Vettel: Everyone to Blame but Himself (Update)

Update: As reported by Motorsport.com:

“The footage clearly captures Vettel correcting an oversteer moment as he rejoins the track – which is shown by a sharp steering wheel movement to the right by the German.

Shortly after that, however, Vettel has dispatched the oversteer and begins steering to the left to follow the direction of the circuit – suggesting he is now under control.

But a split moment later, rather than keeping to the left, Vettel is shown to release the steering wheel which allows his car to drift to the right – cutting off the route that Hamilton would have taken had he had clear space.

The movement to straighten the wheel, which put Vettel into the path of Hamilton, is believed to be key to the unanimous decision by the stewards to punish Vettel.

A further reason the stewards established was through the use of an extra CCTV camera view of the incident, which was not broadcast on the international feed, showing Vettel’s head looking in the mirrors at where Hamilton was during these moments when he was releasing the wheel to the right.

Onboard footage of the Vettel incident also shows his head looking towards the mirrors in the moment when he is drifting out, suggesting he knew where Hamilton was.

Had Vettel kept his car tight to the left once he had regained control, then there was likely enough room to have allowed Hamilton through on the right, in which case the matter would almost certainly not have been investigated.

The fact that telemetry data showed Hamilton had to brake to avoid the collision with Vettel showed how the Mercedes driver was caught out by his rival’s actions.”

I wrote at the beginning of the season that Vettel is an #overrated driver. He again showed why he’s a petulant child who cannot and won’t take responsibility for his own fuck ups by doing what he did at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix. It was clear from the on-board that he turned his steering wheel to the right as he was exiting the grass at turn 4 to stop Lewis Hamilton from passing him. At any cost. Even if it caused a wreck. Remember Singapore when he managed to wreck himself, Raikkonen and Verstappen at the same time?

That Hamilton had to back off to avoid that collision is quod durum that Vettel impeded the former. HIs rant about how the race was “stolen” is non-sense. And to further illustrate that he’s a petulant child / bad sport, he had the audacity to move the P1 sign in front of Hamiiton’s car and replace it with the P2 sign meant for his car – which, incidentally, never made it to the “parking lot” for the top 3 finishers because he couldn’t be bother. Because he ran off to the Ferrari hospitality building to complain to Binotto about the “unfair” race. Because he didn’t want to do the interview with Martin Brundle. Because he doesn’t like how the rules played out for him. Because he cocked up and nearly caused a crash. Because he was penalized 5 seconds for that.

Grow the fuck up.

A Visual Record of What Happened
Lots of commentary about the rules and other stuff but on point as far as Vettel is concerned

No, It’s Not a Surprise at All: Alonso @ Indy 500

Not a good look for the two time Formula 1 world champion

It wasn’t long ago when Fernando Alonso was leading the pack at the Brickyard. And it was no surprise when the Honda engine powering his Andretti-tuned Dallara blew up and relegated the Spaniard to a DNF at the Indy 500.

There was much anticipation for this year’s running of the race, with McLaren supposedly utilizing this opportunity to gauge a full time entry into the US-based open wheel series in addition to continuing their association with the two-time F1 champion.

But as with most things McLaren as of late, Alonso suffered a series of mishaps which prevented him from having another shot at the Borg Warner trophy. Think Robin Miller’s article on Racer.com summed up – politely – what happened. Lack of experience, humility and time. Yep.

(By the way, please support Racer.com – it’s run by some dear long-time friends in the business – Paul and Bill – both of whom are lifelong gear heads truly true to the game)

Here’s what we think Fernando should do to improve his chances of winning motorsport’s “triple crown”:

  1. End the silly association / relationship with McLaren – since the ousting of Ron Dennis, the Woking operation has been, basically, a shit show. Zak Brown has no idea what he’s doing. And what the hell is the purpose of Gil de Ferran collecting a paycheck as “sporting director”? Why let Mc:Laren’s indecision and lack of commitment prevent you from Indy success?
  2. Race Indycar full time – Alonso is arguably one of the best drivers of his generation, but even he needs some time to acclimate to a new car, new form of racing, etc. He’s already a champion in F1 and WEC. Nothing left to prove in those series.
  3. Win the Indy 500 and the Indycar championship while you’re at it – it’s hard to fathom Alonso NOT doing well in Indycar. And surely, it’s going to be great for ratings – bringing his GLOBAL fanbase to Indycar – and i’m sure he can bring heaps of sponsorship dollars with him. So why not someone like Roger Penske sign him to a full ride?
  4. Then go win Dakar. Why not add yet another memento to what must be a HUGE trophy case at the Museo Y Circuito Fernando Alonso?

Ron Dennis: Comprehensive Interview

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how important tobacco money has been to F1 and the lack of it is making the pinnacle of motorsport a bit laughable at times.

Well, I happened upon this comprehensive interview with Ron Dennis, the man who made what McLaren was – until the consortium led by Mansur Ojjeh booted him. It’s a thoroughly pleasurable viewing experience, going way back to the days of the Brabham team, and onto the days of Senna, Mikka and more. It’s also very interesting that Phillip Morris was the primary source of funding to grow the team into what it ultimately became – multiple constructor and driver champion.

Huge props to the American Academy of Achievement for the interview that we share above. Also check out their YouTube channel for more scintillating interviews with other overachievers.

F1 Steering Wheels: We Have It Way Easy

Maybe I am getting old. I don’t like all these damn buttons on steering wheels these days. On my Lexus, there are so many buttons that do all sorts of things it seems – voice command (which, by the way, is the worst system ever made… and not just based on my opinion), lane departure warning, “back’ button, volume control, media “mode” and on and on. In my Evo IX, there’s one horn button. Nothing else. Not even a cruise control button because, well, it doesn’t have cruise control.

While I long for days of simplicity in passenger cars, motorsports continues to innovate and revolutionize. Nearly every aspect of performance can be tweaked from the steering wheel, even engine maps – is this why I have an “economy” mode, a “normal” mode, “Sport” mode and a “Sport+” mode for my car? Compared to the typical steering wheel on an F1 race car, however, we have it easy. Way easy.

The Steering Wheel, as Explained by Valtteri Bottas

Donut Media did a fantastic job of visualizing the evolution of the F1 steering wheel in this video for those who are completely green to current racing technology.

Tobacco Advertising in Formula 1

Fernando Alonso in the Renault R25
Ayrton Senna in the Williams FW16
Ayrton Senna in the McLaren MP4/4
Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari F2002
David Courthard in the McLaren MP4/14
Ayrton Senna in the Lotus Honda 99T

Just take a look at those gorgeous F1 cars from years past. My first memories of Formula 1 go back to 1988 in the old turbocharged era, when those 1.5L V6 engines were producing an excess of 1,000 horsepower. Oh yeah… cast iron blocks, 9:1 compression ratio and so on. Sorry, I went off on a tangent there.

So what do you see when looking at all the racecars above? Sure, lots of Senna but what else? Simply, there were all sponsored by a tobacco company. Marlboro, West, Mild Seven, Camel, Rothmans and many more. And it’s in this commercial era where we’ve had some of the best racing in memory and the most radical rate of development and innovation.

Based on “health & safety” concerns, tobacco advertising was banned from Formula 1 in 2006, effective with the start of the 2007 season. it effectively halted the biggest stream of sponsorship dollars to the sport and left teams scrambling to find new title (or otherwise) sponsors.

Last year, Ferrari tried to get around this advertising ban by integrating Phillip Morris’ Mission Winnow “initiative.” Even after going through their website, I still have no effin’ clue what it is that they do. Interestingly enough, PM has never stopped being a Ferrari sponsor. They just couldn’t use any of the livery space on the car. The Australians apparently weren’t very happy about this ploy, as Ferrari has been forced to remove Mission Winnow branding from the car for the upcoming Australian GP.

Wait…! What about the other “sin product” that’s been given free reign over the years to advertise as much as they want? Johnnie Walker, Martini, Heineken, Molson, Foster’s, Labatt’s, Chandon, Singha, Kingfisher. What’s taking so damn long for the same talking heads to address banning or limiting advertising by alcohol producers? Hell, Heineken is the title sponsor for the Chinese and Italian Grands Prix in 2019. And Johnnie Walker is the title sponsor for the Belgian Grand Prix. How the hell does this make sense?

But it’s not just tobacco and alcohol companies that are “killing people.” Let’s take a look at the general records of current Formula 1 sponsors:

And this isn’t even the whole list! What about all those tech companies, such as Lenovo and HP, making their computers through vendors like Foxxconn… who pay their employees the equivalent of $200 US per month… indentured servitude. Suicides. These don’t count, right?

You may counter that the companies above aren’t directly killing people like cigarettes. That it’s false equivalency. On the contrary, all of these companies are doing real damage to the global society at large, directly or indirectly. Why should they be given a pass when it comes to advertising in F1? How is it okay to spill hundreds of millions of crude oil into the ocean which starts an extremely dangerous chain reaction from contaminating sea life (and birds too!), destroying ecosystems, YOU eating that contaminated seafood and eventually getting cancer.

I am NOT a fan of smoking in any shape or form. I find it disgusting. I WAS a smoker for 10 years but I quit cold turkey almost 9 years ago. It stinks and makes me sick. But it’s completely wrong for the “elites” at the WHO to determine that tobacco advertisers can’t advertise in F1, yet plenty of other industrial and consumer brands, that kill just as effectively, can go wherever and do whatever they want. It’s a farce.