could still be ‘Grand’ even. The trouble is that a literal translation takes the magic out of it, while Grand Prix is both what we’re used to and the use of another language makes it sounds more prestigious and alluring.

        2. *Grande Prêmio.

      4. Главный приз
        Glavnyy priz

    9. There has to be something wrong when one of F1’s most combative racers asks to be excused from the race and team ‘choose’ to retire him #F1
      7:36 AM – 26 Aug 2014 Peterborough, United Kingdom
      I don’t get this tweet, @keithcollantine please explain :)

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        27th August 2014, 3:46

        it is only a very dumb tweet!

      2. the skwirrell
        27th August 2014, 4:57

        there was something wrong, but he (mostly) had himself to blame. he cut the other driver off (by insisting it was “his” line) and the two cars touched. a racing incident; no more, no less.

        however, Hamilton’s second error was one that he only had himself to blame for, as he was going far too fast heading back towards the pits. school boy error.

        as for actually retiring the car, the broadcast of the car-team radio made it clear that it was somewhat manufactured. now that is something the FIA should investigate!

        well done to Eddie Jordan for the podium interview and keeping the crowd in check.

        1. Are you serious? The guy his hit and is forced to complete a lap on 3 boots damaging his floor and you say it’s his creation because he was suppose to drive 50 km/h? How could it prevent the floor touching tarmac?

          As for FIA investigation, a driver can retire the car if it’s underperforming to prevent future grid penalties by saving his engine.

        2. I struggling to understand how anyone is blaming Lewis for that contact. Normally you could argue it’s a matter of opinion, but in this case that’s just plain wrong.

          As for heading back to the pits too quickly, if he’d gone significantly slower (which is what he would have needed to have done to avoid the damage) he would have been much, much further behind, with even less point continuing.

          Manufactured? I don’t understand your point. The time retired the car to avoid adding more miles to the engine. That was pretty clear, and pretty sensible. Not sure what you’re suggesting should be investigated.

          1. You have to have a legitimate reason to retire the car, if you also want to reap the benefits (for instance change the gearbox out of sequence without grid penalty). Saving the engine is not a legitimate reason, and even though the car wasn’t as fast at it would have been, it still worked. This is why the team had to come up with something terminal as the reason – hence the bit about damage to aerodynamic parts getting worse.

        3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          27th August 2014, 10:51

          Eddie was brilliant on the podium, stoking up the crowd but saying “ooh come on guys that’s not fair…”.

        4. The contact was not LH’s fault — purely NR, however the resultant damage to his floor is fully at Lewis’ door. Shame that it happened so soon in teh lap, but had he kept his head and limped back to the pits without shredding his tyre he might have had some points and mitigated the damage. Still, rather silly by NR to “allow” the incident to happen. The overtake was never on in that situation (maybe in a couple more laps) and his front tyre was never beyond LH’s rear tyre, so 100% Nico’s fault for the collision.

      3. Hamilton asked to retire when points seemed out of reach to save the engine.

        He has an engine less than Nico because it went up in flames in qualifying and now he has no fresh engine for Monza and/or will suffer a penalty if he does and subsequently uses more than 5 engines at some point this year.

        As much as Hamilton dislikers want to pin this on HAM being mentally weak and dumb, he was actually thinking on his feet here and quite frankly it would have been the smart thing to do.

        The tweet says “something wrong with F1” I guess meaning that there shouldn’t be rules (engine related in this case) that make it smart to not RACE…

        In general that seems to make sense but if you look more closely it is just populistic and shallow. The reason there is only 5 engines is cost cutting and I think its important to note that any team who can’t get the job done (ie let an engine go upin flames and therefor being behind the 8ball) is not doing as good a job as others. F1 is as much a competition between drivers as it is between teams and engine manufacturers imho

      4. I don’t know who “sniffermedia” is, but it does seem like a daft thing to say. Hamilton has a bit of a reputation for being a hothead, but I think he’s cleverer than that. He’s shown more than enough times that he’s willing and able to race through the field from the back, but this time he knew that he had no chance of making up ground with the damage to his car, and was taking the long view of saving the engine for the next races.

    10. Greece.

      Wait, what?

      1. That was my first reaction. Next thought was which other government was going to foot the bill for them to make it happen, Germany? UK?

        1. Supposedly it is private money. I can’t remember the last time a new race wasn’t supported by taxpayers, but as far as I understand in Greece it is supposed to be all private.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            27th August 2014, 9:36

            In Greece they do it differently though.
            A lot of private money is accumulated by evading taxes.
            Thus in effect private investment is latent taxpayers money!

            1. Sadly, this is true :P

          2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
            27th August 2014, 11:30

            There is new “entirely privately funded” Moto GP circuit being built not far from myself in South Wales. Two and a half years in and they have already had £30m out of the Welsh Assembly Government before breaking ground.

          3. Silverstone (or “Silverstun” as is the vogue in presenter pronunciation nowadays).

      2. It’s an austerity measure. It’s to ensure that the country stays broke.

        1. Anastasios Chatzipavlou
          27th August 2014, 7:39

          Nice one…Exactly to the point ! ( I am Greek, i love F1)

          1. Let’s stay broke then but with a GP going on to amuse us.

      3. The Blade Runner (@)
        27th August 2014, 11:32

        Will tyre changes take place in the pit-ta lane…?!

    11. Up until yesterday I thought that this whole Rosberg-Hamilton rivalry was all hot air blown out of proportion by the media, but I found this quite interesting:

      In the meeting, you said he said he apologized?
      LH: “No, no he didn’t. He said it was my fault and that he could have avoided it. But he didn’t want to.”

      What did you say?
      LH: “You don’t want to know what I said!”–the-full-transcript-of-his-explosive-belgian-gp-press-briefing

      1. I know. I can just imagine all of them just screaming and swearing at each other.

        1. Now I can’t stop trying to imagine what Hamilton said back to Rosberg after Nico blamed him for the Spa accident, lol.

      2. A different perspective on the same incident.

        1. @bascb OH! That’s a great article you found, just my thoughts exactly, but explained far better!

        2. @bascb I like that look at the situation. However, the question remains, could ROS have summed up all that at that corner, at that time, in that split second?

          1. Good question @dragoll, I guess he was determined up front to make his moves stick if the opportunity/need arose – i.e. not back off to avoid a collision – this time.

            But you know how sometimes things become clear in a split second like that (especially when they go wrong!).

        3. @bascb That was really a much needed pragmatic analysis of this whole thing. I wish @keithcollantine would feature it in the roundup tomorrow. It’s a much needed reading for people who are forgetting to look at the big picture.

        4. Great article indeed, people were always talking about the psychological war but it’s only now that it will start to affect the drivers. Can’t wait for the next GP.

        5. I disagree about the conclusion. Having shown that he will make unnecessary contact with his team mate, and with 2 races in a row being won by Ricciardo (Rosberg hasn’t managed that, and only has 1 win more in the clear fastest car), I doubt anybody in the team are feeling better in any way after the incident.

          1. @matt90 – Assuming the thrust of the article that @bascb linked to is correct, and it’s just an opinion piece, Rosberg’s point was to be assertive and make Hamilton think twice before moving on him. Not to make people feel better.

            1. @hobo I was referring to this.

              However, some satisfaction will be gained from Nico’s side of the garage — not from the 29-point buffer between he and his teammate, but from the knowledge that his message has been heard loud and clear: Nico Rosberg is no pushover, no nice guy.

              I’m not saying that his point was to make people feel better. I just doubt anybody in the team really got any satisfaction.

            2. @matt90 – Ahh. I simply took that to mean, some satisfaction from Nico. But I see what you’re saying.

            3. I shouldn’t have said conclusion really. It was just a point they made near the end.

    12. I saw the rumours of a grand prix in Greece and instantly thought “Oh dear, here we go again. Another place on the calendar sold to the highest bidder. Does Greece even have a following in F1 or indeed in any motorsport? It’s also worth noting in the article that Bernie says Vladimir Putin is trustworthy and an easy guy to deal with. Hmmm….

      1. forget about the fans! do they have the money? they should have a MILLION more important things in wich spend money than a Grand Prix!! I would love to have a GP here in Argentina, but as long as the country is inmerse in quite a bad economy, the last thing i want for my goverment is to say: “ok, our hospital and schools are faling apart, but we’re going to have a pretty race wich cost us a fortune, only the richer people can afford the tickets, the racers will be really far away from the people who really loves the sport, but are far from wealthy enough to pay a ticket, and you’ll still be getting the race through the TV, even when you live less than 200 mts away from track” yeah, that’s what every person in greece wants…

        1. Well the fans dont have money to buy season tickets for their Footy teams but they buy them … you know if you love something you find the way to follow it for sure and F1 is uterus great for us here.

      2. @stigsemperfi Highest bidder? Greece is economically crippled..

        1. @wsrgo, exactly. That’s another problem with this idea. And if its gonna be called the ‘Mediterranean Grand Prix’ instead of the ‘Greek Grand Prix’, we should have race in Antarctica and we could call it the ‘Southern Grand Prix’

          1. @stigsemperfi Or perhaps the Penguin Grand Prix :D

        2. The track is easy to build because its not permanent and also the founders are allready there .. we need only a go from FIA for this to be real.

          1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
            28th August 2014, 21:13

            …and a lot of money from the people in order for Bernie to allow this race to go ahead. More to it than just building a track.

      3. You are misinformed my dear, Greek people are passionate about motorsports and have proven that they respond with great enthusiasm to big sporting and cultural events. The problem is always of economic nature and that’s why Greece is out of the WRC calendar for 2 years now. Nevertheless, WRC was very successful whenever it happened. Or any other sporting event (Champions League final, Olympic Games, IAAF etc)

    13. Surely Greece cant be looking to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix given the horror state the 2004 Olympic Park has become?!

      1. Why not run a track around it for ‘regeneration’…

          1. @bascb A bad joke combining the last two Olympics (I went to London 2012).. using the last four World Cups however… and we get Bernie’s bribes in Germany!

      2. The track is not permanent so its not going to end up like the Olympic park or anything which was a huge mistake that time.

    14. Yes Bernie. Putin is a very solid partner and you can rely on it being before noon when he says good Morning. Thing is, WHERE because when you look at Russia alone, it can easily be afternoon AND morning at the same time.

      1. @BasCB I think Putin indeed is a very good partner… for Bernie. His country permanently needs a facelift and he does not need to care about what voters think about spending money on F1, which means that he wants to pay a lot of $ to Bernie and can afford it, too. How could Bernie not like it? Yes, there are several risks involved but whatever happens, FOM will make lots of money. Even if the Russian Grand Prix cannot happen for whatever reason after 2014, FOM will simply move on and find other places to go to.

        1. Hm, one point I don’t agree with there @girts: I think Putin does mind what voters think about spending money on F1 … therefore he brainwashes them into feeling good about it because its for the greater glory of Russia!

        2. @BasCB You are absolutely right, that is what I thought, people just don’t ask the questions that taxpayers in countries like Australia or France would ask because Putin’s media have convinced them that everything is fine.

    15. With regards to the track layout of the circuit in Greece, here is a previous Dielpis Formula One project design of the circuit located at Port Drapetsona (2012).

      Now, the circuit actually looks awesome.

      1. @brickles Wow, now that is a badass track… full speed tunnel anyone?! It’s like COTA but in an Abu Dhabi/Valencia port context!

    16. Guys as matter the Track in Greece which is my home country this is not a joke and a real project really.
      Its a project that started some years ago and has the support of the local portions of the Athens City and the Government and even if the financial situation here is bad it will be funded fully if this project have a go.
      The track position is very good near the Sea and you can see a 3D layout here and the official site here with 2D design and more info of the place here
      If you see the design is beautiful with 2 straights with the biggest the back straight and also between T12-T13 the track is Under the ground.
      There is a huge fun F1 Base here in Greece and for sure there will be sold out always as matter the tickets which is something for me that F1 needs it.
      I dont know really if this will ever huppened but i dont see why not, its better for me to race in Europe than to go all over the planet and have empty tracks.
      I forgot to mention that the track offcourse is not Permanent .. its like Monaco but its fast and tricky especially after T1 till T10 where exist high speed corners.

      I cross my fingers for this to huppened and i have hopes really.

      1. Thats a nice lay out

      2. Here is a high res image of the track design DielpisF1Track

        1. I think corners 20-23 are overkill and could do with either becoming one gradual bend or fast kink. Besides that it looks good actually.

        2. Anything with 23 corners is overkill – the best, most flowing, tracks have less than half that. Think of the praise for the Red Bull Ring. There should just be a straight between 1 and 10.

          The guy’s got too much Scalextric.

      3. @bluechris
        Thanks for this nice insight. I too hope the race will go ahead.

      4. The Blade Runner (@)
        27th August 2014, 12:08

        I’m all for a new European GP and this looks very promising

    17. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      27th August 2014, 8:00

      The essence of latest crisis at Mercedes in my view is that Rosberg is clever, but he is not a genius, so to sacrifice his front wing in the remote hope of hitting the vulnerable inside shoulder of the tyre at a couple a hundred miles an hour would be like trying to swat a fly with a drinking straw. The contact cannot have been intentional, it was merely a clumsy half move that confirms that Nico just isn’t on the same level as Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso in wheel-to-wheel combat. Yes, Rosberg has now benefited from two “errors” (Spa and Monaco), and yes, the clever Rosberg realizes that the psychological momentum of the 2014 WDC might be the key to the 2015 WDC too (with Mercedes likely to be able to retain their advantage over a winter with relative technical stability), so a Schuey-esque approach from Nico is feasible, but on both occasions Nico’s antics don’t appear remotely malicious.

      That does not make his handling of the situation post-race any less abhorrent. I did not require CCTV evidence to tell PC Plod that the Merc saloon in the ditch was a fair cop, so why, when it must have been immediately apparent to Rosberg that he’d just ruined Mercedes’ Belgian Grand Prix, did he so stoically refuse to apologize? Stoic to such an extent that he felt it necessary to insult the intelligence of the booing crowd of European fans (sorry Nico, but the German guy I sat next to was booing too), as mere patriotism on the part of the British; patriotism that is somehow misplaced due to the fact that most fans haven’t read the FIA’s Sporting Regulations cover to cover. There is no more guaranteed method of being greeted on the podium at Monza to sound of a booing tifosi than to insult that acumen of the sport’s faithful; those on which the sport rely.

      I have no doubt that either Nico is trying to mess with Lewis’ head by allegedly saying he was trying to “prove a point” in the post-race debrief or that Lewis is quite rightfully playing politics in the media, but I can guarantee you ladies and gentlemen that the undoubtedly clever Rosberg did not see an attractive offer in the shape of guaranteed front wing damage for the small chance of puncturing Lewis’ tyre but rather put his nose where it shouldn’t have been. That doesn’t mean Nico can be trusted in the future though…

      1. @william-brierty I still have struggles with accepting that because of this one mistake Rosberg might be a lesser wheel-to-wheel fighter than the ones you named. In fact Alonso destroyed his own front wing in the same race and in Malaysia last year.

        Drivers hit the rears of cars all the time. Can’t be trusted, please…

        Have you ever seen something so blown up by the media and in fact the Mercedes team itself.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          27th August 2014, 9:48

          @xtwl you are spot on with ‘blown up by the media’ and fans love to read and comment.
          This has been great for F1 and even Mercedes.

          It’s just a shame that the points difference is now 29.

        2. Well, surely it is right that Hamilton can no longer trust his teammate to be the one to always avoid accidents. So in that sense its true for Hamilton to say his teammate can’t be trusted @xtwl and he himself might have a second thought when overtaking or blocking on track with Rosberg, which can make his job of winning a bit harder.

          1. He doesn’t need to change his driving style because he did nothing wrong on this instance. However, for Rosberg it is another story because if this happen again then you can imagine the rest.

            1. Sure, he doesn’t NEED to change his driving style, and it defenitely wasn’t Hamilton doing anything wrong in that move.
              But that doesn’t mean that next time these guys will be next to each other on track, Hamilton will have to wonder and might be overcautious because of that.

      2. @william-brierty
        Boy oh boy, did the clear and simple message flew right over your head.
        The whole point is that the whole year, Lewis was aggressive in wheel to wheel combat and was always leaving it to Nico to pull out or crash.
        Now, Nico decided that from now on, it won’t be happening any more and that either it will be Hamilton who pulls out, or they crash.

        The message is sent, loud and clear: Next time we go wheel-to-wheel, don’t be so sure I will be the one who backs out.

        It’s quite simple. Lewis will exercise caution next time they go wheel to wheel, which will be enough to make Nico’s overtaking attempts much more successful.
        It’s something that Lewis has been doing himself all this time, after all.

        Take a look at this article. Quite nicely put .

        1. Did you watch the start of Canada? All these excuses for something that could have been avoided. If it was with a driver from another team I can understand but your own teammate.

        2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          28th August 2014, 13:32

          The point Nico is trying to make if what you say is true is a mute one, with Rosberg in Bahrain, Hungary and Spa not far enough alongside to require Hamilton under the Sporting Regulations to need to change his line and give Rosberg space. From the FIA’s perspective it is not the duty of the car ahead to leave space unless the cars are substantially overlapped. Surely a message that simple didn’t fly over your head?

      3. I doubt he was aiming to puncture Hamilton, but it wasn’t a couple of hundred miles an hour, nor do I believe it would be all that difficult to line up one corner of your car with one corner of another if your job is all about car placement and hitting apexes as perfectly as possibly.

    18. Ooh, a Greek Grand Prix would be brilliant; more in Europe please!

    19. I think the people with least credit from the whole lewis/Nico debacle, must be Lauda and Wolff. Since when has leadership and management meant publicly blaming a member of your team before either has given their views properly. Im sure if a competitive seat was available elsewhere, both drivers would take it. There is a way to solve these issues and it certainly isn’t via knee jerk 30 second sound bites which both Wolff and Lauda seem to revel in.

      1. Lauda has always been just a loud mouth. As someone said, just to have someone to counter the nonsense coming from Helmut Marko.
        While Toto is expected to be the calm, pragmatic team chief. Well, I’ve never rated him much and it quite obvious he doesn’t have the cred nor character to assert himself in a way that the successful team principals do, but I didn’t expect that he would be so bad in PR too. He did always seem like he was worrying more about his reputation than about his own real character, but this was just beyond stupid. He reacted as hot-headedly as if he was a driver coming out of a beached car.

        I don’t know how is Merc supposed to sustain this level of domination (except through engine freeze), if the guy who actually knew what was needed to achieve it is now out of the team. We’ll see how Paddy does, but it’s obvious that when Ross was there, he was the capo di tutti capi, while today, you have no clue who’s actually the one who stops the buck. It’s good to have a bit more elaborate top structure, but there has to be the one who has the last word.

        1. Yes, it is quite amusing when the drivers are continually being asked, “who do you mean by the boss, Niki, Toto or Paddy?” and depending on who asks, they give a different answer !

    20. So, Mclaren wants someone for three to five years and apparently Honda wants a big name for its F1 comeback.
      To me, it’s quite clear that they want Vettel. He is a multiple world champion and he’s still young, so you can do a long term plan with him.
      Of course there’s Hamilton and Rosberg (if he wins the WDC at the end of this year), but I don’t think they’ll leave Mercedes at the moment. They’re just too dominant.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        27th August 2014, 11:24

        It would be an interesting one for British McLaren fans.

        Many first took an interest in F1 on the back of the HAM/BUT dream-team pairing, a period where Vettel’s dominance led to him filling the “pantomime villain” role for many.

      2. I think they will try their upmost to get Vettel on board for next season or beyond. They’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on his situation at Red Bull, I believe.

        At the moment, I find it quite difficult to see a change for next season though, but I think everyone knows it would be Button making way if there’s a change. But if they replace Button it should be with a Vettel or an Alonso. I don’t think it would be worth replacing him with Grosjean, as has been speculated.

    21. The Blade Runner (@)
      27th August 2014, 11:21

      Susie Wolff on the cover of a magazine called “WIENER”…?!

      I think I watched too many Carry On movies when I was younger!

    22. First COTD – Thank you, @keithcollantine *tips hat*

      I know many will disagree, but I didn’t really have any hopes for the track when I saw the layout, so it was almost always bound to slightly impress me when I saw footage, as I had such little expectations.

      One thing I will say, is that you can’t always judge a track by its track map.

      A 90 degree corner on paper may just look like that, but you need to consider things like track width – it can completely change a corner.

      A wide 90 degree turn makes it a pretty quick 90 degree turn.

      Plus, how gradual is the radius?

      This is the thing – Some of the corners looked pretty darn fast to me, if you’re in an F1 car. I could be totally wrong, but that’s how I read it. It’s definitely a little different to Tilke’s usual formula, obviously somewhat having his hand forced by the fact it’s a ‘street’ track.

    23. Why did the FIA or the stewards at the time not investigate the incident between Hamilton/Rosberg? It would have left them with nothing to answer if they did. Im not saying they had to punish anyone, but if they investigated it then claimed it was a racing incident then no one could call for the FIA to be investigating it now.

      I just feel that the stewards/race director are not following there own set of regulations. Section 16 of the sporting regulations state that incidents can be investigated during or after the race, and in this circumstance under section 16.1 part d, f and g can be applicable here.

      So why at the time they didn’t stick to there regulations and investigate the incident (either during or after the race) is beyond me. They never had to penalize either of the two drivers but they could have settled this in such a better manner.

    24. In Greece, we’d love to have and organize a F1 race. We are not petrol heads but we love any kind of sports (especially a big event like an f1 weekend) and F1 is somehow still on free-air TV, despite the bad economic situation of the local broadcasters.
      The Dielpis project was announced some years ago but it was taken as a joke by most people. Until last year, where some people held a conference explaining the project and pointed out that they had the financial backing of some private investors and the support from the prime ministers.
      Now, it is hard for Greece to organize an F1 race. It will have some positive short-term effects but previous similar events have been disastrous for the economy, mainly due to corruption. Also, the state is unable to pay for an F1 race and it will be run exclusively by funds of some private investors. This idea seems to be working, at the first glance, but those private investors are very unreliable.
      In my opinion, we could have an F1 race in Greece which would be great. But, it needs to be clean to be done and judging by previous tries to organize similar significant events, I don’t think it would work out well…

      1. Yes, but the dielpis site uses “Comic sans” font. It’s as if they don’t want to be taken seriously.

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