Just how silly is the Silly Season?

Lewis Hamilton © James Moy Photography

Silly season is upon us, and that means the F1 rumour mill, as if it needed an excuse, is in full flow. It seems slightly odd to think about it now, but back in Hungary, word on the street was that most teams would likely stick with their current line-ups for 2013. Today, if you believe everything you hear, the roundabout is in full swing and we’re going to see massive shifts across the board.

So let’s start with what we know. Red Bull Racing will run an unchanged line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Its sister team Toro Rosso will likely also field an unchanged team of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne. Both of these boys however will be under pressure to perform. Should Red Bull hotshot (and this kid is super talented) Antonio Felix da Costa go well in WSR in 2013, I can see Dr Marko doing what Dr Marko always does, and not allow the Portuguese youngster to complete his season in WSR, plucking him instead before he’s truly ready and replacing one of the STR boys with him mid-season. Afterall, that Red Bull scrap heap isn’t going to grow on its own.

I also see little chance of a change at Lotus. Raikkonen is happy in the non political atmosphere at the team, and Grosjean is keeping him honest. The duo make a good pairing, and are both marketable in their own rights. There seems little reason for Boullier to look elsewhere.

The real interest, of course, lies in Lewis Hamilton. Ever since Eddie Jordan sparked the fire over Hamilton’s move to Mercedes it is all anyone has been able to talk about. Some say Jordan is off his rocker, or that he’s simply buying into a line fed to him by Bernie. But the last time Eddie made a claim like this, it was about Michael Schumacher’s return. People thought he was bonkers then, but he was right. And I’ve got a feeling he will be proven right once more on this one.

Michael Schumacher is past it. One only need look at Kimi Raikkonen’s 2012 season to see how successful a comeback can be to fully appreciate just how much of a disappointment the seven time world champion’s exploits overt the past three seasons have been. Rather than adding to the legend, he is damaging it with each passing grand prix. Deep down, I think even he now realises that it is time to go.

But Norbert Haug needs a name. Rosberg isn’t yet a big enough star to shine over the Mercedes brand and keep board level interest in the Formula 1 programme. Sebastian Vettel is tied into his current contract and has something in his pocket for his future (more on that later.) Fernando Alonso will finish his career at Ferrari. That leaves Hamilton as the only driver with real star power.

Rosberg, Hamilton and AMG have a long history.

Hamilton would be a neat fit for the team. Mercedes likes to play on its history and its long and glorious past in all forms of motorsport. Heritage is a huge part of the Mercedes marketing programme. And what better heritage is there than the fact that Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were, a decade ago, team-mates in karting, sponsored by AMG? The link is just too perfect.

But who is going to pay for the reported £60 million contract? I’ve heard some talk of Santander, but that doesn’t ring true for me. I can’t see why Santander would jump ship from McLaren. They, like all banks, are struggling. Why bother to up their level of sponsorship simply to move one driver they already sponsor to a team they don’t sponsor? Fernando made sense because of his nationality. Lewis does not.

By chance, on my flight to Singapore, I was sat next to a fascinating single serving friend (Ref: Fight Club) who worked in the bottling and distribution of soft drinks for Pepsi Co. I realised over the course of our conversation how much I’ve actually picked up on the subject over the years and our lengthy conversation, spread over two incredible hours, was fascinating.

In the UK, Energy Drinks are now the market leader in soft drink sales, last month knocking Cola drinks off the top spot for the first time in history. Think about that for a moment. It’s huge. But most surprising was the fact that Red Bull is not, and has not been for some time, the market leader in energy drinks sales. Quite simply it is too expensive to compete with smaller cheaper brands. Even halving its price would leave it twice as expensive, so Red Bull has stopped doing money off deals. It has a price and it sticks to it. Those who can afford it will still buy into the brand. Those who can’t won’t. But Red Bull will keep making money. So it may not be the UK market leader in terms of sales, but in terms of profit it is still up there.

Interestingly, the brand which Red Bull reportedly fears the most is Monster. Its rival is doing big business globally, especially in America, and unlike Red Bull has the fall back position of numerous flavours in full time rather than limited edition production.

Coca Cola wants to buy Monster. It has been trying for months.

Coca Cola is interested in entering Formula 1. Company bosses were guests of Bernie in Valencia.

Coca Cola, however, is unlikely to sponsor a team. It doesn’t do things that way and never has. It sponsors events, championships etc. But it probably won’t become a sponsor of the sport itself, because that would create a political issue for Bernie with Red Bull.

But what about Monster?

What if, and I may be putting two and two together and coming out with 37, but what if Coca Cola buys Monster, ups its already existing sponsorship of Mercedes, and facilitates Lewis Hamilton’s move to the three pointed star, at the same time turning Hamilton into the poster boy for one of the world’s biggest soft drinks companies… and by that I don’t just mean Monster. I mean the Coca Cola Company.

Doesn’t sound so silly now, does it?

Makes sense for Lewis, makes sense for XIX Management, makes sense for Monster, makes sense for Coke, makes sense for Mercedes. Makes Sense full stop.

Tough decisions ahead for Martin Whitmarsh
© James Moy Photography

OK, so what about McLaren, you ask?

Sergio Perez? No way. A Ferrari driver sponsored by Telmex is not going to go to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

Paul di Resta? A lot of people would seem to think he’d be a shoe in. He’s not universally popular at Force India, and is considered difficult to work with. But he is fast and would no doubt work well at McLaren. But he is managed now by Richard Goddard. So too is Jenson Button. And I just wonder, and it’s a personal thought process I’ve been following, but would McLaren allow such a considerable part of the team to ultimately be ruled by one person? I’ve got nothing against Richard, don’t get me wrong. He’s a great guy and a damn fine driver manager, but if you were McLaren would you sign both your drivers from one source? It would give Richard a tremendous amount of political power at McLaren, and I’m not convinced Martin or Ron would allow that.

To my mind, the perfect fit is Nico Hulkenberg. Easy to work with, media savvy, cool, calm, understated… blisteringly fast: he is the perfect McLaren driver. Working alongside Jenson Button I believe they would form the perfect pairing of youth and experience. Nico would push Jenson, but Jenson would teach Nico so much, and help to forge a bright future world champion driver and team leader for McLaren. The only thing which would stand against such a move is that it probably makes too much sense and is thus unlikely to happen. But if I was running McLaren and Lewis jumped ship, I’d have my eye on Nico Hulkenberg and I’d be signing him up.

There is also the prospect of Valtteri Bottas, Williams’ third driver. Blisteringly fast, but also very young, his name remains, for me, a flight of fancy at McLaren… although he would fit in there rather well.

Future team-mates?
© James Moy Photography

What, then, of Ferrari? Fernando Alonso will see out his career driving a red car, of this we are certain. But what of the future? Ferrari lost its intended perfect partner for Alonso with the Rallying accident that befell Robert Kubica. The Pole would have been driving for Ferrari this year, but with Robert out, Felipe Massa got a reprieve. And it is not working out. Massa has now entered the record books as the Ferrari driver to have gone the longest without scoring a podium in the team’s F1 history: 35 races and counting. His drive in Singapore was outstanding, but one wonders if it is too little too late.

Ferrari, however, has no real need to replace him because it has only one season to wait before a new driver arrives. That driver will be Sebastian Vettel, and he will race for Scuderia Ferrari come 2014. It’s one of those widely known secrets in the paddock, just as Robert Kubica’s move was known about. Ferrari doesn’t do spur of the moment. It does pre-contracts at least 18 months in advance. And Vettel is understood to have signed one such agreement.

That means the Scuderia has only got to fill a seat for a season. And that’s why Luca di Montezemolo keeps on saying Sergio Perez isn’t ready. Of course Perez is ready. He’s so ready, he could jump in and take on Alonso today. But if Ferrari fields Perez next season then they know they have to drop him in 2014. So why do that to the kid and to his career? If Ferrari ever gets its way and is allowed to run three cars, OK, maybe then. But as things stand, Perez will be kept at a satellite team until Alonso retires, and he will then be moved across to join Ferrari, perhaps even alongside Vettel. But that’s going a bit too far down into the future.

So maybe the team sticks with Massa, and there is every chance that it will do just that. Or maybe it signs someone who needs a feather in their hat, someone who is flying under the radar… someone who needs a bit of positive PR for a season to relaunch their career. Hulkenberg has been mooted, and discussions have apparently taken place, but as I said, I see McLaren as by far the better option in that respect. But there is another name that keeps on cropping up, and he, too, has reportedly been to Maranello to have a bit of a chat.

Heikki Kovalainen was team-mates with Fernando Alonso at Renault. The duo are friends, and have much respect for each other. Caterham isn’t reinvigorating the Finn’s career in quite the way he would have hoped. But a season in a Ferrari? It’s perfect. The Finn would be a neat fit. Technically gifted, a good car developer and a tidy racer, I could see Heikki slotting in alongside Fernando for 2013.

Uncertain times ahead at Force India
© James Moy Photography

Then it all gets a bit more difficult to predict.

Who stays and who goes at Force India? Rumours are that neither driver has been paid this season. Vijay Mallya’s money troubles are well documented and Sahara’s not exactly enjoying the easiest of financial times right now. All of which begs the question of where that leaves the Force India team at all in 2013. It’s a sad state of affairs because that team produces consistently quick cars and is one of very few teams in F1 to utilise a ladder scheme for its drivers, promoting youth after giving it a chance to shine in practice sessions. Force India does its racing the way racing should be done. Vitaly Petrov’s name has ben linked to the team, so too Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari, who we understand has some very good offers on the table for next season.

It appears that Kobayashi may be let go by Sauber at the end of the year. Will Perez stay? Will Telmex money be increased and Esteban Gutierrez enter the fold? What about Alguesuari? Kovalainen has been mooted too. Interestingly, so too has Charles Pic, who has kept Timo Glock more than honest at Marussia this season.

Bruno Senna is believed likely to become a free agent after a season at Williams, with the aforementioned Valtteri Bottas taking the second seat at the team alongside Pastor Maldonado. Bottas has a big fan in Toto Wolff, and with an increasing number of Finnish sponsors showing up on the Williams it now seems only a matter of time until the inevitable promotion for the young, talented, and mega quick Bottas into a fulltime race seat.

As for the other teams, it is all a bit up in the air.

Caterham may have to find two new drivers next season. Charles Pic has been mentioned, but what the team really needs is someone with experience and a keen eye for car development. Marussia will keep Glock who is tied in for another few years, and I expect to see Max Chilton graduate from GP2 and line up alongside him. And as for HRT, I have genuinely no idea.

There are question marks over what happens to the likes of Massa, Petrov, Kobayashi and Pic in 2013, none of whom have any guarantees. There are questions over the GP2 graduates such as champion Davide Valsecchi and runner up Luiz Razia, both of whom will need to find big sponsors to make the next step. So too will WSR drivers such as Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi who have impressed hugely with their roles as reserve driver in F1 this season. And speaking of reserve drivers, Jerome d’Ambrosio handled himself tremendously at Monza standing in for Grosjean and fighting valiantly without KERS.

As always the ratio of seats to drivers is weighted heavily against the drivers and some highly talented racers will be left without a place at the top table.

And, as always, the driver market relies almost entirely on one key happening.

When Michael Schumacher walks away, or when Lewis Hamilton announces he is leaving McLaren, all hell is going to break loose.

Until then, it’s all just talk. And at the end of the season, everyone will have re-signed with their current teams and we’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Don’t you love Silly Season?

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69 thoughts on “Just how silly is the Silly Season?

    • I’ve been following Will’ blog now for quite some time. I’ve got him in my Firefox RSS feed even. He does bring out some really bloody nicely written stories and what I most appreciate about this blog are the very, if any at all, very few mistakes he makes – not like Joe Saward – sorry mate. BUT, with Will you have to wait a month and then some to catch a nicely written well thought out and crafted thought process of his :-) But, it’s worth it! Every time!
      Well done Will!!!

      • Thank you Michael. In the bit of the blog where I explain what its purpose is, I always said I wasn’t going to write up every single news story. I tend to wait until something takes me, something riles me, or something amuses me. Or all three. I will try and blog more often, I promise. But I’d rather write occasionally and really feel what I write and have reason to write, than simple write for the sake of it. That’d just waste your time reading something of little relevance. So glad you like the pieces I do write. I read every comment, good and bad, and they mean a lot.

        • I’ve been following this blog for the past one year now. And there are times when I always come here to only to see a post I’ve already read. But when there is a new post, I feel the volume of your post is well thought out,well researched and a joy to read indeed.. Keep ‘em coming Will !

          On the subject of Michael retiring, I have been experiencing mixed emotions the past few weeks. On the one hand, I still maintain steadfastly that he is not past it. He has been riddled with awful luck this season but if you look at those races that he and Rosberg have finished together, you’ll find that the 43 year old has outscored Nico 6 times out of 7. The way he put that car on pole in Monaco had me screaming in joy! I did groan when he hit Vergne in Singapore last weekend though.

          I also maintain that a comparison with Kimi is not correct. Kimi is younger (11 years!) and was racing rally cars for 2 years. He had not taken a break like Michael had done. Besides the Lotus is a much better car than the Mercedes. So we cannot argue that point.

          I just hope that Michael goes out on a high and continues for a year more. However if Lewis decides to go to Merc, then I guess the 2011 Indian GP is the first and only time that I watched the legendary Reinmeister race on a track.

  1. Interesting!

    Very logical assessment of the market. Coca-Cola coming into F1 would be great for the sport, their impact may encourage other FMCG’s towards F1, similar to what is seen in Nascar.

    Coca-Cola are already present at F1 Events through promo stands, but as I’m sure your single serve buddy will have pointed out this will have been funded by the regional bottler specific to the area. The regional bottler funding of promotional activities is the model Coca-Cola would have to break to support Lewis or Mercedes.

    I’m a huge Schumacher fan, but it could be time for him to move on. Singapore did him no favours. It sounds like he made a few more blunders than the one the world saw on Sunday in the race.

    Ferrari are unlikely to be able to challenge for constructors with the current line-up, would they really give this up for the sake of keeping Alonso happy?

    How was Katy Perry?

  2. I’ll be interested to see how much of this you get right!

    Rosberg will never be a big enough star for Mercedes. Singapore apart he’s been out driven by the ‘past it’ Schumacher, Rosberg has been underachieving for some time and I can’t see that changing. So if Hamilton doesn’t move I think Mercedes have a problem as I don’t believe Schumacher will continue.

    I’m not a fan of Di Resta so I’ve got my fingers crossed for Hulk at McLaren, like you I think he’ll be a great fit with Jenson.

  3. Why would Coca-Cola want to buy the Monster Energy brand when it already has Relentless which, albeit not as successful as Red Bull and like, still sells rather well, especially in Europe?

    • Because energy drinks are now the market leader and in the areas where Relentless isn’t so popular, and even those where it is, Monster is doing great business. Let’s not forget, when you compare the price per litre of energy drinks to the price per litre of petrol, and compare the processes you’ve got to go through to produce the two liquids, energy drinks are literally liquid gold. A small can of Red Bull costs £1.20. A litre of unleaded is £1.40. Shocking, right? Why wouldn’t you want to own as many of the market leading brands as possible? Just run a google search on Monster and Coca Cola… they’ve been trying to get hold of them, quite publicly, for a while now.

      • “A small can of Red Bull costs £1.20. A litre of unleaded is £1.40.” not to mention its stacked even worse because of taxes making up to about half of those 1.40 GBP/litre.

        A question I have with this scenario is about Vodafone vs. Telmex. A while ago there were rumours about Vodafone wanting to give up on the sport altogether. Where would that leave McLaren, and might someone like Telmex actually step in and take over their spot? Also I understood its not impossible that both brands are actually starting to work together in South America, making a Perez move a possibility.

          • There is a commercial deal between Vodafone and Claro (Telmex) as previously their footprints did not overlap but that’s about it. With Slim buying stakes in European telcos (KPN and Telecom Austria) it is very likely they will soon be competitors. So personally I don’t see any room for collaboration.

            Speaking of Claro (Telmex), their Brazilian unit would not do bad to have Massa promoting it. Just adding to the sillyness of course.

            And more thing Will: you forgot Frijns. Rumors in his country are doing the rounds that he is potential 3rd driver for Williams or Sauber. Good choice of talent.

  4. Really not sure about the Schumacher is past it bit – not a fan of the guy at all, in fact I never liked/respected him after Adelaide 94, but to put the Merc on pole for Monaco (OK, had grid pen after) you cant be driving all that bad. And the Merc’s reliability on his hands has been just awful.

  5. Pedro de La Rosa has a contract with HRT for 2013.

    Anyway, what about Robin Frijns? I find it rather surprising that’s he’s not getting more interest from the F1 teams. He is currently leading the WSR championship in his rookie season, against very experienced drivers such as Bird or Bianchi, who already have a foot in F1’s door.

    • Thanks for reminding me about Pedro.

      I agree about Frijns, there just doesn’t seem to be a buzz around him. What talk there is of him in F1 seems to be that he’s not quite ready from a maturity or mental standpoint, which could be seen as a bit harsh when there exists this rush to get drivers in at such a young age.

  6. Hi Will.
    Very good analysis abut the situation and geat the point about Coca-Cola and Monster, but… Are you sure about Vettel?
    I don’t see the reason why Ferrary would like a situation with 2 strong drivers taking points of each other and I don’t think Alonso would like it.
    Historically Ferrari has always played the game having a clear nr.1 and a fast but not too fast nr.2. I don’t see the sense of changing something that always gave them good results.

    Thanks for the article. I love the Silly Season ;-)

  7. What about Caterham reserve driver Giedo van der Garde?

    He does (imho) rather well in GP2 in a Caterham, which is not of the best teams in GP2. He could have been third this year if it wasn’t for Gutierrez crashing in to him a couple of times, just as he would have been an easy second behind Grosjean last year if it wasn’t for bumper car driver Bianchi. He beat Valsecchi and Razia last year when they were driving for Caterham or Gutierrez, who was (and still is) in a Lotus ART.

  8. Monster already sponsors a lot of other racing….with, soon, two races in the US, it would be a logic step in that respect as well.

    Did I miss something? Sounds like more than a couple of drivers without a seat next season (by your prediction) but you only mentioned 2 new young drivers. Anyone else ready for a shot with one of the back-markers?

  9. MyGawd, Man! More analysis in one post, than an entire pre-race show permits! Consider me a regular reader! To a casual observer, silly season can seem random and confusing.. you have helped understand it better. Now on the edge of my seat!

  10. Do you see Bruno in F1 next year? Force India or Sauber perhaps, he has quite a bit of backing, shame he hasn’t really shone this year because i think he’s faster than he looks at the moment.

    • I agree, and would hate to see him leave the sport entirely. He loses a lot of practice time (certainly more than Di Resta does), and though he does struggle in qualifying, his race pace is consistently quick, and certainly tidier and more reliable than his teammate’s.

  11. Will , I think you may have something …
    I’ve been involved in Motocross for longer than I care to mention .
    MX is the least expensive sanctioned Grand Prix series and as such is a favoured entry point for the likes of Monster (who have a huge thing going in the sport) .
    It was interesting to see the Monster brand atop Button’s lid back in ’09 and I wondered then where it might lead to .
    Having witnessed Monster’s move through MX into extreme sports , MotoGP and now F1 it seems inevitable that a move on this scale makes (as you say) a great deal of sense .
    And , let’s face it , the Mercedes F1 car could do with a much better paint job . It’s dull grey effort does nothing for me and was just about the only car to look ‘un-shiny’ in Singapore (and that includes the taxis !)
    Here’s a thought … What if the ‘big’ announcement was made at Austin ? How would that be for brilliant timing ?!

    One last thing , Noel Gallagher was great at the Village stage wasn’t he ? Great pre-quali buzz !

  12. Brilliant writing. Great food for thought on all of this.
    I do like the Coke tie in to F1. I can see that happening
    Bring on the Incredible Hulk to Team with Button!!
    No photos of you and “Katie”??

  13. Great article as usual Will. Flipping the coin the other way, what do you think will happen if Lewis decides he really does want to be in F1 to win and not just for the cash and stays at McLaren?

    I’m also wondering how long Britney is going to hold onto his seat, as apart from his part-luck/ part-skill win this year, he’s just treading water.

    Also, maybe with Diaggio sniffing around Mallya’s brands, he may have a little more cash to spend on his F1 toy, albeit not much after he’s paid off his massive airline buisness debts…

  14. Hi Will,
    Very good post again. From Monster’s angle, Hamilton would indeed be a fine addition.

    If this transpired and Monster / Merc do indeed nail Hamilton, just think of this as star line-up to have in an international roster:
    Lewis Hamilton, Ken Block, Valentino Rossi and Kyle Busch.

    Nice if you happen to be Monster.

  15. I really hate reading about talks and predictions on where drivers will be next season, who’s coming in and who’s leaving. It just reminds me of how cruel this sport is and unless you are talented enough, performing well enough, have enough sponsors, you’re not guaranteed!

    There are so little spots in this sport and everyone is so competitive. There are so many talented drivers, but so little opportunities. And sometimes it doesn’t matter if a driver is talented, he doesn’t get a driver because a team has “other plans”. And personally I hate changes, so that’s why I hate reading these kind of things. :(

    Yeah, that is silly, but that’s just my views.

    (and hello Will! Didn’t get to meet you in SG but I guess I’ll drop by here!)

  16. Fantastic write up. Really is a shame that Sergio has nowhere to go until Alonso decides to move on. Maybe he can wait another year at Sauber and jump to Red Bull when Vettel leaves and Webber retires. Could be an all new line up with Verne or Ricardo getting the other seat.

  17. Fantastic article Will! I know we never like to put a time limit on a driver’s career but hypothetically, how many seasons does Alonso have left? Surely Ferrari wouldn’t sign Vettel without considering him to be Alonso’s replacement as No. 1 in the future. I just wonder how the duo will get along? Alonso likes the team’s attention to be on him and Vettel is coming from a similar environment at Red Bull.

    Do you see Massa going to another team once his time at Ferrari is up or would he just retire from the sport?

    • I think there could be potential for an Alonso/Hamilton or Rossi/Lorenzo type situation if it isn’t handled properly, but I think the reason Fernando kicked back against McLaren was because he was a double world champion and Lewis was a rookie. If things stay as they are into 2014, Fernando could be a 2 time champ and Sebastian a 2 time champ. Or they might both have 3 titles. Either way, parity could be established between the two. Note that Fernando and Lewis have remained friends. It wasn’t Hamilton that Alonso had the issue with. Two world champions on the roster could only push Ferrari further forward, and Alonso will know that. How long does Alonso have left? How long is a piece of string?

      As for Massa, no I can’t see him staying in F1. When his time at Ferrari is up, he’ll leave.

  18. According to Racer Magazine:
    “I understand that McLaren is believed to be offering at least, if not more, than the approximate $18.7 million-per-season deal that it is understood Mercedes has put on the table. The main issue to be debated now is whether or not the greater commercial freedom that Hamilton could have at Mercedes – because personal sponsorship deals with that team are not as tightly controlled as they are at McLaren – is worth enough for Hamilton and XIX to consider it a better option.”

  19. Great entry, but quick question Will, what’s this about Paul Di Resta being “hard to work with” and not being universally popular at Force India? It’s the first I’ve heard of anything of the like! What’s been said?

  20. hey Will!! If Heikki doesn’t go to Ferrari, McLaren, or Sauber are there any other places you could see him going? And do you have any info on if Sam Bird will have a higher role in Mercedes if Schumi leaves..or another team? :)

    • I would really like to see Sam in F1. He does great work at Merc but I think if MSC goes and HAM stays at McLaren then DIR would go to Merc. Hopefully that would see Bird at Force India. I believe he is a better prospect than Bianchi.

  21. Oh how I love and hate the silly season in equal measures!! I can’t say that I am a huge fan of Hamilton’s but I do have to acknowledge the fact that he is a great driver – after Alonso and Vettel of course!! However I can’t work out if he really does want to leave McLaren or if his management team are really working in his best interests as a driver or more as a celebrity. He has just one WDC title and on the face of it McLaren provide him with the better option of securing a 2nd sooner rather than later. Then again some of his actions (telemetry on twitter) and reactions to wins and his team would make you question his commitment to McLaren and if they should be taking a long hard look around at some other driver that will play ball like Hulkenberg perhaps!! Time will tell…

    Great blog Will – would never in my wildest dreams have put Vettel and Alonso together in the same team. Then again I grew up watching Schumi at the center of Ferrari with a “loyal” team mate to help secure points for the Constructors title and back him up when he needed it. So I assume that most drivers would like to carry on that tradition if it helps them add a couple of titles to their name before they leave the sport. Speaking of Schumi, after watching him driver and ardently defending his every move for 12 years, it was a sad realization to make on Sunday that he really doesn’t belong on that race track any more. Every driver has their era this one isn’t his!!

    Looking forward to the tweet up in Austin – you should bring David, Bob and Steve with you; in the interim keep up the great work!!

  22. Interestingly you could not buy one Coca Cola Amatil product at this year’s Australian grand prix. Meanwhile monster is making huge inroads into Motorsport related exposure. Also I really hope Hulk or Heikki go to Ferrari next yr as they are quick and genuinely nice guys when it comes to fans! Who in your opinion is definitely ready to graduate from GP2? was lucky to make it up to Sing on the weekend for a truly magic event. GP2 cars screaming away from turn 5 under the millennia walk overpass and down to turn 7 was indescribably awesome. The upshifts were like canons being fired (have to ban f1 seamless shift I reckon!) and the engines were singing amidst the concrete enclosure . Well done too on the podium…the drivers were so exuberant and you made it a lot of fun.

    • Will, a great and well thought out write up, with some good thoughts, thanks. I can understand how Seb could be on his way to Maranello, in recent years it’s true that they get drivers locked in very early. I’m a little surprised about Paul Di R not going to Mclaren, especially as he has been a Merc man for a while, but then again, is this, or next year when Mclaren have to pay for engines, maybe the links are less tight now. A little sad (and maybe a bit naive) to hear he’s not easy to work with, shame. As has been mentioned before, your work on Speed TV in the US is excellent, keep it up!

  23. I enjoyed your review, very much. I ask you to add this little gem to your thinking:
    XiX will get a reduced (or perhaps no) commission if Lewis re-ups with McLaren – there is an option/renewal clause in place that XiX did not participate in.
    Makes Hamilton’s move certain.
    And to Mercedes? I doubt it because Schumi will have learned by Kimi’s Ferrari contract. If they want him togo, pay him. Add Hamilton to that bill? I think not (Mercedes management).
    I think Hamilton will fall between two stools, take the Coca-Cola money (or Pepsi) and move to NASCAR where the big $$ are for his agents. His agents, by the way, that arranged the Tony Stewart/Hamilton TV Mobil1 commercials (all over the air in the USA each week). Makes one think.

    • I wrote about a NASCAR switch this time last season when Lewis’ head didn’t seem right. I don’t think he’ll move. Not yet. He wants another F1 title. Give him 5 years though and the celebrity pull of LA and XIX management promising him he’ll be the next Beckham will be too great in my opinion.

  24. Great read Will can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start reading your blog! Have you heard anything about whether Adrian Sutil has been in contact regarding drives? I thought he bought a fair amount of money with him from Medion (assuming he’s still associated with them)? Or did his misdeamor with a champagne glass make him un-employable?

  25. I can’t believe you admired Darren Heath’s blog article on Schumacher. I am not really a Schumacher fan but that was a disgusting hate filled rant trying to down Michaels entire career.
    Heath = Hater

    • Definitely!Darren Heath’s blog is the disgusting insulting article I’ve ever read!
      How could anyone else being “cheating on the car” for 16 years and he thinks all those “cheatings” pile up the F1’s almost every single record?
      So, in Darren’s views, when the other drivers drive a fastest car it’s totally fair and clean.When MS has it, it’s nothing than cheating and privilege.
      And he dominates the sport for five years just because he’s lucky enough.
      No.I say it’s because they’ve done the best job and the others suck.

      Great cause resentment and hatred, jealousy breeds jealousy breed lies.

    • “Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies.”
      Sorry I put it wrong earlier, that’s from Harry Potter 6.It fits well now.

  26. First of all! Great blog!! Love to read it.. even it’s for a non native speaking a bit too long ;) But anyway I heard of that Coca Cola rumor a long wile ago .. and as I remember was’nt it related to Mclaren? Just a bit wondering? Oh since Wednesday we waiting for the BIG ANNOUNCMENT.. do you belive we will ever get on!! LOL I have to say.. its funny to read all the media, forums, twitter and FB stories.. but wait … I could not be real that this all happen(d)s just because of that EJ comment? That could not be true!

    Once again! Thank you for your blog!

    Sorry for my bad english!

    • Your English is just fine! I wrote on the Coca Cola to McLaren rumours a few months ago and said then that I didn’t believe them. I know Coke is interested in F1, but not with McLaren. And yeah, amazingly, Eddie has us all on the edge of our seats!

  27. I guess all hell just broke loose! Hamilton to Mercedes, Schumacher retiring (?), Perez at McLaren. IMHO the right move for Hamilton!

  28. Pingback: Para entender Hamilton na Mercedes e Pérez na McLaren « World of Motorsport

  29. Pingback: Your Comprehensive Silly Season Guide: The Domino Effect « BackmarkersF1

  30. Can’t believe I’ve never read any of these posts before, but consider me a regular reader also. Brilliant post, very well thought out and written with great flare, awesome stuff, keep ‘em coming Will

  31. Pingback: ★ The Bittersweet McLaren Conundrum

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