Category Archives: F1 Driver News

News on current and past F1 Drivers

Sauber Plays the PR Game Badly

vandergarde3I like Sauber. I remember the days as far back as Jean Alesi, then names like Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and even Sebastian Vettel spent time with the team scrapping it out with the big boys and really making a show of it at times. The team history reads like a who’s who of F1 with a gaggle of recognizable names, sponsors and team partnerships including big boys like BMW, Mercedes, Petronas, Ford and others. It’s fun to cheer on a small, under-funded team. It’s the whole ‘David and Goliath‘ things – we all like to root for the underdog. Except when the underdog gets infected with the rabies.

In this case Sauber is suffering from the rabies of greed, ignorance and stupidity, and a public relations fail that they just keep making worse.

We all know the story. In brief, Sauber signed to many drivers, and all of them pay-to-playsauber1 drivers. They signed 4 drivers as a matter of fact for just two seats in F1 rides for 2015. In the end, Sauber was forced to choose 2 of those 4 for their drivers for 2015,and wouldn’t you know,m they chose the two that paid the most money to drive.

Up to this point, I have no fault against Sauber. When you are struggling financially, as all smaller teams are, you take money where you can get it, with the hopes that these young drivers with money would turn out to have half a much talent as they had cash. While this is a much debated and sometimes maligned practice, let’s face it – sometimes it pays off. While many pay drivers have gone on to have respectable careers, some drivers that got their start by paying to drive turned out to have fantastic careers: Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso just to name a few. I don;t even have such an issue with Sauber signing 4 drivers really. You sing what you think is a good deal, and a better one comes along. In life, this is a real bummer and you put a great deal of credence into integrity and ‘doing the right thing’. In business however, the weight of philosophical rights or wrongs is lighter, and so decisions are based more on value and less on morality. But, so sign 4 drivers, taking their money, and then not giving that money back after you no longer required their services is just worng. Not just morally, but legally. At least in the minds of both European and Australian Courts.

Here’s where the PR issues come to the front page.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Brazilian Grand Prix - Preparation Day - Sao Paulo, BrazilWe all got to see this playout at the track this past weekend at Albert Park. Some news of the Sauber/Giedo van der Garde lawsuit was in our faces each day, with updates coming almost hourly. Sauber was ordered that they must permit van der Garde to drive at the race. In the end, as this has been ground out in the media already, the courts ruled in favor of Giedo van der Garde on every account, and rather than force Sauber to allow him to drive, in a last minute agreement, van der Garde acquiesced on the plea to drive, and putting the fans and F1 in general in front of himself, came to a settlement allowing Sauber to race with other drivers. Good on van der Garde. Here’s what he had to say,

“To push on against this determination might have brought down the team, it would most certainly have wrecked the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne because the team´s cars would have been seized by the court, it may have ruined the careers of two young drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Possibly the team´s directors would even be taken into custody.”

However, like the adage goes, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. After all the dust settled in Australia, Giedo van der Garde released a statement on his Facebook page that explains his side of the story. In spite of his obvious passion in the statement, van der Garde was concise and polite.

To the utter surprise of virtually everyone that has any involvement with Formula 1 Racing, Sauber released a counter-statement. To read it boggles the mind. In part, Sauber says:

“We don’t know about Giedo’s intentions. He may try to present himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement. Giedo decided to take a different approach – the reasoning behind we cannot understand.”

You can’t understand?? He may try to present himself as a winner?? Are you serious? sauber3Sauber – take note: You wronged this man in every way. Every Court that adjudicated this case ruled in his favor. He IS in fact the winner, and you must pay (unspecified) funds to make reparations in this case. That, by definition of law, makes van der Garde the Winner, and Dauber the Loser. And releasing this sad statement, makes you an even BIGGER loser.

The fans responded quickly, and viciously. It did not take long for the feelings of the fans to be known:

“There is a tremendous lack of professionalism from Sauber in this post. They are trying to put the blame on Giedo.”

“An expexted comment; take your responsibility, you did things the wrong way. His accusations are completely justified, he is a passionate driver and he thought he had a chance to race with you, since he had a contract. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Sauber, you can’t treat people like this.”

‘You took his money to keep the team alive,then ditched him for 2 drivers with more money,what did you expect?’

‘Your team stole his money (giedo’s, adrian’s, and simona’s) and then act like you did nothing wrong? Are you kidding me? You screwed over two drivers last year because YOUR management couldn’t find sponsorship money, but you blame it on the drivers when they come back asking for what is rightfully theirs? Unbelievable that your management is this delusional.’

And finally this:

“It’s what happens when you sign four drivers for two cars you greedy dicks!

Sauber – you have much to learn, and we are disappointed in you. We expected better.



Raikkonen Talks about Australian GP.

australian-gp_start-t-886x591While much of the F1 world looked on with hope and anticipation to see how all the teams would stack up against the still supreme Mercedes Team, no group of fans were more concerned than the Tifosi of Ferrari.

While a podium finish by new Ferrari team member Sebastian Vettel was a welcomed performance, Kimi Raikkonen’s day was far less fulfilling. Kimi left the race completing only 40 laps ‘officially’ because of a tire issue. While it was clear that the tire was not fastened tight enough in the previous pit-stop, the car was still having trouble. The Iceman explained:

kimi-2014-test“Shortly after the start, someone hit me from behind. Then I felt another contact on my right side, but I don’t think it was Sebastian’s car. The impact activated the anti-stall system and did some damage to the floor of the car. We were very quick in the race, able to catch the Williams and to fight for the podium: but then there were problems at both pit stops. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know I lost something in terms of downforce. However, my team-mate’s podium is a great result for the team. Already in qualifying, despite my mistake on the quick lap, we knew we had a good car. And in the race, the gap to the Mercedes seemed less than on Saturday. It’s simply that, today, everything happened to me.”



Mario Andretti Says Raikkonen Hired to Challenge Alonso


By Fraser Masefield
According to former world champion Mario Andretti, Ferrari signed Kimi Raikkonen because they became frustrated with the attitude of Fernando Alonso.

Alonso endured a tough season with Ferrari and went as far as criticising his own team after the Hungarian Grand Prix, leading president Luca di Montezemolo to publically scold the two-time world champion.

“In my opinion, Alonso became frustrated this season, and what he said offended Ferrari, Otherwise they never would have hired someone who could challenge him and even beat him,” Andretti told Spanish sports newspaper Marca via

You have to know how to behave. He always had a proper behaviour, but that 1 per cent… we saw what was Montezemolo’s reaction. It will be interesting to see what happens next because Kimi is not arriving to help; he is going to try to win. It will be a great battle that will be fun to watch.

Massa to Join Storied Williams Team

Pastor Maldonado in his Williams
Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Sir Frank Williams and his F1 Team have announced their lineup for 2014. Those drivers will include  Valtteri Bottas as was already known or understood, but with today’s announcement came a small surprise. The Willimams #1 driver for 2014 will be Filepe Massa. 

Massa has had a great career and helped Ferrari win constructors titles in 2007-2008. He has frequently challenged for the Drover’s Title as well, narrowly missing this achievement in 2008, falling 1 point short to Lewis Hamilton. But even with these accolades, Massa has a reputation (among fans at least) to be an underachiever,  and for lack of handling skills having crashed his Ferrari multiple times in the 2013 campaign, including twice during the weekend at Monaco in two almost identical shunts.

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal commented, “It is very exciting for us to be able to… Continue reading Massa to Join Storied Williams Team

It’s Official: Kimi Done at Lotus

kimi1All the uproar on Kimi Riakkenon and his spat with Team Lotus has finally come to and end; and none too soon for an embarrassed team principal Eric Boullier and the administration at Lotus.

A back problem that has been persistent since before the Korean GP where his health threatened to sideline him for that race, has come to the point where Kimi is already to have it dealt with medically. Back surgery has been scheduled and this will eliminateAndy possibility of Kimi being in a seat for Lotus for these last two GP’s of the season in Austin,  and Brazil.

Here’s to Kimi’s health.

The Race is Still on in F1

New York Times:
Published: October 31, 2013

When Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team took their fourth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles at the Indian Grand Prix at New Delhi on Sunday, it ended the suspense for Formula One fans and drivers about the ultimate prizes this season.

But aside from all the title fanfare, in the last three laps of that race there was a ferocious battle among Sergio Pérez, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, which was ostensibly for fifth place in the race, but was really a battle among those drivers’ teams — McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus — in the race for second place in the championship.

For the 10 teams that trail Red Bull, such tense battles, pressure and suspense will a peak in a three-race showdown, starting with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday and ending with the Brazilian Grand Prix on Nov. 24, by way of the U.S. Grand Prix a week before that. At stake is $350 million or more in prize money, split between the teams — based on the 2011 figure, the latest that is available — from the series’ commercial rights holder, Formula One Management.

Teams are awarded prize money according to their finishing position in the championship, the largest amount going to the winner and the cut decreasing down the line. Continue reading The Race is Still on in F1

Are F1 Teams Promoting Rookies Too Quickly for the Money??

daniil1As always, there is much to be said when a single-seat driver from any series is promoted to Formula One racing. Being the pinnacle for any motor racing driver, F1 seats, even with tier 2 and three teams are coveted, and not easily earned.

Does this guy look ready for F1?

The recent promotion of Russian driver Daniil Kvyat by Scuderia Toro Roso has brought these question to the minds of F1 fans around the world. This is to be expected. When a famous ‘up-and-comer’ is promoted from the minor leagues to the major leagues in any sport, the fans begin to talk and all sorts of conspiracy theories and rumors fill conversations at work and sports bars. It is no different in F1. The fans love their sport and they love to talk about it. But this promotion, along with others still pending, along with experienced names being over-looked in favor of more rookies, now even the F1 Teams themselves are asking – ‘is this too much too soon? 
Continue reading Are F1 Teams Promoting Rookies Too Quickly for the Money??

Webber Tips Hat to Grosjean

mark-webberPole sitter Mark Weber once classifying Romain Grosjean as a “first-lap nutcase”, but when the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix was over, he singing a different tune.

Surprising the lot of them, Grosjean, starting fourth on the grid after a great Q3 run, slipped to the inside and running three wide headed towards the double apex ‘first curve’ coming out headed for the “S” curves in front of them all. Having a great run at the front of the pack and a possible shot at the checkered flag, in the end he was passed by Sebastian Vettel while pitting and could not regain the lead. Grosjean did however manage to hold off a charging Webber, for the rest of the race and come home in second place.

Last year’s Japanese Grand Prix also started with Weber in P1, but he was taken out by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean early, just after the start of the race. Continue reading Webber Tips Hat to Grosjean

Lotus Paddock Tells Grosjean and Raikkonen, “Just Race”

Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Race, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Sunday 14 October 2012.In an era where fans are all too used to team principals and paddock bosses making calls as to who will win or lose a race, leaving drivers to obey or disobey their Team’s wishes, Eric Boullier simply says, let them race!

When last weekend’s Korean Grand Prix came to a close as Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line in P1 for the fourth consecutive race, fans and the motor-racing press were left with lots of talking points. Tire degradation, track condition, Red Bull’s continued dominance and the question of that dominance being gained ‘legally’, were all hot topics. Another was the radio communications between the Team Lotus pits and Romain Grosjean as he asked for a free team-sanctioned overtake of fellow Lotus pilot Kimi Raikkonen. Continue reading Lotus Paddock Tells Grosjean and Raikkonen, “Just Race”