F1 Winter Break
Ed Gorman’s Formula One Notebook: Why Nico Rosberg is tougher than anyone thought
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  15 Aug 2014   |  2:11 pm GMT  |  179 comments

In the latest of his columns on the state of the F1 nation, former Times Formula One correspondent Ed Gorman muses on noise, the return of Bernie Ecclestone and how paternal competitiveness might have made Nico Rosberg a stronger character than we all imagined.

I imagine the script when Lewis Hamilton moved to Mercedes was that the cars would be built for him and that he would then drive them to successive world championships.

I have always had a recurring thought about Lewis, having seen his first championship back in 2008 when almost everyone was predicting multiple wins on a Schumacherian scale: Will he ever be champion again? I still wonder about that.

But I digress. The script did not include Nico Rosberg. Well it did, but only as a bit-part player. I am not sure many people knew he had the steel he has shown this season – the fight and the determination he has shown. Of course, he has had the rub of the green in some respects, but he has dispelled once and for all the notion that he was just another nice – albeit hugely talented – guy making up the numbers.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 13.57.53

I suppose his early seasons in the top tier lulled us into a false sense of his mediocrity at this level. That and his natural impulse to please out of the cockpit and his privileged upbringing in Monaco all led to the impression that Nico was a good looking lad who could drive fast but was never going to scale the heights.

My guess is that the toughness comes from Keke, a very different character on the surface to his son – hard-arsed, aggressive in the car in his day and hardly the diplomat.

Indeed, I remember my first – and only – encounter with him back at Interlagos some years ago. I had arranged to have a chat with him – probably about Nico – and arrived at the appointed time at his table where he was holding court in the cramped paddock. In fact, he had not finished his previous conversation and so I nervously drew up a chair, leaving a little distance between the former world champion and I, so that he could continue in private. Keke was having none of it, however, and turned to me – someone he did not know – and in no uncertain terms told me to f*** off. I remember thinking ‘wow, this guy doesn’t give a stuff.’ We never did have that chat.

The rivalry with his father has driven Nico – a man gifted with great charm – but he has his own ambition and his own paradigm of perfection to pursue as well. This remark from an interview he gave to a Finnish newspaper, on the eve of his first season in Formula One when he had just won the GP2 championship, remains instructive. “No external pressures come close to the expectations that I set on myself when I’m driving. I’m a fighter to the very end, very ambitious, and I hate losing.”

Will Lewis get past him and if he doesn’t what will the consequences of that be?

Weirdly that year at Interlagos was also the setting for one of the funniest moments in the paddock in my first season when, very green behind the gills, I requested an interview with Ferrari’s chief mechanic, their race and test technical manager, one Nigel Stepney whose untimely death was reported in May.

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In those days Ferrari were very secretive – I am sure that has not changed – and you could not talk to someone like Stepney without the team’s PR chief, Luca Colajanni, hovering about three inches away with his tape recorder rammed into the proceedings.

Anyway, I arrived for the interview at the back of the garage, thinking the name Stepney seemed familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As we started chatting in the sunshine, with people cruising by all around us, I began by trying to pin it down.

“Where are you from Nigel?” I asked.

He replied that he was from the Midlands.

“Oh, whereabouts?”

It was a village near Southam – where he got his first job at Broadspeed.

“What village exactly was that?”

Ufton, he replied. (Ufton is a tiny little place on top of a hill between Southam and Leamington Spa).

It was at that moment that I realized that Nigel Stepney had been born and raised 200 yards from my home on the little road of then council houses in the middle of the village. So there we were laughing our heads off at the improbability of this fresh encounter and the enormity of the journey we had both taken to meet in adulthood at Interlagos of all places… in Brazil, me working for The Times, he for Ferrari. Colajanni, who was ready to intervene when it all got too technical or political, was somewhat bemused by these two English Midlanders and our childhood recollections.

On a serious point, I was genuinely stunned and impressed to see how far Nigel had gone. He had drive, talent and passion for motorsport in abundance and it took him right to the top of his profession, even if his career was to be dogged by controversy.

I suppose Nigel would be very interested in the rearranging going on at the Scuderia currently, as the proud Italian team tries to find a way out of its current woes. The moves are about trying to inject competitiveness, new blood, fresh thinking etc. One area the team might want to revisit is it’s unbelievably unimaginative choice of drivers – specifically its replacement for Felipe Massa (who himself was arguably kept on for too long, something underlined by what he has done since). Surely there are hungrier, slightly more risk-laden choices with better long-term prospects than the once mighty Kimster?

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 14.02.59

The racing on the track has been surprisingly exciting this season – given that only one team can win it – but if anyone was getting bored by the Mercedes-dominated wheel-to-wheel combat, there has always been the noise surrounding Bernie’s struggles to stay out of jail to divert us.

Throughout the past six months or so that has always been the question people have asked. Not who will be world champion but do you think Bernie will go to jail?

God knows I am not familiar with the fiendishly complicated detail of the cases against him, but I never thought wily old Bernie would end up in a German prison. I always imagined him paying a very large fine – actually it’s turned out to be a very large “settlement”. So once again, Bernard Charles has defied the predictions of those who saw his demise. He remains a remarkable character who has not finished running Formula One quite yet.

Now, on to noise of a different nature. At the beginning of the season the loudest noise coming from Formula One was being made by people complaining that the cars weren’t loud enough. That noise seems to have been drowned out by the cheers of those applauding the racing we have seen from the likes of Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso and Ricciardo. Have we got over the lack of noise issue? Does it matter anymore? Maybe Formula One is better off not causing permanent damage to the hearing of its most fervent fans, many among them very young people.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 14.01.07

Final thought: there is an on-going debate about the sport’s dwindling audiences and so on. My contribution is that Bernie’s biggest mistake has been his determination to sell Formula One and new tracks to territories where there is no history or interest in the sport whatsoever while at the same time ignoring some of its traditional strongholds.

These mainly Far Eastern deals are short term and have shown repeatedly that they do nothing to grow the sport. I am thinking of China (empty stadium), Turkey (empty stadium, now white elephant), South Korea (cancelled), India (future uncertain), Bahrain (always a struggle and politically very tricky), Abu Dhabi (a long-term “maybe”).

At the same time as these duds were wasting the sport’s energy, there was no race in the United States for much of the time, or France, a race was dropped in Germany and Italy and even the British Grand Prix was under threat at one point. Isn’t it time for Formula One to play to its strengths, to build on its history, not ignore it?

Do you agree with the points Ed raises? Is Nico Robserg a more formidable racer than many gave him credit for being? Has the noise issue been overcome thanks to the quality of racing? What does Bernie’s reclaiming of his F1 throne mean for the future of the sport? And does his reinstatement spell a continuation of journeys to new markets at the expense of the traditional heartland of F1? We’d love to know.

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I agree 100% about Nico. He's a fantastic competitor and in my view a more complete driver than LH who I've always considered overhyped and way too precious. Yes, about time the once mighty Ferrari woke up and employed fresh talent, ( pace FA).

I'm fed up having so little access to live action on TV. I absolutely refuse to buy Sky which I think is a rip off so I rely on the crumbs I get from good old BBC. As for Motogp? Forget it. I really miss my fix especially now that Marques is on such a roll. Ah well, if people continue to cough up the dosh then matters will only get worse.

Thanks for an interesting and informative piece.


Yet you seem able to comment without apparently seeing the races on the performance of one racer over his teammate?

Did you by any chance manage to fully see what that teammate you criticise achieved in just the last two races. Let alone the four on the trot?

Whatever way you wish to look at I it, Rosberg is a good if not particularly outstanding competitor. It is difficult to argue his greatness at present. Frankly so he should be good given the length of his apprenticeship and the person he completed it with.

What saddens me is his need to scrutinise and learn from LH data, his attitude when things do not go his way and his inability in a dog fight - given he has been in F1 longer and trained by the master one would hope this paragon of a racer would be providing data in the other direction rather more than just the occasional occurrence.

I have said before. Despite his lengthier experience, NR is most definitely the beneficiary of this partnership and it is sad that there are those that continue to assume his greatness while not recognising it has come about without quite some assistance...

From his team mates...


Regarding MotoGP do you realise that the entire race is shown on ITV4 the following evening? It's usually on at about 8pm.


Agreed. The commentators on the BBC last year were immense in comparison. It's not the entire race on ITV4 but it's close to (80% I'm guessing).


Sadly MotoGP is ruined for me by the awful, nonstop nonsense gabbling pair of Keith Heuwen and Julian Ryder. There's only one way to watch MotoGP in the UK - with the sound off.


I think you'll find it's not the entire race.


Just a quick reply to your statement about Nico being a more complete driver than Lewis, give us a list of the races this season when Nico has beaten Lewis fair and square with no help from mechanical problems for Hamilton.


@ grat - I think Monaco is the one race that you cannot quote as ROS fair and square beating his team mate. Because we all know - whether guilty or Not - he benefited from his own mistake. The day he can pull off a CERTAIN win like LEWIS did in Bahrain, Spain etc. I'll be convinced.

Even if he could just once outqualify Lewis fair and square -I'll be convinced.


Monaco, although Hamilton did have dirt in his eye for a number of laps, which certainly didn't help. But that's not really a mechanical problem. Hamilton's real problem was that his teammate forgot how to drive at a critical moment-- because either Rosberg screwed up deliberately, or he lost control of his car heading into Mirabeau which is a bit amateurish, and then he threw it into reverse to compound his mistake.

Still though, by my numbers, ignoring races in which one driver failed to finish (so -50 for Rosberg, and -25 for Hamilton), that puts Rosberg at 152, and Hamilton at 166, and that's ignoring both Germany and Hungary.

If Hamilton were 14 points up on Rosberg, and had been leading for most of the year, articles like this simply wouldn't exist.

So yes, Rosberg is doing better than expected. He's racing much closer to Hamilton's level than I think most people expected, but he isn't "running away" with the championship, and he isn't "pysching" Hamilton out.

If Hamilton keeps putting in the kind of performance he showed at Germany and Hungary, he'll win the championship-- if his car holds together.


For you Hamilton is overhyped , for me Rosberg is an average driver at best favoured by Mercedes.They are trying everything to help Nico win the wdc and they don't want Lewis to dominate because they know the viewing figures would rapidly decrease if it happened and not only would damage formula 1 but as a consequence also there brand as well.


Spot on Nico is an average driver


Then what happened in Silverstone? Did Mercedes accidentally sabotage the wrong driver? Laughable.


Lewis is not perfect by any means, what driver is, but rosberg,Please the complete driver, he's so average driving in the pack, his race craft is quite frankly embarrassing, he cannot make any sort of outstanding move on any one in a decent car bar drs overtakes, rosberg is quick out in front starting from pole, but 90%of the field would do that, as for his suppose 1 lap pace, its a myth, every race this season when he's qualified ahead of lewis, its down to lewis either making a mistake, or mechanical problums, as for the former point thats not rosbergs fault, thats upto ham to sort out, but the simple point is, if lewis does his ultimate qually lap rosberg would not be within 3 tenths..


Actually I think Lewis is 2 - 3 tenths faster than Rosberg without trying too hard. Occasionally Lewis steps up a gear to another level. Had he not spun in Austria he would have been over half a second up, but a combination of factors conspired to induce the spin.


Not sure about 3-tenths (I think Lauda pegged it at 0.1-0.2, which I agree with), but I think Lewis' best lap will beat Nico's best lap 9 times out of 10. There were perhaps two tracks where I thought Lewis might be in tough for pole against Rosberg: Hockenheim (we didn't get to see) and Melbourne. Melbourne turned wet for the quali session, and it's also usually the hardest to read from the practice sessions, as drivers and teams will sandbag before the big reveal during qualifying.

For all the others, I think he had a good shot at grabbing pole in each of them. Obviously mechanical issues put paid to any chance for pole in Germany and Hungary. Minor mistakes cost him pole in Bahrain and Canada, a major mistake cost him pole in Austria, a pretty big misjudgment cost him pole in Britain, and then Nico's "mistake" cost him a chance at pole in Monaco (the most valuable pole of the whole season).

It's now over 3 months and 6 races since Lewis was on pole. Ok, there have been mitigating circumstances at some quali sessions (GER and HUN the most obvious), but still that's a surprising stat. Of course the race win is the most important thing, and pole position is merely the best means to that end. So while a run of poles would be nice, it's consecutive first rows that are truly essential now. He had a run of 7 consecutive first rows from AUS-CAN this season, and not one since. That has to change, and I suspect it will, barring anymore mechanical failure.

Lewis is the only points-scoring driver this season that hasn't finished a race lower than his starting grid slot (Kobayashi also hasn't, but he usually advances purely b/c of attrition in the races). He's had champion drives in BHN, AUT, GBR, GER and HUN (not all by design, of course). His pace in the races has been stellar. If the car holds together for him, I don't see how Nico - with above-board tactics - will be able to hold him back.


Nico is a tough character! That is tempting fate that before the season is out he is stood behind a barrier crying AKA Hakkinen at the 1999 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He may go on to win the championship too, but the image being pitched here would be crushed. This is a pressure can season for both Merc drivers, don't right it off. Brave call that he is this tough with so much of the season left and a championship not yet in the bag. Nerves have plenty of time to be rattled.


"I imagine the script when Lewis Hamilton moved to Mercedes was that the cars would be built for him and that he would then drive them to successive world championships." How do you imagine that when Hamilton has explicitly stated that he never asked to be the no1 driver or for preferential treatment?


The thing people have to consider is that with Lewis's engine failure in Australia it gave Nico the upper hand. A gift and Lewis has been playing catch up ever since! I think if Nico gets into a situation where he is trailing he will start to crack, and evidence of that was when Lewis had those four straight wins with Nico getting very perplexed about it. I still think events at Monaco were highly dubious, and which was Nico's questionable attempt to stop the rot. The remains of the season will be interesting to say the least.


We'll maybe never know just how strong ROS would be with the same degree of mechanical failure as HAM though would we? Would ROS have kept coming back at HAM the way HAM has come back as ROS time and again, making his way through the field? Who knows, but we DON'T know yet do we?

All this 'overhyped' nonsense is pure arrogance and blind hatred. Do you think that the likes of Brawn and Lauda are naïve? Do you think they are taken in by hype? Or do you maybe think they knew what they were doing when hey went after HAM, maybe they had a good reason for doing so or do you know something they don't?

Such nonsense.


J N H - I'm off to Spa this w/e. Ticket was £80 for the 3 days, flights £25 return. Hotel £80. Much cheaper and hopefully a better experience than Silverstone. There are cheaper ways of going to watch the F1 live if you book early enough. Here is the site https://www.bookf1.com/



What choice does Ham have than to "come back" at Ros when starting from the back. You make it sound like he has some character trait that nobody else would ever think of.. Part of the overhype right there. QED


It always amazes me that when people are trying to make a point in favour of one driver or another, they start by eliminating everything that they see as 'good or bad luck'. This is a total nonsense. Everything happens for a reason - deal with it.


Speaking of "hype', Wayne, your own pro-HAM rhetoric seems to be doing a pretty good impersonation.



Get a Sky NOW TV box. They are about £10 and allow you to buy a 24hour pass for £10 to watch the race. So £110 for the first year to watch all Sky only races live. I think there are some offers around too to get some free passes when buying the box, and the price might have come down for a bit to get football fans to avoid BT.

Quality is streaming level - so ok, but not great - but you can't beat watching the races live.


Wayne, Ham was more effective than Alonso over 2007, fact.




JNH, 'insulting', no of course not, JB is a great driver. Butt I would consider it inaccurate. HAM is unarguably a more successful driver, at least. I would say that the statement 'HAM is a less effective driver over a season than ALO' accurate though.


This is a serious question, so please consider the answer carefully.

Would you consider it insulting if I were to describe Lewis Hamilton as 'about as good as Jenson Button'?

Anyway, regards the last point in the article. The biggest issue with F1's dwindling viewership is money. F1 (well, Bernie) has steadily raised and raised tickets prices at the 'home' races in Europe, whilst also steadily moving the whole of Europe onto paid TV.


I am 26, I have a job and I make enough money to go to one big sports event a year, but not enough to throw £552 at a sky contract to watch the Grand Prix's live. I also don't really have enough to throw £345 at a weekend ticket to the British Grand Prix, or another £200 at camping and 'extras'. So this year, instead of watching all the GP's live and going to Silverstone, I went to Morzine to ride my mountain bike for two weeks and went to watch Crankworx Les 2 Alpes as well (which was amazing, friendly and open in away that F1 can only dream).


Watching Formula 1 live now costs as much as a holiday in the Alps, that's why viewing numbers (and especially young viewing numbers) are falling.


Given the previous record when Lewis and Nico have raced against each other in the same series, pre season most would have supposed that Lewis would prevail again. The difference this year seems to be the degree of information sharing across the Mercedes garage which means that Nico can analyse in minute detail the places, down to braking distances, where Lewis is quicker. From the outside, Lewis seems to have become Nico's driving instructor and the surprise is that Nico is able to take that information and use it to step up. The result is a far closer world championship than seemed likely pre season. Whether Lewis has the mental strength to overcome this unexpected hurdle is now the big question. I think he has.


Very good point that thanks to Toto's demand that information on drivers is shared "for the good of the car", Lewis has essentially become Nico's instructor.


They don't get much opportunity to study each other's data during the race.


Wonder how Nico manages when Lewie DNF's


Hugely accurate post...


I think that has some truth to it, however Lewis is obviously also using Nico's data himself. I have heard a few board radios this year in which Lewis is asking the team where Nico is gaining on him. The team subsequently always tells him in which corners he needs to get on the throttle earlier, or brake later.

So this must work in both their advantage.


I agree. Some people seem to think that being emotional is the opposite of being tough. It isn't. Lewis might 'wear his heart on his sleeve' but he's just as determined as any hard-nosed, silent type. As for skill: well we all know what Lewis is capable of in a track fight, all things being equal. What's more, showing emotion makes Lewis the most 'bankable' motor racing personality of the field, and that makes him an asset for any team.

None of this takes away from what Nico is achieving as Lewis's team mate.


The last two paragraphs sums up everything that's wrong with the direction F1 is going in. The move to pay TV has also hurt the sport greatly.

And instead of addressing the problem, we get double points. Brilliant.


Exactly, Rosberg schmosberg...we can pontificate about Ros/Ham battle at Christmas when we have a full page of stats.

It's the last two paragraphs that jumped off the page for me...there's your story.

The Far East is just a grab for cash...Sepang and Suzuka and are sufficient.

( maybe Singapore fore commercial reasons,although I'm not a fan).

Being in Australia these races are more timezone friendly, but I'd rather watch a race at Imola or Magny Cours sat 10pm.... or US races in the wee hours.

Even on tv you can sense the spectators knowledge of what they're watching.


Gotta be honest, I don't miss Magny Cours, or Magny Bore as I used to colloquially call it, the Nevers circuit was a pretty dull track with dull racing in a dull location.

If grand prix racing is to back to Le Republic, then I suspect Paul Ricard would be the most likely venue..............but with Mr Hollande in charge I think the earliest F1 would go back to France is around 2018.............but I could be wrong on that one!

Imola on the other hand was always a good way of F1 to play itself into the start of the European season, but it was a bit tight and fiddly, and the pit lane was rather cramped. Having said that, the races at Imola were always fraught and exciting, so it is much missed......but I can't see it coming back on the F1 calender any time soon, sadly.

I think the days when the European season was dominant in terms of races staged is gone................


I really should proof read before I post... I found two mistakes.. apologies to pedants.


Blame Mr E and Mr Murdoch, two old billionaires who did a deal to help each other.

Ironic, as Murdoch's News International has been totally discredited because of its phone hacking scandals, but there you go........ethics have small bearing on finances, sadly.


The problem is, Bernie doesn't get money from fans, the promoters get money from the fans, so that they can hope to afford the money they paid CVC to host the race in the first place. Not that Bernie (really) needs the money from the promoters, because he's getting all his money from the TV viewers.

Unfortunately, with the heavy move to pay-tv, he's losing audience numbers, so they come up with bat@#%( crazy ideas to "make things more interesting", instead of remembering to sell cheap and sell often. 😉

On the other hand, Bernie is getting up there, so really, his financial interest is in getting F1 to last about 5 more years-- after that, he's unlikely to care what happens to the sport, and that's the problem-- the people who have a vested interest in F1 being around 10-15 years, or 20-30 years from now, either have no control over the direction of the sport (fans) or are too divided against each other to make meaningful changes (the teams).


The "far flung" races as the media likes to call them are a hang up from the 1970s when these destinations seemed impossible for anyone to get to and made good location shoots for Bond films. They don't make good racing venues, I've already forgotten the name of the new European GP because it means nothing to me, but if it were in France for example then that would make some connection. F1 needs bums on seats not a strip of Tarmac in a desert.


Well, it has to be remembered that in every other points system in the history of F1, Hamilton would not have been WDC in 2008. Felipe would.

(And even with that, Felipe would have been WDC 2008 bar misfortune out of his control...)


Err - did you actually see the travesty that was Spa that year?

Nowhere in the history of Motorsport was it defined that you had to let someone (punting you up the backside in most corners) 'lots of time to get away' should you be shunted across a chicane in a wet race!

That year was best forgotten - other than the fact the Mclaren the eventual champ raced did NOT win the CC.

And that is what puts his performance above others...


@Thompson...Canada 2014 springs to mind....oh wait.......;)


Has there ever been a 20sec time penalty handed out to another driver since, for cutting a chicane, giving the place back then winning the race since?


Why does it bear remembering? That was the points system, every competitor knew it going into the season, and that was that. The simple fact is that Hamilton should've been nowhere near the title that year, given how good the Ferrari was that year. But he hung around, and gave himself a shot at it. Ferrari in truth blew it that season.

I don't like the double-points system, but that's the points system we have for this year, and that's that. I hope the result in ABU doesn't cause a "if-it-wasn't-worth-double-then-this" scenario, but I pretty much expect that it will.

What I mostly hope for is that every car, or at least the cars that are fighting for positions in both championships, makes it to the finish in Abu Dhabi. Of course I also hope that the reliability stakes even themselves out amongst the main players, before we get to that race.


Ferrari did indeed let themselves down with poor reliability and operational errors in 2008 that torpedoed Massa's F1 WDC chance: the Ferrari grenaded itself when Felipe was leading in Hungary with just a few laps to go, and then there was that howler of a pit stop at Singapore.................

Which is why I'm hoping Merc F1 can sort out their reliability niggles and operational blunders - so that the WDC is settled by wheel to wheel action on the track, and not somebody off the track forgetting to put the right nut on the right bolt!


Retroactively applying points systems to seasons is pretty pointless, especially to seasons as close as 2008 because the points system necessarily changes how drivers and teams react in certain situations. Hamilton could obviously have pushed a lot harder in Brazil if there was any need to.


Felipe would have easily been champion that year had he not made several costly mistakes in the first four races, never mind the others he made the rest of the season, the point system, luck, Piquet jr. at Singapore, etc.

He has never shown consistency which is why he never was and never will be champion.


which demonstrates what a bad idea double points is

few people would suggest that there is currently a better driver in F1 than alonso who drags everything there is out of a ferrari which , although the most reliable car once again , is hardly the quickest

who else could do this ? not vettel or rosberg and clearly not kimi

only hamilton has the talent to do this .....and maybe ricky in the fiture ...we shall see


When will people get it in their heads- Alonso has enjoyed unconditional no1 status at Ferrari for 4 years now- the only driver to do so! That doesnt get undone overnight. Raikkonnen was quicker at Barcelona & Monaco before team strategy at Spain and Max Chilton destroyed a chance at a certain podium for Raikkonen at Monaco. 2 races He was also fadter at Bahrain before team strategy put Alonso ahead.Magnussen collided into the rear of Raikkonen and thisnis before we get the crazy power unit surges ( Montreal ). To cap this off technical failures in pre season testing cost Raikkonen 1000hrs- thats right folks more than 3 gps..

Its fair to say his season has been diabolical (same for seb)..

Hungary- despite the cars inherent weaknesses showed great skill from 16-6 so I would not write Raikkonen off just yet. With the first Neautral Non Alonso car due 2015- Im expecting a much closer battle.


You can only judge what Vettel and Rosberg can achieve in a Ferrari when they drive one. What you claim is just your biased personal opinion and you have nothing to back it up.


Nope it's not worth remembering at all because Felipe was NOT WDC in 2008 was he?


Actually he was. For some 30 secs.


Rosberg cannot beat Lewis in a straoght race in Canada he locked his breaks then took a short cut & gained more track distance. At Silverstone Lewis drove his heart out to catch up to Rosberg. Bahrain the racer in Lewis showed race craft as Mario Andretti stated in his F1 interview on official website. Lewis would be in a higher position if it wasn't for Car failures & shoddy pitstops.

Rosberg parked his car at Monaco to prevent any of the other drivers completing a fast lap time.

Cribs of Lewis pace notes.

Big cheesy smile from a driver who'll try & riggle his way to a Championship.

No way is he on a par with Lewis Alonso or Vettel & I'd say Riccardo.

Come on Lewis Kick Ass & beat this Euro pseudo german Monaco rich kid !!


People like you make me smile.... with content


Smile away 🙂 content with intent 😀 like it


If Lewis wants to beat Rosberg Junior, then he has to hope that his team seal his cars fuel tank properly and make sure his brake discs are properly attached!

Seriously though, lets all hope that the silly niggly reliability issues have been sorted so its a straight fight between the two in this second half of the season.


RE Pkara: If Merc issue any more team orders I put my foot through the TV!

Nah, seriously, I suspect when the constructors title is sealed, then it's a case of OK Gents, the gloves are now off..............


Totally agree with you Gazboy lets hope for an even playing field with no mechanical issues or dubious team orders when the championship is so tight.

Its amazing how much of a media 'love in' is going with the Blonde Hair Blue Eyed So called German driver 😉

You should check out interview with Legend Mario Andretti on F1 website at least theres one World Champion rooting for Lewis.

As a famous Aussie Comedy show from the late 1980s states "LET THE BLOOD RUN FREE" .

Its Game On for Spa. Come on Lewis British Bulldog spirit 🙂


For us Tv audiences the noise issue has become forgotten because of the on track action but for the fans live on track, noise is still an important ingredient for the enjoyment of the sport for just like food, you need salt to give it that extra flavour to make the taste awesome.

On the topic of Rosberg, for sure he has been a pleasant surprise for not only has he saved the show (i.e. nobody likes a run away leader) but has also brought honour to the family name with his good performances especially at the home tracks in Monaco and Germany.

But honestly, after last season and also during his time with Schumi, nobody expected Rosberg to be a walk over especially after his good form in the second half of 2013 that led a number of experts to tip Rosberg as the 2014 champion.

Now, what I believe may have made Rosberg stronger is not necessarily his father but rather the fact that he has been able to draw energy from stronger drivers such as Webber, Schumi and Lewis.

Yes, the best way to improve oneself is by studying with pupils that are cleverer than yourself for only then can you pick up useful information.

As for Lewis, he has never asked for number 1 status at Mercedes so the notion of having things easy has never been on the cards.

And yes, after Lewis first 2 brilliant seasons the fans were expecting lots of success from the lad but the way modern F1 is, the car is king and so it's very difficult to make it without the tools but considering the fact Lewis has a bunch of British F1 records, I say the lad hasn't done too badly for himself.


Always thought the noise of an F1 car is something unique and it adds defintely to the exitement of te crowd.

I've been to a race at least 1 time/season since 2005. Going to Spa next week and really curious about the noise and the effect is has on the experience.

Hope I won't be too dissappointed because the tickets are quite expensive 😉


Good point going back to November 2008, the media went into overdrive and said Lewis first WDC would be the first of many.

It may well have done - but that small German chap who finished in front of him at the 2008 Brazilian GP had other ideas................as did those people working at some factory in Milton Keynes.

Turns out Lewis committing to Macca long term after the 2008 season was a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time..................ah well, everyone is wiser with the benefit of hindsight.

That's a point, will Brackley-Merc be a one season wonder or a genuine long term fighters?

Who knows? And who wants to know? Unpredictability is what makes motor sport great!


Yes and no. Some mistakes in 2010 and not having more of the measure on Jenson in 2012 cost him a couple of titles.

Whilst he is immensely more talented then Alesi ever was, there are some character traits that are similar between the two of them.


Macca regularly produced good cars from 2008-12.

They certainly had the fastest car in 2010 and 2012.

The team was affected by strategic errors, reliability problems and few racing incidents which let them down.

Lewis is at right place at every time. He was with Macca when they were fast. He is with Merc when they are the fastest. In fact he never had to drive a midfield car in his career


@ Gaz Boy

Interestingly at Interlagos 2008, Lewis was asked if he would be gunning for Schumi's records there after but Lewis replied saying Schumi can keep his records as he felt they were out of reach.

Regards Mercedes form, according to Domencalli with the new rules, the Mercedes engine will be tough to beat for a number of seasons.


Absolutely agree with his comments on dwindling audiences. Its heart-aching for me to hear all the new gimmicky rules like standing restarts, DRS, and the worst one of all, Abu Double, all to 'improve the show'. The sport is more and more losing its sport element and becoming a reality TV show. These rules made 'for the fans' are made without consulting the fans, and then when we react so negatively, we are ignored!!!!! It infuriates me so much. And for that we must thank Bernie Ecclestone. The sooner he retires, the better.

In my view, fans MUST have an active role in deciding which direction the sport moves. Surely?

Is there anything we can do to stop the FIA and FOM completely ruining F1?


There is an on-going debate about the sport’s dwindling audiences


I read a quote from James Hunt on the old school F1 were he said that

''Although people would deny it forever, they came to see someone get killed''


”Although people would deny it forever, they came to see someone get killed”

akin to Rome and gladitorial combat


As someone who watched the old races, both on TV and the circuit, I wouldn't say I ever wanted to see anyone get killed. What I wanted to see was drivers come close to killing themselves but managing, though their great skill, to avoid it. In other words we wanted to gasp in anticipation of the horror, and then in admiration.

Nowadays the way drivers barge into one another, knowing they're in no danger of injury, is instead killing the sport rather than the drivers. The only solution is, first, tighter stewarding and consistent penalties for those drivers who don't show sportsmanship; it is after all a non-contact sport. it will be a long hard haul, for lax policing has gone on for too long.

Second, more opportunities must be provided for the drivers to show their car control skills. Current cars corner like they're on rails. This year has been much better due to the new rules but cars still develop too much downforce in relation to their power. We need to see cars on the edge of adhesion more often. Ask why 'drifting' is so popular.


He did say that, but he said it in the late 70s/early 80s when F1 drivers did die - James had first hand experience of Ronnie Peterson's ultimately fatal accident when James dragged Ronnie from a burning car, so it has to be seen in that context. (Ronnie later died of an aneurysm/embolism caused by his broken legs when bone marrow entered his blood stream).

Having said that, the danger of motor sport will always be part of its attraction.


@ Gaz Boy

For sure, in the past, first lap incidents took on a whole new ghastly meaning.


We should make an organisation, something like the Grand Prix Fans Association. Similar to a football club's supporters group. And we must be consulted on new rules.



Completely agree on your point regarding ignoring F1's history. I know of no other sport that actively shuns its classic venues in the same way. Could you think of tennis leaving Wimbledon, the US Masters leaving Augusta, or in motorsport Indycar without the 500? All three of these sports have actively courted new markets, but not at the expense of the venues where the history that made the sport what it is today.


Well put Neil. That puts it into a perspective that everyone can relate to.


"Do you agree with the points Ed raises? Is Nico Robserg a more formidable racer than many gave him credit for being?"

No. He is very fast, and can lead from the front comfortably. But he is not a "racer".



There are many drivers that can drive quickly, out front in clear air. There are very few that can race. You only have to look at how Rosberg has struggled this year when he has found himself in a battle with another driver - Bahrain and Hungary are two examples that come to mind and they were, frankly, embarrassing for Rosberg.


"Will Lewis get past him and if he doesn’t what will the consequences of that be?"

If he only loses because of unreliability in the same car, then probably not very much to be honest.


I couldn't agree with his point more about Bernie flushing history down the tubes for money. The sport has been completely wasted at the tracks the author mentioned. It's unbelievable to me that there's been no French Grand Prix for 8 years now. It horrifies me that the Hockenheimring was destroyed and turned into what Juan Montoya called, "a go cart track." Imola got an undeserved bad reputation with Senna's death, but what a wonderful place to race. The fans are crazy, the track is awesome, and it's been upgraded in the last few years with a new straight and pit complex. Bernie won't give it "the time of day".

Spa has been under threat a time or two in the last few years, and now Monza, the "shrine of F1 racing" as far as I'm concerned. Bernie and CVC are "selling out" F1 for the lure of quick cash at the expense of long term relevance.

Kristiane Cyrus

Totally agree with Ed.

I am very surprised too at the level Nico is able to put himself up to this year, that's against someone who has beaten Alonso in the past. Despite not having the same natural raw speed and talent as his team mate, he is proving himself a tough nut to crack.

I'd be happy if Nico wins the WDC this year, and equally happy if Lewis wins it.

2014 is one of the best seasons of recent years.


"Someone who has beaten Alonso". You have to dominate a champion before you have beaten them. Finishing the season tied on points, too me, didn't prove anything at the time and means less today. There is not a team in F1 that would take Hamilton over Alonso. Moreover, time has proven McLaren would have been better to back Alonso. Relentless beats quick.


"There is not a team in F1 that would take Hamilton over Alonso."

You mean like McLaren did 🙂


Thanks, James, for providing an interesting and provocative set of views for all to ponder. These perspectives are, for sure, held by many and will prove controversial for others. Nico does appear have 'the right stuff' and it is unfortunate his father's approach didn't provide much of an insight - especially when there was an appointment to be honored.

Perhaps some day the full Stepney story will emerge, but will anyone remember by then - or care? What really happened inside Ferrari to cause the actions reported? Will that ever come to light and if/when it does will anything change?

The decisions to move away from the F-1 strengths seem to have been short-term and apparently "show me the money" driven. The ultimate effect on the future is yet to be determined, but realistically it appears there are some of the more traditional venues and countries who no longer believe the price of admission provides value assumed by the salesman.

When will we move from the BE perspective and direction - who knows? One would think that some ground work would be visible by now, but seems it is 'business as usual' in spite of the obvious interest in substance on the part of many. Would be interesting to see the FIA assume some responsibility for the direction(s) to be charted.


I agree, this is a fantastic article from Ed Gorman, always makes for fascinating reading when a piece is interwoven with personal opinion and insight. Merely reporting is boring, ha.

Would love to see more like this James. Feels overdue for one of your more in-depth articles, eg, with all the news coming out of Marinello from former and current employees and drivers, speculation on Montezemolo's exit, etc, I thought we'd see some insight from you coupled with "insider" knowledge from your Italian sources 🙂


Good little insight.

How refreshing to have a dominant team actually employ two drivers who can race each other's balls off! Go back exactly 10 years ago and a certain team who paint their cars red who dominated the 2004 F1 season: "OK Rubens, follow Michael home, there's a good chap, remember your contractual status."

I'm not decrying Ferrari for being utterly dominant from 2001 to 2004, but I am decrying them for not letting their two drivers race each all the time! OK, Rubens was never as good as Michael overall, but imagine, just imagine, if they had been allowed to race each other eh? Perhaps 2004 wouldn't have been the one sided WDC snooze fest that it was.

So let us all thank Ross the Boss for selecting two equally matched drivers to drive for F1. Perhaps he learned his lesson from his Ferrari stint?

Imagine if Fangio and Moss, Clark and Hill, Andretti and Peterson or even Michael and Rubens had been allowed to race each other without the dogs breakfast that is team orders? Oh what might have been.

Speaking of the dogs breakfast that is double points for the last race, perhaps it would have been better received had the last race been at the classic drivers circuit of Interlagos which always threaten to rain and interrupt the race, rather than the dreary desert dry as a bone totally predictable snooze fest of Abu Dhabi? Just a thought.


The noise issue: Told by folks that GP2 and GP3 are more spectacular track side, F1 felt "by the way" to them.

On the TV it's great racing. At the track where the full story of the race is not easily conveyed, the experience is diminished by no longer having that visceral, almost tangible "connection" with the cars on track. I suspect things will normalise with attendances of races but something has been lost in the new formula - not your hearing mind you.


Just to sound off on the "noise issue", I went to Silverstone earlier this year and can honestly say that the seeing the GP2 and GP3 races was not any more spectacular than watching the F1 cars. Seeing the 2 world champions of Vettel and Alonso fight for every inch of track (and then some 😛 ) on the big screens, watching Hamilton's charge to reduce Rosberg's lead (before his unfortunate retirement), Bottas' assured climb through the field, and Button's late race surge to the back of Ricciardo all proved to be a far more visceral and engaging experience than listening to the slightly louder engines used in the lower formula... but thats just my opinion of course.

I do agree that its harder to follow the races when live at an event, but I attribute that to the poor track side commentator, who wasn't up to the standards of the TV/Radio commentators. And his sidekick was a little... off-colour 😛


Nico Rosberg kept old Schumi REALLY honest, for two seasons. And we all thought ah, the old man's lost it... he can't even keep up with a young journeyman.

Last year should have been a pretty clear indication that, actually, Schumi had done rather well to keep up with Rosberg (when he could). Yes, Lewis finished ahead of Nico (189 points to Nico's 171) thanks to a late surge (Nico got more victories, before the revised tyres made 2013 a 'Vettel-only' proposition) but Lewis didn't exactly wipe the floor with Rosberg, like so many Hamilton fans assumed he would.

Clearly, even if such a big part of this year's fan base was prepared to ignore last year, Rosberg himself knew that he has more than a fighting chance to become a champion in 2014, and it shows. Good for him.


Lets see being beaten by your brand new mate despite you being in the team for 4 years oh & wait inheriting a victory thatbwas certainly Hamiltons before his tyre blew...

C'mon give me a break....


"Nico got more victories"

Yeah, I wouldn't go shouting about that too much, considering he inherited one of them directly from Hamilton AND Vettel.


@glennb Needless to say Lewis has inherited victories (although apart from Britain this year I can't really remember any - Turkey 2010 kind of counts I guess but the two Bulls did crash into each other...). My point was that trying to use the 2-1 win score last year to try and prove Rosberg has the wheels on Hamilton is thin almost to the point of non-existence.


Excellent point Andrew. Lewis has never inherited a victory in his entire career.


Good article. But Nico's performance should come as no surprise. Both Schumacher and Brawn mentioned many a times that Nico is no pushover and is a very,very good racer. He fought Hamilton tooth and nail in 2013 and lost in point by a hair's breadth (thanks to some early season retirements). So Nico may well win the 2014 title or may lose to Hamilton by a small margin, whatever the end result is, Nico Rosberg has established himself as a man to be reckoned.

As for Kimi's choice as Filipe's replacement, i think it was more from a perspective of "what if Alonso quits post 2014?" question that was lingering on LdM's head. Ferrari wanted a big name and a former world champ. So i guess until Vettel joins the scuderia, Ferrari had to make do with other champs available, and Kimi was the only option. In hindsight, Ferrari could have saved a ton of money and hired the Hulk or even Grosjean.


It strikes me about Nico Rosberg that he approaches racing on and off the track like Alain Prost. (Not that he is as good as Prost, just that that is his approach.) Which has been incredibly effective this season for several reasons. The 2014 cars seem to respond better to a silky touch than brute speed, something Nico clearly possesses more than Lewis. Likewise, Lewis styles himself after Ayrton (though of course he is not quite as good) so who better than Prost for Nico to use as a model to foil his teammate? And Prost always knew how to play politics - no matter how much Mercedes says it has no need for a German champion, I'm sure that helps Nico in certain parts of the factory and parent company.

Ironically, Keke's driving style was all Senna/Hamilton. But Keke himself admitted Prost was the only driver who could beat him in equal cars (as indeed he did in McLaren in 1986). Nico has evidently heeded that lesson from his dad's career well.



Better fuel consumption and tyre wear suggest you are wrong Larry Parker.


As expected: amazing quality of racing (caused mainly by safety car periods), amazing rivalry between ROS & HAM (so Senna & Prost I'm like totally excited, yeah), amazing power units with amazing "quality of sound" - no more suffering for poor journos in the sound-proof media centre, amazing car noses - so different (tech junkies going nuts). When will this PR for 2014 regs ever stop?

IndyCar and IndyLights combination puts out really amazing races compared to F1's "amazing" races these days and without this annoying hybrid brainwashing: oh, we're saving the planet here. Besides, I get to watch plenty of useful vids on YT on the official IndyCar channel and the likes of R2IndyTV. Good info on social media, fast powerful cars and drivers with aplomb.

Formula 1 c. 2014 - forget about it! A waste of time. As I was saying, the emperor's new clothes are visible only to the emperor himself.


Your first paragraph is brilliant and I completely agree. So much PR talk, hyping everything up. It gets nauseating. It's a lot like Sky and them calling the English Premier League "the best league in the world" several times at every single live game they show.

Even in years when the guy in front ran away with it (2011) they were was so much talk of great racing "there was great racing that year but sometimes, it was bad).

Kieran Donnelly

Interesting ramble - largely agree


All excellent points and very nice to read something more substantial than the usual driver vs. driver opinions. It is precisely the teams and men such as Stepney that allow some men to climb the top step of the podium at race's end. And don't discount the influence Mr. Ecclestone has in the day to day running of the sport.

note: I believe almost all of the current F-1 drivers are very competitive and given the right car would be successful. Naturally some will be given the opportunity to become 'legends' and others will be shown the door. That too is Formula One.


"note: I believe almost all of the current F-1 drivers are very competitive and given the right car would be successful. Naturally some will be given the opportunity to become ‘legends’ and others will be shown the door. That too is Formula One."

I agree; even the "worst" drivers in F1 are pretty damn good but each has different strengths. Vettel has 4 world championships but can't get as much out of this year's car as Ricciardo can. I don't think Vettel is a worse driver than he was last year it is just that his style matched the car perfectly last year and it doesn't work as well with this year's car.

The margins are so small (and the talent so great) that these little differences are the difference between winning and losing (or at least between coming after the Mercedes or after the Williams)


Funny how people view NR as mentally tough yet it is Lewis who has had to pick himself up two weekends in a tow from back of the grid and it is who has come off worst in terms of reliability and somehow is labelled as 'fragile', 'weak' etc.



Completely agree. The pressure of having to overtake almost the entire field, two races in a row, all the while knowing that a mistake will almost certainly 'gift' 25 points advantage to your championship rival, must be immense. I am really looking forward to seeing how Rosberg copes when the 'racing Gods' throw a curved ball in his direction and he has the opportunity to prove his toughness in a similar manner.


at the start of the season, the word was intelligent, slowly morphed into tough. don't forget that the whole mercedes team including rosberg were asking for hamilton to slow down to allow rosberg through only for hamilton to use his superior intellect and toughness to decide otherwise.

the evidence is overwhelming.


You didn't complain when last year it was the other way round.



This is a really good and well argued piece. It's nice to see someone writing intelligently about F1 (I obviously exclude you from this assessment!)

Can we have more?

Regarding noise, I have only this to say - I saw the Red Bull from a few years ago in the track parade at Silverstone this year. It seems to me that the whole debate is about "the car" whereas it should actually be about the racing. Yes, there is something unique and spine-tingly thrilling about a last generation F1 car in flight but there is something equally thrilling about the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park!



I remember so-called 'experts'...claiming that Rosberg would be destroyed by Schumacher. That didn't happen. Hamilton fans sounded the same way at first. Rosberg is finally getting some respect as a top tier driver in a top tier car. If Rosberg didn't have Hamilton as a teammate he would be running away with the drivers title. Of course the same holds true for Hamilton. In fact F1 is all about having the best car. Schumacher, Button and Vettel are clear examples of this.


except when schumacher button and vettel had the dominant car it didn't break down as much as hamilton's.


Vettel has had many more car failures whilst in the lead than Lewis ever will.


So it has to do with the driver, then?


But the aforementioned drivers team-mates also had the best car............


- Certainly Nico is no pushover.

- Lewis has hardened himself with best possible outcomes with poor car reliability in last few races. It would be very interesting to find out how Nico would have fared had he been into so many reliability problems.

- Lewis won 4 races in a row earlier in the season. Nico has shown something similar in qualifying albiet added with Lewis's poor luck / mistakes.

- Lewis has shown more than once this season that he an cut through traffic with his faster car while Nico has yet to show that.


"...Bernie’s biggest mistake has been his determination to sell Formula One and new tracks to territories where there is no history or interest in the sport whatsoever while at the same time ignoring some of its traditional strongholds..."

I couldn't agree more. And the reason? CVC and the money making machine. They won't give two hoots about the sport or fans all the time it's coughing up large wads of cash.


I stated my views on Rosberg's mental strength and how he's been vastly underestimated back in May:



Read your article....... Prrrrrft.

Standard lack of insight.

Rosberg did a job on Schumacher in a car that never moved up the grid. And under regulations which did not allow Schumacher to develope the car in the way he was used to.

I.e test every minute that was available to him between races.. Both drivers just drove in that period. (we discussed this before on this very forum)

I had no love for Schumacher but his approach was the same as it was during the early Ferrari years - sadly outdated.

Rosberg was under no pressure ref mental strength to be an issue just keep the car on the track. All eyes on Schumacher.

This season like 2013 he has the good fortune of having a current driver capable of developing the car in the modern era.

Like Button he is benefiting from Hamilton. If you doubt that consider the last few McLarens Hamilton drove - was it 2009 they had a car that started a season unable to get to Q3 - by season end it was a race winner.

2011 when Button unable to reach Q3, Hamilton's set up had to be employed if not for Hamilton the team would have performed as it is now.

2012 - Hamilton could have contested the WDC but for inexplicable gremlins. (Button was nowhere) . This period could have broken a 'mentally weak' driver. Instead Hamilton made a decision many called foolish and moved on - the Merc moved forward now its dominate.

Like Lauda's return after his accident Hamiltons mental attitude is driving him forward.

The last couple of races his resilience again has shone through ending the mid season 11 points shy of his teammate. When he could clearly be two race wins down.

Win or lose the WDC there is no real question regards Hamilton's mental strength - the New stats ref tyre and fuel usage suggest he does not lack the ability to adapt ether.

All that's required to assess both Rosberg and Hamilton is fair treatment from the team providing equal equ and reliability then we can re-asses come season end.

Few.... Think l'll go lie down now....


Really good article. The hypotheses you made were thoughtful, original and got me thinking as well. Also, on the basis of their careers so far (both this season and before), I think there could be a lot of truth in them (though is it me or does Lewis' emotions and 'bigging up' always reach a peak at Monaco GP weekend?). I agree with both you and Ed Gorman above that the role (either 'nature' or 'nurture'-wise) of Nico's father Keke, as a former F1 world champion himself, is important. However, the fascinating thing about this season is I guess we'll only truly know at the end, or maybe beyond; how will Nico (and Lewis) cope with the title run-in, for example?


I'm not convinced Rosberg has that final bit of magic that makes him the complete racer.

Webber had the same issue. They both seem to be able to catch cars but then struggle to stay close enough in the dirty air to really apply pressure. Drivers like Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg and Ricciardo don't seem to have the same issue. We saw Rosberg suffer from this problem in Hungary. Rosberg doesn't seem that creative either. At Bahrain he repeatedly tried the same move on the outside of Hamilton into T4 when it was obvious that it wasn't going to work. Where was the creative placement of his car that Ricciardo displayed at Germany on Alonso?

Re audience sizes I firmly believe it's down to cost - racing wise this year has been one of the best seasons I've seen in the last 30 years I've been watching. People only have a finite amount of disposal income. Going to an F1 event isn't cheap even for people who have well paying jobs. Likewise putting racing behind a paywall in return for TV revenue works for CVC but it is never going to help the long term health of the sport. Older people like myself might pay, but you have to remember that the next generation has grown up in a world of free content on the internet. You'll never get them to pay.

F1 and most professional sport have forgotten what enabled them to pull in the big dollars in the first place - their fans. There's only so much you can milk from the golden goose.


I completely agree with you BenM about the assessment of NR as a driver. He is really good when out front - however, he makes it very painful on himself and the audience with the lack of overtaking ability when he is behind. I firmly believe that NR does not have the raw pace of HAM and RIC. This debate about NR being tough is best had at the end of the season - as some one else posted 'nerves have plenty of time to rattle NR'. Relatively speaking, HAM overtakes with ease and backmarkers are sitting ducks for him regardless of tires, weather, etc. RIC and ALO are the same way. This is a huge distinction between NR and these other front-runners. I therefore feel that NR in any other car cannot even come close to his performances this season.

Scuderia McLaren

Nico's mental fortitude has been a revelation this season. His speed, for me, wasn't in question. I always suspected he was at least a match for Lewis's deservedly hyped one lap pace.

What I find most poetic is that Lewis has yearned for the best car for many years since 2008. His cries and pointed statements also were used to undermine other drivers titles saying they had the best car, that's why they won. Well Lewis, YOU have the best car and with more than half the races done you are being beaten by your team mate.

The supporters of Lewis will point to reliability, but in the end, it's evening out and the excuses will be forgotten. No one would have thought that, in the event of having the best car, that the contest between the two would even be close so as to blame reliability as a reason for championship placing differences.


No I would just say that is very unfortunate that Lewis has had 2 more mechanical failures and more tech problems in quali ( ie total fire, etc) then I doubt Nico would be even close.. Just to make sure team strategies at several races ensured Nico was still in the hunt otherwise what we would be seeing is NO COMPETITION.. If people do not get that then I feel very sorry for your incredible naivety in this "business".


What I find most poetic ...

In what way is it poetic? Ironic - yes, prophetic -maybe. But poetic?


"The supporters of Lewis will point to reliability, but in the end, it’s evening out "

Um no, it isn't!



I can quite easily say this because I was referring to a sentence that is in the present continuous; "it's even*ing*" out. That indicates that AT THIS PRESENT TIME, the amount of reliability issues is evening out. However, Hamilton has suffered multiple reliability issues since Rosberg's last incident, so no it is NOT evening out, in fact quite the reverse is true.

What may or may not happen in the future has nothing to do with the (in)correctness of @Scuderia McLaren's statement.


How can you say this? Do you already know how the rest of the season will pan out?


isn't it unfortunate there isn't an instrument to measure this mental ability? with all the physical displays, you still look beyond the horizon for for neural activity no one can see.


Reliability clearly hasn't evened out at all, if anything, given Lewis has been shunted to the back of the grid for the last two races, it's getting worse! Also I don't think excuses will be forgotten, the title battle is so clearly between the two of them and reliability is so strong these days that if Rosberg wins with fewer race wins but better reliability then it will be remembered for a very long time. This isn't like Alonso vs Kimi in 2005, because they were in different teams, so you can always make the case that Kimi's failures were a result of McLaren's failures as a team vs Renault; here they both have the same car and (supposedly) the same equipment, so any failures are simply luck of the draw. If reliability were even, Rosberg would be behind, either slightly or by a significant margin depending on how many points you think Hamilton's failures cost him.


It hasn't really "evened out" though, has it? Two DNF's to one, plus the two mechanical failures in qualifying, which seriously put Lewis on the back foot (a P20 or PL start).

It's not like Nico can state that, had reliability been the same, that he'd still be leading the standings, can he? Of course not.

You're right that in the end, the record books won't remember what the reliability stakes were between them through the year.

I was never one that ever discounted Rosberg out of hand. I would never bet on Rosberg to best Hamilton over a season, but I equally never expected Lewis to "blow him out of the water", etc. With the car as strong as it is currently, 1-2's should be the order of the day if the race is dry and normal. That's why reliability has factored so strongly into it this year. Ironically, if the car was just a shade or two weaker, it would likely be to Hamilton's benefit, to create bigger separation between Nico and himself. You're right about Hamilton pining for the best car all these years ... this is the first year that he's actually had the outright best car (i.e. no one else with an equally good car, as in 2007), and now it turns out that it's just a little TOO good!! 🙂


What a load of *** Tough?! Only reason hes leading the WDC standings is that Lewis's car keeps blowing up! Since the 1st race! Lewis is the tough one! Coming from last to 3rd in Hungary, and constantly fighting to catch Nico. Nico has had it easy this season...


You do not understand the message of the article. It says that Rosberg is tougher to beat by Hamilton than most thought. And that is true.



You do not understand the message of the article...

And it would appear, if we judge by your comment, that you do not understand the reason that Nico is leading the WDC.


@ Danny, was the last time that someone won the championship without the best car, his name was Rosberg? )


I think for a driver to win the WDC he has to be in the best TEAM, not necessarily the best car. A team that is organised, disciplined, has a good development programme and is well prepared.

Fail to prepare - prepare to fail!


I would say Schumacher didn't have the best car in 1994 too.


Well, Autosport thought so, that's why they named the B194 their Car of the Year in 1994.


That car was suspected of having TC and after hitting the wall he took 2swipes to take out the rightfull WDC of 94.

History won't tell you this on paper but you can watch it on YouTube.


No it was Hamilton


On the last point I have experience on two Far East races. Malaysian gp track is good, but in the middle of no where (by airport) with little to engage the crowd outside of the race - this year Calvin Harris after the race when everyone was going home. Difficult to be critical of the attendance this year though as it was just after the MH370 disaster. Singapore on the other hand does a great job, with the track through the middle of the city, and lots of off track stuff to engage the crowd. Feels more like a race attached to a music festival. Locals also respond by attending, though lots of complaints about the disruption to the local traffic. Singapore says to me you can expand from the traditional circuits, but really need to think how you are going to engage the local crowd beyond the racing given they maybe don't have the historic attachment to f1.

beyond just the racing.


These are good points. Going to new venues in itself is not a bad thing but there appears to be a lack of joined-up thinking on the issue. Things like location, marketing, price structure and even timing (e.g. Austin GP clashing locally with NASCAR; Turkish GP clashing with the end of the football season over there) are all important considerations. The simple assumption of 'build it and they will come' was a flawed one. As shown with Singapore and Abu Dhabi, I think F1 is learning. But I think there is still progress to be made.


Nice one, Ed, I am with you on the last point (F1 ignoring its history).

What's the real effect of all those races in the Far East, has F1 widened its fanbase there by going there?

If its all about money, then, I think it's just a short-term (and, perhaps, short-sighted) strategy. If you loose Europe (and as far as the young generation of Italians is concerned, you're loosing it) and all the people with mob devices which they could watch races on, the future will look rather gloomy.


I am not sure we can declare Rosberg as mentally tough yet. In my view only the driver that wins WDC will be the one that I would consider mentally tough. Rosberg has not won anything yet. The crunch time in the championship I think will be with about 3/4 races to go and where the pressure will be increased. Whoever of the championship contenders can excel under this pressure will win the WDC.

You either win the championship or you lose it.

This film quote from The Empire Strikes Back sums things up perfectly;

"Do or do not , there is no try".


Interesting read, with many points to think about, overall I agree

Nico has been undervalued, but we should not go the other side and overvalue him. Even if he takes the championship this year, he will be just another driver that was lucky to be in the top team in a specific year, Button did the same, Hill did the same, Villeneuve did the same. Even Vettel, despite the 4 championships is being considered by some (personally not decided yet) as just a lucky driver that had the best car and no internal competition till Ricciardo came along. I think it is easy to see that the real talent is on the garage next door to Nico, and it will interesting seeing Lewis trying to overcome the deficit in points due to his issues of reliability

On Bernie, what to say, with his money he gets to buy his out of jail card, pretty sad for how justice is working, but his money will do more good than having him in a jail cell would, if he was found guilty.

The interesting bit for me was the last section where I fully agree with the writer. Although globalizing the sport via creating venues was correct in principle, it does not seem to have worked. Perhaps if the same energy was focused on how to turn the existing venues into profitable ones, we would have a win win outcome. The dwindling audience can be explained by the high prices asked either when you go to a venue or when you have to watch via cable/satellite TV, its a no-brainer. The real question here is how this impacts the value of the sponsorships and whether the increase in revenues that are being shared with the teams compensates fully the loss of revenues by the sponsorships. I have the feeling that the paying TV route chosen by CVC and Bernie is the right one as it is more stable revue creation model, that is less affected by the ups and downs of the economy.


If Rosberg didn't have access to Hamilton's car settings etc, we'd soon see just how good he was. It's easy to be 'tough' when you're in the best car and the other driver has been on the back foot from the first race of the season. Rosberg has never really pushed a car and he's not much cop at actually racing. He's a bottle job.


It is true that Rosberg got an easy win in Melbourne, but in Silverstone Hamilton got a win gifted through Rosberg's broken car. Poetic justice.



Poetic justice...

Really? Perhaps you should check out the definition 😉


Q: Do you agree with the points Ed raises?

A: Some Yes some No.

Q: Is Nico Robserg a more formidable racer than many gave him credit for being?

A: No. What has Rosberg done? Really? Someone please tell me the skill in asking your engineer for driving advice? Fair enough Lewis does it too. It is such a commonly held belief that Nico is the more intelligent driver, surely he should just figure it out? To me, asking your engineer where you're slower is the same as handing in your exam at school, and then asking the exam board where you've missed out on a few marks so you can go back and re-write your answer. Where's the intelligence in that?

I'd take the timing information away from the drivers/engineers, other than the sector times, and let drivers figure out where/how to go faster for themselves. That's all a part of being a racing driver.

Q: Has the noise issue been overcome thanks to the quality of racing?

A: Nope. The noise is a fundamental part of Formula 1. It's part of the wow-factor, though I would add, and this is a personal thing, I don't like high pitch/revving engines. A throaty V8 rev-limited to about 15,000 would be fine by me.

Q: What does Bernie’s reclaiming of his F1 throne mean for the future of the sport?

A: F1's screwed. The pursuit of money first. That's never going to end well.

Q: And does his reinstatement spell a continuation of journeys to new markets at the expense of the traditional heartland of F1?

A: Yep. As a continuation from the previous question, money rules everything in F1, and racing and the fans come a very distant second. The trend has been set with India, Korea, China etc. These countries have no culture of motor racing, and after the initial year or 2 to let the interest pass, this shows. F1 should be in motorsport countries, Europe, Oz, Japan, US, Canada, Brazil etc.

A Grand Prix should be the pinnacle of motorsport, it should be earned.

In summary;

It has been my belief for quite a while now, that there is room for a, if you like, "glorified" GP2 championship. Same values, same principles, just faster cars, with an aero ratio to suit, and race on the best tracks in the world.

If such a championship were to be born, I think the motor racing fraternity would flock to it. I think the drivers would too.

When was the last time you saw a dull GP2 race? Now imagine that, but with faster cars, and Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton etc going wheel to wheel every other weekend. That'd be awesome wouldn't it?


I've never read eds column by his musings above doubt I'll look out for them.

Rosberg imo is like Button, he will be exposed when the focus is on him and him alone.

With the benefit of better talent doing the donkey work they will shine. But if you're depending on them for results.......

From day obe I have had no issue with the noise. From race 4 I have had no problem with the 'show'....... It's still F1.

BE....... I have no intention of wishing ill on another man but......... He needs to move on into retirement....pronto.

We did the rest already haven't we?

I think i'll stop......lol


Actually I've always though Nico was a very good driver and all he wanted was a decent car. His strength is consistentency at a high level. Lewis in Nico's company cannot afford to give away points unnecessarily. Beyond that Lewis has had a greater amount of mechanical misfortune, and rather more than his share of pure bad luck. I still think Lewis is the faster driver and the more talented. - Bahrain was evidence enough of that when Nico with better set up and faster tyre still could not get past him and make it stick. It was a wonderful piece of defensive driving from Lewis straight out of the top drawer. Nico drives with his head while Lewis is an emotional creature cable of astounding feats when everything goes right for him. Unfortunately quite the contrary things have gone awry. Frankly it's anyones guess how this battle is going to pan out, but we are in for some exciting racing for sure.

Well yes Bernie is back, but I doubt if it will be for long. I reckon 2 -3 years at the most. He paid the 60 million to stop the pain rather than anything else. A younger man would have fought the accusation.


Right, so F1 is expected to be a "global" sport, but one that exists only in Europe and America?

Can't speak for the other Asian tracks, but the circuit in India was built away from the natural stronghold of motorsport in the country i.e. South India. Your typical F1 fan in India is never going to be able to shell out about 500 dollars to make the yearly pilgrimage to Noida for a race out in the boondocks. It's cheaper to head to Singapore, take in a race, entertainment and shopping than attend a race in India!


If both Mercs finish all the remaining races Lewis will win the championship. In all the on track straight fights this year Lewis has won them all.

I would imagine Nico will finish 30 or 40 points points or so behind Lewis, maybe more . He has been very lucky so far this year


Cant argue with that. I'll tell you who else is lucky this year, the Mercedes team. They're lucky Renault provided RBR with such a crap powerplant otherwise young Danny Ricciardo would be running away with this one 🙂


Interesting comments here from Ed Gorman in his occasional series, particularly about Nico Rosberg. Good comments too about Ferrari. Regarding drivers, and maybe the team as a whole, I think there's a debate brewing about whether they have changed too little, too late; or changed too much.

The one area I disagree is about the move to new markets, which for me is a rehashing of an old argument. Whilst he's right about the demise of Turkey and Korea, for example, China has a growing fanbase and Singapore & Abu Dhabi have been good successes. Also, this doesn't explain for me the dwindling audiences at places like the Hockenheimring, Spa and Suzuka in recent years.

One argument I'm pondering on the above subject is that Bernie's financial model has F1 down as a monopoly. There is only one 'pinnacle of motorsport', and this is it. However, I think that more than ever the sport is in the market for 'leisure'. Simply put, if F1 is too expensive or awkward to watch, they'll do something else instead. I wonder if the move to pay-per-view can also be seen in this context; people who maybe wouldn't miss a race before the move realising that, actually, they don't have to tune in every race. They can do other things, or even watch other things, and, with things like double points and standing restarts going on, they also wonder if the product they do watch when they tune in is the one they originally fell in love with. Maybe, in line with Ed's comment on 'building on its history' these are the issues to resolve, rather than a wholescale changing of the venues to some sort of 1990s time warp.


JNH - Morzine & Mountainbiking!!

Proper holiday!! I went the last 2 years and loved it!!

I'm 39 this year, have a good job and disposable income - but i'm like many above - absolutely refuse to pay for Sky TV

I watch the highlights on BBC and spend much more time on sites like this following the sport than the telly

Money grabbing is killing the sport


The reason F1 is falling behind is because it is far to expensive and very boring compared to the sports that are growing. They have killed it with saftey and the profit they drag from it. I still watch but only because I can use my mates log in. No way I am paying all that money for F1. I can go to the TT for two weeks and see a far, far more exciting spectacle for te same money.

In the other point. Rosberg is an animal. How good was shumachers comeback now!?!?!? He was still extremely good. Hammy will still beat him as he is just better. People talk about being compete. I don't care about that, I want a manic loony bin throwing it up the inside. Do it die. Its just a pity its so safe now. Its racing. It should be dangerous. I recently started racing a super kart and it bored me because they are so easy to drive and safe compared to my old haunt of the sidecars. If you want excitement come and watch the ulster GP next year and stand at rock bends. That's real, exciting. F1? Its good but it could be so much better.


The are many things Inlike about F1, but the one thing I despise about it is the media hype and stories which drum up certain people, teams, drivers- especially when it uses other media people to do it.

Whilst I have nothing against Nico Rosberg Im constantly compelled to talk him down because of the ridiculous campaign talking him ip. Especially here by JA!.. Nico has always been a good driver as all that drive for top teams are. But why is it that for his entire racing career he has not measured by such greatness till right now?. There is a campaign going on right here supporting Mercedes Benz, supporting Nico Rosberg. Nico Rosberg was all but annonymous till 2013. Mercedes Benz have a campaign that is clearly favouring him and JA Are clearly supporting that campaign. I'm pretty certain that if the next 8 races are close between Hamilton and Nico, Nico will become World Champion by December- without a doubt.. This is all anyone needs to know about Nico Rosberg the rest is no different to any other driver in F1...


Rosberg always manages to surprise me.

Both in a good way: pushing Hamilton right to the limit.

And a bad way: Monaco.

Can a nice guy be a world Champion?

Button has proven it is feasible.

It does show that Schumacher was still a class act in his second stint as a Mercedes driver.


Fact is, Mercedes only started competing when Hamilton turned up... they went up, as McLaren fell apart...

Hamilton has made both Jenson and Nico look better then they are, as they follow in his wake, and wait for luck to make them competitive. Even Alonso, was carried by Hamilton in 2007... just look at Ferrari now.

Hamilton is the most complete driver in F1, and provides the best feedback to engineers for car development and setup.

The only think holding him back are the worst ever anti-racing regulations in F1 history from the FIA, and lots of bad luck...

I just wish Hamilton would have raced in the Schumacher years - the regs were more racing oriented, and men could be men.


Nico is definitively not a formidable racer and I still think Lewis will beat him this year.

But I agree with Mr. Hynes on his views about these Grands Prix in Bahrain, China, etc. Turkey I like the track though.


Of course Lewis is. But have you seen enough to know that Mercedes want Nico to win? Every strategy has this in mind. Unless Lewis is ahead by a comfortably ahead in each race- the team will put Nico ahead. So unless Lewis wins by big margins Nico will win the championship.


@C63. Mercedes are looking for a way to make German people care about Nico and instil national pride in the most recognised of German motoring brands on the Globe!. I cannot think of a more powerful way than winning Can you??, What better way than him winning the WDC in what "appears" to be a completely level playing field and Toto & Nikki constantly telling everyone they do. This is precisely the point please dont make constantly repeat and explain. If you saw the Daimler president - Dieter Zetsche face when Nico took that too step at Hockenheim you might appreciate it a bit more.

I know your a huge fan of Lewis - So am I !!- In his racing only. But please, stop with this marketing power of Lewis- this is exactly why he has polarised opinions globally. He & his management need to just focus on his racing and cut the crap. It sent him backwards with the British fans when he was in a british team- & I would suggest its doing him no favours in a german team and an understated german team mate . Raikkonen doesnt care about fans, doesnt even have twitter, doesnt have a marketing team - yet globally he is more revered than anyone & possibly more fans than anyone outside his relatively small Finland than any driver on the grid.

I dont watch Skysports and dont hold much faith in their opinions. As for German fans at German races I would suggest a certain court case by a certain british chap running F1 only weeks before didn't really help matters either along with the usual tough economic times and ticket prices



With respect, you still haven't answered my question. What is the upside for Mercedes if Nico wins the WDC instead of Lewis? Nico is simply not as marketable as Lewis, there is no question in that regard. Did you see the recent F1 show on Sky with the journalists? They had Michael Schmidt on there (he writes for the German equivalent of Autosport) and he said no one in Germany cares about Nico. They used to worship MSC - hence the seats full to overflowing at the German GP - but not Nico, or Seb for that matter.

Anyway, as you say, you have never been wrong in these matters - so if that isn't sufficient proof and weight of evidence I don't know what is 🙂


@C63 Everyone denouncing Nico as representing Germany has to have rocks in their head. If Im not mistaken its always a German flag behind him on the podium- THATS ALL THAT COUNTS & Sorry Brackerly and Brixworth are not the home of Mercedes Brand- not even close - despite ALL the english staff etc.. that thinking is just foley..Also Mercedes are repaying Nico for his loyalty and dedication through the MS years.. Nico sat in the shafows the whole time and dont forget most of germany would have been om the edge of their seat when MS was there.. Now they only have one driver left to carry that baton.

Look there could be even more reasons that none of us know. But one things for certain they are playing their cards very close to their chests. Nico instantly reacted to mine and several tweets suggesting the team are behind him - an innocent and unwitting driver does not react the way he did.. IT WAS LAUGHABLE. He knows whats happening and I bet all you like Lewis can see it too.. Ive never been wrong on these things and I picked it at Mclaren with Button also and the fact Lewis should/ did go to Mercedes... If Lewis wins its only because he stays way out in front of Nico and Nico has many issues.. If it is as close as it has been I'm certain Mercedes will strategise Nicos WDC.. I would like to know exactly what was said to the stewards at Monaco too when Nico went off -- that was plain absurd.



But have you seen enough to know that Mercedes want Nico to win? Every strategy has this in mind...

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that your suspicions are correct.

My question is; why would Mercedes prefer Nico to win the WDC?

Mercedes go racing in order to sell cars - agreed? Of the two drivers at Mercedes, Lewis is far and away the most marketable, not even the Germans care about Nico - remember the empty stands at his recent 'home' race? So, why would Mercedes prefer Nico to win the WDC, what is the upside for them if this happens?


So you heard Mercedes asking Lewis to not hold Nico up- even though he was racing for the win and the championship. You saw before that they put Nico on soft and Lewis on Mediums even though Lewis mid race was 1 full second faster than everyone including Nico. AND he had 2 brand new sets left from missing quali!!. You saw they did the same thing at Bahrain where Lewis fought Nico off whilst Nico was on options & he was on primes..

You saw Ferrari use strategy not once but twice to put Alonso in front of Raikkonen in Spain whilst the Santander chief was there watching along with thousands of Spaniards. You saw Crashgate, Spygate, you would have known Ferrari sacked the late Nigel Stepney for sabotaging Raikkonens fuel mid 2009.

Lauda is not making the strategy calls ,not sure whether hes even aware of the reasons at the time.But im sure everyones aware after they happen.I ve been watchin this "sport" for 30 years and if theres one thing Im certain of - there is always another reason other than racing-- so much so that I can almost predict what the main teams are about to do when the pit stops are happening and then I end up cursing when they do. I have picked many things that happened over the years well before anyone even suggested them. Lewis move to Merc, Raikkonens success at Lotus.

When the margins are small Mercedes are favouring Nico every time- make no mistake. They wont sabbotage Lewis but they are definitely making the marginal calls to suit Nico and that is all it takes sometimes. If things change they will change their strategy, like any team would but right now this is where its at. I think fans must never forget Mercedes spend 0ver €300m euros to go racing and its image and motives are not the same as people watching or even the drivers driving.. They say it but ive learned talk is cheap in this game


I've followed F1 for 47 years, so I've seen some of everything. Still, it's hard to imagine Mercedes could get away with sabotaging Lewis even within the team; Niki Lauda has been very supportive and he's a smart guy. I doubt Mercedes would dare try to bypass him with some trick.

Lewis has probably the wrong engineer though.


The Hamilton Rosberg title race will go to the last race. I suspect lewis will edge it. Rosberg has only won a straight fight once at Monaco and that was means very foul. He has forced mistakes into Lewis though and been very consistent. The mentally stronger driver will do it.


Nico is more calculative and Lewis is more fiery. I prefer the fiery guy although emotionally it has its down points too but when it's fiery it's definitely more exciting. And Wolf and Lowe, kindly refrain from explaining that you allow your drivers to race, I sincerely don't believe that.

The second part of the season and Lewis with only 11 points adrift it's like a new season. Finally Spa is here this weekend, what a wait.

James, one request, will it be possible to indicate the engines use for the teams so far. I'm guessing most teams have at least one at most two new engines.


Wonderful contribution by Ed Gorman! He is SO RIGHT about F1´s history (on historic tracks) being one of its main strengths.


by the way

Max Verstappen was just anounced as Toro Rosso Driver for 2015 on Servus TV



Still don't like the noise. Say, I wonder what a Toyota Prius with a bad muffler sounds like?


You know regards the history of F1

History starts today, the moment you start looking over your shoulder at past events it's time to stop and find something else to do.

Forward and upward.

Bahrain showed there is history still to be made in F1 and every race is an opportunity to make great history.

Remanice about past events but look to tomorrow and live today to create history.


Is Hamilton typically faster over a single lap than Rosberg? Undoubtedly. Is he prepared to take greater risks in traffic? Ditto. However, the fact remains that Hamitlton continues, on occasion, to push himself and the car past their limits, whereas Rosberg seldom does. This no doubt accounts for some of his speed advantage when he remains on the road.

However, if Rosberg outqualifies Hamilton because Hamilton spins, that is Hamilton's fault. If Hamilton then has to drive the wheels off the car to make up positions, that is the position he put himself in. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the Mercedes advantage in pace over the rest of the field makes this task much easier than would be the case in years where the competition is much closer.

I too suspect that Hamilton will ultimately beat out Rosberg for the chamnpionship this year. However, I also believe that the battle is closer than it should be due to Hamilton's willingess to push the envelope of performance a little too far. In racing as in so may things in life, sometimes less is more.



For me it was a very sad day when Sky TV won the rights for broadcasting F1. It followed a year when everyone was talking about the sport again, and the BBC were enjoying great ratings. Nowadays viewers get a a mixture of good-poor edited highlights in a large number of races, shown at random times. This is only the start, because once viewing figures continue to decline, Sky will take over as the only live broadcaster in the UK and it will become another Boxing.....a minority sport inaccessible to the masses.

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