Interlagos storms predicted, RB handmade boots, Winter testing, Another $650m lawsuit for Ecclestone, Schumacher pushed, RB’s rubber nose, Lotus cash shortage

Editor’s note:

thejudge13 has had a minor surgical procedure and is sore and very woozy from tablets 🙁 So if I’m incoherent or news items are a little succinct over the next couple of days I’m sure you’ll understand.

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Ecclestone’s problems growing: Bluewater Investment fund is now adding to the woes of Ecclestone by threatening to sue him for $650m damages. Added to this is the claim from German Bank Bayern LB’s for around $400m and we’re now at over $1bn in possible lawsuits against F1’s favourite rouge.

The issue is again around what many see as the illegal transfer of shares by Ecclestone to CVC which has resulted in Gribkowsky, an employee of the German Bank, being sent to prison for 8 years or so. (I will publish a separate article about this – hopefully today).

Lotus Cash shortage: According to Auto Motor und Sport, 493 employees of Lotus are waiting to be paid. The team is due a payment from Ecclestone in relation to Concorde and apparently upon receipt of this staff will be paid. If this is just tabloid rubbish, I would be surprised – but I’m equally incredulous as to how Lotus have got themselves into this mess.

There are rumours that Kimi did a deal to be paid per point he scored and he has way exceeded all expectations the team had and is lying third at present. This together with the rumours of an imminent new investor do I’m afraid lend some credibility to the fact the Lotus may have cash problems.

How Alonso can win:

* He wins and Vettel is fifth or lower.
* He finishes second and Vettel is eighth or lower.
* He finishes on the podium and Vettel is tenth or lower.

Were the drivers to finish with the same number of points, Vettel would win the title having won more races.

Interlagos Weather: According to Brazil National Institute for Space Research and their satellite forecasts, there is a 90% chance of a storm on Saturday and 80% of heavy rain on Sunday. Hurrah! Seriously, a storm would probably mean several inches of rain and could see qualifying affected – even put back to Sunday morning. We are now in a 3 day window for weather forecasters, and to be honest they start getting pretty accurate at this point in.

Vettel’s new boots: Apparently someone at Red Bull commissioned a local cobbler to make a pair of RB insignia cowboy style boots for Vettel. He says, nobody came to collect them and he is owed $2150. Red Bull have said they will pay the bill. Not sure who’s running RB’s logistics but it’s about 4,000 miles from Interlagos back to Austin. (pic)

McLaren’s push for an extra $10m: This story surprises me as I have been led to believe Marrusia stand to gain an extra $19m for finishing 10th instead of 11th. The problem is unlike in many sports where the fans know the prize money awarded for each place in the final championship table, Mr. E prefers to keep this quiet – it gives him the opportunity to add ‘little bonuses’ here and there if at certain times he can gain support on a particular matter.

Anyway,  Ron Dennis once famously declared that second is just “first of the losers” (probably after McLaren had been beaten into 3rd place for the season), but even so McLaren will be trying their hardest to finish the season ahead of Ferrari. Red Bull have the constructors’ title for this year, but McLaren are just 14 points behind Ferrari for second place, with just this weekend’s Brazilian showdown left to run.

The usually pretty useless at reporting anything F1, Sun newspaper, says the difference between second and third is almost $10 million in Concorde Agreement prize money. Jenson seems a little blaze seeing how much money he gets paid when he says, “The constructors’ title does mean a lot to me because it is a lot of money”. Jenson continues, “It would be nice to get one over on Ferrari. We want to finish in front of them”.

It would matter if an element of your pay was attached to it though Jenson?

Winter Testing: For those of you who fancy joining thejudge13 on my regular jaunt to testing, the dates are now confirmed. Jerez 5-8th Feb (4 days) and Barcelona 19-22nd Feb and 28th Feb-3rd March. There are 15 days allocated to the teams for testing each year and this year they had a 3 day test in Mugello after the first batch of flyaway races – the previous year they were in Valencia pre-season. I have heard nothing about what is to happen with the other days, but noises coming from the paddock suggested they would not be doing a Mugello typre test again this year.

I enjoy going to winter testing, the cars are on track 8 hours a day and even if you have to pay to get in (I usually get in with members of a team) its only between 10-20 Euro’s. Last year after testing in Jerez had finished we spent the day with Caterham at the track as they filmed their promotional videos. It was pretty strange being at a circuit with no fans and just 1 F1 car (and some other Caterham cars) on track. But hey, that’s the way it used to be when testing was unlimited.

The circuit won’t be happy with the Jerez dates as they are Tue-Fri. 2 years ago they included a Sat-Sun and Alonso was testing the Ferrari. I’ve never seen as many fans turn up for testing – somewhere in the region of 30-40,000 each weekend day – all Ferrari fans. Usually there may be a few thousand.

RB’s rubber nose: Many of you will have seen the vidoe of the pit stop in Abu Dhabi where the mechanic removing Seb’s damaged front wing appears to catch the tip of the nose cone and it bends like rubber.

Vidoe from Auto.it

This led to a number of reports suggesting the Adrian Newey had pushed the envelope illegaly in the area of flexible parts. Yet, over the Austin weekend we heard that most teams accepted Red Bull’s nose actually behaved quite normally, given the qualities of the tips of Formula 1 cars’ noses for the FIA crash test requirements.

Indeed, Charlie Whiting, the FIA’s technical chief, is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint: “What happened with Vettel in Abu Dhabi was an extreme case, because the mechanic grabbed the nose and gave it a twist. “I am sure that would also happen on any other car,” he added.

Matter closed then. On to the mysterious leaks of fluid regularly from the Red Bull cars. Happened to both in Austin – surely their cooling systems can’t be in the same league as some 1970’s Chrysler?

Schumacher pushed: Hans-Joachim Stuck, a former Formula One driver and now president of Germany’s motor racing federation DMSB, thinks Michael Schumacher is being pushed back into retirement. After a less than sparkling 3 year comeback with Mercedes, seven time World Champion Schumacher will retire again after his 308th and final career Formula One Grand Prix this weekend in Brazil.

Michael retired the first time around 6 years ago in Brazil and says, “It will probably be less emotional for me this time than in 2006, when we (Ferrari) were still fighting for the championship and everything was much more intense.”

Schumacher and Mercedes have gone to great lengths to counter the perception that the 43 year old is being callously ousted to make room for 2013 arrival Lewis Hamilton. But when asked about Schumacher’s impending retirement, Stuck is quoted by the Spox website: “He had no choice. Mercedes signed Lewis Hamilton and Michael couldn’t find another adequate cockpit.”

Stuck said he regrets that Formula 1’s most successful driver of all time will no longer be on the grid from next year. “I would like to have kept watching him try to match up to the younger drivers,” said the 61 year old. Me too Mr. Stuck. I think he has stood up well when measured against Rosberg this year and is still probably a better/quicker driver than at least half the 24 out there at present.

22 jobs advertised on HRT website: (LINK) Mmm.

Alonso opens trading on NYSE: Even though this raises $250,000 for charity, Alonso looks as though he’s not really sure why he’s there in racing gear, cap and all whilst everyone else is suited and booted. Bit like arriving at a wedding when expecting to test an F1 car 🙂

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/VpbQxC0P6sg?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Sao Paulo murders: Globo reports 24 murder in 72 hours. They then attempt to give us some perspective. “With 20 million residents, the São Paulo presented in these 72 hours ratio of 1.2 homicides per 1 million inhabitants. In Rio, where the homicide rate was 12 this weekend, this ratio would be 1 per 1 million”.

Put like that it seems just fine I guess, Golobo continues,

“Salvador, by comparison however, is the most violent among the three capitals: there were 25 homicides, nearly the same number of São Paulo, for a much smaller population in the metropolitan area (3.67 million), a ratio of 6.8 murders to one million inhabitants”.

No wonder we’ve not heard Bernie talking about a race in Salvador.

On this day in F1, Nov 21st

1943

Jacques Laffite was born, the first Frenchman to win a world championship race driving a French car with a French engine, was born in Paris. His impish sense of humour and irreverence, allied to a considerable talent behind the wheel, brightened the grand prix scene for more than a decade during the 1970s and 1980s. He took six wins in all with Ligier before an accident at the British Grand Prix ended his Formula One career in 1986.

2009
Mercedes dismissed growing rumours that Michael Schumacher was poised to make a dramatic comeback to F1 with a pithy comment from a spokesman: “It’s clear that there will always be speculation as long as one cockpit is still free. And some speculations are nothing but dreams which will not come true.” Schumacher’s spokeswoman Sabine Kehm added: “Michael is enjoying his life very much. To me, a return would therefore be highly unlikely at the moment.” Schumacher was unveiled as the team’s new driver a month later.

Ironic timing huh?

(This page will update throughout the day – as stories arise)

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7 responses to “Interlagos storms predicted, RB handmade boots, Winter testing, Another $650m lawsuit for Ecclestone, Schumacher pushed, RB’s rubber nose, Lotus cash shortage

  1. Well nice article especially around Michael Schumacher… i personally believe the same… that he is being ousted into retirement.
    Anyway have a nice recovery

    Rgds

    Bryan

  2. Feel sorry for Schumi. This is not the first time Schumi was ousted. Papa Monti thought Kimi, a young driver would be better. So pushed Schumi out. Then Kimi also got pushed out because Papa Monti thought Alonso, the guy who was pilfering Ferrari information from McLaren with a little help from his friends is a better bet. That also hasn’t worked out so far. Let’s see what happens next.

  3. Great article. A very nice read, as always.

    Interlagos usually produces great races. Realistically, I think Alonso will only have a chance if Vettel retires, but anything can happen in Brazil (and it usually does!) – especially if it rains.

    Hamilton is a great driver and he will be a great asset to Mercedes. However, I would keep Schumacher there, as I think he is much more experienced in helping a team to develop a car than Hamilton. Besides, he is relaxed (as he’s already won everything he could dream of and doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody), he has a lot more patience than Lewis and he’s also a much better choice for PR too. 😀 Hamilton may bring more raw speed, sure, but if next year’s Mercedes car is as bad as what they have now, I don’t see Hamilton doing a better job than Schumacher.

    It seems like time is running out for Bernie… With all these accusations, the least he could do is retire “gracefully” while he can, before being forced to do so…

    Have a nice and speedy recovery!

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