Monday 16 June 2014 Michael Schumacher emerges from his coma and leaves the hospital in Grenoble, France, where he had been hospitalized since 29 December 2013 following a very serious skiing accident. This was announced by the manager of the former Formula 1 driver, Sabine Kehm. The news of Schumacher's forthcoming transfer to a rehabilitation clinic had leaked since Saturday. The news of Schumacher's condition was spread thanks to the family, who decided to break the wall of silence raised for months around the clinical situation of the former world champion for 24 hours. The fact that Michael Schumacher has come out of the coma and transferred would be due to the clear improvements recorded in recent weeks. In particular, the moments of conscience mentioned by manager Sabine Kehm in April would have been more frequent. Furthermore, Schumacher would be able to communicate with his wife Corinna and his children, he would not have vision problems and his conditions would be stable enough, to the point of no longer needing the help of the Grenoble specialists. According to reports from Radio Suisse Romande, Schumacher was transported from Grenoble to the University Hospital Center of Vaud in Lausanne, in French-speaking Switzerland. The hospitalization was confirmed by Darcy Christen, spokesman for the clinic to the same broadcaster:
"Mr. Schumacher was admitted to our Polyclinic this morning. His family is with him in a space specially equipped to protect their privacy and to ensure the best possible care. As with any patient, we want to ensure medical confidentiality and privacy of his family".
Lausanne is about forty kilometers from the town of Gland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, where the seven-time world champion and his family reside.
"Michael has left the University Hospital Center of Grenoble to continue his long phase of rehabilitation. He is no longer in a coma. His family would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as those who provided aid at the time of the' accident, everyone has done an excellent job in recent months. The family thanks all the people who sent their best wishes to Michael, we are sure they helped him. For the future, we ask you to understand that his rehabilitation will take place away from prying eyes" .
The news from Lausanne is greeted with great relief in the world of Formula 1.
"Encouraging news is coming that gives us hope".
Comment Ferrari through his Twitter account. Fernando Alonso's comment is added to the note:
"Good start to the weeks with the news about Michael. Glad things are heading in the right direction".
On the other hand, Gary Hartstein, F1 doctor from 2005 to 2012, manifests less optimism, who states from the columns of his blog:
"It's nothing new".
A few weeks ago Hartstein said he was pessimistic about the chances of Schumacher's awakening, going as far as to argue that we will never again have good news about the German's state of health. Not even today does Hartstein back down:
"It is obviously good news that Michael has left the hospital".
But with the caveat that there are plenty of rehab facilities that can handle ventilated patients.
"So this transfer still doesn't say whether or not Michael is breathing on his own".
Hartstein then recalls that already in April the manager Sabine Kehm had said that Michael had moments of awakening and conscience.
"By saying this, she communicated to us in almost clinically perfect language that Michael was no longer in a coma. We are now being told somewhat triumphantly that Michael is no longer in the coma. As mentioned above, this is nothing new. I can't help but think this is a highly cynical use of language by using the truth to convey an impression that is almost certainly false. I can't help thinking that if Michael had fully emerged from the minimally conscious state that Sabine so accurately described to us in April, we would have been told that Michael is starting rehab, has trouble expressing himself, and will work hard to get better. Or that he will have to learn to walk, read, write again. But no, we are told what we already know and basically never expect further updates. All of this leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and enormous sadness for Michael's family and fans".
Returning instead to talk about the current World Championship, James Allison does not want to give up: the Ferrari technical director is guiding the work ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, explaining that the team is trying to make up for the time lost after the false start of this year:
"We have updates that will arrive race after race. If we do a good job with these new parts, we will begin to see the fruits of our labor and we will see a better Ferrari against the competition. It is not an easy battle, and above all a battle that never ends. Each season is characterized by the operations that are carried out in the factory to improve the package. If you are in front, you work to stay in front, if you are not there you work to gain positions on the grid. At the moment we are all doing the possible to improve every aspect of the car: from the mechanical part to the aerodynamics, the electronics, the setup, every single component. Everything we can do to improve we are doing it. In the last few races we have brought even more updates than normal and this, even if only partially, has improved the competitiveness of our car. We must therefore continue to fight this battle".
The return to Austria after ten years is characterized by an unknown factor, namely the wear of the tyres:
"We'll have the Pirelli Soft and Supersoft, as happened in the previous two races. We're not in a position to be able to say exactly what to expect but, as on every track this season, managing the Option tires in qualifying will be extremely important. We need to be sure to have the tires ready for a qualifying lap in Q2, but also be certain that they can do the first stint of the race without too many problems".
Formulate boredom. After the criticisms of the president of Ferrari, Luca Montezemolo, Fernando Alonso's thrust towards the circus also arrives:
"There is little entertainment. We will try to do more in the next races, but if teams and fans have any ideas to produce a better show, they will be welcome".
Alonso doesn't even seem entirely convinced by the idea of reducing tests to cut costs, a hypothesis that was discussed at a meeting of the F1 Commission after the Canadian Grand Prix.
"This is the path we have been following for some years, there are positive and negative aspects. On the one hand the teams will be able to save a lot of money and will be able to survive year after year. But for us drivers it's not ideal, especially for a youngster coming from the lower divisions. But at the same time I understand that the cost problem is very serious".
Meanwhile, after more than ten years, Formula 1 is preparing to return to Austria. Alonso talks about the race like this:
"It's a very short circuit, there are only 5-6 corners where you can make a difference. We will all be very close and many positions can be recovered. A perfect lap will be needed in qualifying on Saturday. The best point? Probably the last corner, it's downhill and without making mistakes it gives you the chance to finish the lap perfectly".
Says the Spaniard, who hopes to have good indications on the updates brought by Ferrari.
"We'll have some new components here too, tomorrow we'll try to figure out which ones to put on the car on Saturday and which ones will need more time. It will therefore be a test Friday and we hope to keep the good parts for the race weekend".
The low profile is a must for Fernando Alonso. It could not be otherwise, after the Canadian Grand Prix and on the eve of the Austrian one, on the circuit owned by Red Bull. The usual free practice sessions will take place on Friday 20 June 2014, and no one believes in the times anymore, being denied on Saturday, the day of qualifying. But Alonso plays a little, in wanting to be cautious: in reality he secretly hopes in the meteorological ally, prays that the clouds surrounding Spielberg Bei Knittelfeld swell properly Sunday after lunch, from 2:00 p.m. on. Together, of course, with the technological aids arriving from Maranello.
"My president is not wrong: Formula One is not putting on a good show".
In reality, precisely on Thursday 19 June 2014, Montezemolo specifies:
"I never said I wanted to leave F1, but Ferrari has the right to think about it since we are not living in a great moment".
It is Alonso who wants to enter into the merits:
"The truth that we used to have KERS, and I wish it would come back. Today we have electric help, but it doesn't depend on us. And it's the same for everyone, so you don't overdo it. And then, let's face it: reducing testing has its pros and cons: you save money, but Formula 1 is the only sport where you don't train. We have to talk about it if we want the show to turn around".
This is the future, the present instead is in bucolic Styria and its short route:
"Today we're studying the circuit, but we'll have to pay attention to the last corner, the downhill one: it's a bit tricky, you'll see that many will fall for it. But it will also be a tough pole, with everyone close to everyone. And a tenth of a delay makes you slip far behind".
Friday 20 June 2014 the Austrian Formula 1 weekend begins under the sign of Mercedes. In fact, in the first free practice, the leader of the World Championship, Nico Rosberg, with a time of 1'11"295, precedes his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Good Alonso, who ends with the third time. At the end of the first practice session, Scuderia Toro Rosso did not return the set of additional tires envisaged for this phase in time. The team is therefore fined €10.000. In the second free practice, the Mercdes is still the fastest, but with Lewis Hamilton first and Nico Rosberg second. Fernando Alonso is confirmed third. Felipe Massa's Williams is in fourth place, followed by Jenson Button's McLaren, and the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, then Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne. Kimi Raikkonen's other Ferrari was only eleventh. The Red Bulls were also bad, with Daniel Ricciardo thirteenth, and Sebastian Vettel fifteenth. So still problems for the World Champion team, despite racing on the home circuit. They should be called tests, rather than free practice for a Grand Prix. Since tests are no longer done to save money, as Alonso deliberately recalled on Thursday, each team brings updates to test on Friday. Obviously this is true for everyone except Mercedes. The rest of the Circus is always on the lookout for the magic potion. The Spaniard confirms:
"Kimi and I followed different programs. Now we have to cross-reference the data collected to choose what worked best among all the solutions tested".
It is known that Saturday is not exactly the strongest day for the cars from Maranello, and therefore the damage will have to be limited.
"No surprises came from Pirelli, the Supersofts seem faster and they will certainly be the tires for qualifying, but it's impossible to establish what the strategies will be for the race now".
Says Alonso, who finished the first day of practice in third place.
"It's always been cloudy and there's also been a few drops of rain, but if there's sun in the next few days, the behavior of the tires could change. The weather forecast leaves the games open".
All eyes are on the podium, because Lewis Hamilton has already booked a cup and champagne, and has sent word to Nico Rosberg:
"Don't invent anything this weekend...".
For the other places there will really be many variables that will decide it, and it won't be the ups and downs of the circuit: traffic, clean or dirty track, driving errors. Pat Fry says:
"We Ferraris still have to find the perfect balance: even a single tenth can make us gain or lose many positions on the grid, and for this we will need a clean lap".
Translated: let's not delude ourselves. For this reason it is better to focus on two pieces of news concerning the future. The first, more immediate. From next year we will see something new, the restart after the Safety car: there will no longer be those boring trains following accidents but a new start. The second indiscretion is strictly technical and decisive for the planning of the cars: the rims of the single-seaters will become 18 inches, and it will be a real revolution: it will be necessary to rethink the chassis, suspension and aerodynamics from scratch. All this to adapt Formula 1 to the rest of the motoring scene, including road cars. It won't happen immediately, but from 2017. One thing is certain, it won't be a choice based on savings, for the various teams. This too is one of the many contradictions of Formula 1. Friday 21 June 2014 Valtteri Bottas sets the best time during the third and final free practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Finnish driver of Williams laps in 1'09"848, ahead of the Williams of the English Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Massa is third, ahead of the Toro Rosso of the Russian Daniil Kvyat and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Sixth position for the Ferrari of the Spaniard Fernando Alonso, followed by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen. Kimi Raikkonen, in the second Ferrari, sets the ninth fastest time. Sebastian Vettel sets the tenth fastest time. Sergio Pérez suffers a slight take-off of his car, after ended up in the run-off area at the last corner, said Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci at the end of the third free practice session:
"The other teams are doing better than us. We have to observe them. I work with a group of exceptional professionals and we are trying to redesign the future of Ferrari. We are aware of the work that needs to be done. I like to say: what makes the difference in success is not it's so much the analysis, it's not so much the strategy he follows but the implementation. In Maranello everyone works with passion and humility. Every day they give their all, 150% for the brand, the group and the history of this great company. I'm a convinced Ferrari fan, in the sense that I take risks and try to be competitive and fight for Ferrari. Stefano Domenicali is a friend. He worked successfully at Ferrari. I have my own philosophy of managing people and he had his. We'll be back at the top, I'm sure of that".
A few hours later, in Q1 Lewis Hamilton sets the best time, ahead of Daniil Kvyat by 0.1 seconds. Many drivers, convinced they can get through to Q2 without problems, decide to save a set of Supersoft tyres. But the race direction intervenes frequently, canceling the times of the drivers who take the car beyond the limit of the track at the penultimate corner. The two Saubers, the two Caterhams and the two Marussias are eliminated. In Q2, Nico Rosberg set the fastest time. The German is the only one who manages to get below the 1'09"0 limit. Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen only rejoin the top ten at the last attempt, while Sebastian Vettel is eliminated, also penalized with cancellation of the time, for having crossed the limit at turn 8. In addition to the World Champion, the two Lotuses, Sergio Pérez, Jenson Button and Jean-Éric Vergne are also excluded from the decisive phase. times the Williams duo, with Felipe Massa taking his sixteenth and final career pole position, the first since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. For Williams it is pole position number 128, the first since the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix with Pastor Maldonado; the British team had not monopolized the front row since the 2003 German Grand Prix (at the time it was Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher). Valtteri Bottas was second, followed by Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. Nico Hülkenberg set no times for the grid, as well as Lewis Hamilton, who sees the time of his first attempt canceled due to the cut at the penultimate corner, and ruins his second attempt with a spin, also compromising Nico Rosberg's last attempt. At the end of the tests, the gearbox was replaced on Romain Grosjean's Lotus; having also made some aerodynamic modifications to the rear, not permitted in parc ferme, the French driver will be forced to start from the pit lane. Felipe Massa takes his revenge. His sixteenth pole position comes at the best moment in his career: at the Austrian Grand Prix, after his farewell to Ferrari and with Williams returning to be competitive. And already because it wasn't just Felipe Massa who was the phenomenon: Valtteri Bottas was also for a long time with the best time in Q3, to then finish in second position. And the Mercedes? Beats: Nico Rosberg third and Lewis Hamilton ninth due to an error. Then Fernando Alonso, fourth, who did the best thing today: he warmly embraced his former teammate. A long, heartfelt hug.
"We spent four years together in Ferrari, we were in trouble, we could hardly ever fight for pole. I'm happy for him who now has a very fast car. But I still hope to finish ahead of Felipe tomorrow because we need points...".
In short, a Formula 1 turned upside down, with the Mercedes driven from the front row, with Fernando Alonso's former squire taking a good revenge and with the reigning World Champion humiliated. And already because poor Sebastian Vettel was excluded from Q3, under the eyes of the entire board of his team. One thing that annoys because this time Red Bull was really aiming high and because obviously, starting from the back, Sebastian Vettel's chances of reaching the podium are reduced.
A full attack race is therefore granted:
"Tomorrow, to fight with the leaders, we will choose an aggressive strategy, to gain as many positions as possible".
Behind Fernando Alonso follows Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull and Kevin Magnussen's McLaren. Kimi Raikkonen did not go beyond the eighth best time and will start from the fourth row, behind Daniil Kvyat. Only ninth Lewis Hamilton, protagonist of a series of errors with his Mercedes in the last qualifying heat. Next to him on the grid, Nico Hulkenberg on Force India. Only Frank Williams, a man who suffered (and who suffers), could give someone like Felipe Massa another chance. Two pilots suffering. Two unfinished pilots (in different eras, of course) and a lot in common. Only Williams could welcome Felipe Massa like family. The squire of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. And transform him, if only for one day, into a star. The man of the pole position, in the old Spielberg circuit.
"At Williams they made me feel important".
After all, what he has been looking for all his life, without success. Because of those two cursed episodes. For an overtaking and a spring. How many others have seen the dream of a life in their own country escape them, seeing their triumph transformed into a Maracanazo? That's right, São Paulo in Brazil in 2008. Felipe's last, painful victory. Because the title was taken by Hamilton with an overtaking on Glock at the last corner. And how many others can happen to be hit by a one kilogram heavy spring, flown from Barrichello's car that punctures the helmet and causes concussion and fracture, with related surgery? Budapest, anno domini 2009. Well, in those days Frank Williams must have triggered that personal deja-vu which, years later, would give life to today's marriage. It took some time, of course. And when Ferrari (year 2013) did not consider him more capable of their team, fate was fulfilled. Even two other men (besides Sir Williams) have not stopped believing in Felipe Massa, and have left Ferrari for him: Rob Smedley, the engineer. Matteo Orsi, the physiotherapist, who says:
"We have gone from the capital to the province, with all the cons for him, and his pros. Felipe has been through a lot, but he has a hard head like no other. He goes on, always".
In Canada, just at the last Grand Prix, he crashed into the protective barriers.
"But he didn't need psychologists, or motivators. Felipe has a family that never lets him down".
It's not a slogan, it's a lifestyle: try asking if there's another driver in the paddock who, after taking a pole position, is quietly kissing and embracing his wife (Rafaela) and son (Felipinho) , never shying away from jokes, unlike this F1 that has become all too secret. The concept of familiarity, of craftsmanship, also translates into everyday phrases. An example: at 1:45 p.m. Smedley orders Massa to take pole:
"You can't fail with this car".
The Brazilian replies:
At 2:15 p.m. he says:
"Oh well, he seemed out of his mind".
And he stops to answer the phone call from Montezemolo who wants to congratulate him. It will only be a Saturday. What is certain is that on joke day, with the Red Bulletin (team newspaper) labeling Ferrari as old and obsolete, and then seeing Sebastian Vettel finish outside the top ten and with Daniel Ricciardo fifth behind Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton , betrayed by his car at the time of making the lap from pole, also damages the attempt of his teammate, Nico Rosberg, the only serious thing of the day is the humanity of Felipe Massa. Sunday, June 22, 2014, at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix, Massa led the field into the first corner, with Rosberg passing Bottas, but being repassed the following straight. Hamilton gained five places on the first lap, after passing two cars on the run into the first corner and two further cars heading towards turn 2, before taking another spot from Fernando Alonso at turn 7. As a result, he ended the first lap only one position and 0.9 seconds behind his teammate, despite starting ninth. Sebastian Vettel once again suffered from technical problems, losing drive on the first lap and attempting to retire on lap two. However, his car then regained drive and he was able to continue, albeit a lap down. After damaging his front wing halfway through the race, he later retired from Red Bull Racing's home Grand Prix on lap 34. At the front, the Mercedes cars were able to pass the Williams cars by stopping earlier and undercutting them during the pitstop phases. Rosberg passed both Williams' during the first stops, and Hamilton took second position during the second round, despite suffering two slow pit stops. Sergio Pérez once again drove a good race with a different tire strategy, only running the super soft compound for the last 16 laps and successfully challenging Kevin Magnussen for sixth place, despite starting sixteenth following a grid penalty. For much of the race both Mercedes cars had to manage overheating brake issues. On lap 55 Hamilton was held up by backmarkers, losing around a second. During the final laps, Hamilton was slowly gaining on teammate Rosberg, and despite having lost a total of 1.9 seconds to his teammate through slower pit stops he began the final lap 1.1 seconds behind. However, he wasn't close enough to his teammate to challenge him and backed off at the end of the lap. Rosberg took the checkered flag for his third win of the season. The illusion of a revenge for Massa and Williams did not last long, only until the first pit stop. Then - as usual - Mercedes took control of the situation again with the sixth one-two of the season: first Rosberg, then Hamilton, followed by Bottas' Williams and then Massa's. Then Alonso, then Perez, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen, author of a colorless race as usual. But this time also with a vein of controversy because when Kimi was asked to push harder on the radio he immediately argued saying:
"Perhaps, I would need a lot more power…".
Escape or acceleration? Whatever it is, Nico Rosberg is in his best gear. And, almost halfway through the F1 World Championship, after three months of battles on the track, the German put 29 points between himself and Lewis Hamilton. Nothing, in all of the other eleven Grands Prix to be raced (and the last one grants 50 points, not 25). Everything, in the psychological world of the Circus. In Austria, the Mercedes (first and second for the sixth time out of eight Grands Prix this year) reaffirmed who's in charge, and nothing can prevent yet another fratricidal duel in the wake of those who were, and which basically enthralled and divided the fans. And today's challenge, Rosberg versus Hamilton, has everything to generate attention: the two couldn't be more different, from driving style to character peculiarities. The impulsive Hamilton, the meticulous Rosberg. This was also confirmed by Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal:
"Lewis possesses ruthless speed and instinct, while Nico's preparation is more meticulous. He has a great understanding of the car, he is fascinated by data".
A few things have already been said, but the situation - after all - is not yet so critical, and therefore the dialectical-polemical confrontation can wait. Hamilton has already been World Champion, Rosberg is a son of art, and wants very strongly to establish himself in order to finally be able to clear customs of being the son of Keijo Erik, known as Keke. A father, moreover, to be taken as an example, considering his absolutely discreet presence - for now - in the paddock. Not to mention mother Sinna, whom we will never see in a circuit due to her too much fear and anxiety to see her son in action. Exactly the opposite of Anthony Hamilton, whose presence has become so cumbersome over time that his son has had to set limits.
"Hey, Nico: if you win the World Championship will you grow a mustache like dad?"
"Perhaps. It's an idea...".
The shadow of the father is omnipresent, for Nico Rosberg, a kind boy who over time has understood that you have to be bad, otherwise you will always pass for a fool.
"After all, even my Milanese friends told me so".
Those thanks to which he learned Italian, at the time of the high school in Nice, the times of the soccer matches.
"Life at three hundred an hour has changed me a bit".
Eight years of apprenticeship, now he is ready to handle the pressure.
"Hamilton is not a superhero, he is not perfect. He is a human being, and I know what to do".
Here is the number one rule of the 2014 duel: no showing weakness. Nico, but on the last lap were you afraid that Lewis would overtake you?
"No, I was very calm".
And you, Lewis?
"There wasn't a chance to overtake".
A civilized argument, but one can imagine when the climate will heat up, when every iota will have been X-rayed. Lewis, did you realize that your final gap is the same lost at your pit stops, 1.9 seconds?
"Really? I'll investigate, but I don't suspect the mechanics".
At the moment. The Austrian case has been filed, the Great Britain one opens at Silverstone.
"Our home, great desire for another brace".
The two say in chorus, avoiding dangerous hierarchical slips. A topic on which the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, also glosses over:
"What do you mean how are we going to continue? Absolutely as we have done so far…".
The real debacle is that of Red Bull, owner of the circuit: in front of his public Sebastian Vettel performed in the third retirement of the season, as if he had inherited all of Webber's misfortune. But both Toro Rossos also retired and Daniel Ricciardo crossed the finish line in eighth position, saving himself as best he could from a disastrous situation. Red Bull and Christian Horner lose patience. After yet another negative Grand Prix, played above all on the home circuit in Austria, the team principal of the World Champion team attacks Renault, the French engine supplier:
"Reliability is unacceptable, as are performance. The situation is not improving, there must be a change. We can't go on like this".
So, after four successful years, the situation is critical at Red Bull this year. Despite Horner's outburst, the agreement with Renault will last, from the contract, also the next one and it is difficult to think of an alternative. As rivals for the World Championship, in fact, it is highly unlikely that Mercedes and Ferrari will become partners of Red Bull, while Honda will return to F1 after the exclusive agreement with McLaren. The hypothesis of building one's own engine was then made wide. Red Bull is already collaborating with several companies, including Austrian APC, which supplies the current current turbocharger and could help the team build an engine in-house. For now, however, reactions to the idea of building your own engine are pretty cool. Christian Horner explains:
"It's not something we want to do. It's not a fundamental part of our philosophy".
Even Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of the energy drink company that sponsors the single-seater, is of the same idea:
"We are not car manufacturers. It is not our privileged competence to build engines".
On the other hand, the team's motorsport director, Helmut Marko, is more optimistic:
"If we don't see the possibility of being on the same level as Mercedes, then we have to look ahead and consider something else".
The internal problems weren't enough, for Red Bull there are also the teasing of the rivals of Mercedes, who are dominating the World Championship.
"The Silver Arrows give you wings".
It can be read in the twitter profile of the Anglo-German team. The intended reference is to the slogan that Red Bull, title sponsor of the World Champion team, uses to advertise the famous energy drink.
"The best motivation for a top-level performance is a battle between friends. That is why we congratulate Red Bull on the successful reopening of Spielberg's Red Bull Ring. And, naturally, with Nico Rosberg and the whole Mercedes team for the fantastic race. Mercedes-Benz. The best or nothing".
Nico Rosberg also participates in the celebrations seasoned with irony, again via Twitter. The German driver publishes the photo of the statue of the bull, symbol of Red Bull, present in the Austrian racetrack. After the race, the three-pointed star of the Mercedes is proudly displayed on the animal:
"I wonder who gave the bull a new necklace?"
That said, Ferrari can almost be considered lucky and not only compared to Red Bull (it doesn't take much...): in the end Alonso with his car is the first of the humans, given that the two Mercedes and the two Williams (two almost Mercedes, since they use all the Anglo-German power unit). However, it is evident that the - frenzied - development of the F14T is not enough and that to recover the monstrous gap that separates Ferrari from Mercedes, the work is enormous. In this, however, at least today, Ferrari takes home a good revenge on Red Bull. Small consolation perhaps, but consolation nonetheless.
"It was my best race in the whole championship, we finished 18 seconds behind Mercedes. We pushed hard throughout the race, everything went more or less well, fifth place today was the best, the top four drivers were fast and deserve to be in front".
This is Fernando Alonso's comment at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix.
"In Canada we took a few steps forward, unfortunately we weren't competitive for other reasons. Here we introduced some improvements. There's still a lot to do but it's important, as Mattiacci says, to go forward, step by step and always improve".
Fernando Alonso's body language is the indicator for having the right coordinates of Ferrari. Even more than his own words.
"The gap from Mercedes? Impossible to fill. Those push the button and they are unreachable".
He adds, in a calm tone (unusual for the character he is):
"It must be said for the fans, for the team, for everyone. We will always give our best, there is the constructors' standings to improve".
But this is the state of the art.
"I consider this my best race of the season, because finishing eighteen seconds behind Mercedes without a safety car or anything else is a good result".
On the other hand, listening to Kimi Raikkonen is even worse:
"Unfortunately, even here I found myself struggling with the behavior of the car".
For Finnish, a separate discussion is actually needed, but perhaps it would be too long. The state of the art is this, and nothing can change radically,
"Simply because we can't put our hands on the engine".
Re-explains Fernando Alonso. So the improvements are good, but they remain palliatives. The coach called up during the current championship, Marco Mattiacci, knows it very well, whose goal, as they well know in Ferrari, is to change course. The new team principal must bring Ferrari back to the glories of the years of the Todt-Brawn-Schumacher triad, but the path appears long and arduous.
"It's not just a problem with the engine, but with the whole package: the goal remains to bring out our full potential".
On how, and when, the discussion is open to any possible interpretation. The eye is turned to the future, however. And the big maneuvers, or simply the ideas, are underway. If Ferrari is sad, certainly Red Bull is not laughing. The defeat on the home circuit burns, and the culprit is the Renault engine. Both Newey and Horner, the big names of the World Champion team, said it without allusions or half terms. And another team, Lotus, feels the same way. They have already done the trial, and the sentence has been issued:
"It's time to build an engine yourself. A Red Bull engine".
For the rest, a boring race, with overtaking only in the pits and with the missed duel between the two Mercedes cockerels, the only ones - in fact - who can fight for the win given the car of that year. In any case, Nico Rosberg increases his advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the standings, bringing it to 29 points, but the battle for the victory of the World Championship is still completely open between the two. The only hope of entertainment is this.