Austinites view F1 like a folk festival, McLaren fundamental to Formula E 2014, Who is the F1 driver chain smoker? Teams sharing garages, 204 less pit stops in 2012, HRT sale forced by bank bailout request

Bank bailout forces HRT sale: Meanwhile, the team travels to Austin with the minimum staff to compete and avoid a financial penalty from FOM for being absent ( We may well see the cars qualify, start the race and retire the cars after one lap.

thejudge13 has previously reported that HRT are using parts way beyond their sanctioned life and has a debt to repay before December 2nd or face dissolution. Thesan Capital, we believe, is a front for the Banco Popular who applied yesterday for a bailout of 2.5bn Euro’s. The terms of the bailout are that all non-profitable assets of the bank must be identified and disposed of – including HRT.

As to the story that Colin Kolles is interested in buying the team, this is fantasy by Thesan Capital. He was ‘exited’ last December when the debt from Banco Popular was assigned to Thesan Capital who on taking control issued a statement explaining Colin’s departure, “This is due to the new direction that the team has taken and the decision of the new management to move the team headquarters to Spain,” it read. ( report that already many windows remain dark in the management and construction wing of HRT. 32 employees have been laid off, the entire design department in Spain is closed. Under the current conditions, the construction of a 2013er cars not possible. The Munich-based company Adess that in recent months, orders processed design of HRT will be probably not longer working for the Spaniards. The contract with HRT expires at the end of the year, an extension is not in sight.

As I said yesterday, this is a desperate situation and I cannot see anyone wishing to pay a dime for second rate F1 factory in Madrid with personnel who are not the cream of the F1 crop. 11 teams for 2013 unless Bernie steps in methinks.

Who is the chain smoker in F1?: Nico Rosberg in an interview with La Stampa is reminiscing about the last time F1 was in Texas 1984. He recalls, “”Yes, it was 40 degrees celsius and the other drivers wore refrigerated suits to protect themselves from the heat. But, Keke – he was bare-chested in the sun, smoking a cigarette.”

The Turin newspaper reporter then suggests, “Today that would be unthinkable?”, Rosberg responds, “the smoking? No you are wrong. There is a current driver that lights one cigarette after the other, but I do not do names. ” (La Stampa)

Mmm. Answers on a postcard?

Dallas, Texas 1984: In that race, Nigel Mansell took his first pole for Lotus, and led for half the race and during the last 3 laps his gearbox failed so he pushed the car to the line and then collapsed (pic)

Apparently Keke Rosberg who won, had an water cooled cap under his helmet but the device was not used again – the extra weight under the helmet multiplied the effect of cornering on neck and shoulder muscles, ensuring even the tough Finn did not relish a repeat performance.

204 less pit stops than in 2011: After all the early season discussion about tyre degradation being excessive, after 18 races this year we have had 854 stops compared to 1058 in 2011.

In 2011, there was not a single race where more than half the drivers stopped only once yet in 2012 this occurred in Monaco, Belgium, Italy, India and Abu Dhabi. Only 2 races had more stops, Malaysia (rain) and Germany (different track from 2011).

Yet in 2012, 3 of the 4 compounds are in fact softer than they were in 2011 and many expected at least as many if not more stops this year. However, thejudge13 suggested before India that the tyres selected by Pirelli for the last tranche of races, (India, Abu Dhabi, Austin & Brazil) were too conservative. Even Paul Hembery now believes the Hard/Soft combination for India would have been better Hard/Super soft.

I have also heard it suggested that the banning of off throttle blowing and the new aero attention required to airflow at the rear of the car is significantly kinder to tyres. Makes you wonder why Pirelli test with an F1 car so out of date.

PITSTOP STATISTICS 2011/2012 (from Auto Moto und Sport)

Race Pitstops 2011 Pitstops 2012 Difference
Australian GP 46 41 – 5
Malaysian GP 59 76 * + 17
GP China 58 56 – 2
Turkish GP / Bahrain 82 71 – 11
Spanish GP 77 67 – 10
Monaco GP 43 26 – 17
Canadian GP 76 * 37 – 39
European GP 65 49 – 16
British Grand Prix 54 43 – 11
GP Germany 50 60 + 10
Hungarian GP 88 * 58 – 30
Belgian GP 52 38 – 14
Italian GP 35 31 – 4
Singapore GP 69 56 – 13
Japan GP 65 46 – 19
Korea GP 50 41 – 9
India GP 47 28 – 19
Abu Dhabi GP 42 30 – 12
Total 1058 854 – 204

Ecclestone hires billboards:Bernie Ecclestone regularly puts signs up in the locations of GP events and he has posted to date, 1 very large message in Austin. At U.S. 183 and Burleson Road, a billboard reads, “Stay Strong Gustavo! A lot to be proud of … Bernie.”

Gustavo Hellmund, 66, is the father of Tavo Hellmund, an original founding partner of the Circuit of the Americas. Gustavo and Ecclestone brought F1 to Mexico in the 1980s. Gustavo has been battling cancer for a year and a half but is hoping to be on hand for the big race.

Mercedes DDRS cost us Big – Brawn: Ross Brawn has admitted Mercedes took a wrong turn by focusing too hard on its ‘double DRS’ innovation this year. As the German team slumped ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s arrival in 2013, boss Brawn told Italy’s Autosprint that he has some regrets about the development direction of the 2012 single seater.

“Yes,” said the Briton. “One of the conclusions we have reached is that while the double DRS was valid, it held us back in other areas. “Today there is a lot of, let’s say, smart technology around the front wings. But we had our system, and our wings were designed around the DDRS concept.

Brawn is stating that due to the airflow being piped into the front wing, they coulnd’nt exploit some of the bendy noses and flexible wing concepts as well as others.  He admits they were too slow to take a step back and look at another philosophy, but concludes saying, “there are some ‘structural’ considerations that we have seen this year,” he said, “but this will disappear next year — or should disappear.”

Ex-Driver Steward for Austin: Emerson Fittipaldi, winner of 14 Formula One grands prix and two FIA World Drivers’ Titles, is this weekend’s driver representative on the FIA stewards’ panel. Now 65, Fittipaldi, racing for Team Lotus, became F1’s youngest ever champion in 1972 at the age of 25 years and 273 days (a record since beaten by Fernando Alonso in 2005, Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and Sebastian Vettel in 2010).

In a decade-long Formula One career from 1970-1980, Fittipaldi scored 281 points, took six pole positions and scored six fastest laps. He won a second Drivers’ Championship in 1974 with McLaren. Fittipaldi later went on to a distinguished career in single seater racing here in the US, where he recorded two Indy 500 victories (in 1989 and 1993) and also a Champ Car title win in 1989 (

Austin single DRS zone: The Circuit of the Americas will feature a single DRS Zone, on the back straight, between Turns 11 and 12. The activation zone is likely to be approximately 650m before Turn 12. The detection zone will likely be just before the hairpin (TBC).

Most F1 kilometres EVER done: Michael Schumacher will pass his ex-team mate Ruebens Barichello’s record of the most kilometres driven in an F1 car. Having travelled more than twice around the world during his career, Schumacher has more than 80,000 F1 racing km’s under his belt, 24,110 in the lead. Ayrton Senna has led the next most but with a mere 13,328km.

F1 like a folk festival? Austin may not have been the most natural choice for a F1 race. Bernie Ecclestone was lobbied for years following the collapse of the last USA Grand Prix by Tavo Hellmund to consider a race in Austin.

Ecclestone was not impressed, Hellmund tells us, “he thought it was still the sleepy little hippie town it was 30 years ago. About the only attraction for Ecclestone was the city’s lack of major league sports”, according to Hellmund. “In other words, the would be little competition for an audience”. (

Even though Tavo managed to persuade the F1 supremo of Austin’s credibility, many of the city’s senior representatives were not sure at all.

“For a lot of us longtime Austinites, Formula One is hard to swallow,” City Council Member Chris Riley wrote in the Austin American-Statesman last year. “We’re not that big on fast cars; we’re more into hybrids, electric vehicles, bikes and public transit.”

Since then, Riley has warmed to the idea, mostly because the city and Circuit of the Americas signed an environmental agreement that calls for purchasing carbon offsets, limiting traffic, providing access for cyclists, planting trees, recycling and composting, and allowing electric vehicle research at the track.

The City Council’s support of the project was needed to qualify the event for $25 million in state subsidies that race officials can seek after it happens.

“If this were just another race car venue, well then, that would detract from our character,” Riley, who plans to bike to the race, told Reuters last week.

“On the other hand, if this site becomes known as being the most sustainable racetrack in the world and that’s here in Austin, Texas, that’s a lot closer to the character of the city that we love.”

Edgar Farrera was brought on at Circuit of the Americas in January as what he believes is the first circuit sustainability director in the history of Grand Prix. “We’re not trying to tell people, ‘If you want to do something to save the planet, go drive your car very fast,'” Farrera told Reuters.

Rather, he said, he’s constantly thinking about how to minimize the impact of crowds, whose traffic and waste will have a bigger environmental impact than the two dozen F1 cars, each of which races on a single tank of gas.

And he delicately pointed out that it doesn’t much matter to the environment whether crowds arrive for a sporting event or a music festival.

Austin, which grandly likes to call itself the Live Music Capital of the World, proudly hosts the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences.

Yet F1 is not embraced by all in the city. Smith of Public Citizen said the track’s environmental initiatives don’t go far enough. “This is a heavily greenwashed race,” Smith said. He added: “As you can tell, I’m not real happy.”

State Senator Kirk Watson, a Democrat who is a former Austin mayor, said F1 is just another way the city brings different people together.

“In the old days, it might have been rednecks sitting next to hippies,” Watson told Reuters at an opening ceremony for the track. “In this day and age, though, its people from all over the world coming to enjoy the spirit of the town.”

Austin 10th USA F1 circuit: Here are the 9 circuits to have previously hosted grands prix: Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Phoenix, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Long Beach and most recently Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Austin Practice gets extra tyres: F1 drivers will get an extra set of hard tyres to use during Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas to give them an extra opportunity to learn the new circuit.

“In many ways America will be the biggest challenge for us of the year,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery. “But stepping into the unknown is a situation that we are used to: last season the majority of tracks were completely new to us”.

I don’t remember this happening last year in India, but someone will correct me if I’m wrong for sure. Anyway it is a sensible idea and will guarantee as much on-track action for those US visitors new to F1.

Garage sharing arrangements: The garages at the new $400m Austin circuit are apparently smaller than those in Melbourne which are not renown as the largest in F1.

There’s been a bit of a spat among the teams who were presented with the arrangement that the top 5 would get 3 garages and the rest 2. Everyone will now get 2.5 garages, some getting the front and some getting the rear of the 3rd garage.

Mmm. Sounds interesting.

Austin winner’s trophy: It has been made by the English company “Silver Fox” who have made over 600 trophy’s for F1, Nascar and WDC. Other F1 races using the Brisitsh design company are bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Korea

The star of Texas will be featured around the bowl of the cup.

Austin’s Motifs: Austin likes to stay true to its heritage and “Keep Austin weird” is the official tourism motif. Austin, capital of the state of Texas, also wishes to differentiate itself from the rest of the state regularly runs adverts saying, “Come to Austin, it’s so beautiful here, you do not notice that you’re in Texas”.

McLaren fundamental to Formula-E: McLaren today signed a deal to supply all the Formula-E competitors in 2014 with engines, transmission and electronics.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh told Reuters today, “I’m a passionate believer in the role that motorsport can play in showcasing and spearheading the development of future technologies, and regard the Formula E concept as an exciting innovation for global motorsport”.

Formula E will be an FIA-sanctioned championship, with the commercial rights licensed to a Hong Kong-based consortium, which aims to hold races in the heart of at least 10 cities around the world.

Organisers said demonstrations of the first cars will start next year before races, of an hour in duration, begin in 2014 with plans for a grid of 10 teams and 20 drivers.

Mallya’s plans clearer: As we reported yesterday, Vijay has sold a controlling stake in his biggest business, United Spirits to Diageo. Lenders to the airline have demanded Mallya invest $bn by November 30th to get it back in the air. Yet this morning, Mallya has indicated the stricken airline will have to fend for itself.

Mallya addressing the media over phone after the deal said the transaction should not be linked to Kingfisher’s recapitalisation.

“We have multiple businesses. Each business is separately listed with an independent board. There will be no cost contamination. Kingfisher will chalk out its recapitalisation plan separately and independently of this transaction,” Mallya said.

The airline has only 8 aircraft left from the high water mark of 60, and its Indian flight routes paths will soon be reassigned to others by The IAA.

Looks to all intents and purposes as though Kingfisher Airlines is doomed, unless some other carrier will invest the required capital for it to recommence flights. This is a most unlikely scenario now.

The largest private collection of F1 cars in the world

On this day in F1, Nov 13th, 1994

A day which will not rank among Michael Schumacher’s finest and one which cast a black mark over his career came at the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.

Damon Hill needing to win the race to secure the championship and swarming all over the back of Schumacher, pressured the German into a mistake, damaging his Benetton after running wide into a wall. This was unseen by Hill, who rounded the corner only to see Schumacher running slightly wide.

Sensing it could be his only opportunity and not realising his rival’s car was terminally damaged, Hill tried to overtake only for Schumacher to turn in on the Williams, breaking his front wishbone and sending him into retirement.

Schumacher consequently won his first title by a point, but his victory came against savage criticism for the way it was achieved. He protested his innocence but many remained unconvinced. Nigel Mansell went on to win the race to claim his final grand prix victory. (Video)

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