Ecclestone worried over charges, Ferrari confident they will not be as bad, The 2013 WDC odds, Force India: Driver decisions not imminent, Lauda quits Air Berlin

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The opposite game: Did you ever play this as a child? I had a brother around my age so we used to do this to irritate our parents. You had to say the opposite of what you really meant. So, mother cooks up a spot of lunch and “I don’t like this lamb chop” would be pronounced whilst greedily scoffing the last remnant of fat from the bone.

Over the years, if you believe the opposite of what comes out of Mr. E’s mouth, you’ll get it right more than not. Bernie tells the Italian publication the Corriere della Serra that he’s not worried about the impending court case in Germany over the fraudulent sale of the commercial rights to F1.

Mr. Gerhard Gribkowsky may have said the same a year ago before receiving an 8.5 year sentence for taking a bribe from the F1 boss. Bernie tells us, “I would be [worried] if I was guilty, but I’m not. Are they trying to entrap me? I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that people try anything when money is involved.” He then insisted under any circumstances the German prosecutor’s “won’t get to me appearing in court”.

This sounds a touch paranoid to me. If you think you’ve done nothing wrong, why not appear in court and clear your name? The truism above all others in Bernie’s life is in the sentence before when he knowledgeably asserts, “All I know is that people try anything when money is involved”. We hear you Mr. E – loud and clear!

Bernie also finds it necessary to assert he and Luca de Montezemolo are still friends. Again justifying his criticism of Ferrari for questioning the yellow flag and claims that Luca didn’t really mean what he said about Mr. E being too old to be in proper control of his faculties.

Ferrari 2013: I can’t wait for the cars to hit the track in Jerez as the regurgitation of F1 news by various media outlets is becoming a little tiresome. Auto und Motor have a story today saying the F2013 will be less conservative than the F2012. Yada yada yada. We’ve heard this before – yet as I pointed out last time this line was trotted out, the F2012 was not a conservative car. If you look back a week or so, you’ll see we discussed the whole pull/push rod suspensions debate.

Stefano believes that other teams will copy their suspension design for 2013. Really? The pull-rod system has never been exploited to a position of utter dominance. It is much more time consuming for the mechanics to work on and the trade off is that gains are lost by aero compromises. Still maybe Dominicali knows something particular.

What is interesting is that Il Padrino is now changing his tune as to why Ferrari lost to Red Bull. Previously it was the ‘innocent’ removal of Fernando at the start of the Belgian and Japanese GP’s that was to blame. He now tells us that it was the only failure on the car all year in Q3 Monza –  that cost Fernando pole and the win. I suppose if you have political aspirations a crystal ball is useful!

What will help Ferrari is the new Pirelli tyres will get up to operating speed more quickly and work in a wider operating window. This hampered the Italian team a number of times in 2012 where the trade-off between doing extra qualifying laps to get the tyres warm enough against having a more worn tyre caused them to be fatally compromised.

The other matter that will assist Ferrari is the restricted use of DRS in qualifying. The F2012 was quick in the races but useless in qualifying. The single biggest difference on the same track in similar temperature conditions was DRS. The Ferrari design just didn’t re-attatch the air flow quickly enough when closing and this cost their drivers time in getting on the power.

There are times in life where it is wise not to set yourself up for a fall. Stefano tells the German publication that he is confident that in testing, the F2013 will not be as far off the pace as was the F2012. Maybe this will be the case because the F2012 was so woeful, nothing could be that bad again. Yet, the reason he gives is that the design team are using only 1 wind tunnel (in Cologne) instead of 2 like last year. Yet McLaren use 2 tunnels all the time. They use the one in Cologne to benchmark the readings from their own – strange Italian rationale methinks.

Stefano often flags things up to us before we realise they are an issue. He did this with off the cuff comments about the wind tunnel before it was common knowledge Ferarri had a huge problem. On that note this intrigued me – I’ve not heard it before – when asked about the challenged of 2014 Stefano remarks only on the new 100kg (135l) fuel restriction and suggests this will be the biggest challenge.

My German is okay but not precise, and google translate is not that helpful – but I’m certain this is what Stefano means in the final part of the interview. “At certain circuits we will have to drive deliberately slowly to complete the distance. That will take some explaining to the audience”. So the rumours of thirsty Ferrari engines will begin again. Neither Renault or Mercedes have suggested this is a problem. Are Ferrari positioning themselves already to get this fuel restriction rule changed?

Force India: Tweeted this morning – no decision imminent on drivers. Some naive commentators have suggested they are doing their due diligence on driver skills properly – they’re not – it’s about who brings the most cash. So the wait will continue.

Schumacher: 44 today.

Lauda Watch: Air Berlin have announced today that Niki will be stepping down from their board of directors to focus on his role with Mercedes. In life there are always winners and losers.

Mercedes: Have booked Jerez for a day of filming before testing begins on Tue 5th February. Wonder who will be the focus of that publicity event? Caterham did their filming the day after testing finished in Jerez last year and I was lucky enough to be invited to attend. It is very strange seeing a VW Polo with hatchback open driving around in front of an F1 car filming out the back – whilst the driver of the F1 car can barely get into 2nd gear.

2013 WDC’s betting odds: (From SKYbet and they are in decimal form)

The favourites:
Sebastian Vettel – 2.25
Fernando Alonso – 3.25

The Outside Contenders:
Jenson Button – 9.0
Kimi Raikkonen – 11.0
Lewis Hamilton – 15.0
Sergio Perez – 17.0
Mark Webber – 17.0

The Longshots:
Nico Rosberg – 41.0
Felipe Massa – 51.0
Romain Grosjean – 51.0
Nico Hulkenberg – 67.0
The rest of the field – 81.0 and up

thejudge13 opinion: The odds on Vettel and Alonso are not worth the punt, so at 8/1 (dec 9.0) Jenson or Kimi 10/1 (11.0) are the best bets. If you fancy a longshot it has to be Grosjean. Much will depend on whether Lotus produce a good car, but he will be a lot closer to Kimi I feel in 2013.

13 second pitstop: 

Sochi: Here’s what the circuit will look like

Sauber: To launch their new car on Feb 2nd at their factory.


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17 responses to “Ecclestone worried over charges, Ferrari confident they will not be as bad, The 2013 WDC odds, Force India: Driver decisions not imminent, Lauda quits Air Berlin

      • As an Aussie, and a Webber fan, I don’t think it was Abu Dhabi that cost him the championship. It was Korea, where he lost it and crashed in the wet behind the safety car! I remember it vividly, when he lost it I was shouting “no no no” and when he hit the wall I just groaned and told my cat/wife (whichever was still listening to me at that stage) that he had just cost himself the WDC.

        But I agree, worth putting a few quid/bucks on him. If his engineer can figure out how to setup the clutch he’d have a half decent chance.

        • lol. Too right – what is going on with those starts?

          Agreed with Korea comment – and Vettel was behind him too I think at the time.

          Seriously – how the F1 world would be a different place if Webber had won that title

          • Judge, can you do a wee bit of investigating for me on this. From what I’ve heard the starts are pretty much all down to the setup of the clutch – if it’s setup just right the car launches well and if it’s not, then you have a poor start. All the driver has to do is react to the lights, and I’ve seen Webber’s reaction times are spot on. Is this accurate? Or does it have more involvement from the driver than this?

          • I have a long standing suspicion that RB are doing something to mess up Webbers starts on purpose (nobody makes the same mistake over and over again….its not human nature).

      • I always visit too late to post timely comments, so I’ll copy this one from last week in case you’re interested Craig.

        “Here’s hoping Ricciardo has a better year. One of my favourite drivers on the grid, I believe he has a long F1 career ahead. His enthusiasm is unmatched, and now post-braces he’ll smile even wider than before.

        In other news, the other antipodean in F1 also had metal removed before xmas. Webber had titanium bars installed after the mountain biking accident in Tasmania, at the end of the 2009 season during his annual charity adventure. Since his accelerator leg is now free of metal, will he drive faster or slower next season?

        Source: Twitpic

  1. Odds are interesting. My view is something the same. Button would be the best bet at 9.0 as it was the best car last year most of the time and they should have cleared up all the errors.

    Webber at 17.0 is also very appealing as the Red Bull or McLaren will most likely be the best car but Red Bull seems to be the better team at maximizing their opportunity’s. He needs to get a good start to the year but unlike last year maintain it. Vettel is still the better driver but there isn’t a big deal between them and your counting on a bad run by Seb.

    Would also pick Grosjean just because its such long odds and he was quicker than Kimi in head to head qualy if he could just calm his wildness at the starts.

    Hamilton odds I see as crazy when you consider the history of that Brackley team and that as good as Hamilton can be he has stil only one world championship despite sitting in the Mclaren for 6 years.

    • Agreed on Ham odds – mental!!! Maybe worth laying him at that price (technical term for backing against him)

      Even on Button you can always back him and then lay the bet off during the year if you use someone like betfair (or have a good calculator).

      I think Button has to be worth a punt and a couple of early top 3 finishes will see those odds halved.

      • ya considered that with Hamilton but betting on a whole season is a bit too long term! Maybe he will get a meaningless fastest time at one of the pre-season tests and they shorten the odds further , then I really will be tempted!

  2. I think I might put a bit of money on Button at 8/1 – I think he’s a dark horse possibility and that looks a good price.

    The other thing worth mentioning is that it’s worth following the odds throughout a season, as bookies often overreact and get prices wrong. I remember in 2009 the odds for Button to win the WDC increased dramatically after he’d had a few poor results mid season. But he was so far ahead of the field on points I still viewed him as odds on to win the WDC, so I piled in and made a decent amount of money.

  3. After backing Vettel throughout the season at 11/4 I won considerably this year. Wouldn’t you agree judge he has the best chance again this year?

    • Well done for 2012, bet you were slightly concerned after lap 1 corner 4 Brazil 🙂 Beers on you…. to answer your question If I was a bookie, I’d be giving the shortest odds on Vettel.

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