Vettel rejects ‘Alonso seat swap’ rumours

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel dismisses the latest driver market rumours suggesting he will swap seats with Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.


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Vettel dementiert Ferrari-Wechsel (Sport Bild, German)

Vettel: “There have been no new developments. I am under contract at Red Bull and am happy where I am.”

Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg: Toto Wolff tries to keep the peace (BBC)

“I say to [Toto] Wolff that Rosberg effectively caused a collision, and he says: ‘Absolutely,’ adding: ‘In Spa, he wanted to make a point. And that was an error of judgement. He shouldn’t have done it.'”

$250m in state funding for F1 track in question (San Antonio Express-News)

“The state has provided about $50 million for the 2012 and 2013 races. Most of the money goes to pay Formula One’s sanctioning fee to hold the competitions, records show.”

Curbs on flying of unmanned aircraft during F1 race (The Straits Times)

“This is to ensure they do not get in the way of low-level helicopter flights conducting aerial filming during the race.”

Mattiacci: Monza exposed Ferrari deficit (Autosport)

“I keep saying we have been doing small but consistent improvements on the car but definitely this track [showed] completely the deficit that there is between us and the leaders.”

Ericsson looking to the long run (Reuters)

“The debut season in F1 is obviously very tough but it’s been OK. The aim for me is to stay in Formula One for many years and that’s what we’re working at doing at the moment.”

F1 faces challenges (MotorSport)

John Surtees: “What was most disappointing, however, in the way we project motor sport around the world, is to hear that certain element in the crowd booing the world championship leader, Rosberg. Everybody attributed it, in comments I’ve read, to the incident with his team-mate. But I recall last year that it was Vettel who was getting the booing, so it makes one wonder.”

Everything you need to know about F1 2014 (Red Bull)

“An artist who previously worked here hid a teapot in each of the track environments; we’ve still not found them all to this very day.”

Alonso, Vettel and Ferrari hold the keys to Formula 1’s driver market (Autocar)

“The latest thinking in F1 circles is that Ferrari’s new management is looking to build a team that will be able to win in a sustained way, just as it did between 1999 and 2008 when Ferrari won eight out of ten constructors’ titles.”

F1 2014; putting Energy Efficiency on pole position (Mark Gallagher)

“As traditional forms of commercial sponsorship has become harder to find, Formula One teams have recognised that a greener future offers two significant advantages to their businesses.”


Comment of the day

DaveW suspects the latest FIA rules clarification could prove short-lived.

If a driver cannot get instructions to adjust the power unit or transmission during a race, there will be failures. At best there will be cases where the performance of the power unit degrades dramatically in terms of charge and discharge behaviour. Same goes for braking systems, which are integral to the power unit.

How many times this season have the Mercedes drivers alone had to make critical adjustments to get to the end of the race? Should the driver also guess when to switch over to an auxiliary oil tank to prevent a failure?

When cars perform poorly or fail for lack of engineering support, this is not ‘improving the show’. This is not going to last.

I predict that there will be a raft of ‘exceptions’ for reliability or safety reasons, which exceptions will soon swallow the rule, or at least make it impossible to administer.
DaveW (@Dmw)

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70 comments on “Vettel rejects ‘Alonso seat swap’ rumours”

  1. I wonder if the weight limit going up next year would mean Ericsson starts getting results. Provided of course he keeps his seat.

    1. @stigsemperfi

      Is he that much heavier than the other drivers?

      1. He definitely looks “much heavier” the other Caterham drivers.

      2. @brunes, from what i’ve heard he’s overweight.

      3. @stigsemperfi, @brunes

        I have compared weights before, based on another comment related to his weight and Ericsson was outperformed by 2 heavier drivers in Spa and Monza (and they were rookies to add insult to injury):
        “From an English article I found, Ericsson is around 68Kgs (152 pounds) although some other stats, such as the GP2 site for last year, put him on 64Kgs. From an Audi press-release for the 24-Hours of Le Mans, Andre Loterer is 74kgs.
        Roberto Mehri personal website states he is 76kg.”

        He is heavier than Kobayashi, but actually has a weight advantage on the 2 other drivers that were faster (Loterer in Spa’s qualifying, Mehri in Monza’s Pratice 1)

        1. Isn’t Ericsson quite tall? 64kg sounds impossible for him IMO. Merhi looks quite lanky as well.

          1. OK, dug deeper.. apparently he is the same weight/height as me – 175/5″9. I used to weigh about 10 stone/140 lbs, but de-conditioning after a lack of exercise, combined with poor diet, got me down to 9’4 or 130 lbs.

            Having ran 200m in 24.0 years ago at my heavier weight, it took me a while to be producing peak performance when driving at a lower weight. Ericsson is probably going through this atm.

            FWIW, Sauber gained huge time just by reducing their overweight car, although Sutil still matched Gutierrez early on despite a weight deficit..

          2. I.e. Cutting muscle leads to mistakes, see Hamilton and Ericsson spinning off multiple times this year. Lewis can now gain his 6kg back for next year, and hence his speed/control are now coming back.

            The FIA ballsed up on weight, letting Mercedes veto it, after getting away with test-gate, but then again, it’s only natural for them. Or is it Bernie’s strategy groups? They’ve hobbled the FIA’s influence somewhat..

    2. He said before the season it was half a second to Koba… so maybe. But then, he averages nearly eight tenths slower in quali, so maybe not.

      1. @neilosjames well IF that is true, 0.3 seconds deficit compared to an experienced driver in his rookie year isn’t that bad…

        I feel I have to doubt the figure though…

        1. @dr-jekyll It’s from the qualifying data on this site’s statistics – but probably doesn’t tell the whole story as stats never do –

          1. @neilosjames yeah, I meant the figure of his weight is adding 0.5 seconds per lap, I doubt that is tracked by F1fanatic ;)

  2. Alonso in that image:

  3. I can see why Alonso might want to leave Ferrari and why Vettel might want to go there. What I can’t see is why either of their teams would let them.

    1. I think Red Bull would go for it in their current position. Ferrari… maybe in a few years, but I think they’d prefer Alonso for now.

    2. Ferrari might let go of Alonso to get Vettel. As for Red Bull – not sure they really have a reason to keep Vettel if he does not feel good in the team (which he wouldn’t IF he wanted to go to Ferrari and was stopped from doing so), and they surely have enough guys lined up to fill his seat without too much trouble. Not sure RBR would take Alonso though @george

    3. Why would Ferrari want Vettel now that he has shown he has difficulty driving a car that is not perfect. After all the Ferrari is not perfect. They would be better of sticking with Alonso or getting Hamilton who are proven drivers that can drive around an imperfect car and go beyond the potential of the car. Ricardo may be able to do that too, but has yet to prove it consistently like the other two.

    4. @george As unlikely as it seems, Red Bull would get a bullet of a driver for his last 2 years, while Ferrari would get to build around Vettel/Bianchi/Hulk (2 of 3, with Hulk-Bianchi seeming unlikely) for 2016-. This is because no doubt Marko would promote Kvyat or Verstappen to replace a retiring Alonso.

      But you could also say that with Kvyat’s performances this year, what’s to stop them promoting him early or just waiting for Vettel to move on (probably money… which makes early promotion interestingly viable, and Alonso less so). However, it’s feasible that Alonso-Ricciardo would be one of the strongest line ups on the grid, something RB might need to make up for Renault PU failings.

  4. Regarding the COTD… Lots has been said about this already but my feeling is that if the constructor of the car builds the car so that settings can be adjusted on the car the drivers should know exactly what to do without getting advice from the pit wall.

    If there is an imminent failure the driver should have an indicator on his dashboard and should then know how to solve the problem. It’s like piloting a plane…. Extremely complex and that’s why you have to be very smart to be a commercial pilot.

    So yes there will be more retirements but these will be drivers who have less knowledge about their cars and rely too heavily on their engineers and hence probably deserve to be penalized.

    1. A more apt analogy would be comparing a Formula 1 driver to a fighter pilot. Both are very clever, make split second decisions, and rely extensively on a team on the ground to support them in their mission.

      1. Except a fighter pilot doesn’t have a personal baby sitter on the ground telling him what knobs to turn to compensate for wind, atmospheric pressure etc.
        Fighter Jet pilots just know what to do because they study like hell. Even little planes require extensive mechanical and chemical knowledge from the pilot.

        1. Then again, a fighter pilot has endless simulator and training flying to learn what to do in what situation to not need such a caretaker. And their jet plane was designed and tested with exactly the right warning lights and messages needed.
          In F1 this change comes mid season with little time to even try and learn things in the simulator, while on track procedures can’t even be learnt apart from during the race weekend – drivers are thrown in at the deep end with little opportunity to learn how to before @brunes

          Again, I think its a huge shame to hear far less of what is going on, not understand why someone is struggling etc anymore (because they won’t say so on the radio). But if one wanted to introduce this rule, it should be at the start of a new season, so teams could properly develop warning signals, procedures etc and drivers could learn them in the simulator, test the procedures on track and THEN go out and do their job.

        2. A fighter pilot has set of standard responses to various failures and emergencies, and has detailed understanding of all the systems on his aircraft. But he is not an engineer.

          He will rely on real engineers to analyse and interpret the wealth of data from his aircraft, and provide real time support if there is anything the standard procedures don’t cover or don’t solve.

          The other big difference is the amount of training. Fighter pilots spend years learning how to do their job – with no off season or radical change in the equipment they’re using. And the practice continuously.

          I’m fully in support of banning radio messages that micro manage how to attach a corner, but the FIA has introduced the rules that have led to these incredibly complex power systems – it’s seems more than a little unfair now limiting the means to manage them.

          Leave the driving to the drivers, but leave the engineering to the engineers.

        3. @formulales, @brunes: They are both fast and glamorous, but in most other respects a fighter jet is almost the antithesis of a Formula 1 car.

          The jet is a finished product which has been designed and thoroughly tested by hundreds of people over several years to be robust and manageable by the crew in the most stressful conditions. Jets are designed with timescales in mind but they are not delivered until they are ready. The projects often take longer than planned, sometimes by several years.

          The car is a prototype which has been designed in a few months and tested for a few days by dozens of people to be as fast as possible. Cars are designed and built to a hard deadline and if they’re not ready, too bad. Up until last week the cars have been designed to be supported over the radio. Yesterday’s article seems to say that a drivers will be allowed to receive help with a “clearly identified problem”, but what about smaller problems that the engineers can see but the driver can’t diagnose? These are enormously complex systems, to the point that I doubt any one engineer in the team understands the whole thing in detail, let alone the driver who has other things on his mind.

          I think that the change itself is not a bad idea, but that making it mid-season is a terrible idea. Make it next year and give the teams and drivers a chance to prepare for it.

        4. As has already been said, a fighter jet is a finished product, and the pilots go through years of training on just that one craft. It does not change, and by the time it is in use, all failure modes have been identified, the systems will have easy to access settings for the pilot to access, and he will know exactly how to access those settings.

          A more apt analogy would be a test pilot flying a new, prototype fighter jet. In this instance, the pilot will have continuous radio contact with the engineers, and the engineers will likely have ground-to-air telemetry to change settings themselves.

          Give it a few years and the drivers will probably have learned enough to change their own settings on the fly (ba-da-boom ching), but at the moment they have highly experimental machines which not even the engineers who designed them know fully. How often do the engineers talk the drivers through several different reset procedures before the problem is fixed? And the driver, for all his trainiong and experience, will never be as knowledgeable as hist engineers on the technical aspects of the car (hell, they probably have to ask different engineers what to do depending on which component is having trouble at the time, and the others to see what effect that may have on their system).

          The driver should concentrate on driving.

        5. This is actually a very apt analogy. You can compare and contrast US and Soviet pilot training during the Cold War — the latter’s pilots (and those of client countries) are trained to heavily rely on GCI (ground control intercept). The former use more independent judgement… the combat results tends to reflect this, even after factoring out other factors such as equipment quality.

      2. It depends on what kind of fighter you are talking about. An F22 is designed to be controlled by one pilot. An F-16 was not. If an F-16 pilot didn’t have a second to fix a fuse or manage complex systems, it would have often simply crashed. An F1 car is not designed to have the driver receive and process all operational data. An F1 car could be designed that way, in theory, but that is what is on the track now. The reference to GCI is also important. Indeed, U.S. pilots also rely on AWACs and other communication. As for commercial pilots, of course if there is a serious technical issue, the pilots can open communications with Boeing/Airbus/Rolls Royce as necessary to sort it out. The analogy that the modern pilot relies only on his bare wits just doesn’t wash. In relation to how F1 cars are actually designed, the discussion of aircraft only reinforces how absurd and anachronistic the new rule is.

    2. Regarding the comment of the day. All technical data can still be presented by the new display, if anything this rule should force the savy weight and money savers to upgrade their cockpit display.

      1. which is not really viable mid season @peartree. See Red Bull having the display integrated in their cockpit.

        1. @basc It’s not viable and I do not agree with it. Reality is the FIA and teams introduced the new ECU and the PCU-8D display for a reason, and I feel like this was one of them. All things considered I’m not gullible enough to believe that there’s no financial benefit involved here. In the end the FIA must have thought why not introduce another rule?

      2. @peartree, agree!
        Most teams seem to use the PCU-8D. According to the website it has 100 configurable pages; enough to put all the sensor readings and instructions.

    3. I think your underestimating just how complex a modern F1 car & just how many settings are required to be changed.

      There is no way a driver would be able to remember everything, Especially some of the more complex procedures. For instance Button had a message to do something earlier in the year which he’d never heard of before because it was something he’d never had to do before & the procedure was something more like one of the more complex special move combos in a fighting game with several pushes of several different buttons.

      Also regarding the display, It does indeed have 100 different screens HOWEVER there not all available to F1 teams & cannot be programmed by the teams themselfs & its limited on what it can do based on the McLaren electronics ECU which every team must run.

      In other categories where teams run there own ECU’s they have free reign to have whatever they want displayed on there because there programming everything themselfs, But F1 has a standard ECU run by every team in order to enforce the ban on electronic aids like Traction control (Other categories like wec/gt series allow the aids because they can’t properly police them given how they don’t run spec ecu’s).

  5. With Toto Wolff saying “absolutely he caused a collision” does that now count as new evidence worth asking the question, should the stewards re-open their investigations and give Nico a penalty for intentionally causing a collision which not only punctured another competitors tyre but cost his nearest championship rival a minimum 18 points for second. This is as big as it gets, it effects the outcome of the drivers championship as Lewis lost a lot of pointrs, maybe they will DSQ Rosberg and strip him of the 25 points.

    This admission by Wolff simply CANNOT be ignored by the sports governing body who set down the driving etiquette regulations and not acting on this NEW EVIDENCE is simply not an option if the FIA which to keep any sort of sporting integrity within F1. Also should Nico win the WDC he will always be the champion that cheated his way to the title.

    Maybe Wolff doesn’t realise what he has said but I call it a big old can of worms…….

    1. Just. Stop. It.

      1. It. Never. Ends.

      2. Just saying what I see, the facts are now clear…… Plus I’m not that keen on Hamilton or Rosberg (Alonso is my driver) so I’m not saying it from a deranged fan perspective, just I would like to see the matter delt with to the full letter of the regulations. Which ever one does win the WDC will have had one of the easiest runs to a title, the car is just immense, nothing can hold a candle to it when they turn the wick up on the PU and unleash power equal to a direct hit from a big ass asteroid….

      3. The suggestion that the incident needs to be looked at again is a perfectly valid one. Why should someone let go of something they perceive as an injustice?

        1. Shall we go back and “fix” all other championships?
          Including 2008, in which case lewis would likely become a non champion.

          1. “Including 2008, in which case lewis would likely become a non champion.”

            Erm, rofl.

          2. No, because they’re finished. But this championship is still ongoing, so there’s still time to investigate and breach of the rules fully, and if required, apply a penalty.

            There may even not be any case to answer – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be investigated.

    2. Have you seen the movie Frozen?
      LET IT GO!

      1. Formula Indonesia (@)
        17th September 2014, 8:52

        Let it go… If you disappointed that Lewis lose championship, next year or maybe 2016, he still could win it isn’t it

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      17th September 2014, 9:56

      @thebullwhipper – It’s not new evidence though. Toto said that in his opinion, Nico caused the crash. If Nico was given a penalty and Toto came out now and said that it wasn’t Nico’s fault, the investigation wouldn’t be re-opened.

    4. @thebullwhipperNothing New
      The stewards (and everybody watching it) saw he ’caused a collision’.
      They deemed it a ‘racing incident’ – end of story!

      Every race has collisions. If not a malfunction then they are caused by a driver. But almost all are deemed ‘racing incidents’.

      1. Derek Warwick wasn’t the ex-driver steward was he? I know he does not like Hamilton.

        1. Derek Warwick is a known Lewis Hamilton hater so there was no surprise there. I cant imagine Lewis causing that accident with Nico in the same fashion and not getting punished. Can you?

        2. @thebullwhipper ‘Effectively’ causing a collision is not the same as deliberately doing so. NR decided to stand his ground. It unfortunately resulted in contact, but that was not NR’s intention in a premeditated way. Hs intention was to race his teammate hard and show hime he wasn’t going to lay down amd be walked over. You know…that thing we expect of top drivers in the pinnacle of racing. If you want to call this cheating, that’s one person’s opinion, but you better go back and review a lot of WDCs and how they won and tell me you can’t find many other incidence of blokes standing their ground and racing hard for the title. For example you won’t find a single Championship of MS’s that wasn’t way way more controversial than anything NR has done in his whole career so far.

          You and some others may want to stand your ground and say NR cheated his way to the title. Some Champions have become legends doing far far worse.

        3. Emanuele Pirro was the driver steward at Spa.

        4. @pking008 Where is this garbage about Warwick coming from?

  6. finally the rumors of a vettle and alonso seat swap are addressed, and we all know in f1 wherever theres smoke theres fire

    1. maarten.f1 (@)
      17th September 2014, 6:19

      And Vettel’s answer, isn’t really an answer at all. I sometimes wish journalists would keep pushing for an answer. I don’t like this whole FIA credentials thing, makes me wonder if it makes journalists too cautious to push for answers. Or maybe they’re just not good enough.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        17th September 2014, 9:57

        Tough call though isn’t it. Push too hard and that driver will no longer speak to you. You’re not much use as an F1 journalist if none of the drivers will speak to you!

        1. @petebaldwin Yea, that’s true. And I do know Vettel can’t answer anything if something was afoot, that’s just the way it works unfortunately. But either way, the answer sure isn’t a flat no :)

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            17th September 2014, 11:23

            @maarten-f1 – True. It’s easy to deny anything is happening if there is 0% chance. The fact he’s given a wooly answer shows it’s a possiblity.

  7. You forgot Damon Hill’s birthday, Keith!

    1. @stigsemperfi I don’t list all the birthdays of all the drivers. If I were going to, I would mention that in addition to it being Hill’s 54th birthday it’s also Cristiano da Matta’s 41st :-)

      1. Jonny Speedriff
        17th September 2014, 9:52

        Also Stirling Moss’?

  8. Jonny Speedriff
    17th September 2014, 9:56

    Ha, damn my un-smart phone. Did not see the youtube vid, sorry Keith

  9. Interesting comment by Horner in the Bild article. Horner “has a feeling” Vettel will win in Singapore.
    Not often do team managers pick out one of their drivers for the win, especially when the other is on fire.
    It seems that the team is working hard to please Vettel, and make him stay.

    Vettel before has publicly stated that his “dream is to race one day for Maranello”. Although now McLaren seems more likely than Ferrari.

    1. yeah, I wouldn’t be too happy to hear that, in Ricciardo’s position. Then again he seems to have a strong head on his shoulders so he hopefully wouldn’t let this get to him

    2. I read it more that Horner has a feeling Seb will win at Singapore because he’s been so strong there in the past (5th/4th/2nd/1st/1st/1st).

    3. I think he is trying to pump up his guy that is in the doldrums and probably feeling quite a bit more stress than we can know from the outside. He is their franchise player, so far, so it’s good for the team to keep touting him anyway. I’m sure Ricciardo just smiled when he heard it anyway, because He is Daniel Ricciardo.

  10. Being a slot car guy, I love the Stirling Moss video.

  11. The biggest problem from Ferrari’s perspective is their lack of performance, their current woes have nothing to do with their drivers. Putting Vettel in a car as poor as the ones Ferrari have been producing will only garner similar results. Personally, I still think that Fernando will want to finish what he started back in 2010, and that is to win a drivers title with the Scuderia.

    1. he’s already wasted 5 years on trying to get this title with Ferrari, you really think its gonna happen? Imo I think they looked more likely of winning a championship in 2010-2011 than they do going forward

  12. The Alonso-to-Red Bull rumours are less believable than the McLaren ones. Despite Alonso’s pedigree, Red Bull will not sign him due to their policy of promoting internally. When was the last time Red Bull signed a driver from outside? Webber in 2007? Kvyat and Verstappen are the next ones in line for a Red Bull seat.

    Alonso will see out next season at Ferrari and if it is a failure, he may look to have change of team. But I think Vettel is more likely to move to McLaren than Alonso.

  13. Regarding John Surtees’ comment on booing, I wonder if this is the FIA’s chickens coming home to roost in terms of having sacrificed some of the sport for the “show”. Is this the result of turning the pinicle of motorsport into a pantomime with the cheap gimmics so decried on this site and others?? These are elite sportsmen, risking their lives and performing at what for most of us is an unattainable level of skill and bravery. Regardless of our loyalties to teams or drivers it’s apalling that any of them should be booed for achieving. Regardless of whether we like or dislike their public personas, they all deserve maximum respect for what they do.

  14. I think Dr. Marko simply likes Alonso’s helmet colour scheme. Very, err, Redbull.

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