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JA on F1 Podcast #6: Boullier on Kimi, Brawn on his life in F1 and a blast from the past
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Aug 2013   |  4:28 pm GMT  |  45 comments

Welcome to the JA on F1 podcast for August. It’s the Summer Shutdown in F1, so what better way to while away the days than to listen to this insightful half hour about all things F1? And share it with your friends?

In this edition I speak to Lotus boss Eric Boullier and hear about how his team is able to punch above its weight budget-wise, his chances of retaining star driver Kimi Raikonnen for 2014 and how the team has coped with the loss of Technical Director James Allison to Ferrari

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has overseen a resurgence of the team this season as he weighs up his own future in the sport. In a fascinating in-depth interview, exclusive to JA on F1 he gives us a unique insight into his life and work. Holly Samos draws some great answers from him, including the revelation of what he considers his greatest achievement to date.

We’ve got the latest on this year’s official Formula 1 video game, which has a new feature giving users a chance to race as the heroes of the 1970s and 80s. We speak to Codemasters Creative Director Stephen Hood.

And I get driven around the Nordcschleife – the terrifying 14 mile old version of the Nurburgring- by Caterham F1 test driver Alexander Rossi

No player? Download the podcast directly.

Running Order

0.00 Introduction
1.34 Lotus boss Eric Boullier
5.12 Codemasters’ F1 producer Stephen Hood on F1 2013
13.39 Holly Samos speaks exclusively to Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn
30.17 A lap of the Nordschleife with Caterham test driver Alexander Rossi
35.00 Wrap up

Total: 35.30

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  1. Random 79 says:

    Forgive me James as I haven’t listened yet, but please tell me there isn’t 14 miles of you just screaming ;)

    1. James Allen says:

      No, it’s slightly more insightful than that!!

      1. Wayne says:

        Hi James, off topic but, would love to see a team by team and driver by driver mid season roundup from you if you’re taking requests! I’ve seen them elsewhere but they’re not of the quality that I imagine this site would produce.

        Thanks for a great first half of 2013′s worth of reading (there simply is no better F1 site on the planet) looking forward to the rest.

      2. Francois says:

        Hi James

        Rather off topic, but hopefully you could provide some insight as to how tight the F1 rules are regarding painting of the cars.

      3. Francois says:

        Are there rules regarding the type of paint or the nature of the paint etc.?

  2. Kanman1 says:

    i heard the Enstone has indebted 120mils…..

    Kimi’s salary not paid.

    Workers not gettng their pay too….

    Im not really optimistic

    Alan Permane said there aren’t many stuff in the pipeline for the remaining of 2013.

    1. JR says:

      Lotus (Enstone) has lost over 19% of its 2011 revenue, due to lower sponsorship, due to lower AVE from lower TV audience figures.

    2. Sebee says:

      Maybe Kimi will accept “Ricciardo Money” after all!

      Hey RBR! This week only KIMI ON SALE! 90% OFF!

      All purchases final. No returns. No exchanges.

      1. Elie says:

        Maybe Kimi will just retire if everything is just not right. He has quit F1 before with money offers several times greater than DR money. I think Lotus will get some money together in the next few weeks following Infinity deal and he will stay there. I would like to see him win regularly in a top team but I don’t want to see him go through what Webber and what Ferrari did in 2009.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        I think Kimi will fight a bit harder to stay this time. His previous move showed his love for other motor racing is not as potent as F1. I think he’d realise what he’s missing this time. Besides he knows he only has a few more years in F1 before the ‘too old’ moniker is thrown at him (unless he feels he can do a Schumacher and come back in his 40s).

      3. Sebee says:

        On one hand, I do think that you have a point Elie. Kimi has proven himself to be money driven with that whole “I won’t drive since I’m getting 20M not to” thing. In essence, a rich guy who was in F1 for 10 years or so made a choice of money over his fans wanting to see him on the track. While understandable to a degree – it would have been nice if he didn’t make the choice only based on money since he has plenty of it by then. Even if he was bitter over Ferrari treatment in his last season there.

        But on the other hand, AuraF1 has a point. He knows his years are numbered. And he does have just 1 championship. He’s in the pool with Button and Lewis. I hope there is some motivation for him to better this result. Let’s be honest, all 3 of the championships are valid championships, but not exactly amazing efforts.
        Button – double defuser
        Lewis – slow Toyota saves would have been a second folding under pressure by Lewis.
        Kimi – McLaren beaten into submission by FIA/Spygate and Lewis/Fernando spat.

        In my view, all 3 have a lot left to prove.

        P.S. Bernie wouldn’t let Kimi go that easily as well. He is one of the most popular drivers according to some polls. So there is always that guy. But really, Bernie really have enough influence on F1 to make a difference in Kimi staying? :-)

      4. Elie says:

        I don’t think ever just about money. He was tired of F1 and the lies that were being cast at him. Besides, he wanted to be in a competitive team and I think he wasn’t about to go back to Mclaren which really was the only option left. Brawn/ Mercedes wanted Schumacher and that was a def no.
        I think the timing was very bad too because FOTA was rallying hard to reduce costs since the GFC and I would imagine any driver /manager would find it hard to understand that virtually one day you are earning 54million and the next day you lucky to be earning 8-10million. I think anyone would struggle to understand that- but that was the cold hard reality. (Except Fernando who came with that Santander backing)

      5. Sujith says:

        Sebee, what has the Spygate scandal got to do with the driver’s championship? And a Lewis and Fernando spat is another reason why Kimi needs to prove that championship was indeed won with a lot of effort as you say?

        Yes, Lewis and Fernando had a spat. It did not do any of them good. But taking advantage of others losing focus is in no way competitive? He just kept his head cool and took his chances when he had them handed to him. He won more races than Lewis and Fernando. Was more consistent than them. Yeah he had a few problems at the start which is normal when you’re moving into a new team and a totally different atmosphere from McLaren. If you look at that he proved he can do the business out there on the track! He beat them fair and square. Be it with just 1 point, even if all three were drawn on points he would pick up the title because he has won 2 races more than the rest!

      6. Elie says:

        Also , rich or poor drivers do not go racing for the fans. Some like it secondary to what they do but that’s not what they sign contracts over- despite all the “the fans are great comments”.. This is why Kimi is the most popular driver in F1- no 2 ways about it. People ” buy ” him cause he is real there’s no pretence in him- that’s is exactly why your name sake Seb looks up to him so much – that embodied into a truly great racer

        I think he will stay because after 10 years he seems to have found a sweet spot in F1 and is happy. If the worst racing position he gets in F1 is Lotus – that can’t be a bad thing, and if the “best” is Red Bull the. Im sure he can endure that for a couple of years within the right terms.

      7. Gazza says:

        I don’t think 2010,2011,2012 have been particularly amazing either.

        2010 Ferrari screwed up there strategy and handed the championship to Vettel on a plate.

        2011 Utterly dominant car equals boring.

        2012 Seb folded under pressure and turned in on Senna. 9 times out of 10 it would have been a race ending crash but lady luck was on Sebs side.

        If there was any justice in this world Alonso should be a 4 times world champion by now and Seb a 1 x winner.

        Lets be honest that would be a fairer reflection of driver talents.

      8. Elie says:

        Gazza: lets look at it another way. “Could of , Should if , Would of”. Had Kimis Mclaren not kept blowing up 2003 & 2005 ( 05 still only missed by a point or 2 and 03 only several pts)Fernando would be single WC and MS six time. Whilst Kimi most likely a triple WC. He had the toughest spell of unreliability than all the front drivers combined- but even then he was/is always the most competitive

    3. Random 79 says:

      There was always the chance that teams like Marussia and Caterham would follow HRT into oblivion, but to see a team like Enstone (for that is their true name) bow out would be a real shame.

      1. Anon says:

        Enstone? The team is based in Enstone but I’m fairly certain they never used that name, Originally Benetton then Renault then Lotus?

      2. Random 79 says:

        My point exactly. They’ve had a number of different names / owners / sponsors over the years, but they’ve always been based in Enstone.

        What I’d really love to see is some rich billionare with money to burn come in, buy the team and officially name them Team Enstone…but then again I probably have more chance of being hit by a low flying pig :)

      3. Denis 68 says:

        Originally Toleman for memory.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        Random 79,
        Toleman was based at Witney from 1981 to 1992, when Benetton moved the team to Enstone.

        Denis 68
        Toleman 1981 to 1985 (inc Senna 1984)
        Benetton 1985 to 2001
        Renault 2002 to 2010
        Lotus 2011 to date

      5. Random 79 says:

        You learn something new every day :)

        Still, 20 odd years at Enstone has to count for something, especially considering that it was during those years that I think they enjoyed the most success.

        Given that I have a gut feeling that they’ll probably change their name again in the next few years I just tend to think of them as Enstone :)

      6. Johnny B says:

        Yep Toleman, originally based in Witney (Oxfordshire).
        On a side note-I got to visit the Lotus factory at Enstone last year on the Monday after the British Grand Prix. I held Kimi’s steering wheel, saw Kimi and Romain’s chassis, and received a wheel nut too! Also got to see parts being made. It was absolutely amazing!

      7. Random 79 says:

        Good to hear they’re so open with the public, F1 could use more like it :)

  3. Antti says:

    Excellent podcast again, thanks for that! Small typo there in the text, it’s “Raikkonen” (or better yet, Räikkönen), not Raikonnen.

  4. Michael T says:

    What an excellent podcast James, thankyou.

    Holly’s interview with Ross was fantastic and he is a character who demands huge admiration. I’ll never forget him struggling to contain his emotions when interviewed by Ted Kravitz on the pit wall after they had wrapped up the world championship.

    My only wish would have been if you could have played the audio of an entire lap of the Nordschleife. I love that place and would have enjoyed closing my eyes and visualised the lap as you drive along.

    It would be quite a unique experience, so perhap consider releasing it for us petrolheads?

  5. gudien says:

    Ross Brawn has led a marvelous resurgence on the back of an illegal test. Marvelous. Very impressive Mr. Brawn. Somehow I expected more from Mercedes. Oh well.

    And Lotus has money problems as do Sauber, Force India, and Caterham.

    Bernie? Yes Bernie is doing a splendid job leading F-1 in the current decade.

    1. Wayne says:

      Why do you and most other people insist on focusing solely on the Merc test as the be all and end all of their recent success?

      It has taken Mercedes around three years to solve this issue (if indeed it has been resolved). That’s three years worth of R&D added to a significant personnel shake-up – do you think that just possibly that might have something to do with their recent success? Just a little maybe, or was it all simply down to these couple of days testing when everything just magically snapped into place (despite them having some terrible performances even after the ‘illegal’ test)?

      1. gudien says:

        Merc has spent a lot of good money on their F-1 program since they’ve come back to the sport. They have gone out and bought very talented men from other organisations in the attempt to strengthen their performance on track. And yet never have they been close to being competitive. Never have they been more than a mid-field team. I say this as one who wanted Nico and Michael to succeed.

        Now after a 3 day test they win Monaco as well as two other races making it 3 wins in 4 races.

        You don’t find this odd?

      2. Wayne says:

        They are no longer even using the same tyres that they tested in the ‘illegal’ test. Merc has indeed spent a lot of money, most of it last year in preparation for THIS year and it would take a % of this year for all the personnel changes to bed in. It is not so unusual that they might have found the answer (and we do not even know that they have yet) half way through the season. Teams do it all the time.

        I’m not saying that I know the test did not help them, as I could not possibly know – i’m just saying that people are going a little crazy over this.

      3. Elie says:

        Did you ever stop to think maybe many things were coming together for them- one of Lewis Hamiltons favourite circuits with 3 prior wins- he’s also got more experience with his team- and by rights he may have win at Silverstone if his tyre didn’t explode.
        Did you ever think Nicos win at Nurburgring was on a different tyre ?
        Did you ever think Monaco everyone had predicted they would win months before because its a very low deg circuit and no one can pass?
        Did you ever think maybe after getting all the data from the YDT that Mercedes possibly got the most relevant data ?
        Did you ever think that after 3&1/2 and countless millions invested along with all the above things aware slowly getting there??
        Do you know for certain that Mercedes will be quick at all circuits including the high speed corner ones coming up ??
        If you answered yes to any one of them them there is at least an element of doubt to your argument – 2 or more then your a complete idiot

    2. Pasq says:

      Don’t forget 2003 Michelin saga just when Williams and Montoya were on a roll, as an Italian was disgusted they got their way, as a great Shumi was didn’t deserve WDC that year! As for brawn he’s intensely competitive but has a recieving face ask Patrick head and Ron Dennis!

  6. tony says:

    Is there an RSS feed for your podcasts?

    1. Podcast producer Mark says:

      There is indeed an RSS feed:

  7. Wade Parmino says:

    James, do you think Alex Rossi will get an F1 drive in the next couple of seasons? Surely he must have an American sponsor to help him, if it is money that is the issue. Formula 1 needs an American driver.

  8. Prashant P says:

    Hi James,

    Really enjoyed the interview with Ross Brawn – well done to Holly and yourself.

    Would be great to see Ross’ list of good things / bad things about F1 one day – maybe it will have to wait for his biography :-)

  9. bbobeckyj says:

    James, you said that Allison was poached? Was that just you being polite to Boullier, or do you know something?
    Boullier talks as if Renault will be the power plant supplier for Lotus next year, I thought that nothing was confirmed yet, does this mean a deal is done?

  10. Elie says:

    Gosh James thanks for a wonderful podcast – I thoroughly enjoyed that.Geez that Caterham is a growler- was that one of the best passenger drives you had ?

  11. Jim St. George says:

    Excellent show. I will echo the positive comments about the Ross Brawn interview. It is always good when the interviewer and interviewee are thoughtful and reflective. Many thanks.

  12. Dan says:

    Great podcast James.

    I think we are in for a MASSIVE shock next year.

    Because no one has a clue what each other are doing with engines, as there is no natural starting point.
    There could be huge differences between engines.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Well done James.

    Loved Holly’s bit with Ross but would have loved more.

    Ross had a significant input into every one of schumacher’s titles – and has only delivered one other WDC – why did he let Button go after 2009? How would he compare Jenson and Lewis? So much was written about who was better at McLaren and Ross is the only team principle to have seen them both outside McLaren. It would be very interesting to hear his thoughts on them.

  14. Agent Orange says:

    Sebee Reply:
    August 7th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Let’s be honest, all 3 of the championships are valid championships, but not exactly amazing efforts.
    Button – double defuser
    Lewis – slow Toyota saves would have been a second folding under pressure by Lewis.
    Kimi – McLaren beaten into submission by FIA/Spygate and Lewis/Fernando spat.

    In my view, all 3 have a lot left to prove.


    Not sure I’d agree with that. Pick apart any championship and most will have a lot of if’s, buts and maybes.

    I’d especially disagree with any attempt to diminish Buttons WDC. There are many ways to judge a true champion but one is when they are presented with their moment – they take it.

    Button previously never had the machinery capable of winning a WDC. He was presented with it once and won.

    That to me is as much a true championship season as someone dominating year after year.

  15. Richard says:

    I have been a Formula one fan for over 50 years, since the days of Jim Clark. But it only took me about 15 minutes, at 3 in the morning, watching practice 2 from Melbourne, to realize that this was not Formula one, it was not even close to Formula one. Where was the sound and fury of Formula one? Where was the spectacle? All gone forever I,m afraid, and so am I. I did something I thought I would never, ever do. I turned off the TV and went to bed.

    1. Richard says:

      I will not moderate it. what do you want me to say


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