F1 »

Humphrey: 'No excuses' for Ferrari and McLaren in F1 2011

McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari can ill-afford to be beaten for a second consecutive campaign in 2011 by a team that basically 'exists to sell cans of drink', warns BBC F1 anchorman Jake Humphrey
Following last year's defeat to Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes need to really raise their game in F1 2011 if they are to avoid the ignominy of being embarrassingly beaten for a second successive campaign by a team that basically 'exists to sell cans of drink', muses BBC F1 anchorman Jake Humphrey – as he warns the sport's traditional grandees that 'there are no excuses'.

Last season was one of the most enthralling, unpredictable and nail-biting in recent F1 memory, with a five-way title scrap – and four drivers taking the fight right the way down to the Abu Dhabi finale – edge-of-the-seat on-track action and twists-and-turns and enough off-track politics, scandal and fall-outs to keep Eastenders scriptwriters in business for the next decade.

There was some very public needle at Red Bull between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – with the team assuring that all has now settled down and that harmony has been restored, even if few honestly believe them – and it will be fascinating to see how that relationship develops, or deteriorates, over the forthcoming campaign.

At McLaren, Lewis Hamilton could find himself with a challenge on his hands indeed should the switch to Pirelli tyres suit team-mate Jenson Button as well as many expect it to – and as for Ferrari, well, Felipe Massa will simply be eager to prove that he is more than merely Fernando Alonso's lapdog and convenient support act. And all the while as each of the three teams is endeavouring to gain the upper hand over the other two. Fans, Humphrey agrees, are in for a cracker.

“I think the biggest story is that of those three teams, the fizzy drinks company was the best last year,” he opined, speaking during a special pre-season BBC F1 'Meet the Team' session at Television Centre. “How are you going to feel if you're Ferrari or McLaren and you exist to race, because really, Red Bull exist to sell cans of drink... I think that is really going to up the ante for both Ferrari and McLaren – they need to come out firing on all cylinders. It can't be another year where they say, 'well, we developed quicker than everybody else' – it needs to be, 'look how quick we were out-of-the-box'. I think really, for Ferrari and McLaren, there are no excuses.

“McLaren have got the two British world champions – the drivers they want – and I think Jenson and Lewis has been a better experiment than they could ever have wished for. Lewis is learning loads from Jenson's calmness under pressure, and Jenson is learning loads from Lewis suddenly finding three tenths in qualifying. Jenson needs to improve his qualifying performances, and I think McLaren will be there-or-thereabouts.

“At Ferrari, how do you co-exist alongside Fernando Alonso and beat him? I don't have the answer to that, but I think Felipe Massa will be trying his damndest to make sure he can do that. If you don't win the title at Ferrari, things are amiss because that's the kind of pressure they're under. I think the way they lost the drivers' title at the end of last year leaves a lot of pressure still on everybody in the team.

“Red Bull – what pressure? The pressure's off. You turn up in F1, and five years after forming Red Bull Racing you've won both titles, with the youngest-ever world champion. I would just light the blue-touch paper between Mark and Seb and say 'it worked last year, boys...go and have another little row, will you, at a few races'. What problems did it cause? They were both in the title hunt until the very end. It was perfect – it inspired them both.

“I think Mark needs to go into a race with someone to fight against or something to push against to inspire him, and I think Sebastian loves that psychological battle. You could argue that he out-thought and out-drove at 23 years of age, a guy with vastly more experience than him, and that is a huge testament to his mental strength. All three of those teams have got a really exciting dynamic – so bring it on, I say!”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jake Humphrey [Pic credit: Jardine International]
11/2/2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing with Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing - Red Bull Racing RB7 Launch - Formula 1 World Championship
11/2/2011- Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
12.02.2011- Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
Race, Press conference,  Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 and Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
13.02.2011- Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
12.02.2011- Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren Mercedes
13.02.2011- Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Barcelona, Spain, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari and Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren Mercedes - Formula 1 Testing, Barcelona -
Lando Norris, McLaren, Honda [Credit: McLaren F1]
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Sparrow - Unregistered

February 15, 2011 6:47 PM

@ I Win - And Webber and Vettel were in the hunt for last years title because....? Answer, they had a far superior car. Every recent world champion has had a superior car. Button did at the beginning of 09, yes, and he won 6 races with it. Couldn't ask more really. The car was not the best throughout the whole year, and he absorbed big pressure to hold on fro the title. I just wish some people would give him the credit he deserves for his title. This year I think it will be Alonso. The experts say that Red Bull and Ferrari look the strongest contenders from the tests so far. Its not about outright times, but looking at the performance over long runs, and the behavior of the cars. Its easy to run with fumes and and supersofts to head the sheets. It was no surprise that Williams appeared at the top a couple of days prior to floating the company.

Firestorm - Unregistered

February 17, 2011 10:10 AM

I agree with Humphrey comments.Ferrari and McLaren has no excuse in 2011.They must beat Red Bull.But I can't say that KERS will make the difference,I think KERS isn't the best thing.I like more the exhausts of the new Lotus-Renault GP.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.