Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA Tribunal today

F1 Fanatic round-up

Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Mercedes and Pirelli will learn if they will be punished for their controversial pre-Monaco private tyre test today when they face an FIA tribunal.

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Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA hearing over tyre testing (BBC)

“Mercedes and tyre supplier Pirelli face disciplinary charges on Thursday on what promises to be a dramatic day that could have major repercussions.”

Mercedes test row: how the International Tribunal works (Autosport)

“Formula 1’s attention moves to the FIA’s headquarters in Paris on Thursday for an International Tribunal (IT) hearing into the Mercedes secret test controversy.”

Lewis Hamilton fears for his legacy after ‘wasting away best years’ at McLaren (Sky)

Lewis Hamilton: “I got to F1 and nearly won in my first year, then won I won in my second year. I’ve never had a car to really compete since then. The car makes such a big difference so you’re just wasting away your best years.”

Lotus will be the No 1 team on the Formula One grid ‘within a year’, claims new investor Mansoor Ijaz (Telegraph)

Mansoor Ijaz: “We?ll be number one in 12 months. I say it simply, flatly, completely – we’ll be number one in 12 months.”

McLaren still struggling as we head to Silverstone, admits Jenson Button (Guardian)

Jenson Button: “We would love to be able to give the fans a win. We will still give the best we have. The important thing is that we do everything we can to put on a good show for the British fans ?ǣ whether that is finishing fifth or seventh, I don’t know where we are going to be ?ǣ but we have to feel we got everything out of it and we are happy with our achievement.”

Indian Grand Prix organisers slam ‘malicious’ rumours over future (Autosport)

“Indian Grand Prix organisers have dismissed ‘baseless and malicious’ rumours that the event could be in doubt after its 2014 edition.”

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Comment of the day

After Infinity Racing acquired a 35 per cent stake in Lotus, @Matt90 wishes that the new consortium had come up with a slightly more original name…

Team Enstone really are intent on confusing us as much as possible. First the ??Lotus? debacle, and now a new major stakeholder has a near identical name to Red Bull?s main sponsor.
@Matt90

From the forum

Anticipating this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

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Happy birthday to Julie and M744All!

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

Luigi Fagioli lost his life on this day in 1952 when he succumbed to injuries sustained in a crash during the Monaco Grand Prix. The race had been held as a non-championship event for sports cars three-and-a-half weeks earlier.

Fagioli finished third in the first ever world championship for Alfa Romeo in 1950, taking five podium finishes but no wins. He quit F1 two races into the 1951 season.

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168 comments on Mercedes and Pirelli to face FIA Tribunal today

  1. dkpioe said on 20th June 2013, 12:02

    what the hell? i am following the tribunal… and it seems mercedes only defense is that if they are guilty, then so is ferrari… its not even a defense, its trying to shift the blaim for what they are accused onto others who are not accused in the trial

  2. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 20th June 2013, 12:13

    This really is pretty extraordinary what’s coming out at this Tribunal about Ferrari and the data sharing from their tests with Pirelli. Does rather beg the question why Mercedes chose to sit on this information rather than raise their own protests about what went on.

    It all looks pretty rotten though, all smoke and mirrors, misdirection, testing conducted which seems like it gave advantages, all in secret, all hidden. Is this really what F1 is meant to be about? Backroom deals which allow teams to do things that the rules appear to prohibit? I certainly hope not!

    This whole debacle appears to drag the sport of F1 through the mud. Whatever the outcome now, I think it damages the sport as a whole.

    Thankfully later today there’ll be some proper motorsport to take all our minds off of this nonsense :)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th June 2013, 12:58

      Pretty heavy stuff isn’t it @mazdachris, let us be glad we have a tribunal deciding on the whole thing and not the backroom dealing we had in the past.

      I guess not protesting Ferrari over this fits with Mercedes’ line that they did not do any testing, as the test was conducted by Pirelli. After all, in that line of thought , Ferrari only provided the car for a Pirelli test as well, and there’s no substantial difference in both tests.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 20th June 2013, 13:08

        @BasCB
        Yeah, I really agree with them here. The ruling that a 2011 car doesn’t conform substantially with the current rules is an odd one. Other than changes to exhaust and diffusor configurations, I don’t see that there’s really that big of a difference. Maybe Pirelli will point out that the way the downforce was generated by the older cars significantly changed the loading on the tyres compared to a current car, and that’s why they should be considered differently. It’s obviously not within the remit of this tribunal to look at the Ferrari tests, so they should probably be looked into again at some point in the future, but it’s definitely a very valid point that’s raised. Especially when it sounds like they went far beyond the basic requirements of just supplying cars and drivers for Pirelli to do with what they wished.

        I do wonder if this will all be looked back on as a bit of a watershed moment for F1. This whole situation reflects very badly on the sport as a whole, and I can’t imagine that the FIA wouldn’t have known that. In years gone by, this would almost certainly be subject to a whitewash. By taking it through their tribunal process, the FIA must have known that all the dirty details would come out, and yet chose to do so anyway, purely in the interests of transparency. That’s admirable. It’s a shame for the sport that it has come to this, like, but at least it seems to be being dealt with in the correct manner, even if it does turn out that there’s no legal way of punishing those involved.

        No matter how this tribunal goes, there will be consequences for the sport as a whole.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th June 2013, 13:16

          I think so to. When these rules were made up and last specified, it was pretty clear that a 2 year old car (one from 2009) could not be used for any reasonable testing. But by now I doubt the car can not be used for some aero development to wings, bargebords etc. @mazdachris

          As I mentioned yesterday, the best part of this is the tribunal asserting itself as being a genuine and fair procedure. Apart from that I suspect that the testing issue will be taken in a flow with testing needs for the new engines, the tyres and teams wishes to test (which both Bernie and Todt are in favour of) to stamp out the rules for testing from next year onwards allowing more testing, as they discussed in Monaco.

      • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 20th June 2013, 13:33

        Ferrari only provided the car for a Pirelli test as well, and there’s no substantial difference in both tests.

        You seem to see yourself as a Mercedes lawyer rather than a neutral observer in all this. Mercedes did not “only provide the car for a Pirelli test”. Among other important distinctions, they provided the drivers and engineers as well.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 15:18

      @mazdachris I totally agree that this is all pretty extraordinary and I think it is very valid of you to ask the question “Is this really what F1 is meant to be about?”

      DRS has been extraordinary in F1. So has been these mandated degrady, cliffy tires. I don’t like either…don’t like this direction F1 has taken. They are messing with gadgets to make up the show. The tires were taken too far and have been problematic this year.

      So my general comment would be that FIA and F1 should own some of this fiasco if not a lot of it, as with a bit more testing and with a bit less desire for tires to be the story we wouldn’t have this mess. I am absolutely confident that Mercedes would not have been trying to do an in-season test if the tires weren’t a problem for everyone. If they (the tires) had just been left alone from last year, then there would have been no test. Not with Ferrari either. To my knowledge no teams in the past, since the in-season testing ban, have tried to get away with a blatant disregard for the rule nor would deem it worth the risk, and given the state of this year’s tires and the fact that Mercedes tested with Pirelli, tells me there must be extenuating circumstances that should at least lighten any penalties Mercedes might receive.

      Imho, FIA and F1 wanted and signed off on these tires, as well as the lack of testing, Pirelli blew it with the tires and needed a test. Mercedes might be guilty of something…but to me they are by far not the biggest offenders in this case, and I think they have been unfairly treated by most posters and reporters as the biggest offenders in this, albeit I suppose understandably so since, as Keith pointed out in the past week or two, Mercedes is the only party whose possible penalty from their actions (plus Ferrari’s exoneration) could affect their and their opponents’ Championship run and standing.

      I cannot help but think of the massive outlash towards Michelin when their tires were found out to be unsafe at one corner of one venue, and that was at a time of much much more money and testing in F1, so I don’t see how Pirelli isn’t a big big part of the problem here and should be held to owning a big part of the ‘fault’ in this whole mess. But then again…there’s the fact that F1 mandated these tires as well as the lack of testing, hence my opinion that F1 needs to own much of this too. If it can be determined that Pirelli ran the test, then Mercedes ‘knowlegde’ gain will have been minimal imho and certainly cannot be considered the equivalent of a normal F1 team test, and I don’t think anyone is accusing Mercedes of conducting a normal F1 team test. It was an extraordinary test in extraordinary F1 times.

      • Lee1 said on 20th June 2013, 15:58

        Mercedes would have learned a lot from this test. They have very clever and experienced engineers and very good and experienced drivers. The drivers would have learned a huge amount from the amount of breaking and accelerating and cornering they were doing (Lewis already stated before the test that he was struggling to come to terms with the different break setup of mercedes compared to maclaren) They would have also been able to hazard a pretty good guess as to which compound they were on from the handling and the laptimes etc. The team would have learned a lot about the car from things like component durability to downforce etc and not only that we have not information about any enforcement of restrictions (eg parc ferme) that might have either allowed or controlled which parts they put on the car (is it not conceivable that they used some new parts on the car for the test if there were no controls in place to stop them?). They also state that they did not use the telemetry data, however how do we know this, most teams beam live data back to base, we have no way of knowing if they did or did not do this during the test. If they did then they are not going to tell us. Then factor in that mercedes make their own engine so they would have been able to learn from this too, from efficiency, power bands to wear rates on particular parts. In fact Mercedes will have stood to learn more from this test than any other team, any other team that is apart from Ferrari who coincidentally are also seemingly implicated in this mess.

        Mercedes may well turn put to be innocent, but I can’t help but think that they should have made it clear to other teams that this was happening so that the other teams could have aired their grievances before it was too late. This would have also covered the backs of Mercedes so would surely be the intelligent thing to do. However if they are innocent the the teams will surely feel that they have still benefitted from the test but how would this be rectified? It would seem unfair to punish them with a big fine or a point deduction etc but then they also can not unlearn what they have learned. If they are partly to blame though then they should face a heavy punishment, and so it seems should ferrari right at this moment (although we obviously do not know the full facts about that test yet)

  3. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 20th June 2013, 14:18

    Very confrontational way for Pirelli to start presenting their case. Sounds like they don’t feel they have a lot to answer for since the FIA and the sporting regulations have no authority over their actions. I can see their point, though I’m not sure it’s strictly true.

    Either way, it doesn’t really sound like the company is trying to maintain a good relationship with F1 with a view to supplying tyres for next season. I mean, we’ve talked a lot about Mercedes evaluation their future, but it would be far far more serious if Pirelli picked up their ball and left.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 20th June 2013, 14:46

      @mazdachris
      Which is why it is absolutely mindblowingly stupid that there is no contract signed with a tyre supplier from next year.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 20th June 2013, 14:54

        I know, it absolutely beggars belief that F1 would find itself in this situation. I know that people seem to think that Ecclestone is an omnipotent puppet master, always in control of the situation, but it’s hard to see how this situation is anything but a disaster. FIA having a massive falling out with the only company who could conceivably supply tyres for next year, and it’s just becoming more and more bitter. With Pirelli citing the Briatore case they’re sending a clear message – mess with us and we’ll take you to court. Hardly conducive to ongoing contract negotiations.

        Thing I also find interesting is that Pirelli seem to be exclusively interested in saying that they can do what they want and it’s none of the business of the FIA. I think if Mercedes were hoping for Pirelli to come in and defend them, then they’re sorely mistaken.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 15:30

          Well to me is seems like Pirelli’s ‘attitude’ if I can use that term is…you wanted these tires, you wanted the lack of testing, we did as you asked, everyone signed off on it, but due to the lack of testing we only found out once the season began that there was a problem, so what are you going to do to us for doing as you asked under your own conditions?

          I don’t know that Mercedes need forget any hope of Pirelli defending them. At a minimum, Pirelli supplied tires for what on the face of it could appear to be an illegal test. So Pirelli are at a minimum guilty of aiding and abetting an F1 team to advance their Championship, one could argue, so I think Pirelli will unavoidably have to answer to that issue of supplying Mercedes tires, never mind as Brawn and Rosberg have pointed out, the engineers to conduct the test.

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 20th June 2013, 14:46

    As suspected by many folks, Ferrari had another test with Massa last year. All the tifosi that wanted Merc disqualified are now speechless and have unanimously agreed that Ferrari should relinquish possession of all their championships to prove that they are not above the rules.

    I’m sure DiMontezemolo would love to go back in time and praise Mercedes for helping Pirelli in their time of need and standing by them the way Ferrari did through their difficult moments!

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 20th June 2013, 15:09

      When this Ferrari test become public, and what were the edetails, please?

      • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 20th June 2013, 15:11

        *details*
        I was too surprised to type properly!

      • GT_Racer said on 20th June 2013, 15:16

        Came out in the hearing earlier on.
        Ferrari ran a Pirelli test last season with Massa doing the driving.

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/108157

        Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1000 kilometres.

        • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 20th June 2013, 15:23

          Mercedes also revealed that Ferrari had another testing opportunity in 2012 with Pirelli, when Felipe Massa was used in its pre-Spanish Grand Prix test and that the team conducted more than 1000 kilometres.

          But what car was used? If it was the 2012 Ferrari then Mercedes would have stressed that point I think.

          • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 20th June 2013, 15:45

            “Any track running time not part of an event undertaken by a competitor entered in the championship, using cars which conform substantially with the current Formula 1 technical regulations in addition to those from the previous or subsequent year.”

            If this is true then Ferrari is also in violation on two occasions and was the first to commit the violation and do so across 2 seasons. After hearing the outrage against Mercedes and the penalties that were suggested by the forum, what would be appropriate punishment for a double violation and repeated offense across 2 seasons and then attacking Merc for doing what they have done?

            I like Ferrari but a $500 million fine sounds very appropriate to me if folks wanted Merc to be disqualified with a huge fine.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 16:17

            I no longer think it matters what car was used in these Pirelli tests either last year or this. I think that Pirelli would not aid and abet any one team to advance themselves in the Championships because the risk would be huge for no reward since they are the only tire maker in F1. And I think nor would they do a test with a car that wasn’t going to provide them with some useful information.

            So if Mercedes is going to be accused of gaining from their Pirelli test, so should Ferrari be accused of gaining from last year’s test with Massa and this year’s test with a 2011 car that had who knows what on it that was more current, and perhaps said gain is why they are gentler on the tires this year and didn’t want changes to them. The rules speak of current cars, or recent cars that are current enough to be of concern, and I propose that Pirelli wouldn’t bother doing a test on a car that wouldn’t glean them some sort of useful information…my argument going hand in hand with peoples’ arguments that even if Mercedes test was a Pirelli test conducted by Pirelli, Mercedes would still have gained ‘knowledge.’ So too must have Ferrari then, and they’ve been exonerated.

  5. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 20th June 2013, 15:52

    Decision delayed until tomorrow.

  6. GT_Racer said on 20th June 2013, 16:19

    Mercedes don’t seem very confident as in there summing up after the hearing they proposed suitable penaltys if there found guilty.

    They suggested a reprimand or exclusion from the young drivers test.

    Before the hearing a story that didn’t get much press is that Pirelli is said to have informed the FIA that they will sue them if Pirelli are given any form of damaging penalty.
    Mercedes board of directors also issued a statement suggesting they could quit F1 if there image is tarnished.

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 20th June 2013, 16:42

      As I’ve said all along… Pirelli and Mercedes have put the FIA on notice.

    • dkpioe said on 20th June 2013, 16:52

      The FIA should take no notice of these threats and administer a fair penalty if they see fit, they should not be bullied. putting up such threats shows they know they are guilty – if they were innocent, they would have nothing to worry about and would not make such threats. if they leave, then good riddence to bad rubbish as the saying goes.

  7. dkpioe said on 20th June 2013, 16:48

    OH DEAR, in there closing submission to the tribunal, Mercedes are basicallly accepting guilt, and are now trying to dictate terms for what punishment they should get. – they are suggesting a reprimand or a ban for their young driver test…. hopefully they wil be banned for the rest of the year for admitting they cheated and for now trying to manilpulate the tribunal process.

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 20th June 2013, 16:54

      Actually what they are doing is allowing the tribunal to save face by not forcing them to exonerate them and also informing them what they would consider suitable punishment so that the tribunal doesn’t have to worry about deciding on the penalty.

      • dkpioe said on 20th June 2013, 17:00

        they are trying to save their own face, not the tribunals, at the start of the day they pleaded innocent – to the tribunal you are saying needs to save face, and now they are trying to manipulate a lenient penalty.

  8. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 20th June 2013, 16:50

    It’s a mistake to get hung up on how much advantage Mercedes gained for 2013. I believe that, while they were certainly interested in helping themselves for 2013, Mercedes were even more interested in helping themselves for 2014.

    They’ve already gotten a huge jump on the other teams when it comes to understanding the 2014 tyres, and at a crucial time. The 2014 cars are being designed right now. Everyone else will get two or three laps on the 2014 rubber sometime in November.

    • dkpioe said on 20th June 2013, 16:57

      the advantage or no advantage is the least important in this, what is important is that mercedes broke the rules, a major rule – that could lead to a huge advantage, but is irrelevant. the only thing relevant is that the teams stick to the sporting codes which mercedes did not. in testing, even not gaining an advantage can be an advantage, 1000km of free running is good for many other parts in the car and for the drivers mentality and getting a better feel in the current car to push more in the next races. all teams could do an illegal test now, and then cry innocent by saying they go no advantage, as advantages can not be proved.

      • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 20th June 2013, 17:00

        Hey, Ferrari broke it twice and they were exonerated without a tribunal while Jean Todt, a man whose blood is more red than Alonso’s, runs the FIA. But that doesn’t seem to bother you one bit, right?

        • Lee1 said on 20th June 2013, 19:39

          I am not sure he said that Ferrari should be getting away scott free. This trial is about Mercedes behaviour not Ferrari. I personally think at least one of those Ferrari tests need to be looked into as well, but that is for another day. If Ferrari have done wrong then that does not excuse Mercedes.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 19:15

      I doubt Mercedes has a small advantage let alone a huge one for 2014. They were running coded Pirelli tires with their 2013 car and don’t even know if they were running what will be the final product for 2014. They weren’t given any data on the tires so they only know how tires that were on their car felt, without knowing what those tires were and as I say whether they will even be the final 2014 product. I’ll assume that come September all the teams will have data on the actual 2014 tires that will be on their cars. And nobody will be on those tires until they have their 2014 cars finished and out testing at the first pre-season test next Jan/Feb. Besides, if Mercedes has a ‘huge’ jump on the field for 2014, then I guess Ferrari had a ‘huge’ jump from their test with Pirelli last year, and yet Ferrari aren’t leading the Championships, so I really question the whole ‘advantages’ thing. I think the teams can jump up and down about theoretical advantages Mercedes may have gleaned, but in reality I don’t think there is much to be concerned about whatsoever.

      • Lee1 said on 20th June 2013, 19:28

        @Robbie

        So you don’t think the best drivers in the world can work out what tires they are on just by the handling and split times etc? You don’t think that The best car engineers in the world can gain a huge amount of information from wear patterns on parts etc? You do not think that one of the worlds top engine manufacturers can glean information from the wear on the engine and the fuel consumption etc? Also as lewis said before the test, he was struggling to come to terms with the difference between the breaks on the Maclaren and the ones on the Mercedes, He then had a lot of extra laps to get used to these, plus other parts of the cars handling. Being able to run a car for that distance under test conditions is a benefit to any team even if the test is technically being controlled by Pirelli. Also we only have Mercedes word for the fact that had no access to the telemetry data, I personally do not believe this as most teams beam their data live to their base so there is no telling if Mercedes were doing this during the test or not. There does not seem to have been any parc ferme conditions enforced so they could have put new parts on their car to test and or done pretty much anything. They may not have and may have been totally honest but no one will ever know. Even if they were totally honest there is no way they did not gain any benefit from the testing as the drivers and engineers can not simply unlearn what they learned.

        This is not to say Mercedes are guilty but highlight the big problem here, What happens if they are found innocent? I am sure the other teams will still feel that they have benefited from the testing and will want that rectifying in some way. However I think they are guilty of being stupid if anything. It was always looking like a grey area so why did they not simply tell the other teams so that all grievances could be aired before it was too late. If they had done that simple thing (which I am sure we all do at work via the cc option in email) then we would not be talking about this right now.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st June 2013, 17:08

          I simply think you are overblowing what Mercedes would have gained from Pirelli using them to conduct tire testing using their own engineers. I would agree with you if there was some sense that Mercedes had Pirelli’s help in making this a Mercedes test, but there is simply no evidence of that nor do I think Mercedes would have found the risk to doing that anywhere near the reward.

  9. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 20th June 2013, 17:19

    So the arguments offered up by the high-priced and high-powered Mercedes legal team were “Pirelli did it, not us!” and “But Ferrari did it too!”

    Sounds like something a six-year-old would come up with.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 19:34

      Well, no offence but you boiling it down to two short quotes sounds just as amateur. They discussed the issue for 7 hours, so I’m sure some very valid points were made by all parties involved. I have yet to hear one single bit of evidence that Mercedes asked for this test, not Pirelli, nor that it was a Mercedes test, not a Pirelli one. So not only do teams pretty much never turn themselves into race winning and Championship winning teams with one normal F1 team 3 day test, they sure wouldn’t with a tire test of no data sharing. Their advantages gained would be absolutely minimal in reality such that I highly doubt they would take the risk without the comfort of permission, namely from Charlie Whiting…never mind if he technically doesn’t have the final say now that everything is coming out in the wash…he is to be considered a key icon in F1 and one could understand his say being golden at the time the conversations took place.

      I also think, yes, if there was a precedent of Ferrari testing, without recrimination, then that reeked of ‘permission’ as well. Some have argued all along that if Mercedes ‘gets away with this’ then all teams will expect to be able to test, which I don’t buy, because I think they had permission due to the urgency of the tire situation, but my point being if folks are going to argue all teams will want to and expect to test now, then why wouldn’t it be ok for Mercedes, knowing Massa tested last year without recrimination, take that as a bit of an open door to do a tire test when Pirelli asked them if they would?

      • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 21st June 2013, 0:08

        Did you notice that Mercedes made two completely contradictory arguments?

        On the one hand, they had to test with the 2013 car, because there was just no way to get good data with an older chassis.

        On the other hand, that Ferrari test using a 2011 car was in breach of the regulations – because there is no real difference between the 2011 and 2013 cars!

        They can’t both be true.

        I think they had permission due to the urgency of the tire situation,

        If the tyre situation was in fact “urgent” then Pireli could simply invoke safety and unilaterally change the tyres. But they have repeatedly claimed that the tyre situation is not “urgent”, that’s it’s mainly a cosmetic problem.

        knowing Massa tested last year without recrimination

        What car did Massa test last year? The 2010 model, or the 2012 model?

  10. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher) said on 20th June 2013, 17:42

    Bearing in mind I haven’t read the article, because frankly I don’t want to, Lewis had a competitive car in 2010, yes he had 3 years where he didn’t, but stop complaining!! Schumi had some ‘wasted’ years at Ferrari as has Alonso, you can’t win all the time. Alonso isn’t winning the championship atm but he’s still regarded as the best by many! Only be afraid of your legacy Lewis if you complain and don’t just get on with it.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 20th June 2013, 19:24

      At the risk of coming across as a giant Kimi fan in this round-up’s comment section; have we ever heard Kimi complain in recent times about the years he ‘wasted’ at McLaren and Ferrari? 2003 wasn’t exactly wasted, but I do imagine the failure of the MP4/18 cost them development time. 2005 and 2006 could classify as Lewis’ ‘wasted years’, 2008 was partially his own fault, but 2009 would cost Lewis even more sleep were he to drive a Ferrari that season.

      But you mention a fine example in Schumacher. Schumacher was considered by far the best, even when Hakkinen matched his number of titles. Heck, Alonso matched Hakkinen’s amount of titles in 2006 to little critical acclaim, but is considered one of the best now. Statistics don’t tell the entire story in F1, and to be honest, I’d be far more likely to remember Hamilton winning a WDC in 20 years, than Villeneuve, now there’s a driver who tarnished his ‘legacy’.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 19:41

        How did JV tarnish his legacy? I don’t remember JV ever being involved in ‘liegate’ nor with a team that was involved in ‘spygate’. Nor do I remember JV having to admit that off-track distractions cost him on the track. What I do remember is that JV had the equipment capable of winning a WDC for two years. His first two. And he nearly won the WDC in his first year as a rookie to F1, and then he won his WDC in his second year against the ‘legend’ MS who tried to whack him off the track and failed and tarnished his own legacy hugely and permanently in the process.

        • Nick (@npf1) said on 21st June 2013, 6:48

          You’ll find Schumacher tainted his legacy, but it’s not like people disregard him entirely.

          Villeneuve became a joke. He showed his talents every now and then, but having WDC material twice was largely his own fault. 1998 not so much, but his move to BAR, a team which was supposed to be built around him failed miserably and he was ousted from the team by Richards and Button, who both at that time had more to prove than JV. I liked him at Sauber, but his final year was another weird year of incidents, pace gone missing and rumors. Most people watching F1 in the 2000s (the ones I knew) always put his 1997 title on the Williams, more so than in Hill’s case.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think villeneuve earned his championship fair and square, but he essentially killed the reputation he earned at Williams and then some.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 21st June 2013, 17:12

            I disagree and I think you are using hindsight to support your argument. And that old argument that it was the car is just that…an old argument that doesn’t hold water. Look it up and you will see that almost every time, the WDC winner had the WCC winning car…it’s simply a necessary ingredient, and if it wasn’t the WCC winning car then it was a very very close 2nd place car in the WCC.

  11. rsp123 (@rsp123) said on 20th June 2013, 21:21

    On the matter of Mercedes/Pirelli and their private test:

    Is F1 shooting itself in the foot yet again?

    If Mercedes are found guilty of some rules infringements, they may well feel that their reputation is unfairly under attack and that they have no future in F1. As the BBC reports today: “Mercedes may . . . have to consider its F1 future if the company’s integrity is impugned in any way.”

    Much the same can be said of Pirelli. The benefit of F1, in the eyes of their management, must be wearing thin, and having their reputation tarnished will not make them eager to remain in F1. Their contract is up for renewal at the moment I believe.

    It cannot be said enough: F1 needs a stronger hand on the tiller. The series must be more affordable for entrants (how great would it be to have a full grid of 26 cars?), so costs must be reduced; The teams should have much less control over the rules and regulations. If they don’t like the rules, they can go elsewhere. No team should have a special interest in the series, or a veto over any of the rules. If Ferrari don’t like that they can lump it – where else are they going to go? And perhaps most importantly, the commercial side of F1 has to be simpler, clearer, more transparent, and set up not for the financial of a bank (or billionaire) but for the long term health of F1.

    As things stand, F1 looks set to stumble badly, with a major team leaving and a major supplier throwing in the towel. F1’s glory days are long in the past. It is a racing series that has become more about showbusiness than racing. It can’t afford this kind of shambles.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 20th June 2013, 21:38

      Yeah hard to argue with anything you are saying. But I also think that it will not come to Mercedes and Pirelli leaving F1. Even if it is found out that rules were breached, which it seems is very possible, I cannot envision massive penalties. Why? Because F1 mandated these tires and the lack of testing in F1 these days. And Pirelli’s tires have been problematic this year. They asked Mercedes to help them test, Mercedes felt they had some permission, even if it turns out it wasn’t enough permission, or official enough permission, but I just don’t get the sense that this was Mercedes trying to get away with a Mercedes test, nor has anyone yet offered me an answer to the question as to what Pirelli would have to gain by helping any one team advance.

      It sounds to me like this has been a series of miscommunications or misunderstandings, but I really do not believe Mercedes and/or Pirelli were colluding to advance Mercedes, nor that Mercedes would have seen this test as worth the risk whatsoever if they didn’t feel they had permission. So I think any penalties have to have motives taken into consideration, and I think Whiting and Pirelli had the motive to make F1 racing better this year without 4 stoppers, delaminations, and so much delta time running, and they wanted Mercedes to help. I don’t think it is much more than that because Mercedes simply wouldn’t risk everything otherwise, and if it weren’t for the shabby mandated tires and lack of testing, this mess wouldn’t even exist.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th June 2013, 22:40

      @rsp123

      If Mercedes are found guilty of some rules infringements, they may well feel that their reputation is unfairly under attack and that they have no future in F1.

      Punishing an innocent team would be unacceptable. But so would failing to punish a guilty team that was considered to be ‘too big to punish’.

      When it comes to deciding whether Mercedes should be punished all that should matter is whether they have infringed the rules and the circumstances related to it. Not how important Mercedes are.

      If they are justly punished but take umbrage and quit the sport, that would not be a failing on F1’s part, it would be a failing on Mercedes’ part. But as I said yesterday I don’t think it will come to that.

      • tvm (@) said on 20th June 2013, 23:01

        (@keithcollantine)

        I don’t agree with your last paragraph, F1 failing -has- a part of this with the playing around with artificially bad tires that has an unusual narrow window of operation that nobody understands. (Apparently even Ferrari felt the need for extra test both this and last year)

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st June 2013, 0:18

          @tvm The scope of my comment was only whether Mercedes have broken the rules and should be punished. I don’t think a person’s opinion on F1’s policy on tyres is relevant in that context.

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