Chilton: ‘F1 has always had pay drivers’

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Max Chilton, Marussia, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Max Chilton says he is not the only pay driver on the grid and F1 has always had some.


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Chilton out to silence doubters (Sporting Life)

“There are plenty of pay drivers on the grid and, in my experience, the sport has never changed. I think it’s always been that way, and it probably will always be that way. Some of the legends in our sport had to bring backing to get into it in the first place.”

Hamilton will drive Mercedes forwards, says Horner (Reuters)

“Their car looks quick, and with Lewis joining the team they will naturally take a step forward. He is worth lap time, which is why they signed him. I’m sure they’re going to be a factor this season.”

Williams’ Chavez statement (F1 Fanatic via Facebook)

Williams have just issued a short statement following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez yesterday:

“In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has passed away after a long battle with cancer, the Williams F1 Team sends its deepest condolences to the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”

Pastor Maldonado is backed by Venezuelan state petroleum company PDVSA, which Chavez nationalised while president.

Williams can win again – Maldonado (ESPN)

“We are fighting with mega teams and maybe we don’t have everything to be winning the championships, but I think we are going to win some races and we can be very competitive.”

My Formula 1 dream is now over, says Rossi (GP Update)

“Valentino Rossi says his dreams of racing in Formula 1 are now well and truly over, having previously pondered a four-wheel switch.”

Webber: Race engineer Pilbeam “will be missed” (NBC)

“Ciaron is happy to have a change of scenery as well, so he?s happy there because you don?t want him not to be happy where he is.”

Melbourne among best (The Age)

“Big-spending multinational corporate sponsors regard the Melbourne Grand Prix as one of the most influential Formula One races, according to an international sports marketing expert.”

A new experience (Go Car)

Gary Hartstein (former F1 medical delegate): “You might be wondering what the reasons were for this decision. Well so am I, because none have been given! None from Professor Saillant, a retired orthopedic surgeon, President of the FIA Medical Commission, none from Professor Piette, a retired internist, the current F1 Medical Delegate. The deafening silence, coupled with the unanimous support of the drivers, the teams, and you the public, comfort me in thinking that the reasons are purely personal.”

Lotus F1 Team and Ridley Scott Associates Present…. #ShowTime (Lotus via YouTube)


Comment of the day

We’re entering year three with DRS and the comments on yesterday’s article showed many if not most readers are still not happy with it:

That?s the worst thing about DRS, the defending driver can?t… defend.

Some of the most exciting racing happens when the driver in front is slower, but is driving fantastically to keep the faster car behind.

Racing isn?t all about overtaking. F1 (and a lot of F1 fans) seem to have forgotten that.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to fahadalam007!

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

Eddie Irvine scored his first career win in the first race of 1999 in Melbourne.

He was aided by the retirement of the two McLarens, which had locked out the front row and team mate Michael Schumacher failing to get away when he couldn’t select neutral at the start.

There was plenty of drama as the race began with both Stewarts suffering problems, as this video shows:

Image ?? Marussia

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  • 100 comments on “Chilton: ‘F1 has always had pay drivers’”

    1. I read a lot of very weird comments about Chavez in the F1Fanatic Facebook page.

      The likes of: “the world is better without him”. Or “Williams statement is quite ass kissy”.

      Well, first off, regardless of the sponsorship, they have a Venezuelan driving for them, and it’s obvious such statement has to be made. I mean, if it happened to one of the Finland leaders, it’d be the same. And of course it’s ass-kissy ! They had to meet with people from Venezuela to make the deal. It’s understandable.

      As for “the world is better without him”. Well, people from Venezuela voted him democratically. Try to be a little bit more respectful, even if you don’t agree with him. He was an important character in Latin America, like it or not.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        7th March 2013, 0:23

        I live in Peru, Latin America and the opinions are quite divided… which I guess it’s the same all over the world when some important guy passes away.
        Here in my country there’s an expression “Nobody is bad when he dies”, like saying that everybody speaks just about the good deeds during mourning time.

        Having said that… let’s return to F1

        1. @omarr-pepper I know about that, but that’s been said quite often here when talking about PDVSA, Maldonado and Venezuela and it itches a bit.

        2. I from Peru too, and I think the only good side of Chavez was to support Williams with the governian PDVSA petrol company. The dark side was there were no liberty of thought expression.

          1. @ozmarck @celeste @hohum every nation tries to supress dissent. The great nation USA, who speak BIG on freedom, liberty, etc shut down wikileaks and forced PayPal, Visa to stop services to wikileaks. Doing smething wrong is a crime, acting the opposite of what u preach is a heinous crime. @aimalkhan

            1. That’s not really a great example, wiki leaks has potential to cause security issues to the country and to troops. That’s not the same as freedom of speech. I’m not defending what the US has done to Manning, but when the USA speaks of freedom and liberty, wikileaks is not what they’re speaking of.

      2. @fer-no65 – I think there is something of a disparity between what Chavez did, and how he was represented in the media.

        He was a dictator, which is bad enough. But for some reason, he was presented as being a dangerously-unstable lunatic on a level with the likes of Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But looking back over his rule, I cannot find anything he did to justify such characterisation. He was just your typical dictator, and yet he was made out to be one of the worst tyrants in history. He didn’t condemn dissidents and their families to gulags where they would be used for medical experiments to develop a chemical weapons programme, the way Kim Jong-il did. He didn’t make dangerously-inflammatory comments about his neighbours that sound like he is trying to provoke a war, the way Ahmadinejad does. He hasn’t started a two-year long civil war because he doesn’t want to give up his power, the way Bashar al-Assad has. He hasn’t held an entire continent hostage so that he can extort more money out of his closest allies, the way Alexander Lukashenko did. And he wasn’t so grossly incompetent that he caused a population explosion at the same time as a nation-wide famine and ruin his country’s economy so completely that it would take ten years after his death for things to get sorted out, the way Nicolae Ceausescu did.

        But even after all that, Hugo Chavez was made out to be worse than most of his contemporaries, and I’m trying to figure out why. I suspect the main reason is because he has been so openly critical of American foreign policy. The American media were upset about this, and so decided to get one back by making Chavez out to be a dangerous tyrant whose whims threatened the livelihoods of everyone, even if they were five thousands miles away. It probably didn’t help that he was a socialist and his rule was perceived as undemocratic, but those systems of government aren’t automatically bad. They’re only as bad as the people using them. And as a perfect example of this, seventy years ago, we had a Prime Minister – Robert Menzies – who got himself elected by making the opposition party out to be socialist (and therefore communist) and playing off the peoples’ fear of that. Under Menzies’ leadership, we reintroduced conscription and committed soldiers to the Vietnam War (with some sneaky politics whereby the Australian government arranged for the Vietnamese to request us specifically), which we had no business fighting and quickly proved to be an unpopular and bloody war. And all of this was done in a democratic fashion.

        In the end, I think the reality of what Chavez did will lie somewhere between what the American press and what the Venezuelan press said about him.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys, how can you call a man who won the popular vote a dictator?
          Chavez may not have been the best manager of a country and a lot of his rhetoric may have been extreme but his heart was in the right place.
          When I was in school in 1959 I had a “Social studies” textbook printed in 1955 that had a photo of Caracas in it showing gleaming skyscrapers, multilane highways and cloverleaf flyovers, I remember this very well because there were none of the above in Australia at that time, the text went on to explain that there was no income tax in Venezuela as the country was rich with oil, therefore I say it was a scandal that 45 years later more than half the population had no access to education or medical care. I think it was Churchill who said ” countries get the government they deserve “.

          1. @hohum

            how can you call a man who won the popular vote a dictator?

            Easily, they do steal the elections. In my country for almost 50 years, the ruler was reelected every 4 years by popular vote, wining always 99% of votes and with no other candidate running. It was somehow hilarious (when you look at it today) because there was this procedure that the prime minister would resign from his position, only to be reelected two hours later.
            But that said, I don’t know much about Chavez to give an opinion about him. All I know, is what the international press says about him. There was apparently friction between him and western countries, and alliance with Ahmadinejad, which on the other hand does not look the best ally to choose. Of course we are mature enough to understand that behind so called principles of democracy are in play big interests of countries, corporates, strategic, economical, financial etc. But in this world, driven by profit, people can exploit the system to gain rights and freedom for their own. The Chavez system, doesn’t sound like one with much degree of freedom

            1. I intentionally used the words POPULAR vote, to distinguish Chavez from the examples you describe. Chavez may not have been entirely fair with the Venezuelan opposition but neither were the opposition fair to Chavez and there is no doubt that Chavez was popular with the poor of Venezuela. If there had been less poverty stricken Venezuelans Chavez would not have been in power.

          2. @hohum oh, and I forget to add

            I think it was Churchill who said ” countries get the government they deserve “.

            Totally agree with that.

        2. America doesn’t like dictators with oil that don’t play their rules. Just like Saddam.

          1. The Next Pope
            7th March 2013, 4:04

            And Muammar Gaddafi.

            1. @spinmastermic & @The Next Pope

              +100. Even a democratically elected president with genuinely good intentions for his/her country can become an evil dictator/communist if they don’t play “oil” ball with the US. Even worse, God forbid, if they start succeeding without US government help.

              Check the “Confessions of an economic hitman” book amongst others.

        3. Its funny how your comment starts there @prisoner-monkeys. I fully expect you to defend chaves (as you also like to highlight how Bahraini rulers were fully withing their rights about what they do and I do think you have defended Putin as well).

          But its strange that you say Chaves is portrayed as

          dangerously-unstable lunatic on a level with the likes of Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

          and then you go on to mention details of what chaves did or did not do.
          I have to correct you on the “dangerous language towards neighbours” as he has indeed been talking dangerously towards the Netherlands Antilles and off course the USA. Further, I would say he is better compared with Putin, and other charismatic leaders of the past (several in South-America, Ghadaffi would be a bit of an example as well) who pulled in popular support to run an agenda that leads to a one-sided view of the world and their place in it.

          I agree that he was not much like Kim-jong-il nor Amadinejahd, but not for the reasons you name. Both of these are the “leaders” of their country but in reality are part of a complicated power struggle between powers inside their own countries. And much of what they say about the outside world is fueled by the needs of that power struggle (in North Korea the military/the party and in Iran its the religious leadership)

          1. I don’t think a dispute between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles would end as badly for the rest of the world as a dispute between Iran and Israel would …

            1. You think so? Better reconsider.
              The Antilles are part of the Netherlands, so that means it drags in the EU and because NL are part of NATO it would drag in the USA as well.
              Not to mention these islands are a key point in the drug routes, so it would mean another reason for showboating in the US’ backyard there. Not many wars that would not escalate into a bigger thing.

      3. Obviously Williams would kiss his ass considering the load of money they get from Venezuela, and most importantly, wish to continue to get.

        On the other hand, even tough he was democratically elected once doesn’t mean very much considering all kinds of repression against the opposition and the free press he was able to perpetrate during his 13 years in office and the the accusations of voting fraud. All of that while he being incapable of actually improving Venezuela’s economy.

        Most people living in democracies don’t like dictators or wannabe dictators. I can’t say the world will be better without him, I don’t want anybody dead, but the world will definitely be better without him in office. South American has already had too many Caudillos and will be better when it finally gets completed rid of them.

        Next thing you’ll say is that Kirchner is doing good for Argentina.

        1. Lula seemed to do a pretty good job in Brazil!

          1. Although i don’t personally like him, yes he did.

      4. @fer-no65 and @hohum you can´t call democracy when the opposition party doesn´t have access to the media and there is no liberty of expression. Yes Chávez won in numbers, what he had do to get those votes is questionable.

        @prisoner-monkeys Chavez may not be the worst, but he was pretty bad. The reason people in America was so polarizing is because he didn´t just rule his country, he tried to ruled other countries, mine included. Nicaragua and Cuba are two of the countries that have being indirectly ruled by Chavez (he has give money to “support” projects in both). He was crazy, how can you call another pressident “The Devil”? And when your “heir” says that America kill you by poisoned Chávez, you can tell pretty much everybody in the party is crazy or paranoic.

        @hohum Lula wasn´t all that it made it out to be

        1. @celeste

          when your “heir” says that America kill you by poisoned Chávez, you can tell pretty much everybody in the party is crazy or paranoic

          There’s a difference bewteen shooting off a crazy conspiracy theory, and shooting off a rocket which could be fitted with a nuclear warhed.

          I’m not saying that Chavez was not bad at all; quite the opposite. I’m saying that he was bad enough, but I think the American media deliberately blew the situation out of proportion because he was such a vehement critic of American foreign policy, particularly during the Bush Adminsitration. The public has very little – if any – first-hand knowledge of what is happening overseas, and so they have to rely on the media to help shape their perception. This gives the media an extraordinary amount of power, and gives them all manner of means to abuse it. Have you seen any of Fox News’ coverage of Chavez’s death? They’re trying to make out that the country is on the verge of tearing itself apart as new factions vying for the Presidency form every hour, and that the situation is so extreme that it risks spilling over into the rest of Central and South America and causing an entire continent to implode. And they hold up Chavez’s methods of staying in power as the main reason why this is the case.

          1. Chvez didn’t control the media… USA does. so its easy for them to influence the masses perception of anyone. At the end of the day, anyone who is critical of US foreign policy is declared a lunatic and threat to world peace while countless murderous, fanatical, oppressive regimes and dictators are supported by the Americans just because it is in their interest to do so. i want to post an interesting story that i read recently.

            On September 11, 1973, The CIA helped overthrow and murder democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende. The military coup led to mass disappearances, assassinations and tortures of thousands of Chilean civilians under the leadership Of U.S. backed dictator Augusto Pinochet. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said of Allende’s 1970 Election, “these issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to decide for themselves. I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.”

            1. @aimalkhan callme when Obama start shutting down networks and newspaper thar report the bad things he is doing… Chávez has…

            2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              7th March 2013, 13:01

              @aimalkhan he had a program released in EVERY open-signal channel which lasted for hours every Saturday, where he was there by himself talking about how good he was and how bad his enemies were…. that’s media control, a a little example and as @celeste ha already mentioned

            3. @aimalkhan

              Chavez didn’t control the media… USA does.

              You are wrong on both accounts. Venezuelan media are completely controlled by PSUV . Sure, the Constitution of Venezuela mentions freedom of the press, but that’s about it. According to Freedom House (and their map of press freedom), Venezuela is not free and experiences “gradual erosion”. Human Rights Watch criticized Chavez for “discriminatory policies that have undercut journalists’ freedom of expression. Reporters Without Borders often pointed out that Chavez was steadily silencing his critics and that Venezuela is among the worst press freedom offenders in the region.

              So there.

              When it comes to USA, the situation doesn’t look good either, but that’s not because of the government control, but because the corporate interest took over the country. It’s hard to find a real journalist, because politicians and journalists alike are paid by the same people. It’s a sick situation, but it’s a different kind of sickness. Media are not controlled by government, but they rarely ask tough questions, they don’t keep their politicians honest and in a “fair and balanced” manner they give equal weight to facts and BS, usually focusing on the latter. Still, they do it on their own volition.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys actually I have been watching CNN North America and International and they have been very fair with him. They have show the good and the bad.

            And even when your history is interesting, whit out proves, is very different to live the reallity that a power hungry man can cause in a country and in continent.

            1. @celeste, in the USA CNN are regarded as left-wing and worse LIBERAL !

        2. @celeste Watch the documentary called “War on democracy” by John Pilger if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s on Youtube. See the kind of access the business elite get to media. It certainly aided their coup in 2002, and CNN ran with those manipulated pictures of “Chavez supporters” firing at the protestors.

          1. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is an excellent documentary on the failed 2002 coup. I think it’s on YouTube.

      5. @bascb @prisoner-monkeys @fer-no65 I dnt care hw a leader is elected. All I care is that he must develop the nation and keep ppl happy. I respect Chavez fr tht. Gaddafi too dvpd his nation. If ppl hate dictators, they must hate USA too. They are responsible fr an unnecessary Iraq War. Killing civilians in war and gagging ppl like wikileaks when they bring out the truth

        1. The biggest problem with that is, @malleshmagdum, how do you evaluate that development and happyness?
          A leader in their 3rd term and onwards (or about 8-10 years in power and more) will always run into the problem of having an obscured view as those around him will make sure that only the “right” kind of news gets to them and gets presented to the outside world.
          Democracy is not about the choice of leaders as such (that is only the means), but about lowering the chance of one faction being able to dominate the rule of a country for too long a period without any others influencing that.

          1. Of course, but here in the UK, both Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher got close to similar terms in office.

            Chavez lowered poverty and nationalised industry, developing Venezuela as a result. Western neo-liberalism could learn a lot from him.

            1. Of course, but here in the UK, both Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher got close to similar terms in office.

              Actually @danbrown180, I would say that rather proves my point.

              For both it was high time (many feel over time) to go. And theres a lot both did not get right, just as Chavez got some things right, but a lot of things very wrong.
              I am not getting into Neo-Liberalism here, nor the merits of “Bolivarian” named ideologies for that matter. Not a political blog this.

          2. @bascb, as you say, that of course was how Chavez got elected in the first place.

      6. People from Venezuela voted him democratically.

        Chavez was responsible for many deaths, for persecuting political opponents and imprisoning people on phony charges. Even if he was democratically elected (which I’ll get to in a second), he was still a scumbag and yes, the world is better without him. He gutted the economy of his country, didn’t care about liberty or freedom of expression, supported other dictators and he believed in some ridiculous theories (that USA was causing earthquakes or that capitalism may have ended life on Mars). He expelled US diplomats accusing them of espionage.

        Now, on to democracy. Chavez was the only candidate supported by their propaganda machine (aka. Venezuelan media). It’s a minor miracle that people were aware of other candidates and that some even went to vote for them. He was a dictator, not a democratic leader.

        Here is some read for people who defend him:

    2. Some of the most exciting racing happens when the driver in front is slower, but is driving fantastically to keep the faster car behind.

      And some of the most boring racing happens when the driver in front is slow enough to get caught by the cars behind, but quick enough that the driver doesn’t have to do much to keep his position. Jarno Trulli was notorious for it – there was a reason why the queue of cars behind him became known as the “Trulli train”. I don’t recall him doing any particularly exciting driving; if anything, he held the fasters car up for long enough that the leaders could build enough of a lead to cover everyone else when it came time to pit. It was this phenomenon that DRS was designed to combat, but its critics insist on generalising and simplifying its function in order to make it out to be a magic button that a driver presses to pass the car in front.

      If you really want to criticise someone or something for it, stop targeting the symptoms and go after the disease: the over-reliance on aerodynamic grip. The teams have the power to make meaningful changes by slashing downforce levels – but they won’t do it. They won’t do it because they know that the more grip they have, the more competitive they can be. Red Bull, for instance, launched the RB9 with a front wing that contained six individual elements to it. The rules could easily be written to restrict teams to using one or two elements, but the teams will never support that. And at the same time, the sport will drastically cut costs because teams will no longer be pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into development, and we will have more teams being more competitive. The cars will be harder to drive, and DRS will no longer be necessary because they will be able to pass one another.

      1. And some of the most boring racing happens when the driver in front is slow enough to get caught by the cars behind, but quick enough that the driver doesn’t have to do much to keep his position.

        But these situations really help cars on the back of the grid to have a shot at some big points. I love underdog podiums (or even victories) more than anything else

      2. @prisoner-monkeys thank you! I got COTD for a similar comment a few months back. You’ve hit the nail on the head, unfortunately most pundits and fans neglect to look at the cause of the lack of overtaking.

        what’s say you and I give Bernice a call tomorrow and sort this all out?

        1. *bernie. Silly autocorrect

          1. I think your iPhone was onto something there.

      3. @prisoner-monkeys

        The rules could easily be written to restrict teams to using one or two elements, but the teams will never support that.

        Teams have agreed a lot of “down with the downforce” restrictions on the regulations, but they keep getting more and more downforce from what they have, thus making the cars even more sensitive to aerodynamics. I mean, when they banned all the winglets in the sidepods, they raised the rear wing, widened the front one, and kept a neutral zone in the front wing below the nose, they “wanted” to make cars able to corner closer to each other.

        2009, and we were still watching people struggling to overtake Trulli.

        It’s a matter of engineering and technology beating regulations… as it’s always been (and always will be). The good-ish way would be to “force” (i.e. make stuff interesting and “developable”) teams to focus on other non-aerodynamical stuff, like engine power or mechanical grip. But that’s difficult to do too…

        1. Eventually, you get to a point of diminishing returns. Let’s say the rules were rewritten so that teams could only use front wings with two separate elements to them. They would naturally continue to develop those designs to get as much out of them as they possibly could, but eventually they would hit a wall where they could continue to throw more and more money at development, but they would be getting less and less downforce out of it, and it simply wouldn’t be worth pursuring when there are other areas of the car that they could work on, putting that money to better use. Maybe once everyone has developed their front wings as far as they possibly could, then the FIA could consider rewriting the regulations to allow for a third element

          1. It occurs to me (possibly because I am channeling the spirit of Chief Justice Roberts) that the best way to limit downforce might be to limit downforce. It would not be impossible to permit a relatively free hand with the car’s actual configuration but have a provision in the rules stating that if the car is stationary on a weighbridge in a 35-kt wind, the car’s measured weight must not be greater than 1.5 times its weight in still air. (I have pulled the actual numbers out of a hat here, of course). This would still allow room for aero innovation, since the teams would be focused on a) getting the least drag for that amount of downforce, and b) gaming the rules the way they do with flexi-wings, to break the intent of the rule while meeting the test. It also wouldn’t address blown wings or switching ones, but it’d be a start.

            The big problem with it is enforcement, since you’d need to take some convoluted wind-tunnel-with-weighbridge setup around to every Grand Prix.

            1. Or you homologate the cars’ aero packages in an FIA wind tunnel, and if a team upgrades their aerodynamics mid-season they have to have the car re-homologated. Might be cost saving as well, as the incentive would be for teams to produce a few big updates rather than bringing small new parts to every race.

            2. yes, you would have to do this with all cars after FP2 and then make sure they stay in parc ferme from then on. Where to get a full scale windtunnel from? in reality you would have to homologate the complete cars before the season, or allow up to say 2-3 updates being made per season.

        2. In 2009 the advent of the Double Diffuser destroyed the effects of the Aero reg changes as it ‘dirtied up’ the air coming off the back of the car which the regulations changes were supposed to clean up. You will notice however that from 2010 onwards (Since the banning of DD), cars do not in fact struggle nearly as much to follow one another through the corners as they did Pre 2009.

          1. @asanator, they may now struggle less but they wear out the tyres more, so nothing has been gained.

      4. @prisoner-monkeys, you paint a beautiful picture of how F1 could be and once was.

      5. Brilliant.

      6. @prisoner-monkeys So well said, and something I have been crying for for years now…much less aero dependancy. I think you make a great point about the teams having to agree to reg changes that would greatly reduce their downforce, and them never doing so as they relate downforce with grip and competitiveness. But I just wonder if they would be wrong there and should think hard about that. They were not competitive and grip was not the issue, when even as a faster car they couldn’t get by a slower car due to it’s dirty air affecting them too adversely due to their aero over-dependancy.

        I just hope that if you are right and reducing, for example, front wing elements, indeed were to curtail the need for mega millions in R & D costs, then perhaps when the reality of the need to reduce costs in F1 become so crucial that the survival of F1 hinges on it, they may take your words to heart, and do themselves a huge favour, as well as the viewing audiences without whom there would be no show, and in fact reduce the aero, get rid of the DRS, and get back to seat of the pants racing by the drivers, not gadget (both tire and DRS being gadgets) racing by the engineers.

        1. @robbie, well said, it just takes the will to do it.

          1. @hohum Thanks. The will, or perhaps their hands will be forced, or perhaps they will not gather up the will, and will simply concede to the reality show and video game crowd and take the easy way out and make F1 as unreal as the reality shows and video games actually are. See my comment to you regarding your reality show/video game comment.

    3. Abdurahman (@)
      7th March 2013, 0:55

      Shame that Rossi never pursued F1 all the way. Wasn’t he turning lap times that would have put him mid pack on his first test?

      1. Hmmm, it’s hard to say, a different day, a different set up. You can’t compare one event to another, even on the same track. Maybe he could have done it. But it’s very hard to compare.

        I think it’s a big pity, as having a cross border champion would be exciting…. However, in this day and age, making that switch is harder than ever before.

      2. @abdurahman To memory, his times were mid-pack in a frontrunning Ferrari. Oh and before I forget – set on slicks too, on a Ferrari that should’ve been on grooved tyres.

    4. This may seem trivial, but I really can’t stand Mark Webber’s “international” accent..

      1. He does sound like he’s from New Zealand in that video.

        1. Abdurahman (@)
          7th March 2013, 5:19


      2. I was going to mention too @nackavich, his accent when speaking to international press is very strange! I think he is just trying to be clear and speak in a manner which ensures he is understood, but it does lead to stragne results! At times I thought he was doing a Steve McClaren and putting on a fake Dutch accent!

        1. @geemac Ha! I think he try’s to be clear and distinguishable but he does just end up sounding like English is his second language!

    5. As a fellow Brit I find it very embarrassing that Max Chilton has made it into Formula 1. Here is his record in other formula:

      In short, he hasn’t won and hasn’t even looked close to winning in any formula he’s competed in.

      1. Why does it matter? Yes, he brings money/sponsorship, but judge him on his eventual F1 performance.

        1. @optimaximal – it matters because there are drivers like Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix Da Costa waiting in the wings. Money doesn’t buy you talent, and talent should be the judge of who gets an F1 seat. It is supposed to be a sport of the best drivers in the best cars…

          1. If they’re as good as they’re made out, they’ll make it.

            Meanwhile, if Chilton’s inexperience and ‘relative’ mediocrity bite him in the ass, then he’ll be shown up for it.

            Remember, many less experienced drivers have also made the jump throughout the years thanks to deep pockets and similarly failed.

      2. Daddy’s money talks

        1. and max chilton is a very overrated spoiled rich kid whose daddy is a billionaire owner of marussia.

    6. Chilton will need a miracle to keep from being bottom, unless Marussia have made giant strides. In essence, the first battle is against your teammate and Chilton is certain to lose that one. His CV is easily the worst, and sans the last year with Carlin in GP2, he has rarely shown his talent.
      And yes, F1 has always had pay drivers. But if I have a negative point, and when people point that out, I say that several others are negative too. That is a very defensive and wrong approach and Chilton should concentrate on improving his abilities. and on the way should keep his mouth shut.

    7. Wait… does anyone else get the feeling that Chilton is trying to legitimize his spot in F1? Haha! Pay driver debate aside, best keep quiet on this particular issue Max. C’mon, prove everyone wrong with your driving, and give us an entertaining season.

      1. I think it’s wrong to blame Chilton on this matter. There was probably a journalist who asked: “So Max, you’re a pay driver, right? What’s up with that?” and I don’t see why Chilton shouldn’t speak what’s on his mind. Yes he brings cash with him, as well as Bianchi, Van der Garde and name the lot. But that is not his fault: the real issue is that teams are more inclined to hire such a driver than a driver who is really talented.

      2. Yes, I think its perfectly right that

        It naturally irks Max Chilton to be described as a spoilt rich-kid who has only made his way into Formula One thanks to his father’s money.

        Doesn’t say he isn’t a pay driver, only that he does not like to be seen that way. Best way (only way) to fight it is to impress on track @aficion.
        I hope he does and proves us wrong (not sure he will, but lets wait and see).

    8. – Action in Australia. Hakkinen leads bla bla bla… and where is Schumacher?
      – Sch…
      – Oh my and bla bla bla!
      – Schu…
      – Oh my and this and that!
      – Schum…
      – Oh my and bla bla bla!
      – Schuma…
      – Oh my this driver, that driver!
      – Sch…
      – Eddie Irvine blah blah…
      – Sch, Sch, Schu…
      – (Murray keeps going)…

      I laughed so much , I cried! XD

    9. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      7th March 2013, 5:14

      I hope for Chilton’s sake that he delivers.

      Because he’s got the least credentials of any driver on the grid, and is only there because he’s got a rich daddy.
      That doesn’t mean he’s not talented, because Marussia wouldn’t have given him the gig had he not shown some potential, but he’s primarily there on the basis of money.

      I predict that Bianchi will considerably out perform him.

      Still, I hope he’s successful in his first year.

      1. I predict that Bianchi will considerably out perform him.

        Autosport’s Edd Straw thought otherwise, even going as far as to put Chilton in the same league as Bianchi and Bottas, ahead of Gutierrez. British bias, maybe?

      2. @tophercheese21 I hope for F1’s sake he performs, to justify the fact he isn’t merely a “pay driver” and like for example Maldonado he can actually be very quick.

    10. since the car was invented almost 130 years ago, racing has been a playground for the rich, just as it was with horses and boats. this will never change. since all motorsport burns cash furiously, bringing in money is as valid a “merit” as driving ability. after all, no driver or team will succeed greater than their potential.

      1. I think car racing has always been a playground, and a marketing tool, and a competition, for the car makers too. So…not just for rich individuals as you seem to imply.

        A couple of thoughts, imho, on pay drivers. They may have been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean they NEED to be used in the pinnacle of racing, if only F1 would control their costs such that they don’t need a drivers money to ‘progress.’ I see it as different in recent years in that today’s pay drivers are turning a wheel in F1 with so little experience due to the lack of testing that is seems to fly in the face of the pinnacle of racing to have such amateurs as moving pylons for the fully experienced drivers out there. At least in the past pay drivers could get much more car time in the off season and in season testing.

        And I see pay drivers as short term thinking, and again, a result of F1’s inability, or lack of motivation, to control better the costs of fielding F1 cars. What is the cost to a team in damaged equipment, in lower placings on the grid, and in lack of driver input to progress the team, when it is a pay driver behind the wheel, not the best driver they could get their hands on…one with some experience who could save the team bags of money by more quickly helping them get to the bottom of some of their competitiveness issues while perhaps breaking less equipment along the way, let alone not sending them in the wrong development direction completely.

        If, according to Keith, LH even gets lost in helping find setups sometimes, what help will pay drivers likely provide? I see pay drivers’ money as very short term and quickly burned up, all the while in the long run providing the team less chances of progressing than if they actually paid for a better more experienced driver who could see them cut a lot of corners and cost them a lot less in the long run on their path up the grid.

        If F1 absolutely needs more and more pay drivers, and is putting them out there to race in anger with less and less F1 experience, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with F1 these days. And with gadgety tires and DRS to boot, more and more would agree that in fact there IS something fundamentally wrong.

        1. such amateurs as moving pylons for the fully experienced drivers out there

          they are FIA Super License holders. the fact that 1 driver is better than another is what we’re all here to see.

          What is the cost to a team in damaged equipment, in lower placings on the grid, and in lack of driver input to progress the team, when it is a pay driver behind the wheel, not the best driver they could get their hands on…

          i’m confident the likes of frank williams are better able to determine the cost/benefit of any individual better than anyone here.

          If, according to Keith, LH even gets lost in helping find setups sometimes, what help will pay drivers likely provide?

          the driver provides only opinion and vague descriptions. it’s the team that translates that, combined with hard data, into maximizing the car by altering the the car’s tune. if hamilton says “let’s try 50 zogs” it’s because he’s given a choice of parameters and is plowing through A, B and C until he’s happy.

          more and more would agree that in fact there IS something fundamentally wrong.

          there certainly is something wrong with f1, but it has nothing to do with pay drivers: aerodynamics. its effect increases with speed, and since you cannot remove the air the remaining possibilities are:
          1. lower speeds
          2. live with the facts that the dominant performance area is irrelevant outside of f1, is brutally expensive, and is counterproductive to on-track action.

          1. Yeah you make a few good points but I think all it would take would be one tragic incident of a very green to F1 rookie getting in the way and getting himself or someone else badly hurt or killed, and they’d quickly review exactly what the qualifications should be to get a Super Licence. I wouldn’t be surprised if the economic reality of needing pay drivers combined with the economic reality of a serious cost-cutting lack of testing and track time for them has made the qualifications a little less stringent.

            I agree that Frank Williams would know better than us, but I also think that in a stronger economy, money less of an object, and given a choice, there’s no way he’s taking a pay driver whose very green to F1 over a paid and experienced driver.

            I don’t believe for a second that drivers are only giving opinions and vague descriptions. You are implying that experience counts for nothing and everything I have ever understood about racing says that the more professionally a driver can communicate exactly what he is feeling and experiencing in the car, and the more he knows about how setup changes can and will affect the car, the better off the team will be and the more quickly they will progress. And even if they were only giving opinions and vague descriptions, total greenhorns with very minimal track time would have nothing to support said opinions and their descriptions would have to be very vague and therefore could be very misleading and not to be trusted vs. a veteran with a proven track record and years of communicating with race engineers.

            And while I agree aerodynamics, or at least too much dependancy on it is a fundamental problem with F1 in many people’s opinion including mine, pay drivers is also a function of an F1 that is too expensive for the economic times we are in right now. Yes they’ve always been around, most often for the lesser teams, but I’m sure they’d all rather it not be that way so that they can get the best drivers they possibly can on the track, rather than the ones with the best bank account and a merely passable set of qualifications with the hopes that they turn into something. Most often they don’t. And aren’t in F1 for long.

            I think too, the traditional pay drivers, or paying drivers of the past, were being paid and also contributing by bringing sponsors to an F1 team that helped them along the way in their racing career, and lately there is more of a chance that some drivers simply come from rich families and had their racing supported because there was money there, not because they are the next Senna and a brands marketing dream.

            1. If you compare the current crop of pay drivers with say the early 90′ ones and honestly feel this is a lower standard of drivers and more dangerous than it was then @robbie, I feel sorry for you.

              At the time there were drivers who really could not even cope with the fitness needed (all these drivers have competed before, most have won races and championships or at least been in the top 3 of them and all of them have at least done 300 km of testing), and above that differences in speeds were 3-6 seconds within the top 10 per lap and when nowadays that covers almost the whole grid. Not to mention that the cars have become far safer.

              And as for their backers, the current crop are certainly not supported by rich families to a greater extent than in the past (one name to describe them all: Diniz!), as your example of Senna shows. Petrov also had a lot of talent, and Maldonado is a very talented Pay driver as well. Sure, Guido is probably not all that great, but Bianchi has good racing pedigree, Pic has shown he has some speed to belong in F1 and even Chilton did show some promise.

    11. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      7th March 2013, 7:37

      Anyone else notice the nose on the Lotus E21 in the Ridley Scott video? Looks like they used their media/photography days wisely. ;) (There’s a few other things I notice also, this being the most glaring.)

      1. @braketurnaccelerate
        Yup, doesn’t at all look like the same nose, not even allowing for a modesty panel. Williams, too, have tested at least one nose/front wing fitting different than those shown at launch. Wonder what iterations they (and others) show up with at Melbourne.

      2. I noticed almost immediately. I remind me of Sauber actually (probably due to dark colour) but it might be also similar to Red Bull’s (it seems to have a big air-duct on the step)!

    12. Its good to hear from Prof Hartstein, I hope we will have some very interesting articles by his hand in the course of the season about how a accidents were avoided, injuries did not occur or were only small issues etc!

    13. What an ignomous end to Hill’s 100th GP start; looks like he should have given that Prost a little more room.

      With regards to Chilton,

      But according to Chilton, it is there his father stopped playing the role of wealthy benefactor, impressing upon Max that if he wanted an F1 seat with Marussia, he would have to find other sponsors willing to bankroll his step up into the big time.

      So it’s not his father backing him, or just his father’s company with no official involvement from his father? If the latter is the case, then it feels a bit like Susie Wolff’s reserve driver role at Williams: officially the father/spouse is not involved in the deal, but it’s hard to imagine that either deal would have been struck without the presence of the aforementioned supporter.

    14. COTD is very interesting!! I’ve always thought why not let them defend a DRS attack? It would be great to see both cars heading to the next corner, wings wide open and a little bit twitchy at the rear. The winner of that battle would be he who had the best car control with reduced grip and the biggest love spuds!! I know the Health and Safety squad will hate me for this comment but perhaps it is time for F1 to take a small step back and realise how sterile it has become in this respect.

      I guess we’d need some tyres that weren’t made of scrambled eggs though if we were going to have a bit of tail happy action.

      1. I remember Hamilton defending successfully lap after lap of DRS attacks by using wisely his KERS though i can’t remember which race or against who. It was quite impressive. On top of my head, this year we have seen successful defending of DRS passing lap after lap (for at least 3 or 4 laps) by Vergne, Hulkenberg, Massa, Hamilton…

        1. @tango, I think you may be referring to Webber vs Hamilton in Korea 2011, which was a fantastic battle.

      2. I think a P2P-like system is the best solution, as then it is fair for everyone.

    15. F1 has always had pay drivers


      Governments have always had corrupt politicians

      Doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        7th March 2013, 13:46

        Comment of the day.

    16. Anybody who wants to know why Hartstein was let go should check out his Twitter account. He holds rather strong views and isn’t afraid to express them, strongly. I would speculate that it was Sid Watkins’ opinion keeping him in place and that once Watkins passed on his time was limited.

      I really like Hartstein but it’s easy to see how a personality like his would not sit well with the stuffy old men in the FIA.

    17. Regarding COTD, I do agree to an extent. One of my biggest dislikes of DRS is when the car in front is left totally defenseless & the car behind simply opens DRS & then goes straght past with relative ease.

      Some of the most exciting/intense racing I’ve seen have been when you have had one driver defending with a car behind doing everything to try & find a way past, I loved those 2 great Alonso/Schumacher battles at Imola in 05/06, I was kept on the edge of my seat through to the end of those 2 races watching 2 great drivers racing each other hard. OK no overtake occurred but it was thrilling to watch.

      @prisoner-monkeys And some of the most boring racing happens when the driver in front is slow enough to get caught by the cars behind, but quick enough that the driver doesn’t have to do much to keep his position.

      When there is zero chance to overtake & the cars behind are not able to even attempt an overtake then yes it can get a bit dull.

      The problem however is that DRS often swings things too far the other way, Instead of overtaking been too hard, It often then becomes far too easy & I think thats equally as bad.

      One of the thing which got me hooked on racing is the racing, I love watching close racing, I love watching good/close racing battles & I love watching good, exciting overtaking & to me DRS produces none of these & over the past 2 seasons its been doing nothing but hurt my enjoyment of the races to the point where my attention has started to go elsewhere.

      I remember in the Pre-DRS era, Watching one car starting to catch another was exciting, Watching that car looking for ways to overtake was exciting & watching any eventual overtaking move was exciting. Now I all too often find myself getting excited over one car catching another only for that car to hit DRS & breeze straght past when he gets there, No excitement, No tension over a good battle, Nothing & that really kills my enjoyment of the race.

      One example from last year was Montreal, Watching Lewis catching Vettel/Alonso got my heart rate up, However he then passes Vettel super easily in the DRS zone & it was then blatantly obvious he woudl do the same to Alonso when he caught him, For me there was nothing exciting about that, Especially since the pass for the lead/win was predictable before he even caught him.
      If you go back & watch the pass for the lead, Lewis starts to pull alongside but begins to stall out & as a result we woudl have been treated to a great battle down to the braking zone, However as soon as they got to the DRS line Lewis pushed his button & was driven clean past, Boring!

      Im not saying that I necessarily prefer what we had before as overtaking was harder than it could have been, I accept that. However I don’t believe DRS is the answer because I feel its taken things way too far the other way, Overtaking is now too easy & there’s now so much of it that I feel its starting to be devalued. I also believe that the drivers that are great overtakers are also now not standing out as much as they used to because everyone can pass & there’s now less need for that exciting dive up the inside which made guys like Hamilton, Kobayashi & Juan Montoya stand out like they did & become fan favorites as a result.

      In the DRS-era we are seeing more passing, A lot more, However we are now seeing a lot less exciting overtaking & thats the thing I hate the most!

      1. I totally sympathise with you and COTD but what you have to understand is that F1 fans are only a small percentage of the viewing public, the majority of the viewing public like reality shows and video games so that is what F1 will have to become, lots of passing and crashes with all the reality of a video game and reality shows. Real F1 fans are an unimportant minority.

        1. @hohum I find your comment worthy and thought provoking but I hope you are being a little more pessimistic than is the reality. I would like to think that at least half the viewing audience are F1 fans, or at least racing fans, not a ‘small percentage’. I think there are a lot of viewers who have been watching F1 for a long time, and therefore are a little older and are less likely to be reality show and video game fans.

          And I would like to think that even reality show fans can distinguish when a show under the guise of ‘reality’ is too contrived to have much longevity. And I would like to think that one of the attractions to video games is the escape from reality, even as the graphics themselves get more and more real, and that fans can distinguish from what a video game is meant to provide vs. a F1 race with actual drivers in actual cars made by actual people funded by actual car companies for actual marketing purposes. And for the sport of it.

          If real F1 fans are an unimportant minority, then F1 is doomed, and destined to fall by the wayside soon just as does the reality show or the video game that quickly becomes old hat to a fickle market. I would like to think F1 has much more meat to it than a reality show or a video game will ever provide. After all…it is a sport, and a competition, and a business, that has a rich history, with revered icons…the same can’t be said of reality shows and video games.

          1. Ahh, yes @robbie, I did have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I despair at where F1 is going everytime Bernie has an idea to increase TV viewership, always pandering to the lowest common denominator to try and get people who basically are not interested in motorsport to watch for 15 minutes and improve the ratings.

            1. Lol I can see Bernie doing that, and his argument would be that he may have gotten some of those ‘lcd’s’ to get hooked. Of course, just as many might get turned off, but he would deny that. One interesting irony here as it relates to this conversation is that surely F1 races going to pay-per-view would weed out the lcd’s and make it much more of a pure F1 racing fan base, as those would be the ones willing to shell out to watch the sport they love. So if it becomes a much more dedicated audience, who will in fact pay more to see it, then won’t they also demand more and more a return to seat of the pants racing by gladiators out there, not passengers? One can hope.

    18. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      7th March 2013, 21:00

      “Some of the legends in our sport had to bring backing to get into it in the first place.”
      There’s nothing wrong with bringing backing but when drivers who have won zilch in their career (not naming any names) come into the sport as a result of having an incredibly rich father it leaves a sour taste.
      Just because F1 has always had pay drivers have always been here doesn’t mean it is okay, it just means this problem is recurring and needs to be solved!

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