Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 20th August 2014

•August 20, 2014 • 47 Comments

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 History: 1998 Belgian Grand Prix – Hill’s last victory


OTD Lite: 1999 Schumacher’s broken leg OK for football

McLaren feeling confident

How to spice up an interview

Willy Wonka looking forward to the challenge of Spa

‘Kid’ Verstappen the big talking point at Spa

Ron’s Revolution

…but yeah, I’m not bitter or anything


OTD Lite: 1999 Schumacher’s broken leg OK for football

On the 11th July 1999, Michael Schumacher broke his leg in an accident on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix. His return would be on 17th October 1999 – over three months later.

With an ever improving Ferrari team, many felt that 1999 would prove to be Schumacher’s year and early season victories shared between Ferrari and Mclaren bore this out. However by the time of the British event, Irvine was pushing for a new contract and made no secret that he was going to fight Schumacher equally – which many felt led to the shunt that curtailed Schumi’s title challenge.

schu99

With the full support of his friend Jean Todt, Schumacher remained at home recuperating and only ventured into Mugello, on this day, to test his leg for a return to support Irvine’s title challenge. After completing five laps he limped away in ‘pain’.

It was only a chance phone call from Luca di Montezemolo which unearthed the truth about the stricken patient. When asking his daughter if he could speak to her dad, she replied he was out in the garden playing football.

If Alonso’s ear got tweaked last year because he said he wanted a faster car for his birthday, one can only imagine what Michael listened to, but miracle of miracles he was in Malaysia for the following Grand Prix, assisting the team in its challenge.

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McLaren feeling confident

After a second season of under performance and woe McLaren will arrive in the Ardennes forest with a renewed sense of optimism that they can finally deliver the necessary results. Barring the extraordinary double podium finish in Australia, the team have not scored at all well – especially given they have the best powertrain sitting within their chassis.

Jenson Button said, “I go into the second half of the season feeling incredibly refreshed and positive. There’s no better place to resume the season than at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s one of the best circuits in the world, and it’s a place where driving a Formula 1 car always feels incredible.” Having fallen out of love with Formula One in the first part of the season, the summer break will have been welcomed, giving Jenson the chance to recharge away from the media circus. The death of such a big influence on his career, his father John, clearly affected the Frome driver as he has appeared closer than ever to girlfriend Jessica Michibata.

Button will be hoping to relive the success he enjoyed in 2012, as will Kevin Magnussen who also won there in 2012 while driving in the Formula Renault 3.5 series. Furthermore, he enjoyed victories in 2013 with the same series and a win with Formula 3 in 2011 at Spa. The Dane said, “Hooking up a quick lap there during qualifying is just fantastic, because the track just flows from one corner to the next, and the car is so fast and assured that it almost feels effortless. It’s fantastic. I think the second half of this season will be incredibly important for us.

Indeed, incredibly important as the team look to climb the Constructors’ table where they currently lay in 6th place, 1 point behind Force India, but 38 behind Williams. Finally, not to be outdone by his drivers and wanting a piece of the limelight for himself there was the Racing Director, Eric Boullier.

He said in a blinding statement of the obvious, “We had a disappointing race in Hungary to send us into the summer break, but we’ve analysed the issues we encountered, and we believe we now understand what went wrong.

…analysed the issues….understand what went wrong??? It hardly takes a rocket scientist to work out that putting the wrong choice tyre on a car makes it go slower.

The Frenchman continued, “Spa and Monza are tracks where every team runs a unique downforce package, so it won’t be until Singapore – where we resume with a more conventional set-up – that we’ll get a clearer read on our progress, but I think we have reasons to be optimistic.” To read between the lines is another easy one here. The low downforce of our current package will suit us, but we will need to do our homework for Singapore, a street circuit as tricky as they come.

The optimism is to be expected, but at what point are the staff at Woking going to realise that not everything that glitters is gold? When will the media stop asking Eric ‘The Believable’ questions?

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How to spice up an interview

Just to be different, Puma set English comedian James Corden the task of interviewing Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, going around a track. Lewis praised the interview as it “was something different” from the norm.

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Willy Wonka looking forward to the challenge of Spa

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a book written by British author Roald Dahl about an eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, and a young boy who wins a golden ticket which culminates in the prize of the chocolate factory itself.

No this isn’t a metaphor for the adventures of Mad Max Verstappen but for the eccentric mutterings of one of Formula One’s most out-spoken ex-team owners – Giancarlo Minardi.

Ever since returning to prominence with his observations of a ‘traction control’ blessed Red Bull in Singapore, Minardi is gaining a respect amongst the serious followers of Formula One and with the return to action with the forth-coming Belgian Grand Prix it seems that his finger is on the more intriguing pulses of the traveling circus.

Having mentioned a return by Cosworth, it was only a few days later that TJ13 received word from Brixworth that engineers had been offered offers from the rival concern. In more recent weeks, the suggestions that Bottas could be Mercedes bound due to his manager being none other than Toto Wolff seemed far fetched initially. Until Mercedes revealed that they had extended Rosberg’s contract but were merely talking with Hamilton.

“As we enter the end of the season, traditionally Belgium and Italy are two intense weekends when plans for the future are revealed. We will see what negotiations the various teams conclude over this period. Belgium also holds special memories for me as it was in Spa 2005 that my team passed into the hands of Dietrich Mateschitz.”

“Honda is on the hunt for a super top driver to work alongside Kevin Magnussen as they want to return in a big way after the large investment s they have made with Mclaren. Consequently, Button should not be part of Mclaren’s plans any longer. Also, at Mercedes, only Nico Rosberg has signed a contract extension with Mercedes because the situation between Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull is not clear currently..”

“As to Ferrari, there will be no big changes as Fernando Alonso is waiting for more guarantees on the technical side, but in life and especially F1 you can never tell. Marmorini’s outburst is synonymous with great nervousness, therefore Mattiacci has to bring peace within the organisation.”

“Red Bull has shaken up the market with signing Max Verstappen, the son of Jos Verstappen who raced with me in 2003. He is doing well in F3 but next year will be a new driver with Toro Rosso alongside Daniil Kyvat… the games have begun.”

“Spa and Monza are two very tough challenges and gives the Mercedes PU a proper opportunity to consolidate it’s advantages, despite a few issues recently with reliability. Williams however could well be the outsider to provide a challenge. It will be interesting to see what innovations are part of the upgraded packages because in spite of the holidays, brilliant minds will continue working on new solutions for the end of the season and the upcoming one.”

“Best of all is that we have had some great races, which show that all the complaining since the beginning of the season has been futile. Despite the momentous changes, this F1 has been great to watch.”

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(Sourced from GMM – with TJ13 comments)

‘Kid’ Verstappen the big talking point at Spa

F1 has emerged from its summer slumber, but the big talking point at Spa-Francorchamps will be a 16-year-old ‘kid’ who doesn’t even have a license to drive a road car. “Because he lives in Belgium, he cannot start lessons until about six months before his 18th birthday,” manager Raymond Vermeulen told the German newspaper Bild.

He is referring, of course, to Max Verstappen, the 16-and-a-half year old who has been signed up by Toro Rosso to debut next year and make history as F1’s youngest ever driver. But Verstappen, the son of former F1 driver Jos and female karting sensation Sophie Kumpen, is unfazed, particularly as a top-three finish in the FIA’s top F3 category will ensure he receives the most important document — a F1 super license.

“I think the biggest step I had was karting to formula three,” he told the BBC this week. “I think F3 to formula one will be a smaller step. The cars are really safe. I think it’s more dangerous to bike through a big city than race in an F1 car.”

He told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: “The biggest adjustment will be the life around it all — the attention, the full agenda, the travelling. But I’m pretty relaxed. I have never had nerves or stage fright, and I won’t now.”

Verstappen may not be worried, but his age and inexperience may make some of his 2015 rivals nervous. “What the senior drivers will think about it? Don’t ask them, because they won’t like it,” admitted F1 broadcaster Tony Jardine. Verstappen said: “These are guys I only know from television, and some of them my dad even raced against. I’m thinking about being in the driver’s briefing and saying to Fernando Alonso, ‘Can you move over, please?’ But once I’m in the car I’m not afraid of anyone.”

Toro Rosso gave another teenager his F1 debut this year, and Daniil Kvyat is now regarded as a new star of the sport. “Everybody has the right to an opinion about my age,” said Verstappen. “Of course its beneficial if you have more experience, but you only gain that from driving the car. At Red Bull and Toro Rosso there will be plenty of people to help me.”

John Watson, another broadcaster and a former driver, sides with Verstappen in the new era of cars that are easier to drive and unprecedented safety conditions. “The age aspect is no longer as compelling as it was in my generation,” he told the Mirror. “They can put the kids with talent in simulators and help make the technical side second nature.”

And as far as F1 legend Gerhard Berger is concerned, Verstappen is a cut above. “To switch from karting straight into formula 3 and go straight to the front is something I’ve never seen,” said the Austrian, who is now the FIA’s junior series chief. “Max stands out,” Berger told Auto Bild.

Sports physio and performance expert Camiel van Druten told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: “Does it matter whether you’re 17 or 19? Max is strong and mature.” But all that doesn’t mean the speed of Max’s rise to the pinnacle of motor racing hasn’t given father Jos – whose first F1 teammate was the great Michael Schumacher – pause for thought.

“The past few weeks has sometimes felt unreal,” he admitted. “In the middle of negotiations, I was constantly asking myself — ‘Is it the right decision? Is it too early?’. Of course he is missing experience, but it was a well thought out decision. The bottom line is that I am the one who knows Max best. People need to understand that he is extremely adaptable and he learns extremely quickly. And formula one is different now to what it was twenty years ago, with all the advanced simulators for example.”

Just before Red Bull signed on the dotted line, Verstappen was put at the wheel of a much more powerful Formula Renault 3.5 car. “Straight away he went like hell,” said Jos. “He will also know how to drive a formula one car. Red Bull is also the benchmark when it comes to building young talent. This is especially true for motor sports.” Verstappen snr said he will travel to all or most of the grands prix next year, but only to be there for Max rather than play an overly active role.

“I will not interfere with the team or the car,” Jos promised. “I will just be there for when he needs me. I’ve done everything for my son and now it feels as though I have to let go. I think with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, he is in the right hands.”

TJ13 comment:

As Max said, F1 is safer than cycling through a big city. With the simulators available to these kids F1 has become a real life Playstation game. When people like John Watson and Gerhard Berger speak people usually listen or mock but Watson is right, age is no longer a valid concern it seems.

As to Berger, it may serve him to watch a few season reviews – a certain Kimi Raikkonen went from karting to Formula Renault  to Formula One within a year. Not F3 will say the pedantics. In which case, I’ll mention Jarno Trulli. World Karting champion, he entered and won a few F3 races at the end of 1995 due to his karting commitments. In 1996 won the German F3 title and was in F1 in 1997. By mid season had replaced an injured Olivier Panis and led the Austrian Grand Prix until his car failed.

Whichever way his career goes, be it like Vettel’s or like his father’s – his signing has ultimately revealed what many fans have long suspected – it’s far too easy now. Welcome to the dawning of a new era…

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Ron’s Revolution

Some call this the silly season, others realise it is the time of year when the movement between the tectonic plates is accentuated. Last year it was Kimi and this year another big name is reputedly on the move.

TJ13 is hearing that by Monza… Jenson will be joining Martin Whitmarsh in the Ron Dennis Revolution… and is JEV is moving up … and not on…. after all?

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…but yeah, I’m not bitter or anything

There’s nothing quite like forgiving and forgetting is there Fernando? Maybe time to let bygones be bygones…

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#F1 Circuit Profile – 2014: Belgium, Francorchamps, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – Round 12

•August 20, 2014 • 3 Comments

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

2014 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX

After a well-deserved summer break for the Formula One community, the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend signals the start of the final eight races of the season. The 2014 edition of the race will be the 59th in total; it will also be the 47th to be held at one of Formula One’s most popular circuits, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Spa FrancorchampsHistory

The original circuit was designed as a fifteen kilometre long test of skill on public roads in Belgium in 1920, with the first ever Grand Prix race held there five years later, won by Antonio Ascari as part of Alfa Romeo’s championship-winning 1925 season, and the last completed race of the Italian driver’s career before losing his life at the French Grand Prix one month later. Due to the high speeds possible at Spa, as well as legendary corners, it became very popular with drivers and fans alike, but due to these high speeds on roads not designed for racing, disasters often occurred, with 51 drivers and officials losing their lives there during the circuit’s long history.

This led to the organisers finding a new home for the Belgian Grand Prix in two places – Nivelles-Baulers and Circuit Zolder. The former hosted two events between 1972 and 1974, but poor finances and a deteriorating surface led to a rapid decline that ultimately saw it transformed into an industrial estate, although it is possible to see the track layout from space. The latter was also doomed to lose out to Spa-Francorchamps, although Zolder did host five times the number of Grands Prix, and has had a much more successful life post-F1, with events such as the World Touring Car Championship venturing there every year.

Formula One, however, reappeared at a much shorter and safer Spa circuit in 1983, and from 1985 all editions of the Belgian Grand Prix have been held there, albeit with minor one year absences in 2003 and 2006, while the track has occasionally been tweaked, most notably with the addition of a chicane at Eau Rouge that was promptly disposed of, and the modification of the Bus Stop chicane.

Unlike several of the newer circuits on the calendar, the track does not rely on F1 and its support races alone. Aside from this event, the Spa 24 Hours and 1000km of Spa are both important events held there, in addition to a round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

Circuit Characteristics

20130825_Spa_Circuit_Characteristics

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit currently holds the record for the longest track on the 2014 Formula One calendar at 7.004 kilometres; without significant advances in safety and television broadcasting, it is unlikely to be beaten at any point in the near future. The sheer size of the track means that while there may be heavy rain in one area, it can be rather dry in other parts – a phenomenon that is often seen on other circuits, but not to the same extent as this one.

The long straights mean that 71% of the lap is spent at full throttle, and around 48 gear changes are needed per lap. The lap record of 1:47.263 was set by Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing in 2009, while the fastest lap around the track was recorded by Jarno Trulli, just under three seconds faster at 1:44.503.

Drivers can reach speeds of around 315 kilometres per hour at various points around the track, while their speed will be aided by the two DRS zones into Turn 5 and Turn 1. Both of these places are good zones to overtake at the track, although others can be found at places such as the Bus Stop chicane and, for the particularly brave, Eau Rouge.

The medium downforce nature of the track can shake up the order in the race – the most recent example that I could think of would be the 2009 edition of the race, where Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position and a second place finish in his final race for the team, a result that would have seemed impossible anywhere else.

A lap with Lewis Hamilton

Form Guide

Mercedes are, without a doubt, the team to beat this year, and any prediction about the race will ultimately favour them. The fact that their drivers have won 9 out of the 11 races so far this season is actually an understatement – they had the pace to win all of them. A common theme in the past few races has been for Lewis Hamilton to make his way well from the back of the grid, so if he can repeat last year’s qualifying achievement of being on pole, who knows what he might do?

Nico Rosberg is the championship leader by eleven points, and he will be expected to finish in the top two, so there shouldn’t be any change in the standings; however, after the summer break, it could be possible that one of the other teams steps up their development in a similar way to Red Bull last year and really challenges, anything could happen.

Only two drivers on the grid have won the Belgian Grand Prix multiple times, and that honour goes to Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who have won here on four occasions (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009) and two occasions (2011, 2013) respectively. Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are all drivers who have won here once, and I think that we’ll see something from Hamilton this weekend that propels him onto the list of drivers who have won the race on multiple occasions, joining eleven others with that achievement.

Of course, these are just pointless thoughts, so I guess we’ll just have to wait until the race and see…

Pirelli and Spa-Francorchamps

The Formula One season resumes after a three-week break for one of the most eagerly-anticipated races of the year: Spa-Francorchamps, where the P Zero White medium tyres and P Zero Yellow soft tyres have been nominated, a softer choice compared to last year, to promote different strategies.

At just over seven kilometres in length, Spa is the longest lap of the year, while its mixture of fast straights, flat-out corners, abrasive asphalt and swooping elevations put maximum strain on the tyres. As if that were not enough, variable weather – with frequent heavy rainstorms – are a common feature of this picturesque circuit, located in the Ardennes Mountains.

All of this can lead to a high incidence of safety cars, so the ability to react fast, as well as the insight to formulate an effective strategy, is vital. Often it can be raining on one part of the circuit but completely dry at another part, meaning that the versatility of cars, tyres and drivers is tested to the limit as well.

Paul Hembery © PirelliPaul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:Spa is one of the most epic circuits of the year, and a track we know well from our experience of GT racing at the Spa 24 Hours too. An adaptable tyre is the key element, able to work equally well within the very wide range of track and weather conditions that we often see in Belgium.

Despite the fact that tyre wear and degradation is traditionally high at Spa – the result of the multiple energy loadings put through the tyres – we have been able to nominate the soft tyres here as well as the medium for the first time since 2011, with the softer option liable to be the preferred choice in qualifying due to a significant time gap.

This is because of the length of the lap, meaning also that strategy is a very big factor in Spa: there is more time to be won and lost by being on the right tyre at the right time than at many other venues. It’s the sort of race where, under the right circumstances, it’s absolutely possible to go from last to first – and that always makes for a very exciting grand prix.

Jean Alesi © PirelliJean Alesi, Pirelli consultant:Spa is simply the best when it comes to driving pleasure but it’s also very difficult – both in wet and dry conditions. From a tyre point of view, it’s really demanding.

The asphalt is very abrasive, so tyre wear is always high. When I first started driving we had qualifying tyres and it was actually hard to get to the end of a single flying lap on those without experiencing some sort of blistering. By the time you got to the bus stop chicane, just before the pits, the tyres were already very worn.

Now it’s different as the tyres are a lot more resistant. You need quite low downforce for Spa, otherwise you won’t have the speed on the straights, and that’s really where you get the time. The abrasiveness of the circuit actually becomes an advantage when it’s wet, which is quite a frequent occurrence. Even when it’s raining, there’s still quite a lot of grip.

The circuit from a tyre point of view:
The key to Spa is managing the colossal amount of energy going through the tyres, from every direction. At Eau Rouge, for example, the engines are at maximum power, the cars are travelling at 300kph, and there is a negative compression in the region of 1g, as well as about 5g of lateral force.

This adds up to an unparalleled demand on the tyre structure and shoulder, not seen anywhere else during the year

The medium tyre is a low working range compound, capable of achieving optimal performance even at a wide range of low temperatures – which is often the case at Spa. The soft tyre by contrast is a high working range compound, suitable for higher temperatures. Rain is common at Spa, but there was no rain at the Spa 24 Hours last month or last year’s Belgian Grand Prix either.

The low downforce set-up used for Spa often affects braking. With less force pushing down onto the car as it slows, there is a risk of the wheels locking up, which can lead to tyre damage through flat spots.

The winning strategy last year was a two-stopper, with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel completing two stints on the medium and a final stint on the hard tyre (which were nominated in 2013) to claim victory from second on the grid. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean finished eighth, stopping only once.

Pirelli and Spa-Francorchamps Tyre Demands

Brembo and Spa-Francorchamps

Brembo - Spa

* Turn 18 is considered the most demanding for the braking system

At just under seven kilometres, this is the longest track of the season. Despite the presence of two braking sections (the “Les Combes” at the
end of the Kemmel straight lines and the “Bus stop” chicane right before the finish line) which are characterised by extremely high energy forces, the rest of the track is rather light on the braking system because of its fast turns.

These of course result in less demand on braking and ensure excellent cooling
of the system itself. While most braking issues are related to heat, the adverse weather of the Ardennes ( At one stage in its history it had rained at the Belgian Grand Prix for twenty years in a row. Frequently drivers confront a part of the course that is clear and bright while another stretch is rainy and slippery.) result in problems connected to excessive cooling.

Memorable Moments

Obviously, with such a long history, narrowing this down to five good races is always going to be a struggle. I’ll stick with the ones I mentioned last year, although there are – of course – others that could probably deserve mentioning.

1985 – The Belgian Grand Prix was moved to September due to poor track conditions previously, and while Alain Prost had been looking in good form, rainy conditions saw Ayrton Senna’s Lotus-Renault take victory.

1995 – Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill did not have the best grid positions, but the failure of David Coulthard’s car while he was in the lead allowed the duo to battle it out on track for the victory, as Schumacher emerged victorious in a contest that entertained many fans around the world.

1998 – After a serious pile up at the start of the race due to limited visibility, the restarted race saw Schumacher lead comfortably before crashing into the back of David Coulthard after a major misunderstanding as the German attempted to lap the McLaren driver in conditions with visibility still impaired; the aftermath of which would see Schumacher march down to the McLaren garage in anger in order to confront the Scot. Up front, team orders led to Damon Hill taking the first victory for Eddie Jordan’s F1 team ahead of Ralf Schumacher.

2008 – Notable because of the stunning conclusion to the race – once again, rain caused havoc, as Raikkonen’s comfortable advantage was eroded by Lewis Hamilton. The Brit then overtook Raikkonen by going wide at the Bus Stop chicane and then appeared to give the place back, before overtaking him after the finish line. Kimi then crashed out, Hamilton got a penalty for being judged to have not given the place back, and Felipe Massa won instead.

2009 – Kimi Raikkonen took his last victory for Ferrari by getting past surprise polesitter Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India thanks to good pit strategy and the advantage of being able to use a KERS system on such a long circuit. As the battle at the front distracted us from the championship battle between Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing (also due to the championship leader being taken out by some rookie called Romain Grosjean), it was good to see Fisichella get the team’s first pole position and podium finish

Support Races

Once again, Formula One is accompanied by the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series as it heads into Belgium. The GP2 series is led by Jolyon Palmer, who finished with a fourth and a second place over the last race weekend in Hungary, and now has a lead of 43 points over Felipe Nasr, who could only finish sixth and third.

Arthur Pic – brother of former Marussia and Caterham driver Charles Pic – won the feature race but lies seventh in the championship due to the Hungarian race win being his only example of ending up on the podium this year, while McLaren prodigy Stoffel Vandoorne finally got his second race victory of the season in the sprint race, and he is third in the championship, albeit a long way from the leaders.

The GP3 leader is currently Alex Lynn, who scored 20 points with two fourth place finishes at the last race weekend, while the second placed driver Richie Stanaway won the feature race and followed it with a sixth place finish in the sprint race, closing the gap between them by nine points. The other driver to be victorious in Hungary was Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser, who only scored his third victory of his three year GP3 career to elevate him to tenth overall in the championship.

Polish driver Kuba Giermaziak has the honour of leading the final championship to be featured in this race weekend, with a victory last time out in Hungary making his lead over Earl Bamber even greater. The New Zealander could only finish in third place, making it the fourth time in the six races this season that he has finished behind Giermaziak. Second place in the race went to Nicki Thiim, who is tenth in the championship after only competing in three rounds; this result perfectly complimented his race victory in Germany the week before, even if he would have to win every single round of the championship left in order to stand a realistic chance of taking victory.

History

Year Driver Constructor
2013  Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2012  Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2011  Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2010  Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2009  Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
2008  Felipe Massa Ferrari
2007  Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
2006 Not held
2005  Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
2004  Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes
2003 Not held

#F1 History: 1998 Belgian Grand Prix – Hill’s last victory

•August 20, 2014 • 6 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor – Jeff Trocchio

As one of the most storied tracks on the F1 calendar, Circuit Spa-Francorchamps delivers high speed thrills with Eau Rouge and low speed technical corners like the Bus Stop chicane. In a few days time, it will be upon us.

We’d like to take this time to reflect on a past race here, where in 1998, Damon Hill won the Belgian Grand Prix, with Ralf Schumacher coming second, both in their Mugen-Honda powered, Jordan machines. Not too far behind was the Sauber Petronas of Jean Alesi in 3rd place.

The track was clouded in rain and drama from the start. On the approach to Eau Rouge, Coulthard lost control of his car, which caused a massive chain reaction – 13 cars were damaged as a result. After providing spare cars to select drivers, and the track was cleared, the race was restarted once again over an hour later.

On the restart, the race was reset, as were the rules of the day. Mika Hakkinen lost control of his McLaren in the first corner and was hit by Johnny Herbert in his Sauber. This left Hill in first until lap 8, where Michael Schumacher would take the lead and pull away by some 40 seconds. The rain was intermittent during this time, and teams were trying to negotiate the correct time to come into the pits.

By the time Schumacher was lapping Coulthard, a conversation was had between Ferrari and McLaren to allow Schumacher through. When Coulthard didn’t make room at Rivage, Schumacher threw his hand up in frustration. On the way down to Pouhon, Coulthard lifted off but stayed on the racing line. Schumacher collided with the rear of Coulthard’s Mclarne and ended up removing his front wing and right front wheel assembly which forced his retirement.

Once back in the pits, Schumacher rushed towards the McLaren garage and aggressively eyeballing Coulthard the whole way. After some words were exchanged with the team personnel separating the drivers, McLaren studied Coulthard’s car whilst deciding what to do with the decimated field.

Surprisingly, Coulthard’s machine only needed a new rear wing, so he was called back to the car whilst they fixed a new one in the hope that as there only 7 runners left at this stage, he may well get a championship point despite being 6 laps down.

Running at the front now were Hill, his team-mate Schumacher, and a seasoned Jean Alesi trailing in his Sauber. After a late safety car following an accident between a Benetton and a Minardi – at a number of points it seemed that the young Schumacher would challenge Hill to take victory in the Grand Prix.  However, the radio communication from the Jordan team to Hill backfired when the team informed Hill of Ralf’s pace, to which he replied, either we race for first, or we bring home a 1-2 finish.. the intent behind the words was obvious.

Team orders were enforced, and while Alesi looked to be pouncing on the Jordans at different times, the rain picked up again and he was forced to drop back. Hill came through to the end to win what would prove to be his last Formula 1 victory before he retired from the sport the following year.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 19th August 2014

•August 19, 2014 • 55 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 TJ13:

Voice of the #F1 fans: Lewis Hamilton – The Pioneer – Part I


Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver

The end is nigh for Vijay Mallya?

Where next for JEV?

Rumours tip Lotterer for Caterham race debut (GMM)

The Red Bull racing driver evolution

Smedley – don’t get caught in the middle

Caterham build for the future


Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver

The news broke late last night of a seismic shift in the Formula One world. Max Verstappen, son of Former F1 driver Jos, was announced as the successor to Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso for the 2015 season.

The 16 year old will line-up next to Daniil Kvyat next year, smashing the record for youngest driver in Formula One – a record which was previously held by another (former) Red Bull rookie, Jaime Alguersuari. In a shock announcement on the World Champion’s Servus TV, Verstappen was walked into the studio where his identity was revealed to a round of applause.

With so much speculation in the recent weeks and months, it can hardly be a surprise that Red Bull have snapped up the youngster into their ‘family’, but it would have taken a wild daydreamer to say he would be given the seat at such a tender age. While father Jos has commented of how mature his son is, 16 is surely too young to be considering entering the cut throat world of Formula One, isn’t it?

The Dutch driver has been racing in European Formula 3 this year, taking 8 wins from 27 races, drawing plaudits from ex-racers and experts alike. Having been heavily linked with Mercedes of late, Red Bull supervisor, Helmut Marko, has overseen his induction in the junior team with the deal breaker likely to have been the accelerated promotion into the premier series.

Traditionally, proteges have been guided via Formula Renault or GP2/3 before entering the main frame in F1, but Max has been entrusted to deliver with the metamorphic rise from karting to Formula One in just a year. The only similar story to this can be that of Kimi Raikkonen, when he took the Sauber seat in 2001. Within a year Kimi found himself driving at the front of the grid for McLaren; but lightening doesn’t strike twice…

On his appointment, Verstappen said, “ever since I was 7 years old, Formula One has been my career goal.” Understandable, yet tinted with a touch of irony in the way that Max still has to wait another month before his 17th birthday. He has been forced to wait 9 years, which is miniscule when compared to some of the drivers of yesteryear who debuted well into their 30s. Even fellow countryman Giedo van der Garde was forced into waiting until 27 years young to drive a back of the field Caterham.

With 2 teenage drivers set for Toro Rosso in 2015 the future does not look bright for Carlos Sainz Jr. and Antonio Felix da Costa. The former, who had been widely tipped to take Vergne’s seat, said this on his twitter last night, “Many people asking which way im going to take, and i say the same i took at the start of the year:hard work, perserverance and… WSR title!

Formula One will tough on young Max as he looks to continue the family name in the sport. For his sake, we can only hope that he doesn’t end up going the same way as his father and making the same mistakes…

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The end is nigh for Vijay Mallya?

For months TJ13 has reported that the end could be near for Force India Team Principal (used in the loosest sense of the title) Vijay Mallya. The funds that were promised in 2013 never came to fruition which, coupled with the mid-season tyre change, saw the team slip back down the grid. A similar story is developing in 2014 as the team’s early season promise seems a far cry away as they battle for points alone, not podiums.

The Times of India reports that the UB group leader may soon be slapped with ‘Wilful defaulter’ tag, which see him forced to resign from his position at the helm of USL (United Spirits Ltd) and UBL (United Beverages Ltd). USL, which was sold to Diageo for $3 billion, are reported to be digging deep in the financial history of the company and not liking what they are finding.

The three lenders — State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and United Bank of India — who want to land Mallya with the ‘wilful defaulter’ tag are circling the powerless craft that is Vijay Mallya’s empire currently. United Bank of India’s claim is already being fought in court by Mallya, as he is expected to do with the other two claims.

The irregular financial history of UB Holdings Ltd, Mallya’s Bangalore based parent holding company is struggling to continue to carry the bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines. Indian law states that, ‘Any company with a wilful defaulter on board cannot access banks and even capital markets for funding needs.’ This would spell the end of Mallya’s involvement as a board member should a conviction be placed on him.

Where this will leave Force India is debatable, but with a returning Mexican GP just around the corner in 2015 it would be the ideal time for Carlos Slim Jr. to act on his infrequent interest in the team. Should Gutierrez’s place at Sauber come under fire, or challenged by another largely backed driver, there could be two drivers at Force India (or whatever they will be called) leading a Mexican superteam.

The future for Force India looks uncertain, with the world’s largest liquor company already involved in prolonged talks with KPMG about USL’s financial history. The coming weeks could have a profound effect on many a driver up and down the grid as they jockey for a 2015 drive. For the fans, the fun is just beginning.

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Where next for JEV?

With the news that Max Verstappen will be taking his seat for 2015, the Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne is to be left without a drive for next year currently. His options are seemingly limited…with only backmarker teams left for him to potentially move onto. Caterham look likely to field a very different line-up to this year, with rumours of Andre Lotterer replacing Kamui Kobayashi for the coming race in Spa. Giedo van der Garde looks likely to step into one of the 2015 seats for Sauber, leaving a handful of drivers fighting it out for the second seat there.

At least the Frenchman has been afforded the dignity of knowing when his final race will be in Toro Rosso colours, unlike Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi in 2011.

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Rumours tip Lotterer for Caterham race debut

The F1 rumour mill is alight with speculation Caterham is taking a new race driver to this weekend’s Belgian grand prix. After Kamui Kobayashi admitted recently his race seat may not be safe in the wake of the Leafield based team’s sale and subsequent shakeup, the big rumour now is that the Japanese is set to be replaced by 2014 Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer.

Lotterer, 32, currently drives for the works Audi team, but he made his debut at the fabled 24 hour race a few years ago for Colin Kolles, Caterham’s new advisor who appointed another former driver Christijan Albers as team boss.

Twitter is alight with the speculation about Lotterer’s supposed race debut at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend after being spotted at the team’s Leafield factory, reportedly for a seat fitting.

But the news is not yet official, even for Kobayashi who told his 150,000 Twitter followers mere hours ago that he is “Absolutely ready for Belgium GP this weekend“.

German Lotterer, who was a Jaguar test driver in 2002, is a former F3 and Formula Nippon champion and currently running second in the premier Japanese open wheeler series Super Formula.

TJ13 Comment:
At 33 Lotterer is not a young buck anymore. Considering how Webber was struggling to master the EBD of the Red Bull and how Raikkonen is struggling to get used to the Ferrari it is difficult to see how this will end in a positive way for either Lotterer or Caterham.

Of course the German has successful experience in Hybrid/Turbo cars having driven the Le Mans Audi R18 TDI and e-tron quattro to victory 3 times in the last 4 years. But Le Mans is not F1 so the logic is not very clear here unless…. no, that’s not possible!

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The Red Bull racing driver evolution

So Max Verstappen has been signed (and will race) for Red Bull in F1 next year. But what is the perquisite for a Red Bull Racing driver?

Vettel the young

Formel BMW ADAC, DEU

Vettel the older

Sebastian Vettel - Finger

Max the young

Max Verstappen

Max the older? We don’t know yet but will we see the finger again?

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Smedley – don’t get caught in the middle

The Belgian Grand Prix is now just 5 days away, long-awaited after the summer break, many an expert will try and predict how the cars have developed over the break when the supposed shut down occurs. Williams Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley has warned the team not to get caught out by the middle sector of the Spa-Francrchamps track.

The high stright line speed of the Williams should lend itself to track set in the Ardennes forest. However, the popular figure, thanks to infamous radio call of ‘Felipe baby’, said the team will have to make sure they are not losing out too much in the middle sector where there a number of high-speed corners.

He said, “Spa is a circuit that should suit us, there is very high drag and engine sensitivity and those features will benefit us. The middle sector is something we will have to work on throughout the weekend, and in qualifying we will need to have the tyres switched on for that sector. There is always a chance for rain in Spa, so we have to be conscious of this throughout the weekend.

Should the feared rain arrive there will be glum faces at Grove as their advantage will be significantly reduced. The high downforce of the RB cars will prove effective on slippery asphalt, also allowing for a greater speed through Eau Rouge which could prove pivotal in defending position against faster Mercedes powered cars.

A quick look back to races of recent times will show in the rain Eau Rouge required a downshift, compared to being flat out in the dry – a testament to modern Formula One cars downforce. Smedley continues, “We have had a really good start to the 2014 campaign, everyone is living and learning how to race back at the top again. The objectives within the team are clear, we want to finish as high up in the constructors table as possible.

It’s interesting to see that all at Williams are keeping their cards close to their chest in terms of expectation this year. As Red Bull and Ferrari have both spoken of targeting second in the Constructors’ title this year, the Grove outfit seems content just to fighting at the ‘sharp’ end of the grid. Perhaps, merely an adage to how far they come since this time last year where they qualified 17th and 20th, finishing 15th and 17th.

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Caterham build for the future

The overhaul at Caterham of recent times has seen the team that languishes at the back of the field as it builds for the future. Sean Walkinshaw Racing has been appointed its driver development team in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship as the reshuffle continues.

Team Principal and former Formula One driver, Christian Albers, has commented on how he feels this reaffirms the teams long-term commitment to the sport. He said, “A junior formula like BRDC F4 is the perfect scenario to start a racing career and we are very happy with this collaboration with Sean Walkinshaw Racing.

If indeed the Formula 4 Championship is the perfect feeder series to link up with what does this say about paddock opinion of GP2/3? There is a growing trend of late where teams have looked away from the traditional route to Formula One, in favour of other lesser known series (Daniil Kvyat excluded).

Albers continued, “If the talent is there, it should be supported and with the SWR – CaterhamF1 Driver Development Programme we are assuring this happens, as well as confirming Caterham F1 Team’s interest for young drivers and offering them a development programme from the very start of their careers. We will be watching the drivers of tomorrow closely.” In a similar train of thought to a certain Helmut Marko, Albers pays homage to young drivers being given their chance in the sport – not forcing them to wait for their chance.

The part that Albers has missed out in his statement is how much cheaper it is to run a Formula 4 team, when compared to GP2 and GP3. Speaking to the press last year, Helmut Marko said, “GP2 is far too expensive. It costs €5 million per driver, while in GP3 is €600,000.” Caterham’s preferred route will cost a much more conservative £50-60,000 a year.

The BRDC Formula 4 Championship is held around the United Kingdom and has eight, three in-a-row events. The winner of the series earns a prize test with the Arden Motorsport GP3 team, held in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit. The prize for the winner is to feed the driver on a plate to Mark Webber’s Red Bull backed GP3 team, ready for the RB programme to poach if desired.

When the gloss wears off the team’s new takeover it will soon become apparent how much they are depending on Red Bull for their continued existence. One question that remains is as Red Bull line the team up as number two, what is the future for Toro Rosso?

Having tried to sell the team before, Dietrich Mateschitz could finally get rid of the sister team which does not pay for itself independently. As shown in 2011, Red Bull can buy a drive for a young hopeful, when they seated Daniel Ricciardo in an HRT to gain experience.

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Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 18th August 2014

•August 18, 2014 • 48 Comments

Go MotorTrade Banner Insurance

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 TJ13:

#F1 Features: The Generation Game – Challenges for the Future

Voice of the #F1 fans: Lewis Hamilton – The Pioneer – Part II

The TJ13 #F1 Podcast: Episode 1 – 17th August 2014

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 10th Shadow


OTD Lite: 1985 – De Crasheris crashes out in huge crash in Austrian race!!!

Paddy Lowe attacks Ross Brawn again

Marmorini’s lack of class in attacking Ferrari

Di Resta ‘determined’ to return to F1


OTD Lite: 1985 – De Crasheris crashes out in huge crash in Austrian race!!!

Andrea De Cesaris has the unwelcome distinction of having served the longest Formula One career – with no victories – of any driver in history. His 208 Grand Prix starts were largely thanks to his own personal sponsor, Marlboro, who first paid for his seat with the Alfa Romeo team in 1980 and the 1981 Ron Dennis run Mclaren team.

At the Dutch Grand Prix that year, Mclaren withdrew his car after he qualified 13th due to the fear of him wrecking another car. It is generally accepted that a Formula One driver will have between 1 and 3 accidents a year.

Yet it was around this time that he gained his new nickname – Andrea De Crasheris – as he had his EIGHTEENTH crash of the season, putting his long suffering mechanics through another tortuous routine of repairing his accident damage, or for all the number crunchers out there, the total time spent repairing his cars was around 120 hours or 5 working days..

His most celebrated accident is probably his somersaulting Ligier at the Osterreichring which occurred on this day. Following this event, the boss Guy Ligier dismissed him from the team citing that “he couldn’t afford to repair his accident damage”; which considering all his sponsorship was French government backed seemed a slight exaggeration…

In this ‘find’ we have a racing legend narrating the race and at 2m 30s, in a masterpiece of deliberate understatement remarks that De Cesaris has caused ‘just slight damage‘ to the car. What’s probably more sobering is the back of the driver. Down from his neck and across his left shoulder is the remnants of contact with the earth…

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Paddy Lowe attacks Ross Brawn again

Paddy the Enforcer has spoken out against the whole wide world as he defends his kingdom against the naysayers of the international press and fans. As has become more evident over recent weeks – this study into an individual with ‘short man syndrome’ has been enlightening to say the least.

Teamed with two shareholders of the Mercedes AMG F1 squad, he has felt the necessity to diminish Ross Brawn’s input into the current dominant team in F1 by stating that he has recognised weak areas within the organisation that needed his input as they were lacking direction before. And that anything that had been laid down before December was in fact history now. Of course the December date carries some significance as that was when his predecessor, Brawn, left the squad.

Only last week, he felt it necessary to point out how much of an excuse Ferrari and Renault were making with “short term issues that they need to learn to manage“. Of course in Paddy’s world, the increasingly fragile Mercedes is still the best package and it’s their collective efforts that have secured their continued success despite the chink in the Silver Arrows armour widening with pressure from the “fizzy drink makers” – as Lewis once christened them…

In another selected swipe at Brawn he has now expressed that the Mercedes team was surprised by the expectation that it would employ team orders between its two drivers.

“People at the beginning of this season were surprised we weren’t running any team orders, and there was a bit of criticism against us as if we were idiots for not imposing them. By Bahrain, it was like ‘you’re going to have to stop it now, look what they got up to.'”

This way of thinking was clearly instilled in the Formula One community by none other than “Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari era in the 2000’s where Schumacher had undisputed number one status in the team. Before that no one had ever thought of that.”

Of course, mention of the dominant Ferrari-Schumacher era is, by association, a guilty verdict against Jean Todt and Ross Brawn himself and in itself demonstrates how effective the media have been at making Ferrari appear to have always favoured a number one driver policy – when “before no one had ever thought of that”…

Yet the Enforcer would do well to remember that it was in Bahrain that he instructed both Mercedes drivers over the radio to think of the finish when they were fighting after the late safety car period. Yet unlike in Malaysia 2013, when Ross Brawn’s authoritative voice demonstrably received the full respect of his drivers – Lowe has been ridiculed for his efforts.

It has also been reported by several journalists and news agencies that both Lowe and Toto Wolff want to instigate team-orders whereas the ex triple Champion, Niki Lauda, wants to see gloves off racing.

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Marmorini’s lack of class in attacking Ferrari

There are times in life that a person shows so much class that any witness remains in awe. Irrespective of anyone’s view of the man, Felipe Massa showed what a classy individual he was when he accepted his huge disappointment of losing the 2008 title to Lewis Hamilton. Stood crying on top of the podium that day, he expressed his emotion to the crowd and afterwards congratulated the new champion.

Ferrari replaced him for Kimi Raikkonen this year, but even at the time of the announcement were gracious enough to allow him to inform the world. Just a few months later, Stefano Domenicali resigned/ was made scapegoat (eliminate as per your beliefs) but has demonstrated pure class in his lack of attacking the team he led for so long. Even when asked about other jobs in F1 he returned the statement that he could never do that because his heart would be with Ferrari.

In recent weeks, rumours in Italy had been intensifying that Luca Marmorini would be ousted under the new Marco Mattiacci regime which was confirmed a few weeks back.

Unlike some of his predecessors – including the engaging Aldo Costa who spoke with no malice just a resigned air in regards his dismissal from a Ferrari that was being badly managed by Luca di Montezemolo – Marmorini had no compunction in telling his ‘friend’ Turrini what really happened in Maranello.

I do not speak out for myself but there are people at Maranello who like to apportion blame when it would be best they remained quiet – basically I am defending myself.

“These people are stating that all the problems of the F14 T are due to the power unit. Get serious, a company with the history of Ferrari does not forget how to make engines! I’ll accept any accusations but not that Maranello doesn’t know how to design engines, turbos, etc..”

Let’s set the record straight. With my colleagues we built a power unit to fit a certain size blue print. It is smaller than the Mercedes and Renault designs because we were asked by the car’s project manager Mr Tombazis.”

“They asked for a small PU, with small radiators. The main purpose was although it would have less power they guaranteed an advantage with its aerodynamic solutions over the competition. It transpired exactly like that, except when we ran against the competition there was no aerodynamic advantage either.”

“I don’t want to accuse anybody, but it has to be pointed out that Ferrari has entrusted its plans to an inexperienced, unskilled person who has blind faith in others who have achieved nothing – Pat Fry and James Allison.

“Marco Mattiacci was put in place of Domenicali but in three months I exchanged just a few words. Our initial greeting when we met for the first time and when he gave me my letter of dismissal.

“Ferrari is also demoralising several key engineers who have been the foundations of the many successes the team has had. I remain calm, I have now left but I’m sorry for the engineers who are still there.”

A bitter man – no doubt. An insightful individual – only time will tell. The politics of Ferrari are only beginning to be played out, but this disingenuous individual has possibly given away within his words why Mattiacci felt he was not the right man for the task.

To blame Fry and Tombazis is probably reasonable as they have been at the helm and directing the design of the red cars for a few years but to bring in to the equation the name of Allison who has been a title winner with Ferrari between 2000-2004 and with Renault in 2005/6 is remarkable – especially considering that Allison only rejoined Ferrari on the 1st September and would have no input in this season’s design..

A popular saying in Italy is “Don’t spit on the plate that you ate from” (don’t bite the hand that feeds you) – in effect with non-disclosure agreements you tend to be less attractive to other employers. Far better to have the class of a Costa and prove your value elsewhere..

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(sourced from GMM and with TJ13 comment)

Di Resta ‘determined’ to return to F1

Former Force India driver Paul di Resta is not ready to give up on his formula one career. The 28-year-old Scot lost his seat with the Silverstone based team at the end of last year and returned to the German touring car series DTM with Mercedes.

He was linked with a potential F1 reserve role with the German marque’s Brackley based team this year, but for now he is committed to improving in DTM. “When I came back (to DTM), I thought I might be able to get to the front straight away, but that clearly hasn’t happened and we are not where we want to be just now,” said the former series champion.

“It’s too early to say what my plans are for 2015 and my thoughts are completely devoted to chasing better results in DTM and helping Mercedes in any way I can,” he told Scotland’s Herald newspaper. “But I am positive I can gain another drive in F1 and, if anything, I am even more determined than I was. The decision isn’t up to me, but I delivered good, steady performances and I have no doubt I can build on that,” di Resta added.

TJ13 comment: Paul Di Resta has proven to be a dour, cheerless individual. He had a tendency to attack the team if he felt hard done by and in a short Grand Prix career proved good and steady as he pointed out himself.

Except ‘good and steady’ in a world that is watching Daniil Kyvat, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas highlight the talent coming through into Formula One just doesn’t cut it any longer. Although if the BBC F1 team continues to employ more Scottish staff – he may have a new position alongside his main supporters club!

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#F1 Features: The Generation Game – Challenges for the Future

•August 18, 2014 • 30 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Jacktheblob

Editor’s note: Jack is a young student, and an avid F1 fan. In the ‘The Generation Game’ series Jack will share with us why F1 has such a problem attracting the next generation of fans.


Over the past few months I’ve read a lot of articles on F1 blogs and websites that all reference the “next generation” of F1 fans. As a part of this generation myself, I felt it was time to set the record straight on a few matters. I am a student, heading off to university in October. These are my thoughts, as a genuine young person, on the current state of the sport and the challenge of captivating the next generation of fans.


#2 – Challenges for the Future

Race Length

There have been some murmurs about shortening races which I know have been met with fierce opposition. However, the simple fact is that races ARE too long to hold the attention of most teenagers. I don’t want to see shorter races either, but something must be done if we really want to get more young people interested in F1. The start – great. The end – usually great. The hour in between is the problem. To the novice viewer, who has no appreciation of tactics, strategy, degradation or fuel consumption, there’s usually not enough going on to keep them watching for the whole 90 minutes.

Whilst discussing this article with a friend of mine, I was surprised to discover he had actually watched F1 in the past. “I used to find the build up more interesting than the actual race. I’d watch the guys having a bit of banter and I’d wait for the race start, but I turned off after the first few laps. Sometimes I’d catch the end.” This also links back to the quality of the coverage, which I discussed in the first episode of The Generation Game, and I do think the loss of Jake Humphrey was a big one.

But the dreaded processional race, no matter how many yachts are in the harbour, is F1’s 0-0 draw; nobody really wins. So what’s the solution? Sprint races, artificial rain, switching cars at pit stops??

Perhaps Tilke has to shoulder some of the blame for designing tracks that just don’t produce the same spectacle as the classics that have survived the test of time. Could a move away from newly created tracks, or even swapping Tilke for a new designer, bring a little more spice back to the show?

This is definitely one of the more challenging issues to overcome in order to captivate a new generation of fans, and I’m afraid I personally don’t have the answer, so please leave a comment with any thoughts you might have.

Sparks

This is a bit of a minor point, but the moral of the story applies to the sport in general. In the modern age, a sparking car just looks – dare I say it – tacky.

Nigel Mansell ©WilliamsI can pretty much guarantee my friends (if I were able to convince them to watch the race) would ask “why is it doing that? Is it broken?“. Trying to then explain about floors and skid plates would inevitably be met with a whole load of ‘Not Caring’. This recent obsession with “decoration” – some would say gimmicks – is bad for the sport. Sparks, restarts, even DRS… is it really necessary? Sometimes less is more.

TV Or Not TV?

We all know that Formula 1 has to be on free to air TV in order to gain new audiences. Unfortunately it seems increasingly likely that live races will only retreat further behind pay walls in future. But maybe salvation can be found elsewhere, in that favourite haunt of modern teenagers – the internet.

netflix-logoI’m not too sure about the idea of showing races live on YouTube, as I don’t think people have the attention span for it, especially when they’re used to ten minute “vlogs“. However, I think the rise of Netflix / Blinkbox etc could feasibly be utilised as an alternative to traditional TV broadcasting. Users already pay a subscription fee, so it’s not quite BBC, but it’s a damn sight cheaper than Sky.

Also, these sites are popular with the younger demographic (who mostly use someone else’s account so they don’t have to actually pay). With the right build up and advertising, a headline “live event” could attract a decent audience. This would bring more people to the site, more people would see the show, the sponsors get more exposure… everybody wins.

Okay, real life is far more complicated than that, but there could be some potential in the idea. Even people who are just after a Sunday afternoon movie could be tempted to join the action with a snazzy picture and the word LIVE!! screamed at them with enough enthusiasm.

I’m not so naive as to think that F1 races can be added to the Netflix repertoire at no extra cost, but once people have parted with a little cash, it’s easier to encourage them to give up a little bit more. Perhaps, in ten years time, Sky will no longer be the limit. (pun intended)

Corporate Robots

Sometimes, character and personality can bring a lot of interest to a sport. Here’s a poor analogy: do you watch the match featuring Luis Suarez, hoping he’ll bite Mario Ballotelli (who turns to the camera to ask “why always me?“), or do you watch a different match, safe in the knowledge that no vampirism will occur?

Take Hamilton and Rosberg. If only Nico had climbed on to the podium, hit Lewis, and proclaimed to the world “It should have been me!“. Now there’s a spicy story to grab some headlines.

On a more serious note, the drivers do seem to be heading towards anonymity, with only Kimi Raikkonen providing a breath of monosyllabic fresh air. A few more fiery characters grabbing headlines around the world could see a sudden burst of interest in the sport, and a reincarnation of the Senna / Prost battle could provide some much needed front page coverage.

The most iconic image of a modern rivalry for me is the raging bulls in Turkey 2010, although of course we also had multi 21 and “come on Seb, this is silly.” Unfortunately the Vettel / Webber relationship was a rather poor imitation of the fireworks of the late 80s, and Hamilton and Rosberg are still pretending to be BFFs. But surely at some point something has to give, and with double points in the mix Abu Dhabi could be a spicy encounter…

Ricciardo and Kvyat together in Austin, 2013

Voice of the #F1 fans: Lewis Hamilton – The Pioneer – Part II

•August 17, 2014 • 32 Comments

Editor’s note: TJ13 began with a desire to offer a ‘fans’ perspective’ of this glorious sport of ours; warts and all. There are no agenda’s behind the articles and certainly no censorship from corporate interests. As a growing community, many articles are written by passionate fans and we’d like to encourage more debate and more doodles and muses from you all.

A new feature has recently been introduced called simply – “Voice of the Fans”. It will feature anyone who chooses to share their views. If you have something to say, please send your words through the usual ‘Contact Us’ and we will put them into our new feature.

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Still I surprise

(If you missed part I read it here)

 3) Lewis and ‘The Lord’

Does a vocal expression of religious belief by a competitor and their sport mix?

Well in terms of F1, we are now faced with this question. In modern times and for many F1 fans, this question has not been asked by other drivers.

I cannot recall another driver so outwardly religious before. This is yet another shade of Lewis which confronts us and of all the aspects of Lewis’ life, this is the one now appears to evoke the most negative feelings within me personally.

I find the ‘use’ of religious idioms in sport disingenuous.

Is petitioning God for help or thanking him for granting a personal divine intervention really appropriate where the sport is all about the individual’s skill and focus?

However, many fans appreciate Lewis’ religious comment and again we are forced by Lewis to confront the uncomfortable.

Perhaps Ayrton Senna had a similar effect. He was accused of being dangerous because his religious view appeared to represent a “when you’re time’s up – it’s up” philosophy. It’s not difficult to understand the associated dangers with a world view where your own death is an abdicated responsibility for another to explain.

Senna though existed in an era and from a country where religion was a daily part of daily life.

In the modern incrementally secularised world, in this sense, Lewis is again an F1 pioneer.

Lewis' "Still I Rise" tattoo

Lewis’ “Still I Rise” tattoo

4) Lewis the Driver Born at the Will of a Corporation

I think the final challenge that Lewis presents us, that evokes the extreme emotions, is that he was in many ways the first professionally tailored junior talent to rise through the ranks.

Hamilton enjoyed, and made the most of a fully funded path to greatness, whilst being sculpted into a McLaren icon. He was the first to ride the long term wave of a big teams desire to ‘breed’ a driver of unparalleled pedigree, which has primarily been achieved. His 2007 season was the proof of this, as Lewis was adept in interviews at proclaiming the corporate line.

Some feel that this makes him an ‘entitled’ individual and his rhetoric of an underprivileged heritage then reeks of hypocrisy. This being a given, Lewis’ comments on the privilege of Nico Rosberg’s upbringing may not have been the wisest

Yet again, Lewis is unlike any previous Formula One world champion driver. No other before him made this kind of entrance into the sport. None had been plucked from their childhood – age 13 – and ‘developed’ in such a way.

Now this route into top level Formula One is becoming more normative. but Lewis was the pioneer as the first from a corporate driven generation.

The guiding hand of McLaren and Ron Dennis

The guiding hand of McLaren and Ron Dennis

Still I ponder

Whatever Lewis is, whatever his personal stance, whatever his underlying motivations, whatever his lifestyle choices are, one thing is for sure; he challenges us. Not least because he is a pioneer in all the aspects I have already discussed, but he forces us to consider religion, race and celebrity status as one.

Hamilton arrests our paradigms, long established by the rich history of the sport, which inevitably evokes extreme feelings. That makes some of us uncomfortable, angry, resentful, inspired, courageous or identify with him – and strangely for a select few, myself included, all of them at once.

In the end, Lewis Hamilton is good for Formula One.

To me, Hamilton is a symbol of an evolving world, and an evolving sport, that at times exists between the archaic and modernity.

Lewis is the proof that we have a world becoming more tolerant, not only to race, but religion, celebrity and alternative lifestyles.

The pace of evolution may be slow at times, but it is indeed a sign we are moving in the right direction.

Do I support Hamilton? No I don’t.

Do I like him as a person, from the public snippets of what we see and hear? Not overly.

Do I want Lewis in F1? Absolutely. Because Lewis is one of the best drivers in the world and he tests us all.

On reflection

I see the effects of Lewis’ pioneering career as a mirror, with us looking into it, for those wise enough we see the best and worst of ourselves. We see the most desired traits we may want and the least desired traits we dare not admit we have.

Lewis Hamilton is unprecedented in Formula One, which when acknowledged, one can see WHY he evokes such extreme views. It is why some will defend him with their last breath and why some will want to pin him to a metaphorical cross.

In particular, what challenges me is nothing to do with his race, or colour. Nor his entrance into Formula One or even his celebrity lifestyle cross over.

For me the challenge is Lewis’ outspoken religious beliefs and more specifically the way that ‘the lord’ is somehow implied to care about sport and in particular Lewis’ performance over and above other drivers.

Of course Hamilton’s emotional flippancy and his sullenness when he feels maligned or loses, grates on me. Where I come from, when you lose, you say ‘good game’, move on and focus the pure pain of the loss into a furnace within yourself.  You create a pure energy so as to unleash it in every training session up until the next game or race where you will see if you were good enough again. And you do it with a smile.

What do I love about Lewis?

His amazing, incredible appetite for driving. His unprecedented impact on F1. His presence as a symbol or proof that we are moving forward in our sport and on this planet, even if this progression is only in rather a small manner.

The TJ13 #F1 Podcast: Episode 1 – 17th August 2014

•August 17, 2014 • 33 Comments

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Editors Note: Welcome to the the first ever episode of TheJudge13 F1 Podcast. This was originally planned as a pilot to test our recording/ broadcasting capabilities but with the wonders of technology and the fine editing skills of SpannersReady – we have a podcast we wished to publish for all TJ13 visitors and commenters.

From the initial steps into a new broadcasting medium we step into hazardous opinions about Formula One’s current obsession with tarmac run-off areas, strong views on the likes of Lewis Hamilton – who is compared to a pearl (!), Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and various other targets from the world of Formula One – we invite you all to share in the journey.

This will become a regular feature over the coming months so please leave your thoughts and comments below and if you have any specific topics you would like to raise please let us know.

Now grab a coffee, a tea – or a beer if you are in the appropriate time zone – and enjoy!

The Top-20 #F1 Constructors who Failed to win a Championship – 10th Shadow

•August 17, 2014 • 6 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.]

“We rob banks.”

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Shadow
Heading into the second half of this series we reach the more successful teams, who did at least win a GP or two. Most of the twenty teams in this series have been founded by one man, without whom there is no doubt the team would not have existed but, with the Shadow team there is considerable doubt… much of which seems to have been deliberately, if light-heartedly, fostered by one man – Don Nichols. Or was he two… or even three men.

Google him and you’ll discover such a tangled web of past intrigue you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Conspiracy Heaven.

Rather than leave you in suspense let me say that the Don Nichols we have here appears to have been born in Missouri, in 1923… or maybe 1924… As a baby he was orphaned when the family car was hit by a tornado – the car was found three miles from the road, both parents were dead, but Don was discovered alive, in a carry-cot.

magazine-01-WGrowing up in the 30’s Don was addicted to a popular adventure radio show, The Shadow, its spin-off comics and several movies. During WWII Don had a reputation for fearless combat… and also collecting Luger pistols from German officers.

Other stories abound, which Don declines to deny, declaring his ‘attorney’ has instructed him not to discuss them…

After the War Don found himself in Japan, as a tyre representative for Firestone and (apparently) Goodyear… He was also involved in establishing the Fuji circuit and was a translator for Jim Clark, who was invited to inspect the circuit in 1966. Don is never more than a metre from Clark’s side, and even takes a ride with him in an E-type. The ever- modest Clark (referred to as, the ‘frying scot-to’) seems slightly overwhelmed by the whole thing… doing a major PR job entirely alone.

There are three parts to the following video…

By 1968 Don was back in the States where, in 1970 he created his Shadow Mk.1 – a very low-level CanAm car driven by George Folmer and, when Folmer’s IndyCar boss objected, by Vic Elford. The car was fast, if unreliable, and is highly prized today, often just for its stunning looks.

logo-01-W-1Shadow cars were always painted black, and sponsors had to fit in with that. In 1971 UOP (United Oil Products) were happy to oblige and the new car was driven by Jackie Oliver. By 1974, when the works teams of McLaren and Porsche had withdrawn, Shadow dominated the series…

George Folmer might need some introduction, he raced IndyCars in 1967-71, won the Can-Am championship in 1972 and entered F1 in 1973, at the age of 39 (the oldest debutant in F1 since the 50’s), before returning to Can-Am, NASCAR, and IndyCars. Ten years after ‘retiring’ George finished 3rd at Le Mans.

Vic Elford had a dozen F1 drives in 1968-69, and scored 8pts., after a successful rally, and sports-car career. In 1968 he won the Monte Carlo Rally (911) and the Daytona 24hrs (907) for Porsche. In the same year he won the Targa Florio, and finished 4th in his first GP.

In the 1972 Le Mans Vic stopped when he saw a burning car and rushed over to help the driver, opening the door to discover the driver had already escaped. But behind it lay the wreck of Jo Bonnier’s car, who died in the accident. For this action Vic was named Chevalier of the National Order of Merit by President Pompidou. His success record at his favourite circuit, Nurburgring, has been beaten only by Rudolf Caracciola and Stirling Moss.

Jackie Oliver has already been mentioned in this series – ‘15th Arrows’ – and, like a shadow, will appear again…

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1973

At the end of 1972 Don Nichols announced his intention to enter F1, with a car (DN1) designed by ex-BRM set- square shaker, Tony Southgate. Oliver went with them, along with Folmer, and even on their debut they were joined by their first customer, Graham Hill, who was awaiting his own car to be finished.

In their first race Oliver retired but Folmer went from 21st on the grid to 6th in the race and recorded Shadow’s first Championship point – in their first race…! In their second race Oliver again retired, while Folmer went from 14th on the grid to 3rd – taking Shadow’s first podium. As debut’s go, this was really impressive.

However, the following nine races were not… all three cars either retiring, or finishing no higher than 8th, and invariably qualifying in the rear third of the grid. At Monza all three cars finally finished a race, all, one lap down, but in Canada it was left to Oliver to get his car from 14th on the grid to another podium finish… although many claimed he had actually won… The lap-charts were confused by rain, multiple pitstops, and a ‘staggeringly inept deployment’ of the safety car, that allowed the eventual winner to un-lap himself.

Overall, Shadow finished 8th (out of 12 teams) in the Championship, ahead of the rear rank teams: Surtees, Iso, Tecno and Ensign. As first seasons go this was better than most others ever achieve.

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1974

Oliver and Folmer returned to America and Nichols hired Peter Revson (the Monza winner…) and Jean-Pierre Jarier (reigning F2 Champion). Southgate produced the DN3 but both drivers retired from the first two races, although Revson had put himself in 4th & 6th places on the two grids.

Tragically, in the third race, at Kyalami, Peter Revson crashed and was killed during practice and a very promising talent was lost before he barely got started. The Shadow team withdrew from the race.

Brian Redman was brought in to replace Revson. He had had a handful of GP starts over the previous handful of years but, apart from a podium in a Cooper-BRM in 1968, never had much success in F1, apparently preferring sports-cars. After three races he was replaced by Swede, Bertil Roos, for the Swedish GP – Roos’ only F1 appearance – who qualified 23rd and completed only two laps. In Holland Welshman, Tom Pryce, was taken onboard and was immediately up with Jarier who, after a very slow start to the season, had managed to get his car onto the podium at Monaco, having started from 6th.

Tom Pryce began racing F5000 cars in 1969, when he was 20, and moved through the usual FF, F3, FSuperV, FAtlantic, and F2 series until being offered an F1 drive with ‘Token’ in 1974. Token had acquired the bits of Ron Dennis’ stillborn Rondel/Motul F1 attempt in 1973. After four GP races in 1974 Token sold out to ‘Safir’, who failed to get it onto the GP grid at all.

At Monaco Pryce had been refused entry, being considered inexperienced, so he got himself a drive in the supporting F3 event, and won by over 20secs.

At Dijon Pryce qualified 3rd, in his third GP, behind Lauda and Peterson but collided with James Hunt at the start of the race. Tom tended to out-perform Jarier but only managed to convert this into 1pt., in Germany, while Jarier scored 6pts. to again put Shadow into 8th in the Championship, this time out of 20 teams, although eight of these didn’t complete the full season.

The inconsistent results were caused by unreliability, crashes and spins, and the fact that sometimes one car would perform well, and the other would not. Often the car that qualified highest would finish lower in the race. And both drivers were inexperienced in F1.

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1975

The disconsolate Ronnie Peterson, very unhappy at Lotus, signed to drive for Shadow, in a swap with Pryce, who was considered to be cheaper for the cash-strapped Lotus team, before Chapman lured Peterson back with further broken promises, so Jarier & Pryce stayed, Southgate produced DN5 (did someone at Shadow not like even- numbers… or consider them unlucky?), and Shadow seemed poised to challenge the big boys. In Argentina Jarier squarely planted his car on pole, with a new (unofficial) lap record but..,. on the warm-up lap his diff. went all cockeyed and he failed to start the race.

In Brazil Jarier again put his car on pole, again with a new record time (while Pryce was in the back half of both grids), but retired with fuel-feed problems, seven laps from the end, while in the lead, and having recorded the fastest lap.

In the fourth race, at Spain’s legendary and infamous Montjuich curcuit [see Carlo’s excellent review], Stommelen’s nasty crash brought the race, and all racing at Montjuich to an end. Jarier managed to finsh third but was deemed to have passed under yellow flags and relegated to 4th. Being stopped early, the race netted him just 11⁄2 points, which was all he amassed during the year.

Pryce, however, managed three 6th places, a 4th, and a 3rd, in Austria, his first podium. He had also warmed the cockles of British hearts, and Welsh harps, at Silverstone by taking pole. He then led for two laps, before crashing out. This was the first race with the unnecessary Woodcote chicane, and the first GP to start with lights, to dispense with human error when waving a flag – and, after thirty-nine years, they still have problems with electronic errors.

At Monaco the cars qualified 2nd & 3rd, but they needed to finish more races. Very often the drivers qualified in the top half dozen but… too often, when the cars weren’t breaking on their own, the drivers were breaking them against the barriers.

At the end of the year Southgate produced the DN7 fitted with the Matra V12 engine which didn’t justify its existence and was dropped after two races. Shadow finished in 6th place in the Championship, just ahead of Lotus, March, Williams, Parnelli, Hill, Penske, BRM and Fittipaldi.

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1976

Tony Southgate either ran out of ideas, or development money (UOP had withdrawn their sponsorship), and arrived at the first race with the DN5B, where Jarier nevertheless qualified 3rd, and was mixing it with Regazzoni, Lauda and Hunt, and reached 2nd place behind Lauda when he crashed out on an oil-slick. Depailler took over 2nd and Pryce moved up to the final podium position. Although Pryce managed two more 4th places Jarier was out of luck all year, and Shadow returned to 8th spot.

For the last few races Jarier drove a new DN8 (so, not entirely averse to even numbers, then…), penned by Southgate before he left to join Lotus, which was little better and, overall, he tended to be out-shone by Pryce, as a result of which he wasn’t retained by the team, and despite some very good subsequent performances his career failed to really recover. In 1979, with Tyrrell, he had two more podium places but only finished 11th in the Championship, his personal best.

By the end of his career he received considerable criticism for blocking other cars when he was a back-marker, and being lapped. After one dreadful exhibition James Hunt said: “He shouldn’t be allowed to drive in GP. For that he should receive a short suspension and, for being himself, with a mental age of 10, he should receive a permanent suspension.”

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1976 was also the year of Roger Penske – in F1. Entering IndyCars in 1968, by 1971 they were one of the top teams, and Roger started to investigate F1, entering the last two events of 1974 with the PC1, for Mark Donohue, who had previously raced in a Penske-entered McLaren in 1971, and finished on the podium but, after winning the Indy-500 in 1972, and success in CanAm, he retired at the end of 1973… only to be lured back by Penske – to F1.

1975 wasn’t a great success, Mark scoring just one 5th place before the car was dropped in favour of a March 751, which gave him one more 5th place before a practice accident in Austria, which killed a marshall. The following day Mark complained of a headache, shortly afterwards lapsed into a coma, and died, from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Penske returned to the States, missing Monza, and brought out the PC1 at Watkins Glen, for John Watson, who qualified 12th, and finished 9th. Watson had had three years in F1, and was rising slower than the liquid in a Norwegian thermometer… but in 1976, with the PC3, and backing from First National City Bank, he was 3rd on the grid in South Africa, and 5th in the race, ironically just ahead of Mario Andretti, in the ‘other’ American team.

After six races the superior PC4 appeared and, at Paul Ricard, Watson put himself onto the podium, and repeated this in the next race at Brands Hatch, this time ironically just ahead of Tom Pryce. The car, or Watson, didn’t like the Nurburgring but in Austria, a year after Donohue’s demise, Watson put the car on the front row of the grid… and went on to win…! and Penske took 5th in the Championship.

It is 38 years since an American constructor won an F1 GP – will Gene Haas be able to end this hiatus…?

At the end of the year Penske decided he preferred IndyCars and sold the F1 car(s) to ATS, who scored one point, with Jarier driving, before pulling out before the end of the 1977 season.

Oddly, these three years (1974-76) saw another American team, from Vel’s Parnelli Jones, who started at the same time as Penske and, after success in IndyCars, also decided to mount an attack on F1, by bringing in Maurice Philippe from Lotus, and Mario Andretti. They did achieve a 4th and a 5th place in 1975 but ran out of steam after two races in 1976, and pulled out.

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1977

With Southgate gone Dave Wass took over the under-funded development of the DN8, and Pryce was joined by Renzo Zorzi, who brought big sacks of lira from Franco Ambrosio, signalling an end to the all-black livery. After one drive for Williams (Mk.1) in 1975, and one more in 1976, the fact Sir Frank didn’t retain him, and his money, should have been sufficient warning to Shadow… but sometimes ‘beggars can’t be choosers’.

However, with several cars out of Brazil from accidents Zorzi managed to finish 6th, to score the only Championship point of his brief career

Pryce-01-WIn the following race in South Africa a dark shadow settled over the race when Zorzi pulled over at the start of the main straight with engine failure, which caused a small fire. Although the onboard extinguishers had dealt with it two marshals dashed from the pit-wall across the track with a larger extinguisher, as Stuck, Pryce, Lafitte and Nilsson arrived. As Stuck moved over to avoid the marshals the ‘unsighted’ Pryce pulled out, and hit one of the marshals, who was killed instantly. The extinguisher hit Pryce’s head and bounced off the rollbar with such force it was thrown over the main grandstand and landed in the carpark behind.

Tom Pryce also probably died instantly but the car careered along the main straight until colliding with Laffite just before the first turn, putting both cars into the barrier. Tom was the third young rising F1 star to be tragically killed at this time – following Roger Williamson (1973) and Tony Brise (1975) – which left a large gap in British F1.

A sombre circus arrived at Long Beach, with the news that Carlos Pace had been killed in a plane crash. Shadow had signed up Alan Jones, who had been dropped by Surtees at the end of 1976, despite showing promise (!? With those two, I suspect neither got on with the other…) but, he and Zorzi had a bad time, and in Spain as well, and Zorzi was dropped, in favour of Ricardo Patrese who joined Jones at Monaco and, in his first F1 GP, qualified 15th and finished 9th, while Jones finished 6th, behind Reutemann, Mass and Andretti, these four cars covered by four seconds after two hours’ racing.

Patrese came from virtually nowhere, and stayed longer than anyone (17 yrs. – beaten by Rubens’ 19yrs. – 2010). In karting he won a Championship in 1974 which gave him a tryout in F.Italia in May, 1975, which had been expected to be a bit of fun, in between his university studies. In May, 1977 he was, rather surprisingly, in F1.

In the next race Jones managed to rise to 5th while, in Sweden, Jackie Oliver returned to the circuit and showed he could still do it. Ricardo had three more races, with little success, and Arturo Merzario was given a try, with no greater success… The race had started on a wet track and Gunnar Nilsson had taken his Lotus from 16th on the grid to 2nd in the race, while Jones went from 14th to 5th… and then 2nd, behind James Hunt, until his engine died, and Jones finally scored Shadow’s (and his own) first GP victory.

Tony Southgate returned, mid-season, from Lotus, as Ricardo drove another two races, stood down yet again for Jean-Pierre Jarier to have a go, and returned for the last two races, finally making it all worthwhile by taking his first championship point with 6th place in Japan. Jones had recorded another podium, in Italy, and two 4th places in the last two races. With 23pts., and 7th place in the Championship, it all seemed to be finally coming good for Shadow…

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Or did it…?

Well . . . those of you who read Part 15 – Arrows, will know the answer because, during the winter of 1977-78 there was a seismic occurrence at Shadow that perhaps only the Judge might have forecast. A huge rift was created between Don Nichols and his key personel and the team suffered a walkout. With backing from Shadow’s sponsor, Ambrosio, team managers, Oliver and Alan Rees, plus designers Southgate and Wass, and their ‘No,1’ driver, Patrese (Jones had already been lured to the new Williams team), all marched into the night to form Arrows Grand Prix International. Nobody ever seems to have explained quite why.

1978

From necessity the ageing DN8 was pressed into service for a third year, to be driven by Hans Stuck and Clay Regazzoni – Stuck had been in F1 for four years, with occasional success, including two podiums with Brabham in 1977 – Clay had enjoyed six good years (with a break in the middle at BRM) with Ferrari, finishing 2nd in the World Championship in 1974, but was now mouldering away after a year with Ensign. Nevertheless he managed 5th in Brazil… but both drivers failed to qualify in South Africa.

At Long Beach the DN9 put in an appearance but, throughout the year both cars qualified near the back of the grid, if they qualified at all, and it was perhaps luck that got them to 11th place, with just 6pts.

During the year Shadow sued Arrows, saying their FA1 was a copy of Shadow’s DN9, won the case, and apparently all FA1s were handed over to Shadow, as part of the settlement… Arrows are remembered for expecting the verdict to go against them and having built a replacement (A1) in 53 days – although nobody seems to have actually verified this legend… Regardless, the A1 was a disaster, recording two finishes in the final ten starts though, sadly, the DN9 was no better.

1978-01-W-1

1979

Stuck went off to ATS, for his final F1 season, and Clay was rescued by Williams, where he added another victory, and four more podiums to his personal record book.

With their backs against the wall Shadow had pulled back as far as they could go, and made a desperate effort to regroup, technically splitting the team in half, with different sponsorship deals and different names: the Samson Shadow, for Jan Lammers, and the Interscope Shadow, for Elio de Angelis, making his F1 debut, after winning the Italian F3 Championship in 1977, and racing in F2 in 1978. Lammers had won the European F3 Championship in 1978… The mid-70’s appear to have been an easy time for drivers with limited experience to leap into F1. Super- Licences seemed to be available at any local Farmers’ Market.

During a four-year career in F1 (plus a brief, and bizarre return ten years later) Lammers was unable to score a single point, but was subsequently more successful in sports-cars. De Angelis had a lot more going for him and, although his first year only netted him a 4th place in the final race, he went on to enjoy mixed fortunes at Lotus, eventually taking 3rd in the Championship in 1984.

With just these 3pts. Shadow finished 10th in the Championship, again one place behind Arrows, who amassed a less-than-earth-shattering, 5pts.

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1980

With even less sponsorship, and a very limited race team, Nichols could have easily been forgiven for pulling out but… as with so many of these ‘driven’ guys, he went for one more. With a new car, the DN11, the team signed up Stefan Johansson, and David Kennedy, who had taken Championships in FF, and wins in F3, and British F1 (anybody remember that…?), with the Theodore team, and now moved to (‘real’) F1. Stefan was still racing in F3 but was also given his F1 chance but, after also failing to qualify for the first two races, went back to take the British F3 Championship in 1980.

Geoff Lees also came from nowhere to replace him – after one F1 appearance in 1978, and another in 1979, he arrived at Shadow ill-equipped to shine and, after five races, and four failures to qualify, followed Shadow into the gloom… but went on to convincingly take the European F2 Championship in 1981 for Ralt, before moving to Japan where he enjoyed considerable success.

Meanwhile Shadow had ‘got into bed’ with Teddy Yip’s Theodore team but it wasn’t enough to save them and, after a couple more races, Yip ‘pulled the plug’. Yip formed another team for 1981, ironically with Southgate as designer, but that didn’t work well either. Again he tried a merger, this time with Ensign, which also failed. Yip wound that one up as well while a probably grateful Mo Nunn scooted off to the States, where he subsequently enjoyed the best of times, and not too many of the worst of times, in IndyCars.

In eight years Shadow, who came from almost nowhere, scored 3 Poles, 1 Win, and 2 Fastest Laps, in 112 races, with a highest place of 6th in the Constructor’s Championship, in 1975.

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As for the previously mentioned intrigue around Don Nichols’ background… Despite what others have written, as usual just perpetuating the myth, but without commenting on it… my view is there were two ex-military chaps, one of whom is the Shadow owner who appears here. The other chap might have established a special ops unit during the Korean War. And perhaps worked covertly for the CIA in Vietnam. And won medals for feats of bravery and espionage, rescuing the surviving crew from a downed B-29 bomber. And retrieved technical data from downed Russian MiG-15s, more than 100 miles behind enemy lines. And once brought back the entire jet.

This ‘other’ Donald Nichols retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1962, due to failing health, and died in 1992 in the Veterans Affairs hospital in Alabama, but… to this day, ‘our’ Don Nichols can still be found at vintage racing events in the U.S, alongside examples of Shadow cars, almost always in black – svelte and mysterious. This Don Nichols is said to have stored all his original cars, and has been selling them off, one a year, for the past fifteen years.


Previously:

11th Toleman

12th Toyota

13th Alfa Romeo

14th Sauber

15th Arrows

16th Stewart

17th BAR

18th – Surtees

19th – Lola

20th – Dallara

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 16th August 2014

•August 16, 2014 • 34 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 TJ13:

Voice of the #F1 fans: Lewis Hamilton – The Pioneer – Part I


OTD Lite: 1998 Hungarian GP, Schumacher’s greatest victory

Red Bull to wait?

Gone, but not forgotten

Nasr to Sauber?


OTD Lite: 1998 Hungarian GP – Schumacher’s greatest victory

Is sixteen years too recent to call an event historic? Or is it the fact that MIchael Schumacher retired just two years ago the defining factor behind what constitutes a historic event? To the Jackal’s mind, this is unquestionably THE greatest victory in Schumacher’s career. There was no need for the lottery of rain which amplifies certains drivers abilities whilst punishing others – there was no fuel or tyre conservation being applied – just a driver taking his car to the absolute limit to beat a formidable foe.

1998 was a Mclaren dominated season, and after qualifying third behind them in Hungary, it looked like another 1-2 would follow except Ross Brawn had different ideas. He called Schumacher in early for his second stop, and told him to fly. By the time Mclaren’s rigid pit-stop plan was put in to action the Ferrari had emerged in front but with another stop still to complete.

19 seconds in 19 laps” was the instruction from the pit wall and Schumacher’s speed was staggering, even running off the road in the last corner on one occasion didn’t affect him. “It didn’t work at the start and I had to push like hell when Ross decided to go for the three stops. When he told me what I had to do, I said ‘thanks very much.”

Thanks to them for helping me and making this one of my most special wins.”

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Red Bull to wait?

With 2 wins from the 11 races we have seen so far this season, one would be forgiven for thinking that Christian Horner would be happy with what his team has achieved so far – especially considering they could barely complete a lap at Jerez and the first Bahrain test.

With a Renault engine that is still lacking in power – something in the region of 65 horsepower depending on who you listen to – the team are not overly optimistic for the next two races in Belgium and Italy. Horner said, “You never know, it might be wet in Spa and for Monza they might put a load of corners in – but Singapore has to be the next golden opportunity for us in reality.

So all at Milton Keynes will be doing their collective rain dances over the next 2 weeks in the hope they can salvage something from the high speed circuits we have coming up. He continued, “It will be damage limitation in the next two races, because Force India will suddenly reappear, Williams will be quick, McLaren will be quick and obviously Mercedes will be quick. We have to take what we can out of the next two races, and then for the flyaways really try to turn things up.

According to that statement, Force India will pull a rabbit out of the hat with summer development to bring them back to fighting for podiums, McLaren’s car which lacks downforce will be strong and the Red Bulls will be seemingly nowhere. However, if we cast our minds back 12 months this was not the case.

Red Bull turned up at Spa and Monza with a specially designed skinny rear wing for those races which, presuming they do the same this year, will compensate for their high downforce design. Furthermore, the altitude of the Spa circuit means the engine powertrain output is reduced, which makes the Renault disadvantage less here than at other circuits. Of course, the long Kemmel straight will hand an advantage to Mercedes powered cars, but there will be the opportunity to balance this out somewhat.

So it may not be all doom and gloom for the Milton Keynes team as they look to build on the success from Hungary. Instead though, Horner is continuing to bang on the ‘blame Renault drum’ even as the teams relax before the flyaway events from the end of September. The politicking attempt from the RB frontman mounts the pressure from the team who showed they clearly have the chassis to be a front running team in Hungary.

The message is clear here to Remi Taffin and the whole of Renault F1 – spend big on the development for next year or the public shame will be big. With 48% of the powertrain able to be redesigned, 2015 cannot come soon enough for Renault as they once again take a hosing down from their headline squad.

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Gone, but not forgotten

One Grand Prix that will most probably not be missed in the back end of the season this year is the Indian GP after being cut in favour of a proposed change of time for the race. Of course, beneath this mirage of saying the correct thing and diverting the attention of the media, the debate over whether the series is a sport or entertainment rumbles on in India. This has high importance as to how the entourage is taxed upon entry into the country.

So while the race is absent from the roster but does at least, for the moment have an absence sick note for this year, how is the circuit being used and paying for itself? It did after all only feature 3 races from 2011-2013 which will hardly come close to paying for the race track complex.

Once a week there is a club which meets to drive around the circuit to test their luxurious cars around the state of the art Buddh International Circuit. Described by Indian newspaper The Hindu as “the niche world of Chennai’s hyper-car owners the circuit plays host to the group which features 30 different cars. ‘The Madras Exotic Car Club’ was founded by Manoj Lulla in 2012, as he sought after a solution to the ‘problem’ that many supercar owners face in the region of not being able to fully experience the true potential of these machines.

The club includes, “the finest examples of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Audi and BMW M-series. He continued, “It often starts around 5.30 a.m., when we hit ECR or GST Road. We conscientiously follow rules. These cars can be enjoyed without driving them fast. We cruise. While enjoying driving our own, we enjoy looking at others.

So this is what the dream of Formula One can be reduced to after just 4 years – a rich man’s playground – as the race promoters still continue to work with the Indian government on a new deal on tax, and FOM on a new place on the calendar. Still, it could be worse; you could have been left with a white elephant in the middle of nowhere like Mokpo, South Korea. At just 30 minutes drive from Delhi there is hope yet for the complex and a revival at some point of the Indian GP – unlike S. Korea.

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Nasr to Sauber?

As the silver team who improved so drastically last year continue to occupy 10th place in the Contructors’ Championship, the linking of drivers to their race seats next year continues. This time it is the turn of GP2 driver Felipa Nasr to be thrown into the mix for a race seat next year.

The Brazilian is enjoying a successful season so far in the Formula One support series as he hunts down Jolyon Palmer, who currently leads the standings. With a significant budget packet coming with the Brazilian, he would come as a welcome relief to the team who would lose over $10 million should they fail to reclaim 9th place ahead of Marussia.

Having tested with Williams earlier in the season, Nasr impressed there, but is left with no race seat in 2015 available as Massa and Bottas look to have those locked out. “It’s hard to get a place at Williams because the two drivers have done a good job and the team will not want to change that. I will keep up with all of the teams and see what happens. Williams has given me a very good background on what to expect in F1. I participate in all of the meetings and I’m always on the team radio,” he said in an interview with the Brazilian SporTV.

With the Mexican GP set to return in 2015, it would seem that Gutierrez will retain his seat for next year as Sauber will also be keen to keep the money coming into them from Carlos Slim’s back pocket. This then would leave Adrian Sutil battling to keep his place on the grid facing competition from Nasr, Simona de Silvestro, Giedo van der Garde, Sergey Sirotkin, Jules Bianchi (if Ferrari flex their control muscles) and any other grid hopefuls. In the end, the sad truth could see it come down to who has the biggest bank account as Sauber are severely lacking funds. Silly season is well and truly underway…

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