Lewis rude helmet, Perez under pressure, TR quick to blame drivers, F1 team bosses ‘bubble’ world,

The deep south: London Times reporter tweeted the following, “Blimey. We hear gunshots and ask William our cabbie what they are aimed at. “People, man, people” he says and speeds up”.

Hotels: Still puzzling me, Austin tourist info tells us there are 30,000 hotel rooms city wide. At 2 per room that’s only 60,000 people and yet when I checked, there were many vacancies tonight.

Fans: COTA says there were 83,000 fans there today, which makes a total of around 148,000 so far – Silverstone levels.

Ferrari qualify as in Abu Dhabi: 7th and 9th again, except this time with Massa in front. Alonso is magnanimous and says his team mate did a better job than him. Bleak picture for Ferrari after Q3 (pic)

Kimi confident: He says qualifying was better than expected and he can win the race tomorrow

DRS 2013: thejudge13 reported changes to the DRS systems yesterday – DRS will only be available in the DRS zones in free practice and qualifying and not everywhere as at present. I believe the teams have been asked to consider today, whether they want as standard 2 DRS zones at each ciruit for 2013.

Webber is under investigation for allegedly missing a weigh in at the end of Q1. If guilty is a grid penalty. By previous standards, we’ll know by GMT 1am.

More mystery as well this weekend over leaking fluids from both RB’s – had a thin lipped response from RB mates who usually happy to tell me stuff – like the fuel issue 90 mins before stewards announced it.

Earlier this year, Vergne missed a weigh in Bahrain and escaped without penalty – the view of the stewards was it was only his 4th race and they cut him some slack – whether another reason can be found to excuse Webber, time will tell.

(update) Reprimand for Webber is the decision, bacause on realising the error the team brought the car straight back to the weigh area.

Michael Schumacher: Interesting that on a track nobody knows, Michael performs so well whereas his team mate just made it out of Q3 and was last in Q2. Schumacher clearly still has what it takes.

He has to visit the stewards over a possible block on Alonso though, as strangely does Massa – the reason for him I do not know. (update – no further action on Schumacher as both he and Alonso were not on flying laps). Hey Michael starts 5th on the grippy side.

Apparently, Nico reverted to the non-Coanda exhaust and without it struggled to warm up the tyres. He’s been using that configuration all weekend and the long race pace runs on Friday were good.

Slim meets Tilke: At the end of qualifying there were pictures of Carlos Slim – the richest man in the world, sat down talking to Herman Tilke. You’d have to be a bit sick if your COTA, and Mexico build a top class circuit that affects their market.

Still Guadalajara is 849 miles away from Austin according to Google Earth – then again, that’s 90 minutes by commercial  airliner so its proximity would surely affect the potential Texas audience.

Should Jenson start from the pit lane? It’s not the sort of thing McLaren are likely to do, as they often appear to be conservative and play the percentages in race strategy. If there had been no safety car, Vettel would still have achieved 4th in Abu Dhabi.

It sounded as though Vettel’s car was set up more usually today, long in 6th gear is a strategy to qualify well, get ahead of DRS in 2 laps and then pace the race from there.

I don’t think by putting a long 7th on Jenson’s car means he could win, but we saw how Vettel’s car stripped down with less drag and a better top speed handled the much shorter straight in Abu Dhabi. By doing the same Jenson could have a car setup that becomes an uber overtaking machine.

The other advantage is that Button is on the less grippy starting side, which I heard today could be worth 1-2 seconds disadvantage at the start. Further the mid field carnage which may occur in the slippery corner 1 would then be avoided. I’d give it a go – as incidents aside, Jenson could find himself 13-14th after lap 1, with a car that’s set up for qualifying and not top speed.

Caterham in reverse: I was talking to someone senior in Caterham in Jerez earlier this year, and they believed they were going to ‘p%1s off” some of the midfield teams in 2012. The thinking was that having the Red Bull KERS system this year would move them forward quite quickly. yet today, both Caterham cars were out qualified by both Marussia cars that do not have KERS for the first time in dry running in 3 years.

I think the reference was to Force India, due to the bad blood between the teams and the legal case which was judged in the favour of Caterham and Mike Gascoyne – though it is due to be heard at appeal in 2013.

Lewis’ Helmet: Isn’t it funny, when you tell kids not to do something, they try to do it all the more – just without getting caught. We’ve been lectured by the FIA about swearing recently – So what happens? We have Webber calling the electronic flags S$!T, and saying he was pissed off with the podium ceremony at Silverstone, and now another storm in a tea cup,

Lewis had H.A.M. on his helmet yesterday, but in FP3 just started – a different helmet. I believe from a friend in the team he has not been asked to change it though. I saw the tweet from SPA which included this acronym, but didn’t realise it had any hidden meaning. Apparently it means, “Hard as [a] M………..r”. The children are playing Jean, and testing you out.

Funnily just seen an old BBC clip of I what I guess the 1989 race in Monaco. Murray Walker was explaining that Rene Arnoux had been telling him he was struggling to drive quickly because he preferred the turbo charged engines to the new normally aspirated ones – he claimed were harder to drive as fast. James Hunt is in the commentary box with him and they share a microphone – all you hear in the background is a dismissive – “Bulls&%t”.

Perez wanted Ferrari: As I’m writing this FP3 is in full flow, and Sergio has pulled a crazy move on a Marrusia, taking both cars off the track – it’s practice. The camera’s cut to the McLaren wall, but Whitmarsh wasn’t there.

Anyway, Sergio tells El Mundo that Ferrari had promised him a drive in 2014 at talks held in Monza with Stefano Dominicalli. He says “I really wanted to drive for Ferrari”, but of course just over 2 weeks later he signed for McLaren, and Sergio tells us his reaction to hearing the formal  announcement.  “I sat on my bed and drank tequila with my friends”. Quite amusing, but we forget he’s just a kid still.

I did hear a rumour – and I will not suggest more – that Perez representative’s did inform McLaren after Monza of the Ferrari ‘promise’ and then talks accelerated even before Lewis gave notice of his intentions. Don’t you love the F1 intrigue – What if, Ferrari double bluffed McLaren. probably not, because the time lines were too tight.

I do think its going to be a huge wake up call for Perez and McLaren next year.

Magnussen impresses Lowe: In light of the above, McLaren made a particular effort to praise their young test driver the week after the Abu Dhabi test. Unlike other teams, McLaren would use different drivers either side of lunch, so there was a pretty good comparison between the times of the drivers in a similar car in similar conditions.

When asked how the drivers had performed, Paddy Lowe replied they had all done well but, “especially Kevin Magnussen, who had never driven the car before. He was immediately very fast”. Lowe goes even further, “You don’t expect the first morning with a new driver to perform particularly useful tests, but that in fact was what happened. Kevin has helped us immediately get down to work.”

Magnussen put in the fastest lap of the entire 3 days. Maybe one for 2014?

Torro Rosso tough on their drivers: Remember thejudge13 reporting a couple of weeks ago the fact that the young dutch driver Frijns had declared he had turned down Red Bull twice when approached over joining their young driver programme. He allegedly said this was because they treated their drivers like ‘dogs’.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve spent in F1, at times you just fail to join up the dots. Just watching FP3, Vergne’s car is shown broken at the side of the track. There are no replays of him stopping and the team quickly tell a pit lane reporter they think he has hit a kerb – a la Massa India 2011.

I was in Monza listening to commentary during the race, when Vergne went off at the first chicane. Within a minute or so, we were told by a pit lane reporter that Torro Rosso thought their driver had made a mistake. Of course it was later discovered to be a technical matter.

The we have the double sacking of Buemi ad Alguesuari last year, something a team hardly ever instigates – 2 new drivers at the same time. Of course Frijn’s was referring to Torro Rosso, not Red Bull and I suspect today will turn out not to be Vergne’s fault. If anything I have watched FP1,2 and 3 and thought in places the kerbs too benign and should be tougher encouraging the drivers not to run off the track consistently.

Team bosses prove F1 lives in a bubble: When Dominicali was asked to comment on the F1’s decision to run the inaugural Austin GP and return to the USA on the same weekend as the NASCAR season finale – in the same state of Texas – he looked surprised. Clearly he understood the implications and just for a moment I thought I saw him shrug as if to say, “typical”.

Horner was then asked whether they would lobby Bernie to change next years schedule, as Austin will again be facing the same motorsport competition for TV time. Horner admitted he had no idea this was the case and tried to waffle about different markets and audiences.

Did any of them hear Bernie suggest a French GP the same day as Le Mans? Probably not. To be fair to Whitmarsh, he clearly indicated it was ‘not ideal’ – said it 2-3 times, which for Martin is like saying ridiculous.

In general all the contributors, Haug, Boulier, Whitmarsh, Horner, Dominicali and the new bloke at Caterham seemed to believe F1 was working hard to get through to the US audience. I don’t know what Bernie’s been telling them.

Will HRT make the 107%? Pedro de la Rosa says he is not confident about the car being able to qualify for the race. He says that they just can not get the tyres working. Both cars were outside the 107% time of Vettel in FP3. The saving grace may be that if RB and McLaren only run on the prime tyre in Q1 that may be enough for HRT to sneak in.

(They did – and because of the top times were using the prime)

Some pics: Sorry not many as they take ages and lots going on today – Sunrise (pic), Webber sunrise (pic)

On this day, Nov 17th:

As speculation grew world champion Jenson Button was set to leave Brawn and join McLaren, those close to the sport were almost unanimous it would be a mistake .”It’s not ideal for F1 to have two world champions in the same team, but Button and Brawn are probably just sparring and something will be worked out,” Bernie Ecclestone said.

“I would fear for Jenson in what is very much Lewis Hamilton’s team,” veteran broadcaster Murray Walker added. Ross Brawn vigorously denied the reports. “”Negotiations [with Button] are continuing and the reports that he has already agreed terms with McLaren are not helpful. I would be amazed if that were the case,” he said. “His best future is with our team, where he has a good group around him, and there’s a lot to be said for that. The logical thing would be for him to stay with us, but of course logic doesn’t always prevail.”

Just proves nobody really has a bloody clue 😀

McLaren announced that Juan Pablo Montoya would be leaving Williams to drive for them in 2005. “The team is consistently a world championship contender and has a great heritage,” said Montoya. “It is a great opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to the first time I will be able to drive one of their cars. To join them is an amazing experience and challenge ad experience which I plan to fully enjoy.”

A shoulder injury interrupted 2005, but Montoya bounced back and won three times, matching team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for speed. In 2006, though, Montoya lived the first half of the year in Raikkonen’s shadow before knocking the pair of them out at the start of the US Grand Prix.

Those were the days eh? Kimi and Pablo together.

(This page will be updated throughout the day – as news comes in)

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13 responses to “Lewis rude helmet, Perez under pressure, TR quick to blame drivers, F1 team bosses ‘bubble’ world,

  1. The interestring snippet I got from the team principals’ press conference last night (I think it actually came from a reporter) was that NASCAR was getting around 30 hours of US TV coverage this weekend compared to F1’s 2.5 hours coverage. Bit of a mountain still to climb there.

    Encouraged by the number of US spectators at the circuit yesterday though, especially for free practice sessions. Lets hope that eventually translates into a decent TV audience.

        • Oh yeah – looks great, but we’re hearing maybe 40% of tickets sold to Mexican’s – doesn’t say whether they are domestic residents in the US or from Mexico. just wondering if there are more residents attending and less hotel visitors

  2. i totally agree with you with regards to torro rosso being hard on their drivers… this has been ongoing since scott speed times and sebastien bourdais…you guys should have obviously seen helmut marko thanking the now f1 dj alguersuari after he held up vettel in practice …i think vettel gonna tske the title this sunday and dont understand what happened to alonso in qualy… stranged he got out qualified by massa and sorry for jenson

  3. I think McLaren will struggle with Perez next year. He has a lot to learn about race craft. Letting Hamilton go was a dumb move. I don’t expect McLaren to win any drivers or constructors anytime soon. How a team cannot focus on the titles and only conservatively exist to win races defies logic. Although if you win races then titles follow.

    I am hoping that we are not going to see a complete dominance by RB over the next few years like the Ferrari/Schumacher era. It looks like a hat trick of drivers and constructors for them will be completed by the end of the race. I will watch for the historical factor, although I won’t be jumping for joy. Luck is a cruel mistress and vettel has had more than his fair share this year. I hope alonso can stay with him as he for my mind has been and is the better driver, and more deserving of the crown.

    • Don’t think they’ll dominate like Ferrari as all the rule changes seem to be directed at taking RB advantage away. 2013 DRS rules I think will reduce their qualifying dominance.

      • Well, it was the same this year, but then Newey worked his magic towards the end. I’ve written off 2013 already. It’s RBR’s titles next year too.

    • Regarding McLaren, I don’t think they will win any of the championships next year. They’ll have to work hard to finally end the JB’s endless balance/grip saga, but I expect they to win at least 4/5 races. I don’t think they let Hamilton leave, as both him and McLaren will lose with this move in the long term… I certainly didn’t understood this move decision (I think nobody did!). I’m disappointed with Perez too, but Whitmarsh said somewhere that they’ve been monitoring Perez since last year’s Monaco GP and they have to know something we don’t, analysing all this data. IMHO, they are right to focus on race wins, as eventually they’ll lead to a championship. The problem is the consistency, and now, the reliability too. Sometimes I have the impression that the weak link there is the engine, and because of that they have to push the development of the chassis and other parts to the extremes.. but then again, they would know better than that, and if this was the case, they would already been using engines from another manufacturer…

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