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Insight: Five people with something to prove as F1 gets back to business
Marco Mattiacci
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Aug 2014   |  8:26 am GMT  |  217 comments

When the Formula 1 World Championship resumes at Spa next weekend for the Belgium Grand Prix, attention will once again focus on who is strong and who is weak – such is the nature of F1.

With Bernie Ecclestone now clear of his trial in Germany, he will have renewed vigour for the sport and is likely to be very active, but there are quite a few people in roles throughout the paddock who have work to do, to progress or even to retain their positions.

We decided to take a closer look at five key people who have something to prove in the second half of the season.

Marco Mattiacci

The honeymoon period is over, now decisions need to be made which will decide what kind of Ferrari we will have in future.

Ferrari last won the drivers’ world championship in 2007, their last constructors’ title came the following year. By the Italian team’s standards their failure to repeat the feat since then is simply not good enough.

In April, former Ferrari road car man Marco Mattiacci stepped in to replace out-going Stefano Domenicali as team principal, and while the team scored its biggest points haul of the season last time out in Hungary, moving them back into third in the constructors’ championship, the team is still well behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.44.55

But following Fernando Alonso’s second place in Hungary, having only lost the lead in the closing stage, Mattiacci says he’s not interested in finishing second. He adds that the team needs a “360-degree” improvement to get them back to the top – but how long will he have to get them back to winning ways?

It’s now 25 races since a Ferrari driver stood on the top step of the podium. Fernando Alonso appears restless, while Kimi Raikkonen has failed to replicate the form that he showed during the last two years at Lotus.

Mattiacci needs Ferrari to be contending at the front, as they were in Hungary, regularly but he also has to look to the long term, which is where he has been focussing.

Yesterday saw a broadside from another disgruntled former employee, Luca Marmorini, who was sacked recently as head of the engine department. He claims that Ferrari is taking a risk putting the team in the hands of “non-expert people who listen to advisers who have done nothing; James Allison and Pat Fry”

Marmorini goes on to say that he was let down by the chassis department which asked him for a super-small, compact engine and promised to compensate for the lack of power with aerodynamics. But when the car hit the track with the other teams, it was clear that the compensation was not there and he got blamed for building a weak engine.

This highlights the intensity of the politics around Ferrari at the moment and Mattiacci has to cope with that at the same time as taking decisions which could affect whether Ferrari wins again at all in the next five years.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.41.35Jean-Eric Vergne

Now in his third season with Toro Rosso, Jean-Eric Vergne needed to deliver after being overlooked for the Red Bull seat vacated by Mark Webber in favour of his then team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Frenchman had been solid, but not spectacular in his first two seasons and faced a big challenge this season when the team signed Russian youngest Daniil Kvyat alongside him.

While Vergne leads Kvyat in the drivers’ standings with 11 points to six, it’s hardly the gap he would have hoped to have against a driver in his rookie season.

The team have been hampered by poor reliability and Vergne showed flashes of form when he ran as high as second in Hungary before dropping down the points after being caught out by the safety car.

But he lacks consistency and that doesn’t bode well as the team doesn’t have a track record of patience – just ask Sebastien Bourdais, Jaime Alguersuari, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Vergne failed to score in any of the races after the summer break last year, while then team-mate Ricciardo managed four points finishes. The Frenchman can’t afford that kind of form this year.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.43.34Adrian Sutil

It hasn’t been a happy season for Sutil so far. Sauber’s C31 is a handful to drive, the tall German’s weight has been an issue and he has frequently bemoaned the tools at his disposal.

None of that would be an issue were it not for the fact that despite sitting ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez in the standings, the momentum appears to be with the Mexican at the moment.

The pair have been well-matched in qualifying, though the 22-year-old Mexican currently leads 6-5 and indeed the figures might look worse had Gutierrez been able to take part in qualifying in Canada.

In racing the pair have had a similarly tough first part of the season, with Sutil’s best an 11th-place finish in Hungary, while Gutierrez finished 12th in Australia. The Mexican was in a points scoring position in Monaco, too, before a late race clash with the barriers at Rascasse ended his hopes.

With Gutierrez making all the right noises about taking on the role of ‘team leader’ and with the young driver recently insisting that he is soon to open negotiations with Sauber on a new contract, Sutil is a driver with some tough talking to do on track. Matters have, of course, been made worse for the German by the news that the Mexican Grand Prix is returning to the F1 calendar next year. That alone should shore up Gutierrez’s place.

His situation is not made easier by the queue of drivers lining up to grab a race seat at Sauber, in spite of the team’s difficulties.

Well-funded reserve Giedo van der Garde has been regularly rumoured as not just a 2015 Sauber race driver but also as an in-season replacement as the team looks to turn around its fortunes.

Youngster Sergey Sirotkin is also on the horizon. The Russian currently lies in fifth place in the Formula Renault 3.5 series standings and will fancy his chances of a step up.

Then there’s Simona de Silvestro. The Swiss racer did well in her opening test for Sauber at the wheel of a 2012 car at Fiorano in April and she is not short of admirers, with F1 legend Mario Andretti recently coming out in support of the former IndyCar driver and her former KV Racing Technology IndyCar team boss Jimmy Vasser admitting that inter-team dynamics had not brought out the best in a driver he said was “fantastic”.

And finally there’s Williams reserve Felipe Nasr who this week said he’s actively chasing a Sauber seat. “Conversations have begun already,” he told SporTV.“My management is already looking. Force India is hard but I think Sauber is possible. I want to join a midfield team that gives me a position to fight for points, that would be fantastic. I think it’s possible.

All in all, it’s looking like it’s going to be a tough run-in for Sutil.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.49.10Kamui Kobayashi

When, having been unable to secure the funding necessary to hang on to his Sauber drive, Kamui Kobayashi exited F1 just a few months after claiming a podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix, it was one of the sadder indictments of the straits into which F1 had fallen. It was therefore with great delight that most people welcomed the likeable Japanese driver back to the paddock this year. It would be a great shame then if his second stint turns out to be shortlived due to the uncertainties surrounding Caterham.

On the surface, Kobayashi has certainly done enough to deserve another season. In qualifying he has outpaced rookie Marcus Ericsson nine times in 11 races. In grands prix, thou
gh, it’s Ericsson’s 11th place in Monaco that puts him ahead of Kobayashi in the standings, with the former Sauber man having recorded a best placing of 13th in Malaysia and Monaco.

In such a fluid situation as that which exists at Caterham it’s hard to know what will qualify as a seat-securing performance but certainly if Kobayashi could take the team’s first point before the end of the season that would go a long way to making a big statement. However, given the venues upcoming that might be a tall order.

His bets hope then comes from demonstrating leadership, finding greater racing consistency and demonstrating an ability to keep his side of the garage at the top of its game.

Certainly Kobayashi believes that against any pay drivers queuing up at the door of Leafield that will be enough. “I don’t really worry about my race seat,” he told Autosport. “There are always rumours, but it’s simple: getting the team eighth, ninth (in the championship) or whatever would be difficult with a pay driver. During the season it is not easy for a pay driver to reach that required performance straightaway.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.52.39

Jenson Button/Kevin Magnussen

Are McLaren on the verge of significant change in their driver line-up? The rumours keep bubbling and no-one at Woking is making any moves to dampen them down.

At 34 years of age and with no contract yet signed, Button is the driver most frequently asked about his future, especially in light of Ron Dennis’ remarks about the 2009 world champion needing to “try harder”. Button, though, isn’t for turning, recently insisting that “right now my interest is to race in Formula One… I’m young, I’m fit and I’m enjoying what I do for a living so there’s definitely no reason to want to change.”

With Honda arriving next year and with Button always reportedly a favoured son of the Japanese company, it may ultimately be Magnussen who ends up in the firing line.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 16.54.45

A stellar start to the season, with an eventual second place in Australia, has given way to a season of curious inertia as the Dane has struggled to get to grips with McLaren’s wayward MP4-29. Button, never the swiftest qualifier, is ahead 6-5 on Saturdays and in the points battle the Briton has 60 points compared with Magnussen’s 37, and just under half of the Dane’s tally came in the opening round.

There is a sneaking suspicion that unless McLaren can land a very big fish for 2015 (and it is shaping up as a pool of one) then it will not immediately tinker with the blend of youth and experience it currently has, but with no contacts on the horizon it is clear that the team is still angling for a major signing. Until it comes up empty-handed it would seem that Button may have to rely on a victory by experience and the patronage of Honda, while Magnussen needs to demonstrate an ability to drive around the problems presented by his car and up his game in qualifying.

Do you agree with this assessment? Who would be your five key F1 personnel with something to deliver in the second part of the 2014 season? Let us know. 



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I think you have missed out a really big fish who has a massive amount to prove – Ron Dennis. I don’t think I have ever read a truly impartial article on him, they are almost always slightly sycophantic.

McLaren is in an unholy mess and I don’t think it is fair to lay the blame at the door of others, blaming the drivers for example. JB is a world champion and regularly outshines his team mates, and was respectably close to Hamilton when they were together at McLaren. When he won at Brawn his team mate was Rubens Barrichello a bad driver? Hardly. Jacques Villeneuve? No.

Why shouldn’t the blame for McLaren’s mess be laid at Ron Dennis’ door. Largest shareholder, chairman, etc. he was in charge during the Ferrari scandal, he appointed Martin Whitmarsh, and who knows what his behind the scenes influence was. This is not a man who would just let others get on with it. He could also have stepped in publicly at any time. Whatever he might say, as the chairman of a company he had a duty to step in long before he publicly did so.

The problem at McLaren is not drivers. JB was 2nd in 2011 beating Mark Webber who had the far better car for most of the season, as well as Alonso who’s Ferrari was no lemon and Hamilton into fifth. The problem is in the design and engineering team, it has gone in the wrong direction for at least the last 2 years if not three, the aerodynamics are inferior and the car is unbalanced. As long as McLaren keep trying to expect a fairy dust driver they will fail.

So how about it James? How about a warts and all expose of Ron Dennis stewardship of McLaren in the last 5 years.


Button leading Magnussen 60 points to 37 is proportionally about the same as Vergne leading Kvyat 11 points to 6. I don’t understand the criticism of Vergne this year. He’s doing fine against the rookie if you take into account all the times the car has packed up.


With all due respect to the Current Drivers, I think Mclaren needs a complete Driver Overhaul…. Button is extremely ordinary and Maggnussun is no sensation. True Mcalren got it right with Lewis but drivers like Lewis comes once a generation. They should’ve honed Maggassun out in a lesser team and then brought him on Mclaren.

The Question now arises is that who would be ideal for Mclaren? There are number of options:

Kimi and Mclaren was the most frightening combination

Alonso minus Hamilton in a Mclaren will be an unbeatable force

Vettel…. give him any team and he will win.

Hamilton and Mclaren is simply match made in heaven.

But all the above have long term contracts, now who will be ideal?

I think,

1. Hulkenberg

2. Bottas

3. Ricciardo

4. Vergne

5. Bianchi

The Combination of Hulkenberg and Bottas will be the most awesome combination for Mclaren.


Strange that none of the blame has been placed on Nicholas Tombazis, he hasn’t led a solid design for years now.


F1 is one of the best places to prove how a person could make the difference.


1) Mattiaci: give him until next year this time, if the results are the same as now = decide then!

2) Vergne: bye-bye

3) Sutil: bye-bye, long past due!!! Please!!!

4) Kobayashi: very entertaining drives in the past, why not give him a chance at Mclaren-Honda, surely he could wipe the floor with Verstappen? and he is Japanese no?

5) Button: has proved his worth; always shows up ready for the fight, super-fit and motivated, even when Mclaren keeps giving him a shitty car to drive! I’m not really a fan, but come on this guy can drive! If it comes down to Verstappen or Button, why would this even be a difficult choice? Long term Mclaren-Honda need a superstar i.e.. Alonso, (highly unlikely, after the Ron spanking), Hamilton, (again highly unlikely; why go backwards?) or Vettel, (if he doesn’t go to Merc or Ferrai) etc. A good number two would be Boullier’s buddy Grosjean? All in all, Williams GP have shown this year that you can’t keep the “real-racers” down!


Surprised there’s no mention of the McLaren brass along the same lines as Mattiacci at Ferrari.

In fact, I’d put the management under more focus than the drivers. I think both drivers have done ok considering the car and their experience levels.

And Renault? Surely they need to find some serious improvement or they may struggle to find a chassis to plunk their engine into next year.

And then there’s Alonso. When is that guy going to start delivering 110%? (Tongue firmly in cheek.)


Monisha Kaltenborn’s got a hell of a job. Let’s hope Sauber are with us in 2015…


James, i believe you are little harsh on JB.

JB have drove pretty well through out the season and his performances were better than average. JB still have a good year or 2 left in him for F1. Magnussen is not a lewis esque pilot and though he possess certain pace he is vulnerable to errors and quite erratic with his racecraft as well.

JB has done very well when we compare the inter team-battle at RBR and Ferrari. JB clearly deserves another chance albeit with little faster package


Hi James,

I don’t know why Kimi isn’t in this list when you are including JBt. Consistently being outperformed by Alonso and has half the points JB has also.

Yes, I am concerned whether JB will be in F1 next year. If he isn’t at Mclaren, I hope a spot opens up at Williams.


I see Sebastian Vettel as a guy with a lot to prove in the remainder of the year. He is a quadruple champion, and even his bosses are making excuses for his lack of performance this year… “he is tired, he doesn´t get a good feeling for this years car, [mod])
He is good, but how much in a second rate car?


James do you not feel Kimi has something to prove? Your views please Mr Allen



A correction or little tweak is required here, i believe

Kobayashi = out. Raikkonen = IN

Button = out. Seb vettel = IN

Kobayashi have done well very well to this point of the season. Ericsson does not look like the answer caterham needs at this point of time. Given the incosistent reliability and twitchy car kobayashi drove pretty well. Kamui have the pace and vision for the passing move. Caterham needs to improve quite a bit to beat Marussia.

Vettel should have been put in this list as well. 40 Odd points difference and 2 race victories says it all. Ricciardo have certainly embraced the challenge and life at RBR, whereas his much fancied team-mate could not come to terms with the car and his performances were shoddy. Dan Ricciardo has all the makings to become a cert WDC. Question is how sooner this can happen? This season it may be very tough and Mercedes pilots have it covered lewis or Nico are surely a WDC. Maybe RBR can close the gap in second bout of the season. This will enable Ricciardo to go for it. As far as vettel even helmut marko have confessed recently he needs a perfect car to his liking and driving style. Then only he can deliver wins and WDC it seems. Quite a few people did not see this one coming at RBR. Yet Ricciardo have already passed the assessment where webber have failed. Beat your team-mate

Vettel deserves to be present on this list James.

Channa Gunawardena

With regards to Ferrari.

What seems to have been lost on may folks is that Aldo Costa who use to run the engine department moved to Mercedes a couple of years ago if I recall. Need one say anymore? I hope Mr. Mattiacci is cogniscent of that.

Enough said from a suffering Ferrari Tifosi…


To understand the current situation at the Scuderia, one needs to have the right perspective of where they came from. An excellent study on the subject is James Allen’s ‘The quest for redemption’. The book highlights Ferrari’s internal political bickering, anxiety, rigidness and lethargy in operations before Todt/Brawn/Schumi changed them. Even with the likes of Jean Todt/Brawn/Schumacher/Byrne it took Ferrari half a decade before they won .

I dont think Brawn will ever come back to F1 especially in the wake of Schumi’s terrible accident, but if i were LdM, i would make every concerted effort to hire Ross Brawn. Marmoni’s hiring was probably a part of Luca Montezemolo’s plan to turn Scuderia into “team Italia” once again. Marmoni hardly made a difference at Toyota. Instead, Ferrari should have continued with Gilles Simons. Gilles is still available, and would be a great addition. James Allison and Dirk De Beer were excellent recruitment and Ferrari needs to be patient before they enjoy the dividends of their investment. Last but not the least, please hire Hulkenberg or Grosjean or Bianchi for 2016.


No idea why Button is included in this list as he has nothing to prove…


Finally….sense. All he has to do is keep schooling K-mag in the way which he has been doing, which I suspect he will. I think the hardest part of this season was the beginning for JB, as he was still struggling with the death of his father. He still IS (been there, done that), but it gets a little easier every month, every race. I am hoping he had time over break to spend time with Jessica, start looking forward to planning their wedding, and not back on a funeral, and come back fighting even harder in the second half. How he has done as well as he has with the emotional pressure he must be under is frankly amazing…the whole English stiff-upper lip stuff only goes so far.


I am really looking forward to Spa this year.

I am curious how the new cars will fare … the V8s made it all look so easy. Hopefully the V6s will bring some mojo back … especially in Eau rouge.

Bring on Sunday!


Maybe Alonso is pondering on the replacement of his Ferrari ‘company car’ for a Honda Civic if he moves to Mclaren !!


Alonso should leave Ferrari. Maybe take a Vacation and let Raikkonen and Bianchi run the show 😛


There seems to be a perception that Button isn’t very good. I disagree and wonder why? Is it his non aggressive persona? His results have been good.


They’d be good if he drove for Force India or Sauber. He is now an average driver who nearly through away a guarenteed championship in a car that was 1.5 seconds clear of the field. He has had the odd good race, Spa comes to mind, but he’s one of the most unispiring world champs theres been. He is team leader for McLaren! Lewis would rag more out of the car than he does, and when you have a car not upto winning races, you have to rag more out of it!!


1.5 seconds clear? The Brawn team never had more than about 3 tenths of an advantage over the rest of the field.

Since that so called ‘guaranteed’ world title, Button has beaten every team mate he has been paired with.

But by all means, sack him.


Kimi and Vettel should be on this list, despite his success in the past, their legacy is getting damaged, they have a lot to prove.


Marmorini and Costa comments about Ferrari sure ain’t positive for such a huge team. I’ve never been a fan of Ferrari and the only interest I have is watching Alonso driving the nuts out of the red taxi. That’s fascinating.


Why no talk of Honda wanting Kobayashi? Would seem ideal.


Not a top notch driver perhaps.


Honda went down that route with Sato…………….


One potential barrier is that Kobayashi’s a Toyota man (i.e. worked his way up the motorsports ladder with Toyota, who are Honda’s arch rivals).

Traditionally, all Japanese F1 drivers have come from either the Toyota camp or Honda camp (Kazuki Nakajima proving a point by climbing through Toyota’s ranks to show that he made it without his dad’s help – Satoru was a Honda man).

If Honda’s dead set on getting a Japanese driver into a McLaren, it’s going to be someone from their camp.

Having said that, Kamui *is* the best Japanese driver we’ve ever seen and the first to be hired into non-Japanese teams purely on merit. That *might* count for something…


Ah, that makes sense now.


Two more for me:

– Luca di Montezemolo. I love watching Ferrari implode. We’re back to the pre-Jean Todt days of when things are not working, sack all of your best people who have a track record of actually delivering some pretty impressive results.

The engine guys for example – okay, they got it wrong this year, but Mercedes are having a 2009 year again. It won’t be the same next year. I really struggle to see how James Allison can deliver a fantastic car for next year against all of this turmoil.

With the changes he has made, Luca needs to prove some kind of performance boost by the time we get to Monza. Oh, and please keep him out of the garage. I’m not sure if anyone has ever done the analysis, but I suspect having him in there making strange hand gestures and making everyone nervous adds at least half a second to their qualifying lap times!

– Massa has been one of the greatest disappointments of the year in my opinion. Okay, he’s achieved some results, but he’s squandered that fantastic car. Maybe it is always the fault of somebody else when he crashes, but the reason you put an experienced driver in the car who has lost a little bit of his pace is because he ensures he delivers what the computer says the car should deliver.

The end of Canada was one of the worst drives I have seen in a top car (mistake after mistake after mistake out of the hairpin, and then manages to trip over Perez). There’s no way that Hulkenburg would have done that. Then Silverstone… and Hockenheim…

In my view, if Alonso was in that car, he would be giving Mercedes some serious headaches at the moment in terms of results, and forcing the team to think about team orders, and all the related issues…


Re: Massa

At this moment for Williams, the main reason they hired an experienced driver was to help on car development, and that Massa’s been doing quite well, methinks. But I agree his performance on track is disappointing.


Agree about Massa, I think he should retire. He’s never been the same since his accident.


Point well put about Massa. With his experience, at the very least, you would expect him to avoid the kinda first lap incidents he has had.


How he could avoid KOB in AUS ?Furthermore,he actually did an excellent job to avoid Kimi’s potential huge injury .


I agree and would add Hamilton to that list- maybe even Riccardo.


Button and Magnusun gone at McLaren, Kobayashi and a top tier driver (Alonso, Vettel, Kimi, Hamilton).

Sutil – gone.

Vergne – probably gone.

Massa – probably gone.

Lotus – likely gone.

Caterham – likely gone.

Chilton – should be gone.

Alonso/Kimi – I think it more likely that Alonso will go; I believe that it is beginning to be recognized that he is not a development driver, and development capability is even more important than it has been in the past.

Ferrari will have the entire year of Kimi/Allison – a recently proven development pairing; it is possible that they will be in the hunt next year.

I’d enjoy seeing Alonso beaten, in the same car, by Kobyashi. heh, heh, heh, heh.

Hoping he Kobyashi gets another year in F1, this one in a Japanese powered car.

Alonso/Kobyashi pairing will be better than the current McLaren stable.



If Kobi can overtake Vettel while driving a Caterham I say give him a go 🙂


Yes, but you have to admit that one was special 🙂


Technically, hasn’t EVERY driver overtaken Seb this season?


Maybe Ferrari should rethink their driver policy too. Alonso’s one man show doesn’t produce results Ferrari wants.


I’m staggered by Marmorini’s comments. Fry hasn’t led Ferrari to greatness but Allison was at Ferrari for some of the dominant years. Marmorini, by contrast, has been a part of Ferrari’s mid-great times mostly, certainly with no championships to show for his time.

Regarding Button,Magnussen and the “pool of one” comment, is that Alonso?


I had the same question, it can only be Alonso it seems. I know this is not going to be popular but if Alonso came I still would keep Button in the 2nd driver seat and keep K Mag as reserve driver if finance allowed. I still cannot see Alonso coming though- Mclaren have a Sh*t car again even with the best engine and it will be very unlikely the Honda will be better than the Merc next year.


This maybe a daft question but why do F1 cars need to have a driver, driverless cars will be allowed on U.K. Roads next year. I understood that F1 cars are supposed to be the pinnacle of motoring.

I can remember Frank Williams ambition years ago was to produce and race a F1 car that did not need a driver.

I can remember Murray complaining on a few commentaries that he could not see the driver only a helmet flashing by, he blamed that to be the reason for getting the driver wrong and being corrected by James Hunt.

Just think of the cost saving if drivers were made redundant, only downside what would the media do without the annual silly season.


I remember reading an article a few years back , I can’t remember where it was but they basically had a driverless car programmed on a racetrack and it was already much faster then any average driver could do. Only actual racing drivers were able to beat it. If the project is still going I’d bet that by now it’s probably able to beat racing drivers as well.

As for having such a thing in F1 it would be the death of the sport. Fans like to cheer for drivers not computer programmers which is basically what the championship would become. It would become a very niche project and it wouldn’t even be a sport anymore.


F1 cars without drivers?

Sounds boring to me, and we already have enough talented F1 drivers without cars as it is.


F1 Scalectric- Top drivers drive drones..


Well, we can compromise:

We’ll let the F1 drones race on the Tilke-drones, and we’ll let the real F1 drivers race on the real F1 tracks.

Simple 🙂


F1 Drones?


I would certainly add Kimi Raikkonen to this list. He’s out of focus. It’s not that Ferrari needs to save money, but he is not justifying his huge salary, unless he’s providing invaluable input, wich doesn’t seem to be the case judging from his public statements. There’s plenty of hungrier young drivers that can learn from Alonso and take his place in a couple of years.


Just give Kimi what he wants and leave him alone and he will do the rest


Exactly- MP4-20 it was goodbye everyone till merc engine kept blowing

Ferrari 2007 -2009 till they lost Brawn, byrne, costa. Started building cars for Massa

With MS support

Lotus e20/21- put Lotus name back on the Map . With Works team engine map or just alittle more horsepower-He may have even won the championship


They need Kimi to help develop the cars front end,Kimi is super sensitive to this area and only really did well at lotus once he sorted the lotus front end.


Spot on.

Talking of hungry young drivers for Ferrari’s hour (years?) of need, there’s apparently some chap called Bianchi……………….


If Mclaren dump either of their drivers for anyone less than Alonso it will only underline how much like a headless chicken that team continues to behave. This year, last year, 2012 and 2011 the drivers were not the problem. Magnussen is driving great against a world champion team mate, Perez steadily improved all of 2013 and is driving great for Force India now, Button and Hamilton took 17 wins and 29 podiums in three seasons despite Mclaren failing to equip them with title worthy machinery (or in 2012 resorting to borderline self-sabotage).


This is Ferrari-like behaviour, Mclaren’s failures in the last decade and a half rest squarely upon the people in offices in Woking, but they (Ron especially) are quite happy to throw drivers under the bus rather than do something constructive about it. Hopefully Eric Boullier can improve matters for next year, he evidently arrived too late for this one.

Matthew Cheshire

Boullier looks like the man for the job. He steered a team to success with a fraction of MacLaren’s budget and got the best from his drivers, turning Grosgean from the nutcase to a front runner in one season. He says little and gives every impression he’s doing a lot.

It will be interesting to compare Boullier’s progress to Mattiacci’s next season. It looks like Boullier has the bigger task with MacLaren further behind than Ferrari. But Boullier has brought a team to the front before- Mattiacci has sold expensive cars to Americans.


I think they both have equally massive hills to climb, or more accurately, they each have a giant, brooding ego in the office upstairs to contain. All things considered, I expect Boullier to have an easier time getting his way at Mclaren than Mattiaci will have under the piercing scowl of Mr M.


Spot on. Perez did upset a lot of the team to be fair – he gave poor feedback and had an apparent attitude problem about having ‘made it’. I guess most drivers might seem like hard work compared to the ultra affable Button – the team often found working with Lewis difficult but he was the proud son of McLaren family and being insanely fast makes up for a lot of personality clashes!

But I think McLaren is a lot like Williams – it’s not that there’s particularly bad people, it’s just the system is rotten, there’s a panic and no one is being put to best use. In the article about Williams’ turnaround it was noted that there wasn’t a massive change in personnel, or huge celebrity signings in the design or aero depts – it was just stopping the panic – pointing people in the right direction, removing the layers of management that were doing nothing and letting them get on with it. Wise words for McLaren in the next few years…

Don’t blame the drivers, don’t even blame the staff – blame the culture and the rigid way of working that hasn’t adapted.


Oh I agree – dumping Perez appears to have been one of Ron’s ways of asserting his authority behind the scenes – Whitmarsh then went out of his way to try and rescue a seat for Perez elsewhere – but by that point it was clear Ron was making his move and Perez was a casualty. Button primarily suffered from playboy syndrome – but nobody ever complained he didn’t give good feedback. Perez probably would have been better in a second McLaren year as any pretensions that he could just sit back in a front running team were brutally knocked out of him (I think his humility has increased his performances with FI).


I agree that Perez didn’t do himself any favours, but to me that was nothing that a firm kick up the backside and some time wouldn’t have cured. It’s easy to forget now that Button used to be known as much for stumbling out of parties at silly-o-clock in the morning as for his driving.

David in Sydney



Headless chickens – good analogy about McLaren.

Or should that be headless Kiwi’s?

Either way, yes, McLaren’s nervy, almost OCD paranoia is wrecking their F1 ambitions.


Is it beyond Ron Dennis to turn Button’s future as a tool for Alonso to raise his salary at Ferrari, thus making dollars more scarce for Maranello?


Am remembering something about one of the parties to BE’s “settlement offer” refusing to accept and possibly heading for a civil trial on the issue? Has he managed to buy them off as well, or is that still a pending issue?


According to the BBC News website, it’s ongoing, so watch this space!

You know what Mr E’s like – he’s not going to give up his hold on the running of his F1 empire without a fight…………..


Ferrari want a “360 degree improvement” – so that’ll be a time-wasting spin back to the same direction they were heading before, then?

Matthew Cheshire

Unless they give it 110%. That will get them 36 degrees past zero. Its like very expensive wheel-spin.


Ooh, looks like Ferrari’s already on track, then 😀


Don’t be so hasty.

Williams hired Massa (the master of time wasting spins) and look what a competitive car they have this year 🙂


Hi James Who is the” one” in the pool of big fish you mentioned?

David in Sydney

Nigel Mansell

Matthew Cheshire

The Spanish Mansell


I can’t see McLaren’s driver line up changing, they need to prove they can build a winning car again if they want to attract the top drivers and I doubt they’ll do so anytime soon




Agree with the first part, not so much the second part…


We’ll have to wait for the Grim Reaper for the first half of the sentence to happen, and knowing Mr E he’d probably, like Bill and Ted, do a deal with the GR to extend his life contract………………


I’m surprised Seb Vettel isn’t on this list.


He’s had a stinker of a season!


Two guys with some big things to prove for the second part of the season were not mentioned: Vettel and Kimi.

David in Sydney

Vettel is doing fine. Kimi, however, is destroying his F1 image, firstly by going back to Ferrari, and secondly by being beaten by Alonso.

There is a Chinese saying: a good horse never turns back to eat…

Matthew Cheshire

That’s much nicer than the usual Dog/vomit analogy!

Vettel is doing fine, but he’s losing his aura of being head and shoulders above the rest. This is the guy for whom they changed the F1 rules- deciding the championship too early and too often led to the double points decision(s).

Its ridiculous to argue that Vettel is a poor driver, he must be very good, but he needs to excel again to claim to be one of the great champions.

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

I really hope Kamui can stay in F1, and it’s such a shame that he’s having to settle for a caterham drive and not a car higher up on the grid. I still remember the way he lit up the final few races in was pretty magical. So were his performances in 2010 and 2011 where he would constantly make ridiculous overtakes, particularly at Suzuka!

I felt he matched Perez in 2012 but unfortunately out qualifying Perez actually cost him several times as Perez was able to take a faster, alternative race strategy. I’d love to see him in the Williams alongside Felipe but I guess that’s wishful thinking!

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

*that was meant to say ‘instead of Felipe’ at the end!


How about Kimi?


Grammatical point:

Inter-team – between teams

Intra-team – within team.


And also:

Inna-team – what Vergne won’t be next year.


Fanatical adjoint:

Inter team – group burial.


I think a McLaren/Alonso pairing would produce ECSTASY.

The only obstacle I see to 5 years of Alonso/McLaren DOMINATION is a boring livery such as the present 2014 one: the car is invisible, you cannot distinguish it from the asphalt. McLaren tends to come up with liveries that are far too intelectual, and also likes black wheels which I think are totally passé and this also eliminates the main source of eye candy in a car.

They should use the opportunity to unveil a return to their sigature look: silver and orange, with the Can-Am style wheel livery: black in the center with chrome rims ….

And Honda should not press for a return of the awful Earth Dreams livery in blues and greens …. a metallic green (type of green that the Jaguar F1 team used) could be introduced, and would combine well with silver and orange (either in blocks of colour in a Mondrian style or in degradé). Above all, no blue!! green and blue do not go well together. Dominant silver and orange with a touch of metallic green combines very well! Any sponsor green could be modified towards the Jaguar green.

The next 5 years of Alonso/McLlaren domination should establish a new standart in artistic livery ;looking at the cars should produce euphoria …..


Green and blue don’t go well together? Tell that to the sky and the trees!


Fernando working with Ron Dennis?

I think there’s more chance of Mr Alonso gargling rusty nails rather than getting together with his old mate Ron.

As long as Ron is at McLaren, it won’t happen.

Hell hath no fury like a racing driver who holds a grudge…………….and, by all accounts, Fernando still does for Mr Dennis.

I stand to be corrected.


If you’d asked me last year I’d have said the only thing more unlikely than Alonso returning to McLaren would be Raikonnen returning to Ferrari…


Alonso is growing more pragmatic with age but yes, at McLaren most of the people there would love to have Fernando back, he’d get on with the team immensely well, especially with Button or another easy going laid back teammate – but the personal animosity between Ron and Fernando hasn’t diminished much. If Boullier was completely taking over and Ron wasn’t directly involved I could see it but given how badly Alonso took an ‘ear-tweaking’ from LdM, getting a media ear-full of RonSpeak would probably end up with fisticuffs 😉


I’d like to see your assessment of Massa. Has he been doing what Williams expects of him with little to show for it (he is behind his team mate in the standings) due to bad luck or has he made his own bad luck?


Williams have said that Massa is leading the car development and feedback and they understand Bottas isn’t experienced enough to really match that feedback yet (but then even Alonso recognized Massa was a good development benchmark – it’s just a shame he can’t convert that into racing success). Drivers do often ‘generate’ their own bad luck but some of the opening lap incidents have genuinely been nothing Massa could prevent. That’s not to put Bottas down -he’s clearly hungry and would probably still be beating Massa but I don’t think the gap would be anywhere like it is.


I agree with quite a few of these. With Sauber though I’d say it’s the whole team that has something to prove. I’m not sure what “momentum” Gutierrez has, yes he’s out qualifying Sutil surprisingly often but in every race it doesn’t take more than a few laps to fall behind the German and then drop back, and Sutil has never been one of the top drivers and is clearly not having a good year. I’m really hoping that De Silvestro will get the seat next year, I really think she’s got some talent and would actually be better than the current drivers, if not quite champion material.

I also think Kobayashi is doing quite well this year, he’s certainly Caterham’s best chance of points, but he’s car keeps breaking down on him.


I take issue with the view that Ferrari are failing to match their own standards. Look at their long-term results: apart from the Schumacher years, there’s been just one drivers’ championship since 1979. And that’s not down to any lack of decent drivers, many of them past or future world champions. The Schumacher success years were built around a dream team of Todd, Brawn, Byrne and Schumacher himself but also, crucially, a relentless testing schedule that’s just not possible anymore. So those years were the aberration not the norm. The team is exactly where they’ve always been, somewhere in the top half with occasional wins. Remember this is the only team arrogant enough to have sacked two world champions. That says it all.




I’d add:

1. Massa. Sure, he’s had a pole and he’s had some terribly bad luck (Australia, Silverstone), but he’s been rather disappointing on the whole. Contrast with his team-mate, who has (brush with wall in Australia aside) been brilliant.

2. Raikkonen. Kimi is the let-down of the season for me. His attempt at rejoining the track at Silverstone was reckless and stupid, and he’s been comprehensively out-driven by Alonso. He looks like the bored Kimi of a few years back that Ferrari paid off to get out his contract early.

I think Jenson needs a change of scenery. He’s closer to the end of his career than the start, and tooling around in midfield in a crummy car isn’t the best way to be spending his time. He looks to be a little too content at McLaren.


Kimi has been quite disappointing this season. I’m saying this as a massive fan of his.

However, I cannot understand why people refuse to think for themselves and instead keep repeating the “bored and unmotivated” rubbish over and over that the media (and Ferrari) shoved down our throats in 2009. He scored the highest number of points (after Hamilton) in the 2nd half of 2009 in a crap car. He won at Spa that year when that Ferrari had no business being anywhere in the top 5.

Now people will say that Spa win was due to KERS and he got lucky. Fine. But what about the other races and podium finishes? Was that luck as well? Is that track record one of somebody who is unmotivated and knows he’s going to be paid off at year end?


@Vivek.. Stick to what believe.because its 100% true.

Ignore @Krischar- he is a troll!


@ Vivek

You have only picked up half off the 2009 season, what you forget is Massa started the 2009 season very well and until hungary Massa scored most points and he did score a podium as well before he had the accident. Until hungary 2009 kimi was out-paced by massa. Fact is massa is much quicker than kimi. No wonder massa confessed Alonso is the fastest team-mate he has ever faced. This also includes the 7X WDC schumacher at 2014 pre-season.

Even if we put both these pilots in the same car today, massa will be the fastest one. Kimi has been chastened by massa at Ferrari when they were team-mates at SF. We also know how kimi won his only propitious WDC.

Kimi is not fast enough and nor adaptable. Hence he struggled all through 2014 to get any decent results.


I’d like to see Alonso in your list!

I know, don’t hate me.. he’s probably the best guy out there so what has he got to prove?

Well.. that he’s about winning championships and not about wage packets.

His loyalty to ferrari at all costs is starting to get really boring.. we want to see him battling for top step each race.. its time to man up.. and move teams.

Just my 2p.


well u loose them


Where would he move?


Key F1 personnel #1

Bernie Ecclestone : ‘renewed vigour? + very active?’

Something to deliver?

Internet anyone?

Never mind gaining the younger generation . . .

You’re going to lose the older one as well if you don’t wake up.

#2 – #5

Of no consequence if the above issue isn’t sorted.


Hmm… Interesting second half of the season coming up as so much is on the line.

1) My personal opinion is that Marco’s honeymoon period may be at least 2 seasons long as the management gives him to gel the team.

The thing what Marco can do is to try and poach engineers from the Mercedes engine department for then any success will be credited to him

2) The signs don’t look promising for Vergne because any Torro Rosso driver that hasn’t made the upgrade to the sister team after a short period has not only left the team but usually the sport too.

3) Sutil’s future depends on whether we shall have wet races in the second half.

Yes, Sutil is handy in the wet and can score huge points for the team which would secure his seat.

4) It was great to have exciting Kobayashi back. My feeling is the team will keep him for backmarker teams prefer experience in case the rare occasion of points scoring should arise.

5) As for Mclaren, it will be interesting if the team retain Jenson considering the fact Honda had a torrid time with Jenson back when they were a team.

Regards Mini-mag, it would be a surprise if the team got rid of another young gun after 1 season.


Agree about Vergne, he’s on his way out of the Red Bull stables (farm?). Au revoir Jean-Eric.

McLaren……………hmm, who knows?

Thing is though, and I’ve said this before, nobody can “suppose” this new Honda engine will be immediately be competitive. It could even be a liability! So, who ever drives for Macca next year will have to put up with a lot of growing pains from the Tokyo V6 in all likelihood.

Be careful what you wish for…………….


@ Gaz Boy

Yes according to our JA on F1 sources, there’s talk behind the scenes that the Honda engine isn’t as competitive.

And seeing as the 2015 engines will be an upgrade of the 2014 ones, it appears Honda will be playing catch up in 2015.


And who are the engineers from Mercedes? Aldo Costa?


@ AlexD

Honestly, I don’t know of the people in the Mercedes engine department but what am sure of is that Costa is in the chassis department


1. Raikkonen – big fan but unless he gets a lot closer to Alonso he has to make way.

2. Vettel – Obviously not under threat in any way, but the excuses well has run well and truly dry now, he has to start even matching Ricciardo, let alone beating him.

3. Sam Michael – A constant bugbear of mine, what has he done throughout his entire F1 career to justify such an exalted position? He oversaw the lest competitive period in Williams’ history, and is now doing the same at McLaren, even though they were a title challenging outfit when he joined.

4. Gutierrez – As far as I can see he’s only on the grid for financial/political reasons, and has done nothing in his 1.5 years on the grid to justify a position in F1.

5. Lotus – Haven’t been helped by Renault obviously, but to go from where they were to where they are now is pretty sad. Unless they show drastic improvement they’ll no longer be considered at the top table of F1, and rightly so. Maldonado gets a pass due to his awful reliability.

With regards to the above selections, I think we’ll only be able to start judging Mattiaci on next year’s results. I agree Sutil is under pressure, but he’s shown he deserving of a midfield berth in the past, and the Sauber is absolutely awful. JEV has been unlucky with reliability, but his days were pretty much numbered when Ricciardo was promoted ahead of him – he’s just there as a yardstick now. Barely seen enough of Kobayashi to make a judgement. I think the McLaren boys will be ok, as there’s little chance of Alonso/Hamilton rejoining the team with the state they’re in, but Magnussen will want to close the gap to Jenson in the second half to avoid a knee-jerk Perez-type situation.


Raikkonens issue is the front of the car because Ferrari run Pull-rod suspension system, which is extremely difficult to understand / set up with no testing time. Alonso knows how to set it up because of 4 years experience driving with Pull-rod. It is a mystery why they actually have Pull-rod, as the best car for the last 4 years, ie the Red Bull, had push rod suspension. Ferrari just stubborn idiots probably. Next year when Allison makes sure they revert to a suspension they can actually understand Kimi will be back on the pace and not driving with one arm behind his back


@YouWho The reliability/blunders point is valid, he’s had some bad luck and gotten the short end of the stick strategy wise a few times, but even taking those into account he’d have, what, half the points total Alonso has? 16-6 was a good performance but he was helped by the safety car, not forgetting on the same weekend Alonso took the car to second, so it obviously suited the track conditions/tyre wear balance to some extent.

And I assure you, I have plenty of perspective regarding Kimi’s career, I’ve been a fan of his ever since he turned up in F1, and he’s never been outclassed as badly as this. To try and claim that he’s “actually done well” is, in my opinion, absolutely absurd; I can’t believe anyone would have accepted this as a decent performance before the season started. Even if you accept all the things you’ve mentioned around car balance/feel/set-up as a legitimate excuse for his poor form (which I don’t) then it still begs the question – if he’s not able to do any better than Massa as Alonso’s team mate, who Ferrari were clearly unhappy with, then what’s the point in having him there?


@Andrew M- All you have to do is look who Raikkonen outpaced at Lotus over the last 2 years then you have your answer.he pushed Lotus to totally redesign the front suspension and steering to suit. If your still in doubt watch several youTube clips of his overtakes- only for the precision of those E20 & E21. I witnessed live at melb last year and the way that car turned into a corner was unbelievable not even Red Bull had that ( maybe only corner exit was stronger due to better downforce / ecu settings)

Im astonished by people saying how much more does a driver need. You cannot drive a car that doesn’t suit you and still expect to outshine your team mate whos had undconditional no1 flat the team. Just remember Alonso has had that car built solely around him for 5 years now and has never been able to win. If a car does not give you confidence at all and he would still have finished 3rd at Monaco had it not been for Chilton puncturing his tyre under safety car. Team orders at Spain when he was ahead most of the race and many technical failures costing him half the track time in he first 3 races – he has actually done well. 16-6 at Hungary also showed plenty of speed given the teams mightiest of tactical quali blunders!!- a little perspective is need here.. Besides if anyone will get Allison cars to drive properly it will be Raikkonen – & Both Mattiaci and Ldm have been very clear on this


There comes a point when I’m afraid you have to stop making excuses and deliver. Kimi’s had over half a season to get used to the car and frankly there’s been little sign of improvement compared to Alonso; how much longer do you need to give a driver, let alone a highly paid World Champion. As much as I wish it were true I’m afraid I just can’t believe that a suspension change would suddenly have Kimi fighting side by side with Alonso, or even where I expected him to be (close but just behind him). If that’s the case and they change the design we’ll see next year, if Kimi’s still around by then…


Andrew, I too long for the days when McLaren starting winning again, but I fear that it will take more than removing Sam Michael to do it. My guess is James via his contacts has heard or knows something that may only come to light at the end of the season.


@Andrew M. It is odd that you are giving Sutil a break saying his Sauber is awful but not giving Gutierrez that same break. Instead as JA pointed out in his second season Gutierrez is nearly matching Sutil, and nearly delivered points for the team in Monaco.


I now get that you are taking it pretty different than I did. I still just find it funny how you pick and choose how to judge who has to prove themselves. Sutil is proven because his prior from, but both kimi and vettel are on your top 5 list? As far as prior form goes they are solid. Sutil gets a break for his car sucks, but Guti, kimi, and vettel get nothing. Add that he has competition for his seat…I just don’t get it, but that’s ok.

I am excited for Spa, and I hope you have a chance to watch it and have a good time.


“Andrew, pay drivers inherently less to prove.”

Depends on what you mean. Certainly a pay driver has less chance of losing his seat against a non-funded driver of equal talent, but I see having something to prove as wider than that. Vettel doesn’t have any chance of losing his seat but I still feel he has something to prove. The long and the short of it is that Sutil has proved he can be a decent midfield runner in F1 with the right car, and Gutierrez hasn’t.


Andrew, pay drivers inherently less to prove. That’s just a fact. I get you, Sutil has past form, but Sutil has been pretty poor since his return. It’s pretty simple if you can barely beat your teammate with 1/6 of your experience and brings money to the table, you have a great deal to prove. Add in the fact that there are plenty of drivers who could take Sutil’s place and you are all the way there.

That being said they both have a lot to prove but I think this year for Sutil has to get points to stay and next year Guti might be axed. Sauber itself seems to have possibly more to prove.


Sutil has prior form in past seasons with other teams to call upon, Gutierrez did nothing last year (when Hulk did brilliantly) and has done nothing this year, he’s an archetypal pay driver and not a very good one at that. I struggle to mention one impressive thing he’s done in his F1 career.


According to another site, Sam Micheal is rumoured to be announced as McLaren team boss!

If that is true, I fear he will again oversee the downfall of another legendary team.

At least Pat Symonds has breathed some new life into Team Willy.

Just what has SM got in his favour? He surely must know where all the bodies are buried. His track record over the last several years is shockingly bad. He took Williams from a team that regularly challenged for victories and turned them into a team that could barely keep ahead of the Caterham/Marussia milk floats. McLaren have hardly seen any progress under him, yet Boullier seems to have made a difference already.

Heaven help McLaren if Micheal really is the new team boss.


In relation to Sam Michael, how does a man whose primary role is to look after trackside operations end up taking the blame for a poorly designed car? If you cast your mind back a couple of years he was blamed for the poor pitstops, which in the main were corrected. In terms of poorly designed cars you need to point the finger at the last two Technical Directors (Paddy Lowe – 2013 cqr) and Tim Goss (2014).

In terms of Williams, both Sir Frank and Patrick Head accepted that they gave Sam Michael too much to do with very limited resources. Just adding a bit of balance.


I will say it for everyone- the guy is useless!!. He walks round with his head up in the air like king shit and to this day- I dont know why anyone even mentions his name- the operational failures that cost Lewis a certain shot at the title happened under his changes him.I’m sure Hamilton wanted nothing to do with guy when Mclaren signed him in 2012- Im sure the history with Maldonado had something to do with that!- but still it seemed to run much deeper than that.

I cannot wait for what Boullier has to say about Mclaren and their issues-at least he seems like a straight shooter..and I know hes smart because he still has nothing but total praise for Raikkonen and what he did for Lotus.


I seem to remember that trackside ops at McLaren were in freefall before Sam came on-board…so many pit problems, swivelling jacks that collapsed in races, etc. They are unquestionably a better trackside operation than they were a few years ago. They now fight for the top positions in the pit stop league each race. It is hard to point to Sam Michael’s day job performance and complain, IMHO. If he is contributing to car aero design (and as an engineer he might) then that is a different story…but one we can’t know.


At Williams Michael took over from Patrick Head as technical director, I’m pretty sure his responsibilities went further than just trackside operations (I’m happy for James to correct me on that).

At McLaren, if that was his job, he’s responsible for throwing away their best tilt at a championship for years in 2012 with a massive string of operational failures. I’m not seeing the up side in any of it.

I appreciate the balance and maybe I was a bit too harsh, as a McLaren fan I was totally non-plussed by his appointment and I haven’t seen any evidence of an improvement really. Like James says, if Boullier comes in and Michael stays then he probably has worth and I’ll retract the above (as long as McLaren are back winning again!).


You have to admit though, Williams’ performance fell off a cliff when Sam Michael replaced Patrick Head as Technical Director.


Well said.


Wait and see who Boullier changes and you’ll have his analysis of who is to blame at McLaren!


Three words sum up Ferrari’s 2014 season.

Ambitious – but rubbish.

Having said that, the same could be said for McLaren……………………


Oh ,Gaz Boy you are everywhere but in reality you are in no mans land.
How wonderful it would be, if you would give it a break from the J:A blog [mod], go fishing or mushroom picking for a while, it would give us the readers a read of a J:A site that is second to none a interesting read.


Couldn’t agree more.


a couple of days ago I saw an ice cream van with Gaz Boy written in big letters across the back, business going well this summer? 🙂


Yeah – business is especially busy in Miami, where some ex Columbian F1 driver lives!


I wouldn’t say ambitious for McLaren! Mediocrity Now Accepted would suit them better…


Yet another sacked engineer unhappy with Tombazis….

Seems like their troubles date back to a couple of years ago. A piece from Turrini’s blog from 2011 (after the sacking of Costa)

These are the words of an anonymous Ferrari insider:

“Our windtunnel is obsolete, it dates back to the mid ’90. We are all aware of it. They blamed the guy who was reponsible for calcuations [for the correlation problems], but he has nothing to do with it at all. And this is wrong, it terrorises everyone here – when we hit problems, individuals get blamed. By doing this, they don’t let us work in peace.

“Let me tell you something. Costa was against the firing of Dyer. Maybe he smelled the problems, I don’t know. Domenicali is risking isolation (…) This is the bunker syndrome, and it’s dangerous…’

“The truth is we only trust Fernando. Yes, Alonso. But obvioulsy we’re asking ourselves how long is he going to trust us?…”


It amazes me why nobody question Luca.

1) He didn’t let Ross Brown become the team principal if I am not wrong. We don’t know what we don’t know. But we do know that this guy built 2 world championship winning cars since 2009 to 2014. They could have been Ferrari’s, couldn’t they.

2) The wisdom behind dissembling the usual suspects comprise of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Schumi, Chris Dyer etc.. Look I am not expert or anything and I do believe that replacing Schumi with Kimi was a reasonable bet, despite being a Schumacher fan, you can understand why: Kimi was the only potential long term solution to beat Alonso, at least on paper.

3) He is ultimately responsible for assembling the right team and failed. There’s no denying that. The firing culture doesn’t help I think. He should just fire himself. There is a reason why people need to retire at certain age. He was a genius, the best but he lost a few steps.


This is so true its not funny.. But have you seen the interview with Mattiaci – he has already identified these type of issues- I would suggest with the aid of Allison – and they’re already changing things:- Wind tunnel already last year- just improving correlation, new facilities, engine and chassis personnel, cultural changes and freedom of creativity of engineers, group dynamics and accountability- it all may take time go jell – lets see if the management has the right leadership to hold it together. I’m still waiting for Fry, Tombazis,Montezemolo and Alonso to go. Thats when Ferrari will be totally reformed.


Honestly, I don’t think they need the Great Purge to be reformed 😉 + All the guys you mentioned (especially Alonso) may actually be quite useful in the years to come.

Look at Willisam – Pat Symonds turned the tide by managing their internal human resources


The more I read about Ferrari….the more I understand that I might not want to be a fan of the team.I was a fan since 1998 when I started watching F1, but Ferrari is people….and all good people are gone. It reminds me of a Soviet era when all intelligent people were sent to “vacations” in Siberia…..


Pretty sad, isn’t it? Aging/obsolete infrastructure, wrong decisions, blame culture… A team that just a while ago had the measure of everyone else…

I just hope James Allison will manage to bring back law&order at Maranello



If Van Gaal takes full responssibility after one match defeat. Then it´s about time Luca takes full responssibility for the Ferrari failure all these years.


LDM’s ego is too big for that.

I was going to compare Di Monty to Napoleon, not that I’m saying Luca is a tyrant megalomaniac, but in the sense his massive ego means his pride comes before his teams fall.

To complete the analogy, Ferrari’s 2014 season is like the Battle of Waterloo and Di Monty is Napoleon blithely carrying on as if he has a hope of winning, even though Wellington (Mercedes) has won the day………………….


Don’t forget Montezemolo is the guy who brought Jean Todt etc. to Maranello and, more importantly, as requested by Todt, created a perfect environment, a perfect bubble, around the team.

And Ferrari, under his leadership, is one of the very few Italian businesses in a mint condition. And pay ALL their employees €4000+ bonus each year.


RE Random 79: Actually, while on the Waterloo analogy, wouldn’t Mr Vettel actually be a more accurate metaphor of Napoleon in terms of somebody who has witnessed his dominant (WDC) empire crumble before his very eyes?

Uncanny, isn’t it?


RE Random 79: Hmm…………..the Prussian leader at Waterloo, what’s his name, von Blucher?

He’s on the winning side but has had to take second best in terms of overall victory?


So where does Horner fit in, historically speaking?

Matthew Cheshire

I think kimi belongs at the top of the list. It can’t be safe to assume Ferrari have no exit clauses in his contract. They need improvement more than money and it’s already embarrassing to bring him back and fail, no more so to break his contract.

Vettel will have a seat next year but his world championship form is being questioned. He needs to improve his form to silence the doubters that believe he needs a dominant car and a blown diffuser to win.

No heads are safe at Ferrari and the buck can stop with Di Montezemolo. He has weighed into the teams issues personally and will be wearing future failure and Mattiacci’s ( any man thinking 360degrees is a change in direction is daft).

To round out my 5, I’d add Magnussen and Sutil.


360 degrees – changes in all directions, methinks. Up down, left right. Like a 360-degree performance review…


The 360 degrees thing…I think that’s supposed to mean that Ferrari needs to have a complete revolution in order to succeed again.

Otherwise yeah, it seems a bit pointless.


For Ferrari to be successful, ideally they need 15,000 revolutions, and preferably every minute.

That’s a point, I wonder if every team/driver is revving their engine to it’s maximum limit or are they waiting until the last few races to turn up the engines to V-Max?

Engines? Sorry, error, meant PU’s.


James, about Ferrari….did you read the interview with Marmorini? It really looks like the same exactly scenario as with Costa. He was fired by LDM and was very-very successful t Mercedes afterwards. Costa gave an interview on what is going on at the Ferrari and why their are struggling – lack of vision and too many wrong decisions. Now Ferrari fired Luca Marmorini because the engine is not on par with Mercedes. Luca is saying the same thing exactly as Costa – he was asked to produce an engine that will be more compact than the competition as Ferrari wanted to overcome the power deficit with aerodynamics. So he produced exactly the engine bosses wanted. He is saying the same thing as Costa – there is no vision, great people are being replaced by incompetent people and he the personnel feels lost completely. I do believe him.

I think LMD is the one to blame for where Ferrari is right now.

I have a strong feeling that we will be one of the following scenarios for next year:

1. Alonso in McLaren

2. Alonso in Ferrari with 40 Milion per year salary (he will probably think that even it is not going to be possible to win another title, at least he is going to earn crazy money for making Ferrari look good)


Michael Grievson

I’ve thought for a while that Ferrari’s problem is that of BMW, Toyota and Honda when they were in F1. The team is run from corporate hq and they don’t let the team bosses do what they do best


It seems obsolete structures and a messy management are their main problems


I don’t really buy the Alonso money story – he’s insanely wealthy by now and I get the impression he’d drive for free if there was a solid chance to win his 3rd title before retirement. If he did ask for a massive salary bump I can only imagine it was as a mind game to push the team into sorting it’s act out. Maybe he should get a losing bonus – the worse the car is the more they pay him?


Its all BS drummed up by the media. Ferrari pay him and Raikkonen 22million Euros and there not changing anything next year. If hes got another contract signed they might offer that sought of money to lure back.. But I would suggest hes well truly gone by that stage..

Its not a money thing thats for sure — hes fed up and wants to win- something ALL racers want. It might be a long drivers market season this year because alot is hanging on what Mclaren Honda has in the pipeline and whether Ferrari have some significant gains coming- dont forget Allison’s last 2 cars were fighting for championships on 1/3 budget.

Im still curious how Marmorini was supposedly told to build a small compact Power Unit AND its still 11kg heavier than the other 2!. Woops “It just dont add up”


@ aura….alonso would chew his own arm off to get a winning car. he is already drowning in $$$. what he wants is the chance to get back to his winning ways. i just hope that he can do it. he’s an exciting driver at all times. he should be duking it out at the front.


I think Honda have suggested they will meet the McLaren driver salaries – and they’d originally been letting Whitmarsh know that a Button/Alonso team was ideal for their marketing – no doubt with options on younger drivers to replace these two over 5 years.

Alonso went back to Spain as did a number of Spanish actors and celebrities to show solidarity with their budget problems. Of course this doesn’t impact his substantial personal wealth already accumulated – and when you have that many millions put away – earnings are not really anything other than to soothe your ego. Many drivers have taken pay cuts before once they are big enough to not care. Obviously remember Button basically drove for Brawn for free – and took a pay cut moving to McLaren – drivers will always choose success over money IF they think they can really challenge for a title.

That’s why I suspect Alonso asking for a big pay raise from Ferrari is more likely to be about psychology than really wanting or needing the money. It’s saying ‘look if the car was good I’d drive for free but you know it’s not good – would you rather pay me to keep gloriously losing or would you rather sort this out and spend that money on the car?’

IMO obviously – maybe I’m wrong and Alonso really needs another mansion in a hurry 😉


Mind you, Fernando has moved back to Spain, which has a top tax rate of around 50%, so half of his (considerable) wages ends up in the coffers of the Spanish chancellor of the exchequer.

That’s very charitable!

I always wondered why racing drivers live in places like Monaco, Switzerland and the Channel Islands, hmm………………..good weather?


Look, they won’t be fighting for the title next year, that’s for sure (they know it and he knows it), they might try in 2016, however even 2016 doesn’t look too good at the moment.

Ferrari want Alonso under contract until 2019. Considering he’s 33 now (and will be 38 in ’19) and wants his 3rd title as badly as can be, it would be a huge commitment for him. Hence he wants more money + there’s some talk (a reliable source) that Honda proposed him a huge salary.


belived or not Alonso is alrady payed 40 ml by Ferrari, money is not their problem.


James, I suprised Vettal was not on the list.

I remember Alonso saying that Vettal needs to prove himself in a lesser car.

I think this is even more prevalent now, Alot of fans think the wins he achieved have more to do with the car than him.

He has his legacy the protect.


Vettel have conquered Mt.Everest on many ascent though, so it’s time to descent for some oxygen than start climbing again. What Goes Up Must Come Down.


Vettel the last four years climbed Everest in a hot air ballon….this year he doesnt have that !


Good analogy.


A 4x WDC doesn’t have much ‘to prove’ per se, he’s just having a poor season


@ james…. i would like to offer a contrary view re vettel. he does have everything to prove if he is to be considered one of the very best there has been.

consider this. his WDC’s were won in a car/team built solely around him. he was given exclusive treatment often at the expense of his team mate and he had a car that was the envy of every other team/driver. ask alonso.

yes, he didn’t win his titles by being a dummy but he had everything needed to be successful there at his discretion. now he has to cope with a new scenario and he has to date, made a bit of a dogs breakfast of it all. it was and always has been ‘his car’ and ‘his team’ and by rights he should’ve blown ricciardo away given his experience alone!

like a lotr of people i have been expecting vettel come back hard and fast once he learns to cope with what most others have already done. i am also expecting the last eight races to reflect that but right now at this point in time i do think that vettel has a lot to p[rove.


Everyone must remember Schumacher still hammered Barrichello in 2005 though


Not if your Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or even Gareth Bale. Bale won about 15-20 games on his own for spurs 2 years ago and that is not an exaggeration!


Seb’s 2014 season can be summed up with Schumacher’s 2005 season. The saying we are looking for here is “The higher your climb, the harder your fall”


A 4 x world champion doesn’t have a lot to prove? Surprised by your statement James. Isn’t F1 supposed to be the one sport where you have to “prove yourself every two weeks”? 🙂

It’s not the number of WDC but how those championships are won. Schumacher had more than a few hard-earned wins – individual races. And it’s those (with 7 x WDC as second point) that put him in a position with “nothing more to prove”.

Vettel definitely, in my eyes, has a lot to prove.

How can he drop so far down when most of the other key players have maintained relatively the same order of competitiveness?


James, as you place so much weight on championships, who is the better footballer, Michael Carrick or Steven Gerrard?


Different sport, a footballer can make a difference but the driver is more of a protagonist than any single player in an 11 man side over 38 matches…

..Anyway Gerrard by miles, of course!


But Jenson Button does?


Correction, a very poor season…………………

Still, like Michael in the 2005 season, 2014 has proved that the Middle Finger Pointer is human, and has human fallibilities.

Actually, David Bowie predicted Mr V’s 2014 season in his album title: “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

With a bump?


While I haven’t been super impressed with Kevin, I find it ludicruos that people in F1 seem to have such an unbelievably low opinion of Jenson. He keeps outscoring his team mates, he’s a world champion, and yet people seemed to take it as a given that a rookie in the age of restricted testing should beat him hands down. And when it turned out he didn’t, he was deemed a complete flop.

Look, we don’t get Lewis Hamilton type of rookie fairy tales any longer, because drivers don’t come into the sport with 50 000 klicks of testing under their belts. If McLaren don’t want to be disappointed by rookie drivers, then their only option is to not sign any rookies.


The problem is Ron’s pronouncements I think. He first took credit for ruining Whitmarshs plan to phase K-Mag into a junior team placement and then move him up – Ron declaring that he was the big boss again by forcing Perez out and forcing K-Mag in – then basically announcing that Button wasn’t really trying and that Kevin was a future Lewis Hamilton and would basically blow Jenson away in qualifying at least…but then it didn’t work out because Button has been winning the quali fight as well as out scoring Kevin – which is, as you say, perfectly expected.

Recently I’ve noticed slightly less bullish Ronouncements – and a lot more Boullier media chats. This can only be a good thing. Ron just creates unrealistic scenarios. He may be a wonderful board manager but he’s not really a motivational speaker…


Kenneth – several of my family and friends work at McLaren – that’s why I comment on them the most (though obviously I know nothing of much interest!) yes Ron got a standing ovation because he represented a change in tack and in the short term anyone saying, ‘right we’re ceasing to care about building a better formula one – we’re just going to win’ is fighting the malaise of regular losing – but it’s not a long term improvement – it’s not really motivational to tell people they just need to try harder and they are letting everyone down. Nobody at McLaren thinks Ron instils motivation – they just respect him and a little bit fear him. He’s a very prickly character – I suspect his bullish approach works in small doses but day after day it would grind you down – which is why Boullier would be better off asserting his position and leaving Ron to the business management (where he clearly excels).

Jenson did make something of a joke out of it but I think he was genuinely irritated by Ron’s comments rather than motivated. And it’s well known that Ron made negotiations with Lewis difficult behind the scenes – he sees anyone who disagrees with him as a traitor.

But maybe that’s what McLaren need then? I can only say that the atmosphere at McLaren is a bit panic and stressed nowadays – sounds like the same thing at Ferrari – yes pressure helps build success but panic rarely equals better results.


@ aura F1…regarding your very last point, i have a question for you. if, as you state, RD is no motivational speaker why was is it that immediately after whitmarsh was unceremoniously dumped ron called a total maclaren meeting. at that meeting he ,RD, received a standing ovation from his staff upon completion ? i would say ,based on that,that he is a very good motivational speaker despite the common opinion.

David in Sydney

Despite his experience he’s still only 34! I forgot how young he was when he started. Likely he’d overpaid and not too motivated given his wealth, celebrity, WC and standing in Japan… but if they dump him in the face of Honda it’d better be for Alonso or… who else?


Honda wanted Alonso and Button – it’s K-Mag who doesn’t have the Honda love in.


Yes exactly. Almost. They still need to toss Button.


Love it


I think that I’ll go with Ross Brawns opinion of Jenson, it’s highly likely to be more accurate than yours.


Ferrari boss needs a victory this season & carte blanche to sweep away staff that are surplus to requirement. This also means himself at the end of season. If its too greater task to mpve forwaed thet need to bring Iin Ross Brawn. LdM should be wheeled off in a Fiat Punto & maybe Marko given that role & Ross Brawn left in charge of F1 team.

Alonso is looking elsewhere for success. Ferrari needs a fresh set of drivers.

McLaren need 2 new drivers. Jensen sadly is past his ” Use By Date” & Ron Dennis in his Grim Reaper garb will scythe away. KMag may end up as a test driver for next year. Alonso will end up at McLaren with a junior driver.

Kamui will be saying farewell to F1 will end up in LMP or Indy. Caterham will go bust by next season.

Adrian Sutil well he’ll probably open a Bar which only serves drinks in plastic cups. 😀


Ferrari could start by ditching their rubbish flawed Pull-rod suspension lay out, I can’t actually comprehend why they have persisted down this route for so long whilst scratching their heads over why they keep making terrible cars. Have they not noticed that all the best cars (well, pretty much ALL other F1 cars) over the last 4/5 years have push-rod suspension?! Pull-rod makes the front of the car far more difficult to tune. Teams need to tune spring and damper settings on race weekends, this is far more difficult with pull-rod as all the components are hidden away. If they could test all year at Fiorano then fair enough, but they can’t so get rid of it. There is barely any track time!

This is one of the main reasons why Kimi cannot drive it, as he still has no clue how to understand how to set up the front of the car with only a a couple of free practice sessions every few weeks to do so. Fernando has had 4 years to get familiar with it so no wonder he is more comfortable. No F1 journalists seem to realise this or bother to report on it.

No doubt Allison has already planned to ditch it for next year.


May ask,what is wrong FIAT Punto, your sarcasm does not add up,in view that the model spans more then three generation and is still in production and second to Morris mini in sales world wide.
Ross Brawn as briliant technician and engineer he was and perhaps still is,but in true sense of the word is a yesterday man,you are setting aside the very man who hired Brawn,Todt and Byrne.


Thats each to their own. Happy driving in your Fiat Punto 🙂

I’m sure Inspector Montalbano appreciates your kind words regarding The Fiat Punto.



Morros mini is a classic

a Fiat Punto looks like a door wedge.

But wach to their own happy driving in uour Fiat Punto 😉


Hasn’t James May got a Fiat Punto?

Not a bad car, but not a great one……………kind of like Ferrari’s 2014 F1


Kamui has been spotted in a Honda motorsport cafeteria…hmmmm


I mean of the task is to great to move forward then they need to bring in Ross Brawn 🙂


Luca Di Monty: “Rossi (sic) any chance you wanna come back to Maranello?”

Ross: “No way mate, been there, done that.”


Button should be sacked. He is overpaid and his performance has been dismal.


Why would you sack a driver who consistently outscored Lewis Hamilton?

Jenson Button, in terms of performance, almost always beat his team mate.

In F1, the first person you need to beat is your teammate.

And he does that.


“Why would you sack a driver who consistently outscored Lewis Hamilton”. That one genuinely made me laugh out loud.


He’s 23 points ahead of his teammate! Have you ever thought it might be the car that’s dismal?


How often will he have to prove people wrong before he’s given the credit he deserves? There are very few drivers on the grid who can honestly be expected to do better than he could and Alonso’s the only one that may be free for next year.


Well i would start with Kvyat,Bianci, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo,Bottas, Vettel, Alonso,Raikkonen, Rosberg, Hamilton and maybe even Magnussen before the season is out. Possibly Perez and Massa too lol..did I leave anyone out


Has anyone seen the recent images emerge of Button and his “Japanese” girlfriend at the beach? I am sure Jenson is more than happy to have those images linking him to a “Japanese” model pasted all over the tabloids – perhaps it was he who called the paparazzi ….

Me thinks a certain F1 driver who has an uncertain future, is eager to attract the attention of a certain Japanese engine manufacturer 😉


I know he has been with his girlfriend for a long time. Only we haven’t seen Jessica in the news for a while…..the timing was what I was questioning.


he’s been with her for years and she’s been on tv with him several times including when he won at suzuka in 2011, that’s why he calls it his second home race. A few photo’s won’t make a difference.


He’s been going out with his Japanese girlfriend for considerably longer than you appear to know!


Kerry that is a very inflamatory remark.

His car has been dismal for the last 2 years not his driving.

Jenson keeps beating his highly rated team-mates..what more can he do?



I’ve said this before many times, but Jenson is the ONLY team-mate to beat Lewis over a whole season – and on merit too – although if Merc keep on hindering Lewis’s chances by not checking their components thoroughly enough (i.e leaky fuel tanks, brake discs exploding, that sort of thing) then Rosberg Junior could out point Lewis come the final chequered flag!

How Jenson retains his motivation and drive after 15 consecutive seasons is quite an achievement – same goes for Fernando too.


Jenson Button as I see him;

Minus Positive

* Lack of qualifying pace * Performs well in rain

* Unable to drive around set-up problem * Steady performer over season

* Historically eager to move onto another team * Gives professional interviews

* Prone to sabotaging teammates * GF adds glamour to F-1

* Former World Driving Champ

* British


@ doug- Crashing into Lewis at Montreal 2011 then saying “what on earth was he doing”

– Questioning what Lewis was doing with Felipe at the hairpin in Monaco 2011

– Constantly questioning what Lewis is doing at a race weekend within the team and sucking up to Whitmarsh wherever and whenever possible.



Historically eager to move onto another team? Williams him to Renault so they could have Montoya, Renault dropped him for Alonso and at Honda where he was remarkably loyal to stick with them in ’07 and ’08 in the terrible ‘earth’ cars. He chose to go to McLaren and at the time it was a good move. See Alonso’s history for someone eager to move.

sabotaging teammates!! crumbs that’s a new one, are you sure your thinking of the same JB Kevin described as a great teammate?


British most surely positive.


Can you give an example of him sabotaging his team mate?

He’s tough but fair…which is more than can be said for certain ex world champions.

The fact that Jenson walked into Lewis’s house and stood up well against him is a testament to his quality as a driver. McLaren have paired him with 2 young hot shoes and he’s schooled them both. He can’t win in a car that is well off the pace..who can.

Yes Alonso might have squeezed a bit more out of it, he’s doing wonders with the Ferrari. Alonso is the best overall package…but Jenson’s a lot closer than many people give him credit for.


British – Is that positive or negative 🙂


Gosh, that’s very hard hitting but you are not wrong. The new young drivers have been doing rather well IMHO. As for who they are I don’t need to single them out.


You don’t think it could have anything to do with the car, do you?


I agree it’s McLaren and their cars!

has everyone forgotten why Hamilton left McLaren? Because of the cars performance. By moving to another team increased his chances of scoring another championship. So Hamilton leaves because he can’t drive the car but Button stays and is accused of being a bad driver…


Button is a driver who in a car that suits him (Brawn GP 001), is a fantastic driver. His rather dismal showing in the MP4-27, the MP-4-28, and the MP4-29 suggests he’s at best a fair racer in a car that doesn’t suit him.


Presumably they should just pay him less and fire Magnussen – that’d make more sense.

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