Le Grand Retour
Paul Ricard 2018
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Ecclestone quips on Bahrain, Hamilton and Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Feb 2012   |  1:52 am GMT  |  170 comments

Bernie Ecclestone was in a jocular mood this morning when a few of us caught up with him after the Tata Communications announcement for a chat on the issues of the moment.

With most of the “Fleet Street” UK national newspaper representatives present, Ecclestone knew that they would need some eye catching news lines to get space in the papers for the story of the day and he didn’t disappoint.

The highlight for me was after he had made numerous reassurances that Bahrain’s GP would go ahead in April, that there would be no protests, that the teams were all behind it, and the sponsors and that we would have no problems in the country, everything would be fine, he then said, “It’s just a shame I can’t be there with you!”

This met with predicable horror struck faces. He waited a beat then said, “Only kidding, I’ll be there.”

Time will tell whether he or any of us will actually be there on April 22. The Financial Times is reporting today that a number of international banks are pulling out of the country, citing the instability of the situation and only last week there were more clashes between protesters and riot police in Manama.

Ecclestone also had some throwaway lines about Michael Schumacher and particularly Lewis Hamilton, “I spoke to him the other day. I think he’s got a bit more focused,” said the 81 year old.

The most pointed assessment on Hamilton was that “If he doesn’t perform this year he’d be looking maybe to move on and the team may be also looking for him to move on.”

This has been interpreted by some as Bernie tipping Hamilton to move on. I’m not sure that’s what he was really saying. There really is only one place he could go and that’s Mercedes. The doors to Red Bull seem to have closed last year.

Ecclestone has made no secret of his dislike of the 19 Management team which took over Hamilton’s affairs after he split with his father. He welcomed the recent signing of the highly experienced F1 manager Didier Coton to Hamilton’s team.

Ecclestone also made some quips about how good it would be to see Michael Schumacher in a Red Bull alongside Sebastian Vettel. Because then at least we would know for sure whether the reason he wasn’t winning was because he is past it or whether it’s the car.

“It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if he did. I’d like to see him in a good car. I’d like to see him in the second Red Bull. I don’t think Sebastian would mind.

“It would be nice to see him in the car, where you know that if he doesn’t win, it’s his fault and not the car’s.”

He added that his own view is that Schumacher still has it in him to win races. Mercedes boss Ross Brawn said this week that one of his few remaining ambitions in the sport is to see Schumacher win another Grand Prix.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

It might well be that the only driver Lewis fears is Jenson this year, if the car is good and suits him he will up the ante and I think inside pressure may well be higher than external pressure, especially with 2011 still fresh in mind.



do you think that Mercedes failure to produce a good car so far is because they have done what Jaguar did which was to try and create there corperate structure to the team? or is it because the team was (through necessity) run into the ground in 2009 and they are still rebuilding?


No. I think the team in Brackley has always been up and down in its car designs. Some good some bad.

Ross Brawn knows exactly what it takes, which Jaguar never did


@ adi

How is Lewis out of the title race if hes a race win away from the points leader with 3 races to go???


Well mate, I guess you too didn’t read my earlier post where I said the Mclaren upgrades weren’t really upgrades matter of fact they were downgrades

So from Silverstone (when they were introduced) Mclaren were infact the 3rd fastest car & it was Lewis out performing the machinery which made the Mclaren look better than it was.

Now tell me, where & when (in normal conditions) do you have the 3rd fastest car capable of winning a race especially on a grid with a dominant car.

Now the driver, that was able to push the Red Bulls in the second half of the season was Alonso for to the point that he could even beat them to pole(e.g. Singapore) but due to mistakes Alonso made in the first half of the season e.g. Monaco crash, China jump start, blew his engine in Malaysia trying to get past Jenson on worn tyres, getting spun in Australia & not being on it in Turkey & Barcelona, he ended up losing the title by a couple of points & yet if you cancel out those incidents, he would have won it much earlier.

And that’s why I said nice try for you’re trying to twist the past to make it look like Lewis threw away a championship that he had no hope of winning in the first place because of the slowness of the car.

@ F1 and @ adi

I now see you include Singapore as one of Lewis’ costly mistakes, the same incident you called a racing incident earlier

Nice try once again!


For the final time GOFERET…..At no stage did i say he threw away a championship. You said he never had a chance to win it (even though as u put it ‘he was leading the championship at half season!!!???). I said he did if things went his way. If you cant see that then fair enough. Actually Ill break that down for you…Would Lewis, after leading at the half way mark have won the title if the second half of the season matched the first half?. If he kept his nose clean he could have pulled it off, even though he didnt have the fastest car, that he was only leading cos of red bull unreliability, and because alonsos mistakes in the first half of the year. SO THE WHOLE POINT IS IT WASNT A PERFECT YEAR FOR ANY DRIVER. Thats why 5 guys VETTLE, ALONSO, LEWIS, WEBBER AND BUTTON had their photo taken on the pit wall in Korea and appeared in F1 magazines around the globe with with the heading ‘WHO WILL BE CHAMP?

I hope thats ‘nice’ enough for you


2010 was a year when even a driver not in the best car could win the title because of unreliability problems for the fastest car (Bahrain, Melbourne, Korea). Without those problems for Red Bull 2010 might have been similar to 2011.


Everyone needs to calm down 3 weeks till we’re talking about racing 2012


Regarding Schumacher, he’s struggled to compete with Nico so far. Does this mean that Schumi’s nowhere near his best, or that Nico is a vastly underrated driver and probable future world champion given a decent car?

I was a massive Schumi fan back in the day. My personal view is that he’s not quite as sharp now, which is understandable, plus there’s much stronger competition now in SV, LH, FA, JB (new and improved) and his team mate.

val from montreal

BS …. Why are Vet , Alo and Hamy stronger than :

Hakkinen, Villeneuve , Montoya , Raikkonen ,

Button etc …

where is the scientific evidence to prove that Vettel is actually better than Mika Hakkinen ?


Did I suggest there was any scientific evidence? If you read my previous post properly you’ll see the words ‘my personal view’.

Hakkinen was a great driver, definitely in the same class as SV IMHO (that’s humble opinion) but SV is only at the begiinning of his career, thers’s probably much more to come.

FA beat Schumi twice to be double world champion. If you use that as a bench mark then LH is just as strong as FA based on his rookie season. I also think that JB is much stronger than he was based on last seaon’s results. His Canadian GP win was stunning, the only driver quicker on that day was LH and we all know what happened there.

Hopefully Raikonnen has got more to come but JV and J-PM certainly didn’t set the world alight as far as I remember.

Of course, unless you get all the above mentioned drivers in the same car at the top of their game any comparison is pure conjecture.


Vettel won more races and scored more poles than Häkkinen. And he did that with 80 races less than Häkkinen. And at a younger age too. Proof enough.


And far more dominant cars! That’s pretty much all it comes down to.

val from montreal

James Allen , I got only 2 books on Schumacher , one is written by you ” Edge of Greatness ” , the other by Derick Allsop ” Formula for success published in 1996 …

How can people STILL underestimate Schumacher ? This guys has been at the TOP for more than a decade …. In Allsop’s book , his opinion was that he was already more complete than Senna was at the ripe age of 25 …Bernie maybe old but hes not senilm … Schumacher may be 43 , but he still Schumacher – NO MATTER WHAT ….

Ecclostone is right , put Schumacher in a Red Bull and then lets see … but this year , Michael Schumacher is going to win at least 1 race becuase Mercedes have got their shit together ….. For me , M.Bell and company will have it from Helbourne …


@ adi

They were all within 10 -15 points of each other coming into Korea. If he played his cards better and had some luck maybe he could have pinched it but to say he was never in the hunt is pretty lame


Aah nice try.

After Korea, I seem to remember that’s the exact moment the Red Bull started to get reliable and begun winning races from lights to flag.

So how was Lewis exactly in the hunt when he was getting out qualified by close to a second & by the second lap, the race was already won.

The points were close at that stage because Vettel’s car kept going bang + he too was involved in all kinds of shunts.

But if it makes you feel better thinking Hammy lost the 2010 title due to his own fault, go ahead, I say!


He means without Monza and Singapore mistakes he would win the title, and he is right.


Thank you F1


GOFERET…What do you mean ‘nice try’? There is no try, just facts and logic. Lewis was in the hunt the same way alonso was……bring the car home and hope. Thats my point. You should read my post again. We know red bull had the best car BUT they made mistakes and had reliability issues (which you keep reminding me) WHICH gave others like ALONSO and even LEWIS a chance to win. How is that not computing with you? Alonso was also getting out qualified but had a good run of results and nearly won the championship. He can look back to his practice crash in monaco and say he lost points there that eventually could have given him the title. All i said was if Lewis had some luck and didnt make 2 or 3 costly errors he too could have done the same. Coming into the korean gp there was 4 drivers within around 15 points of each other (like 6 points in the old system). How is Lewis out of the title race if hes a race win away from the points leader with 3 races to go???

You contradict yourself by admitting in your post “the points were close at that stage cos vettles car kept going bang….’ Finally, without realising it, you understand my argument!!!!! Lewis and fernando were ‘close’ in an inferior car. With luck, red bull choking and their own skills they could have pinched it. ……………’and the truth shall set you free’


Firstly i must stress schumi was ahead of his time in terms of finding little things that made the difference. i.e attacking pit entry and exit like his 1993 victory at estoril with benetton. However i believe he recieved more presents than any driver in the history of F1 when it came to favourable or evening up rule changes like mid season 2006 (renault mass damper) or near end of year 2003 (FIA declare michelin tyre to good or illegal with 3 races to go). Also knowing he was protected from being investigated added to ruthlessness when being passed. Im talking about changing direction in the braking zone and plain forcing others off the road. When he was punished it either didnt matter like in 1997 jerez or it was so disgusting it had to be done …eventually! Monaco 2006. Honestly I think he deserved 1994 (sorry damon) cos FIA took an interfering role to help williams and 100% 1995 with benetton. With ferrari 2000, 2002, 2004 fair enough.


You forget that 2005 FIA changed the regulation to stop Ferrari domination. The point was he got punished just like any other drivers that breaching the rule and not all his you so called ruthlessness was breaching the rule sometimes it’s on the line i call it racing hard but fair. Imo it wasn’t the protected case just sometimes the FIA wasn’t consistent as you can see how they applied the rule to other drivers as well not only Schumacher that’s why F1 rule changing through years.


Does Bernie ever just speak his mind or is everything he says just pulling people’s strings? The Schumacher bit and the Hamilton bit were obviously intended to get F1 back on the back pages of the weekend papers in Germany and the UK respectively, ahead of the new season. You gotta hand it to him, it seems to be working.

As for his Bahrain stuff, how late before last year’s race was he saying the race would definitely go ahead?


Schumacher is a legend,and thus should of been rememberd as such. He chose to return,and put that status at risk. Great courage doing that,but subsequently has shown us he isnt a patch on the old Schummi. Age gets us all eventually,even those who seemed”Superhuman”in years gone. Therefore,having Michael as Vettel’s team-mate is a pointless exercise in my view. Does anyone truly believe he would be genuine contender for another”World Championship”in the course of a season. Redbull or not he’s over-cooked now,and all us romantics should recognise that! Including Michael himself. On the other-hand a straight race in the same car in a straight team,and allowing them to battle isnt. Not with a Hamilton,Vettel pairing. Nobody can tell me this scenario wouldnt excite,entertain and WOW all f1 fans? There are questions unanswered even now,in regard Sebs true talent. The same could be said of Hamilton,although statistics do show the last three Mclaren cars will not live long in memory. As i said,eccelestone would bene


Yeah look at how Vettel completley dominated MS at the Race of Champions where they were teammates….OH WAIT, HE DIDN’T…

MS must have forgotten how to drive hey…. it just couldn’t be that the Red Bull is the best f1 car & the Merc was a dog last year & the year before could it??? Nah…..


Yes we’re aware of the qualities,or lack of(mercedes)last years cars. I would hardly call one race at the”Race of Champions”a true comparison and then reflect that to a whole”World Championship”season. You say the”merc was a dog”last year. Thats fine,i agree in part.On the other hand,when looking back to last season its evident that Nico Rosberg had the better of Schumachers abilities…And that within a Mercedes team completely focused on Michael,and michaels wants and michaels needs. Fact. So unless you recognise Rosberg is a better driver,and the statistics show that self-evidently,how can you believe michael would stand any chance as Vettel’s team-mate? Unless of course you think Nico Rosberg is a better driver than Seb?? If thats the case,maybe a Vettel,Rosberg lineup would have us all licking our lips…Nah,dont think so! Haha


correction: “Evident that Rosberg often faster than Schumacher in qualifying but in race Schumacher often can produce faster race pace than Rosberg”


Evident that Rosberg often faster than Schumacher but in race Schumacher often can produce faster race pace than Rosberg, maybe his age cause Schumacher couple of tenths and maybe he could still gaining couple of tenths more comapring to his 2011, 2010 is far from prime Schumacher so personally i wouldn’t consider Rosberg really triumph over Schumacher and in 2011 he showed glimpsed of his old self and to me pulling out the DNF(which wasn’t his fault) Rosberg already been outscored by Schu, one thing for sure in his 40s can still beat the teammate almost twice his age showing how great he is, imo 2012 we are going to see the real fight between both(hopefully). As for your “Mercedesteam completely focused on Michael…” for sure just your conspiracy theories without any strong evidence. Brawn himself stated that both driver are treated equally and you don’t hear Rosberg saying or complaining about that instead he praises Schumacher work ethic. how could you believe not? hahah


+1 a true rainmaster he is


Replying to @Wu


With regard to McLaren it is a fact they have not built a championship winning car for three years. The 2009 car was absolutely awful, but since then they have got progressively better, but still nowhere near good or consistent enough. Is it so surprising that Lewis had become demoralised? Anyway I have a sneaky feeling that this years McLaren is going to be rather better, and I think Lewis is going to be more focussed. That being the case we should be in for a cracking season with Lewis taking the fight to Seb in away only he can do.


First impressions look good, but I won’t believe McLaren are there with RBR until they show it at Melbourne in Q3. If by some miracle the McLaren is the dominant car this season, at least the inter-team battle will be more interesting than Vettel-Webber was last year.

I’m really looking forward to see how the Di Resta-Hulkenburg battle goes.


Well as they say seeing is believing, but the thing to remember nobody stays at the top forever so have McLaren done enough? They say there is a big update for the next test so it sounds as though they have a direction to develop. – Let’s hope it’s the right one! RBR have been a formidable team last season primarily because of being design led by Newey, but also the organisation which I expect is Horner’s doing. Yes if the McLaren car is good the inter team battle will be intersting to say the least, but I’m expecting Lewis back on top.

Force India are a team I would like to do well this year, but those two drivers are likely to push each other all the way.

I would also like to see Caterham move decisively into the mid field. I expect Heikki to out perform Vitali, but we’ll see.

Tornillo Amarillo

Right, but LH won a WDC by an act of Glock really? Generousity on track?

Extremes are dangerous.


I wouldn’t say or thinnk Glock helped him or anything about generousity…

i believe it has nothing to do with Glock but it had something to do with luck

that doesn’t make a championship any less worth though…

the point is will you call him as one of the greatest for that??


I think Mr. E makes a good point about Schumacher and by extension all of F1. The 500-lb gorilla in the room is always the car. Everybody tends to jump on the bandwagon for whoever is in the best car being the best driver. Is it the car or is it the driver? Obviously, it’s a bit of both, but I would argue that the car is the biggest factor.

One example…was Button less of driver before he won the WDC in the best car that year? or, was he just stuck in poor cars that didn’t allow him to show what he was capable of? How many other drivers out there are the right drive away from being a WDC?


Of course we know the answer to that. F1 is 80% car, AT LEAST. Yer right, Button was as good a driver in the Honda’s as he was in the Brawn. Throw Rosberg in the RB the last few years, and he’d be picking up that medal from the German President.

There are only a few drivers who have won the DWC while not in the best car (Hamilton, Prost, Rosberg, Hunt), and in many of those cases they’ve needed luck or for misfortune to befall their opponents (e.g. Mansell’s blowout in Australia ’86, Pironi missing out on the last 5 races, or Lauda almost burning up) in order to win. Rosberg’s Williams team finished 4th in the Constructors’ in 1982!

I don’t care how good a driver you are, you won’t be able to make up a persistent 0.5 sec gap to a rival team. Even if you’re a quarter-second back, consistently, then it will take a big effort to overcome that at enough races through the season to have a chance. It’s one thing to overcome it at one or two Grand Prix, but to do it over a 20-race schedule? Not likely.


So James what is it better to have a great driver or a great car designer everyone is saying if shumi was in the red bull or if seb didn’t have that car he wouldn’t be wdc I’m really curious to hear your opinion on this for example would seb have won the wdc driving a mclaren or would rosberg won the wdc driving the red bull because most people are of the opinion it’s the all about the car and if that’s the case why aren’t the top teams bidding for Adrian’s services


Ah, but they are bidding on Newey’s services! Ferrari would love to snatch him from RBR, but Newey feels at home at RBR, that he has a big stake in the results of the outfit, and that he has the technical control that he desires.

I don’t think anyone could’ve driven the McLaren to a DWC last year, unless you had Maldonado and Karthikeyan in the RB7. If a halfway-decent driver was in the RB7, they’d win. Remember that the gap was 5 race wins!


It’s always a combination. You need 1. A great car and 2. A great driver.

It’s much harder than you imagine to put a championship together and everything has to be maximised on car, team and driver sides to win out. Look at Alonso and Ferrari the last two years – brilliant driver, no championship


“Throw ROS in the RB & he’d be getting the medal???”

Ummmmm small technical point, Mark Webber beat ROS when they were teammates…….

Now, whom was the teammate that Vettel just beat 2 years running? Oh yeah, MW..

So if SV > MW but NR > SV (in your opinion)then I must be missing some part of the equation surely….


If you think F1 comparisons can be made linearly, then sure. But let’s add some context, shall we? 2006 was Rosberg’s first year in F1, and Webber’s 5th. And we’re talking about 7 pts to 4!!

Do you think Di Resta will grow into an overall better driver than Adrian Sutil is/was? I do, but Sutil beat him on pts last year, in Di Resta’s first season.

And I never said that NR > SV. I think Vettel is a better driver than Rosberg, but I think Rosberg is a good enough driver that he could drive a dominant car to a DWC. And I think that were you throw NR and MW together as teammates now, that NR would win out over the season. But we’ll never know on that score.


@ James Clayton

In 2010 he had a great shot at the

championship. If he’d been a little calmer


Oh but you mistaken my friend.

Yes Lewis lost some points through red mist incidents like Monza 2010 but the rest were definitely not his fault.

Barcelona – His tyre let go 2 laps from the finish because Mclaren hadn’t secured his tyre

Singapore – Webber took his out (from behind) & even apologized after the race

Japan – He had a technical issue making him loose 3rd place to Jenson

Hungary – He retired from the race due to a technical issue while running in 3rd place

But the most important thing is the Mclaren was off the pace that season but the thing is in the first half of the season he out performing the car (e.g. Turkey, Australia, Malaysia, China & Canada) so much so that he even he was leading the championship by the half way stage.

Now Mclaren were to bring upgrades at Silverstone that were to make the team more competitive but alas the bloody components didn’t work whereas the Ferrari upgrades that were introduced in Valencia worked on the red cars & you had a situation where the Ferraris became the 2nd fastest car in the second half of the season.

So no, Lewis didn’t loose the title for he wasn’t really in it to begin with


He was in it until he

1/crashed into webber in singapore. You cant be serious when you say webber hit him and apologised…as in “sorry lewis that was my fault’. Racing incident where maybe lewis could have left a bit more room for himself on the outside of a corner with big run off. I think sutil showed lewis a few laps later how its done at that corner if memory serves…..

2/crashed into massa at monza. Pure stuff up

3/lost a place to Alonso in Korea when outbraked himself at turn 1. Theres 7 points right there

4/ Pitted to many times in Australia. Complained his tyres were gone then blamed his engineer for making him do to many stops!!! This might be the incident where webber apologised cos he did misjudge an overtake and turfed lewis

Mate dont make excuses for him. The order was webber, alonso, lewis and vettle. They were all within 10 -15 points of each other coming into Korea. If he played his cards better and had some luck maybe he could have pinched it but to say he was never in the hunt is pretty lame


That was Australia where Webber took him out from behind. Singapore was a racing incident, though Webber definitely wasn’t planning on making that turn w/o help from LH’s car.

Agreed that, despite all the talk about Mac being the best at developing their car, McLaren lost the development race that year, to both RBR and Ferrari, and it was always going to be a longshot for Hamilton to win, even though he was leading midway thru when he had no real right to be anywhere close.

He could’ve won the DWC, but he had to take the mindset that he just had to score the maximum points on offer to him, control what he could control and don’t worry about the rest, but b/c he’s known as a driver who can transcend the car, he acted as though he could do it again. There are limits to how far you can out-drive a car, and that’s what Hamilton banged up against in both 2010 and 2011.

If the RB8 and MP4-27 are equally matched this year, we’ll be in for a stellar season.


James, I love your posts and visit the site everyday to get my fix, however I have to say I’m getting seriously bored with the senseless drivel propagated by blinkered Hammy fans, yes he won a WDC (by an act of extreme generousity by his friend Glock on the last bend of the last race)Whilst it’s fair to say He’s a good make that very good driver, and undoubtably extremely fast under the right conditions he has some way to go before anyone can refer to him as one of the “greats”. To my mind he had a golden opportunity to learn from a master with Alonso, but his ego got in the way. I genuinely don’t have a problem with Hamilton in fact as a British driver I wish him well, but lets not over rate him like this, we do the very same thing with the England football team and always end up with egg on our faces.


“…he had a golden opportunity to learn from a master with Alonso but his ego got in the way”

Isn’t that precisely “the senseless blinkered drivel” you’re complaining about?!!


I really hope that was said tongue in cheek JA, after Steve threw in the “by an act of extreme generousity by his friend Glock on the last bend of the last race” quip, right after talking about blinkered fans!!!

As I’ve said before, anyone who buys the ‘Glock handed it to Hamilton’ conspiracy, must also think that the CIA masterminded 9/11, and that Fuhrman planted the gloves. Glock and Trulli had the same times on that last lap … was Trulli in on it too?!? If he wanted Lewis to win, why would he stay out on slicks and take away the position that his buddy Lewis needed? And buddy? Just YouTube Hamilton and Glock in GP2, to see how great “buddies” they are.

Finally, where’s the payoff? Every one of the conspiracy theorists was sure that Glock would pick up a McLaren seat in short order. Surely the payoff is not to be racing for Marussia!!!

The 2008 DWC was the last one won by a driver not in the best car, and the last in two decades where the DWC’s teammate didn’t finish in the top 5 (Heikki finished 7th!). That was a true feat of driving skill.


To the best of my knowledge Lewis and Timo are still good friends not that it makes any difference. I used that “quip” to illustrate 2 things; 1. that Lewis didn’t dominate the championship (IE. he wasn’t head and shoulders over the opposition) 2. That the response to it would show exactly what I meant by “blinkered”, so thank you my friend for helping me out on that one.


I’m sorry we try to keep the standard as high as possible. People have to be allowed their opinions, but we try to cut out the mindless pro and mindless negative.

We’ll try harder…


Well Bernie has successfully diverted you all from the Tata Communications deal. Which I am pretty sure was his intent, this ultimately threatens to end F1 for a great number of us. Their (Tata Comms) logo already appears on the Formula1.com pages so Bernie wasted no time there.


“I don’t think Sebastian would mind.”

Maybe he would if it was F1 where everything’s at stake, and considering Michael was his hero, but he’s already been Michael’s team mate several times before – in Race of Champions, in the German national team, and they get on really well.


They’d get on fine, Vettel has said many times that MS is his idol & they have a great respect for each other. Can’t see it happening though, & I’d really like to see MS bring Merc rather than Red Bull results anyway…

Grayzee (Australia)

Old racers never die, they just slow down! It is a known scientific fact that as human beings get older, into the late thirties and forties, the body and brains reaction time gets slower.

That is why NO elite sportsman can keep with the highest leagues, no matter what the sport. Do you think old premier league footballers “forget” how to play the game? Of course not, they just can’t react as fast as the young ones.

The same for Formula One drivers, where reaction speed is crucial. A hundredth of a second here and there adds up to a tenth or two.

Schumacher still “remembers’ how to drive, which kerbs to hit, which lines to take. It’s just the human fallability of old age!

So, let’s stop the argument.

And if a team still thinks that a Schumacher at 95% speed, is worth employing, then good on them!


The only problem with this argument is that MS is as fast as Vettel at Race of Champions each year, & then they are mysteriously about the performance difference of the Redbull v Mercedes when they are on the f1 track together.

Suggest to me that there is no slowing down of MS, but rather the ‘Adrian Newey’ effect mixed in with a great media headline i.e “Too old” etc etc..


Jim Richards winning Carrera cup (pretty physical cars) races at 60+ probably backs up the whole “You don’t really lose your reaction times as much as people like to make out” argument too when it comes to motor racing. All the f1’s even have comforts like power steering etc nowdays too so the physical endurance side wouldn’t factor into it as much as say the f1 cars of the 90’s…..


Thinks it simply down to the horrible overruling Bias of factor of fitness over skill that should not be there to the extent it is in F1.

Grayzee (Australia)

Interesting point. Jimmy does has kept winning races…..into his 60’s!

Must be just me that is slowing down…. 🙂


Have you ever heard about Kelly Slater? He is forty, he still improving, no one can get close to him and his performances depend solely on his talent…


I really like Schumi. He used to be my hero. But I can’t see him suffer in a slower car. Now age has caught up with him and his reflexes are slow. His eye sight is also not that great. Remember he was running into so many cars, especially Barrichello since he returned. RBR is not an option for him. But I like to see him win races and do well this year.

As for Lewis, there were lot of animosity between him and the team last year. For Lewis all were self inflicted wounds and I am sure even some people from McLaren were secretly wishing he would leave. Again RBR is not the team for him but Ferrari is a better option for him. Personally I think he will leave.

I am looking forward to Bahrain. I am sure it will go ahead.


He’s only 40 years old I think its safe to say he still has his eye sight


Lewis to partner Alonso at Ferrari? Expect fireworks again.


Simply will not happen the partnership again or a switch to Ferrari at any point i dont think!


As much as a dont like to say it, I’m of the same mind as Bernie on Lewis (even as a McLaren fan).

If Lewis did not feel at his best, both in terms of himself and with the car/team this year, I think it is very realistic to think he may move team.

For the record I hope both of our guys do well this season.


Can’t see him going personally unless the relationship deteriorates so massively Lewis is willing to take a lesser car. Last year the McLaren was the only car really capable of beating the RBR in Vettel’s hands. I think even if RBR let Lewis into their team, he wouldn’t automatically get the car built to his specs. Vettel is of the qualify fast and then stay ahead school of winning. The RBR is built to that philosophy. Lewis is a lot more aggressive. I just don’t think any other team would build to Lewis like McLaren.


Lewis could be described as more aggressive [than who – his team mate, other drivers from leading teams, everyone]?

Its also quite possible to describe him as unlucky. Or impetuous. Perhaps accident prone?

He was brilliant in the first two seasons, and since that his success rate has plummeted.

I hope he regains his concentration and returns to the top of the podium, but I am not betting on him being ahead of his main rivals.


You only move if you have something better to go to. Leaving McLaren would take a lot of nerve


Nerve like Button showed when he joined Macca?


Agreed. He stepped into the lion’s den at McLaren, and shut up a lot of people who considered him to be a lucky journeyman by beating Lewis over the season and picking up 3 race wins last year. It took a lot of nerve.

Regarding the money, I seem to remember reading somewhere that the pay on offer at McLaren was at most equal to, and probably lower than his pay packet if he’d stayed on with Brawn / Merc.

I hope that the McLaren is competitive this year, and don’t really care which of their drivers wins the championship. It may be jingoistic, but I want to see a British winner in a British car. My ideal result would be a 1 point victory for one of the two McLaren drivers over the other at the final round.


Do you remember the second half of the 2009 season for both Brawn and McLaren? Plus Button was also looking to cash in on his DWC with a bigger pay packet, which he could get at McLaren over Brawn/Mercedes. Hmm, a better bet on a decent car, plus a lot more money to drive for them? Yeah, that took a lot of nerve.


Agreed. I just get the feeling (and it’s not from knowledge of the situation as such) that of it didn’t work both sides would consider it.

Absolutely agree on the move philosophy.

I’ve always thought merc might be the option but I’d love to see him at Ferrari. About as likely as a snowballs chance 🙂


Exactly, especially when McLaren seems to have a car that can fight Red Bull (unlike Ferrari and Mercedes, who seem to be some way behind the two top teams).


Has Hamilton been at McLaren too long and gone stale?

You see it in football when a player has been at a club at a long time- they move to another club and become revitalised.


Lidstrom is a hockey god. Not flashy, but a true leader. Read the story about what happened to him in the playoffs last year or the year before. For the guys out there, it makes for excruciating reading, but just demonstrates how committed he is to his craft.


But, you also see the opposite. Not sure if anyone here is a hockey fan, but 41-year old Nicklas Lidstrom has played for the Detroit Red Wings for 20 years. He’s won numerous team and individual awards over that time, including the league’s best defenseman (his 7th Norris trophy) last year at age 40.

Sometimes recognizing a good thing and staying with it is the best option. I can’t see Hamilton having a good reason to go to another team. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, particularly in F1.


I really get annoyed by the continued implication that the McLaren’s of the past few years weren’t befitting of Hamilton.

They weren’t as consistent as the RBR (for example they were off the pace in Valencia & Brazil), but Lewis wasn’t consistently getting more out of the car than Jenson.

Michael Schumacher fought tooth and nail from 1996-1999 in the 2nd best car (often not even that). He got on with it.


Solid comment +1 alot of drivers would kill to get a seat in the Mclarens that Lewis is always complaining about.


No doubt other drivers would. But for Lewis being in a fast car that is always second-best, and good for 3 or so wins a year, is not the end game that he’s after in F1. He’s very Ricky Bobby in that respect.

He needs a car that is good for at least six wins (would be his most ever in a season), and is capable of truly fighting at the front, and for every pole. It’s the difference between wanting to be among the best, and wanting to be the best, period.


Touche! Let me rephrase then … he needs a car that is good for at least six wins for him. That’s assuming a fairly competitive field … six wins is nice, but no good if Vettel’s bagging eleven again! In a 20-race season, six wins might not even be enough even in a tight championship. For 2005 and 2006 Alonso scored 7 wins (and so did Kimi and Schumi), and Kimi had 6 wins in 2007, a 17-race season.

So make it seven, for him.


Well the cae was good for at least six wins, but button got three of them!

pear-shaped pete


Hmm, I’d say the Ferrari was the best car in 1999, but MS was injured. How else to explain Irvine’s near DWC?

But no doubt about ’96 or ’97, Williams were clearly faster, although with what he pulled at Jerez ’97, does it matter what went before?

LH has only ever been in the “best car on the grid” in his debut season, and then alongside a 2DWC as teammate.

The last two seasons he was in the best car with a lesser teammate he won GP2 in his first season, and won 15 of 20 races (a 16th win taken away by DSQ) in F3.


+1. Alonso also got on with it last year instead of making silly errors.


Try not get annoyed then!Problem solved?


I expect McLaren know exactly why Lewis did not perform well last year, but if anyone is to blame then it is them because they have blunted his ego with a succession of under performing cars. Lewis is a man who wants to win in a hurry, but of course last year personal problems, tyres, etc., were other additional factors. Lewis will not leav McLaren for a worse team so I expect it’s Red Bull or nothing. If he performs well this year, they will renew his contract.

There’s no doubt that Schumacher is still a talented driver, but he has been beaten by Rosberg, and so one can only conclude he has lost some of his speed.


I know how inappropriately childish this is for such a serious issues, but does any one else have the same reaction to the word “Manama” that I do?



Nice one. I can’t get it off my head now. I go mana mana every time … :).

mana mana …


Amazing clear thinking for his age (Bernie) even the added humour! pretty much said my thoughts on Hamilton/Mclaren in previous feeds,

As for Schumi I think he would take fear at such a clear indication on his skills alongside Vettel in that car (and im not sure how much I rate Vettel) and also as I said previously I really cant see Hamilton at Ferrari RBR or Mercedes in the future even despite believing without something super strong this season and without negative politics he will be out of Mclaren anyway.


Why? He competes & beats him in Race of Champions each year? really, wow put them all in the same cars & I think a few people’s stars would burst quite quickley, + a few of the “too old” comments would start to mysteriously disappear.


Thats a very varied amount of racing diciplines though! with michael being much older and experienced through time to fit into them all if you like. But on that talking about greatest drivers etc you will notice the most succesful for amount of times entered/event wins yet alone titles is Sebastian loeb by a long shot £ titles +1st and as i said more individual stage wins than anyone and michael has entered far far more times. You will also not as individuals Neither Michael or Sebastian Vettel have ever Won the Event As individuals which is the cream of the event. Says quite a lot!!


Depends on the angle your looking from tech and fitness defo yeah but would very much question the skill factor against top end rally drivers for sure.


Yet F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport


James, I just bought the official F1 Live Timing Application for my tablet.

I was delighted to just find out a post from 2010 claiming you are providing the live commentary for it.

Is that still the case? If you are still involved please share some thoughts on how to make best use of this app to complement what you are seeing(not seeing) on the TV screen?

Apologies for the off topic.




No. I am not involved any more. I do BBC Radio 5 commentary


Hi James , you write some of the best articles on f1 at the moment so thank you very much. I’m happy to here hear you will be doing the radio 5 commentary. I personally agree with Bernie that the pressure is on Hamilton as Jenson has beat him again and again even with wheels falling off after pits stops. Do you think he will bounce back this year or is raw pace just not enough anymore to win races it’s more a strategy game nowadays?


+1 to KRB/ JAMES.Absolutely spot on. Wake up people you dont have to like him, but he is Bloody Quick!


Again and again? He beat him over one season, big deal. LH had 3 DNFs to Button’s 2, though they were 7-7 in race results where they both finished. And both finished with 3 wins, in what’s largely been considered Jenson’s best season and Lewis’ worst.

If Jenson beat him over a season and they ended up 1-2, that would be significant.


I think he’ll do much better this year, He’s a fantastic racing driver, one of the very best

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