Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 24th July 2014

•July 24, 2014 • 25 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Circuit Profile: The #MexicanGP on-track report

#F1 Features: The Engine Corrected Grid – #AustrianGP + #GermanGP 2014

#F1 Features: The folly of F1 going racing in Russia

OTD Lite: Dick Seaman wins 1938 German GP

Formula E rubs Ecclestone’s nose in it

Classic Kyalami to be auctioned

Mercedes have concluded double points unfair now

F1 more ‘lego’ than ‘extreme sport’ – Villeneuve (GMM)

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez meets ‘Mac the knife’

Pirelli tyre choice

OTD Lite: Dick Seaman wins 1938 German GP

Richard Seaman – a young British aristocrat won the 1938 German GP at the Nurburgring leading home his team-mate Rudolf Caracciola. After the event he saluted by giving the Nazi salute and he remained one of Hitler’s favourite drivers.


Less than a year later he was killed when he lost control at Spa Francorchamps and his car erupted in flames – evetually succumbing to his burns in hospital.

A controversial figure – he had been gifted a country estate for his 20th birthday, had the best education money could buy but he wished to race cars. He won races in his MG car and further events in an ERA which caught the attention of Alfred Neubauer who invited him to test for Mercedes.

Against his mother’s wishes – “Don’t want you racing for the Nazi’s” he signed for Mercedes and when in December 1938 he married the daughter of the director of BMW his mother turned her back on her son in disgust.

It’s easy now with our cultures of diversity, open-mindedness and tolerance to forget the bravery of his convictions – however misguided. With the British King having abdicated a mere two years before and Europe seemingly heading into war – to leave a privileged background and forge your own destiny was practically unheard of at the time and to drive for the enemy and marry a German too…


Formula E rubs Ecclestone’s nose in it

Formula E is the brainchild of the FIA and Jean Todt in particular. Interestingly the promoter of the sport selected by the FIA is Alejandro Agag, ex partner in crime with Mr. Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore  in their English Premier League venture into club ownership with Queens Park Rangers.

Ecclestone has treated the project with disdain. “For them [the organizers], it’s a commercial thing. One or two of them are going to make a few quid and that will be the end of it,” adding, “I can’t see it ever working. I know how much it costs to put a street race together,”

Of course Formula E is in no way direct competition for Formula 1, though the racing series is intended to be the highest class of competition for single seater electrically powered cars.

The venues selected by Formula E are street circuits in their entirety and will be hosted by some of the most evocative cities of the world. Hosts are not required to pay a hosting fee of tens of million dollars – as in F1, but merely to deliver the infrastructure for the race to take place.

Today Formula E announces it will race in Long Beach California for round six of the inaugural Formula E series this year.

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the longest running major “street” race held on the North American continent. It began in 1975 as a Formula 5000 race on the streets of downtown LA, and became an iconic F1 event in 1976. F1 decided to walk away from long Beach in 1983.

Since then, the Long Beach GP has hosted the premier class of US singe seater racing and attracts one of the largest crowds of the calendar, in excess of 200,000 fans each year.

Having failed miserably to entice a promoter to spend some $100m dollars to bring F1 to New York, Ecclestone turned his attention to Long Beach, believing his long time crony Chris Pook, founder of the LA Grand Prix, would be able to persuade the authorities that F1 should replace the IndyCar event.

Mr. E failed again. IndyCar have were given a limited extension to their contract whilst the guardians of the city take time to consider the ‘alternatives’ in a more considered manner.

Out of the blue, Agag has pulled a coup d’état against his old buddy, and landed a deal for Formula E to race at this historic venue.

Admission to the Long Beach E Prix will not cost fans several hundred dollars as for a Formula 1 race, but will be free for those who wish to attend the weekend event.

“We’re delighted that Formula E has selected Long Beach as the site for its first  E Prix on the U.S. West Coast,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. “And the free admission will afford everyone the opportunity to come out and witness this historic and unique event.”

Agag responded, “Jim and his team have a proven track record in operating one of the most famous street races in the US, so they were an obvious choice to help facilitate our Long Beach ePrix and we’re looking forward to working with Jim and his team to make this a fantastic spectacle for the people of Southern California”.

The US is a key market for Formula E due to its burgeoning electric vehicle infrastructure, and the only country to have two races. Not to mention live TV coverage provided via FOX Sports, a founding partner in technology giant Qualcomm and Wyc Grousbeck, lead owner of NBA basketball team the Boston Celtics, as one of the series’ investors.”

Formula 1 is desperate to crack the US market, yet it appears the sport’s business model which costs its hosts tens of millions of dollars is untenable and clearly Bernie Ecclestone’s old crony network is not the source of bounty it once used to be.

California is heavily into promoting automotive efficient technologies, and even the new F1 just doesn’t fit the bill when compared to Formula E.

CVC are desperate to sell F1 as its image and value is plummeting. They, more than anyone else, have realised the income from the current Formula 1 business model has reached a high water mark. And the promoters and fans of Formula E in Long Beach are now gazillions in pocket when compared to hosting and attending an F1 event.


Classic Kyalami to be auctioned

The South African Kyalami track is to go under the hammer today as it is auctioned off. Joff van Reenan, the auctioneer of The High St Auction Co announced the sale – “It will be the largest auction in the history of South Africa. We have had several calls from America, Europe and London.If you have always wanted to be an owner of a circuit, be sure to participate in the sale.”

The auction will take place at Summer Place in Sandton, Johannesburg at 12pm local time and the minimum price for the sale has been set at 200 million rand, amounting to 14 million euro. ‘If a builder will buy it, will change the nature of Kyalami, then there may be no more than one track, however, some buyers were thinking about the possibility of keeping the track intact, while trying to implement a development plan around it.

The circuit was originally built in 1961and first hosted Formula One in 1967. It remained a popular fixture for many years with both drivers and fans, it would be the location of the last victory by Jim Clark and Jack Brabham whilst furnishing Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann with their first ever victories in 1971 and 1974 respectively. It would also be remembered for possibly the most gruesome fatality ever witnessed at a Formula One event when Tom Pryce hit a marshall who was crossing the track.

By 1985, apartheid had reached the global public conscience and Formula One’s governing body forbade the teams from returning until the political situation within the country was resolved. On a severely changed track, F1 returned for a further two years in 1992-3 but the bankruptcy of the event sponsors signalled the end of the race.


The original circuit no longer exists as the site around the current circuit has been redeveloped as part of Johannesburg’s suburbs. The city centre being a mere 24 miles away and the current circuit was last used for international motor-sport when the World Superbikes raced there between 1998-2002 and 2009-10.

Will this prove a tragic end to one of the great tracks or will a wealthy benefactor come in and save the facility. The original circuit had a distinct feel about it, run at altitude and with a straight that punished the cars it was a classic but by the 90′s it had been rebuilt in what may well have been a blue print for Tilke dromes.


Mercedes have concluded double points unfair now

Somewhere in a darkened corner of Stuttgart and a corresponding room in Brackley, the key players have finally come to a corporate decision which won’t harm their vested interests.

Niki Lauda is still tucked away in his chamber and will only appear when a TV camera crew is prepared or Eddie Jordan is spouting his typical nonsense.. but despite Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe needing to instil team-orders – Lauda still rules the roost on that.

No, the great and the good of Mercedes Benz have decided that actually the awarding of double points at the final race is actually a mistake.

Formula One teams aren’t known for their unanimous decision making for the benefit of the sport, and yet they all agreed to the contrived finale to the season. Whilst it was seen as beneficial to anyone taking on the Red Bull team, to artificially keep interest up, Red Bull agreed because they knew Renault was not going to be dominating early on and expected they would need the additional help except, Mercedes are so dominant that Wolff now believes it’s unfair.

“I don’t think it is fair and I don’t think we should have done it,” Wolff admitted. “I would be very surprised if it didn’t come down to double points. Even if you are 30 points behind you can turn it around in Abu Dhabi if the leading guy retires. Maybe Bernie [Ecclestone] was right in having double points if it’s going to keep the championship open until the last race?”

“The last race could be the decisive one, and I would be very surprised if the audiences weren’t larger than they would normally be. I think the driver who loses the title because of double points will need some psychological treatment, but we are not there yet, the racing between the two is so close; retirements are going to play a crucial role.”

And Mercedes thought it so funny before the season started…


F1 more ‘lego’ than ‘extreme sport’ – Villeneuve (GMM)

Jacques Villeneuve has lamented the lack of “heroes” on today’s formula one grid. But the outspoken 1997 world champion says it is not just the drivers’ fault, as the F1 of today does not bring out the “wild animal” in them.

“The rules are too restrictive,” French Canadian Villeneuve told Schwetzinger Zeitung newspaper. “I have always regarded formula one as an extreme sport, but not really anymore, the sport is no longer pure enough, because of the rules. Everything has become much too artificial,” the 43-year-old insisted.

That, Villeneuve says, means an easier time for the drivers.

“The drivers no longer have to make a real effort,” said the former Williams and Honda driver. “You used to come into formula one maybe still as a 20-year-old, but you would already be a man. Now you get the impression they think racing is like playing with lego.

And Villeneuve said the latest rules overhaul has proved the final straw for many departing viewers and spectators. “It is boring, we’re losing fans,” said the winner of 11 grands prix, who now attends the races as a television pundit. “You can feel that something is missing.”

Meanwhile, Villeneuve tipped former champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to leave their current teams. “Lewis Hamilton will not be at Mercedes for long,” he told Sport Bild. “Everyone in the German team wants a German to be world champion. Lewis was only brought in to make Nico (Rosberg) even better.

As for quadruple title winner Vettel, Villeneuve said: “Sebastian has to leave Red Bull. The public is already changing its opinion of him, as in a middle class car, he is starting to look like a middle-class driver.”

TJ13 comment: First we had the brusque Lauda offering advice, followed up in a smoother manner by Minardi and now we have the consistently grunge act known as Villeneuve trying to be cool with his controversial views…man!!


Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez meets ‘Mac the knife’


The way it was



 Post ‘Tilkering’

An eagle eyed TJ13, Anil, commented yesterday that there were moves afoot to alter the last corner (Peraltada) at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

The bad news for F1 fans of the historic circuit is that it appears practically every corner with be butchered ‘Tilkered’, with the classic Peraltada final bend cut from its Monza-esque parabolic layout to run through an infield section making use of the baseball stadium grandstands.

Here’s the fearsome Peraltda curve, with Ayrton attempting to tae it in sixth gear

Since F1 left town, the defunct Champ Car series and A1 GP raced on the old circuit layout, though a chicane was put in to slow the cars through the Peraltada bend.

Of course, all of this is under the banner of modern safety standards and will see the sweeping turn three tightened, along with turns four, five and six providing room for the required Wallmart style car parking run off areas.

The extended hairpin ecton at the bottom of the circui (as it was pic) will be removed altogether and the classic Esses will also fall under the influence of Mac the knife, though Mr. Tilke assures us they will still be ‘pretty fast’.

Oh well, for those of you missing Korea, the revised circuit appears to have taken the worst of the Korea International Circuit and bred it with the dullest parts of Abu Dhabi. Another F1 success story then.

Here is the link to a promotional YouTube video, which unfortunately has had the embed function disabled… Mmm.


 Pirelli tyre choice

The Hungaroring is not a favourite of mine, it resembles a bigger version of a go-kart track and in years gone by has delivered many a snorefest F1 race. Even more surprising then that Pirelli decided to go conservative with the soft ad medium tyres for this weekend, though they are concerned that track temperatures will be very high.

The BBC weather forcast for Budapest is interesting


So it is somewhat of a surprise to see Pirelli announce the tyres for Spa will also be the soft and medium’s, given that Spa is an infinitely more demanding prospect than the  Hungaroring.

Here’s the tyre choices so far his year



#F1 Circuit Profile: The #MexicanGP on-track report

•July 24, 2014 • 11 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 roving reporter Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

The news broke of a return to the calendar of the Mexican GP to a round of approval on Twitter and other social media platforms.  While this is a time to be happy at the return of a classic race of yesteryear, the celebrations should come with consideration of the obstacles the race faces.  Furthermore, there will be significant impacts on other races – most notably that just over the border in Austin, Texas.

Having been there at the start of June, it seemed the perfect time to write up my observations from my day at the Mexico City Circuit.  The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is about to undergo major change for the better as the premier series of motorsport returns to its asphalt.

Track condition

As should be expected of a place which has been left to battle the elements for over 20 years, the condition of the track and surrounding areas will require some major investment to reach the high standards that Bernie demands.  The track is split almost the whole way round as it has been baked under the sun, as well as being used for private events and lower levels of racing.

Mind the gap

Mind the gap

Given how much safety standards have changed since the 90s, there will need to be a complete change of fencing and protective equipment around the track.  I’m told it still uses the same barriers that were used back in the last century which, of course, would fall a long way short of the high levels that Formula One akin to.


Safety standards are now much higher in Formula One

Safety standards are now much higher in Formula One

The barrier that separates the main straight and pit lane

The barrier that separates the main straight and pit lane

Of course, not really a ‘track’ consideration, but the podium stand has not changed since the previous races.  Maybe a Monza style podium would work here to really bring the pilots closer to the fans?

Another item for the wishlist - a new podium

Another item for the wishlist – a new podium

Is the support there?

Having been in Austin last November for the Grand Prix, for a country which supposedly little understood the nature of Formula One the race was immensely followed.  The city, the Capital of the state of Texas, was transformed for that week as Formula One took over and converted many a new fan.

However, many of the people attending the race and bringing money in the coffers of the race organiser, Red McComb and his merrymen, were of Latin origin and had travelled over the border from Mexico and other nations.  Given the large difference in cost of living between the two countries, the language barrier in the US and the ease of access to the States, it could mean a much smaller US crowd in 2015.

As far as backing for a race in Mexico City goes, one of the largest cities in the world, the support will undoubtedly come.  A very interesting ploy will come at the price of tickets and how accessible to the average Mexican the race will be.

From the people I spoke to in Austin back in November, and Mexico City in June of this year, they both want a Mexican race.  At last it seems Bernie has answered these fans’ call…

Back in Austin, Texas 2013, the support was definitely there for a race as I spoke with some of the Mexican fans present

Back in Austin, Texas 2013, the support was definitely there for a race as I spoke with some of the Mexican fans present

The race organisers are claiming it has the potential to be the most well attended Grand Prix of the year.  This is not something I would disagree with entirely, but it will depend on a number of factors and a fair amount of investment.  The metro stop which would carry people to the race from the centre of Mexico City will require serious upgrades to make it safely able to transport the 6 figure crowds the organisers are suggesting is achievable.

Currently, the station would not have the capacity to transport anywhere near the amount of fans that are being suggested.  With very few hotels and hostels in the vicinity of the track it will mean long commutes for those wishing to attend the race.

The 'Ciudad Deportiva' station will require major upgrades

The ‘Ciudad Deportiva’ station will require major upgrades


The timing of the Grand Prix, which is set to be late in the season around November time, may seem odd at first but all makes sense when all the stakeholders are taken into consideration.  A reshuffle of the calendar may be in order as the race would surely take fans away from the Austin GP.

Due to the Baseball stadium being located inside the confines of the track, it is not possible to host a race while the baseball season is on according to the staff there.  Given that the season runs from mid-March through until August, the window for Grand Prix hosting is actually relatively short as F1 only leaves Europe in September.

With the above considered, the Mexican rainy season must also be considered. Given the delicate nature of the modern race cars and their inability to run in heavy rain, the downpours that often occur during the rainy season will be too much.  This usually finishes towards the end of October, which only leaves November as a plausible time for the race.

So is everyone happy?

The simple answer is not exactly.  Much of the reason for this is the nature of the megacity and the current state of affairs for the circuit.  At present time, it is open to the public all year (barring private events) as a recreational space for all to use – which in a city where everyone seems to live on top of each other is vital.  However, assuming the people manage to find somewhere else to walk their dogs, go for runs and enjoy some open space, there should be no problem, right?

In fact, the problem goes way further than just considering people there for casual occasions.  Firstly, inside the circuit are some of the only football pitches in the surrounding area which the local football team uses as an academy training centre.  If and when the Grand Prix returns, this space will need to be used for the cavalry that comes with the Formula One entourage.  At present, there is no facility setup for hospitality, vending or any other space dependent venture that goes with a GP weekend.

The football pitches will need to be removed as the space will be required by the F1 race

The football pitches will need to be removed as the space will be required by the F1 race

The customary concert that accompanies Grand Prix weekends will not be a problem to host as there is already a stage and setup behind the pit garages.  It currently hosts many concerts and music festivals, so I have no doubt the fans will be looked after on that front.  Speaking to many at the Austin Grand Prix, this was one of the attractions for people who were not 100% sure about attending the race.  Anything that draws in the crowds must surely be considered.

The stage, photo taken from the baseball stadium

The stage, photo taken from the baseball stadium

Where footballers will train is in truth not something of great importance.  They are able to train in a range of places so I’m sure that an academy that has the backing of Cruz Azul will find a new home.  The other stakeholders are the Mexican athletes who use the space to train on a daily basis.

When I was at the circuit back in June there were no fewer than 4 Paralympians using the circuit as a training venue.  After moving on from the pleasantries of introduction and how much they loved being thrust into the limelight at the London Paralympic games – the first Paralympics ever to sell out the tickets – it quickly became apparent what the effect of a race here would do to these largely marginalised athletes.  The sobering thought of these athletes being forced to find an alternative venue to train hit home when they explained this was one of the only places to train in a city of 21.2 million people.  Is it fair that they be restricted all for the sake of a once a year race?

It was all smiles on the day, but will they remain if the Grand Prix returns?

It was all smiles on the day, but will they remain if the Grand Prix returns?

See you there?

I for one am extremely excited by the prospect of the race returning – especially as the time frame given is very realistic with building work set to start on the track complex in the coming weeks. The thought of the V6 cars hurtling around the final turn would have been a mouth-watering prospect…

The long final turn that circles the baseball stadium

The long final turn that circles the baseball stadium

Instead, they look set to be directed through the baseball stadium.  While this may not be the racing turn that many would have wanted, this will allow tickets to be sold in the stadium which seats over 50,000 people.

The Foro Sol baseball stadium, which will see the cars pass through it, right to left, under the proposed track layout

The Foro Sol baseball stadium, which will see the cars pass through it, right to left, under the proposed track layout

They’ll then dive into the short pit lane – which means a minimal loss of time pitting leading to a higher likelihood of split tyre strategies.  This combined with the street circuit fenced racing makes the Mexican Grand Prix a must have on the calendar!

The narrow and short pit entrance beneath the baseball stadium

The narrow and short pit entrance beneath the baseball stadium

The race will help promote the sport in the country, as well as the rest of Latin America, which must be considered as an essential upcoming market for the series.  As of 2015, this view will be the view from 22nd place on the grid which shows just how close the fans are to the action!

Grandstands either side of the main straight allow fans to be close to the action

Get set Mexico – Formula One is returning

#F1 Features: The Engine Corrected Grid – #AustrianGP + #GermanGP 2014

•July 23, 2014 • 4 Comments

Long-time TheJudge13 reader Iestyn Davies has been investigating the effect that the powertrains are having on qualifying this year and has come up with this new post.  As TJ13 reported prior to the season commencing, this year is an engine Formula where the strongest package is the most competitive – as we have seen from Mercedes.  Qualifying times have been adjusted to compensate for the disadvantages other cars have to highlight better or worse performances.

Austria 2014: *The engine-corrected grid*

“I came to the rough conclusion that Mercedes were gaining 0.75 on Ferrari and 1 second per lap on Renault in outright pace at Austria, given the lap time analysis from FP1 and FP2. Look how this would tighten up the grid:

(Ferrari -0.75, Renault -1 second)

Position Driver Constructor Fastest Lap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:08.442 -Lost Pole
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:08.466 +0.02
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:08.490 +0.05
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:08.535 +0.10
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:08.644
1 Felipe Massa Williams 1:08.759 +0.30
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:08.801
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:08.846
8 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:08.907
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:08.939 +0.50
15 Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:09.073
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:09.461
6 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:09.473 +1.00
10 Nico Hülkenberg Force India 1:09.624 +1.20
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:09.754
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:09.780
17 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:10.024 +1.60
18 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber 1:10.599
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:10.662 +2.22
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:10.673 +2.23
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:11.025
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:11.560


Noticeable here is the Williams team being the ‘preferred Mercedes customer engine’ as has been reported from numerous corners of the media, getting upgrades first getting the most assistance from Stuttgart.

The Toro Rosso cars are not that inferior to those of the senior team, Red Bull.  Some would say almost identical in pace with a plethora of reasons for this. The more cynical of readers would say they are trying to marginalise Lotus and ‘manage’ the Caterham relationship.

While Button really looked off the pace, even more so than the car, there is strong evidence for Gutierrez, Chilton and Ericsson to be replaced.  All three have looked to have been thoroughly outclassed by their teammates which must loom large on their minds as we head into the summer break.

In any case, it’s likely we’ll see Red Bull close up on Mercedes next year as 48% of the powertrain is allowed to be redesigned, while Ferrari and McLaren should be moving on up ahead of the Mercedes customers. Lotus will have an intriguing battle with Williams and Force India for 5th place when they finally sort out their software woes.  Toro Rosso will probably stay ahead of Sauber and the two small teams from the big push Red Bull is giving it, possibly closing on Force India or Lotus, if their ‘development cash is lacking.’

Germany 2014: *The engine-corrected grid*

Handicap – I tried to establish an ‘equalisation factor’ at Germany, and have applied it here:

(Force India, McLaren -0.25, Ferraris -0.75, Renaults -0.90)

Position Driver Constructor Fastest Lap
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’16.373
16 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’16.433 (-2.25 sec)
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.540
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’16.677
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’16.759  +0.386
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.899  +0.516
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’16.964  +0.581
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’17.065  +0.692
3 Felipe Massa Williams 1’17.078
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’17.385
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’17.523
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1’17.764  +1.391
10 Sergio Perez Force India 1’17.785
11 Jenson Button McLaren 1’17.943
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’17.989 +1.616
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’17.994 +1.621
17 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’18.392
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’18.926 +2.553
19 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’19.295
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’19.508 +3.135
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1’19.739
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham No Time Set


Renault brought a software update for this track, so I’ve credited them with a tenth, rather than a few tenths more, as Vettel gave feedback after practice that it didn’t make much difference.  The question that remains is whether it was worth more time to Ricciardo than it was to the World Champion who even after 10 races is still not comfortable with the car. The Renault powertrain’s improved reliability in the extreme heat was noted by Adam in his Castrol GP predictor summary.

Given that Rosberg left a little time out on the circuit, and Hamilton is usually 1 tenth faster on average, I think the time credited is a an accurate compromise. So, we have a pole battle between the top 4, with Vettel on this occasion running early and not getting a great middle sector. Ricciardo and Hamilton would have likely made up the front row.

Lotus have been hit hard with the loss of FRIC, perhaps by something around 0.5 per lap, with some time gained back by Renault’s upgrades.  In truth, this is not at all surprising given they were the team who had been developing the system for the longest time.  Something of note was the Ferrari still overtook Red Bull on the straights, despite their lack of top speed, as shown by Alonso’s battle with Ricciardo. Ferrari engines are noticeably geared for a lower top speed than Renaults and Mercedes are – hence their ‘sitting duck’ display at Bahrain. Expect more of the same at Monza…

Top speeds show that Vettel in particular ran more wing, posting the joint 2nd best sector 3 with Kevin Magnussen. The Dane and Kvyat are really flying the flag for the rookies, and we can assume Kvyat could even be a match for Vettel most times out this year. As debuts go, his is pretty impressive. He could be the ‘chosen one’ come 2016 if Vettel does opt to jump ship – although given Kvyat’s impressive display in Austin last November, maybe we should have expected this!

Gutierrez, for once, has shown good pace – he must really be scrambling to save his seat for 2015.  His only saving grace at the moment is the fact that the Mexican GP is set to return, as it’s quickly becoming last chance alley for him. Maldonado screwed up his last run at T1, so he’s out of place but probably around Grosjean, going off race pace, and Lotus have confirmed him for 2015, should his petro-dollars keep flowing.

Bianchi did well, eventually being the best part of a minute ahead of ‘Super Max’ Chilton in the race, which works out to roughly 0.75s per lap, as had been shown in qualifying. I feel he is ready for Ferrari, if they wanted to try for 2015, though inevitably they will play it safe and aim for a decision in 2016 (Bianchi, Vettel or Hulkenberg). Latest murmurings on JS’s blog are that Hulkenberg is still in contact with a top team for 2015.

Track improvements we can estimate to be about 4 tenths in each session. What is apparent is that Red Bull’s push to improve Toro Rosso (possibly in a bid to make it more attractive to a potential buyer) is putting them in contention for points each time out, while McLaren’s recent updates are bringing them back into solid points contention. Williams’ pace looks genuine, like in 2012, and Toro Rosso are ‘doing a Sauber’ from that year, also producing a good car. Let us not forget, James Key did move there from Sauber…

Force India’s lack of development cash is really starting to hit them hard. Only Hulk’s consistency is keeping his points-scoring run going, a bit like Alonso in the early 2012 Ferrari. What a pairing those two would make….Who would you like to see in the donning the Ferrari red in the future?

#F1 Features: The folly of F1 going racing in Russia

•July 23, 2014 • 70 Comments

Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 10.22.32

On the day when relations between the UK and Russia sunk to a low not seen since the end of the cold war, the British government yesterday relented to calls for a public inquiry into the death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko,

As I wrote yesterday, the voices expressing concern over F1 and Sochi will grow louder in the coming days. Today a number of the political choir members begin the warm up which precedes the full chorus as questions begin to be asked.

There is still plenty of ‘no comments’ around at present, similar to those TJ13 received from the UK Prime Minister’s office.

TJ13’s stance on the ‘racing in Russia’ question, as posted in yesterday’s article, is that that F1 should unite around article 1 and refuse to be used for political purposes. This provides everyone with an easy ‘out’, though the thought of losing a reported $60m from Russia and Putin will be causing Ecclestone no end of sleepless nights.

Deep down, even Bernie Ecclestone knows to take the show to Russia, do a grid walk meet and greet with Putin and his cronies whilst the TV pictures beam this love in across the world to billions of eyeballs is an untenable proposition. Yet it’s about who blinks first. Can Bernie find a way to be ‘prevented’ from taking F1 to Russia and still get paid?

Though this week, the 83 year old F1 supremo said, “we’ve got a contract…. we’re going”.

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 14.49.53

Presently the reasons being suggested as to why F1 should ‘do the right thing’ and call off the race in Russia resemble a smorgasbord of opinion.

Ex-Foreign Office minister, MP David Davis, calls for the race to be abandoned as a punishment/withholding of privileges from Putin.

“If Russia continues as they have been doing, then the grand prix is one of many things that they should be denied.” Davis adds, “The morally proper thing to do is put the race on hold” 

It appears the opposition to this Formula 1 race is better organised than for Bahrain 2012. Then the calls to abandon the race only entered the public domain in the week before the race as last minute private members motions of protest were lodged and on the whole ignored.

The Russian Grand Prix is three months ahead, and in that time the evidence of all the circumstances around the shooting down of flight MH17 will grow much stronger.

Davis refers to matter of Bahrain 2012 and the political fall-out Formula 1 had to take back then. It is almost certain Vodafone withdrew from their contract with McLaren one year early because they were refused the request to remove their logo’s from the MP4-27 which competed that year.

In 2013, the Vodafone name was not in evidence on the McLaren car at the Bahrain GP.

“F1 already had a problem in the past with Bahrain”, says Davis. “Whilst I’m not particularly in favour of cancelling sports events at the drop of a hat, I think that Formula One should reflect the global outrage. It would be an important and appropriate response to cancel the race,” Davis reflects.

Sir Menzies Campbell, of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, demanded there be an “assessment of the suitability” of Russia to stage the race. The former Lib Dem leader added, “Public opinion all over the world will find it difficult to accept Mr Putin taking all the plaudits for this grand prix in Russia and, no doubt, presenting the prizes.”

Dr Andrew Foxall, director of the Russian Studies Centre pragmatically comments that F1 and morality have never been synonymous. “Formula One is not, and never has been, an organisation known for morality,” adding yet “there are a host of reasons why this race should not go ahead”. One of those he suggests is that this race will represent a “tacit approval” of Putin’s regime – something the politicians are more likely to care about.

F1 writer Joe Saward, writes today about why the Russian GP should be cancelled. His position is interesting particularly since he was dubbed ‘Coffee Shop Joe’ having been duped by Bahraini government ‘plants’ pretending to be ‘normal’ Bahraini’s whilst drinking coffee in Starbucks in Manama during the 2012 Bahrain event.

Joe argues that since F1 is primarily funded by countries with a Western ‘liberal’ view of Russia and that perception is everything, why fight the negative publicity F1 will undoubtedly receive.

“If there is the perception among these people that Russia is the bad guy, then it is wise not to risk damaging the sport by insisting on doing something that people think is wrong. Perception is reality whether the perception be true or not. F1 and the FIA ought to have learned that lesson over Bahrain”.

Indeed, there are many sponsors who may not wish to be associated with a sporting event in Russia at present, so why upset them by forcing them to display their logos on the F1 cars?

The sponsors will eventually vote with their feet, and as with Bahrain 2012, the hospitality suites at the circuit will be tented versions of a ghost town.

The 28 headed chicken that is the EU head of state forum, managed to agree a range of ‘level 3’ sanctions against Russia yesterday; this is to be fleshed out and voted upon on Thursday. One of the measures includes the prohibiting the provision of or sharing with Russia, ‘sensitive technologies”.

How this is fleshed out, may determine whether a ban on F1 teams taking their highly sophisticated prototype racing automobiles to Russia becomes a matter of course for the European governments with F1 businesses resident within their jurisdiction.

The rights and wrongs of each conflict zone across the globe have two sides to every story. Yet F1 should not be involved in politics, but it is impossible for the racing circus to pitch it’s big top in the beach side resort of Sochi without being used for political capital by Russia.

Whilst MH17 is being used by all sides of the political spectrum as an opportunity to score points against others, what is certain is that this commercial airliner was blasted out of the sky’s by a piece of hardware few governments across the world have access to.

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 14.47.01

298 people were brutally killed, some most likely alive for some time after the missile struck. The geopolitical shockwaves from this event have yet to be fully felt.

This was no hand held bazooka type weapon used for knocking out helicopters in Hollywood action movies, it was in effect a short range ballistic missile, loaded with highly sophisticated technology.

1000’s of airliners fly across the conflict zones or aggressive nations of the world every day. These include North Korea, Israel and Ethiopia, PikeIraq, Syria, Lybia, Mali, Congo, Kenya, Yemen, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

Yet we don’t see aircraft obliterated from the sky on even an infrequent basis. The reason is simple, the number of weapons with this capability is limited (you can’t unwittingly lose one) and the training required to successfully launch one and hit the target usually requires an officer of some years experience.

So the metaphorical ‘finger on the button’ was definitely not one from a posse of poorly educated and disenfranchised farmers and miners.

Thus, for a world leader to contemplate allowing such a weapon to be available in the kind of conflict which is taking place in the Eastern Ukraine, demonstrates a stratospheric lack of judgement – verging on certifiable lunacy.

F1 cannot parade itself with Putin, whether he is a lamentable fool or maniac. This kind of rhetoric describing the Russian president will become normative over the coming weeks in the Western media and the longer it takes for F1 to call off their sojourn in Sochi, the more ridiculous the sport will look.

The FIA, the world motorsport governing body, via an unnamed spokesperson, today stated it “does not mix politics and sport”. This already is sounding banal and as the MH17 tale continues to run  – and run it will for weeks.

It maybe that the highly intelligent individuals in F1 have not yet fully connected all the dots on this topic. Many of these people are family folk and we respect them as first as individuals and despite their genius.

Hopefully, those with gravitas within our sport will come to the conclusion soon that traipsing off to go racing in Russia, is no longer a bright idea.

It would be better if Formula 1 did the ‘right thing’ – just for once – before its hand is forced.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 23rd July 2014

•July 23, 2014 • 153 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Forensic: FRIC-less Mercedes still class of field

#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Hockenheim 2014 – #GermanGP

Perez under fire?

Lauda eats humble pie

Kimi safe at Ferrari?

Resolving issues

Minardi ponders on Hamilton’s future

Alonso could be free to leave Ferrari – sources (GMM)

A blast from the Mexico past

FIA Press Conference Schedl: Hungarian GP

Two F1 races in Germany

Big bucks on offer for Vettel (GMM)

Perez under fire?

One of the more interesting and out of the ordinary radio transmissions during the German GP was between the Force India pit wall and Sergio Perez.

Gianpiero Lambiase:Checo, we need you need to lift and coast.
Checo:What about the rain at the end of the race?
Gianpiero Lambiase:We’re not expecting any…That’s the last time I’m going to ask you!

Whilst it’s normative for race engineers to express some frustration with their drivers, this last chance saloon rhetoric is unusual.

Recently when on the SKY F1 show in the UK, Otmar Szafnauer picked his words very carefully when discussing the coming together between Perez and Massa in Canada. “Had Sergio not been involved with Massa….” appeared a most balanced appraisal from the Force India’s Operations Manager.

Had this been Horner or Lauda, the tone of the rhetoric may have been different. “Had Massa not taken out Perez…”, for example. Maybe Otmar is just a nice, laid back American guy.

TJ13 reported earlier in the year that a contributory factor in the ‘exiting’ of Perez from McLaren was because of his attitude, which at times bordered on arrogance. This was corroborated when former Mclaren team manager, Jo Ramirez, spoke out on the matter.

Sergio was just not good enough as a person. He didn’t really cooperate with the team, he was too cocky. His attitude was very bad,” he claimed.“He was unpopular with the engineers, with everyone. I often criticise him in the media, but I do not criticise him as a driver. He’s a good driver”.

Ramirez continued, “It’s such a shame, I was at the Jerez test this year and spent time with McLaren and Sauber, and no one was able to say something good about Sergio. They all say that he needs to change his attitude if he wants to stay in formula one.

We ran an exclusive story here in 2013 which outlined the decline in Paul di Resta’s popularity within the Silverstone team, following a ruckus between his personal trainer (ex special forces) and one of the race crew. Di Resta backed his personal trainer who Paul directly employed.

Maybe we saw the first signs of another driver failing in the popularity stakes with the Silverstone based team last weekend. Clearly Perez had been instructed to act in a certain manner on a number of previous occasions and failed to comply.

That said, if TJ13 sources are to be believed, Sergio may be racing for Force India (or whatever they become) for quite some time when the new investors are able to buy out Rubrata Roy’s stake.


Lauda eats humble pie

Having become rather jingoistic and partisan by slagging off the McLaren and Ferrari 2014 cars – as sh^t – Niki Lauda appears to have been struck with a sudden bout of remorse.

I apologize to Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the president and the Italian fans”, he says. “I called Montezemolo and apologized for the error, which should not have happened.

Lauda’s revisionist view of affairs is now that, “We really have a great car, but Ferrari is slowly [ getting ] stronger.

Well most things in life are relative. Stronger, faster, better….

It should be noted, so far there is no apology from Lauda to ex-employer ‘Big Ron’ for describing his team’s efforts as “sh^t” too.


Kimi safe at Ferrari?

Meanwhile in red-land, new team boss Marco Mattiacci is learning quickly how to defend the indefensible. When asked whether Kimi has a future next year with Ferrari following his 10-0 drubbing by Alonso in the races so far this year, Matiacci responded. “You are talking about soccer, ten to zero.

This is not Formula One………. I disagree totally with your analysis. 10-0 could be tennis, soccer, but not Formula One. I’ve never seen this scoreline [in F1]. Kimi is the driver that we need. We need to make more points, but he is the driver that we need.

Kimi might believe this is fine and loyal support from his boss. Yet Mattiacci squarely places the responsibility for Raikkonen’s plight on the Finn’s own shoulders.

I think he knows what he can do better. It’s not up to me; he’s a professional driver who won a world championship with Ferrari. He’s motivated and he knows his area of improvement.

He can see Fernando ahead and that visibly it’s a tough moment but we are all together in this. He has the upmost confidence and support from Ferrari.

Oh dear…. Marco has given his driver the dreaded vote of confidence… which roughly translated means in any sport…. “you’re safe for now……but as soon as we have a replacement lined up, you’re out the door”.

Besides the departure of Domenicali and the sacking of Marmorini, Ferrari-land has provided lean pickings for the F1 satirists, who are usually in full anthemic ‘Forza Ferrari’ flow at this point in the season. Maybe it is the utter lack of any hope since day 1 in Jerez – a hope which is then so cruelly dashed annually mid-season – that has forced a measure of pragmatism upon the Italian racing team.

However, if Niki Lauda et al keep rubbing the nose of the Prancing Horse into its own manure, we might just see some fireworks after the hard earned summer break.


Resolving issues


Minardi ponders on Hamilton’s future

Niki Lauda is a forthright, often brusque, speaker of his mind and at times can be grating with the way he expresses himself. This may be an Austrian trait because his compatriot – Helmut Marko – has a similar ability to ingratiate himself with fans of Formula One. But whereas Marko speaks only in support of his paymaster, Lauda as a triple World Champion speaks as he finds about the Formula One circus in general.

Similarly, Giancarlo Minardi has acquired a reputation for speaking his mind but maybe as a former team owner his words are a little more measured. His previous views in regards the state of punishments for the drivers appear to have been heeded and he rejoiced after the recent German Grand Prix with the stewards becoming more lenient in their handing out of punishments for what many consider mere racing accidents.

“Hockenheim was a race full of over-taking and duels and it seems the stewards have finally realised that for the sake of the show they have to give more freedom to the actors – in respect that we have to allow for racing contacts which are a trademark of the show.”

“The embarrassing domination of Mercedes allowed a cake-walk for Rosberg but Hamilton entertained with breath-taking over-taking on his way to claiming a podium and there was an exciting duel between Alonso and Ricciardo. It was a Grand Prix that took revenge on all the negative talk earlier in the season.”

Minardi was the first to voice concern over what he believed was Red Bull’s traction control last year in Singapore and has offered revelations in regards to possible returns for BMW and Cosworth. The latter gaining ground with news that many employees at Brixworth have been approached by the neighbouring engine design facility.

Following the conclusion of the German race he offered, once again, a possible new direction for the Mercedes squad which with regular speculation about Mclaren speaking to an unhappy Hamilton may shape the future of the two parties.

As TJ13 suggested during the weekend of the Monaco GP, Minardi now corroborates the view,”It’s significant that there has been no extension offered to Hamilton and in those circumstances Hamilton may well be looking for a new berth in 2015. Besides, with Bottas threatening the fourth place of Alonso, the Finnish is highly sought after and his manager is a certain Toto Wolff”

Which brings us back to Lauda. Much was made earlier this year about Lauda flying Hamilton back on his private jet after the Chinese Grand Prix leaving Rosberg to take a regular flight. The Austrian has also been a vocal supporter of Lewis and has stepped in often to state that Hamilton would recover from his various misfortunes.

Wolff has kept a public calm with matters regarding various team fall-outs, but he has not held back when suggesting he had better things to do than attending stewards meetings because his drivers are playing games with each other.

Whether the German manufacturer would prefer a German World Champion or not, it would appear that it is not only the drivers at war within the Brackley camp. Lauda was responsible for the signing of Hamilton back in 2012 and he took responsibility for decisions and investments after Mercedes confirmed him as non-executive chairman.

Wolff came into Mercedes in January 2013, to take over former Mercedes boss Norbert Haug’s role. He retained his 16% share of the Williams team, but of more significance he also owns 30% of the Mercedes F1 team and it was he who enticed Paddy Lowe to join the Silver Arrows after originally having agreed terms with him for the Williams team.

Of perhaps more significance in the Machiavellian background shuffles is the fact that Wolff also co-owns a sports management company with Mika Hakkinen – they look after several drivers, one of which is Bottas – and Hakkinen’s manager when he was competing was a certain Keke Rosberg…


Alonso could be free to leave Ferrari – sources (GMM)

Fernando Alonso could be contractually free to walk away from Ferrari. Technically, the Spaniard remains under contract to the struggling Maranello team until the end of 2016. “I’m sure he is very frustrated,” Niki Lauda told the Spanish newspaper El Pais earlier this week. “But he can’t just go to McLaren because he has a contract that he can’t get out of unless he’s sacked. Sometimes you choose a car and you’re wrong.”

Mercedes team chairman Lauda, however, may be incorrect. There are at least two recent examples of drivers with solid Ferrari contracts who did not wear red the next year. Ferrari said in 2004 that Rubens Barrichello would drive for the team in the “2005 and 2006 seasons”, but the Brazilian actually raced a Honda in 2006. And Kimi Raikkonen famously took a sabbatical in 2010, after Ferrari bought out his contract to make way for Fernando Alonso and Santander.

Now, Italian media sources say Alonso might not necessarily drive a red car in 2015, even though Ferrari reportedly wants to extend the deal even further. The sources, including Autosprint, say Alonso could be free to go at the end of this season due to a contractual performance clause, requiring Ferrari to finish at least third in the constructors’ championship. In Hockenheim, Ferrari fell behind Williams for that position. Autosprint cited German sources in saying Alonso, 32, has already made contact with Mercedes.

Meanwhile, in the wake of speculation Ferrari might oust the struggling Raikkonen ahead of 2015, boss Marco Mattiacci insisted the Finn is a “driver that Ferrari needs for next year”. That also ties in with the information of the respected Ferrari insider Leo Turrini. “Maranello has not the slightest intention of questioning Raikkonen’s contract,” he said in his Quotidiano blog. On the other hand, Turrini claims Alonso “has not yet responded to the proposal for the extension of his contract”. And not only that, “Ross Brawn will accept a role only as an external consultant”, he added.

TJ13 Comment: It should be noted that unlike the report implies, it was Ferrari’s decision to release the drivers. Barrichello remained at Ferrari in 2005 and made way for Felipe Massa to join the team and Raikkonen took a sabbatical because Ferrari had grown tired of his apparent indifference and, quite frankly, his poor performance in relation to Massa.

If Alonso has a performance clause within his contract, which was triggered by the results in Germany, then he becomes a free agent in regards to any future moves which could explain why LdM and Mattiacci were trying to extend his contract until 2019 when he went to Maranello immediately following the British Grand Prix.

But as TJ13 has speculated in recent weeks, Alonso not extending his contract will signal to Ferrari that they have to change their driver focus for the future and Ross Brawn had already been confirmed as a consultant only. In the wake of Bob Bell leaving Mercedes last winter, and the arrival of several engine experts in Maranello over the past months, it may be that Ross Brawn’s consulting expertise is already in play.

Brawn’s insistence on a consultant role only, is coherent with his views on team leadership at Mercedes. It was Brawn who delivered the recruitment of personnel, built the infrastructure and presented Stuttgart with the W05 wrapped in a pretty bow on a plate – as sole decision maker.

The poison which Mattiacci will attract as he scythes through Maranello, wielding his ruthless blade of intolerance with ineffectiveness, is not something conducive for a long term leader attempting to build a positive future.


A blast from the Mexico past

Having won the previous round at Watkins Gen, Jochen Rindt entered the 1969 Mexican GP with high hopes in his Lotus Ford. Graham Hill had broken both his legs and the Lotus team decided not to replace him for the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

For the second race running, Bruce McLaren failed to make the start and at the off, Jackie Stewart took the lead, hunted down by the Brabham pair, Sir Jack an Jacky Ickx.

Rindt was in fourth, though any hope of repeating his win in the US was short lived as he retired on lap 21 with suspension issues.

But what a good looking car….




FIA Press Conference Schedl: Hungarian GP

It appears Bernie’s belief that people will just go back to watching F1 on TV regardless, is reflected in the driver line up for this event.

Thursday, July 24, 1500 hours local time (1300 GMT)
Marcus Ericsson (Caterham), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham), Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Sergio Perez (Force India), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)

Friday, July 25, 1600 hours local time (1400 GMT)
Eric Boullier (McLaren), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Vijay Mallya (Force India), Marco Mattiacci (Ferrari), Claire Williams (Williams)

Please, please, please…  someone ask Mallya, how his crony Rubrata Roy is doing after 4 months in jail during the New Dehli summer – and whether his Sahara company has any money to contribute to the team!!!

Likelihood of that?



Two F1 races in Germany

In his usual divide and conquer style, Bernie Ecclestone set the cat amongst the pigeons last month when he suggested he wanted to do a long term annual deal with the Nurburgring race promoters, suggesting Hockenheim would be out in the cold.

Hockenheim duly protested, stating they have a contract for another two races in 2016 and 2018 and would not be forced off the F1 calendar.

Ecclestone responded, muttering that Hockenheim needed to get real and cough up more cash for the FOM treasure chest if they were to remain in his privileged club.

Robertino Wild, the new Nurburgring ring chief employed by the circuits new owners, Capricorn, has today rather magnanimously responded to the effect that Hockenheim’s deal should be respected.

Wild tells Bild, “Bernie Ecclestone and I want to complete our deal over the next couple of months which establishes Formula One for the long-term at the Nurburgring.”

This is rather disingenuous as the new owners are prevented under clauses in the sale contract to enter into contractual deals until January 2015.

Regardless, Wild adds, “This will be done by accounting for existing obligations, with respect to the Hockenheimring.”

So, despite the fact that Hockenheim, which attracts significantly larger crowds historically than the Nurburgring, suffered its worst attendance in years, there may now be two races on alternating years in Germany – one most likely given the title, ‘The European GP”

If cost saving is the plan for F1, maybe Bernie could organise a “Super F1 weekend”, where the cars race in Spa on Friday, Hockenheim on Saturday and at the Nurburgring on Sunday. After all it’s a mere 322km and takes just over 3 ½ hours to complete the trip.


Mmm. What happened to Bernie’s mantra of keeping Formula 1 exclusive. Oh well, all can be sacrificed on the altar of more cash for FOM.

For those involved in promoting races and scheduling the F1 calendar, it appears to be a pre-requisite to posses fewer brain cells than an amoeba.


Big bucks on offer for Vettel (GMM)

‘The Sport’ said Mercedes sees the reigning world champion as a potential new teammate for fellow German Nico Rosberg beyond 2015, after Lewis Hamilton’s current contract expires.

And Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, who has Vettel under contract until the end of next year, said McLaren has made the four-time title winner an “outrageously” high offer.

“Of course they target him,” Marko added.

Fascinatingly, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff did not deny the German marque might be interested in Vettel.

“This world is too competitive to want to go into our plans in the public,” he said.

“We are talking about a handful of top drivers. All the best teams fight over them.

“We try to build a picture of how the market moves until we come to our decisions,” Wolff added.

#F1 Forensic: FRIC-less Mercedes still class of field

•July 23, 2014 • 19 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 Technical Analyst Lorenzo De Luca

Tight battle behind Mercedes and Williams

Many people wondered just how much performance would Mercedes lose without their FRIC system in relation to the other teams. It was not the least bit surprising that the W05 continued to dominate. Completing the podium, behind winner Rosberg, was the ever more convincing Williams and the other Mercedes driven by Hamilton ( 3 Mercedes powered cars in the first three places).

Of more interest is the tight battle between Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India and Mclaren. From a tires point of view, the race was characterized by the high tire wear of the super soft. This was due to high traction levels and graining with the soft compound due to an understeering set-up – required to increase the life of the rear tires during traction out of the hairpins.

Thanks to the great drop in temperatures of almost 20° on Sunday, teams had the opportunity to choose between a two stop or three stop strategy , with the soft compound having a performance decay after 12 laps, while the prime compound (the soft tires) capable of lasting well for at least 30 laps.

Strategy Report

Average lap time \ stint lap time & tire compounds (Legend : SS=SuperSoft – S=Soft – (N)=New – (U)=Old :

Top 12 race pace comparison


With an average lap time between Ferrari and Red Bull being so close, the race was decided by pit calls, and once again Ferrari made mistakes precisely at the crucial moments.

Vettel vs Alonso vs Ricciardo race pace comparison


From the chart above, we can see how Alonso (look around lap 50) remained on track with soft tires while both Red Bull pitted. During these laps, Alonso was starting to lose times (the gap between Alonso and Vettel was decreasing around 16 seconds, insufficient to allow Fernando to rejoin the track ahead of Sebastian) so much that he would not only lose ground to Vettel but he would return on track behind Ricciardo too.

The ensuing fight with the Aussie driver would cost him the chance to fight with Vettel. Another trio of drivers, whose races were decided by pit calls were those of: Magnussen, Perez and Raikkonen. Even here we had poor calls from the Ferrari pit wall, which left Raikkonen on track for too many laps on old tires (specially the Super Soft compound)

Magnussen vs Perez vs Raikkonen race pace comparison


From 20th place on the grid, Hamilton was the main protagonist of the German Grand Prix, but he may well have lost his chance to finish the race ahead of Bottas when he had his spectacular battles with Ricciardo and Raikkonen. Over the course of four laps he lost more than a second a lap to Bottas.

Rosberg vs Bottas vs Hamilton


Hockenheim also confirmed that Mercedes, Williams and Force India are the best cars at managing the tires. Rosberg, Bottas and Hulkenberg were each capable of making the Super soft compound last almost 20 laps during the first stint. For all the others, the best strategy was to get rid of the supersoft tires after just 10/12 laps.

FRIC-less Mercedes still unbeatable

The key word on everyone’s lips in Hockenheim was FRIC. A system that so far, helped the F1 cars to maintain a constant ride height, by reducing the effects of pitch and roll (with aero benefits). This system, was believed to be one of the Mercedes secrets, and that without it, opponents could have partially bridged the gap.

Obviously, it was not so, as Mercedes scored another easy win with Rosberg, and the ease with which Lewis advanced from the bottom of the grid was numbing. As it has been said here after the British Grand Prix, the only thing that could prevent Mercedes winning all the remaining races would be the tight fight between its drivers, which could undermine the reliability of a car which is otherwise virtually flawless.

Williams : chasing the first win

After a not so convincing start of the season, Williams Martini Racing seems to have succeeded in finding the performance the FW36 showed during the pre-season tests. Sir Frank Williams & Co. are clearly now the second force of the field, thanks to a better understanding of the car and to the fine aerodynamics work .

Williams FW36 louvred engine cover fin http://i.imgur.com/IKA1xRa.jpg

In Germany, on the FW36 we saw the return of the engine cover with louvres on the fin, this solution helps the cooling of the power unit without affecting the aero efficiency of the car. The FW36 confirmed its inherent qualities on the high speed sectors (Bottas scored the second highest top speed in Hockenheim with 340Km\h!) but also demonstrated progress with both the aero load and traction in the slow corners as confirmed by the times clocked during qualifying.

Sector times qualifying chart


Red Bull : no good signs from Renault

Red Bull has lost the role of being Mercedes’ main rival – they are left fighting for the role of third car on the grid. After the Canadian win scored by Ricciardo, Red Bull have lost ground both to Mercedes and Williams. Everyone knows that the Renault power unit is not as good as the Mercedes one but it has been noted that the RB10 has a poor management of tires compared to the W05 and the FW36, without mentioning the fuel consumption which is still very high (if not the highest) among the all teams.

No one doubt the aerodynamic qualities of the RB10, so the deficit is all to be located in the power unit supplied by Renault. Indeed, despite the latest updates introduced by Viry-Chatillon, the Renault powered cars are still suffering heavy reliability issues (Danii Kvyat’s car on fire is a clear example).

Ferrari : F14-T, the usual faults

A poor season so far for Ferrari, and the spectre of a season without a win becomes more and more possible. James Allison, the British aerospace engineer has cruelly listed all the shortcomings of the car driven by Alonso and Raikkonen: lack of downforce, traction, a very nervous car with a high wear on the tires, and obviously lack of power.

As if that was not enough, even the updates (which are tested for the 2015 design) do not seem to make any major changes to the behaviour of the car. As has been said, the work on the 2015 car (codename 666) has already started, and in Germany we saw part of these designs – like a new engine cover with a bigger outlet but always keeping the RedBull-esque shape to help the cooling of the power unit

New engine cover


Also used was the new higher side pods flow diverter.


Mclaren : the recovery continues

After the good results achieved in Silverstone, Mclaren continued its recovering phase on the MP4/29. The gap with Ferrari and Red Bull is now almost bridged and the development work done so far, looks promising for the next races.

Indeed the team from Woking was the most active team in this sense, which helped both drivers score some good points. In Hockeheneim we saw an innovative rear wing , with a wavy slot gap. Its aim was of “virtually” increasing the effect of the gap between the mainplane and the DRS flap to gain a higher top speed, and to delay the detachment of the airflow, thus improving the wing efficiency. Also note, the number of vortex generators on the endplate to channel the airflow upwards and improve the extraction of the air.

New Mp4/29 rear wing


Hungaroring : between reliability and the Mercedes hunting

Power unit components used so far by each driver :


The Hungarian Gp is just few days ahead with no time to rest for the teams, as they are already moving to Budapest whilst we’re writing. The Hungaroring is a high downforce track (the aero load is very similar to that of Monte Carlo) which combined with the high temperatures and the continuous succession of curves and the absence of long straights, will emphasize the reliability of power unit elements.

The Hungarian track is not demanding on power so the Red Bull could really have the chance to chase the Mercedes like never before this season. But reliability will be crucial with issues arising not only from the heat but also because of the severity to which the braking system will be subjected , so get ready to the first penalties.

#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Hockenheim 2014 – #GermanGP

•July 22, 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.]

A good time to be German some might say, or Finnish, or indeed both!  Nico Rosberg proved it did not matter what super licence he drove under, he was in a league of his own out front and never looked in danger of not taking the race win.  He was, of course, aided by the lack of certain Briton at the front but he took full advantage of the situation.  While many in the media were caught up propelling superlatives in the direction of Hamilton, Rosberg was the forgotten man of the race.  It was another race with less stress on his powertrain as he coasted from lights to flag, which could count for more towards the end of the season.

That 'on top of the world' feeling

That ‘on top of the world’ feeling

So what really happened?

Lewis Hamilton: As per the rules, what happens in qualifying does not affect the outcome of the Victims report.  Whether he would have challenged Nico for pole is a debate for another time, but Lewis’ do or die lunges down the inside gained him so many places, but probably cost him the chance to take 2nd place as well.  He remains 3rd.

Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen: The expression ‘6 and two 3s’ comes to mind here as once again the Brazilian found himself out of the race on the first lap, although in this instance he was not entirely blameless.  It wrecked both of their afternoons, but in the end was ruled a racing incident.  Both remain with their original results.

Formula One safety has come so far

Formula One safety has come so far

Nico Hulkenberg: The overheating of his car was a cause for concern which cost him time.  In the end, it probably would not have made a great deal of difference as the pace simply was not there in the car this weekend.  He remains in position.

Daniil Kvyat: The inferno wagon that the Russian parked at the edge of turn 10 was nothing to do with the young pilot, whose petulant kick at the Armco barrier summed up how he was feeling.  His attempted pass of Perez around the outside showed his experience as he should have given that one up well before he was sent into a spin.  He is reinstated to 15th place.

Romain Grosjean: Such a promising weekend turned sour as the Frenchman was forced to once again park up his E22 before race distance.  He is reinstated to 14th place.

Adrian Sutil: An unfortunately positioned spin left the stewards with some head scratching as they were forced to consider whether to deploy the safety car or not.  They did not and took a risk that paid off, but why did they not lean to the side of caution here?  Had steward been injured there would have been uproar from fans and the media alike.  A brakes failure that Sutil could do little about, so is reinstated to 16th position.

Daniel Ricciardo: The smiley Aussie’s race was ruined by taking avoiding action of the tumbling Williams of Felipe Massa.  He is moved up to 5th place after being in the wrong place at the wrong time – a true Victim of Circumstance.

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


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 219 +43
Nico Rosberg 2 208 +18
Daniel Ricciardo 3 103 -6
Sebastian Vettel 4 93 +11
Fernando Alonso 5 78 -19
Valtteri Bottas 6 75 -16
Felipe Massa 7 50 +20
Nico Hulkenberg 8 46 -23
Jenson Button 9 37 -22
Kimi Raikkonen 10 29 +11
Sergio Perez 11 27 -2
Kevin Magnussen 12 25 -12
Daniil Kvyat 13 10 +6
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 8 -1
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

Daniel Ricciardo was the only driver to opt for the outside of the colliding pair of Magnussen and Massa, at turn 1.  It is possible to argue he was pushed out there by his teammate, although more race experience would have said do not try and go around the outside.  It is perhaps a rare showing of his relative inexperience.

Those who alluded to the daring nature of Lewis Hamilton and how brave he was during the race were almost made to eat their words on many an occasion.  The Briton rode his luck as he escaped from the race with 15 points – 15 more than it could have been.  He was unhappy with the result following the race, but how unhappy would he have been if he came away with nothing?

11 points is the difference at the top as they head into the final round before the summer break.  As for the much smaller gap between the pole time for Rosberg and the rest of the field, Hungary could be an intriguing race should either one of the Williams pair take pole position.  Another track where passing is difficult, if either Bottas or Massa take pole could we see a Williams car on the top step of the podium?

Quote of the Day

This week’s quote comes from Lincoln Chafee, the US politician who became the 74th Governor of Rhode Island on 4th January 2011.  He said, “Trust is built with Consistency.”

Lincoln Chafee

Trusting in your brakes, trusting in your team and trusting in your fellow competitors were all shown this weekend.  Lewis Hamilton trusted his brakes, which failed and sent him hurtling into the barriers at high speeds.  Fernando Alonso continued to trust in his team, though the Ferrari designers look once again to have failed him in delivering something remotely competitive – even with the upgrades that came.  Felipe Massa trusted in his car to protect him as he was sent into a spin at the first corner as Magnussen made a desperate lunge more akin to a more junior formula.  Although, did Massa really expect the Dane just to back out?

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 22nd July 2014

•July 22, 2014 • 116 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Previously on TJ13:

Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Hockenheim 2014

OTD Lite: Winklehock leads on Grand Prix debut

Lauda Watch: “McLaren car… shit, Ferrari… shit”

Should F1 go to Russia?

Italy “clutches at straws” again regards Ferrari

Clutching at straws pt 2 – Renault’s Remi Taffin

Hamilton contract negotiations

Vettel turns off German fans

Will double points decide the 2014 WDC?

Renault engine design for 2015

Mexico is go, go go

Hamilton to get therapy

OTD Lite: Winklehock leads on Grand Prix debut

The son of the late Manfred WInklehock only contested one Grand Prix – the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. As a Friday test driver and the reserve driver for  the Spyker team, he started last on the grid but with rain threatening, his team called him to change to intermediates on the parade lap.

As the rain began to fall he passed all the other drivers as they slithered round and finally came into the pits to take on appropriate tyres. By the end of the second lap he had a lead of 19 seconds and by the end of the fourth was thirty-three seconds ahead….


Sadly it was too wet to continue and so the safety car was called out – unlike Sunday’s recent German Grand Prix. At the restart Alonso committed to some quite brilliant driving and won the race from a smarting little Felipe Massa who felt the Spaniard had been a little too aggressive.


Lauda Watch: “McLaren car… shit, Ferrari… shit”

Mild mannered triple world champion, Niki Lauda, is clearly irked by a number of matters. It may be that the FRIC system Mercedes have been developing for years is de facto outlawed due to other teams bending Charlie Whiting’s ear.

It could be there was a threat of protest from Red Bull and Ferrari when Mercedes decided on safety grounds alone – allegedly – to change the brake systems used by Lewis Hamilton during the German GP.

When asked whether it was fair that the FIA regulations restrict the ability of other engine suppliers to play ‘catch up’ during this season, Lauda was somewhat uncompromising.

“McLaren has the same engine as us and their car is sh*t,” reports El Pais. “Where are they? No where.”

In a clear attempt to make friends and influence people, Lauda continues, “Ferrari are the same…. another sh*tty car”. (Translator’s note: It is difficult to know whether Lauda is referring to Ferrari as ‘another’ example of a sh^t 2014 car in addition to the McLaren MP4-29…. Or whether he means this is the latest in a list of sh^t Ferrari F1 car designs).

“The rules are written clearly,” Lauda adds, “You can’t penalise Brixworth because the others have been stupid.”

Yet Niki has been in the sport a long time and remembers similar years in by-gone eras where a team dominated for a season or two. The McLaren MP4-4 springs to mind along with a couple of Williams F1 designs.

Niki is asked to sympathise with Fernando Alonso’s predicament – stranded in the wrong car.

Wrong question!

“I’m sure he’s most frustrated,” said Lauda, “but the money he makes should help him.get over it. Remember Ronnie Peterson? He was the best but always in the wrong place.”

Marco Mattiacci refused to be drawn on Lauda’s description of Maranello’s latest lovingly created prototype racing machine. “For me, Niki Lauda is an icon of the sport, one of the most intelligent drivers of all time…. and I have huge respect for him”.


Should F1 go to Russia?

Most sports fans would prefer to disassociate their preferred sport from politics, yet at times this divide is called into question.

The questions are raised not when sport attempts to bring influence upon a political sphere, but when politics attempts to use sport to justify its position.

The 1936 Olympics were an example of this which is hard to refute. Hitler seized on an opportunity to use the Games to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy. Such that, the official Nazi party publication called for the banning of the participation of Jews and Black people from the event.

Unlike other F1 writers who are well known, TJ13 was against F1’s return to Bahrain in 2012 –  primarily because the ruling family, the Al Khalifa’s, had hijacked the event, publicising it both nationally and internationally under the slogans “UniF1ed” and “Back on Track”.

These were clearly political slogans designed by Bahrain’s political rulers to present the message that the ‘troubles’ which had caused the 2011 race cancellation were now over. Whether this was in fact the case or not is irrelevant, as the use of F1 for any political means is forbidden by the FIA.

Of course, Jean Todt relatively new to his role, felt the course of least resistance was best – and did nothing. Ecclestone admitted the race organisers were in breach of their contract and that he had “asked them to take them down” – the banners that is.

Unusually, Ecclestone was ignored, and the banners and baseball caps were aplenty on race day.

So we turn to Russia and the question whether F1 should race in Sochi this year.

Ecclestone is clear in his views. “I don’t see any problems with that. Were they [Russia] in the World Cup or not? You would have thought people would have tried to stop it, wouldn’t you? Like I’ve said, we don’t get involved in politics. We have a contract with them, which we know they will respect. And we will do the same.”

Of course, this event has been promoted personally by Vladimir Putin, and the question of F1’s involvement with Russia will be raised by many. The charge will be Putin and Russia have aggravated if not created the current bout of killings in Ukraine following the annexing of Crimea.

It appears from the sanctions extended thus far, that it is beyond the doubt of the majority of Western led governments that the pro-Russian ‘freedom forces’ fighting the Ukraine government troops in the east of the country have been armed and assisted by Russia.

Further, evidence is emerging that Russia supplied the weapon which shot down Malaysian Airline flight MH17.

Is all this really a matter for Formula 1 to consider? After all, it isn’t about the discrimination of Jews and Black people.

The question for many is whether Vladimir Putin will attempt to use his association with global sports stars of Formula 1 to present an image of ‘business as usual’?

This image will have little effect on those in the west, yet the Russian people will see their president accepted by ‘reasonable minded’ educated westerner’s who are happy to shake his hand in friendship and bring their sport to his domain.

These westerner’s will represent to ordinary Russians the fact that the USA and European sanctions against their country are not universally accepted by those who are ruled by Obama and his EU counterparts… which in the final analysis, is indeed true.

However, it may be a more sensitive topic depending on where people live in the world. F1 fans in Holland may feel more strongly than others in Europe where there has been a general air of indifference to the American led sanctions imposed on Russia thus far.

Then again, there are corporate backers of F1 like Malaysian company Petronas. They may indeed feel they would suffer a backlash from their own countrymen should their name appear in Sochi. Ecclestone refused to allow McLaren or Vodafone to remove their company logo from the car in Bahrain 2012 – will the same apply to Petronas?

Bernie Ecclestone believes there will be no issues, and all will be fine. “We shouldn’t speculate as to what could happen. We will honour our contract. Mr Putin personally has been very supportive and very helpful, and we will do the same.”

TJ13 has contacted the UK Prime Minister’s office on three separate occasions since the annexing of Crimea to establish the government’s position on the Formula 1 circus pitching it’s big top in Russia. No answer has been the stern reply.

Well the questions will soon be louder and more frequent. The terrible events surrounding flight MH17 – none less than the disdainful vision of the victims bodies piled up on trucks – has hit many in the west between the eyes.

This war is no longer quite so remote and distant.

Despite what Ecclestone says or believes, there will be questions asked and some turmoil within the F1 teams over the continued decision to ‘take the show to Russia’.


Italy “clutches at straws” again regards Ferrari

“The idiom originated with Thomas More’s Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534). It indicates desperation. A drowning man will clutch/grab at anything, even at straws (this is the (older?) usage that means ‘dry grass’ not drinking straws) in an attempt to save himself.”

In Italy, Ferrari is a religion. The populace display as much anger as the publications that routinely report on the state of affairs in Maranello and 2014 has been fodder for the journalists. There is the very real prospect that Ferrari will – for the first time in twenty one years – go through the season without a single victory.

The Silver Arrows continue to dominate the championship battle, practically winning from wherever they start the race and certain Italians have begun the aforementioned ‘clutching at straws‘ by comparing Ferrari to their last winless season in 1993. In actual fact 1993 was the third season that Ferrari had endured a winless year but that is a moot point.

In 1993 Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo appointed Frenchman Jean Todt to begin reconstructing the antiquated Ferrari team into what became a behemoth of modern Formula One, dominating in a style that had not been seen before – six consecutive constructors and five consecutive driver titles are testimony to that. Once again, in 2014, Montezemolo is re-living the horrors of a malfunctioning squad that looks likely to finish at best fifth in the table despite the unquestioned driving ability of Fernando Alonso.

So what does Italy do? They make comparisons between 1993 and this year, and similarities vainly offered between Jean Todt and Marco Mattiacci – conveniently forgetting that Todt was a hugely successful motor-sport manager with Peugeot in both rallying and Group C; whereas MM comes from a background where his only obligation was to promote and grow the Ferrari brand in different markets worldwide.

One commendable trait of the new Ferrari team principal is his uncharacteristic honesty in a world of intrigue, politics and deliberate subterfuge and this has been followed by a culling of team personnel who have been identified as too reluctant to take design risks.

Luca Marmorini has already departed the team and has been replaced by Matt Mariz and Lorenzo Sassi who will take over the 059/4 project with the design remit that the aero department will not take precedence over the power unit design, a problem that Pat Fry and Nicholas Tombazis cultivated by chasing maximum efficiency.

The biggest error that Marmorini made was deliberating over the direction of the new 2015 power unit despite the FIA allowing modifications for next season. With James Allison ignoring the 2014 campaign and focusing his attention on next season’s challenger, it appears that Fry and Tombazis may also prove scapegoats within the Italian concern.

And all the while Pavarotti sings “Nessun’ Dorma” (None shall sleep) in the echoing halls of the Gestione Sportiva…


Clutching at straws pt 2 – Renault’s Remi Taffin

Renault’s operations manager – Remi Taffin – has been a busy interviewee this season. Before the season began he spoke of how Renault would be fixing their problems over the coming weeks. By Barcelona the word was that with the upcoming tracks being less power demanding they would be nearer the front and by Canada they were operating at 100% of the engines potential – which made Austria all the more disappointing as Red Bull struggled for pace all weekend.

In a season that Ferrari is hugely disappointed with their car, they have still run close battles to the Red Bulls at the last couple of races – well Fernando Alonso. If as some suggest, the RB10 is the class of the field in terms of chassis design, then the handicap of their engine is truly staggering.

Young Remi studied at the same institute as Mclaren’s technical director – Racing Director – Eric Boullier and offered the French companies point of view from Germany.
“It is good to the Red Bulls have the flexibility and mobility they need to compete and win positions on the track. The new software introduced in Germany has proved valuable in this area and we intend to exploit it even more in Hungary where the interaction with the new Total fuel will be fully optimised.”

Taffin continued, “We also need to work on reliability before Hungary. We had a perfect weekend in Germany and problems were relatively minor but some of them had serious consequence….

As yet, TJ13 hasn’t received word from Daniil Kyvat in regards to his Renault engined Toro Rosso going up spectacularly in flames, but Vettel remarked, “I think it’s not the last word on this. There are reasons why it did not work out. Whether we find out in a week it’s hard to say – for sure it was a disappointment as we had hoped for more. The big step didn’t work out.”


Hamilton contract negotiations

TJ13 commented during the Monaco GP weekend, that it appeared strange Mercedes were not making noises about extending Lewis Hamilton’s contract. Both Vettel and Alonso have had contract extensions offered to them more than 2 years before the expiry of their current deal.

Whether they like it or not, by failing to open negotiations with Lewis, Mercedes at that time raised questions over their commitment to retaining his services beyond the end of 2015.

Toto Wolff now reveals, the Brackley based team are “sitting together and negotiating with Lewis about a multi-year contract.”

It would now be normative in F1 land, for an announcement to follow fairly quickly that in fact an extension to Lewis contract has been agreed. Hopefully Toto Wolff understands the subtext of contractual negotiations with F1 drivers and isn’t just hoping this matter will disappear into the long grass over the summer break.


Vettel turns off German fans

Katja Heim, circuit adviser involved in the 2014 German GP race promotion, has defended the small crowd in Hockenheim in 2014. It was better than the 45,000 at the Nurburgring in 2013, but then Hockenheim is always more popular.

In a fairly explosive comment which could have legal implications, Katja apportions some of the blame to Sebastian Vettel for the drop of interest in F1 in Germany.

“It certainly didn’t really help that Sebastian in his frustration about the new Formula 1 and his car gave loads of interviews about how bad Formula One is now and that it’s not worth going to watch,” said Heim.

Vettel described the new F1 hybrid Formula as “shit” in pre-season testing.

“As a four times world champion from Germany, people believe him more than they would the sales people. So if he says there’s nothing any more for the fans, it’s not Formula One like it used to be, that was 100 percent quite damaging.”

For those who believe that Vettel is the ‘virtual love child of Bernie Ecclestone, his attitude and consistent complaints against the new Formula 1 regulations were hardly surprising.

Ecclestone has been consistently critical of the new regulations, and the FIA have added credence to his claims by asking the engine suppliers to create amplified exhaust sounds.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff agrees with Heim’s assessment. “We’ve talked the sport down at the beginning of the year and we are all to blame, or many of us [are]. The last couple of races were really good to watch; lots of overtaking everywhere, so the sport is in good shape. We have to analyse properly why there are not more spectators in Hockenheim”, adding rather lamely, “It’s a shame.”

The race promoters may feel it is rather more than ‘a shame’, since they have recently been threatened by Ecclestone that their F1 contract may be terminated – unless they increase the hosting fee to FOM.

Seeing as Germany currently doesn’t host a round of the FIA WEC series, maybe Hockenheim will consider it a better option to promote in the future than Formula 1.

Then again, this could all be part of the Ecclestone master plan to buy back F1 from CVC at a knock down price.

That said, this week Ecclestone has done another of his many U-Turns (flip flops) which add to the general sense that he can’t remember what he said previously. 3 weeks ago, on the matter of him buying back F1, Ecclestone told the Daily Express, “It is possible, although one or two other companies are interested and I would not enter an auction,”

Yesterday, Mr. E was quoted by the Telegraph as amusingly stating, “I wouldn’t want to pay what it is worth. Not that it is not worth it but it would be a lot of money. It’s a big thing to hang around your neck at my age.”

Toto Wolff concludes by questioning the commercial rights holder’s handling of F1’s marketing and broadcasting. “Is there a general trend that people just have many more options in what they do in the digital world? I don’t have an answer because from the sporting side all of us are doing it right.”

Clearly the 83 year old who runs the sport does not understand the new digital age and has dismissed it as a fad, previously asserting, “people will go back to watching television”.

What is certain is that if the decline in F1 viewers and race attendances is not reversed and new fans attracted to the sport, all the F1 purses from the commercial rights owner to the FIA and the teams will become ever smaller.


Will double points decide the 2014 WDC?

The much disliked double points for the final race in Abu Dhabi is beginning to loom on the horizon, increasingly likely to decide the F1 drivers’ championship.

The problem for Lewis Hamilton is that he is in the best car – by far – but so is his team mate.

If we assume race reliability is equally distributed at 100% across the two Mercedes drivers, between now and the end of the season, Lewis could win every race – but Nico will be second.

This gives us a points tally going into the season finale of….

Hamilton           376

Rosberg           334

Difference       42

Assuming equal race reliability being 100% for each driver, this is the absolute best scenario Hamilton faces.

Roll this forward to the end of the European season, but now say Rosberg wins 1 of the three remaining races (Hamilton 2nd). This gives a pre-Abu Dhabi tally of..

Hamilton           369

Rosberg           341

Difference       28

For the remaining 6 flyaway races (assuming the Russian GP goes ahead), now say Rosberg wins another 1 from those 6 races with Hamilton 2nd….

Hamilton           362

Rosberg           348

Difference       14

A win for Rosberg then ties the points in the driver standings, with him having won 3 out of the remaining 9 races from hereon….

It could well be squeaky bum time in the Arabian Desert in November and the majority of F1 fans may be outraged by a rule change..


Renault engine design for 2015

Renault examining the option of adopting the Mercedes F1 engine concept for 2015.

The French manufacturer has previously played down the impact of the split turbo German design, which has the air compressor and turbine at opposite ends of the engine.

There are thought to be aerodynamic packaging advantages to this solution along with reduced turbo lag.

Renault’s head of track operations Remi Taffin says, “For sure we are looking at a different solution, we will explore all the solutions”.

Taffin appears to have lunched – long – at the Place de Concorde as his following statements are confusing to say the least.

“If I knew [which design we would operate] it would be wrong, because I should not know now what we are doing. It’s being developed”.

That said, even though 48% of the components can be redesigned, Taffin believes the engine will not be a radical departure from the represent philosophy. “It’s not very different. The basis is quite similar but we can change a lot of things”.

When we discussed the V8s in the past, we used to say the last engine was very similar to the one from six or seven years ago. But 90 per cent of the parts were different – although if you looked at them they were quite similar.

It will be the same for us going into next year. You will see some difference for sure, but there are no dramatic changes for 2015.”

This press release is not yet believed to have passed scrutineering in Milton Keynes and received the Red Bull waxen seal of approval.


Mexico is go, go go

Mexican promotions company OCESA is reported by ‘the Reforma’ to have signed a 5 year deal to bring Formula 1 back to Mexico from 2015.

There is still a huge amount of work required to bring the old Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez up to the standard required by the FIA, though a certain Mr. Tilke is currently working on the project.

The Mexican GP was on the calendar from 1963-1970 and from 1986-1992.

Gustav Hellmund, a friend of Ecclestone, was responsible for the reintroduction of the race in 1986 and it is his son Tavo who has been much of the driving force behind the efforts to restore Mexico once again to the F1 calendar.

Hellmund Junior masterminded the early phases of the Circuit of the Americas, though a subsequent dispute saw him cut out of the eventual deal done between Texan billionaire, Red McCombs and Bernie Ecclestone.

Tavo is a bullish character and when talking about the Mexican project in 2012 he enthused, “The sky is the limit. It could potentially break every Grand Prix attendance record.” That said, in 2011 some 150,000 people turned up to watch their man Sergio Perez drive an F1 demonstration in Guadalajara

Ecclestone initially ruled out the idea of returning to the old Grand Prix circuit due to costs, though later conceded, “It just needs sorting out a bit.”

The upgrade was estimated two years ago at around $60-75 million, though $100m has been mentioned more recently as a realistic capital spend.

Tavo believes, “The track needs a facelift, but so many of the right components are in place. I think it’s totally the right time. No one wants to waste the opportunity of having these (Mexican F1) drivers.”

The former parkland circuit is a shadow of its former glory and the city since 1990 has enveloped what was once a more remote location. Residents will have to be relocated and the infrastructure to and from the circuit upgraded if Tavo’s claims of record breaking crowds are to be accommodated.


Hamilton to get therapy

Following his smash in Q1 at Hockenheim where his car recorded some 30g of impact, Lewis is of to get some attention.

“My knees are no problem,” he said, “but my back and my neck have been the issue really.

I do need some physiotherapy as my back is in more pain than normal. But I’ll be ok, I’ll get some work done this week.”

Lewis believes he also need another kind of therapy to change his fortune as he joked, “maybe I need to go and visit some Indians, or rub the Buddha belly. I’ll try all the different religions to see if I can get some luck,”


Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Hockenheim 2014

•July 22, 2014 • 2 Comments

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


The highly anticipated contest in Germany certainly did not disappoint as out of position drivers duelled throughout the race, eventually getting to where they by their pace, should have been.  The thought that a spin like Sutil’s will see the race turned upside down with a standing restart loomed large on my conscious as I travelled back up the Italian coast.  If a driver has absolutely dominated a race like Rosberg had, but had old tyres on, they would be a sitting target for cars behind.

There is still time to avoid this travesty before it “improves” the spectacle if the FIA see sense before it is too late.  Furthermore, this has made a red flag situation almost equal to a safety car, apart from the ability to change tyres and work on the car, on the grid.  Surely this too should be a standing restart from now on?

The soaring temperatures that would have spelt trouble for Renault were not there for Sunday.  The ‘Renault Great Escape’ was largely missed by the media, as the French powered runners were afforded the ability to push more and not have to manage temperatures so much.

So with all of the happenings up and down the grid, how did it affect our predictions…?

On the Up

JacktheBlob scored 74 points for the round, as the team rocketed up the league onto the first page to sit in 20th place.  With 1 round to go before the summer break, another result with the same, or better, 56% accuracy.  Scoring with every driver but two in the top ten made for the 20 place improvement.

Charging onto the first page...

Charging onto the first page…

Up, up and away

A 29 point improvement makes Syzygy the most improved this week, predicting four of the top ten correctly.  Were it not for Hamilton’s quick laps at the end, it could have been even better for the team as it hurtled onto page 2 into 30th place in the league. Another weekend like this would be most welcomed.

Back Rosberg for the home race win

Back Rosberg for the home race win

Far from cloud nine

Team cloud9 dropped 25 places to 57th place following a disastrous week for the team. Not predicting a single driver correctly in the top 10 made for a difficult weekend, although it is hard to criticise, as my team only did marginally better.  Let’s hope fortunes turn around this weekend at the Hungaroring!

Hungry for points in Hungary

Hungry for points in Hungary

Nobody saw it coming

The continued bad luck (or otherwise depending on your viewpoint) of Felipe Massa caught out many a prediction.  He was once again incensed by the Magnussen’s audacious move up the inside, even though many around Twitter and the media apportioned blame to him.

Some teams continued to believe in Force India, even when the development simply is not coming for the cars.  Their efficacy to bring developments on a limited budget remains to be seen, but the lowly running Mexican and German are a far cry from the front running pair we saw back in Bahrain.

Food for thought

The Williams pair were not a long way off the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in qualifying, although in race trim the 20 second gap from Bottas to Rosberg flattered the Finn.  However, given the difficulty of overtaking in Hungary on the tight enclosed circuit, a poor qualifying or get away from the line could consign a Mercedes driver to a race of viewing a Martini sponsored rear wing.  Can Lewis change his qualifying fortunes?

A favourite race of both Button and Raikkonen due to their success there in years gone by, can they go into the summer break on a positive note?  Both were shown up by their teammates in qualifying, with Button finishing just ahead of Magnussen due to the Dane’s first lap altercation with Massa.  It will be an important weekend for the elder statesman on the grid.

Remember when…

In this section there will be a question each week to test your memory from GPs gone by. The idea is not to look it up but see if you can remember it first!

Q: When was the last time two different German drivers won the German Grand Prix, in consecutive years?  What were their names and who were they driving for?

(Answer will be posted in the next Predictor summary)

Last question’s answer

The question was: Who won the 2011 edition of the Silverstone edition of the race when the Off-Throttle blown diffusers were controversially banned?  Also, where had he been on the grid that day?

Answer: The answer I was looking for was Fernando Alonso, who took his (and Ferrari’s) only win of the 2011 season that day after a rare error from the Red Bull pit crew.  Alonso had started 3rd, with Vettel 2nd and Webber 1st with the trio finishing the race in the reverse order.

Well done to f1esty who correctly answered that one.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 21st July 2014

•July 21, 2014 • 202 Comments


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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the 2014 German GP

#F1 Race Review: Mercedes Domination Continues

#F1 Polls: 2014 German GP – Driver of the Weekend

#TechF1 Treasures- The #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents #GermanGP

#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes reigns supreme in the Fatherland

OTD Lite – 2002 – Schumacher secures World Title in record time

James Garner/ Pete Aron R.I.P. 1928 – 2014

Hamilton’s Safety Car Conspiracy (GMM)

Small Hockenheim crowd gathering – but why? (GMM)

McLaren title sponsor imminent

Safety car controversy Hockenheim

Raikkonen must up his game

….meanwhile on other news outlets

Pragmatism prevents a pointless protest

OTD Lite – 2002 – Schumacher secures World Title in record time

Thank you Mr Lauda. Regardless that Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff would like to implement team-orders – the non-executive Chairman insists that Mercedes will allow their drivers to race on. Having just completed the tenth round of the 2014 championship, Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton by a mere fourteen points in the title battle.

Which is somewhat more reassuring for dwindling TV audiences than the year that Michael Schumacher equaled Juan Manuel Fangio’s total of five titles – a tally that had seemed unapproachable for close to half a century. And he secured it by the eleventh round of the championship…

With five laps left, Schumacher lay in second place, Barrichello his only challenger had retired at the start, and Kimi Raikkonen led up to the Adelaide hairpin. Alan Mcnish’s Toyota had blown up on the racing line and Kimi slid wide, allowing Schumacher through for a victory which sealed the championship as well.


Ferrari would finish the season with 15 victories, 9 1-2 finishes, their points tally for the Constructors title equaled all the other teams scores combined and Schumacher’s lowest finish that year was 3rd in the Malaysian Grand Prix. His eleven wins would also surpass his own previous record, of nine wins, that he shared with Nigel Mansell from 1992.


James Garner/ Pete Aron R.I.P. 1928 – 2014

American actor and star of 1966 film Grand Prix – James Garner – passed away over the weekend at the age of 86. A TV and movie actor, his best known roles were in TV series ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files’. But to a generation of Formula One fans he is best remembered for the part he played in the John Frankenheimer’s 1966 epic ‘Grand Prix’.

Garner played the role of American Pete Aron who is sacked by BRM and finds a seat at Yamura and succeeds in winning the championship. But for most fans of Formula One history, it’s the filming of the circuts from Grand Prix’s most dangerous era and the racing personalities captured on celluloid that made the film a cult favourite.


The film includes real-life racing footage and cameo appearances by drivers including Formula One World Champions Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Jack Brabham – as well as appearances by Jochen Rindt, Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther, Jo Bonnier and Bruce Mclaren. as well as footage from Monaco, Clermont-Ferrand, Spa in it’s original configuration and the classic slip-streamer Monza’s banked circuit.

Garner did all his own driving for the film and afterwards set up the American International Racers team, which raced at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring in the late 1960s. It was reported that Graham Hill and Jack Brabham told him that if he hadn’t pursued a career in acting he was good enough to compete in Formula One.

1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones was a close friend of Garner’s said: “I’ll miss Jim for sure and my family and I offer our condolences to his entire family and all his friends,” Jones said. “Jim was a hell of a driver, a competitor, most people don’t remember that and that he raced in a lot of different types of cars over the years. He truly was a “man’s man.”

“Jim was a friend and when he came to Indianapolis as a spectator and pace car driver we obviously welcomed him with open arms. People will remember him for his performances in “Grand Prix,” “The Rockford Files” and also for his excellent acting in so many other movies and TV shows, he was so smooth and such a natural, he made it look easy. He excelled in both movies and television a rarity back then.”


Hamilton’s Safety Car Conspiracy (GMM)

Euphoric at Silverstone two weeks ago when he pulled the gap back to just 4 points, Lewis Hamilton’s mood dimmed once again on Sunday as he deficit blew back out to 14. But after the Briton limited the damage of his back-of-the-grid start at Hockenheim by racing through the field to the podium, boss Toto Wolff advised him to not be too glum.

I would be very surprised if it (the title battle) didn’t come down to Abu Dhabi and to the famous double points,” said the Mercedes chief.

Even if you are behind 30 points, you can turn it around in Abu Dhabi. But the driver who loses on double points will need some psychological treatment,” he smiled.

Still, Hamilton thinks a result better than third might have been possible in Germany, after seeing Adrian Sutil’s stricken car. A safety car would have ended championship leader Nico Rosberg’s huge race lead.

I definitely got a bit worried,” the German driver admitted, “because I was sure there was going to be a safety car and that would have obviously made it a lot more difficult.

Rosberg wasn’t the only one surprised, particularly in a sport that, in the name of safety, is prepared to delay a race for an hour to fix a damaged barrier.

I was really concerned for the marshals — really concerned,” said Hamilton, referring to Sunday at Hockenheim.

It felt like the closest thing I have seen for a long, long time.

He said whizzing past marshals who ran across the racing line to recover Sutil’s Sauber reminded him of footage of the 1977 South African grand prix, when a marshal and Tom Pryce were killed in a gruesome collision.

That was the first thing I thought about,” said Hamilton. “I couldn’t believe it. How on earth a car can be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of laps and not come out? I think you know why.

The Briton would not expand on what he meant by his final remark, but there was probably no conspiracy to protect Rosberg’s race lead for a sure home win. Mercedes’ Wolff said not putting the safety car out was surely the result of a new effort by F1′s authorities to reduce interference in the racing.

Under the old spirit of the FIA,” he told Auto Motor und Sport, “the safety car would have come out. But I think Charlie’s decision was deliberately taken not to turn a race on its head with 15 laps to go.

But the lack of a safety car was not the only argument Hamilton found himself in after the German grand prix.

He also infuriated former McLaren teammate Jenson Button for their collision, for which Hamilton immediately apologised. “The problem with Lewis is he expected me to let him past,” said Button. “I don’t think I’m the only person he drove into today.

With his car being so much quicker you’d think he wouldn’t get into so many fights, but there you go.” Later, after watching the replay, Button admitted he might have “overreacted“.

TJ13 comment: Mercedes had run thousands of simulations on Saturday night,, most predicting Hamilton could expect to finish in 4th place. Cheer up Lewis, you went went one better!


Small Hockenheim crowd gathering – but why?

Elsewhere in Germany on Sunday, the Nurburgring hosted an event called the ‘Truck Grand Prix’. Watching the unwieldy trucks from the grandstands were about 100,000 excited spectators — about twice the size of the crowd that gathered at Hockenheim for the 2014 German grand prix.

Bild am Sonntag asked Bernie Ecclestone where all the fans are.

Obviously not here,” the F1 supremo answered.

As far as some are concerned, notwithstanding the big crowds recently in Austria and Silverstone, the unpopularity of the Hockenheim race should be ringing alarm-bells for F1.


Opposite pit lane just prior to the start

The Austrian grand prix took at least 5,000 spectators from us,” track boss Georg Seiler insisted to Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

And the olympic games and the world cup have just taken place. The world cup was the number 1 issue, with newspapers saying hardly anything about formula one,” he argued.

Ecclestone agrees: “Germany won the world cup, and all the sports-mad people bought a ticket to Brazil.

They’re just worn out after so many major sports events,” he added.

Both Seiler and Ecclestone also rejected the theory that ticket prices are too high, insisting the prices all over the F1 calendar are similar.

Yet 100,000 people managed to afford a ticket to go watch truck racing – even after the World Cup bonanza – Go Figure, Mr. E!


TJ13 reported in December 2013, that McLaren would run for 2014 without a title sponsor. We have learned this weekend, McLaren will announce in the very near future the identity of their title sponsor for 2014, which will be reflected in their racing name submitted to the FIA.

Keep guessing folks…..


Safety car controversy Hockenheim

For those who watch other motor sports besides F1, there are often a multiplicity of questions which spring to mind as to why F1 doesn’t adopt some of the better practices utilised out there.

TJ13 has banged the drum persistently over the lapped cars in the snake behind the safety car. When the trouble is cleared these cars are invited to overtake the safety car and then at a much reduced speed trundle around until they rejoin the back of the queue.

This can take another lap or two after the danger on track has been cleared. To save wasted racing time, why not force these cars drive through the pit lane and rejoin the rear of the snake? I have heard no sensible rationale for not adopting this practise.

However, it was another type of incident which has caused some safety car controversy following the 2014 German GP.

Lewis Hamilton has questioned the decision from Charlie Whiting, not to deploy the safety car some 15 laps from the end of the race. Adrian Sutil – due to mechanical failure  - had spun his Sauber exiting the final corner onto the pit straight.

Sutil initially managed to spin the car around in an attempt to continue racing, which in fact moved the car into a position further away from the racing line the cars would take exiting the final bend at Hockenheim. Had the German failed to do this a safety car would inevitably have been deployed.


“There should have been a safety car,” Hamilton said. “How on earth a car can be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of laps and [the safety car] not come out… “. Then reminiscent of his comments in Monaco, Lewis sparked a conspiracy controversy by adding, “But I think you know why.”

The inference being that it was preferable to the organisers of the Hockenheim event to have a German driver winning the German GP in a German car.

However, the matter was handled under doubled waved yellow flags which as stated in the regulations, “Indicate danger, such as a stranded car, ahead. A single waved yellow flag warns drivers to slow down, while two waved yellow flags at the same post means that drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary. Overtaking is prohibited”. 

Hamilton claims, the lack of safety car deployment was dangerous. “I was really concerned for the marshals, really concerned,” he said. “You know, we come around that corner at serious speed, and then there’s marshals standing not far from where you’re driving past. For me, that’s the closest it’s been for a long, long time.”

Yet the matter is simple. Double waved yellows inform the drivers there may be a stranded car on track with marshals attempting to remove it. “Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.

For time and memorial, there is an unwritten code which is supposed to be understood by all drivers who race at venues where marshals are required to assist drivers following on track incidents. These people are there to help the drivers, ‘do nothing to put them at risk’. F1 drivers at times in their obsession to beat the competition, appear to forget this code of conduct.

Many F1 drivers over the years have complained the safety car has ruined their race, then again many have jumped for joy at an opportunity provided by the safety car to get them back into the heat of battle. In the latter category, Mark Webber springs to mind at Silverstone.

Yet the purpose of the safety car is for safety reasons – not to spice up a boring race and bring a contrived exciting finish.

There is an argument that in dry race conditions, the safety car is now predominantly redundant. Since the F1 cars were fitted with technology which gives the drivers a delta time not to be exceeded when the safety car is first deployed, why is a safety car required at all?

In fact, the cars could be allowed to run at speeds the safety car is incapable of reaching for the 2 sectors unaffected by an incident and given a much slower maximum speed through the sector where marshals are working on the circuit. This would be safer from the perspective that tyre temperatures and pressures would be better maintained during the time it takes to clear an incident.

Lewis appears to believe he would have benefited from a safety car being deployed yesterday, though analysis coming later will demonstrate a win was still beyond his reach.

Had Mercedes fitted Lewis with the prime tyre for the last stint, he may have fared better in his end of race battle with Bottas.

Lewis chewed up his final set up super soft boots in 10 laps, leaving him struggling for the last 5 to get enough traction to overtake Valtteri’s Williams. Yet, with a car light on fuel, Hamilton would have suffered less tyre degradation had he not damaged his front wing earlier in the race as he misjudged Jenson Button’s intentions. This collision was something after consideration Lewis felt he should apologise, as he did on the podium, describing it is “my bad”.

However, some will see it as disingenuous for Hamilton to criticise the lack of a safety car due to his apparent concern for the marshals, when in the next breath he rather unguardedly reveals his other thoughts – which are that this decision was in fact designed to ensure Nico won the race.

Which is it?

So long as Hamilton and the other drivers obey the double waved yellows Lewis, “slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary”, the marshals were not at risk. There was a single object which required removing. This was not a case where there was a plethora of debris scattered across the width of the circuit, merely a car which each lap the drivers came around was in the same place and which required pushing away.

We all love the fact that Lewis is a ‘heart on the sleeve’ kind of character because it gives us plenty to debate. Yet, as TJ13 has suggested previously, Hamilton should be careful he doesn’t marginalise himself with his team. Continuing to trumpet the popular tabloid nonsense that Mercedes and others want a German driver to win the WDC in a German car – will gain Lewis no friends, and surely influence those within the Mercedes garage against him.


Raikkonen must up his game

Almost 52 weeks ago, TJ13 revealed exclusively that F1 fans’ favourite, Kimi ‘Iceman’ Raikkonen was set for a shock return to drive for Ferrari.

The column inches stacked up, the anticipation was immense as finally Ferrari were set to revise their policy of a number one and number two driver. Alonso could now be tested as he was in 2008, when driving against a rookie Hamilton as the ‘ice’ sought to quench the Spanish matador’s latin fire.

David Coulthard wrote in March, “the decision of Italian car giants Ferrari to field two former world champions in the same team at least gives fans of Formula 1 the chance to see how two of the stand-out drivers of the last decade measure up against each other in what will be near-identical cars”.

10 races into the season, Kimi is the only driver in this year’s F1 field not to finish a race ahead of his team mate. Massa managed this feat about once every seven races.

Fernando supporters in Maranello now mutter with hindsight how the Spaniard had expressed privately his belief that Massa should be retained by the red team.

Publically the Spaniard backed Maranello’s choice to re-hire Kimi, though his rhetoric was less than convincing the week following Monza 2013. “I was always informed about the team movements,” protested Alonso. “And it’s true that I think until the last moment, the team didn’t make a decision, and then when they decided that it was better to change Felipe, they told me what was my opinion. My opinion was he was the best out there in the market, and especially for a championship with many changes for next year, in terms of developing the car in January/February, a teammate that is many years in F1 was important. The team chose Kimi, so I’m happy.”

Well it appears Fred may have been better sticking to his guns and saying what he really believed, because following another average performance from Raikkonen in Hockenheim, Alonso has hinted that Kimi needs to improve.

“In the constructors’ championship we have lost a bit of ground to Williams,” adding with a hint of acidity, “We have only been able to count on one car again and we have to improve on that.”

In stark contrast, just minutes later, Alonso commented on Ricciardo, “Daniel is a surprise from Australia. I think he’s doing unbelievable,”

Mattiacci was curt to the point of being rude when asked by Sky Sports about Kimi’s performance in Hockenheim, stating merely, “it will improve”. Some observers commented there was more than a hint of the, “or else” in the Italian’s demeanour.

At present the hot Italian summer appears to have reduced the ‘iceman’ into a small puddle of warm water.

Ferrari have fallen behind Williams into 4th place in the constructors championship, and given recent performances in qualifying and the race, there is little to suggest they will regain their 3rd spot any time soon.


….meanwhile on other news outlets



Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 15.13.04


Pragmatism prevents a pointless protest

There were moves afoot to protest Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car, following the decision by the team to switch from Brembo to Carbone Industrie brakes.

Hamilton disliked the Carbone Industrie brakes fitted to the W04 when he joined the team and so he was switched to Brembo with which he was familiar from his time at McLaren.

During qualifying one for the 2014 German GP, the British driver suffered a disk failure which caused him to crash at high speed into a tyre barrier. He managed to post a time good enough to escape Q1, though was unable to run in Q2. Following the application penalties to other drivers and a change of gearbox for Hamilton, he began the race P20.

However, Red Bull and Ferrari were unhappy that the team switched Hamilton’s brake mechanism from  one type to another believing this was in breach of parc ferme rules. They argue this should require Hamilton start the race from the pit lane.

Mercedes defended their position stating the switch from Brembo to CI was on safety grounds and that there should be no penalty because the components were “similar in mass, inertia and function”.

Christian Horner, “absolutely” disagreed, citing the fact that both of the Red Bull cars were fitted with Brembo brakes. Tongues were held, though the temptation to quip that the Red Bull’s don’t go fast enough to require breaks…. crossed a number of minds of those present.

“If you change it like-for-like that is one thing,” he said, “but if you change it for something made by a different manufacturer that has a different characteristic, and as described by the driver himself as something different, it is an interesting precedent.”

Red Bull decided eventually not to protest, though this surely had nothing to do with the fact that eyebrows were raised at why Mercedes hadn’t opted to start Hamilton from the pit lane anyway. This would eliminate the chance of Lewis being involved in any mid-field carnage often associated with the start of the race and the first corner.

Horner is now demanding the FIA clear up what is allowable change of parts and what isn’t. “We obviously now need clarification, because if you can do that, then what else can you change?”

Ferrari’s boss, Marco Mattiacci, admitted “we decided not to move forward on this because I don’t think we wanted to get into it.”



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