Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2018

F1 setting a bad example with kerb use – Hartley

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In the round-up: Brendon Hartley says Formula 1 sets a bad example by allowing drivers to run with all four wheels off the track.

What they say

I saw many photos of myself and the rest of the field with four wheels over the white line [in Hockenheim] which was a very common racing line for us. I think it probably doesn’t set a good picture for the rest of the motorsport world.

Obviously in this case I think it was accepted they were the track limit, from that kerb, which was a hard limit. But by the letter of the law I think we were all four wheels over the white line so part of me would say I would prefer that we couldn’t do that.

In Austria there’s another argument that the cars were being pretty damaged [by the kerbs]. I think Astroturf also works very well because you lose a lot of grip but you don’t damage the car. I’m actually quite a fan of the Astroturf.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The hottest debate in our driver ratings is teammate comparisons – and one red-uniformed one in particular. Just not quite the one you might expect in 2018; we’re talking Schumacher:

“You speak of the literal number of times teammates have moved over for MS, but you ignore the fact that before each season began MS’s teammates had already ‘moved over’ for him by contract. If it is only 3 times that his teammates literally moved over for him then that tells me how badly they were held back and were almost always, by design, behind him. After all, they were driving a car meant for MS but without the latest upgrades. And then there’s the contract thing.

You want to compare to LH? Well at least LH, especially with Nico in the other seat, had psychological grief to deal with race after race. Whereas MS had no need to concern himself, even if the odd time his teammate outqualified him, he still could rest easy on Saturday night that there would be no competition from said teammate on Sundays. You can’t say the same of LH/NR.

Him moving over for Irvine has nothing to do with anything really. That was just the circumstances of them having to appear to back Irvine, but ultimately there was no way they were ever going to let him take the glory of ending the Ferrari WDC drought after spending all that money for MS to do it.”

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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53 comments on “F1 setting a bad example with kerb use – Hartley”

  1. I agree with Hartley to an extent although I don’t really find going off the track with all four wheeles to be a problem at certain places. I also agree with the COTD.

    1. As far as I see it, in football, if the ball goes completely over the line, it’s out of play. Full stop. People don’t claim ‘oh, it was only just over, good for Messi for taking it to the limits of the pitch and maximising its performance’
      I think, if anything, it would take more skill to get as far over the line as possible without having all 4 wheels, rather than knowing you can just go in and even if you go slightly wide it’s okay.
      If the white lines aren’t the track limits, what’s the point in even having them? Just have kerbs and grass or whatever, no need for white lines! But while the white lines are there, then they should actually enforce them, as the white lines are supposed to be the edge of the track. Otherwise they’re meaningless.

      1. I agree. Why allow it at all? It makes no sense. Either make the track wider or stop the cars going over the lines, then there is no chance of ambiguity. Having said that I can only remember one case where a driver has been punished for a single violation of the rule and that was Hamilton in 2008 at Spa. A few others have been punished for consistent violations of the rule but then many more have left the track consistently and not been punished at all.

        I can understand turning a blind eye on lap 1 or in the rain but apart from that the drivers should abide by the rule. Perhaps the punishment needs changing though and make it 1 second added to time for each infringement…

        1. There is difference between going wide on corner exit and cutting through the corner in mid turn at the apex. Cutting the apex has always resulted in more serious penalties whereas going wide on exit is not. Just like in football going over the white line in different places is different in terms of penalty severity because one is bigger gain than another.

          1. There is no difference in penalty severity in white lines in football. If the ball goes out then it goes out. If it goes out past the goal line then it is a corner but that is not necessarily a worse punishment. Also they are not technically punishments they are just a way to restart the game due to the ball leaving the pitch.

            I think a better analogy would be fouls. But even these are pretty standardised. Although fouling in the box is open to some interpretation (really unless someone was likely to score then it should be a free kick in the box rather than a penalty but I can’t remember ever seeing this happen). However with regard to playing area, football is black and white, despite many refs not seeming to know that the whole ball has to leave the pitch and so could be touching the grass outside the pitch but still remain in play (But that is just a training issue rather than a rule issue).

            As for Hamilton in 2008. He was penalised for simply a single occurrence of leaving the track while not gaining an advantage. That is the only case I can think of and it was very weird as Kimi left the track at the very next corner but was not punished at all…

            In my mind if you leave the track then you have gained an advantage otherwise if it had just been a solid barrier then the driver would have slowed more for the corner or smashed his car to bits. However I do think there should be some leeway with regard to being pushed off the track, sliding in the wet etc. But if a driver leaves the track to gain speed more then there should be a form of punishment. Otherwise what is the point in the white lines?

      2. Could not agree more. Track limits should be respected and violations enforced. Unfortunately, it usually all gets lost in the debate whether the driver gained an advantage, was forced off the track, or whether he was taking necessary avoiding move. At the French GP when Bottas spun at the first corner, Verstappen did not hesitate to cut the corner big time at full speed (judged as avoiding action) and gained huge amount of track position. Someone like Kimi, who took the avoiding action while still taking the long way around, lost several places. Not right.

        1. @gpfacts Verstappen, of course, had no alternative option in that case, but more importantly, he didn’t gain any positions from his off-track excursion. He even made sure that he doesn’t come back ahead of Hamilton (the only driver ahead of him, and the two drivers who crashed together between them, so, therefore, I didn’t really find it to be a problem. The Stewards tend to be a little more lenient towards these type of things on the opening lap of a race anyway than on the later laps when the field is much more spread out than at the beginning.

          1. Sainz did go into 3rd though, ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo, presumably off track

          2. @jerejj Maybe he did not have another alternative option, but he certainly never considered the possibility…just floored it and went. Going off the tract should not be faster than staying on it, period.

      3. @hugh11 Possibly, yes, but got passed by them later anyway due to the pace advantage the Ferrari and the Red Bull have over the Renault.
        @gpfacts – But made sure not to rejoin the track in front of the only driver ahead of him Bottas and Vettel excluded.

        1. Well, I think this only reinforces what I’ve said initially…the track limits issue always gets buried in a discussion about all sorts of possible reasons/excuses and the very fact that a driver violated the limits becomes irrelevant.

  2. running with all 4 wheels off the track changes the racing line and the track. Lets put the grass back in. (sorry moto guys and gals). it also makes the track time comparison to previous events useless.

  3. i do not get the constant whining about the track limits, i do not see it as that big of a problem at all.

    i do not see this is too big an issue however, in fact in the past such things were seen as a part of the sport, drivers pushing the limits & looking for any advantage that is allowed and they were praised for doing so.

    nigel mansell at spa in 1990 for example was using the runoff at la source, going over the kerb and onto the tarmac area every lap towards the end of the race and rather than complain and call for penalty he was praised for it for pushing the limits.

    i attended many f1 races at brands hatch in the 70s/80s where drivers would regularly put all 4 wheels off at paddock hill when they had tarmac on the exit and again there was no complaints.

    most recently at austria in 2003 when drivers were using a lot of the runoff at turn 1, was no complaints over the weekend & if a driver could run off & gain from it they were praised. that weekend martin brundle who is a regular complainer now also felt it was fine.

    was the same on many other circuits where you had a bit of tarmac on the exits, if it was there drivers would push limits & get praised for doing so.

    so question is what has changed? why has it become a big issue for people now where they have to constantly complain everytime anyone tries it? go back and watch stuff from the past including some examples i list & you will see it was not always the case that it was seen as issue and frowned upon.

    1. You’re right, but then just get rid of it in the written rules. At the moment you can do it as long as you don’t gain a “lasting advantage” but then that opens up opportunity for stewards to decide when they think someone got a lasting advantage from it. In theory if no one gained a “lasting advantage” no one would do it. It’s a silly wording for a silly rule in general.

      Admittedly the last couple of years they have been good at letting the drivers do their thing, but 2016 was terrible at some races being punished for exceeding track limits and at some races not.

      If that’s the way they want to go about it; using any part of the circuit you want to get the best line, then they should just get rid of the rule that says you have to have one wheel inside the white line. Otherwise they should follow the rules they set. That’s why it’s an issue. If it’s accepted that a rule is generally not followed, then what’s the point of the rule? Can you not follow other rules then?

    2. The trouble comes in over the last few years when the track limits previously were set by grass and gravel were replaced by asphalt to please the moto teams. Now the track limits are much more abusable and hence changes the sanctaty of the track.

    3. Really good comment.

      I’m guessing the change in opinion is because there is tarmac everywhere now, back then it was usually impossible to go off and gain time, so in the small gaps where it could be done nobody would mind so much. Now it can be done everywhere you would basically be driving a different circuit

    4. nigel mansell at spa in 1990 for example was using the runoff at la source

      It was 1989 while he was chasing down Prost towards the end of the race.

      He’d been doing it at other points of the race also & I think may have also done it in qualifying.

  4. Hemingway (@)
    14th August 2018, 1:18

    Lmao that was one emotional COTD! Strong opinion, but ultimately built on very little substance. C-

    1. Don’t forget that lovely little touch of conspiracy theory at the end that Ferrari supposedly didn’t want Irvine winning the title.

    2. What’s not true about it? I thought it was quite kind toward Schumacher in that he left out the cheating bits.

    3. Emotional… yeah maybe. True though.

      1. It’s the kind of ’emotional’ which is deteriorating the comment section of this site: ‘your driver did worse things than my driver’.
        And we don’t know if it’s true. I personally highly doubt the final statement.

        All in all not a worthy COTD as far I’m concerned.
        It does lead to more clicks and comments though.

        1. @coldfly I picked it on the basis it showed the strength of F1 fandom; so much feeling (and a long thread of comments!) this long on from the events – on a post about Alonso. Makes you think what will be the equivalent in 10 years, etc.

          1. @hazelsouthwell I was certainly surprised to see my comment picked given that it was a tad off topic, mind you it started with a comment someone made about a possible return for FA to Ferrari beside Vettel, and then it was pointed out about their tendency toward designating a #1 and a #2 and how FA/SV wouldn’t work. Then it was said MS didn’t need team orders. I merely pointed out the fact that he had a permanent team order at Ferrari, by contract. It’s an era that will always be etched in my mind as something I hope to never see happen again in F1, and now that BE is gone, it won’t. It was far more than about team orders and was something more akin to race fixing when you look at how Mosley and BE set that all up for MS to end the Ferrari WDC drought post-Senna.

        2. @coldfly

          All in all not a worthy COTD as far I’m concerned.
          It does lead to more clicks and comments though.

          I think that’s a fundamental misunderstand among many of us F1 fanat… er… I mean, visitors: The CotD isn’t meant to promote the commenter to knighthood, it doesn’t (necessarily) have to be the best nor the truest comment of the day. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be ‘good’ or ‘true’ at all. There is no such thing as a ‘worthy’ CotD, because their primary purpose is not awarding quality, but keeping the discussion going.
          That’s why we’re seeing CotDs covering a wide range of subjects, from many different commenters, ranging from very controversial comments (chosen to represent an interesting perspective that differs from the majority view) to comments that provide a summary of the state of discussion that most readers agree with.

          My take on this is somewhat less cynical than ‘it generates more clicks and comments’, but I guess you’re not wrong.

        3. @coldfly No it’s not about your driver this and my driver that. It’s about an era that I hope and expect we will never see again where one driver was given advantages hand over fist, more than any driver had ever received before or has since, not just by Ferrari but by Max Mosley and BE, to end the Ferrari WDC drought post-Senna. We must not have any repeats of Austria 02, which was the blatant example and proof of what was going on at MS/Ferrari.

  5. Great thinker this Hartley! You have a track, marked by white lines… it’s a must to keep within the lines. Already some concession was made by being allowed to go with 2 wheels off-track (on the kerbs too, which are off-track elements too), going all 4 wheels is not “fair game” anymore. Wonder why the drivers keep doing it tho, is it purely just because they try to win time in those places OR it’s because of the speed on those corners, I mean by going off-track the drivers keep selected a superior gearbox speed than if keeping it on-track?!

    1. Because it’s faster and more forgiving. It’s both, and it’s one more motive than they need to do so. The gearbox thing is probably also true.

  6. Actually the rules was if you drive there then it was allowed. Jackie Steward said that in a interview and the most older drivers are still of that kind of mind. So it’s very easy if you don’t want drivers go there just place gravel (shortcut) or grass (longer corners) and you will see Driver keeping on the track. Silly rules staying between the white lines is nonsenses.

    1. @macleod totally agree with this. the track limits should be self-enforcing. the problem with the kerb is that it’s too friendly. that’s assuming there is a problem – i think it’s fine to extend the outer limits of a corner (it effectively makes the track a bit wider), but only if everyone is of the same belief that it’s fine to do so. if, as in the final corner in austria, some are keeping to the track and some are going well beyond it (it was worse a couple of years ago) then you have a problem.

    2. Yes, you shouldn’t be stopped from cutting the chicane out of the Monaco tunnel. Excellent overtaking spot, particularly if the other driver attempts to stay between the lines. Make your own track!
      Or better yet, put a pit filled with burning oil in there to discourage the drivers taking a short cut.
      And sharpened stakes on the outside of corners where drivers go wide to maintain speed. They can be removed for MotoGP, but F1 drivers need physical barriers to get them to stay on track. Rules be damned!

  7. Driver = Drivers silly keith no edit funtion…

  8. Re COTD: yeah Schumacher probably had it easier with teammates than Hamilton, but as with life in general why make it harder than necessary? Hamilton has been in a fast car for his whole f1 career whereas Schumacher quite simply wasn’t. The latter spent 5 years before winning with a Ferrari. That was rare to do in that day as drivers simply aimed to get into the fastest car. Modern day, Button did win once with Brawn, but he didn’t have any other option. Drivers are now joining manufacturers in a bid to build for the future rather than going for the best car now.

    For me Schumacher had to fight to construct the mould of the modern F1 driver. He was faster than all his teammmates before he joined Ferrari. If the team was 100% behind him, then well done Schumacher for gaining that trust. If a driver like Hamilton wants tough competition then well done Hamilton, each to their own. It’s certainly a privilege to be in a fast enough car to fight for the championship against your teammate as well as other teams. As an aside, I remember Massa competing pretty closely in 2006. Where was the ‘contractual
    moving over’?

  9. The cod about schumachers team mates signing contracts that obligated them to move over for him.

    What evidence is there, aside from anecdotes, to suggest that this is a fact?

    1. Especially given how both Irvine & Barrichello have stated it’s not true.

      Both have said they never signed contracts that relegated them to #2 driver & that the only bit mentioning they had to do what was best for the team was also in Schumacher’s contract which is why on the few occasions over the years where it was needed he did help his team mate by moving over (Irvine at Malaysia ’99) or help in other ways (Rubens at Spain ’00 when he held up Ralf & helped Rubens get by).

      1. I’m not dismissing your point, but how do you explain Austria 2002 if Schumacher and Barrichello where one equal terms @stefmeister?

        1. Exactly. If you want proof I’m sure you can find the post-race interview after the debacle that was Austria 02 during which Reubens states, when asked why he let MS take the win with metres to go, “I thought I should obey my contract.”

  10. None, and i am sure Jos Verstappen wouldn’t let him pass because of a contract. He would let him pass of the standings of a WC.

  11. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    14th August 2018, 10:50

    I am not quite sure how Ricciardos move on Bottas in China is ranked the best overtake so far this year according to the F1 YouTube channel and yet Bottas’s double move in Austria is seventh. Can somebody please clarify this with a logical explanation?

    1. More people voted that way.

  12. has suddenly changed from being a Dutch-Belgian dual national to being British,



  13. one swallow does not a summer make.

    Of course there are fans with more than one favorite driver.. but still.

  14. The weaknesses of electric power have nothing to do with “power and durability”. A relatively small electric motor can outperform much heaver petrol engine of any kind. And we have been making electric motors for hundred years. We are quite good at making electric motors. The main benefit of any electric car is in the acceleration. Electric cars have tons of instant torque which make them quite fast for that.

    The problem is the battery. They are incredibly heavy and don’t allow long stints at the power levels the electric motors would need for current f1 speeds. Formula e car battery currently weighs 250kg and can only do half a race and the battery can hold only 54kWh. So while the electric motor is quite good on its own the electric drivetrain is slow because the battery is the limitation. If we could run extension cords or scalestrix style rails on the road we could be getting huge power from very small electric motors.

    If we take an 800hp f1 car and let’s assume we get 100% efficiency (to make it look even better for the electric option) and a 1 hour 40 minute race with 60% of the lap at full power. We need 600kWh capacity to finish that race. In other words if modern f1 wanted to switch to batteries now the car weight would increase by 2800kg if we use formula e batteries as an example. That’s how far of we are from electric f1. Formula e 250kg battery can do 54kWh capacity. F1 needs 600kWh in most optimal situation. And a lot more in reality because efficiency is not going to be 100%

    How far off exactly are we? I can calculate that too. Formula e went from 200kg and 28kWh to 250kg and 54kWh batteries in 4 years. In other words we can expect battery capacity to increase 54% every 4 years if the weight stays the same. If we accept 250kg battery into f1 car and want, say, 800kWh capacity we need to wait somewhere between 24 and 28 years to get there at the current speed of development. Assuming rate of development stays the same during those years. You could say it is going to slow down because the limit to batteries is not our technological level but chemistry. Or you could say development pace will accelerate as batteries in cars become more and more commonplace.

    Another thing is that f1 doesn’t choose its technologies based on performance on race tracks. F1 is happy with going to slower engine formula if manufacturers want it. The change can happen a lot sooner than the numbers show. Just like it did with hybrid engines. Power to weight ratios and fuel loads included a turbo petrol engine or naturally aspirated will beat anything out there on raw lap time. F1 cars have gained lots of weight during the hybrid era and going to electric will only continue that trend.

    If I had to make a guess then I think in 15 years f1 is going to be fully electric. Maybe the innovation that makes it happen is super fast recharging so we have a half minute pitstops to recharge the batteries. Or battery switching during pitstops. Braking power harnessing is not going to solve the problem as modern f1 cars only spend about 110kWh during a race to slow down and convert kinetic energy to heat. Even if you could harvest all that it would still be just 110kWh out of the 800kWh you’d need. Although heavier cars can produce more brake energy you also end up spending more energy to accelerate the heavy car.

  15. In the photo, the white line is the one on the tarmac, not the one in the rain gulley as the stewards appeared to think.

    Maybe if track furnishings parallel to the track that were not official track lines were required to be painted in a colour that was obviously not white, such errors would not be made by stewards and precision would become a more important element of a driver’s skillset.

  16. Kenny Schachat
    14th August 2018, 20:19

    Ross Brawn attended the MotoGP race in Austria this past weekend. The last few laps showcased an electrifying battle between current reigning champ and current title leader Marquez and 3 time MotoGP champ Lorenzo. It came down to a last lap pass by Lorenzo, taking the win. F1 would *kill* for a race like this. Has anyone heard if Brawn had a reaction to seeing this race?

    Obviously, there are vast differences between MotoGP and F1 and comparisons are difficult. One thing that is obvious though is that in MotoGP, there is a LOT of room on the track, which make overtaking much more feasible. In F1 you can barely fit two car side by side on most turns even when they’re standing still, let alone battling in a race.

    Am I the only one that thinks that F1 would benefit enormously from wider tracks or narrower/smaller cars?

  17. I don’t quite know the context of the CotD by @Robbie, but it seems to be based on a fairly limited interpretation of Schumacher’s career. I see this quite frequently, where people make a judgement about a driver based on a narrow window of time, and not taking into account their other achievements. Schumacher, and specifically his most successful period with Ferrari with Barrichello as his teammate. But to look at this objectively you need to look at both Schumacher’s and Barrichello’s respective racing careers as a whole, to really understand where they stack up.

    We know, absolutely, that Schumacher dominated the results during their time together. But Schumacher had joined the team some time before – a Ferrari team which at the time had not won a championship in over a decade. Would Schumacher have joined Ferrari with the expectation of preferential treatment? Would he even have cared at that point? He was already a double world champion, thanks to his time in Bennetton. But he’d impressed since before his F1 debut – from his time testing with Jordan, anecdotally everyone involved realised he was a special and unique talent with prodigious speed and car control. By the time he made his debut (out qualifying his teammate on his first try), there was already an expectation that Schumacher was destined for absolute greatness. Now for sure plenty of drivers begin their careers in a similar vein, but in Schumacher’s case he appears to have delivered on that promise.

    As I say, by the time he joined Ferrari he was a champion twice over and clearly positioned as the successor to Senna’s position as the best driver on the grid. If Ferrari decided at that point that it was going to restructure the team around him, it was because of what he had already demonstrated in terms of his potential. Ferrari would have shown enormous faith in Schumacher, and likewise Schumacher took a big gamble on this team which appeared to be stuck in the doldrums. By 1999 Ferrari had taken a Constructors’ championship, and but for the accident Schumacher would likely have gone on to take the Drivers’ as well. If nothing else, if you buy into the notion that Ferrari decided from the outset to restructure itself around a prodigiously talented driver, you’d have to say that the gamble paid off hugely. But at that point, by the end of 1999, I wouldn’t say there was really any evidence that Schumacher had received preferential treatment in terms of teammates.

    That seems to change after 2000 when Barrichello joins the team. Barrichello would later go on to recount quite bitterly on his time alongside Schumacher. He clearly believes that the team favoured Schumacher over him, and it seems pretty likely that they did. And, frankly, who would blame them? Schumacher had shown enormous faith in the team, joining them at a low ebb, and had been instrumental in their resurgence. With a new teammate comes a new opportunity to define how that relationship, that sporting endeavour, will work. So I don’t have a hard time believing that Schumacher would have had a say in his teammate (as often appears to be the case for top drivers) and that Ferrari would be looking for a clearly defined second. And that’s absolutely what they got in Rubens. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. But he was never in the same league as Schumacher. Schumacher had blown away Jean Alessi and Gerhard Berger in his first test for Ferrari. Seasoned veterans. Two time world champion, immediately blowing away the talented competition. He did it in testing, he did it in qualifying, and he did it in races.

    Let’s look at Barrichello by contrast. Inconsistent at best. Drove some difficult cars early on in his career so didn’t make as many finishes as he should have done, but often beaten by teammates. Probably better assessed by his stint in Honda and Brawn, where, let’s be honest, he never really had the beating of Jenson Button. Button is a good driver, but not one of the greats. Yet really, Barrichello was outclassed. Again, I have no doubt that in his time at Ferrari he was treated as the second driver – there to support his teammate in becoming champion, and to score sufficient points to help win the constructors. But for that, Schumacher had positioned himself as the number one. And deservedly so. He had earned his status within the team, and continued to justify it. There’s no evidence that Barrichello was ever a match for him. Maybe there was a clause in Barrichello’s contract which said he was a defined number 2 and had to move over for Schumacher. But if there was, it’s a clause which hardly ever had to be invoked. Schumacher dominated Barrichello, as he had dominated teammates before.

    Of course, Schumacher did more than just achieve success as a racing driver. He built on the work done by Senna, and moved forward the concept of what a modern F1 driver is. He was the one constantly working on his fitness, constantly pounding around Fiorano putting in thousands of testing kms. He was the one working tirelessly with the engineers. When you look at a driver like Alonso, whose dedication and application is absolutely phenomenal, you need to see them as working to a pattern that was established by Schumacher. He went beyond driving being his job, he made it into his life. His waking moments were dominated by the application of thought and effort towards making himself faster on a race track. At the time when Schumacher dominated, not every driver on the grid had this mindset. There were very talented drivers, very fast, but none so dedicated to perfecting the science of driving a racing car. None so determined to optimise the minutiae of their lifestyles. Raw talent was always part of Scumacher’s brilliance, but the thing that marked him as exceptional was this. He set the standard, and it’s a standard that continues to dominate the modern F1 driver. Was he ever as naturally gifted as Senna? No. But he was a better racing driver because of his application. Perhaps a less interesting human being. Absolutely a more ruthless one. But his success continues to speak for itself. His legacy isn’t diminished by what it said on his teammate’s contract. In the end Schumacher didn’t need his teammate to continually move over for him – Barrichello was almost never a threat to him. Not enough to ever materially influence the outcome of a championship. He wasn’t perfect, he made some bad decisions in the heat of the moment. He’s human, after all. But a bitter teammate who regrets going up against one of the greatest in history shouldn’t detract from everything Scumacher achieved. And while it’s entirely possible that Hamilton will go on to beat Schumacher’s statistics, it should never be forgotten that Hamilton wouldn’t be the great driver he is today without working to the standard that Schumacher himself defined.

    1. @mazdachris Had to stop about a third of the way in to your lovely pro-MS post. When you so conveniently gloss over the illegal Benetton cars and his whack on Damon, and fail to ask yourself why he would leave Benetton where he was winning and still under contract, I decided your post was taking just as limited an interpretation of his career as you accuse mine of being. Do you acknowledge Austria 02? How about his whack on JV in 97, because that is such a glorious and honourable way to try to win. How about his dangerous attempt to move RB off the track at high speed with his Mercedes, confirming his career long method of bullying and racing like he had his own rule book even beyond the MS/Ferrari years of entitlement. Yeah I guess we can all be accused of limiting our interpretations.

      1. @Robbie I said at the top of my post that I don’t know the context in which your comments were made; all I know is that you were talking about his teammate moving over, as if this was the key to Schumacher’s success. So my post is in response to that – looking at how Schumacher stacks up against his teammates. And the reality is that he had the upper hand against virtually all of them, and demonstrated his prodigious speed in the car over and over again. Whatever Benetton were doing with their car in 1994 wasn’t the doing of Schumacher. For sure his crash with Hill, crash with JV, parking the car at Rascasse, and all the rest, are part of a long history of poor decision making and ruthlessness in the heat of the moment. Both of which I mentioned in my post.

        And again, none of which is really evidence that Schumacher only won his races and championships thanks to having a teammate who was contractually obligated to let him win. Which, as I say, is what I interpreted to be the crux of your comment.

        1. @mazdachris Yeah it started with a comment someone made that MS didn’t need team orders to beat his teammates at which point I pointed out that his teammates were on permanent team orders, by contract, as proven by RB’s own words post-Austria 02 debacle.

          MS had the upper hand against his teammates not only because his teammates were not WDC level, hired because of that, but because they had contracts to not be a bother to MS ever. That gave him a huge psychological advantage just right there alone. When a contract says the one other guy in the only other car that can have a go at MS, can’t have a go, we were all robbed, and no wonder MS compiled the numbers he did. Many drivers would have compiled the same numbers under the same skewed circumstances. Although they would not likely have had it in them to be bullies on top of all that they already had going for them.

          1. @Robbie I see what you’re getting at, but surely you can’t believe that he had a preferential contract at Jordan or Benetton? Or, indeed, for the first few years of his stint at Ferrari?

            I don’t believe he did. He was massively faster than his contemporaries when he did testing for those teams. Like, I certainly don’t think that MS is a shining example of humanity. But it’s really nonsense to suggest that he wasn’t a fantastic racing driver. He had speed like few others. And he had the application and work ethic to be able to maximise the talent he had.

            I firmly believe his preferential contract situation only began with the hiring of Barrichello, and at that point it was arguably well justified. Schumacher had proven himself as a racing driver, and the success of the Ferrari team at that point can be directly attributed to a restructuring which saw the team galvanised around him as a driver. Yeah, RB is sore about what transpired afterwards, but to be frank, RB was always going to be beaten by Schumacher, regardless of contract. Schumacher was just a much better driver. Ferrari did unnecessary things in asking him to move over, because it ultimately never really changed the outcome of the championship. This wasn’t an attitude that was solely isolated to Schumacher however. Lest we forget “Fernando is faster than you!” to another poor Brazilian driver.

            Even in the days of Raikkonen and Massa, where it seemed that there was equivalence, I believe this happened more because Raikkonen turned out to be a disappointment in terms of his speed. I think KR was always meant to be the designated number 1, but in the end he just didn’t have the ability to consistently beat Massa, and as a result it wouldn’t have been possible to give him preferential treatment. Arguably Ferrari have maintained this approach, through the Alonso and now the Vettel ‘era’. There is a clear number 1 and number 2 situation at Ferrari, and that seems to be the norm except where the designated number 1 slips up in some way.

          2. @mazdachris At Jordan no, but at Benetton Johnny Herbert was quoted as saying he felt like a second class citizen on the team, with MS allowed full access to his data and with he allowed none of MS’s.

            The first few years at Ferrari? I would say the first few minutes of him signing with them. Irvine immediately became his rear gunner, particularly going after JV in quali and in races, doing what he was hired to do, which was certainly not to bother MS by trying to achieve his own lifelong dreams. No, he was there helping MS achieve his. Wouldn’t have been hired by Ferrari otherwise.

            I do take your point about Ferrari leaning this way not just with MS, but with MS they took it to an extreme that had never before been seen and never will again.

      2. @Robbie It’s because you only read a third of the post that you missed the fact that he mentioned all those things.

    2. This needs to be the next COTD. Well said, and a lot more objective than today’s hate-fest disguised as an opinion.

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