Stewards back slapping, Vettel suit sells for $18,000, Gascoyne enters the danger zone, 2013-14 rules and who this helps, Austin want a new date, Turkey 2013 agreed

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FIA Stewarding: It appears that Charlie and the Stewards are feeling rather pleased with themselves with regard to the rather narrow topic of penalties. I hope we hear a little more on race management as a whole. Anyway here is the FIA release.

At a meeting chaired by F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting, the stewards praised the recent introduction of readily available real-time telemetry and added that the presence of former and current racing drivers on the stewarding panels has been a benefit. 

The stewards noted that while some former drivers may not have a thorough knowledge of Formula One’s Sporting and Technical Regulations, their ability to immediately understand how and why on-track actions may have been taken is invaluable. 

A recent introduction to the process has been the delivery of a set of race decisions to all stewards on the FIA panel following each grand prix, including stewards who did not officiate at the race in question. The stewards present at yesterday’s meeting all acknowledged the value of these notes in achieving consistency in their decisions. 

Consistency was a particular theme of Jean Todt’s remarks to the meeting. The FIA President told the stewards that “rather then always applying penalties you must analyse the consequences of the penalties. Consistency, for me, is crucial”.

He added: “You have a very difficult job but you are now better supported by all the electronic facilities which help in analysing incidents. The only thing you should now concentrate on, other than the good job you are doing, is how to do it better. It would be good to speak to your partners, the teams and the drivers, who can give you good input.”

Finally, the stewards were supportive of a proposal to introduce a penalty points system on F1 superlicences. This would work in the same way as the road licence systems in operation in many countries and breaches of regulations would lead to the accrual of points until a certain threshold was reached, at which point a driver would receive a race ban.

My thoughts:

1) That’s just great. I like the idea of the stewards getting to see the reasoning for all decisions whether they are officiating or not – this indeed will bring consistency which over the years Stewards penalty decisions have lacked greatly.

2) I’m not sure I understand fully what Monsieur Todt is saying here. As a self-confessed legalist we have an apparent conflict within the statement, “rather than always applying penalties you must analyse the consequences of the penalties”.

If they done the crime – they serve the time. What does this mean? Scenario: If in the championship, one driver is running away with it – give them the harshest penalties possible – why? because the consequences are less in proportion to the driver about better for the championship?

How does this principle relate to the Hulkenberg/Hamilton incident in Interlagos? The consequence of the incident was a probably race winner was taken out of the race – is that why Nico got a penalty for what was (for me) a racing incident primarily down to the conditions.

That’s not what Todt is saying. He wants the Stewards to analyse the consequence OF THE PENALTY before applying the penalty. Over to you thejudge13 readers, I’m not sure what more to say on this.

3) I just don’t see the point of the points system for drivers. There is a reprimand system presently in place which can lead to a driver being excluded from a race as a penalty for persistently being reprimanded. I suppose by moving to a system with greater number of points on the scale from ‘clean to banned’ it gives the Stewards a greater ability to finesse the punishment to fit the crime.

This is all very well and good, but the incremental ability to interpret and award a greater gradient of punishment is a recipe for disaster and criticism from fans and the teams. I suspect the ‘sins’ and points penalties they attract will be fairly black and white.

4) There is no discussion about wider race management issues – which may not be the remit of the wider Stewards panel, but who addresses these issues with Charlie?

Vettel Race Suit: The driver’s suit Vettel wore during the season opener in Australia was auctioned last night for $18,000. It was only expected to achieve bids around $8,000 but did rather better than that.

With signed suits from all six world champions on the 2012 grid having been up for grabs, Vettel’s title rival Fernando Alonso’s sold for £6,000 with Michael Schumacher’s next up at £4,500 and Lewis Hamilton’s £4,100. Jenson Button’s sold for £3,500 and Kimi Raikkonen’s just under £2,000.

In total there were 18 lots up for auction, including a nose cone from David Coulthard’s 2008 RB4, and the total fund raised for the charity came in at £39,000.

Mike Gascoyne: The former Caterham race team boss (in effect) is attempting his first solo crossing of the Atlantic. He is about 1600 NM into the 3200 NM journey and has been pretty perky telling us about Lamb Hot Pots and imaginary curry’s. The next couple of days will be his biggest challenge yet as the waves get very big and sleep becomes impossible. Mike is an experienced sailor, but this is a big step up for anyone of Mike’s previous sailing knowledge and prowess. You can follow his progress here (Link)

Regulation changes 2013/14: thejudge13 published the regulation changes yesterday, both technical and sporting for the next 2 years. Here’s a little reflection on what this may mean.

1) DRS only allowed in the DRS zone(s) all weekend from 2013.

This will require Red Bull more than most to change their strategy on car setup and aero development. Their tactic for some time has been to set the car up, particularly for Vettel, for the fastest 1 lap possible with maximum downforce aero.

This facilitates the ‘run and hide’ approach in the race that the team have become synonymous with. Being able to regularly dump the downforce during qualifying (opening the flap several times a lap) means the incremental downforce setup is not as punitive in qualifying, yet is available at the start of a race when the cars are heavy on fuel.

Where they have been better than other teams is by designing the aero to create the smoothest transition between open and closed DRS flap. Opening the flap in the wrong place can cause quite a violent change in the balance of the car. By dumping rear downforce (opening the flap), the back of the car rises up creating less rear end grip – done in the wrong place this will cause an immediate spin.

Ferrari never got to grips with the transition of air flow between open and closed DRS flap positions – which is why they qualified relatively poorly compared to the race pace they could deliver. In the race the use of the DRS was greatly restricted compared to qualifying which benefited the balance of the Ferrari car.

2) 2014 Aero regulations changed, now more like 2012-13

The original planned 2014 changes were that the cars would all have lower noses and a lower front bulkhead, narrower front wing with simpler end-plates, smaller rear wings and no beam wing. These regulations have now been scrapped. So who does this help?

When there are big rules changes those who benefit most are generally those with the most creative design teams. Newey of course is considered a genius at this and Sauber too have delivered excellent start of season results when they begin the year with clever design innovations.

The Honda/Brawn example

In 2009 the rule changes were extensive and the Newey Red Bull was overall the best car. The base platform of that Newey 2009 car has been continued throughout the 2010-2012 cars, and we all know the results. Honda (Brawn) had for 2009 designed a double diffuser concept which was hotly disputed by Red Bull and other teams as beyond the interpretation of the new rules.

The BGP 001 (Brawn car 09) was designed by Loic Bigois (who was replaced at Mercedes last summer by Mike Elliot from Lotus) and was in similar respects to all the other cars on the grid.  However, we now know that the modifications made to the car to accommodate its Mercedes engine meant that six inches had to be removed from the rear end, severely compromising the car.

Brawn himself admitted that there were fundamental problems with the car, stating that it was too heavy, the centre of gravity too high, and that some of the parts were not good for the car. Yet the car had one difference, which was focused on the rear so-called ‘double-decker diffuser’. The diffuser is at the rear of the car and is a route to get downforce and puts the air under the car to good use.

The BGP 001 had a different central channel to its diffuser with the shape of the structure being used to create advanced type of double-decker design. The diffuser’s controversial aspect was the hole in the rear which increases the speed of airflow as it heads towards the higher rear section, where it expands and creates more downforce. Other teams argued that the presence of the hole is against the regulations.

So the Brawn team lucked into a design that the others spent too long arguing over and not copying, and this saw Jenson over the line – just – with a Red Bull in the second half of the season that was catching up quickly and won the last 3 races of the year. Jenson had won 6 of the first 7, and won by 11 points (say 28 points in today’s scoring system).

Summary

So Newey had the best design since 2009, but Brawn/Honda lucked into a design that was copied by others too late and then outlawed for the following year. Over time, without significant rule changes the teams close up on performance – as we’ve seen in 2012. So the lack of aero regulation changes and the recinding of those for 2014 will disadvantage Red Bul and give the closing pack even more opportunity to catch up.

2013 will be Vettel’s toughest year but I suspect Mercedes will surprise everyone. Wind tunnel now properly calibrated and delivering 60% to scale model’s, the fastest engine and a better resourced aero design team (See yesterday’s news).

McLaren have some gains they can make by rasing the front of the car and increasing air flow under the car – they will not get the original benefit of the original 2014 reg’s where everyone else would have to do the same. I believe Red Bull have been incredulous they have failed to do this in 2012, as there is allegedly an easy 2/10th’s to be gained by doing so. Still McLaren’s problem in 2012 was not speed.

Austin 2013: COTA Organisers are seeking a new date for the GP. I already reported 2 weeks ago that there was not only a clash with the NASCAR annual finale which starts half way through the F1 Sunday race, but also a huge college football game was scheduled for the Saturday that will attract 100,000 US football fans.

The Austin newspaper reports, “Having both events on the same weekend would put a big strain on restaurants, rental cars, shuttle buses and bars. The biggest conflict, though, probably would be over hotel rooms — Texas football fans might not get many of them, and there are thousands of Longhorns fans who head to Austin for home games”.

“Circuit of the Americas has expressed our strong preference for an alternate race date in 2013,” chairman Bobby Epstein said Wednesday in an email to the American-Statesman. “We understand that setting a global calendar can be very challenging, involves many factors and is out of our control. We feel confident that Formula One has taken our concerns seriously and is working earnestly towards a collective solution.

Don’t hold your breath Bobby, the FIA have published the dates as Nov 15-17 2013 for Austin anyway, when a simple solution would be to switch Brazil and Austin – of course the Interlagos people may be upset, but most likely F1 will plough ahead regardless, believing it need not take account of such things because F1 is more important than anything else on the planet.

The attitude of the US football league is quite different however, Butch Worley, UT deputy athletic director, told the American-Statesman last month that Texas would work to schedule the game for 2:30 p.m. so fans could get in and out without staying in a hotel.

Favourite F1 pics of the year: For thejudge13 readers, if you have any favourite pictures you have seen, share them with us all and post links to them in the comments section. Here’s 1 of mine, Hamilton on his way to pole in Abu Dhabi.

thejudge13 quiz: Who and where?

Turkey GP 2013 very close: Turkish Online Media are reporting the deal to bring Istanbul back to the F1 calendar for 2013 is agreed between Mr. E and the promoter. The decision now apparently rests solely with the Turkish national government.  If the government agrees to pay the same amount as they paid for the last race then F1 will return – the only problem is a government source is reported today as saying that they have not even been asked yet.

UPDATE 13:22 GMT: The Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED) said on its website (www.tosfed.org) that the grand prix – last held in 2011 before being dropped after a disagreement over hosting fees – had been discussed at a meeting of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in Istanbul.

“We in TOSFED are making every effort so that Formula One races, which have been held seven times in our country until now, can be held at our Istanbul Park track…(in 2013) and in future years,” chairman Demire Berberoglu said in a statement.

Berberoglu said an agreement had been reached between circuit operator Vural Ak and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, but the government also had to play a part. “Everybody knows that what is needed for its presence in the Formula One race calendar for 2013 and following years is a guarantee and approval of the required budget at the government level,” said Berberoglu.

“This will develop according to the prime minister’s decision.”

thejudge13 believes this is most likely going to be a 1 year deal to cover for New Jersey. In 2014 Russia will host a race along with the delayed New York. I have heard there are conditions being attached for incremental years based upon fan attendance figures of over 80,000. Whether that is in total or for race day is not clear.

PS not wishing to brag, but if you’re on twitter you’ll see thejudge13 had this before all the UK mainstream media.

UPDATE 15:30 GNT: The again –

But Sports Minister Suat Kilic told reporters on Thursday the race was purely a matter for the private sector.

“If it wants to, the private sector can bring F1,” Kilic was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency.

“But there is no question of us paying the cost of the rights which have been proposed to a private company to bring Formula One.”

Clearly, Mr. E is not in such a good bargaining position if he wants to have 20 races in 2013.

Support Kamui: 164,710,954 yen ($2,009,473). This is definitely slowing very quickly – yesterday $68,000 was added and by today just another $45,000. Unfortunately KK may be getting stuck around $2-2.5m which is unlikely to get him a drive in 2013.

F2 for 2013 cancelled: I’m hearing unconfirmed reports that Jonathan Palmer and MSV have pulled the plug on the F2 series for 2013. No comment as yet from the FIA.

More nonsense about Schumacher : Our second favourite Italian Flavio Briatore has joined I’ Padrino (Luca di Montezemolo) in criticising the way Michael Schumacher apparently ‘let through’ his friend and countryman Vettel in Interlagos.

“I was expecting a slightly different final race on the part of Michael Schumacher”, Ferrari president Montezemolo suggested weekend. Today, Briatore, who was team boss when Schumacher won his first two titles with Benetton in the mid-1990’s, agrees with his fellow Italian.

“The way he (Schumacher) behaved in Brazil was not good. His preference was that Red Bull beats Ferrari,” said Briatore. “The only one who helped Ferrari was Webber,” he added – who is in Briatore’s management stable.

thejudge13 says: Tosh Flav! Suggest you watch the race again.

thejudge13 book review of Adam Parr’s “The Art of War”: This at the moment is published on Amazon as a review. I wonder how long before FOM get it taken down.

Adam Parr was the CEO of the historic Williams F1 team for 5 years. He tried to change the future of the sport for good and spoke out against Formula 1’s Mr. Big.

Less than 9 months later, Adam held in high regard by many of his peers mysteriously and swiftly resigned from his role and left the sport completely.

A few weeks later the Williams F1 team subsequently received a multi-million dollar payment for signing up with Mr. Big’s new F1 deal and the rest is history.

This is a sanguine but in incisive insight into the murky world of F1 and its power struggles. The players are described in vivid colour and the ending hints at an apocalyptic future that yet may lie ahead.

The comic book style illustrations are dark and add to the sense we are entering an gothic underworld that is much in need of a heroic saviour.

From the off, the Forward sets the scene. It is written by former head of the FIA, Max Mosely who notes F1 is “a strange culture indeed, in which people take legal action to avoid saving $10m a year”.

Yet this is a book that is overwhelmingly positive, it does not feel as thought the author has an axe to grind or feels he needs to set the record straight. In fact with the legal problems of Mr. Big growing by the week, there are enough hidden threads that could be woven – with a little imagination – into a prospectus that could be the road map to launch F1 toward reclaiming its birthright.

I rarely spend £25 on a book – this was worth every penny – and I eagerly await part II.

On this day in F1, 6th Dec

1948
1982 world champion Keke Rosberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He only won one grand prix in his championship-winning year, but that was enough as a record 11 drivers shared visits to the winner’s circle during 16 races. However, he was more than worth a world title in a career that entertained more than most.

Perhaps an image that better conjures up the Flying Finn as most remember him is the stubbing out of his ever-present cigarette before climbing aboard his Honda turbo-powered Williams at Silverstone in 1985 and going out to risk everything as he claimed pole at a then-record speed of over 160mph. It was the epitome of an all-or-nothing lap. This is why he was held in such esteem by his contemporaries – bravery only starts to cover what he did. His son Nico made his F1 debut in 2006 for Williams – the team who powered Keke to his world championship.

2007

Renault escaped punishment for their role in a spy scandal, despite being found guilty of fraudulent conduct. There was widespread surprise at the news as McLaren had been fined £50 million earlier in the year for a similar offence. “In the absence of a compelling explanation, the FIA will be held culpable of double standards on a gigantic scale,” wrote the Daily Mail. Renault boss Flavio Briatore said he was “absolutely at ease” with the decision. “Is it fair?” Bernie Ecclestone asked. “We are always fair,” he amusingly replied.

 

(This page will be updated throught the day – as F1 news breaks)

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17 responses to “Stewards back slapping, Vettel suit sells for $18,000, Gascoyne enters the danger zone, 2013-14 rules and who this helps, Austin want a new date, Turkey 2013 agreed

    • I had the same question and it took quite a while to find the answer. Here it is;

      “Keijo Erik Rosberg was actually born in Sweden on December 6th 1948, but his Finnish parents moved back home while Keke was still a young boy and he took Finnish nationality.”

  1. Totally agree with you judge… do the crime then do the time. This kind of ambiguity from Mr. T. [ the most senior FIA official ], seems to be able to be interpretted at least as, sanctioning manipulation of laws and results. It isn’t a clear directive to apply laws consistently at all.

    “rather then always applying penalties you must analyse the consequences of the penalties. Consistency, for me, is crucial”.

    Points on licences… another apple for an apple… there is a clearly defined set of regulations and associated penalties and subsequent escallation processes and penalties. If there isn’t, hence the need for points, surely somebody within the FIA should be seeking alternative employment???

    • Both of those things (analyse the consequences and points system) is a recipe for applying double standards and manipulating results. Mr T is back to his old tricks just like when he had the love-in with FIA during his Ferrari years. What a joke!

  2. This time just answering the quiz question. Although I was 2 at the time the photo was taken, I do believe this is one of the most famous pictures of Ayrton Senna taken at Estoril 1985.

    And… sorry to stir up things, but what actually happened to Estoril. It used to be a cool track. It even looks like a proper track for doing test at, yet nobody uses it in pre-season testing?

  3. Great photos of Senna and Rosberg.

    The driver steward thing just seems like a publicity stunt. How’s putting a different person at each GP achieving consistency. He may be only one of 3 or 4 stewards but I imagine because of their status the driver usually has the greater say.

    The driver steward at Brazil was Tom Kristen who is a 7 times Le-mans winner but has tested but never raced an F1 car. Might help explain the Hulkenberg harsh penalty. He also done the Spanish GP where I thought the Schumacher penalty was harsh because of Senna’s direction changes in front.

    How is someone who has never raced an F1 car their driver steward and probably having a greater say than their actual trained stewards!

    • Agreed madmax – thought I feel the driver steward idea is not the problem – just the selection policy of which driver’s are chosen – and how often.

      • Agree the driver steward is a good idea but think it would be much better if they got a couple of recent F1 drivers that have driven the current cars and use them rather than calling up anybody and everybody that once raced an F1 car 30 years ago.

        The whole idea is having someone on the panel who can not just relate to the incident but to how easy or difficult that incident could happen in the current cars.

        A Le-mans driver or an F1 driver who raced a F1 car so long ago it might as well have been a Le-mans car I don’t think is the best choice.

  4. Tip for future competitions – rename your photos to take out the identifiers. But still a good idea for the barren winter months before F1 business resumes.

  5. I’ve had a look on four different Amazon listings of The Art of War—the review you quoted is nowhere to be found. Mr. Big must have had it fingered.

    Now I’m worried about this comment…

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