Key Talking Points From The Japanese Grand Prix

Conspiracy theories, overtakes, passionate fans and wheel to wheel racing, Suzuka had it all but what did we actually learn from round Fourteen of the championship.

Button Holds all the Cards:

Ron Dennis made it no secret after the race that he wanted Jenson Button to stay at McLaren and see out his contract, however what he didn’t say but what most people in the paddock believe is Ron Dennis would ideally like to initiate the contract break which would mean he could renegotiate Button’s contract so that he is paid less than the sixteen million pounds that was agreed at the end of last season.

With this in mind it becomes clear why Button has refused to rule out retirement and allowed the media to continue the speculation, he is using the power of the media to apply pressure to Ron Dennis without doing anything himself. This means either Ron coughs up and agrees to continue paying Button the money agreed upon for 2016 or Button will just up and leave the sport, McLaren have far more to lose than Button does. With Button commanding such fantastic marketability and experience McLaren would be wise to keep him there for what is likely to be another tough year.

Alonso Breaks his silence:

Fernando Alonso is not one to be considered as wasteful with his words, he rarely says things for the sake of saying them which makes his comments over the team radio during the race very worrying, in-case you missed it you can hear and see what he said here.  This is the first time that Alonso has publicly and consistently slammed the Honda power unit both over team radio and in interviews, Japan seemed to be a strange place start being that various high-ranking Honda personnel were at the track with this being their home race.

I tend to think this was a more calculated and measured move from Alonso, I think he chose to bite his tongue at previous races and wait until the highest level Honda officials would be able to hear his disappointment and embarrassment with the current Honda power unit. I feel he has done this so that the decision makers within Honda feel the pressure to make a change, specifically when he described the car’s performance as “embarrassing” this would have really irked a manufacture that prides itself on being among the best.

I highly doubt this will have any real impact on Honda’s mindset but Alonso has done all he can.

Hamilton makes history but Lauda not impressed:

Lewis Hamilton matched his idol Ayrton Senna’s career record of forty-one wins yesterday with yet again an imperious victory finishing nineteen seconds ahead of his team-mate in second place. His victory was somewhat marred by the comments made by Niki Lauda around the lack of screen time either Mercedes car received despite both cars finishing on the podium. He had the following to say
‘I want to see Bernie next week and ask him what is the reason because if you ask a question you get an answer,’ Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda said.

‘At the moment I can’t say much but it was funny today, even the pit stop of Lewis – the leader – we only saw him driving out. We didn’t even see how he changed his wheels. It was interesting.

‘It was funny to be honest, because I was watching TV all day long, and I saw Saubers and a lot of Honda cars and all this but I don’t know why. Somebody must do the filming here and I have to ask what’s wrong with him.’

Formula One is always writhe with conspiracies but I happen to think this one has some legs, it does seem strange that at every race this year there has been an even spread of coverage for all the top teams as you would expect regardless of location, but in Japan after a week were Red Bull have once again threatened to quit the sport if they cannot be supplied a competitive engine suddenly no Mercedes on our screens, the team who refused to supply Red Bull. I will leave you to decide what you make of this.

Renault buyout cannot come soon enough:

Another race weekend another issue with the finances of Lotus, this time they were locked out of their paddock hospitality unit due to their unpaid bill for the same unit last year. If you watched any of the practice sessions, qualifying or race build up you would have seen various lotus mechanics and staff dotted around the paddock anywhere they could find a spot to chow down on the food Bernie Ecclestone had granted them access to in the F1 Paddock club hospitality unit.

Not only did they not gain access to the unit all weekend they also did limited running in the rain hit Friday practice sessions so that they didn’t risk any damage which would result in further costs the team cannot afford. Despite all of the uncertainty surrounding Lotus and their employees it has been good to see a real show of team spirit and determination to continue battling for the whole season, this attitude may have finally been rewarded as it was announced earlier today that Renault have signed the letter of intent to buy the controlling stake on Lotus F1. Fingers crossed everything goes well and we have Renault back on the grid as a constructor next year.

All in all a fairly uneventful race weekend as we are very much back to the norm now with Mercedes fighting it out among themselves and the rest of the field battling to be best of the rest. A week break now before we return in Russia on October the 9th, check out my page that week for all the information you will need for the race weekend.


By: Chris Laker
Follow his blog here