New Hamilton contract “just a matter of time” – Wolff

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says it is “just a matter of time” until a new contract is signed with world champion Lewis Hamilton.

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The change in F1 race start times for 2018 is bad news for everyone’s favourite mighty pirate:

In Australia this puts many of the races beyond a live watch time window.

Previously you could watch a European race live and be in bed around 11:30pm. Do-able with work the next day. Now it will be finishing around 12:45am or later which puts the race and qualifying sessions out of a live watch window.

With streams available the next day, it’s time to cancel the pay-TV subscription.
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On this day in F1

  • A dozen F1 cars appeared in the non-championship Buenos Aires Grand Prix on this day in 1958. Juan Manuel Fangio won after Sitrling Moss was taken out in the first of two heats.

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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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90 comments on “New Hamilton contract “just a matter of time” – Wolff”

  1. Main picture caption competition:
    My entry
    Wolf and Hamilton: “I do”

    1. M.S. (@gentlemanfromwoking)
      2nd February 2018, 0:31

      Toto indeed seems to be looking forward to the wedding night =D

    2. @hohum Could also have been “Lewis, I am holding you!”.

    3. And since it’s legal now, why not tie the knot in Melbourne ;)

      1. Having more than one wife/husband is not really legal in most places though Egonovi, Toto ‘d have to dump Susie first.

    4. Ans Lewis is all dressed up for the occasion too.

    5. “Tonight Matthew I’m going to be…”

  2. Headline: Haven’t I read that before ?

  3. Bring back Grid Girls and dump DRS

    1. chris97 (@chrismichaelaoun)
      2nd February 2018, 1:28

      Looks like they brought in the GGRS,

      Grid Girls Reduction System.

      Now they are going to bring in the WERS instead,

      Women’s Empowerment Recovery System.

      1. Women’s Empowerment Recovery System


    2. @TEDBELL How many times it has to be stated: DRS has to stay at least as long as following another car closely through the corners that lead to the straights is very difficult due to how the cars are designed aerodynamically. Fix that problem first, and then we can talk about getting rid of DRS altogether.

      1. F1 should be very difficult..
        So get rid of DRS now!
        It’s as bad as “fanboost”.

        1. It’s as bad as “fanboost”

          Errr….no it is not!

  4. Sorry, 1 last comment on the subject of grid girls, err 2 actually;
    1. almost every anti gg comment refers to “scantily clad”models, makes me wonder if they have ever seen the F1 girls, scantily clad they ain’t (unless you’re in Saudi).
    2. The announcement and subsequent backlash have whipped up a storm of publicity that Bernie would have been proud of, if that is, it had been him that did it.

    1. A full week of free publicity during off season.
      FOM must be happy they didn’t do it the quiet way.

    2. I don’t know what you’re reading. I haven’t seen anybody treat grid girls as if they were strippers. The discussion has mostly been about how it projects a male-gaze-dominated picture of how Formula 1 is when it has grid girls.

      1. Paat, you must be a politician in training, I say ” described as scantily dressed” and you quote me as ” treated like strippers” and then waffle on.

  5. Grid girls in a nutshell: bunch of dudes deciding what is best for women, as if they can’t decide for themselves.

    1. or: bunch of other dudes thinking that girls as decoration is somehow a part of racing

    2. It’s never been about dudes decided what girls can/cannot do.
      It’s about ‘dudes’ deciding how they want to present their sport.

      1. digitalrurouni
        2nd February 2018, 14:06

        @Egonovi it’s always been about dudes deciding what girls can/cannot do throughout history. Not just F1.

        Anyway now it’s just being overly politically correct and not wanting any backlash about the #metoo etc movement and treating women with respect and not eye candy which made Liberty do what they are doing. I think instead of a knee jerk movement they should have had a publicized meeting with the grid girls and so on or like a poll or something and asked them what they wanted before making such a reaction. I am against the reaction because now the glamor is gone, it seemed like a cool work environment and getting women excited about racing cars etc and now that is gone, a source of income is gone etc etc. And almost all the time the F1 grid girls were dressed tastefully and not like the MotoGP grid girls. If the grid girls were asked and they agree that it was demeaning or it was a horrible environment for them to be working in then yes the ban would make sense. But it wasn’t hence my problem with it. My 2 cents.

  6. How ironic the interview with Toto features a poster with a grid girl.

    1. Yeah! But still I wont miss them.

      What I really want is spec front wings, not spec grid girls…

    2. Antoon van Gemert
      2nd February 2018, 9:26

      @Theo. And what a beautiful poster it is! I’m suprised tho F1-fanatic didn’t blur it, that would have been so political correct in our modern medieval society!

  7. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    2nd February 2018, 0:58

    Hopefully that contract never comes. There’s no place for sexist, misogynistic drivers anymore.

    Changing the start times might actually destroy the viewing figures more than it already has. Can definitely see a lot less people wanting to watch it live.

    1. Changing the start times might actually destroy the viewing figures more than it already has. Can definitely see a lot less people wanting to watch it live

      I think you might be on to something here. There is something about knowing something starts ‘on the hour’ that means for the ‘casual fan’ would be more likely to change channel to find them on the grid about to start the parade lap. Football starting at 3pm in the UK has long since eroded, but they do at least start on the hour or half-hour.

      1. really 10 minutes. its no big deal

  8. Another personal opinion about the Grid Girls debacle. I’m going to get bashed for this.

    Man and Women are different. Its not a question of equality, but of different tastes. Motorsport is dominated by male viewership. I’m not saying there are no women interested in motorsport- there are- but its main audience is male. And its not because of Pit Girls. Its the essence of motorsport and competition. This will obviously raise a different debate, but its an important one to have.

    Its not without reason that , for example, in Hollywood and film industry, there are films that are targeted to certain target audiences. And when target audiences are defined, they do clearly define movies directed towards a more female audience. “Twilight”, “Fifthy Shades of Grey” for two examples. Obviously males do go and see these movies, but are a smaller part. We have different tastes. You don’t see them stop making these films, do they?

    Grid Girls obviously are an element that attracts a Male Hetero audience. Like a beautiful male lead in a Soap Opera, or a Male Model presenting a product in a Female talk show.

    Is there anything wrong in trying to attract a broader audience? Definitely not. But its not taking out from the show things that add to the show. Its by adding something more. Adding more value. Adding different things.

    I don’t know a single supporter of Grid Girls that doesn’t also support the possibility of a female driver, engineer, CEO, whatever to succeed.

    We love motorsport because we want the best talent to raise to the top. But does this imply that we can’t have grid girls? How about a different name ? Grid Models?

    Is formula 1 the biggest show in Motorsport in the World? It is. It has the biggest audiences. Does it call for a bigger male audience? Absolutely . Is it because of the Pit Girls? No. Do the Pit Girls add to the Show? Yes. Does their work require any sort of skill, commitment and hard work? Also yes.

    You know what would be a more progressive way of thinking ? Was to make grid girls do something more. TO involve each region local designers, for example. To allow photography competitions each race with these models for the press, with prizes similar to any model competition. Give exposure to these ladies beyond what they do merely with the number board. This could all happen during the weekend, and could not be part of the live broadcast per se, but the whole F1 experience for media, spectators and partners. Why not include real professionalism and the beauty and model world into F1? Formula one is not only the Race and the practices and the qualify sessions. Its a big show only equip arable to the World Cups and Olympic Games. Want to make it even more progressive? Bring in Male models.

    Now taking them out? Whatever the reason, it just means making the show poorer. And taking out part of the glamour.

    1. You’re a very reasonable person, but unfortunately there’s no space for “reasonable thinking” nowadays.

    2. I’m going to get bashed for this.

      At least you know what’s coming for ya. I seriously hope you’re just playing devil’s advocate here man.

      The overall point is that having several human beings standing around doing absolutely nothing except looking attractive (to heterosexual males ONLY, by the way) is the definition of objectification, and it should be clear by now that today’s society is not okay with that.

      You’re absolutely right in saying F1 can target specific audiences. By doing this, they have stated they want fans with modern ideals like equity (not the same as equality), instead of fans that cannot even recognize their own misogyny.

      Just because things have been done a certain way for a long time does not mean they should have been done in the first place.

      1. @evman I do agree some are there only holding the number board looking pretty. A progressive way of thinking would be to use these models and increase their role in the show. With obvious class, glamour and respect the pinnacle of Motorsport should represent. I’m really not a fan of the “Grid Girl” name. They are Grid Models , and the perception is that these are only ladies holding the number plates, but this is very far from the truth. There are the Sponsors Models, brand Models, etc. They interact with the audience, help sponsors in marketing, do add a touch of beauty and glamour as well as uplift and give colour throughout the duration of the whole event. If the problem with this is that people are uncomfortable that it aims at a male audience, why not also bring in Male models?

        The progressive way would be to work with this element and make it more relevant, develop it ( not talking about cheerleaders here) , and really make it work for a broader audience. Not erase it for some sort of perverse political correctness that honestly, I find a step backwards.

        1. @sergio-perez, excellent point re nomenclature, perhaps if they had been referred to as “Brand Representatives” the whole thing would have been avoided.

        2. @sergio-perez I think you misunderstand, it’s not a reaction to a male-dominated audience in this situation, it’s a reaction to the very nature of being a model. The job entails to be objectified, and a ‘progressive’ solution would not be to hire more models, even if they are male. When you say that they do more than stand around by engaging with the audience and assisting marketing, think about how they are doing so; they serve as eye-candy for the old, creepy executives in order to aid in persuasion for business deals. If you think anything else, then you are lying to yourself, sorry to say.

          There is no way one can make degrading people relevant. Thankfully Liberty knows this, and they have rectified it by abolishing the concept, which I agree with.

        3. Can’t win this debate. Let it go, the grid girls are gone so let’s forget about them. Hope they get some kids in as mascots onto the grid before the races.

          1. Indeed, and I agree. Kids/mascots as they do with the football would be much much better. I think if the announcement had been “Grid girls to be replaced with grid mascots” or something that would have been a much nicer story all round – rather than as the original posts alludes to, just taking something away and not replacing it.

      2. @evman, don’t dismiss the lesbian fans or for that matter the trans and bi’s.

        1. @hohum No worries, that’s why I pointed out how grid girls/models/brand reps are dressed to appeal to hetero males predominantly; It’s not very inclusive (morality and all, aside).

      3. several human beings standing around doing absolutely nothing except looking attractive (to heterosexual males ONLY, by the way) is the definition of objectification, and it should be clear by now that today’s society is not okay with that.

        Attractive people don’t objectify themselves. People who look at them do. If you really want to get on a noble crusade then start a campaign telling the entire population of the world to stop objectifying attractive people as a piece of meat.. also maybe stop looking at wealthy people as walking wallets… and intelligent people as laptops.

        Banning the broadcast of attractive people is like cutting the finger off to fix a paper cut. This PC feminist movement is ridiculously regressive. Now people are not free to express themselves, or look attractive, because they will be judged by people who are advocates of ‘modern thinking’ and represent society as a whole. In the ‘modernists’ point of view everyone in the world should only have self worth if they’re a doctor/engineer/entrepreneur and having pride in your physical appearance should be condemned.

        Live and let live (without whining)

        Also completely agree with @sergio-perez . F1 is a product for it’s target audience, just like any other piece of entertainment out there. If it involves having pretty women, which people aren’t cool with, then tune out. The exact same way I would tune out if Twilight was on TV.

        1. Maybe its time to change the “target audience” then.
          As above, get children to hold the numbers and get the young more involved in the sport to help foster a new generation of fans. I’m sorry, I don’t agree with you at all.

        2. @todfod , @john-h is right: Liberty is changing the target audience away from people like you, so you’re the one who is gonna have to tune out. Hurry up while you’re at it.

          As for this statement:

          If you really want to get on a noble crusade then start a campaign telling the entire population of the world to stop objectifying attractive people as a piece of meat.. also maybe stop looking at wealthy people as walking wallets… and intelligent people as laptops.

          Not sure if you’ve noticed, but that’s actually what’s going in the world bud.

          1. @evman
            Well.. Thanks for the advice. I’ll probably tune out the day a bunch of moral high ground seeking clowns are die hard fans of the sport anyays.

          2. I love women. I fancy them. I seek no moral high ground. I love F1. I think grid girls need to go. I’m sorry.

      4. How very OPPRESSIVE of you (and everyone in your camp) to tell everyone else what they should think and feel.

      5. is the definition of objectification, and it should be clear by now that today’s society is not okay with that.

        I think, given the monumental indifference that greets most instances of objectification, and given that objectification is still everywhere… today’s society as a whole is actually fine with it. Regardless of what we like to think, or what we’re told to think.

    3. “Grid Girls obviously are an element that attracts a Male Hetero audience”
      Women, and homosexual men for that matter, are quite capable of appreciating the beauty of a woman. Setting aside sexuality, woman are more “beautiful” than men.
      As for this controversy surrounding grid girls, it’s completely up to Liberty Media as they are the presenters of the sport. It’s not about job opportunities for women. What about job opportunities for male fashion models? Nobody is crying for them, and nor should anyone as it is completely up to Liberty Media. Ted Baker (a great men’s UK fashion label) hires mostly male fashion models; should they be criticized for “destroying job opportunities for women?” No.

  9. @sergio-perez I actually agree with almost all of that! I think most people confuse similar issues, and pass them off as the same thing.

    If its about equality, then you’d have an even split of men and women do the job
    If its about objectification, you could make the outfits more conservative
    If its about freedom of choice, then you’d allow women to do the job
    If its about the job being perceived as pointless, then you’d get them to perform another role

    Ultimately the new American owners have gotten rid of grid girls for the simple reason that it doesnt reflect what (American) society is now about. Perhaps its the broader change in society that we dont like!

    1. Did formula 1 really just get moral policed by formula e? First off… if I only got over a drug problem a year ago… I wouldn’t be lecturing others about it. Secondly, is that a Marlboro patch on cesaris’s race overalls? Cigarettes kill millions every year, so take that grid girl white knight crap and shove it!

      1. Didn’t mean this as a response to you directly, but while I am here… the Austin grid girls were definitely one of the more scantily clad in modern times…

    2. I’ll believe that when the cheerleaders and marching-girls/majorettes are gone from all American sports.

      1. @hohum

        Exactly! Once we stop having good looking cheerleaders dancing around at half time, then we’ll know if America is truly onboard with it.

    3. @tomcat173, I believe that, in the US racing scene, grid girls have never been used to begin with – at least I believe that is the case in Indycar and sportscar racing, such as the former American Le Mans Series. NASCAR, until fairly recently, didn’t have what the F1 grid would think of as grid girls either – Monster Energy decided to recently add them to the grid, and in that series it received a fairly negative reaction (and NASCAR isn’t the sort of sport that is exactly trying to appeal to a “liberal elite”, as some critics have branded those who have decided to get rid of grid girls in F1).

  10. I’m really not digging Formula E’s shift in tone this last month or so. ‘Electric racing is the future’ was always fine; ‘F1 will be dead in 50 years’ and mocking it for making a positive change is just cheap.

    For a series that (rightly) brags about the promoter and teams being unified in vision, they seem to be developing a nasty taste for ragging on their competitors.

    1. @bookoi Also, their latest statement sounds somewhat ridiculous. “Welcome to the 21st century, losers. We arrived there already ONE YEAR ago! In your face, F1!”

      1. @girts : exactly !

    2. Their comments are shocking

    3. @bookoi Indeed. Their long-term future success as the leading motorsport category will rely heavily on bringing current F1 fans and viewers onboard. Antagonising our beloved sport in this “them vs us” attitude is certainly not the right way to connect with potentially the biggest source of their core demographic.

      Agag says he doesn’t see anything bigger than Formula E 20 years from now, but it’s not going to mean jack if the numbers they attract are still dwarfed by current F1 figures.

      1. Agag says he doesn’t see anything bigger than Formula E 20 years from now

        what when everyone is driving around in cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells!

    4. Indeed. F1/FOM needs to make more fun of FanBoost in return I propose.

  11. “The engine was 2016, but the handicap was only a couple of tenths.” – Was it really only that little? I doubt it.

    1. @jerejj probably not compared to Mercedes, but to McLaren? :)

  12. #LibertyMediaOut #BringBackBernie

    1. you must feel like that poor guy doing a slow clap, but nobody joins in ;)

      1. tags look quite like sarcasm to me though.

        1. but then yours too actually :D

  13. I have always had a high opinion of di Resta and I was kind of hoping to see him on the grid in 2018. In my opinion, Di Resta is a very solid driver, who had several immaculate races during his three-year long F1 career. Singapore 2011, Bahrain 2012, Singapore 2012 and Abu Dhabi 2013 are just a few examples. It is hard to say how good he is still today after a four-year absence as his performance as a last-minute stand-in at the Hungarian GP last year did not reveal much. Wiliams obviously have much more data on which to base their driver decision but I tend to believe that di Resta might have got the nod if money was not an issue.

    I think that Williams have simply made a ruthless business decision and do not expect to beat a lot of teams this year. They have been there before – especially 2012 comes to mind when they had one slow driver and one quick but very erratic and unpredictable driver. Two years later they became regular podium contenders again. This might very well happen again – Stroll will probably shine in a couple of races, Sirotkin will score only a few points but the team will make good use of the money and will be back on track in no time.

    1. @girts I always ‘read’ your user name as a combination of Grid & Girls?
      You might have to change it now ;)

      1. Haha, it’s actually written in my passport, too!

    2. @girts Agree. Di Resta is IMO with Buemi two big untapped F1 potentials.

      There’s of course the Russian money, but judging from his comments when he was a driver and even as a TV pundit, he is maybe a bit too far from the exemplary team player that f.i. Bottas was.

      Still, if I were Williams and not too tempted by the Russian money I would put Di Resta in the car. I believe it would even be good for Stroll to get some internal friction going.

      1. Well he was clearly never considered.
        It was always going to be something like 7 million and kubica or 15 and sirotkin. Thats not that much money actually. 15 seems to be what every midfield team asks from a rookie driver. And this number have been around for a few years now.

    3. I dunno, it looks to me like they have signed the fastest driver they tested either way.

  14. I see lots of articles about grid girls. Personally I am happy they are gone.
    However, people often say “First World Issues” about things that seem not the “Really important issues”. Well, here is an additional article to represent that. While I agree with the course of F1 here, when you put it in perspective with other decisions they have made, it is more minor.

    My opinion is to get rid of both!

  15. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    2nd February 2018, 8:42

    All this commotion about grid girls and logos is just making the fans look like fickle idiots. It’s not wonder the sport doesn’t listen to fans on actual important on track issues when the biggest controversy over the last god knows how long is getting rid of some irrelevant attractive girls holding up sticks!

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      2nd February 2018, 8:46

      And since when did we all care so much about 3 day’s income a year for models?

  16. After having a bit of a dig at the site for using a Bernie article as the first viewpoint opposed to ditching grid girls since it was announced, it’s only fair I commend Keith for presenting a balanced selection of views in the round-up today :)

    1. Are you suggesting Keith manipulates the comments ? @ninjenius

      1. You think he’s not?

  17. What does FE think will accomplish with this sudden attack on F1?

    They have to increase their viewers by appealing to the motorsport fan, do they think they are doing it by attacking the sport that has the biggest fan base?

    Will I buy a product of someone that is critic regarding the things that I like? Shouldn’t they approach this differently?

    “Hey I noticed you like F1, that is pretty cool, we do too! Here is something you can enjoy also and at the same time, we call it FE, we think it will be the future!”

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      2nd February 2018, 9:46

      You see it a lot in all walks of life when bitterness creeps in. Moto GP & WEC commentators are terrible for it as well. Rugby League commentators frequently try and undermine the bigger game Union for example also, whereas I’ve not heard it the other way round.

    2. FE will die very quickly. Only room for F1at at at the top of motorsports. Electric cars won’t be mainstream for 100 years. FE cars are too slow to be the pinnacle. Could they even beat a top level go kart round the tracks they race on? Jokers.

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      3rd February 2018, 12:21

      Just a bit of friendly banter. No need to get worked up about it.

  18. I kinda feel bad for the grid girls. I mean for them this a job – did anyone ask them if they didn’t want to do it or were unhappy about it? Like they get the chance to see F1 cars closer than most of us ever will and see ridiculously rich and famous people – perhaps some of them actually enjoyed doing it? I’d like to think that F1 would provide them with a different job than just pat itself on the back for sacking a load of people.

    Personally though I never noticed them. Wrong gender for me.

  19. With regards to the grid girls – this is a very solid opinion on it from a woman who runs an agency that also provide(d) grid girls for races.

    It goes into the reasons for change in any business, it adresses the “women losing job opportunity” and gets into a bit of detail about cost involved and adresses equal opportunity as well. Thanks Will Buxton for pointing me towards it!

  20. F1 should bend the rules with grid girls like they do in car design. A driver or team could hire 10 models, pretend they are guests and get them grid passes. Grid will have loads of girls and no rules would have been broken. I really hope someone does this…. Not so I can see grid girls but just to annoy the PC brigade. Failing that they could burn one of the pc brigade using the fuel saved using these engines compared to v8’s, as pre race entertainment.

    1. Brilliant Idea,

      Women on the grid, employed by the teams to stand in from of the rear diffuser etc. “to stop prying eyes”.

  21. Williams have failed miserably to capitalize on the Merc PU since 2014. Looking at Force India’s performance over last couple of years, it gets even more apparent.

  22. Looking forward to seeing all the celebrity women being banned from the grid if they turn up in anything but the approved uniform code of the FIA.

    Also looking forward to the wording of the Sporting Code defining who is and who isn’t allowed onto the grid, and perhaps why, though reasons have never been about logic.

    1. Not FIA of course, it’s at the discretion of Liberty Media, who would have thought it with such a name?

  23. I personally don´t care if grid girls are there or not but the grid girls themselves sure do because they are all unemployed now.

    I do care about caving into to social justice warriors, 3rd wave feminism and cultural marxism, which is where the false narrative of women being exploited in F1 is coming from. If women are being treated poorly then I will be the first to stand up and demand justice for them but they are not being treated badly, except in certain middle eastern countries.

    If people really cared about womens rights then they would withdraw races from countries in the middle east that treat women as property.

    The rest is simply virtue signalling that accomplishes nothing.

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