Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015

Mercedes wants “very competitive” Ferrari in 2016

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff hopes rivals Ferrari are stronger in 2016.


Comment of the day

So much for ‘F1 doesn’t do politics’, says Andy:

We all know that Bernie says things he doesn’t necessarily mean in an attempt to manipulate those around him to move to way he wants them to, but publicly throwing his weight behind a man who is facing criminal charges without knowing the conclusion of proceedings is irresponsible.

Most of Sepp Blatter’s friends are currently running for cover, or searching their conscience before expecting a knock on the door from Switzerland’s finest. And rightfully so.

This behaviour from some of these unbelievably rich and powerful people is a symptom of something being very wrong with our world.

This time, he’s crossed a line. It’s already getting embarrassing to admit to some of my more liberal friends that I love F1.

It’s getting very, very hard to justify that love with my loyalty being tested by gimmicks, the search for more money and boring races in countries with a questionable human rights records. If the driver’s aren’t allowed to share their opinions of the political backdrop to the media, then neither should Bernie.
Andy (@Andybantam)

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  • 87 comments on “Mercedes wants “very competitive” Ferrari in 2016”

    1. Regarding COTD @andybantam that’s beautifully said. So true and really does highlight that Bernie is supporting a criminal

      1. @andybantam You summed it up that beautifully. No comment.

        1. @keithcollantine thank you for COTD!

          @mattypf1 @mccosmic @jeff1s – thank you, guys.

          I feel strongly about Bernie’s comments, I usually do after he’s said something stupid, but this has damaged my relationship with the F1 circus.

          As soon as he’s gone, I’ll restart my SkyF1 subscription.

      2. In the same interview, Bernie said something like “bribery is a tax”… wow.

      3. most of the people at the top of the food chain are ‘criminals’. You can’t make it to the top with out stepping on other people. “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It doesn’t matter which ‘moniker’ you carry. Some of the biggest progressives in the 20th century were partly responsible for the deaths of millions and millions of people. It matters not which brands you carry, or which jersey you wear, human beings are human beings and capable of many different things.

        The ironic bit, is Bernie is more real than most people want to accept. Think about it. The world doesn’t work like it’s advertised on TV. The irony … the obviousness of it, and willful ignorance are my biggest qualms.

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      18th October 2015, 0:32

      Regarding the 3 races Sauber didn’t start of their 400 GP appearances, Indianapolis 2005 was one, Sau Paolo in the early 2000’s (where they withdrew due to rear wing failures in practice) was another but what was the other, did they not qualify at some point in 1993?

      1. Sauber withdrew from the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix following the death of Karl Wendlinger.

        1. Was a big crash for Wendlinger that led to them withdrawing, but he didn’t die.

          1. Er, hmm, yes, you’re absolutely right. Not sure why I said ‘death’, I was probably thinking of Roland Ratzenberger and his death at San Marino, the race previous. Thanks for the clarification.

        2. Wendlinger didn’t die- he was in a coma, but he is still alive even today.

          1. *he recovered and is still alive today

        3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          18th October 2015, 10:48

          Cheers, didn’t realise they withdrew Harry Heinz after that.

        4. It was so shocking right after the sad weekend in Imola.
          I remember Sauber being the only car with raised head support, I guess that surely helped him.
          Wendlinger never got back to the old Wendlinger but went on to be a great gt driver!

          1. upon some research I see they only got the raised headrest later. But they started it as far as I remember

    3. If they corner faster it makes following harder, if they exit faster they spend less time on the straight, and if they enter the next corner faster they need less braking, on top of which the braking distance is reduced by the extra grip.

      So grippier tyres can only mean less passing, unless I’m missing something.

      1. @lockup
        I don’t know about grippier tyres, but the belief that faster/more powerful cars will result in more overtaking is one of the biggest myths in F1. The cars were at their fastest in 2004-05, and overtaking had never been lower in the history of the sport. Watch some of the races in 2005, it was almost impossible to overtake or even get remotely close to the car in front. People romanticize the season and only remember Suzuka, but the vast majority of 2005 was absolutely dreadful.

        1. @kingshark, Exactly. It’s odd how quickly people forget the years when we had no overtaking at all.

          The fans actually asked for more DRS/KERS to improve overtaking and now these same people pretend like the FIA just randomly imposed this on F1. Unlike the horrible tyres though. They did come up with that nonsense together with Pirelli.

          1. @patrickl

            The fans actually asked for more DRS/KERS to improve overtaking and now these same people pretend like the FIA just randomly imposed this on F1.

            Did they ?
            I can remember a lot of people asking for front wings to be simplified, and the aero to be made less effective, and a whole load of other things too, but I don’t recall any mass requests for more DRS. Some people wanted DRS to be able to be used whenever the driver wanted to use it, rather than the current system, but I don’t think I’d describe that as more DRS as it would fundamentally change the way the system works, and would probably remove most of the artificiality of it.

            1. @beneboy, Yes they did. The 2010 fan survey is what was used as the basis for the current regulations. More overtaking (DRS and KERS) and more technology on the cars (Hybrid PU’s).

            2. @patrickl
              Here are the results of the 2010 fan survey.
              DRS isn’t even mentioned anywhere, so I think you may be misrepresenting what the fans were asking for by suggesting a desire to see more overtaking means that they were asking for more DRS.

            3. @beneboy, That looks more like a summary, but still 53.8% or 81% said overtaking was extremely important and only F-duct was doing that at the time. So what else could they expect? F-duct was scrapped and returned as DRS after the FOTA survey.

              Other things were tried in 2009 and they all failed and were already removed for 2010.

            4. @patrickl
              I’m afraid I disagree, and don’t really follow the logic behind your suggestion that this survey in any way suggests that the fans have been calling for more DRS, which wasn’t introduced until the 2011 season.

            5. @beneboy, Yeah they were calling for F-duct which was turned into DRS. People were fine with “fake” overtaking at the time because there was NONE before.

              It’s bizarre how quickly people forget.

      2. If you balance off the corner speed increase due to the greater mechanical grip from the tyres by decreasing the aerodynamics. Then the cars be faster on the straights and the following car can be closer enabling more slipstreaming and hopefully more overtaking.

        1. Fair point @w-k, though if they take aero off the cars become easier to drive. Downforce is variable with wind and other cars, and also very directional so that if a car starts to get out of shape downforce drops and things tend to escalate very quickly.

          As @kingshark says the cars can be too fast for the tracks, for overtaking, and they have been in the past. There’s a sweet spot and I suspect F1’s committee process is about to move away from it when IMO they’ve been pretty close recently.

          They made the front wing lower and wider to help following, then a year or two later they forgot why they’d done it and made them narrower and higher again. It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in what they’re gonna do next.

      3. So grippier tyres can only mean less passing, unless I’m missing something.

        More mechanical grip ⇒ less reliance on aero grip ⇒ more grip retained while following another car ⇒ closer racing ;)

    4. We’ve never actually seen a WDC fight between Vettel and Hamilton in equally fast cars. We should have had it in 2012, but McLaren ruined that. I want to see who really has the nerve and is less likely to choke when it matters most.

      1. @kingshark before 2014 I would have said that Seb never gets nervous when it matters (Abu Dhabi 2010 and Brazil 2012 are clear examples he didn’t lose nerve) but when things go really bad for Seb, as last year, he may lose it completely. Some people say it was hard for him to know about Michael and to start a family. Personally I don’t know, but it may be. Hamilton got unbalanced by his former girlfriend too. So now that both look mentally stronger than their flop years, that battle would be legendary, maybe the best in history (I’m not exaggerating, these guys are already historic, and they haven’t done any dirty tricks as Senna or Schum, that is on their favor to make their battle the best: fair game).

        1. I agree with your general point @omarr-pepper, though in Abu Dhabi 2010 the team didn’t tell Seb he was in championship position in case he tightened up, and Brazil he definitely had things on his mind when he decided to claim the apex at T4 on lap 1, blind!

          They all feel pressure, the top guys less because they expect to be on top. I think you’d need a very big sample to separate Lewis and Seb, personally. It’s something that separates them and Nando as a trio from the Rosbergs and Webbers. I don’t see that as a key thing between them. I see pace and tactical awareness as the battleground.

          For their flop years, I reckon 2011 is exaggerated for Hamilton, and 2014 for Vettel. Lewis was only slower than JB in 3 races iirc, and Seb’s reliability issues made it seem worse than it was just like the ‘crash kid’ nonsense in 2010. For me SV just needed a change to maintain the intensity.

          1. Well said.

        2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          18th October 2015, 11:07

          I’d say he was very nervous during the first lap at Brazil ’12. It was him being so tentative through the first few corners that caused the crash with Senna, once that happened the pressure was off, he just had to go for it to get back into the points.

      2. Seb would have had no chance in 2012 with a reliable Mclaren. He only just beat Alonso in the end, but the amount of DNFs that dropped Hamilton from 1st to no points while promoting Vettel to 1st were insane. Vettel would have been lucky to come in 3rd without all those extra points advantages. At least 3 races were set to give Hamilton an extra 32 point defecit each, by account of the points he would have got and vettel lost.

        1. @selbbin
          Hamilton would have won 2012 with the fastest car had it been more reliable, yes. But Vettel was only promoted to first once, in Singapore. Maldonado, Raikkonen & Button arguably inherited wins off Hamilton, while Alonso probably inherited a win from Vettel.

          1. Maldonado

            I’ve always felt giving the Spain win to Hamilton without any thought put behind it to be disingenuous. Formula 1 was the definition of random in early 2012, and we’d just seen in the previous race the McLaren being nowhere close to the podium on pure race pace despite qualifying on the top row. Different strategies and all, but in Spain Hamilton himself lost something like 40 seconds over Maldonado once they were both in clean air.

            Of course we’ll never know what could have been, but Spain 2012 is really not the guaranteed win for a pole-starter Hamilton it’s been made to be.

            1. Yeah, fair enough retak. I usually see Hamilton fans give Hamilton Spain.

            2. But he had pace on the race too. So normally he would have been fine going for the win if he started on top.

        2. What people disregard about 2012 is that Vettel was the second person after Hamilton who lost the most points due to things out of his control. Like 2010, RB was less than perfectly reliable. McLaren was not that much worse compared to RB, but they made a hash of it with operational mistakes on top of those.

        3. @selbbin In Malaysia he got hit by Karthikeyan losing out on a top 4, in Canada the team took the wrong decision on strategy, in Valencia his alternator failed meaning he lost out on a certain win, in Italy he had another car failure from P4, in Abu Dhabi he had not enough fuel to finish his Q run and still finished P3, in COTA he was the one who got held up by the backmarkers in the S’s allowing Hamilton to close the gap on two laps, in Brazil he got hit by Senna, … Anyway you look at it both lost many points that weren’t in their control. That is racing, end of story. I highly doubt Hamilton lost enough points to close a almost 70-90 point gap depending on how you look at it…

          1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
            18th October 2015, 10:53

            A single alternator failure at Valencia 2012 and Red Bull were heaping criticism on Renault even back then.

            1. @jackisthestig It was not the first time and also not the last time. After many guarantees Vettel lost another win in Silverstone the year after. Also have you ever thought about the fact that Mercedes or Ferrari would not complain about their OWN engine on the media, or are you going to slander Rosberg through the mud every single time from now on because he said something about the reliability in Sochi too?

            2. Vettel lost 8 race leads due to issues outside of his control. No other driver on the grid can boast such record luckily for them. Alonso has just as many leads inherited as Vettel lost…. Gives you perspective.

          2. Good points.

          3. Even if Hamilton finished first without those things that cost him lots of points, then Vettel would have finished at worst 2nd behind him with a bigger gap to Alonso in points without his own gremlins outside of his control. And that’s the expected result in any case considering relative performances of their cars.

            1. I doubt it? Vettel was unstoppable and ever consistent. I don’t think 2012 was ever going to be another persons year. Alonso for example missed one opportunity to score points at Spa and he still could not do enough to stop Vettel who lost all of the above and more… Any way you look at it Vettel was superb in 2012 and build on that for 2013.

            2. Yeah he was pretty good in 2012. I remember how much praise he got along with Alonso, but somehow nowadays it seems that either the details of his 2012 campaign are forgotten or those people just look at the results from Wikipedia and make their comments.

          4. Sorry i can’t count Malaysia. Vettel had responsibility for that. It wasn’t the car or the team.

      3. I guess everyone forgot that Hamilton could have won in 2010 too, just like Alonso and Vettel. And every year most of the time McLaren was faster than Ferrari. That’s one of the reasons that made Alonso such a big deal actually, just after he was beaten by Hamilton.

        1. Trouble was that the McLaren was indeed sometimes fast, but the team was unable to service it properly during the races. Botched pit stops and off car failures were what drove Hamilton away from them (plus the prospect of benefiting most at a works team from the new engines for 2014).

          McLaren still don’t seem to have gotten their mechanics issues sorted though. Still way too many errors there.

          1. Actually in 2013 they didn’t have a single retirement on either car. Both cars finished every single race, which I believe is a reliability record.

            1. Technically Mclaren had 3 DNFs in 2013 (Button in Malaysia), (Perez in Monaco and Britain), but on each occasion they were classified as they completed at least 90% of the race distance.

          2. That’s also true @patrickl . Especially for 2012.

        2. @jake,

          yes, Hamilton in 2010. He lost 4th place in Italy and Singapore due to his own errors. Those two finishes would have won him the championship.

          Here’s the thing, when push came to shove and everything was on the line and drivers had to secure points, Vettel did the job. He basically had to win out and came close to doing it – P2, P1, DNF from P1, P1 and P1 in the last 6 races. Alonso did the second best (who remembers him saying he needed a podium at every race to win? And he missed the podium in Abu Dhabi). Webber and Hamilton through away their own chances.

    5. @keithcollantine the link to the Mercedes story isn’t working, it takes me to a valentines article about why you love F1.

      1. @beneboy How’s that for irony! Fixed now, thanks.

        1. @keithcollantine hey. Maybe from time to time you cab post a link to the first articles you wrote, maybe some of your personal favorite ones.
          You predicted in that 2007 article F1 switch to cleaner energy and a lot of politics going on (well that second prediction is a neverending thong tbh)

          1. **thing ( hahaha little cellphone keyboard)

    6. That is one of the best COTD’s I’ve seen on this website- this is not just a problem that plagues F1, but most countries around the world.

    7. The day Bernie said that F1 is but a show, a piece of my love for F1 died…..the day I saw my first DRS pass a piece of my love for F1 died….the day I saw the tyres falling to bits, a piece of my love for F1 died….. I could go on, but theres not much of my love for F1 left………

    8. Had a bit of a laugh when reading the headline “Mercedes wants “very competitive” Ferrari in 2016”
      But not a competitive Red Bull it seems.

      1. Yep, I laughed too. RBR may be derided by many for “demanding” competitive engines, but I see that Mercedes is “choosing” who they want to race against at the front of the field. Ferrari will be there regardless, nothing Mercedes can do about controlling that. But they have the opportunity to enable RBR, a team which everyone has seen hobbled by rubbish engines for the past two seasons, with an engine supply.

        Mercedes, make an offer of engines to RBR one or two steps behind the works team publicly. Let RBR choose whether they can really be the bad guys here and leave F1 like petulant children, or allow them to compete, trusting their chassis and aero departments will make up the engine shortfall.

        I’d hope they take up the offer. But to hope for more competition, then deny a team which will provide said competition when you have the opportunity to do so?

        And don’t blame RBR for turning Mercedes off with their alleged “slating” of Renault. Mercedes are scared of what RBR can do, that much is obvious to anyone who can see it for what it is. But, if they want more competition, they know what to do, and who to call. Up to you MB…

        1. @clay
          Personally i would like to see Red Bull do their own engines.
          Then they can blame no one but themselves if the engines don’t perform.
          Having said that,i can’t blame them for slating Renault for their engines lack of performance and reliability.

    9. …but not a competitive Red Bull.

    10. I sometimes wonder whether it’s actually in Mercs interest not for Ferrari to be competitive, but for them to replace Rosberg with Alonso. The attention Hamilton v Alonso would bring to F1 would be immense and certainly would help Mercedes as a brand.

      Ok, management of the two drivers would be tough, but it would be great to watch. The most memorable seasons are not where 3 teams battle for the championship but when two top drivers go head to head in the fastest car.

      Just a dream though I know.

      1. Why Mercedes would want Alonso (or Vettel for the case) when they have the results with the drivers they have right now?

        1. Because they know F1 becoming so predictable is not in their interests. Best results isn’t always best. They need F1 to be healthy too, Red Bull forgot that.

    11. those late 90s Indycars, 900hp, no traction control (or engine maps), manual gear shifts with a real gear lever, great close battles, great racing, great sound, great race tracks. why cant F1 be like that??
      todays motogp race at Phillip Island was a better race then I have seen in 31 years of watching f1, and better BY-FAR, it is also a better race track then anything F1 offers.. it has made me decide I will not want to watch US Grand Prix, I usually wake up in the middle of night to watch it, this time I will more enjoy my sleep then this poor excuse for sport, and poor excuse for entertainment since 2014 specs and modern tracks.

      1. those late 90s Indycars, 900hp, no traction control (or engine maps), manual gear shifts with a real gear lever, great close battles, great racing, great sound, great race tracks. why cant F1 be like that??

        Because it’s not the late 90s anymore. It’s 2015; things have moved on.

      2. @kpcart, when you refer to the IndyCars of the late 1990’s, are you sure that you are referring to the Indy Racing Series or to Champ Car? It was Champ Car that claimed power outputs close to the 900bhp mark, with Indy Cars generally running closer to 700bhp.

        Equally, to a certain extent it is quite ironic that you heap praise on MotoGP given the rising level of rider aids that have been coming in. I know of a number of MotoGP fans who have complained that the only reason why riders like Marquez can get away with such flamboyant and dramatic riding styles is because the current electronic aids allow them to effectively just throw the bike into the corner, as they know that the electronic aids will intervene and sort the problems out for them.

    12. Regarding the COTD by @Andybantam, people really need to take off their rose tinted spectacles and come and live in the real world. Bernie is “irresponsible” because he publicly supports a man facing criminal proceedings? How does that even begin to make sense?

      Firstly, Sepp Blatter has an awful lot of supporters all over the world; so Bernie is not unique in that regard. More so, his position and authority in F1 does not, and should not preclude him airing his opinions – as long as they are no racist, sexist, inciting religious hatred or denigrating to anyone; and in this particular case, they are not.

      In a world where the masses simply people follow, are politically correct, and do not have the gall to express what they really feel, one man is willing to stick his head over the parapet and speak his mind without the fear of judgement; something most of the cowed populace are unable to do. And irrespective of whether you approve of his opinions, Bernie has a right to them, and he should be applauded, rather than demonized.

      Furthermore, attempting to hold on to the illusion that F1 isn’t political is just plain silly. Most races are subsidized by the government, and the ones that are not, wish they were. It wasn’t long ago Silverstone was begging for some government funding.

      Anyone who doe not watch F1 because their quasi liberal sensitivities are offended should simply go find something else to watch. These same so called “liberalists” who are offended by one mans support for an alleged criminal, and vituperate over F1 human rights records, are the same ones who vote in individuals and support governments who who start wars in other countries, flagrantly breach human rights (even of their own citizens), and are steeped in corrupt practices that will make Blatter look like an angel.

      So please spare us all this hypocrisy.

      1. as long as they are no racist, sexist, inciting religious hatred or denigrating to anyone

        So being ‘the biggest supporter’ of a leader who effectively banned homosexuallity and who’s government incites hatred towards them is ok with you, is it @kbdavies ? You’re suggesting that Bernie’s comments aren’t offensive to anyone, so they’re ok?

        So, also you’re suggesting that publically supporting someone who is being investigated by a number of nations for various illegal things, involving some of the worst countries in the world, is acceptable for the public face of one of the biggest ‘entertainment’ companies in the world? By admission of your own words, whatever Blatter and his cronies were up to, no one was offended. No bidding nations were denigrated. No one was upset. Everything was fine. Nothing was harmed or damaged. No livelihoods were risked. No money aquired by deceit. Nothing…

        No case to answer, then?

        Ok then…

        When you look at FIFA, do you see a perfectly moral temple, who’s system of methods should be adapted to run nations? Are you implying that everything is fine with the FIFA that Blatter built?

        … and I’m the hypocritical one…

        I can’t be bothered to rebuff any more of your very bizarre opinionated rant, I have more important things to do.

        Above all, It’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. No matter how wrong are.

        1. above all, It’s your opinion and you are entitled to it. No matter how wrong are.

          Ditto buddy. Ditto.

        2. @andybantam, it could be pointed out that F1 had no issues with racing in the UK when the government there brought in legislation that was considered to be homophobic (Section 28, which was in force from the late 1980’s until 2003 and sections of which bore an uncomfortably close resemblance to certain aspects of the legislation that the Russian Duma has passed).

    13. The rest of Brackley haven’t learnt from Rosberg’s mistakes………

    14. It’s not only in Mercedes’ but in everyone’s interest for Ferrari to be competitive next year, to the extent of them being able to challange for WDC and WCC.

      Imagine Ferrari failing to make progress over the winter and Mercedes drawing further away. It would mean another HAM-ROS “battle” at the front, and by now we all know what that means. It would be disastrous. Merly a handfull of races worth watching per season isn’t enough. We need a real battle at the front again.

      1. @me4me In that case, we’d have Ham and Vet with 4 titles each, heading into the new 2017 rule set (or reset ;))..

        1. @fastiesty, To me those numbers are irrelevant atm, what we need is better racing, and we need it as soon as possible. If HAM should win the WDC next year then great, but he needs real tough competition.

          1. @me4me Yep.. Ham & Vet battling in close cars could be like Hakkinen vs Schumi in 2000. Better racing will probably have to wait until 2017 rules, but if Honda fix the ERS then at least McLaren will be challenging the upper midfield again, Alonso there to pick up any pieces offered his way, and Button if conditions change.

    15. Why dont they want a very competitive Red Bull ? :D

    16. Toto is being disingenuous: if they really wanted competition for the good of sport they would have supplied Red Bull with engines and they would surely have team consistently challenging them! (I was never fan of Red Bull and less so after Webber and Vettel departures, but no discussion that they can make great chassis and their Achilles heel, even in winning years, was a weaker engine).

      That being said I hope that Toto’s “wish” comes true.

    17. I agree with the COTD even though it is really impossible to know what Ecclestone actually thinks as he is able to completely change his “views” on things and people in five minutes, as Jean Todt once pointed out. I do not think that these statements really help Putin or Blatter but they obviously do not make the already complicated image of F1 any nicer.

      Sadly, I think that Ecclestone says what a lot of CEOs and political leaders in the Western world are actually thinking. Namely, there is nothing bad about cheating and bribing if they help you “get things done” and if you can make money by doing business with dictators or criminals, then it is great. I am afraid that the next CEO of FOM will do not things much differently even if he will say all the right things in the interviews.

      F1 needs more independent journalism that is willing to seek truth, report on it and ask inconvenient questions to Ecclestone, Todt, team bosses, sponsors and everyone else. The RT interview was a great example of how not to do it.

    18. But does not want competitive Red Bull …


      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th October 2015, 13:28

        Its understandable. If Red Bull beat Mercedes with Mercedes engines, then Merc look crap at building cars.
        If Ferrari beat Mercedes, fair play, they were the better team, no one bats an eyelid.

    19. Really? :D

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