Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 6th August 2014
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Previously on TJ13:
Okay, TJ13 has recently seen the comments section expand quickly. When there were 30-40 a day under the DN&C, it was manageable but now we need to change the way we work to provide clarity to others and ensure our responses are targeted properly.
Last night, I replied by accident to either the wrong commentator or under a thread, which left my response open to being interpreted as to more than one other commentator under the thread started by the person I was in fact responding to.
Can we start responses @[commentator handle]. So if responding to me, you would begin by typing…. @thejudge13
Further, regardless of how long or short the comment to which you are replying, next copy and paste the words of the sentiment from the commentator to which you are responding, and place them inside speech marks “……..”.
“Mercedes deny they have ever operated team orders, merely agreed strategy protocols”
Then proceed with your reply.
Should you wish to respond to multiple sentiments made within one comment then cut and paste the first point to which you wish to respond and place it in inverted comments.
“Mercedes deny they have ever operated team orders, merely agreed strategy protocols”
“Toto Wolff said he is happy to share Suzie with anyone whom she fancies”
OTD Lite: 2006 – The greatest first lap in #F1 history… surely
On this day, eight years ago, the global audience witnessed arguably the greatest opening lap in history. In similar conditions to the fabled Senna victory at Donington in 1993, Alonso demonstrated a master class in driving. Starting 15th on the grid, he completed the first lap in sixth position with some audacious over-taking.
Eventual winner, Jenson Button, started 14th yet a driver famed for his wet weather skills completed the first lap in 11th position. By lap 18 Alonso was first and continued building a substantial lead before a safety car wiped out his advantage. On lap 51, Alonso’s brilliant drive came to a disappointing halt as one of the wheel nuts had not been secured correctly following a pit-stop for slick tyres. The Spaniard was out at the first corner.
Why the greatest ever opening lap? Because unlike the Donington master class, Alonso was in a title fight. His rival had won the previous three races and Renault’s mass-damper had been banned at the previous Grand Prix. With six races remaining , inc Hungary, the pressure was mounting and unlike 2005 when Mclaren’s reliability allowed Alonso and Renault a comfortable run in to the title, a consistent Ferrari was closing on the leader quickly.
Carlo(s) – The Jackal – Carluccio
Todays F1 cars too easy to drive claims Fabi
Since Jarno Trulli last raced in Formula One, there has been no driver of Italian nationality to take his place.
Back in the 80’s, two brothers were amongst the many Italians who raced in Formula One. Teo Fabi had the more prominent career and raced with Toleman/ Benetton and a single year with Brabham, but commitments in America meant that his younger brother Corrado stepped in for three races for Bernie’s team in 1984.
In a recent interview he stated how much the era’s of Formula One had changed. “It’s impossible to compare the era of Gilles Villeneuve to todays cars. It’s all changed, possibly too much and they look like different machines. Back then, it would have been impossible to speak on the radio so often, at most we would get an update along with the pit board but those cars were monsters to drive. It’s the same with the buttons on the wheels, theres far too many and even today’s drivers know this. I watch all the GP’s and it’s not true the races are boring…. but the orchestra of the eighties played a different tune, it was a different world, another life…”
When asked about if he had ever entertained thoughts of driving for the national team he responded, “Maybe I was the only Italian in the eighties that never sent a letter to Enzo Ferrari. They all did including my brother and waited for the Old Man to call and he would go. To me, I thought if I’m a good driver he will call me, I don’t need to send a letter, then again he never called so obviously I was too slow..”
“Ferrari today is poor. I didn’t like Domenicalli and I like Mattiacci even less. If you are the boss of Ferrari you can’t say that we will win in maybe two or three years. You have to be striving to win as soon as possible otherwise you are in the wrong job.”
“If I were Alonso I would leave at the end of the season. Ferrari should let him go with no regrets. The relationship is worn out and the desired results haven’t happened. He is a very good driver but to call him the greatest is a laugh. He last won the title eight years ago. He is a leader, no doubt but he is different to Schumacher, at times his attitude does not help the Scuderia and that wouldn’t be missed.”
Alonso is demanding $50 million to extend Ferrari contract
Some weeks ago Ferrari began talks with Fernando Alonso to retain his service post 2016. The intention was to extend it into 2019.
Obviously, with the poor performances of ex World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, Alonso’s value has risen further. With drives like in Hungary, where the Spaniard almost won, he knows he has Ferrari over the proverbial barrel.
Alonso has returned to the negotiating table with his salary demands, which is an increase from his current 20 million euro annually to in the region of 35 million euro, or $50 million dollars annually, and undoubtedly there would be performance clauses in place if Ferrari were to perform worse than they have this year.
It’s worth noting that Santander’s current arrangement with Ferrari sees them paying around $35 million annually to the Scuderia which would obviously continue – the cycle being bank pays Ferrari money, Ferrari gives money to Alonso, Alonso puts money into bank. Bank gets free sponsorship…
Unsurprisingly, Maranello is not enamoured by the counter-offer that Alonso and his management have made, but it’s unlikely money will be a stumbling block. Schumacher earned around $30 million a year, nearly twenty years ago, so it is the machinations around ‘get-out clauses’ which will consume most of the lawyers time
However, recent tales of Alonso’s desirability in the eyes of others, may mean a rather desperate Ferrari will need to pull their metaphorical finger out.
Following gushing praise from non_Ferrari senior F1 individuals, Alonso commented 6 weeks ago, “There’s the respect from the drivers, team principals and fans for the job that you do, but I’d prefer to have no respect and win more trophies”.
(From GMM news source – includes closing TJ13 comment)
‘Free man’ Ecclestone goes back to work on F1
Bernie Ecclestone is going straight back to work after agreeing a $100 million deal to end his bribery trial in Munich. Amid high controversy and suggestions F1’s major stakeholders and his employer CVC might not be happy with Tuesday’s news, it was confirmed that the outcome of the court proceedings is that the 83-year-old is a “free man”. “There was no conclusion on guilt or innocence of the defendant,” said a court spokeswoman. “He is leaving this courtroom a free man.”
Briton Ecclestone, F1’s chief executive and ‘supremo’ who has been working only part-time for months amid the trial, headed straight from Munich to London. “I’ve just got to get on with work,” he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt in the Independent newspaper. “I’ve got things I need to catch up with so I’m cracking on. I have been wasting two days a week. Now I can get back to doing what I should be doing.”
The appearance that he effectively bought his innocence, however – particularly in the face of bribery charges – remains highly controversial. But Ecclestone, who admitted he feels “a bit of an idiot” for paying up, said the price he paid was so high only because he is a billionaire.
“If I had proved that I hadn’t got any money I wouldn’t have had to pay,” he insisted. “That’s what it’s all about.” And the Daily Express quoted him as saying: “I’ve always said I was innocent and if I had waited until October I would have saved a lot of money. But when you’re trying to run businesses it’s not easy trying to resolve things when dealing with lawyers for so much of the time,” Ecclestone added.
Indeed, his lawyers on Tuesday insisted that if the trial had simply run its course, Ecclestone would have been acquitted as prosecutors were having trouble proving the case. “What has happened is that the judge has come back and more or less said it’s an acquittal, which he didn’t have to do,” said Ecclestone. “Another three months out would have been bad. I’ve been working weekends to catch up with what I’ve been missing during the week. I’ve not really noticed but it has probably taken its toll a little bit.”
Nonetheless, there remains speculation that, even though an innocent man on paper, damage has been done particularly in the eyes of CVC, a massive private equity firm. “Yes,” Ecclestone is quoted by the Express newspaper, “I can get back to running the business five days a week instead of three and buying F1 remains a possibility.”
TJ13 comment: As critics of Ecclestone for some time, the court’s action have disappointed a great many people. It had been hoped that the German judicial system would finally rid the sport of the leech like toad from Suffolk.
Yet this arrogant little man is left to control Formula One with possibly more perceived power than before. His remarks suggest he is sneering at everyone involved in the legal systems throughout the world. It would be encouraging to hear that the £10million he paid to the British system in taxes will be re-investigated now that new evidence has come to light, but no-one will hold their breath that this vile human will only be accountable to the black robed figure carrying a scythe.
Kiss and tell from Aldo Costa
In years gone by, Enzo Ferrari kept close counsel with various journalists who would submit his words to print without ever claiming the source as the Old Man. If agenda’s needed highlighting, the Commendatore knew instinctively how to manipulate any situation to his and the team’s benefit. Likewise Fiat, who own Ferrari, were never reluctant to make use of their own newspapers to address issues with Maranello. It was a comical situation in the days before email, where direct contact was shunned, in favour of the written and published word.
More recently, the ‘Horse Whisperer’ has picked up the cudgel with varying degrees of sucsess. Yet in Italy, the power of the printed mainstream media is still absolute and arguably the most respected Italian F1 journalist – Leo Turrini – carries the words to the Ferrari faithful in similar fashion to his predecessors.
Aldo Costa, the Mercedes designer is currently on vacation in Italy. He recently caught up with old friend Turrini, and they discussed the change of scenery from the sun glazed region of Modena, to the rain of the English shires.
At Mercedes Aldo works with a group of twelve Italians, some of whom followed him from Ferrari whilst others were recruited directly from University. All of whom are working on the 3 pointed star’s 2015 design. “It is normal for anyone in my position to be working on the new car. I will not be coming to any races apart from possibly Belgium or Monza as my priorities are different now. But I don’t see Ferrari as our challengers next year, Red Bull has shown an incredibly fast reaction to their problems”.
The recent furore over alleged Mercedes team orders and Hamilton’s claims the team favoured a German driver to win the German GP, Costa shrugs away. “At Mercedes, I can assure you that we do not have any preferences between Hamilton and Rosberg. It’s not in our interest. We have two extremely competitive drivers who focus on each race and our obligation is to provide identical machines.
As to Hungary, I know that our radio communications sounded bad to outsiders but it was logical. Nico was due to stop fairly soon but he was faster at that stage of the race which is why we asked Lewis to let him through. There were no ulterior motives or malice, trust me..”
Costa plays down the talk of Lewis being enticed away by McLaren and/or Mercedes preferring Alonso. “I d’on’t see why he would give up a team like ours. Certainly we wouldn’t have Alonso in the Mercedes. In the car, he is a great driver, but out of the car, he is inscrutable”.
That said, Costa and Alonso have history, but Aldo is quick to suggest the hatchet is burried, “I do not believe that after the 2011 Spanish GP he was out to get me – he was just enigmatic.” At the said race, Fernando was lapped and following the weekend, Costa fell on his sword.
“As to Ferrari, it doesn’t please me to see how they have fallen behind. I left many friends there so I’m not happy to see them in trouble. I loved working there and it pains me even if my departure was not elegant.”
However, Costa questions the wisdome of Ferrari placing certain personnel in their current roles. “Allison I met when he was at Ferrari working on the aerodynamic side and he is very good. He went elsewhere but it’s difficult to evaluate him as a technical director – I hope he does well. And Tombazis? Look I was dismissed because i was stifling his creativity, they had to allow his ‘free thinking’ and we can all see the results… no?”
It may have been Montezemolo’s decision to dismiss Aldo, but most certainly Domenicali would have fired the gun. Costa is philosophical, “I don’t resent Domenicali, we sometimes exchange text messages but Ferrari belongs in my past as to many others. I won’t be going back, I’m fine where I am…”
The Iceman is taking a well earned break from his tortuous return to Ferrari. Whilst holidaying in Greece, he has posted the following picture on instagram with #babyonboard’ and ‘#omanddadtobe.
Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat reports, “Minttu and Kimi above all hope for peace from the media in this joyous time.”
Locals protest F1 race at the Red Bull Ring
The Austrian Constitutional Court yesterday rejected petitions from local residents of the Red Bull Ring in Styria to a new law relating to Formula races.
Strangely, following the return of F1 to Austria this year, the regulations were amended allowing the circuit to host an increased 15,000 spectators per day; up from 25,000 to 40,000.
Schumacher medical file thief suspect found hanged
A suspect in the theft of a medical file relating to Michael Schumacher has been found hanged in his Zurich cell, prosecutors have said.
The man, whose identity has not been revealed, worked for a Swiss helicopter air rescue company which organised the Formula One champion’s transport from a French hospital to Switzerland in June. He was previously a senior officer for the Swiss Air Rescue.
The deceased had been arrested yesterday, following the French authorities decoding the IP address from which samples of the documents were sent.
Media organisations in England and Germany had been offered the documents for 50,000 euros, which included details of specific surgical procedures.
The Zurich police say there is no evidence of foul play.
Button feathers a nest?
Jenson Button has just 8 races left on his current contract to drive for McLaren F1. He has acted nonplussed about the matter when repeatedly asked at previous GP weekends this season.
Yet with such a huge year ahead for McLaren in 2015, the team are desperate to turn around the form of the past two years – starting with the arrival of Honda.
However, nobody knows whether the Japanese manufacturer will be the best engine in F1, the worst of somewhere in the middle.
Granted, Honda have had the advantage of being able to understand the architecture of the dominant Mercedes power train, but have no track testing data yet to properly evaluate their new engines real performance.
This all begs the question, what are McLaren doing for drivers in 2015?
It would be normative to expect them to have a plan and by now be enacting it.
However, all we hear is silence, from Ron Dennis, the team and the drivers.
McLaren may have been hoping for a marquee signing like Alonso, hoping there may be an opportunity for the Spaniard to exit the Ferrari contract a year aearly. Though it appears now that boat is sailing.
Vettel is tied to Red Bull for another year and further were he to leave, it could be perceived he was running from the stiff competition from his young teammate.
Lewis has so far not self imploded and burned his bridges with Mercedes. Though were he to lose the WDC, particularly in controversial circumstances – literally anything could happen.
So who is a threat to Jenson? It would have to be an up and coming driver with experience in F1, Though whether McLaren in such an important year wish to lose the input from an experienced driver – is in fact unlikely.
Yet Button when asked by Autosport about his former team Williams’ performance this year, eulogises over their current position and their comeback from 9th last year.
“They’ve done a great job and I’m happy for Frank and Claire to see them competitive. I think they’ve put a lot of effort into doing well this year. They’ve spent a lot of resources on getting a good team of people, especially aerodynamically,”
Button recognises, had things gone to plan, Williams could have been the car to beat for 2nd in the WCC this year. “They’ve lost a lot of points this year through incidents or just not getting everything out of the car, which is good for us, because otherwise they’d be miles in front!”
Such warm and generous words from the British world champion, who as yet has no drive for 2015.
Could Button be paving the way for another Brawn driver to spend a brief time at Grove, before being put out of his misery and indeed out to pasture?
In a bizarre twist of fate, Lewis could be the key – and this could run and run into November.