Mercedes’ “slight lead” won’t last – Fernley

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sergio Perez, Force India, Bahrain, 2014In the round-up: Robert Fernley of Mercedes’ engine customers Force India believes the manufacturer only has a slight lead over its rivals and doesn’t expect it to last.


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

‘We’re the best of the rest’ (Sky)

Deputy team principal Robert Fernley: “It looks at the moment that Mercedes have a slight lead – but that will change – it’s only a matter of time.”

“We’re Making Strong Progress” – Nick Chester’s Analysis On The First Bahrain Test (Lotus)

“There is still a lot of pace to be found from the E22. We’re working with Renault Sport F1 on the operation of the power unit, we only ran the power unit at representative power levels during the last day of the test and there is more time to come from optimising power delivery and allowing the drivers more time to get used to it. We haven’t started looking at car setup yet which will unlock more performance.”

Marussia test hit by computer virus (Autosport)

John Booth: “It started off with the first disaster, which was a computer Trojan-type virus in the racks, which cost us the best part of the day.”

Kevin Garside: Why F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is cosying up to Russia president Vladimir Putin (The Independent)

“One media delegate still has nightmares about not informing news outlets about the place of Jarno Trulli, who had climbed one in the middle of the starting grid as a result of a penalty to another driver. It was barely worthy of dissemination, and definitely unworthy of Ecclestone’s time, but he wanted it recording and busied himself to make sure it was.”

Perplexity (A former F1 doc writes)

“I fail to see how talking to us about the significant ups and downs of this long hard process damages Michael’s privacy or makes Corinna [Schumacher] and the kids’ journey more difficult. I cannot possibly understand the reasons for any of this. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. This is totally unfair to the people who made Michael [Schumacher] the celebrity he is.”

Power and the girl racers (ESPN)

“While signing individual female drivers with racing experience and a decent profile is no bad thing – providing the women in question merit their positions, and haven’t been drafted in as a box-ticking PR measure – the most interesting piece of news concerning women in motorsport in the past week actually came from Qatar.”

Testing times for F1′s power players (Mark Gallagher)

“When I ran the F1 business at Cosworth, our standard durability test for a V8 was 3000kms; this gave us 800kms more than was absolutely required by our teams, and so provided a high level of assurance. Under the new regulations the plan would have been a durability test of, say, 4500kms; a mileage not yet reached by all of the Renault-powered teams combined.”

Caterham drives F1 car design with 3D printing (FT, registration required)

“‘We’re making between 800 and 900 parts a month this way,’ says Ian Prince, rapid prototyping manager at Caterham, the Malaysian-owned F1 team based in the UK.”


Comment of the day

Susie Wolff’s chance to drive in two practice sessions for Williams elicited the full range of responses from readers, from those who were strongly critical to those like @Timi who cheered the news:

A practice session isn’t qualifying, and it isn’t a race. Plenty of people have driven in practice sessions. The key word being “practice”. The times are negligible in first practice sessions, so her abilities aren’t that important here. She’s good enough in my opinion, to do the work needed in a practice session.

And to the people saying she’s only driving because she’s a woman… You might be right, but you might be wrong. I say, who cares really? The first female to drive in an F1 race weekend in 22 years? Sorry but that is incredible. Both incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly good as a milestone or landmark, if you will.

I’m all for positive discrimination. Especially when it’s pretty much a non-point/only affects the other Williams drivers. Empowering women (not to mention boosting F1′s world profile) is a great great thing that should be encouraged. This is a great day, and hopefully it will lead to top-rate female talent coming through different racing disciplines and finally ending up in F1, on merit.

Congratulations Susie Wolff! Drive the hell out of that car!

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ivz, Jake and Mike Roach!

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

Francois Cevert was born on this day in 1944. He scored a single win at Watkins Glen in 1972, and no doubt would have had many more had he not been killed at the same circuit one year later.

Jean-Eric Vergne wore a special helmet in tribute to him at the Monaco Grand Prix last year.

Birthday wishes are also due to FIA president Jean Todt who is 68 today.

Image © Force India

Advert | Go Ad-free


63 comments on Mercedes’ “slight lead” won’t last – Fernley

  1. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 25th February 2014, 0:08

    Oh seriously Dr Hartstein.

    It doesn’t make a difference if he’s a celebrity or not. If his family want privacy at this time, then that is their choice, and they are perfectly entitled to it.

    • @mouse_nightshirt I agree, I simply do not understand the rationalization behind Dr Hartstein. I do understand the fixation but a fan should know that it is always a stranger to a celebrity, it’s not like there’s a law saying that a celebrity owns anything to anyone, that’s inane. People chose to like Schumi its not like he raced in F1 because he wanted to be a pop star its not what F1’s for, he owns nothing to anyone, people just need to curb their fixation because it’s not logical to stalk an ex F1 racer, or anyone else but the ones you love…not platonic.

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 25th February 2014, 2:23

      Hartstein has lost it. It’s Corinna, Gina-Maria and Mick who are suffering the most. It’s not a question of Michael’s celebrity status here when his life is in such a precarious position.

      Hartstein might feel it is necessary to the fans that the family speak out, but it’s his own private take on this, he shouldn’t be airing those, it only adds more pressure on Michael’s family.

      I am a huge fan of Michael’s, and everyday there’s a dark corner in my mind which reminds me that Michael is fighting for his life. But I do not wish to make things any worse for the family, if they don’t want to come out and talk it’s their wish, and nobody should have any say on the matter otherwise.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 25th February 2014, 5:25

      Agreed @mouse_nightshirt and @wsrgo. I’ve been in the situation in the last 18 months where my father was critically ill in hospital. All our family friends knew that the people who were suffering the most were my mother, my brother and I and they did the right thing, they offered support without intruding. That is what the F1 community should do. MSC is an F1 icon with millions of fans round the world, but he is a father and a husband first and foremost. I think that keeping the media out of the loop for a while is the best thing to do and the Schumachers are more than within their rights to do so. All we can do is carry on hoping he gets better day by day.

      I think Hartstein has good intentions and has done some good work in clarifying some of the news we have received to date, but he is wrong in that blog post.

    • Shimks (@shimks) said on 25th February 2014, 8:59

      I totally agree.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th February 2014, 12:47

        I agree with those above this post and below who fail to understand this doctor’s forcefully written opinion. The family has the right to their privacy first and foremost, and who is he or anyone to tell them they don’t.

        I also think it is very possible that the family IS respecting the fans by keeping quiet because it sounds like a roller-coaster between hope one day and the feeling of hopelessness or at least helplessness the next. Would the doctor have the family build up hope to the fans when the family itself doesn’t even know how hopeful they dare get? Would he have the family dash the fans hopes when they are trying to be as positive as possible and there is still hope? I think the family is respecting the fans by having them sit vigil with them while this whole sad thing remains unresolved for now, with only more time giving the real answers, unlike the speculative ones.

    • nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 25th February 2014, 16:08

      That doctor just want to make a name for him self. That’s the only reason.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th February 2014, 18:58

      That’s the paparazzi mentality right there. and imo, these people need help if their own lives are so meaningless that they have to pry into others. Especially during such difficult times – it’s just a lack of human decency and saddens me a bit that people would actually come out and argue about their perceived entitlement for information.

  2. I for one am tired of Gary Hartstein’s repeated speculation about a patient he is not treating. Most reputable medical practitioners refrain from commenting on the prognosis for someone who isn’t their patient, even when couched in hypothetical terms. It’s distasteful if not unethical.

    The only people who should decide what information is released to the public are Michael Schumacher’s family, in consultation with the treating doctors. If what they think is best for his recovery is to keep us in the dark, so be it.

    I for one Keith wish you would stop linking his posts (that’s not a criticism, I just think that Hartstein’s speculation is only encouraged by increased traffic to his site).

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 25th February 2014, 1:40

      It’s pretty clear that Michael’s fans are beginning to feel like their devotion, commitment, and passion for someone they’ve elevated to hero status over many years means nothing.

      That is one comment that I simply could not fathom the meaning of. Their support of him in the past suddenly ‘means nothing’ because his management/doctors/family (rightly or wrongly) refuse to keep them personally updated?

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 25th February 2014, 11:37

      @tdog I cannot agree enough with your statement. You’re bang on.

      I have always thought it incredibly unprofessional to speculate so much on a patient who has nothing to do with you, especially when you’re not even privy to any of the medical notes, investigations or examinations.

      I’m a critical care doctor myself. I could have spent the last 2 months pontificating and second guessing, but we simply do not know, and nor do we have a right to.

      In a way, I’m sort of glad he’s done this because I think it shows what his motives are. I’ve been very against Gary’s pontification from day one for exactly this reason, because I suspect his motives are less about Michael and more about himself.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 25th February 2014, 13:02

      I’ve come to conclusion I agree as well. When his posts started, it seemed pretty harmless and it was nice to get some light speculation from someone who medically knew what he was talking about. Since then though I’ve just become tired of it. I don’t know who he thinks he is.

  3. Steven (@steevkay) said on 25th February 2014, 0:26

    I thought Hartstein’s articles shed some light on a situation I didn’t know a lot about. I thought it was a reasonable approach, until now.

    It’s none of his business if his family wants to keep things private. I hated the speculation surrounding MSC but I never viewed Hartstein’s articles like that. I wish he hadn’t said something so stupid.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 25th February 2014, 1:15

      Basically how I feel about this. Honestly, I think most fans take into account Michael is human. His family is in charge, not us. Michael, the people he worked with and his family made him a celebrity, not the people buying his merchandise. I don’t think there’s ever been a who won races that nobody felt anything for, so to suggest his fans made a 7 time WDC, 91 race winning driver, a celebrity is nonsense.

  4. Brian K said on 25th February 2014, 0:33

    I think it will be very interesting to see what happens after each engine supplier comes to terms with their Power Units and beings to produce roughly the same amount of power (when will that happen, I couldn’t even guess). At that point, the effect of the changes in the aero regs will be brought to the forefront. In my opinion, the removal of exhaust blown diffusers will serve to equalize rear downforce across the grid (at least compared to the last several years) and produce very close racing and a potential for mixed results GP to GP.

  5. ivz (@ivz) said on 25th February 2014, 1:23

    Thank you for the birthday shout out! :)

  6. Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 25th February 2014, 1:26

    ‘This is totally unfair to the people who made Michael the celebrity he is’

    This dude is a 10/10 knobhead. Does he really feel indebted when someone’s life hangs in the balance. He has such little respect for someone’s wishes and now feels the need to propagate distasteful speculation into his condition. It must be such a burden for the Schumacher family to answer tedious PR questions when they are losing a loved one. If he really admired MS so much he should back off and let the family decide how to best handle this situation. What does the MS family owe him?

    • Wonderduck (@wonderduck) said on 25th February 2014, 4:03

      No, no, Dr H is entirely correct: it really IS unfair to the people that made Michael the celebrity he is. The thing he’s missing, however, is that the wishes of the fans don’t matter.

      It’s just that simple. He’s entirely right, and completely wrong, all at the same time.

      • Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 25th February 2014, 11:57

        @wonderduck I must disagree with you and it really isn’t unfair, in a situation where a life hangs in the balance, regularly updates are not a necessity not matter how many hours you devoted to supporting Michael on track. If something tragic were to happen, you would be informed.

        • Wonderduck (@wonderduck) said on 25th February 2014, 13:27

          Tell me: how exactly would a thirty second update read by the hospital PR person endanger Schumacher’s life?

          Not that it matters, of course. As I said earlier, what the fans want don’t matter.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 25th February 2014, 6:54

      @frankjaeger Whilst I understand the fans’ and Gary Hartstein’s wish to get to know more details regarding Schumacher’s condition, I agree that the way his family feels about it matters more now. The fans might have spent hundreds of hours watching Schumacher drive and cheering for him. Still, no sportsman belongs to his fans and we simply need to acknowledge it. It’s not like we are being kept entirely in the dark and there are obviously reasons why the family has chosen not to reveal more information. So let’s just accept that the waking-up process is going on and stop all the speculation.

  7. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 25th February 2014, 1:38

    I’ve been reading Hartstein’s blog since Schumacher’s tragic accident as I found it to be a good source of information about the probabilities and likelihood of Michael’s situation and his recovery.

    However I’m disappointed to read that entry. Michael’s life and that of his family has been shattered. they’ve been through an ordeal that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. If they have chosen to keep the medical affairs of Michael private then that is entirely their decision and one I very much respect. Michael Schumacher and his family owe us nothing. To demand information or call it unfair for not being kept in the loop is to me a gross lack of respect and tact at an immensely tragic time for the Schumacher family. Personal tragedy and suffering isn’t something that should be made public spectacle. We live in a society of 24 hour news, where the glare of the media that is all too often rife with misinformation, unsubstantiated rumour and a general lack of respect for the dignity of any individual that becomes the focus of its attention. I’d want my loved ones kept out of the spotlight at such a terrible time too.

    Michael Schumacher is my childhood idol, a personal hero and I dearly hope he makes the best recovery possible. I do not however feel I’m entitled to any information on his condition. Nor do I believe any fan should feel so.

    Hartstien should be ashamed for what he’s written.

  8. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 25th February 2014, 1:57

    Regarding the f1fanatic library tweet… Start with Nuvolari, then Fangio and Moss.

    Great adds to your collection!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th February 2014, 9:19

      @alex-bkk Thanks! I’m a happy bunny at the moment. If nothing new appears on the site for a few days, you’ll know it’s because I’m in full ‘log fire, pipe, slippers and recliner’ mode.

      • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 25th February 2014, 14:36

        I must have missed an “announcement” about your library… Just finished re-reading “Cars at speed” (Robert Daley, 1961), good insight to the “guts and glory” days of F1 drivers.

  9. timi (@timi) said on 25th February 2014, 3:11

    Chuffed with my COTD :). Cheers @keithcollantine

    • Girts (@girts) said on 25th February 2014, 7:12

      @timi That’s a very good COTD.

      I believe that we really should not forget that it is just two free practice sessions that we are talking about. I do not think that Wolff is good enough to become an F1 race driver but she did a solid job at the Silverstone testing last year and I am pretty sure that she can give good feedback. After all, F1 is full of development / reserve / test drivers such as Gary Paffett or Nicolas Prost, who are never going to get promoted to race seat.

      F1 will probably never have a lot of female drivers but it does not mean that there are no women, who would have what it takes to beat (at least) some of the male drivers and they should be encouraged to follow their dream. The appointment of Wolff is just part of the process.

  10. JCost (@jcost) said on 25th February 2014, 6:18

    So teams already have a clue where there are? Fernley sounds like he knows not only where Mercedes is but also how good (or bad) the rest is.

    We, the general public, will have a clear picture by the end of this week, right?

    • Gdon (@gdon) said on 25th February 2014, 7:30

      I too had thought the same thing but upon reading carefully I came to understand that he meant the Mercedes Engine vs the Ferrari or Renault and not so much the “Teams” per se

  11. JKorz said on 25th February 2014, 6:33

    I had never heard of Hartstein, so to be honest I was disheartened after reading through that.

    I too think about dear Schumi daily, I believe miracles can happen but as the days tick by I can’t help but worry more.
    I wish i knew more about the situation a fraction of the amount I wish Michael would wake up!
    I’d just subconsciously accepted the fact we are in the dark, that there might not be any news for the foreseeable future and that when there is anything to report we would be told.
    We are in the dark due to his family wishes, his flesh and blood, his children, his wife who has been with Michael every day since the tragic accident. This is THEIR decision!
    They wish they knew more too! despite knowing everything we don’t!

    The only thing true fans should be doing if they care about Schumacher is to be patient and think positive.
    Who the hell does this guy think he is? To me it seems he is speculating in a pessimistic way and spreading negativity about Michaels prognosis..
    And to say we made him the person he is!? ***!?

    I was very pleased to read Massa’s recent statement regarding his visit and took hope from what he said, then read this guy dismissing it as though Felipe was maybe lying or exaggerating?! What a farce.

    I would appreciate it if only officially released news on Schumacher was posted I trust this website as my main feed on all F1 related news and info and would rather avoid speculation on this subject.

    I will try and keep my thoughts as positive as I can until I know any different, I feel very sad but cannot grieve for someone who is still alive whatever their condition, I know if I was his son or brother I would not give up hope.


    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 25th February 2014, 18:09

      The real tragedy in Hartstein’s mind is that HE is not informed, and HE is not able to present more information that increases the viewership of this crummy little blog.

      It is a common defense to attribute one’s own desires as to of “the People” and their right to know

      Go Screw Hartstein, you do not speak for this fan and I really want you would stop harassing MY hero and his family. I (and millions of other fans) put MS on the pedestal that he is on. My wallet buys his merchandise, F1 tickets to see him, and all the things that put MS where he is. I am telling you to “SHUT UP AND CRAWL BACK UNDER YOUR ROCK”. The fans, as you say, have built MS; watch now as we destroy you.

  12. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 25th February 2014, 7:06

    Day 4 of the second Bahrain test will be when we get a sense of the pecking order and even then it will only be confirmed in Q3 at Melbourne. Trends are certainly developing, but I don’t think anyone can say with any confidence where they are as yet. While the Mercedes powered cars (particularly Mercedes and McLaren) look to be ahead, Ferrari have been getting a lot of miles in and seem to be quietly confident. It is going to be great to watch.

  13. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 25th February 2014, 9:03

    On Hartstein:
    Yes, his comments about the family owing Michael’s fans something are a bit off key (possibly driven by his emotional attachment to the subject and the constant requests over Twitter for people to explain what is happening), but his real point is by running total radio silence, as they are, it’s just driving speculation that either nothing is actually happening or something bad has happened, hence him specifically referring to the article recently published that surmised the worst with no factual evidence to back it up.

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 25th February 2014, 18:33

      Engaging in speculation, and commentary on that speculation is the height of irresponsibility from a medical professional and supposed news outlet.

      We will know when we know. Yes, I care about MS, and his final outcome will have some impact on me for a time, but my investment is barely a shadow compared to those who surround MS on a daily basis. At this point the public’s right to know is probably the lowest priority.

      Speculators will make all kinds of wild claims in the absence of hard fact in effort to sell their rag. None of this will help MS recover any faster, and only serves to hurt his family. The responsible thing is to wait patiently for real information. There will be no hiding this in the end, and we will all come to know when the people involved are ready to speak.

      If one respects MS, they must respect the wishes of his family who are his proxy at this time. MS is important to me, but no where near as much as my own friends and family. If the worst were to happen, I will shed a tear, but his family will weep for a lifetime. These are the times when we drop the facades of celebrity, fandom, and insatiable thirst for information. The kind and moral among us will remember that we are all just people in the end, not heros, not F1 Gods, not screaming hoards of fans who are owed something, just people who feel pain…

  14. Shimks (@shimks) said on 25th February 2014, 9:05

    Interesting to read Force India’s Fernley and Perez comments on the team’s progress. With The Hulk there too, it would be fantastic to see them progress up the field this year. Otherwise, I think the general consensus is that it’s a shame Hulkenberg is being wasted in another mid-pack team.

  15. GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 25th February 2014, 9:30

    And I think we can all see why now he was not kept on as the F1 doctor.

    If he held similar views on other subjects while in his role I would imagine they would not wait until he felt the need to publicly announce what he thought. The very opposite of Sid Watkins.

    I unfollowed on Twitter after his constant negative commentary of everything happening at all times in F1.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.