#F1 Daily News And Comment: Friday 19th September 2014

•September 19, 2014 • 4 Comments


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 TheJudge 13:

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th September 2014

The #F1 Bar Exam: 18th September 2014

The #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Colin the Racing Car

Mallya’s fraudulent funding of Force India

8 teams 3 cars imminent says Ecclestone

Massa scathing over team radio ban

Things F1 really needed…

Late night bomb alarm in Singapore

Magnussen unrepentant

FIA latest attempt at a definitive list of banned radio messages

Mallya’s fraudulent funding of Force India

TJ13 has reported the Vijay Mallya/Kingfisher airlines debacle for nearly two years. The last update saw Rubrata Roy, co-owner in Force India banged up for fraud in a New Dehli jail. Further, Mallya has been cited as a wilful defaulter’, a legal status which means he can no longer be a director of an Indian company or raise funds from Indian banks.

The steady road to justice in India continues to expose Mallya’s illegal dealings as a summons for tax fraud is already outstanding. Vijay’s family home has been repossessed by the banks who loaned him the money for Kingfisher Airlines and other assets are in the throes of being sold to repay creditors.

The latest news is that Mallya’s creditors are now investigating the funding of Force India. Loans made to Mallya for his airline have allegedly found their way into the Silverstone based F1 team. If proven, this is a serious criminal offence for which Mallya would serve jail time.

Vijay continues to behave as though none of this is happening, most recently seen reclining his large frame in the Force India motor home in Monza… staff ran to the click of his finger, whilst he entertained Lewis’ dad, Anthony Hamilton.

Force India have suffered since the first third of the season was over, due to a lack of cash which Mallya has failed to provide. In winter testing and early season racing, they had a good package, though clearly the lack of funds has badly hurt their development.

The good news for the team is that Sergio Perez said today he was close to agreeing a deal to stay at Force India for 2015, though the once frequent sightings of Mexican in suits, have been non existant at the Silverstone factory for some time.


8 teams 3 cars imminent says Ecclestone

Adam Parr ex CEO of Williams F1 racing, tweeted during the Monza race that “This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars”.

Parr crossed Ecclestone by daring to suggest the current F1 financial model was bust, and Ecclestone was missing the boat on new revenue opportunities. He was exited swiftly by Williams, who later in their accounts revealed a one off payment of £25m from FOM.

Today Ecclestone confirms Parr’s revelation that 8 teams with 3 cars is his goal. “It has always been on the cards if we lose up to three teams the others will run three cars”.

The teams permanently in financial turmoil are Sauber, Lotus, Marrusia and Caterham though of course Haas F1 has been approved to enter the sport when they are ready.

Ecclestone ups the anti when he adds, “I think we should do it anyway. I would rather see Ferrari with three cars, or any of the other top teams with three cars, than having teams that are struggling.”

Clearly Parr’s assertion this could be as soon as next season is a view emanating from Ecclestone. “We’ll know after the next two or three races [whether these teams will make it to 2015], but it is being looked at.”

TJ13 has been reporting the plight of Caterham and suggested they have funds up to and only for the Singapore GP and Mr. E confirms this. “The trouble with the teams – which is all normal – they think of themselves short term. You ask about next year, but they’re worried about the next race, which is the problem.”

Ecclestone’s survive or die model has presided over many a team coming and going from F1, and he is unrepentant about this. “I’ve been around – most people would say too long – but long enough to know there are always people at the back of the grid,” remarked the 83-year-old.

When asked about double points for the final race of the season, Ecclestone was remarkably open.

Another issue for Ecclestone to resolve is whether to continue with the controversial double-points system for the final race of a year. “I wanted it (double points) to be for the last three races. Then people would believe it still possible somebody else could win, but everyone said I was mad, so we won’t do it.

Formula fans may grasp a glimmer of hope that the weigting of races toward the end of the season may be scrapped for next year. “As for keeping it for the last race, I don’t know. Probably not. We can’t yet see whether it has worked, it depends.

“It just seemed to me the right way to keep the championship open, otherwise for the last three or four races people are running in non-championship races.”

This is not as catagoric response from Ecclestone that most of the F1 press is reporting. “Double points to go”.

Reading between the lines, Mr. E still could easily be hedging his bets to get double points for the last 3 races of 2015 and so there will be no double points for just the last race of the season. A cliff hanger in Abu Dhabi may clinch it.


Massa scathing over team radio ban

The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience, while the error of age is to believe experience is a substitute for intelligence. – Hemingway.

In an era where we are seeing, protégé drivers signed to Formula 1 teams aged 13, the prospect of drivers still being within the sport beyond aged 30 diminishes by the month. Felipe Massa(aged 33)  has in his 13 years in the sport, accumulated a fortune and duked it out on the last lap of the season for a drivers’ world title – he knows a thing or two.

Unlike the young submissive clones who fear for their seats, Massa just like Webber is comfortable enough to speak his mind.

According to Bernie, all the drivers are in favour of his missive on pit radio.

Well not one, at least. Felipe Massa criticises the FIA for acting in a hasty and presumptuous manner. “It’s something they could have done more professionally, not just speak too much with the old drivers. They always believe that now it’s too complicated and too easy for us, but they’ve never driven the car. If you want to go back [to the past] then just bring the car from that time and we’ll race them. It’s not a problem.”

Of all the drivers in Formula 1, Massa knows what a coded message is all about. “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you…” and is hence most qualified to speak on the matter.

He observes, “You have a lot of codes that you guys don’t know about. Whatever you invent, maybe the driver will understand and change that and nobody will know. Maybe they penalise a car because of something they heard, but what he said you cannot prove what is a code or not. It’s not good.”

Mmm. Some possible coded messages

For Kimi: “Fried artichokes cook faster than Kale ravioli”

For Nico: “Lovely hams are more royally baked because that’s why they taste better”

For Lewis: “Noodles Romanov, 10% better the third night”

For Ericsson: “Marcus, the peddle on the right… push it to the floor”


Things F1 really needed…

It was announced on Thursday that Johnny Walker is now the “official whisky of Formula One”, which is an important contribution to road safety, one might think. The rolex deal brought huge watches to the paddock, and one tends to think that the mob of journos has now an ‘official’ way to get hogwashly bladdered.


Late night bomb alarm in Singapore

Caterham, Marussia and Toro Rosso had to evacuate their Motorhomes and hospitality areas, after police came in to investigate a bomb alarm. After no explosives were found, each team member was searched individually and later allowed to return.


Magnussen unrepentant

Everybody needs a hobby. Some people collect stamps, others collect dead beetles. Kevin Magnussen of McLaren fame collects time – penalty seconds to be precise and he scored an impressive cumulative twenty-five of them in the last two rounds at Spa and Monza. Talk about paying proper homage to F1’s few remaining historical venues.

But just as his competitors send a sigh of relief towards the heavens, their hopes are flattened, as the Dane announces he will not change his aggressive style. “I try to make the best of what we have at the moment and that means I have to drive hard”. Admittedly, now and then the young Viking drives as if the team forgot to tell him, that the transparent bit of the helmet actually goes to the front, but then, people don’t watch F1 in hope of finding the next Alain Prost.

Magnussen acknowledged that he was in the wrong at Spa, but still insists that his harsh maneuvre against fellow Scandinavian Valtteri Bottas was not a punishable offense.


FIA latest attempt at a definitive list of banned radio messages

After being alomost pecked to death in the chicken coup yesterday, Charlie dutifully returned this morning with a revised set of banned radio messages. As TJ13 suggested yesterday, Whiting has been most compliant in his latest scribblings, restricting his veto on transmissions to broadly driver coaching.

The updated messages banned from radio or pit board are:-

- Driving lines on the circuit.
– Contact with kerbs.
– Car set up parameters for specific corners.
– Comparative or absolute sector time detail of another driver.
– Speeds in corners compared to another driver.
– Gear selection compared with another driver.
– Gear selection in general.
– Braking points.
– Rate of braking compared to another driver.
– Rate of braking or application of brakes in general.
– Car stability under braking.
– Throttle application compared to another driver.
– Throttle application in general.
– Use of DRS compared with another driver.
– Use of any overtake button.
– Driving technique in general.

The arguments which held sway were that

1) Drivers are not capable of delivering the sophisticated balancing act of managing the brake input into the hybrid system, overheat and or destroy very very expensive kit, and this was just unreasonable.

2) Balancing the SOC (battery charge) and the appropriate brake by wire settings were alos deemed nigh on impossible for the drivers to manage properly

3) Fuel consumption has also escaped the butcher’s knife, though Sebastian Vettel isn’t sure why. “The main difficulty is not necessarily stuff like the fuel because it’s simple to put up a certain target to follow [on the car's dash]. But in terms of managing the components, and the way they work with each other, it will be very difficult for us,”

Massa adds, “We don’t know what the temperature is for the battery, we cannot see. We don’t know that. There’s a very complicated power unit in the car which is not related to the driver. If you’re not using the right settings, forget it. You’ll not do two laps.”

This botch job designed by Ecclestone to make us F1 fans fall to our knees in wonder and admiration at the skills of the drivers, has in fact re-emphasised the critical nature of the task in hand for the FIA, and it may be too late for them to act for 2015.

The controls on these cars must be simplified – or the components dropped.


TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Colin the Racing Car

•September 18, 2014 • 3 Comments


Oops, they did it again…

Since His Gavel-Wieldingness still cannot be bothered to grace the courtroom podcast with a personal appearance, the job of reigning in this week’s ragtag band of panelists fell once again to the TJ13 Master of Ceremonies – revered leader Kim Jong Spann.

Returning to the Panel is Grumpy Smurf from Bella Italia – TJ13 Chief Historian and Editor Carlo Carluccio, who unwaveringly insists that these days everything is worse than it was in the olden days.

On the other end of the age-scale we have Monza pitlane mole and certified student slacker Adam, freshly back in Blighty after his trip to Monza.

Stomping in straight from the waterhole is TJ13 Chief Rantist, Fat Hippo, who unsurprisingly shares Carlo’s grumpiness about the ‘kids these days’ and reminisces about the virtues of Lawn Darts and their place in the natural selection.

The fourth panelist went AWOL (no, he wasn’t sat on by the Hippo) so we broke the glass and rolled out our all-purpose weapon from America-land – Matt from a place called New York or something…

Enjoy the show…

This week’s song is by Tamara Laurel and called “Sweet”. Like her on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TamaraLaurelMusic

To access the Podcast player Click Here (you can also download the file from here)

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The Bar Exam: 18 September 2014

•September 18, 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?

The answer(s) I was looking for were: The picture shows Martin Brundle driving his Zakspeed 871 with its Zakspeed straight-4 turbocharged engine at the 1987 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Brundle qualified 17th but was non-classified after difficulties during the race with his brakes. He finished the race 11 laps behind winner Nigel Mansell driving his Williams-Honda.

brundle-zakspeed871- Silverstone 87“The expert knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.”

~Mahatma Gandhi~


Chris Murphy, the designer of the Zakspeed 871, was most certainly not an expert. Predominately the designers of Formula One machinery are scholarly individuals, ensconced in a pristine, dust-free, air-conditioned office in front of their computer (or in the case of Adrian Newey, his drawing board), etching designs to be fabricated and then tested in the wind tunnel for their definitive aero-dynamic attributes.

Murphy had no degrees in engineering or aerodynamics. He had left school at the tender age of 16 and learned technical drawing on the job while designing shutter doors – not an obvious first step in introductory car design – though maybe some knowledge of aerodynamics was useful as the wind had to blow around them. However, he was keen on cars (how many young men say they are keen on windows?) and moved upwards and onwards taking a position as a mechanic at his local garage. This was closer to cars, but not very fast ones. He got a lot closer to fast cars in his next job which was race mechanic for the Formula 2 team Maurer Motorsport.

All the diverse skills he had acquired over the years came together in 1982 when he was offered a position as a draftsman at Maurer, working with designer Paul Brown. Brown and Murphy later left Maurer to carry out cutting edge research for a carbon-fibre manufacturer in Inverness, designing and making a variety of objects out of carbon fibre – the material that would soon become the mainstay of F1 monocoque construction.

Murphy’s first car creation was when Bob Fearnley invited him to design a CanAm car. This resulted in the RK-March 847 which was driven by Jim Crawford who achieved three race victories over the 1984 season and second place in the championship.

Paul Brown departed for Zakspeed to design their first F1 car, with Murphy joining him there shortly afterwards. When Brown left Zakspeed in 1986, Murphy was invited to design their 1987 car, the Zakspeed 871. Murphy later said, “I don’t think it was a particularly brilliant car. We were hamstrung by money in the initial design and committee decisions. We did our best with it and, I think we always got the best out of it. Fortunately we managed to get some points in one of the early races.”

The car made its debut at the San Marino Grand Prix where Martin Brundle was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and benefited from multiple retirements in front of him. Despite having brake problems Brundle nursed the car to the finish and a 5th place which gave the exuberant team two prized points. There were considerable hopes for the car for the remainder of the season but unfortunately these were the sole points that Zakspeed would procure during their five year sojourn in Formula One.

At the British Grand Prix Brundle qualified 17th after enduring various issues with the car, the rear suspension failing on Friday morning which was then followed later that day by a major turbo failure. He again suffered with brake problems during the race and had to pit for repairs but was still running at the end, albeit eleven laps behind race winner Nigel Mansell.

2:07-2:48 – footage of Martin Brundle and the Zakspeed pitwall celebrating his 5th place at the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix

Well done to Johnny, Taflach, Neil, Ken, Mike, Cassius42, Tony, Roberto and Milestone11!

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?


Please provide your answers in the field below:

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th September 2014

•September 18, 2014 • 68 Comments


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 TheJudge 13:

#F1 Circuit Profile: 2014 – Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuit – Round 14

OTD Lite: 2006 – Panis retires from Formula One

Toto Wolff believes in the ‘heart on sleeve’ emotions UPDATE (11:50 GMT)

Caterham allow Kobayashi to play so all can laugh at Ericsson

Mclaren funded survey states ‘bleeding obvious!’

Billionaire now looking to buy Marussia – report

Drivers welcome FIA radio clampdown

Engine penalties imminent

Kimi in Press Conference

The FIA sleeps whilst Ecclestone usurps their authority

The FIA Hokey Cokey

OTD Lite: 2006 – Panis retires from Formula One

On this day Oliver Panis announced his retirement from Formula One. He was 40 years old, had not driven an F1 car since the year before and had won a single remarkable Monaco race in 1996. He had broken his legs in the 1997 Canadian GP and returned to the Prost team before stints with BAR and Toyota.


_38880145_driver_panis_416In 2000 he spent some time as the Mclaren test driver where with general consensus from the partisan British media he was generally acknowledged as the best test driver in the world…. What complete and utter poppycock!!

A year spent equaling the times set by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard proved nothing except he was as quick, yet Ferrari trounced the Woking cars comprehensively. In fact after their Constructors title in 1998, Mclaren fell backwards year on year despite the genius of Adrian Newey and his right hand man Peter Podromou.

Ferrari’s test driver at the time was Luca Badoer and he never received the praise his work deserved – yet Ferrari got stronger and stronger.

The Jackal


Toto Wolff believes in the ‘heart on sleeve’ emotions

For some F1 devotees, Toto Wolff is becoming more irritable than amusing. The daily missives from Toto HQ just smack of someone who has discovered karaoke and following the loss of his public performance virginity, just won’t share the microphone with anyone else.

Prior to Spa this season we’ve seen Toto the rational, Toto the herald for the Mercedes brand, Toto the voice of reason informing us all is under control, Toto the peacemaker revealing conciliation talks have resulted in harmony within the Mercedes camp and Toto the mysterious – who informs the world Mercedes F1 have taken the unprecedented action of disciplining a driver for a racing incident with his team mate – but refusing to state the punishment.

Now we are to see, Toto the ‘honest joe’. Opening his heart he claims, “It is so intense and we are breaking new ground in letting the boys race in the way we do. So we are bound to make mistakes I think that’s the way it should be. You can be a politician or you can express your frustration”.

As TJ13 has commented before, Toto the newbie appears to be out of his depth running a championship leading F1 team and his inexperience is laid bare for all to see.

Clearly Toto the historian has not much more than the last couple of years of Autosport magazines as a point of chronicled reference for F1 as his latest claim, “we are breaking new ground in letting the boys race”, is delusional. That T-Shirt has been bought, worn many times before and with greater class and integrity than the Austrian brings to Mercedes AMG F1.

Toto the confused also now appears. To be a politician or not to be a politician – THAT is the question. “I don’t know which one is right or wrong,” confesses Toto, “ but as a matter of fact it doesn’t matter because if we lose the two championships with the cars we have, we have failed. We would be a laughing stock – and rightly so.

And if we win, people are going to remember we had difficult situations and we managed them probably in the right way.”

Comme ci comme ca, eh Toto. His latest wheeze is to associate Mercedes culture with the stereotypical Hamilton ‘heart on the sleeve’ byline. “We wear our heart on our sleeves, as they often say about Lewis. Emotion is an integral part of the success of the team”.

Really? Well that explains a lot. Traditionally clear thinking and a sound strategy for all eventualities is a value which is highly desirable for an F1 team. Going ‘emo’ is Nicole’s job when she feels the biological clock is ticking and in turn gives Lewis a good ‘ticking off’..

In conclusion, Toto decides to spew more incomprehensible ‘mouth speak before brain engaged’  into the public domain.

“If you look at Lewis’s career – it is just thinking out loud – drama and glory were always very near each other,” says Wolff. “I don’t know why that is. But when you describe this year – drama and glory; very much beside each other.”

Lob in some ignominy – calling your team mate and bosses liars in Monaco – and maybe this then becomes the most accurate assessment Toto has yet constructed in the world which features – Toto the great.

Latest News: TJ13 has learned that Lewis and Nico have been told to curb it on twitter and other forms of social media. They only now have ‘freedom’ – allegedly on the track.


Caterham allow Kobayashi to play so all can laugh at Ericsson

The troubled Caterham team has been auctioning it’s race seat off to the highest bidder since the Belgian Grand Prix in the attempt to keep the team afloat until an investor can save the Green beast. The Leafield team has confirmed that fan favourite, Kamui Kobayashi, will be in fact pedaling the sister car to the Swedish embarrassment that is Marcus Ericsson.

The team has recognized that to compete at the Singapore Grand Prix, it needs an experienced driver rather than a novice. With the possible attrition that a street circuit traditionally suffers the hopes remain that they can emulate Marussia in Monaco and score some points

“I can not wait to have another battle in Singapore, it will be interesting to see what we can do with the innovations that we brought. On a street circuit anything can happen and we must be sure to do our best. said Kobayashi.

Witnesses of what remains of the Caterham staff spoke of tears flowing and how they all held their sides in painful laughter as they listened to Sweden’s own Taki Inoue – Marcus Ericsson – “Singapore is one of my favourite cities and I can not wait to run my first night race in Formula 1 . It’s a circuit I know well enough, and have always finished on the podium every time I raced there in GP2 ), so I have some great memories.

Ericsoon continued whilst quizzically looking at his engineers. “The track is undulating and reminds me a lot Monaco, although the layout of Singapore is more physical and requires twice as much energy to make a turn compared to Monte Carlo. The heat and humidity contribute to make it a tough weekend, but I trained hard.

At the time of writing, it hadn’t been confirmed that the F1 Medical centre had run out of ventilators which the Caterham crew had commandeered as they fought for breath.


Mclaren funded survey states ‘bleeding obvious!’

In further news from the delusional, Mclaren have commissioned a study into why they had failed to secure a podium in 2013. The research was led by the expert Dr Paolo Aversa, lecturer in strategy at London City University’s Cass Business School and his team of very impressive sounding doctors.

They statistically examined all the strategic factors influencing F1 races between 1981 and 2010. The conclusion was that when regulations change significantly, it is better to focus on smaller improvements in existing technology than trying to reinvent the tech. Which of course would make sense except 2013 was run under a stable set of rules and 2014 was the main change of hybrid technology allied to chassis demands.

Perhaps of more significance that Mclaren’s legal director Tim Murnane presented this report and went on to suggest that Mclaren were aiming to win races this year – despite running Force India close to being the last of the Mercedes powered teams….

Where’s Eric the believable when you need need him? He can always inject humour into a humourless diatribe..


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Billionaire now looking to buy Marussia – report

Lawrence Stroll may now have moved his attention from Sauber to Marussia. In the paddock at Monza recently, it was strongly rumoured that the Canadian fashion industry billionaire and racing enthusiast was in detailed negotiations to buy financially embattled Sauber.

Rumours quickly followed, however, that the deal had collapsed at the final hurdle. “Lawrence Stroll received a negative response from Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn regarding his offer to take over the Swiss team,” said a report by Italiaracing.

But Stroll may now be switching his attention from one embattled Ferrari customer to the next, the Italian report added. He has close links to the Maranello marque, with his son Lance also a member of Ferrari’s driver ‘academy’. Ferrari’s other ‘power unit’ customer in F1 is Marussia; another team grappling with obvious financial problems, and already housing ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi.

TJ13 comment: It is still astonishing that Sauber would rather face financial collapse than sell his team to an enthusiast that has deep pockets and very strong connections with Ferrari. It would seem even the negotiating power of a Suffolk toad couldn’t make the Swiss Clark Kent give up his team.. Stubborness may well see Sauber go the way of Tyrrell, Brabham, Lotus ( the real one ), Ligier – all teams that used to grace the grid – but now appear in a BJF article on TJ13.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Drivers welcome FIA radio clampdown

Mercedes’ title-warring teammates are the first F1 drivers to welcome the FIA’s banning of “performance”-related radio communications. At a sponsor event in downtown Singapore, championship leader Rosberg said the clampdown was a major talking point ahead of its debut at the popular street race.

“All the fans were cheering so it looks like the right way to go,” the German told Britain’s Sky. “In my opinion it’s definitely a good thing, because it’s just more pure racing. Until now we did so much based on what they (engineers) told us to do on the radio. Now it’s up to us,” said Rosberg.

He tipped the strict new radio rules to make the challenge as drivers “totally different because we are just on our own and need to figure out our own way. I think it could make it a lot more interesting,” added Rosberg. “It’s going from 100 per cent communication to about 20pc, so it’s a massive change.”

Rosberg, with a 22-point advantage over teammate Lewis Hamilton, said he practiced driving the W05 without radio communications in Mercedes’ simulator this week, and had to “remember a lot more” details about the functionality of the car. “But everything is good,” he said. “It’s the right way.

Hamilton also welcomed the change, but he expressed some concerns about the steep learning curve for the drivers. “I quite like the idea,” he said. “In some ways it makes it harder, like engine strategy — how are we to know what strategy to use?”

Hamilton also said the clampdown could affect the intense title battle between himself and Rosberg. “It’s going to be really important that we’re on the same strategy always,” he said. “There’s been a couple of times when Nico has been on a different strategy to me that gives either more or less power and those things disadvantage you,” he explained. “So as long as you don’t have any problems there, the rest of it we’ll manage.”

In fact, Hamilton said that because the clampdown means F1 will now resemble the “old school days” of racing, he hopes to gain an advantage over his rivals. “I hope it’s a plus for me,” he said. “I remember way back in karts, we didn’t have any data, so nobody could ever see where I was quick, anything I did, any trick I had. So maybe it’s a bit of a step back in that direction. I quite like that we’re left to do it ourselves,” Hamilton added.

Elsewhere in Singapore, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo played down the clampdown with a joke, laughing that without engineers in their ears, F1 drivers will “all take a wrong turn and end up in the wall“. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the Australian should not be laughing too hard.

Most teams are using the big, sophisticated McLaren-supplied digital steering wheel display in 2014, providing plenty of data for the drivers. But some, like Red Bull, Williams and Lotus, are using older equipment. “That would be really hard,” Rosberg is quoted as saying. “But we still need to learn every procedure by heart, where before the engineer would be telling you which switch to put in what position.”

And, anyway, the FIA clampdown extends not only to the radio, but also instructions to drivers on the pit board or on the steering wheel display — whether coded or not. “There is not time anyway,” Rosberg said, “to pull up any instructions on the screen while you’re driving and read it.” He believes thinking drivers like himself could get an advantage, as he always tried to understand the reasons for the engineers’ instructions rather than “someone who just made the changes automatically”.

TJ13 comment: This subject has divided the courtroom. As we await the final verdict of the gavel wielding Judge, the minions argue amongst themselves and ponder on why this rule has been introduced in the run up to the title conclusion.


Interestingly, there may be a loophole in Charlie’s dictat re: third party messages. “Lewis, your dad says he can’t afford another engine”.

Hamilton may believe it will bring back his karting days, but many would welcome a complete ban on the radios full stop. Others like the interaction that allows us to listen to drivers in their least corporate protected bubble and yet you only have to listen to Button. He engages with his engineers to raise penalties against other drivers so as has been proven by others – these drivers are fairly aware of the use of radio anyway.

Of course it is FOM which selects the transmissions for broadcast to the viewers. One team sent and received over 300 messages in Monza, whilst FOM broadcast just 75 in total to the world feed during the entire race.

The likelehood is that under ‘mission make the drivers heroes’, we will hear less and less of what is truly representative and thus loose the emotional interaction we have had with the driver racing the car. Prior to pit/car radio broadcasts being transmitted, the viewer felt the emotion of the driver as they could see them manhandling angry beasts of awesome power around the track.

With the modern Sony Play station style F1 racing, the driver appears to not be under any physical duress. Appreciating their mental strain was an important factor in us understanding F1 was still tough in some manner. 


Engine penalties imminent

ICE – Internal Combustion Engine
TC – Turbo Charger
MGU-K – Motor Generator Energy-Kinetic
MGU-H – Motor Generator Energy-Heat
ES – Energy Store
CE – Control Electronics

# Driver Team ICE TC MGU-K MGU-H ES CE
01 S. Vettel Red Bull 5 4 4 4 3 4
02 D. Ricciardo Red Bull 4 4 4 3 3 4
03 L. Hamilton Mercedes 4 4 4 4 3 3
04 N. Rosberg Mercedes 4 4 4 4 3 3
05 F. Alonso Ferrari 5 4 3 4 4 5
06 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 5 4 3 5 4 5
07 R. Grosjean Lotus 4 5 4 4 3 3
08 P. Maldonado Lotus 5 5 5 5 4 4
09 J. Button McLaren 4 4 4 4 3 3
10 K. Magnussen McLaren 4 4 4 4 4 4
11 N. Hulkenberg Force India 4 4 4 4 3 3
12 S. Perez Force India 4 4 4 4 3 3
13 A. Sutil Sauber 5 5 4 5 4 4
14 E. Gutierrez Sauber 4 4 4 4 3 5
15 J. Vergne Toro Rosso 4 4 5 4 3 3
16 D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 6 4 5 4 3 3
17 F. Massa Williams 4 4 4 4 2 3
18 V. Bottas Williams 4 4 4 4 4 4
19 J. Bianchi Marussia 5 5 4 5 3 5
20 M. Chilton Marussia 5 5 4 5 3 4
21 K. Kobayashi Caterham 4 4 4 4 3 4
22 M. Ericsson Caterham 4 4 3 3 3 4

10 drivers are facing 10 place grid drops imminently.

Each driver is allowed to use 5 of each of the power unit components, however the sixth will trigger the penalty

For the title contenders matters are evenly balanced, though, both Lewis and Nico have at least one more spare component in all areas of the PU before hitting the precipice that is 5.

If this were a modified game of craps, then Crashtor would be looking good.

Vettel is facing a further handicap in his race with Aussie upstart Ricciardo as he has no more Internal Combustion Engines in hand.

Ferrari once again are not covering themselves in glory. Having opted for a more reliable engine over speed, Kimi and Fred have the same number of 5’s between them as the Lotus team.

All of the Mercedes teams have components in hand for each car, once again demonstrating the dominance of the efforts from Brixworth.


Kimi in Press Conference


Kimi managed to raise one eye lid long enough to answer a question on the radio ban.

“Obviously we don’t speak a lot in the radio in my case,” said the Ferrari number two driver, “usually when there is no issues. But obviously it might get quite complicated if there’s some problems with the car and they have to change certain things to try to finish the race so I don’t know how the rule goes on those times.

It makes it more complicated for us but it’s part of the game so it’s OK.”

Kimi clearly talks a lot more in his sleep than when awake.


The FIA sleeps whilst Ecclestone usurps their authority

The FIA sleeps whilst Ecclestone usurps their authority

There will be a meeting today between the FIA and the teams to iron out any potential misunderstanding over the new team radio protocols.

F1 fans may be forgiven for believing that the regulatory side of the sport is the responsibility of the FIA, but apparently the “Sleeping Beauty-esque” reign of Jean Todt as President of the Federation, has seen this role passed to another.

The clamp down on article 20.1 and the subsequent banning of the majority of radio transmissions made between the car and the pits during the race was in fact driven though by A.N. Other. “I was the one who started it off, yes,” said Ecclestone while attending the PR event to celebrate a new sponsorship deal between Johnnie Walker and F1.

“I think none of the drivers want it (radio communications). They are all happy that it has gone,” asserts Mr. E. “They drive the cars, they should know what is wrong or right. They don’t need someone on the pit wall telling them what to do.”

TJ13 commented on the day John Noble of Autosport flew a kite for the idea of banning pit to car radio, that such a broad interpretation of article 20.1 would certainly lead to other carte blanche regulation changes via the back door.

This now appears to the case, as Ecclestone is now advocating a ban on live telemetry from the cars to the pits. “We have a regulation in force that drivers must drive the car unaided. They have been aided – and still are.

Even if we get rid of this ship to shore, as I call it, there are still a lot of aids that they should not have.”

Really Bernie?

The top Cock of the headless chicken coup has spoken – so watch out – Mr. Spock will now “make it so”.


The FIA Hokey Cokey

“You put a radio ban on – a radio ban off – on – off – on – off – then shake it all about…”

Well not quite, yet the impression the FIA is giving to the fans of Formula 1 hardly breeds confidence and neither does it portray an image of even vague competence.

Having set out specifically what will and will not be allowed under the new and fantastical spin on article 20.1,

Certain restrictions were set to be deferred to Japan, in relation to tyres and brakes, however the following list was confirmed by the FIA to, “apply at all times the car is out of its garage during the Event.”

Messages not permitted from eirther radio or pit board

Sector time detail of a competitor and where a competitor is faster or slower.

Adjustment of power unit settings.

Adjustment of power unit setting to de-rate the systems.

Adjustment of gearbox settings.

Learning of gears of the gearbox (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).

Balancing the SOC ['State of charge', ie ERS battery charge level - AC] or adjusting for performance.

Information on fuel flow settings (except if requested to do so by race control).

Information on level of fuel saving needed.

Information on tyre pressures or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).

Information on differential settings.

Start maps related to clutch position, for race start and pit stops.

Information on clutch maps or settings, eg bite point.

Burn-outs prior to race starts.

Information on brake balance or BBW settings.

Warning on brake wear or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).

Selection of driver default settings (other than in the case of a clearly identified problem with the

Answering a direct question from a driver, eg “Am I using the right torque map?”

Any message that appears to be coded.


Whilst the drivers deflected questions at a rather muted FIA press conference on the topic of the radio ban, the teams had demanded a meeting with the FIA, which lasted for nearly 4 hours. On leaving, one team principal commented, “there were more questions than answers”.

At times the debate became ‘most heated’ as angry team bosses bombarded Charlie Whiting with example after example of why the new ruling was either dangerous or unenforceable.

The result was that Whiting skulked away, tail between his legs with a promise to review the matter and deliver a final verdict by 10:00am Friday, Singapore time.

It was pointed out to Whiting that the change in interpretation at this time left certain teams highly disadvantaged, depending on what steering wheel they had opted to develop along with the car. Further, veiled threats were made that should this prejudicial position be maintained this would lead to the FIA becoming embroiled in legal wranglings.

So once again, Formula 1 is in a state of flux. Make a rule – renege on it,discuss it, review it… then God knows what. And all because Charlie Whiting is fighting to save his job and curry favour with Mr. E.

The most likely outcome will be that systems advice will be allowable, but driver coaching will be banned.

Lunatics running the asylum would do an infinitely better job.


#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 17th September 2014

•September 17, 2014 • 61 Comments


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 TheJudge 13:

#F1 Circuit Profile: 2014 – Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuit – Round 14

OTD Lite: 1960 – Birth of a true champion

Alonso talks in private with Marchionne

Ericsson ‘selfie’ explains lack of pace

DTM champion Wittmann not dreaming of F1

Highs and lows in 2014 for new Merc reserve Wehrlein

Wolff ‘the naïve’

Comms Cut: Winners and loses

OTD Lite: 1960 – Birth of a true champion

Today marks the birthday of two of Britain’s most famous sons – at least from the motor-racing sphere. Stirling Moss celebrates his 85th birthday and Damon Hill celebrates his 54th. Of course, rarely are the two mentioned in the same paragraph, after all Moss is recognised as one of the greatest drivers in history with only fate preventing him being listed as a World Champion.

Damon Hill on the other hand is seen as a fortunate champion having piloted a dominant Williams for most of his career. Something frankly I find absurd! Nigel Mansell has always praised Hill for his ability when testing the Williams FW14 which was developed into a dominant car. Hill joined Williams in 1993 and won races over the years until he took the title in 1996.


In 1997 he took the crazy decision of driving for the perennial mid-field team – Arrows – and turned a truly awful car into a front running machine. In fact, if it hadn’t been for a 25p item failing on the last lap in Hungary, he would have won the race. In 1998, once again saddled with an awful car, he worked and guided the team until circumstances led to a Jordan 1-2.

Of course, half the field had been eliminated but the fact remains that after Williams he performed miracles for two lower order teams. Something that celebrated champions like Mika Hakkinen and Jacques Villeneuve never came close to emulating.

The Jackal


Alonso talks in private with Marchionne

As ever in the convoluted world that is F1 – rumours and speculation emerge that sent tweets flying around the world. Yesterday the soundbite suggested a straight swap between Maranello and Milton Keynes of, respectively, Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Vettel being on the cards. Something that has been vehemently denied by all parties.

In Italy, the media is still struggling to get a clue about what Alonso’s plans are going to be – with Mclaren being the only realistic option. But is it? With constant reports emerging from Japan that the manufacturer is behind on their development of this new power unit, it is looking more likely that 2015 will be another barren year for Mclaren.

This, of course, will allow returning Peter Podromou to establish his design team and produce his first proper car for the 2016 season. By then, Honda will have gathered a years worth of data and will be looking to establish a contract with a second team.

But in recent years, as the testing regulations have become more restrictive, data collection is crucial to developing an engine and Honda have just one team supplying data. If Mclaren run into design problems again, there is no comparable power unit to compare to; unlike the Mercedes powered teams this year.

The Monday following the Italian Grand Prix, Sergio Marchionne visited Maranello and took passenger rides around Fiorano with the teams drivers. What was discussed is not known but after the ‘resignation’ of Il Padrino and the death of his friend – Santander chairman Botin – having the new head of the FCA group, board member of Philip Morris and newly installed Ferrari President aboard likely explaining what is due to happen in the near future may well have decided Alonso’s fate.


Ericsson ‘selfie’ explains lack of pace

Ericsson shows some talent behind the wheel, sadly not moving in a forward direction too quickly..



DTM champion Wittmann not dreaming of F1

Marco Wittmann may be the newly-crowned DTM champion, but he is not dreaming about a future in formula one. Although Paul di Resta set a precedent for launching a F1 career off the back of dominance in the premier German touring car series, 24-year-old Wittmann is happy for now in DTM.

Last weekend at the Lausitzring, driving for BMW, the German sealed the 2014 drivers’ title with two rounds to spare. But as for success breeding thoughts of moving into motor racing’s premier category F1, Wittmann insists that “At the moment it is absolutely not a topic for me. I feel extremely comfortable with BMW in the DTM,” he told Speed Week.

Wittmann explained that the major turn-off about formula one at present is the increasingly dominant ‘pay driver’ situation. “When you see young drivers placing suitcases of money at the door, that is not the point of the sport from a driver’s perspective,” he admitted.

Another DTM driver with the same attitude is Timo Glock, who lost his Marussia seat at the end of 2012 and – like Wittmann – now drives a BMW in the DTM. He said: “You can only really think about F1 if you have a suitcase full of money. So you can only get chosen by one of the top teams, or find someone who pays for you for a year.”

“But then you have no guarantee that you are going to go beyond that,” said Glock, 32, who also drove in F1 for the now-departed Toyota. “The bad thing is that it costs you 5 to 10 million (euros), but that only gets you one year. Then someone with a thicker wallet could come along.”

Glock said that situation in F1 means that many talented youngsters like Wittmann are now asking themselves the question: “If I have a contract, am I going to sacrifice everything for a year in which I need to pay a sackful of money? If I was his (Wittmann’s) manager, I would advise him to stay with BMW,” added Glock.


Highs and lows in 2014 for new Merc reserve Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein’s 2014 has had both its dizzying highs and its appalling lows.

The high has been the last few weeks — the teenaged German became the youngest ever DTM winner at the Lausitzring last weekend, mere days after making his F1 test debut with his employer Mercedes. Wehrlein has also been working hard all year in the Brackley based team’s simulator, with Toto Wolff saying: “Aside from Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis (Hamilton), he is the driver most familiar with all the procedures of our (2014) W05 and therefore the right choice for the role of reserve driver.

He will begin travelling with the F1 team this weekend in Singapore, and is therefore first in line to race the dominant silver car if the title-warring teammates are unable. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Wehrlein in 2014. At the end of May, he and Rosberg were taking part in a promotional event for Mercedes as part of the German world cup team’s preparations in Italy.

The road car driven in the demonstration by Wehrlein struck and injured two bystanders. “Wehrlein swerved to the left off the course and then he hit them,” an eyewitness said at the time. Germany’s Sport1 reports that one of the bystanders was so badly injured he only woke from his coma at the end of July.

But according to Wehrlein’s manager Dietmar Kohli, there is no longer any risk of legal consequences for the young driver. “Pascal is in close contact with the victim and his wife,” Kohli said. “Both of us have visited him in the hospital.” He added that Wehrlein has dealt with the incident and its aftermath “very professionally“.

Germany’s Focus reports that, under Italian law, Wehrlein could only have been prosecuted if the victim had filed a formal complaint. So local prosecutor Guido Rispoli agreed that it is “likely” the matter into the incident will be closed. Earlier, Rispoli had clearly pointed the finger at Wehrlein, insisting the distance between Rosberg’s car and the one driven by the teenager at 100kph was “clearly too low”.


Wolff ‘the naïve’

So Lewis and Nico are bestist friends announces Toto at the start of the F1 season.

“I know you guys want a spicy, controversial story, but it’s all bulls***,” Wolff countered following qualifying in Monaco. The imperious Mercedes brand must be advanced, as Toto adds, “I don’t think that anybody does that [deliberately crash] in modern day Formula 1.

Following Hamilton’s failure to obey an instruction from the team to allow Rosberg though in Hungary, Wolff gives extensive press conferences in Belgium to the effect, ‘We have had long conversations and matters are resolved.’

Clearly this was not the case as Britney then exploded with pent up rage  inside a post Begium GP race debrief with the team and Bozo blabbed to the world, “he did it on purpose. He said he did it on purpose…. Go and ask Toto and Paddy..”

Once again prior to Monza, the Mercedes brand is held aloft and Toto assures us all is calm and well within the Mercedes camp.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. AS TJ13’s editor in chief commented during last weeks podcast, Toto Wolff’s lack of experience in F1 is being laid bare to the world and his constant verbal downloads are both contradictory and unbelievable.

Here at TJ13, we discussed the potential for this battle between Hollywood Hamilton and the Blonde Bombshell becoming is adversarial and bitter as was the enmity between Senna and Prost. Yet Mercedes and Wolff have fought to dispel this image week in and week out.

So it was more than strange when Toto Wolff did a U-Turn in his regular spin via the BBC and described Hollywood and Britney as “enemies”. Maybe the Mercedes F1 PR manager finally managed to get Wolff to listen rather than speak and reminded him people still discuss the Senna/Prost meltdown in relationship over 20 years later.

Yet old habits die hard, in a flash the Wolff mantra returns.

“The decisions we are taking are the ones we believe are right for the team, and the most neutral and fair decisions for both drivers.

“You can do it like it’s been done in the past, in a very corporate way, politician’s talk, try to sort it out behind closed doors.

“Or you can do it the way we do it, and this is the way each of us has managed his companies or his investments in the past.

“We wear our heart on our sleeves, as they often say about Lewis. Emotion is an integral part of the success of the team.

“Having our guys going the extra mile, working 24/7, spending weekends in the office, is only possible because they are emotionally engaged in the company. To get that motivation out of our great people, you need emotion. We spend a lot of time on that topic.”

Aha. Now we have, Mercedes Benz, the laissez faire company, flooded with Germanic emotion and an internal vital organ on display like some badge of honour. Whilst others are ‘dipping their balls in the pool’, for the utter love of Mercedes, each and every individual employed just loves to go the extra 100 miles – barefoot and naked – smiling with a genuine sweetness, whilst being lashed with a cat o’ nine tails.

[Strains of Das Deutschland begin to emerge from the public address system, as VW Beetle assembly workers goose step behind a parade of the original cars and split window camper vans]


Comms Cut: Winners and loses

The FIA changing the F1 regulations mid-season should not be condoned, if only because it gives the appearance of tinkering with the current natural order which is akin to ‘fixing’, and this is something no true sports fan should wish to see.

That said, the eminent Charlie W would argue, nothing has been changed, it’s just a decision has been made to re-draw the line of acceptability.

Unfortunately, 2014 has revealed to many who did not realise previously, that the loveable grey haired man who ‘pushes’ the button – at times demonstrates intellectual properties of pygmy proportions.

What was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Why now does the vagaries of article 20.1 need to be immediately addressed? Of course, from a sporting perspective, to that question there is no proper answer.

Of course the headless chicken coup – also known as the F1 strategy group – must share some responsibility in this. This F1 school of bright ideas has been remarkably active in 2014, presumably energised by vast quantities of free Taurine offered up by the benevolent Austrian, who considers himself to be the modern day F1 Archduke of Styria; a social engineer par excellence.

Though in reality, the anticipation of a shake up in the F1 on track class system which gripped F1 fans over the banning of FRIC re-enforcing of the regulations regarding suspension was palpable, both here in the TJ13 community and around the globe.

Charlie’s latest foray into the limelight now raises similar questions. Who will be the winners and who will be the losers?

The answer to this will become evident over time, though not without some serious interrogation of sources within the teams…. because the anguish of a driver struggling with the controls of his car will no longer be available for us to hear.

In the battle Royal that is the handbags at dawn between the two Mercedes drivers, one has revealed his hand on the comms cut issue.

Nico Rosberg, fresh from his self flagellation…

‘I’m sorry, so sorry, really sorry everyone, my bad, please forgive me’

…and his unprecedented simultaneous public flogging administered by his own family

‘Nico has been very bad, Nico vill be punished, Nico has been punished, Nico vill never do zis again’

… has emerged from the Siberian Gulag (to mix analogy’s) and appears relatively positive about Charlie’s whimsical divine intervention.

He tweets, “Great day in simulator, practising Sochi & getting used to no radio comm. It’s good, the racing becomes more pure”.

Britney fans will argue that his Saturn sized brain will assimilate more information than Hamilton. This together with the Mercedes strategy computer will mean he can run the trillions of scenario’s possible and have a mode setting response in an instant. Therefore Charlie’s chunnerings will favour the German driver here on in.

Of course, not much can be derived from this single tweet as those studying in the Toto Wolff school of philosophy know well. Toto dictates, ”It’s always dangerous to read the news and build an opinion”. (TP Press Conference, Monza).

On the other hand, Darwin’s evolution principle – the survival of the fittest – is more necessary for those growing up in Stevenage – than for those reared in Monaco. Not only doe the lack of basic sustenance in the region create an insatiable hunger for it’s residents, but for Bozo this meant developing an unnatural turn of speed to avoid those with  predator like propensities

This has stood Lewis in good stead as he now can debrief with his engineers in just 10 minutes, whilst Nico requires an entire solar day to dawdle through the detail.

So who will the winners from the cut in comms dictat? Who will find life in F1 much more taxing?.

Prior to the race in Japan, we cannot know this, but for now merely ask the members of the F1 courtroom of opinion to please deliver their circumstantial evidence.

“All rise………….. the court is now in session”


#F1 Circuit Profile: 2014 – Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuit – Round 14

•September 16, 2014 • 10 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 ‘Track Profile Specialist’ Alistair Hunter

After our long and enjoyable stay in Formula One’s European heartlands, we go from a racetrack that has held the most Grands Prix to one that will be hosting its seventh Grand Prix this weekend. Singapore is the location for our Autumn adventure into Asia, and once again we will see the racing that has seen the Singapore Grand Prix elevated to one of the jewels in the Formula One calendar.

Singapore Grand Prix 2013


The search for the first Grand Prix in Singapore takes us back to the history of the Malaysian event, with three Formula Two events held at the Thomson Road track before Singapore ultimately achieved independence by being excluded from Malaysia. After this, eight Formula Libre events were held in this new state, before racing stopped in 1973 due to a variety of reasons, such as the increase in traffic, the issue of closing roads for the event and fatal accidents in the final two years of its existence.

In 2007, Formula One officially confirmed that a night race in Singapore would take place during the following year, a deal created by Bernie Ecclestone, the Singapore Tourist Board and local property entrepreneur Mr Ong Beng Seng, whose wealth sees him and his wife ranked in the top ten wealthiest people in Singapore.

The new race was mainly supported by the government, with local telecommunications company SingTel – also majority owned by the investment arm of the Singapore government – snapping up the naming rights for the event in a deal that would see Formula One added to their growing portfolio of sports events available to watch, as shown by a 2011 press release in which they promoted the kind of multi-platform F1 viewing that we all take for granted.

When the race first took place in 2008, many were interested by the way the drivers would either stay on European schedules or adapt to local time, as well as the effect of racing under so many bright lights for the first time. These factors, as well as the tough nature of the Singapore circuit, saw one of the most exciting and physically demanding races of the year.

Circuit Characteristics

Singapore 2013 Track Characteristics

Singapore – Marina Bay Street Circuit Characteristics © FIA

The track starts in the start/finish area specifically created for the Grand Prix, before reaching the second fastest part of the track at Turns One, Two and Three. A little straight and corner brings the drivers out onto the first DRS zone on the circuit and the fastest part of the track, with a fast right hand corner allowing the drivers to build up speed before braking for the sharp seventh corner at the end of the first sector.

Following these, a section of fairly standard corners takes the drivers from Turn Seven to the turn formerly unofficially known as the Singapore Sling, which is now a relatively straightforward left hand turn, in comparison to the tough chicane that occupied it two years ago. Two bridge sections follow at Fullarton Road and much wider Esplanade Drive.

After turning right onto Raffles Avenue, the track makes a little detour along to The Float at Marina Bay for turns seventeen and eighteen, the section of track famous for Nelson Piquet Jr. crashing there in 2008 as part of the Crashgate scandal that saw Fernando Alonso take the race victory; alternatively, if you are a fan who doesn’t want to remember that section for that reason, it is also the grandstand and floating platform which hosted the opening ceremony for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Turn 18 also sees the track go under the previously mentioned grandstand and come back out onto Raffles Avenue, before a fast series of left hand corners reunite the drivers with the start/finish straight, which acts as the second DRS zone. The lap record for the track currently stands at 1:48.574 by Sebastian Vettel, although a faster time was set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2008 on the track configuration that included the Singapore Sling chicane.

Maximum downforce is required in order to survive the low speed corners and traction controls, especially as understeer could lead to a spectacular accident in the Singaporean night. The suspension has to be strong, as do the brakes, while the teams need to get their heads round the demands of the longest race of the year on their engines and their tyres.

Rain has not been a factor in the race so far, but the possibility of it could lead to some spectacular – albeit uncomfortable – racing. The only time wet tyres have been used on the track were in FP1 in 2010 and 2012, as the track had just survived a heavy rain shower a few hours before on both occasions. In the latest situation, Fernando Alonso had set the fastest time on intermediate tyres of 2:01.573 as the track began to dry out, before the session evolved into a battle between Vettel and the McLaren drivers for top spot in the session.

A lap with Lewis Hamilton

Form Guide

Sebastian Vettel Singapore 2012Sebastian Vettel has enjoyed a period of dominance at this track, with three consecutive victories in the past three years, ensuring that he is the most successful driver at the track from Fernando Alonso, who won in 2008 and 2010.

The constructor with the most victories at this track is obviously Red Bull, although McLaren and Ferrari can claim two victories each in Singapore Grands Prix due to victories in 1969 and 1970 respectively, when the race did not count as part of the Formula One calendar.

Only three people have been on pole position this year, and only three people have won races this year – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg belonging to both categories, while Felipe Massa has been on pole without winning, and Daniel Ricciardo has been on the top step of the podium without starting from the front of the grid.

Hamilton has won six races, in comparison to Rosberg with 4, and Ricciardo with 3. After the British driver’s performance last weekend, I suspect not many people will bet against him extending his lead in that category, and closing the gap on his teammate at the top of the standings.

Pirelli and Singapore
Following Monza, where the two hardest compounds of the Pirelli F1 range were nominated, Formula One now heads to Singapore where the two softest compounds in the range will be present: P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft.

Singapore is a street circuit, but a highly unusual one. The race is run entirely by night, which means that track and temperature evolutions are somewhat different to the normal course of a grand prix weekend. Nonetheless, ambient temperatures are still generally high, which along with the enclosed nature of the track in the heart of the city, means that this is one of the most physically demanding tracks of the year for the drivers.

Traction and braking are the key elements to the Marina Bay street circuit, and there is also a bumpy surface, which makes finding consistent traction all the more difficult. As well as that, there is the usual street furniture including painted white lines and manhole covers that can catch drivers out and provide an extra hazard for the tyres. Singapore has more corners than any other track on the F1 calendar, creating yet more work for the tyres.

Paul Hembery © PirelliPaul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:It’s always a great pleasure for us to come to Singapore, which has consistently proved itself to be one of the most spectacular races of the year. Racing under the lights in such a vibrant city provides an amazing atmosphere that showcases Formula One at its very best.

The unique nature of the race at night obviously has an impact on the tyres, and we’ve selected the two softest tyres in the range for their rapid warm-up and high levels of mechanical grip: vital characteristics on a street circuit. This is actually a step softer than last year, when we nominated the medium and supersoft, so we should see some interesting tyre strategies with teams taking full advantage of the performance on offer.

There’s traditionally quite a high incidence of safety cars, so every strategy has to be flexible enough to bear this eventuality in mind as well. With the championship seemingly getting closer, all the signs suggest that we’re in for an exciting and unpredictable race.

Jean Alesi © PirelliJean Alesi, Pirelli consultant:I’ve never actually raced in Singapore but my impression is that it’s a bit like Monaco, with its capacity to transform a simple mistake into an absolute disaster, given how little run-off there is.

Here you also have to add in the high ambient temperatures and high humidity, plus the fact that you are racing at night while keeping to a European timetable. So it’s easy to see how physically fatiguing the race can be for the drivers. From a technical point of view, the most important aspect is to have a car with the best traction possible.

Consequently it’s important to look after the rear tyres, otherwise you lose a lot of time coming out of the corners (which are nearly all slow corners in Singapore). This can really compromise your race if you are not careful.

The circuit from a tyre point of view:
Singapore is all about traction and braking. In particular the rear tyres are worked hard on the exit of all the slow corners. The left rear is particularly stressed, as it has to cope with both longitudinal and sideways accelerations. Traction is further compromised by the bumpy surface of the normal roads used for the circuit.

The supersoft tyre is a low working range compound, capable of achieving optimal performance even at a wide range of low temperatures. The soft tyre by contrast is a high working range compound, suitable for higher temperatures. Ambient temperatures are usually between 30-35 degrees centigrade in Singapore and there has not yet been a wet race.

Singapore has higher abrasion than most street circuits but the asphalt takes longer than most tracks to rubber-in so track evolution is slow; as is the case generally with non-permanent facilities. Rain showers in the late afternoon – a frequent occurrence – also have the effect of washing away a lot of the rubber that has already been laid down.

The winning strategy last year was a two-stopper, with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel stopping on laps 17 and 44. The German started on the supersoft, changed to the medium, and then completed the race on the supersoft again.

A lap with Pirelli

Brembo and the Marina Bay Street Circuit

Brembo - Singapore 2014

* Turn 07 is considered the most demanding for the braking system.

As they pick their way through the turns and chicanes on the Singapore Street Circuit the drivers are well aware that they will need to put a lot of stress on their brakes with almost a full quarter of the time spent on them.

Of the 13 braking sections that characterise this circuit, non of them are particularly demanding, but the heated pace and the lack of adequate space for cooling make it one of the hardest on the braking systems. Friction material wear is one of the things that need to be monitored constantly in telemetry during each lap of the race.

Memorable Moments

2008 – The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was won by Fernando Alonso after his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed in order to bring out the safety car and benefit the Spaniard’s strategy. Felipe Massa led the race from pole position, but his race was ultimately destroyed by driving away from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached. Rosberg, Fisichella and Trulli also had stints in the lead, but as soon as Alonso led he built up enough of a gap to the rest of the field, albeit with another safety car period between him and his first victory of the season.

2009 – Lewis Hamilton led away from pole position, and was caught up in a battle for the race victory with Sebastian Vettel. However, Vettel was given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, leading Hamilton to finish ahead of Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso in second and third place respectively.

2010 – Fernando Alonso qualified on pole and led every lap on his way to victory, but was pressurised by Sebastian Vettel. The two McLaren drivers were also involved in a fight for the championship points with Mark Webber, with a collision between the Australian and Lewis Hamilton ruining the race of the British driver. Behind them, Sebastien Buemi and Heikki Kovalainen had an incident leading to the Lotus Racing driver seeing his car go on fire on the main straight, forcing him to put out the fire with an extinguisher borrowed from the Williams garage.

2011 – Vettel led the race from pole and took the race victory from Jenson Button and Mark Webber, while Lewis Hamilton got involved in an incident for the second year in a row, this time with Felipe Massa, compromising both of their races.

2012 – Hamilton led the field away and appeared to be on course for a routine victory, before a gearbox issue saw Sebastian Vettel overtake him for the eventual race victory. In addition, Michael Schumacher gained further criticism due to his crash into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne, while the race finished two laps early due to time constraints.

Support Races

I was all prepared to write in the standard mix of GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup figures, but instead we have a change (don’t worry, we’ll see the latter in the United States, and the other two in Russia and Abu Dhabi). F1 is accompanied by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series, which is currently led by Earl Bamber.

Eighteen points behind him is second placed driver Martin Ragginger, with Ho Pin Tung a further fifteen points behind. To change that, they have three races in order to become champion – one this weekend, and two more in Shanghai, supporting the Sportscar Champions Festival. This series also supported F1 in China and Malaysia.

In addition, the Masters Historic Racing series rejoins us this weekend, having previously featured in Montreal. I can’t find out much information about teams and drivers though, so I’ll leave you with their press release:

With the Masters Historic F1 races set to hit the streets of Singapore on September 19-21, the entry list has been confirmed along with the timetable and fans will get a chance to see a 24-strong entry in two races, preceded by free practice and a sole qualifying session.

The constructors represented are Lotus, Tyrrell, Brabham, Wolf, Williams, McLaren, March, Shadow, BRM, Hesketh, Parnelli, Penske and Fittipaldi, with drivers from Europe and America set to go head-to-head in the two 25-minute races.
Heading the entry is experienced Spaniard Joaquin Folch in the ex-Nelson Piquet 1981 title-winning Brabham BT49C[, while] against Folch as potential winners come young guns Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E), Ollie Hancock (Fittipaldi F5A) and Aaron Scott (March 761), plus leading Americans Chris Locke (Lotus 79), Doug Mockett (Penske PC4) and Robert Blain (March 761).

The race will make history for being the first historic F1 race on the streets of Singapore, the first time that the cars will have been driven in anger on the Singaporean streets. The event will also break new ground by being run under the floodlights on Friday evening and that will be a first for the cars that never ran in the dark in period. For the cars and drivers it will be a completely new experience and an exceptional spectacle.”

Sounds exciting, right? Nathan Kinch won the two support rounds for the Canadian Grand Prix in his ex-John Watson McLaren MP4, but I don’t think he’s racing this weekend. Should be a good spectacle anyway.

Previous Results

Year Driver Constructor
2013 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2012 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2011 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2010 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
2009 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2008 Fernando Alonso Renault
2007 Not held

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 16th September 2014

•September 16, 2014 • 55 Comments


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OTD Lite: 2001 – The sponsorless Ferrari and the ‘thug’

Podromou faces huge challenge at Mclaren

Teams confront Bernie over falling race attendances

Heidfeld defends Formula E after Vettel attack (GMM)

Singapore Weather

Twitter on the radio ban

OTD Lite: 2001 – The sponsorless Ferrari and the ‘thug’

Apart from the badge on the nose cone, the Ferraris appeared at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix shorn of all recognisable sponsorship in salute of the victims of the 9/11 atrocities. Yet, despite the intentions of the team, they had to get written permission from all their sponsors before being allowed to run in effectively national racing colours.


The nose was painted black in remembrance of those killed as the race weekend ran in a sombre mood. Michael Schumacher remained in a reflective mood all weekend and many believed he had finished fourth on purpose to avoid the podium and subsequent press conference.

Today also marked the first Grand Prix win of Juan Pablo Montoya who despite wearing a black armband seemed genuinely delighted at his break through victory. Never the brightest bulb in the box, this thuggish racer waved enthusiastically as he accepted the trophy.

The Jackal


Podromou faces huge challenge at Mclaren

Mclaren proudly announced the start of a new era with their recruitment of Peter Podromou beginning his second stint with the team. He originally worked for Mclaren between 1991 and 2006 before following design genius Adrian Newey to Red Bull.

Of course down in Woking the champagne had barely touched the floor before both parties expressed their delight in combining forces once more.

“It’s fantastic to return to McLaren, and to see a mixture of faces old and new,” Prodromou said. “Of course, I have first-hand experience of just what a passionate, focused and capable race team exists within these walls, and I’ve already seen the enthusiasm and positivity that exists to return McLaren to world championship-winning glory. I, too, am determined to work flat-out to do everything I can to help initiate a new chapter of success in McLaren’s history.”

With Mclaren’s last victory coming at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix McLaren’s CEO Jonathan Neale stated that his appointment shows the team is ready to return to winning ways. “I’m delighted to welcome Peter back to McLaren, he joins us at an extremely exciting time: we’re making exciting progress with our new engine partner, and our entire design department has been galvanised and motivated by an ongoing restructure that has really begun to bed-in and deliver results.”

“We’re under no illusions that we’re yet there, but Peter’s appointment is a very significant one, and is also a very public reminder that we’re adding strength in depth to our organisation all the time.”

Whilst a team would never willingly make a statement suggesting that they weren’t delighted with their new signing, the hiring of Podromou has merely stemmed the flood of engineers leaving the team for pastures new – although no-one is on record as to their true thoughts of the man responsible for the 2013 Mclaren – Paddy Lowe.

Either way, during his first career at Mclaren, he was involved in the 1991 winning car and the Newey designed cars that won titles in 1998 and 1999. But mysteriously, with the genius of Newey not being able to work his magic in Woking, it was only when Peter and Ade teamed up once again in red Bull that their collaboration bore fruit.

James Allison joined Ferrari last year at a similar stage of the year and effectively had no input into this years car and likewise Podromou will have limited input into next years Macca so it may well be 2016 before we can truly assess if this man has the nous to follow where Newey led..


Teams confront Bernie over falling race attendances

Ever since Sky replaced the BBC season long coverage of F1 on free to air, the viewers subscription model has coincided with an era of depleting TV audience figures across Europe. When the BBC initially came to an arrangement with Sky it was given the new spending constraints issued by the UK government, the broadcaster couldn’t justify funding Bernie’s demands. That said, paying for a few hundred people to carry their productions to other global sporting events was deemed acceptable.

This writer saw a Sky producer defending the agreement as the only way to keep free-to-air service on the air waves. A member of the TJ13 responded and questioned whether RAI and the other European broadcasters were subject to the same tax payers ransom with regards monies spent on entertainment. Unsurprisingly, Sky refused to comment.

This year has witnessed some epic battles throughout the field, a dominant team that has drivers at war and yet events are struggling to entice sponsors. The pay driver is more prevalent than ever and the crowds are staying away.

At long last the paymasters – the manufacturers – have begun to understand that without an audience there is no requirement for the vanity of the ‘beautiful people.’ So the teams have approached Mr E about the prices of tickets driving the spectators away.

High tickets prices obviously discourage people from attending which is directly attributable to the massive hosting fees charged to race promoters by Mr. E. Further, race promoters used to be able to pocket track advertising/race sponsors fees together with charges to the concession stands. All this now goes to the FOM “Empire” leaving the promoter with little else other than the cash from gate receipts.

Back in F1, Ron Dennis the British Bulldog who has fought many a back street dog fight with Mr. E has revealed, “We have dared to discuss ticket prices, and we discussed the impact and the importance of the traditional circuits like Spa, like Monza, like Hockenheim, races like that need to be part of the race calendar. This is a global sport.”

“We need to go abroad and we need to conquer new territories and new countries, this always has been the case, but I guess it is pretty clear what needs to be done to fill the grandstands in the traditional races such as Hockenheim and Monza.

Dennis suggests F1/FOM go do some proper market research as to why F1 is struggling to attract spectators. “How can we go to Silverstone and Austria and it be absolutely full, and then we go to Germany and it’s half full? There must be a reason. We can all guess, but that’s not very scientific. We’ve really got to understand why these things happen. Is it ticketing prices? Is it national heroes etc? Whatever it is we have to address it.”

It wasn’t long ago that a day at the Grand Prix meant a full itinerary with motor-sport from morning until dusk. The teams and drivers were more accessible and air shows and variation in food and non corporate vendors encouraged people to join in the festival.

In the 21st century, as in society, the cult of celebrity has overtaken the sport and the public has been herded further and further away from being able to touch and feel the burning rubber and oil. ‘Die hards’ still pay to go, but an individual with a casual interest will never darken the doors of an F1 race any more. For a family of 4, the cost of going to F1 represents a luxury holiday week away.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Heidfeld defends Formula E after Vettel attack

Nick Heidfeld has defended the new Formula E series following criticism from within the F1 paddock. F1’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel recently slammed the fully electric powered series – which kicked off on the streets of Beijing last weekend with an all-star grid and global interest – as “cheese”.

Ultimately, German Heidfeld – a veteran of no less than 185 grands prix and 13 podiums – was arguably the star of the show, spectacularly crashing in a last-lap lunge to take victory from Nicolas Prost, the son of the F1 legend. But Vettel said recently: “I’m not a fan of it (Formula E), and as a viewer I would not be interested.

Heidfeld, who drives for the team co-founded by Hollywood actor Leonardo Dicaprio, was asked by the German-language Spox to react to Vettel’s attitude. “I like Sebastian and I don’t know in what context he said that,” the 37-year-old answered.

“But I think that Formula E cannot currently compete against formula one and actually it does not want to. The concept is quite different. But the series is justified when you consider the development of electric mobility and the interest the manufacturers have in it. How successful it is, we will have to see. I think even formula one is currently struggling with some negative headlines, but it is the peak of motor sport and that will long remain the case. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be something else as well,” Heidfeld added.

It has been said that, at least for now, Formula E will never pose a danger to the success of F1 because of the speed of the cars. In its report, Spox said the laptimes show that Formula E is “more formula 3″ than F1.

“Compared with formula one, the performance is modest,” Heidfeld agreed. “We have almost 300 horse power in qualifying and the cars are 900 kilos. And the Michelin tyres we are using are not slicks, which is slower but we can use them in the wet and the dry. Ultimately they are normal single seater cars, which are always difficult to drive on the limit. But another reason I chose to race is because of the opponents — in terms of the quality of the drivers, we don’t need to hide from formula one,” he said.

Heidfeld explained that the trend is therefore different to F1, where so-called ‘pay drivers’ are wielding unprecedented levels of power in the increasingly expensive sport.

“Compared to some years ago, the difference is obvious,” he said. “It is difficult to get into formula one now only with talent. I don’t want to criticise the teams, clearly they would prefer to sign drivers based only on what they can do on the track. But they also have to pay them. Formula one is too expensive for most of the teams, which is a shame — but that’s the way things are.”

Finally, Heidfeld commented on the declining age of rookies in F1, with Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and now Mercedes reserve Pascal Wehrlein all signed up as teenagers.

“Basically,” Heidfeld explained, “maturity and experience goes up the older you are. We saw that it worked out with Kimi (Raikkonen in 2001), but even he was older than Max,” said the German, who was Raikkonen’s first teammate in 2001. “On the whole it would be better and safer if there is a minimum age in formula one. Clearly it’s possible that there are exceptional drivers like Kimi and maybe Max who can do it. But it is very difficult to predict beforehand,” Heidfeld added.

TJ13 comments: Here in the Judge’s chambers, the mood is remarkably sanguine in regards the latest comments from the German superstar. Earlier this year the chambers came under attack from bovine excrement at the mere mention of Vettel’s use of the word ‘S%*T’ but this time we should be safe quoting his application of language here… although is the cheese a mild mature cheddar or a strong distinct Parmiggiano… or one which is chilli infused…. we just don’t know.

It is should be a concern that Heidfeld is considered the star of the show because he had an accident that could have been fatal and it would seem that his reasoning is still not fully returned when he speaks of the stars of Formula E being comparable to Formula One.

Of course we have the legendary Senna and Prost battle which should get all the old timers shuffling around the nursing homes once again shouting their allegiance – although Heidfeld may have unwittingly given the game away as to the future of these electric Formula cars.

Here in the UK, ‘development of electric mobility’ means one thing – mobility scooters – and judging by the speed and charging times of these cars it may be possible to carry your shopping in a basket on the back too..

Hippo explains: When someone is describing something as Käse (cheese) in German. It’s basically just a less rude form of saying “it’s rubbish”.


Singapore Weather

Might get interesting….



Race History

2008 Dry

2009 Hot and Dry

2010 Dry

2011 Hot and Dry

2012 Hot and Dry

2013 Dry


Twitter on the radio ban


Yes Will – the lunatics (plural) have officially taken over the asylum.


Mmm. Surely the “F1 school of silly ideas’ thought of this – there must be a problem with it.


Fernando is old school – or just utterly desperate.


#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 15th September 2014

•September 15, 2014 • 43 Comments


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:

On This Day in #F1: 14th September 2008

Top-20 #F1 Constructors who failed – 8th March

#F1 Victims of Circumstance-gate: Monza 2014 – #ItalianGP

OTD Lite: 2001 – Zanardi suffers career ending accident

Pit-to-car radio – the subterfuge begins

Mansell – Mercedes will decide World Champion

Allan Mcnish offers the tifosi a glimmer of hell vs hope

Shock! Ecclestone duped the Circuit of the Americas officials

Red Bull’s da Costa admits F1 ‘dream’ over (GMM)

OTD Lite: 2001 – Zanardi suffers career ending accident

The F1 teams had arrived in Monza in a state of shock after the destruction of the World Trade Centre the preceding Tuesday. On this Saturday, many drivers heard the shocking news that a former contemporary of theirs had suffered life threatening injuries in Germany.

Alex Zanardi had been competing in the Lausitzring Indycar race when after his final pit-stop he spun as he exited the pits. His car was collected by fellow racer Alex Tagliani – the impact shattering Zanardi’s car and amputating his legs in situ. The medical crew saved his life despite him losing 5 litres of blood and he began a slow recovery with his wife and son as support.

Since his return he has completed the last 13 laps of the Speedway, competed in WTCC with BMW and driven a hand controlled BMW-Sauber. With the exuberance he demonstrated when winning Indycar races – he celebrated his later victories with donuts.


But perhaps a greater legacy than all his motorsport achievements was his victory at the Paralympics in London 2012. An Olympian in mind, body and spirit – this man proves continuously what an inspiration he is to everyone. Irrespective of the body – it is the heart that defines the person.

The Jackal


Pit-to-car radio – the subterfuge begins

In the latest FIFA World Cup, two new introductions changed the way that the historic game of football (soccer to our American cousins) was played. Goal-line technology which has been requested for years and the use of a disappearing foam in the event of free kicks both moved the game on.

These changes were implemented to solve a problem which the more opportunistic professionals pushed beyond the so called ‘spirit of the rules’. No longer will a referee or linesman be the decider of a potential goal nor an unscrupulous player to negate the advantage of a free kick against their team.

The recent decision by the FIA to implement changes in regards to the use of pits to car radio has elicited a response from all the individual teams as to their future use. Toto Wolff is decidedly underwhelmed by the decision stating that: “It is a complex and controversial decision that will require a major effort by the team to understand how we can work best with this new direction. The directive is not entirely clear and there will inevitably be some controversy as to what clarification will be used in essential procedures like for example before the start of the race.”

Of course this brings about its own problems in a team that professes to allowing their drivers to race but in at least two of the last three races controversy has followed ignored orders from the pitwall. It would seem that no longer will we hear the dulcet tones of the Leprechaun ordering his two young charges to heel…

Christian Horner believes that “drivers should be alone when they step into the car. Of course all information that’s needed for pit-stops and safety will be used but they do not need constant information as to where their team-mate is a tenth faster and what gear they are using. It makes no sense, for the drivers it is time to drive.

Of course information will still be sent to the cars and displayed on their LCD screens but although Mclaren furnished every team with a new, larger display which contained new features – notably Williams, Lotus and Red Bull have not adopted it. As Lotus declared, obviously with Raikkonen in mind, “not all drivers like the constant communication. Some respond well whereas others do not want to hear any of this”

Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” said the Iceman in a moment of heated debate back in Abu Dhabi in 2012.

While Charlie Whiting has reiterated that Article 8.5.2 of the Technical Regulations expressly prohibits telemetry between the pits and cars, he would be naive to believe that the assorted teams will not devise a way to circumvent the rules. Eric Boullier in fact admits as much when he offered: “We will see a revival of encrypted dialogues which would necessarily be a little less obvious than Rob Smedley’s infamous ‘Alonso is faster than you’. I’m sure that saying the sky is blue will be a message and even if we are asked what it means I’m pretty sure codes will be used.”

Of course this means that the FIA have their work cut out to monitor every possible transmission but in 2014 whining of the type heard repeatedly by Alonso and Vettel at Silverstone has brought the situation to a head. The debut of 17 year old Max Verstappen has also likely seen the governing body decide to implement a tougher challenge which, combined with a look at the current Superlicence requirements, has shocked the overseers into reinstating F1 as the pinnacle of the sport.

It’s easy to look back and admire the racers of the past who left the pitlane and then for the next two hours raced, preserved their tyres and their car until the chequered flag – all without outside influence. But when Esteban Guitterez at the recent Belgian Grand Prix was told by his engineer that his tyres were ready to attack a drying track in qualifying – maybe it’s time to rethink what the sport should represent. These are after all amongst the best drivers of this generation – with the possible exception of Ericsson and Chilton.


Mansell – Mercedes will decide World Champion

nigel-mansell-united-states-formula-one-grand_3956580With the preceding article in mind, 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell offers an interesting take on the developments within the Mercedes camp. He is of the opinion that Mercedes will decide the outcome of the winner of the 2014 drivers title – except now, any instructions will most likely be given prior to the drivers getting into their respective cars.

With radio transmissions banned, no longer will the international audience hear the drivers being told to drive to a delta, leave the attack for later on or simply ‘hold position’. Both Rosberg and Hamilton now know that the gloves are off.

After Monza, two independent sources from within Mercedes offered to TJ13 that instructions had been given to Rosberg in regards to his having to ‘gift’ a victory to Hamilton as payback for what was judged to have been his fault – or what the rest of the world calls a racing accident.

Of the remaining 7 races this season, it was inevitable that finding himself in front in Monza with a fast catching Lewis behind him, Rosberg decided to pay back as per the teams instructions and deliberately out-braked himself not once but twice, both times with barely a puff of smoke and straight-lining the chicane. The first time navigating and accelerating through as quickly as possible, the second a more conservative approach and a more leisurely application of the loud pedal – the difference? The second time it was his team-mate behind him.

Of course observers will claim that he made similar mistakes in Canada but each time he would use the painted tarmac beyond the white lines to maintain an advantage. In Monza, he took to an escape road rather than attempt to make the chicane. Whereas most other drivers avoided the the slalom through the cones preferring to clatter over the speed bumps of the chicane.

Mansell himself said: “Many people are wondering if Nico threw the race, but the only ones who would really know that is Mercedes and Nico. I do not know what the real answer is, but I know I would have tried to make the chicane.”

“Mercedes is one of the best teams but I have to think that they have allowed the situation to over-run them. It was intriguing to see their reaction after Spa. It’s an easy situation to deal with team-mates because no-one complained. The stewards, and I have been one, maintained it was a racing incident and as drivers you never ‘wash your dirty laundry in public’. But the teams reaction afterwards was surprising!

“Lewis did a great job in Monza but it’s all in Mercedes’ hands. Ultimately the one who wins the title is the one they want to promote. It’s a simple thing to say but these two great drivers should operate as the team instructs them. I hope they let them race but if there are further repercussions then the team will take action…”


Allan Mcnish offers the tifosi a glimmer of hell vs hope

One of the trio of Celts that lend their opinions to the part-time production called the BBC F1 coverage, Allan Mcnish is also a three time Le Mans winner and effectively a poor mans replacement for the brogue of Gary Anderson.

In his column for the BBC he touched on a subject that TJ13 recently “put out there” about how damaging Fernando Alonso’s brilliance has actually proven to Ferrari.

Marco Mattiacci has to find a way to convince Alonso to stay because it has become abundantly apparent just how bad Ferrari would have looked in the last few years without him. Now they are way beyond the point at which even Alonso can hide Ferrari’s shortcomings. If Ferrari lost the drive and determination of Alonso, that could only destabilise the team further.”

“In some ways, Alonso has probably lengthened the time it took Ferrari to realise how bad they were, by dragging them to fight for world titles and giving them results they did not deserve. But there is no doubt anymore.”

Of course, individuals with a little knowledge are a dangerous breed, or so the cliche goes and Mcnish proffers no argument against this view other than with further talk of how Ferrari’s sacking of Prost at the end of 1991 was “an incredibly bad decision” and how the current situation reminds him of “Ferrari in the early 90’s when run by Fiat management.”

Except that Fiat management had the foresight to also appoint Luca Cordero di Montezemolo to Ferrari in November 1991 and so began a turnaround.

“LdM’s departure gives them a chance to start again because there has been something fundamentally wrong with the team with Montezemolo in overall charge. In Alonso they have the Schumacher. Allison is a highly regarded design leader but the question remains as to whether Mattiacci can hold it all together.”

“He is highly regarded with parent company Fiat and has already made clear he knows it’s a rebuilding job for the future. I am interested to see if he can use his experience to turn the fortunes of the scarlet cars around in a similar fashion to Flavio Briatore in the early 90’s.”

Which would be a relevant point except Flavio made no secret he didn’t know anything about F1 or most importantly the global car industry. He worked for a knitwear manufacturer. Possibly the biggest clue about his ultimate potential came from none other than the Suffolk Toad who likened MM to when Jean Todt first joined Ferrari.


Shock! Ecclestone duped the Circuit of the Americas officials

Billionaires are generally accepted as supremely driven individuals. The likelihood of one making that sort of money does not suit an image of a peaceful, law-abiding citizen who helps old ladies across the road. It is also highly unlikely that any have achieved this level of extreme wealth without being ruthless when the need has arisen.

As to luck, it may apply that an individual becomes a millionaire with an invention but before reaching the heady heights of nine zeros beyond the initial digit they would have sold the company to a bigger corporation.

Bernie Ecclestone has achieved this position through consummate playing of governments and individuals throughout his career and has amassed as many admirers as he has detractors. With countries practically falling over themselves to taste the elixir of Formula One, many a white elephant has fallen by the roadside with dreams unfulfilled.

If the announcement of Mexico being on the 2015 calendar wasn’t disastrous enough for a circuit that relies on the huge numbers of Mexican visitors to show their support for the home drivers – news is emerging that Mr E may well have pulled off another hood-winking of naive government officials.

indexThe San Antonio Express is carrying a story that suggests that money being paid to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas may be in jeopardy.

The circuit was intended to benefit from the Major Event Trust Fund (METF) which was established by Legislature to help Texas compete with other states to attract major sporting events. Critics have always been critical of the track’s eligibility both in Austin and outside the state capitol. No recipient of state support has been more controversial than the F1 project – especially given that Legislature has had to slash schools and social services to balance the budget.

The problem appears to be that the proper legal application may not have been in compliance with Texas regulations. Land Commisioner Jerry Patterson said, “The process was botched from the beginning … it was clear then and it’s even clearer now, the statute was not complied with.”

And an attorney for the state controller’s office said that even if a proper written application was not made, it is possible that “the application to Formula One Management Limited was oral, not written, so that a public information request would not elicit a copy.”

The headline figure of $250 million is what would be paid by the state over a 10 year period and to date COTA has received funds amounting to $60 million dollars. The 2013 race weekend brought more than 250,000 people to the track which in a property tax appraisal was valued at more than $296 million but the fear of the organisers is that with the newly announced return to Mexico many of these visitors will evaporate.


(sourced from (GMM) with TJ13 comment)

Red Bull’s da Costa admits F1 ‘dream’ over

imagesAntonio Felix da Costa has admitted his F1 “dream” is probably over. Last year, the young Portuguese was the cream of Red Bull’s driver development programme and apparently destined for a Toro Rosso debut in 2014. But just as da Costa’s Formula Renault 3.5 campaign faltered, Red Bull decided instead to pluck teen Daniil Kvyat straight out of GP3.

Perhaps bolstered by the success of its daring choice, the energy drink company has now controversially decided to put 16-year-old Max Verstappen into F1 next year straight from F3 and karts. In the meantime, Antonio Felix da Costa is acknowledging that his F1 dream may be over.

“At the start of the season I had hoped still to go into formula one,” he told Speed Week. “But although I am only 23 and it’s a bit young to give up a dream, I had to decide what to focus on, and that is DTM,” da Costa said. Still with Red Bull backing, he has raced a BMW in the premier German touring car series this year, scoring only 4 points so far.

But he insists that seeing first Kvyat and now Verstappen race ahead of him into F1 is “not hard” to cope with. “I enjoy DTM very much and from the beginning it has gone well,” da Costa said, “so I have decided to concentrate on this. If I was to spend ten years here, I would be happy,” he insisted. “This is my goal.”

Max is a very, very good racing driver, and I could not have achieved at 16 what he has achieved. He is clearly a special talent,” said da Costa. “At the same time I am very sorry for Carlos Sainz jr,” he added. “He was developed by Red Bull, they invested a lot in him, and he is now ready for promotion to the premier class. I hope he gets the chance and that we will see Max and Carlos on the grid next year.”

In the meantime, da Costa is focusing not only on DTM, but also the all-new Formula E series, even though a clash last weekend meant he had to sit out the season opener.

TJ13 comment: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’ Henry Ford

It’s such a shame that da Costa has failed to make an impact and his career is effectively over at just 23 year of age and… enough!

This is insane. A talented driver has been picked up and sponsored by the voracious appetite that is Red Bull but he is living a pampered life and he is racing in Formula E and DTM. How many potential stars has the sport missed out on because of funding issues or ‘lucky breaks’. Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, if you lucked into Marlboro sponsorship early on, you were practically guaranteed a run at F1 at some stage and it was what you made of your opportunity.

The biggest problem ultimately is that this guy is quite obviously not a strong mental character if he has ‘given up’ on his dream already. Formula One would have destroyed him and it is likely that for all his undoubted ability Helmut Marko could see that too. For every driver that makes it to F1 there are probably 100 who have failed.


#F1 Victims of Circumstance-gate: Monza 2014 – #ItalianGP

•September 14, 2014 • 11 Comments

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

[For those who are new to the page - TJ13 attempts to remove certain aspects of the race to give a fairer reflection of the race result.]

Another week, another controversy at the pinnacle of Motorsport as this time the world questioned whether we had just witnessed a fix.  Chicane-gate will only add to the narrative of the 2014 season, which has seen puncture-gate, escape road-gate, illegal engine settings-gate and a German team wanting a German driver to win–gate.  The final part of this story seems fitting that it will be decided by double-points gate, as the only thing more strange would be gate-gate.  All involved in Formula One will only hope there is not a repeat of crash-gate as we head to Singapore.

The one thing nobody can question this weekend was that Nico Rosberg was slower than Lewis Hamilton.  If that does not play on his mind then the booing certainly will, as they head to a completely different style of circuit around the streets of Singapore.  Can anybody see a Red Bull driver getting amongst the Mercedes drivers or perhaps even gate crashing (see what I did there) the Mercedes party?

The start of the action at Monza

The start of the action at Monza

So what really happened?

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg: While many, including myself, have their suspicions about the race result as there is nothing proven, #LH44 keeps the win.  An important win as he wrestles back the momentum.

Valtteri Bottas: Even if Bottas had made a good start off the line, he would have run into trouble in the form of Lewis Hamilton as he limped away from pole.  Massa’s start was not flying, but he retains his first podium of 2014.

Fernando Alonso: A poor performance was masked by the retirement of the lead Ferrari driver.  Some have said it was the worst possible place to do so, but in truth it would be worse to finish very lowly.  The retirement gave the Spaniard and the team a get-out clause, when at best all they could have hoped for was a gross 9th , net 10th position, including Magnussen’s penalty.

Nico Hulkenberg: A damaged floor put pay to what could have been a double points finish for the Force India team as they continue to do battle with McLaren.  Nico is awarded 9th place for his efforts.

Kevin Magnussen: Many have commented that he was unlucky to finish where he did after being given a penalty.  I agree, but the stewards’ decision is final…

Max Chilton: Driver error was the result of Super Max retiring, therefore he remains retired.

Daniil Kvyat: Even with failing brakes at the end of the race, it is unlikely he would have finished ahead of Magnussen when his 5 second penalty was applied.  He remains in position for what was an impressive recovery drive from a 21st position start after his 10 place grid penalty.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Lewis Hamilton = 25 = 1 1
2 Nico Rosberg = 18 = 2 2
3 Felipe Massa = 15 = 4 3
4 Valtteri Bottas = 12 = 3 4
5 Daniel Ricciardo = 10 = 9 5
6 Sebastian Vettel = 8 = 8 6
7 Sergio Perez = 6 = 10 7
8 Jenson Button = 4 = 6 8
9 Nico Hulkenberg +3 2 +2 13 9
10 Fernando Alonso REITRED 1 +1 7 10
11 Kimi Raikkonen -2 0 -2 11 11
12 Kevin Magnussen -2 0 -1 5 12
13 Daniil Kvyat -2 0 = 21 13
14 Jean-Eric Vergne -1 0 = 12 14
15 Pastor Maldonado -1 0 = 16 15
16 Adrian Sutil -1 0 = 14 16
17 Romain Grosjean -1 0 = 17 17
18 Kamui Kobayashi -1 0 = 18 18
19 Jules Bianchi -1 0 = 19 19
20 Esteban Gutierrez -1 0 = 15 20
21 Marcus Ericsson -1 0 = 22 21
22 Max Chilton = RETIRED 0 = 20 22


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 256 +40
Nico Rosberg 2 254 +16
Daniel Ricciardo 3 163 -6
Sebastian Vettel 4 113 +7
Fernando Alonso 5 106 -13
Valtteri Bottas 6 104 -18
Felipe Massa 7 79 +24
Jenson Button 8 63 -9
Nico Hulkenberg 9 48 -22
Kimi Raikkonen 10 47 +5
Sergio Perez 11 35 -4
Kevin Magnussen 12 25 -13
Daniil Kvyat 13 11 +5
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 9 -2
Romain Grosjean 15 4 -4
Jules Bianchi 16 0 -2
Adrian Sutil 17 0 =
Esteban Gutierrez 18 0 =
Kamui Kobayashi 19 0 =
Max Chilton 20 0 =
Marcus Ericsson 21 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

Instead of being able to focus on the retirement of the prancing horse the tifosi would have been forced to face the reality that their favourite red car was struggling to clear the McLaren of Button.  Monza 2014 will not go down as one to remember for the Ferrari squad, but there again not many races this year will.

It seems that if it could have gone wrong for Kvyat, it did go wrong this weekend.  One bit of solace the young Russian can take from the weekend is the fact his fastest lap was the quickest of all the Renault runners.  The 1:28.486 was almost a full tenth quicker than the sister Bull of Ricciardo ahead.  Should Vettel leave in the next couple of years, Kvyat is lining himself up well to take the front running seat.

Quote of the Day

The quote for this week comes from Derek Jeter, the long-serving American baseball player said, “I love it when people doubt me. It makes me work harder to prove them wrong.”

New York Yankees legend

New York Yankees legend

There are those that doubt Nico following his ‘buckling to the pressure’ of Lewis in Italy.  Singapore will be of paramount importance for who carries the impetus for the rest of the start of the flyaway races – so don’t miss the action!

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Sunday 14th September 2014

•September 14, 2014 • 38 Comments


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Previously on TheJudge13:

On This Day in #F1: 14th September 2008

Top-20 #F1 Constructors who failed – 8th March

OTD Lite: 1980 – Gilles Villeneuve survives huge accident

Prost dynasty – Like father, like son

FIA to investigate superlicence qualifying criteria

Marchionne promises to work like “madman” for Ferrari resurrection

All we hear is, Radio Ga-Ga, Radio Goo-Goo…

Formula E boss Agag happy about Heidfeld crash

Meanwhile in Venezuela…

OTD Lite: 1980 – Gilles Villeneuve survives huge accident

indexIn 1994 Roland Ratzenberger succumbed to injuries he received during an accident at the Villeneuve corner. His front wing had failed, folded under the front wheels and he hit the concrete wall with sickening violence. The state-of-the-art carbonfibre tub came to rest with a hole in the monocoque and the driver unconscious.

Following this black weekend the authorities had to be seen to act and so the Imola circuit profile was changed with a chicane installed before the Villeneuve bend.

Yet 14 years previously a similar accident had proven that fate plays its hand everytime. On this day in 1980, on the 5th lap, Villeneuve suffered a tyre failure which launched his car into a horrific accident from which he leapt clear at the corner that would be renamed in his honour.

Before the introduction of carbon-fibre F1 cars were made of aluminum honey-comb; at the time recognised as the lightest and strongest material for these 200mph projectiles. Luck, and not the technology, meant that on this day the driver survived the accident.

The Jackal


Prost dynasty – Like father, like son

Alain Prost was a passable F1 driver. Unfortunately, his son has never achieved the same heady heights.. Prost Jr. led throughout the inaugural Formula E race and was ahead entering the final lap of the Beijing event.

The option of someone being faster didn’t quite compute, and as they approached the final corner Heidfeld began his over-taking move. The Frenchman glanced quickly in his right hand mirror before he cynically ploughed into Heidfeld’s car. Even Maldonado would describe such a move as ‘fairly nasty’.

Heidfeld: “I had been saving power and got a really good run out of the second to last corner; I was better on braking for the last corner and he braked early anyway. I was next to him and he moved over on me. That is clear, but he is a friend of mine [and team-mate at the Rebellion Racing World Endurance Championship squad], so I know he didn’t do it on purpose.”

Prost, meanwhile, initially accused Heidfeld of “totally overcooking it. I didn’t see him and it is disappointing to lose the victory like this. I was in the middle of the track when I braked for the corner, just to be safe. But he was next to me and already hit my wheel. I didn’t think he would try something like this.”

Bxar3iBIMAAGF9L“There is no way to overtake there. The speed of the impact [with the wall] shows that he was going too fast,” he continued. “I was just starting to turn in at that point and he tried to dive-bomb me.”

Which belies the fact that the Frenchman was attempting to turn into the final corner some 100 metres earlier than he had the previous 24 laps of the race.. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the fact that young Prost didn’t go to check on his ‘friend’ to see if he was ok.

He did, however, later take to Twitter to accept responsibilty for the accident, saying: “I feel very bad about the incident and after looking at the videos I understand that I am responsible. I just did not see him, I feel very bad”

Needless to say, the 10 place grid penalty for the next race at Putrajaya, Malaysia takes a wee bit of wind out of the Prost attack. But it’s not the first time that a Prost has been involved in questionable driving in a World Championship – just that it normally plays out when a championship is at stake, eh Alain?

The four times F1 world champion claimed that he never thought that someone would “try such a suicidal move”. Unfortunately nobody but the Frenchman, who obviously suffers from a terminal detachment from reality, has yet identified an attempt to overtake someone named Prost as an offense punishable by death. Thankfully his son has a bit more common sense and later apologized to Heidfeld, if somewhat very belatedly.


FIA to investigate superlicence qualifying criteria

The FIA will be reviewing the issuing of the super licence system after several noted individuals have raised concerns about the way drivers qualify for them. Following the graduation of Max Vertsappen to F1 without completing a season in single seater racing, many inside the paddock and several noted ex drivers including Jacques Villeeuve have been vociferous of the state of play.

Following discussions at the recent Italian Grnad Prix, the FIA put out a statement: “A mandate has been given to the FIA Administration to review the qualification and conditions for the issuing of a super licence, in consultation with all parties concerned. A proposal will be put forward for WMSC approval in December for implementation in 2016.”

Eric Boullier also told Autosport: “there is not a clear path to F1. If you go to football, you have your academy and then you go to League 3, League 2 and League 1. Here we have different series and it is a bit confusing for drivers.”

“So the superlicence needs to be a little bit updated in the way it is given. Some series have disappeared, some series are still on, and the level of each series varies a lot.”


Marchionne promises to work like “madman” for Ferrari resurrection

During a recent launch of a new Jeep model, Sergio Marchionne spoke to the press about his ascendancy to the role of Ferrari president. “I was incredibly close to Ferrari and I started working with Luca (Montezemolo) about ten years ago during a difficult time. We shared in the development of the model line so effectively there is no-one else who can continue to take Ferrari forward.”

In 2004 Marchionne was assigned by Fiat heir John Elkann to take over the reins in Turin. In the past ten years he has overseen a complete turnaround of their fortunes from near-bankruptcy to claiming a place amongst the top 5 manufacturers in the world with their recent takeover of the Chyrsler group that Daimler-Mercedes failed with. At the same time, LdM was appointed the Chairman of Fiat so in effect the two worked closely.

With Marco Mattiacci installed at the Gestione Sportiva since April, changes in the Scuderia’s infrastructure is already in progress so the axe bearer won’t have as much work to put in place when he takes over on the 13th October. “How long am I willing to wait to return to the top? The minimum possible. I have committed myself to the team to work like hell to get Ferrari back winning. This is essential. Throughout, Luca and myself received messages from disappointed fans and this has bothered me for a long time.”

Which is an admirable sentiment from a man over-seeing a multi-billion dollar empire but unlikely to be the full truth. Ferrari is seen as the jewel in the crown of the Fiat-Chrysler corporation and with an imminent flotation scheduled in New York the intrinsic value of the company will rise with a healthy Ferrari.

And whilst Formula One teams believe the world revolves around them, the truth is that this sport is irrelevant to the conglomerate’s profit sheet. The likelihood is that Marchionne is the only man with the authority to oust Monte without too much of a power struggle before passing the control to one of his choosing – power that comes not only from the Fiat board but also from the fact he is on the board of directors of Phillip Morris, better known as Ferrari’s main sponsor Marlboro.


All we hear is, Radio Ga-Ga, Radio Goo-Goo…

Drivers being told what to do and when has long been a pet-peeve of fans. The battle of wills between Seb Vettel and his race engineer throughout the 2013 season have been a prime example of that. While ‘Rocky’ wanted to ‘save the car’, he was often brushed off by the German, who fancied himself a fastest lap or some doughnuts.

If it is for FIA, in a rare moment of ‘making sense’, these times are over as they plan to enforce §20.1 of the sporting regulation, that demands that ‘the driver operates the car unaided’. Gone could be the times of drivers being told at which angle and uttering which prayer they should attempt corner three.

Interestingly, Red Bull chief Christian Horner, the man who forgot how to operate a razor, likes the idea. “The drivers should be alone in the cockpit. You have to inform them about pitstops and anything pertaining security, but you need not tell them where their opponent shaves off a tenth of a second or which gear to use in which corner.”

Mercedes, meanwhile, fresh off a useless attempt at stage-managing a faux finale at Monza are not readily happy with the changed circumstances and Toto Wolff demands “clarification”. Maybe the Austrian is not convinced that Nico will miss the appropriate breaking points if the team is no longer allowed to tell him that his brakes need ‘saving’.

Ferrari, meanwhile, deploys the hand bags, citing that some drivers still can receive silent messages via LC display, while three teams (Sauber, Marussia, Caterham?) can’t. As this would hit two Ferrari teams the Italians are ‘molto pisse offed’.

FIA meanwhile, who seem to have found a can of ‘cojones’ in the back of the fridge, announce that they will run a ‘no-tolerance’ doctrine and will even go after messages that they think are coded instructions. Let the games commence…


Formula E boss Agag happy about Heidfeld crash

Not to be out-done by the short stuff from Suffolk in the cynicism department, Formula E boss Agag claims that the shunt of former Sauber, Williams, Jordan, Prost, BMW and Renault F1 driver Nick Heidfeld was “the best that could happen to us in terms of TV coverage”

The German, who was punted into a violent flip by his WEC team mate Nicola Prost might think a bit different. “What kind of sh!t was that?” the 37 year old is quoted as yelling over the team radio before climbing out of his wrecked car that belongs to the Venturi team, co-owned by Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio.

Another one, who most likely doesn’t share Agag’s ‘enthusiasm’, is Heidfeld’s younger brother Sven, who had to witness the shunt as commentator for Sky Germany. The German arm of the British pay TV broadcaster show all FE races live and Nick’s brother, who was a modestly successful racer himself is the regular Co-commentator for FE, GP2 and the Porsche super cup support races.


Meanwhile in Venezuela…



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