#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 22nd October 2014

•October 22, 2014 • 65 Comments

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This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Features: Make or Break for Hamilton

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”


OTD Lite: 1989 – Prost drives into Senna

BREAKING NEWS (Updated as stories come in)

Mclaren partners prepare to go to war

Villeneuve – Mclaren wronged Alonso in 2007

Weber says Vettel ‘too sensitive’

Caterham Adminstrator gets tough


OTD Lite: 1989 – Prost drives into Senna

Alain Prost had declared his intention before the race weekend had even begun. If Ayrton Senna attempted to pass him, he would not back out of a potential collision as he had previously. The Professor had the advantage of leading the title race by 16 points and did not need to win either of the remaining two races. Senna did.

On the 47th lap, six from the end, Senna took the inside line into the chicane and Prost turned into him.

Of course as a Senna fan, I would see it that way, but aerial footage of the collision (impossible to find it seems) shows that Prost turned in far too early to have made the apex – a similar trait that his son Nicolas displayed admirably when he collided with Nick Heidfeld in the inaugural Formula E race. Immovable object meets irresistible force.

Senna received a push start as his car was still on the race track – something that was allowed – and went on to win the race passing  Alessandro Nannini in a similar manouvre. But it was now that Jean Marie Balestre – the French President of the FIA – came bearing his power over the sport. Senna was excluded from the race, effectively securing the title for Prost.

It was this that Max Mosley found to be utterly disturbing and would lead to his running for Presidency against what he believed was a manipulative regime and for once the British publications voiced their opinions in favour of the Brazilian and against the French collusion.

The Jackal

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BREAKING NEWS

Sam Michael leaves McLaren to return to Australia

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Mclaren partners prepare to go to war

In recent weeks TJ13 has been reporting that things do not look rosy for the Mclaren group currently. With another lacklustre year almost over, the return of Honda is causing huge media interest for the coming season.

Speculation continues as to the stage that the Japanese manufacturer is currently at – with its engine – and talks with Fernando Alonso are daily in the rumour mill yet get no closer to finalisation. The latest news is that the Spaniard is waiting on ‘developments at Woking’, before inking the offered contract to join.

The TJ13 DN&C yesterday reported the a major shake-up and culling of staff within the McLaren motorsport division, following the whisper that the relationship between the founding partners of Mclaren International had collapsed.

d08brn789Italy’s Autosprint reveals today, that there is a serious division between Mansour Ojjeh and Ron Dennis, who joined forces in 1981 to establish the team. Ojjeh has always been a close friend’s of Ron’s and funded the Porsche designed Tag-Turbo engine that dominated F1 for three years. But recently, Mansour underwent a double lung transplant, and whilst during his recuperation – the Ronster was making it known he was looking for funding, to buy our his partners.completely.

Ojjeh is currently in talks with billionaire Lawrence Stroll, over acquiring a controlling interest in the Mclaren Group from the Mumtalakat holding company. Were this to happen, , Ron Dennis would most likely be ousted from the Woking team – ironically in much the same fashion that Martin Whitmarsh was removed.

With the investors sensing blood, Big Ron is currently preparing a financial report to be released to the shareholders at the end of November. The subsequent meeting may prove to be pivotal in deciding whether – as did Ferrari with Il Padrino – the days of the McLaren godfather have now passed.

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Villeneuve – Mclaren wronged Alonso in 2007

1640.2Americans’ often harbour a certain disdain toward their Canadian neighbours,  in a similar manner to the one which exists between England and Scotland. However, the abrasive character of Jacques Villeneuve at times appears to make ‘Muricans’ of us all..

The 1997 World Champion has almost become a caricature of himself and most comments he makes to the press appear to be met from the readers with ridicule and scorn. With the backdrop of Alonso’s uncertain future, Jacques Villeneuve decided that it was appropriate to revisit the 2007 season and discuss how Mclaren gifted Ferrari the title.

Of course this review from Villeneuve is superficial at best. There is no recognition of the ‘secret information’ which Mclaren had in their possession; information of such a sensitive nature that a interpreter was engaged, to convey the Fred the precise meaning of what was being said.

Never one to demonstrate his cerebral prowess, Villeneuve merely waxes lyrical – on what Woking did wrong.

“When Fernando stepped in the Mclaren, he faced more or less the same situation I had with the arrival of Jenson Button at Bar-Honda. Basically, they said “Lewis is our future, you’re just the World Champion, so shut up. They used Alonso as a teacher for Hamilton so that the Briton would learn as much as possible in his first season. It was also the main reason he caused the team to implode.”

“It wasn’t necessary to focus on a rookie winning the title immediately. Lewis would have soon made it to the top. They could have been patient. Fernando was the World Champion – that they recruited from Renault. It was basically Mclaren that made the mistake. Fernando only did what he could do.”

Or in English parlance, the pseudo Samurai thought first of himself, as always..

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Weber says Vettel ‘too sensitive’

On the few occasions this year that we’ve seen mark Webber at an F1 weekend, he has been remarkably gracious in his defence of his former team mates inability to master the Newey 2014 Bull as he is regularly out performed by Webber’s “son and heir”.

Yet now, in a surprising attack….. Oh….. hang on…..Errm…

Will Weber, Michael Schumacher’s former manager who brokered the mega remuneration deals with Ferrari for Michael – then took his 20% – has decided it’s time for 5 last minutes of fame.

With the world expecting Ferrari to imminently confirm their new driver as Sebastian Vettel, Weber says that Vettel will never emulate his former client – because he is “too sensitive”.

 “If something is not working well, the pressure at Ferrari is greater than it is anywhere else. It is not always ‘peace, joy and pancakes’, but a lot of politics.

I think if a Fernando Alonso cannot deal with it, then no one can,” Weber said. “Sebastian is much more sensitive than Michael.”

The man in Formula 1 who always looks on the bright side of life, Helmut Marko, reckons Weber is right.

“Michael benefitted in his time from an unlimited number of test kilometres and close cooperation with the tyre partner Bridgestone,” Marko observes. That said, four dominant years at Red Bull, would suggest that with a level playing field for all – this didn’t and shouldn’t hinder Seb.

It may be that Sebastian indeed has his work cut our for him should he arrive in Maranello. The latest car for 2015 is not good, so much so that already the ‘spoken only behind closed doors’ working title for the project is codename “666”

The 2015 F1 offering from Ferrari will be the first designed from scratch by James Allison

That said, this year in Ferrari-land has felt like a re run of the Great Italian Wars, such has been the general carnage, in fighting and blood-letting.

Schumacher arrived at Ferrari when the Tifosi had been beaten into submission year on year, such that the expectation of wining much was none existant.

The Schumacher years in the minds of the Red Team fans are still fresh, and expectation high.

However, should Vettel deliver, then surely his contribution would rank ahead of Fernando’s and even greater than Michael Schumacher’s, when considering the lowest of low ebbs Ferrari find themselves at right now.

Remember Seb’s got 4 fingers up and some time to go. Michael finished on 7.

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Caterham Adminstrator gets tough

As reported by TJ13, the Caterham cars returned from a short vacation in Germany following the Russian GP. The plan was to spruce up the livery, add some windscreen wash and oil, then send them on their way to Austin.

However, the Administrator appointed to manage the affairs of the Caterham F1 debacle has scuppered this plan. Finbarr O’Connell now says, “My legal advice is that I own the cars and won’t be allowing the cars out of the factory until I reach an acceptable agreement,” said Finbarr O’Connell

Further, last week TJ13 received reports that a factory in Banbury was being prepared as a contingent should the team be forced from its current base in Leafield. This may now be necessary fairly soon, as O’Connell is insistent,  “We are allowing 1MRT (the team) to use our facility while we negotiate a settlement. They need to reach an agreement with us.”

All the alleged fuss and bother about who owns what, appears to have been resolved already as the administrator is flexing his muscle to ensure assets (cars) are not about to head to the land of Disney anytime soon.

This ‘confused ownership’ nonsense has been perpetrated since Ravetto attempted a smoke and mirrors charade prior to the Japanese GP, with another of his “Hi know nothing” Fawlty Towers soliloquies.

The fact is, if 1MRT have been paying or appropriate fees to Caterham Sports Ltd who were contracted to supply and maintain the F1 cars, then the assets – the cars and race equipment and factory fixtures and fittings – still belong to the company now under the control of the administrator.

Manfredi and his buddies are left with little and stand Gollum like clutching the precious racing license signed by the FIA.

It is unbelievable that anyone still buys the ‘Swiss based Arab investor’ nonsense. Even were these ghosts of the night real, and refusing to pay debt left undisclosed by Fernandes, they should know how much it costs to run even a shoestring version of operations at Caterham.

It appears the Administrator may have struck a fatal blow to the Kolles master plan of syphoning away cash provided from the pay drivers to develop his Forza Rosso car on the QT – whilst barely maintaining a skeleton effort to run the Caterham 2014 cars until Abu Dhabi.

So then, 20 cars for Austin? Yes, unless a real world oil backed cheque of some significance, lands on the Administrators desk and arrives with the precision of the historic reputation of the Swiss based clockmakers.

#F1 Features: Make or Break for Hamilton

•October 22, 2014 • 109 Comments

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

The very nature of Formula One’s driver rotation means the pilots come and go in waves.  We, the fans, are often left to compare drivers of different generations as a way of quantifying their skill and to define their legacy long after their racing overalls gather dust in a wardrobe.

Some such drivers divide opinion over how they should be considered, if perhaps their statistics flatter their relative talents.  To my mind, the most recent of these was the 2009 World Drivers Champion, Jenson Button, who is undeniably one of the most intelligent drivers behind a wheel of racing car, although it could be argued lacks the outright pace.  There are many who feel that he ‘lucked into’ his Championship win by simply being in the right place at the right time, as the double diffuser from Brawn GP dominated proceedings from the off.

When Button moved onto McLaren there was a direct comparison with another World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, who for all intents and purposes beat the Frome man.  The statistics would tell you that Button beat his teammate (Button outscored Hamilton over their 3 seasons together), although arguably it was Hamilton who drove development and was the team leader, until an errant tweet from Hamilton that many will recall.

The infamous telemetry tweeted by Hamilton, following the Spa 2012 qualifying

The infamous telemetry tweeted by Hamilton, following the Spa 2012 qualifying

The discussion of who is the better driver of the pair is something better left for another time.  My attention was drawn to a comparison between Lewis Hamilton and the 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve. The parallels are uncanny and will be sure to raise eyebrows…

Let’s examine the career of the older of the two, the Canadian, Jacques, son of Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve who sprung into Formula One in 1996.  He burst onto the scene with Williams, in the FW18, the quickest and most reliable of the season charging to pole position at the season opener in Australia.  He was only denied the race victory by an oil leak, but still managed to hold on to second place.  A podium on his debut; just like a certain driver from Stevenage managed 11 years later.

Villeneuve fought with Hill for the title that year, eventually losing out, having taken 4 victories.  This was a record for a rookie season, something which Lewis Hamilton would equal in 2007.  Both drivers were thrust onto the Formula One scene and rose to the challenge of the limelight.

It would be in their second season that both Villeneuve and Hamilton would triumph, again in dominant cars.  Heinz-Harald Frentzen had replaced Damon Hill at Williams, as Heikki Kovalianen had done Alonso, with both Villeneuve and Hamilton effectively being made the number one driver in their respective teams.  Both drivers fought a Ferrari driver for the title and secured the Championship at the final race of the season.

Left: JV celebrates in 1997 Right: Hamilton following the dramatic 2008 climax

Left: JV celebrates in 1997
Right: Hamilton following the dramatic 2008 climax

The parallels are there for all to see, but are not limited to just what happened in their early careers.  Both flew the nest in search of building their own Championship winning team to cement their future legacy.  The outcome of JV’s career has become part of the fabric of F1 history – having left Williams he failed to ever come close to winning the title again.  He would remain a one season wonder after failing to win another race after 1997.

JV moved to the newly founded BAR team, but was unable to repeat his previous successes. He scored a handful of podiums, before Craig Pollock, his team manager and long-time supporter, was fired and replaced by David Richards.  As soon as the support from inside the team was removed, he soon became uncomfortable within the confines of the setup.  His $15 million a year salary was called into question given his under-par performances on the track.  Whilst Villeneuve saw out the remainder of his contract, he drifted further and further out of favour as incoming teammates were better received than the Canadian, who on more than one occasion criticised the team.  Ironically, it was Jenson Button who had muscled into the BAR setup and out-scored JV firmly making himself at home within the team.

The alignment of Hamilton’s exit from McLaren and JV’s from BAR is staggering.  As soon as their feathers were ruffled and things did not go to plan they packed their bags and left.  The big money offer that Lewis Hamilton is chasing at the moment is undoubtedly part of the delay, which means justifying his value is of paramount importance.

So what now for Lewis?

2014 is now arguably a year of make or break for Hamilton.  Having left McLaren after so much poor reliability had cost him the chance to win in 2012, if the same were to happen in 2014 – with Mercedes – it would leave him in a difficult position.  He beat Nico Rosberg resoundingly last year (although much of this was due to Rosberg’s poor luck – which is demonstrated in the Victims of Circumstance final table for 2013) even though he was still bedding into his new home in Brackley.

Now without the guiding hand of Ross Brawn, he is left much more exposed than the previous year.  Given the pre-season expectation that he would not struggle against Nico Rosberg, and should beat him hands down, it would do no end of damage if he were to be outscored by his teammate.  JV was forced out of BAR after being beaten by his teammate for the second time in his career; a fate which could soon afflict Lewis Hamilton should he fail this year.

With just a year to go on his contract he finds himself in a precarious position in Formula One.  The big question, which currently is purely hypothetical, is where will Lewis go to should he be forced out of the Brackley fold? A return to McLaren is unlikely, racing with Vettel at Ferrari is also unlikely, both of the Red Bull seats will likely already be taken, as well as Bottas firmly making Williams his at the moment.  Even with a 17 point lead in the Championship, Hamilton says he is not feeling secure in the title fight.

Should he lose, he may even be forced into taking a sabbatical like JV did as he waits for a top seat to become available, although this would be highly unlikely with Alonso seemingly heading towards that fate.  At this point, what would be left of his legacy with his title win a distant memory?

The future is highly uncertain for Hamilton with so much more than just a world title resting on the next 3 races.  Should he win, he will almost certainly be offered his new contract, but more importantly he would cement himself as more than just a one season wonder. The next month is the most important of Lewis Hamilton’s career – I for one cannot wait to see how the drama unfolds.

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 21st October 2014

•October 21, 2014 • 94 Comments

DN&C_header_EXPRESS_4

This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on The Judge 13:

Does #GP2 need DRS?

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”


OTD Lite: 1984 – My kingdom for half a point

Enter a new party in the Caterham con (UPDATE 14:20 GMT)

Kobayashi Concerned over safety of his Caterham car

Sid Watkins’ hometown – Liverpool – to honour memory with new building

Verstappen has same English teacher as Vettel

Mclaren and Podromou gearing up for 2016

Hulkenberg secure for 2015

FIA panel of experts appointed to examine Bianchi crash encouraging

Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1


OTD Lite: 1984 – My kingdom for half a point

In the days before electronics controlled everything, HD TV transmissions and race meetings worth 50 points to the winning driver – men used to sweat to complete race distances, fighting their cars, circuits and each other. Only the top 6 would score points – 9 for a win,followed by 6,4,3,2,1. Unlike the 21st century, scoring a point meant achievement rather than everybody gets a prize for completing the egg and spoon race..

Formel 1: Niki Lauda und Alain Prost 1984

Thirty years ago today, Niki Lauda secured his third world title with just a half point separating him from Alain Prost. If the numbering system makes little sense in where the half point came from, you have to go back to the Monaco Gp that year.

Run in torrential conditions, the race was stopped barely past half distance as the itsy-bitsy Toleman team was about to win with a young newcomer called Senna at the wheel – hence the awarding of half points only.

If the FIA had allowed the race to run its full distance – even if this Brazilian interloper had won the race, Prost would have taken six points for second rather than the 4 1/2 he received for the win.

With that cheery thought we would now be calling Prost the five time World Champion, and Niki merely a double champion…

The Jackal

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Enter a new party in the Caterham con

UPDATE: 14:20

TJ13 has been informed that Caterham F1 have now defaulted on contracts with their Academy drivers. They are owed prize money which the team is retaining.

Neither the drivers nor their representatives have been contacted, but they have been deleted from the Caterham website.

UPDATE END

AS TJ13 reported would happen last week, Caterham Sports Ltd has now been taken into administration. London based accountants Smith & Williamson have been appointed as Administrators for the Leafield based F1 car manufacturer.

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Unlike certain writers who have little knowledge of how these things are handled, this may well offer some security to employees still remaining as employees of the Caterham company referred to above.

Further, the bailiffs have not sold any of the goods they removed from the Leafield premises – not because there is uncertainty over which company owns them as implied by Manfredi Ravetto and publicised by his favourite F1 writers, but because a creditor not represented by the bailiffs when they were given permission to remove assets act – filed a separate legal action – petitioning for the winding up of the company on the 11th November.

This action by the latter creditor protected their interests from being jeopardised in the sale by the bailiffs, where only the creditors who had the seizure order were benefiting.

The owner(s) of Caterham Sports Ltd have since recovered the ball back into their own court from the court hearing listed for Remembrance Day, by applying themselves for Administrative oversight. This action today was a result of Caterham’s own doing.

This will presumably buy them time beyond the hearing on the 11th November (when they may have been ordered to cease activity), to beyond the date of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Employees have been forced to play the “which company is employing me” Hokey Cokey as letters informing them their contracts would be moved to 1MRT (foreign holding company) were issued, then apparently revoked.

There will be NO CONFUSION as to who owns what as the accountants will quickly get to work.

Also, there are UK laws which prevent assets from simply being shifted from one company to another with the intention of asset stripping, particularly when one is listed in the UK and one is listed abroad eg from Caterham Sports Ltd to 1MRT. To avoid this requires highly skilled operatives, detailed planning and usually a string of international operations.

The management/owner(s) of the Caterham F1 team appear clearly to not fit the description in the paragraph above

As TJ13 has stated many times, this appears to be little to do with saving the precious F1 racing license, held by 1MRT – and more about milking parts of the current pay drivers revenue stream to design a car for 2015.

This car is unlikely to appear in green colours and under the name of Caterham.

For now, the Administrators believe, “Positive discussions were held between the administrators and the team manager, Manfredi Ravetto, and also with the financial backers of the team on Friday 17 October and it is hoped that these will lead to a financially acceptable arrangement for the continuation of the relationship between the Company and the F1 Team”.

This illusion may well subside should the misrepresentations which have been made to current creditors and staff continue.

In that case, “if a financially acceptable arrangement cannot be agreed between the administrators and the Caterham F1 Team the administrators will then enter into dialogue with other interested parties with regard to a sale of the business and assets of the Company”.

What is for sure – proper scrutiny of the shady dealings behind the scenes will now occur, and the “Swiss based Arab Investors” will have to put up – or shut up.

If you wish to acquire an F1 team, there are things more precious than running it into the ground to avoid paying creditors a few million pounds in the Administration process.

It may be the creditors are awarded 10 pence in the pound for the monies they are owed and some form of Caterham could rise as a phoenix to continue. Though with the brain drain and bad reputation as an employer within the industry, good staff will be reticent to darken the doors of Leafield if they have other opportunities in F1 valley.

Then again, if you just want to pillage a company for all its worth, buy it out of insolvency on the cheap and ship it off abroad – you wouldn’t care.

Sometimes being an F1 writer and close to those at the top of an F1 entity has its disadvantages, when their explanations are deceptive by intent, and you are too close to the tree to see the forest.

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Kobayashi Concerned over safety of his Caterham car

kamui1

Drivers rarely drive into the team pit garage during a race, climb out of their cars without knowing what is wrong with them. Even when this happens, by the time they speak to the press, they are ‘in line’ with the teams thoughts on the matter.

The news from Russia once again saw Manfredi Ravetto doing his Fawlty Towers wide eyed uncomprehending Manuel stare, as he declared “Hi know nothing” about the claims made by Kamui Kobayashi that the team had retired the car to save mileage.

Ravetto added, “We saw an issue on the brakes – a problem that Kamui had already reported on Saturday during FP3 – so we decided to change them, but the problem persisted so we decided to stop.”

What we didn’t know was that Kamui had seen something on his car which scared the life out of him. He posted on his facebook page, “Scary! Last night a suspension defect was found. There’s no spare so it was repaired by wrapping it in carbon.

It’s checked all the time but, even so, being asked to race like this is too scary! I want to go home already.

From here on there are still practices and the race to go. I’m seriously troubled. As a racing driver, should I drive? Should I safely decline? I drive again in 15 minutes…”

Kamuifacebook

In Japanese this means F^@k, S*^t Bo()ocks, I'm going to die

The team confirmed there had been “small defects” discovered and rectified. 

Lets see whether the FIA act to ensure there are no safety issues with the Caterham cars, following what some see as remiss safety decisions made by FIA representatives – which may have led to the tragedy in Suzuka.

Its one thing being a bunch of allegedly rich “Swiss based Arab Investors” who refuse to pay the debts of the previous owner, but another when they can’t be bothered providing proper funding to build sufficient components for the car.

These people surely do not exist – and are a creation not of Kolles imagination, but of wilful impropriety.

Neither do serious investors in Formula 1 have a revolving door of directors listed at companies house.

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F1 fans remember the death throes of HRT where the drivers were flying off the circuit into tyre walls a few laps into the races, because the team had no money for decent brakes.

Charlie Whiting needs to order repeated and systematic scrutineering of the Caterham cars from now to the end of the season – and prior to each session the drivers are obliged to drive.

Any doubt about their safety – must lead to them being disqualified from participating.

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Sid Watkins’ hometown – Liverpool – to honour memory with new building

Professor-Sid-WatkinsProfessor Sid Watkins is to be honoured with a new three-storey building named after him. The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust building will include a complex rehabilitation unit, pain management programme, medical training facilities as well as a brain injuries unit run by mental health trust Mersey Care.

The Sid Watkins building will open in January.

His widow Mrs Susan Watkins said: “My husband would have been proud to know that his name has been attached to this rehabilitation facility, both its calibre and scope reflect his own attitudes to patient care, and his concern for the ongoing needs of those who suffer from neurological diseases.”

‘Sid’ as he was affectionately known, was one of the true pioneers of Formula One. He never raced a Grand Prix car but from 1978 through to his retirement in January 2005 he was a pivotal figure in the enhancement of safety throughout the F1 circus.

His passing on 12th September 2012 was mourned and celebrated equally amongst motor-racing fans throughout the world but none had greater cause to thank him than the generations of Formula One drivers who escaped serious injury because of advancements he made to circuit safety.

Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart OBE said: “Professor Sid Watkins was one of the greatest men of medicine that I have ever encountered. His dedication to the cause, his constant search for new methods of treatment and prevention have been a boon to the world of medicine, and for all those who have had the good fortune to be treated by him. His contribution to saving the lives of many people in motorsport will never be forgotten”

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Verstappen has same English teacher as Vettel

“It’s bulls**t”, exclaims young Max Verstappen about the application of mental strength in the pinnacle of motorsport. At just 17 years of age, the talented teenager is about to embark on his maiden season in F1 after having finished third in his first season of single seater racing.

“I have no problems at all with mental strength,” he told Red Bull’s website. “I’m really relaxed and I don’t want to think about mental stress, or how strong you are mentally because, to be honest, I find it a bit bullshit.”

Shockingly, since the world collapsed in outrage when Vettel used the four letter word – whilst discussing the acoustics merits of the current engines – it would seem that Red Bull were quite enamoured by their young protege.

Although considering his talents were being offered to Mercedes before the fizzy drinks company took over, it is difficult to appreciate how much influence Red Bull has had – other than to force the FIA to actually look at the qualification process for a Superlicence – in their usual considered manner – from 2017..

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Mclaren and Podromou gearing up for 2016

The highly regarded James Allison was courted by Red Bull back in mid 2013 to replace Adrian Newey. After leaving Lotus, many rumours emanated from F1 of the different teams he would sign for and eventually decided to join the Italians in Maranello.

His arrival in autumn last year was too late to have any impact on the 2014 design and he set about working with the different departments leading up to his 2015 design.

Peter Podromou was Adrian Newey’s right hand man at Red Bull and decided to leave the Milton Keynes based squad to return to the Woking squad. He assumed his new role in mid September after his required gardening leave and has set about integrating himself within the depleted team that he has found there.

With Pat Fry having joined Ferrari in 2010 he then recruited from Woking – James Tortora, Ioannis Veludis and Rupart Daraker to the Gestione Sportiva. Similarly a number of engineers followed our favourite enforcer, Paddy Lowe, to Mercedes with the effect of destabilising Ron’s team further.

By all accounts, the Anglo-Cypriot has already designed a new front wing that will debut at the Abu-Dhabi finale and is having an influence over the design direction of the Mclaren MP4/30. This car will be more Red Bull inspired than traditional Macca – which may not be a bad thing.

Either way, Ron Dennis is aware that Mclaren is likely to have to write 2015 off as they seek to establish a new engineering matrix. Beyond this is talk from several Italian sources that due to no title sponsor Mclaren is having to streamline their operation with rumours suggesting a culling of staff including current CEO Jonathan Neale, technical director Tim Goss and sporting director Sam Michael – with Racing Director, Eric Boullier taking on more responsibility within the team… surely a Technical Director in everything bar name.

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Hulkenberg secure for 2015

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “Everybody in the team is delighted to see Nico remain a Sahara Force India driver for next season. We rate him very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points. We know him extremely well: he’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid and I am proud that he will continue to race in the colours of Sahara Force India.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s good to confirm my plans for next season. This is a team I know extremely well and we’ve enjoyed a great year together with some special results. The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year. We have a strong partner in Mercedes and everyone in the team is motivated and hungry for more success. I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year.” (Sahara Force IndiaTeam).

So this year Vijay Mallya is not playing his usual party game of ‘here’s a lovely Christmas present Mr. now ex-driver – your P45 notice”. Nico Hulkenberg gets another season in Formula 1 racing for the Silverstone outfit.

There had been rumours the much liked and talented German driver would be forced to give way for a driver bringing more cash, though as yet the Indian government hasn’t caught up with Vijay – as they have with Sahara boss Rubrata Roy.

Force India consistently punch above their weight, given the meagre budget their once billionaire owner affords them. It appears that for now, the Slim family are putting on hold their search for a Formula 1 team to play with, and so Nico has another year of relative disappointment to look forward to.

Force India’s modus operandi is – start well – run out of money to develop the car – slide back towards the head of the rest of the field.

It may be tougher for the team next year, as Vijay’s co-share holder is clearly is short of cash.

Subrata Roy was jailed in March this year for defrauding $billions from millions of small Indian investors who were sold outlawed bonds. He was ordered to repay the investors in full, but its been a long hot summer for Roy in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

He did win the right to special privileges, 14 hours a day access to a conference room to facilitate him negotiating the sale of assets to meet the $1.4bn bail tariff.

Having failed for months to deliver on his promises, Roy was given a final 15 days to sell his hotels, which include the Grosvenor house in London and the Plaza in New York.

It is presumably difficult to sell such real estate at market value when potential buyers are aware of your situation.

Roy came up with nothing.

So on October 1st, Roy was sent back to his cell and the privilege of the use of an air conditioned luxury conference suite was removed.

Tihar jail DIG Mukesh Prasad informed the media (one imagines with a grin), “We received no further extension orders from the court and the duration for which Subrata Roy was allowed to use the conference room with special facilities ended yesterday. He has been shifted back to the jail today. He will be staying at the central jail here in jail number one,” reported the Indian Times.

Mallya is more fortunate than Roy. He has defrauded defaulted on billions too, however, his victims are the financial institutions of India, which is a country that has no bankruptcy laws, foreclosing on assets pledged against loans is a long and difficult road.

Vijay oowns an Indian cricket team in the lucrative IPL as well as a share in Sahara Force India, however, he is the the first such high-profile businessman to be declared a ‘wilful defaulter’ by the banking institutions of India.

The Indian Times suggests this reflects, “a growing frustration within India’s banking system, and beyond, about local tycoons living luxurious lifestyles, even while claiming their companies cannot repay debts to state banks”.

For now Vijay is tantalisingly beyond the reach of those who would see him put on trial. However, his public image in India has been substantially tarnished. There are still thousands of Kingfisher employees who worked to keep Vijay’s symbol of vanity and pride in the air – and have not been paid for several months work.

In the meantime – F1’s Jabba the Hutt – continues to gorge himself on any publicity – amongst other things – he can claw into his grasp.

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FIA panel of experts appointed to examine Bianchi crash encouraging

Following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident at the Japanese GP, the FIA pressed F1 Race Director and safety delegate, Charlie Whiting, to complete a report into the surrounding circumstances and within four days faced the accredited F1 media – behind closed doors.

An emotional Jean Todt attended the media event in Sochi, promising he would establish a ‘panel of expert witnesses’ to examine what should be done going forward.

This may have been a loose form of words, however, many F1 fans are angry with the implication – who did what and when in Suzuka, is now complete.

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The FIA have now announced the panel, which will be headed up by Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission, and it includes some eye catching names.

In a statement released by the FIA, they said: “The group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA President.

The work of the group will start this week and a full presentation of its findings is to be made at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 3 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.

Peter Wright, Chairman of the FIA Safety Commission, has been entrusted with the Presidency of the newly established accident panel.”

Panel members:-

Presidency :
Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission
 
Members :
Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari
Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari
Gerd Ennser, Chief Stewards’ representative
Emerson Fittipaldi, President of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, F1 Steward
Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director
Roger Peart, President of the Circuits Commission, President of the ASN of Canada, F1 Steward
Antonio Rigozzi, Advocate, Judge at the International Court of Appeal of the FIA co-opted by the teams
Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission
Alex Wurz, President of the GPDA, drivers’ representative

It has been amusing to read some of the F1 media writers’ impressions of this investigation once the panel was announced; particularly those who dismiss this exercise as a sham.

First to consider, is the personal connection between Jean Todt and the Bianchi family, and for that reason alone there is hope to believe the FIA president will insist proper scrutiny is applied. His selection of experts demonstrates this most convincingly.

On the whole, this is a group of individuals with a diverse and substantive weight of appropriate experience and the inclusion of Ross Brawn and Stefano Dominicali adds gravitas and an element of integrity, for those unaware of the other members and their background.

Specifically, TJ13 is highly encouraged to see the appointment of Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director, on the panel. He is a calm and measured individual, who is recognisable to sports car racers around the world and perceived as a reassuring and consistent presence to not only the series’ organisers but also to its competitors.

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As race director of the WEC, Freitas has multi class series races to oversee, where the braking capabilities, acceleration – and therefore closing speeds, together with top speed of the cars in the lowest class – are a gulf apart from those racing in the premier class. Ensuring the safety of all on and around the track in this form of racing, is probably the biggest challenge in world motorsport.

The Portuguese WEC Race Director, speaks five languages fluently and first became involved in motorsport almost 40 years ago briefly as a mechanic.

However, he quickly moved trackside spending time as a marshal then a Clerk of the Course.  He has been an FIA WEC Race Director since 2002 and has unparalleled experience in covering single seater, touring car and endurance racing championships on a global basis.

UntitledThis contrasts with F1’s Race Director and his assistant Herbie Blash, who began their association together working for Bernie Ecclestone in the Brabham days.

Whiting’s background is as a grease monkey. He was chief mechanic for the World Drivers’ Championship successes of Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. Charlie was appointed by the FIA as F1 Technical Delegate in 1988 and in 1997 became the Race Director and Safety Delegate.

UntitledBlash too has a motorsports mechanical background, and having hung up his spanner, he moved into various team management roles, until he was recruited by the FIA in 1995 as their Deputy Race Director at all GP’s.

The different dynamic of how Race Control in the WEC operates as compared to F1, is notable. Though this is the remit for another piece, maybe from ‘the voice of the fans’.

What is of absolute certainty, is when Eduardo is called upon to make split second decisions during a race, his experience of manhandling wrecked cars trackside… as a marshal – whilst racers hurtle past – is firmly embedded in his psyche.

We shall know whether trust in this body is well placed or not, presuming that post the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Qatar, December 3rd,  a proper public presentation of their reports findings is made.

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Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1

The FIA have upgraded the Moscow Raceway circuit license to a Grade 1 so it cold host a Formula 1 GP.

This would add to Hermann Tilke’s ever expanding portfolio of Formula 1 events, should President Putin feel he has more chance of making the race on time, if it’s in his back yard.

The F1 journalists who were not privileged to be accommodated in Alders Disney Hotel, were universally critical of the location of the inaugural Russian GP. Some likening it to Mokpo, but without the bars and restaurants which actually had food in their larders.

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However, Moscow Raceway is actually located 100 km from the capital city near the villages of Sheludkovo and Fedyukovo, so whether this will prove to be much more cosmopolitan than Alders is questionable.

Still even an upgrade from the Alders staple diet of the cold soup Okroshka, to the hardly extravagant but warm borscht or shchi may at least warm the cockles of the scribblers’ hearts as they bash out another interview with Jenson – or not.

A statement on the Raceway’s website says, “Moscow Raceway now has a new FIA Grade 1 license

Since its opening in 2012 the track was approved by the highest sporting authorities and received T1 license which allowed to host world racing races and F1 tests and rides. After three successful international seasons Moscow Raceway has upgraded its status and now can host all kind of races including Formula 1.

Who knows, maybe we’ll have two Grand Prix in the largest land mass country on planet earth.

Does #GP2 need DRS?

•October 21, 2014 • 19 Comments

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

GP2 started in 2005 following the discontinuation of Formula 3000.  In an era of large profit and unrivalled corporate spending the series seemed destined for success.  The lower sponsorship demands, around £2 million, were far less than the step above it meaning it was ideal as a progressive step.

In order to maintain its position as the most relevant series to feed Formula One there are many who would argue that there is a requirement for parity between the two. The argument would be based upon those who stand in the corner that the gap between GP2 and F1, on-track, is too much.  Of course, in this respect the difference between the two will always be there.  As the second tier is still very much in its infancy, the inaugural season in 2005, the lack of complexity is something that is pivotal to the series’ success.

Using tried and tested technology, a 4.0 litre normally-aspirated V8 engine, the cars require little mechanical input and expertise to function.  This, combined with the specification chassis provided by Dallara Automobili, is of paramount importance to keeping the finances of the racing within reach of aspiring racers.  For those that feel there is problem with pay drivers in Formula One already, the problem in GP2 would be ten-fold if development were permitted within the regulations.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

After watching a procession in Russia as Hamilton cruised home to victory, the need for overtaking aids is apparent and undeniable.  With such complicated aerodynamic devices circulating around a track with low degradation (due to the freshly laid asphalt), the DRS (Drag Reduction System) was clearly necessary.  However, those who watched the feature race will know to what I extent I mean when I say GP2 and F1 were chalk and cheese here.

We saw overtakes in areas not thought possible, cars going 3 a breast into a corner and, the part which interested me the most, teamwork to defend a position.  Stéphane Richelmi, teammate to newly crowned Champion Jolyon Palmer, defended for just over half a lap on much older rubber, against the chasing Mitch Evans in the Russian Time car.

This kind of defence would not have been possible if DRS had been in operation – a move which for all intents and purposes secured the race for Palmer as it allowed him to pull a small gap on Evans.  Hard, but fair racing was shown there which enthralled the onlookers. This is what will draw in audiences, not artificial aids which increase overtaking to ridiculous quantities.

Jolyon Palmer in the much less complex DAMS GP2 car - Notice the basic front wing

Jolyon Palmer in the much less complex DAMS GP2 car – Notice the basic front wing

Quality over quantity

I do not have the wool pulled so far over my eyes to not realise that all what I mentioned above was helped by the timing of the safety car.   Of course, arranging a safety car is hardly something anyone would be able to facilitate legally or indeed any fan want to see.  However, is there not a better way to increase overtaking chances?

GP2 CEO Bruno Michel had this to say when the introduction of DRS was announced, “We’ve always said that GP2 was able to produce some amazing races without the addition of DRS or any other devices, and once again the 2014 season has proved that with some close racing and exciting on-track battles.”

The GP2 boss would seem to agree with the notion set out, however, he continued, “we also have to make sure that we keep in line with our mission statement: preparing the drivers for the next step, Formula 1.” Reaffirming the importance of making the series relevant to driver progression makes sense – even more so when we consider that World Series by Renault, a direct competitor to GP2, has already incorporated the overtaking aid.

“It is important to keep adding modifications – at a reasonable cost – that will slightly tweak the technical features of our car. Formula 1 is constantly evolving. It is impossible for GP2 to remain with the same car over a long period of time when its philosophy is to prepare the drivers for F1.”

The measure being taken is clearly one which takes cost as the most important factor, as it rightfully should.  In an ideal world, energy recovery would feature on the cars as they are prepared for stepping up to the ‘big time’, however, DRS is the most cost-efficient change that can be made.

The real debate is how much GP2 stands alone as a spectacle for racing and how much it is a support series for Formula One?

Preparation is essential, but if changes cause people to switch off, the sponsors will up and leave – eventually there would be no series left.

Economies of scale

The news that the GP2 cars will feature the same DRS systems as their older siblings do saddens me.  The less aero-dependent cars will not need as bigger rear flaps, as bigger DRS zones and certainly not 2 of said zones at all tracks.

DRS systems are due to be tested in Europe later this month, where, I hope, some form of measure will be brought to proceedings.  The subsequent test in Bahrain in December will merely be perfecting the now tried and tested technology.  The fact that Michel says, “When we discussed this with the teams over a year ago, they told us that the drivers who they are in contact with were eager to see DRS on the GP2 cars,” shows that drivers are happy to have the devices on the cars.

The situation that the support Formula must avoid is one that we saw in 2011, where the new phenomenon took time to be perfected.  Formula One was able to absorb this adjustment time given the exciting finish to the previous year and the wholesale change with Pirelli tyres that year masking the DRS fine tuning.  GP2 will not be afforded the same privilege of bouncing back, so must get it right first time.

Furthermore, at what level does this wholesale change to racing stop?  GP2 will adopt the overtaking aid for 2015, which only opens the route for GP3 to eventually go down the same path.

2015 will be an experimental year for the sport as it builds on a successful year in 2014.  As noble as it is, that Michel sees following the principles that the sport set out as the most important, protecting the integrity of the racing must also be a focal point.

My suggestion would be to start smaller and increase DRS use as more is learnt about how it affects the cars – and how the fans react. Perhaps, at some races it would not be necessary at all.  Most fans would rather see races with fewer overtakes, but with more close battles than easy passes.  A lot stands to be gained, but equally as much could be lost if those in charge get it wrong…

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 20th October 2014

•October 20, 2014 • 88 Comments

DN&C_header_EXPRESS_4

This page will be updated throughout the day.

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

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

Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Forensics: Putting the pieces together, Part 1 #Justice4Jules

#F1 Voice of the Fans: Hippo’s View From The Waterhole, Time To Stop The #ForzaJules Hype

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 6th: Hesketh

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”


OTD Lite: 1978 – Gunnar Nilsson – An inspirational hero

Caterham cars swift visit to Leafield

Mercedes aiming to move further ahead in 2015

Prost believes Mercedes dynamic changes since Spa

FIA culpable over Bianchi crash


OTD Lite: 1978 – Gunnar Nilsson – An inspirational hero

Gunnar Nilsson is not a name many of the current generation of Formula One fans would know but in the mid 70’s he established himself as one of the rising stars in F1. Having watched fellow Swede Ronnie Peterson, he decided he wanted to be a racing driver and after an initial few seasons in lower formulae learning the trade, he won the 1975 British F3 title.

In 1976 he became a Formula One driver for Team Lotus and scored a podium in only his third event. He and his team-mate Mario Andretti developed the Lotus 77 during the season and by 1977 they embarked on the season with the early ground effect Lotus 78.

839

At Zolder that year, he took his only F1 victory, passing Niki Lauda’s Ferrari en route. Following a podium finish in the British Grand Prix, he mysteriously began struggling in qualifying and retiring from every race. In December following tests for headaches and back pains, he was diagnosed with lymph node cancer and began intensive radiotherapy. He passed away on this day in 1978.

In his last months he rejected medication to set up the Gunnar Nilsson Foundation that to this day raises funds for scientists; and the mortality rate of the testicular cancer that claimed Nilson has dropped from 90% to 5%. In 1981, Princess Anne opened the Gunnar Nilsson Suite at Charing Cross Hospital where he had received his treatment.

The Jackal

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Caterham cars swift visit to Leafield

The Caterham F1 cars which were shipped directly from Russia to Colin Kolles’ base in Germany, returned Friday night to Leafield for a lick of paint and a swift service before they depart again – probably before the weekend is out.

Interestingly, it appears the staff have been informed their employment contracts will remain with/return to Caterham Sports Ltd, following the insistence by management that on the 10th October they would be transferred from Caterham Sports Ltd to 1MRT – a foreign listed company.

TJ13 commented should this initial transfer of employment to a foreign listed company take place, should 1MRT go into administration or be wound up, the UK protective measures for employees of bankrupt companies may not apply to the staff. There is a winding up petition to be heard for Caterham Sports Ltd on 11th November 2014.

We are aware the management of Caterham have been following TJ13’s coverage of the behind the scene manoeuvres the Caterham owners have been enacting. due to comments made in the paddock in Russia by a senior manager within the team.

It is probable that if this latest story is true, the Caterham owners may have just realised that the staff’s best interests are best served under the protection of the UK laws on the Administration of companies (Chapter 11 similar). Hence why they would seek to reverse their original decision to force the employees to transfer to 1MRT.

Caterham assured their staff the removal of equipments and assets from the Leafield base just prior to the Japanese GP by The Sheriff’s Office high Court Enforcement Officers would be resolved shortly. This has proven to be untrue.

TJ13 has repeatedly asserted the new owner(s) appear to be disinterested in the long term survival of the Caterham team and unless a big seven figure sum is placed in funds with the team within the next 2 weeks, the company will be taken from the owners and administered by Insolvency Practitioners.

Dell Computers are thought to be considering enforcing the recovery of the multi-million dollar computer systems, via action in the USA. So when the Caterham F1 team arrives for the grand prix in Austin, they may be in for a surprise.

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Mercedes aiming to move further ahead in 2015

Sources from Italy are reporting rumours on the 2015 power unit from Mercedes. One of the significant updates which is being considered is a new direct injection system that Andy Cowell’s team at Brixworth is working on in conjunction with Bosch. The new system will be able to inject fuel into the combustion chamber at 500 bar pressure – which is the maximum amount allowed by the regulations.

This year Mercedes have been running their system at just over 250 bar. Not only will this increase the horsepower by around 40bhp, but other benefits include reduced consumption. Williams, Force India and Lotus, as well as the works team will all benefit from being able to start races with significantly less fuel onboard. At least that is the assumption.

Of course this all sounds doom and gloom for the other teams but there are some ponderables which for the eternal optimists is worth hanging on to. The FIA allows a system whereby a manufacturer has 48 tokens for development for the following season – this fundamental change for the German manufacturer accounts for 60% – leaving 16 tokens to use on their design elsewhere.

The other consideration is that Ferrari has been running 500 bar pressure all year with a system developed with Magnetti Marelli and although reliable hasn’t reduced their consumption significantly. Renault have decided to stick at 250 bar as they feel that a 15,000rpm limit is unachievable with current regulatory constraints. Most engines, in fact, run at 10,500rpm as any more would release horsepower quicker but would prove detrimental to consumption.

Of course, with everybody hoping for closer competition, we have to hope the Italian and French engineers have solutions that will close the gap between them – otherwise ‘The Three Amigos’ will take credit once more.

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Prost believes Mercedes dynamic changes since Spa

Four time World Champion Alain Prost is in a privileged position of having experienced intra-team battles twice in his career. In 1984-85 with Niki Lauda and 1988-89 with Ayrton Senna. The second proving arguably the most acrimonious fight in Formula One history.

But whatever the rights and wrongs of those particular stories it has offered Prost a unique insight. Thinking back to his rivals at Mclaren, Prost recollected, “Ron was very strong, but he has always shown a small preference, I had the advantage at one stage – but you do not realise exactly when you have it – when I was with Niki. But then when I was with Ayrton we had a thing and he Dennis always showed a little thing for Ayrton. Not the team but Dennis himself.”

As a Renault ambassador he travels with the Formula One circus and he remarked that the Mercedes team dynamic has changed significantly since Rosberg was forced to apologise for the collision in Belgium.

“I don’t know what is happening after Spa, but it looks a little strange. I don’t know if you can say preference, but something has change a little bit. You can feel it, you don’t see it. And if you don’t know if it’s true, but when you’re inside a team – when you start to feel something you have lost.”

27523.3It would be churlish to suggest that Prost and his old team-mate and friend, Lauda, have spoken about the intra-team battle between the Silver Arrows drivers but TJ13 has been reporting that all is not as it seems on the ‘Good Ship Mercedes’ for some time…

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FIA culpable over Bianchi crash

TJ13 has been surprised at the lack of comment in the English speaking media, on what was in a effect a mini fiasco of an FIA briefing in Sochi following the tragic events the week before at the Japanese GP [Analysis coming on Podcast then article].

In the meantime, the Italian F1 journalists have been scathing of Charlie Whiting’s handling of the Bianchi incident and the aftermath. Accusations of nepotism abound and derisory suggestions that the FIA is a laughing stock as Whiting ‘the accused’, is also offered the roles of prosecutor, Judge and Jury.

Formula Passion does exactly what it says on the tin. There are passionate articles and the use of rhetoric such as “blood stirring the shark infested waters”. Oh to be Italian.

Yet when distilled, the critiques are well reasoned and fair comment.

Yet in English, we have little comment yet from our esteemed F1 journalists, James Allen yesterday made an oblique vicarious reference, questioning the manner in which Charlie Whiting had handled this, but it was the broadest of brush comments with no detail.

Thank the Lord for Four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost, who has come out and said he is “furious” and “outraged” by the accident that seriously injured his compatriot.

Prost is adamant that the FIA and Charlie Whiting are culpable stating, “I was furious. I was really shocked by the accident. You have the procedure, but the weather conditions were getting worse and worse with more and more water, so visibility was very bad.

So you cannot have the same decision according to the procedure if the weather was good or bad. That is why I say I am not convinced. In this condition, especially with all the experience they have in terms of safety, they should have zero risk.”

Though a little tough to follow at times, the thrust of Prost’s position is that the worsening conditions meant either the race should have been red flagged and/or at least a Safety Car should have been sent out immediately there was an incident. These were the emergency measures which would have been used in Sochi had any car stopped on track.

Prost goes further and again does not pull his punches. “It is cars and tracks [that have been developed] and there was only one thing left: it was this f**king truck on the track.”

This writer is aware that Alain believes that the finance is available and that no circuit requires an ‘on circuit tractor in operation’ and that cranes external to the barriers should be installed at all F1 tracks. This view is not exactly beyond comprehension outrageous in a sport where the revenues are $1.5bn a year, and the teams collectively spend a similar amount to go racing.

The inconsistency of Race Control’s decisions during the Japanese GP 2014, is next up for Prost.

“It was safe in the beginning when it started with the safety car, because it was a difficult decision to stop the race after three or four laps and start again. That is why I was shocked, because you take the right decision at one stage.”

It is unconfirmed, but highly likely, Charlie Whiting was under pressure to get the race under way on time and complete the minimum of two laps.

We do known discussions took place between the promoter and the FIA with a view to bringing the race forward, however, the promoter Honda insisted the race start time should not be moved.

Former President of the FIA is crystal clear on who is responsible for all aspects of safety. Mosely told SKY, “The FIA. Everything to do with safety is the FIA – even right down to cancelling the race because of the weather and postponing it to the following day. You would be very reluctant to do that but if there was any safety question you would do everything that was necessary.”

The FIA chose to release information into the public domain in Sochi, and it is about time the English speaking F1 journalists, led some kind of public debate. At present they are abdicating this responsibility and social media social media along with the Italians are taking the lead.

Despite not one admission of there being improper management of the regulations or the race, the FIA are clearly in part culpable for the events we saw in Suzuka this year.

#F1 Forensics: Putting the pieces together, Part 1 #Justice4Jules

•October 19, 2014 • 73 Comments

Justice for Jules-01

Charlie Whiting completed his report into the events in Suzuka and presented it to Jean Todt within 4 days of the Jules Bianchi accident

As is to be expected and is proper, the FIA is refusing to comment on speculation on the minimal evidence revealed to date.

However, following the race being finally red flagged, FIA steward, Mika Salo, was alleged to reveal that Jules Bianchi had been speeding. This was reenforced by Charlie Whiting during the FIA press briefing which the FIA gave in Sochi on Charlie’s report.

Further, the conclusion of Charlie’s report and the action now being taken all sits under his conclusion, which stated, “It is probably better to take the decision to slow down away from the drivers.

The implication and innuendo is clear, ‘The drivers can’t be trusted to behave appropriately, so we the FIA will now act’. Yet the  question is whether the FIA had good reason to act prior to Jules accident, and are therefore culpable in anyway for the events in Suzuka.

As yet, the FIA have not admitted to this and the investigation remit appears to be focused more on ‘what can be done’ in the future.

And all this whilst Jules Bianchi lies in hospital, his life in the balance.

CWJapan

TJ13 is going to publish over the coming days, working documents and information where much of the information is freely available, but maybe not easily accessible.

These posts may relate to the race in Japan, the circuit layout, FIA documentation and interpretative comment on current FIA regulations and safety protocols

This is not intended to be a substitute for the FIA investigation which should be taking place, however, the fact that the FIA are conducting an ‘internal’ investigation only is a cause for concern, particularly given their historic record in such matters.

So these publications from TJ13 may provide key points of reference for us the fans to understand some of the factors behind the scenes of the current ‘F1 show’, and we may then be better able to judge the quality of the final report and its remit when finally presented by the FIA to the world at large.

Today, there was a clear warning issued in a coded fashion by Jules Bianchi’s mother when she said, “Jules is being well treated, the hospital is perfect, the doctors here are excellent, knowledgable, respectful and kind.

I can’t say anything more, apart from about the criticisms [that Jules contributed to the accident]. You know, some people say things to shirk their responsibilities.” Whether she is referring to the responsibilities of the media or the FIA, kind of doesn’t matter

Christine Bianchi was asked by French broadcaster RTL if she had been forced to remain silent, she replied, “Formula 1 is business, a huge business”.

The TJ13 project is rooted in the principle that the fans through social media can make a difference in Formula One.

So please engage in the comments section. You may have knowledge, photograph’s, a line of thought previously not considered and also experience which will add to the community’s understanding as a whole.


Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Tourdog  edited by Andrew Huntley-Jacobs and comment provided from the TJ13 team and readers

“A timeline”

There is a mountain of information we need to sort through. I have not been able to find all of this data in one spot, so I did the work myself. The easiest way to do this is chronological, so please bear with me. All of the following info was obtained by critical analysis of the SKY FOM Television feed, combined with the “Fan video”, F1 app telemetry data, radio transcript, etc. Lets begin by defining where everything is, so we know what we are looking at.

CLICK FOR FULL SCREEN VIEW

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0:00.00 Local time 3:00 PM.. Satellite overview at 3:00pm according to Wundermap. Notice Suzuka marked by the pin, is under the yellow storm overlay.

CLICK FOR FULL SCREEN VIEW

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0:05.00 Green lights (local time 3:05) 2 hours 28minutes to sunset

0:06.10 Lap 1 Hamilton: “safety car needs to go faster”
 
0:08:25 Erickson Spins

0:09.44 HAM message “ Tell Nico not to do any dramatic stuff cause I cant see him

0:10.05 LAP 2 RED FLAG

0:30.00 LAP 3 Safety Car restart

0:38.33 Pit to BOT “So..(garbled)…that band of rain we spoke about in half an hour, that’s not going to happen, it’s going to come later, we expect to have around 35 more laps. It will be a race to lap 40. Currently on lap 5

0:49.06 LAP 9 GREEN FLAG

1:00.00 Satellite weather view 4:00pm. Suzuka is now under the orange band of weather, and the eye of the storm has moved closer.

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1:12.17 End of Lap 21 ROS and HAM cross DRS detect point .984 sec gap, first time HAM is within 1 second of ROS. DRS not active.

1:14.12 ROS-Ham cross start/finish line start lap 23, gap .930

1:17.48 LAP 24 DRS Enabled. HAM has been in DRS range of ROS for 3 laps. (approx..) LAP 31 Pit to Bottas: “Try and keep your tire temps down by finding water offline if you can.

LAP 34 (approx) Pit to VET “We think the track’s going to dry more and more.

1:39.54 Lap 36 RB pit radio: “Ok Daniel Heavier rain in the pit lane, more rain in the pitlane” (message most likely delayed unknown amount of time)

1:40.06 Lap 36 Ted Kravitz “Its raining again..its steady, and its darkened actually in the last minute or so

1:42.15 LAP 37 Crofty “Rain starting to intensify a little bit …on a day which you might think is nice and bright by watching your TV screen, but I can assure you, by looking out of the commentary box, is a whole lot murkier when your out in the fresh damp air.

1:43.16 LAP 38 Radio call to Perez: “Fifteen minutes of rain Checco” (probably delayed) All cars still on intermediates.”
 
1:46.37 Lap 39 Pit to HAM: “Caution turn 1 some cars running wide”

HAM: “It is raining more

Pit: “…maintain tires… this rain looks like it may build

1:48.42 LAP 40 Complete, race reaches full points.

1:49.24 LAP 41 DRS DISABLED

1:49.50 Lap 41 HAM to pit: “ Its raining more, seems like it’s getting heavier and heavier”

1:50.35 LAP COUNTER change to lap 42

1:52.03 Lap 42, Lap counter of FOM feed goes YELLOW for Sutil accident.

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Bracketed times are those shown on the F1 App Data Feed
(1:27.08) F1 APP Sutil OFF

(1:27.10) F1 App Alert YELLOW IN Sector 11

(1:27:10) F1 App Alert YELLOW in Sector 8 map shows yellow from tower 12 to Degner

1:52.21 Ticker shows Bianchi in 17th +12.082

(1:27.26) F1 App shows Dulop curve yellow (sector 7)

(1:27.34) F1 App shows Sutil off at turn 7

1:52.27 Lap counter changes to lap 43

(1:27. 37) F1 App now goes from single sector double waved yellows, to sector 7 & 8 being double waved yellows

1:52.30 First camera shot of Sutil crash, he is climbing out of car. No tractor in view. This is the last camera time we see a camera 11 shot of the accident site aired by FOM.

This despite the fact we see the camera in the fan video facing the Dunlop curve an swivelling in an attempt to catch the Bianchi car as it hurtles towards the CAT digger.

Comment: Unlikely given fan video, that Camera 11 allegedly caught nothing of the incident. Even if its unusable/nothing new, it should be released as other images are out there.

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Lap counter changes LAP 43

1:52.35 ESTIMATED tractor breaches safety of the barrier, on its way to recover Sutil’s vehicle.

1:52.46 first frame on “Fan video”. The  tractor is track side of barrier Tower 12 double yellow. Box light on right side of course, apex of Dunlop shows YELLOW. Box light at entrance to DEGNER shows GREEN

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1:53.22 Lap 43, ticker shows Bianchi 17th +11.822

(1:29.04 )F1 App shows Bianchi icon stop.

1:53.44 58 seconds on fan video tower 12 GREEN Tractor is reversing with Sutils car. F1 App stays with double waved yellow flags

1:53.57 Approximate time of Jules impact Fan video time 1:11. Tractor on track for 1:17 (est). FOM cameraman is positioned 250 feet down-track from Tractor (lower left corner of following images).

He is on a platform, camera is aimed downtrack at Dunlop Curve exit. Cameraman sees slide, follows Jules car across runoff tarmac with camera. This is all visible on the “fan video”. He follows the shot all the way to impact.

Camera remains on tractor, appears due to the angle, and the fact that the Marussia has gone beyond the tractor, the camera cannot get clean shot of the Marussia. Curved end of barrier blocks the shot. Cameraman is wearing Green headset with microphone.

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1:54.03 First shot of Jules crash from Camera 12. 6 seconds after impact. Notice the White cloud of Smoke and Dust behind tractor.

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1:54.05 Marshal enters frame from behind tower, it is clear in larger images that he is talking on his radio. (can also be seen on fan video) There are now 5 marshals on the track side of the barrier, including the tractor driver.

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1:54.15 The flag marshal in tower 12 comes into frame, he can clearly see all the events. Flag is Green. There are 4 separate people with radio communication, that are all aware of what has happened. The marshall behind the tractor, the marshal in tower 12, and FOM cameramen 11 and 12. 18 seconds since impact.

Comment: Charlie Whiting did admit in the FIA press briefing on the Friday before the Russian GP, that the stewards were not aware of Bianchi’s crash for about 20 seconds. Apparently they had no video and were alerted to this via a marshal calling in.

1:54.18  Infographic showing Sutil, but not Jules, comes up on lower right of FOM feed. Graphic shows YELLOW from entrance of Dunlop, to entrance of Degner. Tower 12 is waving green.

1:54.19  6th marshal can be seen entering frame as camera pans out. Marshall is in purple with white helmet carrying a fire extinguisher, is running towards the accident, on the track side of the barrier from the direction of the camera station. (right)

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1:54.21 Lap counter changes LAP 44

1:54.23 First camera 12 shot of accident stops. (shot duration 20s)

Here is a video clip from the F1 App, which for an annual fee, provides users with live data during races from the same systems used in the control room. The F1 App is currently available for the last three races for about $12/£7.99 (usually $80 for the year)

Interestingly, if you buy the data now, you can download the feed produced live from the race in Japan. In fact any session of any F1 weekend this year.

You download the F1 App for free – then click through to shop to buy data.

(1:29.34) F1 App Alert BIA stopped at Turn 7

1:54.30 Martin Brundle mentions there is a marshal running down the track inside the tire barriers

1:54.33 Ticker shows Bianchi 18th, red arrows indicate dropping places.

1:54.54 Camera shot of Hamilton slowing, he seems to have already been made aware of safety car.

1:54.56 SAFETY CAR signal on FOM feed Exactly 1 minute after Jules crash, a whole 2:53 after Sutil Yellow.

(1:30.01) F1 App Alert Safety Car deployed

1:55.10 Camera shot of safety and medical car leaving pit lane

1:55.16 Fan video 2:30 tower 12 has just chaged to a single yellow and SC sign in last 6sec.

1:55.34 Ticker shows Bianchi OUT

1:56.27 Second camera shot of accident from camera 12. Medical car has arrived Medical car driver is exiting car. RR tire of tractor is flat. Safety car passes accident. Jules has been unconscious for 2.5 minutes

1:56.30 Tractor sets Sutils car down

1:56.40 2nd camera 12 shot of accident ends (shot duration 13s)

1:56.42 Lap counter changes, LAP 45 (2:21 since last lap change)

1:58.18 Third camera 12 shot of accident. minivan now on track behind medical car.

1:58.20 Medic pulls orange backboard out of van. Medical staff on site for ~2min.

1:58.39 Third camera 12 shot ends (21s)

1:59.15 Fourth camera 12 shot of accident SKY realises Jules has crashed

1:59.19 Lap counter changes, LAP 46 (2:17 since last lap change)

1:59.54 Crofty announces an ambulance on the track (~3.5 min since medical car arrived at scene of impact)

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2:00.22 Ambulance can be seen pulling up to accident from off-track side of barriers. 6:25 since impact.

2:01.24 RED FLAG… 7:27 since Jules impact. 31minutes to sunset

2:01.30 Graham Lowden leaves pitwall, clearly distressed.

2:02.45 Kravitz announces Greenwood and Todt (Jules manager) are not being allowed into the medical center. Also says that team did not hear back from Jules when they tried to contact him on the radio.

2:04.48 RACE CALLED OFF… 10:51 Since impact.

2:05.00 Kravitz announces the medical center is “complete chaos” as FIA press delegate is trying to force open door to let Greenwood and Todt in

2:05.50 Ambulance arrives at medical center.

2:05.55 Medical center is opened. Bianchi has been unconscious for 12 minutes. 17 minute window of unknown, ambulance left for hospital sometime during this period.

2:23.20 FIA press officer Matteo Bonciani announcement at medical centre. “The driver is not conscious. Has been sent to the hospital by ambulance, because the helicopter cannot go in these conditions. So Further update will follow, for the moment we cannot say anything. You know me, I will keep you updated as, as, as fast as I can. OK,”

Other Information

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If you have TV footage, or were even at the race, and have information to enhance this timeline study of the events – please comment accordingly and we will arrange for you to send us what you have.

Please interact with what you see above, the lines of thought are many and disperate – and your observations may have been overlooked by others.

J4J

#F1 Voice of the Fans: Hippo’s View From The Waterhole, Time To Stop The #ForzaJules Hype

•October 19, 2014 • 53 Comments

stock-footage-a-hippo-peers-out-of-a-watering-hole-in-africa

Ever since the Grand Prix of Japan, we’ve been inundated with the infernal #ForzaJules wave. I realize that many people will hate me for saying that, but then that’s not different from every other day anyway. I could say the ‘sky is blue’ and there’d be at least three regular commenters coming in slamming me for being a ‘colourist bastard’. So why do I come out begging for more?

The simple matter of the fact is – Jules Bianchi had a car accident and came away from it with life-threatening injuries and everyone goes potty. Unless you live in Andorra or San Marino, the very same has happened a few hundred times in your country over the last twenty-four hours. You’ll be quite busy scribbling hashtags for the rest of your life. And you know what? Many of the people, who were alive yesterday and are now heavily disabled – or even dead – have nobody to blame but themselves.

People will hate me for it, but the thing is, we have a responsibility for ourselves and those around us. I’m a heavy smoker, so when I kick the bucket with lung cancer tomorrow, people shouldn’t be crying crocodile tears over #RememberHippo, they should lambast me for inhaling toxic smoke for over 20 years.

Michael Schumacher spent half a year in a coma, because he had an accident. Thing is, he crashed away from the marked piste. The piste is marked because that’s where safety has been confirmed. Had he crashed there, he would have fallen on snow, alas he wasn’t within the boundaries and slammed into a rock. Who’s fault is that? Could it be that Michael was just inattentive? Was he perhaps – heaven forbid – reckless? The simple matter of the fact is, main responsibility for the accident falls to Michael Schumacher. He was the one, who had to make sure to stay within the boundaries of the piste. He didn’t.

Everybody and his dog is now demanding an ‘independent inquiry’ into the Bianchi accident. For what? There were double yellow flags. The rules say ‘be prepared to stop at any time due to stationary cars and/or marshals on or near the track’. It’s obvious he ignored that. He wasn’t prepared to stop – he couldn’t even stay on the road. He could still have lost control at 60kph, but does anybody really believe the impact would have had the same result at about one third of the speed that Bianchi was actually going? The videos were taken down by FOM very quickly, but for the short time they were available, people could see at what a ridiculous speed Bianchi smashed into the recovery vehicle.

“But it was raining and getting dark!” I hear you cry. So what? If that’s not a reason to slow the heck down, then what is? I’m certainly not a fan of Lauda, but there is one moment when the Austrian made the right call – in the 1976 Japanese GP at Fuji. The race was run in torrential rain and Lauda decided it was unsafe. He came into the pits and retired a perfectly healthy car. As a result he lost the title by the smallest of margins to James Hunt, so instead of four titles Lauda has only three, but he still lives to ruin Mercedes.

We had Felipe Massa make a lot of noise about having screamed into the radio for five laps that it was unsafe to continue. Well, Felipe baby, you still continued on instead of making the right call and park it. Lauda may only have one ear, but he has two cojones. He gave away a world title in exchange for his health – you risked yours for a seventh position. What does that say about your sense of self-preservation?

If the most experienced drivers in the pack don’t know how to stand their ground, how is a young charger like Bianchi supposed to do it? He has no backup. So he did what everyone else did and blasted through the double-yellow section in complete disregard of what the rules demand in such conditions. Most got away with it, but Jules paid the ultimate price for it.

I’ll tell you why everyone was so shocked by it, why everybody feels the need to plaster their helmet with bogus #ForzaJules messages. The buggers realized it could have been themselves submarining below that crane. They all went past that section several degrees too fast. All it would have taken was them hitting that particular puddle that took out Sutil and Bianchi.

You could argue that hitting that particular spot was unfortunate, but the simple fact is, nobody should have gone as fast as he did at that section – all of them. The double yellow regs specifically mention that there might be marshals on or near the track, so if you blast into that zone at 80+ mph you obviously don’t give a flying expletive if you run them over.

Citing Whitings ridiculous ‘interpretation’ of the double yellow rules isn’t going to make a blasted difference. Are you going to read that to the family of the marshal you’ve killed? Are you hoping that they’ll exonerate you because of it. ‘Oh you killed our dad, but it’s okay, because Charlie said you could.’ Ask Martin Brundle how quickly it can happen that you hit a marshal.

Instead of joining this self-pitying #ForzaJules hype, we should corner the remaining 20 drivers about why they all too willingly risked the lives of other people. If they have no sense of self-preservation, that’s their problem, but the moment they put the life of people on the line, who have no say in the matter, things become unacceptable.

Jules was hardly the only one, who blatantly ignored double yellow protocol that day, they all did. But just because he nearly killed himself, Jules should not be immune to criticism. He merely paid a higher price than the other twenty.

And did anyone spare a thought for the poor driver of the recovery vehicle? Where’s the #ForzaJapaneseDiggerDriver trend? He’ll have to live for the rest of his life with the knowledge that someone almost died under his vehicle. For the rest of his life he’ll second-guess his actions of the day and try to find out if the accident could have been averted had he done something different. He’ll carry a guilt that isn’t his, just because a bunch of racing drivers couldn’t grasp the concept of ‘be prepared to stop at any time’.

So I propose instead of #ForzaJules, they should perhaps wear #IFinallyReadTheRuleBook tags in Austin.

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 6th: Hesketh

•October 19, 2014 • 2 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: BlackJack’sBriefs

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

“Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”

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Hesketh
Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh, of Hesketh in the County Palatine of Lancaster, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, succeeded to the barony in 1955, aged four, after the premature death of his father.

Alexander’s grandfather, the 8th Baronet had been raised to full peerage in 1935. Their baroque-style seat, Easton Neston, was the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor c.1715, inspired by Michelangelo’s Campidoglio Piazzi in Rome and, in turn, inspiration for the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The Hesketh family, lords of the manor of Rufford since the 14thC, had previously enjoyed Rufford Old Hall from about 1530, which was donated to the National Trust in 1936.

There was also a Rufford New Hall, built in 1760, of Georgian style, that was sold to the local council and converted as a hospital for tuberculosis patients.

Alexander was educated at Ampleforth College, a boys’ boarding school run by Benedictine monks, although he absconded when he was fifteen and went into the secondhand car trade. After a brief spell with Dean Witter in San Francisco, and with a ship-brokerage firm in Hong Kong, he returned, at his coming of age, and inheritance, to set up Hesketh Finance…

Hesketh met with Anthony ‘Bubbles’ Horsley, and sold him his car, for cash. The next day Hesketh’s mother telephoned Horsley requesting the return of her car… and the two young ‘scamps’ became firm pals – perhaps an aristocratic English version of Tom and Huckleberry. Horsley was a dedicated racing driver, of no known talent, while Hesketh had the wherewithal to bankroll his chum’s passion, and Hesketh Racing was formed… allegedly as ‘something to do at the weekends’…

Briefly in F.Ford, and then F3, it was quickly realised that for Horsley to keep crashing, and for Hesketh to keep paying, was getting them nowhere so, when they encountered James Hunt, who was also broke, and had had several crashes of his own, it was decided they were all birds of a feather… but at least James had talent… and together they moved up to F2.

With Horsley now managing the team Hesketh Racing rented a March 722, and then bought a F2 Surtees for 1973, which was perhaps an odd, but possibly patriotic, choice because the car to have at that time was a Brabham or a March, despite Mike Hailwood being crowned 1972 F2 Champion, in a Surtees. As no other Surtees driver had much success Mike’s five wins, and a 2nd, from fourteen races, plus five pole starts and two fastest laps, perhaps demonstrates Hailwood’s talent and clearly suggests he might have gone on to surpass Surtees’ own record.

Nevertheless, the car was written off by James… so Hesketh, perhaps somewhat eccentrically, determined that it would cost little more to be crashing in F1 than in F2 and promptly upgraded his team to the highest echelons of European motor racing and, in the process, possibly upset ‘Little Bern’ no end… for which the lord make us truly grateful. [Pun intended - I think.]

1973

For two decades it had been customary in F1 for privateer teams, and individuals, to acquire cars from the main manufacturers, often the previous year’s model (or even older), and enjoy themselves near the back of the grid, so Hesketh rented a Surtees TS9 for the non-Championship Race of Champions… but Hunt refused to play ball and had the cheek to finish 3rd, which had his happy lordship rushing to buy a March 731 (which might have been one of those old 721’s in disguise…), but with the tremendous foresight to also hire junior March designer, Harvey Postlethwaite to develop the chassis, at the team’s base at the stately home of Easton Neston.

At their first appearance, at Monaco, Hunt qualified in 8th, and was running 6th when the engine took a dive. At their next appearance, in France, he scored his first Championship point, in 6th place, following this with successive 4th, 3rd, and 2nd places, in Britain, Holland, and America – with Hunt’s undoubted speed, and a reasonable car, there was to be no trundling around at the rear of the pack for this little team.

At Silverstone James had only qualified 11th but spent most of the race dicing with Peter Revson, Ronnie Peterson and Denny Hulme for the lead – three and a half seconds covered the four drivers after ninety minutes racing. At Zandvoort James qualified 7th, and finished 3rd, behind the two Tyrrells… and at Watkins Glen he qualified 4th and finished an astonishing 2nd, just half a second behind Peterson. After fifteen laps Hunt tried a pass, drew alongside but… “I looked over at Ronnie, and he looked fiercer than me…” Hunt decided to leave his putsch for the final ten laps but his car handled less well with a lower fuel load, and it didn’t happen.

However… if you really have Championship-style talent you should not need a year or two to dial yourself in…

This year the March company (who had fired Hunt from their F2 team the previous year, after two crashes too many) finished 5th in the Championship, with 14pts., all courtesy of the Hesketh team and Hunt… who took 8th in the Drivers’ Championship, despite missing the first five races.

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1974

Hesketh started the year, in Argentina and Brazil, unable to repeat their 1973 performance but before the European races got under way young Harvey had produced the first actual Hesketh car – the 308 – which Hunt put on Pole at the non-Championship Race of Champions… and then put it into the barrier on the fourth lap, in the rain. But, in the non-Championship International Trophy, Hunt again started on Pole, and brought the car home to its first victory (in just it’s second appearance…!), 37secs. ahead of Jochen Mass’ Surtees.

From the Spanish GP to Monaco the Hesketh gradually moved up the grid until, in Sweden, Hunt qualified 4th and finished on the podium, 3secs. behind the two Tyrrell’s.

Hunt and the Hesketh continued to be fast, and continued not to finish… but in Austria Hunt put the car in 7th on the grid and put himself back on the podium, behind Reutemann (Brabham) & Hulme (McLaren). In Canada Hunt managed 4th, and then in America, rounded of the season with another podium, behind the two Brabhams.

In their first season as a constructor Hesketh finished 6th in the Championship, with Hunt again in 8th.

1975

While His Lordship now contemplated building his own V12 engine, Harvey updated his design to the 308B and in the opening events Hunt challenged for victory. In Argentina he was 6th on the grid and recorded fastest lap while finishing a strong 2nd. In Brazil he was again in the points but in South Africa the team suffered poor reliability… and Hunt also retired in the first four races in Europe.

But in Holland Hunt put the car 3rd on the grid, behind the two Ferraris. The race start was delayed by heavy rain but Hunt pitted early for dry tyres and took the lead on lap fifteen. Lauda pushed him hard but just couldn’t get past, finishing just one second behind, with Regazzoni 3rd (55secs. adrift) as Hunt and Hesketh notched up their first GP win.

[NB: in today’s F1 it is barely possible for a new team to score points, even though now gifted down to 10th place... and impossible to actually win anything... Which format do you prefer...?]

In France Niki turned the tables on his adversary. Qualifying 1st and 3rd again Lauda held the lead throughout leaving Hunt to harry him all he liked, without success, while they were both being caught by Mass. On the last lap, behind a back-marker, Niki slid wide, and James was there, like a mongoose with a cobra… but Niki recovered, as Jochen prepared to pounce, and there were just two and a half seconds between all three as they crossed the line.

At Silverstone Hunt qualified badly but the race was a shambles following a major hail storm on lap 53. Three cars crashed on this lap, six on lap 54, and six on lap 55. The race was stopped, and declared to have finished after 56 laps. Hunt was granted 4th.

Germany was a metaphorical wash-out but in Austria Hunt was back on the front of the grid, alongside Lauda. Unfortunately ‘rain stopped play’, again. When the race finally got underway Niki initially led but, as he struggled with his car, James was able to pass… at which point the revived March team made an unexpected challenge… Making the most of their 4th and 8th places on the grid, although Hans Stuck crashed out on the tenth lap, the ‘Monza Gorilla’ jumped from 8th to 3rd and was all over Hunt as Lauda fell back and, as Hunt’s engine became a V7 (which was not a vodka ‘alky-pop’) he and Brambilla came up to lap Brett Lunger who was making his F1 GP debut (and, being American, was having his first race in the rain…) in a semi-private/semi-works Hesketh.

Brambilla cried: Carpé diem…!” and also seized the lead… and even pulled away from Hunt. The race was stopped early, Brambilla took the chequered flag, and then stuffed his car into the barriers, and drove the tattered vehicle around a final lap, waving to the crowd, many of whom probably didn’t know who he was, and most had probably already gone home anyway…

At Monza Lauda sealed his first Championship, and Ferrari their first since 1961. Hunt fought hard but had to accept 5th place.

hesketh-racing-01-W-1

With the season all wrapped up the final race at Watkin’s Glen still provided enormous entertainment… without having to childishly resort to ‘double-points’. The Canadian GP had been cancelled and the irate Mosport organisers arrived at the Glen with a writ to freeze the prize money… but this little bit of fun was soon forgotten as the GPDA had a dispute over transfer-fees and salaries. More entertaining was the arrival of Lord Hesketh wearing a ‘Save the Whales’ T-shirt.

Not amusing at all was the absence in his home GP of Mark Donohue who had crashed in Austria but had seemed not to be seriously injured. The next day he complained of a headache and was admitted to hospital, where he died, the following day, of a brain hemorrhage.

Mark was replaced, in the First National City Bank Penske team by John Watson, who suffered electrical problems during the Sunday warm-up… and the mechanics grabbed the spare car from the Bank’s display podium in the paddock… which upset the Bank’s PR folk.

Williams then tried to keep the spectators entertained by laying on a sort of team cabaret. First, Lella Lombardi’s car also suffered ‘voltage vexations’, which couldn’t be fixed, and then Jacques Laffite mistook a small bottle of visor-cleaning fluid for eye-drops… There was no long-lasting damage but he was unable to race… and Lella promptly attempted to jump into his car… but it didn’t work – she didn’t fit… although it seems to be unrecorded if she was too large, or was unable to reach the pedals…

By comparison the race was rather boring, Lauda proving to Fittipaldi why he had taken over Emerson’s Championship mantle, until Regazzoni collided with Mass and had to pit for a new nose, returning to the track just before the leaders. Lauda went by without a problem but Clay continually obstructed Rato’s (only later known as ‘Emmo’) progress. While waving his fist the marshals also waved blue flags for six laps… until they waved a black one.

Regazzoni then moved over but the Clerk of the Course still insisted Clay come into the pits, obeying the black flag, to be admonished… at which point the selfishly motivated Luca CdM got into a physical ‘scuffle’ with the Clerk and childishly withdrew Regazzoni from the race in protest.

When a man says: “It’s not the money, it’s the principle…” you know it’s the money…

When a lady says: “It’s not that I don’t like you, but I have to wash my hair (sort my knicker drawer / polish my nails / take care of my friend who is retaining water…)”, she doesn’t like you…

When Rosberg says: “I didn’t deliberately hit him, I just wanted to make a point…” you might well conclude he, in effect, deliberately hit him…

When a team manager says… [Insert whatever you like...]

Meanwhile the Monza Gorilla was again trying to attract attention, bouncing about in the cockpit because his seat had come loose… but the four drivers ahead of him, Mass, Hunt, Peterson and Scheckter, were having a ding-dong for 3rd place.

For a one-car, almost ‘private’, team Hesketh and Hunt had really put one over on all but the ‘big-boys’ – with 33pts. Hesketh finished =3rd to Ferrari (72), Brabham (54) and McLaren (also 33), while Hunt finished 4th to Lauda, Fittipaldi, and Reutemann, just 4pts. adrift of Carlos.

Although it is rarely mentioned, Lord Hesketh ran his team entirely without sponsorship… which had thus been very expensive for him… and so, with considerable regret, he now decided he needed to get a ‘proper job’… Fittipaldi was forming his own team and Hunt was offered the vacant seat at McLaren.

After just two and a half seasons, having literally come from nowhere, Hesketh Racing, with one win, one fastest lap, and eight further podiums, quietly bowed out…

Well, almost…

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1976

First Postlethwaite took his 308C design to Walter Wolf Racing… and then Horsley decided to update the 308B to 308D, and to continue under the Hesketh banner. He managed to acquire sponsorship from Penthouse (a famous ladies knitting magazine…) and RIZLA+ – so it seems there must be money to be made from cigarette papers… which Pierre Lacroix’ Lacroix Rolling Paper company has been making since 1660 – and how many of you knew that…? It was two hundred years later that the company changed to rice paper, which is when the ‘Rizla+’ name first appeared.

As a child, watching my uncles ‘rolling their own’, I asked if there had previously been a lesser variety called ‘Rizla-’ (minus), but they didn’t know. In fact the name comes from the French for rice, ‘riz’, and the family name, ‘la Croix’ abbreviated to ‘la+’ – and I certainly never knew that, nor that the family held control of the company for 318 years. In the present millennium the company closed their historic factory in France, and another in Wales, and concentrated their production in Belgium. [Hmm... I wonder if Mr Bruznic has ever tried this company’s little delicacies...]

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Meanwhile… journalist and amateur driver, Austrian Harold Ertl, had managed to acquire sufficient sponsorship from Warsteiner to make three entries in a Hesketh in 1975, and acquitted himself well enough for Horsley to offer him a full-time drive in 1976, but it wasn’t a successful time and, during his five-year career Ertl failed to score a single point.

Ertl was joined by Britain’s Guy Edwards, who had debuted in F1 in 1974 with Graham Hill’s own team but never made much of a mark on the GP circuit. He sat out 1975 but was offered a handful of drives in a second Hesketh for 1976, and was even less successful. He also had two F2 outings, and made nine appearances at Le Mans. Makes one wonder why the name is so familiar…

Rolf Stommelen and Alex Ribeiro also had one-off drives and, between them, failed to score a single point for Hesketh during the year.

1977-78

In 1977 ‘New’ Hesketh ran three cars, for five drivers, on and off and, more often than not failed to qualify. Reducing themselves to a single entry, shared by three drivers, in 1978, Hesketh suffered one retirement and failed to qualify five times, before giving up, although in the wet, non-championship International Trophy Derek Daly diced for the lead with Hunt’s McLaren.

In the two and a half years with Lord Hesketh and James Hunt, the team scored 62pts. – in the subsequent two and a half years, nothing, zilch, nada. They really should have quit when they were ahead…

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After F1

In 1980 Hesketh founded Hesketh Motorcycles, with hopes of reviving the British motorcycle industry but, for a whole host or reasons, it failed. There have been several attempts to keep the company afloat, until the present, with a 2014 announcement of the ‘Hesketh-24’ (named after Hunt’s 1975 car number).

Although Alexander Hesketh automatically became a member of the British House of Lords on his majority he took no part in politics until he met Thatcher, who convinced him to become a full-time politician, working with her, and then John Major, in the Dept. for Environment and then the Dept. for Trade and Industry, before becoming the government ‘Chief Whip’ in the Lords. He was also Conservative Party Treasurer… and then ‘saw the light’… and moved to the UK Independence Party.

In 1994 Hesketh was a founder member, and later Chairman, of British Mediterranean Airways before selling out to British Midland. He now serves as an ‘independent director’ of Kazakhstan’s national airline, Air Astana…
Hesketh also joined the board of Babcock but was obliged to resign, in 2007, when he asserted the company’s new aircraft-carrier project would make the country a “…laughing stock.” Two ships were commissioned, with construction starting in mid-2009, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and the HMS Prince Charles… but, in 2010, a government review declared Britain only needed one such carrier. [One wonders how many beads they had to count to work that out...!] However, penalty clauses in the contract would cause canceling the second vessel to be more expensive than building it…! The Prince Charles thus went ahead, in mid-2011, with the intention of it being either moth-balled, or sold…

hesketh-old-01Conversions to the original design escalated the price by £2B so, in 2012 this decision was reversed. In 2014 it was reversed again… I can’t help feeling Hesketh had been right.

The Queen Elizabeth was christened and floated in July, this year. Fitting out is hoped to be completed by the end of 2015. The crew will move aboard in May, 2016 (must be expecting a very long New Year holiday…) with sea trials beginning in August (three months to stow your gear, and check the lights work…?), and delivery to the Royal Navy in May, 2017. Helicopter flight trials will commence in late 2017, with F-35B trials (for which an aircraft carrier is actually needed…) not until the end of 2018. It is hoped an ‘operational military capability’ will be declared by the end of 2020… by which time millions of under-nourished people around the world will already have died, and were unlikely anyway to have ever been defended by these monstrous acquisitions.

That’s how it seems to this writer, anyway…

In 2005 Hesketh was ‘obliged’ to sell the family seat, Easton Neston… to Californian fashion designer and retailer, Leon Max (Leonid Maxovich Rodovinski, from St. Petersburg).


Previously:

7th Porsche

8th March

9th Jordan

10th Shadow

11th Toleman

12th Toyota

13th Alfa Romeo

14th Sauber

15th Arrows

16th Stewart

17th BAR

18th – Surtees

19th – Lola

20th – Dallara

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 17th October 2014

•October 17, 2014 • 96 Comments

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Previously on The Judge 13:

The #F1 Bar Exam: 16th October 2014

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”


OTD Lite: 1999 – When is a centimetre not a centimetre…

Drivers want better wet tyre after Bianchi crash

Coulthard & Villeneuve: Vettel wrecked Alonso’s plans

Something only Kimi gets away with


OTD Lite: 1999 – When is a centimetre not a centimetre…

The punchline, of course is… when it is measured with the Italian metric system.

It’s astonishing to think that Ferrari had any type of defence when it came to its cars being disqualified after the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix that was run on this day. Ross Brawn stood in front of the world’s media and explained why the stewards had found the winning cars barge boards guilty of an infringement.

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By 1cm – to all intents and purposes a fairly sizeable amount when it comes to F1 tolerances. Against this dimension clanger, every piece of an F1 car is machined to tolerances that measure in the 1,000ths of an inch. Most casual followers of the sport would be astounded to know that an F1 engine is seized when it is cold. The units dimensions so fine that it requires hot water and oil to expand the chambers to start.

Yet even after admitting their blunder, Ferrari took their expensive lawyers to Paris and had the ruling overturned because it was proven that the FIA stewards had measured it incorrectly…

The Jackal

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Drivers want better wet tyre after Bianchi crash

Top F1 drivers are calling on the sport’s sole tyre supplier to improve its wet-weather product. The now critically injured Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in worsening rain conditions at Suzuka recently when raining on worn ‘intermediate’ tyres.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton said drivers often prefer to run on that tyre when it is wet, because the ‘full wet’ Pirelli is so much slower. “It is no secret that they are not the greatest wet tyres that I have known,” said the Mercedes driver. “The slick will always be improved, but I guess not so much focus gets put on the wet,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail. “You want a tyre that clears the water and does not force us to go to the intermediate when it is so much quicker, and when it is probably not safe enough to do so,” Hamilton added.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel admits the drivers’ concerns have been passed on to Pirelli.

“It’s definitely something we’ve passed on already, not just after Japan,” he said, reportedly having raised the issue in the pre-race briefing last week in Russia.

“As soon as you’ve got rid of most of the water (with the full wet tyre), you try to put the intermediate on, taking a lot of risk into account, just because it’s the quicker tyre,” the Red Bull driver added. “That’s something we need to work on,” said Vettel.

TJ13 comment: This is dangerous ground that F1 is treading in. In their desire to find a cause of blame, the whole circus is attributing different factors… Now it is the turn of the tyre manufacturer. Of course the intermediate is the quicker tyre, it works when there is less water on track. The extreme wet is only used when conditions aren’t bad enough that they would need a safety car. It was the same in Bridgestones era.

Let’s not forget, when the safety car came out, Vettel and Button changed tyres, one chose intermediates , the other wets…

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Coulthard & Villeneuve: Vettel wrecked Alonso’s plans

For years Fernando Alonso had to watch his main rival snatch titles that the Asturian considered his rightful inheritance. And the Spaniard wasn’t shy to tell everyone who listened (or could be forced to listen) that the man who beat him was in fact not one to see eye to eye with his magnificence.

Even a man of Fernando’s arrogance knows that an office temp with a bad temper doesn’t win four titles in a row, so the smack talk had one major reason – he wanted to unsettle his opponent. Oh the irony. It looks like said opponent managed to do just that by announcing his exit towards the Scuderia. He has yet to say so, but everybody with half a brain knows that Vettel is wearing red next year or is out of F1 for good.

It looks as if Fernando has been outmaneuvered,¨ former Red Bull chauffeur David Coulthard theorizes. ¨He had himself released from a contract with nowhere to go. That will have an impact on his negotiations no matter how much McLaren want him to join them.¨ The rationale behind it is clear. Honda will now tell Alonso how much he’s going to earn, because for lack of alternatives, he’s out of F1 if he doesn’t accept.

Perrenial motor-mouth Jacques Villeneuve has no doubts in Fernando’s skills: ¨He has shown for years that the car was not quite as good as the driver. I think he even won in terms of image. But Vettel’s announcement torpedoed his plans.¨

For Vettel however, the Canadian predicts a good future. ¨He can start anew without pressure. He already has four titles and still quite some time. He could succeed. It remains to be seen if Ferrari can build him a good car.¨

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Something only Kimi gets away with

If you thought “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” was epic, you never witnessed what happened when Kimi tried his hand at NASCAR racing. When Ferrari paid him a truck load of money to make way for a Samurai, Kimi buggered off and tried his hand at crashing cars into trees – otherwise known as Rallying.

Beside that he also tried our America’s premier motorized ox-cart series – NASCAR. Nascar basically is a series for Silhouette cars powered by engines that went out of style when the Romans abandoned Hadrian’s wall. Since these cars are averse to corners, they are mainly driven on ovals.

So Kimi tried his hand at it and after a podium in one of the junior series, he started in the Nationwide Series – Nascar’s GP2. But it was not to be. Having qualified a rather anonymous 22nd, he was lying 14th halfway into the race when his car decided to have a sh*t setup from now on and wouldn’t turn in anymore. As a result Kimi repainted the walls and lost several laps, at which point he decided to swear like a lumberjack and called the team all kinds of names.

Listen to this half hour of Kimi pit radio epiciness:

btw: If you think F1 drivers are coached via radio – Listen to Kimi being nannied by his spotter and growing sick of it… And trust me, you never heard Kimi talk this much…

For those, who don’t want to listen to the whole thing – here’s the best of Kimi:

“I don’t understand how this car can be so hot. My ass is even burning in here!”

“Why you shouting on the f*@*&%g radio?”

“I am out of the drink again. It’s so small. Mark has to make sure it’s completely full, because it is too small.”

“We’re so f*****g shit, it’s unbelievable.”

“Did you see how f_____g bad it is? I cannot even turn the car into the corner. ..And remember, I need water.”

“I need my drinking water. Hey!! Give me my drinking water!!!”

“You just have to do what you have to do to get fast laps.”

“The car is just so f^^^^^^g bad (mumble mumble).”

“The car is shit because I cannot get it turned! It is so frustrating! I cannot get the f!!!!!!g car turned!”

“Don’t talk about other things on the radio”

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#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”

•October 16, 2014 • 30 Comments

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Welcome into the heart of The Judges chambers for another scintillating, irreverent look at the world of Formula One. Once again we have been invited into the frosty chambers and once again the shadows fell away to reveal a gown draped across the ‘screams of the innocent’s’ desk.

After a holiday of several weeks, ie, taking a break from domestic chores, we have Craig returning to caress the airwaves – although as it was so succinctly put – it is possibly “The worst sound ever!”

The ever vibrant Matt Matt returns with his trusty trumpet carefully boxed otherwise he may have earnt the title that Craig claimed, and amongst all this drama is the ever respectable Adam enjoying life back in Blighty surrounded by nubile flesh which actually speaks the local dialect.

A newcomer to the cast is Anil, our resident expert on Formula E – although he trained in Chemistry, the subject proved boring as it wasn’t rocket science so has changed paths in life and found himself distressed by the sounds in his head… well earphones.

Smattering all the dross…gloss with surely the most tranquil, velvet suffused frequencies known to woman hood, since Barry White, is the irrepressible Spanners.

As ever grab a latte, a smoothie or even a beer and settle down as the show must go on…

This week’s song is Stay Right Here – Ont’ Sofa, Vol. 1. by Anna Pancaldi

You can follow Anna Pancaldi on Facebook or Twitter or just listen to his music here.


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