Judge’s Chambers: The silly season is almost over as the teams prepare for the serious business of testing the 2013 cars. However, there are some twists and turns yet to come and decisions to be made.
I have suggested repeatedly Bruno Senna was a serious contender for the Force India seat. I know there was a feeling in the management that educating a rookie after a relatively disappointing 2012 would affect the team’s performance further this year.
However, predominantly the mainstream media have overlooked Bruno and focused more on the candidacy of Adrian Sutil. An eagle-eyed TJ13 ‘special investigator’ Stefan Sagrott (@stefsagrott) sent me a screen shot of a tweet from Paul Di Resta’s twitter account.
He says, “Pleased to welcome @BSenna as my new team mate @clubforce…” which is Force India’s twitter account. DISCLAIMER: i cannot verify this as the tweet was apparently removed shortly after first appearing.
Sauber Launch: More on this later, however I did notice the ‘Ben Hur’ slashes in the rear wing. Wonder if someone at Ferrari dropped them an email with a hint.
When asked how to describe the feel of his new team with a growing smile he remarked, “very different” and “very efficient”. Stereotypes have no place in this world then. More importantly what does this say about his view of Force India.
The car has the smallest sidepods by far that have been seen on any F1 machine in recent times. Appropriately grey and serious
The team confirm they have and are having no other discussions with an engine supplier other than Ferrari for 2014.
If you don’t wish to subscribe to the SauberF1 Youtube channel you can watch the video of the days events in Switzerland here. It is very ‘efficient’. A mere 13minutes 59 seconds long
A Ferrari Legend: It may have slipped by some TJ13 readers notice during the busy and exciting 2012 season, but a legendary designer from yesteryear Rory Byrne ghosted back into F1
Byrne and Schumacher with 2005 car
Rory was born in South Africa in 1944 and moved to the UK in 1972 to pursue a career in racing car design. Following steady progress in Formula 2, he was given a break by Ted Toleman to design his first F1 car in 1981. He designed he Hart powered TG181.
The team had little finance and opted to not compete in the flyaway races, so the car debuted in the San Marino GP. It was a couple of seasons before the car scored its first points but by the end of the 1983 season Derek Warwick and Bruno Giacomelli had delivered 10 points and a respectable 9th in the WCC.
Ayrton Senna was spotted by Ted and given his F1 first drive in 1984. The team almost achieved a historic first win in the most glamorous of all circuits – Monaco. Senna thought he had won the race when it was black flagged on lap 32 due to appalling rain, but the rules denied him and he was credited as second.
Byrne at the heart of the team caught the eye of the Benetton family who bought Toleman for the 1985 season. With a lot more money and resources available together with the most powerful engine that year – the in line turbo charged BMW – it was possible that a win was within grasp.
Gerhard Berger delivered in October at the Mexican GP. (No footage available, sorry). Yet the team never really were able to challenge Ferrari, McLaren and Williams but scored 4 GP wins over the following 5 seasons. Byrne left and had a brief spell with Raynard F1 but he returned for the 1992 season.
Flavio was now in charge and Michael Schumacher was the No.1 driver. The breakthrough came in 1994 when Byrne weaved his magic and delivered the B193 which was a car with all the current electronic gizmo’s – semi auto gearbox, 4 wheel steering, traction control and active suspension.
Yet it was the B194 that had a chassis that was to be a world beater, though a late surge from Williams robbed Byrne of his first constructor’s title. The platform was now there for 1995. Byrne’s motto was apparently ‘Evolution, not revolution’ and building upon the remarkable chassis, the B195 delivered the South African and Benetton their first constructors title.
Joy was short lived for Benetton, Schumacher left for Ferrari and the team began to fragment. Byrne announced his retirement from F1 in 1996.
Schumacher was now helping build the staff at Maranello. Ross Brawn was hired by Ferrari from Benetton and he persuaded Rory to return from retirement in Thailand and replace the chief designer John Barnard who refused to move to Italy.
By 2006 when Byrne retired again, he had designed Ferrari race cars that had won 6 consecutive constructors’ titles, 5 consecutive drivers’ titles and won 71 races. Aldo Costa was promoted to replace him though he remained as a ‘consultant’ to the Italian team until 2009.
Byrne was re-recruited by Ferrari to ‘assist’ in the design of the F2012. This was a car many at Maranello would steal a march on the field. Switching to the out of favour ‘pull-rod’ suspensions system – that is difficult to work around – this platform many truly believed had the potential to win both F1 championships.
It was the woeful development of the car from an aerodynamic perspective that left the team and Alonso short of their goal. this was evident when in Korea Alonso threatened to ‘tell the world’ the car had not developed since his win in Valencia.
Byrne has been heavily involved in the design of the F138 and tells Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport he is actually now “working full steam” on the Italian team’s project for the 2014 car, which will be powered by the all new turbo V6 rules.
Describing Maranello’s 2013 F1 entrant Byrne comments, “It’s a nice car, but it’s all child’s play compared to what awaits us in 2014.”
However, Il Padrino has issued a demand that the team produce for this year a car that ‘pushes the limits of the regulations’ to end the 5 yer championship drought.’ Stefano Domenicali confirmed at the launch this week that his designers have adopted some “extreme solutions” to compete with Red Bull.
“We are just waiting for Newey to complain about our rear suspension,” The German report suggests this refers to the rear profile that has copied that of the 2012 Red Bull, only in a more extreme manner.
Could it be that Ferrari blew a Byrne chassis design like the B195 that should have obliterated the rest of the field, and now they have refined it ready
What is clear, McLaren have recognised Byrne’s genius and switched the suspension on the MP4-28 to the pull rod system of the F2012.
Not long now and we’ll know. Jerez with give us some indication of how the relative teams platforms will perform, and this will dictate the early season results in the flyaway races.
Gentlemen. Start your engines please.