Merhi ‘has contract’ to race for Caterham

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Roberto Merhi’s father says his son, who has tested for Caterham three times this year, has a contract to drive for the team in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


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Merhi says he has Caterham race deal (Autosport)

Roberto Merhi Snr: “[Caterham’s administrators] should know what’s going on, because we have a contract that says if any of the main drivers can’t run, Roberto should be driving.”

Caterham’s administrators accused (The Telegraph)

Former Caterham employee: “It is dismaying to see the amount of publicity surrounding the success of the crowdfunding on the same day that there entire workforce was made redundant while owed seven weeks salary.”

Mercedes have a SHRINK on standby in case Lewis Hamilton’s title bid implodes in Abu Dhabi (The Mirror)

“Mercedes have put the All Blacks’ [New Zealand rugby team] legendary shrink Dr Ceri Evans on standby in case Lewis Hamilton’s title bid implodes in Abu Dhabi.”

Rosberg is more precise but Hamilton has talent and hunger, says karting legend who gave world title rivals their starts (Daily Mail)

Dino Chiesa, who ran Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the same karting team in 2000: “I remember the Australian Grand Prix in 2008. They had their first podium together in Formula One. Lewis called me early in the morning because of the time difference. He was so happy.”

Kevin Garside: Can Lewis Hamilton finally win hearts as well as the world championship? (The Independent)

“It is a pity and in some ways a mystery that Hamilton has not achieved the crossover status of his British forebears in Formula One. Sir Jackie Stewart is a national treasure; James Hunt acquired iconic status posthumously; Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill each won the Sports Personality of the Year award twice; yet Hamilton has yet to win hearts universally.”

McLaren Honda Silverstone 2014 (YouTube)


Comment of the day

Congratulations to @John-H who won this weekend’s Caption Competition:

Rosberg gives his best Ron Dennis impression.

And a nod to the runners-up Mathers, Naz3012, Tom L. and PhilEReid.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mujahid Rahman!

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On this day in F1

Twelve months ago Sebastian Vettel just couldn’t stop winning – his United States Grand Prix triumph was his eighth in a row:

Image © Caterham/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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82 comments on “Merhi ‘has contract’ to race for Caterham”

  1. Nice sound from the Honda engine. It feels quite high-pitched, but it could be sound quality.

    1. To be fair, they all sound a bit like this in person. The television masks the sound. I think they sound great in person, but on TV not so much.

      For those that tend to complain about the sound, it’s the TV that needs fixing, not the engines

      1. I agree, good point.

      2. Yeah, the sound isn’t that bad, it’s just our TVs suddenly have broken this year.

    2. They sound louder when going at slower speeds. Doesn’t look like the Mclaren test driver was taking the apex at race pace.

      The ear-piercing noise of the V8s isn’t there anymore.

      1. You’re right. At Spa the GP2 racers V8 engines were much much louder and impressive than the F1 cars. Standing on the strait after Eau Rouge we could see the pack of cars on first lap comming towards us, before we could hear them. We didn’t need earplugs for the F1 cars, only for the GP2 cars.
        Last time we attended a Spa race in 2011 the sound of the F1 engines was much more impressive. But F1 has an age old problem much worse than the missing roar of the engines, and when this problem rumbles in the media it hurts my ears more than the GP2 engine sound;-)

    3. It’s not that different to what I heard in Jerez testing. I was quite disappointed by the sound in person actually. F1 got to be impressive, it has to send a shock through your body when passing by, and that element is completely gone.
      I’m very curious what the ticket sales will do next year…

      1. Yay hear comes the stupid noise debate again..

        1. I’m sure it will be down. None of my friends in Montreal are going back lat year. The promoters have called and email me offering tickets.

  2. “It is a pity and in some ways a mystery that Hamilton has not achieved the crossover status of his British forebears in Formula One. Sir Jackie Stewart is a national treasure; James Hunt acquired iconic status posthumously; Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill each won the Sports Personality of the Year award twice; yet Hamilton has yet to win hearts universally.”

    I don’t know if that happens because Lewis went from day 1 to sucess… and the british media were hauling him as the best thing ever to happen to British sports history. He lost the champ, then won one, and that hype stopped a bit.

    I get the feeling that sort of image, and public recognition, stays strong and deep in people’s hearts if it goes from zero to hero at a reasonable pace… but otherwise it’s like one of those one hit wonders: incredible exposure from no where, and then it fades… I’m sure 2011 didn’t help Lewis a single bit either, being generally outpaced by Jenson and exchanging paint and carbon fibre with Felipe every other race. And meanwhile, the next young talent, was raising to the top and staying for longer than Lewis did after 2007.

    I rate him very highly tho…

    1. @fer-no65 It must be weird for Hamilton to get mobbed by fans worldwide and then learn from reading the newspapers he’s “unloved”.

      1. @keithcollantine and yet I see @fer-no65 ‘s point. Jenson Button is generally regarded as the nicest man in F1 and seems to be loved by everyone. Is it because his world championship came of the back of 6 years trundling around first winning hearts and minds?

        Lewis might be loved worldwide, but I’m not sure he is in the UK, which is a shame, there’s probably many reasons for this, but you can’t really claim to be the poor boy from Stevenage, whilst living in tax exile in Monaco.

        1. @danbrown180 Pretty much any poll has Lewis a lot more popular than Jenson.

          Lewis’ detractors are especially noisy, is all. People who are a little bit racist (which is a lot of people) are particularly irritated by him. They accept 100% sweet people like Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah, but Lewis’ very overt competitiveness really winds them up, on top of his slightly alienating choice of friends and culture.

          Also he’s interesting, and every journo knows they can get more clicks by raising some negative story about him than any other way. Witness our own Keith’s headline about him saying he was faster in Brazil. Easy money, and there’s always a little queue of people ready to say ‘oh isn’t he horrid’, when in context it’s just a racing driver being open. They’re still a minority though. Just noisy.

          1. @lockup I wouldn’t say Lewis is more popular than Jenson. Inspires more passion in both likes and dislikes, yes, but not more popular.

            I like them both anyhow, but I can understand why Lewis polarises opinion more than someone like Damon Hill, Jackie Stewart, or indeed Jenson Button.

          2. @lockup I’m not sure about that. Look around here. I remember the last time @keithcollantine did the fans count for each driver, Jenson was the most popular driver of them all.

          3. Well @danbrown180 @fer-no65 the F1Fanatic count is very historic. Take a recently active poll like

            This has Lewis rated above Jim Clark (!!!) on 35% while JB is way, WAY down on 1.5%.

            You can quibble about the wording of that poll, if you want, but you’ll struggle to find a poll of any kind that has JB with anywhere Lewis’ level of support. Not that I don’t like JB too, let me say, I’m not polarised.

            There’s a lot of noise against Hamilton, but the support is there.

          4. You have to be a bit wary of recent polls on this subject. Hamilton is winning therefore he will be in people’s minds a lot more than Jenson who is fighting in the midfield. If the Telegraph poll was taken in the early stages of the 2009 season then Jenson would be much higher up as he was the one doing the winning, obviously by this logic Hamilton would also bu quite high as he had just taken his title

        2. I’m British and Hamilton is my favourite driver! I love his aggressive driving style, and also that he loves and interacts with his fans more than any current driver IMHO.

          1. I beg to differ on that.At the Festival of Speed last year Lewis ignored quite a few people yet Jenson had time for everyone that i saw. However I have met Jenson at the MTC 2yrs ago and he is a true gent.

      2. The reaction from the fans at Silverstone did not point to him being “unloved” And why has a similar article also been written the The Telegraph:

    2. I love Hamilton and I’m British :) so there

    3. People dislike Hamilton because he acts like a child in interviews now and then, I’m sure the ‘alienating culture’ mentioned above plays a part too.

      I’ve never really warmed to him from the beginning. I have utmost respect for him as a driver, but as a sportsman (off the track) I feel he can be weak minded. It is something I think he’s improved at over the years, but compared to someone as eloquent as Alonso or Button his short answers or outbursts after a bad race don’t reflect well on him. I think Vettel’s popularity suffered from his moodiness after bad races earlier in his career too, although he seems to have gotten over it.

      I should say all this is just the impression I get from watching him on TV, it’s not meant as a personal attack and I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy in reality.

    4. You hit the nail on the head as far as i’m concerned. The media rammed him down our throats and the fact that he started off in a top team instead of plying his trade lower down was the reason i disliked him from the start. I still dislike him now due to his dummy spitting but i acknowledge that he is a good driver, still prefer Jenson though lol

  3. Nice sound, sounds a bit like the Ferrari engine, I hope McLaren is up there next year to at least challenge the Mercs, the rest will Alonso take care off :)

  4. That caption is a thing of beauty, bravo John-H!

    1. Abig +1 to that.

    2. I finally got it. A worthy and funny winner!

    3. I actually don’t get it. Can someone spell it out for me?

      1. @stigsemperfi Ron is known for keeping the driver’s trophies to display them on the Mclaren factory, I don’t know what other teams do but I guess they’re just happy with the constructor trophy and/or a replica.

        1. I think all teams do the same.

          1. @ibrahim No, it is known that only Ron Dennis does it. The other teams keep the replica of the drivers trophy. It is known also the incident with Prost who through the trophy at the tifosi at Monza.

            Very good caption indeed.

    4. Thank you all. Feels nice, my first caption win :)

  5. I think part of Hamilton’s issue is that fan opinions in sport have become more publicised and polarised since the internet arrived. Whereas in the time of Mansell, Stewart, Moss, the only people we ever saw speaking about them were either newsreaders, newspapers, commentators or our ‘real-world’ friends… nowadays we can turn our computers on and find entire websites dedicated to fans arguing with each other over who is the better driver/person/whatever.

    Conflicting opinions harden existing viewpoints, creating fairly significant, extreme fanbases whose opposed by extreme anti fanbases. And whose overblown extreme opinions irritate the hell out of more neutral people, who end up disliking the object of said fanbase’s adoration because of it. Commentators and media acting like extreme fans only adds to the dislike.

    And there’s this nice internet thing for us to express it.

    Happens these days in any sport with an element of tribalism among fans, and tends to become more apparent the better the subject is. The hilarious Ronaldo v Messi arguments are a good example in football.

    1. @neilosjames Comment of the year.

    2. @neilosjames – Good point. I think this trend really kicked off during the Schumacher years. As the internet came of age during his long reign of F1 dominance there was a lot of Schumi love/hate on the interweb’s F1 sites and forums.

      But, you are correct. Plenty of overwrought fans apparently with plenty of time to bash plenty of opposing fans constantly.

    3. Yep. We used to be much more civilised.

    4. I like Hamilton, but after the umpteenth photo he tweeted selfie of himself driving his McClaren with a huge diamond earring that he put some photo effect bling on, it’s just too much. Do we see Button doing that? Vettel? Also the way he can just walk the company line is sickening. His droll comments in Russia, about how great it all was, in point.

      1. “Is it cuz I’s black?” Was hilarious though. A real jaw dropping moment when I saw that live after the race. For sure, there is never a PR person far from him now.

        1. For sure! Lewis is Lewis, that’s what I love about him, on and off track.

      2. Thank God not everyone has the same personality as Vettel and Button!

      3. I can’t say that I’m a fan of his tweets, but to be honest, if I were making that much money, I’d definitely have a few self-centered tweets of my own. However, we blame F1 drivers for being PR machines/robots that never say anything of their own, so I’m not going to hold it against Lewis for doing so (although that doesn’t excuse his tweet of McLaren telemetry when he was teammates with Jenson).

  6. So Caterham make 2 million pounds via donations and choose to race rather than pay their staff outstanding pay? Gee, this administrator sure has his priorities in order!

    1. I doubt they would be legally allowed to use it for anything other than going to the race, surely, that was the point of it. People that donated did it for that reason, not to pay past wages.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th November 2014, 5:33

      @jarnooo, I hear that Nico funded the last 500k to race in Abu Dhoubli.
      He sees an advantage in having more cars on track, especially if they’re being lapped.

      1. @coldfly, and now apparently he is in discussions with drivers offering to buy one of them the drive, wonderful to be so generous to others when he knows how likely he is to be disapointed himself.

      2. Sources or it didn’t happen

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          17th November 2014, 8:33

          Same source as used at the Melbourne Comedy Festival!

    3. @jarnooo
      By turning up for the GP, they will retain their position in the championship. If you miss three rounds you’re disqualified and receive no prize money. With Marussia missing three rounds, they’re going to be disqualified and will lose their ninth position, promoting Sauber to ninth. As long as Caterham turn up and drive, they’ll then be promoted to 10th, which should secure them around 10 million in winnings. Well worth the crowdfunding venture and enables them to pay back more to the companies they owe money to.

      I just think it’s a shame that there are people who will have donated in good faith believing that they are helping secure the future of the team, when that simply isn’t the case.

    4. Well, this is the first I had heard that Caterham hadn’t paid staff for 7 weeks, but it doesn’t surprise me, but the staff are just one group of people that are out of pocket, what about the companies and contractors that have supplied products or services to them in anticipation of being paid, but won’t get much more than 20 cents for every dollar owed?
      Sadly, this was completely avoidable.

  7. Will Caterham be be selling positions on the grid team or will the drivers have to change their own tyres ?

    1. I read somewhere that the pit crew will be “contractors”, not “employees”. But I have no idea who these people will be. Possibly some former Caterham employees will be given a contract for this one race.

  8. Did Antony Davidson win the WEC alone? It seems like it, from all the tweets I’ve seen so far.

    1. Anthony Davidson won it with Sebastian Buemi

    2. FlyingLobster27
      17th November 2014, 11:23

      Well, if I were to be pedantic, I’d say that Toyota could still yet split the pair in the final round, meaning only one will take the title. Seeing how Toyota are celebrating Davidson and Buemi together, they won’t do it, but splitting at the final race has been done, yet only when the title is in the balance. In GTE, AF Corse did it last year (Gimmi Bruni beat Fisichella to the GT Drivers’ Cup), and SRT/Dodge did it this year in the USCC (Kuno Wittmer lone champ after racing all year with Jonathan Bomarito), and they did this to make it harder for another team to beat them, two cars breaking down being less likely than one.

      1. In the case of AF Corse last year, wasn’t that because they were leading and someone else still had the chance to take the trophy away from them? They wanted to ensure that one of their drivers surely get it (which ended up pretty stupidly though).

    3. @wsrgo I know what you mean but I saw plenty of messages only congratulating Buemi as well – it’s more about who’s friends with who.

  9. Lewis, if he wants to emulate Senna and Schumacher should ensure he has a massive turn 1 lockup (from p2) and T-bones Rosberg and himself out. Normally I would be outraged by someone winning the WDC in this way, even if it was totally accidental, but double-points has skewed the competition away from a sporting contest into a win at all cost competition and I think the 2 main protagonists faling to complete a lap would be just deserts for the person or persons who hoped to profit from this obscenity.

    1. You risk the blind rage of the Senna fans with a comment like that. Kudos.

    2. @hohum – One would have to think that this thought has actually crossed Hamilton’s mind more than once even if he immediately shook it out.

    3. he also risks being disqualified ‘Schumacher-style’…

      1. he also risks being disqualified

        Yep. He would be DSQ’ed from the championship at least, and I would not be surprised if he received a ban, too. There would probably be some clause in his contract with Merc which would work against him as well. In short he would be risking his entire career, with not much chance of success.

        The FIA has completely cracked down on this, and rightly so. It is an incredibly dangerous thing to do, and it “brings the sport into disrepute”. Even if he wiped Nico out by accident during the race, it would be thoroughly investigated, and I reckon there would be benefit of the doubt given against Lewis.

    4. @hohum no way my friend. Present day people worship bad boys of the past but they can’t stand a bad boy in the age of “pretty, sleek and humble super athletes” :)

      1. Lol, well BE could start by putting the pole sitter on the dirty side of the track with a Saturday night change, depending on who gets pole.

  10. Mercedes have hired a psychologist? That’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it?

    1. @stigsemperfi – Yes, if Lewis has such a fragile psyche, I’m sure this news will cheer him right up.

    2. It’s a newspaper how much do you believe it?

    3. The article is pretty much telling lies for money.

    4. Loads of sports teams and entertainers use psychologists these days, the Metalica film Some kind of Monster shows this in great, and hilarious, detail.

    5. I can´t imagine teams having no psychologist. It´s 2014, not having one would be a huge waste of potential.

  11. I’m backing Lewis Hamilton. At this moment I already know both Lewis and Nico’s skills and what they can achieve. In a normal day, it will be a one-two and Lewis will win the WDC but there’s an element I fear: reliability. I have my fingers crossed to witness a trouble free weekend for both drivers.

    However, after 10 wins in a season full of trying moments, I think Lewis did alright and there’s not much he could do to improve his current standing, so I’m here hoping for the best.

    P.S.: Cool too see young Lewis and Nico when the German was Finn :)

  12. I’m wondering if it might make sense for Merc to give new engines to both drivers and start them from the pits since it’s almost guaranteed they will come to the fore and fight the championship out at the front later in the race.
    At least that would lessen some reliability nerves.

    1. What about all the other high risk components, that would put a huge amount of extra punishment on those parts, meaning they’re likely to break.

    2. I really like this idea and was thinking the same. They should do quali still to decide who will be first out of the pit late and let it run its course :)

    3. Nice idea but then they will have to contend with traffic which, they should carve up easily, may be risky.

    4. Good point, but engine unreliability can happen to brand new engines too, would be fun though.

    5. I’m not sure that fighting your way to the front is less risky than starting with a carefully vetted older engine. Also, the suits in Stuttgart would get some SHRINKS for Wolff if he suggested that.

  13. Is that really a V6 engine? It sounds great!!!

  14. Lol that Mirror article is totally fake! Ceri Evans was used by Mercedes for the PIT CREW not the drivers, and Toto clearly has no thought of using him with Lewis now. That’s why his quote says ‘but the psychological part of the company…’

    Cmon @keithcollantine, that’s not the quality of journalism you should be linking to.

    1. @lockup

      It’s a way of allowing this site’s quality to stand out ;)

  15. That Honda engine sounds great!! Really can’t wait for next year already, but hope Jenson is still on the grid.

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