Mercedes waiting for Schumacher decision

F1 Fanatic round-up

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2012In the round-up: Ross Brawn says Mercedes won’t look for another driver until they know what Michael Schumacher’s plans are.

Race commentary debut

This weekend I’m going to be doing live television commentary on motor racing for the first time.

I’ll be covering International GT Open and European F3 Open alongside regular lead commentator Ben Evans.

The whole thing will be broadcast live online so if you want to you can watch along on Saturday and Sunday. See here for details of when and where it’s on:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Brawn confident Schumacher will stay (Sporting Life)

“We are focused on Michael for as long as it takes, and whatever it takes. Then we will see where we are elsewhere.”

Red Bull: No fears over team harmony (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “There is a genuine respect between the two of them. Sebastian [Vettel] has achieved so much in such a short space of time, but he knows in Mark [Webber] that he has got a very genuine competitor. And Mark knows that Sebastian is the benchmark, or has been the benchmark for the last few years.”

Andre Simon (Joe Saward)

“Andre Simon has died at the age of 92. The Frenchman was one of the mainstays of the Gordini team in the 1950s, but also drove for Mercedes-Benz.”

Silverstone: Flushing away goodwill (GrandPrix)

“The most unacceptable bit was the toilets. There were just five Portaloos. You tried not to use them but, eventually, you had no choice. They were disgusting and, as far as I could see, they weren’t cleaned over the weekend. No effort had been made to place them on a hard-standing area. And there were no washing facilities at all. The whole thing had to be a health hazard. I won’t begin to describe what it was like – except to say it was an affront to everyone’s dignity.”

F1 diary: British Grand Prix (The Telegraph)

“I leave hoping the day’s events won’t expose Silverstone to too brutal a backlash. The circuit management can’t be blamed for the weather ?ǣ and it’s not the only sporting venue affected: quite a few horse race meetings have been culled and Wimbledon only escapes because centre court has a retractable lid.”

The Bulls vs the Prancing Horses (ESPN)

Karun Chandhok: “You really get the feeling that nine races in, Lotus should have had at least a couple of wins under their belt, with a car that clearly has very good pace on a variety of circuits.”

Games remind F1 great Stewart of rare failure (Reuters)

“When triple Formula One world champion Jackie Stewart thinks of the Olympics, it brings back memories of the biggest disappointment of an otherwise glorious sporting career.”

From lapper to rapper for Lewis Hamilton (The Sun)

“F1 ace seals recording deal on night out with US star J Cole.”

Comment of the day

Sinnr says F1’s popularity won’t improve in America until it has better television coverage:

We also need better TV coverage. We are bombarded by endless commercials and idiotic comments sometimes. I watch on line and record the coverage here. It?s amazing how much we miss because of so many interruptions. Also the coverage on Fox is pre-recorded. […]

I will be going to Austin come November. There are more fans of Formula 1 here than it’s made out to be. I was at the last race at Indianapolis and I met fans that, like me, drove all the way from Atlanta and Miami. There is an F1 following here, real die-hard fans, who get no respect.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Pawelf1, Robert, Voaridase and HoolyF1!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jacques Villeneuve won the British Grand Prix today in 1997.

ITV had taken over the F1 broadcasts in the UK that year and for their home race they introduced an innovation: Martin Brundle’s first grid walk:

Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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72 comments on Mercedes waiting for Schumacher decision

  1. Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 13th July 2012, 0:04

    Congratulations on your new gig, Keith! Might get me to watch these two series this weekend.

  2. Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 13th July 2012, 0:10

    The US TV coverage used to be better than the UK coverage. Lots of commercial but the entire race, unlike the abbreviated BBC coverage back in the 80s. Now it’s plain depressing, the exception being the no-frills, no commentary P1 and P3 streams on
    I typically watch Speed TV live with a stream for back up during commercials. Fox’s delayed coverage spoils that trick. The streams of BBC and SKY coverage make me wonder what the UK red button extra streams are like. Ah well, at least I’ll be able to travel to 3 local-ish grands prix next year!

    • Unfortunately US television broadcasts 10 minutes of commercials for every 20 minutes of programming. It’s very annoying during a races and qualifying.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 13th July 2012, 0:19

    Having spent a lot of time in the USA I can support the COTD. Matchet and Hobbs are actually good knowledgeable commentators, Bob Varsha is the professional talking head responsible for most of the gaffs . Most infuriating are the ads telling you that SpeedTV broadcast the WHOLE race live, a) it’s a lie, b) that’s why we are watching now.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 13th July 2012, 1:08

      I’ve never seen a single ad on SPEED claiming they broadcast the entire race live.

      Bob Varsha & Steve Matchett are both pretty invaluable in my mind. Hobbs is starting to get a bit senile & often confuses drivers when it’s fairly obvious which driver is on screen. He also lets his personal bias show far more than any professional broadcaster should. Will Buxton has been a great addition to SPEED, his enthusiasm knows no bounds. Their recent addition of a post race show is a great improvement. They’re clearly trying to do what they can, but with the amount of budget they receive compared to their overseas equivalents it is always going to be hard. Sky sends some 80 odd people. When you include the BBC there must be over 100 UK TV broadcasters present at every race. SPEED sends a grand total of 1. And I can assure you no one’s coverage is 100x better than SPEED. The biggest problem I have with the coverage is the ad breaks, but that’s not something that’s likely to change. In fact it sounds like those of you who’ve been blessed with ad-free race coverage might be in the same boat sooner than later.

    • I Love the Pope said on 13th July 2012, 2:45

      We love Hobbs! And at least the commercials are “family friendly” for the most part on Speed. Its mostly “Royal Purple,” “Fram,” and “Pep Boys” type stuff. The Fox broadcast I tape because I edit out the commercials for the kids.

  4. snowman (@snowman) said on 13th July 2012, 0:26

    Good luck on the commentating Keith

  5. xeroxpt (@) said on 13th July 2012, 0:28

    F1 coverage seems to be an issue in alot of countries. I have lived in Lisbon for the past 10 years, the coverage used to be neglected, nowdays in cable tv the coverage is even worse, the commentators have no clue about what they are talking about, thankfully i have one of those set-up box that allows me to watch the BBC, expensive, glitchy and probably illegal. I had no idea Jackie had another passion, guess that hat now makes alot of sense, multi talented guy.

  6. Steve_LWA said on 13th July 2012, 1:03

    I spend time in the US with family a few months a year & the only thing wrong with the coverage of F1 in North America is the amount & length of the commercials, However thats the same with just about everything over there.

    Coverage-wise the broadcast’s are actually very good. They have 3 very good, entertaining & knowledgable commentators, A great pit reporter & they produce some good VT’s.
    Bob Varsha has a lot of knowledge/passion, David Hobb’s brings racing experience & Steve Matchett brings a great technical knowledge & is able to explain tech bits in a detailed way that even the less tech-savy fan is able to understand.

    I actually prefer listning to them than any of the commentators in europe.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 13th July 2012, 2:20

      I agree with you 100%. I live in Canada, and if it weren’t for the commercials I’d choose SPEED over either Sky or BBC any day. (In fact, I’m always watching SPEED but I tune in to BBC every time commercials are on). At least the commentary isn’t obvious country biased and unlike the British commentators, the American commentators don’t bash drivers if they do something wrong. That’s just my opinion.

    • Kanil (@kanil) said on 13th July 2012, 3:52

      I’ve got to agree that our coverage isn’t all that bad. I mean, excepting one race a year, when was the last time you saw IndyCar practice live on your television? Or any other motorsports series that isn’t NASCAR?

      Admittedly, we do have 3 races a year run on a delay, and lots of commercials… but New Jersey will bring that number down to 2 next year, and I believe Sky hasn’t committed to ad-free races for 2013 — so we might just be closing the gap there too (admittedly, not how we’d want.)

  7. celeste (@celeste) said on 13th July 2012, 1:08

    I guess now Mercedes is almost out of Hamilton`s list.
    Red Bull is already complete.
    That leaves Hamilton with the follow options:
    -Go to Lotus, and they are going to drop Grosjean or Kimi
    -Go to Ferrari to take Massa`s sit, and to be Alonso “number 2″
    -Stay at Mclaren

    Someone wants to bet to see what he will do?

    “You really get the feeling that nine races in, Lotus should have had at least a couple of wins under their belt, with a car that clearly has very good pace on a variety of circuits.”

    Dejavu, didn`t Vallenevue already said this… don`t know if Lotus thinks the same, but it is certanly that they car seems to be one of the fastest and more cosntant in the F1 grid right now.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th July 2012, 1:23

      Go to Lotus, and they are going to drop Grosjean or Kimi

      I don’t think that’s really an option. Raikkonen signed a two-year deal with the team, while Grosjean is managed by Eric Boullier. I can’t see them dropping either driver for Hamilton.

      What’s more, the stories of Hamilton moving to Lotus were posted within hours of Red Bull announcing Webber will stay in 2013. The Daily Mail, which is notorious for spreading rumours when they’re not simply making them up, was pushing for Hamilton to move to Red Bull (as if they could influence Red Bull’s driver line-up, but that’s just the Mail‘s style). When Webber was confirmed for next year, Hamilton joining the team was no longer an option, and then lo and behold, The Daily Fail runs a story linking Hamilton to a drive with the most competitive team that, according to Wikipedia, still has an availability.

    • Julian (@julian) said on 13th July 2012, 7:58

      Someone wants to bet to see what he will do?

      Leave F1 to pursue a career in hip hop?
      Might as well put a tenner on it, I’m sure you’d get some great odds :)

  8. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 13th July 2012, 1:09

    If it means more motorsport to watch I’ll gladly listen to you, Keith.

    I think we’re incredibly lucky in Britain with our F1 coverage, having two world class channels covering the action without interruption. Watching the IndyCar coverage is enlightening in that respect, as the US broadcaster take a huge number of breaks (especially ABC) and while Sky don’t take them all, it still grates. We missed Scott Dixon’s engine going bang on Sunday, and it’s a return to the bad old days of F1 on ITV, who at least only took a few breaks during the race.

  9. celeste (@celeste) said on 13th July 2012, 1:24

    “F1 ace seals recording deal on night out with US star J Cole.”

    My opinion on the matter

  10. Tete said on 13th July 2012, 1:31

    I live in USA. I’m bilingual and used to watch the coverage in speedtv.the commentators are really good, the only one I didn’t like is the old man he is to biased towards Hamilton and he should be neutral. Then when Perez got into f1 fox deportes (fix sports in Spanish) started broadcasting the race. They show the race live and the only thing they don’t show is practice 1 and 2. During the race they only go to commercials twice or so and they broadcasted the race live during the races that were broadcasted delayed on fox in English.

  11. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 13th July 2012, 1:32

    good luck on your commentary gig!

    i agree with sinnr 100%. why FOM hasn’t leaned on speed to do something (especially now that there’s 1 and soon 2 u.s. races) i don’t know.

    i’m not sure how the toilet situation at silverstone could come as a surprise to anyone :[ those guys that take buses and mobile homes to the infield of races have the right idea – your own private wc, bed, grill and air condish.

    • GT_Racer said on 13th July 2012, 4:02

      why FOM hasn’t leaned on speed to do something

      Because they can’t. FOM have no right to tell any broadcaster how they are to broadcast the race, They have no say on how each broadcaster handle it.

      SPEED have as many commercials as they do because thats how American TV is, Nothing Bernie can ask them to do that will change that.
      The closest American sports broadcast’s have got to commercial free is the TNT Nascar Daytona races where there were no commercials but the bottom half the screen was filled with advertisements.

      The problem with SPEED in terms of delayed coverage etc… is that Nascar comes 1st. I’ve seen them cut away from F1 sessions in progress to give you breaking Nascar news & delay F1 qualifying by 15-20mins to show Nascar practice.
      Frustrating for F1 fans I know, However when you look at the ratings Nascar gets on Speed & the rest of the Fox network it makes sence.

      Speed, Fox & ESPN are all about Nascar. In terms of viewership, sponsorship etc… Thats where they get the most of everything & thats why F1 (And everything else) gets bumped down in terms of importance.
      Look at the way ESPN treat Indycar for the races they show, There Indy coverage is pathetic compared to there Nascar coverage. Quite frankly the under-funded (certainly compared to ESPN) Versus production blows ESPN out the water & thats just got better since NBC started putting some money in.

      F1 has a lot of fans in North America & races held there have always been extremely well attended. However as long as Nascar gets the viewership it does & attracts the sponsorship it does, It will always be the priority for broadcasters.

      • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 13th July 2012, 9:03

        it’s a 2-way street – broadcasters expect a certain amount of content for their purchase (tricky with sports) and demand to justify it, while the commercial rights holder has strict terms of their own. obviously, both fom and speed are both happy with the craptastic u.s. coverage and it’s monetary situation. what a shame.

  12. red d said on 13th July 2012, 1:46

    I have to say that I think the lotus is one of the best cars, but definitely not the “fastest.” I think a car’s ultimate pace is really shown in qualifying, which is why we see ferrari, red bull, mclaren, sometimes mercedes up in the top spots. The lotus is fast enough to make it into q3 in the 4-6 range and then, because it is very easy on its tires, it appears very fast in the race

  13. I used to watch the SpeedTV/FOX broadcasts of races, with the BBC feed on the background to switch to during the commercial breaks. Gradually, I’ve become so fed up with the SpeedTV coverage that I hardly ever bother with it anymore. I think the network just does not give the commentators the amount of support they would need to produce a BBC-caliber broadcast. Hobbs and Matchett are able to provide insight into racing and technical issues, and they and Varsha are often able to put things in historical context, but they aren’t always up to date on the latest F1 news at the time the race broadcast starts. They also sometimes don’t know who’s being shown on the FOM video feed, including the drivers. I realize Bob Varsha isn’t always able to fit F1 into his busy Barrett-Jackson auction schedule, but come on. It all just gives the impression that F1 isn’t a huge priority for the network — which, of course, it isn’t. But it would be nice if the race broadcasts didn’t make that so obvious.

    I’d probably still be watching, though, if it weren’t for the multitude of commercial breaks. No need to elaborate on that — we all hate it. I’m not sure why they can’t do the side-by-side thing IndyCar does, but I’m sure there must be some perfectly good Murdochian reason…

    • GT_Racer said on 13th July 2012, 4:09

      but they aren’t always up to date on the latest F1 news at the time the race broadcast starts.

      I’d put that down to them not been at the tracks.

      All SPEED broadcast’s are produced/commentated from the studio in Charlotte. Will Buxton is trackside but I gather not all the information he sends back gets to Varsha/Hobbs/Matchett.

      If they were sent to the tracks they could put together a BBC/Sky quality Pre/Post race. From a Charlotte studio is always going to limit them.

  14. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 13th July 2012, 1:55

    F1 coverage in Aus really needs to be pay per view HD real time including all practice sessions. It can stil go FTA but us afficondos are willing to pay for premium coverage arent we?

    And hooray for WEB staying at RBR. I dont want to have to buy a heap of new fan gear.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 13th July 2012, 2:37

      As many others I’m sure, I would love to be able to pay whatever people in UK pay to get Online Sky F1 here in Australia.

      I would rather watch Sky F1 in horrendous quality on-line (by “other” means) rather than watching that Free TV coverage with commercials every 7th lap.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th July 2012, 4:04

      F1 coverage in Aus really needs to be pay per view HD

      No, it doesn’t. Formula 1 is barely keeping its head above water on free-to-air – the racers get about 400,000 viewers on average. Pay per view would simply kill whatever following the sport has.

      Besides, a lot of Webber’s and Ricciardo’s sponsors subsidise the cost of coverage on free-to-air (they made a real fuss when the central and western states were on a time delay). There is no way they would agree to letting the sport be broadcast on pay-per-view.

      • leadfoot (@leadfoot) said on 13th July 2012, 11:04

        I’m not sure the pay per view model would work terribly well with something like formula 1 either. It makes a lot of sense with sports like boxing where you have one of big events that garner a lot of interest. A series that spans almost an entire year would not really fit that model in my eyes. It would be really unpopular with fans.

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 13th July 2012, 11:10

        That’s a PPV premium service for all sessions AND free to air as it is now for the casual viewer. It would add revenue not take it away.

    • BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 13th July 2012, 5:06

      I can’t stand Network Ten. They screwed us fans in favour of higher TV ratings by broadcasting it on Channel Ten in SD. That really grinds my gears! Going from HD to SD is not acceptable in this day & age. And don’t get me started on the ad breaks.

      Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to watch some Netball in HD on One… *facepalm*

  15. Yaya Ishaq (@ferrari_412t) said on 13th July 2012, 3:46

    I just thought in light of the Vettel moving to Ferrari rumours and the ‘team harmony’ concerns that may become an issue if he were to move that I would like to propose an idea that F1 teams can adopt especially if 2 top drivers are at team at once.

    All of this No. 1/No. 2 business has always existed in F1. Tony Brooks to Stirling Moss to pick an old and obvious example. More obvious (than Schumi even), Lotus during the Clark/Chapman years. Everyone knows that Lotus couldn’t wouldn’t or didn’t support their second driver.

    I’ve always felt this to be an artificial problem, another example of F1 refusing to honor simplicity. Someone PLEASE explain why F1 won’t take the two or more cars = two or more teams approach that EVERY race series in the U.S. has?

    Yes, the Penske team is the Penske team, but each driver has separate pit crews etc. The guys on Castroneves team are trying their damnedest to beat the guys on Briscoe’s team. NASCAR same thing. The Hendrick team has five teams under that umbrella. Jeff Gordon is NOT going to defer to Jimmy Johnson. NHRA: John Force Racing isn’t a one car team: each car has its own crew, own driver, own garage, own pit stall, own set-ups.

    Do they help each other overall? Sure. But each driver is Number One within their own particular team — subteam if you want to look at it that way. You get the same thing in endurance and sportscar racing. You get the same thing in motorcycle racing — even in MotoGP, F1′s two-wheel equivalent.

    Do it that way and there’s no more of this ridiculous nonsense of “Number 1 status,” favoritism and “team orders.” The only order Roger Penske gives is, “don’t crash each other.” Each team within his team is racing the other flat out, from driver to tire changer.

    Just having a different race engineer doesn’t cut it. So please explain why F1 can’t/won’t do this. I can’t fathom the argument that there’s not enough room in the pits, garages, etc. With the money Bernie has forced tracks to spend on pit facilities, the enormous garage spaces in the Tilkedromes; that argument makes no sense to me.

    And none of this, “it’s faster and safer the way we do pit work in F1″ business either. No limit to the number of crew used on a pitstop? Why? It’s no less prone to error, and, given the crowding, more dangerous than the IRL/USAC/CART/NASCAR seven man limit. And it doesn’t have to be faster: Pneumatic jacks have been built into racecars at least since AJ Watson introduced them to Indy in the 1950s. You mean all that superfine engineering talent can’t make a lightweight system for F1 (I assume that they’re all paranoid about extra weight, but come on!) especially since the cars are already full of pneumatic and hydraulic systems? The same pit box for each car, raising the issue of “queing” for stops — why? Why is this necessary?

    Sorry to rant so far afield, but all this “Number 1″ status stuff could be stuffed once and for all if F1 took up the “teams within a team” approach. “But in F1, you have to beat your teammate!” No kidding. It’s the same in every other form of racing. Those other drivers/riders are just given a truly equal chance to do so.

    • DVC (@dvc) said on 13th July 2012, 4:00

      History and tradition. Motorsport in Europe at the top level has always been about proving whose car was fastest. If you split the teams up by driver then it’s not about the car any more.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 13th July 2012, 4:03

      Ferrari is paying and will keep paying a price, they not going to win WCC until they either create a car that is a total domination – which is highly unlikely or get equal drivers.

      Personally I would love to see Hamilton in Ferrari next year and Bottas taking his place in McLaren.

      I also worried for Jenson, I have no idea who would want to sign him after his contract is out with McLaren :(

      • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 13th July 2012, 9:03

        Well, he’s got a few seasons left to get through this low ebb. He’s just not getting on with the car at the moment in qualifying. In the last race his pace was pretty good. Once the team figure out how to make the rear end a bit more predictable Jenson will be on it again like last year I think and will then be able to set about helping Hamilton as he’s too far back to challenge for the title himself now.

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