Fernando Alonso, Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2014

Alonso leaving Ferrari ‘to win again’ – Montezemolo

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Fernando Alonso, Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2014In the round-up: Outgoing Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says Fernando Alonso is on his way out of the team.

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Ferrari confirm Alonso departure (BBC)

“Fernando is leaving for two reasons. One, he wants another environment. Two, because he is an age when he cannot wait to win again.”

Mercedes oppose move to free up engine development (Reuters)

“‘I don’t think we will change our mind in the next month, whenever the commission meeting is going to take place,’ said Wolff, who added that any relaxation would only increase costs.”

Q&A with team principal Manfredi Ravetto (Caterham)

“I was very surprised to hear Kamui referring to some mileage-saving instruction coming from the team’s management: we saw via telemetry that there was a potential issue with the brakes and we decided to avoid any risks; Kamui officially confirmed this as well and I’d like to add that he had also asked us to change the previous set before qualifying because he felt some vibration.”

FIA asks teams for Suzuka information (Autosport)

“The FIA has written to Formula One teams asking them to bring forward any information that may be relevant to the investigation into Jules Bianchi’s Japanese Grand Prix accident.”

Planning ahead (F1)

Eric Boullier: “To make sure that we are ready at the launch of the new cars in 2015 we’ve decided to build a development car, as Honda needs to check all the multiple systems. We also need to check the IT link between track and Woking and between track and Japan. So as not to have to focus on these things too much in the test season, we’ve decided to run a development car programme.”

How sports sold their souls (The Telegraph)

“Lewis Hamilton claimed it was ‘very cool’ to have met Putin on the podium last weekend. The issue that received rather less analysis – certainly from rights-holders Sky, so terrified of offending Ecclestone that they depicted Russia solely in terms of the blue sky and the lovely Black Sea waters – is the scandal of a sport lionising Putin after his annexation of Crimea and the months of bloodshed in Ukraine.”

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Comment of the day

MattDS believes Red Bull’s young driver development programme should be praised, not criticised:

Take McLaren. Tell me how many drivers they have promoted to F1 in the past, like, 15 years? I can name two. Take Ferrari. How many have they promoted to F1 these past 15 years? Two, three? How many were promoted to the main team?

Then take the Red Bull Junior Team. The main team has had one driver from the junior team in their ranks for years now, and since this year both the drivers come from the junior team. And the confidence is so big that next year again they will partner Ricciardo and the very young Kvyat instead of going for, for example, Alonso. Name me one team that, in the past 20 years, have ran a line-up existing solely of their own youth products. And now we’re only talking the main team – there’s lots of other drivers who have gotten a shot at F1 through the programme. More than the other young driver programmes combined.

That whole “dropping them without plan B” thing is nonsense. Sure, Buemi and Alguersuari were left caught out by poor timing. But they had about three years to prove themselves, any F1 team could have taken notice for the year after, but nobody did. The fact that Buemi still works for them and is happy in doing so speaks volumes.

As for Vergne, well, he was informed well in advance. He also had three full seasons to prove himself. And again, any team interested in him can sign him.

How can you possibly slate the one programme that actually allows their drivers to reach F1 on a regular basis? With Verstappen and Sainz or Lynn next year, that’s seven drivers in seven seasons. On average one per season! How on earth can you criticise that?
MattDS

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  • 155 comments on “Alonso leaving Ferrari ‘to win again’ – Montezemolo”

      1. Like anything there’s pros and cons in RBR’s junior programme, personally I like the fact that they bring drivers purely based on talent, but there is something fundamentally wrong when the other teams are quite simply not interested in them.

        Yes they take away the pressures of looking for sponsors and tell them to just focus on their driving but then what?

        No one deserves to have their racing career over at the age of 21 just because he’s not the next Vettel or Alonso.

        1. Sorry the “next Ayrton Senna” in Helmut Marko’s words :)

        2. But their racing career isn’t over. Maybe F1 but that’s because it’s so fickle. Lets see if Vergne goes anywhere, he would deserve it. And as COTD said, Buemi is still racing in the WEC with Red Bull backing, and Alguersuari is still racing in FE.

          Now look at Frijns, he had the option to go with the program, but said ‘they treat you like dogs’, he would very likely have been where Kvyat now is, and instead his career basically is now over at 23. The last I heard he was dropped from GP2 and now what..

          No room to be stubborn in F1, Red Bull will give you everything you ever need if you’re good enough. I’m not a fan of Verstappen yet, but good on him for taking the opportunity.

          1. Good point about Frijns and I did also mention exactly what you’re saying about him in my post of yesterday, from which the COTD was taken. It was a lengthy post and part of it was left out :)

        3. @mantresx A bold move from Ferrari would be hire Sainz Jr to team up with Vettel.

          1. @jcost: Don’t Ferrari have a policy of not taking rookies?

            1. Yes, as well as roosters…

        4. Harsh to say, but the “left in the cold when Red Bull drops you” part is entirely the driver’s responsability. It’s no secret that the Red Bull program’s goal is to find drivers for the Red Bull team, not to secure a career for its drivers.

          I don’t know what happens behind the scene, but all Toro Rosso drivers so far have appeared too passive, waiting for Red Bull to provide them with another opportunity instead of taking their career in their own hands. Drivers should consider their 2-year Toro Rosso drive not as just a chance to show what they can do in a Formula 1 car, but also (and perhaps more importantly) as a chance to build their contact list, court other teams, find personal sponsors, etc. In the end, it could even make them more attractive to Red Bull, because it’d show interest, motivation and determination a lot more than driving fast does.

          And last point: they shouldn’t be afraid to hire a manager to help them with all that. Having someone on their payroll whose job is to defend their interests could make wonder for their career.

        5. There was talk of a new F1 team needing to pay for the “development costs” of the driver if they took one on from STR. Not sure if that’s really a thing, but that could seriously hinder a drivers career in F1.

      2. @celeste, I think one problem of the Red Bull young driver program is that when drivers leave the program, they have no other backing to pay for their next seat. Other drivers who came up through the junior may have a sponsor behind them that is specifically invested in that one driver, and will not immediately drop them if they do not prove to be the next Ayrton Senna.

        The problem for Vergne is that, although he has often impressed, he has not impressed enough to be hired by Mercedes, Ferrari, or McLaren. He might be a suitable driver for any of the other teams, but all those seats require him to bring a bag of money, and of course you cannot criticize Red Bull for not buying him a seat in another team. So unless JEV manages to find a new sponsor, his F1 career will be over. I think he should be well-suited to Indycar (less emphasis on qualifying), altough of course you need to bring in sponsorship there, too.

      3. Great COTD.

        One has to respect Red Bull for their drivers programme. Seats are limited and not everybody can get one. Some good drivers will be left out but most get a shot to prove themselves.

      4. I think that the COTD is looking at things in a slightly simplistic way by only focussing on the number of drivers that have been promoted into F1.

        After all, whilst only two drivers backed by Ferrari have entered F1 – Perez and Bianchi – Ferrari’s program has only been running since 2009 and only nine drivers in total have ever been through the program.
        Of those two drivers, Perez had to leave as part of the conditions of joining McLaren and therefore lost out on any chance for being promoted to the parent team – as for Bianchi, he publicly stated in one interview that he didn’t want to be rushed into Ferrari’s team because he thought that it would damage his career by not allowing him to develop his skills properly in a smaller outfit.

        Furthermore, Ferrari or McLaren have no direct representation in junior series, most of which are spec series and therefore exclude external manufacturers – Red Bull, by contrast, already had established junior teams in the form of Arden (co-owned and run by Christian Horner) into which they can place drivers. Red Bull, therefore, already had an established chain of teams through which their drivers can flow, whereas other teams are having to set up such systems from scratch.

        By contrast, Red Bull’s program has been running since 2001 and has been through at least 41 different drivers – now, whilst 14 of their drivers have made it into F1, some of those drivers, such as Chandhok or Karthikeyan, were no longer associated with Red Bull’s program and therefore perhaps shouldn’t count towards the success of that program given their entry came via independent means.

        If you consider the situation in terms of the percentage success rate, Ferrari’s program is statistically not that far behind Red Bull’s program, even though the latter has been running their program nearly two and a half times longer and already had junior teams ready to accommodate their up and coming drivers.

    1. I wonder if any drivers regret making their F1 debut through the RB program. I think that if there’s one that does (Alguersuari?, Speed?), there is no guarantee he would have made it to F1 otherwise. I’m pretty sure the reverse is true though – drivers turning down RB because they were too confident only to become stranded (Frijns?). They’d probably be too proud to admit they regret the decision, but I’m sure they do.

      1. Haha yeah, as I said above I’m sure Frijns is regretting burning that bridge. It’s simply the security of a few years to prove yourself.

      2. Sébastien Bourdais always seemed an odd one. He had lots of success in the US, but was basically eaten by the Red Bull system when he didn’t perform with much different tools.

        1. Bourdais wasn’t part of RBR programme.

    2. Boulier used the wrong excuse. “Development car” was last year’s excuse.

      Also, as soon as Montezemolo leaves, he throws it into the fan. Four years of “Alonso is with us 123232341%” and “next year the car will be better”; as soon as he is fired, he says Ferrari cant deliver. I mean, everyone has been thinking that, but hearing it from the former boss must be awful.

      1. The development car is not this years car, but an adapted version of it that can hold a Honda powerunit @austus. Its not something to make excuses for this years car, its about how they are working to get that engine track tested as soon as possible.

      2. Merc is afraid of the competition. They remind me now of Ferrari. What ever happened to F1 being the pinnacle of motor sport. Now we have teams hiding behind rules, protecting their “pinnacle”. Honestly you’d think their owner and sponsor would be embarrassed to indicate to the world they can not compete on developing the best power unit in an ongoing manner…

        F1 continues to go downhill while the politics deflect from the dna of the sport…

    3. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it turns out that Alonso is staying in Ferrari, while Vettel is going to McLaren. So that all these loud-mouths can eat their words. It’s not Horner’s place to announce other teams driver signings and it’s not Montezemolo’s to announce if Alonso is leaving if he can’t know for sure.

      The text from The Telegraph doesn’t deserve to be called journalism. Sport sold its soul when it decided to start selling the own skin to the world’s biggest corporations to put their name on. I can understand that someone disagrees with some leaders, but the Rusophobia that erupted in the last few days is just pure indoctrinated fear. Some of the expressions in these “news”… “Tyrant”… I’m waiting on Bush’s “Evil-doers”. That must’ve been the best one ever. You’d think they’re in war with Sauron.

      1. it would be even better if Vettel ends up in Ferrari WITH Alonso :D, but if luca said so, well, he must have his reasons…

      2. Sport sold its soul long before last weekend…its just pathetic that journos just keep shoveling this rubbish just to meet their word’s per articles crietria in their contracts!

      3. hahaha sauron

      4. I thing the problem with F1 and other major sports is their attempt to act “apolitical” when it’s clear that governments, the “good ones” and “the bad ones”, usually pay for the luxury of hosting a GP for political reasons and we all know that. The mantra “we came to race” is pure fantasy. They’re there for the money.

        1. Yeah, companies like Shell have the death and illness of many (animal and human) on it’s conscious and is perpetually waisting our finite planet for profit and they are not the only questionable corporations sponsoring F1 (think about all those financial institutions for example).

          Countries like Malaysia, Bahrain amd China are violating human rights everyday, while others shouldn’t be spending public money hosting on (or wanting to host) a Grand Prix (Spain, Greece). In fact the West have killed more innocent cevillians in it’s effort to keep the world safe with it’s ‘war against terror’ than any terrorist organization could ever dream of.
          Putin illegally invades another country and shot a commercial airplane full of innocent people out of the sky..

          Things are bad in the world, yes. But does that mean no sports event should ever be held, anywhere? Should anything fun anywhere ever be allowed ever as long as things are bad?

          Russia especially is a tough one for me, I’ll be honest, but I keep coming back to the point that alot has to be done in this world to stop the insanity for sure, however stopping sports from hapening is not one of them.

          I’d argue it’s the other way around. F1 racing and sports in general are never the problem. In fact, sports are a celebration of human capability imho.

          Athletes who follow their passion and people like you and me who enjoy and apreciate their skill are not the problem.

          Its people like Ecclestone and his absurd greed and Putin with his absurd hunger for power. People who don’t care about the human, environmental and moral cost of their gains. They are the problem.

      5. A race in Russia is selling the sport’s soul, but a race in the US is ok? How many innocent people did the US kill in Afghanistan? In Iraq? Vietnam? Next: Syria.

        1. Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.

        2. “How many innocent people did the US kill” <—

          and is continuing to do so.

          1. Americans are much better than russians and you all know it. Especially when they kill people and invade countries.

    4. Excuse my ignorance but has anyone really left Ferrari willingly, without retiring or being fired or death? I believe Nigel Mansell was set to ‘retire’ before being woo’d back to Williams.

      1. Rubens left with one year on his contract if I remember well, and it was because he wanted so.

      2. Stefano Domenicalli.

        No, Hang on a minute…. ;) ;)

      3. Steph (@stephanief1990)
        16th October 2014, 11:17

        I can’t think of anyone who has left for a winning car- Rubens left early but that was because he was completely fed up. It is quite a big statement about Ferrari at the moment.

      4. it’s something called “Omertà” :D

    5. I Liked the COTD. Could not agree more.

      Ideally i would have imagined the legacy teams like Mclaren, Ferrari, Williams to do that. But it came from unexpected quarters “Red Bull”. There might be some commercial interests. But then please don’t tell me others select people on pure talent.

    6. I’m closer and closer of being right about the 2015 line-up. Lauda will learn to true nature of Lewis when Hamilton suddenly after clinching the title tells him he’s leaving Mercedes..

      1. @peartree – Why would Lewis leave Mercedes if he were to clinch the title with them? Unless a disaster occurs, Mercedes will almost certainly carry over to next year the advantage they’ve enjoyed this season. It’s the best place for any driver be at the moment, with the biggest chances of race wins and championship success. I for one wouldn’t leave in these circumstances…

        1. I have nothing against the guy. But I would say – money. Surely Daimler has loads of it but Honda would also be very generous with this.
          McLaren Honda won`t be “doing a Merc” in 2015, but there is still time and success for the team will come eventually. Honda certainly needs a name they could sell. So it could be Alonso or Hamilton, both superstars of F1.
          Maybe getting a younger (not that Alonso is ancient) champion to McLaren is a smart thing to do.
          Plus a while back all we heard from Vettel was, that everything is OK and he is fully commited to Red Bull. Then bang – “I am going to somewhere else.”
          And I really would not be surprised if after this “I am very happy with Mercedes and I am not going anywhere” turns into a “I have always felt that McLaren is my home. And together with McLaren and Honda we could make history. Like Prost and Senna.”

          1. So, still not letting go of the “He moved to Merc for money” BS, eh? Even after everything? Even after he won 10 races with Merc, while McLaren have been struggling?

            Obviously Lewis could move back to McLaren, but for good reason, not for money. It might be hard to accept, but at heart, he is simply a racer. If you think Lewis is going to give up on the fastest car, for a Schrodinger’s car and some money… Well, you have not been following the same F1 the others have! Look back at 2012 season and find a reason as to why Lewis would have wanted to stay there.

            P.S. McLaren themselves admitted they gave Lewis a higher paying contract than Mercedes.

            1. There is no need to blame me for something I have not said.

              If you talk about the 2012 season. McLaren won 7 races (Lewis 4 & Jenson 3) as did the champions Red Bull. At the end of the season Lewis was 4th, Jenson 5th. The whole Mercedes team was 48 points behind of Hamilton`s 190. So yeah, at that time, moving from McLaren (total of 378 points) to Mercedes (148 points) really “screamed for success.”
              But as history shows the 2013 season was quite a success for him and Mercedes.

              There are always rumors going around. Like the story about Hamilton visiting Woking and leaving with a wide smile on his face.
              And that Vettel will earn $80 million per season with Ferrari.
              Etc.

              There are a lot of things going on behind closed doors in F1.
              And McLaren can admit whatever they like, if it is true or not. We, the fans, don`t know the real truth.

              The point of my first post was that stranger things have happened in F1. And personally I would not be surprised if he returns to McLaren in the very near future. And yes, he is a racer. A good one. But he is also a superstar. And seeing posts on social media – he does not live a simple life.

              And I have been following F1 almost 20 years.

            2. @jaanusl I’ll eat my shoe if Ferrari pays Seb $80 mil per year!

          2. The difference is Mercedes car and Mercedes engine. At McLaren they only have Honda engines exclusively for one year then other teams can use them, a bit like RBR currently. Lewis knows if he wins the WDC this year, he’ll break Nico and next year it will be like Vettel and Webber after his first WDC (2010) title. Lewis must have given a giggle to himself when Nico locked up those tyres on the second corner in Russia.

          3. @jaanusl
            Let’s not let our emotions cloud our judgement, Lewis 8 not going anywhere.

            He’s found a great pal in Niki.

          4. Hamilton’s hero, Senna, once offered to drive for Williams for nothing. Money isn’t everything to F1 drivers, winning is.

        2. @toiago Lewis would leave Mercedes because Alonso fans desperately want him to drive for Mercedes next year.

          1. Ha ha! It’s like they are not even trying to cover it up, right? :D :D

            1. @supremacy the trouble is, as per a number of different media outlets, Alonso himself believed Mercedes would consider dumping Lewis to hire him for next season… while it’s Lewis is staying for the same reasons Alonso wants to join Mercedes and a few more:

              1. Mercedes mastered the new rules and built the best car (PU+chassis)
              2. Lewis loves the place, more freedom and laid back approach than “over corporate” McLaren (I don’t get why a supercars constructor acts so grey… they need more of that “electric orange” attitude)
              3. Niki loves him
              4. Paddy loves him
              5. Fans love him and his caps
              6. He’s restoring his image and Mercedes-Benz AG seems to be enjoying the ride
              7. Petronas loves him
              8. Puma loves him
              9. Hugo Boss is more than happy to have him (and Nico) as poster boy

              A good reason to join McLaren would be getting a McLaren P1 as gift onve Mercedes would not be very happy if he used part of his savings to buy one and post it on Instagram… :)

              Is there any website taking bets on 2015 driver’s market? I’m going to bet huge money on Alonso joining McLaren and Lewis staying at Mercedes.

          2. They are desperate, because time has run out.

        1. No, you know he is gonna do ralycross :) Yeah, together with Petter Solberg and all the other rednecks. That might be fun!

      2. Currently, i would also think that its highly unlikely that Hamilton will not resign with Mercedes for another couple of years @peartree.
        But its far from unimaginal that during the summer, when everything looked like it was stacked against him, and in favour of his teammate, Hamilton did play with the thought of leaving Mercedes for Ferrari. And that is the time when Mercedes would have started talking to Alonso and Alonso would have started about leaving.
        Sure, that they signed Vettel already is now hurting Alonso’s negotiation position, and at the same time, Hamilton got back into a stride and is surely happy at Mercedes. But that is where all the moves probably originated from.

      3. Its unfortunate that you do not substantiate why Lewis would leave Merc because I think they are a match made in heaven. Lewis has the car that can finally showcase his talent. He is racking in the wins and in on course for his 2nd championship. Mercedes have, imo, the best driver right now. Not only that he is the most marketable, which is what this whole F1 circus is about – selling stuff. So, no, there is no way Lewis will leave Merc.

      4. You’re getting further and further away then.

        1. @deej92 @bascb @il-ferrarista @jcost @jaanusl @toiago
          Montezemolo said Alonso didn’t want to wait for victories any longer and Alonso himself has said that his move would look logical and rather simple, but he acknowledge that things could end differently to what he “planned 3 months ago”. In my view these comments point out for a move to Mercedes with Lewis going back to Ron to remake Senna Honda and Vettel remakes Schumacher Ferrari #5… or not. Who knows maybe Ferrari has swayed Ricciardo (lol).
          Going back to point financially it would not make any difference from the fan favourite deal of alonso to McLaren deal, actually one thing that is certain is Santander’s comeback to McLaren, meaning they are in good shape.
          reply to me when it’s confirmed that I’m a fool.

          1. Hm, well, you still haven’t really given any motive, reason or explanation why Hamilton would be interested in going back to McLaren though @peartree.

            As mentioned before, I can see that maybe mid season he was considering going elsewhere, but not now. And even if, why to Ron and Honda? If he would want to leave, surely going to Ferrari would offer something (that myth Marko mentioned), but going back to where he left?

            For Alonso there is more reason to it, because first of all he is not in a good place, so he wants out. And then, if McLaren/Honda offer a good perspective and the right package, he might take it and finish that job. Off course, he’d want an out clause to not be stuck in a mid grid car for another 3 years, and if the car was bad, and a Mercedes seat available come 2016, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he did go there.

            But it still gives no reason at all for Hamilton wanting out right now

            1. To Lewis, Senna is his hero and Ron is the master of McLaren, when Hamilton left McLaren, Ron wasn’t there, but now he’s back and surely Lewis as he said in the past will always love McLaren. If it is enough reason for Vettel mind I tell you that he even chose #5, a number that to many symbolises British drivers but was also the same number Schumi had in 1997 in probably my all time favourite car.

            2. Yes, I know that for Vettel that red 5, rejuvenating Ferrari etc are things that have a strong pull on him because of Schumacher @peartee. But that still is no reason for Hamilton to want to go back to McLaren.

              As for Ron not being there, he was saying that if Hamilton wanted to go, he could go when Withmarsh was still trying to convince him to stay. And for next year, its not all that certain that Ron will in fact be there (see story of grabbing power in McLaren, and the powerstruggle with the other share holders and money to pay to take over)

    7. I wouldn’t shake hands with Mr. Putin. He’s one of the most evil people on the planet. He’s the short guy with white hair and glasses right?

      1. I don’t think either of them are evil at all. Its just that they have their own targets / views and are allowed, or even encouraged, to achieve what they see as good goals. Sadly in neither case those goals are all that positive for the longterm future of the subjects they govern (F1 and Russia), nor are they all that great for the world around them.

        But often its well meaning people with maybe a narrow view that do more “evil” than those that are inherently evil.

        1. Either that or they are both Pure evil.

        2. This is probably a good way to see the world. Doesn’t mean we should put up with injustice or harm done to other people, but yes, it’s better to see the whole picture of a person than demonize them through single aspects. That’s how we wind up with “we’re at war with terrorists” arguments. Considering everything can help lead to more constructive solutions to bad situations.

    8. Anyone who criticises the drivers and teams about where they race wants to do some research on the material sourcing and manufacturing working conditions for whatever fancy device they are tapping away on.

      We’ve all got blood on our hands.

        1. That if people want to live an ethically clean life then fair play to them.

          But anyone who casts aspersions on the people in F1 for going to Russia or any of the other questionable states might want to check their own moral house is in order before tapping away on a device that’s likely got a very ethically questionable history in it’s production.

          ‘There is none righteous. No, not one.’

          1. Your argument would stick, if there was an opportunity to get a device that would not have those limitations @philipgb. As there isn’t (please correct my if I am wrong on that), it’s not a very solid argument.

            Now, I do understand, and support and might even help actively, people who do try and do something agains those circumstances. And against unjustice everywhere, because you are right, injustice is everywhere around us.

            And I do agree, that the people in F1 have little option but to play along. There are many in the paddock who feel less than happy or comfortable with it, but unless they want to stop doing F1, they can hardly do much about it.

            But that is no argument to stop critisizing the Bernies and Todts (and Blatters, IOC members, etc) for their desicions or failure to act, than it is a reason why I would stop critisizing and highlighting other decisionmakers who do wrong.

            1. @bascb, more to the point, life in the factories has bought millions of families out of the 3rd. world peasant lifestyle they suffered under Mao, there can be no doubt that the Chinese industrial revolution has, on balance, greatly improved the standard of living for most Chinese.

            2. Indeed it has @hohum.

          2. @philipgb You’re obviously referring to the ‘work conditions in Chinese electronics factories’ debate. You have to consider that whilst they’re definitely not ideal in many ways, it’s a completely different debate compared to the whole ‘annexing a portion of another country’ and ‘shadow-backing a proxy war in a neighbouring state’.

          3. In a capitalist system, everyone is exploited one way or another. That’s not the same as annexing Crimea.

          4. So if I see someone robbing a bank, I should think twice about reporting a crime because I speed sometimes? Just because one may have a small hypocrisy, doesn’t mean one can’t recognize wrong doing when they see it and do right by calling an end to it.

    9. I think Daniel Ricciardo possibly cost Alonso a seat at Red Bull. I just wonder if Red Bull would have pursued Alonso if Ricciardo had not stepped up so much this year and proved he could lead the team.

      1. Doubt it. Red Bull don’t have a works engine deal so they probably no longer tick one of Alonso’s boxes.
        Has anyone started a rumour yet that Ross Brawn could be buying that 25% stake in McLaren and ousts Ron? Ron’s option over those shares lapse soon and he ain’t raised the financing to buy them. But Ross has cash. And he’s a Honda man. And CEO of McLaren would be just the nice kind of senior role he’d like.

        1. I’d rather go fishing.

          1. Plenty of fish in the MTC lake! I see Speedweek are now pushing this rumour. Surprised it’s taken this long. It’s the perfect synergy of 2 favourite F1 rumour topics.

        2. Red Bull IS a works team. Renault is giving them free engines and works closely with them, they even have their own people in Renault factory.
          Also i don’t think Ron Dennis has less money than Brawn.

    10. In regards to COTD, I think a fairer question would be to ask how many drivers Red Bull have put straight into Red Bull, rather than into/through Toro Rosso. If Ferrari and McLaren had a second team on the grid, I’m sure they would have had an equally high number of junior drivers in F1.

      Would Vettel/Ricciardo be racing alongside eachother if Toro Rosso didn’t exist? I think not.

      1. maarten.f1 (@)
        16th October 2014, 6:18

        @jarnooo Bianchi is part of the Ferrari drivers academy and races for Marussia. I am sure McLaren and Mercedes can make similar deals with the smaller teams if they wanted to.

        1. Marussia is not a Ferrari B team, like Toro Rosso is to Red Bull.

      2. Also lets not forget that Verstappen, for example can hardly be called part of the RBR young driver program when they only signed him up to give him an F1 contract, and that Vettel had already debuted with BMW before RBR took him in. Given that McLaren nor Ferrari even have a program until 2009/2010, that is also a bit of a moot point.

        But yes, its a very good point, that the comparison between McLaren and Ferrari vs. Red Bull is not a fair one, and there are a few Ferrari drivers that did make it in too (Bianchi, Perez).

        1. @BasCB “and that Vettel had already debuted with BMW before RBR took him in”

          You make a valid point about Verstappen, but you’re definitely wrong about Vettel. Vettel was enrolled in the RBR Junior Team in 1998, aged 11, so that was way before he ever put a foot in a BMW F1.

        2. Also I’d like to point out that I did acknowledge McLaren brought in 2 and Ferrari 2 or 3.
          Indeed, Bianchi and Perez were brought into F1 as juniors. And then what happened? Perez did great at Sauber, but got to hear in 2012 that he “wasn’t ready”.
          Then Bianchi did great at Marussia, but was overlooked when Ferrari replaced Massa. What a contrast with RBR, who are putting Kvyat in the main team after only one season.

          1. Not all that much a contrast, I would say. RBR has seen many driver promoted to F1 but not taken further as well. The thing is, its great for a team to have the young drivers lined up, but when they don’t have a seat available at the right time for that driver, that is where it ends for a driver. And then there are new prospects to bring in.

            1. Sorry but the contrast is night and day. Like I said in the COTD, if we count the two new drivers of next year, they will have promoted 7 drivers to F1 in 7 seasons time. Both teams running 100% on their own youth talents (something I can’t remember happening during the past, like, 25 years – I’m somewhat unsure but definitely not the last 15 years). And 4 were running this year, 5 or even 6 will be running next year.

              RBR give them the chance to show and prove themselves. Other teams can pick them up. And they show a lot more committment to them than other teams when it’s promotion time. Whether that be promotion to F1 through STR, or promotion from STR to RBR.

            2. @mattds – Again, as said above you’re not really comparing apples to apples here as they have 4 seats rather than 2. But even in this scenario, how many of these RB F1 drivers have gone on to have F1 careers rather than short stints and then disappearing from F1? Vettel, seemingly Ricciardo, and..? I’m not criticizing the program and it may yet prove to provide many more great drivers. But bringing in 7 drivers and then watching 5 go away is not exactly a great hit rate.

              And by comparison, Jordan, Minardi, and Sauber have each brought in a couple of strong drivers as well, (Barrichelo and Schumacher, Alonso and Webber, Raikkonnen and Massa, respectively). And I think these are far better comparisons to what Red Bull has in Toro Rosso. Smaller teams can not only risk bringing in untested talent, they pretty much have to as they cannot afford to bring in top talent and generally top talent doesn’t want to go to them anyway as they are not the best teams in the field. Then, when the talent is apparent, the big teams can scoop them up.

              So, yes, it is a good thing that Red Bull continues to bring new drivers into Toro Rosso, but other small teams are feeders (directly or indirectly) to the other big teams Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes.

            3. @hobo I am comparing apples to apples. The teams run their business as they see fit. Ferrari and McLaren could have done the same as Red Bull, there were chances to do so, but they chose not to. That’s their decision, their strategy, and I can compare these strategies. And the truth is
              – that they are doing less to get fresh talent in F1
              – that they aren’t as committed as Red Bull when there are vacant seats in the main team

              Of course other teams now and then allow new promising drivers in. I truly commend Williams for picking up Bottas, giving him a year of driving practice sessions, then promoting him. But that is not really a structural thing – we’re talking about junior programs here.

              About that hit rate… I think all of those that got the chance to drive in F1 and prove themselves are thankful for doing so. They know the deal when signing for STR: 3 years at most and you WILL be out. And they keep on signing. Why do you think that is? Because they all know it offers them the best chance to get in. Again here I have to ask the question: is it better to have been in F1 and lost the drive after a few years, or to never have been in F1 at all? Most young drivers would crave to even get those 3 years you dismiss as “not a great hit rate”.

      3. “I think a fairer question would be to ask how many drivers Red Bull have put straight into Red Bull, rather than into/through Toro Rosso. If Ferrari and McLaren had a second team on the grid, I’m sure they would have had an equally high number of junior drivers in F1.”

        Why would that question be “fairer”? The purpose of RBR buying Minardi was to provide an entry team for the RB juniors. If anything, it shows of RBR’s commitment to their Junior Team program.

        Why question what would happen “if” McLaren and Ferrari had a secondary team? The point is that they don’t, despite having had chances to do exactly the same. They could have bought other teams, they didn’t, they choose for their way of working and their way of working hasn’t brought too many of their youngsters into F1.

        1. And it doesn’t change much for drivers that are promising, but enter F1 when no top team has a place for them, except that with Red Bull they are even less able to progress somewhere else due to lacking personal sponsors (Perez moving to FI, not out of F1).

          1. “except that with Red Bull they are even less able to progress somewhere else due to lacking personal sponsors ”

            Shouldn’t they be grateful to even have entered F1 without having to worry about personal sponsors? Would they even have gotten to F1 if RBR hadn’t provided all they needed?

            I can’t see how “we’re paying everything for you as long as you keep performing” can be turned into a negative, but some apparently succeed in doing so.

        2. Ok, lets have Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes buy Marussia, Caterham and Sauber, for example. Now what? You have 6 more young drivers who have the chance to “prove” themselves in inferior machinery, whilst making F1 even less competitive, by having another 3 teams that are destined to be average at best.

          I think having a B team makes it too easy to bring inexperienced drivers into F1, with no consequences to the main team. It makes those drivers seem almost disposable, whilst there are drivers on the sideline, in their prime, who can’t get a seat. If say, Toro Rosso was still Minardi, who knows if they could have been in a championship fight now, with 2 experienced drivers at the helm, as opposed to 16 year olds. Not a chance at the moment, but I know which scenario I like better.

          There shouldn’t be any “entry teams” in F1 for junior drivers. That’s what championships like GP2 and F3.5 are for.

          1. Your post is idealistic. Far from realistic.

            The reality is that without RBR buying STR, we would have just another midfield team strapped for cash and taking on drivers (well, at least one) with a big budget.

            There would be no added competitivity. All the players that were or could have been competitive (BMW, Toyota, Honda, you name ’em) have left.
            And there would be less talent flowing in.

            Yes, I know which scenario I like better. An F1 with a full field of capable teams who have the financial freedom to solely select drivers based on talent.
            But in absence of that scenario, I’d go for the other scenario that brings in talent over money. Which is this one.

            Maybe you’re right in that it shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t, again in an idealistic world. But we’re missing out on talent (Frijns, and I wonder if Vandoorne will ever get a chance as well) and we’ll miss out on more.

            1. I’m not exactly talking about an ideal Formula 1. I understand what you are saying, that Marussia being owned by Ferrari and feeding junior Ferrari drivers into those 2 seats would be better than Chilton paying to sit his mediocre behind in the car. Part of me agrees with you, but at the same time B teams don’t sit well with me. Something to do with that team never being able to achieve a world championship, or maybe just because it gives that main team an advantage over the rest.

            2. To clarify

              If a company spots a talented driver and decides to back him and this helps him land a seat in F1 then he is called a pay driver?

              If a F1 team spots a talented driver and decides to back him and this helps him land a seat in F1 then he is called a development driver?

            3. @Anthony: difference between both is that the drivers in junior programmes, in this instance the RB Junior Team, are picked solely on talent and will arrive in F1 if and on the merit that they have done superbly in lower categories.
              While those backed by other instances aren’t necessarily backed because of pure and utter talent or continued great performance. Rich family, a country that wants to see someone in F1, …

              Those that are with RBR must keep on winning in feeder series. Whereas Chilton, for example, has won 3 races in single seaters up until now.

              @jarnooo: yes, there are a few drawbacks as well. But STR could beat RBR. They have disjoint development teams and management. They just have a smaller budget to work with. It has happened before – see 2008 for that.

              Like I said, I’d rather not have B-teams either. But I see STR as the lesser of two evils in choosing between having them as B-team or having a strapped-for-cash midfielder employing an Ericsson and a Maldonado, for example. I don’t believe any team with a big budget would replace STR if it were to go.

            4. @MattsDS I disagree that STR will ever consistently beat RBR. This season is as close as they have ever been. There is no way that Red Bull would allow for the best drivers, engineers or other staff to stay with STR. Say STR found the next Adrian Newey and he designed a ripper car for them. There would be no chance that he would stay long enough for STR to beat RBR.

              Anyway this is deviating quite far from the initial point I made. I guess that in the current state of Formula 1, it is quite hard to find a balance between pay drivers and B-teams.

            5. @jarnooo: no, STR will not consistently beat RBR. Mostly on the basis that they have less money to work with. Never get a championship? Not sure – if they design a great car, why not? :)

      4. As an engine manufacturer Ferrari have the ability to place drivers at these teams in return for free engines. Probably a much better arrangement than the hassle of owning and running another team.

    11. That is an excellent article in The Telegraph. Hits many marks.

    12. I was thinking about this today. If the engine freeze is upheld, next year we will see Ferrari and Renault engines remain down on power for another season at least. Which obviously is a great advantage to Mercedes. The one thing is though, for the first time in a very long time, this situation leaves the following prospect open.
      2015 could be the first season in which an engine manufacturer (in this case Honda) makes a debut/return to the sport and could very well be the 2nd best, if not the best engine on the grid.
      To support this argument, I offer this. throughout 2014 we’ve seen so many different issues from Ferrari and RBR and even some with Mercedes that Honda has been able to learn from themselves. They are open to develop an engine that specifically targets any weaknesses that any of these current engines have, without threat of the teams actually being able to react. Honda, if they’re clever enough can analyse each of these aspects and if they can execute could well be in the best seat in the house.

      1. But the counter-argument would then be that you learn far more from racing, than from watching others race.
        Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes have been able to watch and learn just as much as Honda, with the added benefit of having full race and testing data as well.

        I’m not betting on Honda next year. It could happen, but I don’t think so.

        1. @mattds On top of that; McLaren now for sure have the strongest engine and they are not even close to podium finishes. So even if the Honda engine were to be that little more powerfull next year it is in no way a guarantee McLaren will be ahead of the works Mercedes cars.

          1. Indeed, there is no guarantee. In F1 there never is :)

            But McLaren should have it in them to develop a good car. They had the best car in 2012, that’s only 2 seasons ago, so they should be able to develop a competitive chassis again.

          2. Its hard to really judge, but I am pretty sure that McLaren is hurt in fully optimizing that Mercedes engine for their car by 1. using Mobile instead of Petronas, 2. Getting as little data as Mercedes can give them (I think that one was confirmed by Wolff) and 3. not getting any previews/hints about development path – see that late day exhaust change that might have impeded / conflicted with some of the solutions McLaren chose for their chassis and 4. Ron Dennis did make a valid point that as customer team they would not have full options to use the best engine modes as they see fit.

            On the other hand, Honda is building its engine in close cooperation with McLaren, sharing ideas and details as soon as they can. So in theory McLaren should be able to build a car that can match RBR/Renault and Ferrari in competativeness or even Mercedes.

            On the other hand, they will be running into early day issues just like teams had this year, while others should have by now learned about their engines.

            Lets also not forget that if we unlock development, its Mercedes that still has the advantage, because they are working from having an advantage already, instead of first making up the gap to the best.

    13. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th October 2014, 9:00

      The engine freeze is nothing new; it has been in place since 2007.
      In 2007 the freeze was based on Sep 2006 specs. In 2014 the freeze is based on Feb 2014, allowing each team to come up with the latest and greatest.
      There was no development typically between years, now they can develop the engine during the winter (48% first year).
      Development in the past was arbitrary (only teams with a power deficit), now every team has exactly the same opportunity every year.

      However, this time there has been a long warning and preparation time. Unfortunately for Renault and Ferrrari, Mercedes has done their homework much better. It just means that the other manufacturers need to double up their efforts to match, or even beat, Mercedes during the next development cycles.

      If assuming that the 80/20 rule applies, then 80% of the power difference is due to only 20% of the engine parts. Thus being able to replace 48% this winter should allow them to close the gap.
      Of course Mercedes will develop as well, but it is up to Renault and Ferrari to anticipate that and aim for something even better than the 2014 Mercedes engine.

      Having said that, I would still prefer a total unfreeze (100%) every winter. It would only be fair this year with Honda coming in. But also for future years, allowing latest technology to be used on all parts of the engine will keep them state of the art, which is what F1 should stand for.

      1. As for closing the gap this winter, Marko (I think) has gone on record stating that the Renault unit for next year will only be running at full potential “somewhere in July 2015” and that they expect to be competitive then.

        So that’s already a few months thrown away, if he’s speaking the truth.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          16th October 2014, 11:08

          @mattds, Marko’s comment is weird.
          They cannot change any hardware after February 2015, except for safety (but then why wait). Therefore, the difference can only be engine mapping (again why wait until Jul15) or cooling ducts etc (again why wait).
          It seems they are still not doubling/tripling their efforts versus Mercedes.

        2. If he really said that @mattds, then that would actually show how reasonable it is to freeze/homologate the engine (why develop new bits if you have a huge potential still left in what you have) because it would mean that it takes the team 4 months of running the car with it to get the maximum out of the package, as @coldfly mentions.

          1. Here’s a link to the interview: http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2014/9/16399.html

            “HM: That we will have a better test season and that we will have more power. There was a technical meeting where technical upgrades to the power unit were discussed and should be completely implemented by July 2015. So by the start of the European rounds we should have a really competitive power unit. ”

            He’s talking about technical upgrades, and as @coldfly mentions what exactly is meant with these “technical upgrades”, as there is indeed a freeze. It’s possible they circumvent the freeze rules by doing it under the pretense of safety and/or cost efficiency, both of which are allowed, but those are only allowed without improving performance.

            I don’t know what to think of it either. But it seems that Renault’s current schedule does not bring them at a competitive level by the start of next season. That’s worrying enough already.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              16th October 2014, 13:56

              Great link, thanks @mattds!
              I can only guess. But it could mean that they expect the freeze to be lifted, or that the mapping takes them a few months of testing – including the first races.
              But as I said before, it seems that once more Renault is late to the party and has not done its homework before season start (of course I’m simplifying immensely the development process of these engines).

    14. 5 years down the drain in Ferrari. Alonso’s luck has not been good at all. No matter how good or brilliant a person can be, believe me luck does play a big part. Nando might not get another WDC at all. Tough one for such a great driver. But wish him well wherever he may go. Consolation is he has two WDC so it’s not as bad.

      1. I don’t think luck is the only factor that plays into it… Alonso is ultimately a master of his own destiny – that he chose to behave how he did at McLaren *AND* continues to let Briatore manage his business says that he’s made some pretty silly decisions that have placed him where he is.

        He’s pretty handy behind a wheel, but less so in getting behind the correct wheel…

        1. I agree with that @optimaximal. Alonso threw away a winning seat at McLaren for 2008 and instead stepped into a Renault team that was even a notch behind where Ferrari is now and wasted 2 years there. And its likely that McLaren would have a better car for 2009 as well without the whole spygate affair (not to mention Mercedes would not have had as much reason to want to defect)
          Instead he could have been in a Red Bull, and we might never even have seen Vettel winning all those titles (had they had Alonso and Webber, would they let Vettel step up?). Or just stayed at McLAren.

    15. Merc has the WCC wrapped up and awaiting the WDC which can be skewed due to the double points and it’s Hamilton’s to lose should any reliability trail him otherwise he’s the true champion for this season.

      Toto would be screaming for an unfreeze if they in the Ferrari and Renault engine department for sure. So what’s new same old story for any winning team but boring for us fans. Let’s see what he has to say when no one attends the German GP or TV viewership and other trackside take a huge dip in sale of tickets for dominance again in 2015. Now, Toto has been very very lucky because of Ross Brawn whom I’m sure he had a part in Brawn’s departure. I still see Brawn as the reason to Merc success.

      1. @johnbt Take anyone’s word in F1 with a pinch of salt, but I believe Niki, Paddy and Toto all went on record to say they tried to find a place for Ross in the ‘New Management Structure’ but he himself chose to leave because he either wanted to have final say in running the team or not at all.

        You have to admit that the idea of ‘Team Principal’ is essentially meaningless these days, given 2 of the top teams have dispensed of their incumbents and the other is essentially a puppet for his paymasters.

      2. Don’t blame Mercedes for the semi-freeze, blame the FiA.

    16. Yawn, most drawn out high profile driver move ever. Just get on with it.

    17. Wish ALO the best and more wins, but at McLaren ? They’re a great team, one day again on top, but at the moment they seem to be on the same road with Ferrari: a wrong one. With every season, the car is somehow worse than previous season. If it wasn’t for the Mercedes engine, I think this year McLaren would have fought with the STRs most of the time. So, it’s still down to the chassis at McLaren. Even with the best engine, they’re fighting for lower points. Honda has the chance to do a better job than Ferrari and Renault from the start, but I highly doubt they’ll match the Mercedes engine in 2015. Plus, Ferrari and Renault will update their engines too. So, if McLaren doesn’t make a step forward in chassis department, ALO might regret leaving Ferrari.

      1. @johnbt Erm, the 2014 car is significantly better than the 2013 car. It’s just nowhere near the Mercedes (like everyone else)… They have, after all, two definite podium finishes and several fourth and fifth place finishes, which when you consider the rest of the field, is a pretty good haul, given the top two podium spots were essentially locked out all season.

        Also consider that were it not for their similar Mercedes engines, both Williams and Force India would also be ‘fighting the minnows’. What use would the slippery FW36 be if powered by this years asthmatic Renault?

        McLaren are entering a world of unknowns, but they also have the resource and talent to make the best of it. They’re exiting the ‘restructuring process’ that Ferrari are just entering.

    18. I was scepctical about Red Bull Junior Team until this year but changed my mind when not only was Ricciardo promoted to Red Bull but it also turned out that he was as good as Vettel. Red Bull have proved that they are not focused on a single driver and they do not need to hire proven race winners to win races. There are certainly a lot of positives about their approach.

      What still worries me is the fact that other teams do not seem to want the drivers dropped by Red Bull. Liuzzi has been the only exception so far. Alguersuari or Vergne might not be potential multiple world champions but I find it hard to believe that they do not deserve to be at Sauber, Force India or Caterham. Perhaps money is the main reason for it as Red Bull drivers rely on the company’s backing and when they are thrown out, they have no sponsorship to speak of.

      While Red Bull should be praised for giving young drivers a chance, I still do not think that F1 needs only drivers, who are likely to win the world championship one day and that everyone else should be kicked out after a couple of years. In my opinion, F1 needs drivers like Fisichella or Berger, who still have long careers without winning a lot of races or titles. But that does not seem to be an option if you race for Toro Rosso in F1 today.

      1. Perhaps money is the main reason for it as Red Bull drivers rely on the company’s backing and when they are thrown out, they have no sponsorship to speak of.

        I think this is basically it. Marko even said as much.

        The problem that is ‘Toro Rosso’ these days is a double-edged sword. It prepares a driver well because the car isn’t fantastic (as RIC has shown), but they also cannot regularly shine either. Vettel’s win that firmly put him on the radar (even though he was already penned for the RBR seat) was a perfect storm born from the fact that the STR3 of that year was essentially the RB4 with a Ferrari engine and the weather in Monza.

        1. Interesting to name the RB4 chassis as an ingredient of a perfect storm. It wasn’t exactly a world-beater.

          1. @mattDS with a Ferrari engine which was considered to be > Renault, I think that’s what he was trying to highlight: An engine “better” than the one fitted on the main team. I think another thing that should be noted is that Vettel dragged Toro Rosso above Red Bull (with/without the help of Ferrari being another question).

            Anyway, will Vettel be the first driver in F1 to win with a Ferrari engine fitted on cars of 2 different teams having won (and the 1st to do so I think) with a Ferrari engine fitted on a team that’s not Scuderia Ferrari (Marlboro)?

          2. not with a Renault engine @mattds, but with the best engine that year (the Ferrari) it showed the chassis was solid enough

            1. Obviously it was solid enough to score that win, otherwise it wouldn’t have done, but I believe it was more the fact that Vettel was absolutely at the top of his game and didn’t mess up when others did.

              My point is that there has been a tendency to downrate that particular win under pretense of it being “just another fantastic Newey design coupled to the best engine”. But if the chassis really was that great, STR would have ended up with more than 1 podium and would have finished higher than 6th in the WCC. Especially when it was equipped with the supposed best engine.

            2. First of all, the car /engine combo started to work great after updates made during the season, giving part of the explanation of why it wasn’t higher up in the WCC for the whole season.

              And lets also not forget that in Monza that car was on pole, but Vettels teammate was not far behind. Reliability played a role in why he did not stand right behind Vettel on the podium. And Bourdais got a few unfortunate penalties etc too that obscures the view on how good that car was at least part of the season.

              They never ended up more ahead because both Ferraris were there often enough, as well as the McLarens and BMWs, leaving far less opportunities for others that were not as consistently fast.

            3. @bascb It gets a little weird when we define a 0.9s slower lap in the same car as “being not far behind”.

              Your last paragraph just adds to my point. 3 teams were consistently better throughout the season (although I’d say 4 and include Renault in that), which makes the win all the more impressive. Heck, this year we have only one team that is consistently better than Red Bull but everybody’s raving about Ricciardo’s wins.

              Now of those 4 teams only Ferrari also had that best engine, the others had lesser engines and were still much better. So how could that chassis have been that great then?

            4. Sorry @mattds, but I see you want to “win” the discussion more than discuss things.

              I clearly mentioned that PART of the season that combination was very good. At the start of the year it was not. And reliability also hurt the team. The chassis was good, but both Ferrari and McLaren had a better combination of chassis+engine over the whole year. BMW started strong, but petered out a bit after giving up on a serious bid for the title to concentrate on 2009.

              The chassis was good. But it was not the best as following cars Red Bull would produce. And in 2008 it was certainly better with the Ferrari engine than with the Renault engine.

            5. @bascb let’s leave out the personal comments. I’m not interested in winning discussions, but I can’t exactly help the fact that I don’t agree with you.

              I know you said that part of the season the combination was good. What I’m saying is that other teams, despite having a lesser engine, were consistently better throughout the season.

              Let’s leave out all this historical rewriting and go back 6 years ago and look at how people reacted at that win. Journalists, pundits, paddock people, fans. Most of them were amazed. Which goes to show that it wasn’t an evident win and it doesn’t just gets explained away by “oh that chassis was great and it had the best engine, logical win”. It was’t seen as a logical win back then, but as a major accomplishment. But some just like to downplay it.

            6. Right @mattds. So, how did you make this a discussion of how great a win/accomplishment it was from where we started out (you mentioning how “Interesting to name the RB4 chassis as an ingredient of a perfect storm. It wasn’t exactly a world-beater”)?
              To that my reaction was that

              not with a Renault engine @mattds, but with the best engine that year (the Ferrari) it showed the chassis was solid enough

              You see, we were talking about how the STR/RBR car that year was quite an apt car that year. And winning a race in the hands of the right driver to wield it, as well as strong qualifying and top 6 finishes should certainly be considered that.

              The merit of Vettel in Winning that race (and yes, it was a revelation at the time, announcing a new top driver to F1) was never point of discussion here.

          3. I get your point @bascb, but there’s too much history in this discussion. It has played out lots of times and almost always it comes from detractors pointing out that it was actually a logical win because of being equipped with a Newey rocketship with the best engine. Not always in those words, and I won’t say you’re implying the same.

            I still don’t agree the STR3/RB4 had a great chassis. It enabled him to shine in the rain, when car becomes somewhat less important and driver all the more. But it wasn’t more than that.

            I stand by that initial comment. It was never a world-beater. It needed Vettel at the top of his game and some others screwing up to have a shot at winning.

            I think we might do better ending the discussion here. I don’t think we’re all too far apart in the end, just that I rate the RB4 chassis somewhat lower than you do.

            1. Well, I think you are right, in that our opinions aren’t all that far apart on this @mattds.

    19. All the teams say that they want a freeze/unfreeze, depending on their position, for altruistic reasons, they are all fibbing. I can’t see why Mercedes would want to give up their advantage, if the whole grid want to drive Mercedes powered cars the men and women at Stuttgart would be overjoyed. Red Bull will enjoy greater synergy next year as Renault’s defacto works team, although they have most to complain about, not building their own engines. I have no sympathy for Ferrari, they had the same advantages that Merc had, they just didn’t do the job. It’s up to the FIA to formulate the rules so we don’t get locked into one car dominance, we don’t get a cars not running in Q3 to save tyres, we don’t get cars missing practice to save components, we don’t get drivers taking grid penalties to help their team mates and, with the combination of tired engines and double points in Abu Dhabi, we don’t get the whole field starting from the pitlane in Brazil. When they draw up the rule changes, and teams ALL agree they need to do a bit more of ‘what if’ questioning, what are the consequences. Also they should fit a revolving door to the room to delay Bernie until the meeting’s over.

      1. @petea

        It’s up to the FIA to formulate the rules so we don’t get locked into one car dominance

        No, it isn’t – why should it be? Any attempt to free up the regulations will just result in the form of ‘legal cheating’ that results in wings that flex too much at top-speed, ECUs with hidden settings, hidden fuel tanks and water-cooled brakes.

        The engineers are too clever and there’s too much money involved to allow the rules to be grey enough to allow innovation and development.

        1. @petea whoops, accidentally posted the reply without finishing it…

          The point is, Mercedes did a fundamentally much better job than their rivals this year and should be applauded. Also, the other examples you mention are simple facets of sport.

          Double Points is a commercial thing that the FIA were effectively powerless to stop.

        2. My point was, with a radical overhaul of the engine spec, it shouldn’t be unforeseen that one team would steal a march. Maybe a more generous %age change in the first year would have been more appropriate. If these concerns were raised by the teams, but they were ignored, then Red Bull and Ferrari have a right to protest. But you are right, fair play to MB for doing a supreme job. The double points may have been a commercial decision but was that imposed on the FIA or do they have a choice. I am sure, as you say, that the teams are always trying to circumvent the rules, or mysteriously finding extra performance after the summer lock down!

          1. I don’t think it is fair play to Mercedes, it was a gamble, know one knew who would be ontop – I bet Mercedes didn’t believe they would be this far ahead, infact before testing began they too were having heaps of problems with the engine. and with only 12 days testing it was ridiculous of the FIA to think their would be a level playing field come Melbourne. I knew from day 1 of testing that this was a farce. if they don’t let natural progression of engineering do its course (with engines they end up near parity) then f1 risks losing Renault as an engine manufacturer. Lotus has left them (they were only recently Renault “the team”), and don’t expect Redbull to hang around with Honda offering customer options from 2015. F1 could have only 3 engine manufacturers in 2016 because of their stupidity. cost cutting is essential, but it has to be fair, and have fair time frames.

          2. The double points may have been a commercial decision but was that imposed on the FIA or do they have a choice.

            I believe it was imposed by the strategy group (6 votes to FIA, 6 votes to FOM, 6 votes to representative teams with majority winning), although I’m not sure how the FIA voted. FOM and the majority of the teams definitely voted it through, at that time egged on by Bernie about ‘making sure the championship went to the last race’.

    20. Putin’s losing his touch. If Russia had hosted a Grand Prix five years ago he would have won it.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th October 2014, 14:04

        @moblet – Funny. Good to see a more lighthearted comment.

      2. He might still will! Looking forward to Kim Jong-un perched atop a F1 car winning the inaugural Pyongyang GP.

    21. This will be really interesting to see whom does Ferrari hire to drive their Racing Beast.As Alonso said that he is leaving to win the race, this means he has got someting big than Ferrari…… We need to wait till next Race and lets see who will grab the podium next time….

    22. Mercedes this year tried to appear like great sports by letting their drivers race each other (which is easy to do with such a huge advantage), now they are showing they are not as sporting as they would like us to think, if they care about fair competition, they should get onboard with relexing the engine homologation – but their true corporate face is now showing.

      1. I bet you weren’t whinging when RedBull had the advantage.

    23. Those who are following F1 for longer will remember that Mercedes was, back in 2006, in the same situation Ferrari and Renault are now. The outcome was that McLaren Mercedes won 0 races in 2006 and it was all down to Mercedes according to Kimi, Haug and few more I remember reading.
      The situation on that occasion was that Renault and Ferrari allowed Mercedes to modify their engine for 2007 beyond what was initially allowed by the rules. I don’t remember what was the stand of BMW, Toyota, Honda and Cosworth back then.

      On a slightly different subject, writing this, I’ve just realized that we had SEVEN engine manufacturers in 2006. It just goes to show in what a sad state the sport has been for the last few years. Hopefully, it’s on the upward trend again.

      1. When was the engine freeze introduced?
        The engine freeze was announced in Oct 2007 to take effect from 2008
        Mercedes reliability improved more because of the rev limits set to about 18,000RPM.
        And regarding exemptions to the freeze after its introduction, it was mainly Renault that was allowed several times to update their engines, while the other manufacturers used the reliability updates.

        1. I meant to say that the engines that were used in Oct 2006 were to be the engines that would be frozen for the 2007 season and that Mercedes’ reliability improved as a result of the rev limit of 19,000rpm for 2007

    24. Maybe the Ferrari is not too happy that he confimed this.

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