Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Putin on the Ritz .. Russian GP preview

Hello all you lovely people that read this nonsense, it’s because of you I have to drag myself to the keyboard time and again, not that many of you ever give me any feedback! This is a blog you know, there’s a comments box down there for a reason. Come on, my ego needs a boast if nothing else, tell me what you like, don’t tell me about the rubbish bits, I don’t need that kind of pressure.

Right yeah, anyway motor racing, that’s why we’re here.

I’m not going to talk about Jules Bianchi too much. There is a video out there that if you are particularly voyeuristic, which shows the crash and I have no intentions of viewing it myself. By all accounts it’s pretty grim watching. There are also pictures of the aftermath, the top of the car is missing and most of the left hand side is a mess, the general consensus being the likeable French lad is lucky to be alive.

The Bianchi family released a statement today, Jules suffered “A diffuse axonal injury” when the two halves of the brain are pulled apart in the accident, causing tares in the soft tissue. This is very common in side impact collisions and the most common cause of death in road traffic accidents. Those side impact air bags that manufactures go on about on your car, well they’re there to stop these injuries. They try to stop your brain sloshing around inside your skull by slowing down the impact with the window/door pillar. I imagine at 200 kmp/h or whatever speed poor Jules hit the tractor, he didn’t stand much chance. 90% of the time victims just don’t wake up after unconsciousness, those that do are usually permanently damaged. It’s about the worst accident you can have.

As to what happens next, I have my thoughts as does every other fan and pundit with access to the social media world. And I think it’s maybe best to wait to see what the FIA have to say about the accident before wringing the hands and demanding this and that immediate action. There’s opinion out there to agree or disagree with as you feel.

One final thing, a closed cockpit probably wouldn’t have made any difference here, he hit the tractor at over a 100 mph sideways. It was that sideways impact that did the damage.

Shall we move on then? What about Vettel then! He’s proper shafted Alonso hasn’t he ho ho! There was Fernando stringing Ferrari, McLaren and the worlds media along, “ I haze not made a decision por favor, I love a thez Ferrari and I want to ay win ay again with ay them, gracias”.

Ferrari had apparently released the grumpy Spaniard from his contract (read: got sick and tired of having Alonso messing them around for week after week so fired his sorry ass) and told Vettel that if he was going to come to Ferrari then this was his last chance, a well beaten ex world champion was no good to them, they already had one of those. Sometime between the Singapore race and the start for the Japanese weekend Vettel confirmed he’d join them.

Then Vettel calls up his boss Horner on the Friday night before the Japanese GP and calmly announces he’s had enough of being beaten by Danny and being made to look petulant and ordinary, so he’s off.

Redbull immediately call a press conference for Saturday morning to tell the worlds media that Sebastian is off to Ferrari and they’ve promoted Kvyat to the A team! The Russian looks a bit bemused but happy, Vergne can be seen visibly spitting blood in the background and quite rightly points out he’s been the bread winner at Torro Rosso so far this year. All too late of course the deal has been done and no one knows who he is or what the strange angry man is doing in a Torro Rosso team shirt.

Ferrari caught rather on the hop, not expecting Vettel to tell his team the news for a few weeks or Redbull to announce Ferrari’s new driver line for them, denied EVERYTHING. Alonso smiled awkwardly and said, “errrr” a lot whilst Kimi wondered if he could get an ice cream.

Pretty much everyone has their money on Button getting his marching order so Alonso can slot in beside Kev at McLaren Honda. The crazy money (and this would be mine) puts Alonso in an LMP1 car next year, either with Porsche and his good mate Webber. Because Porsche ARE going to win Le Mans next year and if Alonso wants to do it then now is the ideal time to pick up an easy ride. OR and this is very left field, with Nissan and their absolutely brand spanking new LMP1 program. It’s a long shot but he has ties with Nissan through the Renault connection. The Japanese manufacturer has been making lots of noise since they announced they were going to go back to Le Mans about getting the best F1 drivers on board from the off. Who better than the driver universally considered the best of the current generation? Unlikely, but if that does happen you all owe me a pint. Cheers.

How will Vettel do at Ferrari? … Well let’s put it this way, Alonso, head and shoulders the best driver out there, couldn’t drag this pony to the championship winning line for the last four years. Do you think Vettel will do a better job than the Spaniard? Because I don’t think he will.

“But what about his mentor Schumacher?” you all cry, “He took a rubbish Ferrari back to the top table and dominated for 5 years !!?!?!?!”!”?!”!!!””!£!”£!”

Pish and indeed tish to your “Schumacher did it” nonsense. They had a dream team join at about the same time and a driver that could develop a car and who was prepared to win by any means. Vettel is inheriting a team that’s just lost its well respected manager for a used car salesman, and Fiat have effectively fired Monty for being a nut ball. They don’t have a plan, there’s no grand vision and super squad of engineers and brains to drive the thing to the championship. Vettel is the last roll of the dice for a desperate board scrabbling around for a miracle. Yeah he had to go somewhere, but the Tifosi will crucify him when he doesn’t deliver, they only barely tolerated Mickey in his heyday. Vettels a spent force, or at the very best soiled goods.  

He’ll turn out to have a renaissance now as Ferrari build their best ever car in 2015, just to spite me the jammy buggers.

Okay enough with the Vettel hate.  Good luck to him, a driver is only as good as his last race and the cocky git won four championships by fair means or foul. He still had to actually do the driving after all. And Ferrari is still the biggest thing in F1, any driver worth his fire proof overalls would jump at the chance to drive for them.

So it’s Russia and the brand new Sochi circuit. You remember Valencia, yeah, how utterly awful it was? The highlight of the part time dockyard circuit being the old fish market, how the beaches were full next door as the stands were empty?

Well this place looks just as awful except we have the whiff of power and corruption stinking up the show. Why the FIA have allowed this one to happen is entirely explained by money.
There is no reason on earth to come here, especially as the rest of Europe is currently piling on economic sanctions as Russia continues to invade Eastern Ukraine.  Oh but sport and politics should never be mixed blah blah blah.. bollocks to that!
There’s a clause in the FIA charter somewhere about no event to be used for political purposes by the host country.  I guarantee you this weekend will see a lot of Russian military might being paraded around for “security issues”. And no doubt Putin will be on the podium or visit the pits to congratulate the boy Kvyat on his new promotion. With lots of pictures of happy flag waving locals smiling at the Russian Premier, if he turns up to the Marussia pits with a wreath I'm turning it off straight away.

NO ..... Bernard, Kvyat will win and my tanks will come second. Do you understand ?

It is, I'm afraid, going to be another sordid chapter in the FIA history book of shame.

Still there’s a race for a championship on so let’s at least focus on that shall we.  Hamilton’s win in Japan was clearly overshadowed by events, but it now means he’s leading Rosberg by 10 points. I’ve seen the track layout and watch the simulator trip of this Tilke track and there is nothing of any real note about it. Its round the Olympic park last seen this winter, so at least its new and sparkly. But really it just looks like yet another industrial/techno park somewhere in central Europe. It’s a “road” course like Valencia was and Canada is. So sort of purpose built but temporary.

Mercedes had a big upgrade in Japan and were two seconds ahead of everyone else again, so one of them is going to win (unless Putin rolls the tanks in a Kvyat is declared the winner of course).    As for the rest, well your guess is as good as mine, I don’t know how the circuit will pan out, though there word is it’s going to be heavy on the brakes. High speed and long, Possible Williams do well and McLaren to improve. The Redbulls were fast in Japan, but only because they went for a really wet set up.

It’s going to be down to adaptability and the drivers that can read the feel of the car as the track evolves.

Time to dust off that looking glass and prepare to make your predictions. .. Good luck.


  1. I read this nonsense!

    I reckon it'll be Button to the Nissan LMP1 seat - he's got the Japanese connection, he's got the fit half-Japanese missus and he's always said he'll only ever drive an F1 car, therefore setting himself up perfectly for jumping ship (a la Seb "I'll only ever drive for Redbull" Vettel).

  2. "I'll make a bet here, Jensen Button is never going to drive a car with a Honda engine again" - sidewaysbob2002 sometime last year!

    Everyone seems to just assume Alonso will be off to McLaren, the above is possible. A move to McLaren could be coincided risky, a new engine deal that no one really knows how it will work out. If he was staying in F1 Red Bull would have been the safer option.

  3. By the way, dear scribe, you can reply to comments so we know you read them!