Stewards “fiddle while Rome burns”, Mercedes up budget for 2013 by 50m euros, Alonso ‘perfect’ qualifying, Ecclestone calls for F1 personnel to snitch on their own teams, Murdoch wants to own F1

Red Bull mislead FIA: It appears from the statement released by the FIA, that Red Bull may have initially tried to mislead the stewards. The statement says, “The stewards heard from the team representatives and the driver and studied the telemetry evidence that showed the reason why the car was stopped. The stewards accepted the explanation and considered the incident as being a case of force majeure.”

“However a report was received from the technical delegate that showed during post qualifying scrutineering an insufficient quantity of fuel for sampling purposes.”

Naughty naughty

Red Bull choose pit lane start for Vettel: The press release from Red Bull states that they will start Vettel’s car from the pit lane, which was not the penalty awarded. The FIA press statement says the back of the grid. Red Bull can choose to do this and it probably means they will work on the car this evening. It may be they will change the engine, saving this one for Austin or Brazil. It could be they change the gearing to one more suited to the race rather than a qualifying set up.

F1 race management still a farce: It is now 16:50 GMT over 2 hours since qualifying has finished and we still don’t know what’s happening with Vettel following his car stopping on track at the end of the final session.

The procedure is that the cars are lined up and dealt with in the order they return to the pits by FIA scrutineering, and of course Vettel’s car is last in line. I have had word from people at the track that Charlie Whiting has now gone for dinner, needless to say reporter’s are furious at the delay.

The FIA has form in the matter as following qualifying in Japan there spent nearly 4 hours deciding whether Vettel had or not impeded Alonso. All the fans had left and didn’t know whether what they had seen as apparently the grid order for Sunday would stand or be altered.

Other Stewarding inefficiencies this year include pretty much universal criticism from professional commentators on the amount of time the safety car was out during the race in Singapore.

Then there was the 10 lap delay in moving Rosberg’s Mercedes at the start of the Korean GP which meant the DRS was unavailable for that time. Of course by lap 10 the cars had all separated by over 1 second and the race was a bit of a procession.

Surely the cars in contention for honours or that have qualified near the front should be dealt with first – its not difficult. Jean Todt needs to get a grip on the FIA team that deliver the race management, but as usual we hear nothing from the silent and invisible one.

Vettel’s problem: A friend of mine from Red Bull text me saying it’s definitely a Renault matter, not just Horner stalling the media, but the team are not yet aware of the exact nature of the difficulty (more when I know it).

17:33 GNT Just had text saying its fuel – so back of the grid I guess for Vettel.

Yes its confirmed. 18:41 Vettel to start at back of the grid – well we had it first here. Yeeessss!

Alonso ‘perfect’: The never ending political one upmanship at Ferrari continues. yesterday, Pat Fry said that “we will need to perfect” to qualify well. Fernando qualifies a poor 7th and tells the media, it was “perfect” – the best the car could do. I so wish he would just call the F2012 ‘a truck’.

Dominicali calls for aero restrictions: In a TV interview with SKY UK, the Ferrari team boss says that the amount of money teams spend on aero would make any business man think they were crazy. Of course Ferrari are weaker in this area for a number of reasons but they have just recruited ex-Mercedes F1 head of aero design to address this matter. The there is the wind tunnel debacle.

Teams ask FIA to check competitors. Ferrari asked FIA to examine the Red Bull car, according to Diario AS a Spanish sports daily. They were requested to clarify the Red Bull procedure where they changes the fluid levels of two tanks between qualifying and the race. “It seems that this is one of the tricks (Adrian) Newey has used to improve the car,” read the media report.

The Italian team suspected its rival was using fluid levels in an oil tank for weight distribution purposes. The FIA reportedly replied that the fluid levels could be changed in the event of an imminent failure, but if not, the car would theoretically need to start the race from the pit lane.

Ferrari also wanted clarification on an apparently ingenious brake cooling system on the RB8. Technical boss Pat Fry reportedly wanted to know if two different metal materials, with different thermal expansion creating a ‘column’ for cooling, can be used.

In turn Red Bull Racing asked the FIA about an innovative brake heat vented tyre warming development system on the McLaren MP4-27.

Lauda Watch: Ross must be smiling as presumably Niki must have been telling the Daimer-Benz board if they want to win anything they need to spend more money. Bilde tells us the Brackley team is set to fatten its budget for next year to almost 200 million Euros. This would be nearly 50m euros more than Mercedes F1 have in their budget this year.

Mercedes is funding the boosted Formula 1 budget partly by making cuts to its DTM programme, including reducing its number of cars in the touring car series from 8 to 6. Mercedes’ Norbert Haug said “There will be no 30 percent budget increase.”

Budget capping: thejudge13 reported in the article “RRA – you’ve got to be joking” (LINK) the pro’s and con’s of the Resource Restriction Arrangements currently in place. Ecclestone is trying under the new Concorde agreement to change this to a simpler system where team spending is capped at $250m.

The Express newspaper (not always that reliable) reports today that Mr. E has a novel way of policing any such arrangement. “People within teams know if something is going on,” he said, “An incentive of $500,000 might encourage people to speak out”.

Yet Ecclestone goes even further, “I also want team principals and team owners to sign a contract which would hold them personally responsible for cheating and they would have to pay the fines themselves”. Smaller teams are amused by the numbers proposed as evidenced by Torro Rosso’s Franz Tost, who comments on the $250m limit, “Ha, we are far away from that”.

Could Murdoch take over F1? The Daily Mirror (another not always so reliable source) reports representatives from McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes AMG are set to meet with James Murdoch of the influential media empire News Corporation.

Rupert Murdoch in the past showed interest in acquiring the rights to F1 currently held by Bernie/CVC and other partners but walked away believing the price asked was too high.

The mirror tells us he is considering “a bigger slice” of Formula 1, not that I was aware they had any slice at all except for certain TV rights. The paper makes the connection, ” Interestingly, FIA president Jean Todt is also in Abu Dhabi for a rare Grand Prix attendance.

Asked if the entire future of the sport could be on the agenda, the Mirror says “a key Formula 1 figure is quoted as saying: Why not?”. I’m not as confident in the Mirror as I am in La Stampa – unfotunately.

(This page will be updated today as more news develops – check back later)

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23 responses to “Stewards “fiddle while Rome burns”, Mercedes up budget for 2013 by 50m euros, Alonso ‘perfect’ qualifying, Ecclestone calls for F1 personnel to snitch on their own teams, Murdoch wants to own F1

  1. Perfect lap by Ferrari? What a laugh. The drivers underperformed. Before the race they said they are strong and looking for a second row qualifying. The drivers blew it. They buckled under pressure in Q3. Why can’t they simply say Alonso succumbed to pressure?

    McLaren had the best car the whole weekend. So no surprises there. My bet is on Hamilton.

    • sorry john – am I missing something? Thought from your comment I’d started a Kimi story and not finished it – but been pub tonight and just got back but can’t see it

      • On the end of the page reads

        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.

  2. @Rob Newman
    I guess hitting repeatedly 1:41:5 without errors and beeing faster than your team mate prove that he succumbled to pressure right?

    I really have no clue where that conclusion of yours comes from but I see from other forums that you are a keen “fan” of Alonso. Maybe you know more than anyone about the real pace of the Ferrari, who knows.

    Have fun tomorrow

    • If you read my blog regularly you’ll see I have no partisan support for any team or driver. Lewis, Jenson, Fernando and Massa have been subjects of critical analysis here this autumn. I treat them all with a skeptical eye along with F1’s commercial rights owners and the FIA. If you read the tweets of many journalists today – they all think F1 needs to get a grip on a number of issues including post session steward decisions.

  3. There is no possibilty to change gear ratios. Those used on FP 2 must be given to FIA Technical Stewards and must be kept until the end of race even if you change gearbox.
    So the only possiblity could be that they choosed to start from pit lane to decrease drag by other means (DDRS ?) and try to be as fast as possible on straights. Anyway they will touch easily the rev limiter due to short ratio 7th gear they use on “normal” races.
    Any thoughts ?

    • You’re right. I forgot the gear ratio regulation. Having said that, the story gaining traction now is Red Bulls alleged fluid weight redistribution practices – the leak on Webber’s car on Friday being cited as evidence of this – and so it may be they want to sort this out on Vettel’s car. Starting from the pit lane is a significant time disadvantage to starting 24 on the grid – the reason being the last car passing the pit lane exit is already doing at least 150kph when Vettel’s car is given the green light. You would only make this choice to start from the pit lane instead of grid p24 in extreme circumstances. It is difficult to see an engine change being worth the time penalty.

  4. Well. It seems they changed gear ratios, according to the note released by FIA.
    So now new scenario.

    • Indeed. I said in my previous post this was likely, but a thejudge13 reader suggested I was wrong. Fluid story is still an issue from earlier in the week though

  5. It was me who said that. Those are the regulations, but it seems they found -another- hole on regulations to be able to change gear ratios.
    Seems a bit against the spirit of the law, but anyway, interesting race ahead.
    Let’s see what happens.
    Good luck to all the involved.
    Now it’s time for Vettel to demonstrate if he can fight as Alonso did on last races.

    • lol. F1 and loopholes – surely not 😀

      I completely agree with you – what is also riddiculous is that all the cars are not routinely required to deliver the 1l sample. A scrutineer I know says it takes less than 2 minutes to do this

  6. From what I saw on the TV pictures of the leak on Weber’s car , it looked more like coolant. Plus, if it had been a flammable liquid, I’m sure the mechanics would have mopped it up immediately and not released Weber out of the pits.

    The leak appeared to be around the ” tea tray ” area of the car, so maybe KERS related ? A separate issue, and not something to do with this ” fluid ” story ?

  7. Just imagine for a while that the “tea tray” is full of small compartments with fluid that they can fill or purge at will during practices …….
    This will deeply affect COG and wheight distribution in a very noticeable manner.
    Thats – just thinking – why when tea tray slips on track could open a hole on this area, leading to a leak, which was evidently tried to repair by mechanics during FP2.
    I am not talking about flammable liquid. It was a sort of “milky” liquid (we saw it in spanish TV).
    Are coolant liquids milky ?? Don’t think so ……..
    Remember that Ferrari has already asked FIA about the legality of “several” containers that could fe filled or purged at will during practice.
    Any comment ??

    • My article alludes to this but I didn’t see the TV footage of the leak on Webber’s car.

      On the matter of fluid colour, I’ve been in the garages many times, and recently was present when one of the minor teams stripped down the car to its bare bones after a testing session.This took about 4-5 hours.

      The fluids I saw being drained I would not desbribe as milky at all.

  8. I will try to capture footage and send it to u – if you like –
    It was special footage just from Spanish TV, not offcial footage.

  9. Yes, it is this footage, but closer.
    Perhaps mixed with some silicon based heat transfer, as mankyboy says.
    I keep searching for the spanish images, it was taken closer.
    They seem to have removed them from website.
    I will do my best.

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