Certina continue Sauber support, Wolff: ‘Driver management thankless task’, Herbert: Crass reasoning on Stewarding, Bianchi wins 1st time out 2013, Senna spreading net outside F1, Mercedes 2013

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Certina and Sauber: Certina, the Swiss sports watchmaker are to extend their existing sponsorship of the Sauber F1 team. Apparently they will be gifting one of their precision time pieces to each member of the race team – not exactly sure what that means but it may be unlucky if you design widgets back at base maybe. Their logo will be on the drivers visors, the sidepods and wind deflectors.

“Certina has always been strongly committed to cutting-edge technology,” says Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO of the Sauber F1 Team, “and that’s an ideology we share. Since 2005, we have also been united by an enduring partnership that embraces common values such as innovation and efficiency. These are key factors behind the upturn in the Sauber F1 Team to which Certina has made a definitive contribution.”

Adrian Bosshard, President von Certina, corroborates this: “After an eight-year partnership with the Sauber F1 Team, we are delighted to be continuing to make use of this dynamic and innovative Formula One platform. The Team’s professional work ethic and typical Swiss mindset are the perfect match for our brand.” (Sauber Press Release)

English Summers: For those of you non-UK TJ13 reader’s, I know you’re only used to seeing the home of the first ever F1 GP – looking radiant in July and bathed in….rain. Well here it is in the snow.

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Winter hitting the home of F1: Another iconic place in the modern world of F1 has been dusted by Jack Frost too.

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Wolff on driver management: Having guided Valtteri Bottas through the ranks to become an F1 driver, Toto Wolff his manager says he won’t be looking to repeat the act. He tells Switzerland’s Motorsport Aktuell that 22 year old Finn Bottas is more an exception than the rule.

“If you now need 100,000 for a national karting season, and 250,000 Euros for international, then eventually the level (of the drivers) will drop. Despite this Toto believes it is still possible for drivers with little money but big talent to still be able to rise through the ranks in future.” Valtteri was different, “He never had much money, but he always had support, just because he was good.”

Wolff goes on to explains why driver management is a “thankless job”. “If the target fails, everything’s the fault of the manager. If everything goes smoothly, you never know what happens, some drivers are champions of short memory.” He concludes, “If you have to put two million on the table for GP2, then driver management makes little sense.”

Now there’s an idea: Anyone see something in this circuit design? Not sure how happy some will be about the kart track.

Courosy of WTF1

Bianchi winning 1st time out: Every new year, Felipe hosts a star studded Kart championship for charity in his native Brazil. Bianchi won the first round of the two-heat competition, coming home ahead of former F1 stars Lucas Di Grassi and Vitantonio Liuzzi. Jules lined up eighth in the second race with a reverse grid format and battled through to fourth place. The combined results were enough to see Jules crowned as the champion for the weekend.

“It was a lot of fun and I’m very pleased to take my first win of the year,” said Jules after the event. “I was here last year and won before I was disqualified for a technical issue with my kart. So it feels satisfying to get the win for real this time. There were some very competitive drivers and the crowd helped make a great atmosphere. I want to thank Felipe and his family for putting on a super event once again. I hope I can come back again next year.”

A few F1 pundits have made something of the fact Jules is wearing Force India overalls – well he was their reserve driver in 2012 – I guess that is enough to get you some fire proof branded driver protection kit.

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Courtosy of Fernando Alonso

The farcical debate over stewarding just got worse: Here at TJ13 both I and you know how to express passionately our feelings. My least favourite SKY F1 pundit Johnny (Father Christmas) Herbert has been responding to the criticism leveled by Sir Jack at the method of steward selection. Jackie particularly identified as problematic the continual rotation policy that means no single steward sits in judgement at every race during the season.

Here is the state of the art race control room

Formula 1 race control

The erstwhile Mr. Herbert is considered by some as a sage and respected source on such matters due to his annual appointment to 1 or 2 GP’s as the ex-driver representative on the stewarding panel. He sat in judgement during the season opener in Australia and in Malaysia in 2012, yet I suspect his enlarged role as SKY presenter may keep him away from the ‘judgement seat’ in 2013.

Herbert explains, “One of the issues is that a lot of the stewards that go there don’t get paid and you’ve got to start paying people then to start being there and sacrificing jobs. I know some of the stewards have other businesses and would they have time to do that alongside 19 or 20 races in a Formula 1 season? I’m not so sure.”

Race control room

Okay, so we have a global sport bringing in $1.5bn a year and the reason we can’t have a consistent panel of stewards is because they all have other jobs and can’t take the time off work. #InaneCommentOf2013

Johnny does admit having the same stewards at each F1 event, ” is probably the best way. [But] I’m not so sure that it is feasible with the situation they have at the moment. There may be ways around it but I’m not sure what they are.” PAY THEM JOHNNY. Make it a full time job.

Race Director Charlie Whiting

The thoughtful and considered Mr. Herbert continues, “Consistency is always a good thing yes, but I think overall it has been pretty consistent personally. Yes, there are always going to be a few issues you don’t agree with personally but overall I think it has worked very well.”

On that I have to agree. Stewards are selected as a ‘grace and favour’ offer of gratitude for support and services rendered – and quite possibly in return for a large brown bag of cash, who knows? So considering this ‘jobs for the boys’ recruitment policy, the decisions are as Johnny well observes remarkably good. Florence…Nightingale (not the one with a machine)…was a volunteer but do we continue to expect nurses to do their present work ‘gratis’? No.

radio control in race control room

Grrrrrr. I need Johnny to return to the North Pole and for me a dark room, relaxing music and Florence (either one) with fragrent oil to relieve the pressure on my skull right now!

Senna spreads the net : Whilst taking part in Felipe Massa’s charity karting event back in Brazil, Senna spoke to local media source Totalrace. Regarding F1 and 2013 he candidly remarks, “2013 is still uncertain. We are in the fray with others, but it is not easy to know where I’ll end up. I imagine it will not take long to see where the pieces will fit together and I hope everything goes right this year. ”

“We are looking at all options, both inside and outside of Formula 1.” I hope Bruno gets either the Force India or Caterham drive. I would like to see for one complete season – without him missing 1/3 of the weekends practice to make way for a reserve driver – how well he can do. If not the questions will always remain over how good nephew of  Ayrton really could have been.

Mercedes 2013: I’ve suggested a number of time over the festive period that Mercedes may be a dark horse for 2013. One area of ‘magic’ may come from their mechanical version of the now banned non-mechanical ‘active ride’ systems. Here is a great article on some other aspects where Mercedes may excel. F1Fanatic

On this day in F1, Jan 14

1973 : Giancarlo Fisichella was born on this day in Rome. Between his debut in 1996 and his last race in 2009, he took part in 231 grands prix with three wins – one for Jordan, two for Renault – and 19 podiums. His win on his debut for Renault at the 2005 Australian Grand Prix prompted many to announce he had finally arrived after a decade of promise, but it was to be a false dawn as he was repeatedly outclassed by team-mate Fernando Alonso, although he helped the team win the constructors’ title.

It was the same in 2006; an early win in Malaysia the highlight of a poor season. In 2008 he scored Force India’s first podium, but jumped at the chance to drive for Ferrari when the opportunity came near the end of 2009 following Felipe Massa’s accident. But only one top-ten finish came from five starts and in 2010 he was relegated to Ferrari’s reserve driver. Even that relationship ended at the end of the year. Fisi drove for Minardi, Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India and Ferrari

1994
Former world champion Nigel Mansell, 40, showed his adaptability in Indycar when he smashed the track record at the Phoenix International Raceway, a circuit where a year earlier he had crashed and injured his back. Testing a Newman-Haas Lola-Ford, he became the first driver to lap the world’s fastest one-mile oval in under 20 seconds, averaging around 180mph. “”It’s much better here than it was last year and it is not raining and it is not such a zoo,” he droned. “The car is fabulous. Very encouraging.”

I couldn’t find any 1994 testing footage, so here’s 8 minutes from the 1994 race in Phoenix.

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27 responses to “Certina continue Sauber support, Wolff: ‘Driver management thankless task’, Herbert: Crass reasoning on Stewarding, Bianchi wins 1st time out 2013, Senna spreading net outside F1, Mercedes 2013

  1. I remember that race well – Mansell was meteoric in testing in Jan / Feb 1994 and a Indycar title double looked on the cards before Penske came along with their three – car team and simply steamrollered the opposition into the dust. Frightening to think that its almost 20 years ago now ! 🙁 Little did I know when I was watching that race from Phoenix on Eurosport that my future wife would hail from a few miles down the road in Tucson! On days like this with snow on the ground she must wonder why she moved from the desert planes of Arizona to the frozen wastes of the North of England….

  2. Being from Canada, I’m curious what’s the British view on Sky’s F1 coverage? Over here there are typically commercial breaks during coverage where you get a tiny view of the race where its impossible to determine what is happening to who. I typically have a stream of Sky F1 running on my laptop and some of the dumb conspiracy theories Brundle and co put forward just have me shaking my head. I always feel like Sky’s commentary is distracting from the race whereas the BBC’s is adding to it.

    • Most of us don’t have sky, so we just get half, or this year less than half the races live on tv. Ben’s commentary on BBC tv is ok but I stll prefer the radio commentary on Radio5 Live. Together with the live FOM timing page. (everything is out of sync of course but its the best one can do on a pension)

    • The actual race coverage on Sky is OK. Not great, not a patch on what it was when the BBC had the full team before Sky lured half them away, but acceptable. What is terrible is all the fluff before and after. Some of the analysis that Ant Davidson does is quite good but Georgie and Simon just spoil it completely. Every time I see Georgie all I can think is the saying ‘Mutton dressed as lamb’…

      In some ways, they have missed a trick. They’d be better doing two sets of coverage. The glitzy stuff for the casual fan then go in to the detail in a more serious way for those who are really interested. They have enough channels that they could do that quite easily.

      Somehow the BBC manage to engage in a friendly way better. The little cameo pieces Jake, David and Eddie do work well. Not sure quite how the dynamic will work now Suzie Perry is taking over. It worked with Jake in a sort of Top Gear all mates together way – albeit without the idiotic Clarkson factor – but now the dynamic has changed I can’t see it working so well.

      By the way, does anyone know if Sky are planning to keep the F1 channel free to HD customers this year? I’ve seen nothing announced but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t try and maximise revenue from the rights soon…

      • It’s certainly free to non-HD customers. I suspect they would be advertising the required extra subscriptions by now if they intended to go down that route.

      • Interesting to hear the feedback, it’s kinda sad that we have better coverage here in Canada than you do in the UK if you don’t have Sky, we don’t get Free Practice broadcast but we do get a BBC commentated feed for every qualifying and race on our sports channel.

        I’d agree Ant Davidson seems to be one of the few assets Sky has, I saw his analysis of Vettel’s engine cutting off during Abu Dubai qualy and was quite impressed. He seems to have an eagle eye for catching little details, the gong show afterwards with everyone else stalking the restaurant where Red Bull team having a meal with the Renault people was laughable though. Maybe its just me but Brundle drives me up the wall, he was tolerable on the BBC but every time I see him on Sky he seems insufferable and incredibly quick to criticize everyone, especially for somebody who had such an uneventful stint in F1 himself.

        • I was watching Martin on the Autosport video I posted today. If you turn off the sound his body language is quite stilted. He appears to be making fairly stiff and calculated body and facial movements and expressions as though he’s putting on a performance. He doesn’t appear at ease with himself. It’s as though he’s trying to present in a manner that is not natural. Weird for someone of so many 1000’s of hours of presenting.

          The problem is, the more hours of coverage that is provided, the more exposed are the presenters and the more critical the viewers.

          I find that all the SKY presenters have a ‘current theme’ which they talk about on multiple occasions, and this can get a little tedious.

          .

          • I am very much looking forward to seeing our Suzi again this year on BBC. We never heard the real story behind why she was dumped from MotoGP.. But hope that Ginge is ok left behind while she goes off with the circus. Wiil that put a strain on her marriage? Probably, bound to I would think, still being rather easy on the eye in her famous own brand leatherwear.

    • Personally, it’s a lot of quantity over quality. Tonnes of programming and air time has been afforded to the channel, but very little of it is of any realy consequence and is hardly ranks higher than modern day fluff. Everything is all nice and shiny, etc…

      A two-hour build up to the British Grand Prix that managed to say nothing. The usual crew f commentators are fine, but there is way too much waste on the channel for it ever to become useful.

  3. Merc 2013, you mention “active ride” though in fact it is active double DRS that you were talking of. The link to F1 fanatic has a good description of the problems encountered. But Ferrari were stalling the rear wing many years before DRS, the art is in re-attaching the flow after the stall, much harder, but then again with fluid flow switching, (which older readers will remember from “Tomorrow’s World” in the Raymond Baxter era, no moving parts but acted like a transistor in switching air flow direction) it will not be long before another directed air stream assists the re-attachment.

    But active ride, ah that was the thing, what a fantastic invention, something we all expected to be on our road cars long ago. But apparently it made us feel too safe, allowed too much confidence in tackling bends.
    Many of the automotive industry engineers I used to see in my work, used to think that a steel spike that shot out of the steering wheel in the event of a collision would make people drive a lot better than the bouncy castle that results from a collision in a modern vehicle.

      • Ah yes I see that now, I was not following you back then.
        But that would have been illegal according to the letter of the rules. (My interpretation) Though the anti dive with split backplate system operated by the braking action itself was quite definitely within the rules, until specifically banned. A great pity that most innovation is banned immediately even when within the rules.
        I have often said on Joe’s blog that it is quite possible to write the rules very much more firmly, banning effects rather than the way they are written now trying to cover every means of achieving an effect. It seems that they are deliberately left open in some areas. The exhaust in particular needs only one word changing to make a huge difference.

        • Agree heartily re:limiting effect not method

          I would have to acede to you on anything like technical design regs – but Mercedes have deffinately been using a complex mechanical suspension system – no other team has yet attempted.

          I was sat in a hotel bar with Keke Rosberg last February and he was bigging up Mercedes ‘surprise’ technology – like any proud father would. He was right though, he said Nico would win a race in 2012 – I justremembered that.

          I already knew about DDRS by then – and he denied that DDRS was the Mercedes secret/surprise. He hinted that it was something that was rooted ‘back in the old times’.

          Of course active ride was after Keke

  4. When the stewards gave Hamilton a penalty in Barcelona it set a precedent. Most people agreed this was ridiculous, when expulsion from Q3 would have been the most sensible thing. When the same thing happened to Vettel later in the season, at Abu Dhabi, the stewards were forced to hand out the same punishment as had been given out before.

    Even more farcical was that the same thing had happened to Kamui Kobayashi in Barcelona, who escaped unpunished as he failed to make it out of Q2.

    And on the subject of Florence Nightingale; Reports show she probably did more damage than good, just as Tom Kristensen did at the Barcelona GP in May. Maybe volunteers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be!

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