Gossip Grip: December

By Kunal Shah and Mithila Mehta

Ferrari are upset that Red Bull Racing believe that it’s their ‘right’ to have a good engine. If that’s the case, we wonder if Manor feels that it is their ‘right’ to have a good chassis. And let’s not even go to what McLaren probably feels their right is, or in this case, rights ARE. We’re just glad that Pastor Maldonado doesn’t believe that he and his sponsors’ millions have the ‘right’ to the Drivers’ Championship.

But the one person who thinks he has all the rights is our current and three times World Champion Lewis Hamilton. He’s been dissing his fellow drivers to no end and by ‘fellow’ drivers we of course mean Ferrari drivers – Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and could’ve-been-Ferrari driver Mark Webber, the 2015 World Endurance Champion. We hope he realises that given the car-chassis combination that Mercedes has provided him with, even Paul Di Resta could have a chance at the title. No offense, Paul, but then none would be taken probably anyway.

Talking of Mercedes, they should be happy that their spying engineer left the team. We’re not entirely sure of the standards Mercedes set for hiring their engineering team, but the guy who would steal team data from the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix (no Mercedes on the podium) with the intention to sell it to a competitor isn’t surely the smartest bloke. Ferrari didn’t hire him, and it was their best decision of the year.

Red Bull Racing inked a complicated agreement with Tag Heuer and offered additional visibility as the Energy Drink F1 Team decided to go back to using Renault engines re-badged as Tag Heuer engines. It was possibly why Tag Heuer decided to end their 30-year-old relationship with McLaren: after all, Tag Heuer’s slogan #DontCrackUnderPressure is an absolute misfit for the Honda-powered McLaren team of 2015.

Santander, one of McLaren’s few remaining sponsors, could very much use the team and driver images in 2016 for advertising their ‘zero balance account’ services should the team still find it difficult to score points next season.

Fernando Alonso’s patience has been tested this year more than ever before. Talks of a sabbatical, participation in the WEC and similar stuff made some noise in Abu Dhabi. Fernando denied it all. However, the bored racer was seen testing a MotoGP bike a few weeks ago. Maybe he has finally realised that was the only way he can win something in a Honda.

Lastly, what can we say about Renault that hasn’t already been said in all Shakespearean plays? They’ve been in and out and in and out and in again for the last decade. And while we welcome yet another car manufacturer to the grid, we must applaud the French management for buying the Lotus F1 Team with Bernie’s money, well, almost. They managed to negotiate an ‘iconic’ status for themselves, which means that like Ferrari, Mercedes and the others, they too would be paid to race in Formula 1. And while the figures aren’t public, the estimate is around 70-80 million dollars – just about the amount they paid for acquiring Lotus. Now let’s hope that they’re as smart on track and with their driver contracts – let go of Pastor Maldonado, the icon for crashing!

Mithila Mehta is a travel blogger and, well, loves Formula 1. She co-hosts the Inside Line F1 Podcast, you can also read her travel stories on www.miss-wanderlust.com or follow her on Twitter – @mith_m
Kunal Shah is a former single-seater racer who works in the sports business industry. He pens his thoughts on F1 on his personal blog www.kunalsf1blog.com and co-hosts the Inside Line F1 Podcast. Catch him on Twitter too – @kunalashah
About the Inside Line F1 Podcast: this is a weekly podcast that aims to add a funny touch to an otherwise serious sport of Formula 1. It’s nearing 150 episodes of production with nearly 100,000 listeners each year. The podcast is available across popular listening and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Sound Cloud, YouTube, Mix Cloud, Daily Motion, etc.
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