Ecclestone: Ferrari “completely wrong” in Vettel row

F1 Fanatic round-up

Stefano Domenicali, Bernie Ecclestone, Circuit of the Americas, 2012In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says no action needs to be taken following Ferrari’s request the FIA looks into Vettel’s driving in Brazil.

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Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ecclestone: Vettel flag row ‘a complete joke’ (The Telegraph)

“There is the fact that a green flag was shown, which nobody seems to dispute. It?s a complete joke. What they are saying in that letter is wrong. I don?t think there needs to be any action taken. It?s completely and utterly wrong.”

FIA: Sebastian Vettel has ‘no case to answer’ over controversial move (The Guardian)

Charlie Whiting: “In Vettel’s case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved. The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right.”

Start, Istanbul, 2010Turkish Grand Prix Hopes Pinned on Ecclestone Talks (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

New Istanbul Park rightsholder Vural Ak: “We are hoping to have a positive decision by Ecclestone next week. I have guaranteed minimum 50,000 viewers to Formula One?s race day of Sunday. But I expect about 80,000 audience on the Sunday of the main race.”

And for my next trick… (WRC)

Heikki Kovalainen: “There?s not much outside of Formula One that interests me but rallying is one of those things. Sometimes I think it?s a bit surprising that I didn?t become a rally driver earlier in life; I had lots of opportunities when I was growing up to drive on forest tracks, like most kids in Finland, but then I discovered racing circuits! Next year we?ll see what happens: there?s life outside Formula One as well.”

Montezemolo: “A car capable of winning right from the start in 2013″ (Ferrari)

“There were at least two cars, the McLaren and the Red Bull, that were better than ours. Therefore having managed to get ahead of at least one of them in the Constructors? and keeping Fernando in the fight right to the end, was very significant and I wish to thank you for that.”

Webber not playing support role at Red Bull (Reuters)

“I don’t go there thinking I’ve got to be playing a team role as such. I’m there for myself, to get the best results possible and to do that I need to be part of the team. So, no, I’m not going there thinking in a supporting role at all.”

The Inside Line – on Williams? Pastor Maldonado (F1)

“Q: What event can?t you forget but would wish you could?
PM: In 2007 when I was training with a bike I fell and broke my collarbone. That was stupid and completely unnecessary. I am racing at 300kph and then I fall off a bike…”

Horner – Repeated success makes you unpopular (ESPN)

“The fastest way of becoming unpopular is to have repeated success. The success we have had does not sit easily with some of our more established colleagues.”

Tweets

Comment of the day

James (@Goodyear92) is glad nothing came of speculation surrounding Vettel:

I am a little disappointed in one sense, because I didn?t want Vettel to win the championship, but also satisfied due to the fact that having a championship settled days after the final race, through the winning driver and team being penalised, leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth.

If he had made the pass in the yellow zone, therefore it was illegal, I would rather it was spotted straight away and penalised during the race.

So, he didn?t break the rules and that is that. We have our champion, whether we like it or not (and I don’t).
James (@Goodyear92)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Anirudh, Daniel and Mark Stevenson!

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

The list of drivers heading to the Young Drivers’ Test three years ago makes for interesting reading.

Some have already made their way to F1, such as Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. Others moved to IndyCar such as that year’s Formula Renault 3.5 champion Bertrand Baguette and Mike Conway.

Esteban Gutierrez has finally got his big break – will Jules Bianchi join him?

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty images

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136 comments on Ecclestone: Ferrari “completely wrong” in Vettel row

  1. Stephen Higgins said on 30th November 2012, 0:19

    Bernie critising Ferrari for once ?? Wonders will never cease !! We should all be grateful the title wasn’t decided by a collision, shady team tactics, post-race squabbles, technical debates or penalties.

    It was decided by racing and overtaking on the track, where it mattered.

    I have huge admiration for Fernando Alonso’s dogged and relentless determination this season, but it’s good to see Ferrari for once being told the courtroom mentality they have so often have used time and time again (2003, with the forcing the redesign of the Michelin tyre and throughout 2007 and 2008 in general) to get the advantage back when things didn’t go their way will not spoil what has been a great season.

    • infy (@infy) said on 30th November 2012, 6:24

      Bernie is best buddies with Vettel, for what it matters :P

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 7:50

        @infy Although I don’t believe Ecclestone’s closeness to Vettel has any bearing here, this demonstrates exactly why it’s inappropriate for him to cosy up to drivers in the way he has done with Vettel. There’s a ready-made excuse not to take what he’s saying seriously.

        • We need an excuse ?
          :-)

          And no, it was not a ‘joke’ to ask for clarification. The decision was correct, but making sure a rather confusing piece of footage was clearly explained was entirely sensible.
          Decision like this need to be clear and transparent. Ecclestone has nothing to add on either score.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 0:27

    “There is the fact that a green flag was shown, which nobody seems to dispute. It’s a complete joke. What they are saying in that letter is wrong. I don’t think there needs to be any action taken. It’s completely and utterly wrong.”

    I haven’t seen this letter reproduced anywhere, but my understanding is that when Ferrari wrote to the FIA, they were only seeking clarification – they asked the FIA to clear up a few points, and then used the FIA’s response to gauge whether or not they would lodge a formal request for an inquiry.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 2:15

      @prisoner-monkeys yes, but “asking for clarification” is the oldest trick in the book – because if you ask for clarification of a certain part or incident, it forces the FIA to look at the elements and explain it blow by blow.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 2:21

        @raymondu999 – The FIA is under no obligation to make the results of that clarification public. We saw it plenty of times during the year when teams asked the FIA for a clarification on parts used by another team, and while that clarification was issued, the FIA never saw fit to tell the world what it had clarified and how.

        No, making this public was probably triggered by ongoing media and fan speculation, and the FIA wanted to tidy it up nice and quickly.

    • Dev (@dev) said on 30th November 2012, 2:34

      seeking clarification about what? can a driver overtake under green flag??

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 3:08

        About whether flags take priority over boards, about whether there was a green flag being waved at all (it’s very difficult to tell from the grainy on-board footage), about how soon a driver can overtake another after a yellow flag if they are in sight of a green. It could have been any one of a dozen things, and we have no way of knowing for sure what Ferrari asked for the FIA to clarify, and in light of the FIA’s announcement that there was no case to answer it may seem obvious that there was nothing to it from the start, but the fact that Ferrari sent the FIA a letter asking for clarification proves that they felt there was an issue there worth clarifying.

        • Dev (@dev) said on 30th November 2012, 4:05

          as i understand, flags or lights take priority which ever comes first. the place which has yellow flag will have flags / lights before all along the section of the track where driver needs to slow down… and as soon driver sees a green flag he knows that he can go racing as he has passed all yellow flags. i think its what has been the norm for a long time.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 4:29

            How the FIA ruled is not the point. The point is that Ferrari felt that there was enough to the debate to seek a clarification from the FIA in the first place. The problem is that we have no idea specifically what they asked, because the letter seeking clarification has not been published.

          • In response to the suggestion a driver can race when they SEE a red flag. This actually shows why clarification is worth asking for. You can only race after PASSING the green flag. The flag posts split the circuit into zones. You may only race once into the green zone, not just when you can see a green in the distance

    • infy (@infy) said on 30th November 2012, 6:25

      Yeah seems Bernie is a bit confused. Ferrari never disputed anything. They only wanted to find out where they stand. As Kieth pointed out, they missed the dispute deadline and Ferrari probably knew that.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 6:39

        I think Bernie is probably of the opinion that Ferrari should have known there was nothing in it, and so they never should have asked for clarification at all.

        • Brace (@brace) said on 30th November 2012, 13:39

          Bernie is of the opinion that it would be bad PR and he doesn’t care much about sporting side of it.
          Since I’m yet to actually see that green flag, I can see that it was quite sensible to ask for clarification.
          Good decisions aren’t always the most popular, but that should never stop people from taking the appropriate actions.

          The moot point is still as cp said above, that “You may only race once into the green zone, not just when you can see a green in the distance” and since there was rather obvious confusion over the positions and priority of lights and flags, it was only appropriate to review to footage.

  3. Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 30th November 2012, 0:32

    I can’t understand why Webber and RedBull continue to say he’s not the number 2 driver at RedBull. Vettel has 3 WDC now, you’re number 2.

    • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 30th November 2012, 0:43

      As Mark’s biggest supporter I have to say; Mate, there’s a reason for the number 2 on your hat, car, shirt, undies. Mark is a usually very straightforward sort of bloke but this is a bit of a silly self delusion.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 30th November 2012, 1:07

        Maybe he doesn’t want to be treated in a second rate manner?

        I think it’s great that he’s driving for himself.

        • celeste (@celeste) said on 30th November 2012, 1:15

          Maybe he is talking about being Sebastian´s Massa…

        • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 30th November 2012, 1:41

          ‘I think it’s great that he’s driving for himself.’

          I suppose that’s all he can do, can’t be an easy position to be in, Id guess.

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 30th November 2012, 1:54

          Webber “thinks” he is driving for himself, but he is not. Webber is just too naive to realise the internal politics of the team in my opinion. Regardless of that, it is still the best place for him to be. Any other team and he would still be a #2 driver anyway. But something tells me that despite the extra support, Vettel has proven to be a better driver.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 30th November 2012, 3:05

            Does that man that his whole carreer should hit it’s peak by being the guy who’s only in the other car to help Vettel win.

            As sportsmanship goes, that is poor.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 8:11

            @maksutov

            Webber is just too naive

            Webber strikes me as one of the more astute drivers on the grid, far from what I’d call naive.

          • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 30th November 2012, 13:44

            @keithcollantine

            Hmmm….I don’t doubt he is astute driver nd person. But… lets discuss that point further when he wins the WDC, and beats Vettel.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 13:50

            @maksutov I’m happy to discuss it now because I don’t agree he is naive and I believe the reason he hasn’t beaten Vettel to any of the last three world championships is because Vettel has driven the RB6, RB7 and RB8 better than Webber.

          • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 30th November 2012, 15:20

            @Maksutov @KeithCollantine

            And even then, Webber was not all that far behind. Many seem to forget that in 2010, Webber was leading the Championship for quite a long time, and even this year, was doing fairly well until the mid-point of the season.

          • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 1st December 2012, 1:10

            @keithcollantine

            Fair enough. But just to clarify one point: When I say he is naive (as you can see in my post above), I meant in terms of “understanding internal politics”. Is there any politics (ie. preferred driver )? We don’t really know, but I’m sure there is. It’s a personal opinion. We have seen on numerous occasions that Horner prefers Vettel. I agree that Vettel has beaten Webber fair and square and, as you can also see in my post, I believe it is because “Vettel has proven to be a better driver”. I am not discounting that.

            So if there “is” preference, then Vettel should get all the support he can. Rightly so. However, in “my” opinion, Webber is either slightly naive to see that in terms of what I said above, or he is slightly delusional about his expectations. Also, while I still think RB is the best place for him to be, I question why he was quick to resign another year with RB (turning down potential Ferrari option) as I don’t see the next year being any different to what has happened in the past 3 years. I hope I am wrong.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st December 2012, 17:27

            @maksutov He’s not naive in the slightest. I think it’s pointless to speculate on his view of the situation considering he’s been around long enough to know it better than any of us. The same goes for all drivers. He’s not as good as Vettel, that’s all there is to it but he’s not a number 2 driver in the political sense.

        • IDR (@idr) said on 30th November 2012, 7:33

          Too late for that. He’s always been treated as number 2 driver, despite RBR efforts telling the world the contrary.

      • Banburyhammer (@banburyhammer) said on 30th November 2012, 1:20

        As if theyll deny Webber if he storms next year. I mean Marko is clearly biased, but theyve let them race, and Horner – who has the final word – has his head screwed on correctly.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 1:32

        @thecollaroyboys Wasn’t there a phase that DC was saying every year that he was going to go for the WDC too, back in the Hakkinen days?

        • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 30th November 2012, 1:48

          Yep, and you have to have that self belief and drive if you’re at this level in any sport. But Mark’s career always had bad luck, poor driving and less than stellar cars until he teamed up with RB and Seb came into the team. He’s probably gotten into the right car/team but at the wrong point in history. No, he doesn’t want to be treated in a second rate manner and yes it’s nice that he’s “driving for himself” but he would be under no doubt that Seb is the lead driver. It’s just the way it happens.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 30th November 2012, 7:09

        @thecollaroyboys Are you 100% positive you’re Mark’s biggest supporter? ‘Cause you sure don’t sound like one.

        People seem to forget that the qualifying score at RBR is 11-9, the closest of the top teams and second closest overall behind the 10-10 at Mercedes. People also seem to forget who was de facto lead driver at Red Bull before the summer break in all parameters: wins, points, qualy head to head.

        MW had a terrible season in 2011, but based on 2010 and 2012 he has a good case of not being number 2 driver despite a very influential guy in the team, who also happens to be the biggest a$$$ currently in F1, desperately trying to make him one. Luckily MW has the support of the big boss DM, and equally important Adrian Newey.

        So based on all this, it’s quite understandable that MW declared that he will start 2013 not thinking of himself as the number 2 driver. Who’s to say that, for example, the 11-9 to Vettel in qualy, based on how close they were this season can’t turn around and be 11-9 to Webber?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th November 2012, 19:39

        @thecollaroyboys, I think there is all the world of difference between going to work knowing the best you will be able to do is finish right behind your teammate and going out there with the target to beat everyone, even though your teammate might be favoured a bit.

        The first one sounds like the best recipe for a burnout while the second one feels like a mighty challenge. I know its unlikely Webber will beat Vettel, and I am not sure Red Bull would do as much to support him beating Vettel as they do helping Vettel win.
        But I would be very much surprised if they would even try to get Webber to sit behind him in the middle of a race where he is clearly faster at that time. The last times he felt they were playing tricks on him it ended in tears once and the other times he made if fully clear that he would not go with that, and publicly so.

        Winning is about mentality as well as skills driving. If you don’t believe you can do it, that makes it even harder to win. Massa being faster than Alonso lately might be a big part of seeing him keep that level for the last couple of races. And for him enjoying his racing again (see his speech on the Brazil podium)

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 30th November 2012, 7:06

      Had he just known Hamilton was leaving McLaren, who knows what could’ve been? Taking on Button would’ve been easier I reckon, especially as he’s not the greatest qualifyer.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 7:39

        @oel-f1 – He admitted he had been approached by Ferrari, but re-signed with Red Bull. I imagine that he would do the same if McLaren had approached him.

        I do have to wonder about Webber’s re-signing, though. When Kimi Raikkonen left Ferrari in 2010, he went rallying because his contract rewarded him for staying out of the sport. The same thing happened when Ross Brawn took a “sabbatical” year in 2007. Ferrari were able to put their drivers and team personnel in a position where it was better for them to stay out of the sport – where there was no risk they could spill the team’s technical secrets – than it was to race for someone else.

        It would not surprise me in te least if Red Bull do that with Webber. When they let go of him, they will let go of him on their terms.

        • Howard (@howard) said on 30th November 2012, 12:06

          I reckon RBR forced Mark’s hand to re-sign or else type thing.
          He was definitely having a good sniff at the Red car.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 30th November 2012, 13:43

          @prisoner-monkeys I doubt they can do that with Webber. Kimi still had another year on his contract. Webber doesn’t. So if, for example his contract is not renewed after 2013, RBR can tell him what to do until 31 December 2013 but that’s about it

        • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 30th November 2012, 13:57

          So you don’t think it has to do with “not wanting to be no 2 to Alonso”? Althought I know you think Red Bull favour Vettel, but then if that’s the case, at least he’ll have a better car with Red Bull. However with McLaren maybe, just maybe, things could be much better?

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 30th November 2012, 15:06

            I don´t think Red Bull favour Vettel as much as everyone says so.

            This paragraph on Autosport form this week, tell it clearly how it was Sebastian the one to has to addapt (sp?) to the new system that was more on Webber side…

            Vettel is renowned as one of the hardest-working drivers, with a very clear idea of what he wants from the car. This has formed the bedrock of the Newey/Vettel partnership. There were problems early in the season when Vettel did not like the characteristics of the car necessitated by the exhaust package introduced late in pre-season testing.
            For April’s Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel switched to the old package and Newey focused primarily on team-mate Mark Webber’s car, but after that race Vettel accepted the potential of the newer exhaust

          • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 30th November 2012, 18:47

            @celeste This quote was actually meant to reflect negatively on what Vettel did at the beginning of the year. RBR came up with a certain package of improvements for that race. Webber was able to adapt to it while Vettel couldn’t. So Vettel stupidly believed that if he can’t go quick in it, it’s no quicker. Newey knew it was quicker though, so he “gave up” on SV for that race and concentrated on Mark’s car instead. Afterwards Vettel realized his mistake, got in the new spec car and adapted.

            But, he never gained a decisive upper hand on MW until Singapore where RBR introduced a new package which suited him

      • Drop Valencia! said on 30th November 2012, 9:28

        I agree i think he would much fancy his chances against Button, in qualy he would thump JB. But who would leave Red Bull right now when they are performing very close to Vettel’s level…

      • Howard (@howard) said on 30th November 2012, 12:02

        I think Webber has stated in the past that McLaren culture is not his thing.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 30th November 2012, 7:37

      But what else do you expect him to say? “I know I’m never going to be a world champion myself so I’ll just stay in the background, try to collect points and occasional wins and help Seb to win more titles”? He knows very well that he has not been as good as Vettel over the last four years and that it will be very very hard to beat his team-mate in the future but he still has to try, just like every driver.

      • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 30th November 2012, 8:03

        An we’ve also seen that when the car is not Vettel’s liking, they are actually quite close together … Vettel’s dominance is mainly due to the development direction RedBull and Newey are taking. But they do so because they know that if they give to Vettel a car he likes to drive and “can do his trick with” (to quote him), they can win the champ. Which can’t be sure about Webber who have to deal with wathever they give him.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th November 2012, 15:25

          Webber is good, but he isn’t and hasn’t been close enough, whatever the circumstances. He only beat Vettel in 4 races this season (Mark’s 2 wins, China and Brazil). 2010 was a similar story, except it was car failures on Vettel’s side that held him back.

  4. Stephen Higgins said on 30th November 2012, 0:36

    Ferrari started the year with a mediocre car and their final position is testimony to the skill of Alonso.

    But the fact is, F1 is a team sport and the best team won.

    Sadly, this time Ferrari’s arrogance and sheer sour grapes has left a nasty taste at the end of a great season. What they need to to is to develop a better car and play fair.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 30th November 2012, 1:14

      The problem is, Ferrari haven’t exactly been sour about it. They tested the water until the FIA’s clarified the situation. But since then they haven’t said a thing about it.

      I don’t see a problem in that.

    • infy (@infy) said on 30th November 2012, 6:30

      Unfortunately for Ferrari, the media are putting words in their mouths. Ferrari said pretty early on that they wont be disputing it, but I guess everyone chose to ignore that.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 8:19

        @infy I think you’re accepting the Ferrari PR line a bit too readily there.

        Ferrari ‘saying they wouldn’t dispute it’ is meaningless as they were not able to protest it.

        All they could do was ask the FIA for a clarification in the hope it would prompt the FIA to investigate – and they did do that.

        • infy (@infy) said on 30th November 2012, 8:37

          @keithcollantine

          I don’t think that’s the case at all. They most likely asked for clarification to show their staff that they would look into the matter. I’m sure in the organisation people were asking the question and management would come off badly if it appeared they did not care. The investigation helped Ferrari show its employees that there is no point protesting and that their time is better spent focusing on the 2013 car.

          I don’t think it is meaningless that they said they would not dispute it. I think it means everything here, as most people tend to think that by asking for clarification they are in fact protesting it.

        • RedBullRacer (@redbullracer) said on 30th November 2012, 9:55

          I agree that Ferrari shouldn’t have got involved but I don’t feel that, in this case, they were the instigators of all this melodrama. The shrieking histrionics all over the internet since Sunday have reached insane proportions, and apparently much of the Spanish media coverage has been just as bad. I am usually the first to roll my eyes when Ferrari (or other teams, for that matter) whinge about petty things like this, but in this instance it seems like they’re responding to a mass demand for action rather than demanding it themselves.

        • Brace (@brace) said on 30th November 2012, 13:59

          Keith can you give one and for all a video of the incident and tell me where to look and at which time in order to see the green flag?
          I feel this case is, flag is there if you want it to be there, and flag is not there if you don’t want it to be there.
          Too much is at stake here regarding PR and whole credibility of F1, should it turn out that pass was actually illegal, that I’m afraid (knowing how politics work) inconclusive evidence will always be swayed towards publically-more-acceptible decision.

          You can see it in comments from the people like “this should have never even been started” and “I don’t want championship decided this way” etc that it wouldn’t have been a popular decision.

          In most cases people would rather believe what suits their view better.
          Maybe I’m like that too, but only conclusive evidence I saw so far is Vettel’s dashboard and blinking yellow lights around the circuit. I haven’t seen that green flag and I think we really need a decent answer for this one.

          • Flag is there if you want it to be there, and flag is not there if you don’t want it to be there

            @brace the flag is most definitely there! If you want a video there is one here at around the 16 second mark; if you look closely at the left-hand side of the track you can see it being waved. The lights are irrelevant consequently in this case as flags take priority over lights, and the move wasn’t even initiated until Vettel had seen the flag and passed it.

  5. Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 30th November 2012, 1:29

    Istanbul Park back? Let’s hope so. With COTA is one of the best Tilkedromes.

  6. Yorricksfriend (@yorricksfriend) said on 30th November 2012, 2:06

    COTD is being quite lenient. Had the situation gone the other way, and Vettel had in fact passed under yellows and therefore lost the championship in the courtroom days later – it would be an absolute PR disaster for the sport, possibly costing F1 many fans. It occurred during the race with plenty of the race still to go and that was the time to act, if necessary to do so. Changing the result days or even weeks later is a complete no-no.
    I too wanted Alonso to win, but he didn’t. Vettel won it fair and square and I would be more upset if Alonso had been handed the win days later due to a technicality that should have been picked up earlier. These are all what-ifs though. Luckily this is not what happened and the case is closed, 2012 will be remembered as a fantastic year of racing where the best driver and team combination won.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 2:17

    “There’s not much outside of Formula One that interests me but rallying is one of those things. Sometimes I think it’s a bit surprising that I didn’t become a rally driver earlier in life; I had lots of opportunities when I was growing up to drive on forest tracks, like most kids in Finland, but then I discovered racing circuits! Next year we’ll see what happens: there’s life outside Formula One as well.”

    I’ve seen people claim that Heikki Kovalainen is a serious contender for the second Lotus seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen, but I just don’t see the rationale behind it. Here’s why:

    1) They already have a Finnish driver. I’ve always been against choosing drivers on the basis of their nationality alone, but at the same time I’ve long felt that having two drivers of the same nationality is a mistake, unless you can do what McLaren did and find two drivers of the same nationality who are both World Champions.

    2) Having two Finnish drivers would limit the team’s appeal outside Finland. Kovalainen has made it known that he doesn’t want to pay for a seat. And it’s well-known that Raikkonen does not bring sponsors. Having two Finnish drivers could seriously limit the team to only being able to get sponsors from Scandinavia in general or Finland in particular, and the sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola would limit the company’s potential to use Formula 1 as a marketing platform.

    But perhaps most importantly:

    3) Vitaly Petrov was dumped by Lotus – and he beat Kovalainen. Over the course of the season, Heikki Kovalainen was probably the stronger of the two Caterham drivers. But in the second half of the year in particular, Petrov really lifted his game and started out-qualifying Kovalainen a lot more frequently than he has any of his team-mates in the past, not to mention securing the team’s best result in Brazil. Even if you can emphatically prove that Kovalainen was the better driver, Petrov’s performances won’t have escaped Lotus’s attention. I don’t mean to insinuate that he could move to Lotus, only that the team will pay close attention to what he has done alongside a driver they are (said to be) considering. They dropped Petrov because he wasn’t performing, so why would they take a driver that he is very competitive against – particularly when there are other potential drivers (Grosjean, Kobayashi, Algeursuari, et al) that they could take in his place?

    In the end, I think all of this talk about Kovalainen going to Lotus has been brought about by fans seeking to save the career of a popular – if not necessarily fast – driver.

    • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 30th November 2012, 2:43

      I’d rather see Senna at Lotus over Grosean or Petrov or Kovi Senna did’nt really get a proper chance at Williams from what I’m I’m aware.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 2:57

        @mattynotwo

        Senna did’nt really get a proper chance at Williams from what I’m I’m aware.

        Twenty races isn’t “a proper chance”?

        Senna had his chance with Lotus last year. He failed. He was dropped from their line-up before Vitaly Petrov was.

        • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 30th November 2012, 3:06

          @prisoner-monkeys Yeah, but, at Williams, did’nt Senna miss 15 practise sessions so Bottas could have a drive. I’m sure I read that the other day.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 3:15

            @mattynotwo – Yes, Senna did sit out fifteen practice sessions this year. But if he is such a poor driver that he needed those fifteen sessions to be able to get the maximum out of the car, he has no business being in Formula 1 because the first session is dedicated to raw data that the teams and drivers turn into useful information in the second practice session. It’s not like Senna was back at the hotel during those practice sessions; he was in the garage, listening to the data gathered and working with the engineers. The only difference is that he just wasn’t physically in the car. If anything, that would put him in a better position to work on his set-up because he wasn’t preoccupied driving the car.

            If Bruno Senna was named Bruno Jones, he wouldn’t be in Formula 1. He was only there because of his name, and has proved time and time again that he has no business racing. He might have missed some key developmental years because of Ayrton’s death, and he might have lost the second Brawn drive to Rubens Barrichello, and he might have been forced to sit out fifteen free practice sessions this year – but if he was really so talented that he would have succeeded without those problems, then he would have succeeded despite them. As it stands, he’s had three chances in Formula 1 with Hispania, Lotus Renault and now Williams, and he has not made good on any of them. If he hasn’t come good by now, why is he suddenly going to show a burst of talent if he joins Lotus? And more importantly, why hasn’t he shown it until now?

    • Kimi4WDC said on 30th November 2012, 4:55

      Petrov would be so cool next to Kimi, I can’t wait to all the jokes. Atmosphere in a team would be amazing!! :) Plus now Vitaly is more matured, would be great opportunity for him to show his worth now.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 30th November 2012, 7:09

      @prisoner-monkeys

      in the second half of the year in particular, Petrov really lifted his game and started out-qualifying Kovalainen a lot more frequently than he has any of his team-mates in the past

      That is not the case. He beat Heidfeld in qualifying last year 8-3. On his day, Petrov is up there with the very best. He prevented Alonso from winning the 2010 world championship and scored an impressive podium in the 2011 Australian Grand Prix because he is a talented driver with very high potential. Just like Maldonado and Grosjean, Petrov is not consistent enough (yet) but his performance has improved a lot since his debut in the first race of 2010.

      I know that there are fans, who think that Kovalainen is not very good because he hasn’t managed to beat Petrov as convincingly as he did with Trulli in 2011. But I don’t think so. I believe that Caterham had two very good drivers in 2012 and it’s a pity that the team is likely to drop them both solely because they don’t have generous sponsors.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 7:35

        Well, the point is that he was dropped by Lotus and has been out-performing Kovalainen, so in the face of that, why would Lotus consider Kovalainen?

        • Girts (@girts) said on 30th November 2012, 7:53

          As far as I know, Petrov was dropped by Lotus partly because of uneasy relationship with the team management that got particularly strained after he had openly criticised the team on Russian TV. And he outperformed Kovalainen on merit only in a few races this year. For instance, Kovalainen could have scored the 11th place at Interlagos as well (Petrov actually spun on lap 46) but he was delayed by at least 15 seconds at his second pit stop.

          That said, I think that Grosjean will stay with Lotus.

    • William Brierty said on 30th November 2012, 8:39

      I was under the impression that Grosjean was a done deal, but now we’ve got Kobayashi, Algersuari and as you say Kovalainen linked with that seat. I have to say that if Kovalainen turned up at Lotus, it would be a great day for F1, because a driver going in a team representative of his skill. Don’t get hung up on Petrov’s resurgence, because there’s nothing like the threat of a P45 to slow you down. Raikkonen and Kovalainen would be a great line-up, and I genuinely believe that Heikki would have the upper hand in qualy. The only issue is that Lotus would become the Finnish national team.

  8. Sad to see Kovalainen go, although he’s clearly suffering from something which my brother termed as FDS(Finnish Demotivation Syndrome), at least w.r.t. F1. Kimi showed us that F1 drivers aren’t totally out of depth when it comes to off-terrain racing, and hopefully Kovalainen will get a good seat and make a strong account of himself.

  9. andae23 (@andae23) said on 30th November 2012, 6:44

    The ‘Inside Line’ interview with Maldonado is brilliant!

    Q: If you could give your younger self some advice what would it be?
    PM: I would say choose another sport – baseball. [...] It is a much easier career path.

    Q: What event can’t you forget but would wish you could?
    PM: In 2007 when I was training with a bike I fell and broke my collarbone. That was stupid and completely unnecessary. I am racing at 300km/h and then I fall off a bike…

  10. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 7:36

    The plot thickens, as apparently Alonso tweeted thisand deleted it shortly after.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 7:45

      @raymondu999 Interesting. But it’s going to be tricky to determine if that’s real or a Photoshop job.

      Having run it through an automatic translator (“not as sweet as winning the circuit. but justice is done and I am the F1 World Champion for 3 time. Thank you”) I don’t believe it’s real – unless someone can prove otherwise…

      • Impossible. I don’t believe any driver would tweet such a thing on the basis of a grainy YouTube video and a letter for clarification to the FIA. It has to be a fake.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 8:04

        @keithcollantine I thought it might be a ‘shop job too – but some news websites seem to be running the website. Google the text of the tweet word for word – and some news stories popped up. We do have the time of tweet in the photo, but we don’t know what timezone he’s in, so that’s not a massive help.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 8:11

        If that message did appear in his Twitter feed, then it’s just plain weird. Even if the FIA had ruled in favour of Ferrari – and now it’s quite clear that 90% of the controversy over the pass on Vergne was started by people who wanted controversy – there was still no guarantee that Alonso would have been champion because of it. The FIA could have easily handed down a token penalty to Vettel that would punish him for an illegal pass, but wouldn’t change the championship standings. Alonso certainly wouldn’t have posted it before any annoucement was made, and going by the timestamp, he posted it three hours after the FIA made their annoucement. It’s likely Ferrari would have been told of the outcome of the query beforehand as well.

        Assuming that this is legitimate, then there is only one scenario I can think of that would explain it – and it’s a convoluted one: when Ferrari asked the FIA to review the pass on Vergne, they also asked for a review of a second issue that wasn’t widely publicised, one that would have the potential to dramatically alter the outcome of the championship, possibly by resulting in Vettel’s disqualification. It would certainly explain the use of the word “justice”; being fluent in three languages, Alonso doesn’t strike me as the type to use the wrong word. “Justice” implies correcting some great wrong, and at worst, Vettel’s pass on Vergne could be constructed as nothing more than Vettel passing whilst uanware that the circuit was under yellows.

        Anyway, back to the convolusion: when the FIA decided that there was nothing wrong with the pass, they did agree on the second issue and felt that Ferrari had a case. However, instead of publicly announcing that they were going to change the results, they decided to sit on it for some time. When word got back to Alonso that the FIA had agreed on the mystery issue, he took to Twitter, only to find out later that the FIA was sitting on the second issue deciding what to do about it.

        Like I said, convoluted. It’s probably equally-likely that Alonso posted the thing pre-emptively, then found out his information was wrong. I doubt we’ll hear anything more of it.

        • Oletros (@oletros) said on 30th November 2012, 8:23

          And what is that “second issue”?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 8:27

            @oletros – That’s the $64 million question, isn’t it? It would have to be something serious enough that Ferrari queried it and the FIA agreed with, but at the same time something that has largely gone unnoticed by the media and fans (which wouldn’t be difficult after the flag controversy) and has the potential to have dire consequences for the championship. The use of the word “justice” (“justicia” in the Tweet) implies that it is righting some great wrong, which in turn implies that someone has done something illegal. I’m guessing the most-likely culprit would be a part either on Vettel’s car or Jenson Button’s (Button losing the race win would promote Alonso to champion).

          • Oletros (@oletros) said on 30th November 2012, 8:40

            Ah, it is only you still trying to make a case like you have doing since the flaggate started

            Please, deal with it, there was nothing wrong in the race and the twit was a fake one.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th November 2012, 9:16

            @oletros – Go back and read over my post. You will see that it is quite clear that I am demonstrating how implausible the Tweet is by assuming that it is real and then creating a hypothetical situation to explain how it can be real and accurate, even with “flag-gate”* being resolved in Vettel’s favour. The end result of this is so complicated and convoluted that it perfectly demonstrates just how implausible the Tweet is. So please, stop jumping to conclusions about what other people have posted.

            *Thank heavens for Richard Nixon. If it weren’t for him, we’d have nothing interesting to name our controversies.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 8:34

      For what itworth – a Google search of the tweet (word for word) yields some news articles in Spanish.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 30th November 2012, 8:47

      Even after you delete a tweet it still appears on Google search… and there’s no record of it.

    • mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 30th November 2012, 9:29

      its definitely a fake this has been Photoshoped pretty poorly

  11. Girts (@girts) said on 30th November 2012, 8:19

    Ecclestone: Ferrari “completely wrong” in Vettel dispute

    I don’t consider myself evil but I wouldn’t be unhappy about a Romney-like ‘Google bomb’ after this.

  12. Jono (@me262) said on 30th November 2012, 8:54

    where is the FIA now? Ferrari International Assistance has turned into VIA xD

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 30th November 2012, 9:50

      @me262 Everyone was free to overtake there. It was a green flag zone.

      • Jono (@me262) said on 30th November 2012, 10:01

        so Ferrari International Assistance is a lie? what kind of assistance is this? if everyone was free to overtake there, what is the supposed assistance that Ferrari receives? this is the perfect time for some of it …

      • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 30th November 2012, 10:59

        I am sure that Vettel spotted that little green flag and knew exactly that he was allowed to pass despite a few yellow boards and yellow lights on his cockpit display. Yeah, right. It seems like FIA tried to find something green on that straight, no matter if it was a blanket or a raincoat, as long as it was green. Just try to understand that cases like this usually take a few minutes during the race to investigate and they most likely end as a drive through. If that was MSC, MAL or HAM, it would certainly be a drive through.

        But yeah… spending holidays on a Bernies yacht does make miracles!

        • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 30th November 2012, 12:38

          So you think racing drivers cannot spot flags being waved? Get real.

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 30th November 2012, 12:55

            While slipstreaming the car ahead, driving 220-280 kph, and so many yellow flashing lights to spot 1 little green flag that we found difficult to see at slow motion? I think it is you who should get serious! But sure, as long as it is against Ferrari, everything is fair.

          • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 30th November 2012, 13:49

            Drivers know exactly where the marshal posts are. Vettel knew that there will be a green flag eventually after the yellows. He was lining up for a pass. Of course he will check every marshal post for green flags and once he spots one, he will commence overtaking.

            I don’t think that a low-resolution, low-framerate, underexposed onboard video with a lens covered with water drops will give you a realistic view of what a driver can see.

          • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 30th November 2012, 15:35

            @Thorpedo

            If drivers weren’t able to see things that they were driving passed at high speeds, then the teams wouldn’t use pit boards. Obviously drivers are going to study the tracks and know where things are, and due to them being at the top of their game, I’m sure they can spot these little things.

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 30th November 2012, 16:08

            If drivers weren’t able to see things that they were driving passed at high speeds, then the teams wouldn’t use pit boards. Obviously drivers are going to study the tracks and know where things are, and due to them being at the top of their game, I’m sure they can spot these little things.

            Pitboards are only used as a supplement to the team radio, so that in case of any radio malfunction, team can communicate with their driver. The main cause for the developement of the technology is to improve safety. Thats why drivers have displays with race control lights in their cockpit, so that they can concentrate on driving. They can also see the gaps, engine temperature,…

        • Oletros (@oletros) said on 30th November 2012, 13:46

          “While slipstreaming the car ahead, driving 220-280 kph, and so many yellow flashing lights to spot 1 little green flag that we found difficult to see at slow motion?”

          You have difficulties spotting it from a low resolution camera onboard. ALL the drivers can spot it because they know were they are.

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 30th November 2012, 14:43

            Of course he knows where the marshal posts are, but I cannot agree that his vision was good. First of all there are rain drops, there was even a bit of spray from the car ahead and there is also very limited angle of vision from the helmet. Notice that drivers have to turn their head to look at the mirrors and they are not able to see below the display in their cockpit. That means that vertical angle of vision is poor. Given that the marshall post is quite close to the previous corner where he was looking first at the apex and then at the exit, I strongly doubt that he checked the marshall post especially since he was after to overtake the car ahead. And one more thing… he was using a dark visor used for sunny races. Besides, he is not really known as a good observator of the things going on around him otherwise he wouldnt have turned into Senna at lap 1 or some other examples (Turkey 2010, Malaysia 2012).

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th November 2012, 15:20

            @thorpedo

            Besides, he is not really known as a good observator of the things going on around him otherwise he wouldnt have turned into Senna at lap 1 or some other examples (Turkey 2010, Malaysia 2012).

            LOL, still trying to blame Vettel for Karthikeyan’s mistake? Still harping on about a 2 year old incident?

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 30th November 2012, 15:57

            LOL, still trying to blame Vettel for Karthikeyan’s mistake? Still harping on about a 2 year old incident?

            Was it really Karthikeyans mistake? Then, in the case of Turkey it was Webbers mistake. He obviously doenst have the awareness of space around him otherwise he would have known when he is completely ahead of the car he overtakes. A lot of people says that for Romain but I guess Vettel is not far away. Take a look at the start of 2011 Japanese GP. It seems pretty much the same as the start of 2012 Belgian GP with, of course, different consequences. Please be more neutral.

          • davidnotcoulthard said on 30th November 2012, 16:40

            @thorpedo

            Was it really Karthikeyans mistake? Then, in the case of Turkey it was Webbers mistake.

            Somebody here showed a link to a video that said “yes”. Can you re-post it, Keith?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st December 2012, 8:03

            @thorpedo – In Malaysia, Karthikeyan moved towards Vettel, and that is why Narain was penalised, and later admitted his mistake:

            http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/crash-analysis-vettel-and-karthikeyan-at-the-malaysian-gp/

            One incident, and one near incident do not prove that he has no “awareness of space”, certainly compared to the majority of the grid, so think about that before asking others to be neutral.

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 1st December 2012, 9:04

            Yeah, it is easier to blame someone in an HRT, isnt it? Would love to see Vettel taking out one of the British drivers. Wow, those would be interesting answers! Just to add some more examples: Brazil 2012 (Senna at T4), Abu Dhabi (Senna T9, Ricciardo on the back straight) and there are some more. Want me to mention all of them? I think it is lack of spacial awareness or extreme arrogance and therefore huge lack of sportmanlike behaviour. Remember that his overtaking of Button in Abu Dhabi (in a chicane!) would have ended completely different if Button hadnt lifted off. Lets face it… Vettel has only raced clean and non-controversial races when he was leading. I think it says enough. If those examples are not enough, then why are we blaming Grossjean?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st December 2012, 10:31

            @thorpedo

            Yeah, it is easier to blame someone in an HRT, isnt it?

            It’s easy because it was the HRT’s fault. But of course, ignore Karthikeyan admitting he made a mistake, ignore the penalty, ignore the forum analysis.

            I think it is lack of spacial awareness or extreme arrogance and therefore huge lack of sportmanlike behaviour.

            Having a couple of incidents doesn’t suggest “extreme arrogance” or a “lack of spacial awareness”. All they are, are racing incidents. Every driver has them. You’re just bashing for the sake of bashing.

            Remember that his overtaking of Button in Abu Dhabi (in a chicane!) would have ended completely different if Button hadnt lifted off.

            This is getting laughable. Both drivers left room, Vettel got past. Nothing wrong with the actions of either driver in that move.

            Lets face it… Vettel has only raced clean and non-controversial races when he was leading.

            Yes, since there was so much controversy when he fought in the pack at Spa, Shanghai and Albert Park this year…

          • thorpedo (@thorpedo) said on 1st December 2012, 12:56

            Karthikeyan had to admit it after “golden boy” called him idiot. And we know what support he is getting from Ecclestone.

            Having a couple of incidents doesn’t suggest “extreme arrogance” or a “lack of spacial awareness”. All they are, are racing incidents. Every driver has them.

            You are getting really funny. If Vettels incidents are ALL racing incidents, then the incident at the start in Spa was also racing incident, so was SCH and VER in Singapore, MAL and HAM in Valencia, SCH and Senna in Spain, GRO and WEB in Japan, HUL and HAM in Brazil. So, in your opinion they should all do whatever they want even if it is dangerous. Well, not all of them since the incidents I mentioned above were all penalised.

            Yes, since there was so much controversy when he fought in the pack at Spa, Shanghai and Albert Park this year…

            Wow… congratulations… you have just found 3 races where there wasnt much controversy. What about the other GPs? There were more than 3 races that were controversial, right? Take for example Alonso. He started from the front row twice, if I remember it correctly. So there were, say, 16 races (I exluded two where “he” crashed in first lap) where he had to make places. Now, tell me; was he involved in an accident? Did he overtake at any cost? Did he risk races of his rivals? I really doubt about it! There you can get the difference between those two drivers.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st December 2012, 19:15

            Karthikeyan had to admit it after “golden boy” called him idiot. And we know what support he is getting from Ecclestone.

            Karthikeyan was also penalised, and the pictures shown earlier show he was to blame.

            You are getting really funny. If Vettels incidents are ALL racing incidents, then the incident at the start in Spa was also racing incident, so was SCH and VER in Singapore, MAL and HAM in Valencia, SCH and Senna in Spain, GRO and WEB in Japan, HUL and HAM in Brazil. So, in your opinion they should all do whatever they want even if it is dangerous. Well, not all of them since the incidents I mentioned above were all penalised.

            You’re the one trying to call out Vettel, out of the entire grid, for “extreme arrogance” and “lack of spacial awareness”, for incidents where the other driver was penalised, and even for a clean overtaking manoeuvre!

            Wow… congratulations… you have just found 3 races where there wasnt much controversy. What about the other GPs? There were more than 3 races that were controversial, right?

            They were only examples. There were other races he wasn’t leading and was incident free.

            Now, tell me; was he involved in an accident? Did he overtake at any cost? Did he risk races of his rivals? I really doubt about it! There you can get the difference between those two drivers.

            My problem isn’t with comparing Vettel to Alonso. I know Alonso has few incidents, compared to most. It’s with you bashing Vettel for stuff that either wasn’t his fault, or only partially his fault. Having a racing incident doesn’t mean you’re arrogant, or ignorant of what’s around you.

  13. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th November 2012, 9:02

    Someone may just join Kovalainen en route to WRC.

    Kubica in demand for 2013

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 10:18

      @journeyer Kubica and Kovalainen in the WRC together? That would definitely be worth watching.

      I tried to follow the season more closely this year but lost interest amid the usual Loeb domination and seemingly unending string of bad news about the championship. Hopefully it starts to get back on its feet next year.

  14. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 30th November 2012, 10:04

    I can’t believe that the F1 Fanatic supporters scheme was launched six months ago. Shame on me, I only just got round to signing up. I’ve meant to do it since day one but never quite got round to it, but when I read that I had been sitting on it for six months (and some of the ads have been making the site a real pain to use recently too) I just did it.

    On that Montezemolo quote:

    There were at least two cars, the McLaren and the Red Bull, that were better than ours

    He is wrong, if he had said that there were two cars ‘faster’ than ours then he could have been forgiven (though the pace difference was mainly in qualifying and less in the race) – but I think it is a little unfair on his employees for him to credit them with having the third best car when they succeeded in taking 2nd place in the constructors championship. It’s doesn’t seem to me like the most motivating phrase to use in a speech to your own staff.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th November 2012, 10:13

      @jerseyf1 Thanks very much! Should be processed within the next 24 hours, along with everyone else who’s signing up today.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th November 2012, 19:52

      He is wrong, if he had said that there were two cars ‘faster’ than ours then he could have been forgiven (though the pace difference was mainly in qualifying and less in the race) – but I think it is a little unfair on his employees for him to credit them with having the third best car when they succeeded in taking 2nd place in the constructors championship.

      I actually agree with you there. First of all their car was the more reliable of the three. And they did do an amazing job in clawign back from 1.5 seconds below par in winter testing to having a car that could at least fight for the 2-3rd row on many occasions.

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