Pirelli boss hits back at Toto Wolff’s “Italian mystery” line after Monaco F1 defeat
Vettel, Wolff
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 May 2017   |  10:55 am GMT  |  315 comments

The president of F1’s tyre supplier Pirelli has responded to Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff’s line that the reason why Ferrari is able to master the tyres and Mercedes cannot is an “Italian mystery”.

Mercedes lost the Monaco Grand Prix badly, not even sending a driver up to the podium for only the fourth time since the start of 2014 and afterwards Wolff made a mischievous comment about the way Ferrari is always able to find the right operating window for the tyres. This was a particular problem in Monaco last weekend for many teams as the tyres were too hard for the track and its surface, which meant that getting the front and rear tyres to the right temperature was a problem for many.

Then in the race, the etiquette around blue flags for backmarker traffic meant that both backmarkers and leaders slowed and that was all it needed for the tyres to fall out of their operating window. It was hard to bring them back.

Ferrari has had the edge in this area all season and we saw Mercedes struggle on the supersoft tyres in Bahrain, for example. Wolff claimed on Sunday night that they have yet to do a race where both Mercedes cars have the tyres within their ideal range at the same time, implying that Mercedes is trying different set ups across the two cars to scrabble for answers on some tracks.

Marco Tronchetti Provera

Tronchetti Provera went on Italian TV yesterday and had the following to say about Wolff’s comments:

“The tyres are the same for everyone. Perhaps Mercedes, have been used to lots of success and now face an uphill task, but they will come back. However, with engineers that have worked like a team, Ferrari has done something that no-one expected. You have to give them credit and you have to be satisfied by the work of an Italian team.”

This comes back to the debate we had last season about the seriousness with which the top three teams took the 2017 tyre testing programme with mule cars, based on old designs with higher downforce to simulate 2017 levels.

Most of that work on Mercedes’ side was done by Pascal Wehrlein, while Sebastian Vettel took responsibility for the bulk of the work on Ferrari’s side. He also paid several visits to Pirelli, which is within the rules. The drivers were not told what tyres or details of compounds and constructions they were using, but a driver of Vettel’s experience and feel would have gained a lot of intelligence from these tests on the directions for 2017 and would have been able to work with Ferrari’s engineers to address what kind of set ups would be needed to work the tyres in their ideal operating range.

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel

“It was a very serious piece of work on the part of Vettel and Ferrari,” said Provera. “Vettel was always ready with humilty, to test when others were ‘not available’ and the results are the fruit of a lot of passionate work from a team that is totally focussed on winning.”

The implication is clear; Mercedes became complacent in 2016 after years of domination and didn’t take the tyre development test work seriously enough, when it has turned out to be mission critical to race outcomes in 2017. When the Mercedes is working the tyres within their operating window it is very fast, as we have seen in several races this season.

In this respect Vettel is like Michael Schumacher, who transformed Ferrari for a decade from 1996 to 2006, through hard work in detailed areas, especially looking for areas that other teams were not taking care of. Schumacher went much further, stacking the odds in his favour wherever he could in the ‘intangible’ areas of racing with relationships with the tyre suppliers and the governing body and other stakeholders that could influence outcomes.

But in the current era, it’s clear that Vettel has learned from him and is leading from the cockpit at Ferrari.

What do you think of this latest development? Leave your comment below

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Interesting that Wolff is trying to look for other excuses rather than in his own backyard, it is simply that the reds have done a much better job this season than his team and it is striking a nerve , Mercedes obviously became complacent and also did not see value in the tyre tests for this season, I feel the red domination is starting and let's hope it is the beginning of a new Schumacher like era


It's not just Vettel. That Ferrari chassis has a clear advantage. They raised the cooling and lowered the front suspension. Mercedes did the opposite leaving less set up room. Whatever setup works for one driver may not work for another.


amazing how this has so many up votes when we've just come off an era of dominance that's been hated like nothing else I've seen before


Are we in on the cusp of a Ferrari domination era?


No, we are in the cusp of some people not accepting the fact that they are being beaten on merit even with the more dominant engine. Give the same engine to RBR and they will show what they can achieve. I am not going to single out Mercedes. This is typical F1. I am amazed by the fact that Toto Wolff said such a thing, because I thought he was one of the few people who appreciate good work, but this comment is something labels him like another corporate personelle who put the company's shareholders feelings ahead of th sport.

Right now there are more positive things about F1 in over a decade. The new management, the battle between two teams (I'm banking on RBR catching up by next season), battle between two world champions etc. has been nothing but great. And of course Wolff is blaming others to spoil the good vibe. Maybe he should taste humble pie sometimes.


Sorry may be any other year. 2017 Ferrari have better car!

Aaron Noronha

I just think wolf was misunderstood. I dont think he was referring to any collusion between Pirelli and Ferrari. Maybe his words were taken out of context. "I had a short chat with him afterwards, he said the grip was back - why that is, remains an Italian mystery. We need to understand it because Ferrari is able to understand and race the car in these conditions."

As for battle between two teams. As long as the rules dont keep changing every few seasons, more and more teams will catch up even if only 3 or 4 fight for the WDC. The whole token system restricted Renault and Mclaren from catching up. Look at Monaco before the penalty both the Mclaren drivers had decent positions.


I beg to differ.
The words were not taken out of context. I saw and heard Toto at the end of the GP talking with the SkySports guys and that's exactly what he said, which is exactly what you wrote.
If he means to say something different, then use a different speech or different words, because right there he used the words "Italian" and "mystery" while talking about Ferrari and tyres which are provided by an Italian supplier.
He's not a fool. We've seen him talking in English plenty of times for long periods to acknowledge that he knows what he is saying and how he is saying it.
Don't give excuses. He said it. Let him take credit for that.


It's about time.


Ha that Toto seems to be quite the provocateur, I heard he is also touting Mercedes as an under dog 🙂


@ John H...if mercedes are now the 'Underdogs' what were they before? 'Overdogs'?


thanks JohnH....was waiting for someone to mention that! he clearly doesn't understand the meaning of "underdog". the underdog is NOT expected to win and yet every once in a while it happens! you're not the underdog if you are a regular race winner. they all seem to want to wear the mantle of underdog, so they can aggrandize themselves if they pull off a win!


Could it be Mercedes is missing Rosbergs input? After all, in a Williams engineering test he passed with results that were at the level of a top engineer?
Just a thought...


Very good point.


I doubt that very much! You're giving Rosberg too much credit!


Ha ha ha , I remember some posters bombarding this site in 2013 about the coming hybrid engine. F1 is entering a new phase for the ' intelligent ' driver they said. And everything is well set for the socalled 'smart' driivers like Button & Rosberg ; and Hamilton ,the ' aggressive unthinking driver ' will be running out of fuel and would be found out. Come the first hybrid season, Hamilton was the driver saving more fuel,and Rosberg copying from him. And When Ferrari slips back in this tyre department ,you will be reminded that Ferrari were just benefiting from the structures Allison left behind and his trademark tyre efficiency, as we have witnessed on his cars at Lotus.


Allison had been at ferrai for a while and we did not see any of his tires management magic. actually quite the opposite and the exact same problems that Mercedes, where Allison is working now, is suffering.


Nonsense. And you think technical chief just waive a magic wand? It takes time to reorganize things.


In an interview reported in Autosport recently Wolff said that they were missing Rosberg's input and that his engineering ability had been invaluable to the team.
On the issue at hand, I remember Hamilton saying that tyre testing was a waste of time and he could learn nothing from it. Clearly Vettel disagrees and the proof of the pudding etc. etc.


Rosberg is a high school graduate. Nothing more. The credit given to him is bs. It comes from media wanting to make him more than he is and from a team that wants his presence as ambassador to make them more money, that is all.


HAM doesn't care for walking the track or simulator work or tyre testing. He doesn't feel like he gets a great deal out of that work
And actually I can see that, drive a few laps and you know it just as well whether you've walked or sim'd it. Put the tyres on and do a couple of laps and you have the feel, so pounding round doing tests doesn't teach you much.
What he may have missed is the significance of the change of regs and new tyres. Might having his input have resulted in some design differences to the car ? Possibly.


I partially agree with what you said. Yes, a few laps and you have a good understanding of what the car and tyres are doing.

But that's not the whole story. You're just the driver. You have to remember, there's a team of hundreds of employees who are also responsible for working with the car. They need that input as well.


That testing week unfortunately clashed with JayZ and Rhianna's birthday bash, so there were photo ops to be had.

Damn you Sebastian and your empty social calendar!!


@ LKFE.....hahahaha...flash bang, gotcha.


I am sure the incompetent engineers came along with him to meet Jay-Z & Rihanna too. You would have thought they know how critical the data and feedback on the tyres are with regards to the regulation changes. Was Hamilton responsible for all the mercedes tyre problems before he arrived there too..This is all a load of nonsense. Mercedes engineers got the tyre data they believed was sufficient to work with.It is 100%t the fault of the engineers for getting things wrong.I have not heard anything coming out of Mercedes that Hamilton did not do what was required of him.


They dare not, Ins!


Yeah right.Because Hamilton owms Daimler Benz.I have seen the vibe at Mercedes in
a couple of behind the scene videos on YouTube. Hamilton just one of the staff, ' humble and relatable ',whatever that means.


I have seen a couple of behind the scene videos he has made on YouTube of his Mercedes team .Nice vibe with other staff members; just one of the staff. ' humble and relatable ',whatever that means.


[mod] Lewis did not test in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and yet he won 2 of the 3 WDCs and Mercedes won 3 of the 3 WCC easily and their streak ended with 51 victories out of a possible 59 starts, including 2016 where the only 2 races a Mercedes did not win was because the Mercedes leading the race did not finish (Spain and Malaysia)! So, is it entirely possible the real "genius" is the quality of the car you get in F1? Correct me again, where was Sebastian during this period of Mercedes domination? I believe he was sharing his extensive knowledge of English swear words with Verstappen, Kvyat and Charlie Whiting. We have always overestimated the genius of F1 drivers over time. Micheal Schumacher's greatness is not the number of wins, but his relentless consistency of high performance coupled with his ruthlessness in chasing those wins. That is why we remember people like him, Jordan, Tiger or Ali. At their prime they simply refused to lose! I personally believe it is the only reason why Lewis will never ascend to to those heights, unlike the greats he seems to want more from from life than just winning championships in his sport.


@ frederick...yes, i remember Schumacher...he was the cheat who parked at rascasse.


Well I guess it has nothing to do with Mercedes having the best engine then!


don't fotget paddy lowe


@ hero...only just a week or so ago Wolff was extolling the differenmces bewteen rosberg and Hamilton and he alluded to the fact that Rosberg was far more attuned to the 'engineering' than the other guy. So yes, i would say that they are missing Rosberg and his input. The other aspect is that ferrari have put in the hard work and vettel wasn't swanning around fashion parades with teenage 'fabulistas', he was grinding it out lap after boring lap. Maybe they are getting their just rewards.


As for his off track activities, which does interest me ,a fan of his,but obsesses you ,a non fan ; I am sure Hamilton wouldn't know that he needs permission from you before he can associate with whoever ; furthermore, why don't you report him to the police for the laws he is breaking.


That would have to be one of the most vacuous posts i have read on this site for a very long time!


Nonsense .What I have heard is Woolf commending him and saying it is the most diligent he has seen him work.Vettel has got nothing to do with the Ferrari tyre stability. This is a trademark James Allison strength. He gave an interview while at Ferrari and talked about his task,which was to create an efficient structure that would maximize all the talent he believes Ferrari already has. They were impatient ,sacked and now lost him to Mercedes. You will be reminded when Ferrari slips back and Mercedes moves ahead in this area. And I'm sure Hamilton will not get any credit when Mercedes improves the problem you are 100% wrapping round his neck.By the way,give us a link to that article where Woolf was supposed to be comparing his present driver unfavorably with his former retired driver.


If you cared to read the comments you would see that PETAJ has already nominated the site where is was published!! Go find it.


Ferrari are merely reaping the benefits of having two committed drivers willing to the small things that make the vital difference between winning and losing on their team. I wonder if Merc aren't now wishing it was Hamilton and not the 2016 WDC that left the team last year.....


Ridiculous! What's the championship tally between Hamilton and Rosberg? I think it's 2-1 in favor of Hamilton and Rosberg barely hung last year for his WDC! One more race and he would've been toasted!


Nonsense .The tyre problems at Mercedes only improved after Hamilton arrived,fact. Rosberg & Schumacher did nothing for a Mercedes that was reasonably fast, but chewed at the tyres ,fact.


Possibly they found some Solutions during the test with White helmets. Maybe Wolff should bring this into the discussion.


Wolfy says otherwise!


Fact, really? Merely sounds like your opinion dressed up as one, unless you care to provide some evidence to back up your claims.....


What claims? Mercedes had tyre problems ,with Rosberg and Schumacher as their drivers before Hamilton arrived there, fact.


You seem to forget who brought Hamilton to Mercedes, and how.

Mercedes winning had a little something to do with this rather good engineer called Ross Brawn, who architected the design, then bet his career on that design as Brawn GP.

Brawn GP then became Mercedes, but lost steam because Brawn GP had no money, so Red Bull overhauled them. Then, once the regs changed again, it was due to Ross Brawn's leadership that Mercedes was in a winning position again.

Toto Wolff had achieved nothing at Williams, but managed to insinuate himself in Mercedes. His total achievement in the past few years has been to keep hold of the excellence that Ross Brawn established.

Hamilton has never built up a car or a team around himself. He started his career by waltzing into a race-winning car in McLaren, then jumped ship after McLaren couldn't remain at the top straight into a winning car at Mercedes.


Again, please provide something to support your statement of 'fact'. I'll wait...


You've said not one word of "fact." The Internet is your friend. everything UmarFKhawaja stated is easily found in a search. If you cannot perform the simplest of Internet tasks you deserve nothing from anyone else.


I agree with everything Umar said DK , I even rec'd it. I was replying to Inshaallahura aka Aveli.


I love throwing hand grenades with you Kenny! 🙂


Not exactly a good phrase to use even though it's LFKE dance with Kenneth in the Blue Oyster Bar.
Hit music Police Academy style.


P Kara -I'm prone to metaphor, just like you're prone to no punctuation.
You can't comment until you've seen us both with our leathers on! 🙂


@LKFE...the odd cruise missile doesn't go amiss either, but only in dire circumstances when one is under sustained fire from all directions. hahaha Flash Bang.


💗Bro Mance💗
🙊Up chuck mode red alert🙊
🙈 Ego Alert 🙈


Now that's what i call a demonstration of 'erudition'.


Vettel did what 3 days work ? He gets as much time to do the stuff Hamilton does, it's just Hamilton goes and does the rockstar things that Vettel doesn't get invited to. I think there's also a team behaviour thing. Ferrari may have said "Seb, we think it would be really useful for you to ..." and Mercedes "Don't worry Lewis, Pascal has it covered". Only a few at Mercedes will know if they tried to get Hamilton to do the tests, and they won't let on.


Do you seriously think that Vettel would consider strutting the fashion shows dressed in green velvet, no knees jeans and tinted clear lense glasses with blonde dyed hair....or posing on the wing of MY BIG RED JET hahahaa he's got more sense. Then again.....


If you hear him speaking on some radio station some day,try calling in and take him on.You are going to get the shock of your life. You will find him too intelligent for you ; too sharp and too quick.


And still they come.


@James Encore, no need for Ferrari telling Seb what to do. Before his 2011 RBR season Vettel was the only driver to seriously research the new Pirelli tyre regime. He payed an extensive visit to Pirelli's Turkey factory. Contributed notably to his 3-year WDC domination at Red Bull.
Seems history is repeating itself now. Ironically, the driver that comes to mind of doing the same is... Nico Rosberg! Maybe someone should go and ask him if he would have talked to Pirelli and engaged in full-blown testing. (Of course, his answer could be No, but he could say "Yes I definitely would have!" just no nag Lewis.)


Nonsense, Webber who relegated himself to the role of a doormat contributed to vettel's domination at redbull.


I doubt very much that Mercedes preference would have been to not have their lead driver assist in setting up the car for 2017.


I'm struggling to imagine Seb in a recording studio. As a Ferrari driver, he'd be invited to all manner of events.
Anyway, history has shown that since his F1 debut Seb's complete focus, like his hero MS, is on understanding/ improving his craft.

Lewis is "rockstar" and it's great he enjoys it. If you look at F1 history it would be like comparing James Hunt Vs Niki Lauda. One having a great time personally, the other professionally...

As to 3 days work, Lewis had half a day at Barcelona 2013 which paid dividends for Mercedes the last 3 seasons.


They make billions legitimately with what they pour out of the studios, whether the material is to your liking or not ; and you need technical skills too to operate those equipments,otherwise everyone will be making loads of money. After all he has achieved , I don't think Hamilton needs any lectures from you. You seems to spend all your existence on the internet lashing out stupid authoritative snarling lecttures at someone more talented and more successful in his chosen career than you are in whatever it is that you do.


@Hw...what's a rockstar apart from an outdated cliche?


Though the reference to Schumacher was to imply that there are often gains to a driver who puts himself in a position to find them. So possibly when Arrivabene says "Don't worry Seb, Antonio Giovinazzi has it covered" Vettel replies " No really - I want to do it myself".

Plus when you haven't won a WDC for a few years, plus another driver about to equal your total you might find a little extra motivation?


For all of Rosberg's credited engineering prowess, prior to 2013 - the merc wasn't a world breaker, even with the aid of the mighty Schumacher. Strange thing to say kenneth considering throughout the season we've seen the w08's inconsistent handling characteristics. Curious, when lewis's car is dominate, it's down to the car, but when it isn't - it's his lack of focus, partying, models, music career or justin beiber. Hilarious!


You're missing the point @oblah. it's not lewis' partying etc, it's the lack of rosberg's input to the car - now it's not there the car isn't handling as well - it may be chance but in f1 there's only the luck you make for yourself. with nico and their old CTO in the team these last 6 months, my guess is they would have had a stronger platform on which lewis can strut his stuff


@ Richard...whilst i agree with your comment about missing Rosberg i must say that it's impossible to make your own luck. It has been said that 'luck 'is simply a result of 'determinism' . Whatever, you can't make your own luck. Hahaha


Remember Merc entered F1 not for wining 2010 or 2011.

They just focused 2014 regs. Many times they have proven that they have quali pace but not race pace in V10 era. They faced tyre eating issues. Sometimes their tyre last only one lap. Fuel consumption issues. Full tank weight problem. Cooling problem.

Schumacher involvement was not limited to driver but Brawn wants him, his job was not only as driver he lead the team in many level.

It only foolish to believe Merc involved Michel for wins, it is actually more than that. Sadly he missed to see those dominance live.

I remember that rumours started late 2012 that they have a PU which could do magic.


Mercedes knew absolutely nothing about this so-called (magic) until late 2013, if truth be known.


+44, the double standards are hilarious.

My own view is that drivers have an amazingly limited ability to affect car development, certainly in modern F1. People just fit people to their preconceived notions of people. Where was Vettel's amazing, steely determined ability to push Ferrari forward compared to Red Bull last year for example?


@AndrewM where was vettel's success last year? it was in working to get results this year!


Oblah. What is "hilarious" is the way position your belief. In reality when Hamilton wins it is because he is "the greatest of all time". When he loses it is "the team let him down again", "he has an unfair share of car failures" and many other biased statements including all the conspiracy theories!


Mark Webber on Channel 4 F1 said "Pirelli are a nightmare and that there should be two tyre manufacturers duking it out. We need a tyre war too".
Pirelli have had some serious tyre malfunctions over the years . In Spa with Vettel. At Silverstone with Lewis and a number of drivers. We need Goodyear or Michelin or Firestone involved in F1. Some of the Pirelli tyres compounds are as useful on track as A Can of Deodorant is on a Fat bloke . Both have aspirations they'll work but the end result is a patchwork of despair.


It's a little hard to make a good product (tyre) when you don't do proper testing and trials for said product. Thanks to the regulations, they can't use current cars to test the tyres. Therefore, you're releasing a product which is bound to have problems because those problems weren't ironed out with the appropriate amount of testing.


To be fair to Pirelli, Michelin, Goodyear and Bridgestone could test for thousands of miles in contemporary cars during and post seasons. A luxury Pirelli have never had.


To be fair, Goodyear, Michelin & Bridgestone tested miles and miles throughout the seasons as well as in-between. A luxury Pirelli have never had.


Agreed, another one of Bernies end of era money grabs brought us the one tyre provider rule.


"Mark Webber on Channel 4 F1 said "Pirelli are a nightmare and that there should be two tyre manufacturers duking it out. We need a tyre war too".

Spot on mate! Can someone get Ted Kravitz on the case, he needs to go straight to Charlie with this. IT WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!


As an Aussie, I am a big MW fan. I agree that there should be multiple tyre manufacturers to spice up the show even more. However, blaming Pirelli is a total joke and having more tyre manufacturers at the back of some people's irrational comments is the worst reason ever. Pirelli has done everything they are asked to do. They can make tyres as good if not better than any other tyre companies in the world. But for F1, they have done what Bernie ordered, they have done what the drivers ordered, they have done what the most fans demanded (ability for the drivers to push harder). Now they are the bad guys for some corporate junkies' failure to acknowledge others' success! I want refuelling and more tyre manufacturers back in F1 too, but not because Mercedes needs firstaid kit for the first time in over 3 years, because it's good for the sport in my view.


@Formula Z .., very well said. Thankfully some people on here actually do understand the sport and do have some common sense!

Aaron Noronha

Last thing we need right now is a tyre war. The next rule change should look at making races more exciting, allowing more natural overtakes, getting rid of DRS, and finding an engine formula where one manufacturer wont dominate for years. And yes keeping the aero rules steady for years so that all teams can catch up.


I agree, a tyre war just doesn't work in modern F1 unless we have about 3-4 of them like engine manufacturers. Tyres make the most difference out of anything - can you imagine this season if Mercedes jumped ship to Michelin who subsequently had a 1 second advantage over Pirelli?


RE Tye manu's.....Then lets have three or four of them then. Tyres, like engines, are all different. If we have four engines lets have four tyres.


James wrote in a comment a couple of days ago about how 2012 was an odd year, very exciting year on track, with multiple winners of the first Grand Prix events - all a result of the progress teams made in figuring out the new Pirelli's tires.
I don't think we need a new tire war - although it would certainly shake up the current status quo, but we sure as hell need for Pirelli to loose its HUGE (to quote a current popular figure) influence on the type of racing we watch.
It's enough to take a look how limited this year where the team's options in the Russian and Monaco races, due to Pirelli failing badly in providing a really Soft tire - we go to watch processions not only in Monaco but in Sochi too, not a single on track overtake!

And in regard to Vettel pulling all the stops in order to make Ferrari competitive - it was nothing less than I was expecting, you see it in Alonso too, a period of struggles and hard work really has a good influence on a driver.
On the other side of the spectrum you have Hamilton, who works only as much as he really has to, seeming to be getting complacent, asking for the team to work hard to give him a fast car but when the opportunity arrived for him (read the tire test) he wasn't available.


What position did Webber finish in the 2005 US Grand Prix? First, wasn't it? Oh, no - wait...


Drop your fancy fuel Mr. Wolff and drop in instead, trick-not-frick suspension technology but horizontally to both damp and cook the rear axle, rare, medium or well done by means of a mere screwdriver. Simple!


That's exactly what it's about. The Frick suspension Ferrari went running to the FIA and old pal Ross Brawn about just days before the start of the session but only after they had copied it themselves. Seems funny how Ferrari are allowed to keep theirs yet Mercedes and RB aren't allowed to run theirs. This is the real reason for the sudden gains by Ferrari and the equally sudden drop in performance by the other two teams. Don't let anybody convince you this is down to Ferrari's hard work. A pure straightforward fiddle...


@ Simon...so a rumoured 60HP deficit between the Renault and the Mercedes engine has no effect?


Kenneth: My friend! I'd like to call you that. Why so would you drop a grenade on Simon's lap when you have at your (disposal) a numpty such as I who blurts out all these facts? You're not afraid of ICBM's are you?


It's nothing like that much - can't be

The Honda is -80hp on Merc according to a source with knowledge of the Mayer

So Renault is much closer, the problem for them is for reliability on ERS system they can't use all the gains they made since last year. Once updated parts kick in they should be close to Merc


@ james...those figures were tossed around quite a lot recently on an F1 technical site and were referred to me by a friend whilst discussing. I trust that your info is better sourced than mine so if you say it's much less then that is fine. The point is though...how much less?


Pure straightforward nonsense is more like it.... and I'm not referring to Ferrari.


Ferrari only asked for clarification of the rules. From what I've read, only RB were effected as a consequence.


Simon: Ferrari aren't actually using (fric) suspension, only certain elements and principles of it. I would not have thought that doing that could ever be termed as fiddling in any way. The short version has to be this. Mercedes were actually enlightened to their rear tyre woes only days before the famous illegal tyre test. Exactly how they cured these woes is related to smoothing out low frequency vibration. The banned front, rear interconnected suspension is an altogether different matter. Reread my comment, it states (trick) not-fric, or it should have done, damned auto-correct. Either way Trick suspension isn't inter-connected either between the axles or transversely opposing wheels, each set of components either side of the front of the car operates independently. Newey came up with it some years back for improved braking. Placed horizontally in amongst the wishbones and pushrod components of the rear axle it will give improved grip and less tyre degradation. Now! Picture the scene Vettel and Jock Clear go out on the town, inevitably they end up sloshed whilst trying to establish exactly what's in Newey's head. Seb possibly says something or other about the braking system RB style and Jock spots a connection with the merc set up for tyre preservation, hey presto Monaco. Red Bull are doing the very same thing. I would guess that you watched Monaco so you will have noticed that the RB cars were constantly annoying Bottas. Well the merc system isn't quite as adjustable as either the Ferrari or Red Bull systems as I think it's based on fuel type or additives but come Canada they should be up to speed. They only need a prod in right direction.


Yes Ray, I'm sure you're right. I think really the overall point I was trying to make was that If Mercedes were still running the Frick they spent a lot of time developing only to have it scrutinized just weeks before the season start because Ferrari waited til then to seek clarification, would they still be having the same problems they are experiencing now? In other words, if the Frick was still there, how would they be running then? Incidentally, I think Ham had become so dependant on it, without it, it's putting Bottas in good light.


Simon: Sorry for the delay I've been busy. Brushing aside any confusion it's (yes) to your first query, although mercedes are not using fric per se. Their system is entirely different. I believe it to be fuel additive based. To answer your second query, obviously requires another yes, although as pointed out their system is not fric based which is why they need to upgrade. Regarding Hamilton. Whenever he appears slow or off form i e. Sochi, Monaco or wherever it's because he's doing his duty as a professional and is merely testing. This task will later be shared so as not to be quite as noticeable. Mr. Bottas doesn't need limelight of any kind from anyone. He's a solidly regimental racer. His only fault, if there is one, people do seem to think so, is that he needs to learn how to make the rear of his car talk more fluently to the driver behind.


I'm going to suggest an alternative explanation here..........I wonder if Lewis Hamilton's transatlantic travels are taking it's toll on him?

All that jetting (outside of races) across the pond must have an effect, he's only a human being and to keep going back and forth with all those time zones and jet leg catches up with even the best. It's noticeable that Schumi was never flying to Los Angeles between races, preferring to either visit the Maranello factory for a few days or resting at home, to get as sharp and focused for the next race. The same goes for Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen actually.

This isn't a criticism, just supposition. Jackie Stewart in the early 70s tried to compete in Formula 1 in Europe and Cam Am in the States, but flying across the pond every weekend eventually ended up with the Scot getting an ulcerated stomach which knocked his form and confined him to hospital for a few weeks, not to mention the lengthy recovery.

Is Lewis having transatlantic burnout? Russia, and now Monaco were woefully poor weekends by his standards. Is Hammy's jet set lifestyle catching up with him?


One can appreciate what informs the animus behind Jackie Stewart & Lewis Hamilton Jet set lifestyle. We could wait until Lewis is afflicted with an 'ulcerated stomach' before we conclude they share sensibilities. One may find tying Lewis down in a boring typical F1 lifestyle will generate the 'ulcerated stomach'.


@Gaz Boy.

Maybe there is credence to your speculation but keep this in mind. Lewis post mclaren has always been jetsetting. Unlikely transatlantic flying adversely affects tire performance. If that were the case, explain bottas's terrible performance in china, spain and lack of pace in monaco - was he chasing tail too?

Going out on a limb here; but maybe, just maybe the w08 can't get or keep the softest pirelli rubber in its working window as shown on several occasions this season. Why must every be lewis's fault?


What do you mean everything is Hamilton's fault? The guy has a history of blaming everything but himself when things go wrong. Shame you don't hold Lewis himself to the lofty standards you seem to apply only to posters on this site!


When are you going to send us a nonsense thesis about the lack of ' intelligence and mental aptitude ' behind Jenson Button's performance in monaco?


Maybe you are right, maybe not. I personally have no issue with any drivers personal life as long as they don't break the law anyhow or set a bad precedent for any young followers. For LH, I believe he does give his best every time he is on track. He is in a position now in his life that he is using the sport outside of the track to promote his brand. He said it many times himself that he doesn't want to be involved in F1 after he retires. A lot of people may think his lifestyle is affecting his track performance. I think the opposite. I think because he is a party guy, loves Hollywood lifestyle or whatever he does out of the track, gives him mental ease and calmness to perform better on track. Party life is almost meditation for him in my view. But who knows! I'd judge him by what he does on track, not out as long as he doesn't break the law.


@ Formula Z When i was working i spent an inordinate amount of time flying around the globe on business...for a period of ten years + i was out of my country once every 6/8 weeks! Believe me, constant travel/flying and work takes a massive toll on ones health and well being. After Spain Hamilton was seriously knackered and after quali in Monaco, in his own words, he was 'too devastated' to get out of the car. Now surely one needs to take all his 'extra curricular' activities into account when assessing the dedication needed to be 100% fit and committed to the sole purpose of winning. Of course he has the right to do what he wants, when he wants and how he wants...just don't look for excuses solely under the bonnet when things don't go as planned.


Why is Lewis labelled as a party guy?? He barely parties! I would say he parties less than the average guy much less the average millionaire!


It is because the prone to envy amd jealousy resent watching a lifestyle which is unattainable to them.The poster Kenneth once let the cat out of the bag when he angrily posted here that Hamilton was pushing his lifestyle in his face. How so if you don't go on the internet to ogle largely? You would regularly see comments on other sites that Hamilton was ' punching above his weight',with regards to his former girlfriend.. In other words , he has got what he shouldn't have.Only the envious and jealous would posts such nonsense. They want him to become a hermit, and stop affronting them as they would see it.


They want him to become a hermit,

Actually, people just want him to become humble and relatable. However if it makes you feel better coming into these threads throwing disrespect and shade at anyone who isn't a LHFB who am I to stop you. You only embarrass yourself!


'Actually people just want him to be humble and relatable '.
Which people? Are the millions who like /love him subhuman? What about those who voted him to come second at the BBC sports personality of the year in (2007 &2008) ,and to win it in 2014.Button has never won this award although managed second in 2009.You internet inhabitants want him to be persistently apologetic for what he has,while most mainstream people just want to be entertained and know how to live and let live.


There is more to the world than your little Island, you do realise that don't you?


You mean the island you are pretending not to belong to.


That 'Island' is a continent actually. The fact you don't know the difference isn't surprising.


What ,Britain is an island? Your problem is however many names you use,you have still got the same voice. You're not Australian as you claim but British where is 'cheesypoof,Hello, ifeanyi,Keiketty koira and so on.I see LFKE and Herowassenna are here.


@ Sars...how very true.


What is true is my ego and that of million others do not find him a wounding man at all,why does yours.


Dear oh dear oh dear...


For every fan that drools over his every move like you do, there is four that don't..FACT!


Ha ha ha, Is that why we only find non fans of his drooling with bitterness in the comments sections that accompanies pictures and articles about his ' celebeity lifestyle ' on some sites? You then come here and ask to be assuaged with so-called
' humbleness '. You are obsessed with his every move not me.


Whatever helps you sleep at night mate. Ignorance is bliss afterall.


@ Sars.....Cool comment sars. I too have read the report but didn't click onto the same assessment...it went over my head. Well spotted.


RE PKara and Rodger: notice I wrote "this isn't a criticism, just supposition."

I'm just speculating for why Hammy's performances in RUS and MON were so below par. He had been an issue with Virgin Atlantic losing his luggage after a trip to L.A. Only a minor niggle, but a niggle netherless. To see him struggle in Sochi and Monte Carlo and be comprehensively outperformed by his usually slower and less talented team-mate in the same equipment is bizarre.

Remember 2011 when Hammy's performances were erratic and inconsistent while Jenson Button was a model of consistency? Is something lurking in his personal life that means Lewis is not as his sharpest and brilliant best?


It is often forgotten that while Lewis was inconsistent and crash prone in 2011; he was never slow!


I don't think its his lifestyle perse that's effecting his performance this year. Instead it appears its simply a lack of commitment.


Gaz, Re 2011 -what was her name again?


@ LKFE ...Nicole Shrodinger....feilne doll!!!


' Nicole shrodinger'. I am a fan of his and don't know her name ; you are not a fan of his,but you know her name. Why is she in your consciousness.


Dear oh dear oh dear....


I've noticed the comments below this post criticising the comments about lifestyle, etc. I'm not sure how anybody can claim that lifestyle is not important. Hamilton is arguably the best driver, but margins are tiny in F1. If conditioning, stamina, etc., are valid contributors to a driver's performance, I think it's only reasonable to suggest that a driver that spends less time travelling, more time focused on his primary trade, and with less overall disruption in his life could benefit to the extent that he might surpass the more talented but busier driver.


Thanks for reminding me Kris!
I can only imagine what i would have achieved, but for my excessive partying (hic) and car surfing. I'm only thankful that i never owned my own jet....i'm sure i would never have made it this far!!


Yes,and l am a billionaire. Ha ha ha.


That's a truism, Kris.


Nine time zone differences are no joke. Those of us who spend significant amounts of time readjusting to different time zones can attest to that. IMO this is a legitimate thing to point out.

Aaron Noronha

I disagree. Lewis has always been flamboyant and knows his limits. In no way has his partying effected his race crafty. So far he juggles his career and his other distractions pretty well.

His driving style doesnt suit the car's dynamics on certain tracks and in certain conditions and this has something to do with the way the car works up its tyres. I am sure Mercedes with their resources will be able to fix it before the end of the season but they will be allocating valuable time & resources troubleshooting instead of putting all their efforts finding performance gains.


I don't think the lifestyle affects race craft, which is somewhat innate and natural. However, I think it's reasonable to say that if he spent less time travelling and doing the other stuff, and more time focused on why he's not getting the absolute maximum out of the car or making the tyres work in certain situations, he'd be performing better this season.

I never felt that it was appropriate to comment about the lifestyle aspect during the last 2-3 years as Merc were so dominant. I believe Hamilton probably felt he could beat Rosberg with talent alone. If you're the bosses at Merc now, though, I think you'd really want to see Hamilton focused on understanding why it is that Bottas has been able to make the car work on those occasions when Hamilton hasn't. I think most people believe Hamilton is the faster driver, so pole might not have been out of the question and we wouldn't be talking about the Ferrari dominance.

It's an important moment. Qualifying 13th while your teammate gets the car working and seals 3rd is a pretty stark message. And finishing so far behind a teammate that is new to the team and considered to be a solid but slower driver in two races already is pretty shocking. It kind of does suggest that Hamilton is doing something wrong, or not doing as much as he should be to be getting on top of the car's performance.


Professionals within Mercedes will have analysed his performance vis-a-vis lifestyle, & may have concluded a boring lifestyle may be detrimental to his performance. We can speculate all we like, & our anecdotal experience may point to burnout, we cannot however mechanically apply our experiences to everyone. His driving style affects his performance at particular tracks & this was well analysed here http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/f1/putting-brakes-hamilton-conspiracy-theories. There is a reason he has only 2 wins in monaco on 10 visits.


@Gaz Boy - I've had my fill of idiotic claims about Lewis Hamilton's lifestyle. Give it a rest.


Ps Jackie Stewart lost all credibility when he came out "only a few people died" in Bahrain "we should race".
Meanwhile the likes of Webber were not happy with the safety of drivers and the backlash from the press and general population of Bahrain.

Aaron Noronha

A lot of people died during the colonial rule by the British so what? We should boycott the Bristish GP??? Sports and Politics should never mix. We are here to watch races not compare the Human rights history between two nations


Ps I'm British I'm well versed in our history.
F1 has a history under British leader BE of going were most Sports never did. Which did not sit easy with me or majority of Brits.
When Mandela was looked up and Apartheid was at its worst guess had F1 racing at Kaylami in South Africa... Bernie the man who use to say "The Germans had the right idea" & he was talking about the 1940s . So I'm not a fan of BE either or Max Mosley.


"When Mandela was looked up and Apartheid was at its worst guess had F1 racing at Kaylami in South Africa..."
P Kara. You may be British and well versed in its history but you seem to be lacking a bit in the sentence construction arena. Can you please help me to understand the above claim?


Me too.


Looked = Locked
BE = Bernie Ecclestone
Cheers David it was predictive text error. I do apologise , I'm sure most people got the gist of it.
I doth my cap to the residing JAF1 English Language master "David".
The above claim is stated in the Times and other broadsheet newspapers. Bernie was quizzed on his first outing as BBC F1 presenter by Jake Humphreys and also by Eddie Jordan. Jake hit the ground running as the anchor of BBC F1 show. Still missed on the F1 seen even though he is part owner with DC of the Channel 4 F1 production company.
So just go on and check for yourself.
Regarding F1 in South Africa. That's in the history books. Try checking it out for yourself regarding Bernie and his extreme right wing views.


I expected better GazBoy.
The travelling transatlantic excuse is a old nugget. It's clearly the weight of the car and it's impact on tyre wear. Lewis likes to chuck the car into corners and has a set up on a knife edge. Bottas kept his car in the window of operation to a point and it delivered. But in the race he had similar problems regarding the tyre window of operation. The car needs to have movable ballast and a lighter chassis and they'll get there.
The Pirelli tyres have been a horror story from the get go from 2014 onwards the Mercedes has not enjoyed the composition. Fair enough Ferrari have some car that is easier on its tyres. But overall Pirelli have been a nightmare. Need a tyre war bring in another manufacturer. Having one tyre manufacturer acting like a North Korean dictator is rubbish in the modern era of F1.


Yes, the weight of the car, etc. obviously have an impact. However, I think it's fair to say that it should be expected of the very best drivers that they do everything they can to understand the innate characteristics of a car and, if possible, adapt accordingly. I don't think it's necessarily reasonable to question lifestyle if it's matched by unquestioned success on track but, if I'm Mercedes and I've just seen one driver get the best out of the car and bring it as close to pole as it seemed possible, while he other languishes in 13th, and if it's not the first time one has managed and the other has struggled... I'd certainly want the guy that's struggling to put his other stuff to one side until he got to grips with the problem he's encountering in his highly paid day job.

Fans revere Kimi for his natural speed, much like they do Hamilton. But if Kimi has a car that he doesn't 'feel', he's nowhere. In contrast, Alonso has driven cars produced by 4 different manufacturers (5 if you count the Merc/Honda partnerships as separate) and yet, there's never been a question of him bringing the best out of what he has at his disposal. We laugh at Kimi's lines about not wanting to spend too much time in the simulator, but isn't it application and meticulousness that separate the Kimi's from the Vettel's, Alonsos and Schumachers?

There's a lot to be said for Merc needing to improve the current package but, if we consistently start to see Bottas getting to grips with the car and performing to the car's potential (i.e. top 3) while Hamilton languishes in no-man's land, i'm sure it'd be only fair of Mercedes to ask him to put some of his other stuff on ice, and to focus on spending more time in the simulator and getting to grips with current package.


@ P Kara....I trust that you've let the mercedes team know of the solution to their current woes?


I'll drop them a line Kenneth


Please do. I think all Ferrari fans will be praying MB listens to you 🙂


Dry Sarcasm is lost on you 3498 . I mean quite literally lost on you. Nimrod award 🃏


Form is temporary, class is permanent. #ForzaFerrari


Especially when class is paid an extra $100m a year.


@ luca...and it seems as though vettel has, 'bella figura' as well.


Try telling that to Kimi
Nothing class about Ferrari.
Ever since the " Fernando is quicker than you" radio message and now with Kimi. I bet Barrichello knows how Kimi is feeling.


Spot on mate! I too was disgusted that They've pulled Mercedes on Kimi.


Both Rosberg and Valteri got 'Fernando' order, mud on Merc face. Pot, kettle... Massa did not rise from that, but Rosberg and Bottas (boding) champs did.


Please use substance while making a point. Did Mercedes jeopardise Bottas' race by trying to undercut? Did RBR do that to Ves on purpose? Did STR do that to DK? Team order is allowed in F1 this year. Ferrari would own up to it, if they impose team order. Vettel was 6/10ths faster than Kimi before pitting. Kimi got the 1st call as the lead driver. It's unfortunate that it didn't work out, you know what it is called? "Racing".

Aaron Noronha

Trying telling that to Massa too. You conveniently forget Kimi too enjoyed the same benefit in 2007 when Massa was asked to sacrifice his results to make Kimi a WDC


Yes, 2017 Ferrari form is temporary. 2009-2016, the true class of Ferrari is more permanent.

Aaron Noronha

Enjoy your comment for all you know Ferrari is and always will be the most successful team in F1 history. If Mercedes dont get their form back and stop fighting for the WDC they'll walk out jut like they have done before. And where exactly were Mercedes before 2014??


Ferrari is the most corrupt team in F1, and has been for the 40 years I've been watching, whether that is still taking money from Phillip Morris today (after Tobacco money was meant to be banned - they are still on Ferrari's site as a partner), creaming off the first $100M of FOM money, iffy side deals done with Bridgestone, underhand help from FIA back to when it was named FISA.

Brawn is the most successful team in F1 history. Entered 1 season, won 1 WDC (100%), 1 Constructors (100%) , 8 races (47%) .

Ferrari is still here and Lotus, Brabham, Tyrell all petered out, Williams and McLaren are shadows of their former selves (the last 8 championships have been won by teams which didn't exist when Williams last won one) .... that's the ultimate success.


Try getting an Italian company to pay their taxes. The country is teetering on finicial ruin. If Germany decide not to prop up their debts by handing out more EU financial help. Then Italy will go the way of Greece. Still Ferrari will be safe most of their money is dotted around the Middle East and Asia. Oh well there is always a good Bunga Bungay party to go to 😨


@ James Encore...that's a very serious accusation that you've levelled at Ferrari.


You have no problem of occasionally accusing Hamilton of doing something treasonous.


Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear and you can't spot the difference?


Yes I can spot histrionics.


Where were Mercedes before 2014? They won a race in 2012, and then won more races than Ferrari did in 2013. In fact, at the midway point of the 2013 season, they were in contention for the driver and constructors championship. It was only the ruling body's decision to change the rules around tyres mid-season that handed all the momentum to Red Bull.

The point being that Mercedes are not 'fly by night' entrants. They showed consistent progress since their return to the sport. This year looks like the first year since their return when one could argue that they've taken a step back.

Aaron Noronha

Last I checked Alonso in a Ferrari finished ahead of Hamilton & Rosberg


Under Ross Brawn and Todt, Ferrari were always cutting edge and ahead of the curve - I remember then-new aerodynamic details, eg shark grills, appearing that teams copied - but so reliant on unlimited testing, which became their achilles heel.
Their old ethos under di Montezemolo of focusing on only the next race, lacking long-term vision, meant that they didn't invest in the right technologies and fell far far behind their competitors. Things like CFD, simulators, and crucially the wind tunnel were like 10 years out of date. Eg, Pat Fry recently said on Sky that it took them 6 months to work out what was wrong with the wind tunnel, but one and half years to fix it. None of Ferrari's problems were quick fixes.
So it was last year, on face value a very poor showing from Ferrari and Vettel, where it appears they chose to treat it as a test for 2017, not to mention the exit of Allison, and were forced to lay various foundations crucial to future success. Vettel referred to these developments several times, things they were putting in place behind the scenes that were going to reap huge rewards.
It seems to me that another visible aspect of this is Ferrari bringing significant updates almost every race, again not showy and much of it under the skin, but which has kept them cutting-edge and ahead. At Barcelona everyone expected Merc to obliterate the opposition, but as Vettel said, our updates are maybe not showy but they are significant.
It's very much the low-key confident approach Ferrari has taken to 2017 since the beginning of testing. They could have won every single race so far, and now after Monaco the gauntlet is truly thrown down, we'll see how the season develops, but I don't think they will be taking anything for granted.


@Crom - you make a very significant point that many have not entirely grasped. Ferrari were not lacking talent, but rather were hamstrung by outdated infrastructure and inappropriate processes and systems. None of those were a quick fix. Now that they are in place, its allowing the talent to shine, and take the game to Mercedes and RB.


And it's largely all Italian. Something that the brit's don't like.


Ha! I won't comment on whether the brits like it or not 🙂 But as far as I understand it, there is still a large international contingent at the GS, whilst the majority (as always) is Italian. Working language is English. The main difference is that there are no international superstars. Scratch that - there are no superstars period.


"I'm so glad I didn't do that (prototype tyre) testing, because the car is so different. I did a few laps in the Abu Dhabi test in the 2015 car and it was so much different to this car. It would have been a waste of my time, I'm glad I didn't do it. It made no difference." Lewis Hamilton, speaking to Autospot in April, 2017.


Interesting contrast:

"We are struggling with the car nicely balanced especially in the very slow-speed corners. We are struggling with the rear stability and when the rear's not stable we are not putting energy through the fronts either because the fronts are not sliding. But when the rear's stable, the fronts are understeering slightly and that puts more temperature in the fronts. When you carry more speed through the corners you gain more temperature and energy in the tyres. For some reason Ferrari seems to have both of their axles, front and rear, always working but for us they're not really coming together both at the same time or not all the time." Valtteri Bottas, Fourth Place Monaco, 2017 (in Motorsport).

"It's definitely going to be a difficult one [to find a solution] and I really hope we get on top of it, because as soon as we get on top of those ultrasofts, then that puts us in a much better position to attack the other car. That's what we really need." Lewis Hamilton, Seventh Place Monaco, 2017 (in Motorsport).

*And yes, I meant Autosport, not Autospot, in the above quote. Damn you autocorrect!

Silver gallows

I'm also glad he didn't do it. Really tired of his fence climbing.


I'm actually quite interested in the LHFC response to this.



Just copy it Rockman and have it at the ready. I can see you pasting it around twenty times a week, minimum!


Where' Aveli when you need him?


Ken/Sars, please don't disturb him!


Cleaning his room, i think?


Think you'll find he's here in disguise..


Amongst others Kenneth!


Not commenting on the talent, but the difference between Lewis and Sebastian is signifficant when it comes to the level of engagement and hard work. One is not better than the other, just a different lifestyle


Ironic... Considering the background of the "secret" 2013 Barcelona test which Mercedes conducted...


wasn't it Nico who did that test for Merc?


I seem to remember it was Ham and Ros, they sported White helmets so noone could recognise them, though.


The helmets were black, better camouflage 🙂

Fursty ferret

100% ,are people still bringing up his lifestyle again,people seem to forget Lewis has all ready won 2 races this season, bottas has one win, vettal 3 races, so 50% win rate for both teams, you can hardly say Mercedes are in a crisis hear, considering there setup issues etc, that have done a fine job


It's all relative, but I'm sure most of the LHFC would agree that the combination of Lewis' immense talent and the domination of the 14-16 Mercedes Benz -in theory should have meant he won every race -DNF's aside (before you start). But he didn't. IMO he IS the most naturally talented driver in the field and possibly in the history of the sport.
But it takes more than talent and a fast car -it also takes motivation, commitment and focus.
In my view that's why his "personal life" is relevant. There are well documented instances throughout Lewis' career where he has lacked that focus -by his own admission. He still talks about being in a happy place now.

Vettel by contrast is less talented, but is a technician who leaves nothing to chance. His focus and commitment is NASA-like. Yes, he benefited from a fast car as well, but he beat Webber in that car and by some margin in two of their four season together. There were very few occasions where Vettel didn't turn up.


...but of coarse, Danny Ric handed him his pants!


hhahahaa. Good one.


What other drivers visited Pirelli? That seems like a massive conflict of interest, which is unsurprising really.


Really. Let's read again, it says not.


It also says that any of the drivers can visit Pirelli if they want to.


What goes around comes around..... Merc and especially Hamilton paid little attention to tyre testing pre season and it has come back to haunt them now. In contrast, Seb was very involved in 2017 Ferrari tyre testing and it is now paying handsome dividends!!


They did all the testing on the new tyres they were allowed to do. Nothing they can do about Ferrari being given a free test day at Fiorano... wonder why.


I wonder who the LH fans going to support once he retires, Palmer? Wait, Palmer might retire before LH due to d grade performance. I bet they won't support the Mercedes then. And they can't go back to McLaren or Williams because of they are both just bad. It will be interesting to see.


I don't get why many believe that those that support LH only support LH, and no other driver. I like drivers who are exciting and entertaining, who do things that others can't. Obviously Palmer doesn't fit that bill. I thought Stoffel might show well, but to date he's been thoroughly disappointing. That turn-in on Massa in Spain was just shockingly amateur.

I like both of the Red Bull pair. Although if Ricciardo was doing well, then we'd be inundated with nauseating praise from kenneth. "Sublime", "sheer brilliance", etc. are thrown around cheaply for relatively meagre achievements.

So it'd likely be Max. 😉


Pick Vettel, time for penitence 😉


Love this comment F Zero. Thought about it myself. The Hamilton fans will be at a complete loss. It is going to be interesting to watch.


Simply put, anybody, but Seb. The pain inflicted to Alonso and now (and hopefully for a few more years) to Hamilton will make any of their hardcore fans to root for any of Vettel's rivals.


It will be like losing a limb.


So Toto is accusing both Ferrari and Pirelli of cheating ... the next Italian Mystery might be how the horse's head ended up in his bed.


Crazy ay? Everyone praised Mercedes for their good work in the hybrid era. And the first time they don't win every race, it's everyone else's fault!! Lost all my respect for this guy.

Fursty ferret

I don't think he really had your respect to begin with really, did he


If you think Pirelli and Ferrari weren't quietly talking regularly over a plate of pasta and a bottle of Chianti then you are naive.



Spot on mate! That is probably why Ferrari wasn't able to get in operating window during the entire Season last year.


True, more wine and pasta went for engine, chassis with different competent buddies, no effing merit to Ferrari.
Did VET spend time with Pirreli too when fought for Red Bull too? That may say something.


yes spent time with Pirreli when he was in RB too. And there is only one other guy who visited Bridgestone in F1.


Actually he did. See my reply on a post by james Encore.


By that theory McLaren and Williams should've won very championships over the last decade at least under Bernie's reign. Bernie is English and so are McLaren and Williams, but hey what happens there?

Oh another theory, Toyota an Honda both Japanese. So was the Bridgestone as a single tyre supplier. How many races and championships did they win over ball of dumpling?


I knew last year that if Ferrari did well this year, that this story of Vettel going to the Pirelli factory would be used to show his attention to detail, etc. I think its importance is overblown.

Those statements from the Pirelli spokesman sound like they could've come straight from Ferrari!! I don't recall anything like that from Paul Hembery. That's slightly worrying from the neutral tire supplier.

Lastly, the question needs to be asked: can Pirelli not make a tire that is robust yet has decent grip; that degrades somewhat, but doesn't fall off a cliff; that can be pushed without making them immediately useless; that have a wide operating band of performance, where teams can get and stay in that window without much issue?

Predictability in their tires should be the first priority for a series-wide tire supplier. In Indycar, they know that the red Firestone tires get up to temperature quicker, while the blacks take longer. So you know that someone coming out on blacks will take a lap or two to really get up to speed. The thing is, they know about it, it's predictable, and it's the same for everyone.

In a season where we hoped that Pirelli would no longer be the main talking point, it turns out that they are again the main talking point, and at this point in time are the main performance differentiator. Let's say that again ... the part that no team has design control of, is the main performance differentiator. Perhaps it's time for the tire war to come back.


Mercedes are making Pirelli the 'major talking point'.


Complains about tyres being the main performance differentiator.

Wants a tyre war.

Ok friend.


" I don't recall anything like that from Paul Hembery. That's slightly worrying from the neutral tire supplier"

I recall Hembery making his antagonism towards Red Bull very clear, e.g "We can't fix these obviously defective tyres because then Red Bull will win".


It's quite frankly hilarious anyone would believe Vettel visiting the factory provides any sort of advantage.

It's like me going for a tour around Brackley and claiming I have an advantage if I was to drive the Mercedes.


Jordan, it was also mentioned that Vettel fronted the tests in the mule car while Mercedes sent a rookie. Visiting the factory was meant to detail one driver's attitude compared to the other.


Pascal has been using the Mercedes simulator for a long time and knows what he is doing.

It's not like Vettel has free reigns to go out and do whatever he pleases. The team tell him to go out and drive with an aim of collecting data. He just does consecutive fast laps. The team use that data to build a car which uses the tyres as best of possible.

To suggest Vettel has specific knowledge which allows him to switch on the tyres much easier than anyone else is pretty funny.


Nail and head KRB - it is simply so ridiculous that I have for the first time in 38 years taken to recording races then looking them up after. We may have tyres that can be, at last, pushed but anyone suggesting SV factory visit is the reason for a sudden Ferrari ability to work with the tyres did not watch the testing earlier in the year. It was pretty obvious how this year would go. Pirelli wanted back in the limelight and to comment publicly on how they do what they were asked (no one asked for tyres that are so hard the upper ranges cannot be used)

They did it before - they are doing it again and it seriously annoys any sensible fan.

Of course those with an agenda will find ways of blaming LH for it. There is no doubt his lifestyle/glasses/tatoos/girlfriends and 2011 (you know where he won 3 races..) are the problem while conveniently upping SV work ethic and commitment (anyone remember last year or 2014.) and putting that forward as to why suddenly Ferrari are on the up. The guy was close to imploding last year yet suddenly a visit to the factory is evidence of greatness?

Not on the Monaco showing it was not.


C'mn Doc. you're losing your grip. Why not watch them live...and here i was thinking that you were a true blue fan!!!


I was thinking the same, so here you go...
Same tire for everybody. That longer chassis and complacency may contribute Merc troubles. I am saying nothing about drivers.


You say "part that no team has design control of, is the main performance differentiator" - but that's not true. You may as well say that physics is the main performance differentiator. The real performance differentiator is the teams engineers ability to build a custom system (the car) around the regs, control parts and laws of physics. At the moment it seems that the Ferrari boys have differentiated on that design the best.

Also - we don't need a tyre war (Bridgestone vs Michelin era) nor do we need rock solid, ultra-consistent tyres (the Bridgestone only era). It's already a pretty processional event, let's not add that boredom generator into the mix.


@ marcin....wrong. No matter how perfect a car is built, failure to control the translaion of that perfection into performance lies within the contact patch.


With just couple of hundreds missing, I'm not sure Mercedes is really that far off. More is being made of this than is reality. Drama.

Meanwhile, Mercedes loses continue to be strategy, tires, anything but a Mercedes being passed on track for P1. What a convenient excuse Toto has to stretch this out before Mercedes light it up in the second part of the season with their "epic" comeback, as Ferrari will start to have reliability challenges and penalties.

Your note also makes me think of Bridgestone and how hey have nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming back to F1. Their reputation for being able to build a great lasting tire is repeated in these forums still 7 years later. Whenever someone says "Why can't Pirelli do it?" it is often followed by "Bridgestone did it!". But one has to wonder if Bridgestone would deliver with these 177kg heavier cars.


"before Mercedes light it up in the second part of the season with their "epic" comeback"

Thank you for a good laughter.


Actually it sounds funny but with the exception of Baku (another street circuit), the next series of races till Singapore are supposed to be the reason Mercedes went with the long wheel base car. They are all demanding tracks where the combination of raw engine power, energy recover efficiency, and effective aerodynamics are supposed to come together perfectly and bring the best out of the long car. If they fail then it will be an easy Ferrari cruise to the last race.


Yes Frederick...mercedes have it in the bag. Get in there Lewis, ripped jeans and all.


Yeah 3 tittles from getting in there.Are Australians the only people allowed to wear ripped jeans.


Are they? last time i looked, this morning, they seemed to be intact. Dear oh dear....Aussies only.


Oh, so Ferrari win 3 races, without ever passing a Mercedes on track for P1, and you're convinced their domination is over?


Note to self. Check in with 3498 on November 27th.


The reason we have different compound is to make it a bit unpredictable, yo 'mix things up'... Pirelli does what Formula 1 ask them to do...

Indy Car circuit races are not better fofo worst because how the tires perform.


The 3 compound rule made for some good strategy choices last year, but this year it's been a de facto 2 compound season.

Why are they worse? The teams know how they will behave, more or less. A bit of unpredictability is all well and good ... when they are totally unpredictable, then it's a problem.


You always will have some differentiation, it could be engine power, aero work, double diffuser, mass dampers, tires etc., that leads to one car being better than the other.

Of all these, you claim that tires are something out of a team's control - to some extent yes, but largely untrue. During the design stages, the teams should make their car adaptable for a range of operating windows of the tires. The larger the window, the better the team will be. Mercedes did not do it - so it is a design flaw and they themselves are to be blamed. Secondly, even after having missed this opportunity in 2016, they had all the pre-season tests in 2017 to verify the data and change any component if they wanted. So again they failed there too.

They cannot simply blame Pirelli for their design flaws. Worse they are actually accusing collusion between two Italian teams - that is unprofessional and Toto should be sued for that.


they're not "accusing". they're subtly implying.


Why can't the differentiator be the driver? Mainly the driver.

Do we watch to see if one team has a better aero, diffuser, suspension, etc. Or do we watch to see who is the best driver?

This is the problem with Formula 1 in my view. Everyone wants that driver spotlight. The tire guys. The team boss. The software guy. Etc. Etc. And these engineers completely took over the sport now and tell drivers what to do, how and when to do it, etc. Of course Manufacturers invest all the money and want success attributed to them as much as possible. After all, that's why the spend the money.

There are days when I look at the grid and think...this would be so much better with just a grid full of Mercedes or Ferrari cars painted in different colours. At least I would know that for the Grand Prix it will be down to driver skill and team strategy/cleverness. Not because one team spend 20 million more on suspension design.


@ Sebee...but what about monaco....Bottas ten places up the grid from hamilton in two identical cars. By your measure then Hamilton was schooled by Bottas? Beware of enraged LHFC


In that case, in quali, he was. But final result wasn't that different.

Didn't this whole story line happen in 2003 already? You know, long wheelbase car, wasn't as dominant, won in the end?


This is firstly a teams sport we are talking about, what would you expect?


Did you watch A1 GP?


I did! I even have the DVD!


There was one, it was called A1GP. And it didn't survive for long, because people don't want another spec series.


I agree. there should be two races a year where they race one another in identical Morris Minors. sort the men from the boys!


I was thinking 20 races, 20 drivers, how about a car rotation?


Part of the appeal of F1 is that who can build a better mousetrap aspect. But, as you point out, it's swung so far in that direction that it's the primary focus. In broad terms, it's 85 percent car/engineering exercise; 10 percent strategy; 5 percent driver skill.

As long as the Constructor's Champiomship is primary (and it has to be given the money involved), the regulations (sporting and technical) will lead to roughly those proportions.

As a fan, that simply means that you have to get a balanced diet of motorsport! F1 has the glam and gee whiz tech. Indycar and NASCAR lack variety but have wheel to wheel combat; ditto F3 and the WTCC. MotoGP has both. Historic racing also has both. Drag racing has elemental speed plus shock and awe at the sheer power. I could go on, but you get the point.

One cannot feed on F1 alone😉


@ Rudy Pyatt...i ahve always had a fundamental problem reconciling the WDC with WCC simply because they can't always be sympathetic with or to each other. last years Abu Dhabi was a prime example. I have always thought that the two should be combined into one F1WC and both drivers would be then WC's, similar to the WEC where each of the drivers are titled as WC's. That would then enforce better 'two car' planned attacks and drivers being being forced to drive for the team as they would each in turn become WC's if successful. It won't happen but i'd support it if it ever did come to pass.


So many conflicts of interest in F1, it is an amazingly flawed business model. And as I noted, they undermine their own track product...on purpose!


With 20 races, and 20 cars on the grid, I have these moments where I wonder to myself why isn't there rotation of drivers.

Every driver gets to drive every car, once, with each team for 2 GPs.

Wouldn't that be interesting? Wouldn't Constructor's Championship AND Driver's Championship be more meaningful under such conditions?

Constructor - it shows that the machine is best one built, as in hands of any driver it collected most points.

Driver - it shows that this driver has made the most of every machine on the grid. Yes, there will be that whole thing about who happens to draw top team for Monaco, but this could be addressed. Any objection on this system can be overcome. It would be fascinating and oh so interesting. Which car will a driver drive, the lottery would become another headline on Thursday for example.


Who pays the drivers? What stops a driver that has the opportunity to decide a WCC in doing so?
I had thought about it a couple of times, each time I reached the conclusion it is not a can of worms we want to open.


Teams and Liberty contribute to the pot that is paid out based on WDC standings end of season. Personal endorsement deals excluded. Manufacturers can choose who is in their car ads and compete for deals with drivers who are successful.


Sebee: What you're describing sounds a lot like the old IROC. They lost the plot when it devolved into NASCAR-lite. Maybe it's time to bring it back:



This reminds me somewhat of 2011; Vettel and Schumacher were reported to be the only two drivers to visit Pirelli and inquire about the tyres they would be producing (2011 being Pirelli's first season back in F1).


Certainly, the tyre issues faced by Mercedes simply come down to the fact that rule changes throw a cat amongst the pigeons with one team getting the rules right whilst the rest struggle.

However, despite the Mercedes tyre issues, they have still done a good job as teams tend to get uncompetitive across different rule changes

Regards Ferrari, they too have done a good job producing a competitive car that works well but it has been 10 years in the making i.e. trying different setups and simulations

All in all, nobody wins forever, likewise, nobody gets the rule changes correct all the time, it's just the nature of sport.


The last three years seem like forever.


Well said...


@ AlanF1


Tornillo Amarillo

I have just read on Internet that ..."Claims that Bridgestone had supplied Michael Schumacher's Ferrari with different tyre compounds for the front and the rear of the cars", and other mystery phrases about Schumacher's tyres in the Schumacher's era that Ferrari/Vettel wants to emulate...

James, is it that what Toto wants to say with the concept of "Italian Mystery" ?


Totto is just a bit flamboyant which is nice, he called Merc car a diva. That 'Italian Mistery' might be a Kraut 'diplomacy' of him.


Toto's just following the ' theatrical arts' thought stream since jackie Stewart labelled hamilton the 'little ballerina'.


Almost forgot, thanks for reminding me, 'little ballerina' is exactly what Valteri's mate looks like this year - 14, 7, safety cars and huffing-puffing, helping hands, whatever. If Ferrari's gonna performing the way they have done by now, the other Mercedes will be TNT-ed by the end of the year. Having a bit fun, but let's see how is gonna panning out. This year is quite exciting.


Excellent writing, I've really, really missed these JA articles. I particularly appreciate the insight into how the modern era echoes the past, or differs from it, that fascinating historic context and relevance is a literary skill which it seems only James Allen has made an art form.


@ Crom, that's worth a brown star....hahaha, only joking.


Of course Toto said this half in jest, but the answer from Pirelli must have struck home. Maybe we will see something different from Merc on future tyre tests.
Also don't forget that Vettel has taken the trouble to learn Italian, so he can ask questions direct in the factory. It all helps.
Us old gits remember when full time testing was allowed and Michael was always out here learning all of the possible combinations of tyre wear, track surface type, fuel load etc and remember he always went off in practice just to make sure where the edge was, (that he could not get back from) because back then we had proper gravel traps that stopped cars, off meant out!


He also ate and slept in the same house that once was he great Enzos residence when he was busy testing at the in house circuit.


I don't understand why people have to respond to all of the garbage that comes out of the mouths of some team principles.


Are you suggesting that the team principles have no principals?


Unfortunately Dean when you have such an underwhelming race that was Monaco 2017, we are forced to focus on the rubbish off the the track as its the only thing we can have an actual discussion about. Oh and Ferrari's did they or didn't they team orders drama. What a fiasco some people have turned that into!


What's the big deal? Mercedes will just hold their own testing session with 2017 cars and both race drivers, have their wrist slapped by the gutless FIA and they will magically have figured out how to use the current tyres - just like they did in 2011.


You don't understand. It is all about BRITISH ENGINEERING. They are the only ones capable of understanding laws of physics and internal combustion engine. Everyone else must be cheating.


Tonto was responsible, along with Lauda, for forcing out Ross Brawn and replacing him with Paddy Lowe, who led the team that designed the current Mercedes car. Brawn is acknowledged as a winner, who has earned him many world championships. In comparison, Lowe hasn't achieved a lot. The winning Mercedes cars of 2014, 15 & 16 were basically the same car which was designed under Ross Brawn. The current problems are down to the Mercedes board bringing in a trio of clowns to run their F1 team.


" The current problems are down to the Mercedes board bringing in a trio of clowns to run their F1 team."

Why would you insult circus employees like that 🙂


This is High Mozartian Opera.
Damn Salieri !


It reminds me a Vettel quote from 2013:
"Whilst there’s a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool on Fridays, we’re still working very hard and pushing very hard so that we have a strong race."
But I guess the Merc wants reciprocity.
Merc has helped Ferrari and is guiding Honda with their drivetrains, in the name of the "greater good" of F1.
But that's normal. New rules, new 2nd driver and new technical director.


Is the Mercedes crushing dominance since the new engines came to play, a German/FIA mistery? Did they get a head start to stop Red Bull's winning streak?


Toto would make a good politician! He's very good at casting shade without making direct accusations.

Whilst reading this I thought that Vettel had learned well from Schumacher and then James made the connection at the bottom anyway. To me it highlights the 2 main types of top drivers you get in F1, the raw natural talent (Hamilton, Kimi, etc) and the thinkers (Vettel, Schumacher, Rosberg, Prost, Lauda, etc). Both have their place and if you get drivers that have massive talent, extra brain power and a work ethic they tend to excel when they get into the right car and team (e.g. Schumacher, Vettel, Laura, etc). Raw talent on its own seems to make up a lot of the difference to a thinker even in an inferior car (probably more so in the past) but perhaps ultimately the thinker has more in his arsenal (assuming a sufficient level of talent of course)?


Iw that why Schumacher kept crying that F1 has become too technical and was trounced without abation by Rosberg.


Schumacher had the raw talent and was a thinker..

Stephen Taylor

I think the comments from Toto were tongue in cheek and Pirelli should not take things so seriously. James also I'm drifting off topic but after Sunday does the paddock seem to think that after what happened on Sunday that Kimi is a now near certainty to retire at the end of the season? Is this the end Seb and Kimi's cordial relationship? Your thoughts James?


No the opposite, I think Vettel likes having him there and he's staying so he'd like Kimi to stay

If he goes Perez will replace him


Kimi a doormat, perez another possible doormat in the pipeline for vettel to enjoy.


JA, so you aren't technically breaking any confidences can you answer the following multiple choice question:
a/ that's your hunch;
b/ that's the word "this week" in the paddock;
c/ it's still conditional, based on x,y,z;
d/ you know definitively and it's a done deal;


So Perez and Bottas are just placeholders until end 2018? When the real musical chairs begins!


I hope that you're wrong james. Perez?


Jules Bianchi we miss you a lot now then ever.


@James.. Wait WHAT really? 😀

Is Perez plus Vettel an Ok Mix for the Ferrari ideology of non clashing drivers? Even though i would prefer the fire works with Perez, does Carlos not seem like the Ferrari like choice??

I would love to see Carlos go to Mercedes atleast. But what about Kvyat? Which team would be remotely interested in Kvyat at the moment you think?

Stephen Taylor

Yes but will Kimi's feelings towards Vettel have changed? I know Seb's fine Okay with having Kimi around but what about the other way around? On a side note Ferrari if they want Perez to replace Kimi will have been a bit bewildered by Checo's rubbish race performance in the principality given he'd been so consistent before that.

Tornillo Amarillo

Kimi wants to win in Montreal however.

Ashish Sharma

Where is Red Bull on the tire situation, given their focus.


The very same place as Ferrari. It is after all a Newey thing!


Thank God Adrian Newey is energized about these new rules otherwise RB would've probably been 3rd in the pecking order.


Even if the statement were made in jest, he knows what he is talking about. Unfortunately, a very cheap statement from someone who has achieved a lot in the last 3-4 years, winning nearly all that could be won.


Toto's comments aren't outside there realm of possibility. Recalling 2015, spa to be specific - vettel suffered a monstrous tire blow out that cost him a podium and almost his life. The subsequent backlash affected ferrari/pirelli relations. Fast forward 2017, ferrari seems to be the only team able to work the tires perfectly, in all conditions, throughout the range.

Something similar happen in 2013 with mercedes and their "secret" tire test.

Maybe Ferrari simply got it right and mercedes didn't but formula one is a complicated sport with many layers. It wouldn't surprise me if something untoward is happening.


Foolish statement from Toto Wolff. I suppose with that line of thinking we can call in to question the parity of engines among Mercedes supplied teams. Not to mention whether Bottas is getting as much support as Lewis H.


For those who don't remember Ferrari had hard time getting tires into operating window throughout the whole of last year. For what it is worth there is one common denominator, BRITISH ENGINEER James Allison 🙂


@3498 ... I think the last bit is a touch unfair.

Whilst Ferrari losing Allison is not the disaster everyone assumed it would be, and the new technical structure is obviously delivering, its not to say that he isn't a great engineer.

As for the "British" comment - it would be more classy to take the moral high-ground and not stoop to the level of all the idiots who were saying that Ferrari's hapless Italian engineers were doomed without Alison 🙂


Great article, I guessed as much when I always saw Vettel testing the tires last year.


Wasn't it Mercedes who only got their titles after tyre tests before any other team could do them?
And soon Bottas will feel like Rosberg: 'Lewis is copying my input and setups.' Copying and not working them out, that is Lewis' misery,


And lewis doesnt like to share data/setup!


That's his loss no doubt...don't see him going cap in hand 'Please sir can i have some more [data]


While not a massive Vettel fan, one has to admire the work ethic . The guy is a mule, always reading and willing to test at a moments notice. Lewis could learn a thing or two but its his life to live as he sees fit. Two masters perfecting their craft. One requiring monotonous, singular focus and the other - a more relaxed, whimsical approach. The results are largely the same, respect both.


Both are happy that way, two very different characters. And so their fans.
Don't ever think Vettel's life is monotonous, on the contrary, his life is the life he is happy with. Would be a real waste of life hoarding with Rihanna or the likes.


Pascal Wherlin actually said his knowledge of the 2017 tyres was a good reason to get the Mercedes drive, before it went to Valtteri. He may have been right, judging by his performance so far, especially in Barcelona where he did a one stop.


Hamilton's apparent dislike for testing doesn't seem worthy of a mention here, yet it seems extremely relevant...


I keep saying those strange tyres kill the F1 show. Just not up to the job pirreli . Boycott them. Tiny temp window, camber and presssure restriction and 2 laps only real grip on quick track.


Will someone please ask Christian Horner about his thoughts? Fans need to know!


What the public is dying to hear are words of wisdom from Niki Lauda. Will the real slim shady please stand up!


Who was it that said that Monaco, 'is a sunny place for shady people'.?


Anyone who remembers the Mercedes/Pirelli secret tyre tests of 2013 will have no sympathy. Even before sitting through 3 years of total Merc domination.


As soon as Ferrari start winning all the conspiracy theorists come out. That can win on their own merit it has to be some "Italian mastery" hint hint collusion. Merc - sour grapes!


As I said back when mule-car testing was ongoing: "I do not understand why Ham and Ros dont even bother to do those tests ... MS would've been there 100% of the time he could." ...