Pic to Caterham, Gutiérrez to Sauber, Heikki out, Alosno $10m WDC win bonus, Dennis conspicuous by absence, FI $80m announcement to shore up confidence, Lewis appears whistful, Mr. E warns Interlagos

Editor’s note: So much is happening and the driver market has been moving quickly, so since I release the last post GMT 00:00 I am releasing another one to make update’s easier to read.

I’ve added a ‘search bar’ on the right hind side bar…so if you want to find a story easily you can type “Lewis pushed” and all articles with that phrase will be presented in a list.

Also the end of season is iminent. To save you checking thejudge13 daily when there are no new articles why not sign up for an email notification: Click on the button at the top right of the page to receive an email when (and only when) a new article hits the interweb.

Yesterday we met our friends from Malaysia. Today I want to say Hi to those of you from Indonesia who regularly read the site – introduce yourselve’s in the comments. Thank you for reading regularly.

Dominicali: When asked at the FIA conference about the new engines and regulation changes for 2014, he said “we already have a group of small people already working on the project”. I don’t know what to say really. Oompa Lumpa’s – chocolate rivers at Maranello

Whitmarsh on SKY news: Martin Whitmarsh tells sky sports news Mclaren would have Lewis back and he hopes Lewis “is just on a gap year”.

Heikki Update: Rumours have it, if Caterham get 10th and the extra money he may retain his seat – if not they’ll recruit a driver with some cash – no pressure there eh?

Track security: One journalist reports counting 93 armed police

FP2 Highlights: Because the twittersphere goes crazy during practive, here’s a few bite from the pages of blurb.

  • Vettel sat out of car while water topped up – no leak today though. Mmm
  • Ferrari done quite a bit of high downforce running – good for the wet.
  • Kimi, “My tyres are overheating, I have absolutely no grip front or rear.” Engineer, “Yes, Kimi, we see the tyres are hot front and rear”
  • No HRT drivers around for FP2 – team say it was too hot to run – did run but late.
  • Race runs: Fastest laps – GRO 1:19.084, HAM 19.120, MAS 19.235, VET 19.521, ALO 19.525, BUT 19.580, WEB 19.642. (all medium except ALO hard)
  • Track temperature was 48 degrees. Hamilton did several cool-off laps before fast ones,which helps the tyres.
  • Back to long runs (med tyre): MAS 19.488; GRO 19.496 (hard); HAM 19.556; BUT 19.914; GRO 19.837; ALO 19.840 (hard); VET 20.054; WEB 20.073
Pos. No. Driver Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Hamilton   1’14.026 40
2 1 Vettel
1’14.300 0.274 40
3 2 Webber 1’14.523 0.497 37
4 6 Massa 1’14.553 0.527 37
5 5 Alonso 1’14.592 0.566 37
6 7 Schumacher 1’14.654 0.628 36
7 8 Rosberg 1’14.669 0.643 40
8 3 Button 1’14.863 0.837 35
9 10 Grosjean 1’14.994 0.968 37
10 11 Di Resta 1’15.129 1.103 39
11 12 hulkenberg 1’15.131 1.105 40
12 9 Raikkonen 1’15.371 1.345 39
13 19 Senna 1’15.432 1.406 45
14 15 Perez 1’15.542 1.516 35
15 14 Kobayashi   1’15.839 1.813 43
16 16 Ricciardo 1’15.902 1.876 39
17 18 Maldonado 1’15.953 1.927 47
18 17 Vergne 1’16.048 2.022 40
19 21 Petrov 1’16.126 2.100 39
20 20 Kovalainen 1’16.655 2.629 42
21 22 De la Rosa 1’17.244 3.218 15
22 24 Glock 1’17.675 3.649 42
23 25 Pic   1’18.127 4.101 31
24 23 Karthikeyan 1’18.139 4.113 15

Lewis Facts:

  • He has never lead a lap in Interlagos race in 5 years
  • Senna also did 6 years with McLaren and won his last 2 races for the team. Lewis after FP1 and FP2 is looking good.

FP1 Highlights:

  • Pit radio tells Petrov told to ensure he’s fully releasing the brake pedal “after application” and not riding the brakes on entry. You have to say surely an F1 driver knows not to ride the brakes – I learnt this in my karting days.
  • Pi Radio says Petrov was indeed riding the brakes, but rotor temps were too high as well, so will increase brake duct inlets, a 10 minute change
  • Pirreli say Perez reports 2013 tyres have more mid-corner grip
  • 3 different wings for Fernando
  • Amusingly Glock reports the pit box is “too far to left” with “no room for mechanics” Engineer confirms, “I think it’s in the same place as last year”
  • McLaren’s 2 pit board guys are the drivers’ physio’s we are told.
  • Pit Radio Giedo, “Guys, thanks a lot for everything this year, was a pleasure working with you, thanks so much”. Mmm
  • 0.086s seprate top 4 at the end of the session. Hamilton 1m14.131; 2 Vettel 1m14.140; 3 Webber 1m14.198; 4 Button 1m14.217; 5 Alonso 1m14.392; 6 Massa 1m14.716; Grosjean 1m14:719; Di Resta 1m1:738; Maldonado 1m115:015; Hulkenberg 1m15:050; Schumacher 1m15:114; Kobayashi 1m15:255; Perez 1m15:396; Bottas 1m15:413; Ricciardo 1m15:587; Raikkonen 1m15:701; Vergne 1m16:0148; Rosberg 1m16:315; VDG 1m16:460; Glock 1m16:506; Petrov 1m16:617; Pic 1m17:234; DLR 1m17:678; Kart 1m17:895
  • Fastest time Hamilton on the prototype tyre with 1.14.131. Vettel set fastest time on the hard tyre in 2nd place with 1.14.140.
  • Michael’s special helmet (pic)

2013 tyres used in FP1: Pirelli tell us, “Just for info, the compound used on the 2013 test tyres here is the same as the 2012, the actual 2013 Hard will be different. Tuning to 2013 tyre will be needed to maximise performance. The tyre heats faster which helps create some thermal degradation”.

Oh dear Jenson will not be happy, he doesn’t mind high degradation tyres – in fact he prefers it – just not those that degrade from heat.

All that’s left: As I see it is – Senna to Force India, Bottas to Williams, Vd Garde to Caterham and Bianchi to Marussia. Maldondo and Glock will be confirmed. Bianchi has political clout with Williams so could be Senna to Caterham and Bianchi to Williams too.

Caterham confirm Charles Pic: Its all happening at once. A big day for Tony Fernandes as he sacks Mark Hughes, manager of QPR and then… as predicted last night, Heikki will be grooming his golf swing in 2013. Its doesn’t seem right but it is the way of the world these days and maybe if Heikki brown nosed sponsors more and a little less golf he’d have some backing for 2013. Also Pic could be in the awkward position of depriving his future team of 10th place on Sunday. Here’s the announcement:-

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal of Caterham F1 Team: “We are thrilled that Charles has decided to join us for his second season in F1 and beyond. We are all looking forward to working with a young driver who has clearly shown in his first season in F1 that he has the pace, racecraft and demeanour to help us achieve our goals.

“Throughout the 2012 season we have been monitoring the progress that Charles has made, challenging us on several occasions in qualifying, and it is clear that he is a special talent. As the year has progressed he has performed extremely well against a very experienced teammate and we are looking forward to seeing him develop further within the environment we will provide in 2013 and beyond.

“We will continue growing together, and the energy and image he will bring to our team and his partners will be a very positive influence on the seasons that lie ahead. Being able to make this announcement before the end of the current season gives us the chance now to allow Charles and the team to prepare fully for the 2013 season and quickly learn how to maximise the performance benefits of the Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology powertrain that will be new to him.”

Charles Pic: “I am very proud to be able to confirm that I am joining Caterham F1 Team next year and I’m looking forward to many seasons of successful racing co-operation. I’m enthusiastic to have the opportunity to continue to grow in a team that has a technical relationship with a number of French global companies, including Renault and Total, plus an official partnership with EADS. It is clear that the team has great ambitions for the future: the investments already made and the decisions taken in the last few months show how committed the shareholders are to succeed and demonstrates their willingness to keep going forward.

“The prospect of the automotive industry project nurtured by Caterham Group to produce sports road cars in conjunction with Renault is another reason for my decision to join the team. I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun for the roles they have played in helping make this dream come true.

“I am very excited about starting my second year in F1 with a team that has so much potential. Caterham F1 Team has everything in place to help it move into a position to fight with a number of teams ahead. I know how determined the team is to keep progressing and I am looking forward to playing my part in helping them move up the grid.”

Jean-François Caubet, Managing Director of Renault Sport F1, added: “We are always motivated to see promising drivers in our partner teams and Charles is no exception. Additionally, France remains the largest Renault market and having another young, dynamic French driver join the Renault stable will give us further branding, marketing and PR opportunities, both for our F1 involvement and road car range in France and the rest of Europe. We look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.”

Ron Dennis: For those of you thejudge13 readers who have been discussing the Austin Ron Dennis interview this week in the comments section, we have confirmation of our suspicions.

There was a farewell party thrown by McLaren for Lewis at the Hilton in Texas last Sunday evening. The only noteable exception was Dennis, who was ‘guest of honour’ at a simultaneous cocktail party being hosted by Exxon Mobil. Further, Ron has worn the McLaren red winning shirt in the past when attending race weekends, in Monza and Austin when lewis’ has won, he did not.

As thejudge13 suggested around the time of Lewis announcing his move to Mercedes (see archive) Dennis threw spanners in the works with public statement s he made at that time. He is not scheduled to travel to Sao Paulo and it has been made clear that Lewis father (working behind the scenes) increasingly found Dennis’s controlling manner suffocating.

Hamilton’s new management team, XIX, also found Dennis unhelpful in their contract negotiations. Dennis, in turn, was infuriated by the 2008 world champion courting controversy with his erratic  behaviour, such as posting team telemetry on Twitter in August.

It is reported today a ‘senior McLaren has spoken on the matter of the relationship breakdown between Lewis and Dennis saying, ‘I do know what has  happened. Everyone makes mistakes and Ron made a mistake. Everything went pear-shaped and I don’t think it would be fair to say any more than that.’

I know many of the team still think affectionately of Lewis, and view him as the kid who joined the team. This means they cut him a lot more slack than maybe we outsiders and Ron have done. Yet Ron Dennis is a proud man who has built a team to rival the great Ferrari and he believes no one is bigger than the team.

I still can’t help feeling that McLaren have bitten off their nose to spite their face. Lewis is clearly a class driver, who at times can be petulant and childish – but so can Vettel – its part of this child protoge thing that has not ocurred in F1 previously.

2013 may prove to be a tough year, unless they can build a car that suits Jenson’s sensibilities because for sure Perez may become a great driver, but I think not in 2013. And for Lewis, unless Mercedes have a secret new car under wraps, it could be a long hard year for him too.

Sauber: Last night we reported in ‘Sergio burns his bridges’ the cat was out of the bag for Sauber 2013 and here it is. Estaban Gutiérrezas as their 2nd driver and Robin Frijns as the test driver for 2013. Monisha is gushing with praise for Kamui.

“Esteban has already been part of the team for a long time and we have followed his career very closely,” said Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “In 2010 we signed him up as an affiliated driver, and in 2011 and 2012 he was our test and reserve driver. We mapped out his path to Formula One step by step.

Esteban has great talent and now he’s ready to take the leap. We are in no doubt we have a strong driver pairing in place for the 2013 season with Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez. I would very much like to say a few words about Kamui Kobayashi as well.

Over the last three years Kamui has shown us he is not only a fierce competitor on the track, but also a wonderful person and fantastic team player. Every member of our team has the greatest respect for him, and his podium in Japan was a particularly emotional moment for all of us.

This has not been an easy decision for us to take, but we have committed ourselves to a new beginning and our time with Kamui will come to an end after the final two races of the season. We wish Kamui all the best for the future.

Our thanks also go to Sergio Pérez, who has claimed three podiums for the team so far and now has the opportunity at McLaren-Mercedes to display his immense talent with one of the most successful teams in Formula One history. We would also like to wish Sergio all the best and every success for the future.”

Interestingly in the press release given to the journalists in Brazil, Monisha refers to Kamui’s ‘last 2 races’ so I guess this was originally going to be declared in Austin.

8 points the difference between the 2 Sauber drivers. 1 is off to a top team, the other is out of F1.

Gutierrez on getting an F1 seat: “To be honest I don’t know if I am ready yet,” said Gutierrez. “When I’m in the position of being an F1 driver next season then I will know if I am ready or not.

“Definitely I feel that I was comfortable to do the next step in my career. After all the experience in FBMW and F3, GP3, two years in GP2, and now F1, it is one of the basic introductions to racing. Now reaching F1 is just the beginning of a reality so I am pleased for it.”

He added: “It doesn’t make sense to say I am 100 per cent ready; it is difficult to say or judge right now how ready I am. “I am doing my best and using all the time I have on track to improve my knowledge of the car, not only the driving itself but also the feedback to the team as I know it is a key factor in F1. It will be an interesting experience to go and have the right input into next season.”

on how he may compare to Perez; “It is important to take it in a very realistic way,” he said. “Of course I am going to try to adapt as quick as possible and not only as quick as possible, I want to reach a certain solidness in F1”.

“I am totally aware that competition in F1 is not easy, it is the top level of the sport. Living what I lived in GP2, it is true that I didn’t reach a consistency, but I rate it as the most rewarding season of my career, because to have this experience gives you new perspective into what you can influence in the future.

“So I will look for consistency in F1, then after reaching this consistency we want to look at the top results but first of all it has to be step by step – and adapting at the beginning will be very important.”

Understatement or not that confident?

Drivers Press Conference: A Schumacher love in – and rightly so. Lewis again emphasises how he may be at Mercedes next but will still come back regularly for lunches in the McLaren hospitality – to stay in touch with everyone. I see nothing but regret from Lewis in the past 3-4 weeks, which again takes me back to the article I wrote in September “Lewis was pushed“.

Bruno Senna does appear quite confident and does not have the air of someone desperate. I guess with $10-12m behind him he should appear somewhere in F1 2013.

Alonso win bonus 10m euro’s: La Stampa writes today that should Fernando win the WDC, he will receive bonuses from the team and sponsors worth 10m euros. No pressure then.

Fernando in his usual phlegmatic manner responds, “I’m 31 years old and, whatever happens Sunday night, I still have another four or five seasons with Ferrari. I’m sure there will be other opportunities. ” Recent history does not suggest – other than for Schumacher – Ferrari give their lead driver a tenure of 7 years

Interlagos needs surgery: Bernie Ecclestone is giving the organisers of the Brazilian GP a Silverstonesque kick to improve the ageing facilities at Interlagos. The circuit is regarded as one of the most outdated on the entire Formula 1 calendar, and Speed Week reports that the sport’s Chief Executive will meet with track officials on Saturday. Interlagos’ existing Grand Prix contract runs only to 2014.

In the Austion Press conference Martin Whitmarsh made a ‘politically incorrect’ comment about Interlagos according to a smirking Christian Horner when the topic of discussion was the quality of the new facilities in Texas.

Brazil’s Globo reports that Ecclestone recently travelled to Santa Catarina, a state in southern Brazil, to hear about plans for a proposed new Formula One venue designed by Hermann Tilke. Ecclestone denied he is seriously considering dumping Interlagos. “We do not have that intention,” he said. “We like Sao Paulo.

“It’s an old race track, a bit tired, but with a good update and some plastic surgery, it’ll be alright,” added Ecclestone. “I know it will happen soon.” Interlagos, which was the location for the very first Brazilian GP in 1972, has been used for the event 30 times and it has been used continuously ever since 1990.

However, according to reports over last weekend (Crash.net) Rio de Janeiro mayor Mayor Eduardo Paes has confirmed plans to try and bring F1back to the Brazilian city.he is now looking to enter into talks Mr. E and while he initially he wants to see if Brazil could have two races, he is also prepared to try and challenge Interlagos’ place on the F1 calendar, if that proves necessary.

“Be prepared Sao Paulo because I am going to steal the Formula 1 from you!” Paes said at a press conference to announce Rio’s new international speedway. Rio last hosted a round of the F1 World Championship at the Jacarepagua circuit back in 1989. The Jacarepagua circuit was home to the Brazilian GP on ten occasions, with the first race there in 1978.

Force India – now we understand: Mallya is reported today as saying, “Regarding Sahara Force India, all is well. Indeed, with Subrata Roy, we met with Bernie Ecclestone in New Delhi during the Grand Prix and it was shown that Force India was stable and financially healthy . ”

Nothing like an announcement of $80m spend to add perceived confidence to those outside the team. In fact, the uncritical manner in which most of the press have reported this story Vijay has achieved exactly the desired effect. I want to know where the cash is coming from.

As I pointed out a couple of days ago, Forbes downgraded Mallya to an $800 millionaire last month, and most of that is property and non-liquid assets. He probably doesn’t have 10% of his wealth in cash – so the money is not coming from him.

Warwick backs Red Bull and says they are British not Austrian: In an interview with local Silverstone media, Both BRDC President Derek Warwick and Silverstone Managing Director Richard Phillips have voiced their support for Red Bull Racing ahead of this weekend’s season finale, highlighting the far-reaching benefits of the Milton Keynes team’s success.

Derek Warwick, who has raced in 147 Grands Prix, said, “While the Austrian national anthem plays out when Red Bull win, we tend to think of them as one of our own. In Team Principal Christian Horner and Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey they have two of the finest minds in British and world motorsport at the helm; while the car is based, designed and engineered out of Milton Keynes, so we’re backing them and Vettel to win another title this weekend.

“Red Bull Racing is one of the most influential and inspirational teams in world motorsport. Their success acts as a catalyst, filtering down to the 4,500 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) estimated to be involved in motorsport, high performance engineering (HPE) and supporting services in ‘Motorsport Valley’, the cluster of UK motorsport firms located in and around Northamptonshire. These SMEs support approximately 38,000 full time jobs, including 25,000 engineers, and account for annual sales in excess of £6 billion, so the success of British based teams like Red Bull is vital if the UK is to retain its position as a world leader in high performance engineering.

“The fact that Christian, Adrian and Mark Webber are all full BRDC Members, and Seb is an Honorary BRDC Member, also makes us slightly biased towards Red Bull Racing this weekend. Whatever happens, it’s been a fantastic season and a wonderful advert for our sport. I’m already looking forward to next year when we could see up to four British drivers lining up on the grid.”

Richard Phillips added: “Red Bull Racing have been hugely supportive of Silverstone over the past few years, including running cars for us at both the launch of the new Grand Prix Circuit in 2010 and the opening of the Silverstone Wing last year. They were involved with the grand finale on that occasion too, when Mark Webber drove the F1 car into the building. Christian Horner and key team personnel have also supported events at the circuit, so we enjoy a fantastic relationship with the team and will obviously be reciprocating that support this weekend.

“British success also helps take F1 and motorsport to a wider audience. Having British teams and drivers winning races and championships fuels interest and, in turn, boosts both viewing and attendance figures. We often see a surge in British Grand Prix ticket sales, particularly when Lewis and Jenson do well. Next year we could see four British drivers on the Silverstone grid, driving for four different British based teams, so 2013 looks set to be another fantastic season.

“On a local level, it’s fantastic to have a successful team like Red Bull on our doorstep. In September 2013 up to 576 students will be based at the Silverstone University Technical College (UTC), which will offer high quality skills training to 14 – 19 year olds in high performance engineering and technical events management. Who better to help inspire the next generation of drivers, technicians and engineers than local organisations involved at the highest level of motorsport?”

Well Derek, whatever you say it is the German and Austrian anthems in harmony and in history that are played whenever Vettel wins a race.

1991: Senna wins stuck in 6th gear

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

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3 responses to “Pic to Caterham, Gutiérrez to Sauber, Heikki out, Alosno $10m WDC win bonus, Dennis conspicuous by absence, FI $80m announcement to shore up confidence, Lewis appears whistful, Mr. E warns Interlagos

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