Bernie on flag-gate, McLaren MP12-4C wins car of the year, Brawn Ferrari return, BIC wants winter testing, F1 in schools – India, FIA statement on Ferrari letter

Note from the editor: It’s happening I’m afraid – today is the first day I’m scratching around for stories 🙁 Following comments from readers about the difficulty of finding new stories on the page during a 2nd or subsequent return to thejduge13 in the day, I think for now – if I add to an existing story, I’ll put for example, UPDATE 11:44 GMT, and each new story for the day will appear at the bottom just above “On this day in F1″ – would that help.

I am constrained by the software I use and my at the moment inability to write code to tailor it. Hopefully if we could do well and even get a mention in the Silverstone awards, some investment may then flow and can help with this.

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Silverstone Media Awards: Many thejudge13 readers are outside the UK (65%) and I’ve had a few enquiries as to whether they are eligible to vote. The answer is yes and all you need to do is leave your name and an email address to vote on Silverstone’s website – the links are below.

Last years winner was a polish blog called F1 talks. (Link)

If you enjoy thejudge13 site, please take the 2 minutes to vote for it. I am committed to an advert free site, because all these pop ups drive me crazy but I do want to develop the site and an award like this will help me in two ways. I am looking to syndicate articles to International publications (mostly local media) where they have no local F1 knowledge and rely on Reuters news feeds to educate their readers.

Of course I would be paid for this syndication but the funds received will go towards taking thejudge13 onward and upward. One of the things I am looking at is a podcast for 2013. Much of the current media produced F1 audio/visual material is quite starchy and I believe there is room for a weekly discussion programme of a more relaxed nature – with regular expert fans and guests.

I am presently talking to a well know F1 media individual about this, but there will be a cost attached. Getting sponsorship is easier when you’ve won an award. So please take a couple of minutes to help thejudge13 in turn help you get even more from F1 in 2013.

54 people by last night have clicked through on the links provided, here’s how Silverstone tell you to vote.

Fans can cast their votes now via Silverstone Circuit’s Facebook page: Voting closes 12:00 hrs on 11 December, 2012. To vote from a mobile visit

Ecclestone on flag-gate: “It’s a shame because everything had gone so well,” Ecclestone told the Telegraph. “It was a super race, a super championship. Now everyone is talking about this. The problem is that no one knows what is going on.”

“Personally I think it’s not really like Ferrari to do this. I think they badly wanted to win. But if you want to go back and see what Ferrari have done down the years… But nothing will happen. What can they do? Take civil action? Maybe. But the case is flawed before it starts. Nothing is going to happen.”

“In the rules and regs normally you have to protest. They [Ferrari] missed that time. Then there is the fact that a green flag was shown, which nobody seems to dispute. It’s a complete joke. What they are saying in that letter is wrong. I don’t think there needs to be any action taken. It’s completely and utterly wrong.”

I’m flabbergasted. Yes Bernie, the problem is exactly that – no-one knows what’s going on. Of course the stewards are not going to discuss every non-event and yes Ferrari could have complained on the day. Further, if the previously unknown convoluted rules about what light or flag takes precedence over another then the whole thing is in actuality a non-event.

But it isn’t. This site has been bombarded with record views over the past 3 days because people have seen footage that implies there is a problem with race management. Rightly or wrongly the clock can’t be turned back and viewers ability to watch and review F1 like never before is here.

Is the answer for FOM to take down all the video evidence from YouTube? They may be within their commercial property rights to do so, but that in itself suggests to many that there is something to hide.

Then there is the mess that is race management. Pouring rain, flags, trackside lights and lights on the dashboard. You’ve got to be joking Mr. E if you think anyone believes this is an efficient way of handling race management. Don’t get me wrong, I suggested yesterday that even if Vettel was guilty but the matter is only discovered after the event – it’s akin to arguing about a penalty claim wrongly turned down by a soccer referee.

This is not a direct problem for FOM, but it is in a way because if the FIA had the proper funds to invest in what is not by comparison to the cars a coherent technological solution – this embarrassing mess would never happen. And we all know vast sums of F1 commercial funds do go.

TJ, a thejudge13 reader hits the nail on the head when he says, “FIA ought to move with the times and make the lights the primary control system and not supplemental.

They’re better in all but a total power failure, even a weekend hired generator backup (which they probably use anyway) would cure that. Theres not even the problem of any F1 circuits not equipped with the technology, so if it’s better why not use it, keeping the marshals for dealing with and managing track incidents.

On the Vettel topic, how many green flag’s or flashing board’s are required to state its clear to race and yellow flag conditions then be suspended, I thought one. If so, why do we have a second just around the corner and why was the cockpit notification LED’s still in effect till that second trackside green LED has been passed. Confusing or what?

I know from here and elsewhere why, but that begs the question as to why that marshals post was in use at all for anything other than an emergency response. All it illustrates is that a system introduced because flags weren’t fit for purpose and is superior hasn’t been allowed to function as intended.

How can you trust an electronic board when you must keep in mind the manual system over-rides it. As with anything being superseded problems arise during transition and what happened in Brazil clearly illustrates these two systems can’t co-exist – it’s either one or the other and since the introduction of the trackside LED boards it’s obvious which it should be”.

Amen TJ – that about sums it up.

Support Kamui: 127,863,961 yen ($1,562,497) – At this rate he’ll have a drive in about 2 weeks. I wonder if this is going to delay Force India’s decisions? That of course will have a knock on effect with Caterham, Marussia and possibly Lotus.

UPDATE: An amusing graphic I’ve just seen. (pic). I have to say I didn’t realise Hormone Replacement Therapy was quite so expensive these days.

McLaren Automotive : Wins the ‘Car of the Year’ and ‘Best Super Car’ awards for the #12C at the 2012 Middle East Motor Awards. The jury put the #12C ahead of nearly 50 other cars. Mark Harrison, Regional Director for Middle East and Africa said: “To win ‘Best Supercar’ in the Middle East is an amazing achievement coming in our very first full year as a luxury sports car manufacturer. But to win the overall ‘Car of the Year’ title is unbelievable.”

So Big Ron’s dream is up and running – to make McLaren Automotive the British equivalent of Ferrari. Their F1 team hasn’t done a bad job at times in 2012 of emulating their Italian competitors in what at times has been a shambolic, badly organised  and unreliable demonstration of how to do motorsport.

Brawn – Ferrari return: There’s a pretty large piece in a, part of  corriere dello sport that is reporting that Ross has had tentative talks with Ferrari on a return to the Maranello team.

I was about to write up several paragraphs on this, but I’m sure the silly season has arrived and this is utter nonsense. If any thejudge13 reader has something on this, let us know. But for now – The End.

Buddh Internationa’ Circuit: The promoters of the Indian Grand Prix are looking to get some more value from the $300m dollar investment in asphalt and concrete. Jaypee Sports International Limited, today say it is not satisfactory to simply hold only one Grand Prix per year on the Buddh circuit. That is why they want to maximize the use of infrastructure in place.

They are hoping to host some of the winter testing, Vice President of JPSI, Askari Zaidi, told the Times of India: ” The month of February is very cold in Europe, either in Spain or France. We are in discussion with the FIA to organize winter testing at the Buddh circuit, which should provide better weather for the teams and drivers. This is one of the many proposals that JPSI is working now. We also discussions with the organizers of the World Championship endurance race for a possible future . ”

I could write the politically correct and lengthy response to this, but I won’t. 1) Testing is nothing to do with the FIA, in so much as the teams decide where they will go, organise it and pay for it between themselves. 2) Its too far and too expensive for the teams. Further, 2) the track is very dusty and a big part of the work the teams do in testing is to try and get to grips with the new tyres. 3) Indian taxes and customs are dreaded more by the F1 teams than anywhere else they travel in the world.

Qatar tried this pitch just after I started this blog. They have an FIA top rated circuit used for Moto GP – Losail. That too has been dismissed on the grounds of distance so what chance does India have.

JPSI did for a time consider buying an F1 team, but have now abandoned this project: ” We thought some time ago to buy a stake in an F1 team. But after further study, the operation did not have much of interest to us. already We create a beautiful exhibition by hosting the Grand Prix of India and to then by a back of the grid team like HRT would not have strengthened our visibility. ”

F1 invests in its future fans: At times I can’t believe how short-sighted F1 can be (particularly FOM) but then again I can actually. Short term profit taking from the Casino banks that own F1’s commercial rights have never established a grass-roots business of worth. Yet, F1 in Schools is aimed  at students in the age group of 12 to 19 who use CAD/CAM software to design and build scale-model F1 cars out of blocks of balsa wood.

These cars then compete against each other on a 20-metre track; the judging is on the basis of the car’s speed, design, and engineering, and the students’ affinity for team work, presentation and marketing & promotions. The students are also expected to raise sponsorship money to fund the project’s expenses.

The Indian Times reports, “We are targeting 120 schools and 2,500 students to sign up by April 2013,” says Aaditya Tangri, in-country coordinator for F1 in Schools in India. “By engaging parents and students, we hope to increase the popularity of the programme.”

So far the programme has signed up 56 schools and enrolled 472 students. DPS RK puram in the capital alone has formed 28 teams, each team with between three and six students. The teams will compete regionally, then nationally, and then internationally for the Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools World Champions trophy.

Pic mobile chicane record: According to Finnish publication (must be a Finnish thing this conciseness) the French driver Charles Pic has grabbed a not so coveted F1 world record. He was overtaken in this years championship a total of 70 times. The previous record was for Brabham driver Italian Stefano Modena who was during 1989 overtaken a total of 68 times. Then the number of races in the season was only 16.

If you think Pic was being generous to Petrov by letting him by easily, he was in fact overtaken a total of 13 times during the race. The all-time record is 15 in 1 race again by Modena in Australia 1989, Olivier Grouillard Canada 1990, Markus Winkelhock Nürburgring 2007, and Heikki Kovalainen in China 2010.

Red Bull’s RB8 became the car with the all time overtaking record for a season, making 113 passes. The Marussian MR01 in turn also made history as it has become the car most bypassed in 1 year, 134 times – Caterham and HRT were 119 and 114 times. Clearly HRT’s ability to not break down assisted in them being overtaken less than the others.

FIA statement: FRI 30.11.12, 10:10AM. The FIA received a letter from Scuderia Ferrari, seeking clarification on Sebastien Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvre in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

In the spirit of transparency and goodwill, the FIA wishes to make public the receipt of this letter.

The Federation also informs it has replied to Scuderia Ferrari, in the same constructive spirit, stating that as the overtaking manoeuvre was not in breach of the regulations, and therefore there was no infringement to investigate, it was not reported to the Stewards by Race Control.

Ferrari acknowledge FIA response: “Ferrari duly takes note of the reply sent by the FIA this morning and therefore considers the matter now closed. “The request for a clarification from the FIA, regarding Vettel’s passing move on Vergne, came about through the need to shed light on the circumstances of the move, which came out on the Internet only a few days after the race,” said a spokesman.

“The letter to the FIA was in no way intended to undermine the legality of the race result. We received tens of thousands of queries relating to this matter from all over the world and it was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the Federation to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula 1 enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans.”

To be fair to Ferrari the Spanish and Italian press were at times incandescent this week (as can be the British tabloids) with polls showing 86% support for Ferrari demanding they ‘doing something’.

For me, I have lived through more F1 scandals and stupidity than I care to remember – but what I will take most from this is the shambles of lights, flags, dashboard lights, blokes with flags and no lights, lights with no marshall present……what a shambles. Race Management has been poor in 2012, or it is now being noticed more – I’m not sure which.

Grosjean bemoans heartless F1: Romain was in Geneva yesterday trying to not cause controversy, He was asked by

Q: “From the outside, it seems that F1 is a world without pity. Is this the case?”

G: “Yes. But it is this way always in the top level. It is the case in private banking and watchmaking. With the issues, there is no room for mercy. Places are rare in F1, so you are given nothing”.

The ruthless world of watchmaking huh? I reckon it’s not as cut throat as baking or ice cream making Romain! 🙂

Luca dM and the Grand Old Duke of York: If you are not versed in the English nursery rhyme genre, you may not understand this reference. I’ll explain at the end. Anyway, Il Padrino has been giving a rousing call to higher aspirations for the troops of Ferrari.

“I want us to start with a car that is immediately capable of fighting for the win and it has to be our first task. In order to achieve that, each one of us must improve in our own roles by at least a millimeter. We must revamp our organization and our working methods to try and be at the same level as the best, right from the first race, which for too many years now we have failed to do.”

Luca acknowledges the climb so far, “you should be proud of what you have done” given he acknowledges both Red Bull and McLaren produced superior cars. Therefore having managed to get ahead of at least one of them in the Constructors’ and keeping Fernando in the fight right to the end, was very significant and I wish to thank you for that”.

A reflection on how the ground so far has been gained, “We managed it mainly because of our incredible reliability, the work from the pit wall and during the pit stops and in the way we reacted after a very difficult start.”

Back to “The Grand Old Duke of York”. Pause briefly where each “-” is, there is a rythimic scan to this.

“The Grand Old Duke of York – he had 10,000 men – he marched them up to the top of the hill – and he marched them down again

So when they were up they were up – and when they were down they were down – and when they were only half way up they were neither up nor down”.

We shall see Padrino, we shall see. 2013 is a new dawn capisci?

Kimi in makes Apple advert (iO6)

Turkish GP 2013: I mentioned yesterday that I’d heard on my grapevine the Turkish GP could be on for 2013 and explained the common sense reasons why to fill the NJ slot as a one off it’s an obvious choice. Apparently it could be more than a slot filler as is reporting.

They state “that an announcement about the country’s race returning to the Formula 1 calendar could be made as early as next week, during the FIA Summit in Istanbul”. Originally, Istanbul MC Racing won the tender to operate the Istanbul Park circuit for $5m per year until 2020. When it did not deliver the necessary guarantees, the second-best bidder, Intercity Auto Rental Company, took over.

On the subject of the possible return of the Turkish Grand Prix, Intecity boss Vural Rk said: “I’ve personally know Bernie Ecclestone for many years. We presented our projects for Istanbul Park to him and he was impressed.
He promised to decrease his 26mUSD demand. The Turkish state will pay 13.5mUSD and I will pay 5mUSD from my personal budget, so we will finish a deal at nearly 20mUSD per year. Bernie’s biggest problem was lack of audience, we guaranteed 50.000 spectators. We want to make a 7-year-deal for Turkish GP. ”
According to GoCar the actual number of spectators expected for the race is 80,000. How they can assert this I don’t know as the lack of enthusiasm from the residents of the city that straddles east and west has been well documented. They go on to claim Bernie Ecclestone has told them, “This is a matter that we would be happy to discuss with the appropriate authorities. We would very much like the return to Turkey”.
So that’s a done deal then Bernie – NOT. Telling the world you’ve got a race for a hosting fee of $18.5m is not particularly smart when there are others paying more than 3 times as much. Of course FOM/Bernie own most or all of the track, but everytime I speak to someone in F1 about this I get differing views on what that means in terms of additional revenue – or cost.
I have to say, if you have a choice of Eurpoean GP’s to attend – not restricted to your own country, you should go to Istanbul. It’s in my top 5 out of over 100 major cities I’ve been privileged to visit over the years. It sounds like the tickets will be very good value from what the Intecity boss is saying.
Schumacher to test drive: Reports that Michael Schumacher has signed up as the Mercedes_Benz Formula One test driver for 2013 are in fact slightly misguided. These rumours were sparked when the retiring seven time World Champion was quoted in English language reports as saying: “I have signed a contract and will be active as a test driver”. The original interview was with in German with Stern, a weekly news magazine. Michael then  clarified to the German mewspaper daily Bild that he will be a test driver in 2013, for the Italian kart chassis maker Tony Kart.
Scumacher explains, “I like karting. It’s always been a big thing for me.”Indeed, Schumacher told Stern that he is looking forward to “not thinking so much about Formula 1″ in 2013 and beyond” and one of his new passions is skydiving. Michael admits, “I’m still a beginner, but I am looking forward to not always having to be thinking of Formula 1.
Lotus title sponsor: You may remember in the FIA press conference the weekend of the Coca Cola sponsorship announcement, Eric Boullier was asked how much are they bringing and would they be the title sponsor. In his inimitable manner, perspiring under the lights and the moment, he shuffled uneasily in his seat saying the title sponsor matter was not yet decided.
I’m hearing today, the reason for this is another pretty large US company may be soon announced by Lotus and it is they who will be the teams title sponsor, not Coca Cola but Honeywell. Should be able to afford Kimi’s bonus now.

On this day in F1, Nov 30th

Kimi Raikkonen was forced into an embarrassing but less than fulsome apology after being photographed cavorting with a singer and then collapsed in a heap on top of an inflatable dolphin outside a nightclub in Gran Caneria. “I’m sorry,” he said when details of the seven-hour bender hit the headlines. “I had a few drinks and danced, why not?” It was one of several such incidents involving Raikkonen during what has been a colourful career.

David Bruce-Brown in a Fiat successfully defended his American Grand Prize title at the 17-mile Savannah (Georgia) road course, winning by more than two minutes from Eddie Hearne. It was the last major race held on the circuit. A year later Bruce-Brown was killed while preparing to again defend his crown.

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38 responses to “Bernie on flag-gate, McLaren MP12-4C wins car of the year, Brawn Ferrari return, BIC wants winter testing, F1 in schools – India, FIA statement on Ferrari letter

  1. On about not so coveted F1 world records, most amusing one I heard was from Crofty earlier this year when he mentioned that Karthikeyan set the record for finishing the lowest in an F1 event. Apparently he finished 23rd in one race, and then broke his own record by finishing 24th in a later race 🙂

    • Good stat Chris. I guess that’s right because there are not many races without no DNF’s or even just 1.

      It shows what a war of attrition it was getting cars to the end of a race in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s – because some of those years they had over 30 cars starting races – and never did 23 finish.

      • Indeed, F1 is more reliable these days. Just checked on Wikipedia, the races in question were the Chinese and European Grands Prix in 2011.

  2. It would be travesty if you don’t win blog of the year at the media awards. Great job!
    And now that flag-gate is over, when you have time, please do that F1 greats article you had mentioned in one of your other blogs, i.e. what really IS a great, not stats and number of titles only.

    • I will – I just need to do some research which is the time consuming bit – and my recent less than full health has meant time in front of the screen makes very tired.

      I am on the mend but its probably the meds that are stil affecting me – so hopefully back to full health before Christmas.

    • PS Someone was telling me they entered some competition and a friend ran a sucessful facebook campaign which brought amazing responses.

      I don’t use facebook so if anyone knows how to to that 🙂

      So far I’ve had 54 click through’s to the silverstone voting site – but obviously there will be people doing the same on twitter.

      Apparently 400 votes and thejudge13 is in with a shout.

      Hey ho. We’ll see.

        • I don’t fully understand that – but if it helps then great. For twitter, I’ll remind my followers every couple of days and on the site will keep the article and link.

          Not sure anyone else will vote if they don’t know me. Best way is for readers to get friends, wives, children and dogs (remember Harry’s defense?) to vote 🙂

      • Trouble with things like Hootsuite is that they can cause more harm than good if misused. For starters you know that half the time a robot is posting the tweets rather than a person, so if you send a reply you either won’t get a response at all, or the response arrives a day or so later when the user bothers to check. Secondly, there’s nothing more annoying than getting the same tweet over and over again.

        • I learned quickly that annoyed my twitter followers when I first started the blog – I lost loads for sending out the same tweet link to the lastest article.

          Now I try and space them out with a different headline for the core articles I start with each day and then as new ones are added put them out too.

  3. Vote Cast – best of luck! Pls let me know if you need help with advertising contracts, supplier deals or any other legal / tech related issue. Fees etc not an issue but eager to help your blog be the best it can be as it is growing so fast! Keep up the good work, hope your recovery is continuing well. If screen work is proving difficult, don’t forget there is the wordpress app (if you’re not already using it) which I also use for updates on my blog from my phone which may be a little easier to use.

  4. Here’s an idea for the winter. Why not do an analysis; technical, financial, etc of all the teams. Say one team a week.

    • I’d Need some assistance with that – Peter Windsor has scarbs, and finance is a murky place – For example it is very rare for a promoter as I’ve reported today (Turkey) to announce the bones of a deal. We’ll do our besty though as always

      • I’ve voted for you as well. Is it the ads etc that puts you off James’ site? I find James’ site useful but the tempo of news from this site is better and I like the interaction from thejudge13. Also, you seem to know/follow JoeS so you catch everything. I’m looking to get involved if I can though? If you can send me an email address or perhaps meet up for a chat?

      • IMHO James has very good content on his site, but the commercial nature (wall to wall ads, sponsorship etc) can be a bit off-putting. Saying that, there are far worse looking sites out there with poorer content. James has one of the better sites on the interweb, I think.

        • His content is very good – just wish he’d open up a bit more – he knows a lot more than people realise about the machinations of F1 – but he tends to stick to the official F1 press line.

          He is also pretty pasionate about bringing the fans closer to F1 and was one of the first in F1 to embrace social media. I noticed he’s been tweeting more recently rather than just tweets with links to his site.

          • He has, which is why as you know he got my vote for best tweeter 🙂
            Unfortunately he doesn’t respond to tweets very often though, which can be sometimes annoying. Perhaps he uses Hootsuite, lol – I’ve never bothered checking…

  5. Yellow and Green Flags.
    Multiple unsynchronised systems for the same requirement… [ manual flags/trackside lights/cockpit lights ]… how did this situation ever come into being in the world of big brains, high tech and massive funding. This is a system fundamentally design to break at some point [ Interlagos last weekend for example ]. Synchoronise trackside lights with cockpit indications and put transponders on the cars to record relative positions with each other and flag zones… hook it up to some simple software to automatically report a violation. I would be happy to take that contract and implement it for you Mr. FIA/Race Controlller…
    It is disgraceful that inadequate race management and control systems allow the slightest doubt to be raised over a year of hard work and a World Title.

  6. Kimi/Apple ad. – what a hoot…!
    p.s. I don’t have a clue what ‘hootsuite’ means – probably just as well as I decline the temptation to even get involved with twitter and facebook – so can’t vote I’m afraid…

  7. Voted for you, good luck, and keep up the good work! Lets hope your site stays ‘troll’ commenter free, but I suspect they will arrive soon. Its usually the signs of real higher level success, when the flames wars and antagonistic posters arrive in the comments section, lets hope not though eh!

    • Unfortunately, I have to agree with you – this site so far is remarkably troll and dick-head free, but as you say I’m sure they’ll arrive once the site is better known.

    • they’ll just get mod’ed out. I don’t do this for money or fame or ego – we don’t need them and as I’ve been told many times in my life ‘you’er not on the list, you’re not coming in’ 🙂

      • That sounds good to me, I run a personal and gaming blog and operate a similar philosophy, disagreement is fine, but If you can’t play properly with the other grown ups, you can go bother someone elses blog. Anyways, good luck, I’ll spread the word as best I can

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