Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Korea International Circuit, 2012

Hulkenberg tipped for Sauber switch

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Korea International Circuit, 2012In the round-up: Moves afoot in the driver market as Sauber are reported to be set for a complete change of line-up.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Hulkenberg to join Sauber in 2013 (BBC)

“Esteban Gutierrez, the team’s reserve driver, is tipped as a partner for the German, which would leave Kamui Kobayashi without a seat.”

Massa secures Ferrari future (Autosport)

“A stronger second half to the campaign and impressive drives in Japan and Korea have sealed his place at the team – with it understood that a deal will be sorted out imminently.”

Next updates will be key – Alonso (ESPN)

“We didn’t bring anything new to the last six or seven races, so we are doing what we can at the moment and trying to save points, which I think we are doing perfectly every Sunday. It was a perfect Sunday for us with a good start, a good strategy and then a finish on the podium. I think it was a very strong Sunday but hopefully we will make a little bit of a step in performance and we can fight for bigger things.”

Lewis Hamilton: “This is a year to forget I think…” (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“It?s a day to forget. This is a year to forget I think as well. I?m looking forward to a fresh start next year. I didn?t give up the whole race, I tried my hardest, but it was a real disaster. Three stops, what could I do?”

Lotus E20 – Coanda effect exhaust (Lotus)

“Lotus are the last team to follow the trend for the Coanda-effect exhaust system, introducing it from Friday in Korea on Kimi Raikkonen’s car, providing exhaust-boosted airflow over the rear brake ducts and around the diffuser sides.”

Horner: Red Bull were right on the limit (Sky)

“Every time they bring up a slow motion and you see bits of inner edge flying off – I decided not to look at those from about half distance.”

Korean GP – Conference 4 (FIA)

Sebastian Vettel: “Obviously we try to look after [the tyres] during the whole of the last stint, because we’ve seen in the stint before how sudden the front tyre can lock up and you can lose control of the front tyres, so obviously we didn’t want to run into that sort of problem again, especially with pressure from behind so even if you have quite a big gap, when you start to struggle a lot with these tyres, then there is a lot of time lost within a couple of laps – I’m speaking of a couple of seconds per lap, so we didn’t know that. As I said, we controlled that very well so we still had some shoes left, tyres were not new but they were not completely worn until the end so I was going a little bit quicker in the last sector so that’s why the lap time was pretty similar to what I started with in the beginning of the stint, but calculate the difference of fuel and it’s a big difference.”

Bernie Ecclestone risked $100m over F1 sale (The Telegraph)

“BayernLB, the state-owned German bank, paid Mr Ecclestone $41m for acting as a guarantor, but it is now considering suing him to get the money back.”

Monisha Kaltenborn: Meet F1’s female powerhouse (The Independent)

“Kaltenborn has never directly experienced sexism or racism in racing, and says: ‘I don’t see any of that. It’s more about who are the stronger teams and the weaker teams, and there it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman.'”

Tooned – Episode 8: Lecture Circuit (YouTube)


Comment of the day

@Andae23’s verdict on the race:

I think this race perfectly demonstrated what?s wrong with Formula 1 anno 2012. There has been a lot of critisism about the DRS zone between turns two and three: it had been elongated, and – surprise, surprise – overtaking there was as easy as stealing candy from a baby.

For the circuit itself: though more people enjoyed the race from the stands this year, still it is unable to win over the Koreans to suddenly care about racing. I will just keep my mouth shut about the Astroturf. One should really ask himself: why turn down great European circuits with loads of fans, and go racing in a swamp three hours away from the nearest airport?

Anyway, back to the actual racing: it was not as interesting at the front, but heck yeah it was interesting at the back! Starting the race with a great battle between Toro Rosso and Williams (I believe Vergne pulled of a great pass on Maldonade).

Also the Hulkenberg/Grosjean battle was very entertaining throughout the race, with climax being Hulkenberg passing both Grosjean and Hamilton at turn four. There were some other battles down the field, that were unfortunately not shown on TV.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Fer No. 65 and Sebastiaan Huizinga!

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

And happy birthday to Bruno Senna who is 29 today.

Image ?? Sahara Force India F1 Team

97 comments on “Hulkenberg tipped for Sauber switch”

  1. Thought the BBC’s analysis of Grosjean was ok, then they juxtapose his crashes with Donnington ’93. Hardly seems fair – everyone looks ordinary compared to that.

  2. “Gerhard’s Burgers” – I totally ROFL’d reckessly.

    1. Also, that covered picture next to Hamilton’s is surely Pérez :)

      1. Whoever is making these is a genius.

        Did you see Coulthard’s picture? Hahahaha!

  3. A number of interesting things in the Benson article about potential candidates for 2013 drives.

    Amongst other things, the article says that those in the running for the spare Force India seat (assuming Hulkenberg goes to Sauber) are Alguersuari, Buemi and Sutil. No mention of poor Jules Bianchi.

    Of course, there’s always plenty of speculation in the silly season, not all of it accurate, but it would be a shame if Bianchi couldn’t get a seat next year, particularly if he picks up the WSR 3.5 title this year.

    1. Jules Bianchi is more like Romain Grosjean than Romain Grosjean. When he was in GP2 last year, he got a reputation as a bit of a crasher. Particularly at the starts. It’s been speculated that Ferrari tried to place him somewhere this year, but the teams weren’t having any of it because they saw what he was like in the GP2 races.

    2. If Grosjean goes, who would slot in? Kobayashi?

      1. Grosjean is too quick to go. He’s a rookie that is making rookie mistakes, but his speed is there.

        1. If Lotus were to let Grosjean go, they’d probably pick up someone in-house. They have their own driver development programme, with Kevin Korjus at the top of the list of drivers, though all of them need more work.

          I can’t seem them recruiting someone straight out of another team – especially if that someone was let go because their original team felt they weren’t strong enough to keep their seat. At a guess, I’d say they’d try for Jules Bianchi or Robin Frijns- Bianchi is experienced with Formula 1, but indebted to Ferrari, who might be reluctant to let him go in the face of losing Sergio Perez to McLaren; Frijns, on the other hand, is undeniably fast and is not tied to any other team, but lacks experience. They might also look at James Calado, Giedo van der Garde and Felipe Nasr, though they’re variously patchy, have spent too long in the feeder series to be a viable long-term prospect, or underdeveloped.

          But I don’t expect this would be an issue, really. I think they will keep Grosjean, and the only way they will consider someone else is if Grosjean causes another first-lap incident and gets a prolonged ban for his troubles. Even then, they still might take him after that ban is up.

          1. None of Lotus’ home grown drivers are really up to the task though, But I suspect they’d try to pick a safe pair of hands.

        2. I am sorry, but the rookie argument is growing old. Romain has 20+ races under his belt and keeps on doing the same mistakes even after being banned! And, he is 26 years old. I believe at this point hardly anything can be taught to him. Yes, he is fast, no doubt, but IMO he is more of a liability than an asset. Of course Boullier and the juicy deals he makes might have a different perspective :D

      2. Grosjean has been confirmed for Lotus next year. Kimi Raikkonen has hit his performance clauses and should be doing the same too.

        1. @@jamesf1 – No, Grosjean hasn’t been confirmed. Eric Boullier has reassured him that the team want to keep him, but they are not going to publicly commit to it yet.

  4. @keithcollantine – You mean I didn’t get COTD for my wonderful poem for @magnificent-geoffrey‘s Birthday?! I am truly shocked and saddened to hear this news. You have crushed me totally… ;) haha

    1. oh, and indeed, Happy Birthday to @fer-no65 and Sebastiaan Huizinga :)

  5. Thanks :) Happy birthday to Sebastiaan and Bruno aswell lol !

    1. Happy B’day.

    2. @Fer-no65 Happy birthday to you!

    3. Happy birthday to all of you then! I bet you would love to celebrate it with Bruno!

    4. Haooy Birthday to ou too Fer no.65!

    5. Happy Birthday @fer-no65 and Seb Huizinga! :D

  6. Oi. If Koby is without a seat at Sauber I dearly hope he can get picked up to replace Grosjean (though I admit it’s probably unlikely). I’d hate to see him demoted to a lower team.

    1. @joey-poey – Eric Boullier has said that Lotus will keep Grosjean, but they’re not prepared to formally annouce it just yet.

    2. Well nobody would like to see Kamui without a drive for next year but if the team gets rid of him then is clearly because they don’t see any more potential than what he’s shown in the past 3 years, personally I don’t think Gutierrez would shine in his first year but you never know, I wonder who will make the decisions Peter or Monisha??

      1. @joey-poey I wouldn’t like to see it either. It’s not like Sauber have really delivered a consistently good car in these past 3 years. Perez has a 15 point lead on him this year which I guess is the only way they can measure it, but that doesn’t strike me as being enough to warrant dumping the guy. Sponsorship would help.

  7. Incredible that Hamilton has now had mechanical issues for three races in a row while he started his career at McLaren with no mechanical retirements from Australia 2007 to Abu Dhabi 2009 (if I remember correctly) – almost three full seasons!

    On an unrelated note, I’m pleasantly surprised with Toro Rosso’s improved form since the summer break. I would have thought that with their technical director leaving mid-season that they would only go backwards, but Ricciardo and Vergne finally have cars capable of fighting something other than a Caterham. Roll on James Key’s 2013 Toro Rosso!

    1. Yeah. The current Sauber is a Key masterpiece is it not?

      I have a funny feeling Sauber will go backwards next year, to around 8th or 9th, while Toro Rosso jump up to potential 6th.

      1. @hosford90

        I have a funny feeling Sauber will go backwards next year, to around 8th or 9th, while Toro Rosso jump up to potential 6th.

        I don’t. I doubt Sauber will scrap their current car in order to build a C32 from nothing next season. That will happen in 2014. Next year I expect the teams that performed rather well this year to develop and update their current packages. So technically, next year’s Sauber will keep some of Key’s contribution and with it the decent results. Sure Williams and Torro Rosso will probably be closer in terms of performance but I expect it all to be a big fight for 6th in the WDC and Sauber will be there in the middle of it. If any team from the midfield is to drop back, it’s gonna be Force India.

        2014 thought, that’s a whole different story.

  8. Sad to see KK out of a race seat for next year. Apart from his crash yesterday, his tenure is F1 has been very good. He has kept his nose clean for the most part and has proven to be a solid racer. It would be great if another team comes in for him. However, all the seats that are and will potentially be available are pay seats.

    Does this technically mean that, all teams apart from RBR, Ferrari, Macca and Mercedes, are looking for a pay driver? Or lets just say a guy that can actually driver, but brings a 20 million bucks with him!

    1. Does this technically mean that, all teams apart from RBR, Ferrari, Macca and Mercedes, are looking for a pay driver? Or lets just say a guy that can actually driver, but brings a 20 million bucks with him!

      This is nothing new in Formula 1. Only a handful of drivers actually race without paying for their seats.

    2. I am a Koba fan and would hate to see him loosing his seat. It’s just ridiculous that drivers are chosen (solely) by the money they bring into the team!

      1. @vinicius-jlantunes – Who says money is the sole deciding factor here?

        As far as I am aware, Nico Hulkenberg does not have any sponsors. It’s why he left Williams in the first place, and it is why he was able to join Force India; Force India have a very unique organisational structure financially, which allows them to take whichever drivers the choose.

        As for Esteban Gutierrez, it is true that he has backing from Carlos Slim’s telecommunications empire. However, that same backing also helped fund Sergio Perez, and Sauber confirmed that Telmex in particular would continue to fund the team irrespective of Perez’s presence. He is not without talent, either; he won the 2012 GP3 Series title, and has consistently scored points and podiums in GP2.

        Just because Kobayashi is in danger of losing his seat, it doesn’t automatically mean that Sauber have gone chasing after moneyed drivers. If you look at his results – really, critically look at his results – you’ll see he’s been quite disappointing. He scored just five points in twelve races in the second half of 2012, and has only been scoring points every other race this year. He’s not particularly good in qualifying, has been upstaged by Sergio Perez all year, cannot make his strategies work, and he’s put in some really erratic performances. Of all the drivers on the grid, Koabayshi seems to be the most sensitive to the characteristics of the circuit; he does very, very well on certain types of circuit, but very, very poorly on others.

        Kamui Kobayashi is a popular driver. But that’s no substitute for skill or for money. Just because he is in danger of losing his seat, it is not a travesty. Because when you really look closely, the truth is that Kobayashi isn’t good enough to keep his seat on merit. If he was, wouldn’t be needing a sponsor.

        1. I don’t agree that Perez has upstaged Kobayashi all year, Perez hasn’t been consistent either. For me, the main difference between the two is that Perez’s highs have been higher than Kobayashi’s highs. Perez has three podiums, Kobayashi has strong points finishes from Australia, Spain and Germany along with his podium in Japan.

          Sauber have also split theit strategies a few times this season with Kobayashi getting the short end of the deal like in Malaysia and Canada. Sometimes Perez has beaten Kobayashi in a race because he failed to qualify for Q3 whilst Kobayashi did, and he used his tyre advantage. I’m not saying Perez’s best results weren’t magnificent, but I do question how his race results would look if he qualified better.

          I don’t believe that gap between Kobayashi and Perez is as big as some people have said. Being 15 points of your team mate isn’t that much, that gap is much closer in comparison to other team mates.

        2. Well, I am a bit of a Koba fan boy but can still see your point. Indeed, his performances might have not lived up to the initial expectation I admit, but he is still much better than many others and is doing a good job. The cruel part, as @jaymenon10 said, is that if he is dumped by Sauber then there is no other team he could join as he lacks money. I would prefer to see Koba than Petrov in the Caterham for example, but we all know it is not gonna happen. Even in Sauber, I don’t really see anyone replacing him with a clear performance advantage.

      2. @vinicius-jlantunes Agreed. I don’t think the difference between the Sauber drivers is so great that one deserves a McLaren and the other to be kicked out of F1. I’ll be really gutted if Kamui is out next season, particularly seeing as there are a few drivers who have no business at being there (I’m looking at you, Petrov, Senna and Karthikeyan).

        If he does lose his seat though, I hope Toyota recruits him again, this time to race for their WEC team!

        1. Yeah, that is the point in fact. Even if we agreed that he is not that good (as @prisoner-monkeys thinks), we would probably also agree that he is still better than Petrov, Senna, etc, but he might end up without a seat and those guys might keep theirs as they got the money. That is the part I don’t like.

          1. @vinicius-jlantunes – It’s widely-believed that both Petrov and Senna will lose their seats.

    3. Lotus and Toro Rosso will not have pay drivers either.

      1. Grosjean could be considered as a (fast) pay driver. He brings french backing from Total…..

        1. Total have been with the team since 2010.

  9. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
    15th October 2012, 5:11

    Did anyone else notice the LG advert super imposed onto the race track? how long has this been happening?

    It’s on the start/finish straight breaking zone for turn 1 it seemed to only be from one camera up in the grandstand you can see it at 1:57:15 on the bbciplayer grosjean and hulkenburg battling into turn 1.

    Unrelatedly can anyone explain why the bbc are allowed google adverts on their websites I thought the bbc was not allowed to do any advertising?

    1. Where abouts have you seen any advertising?

      1. It was computer-generated advertising which appeared next to the start/finish line during the race occasionally, when seen from the side of the track where the grandstand is.

        1. I meant the Google Adverts on I certainly don’t see any and can only think the poster is outside the UK, but he claims to be using the iPlayer.

    2. Did anyone else notice the LG advert super imposed onto the race track? how long has this been happening?

      It’s only a recent thing. In fact, I think Korea was the first time it has been used. FOM are also projecting the drivers’ names onto the grid as the cars line up in long shots of the main straight; that started in Japan.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        15th October 2012, 15:00

        I hope this doesn’t take off i don’t want to see the track replaced with 1000 mcdonalds logos.

    3. I had adverts on the BBC website for a while – it’s either because you’re not the UK or because there’s something on your computer that’s putting them there, in my case a rogue toolbar.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        15th October 2012, 14:58

        I am definitely both from and in the uk and they have been there for a number of months.

    4. Yeah I saw them. Really not impressed, because the next step is to super impose whole stands in China to make them look full, and that’s a bit of a turn off really.

  10. Didn’t Hamilton have his “Year to forget” last year?

    1. And the year before and the year before that. :)

      1. He’s going to need a new book of excuses.

        1. Last year was obviously different with a lot of issues on Hamilton’s side, and he freely admits that, but last year Vettel was untouchable anyway. I think that 2010 was the only year when Hamilton lost the Championship due to his own mistakes and he didn’t try to hide from that either. So, I don’t think he makes excuses and I don’t think he needs them. Other than some PR blunders, he didn’t put a foot wrong this season.

          1. But has he really wanted it? He’s just got no focus. And I think it costs him, which is sad as other than that he’s one of the best drivers on the grid.

      2. Never look back for fear of getting pulled back into hell!

    2. Hamilton might want to stop forgetting about these bad years he’s been having. If he stops forgetting about them, maybe he will learn how to avoid them in future

      1. You can’t avoid your pit crew not knowing how to put 4 tyres on correctly, fueling your car correctly, and having suspension componants failing.

    3. But if he did he probably can’t remember it though.

    4. @dmcobern
      :D Wonder how you deal with your disappointments.
      But then again, who cares coz you’re a nobody.

      1. But Hamilton is a highly paid professional athlete. Which means if he says something that someone thinks if funny they might comment about it.

  11. Sankalp Sharma
    15th October 2012, 6:54

    Wait! So let me get this straight. Hamilton has been dropped from the current season of Tooned? I was under the impression that his contract with Mclaren and hence with Tooned was until the end of the season. I mean yes he was in the credits, but it looks like the writers wrote him off the script!!

    1. With no obligation to be a part of it anymore, you would think that it was Hamilton who dropped Tooned, and not the other way around.

    2. I mean yes he was in the credits, but it looks like the writers wrote him off the script!!

      Okay, do you know the amount of time, effort and money it takes to produce an animation like this? And then find a way to fit the recording sessions and editing around the drivers’ and actors’ schedules? They certainly cannot turn around a new episode in the space of a week. This is probably something McLaren was working on from the beginning of the year, with all the storyboarding, writing, animating, recording and editing done at once. It would have taken them weeks just to get to the point where dialogue could be recorded, and everything would have been recorded as quickly as possible to accomodate schedules. I’m willing to bet that this particular episode was written and recorded during a peak in the drivers’ schedules, because in addition to Hamilton being absent, Jenson Button’s speaking parts are greatly reduced compared to previous episodes.

    3. Who knows, but its likely that episode was made before Japan, right at the moment when his move was being announced. Its significant to also note that Hamilton had been spending the weeks between Singapore and Japan staying over in Asia, as he called Withmarsh with the news from his room in Hongkong, so he would not have been readily available for a McLaren PR thing, would he?

  12. Prisoner Monkeys was right, Kamui is in trouble, it seems. Big shame. He proved he is Race winning material, or front runner material, often. By being the fastest in most qualifying sessions, he had to endure the most conservative tyre strategies which more often than not, penalised him. Yesterday’s mistake was a normal racing incident. He accepted the blame for it, How many front running drivers have never committed mistakes of the kind before? Very little. If Kamui doesn’t get a drive next year in a competitive car, than Formula 1 is not the pinnacle of motorsport anymore. How can the most competitive and fastest Japanese driver of all time not have a place in the F1 grid? Ridiculous!

    1. How can the most competitive and fastest Japanese driver of all time not have a place in the F1 grid?

      Because Formula 1 doesn’t owe Japan anything. Kobayashi’s nationality never guaranteed him a place on the grid to start with.

      1. You’re right. But he is talented. Let’s not forget that the Sauber has been improving annually since his presence on the team. He has also beaten comprehensively his team mates. perez is the closest one yet he had. If you look at the grid he does deserve to be there. Again, lets not forget he has been outperforming the Mercedes and Lotus drivers regularly. And he is an exciting driver, contrary to the regular “conservative” ones. There are only a few of those on the grid right now. While he did have a silly crash yesterday, he is far away from the disaster performances of other drivers we see this year. This is obviously my personal opinion. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve seen 90% of these guys racing on the limit in similar paced cars, and he is definitely up there in speed with the top rated ones.

    2. By that definition Karthikeyan should have a top drive as the most competitive and fastest Indian driver of all time!

      1. @skett

        Nope, I think that award goes to Chandhok.

    3. I was analyzing Kamui racing record and I must say that his results are…at least questionable. His qualifying record is not the best (better than Sergio’s sure, but not stellar), his racing record is also quite average (he had basically equal seasons for both pre (2010) and post-BMW (2011) Sauber). I wish someone can explain me the “Pirelli tyres hurt his style” argument since he only ran two-races in the Bridgestone ones (BRA and ABU 2009). He is 26 years-old and does not bring any money.

      I have to say, I love the guy, but to me the facts speak of a driver that might have started showing too little and too late. Better than other drivers in the grid? Yes. Better than some pay drivers? Yes. But, to me, his record speaks of an average career and maybe Peter’s patience with him is over. Unfortunately :( Does anyone share this? Maybe @prisoner-monkeys can analyze my comment :)

      1. I must say that his results are…at least questionable. His qualifying record is not the best (better than Sergio’s sure, but not stellar), his racing record is also quite average (he had basically equal seasons for both pre (2010) and post-BMW (2011) Sauber).

        I think you’ve answered your own question there. The performance of those two cars you mention are indeed questionable.

        I wish someone can explain me the “Pirelli tyres hurt his style” argument since he only ran two-races in the Bridgestone ones (BRA and ABU 2009).

        Okay I’ll try. People probably think his driving style is aggressive because his overtaking style is aggressive. Aggressive driving tends to hurt tyres more…

        1. And I agree. The point I am trying to make is that maybe his results, age, lack of sponsorship and failure to adapt his driving style might cost him his place in F1. As I said, I love the guy, but to be frank I don’t think he deserves a top drive. And I understand why his seat is currently on the chopping board. I hope he stays, and if he does he must deliver or it will be his last season.

          1. failure to adapt his driving style

            To be fair, Jenson Button isn’t that good at adapting his driving style either.

      2. So you are saying he is roughly on par with Perez….who is going to Woking while Kobayashi is going home.

        1. @dmw Indeed, I am suggesting that results wise they are roughly on par. However, I believe Perez is going to Woking because he has better projection for the future both in terms of driving potential and commercial interest. Does KK deserves to lose his seat? Absolutely not. I think its shameful that he is in the chopping board while others are safe. But I guess such is the cruel world we are living in :(

  13. For anyone interested, here’s a slightly more colourful version of Webber’s account of the last Grand Prix:

    I simply had to smile at ‘600 laps under yellow’.

    1. Nice line from Webber there @adrianmorse

    2. @adrianmorse this one was a good one too ‘ Tyres are like women: they’re difficult to manage.’

    3. With all the money to spare, Mark should hire new engineer to map his launches. Obviously who ever is doing it now, suck at it. Looking at the other teams and drivers, Mark record in slow starts is just appalling.

  14. BBC reporting Vettel to Ferrari for 2014

    1. I’ve been watching that story – the headline has changed three times this morning. From the original, definite posiition to “might” and now it’s back to “set to”.

      1. Now they’ve changed the headline to “Ferrari plan for arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but Massa stays for 2013″.

  15. if Hulk is at Sauber, i want Koba at Force would be nice to have an Asian there..

    1. I don’t think a Sauber move would be a good idea, he’s not making huge progress by going there and he doesn’t know the team. It may harm his career, which is a shame since he is a great driver.

      1. I do think it’s a bit strange for Hulkenberg to move from Force India to Sauber; performance-wise it’s basically a sideways move, and the only reason I can think of would be possibly to avoid any potential upcoming issues trickling down from all the financial trouble Vijay Mallya is in…

        1. I wonder @leucocrystal whether Ferrari might have anything to do with it, as a couple of weeks ago some people were saying some kind of deal between Hulk and them had already been inked, but then they decided to keep on Massa anyway.

          So Maybe gave Sauber a bit of an incentive with the engine prices to take him, so he would be ready to jump in if they need him for 2014 (dependent on what kind of performance clauses are in the contracts between them and Vettel and Vettel with RBR). Maybe I am making it too complicated here, but its just the kind of thing one would expect from Ferrari!

          1. @bascb – And there were other rumours saying Ferrari are looking rather at Paul Di Resta than Nico Hulkenberg for replacing Massa. The fact is, rumours are rumours and I think Massa’s seat was always safe with Ferrari, despite his poor performance in the first part of the season. Otherwise, they would have grabbed Perez way before McLaren did. It’s most probable neither Force India drivers ever had a real actual chance with the Scuderia. Not for 2013 at least.

            As for Nico’s move, @leucocrystal – there’s a lot of logic to it. Force India is in deep financial trouble whether Mallya wants to admit it or not. Not enough trouble to throw them into bankruptcy and close the lid on their F1 effort but enough to hinder certain development aspects inside the team.

            In this light of events, why would jumping ship to a team that has a certain financial backing for next year AND a good platform (Key’s 2012 car) to build something on AND that had slightly better results than Force India this season, be strange? Plus, Sauber is a much better launch platform than Force India. How many drivers have been supplied to the top teams via Sauber in recent history (since 2000) and how many via Jordan / Midland / Spyker / Force India? I’m sure Hulkenberg doesn’t aim to end his career with the swiss team. He wants to go even further to one of the top 5 establishments and Sauber are the most specialised in delivering drivers to the top teams’ doorsteps at the moment.

            And besides all this, I’m quite fond of EJ’s argument, that Hulkenberg was just looking to join a germanophone team. Some things have the simplest explanations… :)

        2. @leucocrystal i dont think mallya’s financial troubles are gonna affect the team..their co-owners Sahara is a wealthy company..and vijay’s liquor business is still in profit.

  16. As a Vettel fan, I’m glad he has taken the champoinship lead and seems to be on his way to a hat-trick of WDC titles.
    I now get it that if you are winning, people will never say you are the best, and will come up with reasons to diminish your achievement and excuses to cover up others shortcomings. I have heard it all, ‘it’s because redbull have the best car and the best engineers’, or ferrari don’t have a good car etc etc.
    Apparently, he’s behind a guy who last won 6 years ago and has driven for 3 different cars, and a guy who won once and since then everyone seems to have made up their mind that he is the best. SMH.
    Anyway, it’s not over till it’s over and Alonso is in the kind of position that one slip up from Vettel and we have a new top contender. He need’s to finish above Alonso for the remainder of the season and I dont see it happening unless Alonso fails to finish atleast one race.

  17. Nice to see Massa being retained. Japan was a great race, and same with Korea. I reckon he’d have gotten second place if only Ferrari didn’t restrict him during the race, and I think for the past 4 races at least, Felipe has been matching Alonso, of not being faster than him.

    On a side note, I feel terribly sorry for Kamui. Seeing his sometimes kamikaze overtaking manouvres were a delight. I think Sauber should keep him, really.

  18. Found it interesting that Martin Brundle and David Coulthard just basically refused to acknowledge that Lewi’s car had a mechanical problem.

  19. That’s another good article on Monisha and it’s reassuring to know that she herself has never been victim of sexism. None of the principals at the moment strike me as being idiotic enough to stoop to that level so hopefully this will help balance the scales a little bit when it comes to gender in F1. That said though, I don’t believe in either gender needing to be treat like a charity case and the right person should always get the job, irrespective of sex.

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