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The whisperer, hoarse or struck dumb?


Whatever else, Vettel's 'shock' decision witnesses a savvy PR move by Red Bull, surely worthy of its (pre-2014) on track performance.

When the German informed Christian Horner of his decision to leave Red Bull on Friday evening, the Red Bull PR machine kicked in to action and this morning's statement revealing his departure at season end, and the promotion of Daniil Kvyat, caught not just the paddock but rival teams entirely on the hop.

Still clearly reeling from the news that its golden boy was heading elsewhere, the team, still trying to take on board the fact that its years of domination have come to an abrupt end, turned the situation to its advantage.

While talk of a seat swap with Fernando Alonso has featured in some sections of the media for weeks, Red Bull's statement stopped that one in its tracks, and Ferrari's failure to make some sort of statement of its own has left the Italian team with a certain amount of spaghetti on its face.

It is said that after weeks (months) of positive spinning that all was well, the Spaniard was released from his contract on Thursday and that Vettel's confirmation is imminent. However, in not reacting quicker - surely something that would not have happened during the time of Luca Colajanni, the Maranello outfit has had its thunder stolen and is left looking somewhat silly.

Mercedes, courtesy of Niki Lauda, has made it clear that Alonso is not part of its plans, the Austrian claiming that it hasn't even spoken to the two-time champion, and is indeed on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Lewis Hamilton beyond 2015.

Consequently, attention shifts to McLaren, where Alonso and Ron Dennis will put the troubles of 2007 behind them in an attempt to revitalise the sagging (title winning) fortunes of both parties.

It is widely thought that Kimi Raikkonen will be retained at Maranello whilst Jenson Button looks likely to be the main casualty.

Some are saying that Vettel's move to Ferrari is reminiscent of Michael Schumacher's arrival in 1996 and that once again a German will save the legendary Italian team. However, other than the feeling that Vettel is not a team building driving force in the sense of his countryman, Ferrari doesn't have the 2015 equivalent of the all-conquering partnership that was Schumi, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.

Whilst, like many, we were totally wrong about Hamilton's decision to join Mercedes, we cannot help but feel that Vettel's move to Maranello would be a mistake... after all, if Alonso, who rarely gives less than 100%, couldn't make it work...

Despite headlines 'confirming' that Vettel is going to Ferrari and Alonso is returning to Woking, one cannot help but feel that like the best mystery movie there is a twist in the tail.

Either way, kudos to Red Bull's PR for making the best of a bad situation.

Finally, whilst Veteran race team owner Gian Carlo Minardi might have proven a little wide of the mark with some of his predictions back in August - might Vettel still shock us all and go to Woking? - he was uncannily accurate with others.

Chris Balfe


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1. Posted by Phil, 07/10/2014 1:21

"Vetell / Alonso to mclaren. I still think this can happen. Why wouldn't Ferrari come out and confirm Vetell when they had the chance destroy redbulls oxygen. Honda has plenty of coin. Mclaren needs sponser, Honda pays vetell and alonso big $$$ then the sponsor follows because they are 2 of the biggest names in F1. Santader are with ferrari because of Alonso. Plenty of sponsor in Germany will follow vettell. Remember F1 is a marketing tool.

Honda gets the rewards as do mclaren.

I think Jenson or the hulkenberg will end up at Ferrari. "

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2. Posted by F1 Yank, 06/10/2014 18:00

"It will be interesting to see how 2015 will play out. Politics, synergy as well as many other factors play a role in performance, but Jasman is right and stated it well! I will give ALO credit wringing out every bit of performance from the lagging Ferrari, but why couldn't he do that with the McLaren? I am also wondering why McLaren would allow Alonzo back after his "tantrum"a few years ago? "

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3. Posted by jasman, 05/10/2014 8:59

"Who does anyone think was the last World Champion that WASN'T in the best car?"

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4. Posted by JoeyBlowy, 05/10/2014 6:30

"Rumour has it Alonso signed with Honda (not McLaren) on Friday in Japan. Honda want him bad, Dennis won't have any say in the matter."

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5. Posted by Marybeth, 05/10/2014 0:40

"Kimi is the better driver of the 2. Vettel had Adrian Newey's RBR car to win his 4 titles, but Kimi is the better driver. :) ...if Ferrari lets them race fairly. "

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6. Posted by jo6pac, 04/10/2014 22:04

"intrepid, 3 hours ago

Vettal always had the latest upgrades and last yr Newley figured out how to grab traction on Sebs car and not on Webbers

Alonso off to join Button at McLaren with Honda taking a very active roll in McLaren but not ownership or a %."

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7. Posted by TheBucketOfTruth, 04/10/2014 20:01

"If Alonso isn't already signed up with McLaren, this certainly puts some more negotiating power on Ron Dennis' side if Vettel is already going to Ferrari."

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8. Posted by intrepid, 04/10/2014 19:17

"Chris, as a Ferrari tifoso for decades, of course I've been dismayed by the Scuderia's F1 cars for several years - all of Fernando's with the team. And as a Ferrari owner I'm unhappy with Sergio Marchione's sacking of Luca deM whose direct result, I'm convinced, was the departure of Fernando, clearly IMHO and that of most of pit row the finest driver in F1 today. My related dismay is the prospect of Sebastien at Maranello. He is a fine driver but not - again IMHO - among the four or five best driving today. Last November some research led me to write this:

Despite his four consecutive WDC's, I am far from persuaded that Sebastien is the 'head-and-shoulders-better' driver that many believe he is. To me it is absolutely clear that for four years he was driving a car that was indeed 'head-and-shoulders' better than any other car on the grid.

Mark Webber, a journeyman middle of the pack driver his entire pre-Red Bull career, suddenly is on the front row almost every race? Webber, a really good guy but only a fair driver, begins in F1 in 2002 age 26, racing for such mediocre teams as Minardi and Jaguar. When he joins Williams he is a little bit better than middle pack but nowhere near a consistent challenger. Then he joins RedBull in 2007 at age 31 still racing just above middle of pack for a couple of years as the car is improving.

Comes 2009 and Sebastien Vettel joins Red Bull and a dramatically improved car. At age 33 after racing in F1 for seven years Mark finally wins his first F1 race, the 2009 German GP and his second, the Brazilian G.P. Comes 2010 and an utterly dominant Red Bull car and what have we in Mark Webber? - four F1 wins, five poles (OVER VETTEL!) AND TEN PODIUMS!! He actually led the drivers' championship after Monaco and could have been 2010 World Champion if he had won the last race at Abu Dhabi and Fernando had finished no higher than third! This from a guy who had never been on the podium before!

Sebastien is an outstanding driver, don't misunderstand me, as are at least a half dozen others, Fernando (to me the best driving today), Lewis, Nico, Kimi, maybe Daniel. But since 2009 and until this year F1 has been all about the Red Bull car. So I can do without Seb in my Ferraris. I want Fred to win a couple of WDC's in red and I also think the Scuderia has a potentially sensational young development driver coming up.

just my 2c.

Bear in mind that I wrote this last November, after the close of the 2013 season and Seb's 4th consecutive WDC - AND RED BULL'S 4TH CONSECUTIVE WCC. Now with a so-so RedBull car he runs behind youngster teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Dreadful mistake for Ferrari to dump Alonso for this guy and they will pay for it.

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9. Posted by miss d'it, 04/10/2014 19:09

"Ron Dennis is as slippery as uncle bernie

How much more spagetti would ferrari have on their face if mclaren announces the line up of alonso and vettel ?

Wonder what the odds are on that ?"

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