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13.15 15:00 16:08 16:44 16:55 17:35 18:01
All’s well that ends well
Following the huge recovery job during the race on Sunday, Sahara Force India have not denied rumours of tensions boiling over following the poor qualifying by Di Resta on Saturday. The 27 year old Scot had been highly critical in a very public manner, which reportedly angered a his trainer and team mechanic.
The masterful performance to make the prime tyres last for 56 laps saved his weekend. The Scot said, “Looking back, I don’t think I was too harsh. When you work with the team so closely, it’s good to have that heat because you need to show your emotion.”
This confident showing by Di Resta is a far cry from the figure he portrayed whilst being beaten by Nico Hulkenberg, at the back end of last year. A strong character is, of course, paramount for working in a top team, so if Mark Webber does decide to leave Red Bull, Paul is doing himself no harm by showing some fight.
Allison exit not to blame
Following a poor showing from the Lotus team, team owner Gerard Lopez has refused to pin the any of the blame on highly-rated technical director James Allison leaving. Whilst speaking to Finland’s newspaper Turun Sanomat, he snapped at these claims, saying, “This cannot be accepted. For Silverstone, I expect us to be absolutely as strong as we were before Monaco.”
He stated, “He (Allison) is a good man, but he’s not god”. If he is, as many reports have suggested, going to be joining Red Bull; and the ‘give you wings’, does that make him an angel then?
He continued by rejecting claims that Kimi Raikkonen was growing frustrated by the performances, saying, “Everything is perfectly ok with Kimi.”
“Just got stuff on my mind”
Very poinient words from Lewis Hamilton after replying in a rather blunt fashion to his engineer giving him instructions whilst being ‘hunted down’ by Fernando Alonso. Lewis stated, “I don’t settle for anything but the best and wins; I still haven’t got a win, Nico has won a race, so I need to get a win”
We all remember 2011, when Hamilton had a lot on his mind. Towards the end of 2012 and start of this year he has looked like a very calm and collected individual, when he seemed to have written off much chance of the Mercedes being a top line car. Of course now though, the pressure is on following Nico’s win, so this will be the first true test of Hamilton’s character since his switch to the Brackley based outfit.
Ferrari – Leopards and spots
We all love a good gossip, and this weekend has seen the chatter from the F1 paddock media speculate that that Jean Eric Vergne following his excellent drive and 6th place finish is now in line to drive for Red Bull in 2014. Yet earlier this year all the talk was about his Australian team mate, particularly following the ‘multi21’ debacle.
You can argue stereotypes have some merit because if they were so far from the mark, they would cause instant amusement and then be forgotten, they only gain traction due to at least a grain of truth being seen in the stereotype presented. (cf. British mother-in-law jokes).
There are some of the stereotypical views of our beloved Italian F1 friends which have some validity. The glory of being Ferrari (which is indeed a glorious thing) at times has appeared at times to cloud their collective view of what pragmatically should be done.
For example, the failure to confirm Felipe as their 2013 driver seemed to be a political matter during latter half of 2012 for a variety of reasons. Alonso had been promoting Massa’s cause during Singapore and Japan and then Il Padrino knocked him down a peg or two telling him to ‘but out’ of the Ferrari driver debate and focus on winning the title.
Yet was there really another option for the Maranello team?
I’m not surprised to hear the fickle paddock media chatter about Massa being replaced in 2014 following 3 incidents in Monaco and Montreal which probably caused about $4m of damage. Yet, this is clearly nonsense because the number of issues which will involve a change of variables for the teams in 2014 is most significant.
The last thing a top team is going to do is change a driver without serious cause, and if they do it will be for someone with a wealth of experience like a Kimi and then the list of names then becomes rather thin.
Dominicali is absolutely clear on this matter. He tells Brazilian publication O Estado de S.Paulo, “If Felipe keeps going as he has been, I do not see any problem for the future. As far as our drivers go for 2014, I’m calm, this is one of the easiest decisions to be taken for next season.
What is complex is the technical challenge we face with so many changes. We will arrive early next year with so many unknowns and only three tests before the start of the season, so there’s no guarantee we will understand everything.
Whilst people may discuss this [Ferrari driver lineup] relentlessly, everybody knows that Fernando has a long-term contract and Felipe, despite all that is said, is still with us.”
Dominicali was then asked specifically whether Massa will still be with Ferrari in 2014, he was adamant in his reply, “Absolutely.”
Who says a Leopard can’t change it’s spots? This kind of catagoric assurance will give Massa confidence, which may be important if Ferrari covert a shot at either title in 2013.
Wind tunnels to go?
TJ13 has learned that the current discussions over testing regulations include a restriction of other resources. In a trade for 4 lots of 2 day in season tests, the bigger teams may have agreed to limit other areas of expense which are killing the smaller teams.
Whilst yet to be concluded it appears the teams with wind tunnels will agree to reduce the amount of use substantially, if not all together eventually, and for a team like Force India this clearly means they will be better advised shifting investment towards CFD.
We reported yesterday that Force India’s $75m wind tunnel programme was stalled and it may be they choose to now choose to cancel it all together.
Dominicali calls for Pirelli criticism to stop
TJ13 is indeed happy today. Last night in the comments section last night my joy at hearing someone from F1’s mainstream media agree with the message I’ve been preaching since Sepang.
Gary Anderson wrote on the BBC website, “Jenson Button said that the lap time McLaren decided to do was far too slow – and when he pushed he could still keep them alive. Well, maybe the teams are just trying to be too sophisticated with the tyres”. AND HERE IT IS…. “Maybe the drivers should just drive the car to the limit more”.
Today we have another esteemed witness in the courtroom of F1 opinion agreeing with another TJ13 2013 polemic. Speaking with O Estado de S.Paulo he says that the new Pirelli tyres have reduced the risk of damage to their “extraordinary F1 toys. It is our responsibility to accept the tyre challenge without complaint”.
Stefano then turns his attention to the F1 TV media and states, “They need to explain to viewers what is happening out there,” and why the car leading on track may not be on course for the race victory. The problem is at times our commentators haven’t got a clue what is going on. When Brundle et al (UK SKY TV) tell viewers that the bits of paper he has to record the number of pit stops has space only for 4 and his co-commentator chimes in, “this is just too much”, this hardly inspires confidence from us toward them.
This kind of rhetoric is lazy and requires our esteemed F1 pundits to get with the programme. If they can’t work out the possibilities that are evolving during the race then it’s time to retire and let those younger with greater mental agility do the job. The betting sites displaying the ‘in play odds’ are pretty close to the mark, so maybe a laptop with that screen open would help clear the fog for them.
Dominicali concludes by calling on everyone involved in F1 to stop criticising the sport because it becomes, “tiresome for our fantastic fans. We should be sending a positive message to them. Every Sunday is now different with more pit stops, the races are more exciting and now with this format we have to work differently and be dedicated in our attention”.
(A burst of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus blares from the courtroom public address system. There is a resounding bang of the gavel and I declare) FORZA FERRARI!!!
Here’s a poll Ferrari have been running on their website since the beginning of May. This is the state of play today
Ill Padrino – alive and well
Luca has been strangely quiet this year to date. Tending his olive trees and ensuring the vineyard is cared for. Now it is time for the Italian summer weather to do it’s part, before the regular bumper harvest in the autumn. Today Luca announces to the world he is still at the helm of Ferrari and F1… and probably the FIA too – when he writes on Ferrari.com.
“I do not wish to comment, but I note with satisfaction that the Federation is following this incident well. Let’s hope Formula 1 can maintain its professionalism and we have faith that those who attempt to circumvent the regulations are pursued and prosecuted, or rather more prosecuted than pursued”.
If you are working at Marenello, it may be too early to grin with glee as he continues, “As for us, we (read I) know exactly what we must do to win, between today and tomorrow, I will hold a long and detailed meeting with Domenicali and all the engineers: they know what we must do to improve and I am convinced that right to the very last race, Ferrari will be competitive and a contender, that we will not give up and that we have all the elements in place to improve”.
Mmm. Here we go again. Maybe the ‘Leopards and spots’ piece was a little premature.
Paul Hembery has been asked why Red Bull are still complaining about tyres. “They have been strong, but some of the comments are very difficult to understand when you look at the performance. Maybe some other teams might have a reason, but you are leading the championship, and still complaining?”
Even in Canada it appears there have been chunnerings from senior people from the Milton Keynes team as Hembery elaborated. “You win the race and I have seen some complaints again here [in Canada], and those sorts of things are not helpful.”
Following Stefano’s call to order, it could be Marko, Newey, Horner and the boys are now in a minority of 1.
Find the perjurer
TJ13 was surprised to read that Sebastian Vettel didn’t know they would only be testing the Pirelli proposed new rubber in Canada because this was indeed reported by TJ13 during the week following Monaco. Speaking to Autosport last Thursday he said, “As far as we learned, we would have had different tyres for this race [Canada], and then during the week we found out that we won’t, which I don’t understand, because I think the points that we tried to make clear from a driver’s perspective were based on safety”.
At times the things F1 teams miss is incredible.
Anyway, Sebastian is claiming he has never criticised Pirelli tyres except on grounds of safety. When asked why he was the most vocal critic of the Pirelii 2013 tyre compounds he replied to SKY, “Well, I think it’s pretty simple, The criticism we had or I expressed was not based on performance.
I think it was based on safety and I’m sure if you ask other drivers, maybe they weren’t that strong in the press, maybe they think they have an advantage with this sort of tyre, but we had some occasions this year where the tyre suffered delaminating, the top layer came off for not exactly known reasons, probably debris but you will always have some pieces on the track”.
Are you sure Mr. Vettel? Here in the courtroom we are not so sure this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so its time to hunt the perjurer.
Here’s a starter for you, BBC website, 22nd March 2013. Vettel says, “I hope we have enough tyres to survive the race”. Benson reports, “The world champion said the fast-wearing nature of the tyres meant that their performance was the determining factor – not that of the car itself”. Vettel adds, “You end up going around way under the car. It’s not a lot of fun but that’s the way it is.”
And why do you go around “way under the [ability of] the car” Sebastian? Because it is unsafe?
At least Sebastian is consistent in his criticism of Pirelli. Prior to the 2011 season opener he told Servus TV, “The problem is the tyres wear down too fast. They are only good for 16 or 17 laps, then they start to break up and are ruined, then the driver doesn’t have a chance. The feeling when driving is different and that is a pity for us.”
It may be a pity Sebastian, but is it unsafe?
Anyway, over to you TJ13 readers. What else can you discover?
Williams join McLaren in Formula e
Today it was announced that Williams Advanced Engineering division, which seeks out commercial applications for F1-based technologies, would be the sole supplier of battery technology to the new Formula e.
Sir Frank Williams said, “This is an exciting new racing series that will play a key role in highlighting the growing relevance of technologies originally developed for motorsport to the wider world. Energy efficiency is an important issue for Williams and whilst our work in this field is now spanning a number of market sectors beyond racing, motorsport will always be the ultimate proving ground for our technologies.”
McLaren announced back in November they would supply engines, transmission and electronics in conjunction with Spark Racing, who are part of consortium that will design and assemble the 42 race cars required.
Last week Formula e officially announced Beijing are on board as a host city and back on May 16, TJ13 reported Bangkok had agreed to also be one of the 10 cities that will host Formula e. Further, we commented then on whether this would impact on F1’s Thailand opportunity, which since then appears to have suffered a significant setback.