Schumacher’s manager plays down positive reports

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In the round-up: Michael Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm plays down a report originating from former Formula One driver Philippe Streiff which indicated positive progress was being in his recovery.


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Schumacher faces ‘long fight’ to recovery, says manager (Reuters)

“I can only confirm that I do not know where Mr Streiff has his information from because he has no contact with us and he never has.”

Grosjean: F1 teams wrong to forget me (Autosport)

“People forget what I was capable of towards the end of last year when I was beating Kimi [Raikkonen] and he was in good shape – he liked the car and it suited him well.”

Renault boss: The current engine formula is vital for us to tell out message (James Allen on F1)

Cyril Abiteboul: “F1 cars are hugely competitive this season despite consuming 35% less fuel. If the regulations had remained the same (V8, high fuel consumption) we would not have been able to deliver any of these relevant messages through the sport.”

Lloyds hit by £10m loss over collapse of Formula One team (The Telegraph)

“The biggest bill is the £16.6m owed to Ferrari for supplying engines to the Banbury-based team. Ferrari is followed by British engineering firm McLaren, which is due £7.1m.”


Comment of the day

Bernie Ecclestone and former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo have returned to the board of the Formula One Group – but does their view of F1 conflict what most people think of it at the moment?

Two of the loudest complainants were Montezemolo and Ecclestone (a man who conducted a straw poll of one person before concluding that people didn’t like the engine noise); both walked out during the Bahrain Grand Prix, perhaps the most exciting race of the season. The sport seems to be in the hands of people who don’t really appreciate it.

This year has been one of my favourite seasons, I hope those in charge don’t mess around with a great formula. They just need to make small teams a bit more viable.
Tgu (@Thegrapeunwashed)

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On this day in F1

On this day last year Michael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident in France.

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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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56 comments on “Schumacher’s manager plays down positive reports”

  1. “People forget what I was capable of towards the end of last year when I was beating Kimi [Raikkonen] and he was in good shape – he liked the car and it suited him well.”

    Not taking anything away from Grosjean but Raikkonen wasn’t completely well with his back injury and he didn’t prefer the long-wheelbased car – but Grosjean’s performance was very good nevertheless in the second half of the season.

    1. Grosjean’s most imperious performance in 2013 was Japan and United States. In Suzuka, he was fighting with the dominant Red Bull cars for victory, and only finished a couple of seconds behind them, where the nearest non-Newey car (including his own teammate) finished over 45 seconds (!!) behind. In Austin, he split the Red Bulls and finished only a few seconds behind Vettel, where the nearest non-Newey car finished over 25 seconds behind. Those were incredible performances, almost Alonso-esque in his ability to fight against a superior car.

    2. Grosjean like Raikkonen seem to perform well in cars that suit them. Is that anything out of the ordinary? No. Grosjean if you want to move up you only have to get sponsors because besides that you are not a great driver and I’m sure Maldonado will do you next years, especially if you keep your childish attitude.

    3. I have a feeling that Grosjean’s F1 career will ultimately wind up being perceived as a relatively mediocre one. He is certainly a talented driver, but at this stage of the game, I think it’s unlikely that he’ll ever get the opportunity to show his stuff in one of the top teams. Put him a Mercedes, and he would likely win some races, but he just doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor that brings the elite outfits knocking on your door. That said, I do like the guy, and I’d love to see him prove me wrong. Maybe Lotus with the Mercedes power unit will raise some eyebrows next year?

    4. Grosjean: Alonso is no better than me

    5. “People forget what I was capable of towards the end of last year when I was beating Kimi [Raikkonen] and he was in good shape – he liked the car and it suited him well.”

      Formula 1 is not a sport, where you bask on past laurels

      1. People who rate Kimi do. Well, past laurel.

        Ferrari are going to have to have the rules, finances and rulings so bent their way that they can make a relative masterpiece of a car for either of their two grossly over rated drivers to win a WDC / WCC for them. And looking at their staff hiring, hiring attempts, and their political attempts, they know that already.

    6. Whenever I hear this sort of thing about Grosjean, I am reminded of Jean Pierre Jarier. Occasionally brilliant, otherwise just competent.

  2. I agree with COTD @thegrapeunwashed

    I know quite a few people that have started watching F1 because of what they saw this year. The dominance of Mercedes didn’t spoil the show because they could race. The only real shame as far as that went was that mechanical issues prevented them from duelling up close in quite a few races, but we maybe should expect that at the start of new regulations, and the battle still had some spice even though it wasn’t always wheel to wheel.

    There was good racing throughout the field and given more time I feel that this could improve still if the regulations are allowed to stay stable for a while longer (rather than the moving target we’ve had in other years)

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      29th December 2014, 12:12

      Thanks @3dom (and Keith), I’m really looking forward to next season: other teams will have closed the gap, Fernando and Jenson are going to have a real fight (unlike the damp squib of Fer/Kimi) and Rosberg is sure to raise his game (as he did in Brazil last season). The only real danger is that silly rule changes (double points) will be imposed on the sport without enough consultation, distracting fans from the action.

      I know not everyone’s a fan of the new engine rules, but from an engineering point of view they make sense – and the sport has always been about pushing technology. Engine technology is evolving, we ought to embrace that.

  3. So Marussia’s collapse will cost Ferrari, McLaren and the taxpayer (via Lloyds). Imagine if there had been a more equitable revenue distribution, it would have cost Ferrari, McLaren, and the other top teams some cash and saved the taxpayer. Sounds like the taxpayers have a legitimate interest in some cartel-busting.

    1. Lloyds (the insurance business that faces having to make good on any losses from Marussia’s collapse) is not the same entity as Lloyds (the bank that is largely owned by the British taxpayers). Lloyds insurance losses are covered by private investors, not the taxpayer (of which I’m one!).

      1. That’s not what the article says. It’s apparently not an insurance loss, it’s a capital loss, which makes more business sense.

        1. It was indeed the LDC which is the investment arm of the Lloyds Banking Group. Which begs the question. Who signed off a £13.2 million investment on a fledgling F1 team? Thats not smart investment at all. Very few if any F1 teams make a profit.

          1. And since when have bankers made sensible investments?? ;-)

  4. The interview with Cyril Abiteboul is quite telling. The mainstream manufacturers want to push the limits of engine capability, V8s are not “in” anymore, it just doesnt make sense. Everyone is downsizing, only Ferrari continue to build anything more than 8 pots. Bernie isnt stupid, he’s just playing his usual games with his “threats” of going back to the V8s. He knows more than anybody that the manufacturers will only continue to pump cash into their F1 programs if the formula suits their marketing strategies. Is it just a mere coincidence that Honda is back in F1 at the same time that the new NSX is going to be launched?

    The points about FE is very interesting too. So far, I think the series has been a resounding success. The grid is made up of proper racing pedigree, and the wheel to wheel action has been great. Agag recently mentioned many major manufacturers are interested in investing in the series over the next few years. Fanboost aside, I think FE has a great future ahead of it, and if the series is managed well, and if F1 doesnt reprogram itself to operate in the 21st Century, it could very well eclipse F1. Could we end up in a world where the WEC and FE being the two top racing series with F1 confined to the history books?

    1. v10s were not in either or v12s in 1989, how many road cars used them? as much as today is the answer. those glorious sounding engines made f1 a great spectacle for 24 years.

      1. Yes you have a point, not many road cars used them…but still, at the time, just like today, some of the top marques, Merc S class, BMW 7 series, still offer V12…but I cant see it lasting though. The likes of Audi are cutting back on the V12s and V10s and I cannot see BMW offering up another V12 for the next 7 series.

        All Im saying is that, back in teh 80’s it was niche…now its going to get even more niche.

    2. This post pretty much sums up exactly why anyone who seriously believes that the engine formula is going to change in the next 2 years is stupid – it will never go back to something less efficient than we have now because the manufacturers and the sponsors would run a mile if it did.

      The sooner people accept that the sooner we can get on with enjoying the modern F1 and not debating over ridiculous things like that.

  5. Di Grassi’s Formula E wouldn’t even have the power to get up that!

    1. No but his Audi LMP1 does.

  6. Love the Di Grassi/Wurz Tweets :)

  7. The thing I always ask myself with Grosjean is, which driver from a top team would I eject to give him a drive?

    Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso, Button – no.

    The only two I’d (in team manager mode) maybe switch out for Grosjean are Raikkonen (depending on what he does this year) and Kvyat (same). I’d very much like to see Grosjean in a good car, but struggle to find anywhere to put him even when I ignore other big-team-worthy guys like Hulkenberg…

    1. I’d pick Grosjean over Button for sure.. maybe risk it with Rosberg.

    2. He could be better than Jenson… just saying.

    3. @jcost
      He could, but he also could be better than anyone, the point is that we don’t know. In @neilosjames list, there are proven drivers, on the other hand Grosjean can only show a half a season where he was better than Kimi. Another thing is that some TPs were here in 2009, when Romain was put in the Renault from Valencia, and caused havoc at his second ever race. After a poor debut he was out of F1, but EB made it possible for him to return in 2012. No one can deny his speed, but he started his 2nd career where he left off, breaking other cars. In 2013 he was a bit better, more aware of his surroundings, this year he did not have a chance to fight other drivers so I cannot be sure if he matured enough.

      All in all I have to ask, do you really think he is better than anyone in that list?

    4. Roseberg, Vettel, Button, yes.

      Rosberg was flattered and there for motivated this year by Hamilton’s various issues. He’s a very good driver, but not great. If Lewis gets out of the blocks well in 2015, Rosberg will melt away. Opinion will either be revised or fans will desperately keep referring back to 2014

      Vettel has done nothing on track that suggests his record is anything other than a reflection of Newey’s genius. He beat Webber, but Ricciardo showed this year how bad Webber really was. Hell, even Button literally scared Vettel off the track, and Ricciardo chased him out of RBR in one single season. Was waiting all season for Vettel to prove himself by managing to do the great driver trick of getting more out of the car than it technically deserved. He failed. He failed so bad his team mate humiliated him. And this is the driver Ferrari hired????

      Button, fantastic bloke, really good racer, but never a No1. Perhaps the best No2 a team and No1 driver could want. He got a well deserved gift from Brawn, Honda and Mercedes, and made the most of it with determination rather than pure driving speed. No one was more happy for him than me, and that season was one of the best in decades, but no way is Button great or top tier.

      1. Also, when considering Grosjean, consider what people thought of Ricciardo before he started humiliating Vettel. No one knew.

      2. This season doesn’t “show how bad Webber really was.” This season shows how dependent certain drivers are on certain characteristics. Some adapt, some don’t, some can’t. Webber in his prime was likely just as good as Ricciardo, judging by the totality of their careers, not one season. His last few years, he was clearly past his best, and admitted as much in an interview. That said, he ran Vettel very close whenever the blown diffusers weren’t at play, and an argument can be made that he was actually slightly better during some of these periods. With the influence of the diffusers virtually eliminated this year, Vettel was once again simply a solid driver. Can’t know for sure, but I don’t see Ricciardo beating Vettel in the preceding four seasons.

      3. From your comments on Vettel, it smells more of hatred than logic.

    5. I’d swap Vettel for Grosjean, or if Rosberg does not improve his race performances, I might swap him for Grosjean too. Button is not very good in qualifying, but is good in the races, which is where it counts but is not good enough in my opinion to be number 1. The rest? Maybe not. IMO, Alonso, Hamilton and Ricciardo are top drivers, and Grosjean does not fit into that category right now. I’d definitely swap Vettel for Hulkenberg, just to give him a chance which he has been deserving since Brazil 2010.

    6. I completely agree. I definitely wouldn’t risk swapping any of those for him.

      When there were rumours of a move to McLaren, I found them laughable, quite frankly. McLaren wouldn’t swap Button or Magnussen for a driver who isn’t going to be much better, if at all. Just to find that out, it would’ve been a massive risk. With Alonso, they know they have one of the best. Not much risk for McLaren in that move.

      He is a good driver for a team like Lotus to have though. What he did in late 2013 was impressive and he showed flashes of that last season as well. Him and Maldonado is a good line-up.

      1. I was being too generous regarding McLaren’s decision-making actually, referring to them swapping Perez for Magnussen.

  8. I would quite like to see 3 way radio for 2015 – an open channel between the pits and both drivers. Each teammate could hear exactly what is being said to the other driver such as when they are coming into the pits, whether they have any car issues, team orders etc, plus, the drivers could talk to eachother. Imagine how that would have spiced up Rosberg and Hamilton’s fight in Hungary where Hamilton disobeyed the team orders – Rosberg could have voiced his complaints directly to Hamilton and Rosberg would have also heard the team orders issued to Lewis.

    1. Would be quite amusing I suppose. Particularly between Vettel and Alonso during one of their spats.

    2. Not a good idea. It would un-neccesarily distract the other driver. Plus drivers like Alonso would play mind games with the other driver, and Rosberg would be concerned as to what went in Lewis eyes.

      1. Im seeing no bad side to that.

  9. stephen thompson
    29th December 2014, 7:57

    I have a feeling that Grosgrain might be another Button. Lots of promise, flashes of brilliance but years of struggle and then a sudden world championship. Time will tell.

    1. Grosjean should stop reminding people about his past achievement, not everybody has forgot about his ‘first lap nut-case’ jobs

      1. There have been wilder drivers in the past who then went on to mature considerably and have great success. Just look at Scheckter, for example, a driver whom Fittipaldi once described as a “menace” on track and whom the GPDA tried to have kicked out of F1, only to calm down considerably and to go on to win the 1979 WDC, by which time his reputation as a more calm and methodical driver was pretty much the polar opposite of his reputation in 1973.

        Grosjean has shown a willingness to change his driving habits and for self improvement – when fighting with Webber in the 2013 Japanese GP, he drove cleanly but authoritatively and looked like a completely different driver. I’m not saying that he will definitely follow the same path, but he has done quite a lot to move away from those wilder first few races when he was struggling with a lack of support from the team.

  10. i read the strieff interview somewhere else, wish i could find the link again, he says he visited Schumacher, and that schumacher he is in a wheelchair, has trouble speaking and has memory problems.

    1. This isn’t the first time Streiff has given an interview about Schumacher’s conditions only for his comments to be immediately denied by Schumacher’s management.

    2. This is it then

  11. People forget what I was capable of towards the end of last year

    I’m not sure what why Grosjean made this comment, it looks like he is complaining, but according to Wikipedia he has a contract to drive for Lotus, so I can’t see why he would complain.

    1. Sorry, my apologies, I had got the information from the F1 Fanatic website, not Wikipedia.

      1. @drycrust It’s probably right then :-)

        1. Ha ha, I agree. It says he is driving for Lotus and that he has a contract.
          My apologies for attributing my source to the wrong people.

    2. @drycrust I think he is nervous about being beaten by Maldonado in the Mercedes engines.

      1. Probably. Maldonado gave him a tough time in the 2nd half of the season. Grosjean needs to step it up again next year.

  12. I think Grosjean got really lucky he did not get fired thinking about the amount of cars he wrecked from 2012 to mid season 2013. Monaco 2013 was especially funny :) Not saying he is a bad driver now when he seemed to relax a bit and in comparison when Kimi started to have issues. I still think he needs to have at least one good season on his resume to bury those early career problems and prove himself.

    Most likely Kimi is going to retire after next season regardless how the season is going for him. He is getting his first kid and i doubt Kimi is very interested spending 3/4 of a year abroad. There are a lot of talented drivers gunning for that seat and i don’t know if Grosjean is the one that most deserves it.

  13. Trouble for Grosjean is he was never going to get close to Alonso in his first season but he got somewhat unfairly written off. He came back stronger but then made some/too many silly errors. And then he had Maldona-doh! as a team mate, no one gets credit for outperforming him. I think hes first rate but he may get a rep as a journeyman and that will be that.

    1. The problem is no one really paid attention to Grosjean this season because Lotus was a backmarker for a long time, and when he managed to score, everyone already expected Lotus to get points.

      1. Yeh he lucked out this year after looking like he was ready to go A list. Kimi’s performance this year has hardly helped him. Its a fools game to say that sort of thing but it does go on. See the reappraisal of Webber now Vettel is shown to be just a flat track bully.

  14. Wow, Schumacher’s crash was a year ago already!

  15. I think Räikkönen under-performed towards the end of 2013 to make sure that Ferrari gets third place in the constructors championship. Possible discussions about his contract

  16. The biggest bill is the £16.6m owed to Ferrari for supplying engines to the Banbury-based team. Ferrari is followed by British engineering firm McLaren, which is due £7.1m

    Even for a firm like McLaren, £7m is a lot of money. You’d think that they would be more vocal on the economics of F1 than they have been. After all, not only must they take that loss, but they might have to field a third car too.

    This omerta on the part of almost everyone in F1 when it comes to criticizing FOM (and its poodle, the FIA), is emblematic of a wider crisis in the finance of sport – one need only think of the scandals at FIFA or the Olympics. Add to this the willingness of almost everyone in the press to look the other way when malfeasance rears its ugly head – the threat of losing access will silence most journalists, or their editors.

    Will F1 change voluntarily, or will there have to be yet more scandal before state authorities get involved? Surely tsunamis of cash can only keep the sunlight of publicity at bay for so long?

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