Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

Ferrari make third hiring from Lotus in two months

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013In the round-up: Lotus head of aerodynamics Dirk De Beer follows Kimi Raikkonen and James Allison in jumping ship to Ferrari.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Ferrari sign Lotus aerodynamics boss (BBC)

“Ferrari have not yet officially announced his arrival but sources say he will start work in Maranello on 1 October.”

Webber: Ferrari will eye Seb (Sky)

“Two years for probably both of them actually I think. And then what they do after that obviously [is] pick Seb up off the back of Red Bull and they keep moving from there.”

Webber says Raikkonen good for Alonso (Autosport)

“The positives for me are that Fernando needs to be pushed more on Saturday afternoons; which he will live for.”

Ferrari pairing explosive: Michael Schumacher (The Times of India)

“‘Ferrari with Fernando and Kimi, that sounds like an explosive mixture,’ Germany’s Schumacher, who won five of his seven Formula One world titles with Ferrari, told German daily Bild.”

Revealed: The secret behind Mercedes getting on top of tyre issues (James Allen on F1)

“On the inner surface of the wheel there is a complex dimple pattern, which is actually fully integral to the wheel itself and almost certainly there solely for thermal management purposes in order to get and keep the tyres within their optimal temperature window.”

Niki Lauda: ‘I wish James Hunt could have seen Rush because he would have enjoyed it’ (The Telegraph)

“The sad thing is that he isn’t here now. I wish he could have seen the movie because I know for sure he would have enjoyed it.”

Video – Red Bull’s winning updates for Belgium and Italy (F1)

“In this video we analyse the hugely-successful changes that helped propel Sebastian Vettel to dominant race victories at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza and strengthen his position at the top of the drivers’ standings.”

Reviving memories of Goodwood (McLaren)

Teddy Mayer: “It was a test day like any other. Nothing special. Bruce was just checking out the new Can-Am car, Denny [Hulme] had just suffered from burns at Indianapolis, and Peter Gethin was due to try an F1 car to deputise for him in the Belgian GP. I was in my office at our Colnbrook base when my phone rang and they told me that Bruce [McLaren] had been killed.”


Comment of the day

@Scratt left Spa somewhat disappointed after this year’s race:

Even though I enjoyed it immensely, and would do the trip again in a heart beat, and our seats at Eau Rouge gave us a stunning vantage point, plus the ability to walk on the track immediately after the race (getting in through the gate at the bottom of Eau Rouge) made a perfect ending to the weekend… the race was boring.

And I was sad that it was my dad???s first experience on F1 “in the flesh”. He, of course, loved it. But even he thought the GP2 races gave more in terms of the thrill of watching people race wheel-to-wheel at close quarters.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Gwenouille!

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

Five years ago today Sebastian Vettel claimed his first grand prix victory five years ago today in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Vettel triumphed in the rain-hit race, giving Toro Rosso their first and, thus far, only F1 win. Heikki Kovalainen was second for McLaren ahead of Robert Kubica’s BMW.

The comment thread for this article makes interesting reading:

Image ?? Lotus/LAT

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  • 64 comments on “Ferrari make third hiring from Lotus in two months”

    1. Is it just me, or does Mark seem to be being much more positive about Seb recently? I’m not complaining at all – in fact I think it’s a great change for the better – but it’s, shall we say surprising!

      1. @vettel1 he never really criticized the guy, appart from the Multi 21 bit (which Seb was entitled not to follow IMO)… and Turkey 2010, which was mad for both of them.

        They are not friends, but he’s probably the best positioned to understand just what a great driver and character Vettel really is.

        1. @fer-no65 @bullmello I’ve always seen him as one to make it quite clear he’s in it for himself – something I have no problem with. So it seems slightly uncharacteristic for him to actually kind of support Seb in a sense: it’s a queer going-on! Maybe I’m just noticing it more now though ;)

          1. Vettel seems a smart guy and Webber’s a mature guy approaching 40. They probably shook hands like men.

            The last thing Vettel would want is to make Webber bitter and risk getting punted off the circuit in a fight for position. But I don’t think Vettel would reach out for that reason. It’s one of the most successful periods in F1 history why ruin take the gloss off it with a pettiness.

        2. @fer-no65 Mark is nice, but I can’t help but recall that in 2007 (?) he said over the radio, at Fuji (I guess) that Seb was a kid not ready for F1, back in the days Sebwas the crash kid at Toro Rosso :)

      2. Just my guess, but I think it’s a way to let people know he has never really hated Vettel, even if he felt like throttling him at times. It is the competitive nature of these two drivers to get cross ways on the track sometimes, they can’t help it. But, Webber is a good guy and is probably enjoying what time he has left in F1. It has been fun watching and listening to him this season, even more than usual.

        1. I think this word “hate” is used totally disproportionately these days. How strange I’ve come through many years not “hating”anyone at all. What have I missed?

      3. @vettel1, apart from accepting that he will not be WDC ever Mark is now probably being asked more questions about subjects other than “are you annoyed by Seb…….” which was what seemed to dominate general press conference questions, and if that was all the press were interested in asking then that was all we got to hear about. Now Mark is being seen in the role of Senior Sage we are getting a wider range of subjects for him to comment on.

      4. I think Monza was the point that Mark started to realize what David Coulthard admitted years later about Mika: he was faster than me regardless of the extra support.
        I always liked Mark and like him suffered at times from favouritism towards my competitior (and like him I thought unfairly). I am glad that he is already starting the process of closure. He could have been indeed the 2010 champion and retrospectively I wish he had won that as it’s a pity that he is retiring from F1 with no titles

        1. Who was your competitor?

          1. wasn’t in Motor racing. In fact compared to motor racing it was probably the nerdiest possible competition. but still :)

      5. @vettel1 It needs to be seen though, if the change is happening, a) as bullmello said probably his competitive nature started mellowing out a little b) I wonder if experiencing crowd booing at first hand last week made him feel bad about Vettel. He’s possibly in the best position that can judge if his teammate deserves such hostile treatment or not.

        On the other hand, one cynic may interpret this comment as ‘Listen, Red Bull. You better give full support to Ricciardo. Vettel won’t stay with you forever.’ ;)

        1. @shena the former was my immediate suspicion haha! If so, well done Mark – I’ve never seen him as the “good guy of F1”, but that would be a welcome change :)

      6. What else is expected from Mark? Of course he thinks highly about his own abilities, and since has been beaten by Seb for years he must think Seb is the best driver out there.

        1. I’m not talking about how he thinks of Seb’s talent though, just his personal perceptions of him. And they seem a lot more positive that they have done…

      7. I don’t think Webber has ever been overly critical of Vettel, making it clear that although they’re not friends he appreciates his talent. And often mentions Seb’s great drives.
        I just wonder if we’ll ever hear Seb give some credit to the part Mark has played in pushing him to his 4th title.

    2. Indeed, I loved the scene of Lauda driving that guy’s Alfa, their reaction was just gold. Thoroughly enjoyed the film.

    3. James Allison seems to be having great influence with the Ferrari team and their hiring for key positions. Ferrari is showing a very strong commitment to winning in 2014. While it is sad for Lotus to lose key people from their team like this, I can’t blame Ferrari for getting the best people for the job. With Lotus struggling financially it shows once again how important investors, sponsors and even pay drivers have become for the survival and competitive ability for most F1 teams. I hope that Lotus is able to complete their Infinity deal soon before the team becomes a shadow of its former self.

      1. It might sound like a silly question, but when I heard that Ferrari hired de Beer, my first thought was “Why didn’t Mercedes want him?”.

        When you think about it, it’s a valid question – did Ferrari really hire the best man for the job … or the next-best man for the job?

        After all, Mercedes had the power to hire anyone they wanted to. And they didn’t hire de Beer.

        1. So being hired by Mercedes has become the meter of who’s good and who’s not?

          I’m sure that now that Ferrari has Lotus’ Allison, they also have a pretty good idea who they’re hiring with de Beer who also comes from Lotus. Why would Mercedes know any better?

        2. They shouldn’t stop here. I think if Ferrari replaced Domenicali with Boullier, they would certainly have a chance next year ;)

      2. It’s probably a bit late for these guys to contribute heavily to the 2014 chassis, unless Ferrari are still having their correlation problem(s) then maybe he can help solve it…

        1. @beejis60 It isn’t too late to improve upon it and add to it or whatever else Byrne may see these guys doing. Still this is just the base car that will be improved upon all 2014 so there is some real things for them to do.

      3. When you don’t have money, you can’t retain the talent within your organization is a competitive world. It’s shame for Lotus.

    4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      14th September 2013, 2:42

      I feel bad for Lotus.

      1. This is why I doubt Hulkenberg moving to Lotus is the best option for him. While no team is guaranteed for success next year (excluding the seats already filled), with constant rumours of money and sponsorship issues and key personnel leaving, I wonder is Lotus such a good option. Leaving Force India for Sauber seemed like a good idea at the time, but there has been very little reward there,

        1. But where else will he go? Sauber seems set on the new Russian kid and Gutierrez, and I doubt Hulkenberg will even want to stay there. He hasn’t had much luck in his choice of teams it seems, and next year is even going to be more difficult to predict which team is where. So I’d say going to Lotus is as good a choice as any.

        2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          14th September 2013, 10:05

          I doubt Lotus is going to be as good next year, as they were in 2012 and early-mid 2013. That said, they’ll still probably be the best of the rest.

    5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      14th September 2013, 3:00

      The only way I can see Vettel going to Ferrari is if Adrian Newey goes with him.

      I understand the whole “He needs to see what he can do in a lesser car” argument, but I don’t see why he should feel the need to risk his legacy on something that could potentially backfire very badly.

      Or who knows, with these new regulations Ferrari could become better than RBR. And could entice Vettel there, but right now, I really cannot see any evidence as to why Vettel would want to go there without Newey. Ferrari have been dismal for 3 years now, and it’s not looking much better.

      1. From the constructors point of view, yes they have not done too well but still not too bad. The Alonso Ferrari combination has been far from dismal especially in 2010 and 2012.

      2. At some point even Newey will be bettered.

        1. I suspect that most of Newey’s success is down to his experience and his ability to adapt others’ ideas into his own designs. He is constantly checking out other cars on the grid, and when someone dreams up the next must-have aerodynamic aid, Red Bull are usually the first to have a (working) version of their own. I don’t think Newey is some virtuoso who can inexplicably dream up race-winning designs in his sleep. Portraying him like that is unfair on the other designers – after all, it wasn’t Adrian Newey who created double-diffusers, the F-duct, double- and passive-DRS, skinny sidepods, micro-gearboxes, wing-bridges or even off-throttle blown diffusers. He perfected them, but he didn’t create them.

          1. A think Newey seems to excell at is to take ideas from others, understand it, and incorporate it in a new complete view of the car to go for.

          2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            14th September 2013, 14:26

            @prisoner-monkeys nice spotted. It’s almost what Japanese industry is used to making. They don’t invent many things, but they make look the original version as a toy after the polishing work.

      3. Rory Byrne is back at Ferrari now I believe, he is responsible for Schumacher winning chassis at both Benetton and Ferrari and is working with the 2014 car. While Adrian Newey has ruled for so long and is a genius, some might say Byrne is better. With no budget restrictions (as at Lotus) Byrne, Alison and now Beer alongside, coupled with 2 top drivers, like with Mercedes I expect to see the horse prancing again next year

        1. Bryne only ever gave Schumacher the best car in 2001, 02 and 04.

          1. Not having the best car in 03 was due to the tyres …

            1. So much for bespoke tyres…

      4. Newey may retire or look for a challenge outside F1, in which case RBR might just be another past WCC team like Williams, if so all bets would be off for Vettel.

      5. Ferrari was quick from Barcelona onwards last year, but more importantly it was by far the most reliable car. 2013 they started with the fastest car, it was still the fastest on balance until the British Grand Prix. Alonso did nothing with his advantage, hence bringing in Kimi.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          14th September 2013, 9:43

          “2013 they started with the fastest car, it was still the fastest on balance until the British Grand Prix.”

          They did not have the fastest car to begin the season, and it was far from the fastest up to the British GP.

          1. It was definitely fastest in China and Spain. It was definitely faster than the RB9 in Australia, and likely could’ve challenged at the front (at the very least for the podium) in Malasyia and Bahrain. So I think it’s fair to say it was a faster car on balance up until Monaco. After that, yes it was the RB9.

            1. Vettel just beat Alonso at his own game at the start of this season, now he’s winning at his own game too.

            2. I dont agree. It was best on it’s tyres, and as a result it was faster because it damaged it’s tyres less. But if it were purely the fastest, then it would have gotten atleast 1 car on the front row.

            3. @tophercheese21 “fastest” has amiguos means of quantification, but in the end if the car wins by 20 seconds it was the fastest.

            4. @vettel1
              See, I view “fastest” as having the best combination of race pace and qualifying pace.
              And in my view, Red Bull have had the “fastest” car all year. They’re always qualifying in the first couple of rows, and in the race they’re just about always on for podiums.

              Yes, Ferrari (Alonso) won in China and Barcelona, but just because they won two races in the first part of the season, doesn’t convince me in the slightest that (as “annon” commented) they had the “2013 they started with the fastest car…”

            5. I define “fastest” by (whichever means, be it qualifying high or racing well) whoever reaches the chequered flag first, barring anomalies and misfortunes. In that sense, Ferrari did it twice (in dominant fashion I may add) in the first 5 races (Monaco eluded them partially due to it not suiting their car, an apparently resurgent Mercedes and an uncharacteristically off-form Alonso so I wouldn’t include that, even though Canada was the true turning point).

              In Australia, they again finished comfortably clear of RBR. And in Bahrain and Malaysia (the two races where Red Bull were stronger) they made crucial errors which likely prevented them from reaching the podium.

              So I think it’s entirely fair to say Ferrari had the fastest car up until Monaco. Then it went Red Bull’s way after Canada and the rest is history.

          2. I agree with what you’re saying Max, except the Red Bull has only been fastest in Bahrain (imo Ferrari were ultimately faster in the dry in Malaysia), Montreal, Spa and Monza. Red Bull dominance is put of a myth.

            Australia – Lotus
            Malaysia – Ferrari
            China – Ferrari
            Bahrain – Red Bull
            Spain – Ferrari
            Monaco – Mercedes
            Canada – Red Bull
            Britain – Mercedes
            Germany – Lotus
            Hungary – Mercedes
            Belgium – Red Bull
            Italy – Red Bull

        2. It wasn’t fastest in Bahrain, it wasn’t fastest in Monaco, it wasn’t fastest in Canada and it wasn’t fastest in UK. After that they changed the tires and from that point, it was far from the fastest on any track. So that pretty much leaves just Melbourne where they weren’t fastest in quali because of rain, same with Malaysia, and the only ones where they really had a straight fastest weekends were in China and Barcelona, while Melbourne and Malaysia were perhaps winnable if it weren’t for rain and a mistake in Malaysia.

          1. I agree. So therefore, since we’re talking about the first 5 races, isn’t it fair to say they were fastest overall?

        3. Alonso did have the best car in the grid this season in the first six rounds, still it wasn’t him leading the championship despite him being “one of the greatest of all time”. The mistake in Malaysia alone lost him 32 points on Vettel – I suspect he would have won that round in front of the tyres eating RedBulls and Mercedes. The championship would look a lot more open alone with that mistake taken in consideration.

          1. How does one lose 32 points when first place is only worth 25?

            1. @austus because they can cost somebody else 7 points. Vettel would’ve lost 7 and Alonso gained 25 on their current tallies.

      6. I’m expecting Ferrari to build a beast in 2014, maybe they become the ones to beat.

      7. Ferrari have been dismal for 3 years now

        They have not been “dismal”. Williams have been dismal. Ferrari have been extremely good, just a tiny little bit short of being the best. No team scored more podium finishes in 2012 than Ferrari.

    6. Mercedes and Ferrari are really serious about 2014, they’ve got the right technical people with enough money to develop a strong car from the beginning, they design their own engines in house to their own needs and last but not least, very strong driver pairings.

      I expect this two teams (and their drivers) to be the ones fighting for the championship, Red Bull can’t be discounted but when you see all the effort the others are putting in 2014 is going to be tough for Newey.

    7. It’s from a while ago, but I’ve just come across it and couldn’t agree more:

      If it’s all motoring along nicely and the dog’s happy and so on, he’s all upbeat.
      But I don’t think the team know which guy is going to appear at the track on a Thursday.
      Compare that with Vettel. I’m sure every Thursday when he walks into the paddock he is the same bloke.
      Hamilton needs to become a man who can separate work and home life much more effectively.
      Gary Andreson

      Lewis is a fantastic driver, in fact I think quite possibly the fastest in terms of raw speed. But it does seem when he’s not happy, it shows in his driving somewhat. He could learn a few things from the other drivers in the top tier I think: Alonso is a timely example; he’s been frustrated with his team and vocally so recently. What does he do? Goes and finishes a very strong second position. There were a few hiccups, but he still did the job.

      1. That’s wrong, Hamilton won Hungary right after he and Nicole broke up. Don’t believe the media, sometimes some of them crave a certain characteristic placed on a famous person…

        1. It’s nothing major, but it makes it difficult for the team more than anything else for him to have such a swaying temperament. It can’t be very good for his idea of “moulding the team around him” as Schumacher was so devastatingly effective in doing at Ferrari.

      2. @vettel1 Did he not get the job done as best possible with the hand dealt to him, not being able to produce a lap that probably would have put him on top and even if it did there was still the race. In a race where he had a tire going down and radio trouble, then had to try and come from the back to the points as well as run a new strategy where he had to run one more stop then the rest of his main competition (bar Kimi).

        Even with these supposed emotional troubles that I feel sport tabloids blow up and then have actual technical/knowledge f1 journos feed into, finally having the fans also comment on it. I can say that 2011 it could be seen -though I think RBR being out right faster irritated Lewis- or said, I haven’t seen anything since to indicate that his emotion is getting in the way. The only issues I see are his perfectionism when he doesn’t get the position he tries for which he’s always been like before Nicole.

    8. Ferrari have now secured the services of Enstone’s star driver, its technical director and its chief aerodynamicist. Déjà vu all over again.

      I hadn’t thought about it like that. Funny similarity. ^^

    9. Five years ago today Sebastian Vettel claimed his first grand prix victory five years ago today in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

      Vettel triumphed in the rain-hit race, giving Toro Rosso their first and, thus far, only F1 win. Heikki Kovalainen was second for McLaren ahead of Robert Kubica’s BMW.

      5 years later, 3 WDC, helped his team to obtain 3 WCC and obtain lost of record, I will said Vettel have more than fulfil all the expectation the comments in that article.

    10. Re: IndyCar’s Baltimore race

      Here’s hoping it won’t be back. I was there this year and last year, and the track just doesn’t work. It’s far too narrow, and IndyCar hasn’t yet figured out how to make local cautions work. Add that combination, and sitting in the stands I kept thinking, “Please have a clean restart!” Turn one there made that hope problematic, and it killed the tempo of the race. At least I got autographs of Dixon, G. Rahal, Viso, Hinchcliffe, and Rick Mears there.

      I have nothing to add elsewhere, others made the same sort of comments I would have.

    11. I think that claims about Alonso being the greatest driver out there but one who is inexplicably let down year after year by a bad car are excessively disparaging of Ferrari’s engineering staff, and overly deferential to Alonso. I believe similar thoughts have occurred to Ferrari management, and that their recruitment of Raikkonen is an attempt to find a gauge of how much of their problem is in fact the car and how much is due to their lead driver. Kimi is already a known quantity for them – they will still have the telemetry from his last stint with Ferrari – so he provides an ideal benchmark.

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