Lauda – what exactly is his job?: In a Q&A with Auto Motor und Sport, Niki explains his contribution to Mercedes. When asked how Mercedes can find 1.5s to match Red Bull when the drinks company spends 100m euro more he tells us, “We now have to analyze carefully whether the money factor plays a role, and if so what. I can say it but not yet, because I still go to school. This is part of the inventory.”
Remember Lauda said a couple of weeks ago that money had been wasted so far at Mercedes F1, and they needed to deliver more for less. Mmm.
Niki was asked how he could bring Mercedes to success. “The first part of this task is to take stock. I find myself just in the learning phase. That’s why I’m already some time been in the factory in Brackley and I will continue to do so regularly. It is important for me, along with Ross Brawn introduced to every aspect of the team, the car and the tools in the factory to be. Every time I go to Brackley, I get it. I need to understand the context of the processes, and then with my logic, direct access, which I, in common with Ross find a solution.”
I still can’t understand how Lauda believes he adds value in analysing the processes and getting involved with operational matters. When asked if his role is similar to when he was at Jaguar Lauda infers times have changed since he was at Jaguar, “Today you need for each position in the team a top specialists. As we have with Ross Brawn the right man – I can only shape the way.”
There are times in life where someone is obviously speaking with forked tongue and this is clearly one. On the one hand Ross is the specialist, yet on the other Niki believes his ‘logic and analysis’ will assist in finding a solution, and on the other hand he is just ‘shaping the way’.
I suspect Niki was appointed to report to the Daimler-Benz board his opinions of what was going on, yet this does not require him to go round the factory poking in corners and asking detailed operational questions. In my experience, confusion of roles and activities brings confusion and confrontation. We shall see.
Alonso is persisting with his denial: I said it all yesterday, but Alonso is still claiming that a reporter from La Stampa was being ‘creative’ and says he will be speak to him about how he created it.
Well Fernando, if you followed thejudge13, you’d know any story in La Stampa is Ferrari sanctioned (yesterday’s ARTICLE) – so then even if it is untrue, ask yourself the question… why it was printed?
Marrusia lose $80m in 2012: The Telegraph is reporting the Russian owned F1 team has increased its loses this year by another 11%. Marrusia is 30% owned by Lloyds Venture capital (LDC) and has total debt of $123m much of which es repayable at the end of 2012.
The team is valued by the equity fund at $75m, so this is clearly not a great state of affairs to be in. The one bright spot on the horizon is that if they hang onto 10th spot from Caterham, they will receive around $40m in prize money ($30m more than last year) – but clearly the team will be in serious need of a cash injection and they are talking to their investors.
DRS zones: The first one has been extended as in India by 80 metres. This was not effective at the Buddh International Ciruit. However, looking at my notes from last year, I suspect we will see overtakes in the first zone (after turn 7) but through 8 and 9 the cars will struggle to gain enough advantage before the second DRS zone is in play.
So this will lead to a reversal of the first overtake – or drivers will play it clever and stay behind the car they are looking to overtake in zone 1 and only go for it in the second DRS zone. Massa and Raikkonen had a reverse race to see who was the slowest to reach the DRS zone in India – unsurprisingly Massa won.
Still setting good DRS zones is a dark art – but it could be a Yeessss! for thejudge13 come Sunday evening.
Di Resta surprised at Hulkenberg: Paul Di Resta expressed his surprise at his team mate leaving for Sauber He sounded puzzled at why Sauber should be considered a better option. He believes the team has had a fundamental problem that has hindered the car for some 4-5 races.
He wouldn’t say what it was, but promised a better performance this weekend. He further alluded to the fact that Force India will be resolving some factory equipment problems that will give them even more of an edge over their Swiss rivals.
Sounds like Paul’s been reading thejudge13 article “Why Sauber will fall back 2013”. Link here if you missed it. (LINK)
Alguesuari offers secrets: When I was in Spa for the race, Alguersuari tweeted he would be telling us soon where he would be driving 2013. I asked his co-commentator James Allen his thoughts. He was guarded but artes him as a driver. Well 9 weekes on and we’ve heard nothing.
Jaime is taking matters into his own hands and is touting his “little notebook” of secrets hoping to interest some team boss to give him a seat in 2013.can help him mount a return to the Formula One grid for 2013. Spain’s El Confidencial publication said the former Toro Rosso driver is eyeing the vacancy that has just opened up at Force India.
With his thousands of kilometres of running in Pirelli’s 2010 Renault Formula One test car this year now over, Alguersuari is reportedly still clocking up miles on the 2013 tyres in the Dallara simulator. “It’s very important,” the 22 year old said, “because if you change the structure and the compound and the profile of the tyres, the more practice you have the better.”
The very first chance Alguersuari’s rivals will get to sample the 2013 Pirellis will not be until first practice in Brazil late next month. “I’ve done the equivalent distance of eleven Grands Prix this year,” he explained, “testing hundreds of sets of tyres, which gives you extra confidence to understand their behaviour in the temperature ranges, balance and durability.
“At home I have my little notebook with all the secrets for next year,” added Alguersuari. Probably a few girls numbers too.
Lewis twitter report: Couple of nice tweets from Lewis today about an event he was at and pics too. Interestingly his management company have obviously had a word as he’s changed his profile picture from a funky brotheresque theme to a clean cut (well cleanly manicured thin trail of beardy hair from the ears down under the chin actually) smiling Lewis – looks good. Probably not going to get much off the cuff stuff from him now though.
Prost to negotiate french GP: Paul Ricard has recruited Alain Prost to lead the talks with Bernie Ecclestone about reviving the French Formula One Grand Prix in 2013. According to RMC Sport and L’Equipe. Alain is on a jolly off to Abu Dhabi this weekend, to step up the talks with the Formula 1 Chief Executive.
The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, so get ready for more French GP definitely on announcements after qualifying.
“Alain Prost is a major asset,” said former Formula 1 driver and Frenchman Patrick Tambay. “He knows Bernie Ecclestone very well. Frankly, he is the ideal man to represent France in this matter.”
Very true Patrick, but that has not always been the closest of relationships methinks.
Sunsets: We’ve been collecting sunsets (and night time) pictures from the various F1 teams for a couple of weeks now – and in true Tony Hart style, “Here’s the gallery”. Lotus (pic) Williams (pic) random (pic) Kimi (pic) Mercedes (pic)
Driver’s Press Conference:
Massa hasn’t been at this event since he was confirmed for 2013. When asked how he felt, he looked a little jaded and trotted out some stuff about feeling like he’d always been at Ferrari. This is the man who was world champion for 20 seconds and pushed Hamilton all the way to the WDC in 2008.
When asked about how things had come together for him better in the second half of the season, he was equally nonplussed. He is the only driver in the entire F1 grid who knows he is clearly a number 2 and it’s as though this is beginning to weigh on his mind.
Asked about 2013, it appeared that he felt more of the same was about to flow. Ferrari not building a great car and him having to play second fiddle to Alonso. But hey – he’s paid millions and could have tried to leave if he wanted. You choose your task master.
I’ve seen Felipe express real joy, and it is delightful and sincere – but there is none of that in his present demeaneour. Yes a worrisome burden has been taken away, but the relief is not joyous.
What never ceases to amaze me about these events is the lack of preparation from the local journalists. Given the opportunity to ask each F1 driver 1 question, I would spend a lot of time and consideration thinking about it. I would anticipate the ducking and weaving possibilities and eventually come up with a question that is very tightly phrased.
Jenson was asked – “So what do you think of Abu Dhabi?” by a Scottish Gulf News reporter. He meandered through some party he’d once been to and then admitted he knew nothing of Abu Dhabi and his experience was limited to the track and hotels he’d stayed in.
Somewhat embarrassed in giving his answer, Jenson unwittingly said it all. Abu Dhabi is 8 miles long by 3 miles deep. It has a staggering 98 hotels, all of which are 4,5,6 star – and even in the current economic climate opened 4 mega hotels in 2012. It is a place of fancy hotels, hot and sunny and that’s your lot.
He concluded most amusingly after even more rambling by saying “its been great here, but I’ve spent the last 3 days down the road in Dubai”. Well said Jenson.
The perfect example of what I’m saying about inane questions came next. Jenson was asked, “What do you think has Lewis learned from you [as an older driver with more experience]”. Predictably Jenson said “ask him”. If the questioner had thought for a nano-second he may have considered a better option. “Jenson, as more experienced drivers can always pass on something to their younger counterparts – no matter how talented they are – what would the one thing be you’d have hoped to pass on to Lewis during your time as team mates”.
Get out of that one (I’m sure you’ll all tell me too).
OMG. Okay we heard today Marrusia lost $80m this year and are looking for investment. Charles Pic is asked for his thought on this and whether he is broadening his focus on other teams. After a long pause, followed by a laugh and much amusement among they other drivers…guess what we got? “My job is to be focused on this race…..”. Inane or what?
McLaren by scoring 1pt this weekend, will beat Ferrari’s all time F1 record F1 for finishing in the points in the most consecutive races. They stand level on 155 consecutive races at present.
Michael Schumacher has scored zero points in the last 4 GP’s. Despite when he broke his leg in 1999, this has never happened in his entire F1 career – 305 races.
In terms of wins the 3 most successful drivers in F1 are (not Vettel) Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso amassing 175 podiums between them. But incredibly have never all three been on the podium together.
Further, Alonso Vettel and Hamilton have started 98 races together with 122 podiums between them and statistically they should have shared the podium 7 times. The actual number is zero.
Yeesss!: This is a new section that will appear from time to time when thejudge13 is proven right about something. Our first entry is a little inauspicious, but I did predict the naughty boys back row at the drivers’ FIA press conference in yesterdays roundup – and here’s the evidence courtesy of McLaren (pic).
Felipe and Alonso: Visit Ferrari world in a very nice black Ferrari (Video)
Kimi gets diplomatic privileges: I read this story a couple of days ago – I think in a European newspaper and forgot to report it. I can’t find it now, but I’ll just tell it anyway. Kimi we were told flies first class, usually from Zurich. Somehow, when he arrived in Delhi he was the only passenger on the flight to be met on disembarking and taken through the diplomatic channel.
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Whilst Kimi surprises me regularly, I’ve asked around my F1 friends and no one can remember this happening to any other person in the F1 community – ever.