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Pirelli’s Future: In the UK parliament when a matter has been discussed previously, but the issue is raised again, the speaker will often sa rather dismissively, “I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave earlier”. Well TJ13 reader DWilD had a good old soul cleansing rant about the indecision and dithering in F1 over race calendar, Concorde, driver line ups for FI and Caterham…. well sir I have another to add to the list. Pirelli.
Their contract expires at the end of this year and there is no sign of a new one being signed by FOM/FIA. For the past 2 season’s Pirelli have added something to the spectacle of F1, many complain matters have gone too far and the biggest complaint is that they want to see driver’s pushing flat out, not worrying about tyre wear. Jenson on more than one occasion has alluded to the fact that his deliberate ‘under use’ of the tyre has cost him places…I think even a win but can’t remember where.
Yet we forget very quickly what the past was like. Ferrari spending $100m a year on bullet proof Bridgestone tyres that had ‘extra terrestrial levels of grip and durability never seen before to man. I too would prefer to see driver’s flat out mostly, but I think the problem is with the information the teams give to the driver and Kimi’s 2nd to 14th in 2 laps in China last year spooked everybody for the rest of the season. The cliff was a place nobody wanted to find.
But for me Pirelli are a huge hit, so why do they not have a contract. Paul Hembery has repeatedly said they are up for another 3-7 years commitment and decisions on broad specifications for the 2014 tyres need to be made in just a few months.
I suppose in a way this strengthens Pirelli’s hand because at some point it will be too late for Bernie et al. to engage a new supplier, unless of course he is dealing already in the dark. If so, how many people can he upset. Fans, with fan vision. Teams and fans by blanking Pirelli. Sort it out Mr. E!!!!
Any F1 Fanatic has a good article where Keith Collantine talks to Paul Hembery, here are the highlights. Unlike Bernie and the FIA, Paul appears to hear our issues and responds. I was complaining about conservative tyre compound selection for the last 5 races or so and this is what Mr.Hembery addresses 1st.
“We probably were a bit conservative in the last two seasons and we will change that certainly for this year [thank you so much]. But always within the realms of creating that sporting spectacle. I think the reality though is the teams are so good that whatever we threw at them by the end of the season they will pretty well have dominated it.”
Paul reminds us of the obsessive dialogue at the start of each season over tyres, “It’s strange that for all the talk of drivers complaining the reality if you talk to the technical directors they just want to know they have exactly the same challenge as the next team and they look at it as another opportunity to dominate. And if they dominate it before their competitor they’ll have an advantage”.
“If you talk to drivers, of course, you have to put some perspective because in motorsport whatever they’re talking about there’s only only one happy driver, that’s the person who actually won the race. That is the rule of motorsport.”
I found Paul’s next comments pretty interesting. “The one thing that was quite clear last year which was visible was that they were having thermo-cameras on the rear tyres. It started with a few cars then suddenly everybody had them. So that’s one example of them understanding temperature management.”
“So that gives you an example of how the teams work. They are far more elaborate than that, unfortunately I can’t give you any more detail because it’s team-specific and it’s not our position to be telling people about that. But I guarantee you there’s a lot of detail work that goes on within the teams and it’s very impressive the engineering ability and capacity the teams have.”
So I shall be in Jerez in less than 4 weeks and guess what I’ll be asking first time I get chance – “How do the tyres compare to last year’s”? It will again be the main talking point for the first few races and then we’ll settle into the usual politicking between Lauda and Marko, a new crashmeister will start to emerge, Ferrari will not be happy about something even if they are leading the championships.
1st day in a new job can be rather mundane:
Mallya’s troubles just won’t go away: India today are reporting Tax authorities have now confiscated Vijay Mallya’s personal Airbus A-319 luxury jet. TJ13 reported before the Indian GP that representatives from Kingfisher had sought assurances that if Mallya flew into the country on his private airliner it would not be impounded by the IAA (Indian Airport Authorities). The assured him they would not do this even though his airline owed 10’s of millions in airport duty.
So presumably, Vijay relaxed and mistakenly thought he was now secure to fly in and out of India with impunity – not realising other authorities may have the power to relieve him of his pride and joy flying hotel. Unlike Kingfisher Airlines staff numbering around 4000 who are owed 7 months pay, Vijay’s private crew not only have ben paid on time, but given a rise too.
Four other planes of Kingfisher have also been taken back by US-based leasing company ILFC because of non-payment of lease rentals. If you look back to TJ13 news earlier this week earlier this week, there is also now the spectre of the banks moving to foreclose and seize Mallya’s assets. He’s facing his own kind of ‘cliff’ one feels.
1st Rev’s from an F1 2014 engine: This week Mercedes have invited the great and good to see and hear working proto-type of the 2014 F1 V6 engine. For Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes you would imagine this development is close to completion, as the customer teams must have delivery of test units before the half way point of this season.
Will Buxton commented on twitter about 3 hours ago, “One of the most fascinating and intriguing mornings I can remember courtesy of @MercedesAMGF1. Hugely fevered up for 2014.”
Unless you have been visiting an uninhabited island for the past 2 years you will know the debate that has raged over these ‘power trains’ as they are now called. The new engines are not just engines but incorporate energy recovery systems too and from 2014 KERS as an add on will be no more.
Mr. E as head shop steward of the luddite union has been leading the revolt against this technology claiming it will kill the F1 fans live experience as the 18,000 ear splitting V8 sound is unique in global motor sport- not bothered about FanVision though. Heh ho.
On the other hand the with the withdrawal of most auto manufacturers from the sport, this has left us with a very thin spread of engine suppliers. The V6 Turbo’s are supposed to be able to be used (in variant form) across a number of motor sports and will therefore be less expensive per unit (eventually) and possibly attract engine manufacturers like Audi and Porsche/VW into F1.
So how do they sound. Gone is the 18,000 rev’s but as John Noble of Autosport described the experience, “There is still a solidness to the sound; one that will be amplified when the engines are put onto racing cars with proper exhausts and allowed to play flat-chat on race tracks around the world.”
Mercedes’ engine chief Andy Cowell reckons the new engines actually sound ‘sweeter’ than the current V8s, “We will be about there in terms of lap time compared to 2013,” he said. “It’s a stretchy target, it’s very ambitious, but then this is Formula One. It’s a competition where the most ingenious engineer will win out, and it will also become a thinking driver’s championship to get the most from the car and the available energy.”
Cowell doesn’t believe the hype from Ferrari about drivers having to drive slowly to complete some GP’s, “I don’t think we will go down that route. If you make inefficient engines, then yes, that will be the case. If you make efficient engines, then no. Overall, it’s about putting the motor back into motor sport.” Further the extra torque will make the cars harder to handle coming out of corners.
Sky F1 commentator David Croft said on Twitter, “And don’t worry folks, the V6 engines will still be loud, so don’t forget your ear plugs when you go to the track in 2014 :)”. This is unfortunate for TJ13 reader John (the other) as he was hoping for a more peaceful sound to facilitate more chatting to girls during a race.
Amusing Internet Cock-up: This was on the Williams twitter time line last Friday.
Robin Frijns not enough money: You will of course be aware he has landed the ‘reserve’ driver position for Sauber in 2013 after winning the Renault World series at the final weekend in Barcalona. Frijns’ title came amidst controversy when he was involved in a collision with rival driver Jules Bianchi. Bianchi passed Frijns at the start of lap 21, and Frijns quickly came under more pressure from Kevin Magnussen who made an attempt to pass Frijns at the Repoil corner, but Frijns moved to block him.
The move forced Bianchi wide, and he skirted across the gravel trap and into the wall and retirement. Frijns went on to finish the race in seventh place, but race stewards decided that he had caused an avoidable collision and twenty-five seconds were added to his race time, demoting him to fourteenth place.
Speaking to GPUpdate today, “Everyone knows that the GP2 for me would be the most logical step, but the problem is: I do not have the money,” said Frijns. Another year in the Renault World Series does not make sense, “That would be totally illogical, but other than that I lack the necessary funds.”
Frijns tested a DTM car in Estoril for Mercedes before Christmas with a possible view of him entering the 2013 touring car series. At the end of this month the Dutchman will visit his new team Sauber at their base in Hinwil. Frijns is not sure exactly what the team require of him this year yet, “It’s still decided whether I will drive in Friday practice. These things we still need to discuss.”
Are you sitting comfortably sir?
thanks to @diehard_f1_fan for bringing this picture to my attention
Wolff warns Maldonado: Earlier in the week, we were discussing Maldonado and his record. His attitude is he won’t change his driving style because its how he won multiple junior formula titles. Grosjean on the other hand says he has learbed not to be so eager and try to win for Lotus at ‘all costs’.
Hugo Chavez did not make his anuaguration yesterday as president of Venezuala and the opposition parties are examining the constitutional ramifications for this. Pastor may be relying on something other than $$$ to drive in 2014 then.
Today Toto was speaking to Motorsport Aktuell and he issued a warning to Pastor when discussing Bottas potential. “I believe that he can get but from the middle of the season the car’s potential. Until then, Maldonado has a duty above all to score.” It appears whether he likes it or not, something will have to change this year for Maldonado – no more Monte Carlo or bust (and it was mostly bust).
Bottas describes how driving an F1 car feels: When asked by MTV3 Finish TV reporter, ‘ what it had been like driving Bruno Senna’s car in Friday practice during 2012,’ Bottas replied to the , “Well, it was mentally tough, At the end of practice just when I had found a rhythm in the car I then had to give it back. And I knew that I would have kept improving if only I could have driven more.””As I then watched the race, of course I thought about what I might have been able to do. It was not so easy. Especially the weekends where I could not drive at all — they were very long,” he smiled.
CEO Toto Wolff of Williams is suggesting he will cut Valtteri some slack initially, “He needs mileage and racing experience. He is very fast and extremely intelligent, but we have to give him the right environment so that he can realise his potential.” Toto adds the 22 year old will enjoy some “puppy protection”.
“We can’t assume that he will be on the second row in Melbourne, even if the car is capable of it,” Toto added but, “I believe he can get the full potential from the car by the middle of the season.”
Williams are intriguing me at the moment. I wonder how it will pan out for them. They had a great car last year and under delivered IMHO. I like Senna as a driver, but had they retained Barichello – surely they could have been 1 or 2 places further up the final constructor’s table.
On this day in F1, Jan 11th
1923 : Carroll Shelby was born in Leesburg, Texas He had a short and unmemorable Formula One career – nine races in 1958 and 1959 without a podium finish. Most importantly he went on to become a legendary designer of some of the most beautiful and successful cars of the era including the legendary Shelby Cobra. Childhood heart issues meant he spent many of his formative years on his sick bed, but he overcame these issues to race before health problems forced him to quit active participation soon after winning the 1959 Le Mans 24-Hours alongside Roy Salvadori in an Aston Martin.
Under licence from British manufacturer AC Motors, he installed an American engine into what was to become the Shelby Cobra, continuing to develop performance cars with companies such as Ford, Dodge and Oldsmobile. His health problems saw him receive a new heart in 1990, but he continued to work – designing the Shelby Series 1 two-seat muscle car, a 21st century clone of his 1965 Cobra. Shelby died in June 2012 at the age of 89.
Here’s about 3 mins of footage from that 1959 race
1983 : Certain sources were suggesting yesterday that today would be the Force India big announcement of their 2013 driver line up. I commented to one, “at least Mallya will still have 2 ‘pilots’ I suppose”. If they were to announce it could be a great birthday gift for Adrian Sutil who was born in Starnberg, Germany. He joined the F1 grid in 2006, and has technically driven every one of his F1 appearances for the same team. He joined Midland and remained with the team when it was bought by Spyker, before it became Force India.
Interestingly if you google ‘Force India, a picture of Bianchi appears. Is google the ‘all seeing eye?’
thanks to @grandprixdiary for bringing this to our attention