Day 10 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Morning Report

•February 27, 2015 • 37 Comments


Circuit de Catalunya

Hello and welcome everybody, as we prepare for the tenth day of season preparation in #F1. Like yesterday you will be informed about the day’s events by the dastardly duo Andrew Huntley-Jacobs and Adam Macdonald. In the afternoon they’ll be joined by someone announced as ‘a large ungainly amphibious mammal’, but we have currently no idea, who that could be. And with those words of wisdom we surrender entrust you to the gentle guidance of Adam.

Good  morning all those out there in TJ13 land.  Almost time for the green flag at the Circuit de Catalunya and it looks to be another great day. Again, very few fans have braved the early morning wake up to hear the cars break the silence here, but the paddock has been a hive of activity throughout the night.  Heavy aero work expected from the Mercedes team today as they look to try out even more extravagant designs to, according to one mechanic “maintain the gap” – no resting on their laurels then!

green Green Flag: Houston we have lift off!  Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado head out immediately, as the others still clear the sleep out of their eyes.

Verstappen, Bottas and Nasr also join the action on this cold, but dry, 8°C morning.

Times are logged by Verstsappen and Rosberg, although they are so uncompetitive they would make an HRT look quick.  Button joins the circuit as the team is once again in recovery mode following the plethora of problems they have encountered over the past month.  This on the same day as reports in Italy talk of a ‘yellow Alonso’ being pulled from his car in the crash last week. Even those that point to the Red Bull problems of early 2014 cannot look past the fact that at the second Bahrain test the team was looking to have vastly improved. At this rate, it will be a long season for the fans of the Woking team.

To further drive home the position McLaren find themselves in, there is a man greeting Button’s return to the pits with a fire extinguisher in hand. Nothing screams confidence like a precautionary measure after a mere 9km of running – although ‘good news’ – he wasn’t needed in the end.

Anyone able to help here; is that flowviz on the Sauber or has the blue and yellow of the Banco do Brasil sponsorship just merged together from their speed yesterday?

Track temperature now into the double digits as the battle of the Robot Wars lookalikes continues.  Vettel, Kvyat and Rosberg have all toured with sensors attached to their challengers. One poignant part of these slightly strange looking constructions is that they are a clear reminder of who has the money to compete and who does not.  The flowviz paint is the cheaper and less reliable option, which also gives away more of an idea to your competitors when photographed.

As far as the aero battle is looking, Ferrari are focusing on measuring the air flow behind the driver, while the others are working towards the front of the car - a sign of Vettel's influence already?

As far as the aero battle is looking, Ferrari are focusing on measuring the air flow behind the driver, while the others are working towards the front of the car – a sign of Vettel’s influence already?

At last, a competitive time half an hour into the session and it is the Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr who sets it, a 1:27.965 to get the ball rolling. Set on the supersoft tyres, the Brazilian dives back into the pit complex – hardly surprising given the temperature.

For anyone who is wondering about those Caterham assets, they can be found here, a sad sight for any F1 fan.

Thanks to @Sareyware for sending us these snaps in…

Bottas has headed out once more with an aero device attached to the car, although he returns to the pits straight away. So there we have it, in the first 45 minutes there have been 50 laps completed – not bad value for the fans who bothered to set their alarms and get on down.

As Kvyat, Bottas and Verstappen strap on medium tyres for some laps it is time I depart and hand you over to a man so noble they have to name biscuits after him!  Over to you AJ…


…thanks Adam….

It looks like the aero rakes are beginning to be stashed and we may see some lap times shortly. Of course testing is not about lap times – so the purists tell us – then you listen to the drivers talking at the end of the day. Clearly times do matter to them and the teams – it’s just the context of those times which is important.

This is where we stand so far.

Driver Team Car. Lap Time Diff No Laps
1. Nasr Sauber C34 1:27.965 9
2. Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 1:28.408 +0.443 10
3. Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1:29.456 +1.491 8
4. Maldonado Lotus E23 1:30.722 +2.757 11
5. Rosberg Mercedes GP W06 1:38.350 +10.385 11
6. Bottas Williams FW37 no time 14
7. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 no time 11
8. Button McLaren MP4-30 no time 6
9. Hulkenberg Force India VJM08 no time 0

Force India’s reputation has taken a bit of a battering recently. Fans of the Silverstone team who have believed the PR for the past 2-3 years that funds are plentiful, are beginning to realise the truth. Vijay is no bountiful billionaire millionaire owner – and if he could wash his hands of the team respectably – he would in an instant.

Anyway, we will be seeing the VJM08 this afternoon and the team just tweeted – @ForceIndiaF1 “This bright garage door hides our new VJM08, which is here at the track and currently being worked on! #FeelTheForce”



Back to the track – currently Rosberg, Nasr, Vettel and Button are out there. Button is on the development tyre and Rosberg and Vettel on mediums…

However… Nasr is on the super soft tyre – so let’s see if we get a glory run over the next few minutes. The track temperature is in double digits, so here we go….

While we wait for Baby Felipe (as opposed to Felipe Baby) Rosberg goes quickest with a 1:25:730 and Bottas second overall with 1:26:909.

…Oh well, the Sauber is doing a race simulation as Nasr’s times are disappointing for the super soft tyre….. lap after lap in the 1m27s…. this is definitely not a glory run.

 @RedBullRacing – “Back aboard the for Day Two of Test Three. Aero runs are the main focus for Dany this morning.

This is why Danny K(aye?) has done 14 laps and not recorded a time yet.



Vettel has just completed a 17 lap stint and returns to the pits in the Ferrari everyone believes to be a different colour than it was last week.

SHARK!!!!! SHARK!!!!!!!! Where…….WTF?

Oh well. That’s okay. Friend of TJ13 – Matt Somerfirld bringing you tech lovers some interesting stuff there.


The weather looks as though it can’t make its mind up which way to go today. One way clouds and a hint of rain – the other direction is clear blue skies.

The twiitersphere is alive with useless information as the mundane nature of the testing unfolds this morning. @GrandPrixDIary reveals, “At the Australian Grand Prix, this will be the number of days since last race win:

  • Ferrari – 673
  • McLaren – 841
  • Williams – 1037


Fingers crossed Jenson Button fans. He’s completed almost double yesterdays lappage – 13 so far. But now we’ll see if the McLaren Honda can put some proper mileage on the clock as the team have just said that their initial data checks and adjustments are now complete.

Following a short stint on the super soft tyres knocking out 1m27s laps, Nasr for Sauber has just done a similar stint on the mediums. 1:29.4, 1:29.6, 1:29.9, 1:30.0 and 1:29.6.

HAMFOSI NEWS. Having secured last years driver championship, Kevin Eason of the Times is reporting that Lewis Hamilton has decided he wants to be the best paid driver on the grid under any new contract. Of course Sebastian Vettel was relatively ‘underpaid’ at Red Bull given the titles he was accumulating. Vettel is reportedly earning 50m euro now at Ferrari.

Alonso was apparently lured to Macca for around 40m euro, so Mercedes clearly know they need to cough up over a £1 million a week if they wish to land Lewis as their driver beyond 2015.

REMEMBER – Toto Wolff’s latest ‘soft deadline’ or expectation, was that Mercedes and Hamilton would do a deal before Melbourne.

Back on track – Nico Rosberg has upped his pace and set a new quickest time of the day. A 1:25:363 on the medium tyre. The German then goes purple in sector one of the next lap, but completes the circuit outside his best time. Nico’s pit board is out counting down from nine laps. Let’s see at the end how his stint compares to the Sauber’s from earlier.


Rosberg is now lapping in the 1m27s

Driver Team Car. Lap Time  Diff  No Laps
1. Rosberg Mercedes GP W06 1:25.365 28
2. Bottas Williams FW37 1:26.790 +1.425 31
3. Nasr Sauber C34 1:27.965 +2.600 25
4. Maldonado Lotus E23 1:28.153 +2.788 33
5. Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 1:28.408 +3.043 23
6. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:28.868 +3.503 15
7. Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1:29.456 +4.091 31
8. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 no time 14
9. Hulkenberg Force India VJM08 no time 0

Ferrari appeared to have slipped somewhat in the pecking order since the blistering days of Jerez. They have yet to complete a race simulation. Sebastian Vettel has just completed 200km for the day and a run on the medium tyre run with lap times

1:29.6, 1:29.6, 1:29.8, 1:29.8, 1:29.8, 1:30.0, 1:30.2, 1:30.0 and 1:30.5

Nasr on the same tyres and with the same engine earlier delivered

1:29.4, 1:29.6, 1:29.9, 1:30.0 and 1:29.6

Valtteri Bottas has recently improved his best to 1:26:032 (+.667 to Rosberg) and Button too delivers a personal best of the day 1:28:646. Both the Williams and the McLaren now return to the pits.

On track now just Max Verstappen, Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Nasr.

THE BIG QUESTION is whether we will see the VJM08 on time as promised. The Force India team originally planned to have the car up and running this morning – then later stated it would be this afternoon. They are currently having some final difficulties, which may mean we see Hulkneberg debut their 2015 car even later again – or they do some McLaren type running which is well off the pace.

BOOM: There’s an engine noise now burbling out from FI’s shuttered garage….


..and Sebastian Vettel returns to the track.

The Toro Rosso has been looking a handful over the past couple of days. Both ‘chilli’ Sainz and today Max Verstappen appear to be having difficulty getting on the power without the back end stepping out. On etheory is they are trying different engine maps when compared to the big bull brothers.

That said, Carlo Sainz claimed last night the team had made ‘a big step forward’ with the car this week – looks more like it is stepping out sideways nicely to me.

Verstappen now goes 5th quickest with a 1:26:957 on the medium tyre.

Still no time set by Kvyat, but will all this kit hanging off the car – no wonder…

more controversy builds over the ALonso crash. Romain Grosjean is not happy with the astro turf.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Romain when asked by reporters about the Alonso crash. “I know that day was very windy and gusty which makes Turn 3 a bit tricky. I don’t know if he went on the AstroTurf on the exit [but] I hate that surface because when you get on it … you lose the car or it stays straight. I don’t know if he hit that and then went into the barrier.

“There a few places where you really don’t want to go on the AstroTurf. 130R in Suzuka, the long Turn 8 in Austin where they added AstroTurf and it wasn’t there the year before. It’s a trade-off in-between stopping the car from leaving the track and of course safety. At the moment it’s the best material we have so it’s fine. Sometimes you can cross it more than others, like India, you can play quite a lot with them, and there is other places where you just don’t want to use it.”

Mmm. Try driving within the track limits maybe?
Not to be outdone by their little brothers, Red Bull get some pit stop practice in too. Mrs. Judge wishes they’d done this more when her beloved Mark was driving for the team… all those missing wheels when he left the pit box huh lads?

Jenson completes a 7 lap run on medium tyres bringing his tally to a monumental 29 – though McLaren appear to be struggling with their abacus – as they just tweeted Jense has done a mere 22. Clearly this is way above expectations,

12 noon

Nasr puts in his personal best in the Sauber – 1:26:408 – over a second slower than Rosberg and on the same tyre

Driver Team Car. Lap Time Diff No Laps
1. Rosberg Mercedes GP W06 1:25.365 42
2. Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1:25.901 +0.536 53
3. Bottas Williams FW37 1:26.032 +0.667 41
4. Nasr Sauber C34 1:26.408 +1.043 43
5. Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 1:26.766 +1.401 51
6. Maldonado Lotus E23 1:28.013 +2.648 39
7. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:28.052 +2.687 29
8. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 no time 20
9. Hulkenberg Force India VJM08 no time 0

Sebastian Vettel just completes his best lap of the day – but is around 7kph down on Bottas best time through he speed trap

ALSO IN THE NEWS – expect to hear later today Manor Marussia Racing confirmed for 2015. They have received investment from a private individual…. Stephen Fitzpatrick who is behind the resurrection of the Marussia F1 Team. His company Ovo Energy is not believed to be involved and well known supermarket executive Justin King will be involved in the running of the team.

…Force India COMING SOON…

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Phew… Hulkenberg looked to be grinding to a halt at the final chicane – but made it safely back to pit row. Well this is a bonus for the team despite being on track 26 days later than those who were in Jerez on 1st Feb – They can get those pesky systems switched on before lunch – then UP, UP and AWAY…

BREAKING…. Kvyat finally sets a time – 23 laps on the board and he has a best of 1:29:294 – second slowest behind guess who?


Half an hour until lunch…. looking forward to a dry, stale sandwich – or maybe Mercedes AMG F1 have something tasty on offer…

So prior to today during the entire winter testing… Rosberg had 505 laps, Lewis 456. Hamilton’s had the bulk of the bad luck with car failures and feeling unwell – but by the end of today Nico may have 150-175 more laps in the bank than Lewis. That’s a lot of running.

In fact the slow installation lap and put put through the chicane – was a puncture for Hulkenberg…. at least the team have plenty of tyres left in their pre-season allocation from Pirelli.


During all this excitement, Baby Felipe goes quickest with a  1:24:479 – on the soft tyre – and the team completed a full race sim yesterday. Things are looking up after the gear box issues that plagued them here last week.

Red Flag Risk Alert. We currently have Pastor Maldonado, the virginal VJM08 and Macca Honda in play – gotta be worth an each way punt on a red flag before lunch.

Just over ten minutes to lunch and only Button, Nasr Vettel and the Hulk not on track.

Here’s Bottas current long run on the mediums. It’s followed by Vettel’s and then Nasr’s on the same compound earlier

  • 1:28.2, 1:28.2, 1:28.2, 1:28.3, 1:28.7, 1:29.2, 1:29.0, 1:28.8, 1:29.1 and 1:28.9
  • 1:29.6, 1:29.6, 1:29.8, 1:29.8, 1:29.8, 1:30.0, 1:30.2, 1:30.0 and 1:30.5
  • 1:29.4, 1:29.6, 1:29.9, 1:30.0 and 1:29.6

Hulkenberg sets a 1:31:165 just before lunch on the development tyre then pits – Jense is up to 43 laps with a 1:28:052

checkered There’s the table cloth!!

Lunch is here… so catch ya later folks

Driver Team Car. Lap Time Diff No Laps
1. Nasr Sauber C34 1:24.071 59
2. Rosberg Mercedes GP W06 1:25.216 +1.145 64
3. Vettel Ferrari SF15-T 1:25.339 +1.268 69
4. Bottas Williams FW37 1:26.032 +1.961 59
5. Verstappen Toro Rosso STR10 1:26.766 +2.695 78
6. Maldonado Lotus E23 1:28.013 +3.942 50
7. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:28.052 +3.981 44
8. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 1:29.294 +5.223 36
9. Hulkenberg Force India VJM08 1:31.165 +7.094 5

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 27th February 2015

•February 27, 2015 • 7 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”

OTD Lite: 1939 – Birth of Grand Prix winner and Revlon heir

Neurosurgeon speculates on Alonso’s injuries

Mercedes curtail running over minor MGU-K problem

Williams looking to mount challenge to Mercedes team

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite: 1939 – Birth of Grand Prix winner and Revlon heir

Elio De Angelis was killed in a testing accident at Paul Ricard in 1986. During the following Grand Prix weekend – Ayrton Senna gave a tribute to his former team-mate stating that Elio was a gentleman and that he raced for the love of the sport and not because of monetary gain like many. Elio, like Senna, came from a very wealthy and privileged background and as stated had no need to compete in this dangerous sport.

Today marks the birth date of Peter Revson, a native New Yorker who reportedly inherited a $1billion fortune from his fathers share of the family Revlon business. When your life includes being surrounded by stunning models – cars, jets and homes that would grace the pages of any magazine and the possibility to choose any vocation in life – what is it that drives these individuals towards a sport that at the time had the propensity to prove fatal?

Revson started his F1 career in 1964 before pursuing different championship until he returned to F1 in 1972. In 1973 he won the British and Canadian Grand Prix before he suffered a fatal accident whilst testing at Kyalami in 1974. It is at times where the fragility of human life is exposed for all to see – that we possibly begin to understand that it’s not money that buys you happiness but tapping in to your soul.


The Grumpy Jackal


Neurosurgeon speculates on Alonso’s injuries

Over the last few days an inordinate amount of speculation has been voiced in regards Fernando Alonso’s hospitalisation following his accident during testing.

With statements from Mclaren seemingly contradicting themselves and no official word from Alonso’s management other than short snippets of memories – it has opened up the proverbial can of worms. conducted an interview with Dr Nicola Acciari, a neurosurgeon from the Bellaria Hospital in Bologna who has formally helped the publication with articles in relation to the injuries suffered by Michael Schumacher and Jules Bianchi respectively.

“The accident may not have looked particularly dramatic but the FIA warning light registering an impact exceeding 15G tells us that the impact was violent and the sharp deceleration resulted in an abrupt movement of the head and neck.”

” Of course we do not know in which direction Alonso was looking or if he maintained his head facing in that direction and it’s impossible to state whether he had tensed his muscles before the impact. But don’t forget the deceleration of the head is magnified by the weight of the helmet itself. It’s also likely that the Hans device in this particular accident was less effective than in a frontal accident.”

“The angle of impact could have caused an intracranial cerebral concussion as the brain stem and spinal cord were stretched. His anxious state following the accident would support this. This type of injury would be sufficient to cause a state of wonderment with headaches and nausea.”

“As to his complaints of back pain it is possible due to the stretching and angle of the spine. As the drivers shoulders are fixed so securely the neck and head are still able to move and despite there being side protection there would still be the inertia to contain.”

“If i was the physician giving guidance to Alonso, I would suggest avoiding testing because the effect of these injuries will still be felt for some days from now. He should have further tests in 10 to 15 days time and only then can a decision be taken. The other thing to consider is that after 30 all people will begin to degenerate physiologically. I still remember seeing Nelson Piquets cervical radiograph after his accident whilst testing for the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix – and it wasn’t that of a young healthy man..”


Mercedes curtail running over minor MGU-K problem

It is unlikely that the troubled engineers of the Mclaren-Honda team took much solace from the brief pains felt by the Mercedes team as the Brackley operation encountered problems with their own MGU-K forcing the Silver Arrows to stop their running today.

Yet World Champion Lewis Hamilton was philosophical about what could be a chink in the armour of the title favourites.

“I feel much better this week. I have much more energy. Obviously we would have liked to run more today especially when the sun came out but you get days like this. It’s better to have problems now and have the time to solve them here than have them in the first race.”

Ominously Hammy confirmed what many suspect, “I had a positive feeling in the car and the tyres appear to be working properly. Now it is important that I use the last day to make final preparations for Melbourne.”


Williams looking to mount challenge to Mercedes team

With the teams arriving for the final test with updated parts in preparation for the start of the season – the realistic view is that unless you are furnished with a Mercedes power unit – the chances of success this year are poor.

With the Force India and Lotus concerns being in a precarious position financially – it is left to Williams to mount a possible challenge to the reigning champions.

On soft compound tyres, Felipe Massa recorded a time of 1’23 “500 but the FW37 proved fast on the medium compound also. Updates had been fitted to the car and once again it ran faultlessly.

The former Ferrari driver spoke about his day: “It ‘s been a good day for us and the car felt good. When we decided to use the new soft tires we were able to go a bit faster. In addition, the FW37 has never shown a minimum problem and this is true since the first test in Jerez. We are working a lot and it seems that we have taken a step forward.”

Rod Nelson also explained: “The program has been slightly modified due to the rain which arrived this morning, but we have intensified the work in the afternoon. We were able to complete what we had planned and we made some positive changes to the chassis, as well as some aerodynamic adjustments. Now we evaluating the package for Australia to make sure we are ready”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 10.13.59


Day 9 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

•February 26, 2015 • 26 Comments

Circuit de Catalunya

This page will update every few minutes


green Green Flag!

Ok…so here we go again. The rain has stopped, the track will dry quickly and Massa and Ericsson head straight out.

The consensus over lunch in the media centre in Barcelona is that the red of Ferrari is definitely a different hue from last week’s livery. Shows what some rain and no quick lap times do to a group of people in a morning.

Also, Ron Dennis claimed today is Thursday, which sent everyone scurrying off to check their filofaxes and verify whether this is actually true. What is surprising is that the McLaren team boss admitted they have not discussed the accident with Fernando yet.

Also Dennis claimed Alonso was not concussed, but displayed concussion symptoms and was unconscious for a short time. Here’s the former F1 doc = Gary Hartstein’s response to that notion.

“Word to Ron Dennis: if there’s loss of consciousness, if there’s a normal CT, then it’s BY DEFINITION a concussion. Your statement is a lovely recap of your team’s confusion, obfuscation and inconsistencies since this all started.

Also of interest is the fact that Max Verstappen is set for a seat fitting at Red Bull this evening. TJ13 has previously revealed sourced in Milton Keynes have some concern over Russian driver Daniel Kvyat and his ‘Kimi streak’ and that Versappen is a lot quicker than he is in the simulator.

That said – this is probably just a precaution should either Danny or Dan, ‘do a Fred’ and be unfit to drive during the final test.

Massa is now on the soft compound – the morning times were on the medium. He sets a time of 1:25:963 – 2 tenths short of his morning’s best, then trails of over the next few laps into the 1m27s and 1m28s.


Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz – who is nicknamed ‘chilli’ by his friends’ – take to the circuit.

Massa is now on his tenth lap of this stint and his times have now dropped into the 1m30s so the soft tyre appears to be suffering high degradation.


Massa completes a 12 lap stint with the following times. 1.27,5 – 1.27.6 – 1.28,7 – 1.30,7 – 1.30,2 – 1.30,1 – 1.30,8 – 1.30,5 – 1.30,4 – 1.31,6 – 1.31,4 – 1.32,6

Sainz is out on the winter unmarked tyre. The winter tyre is designed by Pirelli to operate from a lower temperature range.

Kyvat and Ericsson now arrive on track, so we have yet to see since lunch, Hamilton, Button and Grosjean. Lotus have apparently requested the FIA perform a ‘deflection test’. Just checking everything is legal eh?

Massa returns with a new set of soft tyres putting in a first flying lap of 1.26,196.

Lewis Hamilton is clearly feeling chirpy even though he lost some sleep last night – “@LewisHamilton #InCarSelfie Have an amazing day today, #TeamLH!! Be GREAT!! #Love #BestTeam #GodBless”

The track is now completely dry with a temperature that has just burst above 20C.


Kvyat is the first driver to clock up 50 laps in the day – and he’s still running – as is Raikkonen, Grosjean and Ericsson.

Once again, the McLaren Honda appear to have followed Red Bull’s suit, and gone down the camouflage livery rout because the car has been almost invisible all day long.

Just 7 laps before lunch and it appears our early morning reveal here on TJ13 that ‘seal gate’ is ongoing is indeed true – AND McLaren announce, that’s it for the day due to a hydraulic leak (do we believe them???)

Jenson’s off for an early bath, shower, jacuzzi, rub down – or whatever he feels like…. This may be not so good for Magnussen, as Jenson can manage all on his own 7 laps every day from heron.


So here we stand now. Kimi has improved since the morning and Felipe Massa has just gone better than his earlier effort too. Both his an Lewis’ times have been set on the medium tyre.

1. Hamilton Mercedes GP W06 1:24.881 48
2. Massa Williams FW37 1:25.133 +0.252 54
3. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 1:25.947 +1.066 56
4. Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T 1:26.327 +1.446 36
5. Grosjean Lotus E23 1:27.079 +2.198 37
6. Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 1:27.261 +2.380 53
7. Ericsson Sauber C34 1:27.802 +2.921 57
8. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:31.479 +6.598 7

Mercedes have been conspicuous by their absence since lunch. But no word form the team on what is the problem.

Here’s Marcus Ericsson’s latest long run times on the medium tyre: 1:30.7, 1:31.0, 1:31.1, 1:31.3, 1:31.4, 1:31.4, 1:31.7, 1:31.5, 1:31.6 and 1:32.0.

Here was Massa’s earlier stint on the soft tyre: 1.27,5, 1.27.6, 1.28,7, 1.30,7, 1.30,2, 1.30,1, 1.30,8, 1.30,5, 1.30,4, 1.31,6, 1.31,4, 1.32,6

ADVANCE WARNING – TJ13’s afternoon report will unfortunately ‘go dark’ for an hour between 3:45 and 4:45pm local time.

Toro Rosso are pumping in the laps – 24 since lunch.

green And we’re stopped!

Curse of the commentator. Sainz has stopped out on track at turn 10.

You may not have seen this.Here’s the video from moments after Alonso came to a stop.

green Green Flag!

We’re off again. And GOOD NEWS. TJ13 will not be going dark. The man who is seeking to perpetuate the myth that German’s have a wicked sense of humour – FAT HIPPO – will be taking over shortly’

Williams start to show their hand as Massa goes quickest with a 1:24.687 on the medium tyre, but Hamilton has not been seen since munching on seeds during the lunch break in the Mercedes motor home.

The sun is making a lazy effort to break through the clouds and the track is now just over 21C.

In other news, GP3 and Indy lights driver – Carman Jorda is to join Lotus this season as a test driver.



Massa now goes even quicker with a  remarkable time of 1m23.500s on the soft tyre. It appears the Judge’s wager with @fakemedicalcar is looking good.

BOOM! Before I can even park my fat rear on some poor sod on the big chair, the 24’s are history in this year’s testing period. But the run was rather short, so it may well have been a qualy sim on low fuel. Track action is a bit parsimonious at the moment with Ericsson out all on his own, racking up more miles. At 73 laps he’s been the busiest man so far.

Ferrari meanwhile seem to have some problems. At only 41 laps so far, they bring up the rear in terms of lap times, if we discount the yet again laughable seven laps of McLaren.

Those medium tyres are either made from tritanium or the Sauber is really kind to them as Ericsson finishes what must be at least the 15th lap so far and the lap times are stable in the 1:29s and low 1:30s.

Nope, that Ferrari doesn’t look to good today. Kimi crawls across the line at a pace that would make a tortoise yell at him to get a move on. Over two minutes are wasted on a single lap…

Ericsson has the track all to himself again after Ferrari remove their (barely) moving road block and the Swede does a Volvo. He rolls, and rolls and rolls. 84 laps so far for the man from the land of pretty ladies and indestructable cars.

If anything, the mediums seem not to degrade as dramatically as the soft tyres. Ericsson has been out for a long time and he’s still lapping within 2 seconds of the early laps in this run.


There is light at the end of the dark gloomy tunnel. The Merc is not indestructable after all. While it is still unclear whether the gearbox packed in, or the power unit, the day seems to be over for the currently dominant force of F1. Hamilton sits in the motorhome wearing civilian apparel. But as always, the light at the end of the tunnel could well be a locomotive, so it’s not the time for premature schadenfreude.

Sauber seems to do a race sim as after a long stint, Ericsson is sent on his merry way right again – this time on soft tyres.

Brille? Fielmann! It are in fact hard tyres…

While I am known as a strong proponent of women in motorsports, Lotus’ latest signing baffles me a good deal, as the lady’s only qualification seems to be a pretty face. Her results in lower formulae are so shockingly bad, she’d make Max Chilton look like Michael Schumacher. Weird this. People like to mock Susie Wolff, but her modest success in the past is definitely way beyond what this young spanish lady has to offer for a CV.

A floviz-stained Red Bull goes out again. Looks like the Austrians still want to know more about the influence of the suspension on their precious airflow.

Massa goes out again after a short run on mediums that reads like this: 1:27.7, 1:28.3, 1:28.7, 1:29.1, 1:28.9, 1:29.1, 1:28.8

Ericsson cracks the 100 lap barrier and apart from perhaps Massa, who has done 77 laps so far, none of the other protagonists looks likely to come near that mark anytime soon. Considering that the available testing time is only getting shorter, the relative lack of action today is a bit surprising.

Romain Grosjean is out on a long run, while Ericsson finishes his latest one on hard tyres: 1:29.6, 1:30.4, 1:29.9, 1:29.4, 1:29.5, 1:30.0, 1:30.5, 1:29.9, 1:30.1, 1:31.3, 1:30.7, 1:30.4

Lotus’ resident Frenchman comes close to his best lap time on soft tyres, but not long after they go over the dreaded cliff.

Red Bull keep sending Kvyat out on short aerodynamics runs, while Kimi tries out if he can get his Ferrari round the track at least once before the warranty expires.

Whatever had been the problem with the Finn’s “red godess” it seems to have been resolved as Kimi finally comes close again to this morning’s times on medium tyres. But that’s not saying much as he’s still about 2 seconds off Massa’s times on the same compound. Only 51 laps so far is probably not the sort of running that the Gestione Sportiva has been hoping for either. If not quick, his times seem to be stable.

Meanwhile the Russian Rocket darts out in his dazzle-mobil again.

Ericsson’s Sauber seems to need a little breather. After pushing his lapcount into three-digit territory, the Swede has not been back out in the last 30 minutes.

After seven laps, stable in the 1:27s, the tyres on the Ferrari are starting to get knackered and the lap times are on the climb: 1:27.4, 1:27.4, 1:27.7, 1:27.6, 1:27.6, 1:27.7, 1:27.8, 1:28.2, 1:28.2, 1:28.3

On similar long-runs the times of Kimi and Felipe baby look rather similar too. That mean’s the Brazilian’s fast laps in the morning on the same compound where the result of a rather spartan fuel load.

The fans at the track have definitely been getting the poop-end of the stick as far as action is concerned. With Merc, McLaren and Force India missing by now, the other teams haven’t picked up the tab. In fact even in the best case we will have only two drivers with 100 laps or more. Everyone else is so far well behind the numbers that were the norm a few moons ago.

Meanwhile we are hearing that Mercedes is working hard on fixing a ‘failure the hybrid system’. While other teams were so desperate for mileage they ran the ICE only, the Mercs can afford to loose half a day, considering they’ve clocked more than 1000 laps in only 8 and a half testing days.


As the final hour of testing starts, I’ll hand the chronicler duties over to our well dressed dynamic duo. The stage is all yours, Adam…

Many thanks Hippo. I’ll park myself in the chair for this final hour, although the seat seems to have moulded to our favourite land mammal – it’ll take more than an hour to sort that out.

The Williams of Mass continues to quietly sail around the 4.6km circuit as he closes in on 100 laps for the day.  As Lincoln Chafee once said, “Trust is built with consistency”, so trust at Grove should be sky-high right now.

Marcus Ericsson moves up to third as he posts 1:25.330. 1.830 seconds down on the time set by Massa earlier. If they have the speed, the next thing to sort out has to be that Sauber livery, right?

After bringing out the red flag earlier we have Carlos Sainz Jr now back out on track, as he joins Kvyat, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Massa out there.  The strength of the 20 year old was impressive, as he was said to be ahead of the projected fitness goal for the season in Jerez.  With further gains expected due to an intensive regime between now and Melbourne can he get the jump on his also rookie team mate?

He follows up the words of praise by setting his best time of the day, a 1:26.962.  To expand further on that last point, Sainz has been following much a triathlon training program – much like Jenson Button.  One fortunate part for the Madrid born driver is his height, standing at 4cm shorter than Button he can afford to carry slightly more muscle, as well as the fact this year the minimum weight for the car and driver increases.

One for the tech lovers from earlier:

One observation of the Toro Rosso was the difficulty in controlling it into braking zones, although in truth is this going to be the biggest issue either driver faces. Having been used to F3 and Formula Renault 3.5 cars last year neither Verstappen or Sainz will miss the downforce particularly – the hardest part to adapt to will be the acceleration on corner exit.

Ericsson has now strapped on a set of the supersofts and sets a 1:24.610 with them.  He moves into second on the timesheets although still trails Massa by over a second.

A short run for the Swede as he heads back for the pits – in truth this was expected on the supersoft tyre in these cold conditions. Just 10 minutes to go now…

The former Caterham driver improves again after rejoining with another set of the supersoft tyres on. He improves to a 1:24.276 as he edges closer to Massa, although Massa’s time was on the soft tyre (1 compound harder).


Chequered flag: That’s all folks for day 9 of 2015 winter testing.


596 laps in  total for the first day of the final test of the winter, where it was Felipe Massa who finished top of the timesheets venturing into the 1:23s.  At last the true power of the FW37 is starting to show as we approach the end of the preseason.  The Mercedes W06 went past the 1,000 lap mark before a energy recovery system problem kept them out in the afternoon.

The Sauber continued to impress in the hands of Marcus Ericsson, as Toro Rosso brought a heavily upgraded car to Barcelona. McLaren still struggled, but for today the focus was not on their on track antics as much on the midday press conference where Ron Dennis and Eric the believable said…a lot of nothing.  Quiet days for Lotus and Ferrari who finished 5th and 6th respectively, as Daniil Kvyat trundled around without lighting up the timing screens.

See you back here tomorrow bright and early for another day of testing…Melbourne is getting closer by the second!

POS’N DRIVER TEAM CAR Lap Time  + diff  Laps
1. Massa Williams FW37 1:23.500 103
2. Ericsson Sauber C34 1:24.276 +0.776 122
3. Hamilton Mercedes GP W06 1:24.881 +1.381 48
4. Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 1:25.947 +2.447 75
5. Grosjean Lotus E23 1:26.177 +2.677 75
6. Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T 1:26.327 +2.827 80
7. Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 1:27.261 +3.761 86
8. Button McLaren MP4-30 1:31.479 +7.979 7

Day 9 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Morning Report

•February 26, 2015 • 12 Comments

Circuit de Catalunya

Hello and welcome everybody to The Judge13’s coverage of the 9th day of winter testing in Spain. Your friendly duo of commentators for the day are TJ13’s lovely bathrobe ladies Andrew Huntley-Jacobs and Adam Macdonald. Word has it, that their outfit has become a trend among the youth in the area of Jerez de la Frontera.

The only news out of the ordinary so far are, that Force India are likely to be missing as the belatedly finished VJM08 is not expected to hit the tarmac before tomorrow. Jenson Button will hope the McLaren-Honda behaves as it has already claimed his team mate Fernando Alonso, who will sit out the week to recover in time for Melbourne.

Here is the expected line-up of today:

Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Finnland Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T ferrari -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Great Britain Button McLaren MP4-30 honda -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Sweden Ericsson Sauber C34 ferrari -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
France Grosjean Lotus E23 mercedes -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre
Spain Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 renault -:–.– 0 Intermediate Tyre

And with that, we’re handing over to AJ and Adam…

Morning folks, Adam here to take you through the first hour. Force India’s winter takes another hit as the team is once more hit with a setback, but it is a completely different story for Toro Rosso who have arrived with a completely new car here.  Fresh from the crash which ended their first testing session here, Carlos Sainz Jr is back in the car for the Faenza team.



Green Flag: We are underway as Massa and Ericsson immediately head out into the crisp Catalunyan morning. A mixed week for Sauber last time as they sought to build on the impressive start in Jerez.

Raikkonen also heads out to test systems and is joined by Sainz in the the updated STR10.  A new floor, nose, sidepods and bargeboards make it a completely different challenger.

One for the tech lovers, the new front wing on the STR10

One for the tech lovers, the new front wing on the STR10

Brave or foolhardy, Felipe Massa was sent out on soft tyres for his installation lap.  At just 5.4°C track temperature it’s no wonder the tyres are not yet in working range.

Saying that, it is a fine day here, 8.9°C ambient now, so we should start to see temperatures climb as the tarmac absorbs some of the sun’s rays.

green Red Flag: It’s taken less than 15 minutes to bring out the first red flag today.  The Russian Rocket Daniil Kvyat’s RB11 stopped at the end of the pitlane – when it rains it pours it would seem…

green Green Flag: Back under way as the limping Bull is wheeled back to the garage. The fizzy drink runner sporting flowviz paint at the left rear of the car, although not a lot will be tested from the shelter of the garage.

Raikkonen heads straight back out on track as the Finn is in no mood for messing around; there again, when is he ever in a mood for messing around?  Perhaps looking to make up for lost time on the final day here, where after a strong morning’s display, Vettel only emerged from the pits with less than 20 minutes to go.

Some Lewis Hamilton fans filter into the grandstand,though they remain mostly empty for the moment

Some Lewis Hamilton fans filter into the grandstand,though they remain mostly empty for the moment

Kimi sets a 1:32.451 to start us off nicely for the day. He then improves to a 1:30.703 as that Ferrari powertrain echoes around the Barcelona circuit.  I for one think they sound better than last year, but if you missed it then check out the TJ13 video from the final day of Jerez, where Raikkonen topped the time sheets.

Kvyat returns to the pits once more, leaving Raikkonen alone on track to shave another half a second off his time, to a 1:30.271. We still wait for Lotus, who topped the final day’s timesheets and McLaren who are still shrowded in controversy after the Alonso crashga-, er what can we call it? There’s already an Alonso crashgate story…

Finally after 31 minutes the MP4-30 joins the track piloted by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button.  McLaren will be using their own MGU-K parts following the problems they experienced with the energy recovery system during the last test.

From the red carpet to the black asphalt, Lewis Hamilton is behind the wheel of the W06 fresh from Brit Awards in London yesterday evening.  I guess that’s why they call it life in the fast lane! The Briton heads out now for his first run of the day.

Massa now joins the fray to set first a 1:27.105, but subsequently improves to a 1:26.867 to go top. Hamilton is some 4 seconds off that time so far.

No sooner was that written, Hamilton pops up with a 1:26.787 on the hard tyre. Expect a lot of hard running this morning as the track temperature is still hovering in the single digits. Then again, to a 1:26.437, showing just how balanced that Mercedes is as the tyres are maintaining their performance, where on other cars they drop off.

Now a moment of pause out there. Perfect time to catch up on the Daily #F1 News then… – Nürburgring close to a deal, Alonso returns home, Button frustrated and more…

Daniil Kvyat rejoins the track once more in the ZebBull liveried car – anyone else growing quite fond of it? Now  finally, a first run of the E20…

Just under 50 laps completed as we approach the hour mark, as Daniil Kvyat sets a 1:28.465. He then improves to a 1:27.825.

A relatively tame first hour here in Barcelona. I now hand you over to AHJ, who will guide you through the day…


Thanks Adam. Lewis Hamilton arrived back in Spain around 3am following his appearance on the Brit awards show. One or two Mercedes personnel raised their eyebrows when asked whether they thought this was good preparation for testing today. Nay matter – we move on…

Lappage for the first hour is as follows

Lewis Hamilton 15 laps, Felipe Massa 9 laps, Kimi Raikkonen 9 laps, Daniil Kvyat 8 laps,  Marcus Ericsson 5 laps (no time set), Carlos Sainz 4 laps (no time), Romain Grosjean 3 laps (no time), Jenson Button 2 laps (not time)

Toro Rosso have brought what looks like a brand new car. It has a new floor, nose, sidepods, barge boards, triple layered monkey seat…. It looks as though the previous little bull at the testing was a mule for the new kids on the block to get some mileage under their belts in.



How low can you go? late can you get? Force India are now saying

‏@ForceIndiaF1 Our VJM08 is currently on its way to Barcelona; we’ll be aiming for action on Friday afternoon and on the two full final days. With the car due to be completed on Friday morning, @NicoHulkenberg is lined up to step in on Friday pm to take the first miles in the VJM08The remaining two days will be split between him and @SChecoPerez, with the Hulk in the car on Saturday and Checo on Sunday.’

As we would expect, the times are tumbling already, even though the track is a mere 18°C. Hamilton’s 1:24:881 is the ninth quickest time of testing in Barcelona this year

Both Mercedes and Red Bull have been warned since the last test by Charlie Whiting, that they’re interpretation of the camera mounting winglet is not compliant. Courtesy of  we can see the new Mercedes interpretation here.



TJ13 raised the matter of an engine note differential between the two Renault powered teams in Jerez. Sky have just commented, “On the subject of engine noise, there is a notable difference between the two Renault powered teams when out on track. The Toro Rosso pops and bangs as it rounds the circuit in Barcelona and it really appears to have limited drivability. Indeed a source said the STR10 has and unpredictable start to the rev range, then a smooth zone, followed by more unpredictability”.

Karun Chandhok adds, “The Toro Rosso has a strange, almost traction control-sounding system, like it’s cutting cylinders for traction. But he’s yet to do a laptime so maybe the tyres are cold.”

Fernando Alonso’s injury has raised much speculation in the past week amongst the F1 community. Today La Gazette are reporting following the crash Fernando struggled to remember some aspects of his life and still does. They say he’s suffering from retrograde amnesia and is currently unlikely to make the first race of the season.

It looks like another frustrating day is ahead of Jenson. So far he’s just managed five laps with a a sedentary 1m:31s time. The word is ‘seal gate’ has not been solved – AND Ron Dennis is here.

As the second hour closes, Lewis Hamilton completes an 8 lap stint, though it appeaqrs to be with a heavy fuel load as his times are in the 1:26-1:27 range. 26 laps completed already.


  • 1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:24.881, 26 laps
  • 2) Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:25.987, 21 laps
  • 3) Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:26.399, 19 laps
  • 4) Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1:28.112, 15 laps
  • 5) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:29.172, 21 laps
  • 6) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:30.271, 18 laps
  • 7) Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:31.479, 5 laps
  • 8) Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, No time set, 16 laps

I predicted on day 5 of winter testing that we would see sub 1m23s time by Sunday night this week. Hamilton’s time today has been set in relatively cold conditions on the medium tyre. Given some sun and the super soft compound, the Mercedes looks capable of something in the low 1m:22s now – OR EVEN a 1m21s lap time.

The LAP RECORD during a race for this circuit configuration here in Catalunya is held by Kimi Raikkonen, set in a Ferrari in 2008 and is 1:21.670. The outright fastest lap in qualyfying 2009 was by the noew retired Barichello 1:19:954

The general consensus is that the Williams team have bee ‘lying low’ after 8 days of winter testing, and over the next 4 days, we should see what the FW37 when the right hand pedal is pressed in anger. There’s a good crowd of guests at Williams today and if you have around £500, you can spend a day with your favourite team during testing in their hospitality suite, the paddock and the odd trip to the garage.


25 minutes into the third hour and with 26 laps on the board, Toro Rosso have yet to post a time.

On the half hour, Hamilton clocks up Mercedes 1000th lap during winter testing, Jenson meantime has just trundled around for the 7th time today.

All the times today so far have been set on the MEDIUM COMPOUND – with the exception of Kvyat using the winter hard. Massa sets his quickest time of the morning with a 1:25.763, but this is almost a second slower than Hamilton managed early doors in the Mercedes.

Lotus and Toro Rosso have been running sensor arrays this morning. here’s the one from TR.



MCLAREN PRESS CONFERENCE – just announced to be held with Ron Dennis and Eric Boullier at 12:30. Half an hour before the action on track stops for lunch – more intrigue!!!

Light rain is now falling, so don’t expect any short bursts any time soon – track temperature down at a chilly 13C. There are no cars on the circuit now.

12 noon

  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 42 laps
  • Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull 34 laps
  • Romain Grosjean, Lotus 33 laps
  • Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 33 laps
  • Felipe Massa, Williams 29 laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 28 laps
  • Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso 24 laps
  • Jenson Button, McLaren 7 laps

A fairly mundane first three hours of testing today so far. Track temperature has struggled to get above 20C, Hamilton is fastest with a 1m24.881s and McLaren Honda complete JUST 7 laps.

Here’s an interesting picture from @enterF1 showing what looks like scorch marks on Alonso’s engine cover.


12:20 and the rain is getting heavier. No cars on track and not long before the Dennis Boullier press conference now. And now Danny Kvyat fancies his hand at some wet weather running on the intermediate tyre.

Kvyat is around 30 seconds slower than the earlier times set on slicks.

MANOR RACING are making progress towards Melbourne, and McLaren confirm:

“We have agreed to restructure our contract with the Manor team so that it may continue to benefit from affordable support, in keeping with contractual obligations. 

“So we are assisting the team’s efforts to try to continue competing in Formula 1, but we have no plans to acquire any equity in the team or to increase our involvement with it in any way.”



And here we go……

Ron ‘categorically’ denies Alonso was electrocuted but admits there was ‘unconscious in the car for a short period of time’. Specifically, “seconds, only seconds. Even a mild concussion would be picked up. There was nothing”

However the Spaniard is now “completely lucid, normal and wants to go testing” and Dennis added he should be fit to race in Australia, but doctors will make the final decision. Fernando will need to be declared fit by the FIA prior to the first session in Melbourne.

Ron Dennis reveals it was HE who contacted the FIA directly and requested they investigate the matter. From McLaren’s analysis of the data, Dennis claims “every single input prior to the crash was normal”.

Meantime, Kvyat returned to the pits after a 5 lap stint and then Lewis Hamilton ventured out on the intermediates too, something that will be helpful for Pirelli.

Lewis puts in a 1:37.825 which is only just over 6s slower than Jenson set earlier in dry conditions. The Russian driver and Hamilton play tag once more. Out goes the Red Bull and in comes the Mercedes.

As the morning session crawls to a finish, the weather looks set and so we may as well see more of the same this afternoon.

So we’ll end with some Ron-speak. Alonso was not concussed in accident but showed concussion symptoms, hence the extended stay in hospital.


Well, that was a bit of a damp squib wasn’t it? Other than a scarily quick time from Lewis on wooden tyres in adverse conditions – something most of us have resigned to accept – there is not much to say about this morning. It’s the Pascal Wehrlein of testing sessions – it happened, but nobody really noticed much.

The McLaren press conference wasn’t much to write about either. They could have disseminated this non-news on a post-it, really.

With a look at the morning’s leaderboard we say thanks to Adam and AJ for the morning’s coverage. TJ13’s best dressed duo will be back for you in about an hour.

1. Great Britain Hamilton Mercedes AMG W06 mercedes 1:24.881 48 medium
2. Brazil Massa Williams FW37 mercedes 1:25.763 +0.882 29 Medium
3. Russia Kvyat Red Bull Racing RB11 renault 1:25.947 +1.066 45 Medium
4. France Grosjean Lotus E23 mercedes 1:27.079 +2.198 33 Medium
5. Sweden Nasr Sauber C34 ferrari 1:27.082 +2.921 33 Medium
6. Finnland Räikkönen Ferrari SF15-T ferrari 1:27.813 +2.932 28 Medium
7. Spain Sainz jr Toro Rosso STR10 renault 1:27.886 +2.985 34 Medium
8. Blighty Button McLaren MP4-30 honda 1:31.479 +6.598 7 Medium

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 26th February 2015

•February 26, 2015 • 32 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”

OTD Lite: 2007 – Honda unveil sponsorship provided by Planet Earth

Nürburgring close to a deal

Webber – Ferrari the right place for Vettel

Ferrari’s Arrivabene confused over Vettel time line

Alonso returns home as FIA investigate accident data

Button frustrated by Honda’s repeated breakages

Force India finally unveil VJM08

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite: 2007 – Honda unveil sponsorship provided by Planet Earth

Of course the title is ridiculous as was the whole concept of the Honda team running what was essentially a map of the earth on their abysmal creation. Honda’s PR machine spoke of promoting environmental issues and seeking companies who would donate to their chosen charity. The cynical recognised that a poorly performing Honda team held no interest for potential sponsors and had been stuck with the cost themselves.

Jenson Button Honda Earth Car F1 2007 British Grand Prix

Fast forward eight years and we have another Honda connected enterprise that seemingly cannot pull in the big name title sponsor which Ron Dennis once held so dearly.

The Jackal remains in two minds as to how this latest adventure in F1 will pan out. Will the Honda that every body fears be the same company that has struggled to provide state-of-the-art machinery over the last quarter of a century. Or will it be the dominant force that propelled the Japanese manufacturer to mulitple titles during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Of course, with the driving talent of Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna back then, it would be a brave man – or a rose-tints wearing Mclaren fan – who believes that history will repeat itself..


The Grumpy Jackal


Nürburgring close to a deal

History is repeating itself. Nürburgring has announced they are prepared to host the German GP this year, but are handing all the risk over to Bernie E and FOM.

Track official Carsten Schumacher said the circuit is prepared to host the race, but with conditions attached.

“There is no question that, as a Formula One organiser, you deserve to make money, but the problem is the entry fee [FOM hosting fee} and we need to talk about that.

Ecclestone’s expansion of Formula One over the past ten years has relied on regional or state support to fund the hosting fee, as the race promoters have no chance of breaking even without it.

Nürburgring’s owners are not even asking to break even as Schumacher states, “We have said that, for the sake of the fans and the region, we are prepared even to make an economically acceptable loss. This is also the reason why we have said that we do not want to carry the organiser’s risk, “ which will see Ecclestone and FOM step in as the promoter and collect the ticket revenues.

Schumacher highlights the issues facing all traditional Formula One events where little or no government support is forthcoming. “I think it makes little sense to organise events in which you only spend money rather than making any. In the long run, no one can afford that, and that includes any other race track in Germany.”

Clearly there are ‘new world’ F1 promoters prepared to lose huge amounts of money to stage a Formula One weekend to develop their international status. They have vast public funding support to achieve this, but the old European venues do not gain the same incremental economic value from hosting Formula One.

This problem will not go away for Ecclestone, and so he must pursue the goal of 22-25 races if he is to grow the pie for CVC, without losing European circuit after circuit from the calendar.


Webber – Ferrari the right place for Vettel

Any long term readers of TJ13 will know that Mrs Judge has a particular soft spot for former F1 driver Mark Webber. In his time with Red Bull he was team-mate to Sebastian Vettel for five years and would suffer title defeat for four straight years before calling time on his single seater career and moving to the World Endurance Championship with Porsche.

Both the German and the Aussie would admit that they didn’t have the easiest of relationships with Vettel seemingly having the full support of the team – whereas Weber was marginalised and seemingly under constant attack from Red Bull’s Helmut Marko.

As straight talking as ever – it appears that Webber is in agreement with TJ13’s very own Fat Hippo when he was interviewed recently by the Herald Sun.

“Seb’s not a silly guy and he realised that he needed fresh motivation and a new change and I think the decision was made very early, probably before the season even started to be honest”

“The line is not ‘they won’t miss Vettel’, the line is that when he wants to do something else and be in a different environment, then he is better off going somewhere he might feel he will get more out of himself. That’s definitely a question for the team halfway through the season, whether they are missing some of that experience.”

“They are lacking a little bit of continuity at Red Bull now — there are a few people who have left the team. So that will be interesting to see how technically good the car is over the course of a full season, not just at the start.”

Of course, the cynic would say after a miserable year at Red Bull in 2014, taking the Ferrari option this year is a win – win for the quadruple world champion, because no one expects them to win much – and Kimi by comparison to Ricciardo is getting long in the tooth.


Ferrari’s Arrivabene confused over Vettel time line

Historically Ferrari were always run in a dictatorial manner by a man who would use the Press and any other hangers-on for the benefit of his team.

Enzo Ferrari made politics a way of life in Maranello with favoured journalists and publications being fed half truths if and when the situation demanded it.

This became less obvious during the Montezemolo reign although Jean Todt would use any means to keep the red cars at the front of the grid. The Frenchman’s tenure at the helm leaving many loyal fans bemused by the machinations to keep the steamroller winning.

In a recent interview the Scuderia’s team principal – Maurizio Arrivabene – has suggested that Sebastian Vettel only finalised the deal with Ferrari after he had taken the decision to leave Red Bull.

“In the case of Vettel, Sergio Marchionne and myself were both aware when we were told officially that Fernando was leaving the team – I’m talking more or less about Sochi – the name of Vettel was going around and the situation was unclear.”

“I put a phone call in to a person I know and that he knows very well – it’s Sabine Kehm, the manager of Michael [Schumacher]. Sabine called Sebastian. Sebastian had some doubt, he was asking ‘what about Ferrari, I don’t know the team’. Sabine described the atmosphere that she found at the time of Michael and said it’s a great team, it’s like a family and Seb was listening.”

“The phone call which made the difference after this phone call was from Sergio Marchionne. Without that phone call Sebastian would probably not be here with us. This is the truth.”

Which is somewhat confusing when one looks at the history behind this union. The press reported rumours as far back as 2011 that Vettel had signed a letter of intent to join the Maranello squad.

In April last year, after Stefano Domenicalli had tendered his resignation – he was called by three drivers – Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian but the outgoing Italian refused to expand on the nature of that particular call.

Then the timeline has to be called into question. The four time champion told Red Bull that he was leaving during the weekend of the Japanese GP to which Christian Horner ungraciously told the Press that Vettel was going to Ferrari.

The following weekend the circus arrived for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi and Marchionne officially took over the Presidency of Ferrari two days later. Arrivabene was only confirmed as Marco Mattiacci’s replacement on the 23rd November during the Abu Dhabi race weekend.

So in the finest melodramatic tones – that Ferrari have used throughout the years – it seems they have in place a leader who also re-writes history to suit the Italian team’s purposes. Or has inadvertently let slip the long term game plan that was in place all along.


Alonso returns home as FIA investigate accident data

Fernando Alonso left the hospital in Barcelona yesterday three days after having his accident during testing at the Montmelo circuit. He had undergone a number of diagnostic checks which gave him the all-clear to discharge himself and he left to go to his home in Oviedo to recover fully.


No statement was forthcoming from the Spanish Samurai and it was left to Mclaren to officially announce that Kevin Magnussen would replace the two-time champion during the forthcoming final winter test.

The FIA also announced they will conduct an enquiry into the accident that befell the Asturian. Despite the accident happening during what is regarded as a private test session – the Federation is obligated to investigate any crash that results in a driver having to stay in hospital.

The FIA’s Safety Officer – Charlie Whiting – is gathering all the information from the Catalan circuit including closed circuit images which will help break down the minutiae of the accident.

Mclaren have been contacted by the FIA to provide the telemetry of Alonso’s lap and they will attempt to analyse the data so as to learn from the accident for future safety drives.


Button frustrated by Honda’s repeated breakages

Rumours had been circulated from late summer onwards that Honda were actually about six months behind schedule with their power unit. A delay that has been attributed to the company’s delays in setting up test benches in their research centre in Sakura to conduct long run simulations.

Following the original failure of a seal on Thursday – which curtailed all running – Honda fitted an updated replacement for Saturday’s session. Yet once again, despite limiting the performance of their power unit to aid Mclaren with aero set-up work – the part failed.

Jenson Button was reported to have said: “They must have changed everything – except the piece that keeps breaking!”

The main problem lies with the MGU-K – the electric motor that recovers kinetic energy under braking. It was suggested that maybe the Japanese could substitute their current unit for a design developed by Mclaren Applied Technologies which would prove embarrassing to the Oriental giant.

Of perhaps more concern to Ron Dennis and his team is that Honda declared last year that they would work in the manner they have always worked. Slowly and methodically. Which may be acceptable to a lower rung team but not to an F1 grandee that wants to return to winning ways.


Force India finally unveil VJM08

Force India has confirmed that their 2015 car – the VJM08 – will be in Barcelona for its first run of the new season. Following a few delays whilst sub-contractors waited to be paid, the car has been assembled and fired up at the team’s Silverstone base.

48849_la-force-india-vjm08-arriver-a-barcellona-venerdForce India Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer confirmed. “It has progressed well over the last few days and the car has now been fired up at the factory. That’s always the key moment when the car truly comes to life. We have seen a tremendous effort from every department over the last few months to get us to this stage and we’re looking forward to seeing the car take to the track later this week.”

“The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set up will take place in the garage at the track. We are aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend.”


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#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 25th February 2015

•February 25, 2015 • 92 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”

On This Day in #F1: 25th February 2005 – Ferrari deserves more money from F1!!

OTD Lite: 1944 – Cevert: A legendary name… but why?

Renault looking for more permanent fixture in F1

Italian media scathing of Mclaren’s ‘truth’

Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Just tell the truth, dammit!

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite: 1944 – Cevert: A legendary name… but why?

I would hazard a guess that there have been thesis and books written about how certain stars who die young are immortalised forever. Film stars such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe remain icons – struck down in their respective primes and their image never grows old.

Music also has it’s share of legends who lost their lives such as Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley etc. But is it their body of work and untapped potential that raises them to immortality?

In motorsport, there have been many drivers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and inevitably they are all young and yet some remain fallen icons to this day whereas others are mere statistics. Who here for example remembers the name Helmuth Koinigg. He was killed at Watkins Glen in 1974 – merely a year after the fatal accident of Francois Cevert.

Today would have been Cevert’s 71st birthday – yet he remains one of the most celebrated talents lost to the sport. A promising talent with a single Grand Prix victory but what is it about his story that has raised his death above the forgotten memories of others…


The Grumpy Jackal


Renault looking for more permanent fixture in F1

Rumours have surfaced in Italy that Renault Sport is interested in purchasing a F1 team to keep an active presence in Formula One. With the threat of Red Bull looking to fund an engine of their own design – this could leave the French manufacturer with no teams at the pinnacle of motor-sport.

With the collapse of Caterham in 2014 and the financial difficulties being experienced by Lotus, Force India and Sauber – these teams have become unattractive to Renault who have cast their attention in the direction of Toro Rosso, apparently unwanted by Red Bull long term.

Cyril Abiteboul has made no secret of his ambitious plans but has one obstacle which he will need to overcome – Renault’s President Carlos Ghosn has no desire to see the Regie return as a manufacturer but to remain merely as suppliers of the power unit.

With consistent rumours sugesting a possible partnership between the Volkswagen Group with the Red Bull team via the Audi brand – the relationship between Viry-Chatillon and the Milton Keynes squad is proving difficult to say the least.for the two individual groups.

The French have not taken kindly to the imposition of Mario Illien as a consultant and his design work on the ‘head of the engine’ has been shelved as it has not produced the desired results. The Swiss engineer’s developments have been discarded whilst the Rob White headed group concentrate on solutions that were tried successfully in Barcelona in both the RB11 and STR10.

There is a far better relationship between the Faenza squad and their French partners than between Renault and Red bull. Allied to this is the team, led by Franz Tost, is currently restructuring the factory facilities to bring it in line with its competitors. With the fifth largest budget in F1, no debt and a factory that will be refurbished by the end of this year – it is easy to see why Renault are attracted to acquiring Toro Rosso.


Italian media scathing of Mclaren’s ‘truth’

Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading or watching Italian sports coverage will know they do not take prisoners. Despite Ferrari being an institution they are not spared from frequent scathing attacks from the national media.

Michael Schumacher once ‘conducted’ the Italian national anthem during a victory celebration. The following weeks found him to be vilified and with the press seeking his immediate resignation!

In similar fashion, last year following the Jules Bianchi crash, Italy proved to be the only copy – other than TJ13 – who questioned and attacked the FIA findings.

Once again, with reports of Fernando Alonso’s hospitalisation the Italian media have been dissecting all the known facts to date. He is known to be still suffering from headaches and severe pain in the shoulders and back despite diagnostic tests showing nothing untoward.

The Asturian’ manager Jose Luis Garcia Abad reported: “I cannot say if it will take a day , two or three. As to his presence in the next testing session? The most important tests are what the doctors are doing at the moment.”

As to Mclaren’s statement which seeks to portray the view ‘there’s nothing out of the ordinary here – move on’, Omnicorse and several other Italian publications made no secret of their opinion in regards to Mclaren’s position.

With Mclaren blaming a gust of wind for the crash, the Italian website concluded: “It was a beautiful excuse which followed a well established pattern – lets blame the driver. “ Alonso, of course was not accepting the theory and as the article continued: “it was hardly the best way to start a relationship with the Spaniard.

From statements made by the Samurai, he hit the wall sideways and although the impact speed was slow – the car’s deformable area didn’t protect the driver and Fred’s body would have taken the brunt of the forces generated.

The Hans collar that is worn by the drivers is designed to minimise frontal whiplash injuries but proves less effective when the impact is side on. Omnicorse had spoken to the neurosurgeon who attended Fernando and states he suffered various injuries due to the sideways movement which would have resulted in vomiting and a ‘shock’ to the spine’.

As hard-hitting as ever, the publication offered their firm opinion in that they didn’t believe the ‘gust of wind’ as the cause of the accident and then offered advice to Jenson Button to seek reassurances about potential cross winds affecting his MP4/30.


Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Just tell the truth, dammit!

Hippo Rant Lite articles are comments made by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the TJ13 staff as a whole

Many fans complain about the conspiracy theories that have surfaced following Fernando Alonso’s freak accident. They gathered momentum as McLaren remained silent and now are still circulating the interweb. While some perhaps are closer to fiction than the truth, McLaren have nobody else to blame but themselves for their continued existence. The Woking team’s dissemination of information policy puts Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali, truly to shame.


Since I was covering the test for TJ13 at the time, I quite vividly recall how piss-poor the information politic at Barcelona was at the time. Although a photo clearly shows that monitors seven, eight and nine in the Circuit de Catalunya’s control room show the corner in question, the only pictures so far available of how the accident happened, are a few grainy snaps made with mobile phones and published on Twitter.

What else is one to believe other than that something is amiss? The team took twenty-eight hours to release an official statement and then chose to cloak it with words that would make even the most gullible grandmother suspicious.

It’s worth looking at the situation with more than forty-eight hours having now passed.

Alonso’s transfer, together with Sebastian Vettel taking his place at Ferrari, was the transfer of the winter. So a team of McLaren’s experience should know that each of the fifteen remaining Formula One fans would be keen to know how the double world champion would get on in his new office; particularly given that Honda had provided a somewhat humiliating public demonstration in the preceding days of their parts quality assurance processes.

The morning prior to Alonso’s accident had seen large gusts of wind upsetting the cars’ handling in several corners, including the one at which Alonso crashed. Yet during the entire day only one other driver – a rookie – was caught out by this. But we are supposed to believe, that the man, whom most regard as the best of his generation, is sent into a violent crash by a gust of wind.

While that is not completely impossible – even with all his talent – Fernando has to bend the knees when taking a dump… like any other mere mortal, ie. he isn’t infallible. But with the amount of telemetry data, the team would have been able to determine and publish the exact trajectory of the car within the hour.

Instead they said nothing for over a day, letting wild speculations take on a dynamic of their own. Then perhaps most tellingly was McLaren’s announcement that they would not comment on the accident until they had a verdict from the hospital. Is there a more obvious way to say: “We’ll grudgingly admit what happened, if Fernando is badly injured, but if he’s okay we want to leave ourselves the option of selling you a nice bullcrap story”?

But Fernando isn’t okay. While Badgdad Bob Eric Boullier still maintains that Fernando is merely kept for observation, he’s now spent his third night in the intensive care unit. Bicycle riders, like Jens Voigt of Germany have face-planted the asphalt at 80kph on a downhill run in the Alps, leaving half their skin behind, yet they were released from hospital within 24 hours. However we are being told that an allegedly uninjured world class athlete is required to stay under intense supervision for half a week?

And while nobody – least of all Fernando – can be forced to release medical information, after all doctor-patient confidentiality exists for a reason, this isn’t Fernando having contracted a case of Chlamydia on a sex safari to Phuket.

This is a driver, who following an accident where no one wishes to release footage of – was airlifted to hospital before the eyes of the world. The last driver, who was airlifted away – or at least was supposed to – is still fighting for his life. In this case a less North-Korean approach would have prevented the tin-foil hat brigade from hyperventilating.

We live in an age, where a driver after a mild contact gets told within two laps how much downforce he has lost due to leaving his front-wind endplate stuck in the rear-wheel tyre of a Sauber. Similarly he can be told exactly where he can find another two nanoseconds by breaking a microsecond later before a certain corner.

Modern technology allows the teams to remotely see exactly what the driver is doing at any point in time, and this is why there could have been an exact analysis within two hours.

Instead McLaren releases a statement that doesn’t square up with what eyewitnesses, including a four-time world champion, say. Forgive me for not believing them for a minute.

And now we have an eye witness photographer claiming Alonso never touched the astro turf on the outside of the turn – whilst Flavio Briatore asserts, Fernando has no recollection of the incident.


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On This Day in #F1: 25th February 2005 – Ferrari deserves more money from F1!!

•February 25, 2015 • 5 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: The Grumpy Jackal

terminator-izleThe release of Terminator 2 in 1991 confirmed Arnold Schwarzenegger as the biggest movie star in the world. His films made hundreds of millions in revenue; thereby allowing him to command the salary he was paid.

Twas ever thus – gladiators in Rome were superstars as were playwrights and artists in the middle ages. In the 20th century – with the advent of moving pictures and gramophones – superstars moved into our living rooms. All the while, the very best were rewarded beyond the wildest dreams of the populace.

Over the last thirty years we have seen remuneration of athletes reaching levels achieved by small corporations and yet – to this day – whenever Ferrari’s income is written about in the motor-sport media – everyone has an opinion, usually a poor one.


Todt said: “Maybe wrongly, I think Ferrari is unique. Without underestimating what the other teams have done, I feel that Ferrari has achieved more than the others. It’s like when you produce a movie. You need stars so that you know you are going to sell the movie all over the world. And then you have stars with different contracts. And Ferrari in its business is a star and wants to be paid like a star. I say that without arrogance.”

Rumours in the paddock suggested that Ferrari’s acceptance of the 2005 Concorde Agreement had been due to Bernie Ecclestone agreeing a £50 million annual payment before any television monies were paid to the members of the paddock.

People suggest that it isn’t a fair playing field and it should be distributed equally but I disagree.

Ferrari’s history dates back to 1947 as a constructor but it’s connection dates back to the early twentieth century with Alfa-Romeo. Before Bernie Ecclestone took control of start and prize monies, the teams had to negotiate themselves.


It was here that Ferrari were peerless. It did not matter if the entry was single-seater or sportscars, if Ferrari were not present the meeting seemed to carry less prestige. A recent much rumoured return to LeMans would be welcomed by both the circuit and the competition because Ferrari is the Star.

Everyone remembers the 1982 Imola Grand Prix that had all the FOCA teams refuse to compete. It mattered little to the public as Ferrari competed. What most people don’t remember is the 1981 South African GP – it was actually a one off FOCA run race and Ferrari, Renault and Alfa-Romeo didn’t attend.


Carlos Reutemann won in a Williams from Nelson Piquet in a Brabham and yet: “FOCA have proved themselves capable of staging a race,” wrote Maurice Hamilton in the Guardian, “but even the most ardent enthusiasts had to admit that a race without Ferrari was like an international rugby championship without Wales.”

These are merely a few of the reasons that Ecclestone always accommodates Ferrari. Whatever his shortcomings he has always understood what power actually means and that is why, when the teams wanted to arrange a breakaway series in 2008 they needed Ferrari; although publicly their propaganda would suggest otherwise. As reported on this website here on 6th February 2013 – “the Ferrari brand was deemed the most powerful and recognisable in the world.”


#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 24th February 2015

•February 24, 2015 • 86 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”

OTD Lite: 1971 – PDLR – A mediocre driver

Mclaren provides official statement for Alonso accident

Ferrari legend – Byrne – returns to work in Maranello

Button about to rain on Alonso’s parade

Wolff finding Hamilton negotiations difficult

The Usher’s Caption Competition

McLaren title sponsor dead in the water for 2015

Problems with Renault engines’ driveability

Alonso wanted out of Ferrari years ago

Formula E Berlin unveiled

‘Halo’ Safety solution instead of closed cockpits

OTD Lite: 1971 – PDLR – A mediocre driver

Today, in a quiet corner in Barcelona – Pedro De La Rosa will be celebrating his 44th birthday. A quiet unassuming man who has carved himself an enviable reputation within F1 despite having achieved practically zero in his various dalliances with the sport.

As a race driver with Arrows, Jaguar, Sauber and HRT – he also drove a handful of races for the Woking based Mclaren team after having been their test driver since 2003. Often forgotten in the Spygate scandal that engulfed the team that Ron built, DLR was as responsble for the emails that him and Fernando Alonso poured over prior to the start of the 2007 season. Secret details of the Ferrari systems were tested and developed between the two Spaniards before the FIA stepped in.

As to his various duties as a test driver… is it just me that struggles to understand how DLR, Panis and Wurz were always singled out as the exceptional test drivers of their era? After all, if they were so good, why did Mclaren fail so miserably?

Luca Badoer tested extensively for Ferrari between 2000 and 2010 – contributing to thirteen titles yet not once has he ever been mentioned in the same breath as the Mclaren trio. And possibly this is the biggest clue. Mclaren has the support of a huge number of British journalists who will skew the picture in return for favourable access to the team.

Just in case anyone asks, the best test driver in my memory has to be…


The Grumpy Jackal


Mclaren provides official statement for Alonso accident

In years gone by the news following Fernando Alonso’s accident in Barcelona would have filtered through the regular channels and would have been featured in a news article in the specialist press. But as it was witnessed over the weekend, rumours and theories have forced Mclaren to issue a statement.

Yet McLaren only have themselves to blame for the speculation surrounding the crash – had they issued a statement promptly, the ‘mysterious; silence would not have existed.


In a world that recognises the cost of everything but the value of nothing – brands have to be very aware of what image is being portrayed and therefore what needs to be offered to the waiting world. The statement addressed a few of the more popular theories that had been gaining a foothold.

“Over the past 24 hours, we have been carrying out a detailed analysis of the damage to Fernando’s car, and its associated telemetry data, in order fully to understand the cause, or causes, of his accident. Even at this early stage, we have been able to reach some firm conclusions.”

“His car ran wide at the entry to Turn 3 – which is a fast uphill right-hander – allowing it to run onto the Astroturf that lines the outside of the track. A consequent loss of traction caused a degree of instability, spitting it back towards the inside of the circuit, where it regained traction and struck the wall side-on. Our findings indicate that the accident was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly.”

Many of the rumours shared on Twitter and countless forums suggested the Spaniard may have been electrocuted somehow and caused him to ‘black out’. Yet the statement is unequivocal in its wording:

“We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando’s car suffered mechanical failure of any kind. We can also confirm that absolutely no loss of aerodynamic pressure was recorded, which fact indicates that the car did not suffer any aerodynamic loss, despite the fact that it was subjected to a significant level of g-force. Finally, we can also disclose that no electrical discharge or irregularity of any kind occurred in the car’s ERS system, either before, during or after the incident.

“That last point refutes the erroneous rumours that have spread recently to the effect that Fernando was rendered unconscious by an electrical fault. That is simply not true. Our data clearly shows that he was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact – something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time.”

What does appear strange about this statement is that Alonso downshifted having lost control of the car and was breaking.

29127.2The statement continues, “Alonso suffered a concussion during the accident and was taken to hospital for: “a thorough and complete analysis of his condition was performed, involving CT scans and MRI scans, all of which were completely normal. In order to provide the privacy and tranquillity required to facilitate a peaceful recuperation, he is being kept in hospital for further observation, and to recover from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation yesterday.”

Despite this calm and measured update from McLaren, Flavio Briatore will fan the flames further having said this morning: “He [ALonso] does not remember the incident, but that is normal. I think tomorrow he will be out of the hospital”.

Understandably the news has brought relief to Fernando’s legions of fans worldwide. For many it appears strange to keep a world class athlete in hospital for possibly 3-4 days for concussion.

Yet surely now it is doubtful whether Alonso will take any further part in winter testing this week, but unless matters take a significant turn for the worst, the double World Champion will resume normal service by the time the F1 circus arrives in Melbourne.


Ferrari legend – Byrne – returns to work in Maranello

From the land that brought you Opera, great food, jaw dropping architecture, fashion houses that rival the best in taste, class and design and cars that ignite every sense; we hear the words of Maurizio Arrivabene’s brotherly love for Ferrari’s legendary designer – Rory Byrne.

“Rory has my utmost respect, especially for that night I saw him eating with the light inside his eyes.” Possibly it is lost in the translation but what the Ferrari team principal is alluding to is the ‘fire in people’s eyes. Arrivabene had spoken with technical director James Allison about recruiting the veteran to mentor Simone Resta and then the call was made to the South African to return once more to Maranello.


“I have to tell you something funny. I spoke with Rory, I’ve known him for a long time. I asked him ‘are you keen to work together with us, with your success, in the future to be a bit more involved?’ Without taking anything away from Simone Resta, who is our chief designer.”

“And you know, I saw in Rory a kind of light. It’s unbelievable, a guy like this of his age, and he’s still enthusiastic like a baby. I was really surprised. One night near to Christmas I went to a restaurant and I found Rory, who was eating very, very quickly, and I said ‘Rory, calm down, where do you have to run!?’ He had to run immediately back to the factory for a meeting with Resta.”

“Rory is working with Simone, he’s giving to Simone as a mentor because of his experience and he’s working on some detail of the car. Most people might think Rory is part of history, I don’t think so. We are talking about the chief designer guru all the time but Rory isn’t one of the guys who didn’t win, he’s one of the guys who won a lot.”

Of course, the sceptics will mock the Italian squad as it was believed that Byrne had worked with Nikolas Tombasiz on the 2014 challenger. Yet part of the revamp instigated by Marco Mattiacci and Sergio Marchionne was to remove the Greek designer and Pat Fry from their respective positions – thereby creating an atmosphere within the Gestione Sportiva of discipline, focus and a new mentatlity.

Having worked with Byrne at Ferrari back in the Schumacher era – Allison knows well the politics involved in the world’s most famous F1 team and Byrne’s reputation will prove a strong ally.


Button about to rain on Alonso’s parade

A few weeks back on the TJ13 podcast, the panel were asked for their opinion in regards the driver battle at Mclaren this year. Practically to a person, the consensus was that if the Mclaren was not a settled car then Fernando Alonso would dominate his new team-mate. But, if the car was a balanced machine then Jenson Button was in with the possibility of causing an upset.

Lewis Hamilton and the Spaniard have proven over the years that they have the ability to drive a car – that isn’t working as well as it should – to potential podiums and wins. This gift allows for outrageous performances that others on the grid wouldn’t be ale to access but if the car’s performance is accessible to their respective team-mates then it makes for interesting viewing.

It would appear at this early stage of winter-testing and marginal unaffected running that Mclaren may well have provided the Brit with a car that will become a thorn in Alonso’s side this year.

“I feel every time when I get in the car everything feels right with the car, but I haven’t pushed this car yet. The car works when you drive it. What’s very positive already is the driveability of the engine has come a long way since Jerez which is great from the drivers point of view.”

“The engine packaging is fantastic on this car, which helps the airflow for the aerodynamics – Prod’s very happy – and that hasn’t caused any issues at all in terms of temperatures and stuff so it’s other issues that we’ve run into that can be solved and not hamper us in other ways which is good. It’s just fine-tuning driveability now which is great, a really nice position to be in.”


Wolff finding Hamilton negotiations difficult

Over recent weeks much has been written about the protracted negotiations between reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team about extending his contract beyond the end of this year.

With Hamilton having severed his ties with management agency XIX last season it appears that negotiations have become far more delicate than usual, with Toto Wolff admitting that it is proving far more difficult than he imagined it would be.

An article on the Italian Omnicorse website carries an interview with the Austrian and he admits “It is even more difficult than I imagined. I won’t say anything negative about Lewis – he is part of the team. I want him to remain motivated and so therefore I have to choose the words I use with caution.”

“He is a very smart guy but we don’t have any pressure. We know what he wants and he knows what we want and in the end we will find common ground.”

Of course it was only recently that Wolff supposedly used the age old tactic of applying pressure to hasten the talks with Lewis along by suggesting that if an agreement couldn’t be reached, the German team wasn’t lacking in potential replacements with Alonso and Valtteri Bottas being mentioned.

Toto now seeks to clarify this rhetoric. “You have to stir things up all the time but that wasn’t the case this time. I want to maintain a good relationship with Lewis and if you start playing the media’s game you are taking the road to disaster.”

“I was asked who would I choose if Lewis went elsewhere and I said that it was unlikely but in my opinion Fernando and Valtteri would be obvious choices. Ultimately if you have belief in a relationship you do not need to play these games – even though F1 is a business”


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McLaren title sponsor dead in the water for 2015

McLaren Honda have just released the 2015 replica team apparel via the McLaren shop. The timing of this is not particularly late and at the first and second winter tests, many of the team personnel wear the previous years clothing.

The range of clothing, accessories and sizes is complete and the likelihood of adding a significant sponsor to this range is unlikely – though not impossible.

In the past two seasons, it appears McLaren have done a U-Turn away from bright and striking colour schemes, to a more minimalistic – some may say drab – look.

How do you like you F1 team clothing?



Problems with Renault engines’ driveability

Christian Horner believes the current Renault PU offering is more powerful than last year’s iteration. However, whilst it does have more power, the distribution of torque is uneven.

Helmut Marko tells to AMuS , much of this can be solved with software changes – something Red Bull staff were sent to Viry to assist with in 2014.

“Then we will have eaten into a large part of Mercedes lead,” adds the Red Bull consultant.

It still remains that Toro Rosso have had far less problems with their Renault installation.

Further, is the Mercedes lead Marko refers to – the one at the end of last season – or the one which is at present unknown until after day 12 of the winter tests?


Alonso wanted out of Ferrari years ago

For many F1 historians, it may have seemed Fernando Alonso’s persistence with the red team may have been based upon the timescales it took Michael Schumacher to turn around the leviathan that is Maranello.

Schumacher won his first title with the red team in five years after moving to Ferrari.

2014 was Fernando Alonso’s fifth year with the team.

Yet according to Felipe Massa speaking to, Alonso may have had enough after just a couple of seasons with Ferrari. “I think Fernando tried to leave the team two or three years ago, even when I was still at the team, but he couldn’t”.

Of course, now the notion is widely held that Il Padrino’s efforts to retain the Spanish driver’s services year on year, in fact held the team back. Their utter failings were masked by Fernando’s ability to score points with a car few other were capable of.

Even Flavio Briatore today reckons “I believe the change of drivers was appropriate,” for Ferrari. “Vettel brings something different to Ferrari and helps to motivate a group that, in terms of management, is completely new”, the Italian tells RAI.

TJ13 is leaning toward the view that Ferrari has been somewhat showboating in the tests so far, however, in just 6 more days’ time – the gulf yet to cross for the Italians will be a lot more clear.


Formula E Berlin unveiled

Organisers of the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship have today unveiled the circuit layout for the Berlin ePrix on May 23 2015, sponsored by leading logistics company DHL.

The 17 turn, 2.47km circuit will be built within the ‘Apron’ section of the Tempelhof Airport, located in the city-centre. Designed by Rodrigo Nunes, it is the setting for the eighth race in the inaugural Formula E season.


The announcement was made during a press conference held at the former airport and attended by Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, CEO of DHL Express Europe John Pearson, Berlin Senator Cornelia Yzer, members of the press, together with the championship’s two German drivers; Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Team) and Nick Heidfeld (Venturi Team). During the event, guests could also view the Formula E race car, as well as enjoy a lap of the circuit in a fully-electric BMW i3 and a hybrid BMW i8 by Daniel and Nick.

Today also saw tickets for the DHL Berlin ePrix go on sale with general admission (standing) priced from just 10 euros if purchased before April 30, rising to 19 euros thereafter, with children aged six and under going free (if accompanied by a paying adult). As well as a full day’s racing, all tickets will give fans access to Formula E’s eVillage – or fan zone – featuring a variety of off track entertainment including eBike stunt displays, interactive stalls and a driver autograph session. (Formula E)


‘Halo’ Safety solution instead of closed cockpits

Following the terrible accident Jules Bianchi suffered at the 2014 Japanese GP, there were renewed calls for closed cockpits, though the FIA rejected this in the summary report published from their ‘expert panel’s investigation’ into the incident.

At the latest meeting of the F1 technical working group, Mercedes have produced a solution which provides the driver’s head with incremental protection. It is an oval shaped ‘halo’ that encircles the helmet of the driver and attached to the front of the cockpit beyond the steering wheel.

Michael Schmidt writes, “less respectful voices are calling it ‘the toilet seat'”.

AMuS have provided the following graphic to illustrate the intended impact of the ‘halo’.



#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 23rd February 2015

•February 23, 2015 • 86 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”

Day 8 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Afternoon Report

Day 8 #F1 2015 Winter Testing: Barcelona, Morning Report

On This Day in #F1: 23rd February 1953 – Nakajima-san – It’s all in the numbers

OTD Lite: 1958 – Kidnapping of a champion

Deadline extension for Honda, but possibly less token for development

Williams mocks Ralf Schumacher

Ferrari running seemingly on schedule

Mercedes fires arrows across the opposition’s bows

The Usher’s Caption Competition

Who needs engine development tokens?

Vettel intends to break helmet restrictions

OTD Lite: 1958 – Kidnapping of a champion

The Bahrainian regime is trying to oppose a revolution within its own borders and is broadcasting a story to the outside world that gullible journalists on Bernie’s payroll are happy to propogate. Of course this constant manipulation of facts is seen by the revolutionaries as an antagonistic move and they decide to take stronger action that cannot be ignored.

Lewis Hamilton arrives at his hotel for dinner after qualifying and is escorted away by kidnappers who keep him out of sight for the weekend and the story flies across the globe in seconds. Bringing the whole regime under the closest scrutiny.

Has the Jackal lost his mind? What third class novel is he reading? I am of course bringing an event that happened over half a century ago into some form of modern equivalent. Reigning five time champion Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped during the weekend of the 1958 Cuban GP and was safely returned after the event – creating headlines around the world for the Cuban revolutionaries that were fighting in support of Fidel Castro.


The Grumpy Jackal


Deadline extension for Honda, but possibly less token for development

Being a Honda executive is not really a dream job right now. From that first test in Abu Dhabi after last year’s season closing Abu Double GP – right through to yesterday’s closing day of the second week of testing – whenever the much-heralded reunion of the mighty partners who dominated the late eighties and early nineties showed up on track, it has looked more like a 1992 pre-qualifying of Andrea Moda.

While “seal-gate” on Saturday was pretty much the ultimate humiliation, the Sunday turned out to be downright catastrophic. Not only did the team lose hours of running due to ‘trouble seal Evo III’ only arriving late at night – after less than two hours they were left with a dented car and an even more dented driver. After a shunt that left even seasoned pilots like Vettel scratching their heads as it looked anything but an accident.

While at the time of writing we are still left to speculate as to what exactly happened, at the moment the most commonly voiced opinion is that Alonso was about to pass out and to facilitate at least some deceleration while he blacked out, he whacked it sideways into the wall.

Why Fernando would become incapacitated prior to an ‘off’ is little more than a wild guess. Battery fumes, health problems and electrocution are only some of the possibilities and we await a complete ‘official confirmation’ – though whether that will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing bu the truth – is anyone’s guess.

What appears to be hard to deny though is, that the MP4-30 has more problems than just a wonky seal on Honda’s MGU-K.

Amid all this doom and gloom there was finally some good news for McLaren Honda as their deadline for homologation of the engine has been extended from February 28th to March 2nd. That is, until one remembers that the February only has 28 days, and that this year the 28th is a Saturday.

Further, the final day of testing is March 1st this year so in effect the extension means absolutely nothing.

What may cost rather more is that murmurings in the Barcelona paddock suggest that Honda will get fewer tokens for in-season development than expected.

For those whose F1 eyes were glazed over in January – we discovered that the FIA had left a hair-raising oversight in their rules, that resulted in the situation that Honda, as a new manufacturer has to homologate their power unit on Feb 28th/March 2nd – while Ferrari; Mercedes-Benz and Renault can do that at any time during the year.

Following much gnashing of teeth from Honda, a compromise would be reached that sees Honda receiving the average number of development tokens unused by the other manufacturers at the first race of the season. Speculation and rumour has suggested previously that this would see around 6 to 8 (from 32) development tokens available to Honda. The latest word in pit lane row is the existing manufacturers may have overestimated how many token they would have left over, meaning that the average will inevitably go down.

However, Renault are playing their own relationship games with Red Bull at present and just prior to the Barcelona test Remi Taffin stated that it may be better for Renault to save a lot of their development tokens until later in the year. So who knows what will happen.

Accordingly, McLaren’s Ron Dennis is playing hard ball, insisting that they want the highest number of tokens that any of the manufacturers has left unused following the Melbourne race. Yet Motorsport Total today quote an unnamed FIA source as stating Woking has already been handed a gift with the average token idea – and that there were no grounds for McLaren to make further demands.

One really has to be a hardcore fan to take this. Another season of silver domination is looming and on top of it looks like a year of endless squabbling among the teams.


Williams mocks Ralf Schumacher

Williams, who had planned to concentrate on setup work and race simulations have been frustrated my the myriad of red flags on the final day of testing, which kept interrupting their long-runs.

“All these interruptions have been hindering our progress and are the reason that we couldn’t quite finish all that we had planned,” said testing engineer Rod Nelson. “There were so many red flags, it was almost as if Ralf Schumacher was back.”

Nelson offered no explanation for this rather personal dig at the Williams former racing driver, but in the end he expressed his satisfaction with what the squad had achieved during the second week of testing.


Ferrari running seemingly on schedule

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completed 76 laps – totalling 353 km. The primary focus for the test being aerodynamic and tyre tests on both medium and soft tyres. The times never fell below the 1’26 as the Italian squad ran checks on car throughout.

Despite their respective animosity towards each other over the years Vettel was quick to send his best wishes to his fiercest competitor “First of all I would like to wish a speedy recovery Fernando. Luckily we have already received some positive news in this regard, so I hope that will be fit again to test next week.”


In addition, after coming back from his stint that had him witness Alonso’s crash, he immediately rushed over to the McLaren garage, offering his observations to help the Woking squad make sense of what had happened.

“In regards our tests today, we focused on reliability, completing some long runs and testing different parts. We were not able to complete everything that we wanted, but at this stage of winter testing we always have some teething problems to deal with. Overall, I can confirm my feeling with the car is good, and am looking forward to next week’s test.”

Simone Resta, Ferrari’s chief designer summarised the work done by the Maranello team: “Overall, over these four days we have followed the original development program. We have also brought forward aerodynamic measurements as a function of the elements that will be developed in the wind tunnel, as well as tests of hardware and structures – and in conjunction tested different tyre solutions.”

“Throughout the program there have been pauses for planned replacement of parts when they have reached the end of their cycle. We have tested many parts as in a race simulation but havn’t completed a race simulation yet; but this has always been in accordance with our plans. The drivers have confirmed a good feeling with the car and the set-up work has served to improve these feelings, but also to adapt to the weather conditions that varied continuously. “

The question, why Vettel spent most of the afternoon in the pits, was left unanswered by Ferrari’s statement.


Mercedes fires arrows across the opposition’s bows

1:24,321… A time that sent a shiver through the opposition but one that Nico Rosberg was not impressed by. “You may think that our time is a great time but according to our calculations it wan’t really – in relation to the times of the last few days. There was a lot of wind today, and the car did not behave consistently. It was changing from corner to corner which caused problems with the set-up. It took longer than we expected but we collected some useful data.”

In spite of everything, the W06 completed its program although at one point the team had a small concern with their gearbox. “We thought we might have to change the gearbox, but with a thorough cross-checking of data, we realized that everything was as it should be. I’m really very confident. We have a great team, but we continue to keep an eye fixed on our rivals who are always very strong. It is not yet entirely clear, but I think we are in a really good position.”

As to the oppositions fear of another Silver Arrows rout? Romain Grosjean set his best time on the SuperSoft – whereas the 2014 runner-up set his on the Pirelli medium compound.


The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 10.10.33


Who needs engine development tokens?

There is a lot of mystery around what engine manufacturers can and cannot change in their engines outside the agreed development tokens and as part of the ‘in season development exemption’ under the guise of ‘safety’ and ‘cost reduction’.

An engine manufacturer wishing to make a modification to their homologated engine during 2014 had to apply to the FIA. Were the proposed change one which was obviously within the ‘allowed criteria’ then the FIA would grant it directly.

However, if the proposed modification appeared to be in a ‘grey’ area, then the FIA would circulate the application amongst the other manufacturers for a ‘peer review’.

TJ13 spoke to a representative from one of the power unit suppliers in Jerez, and discovered during the 2014 season they had made engine modifications between most – if not all of the races.

Following the second F1 winter test in Barcelona, Chris Medland of has published an interview with Honda’s motorsport chief, Yasuhisa Arai.

Arai was asked whether Honda had a plan for their season long development of their F1 engine: “I don’t know how many tokens we have! It depends on the other teams. Someone might say they have spent everything so we have no tokens. It depends on the other teams.

“We have planned development not depending on tokens. We have a plan to improve every day, day-by-day, week-by-week.”

This revelation appears to support the information TJ13 gleaned in Jerez. Clearly, there is plenty of scope for in season engine development which can be used during the year as ‘modified engines’ without requiring the use of engine development tokens.

Whether this is within the spirit of the idea of a homologated engine is questionable.

Yasuhisa Arai also appears to rule out supplying Manor Racing with a 2015 Honda engine. When asked whether Honda would supply another team in 2016, he replied: “If someone comes to us … but it’s a very difficult question because I am wondering can we prepare for supplying a second team during the season? I don’t know. We concentrate on this season with McLaren as one team.”

Finally, there is hope for fans of the Woking team as Arai reiterates his belief that Honda and McLaren have worked on an intergrated approach between the car and the engine which is very aggressive.

“Our design is part of a very tight package for aerodynamics and it’s a very good design, but some sealing parts have some not so good quality so that’s the seal problem we had. [On Saturday] we got another part and put it on the car and made it run very well.”

Honda are on schedule to homologate as requested, though what we see in Melbourne will obviously not be the final story for this reborn partnership.


Vettel intends to break helmet restrictions

The grand announcement of unanimous agreement in Formula One land over anything, is worthy of headlines. Last week, we learned that the teams, the FIA and FOM had agreed the drivers should wear only one helmet design for the entire season.

This new rule followed FOM failing to persuade the teams to provide more space on the cars for bigger driver identification numbers to be displayed. The teams refused on the grounds that this would provide less space for paying sponsors.

Whether this rule has been properly thought out or not – we will discover in the near future. Yet, as with all rules, they tend to be open in some way to interpretation.

Simply put, what is ‘the design’ of a helmet? Are exact colour hues included? What if a driver varied a colour hue? Would anyone notice?

Quadruple World F1 Champion, Sebastian Vettel, has donned over 60 different helmet designs since he entered Formula One and he intends to defy the new regulation.

“It seems in these difficult times, they [silly rules] are the only thing that people can agree on,” Vettel told the assembled media on Saturday.

“The plan was to calm down a little bit. I don’t know what is the penalty. If it is a little fine with money for charity, then I am happy to keep changing my helmet.”

It could be that the spirit of how to approach a regulation has been branded into Sebastian’s soul during his time at Red Bull Racing.

On This Day in #F1: 23rd February 1953 – Nakajima-san – It’s all in the numbers

•February 23, 2015 • 1 Comment

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

3.8 – 3.7 – 5.2 – 5.1 – 8.2 – 3.6 – 2.5 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.9 – 4.0 – 3.2 – 0.9 – 2.4

1707No these aren’t the co-ordinates to a secret stash of gold – nor are they the combination that unlocks the riches in TheJudge’s safe! The numbers are in fact the difference in qualifying lap-times between Ayrton Senna and his Japanese team-mate – Satoru Nakajima – throughout the 1987 season.

Nakajima was Honda’s favoured son and had won five out of the six previous Formula Two titles in Japan using Honda engines. Throughout 1985 he spent many days testing a Williams-Honda extensively but at 34 years of age he was an old debutant and many questioned his actual ability.

Towards the end of 1985. Honda asked Frank Williams if he would replace Nigel Mansell with their protege Nakajima. Williams, no doubt, nodded politely and refused their request – as what had always been important to him was the Constructors title and he reasoned that Nakajima would struggle.

Before the 1986 season had even begun, Ayrton Senna realised that Renault was no longer a technical force and demanded that Lotus acquire the Honda engine for the subsequent season otherwise he would leave.

Peter Warr had little option. In signing Dumfries to Lotus for 1986 he had already acquiesced to Senna’s demands and he began his preparations for the 1987 season.

The British press were still disparaging towards Senna; Warwick had been refused a seat at Lotus and now Johnny Dumfries – another Brit – was being replaced by an oriental they had never heard of. In some quarters Nakajima was rechristened Knacker-Johnny.

In Japan, yellow is considered a warrior colour. This dates back to the ‘War of Dynasty’ in 1357 when each warrior wore a yellow chrysanthemum as a pledge of courage.


Nakajima finished his debut race in 7th, scored points for sixth and fifth in the subsequent races and finished fourth in Britain. At Suzuka, a circuit he knew intimately he qualified less than a second away from Senna and finished sixth.

In 1988 he was generally beaten by his team-mate triple World Champion Piquet; although on occasion he surprised with his comparable pace in qualifying.

The following season saw an explosion of hatred between the main championship protagonists and in the background the death knell began chiming for the remains of the once proud Lotus team. Possibly the saddest moment of this season was Lotus failing to qualify either car for the 1989 Belgian race.

A rain soaked Adelaide that year was deemed too perilous by the drivers but as always their cries fell on deaf ears. Prost withdrew after the first lap and the over-riding image from TV was Senna emerging from the spray as he rammed into the rear of Martin Brundle’s Brabham – unsighted.

Following a spin, Nakajima had finished the first lap in last place but his driving today was inspired – to the point that his harshest critics became his biggest fans. He would set fastest lap on his drive through to fourth.

Over the course of five seasons Honda’s nepotism failed to bring in results and Nakajima quietly retired back to the Land of the Rising Sun.


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