#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 28th November 2014

•November 28, 2014 • 25 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:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: We will fight them on the beaches


OTD Lite – Hamilton starts his ascent

Ferrari and Red Bull veto change in the F1 Commission

Vettel ready to wait

Red Bull suggests it was a “silly mistake”

Williams poaches sponsor from struggling Lotus

Hulkenberg goes “old school’ by contesting LeMans 2015


OTD Lite – Hamilton starts his ascent

Unlike the British press, I am not about to go falling over myself to write lyrically about our divine champion Lewis. Ultimately, I’m Italian and for my penance I have to suffer season after miserable season after miserable season – you get the picture – of Ferrari mediocrity. Oh to have a German driver join the team again… what’s that you say?

I like Hammy. Shock, horror, really I do. But in la la land, where I live, anybody driving for Mclaren is automatically the enemy so until he joined Mercedes he was quite simply despicable.

On this day eight years ago, Lewis parked his derriere in the moulded seat of the Mclaren MP4/21 and began his final ascent to the pinnacle of the sport.

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The Grumpy Jackal

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Ferrari and Red Bull veto change in the F1 Commission

Details are beginning to emerge of the machinations which took place in Geneva on Tuesday this week. There was a meeting of the F1 strategy group and one for the F1 commission.

The former includes 6 delegates from the FIA, 6 delegates from FOM and a delegate from each of the teams, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Lotus.

Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren in effect between them created a filibuster, to the effect that a mere 6 of the 29 items up for discussion were addressed.

It was agreed that double points would go and that there would be no standing starts following a safety car period.

What is not clear is what has been agreed over the pit to car radio transmissions. TJ13 sources do not agree whether there will be a return to the rules as at the beginning of the 2014 season – or whether the current restrictions will remain.

Despite the agreement by all team principals which form part of the strategy group at the FIA press conference on Friday, that the smaller teams could run 2014 specification engines, an important change occurred.

Marco Mattiacci’s place at the table had been taken by Sergio Marchionne – and despite the former Ferrari man’s public assent to this cost reduction action, Marchionne said that Ferrari would veto this course of action, and so the matter stays out in the cold.

There were discussions over a more equitable distribution of income amongst all the F1 participants. Once again Ferrari vetoed this along with Red Bull, whilst Mercedes, Williams and McLaren were open to this course of action.

To the topic which is not a topic but a propaganda exercise – the ‘unfreeze’ of the engine regulations for 2015.

Let’s be clear, there is no freeze on changes in engine design, just a restriction that only 47% of the engine’s architecture can be altered.

All three engine manufacturers have been working on their new designs for 2015 for months, the issue is whether the engines for 2015 versions of the new V6 turbo PU’s should once again become a free for all in design – a spend as much as you like project again – and a back to the drawing board exercise. This is unsurprisingly the view of Red Bull and Ferrari.

Renault have been cautious in their comment on this matter, because funding for a massive engine change would be provided by Red Bull. To this end the very existence of Renault’s F1 engine manufacturing base, Viry-Châtillon may be under threat.

As the EU commission delves into the legalities of how Cartel’s in Formula One may be operating and whether the FIA and FOM are in contravention of a previous ruling the Commission made over the sport’s illegal governance, the “Fat Cats” of the world of Formula One, squabble and scratch at each other – not even capable of fiddling whilst the fires of destruction lick around their heels.

The F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission, to the outsider, appear to have thrown F1 governance into chaos. Even a return to the regulatory dominion of the FIA under Jean Todt appears at present to be a Nirvana; a veritable oasis of tranquility and order, when compared to the self-destructive anarchy portrayed to the world at large by the F1 players current performances.

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Vettel ready to wait

Patience indeed is a virtue afforded to, seemingly, only the chosen ones in life.  Gone are the days of waiting for something, as we have entered an age of technological advancement and capability whereby anything and everything is possible – and NOW.

Formula One is no different with many drivers expecting success in an instant. The answer to a problem is often to launch oodles of moula at a project and hope it works and works quickly.

So to hear from a driver that he is prepared to wait for success to come is, is at the very least, refreshing.

The soon to be Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel says. “We don’t have to pretend that we can match Mercedes next year. I am aware that we face a big task at Ferrari which requires some time, especially at a time in which Mercedes have a huge competitive edge.”

Whether merely to soften the blow of another poor year or to ease his way into Maranello, this is a truly different start to that of Fernando Alonso at the Italian team, who went in with all guns blazing.

First of all I want to prove that it was the right step – for Ferrari and for myself. That will take a while. I don’t expect the people to be fired up from the outset. You have to work for it.”  A poignant statement, as he withdraws himself from the marque slightly, almost as if to say to the people working for the team – you are lucky to have me, so get to work.

Of course, the cynic may believe that Sebastian does not wish for the Red Team to build a super car for 2015, as it would do little to enhance his reputation.  However, going up against Kimi, who has a legacy with Ferrari and a years head start, be a challenge in itself.

It has been suggested that Vettel is hoping to emulate the feats of his countryman – seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher – who ‘built’ the team up from ashes.

Yet the Ferrari establishment of the late 1990’s is a far cry from the current Maranello entity. Ferrari has a new chairman and third team principal in 8 months and the company looks likely to be sold by FCA to ‘who knows whom’ at present.

Also, the hope of alluring Ross Brawn back for one final hurrah appears now to have completely failed.

Yet Sebastian has on numerous occasions talked about how to drive for Ferrari was a childhood dream, emphasizing that Ferrari, “lives and has a soul.

So for Seb, perhaps waiting a few years for success is not so tough, when you’ve waited a lifetime to climb into the cockpit of the famous Maranello racing machines

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Red Bull suggests it was a “silly mistake”

In the dictionary, ‘silly‘ is defined as: having or showing a lack of common sense or judgement; absurd and foolish; while a ‘mistake‘ is defined as: an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong.

Speaking to Adam Cooper, the Red Bull hands-on consultant/boss said, “It was a silly mistake from our side. I would say it was a naïve interpretation of the regulations. We thought it was within the regulations.

It is not unreasonable to conclude, that when something is repeated for days, months and even years, it no longer classified as a mistake – but the accepted norm. Therefore, to hear Dr Helmut Marko describe the flex in the Red Bull front wing as a ‘silly mistake’ – when it could flex to a far greater degree than an international guru yoga instructor – is amusing to say the least.

To have designed something so sophisticated, that the FIA were unable to spot it for the majority of a season – is anything but silly.

Interestingly the word is that the FIA only became aware of this due to the sacking of a certain senior mechanic.

The irony of Morko#s use of the term ‘naïve’ is seemingly lost on the Austrian, who blasted Mercedes for illegally testing tyres in Barcelona, back in 2013.

It was naïve of Mercedes to not have clarified the situation beyond the word of Charlie Whiting, it was naïve to use unmarked helmets – which Ross Brawn freely admitted after the debacle.  The confusion from Helmut Marko comes as perhaps he feels Red Bull will be forgiven for this poor decision, if it is merely passed off as naïve.

Horner is complicit too. He gave a rhetorical performance at the Monaco GP in 2013, hosing down Mercedes in absolute terms. “What annoys me is that it was so underhand, and it makes a mockery of the rules.

Vijay Mallya observed the mockery of the situation in Abu Dhabi when he tweeted how it was ‘ridiculous’ that a team receiving one of the largest pots of cash from the sport – found it necessary to cheat to stay ahead of the midfield teams like Force India.

On the whole Red Bull seem to have been forgiven for their ‘mistake’ over their fuel flow irregularities in Melbourne, which saw second place finisher Daniel Ricciardo disqualified.

As common wisdom states in many different ways, ‘Once is a mistake. Twice is a choice. Three times develops the habit.

Two strikes in from the FIA in one season, for breach of design regulations, is dangerous territory for a front running team’s reputation – and it is will be interesting to see whether the Red Bull ‘leaf spring’ arrangement will be reported by the race stewards to the FIA for consideration of further action.

Winning may be addictive, but when achieving this repeatedly becomes more difficult; then winning at all costs may be seen as expedient.

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A major backer of the Lotus team has switched allegiances within the F1 pitlane. Earlier this year, amid the Enstone team’s slump from fourth in 2012 and 2013 to just eighth in the 2014 constructors’ standings, rumours emerged that the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever could switch from Lotus to McLaren.

Unilever has advertised its brands Rexona and Clear on the most recent Lotus cars. It has emerged that Williams is the actual beneficiary of the Unilever switch. In total contrast to Lotus, the Grove team emerged from the depths of ninth place in the 2013 standings to become one of dominant Mercedes’ only competitors this season.

The team announced in a statement: “The Rexona logo will appear on the sidepod, front wing and front wishbones of the (2015) Williams-Mercedes FW37, as well as the team environment and apparel.” Deputy boss Claire Williams said earlier this week that, given their resources, the British team can be directly compared with the similarly-sized Lotus.

“It is obvious,” she is quoted by France’s L’Equipe, “because like them, we get results with a budget half the size of the big teams. Lotus does have a different financial and operational structure to us. We are an independent team and we are also the only publicly listed one. It gives us a lot of transparency and it is a great asset because it reassures our partners.”

She also said that for a team like Williams, sporting and commercial success are “inextricably” linked.

“It (the interest of sponsors) really is picking up,” Williams told Reuters. “People want to be a part of it. We’ve got lots of really positive conversations going on in the pipeline. Success breeds success, doesn’t it?”

(GMM)

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Hulkenberg goes “old school’ by contesting LeMans 2015

Nico Hulkenberg will contest next year’s Le Mans 24 hour race. It was announced in a statement that the full-time Force India driver will spearhead a third prototype entrant for the German manufacturer Porsche in the fabled sports car endurance race. Le Mans next year takes place on the vacant weekend between June’s Canadian and Austrian grands prix.

Porsche said German Hulkenberg, 27, will also contest the six-hour Spa race in May. “I am very pleased the 2015 formula one calendar allows for it,” said Hulkenberg, “and I’m grateful to Force India’s generosity to let me go for it. Now it’s up to me to work hard to satisfy both commitments,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hulkenberg told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that he arrived at the tail end of the 2014 season in an unusual situation — knowing that his F1 career is secure. “I was confirmed early for the following season for the first time in my career,” he said, “which is a nice feeling.”

He said he is optimistic Force India can have a strong 2015. “We definitely have the right power unit (Mercedes) in the rear,” said Hulkenberg. “Now it’s up to us to build a decent race car around it.”

(GMM)

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#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: We will fight them on the beaches

•November 27, 2014 • 2 Comments

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Once more dear listeners – join us in the weatherproofed podcast shed as we listen in to the various rogues assembled in the name of The Judge. First up we have Nutella fetishist Anil who gets us up to speed ( metaphorically) on the latest Formula E championship. Joining the crew once more is the indefatigable Matt Trumpets from over there yonder with his particular fetish being a fine whiskey.

Something that the smooth host Spanners could have done with a shot of this week as he fights off the dreaded winter blues as he strives for national stardom on the wireless. (Radio to you younger folks!)

Of course no team would be complete without it’s boy wonder – aka Adam whose dulcet tones and dry wit still snap knicker elastic at twenty paces and the incorrigible Earl of Huntley’s child rocks up with pointed views on everything as per usual..

This week’s Artist is Tamara Laurel with “I want you“.

Footnote: Music Beds by King Solomon


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#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 27th November 2014

•November 27, 2014 • 41 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:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard

#F1 Forensics: Mercedes ends the season dominating


Toro Rosso ditch JEV

What could have been…or still might be

Boullier states ‘No panic’ after disastrous Honda test debut

Vettel to take Italian language lessons – report

Urgent EU investigation under way into legality of Formula One governance

Black and White? How about 50 shades of Grey?

Lewis in the doghouse


Toro Rosso ditch JEV

This is hardly breaking news that will shock and surprise the F1 world, as the Red Bull B Team confirmed they will be parting ways with the somewhat unfortunate Jean-Eric Vergne. The clear policy of driver rotation was implemented as JEV was disposed of after what has been his most successful season in the sport so far.

Though Bernie has affirmed his belief that social media is a flash in the pan once again, likeable Frenchman broke the news to his followers on Twitter that he would not be competing in Formula One next season. The likelihood now is that we will see a repeat of 2012, Vergne’s rookie season in the sport, where we saw Ricciardo line-up next to him to make an all new pairing in Faenza.

Carlos Sainz Jr. from Madrid, is hotly tipped to be stepping into the firing line next year, partnering the 17 year old Max Verstappen. Sainz Jr., 20, is currently testing for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi as he is set to be broken into the world of Formula One. It seems once more that Franz Tost’s opinion has been discarded, given it was he who spoke at great length about his preference to have an experienced driver in the team next year.

So, it is the Madrid born driver, who appears to be the one who will start his career in F1 for Torro Rosso in 2015, after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title this year, driving for DAMS and taking 7 poles, 7 race wins and 6 fastest laps from 17 opportunities.

Following his 54 laps for Lotus in the Abu Dhabi test, Alex Lynn commented. “My Toro Rosso chances are looking less and less but I’ve come to terms with the fact that the whole situation of trying to get to Formula One is very difficult so I’m just going to work my arse off to get in and make the most of the opportunities like this.”

Alex Lynn will be forced to battle it out elsewhere for the time being, as his GP3 title in 2014 and Macau GP victory in 2013 looks to be insufficient to secure a full-time F1 drive. However, time is short, because at 21 he is positively aged when compared to a number of the drivers lining up next year.

With Sainz Jr signed, the four Red Bull backed F1 drivers will have an average age of just 20.5 years old, when the grid is formed in for the first race in Melbourne, 2015.

Who says F1 is all about experience?

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What could have been…or still might be

Pictures hit the internet last night of the Marussia Formula One entrant for 2015 , had the team not met their untimely demise. The former Russina backed team’s swansong in Russia was not spectacular, and subsequently, the team did not make it to Austin, Interlagos or Yas Marina season finale.

Marussia 1

Marussia 2

Marussia 3

Marussia 4

The pictures above, are from racecar-engineering.com, show the work to date that Marussia have put in for 2015. The Manor MNR1-Ferrari resembles the 2014 design, which demonstrates the shortage of resources available, though the release of these images, is likely an attempt to persuade any last minute buyers, there is still time to be ready to go racing in Australia – March 2015.

As for the Caterham design, it would be no surprise to see it pop next year, as a new team based in Germany – by the name of Forza Rossa.

That said, Finbar O’Connell did reveal following the substantial number of complaints and accusations against the Caterham-Kolles temporary management regime, he would be forced to investigate whether their tenure had been one of appropriate stewardship and presumably without illegal asset stripping activity.

Yet the reality is, were O’Connell to discover illegal practices and treatment of staff contracts and theft of intellectual property, there is little the authorities can do – due to the residence status of those appointed as statutory directors of the Caterham company – following Fernandes departure.

This however, should these allegations be found to be true, money talks and the creditors of the team are less likely to be concerned where the funds are derived to mitigate their losses.

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Boullier states ‘No panic’ after disastrous Honda test debut

Before departing Abu Dhabi, boss Eric Boullier told Spanish television Movistar the British team has “no reason to panic”. However, this week has seen a fairly disastrous two test days at the Yas Marina circuit for McLaren. They brought an interim 2014 car to the post-race test – fitted with the brand new Honda ‘power unit’, as the partners prepare for the beginning of their ‘works team’ collaboration in 2015.

It is expected that Fernando Alonso will be the star driver.

But at the test, it was the in-house youngster Stoffel Vandoorne charged with driving duties. Over two days, the Belgian did not complete a single timed lap. Honda’s F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai, however, insisted he is not worried.

“The positive is that we know that basically everything works as it should,” he told Speed Week. “The energy recovery works. What did not work is the electronics. But I maintain that the engine itself is good,” the Japanese added.

“These power units are incredibly complex,” Arai continued. “We need to find out in detail what went wrong, but that is the job of the engineer — to solve problems.”

Officially, the next time the Honda engine will be run on track is next February at the Jerez test, mere weeks before the performance specification is ‘frozen’ for the 2015 season by the governing FIA. But Speed Week said it is possible the interim car will be run before the official winter test season, during another ‘filming day’.

Arai continued: “We believe we have done our homework and the hardware is healthy. Four months until Australia will be enough to be fit for the season. We strive to have a good place on the grid in Melbourne.” 

(GMM)

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Vettel to take Italian language lessons – report

Sebastian Vettel will take private lessons in Italian as he gets up to speed with life at Ferrari. After racing a Red Bull for the last time last Sunday, the German stayed in Abu Dhabi for the post-race test and appeared in the Ferrari garage in plain clothing.

As he is still under contract to the energy drink company for the rest of 2014, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said the appearance was “legally not ok but I couldn’t care less“.

That might be because Red Bull went back on an earlier pledge to Vettel that he be allowed to drive the 2014 Ferrari this week in Abu Dhabi. “Two weeks ago, everything was clear,” Vettel is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport. “Then Adrian Newey said no.”

Marko explained to the Swiss newspaper Blick: “When Vettel asked me if he could test the Ferrari in Abu Dhabi, I said ok but that I would have to ask the engineers. They (the engineers) all complained!” Vettel’s first lap as a Ferrari driver is now expected to be at Jerez next February, as the 2015 winter tests kick off.

Until then, the quadruple world champion will be taking lessons in Italian, according to the sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Language is very important to me,” said the German, “so I want to understand everyone at Ferrari as well as I can.”

Vettel already speaks some Italian, after making his F1 debut in 2007 and 2008 with the Faenza based junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso.

(GMM)

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Urgent EU investigation under way into legality of Formula One governance

As the Formula One world eagerly anticipated the ‘duel in the desert weekend ahead, TJ13 feature, “F1 and European Article 82”, revealed last week, that the EU Commission has been petitioned to urgently examine the legitimacy of Formula One’s governance.

Amongst other rulings, the above article detailed a ruling made by the EU Commission on Formula One governance back in 2001. The then arrangements were deemed to be illegal and future governance must ensure that there was no influence or bias to be placed upon the regulator of Formula One, from potential vested commercial interests.

“The role of FIA will be limited to that of a sports regulator, with no commercial conflicts of interest”.

The potential floatation of the sport was to see the FIA acquire just over a 1% shareholding in the commercial rights, however, the accounts of Delta Topco reveal that this share-holding was in fact granted to the FIA in January 2014.

More importantly, the newly formed F1 Strategy Group and the F1 commission which decide which regulation recommendations – both sporting and technical – are presented to the World Motor Sport Council for ratification, include both the regulatory body and the commercial rights holder in a constitutional voting system.

As TJ13 reported last Saturday, Anneliese Dodds of the UK Labour Party has written to the EU Commission’s competition arm in Brussells, expressing her concern over the legitimacy of the current governance structures within Formula One. She has since received confirmation that the commission will examine with some urgency her allegations.

The case appears cut and dry, that the 2001 EU ruling has been breached by the current structures for regulation Formula One. Further, the post Concorde agreements certain teams claim were forced upon them, appear to have been contrived by agreement amongst more powerful teams and the commercial rights holder – which is argued to be a ‘Cartel’.

The consequences of breaching the EU’s 2001 were made clear at the time. One such sanction could see the legal claim to the commercial rights to Formula One, stripped away from the current holder – once again.

Interestingly, CVC has in recent years sold around half of its share holding in the Formula One commercial rights, presumably anticipating potential problems which would see the EU intervene and their investment revoked.

TJ13 would urge all its readers to follow this link to Anneliese Dodds contact page and register your dissatisfaction or otherwise with F1’s current governance. Start you message with “Re: F1 Governance from a TJ13 reader” – this will help Ms Dodds’ assistants to group quickly and easily the responses.

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Black and White? How about 50 shades of Grey?

It was Adrian Newey who was questioned on ‘the spirit of the regulations’ some years back.

His reaction was telling.

A smile curled across Newey’s usually serious face and he replied by enquiring as to the meaning of the questioner’s terminology.

Newey cleverly implied that Formula One regulations are objective – and that is what mattered – or so it seemed.

Following Red Bulls exclusion from qualifying in Abu Dhabi, Adrian and the aero team at Milton Keynes appear to be confused with, shall we say – 50 shades of grey.  After the RB10 failed the front wing deflection test – by utilising a banned adjustable mechanical component.

declared instinctively, that Red Bull were not the only ones up to such trickery, but there were other teams also using such flexible front wings too.

The more a front wing can be made to ‘flex’ the advantages are two fold. Increased down force when cornering whilst it ‘fails’ on the straights to allow reduced drag.

Back in 2011, the Red Bull car was consistently one of the slowest in a straight line, despite being one of the quickest in qualifying. A Red Bull car failed to achieve pole position that year only once.

Jump forward two years to the 2013 season, and the start of the post summer shut down races which saw an incredibly dominant RB9 in the hands of Vettel, who achieved 9 victories in a row,

Red Bull brought an entirely new front wing to the Monza weekend.  Vettel was 14th quickest through the speed traps that weekend, clocking 335.6 kph, as Daniel Ricciardo clocked 339.9 kph (excluding the anomalous result of Esteban Gutierrez who set his speed at the end of the race on brand new rubber).  Many were shocked at how this advantage came from a seemingly high down force car, at a circuit suiting a low drag slippery creation.

Red Bull began that weekend with a top speed of 328 kph clocked a speed during the race that was 7 kph quicker – which would have required a far greater increase in output from the Renault engine than was available.

At the Hungarian GP this year, much was made of the RB10’s front wing’s flexibility, and a slightly smug Horner told the media, “There haven’t been many bits they haven’t complained about, I suppose there is always the paint colour, or something like that.

A lot of fuss has been made about the front wing – this week it is the front wing, last week it was the diffuser, the week before it was the suspension, the week before that it was active ride height.

At the end of the day we are very happy that the car complies with the regulations and the tests that the FIA have carried out. The car is in compliance with the regulations, and I think the technical team should take it is a compliment when others are questioning the legality.”

In Abu Dhabi, Christian “Save your own skin at all costs by deflecting the issue” Horner claimed that Red Bull’s closest competitor – Williams – also had a ‘ front wing which deflected ‘excessively’.

When questioned on the topic, Williams Head of Performance, Rob Smedley, said, “I think the FIA tested quite a few front wing flaps, certainly ours was tested, and it was passed as being legal. We had conversations with the FIA over the weekend, and in the end they were content with what we were doing, that we weren’t infringing the regulations.

Yet there are a number of unanswered questions. Was this a setup? What would happen had a number of other teams been disqualified from qualifying?

Would we have seen a pack of chasing dogs released from the pit lane after the field had passed during the race start on Sunday?

Furthermore, was the decision taken that there is a limit to flexibility and that the RB wing must therefore now not exceed a certain amount?

After all, it was the Red Bull camp which made reference to how subjective the tests had been, undermining the belief that the FIA tests are uniform, competent and objective.

Smedley continued, “What other teams are doing I can’t really comment on, but certainly we had a legal car.

I am sure Horner’s correct that all teams are pushing, it just all depends on how far you are going to push doesn’t it? There’s a set of technical regulations, there’s a very clear article that you can’t have moveable aerodynamic devices on the car – article 3.15.

So here’s another story from the current confused world of Formula One, which is clear as mud for the normal fans to understand.

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Lewis in the doghouse

It seems that even when on top of the world the smallest thing can catch you off guard, as Lewis Hamilton this morning made an appearance on the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show.  He raced host, Nick Grimshaw, in the ‘Radio 1 GP’ with James Allen commentating and Lee McKenzie being the reporter.  The Briton seemed relaxed as he talked about how it felt to be the 2014 World Champion.

However, he did make the slight error of not recognising his long-time girlfriend’s song when a short clip was played.  The song Scream was a collaboration between Sherzinger, Keri Hilson and American rapper Timbaland – even worse the fact he knew it was Timbaland he could hear!

Startled by his error, Hamilton said, “I can’t believe you did that to me. I’m going to get it when I get home.” Then Lewis made an attempt to cover his back as he stated. “The worst thing is that was a great song. We weren’t together when she did that song.

Well Lewis, that’s not difficult. You and Sherzy have been on and off more times than and Israeli – Palestinian peace agreement.

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#F1 Forensic : Mercedes ends the season dominating

•November 27, 2014 • 16 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 technical analyst: Lorenzo De Luca

Mercedes ends the season dominating in Abu Dhabi

The season ended as it started, with the Mercedes power unit dominating the field. That was not a surprise seing that the UAE track features long straights – interrupted by slow chicanes that enhanced the PU106’s skills of power and good fuel consumption. From the opening laps it was clear – with Mercedes racing once again in a league of their own – with only Felipe Massa’s Williams able to clock similar lap times.

Race pace chart :

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As we can see from the chart above, Mercedes built a huge gap in the first stint with a full fuel load (Abu Dhabi required all the 100Kg of fuel to finish the race) and both W05’s were capable of running two seconds faster than the rest of the field during the first stint. This has proven a steady gap throughout the season, affected only by reliability issues as we can see in the chart below :

Race pace gap from Mercedes :

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Average team race pace gap from Mercedes :

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More than half of a second advantage on the n fastest team – Red Bull – it leaves little hope for next year too, specially for teams like Ferrari or Mclaren (although in this case Honda competitiveness will be a key role) that have to bridge around a 1s performance gap to the Mercedes.

A gap that gets even bigger if we look at the qualifying session, were the cars express the maximum performances.

Qualifying average gap throughout the season :

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Even in qualifying Red Bull confirms that they are the second force on the grid, with Williams following and then Ferrari. Here the difference in efficiency of the ERS system and recovery energy is even bigger expanding even more the difference between each power unit.

Sector 1 chart :

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Sector 2 chart :

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Sector 3 chart :

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In Abu Dhabi the biggest differences were evident in the second and third sectors, if in the first sector (relatively short) we have an average gap of just 3 tenths, in the second ( two long straights) and the third sector (slow corners in sequence) we have a 7 tenths average gap. It is interesting to notice how in the first two sectors it is Williams who is very close to Mercedes, highlighting a great low drag set-up (also helped by the Mercedes power unit) while in the third (and slowest) one it is Red Bull with Ricciardo who is very close to Mercedes, highlighting RB10 aerodynamic abilities and precision of the front end.

It’s also worth noticing the big difference in top speed with Williams being 10/15 km\h faster than anybody else with only Mclaren and Kvyat capable of attaining a similar top speed

Top Speed chart :

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ERS Failure cost Rosberg 2-3 seconds per lap

Without starting a discussion on who, between Rosberg and Hamilton, most deserved the world championship, in Abu Dhabi the ERS failure give us the opportunity to estimate its value on laptime. On the UAE track this was around 2/3 seconds per lap. If the most obvious loss is power (around 160Bhp) we also have to take into account how its failure affected the braking system, because with the MGU-K not slowing down the crankshaft anymore it was delegating the braking power only to the brakes pads and calipers (smaller for Mercedes at the rear end – only 4 pistons vs 6 ) and compromising the brake balance of the car .

Rosberg vs Hamilton race pace :

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Mclaren Mp24/9 B

It was announced that In Abu Dhabi – Mclaren had brought a huge aerodynamic update package, to start focusing on 2015 project. Peter Prodromou, former Red Bull engineer brought with him all the ideas he shared with Newey and there was no surprise seeing the new front wing being a copy and paste of the current RB10 front wing.

Mclaren new front wing :

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To better adapt the new front wing to the car, there was also the introduction of new turning vanes placed under the chassis, which in this case, have gone in a totally different direction from the Red Bull design

Mclaren turning vanes :

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#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 26th November 2014

•November 26, 2014 • 65 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:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard


OTD Lite: 1958 – The FIA made a decision for the benefit of the sport

Mclaren-Honda’s stuttering start (UPDATE 10:24 GMT AND &15:51 GMT)

Alonso mocks Ferrari’s ‘Marlboro Man’ shakeup

Bottas’ managers play down Ferrari ‘rumours’


OTD Lite: 1958 – The FIA made a decision for the benefit of the sport

In the early 21st century, we have grown accustomed to the FIA being a toothless monolith that fails to make change for the advancement of the sport. Jean Todt repeatedly displays an antipathy to making decisions and it is left to the leech commonly known as Bernie to run the port into the ground.

Yet several generations ago, the FIA approved the use of fire-retardant overalls for the drivers – who counted many amongst them being killed in the infernos that could consume a car after a crash. In fact just weeks before, Stuart Lewis-Evans died from his burns after a crash in Morocco. Ironically a man that was managed by the Suffolk Toad.

The Avon tyre company had pioneered the research into this new technology and despite the fire retardation only functioning when they were dry – the design has developed into the multi branded apparel that the drivers wear today. Of course the danger of fire was and remains extremely dangerous but the progress over the decades has reduced the risk considerably. Witness Gerhard Berger’s dramatic accident..

The Grumpy Jackal

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Mclaren-Honda’s stuttering start

Mclaren fans have been holding their breath ever since the announcement that the Woking team and Honda were to go into partnership again. Would the 2014 Honda resemble the all-conquering Japanese outfit from a quarter of a century ago or would they emulate the lacklustre performances of the BAR-Honda era.

Rumours have been floating around for some considerable time that the Japanese are months behind schedule, and that they are approaching the project following the ‘Honda’ philosophy, which is to build towards peak performance.

After the first test run in Abu Dhabi yesterday, it is clearly too early to predict the true level of capability and whilst observers have reported that the Honda PU sounds better than the rest of the field – this in itself may not necessarily a good thing. There was substantial discussion in Formula One earlier this year about ‘noise’ and performance, and the F1 engineers maintained that incremental sound is a result of inefficient deployment of the energy available

McLaren Honda’s morning run was curtailed due to an ERS problem, whilst in the afternoon Belgian driver – Stoffel Vandoorne – completed just three laps. “I think we had some problems with data-logging, but we are still not 100% sure, the team is still analyzing everything. And ‘the same problem we encountered on the second lap, so we hope to find a solution for tomorrow

The fault was finally traced to difficulties with the fuel/data exchange. Vandoorne added “First of all, solve the issues we had today and then see if we can get more laps in. Every lap is very valuable because after these two days we will have two months’ time to come up with new ideas for next year. Hopefully we will get in more laps for tomorrow.”

Day One in winter testing in Jerez this year looked like this

1 Raikkonen (Ferrari), 1m27.104s (31 laps)
2 Hamilton (Mercedes), 1m27.820s (18 laps)
3 Bottas (Williams), 1m30.082s (7 laps)
4 Perez (Force India), 1m33.161s (11 laps)
5 Vergne (Toro Rosso), 1m36.530s (15 laps)
6 Gutierrez (Sauber), 1m42.257s (7 laps)
7 Vettel (Red Bull), no time (3 laps)
8 Ericsson (Caterham), no time (1 lap)

McLaren Honda completed just 3 laps yesterday, which is on a par with Red Bull’s performance back in January, so the comparison to yesterday’s running by the other teams is not really appropriate.

Abu Dhabi test day 1

1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 43.396s, 80 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 43.888s, 81 laps
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 44.512s, 114 laps
4. Jolyon Palmer, Force India, 1m 45.516s, 37 laps
5. Carlos Sainz, Red Bull, 1m 45.339s, 100 laps
6. Will Stevens, Caterham, 1m 45.436s, 102 laps
7. Charles Pic, Lotus, 1m 46.167s, 89 laps
8. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1m 46.253s, 95 laps
9. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1m 47.194s, 55 laps
10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, no time, 3 laps

Ron Dennis despite this start is confident that McLaren will be “strong” in 2015. “As a team and with Honda, we understand the challenges of these new power units and I am in a position to say that we will be strong,”

Whether Honda are at the races or not, Dennis argues the MP4-30 will be a far better car anyway. “You have to realise something: the group that designed the 2015 car is completely different to the one that did the last two.”

It is believed as many as 50 changes have been made in McLaren personnel to the design and engineering staff who work on the prototype vehicles for the following year.

UPDATE GMT 10:24

Once again McLaren Honda hit problems on the morning of the second Abu Dhabi test.

Eric Boullier was honest in his assessment. “Overnight it went very well – a couple of issues, but things we could unplug and run without. We fired up at six o’clock and everything was fine; the car was on the ground ready to run at eight-thirty, driver in”.

As the session began 30 minutes later, the Frenchman revealed, “then something went wrong, which obliged us to take off all the battery pack again.” Today’s problem is apparently different to the one McLaren suffered yesterday”. 

Amusingly, Boullier explained, “Electricity is complicated – you plug in and something goes wrong, you fix it, re-plug and something goes wrong somewhere else,” 

“We are just chasing, but I understand we are closing in on the problems”.

UPDATE GMT 15:51

Well McLaren have been chasing another set of problems today, which again resulted in no running worth talking about.

After finally completing an installation lap this afternoon, the MP4-20H returned to the pits on the back of a recovery truck

Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes test driver, set the pace and Marcus Ericsson pumped in the most laps by any driver for his new team for 2015 – Sauber.

Having committed the cardinal sin of putting your new team’s cr into the wall yesterday, Max Verstappen had a solid outing for Toro Rosso and was third quickest overall.

However, he was eclipsed by GP2 race winner this year, Raffaele Marciello, who gaev hope to the Tifosi that 2015 may just turn out better than 2014.

Despite being comprehensively outperformed by Kamui Kobayashi during the Abu Dhabi race weekend, Will Stevens delivered a hopeful 76 laps for Caterham and was 5th quickest overall. Though despite the prmises of a showcase to potential buyers, there is still no news from Acting Team Principal and Administrator, Finbar O’Connell.

Another débutante Richard ‘Spike’ Goaddard was on show today, as he appeared to struggle in getting to terms with the Force India car. However the team tested a “Fan Info Wing” this morning, which may be used in 2015 in an attempt to provide fans with an idea who is driving the car since the advent of what appears to be almost weekly helmet design changes.

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Presumably the Info Wing is for the less intuitive F1 observer, as it also displays the typre of tyre compound being run on the car. The wing has been designed by Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony.

 

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 1m42.624s - 96
2 Raffaele Marciello Ferrari 1m43.208s 0.584s 91
3 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m43.763s 1.139s 78
4 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m44.551s 1.927s 112
5 Will Stevens Caterham/Renault 1m44.888s 2.264s 76
6 Richard Goddard Force India/Mercedes 1m44.944s 2.320s 89
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m45.151s 2.527s 88
8 Luiz Felipe Nasr Williams/Mercedes 1m45.937s 3.313s 83
9 Alex Lynn Lotus/Renault 1m46.168s 3.544s 52
10 Esteban Ocon Lotus/Renault 1m47.013s 4.389s 34
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda - - 2

 

Clearly the past two days have been unhelpful for McLaren Honda, but it is also not a disaster. However, the team must hit the ground running day one in Jerez 2015 and be running comparable mileage to the rest of the field, otherwise the catchup process will mean another long and tortuous year for the Woking team and their Japanese partners.

untitled

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Alonso mocks Ferrari’s ‘Marlboro Man’ shakeup

Fernando Alonso has wasted no time in strongly distancing himself from Ferrari, where he spent the past five seasons as the fabled team’s ‘number 1′ driver. On Tuesday, the Spaniard appeared to be openly laughing at the Maranello team’s latest managerial shakeup, after Ferrari split with team boss Marco Mattiacci.

Alonso ‘retweeted’ a photo showing him grinning broadly as his friend Flavio Briatore posed with an unlit cigarette in his mouth and an open Marlboro packet as they dined in a restaurant. It was obviously a reference to the ‘Marlboro Man’, as Mattiacci’s successor is Mauruzio Arrivabene, until now a branding executive for Philip Morris. Not only that, it seems that at some point after the chequered flag waved in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, Alonso symbolically ‘unfollowed’ the Ferrari team on Twitter.

Meanwhile, although he was photographed in plain clothes in the Ferrari garage on Tuesday, Alonso’s successor Sebastian Vettel was reportedly unhappy with the Italian team on his first day of work at the Abu Dhabi test. That is because when asked by Germany’s Sport Bild what he thought of Mattiacci’s departure, Vettel appeared to have not been told the news first-hand.

“Is it true?” he asked the correspondent.

The report said Vettel reacted by telling Ferrari he was disappointed to have not been informed about the major shakeup. Finally, when asked by Brazil’s Globo if he will be accompanying Alonso from Ferrari to McLaren next year, the Spanish driver’s race engineer Andrea Stella answered clearly: “Yes.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard admits he has some concerns about Ferrari’s 2015 driver lineup, despite Vettel and Raikkonen’s combined five career titles.

Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari was the worst season for one of their drivers since 1982,” he told the Telegraph, adding that Vettel also “looked a shadow of himself” in 2014. “The German did not like the new formula, he did not like the engines,” Coulthard explained. “That is fair enough, but his mantra seemed to affect his ability to perform.” (GMM)

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Bottas’ managers play down Ferrari ‘rumours’ (GMM)

Valtteri Bottas’ managers have played down rumours linking the on-form Finn with a move to Ferrari. Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport reported this week that, perhaps in view of replacing its current Finn Kimi Raikkonen in 2016, Ferrari has made exploratory advances towards 25-year-old Bottas in recent days.

With his sixth podium of the season in Abu Dhabi, Bottas actually leapfrogged 2015 Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel to take fourth place in this year’s points standings. In light of the Ferrari rumours, however, Bottas’ current boss, Claire Williams, said the British team is determined to keep its driver beyond next year.

And Toto Wolff, who not only doubles as the Mercedes team boss, a Williams shareholder but also Bottas’ overall manager, is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper as describing the Ferrari link as just “rumours”.

Also on Bottas’ management team is the two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen, who told Ilta-Sanomat newspaper this week: “Valtteri will continue with Williams next year. It is still far too early to talk about 2016, but he is definitely heading in the right direction.”

Valtteri has had a fantastic season,” Finn Hakkinen added. “He has had two second places and four other podiums, which has been ideal to show just what a great job he is doing for Williams.(GMM)

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#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 25th November 2014

•November 25, 2014 • 55 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:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard

Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Yas Marina 2014


OTD Lite: 2006 – Zanardi tests F1 car again

Driver reunion could make McLaren stronger – Dennis (GMM)

Hamilton wants to keep number 44 in 2015 (GMM)

Vettel has ‘passion for Ferrari’ – Ricciardo (GMM)


OTD Lite: 2006 – Zanardi tests F1 car again

It’s not uncommon to hear that racing drivers are a special breed. Their mental strength borders on granite and we have seen Robert Kubica return from an accident – which could have cost him his arm – and compete at the highest level in rallying; with somewhat better success than a fully able bodied Kimi Raikkonen.

One driver that has truly ignored the fate that lady luck has imposed on him is the indefatigable Alex Zanardi who having lost both legs in a near fatal accident in 2001 has returned with a passion to demonstrate the strength of the human mind. Not only has he completed the 13 laps of his ill-fated Indycar race but he has tasted success as a Paralympian and won races with BMW in WTCC.

On this day in 2006, BMW provided him with an F1 car to test and he turned in competitive times. As always with this inspiration, humour wasn’t far from his thoughts: “I was a bit too big for the cockpit of this car,” he joked, “so we cut something off my legs and made me a little bit shorter. I told the guys it was a much faster job than adjusting the pedals.”

The Grumpy Jackal

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Driver reunion could make McLaren stronger – Dennis (GMM)

Even Ron Dennis is now beginning to hint that Fernando Alonso is set to return to McLaren. In late 2007, when the Spaniard left Woking amid acrimony and the ‘spygate’ furore, a reunion with Dennis even years later appeared impossible. But the impossible now appears to be fact, with Alonso almost certainly having already signed a deal and McLaren deciding only the identity of his teammate for the Honda-powered 2015 season.

“From what I read,” said Alonso in Abu Dhabi, “I’m not the most pleasant person to work with, but the bottom line is that I can usually go back to a team where I worked before.”

Even Briton Dennis is now hinting that the most unpleasant of racing divorces does not mean the parties cannot reunite in the future. “Let me tell you my interpretation,” he told the Spanish daily AS, “because I know where you’re going. We live in a world in which marriage is a big commitment, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. But the truth is that sometimes, when you try to rebuild your marriage, you end up making it much stronger than it was before.

Dennis said a final decision about the team’s 2015 lineup will not be taken until a board meeting in December. It appears likely Alonso’s teammate will eventually be the young Dane Kevin Magnussen, with veteran Jenson Button apparently farewelling McLaren on Twitter by saying “it’s been a pleasure to call McLaren my home for the last five years”.

McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne will drive McLaren’s Honda-powered interim car at the Abu Dhabi test on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Hamilton wants to keep number 44 in 2015 (GMM)

2014 world champion Lewis Hamilton wants to keep his personal race number 44 next year rather than switch to number 1. Traditionally, the reigning world champion in F1 wears the coveted number 1. But a change early in 2014, mimicking the system in MotoGP, meant drivers were able to pick their own number between 2 and 99 to keep for the rest of their careers.

Having run the number 1 throughout the season, outgoing world champion Vettel will now revert to his chosen number 5 to take to Ferrari in 2015. Mercedes’ Hamilton has run 44, and even has the number tattooed behind his right ear.

“44 is my number,” the Briton said this week, after securing his second career drivers’ title last weekend in Abu Dhabi. “I won my first championship with 44 in karting so I’ll ask the team if I can keep it on my car now. Whether the 1 is on my car or not is not important to me.”

British media sources are reporting that Hamilton is close to securing a new $30 million per season deal with Mercedes that could keep him at the team until 2020. Already with a contract for 2015, the dotted line may go unsigned until he has appointed a new management team in the coming months, but he told reporters on Monday that the 2016 contract is “a formality”.

“I haven’t made any decisions of how you go about it, but I currently have a great contract. Ultimately I think not a huge amount will change,” said Hamilton.

On Monday, it also seemed as though team boss Toto Wolff was not ready to negotiate the new deal anyway, having partied deep into Sunday night. “Definitely for me it (negotiate a contract) would not be the best thing for me to do,” the Austrian joked, while Hamilton revealed that he drank mainly watermelon juice to celebrate his title.

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Vettel has ‘passion for Ferrari’ – Ricciardo (GMM)

Daniel Ricciardo, the new de-facto number 1 at Red Bull, says he can understand why Sebastian Vettel is heading to Ferrari. It has been suggested that, after winning four titles on the trot, German Vettel could not cope with being comprehensively beaten by team newcomer Ricciardo in 2014.

But Australian Ricciardo is not sure it is quite as simple as that, even though “the team duel probably didn’t make Sebastian’s decision any harder”.

“He didn’t have the year he wanted,” Ricciardo also told Germany’s Sport Bild. “But we mustn’t lose sight of reality either. He has won four world championships with Red Bull. Would a fifth with Red Bull be as satisfying as one with a new team?

“I know how great his passion is for Ferrari,” Ricciardo explained. “Not just with F1 but also the road cars. He is a fan of the brand and its products. So I think it would have happened sooner or later.

The fact that it has come sooner for Vettel, however, means he is arriving at Maranello amid great turmoil. Stefano Domenicali, Luca di Montezemolo and now even Fernando Alonso and Marco Mattiacci have all fled during the course of a disappointing 2014 in red. The turmoil moved Ferrari’s new president Sergio Marchionne to seek to reassure the team’s staff in a letter this week that was leaked to Italy’s Autosprint.

“I understand your disappointment at the end of a season that we would all like to forget,” he wrote. “But, as often happens in life, it is the dark moments that push us into phases of renewal and rebirth, so today we have the opportunity to start a new chapter in the sports history of Ferrari.”

Marchionne said Vettel is the right choice to replace Alonso, and not just because “Sebastian and Kimi (Raikkonen) are united by a great friendship in life. We all know how important it is at this time to have a healthy team spirit,” he added, “coming from people who believe strongly in the project and want to share their commitment, sacrifices and achievements.”

Marchionne warned that the road faced by Ferrari beginning in 2015 “will not be short nor easy“, but that change “should not be feared”.

“Progress is made by those who decide to break habits and choose not to be the result of the past, but one of the causes of the future”, he concluded.

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Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Yas Marina 2014

•November 25, 2014 • 1 Comment

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

 

The 2014 TJ13 Champion

A hard fought year has now finished and we are pleased to announce that the winner – by a mere two points – is AJKL, finishing on a grand total of 1,190 points.  Amazingly, it was a fairly average week which finished the Championship, but that doesn’t matter now – Well Done!

Your 2014 Champion

Your 2014 Champion

2nd Place – Silver Medal

In second place, ending with 1,088 points, is Alexiadis F1 Team which needed just a little more luck to have taken the crown.  Had Vettel not had his newish powertrain taken out and replaced with a relic then it may have been the team’s year.  Better luck next year…

2 points - so close, yet so far

2 points – so close, yet so far

3rd Place – The Ricciardo of the league

A little of the top two in the league, but ending in a very respectable third place was The Bull Whipper.  Top 200 in the world was impressive, so one team to watch for next year!

Best of the rest

Best of the rest

Nobody saw it coming

Red Bull finally being called up on their, erm…sailing close to the wind on interpretation – or cheating as some would call it – meant we saw some overtaking at least.  Other than that it was a fairly standard Abu Dhabi procession, save for the final twist in the title narrative.

Nico will come back strong next year, but Lewis is a worthy victor in 2014.

Last question’s answer

The question was: Of the 15 most recent seasons (2014 included) how many have seen the title decided at the final race?

Answer: 7 of the years saw a final day showdown – 6 of these without the influence of double points – so good riddance to the ridiculous idea!

Food for thought

Watch out for the war of words that will rumble on over the winter.  Anyone non-Mercedes will want more relaxed regulations, as those from the Stuttgart team (and those powered by it) will want to keep the status quo.

There will be no rest for the wicked this winter…see you all next year!

An iconic image which will be used time and again

An iconic image which will be used time and again

#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 24th November 2014

•November 24, 2014 • 140 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:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard


OTD Lite: 2006 – Hamilton joins Mclaren F1 team

New deal with champ Hamilton may take time – Wolff (GMM)

Mallya slams Red Bull as F1 ‘cheats’ (GMM)

Mattiacci focused on Ferrari top job ‘at the moment’ (GMM)


OTD Lite: 2006 – Hamilton joins Mclaren F1 team

Formula One World ChampionshipAs the world awakens celebrating the birth of a new double champion, it is somehow fitting that the entrance of Lewis Hamilton to F1 celebrates its official anniversary also. It was eight years ago today that young Lewis was unveiled as the latest driver to join the hallowed turf of F1.

The story of how a eleven year old Lewis told a startled Ron Dennis that he wanted to drive for Mclaren in the future is well known and his apprenticeship led to the Stevenage karter becoming a protege of the Woking outfit. He was unveiled to the public as team-mate to double World Champion Fernando Alonso and the rest as they say is history. Race winner and title challenger in his first season, champion in his second and the winningest British driver in history.

A mercurial talent who wears his heart on his sleeve, as capable of stunning drives as he is of self-sabotage and now a double champion it was with prophetic words that Dennis unveiled his latest charge -

We reviewed the grid and, apart from the top three, we reckoned most of them had plateaued. I am distinctly unimpressed with the majority of drivers currently involved in F1. I feel Lewis is well equipped to deal with these drivers who fall into that category.”

The Grumpy Jackal

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New deal with champ Hamilton may take time – Wolff (GMM)

With Lewis Hamilton now a double world champion, Mercedes has vowed to waste no time in signing him up for the future. Officials for the German team on Sunday insisted that, with the British driver and Nico Rosberg finishing first and second in 2014, their rivalry will be back on track in silver cars next season. Beyond 2015, however, is less clear, even though German Rosberg is already signed up.

Hamilton only has a deal until the end of 2015, meaning the former McLaren driver may be looking for yet another challenge in 2016 and beyond.

“I definitely don’t feel that I’m looking for a new challenge,” he insisted after winning his second drivers’ title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “I feel like this is just the beginning.”

Before the final race weekend of the season, team boss Toto Wolff has been saying he and chairman Niki Lauda will sit down with Hamilton to discuss the terms of a 2016 contract as soon as Monday or Tuesday this week. Indeed, Wolff joked late on Sunday that those talks may kick off while Hamilton is still suffering from Sunday’s “hangover”.

Hamilton himself, however, appears in less of a hurry. “We still have another year to go,” he said, “so there’s no particular rush but this is my home. I feel very happy here.”

It appears obvious that Hamilton and Mercedes want to stick together beyond 2015. “We will clarify this in the next few weeks,” team chairman Niki Lauda told German television on Sunday. “He is happy, we are happy — I don’t see any problems.

Agreement on the actual terms of the contract, however, may be more difficult, particularly as the new two-time world champion is now being hailed as one of F1’s all-time greats.

“Lewis feels at home with the team,” said Wolff, “and we have the fastest car on the grid. So we have some pretty important arguments on our side! “But of course there is no guarantee that we will come quickly to an agreement. We would definitely love to keep Lewis, as he is an important part of this story.”

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Mallya slams Red Bull as F1 ‘cheats’ (GMM)

Rival F1 team Force India has blasted outgoing world champions Red Bull as the “cheats” of the sport.

“Red Bull gives you flexible wings,” team supremo and co-owner Vijay Mallya said on Twitter on Sunday. The former Indian billionaire’s attack on the energy drink-owned team follows not just the latest flexible wing saga, but also team boss Christian Horner supposedly enraging his counterparts in a recent meeting.

Not only Mallya, but also Lotus owner Gerard Lopez have intimated to members of the F1 media that it was Horner who openly laughed at the demise of backmarkers Caterham and Marussia. The next most endangered teams – Lotus, Force India and Sauber – have been arguing ferociously in recent weeks that the sport should more fairly distribute its almost $1 billion in annual income among the teams.

But Horner is quoted by the Times as “categorically” denying that he scoffed at their plight. “I would never decry other teams,” he said. “They have my respect. For example, we have helped Caterham get into the paddock. They got gearboxes from us (in Abu Dhabi) even though we are owed money.

But something has obviously enraged Mallya, who launched a tirade of anti-Red Bull sentiment on his official Twitter page ahead of Sunday’s 2014 finale in Abu Dhabi. “Arrogance and a superiority complex on the part of those who are paid to be in F1 should not dilute or colour those who pay to be in F1,” he said. “A big F1 team that says we small outfits should not come with bananas to a gun fight, grabs maximum money and cheats on the regulations,” Mallya added.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were disqualified from qualifying on Saturday after the FIA deemed their front wings were illegal.

A BBC report that revealed a concealed spring was specifically designed to allow the wing to illegally bend was also ‘retweeted’ by Mallya. Former Caterham technical boss Mike Gascoyne also attacked the Red Bull chief on Sunday, tweeting before the race: “Wonder if Christian Halliwell will visit the back of the grid? Will remind him of his first few years in Red Bull.”

He signed off with the hashtag: “Whatgoesaroundcomesaround”.

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Mattiacci focused on Ferrari top job ‘at the moment’ (GMM)

Marco Mattiacci has done little to reject rumours he is set to depart as Ferrari’s team boss. Reports throughout the Abu Dhabi weekend suggested the Roman and former Ferrari North America chief, who arrived at Maranello in April to replace the suddenly-ousted Stefano Domenicali, is on the verge of himself being replaced.

The rumours say Marlboro executive and F1 Commission member Maurizio Arrivabene, or perhaps even Ross Brawn, are set to succeed Mattiacci. When asked if Abu Dhabi was his last race, Mattiacci said on Sunday: “At the moment I am very focused on my job just as I was when I started in April.

It is obvious, however, that more changes may be afoot at Maranello.

Piero Ferrari, the great Enzo Ferrari’s only living son, was trackside in Abu Dhabi and he answered “I don’t know” as to whether Brawn is set to return. But when asked if the team’s former technical director parted on good terms a decade ago, however, Ferrari insisted: “Yes.

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#F1 Polls: 2014 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – Driver of the Weekend

•November 24, 2014 • 11 Comments

Lewis Hamilton - Nico Rosberg - 2014 Abu Dhabi

Having had time to reflect on the race weekend, who is your driver of the weekend? This takes into account not only the race itself but all the events over the course of the weekend.

#F1 Race Review: Hamilton seals the 2014 WDC in style

•November 23, 2014 • 21 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

Lewis Hamilton - 2014 Drivers World Champion

 

The changeless weather of the desert hung over the start of the Double in the Desert as those on yachts popped champagne corks and no doubt those in the Mercedes motor home made a few extra trips to the executive washroom before heading to the pit wall.

Ambient temps of 26°C and track temps of 33°C were a perfect mirror to the day before when Rosberg proved the better man and took pole. With lots of ends to attend to, the story line was crowded in the pre-race with Button, Alonso and Vettel all worthy of attention as well as Caterham and Marussia. But there was no doubt the WDC was the story of the evening and as the lights went red it was to be the smallest of margins that provided the biggest of differences. 0.2s and the direction of the setting sun provided all the margin necessary as the race at the front was settled by the first turn. Sadly the curse of the Leprecorn reared it’s head and deprived true fans of the race at the end as Mercedes yet again suffered reliability issues that gutted one of the drivers and spoiled the much hoped for decisive end to the season.

It was to be Williams that stepped into the breach however and provided the late drama as Massa popped onto the Super Softs and did his best to catch the leading Mercedes in the last 10 laps. There were yet again battles up and down the field as well as the spectacularly appropriate visual metaphor of a Renault engine going up in a flames in the back of a Lotus, no doubt a fitting way to end their partnership. Red Bull starting from the pit lane and the chippiness natural to drivers desperate to extend their careers marked the early phase of the race before the challenging nature of Yas Marina reduced the overtaking to those who were seriously out of position from the start and gave the decided advantage to the defender.

The middle of the race saw Mercedes’ woes appear and opened the window for Williams who wasted no time in jumping on it with both feet. With Bottas and Magnussen having tied for worst start of the GP, it was Massa best placed to pounce as one of the Mercs began dropping rapidly down the order. Rapidly deciding on a bold course of action, Williams switched their strategy and held Felipe out long then tossed him onto the faster tyre and gave him 10 laps to catch the leader. Starting at more than a second a lap it was looking all too real but with 3 laps to go the bleeding was stopped as the tyres finally started to lose their performance edge. And thus it was that Lewis Hamilton crossed the line as the 2014 World Driver’s Champion with Williams locking out the rest of the podium as Bottas followed Massa home.

Fireworks, donuts for Hamilton and Jenson, the British flag on a victory lap for Lewis and generally driving about like a hooligan to celebrate followed. And a happy birthday for Ross Brawn, who was delivered an especially juicy present as Lewis acknowledged the long propounded theory that Ross was equally influential in getting him to come to Mercedes, despite what Lauda said. Classy gestures abounded in the podium ceremony and both Mercedes drivers promised to come back stronger next season.

Sauber’s worst ever season finally came to a pitiful end as Ferrari’s annus horribilis continued for a second straight year, Alonso and Raikkonen coming 9th and 10th at the end of the day. Regardless of what happens with Jenson’s career, Button singlehandedly saved McLaren from losing out to Force India in the WCC with his 5th as Magnussen was nowhere in this race, and if it was his valedictory drive, it was a good one indeed. Ricciardo confirmed his 3rd in the WDC with a keen drive to 4th despite the pit lane start and Red Bull’s season was book-ended with self-inflicted controversy as Vettel struggled home in 8th, no doubt ready for a clean slate next year.

Act I

As the lights went red, it was all eyes on Hamilton and Rosberg and as the lights went out it was Hamilton with the perfect start, reacting in 0.2s and leaving Rosberg, who had a good start himself, far behind by the apex of T1. Afterward, Sky claimed that perhaps the fact that the even side of the grid stayed in the sun much longer might have provided superior traction to Hamilton, who actually complained on the parade lap of low revs during his practice start. But the fact was that it was Lewis who won the start rather than Nico losing it, and that ultimately was all that race fans would have to hang their hats on, as Nico’s ERS failure later on would rob him of the chance to implement his comeback strategy that was evolved during the early stages of the race.

Farther back, it was Bottas dropping to 8th and Magnussen to 10th with the worst of the starts, whilst at the other end it was Button up to 4th and Raikkonen to 5th who made the best of their chances. Sutil and Magnussen traded carbon fibre as the field ran down the back straight and into sector 2.

On lap 2, Magnussen complained of Right Front damage on the radio and Hamilton had already exited the DRS of Rosberg. By the following lap Raikkonen, Alonso, Kvyat and Bottas were all looking racy as they were well within each others DRS. The pair of Mercedes drivers opened up a gap on Massa and behind him Button began to lag, well already 5 seconds behind the leader by lap 4.

The fragile nature of the Options rapidly made themselves apparent as Bottas was on the radio complaining of graining, also on lap 4. Alonso took a neat maneuver to slip past Raikkonen the following lap and it was immediately apparent why, as he ducked into the pits to ditch his rapidly degrading tyres. In his wake, Kvyat swept past Kimi as well, as the extra lap he was suddenly sentenced to did his race no favors what so ever. Farther back, Ricciardo edged by Kobayashi and Sutil as he began carving his way through the field.

Button had begun to experience Front Right graining as Alonso exited the pits and confirmed the pit delta at 21.6 seconds. Button was told to box and Hamilton extended his lead to 1.7s over Rosberg by the start of lap 7. Those with early stops, including Alonso found themselves held up by traffic as Kvyat and Raikkonen trailed button into the pits to take on the Prime tyre. Hamilton continued to edge the gap up to over 2s as the Mercedes continued to lap more quickly on the Option than the new runners did on the Prime. Alonso had a bit of entertaining dialogue on the radio as Stevens apparently held him up for longer than was considered appropriate, at least by the Spaniard. His temperament was not helped by then having to get past Kobayashi immediately afterward. The Force Indias, starting out on the Prime, had moved up to 5th and 6th as those on the Option pitted, whilst ahead, Bottas had made up for his poor start by regaining 4th, though with a significant gap to Massa.

Given the difficulty of overtaking, those stuck in traffic were rapidly seeing their race strategy go sideways whilst those who had stuck it out and managed their tyres were setting themselves up to battle at the front. Magnussen and Hulkenberg were investigated for a bit of shenanigans and as Button negotiated his way past Kobayashi and Vergne caught up to Perez, Hamilton got the call to box at the end of lap 10, having successfully gotten Bottas out of his pit window.

Act II

A quick stop for Lewis and Rosberg dialed his car up and gave it a good go, taking about a second out of Hamilton overall, but losing about 0.5s to Massa, an early sign of the William’s pace. AS Merc cycled through the pit stops, Ricciardo and Perez had a good go and by lap 13 the Colgate Kid had gotten by Sergio and taken possession of 9th, with his eyes set further up the field. Perez celebrated by having a massive lock up once he could no longer hold Ricciardo back, setting the stage for him to pit 2 laps later. Farther back, Vettel was trapped behind Magnussen, who had somehow managed to get Hulkenberg penalized for a little coming together, a 5 second stop and go that was served by the thoroughly disgruntled German at his subsequent pit stop. Massa finally stopped at the end of lap 13 and was out into 3rd.

Up ahead, Rosberg was steadily eating into Hamilton’s lead, a few tenths at a time. Perez was followed into the pits by Vergne as Vettel in 7th stacked up behind K-Mag, with Button and Alonso behind Seb. Hamilton’s start reaction time was officially announced at 0.2s as Double Waved Yellows appeared at T18 for a suddenly powerless Kvyat, who till then had been having a quite reasonable race. Quickly cleared, the race rolled on as Hulkenberg boxed to serve his time and take on new tyres.

Lap 17 saw the K-Mag train continue and Rosberg discussed a change in strategy on the radio, to run a long second stint and then take on a pair of Options for a short final sprint, which was the strategy Massa, too, would adopt slightly later in the race. Ricciardo, Magnussen and Vettel all still were on their first set of tyres, as Vettel backed off Magnussen’s DRS but Button and Alonso behind kept the pressure up. Meanwhile, Hamilton showed Rosberg a new fast lap and the game of trade the tenths was on in earnest between the two teammates.

Bottas caught up to Ricciardo lap 20, and Red Bull suggested that Danny Boy not make life too easy for the Finn, keeping in mind they were on different tyre strategies, which the Aussie gleefully took to heart. Magnussen radioed in his tyres were still good and stayed out till lap 22 as Mercedes got on with the business of lapping the backmarkers.

It all changed lap 23 as Rosberg had a sudden lock up and went off track at turn 17. Though he regained the track and carried on the gap which was hovering around 3 seconds had gone out to 5.5 seconds, putting a serious dent in his plans to chase down Hamilton at the tail end of the race. But as the subsequent laps rolled by it became all too apparent that not all was well with Nico’s car, as he continued to drop back into the clutches of Massa, 8 seconds adrift as lap 25 came around and dropping to 10 by the end of the circuit.

As frantic radio traffic began between Rosberg and his engineer Bottas finally got by Ricciardo. After a bit of trouble shooting it was the nightmare scenario for Mercedes, ERS failure for Nico and the team unable to reset the engine leaving the FinnGerMonagasque hopelessly exposed to the brutal realities of the rest of the field. With Nico’s attention rapidly turned to damage limitation, Massa, seemingly unable to believe his good luck, rapidly lined up Rosberg and for good measure took his strategy as well, opting to run long and go for the Options at the end.

Meanwhile, it was only Hamilton’s perfect start that was saving Mercedes from a PR nightmare as he was comfortably ahead of his teammate prior to the ERS giving up, saving them from the one fate they wished to avoid, reliability problems affecting the WDC result. Of course, it could be argued that the end result was affected as Nico never had his shot to take P1 back and race fans watched with bitter disappointment as they realized that the last duel was not to be.

As the laps unspooled it was Massa who provided a ray of hope for a contest at the sharp end, the Williams looking lively and it’s top speed giving a shadow of a chance. But it was Maldonado who really took everyone’s mind off Nico’s woes, when his engine burst spectacularly into flames on lap 28, a fitting end to Lotus and Renault’s last campaign together.

Following up, Button and Alonso were well into it, with the pair dragging down the straight before Button out-braked Fred and took the position into T11. AS was frequently the case this year, Alonso hung around and as Button checked his wing mirrors in the subsequent turn he managed to out-brake himself and let Fernando right back through.

Act III

Lap 31 saw Hamilton in the 1:49’s while Massa was in the 1:47’s and it was the call to box for his final stop of the season at the end of the lap for Lewis. Massa continued to push and further back Rosberg desperately plotted for a way to stay in with a chance should Hamilton encounter trouble. Hamilton came out directly behind Nico and rapidly cleared him and while Lewis disappeared up the road Rosberg continued to bleed 1-2 seconds per lap. Mercedes called Nico in lap 34 and to add insult to injury he was told it was to be a manual pull away, such a rare occurrence that even the erudite Rosberg had to be coached through it.

A bit further back Button worked his way back through traffic, having pitted lap 29 from 5th. He came out 10th, but looking up the road 5th was still a real possibility for him while back in 12th, his teammate was suffering through a miserable stint on the Options which were discarded on the subsequent lap. Button passed Alonso as K-Mag completed his stop as Raikkonen stepped up to have a crack at the Spaniard.

Rosberg’s top dropped him to 7th and as a dialogue with his engineer revealed he was still magnificently obsessed with putting himself into position to take the WDC should Hamilton fail. The only advice that was offered him was to drive flat out as the technical problems on the car were not going to be solved till it was parked in the garage.

Bottas was in lap 36 as no doubt the massive Mercedes PR machine worked out how to limit the damage from Rosberg’s failure post race. Massa continued to push as Lewis lingered in his pit window, around 15-16 seconds back, but made no effort to reel him in or even run similar lap times, perhaps very concerned about making sure his car would make it to the end of the race.

Vettel slid past Rosberg as Bottas prepared to come into range of DRS on Ricciardo yet again, a battle that should continue to entertain next season as well.

Lap 40 saw Raikkonen trying to get past Vergne as Rosberg continued to struggle with his wounded car, having an off going into T1 but managing to keep it pointed the right direction. Button continued his inexorable forward progress but with 15 laps left the shape of the race began to solidify. Red Bull decided that Ricciardo was better off in front of Bottas, strategy be damned as Valterri was told to be careful with his tyres.

Button having caught up to Rosberg, effortlessly passed him while Hulkenberg who had previously pitted lap 36 began to copy the McLaren man’s march towards the front, closing in on Alonso ahead of him after picking off Raikkonen and Vergne in the meantime having switched to the Options which provided him with a devastating advantage.

Act IV

Massa boxed lap 44 for the Option tyre and emerged roughly 10 seconds back of Lewis, who still seemed to be serenely swanning about putting as little stress as possible on his powertrain. Massa began to claw back big chunks of time as the helplessness of his situation finally began to take a toll on Rosberg, belied by his increasingly short responses to his engineer. Hulkenberg, having stuck it to Alonso in T11 the previous lap, continued his relentless prowl up the road, looking for one last, good points result to redeem the second half of the season.

Two laps later he passed the increasingly disconsolate Rosberg for 7th as up the road Massa was getting the best use out of his Options, taking North of a second a lap out of Lewis. Bottas was within 3 seconds of Ricciardo on tyres half as old while back in 10th Perez on 3 lap old Options continued his hunt for maximum points.

Ricciardo bailed the end of lap 47 for his Options moving Bottas to 3rd, Button to 4th and Hulkenberg to 5th. Massa continued to hammer away and by the conclusion of lap 49 he was within 7 seconds of Hamilton. Vettel got by Alonso T12 with his new boots, following Perez. Ricciardo slotted back into 4th and the top 5 looked set, with the only question being would Massa catch Hamilton.

Lap 52 saw Rosberg drop far down the field, such that 2 laps later the team would offer to retire him before Hamilton lapped him. Rosberg insisted gracefully on finishing and with no hesitation the team came back and endorsed his decision. Massa had reeled in all but 3.5 seconds of Hamilton’s advantage, but that would be as far as his tyres would take and as the field settled down for the final laps it was an exceedingly ebullient Hamilton taking turn 21 to fireworks and the cheers of the crowd. Close behind the Williams duo crossed the line, then Ricciardo and Button having both significantly out driven their teammates in the final race of the season.

Ferrari finished 9th and 10th, with Alonso edging Kimi one last time while Vettel finished 8th, behind Perez and Hulkenberg, putting pressure on McLaren finishing 7th and 6th respectively.

It was the newly crowned champion Hamilton that stole the show with his donuts and flag waving as well as his wild swings of emotion once he parked it up, though his old teammate Jenson decided to have a go at a little celebration as well.

There will be much speculation this off season with a new engine manufacturer coming into the sport and much shuffling of personnel. Mercedes has set the bar extremely high this season and winter testing is already eagerly anticipated to see what kind of progress has been made by their competitors and with a little bit of luck we will see even closer racing next season.

Again, it has been an absolute pleasure writing these reports for such a knowledgeable audience. And yes, special thanks to those behind the scenes who help me make these reports possible. You know who you are. And if you’ve been reading and not commenting, consider giving it a go, you never know what kind of fun might result. Now go forth and speculate wildly!!

Final Results:

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Pits
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:47.473 1:39:02.619 2
2 Felipe Massa Williams 1:46.837 2.500 2
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:47.530 28.800 2
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:45.846 37.100 2
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:47.376 60.100 2
6 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:46.468 61.900 2
7 Sergio Perez Force India 1:46.820 70.800 2
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:46.881 71.700 2
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:48.351 85.400 2
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:48.117 87.400 2
11 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:47.632 89.900 2
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:47.546 91.400 3
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:49.121 1 lap 3
14 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:53.252 1 lap 2
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:48.255 1 lap 2
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:50.874 1 lap 3
17 Will Stevens Caterham 1:49.240 1 lap 2
R Kamui Kobayashi Caterham RETIRED 13 laps 3
R Pastor Maldonado Lotus RETIRED 28 laps 1
R Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso RETIRED 40 laps 1

Word Drivers Championship

2014 Drivers' Championship Graph Abu Dhabi

World Constructors Championship

2014 Constructors' Championship Graph Abu Dhabi

 
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