#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 1st September 2014

•September 1, 2014 • 21 Comments

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Previously on TheJudge13:

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 9th Jordan

Voice of the #F1 Fans: Jenson Button: ‘Fake it ‘till you make it’

#F1 Features: The Generation Game – #SocialHysteria


OTD Lite: 2002 – Belgium GP masterclass by Schumi

Parabolica changes welcomed by ‘happy’ Grosjean

Boy Wonder Verstappen crashes in Rotterdam

Greeks would rather an F1 race than to eat

Ferrari exit could open for Alonso on Monday – report (GMM)

The Force India roller coaster


OTD Lite: 2002 – Belgium GP  masterclass by Schumi

Throughout the seasons I have watched Formula One, I longed for a time that Ferrari would enjoy being the dominant force as Mclaren and Williams had experienced in the preceding years. When Schumacher took the title in 2000 the tifosi could barely conceal their delight and their hopes for the coming years. So it proved as the best driver and a perfect collection of individuals would lead to a domination that had never been experienced in the sport.

Yet between the German driver and his team boss, Jean Todt, they almost crippled F1 fatally and practically destroyed a 50 year old legacy. With the cynical abuse of power – and forcing Rubens Barrichello to gift MS the Austrian GP in 2002 – the fans and the FIA had turned on the most famous team in the sport. When Barrichello was allowed to win races it felt like gifts handed out to assuage the criticism aimed at the Maranello squad.

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What all motor-sport fans wanted was an honest display and if it meant Michael winning every race, so be it, “demonstrate your superiority.” On this day, at Spa-Francorchamps, Schumacher displayed possibly the most brutal display of perfection witnessed in the modern era.

Starting from pole, he was leading by two seconds at the end of the first lap. By the fifteenth lap his advantage over RB had grown to fifteen seconds with Montoya in third a full half a minute behind. Many reports called this victory drive a ‘massacre’ but that didn’t merely apply to the opposition. It should have underlined the disparity between the Ferrari team-mates..

The Jackal

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Parabolica changes welcomed by ‘happy’ Grosjean

When TJ13 first posted pictures of the tarmac having been laid across the iconic Parabolica corner at Monza, fans were vociferous in their condemnation of the continued dumbing down of the sport. Of course safety was cited as the drive behind the decision but many felt that it would merely allow mistakes to go unpunished.

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The first podcast produced for TJ13 covered the news with outlandish suggestions to bring back some element of punishment for transgressing the confines of the circuit but it appears that the so-called professionals welcome this unfavourable change.

Romain Grosjean recently spoke about the upcoming Italian Grand Prix and offered what many will regard as a spokesman for the drivers: “Monza is a great track, with a long history of racing. There is a unique atmosphere in the surroundings of the park which makes the environment definitely special. Of course the Ferrari fans are part of this and it’s nice to be able to run in a place so legendary.”

Italian Grand Prix, Monza 05-08 September 2013“The Parabolica curve is very fast and demanding and so from the point of view of safety this is a good thing for the drivers who have a little more margin. I remember that in the past, if you braked a little later, it was very easy to go straight into the gravel and then hit the guard rail at high speed. Now I think you will see the drivers find the limit a little faster than before, because we know that there won’t be gravel and the possibility of having an accident is greatly reduced.”

Irony is obviously not a pre-requisite of a Formula One driver’s armoury. Maybe Verstappen’s age is not an issue any longer – it seems that you need cotton wool wrapping everything.

Charlie says, “About 35 per cent of the gravel has been replaced,” according to Autosport, adding “This has been requested for safety reasons by the FIA and the drivers, just as it has been at virtually every other circuit that F1 races on.

Of course we know that it is not as punishing to a driver who leaves the track but that is the price that we pay for much improved safety: a price both the drivers and I believe is worth paying.”

This a rather a different tale from the original FIA leak which suggested the work at Parabolica had been carried out with a view to the return of motor bike racing to Monza – as reported by TJ13 early last month.

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Boy Wonder Verstappen crashes in Rotterdam

It was almost inevitable. Max Verstappen’s first public outing in an F1 car and he mirrors an accident that Kamui Kobayashi suffered in Moscow last year. Of course, the Japanese driver is a veteran, in comparison, but any doubters will rejoice this turn of events – with a lad claiming recently that he drives in a similar manner to Fernando Alonso…

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Greeks would rather an F1 race than to eat

In 2004, Formula One ran a demonstration in London’s Regent Street with drivers including Jenson Button and Nigel Mansell. It attracted thousands of spectators and initiated talks from within Bernie Ecclestone’s inner sanctum of taking F1 to the cities of the world.

At various times, London, Rome, Paris and New York have been put forward as possible venues but the logistics of holding a race – and the fees demanded by FOM – have put off regional and national governments.

With the debut of the FIA Formula E championship just days away, its green credentials and free hosting fees have seen a plethora of cities sign up with Beijing, Buenos Aires, Miami, Monte Carlo and London being amongst the venues for it’s inaugural series – with many others expressing an interest in the new FIA backed initiative.

It is hardly surprising that F1, or more specifically Mr E, have turned their attention to nipping this newcomer in the bud. Be it Group C sportscars, European truck racing or the Indycar championship extending beyond the American mainland, Bernie has run campaigns over the years to remove TV rights from these rivals and cement the position of F1 as the pinnacle.

With recent news that the financially crippled Greece was looking to host a Grand Prix – came disbelief from all quarters in regards to its funding when the Greek people were suffering hardships from badly run governments and continuous borrowing from the Eurozone.

As always, the gospel according to Bernie suggests that the Greeks are anxious to host a Grand Prix and stated he would meet the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras to see if the project is viable.

The circuit would be built in the town of Keratsini-Drapetsona which lies 10kms from Athens and is the site of one of the oldest Mediterranean ports – similar, in fact, to the Spanish Valencia track which hosted a race between 2008 – 2012 before falling into disrepair.

The design of the Greek track has been released by the Dielpis Formula One Group, which was founded by local entrepreneurs and affiliated racing clubs. Whilst the Hellenic state is currently facing deep economic problems, the event would not be financed by public funds… but by private funds apparently.

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To get the project ready for a race debut, it would cost in the region of 800 million euro whilst an annual agreement of between 30-40 million euro would be required in negotiations with Mr E.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Ferrari exit could open for Alonso on Monday – report

Formula One World ChampionshipMonday could be the magic day in Fernando Alonso’s current Ferrari contract. Boss Marco Mattiacci has been happily – and unofficially – ‘confirming’ for 2015 the Italian team’s existing driver lineup of Alonso alongside Kimi Raikkonen. But actual confirmation of the news, for example in the form of a press release, is in fact not expected this weekend at Monza.

“There will be no announcement at Monza with regards to the drivers,” Mattiacci is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint, “because there’s nothing to announce.” He says that is because Alonso and Raikkonen are already under contract for 2015.

Technically, that’s true. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims that September 1 could change everything. Correspondent Michael Schmidt cited ‘internal sources’ as confirming that Alonso’s contract contains a clause that opens the potential exit to the Spaniard if he is not within 25 points of the championship leader on September 1.

Prior to Monza, Alonso is actually closer to 100 points behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. It doesn’t mean Alonso will jump at the chance to leave, but Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports that – despite their history – McLaren chief Ron Dennis has made an astonishing offer of $32 million per year to Alonso.

The report said Dennis, although having spectacularly fallen out with Alonso in 2007, “has spoken with Alonso” about the Spaniard’s return to Woking to head the new Honda-powered project. Alonso, however, might be alarmed by the latest rumours emerging from Japan.

The rumours suggest Honda, returning to F1 in 2015 after a six-year absence, is currently “far behind the performances” achieved by leading engine supplier Mercedes as it works on its all-new turbo V6 ‘power unit’ for McLaren.

TJ13 comment:”It’s not unusual,” warbled Tom Jones several decades ago and once again Formula One proves that the aptly titled ‘silly season’ is just that. In seasons gone by drivers have left teams because of performance clauses built into their contracts – hardly one way traffic though as teams will remove a driver they believe is under-performing too. The performance clause is historically acknowledged as around the time of August, and the team has to be in the top three otherwise the driver can initiate the escape.

What is unusual is the specific 25 points ( a race win ) behind the leader. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 Alonso has trailed the championship leader by 41,46 and 102 respectively. In 2012 he led the title race by the time the teams reached the end of August.

In the last few days Ron Dennis has stated “we’ll always look to employ the best drivers available – but they have to be available, don’t they?” Or in other words, if the driver is unhappy elsewhere his legal team will find a way including the contract fine print – although Honda have already stated that they had given the date of the 15th August as the cut-off point. It was extended for various reasons to the 20th but eventually Honda attention turned to Sebastien Vettel as a replacement. Even with an Alonso victory in Spa and the Mercedes duo failing to score, he would have remained over 60 points behind.

Most misleading of all the quotes perhaps is the “astonishing offer of $32 million'” which when compared to the earnings list published a few weeks ago sounds remarkable until the reader becomes aware that $32 M is actually the equivalent of £20M, or in effect £2M less than Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are currently earning…

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The Force India roller coaster

The wheels of the Indian judicial system may indeed move slowly, yet there is a relentless nature to the process and an inevitability that justice will be done – something Germany may view with green eyed envy.

This is certainly true in the case of Shahara top honcho – Rubrata Roy – who has been banged up in a New Dahli jail for ripping off millions of small Indian investors in a property pyramid-esque scam.

TJ13 first wrote about the possible deck of cards collapse at Force India some two years ago, and now one of the two major shareholders is indefinitely incarcerated and the other feeling the pinch of the long arm of the law.

Within the past hour, The Times of India reports the United Bank of India have made the first move in what could well result in criminal proceedings against Vijay Mallya. “We have declared Vijay Mallya and three other directors of Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulters,” United Bank of India executive director Deepak Narang stated.

A ‘wilful defaulter’ cannot borrow money from the institution who has declared them to be as such, and the other 16 banks which financed the doomed Kingfishers Airlines will all follow suit.

Further, the $660 million, owed to the consortium of banks is likely to see criminal proceedings brought against Mallya in the future.

Finally, the banks will seek to recover as much of this debt as possible and have already agreed to sell on collateral Mallya put up against the loans. This includes shareholdings in United Spirits, a business bought by Diageo from Mallya,Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd, Mallya’s family Goa villa and Kingfisher House in Mumbai.

There has been further suggestions that Mallya’s last company – United Breweries which was founded by his father is also at risk, as the banks and the Indian judicial system persue him relentlessly to repay the loans he took.

Force India were never offered as collateral to the banks, and indeed this year Mallya has been good to his word on the inward investment the team would enjoy.

However, gone is the promise of 50 million ‘whatevers’ and this has been replaced by an upgrade in the CFD capacity. Yet the funds for these upgrades was just recently forthcoming, and the new cabinets had acquired at the turn of the year had lain empty for some months.

The reason Force India has been slipping in the pecking order is due to the team’s inability to properly design and model new aero parts for the car. Now, with 7 races to go, they have the resources to resume the hunt and with McLaren just 2 points ahead, the team are bullish of their chances of finishing 5th.

Longer term as Mallya is squeezed incrementally; his ability to raise cash to fund the team will get tougher. So as with Caterham, it’s likely the Mexican’s who visited Silverstone during the factory shutdown will wait it out for the Force India team to hit rock bottom – before offering the proverbial One currency unit as consideration for a contract to buy.

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 9th Jordan

•August 31, 2014 • 53 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: BlackJack’sBriefs

As with my series on drivers, I started with the Wiki ‘List of Formula One Constructors’ and quickly reduced 136 to 43 eligible constructors by removing the Champions, and those hopefuls who failed to last beyond two or three seasons, and also those who only competed before 1958. [See Part-20 - Intro for details.]

“You don’ understand. I coulda had class. I coulda bin a contender. I could’ve been somebody…”

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Jordan

Born in “Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty…”, in 1948, Edward Patrick Jordan was nicknamed ‘Flash’ at school, because of his rhyming surname, and his bold dress sense…

Originally intended to become a priest… and then a dentist… Eddie eventually joined the Bank of Ireland.

On holiday in Jersey in 1970 Eddie discovered karting, and won the Irish Kart Championship in 1971 before moving to FFord in 1974, sitting out 1976 with both legs broken in a crash, FAtlantic in 1977, winning the Irish FAtlantic Championship in 1978, and F3 in 1979, as was the fashion ‘in those days’…

In 1979 Eddie also had one drive in a F2 race, and did some testing for McLaren but, by the end of the year, and short of ‘readies’, he turned to team management and formed Eddie Jordan Racing.

During the 80’s Jordan had considerable success in F3, with David Leslie, James Weaver, Martin Brundle, and with Johnny Herbert (who won the 1987 British F3 Championship), before moving to F3000, with Herbert and Martin Donnelly. In 1989 the Jordan team dominated this series with Jean Alesi taking the Championship. At the end of the year Gary Anderson was ‘poached’ from Reynard and became Jordan GP’s Chief Designer when Eddie moved the operation up to F1.

Eddie became known as a mentor of young talent but it is perhaps not so widely recognised that he had an eye for also spotting this potential talent. As well as Alesi and Herbert Jordan also provided opportunities for Barrichello, Giancarlo Fisichella, Eddie Irvine, and both Schumachers. Additionally, Damon Hill, Thierry Boutsen, Heinz- Harald Frentzen, Roberto Moreno, and Jarno Trulli have all driven for Jordan… while John Watson and Ayrton Senna did service as test drivers.

1991

By the standards of today’s new F1 entrants Jordan was instantly successful… and infinitely more renowned… Starting their first season with ‘veteran’ Andrea de Cesaris and newcomer Bertrand Gachot couldn’t by any means have been regarded as showing promise – de Cesaris’ career, after ten full seasons, had still to take off, while in the previous two seasons Gachot had only managed to qualify for five out of thirty races, and only finished twice.

With Jordan he managed to score his first Championship points and post fastest lap in Hungary, although, after starting from 16th on the grid, nobody seems to have explained, nor queried, quite how this happened… However Gachot was subsequently incarcerated at ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ after assaulting a London Cabbie… and was replaced at Spa by newcomer, Michael Schumacher, a ‘junior’ at Mercedes Benz who had been showing promise in sports-cars.

Seeing an opening, Mercedes offered Jordan $150,000 to take their boy under Eddie’s wing. A test impressed the team and Schumacher’s manager assured them Michael was ‘very familiar’ with Spa… but omitted to add, ‘as a spectator’… Schumacher had never driven at Spa and probably knew it less well than ‘bruznic’…!

Everyone seems to ‘remember’ how well Schumacher performed, although all he really did was qualify 7th, because he retired on the first lap with clutch problems…

And then it turned nasty. A certain person at Benetton had noticed the huge cheque proffered by Mercedes and, when he discovered Jordan only had an ‘agreement in principle’, because of the rush in negotiations, a little conversation took place, out of Eddie’s hearing and, lo and behold, by the next race, Schumacher had allowed himself to be lured away by ‘Briatore the Brash’… who, to paraphrase my late mother, was never hiding behind the door when money was being handed out…!

Jordan went to court but his signed ‘agreement’ was trumped by a signed contract. A lesser-known story is that, the following year, when Mercedes decided to move to F1 with Sauber, Peter Sauber pointed out a little clause in Schumacher’s sports-car contract that he must drive for them if they moved into F1. Guess who won that argument…?

Meanwhile ‘The Beast’ had graciously exchanged his discarded driver, Roberto Moreno, to Jordan but, after two races, he was dropped again, in favour of Alex Zanardi, and Roberto’s career went to pieces… despite having already been more successful in the Benetton, this year, than Schumacher would be. Moreno returned to IndyCars where, in 2000, he placed 3rd in the Championship.

Zanardi was having great success in F3000 and Eddie was quick to give him a try, but his three races were disappointing and, after a non-season with Minardi, and two years with the dying Lotus team, he went to IndyCars. In his first year he scored 4 race wins, 6 poles, and 6 fastest laps, to finish 3rd in the Championship. In the next two years he won 12 races, and took both Championships, which resulted in an offer from Williams but, while his teammate invariably finished in the points, Alex failed to score even one.

Alex returned to IndyCars but a massive crash caused him to lose both legs. He returned to motor-racing with BMW in the WTCC, and won a few races, but is now better known for his paracyclist gold medals… and, having side-tracked myself (for a good cause, though) we can return to Jordan… who managed to finish the year in 5th place, out of 19 teams, after de Cesaris scored two 4th places. The top teams were McLaren and Williams, the mid group consisted of Ferrari and Benetton, while Jordan, with 13pts., was the best of the rest.

The 7up Jordan 191 is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful F1 cars ever.

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1992

After a promising debut season Jordan were obliged to cut back for 1992, losing their Ford engines because of unpaid bills, taking the cheaper (i.e. free…) Yamaha engines, and acquiring the South African energy/chemical company, Sasol, as primary sponsor. Both drivers were dropped in favour of Mauricio Gugelmin who, after four dismal years with March/Leyton House, discovered Jordan was even worse – perhaps he was too ‘nice’, because he later spent seven consecutive years (with minimal success) in IndyCars. His teammate was Stefano Modena, who apparently was not as ‘nice’, and this marked the fifth and final year of his F1 ‘career’…

Modena always drove with one glove turned inside out… and would not allow anyone to touch his car once he was inside other than the guy who fastened the safety belts. During his F1 career it was not unusual to see Modena get out of his car after being strapped in, and get back in again, if he had seen someone touch the car.

Jordan slipped to 11th place overall, out of sixteen teams

1993

The Jordan 193 was fitted with a Hart V10 – the Yamaha having been of little value – over-weight and very under- powered. The car had numerous faults and, although it was sometimes very fast, almost reaching the podium at Donnington before running out of fuel five laps before the end, the team didn’t score a single point until the penultimate round, with 5th and 6th places.

For their third year running Jordan had two new drivers, this time rookie Barrichello who had impressed in his first three years in single-seaters by consecutively winning the FVauxhallLotus, and the British F3 series, followed by 3rd in the F3000 Championship… alongside Ivan Capelli who, after eight years in F1, was already on his way out – after two races he was replaced by Thierry Boutsen, who was also at the bottom of the slippery slope after ten years of showing promise – 3 wins, 12 podiums, 1 pole, and 1 fastest lap.

Boutsen had previously been ‘let go’ at Williams when Renault wanted Mansell as their Championship contender, leaving Thierry to accept a drive in the substandard Ligier team for two years… and now Jordan, where he was outpaced by Rubens, failed to score any points in ten races, and was replaced by Marco Apicella (another F3000 ‘star’) for Monza who, in his one and only F1 race, joined a 5-car crash on the first lap and is regarded as having had the shortest F1 career ever – about 800m.

Eddie continued (forlornly…?) to trawl the F3000 grids and arrived in Portugal with Emanuele Naspetti, who at least had experienced a handful of F1 drives in 1992 with March, as well as six retirements and a DNQ with Jordan Racing in 1990, so Eddie should have known better… He lasted eight laps before the engine expired.

Now Eddie seemed to scrape the barrel by signing a man who had done well in FFord back in 1987, and in F3000 in 1990, and had been showing a little more promise in F3000 earlier in 1993 – Eddie Irvine – who, in his first F1 race, in Japan, qualified the 193 in 8th place and passed “three cars on the outside at the first corner, for fifth…” It only lasted a couple of laps, but it must have been good while it lasted.

Later in the race, still racing hard with Damon, Senna came up to lap them both. Irvine allowed him through but Senna was unable to pass Damon… so Irvine unlapped himself: “I was laughing my head off in the car…” and rejoined his tussle with Damon. Senna was incensed and afterwards visited the Jordan garage, and punched Irvine in the face. Not exactly the stuff champions should be made of.

Nevertheless Irvine scored 1pt. in his first GP, while Rubens finished 5th – but these were the only points Jordan scored in the entire season.

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1994

For the first time Jordan retained their same drivers for a second season and, with a simpler design from Anderson, saw a return to the results of their first season. In the first two races Rubens finished 4th & 3rd, scoring his and Jordan’s first podium. Irvine, however, had been deemed responsible for a multiple shunt in Brazil and banned for one race. The team appealed, and were granted a 3-race ban instead…! Aguri Suzuki took over for one race, and de Cesaris for two, and managed to score a 4th place.

During the year Schumacher also received a 2-race ban, for ignoring a black-flag, and Hakkinen and Barrichello both received a suspended 1-race ban for colliding. Later, Hakkinen received a 1-race ban for causing another crash, and Irvine received another 1-race ban (suspended). It was quite a year. There don’t seem to have been too many sissy drive-through penalties, twenty years ago…

At Spa Rubens became the youngest driver ever to take pole but spun into the barrier during the race. In the end Jordan’s 28pt. tally was more than double their first season and returned them to 5th spot, in the mid-rank behind McLaren

1995

1995 was a major turn-around year in F1 – chassis and engine regs were much changed to reduce speeds, and to improve driver safety. The (real) Lotus team had collapsed, and was no more, and the under-financed Larrouse, though entered, didn’t put in a single appearance all year, and the Simtek team just disappeared after Monaco… and the new Forti Corse team, after twenty years in lower formulae, arrived from Alessandria, to join in the fray – with big saddle-bags of dinero from Brazil… financing Pedro Diniz on his F1 debut.

Although retaining the same drivers for a third year Jordan took on a new engine deal with Peugeot. Indeed Benetton, McLaren, Footwork, Pacific, Ligier and Sauber all had new engine contracts. ‘Baron Basher Briatore of Benetton’, the scourge of the pit-lane, after cheating in 1994, had done a deal with Max Mosley to move some of the Benetton personnel to Ligier… Quite how this assuaged his guilt for cheating is never explained, but he later ‘got his’ in Singapore.

In the process Briatore ‘persuaded’ Mugen-Honda to cancel their engine deal with Minardi and deliver a truck-load of V10s to Magny Cour, leaving Minardi having to build a new chassis to take a Ford V8. Legal action was announced by Minardi but . . . At the same time concerns were being expressed about just who owned Ligier. Benetton’s Tom Walkinshaw (a British ‘wheeler-dealer’) now assumed ‘control’ of Ligier and several teams
exclaimed the similarity between the B195 and the JS41, the only apparent difference being the engines. Walkinshaw was quoted: “Of course the damn thing looks the same but, if you go into the detail of the car, nothing is interchangeable…!

On top of all this the calendar was also up in the air. The first race was to have been at a new circuit in Argentina but there was doubt it would be ready. Round two was expected in Brazil, which was still reeling from Senna’s death… and round three in Japan was doubtful after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Spain, San Marino and Italy were also threatened… but a revised calendar got things under way, although it would not be plain-sailing.

Seven GP were affected by rain, and four races were red-flagged on the first lap. A notable exception to these dramas was Jean Alesi taking his only GP victory, in Canada, the last time a GP was won with a V12 engine. Mansell made a return to F1 with McLaren but couldn’t fit in the car, having claimed he would fight for the championship with Williams but Frank went with Coulthard. Mika Hakkinen nearly died in a crash in Australia, and rookie, Taki Inoue, was twice hit (once in practice and once during a race) by course cars… Once might have been considered unlucky but twice… seems like sheer carelessness. (© Oscar Wilde…)

Having scored their first championship points in Canada four years earlier Jordan took 2nd and 3rd places behind Alesi for their first double-podium, and finished 6th in the Championship.
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Forti Corsa’… Started by Guido Forti in the 70’s, they won four Italian F3 Championships in the 80’s before establishing a relationship with Brazilian money-man, Abilio dos Santos Diniz, who backed his son, Pedro’s, entry in F3000, and then provided the wherewithal to take Forti into F1, along with Parmalat sponsorship.

Unfortunately their first car, the FG01 (inherited from the team’s buyout of the defunct Fondmetal team, and thus never likely to be any good), was nothing to write home about and their 3-year contract with Diniz was poached by… well, who do you think…? That jet-setting whiz-kid with no moral fibre, Briatore, who lured the Diniz Dinero to Ligier for 1996, leaving Forti with inadequate funds to complete a full season.

Flavio-Briatore-001-W@At the same time Parmalat (and Marlboro), who were apparently sponsoring Diniz, rather than Forti, through their Brazilian-licensed operation (with which Forti Snr. was involved) also moved their funds (or was it really the same money…?) to Ligier… Thus, in 1996, with Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini driving, the team failed to qualify nine times, failed to start once, and suffered seven retirements, in the first ten races… and failed to practice in Germany, before disappearing. This photo shows the distraught Flavio when he heard what he had done…

Six years later the huge Parmalat dairy empire crashed, with fraudulent debts of €14.3bn. The founder/CEO received ten years, seven other executives and bankers were acquitted (tell me about it), and eight other defendants ‘Bid-a-Bernie’ farewell, and settled out of court…

Meanwhile Forti had done a deal with the unknown Shannon Racing, an Irish registered company of Milanese financiers (Am I the only one who finds this suspicious…?), to sell 51% of Forti Corse but, as actual cash-money failed to materialise, and Cosworth reclaimed their engines, the team was unable to even practice in Germany. The argument as to who owned what was fought out like Bleak House in the Italian courts. By the time Shannon won the case Forti no longer existed – and Shannon also folded.

Forti Corse is regarded as the last of the ‘private’ entrants in F1, suffering, as did Simtek and Pacific at the same time, from the 1995 regulation that required all entrants to design and build their own cars, and the 1996 107% qualifying rule. The Big Boys now ruled the roost.
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1996

But what about Jordan… Irvine had chosen money over championships, and moved to Ferrari, and Rubens was joined by Martin Brundle, hot-footing it from Ligier, for his twelfth and final season in F1… Sponsorship came from Benson & Hedges and the 196 came from Anderson’s pen… but all to little effect – Jordan again finished 5th in the Championship, but without a single podium finish.

1997

Now seemed to be time for a change. Brundle finally retired, having never won an F1 GP, and Rubens moved to the new Stewart team, to be replaced by rookie Ralf Schumacher and (after Mansell turned down the drive) relative newcomer, after half a dozen races with Minardi, Giancarlo Fisichella… and Jordan enjoyed their most successful season yet, still in 5th place, but with three podiums, Fisi’s fastest lap in Spain, his ‘nearly’ win in Germany and a brilliant 2nd place at Spa.

The year is also infamously remembered for Michael Schumacher’s ‘inadvertent’ collision with his Championship contender, Villeneuve (as had ‘accidentally’ happened in 1994 with Damon Hill…), and his subsequent disqualification from 2nd place in the Championship.

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1998

Giancarlo’s prowess had not gone unnoticed along the pit-lane and Eddie’s talent spotting was rewarded by having his newcomer spirited away to Benetton by. . . Do I really have to write that name again…!? In his place came Damon Hill after a less than happy year at Arrows, having previously been ‘let go’ by Frank Williams, after winning the 1996 World Championship.

Mike Gascoyne replaced Anderson in the drawing office, mid-season, while the Peugeot engines were returned to France and Prost GP (which had taken over Ligier for 1997), and replaced by Mugen Honda power.

The first half of the season was disastrous, with a single point being scored but, from Silverstone onwards, both cars finished in the points in almost every race. In a rain-soaked Belgian GP several early crashes allowed Hill to take the lead on the restart before Michael Schumacher took command… before he crashed into the back of Coulthard, who was being lapped. At the halfway point this put Hill back in the lead, with a hard-charging Ralf in 2nd… which seemed to throw Eddie out of kilter… Having previously come close to winning he now had his cars in first & second. The news was sent from Aix to Hill, effectively saying: ‘Ralf is faster than you…’ to which Damon sent the reply to Ghent: “If we race we might take each other out. But we might take 1st & 2nd if we hold position!”

I don’t think Eddie has ever explained why Ralf was told to push but, after coming to his senses, and telling his drivers to hold their positions, Eddie was faced with an over-exuberant Michael charging into the Jordan control box and actually telling Eddie to get Damon to move out of the way of his brother… There’s arrogance… and then there’s F1 arrogance… and then there is something else… Jordan managed to oust Michael and his cars went on to take 1st and 2nd – Damon… Ralf…

At Monza Ralf scored another podium and Jordan’s total of 34pts. took them to 4th in the Championship, firmly in the mid-rank, with Williams and Benetton.

1999

Throughout 1998 Ralf had apparently been in conflict with Eddie, as had Heinz-Harald Frentzen with Frank Williams so it was perhaps a surprise that the two drivers simply swapped places for 1999. German, Frentzen, came from karts and FF to F.Opel-Lotus and F3 where he came up against Michael Schumacher and the ONS offered an F1 test to whichever of them first won a F3 race. This eventually went to Schumacher, after Frentzen claimed Michael pushed him off the track. Hmm…

Frentzen then had three years with Sauber (despite an offer from Williams to replace Senna), before replacing Hill at Williams. In 1997, after Schumacher’s disqualification from the Championship results, he finished 2nd to teammate Villeneuve.

At Jordan he now joined Hill to drive Gascoyne’s 199 (Anderson having gone to Stewart GP), Jordan’s most successful car, taking two wins, one pole, and four further podiums, whilst making a spirited challenge for the Championship, finishing third to Hakkinen and Irvine, with 54pts. Hill’s dismal tally of just 7pts. suggested his heart was no longer in it and, at the end of the year, at Suzuka, Damon retired from the race, and F1, complaining of fatigue. Frentzen was regarded by some as the driver of the year… which makes one wonder why his name is rarely mentioned today.

Jordan’s tally of 61pts. took them to 3rd in the Championship, some way behind Ferrari and McLaren, but far ahead of the rest.

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2000

For the new millennium (though one year early) Jordan decided a car number of 100 didn’t make sense (though better than Microsoft’s attitude to the future…) and adopted a new system with: EJ10. Unfortunately this car failed to capitalise on their previous success and the car was dreadfully unreliable, achieving three front-row starts, and two podiums for Frentzen, causing Jordan to plummet to 6th in the Championship. Hill was replaced by Jarno Trulli, from the dismal Prost team, who was a lightning qualifier but rarely seemed able to convert this to points.

2001

Perhaps Gascoyne’s departure to Benetton (I’m definitely not going to mention ‘his’ name again…) didn’t help matters but Eghbal Hamidy’s EJ11, despite showing potential, did nothing for the Jordan team’s reputation. Trulli persevered, and often had flashes of brilliance, but a string of low-points finishes left Jordan in 5th place at the end of the year.

Additionally Frentzen became very disenchanted, and even offered to pay for development out of his own pocket. After Silverstone, and a very public row, Eddie had had enough and Frentzen was fired, replaced for one race by test-driver, Ricardo Zonta, and then for the rest of the season by Jean Alesi, who had had a similar disagreement with Prost… while Frentzen slipped in by the back door to effect a swap. This would be Jean’s final year in F1, sort of ending where he had started, with Eddie’s F3000 team, winning the 1989 Championship.

After leaving Jordan, Frentzen suffered from the subsequent collapse of Prost, and also of Arrows in mid-2002, and had a final season with Sauber, where he had started, back in 1994… before moving on to DTM.

2002
Jordan now made big changes which saw the return of Fisichella (from Benetton, swapping with Trulli) and Anderson, and the arrival of BAR test-driver, Takuma Sato, which Eddie has since claimed was to sweeten Honda but, after beating BAR two years running, Honda pulled away from Jordan for 2003 and Sato returned to BAR, for three years, and then Super Aguri for two and a bit years, before moving to IndyCars where, in 2013, he became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.

2003

This was the year Eddie must have wished he’d been out when the phone rang. Less resilient people might have wished they’d never been born. Sponsorship was constantly being reduced as the team slipped further away from any F1 team’s goal – to win races and, perhaps, the Championship. With Honda consolidating at BAR Jordan was reduced to less competitive Cosworth units. At the end of the year they had dropped to 9th, ahead of only Minardi, despite winning the Brazilian GP, under rather bizarre conditions, when the race was red-flagged after a major crash in heavy rain, and Fisichella was granted 2nd to Raikkonen… A week later the FIA accepted a mistake had been made, and the two positions were reversed.

Fisi was partnered by ‘newcomer-from-nowhere’, Ralph Firman, 1996 British F3 Champion, and 2002 Formula Nippon Champion, who did no better and, after a major crash, was replaced for two races by Zsolt Baumgartner, whose only claim to fame is to be the first Hungarian driver in F1.

In June Jordan sued Vodafone for £150 million, claiming the company had made a verbal contract for a three-year sponsorship deal, but gave it to Ferrari instead. Jordan withdrew the action two months later, agreeing to pay Vodafone’s costs. This was a double financial blow from which the team did not recover. The judge (that’s the one in court, not the one on this site, who some believe wasn’t born yet…) was highly critical of Eddie Jordan, branding the allegations against Vodafone, “without foundation and false”.

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2004

The EJ14 was much altered but little improved over 2003 and, although they had newer Cosworth engines the team claimed these were not as powerful as those Ford was supplying to Jaguar Racing. Fisi moved to Sauber, swapping with Nick Heidfeld who often performed virtual miracles with a lacklustre car, partnered by newcomer, Giorgio Pantano whose entry into F1 had looked increasingly unlikely ever to happen.

In 2000 he had tested for Benetton, and in 2001 for McLaren, and in 2002 he tested for both Williams and Minardi (the latter seems to be a bit of a come-down…). In 2003 he nearly made it to IndyCars but his contract proved to be fake. In 2004 he was ready to debut with Jaguar but, just before he put pen to paper, Christian Klein appeared bearing $10m of Red Bull Readies (money)… and Giorgio was made an offer he couldn’t refuse by Jordan. After failing to score a single point, or even finishing higher than 13th, Pantano was replaced by Timo Glock. He then had half a dozen races in IndyCars, but did much better in GP2 between 2005-08, taking the title in 2008.

After some success in German F3 Glock was signed as Jordan test-driver and replaced Pantano for four races, inadvertently scoring 2pts. on his debut. In 2005 he also moved to IndyCars where he finished 8th in his first season before winning the GP2 Championship in his second season, which got him back to F1 with Toyota.

At the end of the year (with Jordan still down in 9th spot) Ford announced they were withdrawing from Jaguar Racing (which was sold to Red Bull) and selling off Cosworth. Without engines Jordan was also expected to fold but Toyota came to their rescue.

2005 etc…

Nevertheless… at the beginning of the year Eddie accepted (allegedly) $60m from the Midland Group who campaigned the cars throughout the year as Jordans before becoming Midland MF1 Racing for 2006, just before being sold to Spyker Cars and becoming Spyker F1 for 2007… and being sold yet again to become Force India in 2008.

For such a team as Jordan this was a sadly ignominious ending to a fourteen-year career in F1, where they scored 4 wins; 2 poles; 2 fastest laps, and they and Frentzen were each classified 3rd in the Championships.
Nowadays (and actually for many years) people often comment about whether F1 should be a sport or a business. It might be fashionable now to kow-tow to big business and call it ‘progress’ but maybe we should bear in mind that, if F1 continues to cater only to the large corporations, people like Eddie Jordan (and fifteen of the twenty teams in this series) will never even exist in future… and try to convince me that doesn’t matter. It is perhaps ironic (if not deliberate) that by disallowing smaller/newer teams to buy cars from constructors who wish to sell replicas that F1 is fast heading toward FD(allara)… and try to convince me that doesn’t matter, either…
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As for Eddie Jordan… everyone knows he subsequently became a TV pundit and, although not everybody’s favourite, does often have his finger on the pulse – and nobody is likely to have such inside knowledge all the time. Eddie is a ‘character’, and might one day become an eccentric. Hopefully he won’t end up like those ex-drivers/ team-managers who continually make their views known, not because they necessarily have anything interesting to contribute, but because they want to remain in the public eye.

eddie-new-01-WAlthough it might seem Eddie likes to play the buffoon, and enjoys being photographed alongside ladies with an ample sufficiency of ‘busty substances’… (©Pete and Dud) make no mistake – Eddie is nobody’s fool. He currently lives mostly in Ireland, with his wife, of 35 years, Marie, where he keeps his helicopter. He also has homes in Wentworth and Kensington, and another in Monaco, where he keeps his yacht.

As well as fingers in numerous commercial pies Eddie is also renowned for his musical attributes and has his own rock group. Bernie Ecclestone once labelled him, “the biggest thief in F1” (which must have been before Bernie was introduced to Il Brigante), which inspired the keen drummer to name his band, The Robbers. Perhaps Bernie should have called his own band, The Black Kettles…!

Additionally Eddie Jordan has received several honorary awards for his charity work

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Previously:

10th Shadow

11th Toleman

12th Toyota

13th Alfa Romeo

14th Sauber

15th Arrows

16th Stewart

17th BAR

18th – Surtees

19th – Lola

20th – Dallara


Voice of the #F1 Fans: Jenson Button: ‘Fake it ‘till you make it’

•August 30, 2014 • 105 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Still I Surprise

The phrase that titles this article made its way into our language, with practical application, in the late 20th century. It was a phrase believed to be born from Aristotle’s notion that acting virtuous will, over time, make one virtuous. To some extent or another we all on some level understand what this phrase means. The concept and variations of the phrase has since gained popularity in various contexts, none more so than its use to battle depression, substance and alcohol addiction or low self-esteem. It is used in the main, to battle any negative self-fulfilling prophecies and downward spirals born of the above mentioned aliments. Essentially the thought process is that if one acts happy, or walks the path of being sober and not abusing substances, or comes across as overtly confident, then indeed that will in time breed success and thus result in one actually becoming what they are acting, as the eventual real success replaces the act. Get it? Got It? Good.

Jenson Button McLarenAnd with that we leave the world of pseudo-psychology, etymology and “(insert dependency here) anon” meeting rhetoric and we move to a man from Frome in the United Kingdom. I’d like to forewarn Jenson Button fans that this isn’t going to be an aggrandizement of Button. He self-aggrandizes well enough I think. In short, this writer subscribes to the view that the man is not quite ‘Ichiban’ amongst his peers, or indeed even close to it, or ever has been. Possibly the greatest pretender to actually become the act, the greatest pretender to become a Formula One World Drivers Champion, Jenson Button is the perfect example of ‘fake it ‘till you make it’. Of acting like a superstar, acting like a champion, acting like a desired F1 driver and then enjoying the majority of his career as such with reality replacing the act… But is the illusion over? Did the substance in the end replace the act?

Let’s firstly go to the end. In the end, Jenson Button did become a Formula One World Drivers Champion. However in my view the wool is now more or less pulled from the collective eyes of the F1 community, be that the paddock, the specialist media or the fans. Even the specialist media that sits in Camp Button often start an analysis of Jenson with, “yes, he’s not the quickest but…”. Great champions, or even good deserving champions, don’t have their analyses started in such an apologetic way, do they? Those in the unofficial “lucky WDC list” do. What is the “lucky WDC list” I hear you say? Continue reading…

jenson_button WilliamsDid Button really convince the world he was a truly competitive champion? Or will he be remembered as one of the lucky few that were in the exact right place, at the exact right time, with the exact right ageing or average team mate, enjoying a one-off car innovation that put him beyond reach of any outside rival. Well to answer that I acknowledge that it was quite a close fight in perception where Button is concerned. Especially as 2011 was maybe his greatest chance to entirely pull the wool over the eyes of anyone remaining who held the suspicion that the ratio of luck to talent was tilted too far toward luck. Perhaps 2011 was his greatest year, reputationally speaking, than even 2009 – the year he became a world champion with the double-decker enhanced Brawn Mercedes. He almost managed, with his savvy team after 2011, to convince the world that, ‘see, I didn’t just have a fluky WDC chance, I am one of the very best drivers, I even beat Lewis overall’. This writer never bought it then, though it was convincing enough.

But I should clarify one point here. It’s not about the fact he is ‘only’ a one-timer as many of the F1 champions are, and we don’t question all their achievements in Formula One. Alan Jones, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, Kimi Raikkonen, James Hunt, John Surtees and even Keke Rosberg to name but a few great champions of our sport that are one-timers. None of these drivers are really “universally” considered to have lucked into their championships. They have faced off against many difficult teams mates, and won many difficult GP’s in good and, critically, not so good cars, and more or less are considered to deserve what they have. In some cases, it is believed that some may deserve even more, though I do hate that word “deserve”. But the flip side to some “deserving” more, is that by definition some “deserve” less. And now to the list…

One ponders names like, Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, Phil Hill (not Damon’s father Graham) Jenson Button and to a far, far lesser extent Damon Hill and it’s generally – “generally” being the key word – accepted that those titles were won under quite fortuitous circumstances across the board. One factor to qualifying for this Lucky List, on all occasions, is the team mates that were sharing the same car were not considered great or even good. Perhaps, quick and/or solid, but not great internal challenges.

Team Mates to Lucky List WDC’s:

1961: Phil Hill – Richie Ginther & Wolfgang von Trips (Ferrari)

1978: Mario Andretti – Ronnie Peterson (Lotus)

1996: Damon Hill – Jacques Villeneuve (rookie and very nearly nicked the title anyway) (Williams-Renault)

1997: Jacques Villeneuve – Heinz Harald Frentzen (Williams-Renault)

2009: Jenson Button – Rubens Barrichello (Ageing and on the wane. Never balls out quick) (Brawn-Mercedes)

In combination with the above parameter, to qualify for the Lucky list, in all circumstances their cars were considered either the very best of the year, or the very best for a big part of the year and thereafter remained at least equal best. There is no shame in using the best car to win a title, Senna, Schumacher, Fangio, Clark and Prost all did it. But in this list, outside of their average team mates above, there was little genuine outside challenge and yet strangely in some cases they still almost threw away their respective title chances.

Let’s analyze this second parameter to qualify for the Lucky List in the form of the WDC runner-up and “outside team mate rival challenges” of those same drivers.

Runner Up’s and/or Closest non-team mate Rivals:

1961 – Phill Hill, RUN UP: Wolfgang von Trips (team mate leading title until fatal accident and Phil Hill final race win)

1978 – Mario Andretti, RUN UP: Ronnie Peterson (contracted number two and killed at Monza)

1996 – Damon Hill, RUN UP: Jacques Villeneuve (rookie team mate with Schumacher in 1st year with useless Ferrari)

1997 – Jacques Villeneuve, RUN UP: Michael Schumacher (in a Ferrari that did not deserve to be leading into the final race)

2009 – Jenson Button, RUN UP: Sebastian Vettel (a near rookie in an emerging Red Bull. Even the Double Decker Diffuser early-to-mid season advantage was almost washed away, but for an extra round or two, Vettel may have been a 5 time WDC.)

Ok I think we are starting to get a sense of what qualifies for this Lucky List. Let’s now try to put some science behind it.

The Equation:

The unofficial mental equation I suppose might be, “vastly superior car quality” multiplied by “poor quality team mate” divided by “lack of outside team rival” to the power of“almost losing the title”  = “lucky one off WDC”.

jenson-button-brawn-gp-f1-2009I believe that to be true in all these cases I listed above. Despite my WDC Lucky List hypothesis being consistent with reasonably logical observation, and the above equation justifying the findings / results, a good analyst looks for further confirmation. Admittedly this is anecdotal however confirmation in these cases, beyond the equation, is that these drivers usually failed to dominate future team mates, and on occasion past teams mates. This factor is the final nail in the coffin of giving them credibility as one of the best champions in the sport in their day. In all analytics, it seems to be a series of planets aligning to give a lucky driver, in the right circumstances, perfection for just the right amount of time to become a “points champion”. And all these guys almost lost the title in the end anyway (to a lesser or greater extent), despite it being handed to them on a silver platter.

Back to Jenson Button:

As I said above, 2011 was potentially the year that Jenson Button could have avoided this list. Though it’s clear now, in retrospect, that Hamilton was terrible in 2011. Hamilton’s heart-on-the-sleeve approach in bad times, coupled with very poor psychology management permeated every application of the brake and every turn of the wheel he made that year. His performances and results were reflective of a wasted year for Hamilton and ultimately a big stain in the final analysis of the “pioneer’s” career. That being said, and on a side note, it makes me wonder how good the McLaren Mercedes of 2011 really was considering Button came Runner Up, even beating Webber in the sister Red Bull and Alonso in the Ferrari. Had Hamilton been stable that year, perhaps he’d have caused Vettel a bit more trouble in what was a Red Bull Renault / Sebastian Vettel white wash. And therein lay the issue of Hamilton, can he really lay claim to being one of the greatest with all the wasted opportunities? Could 2011 have realistically been a WDC opportunity for McLaren given 1) what Jenson Button did that year, and 2) the usual superiority Hamilton had on Button in 2010 and 2012? We won’t know, but I suspect 2011 needs to be added to the growing list of Hamilton’s wasted opportunities that now include, in my opinion, 2007, 2010, 2012 and to this stage 2014 (given he is 2nd in the WDC in the best car).

So Jenson now joins the unspoken, but very apparent, list of lucky WDC’s. Yes they were all fast drivers to be sure.  World class drivers, no doubt. They are worthy F1 race winner at times, on their day.  But the champions of their day? Probably not. The great Ayrton Senna once intimated that at the end of a year sometimes there is a champion, sometimes just a driver who collected the most points. I think the latter is true of these drivers and none more so than Jenson Button himself.

The flip side:

With all that analysis, research and formulation of the unofficial WDC lucky list equation, one might think the article is over. You still don’t know SiS. Beyond liking the sound of my own voice, I tend to see two sides of the coin.

In some ways it’s admirable that Jenson and the other nominated drivers on this list achieved what they have. There would be some that say, ‘well, that was their one chance and they took it’. And indeed they did. Like Rosberg Jnr. is doing now, thought in my opinion if Rosberg Jnr. wins, he won’t join this list as he had to beat Hamilton for the title. The equation would spit him off qualifying for the list.

In Jenson’s case, he has double digit wins, a world title, and a year where he even beat one of the most highly rated drivers of our time, Lewis Hamilton, which is the only time, to date, Lewis lost to any team mate on points over a season (Maybe this year will be his second?) . He has started in over 250 grand prix and counting, a very commendable longevity, and considering the man who very nearly was out of F1 at the end of 2008 with only one lucky win in the rain in Hungary in 2006, he kept “acting” the part. He kept faking it, till he made it, and indeed he did make it. In a way.

In the end, despite all the analysis showing him on this unofficial WDC lucky list, it counts for naught in that he IS a world champion. Despite the suspicions that a good proportion of his success comes from being politically savvy, perhaps in greater quantities than in pure driving talent, a big portion also must have come from plugging away, hard graft, fighting and patience. Fighting for over a decade and sheer will are admirable too. That’s the sort of thing a parent gives a child, so hats off to Button Snr. And in the end, even Fernando Alonso says he’d prefer titles to respect. From that view, who would you rather be. Stirling Moss or Jenson Button? I’d choose Button, even though the knowledgeable fans know Moss has more talent in one finger than Jenson could dream of.

It is in this way that Jenson Button being on the lucky list, and indeed leading it in my opinion, increases my respect for the man, who wasted not a drop of his talent, yet at the same time understanding that he is a title winner by virtue of an end of year points total and not a champion driver of his day.

In closing, I’d like to hear your opinions in the comments as to the driver that best resembles the luckiest world champion in F1 history for you. For me, it’s Jenson Button. I suspect for most of you it is too, and if not, it will be one of the ones I mentioned above probably. If not, I am all ears.

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#F1 Features: The Generation Game – #SocialHysteria

•August 30, 2014 • 25 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Jacktheblob

Editor’s note: Jack is a young student, and an avid F1 fan. In the ‘The Generation Game’ series Jack will share with us why F1 has such a problem attracting the next generation of fans.


Over the past few months I’ve read a lot of articles on F1 blogs and websites that all reference the “next generation” of F1 fans. As a part of this generation myself, I felt it was time to set the record straight on a few matters. I am a student, heading off to university in October. These are my thoughts, as a genuine young person, on the current state of the sport and the challenge of captivating the next generation of fans.


#3 – Social Hysteria

Social media is becoming an ever more prominent subject of debate, and one that is inexorably linked to young people. Being a student myself this was the topic I knew I had to write about, but please remember these are just my own thoughts on the matter – please share your own opinion in the comments.

TwitterFirstly, if you’re going to attempt to “do” social media, you have to do it right. If / when F1 officially embraces social media, the approach has to be spot on from the word go. First impressions do count, and being boring on social media is worse than not being on it at all. Fortunately the teams have taken matters into their own hands and Lotus and Mercedes do a good job of maintaining a fun, informal attitude, which is just right for the younger generation.

Ferrari, on the other hand, don’t really seem to have got it. Their “it happened today” tweets – always in trios to include Italian and Spanish – are just annoying. After each race they also post a series of banal quotes from the team members, inevitably along the lines of “we must do better”. This approach isn’t going to gain any new fans among my age group.

In terms of individuals, Twitter is a great way for fans to follow their heroes. And it’s true – Formula 1 does need heroes. Hamilton and Alonso both have over 2 million followers, roughly 4 times more than most teams manage. This shows that fans are really interested in the drivers as people, and they should be encouraged to show more of their personality. The teams don’t seem to enjoy the same level of fan support as the drivers, perhaps because they are global companies rather than local clubs, and so there is a weaker sense of loyalty.

instagram-vs-vineNow onto Vine, the six second video app that also appears on Twitter. Whilst six seconds may seem a tiny amount of time, you’d be surprised by how much you can actually fit in. This could become an easy, accessible way to broadcast crashes, overtakes, botched pit stops etc in a manner that captures the attention and encourages you to watch the next race. Facebook allows you to embed longer clips into your post, and of course there’s YouTube as well. If the rules around posting footage are relaxed then these sites could bring in some new fans.

The key issue is (as always) money. As Bernie says, “We’re commercial… If they find people to pay us then I will be happy” [AUTOSPORT]. So the big question is, can you make money out of social media? According to Forbes, you can – and one new business is supposedly making $1M a month from it. Considering the size of Formula 1, it should theoretically be possible to make millions of dollars every month… all at the push of a button.

Having said all that, I have an admission to make. I don’t think Formula 1 really does need to “officially” embrace social media. It’s really just a place for selfies, boasting, and pictures of your dinner. As a platform I think it’s far more suited to fan sites and peeking into drivers’ lives rather than any Bernie-sanctioned propaganda.

Because there are issues with the somewhat idyllic, almost utopian way in which some people are presenting social media. I have seen some people who seem to believe that all of the sport’s problems will go away if only we embrace social media. But in reality, social media comes with its own problems.

To begin with, it’s hard to get followers who aren’t already interested in you. Don’t tell the guys in marketing, but nobody my age actually looks at adverts, so the “sponsored post” route isn’t going to work. Sure, people can retweet / share posts, but they tend to be sharing with people with similar interests – ie other fans. Bringing F1 to a whole new audience will be difficult.

Another issue with social media is the rise of the ‘troll’. For some reason, the protection and anonymity of a computer screen makes ordinary people abandon the constraints of society and sink to hurling insults at complete strangers. Mercedes and Nico Rosberg became victims of the darker side of social media following ‘The Incident’ as hundreds of people took it upon themselves to provide justice in the form of abuse, and even TJ13 has seen problems. Unfortunately this seems unavoidable once enough people join an online discussion, and it will not do anything to help improve the image of F1.

Finally, a slightly odd but very real issue. My generation aren’t particularly discerning when it comes to their online activity – so people have thousands of Facebook friends, or follow thousands of people on Twitter. The problem is that posts can then become lost in a swamp of holiday pictures and piano-playing cats… So even if people do follow somebody, they don’t necessarily see their posts.

Combined with the recent revelation that “up to 8.5% of active Twitter users are not human” (meaning bots rather than aforementioned cats), it becomes even harder to sell social media to sceptics like Bernie who are interested only in the Holy Grail of profit.

Social media clearly has the potential to provide a more immersive experience for existing fans, but it does come with its own problems when it comes to attracting new fans and holding debates. The money question is rather complex and no doubt will be the deciding factor should F1 ever officially embrace social media. But on the whole, I think the key players – the teams, drivers and news sites – already provide a sufficient presence on social media so that fans aren’t missing anything major.

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 29th August 2014

•August 29, 2014 • 137 Comments

DN&C_header_EXPRESS_4

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.

You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly

Previously on TheJudge13:

#F1 History: Part 2: Juan Manuel Fangio and the Lancia-Ferrari D50

TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Episode 2

The #F1 Bar Exam: 28 August 2014


OTD Lite: 2004 – Mclaren finally emerge from self-inflicted doom

Jordan attacks Mercedes management

Ferrari looking to Haas for F1 ‘satellite’ team

Teen Verstappen ‘not ready’ for 2015 debut – Hakkinen

Caterham on the brink of extinction

Niki Lauda changes tune – again


OTD Lite: 2004 – Mclaren finally emerge from self-inflicted doom

If you have Adrian Newey on board then success is guaranteed; or so the popular opinion is within Formula One. But whatever the truth about Mclaren’s fabled matrix system, Newey at Mclaren failed miserably once Rory Byrne and Ferrari came on song.

In their desperation to counter what many believed was a perfect Ferrari system, Newey developed ideas that pushed the boundaries of physics into esoteric realms with the experiments culminating in the abject failure called the MP4/19. A reworking of the previous seasons MP4/18 proved no more competitive and Mclaren undertook a hugely expensive campaign to build the 19B which debuted in France.

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On this day, Kimi Raikkonen took the vastly improved ‘B’ spec car to victory in Belgium. Starting the race from 10th position, safety cars and cold conditions aided his drive to the front. Of particular importance for his win was the fact that the Michelins had vastly quicker heating up properties in comparison to the Bridgestones on the Ferrari. At the restart, Raikkonen passed a slithering Schumacher and romped away to victory.

Schumacher began to close once his tyres had reached their operating temperature but failed by three seconds to take victory. The Mclaren victory was only the second time that season that Schumacher had failed to win a race – a scarcely unbelievable twelve victories from fourteen races.

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Jordan attacks Mercedes management

In Italy, they have Giancarlo Minardi. In Canada they have been blessed with Jacques Villeneuve but for our sins in the UK we have the imported lunacy that is known as Eddie Jordan.

There are times his questions failed to make sense to even his co-hosts, leaving Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard smirking whilst they attempted to recover some broadcasting ability. It can only be imagined what the BBC executives thought when he introduced one of the most famous musicians of the last fifty years, Paul Mcartney, as deceased fellow band member George Harrison.

Yet at times, his nuggets of insider information have left people bemused with his audacity and then staggered by his accuracy. For instance he was one of the first to put his name to the suggestion that Lewis Hamilton had signed for Mercedes. All parties denied this rumour at the Italian Grand Prix yet mere weeks later, Niki Lauda proudly confirmed that Lewis was indeed joining the Silver Arrows.

With his sporadic visits to the Grand Prix circuits this year, we have heard far fewer brown-nosing comments from the fashionably dyslexic Irishman and less seismic revelations. Which probably explains why he is so late to the party in regards his views on Ross Brawn and Mercedes.

“The fault of what happened at Spa is down to the team. They said they were allowing them to race and there would be no team orders, yet in Hungary they made a mistake by issuing them. Hamilton didn’t respect the instruction who didn’t want to let Rosberg past because they are fighting for the championship.”

“But who is there to tell them that whether right or wrong they have to be followed. I remember clearly Ross telling Rosberg that he wasn’t allowed to pass Lewis. If Brawn had been on the pitfall at Spa the SIlver Arrows would have finished 1-2. The drivers are like spoilt children who just do what they choose.”

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Ferrari looking to Haas for F1 ‘satellite’ team

Ferrari is looking to deploy the Red Bull-like approach of installing a ‘satellite’ team in formula one. Alarmed by its poor start to the new turbo V6 era, it has been all change at Maranello in 2014, including the ousting of boss Stefano Domenicali and engine chief Luca Marmorini.

New chief Marco Mattiacci is now plotting a further change of gear for the iconic marque. “We have decided to invest in new infrastructures and people to create a more modern and slimmed down organisation, but one that at the same time puts the emphasis on the team and on individuality,” he said recently.

One of the new strategies, according to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, is following the lead of Red Bull by having a Toro Rosso-like ‘B-team’. Ferrari has historically had close alliances with ‘customer’ teams, such as Sauber, and also Marussia, where leading team ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi is currently housed.

The report said Ferrari is not looking to ‘buy’ a second team, as Red Bull did with Minardi, but to trial and develop technology with a preferred partner team. The obvious candidate is the new American team, set to debut in 2016. Gene Haas’ machine tool company Haas Automation has already joined Ferrari as a sponsor.

Haas also intends to deploy Ferrari technology throughout its F1 project, while other ‘academy’ drivers like Raffaele Marciello and Antonio Fuoco are frontrunners to take a race seat. La Gazzetta said that, ahead of the Haas tie-up, Mattiacci is lobbying hard for alterations to the rules in terms of the allowed transfer of technology between teams.

He also wants teams to be allowed to use more components and engines per season, and a relaxation of the engine development ‘freeze’.

“To return to winning ways, Ferrari must first think of improving itself, the performance of the group and the development of the car,” Mattiacci said recently. “We must be innovative and ahead of the others. As for making its weight felt, the voice of Ferrari, one of formula one’s main players, is always listened to: clearly we need to work with common interests to truly understand what formula one should be in the future,” he added.

TJ13 comment: Stop the press! Stop the press! Mattiacci has been trained by LdM and Enzo’s ghost. We are Ferrari and we won’t play with the others if you don’t follow our rules.

The chambers have been speculating for some time as to the reasons behind Mattiacci’s true appointment. With LdM still ‘in charge’ at Maranello observers have to respect what the company reports but as suggested when Gene Haas first put forward his proposal of entering F1 it appears that the intention was always to be a satellite team to Ferrari. 

As to his rhetoric about improving itself, the group and development of the car, it seems that the senior management have finally caught on to secret behind the other teams design culture. Wasn’t it the racing department that wanted a new wind-tunnel six years ago..

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Teen Verstappen ‘not ready’ for 2015 debut – Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen has added yet another disparaging response to the news Max Verstappen will make history next year as by far F1’s youngest ever driver. And the 1998 and 1999 world champion does not only criticise Red Bull’s decision to sign the young Dutchman just half a year out of karts, but also his former F1 rival Jos Verstappan, who is Max’s father and manager.

“In no case is a driver ready for formula one at 16 or 17,” Hakkinen said in an interview with his sponsor Hermes. Hakkinen, who was involved in Valtteri Bottas’ management and also has a son (Hugo) in the world of highly-competitive karting, insisted: “Either as a manager or a father, I would never let a driver as young as that race in F1. It’s too early, and if it fails, it can cause considerable damage,

Meanwhile, Hakkinen said Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo cannot be ruled out of the running for the 2014 world championship, amid the escalating in-team battle between dominant Mercedes’ warring teammates. “Mercedes’ dominance has decreased compared to what we saw at the beginning of the season,” he noted. “In my view, Ricciardo is dangerous. He drives for a team that has won the championship several times in a row, they have a lot of experience in these situations and show a lot of composure. At Mercedes, there is more pressure and the conflict between the drivers is not helpful to the aim of bringing home the title.”

And he predicted that despite Mercedes’ concerted efforts to cool the feud between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the pair will continue to wage their war. “Both drivers will be saying ‘Hey, I want to be world champion’. Of course,” Hakkinen explained, “the team can implement internal rules, like collisions early in the race cannot happen under any circumstances. But then the next race comes. I believe that despite every effort, no one will be able to stop the intense competition between Nico and Lewis.”

TJ13 comment: It appears that the recruitment of Verstappen by Red Bull will continue to make waves through until the 2015 season begins. Some have considered arguments whereas others seem to be stuck in the belief that Formula One is still comparable to their time in the sport.

As to fears of Red Bull being a dangerous adversary, when their poor start to the year is taken into account and historically their progress after the summer break is unparalled by the others, concerns within Mercedes must be mounting. As an ambassador for Mercedes – the source of Hakkinen’s words could well be senior management within the Stuttgart concern.

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Caterham on the brink of extinction

Rumours are reaching the Judge’s inner chambers about the health of Caterham F1. The team are appearing in court today against the ex-employees who are seeking damages after being made redundant without warning.

With the team costing airline tycoon, Tony Fernandes, £500k a week he gave it all away including the assets to the new Swiss/Middle Eastern consortium run by Colin Kolles supposedly backed by Arab money. The first move by the new ‘owners’ was to make 50 employees redundant without warning so as “to prioritse the future of the team”

Chris Felton, partner at Gardner Leader law firm, said “the employees concerned were dismissed without consultation or warning, either in person or on the telephone”.

“They have not been paid for July or offered any further payments in accordance with their contract or their employment rights,” Felton added. “The fact that they are not being told anything at all by Caterham is concerning.”

“Running roughshod over employees’ rights is not usual behaviour in Formula One where, although difficult decisions are sometimes made about appointments, employees are always adequately compensated and usually treated with dignity by their teams.

“We would not expect any former Caterham employee to be prejudiced for standing up for their rights when they have been unfairly dismissed with no pay for July, no future earnings and families to support.

“The FIA expect certain standards from its F1 teams and it is these standards we are asking them to uphold and provide assurances that the new owners of Caterham are seen as fit and proper.”

The solicitor has told them that they will win the case, which is to be expected, seeing as the fee involved included an initial payment of £150 per person. The class action the legal team are chasing is for £30k per person of which they are contracted for 10% of the victory.

Caterham have funds in place that will see the team survive until the middle of October which is why Kamui Kobayashi stepped down in favour of Andre Lotterer last weekend and Roberto Merhi is scheduled to drive the Monza weekend. These pay drivers are bringing between £0.5-1 million per weekend which allows the team to continue, but if the todays case goes against the Caterham owners, their time in Formula One will be over.

One thing that won’t save Caterham is holding out for the $35million payment that the teams are paid for arriving in Australia. Bernie Ecclestone does a health check around the September/ October period which prevents this form of action.

Which could well explain one of the more spurious rumours emanating from the Leafield factory that it is being stripped of equipment at night time which is then taken to a holding company in Germany close to the old Toyota premises. Against this background, staff have been ‘borrowing’ equipment themselves to use as collateral…

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Niki Lauda changes tune – again

Mercedes’ chief rantist Niki Lauda, who blasted Rosberg mere minutes after the checquered flag as being the sole culprit and had recently updated his stance on Nico’s move to “unforgivable mistake” and “a huge damage for Lewis and the Mercedes brand as a whole”, did now change his tune to “normal racing accident, that came however at the wrong time and the wrong place.”

It makes one wonder if Niki might have long-term memory problems as in forgetting what he said yesterday, or if the fact that the head honcho of Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche, has thrown in his two cents on the matter has anything to do with the U-turn that is remarkable even for someone as two-faced as Lauda.

Lauda confirmed that Zetsche had summoned him to a talk and that Zetsche was ‘not amused’ about the public image the team is currently presenting. The F1 team meanwhile is busy on Twitter, asking their followers what sort of sanctions they are supposed to impose on Rosberg. The options seem to range from a one-race time-out to setting quali slots or imposing team orders, although the latter was voted against by 92% of the users. Considering that most of the Mercedes followers are likely to be Hamfosi, they’ll probably get ‘creative’ suggestions like public beheading or immediate dismissal.

The one question that presents itself however: If even Lauda now claims that it was a normal racing incident, if perhaps a rather unfortunate one, why is there a need for punishing Nico? Isn’t the nature of a racing incident that, while avoidable, it is not a punishable offense?

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#F1 History: Part 2: Juan Manuel Fangio and the Lancia-Ferrari D50

•August 29, 2014 • 25 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: Jennie Mowbray

“Everything, if you could only see it clearly enough, like this, is beautiful and complete. Everything has its own perfection.”

~Joan Lindsay – The Secret of Hanging Rock~

Lancia was in crisis. Their world champion driver, Alberto Ascari, had been tragically killed and now numerous creditors were clamouring for their money. Faced with ever mounting debt, there were difficult decisions to be made. Their car was capable of winning races and possibly even championships. The powers that be at Lancia were divided. While there were some who were desperate to keep competing, the majority thought that the publicity the company gained from participation in the top echelon of racing wasn’t worth the expenditure. There were debts to be paid. It was madness to continue to throw resources into the ever deepening pit that was Formula One racing – even in the 1950’s.

d50 ferrari

They had received offers for their Formula One cars – one even rumoured to be from Mercedes Benz. Concrete magnate Carlo Presenti was interested in acquiring Lancia, but not necessarily in funding a racing team. Fiat owner Giovanni Agnelli was interested in Jano’s cars and considered it crucial to national pride that Italy have a Formula One team that could compete with the might of the Germans.

Agnelli initially approached Maserati to race the D50 but they had little interest, confident that their 250F would be competitive. Enzo Ferrari was next on the list. He had not had a good year. His cars had been uncompetitive and cash was short on the ground. He was considering pulling out of racing altogether. Fiat offered him a compelling financial incentive to sweeten the deal – 50 million lira a year for 5 years. It was the deal of the century. There was no way Ferrari could lose. As well as being bankrolled by Fiat he also had a car that showed every evidence that it was capable of being competitive.

Lancia Handover

On July 26, 1955 the entire fittings of Scuderia Lancia were handed over to Scuderia Ferrari. Six Lancia D50 cars and 60 crates of spare parts were loaded onto transporters and taken from Turin to Maranello,  along with their designer Vittorio Jano. Ferrari’s cause was further aided by Mercedes abandoning motor sport at the end of the year, unsure what the adverse publicity of spectator deaths at races would have on their road car sales. This left Juan Manuel Fangio without a drive and he was persuaded to sign with Ferrari. What would they be able to do with a fast, though unconventional, car and a triple world champion to pilot it?

The Lancia D50 becomes the Lancia-Ferrari D50

During 1956 the D50 underwent progressive alterations, though these did not always meet with the approval of its designer, Vittorio Jano.  The car had been difficult to drive with a low centre of gravity and unusual weight distribution. It didn’t slide and was liable to spin with little warning. The fuel tanks were transferred back to the conventional position in the tail of the car, which resulted in increased weight over the rear wheels. The pannier tanks were merged with the body to improve aerodynamics and housed the exhaust pipes and,on occasions, the reserve fuel tanks. The suspension was modified to cope with the increased weight after the relocation of the fuel tanks.

Ferrari D50 cutaway

The 1956 Formula One Season

The season started well for Ferrari when their “new” car dominated qualifying at the first race in Argentina, taking the top three places on the grid. Fangio was over 2 seconds faster than his teammate Eugenio Castellotti. When Fangio’s car broke a fuel pump on lap 22 he took over Luigi Musso’s car and went on to win the race by over 24 seconds, aided by Stirling Moss’s Maserati engine expiring in a ball of smoke on lap 66 whilst he was in the lead.

Fangio drifting his Ferrari through Mirabeau

Fangio drifting his Ferrari through Mirabeau

Monaco was the next race on the calendar and Fangio described this as his greatest race ever. He was again on pole but Moss trumped him going into the first corner, with Fangio then spinning his Ferrari while trying to catch him. Both Harry Schell (Vanwall) and Musso crashed as they took avoiding action.

Fangio proceeded to spend the whole race trying to close the gap to Moss. He swapped cars with Peter Collins on lap 54 and continued to slowly whittle down the margin, driving every lap close to the limit. Then on lap 86 Cesare Perdisa (Maserati) locked his failing brakes while being lapped by Moss, the two cars coming together. This resulted in damage to the front of Moss’s car, adversely affecting its handling.

For the last few laps Fangio was closing on Moss by two seconds a lap but Moss managed to hold on and win by six seconds. Fangio fought for the win until the very last lap, never settling for second place. He set the fastest lap on his final lap of the race with a time only four tenths slower than his pole position.

For the Belgium Grand Prix Fangio was once again on pole, this time almost five seconds ahead of Moss. The race was wet and Fangio had a poor start, ending up in sixth while Moss took the lead. However, by lap three Fangio was in second place, and by the lap five he was leading the race. Unfortunately Fangio lost his transmission on lap 24 and his teammate Peter Collins took over the lead and eventually his first ever win, also driving a Lancia-Ferrari D50.

The dominance of the D50 continued at the French GP, the Ferrari’s locking out the front of the grid and Peter Collins taking his second win (obviously the Daniel Ricciardo of 1956), with three D50’s finishing in the top four places.

At the British GP Moss would take pole position, almost a second faster than Fangio. However Fangio was racing against doctors orders, having been unwell for the 10 days prior to the race with high fevers. He was fortunate when Moss’s axle broke on lap 94 and he was able to take over the lead, winning over a lap ahead of the second Ferrari. It was Fangio’s first victory of the year driving his own car from start to finish. He said after the race, “In England the doctors did not want me to race, but the organizers insisted, so they gave me pills to dull the pain and to make the fever go down. I raced and was lucky to win, but after that I felt dead.”

In Germany Scuderia Ferrari once more headed the front of the grid with the top three qualifying positions, Fangio continuing his dominance. He led the race from start to finish, leading Moss by a gap of 46 seconds. Fangio also broke Herman Lang’s 17 year old lap record with a time of 9:41.600, ten seconds faster than his own Saturday pole time.

lots of D50's

The concluding race was at Monza with Fangio securing his sixth pole position of the season. This time the lightening of the Ferrari had severe consequences. The holes drilled into the steering arm to reduce weight, combined with the heightened stress on the car from the banked areas of the track, combined to cause three of the five Ferraris to have mechanical failures.

Fangio’s steering arm broke on lap 46 while teammates Castellotti and Musso also crashed with steering arm failure suspected. Peter Collins voluntarily relinquished his car to Fangio when he stopped for a routine tyre change. Fangio took Collins car to second place, five seconds behind race winner Moss, and thus won his fourth World Championship title.

Ferrari had won five of the seven European races. Juan Manual Fangio had achieved three wins, five podiums, six pole positions, four fastest laps and his fourth World Championship. Over its career the Lancia-Ferrari D50 raced fourteen races and won five of them.

Ed McDonogh’s beautiful and evocative description of his drive in a rebuilt Lancia-Ferrari D50 really sums it all up. “Into Vernasca in second, the car having been flawless through the quick part, the tail waggled as I turned hard left and aimed it downhill, over the bridge at 140 mph and towards the hill, playing the gearbox like a violin, listening to V8 sonatas as the over-square Lancia engine did its business, pulling the iconic racer up the hill. Because it behaves so well, you can think about it, you can take in what you are driving, and you can enjoy it. Second to third to second to third—a rhythm begins to develop…the tail just begins to go, but is always caught with the throttle. The brakes are fine but not that necessary–this is totally a car and a throttle—it all emanates from the right foot.”

TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Episode 2

•August 28, 2014 • 42 Comments

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Editors Note: Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, aliens and Illuminati welcome to the second episode from TheJudge13 F1 Courtroom Podcast. After the exceptional success of our original broadcast some of the crew have needed to retire to the darkness as the blinding light hurts the hangover. The more hardy have stepped in to keep the seats warm because as they say in show business – the show must go on..

In similar fashion to the original blueprint, aggressive opinion is offered from the mean streets of New York, Americaland with Mattpt55 whilst the clipped tones of SpannersReady guides the lunatics in the asylum and considered opinion is offered from the hell holes of Europe. And to hear the Hamilton v Rosberg collsion compared to a supermarket trolley dash is surreal to say the least…

Florence is where we find the shows infamous Debbie McGee – aka Adamac39 and back in Blighty we have the reasoned views of the bearded, rainbow farting – ice-cream pooping Craig.

Last, but by no means least, Chief Editor, Andrew Huntley-Jacobs, who sits behind a desk fashioned from the screams of the innocent and scarred after a riotous night with a grizzly bear.

So, let us begin the newest journey into an honest, opinionated brave new world. This will become a regular feature over the coming months so please leave your thoughts and comments below and if you have any specific topics you would like to raise please let us know.

Now grab a coffee, a tea – or a beer if you are in the appropriate time zone – and enjoy!

 Thanks to Marcel Pusey for the use of Bassistry song “Mad about U” 

The #F1 Bar Exam: 28 August 2014

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to another week of TheJudge13 F1 Bar Exam.

Last week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team, race and track where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver finished in the race?

 

Howden Ganley

Howden Ganley in his Maki F101 at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed

The answer(s) I was looking for were: The picture showed New Zealander Howden Ganley driving his Maki F101 at the 1974 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. Ganley qualifying attempt put him 32nd out of 35 entrants with only the top 25 starting the race. His qualifying time of 1:23.700 was only 4 seconds off the pole position time and was 105% of pole which doesn’t actually sound that bad… but it was not enough. Maybe they were just unlucky that there were so many entrants at the time…

The 1970’s were a time of innocence: a time when enthusiasm, imagination and a relatively miniscule amount of money (at least compared to what is required today) could give you the chance to pit yourself against the professionals in the Formula One paddock. You could enter merely for the thrill and adventure of competing. To create your own team all you needed was to purchase a Ford Cosworth DFV engine, either design or buy a chassis depending on your level of innocence (or denial) hire a driver and enter a couple of races. In actuality, just qualifying for a race gave these entrants due cause for celebration.

Maki was a Japanese team with a young, idealistic designer and a team of equally young engineers who had set their sights on participating in Formula One. They were aware of their complete novice state and so they went in pursuit of Howden Ganley, both to drive their car and to help them develop it. Ganley not only had F1 driving experience but a long background in engineering who also had his own garage in Surrey. It was only when 12 taxis turned up at his home containing the whole Maki design and engineering team requesting to use his garage to build their F1 car that he believed they were serious.

Ganley was a New Zealand driver who had followed the tried and trusted method of Australasians breaking into F1 racing by turning up in the United Kingdom with 50 dollars in his pocket and getting a job as an engineer to support himself. He worked as an engineer for McLaren and after being engaged as Crew Chief for Skip Scott and Peter Revson in the 1966 Can Am series he was able to finance a Brabham to compete in Formula 3.

In 1970 he drove a private McLaren M10B in the European Formula 5000 Championship where he finished second to Peter Gethin (driving the works McLaren) which then bought him to the notice of BRM who offered him a position as junior driver for the 1971 season. He scored points in two races, as well as a second place in the non-championship Oulton Park Gold Cup which earned him the Wolfgang Von Tripp’s Memorial Trophy for the best performance by a newcomer to Grand Prix racing.

Unfortunately for the next three years struggled with inferior machinery in which he was unable to demonstrate his skills. With no better offer for the 1974 season he accepted the job as driver and developer for Maki. Their first race was at the 1974 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch where the hopelessly overweight car (possibly up to 150 kg heavier than the competition) qualified 32nd out of 35 entries but only the top 25 would be able to start the race.

At the following race at the Nurburgring Ganley was on his first full practice lap when the car suffered a major suspension failure and crashed into the Armco, ripping off the nose section of the car and causing severe injury to Ganley’s ankles. It would be his final race. He retired to form Tiga Race Cars with Australian F1 driver Tim Schenken. They constructed and sold almost 400 customer chassis for open wheel racing and sports cars. Their cars won multiple races and championships, including class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Maki continued to struggle with speed and multiple mechanical failures throughout their time in Formula One. Their car was over engineered and heavy but also fragile, the combination of the two making it almost un-drivable. They entered eight Formula One races but their best (and only) finish would be 13th (and last) at the 1975 non-championship Swiss GP where they were guaranteed entry due to there being only 16 entrants. They did have to stop to change their spark plugs mid-race but managed to finish only 6 laps down from the winner Clay Regazzoni in his Ferrari. It was also their only ever race start.

At their final race at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix their gearbox broke after one practice lap. The car also only managed one qualifying lap before mechanical failure once again beset it. Driver Tony Trimmer said, “It was so bad that the other F1 team managers came around to look at it and wouldn’t allow me to run. They decided it was so flawed in design it would be dangerous to drive. The whole of the front end was held on by a small bracket would looked as though it would cave in as soon as you got going and you’d run over the front of your car.”

Howden Ganley’s Maki F101 at Goodwood 2014

Well done Johnny, Oliver, Cassius42, Taflach, Ken, Milestone11 and Tony!

This week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team, race and track where the photo was taken. Can you also name the car (type) and where the driver finished in the race?

20140828_Bar_Exam

Please provide your answers in the field below:

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 28th August 2014

•August 28, 2014 • 96 Comments

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This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.

You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly


OTD Lite: 2008 – First American F1 champion passes away

Mclaren looks at progression of Vandoorne

Global disbelief surrounds Verstappen recruitment

Button admits F1 retirement possible after 2014

Mercedes chiefs resolve to ‘cool hot heads’

Meanwhile in Monza…


OTD Lite: 2008 – First American F1 champion passes away

Having started in Formula One with the Maserati team in 1958, Hill’s rise to prominence began as he joined the Ferrari F1 team for 1959. Having won Le Mans the previous year with a Ferrari 250 Testarossa, he was known to the Commendatore and enjoyed mixed fortunes in his first season with the Scuderia. His victory at the 1960 Italian Grand Prix would prove to be the last front engined victory, and for the 1961 season, Ferrari entered their first sublime rear engined creation – the ‘sharknose’ Ferrari 156.

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Five victories that season, shared between Hill and Wolfgang von Trips and the debut victory for Giancarlo Baghetti captured the constructors crown. The only remaining title was the drivers which was decided in the most horrific circumstances possible. On the last running of the Monza banked circuit, as the drivers came towards Parabolica on the second lap, Trips and Jim Clark tangled. Losing control, Trips was launched up a spectator bank and the ensuing crash killed the driver and fifteen spectators.

Hill returned the following season, but his heart was no longer in motorsport, “I no longer have as much need to race, to win. I don’t have as much hunger anymore. I am no longer willing to risk killing myself.” His last full season was 1964 with a one off drive at Monza in 1966. He continued in sports-car racing until he retired from the sport completely in 1967.

“I’m in the wrong business. I don’t want to beat anybody, I don’t want to be the big hero. I’m a peace-loving man, basically.” He returned to America and built up an award winning classic car restoration business and it’s a bitter twist, that the next American World Champion – Mario Andretti – would be crowned at Monza following the death of his team-mate – Ronnie Peterson.

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Mclaren looks at progression of Vandoorne

Mclaren proved in 2007 that their system of driver training was measured and, significantly, brought into the sport a rookie superstar – Lewis Hamilton. The experiment proved so successful that after Kevin Magnussen’s third place finish in Melbourne, it seemed that lightening had indeed struck twice.

Unlike the rapid advancement of the Red Bull system which churns out more dross than quality in keeping with its corporate image, Mclaren take the measured approach to driver advancement – which made the signing of Sergio Perez for the 2013 season something of a surprise.

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne has been part of the Mclaren Junior system for some time now and the team believes that he is ready for the transition to a full time seat in Formula One although the paymasters are considering another season in GP2 against being placed in a smaller team next year.

With Boullier admitting that Mclaren are looking at three to five year driver plans it could emerge that he may be drafted into the senior squad as Mclaren rebuild with their Japanese partners, Honda.

Yet Boullier sounds a cautionary note: “It is a little bit too early to take a decision, I think if you have to go to F1, first he needs to feel ready, and I am happy that he feels ready. He also needs the opportunity to step into F1 but not in any condition.”

“We are now assessing all scenarios. I think GP2 is one of them, as he still has to learn more about GP2, get more wins and obviously fight for the championship. He is doing a good job for the first year. You can see really clear progress over the last few races. He is very dedicated and I am happy to see he is getting there – but it is too early to have plans, so everything is open.”

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Global disbelief surrounds Verstappen recruitment

Max Verstappen’s recruitment by the Red Bull Corporation – to run in their junior team from next year – has created headlines around the world – something that Red Bull may well have foreseen.

With Adrian Newey offering measured views about the ‘kids’ that compete at the top level of global karting and Villeneuve attacking the futility of the Superlicense scheme there have been countless opposing views from different observers of vastly differing age groups.

Mika Salo, a pundit for Finnish television has questioned the wisdom of Verstappen debut next year. He race in Formula One against the lad’s father Jos and has similar feeling to 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

“I think it’s really bad for formula one, in my opinion, a guy that young should not be allowed to drive in F1. It should be the very top category of racing for which drivers train for years. F1 is not a junior series, what happens when it doesn’t work out after two years? An unemployed F1 driver at the age of 19,” he said.

Mark Webber who raced for the Red Bull team for six years also commented that he had a wonderful career, “but when I see that a 17-year-old is coming into formula one, I think it’s not hard to see that it’s over when you’re 38!” As yet neither Nigel Mansell or Damon Hill have been quoted with their opinions but Mansell took the 1992 title aged 39 and Hill succeeded in his quest at the over-the-hill age of 36.

As ever the confrontational Helmut Marko has completely missed the point in his quest to reduce Formula One to a Red Bull advertising arena, arguing that while other teams “talk about young talents, we make it a reality. I bet 100 euros that in his first race Verstappen will be able to compete with (Daniil) Kvyat,” he was quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

Brazil’s Totalrace published perhaps the saddest comment of all is Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost. “Of the drivers we have had, I think he (Vergne) is the best, although Sebastien Buemi also did a good job and has shown talent for Toyota (at Le Mans), I hope he (Vergne) has the chance to develop and to show more, because for me, he deserves to be in formula one.” Which begs the question why replace him?

Recently Fernando Alonso wanted to renegotiate his contract with Ferrari for $50 million annually but with the new comers earning a pittance in comparison there is little surprise that Ferrari baulked at his wage demands. Which raises the question that if this era of F1 is so easy to compete in, maybe we should review how we place these gladiators in the pantheon of the greatest. If experience counts for so little, how can an argument for the serial winners over the last decade be offered.

There has always been teen sensations in sporting endeavours, be it tennis, at the Olympics or football for example (soccer for the readers stateside) but in motor-sport you have to look at the phenomenons of motor bike racing for comparable achievements.

Valentino Rossi entered the 1996 125cc championship aged 17, but didn’t reach the top level until 2000 having accumulated four years of racing experience in the junior championships. In recent years Marc Marquez has been breaking records and his entry into the 2008 125cc championship coincided with him being 15 years old. His entry into MotoGP arrived in 2013 after the required years of experience.

Essentially no manufacturer would entertain the thought of recruiting a 17 year old, to the top level, who has practically zero experience of dealing with engineers and global business expectations. The likelihood of a Newey, Allison or a Brawn communicating with, essentially, a young boy is almost absurd, unless the technology has actually reached a point that an engineer no longer needs a driver’s feedback.

At the same time, would you allow a brilliantly gifted individual to perform life saving surgery before he has begun his studies…

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Button admits F1 retirement possible after 2014

Jenson Button has admitted for the first time that he might be forced to “retire” at the end of 2014. As McLaren and Honda look ahead to their new works partnership beginning next year, it is clear the Woking based team is hoping to sign a truly top driver.

Disgruntled Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been linked with the seat, but so too has Ferrari’s frustrated Fernando Alonso. The Telegraph claimed the Spaniard could make an enormous $32 million per year with McLaren, Honda and also his sponsor Santander pitching in.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and the Eric Boullier-linked Romain Grosjean are also believed to have been considered by McLaren, so while the situation remains unclear, the future of 15-year F1 veteran Button hangs in the balance.

We haven’t sat down and talked about it,” the 34-year-old Briton and 2009 world champion told the BBC. “If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it, but I feel I have so much more to give and I can’t imagine life without motor sport and especially formula one,” Button said.

TJ13 comment: In the UK there is an old saying – ‘Mutton dressed as lamb’. In effect it is used to describe vain women of a more mature age dressed in the fashions that their teenage counterparts would be wearing. In the 21st century, this particular fashion has seemingly died out because much of what young women wear is effectively grunge style clothing.

Jenson Button debuted in F1 fourteen years ago with Williams, was called out as a non serious playboy by none other than professional playboy Flavio Briatore – so maybe a case of the kettle calling the pot black – before landing a drive with BAR and settling down to a career that to many people has exceeded all expectations.

A World Champion in 2009, and multiple race winner, Button has never been quite accepted as truly top drawer. If the car didn’t work, nor did Jenson. The corporate world made it clear earlier in the year that he is not an attractive proposition to them and it seems that Mclaren are agreeing.

His strongest ally at the team was Martin Whitmarsh who has obviously left and with Ron Dennis making it clear that he needed to work harder and Eric managing Romain Grosjean, even without a signature signing – his tenure in Woking seems to have run it’s course.

Rather than hanging on in desperation, he should be seeking other opportunities himself. After all, if Felipe Massa can fall on his feet after Ferrari ousted him, then Button must surely have something to give other teams..

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Mercedes chiefs resolve to ‘cool hot heads’

Mercedes chiefs have resolved to cool the simmering feud between title-warring teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that when the pair – who collided during the Belgian grand prix – came face-to-face in Germany on Wednesday for a sponsor photoshoot, they barely acknowledged each other’s presence.

In the few days since Sunday at Spa, the drivers have been exchanging their barbs through the media, but team bosses have reportedly now instructed Rosberg and Hamilton to quieten their dispute. “Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and I agreed that hot heads should be cooled this week,” team chairman Niki Lauda confirmed. “Each word only triggers a reaction from the other. The drivers know now what responsibilities they have,” he added.

The explosive coming-together at Spa-Francorchamps is still the dominant topic in formula one, but the governing FIA has resisted calls to open an investigation despite Hamilton having accused Rosberg of crashing on purpose. The driver steward in Belgium, Emmanuele Pirro, has revealed to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport that his fellow FIA officials needed only “10 seconds” to decide against investigating the clash. “There was no intention,” he insisted. “Perhaps Rosberg was a little cunning and clever to try it, but in the end the main problem was what happened within the team.

Alain Prost, one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time, agrees that what happened on lap 2 was just “a racing incident. You have to remember that from the cockpit you can’t see your big front wing, and every weekend we see two or three incidents just like it,” he told Russia’s f1news.ru. “Lewis did not want to leave him more space, and Nico didn’t want to leave the track and perhaps made a small mistake in assessing the situation. But he didn’t do it intentionally, because the chance is much higher that you only damage your own car. Of course, the consequences were very serious for Lewis, but it was still a racing incident, albeit inflamed by the media and the fans and even the team,” said Prost.

Mark Webber, who until his F1 retirement had an intense rivalry with Sebastian Vettel, tipped the dispute to certainly roll into next weekend’s Italian grand prix at Monza. “The two of them are going into a media nightmare in Monza,” the Australian told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV. “The whole story is going to be replayed all over again and it won’t be easy for them to concentrate on the job. They will only be paying attention to one another, as they know the constructors’ title is as good as over. But Mercedes will overcome this controversy and get both titles,” Webber predicted.

TJ13 comment: Mr E will be rubbing hands with glee. Of course this has nothing to with a German juidicial system finding him innocent/guilty/masonic… no pure and simple this is TV gold. With Lewis the most marketable  athlete in F1 involved in a bitter feud, all the talk of the last few seasons of dropping viewership has stopped.

Back in the 80’s the combination of Senna, a mythologized driver in his own race suit versus the Frenchman Alain Prost, became an ever expanding news story as they pushed the barriers of fair play to the limits. Watching two men in the goldfish bowl of TV dominating the season so completely but pushing each other to new limits made for fascinating viewing. The sad part of motor-sport is that something primeval makes many people want to watch for morbid reasons. They want to see the big crashes – whereas the aficionados ( like us ) watch for the skills and the artistry.

Of course, Mercedes want to control the situation and Webber is probably right that they will win the drivers title too – but many pundits believed that a dominant Williams would lead a driver to the title in 1986 as well, yet circumstances allowed Prost to win it.

As has become fashionable in schools where the bully has to apologise to their victim, the victim says how they feel and the world is rosy once more, real-life isn’t that simple. Once out of the headmasters office that victim has no support and the bully is angered at his perceived humiliation. It probably doesn’t help that at this particular school we have three deputy headmasters who have differing views on how to run the organisation..

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Meanwhile in Monza…

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#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 27th August 2014

•August 27, 2014 • 139 Comments

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#F1 Forensic: Newey and Ricciardo wins at Wolff’s den


OTD Lite: 1976 – Birth of Mrs Judge’s favourite

Mclaren struggling to attract top drivers to the team

Mercedes lost out to RB again

Meanwhile at Brackley

Bernard E: Do they have money?

Lewis Hamilton always puts team first

Vettel made ‘many mistakes’ in 2014 – Webber(GMM)

Verstappen tipped for Friday debut at Suzuka(GMM)


OTD Lite: 1976 – Birth of Mrs Judge’s favourite

1976 was an epic year in Formula One’s history. With the legendary battle between the dashing James Hunt and the acerbic Niki Lauda, Formula One moved from the monotone back pages into the glorious multi-coloured medium of television.

With his near fatal accident and remarkable recovery, Niki Lauda assured his legend whereas James Hunt led a populaton wilting under an extreme summer heatwave into rapturous applause as he secured the title during a live satellite transmission from Japan.

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On this day, on the other side of the world, a baby was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia who would go on to become one of the most popular drivers in Formula One in the twenty first century. A rugged real-life Desperate Dan blessed with stubble that had its own shadow at 00.15 – never mind five o’clock, Mark Webber defined what Aussie Grit was about.

Outstanding performances in a terrible Jaguar brought him an offer from the fabled Williams team at a time that they were in decline. In 2007 he joined the fledgeling Red Bull outfit where he would remain a front runner until he retired in 2013. With nine victories and a championship challenge in 2010, as he once remarked; “Not bad for a number two.” The ultimate accolade following his retirement was being honoured with his very own month – Webbuary..

The Jackal

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Mclaren struggling to attract top drivers to the team

The future of Mclaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen are not secure beyond the end of 2014. With Ron Dennis returning to the helm at Mclaren, Boullier has told his drivers to accept the situation despite the lack of clarity on their future – something that Button described at the weekend as an “unusual situation“.

Boullier expanded on the team’s reasoning: “I guess it’s unusual because we are coming out of August and not having a firm commitment from the team, we are working on the strategy for the driver line-up for the next years. For me it’s important to say years because we are looking for three years and maybe five years.”

“It’s true with Ron being back since January and me being new to the team we have asked for a little bit more time than necessary, but we can afford this time. Even if it is uncomfortable for the drivers, which I understand, we have to put our priorities first.”

Over the recent months rumours have been flying around that Mclaren had spoken at different stages with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Honda, the team’s new engine partner is investing heavily for its return to Formula One and has targeted one of the recognised ‘star’ drivers as essential for next season.

The problem, this year, has been that with Mclaren using the same power unit as the dominant Mercedes, the rapidly improving Williams team and the mid-grid Force India, their lack of comparative pace and development has effectively left any of the aforementioned drivers unwilling to commit to the Woking cause.

When Ron Dennis took over control of Mclaren in 1981, he was saddled with Andrea De Cesaris and John Watson. For 1982 he enticed Niki Lauda back to the sport and put into action the development of his own engine with Porsche designing the Tag-Turbo which dominated the sport in 1984-5 with Lauda and Alain Prost. By 1988, Mclaren had become the number one team and Senna had joined. The writing was on the wall when Senna offered his services to WIlliams for 1993 for free, yet would negotiate a race by race contract with Mclaren for his services.

Phillipe Alliot, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard were some of the incumbents during an era when the greatest driver drove for the competition and although Mclaren courted Michael Schumacher, he preferred the challenge of racing for Ferrari.

Hakkinen won a couple of Newey designed championships and by the time of his retirement it was junior drivers with potential that Mclaren could encourage to join the team – even Juan Montoya joined in a fit of pique after feeling snubbed by Williams. But left in similarly dramatic circumstances.

Unusually in 2007, double world champion Alonso joined the squad after being “honeymooned’ by Dennis and had alongside him the mercurial Hamilton. Yet by season’s end he had left, preferring the uncompetitive Renault to another season with the team. Over the last few seasons, Mclaren has bled engineers and top quality drivers for reasons unpublished and once again they are left scraping around for drivers to commit to the cause.

In the never-ending saga that is the title sponsorship of the team, an exclusive contract with an ambitious partner that will only last for two years and a team in the middle of another rebuild – having not been Constructors Champions for sixteen years – Mclaren may have to rely on two drivers who have not been signed up for next year yet or possibly to be replaced with Grosjean – who Boullier manages.

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Mercedes lost out to RB again

The track isn’t the only place where Mercedes is getting beaten by those pesky Austrians. They also lost the race for the services of Max Verstappen. Toto Wolff seems to harbour no hard feelings though, as he acknowledges that without a farm team, Mercedes simply can’t compete with the RB offer.

“It was the best decision from his point of view. They [Red Bull] offer a long-term deal, which we cannot offer. We could only offer GP2, a few tests and maybe a few outings as Friday test driver. Since we are quite happy with our drivers, we would have to think of ways, how to give him track-time and if such opportunity doesn’t present itself, the whole program is useless.” (The interview obviously happened before Spa ;) )

The subject of Mercedes’ failed hiring attempts has meanwhile had his first taste of an F1 car. Just over a month before his seventeenth birthday, the Dutchman tested a demo version of the RB7 painted in Toro Rosso colours at the Oval at Rockingham. It was a short shakedown though as they only performed some runs up and down the pitlane mainly for exercises to acquaint the youngster with the complicated steering wheel and – undoubtedly – to explain why it has neither a touchscreen nor an installation of candy crush.

Verstappen is slated to make an appearance in the fancy-frocked RB7 at the VKV City Racing Event in Rotterdam on Saturday and Sunday.

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Meanwhile at Brackley

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Bernard E: Do they have money?

It hasn’t been too long that Mr. E considered F1 done in Europe. But one thing he’s still considering is a Mediterranean GP – in Greece of all places. On 30th May, Formula One Licensing, one of the many companies in F1’s web of companies and subsidiaries secured the trade mark “Formula One Mediterranean Grand Prix”.

Recently returned to his job full-time after bribing his way out of the bribery charges brought against him, he confirmed to CNN that the topic is still on his to-do list. “The Greeks want that. They want me to talk with their PM with their Mayor. We have to find out if they have any money.”

TJ13 comment: No, Bernie, it’s not what the Greeks want. The Greeks want something to eat, health insurance and a job, because most of them have neither of those. And if they have any money, it’s coming from Germany, France and the other Eurozone countries that haven’t yet ruined their economy. It’s the Greek politicians, who want it. The same ones who ruined Greece in the first place.

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Lewis Hamilton always puts team first

In Hungary three weekends ago, the team asked Lewis to not hold up Nico Rosberg who was on a more aggressive strategy. This was followed by “let Nico past on the main start/finish straight

Hamilton maintained his speed and told the team “I’m not slowing down for Nico“. Rosberg asked again why he had not slowed down for him and after the race commented that it was “obviously not good.” But the leadership in the Mercedes team changed tact after the race and said Hamilton had acted correctly because Rosberg did not get close enough to him.

Hamilton himself stated that: “I was in the same race as him. If I’d let him past he’d have had the opportunity to pull away. I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that to be able to better his position. I wasn’t going to ease off and lose ground to Fernando or Daniel to let him overtake. I can’t express the pain I feel over the issues I’ve had in the last couple of races. It’s very, very difficult to swallow.

Following the summer break and a chance to recharge both body and mind after what has proven a dramatic and highly pressured season – Hamilton has come back more reflective and has changed his stance in regards his obligations to the team.

After the Belgian race, the BBC carried an article in which Hamilton has promised he won’t retaliate against team-mate Rosberg when the F1 circus arrives at the historic Monza circuit. “I have to make sure we’re not racing wheel-to-wheel” so as to avoid any further conflict.

I will always put the team first and I won’t take anything into my own hands. The weekend was damaging. I don’t know how I’m going to get back those 29 points, but what I do know is I’ve a great group of people behind me. The poor guys on my side of the garage have had quite a lot of bad races.

And on Sky Hamilton was asked about the his reaction to the incident on the second lap, ” I don’t have a reaction, I think. This year, the team have allowed us to race and we’ve been good at racing wheel to wheel close. I think I heard someone say it was inevitable we were going to crash one day; but I don’t feel today was that inevitability”

“I took the inside line and braked very deep otherwise he would have come around the outside into that section. I still made the corner on my normal line and then I got a big thud. He was in my blindspot I could see quite far behind me I knew that he was behind so I continued my line… I thought for sure there’d be an investigation.”

“I’m mostly gutted for the team – and of course for myself because I lost points and that makes my championship harder – but I’m really convinced this weekend that the team said ‘Okay, now we’ll allow you’. I don’t know why they suggested that – we already were racing hard with each other – but they said ‘Now we want you to be able to race’ And I don’t know how literally he took that because for me the priority was still for the team to finish”

Immediately following the race both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda placed the blame upon Nico’s shoulders, absolving Hamilton of any wrong-doing and yet when Rosberg was asked about the post race team meeting, he replied: “Its important for us, in the more difficult times, to really discuss and reason. And I think as a team we’re always managing to do that because we have a very strong leadership with Toto and Paddy foremost and then with Niki who’s helping out. And I think that is the advantage that we have this strong leadership.”

Lauda has made no secret of his support for Lewis this season. With a team seemingly in disarray at all levels he has been Hamilton’s ally throughout and his throwaway remark about his “helping out” reflects on how Rosberg views him. As to strong leadership, TJ13 has been stating for some months that without Ross Brawn at the tiller – the Brackley team would self destruct.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Vettel made ‘many mistakes’ in 2014 – Webber

Mark Webber’s honest clarity has been missed from the formula one paddock in 2014. Amid the typical PR-speak, the Australian – having left Red Bull and the paddock for semi-retirement and Le Mans – was always relied upon for a blunt assessment.

On his former teammate Sebastian Vettel’s troubled 2014 season, for instance, Webber told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV this week: “Vettel is having problems with the new rules. He has improved, but from the first race you could see he was making many mistakes,” Webber added.

But Vettel himself, whilst not denying he made mistakes, thinks bad reliability has been the headline of his struggle in 2014. At Spa, he even said it is “unfair” to directly compare him with Daniel Ricciardo this year, because the Australian has had a clear run with the sister RB10.

Now, Vettel tells German television RTL: “People see the raw result and have their opinion. But they don’t always see what is really going on. We have had so many technical problems; burned up so many engines and wasted many components.”

“Daniel has performed very strongly, there is no question,” said the four-time world champion. “But I think the races he won, we would have also been able to win if things had gone a bit differently.”

For that reason, he said he is not beginning to question his own talent. “It’s not as if you forget how to drive over a winter and suddenly start doing everything wrong instead of everything right,” said Vettel. “The hunger is still there and I think we have a good chance to fight for the world championship if we position ourselves better.”

TJ13 comment: Alonso was prophetic when he suggested late last year that Vettel’s success would be questioned when he didn’t have a dominant car any longer. It was always to be expected that birthday boy Webber would rejoice at his hardships this season, but for many neutral fans his humility and natural likeability has shown through despite having a season from hell seemingly.

Whether he remains with the Buckinghamshire Austrians or leaves to pastures new, a humbling season could very well be the making of his eventual legacy in the annals of F1 history.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Verstappen tipped for Friday debut at Suzuka

Max Verstappen made his debut in a formula one car on Tuesday. The well-connected Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claims Red Bull, having newly signed the 16-year-old son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, has targeted October’s Japanese grand prix as a potential first official outing for Max in 2014.

That is despite Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost saying at Spa that Verstappen’s first Friday practice outings will only be in “Austin, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi”. But Red Bull may now be speeding up the teenager’s already-accelerated F1 programme even more.

“Max is in England for a brief introduction,” Max’s father Jos is quoted as saying. He is referring to an outing for Verstappen at Rockingham, at the wheel Red Bull’s title-winning 2011 car, in Toro Rosso livery. It is a shakedown ahead of a forthcoming demonstration event in Rotterdam. “It (the Rockingham debut) is not a test,” Verstappen’s father said. “Today (Tuesday) he is driving back and forth on the straight to get used to a formula one car.”

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko confirmed: “Everything went well. Max did everything right, but I expected nothing else. When you talk to Max, you realise quickly that he is a confident young man who knows exactly what he is doing,” he told Bild.

But even Red Bull’s very own Sebastian Vettel, who made his F1 debut as a teenager, has described Verstappen’s age and experience as “borderline”. “There is some sort of limit and Max is very young,” the German said on a visit to Sochi this week to try the new Russian grand prix layout. “I guess he should go to school, but he is not going to have much time for that next year! He already has a lot of racing experience, and his talent is obvious,” continued Vettel. “So why shouldn’t he be in formula one?”

TJ13 comment: With the Formula One landscape changing, dissolving into a new dawn, the players get younger and the viewers turn away from what was once a challenging sport. Adrian Newey has spoken recently of the lack of education that the non successful karters will suffer, Vettel mentions his age as borderline and Villeneuve has attacked the Superlicence qualifying criteria.

In years gone by drivers had what was known as ‘self belief’ which carried them through different trials on their ascent and journey into F1 and adulthood. In the 21st century that term has changed to ‘entitlement’ as though they deserve a place on the Playstation grid. There are no apprenticeships anymore just instant results and with Formula Three carrying none of the prestige it did over the decades, basing Max’s ability on a weak field may prove crippling to his career.

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