Nico Rosberg Retiring? In Shock Right Now

I couldn’t believe what I just read this morning on my news feed!  Conor McGregor is now a licensed boxer in California, Draymond Green at Golden State is still kicking his opponents in the NBA, and…

Nico Rosberg Just Announced His Retirement from Formula 1

effective immediately…

Was his Twitter or Facebook page hacked?  Did anybody see this coming?  Show me that blog post, please.  I imagine Toto Wolff at Mercedes AMG Petronas didn’t even see this coming.  Nothing in Rosberg’s words at the end of the race and his various interviews since winning the 2016 F1 championship led me to believe he would be dropping the mic after winning his first Formula One World Championship.

But that’s exactly why I did not expect Rosberg would want to hang up his racing shoes…it’s his FIRST championship with a very strong, successful organization.  Speculation can now run rampant:  does he see something coming at Mercedes AMG that tells him they may not be as strong with the big rules changes coming for 2017?  Is he not happy being teammates with the ultra-competitive Lewis Hamilton?

Or, is Rosberg now completely satisfied with his career, tired of fighting against Lewis, and ready to settle into being a new husband and father?  I hope it’s the latter and that he rides off into the sunset without looking back.  He has had a stellar F1 career and if this turns out not to be a hoax, then I’m extremely happy for him as he closes a very long but fruitful chapter in his life to now focus on an entirely new journey.

Bernie’s 38 Year-Old Wife’s Mom Kidnapped???

Bernie Interviewed

What a strange headline to read today coming from an already turbulent part of the world.  As crime issues continue in Rio de Janeiro with the Summer Olympic Games nearing, signs around the densely-populated city speak of unsafe conditions for visitors at a time when Rio is hanging on to hope of being a great host city.

And now the new story coming out of Brazil is that wife of Bernie Ecclestone, F1 supremo and head of Formula One Management, has been informed her mom’s been kidnapped and held for ransom.  What’s going on down there in Brazil, anyway?  Supposedly Fabiana Flosi’s mother, Aparecida Schunk, was kidnapped this past Friday and a $36.5 million dollar ransom is demanded from her captors.

OK, so $36.5 million in ransom?  What’s the extra half million dollars in ransom for anyway?  And what’s really going to happen to Schunck ahead of the Olympic Games?  This must be a super-tense time in Brazil and surely international security forces are converging on this city to make preparations for the arrival of the world’s athletes to the world’s biggest competition stage.  Could this be to Ms. Schunck’s advantage and hasten the capture of her captor(s)?

Also, Bernie Ecclestone, a man filled with brazen quotes about motor racing, a “woman’s place” in motorsport, and generally a headline-inventing machine of a human being, has not yet commented publicly.

Here’s hoping that the next time we hear from him he has good news to tell.

Lewis Hamilton’s Momentum and Curb Sensors – F1

Hamilton Hungary

Lewis Hamilton continues his upward climb against Nico Rosberg in the World Championship yesterday at the GP of Hungary.  He’s got the lead now and wrestling it away from him is going to be a tough task.

Hamilton got the lead at the beginning of the race and was much too dominant to let Rosberg back into the picture.  He trailed by 1 point going into the weekend and now leads by 6 against a struggling Nico.

Good ole’ Fernando Alonso hindered Hamilton in Saturday’s Q3 qualifying session after the Spaniard spun while just ahead of Hamilton as the checkers flew on the session.  Meanwhile, Nico took full advantage of his last qualifying run to edge ahead of Hamilton for P1, only to lose it at turn 1 on Sunday.

Who can stop Hamilton right now beside Nico?  Not sure, as Lewis is driving with tons of confidence and Nico hasn’t really had his measure lately.  Nevertheless, Nico has had a great season so far and if he can dig deep in qualifying runs, he may just be able to keep the rest of this season tight for the top spot in the Mercedes intra-team battle.

Hamilton and Rosberg – Getting Pulled from a Race?

Rosberg Ham

Toto Wolff tells the media that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been warned about the possible consequences that another on-track collision could bring.  One of those consequences is a race ban…

Could you imagine the fallout from Hamilton’s crazy fans if Mercedes were to actually pull him from a race?  Report’s out that the Mercedes AMG Petronas team have given their drivers each a final warning that another contact and crash could see Hamilton or Rosberg suspended for a subsequent race.

Not sure if Rosberg has fans that would foam at the mouth if he ever got pulled, but seems Hamilton has that kind of support and the F1 world would be turned on its head over something like this.  What would the Prost/Senna battle looked like if Ron Dennis had actually suspended one of them for blocking or crashing into each other as they fought to keep the other behind?

For a driver, F1 competition starts with your teammate, no matter which team you drive for.  Beat your teammate and be favored amongst the team you drive for.  Then you take on the rest of the grid.  Suspending a driver for trying to stand their ground in an intra-team rivalry is a hard line to cross for any team, especially one that has completely dominated the last few seasons of the current engine regs in F1.

Teams can only go so far in telling their drivers “to behave.”  But when they stick them in the corner to punish them while their teammate gets to drive (and gain a points advantage), I’m not sure if any team could justify that.  Then again, perhaps these drivers will give Mercedes a reason to test this punishment as they duke it out for the top spot in the Drivers Championship this year.

Thanks to Autosport for the report.

Rossi Gets Extra Sponsorship Boost

Rossi Wins the 500Alexander Rossi shocked the IndyCar world with his surprise victory at the Indy 500 last Sunday, and it was a dream drive with NAPA sponsorship onboard.  But NAPA may be the big winner with a low-priced sponsorship package that is paying them back in a huge way since Rossi’s amazing win.

Having your company’s name seen on a winning race entry is one thing, but to have it be the winning ride on the 100th Indy 500 is something entirely different.  Sponsorship dollars in any racing league are lifeblood to teams and drivers, and Rossi has a life extension now from NAPA as their easily-recognizable yellow and blue colors will be seen for the doubleheader in Detroit at Belle Isle.

This is another win for NAPA, as theweekend is a two-race weekend for IndyCar and Rossi is great at learning new tracks (his days in Formula 1 being a big help, no doubt).

Although I’m sad to not see Rossi representing as a US driver in F1, I’m extremely excited to see if he and Andretti Autosport can continue to climb up from 6th in the IndyCar standings during this ever-important weekend for driver and team.

-wink to racer.com and alexanderrossi.com

Safety vs Heritage in F1

Aeroscreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Red Bull aero screen test – I’m not sure where to stand on this.  I think of Jules Bianchi and his loss in motorsport was so tragic.  His crash still haunts me but I truly don’t think an aero screen or halo would have saved his life in Japan that terrible day.

Justin Wilson’s case could have possibly been different with something like a halo having been in place to protect him from the debris that ended his life in his open wheel cockpit.  Nevertheless, safety is obviously so crucial in sports.  But when you consider the tradition that open wheel has had for no windows or bodywork – just a driver and the machine he or she is surrounded by – and the evolution that has gone on for so long without enclosing the cockpit, my heart tells me that the driver’s home in that car should not have a roof, or even a window.

Just my thoughts after having read more about aero screens and halos, Red Bull testing with this safety device, and the road that open wheel machines could take when you consider both safety and heritage.

Is there a right answer?

Hamilton’s Aggression – Love It or Hate It?

You gotta love (not sure if I do) a guy who is confident enough to say that he’s not going to help his teammate and NOT be ashamed of it.  Lewis Hamilton is that guy.  Unfortunately, Nico Rosberg is that teammate.  Hamilton has carried a supreme air of success and superiority over Nico this season, undoubtedly related to his championship last year and having #1 status (whether it was implied or not at start of 2015 season) within the team.

There has been much talk about Nico now losing his edge and possibly mental strength when battling head-to-head vs. Lewis, and by the look of it in the heat of on-track battle, it certainly appears so.  I just went back to watch the footage of the battle to Turn 1 at COTA from last week’s USGP and the more I watch it, the clearer it becomes that Lewis never had any intention of letting Nico ever turn in past him.  It goes to show how Hamilton feels about Nico – not relenting to him and following through with the intention of giving no quarter.  Hamilton simply doesn’t care to appease the Mercedes F1 team bosses and probably ready to reject any team orders that would have him finishing behind Nico.

If only Nico had that same mindset…(let’s see what happens this weekend for the Mexico GP)

#MexicoGP #F1