McLaren record breaking year, Ecclestone says 19 races 2013, Todt referees Ecclestone-Ferrari spat, Webber calls for more European races, Texas pays Austin organisers $29m, Mercedes W03 – a space ship

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thejudge13 archive: I was reminded yesterday by Kevin McCauley that there are new readers coming to the site all the time. There are some articles I have written since the launch of the site nearly 13 weeks ago that they may not be aware of. A lot of the articles though are part of the daily news I’m afraid, hence why I have put a search bar on the right hand side.

If you type “Mallya” into the search bar for example – all the articles that have that string “Mallya” within them (main body not just headings) will be presented for you. However, every few days I’ll put a complete feature from the past just above “On this day in F1” for those of you who missed them. Today’s archive article, “F1: Breeding ground for road car technology? No chance“.

India: Best F1 event: A quick word, I wrote about this yesterday and asked why it had been awarded this by the FIA. I wasn’t suggesting India deserved it, was just interested in people’s thoughts as to why and whether there were others worthy of consideration. No offence to Indian readers – 42 yesterday.

McLaren record-breaking year 2012: Whilst commonly accepted as the fastest car in 2012, McLaren failed to capitalise on this and win either WDC or WCC. However, they passed a significant number of milestones along the way. Since the team was formed by Bruce McLaren in 1966 and the team made their debut at the Monaco GP, they have now won 182 GPs, two more than any other constructor has achieved in that period.

The Canadian Grand Prix was a significant one for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes because it was the 300th race since the start of beginning their partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Exxon Mobil and Enkei in 1995. Fittingly, Lewis won it with one of his combative performances, making a two-stop strategy work and passing two double World Champions to seal the victory.

At the next race in Hungary, Lewis notched up the 150th pole position for the team and Jenson was serviced in Germany by the McLaren pit crew in just 2.31 seconds, the shortest time an F1™ car has ever been stationary during a tyre change.

Wins by Jenson in Belgium and Lewis in Monza brought the team level with Ferrari on 180 wins since 1966, then in India Jenson recorded the teams 150th fastest lap in a race. Abu Dhabi saw the team complete 50,000 kmh of F1 racing laps.

Brazil saw another couple of records broken. The team achieved an all time F1 record 62 front row lockouts in qualifying and Jenson’s win meant McLaren had scored points in another all time record 58 consecutive races – Ferrari have done this in 55 races. Of course the win means that they have now won 1 in 4 of all races in which they have competed.

19 races for 2013: Communications seem to not be great in F1 as Ecclestone says of Red Bulls offer to host a race in Austria, “I have as of today spoken to no one about it,” he told Kleine Zeitung. “At the moment I’m thinking more on Turkey and a return to Istanbul.”

Bernie then remembers that he needs to put pressure on the Turkish bid adding, “Right now I’m thinking that next year we will go with only 19 races. That wouldn’t be a big problem for Formula 1”.

Webber says 21 races – too many : Asked by Brazil’s Totalrace about the now 20 race calendar, the Red Bull driver said: “We’re on the limit. People talk about NASCAR (with 36 rounds in 2012), but it’s all in one country. As well as travelling, we need to be fit from the first week of February until the last in November.

“It’s part of being a professional and I understand that. I’m not crying. But it’s difficult for everyone.” Webber continued: “In the past we had 16 races, but more tests. On the other hand, there were ten races in Europe. Now there is almost no testing but very little (racing) in Europe, and a lot in very faraway places.

“And don’t underestimate the work we have to do in the simulator. “I think the ideal would be 18 (races). And more in Europe.”

Todt refereeing Ferrari-Ecclestone bout: Jean Todt has played down the spat between Formula One’s most important team, Ferrari, and F1’s Mr. Big. Ecclestone and Il Padrino (LdM) became embroiled in a war of words last week, over the Interlagos yellow flag saga and the Ferrari president claimed Ecclestone was losing his faculties and is now too old to be in charge.

“We will handle the issue in due course and in a pragmatic way, as always,” the Italian news agency Ansa quotes Todt as saying. As for Ferrari’s continued push for a reduced influence of aerodynamics in Formula 1 and more testing, Frenchman Todt replied: “Ferrari has just completed a great season and I am sure they will have an even better one.”

Austin organisers get state money: State Comptroller Susan Combs has approved payment of $29.3 million from the state Major Events Trust Fund to organizers of November’s Formula One race, slightly less than what a group affiliated with Circuit of the Americas had requested in July.

The $29.3 million covers expenses related to hosting the U.S. Grand Prix on Nov. 16-18, including traffic management, temporary grandstands, other seating and a sanctioning fee to Formula One Management to host the race. The amount authorized by Combs isn’t based on actual tax revenue generated by the event. It is an estimation of tax revenue made by the comptroller’s staff and the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee.

So, good for year 1. It would be unprecidented in the modern era for a new F1 event attracting that level of support in its first year to equal or better it in year 2. Let’s see how many people attend in year 2.

Hope for Nurburgring: The regional government has today lent its support to facilitating the long term hosting of an F1 race at the famous but bankrupt circuit. There is still a question over how the deal will be struck with Ecclestone/FOM and on this the regions premier elect, Malu Dreyer, is vague. However, she does say “I see it as the responsibility of the state to support it”.

Support Kamui: 177, 807,171 yen ($2,169,247). Today Alan Jones has spoken out in support of Kobayashi. “Kamui is the best so far from Japan to compete in Formula 1. I have always admired and been supportive of race drivers that show courage, controlled aggression and strong determination, which are the qualities that I see in Kobayashi-san.

Jones issues a challenge to Kobayashi’s countrymen, “Perhaps now is the right time for corporations in Japan to get behind their Japanese driver to secure his future in the sport. I would like to see him on the podium again as I am sure Peter Sauber was very happy with his results so far.”

It does seem strange that WinPak is prepared to throw over $10m a year at sponsoring an unknown and unproven driver, yet Japanese industry cannot support its only F1 driver. On the other hand, the country has suffered years of deflation and 0% interest rates and is still recovering from the 2011 Ysunami. Who are we to judge in light of that?

PS: Today thejudge13 completes its first full quarter – 13 weeks – and nearly 70,000 visits. We have 472 followers on email and 366 on twitter. I have to say generating twitter followers seems harder than I expected – any observations or ideas from you would be appreciated – but thank you all for your support.

Mercedes W03 – A Space Ship: There’s an interesting article in Auto Motor und Sport today about the Mercedes car for 2012. The problem faced by Michael and Nico was twofold – 1) getting the tyres into the optimum operating zone and 2) not burning them out quickly.

I think this is a translation problem like Vettel’s ‘gherkin’ but Nico says, “If I attacked too hard, the tyres went in the bucket” – we get what you mean Nico. For those of you who remember the 80’s and 90’s, active suspension has its roots in the row over ground effects and skirts in 1981 – and the controversial banning of the Lotus 88.

To cut a long story short, by 1991 Williams had mastered active suspension better than everyone else and brought the FW14B to the final round in Adelaide, but the foul weather prevented them from assessing its capabilities. But in the off-season they found the car was so astonishingly fast they wouldn’t need to run the FW15 at the beginning of the season. As it turned out, the FW15 wasn’t even needed until the next year.

At the first round of the 1992 season Mansell took pole position from Senna, in a conventional suspison McLaren, by 0.741s. The Englishman won the race by 24s from team mate Riccardo Patrese, who was in turn a further 10s ahead of Senna. It set the pattern for the season.

At the bumpy Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico Mansell’s qualifying advantage over the next non-Williams was 0.946s. At Interlagos the gap was 2.199s. At Catalunya, 1.005s – Williams were on a different plane. In front of his home crowd at Silverstone Mansell really wound it up and was on pole by 1.919s – from Patrese! Senna was 2.741s adrift and everyone else was at least three seconds slower.

The season was a Williams rout, and rival teams complained that the cost of researching and developing their own active suspension systems would be huge.

Active suspension was then banned.

We heard a lot about Mercedes Double DRS system that piped air from the rear wing to the front wing – leveling the balance of the car when the DRS was open and adding huge top speed. What we didn’t hear much about was a rather clever mechanical suspension system that mimicked active ride – it was called the ‘fric’ system.

The methodology of this is not fully known, but it was a damper system linking the 4 corners of the car by hydraulics – with the aim to control the pitch and roll of the car and ensure the tyres always ran flat. This system was developed first in 2011 and refined for 2012.

Mercedes never fully got to grips with how this system affected the tyres and regularly when the tyres were removed after the car had been running, all 4 were completely different temperatures. When they tried to integrate the Coanda exhaust system this amplified the problem, hence why Schumacher and Rosberg had such a miserable end to the year.

I love what the German writer says next, “Mercedes built a car as advanced as a space ship – but the problem is that there are no trophies for space ship racing”. What is not clear is whether another revised version of this system will be on the W04 for Lewis next year, and whether the new Pirelli’s will work well in conjunction.

This story does show that Ross Brawn is prepared to gamble with extreme technologies knowing the prize for getting it right is similar to what happened with the Brawn GP in 2009 – an unbeatable car for the first half of the season whilst everyone else catches up.

thejudge13 readers ‘most commenting’: Here’s a shout out to the top 5 readers by the number of comments they’ve left.

Chris 60
madmax 45
McLaren78 28
bryan 27
Craig 21

On this day in F1, Dec 12th

The final round of that year’s championship took place at Sebring. Despite leading for the majority of the race, Jack Brabham ran out of fuel – stopping in sight of the flag. He had earlier refused his team manager’s desperate pleadings for him to start on full tanks. Brabham could see his world championship slipping away – determined to finish he pushed his Cooper Climax a quarter of a mile uphill to cross the line in fourth position.

He secured his and Copper’s first world championship. Maurice Trintignant scored a point for the fastest lap – he became the last person to do this as the rule was scrapped for the following season. Bruce McLaren took his first race win becoming the youngest man to do so at the age of 22 years 104 days, this record stood until 2003 when Fernando Alonso won the Hungarian Grand Prix. In addition to the prize money McLaren was also awarded several acres of land adjoining the Sebring lake.

Twice world champion Emerson Fittipaldi was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He started 144 races between 1970 and 1980 – winning the championship in 1972 and 1974. During his F1 career he achieved 35 podiums, 14 of these wins. He moved to America to compete in ChampCars in 1984 enjoying huge success and winning the championship in 1989. He retired from motorsport after a massive crash in 1996. After another crash – this time in a private plane – he decided to give up dangerous pursuits and bought an orange farm in Brazil.


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

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7 responses to “McLaren record breaking year, Ecclestone says 19 races 2013, Todt referees Ecclestone-Ferrari spat, Webber calls for more European races, Texas pays Austin organisers $29m, Mercedes W03 – a space ship

  1. 1959…
    Those who recognised my ‘moniker’ will understand why this is one of the greatest memories of my life.
    Thanks for reminding the others.
    Incidentally, I would find it more convenient to have the ‘Comments’ link at the end of each of your posts, which is when I might feel like commenting.
    Re: ‘Most Prolific Commenters’…
    Maybe you could have a poll for most interesting/amusing/informative, whatever, commenter…
    Best wishes for 2013…

    • Of course! Wondered what that meant…

      Comments section is at the bottom if you click on the title of the article. I think you are reading the article on the home page which just tells you at the top how many comments have been left.

      If you are seeing the site differently please let me know

      • Yes, I usually only go to the home page… so, it would be easier to have the Comments link there as well…
        And my comment about the Commenters Poll was a joke…
        I just don’t know how to add smileys…
        “It’s a gun job”…

        • The software I use is off the shelf and ready made for blogging – I don’t know how to move things around much.

          If when you arrive at the home page you click on the title in yellow, then comments will be at the bottom

          no offence taken

          to do a smiley it is colon and closed bracket next to each other.
          A wink is semi colon and closed bracket.

      • OK, can do… I knew about the colons – I meant the yellow faces… Probably best to stick to colons…

        • It becomes a yellow face when you read the page after the comment has been posted – when typing the comment it still looks like a colon/closed bracket

  2. Ironic that Emmo decided to stop trying to kill himself… And promptly set about everyone else with his deforestation of the amazon rainforest for oranges

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