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Political skills of drivers


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#101 ardbeg

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:53

What are you (and borbon, I guess) counting as the efforts on his part?

In general, I think the word 'political' carries too much in the way of loaded emotional value judgments in the discussion to make grading the drivers on this one very easy. Or rather when we like a person, they have great inter-personal skills. When we are neutral on them, they are political. When we dislike them, they are manipulative.

Yes. And, as I said before, their "political" skills is something we'll hardly ever see indications of. We see attempts to use media for "political" reasons, but we have no way of measuring the success.

What we see as well worded statements/answers/opinions might in reality be a career suicide.

Edited by ardbeg, 02 August 2013 - 10:53.


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#102 P123

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:59

What are you (and borbon, I guess) counting as the efforts on his part?

In general, I think the word 'political' carries too much in the way of loaded emotional value judgments in the discussion to make grading the drivers on this one very easy. Or rather when we like a person, they have great inter-personal skills. When we are neutral on them, they are political. When we dislike them, they are manipulative.


I'm intrigued by that too. It would appear that anything a drivers says or does that somebody dislikes is being automatically labelled as 'political', as being political is laced with negativity.

#103 maverick69

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:09

Because I don't think Hamilton is naturally wired to be political (as his failing at it shows). I'm not into politics - I find it manipulative and generally unsportsmanlike. So, for me, it is brilliant that Hamilton is no good at it.


:lol:

That's like saying: "I like Taki Inoue because he's a crap driver...... and I don't like racing driving. So for me it's brilliant that Taki is crap at it."

Edited by maverick69, 02 August 2013 - 11:11.


#104 sopa

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:55

I think if you want an example of a driver, who was genuinely unpolitical and nice and hence loved by the team, it was Hakkinen. Loved by McLaren and Ron Dennis, but totally unpolitical. I don't think Button is quite that sincere and unpolitical despite him being nice.

#105 ardbeg

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:01

I think if you want an example of a driver, who was genuinely unpolitical and nice and hence loved by the team, it was Hakkinen. Loved by McLaren and Ron Dennis, but totally unpolitical. I don't think Button is quite that sincere and unpolitical despite him being nice.

F1 is a very political sport but very few drivers ever come to a position were they get any political power for themselves. Of those few, very few of them refrain from using it. Mika was one of those.

#106 maverick69

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:05

I think if you want an example of a driver, who was genuinely unpolitical and nice and hence loved by the team, it was Hakkinen. Loved by McLaren and Ron Dennis, but totally unpolitical. I don't think Button is quite that sincere and unpolitical despite him being nice.


Oh. JB works a very good game (good/excellent driving aside)....... He saw off Jaques Villeneuve from his own team........ Made sure that Honda's fave son Sato was kept out of the equation....... Kept Woobens in his box so he could get his WDC....... And worked the "equality" philosophy at McLaren expertly - which no doubt contributed to Hamilton leaving.

He also works the media very well.

Very much the smiling assassin, and for my money, the best driver "politician" in the pitlane :smoking:

#107 john_smith

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:11

A driver who is truly good at politics is never suspected of being involved in politics.


kimi is the best politician! :cool:

#108 Peter Perfect

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 16:46

What are you (and borbon, I guess) counting as the efforts on his part?

In general, I think the word 'political' carries too much in the way of loaded emotional value judgments in the discussion to make grading the drivers on this one very easy. Or rather when we like a person, they have great inter-personal skills. When we are neutral on them, they are political. When we dislike them, they are manipulative.

I guess that's maybe the difference in the point of view. I don't view the word 'political' as an evil word, but purely a way to achieve goals (I'm sure there are some good politicians!). I don't think making it to the pinnacle of F1 as a driver has ever been a simple case of the best drivers rising to the top. Yes, the good ones will attract more attention but there are many cases of good drivers who didn't make it through lack of funding and support while less able drivers did. IMHO every driver is a political animal with some better at it than others, and I don't think for a minute that any of them would voluntarily pass up an opportunity to progress their career because it might be seen as 'political'.

#109 SophieB

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 17:06

Yeah, the word 'political' itself is also definitely problematic because I think for some it seems to be code for something like 'underhanded, ruthless and manipulative', whereas for others - as here it seems - it just means something more like 'effective influencing and social skills'. Makes discussion of whether driver X or driver Y is 'political' difficult when there's not a shared agreement to the word.

(I misspelled 'bourbon'. Sorry, bourbon!)

#110 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 17:09

I thought the Button example was particularly poor. Did he see off Villeneuve with politics or because of existing politics between JV and BAR's revolving door management? Did he see off Sato or did Sato make his own bed with erratic performance? Did he see off Rubens with politics or outperform him in the first half of the season(when Rubens had his number in the second). Did he deal with Hamilton at McLaren with politics or by exceeding the expectations people had for him and being an easier guy to get along with than Hamilton? The latter is the only thing that comes close, and I'd say that's purely down to the difference in their personalities. I don't really see any evidence of the conniving, maneuvering Button.

#111 mardmarium

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 18:07

Yeah, the word 'political' itself is also definitely problematic because I think for some it seems to be code for something like 'underhanded, ruthless and manipulative', whereas for others - as here it seems - it just means something more like 'effective influencing and social skills'. Makes discussion of whether driver X or driver Y is 'political' difficult when there's not a shared agreement to the word.

(I misspelled 'bourbon'. Sorry, bourbon!)


I completely agree.

Talking about me, as far as I know: Political skills “the ability to effectively understand others at work, and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organizational objectives”

I’m not sure why “political skills” sounds like something negative. At least this is the impression I have reading this thread. There are quite positive aspects involved in Political Skills. Effectiveness; to be perceptive observers of others; take control of stressful situations; personal security; social astuteness; interpersonal influence; networking ability; apparent sincerity (to be, or appear to be, honest, open and forthright)...

I don´t know which driver has the best political skills, I would have to know them personally. Of course, from outside, some of them seem to be more politically skilled than others, but the best way to know who the best is, seems to be work with them, interact with them. Our perception can be altered for what other people say about them, or simply because we don´t know them personally.


#112 zack1994

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 18:30

I thought the Button example was particularly poor. Did he see off Villeneuve with politics or because of existing politics between JV and BAR's revolving door management? Did he see off Sato or did Sato make his own bed with erratic performance? Did he see off Rubens with politics or outperform him in the first half of the season(when Rubens had his number in the second). Did he deal with Hamilton at McLaren with politics or by exceeding the expectations people had for him and being an easier guy to get along with than Hamilton? The latter is the only thing that comes close, and I'd say that's purely down to the difference in their personalities. I don't really see any evidence of the conniving, maneuvering Button.

:up:

#113 Watkins74

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 18:42

Yeah, the word 'political' itself is also definitely problematic because I think for some it seems to be code for something like 'underhanded, ruthless and manipulative', whereas for others - as here it seems - it just means something more like 'effective influencing and social skills'. Makes discussion of whether driver X or driver Y is 'political' difficult when there's not a shared agreement to the word.

(I misspelled 'bourbon'. Sorry, bourbon!)

Totally in agreement with that assessment. :cool:

#114 Sakae

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 19:15

I am not surprised how people view politicians. "Honest politician" is not part anymore of modern vocabulary.

#115 sopa

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 19:24

I am not surprised how people view politicians. "Honest politician" is not part anymore of modern vocabulary.


We have been discussing about semantics here. The main question isn't actually about what kind of politicians they are, which would sound negative. But it is about their political skills. Political skills itself is not a negative expression and not automatically attributed to certain people (like those, who lead the country). These are just part of human's skillset, which can very well be positive if engaged in such way.

About Button. We can say he is a good politician. I think saying that he is a politician doesn't mean he is a bad nasty guy like some try to make it out. Yes, he is so good at it that some people don't think he is doing politics. Yes, he has a natural warmth, which makes people feel good to work it. But Button knows his strength and utilizes it to have a good standing in the team.

I think the BAR-Villeneuve example was a good one too. He went to Hamilton's McLaren (lion's den), but going to BAR at the time was tricky too, because BAR was viewed as VIlleneuve's team. Personally I think Button learnt a huge deal from his Briatore-Benetton/Renault experience, where he was out of favour in the team. This taught him how important it is to have good relations in the team and team support on his side. Weird thing is that even despite the BAR/Williams contract debacle Honda guys still rated him highly and their relationship quickly got back on to rails.

#116 Sakae

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 20:29

We have been discussing about semantics here. The main question isn't actually about what kind of politicians they are, which would sound negative. But it is about their political skills. Political skills itself is not a negative expression and not automatically attributed to certain people (like those, who lead the country). These are just part of human's skillset, which can very well be positive if engaged in such way.

About Button. We can say he is a good politician. I think saying that he is a politician doesn't mean he is a bad nasty guy like some try to make it out. Yes, he is so good at it that some people don't think he is doing politics. Yes, he has a natural warmth, which makes people feel good to work it. But Button knows his strength and utilizes it to have a good standing in the team.

I think the BAR-Villeneuve example was a good one too. He went to Hamilton's McLaren (lion's den), but going to BAR at the time was tricky too, because BAR was viewed as VIlleneuve's team. Personally I think Button learnt a huge deal from his Briatore-Benetton/Renault experience, where he was out of favour in the team. This taught him how important it is to have good relations in the team and team support on his side. Weird thing is that even despite the BAR/Williams contract debacle Honda guys still rated him highly and their relationship quickly got back on to rails.

Just to clear things up, I think driver should drive, and comply with his other contractual conditions. That's it, nothing more. There will be time to reflect on one's life in the fast lane later on in life, if one does feel he has to speak up.

#117 KateLM

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 21:35

I'm with SophieB, the definition of what any one person can think of as political is so broad that basically every driver on the grid could be called political - positively or negatively - by one person or another. Personally I would say actions themselves aren't political but the motivations behind them.

Take Button getting McLaren on his side. Or Vettel's chumminess with Bernie. They could be doing it just because of the personalities they have, or because they see it as advantageous to themselves. Whether you think it is political or not is influenced entirely by your view of the driver - none of us know what they think. And likewise, not everyone is going to see getting ahead by making allies as a bad thing, some would see it as just sensible.

#118 SpaMaster

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 22:03

Politics does not ruin the soul of F1 because F1 is politics. Starting from FOM, Ecclestone, FIA, Whiting, teams, Ferrari, McLaren - it is politics and shady business all over. You have to be extremely lucky as a driver or an engineer to not have the detrimental effects of politics. I still believe, for an individual like a driver, a engineer or a mechanic, it is entirely possible to be entirely non-political, honest and straight-forward and achieve your goals. But you have to have the very best of skills for your area.

#119 st99

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 22:17

Vettel political? The only political thing I recall him doing is being "friends" with Bernie. :stoned:
I don't think he got the team around him with politics, they all liked him since he came to RB because he had been a Red Bull guy for a long time and maybe for his personality, in Toro Rosso the team also instantly liked him as soon as he arrived and both Berger and Tost seem to still hold him in high regard, maybe it's easier to work with him, I don't know.

Maybe this season he's starting to be a bit more political with the whole mess in Malaysia but since then not too much.


Edited by st99, 02 August 2013 - 22:19.


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#120 Talisman

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:40

I disagree about Button being a political genius. His attempted move to Williams was a disaster and he was very very lucky indeed to survive it with more than a significant financial penalty. Not checking your existing contract before trying to have it nullified isn't a good political move in my book.

I also have a problem with the notion that drivers are political. They are surrounded by managers etc who play the political game with and for them. Lewis isn't the smartest when it comes to knowing what to say to whom but look at what he managed? Signing a contract with a top f1 team at the age of 12, going from test to race driver at said team where he both fought for the championship and saw off Alonso at the team in his first season. Whatever his skills behind the wheel that required extensive political machinations behind the scenes at each step, most likely spearheaded by his father. As for Vettel, why be political if you can count Helmut Marko and Bernie as your backers?

#121 Sakae

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:30

Vettel strikes me as one of least "political" drivers in the paddock. Maybe that's why I find him easy going and acceptable. From people who are in position to know rumor has it, that he has negotiated his salary with RBR without a lawyer, or any training in such matters (attorney had to get involved only when contract was signed). I am not sure why Ecclestone finds him likeable, and occasionally I was suspicious that he wants to hitch him up with his daughter, but Dr. Marko, as I understand it, after seeing easy going young man, merely has voluntarily undertaken Vettel's mentorship, because he was exposed to traps F1 business is known to have. People forget that not everyone can choose his friends, and especially people in high position usually are the ones who make a first move; not the other way around. Button goes through back door; I read that he pays for dinners of some members of media, and good for him, I say, yet I have never heard or read that Vettel would be doing that, and that's the way I like it.

#122 V3TT3L

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:53

Vettel strikes me as one of least "political" drivers in the paddock.

Really :confused:

What about all that 'I love you, I love you all, you're the best' on the radio after every victory ?

#123 mnmracer

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:09

Really :confused:

What about all that 'I love you, I love you all, you're the best' on the radio after every victory ?

How is that political? :confused:
Never heard a guy being happy before?

#124 Talisman

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:27

Really :confused:

What about all that 'I love you, I love you all, you're the best' on the radio after every victory ?


There isn't a driver on the grid that doesn't thank the team post-race. In fact its only an issue if they don't so I don't see how this is a sign of Vettel being anything.

Edited by Talisman, 03 August 2013 - 10:27.


#125 SpaMaster

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 10:54

Vettel strikes me as one of least "political" drivers in the paddock. Maybe that's why I find him easy going and acceptable. From people who are in position to know rumor has it, that he has negotiated his salary with RBR without a lawyer, or any training in such matters (attorney had to get involved only when contract was signed). I am not sure why Ecclestone finds him likeable, and occasionally I was suspicious that he wants to hitch him up with his daughter, but Dr. Marko, as I understand it, after seeing easy going young man, merely has voluntarily undertaken Vettel's mentorship, because he was exposed to traps F1 business is known to have. People forget that not everyone can choose his friends, and especially people in high position usually are the ones who make a first move; not the other way around. Button goes through back door; I read that he pays for dinners of some members of media, and good for him, I say, yet I have never heard or read that Vettel would be doing that, and that's the way I like it.

Marko is involved only because he is in-charge of the young driver program and Vettel is from it. I am not ready to take any BS such as Marko found a genuine likeable character in Vettel and took him under his wings. This is nothing to do with Vettel as I believe he is a very likeable character, the most fan-friendly in F1 and the most charismatic. I just don't think Marko has those sort of values.

#126 JaredS

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 14:07

Lewis - not political enough for his own good. Seb and Jenson - political when they need to be and do it perfectly i.e political without even coming across like it. Very subtle. Alonso - too political for his own good.

#127 rasul

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 14:21

Lewis - not political enough for his own good. Seb and Jenson - political when they need to be and do it perfectly i.e political without even coming across like it. Very subtle. Alonso - too political for his own good.

I more or less agree with this.

#128 HP

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 16:10

In the end, there are 3 outstanding drivers for me. Senna, Prost, M.Schumacher. They made things happen, they influenced team decisions, and even beyond. (Ron Dennis even thought, that Senna could make it as President of Brazil after his racing career)

Alonso would be good, but if I look closer, at Renault, it was Briatore who called the shots in favor of him, and after that? Well Dennis didn't give in to his demands, and at Ferrari results are lacking (mostly not his fault though). But anyway, Alonso's political moves are so obvious, that I doubt he is that skilled. You need to be able to bluff your way through things, if things don't look as they were supposed to look. As an example, MS manager 'confirmed' to Eddie Jordan, that MS had driven at Spa before, even though MS Spa knowledge was only by using a bicycle. And MS did deliver on that bluff. And obviously later on to come out and say that he hadn't driven at Spa before is a political masterstroke. He looked even better by that 'admission'. From another angle, it seems obvious why Jordan Racing was doomed.

Webber is an interesting case. A lot seems to come from his girlfriend Ann Neal, who is said that she knows how to work the media. Thing is, nothing really helped his career, after he was paired with Vettel. And I don't attribute this to Vettel being very political.

This is well said. And based on that Button is a good example. In this thread people say he is nice an non-political, but he went to lion's den (Hamilton's team) and turned it around in his favour. Coincidence? No.

Perez might be even better. Just judging by the comments that Button makes to his team when Perez is near. On those occasions Button ceases to be Mr. Nice guy, and loses all sense of politics. Or if you want, the team doesn't listen to him.

Also I doubt that Button is really that good anyway in that regards. His position against Hamilton can be summarized as who's preferred driver of Dennis vs. Whitmarsh. So he was subject to a power struggle. Also having to pay a team for breach of contract in the past doesn't has the sound of a savvy politician to me.

#129 GiancarloF1

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 21:03

Vettel is learning more and more but in no way does he come close to Alonso in terms of political manipulation. Alonso currently leads the line and Button follows him closely, but I also think all these guys who are witty with their comments and feedbacks also get caught out with their tactics. Alonso in 2007.

I never liked/disliked Button, but it was clear that the favourability within McLaren turned into his side quite early on. I call that good skills in the political arena, he did nothing wrong. He put his strengths into its best use and Belgium 2012 rings into my mind right away. Same goes for Turkey 2010 and Canada 2011. Every year, I knew there was something fishy with this guy and how he wanted to be loved just as much if not more than Lewis (his team-mate back then). Now he has turned the tide against him from my perspective. I don't see him having a good personality anymore and I never expected racers to whine, I guess that's the difference between a driver and a racer.


+1

I actually liked Button earlier, but his calculating personality and his antics at McLaren quickly made me feel contempt for him. He is clearly the no. 1. political guy on the grid. At least Fernando plays with open cards.

Edited by GiancarloF1, 03 August 2013 - 21:03.


#130 Sakae

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 21:39

Really :confused:

What about all that 'I love you, I love you all, you're the best' on the radio after every victory ?

How do you find politics in love?

#131 Sakae

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 21:45

Marko is involved only because he is in-charge of the young driver program and Vettel is from it. I am not ready to take any BS such as Marko found a genuine likeable character in Vettel and took him under his wings. This is nothing to do with Vettel as I believe he is a very likeable character, the most fan-friendly in F1 and the most charismatic. I just don't think Marko has those sort of values.

My post has to be read within context of previous post, in which it was said, why would Vettel need to be political, if he has two heavyweights on his side (Ecclestone, Marko). From my perspective this guy is everything that Webber (Hamilton, Alonso, Button) aren't, and that's good enough for me.

#132 zack1994

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 21:58

+1

I actually liked Button earlier, but his calculating personality and his antics at McLaren quickly made me feel contempt for him. He is clearly the no. 1. political guy on the grid. At least Fernando plays with open cards.

What antics ?

#133 V3TT3L

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 22:00

How do you find politics in love?

Almost everybody understands politics as a bad thing :evil: :p

Politics is necessary to find common ground with the minimum of sacrifice.

Its better to have a bad deal than a good war  ;)

#134 tkulla

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 23:03

A driver who is truly good at politics is never suspected of being involved in politics.


By this solid definition Felipe Massa has to be the best politician on the grid. Unlike some who use their skill to try to gain an advantage over thir teammates, the Brazillian uses it to merely keep his prestigious and lucrative seat at Ferrari despite being average at best nice his injury in 2009. Impressive indeed, and I wouldn't bet against him lining up on the grid in 2014 in a Ferrari either.

#135 George Costanza

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 02:39

Nelson Piquet has to be up there.

and of course, Ayrton Senna has be the best at this... He was. even better than Alain Prost.

Edited by George Costanza, 04 August 2013 - 02:45.


#136 Talisman

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 12:43

even better than Alain Prost.


Was Prost any good as a politician though? His record with non-Gallic backers would suggest otherwise, whether McLaren, Honda or in his second career as a team manager where he was pretty spectacularly unsuccessful.

#137 holiday

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 15:53

Was Prost any good as a politician though? His record with non-Gallic backers would suggest otherwise, whether McLaren, Honda or in his second career as a team manager where he was pretty spectacularly unsuccessful.


Was Prost a good politician? Do good politicians shag the wife of their team manager? :lol:

This made him certainly a connaisseur, but politically not very astute. Calling the Ferrari - albeit ironically - a "truck" was another blunder.

I think he was a more colourful character than many people like to think of him, but not a Machiavelli.





#138 garoidb

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:23

Senna did not under-perform during the Lotus years. If anything, he over-performed with the Lotus-Renault, and then Lotus-Honda cars. Keep in mind one of the big problems with the Lotus-Renaults was fuel consumption. Kind of hard to do better when your car runs out of fuel while you are in the lead - 1985 San Marino GP.


Hard, but possible. What car won that race?

#139 garoidb

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:28

Was Prost any good as a politician though? His record with non-Gallic backers would suggest otherwise, whether McLaren, Honda or in his second career as a team manager where he was pretty spectacularly unsuccessful.


I think you are on to something. The political skills we are talking about are mostly visible when they backfire.

I would have thought that Lauda and Stewart were both adept at team politics, both during their racing careers and afterwards (notwithstanding some controversies involving Lauda).

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#140 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:25

Stewart certainly is a good case, as his activities were much wider than just being a driver. Fighting for safety and later running a team.

Lauda as well, as he had his airline business as well. But we also know Lauda helped to turn Ferrari around in mid-70's by exploiting team's own test track and other strengths. So he certainly worked in the background as well to make titles happen in addition to driving.

I'd be tempted to take both of them over Prost in terms of political skill. As Prost may have been just a bit fortunate with circumstances that his countryman happened to be a FISA president at the time, which helped his cause.

Any politics in McLaren in 1984, when Lauda beat Prost? :p

#141 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:30

Hard, but possible. What car won that race?


Should have been Prost were it not for that absurdity that happened with the weigh-in at the end of the race.

Keep in mind, de Angelis was initially DQ'd for the same reason as Prost, but only reinstated after the fact.

#142 SophieB

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:10

Any politics in McLaren in 1984, when Lauda beat Prost? :p


Is this a rhetorical question? Because if you believe Lauda's version of events then yes, you betcha. (If you already know it's 'yes', then I look silly, I guess.)

#143 holiday

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:13

Any politics in McLaren in 1984, when Lauda beat Prost? :p


Lauda was wary of Dennis favouring Prost. I read him recalling one race where he went straight to the box without prior notifying the team to pick up Prost's tyres because he was afraid that the team would put him on a different set of tyres to slow him down deliberately.

Notwithstanding, both NL and AP respected each other pretty much and even got along well. On the morning of the final race they even had an open exchange about with which women they had spent the night together. In today's F1 climate absolutely impossible.


#144 SophieB

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:23

To add a bit of detail to holiday's answer without seeking to take anything away, Lauda claims that Dennis told him on a couple of occasions how he resented both the large fortune he had to pay to secure Lauda's services and Lauda's lack of personal gratitude and friendliness. Lauda also reflected that the many later mechanical woes he encountered and the cooling in support from the garage really got to him, making him doubt himself at times, wondering if he had suddenly turned into a car breaker. He also describes how he thinks Ron deliberately shifted the support in the garage to Alain as the cheaper driver.

Of Alain, as holiday says, he is very complimentary, saying he found him warm and friendly, and relates how he offered him encouragement when the heartbroken Prost lost the WDC by that smallest of margins.

#145 surbjits

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:00

By this solid definition Felipe Massa has to be the best politician on the grid. Unlike some who use their skill to try to gain an advantage over thir teammates, the Brazillian uses it to merely keep his prestigious and lucrative seat at Ferrari despite being average at best nice his injury in 2009. Impressive indeed, and I wouldn't bet against him lining up on the grid in 2014 in a Ferrari either.


:up: :lol: