Green Notebook from Casablanca

You must remember this… the last six weeks have been brutal on F1’s travellers, with races in Singapore, Japan, Texas, Mexico and Brazil and all the other stopping off points along the way. Now, as we cycle backwards in mid-air (like Wile E. Coyote trying to reach the edge of a canyon) and head the other way through the time zones, we are all getting rather tired, and so people are saying and doing strange things

As my plane hurtles through the darkness, somewhere in the night sky above Casablanca, I can say without any need to reflect that I am weary, if only because I have watched too many bad inflight movies, of which there are plenty at the moment. Content is king, so they say, but good content seems thin on the ground and I am slightly worried about Brad Pitt making F1 movies as his latest hit, about a pacifist assassin called Ladybug (honestly) is set on a bullet train in Japan. Before I turned it off, I did begin to hope that the lethal serpent, which slithered about like an F1 reporter, might bite him and end the movie prematurely.

With this is mind, I see that Formula One has appointed a head of original content to help expand F1’s production and to build up new relationships and partnerships within the movie and TV world. Isabelle Stewart has a long history as a fixer in this world, so we can look forward (hopefully) to some quality projects in the future. F1 is staying smart by working to find content that will drive the sport forward when Drive to Survive goes stale, as eventually it may do. Having said that, people are a little strange about what they like and if The Archers, the radio show about “everyday country folk” is still going after 71 years, or the TV equivalent Coronation Street, set in a cobbled street in a Manchester suburb, has survived 62 years, a couple of years more that the US’s General Hospital and the slightly younger Days of Our Lives, there really is no reason that the show cannot be going when Guenther Seiner is retired to a rocking chair on the shores of Lake Norman.

There is no harm in looking for ways to keep F1 in the spotlight. There is plenty of room for racing movies and documentaries, but also potential for cartoons and content that will inspire younger fans to follow F1 in more than virtual form.

I also half-watched a movie about Elvis Presley, the message of which, it seemed, was that people are happy to be fleeced if they leave with a smile on their faces. This was the philosophy of Elvis’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, who was not – inevitably – what he appeared to be. I really didn’t like the character that Tom Hanks created, but blaming the actor is like saying the media is the problem when it delivers truth… On social media one man’s truth is another man’s poison. What can you do?

Anyway, it seems that Parker was not what he appeared to be and was in reality a Dutchman called Andreas van Kuijk.

In general terms, I like the Dutch, although I always laugh at the line from an Austin Powers movie: “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures, and the Dutch”. It is genius.

There are people out there who see evil in everything that Max Verstappen does, and others who think Lewis Hamilton is nasty. The virtual battles going on between their fans are ugly.

It struck me as rather odd that Max did not give back the position that Sergio Perez had given him in the closing laps in Brazil. It seemed at face value a rather self-defeating thing to do.  But it was clear from what Max said that there was a very specific reason for it, and that the team knew what it was.

It did not take long for a couple of Dutch reporters to claim that this was all because Sergio crashed deliberately in qualifying at Monaco and screwed Max’s chance of taking pole position. At the time I have to admit that it did not seem suspicious, but I did write that it was “ironic that Perez ended up third” and that Max was frustrated by his team-mate’s crash. History relates, of course, that Ferrari messed it all up with poorly-timed tyre changes and Perez was able to win and while Max was third in the end, he was not a happy bunny. I have no idea whether these claims are true, but it would explain Max’s remarks after the race, and Red Bull’s reticence to explain what he meant by them.

I think it would be wise for the FIA to do two things: investigate what happened and see if there is any evidence that could prove the claim (which is probably impossible because odd data can simply mean a mistake). The Singapore scandal of 2008 was something we suspected but could not prove and it only became fact when Nelson Piquet Jr admitted it to. Secondly, and more importantly, the FIA should adjust the rules so that one cannot profit if you crash on a final run in qualifying. The fastest lap time should be taken away, just in case it was deliberate.

The Perez-Monaco story also includes elements of the other big story after Brazil which came out of Italy when the celebrated Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Mattia Binotto will soon be replaced because of all the disasters at Ferrari this year. This, one might understand, but the idea that Frederic Vasseur would be a good replacement makes the story seem either ridiculous, or an indication that the high-ups at Ferrari are actually the real problem. You might think that this is harsh and Frederic is the obvious choice, but I am afraid I really don’t see that.

As I wander the paddocks of the world, I have found that if one is looking for Vasseur the best place to find him is usually at Mercedes where – no doubt – the multiple World Championship-winning Toto Wolff is getting Fred’s advice about how to best run a racing team. I cannot remember the exact details, but one of them was a witness at the other one’s wedding, and so having the Ferrari team principal as the best buddy of the Mercedes F1 boss seems a wholly unlikely situation.

The key point, I fear, has nothing to with that. F1 is a numbers game when it comes to success. You are only as good as your last result and in the five years that Vasseur has been running the Sauber/Alfa Romeo team, with funding from one of the richest men in the world and from Alfa Romeo, the team has managed to collect just 181 points. That is 36 a season, which is 10 fewer points than Red Bull scores on a good F1 weekend.

Having said all of that, I think I have reached the conclusion that Ferrari could put Liz Truss in charge of the F1 team and it really would not matter. Despite not winning a World Championship title for 14 years and with all the mistakes that have been made this year, the company continues to sell cars and make pots of money. Ferrari has just published its Q3 results for 2022 and despite the world’s car markets being at best dodgy, it reported earnings up 17 percent compared to last year, to an eye-watering $427 million. Ferrari expects to make about $1.7 billion this year.

So, frankly, who cares who is running things in F1, if the performance has zero impact on the brand or the sales? To see Vasseur dress up in a red suit and jump into the bubbling cauldron with some vegetables and watch him turn into a pot-au-feu and be devoured by the Italian media, will be a spectacle that will keep fans amused while the other teams do the winning… as usual.

Quite how and why Ferrari is so successful is a mystery that Sherlock Holmes would struggle to solve, even with the help of Enola. And it is a risky business to think that one can emulate what Ferrari does. Some years ago I heard Steve Wozniak talking about self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. He made a very good point: how can we hope to build artificial intelligence if we do not understand how the human brain works?

Aston Martin has been trying to do what Ferrari has done for 60 years longer than Ferrari has been in existence. It has declared bankruptcy no fewer than seven times (in 1924, 1925, 1932, 1947, 1974, 1981 and 2007) and each time it has been rescued by someone who believes that they can make the difference. James Bond has been doing his best to help, but even 007 cannot fix this conundrum. Printing money is not a trick that many can achieve.

Lawrence Stroll and his Yew Tree consortium are brave to try and stubborn as well, but they seem committed, at least until it gets too painful to continue. Their position as the biggest shareholder in the firm has been undermined in recent months by refinancing, which has diluted the shareholdings of those involved. This has been done largely to try to reduce the company’s debt load and to make sure there is sufficient cash to keep the doors from closing. Sales have been impacted for various reasons, notably the global pandemic and the resulting economic upheavals that have been impacting the car industry, with logistical problems and difficulties with parts supply chains. The firm is expected to suffer pre-tax losses that will be twice those in 2021 but they are standing by their ambitious long-term growth plans. Yew Tree’s share was down to 19 percent, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund owning 18.7 percent and China’s Geely having 7.6 percent. In order to stay in control Yew Tree has now spent around $35 million to buy an additional 4.25 percent on the open market, admittedly because the share price is low, thus boosting its share to 23.3 percent and thus maintaining control. This matters only because Aston Martin Lagonda is reckoned to be paying around $28 million a year to the F1 team, although it is not owned by the company, of which the shareholders are rather different. If Aston Martin decided that the F1 investment was not worth it, that could cause considerable problems for the team.

Any how, back to Ferrari, I would argue that some things are just not fixable, at least not in any short-term fashion. I think the team is a bit like Sao Paulo.

When I first visited, back in 1990, it was a really horrible city. This was due to millions of Brazilians leaving the farms where they worked to move to the cities to find a better life. Many had no money and lived in shanty towns. These were everywhere. Because of poverty, crime was awful and it was dangerous to walk around in a lot of neighbourhoods. People used to joke that Brazil was a country with a great future – and always would be. But it was a city of life and passion and much of this was focussed on Ayrton Senna, a Paulista. Even after he was gone, the Brazilians kept on loving Formula 1 and the only thing that made the trip to Brazil each year worth the pain was to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the wonderful races that Interlagos produced, some of the greatest we have ever seen. I hope we always come back for that reason alone.

Today Sao Paulo – like Ferrari – is better than it used to be. Much has been done. The favelas have faded, transportation is better. There are leafy parks and cycle paths. There are bright shiny glass-fronted tower blocks and shopping centres. Today there are many more neighbourhoods where one feels safe, but you only need to go a block or two in the wrong direction and you find yourself back in a place you do not want to be. But the locals are proud when you say that it is better than it used to be. This is not to say that I am a fan of the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, which now boasts around 22.4 million people. It has wonderful jacaranda trees and an energy that is hard to find elsewhere. There really is nowhere like it.

Most of F1 these days stays in the Morumbi area, where a large representation of a Christmas tree stands outside a glitzy shopping centre. It reminded us all that the end of the season is finally upon us. We are all tired. Stefano Domenicali spent much to the weekend without a voice and Lando Norris looked rather grey all weekend. We all just want to get the season finished.

Morumbi is nice enough. It is where Senna is buried (below), if you can find the place.

The thing you need to know about it is that Brazilians use the letter r in a rather different way than the rest of the world and so Morumbi sounds like Mohumbi, while you must say Hubens Bahichello if you want the Brazilian to understand who you are talking about. If you wish to go to the Autodromo by taxi, you have to say “Ow-toe-drome – Oh!”, which sounds like you might have stubbed your foot. If you say Bom Dia (good morning) you have to say “bonjee-a”. The language is complicated, but it is all still worth it, if you can get into Interlagos. Just for the passion.

It was nice to see Bernie Ecclestone wandering about, even if we are all supposed to tut-tut and say that he is horrid because he likes Vladimir Putin. Bernie is farming coffee in Brazil these days (or at least getting someone else to do it while he watches) but he’s unbelievably sprightly for a man of 92. When I mentioned he was looking well, Mr E, gave a little twinkle and said that it was all down to his clean living ways… which made us both giggle. The ultimate laugh, however, was that Bernie was there not because of what he did for F1 for so many years, but rather because his wife Fabiana, was the highest-ranking FIA official at the event, now that she is the Vice President of Sport (Latin America). I have no doubt that Bernie ended up in the corner office…

The paddock gossip was minimal, with stories suggesting that Portugal could replace China in 2023. This is not going to happen. So, race fans, be prepared to have a four-week break from F1 next year between the Australian GP on April 2, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30.

It would be a good time to plan a holiday…

The Germans are rather worried that they are about to lose their two active F1 drivers, with the retirement of Sebastian Vettel and the fact that Mick Schumacher is about to be drop-kicked off the F1 playing field. The good news is that Nico Hulkenberg will be slipping into the cockpit of the second Haas.  This will confirmed some point soon.

There has been chat for a while that Daniel Ricciardo will be joining Mercedes to help out. There is some logic in this, but the latest whispers in the wind are that Mercedes may be convinced that taking on Mick would be a good PR move. We shall see.

Daniel has also been mentioned as a possible reserve at Red Bull, where he learned to be the character that he is. We will have to see about that. Other stories suggest that the role is going to be given to Norway’s Dennis Hauger, who Red Bull hopes will become an F2 winner in 2023 after a rather average season in 2022. It seems also that Enzo Fittipaldi is joining the Red Bull flock (if the collective noun for Red Bulls is a flock, rather than a herd) and that he may also be named as Haas’s reserve driver as his brother Pietro is hoping to go racing in the United States, where there is nice IndyCar drive going if one has the money to pay Chip Ganassi what he wants (which is rather a lot).

Anyway, now it’s off to the onomatopoeic Abu Dhabi “do”, where hopefully things will be less stressed than they were a year ago.

We will say goodbye to Vettel, who is planning a career saving the world and raising awareness for exploited folks and minorities, by selling teeshirts supporting his campaigns, at a thoroughly unreasonable €70 a pop. I’m all for good works and charitable gestures, but I am troubled by the idea of spending €70 for a teeshirt, even if it miraculously turns into artichoke soup after being used a few times.

Still, Ferrari can demand such prices, so there is hope for the rest of us…

95 thoughts on “Green Notebook from Casablanca

  1. I have just read some reports that China is loosening its Covid-19 policies despite infections rising. It could mean that Chinese GP will take place after all…

  2. Having enjoyed your Green Notebook for the past few years I heard your plea in your last post and went to sign up for the on-line magazine only to be surprised that I couldn’t! It seems I have to wait until next year (there goes my hint for a Christmas present from my wife) and I’m not even sure I can purchase it with US dollars as nothing is said about that in the home page. It might help increase subscribership (?) if the non-UK market was approached better. Hopefully the exchange rate won’t get too far out of reason and I can try again in January.

    1. I have been a subscriber in the US for years, the exchange rate is excellent at this time, so as soon as the 2023 magazine is available (probably after Abu Dhabi) highly recommend subscribing.

  3. “Visiting” Casablanca without reference to Moss v Hawthorn 1958. Demonstrating that you can have a rivalry without acrimony.

  4. “I think it would be wise for the FIA to do two things: investigate what happened and see if there is any evidence that could prove the claim (which is probably impossible because odd data can simply mean a mistake). The Singapore scandal of 2008 was something we suspected but could not prove and it only became fact when Nelson Piquet Jr admitted it to. Secondly, and more importantly, the FIA should adjust the rules so that one cannot profit if you crash on a final run in qualifying. The fastest lap time should be taken away, just in case it was a deliberate crash.”

    Good God no! Time to move on, Max was a fool for making a fuss about it, the FIA would be even bigger fools. Definitely change the rules to penalize crashes, but no good at all would come from an investigation into Checo’s crash, unless you hate Red Bull and want to see the team torn apart. If they publicly support Max’s claims that Checo cheated, then surely they would need to sack Checo. If they support Checo, then they will have to face the wrath of Max and his dad. Everyone needs to just move on.

    1. I’m not sure about the idea of a driver who crashes on their second run losing their first time. That means that the “banker” lap is anything but and the drivers who don’t “cheat” (agedly) and might sit near the top of qualifying would have no incentive to take a risk and push where they thought more time could be gained if they might lose that first time.

      1. It’s the standard practice in IndyCar that if a driver causes a red flag during a qualifying session they lose their two fastest laps up to that time. If they are able to continue (and often they are, since IndyCar tends to tow back to the pits and restart all cars with wheels still attached) they are then free to try setting a new fast lap.

    2. I don’t think cheating should be allowed, so nope, don’t let it lie, and investigate it properly. I don’t think it’s on the Singapore scale, but I’m damn glad they investigated that well after the event – the odious Briatore got his karma.

      1. The problem with investigating is basically that it’s a spat between teammates rather than between two different teams. An investigation would require Red Bull to provide the telemetry data, plus an analysis of what happened. It would pretty much require them to support one driver or the other, but they don’t dare not support Max. Therefore, if Checo is found to have cheated, Red Bull owe an explanation about why didn’t report it immediately given that they must have known what happened. On top of that, if he cheated, surely he should face a suspension or ban, and Red Bull should also face a points deduction. I think it’s much better to just move on and drop it unless another team lodges a formal complaint.

  5. Joe, didn’t you include a story earlier this year that it was Frederic who was Toto’s best man and even signed the document/ wedding license at the wedding?

    And I’ve thought much the same as you’ve written, how is it possible for Frederic to be the TP for the Scuderia and have their best interests in mind when it appears he’s so close to Toto Wolff. Either something isn’t right or I need a good lie down.

  6. RBR have got you Joe and every other journalist talking about them on a weekend they did not win. Textbook RBR marketing manual. Don’t care if it is negative. Just get the RB name in the media. Get everyone stirred up. Play up the Max bad-boy image and sell a few more drinks. Funny how Sky news boycott lasted just one weekend and Max feud with Perez is a one-weekend event too? Just like it was made for the race news cycle and Netflix? How many times will people fall for this until they realize they are simply being played for PR to sell a drink? So what will they do to get headlines for the winter finale? Perez is the first runner-up at RBR is a little lame for RBR, they need more drama than that! Everyone has seen Horners tears once this season already. Punt Hamilton was tried this past weekend. Might be the only play for media attention though… If this was a for real feud Max would have been benched this weekend to get his attention. Instead, miraculously, a quick conversation after returning to the pits and all is sorted and harmonious. Remarkably convenient! Just like it was made for TV! What a fairytale ending! Crack open a RB and celebrate, they got the headlines.

    1. I’m surprised you didn’t imply Dietrich Mateschitz planned his death for maximum publicity.

      I am not a fan of Horner, Tin Can Racing but do not critically analyse everything they do, life is too short.

      While I also don’t drink their suger rich product, you cannot fault their marketing works.

  7. Joe,

    Great notebook entry as usual. I always learn so much.

    I just can’t seem to understand why Haas would choose Hulkenberg over Schumacher or some of the other young drivers? Hulkenberg has been on the sidelines for 3yrs and is 35yrs old. I also wonder to myself about Steiner’s leadership. He seems well liked by other teams/Team Principles, but I wonder how his leadership style plays in his own team. While novelty of a potty mouth and his non-nuanced management might make great Netflix episodes, I’m not sure it elevates the morale of the team in meaningful ways. Sometimes the stuff he says publicly about his drivers makes me cringe.

      1. There is a potty mouthed (sometimes on live TV) team owner / team principal in IMSA where his team would do the same. Never confuse what you see on camera to how leaders operate when it’s the day job.

  8. Running out of superlatives for your work.

    Speaking of movies, can you use your considerable influence and suggest to Mr. Pitt the Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to play Toto Wolff? There is a resemblance (of sorts).

    Maybe he can break out into a dance as he sings, “Micheal, this is not right”…

      1. Apologies Joe……….was meant for a friend with whom I had exchanged comments on petulant cloggie racing drivers……………


    1. You are very tiresome Silverstone Man. The quality of Joe’s journalism and input from vast majority of posters is fabulous, and this is an oasis of F1 debate vs the Max\Lewis nonsense elsewhere.

      Everyone else seems to follow the Blog rules, but you just can’t help yourself.

      1. Thanks Paul, many here fully endorse and support your reminder. Joe’s response to Adam (see above) fits here too: ‘time for a lie down in a darkened room with no music playing’.

        Wish I could turn a phrase like that.

    2. Brands Hatch boy, why do you read this blog and then make comments which make you look ignorant at best?

      I have been reading this blog for about 8 years and cannot recall a single occasion Joe has written about Team Principle decisions he would/ could make better. He has rightly pointed out team owners who make wrong decisions where again I cannot recall an instance where he was wrong. It is generally around thinking they can run a F1 team like it’s a normal business. Ford and Toyota have shown this is not the case

      When it comes to breaking stories (which there have been many) and where Joe writes fact because someone has whispered into his ear. I think even here he knows which of his sources are reliable and which want to use the media to create a smoke screen. We have no right to challenge this as he spends probably well north of £100,000 to share this information with us.

      Where he expresses opinion this is invariably with further knowledge the majority of us will not be aware of all the facts. Recently he wrote on the FIA and after the first paragraph I thought, “what a load of nonsense” but by the end of the section I agreed with about 90% of what he had written, because the devil of the story was in Joe’s detail.

      I disagreed with Joe over Abu Dhabi last year, but the only substantial thing I disagreed with was a red flag as opposed to a safety car. It’s an opinion. Not disagreeing with a fact. I even revisited my opinion when Joe provided further context.

      Instead of being a derriere, maybe just say thank you for spending your money to give us free copy which is not only interesting but factual and written after a weekend at the races and not lifted off other stories.

      Each Notebook is like a short story, usually a geography lesson followed by facts and then usually beautifully linked

  9. Why is Azerbaijan not being moved to the original Chinese GP date? This would avoid the silly Baku-Miami double header.

  10. The “Ocham’s razor” explanation for what happened in Brazil.

    Verstappen had a bad sprint race because he won’t back off when he loses a corner as he thinks everybody else should “give him space” i.e. let him through or there’ll be a crash, and lost an endplate on his front wing, and the loss of front end grip sent him down the field. This generally doesn’t put him in a good mood, and then in the race, for the exact same reason as above, he did exactly the same thing again at exactly the same corner, but this time he clattered into another car and lost the front wing, lost time coming into the pits to replace it, and on top of that, got a time penalty, and ruined his own race for the second time in a race weekend.

    By now the red mist has descended, then someone in the team tells him to do something, and in a fit of petulance, he basically tells them where to go. And that’s it. There’s nothing more. All these attempts to defend his actions by saying that it was payback for Checo deliberately crashing in Monaco is nothing but an attempt at deflection put out there by pro-Verstappen sources (aforementioned Dutch journalists), and along with the accusation itself that Checo deliberately crashed to keep him behind in Moncao qualifying, is basically, nonsense.

    The end.

    1. Thats pretty much how i saw it.

      Joe, the Sky commentary suggested it was an open secret that Perez had pulled a Nico/Ms at Monaco, surprised you hadn’t picked up on it.

        1. Everyone seemed to know what Max referring to instantly on the sky crew…. Maybe f1 is being harsher with real journalists and not sharing

            1. Sorry joe crofty called it immediately. I think it goes back to what you said before about f1 journalists being shut out. Not a criticism of you, more f1, it’s closed shop.

      1. Jamie,

        On F1TV’s Weekend Analysis, Jolyon Palmer did an breakdown of the Monaco crash showing telemetry from Checo’s car. He doesn’t make an accusation, but does show how the data and Checo’s response to the spin, look questionable. When I was watching the race, the thought never crossed my mind. But now I wonder. Never knew this was an issue in F1.

        1. The throttle traces are available on the internet and there is a lengthy thread on Reddit about this. The thing I find odd is what would his motivation have been? It;s not like when Rosberg was on provisional pole and crashed. Perez was 3rd at this point so crashing deliberately would seem an odd thing to do rather than going faster to try to get pole or 2nd.

    2. Occam’s razor would suggest that Max has been nurturing a grudge about Monaco and thought this was an opportunity to teach Checo a lesson. When I say “thought”, I mean believed rather than considered things in an intelligent way, it was a dumb stunt, but Max nursing a grudge is perfectly plausible to me.

  11. Hulk has just been announced. I think Mick probably needed more time, but the Hulk has had many many chances and frankly sends the wrong message about driving these cars. Teenagers, and anyone that has been out of the sport for 3 years can jump in and drive. Can’t think of another sport where that happens. Boxing maybe…

  12. I wonder if Red Bull will be thinking that when Perez goes – which Max may have made more likely – he’ll be hard to replace. The youngsters all failed to back Max up sufficiently, and finding a safe pair of hands who is willing to play number two and competitive enough to be useful won’t be easy. So why not employ a class act like Norris or Leclerc? Max might not be too happy about this, but hard cheese. He can’t have endeared himself to the management, and both those drivers seem capable of leading the team if MV goes off in a huff.

    1. In Perez, they have finally found the no.2 driver they always wanted – subservient to the needs of the no.1 driver, skilled enough to exceute it. And how many drivers have they gone through to finally arrive at Perez? Webber left because it stuck in his craw; Riccardio left because he had his own WDC ambitions and said “not likely” to that kind of role; any young driver got thrown in the deep end and spat out again because there is no way a young rookie driver could fulfil that kind of role.

      It is clear that RB have ambitions of making Verstappen not just a WDC, but a multiple WDC, possibly in with a tilt of beating Schumachers/Hamiltons record. They’d really need to hang on to Perez for as long as possible because without this kind of no.2, when the points are tight, Verstappen absolutely requires that kind of help. He virtually owes his first WDC to Perez, for stealing fastest lap points from Hamilton, holding Hamilton off in that last race, and letting Verstappen sail past countless times, and always sacrificing his own races to do so.

      I read elsewhere Perez has ambitions of making a tilt at the ’23 WDC title if the car is there (sorry Checo – it aint gonna happen whilst you are in that team). I read also this morning that RB have accepted Verstappens explanation for not letting Perez through, stating that Verstappen is “a great team player”. Er, no…….

      So it’s official. The tail is now wagging the dog. I predict tears before bedtime and it’s debateable just how much longer Perez will remain there. And then Red Bull will be stumped.

      1. Davey P,
        I feel fairly confident Red Bull could fill Checo’s vacated seat in about one phone call. He’s a solid #2, but no WDC. Checo shouldn’t start creating waves until a seat at Alfa Romeo or Aston Martin opens up…

          1. Well, the need would not arise until at least a year or two in the future. Who knows what the driver market will look like? I perceive the 2nd seat at Red Bull as being attractive enough to make things happen that might otherwise be off the table.

            Maybe Vettel will get bored in retirement…
            Maybe Daniel will rediscover his inner Honey Badger….
            Maybe DeVries will be the next incarnation of Senna….
            Maybe Seinz will need a new home to make room for young Ferrari talent….

            My point is it’s a juicy seat.

        1. Too late. He’s now at Hass. And I can’t imagine him being up to what they require anyway. There is nobody else.

  13. Joe, you tell us you were in Sao Paulo Saturday, and there’s no reason whatever to doubt that.
    Except: a blue Ferrari 928, number plate JS1, was parked outside the RAC club in Pall Mall at lunchtime on Saturday.
    Could you please shed some light?

      1. That you would drive a Ferrari seems incredibly unlikely. That you would pay the significant money required for a personalised number plate seems even less so.
        Good observation skills by Al – it is very amusing trying to imagine this JS alter ego. Presumably fewer bad in flight movies for a start.

        Thank you again Joe for all your updates over the year.

        1. When I was a kid I once saw a Rolls Royce that had the numberplate JS1. This was owned by the then famous (now infamous) Jimmy Savile. I know this because we recognised him from the mop of blond hair when he overtook us..

  14. I disagree with the part about taking away just in case because no one deliberately crashes/makes an error in qualifying. Only if anyone truly did so, as otherwise, drivers would get unfairly penalized for genuine errors.
    While the likelihood of having a summer-break long interval in April would be weird & start feeling like forever towards the end, I’d still be okay with this as a one-off thing.

  15. Losing Sao Paulo would be a tragedy. It is, in my opinion, the best racing circuit on the calendar. Anything can happen at Interlagos.

    Brundle mentioned winding the clock back 16 hours during the flight to Abu Dhabi. That has got to make for a tough weekend after the non-stop fall run.

    One of the big disappointments of the end of the season is the end of the notebooks. Thank you for taking the time to write for us. Qualifying, the race and the Green Notebook, is my F1 trifecta.

    1. Didn’t hear Brundle’s comment and don’t know what units he was referring to, hours, days, weeks, years, decades or centuries. The actual time difference, from memory, is 7 hours early.
      As a silly and irrelevant aside the Roller belonging to the late Mr Green Shield Stamps who was sadly barely able to put one foot in front of the other was OO7. Very upset, I was, when Sean Bond failed to glide out into the Berkshire Countryside. The mansion was shortly taken over by a certain Peter de Savary, half way to Bond !

  16. It seems to me that Max has done two stupid things, firstly disobeyed a very public team order, very publicly, which causes ructions, bad feeling and portrays himself in a poor light to the media, not to mention all those he relies on day to day.

    Secondly he addressed the team talking down to them as if he were Marko, or the “Owner” talking to disgraced servant. An obnoxious level of arrogance.

    Of course it was noted that immediately the Red Bull PR mouth issued a diversionary story claiming that only Bad Losers accused them of cheating in 2021

    Having mentioned that, it does seem strange not to have Christian putting Merc down pretty much continuously as he did in previous years.

    1. Was it wise of Red Bull to ask Max, on open radio, to do something he previously said he would not? Max seemed to have been very clear on his opinion/decision.

    1. Red Bull GmbH owns the majority of the shares in Red Bull Technology Ltd (more than 50 percent), which is the parent of Red Bull Racing Ltd. Red Bull GmbH is owned 51 percent by the Thais and 49 percent by the Mateschitz heir. However, the Mateschitz heir also owns a percentage of Red Bull Racing Technology, more than 25 percent but less than 50 percent. Together, Mateschitz heir may control Red Bull Racing Ltd, but this may depend on voting agreements. There may also be minor shareholders who do not need to declare their shares.

        1. A Red Bull branded fridge in their canteen. 😂

          I guess they had agreed some broad heads of terms and this would probably have led to exchange of shares and then it all went wrong.

          When this comes out in the wash it will be a interesting piece to read I bet.

          1. No I was wrong. Though ownership of Porcshe is complicated enough without Red Bull in the mix. The newly issued shares seem to be at about one third of Ferrari’s SP.

      1. Joe, Do you think that the Porsche deal is going to be back on the table sooner or later and with a new board would it be more likely to be accepted?

  17. Has Red Bull just been populated by politicians? The “move along, nothing happened” message is very active today from all in the team. Along with no direct denial about a deliberate crash in Monaco – just read it all – they are not helping things by what they refuse to deny… don’t think Perez gained by crashing though as they were behind Ferrari anyway at the time weren’t they?

    Along with Max’s recent getting a bit above himself, and Red Bull’s appalling PR gaff with Sky it’s getting a bit strange, and they appear to have a bunker mentality.

  18. I wonder if having Jos as part of the Verstappen era isn’t starting to wear thin at RBR. Horner may shrug it off but Marko doesn’t seem as warm and fuzzy.

    1. Dr Marko’s position might be less secure these days. He used to be the direct link between Horner and Mateschitz and was thus an essential part of the operation but with DM departed the new board at RB might prefer to deal with Horner more directly. As for the young driver programme they seem to prefer outsiders at the moment. Maybe things will change at Red Bull – Nothing stays the same for ever. As for the omnipresent Jos, I assume he is tied in to Max’s contract so I doubt if he will be going anywhere for a while.

  19. Where did the increasing use of the word ‘crash’ come from ? For me it has always been a ‘shunt’ and always will be. A ‘crash’ is far further up the scale.

  20. Joe,

    The question I wonder in situations like this is, who needs who more? Does Max need Red Bull more? Or does Red Bull need Max more? Who has the leverage?

    1. That question needs a further question, “Wither Adrian Newey and his team”. Newey always has a learning curve with a new car, but he gets the absolute best out of it by the end of its life cycle making it the car to beat.

  21. You are right about Stroll needing to continue to control publicly traded Aston Martin Lagonda to keep the $28 million a year “sponsorship fee” following to his privately owned Aston Martin F1 Team. However even if Aston Martin Lagonda terminates the F1 sponsorship, Stroll as Aston Martin Lagonda Chairman has granted his race team a 10 year royalty free right to use the Aston Martin name so he can continue to race under and leverage the Aston Martin brand for the next decade.

  22. It now seems to me that in the Red Bull team, judging by the aftermath of these events, there is now a situation where the tail seems to be wagging the dog.

    This can only lead to even more problematic situations

  23. Sorry to be a stickler, Joe, but Corrie is set in a fictitious town in Salford, not Manchester. Not much of a difference between you or I (despite being a southerner having lived in “Greater Manchester” for some years), but to a Salford native, to conflate Salford as being “in Manchester” is like a red rag to a bull (or stallion to a can of soda pop)

    Bon voyage to Abu Dahbi

  24. I seem to remember a long time ago when Max had just entered the F1 that he said he’d never give a place over to a team mate – on the advice of his Dad. Am I misremembering?

  25. Not sure who provides the TV pictures we see in the UK on ITV4 F1 highlights, maybe Sky or is it F1, but is anyone else fed up with the childish in-car camera pictures with graphics depicting the car being followed and unnecessary distance graphics which distract and block out the main picture? It all looks like a Disney production and adds nothing to the story, probably great fun for the IT people, but ruins the picture for the TV viewer. MotoGP does it much better with their shoulder cams on selected riders giving as good definition as the trackside and onboard cameras.

    1. They relevant in the full race coverage, pity you cannot get F1 TV in the 🇬🇧, instead have to pay about £30 a month to Lupert.

    2. Re the C4 coverage: to miss one Ferrari passing Checo in the closing stages in Sao Paulo may be regarded as a misfortune; to miss both looks like carelessness.

    3. Sadly the whole Channel 4 (not ITV) presentation leaves much to be desired and I, at least, find it disjointed and incredibly difficult to follow. Too much yap before and after, interspersed with too little, badly edited action. S’pose that’s the deal but don’t like it !

      1. It’s been years since I bothered with the highlights package. I get a much better ‘view’ of the race with live radio commentary and the FIA timing screen and it doesn’t just concentrate on a single battle. The whole race is in front of me.

  26. I have just downloaded and read the Abu Dhabi edition. Looking at the long list of downloads for 2022 makes me realise again what a long old season this has been. Thank you for your work. Enjoy what rest you can between now and March.

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