Christian Horner, Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

‘Ecclestone should run F1 as long as he can’ – Horner

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Christian Horner, Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011In the round-up: Christian Horner wants Bernie Ecclestone to keep running Formula One as long as he is able to.


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

Horner: Ecclestone key to Formula One (The Telegraph)

“So long as Bernie is able to run the business, then he is absolutely the right guy to be running it. It’s as simple as that.”

Massa admits 2014 F1 drive at risk (Autosport)

“The results will decide whether I stay here or move teams. The possibility to stay is there, but the most important thing is the results.”

Pirelli in ‘the most bizarre situation’ over 2014 (ESPN)

“It’s the most bizarre situation we’re in really. We’ve got our agreements in place with the vast majority of people involved; there’s not a clearly defined process but we’re going forward, getting the teams signed up, we’ve got the promoter signed up, we’re working on 2014.”

Motorsport Monday issue 23

Valtteri Bottas: “Even in a bad car you always get one or two opportunities to show what you can do.”

Petrov to Marussia: Prove You Deserve Me (RSport)

“I think definitely [having an F1 race in Russia] helps, because it can?t be the Russian Grand Prix without Russian drivers, you know. Maybe it will motivate some people to support me.”

DC kicks Assen in the RB7 (Red Bull)

David Coulthard and our show car crew decided that it would be a good idea to take the RB7 for a little spin along one of the town?s canal-side walks.”

The Road Well Travelled: David Coulthard (CSMA Club)

“The championship is the goal but I?m not sure its the ultimate gauge of how good you were: I competed at that time when you had the most successful driver in the history of F1 ?ǣ [Michael] Schumacher with seven world championships. So my best was to finish second to him and I?d rather that than having won it in an average period in F1.”


Comment of the day

Do Red Bull have competition in the constructors’ championship?

If Mercede improves their reliability I think they can win it, simply because Rosberg is more closely matched to Hamilton than Webber is to Vettel. It’s not that hard to close a 69 point gap if they’re consistent enough.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matthew Mcmahon, Penelope Pitstop, Ell, Foleyger and Mitch!

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 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix, held 25 years ago today, saw McLaren’s tenth win in as many races and their seventh one-two. Ayrton Senna took his sixth win of the year, and drew level with team mate Alain Prost on points.

Thierry Boutsen was third for Benetton, half a minute behind.

Here’s the start of the race:

79 comments on “‘Ecclestone should run F1 as long as he can’ – Horner”

  1. COTD seems arguable to me but it is all so subjective at this stage that I will pass.

    1. WCC deficit does seem easier to overcome than WDC. I’m rooting for Mercedes and Lewis.

    2. I would say the teams are about equal on driver strength myself, but certainly agree that its key to get reliability in check if they want to really challenge RBR @hohum

  2. “So my best was to finish second to him and I’d rather that than having won it in an average period in F1”

    Yeah right.

    1. Exactly. We all know he’s lying. Besides, he never finishes second to Schumacher in the world championship standings, did he? Just in ’99, if I’m not mistaken that is.

      1. @roald – That was Irvine, to Hakkinen. In 2001, it was Coulthard second to Schumacher.

    2. DC has alway been bit bitter..haha. But I applaud him for admitting a few years back that he was never as quick as Mika…but he also went on to say that 10 years before that, he would have never agreed..but thats the make of a racing have to believe that you are the best, cocky to a certain extent.

      I would summarize DC as a solid driver who can compete at the front and win races, very much in the mould of Rubens Barichello.

      1. Agreed; very good, but not quite in the top tier of F1 drivers

    3. He also seems to be looking back with somewhat rose tinted glasses as Coulthard’s best years were actually in a pretty average period for drivers in F1. Schumacher was the one really exceptional talent in DC’s prime years. Mika was fast, slightly inconsistent but also definitely had the better of DC with Montoya arguably best of the rest. Coulthard was too late to face the greats of the 80’s and early 90’s and then his best days were gone once Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton became established as top drivers.

    4. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      7th August 2013, 11:54

      Coulthard would have a point if he had given Schumi a good run in the championship and just come off second best but he finished almost 60 points behind at a time when you got 10 points for a win. That sort of margin these days would leave him around 6th in the championship. If any drivers other than Schumacher really impressed in 2001 they were Raikkonen and possibly Montoya, Alonso and Fisichella.

      1. Yeah, but only because things are close now. In that year, 60 points away was better than anyone else could manage. Including his team mate.

  3. I wish I had lived and was able to enjoy back then, the thrill of hearing different engines competing against each other, the technological advances, the freedom of pure engineering. Today I feel very disappointed every time I think about how everyone has to use the same engine, rev limited, no launch control, no active suspension, formula 1 is the pinnacle of the Motorsport being held back by rules that restrict innovation and technology.

    1. F1andy83, with you there 1000%.

      1. except launch control that is, much as it would help my fav driver.

    2. It is sad to some extent, but with launch control and advanced active suspension it might feel like the drivers weren’t doing a whole lot.

    3. Specific restrictions don’t mean, at all, that F1 is not the most technologically advanced series in motorsports.

      Plus, I don’t want F1 to be a wild wild west, rules are there trying to guarantee that fans will be served a competitive show, it doesn’t work always but I’m sure it would be much worse if we were riding free of restrictions.

      1. @jcost, My experience is the opposite of your expectation.

        1. How do you organize a motorsport event without restrictions?

          Plus, F1 has more room for criativity than most single-seater series, just look at most feeder series or Indy and most people (and stats) say that competition is much better in the other series @hohum

    4. @f1andy83 The problem with F1 today is that it has become so popular that teams are able to pump 1000 times more money into developing their car than 30 years ago. Combine that with the best possible design tools like CFD and other simulation programs, and basically all teams will end up with pretty much the exact same solution to a given problem. So even if you’d allow different engine sizes, every single team will use the same engine because all teams now have the knowledge to determine which engine is the best.

      The only way to get the same level of variety on the grid like it was 30 years ago is to limit team budgets. In that way, teams can’t afford to research every single possibility to figure out which is the most optimal lay-out, so you end up with completely different cars – just look at student racing leagues, all cars look nothing alike. Unfortunately there are also people who say “F1 is the pinnacle of motorosport…”, which I really don’t understand. I’d rather see a small group of people trying to get the best design possible than an enormous group of people coming to the exact same conclusion as ten other enormous groups of people.

      In a way, I think F1 is just an out-dated concept: the idea that F1 leads the way in technological innovation is no longer true, simply because simulation tools have made it possible that F1 is not required to innovate. Of course that’s a shame, but in this day and age it simply isn’t possible to both give the teams technological freedom and be the pinnacle of motorsport (i.e. giant teams): the design they will come up with is way too dangerous to be featured in a show that is shown live on TV in millions of homes. Hence people bringing up the subject of ‘F1 should be the pinnacle of motorsport’ annoys me beyond belief.

      I do agree with your first sentence, I’d have loved to enjoy F1 1950-1980.

      1. Nicely summarised, I agree. I was trying to say something along these lines to a friend recently. But you are clearly more articulate than I!

      2. But more than a engineering competition (like student fomulas) F1 is a sport that requires a good show to atract fans and sponsors. When I stand in front of my TV set to wacth F1 I like to see the tech part of the sport, but above all I want to see wheel-wheel racing.

        1. When I stand in front of my TV set to wacth F1 I like to see the tech part of the sport, but above all I want to see wheel-wheel racing.

          @jcost It’s always a balancing act, and all F1 fans have different opinions about this. Unfortunately for technical people, the vast majority of people watching F1 don’t care at all about the technological side – as long as it is still claimed to be ‘the pinnacle of motorsports’ it’s fine with them.

          Personally, I would like to see F1 becoming a bit more like the WEC, with more room for engineers to be creative, though at the cost of racing quality. But then there’s Bernie who has Dollar signs in his eyes and wants F1 to appeal to as many people as possible.

        2. I prefer to sit :p

    5. If we still had that for of racing with complete freedom in pure engineering and everything on the limit, we might just not make it through the entire season as at least 7 or 8 teams will have to shut shop due to bankruptcy. The rest of the teams might barely make it. But they wont have any money left to buy bagels for lunch.
      I’m glad F1 is still the absolute in motorsports and I am willing to give up on a few non essentials to watch it for years to come.

      1. Even if you opened up the engine regulations, You would still likely get everyone going down the same route because one type of engine would likely have advantages over others.
        In the 90s for example V8/V12 engine’s were never banned yet everyone went down to the V10 route because the V10 was at the time the best all round package.
        It was also the engine manufacturer’s lets not forget who pushed for the V6 turbo engine formula we will see from next year (Hence why Indycar went the same way having met with engine manufacturer’s).

        As to the other things like Active ride, launch control etc… Free technology may be great from a purely technical standpoint, Not so great for the sport as a whole & especially the racing.
        When we had driver aids in the 90s, It allowed Williams a 2 second a lap advantage in qualifying because they had the biggest budget to spend on there technology. The Mid-field teams didn’t stand a chance because they could never afford things like active ride or the sort of TC systems run by the top 3-4 teams.
        Was the same in the 00’s when driver aids were brought back, The top 3-4 teams had the best systems because they could afford to develop them so they pulled massive gains on the rest.

        All the technology is great for the engineer’s & designers coming up with it & its great for the fans who understand & enjoy it all, However the majority don’t want or enjoy it (All the FIA/FOTA fan survey’s showed this) because it detracts from the ‘show’ & introduced the impression that its no longer about the best drivers & is instead about who can spend the most to develop the most advanced systems.

        1. On a side note, Standing track-side & listening to a car mis-firing due to TC & various other electronic aids was far less pleasing to the ear than any of the criticism’s aimed at how next year’s V6’s will sound.

          1. Comment very well made! Its as if we would be happy with the gurgling from the blown exhausts!

          2. Disagree, those sounds were how how you could tell there was no compromise, no matter how loud and ugly it may sound.

  4. Having been WCC winners for the last 3 years, it is not surprising that CH backs BE, their share of the “prizemoney” could probably support 3 lesser teams, and of course being an advertising campaign, which is their raison d’etre, rather than an automotive manufacturer, the “showbiz” direction BE is taking F1 suits their purpose perfectly.

    1. pretty much my thoughts on the subject @hohum.

    2. Well put @hohum, it doesn’t mean anything for fans, or other teams.

    3. I don’t think there’s any denying that F1 wouldn’t be the same without Bernie though: he has done a lot of good for F1 and is surely a pivotal figure in how it has reached it’s current global levels of popularity.

      That said, I do agree that F1 is a very Republican sport currently, with the balance heavily weighted in the bigger team’s favour. Although I still believe you should have prizes for finishing further up the prize money should be distributed far more evenly throughout the field and we should push to have 13 teams, which is where Bernie and I’s ideology diverges.

      1. “he has done a lot of good for F1”

        Yeah like take half the races off free to air tv! Thats really good for F1 and the fans isn’t it! (Not!)

        1. @robbeast I highly doubt it’d have as big a presence on tv at all had he not had his influence.

          1. @vettel1, Max I think you are putting the cart before the horse here, Bernie did not invent multi-channel, live, worldwide TV broadcasts, he just happened to control some content when the TV networks were looking for it.

        2. @robbeast I live in the UK, I don’t have Sky, yet I watched all the races last year, and intend to watch all the races this year.
          The BBC have still got coverage of all the races. If you want to have the races live on the BBC then the Radio coverage is finely honed to be one of the best coverages of the lot (Especially when you consider the obvious deficiency in radio). Otherwise, it’s a matter of waiting a maximum of 5(?) hours for a race with all the boring parts such as safety cars and stoppages cut out. The qualifying highlights coverage is incredibly quick between segments.
          I honestly think the BBC have got a good deal out of this. They’ve saved money whilst still producing top coverage with minimal expense to the fans who can’t buy Sky..

    4. Ferrari gets more money than RBR for 2012 championship even without winning it thanks to its 2.5% bonus. What’s even funnier – RBR entry fee – $3.26mln; Ferrari – $2.5mln.
      The difference in payment between different positions in the WCC is not that big – 1.5% or less of the total prize money. Based on Joe Saward article the numbers look like this: RBR gets 14.1%; Ferrari 15.1%; McLaren – 11.2%; Catheram – 6.8%. F1’s revenue for 2012 must about $1.5bn with half of it being the prize fund.
      I doubt you can run 3 teams with $100mln :)

  5. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    7th August 2013, 0:46

    From the Petrov article; “(Marussia) not scoring a point yet is unacceptable, do they just want to have a car and drive or they want to grow up, they need, prove you deserve me…… I’m prepared to sit down for talks with their management.”

    Is he on crystal meth?

    1. They’d be lucky to get him with most teams jostling for his signature of course. It all depends on whether they deserve the great Vitaly Petrov.

      1. I think you’re missing the point. I don’t think this has anything to do with Petrov’s ego, but is rather a case of him asking whether it’s worth racing for them when their only real achievement in the last three and a half years was losing tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship last year – ironically becaused Petrov passed Pic to secure a better result for Caterham.

        Any driver in talks to join Marussia(or Caterham) is going to have serious, legitimate questions about what they can achieve next year.

        1. Maybe he could’ve worded it better then because saying “prove you deserve me” to me makes him sound egotistical.

        2. But yeah, I see your point.

      2. I didn’t realize PET was that good to apparently talk that kind of game…

      3. Ahhh! So that’s why he doesn’t have a seat this year. Teams just do not deserve him!

    2. And saying a Russian GP needs a Russian driver is at best, not true. We have so many popular races without local heroes, we just had one in Budapest.

      1. I think it might be the thing of big countries. They just cannot imagine cheering someone from abroad as much, because they are used to cheering a countryman/women. For small countries, you get used to not having a local guy to cheer for in most sports @jcost!

        1. @bascb So US GP of 2012 should be a one-off unless a US driver gets a drive?

          Unless by small you mean low population/area ratio, because Canada is quite big and even though they had the Villeneuves, their GP is still very popular without them.

          I think a good driver in F1 does make a difference, but a driver just to have a flag? I’m not sure.

          1. Why would it be a one off @jcost. They have a contract and at least for some years it will work. But it will only stick for the long run if they get a solid enough regular following in the US to make it viable.

            Canada is not that big in population. And they feel small because they have always had the US as their bigger neighbour (just think about it NHL is National Hockey league and Canada plays in it … ).

            I agree that its not enough to have an also ran somewhere in the field in the long term (it did help for India to get more attention to have drivers, and a team). But for a starter it would help, provided there is perspective of that driver being the first of more to come or growing on to get in a better drive.

  6. Same old story with Felipe eh?

    Its a new formula next year, perhaps Luca should look to start a fresh? Massa has been given enough time to pick himself up. He is clearly not able to pull consistent results. If Alonso needs to finish ahead of him in all the races fine, but then he needs to be in the next position, which he almost never is. Age has caught up with him. I doubt any other team in F1 will want him, well for starters nobody would be able to afford him. He should make a graceful exit from F1, there are plenty of other racing categories he can explore, America is definitely an option.

    There is enough talent out the to replace Massa. Jules Bianchi will be a quite obvious, but something tells me it will be Hulk.

    1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      7th August 2013, 1:30

      I just hope for him to either retire to another motorsport, or drive for a much smaller team to give them his (honestly speaking)pretty vast experience. I mean, this is his 13th or so season in F1, including testing in 03 and 09, he should have gathered a resonable amount of experience even though he never was really that good in car development.

      Same old story, same old public talk – Massa style. Time to bug out.

    2. I think being the big fish in a smaller pond (Indycar,maybe) would do wonders for Felipes psyche, when happy and confident Felipe can be very quick.

    3. For some inexplicable reason, Luca di Montezemolo is very attached to Massa. And so long as Massa continues to endear himself to Luca, his seat is safe.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        7th August 2013, 10:08

        @prisoner-monkeys I have to say, I agree with Luca. Massa is a completely lovely chap, and has a personality that almost manages to make up for that cold feeling of reverence that falls over a room when Fernando Alonso appears in the door-frame. But if Luca is looking for a personality to compensate for Alonso’s broodiness, that surely is yet another shot in the eye for Paul di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg is a nice chap though…

        1. @william-brierty What’s the old saying? Ah yes – nice guys finish last :)

          1. @mazdachris absolutely; you need to be ruthless in the car otherwise you simply won’t be competitive. It’s the same with emotional drivers: if you get affected very easily by your emotions (which I feel Grosjean does) then you will be eaten alive.

            That’s why I admire the drivers that can seamlessly switch between domesticated outside the car to predatory inside of it – they manage to find a balance between Alonso and Massa (Hülkenberg is a good example of this).

      2. @prisoner-monkeys I think Massa has simply been extremely loyal to the team and shown flashes of speed and consistency. Moreover, last autumn they needed a motivated second driver to keep Alonso’s title hopes alive. If Massa hadn’t had an agreement for one more year, he perhaps wouldn’t have been as willing to “break” his gearbox and let Alonso past without a fight for many times.

        This year Ferrari might not need him as a pawn anymore (if Alonso will not be fighting for the title as it seems at the moment) and the team’s morale most likely will need a boost so I reckon that the probability that Massa will stay with Ferrari in 2014 is less than 50%.

        1. Great observation @girts, I completely agree.

  7. “The results will decide whether I stay here or move teams

    mmm remember last year how Massa said he wouldn’t want to drive for any team other than Ferrari?
    How things have changed, maybe Montezemolo advised him to start looking elsewhere in (the very likely) case he was dropped next year.

    BTW thanks for the COTD, sometimes people forget that the fight for the WCC can also be exciting, at least for me it is :)

    1. I guess the question for Felipe is about how much sponsorship money he will lose if he leaves F1 altogether and how much he can keep if he can get a drive in the upper midfield.

      1. But which team in the “upper midfield” would take him? To be honest I don’t see that happening.

    2. I was thinking of that same interview when I saw that.

    3. In 2010, After Germany, he also said: “The day I am a number 2 driver, is the day i don’t race anymore”, look how that worked out

    4. Straight swap with Hulkenburg to rejoin his old team is my prediction

    5. I was going to comment on the same thing – I very much doubt he’ll move teams! He’ll become a forgotten test driver for Ferrari like Fisichella (what a horrible career move that was for him!)

      I’ve always liked Massa but he simply isn’t good enough to be in F1 anymore and I’d very surprised to see any other midfield teams give him a seat.

  8. On the ESPN Pirelli story, there’s a closing bit –

    However, Hembery said one bit of breathing space Pirelli has been given relates to the September 1 deadline for providing the teams with tyre information for next year.

    “From the data we’ve given the teams we’re going to go for October 1st so we’ve got a few more weeks. That was done a few weeks ago back in Germany when we had a meeting.”

    Which suggests to me that they are still arguing about the size of the ‘contact patch’. October is leaving it awfully late.
    Hembery says he has agreement with the teams and with the promoter, but in reality the only agreement that actually matters is with the FIA – and that’s not in place yet.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    7th August 2013, 9:57

    Please Ferrari, give up this pointless vehemence. Massa is making fundamental driving errors more akin to a rookie than the highly experienced driver he is. It really pains me to say this because Felipe is one of the nicest people in the paddock, but frankly, his pace is fading, his skill is fading and he simply is not doing enough to justify his privileged seat. Now I would understand Ferrari not wanting to disrupt the status quo by changing the line-up if there wasn’t a better driver on the market, but with Hulkenberg, di Resta and even Bianchi in the running, it seems nothing less than counter-intuitive to keep Massa on. Like Schumacher, Barrichello and Heidfeld in recent years, Massa has reached a point in his career where the benefits experience brings start to become outweighed by the effects of dwindling pace. Mr Pietro Ferrari, I have some jobs for you. Numero uno, sort Luca out, and tell him that when a team’s entire merit rests in hands of one guy, it is best not to have a go at him. Secondly (my Italian seems to have run dry, what is “two” in Italian?), tell Luca to sign Nico Hulkenberg for 2014, and give Massa a nice comfy GT drive with Fisichella. Do that Mr Ferrari, and your team may enter next season in half decent shape and not the mess it is in now. Maybe think about sending Pat Fry on an Open University course on aerodynamics too…

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      7th August 2013, 10:31

      I would love to see Hulkenberg in red, hes incredibly quick, and has a mature racing head on those shoulders.

      Sauber are just drowning him.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        7th August 2013, 11:34

        @tophercheese21 – Absolutely. As a motor-racing fan I think there is a little more rewarding thing than to see young talent succeeding in the top flights of motorsport, and that is also why I’m finding the way in which Robin Frijns have arrived at the gates of F1 only to find financial roadblocks. Furthermore, this is proof that the current ladder to F1 works, as Hulkenberg, who is now looking set for arguably the most prestigious seat in motorsport, had a record in the junior categories that is incomparable to any that came before him. OK, he has backing from Dekra which has aided his career, but the fact that he was on pole in a Williams, lead in a Force India and lead the Chinese GP in a Sauber rather rubbishes the accusation that he is a pay-driver. Could he in fact be the best wet weather driver on the grid?

    2. Could not agree more. Frankly it was only the temporary resurgence of Massa towards the end of the season that prevented Ferrari losing out on the constructor’s championship second place to McLaren and that resurgence has proved to be only that, temporary. They need a driver that can at the very least consistently back Alonso as undoubtably Massa’s lack of form in the early part of the season cost Ferrari a vital ally in taking points away from Vettel.

      Alonso finished ahead of Vettel in 8 races (discounting retirements where Vettel was ahead before the failure). Massa managed a grand total of 2 (and coincidentally on both occasions he finished as a rear-gunner to Alonso).

      The only problem I can see with Ferrari employing Hülkenberg at the moment is their persistent and frankly ludicrous defiance in fielding two competitive drivers, even remotely competitive. It has worked brilliantly for Red Bull to have a second driver who is capable of beating the first but not consistently.

      Ironically, the last partnership that was comparable to the current Red Bull line up was the 2008 fielding of Massa and Räikkönen and I feel they should try to recreate that level of competitiveness (as although I would like to see a Senna/Prost-type partnership it’s really not feasible) with as you’ve said Hülkenberg. I’m very confident he’d at least be to Alonso as Webber is to Vettel currently, if not better @william-brierty.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        7th August 2013, 20:03

        @vettel1 – Well, to be honest, Ferrari fully deserved third place in the constructors (they had the fourth fastest car in 2012 in terms of average percentage deficit to pole), so coming ahead of McLaren who had the fastest car in 2012, is not to be sniffed at. They’ll certainly be doing well if they repeat that this year. However, as you so rightly say, Massa’s resurgences are only temporary, and each one like the Japan ’12 – Spain ’13 resurgence, or the Bahrain ’10 – Germany ’10 resurgence, are always brought crashing down with either a crash or with Ferrari reminding Felipe of his place within the team; a la Hockenheim.

        It terms of the Red Bull partnership, I think it is a bit of an overstatement to say it has worked “brilliantly”. Webber was competitive in 09/10, but has rather fallen to your later classification of remotely competitive in 11/12/13; although Massa isn’t even worthy of that classification at the moment. I actually think it is Mercedes that has the best team balance at the moment. Hamilton leads the team, but on driving ability rather than status, and is excellently supported by Rosberg. Ferrari would go some way to replicating that balance by employing Hulkenberg, although I sense the gap between Alonso and Hulkenberg would be wider than the gap between Hamilton and Rosberg, although that is probably as Ferrari would want it.

        It has also just occurred to me why Hulkenberg, who was very much the perfect driver for the Red Bull seat with no 2014 contract but bag fulls of talent, was not considered by Red Bull. Could he have already been in talks with Ferrari? Massa’s decline in form rather coincides with Webber’s announcement so it seems feasible to me.

        In terms of the current Red Bull line up being comparable to the 2008 fielding of Massa and Räikkönen I think you are forgetting that although 2008 wasn’t Kimi’s finest year, he wasn’t far from Massa’s pace and that the eventual points deficit was largely comprised of Kimi’s mistakes. On the other hand, Webber really has started to comprehensively lag Vettel in past years, in terms of qualifying pace, race pace and consistency. On that basis I expect Hulkenberg to act as a better support to Alonso than Webber has to Vettel in recent years.

        1. @william-brierty I’m not denying that they deserved second over McLaren as McLaren royally screwed-up to the extent where it often became tedious but I wouldn’t take the qualifying deficit statistic too literally as an indication of overall form as the Ferrari did have fairly obvious advantages in the race over the Lotus in most cases (at least in Alonso’s hands anyway) but still nonetheless they outdid their best expectations, so hats off to them. As you said though they are unlikely to repeat that this year and have made a couple of mistakes as a team which wasn’t the case last year.

          Perhaps an overstatement yes – they have only drifted further apart in terms of performance since 2010 (excluding Webber’s temporary hiatus in early 2012) but nonetheless it had remained a closer partnership than that of Ferrari’s certainly. Mercedes though I do agree have the greater continuity and on balance the better-performing driver pairing at the moment.

          I’m not sure however that the theoretical gap between Hülkenberg and Alonso would indeed be wider than that of Hamilton and Rosberg: once he had acclimatised to the team I think Hülkenberg would give Alonso a strong run for his money in qualifying and fare decently in the races – he has a decent enough junior career record for that prediction to be not entirely audacious. On him not being part of the general consideration of Red Bull for the 2014 seat I think that simply boils down to the fact he’s not really on their horizons as a Ferrari driver and is probably more focused on that goal as you’ve said. Also, if Red Bull were to go with a younger driver I feel they would have to back their own program.

          No I’m not forgetting Kimi’s very average performance in 2008, I’m only citing that as a comparison due to the reactive closeness in the final points standings! In terms of the overall performance of both drivers I don’t think it is really comparable to the current Red Bull driver’s respective performances: as you said, Vettel is beating Webber very much in merit of his superior pace which can’t be said of Massa (to the same extent at least). In a way that particular partnership reminds me of McLaren in 2011 come to think of it: Hamilton was frequently faster in qualifying but lost the plot in the races.

          Back to Webber though on that basis of his floundering pace I think the timing is very much right to get some fresh blood in the second Red Bull seat and I think Ferrari ought to do the same. For Felipe’s sake though I hope he chooses to quit on his own terms before he is innevitably evicted – he can retire to sports cars with Webber and leave honourably, hence opening the floodgates for Hülkenberg (and in turn hopefully a good new young driver, preferably Frijns and with Red Bull Felix Da Costa).

  10. Regarding Massa, the idea of a 2nd driver is only benefitial if he can help Alonso (as opposed to simply not getting in the way) and if Alonso has the ability to compete in the Championship. As it stands, Alonso isn’t really in the WDC so it’s all about the Constructors for Ferrari and Massa simply isn’t contributing enough points to the cause.

    I would be hugely surprised to see Massa get a Ferrari seat next year and as I mentioned in a post above, I can’t think of any midfield seats he could get either.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      7th August 2013, 11:49

      We thought that last year.. but here we are :-)

    2. It’s a new era in 2014 though and honestly I think Massa should just do the honourable thing and resign on his own terms before he is evicted (in much the way Mark Webber has). He’s had a good run and should pass on the torch now to one of Ferrari’s many aspiring young drivers (such as Hülkenberg, Bianchi or less likely Frijns).

  11. The bottom line is that Massa has failed to consistently find any sort of form since he had his accident in 2009. It’s sad to have to accept it, but it simply is a fact. You could argue all day about whether or not Alonso has gotten into his head, or maybe the injury caused him emotional issues which he still carries in the car, or if you find yourself regularly breathing through your mouth, you could suggest there’s some kind of conspiracy against him within Ferrari. But none of that really matters. Facts are facts. And the fact is that the Scuderia are going through a rough patch. They have two cars that don’t work, and one driver that doesn’t work. Fixing the cars is difficult, but fixing the driver is easy. You simply replace him. Replace him like you would any other component which wasn’t delivering.

    Ferrari need to refocus at the moment. They’re producing cars which are frankly not good enough to carry the prancing horse on their noses, and they seem unable to engineer the kind of success they should be enjoying. They need to look at how they’re going to take the team forwards, especially at this point where we have a raft of deep technical changes and challenges. Part of that, I believe, is about thinking long term about their driver situation. Both Massa and Alonso are part of the old guard in F1; a generation which will inevitably be leaving the sport in the near future. Ferrari must ensure not only that they have a strong driver line up right now, but that they have young drivers who will be able to carry the team forwards in the future once King Alonso vacates the throne.

    Unfortunately this is something Ferrari have always been spectacularly bad at

  12. Time for Ferrari to come to their senses about Massa. He had one great season, but hasn’t won in 5 years. Get Hulkenburg or Bianchi please.

  13. I’m sure Massa’s seat is safe. Last year after that funny gearbox penalty in the US he said something like “you won’t find another driver willing to do that” and I think that’s going to save him. Ferrari would struggle to find another driver who is quick and willing to sacrifice his own races for the sake of his teammate.

    Consider how close Alonso has come to winning the championship in the last few years. Would Ferrari want to make it even harder for him by giving him another rival to beat? In these times when Ferrari have the 3rd or 4th quickest car they need to have a clear #1 driver more than ever and I feel that bringing Hulkenburg or Bianchi in would only upset the balance. Unless they agree to be #2 driver, but I don’t want to see them waste their talent like that.

    Also, we seem to have these headlines every year. This will be followed by a reasonable performance by Massa, maybe he’ll outqualify Fernando or get a 3rd place, and then suddenly his contract will be extended by another year.

  14. Isn’t the sentence unfinished? “Ecclestone should run F1 as long as he can (get away with it)”
    I get the impression a lot of people think he has become bigger than the sport and if that’s the case, it’s only a bad thing for F1. This scenario hasn’t been successful anywhere else. The tyre thing the big gaps between races. Come on Bernie, it sounds like about 5 seasons instead of just one.

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