Hamilton: Mercedes not favourites yet

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says it’s too early tu judge whether Mercedes are the favourites for the season ahead.


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

Lewis plays down ‘faves’ tag (Sky)

“It’s difficult to know where everyone is. Some people are doing ten laps, some people are doing long runs, but the good news is that Mercedes have done a fantastic job and the power unit is really performing well.”

Ecclestone left fighting for future (The Times, subscription required)

“I haven’t a clue. If the board decides that I allegedly lied and they tell me to go, then that is what I will do.”

Ecclestone hold on F1 poised to end after High Court judge blasts ‘bribing liar’ (Daily Mail)

“It has run on too long and it needs [CVC chairman] Donald [Mackenzie] to deal with it immediately. Bernie [Ecclestone]’s position is untenable.”

Michael Schumacher: Felipe Massa reveals Schumacher ‘gave reactions with his mouth’ in a recent visit to his bedside (The Independent)

“He looks normal, and he also gave some reactions with the mouth and everything. So it’s positive to look at him.”

McLaren ‘has buzz back’ says Button (Autosport)

“We know we are not the quickest. We know we are not slow either, and the great thing is that we have a lot of laps under our belt.”

Top-Speeds in Bahrain 22 km/h hoher (Auto Motor und Sport, German)

Fernando Alonso passed through the speed trap in Bahrain at 336kph (308mph) during the test, 22kph higher than the fastest speed recorded during last year’s race.

Interview with Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson (F1)

“Q: Caterham were the team who offered you a drive – can you explain how it all came about?
ME: Really it was pretty simple! We started talking to Caterham last year, the discussions went well and finally when I went to the factory I saw a facility that was a lot more than I thought it would be.”

Romain Grosjean interview at Lotus E22 launch (F1 Fanatic via YouTube)


Double-points logic becomes clear (MotorSport)

“This crazy plan has to be stopped. In theory the double points idea needs the unanimous support of all the teams – and of Jean Todt at the FIA – for it to be enshrined in the regulations before the season starts.”


Comment of the day

Ecclestone’s public show of support for Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay agenda drew much criticism in the comments yesterday.

As a gay F1 fanatic, I’m not happy to read that statement either.

I would be hugely surprised if Ecclestone suddenly turned out to be an LGBT rights supporter and people have already pointed out that he might as well be trying to divert attention from his own legal trouble. Still, it’s absolutely wrong to praise Putin for many reasons.

One would have to be hugely naive to truly believe that Putin just wants to protect the kids. It is sometimes forgotten that the so-called anti-gay law represents only a small part of the ongoing human rights violations in Russia. Just to name a few, there are no free elections; freedom of the press and freedom of assembly are seriously restricted and young soldiers have to face dedovschina in the Russian army. Moreover, Putin is also indirectly responsible for what is happening in Ukraine right now. All of that is being done to ensure that Putin and his gang retain power and has nothing to do with the interests of the Russian (or any other) people.

But I’m not going to stop watching F1 just because of Ecclestone, Putin or Abu Dhabi where human rights violations are even more severe than in Russia. I have met far too many great F1 fans on F1 Fanatic and on Twitter, who, just like me, prefer to discuss the sound of the new engines over talking about other people’s sexuality.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rich!

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

Happy birthday to Niki Lauda who turns 65 today.

Today also marks four years since Ferrari began publishing its infamous and anonymous ‘Horse Whisperer’ columns, in which they take a swipe at whatever’s bothering them at the moment. On this day in 2010 it was “Serbian vultures”.

Ferrari have since removed the article from their website but it can still be read here:

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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76 comments on Hamilton: Mercedes not favourites yet

  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd February 2014, 11:59

    Just some words on the double points and then I promise I won’t moan about it anymore for.. a week (maybe less). I’ve generally accepted the idea of double points in the final race now, even though it makes no sense whatsoever. The only reason for it is television ratings, which apparently outweigh the integrity and status of the sport.

    What I find more significant is that there is a concept that is opposed by 90% of the fans, by respected journalists, by a number of drivers (Vettel for instance) and by some teams, and still goes ahead. If that isn’t an indication of a broken system, then I don’t know what is.

    One of the reasons it goes ahead is that the teams don’t want to fall out with Ecclestone, as he basically controls everything that happens. You may remember that in 2013 Force India decided not to run in Bahrain’s FP2 due to safety arguments and as a consequence the team didn’t receive any coverage during qualifying. Formula teams basically survive on the money they get from sponsors, so you can imagine what an impact ‘jokes’ like this may have on a team’s budget.

    Ecclestone has managed to manipulate the teams such that they will do exactly what he wants them to do (his previous job as team owner of Brabham will have helped him with this). This is what is known in the business as ‘dictatorship’. No wonder things like Abu Double go ahead without many complaints from the teams.

    • @andae23 really the only way the teams can be empowered is to make the event boring for the fans. Then Ecclestone loses his all-important audience, and with it all his tv money.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 22nd February 2014, 16:19


      What I find more significant is that there is a concept that is opposed by 90% of the fans, by respected journalists, by a number of drivers (Vettel for instance) and by some teams, and still goes ahead.

      I agree, that indicates that there are serious problems with the way the sport is being governed.

      It is possible to stand up against Bernie (after all, he didn’t want the new engines) but there are not many, who are strong enough to take up the fight against him. For instance, Luca di Montezemolo might dare to say things that Monisha Kaltenborn won’t. As you say, the lack of unity between the teams doesn’t make them stronger either.

      As for this particular rule, there seem to be many reasons why it went through. As I understand, Ecclestone took the teams by surprise (that issue wasn’t on the meeting agenda). The teams also didn’t consider the matter to be important enough to start an argument with Ecclestone about it and didn’t think there would be such a negative reaction from the fans.

      However, the situation has changed now. The teams know the fans’ view and Ecclestone himself currently isn’t in the best position to promise something or threaten those, who want to go against his will. That makes me believe that there will be double points only for the final race, at least this year. But no matter what happens next Friday, Ecclestone must go.

  2. Chris (@ukphillie) said on 22nd February 2014, 14:53

    Got lots to say today, some may be disagreeable but hey-ho.

    Regarding COTD. The law you speak of is quite popular in Russia, who are you….a non-russian to tell them they are wrong? There are different outlooks and attitudes all across the world…what makes yours right?

    I disapprove of the Russians attitude and UAE as you mention, but then they disapprove of girls in short skirts and tight tops walking around mostly naked on a Saturday night drinking and making fools of themselves. Our culture may be as disgusting to them (fairly I would say) as theirs is to us, you don’t get to decide whats right and wrong, and you definitely have no right telling a culture a thousand miles away that you have zero understanding of that their laws are wrong.

    The only controversy that should surround Bernies words are the fact that he said anything at all. He’s broken his own rule and brought politics in to the sport. I don’t concern myself with Russia’s laws as it’s none of my business, I’m not gonna be holier than thou by suggesting how other people should live, there is an air of arrogance around it, no matter what you believe. To tell other countries and cultures their laws are wrong is arrogant and self involved.

    Moving on to Bernie….

    Lot of people here have a lot to say (most of it terribly uninformed but thats by the by)

    Let me ask this….what do you think you’d be watching on a Sunday afternoon if it wasnt for Bernie? Because I promise you wouldn’t be watching Formula 1. People like to slander Bernie and call him names (Oh and since when did ageism become acceptable by the way? Speaking of slandering and degrading certain groups?) but they seem to have no idea what he’s done.

    F1 on TV, that was Bernie. He asked the teams to help, they ALL said no, they wouldn’t put their hands in their pocket, yet they all wanted a piece of the pie when Bernie made a success of it all. Bernie paid for it and built it all himself, from behind the scenes to the things you see on TV at every race, you have Bernie to thank.

    Do you think the sport would be as rich as it is now if it wasn’t for Bernie? Instead of Blown diffusers, ERS, KERS, Turbo charged engines, carbon fibre chassis you’d be seeing old bathtubs with wings stuck on them made of aluminium and Ford DFV engines (an exaggeration, I know, but you get the point)

    Bernie built it all, and everyone turned their back on him when he needed support, and now people are calling a man that has made thousands of people millionaires the most horrid things. It really is disgusting, and smacks of working class jealousy of a successful man.

    If Bernie gets his way and double points comes in, it will be because he EARNED the right to make that decision. He put the money in, he risked it all. I don’t agree, but I certainly won’t be slandering the man that gave me the huge part of my life that is F1.

    The real people know about Bernie so I don’t get too bothered by armchair fans spouting nonsense, but its got to ridiculous, vitriolic levels. But you never hear the Frank Williams, the Ross Brawns, even Montezemolo and Dennis NEVER say a negative word about Bernie. Their opinion holds so much more weight than a keyboard warrior.

    Bernie Ecclestone should be knighted for what he has done for the Motorsport Industry.

    • Sam (@) said on 22nd February 2014, 15:33



      I also like you’re word ‘keyboard warrior’.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd February 2014, 15:53

      Do you think the sport would be as rich as it is now if it wasn’t for Bernie? Instead of Blown diffusers, ERS, KERS, Turbo charged engines, carbon fibre chassis you’d be seeing old bathtubs with wings stuck on them made of aluminium and Ford DFV engines

      @ukphillie And I would love it.

      Seriously though, you make a good point, but you’re pushing it a bit too far in my opinion. Bernie Ecclestone may have globalized the sport – and he has done a good job of that, no doubt – but I can assure you he was never, ever motivated by anything other than money. He has optimized the sport to make the most amount of money as possible.

      In my opinion, it’s Ecclestone’s job to promote the sport the best he can, but in the last ten years he has started writing the rules as well. And that’s where things start to go wrong, and hence the fan backlash. So in my opinion, he more than deserves the criticism he’s getting for things like Abu Double.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd February 2014, 15:56

        Oh and I forgot,

        But you never hear the Frank Williams, the Ross Brawns, even Montezemolo and Dennis NEVER say a negative word about Bernie.

        I explained it in my post above, it’s because they choose not to.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 22nd February 2014, 16:17

      @ukphillie, Rubbish, Bernie never spent a penny of his own money promoting F1, F1 became the global sport it is now because of the advent of GLOBAL TV broadcasting and the rise of the cable networks with their 400 channels to feed, all Bernie did was capitalise on events and pocket 50% of the total profit.

      • Chris (@ukphillie) said on 22nd February 2014, 17:51

        Yeah…Cable….In 1984, when the empire building started.

        And it’s not just TV. Who do you think made a race worth millions? Who was it that brought substanital advertising to F1 waaaay before TV
        Clearly you have little understanding of how Bernie’s empire was built, which is why I have been annoyed enough to type out my rant today…People with very little knowledge of a man or his actions calling him names because they don’t like a rule he made.

        If the peopel commenting were more informed I wouldn’t mind as much.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 22nd February 2014, 18:05

      F1 isn’t rich. F1 is expensive. Not the same thing. The only people who have become rich thanks to F1 are Ecclestone and the people he represents. They cream the majority of the money invested into the sport into their own pockets, and leave the teams to fight over the scraps.

      I agree, Bernie Ecclestone has been instrumental in changing the sport in a lot of positive ways, but ultimately he has increasingly let his own selfish interests override the long term viability of the sport. Which is unforgivable.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd February 2014, 23:37

      There are different outlooks and attitudes all across the world…what makes yours right?… you definitely have no right telling a culture a thousand miles away that you have zero understanding of that their laws are wrong.

      I have full understanding that their laws are wrong, not zero. Also, that’s a convenient little argument I keep hearing. I suppose that we shouldn’t have a negative opinion of Nazi Germany because of their treatment of Jews? Or Apartheid South Africa’s treatment of black people? We have every right to have an opinion on what we see as offensive and discriminatory treatment of a group of human beings. How dare anybody tell me that I shouldn’t have an opinion on that.

      • Chris (@ukphillie) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:21

        How dare you tell another country it’s laws are wrong.

        See, arrogance and self involvement as I mentioned win the day when it comes to being reasonable about this matter.

        You can have your opinion, it’s still none of your business, no matter how much you wish in your self important heart that it would be.

  3. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 22nd February 2014, 16:25


    Can you please stop your anti-Russian rant and leave politics out this site. You should take a look at your own countries violations of human rights laws, that have occurred in the past and continue to occur even today. The drone killings of poor and innocent, the lies and cover-ups, supporting of rebel forces, supplying “weapons” to rebel forces (any rebel forces is a disgrace, regardless of what the reason behind it is ), continued spying on neighbouring countries and its own citizens to name a few. The west is not a Democratic society like you think it is. In fact, the tactics that the US and UK intelligence agencies now employ are a “direct” derivative of the KGB policy. Look it up, because that’s what they used to do. A classic Russian KGB method on spying and dealing with issues. If you are a suspect, you are dead, loss of Innocent = acceptable losses. Judge, jury and the executioner. One could even argue that the west is slowly turning “into” communism, the only difference is the dictator is not only 1 person but multiple, and its citizens don’t even realize it. Also, do you really think that you have freedom of the press? You think you have fair and free elections in the west? How do you know? Can you prove that the votes ( any vote) has never been tampered with, or that there was no blackmail involved? Can you prove that there is no corruption? No you can not.

    In terms of gay rights, well here is one logic for you: if gays are treated so badly in Russia, then why is there so many of them? You’d think that they would be all dead by now? The truth is, the information you are getting is exaggerated. Sure the Russians are very traditional in sense of religion but the truth is Russians face the same problems, just like the problems we face in the western society: which are the gays want recognition and want to be treated equally (which is good and fair thing – as it should be) and then there is the same sex marriage (which is being debated in the west even today), clashes with religion (which is also a problem), family and kids ( also an issue being debated in the west). And many other problems (relating to law) that are going to rise in the future. There is no easy solution, and each country will have to solve it their own way.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 22nd February 2014, 16:32

      that goes for both @Girts and @keithcollantine

      If you wanna talk politics and human rights violations when it comes to West vs East… hmmmm

      • Robbie said on 22nd February 2014, 18:59

        While I do get what you are saying about no country being perfect, I think where you are off the mark in this particular discussion is that people aren’t born to be killers, or liars, or warmongerers, or spies, or to have undemocratic elections under the guise of them being democratic. And people are born into certain religions but most aren’t forced into believing whatever their religion believes for the rest of their lives, and once they become adults they may choose a different path. They have the option.

        LGBT people are born the way they are and trying to sweep that under the carpet is like expecting someone to change the color of their skin. It is ridiculous and will never fly in the long run.

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 22nd February 2014, 23:37

          They have the option.

          Everyone has the option regardless of country. It’s what you can and can not do with that option that differs. Same goes in a western country, you can believe what you want, but you can’t force it onto others.

          The problem with Russia is they are some years behind on certain issues of acceptance and dealing with change. Probably because they are a poorer country and its citizens (collectively) have not taken time to reflect on change, because it takes time, effort and it costs $. But it has nothing to do with being forced to believe one thing or the other. And yes, there is corruption, but so is in the west – its just implemented differently. As for Putin, its only a matter of time and he will be toast. But some differences between Russians and the west will continue to remain, because that’s just the way it is.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd February 2014, 23:42

      n terms of gay rights, well here is one logic for you: if gays are treated so badly in Russia, then why is there so many of them? You’d think that they would be all dead by now?

      Are you saying that mistreatment automatically equals mass killings?

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 23rd February 2014, 11:24


        no, ..(although that is one possibility).. but if they were mistreated so badly there would be poverty, rejection, suicide… and also gays would go into hiding …etc. That clearly isn’t the case. And there certainly wouldn’t be one of the largest gay nightclubs located in Russia. I’d say gays are treated as well as any other country and I sincerely doubt there is any kind of propaganda. It’s all made up. Yes there are differences in opinion between citizens, but everyone has the right to believe what they want and you can not force people to change their mind and their beliefs especially when it comes to traditional issues relating to marriage, religion, traditional family values of raising a family and kids. You cant just suddenly force people to accept something you want. Just like gays, everyone has the right to believe and follow what they like, even if that unfortunately means conflict of interest,

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 23rd February 2014, 11:37

          oh and also to add… i don’t make up the rules I’m just pointing out the reality of the situation at the moment. I am not ant gay. In fact I support them, but I understand both sides of the story. and I’m stating that nobody is forcing anything against gays, and its only a matter of time before all the people of the world accept the change and implement new laws and new rules and new beliefs to accommodate everyone and everything

  4. matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd February 2014, 23:29

    lol. <—- I don't think your post deserves any more analysis than that, but I am curious to know what on earth was 'extremist'. And what 'gay propaganda'?

  5. Shimks (@shimks) said on 23rd February 2014, 5:54

    @Girts Well said!!

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