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Kobayashi and Vettel star at Awards
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Kobayashi and Vettel star at Awards
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Dec 2010   |  5:50 pm GMT  |  86 comments

Last night I went to the Autosport Awards at London’s Grosvenor House hotel, the annual end of season get together for the UK motor sport industry.

It’s changed little over the years, my old ITV colleague Steve Rider still presents it; gently and respectfully taking the mickey out of many of the great names of the sport.


Last night the two stars of the show were Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastian Vettel. Kobayshi was there to collect the Rookie of the Year award, previously won by Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Vettel.

Strictly speaking Kobayashi wasn’t really a rookie this year as he made his debut in 2009, but who’s going to split hairs when a genuine star is there on hand? I’m amazed by the warmth of feeling of F1 fans in Europe and particularly the UK to Kobayashi. They love a battler and he has a certain style about the way he goes racing in F1 cars. He is certainly not afraid of trying some moves and they usually come off. He has been voted driver of the day on many occasions this season on this site and in our Top Five Drivers of the season competition, he had a lot of backers.

Collecting his award, he shrugged off questions about why he’s so good at overtaking, saying that if he sees a gap he just goes for it.

“Many good drivers have won this rookie award before me, and it is very nice for me to belong to that circle now, ” said Kobayashi today. “Obviously I will never have the chance to win this prize again because next year I’m not a rookie anymore. I will do my best to maybe come back one day to pick up one of the other trophies.”

The new world champion was there to collect the award for the best International driver of the year. He had celebrated the title with his team the night before in London and was on good form.

Vettel had a very strong end to the season, with four poles and three wins in the last four races bringing him the title.
“It was a difficult season, lots of ups and downs, things not going according to plan, but we kept our head down and kept focussed, ” he said.

He revealed that in Korea he had seen a diamond-vision screen with a championship prediction with his name on top, but then soon after his engine failed. So he had become very superstitious and did not want to tempt fate in the final races.

“To come here for the first time to the Autosport Awards is special,” he added. “I came for the trophy, it’s very special, I was hoping to get it. I saw guys like Senna picking it up, it’s a big honour.”

Vettel paused on his way to the podium to shake hands with Sir Stirling Moss. I note that the great man said some interesting things about Vettel in his blog after Abu Dhabi,

“I think he’s got huge reserves of natural talent.. I can see parallels between Vettel’s career and Jimmy Clark’s,” wrote Sir Stirling. “Clark came in at Lotus and didn’t have to try that hard because he was so talented and Colin Chapman was delivering very fast cars. I think the Vettel/Red Bull combination is similar.

“Jimmy was a very pure natural talent and would always get the best out of his car and Vettel drives in the same way.

“When you meet Vettel you come away thinking he’s got a lot more to him than just being a driver. I’ve met him away from racing and he handles himself well and has a very good sense of humour. In contrast, Fernando Alonso is a good role model, but goes about it in a less human way.”

Interesting stuff from a legend, who has seen all the F1 drivers in the sport’s 60 year history close up.

The mood of the evening was pretty light and upbeat. However there are still plenty of people taking about how hard it is to secure a budget for international racing series like GP3, which is £600,000 a season. I talked to one GP3 team owner who would love to run Lewis Williamson, the new McLaren Autosport Young Driver, next season. He won £100,000 as his prize, but that still leaves the young man looking for half a million pounds to do the GP3 season. That’s crazy.

GP2 now is the best part of £2 million a year. No doubt plenty of real talents fall by the wayside. It’s always been like that and it’s a tough game, but surely never more so than now.

As John Surtees said last night, the costs are too high. The FIA has made some attempts to introduce cheaper racing with the F2 series, but it doesn’t enjoy the limelight that GP2 and GP3 get from being on the F1 calendar and so they are the series to be in.

New DTM champion Paul di Resta was very prominent in the ceremony, handing out several awards and conducting himself with a very high profile. The talk is that he is oh-so-close to the Force India drive, but the deal is not done yet. Presumably it would be Tonio Liuzzi who would make way as his performances this year did not match Adrian Sutil’s, but Liuzzi would need paying off for the final year of his contract.

The feeling also seems to be that Nico Hulkenberg will end up as reserve driver for Mercedes, which would be the right move for his career. He’s waited around a long time with Williams before getting his chance, but he ended the season with his stock looking high and he can afford to wait for Michael Schumacher to do another year before potentially slotting in alongside Nico Rosberg, who should be well and truly capable of being a team leader by then.

There was a big turn out of Virgin Racing people. They weren’t giving anything away about the identity of Timo Glock’s team mate next year, but did say that they hoped to get it done and announced by Christmas. It’s almost exactly a year since the Virgin team launch on a freezing cold day in London – as it is today – and it seems like they like the pre-Christmas slot for announcing things.

Jerome D’Ambrosio seems to have a good chance there having done some Friday running at the end of the season. But the new part owners and title sponsors of the team, Marussia, may are sure to have lobbied for the team to consider a Russian, like 23 year old Mikhail Aleshin, who beat Daniel Ricciardo to the Renault World Series championship.

Ferrari was not strongly represented at the Awards. As far as I could tell there was only Luca Colajanni, the communications director. This was not a show that particularly loved Ferrari, in fact there was quite a bit of black humour at the expense of the team and of Alonso in particular and I kept looking across at Luca to see his reaction.

There is a feeling abroad about the influence of the British over the way the sport is both run and perceived. This is probably slightly less since Jean Todt took over from Max Mosley as FIA president, but it is nevertheless a powerful force and it is often debated by fans on this site.

The British media has a strong influence over fan opinion in many countries and you can begin to understand how non-Brits feel when you sit through an evening like this with lots of emphasis on and kind words about, the perennial Autosport favourites like Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Vettel’s Germanness was also referred to a few times, but he handled it well. When Rider responded to Vettel’s line about crying on the slow down lap in Abu Dhabi, by saying “We were all crying,” Vettel shot back, “Really, for a German?”

To be absolutely fair, there was also a lot of black humour at the expense of Ron Dennis, who was not present. Several people, including Rider and Eddie Jordan commented that this brightened the atmosphere of the evening no end.

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86 Comments
  1. Olivier says:

    i for one would be upset if Hulkenberg were to be replacing Michael in 2012.

  2. Dave Aston says:

    Great to see Kobayashi getting recognition. I think he’s had a huge impact on real motorsport enthusiasts this year. Funny, in a preview pre season, Stirling Moss said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised if Kobayashi was world champion some day, he’s just got something about him…’ Or, as an Italian journo I saw on youtube said, ‘he is like a driver from an older era, like Regazzoni, like Peterson; he makes the fans want to dream!’
    I believe he can repeat it next year, and maybe wind up in a good car. Possibly for 2012, there could be a seat at Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull or Renault available. I noticed all year, in free practice he was always really close with Pedro or Heidfeld, initially, and then would draw away as the weekend progressed, a good sign. A huge drive in Valencia under pressure, and he doesn’t seem to make a lot of errors. Peter Sauber seems to rate him very highly. I think he’d be great at Red Bull…

    1. pj says:

      “[H]e makes the fans want to dream!”

      Dave, that’s a great quote, perfectly encapsulating the feeling drivers like Kamui invoke. Raikkonen is another driver of whom I’m reminded. Kubica, too. Drivers like these have a nearly indescribable quality that creates thrilling drives.

      1. Dave Aston says:

        Yes, Hamilton too. Gilles, Keke Rosberg, Mansell… you know they’re going to give it everything! I loved Hamilton behind the pace car in Korea, when everyone else was saying it’s still too wet, he was saying ‘guys, this is almost intermediate weather…’

  3. For Sure says:

    Well done Kobi, you are easily the most entertaining driver of the year.
    James, thanks for pointing that out and I think it is more costly then Autosport directors think.
    If you look at this month issue cover, its ridiculously nationalistic even by Autosport standards.
    http://digitaledition.autosport.com/issue/2010/covers/02122010.jpg
    Since Di Resta is an Italian name they had to use the word ‘Brit’ and it was at the top.
    Apart from Seb, everything was all about their country men.
    Jenson and Lewis celebrating while Alonso was down and Schumacher crashed.
    I dont know any non-Brit who would pay for that piece of s…
    For the record, I get on well with my English friends, it just that I hate what they have done to the sport.

    1. CJ says:

      Autosport is a British publication for a target audience of mainly British readership. I am sure they are not reliant on your purchase of their magazine in order to warrant it’s future publication and so won’t lose any sleep over your views.

      In response to your problem with the influence of what the English have done, imagine where it would be without Bernie.

      Perhaps you would rather it was run like FIFA

      1. For Sure says:

        [mod]
        “In response to your problem with the influence of what the English have done, imagine where it would be without Bernie.”

        F1 is a sport that obviously rely on international fans, not just the UK fans. When you put your nationality in front of the sport, you just look like a fool.That’s my point.

      2. Darren says:

        I agree with CJ, it is a British publication for a primarily British audience. However yes this months cover is incredibally nationalistic and I think they have got worse in the last few years.

        Like it or not there is a huge British influence on F1, most of the teams are GB based if not registered, Bernie etc.

        I think though that commentry and publications have got very biased in the last few years. When a country has drivers doing well then they will naturally talk them up, it improves the audiences if nothing else. Between 97 and 07 Britain did not really have a driver competing for the championship (sorry DC), now we have two. Surely its only natural for the British media to capatalise on that.

        I would imagine the e.g. German and Spanish versions of autosport are equally biased towards their respective champs.

        Personally I hate bias of any kind from the media, I think its unprofessional. This is why I like this website so much, James does a great job of producing articles which provide a true and non biased overview of the sport.

      3. James Allen says:

        Thank you for that

      4. For Sure says:

        Here is an another classic example.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6YqrsEbGxM&feature=related

        Different sport but the exact same BS

        And apparently it is “OK” in the eyes of some of the Brits which is even more shocking, because I would be embarrassed.

    2. Andy C says:

      Hang on a second. If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it…..

      I’ve read worse f1 magazines…

      Just as the web, if you dont respect what they say, there is always the option to buy or view an alternative publication.

      1. Mattij says:

        Yeah, CJ and Andy, sure that is all true.

        But the problem ‘For Sure’ is pointing out really IS a problem.

        But it is not fault of Autosport. It is probably because there is no strong competition in other countries.

        After following BBC for these years now, I would not go back to watching Finnish broadcast of races – because BBC is so much higher quality. They have much longer programs, they have big guys interviewed, simply the attitude is much more professional, etc.

        James, is that just a budget thing? Or the big guys just go to BBC interviews because it has probably biggest audience?

        (By the way, I think Autosport could still learn from F1 Racing of early 2000′s. They were much less biased.)

      2. James Allen says:

        I cannoy comment as I’ve never seen Finnish TV. But certainly the BBC has one of the biggest budgets in F1, as did ITV before them. I think only the German station RTL spends more.

      3. For Sure says:

        I hope James Allen become their biggest competition. I am sure he supports his drivers but he is much more objective. The information he gave for free is so much better than their political bs that comes with a fee.

  4. Wayne says:

    Sounds like a meeting of some old boys network with lots of back slapping and ‘in’ jokes.

    As for the driver of the year….Wow there’s a surprise! It’s not like these awards always take the WDC and name him driver of the year regardless of the circumstances – it’s ridiculous. I’m not saying Seb either does or does not deserve it but I wish these guys would get a backbone and be a little more creative sometimes otherwise they might as well hand all these awards out with the WDC in the first place.

    1. CPJ_955 says:

      As a subscriber to Autosport (and reader of many forums/websites/news articles) I’d like to say that I enjoy reading about the “back slapping and in-jokes” etc at the awards.

      They quite often single out future British talent too (I remember reading about Jenson Button winning the Autosport/BRDC award years ago).

      Also most of the awards are done by reader vote, not by championship position or any other fix. Clearly Seb got the vote (not mine incidentally!)

  5. jonrob says:

    “Ron Dennis, who was not present. Several people, including Rider and Eddie Jordan commented that this brightened the atmosphere of the evening no end.”

    You have to be someone who has made his mark to be noted for your absence. This against just not being mentioned.

    1. Tom (london) says:

      Agreed.

      “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”.

      Envious people will keep talking about Ron for a long time.

    2. Damian J says:

      Agree…..Ron’s probably far too busy building McLaren’s prestigious sports car brand to be bothered with in-house accolades.

  6. Hisham Akhtar says:

    Jealousy is a cruel mistress.

    It’s sad that the Brits have to pick on Ferrari at an awards ceremony when for the most part of a decade, they have had trouble matching the Scuderia.

    Even in terms of coverage, Ferrari is often looked over with McLaren and now Red Bull being covered much more extensively.

    1. Charlie says:

      Perhaps if they hadn’t cheated in Germany then things would be different, eh?

      1. Hisham Akhtar says:

        How is backing one driver who’s in a much better championship position and has been beating his teammate all year cheating?

        If they hadn’t done that, Alonso would have finished 5th in the championship.

      2. Charlie says:

        “How is backing one driver who’s in a much better championship position and has been beating his teammate all year cheating?”

        Because team orders – since 2003 – have been illegal. Because they used team orders, and fined as a result, they broke the rules and cheated.

        Those are the cold hard facts whether you like them or not. Now, if someone cheats, is it any wonder they get stick for it?

      3. Nick Williams says:

        All teams use team orders, the only thing Ferrari did was make them publicly at Hockenheim. I wonder though if people who comment on these forums catually watch the races. Alonso was helped by Massa once. The rest of the year Alonso was just plain faster than Massa and way ahead of him all raeces. Ferrari did not hold Massa back, in fact if wasn’t so slow Ferarri would have won the drivers title and finished 2nd in the constructors..

      4. Charlie says:

        Yes, you’re right, Ferrari did cheat by using team orders in Germany.

  7. Tim Parry says:

    Good for Kobi! He played his part in making this season worth watching. But what’s that he’s holding in the photo? It looks like a potted palm in need of a good watering.

  8. Nilesh says:

    Hi James,

    I vaguely recollect a driver who had an idea to put out his own stock on the market. Was it Ant Davidson? Seeing that talented youngsters are having a hard time getting sponsorship money, do you think or know of drivers who list themselves as a company to generate capital? Private investors and maybe even wealthy followers of the sport might invest in talented prospects who cannot otherwise make it thorough to the next level due to lack of corporate sponsorship.

    1. Steve says:

      I think it was Justin Wilson

      1. Yatin says:

        It was christian klien i think when he was racing for jaguar.

  9. R Martin says:

    This post is addressed entirely to “For Sure”:

    Autosport is a British publication, for sale in the UK and with generally limited availability overseas to those passionate about motorsport, so what do you expect? For example, a good portion of Autosport is devoted to the British national racing scene, as well as the international series. It is entirely logical for Autosport to focus on things that will interest the majority of its readership – to not do so doesn’t sound that clever to me.

    Go and find an equivalent publication in the US, if such a thing exists, and see how much space they devote to non-American drivers or even what happens in international series. I could apply the same argument to any number of countries, but I can’t be bothered to spend more time explaining the ridiculousness of your points. Anyway, non-Brits are welcome to buy any “piece of s…” that is available to them locally.

    Autosport is by no means jingoistic, but it does (rightly) celebrate British success in motorsport. However, it also remains a magazine with very few international comparators, which is why most drivers and teams alike prize the recognition the magazine and its readership affords them.

    Regarding your last point, yes, F1 may of course be different if its running and history had been dominated by another country. But I somehow doubt it would be better.

    1. Phil Bishop says:

      nicely put

    2. GP says:

      I agree.

      I still remember Senna’s speech at this event years ago. He was full of praise for the British way he was always treated from the very first days of his living in England.

      I completely agree with his comments as I also moved to England to spend a year of racing. I never, ever, felt unwelcome.

      Sport is all about taking sides with enthusiasm!

    3. Steve says:

      Well said! Agree 100%.

    4. Damian J says:

      Great post!

    5. Eric says:

      How do you know “For Sure” is from the US?

      You should also realize that his post was not limited to Autosport. As you appear to be an avid follower of the sport, you’re no doubt aware that BBC, and ITV before them, broadcast to virtually every English-speaking country. Canadiens, Australians, and countless others watch the sport through the eyes of the British media. Most of the worthwhile publications and websites are also British, with British journalists. There’s nothing wrong with this, but keep in mind that bias may be slightly more evident to those who aren’t patriotic British individuals like yourself.

      1. Mattij says:

        Good points Eric.

        It is a phenomenon probably difficult to see for Brits, but in a way, we are all forced to follow British F1 media.

        Generally it is great of course, that is why we follow.

        I haven’t seen anything even close to this website’s quality in any other language I could read.

        But I hope journalists take into consideration that they are not only presenting the sport to brits. (As I commented to ‘For Sure’ replies, F1 Racing used to do that much better that Autosport.)

        But sure it is just a business decision by Autosport, they know their advertisers and reader profiles and maximising their return of investment. I’m sure they are not pushing Brits just for the fun of it.

        And hey, luckily in racing the talking takesplace on the track! No language barriers there!

      2. R Martin says:

        Actually I doubt “For Sure” is from the US – that was just an example that, as I said, I could apply to many other countries.

        I’m very aware of other English-speaking countries carrying the UK TV feed. Had “For Sure” been arguing about something like that being thrown in the faces of non-UK audiences rather than a specialist publication which non-UK audiences would have to seek out, then I think there may have been more to debate!

      3. For Sure says:

        The problem with your argument is that every time I walk into a store I could see those magazines. As a frequent traveler, I have experienced this many times. It definitely is not exclusively for UK fans. I definitely feel that they are trying to influence the perception of international fans. “Something that is being thrown in the faces of non-UK audiences” as you put it.

        Below comment back that up too.
        “The British media has a strong influence over fan opinion in many countries and you can begin to understand how non-Brits feel when you sit through an evening like this with lots of emphasis on and kind words about, the perennial Autosport favourites like Dario Franchitti, David Coulthard, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button”

        Moreover, if some driver wins an award, you naturally want to check it out, regardless the organization and it’s customers

        So are you saying that I should ignore those award winners just because they are British organization?
        To me, at very least, their biases dent their credibility.

  10. Jo Torrent says:

    On the driver of the year
    **********************

    It’s really strange for a magazine to give the award of the best driver to VETTEL while in their latest issue their editor MARK HUGUES names HAMILTON the best driver of the year and VETTEL the 4th best. Where is the consistency ?

    MARK HUGUES ranking is the following

    LH / RK / FA / SV / MW / JB / NR

    1. Rob H says:

      INTERNATIONAL driver of the year. As has been previously mentioned, Autosport is a UK publication.

    2. Mark m says:

      The awards are voted by the readership of autosport if I remember correctly

    3. Andy C says:

      I must admit I was surprised to see seb down in 4th when I read it.

      I believe the votes are from a wider pool including some weighting for fans also.

      The thing that surprised me was some of the stats on overtaking manoeuvres. Particularly Sutil leading the overtaking.

      It’s so difficult to keep track of all of the passes as some of the tv producers in countries have a knack of missing action.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        It’s not a vote, it’s Hugues own rating of the drivers and he put Vettel 4th

        I’m surprising too that Sutil achieved the most overtakings followed by Massa but such stats need more thorough investigation. A driver who does bad starts or many mistakes at the start find himself at the back and achieves more overtaking.

      2. Mark m says:

        There was a review of the season that Hughes placed vettel in 4th but the awards a voted for by the fans. But it looks like one person subjective view is being vilified whilst the Autosport Awards the have the readership voting

      3. Andy C says:

        The autosport award is. I know Hughes had his own column as I read it.

  11. Boggles says:

    James, unrelated question – are you planning to post any specials/features over the Christmas period to keep us all sane once the in-laws arrive?

  12. Jo Torrent says:

    On AUTOSPORT
    *********

    I’ve been reading AUTOSPORT for the past year and I must say that the experience is really disappointing as far as the F1 coverage is concerned. But I’m not interested in other racing categories.

    There are some topics covered such as the weekly comparaison between team mates based only on qualifying laps. A rating worth a high school fellow.

    The magazine is clearly british drivers biased which I do understand but it does annoy me a lot. I’ll just put this forward : in 2004 Jenson Button was named driver of the year. This is absolutely ridiculous. More ridiculous is that Damon HILL was named driver of the year in 1996 and 1994. Who does believe that Damon HILL was anytime in his career better than Michael Schumacher. To use a Muhammad Ali quote : If Hill has ever dreamt of being better than Schumacher, he should wake up and apologize. In 94, only Schumacher’s ban for 3 races allowed him to have a crack at the title. In 96, his rookie team mate humbled him taking pole position in the 1st grand prix and without car failure would have beaten him on their first outing.

    This is the line of AUTOSPORT. Whenever a British driver wins the title, he’s the driver of the year which is not true of other nationalities.

    The coverage of FERRARI is absolutely rubbish and I wonder why the Scuderia bothers to send someone to their awards.

    I’ve been reading your blog James for 3 years and I started commenting for slightly more than a year and it is far more interesting than Autosport and more balanced in its coverage. I’m sure many of the readers share my opinion.

    The only point I miss in your blog is the lack of coverage of F1 politics but it’s maybe your choice which I do understand.

    1. James Allen says:

      This isn’t a comment on the magazine or the website, I’d never criticise fellow pros.I was merely seeing the tone of the evening through the eyes of a non Brit.

      1. Damian J says:

        James,

        In the eyes of many British fans, it is Ferrari and not the British media that has too much power in F1.

        Ferrari is paid far more than any other team at a time when there is a funding crisis for many F1 teams. That means Ferrari can always outbid the other teams for the best drivers and engineers from other teams, and taking with them, some of their winning ideas!

        Also, for many British fans, there is still a deep bitterness at the gross injustice to the way McLaren and Ron Dennis was treated by Max and Bernie (two British subjects I might add!). FIA was criticised by A French court for operating a kangaroo court to dispense it’s uneven justice, typically at the hands of one powerful individual, leaving plenty of romm for old scores to be settled.

        Compare McLaren’s treatment with that of how they dealt with Renault’s own ‘Spygate’, ‘Crashgate’ and Ferrari’s ‘Team orders gate’, an act of blatant breaking of a FIA rule. In all these cases, punishment was light to serve a political agenda.

        So boo hoo to all those complaining of too much British influence in F1.

      2. Alberto Dietz says:

        Gatewise, to be precise, the record so far reads: ’05-’06 Massdampergate, ’07 Spygate, ’08 Crashgate and ’10 Radiogate, and ALL point to Big Girl’s Blouse, hence ElFraud Fourgates.

      3. Jo Torrent says:

        There is a difference between the Renault situation and the McLaren one. The incident triggered by Renault is much worse than the one done by McLaren and needed a harsher penalty. The problem at that time was that TOYOTA BMW & HONDA left the F1 and they desperately needed Renault to stay. If they applied the right penalty to RENAULT the French team would’ve left the sport for sure and what Max and Bernie did is negotiate a low penalty for the french team (by emphasizing BRIATORE as the main villain) to keep them in F1 because they needed both the RENAULT team (which is British based in Enstone) and the RENAULT engine to supply other teams (RedBull).

        If the same scandal did happen a couple of years earlier, the penalty would’ve been huge and Renault would’ve left the sport and Enstone employees would’ve paid the dearest price.

        One of the reasons the McLaren penalty was huge is because of the continuous denial despite increasingly evident proof. It annoyed the FIA terribly that Ron DENNIS kept denying. McLaren lied a lot of times to the FIA because there were many hearings for the scandal with ever increasing evidence. Ron DENNIS behaviour in those events are absolutely unforgivable and it’s a shame he can walk the pitlane again. As a FERRARI fan, it angered me a lot at the time and the loss of the title in the last race was a nice payback for him (not for the McLaren employees).

    2. JW1980 says:

      Well put. Autosport is an excellent magazine.
      I hope Paul di Resta is in F1 in 2011 not just because he’s British but also he has a proven track record with Vettel being one of his scalps.

    3. Damian J says:

      I am tired of reading anti British comments from other countries on this website complaining about publications for English fans especially when:

      1. The BBC (and ITV in the past) provide top quality professional F1 coverage compared to many foreign TV broadcasts, noting that this type of media is far more influential than any magazine, AND

      2. Some foreign tv coverage is VERY partial to Ferrari and/or Alonso and by extension, less favourable to McLaren AND

      3. Auto sport caters caters to a British audience and if it so chooses by being supportive of British teams, what is wrong with that when when their is a strong Ferrari press in Italy and a strong Alonso press in Spain? Why should the British press be 100% impartial under those circumstances?

      Nobody is forcing anyone to read English magazines! It’s only a problem to those who are from a foreign country or indeed if British because they support Ferrari or a non British driver.

      Most importantly, the complaint is typically self interest and not from any sense of impartiality!

      1. Stevie P says:

        Hear hear!

    4. JW1980 says:

      Go to the British GP and you will not see huge support for Ferrari. Consequently There’s not a need to cover Ferrari in great depth.

      With regards to the driver of the year I am sure this is voted for by the general public and not Mark Hughes.
      With regards to the top 10 the four leading journalists in my opinion (James Allen, Andrew Benson, Joe Saward and Mark Hughes) all had a different driver as their number one which shows what a great season it was.
      Where Mark Hughes wins out is that his top ten was issued some two to three weeks after the season finished. .This enables more time to reflect on a season as a whole and a mistake made later in the season does not take on a larger impact due to it’s freshness in the mind.
      I hope that next year James top 5 will be a couple of weeks after the season ends so that people’s views can be more reflective.

    5. Merlinghnd says:

      I think thats a bit harsh on Damon Hill. In 1994 he would have been Champion if Schumacher and he had not tangled ( trying to be polite)although I realise that Schumacher missed some races as punishment for other misdemeanors that season. In 1996 he was Champion, surely that deserves a reward. I always thought that being Champion once is admirable but twice answers all your critics doubts. I remember watching Frank Williams on Damon Hills “This is Your Life” programme saying quite and I summarise here, that he thought he could easily find a replacement for Damon Hill but with hindsight that did not work out maybe he had misjudged the man.

    6. Nando says:

      Would make an interesting piece comparing the different media bias of the major F1 nations, I suspect the British media won’t come out too badly.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        In France there isn’t such a thing as a motorsport media. The quality of the coverage is absolutely rubbish. If James Allen cared to translate his blog in French, there would be more relevant informations available than all what French media produces.

        In Italy only FERRARI matters. But there’s a difference with British coverage. They’re absolutely ecstatic when FERRARI delivers but they are merciless with them when they falter. British media aren’t as harsh on the British teams as far as I’ve noticed.

      2. Stevie P says:

        The Italian media weren’t too happy with Ferrari’s performance in Abu Dhabi.

        The actual difference is that British media covers all teams; whereas Italian media only covers one team and one team only – another team may be mentioned, but only when there’s a link to the prancing horse.

        British tabloids do build people \ entities \ groups \ companies up and then put them down when they fail; I’m not a tabloid reader – never have been, never will be – because of their sensationalising of just about every story. McLaren have had a bad-rap in the British media; so has Lewis Hamilton; Button got panned in his early stages. Yes they do have a bias towards British sports-stars… because they are British too and their main readership is British.

        James seems to recognise and is aware that his readership is globally-based (although probably more Brits than other nationalities)… PLUS, he loves F1, there is no other agenda involved other his love for the sport of F1 [sorry to put words in your mouth there James, but you know what I'm getting at... I hope].

      3. James Allen says:

        Only 40% of readership is UK, so that means 60% international. Don’t agree about Italian media – they’re very Ferrari focussed, but papers like Gazzetta (of which we have no equivalent in UK) covers most of the teams. But they have a respect for them which is not based on nationality, but on their performance.

      4. Damian J says:

        Jo,

        “As a FERRARI fan, it angered me a lot at the time and the loss of the title in the last race was a nice payback for him (not for the McLaren employees).”

        And as a McLAREN fan, it angered me the way Ferrari went kicking and screaming to FIA to force FIA to inflict maximum damage on McLAREN despite the fact that it was one of their own employees that was ultimately responsible for Spygate and for that I am pleased Ferrari lost the title in 2008 and 2010. Alonso was also implicated in Spygate but where was his punishment?

        McLaren’s $100M fine was unjust and is a source of bitterness, especially when you see Ferrari break FIA rules with almost impunity and also see other teams get involved in various ‘gates’ escaping with minimal penalties.

      5. Damian J says:

        And does the Spanish press ever give a verbal lashing to its hero, Fernando Alonso for his failures on the tarmac or his unsporting conduct?

    7. Mark m says:

      I have been reading autosport for 17 years and they have have covered the established teams in detail over the last 7 years. The comparison you talk about was the drivers fastest lap of the weekend so it is a good comparison as it shows the maximum potential of the cars and it was clear from the outset it showed mclaren was not as fast as redbull but faster than Ferrari but as the season progressed and updates arrived on cars it showed Ferrari moving up the grid a mclaren falling behind.

    8. For Sure says:

      Nice post and I am not surprised.
      I didn’t know that Muhammad Ali follows F1 but what a great quote from him.
      Here’s the quote from Damon’s former boss, Sir Frank William: “I rather wish he(Schumacher) would go away sometimes but I have come to the conclusion this season that he is the best motor racing driver there has ever been”

  13. keith long says:

    Sounds like it was Choc fibre fun evening ;)

  14. stuart fenton says:

    James, tiz the season, so an unrelated question. Are you going to do an xmas buyers guide. Books/merch etc that we can hope for from Santa?

    1. pj says:

      That would definitely be appreciated, especially regarding books. Sure, there’s James’s but what else might we all have missed? Related, but does anyone know of any well-written, respectful biographies of Jim Clark?

  15. James D says:

    Unsurprising and well deserved award for Kobayashi.

    However I must admit I was surprised to read this week that he only made 13 overtaking manoeuvres this season which doesn’t stack up well against other drivers. Sutil made the most with 40, three times as many. Here’s the link:

    http://www.castroldriverrankings.com/news/2010/12/sutil-f1s-master-of-overtaking

    I guess Kobayashi got so much focus for his because of races such as Valencia when his strategy and subsequent passes on fresh tyres gained him attention and Suzuka where he kept diving down the inside (and once around the outside) of drivers at the hairpin.

    Alguesari made 31 though which surprised me, I couldn’t recall a single one of them off the top of my head. Perhaps TV directors should show us more of the mid-field action when overtaking happens. Schumacher’s sublime pass of Barrichello at Suzuka is one that springs to mind where the TV coverage was poor and I only saw it in full on YouTube afterwards.

    1. Koby fan says:

      Castrol rankings are a bit skewed, 1st lap overtaking off the grid are not included – think KOby in Hungary. Be interesting to check stats to see which driver had highest finish to qualifying position gap. Lewis also scored poorly in the Castrol rankings. If you think back to the quality and race position of the passing -the rankings would look a lot different. Hamilton, Webber, Kubica would be definitely be up there…

  16. Andy C says:

    Excellent to see kobayashi win the rookie of the year. I love the gave a go attitude and also the fact that he is very modest. If there is one thing fans like it’s someone who tries hard!

    Here is hoping key and his team provide a good car next year.

  17. Andy C says:

    James
    Off topic but I got your book and it was a great way to remind myself of some of the events of the year. Great work.

    Can you recommend a good book on gerhard Berger. As one of the best practical jokers ever to grace f1 I’d love to read all about it.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. Don’t know a good Berger book, but probably because I’ve never looked for one!

      1. build says:

        James,
        Has anyone ever put together a book or article of the funnier moments in F1? If you sit with two of the right blokes and listen to the pranks, practical jokes and funny stories, sooner or later you are going to spill your beer. There seems to be an endless list of them, perhaps enough to fill a book?

        Just an idea, I’d buy it.

      2. Andy C says:

        That ok. I’ve got my Santa list in with the family already.

        Couple of books including one on jochen rindt, Gilles villenueve (two copies of yours as you know).

        The stories about the jokes gerhard played on senna are epic….. The frogs. The throwing sennas new carbon briefcase out if the heli. I’d love to know how many are true.

    2. Curro says:

      From what it seems, Christopher Hilton has written a book on almost every driver that ever raced. He did one on Gerhard Berger too, all the fun stuff is there (including Senna’s version on the events).

  18. Chris Orr says:

    On a slighty related note.
    The L.G. moment of the year (who i noticed is a sponsor of this forum) Fans? had picked the moment of the year to be Kovalianens Lotus engine fire at Singapore.

    I have to completely disagree and cant believe how the incidents of Vettel and Webber coming together at Turkey or the Massa been asked to let Alonso at Hockenheim were not seen as bigger moments in f1 2010.

    If you look back in 10 years at the defining championship moments, those will be the ones that are remembered. Not some back markers engine fire.

  19. Chris Chong says:

    “Collecting his award, he shrugged off questions about why he’s so good at overtaking, saying that if he sees a gap he just goes for it.”

    Reminds me of a famous line by some famous Brazilian driver, something about going for a gap that exists…

  20. Girts says:

    I have been able to compare German F1 media and English F1 media and I have to admit that the English journos as a whole are more professional and less biased. The German media was very focused on Schumacher in the beginning of the season, whereas Vettel dominated the news and the TV broadcasts in the 2nd half of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the German guys do a solid job but they are nationalistic and the British guys seem to be more passionate about the sport and able to provide a better analysis. Maybe this is because of the rich auto racing history in the UK (Germans were not that much into motorsport before Schumacher era). So the British might have a big influence over F1 but there is a good reason for it.

  21. theothercoldone says:

    I’m a brit living in Finland now for 5 years. I’m able to watch and listen to the Finnish MTV 3 channel, and, of course, they follow very closely what Heikki Kovalainen is up to, and to some extent Nico Rosberg. Magazines here also tend to see things from the Finnish side, and now that Kimi Raikkonen is driving a rally car, that gets more interest. Despite Heikki, the fact that there isn’t a Finnish driver in a front running car (which has been a while, since there has been Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Raikkonen) means that formula 1 coverage is less in depth than it was. So national interests are still to the fore, even though we’re all ‘European’ nowadays.
    BTW the scandal mags here still follow what Mika, Kimi, and to an extent Keke are up to, but usually Matti Nykänen provides more than enough scandal and headlines… (Think the George Best of ski jumping – best ski jumper ever, followed by alcoholism, work as a professional stripper(!!!), jail sentences, and now a ‘singer’. Enough said!)

  22. Stevie P says:

    “I’m amazed by the warmth of feeling of F1 fans in Europe and particularly the UK to Kobayashi”… c’mon now James, you can’t be that amazed by this, can you? Surely not?

    KK loves his racing and is not afraid to attempt a pass in favour of collecting points.

    Ok, so his philosophy might change if he were to move to a team where his chances of the drivers championship were increased (and the increased inherent “corporate-ness” of that move), but for the time being he has a freshness and freedom about him that is wonderful to see. He also grabbed his chance with his two Toyota drives in splendid fashion.

    I feel that UK fans, (generally) loved Sato for his willingness to try an over-take; the same can be said for KK.

  23. Alan Dove says:

    Good to hear a F1 journo recognising the crazy financial difficulties drivers are now facing. When whole countries & oil companies are backing drivers, teams can literally name their price and someone will pay it. I feel bad for Lewis. When £100,000 is only one sixth of the budget required to make the step up you do have to wonder what the hell is going on.

  24. Werewolf says:

    Jake Humphrey has very much earned my respect over the last two years but I really miss Steve Rider’s casual professionalism and sense of occasion. Of course, I miss James even more but I wonder now, as much as I am nonplussed by Jonathan Legard, if commentating for the BBC would actually be a restriction and James is even better placed with this outstanding site.

  25. Sergio says:

    More or less it’s the same in all countries. Local media always supporting their drivers, but in F1, the English influence is huge and their way to operate is really outstanding and very effective.

    1) First of all. FOM. a) From TV international broadcasting to b) race edits in official web.

    a) There are some broadcasting “mistakes” or “forgotten” replays in crucial moments that affected result and score.
    Valencia GP’s retransmission was clamorous seeing Hamilton’s in second place and Alonso back of the grid without replaying at all to know the reasons.

    b) You could easily find the main (and preferred) actors. In some races you have Hamilton’s sequences like a drama movie.

    2) Depending who the driver is English Media modulates their message, the difference between types of press is politeness, but they are all saying the same.
    - The Vettel case with Helmut Marko was a joke compared with MCLaren’s affair 2007.
    - We notice team orders in some occasions- this season. McLaren & RB made it saving fuel.
    - Some “questions on the floor” are a shame for the sport. Well, there are not sport.

    In essence, English instances put their rules to others to be accomplished. They mention “team”, “fair & square”, “sport”, etc, but after that they modulate the application focussing their “beam” on one target and exonerating themselves. English crowd they look that beam and applause or criticise. Paradoxically (or not) the man, the driver who has violated, by far the rules has been an English . He generates controversy, and on 90% of the occasions he is forgiven and not only that, at the same time that rules are prohibited to all drivers from that day on.. This is an especial privilege that it could be analysed and demonstrated.

    I appreciate James Allen’s gesture and his words sort of recognizing one big evidence in F1 world. Possibly it should be very evident in Autosport’s Awards. I thank him especially after some surprising answers that seemed more a patriotic defence than argumentation.

  26. Marco says:

    Although Irish, I am a long time Ferrari fan (predating Eddie Irvines arrival by about two decades and never wavering in my support even during the Jordan years)and I would have to admit to being irked on more than one occassion by the pro British approach taken by the BBC, then ITV and now the BBC again and indeed by journals such as Autosport. BUT I would have to weigh this quibble against the enjoyment I have had from the extensive commentary from journalists such as Martin Brundle and our own James Allen who show great passion and technical knowledge about the sport. Forza Ferrari

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