This week Podium or Pits examines the toxic fall-out from the latest installment in the Red Bull Civil War, a familiar face may be returning to F1, and Ferrari finally grows up!
They’ve got the fastest car by nearly a second, they’ve got the money to fund aggressive development, they’ve got two awesomely quick drivers … so why have things suddenly gone as sour as off milk at Red Bull? Mark Webber will probably never live down the line “not bad for a number two driver” he made over the radio at the end of the British grand prix. POP bets that Webber already had this darkly comic comment thought out half-way through the race, given his supreme dominance at Silverstone.
It’s not a secret radio, but why would Webber want the world to know? Yes, it makes his dominant win all the more impressive given that he, apparently, only has the meager support warranted by his “second driver” status, but surely it also undermines Mark’s credibility? He is well respected in the paddock, especially among other drivers as a former director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (of which the majority of drivers are a member). Interestingly, Webber’s team-mate Vettel is now a director along with Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa.
Team orders are “banned” in F1, although in reality that rule just means “please don’t make it too obvious that you’re favouring one driver, or the FIA will … write you a very strongly worded letter!”
What does POP recommend for this sticky situation? Firstly, sack the person in charge of PR at Red Bull, and secondly, either treat Webber and Vettel equally (they’ll be a lot less likely to smash each other off the race track that way) or alternatively hire yourself a Heikki (a true number two driver if ever POP saw one).
Good news everyone! Your favourite F1 commentator is on facebook! No, not Jonathan Legard, but the seminal Martin Brundle. Click here to become a ‘facebook fan’ of his. Although at this point POP would like to make clear that this is not in fact the real Martin Brundle, but the quality of the mini-site is excellent. Check out the notes tab for Brundle commentating gems which are regularly updated; here’s just a few to remind you of just how ace Brundle is:
“He gets a big dollop of opposite lock on the way out.”
“Jenson Button power-sliding through a corner? It just doesn’t happen.”
“You have to treat the back of Michael Schumacher’s car like the back end of a donkey today. I think he’s driven appallingly, frankly – poor on the grid and poor in the race.”
YAY! Yipee! Hooray! Wahooo! Hurrah! Wowzers! would be POP’s reaction if Kimi Raikkonen were to make a comeback in Formula 1 next season. So you can imagine the excitement when POP heard the rumblings of just such a rumour. If you’re a regular reader of Podium or Pits you’ll know that POP constantly suffers from Kimi Raikkonen-related withdrawal symptoms: who doesn’t miss his incomprehensible mumblings, his ice-cool demeanor, fierce presence on the track, and penchant for ice lollies?
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has ignited the rumour flame with his recent comments, “Formula One would be richer for having Kimi back.” Richer? In literal terms, no. Raikkonen was probably the best paid driver on the grid when he drove for Ferrari last year. But metaphorically richer? Certainly.
You’re thinking, “but where would Raikkonen go?” There may well be a seat at Red Bull available for 2011 at this rate (and Raikkonen’s rally car is Red Bull-sponsored), and if POP’s bet that Schumacher won’t last the season comes true there’ll be a seat at Mercedes too!
POP would like to initiate a virtual round-of-applause for the Ferrari team! After weeks, months, nay, years of toddler-like behaviour from the team, they now deserve some congratulations for finally growing up. Even by the wise Martin Brundle’s estimation, Fernando Alonso’s drive through penalty at the British grand prix was harsh. It was indeed harsh.
In past days Ferrari would have reacted to this by running to the FIA (once fondly nicknamed Ferrari International Assistance) and whining “but it’s not fair” at the top of their voices. But no so this week. They have released a news article on their website entitled “A great desire to react” in which they rationally and adultly analyse their performance at the weekend, and are philosophical about their recent frustrations. “We must remain rational, we must not let ourselves be discouraged nor frustrated”, said Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali. Even the usually firey Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said this of the race, “There is no point in crying about it and I want the team to tackle the second half of the season in a positive manner.”
POP is genuinely shocked. How could a team transform itself so quickly? Oi, Red Bull, take note!
PODIUM. Jenson and Lewis
The World Champion Brits show Red Bull how two of the best drivers on the grid can work together, fight each other and still stay on top of both World Championships. They also traveled to Silverstone together in a VW campervan for Vodafone promo thingy, speaking of which, Badger is happy to announce that Vodafone are somewhat wonderful, in that they provided us with a full 3G signal all over the circuit and campsite, impressive stuff and ensured Badger stayed up to date all weekend.
PODIUM. Al Murray the pub landlord
What does Al Murray have to do with F1? Quite a bit actually, especially during the build up to the British GP where he had a get together with Jenson and Lewis along with Eddie Jordan and Chris Moyles. See the Jake Humphrey’s blog for a great video featuring Lewis Hamilton on guitar playing a 90’s Britpop classic – watch it here: Al Murray’s Best of British (and Eddie Jordan)
PODIUM. The British Grand Prix
You already know from our reports, just how successful the Formula 1 British Grand Prix was, but you may not have heard about the HPV British Grand Prix where Gentlemen (and ladies) turn off their engines and get pedaling for victory. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to get into racing or to work on your F1 engineering dream, Badger can’t recommend this enough –
We may even enter our own black white striped car one year (any budding engineers out there want to give us a hand!?) Here’s footage of the ‘other’ British Grand Prix:
POP’s quite positive this week – if you have anything that you think should be in the pits then let us know in the comments below…