McLaren confidence boosted by strong end to season

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012In the round-up: McLaren sporting director Sam Michael is optimistic for 2013 after the team won the final two races of the year.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Michael confident for 2013 (Sky Sports)

“The car was really quick in the last two races and I think we can look forward to some really strong performances next year.”

McLaren profits boost driven by sponsors and prizes (Express)

“Pre-tax profits at the McLaren Formula One team accelerated 38 per cent to ??22.9 million in 2011 according to its accounts.”

Marko critical of ‘political’ Alonso (Crash)

“He seems to have problems if he doesn’t win. When he doesn’t win, then he develops incredible political skills.”

Moves to save the German GP (Joe Saward)

“In recent years the [Nurburgring] has paid only $13 million per race, but the money has been spread over two years thanks to the alternation of the German GP with Hockenheim, which means that the N???rburging only had to find $6.5 million a year. The word is that FOM has even offered to run the race for free on the understanding that it takes the revenues of Grand Prix Rheinland-Pfalz GmbH & Co. KG, the company that has been set up to run the race.”

Senna optimistic of F1 stay (Autosport)

“Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll have a nice clear path to follow.”

F1 great Prost’s regret over Senna film (CNN)

“For me, inside me, I know what happened, I know the story, I know how Ayrton was just before his accident after I retired, I keep that for me.”

“Ich erwarte viel vom neuen Auto” (Blick, German)

Peter Sauber tells Blick the Sauber C32 will make its debut on February 5th.

Brazilian Grand Prix video (F1)

Official race video edit.

The Evolution Of Pit Stops (F1 Elvis)

“Before the recent focus on pit stop speed, gun men would signify they were done by raising a hand in the air and when the jack men saw the two hands at their end of the car, it would be dropped back onto the floor. When the chief mechanic saw four hands and both jacks out of the way, he?d release it. Now the action of raising a hand 50cm in the air is considered to take too long and so the flick of a switch or button on the side of the gun shaves off valuable hundredths, that?s how thoroughly things are analysed.”

Bruno?s burden of expectation (Podium Finish)

“Following Ayrton [Senna’s] death, Bruno?s career came to an abrupt halt as his family, understandably given his uncle?s tragic death, didn?t want to see him racing. His father?s death, just two years after Ayrton?s, in a motorcycle accident in 1996 must have only served to strengthen his family?s protective instincts.”

Who Is Canada?s Next Racing Hero? (The Lowdown Blog)

“If I was to pick a driver for Canadian kids to look up to when plotting a course to Formula One, I?d tell them to look up to Robert Wickens.”


Comment of the day

@MaroonJack reckons he’s heard Luca di Montezemolo’s recent complaints somewhere else before:

It?s interesting. Luca says many things that have been said in the comment sections and on the F1 Fanatic forum, and they weren?t controversial. Many would call those ideas quite sensible, but when they come from Luca people immediately dismiss them. Let?s see:

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel deserved to win,
We were expecting more from Schumacher,
It?s time for Bernie Ecclestone to retire,
Ferrari puts the team before the drivers,
Aerodynamic development should be limited, as it?s not road relevant,
F1 needs to open development in other areas to remain innovative, road-relevant and attractive for manufacturers.

How exactly is any of that illogical?

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Noel and sw6569!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Francois Migault, who died on January 21st this year, was born on this day in 1944. Migault was born in Le Mans and his greatest motor racing success came in the 24 hour race in which he placed second with Jean-Louis Lafosse in 1976.

In F1 he made 13 starts but never scored, his best result 14th in his home race at Dijon for BRM in 1976.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 73 comments on “McLaren confidence boosted by strong end to season”

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      4th December 2012, 0:04

      Let’s hope Jenson can grab some strong points next year so finally people can believe he is a real racer. Let’s not forget he summed up more points than Lewis in all these years, accidents or failures being almost the same for both

      1. To be honest I would regard Jenson higher if he scored fewer points than usual but showed he can actually be consistently aggressive, quick and can compete outside his typically narrow performance window.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          4th December 2012, 0:19

          being consistently aggressive is not necessarily a benefit, as you can remember Hamilton and Maldonado crash in Valencia where both of them felt they had the right to be there until both crashed and well, end of the story. Button can be just a good administrator of the developing situations, but in that way he has won many times, especially in rainy / messy situations

        2. There are different ways to win races, and sure, some drivers are more exciting to watch than others, but if they all were ridiculously fast like vettel or aggresive like hamilton, the championship as a whole would suffer. So say Button’s style isn’t your thing, but don’t say he should change!

          1. @pelican This is exactly what I was thinking. It makes it more interesting to have different drivers racing in different ways, playing to their individual strengths and compensating for their weaknesses. And after the 2011 season, I will never underestimate Button, no matter what people might say about him!

          2. well said @pelican, just as the racing works best with cars having different characteristics (good in the wet, mightily fast on the straights, great in corners, reliable, etc.) its far more interesting and exiting when the drivers all have a different approach to being the top guys in racing.

          3. Of course he should have his own style! Remember I picked out 3 aspects that I think he needs to work on. I regard them as weak points, not style points. When he demonstrates he can be aggressive, quick and adaptable the results can be devastating (Spa 2011, or Canada 2011… That said he did collide with 2 other drivers!). He just hasn’t been demonstrating those consistently enough to convince me he will be a title contender next year.

      2. Where’s the tally showing accidents and failures being even?

        1. and even if it is the same number, it doesn’t mean the points lost are the same. people can’t just say ‘well 3 years even out the amount of bad luck they’ve had’ when 1 driver retires from the lead on 3 occasions this year alone and the other suffers misfortunes in 5th.

          1. That’s what I was thinking. Hamilton’s failures this season in particular have all been from positions where he would hve gone on to score heavily.

      3. No, they weren’t the same for both. Also, Hamilton’s occured when he was leading and had the most to lose — I don’t recall Button retiring once from the lead of a race . Button has been flattered, having shared a team with Lewis at his worst and at his unluckiest. Stats don’t give you the full picture. Hamilton was and is the better of the two.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          4th December 2012, 1:12

          @goodyear92 I DO know Hamilton is better (of course he is!), but I don’t think McLaren can be thought as a wandering ship now Hamilton’s gone. They have to reestructure the car around Jenson’s drivestyle, I know it’s not their philosophy to favor one driver but they should put the things a little more on Jenson’s favor and let Checo learn from his experience.

          1. @omarr-pepper I don’t think that either. McLaren will always be able to win, regardless of drivers that come and go. Lewis isn’t the sole reason for the success they’ve had, as that would be ridiculous. It just annoys when people bring out the fact that Jenson finished ahead on points as proof that he is the better driver — and I thought that’s what you were doing. Jenson should struggle less with a car that’s adapted around his way of driving, but we’ll have to wait and see. I can’t wait to see how he gets on against Sergio — I think he’ll cream him. Sergio is a little overrated, if you ask me.

            1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              4th December 2012, 1:38

              @goodyear92 let’s make a personal bet so… I bet you my new Ferrari (hahhaah just joking), I bet you Checo can make a bunch of podiums before the July-August break, let’s say 4 podiums.

              And swell The points-beaten stuff is not to say Jenson is better, but to tell you Jenson is not a 2nd class driver anymore. I’m sure he will manage the enormous weight put on his shoulders next year

            2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              4th December 2012, 1:39

              “swell”? , oops, only “well”

            3. hmmm..they can win provided their cars don’t ” retire ” . Anyhow I was a huge mclaren fan because of lewis , sad he is leaving . But , as you said , button is going to thrash perez because of his experience over him .

    2. While there is much about Red Bull I will defend, Helmut is one of the exceptions.

      I for one wish that the sniping on all sides would stop, people would acknowledge a great season for what it was, and everyone would focus on (hopefully) an even better 2013.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        4th December 2012, 0:13

        well, Alonso thinking of himself as a samurai dioesn’t defend him much , does it?

        1. Why is it wrong to have a role model in something as cool as samurai? I suppose you are one of those cool kids who can’t be bothered to be impressed by things.
          There’s a lot of wisdom in old cultures and it can only be good to draw you inspiration and motivation from those. After all, he put one hell of a fight this year and you can’t deny it had a lot to do with his attitude, as much as with his skills and the car’s speed/reliability.

          1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            4th December 2012, 0:27

            @brace, I’m not the “I-don’t-care” kid you say, but what I can’t stand is Alonso boasting off and saying everywhere he can he is called “a samurai”, or “a gladiator”. I don’t think an actual samurai would be saying that so much or else he could have been spotted and smashed!!!!

            1. @omarr-pepper I agree, Alonso is not a samurai, and he certanly seem a little ignorant about what does it really mean… Alonso calling himself samurai is like a kid over invested on anime…

              We all read the Art of War with out it getting it to our heads, Alonso should give it up…

            2. You’ve already read the Art of war? Great, I am waiting for it to go on sale @celeste :-)

              But seriously, to me it also feels a bit childish to want to be a Gladiator or Samurai like that.

            3. @bascb lol, the oriinal Art of War that you get to read in strategy class, but this looks interesting too

          2. Why is it wrong to have a role model in something as cool as samurai?
            There’s a lot of wisdom in old cultures and it can only be good to draw you inspiration and motivation from those.

            It’s one thing to sprout rhetoric that sounds like it might come from a samurai. It’s another thing entirely to practice it. The Japanese culture is very complex and very, very difficult for outsiders to penetrate. I suggest you read this article (yes, it’s from Cracked), which summarises things quite nicely: if you go to Japan armed with only what the internet has told you about the country, chances are that you’ll be arrested before you leave the airport.

            1. First of all, one of my best friends lived in Japan for almost two years so I know few things, but that’s completely irrelevant, since Alonso isn’t forcing it down anyone’s throat. He is simply quoting old sayings that are relevant for the current situation in which he finds himself.

              I mean, no one says he is officially samurai, it’s just a figure of speech. He never said he is a samurai, he said that some people call him that way because of his affection towards that culture.

            2. I read that the other day. I still can’t believe that people of Korean ancestry born in Japan can’t vote.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          4th December 2012, 2:47

          there is ONLY 1 samurai and he’s neither Spanish, nor Japanese, nor British

      2. I don’t get how Alonso is at all comparable to a samurai. Samurai’s do have great dedication to what their doing and perhaps that is a point but otherwise I’d say he’s a bull fighter!

    3. When he doesn’t win, then he develops incredible political skills

      Same could be said of you and you’re team Marko -.-

      1. Too bad that’s the only thing Marko developed, while Alonso can at least drive decently too.
        And if it to be believed, can pull chicks faster then McLaren pitstops. :)

          1. And I guess he might have been relatively successful as a driver too, if not for the accident hurting his eye @aka_robyn

            Safe to say its not those things that make him such an unlikable character. But his apparently unending need to bring up how great Vettel is, really does neither any good.

        1. @brace It isn’t currently Marko’s job to ‘drive decently’ – he employs others to do that bit. But in case you weren’t aware he was a successful racing driver himself too so you may want to check before you comment.

      2. Yes, I did find it incredibly ironic that Marko accused Alonso of “having problems when he doesn’t win” given that Marko has a documented history of having problems when a junior driver impedes Sebastain Vettel in Friday morning practice …

        1. And his favourite son, Vettel, just happens to whine when he doesn’t win, I’m looking at Austin this year, Hungary 2010, Malaysia 2012, Turkey 2010, and so on.

        2. haha..yeah I was laughing when I read the article…Pot calling the kettle black. Marko has been whinging and moaning about all kinds of things….so I dont know why he is getting so upset.

          I guess this is F1, plenty of people on massive ego trips around the paddock.

        3. I just wish Vettel moves away from Marko so that he can develop himself into even better driver. My opinion, Marko does more harm to Vettel’s image than there is a benefit of several championships.

          1. Sometimes, I get the feeling that a lot of the political stuff that goes on in Red Bull happens behind Vetetl’s back. Just the other day, he was applauding the team for “not resorting to dirty tricks” when the team has pushed the limits of the rule book more than anyone else, and they’ve got the benefit of having two extra cars – the Toro Rossos – that will jump out of his way without hesitation. I think Red Bull deliberately keep a lot of stuff from him, or as far from him as they can manage, so that he can then claim plausible deniability and it won’t hurt his championships.

    4. While I agree with the COTD to a certain extent, the problem is that Luca chooses to publicly say these things just having lost the championship, and so the smell of sour grapes if not exactly potent, may put some people off their dinners.

      Of course there is no way of telling, but I’m willing to bet he wouldn’t come out with this tirade had Vettel not been able to get going again after his lap 1 tangle.

      While I agree with what Luca says, I don’t agree with when he says it.

      1. @john-h – I myself don’t agree with why he’s saying it. During the Mosley years, Luca always positioned himself as the voice of reason, and Ferrari gained a lot of political power. Now that Mosley is out and we have a leader in Jean Todt who doesn’t feel the need to constantly interfere with the running of the sport, Luca’s position as the voice of reason is no more, and Ferrari’s political power has eroded. He evidently wants to rebuild that, to give Ferrari more influence in the running of the sport. Which is a very bad idea, because if they have that influence, they can start to build up a new era of domination. Right now, the balance that we have between the teams works very well. There is no reason to change that, but Luca no doubt sees that Ferrari has lost their place as first among equals and wants to restore that at the expense of other teams.

        1. truth is he is extremely frustrated being at the helm of a manufacturer with more than 50 years in f1 and not able to win championships once in a while let alone dominate . He is jealous of red bull and frowns at their good luck . Can’t blame him for letting off some steam once in a while. But he is under pressure to produce a better car having fernando around .

      2. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Call me suspicious, but it is what it is.

    5. i just dont like this Helmut Marko guy AT ALL

      1. I’ll second that, he’s almost as unlikeable as Christian Horner.

    6. Marko is a Red Bull what Montezemola is to Ferrari.

      They both defend their teams and their drivers, while I found both their characters at moment dubious they both have their teams best interest in mind.

      Whenever they give a declaration it tends to be controversial or annoying to say the least, I guess you would support one or the other depending of your alliance to one team or driver.

      While most of the time I find Marko amusing, I think maybe this time he was at least partially wrong, specially in the part about the 2 Newey cars.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        4th December 2012, 1:33

        @celeste I agree with you (and thanks for agreeing about the samurai thing hahaha)… seriously, you know how stubborn old men can be, and with the power these 2 guys manage, I wouldn’t like to debate a topic with them, cause they just want to be right all the time!!!
        Of course they both aren’t in their places to be loved, they just try to do the best (and even saying offensive, cynic and even ridiculous things) for the teams they belong. Even if we fans don’t like them

        1. @omarr-pepper don´t worry I have being annoyed with the samurai thing all year…

    7. Shut up, Marko…

      1. Yeah .. I avoid most of what that clown has to say. This Helmut guy is RB Racing’s biggest PR nightmare.. along with Vettel occassionally running his mouth on so called ‘dirty tricks’ of competitors.

    8. Speaking of declarations… I find Bernie´s answer to Montezemola really funny

      “He says he doesn’t remember what he says very often. Luca is not as old as me. I’m sure in his case it is nothing to do with his age because he’s always been the same. At least he’s consistent. God knows what’s going to happen when he’s 82.

      1. All I know is, I could do without both of those. Add Helmut there too. These two at least did something important regarding their places in F1. Helmut is as relevant as any other driver’s manager.

      2. Ha, pure Bernie! Always can count on him to find a ready punchline to dismantle any attacks on him!

    9. thanks to maroonjack for putting it so well, and to keith for highlighting it. i struggle to understand many fans’ perspective sometimes.

    10. “Following Ayrton [Senna’s] death, Bruno’s career came to an abrupt halt as his family, understandably given his uncle’s tragic death, didn’t want to see him racing.”

      I’ve seen a lot of people point to this episode to explain away Senna’s lack of speed. A lot of them seem to think that he missed key formative years of his career, and that without them, he’s slower than he would normally be, and therefore, he should get a seat in 2013 because he can be fast enough.

      I don’t buy into that argument. Senna cannot get those years back. He has to do the best he can with what he has, and if his best is still half a second slower than his team-mate, then his uncle’s endorsement, the missing years and the loss of the Brawn GP drive don’t count for much. If Senna is not good enough, then he’s not good enough. Teams cannot afford to give him a drive based on sentiment – they need to take the best drivers available.

      If Senna really is as good as his supporters claim he is, then those hurdles should not be hurdles at all, but rather springboards, something he used to focus himself and channel his racecraft. If, in forty-six Grand Prix starts, he hasn’t shown the burst of speed that his supporters claim he has, then he’s probably not going to show it in his forty-seventh.

      1. Standards have changed. Not that long ago, it was ok to come into F1 in your late twenties. And a bit before that, it was ok if you hadn’t been karting since the age of five. Its also becoming increasingly difficult to make headway in your career after spending time with a minnow team. He is consistent though. Stick him in sportscars. He’d be awesome.

    11. I wonder what might Prost referred to. He must have referred to something which the Senna movie was unable to capture, which must be something very deep, given the passion dedicated to the making of that film.

      1. The book “Senna vs Prost” notes that Senna was calling Prost almost everyday during preseason testing in 1994 to try to get to grips with the FW16, the way Williams and Renault operated and to discuss safety issues. I may be reading a bit much into it but I assume, from what Prost is insinuating, that during these repeated phone calls and meetings they buried the hatched and moved on. Senna’s on board message to Prost in free practice at Imola should be proof of that (“to my friend Alain, we miss you”).

        The way Prost was portrayed in “Senna” was completely unfair in my book and I am a massive Senna fan. Not once was it mentioned that he was one of the all time greats, a four time champion who could have easlity had seven titles had luck gone his way, a man who could manage a race, manage his car and who had a devastatingly deceptive turn of speed.

        1. I would say @geemac, that is exactly what he is pointing at. That the way in which their relationship had shifted and they had actually become quite close with Prost giving Ayrton advice does not come over much in the movie.

          1. I think so, @bascb , but I stil think Prost has a point. Pandey does rightly “hint” at the improved relationship between the two, but he never actually “says” it improved. I watched “Senna” with a friend who doesn’t follow F1 and when the film showed Prost at Senna’s funeral they said “Why was he invited? They hated each other!”

            1. Yes, it is there, a bit. But it really does not get all that much attention, probably for a part because that does not fit the “narrative” too much (i think).

              I noticed because I saw Senna at home and could replay scenes, but really it is not there if you don’t look for it.

            2. @geemac

              I watched “Senna” with a friend who doesn’t follow F1 and when the film showed Prost at Senna’s funeral they said “Why was he invited? They hated each other!”

              I wondered whether people would feel like this. For me, I remember watching F1 during the Prost/Senna years, so I am aware that there was a great deal more to it than just rivalry and that the two men became close in later years. But when I watched the film, I thought – people who didn’t watch F1 back then will get a really warped idea of the Senna/Prost relationship. Prost’s presence as a pallbearer at Senna’s funeral and the on-screen mention of him being a trustee of the foundation just seem really incongruous, because up until that point of the film the audience has been led to believe that Prost is ‘the bad guy’ and that he and Senna hated each other.

              As an F1 fan and a viewer of the film, I found this one-sided portrayal of the relationship quite upsetting. I can only imagine how upsetting it was for Prost himself. It’s the one area in which I really feel Pandey failed.

    12. I’m becoming increasingly disheartened by some of the comments coming from the Red Bull camp lately. First we had Vettel accusing other teams of employing “dirty tricks”; then Horner is going on about how Vettel had to withstand his competitors “playing mind games” and trying to “get under his skin”; and now we have Helmut insinuating that Alonso has been manipulative, and a poor sportsman… while peppering his remarks with some thinly-veiled criticism of Webber.

      It comes across like they are trying to put the other drivers and teams down, and show them in a bad light. I suppose I would just like for them to be more gracious in victory, after taking both titles in such an intoxicating and tightly-contested F1 season.

      1. @hallard
        Ferrari and Alonso did say in numerous occasions that they’re playing mind games and ‘samurai techniques’ and whatever. I can’t see nothing wrong in saying that those tricks didn’t work.

        Also, Ferrari and Alonso were and still are telling that Vettel isn’t that good driver, that they’re fighting against Newey and later provoking more controversy around Vettel’s alleged yellow flag passes. Don’t these comments make you feel disheartened?

        1. I think its brilliant, and partially true that Vettel isn’t as good as Fernando.

          They’re playing mind games.. and it nearly worked in Brazil when Vettel made some uncharacteristically daft mistakes. They’re undermining their opponents and getting under their skin. It happens in a lot of competitive sports

          Accusing teams of cheating and character attacks are a different ball game… and something we’ve seen from Horner, Marko and Vettel recently.

          1. @todfod

            Accusing teams of cheating and character attacks are a different ball game

            Not when the accusations of cheating are demonstrably baseless from the start – then they’re one and the same.

      2. @hallard I agree with @hotbottoms everyone of Vettel and Horner comments are directed to Ferrari, not any other team or driver, and with reason in my book.

        First Alonso say that he is fighting with Newey, man talk about disrespect.
        Second this hold controversy was fulled by Ferrari and Alonso they deserve every bad PR that they will get from it, they have not only tarnish Vettel´s tittle but a great year in the sport…now the rumor will not go away and you think that Vettel should just smile when he get asked about it, specially whrn the attacks hav been directed to him

      3. @hallard i totally agree with you.
        This is the reason why Vettel and Red Bull doesn’t have a lot of fans over the world.

        1. Red Bull’s comments haven’t been much worse than what’s been coming from the other side.

    13. Apparently Bottas did bring sponsor money to Williams after all:

      Wihuri Oy is sponsoring Williams next season and they’re using “significant sums” , but “not tens of millions”. They also say that they’ll have “big adverts” in Williams’ cars. Aarnio-Wihuri, the main owner of Wihuri Oy, says that he has known Frank Williams for 30 years, since he used to be involved in motor racing and that Wihuri Oy made plans for a Formula One seat already ten years ago.

      1. From what the company does, I think they might also be interested in working with Williams in the power department. Surely getting some good WHP brake/heat/other movement energy recovery could make some of the equipment even better.

        Feels like a good match, also because both are more or less family businesses in their core.

      2. Oh, and here’s the original article: even though the full version is not on the internet and thus the article of Helsingin Sanomat is much more informative


      Our Spanish adversary does not seem quite up to date with his knowledge of the quality of Herr Vettel,” he spat, “Yes, Vettel races in a Newey car, but [Alonso] seems to have missed [the fact] that we put two of them [on the grid] at the start and, at the end, it is always Vettel who wins.”

      This is pure arrogance . I hope that red bull find the going tough next year and its ” too late ” by the time newey finds the spark of brilliance to lift the car .

    15. RE : Luca. I don’t know how many people focus on the logic. It’s the emotional payload and timings that people focus on. Rarely does Christian Horner, or Whitmarsh put themselves across in such it emotive way

    Comments are closed.