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Some thoughts on the F1 driver market – Still waters run deep
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Alonso and Vettel
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Aug 2014   |  6:39 pm GMT  |  325 comments

There has been less chatter about the F1 driver market this summer than there normally is and what rumours there have been have tended to be long term, big picture stuff. Still waters run deep.

But some of that is pretty interesting and well worth a few moments consideration.

Of course the main reason why it’s quiet is because most of the top seats are already tied up for 2015. Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci has already confirmed verbally that his team will retain the current paring for 2015; Alonso also has another year after that, but there will probably be a vacancy when Kimi Raikkonen moves on at the end of next year, as he has suggested he will. Jules Bianchi is one candidate for that seat and Ferrari are considering whether to leave him for a third year at Marussia, or whether to move him up the grid to prepare him.

Adrian Newey

Red Bull has Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel tied up for next year, but Vettel is free after that and it will be fascinating to see whether he and the team believe that they can live without each other, having enjoyed so much success. Vettel’s problems this year and his performances when the car has been running, have raised questions. With Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen both coming through the system, Red Bull is not likely to be sentimental about Vettel and he may fancy a change of scene, especially as Adrian Newey is stepping back from hands-on involvement in F1 in December,

With Newey doing the 2015 design and increasing optimism from Renault on their development upgrades for next season, the signs are that the 2015 Red Bull Renault could be a really good car, but after that can they sustain the magic on the chassis side without their genius?

Ferrari, meanwhile is known to have had informal discussions with Vettel in recent years.

Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis

McLaren is also very keen to line up Vettel or Alonso for its next challenge with Honda, starting in 2015, and is actively pursing a commitment.

The Honda power unit is likely to be slightly behind in its first season, that is the mood among those in the know. However one major advantage it has over its rivals when building a first generation hybrid turbo engine is that it knows what the performance benchmark is, namely where the other rivals’ power units are at the moment.

When Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari were building their engines for 2014 none had any idea what the performance level of the best one would be, it was a shot in the dark, hence why Renault and Ferrari came up short.

Speak to any engine builder and they will tell you that ‘knowing the target’ is worth a lot to the R&D engineers.

Honda

They will also tell you that Honda’s disadvantage is that it started the hybrid turbo F1 project quite late; it was announced in the Spring of 2013 and even if they had some single cylinder project studies going before that, as we suspect they did, they only turned the money tap on 18 months ago, which is very late to be ready to race Mercedes et al in March 2015.

So joining McLaren-Honda in its second year, 2016, could make sense for a top line driver from outside and some quotes from McLaren team principal Eric Boullier in Autsoport today reflect that the team is realistic about the short term, whilst ambitious on the long term.

“We are still pushing and we will take the time we need. We don’t want to do a mistake – we have one shot and we don’t want to miss it,” he said.

“McLaren is a top team, a big team, with a lot of history and we want to be back where we should be.

“So if we can afford to take the time to think and to prepare our strategy then we have to do it.”

McLaren is the key to the 2015 driver market and until it concludes something long term it’s not going to rush into its 2015 plans. In Jenson Button, who has another year in him and Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne they have drivers who can wait – and who are having to wait.

Hamilton and Rosberg

Until last week, Mercedes was been considered a very stable situation, with the team having recently resigned Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton having another year left on his contract.

But with the toxic atmosphere now present between the pair after the Hungarian GP team orders disobedience and the collision “to make a point” in Spa, the picture is less straight forward. All the other top teams and drivers will be on alert; this is the kind of situation which can lead to one of the drivers leaving the team.

Senna and Prost clashed and Prost left the team. Mansell and Piquet clashed and Piquet left the team. Vettel broke the “Multi 21″ agreement and Webber left the team.

Rosberg was the incumbent at Mercedes before Hamilton joined, but Hamilton was the star signing and is paid more. Of the two, Hamilton is the more likely to want a change if the situation becomes unbearable as Rosberg has a long contract already, is a stickler for continuity, in addition to being a more hard boiled character, who would probably want to tough it out.

If there are any signs that Hamilton wants out, a domino effect will begin, with any and all of the above possibilities starting to move.

Waiting to pick up any pieces if things fragment is Valterri Bottas, who is being monitored while driving a Mercedes engine this year and who is mentored by Toto Wolff. The team is also developing its Young Driver programme and is soon to sign up Frenchman Esteban Ocon, a rookie in Euro F3, who is currently leading Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship. Ocon has been brought on by Gravity Management, spotted and nurtured by Boullier during his time there, prior to joining McLaren.

It’s all about long term planning, as it is at Red Bull and Ferrari, hence the less frenetic action and no ‘silly season’. Instead of water splashing on the surface, as has happened in the past in F1, the movements are taking place deeper under the water.

But that doesn’t mean that there will not be change; Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are very much in demand and two years from now you could easily see all three of them in different coloured overalls.

And this is without considering what Bernie Ecclestone wants. Let’s not forget, it was he who steered Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher to Ferrari to reinvigorate F1′s most famous team.

What moves would you like to see? Leave you thoughts in the Comments section below

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325 Comments
  1. paranoia GP says:

    We know Rosberg is more of a hard boiled character because?

    1. Sebee says:

      Have you been watching PVRed Coronation instead of GPs?

      1. Doug says:

        :-D

        Seriously, I’m amazed at the interest/keeness for Jenson to retire. Even James giving it ‘he’s got one more good year in him’??!!
        He’s doing a great job in a poor car for the second season running.

        Of the 5 world champions in the field only 2 are beating their teamates…Jenson & Alonso.

        To think of replacing Jenson with Vettel would seem a bit of a mad choice given their current respective in-team performance.

      2. Elie says:

        @doug- how many are racing wc and how many are racing rookies- a little perspective please. By year end I think Magnussen will have the upper hand and the fact hes this close already should tell you something

    2. Jeff R. says:

      Because he didn’t go shrieking “he said he crashed into me on purpose” directly to the media after an internal team meeting in an attempt to get everyone on his side. Oh, and he didn’t take a picture of confidential, proprietary telemetry and tweet it to the world to try to get everyone on his side. Rosberg takes care of business on the track or within the team, and doesn’t feel the need to have twitter backing him up.
      No doubt HAM is fast, but I don’t think he has the mental fortitude to handle this amount of disruption.

      1. thebestpoint? says:

        He did blab tyre gate last year- a huge embarassment and distraction to the team
        He pulled off some racing stunts a few years back in Bahrain (ironically) too against Hamilton and Alonso which led 2 infamous Alonso quote “all the time you have to leave a gap..”

        He was involved in the sponsor event that ended in fatalities this year – which is being investigated in Germany- initial finger pointed at his driving being a factor there- eitherway its not affecting him at moment.

        he is hard boiled – but i also look at his backing Rosberg Snr Proust Berger – they will also be scheming and dessimnating info on his behalf.

        what i find funny is that all those who jumped out to vouch for his character after Monaco continue to have to readjust their impressions.
        imagine that he was brooding over Hungary for 3 weeks leading to Spa action!
        there your typical normal every day soft boiled bloke-hah!

        he is fast and can run well in clean air but i don’t think of him as a development driver they will need one to replace Hamilton if he leaves otherwise once the other engines are up to Merc standard Merc will lose a lot of performance and positions on account of not so superior race pace/craft etc.

      2. Anthony says:

        No, Rosberg just lost his temper, spit the dummy out of the pram and took out his teammate. In the process ruining races for himself, Hamilton, Massa, Williams and Mercedes.

        What’s more this isn’t the first time this season he’s lost it and done something stupid, and it’s not the first time he’s made this move on a team mate.

        In the midst a ruined race and a slowing car Hamilton was thinking clearly and encouraging the team to plan for the next race.

        Turns out Rosberg is the one with the fragile mind and thin temper.

      3. Richard says:

        Nothing to do with that at all! Rosberg is devious, secretive, and works on the basis of the less I say the better, indeed after the incident he imparted almost nothing. They are simply different characters, but I know which one I like better.

      4. Becken Lima says:

        “…No doubt HAM is fast, but I don’t think he has the mental fortitude to handle this amount of disruption…”

        Thats the problem with people who use to judge Hamilton based solely in cliches…

        …And if you look to the wide picture and see how his campaing is going at moment, Hamilton´s action was very well calculated and found its target very well.

        He is much more smart than you and me thinks…

      5. Timi Olson says:

        Well said Jeff. The problem with Hamilton is that he was showing signs of mental problems with all the pressure after Barcelona it was evidence even in the driver’s room after the race he was taunting Nico on how he passed Nico at a karting race, and then subsequently started talking to the media about Nico’s privilaged upbringing and how he is more hungry than Nico, it lit a fire in Nico that was missing in the 4 race previous and the tide well and truly turned from there onwards as Hamilton hasn’t managed to out qualify Nico since Barcelona. I would say now Rosberg is in prime position to take the championship but silverstone and events at Hungary suggests Hamilton will probably just sneak the title at Abu Dhabi as long as his mind doesn’t totally collapse, afterall Nico is a good driver but in F1 he is quite ordinary afterall he is a driver that was comprehensively beaten by Webber of all people and even in 2012 he couldn’t outqualify a 43 year old Schumi (10-10). Merc should seriously consider a new ‘top’ driver for their team in the shades of Alonso, Ricciardo or Vettel to replace Hamilton.

      6. Nickh says:

        Rosberg hasn’t said anything cos he knows he’s in the wrong. He blatantly sidesteps every question whenever he is pressed on the matter.

        He’ll be boo’ed for the rest of the season :) True motorsport fans know what they witnessed. The only people that have the opposing view are just anti-british

      7. Nickh says:

        Well Mercedes are taking disciplinary action it seems so they must disagree with you Jeff R and all the other people that think it was Hamiltons fault

      8. Nickh says:

        autosport, ‘It has also emerged Rosberg accepted blame for the crash and apologised’

      9. Monji says:

        [mod] I give up trying to make sense, as people will argue simply because they don’t like one driver over another, and will manufacture reasons to support the opponent of the driver they hate, thinking they make sense…

        In 2008 it was guys like this one defending Massa by revising Hamilton’s past where he’d gone wrong thinking that will build a case.

        As a Hamilton fan I know when the guy is wrong. When that happens it would be inappropriate of me to go and try defend the guy. He’s human, like most people commenting on this blog.

        In a “normal” world, people would be discussing whether true or false Rosberg actions were premeditated, and certainly “Not” about a mistake his team mate made a few seasons ago.

        How does Hamilton tweet to the world really help Rosberg not cause a puncture?

      10. Senninhos says:

        Short and to the point.
        Very much in agreement with your comments there.

      11. thomas l says:

        nico rosberg should be banned for 1 race because it will teach him a lesson and let the proper driver hamilton close up on him

      12. Bal says:

        [mod]

        One of the prime reasons I’ve followed F1 all my adult life is iF1 for me is a non-nationalistic sport, such as say football and cricket can easily become. I love the fact that a team can be comprised of British/German/Italian/Spanish/Mexican drivers/technicians/management etc.

        [mod]

    3. Random 79 says:

      They left him in the pot for an extra five minutes…obviously.

      1. Sagar says:

        +1 ROFL

      2. Twist says:

        Haha :)

    4. ian b says:

      Because ‘we’ follow the sport.

    5. Timothy says:

      Because he stays cool in ddifficult situations. Remember how flegmatic he responded or in a way didn’t respond to Hamiliton’s accusation of having had a spoiled childhood and not being German.

      1. F1 Badger says:

        I don’t think crashing into your teammate can be considered staying cool

      2. Rossco says:

        How many difficult situations has Rosberg [mod] had this year? 1 car failure, 1 issue in Canada where he still got 15 points, and this one which he caused. How many others?

        Compare that to Hamilton, who I think considering how frustrating that would be as a driver in the top car, to have so many races compromised. That in turn makes you try harder, and potentially make a mistake as the stakes become more important.

      3. James Allen says:

        No defamatory nicknames, next time it gets deleted – Mod

      4. Richard says:

        Actually he doesn’t! The background reveals that he simmers for a long about things he should have moved on from, and the incident proves he harbours resentment which which is both dangerous, and out of place on a race track.

    6. Mark V says:

      “Rosberg is more of a hard boiled character because”…Germans enjoy hard boiled eggs for Frühstück mit Kaffee, Brötchen und Frischkäse?

      1. Michael in Sydney says:

        Genau!!!

      2. Michael in Sydney says:

        Although I did eat my porridge this morning and the kids Nutri Grain – albeit from ALDI.

        Perhaps off topic, but compared to HAM, ROS is a true professional and I suspect has learned much from the years of observing Mark Webber actively competing in a team against one Seb Vettel. If lessons from that pairing didn’t set the scene for Nico’s first year with HAM, then I don’t know WHAT would have.

        Herr Rosberg has been a good student and is now regularly schooling the over-confident and over-reaching Mr Hamilton. At my kids’ school HAM would have been shown quite a number of incident cards by now – that’s for sure.

      3. Sebee says:

        Sounds frikken’ delish! I’ll have what he’s having. Random, you are now assigned to do a set on amateur comedy night at your local comedy club. You have become unstoppable. An F1 comedian – not for everyone, but 500m watch a GP apparently so market is decent.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Cheers Sebee, but I have two unfortunate words for you: “Stage” and “fright” :(

      5. Sebee says:

        Random…be creative! Wear a helmet on stage like Daft Punk.

      6. Random 79 says:

        Good idea, but to bolster my confidence a bit I think it would have to have some kind of inspirational message on there.

        Do you happen to know where I could find a helmet that says “Still I rise”?

      7. Elie says:

        @Random how about the words “it protects my head”. Great opener and I know a driver that can help with that

      8. Random 79 says:

        Sounds good Elie, I’ll take two :)

    7. JRF1 says:

      Because he’s German. He also doesn’t have a sense of humour, dines primarily on sausages and ensures his towel is the first on the sunlounger post-race.

      Seriously though, I think the point was that having been at Mercedes for some time, if anyone is going to dig their heels in and stay put it’ll be Rosberg. He doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong in Belgium so I highly doubt he’ll see the need to be the one to move teams (if either does).

      On top of that, Hamilton won’t be short of offers if he does decide he’s had enough. He wants to be the main man and frankly he has the raw speed to justify it at a top team. Pure conjecture on my part but, personally, I think a quick return to McLaren might be rather tempting to him in light of the current situation.

      1. Rossco says:

        No way, their current form is terrible and it doesn’t look to get any better. He wants to win above all else, instead of being the “leader” of the team.

      2. Richard says:

        Rosberg harbours resentment, and is less stable than initially is apparent. I think Hamilton will find it hard moving from a front running team, but undoubtably McClaren will be moving up in the next couple of years or so, and I think Ron Dennis would welcome him back with open arms.

    8. richard says:

      errrrr…it is pretty obvious… because he has a stronger character than prima donna Hamilton? because he is more sure of himself than Hamilton? because he doesnt need to go and moan to the press about what big bad priviledged Nico did to him? because Nico doesnt publish the team’s telemetry data when he feels like having a tantrum because his team mate is faster, when he thinks he is the chosen one and he will walk the path of Senna and better him?? I could go on and on and on why Nico, if by a papers width is slower than Hamilton he more than makes up for it with intelligence and self assurance. Thats why. Hamilton didnt turn out to be the mega driver we all thought he was. he is not the full deal.

      1. John says:

        pssshhh, the Hamilton fans will cry when they read this.

      2. KRB says:

        Hmm, well he obviously whined to the team about Hamilton using the illegal engine setting in Spain, even though he had used it first in Bahrain, right? A bit of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ disease there from Nico. Again after Hungary, apparently telling both Wolff and Lowe how mad he was with them on the Thursday of the Belgium weekend (3.5 wks later!!!). Then he takes out his teammate in a fit of petulance. Yeah, that all sounds like a strong and steady character, doesn’t it?

        The problem with Nico is that he wants it all given to him (“why is he not letting me through?!?”). Again in Belgium he was playing the tattletale, letting Charlie know that Vettel was – in his mind – cheating with his defending in Turn 15. “He’s cheating at Turn 15, he’s cheating!” A bit rich, eh? That follows on from him trying to get Vergne (or others, possibly his own teammate) in trouble in Hungary, by radioing that Charlie should look into whether people were going through a double-yellow zone too fast.

        Another Rosberg gem in Belgium was after he was told to give a position back to Button for a track limits violation, after passing Button again he radioed sarcastically: “Can you ask Charlie if that pass was ok?”

        This paragraph from one F1 site wraps up the contact beautifully:

        “Title contenders are supposed to be of sufficient pedigree to avoid such incidents, and team mates are supposed to exercise an extra degree of caution to avoid such collisions in the first place. All that being so, the pair had absolutely no business making contact, especially not in such a feeble, amateurish fashion.”

        Feeble and amateurish … two succinct adjectives to describe Rosberg’s ability in wheel-to-wheel racing.

      3. deancassady says:

        Istrongly disagree with the statements, “…he has a stronger character …” and “…he is more sure of himself….
        I believe the actions of Rosberg, at Spa confirm the opposite, he is insecure and not sure of himself.

    9. Doug SA says:

      Perfect example of the media driving baseless, unproven and unfounded suppositions dressed as fact. I see a lot of this in F1. Remember the “he computed the situation” gem from Martin Brundle to support the “thinker” theory when Rosberg got lucky with a 2 second gain the third sector in qualifying, when Hamilton had aborted in a drying qualifying session. I d love to see some of these pundits’ GCSE grades cos some of the crap they feed us is simply atrocious!

      1. TGS says:

        I think that was actually a good point. He realised just before the hot lap that the third sector was dry and he could possibly make up the time where as Hamilton didn’t. Not that this takes much thinking but it was clearly more astute than his team mate.

    10. Jonathan Dye says:

      …he is arrogant!

    11. Messala says:

      Because, in the cut and thrust of f1, he has amply demonstrated his intent to cut. As to thrust, we must wait and see, but the boy seems capable. Of anything.

    12. RodgerT says:

      Because of the lack of arm waving and snit throwing.

    13. Marcforte says:

      … of the way he has been acting.

    14. Esteban says:

      Because he doesn’t act like a kid sometimes like Hamilton?

      Not a fan of neither, but Hamilton has a history of acting like a brat.

    15. Rod says:

      I agree with James’ character reading. Lewis is a fighter but he loses control of his words. Not his natural element. He says inflammatory things and is emotional. Nico seems cooler and much more controlled.
      The one more likely to get fed up is Lewis.

      1. Richard says:

        Only on the surface! Underneath Rosberg is the more inflame dproven by the stunts he has pulled in Spa, and Monaco. Let’s face it Rosberg is only leading because Hamilton has had more mechanical failures, and bad luck.

      2. Ham Sandwich says:

        @Richard: This is a misconception. Lets analyse. If we consider the reliability issues faced by both drivers and equally distribute the combined points they would have scored based on both drivers finishing the race then we have the following:

        Australia: Assumed finish 1-2, order unknown. Therefore deduct 3.5 points from NR and add 21.5 points to LH

        Canada: Assumed finish 1-2, order unknown. Therefore add 3.5 points to NR and add 21.5 points to LH

        Tally:
        NR:0
        LH: 43

        Silverstone: Assumed finish 1-2, order unknown. Therefore add 21.5 points to NR and deduct 3.5 points from LH

        Tally:
        NR:21.5
        LH: 39.5

        Germany: Assumed finish 1-2, order unknown. Therefore deduct 3.5 points from NR and add 6.5points to LH

        Tally:
        NR: 18
        LH: 46

        Hungary: Actual finishing places were LH 3rd and NR 4th. I have decided to let this result stand. a difficult one to predict. If Lewis didnt have his qualy fire, he would have been a front runner and therefore been just as badly affected by the safety car timing as NR was.

        Tally:
        NR: 18
        LH: 46

        So if we add 18 to NR’s 220 this takes him to 238 points. Adding 46 to LH’s 191 takes him up to 237 points.

        It’s way too close to say with any level of certainty that, ‘Rosberg is only leading because Hamilton has had more mechanical failures, and bad luck’.

        Hopefully my maths is right but it Looks pretty even to me. Happy to be corrected though.

      3. danny says:

        @Ham Sandwich

        I like your comparison and they way it brings them out even(ish).

        I noted you didn’t mention Spa or Monaco in your calculations. So you could change ‘Rosberg is only leading because…’ to

        ‘Rosberg is only leading because he has somehow been fortunate enough to benefit when he makes a mistake’

      4. C63 says:

        @HamSandwich

        You forgot to factor in your plus and minus for Spa. I also disagree that in Hungary both drivers would have been equally disadvantaged by the safety car – Rosberg was only struggling after that due to his inability to overtake (Alonso still finished second in Hungary and he was just as badly disadvantaged as Rosberg).

      5. Ham Sandwich says:

        Thanks for the feedback, I didn’t factor in Spa or Monaco because I was specifically looking at race results affected by reliability only. Hungary was difficult to predict what would have happened but if we assume Lewis finishes first place (+10) surely Nico would then manage to get past Alonso at the end for third place (+3). This would result in Lewis with 247 to Nico with 241. Still a pretty close championship. So we can’t keep pointing to reliability as being the differentiator.

        Monaco – Lewis still had an entire race to get past with his superior race craft and being the fastest driver he really should have been in front after the first Q3 runs anyway.

        Spa – 50/50. Unlucky and Lewis paid the price for his aggressive driving style I’m sure he wishes he gave another 6 inches. Similarly Nico should have kept his cool and bided his time to launch another assault as he had the speed. He got the lucky side of the coin.

    16. KGBVD says:

      Because he doesn’t run his mouth off without thinking. Nico is cool and collected – at least in front of the press. Hammy isn’t. Hence “more hard boiled”

      1. Rich says:

        disagree, every time Hailton has run his mouth off there has been an agenda behind. If you look deep down, each one of his tantrums has a reason. Whether it to engineer a move to another team, gain popularity among team mates or fans. When he is down and subdued (à la Silverstone) that is when Hamilton show’s his weakness.

      2. C63 says:

        @Rich
        I believe you are correct there. The reporter on the midweek F1 show on Sky said that Hamilton was much cleverer with the media than most people realise. He was citing the recent business in Spa – Hamilton only made the accusations of ‘basically he did it on purpose’ to the written press, as opposed to the tv. This allowed for a certain wriggle room for interpretation that wouldn’t exist if he had said the same thing directly to the cameras. This reporter was definitely of the opinion this was no accident and was a calculated decision. What do they say about ‘ always best if others 9your enemies) underestimate your abilities’ :-)

      3. Nickh says:

        Ham Sandwich

        It is impossible to overtake in Monaco, in the same car, unless the car in front has a serious fundamental issue and is 3+ seconds off the pace.

    17. James says:

      Because people have seen him on Fridays hanging his balls in the pool.

    18. Aero.Racer says:

      I come to this site to get the insight and opinion of an F1 expert. I keep seeing these comments in articles about the author being pro-HAM, anti-HAM, nationalistic, etc. I’d rather he speak his mind. If one is so concerned about an unbiased opinions, don’t go to a blog where the author’s name is in the title.

      And yes, Rosberg is more hard boiled, but Hamilton is going to get poached….

      1. Rod says:

        Doubt it. Lewis will win the championship this year. I’m convinced that all these mistakes and silly things Nico is doing are the result of trying clumsily to match Hamilton.

    19. George says:

      James says this because he does not ‘wear his heart on his sleeve’ let off steam to the media in the way Lewis seems to need to; because he appears to process everything internally and let out to the world only what he chooses, if he’s flustered he doesn’t show it as much as he showed his feelings on the Spa podium which were written all over him in bold. He’s a cool character and appears to be on top of the head game at the moment even if Lewis is ahead on raw speed – perhaps partly as a result of Lewis’ troubles either through fortune or own goal like Silverstone quali’. Rosberg seems to accept his various fortunes this year with a calm sense of entitlement. I wonder if its not the actual head to head battle that’s getting to Lewis (if indeed it is) but the shocking series of events he’s been dealt this year. I hope Lewis gets some even races to show what hes got and manages to get back on a level in points. Hes got what it takes for the WDC if the cards fall his way for once; Rosberg has played his hand, he’ll play dirty if he has to and Lewis needs to have an answer both on and off track if hes going to carry this forward. Good luck to him.

    20. Simmo says:

      Because of the way Hamilton is a lot more mentally destabilised when things don’t go right, as is evident in his driving and in his interviews, etc. We rarely see this with Rosberg.

      There are many reasons why we know.

      NB: I know a lot of people will complain at me for saying that, and I don’t mean anything against Hamilton, but the facts are there for all to see.

      1. Rossco says:

        We rarely see this with Rosberg because hardly anything has happened to him this year!

      2. Richard says:

        Hamilton has yet to stoop to underhand means like driving off the circuit in Monaco and driving into his team mate in Spa. Rosberg doesn’t give much away in interviews because he is underhand, devious, and menatally dangerous on the race track.

      3. Tim Tom says:

        @ Richard

        Agree. Rosberg has strong sociopathic traits (as are many top sportsmen, business men and politicians):

        - Lack of remorse for actions – Check.
        - Likely to blame others instead – Check.
        - Lack of emotional reaction to events – Check.

    21. normanch says:

      For one, he does not share team briefs with the press. He knows how to work with the team and not fight the team…… just the odd Hamilton once in a while.

      He did not even respond to the criticism he got from Lauda and Toto after the clash, and I am sure they owe Rosberg some respect for that.

      1. Michael in Sydney says:

        Indeed, very good observation. He held his nerve, and didn’t pull the trigger on issuing a damaging retort – even if they deserved it.

      2. Jim says:

        Maybe Rosberg didn’t respond because there was nothing he could say? It seems that he’s already admitted that he was “making a point”, which probably didn’t go down too well with the team or their bosses. His silence indicates to me that he knows he’s in the wrong, and that he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut and not make it any worse.

      3. Ray says:

        Respect for ensuring Mercedes didn’t win he race, while basically knocking his team mate out of the race.

        You cant really be serious. tell me you’re jokes please.

    22. Zoidy84 says:

      Because he’s not in the press every two seconds making wild accusations or making a complete fool of himself.

    23. J N H says:

      Because whilst Lewis has been pouring his heart out to the press and having issues beyond his control, Nico has meat almost every question asked of him with a shrug and a string of pole positions. The pressure of racing against a team mate as fast and as popular as Lewis Hamilton is immense, that Rosberg is not inly coping but seems to be thriving in it shows a toughness that nobody really expected him to have prior to this season.

      1. J N H says:

        PS: Nico has met, curse predictive typing!

      2. ApexPredator says:

        Pole positions don’t pay squat.
        Nico will stay because he feels that this should be and should have been since Schui left, his team and he was supposed to be #1 driver. Don’t any of you recall just last pre-season when Nico was asked repeatedly how he felt about HAM being paid more, if he still felt he was the #1 driver and MercAMG then saying they didn’t name one driver over the other etc etc? He was irked then, and irked more when Lewis beat him in every measurable facet last season and may likely take the WDC out from under him still this year. But he will stay. Especially if he loses the WDC because no one else will want him. If he loses, his stock will plummet. He has the best car on the grid, the advantage of being able to study his only rivals data, and the possible advantage of team orders aiding to pave his way to the WDC. If Hamilton should still somehow pull the WDC out, Rosberg will be another Massa. Almost, but not quite good enough to be the lead driver for any team.

      3. TGS says:

        I’m pretty sure Nico prefers potatoes, not meat.

    24. Joshua says:

      Because James says so.

      It gets frustrating when people constantly want every sentence backed up by facts, times places and events. James has given his view/opinion because that’s what he does. The clue is in the title of the website.

      If you disagree with the comments at least say why you believe its not accurate. It would help the rest of us understand why out of this whole piece that’s what you felt required comment. I’m confused and can’t tell if it’s just nit picking or you have a valid point……which you may do of course.

    25. Rockman says:

      Hamilton’s comments about Nico having s spoilt childhood is biting him in the a**.

      He’s the one who constantly acts like a primadonna, takes a billion selfies showing his wealth, tattoos, cars etc. and asks the team to end the race when the going gets tough.

      Meanwhile Rosberg appears to have an unbreakable steel will to beat Lewis, doesn’t sprout to the media about non-sense and always in control during interviews.

      Wonder which one looks like a spoilt child?

      Actions scream louder than words.

    26. C63 says:

      we are yet to see Rosberg under pressure. Lets see how he handles things when he starts from the back of the grid or pitlane. Or when he starts the season 25 points down – all through no fault of his own.
      I suspect there are a few twists and turns left this season and all the ex- Vettel fans, now jumping onto the Rosberg bandwagon, will become quiet once again.

      1. Sebee says:

        This can absolutely happen.

        I worry now a bit, because it is decision time at Mercedes.
        If Nico wins, I think MB lose Lewis.
        But Nico is 29 ahead…
        Only way to bring Lewis ahead is with mechanical for Nico.

        Also, since Lewis was never beaten by a team mate to a WDC, the other may be true. If they want Nico to win only chance for Lewis to live with it is mechanicals. So another failure or two will take him out of it by default.

        I think we need to be watching very carefully now, anything strange at Mercedes may give us clues as to who really is #1. They say they love both children equally, but perhaps they have a favorite, right? ;-)

      2. John S says:

        Vettel fan here. Not ex. He is getting thrashed this year no doubt. Happy for Daniel’s success as I like him and Red Bull. When it became apparent Red Bull weren’t really challenging for wins after testing, I wanted to see Hamilton win.

        After Monaco, I became a fan of Hamilton (though still support Vettel first) after so many of his fans were upset about him being mad after qualifying and the race. It’s because this was no surprise to me. I know mental strength and consistency is not among Hamilton’s strong points. For example: he would not be able to handle the booing Rosberg and Vettel have sustained.

        Rosberg and Vettel can’t race wheel to wheel as good as their teammates can. While this point is brought up constantly with Vettel, it will soon dawn on more people this is true of Rosberg. I was thinking the same thing, if Rosberg had to start from pit lane, even in a car this strong, that’s his race done.

        I agree with you, let’s see how strong he is when he’s not racing only his deeply unlucky teammate.

    27. Andrew M says:

      Because as everyone knows leading the championship through luck, your own mistakes, reliability and, how shall I put this, “point making” clearly makes you mentally stronger.

      Either way, unless the relationship totally implodes I doubt either one will want to move on, and I doubt either one will be fired. I expect the status quo to remain for one more year at least, as with relatively stable regulations it seems pretty set that the Merc will be the car to beat next year.

  2. Gaz Boy says:

    Mr Dennis and Mr Alonso to bury the hatchet and join forces for next season?
    I think Fernando would rather bury the hatchet in Ron’s back then work for him again!
    He who habours a grudge and all that…………………

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS For what its worth, I reckon the Big Four will stick with their 2014 line up into 2015.
      I think the Williams seats is what will be worth watching for 2015. Dump Massa, Hello Nasr? Or is Williams success just a one season wonder while the others sort themselves out and back to mid field fodder for 2015 for Frank and Claire? Interesting one that.

      1. deancassady says:

        Disagree with you on the top four teams.
        Lewis must be considering a move.
        Forget what has been written about their contracts, any of Alonso, Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas, Hulkenberg could go (though I don’t expect the toothy Ozzie would give up his wings, at the moment).
        If I’m the ultra-risk-averse global brand company (which sells automobiles), I’d have to take a good, hard look at the rock solid team work ethic of potential drivers, possibly settling for a number 2 for Nico, to avoid the disaster in the offing of the current line up; and if you looked at that as a primary requirement, I think it would be foolish to NOT include a look at Button!
        I think Alonso could find a way to go, and would go. (start 2015)
        I think Vettel could find a way to go, and would go (start 2015) to Mercedes or Ferrari, or McLaren (what more can you do with a team after four world championships, which should have been five, except for the ‘should-have-been-illegal’ double diffuser?)
        For Hamilton at Mercedes, there is no way he should stay if he doesn’t win the world championship; and if he does win, he should move on anyways, because Nico is going to be there next year for sure.

      2. Random 79 says:

        You’re right, but if nothing much changes regarding driver seats this year it wouldn’t be unusual – look at the last few years:

        A relatively stable 2010-2011
        A relatively stable 2011-2012
        A relatively stable 2012-2013 (with the notable exception of Hamilton to Merc)

        And then boom, come 2013-2014 it seemed like half the field was doing the shuffle.

        2015-2016 will likely be the same, unless there’s some early exits / dummy’s spat which result in broken contracts and an early re-shuffle.

      3. Michael in Sydney says:

        Tend to agree, though Massa could be bettered.

        Perhaps the new internal Mercedes team rules will be a new driver, pardon the pun, for their divers’ decisions. I wonder if there will a clause that says that no driver or anyone for that matter will blab to the media without both prior permission and team representation being present.

  3. Chris says:

    Based on recent trends, and if I was planning for the long term, I’d sign Ricciardo. He appears to have the measure of Vettel, can fight wheel-to-wheel with Alonso, and doesn’t appear to have the fragility (yet) of Hamilton. Plus, he has an Italian name. Come on, Ferrari. What more do you want?

    1. LagunaSeca says:

      Dan’s the driver I’d want to lead my team. Great attitude, great personality, calm and relaxed behind the wheel, patient, fast, makes great decisions. He is the most complete racer in the field. And get’s along with his superstar teammate and his teammate gets along with him. Bravo Red Bull for choosing him. It’s right up there with Jordan giving Schumacher a chance.

    2. harv says:

      Ricc could well end up at Ferrari at some stage, but he’s not going to leave RBR now, the team that gave him this opportunity, and is one that JA says, with good justification, might be the best team (or close to it) next year! Nobody believes Ferrari will be the best team again that quickly.

      1. LagunaSeca says:

        I do. I think Ferrari will be right back up there. I think McLaren-Honda will be a force too. Five way battle next year Merc, RB, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams. Could be epic.

      2. bronwyn says:

        Most first generation kids with Italian parents speak Italian!

    3. Random 79 says:

      I’m sure you’re right and Ferrari would consider Ricciardo, but would Ricciardo consider Ferrari?

      1. Ray C Boy says:

        I’d imagine being a Ferrari driver is Dan’s boyhood dream…it’s just a pity Ferrari ain’t quick enough right now. Hopefully in a couple of years they’ll be ready for each other.

        I recently saw Dan on Italian TV…I didn’t know he spoke Italian.

  4. Jock Ulah says:

    Cool!
    So the brat-spat is probably key to 2015 line-up.

    Can’t wait for First Curve, Suzuka in October.
    (James – you’ll need to hire extra moderators to cope with that one)

    1. Dai Dactic says:

      As for ‘brat-spat’ a greater one seems to be unfolding on F1 blogs as a multitude of ‘experts’ vie with one another for dominance.

      Most of F1’s ‘mind games’ are played out in the fans’ heads rather than those of the drivers.

      I’m thoroughly enjoying the entertainment.

    2. C63 says:

      Are you the same Jock Ulah who was ‘owned’ by Joe Saward, when you posted an impertinent reply to one of his posts?

      1. Jock Ulah says:

        By definition, ‘impertinent’ replies on Joe’s blog are those that disagree with his ‘expert’ opinion.

        As for ‘owning’, I’d use the term ‘amusing rant’ instead.

        Don’t know about you but I think JAonF1 is far better value – more hot-headed debate but far fewer sycophants

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ C63….i took notice of your mention of saward. if ever there was an arrogant act that one takes the proverbial chocolate biscuit. i was banned for daring to question saward’s take on one particular incident. no ifs no buts. whammo….if one is not a supplicant/acolyte of the great man,one click and you’re gone hahahah. i wear that as a badge of pride.

  5. Sebee says:

    How big is the opening for Ron with Lewis? He’s all emotional, he declares Mercedes first priority before himself – which is like…super funny after Hungary. And here is Ron, with pile of Honda money and dare I say it…promise of #1 status on the team. Oh that grass, always so green where you are not!

    1. furstyferret says:

      Id just wish you’d cut lewis the same slack, that you do with your man vettal,

      1. Sebee says:

        I understand that my comments can be direct and harsh. Remember please, I’m not some authority who’s word is final. It is just my point if view, same as you have yours. We discuss, sometimes heatedly.

        Just like many of you Lewis fans can’t understand why we Vettel fans are here, we Vettel fans wonder what is going on with you guys sometimes. I think that is a valid point to discuss too, and perhaps we should. I believe we can all exist peacefully. I’ve met so many fans from around the world at races, and it was always just a pure joy…no matter who their driver was.

        As for Vettel, it is easy to cut him slack I think – he just brought home 4 WDCs….and just think back at what was necessary to make that happen. You think I was throwing Schumi under the bus jn 2005 because he didn’t win a WDC? Anyone who was, was just being silly. A streak like that ends eventually. I’ve said it a number of times that it’s a shame that it may be lost under this formula change. I’d rather RBR lost it by 3 points this year to be honest…if they are to lose. :-)

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ seebee…i didn’t know that vettel still had any fans?

  6. Quercus says:

    I can’t imagine Hamilton wanting to go into 2015 knowing he’s got a partner he can’t trust to play a fair, sportsmanlike game. Mercedes need to make it very clear to their drivers what is expected of them for the rest of 2014 and then 2015. They need also to make the consequences very clear to the drivers if either attempts again to ‘make a point’.

    1. Sebee says:

      How does Lewis stay at Mercedes if Nico wins WDC? Seriously. This is a double edged sword. If Mercedes want to “release” Lewis than making him lose is the way to quick adios. They want a star, but the three pointed star needs to be first. And in this car Nico as #1 brings home the WDC and WCC and Mercedes can save a whole whack of cash on Lewis too.

      So real question..we know Lauda “wants” Lewis, but how badly does Mercedes want Lewis? Because if they want him he can’t lose this year. He can’t handle being beat to a WDC in same team. He just isn’t strong enough.

      1. Quercus says:

        Your reply isn’t to the point I made (ie, you constructed a strawman argument), Sebee.

        I said I can’t imagine Hamilton wanting to go into 2015 knowing he’s got a partner he can’t trust; not “if Nico wins WDC”. However, seeing as you raised it; you have to ask how Nico will fare next year when all the other teams have developed their cars and closed the performance gap. Only a HAM or an ALO-level driver can give Mercedes the surety of knowing they have a driver who will win consistently. We now know that ROS appears not to have the level of close racing skills they need. Also I’d suggest Mercedes need to be squeaky clean, and there’s now a question mark over Nico.

      2. Miha Bevc says:

        But i think everyone (including Mercedes board) can see that without all the reliability issues, Hamilton would be leading the championship. And next year it all starts from zero – on who are you betting next year. Most people will still say Hamilton, no matter who wins this year.

      3. newton says:

        “He can’t handle being beat to a WDC in same team.” – Where do you get that from?

    2. Dek says:

      Since when has Lewis played fair? Alonso Button would disagree,i’m sure! The only reason this sort of drama didn’t happen to the same level as now,while he was at Mclaren is because Jenson & Fernando are grown-up gentlemen,not pretentious,love their own reflection,spoilt brats

      1. Quercus says:

        No, Button would not agree: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/28931224

        Quote; “Jenson Button backs Lewis Hamilton in Nico Rosberg row”

        I haven’t heard any other driver back Rosberg over the Spa incident. The best has been to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      2. James Clayton says:

        and you’re saying Nico is??

      3. C63 says:

        @Dek
        while he was at Mclaren is because Jenson & Fernando are grown-up gentlemen, not pretentious, love their own reflection,spoilt brats…

        LOL – I nearly spat my beer out when I read your comment. Fernando a grown-up gentleman and not pretentious. Do you remember how grown up and unpretentious Fernando was at McLaren? Do you remember him in the pits during quali’ at Hungary, or when he tried to blackmail the team? Very grown-up and gentlemanly I’m sure.
        Easily one of the funniest comments on this thread.

      4. Sebee says:

        Right, British driver not siding with a British driver? Suicidal move that would be – says Yoda. Sacrifice media him would. Not like him more the fans too would.

    3. Voodoopunk says:

      …beasue as always with you people, it’s all about Hamilton.

  7. ian b says:

    I fancy a a number of drivers could collect more points than Massa – Button included.

    1. bronwyn says:

      But not bring more money :(

  8. Anil Parmar says:

    James, how does the engine freeze effect Honda? I’m slightly confused by it all!

    1. James Allen says:

      It doesn’t affect them until they enter next year, then no development between Feb and the end of the season

      1. f1_fan says:

        so what happens in 2016 ? they get more “tokens” than others ? meaning can honda do more changes in their 2nd year than others do in their 3rd ?

    2. LagunaSeca says:

      I’m picking Honda to be very competitive. They are disadvantaged by not having all the data the other teams have, but advantaged by being able to develop like crazy. Will be very interesting.

      1. Nickh says:

        They did start quite late though, only last year did they go full steam ahead. Whereas Merc have been years making this engine. Still, I also think Honda will get it together, they’re only in to win

    3. Random 79 says:

      Right now they’d be full speed ahead and don’t spare the $$$

  9. Shri says:

    Hamilton joining back to McLaren has high likelihood if situation implode at Merc.
    Button and Kimi have high possibility of retirement in 1-2 years.
    Alonso if he wants to move has little or no choice.
    Vettel may move on in 2016.
    Possible big movement very high in 2016…will it happen in 2015???

  10. Doug SA says:

    Hi James. Why is there always the assumption that should things come to a head at Merc, it will be Rosberg likely to stay because he is contracted longer? Is not possible that the powers that be might rather pay off Rosberg and retain Hamilton? I personally feel Rosberg’s performance in the team has a lot to do with Hamilton’s presence.

    Why? Witness how invariably, Hamilton outperforms Rosberg on Fridays esp Practice 2, then suddenly comes back on Sat……… probably after a chance to study his team mate’s data Ros comes back. I dont think this fact will be lost on the team. What do you think?

    1. Doug SA says:

      And by the way, I dont believe the German driver–German team crap……Merc is an international brand, and I bet their USA, UK and RSA sales far outweigh their German sales. So I am sure the driver who makes the most sense on the international marketing stage, rather than his German pedigree, is the one they are more likely to go. And correct me if I am wrong but all the studies done thus far point at it being Hamilton in terms of his brand awaresness.

      1. LagunaSeca says:

        I’d say China is their biggest market by far.

      2. LagunaSeca says:

        China is #3 but rising rapidly.

      3. James Allen says:

        More S class Mercs sold in China than anywhere else, I read somewhere

      4. jjpm says:

        aus ros +0.364 ham 0
        mal ros +0.619 ham 0
        bah ros 0 ham +0.279
        chi ros +1.283 ham 0
        spa ros +0.168 ham 0
        mon ros 0 ham +0.059
        can ros 0 ham +0.079
        ost ros +0.185 ham q3 time : none
        bri ros 0 ham +3.466
        ger ros 0 ham q2 time : none
        hun ros 0 ham q1 time : none
        bel ros 0 ham +0.228

        in 2014 ros outqualify ham 8/12
        since can ros outqualify ham 6/6

      5. Torchwood Five says:

        The more reliable-sounding rumours about the “German driver – German team crap” tend to point more to the Daimler board/entity that OWNS Mercedes, rather than at the Mercedes’ level.

        I don’t know how Daimler’s international presence compares to Mercedes, but they are fairly influential on the team’s F1 fortunes, eg. if Bernie Ecclestone had been found guilty of corruption, it would have been Daimler’s requirements that might have resulted in Mercedes having to pull out of F1.

      6. C63 says:

        +1
        I wrote a post along these lines before. Rosberg and Vettel are just not that popular in Germany, or anywhere else for that matter. This has been reported by a German journalist Michael Schmidt more than once, also just look at the full grandstands at the German GP when MSC was on top and compare them to the last few seasons (50,0000 odd spectators at the German GP on race day).
        Mercedes know go racing to sell cars and they know which side their bread is buttered, hence the top brass at Mercedes waiting in the garage for Hamilton when he retired from Spa.

      7. Elie says:

        @Doug SA. When you think of Mercedes Benz do you think USA , UK, RSA of do you think Germany. When you think of Nico Rosberg – do you think Mexican or do you think German??
        When Dr Dieter Zetsche was watching with the pride the podium ceremony at Hockemheimwas he watching Vlaterri Bottas from Finland or was he Applauding Nico Rosberg from Germany…

        If you ask anyone whats the first thing that come to mind when you say Ferrari- do they say China, USA, Russia or do they say Italy??

        When people say Renault -Do they think Spain, Germany, China or do they think France??

        Hope it helps I really do..

  11. Shri says:

    Hulk is a solid driver deserving a better car right now. I fear in the spot light of big name movement, Hulk may be forgotten.

    1. TGS says:

      I agree, Hulk should go to McLaren.

    2. Step says:

      I don’t agree Hulk is doing that well in 2014 at all. He’s not outperforming an average teammate. He looks uninspiring. Bianchi, Kyvat & even JEV look far better options.

    3. Rachael says:

      Personally, I’ve never understood what all the fuss about Hulkenberg is. Shri said it best. He is a solid driver. I’ve never seen any more than that.

      It reminds me a lot of Fisichella. Ten years ago internet forums (like this) were full of comments. “Fisichella is the best driver not in a top team”. “Fisichella has destroyed every team mate he has ever had”. “If only he was given a chance in a top team….”

      Well history shows that Fisichella was given a chance in a top team, and all he saw was Fernando’s rear wing.

      He was competent enough to pick up the pieces when the regular frontrunners struck problems and score a handful of wins. Nothing more.

  12. Frederick says:

    Hamilton is out at Mercedes. Nico knows that and that’s why he’s did what he did at Spa. He knows the team cannot do anything to him this year, he has the magic 29 points advantage and a contract in hand. Hamilton has no contract and if he does not win the WDC he has no intangible value to trade to one of the big teams. Which only leaves a mid level team or small team, but $20 million is a lot of money for teams like Williams or smaller so he is basically done. You can tell that because he is now spouting the company line Ike a good boy. People should stop looking at life as logical and sequential. Mercedes right now do not want a second year of this fight because they must know the margins will be smaller next year so two drivers like they have now will not work in 2015. Rosberg had two goals this year beat Hamilton and drive him from the team. I think spa delivered both easily.

    1. furstyferret says:

      Fred is that you who sits on the Mercedes board, thought not, more wishful thinking

      1. Frederick says:

        MB board does not mater. MB will not have the same overwhelming performance advantage next year so they cannot afford this race next year. Lewis and Jenson taking points from each other at MCL hurt MCL’s chance of world title in 2010 and 2012. In the end signing Jenson cost Whitmarsh his place at MCL. The truth is that you need a 1 and 2 to win championships. Ferrari did it that way and so did RBR. Equality never creates champions only good tv.

    2. Andrew M says:

      I’m amazed that people even point to contracts as a sign that drivers have a chance if being retained. Alonso, Raikkonen and Prost have all been released from airtight contracts, Button flagrantly walked away from one with Williams; all the contract does is determine how large the payoff will be.

    3. bronwyn says:

      Good for him. Mercedes caused Nico to look out for himself in Malaysia last year when they clearly gave him the message that their eggs were in Lewis’s basket! He warned them that he wouldn’t forget it.

  13. It woulbe good see Alonso winning with Ferrari… He choose to get out from Mclaren, because of Ron Dennis. And now they want him back? That move cost two or three titles for Alonso (2007, 2008, 2010). He’s already 33.

    1. Rockman says:

      Alonso should stay put at Ferrari.

      He will gain even more respect, not that he needs any these days if he brings a title to the red team. Specially with how the competition is these days.

      1. Agree, my friend. Also agree with your comment about Hamilton’s behavior.

  14. Frederick says:

    Hamilton is out at Mercedes. Nico knows that and that’s why is did what he did at Spa. Mercedes know next years races will came with tighter margins of victory so they cannot have this fight next year. So Nico has a contract in hand Hamilton is out of luck. Life is not always logical and sequential. Rosberg had two tasks this year… Beat Hamilton and drive him from the team. He accomplished both in Spa lap 2. That is the point he wanted to make.

    1. Michael in Sydney says:

      + 10,000. It follows that along the way, he’d just also acquire the WDC and WCC for his team.

      Job done,

    2. eric morman says:

      so next weekend Nico is going to sit back and not hassle Ham when Ham is in front????

      1. Frederick says:

        Let’s agree Hamilton’s great advantage has always been his sublime calm in qualifying BUT this year Mercedes has created a situation where each car shares ALL setup data from practice to quali which has compromised Hamilton more than Rosberg…

        I believe Rosberg will now force Hamilton to be more aggressive for the next couple of races which will increase the probability of error. In addition apart from Russia, Rosberg outperformed Hamilton in all the remaining tracks on the calendar last year. Again I believe if Hamilton does not win the WDC this year Mercedes are not going to let this fight reoccur in 2015 – RedBull and Ferrari will not be a second behind next year and that performance advantage in is the only reason why Mercedes is allowing free racing this year. Since I think 29 points is enough to win the WDC unless Rosberg’s “luck” suddenly changes – I cannot see Mercedes coming back for the same next year.

  15. Kris says:

    “Of the two, Hamilton is the more likely to want a change if the situation becomes unbearable as Rosberg has a long contract already, is a stickler for continuity, in addition to being a more hard boiled character, who would probably want to tough it out.”

    Isn’t it simply more likely that Rosberg has fewer suitors?

    1. Dek says:

      Not really,the only reason Rosberg has less suitors is because of his long term contract,& he is a stickler for honouring commitments,so time spent chasing him is time wasted,he won’t move,period.Mercedes backed him when he was on the way out of F1 due only to circumstance,not lack of talent. He won’t betray that,it would be against all he stands for

      1. HP says:

        Rosberg was on his way out of f1? really? when? I really want to know.

  16. Thompson says:

    it is a fascinating period…..

    With the main players not being to happy at the moment.

    Things should settle at Merc once the title is decided. Cannot see Hamilton moving on just yet, but if his skills are still intact at 31 he will be the most in demand driver.

    Problem is his market value – and what Merc will believe he is really worth. Will others agree. They got Rosberg cheap, (probably explains his need to prove a point) but depending on who really is using whose data/setup will play it’s part.

    Alonso is getting very close to that point were he could wake up to find out he’s turned into an old man.

    He needs to decide his next move now.

    Vettel…. Hmmm, personally I believe he is a quality driver and will come good This season, but next year he WILL come good.

    I actually believe DanialR will stop smiling soon – after this season he will want more..lots more.

    Not sure how long he is contracted for but he’ll want to be drawn closer to Vettel if he continues to duff him up.

    Bottas, I don’t know, he’s getting podiums but is invisible during races. Staying ahead of the pack but not getting close to the leaders. Let’s see how things are in a few race’s.

  17. Adil says:

    I would have thought that the Williams resurgence would put pressure on Massa’s seat. I would love to see Alonso bring Williams another championship.

    1. Rockman says:

      Problem is that Alonso is the highest paid driver in F1.

      Don’t think theres any chance Williams can afford his salary.

      1. Adil says:

        True. But don’t forget that ALO brings a lot of sponsorship dollars with him. And Williams, like Ferrari, command a larger portion of payments from FOM for their history/past performance in the sport.

        I know it’s out of the box thinking, but the Ferrari/Alonso relationship hasn’t generated the results one would have expected. If anything, it’s show ALO’s quality and highlighted Maranello’s weaknesses.

    2. Random 79 says:

      “Massa, Alonso is replacing you…”

      Left-field, but I wouldn’t discount it.

      1. ferggsa says:

        Sebee is right, you’re comments are the best

      2. Sebee says:

        Oh no…now you have a fan club. How will you ever live up to out expectations? What if you called the next race result correctly? Pressure!

      3. Random 79 says:

        What are you talking about Sebee? – I already called the last race result correctly…sort of…

        Anyway, as for pressure I say “Pressure? Pffft, what pressure?” :)

      4. Sebee says:

        You called Spa collision and Nico getting the upper hand on Lewis? Show me comment proof and I shall believe in thee powers! Oh… I don’t see you making a Monza call like I did. DNF Lewis – engine. They will sacrifice me now!

      5. Random 79 says:

        True, but I did predict that there would be fireworks between the two Mercedes drivers and that if they didn’t win then Ricciardo would so…yep – nailed it :)

        As for a Monza prediction, how about this:

        Rosberg gets away from the start line in first position with Hamilton following close behind. Coming into Ascari Hamilton brakes late and takes out both of them (he’ll later admit to doing on purpose to “prove a point” before apologising to the team), letting Ricciardo come through to take his 3rd consecutive win and 4th of the season with Bottas and Alonso finishing a close and well fought 2nd and 3rd.

    3. forzaminardi says:

      I wonder that myself. Massa has had his share of bad luck this season, but he’s also driven like a complete pelican at times. The points tally versus Bottas show him radically failing to realise the potential of the car he’s in, just as for whatever abstract reason he has failed to realise the potential of various Ferraris in previous seasons.

      I can’t see Alonso going to Williams unless he takes a massive pay cut, and secondly it is a bit risky as we can’t be sure yet that Williams’ “revival” isn’t a flash in the pan due to the fluke of new regs and a Mercedes engine.

      But how about:
      Alonso—>McLaren
      Button—>Williams (back where it all began)
      Massa—>joining Rubens in the commentary box.

      Just as an addendum to all that, and aside from the fact Massa has a contract for 2015, it is suggested that his place at Williams is smoothed considerably by Mr. B. Ecclestone who is keen to keep a Brazilian in the game…

      1. serrated Edge says:

        I agree 100% Button in this years Williams would have performed much better than Massa.
        Massa has had opportunities to push for wins but blown in in spectacular fashion, for example Austria.
        Frustrating to see Button in such a poor McLaren who would have made much better use of this seasons Williams.

  18. FerrariFan says:

    Given the recent happenings at Team Mercedes. I can’t see how Hamilton will stay at the team if he loses this year’s championship. However, we know that he is contracted with Mercedes for another year. I don’t see any major driver changes for next year.

    However here are my predictions for 2016

    Mercedes (BOT seems apolitical and is backed by Toto)
    BOT
    ROS

    Ferrari (may not want a 4 times champ who is beaten by teammate and RAI is retiring right!)
    HUL/BIA
    ALO

    McLaren
    HAM
    MAG/VAN

    RedBull (Keep promoting from junior team, pay less. May fall with Newey’s departure)
    RIC
    KYV/VES/ a resurgent VET

    1. FerrariFan says:

      And ALO will retire at the end of 2016 as a frustrated 2 times world champion

    2. Dek says:

      There is one talent out there,who may throw a big spanner in everybodies plans/thoughts/ideas-Romain Grosjean. He won’t put up with the current problems at Lotus for long,putting a very quick,experienced driver on the market,at probably a bargain price.I know if i was TP at McLaren i’d have a serious look,& with Boullier there it may already be a done deal.Anybody notice he is not mentioned at all? Strange,very strange,normally a driver that battled at the front recently & then copped a S%%%%%x car to fall down the grid,would be the subject of major rumours

      1. Laurence H says:

        And if no seat opens up at the big 4, then I would think Williams should have a good think about him replacing Massa.

  19. Brent says:

    James, why has no one brought up what the rules 20.3, 20.4 say in relation to the Hamilton/Rosberg clash. They certainly seem to back the stewards not investigating and Rosberg’s right to hold station. Playing by the rules is fair play.

    1. Neil says:

      That rule only refers to straights.

      1. It refers to straights but it is also applied to corners (i.e. Monza 2012). It’s ironic that it is essentially a rule clarification that doesn’t provide enough clarity into how it’s appliedl

      2. Brent says:

        They were on a straight and there are 2 rules that would have affect through the whole scenario.

    2. KRB says:

      Rosberg should’ve pulled out of that move. He would’ve had DRS the very next lap and if he was indeed quicker as he said he was, then he would’ve breezed past Hamilton along Kemmel on lap 3, long before the Les Combes chicane. Top drivers know how to avoid incidents like that, and teammates should exercise even more caution. So it doesn’t reflect well on Rosberg’s driving.

      James, you say Rosberg is the more likely to tough it out. I agree with that, but if Merc wants him out, he won’t have a choice. This is his 5th season there already, with the first three seasons being quite awful, so he hasn’t shown himself to be a good development driver. He’s needed Hamilton’s data (and just Lewis showing on the track what the car is capable of) to be able to take the next step up as a driver. So I have big doubts that he could ever be a team leader. Merc would look pretty stupid if they fall back a la McLaren/Button if Lewis left, wouldn’t they? At the end of this season, only 13 other drivers will have driven more GP’s for a team than Rosberg. It would no doubt cost them some big $$$’s to drop Rosberg (unless they want to make it messy), but then they could draft in Bottas alongside Hamilton. For me, on the current grid, there are only a few drivers that are a) quick, b) great wheel-to-wheel racers, c) abhor the cynical stuff, and d) just want it to be decided on-track, not off it. They are HAM, BOT, RIC and HUL. It’s no coincidence that they are my favourite drivers. It would be great to see two of them go head-to-head in a front-running car. I would hope that none of them would regress into the “dark arts” of driving if they were challenging for the title, unlike Rosberg who has clearly shown he is fully willing to.

    3. James Clayton says:

      People have – in stories related to the incident (of which this is not one).

  20. Chris says:

    I would personally love to see Lewis in a Williams, maybe one day…

    1. Random 79 says:

      Could you see Frank putting up with Lewis blabbing to the media, tweeting, etc?

      Won’t happen.

  21. Allan says:

    A week ago, I would have been pretty certain the top seats would stay status-quo for next year, as 2016 is the more natual change point due to multiple contract renewals AND McLaren Honda having their first year behind them.

    However, I agree with your point: The strain in the relationship between the drivers at Mercedes could percipitate a change this year. Balancing that though, would Lewis really want to leave the team that has such a huge car advantage (which looks likely to carry into next year)?

  22. Speedo says:

    Button to Ferrari. Kimi isn’t good enough or working hard enough so should be sacked again.

    1. Robert says:

      Would LOVE to see Jenson and Fernando in the Big Red cars…together. The two elder statesmen of F1, both (mostly) class acts, going out in style.

      It won’t happen – Ferrari need youth to compliment Alonso – but it would be a fantastic season for them both to leave F1 on.

      1. Laurence H says:

        Since when did Alonso become a class act? An amazing driver, yes. A class act? No way.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Ferrari seem happy with short term contracts in the other seat though and Button might be a great ambassador for the team and seems to get on with his teammates (and is friendly with Alonso) maybe 1-2 years as a more motivated partner than Kimi, that gives Bianchi etc a few more years to build their skills.

        Alonso certainly doesn’t seem to be getting any slower in his 30s. I know everyone seems to think that at 35 drivers lose their marbles and are towed slowly away dribbling into their old man cardigans but realistically there’s no reason why today’s ultra fit drivers need to stop if they still have the hunger. People seem to forget that F1 is not sprinting or football – the drivers don’t build up niggling injuries or ‘lose their leg speed’ – it’s very much a mental game now (especially with the less punishing hybrid era) and so they can probably carry on much longer.

        I don’t see Alonso quitting until he wins that 3rd WDC even if he’s pushing 40 – has he ever really given up? He just doesn’t seem the type.

        Senna was older than Alonso when he died and don’t think anyone was suggesting Senna was due for the scrap yard quite yet…

    2. Nickh says:

      Kimi/Allison is the only reason why Ferrari are actually developing their car effectively this year, which they haven’t been able to do for 4 years with Alonso

      1. SilverArrow says:

        You Kimi fans crack me up!

      2. Ham Sandwich says:

        Re: Overtaking in Monaco.

        Unless Felipe’s Ferrari in 2011 was 3 seconds slower and with a problem, Lewis disagrees with you.

  23. Great summary ! Earlier today saw on another site that Mercedes have now decided not to continue “talks” with Hamilton on his contract until ‘things settle down’ a bit, or words to that effect – whatever that really means.

    FWIW, have reviewed the clips in real time and in slow motion and am unsure why the term “collision” keeps being used with respect to the Spa “incident” between the Mercedes drivers and wonder, too, why that description isn’t being applied to similar situations farther down the grid. The incident in Canada between Massa and the other guy was clearly a collision but that adjective doesn’t appear to fit the video evidence in any way.

    Just a comment above and not an attempt at getting that discussion extended in any way. The team “principals” and related parties have had their say, the Stewards, the “fans” and nearly everyone who ever contributes anything on the sites have offered opinions, and the most recent article read on the situation quotes Alan Prost extensively. Everyone has their views and that’s just the way that cookie crumbled.

    Thanks again for a longer-run view of the driver market.

    1. KRB says:

      I saw the Hamilton-Merc story, and saw it variously written as Hamilton suspending talks, or Mercedes suspending talks. Apparently the decision was made before the Belgian GP, so it’s not as a result of what happened in the race.

      They’ve each agreed that they will have no talks with anyone else (no other team, no other driver) and will resume talks after the season.

      Mercedes is having the big meeting today with the bigs (Toto, Niki, Paddy) and the drivers. Who knows if any of the “really” bigs (Dieter Zetsche and Thomas Weber) will be there as well.

  24. AuraF1 says:

    I’d like Alonso back at McLaren but I think Button needs another year. If Webber could carry on til 37/38 Button can hang on and put the performances in. Kmag has been a bit of a letdown really. Is he the only younger teammate being beaten by his older rival? Probably not but it hasn’t been the most stellar rookie season compared to others.

  25. Richard says:

    All Hamilton wants is a more reliable car and a team mate he can trust! Knowing what they do I’m not sure how many drivers would be keen to have him as a team mate, although the lure of a fast competative car and big bucks might be enough for some.

    1. Balsac says:

      If you ever find your self in a fair fight your tactics suck.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “although the lure of a fast competative car and big bucks might be enough for some.”

      Who does that remind you of?

  26. Peter Miles says:

    Personally, after the last few seasons, then Honda engine or not I’ve lost confidence in McLaren to produce a dominant car. Look at this year. They have the class of the field engine and what have they done with it? And this from someone who has long been a fan of theirs!

    I’m not sure how much money talks in these matters but on a performance level I can’t really see them finding it too easy to attract top drivers. They might strike lucky, as to a degree they have this season, with a talented rookie, but on present performance I honestly can’t see what would be in a move there for a Vettel or an Alonso, or even return for Hamilton.

    1. Normanch says:

      From what I read somewhere McLaren does NOT get the same engine optimisation detail like Mercedes F1, Force India and Williams get anymore. So when there was a better fuel mix to optimise performance etc, every other Mercedes powered team went up the grid and Mecca was left in the cold.

      There are consequences to moving to Honda, and Mercedes will not give away all optimum setup details as the outgoing engine partner.

      So McLaren know about it which is why you do not here them complain about the engine etc, they are the one who left the party with the MPC12C project and Mercedes bought Brawn F1 instead of Mecca.

    2. Allan says:

      A good point… Certainly if McLaren was putting in their performances this year with the benefit of one of the “weaker” engines, it would be more probable that Honda could help lift them. But when they have been decidely second rate, even with that power unit, it does suggest that the problems with their pace lie elsewhere.

  27. David Goss says:

    Ouch, I bet that “more hard boiled” line will get you a few mod-strewn comments.

    Related: I’d love to see a post about how each of the drivers is seen by the public, and how this compares to what they’re really like in person.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “Related: I’d love to see a post about how each of the drivers is seen by the public, and how this compares to what they’re really like in person.”

      Why?, so we can listen to all the juvenile fans banging on about how unlucky their favourite driver is and how much he deserves this and that and blah blah blah…

  28. RichB says:

    button knows McLaren would rather have FA, LH or SB. that can’t be a nice feeling so if I was him I’d retire now. if they fail to sign one of the three it kind of leaves them stuck for 2015, Stoffel isn’t ready and the best option hulk wouldn’t sign for 1 year only so they can drop him when FA or whoever arrives in ’16

    1. Robert says:

      I think JB is quite aware of, and happy actually, with being the bottom of the top handful of drivers.

      If McLaren can’t sign one of the top three, then JB is obviously their next best option to partner with K-mag. Eric will want Grosjean, but seriously, who would take him over JB, especially Honda? JB is about to learn there are advantages to having the hottest Japanese/Spanish chick in the world as his soon-to-be wife….well, I think he knew that a long time ago ;-)

    2. JohnBt says:

      Did you mean Sebastian Bettel? lol.

  29. f1 fan says:

    one thing i am often reminded of when i read about driver markets is how alonso missed out on so many opportunities to drive championship winning cars. ’08 he moved out of mclaren, ’09 – Honda and redbull both wanted him, i remember nick fry then CEO of honda team was asking alonso to join. We all know redbull in ’09 redbull was in contention and then went on to win next 4 years. Big question now is will alonso make a move again ? will he miss-out again if ferrari’s resurgence starts next year or mclaren builds championship winning car next year.

  30. Dave says:

    James has alluded more than once that Rosberg is tougher and more calculating than he appears.

    Whether it’s merely speculation or based on some past experience with Rosberg only James can say.

    I think Lewis needs to start toughen up mentally. He’s too quick to throw his toys out the cot in public. The team will eventually tire of bringing instability to the team with public outbursts.

    1. Richard says:

      This is the danger of looking at things superficially! Actually it has been Rosberg that has resorted to questionable, dubious things on the race track. Rosberg has become inflamed, let the Red mist descend. Hamilton is the more open character, Rosberg is secretive, devious, even dangerous.

    2. eric morman says:

      who accused Nico first of causing the crash???
      His Team did, yet your saying the team will eventually tire of the instability,

      Merc has asked for its Fans input on how they want Merc to handle the drivers on FaceBook..

      interestingly 92% said let them race,
      what do’s that tell you?

    3. furstyferret says:

      Its funny, lewis the mentally weak one, put things into perspective, if lewis had had rosbergs luck/ reliability, he’d have a healthy lead, thats the truth no matter how hard the rosberg(sorry anti ham fans)keep peddling, simple question both drivers on the market, lewis would find a top drive no problum, rosberg no way, and I think the people who run the teams no more about the drivers than we all do..

    4. Dek says:

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!

    5. KRB says:

      Maybe Lewis should bite his tongue sometimes, but let’s think about what happened. He got tagged by Rosberg with a move that, even when seen from the most generous of angles, was totally amateur and clumsy beyond belief.

      He’s likely expecting Rosberg to be a bit sheepish in their meeting, say “sorry I didn’t mean to take you out”, etc. But instead Rosberg apparently bursts in, blames Hamilton for the incident, and says he kept his nose in to “prove a point”. All of that has been confirmed by the Merc spokesman and by the later comments from Wolff. I can’t for a second believe that Wolff, Lowe, or Lauda (WLL) were at all pleased with him doing that, can you? So while many here think that Lewis going public with certain aspects of the meeting is the big no-no, I think going into a meeting with your bosses, looking them straight in the eye, and proceeding to go on the offensive with a ridiculous argument is far more damaging. Does he take WLL for fools, or what? In his press release later, Rosberg was laying it on thick, sucking up to the bosses (at least to Wolff and Lowe), praising them for their “great leadership”. Looked to me like he realized he’d overplayed his hand in the meeting.

      Seriously, the way Rosberg has acted at times, like he’s immune to any punishment from Mercedes, gets me to thinking he has some compromising pictures stashed somewhere …

  31. Joe B says:

    Fantasy hat on, for 2015 I’d love to see Alonso vs Riccardio at Red Bull, Vettel and Bianchi at Ferrari, McLaren unchanged and Hulkenberg joining Bottas at Williams. I’d like Hamilton and Rosberg at Mercedes, with the #1 on Ham’s car (for reasons of support and because I think Ros would bounce back easier – not sure it would work out the same vice-versa).

    Still could happen, right?

    1. Scott77 says:

      No, maybe 2016.

    2. Rachael says:

      Ricciardo’s success is precisely the reason why Alonso will never be able to drive for Red Bull.

      Red Bull would be so ecstatic that their driver development program has been fruitful, that they would not wish to change the format now. Rest assured they will be intent on retaining both Seb & Dan, at least until Kyvat or Verstappen or one of their other young drivers is ready to step up
      . That could take years.

      The Vettel to McLaren story is merely a ruse to help Ron secure the driver that he is really chasing.

      The suspicious side of my nature says that because Ron has named Vettel & Alonso, means that he is not really seriously expecting to sign them, but is looking for the next best driver. Time will tell who it is.

  32. Joe S says:

    I’m not sure if Alonso will change times. He’s 33 now, changing teams in two years would mean him staying in the sport for at least a further two years after that. I personally don’t see that happening, he did say a year or two ago that Ferrari would be his last team. Of course, he might feel different now or in the future but I think a new team would be a commitment too far for him. Only his understandable desperation for a third title could do otherwise. That six year contract he signed in 2009 looked absolutely ridiculous by F1 standards and has looked crazier as each year has passed. Interesting how you never really see deals being signed for longer than three years at a time, which is different to football.

    I think for Vettel, it’s between Ferrari and Mercedes. Ferrari are a lure for any driver but I find it hard to see them consistently at the top int the next few years and he, like Alonso, wants a great car capable of winning championships. It’s top priority. Mercedes are unlikely to slip down the order for another two or three years anyway, and a being with a top German team must be attractive to him.

    Hamilton will definitely move at some point. Perhaps back to McLaren, perhaps not. If Ron Dennis is still there then it would be quite tempting but there is Ferrari also. He did say when joining Mercedes, he’d like to turn a team around. Ferrari could be that chance.

    I imagine that Grosjean will be at McLaren due to him being a very good driver anyway, but the Boulier connection should also help if Dennis and the rest agree on him. Button could be gone. Maybe Bottas will join McLaren. Hopefully Kyvat will still be in F1.

    No idea beyond that.

    1. Scott77 says:

      Kyvatt will be in F1 until atleast the end of 2016 – his third year at Torro Rosso unless he is promoted to Red Bull earlier as a result of Vettel moving to Mercedes in 2016 replacing Hamilton. Hamilton is likely to return to Ron Dennis replacing Button who will get one more year at McLaren. I think Ferrari will unsuccessfully chase Ricciardo & Hamilton (Ricciardo will repay Red Bulls faith) leaving them to promote Bianchi.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        This makes sense.

  33. KGBVD says:

    Hamilton will run back to McLaren – this year or next to partner KM. I’d bet on it.
    Alonso to Merc (next to NR, who he will destroy), and Vettel to Ferrari with Bianchi. RB will have DR and Kvyat.

    Mind you, someone interesting may end up at Williams post Massa, if their car stays fast.

    I’ll collect my pints at the OZ GP 2016. See you there!

    1. Rockman says:

      This actually is the one that makes sense the most.

      Redbull will certainly stay with in-house drivers, which they prefer.

      Hamilton will go back home to Mclaren with Papa Ron who will make sure to hold his hand on every difficulty he has.

      Vettel to Ferrari and Alonso to Mercedes is a mouth watering prospect.

      1. Nickh says:

        Why would Mercedes hire Alonso. Not the best image for their brand after Spygate and Crashgate

      2. F1heroes says:

        Will Mercedes want Alonso? They payed a chunk of the $100m fine after all.

  34. Steve Mc says:

    Seems a bit odd that they would consider Vettel as he seems to be demonstrating a spookily Jenson-esque trait of struggling with a car that’s sub-optimally engineered (to use a touch of Ronspeak) this season.

    I’d love to see a JB-Lewis swapsy for next season, I think Nico’s frankly feeble attempts at psychological warfare would bounce straight off him, and he would glide serenely off in to the sunset at the end of 2016 as a three time World Champion. What? It could happen!

    1. Scott77 says:

      No it couldn’t.

    2. Robert says:

      JB in a Merc? Hmmmm….I like it. And I agree, JB is far more mentally mature and stable than all but a few drivers…the only question is with the death of his dad, and marriage imminent, how badly does he still want it?

  35. Phil Glass says:

    James, can I ask what you make of the growing view that the current cars are less of a challenge, being slower than ten or five years ago, and that this is dilating the talent pool?

    We are talking about half a dozen drivers lined up for big prospects, and that’s not counting the 5 champions, or the Verstappens and what have you waiting to come in…

    A decade ago only Alonso and Kimi were the cream of the crop.

    1. Phil Glass says:

      oops, besides Schumacher of course.

    2. James Allen says:

      Wrote about that last weekend, take a look

    3. Voodoopunk says:

      @Phil Glass

      Playstation generation.

  36. Giles HIndle says:

    If hiring a driver is about investing in points over a season – which would be one way of looking at – I’m surprised Button is not in big demand too. In 14 years, he’s only been beaten a few times by a team mate over a season and he’s had some decent ones. He’s also one of the few top drivers who can live with another top driver next to him without causing a big drama. If I were a team manager I’d love him alongside drivers like Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel.

    1. Robert says:

      +1. Button is a 1.5 driver on a top team: not a pure #1 in raw pace, but a points scoring monster in a good car, who has his WDC and is happy as a clam. He could easily partner Alonso, Lewis (again!), Nico, or even Vettel really. Or he could be #1 at Williams, with Bottas. He would have to take a pay cut…but he did so at Brawn, and even flew coach for the season if stories are to be believed.

      So to your point – I think the reason there is little yammering about JB is that it is still probable that he will be at McLaren next year. If that changes…watch out.

  37. IJW says:

    Well, if Hamilton does have to leave, I can see a swap occurring between Mercedes and Williams, with regards to Bottas & Hamilton. The Williams is after all, the fastest Mercedes powered non-Mercedes car. I can’t see that changing for 2015.

  38. jeffrey says:

    All can still change, as there are some drivers that are not completely happy at their teams (Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton) and some teams not completely happy with their drivers (McLaren, Lotus) for different reasons. If any one of these drivers sees a chance to move and improve, they might trigger a chain reaction. Lewis might opt out of being in a team with Rosberg, and as the best team on the grid at the moment, any driver would love to jump in. McLaren is trying hard to get Alonso, or Vettel, which would leave a vacancy at Ferrari or Red Bull… The potential is endless, or everything just remains the way it is. Anyhow: I see a chance that Hulkenberg might be passed over again, certainly as he is having a dip in form at the moment.

  39. Adrian Vicker says:

    Why has no thought been given to Chilton? He may have paid for his drive but his consistency has been impressive with an uncompetitive car. What about a seat at Williams in the future?

    Bottas has proved to be a great driver beyond what was expected. A future Ferrari drive I’m sure.

    1. jeffrey says:

      LOL, what about him!

    2. Scott77 says:

      “Why has no thought been given to Chilton?”

      Good to see some people still have a sense of humour.

  40. Pkara says:

    Rosberg to Caterham or GP2 nuff said regarding Baron Vonn Falseberg !!

    Alonso to McLaren
    Vettel to Ferrari
    Bottas to pair with Lewis
    Kyvat to Redbull
    Jenson to Williams for one season for the le grand bon voyage.
    Hulk to Williams
    Massa bsck to Ferrari for show appearances only Good festival with Red Bulls Buemi.
    Putins ego in a Marrussia trying to force himself on everytrack…he’ll make good friends with big ear ;-)
    Perez remains at Force India
    Sainz at Force India
    Bill & Ben the Flower Pot men at Sauber (they bring in a steady income, they were going to get the Moomins but that fell through :-D )
    Torro Rosso will choose someone from Kindergarten to team up with Versteppen.
    Lotus well who knows Maldandos Cousin or Mikka Salo ?
    The rest os to early to call ?
    Well your guess is as good as anyones :-D

    1. Pkara says:

      Goodwood festival

  41. Stephen Taylor says:

    James whose to say Kimi won’t sign a contract extension? I think Kimi could have a good year next year , win races and extend his contract until the end of 2016 . I am certain that a good year for Kimi will convince him to stay on Ferrari. What I think Raikkonen meant was if my results in 2015 are as bad as most of 2014 then I’ll retire at the of 2015 . I await your response with interest Mr Allen.

  42. Simmo says:

    My personal opinions really say one thing, that being: Bring Alguersuari back!

    So many potential top drivers have lost places due to pay drivers, and while this year has, on the whole, seen a decline in these, it does mean many who were driven out (quite literally ;) ) never got the chance they deserved to come back.

  43. Anon says:

    Long shot but could Rosberg possibly leave Mercedes at the end of the year? Alonso had a long-term contract with McLaren but both he and the team chose to break their agreement after only one year together.

    1. KRB says:

      It wouldn’t be Rosberg choosing to leave. I doubt he would attract the interest from other teams like a Hamilton would.

    2. Phil says:

      But why would he?

  44. Casey C. says:

    I would like to see Hamilton go back to McLaren, and Bottas to Mercedes. Button could go to Williams, but rather see an upcoming talent instead of Massa or Button. Bianchi to Ferrari replacing Kimi. Van De Garde racing for Sauber replacing Sutil.

  45. luqa says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see LH move on to another team and VB take his place at AMG-MB. Where would LH go? Good question. Mclaren and wait it out another year for Honda to get up to snuff in 2016? He would get his wish of being #1 over KM, or any other rookie they might bring in, and Ron would have his prodigal son back.

    As for FA, can’t see him leaving Ferrari for Mclaren, unless its for a tanker load of money. Similarly, SV. He has to buckle down solve his domestic and car issues and reestablish himself after this poor season.

  46. aveli says:

    mclaren is happy with button and magnussen. all those saying button is on his way out are not serious.

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, they’re serious.

      They’re just also wrong ;)

    2. Olivier says:

      +1

      I somehow would like to see Hamilton and Button in one team again.

  47. J N H says:

    It would be interesting (to me anyway) if Lewis’ relationship with Merc were to break down and he were to end up not only losing the championship this year but going to back to Mclaren on a ‘free transfer’ the way Alonso went back to Renault at the end of 2007.
    .
    It won’t happen, but in my head it would probably be a good thing for him long term, Mclaren looks to be getting slowly more stable under Ron then Eric’s command, whilst Mercedes has four people ‘in charge’ and seems to be teetering on the edge of internal corporate warfare and actual warfare between it’s drivers. I cannot see it’s technical advantage lasting longer than this season and I feel Merc have lost control of both drivers at this point, it’s all going to end in tears sooner or later.
    .
    I would also like to see Button swapped into Hamilton’s place to get a better measure of Nico. Hamilton and Button were arguably the strongest driver pairing of 2010-12 and Button really pushed Hamilton without ever getting nasty about it. Consequently both of them drove some of the best racing in their careers.
    .
    We’ve seen that Nico is capable of applying enormous pressure to Lewis, I would love to see how he does against a driver who roughly as fast and very consistent, but cannot be goaded beyond a state of mildly annoyed.

    1. Robert says:

      “We’ve seen that Nico is capable of applying enormous pressure to Lewis, I would love to see how he does against a driver who roughly as fast and very consistent, but cannot be goaded beyond a state of mildly annoyed.”

      You made me spit my wine… :-)

    2. Richard says:

      Nico against Fernando would be even better, however He isn’t beating Lewis on merit, but simply by having a more reliable car and better luck if you can call it that. Nico doesn’t have a team mate that stoops to dubious means to gain an advantage.

  48. TGS says:

    Don’t really care about where the big names go but Bottas along side Ricciardo at Red Bull would be a great team. I also think Massa has had his day and I wish they signed Hulkenberg instead.

    1. bronwyn says:

      No doubt Massa is coming with some money, like Maldonado, otherwise they wouldn’t have been signed for next season so early when there are lots of better drivers than both of them. Both of them should be out :(

  49. sd says:

    James,
    Is Vettel still highly praised from up and down the pit lane amid his performance this season?

    I remember Ross Brown’s words last fall something like “to win multiple championships like he has done, you should not be just a driver but also a great team member”. I believe he is doing well as a team player so far but what about being a driver?

  50. BMG says:

    I can’t see Vettel going to McLaren, Denis has a history of letting top driver fight it out. I think Alonso will finish his career with Ferrari, he is team leader there and it would be hard for him to move to the silver arrow, its so clear that Rosburg is the favour.

    Hamilton back to McLaren, Vettel to Mercedes and Alonso will stay at Ferrari.

    1. fox says:

      Yep, Mercedes may still push on big German dream team. Engine + chassis + drivers.

  51. ajay says:

    If Button could qualify better then he would be in a much better position, maybe would rank in the top group as well. I think that a very logical resolution to the possible permutations is LH to Mclaren and Button to Mercedes who will need to have a reliable 2nd car point scoring machine, I am not sure they would take a risk on a rookie when they have such a great car.

  52. roberto marquez says:

    James posted a question but almost everybody is comparing Lewis and Nico, so be it with numbers ( first number is Lewis,second Nico )
    Grand Prix entered 141 159
    Points 1293 790
    Podiums 63 21
    Poles 35 11
    Wins 27 7
    No more comments.

    1. jeffrey says:

      Nico did not have cars as good as the McLarens was driving in, and could only manage his 1st win two years ago, when Merc was finally getting up to speed (but not for very long at the time)

      I think Lewis certainly has more natural ability than Rosberg, and has certainly been more unlucky this season. However I think his emotional personality and not always consistent form has also contributed to the points deficit. He cocked up in Quali several times, which cost him dearly in races. If he can improve his mental strength and stability, he will be one of the best, and certainly better than rosberg, but at the moment this is his achilles heel.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      Seasons in a good car?

    3. AuraF1 says:

      It’s not really accurate or fair though as you have to look at the drivers previous car history really. I mean let’s put the numbers game up for Ricciardo versus Vettel. But who’s really the best driver? Numbers don’t always tell the whole truth.

      (Not that I’m a Nico fan or anything – just considering the lies, damn lies and statistics saying!)

    4. Phil says:

      Hardly comparing apples with apples though is it? A comparison like that is only fair if all else is equal. Hamilton has had a competitive car for almost every year of his f1 career. This is the first season rosberg has had a consistently competitive car. You can prove anything you like with selective statistics.

      I think they are very evenly matched. Hamilton is fractionally faster but probably not quite enough to matter. He is also a better racer but he is emotionally fragile. Rosberg is not quite as gifted but he is mentally stronger. Its a fascinating battle.

    5. Monza 71 says:

      Hamilton Critics Please Note !!!!!!!

    6. ferggsa says:

      You miss the point that while Lewis was driving the best Maccas in 2007,2008 Nico was in sub par rides, even in 2011-2012 Nico was struggling with an improving MB (giving a certain Mr. Schumacher a run for his money) while Lewis had a still decent Macca

      Lewis has never had a really bad car in his whole career, even Vettel had to deal with a Toro Rosso, and a “slow” RB this year

    7. Bradley says:

      Can we see that again limited to their time racing in equal machinery?

  53. kenneth chapman says:

    some interesting comments there. james has nailed it again with his ‘hard boiled’ comment. i don’t see that mercedes have any way back. as an ex CEO of a mid sized corporation for 14years i have experienced at first hand what happens in ‘toxic’ relationships at executive level. very rarely, if ever, can situations be reversed even with the protagonists having somewhat malleable characters.

    it takes extraordinary talents to successfully reconcile warring elements and often, if not solved very very quickly, can lead to unforseen additional problems, especially when the team is divided into camps. if this is not quickly resolved mercedes will face the distinct possibility of a deterioration in their on track performances.

    there are two major problems as i see it from afar. firstly there should be a clear and definitive line drawn between who is the ‘up front’ team principal. to have both wolff and lauda expressing opinions at the very same time and in public only serves to split opinions. whilst they are both free to express their opinions to do so publically is totally wrong and amateurish. that issue needs to resolved as the latest ‘rush to judgement’ would only serve to deepen the rift.

    the other main problem is trying to reconcile two immensely different drivers each with their own perspectives and agenda driven personalities. there can always only be one winner which then leads to each driver looking for ways to usurp the title when their relative on track performances are so very similar.

    as there can be only one winner then then there has to be one loser. which of the two will out? i do believe that in such a heated environment the driver with the coolest approach is the one that i would go with. it will be interesting to see just what mercedes do. roll on monza.

    1. Richard says:

      Rosberg is like a hard boiled egg that has been left in the pan simmering for too long. He is evasive, devious, untrustworthy, and potentially highly dangerous. All Hamilton wants is equal opportunity and he isn’t getting it when faced with unreliability, set up issues, and a team mate that is untrustworthy. rosberg needs pinning back to teach him a lesson.

  54. Balsac says:

    Will anybody pay Hamilton what he thinks he is worth after maybe just getting the better of button and then getting schooled Rosberg. Team orders at merc don’t sound like much fun when he has to run tail gunner to Britney.

    1. Furstyferrat says:

      Please define ham getting schooled by rosberg

  55. EA says:

    1. Don’t think Alonso would leave Ferrari for $. If he leaves it would be purely for a more competitive car or if he can break free from his contract; because being serious… EVERY team wants him.

    2. I think Vettel will go to Ferrari at some point; Alonso knows and might not interested in “waiting for the tree to beat fruits” only to get old and have Vettel add a few on top of his 4 based on all the misery he’s endured.

    3. Most teams will think twice about bringing Lewis in. Merc has the difficult choice: ditching Lewis now knowing Nico can easily win it with this car, but would he be able to if the field was closer? Nico definitely has the upper hand at Mercedes. If the bosses forgive him for that mistake in Spa, he seems like their safe bet to partner any of the other top guys like Alonso or Vettel. Frankly, who would say no to Mercedes right now? Not even Lewis. Lewis needs to play his cards right the next races or he may gain a few twitter fans but lose the trust of team principals. Nico has behaved exceptionally well… along Schumacher and along Lewis. Yes, one mistake at Spa; but his demeanor post-race showed how much he cares about the team (cause let’s be honest, he didn’t pout because Lewis DNF’d; and he shouldn’t).

    4. No Williams for Alonso, Vettel or Lewis. Those guys are either Merc, RB, Ferrari or Mclaren. Maybe Hulkenberg to Williams… Hulk and Bottas; wow, good line up.

    5. Button…. interesting. He’d be a good fit anywhere.

  56. Jordan says:

    I think Alonso is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, but I’m surprised to hear that Ron Dennis is prepared to wait for contracts to expire (as he redpects them), because that means Mclaren are happy to take Alonso in 2017 and surely he will be past the peak of his powers by then. They keep talking about long term plans, but how long do they think he’ll keep racing for after 2017??

    It’s a shame that yet again Hulkenberg seems to be getting overlooked by the big teams.

    Also surprised that Ricciardo’s name hasn’t been mentioned. I know he’s stated that he’s happy to race at Red Bull for a long time, but as he’s not on a long term contract, surely he’s worth pursuing, or are teams waiting to see his form over 2 seasons at Red Bull?

  57. Sahir Siddiqui says:

    Heh – interesting reading. Definitely agree with most of it. Nico is certainly the more emotionally stable driver at Mercedes currently – unlike petulant Lewis who has more mood swings each weekend that we can keep track of.

    Other than Mercedes, I think most drivers will stay put for 2015. Alonso certainly shouldn’t switch to McLaren too early – but once Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso go out of contract, it will be the wild wild west in F1! Fun ahead.

    1. Richard says:

      Are but you are not looking at the full picture! Rosberg is evasive, says almost nothing when pressed. Hamilton is emotional, wears his heart on his sleeve, what you see is what you get. Rosberg however harbours resentment, Hamilton does not! Hamilton is the most talented and will win if given equal opportunity, but reliability, set up issues, and a team mate that uses devious means to disadvantage him has cost him so far. Rosberg should be suspended for what he did in the last race for at least one race, but of course there is also that highly dubious stunt he pulled in Monaco. Rosberg if he can’t win fairly then he resorts to dubious means like some of his countrymen I could mention.

  58. mem says:

    Mercedes is enjoying a Brawn style advantage at the moment. That only lasted one season for brawn. Hamilton can afford to do 2015 season at mercedes and see which team is doing well. He would have a choice of ferrari/mclaren/red bull in 2016 if he didn’t want to stay at mercedes.
    I dont think rosberg would be as highly regarded by any of these teams if he was available.
    I guess the educated people running these teams make rational judgements and dont engage in the blatant bigotry you see spewing out on forums.

  59. chris green says:

    Mattiacci has made the poiint that he thinks ricciardo is a star.

    maybe ricc to ferrari in ’16.

    there’s no shortage of good drivers – just a shortage of competitive drives. it’s a damn shame.

    1. fox says:

      As Costa said, all decisions at Ferrari are made by LdM. Mattiacci is still under LdM. And we know LdM’s strategy. Schumacher –> Alonso –> Vettel(?)

    2. jeffrey says:

      I would love to see that!

  60. Nick says:

    Do you know if Ron is having quiet words with Hamilton to lure him back, as well as Alo and Vet?

    He might have more success with getting a disgruntled Ham back ‘home’ than with luring Vet and Alo to leave good teams into an uncertain 2015 development year.

  61. Shakers97 says:

    James you don’t complete the circle with a possible Hamilton back to McLaren link. I’m sure McLaren are alive to this and aren’t just focusing on Vettel and Alonso.

  62. aveli says:

    still i rise

      1. aveli says:

        hamilton has that printed on his helmet. if you don’t understand, google it and read the poem. after reading that poem, you will a clear understanding why hamilton has that printed on his helmet. you can always come back to me if you still don’t understand.

  63. Lord Horn says:

    Other sites are reporting there is no renewal for Jenson Button. And that, in his own words, he will retire should there be no renewal.

    Any comments on the same, James?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. James Allen says:

      He mentioned the R word in a BBC interview with his old buddy David Coulthard at Spa, I believe

  64. F1heroes says:

    Mercedes: Rosberg/Hülkenberg
    Red Bull: Ricciardo/Kvyat
    Ferrari: Räikkönen/Vettel
    McLaren: Alonso/Hamilton

  65. Stephen Taylor says:

    James I do not agree with you that Kimi could move on from Ferrari at the end of 2015 . If Kimi’s results in 2015 are much better than this year and he is winning races then surely Kimi will want to stay at Ferrari in 2016 James? . I can see Kimi having a strong year next year and I don’t think Bianchi
    is the best replacement for Kimi. I think Bottas would be a better replacement for Kimi because I think he would handle the pressure of driving for Ferrari better than Jules.

    1. Phil Glass says:

      Stephen
      Not Mr Allen I’m afraid, but my humble opinion for what its worth, is Kimi is very UNLIKELY to have a bad season next year. He will likely have a better second half to this year.

      What is not being discussed generally in the F1 media are the specific reasons for his troubles this year. But if you keep searching you come up with answers, or at least, pointers:
      eg – his engineer this year is an absolute rookie, and likewise half his pit crew. Kimi has had to wait on them to become familiar with the tasks, to understand the new rules, etc. Why he and his agent allowed this situation to come about, I don’t know.
      Then there is the stuff we have heard about… the challenge as a driver of a car unsuited to every skill he has developed previously.

      Funny the Allison has come out and explained a little about Kimi’s problems last w/end and Sky picked this up and totally changed their assessment of KR from zero sympathy to 100% sympathetic.
      :)

      1. James Allen says:

        Allison made those comments in response to a question posed by me as moderator of the FiA press conferences

  66. Super Si says:

    I think Vettel could fit into the McLaren quite well. Not quite sure why but I think McLaren would suite him and possibly have some success.

  67. Il Leone says:

    Why not a straight Alonso/Button job swap? Jenson knows all about the Mercedes engine and might be able to feed Ferrari a few pointers on where they have gone awry on the engine side.

    Plus he is a former WDC, so that should appeal to Luca.

    And why not add Jules Bianchi to Jenson Button (2 JBs!) at the Scuderia for an all-new line-up in 2015?

    Failing that a Bottas/Button job swap could also be interesting. I think Williams messed up by giving Felipe such a long contract, because he isn’t going to win a championship for them.

  68. AfterLife says:

    Currently all of RedBull racing team are hard at work to save their so called champion Sebastian Vettel’s face. I am not sure why McLaren want to hire Vettel.

  69. ChrisS says:

    It is an interesting time for sure and probably the hardest to read for years. I for one will be very disappointed if Jenson retires this year, he doesn’t deserved to lose his seat after being forced to drive round in pups for a team who promised so much. He is still a race winner and week in week out will deliver points for the team, much more than could be said for some of the grid; Massa, Perez and Maldonado are prime examples of that.

    Raikonnen I think will definitely retire at the end of 2015 and this will open the door for Bianchi, that I think is already decided. As for Alonso he can move to Mclaren but it won’t see him driving a Championship winning car for at least a year, but then the Scuderia might pull it out the bag in 2015 and it will be something he will be kicking himself over. If the move did go ahead there may be the opportunity for him to swap with Button; Ferrari will be well aware of how Button conducts himself on and off the track and if a 2 year contract is a possibility then he could pave the way with his experience to build the Ferrari for younger talents in Bianchi and Hulkenburg.

    Vettel will stay at Red Bull for 2015, but will look for the exit as soon as Ricciardo starts beating him. Ricciardo will be at Red Bull for a while yet. It will be interesting to see how the other teams view Vettel if he continues to struggled in 2015.

    In the coming years Hamilton could be the biggest loser out of all of them. For all his talent and speed he is gathering an awful lot of baggage and unwanted attention to which the big teams will want to avoid. If he fails to win the championship this year will Mercedes want to keep paying him the big money? And would anyone else for that matter?

    Question marks should be raised over Massa, he is under-performing and costing the Williams team. If I was Claire Williams I would try my hardest to retain Bottas, if that fails sign Hulkenburg, kick Massa in to touch and poach Button to see out his final years delivering points and providing stability for them to move back to the top!

  70. Mark says:

    From the outside looking in, it looks to me like Mercedes is a case of too many chiefs and not enough minions. In the team management there is no big boss who has the final say, they appear to have some kind of trinity going on. Their drivers are evenly matched and Nico must have spent some time prior to Lewis’ arrival getting sporting tips from Schumacher.

    I think Mercedes will either fall apart entirely in the very near future or they’ll come up with some way of sorting it out and both Lewis & Nico will stay put.

    I very much doubt McLaren will be near the sharp end next season. Honda power is likely to come in at roughly where the cars are now, and all of the power trains will take a step forward in the meantime. Mercedes will lose it’s huge advantage as the other teams can build properly around the split turbo design so we should see Merc, Williams, Red Bull more or less the same, Ferrari a little way back (their problems are not easily solved) along with McLaren and then the rest.

    That would give us 6 prime seats. We have ROS, HAM, RIC, ALO, BOT, VET are the current top 6 in the WDC standings, and I would give a lot of monies to see those 6 names in those 6 seats, in any order.

    The following year McLaren and Ferrari ought to be much closer to the front. I don’t see Alonso staying at Ferrari next year as he desperately wants a WDC #3 I can see him moving to Mercedes or to Red Bull, I could see Hamilton going to Williams to partner Bottas if he doesn’t win the title this year (if he wins the WDC he’ll stay put I think)

    I think Raikkonen, Massa and Button should all hang up their gloves and call it a day, and Maldonado should be given the boot. We have great talent all through the field and I’d like to see Kyvat, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Grosjean in more competitive vehicles.

  71. fox says:

    My bet is Vettel switching to Ferrari for long term. He achieved level of multi-champion and the age is suitable for long-term commitment. Ferrari did is with Alonso, Schumacher. It is LdM strategy which doesn’t change. New supremo, new designer (Allison), new star driver. Domenically promised a seat to Vettel for sure, then it was bad surprise for Vettel when Domenicaly retired.

    Alonso will not like to race with Vettel in mid term, but Alonso will give a try for Allison’s first Ferrari in 2015. If it is not a competitive (not best of the best, but just competitive) machinery, then Alonso may jump in the mid of the season… But if it will be good car, Alonso could win the title (or two, personal and team) and then switch somewhere else and relax with three titles as he dreamed of.

    McLaren mostly could be comfortable with Hamilton. They could give him same money as he has at Mercedes. All people are familiar, just the family will be joined again. Honda people could be new, but some Honda people could be hired from Mercedes (Brown GP, Honda), thus they also will be familiar. If Hamilton is not signing McLaren deal, then Vettel could be teased to do that, and postpone his Ferrari dreams.

    Vettel wants to beat Schumacher. It is esteem stuff.

    Symonds may try to use his authority to lure Alonso to Williams, but that seems very low probably that samurai goes there… Many reasons, strategic and personal from both sides.

    Lotus may go bankruptcy soon, hence not an option for top drivers.

  72. TBP says:

    Hi James, could you run a survey see how many fans Lewis and Nico have on this site? Can’t tell from the posts above if the numbers are even or not.

  73. CharlieK says:

    Just a slight typo, it’s Valtteri, not “Valterri”

    I thought last year’s silly season was pretty exciting, and it looks like this season will be quite fun to follow as well.

  74. kenneth chapman says:

    button will stay as long as he can and he has said so. it was interesting insofar as a few weeks back i mentioned the fact that when it comes to contract renewal time, amazingly, some drivers always seem to find a few extra tenths!!!! button has done just that at spa?

    so what does that say? yes he is still fast and is still a good racer but i doubt whether the hunger is still there. he is an exceedingly wealthy guy now and he certainly doesn’t need the $$$. personally i think it is time to go and not wait for the axeman. he should join webber in LMP1 and go to a more relaxed atmosphere that has some of the most exciting racing and a great future for development.

    that would open up the market to a lesser degree and perhaps we would see as a consequence another exciting new young driver enter the lions den.

  75. Riccardo Consulini says:

    I would love to see Vettel joining Ferrari, Alonso returning to McLAren and Hamilton opting out of F1.

  76. Carl Craven says:

    James, thanks for a great article as usual. As a Button fan I am more than interested to know what is going on.

    Such a shame about the comments section which is the yin to the articles quality yang.

  77. Jim says:

    James, the comment about Honda having a slight advantage, as they know the performance bench mark. How much do they actually know? I assume much like a driver departing from a team, McLaren will know nothing about the development of the current engine, future plans, or much about the internals of it. They’ll have map data and general sensor data, but much more than any other team? I doubt it. Although I personally wouldn’t bet against Honda as an engine builder, if these things powering the car are actually really engines any more!

    On this subject, the whole layout of the intercoolers and piping of the Merc was apparently much smarter than the others, presumably the regs won’t stop other teams (renault, ferarri and Honda) copying that part, at least?

    Thanks

    J

  78. Phil says:

    After Monaco I suggested Hamilton could leave merc at the end of the year. I still believe if rosberg wins the wdc this year Hamilton will jump.

    I’m not a Hamilton basher but he has had problems with every competitive team mate. Kovalainen was the only team mate he never had a problem with. It never went nuclear with Jenson but there were regular moments of tension and tetchiness over their partnership. Jenson was prob just not quite competitive enough. I think hamilton has a very paranoid personality and he needs to feel the team are behind him and only him. He would thrive in a team built around him with a definitive number 2 driver. I think he needs that emotional reassurance.

    As for next year, I see Hamilton potentially back at McLaren alongside kmag with bottas or hulkenberg to replace him at merc. I don’t think Alonso or vettel will move before 2015.

  79. Mark Slavin says:

    OMG: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/28983758

    They don’t punish the innocent (or at least I hope they don’t).

  80. Monza 71 says:

    Mercedes must be looking at the attendance figures at their home race and the lack of enthusiasm for Rosberg amongst fans in key markets like the UK and Germany. They also know that Hamilton is the fastest of the two and is much more bankable.

    My view is that they will decide to hang on to Hamilton at all costs and might well be prepared to sacrifice Rosberg and replace him, despite the extension of his contract. After all, they have the deepest pockets of any team.

    For Hamilton, surely, the only team that would be interesting enough for him to consider a move for 2016 would be a rejuvenated Ferrari ?

    If he wins the championship in 2014 or 2015 and he sees Ferrari winning races in 2015, he might fancy his chances to match Fangio’s record of three World Championship each with a different team. It’s hard to imagine him going anywhere else.

  81. Kaz says:

    It’s all just negotiating tactics.

    Ron knows that a World Champion is a necessity for a top team, especially if the performance is not up to scratch. I don’t see him getting any other WC for 2015, so at this point he’s left with Button who I imagine he probably thinks costs too much (any driver always costs too much!), so he’s trying to apply pressure to get Button to reduce his price.

    The problem for Ron is that JB is just a bit too canny to fall for that, so he’s gone one better by saying he’d rather retire than leave mclaren. It’s better because he’s showing his decision to be solely based up on what mclaren chooses and not whether there are good seats available elsewhere. If he did look elsewhere, then the negotiation would become about price and performance and that would be something Ron could negotiate against. Also, he’d have to compete with other drivers and risk looking like he’d rather be somewhere else. That could get messy fast.

    By saying that he’s happy to retire, he’s removing any leverage that Ron thinks he has… (and therefore strengthening his own negotiating position, because he’s clearly fast enough and the only WC available…)

    Just a thought…

  82. Paul Mc says:

    I think Lewis should stick it out at Mercedes and not be lured back by the Senna McLaren-Honda history. He has the best chance he will ever get to win his second WDC, he has the best car and he has only one man to beat…although maybe he has two men to beat..Rosberg and more importantly himself.

    I cant help but feel that he has shown tremendous weakness to his competitors this season by being so easily unhinged. Nico comes across more assured and has delivered on Saturday when it mattered and put Hamilton on the back foot. Sure he was wrong at Spa but its a reminder to Lewis that he is not a walk over.

    Loving all this I have to say!

  83. lucyinthe sky says:

    Alonso should make the move to McLaren NOW!!! it might be too late in a year´s time. Commit yourself and take the risk …. be part of history next to Ayrton Senna.
    Ferrari will take three years at least to improve since they are behind in organization, leadership, wind tunnel, simulator, power plant and very specially flair. Their lack of flair is visible even in the livery of the driver´s appearance. Everything at Ferrari looks old and dated.
    Both Ferrari and Mclaren are behind at this moment but the big difference is that Ron is a man of the future while Lou DM is in the past. One year from now McLaren will be at the top or very close, while Ferrari will be frustrated; where do you want to be, Fernando? if you are going to leave Ferrari anyway, might as well do it now.
    Alonso runs the risk of being left out in the musical chairs. Who knows what new Ricciardo or two will appear and change the rules of the musical chairs?
    Ron, Bouillier, Alonso: they could dominate the next 5 years!!

  84. JohnBt says:

    Imagine ALONSO & HAMILTON back in McLaren.

  85. I personally would like to see Lewis in a Ferrari in 2016. I am interested to know if they would have any interest in Lewis, I am sure Eddie Jordan had mentioned Lewis going to Ferrari and Alsono going to Mercedez.

    James do you know if there is any interest on Ferrari’s part in Lewis or would they prefer Vettel?

    Regarding Alonso, I would be very surprised if he went to McLaren after 2007, I believe it depends on the pressure from Honda because without that I don’t think McLaren would want him back.

    I can see Vettel leaving Red Bull with Newey going.

  86. bronwyn says:

    With Nico signing a 3 year contract with Mercedes I can’t see how Lewis can stay. I predict we will see him back at McLaren next season.

  87. Pete S. says:

    Doesn’t Honda benefit from having supplied US open wheelers with Turbo V6s for some time now???
    In other words, they are not new to this!

    1. lucyinthe sky says:

      Good insight brother !!! and look at HRC with their MOTOGP engines – by far the best!!
      Alonso move NOW or you might be looking back soon at a Wasted Career ——–pick up the phone and call Uncle Ron today. You can buy a house in the Woking area so you dont have to travel that much – the area is nice, drive up to Glastonbury– chill out and enjoy!! cheers

  88. Bullish says:

    James,

    With Ricciardo’s success, should Red Bull start to look at upgrading and extending his contract?

    Thanks

  89. goonerf1 says:

    I’d like to see all the drivers in the same chassis :).

    Make it all about driver skill rather than being in the right car at the right time.

    Then, for example, Alonso’s talent wouldn’t be being wasted in a rubbish car, and us fans wouldn’t be being deprived of entire grand prix’s worth of great racing between the biggest names in the sport :).

    I don’t really care for the name on the car. Could be a DAMS (Team) Chevrolet (Engine) with a chassis made by Dallara for all I care. As long as the racing is good :).

    Just tell the engine manufacturers the maximum horsepower and leave them to it.

    Patrick Head has already said earlier this year that you can have 800hp for 2 million euro’s per year per team.

    I’m sure plenty of engine manufacturers around the world wouldn’t mind a couple of million per year to go racing :).

  90. lucyinthe sky says:

    Ron Dennis: “my name is Ron and we´re gonna get it on!”
    Alonso: “Yo!”

    Bouillier: “la Revolution mes enfants!!”

  91. Elie says:

    James I find it very amusing that people think Hamilton lacks the mental strength of Rosberg when :-

    A) he has beaten Nico in his first year
    B) incurred twice as many race ending mechanical failures and quali failures including car fires yet still came back challenging for wins
    C) has had the less favourable pit stop /tyre calls in races Bahrain/ Hungary and still won. Nico was not able to attack Lewis so I dont understand why he expected to be let by. Clear sign of Weakness
    D) has driven from the back of the field twice in succession to a podium- something which Nico can only dream of doing.(ref China)
    E) has never accidentally or intentionally damaged nicos car on track despite the above
    F) has always come back after each successive let down reset, driven brilliantly and saved races against really tough odds.

    Despite all the problems and team favouritism for Nico up till Hungary Lewis put his head down and kept fighting fairly. Sure I dont agree with his antics off track but Nico has shown he is far more precious and Spa revelaed He is the one that is struggling both mentally and racing wise and only luck played into his hands at SPA.

    Im not sure what yours/ Mercedes constant protection of this guy is but he is anything but worthy of it. Anyone constantly seeking team orders and crying like a baby instead of fighting cleanly on track is weak-mentally and otherwise. He was very lucky at SPA. His suggestion that he was proving a point then his belated team apology is not the sign of a strong and forthright racer but that of a wish-washy and spiteful character that cannot win on even terms.. Keeping helping him folks he needs it..despite his WDC advantage.. Its funny how some drivers cannot win without every conceivable advantage, MS, Vettel now Nico the only diff between the previous 2 is they could actually race..

    As for drivers, I see a very strong possibility of Vettel to Mercedes in 2016 if not Valterri Bottas. Maybe even sooner depending on this stupid Mercedes support of its one & only German driver.
    I see Alonso at Mclaren in 2015 unless Ferrari have unveiled a super bullet by November.
    I see Bianci at Ferrari either 2015/6
    Red Bull have plenty of talent to draw on in the coming few years.
    Lotus cant see any changes their.
    I see both Button & Massa out of F1 in 2015 or 2016 if “prize” signings dont occur for 2015.
    Williams should be challenging for 2nd or 3rd at every race with both cars. Perhaps a very fast new talent like Vandoorne can be placed there for a few years

  92. James Hayden says:

    Well mclaren will be mad to replace Jenson for vettle or any other driver accept alonso or ham other wise Jenson is keeping magnums on honest and now all most double his points tally so far half way through this season Ron for gets he’s given Jenson a crap car for past few years to race with so Jenson has not been in the lime light so to speak and poeple for get how good you are he Jenson over 3 seasons out pointed Hamilton no mean task ham beat alonso vettle had a top car that was better than the rest full stop he would be crap in a crap car if given jensons car now I bet he would be trounced by magnums on like Ricardo is doing let face it Ricardo didn’t look amazing when in toro Rossi I’m sorry but I think Jenson is in a top class same as alonso and Hamilton but agree they may have ege over Jenson even thow I’m a big Jenson fan I hope they see sece and keep him on and the car proves to be good and Jenson shows his talent in a good car the last few races the team let jens down on pit strategy to good luck Jenson

  93. nusratolla says:

    Ideally,

    Ferrari: Kimi & Hulkenberg
    Mclaren: Alonso & Bottas
    Mercedes: Vettel & Hamilton
    Redbull: Riccardo & Kyvat / Verstapen
    Williams: Rosberg & Massa / Grosjean / Maggnusun

  94. Grabyrdy says:

    What move would I like to see ? The Hulk in a top team.

  95. jon says:

    Ferrari: ALO and RAI
    Mercedes: HAM and ROS
    Red Bull: VET and RIC

    No driver changes in 2015.

  96. For Sure says:

    For me, Dan is the man. I am kinda of a Vettel fan because I am sick of people criticizing him, I want to see those people proven wrong.

    I am hoping for his resurgence.

    But Daniel story should be more of a big deal than it is. In a machine dominant sport, he is beating four time WDC. Was there any non champ who beat 3 or 4 times WDC?

    For me, it’s like a prime Mike Tyson beaten by some unknown guy. You could argue that when you comprehensively beat a reigning champ, that makes you the champ.

    If I were a team principle, I would go for him.

  97. fox says:

    http://www.grandprix247.com/2014/09/01/mclaren-tempt-alonso-with-32-million-deal/

    it is decision of his life, because it will be the final stint in his carrier.
    open questions:
    1. Is Allison capable to build better red car than Tombasis did?
    2. Do they try some things from 2015 car on current 2014 and Alonso influences them?
    3. Who will build good McLaren for 2015? They lost chief engineer to Mercedes…
    4. Strategically if both Ferrari & McLaren produce bad car in 2015, McLaren is more attractive for 2016-2017. Their base and culture looks more reliable.
    5. But 32 millions are attractive…

    It is hardest decision time for Alonso, either take money and go blind into 2015 with good perspective for 2016-2017, with some risks for being sacked as too expensive; or to give a chance to Allison’s “non-thomb” in 2015, with uncertainty into 2016. I think Alonso will stay with Allison for 2015.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not to go into details on those points, but Tombazis is still design chief, Allison is the technical director

    2. lucyinthe sky says:

      Yes, it is THE decision of Alonso´s life, and I hope he goes to McLaren! if he decides to waste the rest of his career in Ferrari, a black veil will fall upon F1!
      Next year might be too late to jump ship, its now or never.

  98. John says:

    Hi James,

    You mentioned “Vettel’s problems this year and his performances when the car has been running, have raised questions”. Could you let me know which races / qualifying you are referring to in the “when his car has been running” part?
    Vettel has had a multitude of problems with his car and his luck. Considering this, I’ve not accepted the general opinion that Riciardo is thrashing Vettel. A lot of reporters and fans have been dying to take a dig at Vettel and this season has given them the opportunity.

  99. Lisette says:

    What i do not understood is in reality how you are no longer actually much more well-liked
    than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore
    considerably on the subject of this topic, made me in my opinion consider it from numerous
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  100. kenneth chapman says:

    yes, i have read that article and it certainly throws up an interesting perspective for discussion although hamilton fans will reject it out of hand.

  101. Olivier says:

    I always find Hamilton fascinating to watch.

    Brilliant racecraft, incredible raw speed, very very gifted yet ohso self destructive. His pannick attack in Belgium where he destroyed his car after the infamous Rosberg incident springs to mind.

    I wouldn’t compare Hamilton to Balotelli though.

    Regarding James story. I’d like to see the yellow helmet back in a McLaren Honda. Here’s how I see it:

    2016
    Mercedes: Rosberg x Bottas
    McLaren: Hamilton x Button/Stoffel/KMag
    Ferrari: Alonso x Vettel

  102. KRB says:

    Which article was this? Please provide a link.

  103. Pkara says:

    Here we go !!

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