RB9 launch – politics and a big mystery

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Lack of effort

The Red Bull launch has been received in a number of different ways. The preview video, ‘The rhythm of the factory’ (check it out in F1 Forensic) seems to have gone down quite well. This was the pre-cursor to the big live unveil. I have spoken to Christian, and he accepts the reveal of the car in the video could have been better – more like in the TJ13 video – with some more effort from the RB graphics team, and the matter has been duly noted for 2014.

Press not happy

Some of the press and media chaps and girls are getting a bit miffed with the F1 paddock. Will Buxton, who is not an establishment puppet and who I enjoy listening to commentating on GP2, had this to say on twitter. “Totally done with online launches. They provide sod all for the media and even less for fans. Time for something different & cost effective.

Darren Heath @f1photographer replied, “Come on Will, #f1 Launches used to be solely for media, guests & team. Online gives access to untold millions which is only positive.” This kicked off a heated debate over all things ‘F1 car launch”.

Will was not at the launch, however his comment struck a chord with me and I began to revisit a theme I began to pen over Christmas and have since shelved for the time being, but the established F1 press just doesn’t get social media and the internet.

Reporters and commentators are trekking all over the country and the world to get ‘exclusives’, and what they produce for r our consumption is mostly ‘Lewis is excited about his new challenge…Cheko says he can beat Jenson”. It’s what I call the ‘he said, she said, they said’ type copy with little opinion, comment or current context.

The grand unveiling of Checo by McLaren was a perfect example of this. Reporters were tweeting sentiments like this throughout the day. “In hotel room waiting for my interview with Sergio Perez”. Everyone then rushed off and wrote up their online or paper copy and released it ASAP – and guess what? – Checo pretty much said the same thing to all of them.

It’s all rather pathetic and sad really, but there are those in the established F1 media who rage against the internet but may be starting to realise they are not particularly privileged but are in fact pawns in the F1 machine.

The need for middle men (people) between the F1 players and the public who have the exclusive power to communicate to us what we can know may well be quickly coming to an end.

Cover up quick

More irritation for the assembled masses as large built Gentlemen enforced a no picture-taking rule which upset a number of the aficionado’s. The car was quickly covered at the end of the presentation and now one was able to walk around it.

Jennie Gow, pit lane reporter for the BBC had this to say on arrival. “Just been told strictly no photographs! Hmmmm”. Clearly put out by this she made reference in tweets to the ‘photo ban’ several times during the presentation and subsequent interviews.

She concludes with, “Have to say I am disappointed not to be able to take photos and not to be able to see the car. Very different from some launches!” A follower of hers then asked, “All seems very odd. Why are Red Bull alienating media? What do you think is the reason?” TJ13 will explain the secrecy – Jennie and friend – a little later.

Double Bluff

I found the Ferrari post launch ceremony comments fascinating. Luca’s gang are all cock-a-hoop and appear to be calling out the FIA reg’s boffins and baiting Red Bull with “We’re just waiting for Newey to complain about our rear suspension”; and all this before a lap has been driven in anger.

You can understand Ferrari’s mindset. Newey is the one, year on year, hauled in front of Charlie’s special regulatory agents as they struggle to grasp the engineering wizardry, disguised trickery and the Uri Geller-esque mind bending of the rules before their very eyes.

It’s a badge of honour. Meantime, the Maranello machines are relatively transparent and conservative and fly through scrutineering with a wave of the hand and a long pull on a well rolled Gauloises Original Fine Blend. The humility of it. Il Padrino’s gang are left begging the regulation police to check once more – please.

A subtle psychology

From Red Bull though, we saw today the reverse psychology.  Newey – laid back after emerging from a ‘purple haze’ – was propounding the RB9 was nothing special and more ‘evolution not revolution’. “To be perfectly honest the only cars I’ve had a chance to look at pictures of so far are those of the Lotus, the McLaren and the Ferrari…and they look to me to be relatively evolutionary cars as well.”

Meandering further Newey rather incomprehensibly stated, “We know what we believe we’ve done, but we don’t know what everybody else has done.” ???????  Did you do what you intended or just something else? Do you know what you’ve actually done Adrian or just believe you may have? The purple haze is indeed having some effect already.

As if grasping the gaze of the world was upon him, he clarifies. “The devil has very much been in the detail. We tidied up some bits we felt could be improved on. It’s a car in transition, as are all the cars.”

So then – no big deal – the RB9 is just the RB8 with a few tweaks here and there; a bit of spit and polish, a new paint job and…well….that’s it really.

Here’s your answer Jennie and Friend

Why the grim faced muscular doorman and the camera police? Why upset all the people who can write nice things about you and cover the car up before anyone can tell if the paint job is metallic or high gloss?

Why indeed? Maybe Red Bull have a big secret. Maybe it is they not Ferrari who are the ones with a legally suspect suspension system and they realise allowing the hugely detailed photographs of rods and their positioning – as Somers has kindly revealed on other car launches – would start the questions too soon. The car is most likely not ‘real’ and too close an examination would reveal this.

In Jerez and Barcelona, no one will be able to get a macro shot of the stationary car of sufficient detail to wake the FIA from hibernation, and by the time it is ruled ‘guilty’ of a breach, the early races will be over and the points in the bag.

Marko muzzled

So much to record and so little time to do so. I must hurry on. It was notable that the Red Bull Rottweiler – Helmut – had been chained and muzzled, ready for release when required to cause another diversion. He has been a bad doggy recently – tearing up the Red Bull yard and Christian found it necessary to bring some balance to his recent barking.

Responding to Helmut’s recent yapping that suggested Webber was impotent and “can’t maintain his form throughout the year” and has difficulty performing under pressure – Christian had this to say.

“As we all know Helmut can be outspoken at times and some of his comments reflected his opinion, and sometimes these things can be misinterpreted.”

An eager Mark Webber was delighted to have the questions over his manhood banished as Christian silkily observed, “But if we weren’t happy with Mark we would have never signed him to be with the team for this year. We are very happy with Mark. We give both drivers equal opportunity and it’s ultimately down to what they do on the circuit and in the team that is very much the opinion, the approach and we will continue to do that.”

Mark’s manhood restored

Mark interjects, “”I do believe I can have a crack at the Championship again this year, as I have done in previous seasons. That’s what I’m getting up each day thinking.” Webber then asserts, “The team know I need 100 percent support, you can’t win World Championships with 99 percent support. That’s what I’m confident of.”

Christian wraps up the ‘love in’ with his final verdict on the matter. “For us it doesn’t matter which driver wins as long as it’s a driver in one of these cars. Both of these guys are here because we believe they are the best, we want them in the team and obviously the team do the very best we can to support both drivers.”

Well, if Mr. Horner is not telling porky pies then let’s see if Webber’s pit stop strategies are constant in 2013, or chopped and chained about again.

And that’s sayonara for me for now. Mrs. Judge is calling to help pack the bags.

18 responses to “RB9 launch – politics and a big mystery

  1. Haha that’s great, TJ13 TV production crew at the ready to take over from FOM TV too? Sign me up 🙂

    Newey echoes Rumsfeld’s known knowns and unknown unknowns from a few years back… time to pull out my whinge on weasel words?

    And finally, let’s not forget TJ13 was first to bring us the purple sidepod reflux! Will be interesting to see what the RB9 secrecy has in store for us.

    • …and I’ve been accused today of being a propaganda tool in the hands of the establishment – purple haze is making a come back, big styel and on a worrying scale 😀

        • Some twitter bod. Then I get accosted by an irate F1 media person for misrepresenting them – they were correct to be fair – by means of misunderstanding/association in the article – minor change required.

          Judicial review avoided.

          Mollified by my genuine admiration of their lack of ‘puppet’ like behaviour in F1 media land – they decided to chat with me on twitter and many of their 36,000 followers saw our private ‘tete a tete’ and popped in for a look at ‘the courtroom’ – an attendance spike never seen before.

          TheUsher has gone for a much needed lie down

          So…a busy old night

  2. F1 is still behind the rest of the world. Understandably, the media are unhappy at not being given better treatment, but allowing fans from all around the world to gain access to the technical aspects of the car and launches are essential for reaching new fans….as well as perhaps a younger audience.

    Also, Mercedes did this last year with their low-key launch to avoid the DDRS being shown to the world. The complaints weren’t nearly as much as now about the RB launch because people didn’t suspect too much.

    • I see the official and independent F1 reporting dying off even further. Having discussed recently the number of applications made for what we call ‘press passes’ with a member of the FIA press council, it was not surprising to be told there had been a dramatic drop off in applications over the past 2,3,4 years – and there are much fewer of these individuals certified now than in living memory.

      The RB launch is a classic example of why that will be. The teams can talk to us directly. The only need for the F1 press is for them to be more aggressive in calling to account those they are reporting on.

      We however get, “Lewis had fat free sausages for breakfast” – “Mr. Newey are you happy with your new car” – “I am Sarah”. Grrr…Utter rubbish.

      Then there’s McLaren TV et al and YouTube now can offer YouTube TV Channel owners the opportunity to charge.

      If you believe the alleged world wide TV audience c.$500m p.a. then to raise the $500m FOM gets from TV companies at present, do the maths. Bernie would love that – no more pesky deals with lawyers and contracts – It would be like donating to charity…

      [Bernie reclining in a comfortable, but not too ostentatious armchair – a chair we can all relate to, leans forward and begins to speak quietly – I lean in toward the screen not wishing to miss a word.

      “Just $1 will save the endangered species that is F1. Watch with me the despair of those poor F1 people worried about their basic needs [flickering clips of drivers close to tears after crashing] they are struggling to feed their families……they need clean water….and a medical doctor because Jean sacked the last one.

      You can save F1 by donating just $1 per race. That will feed and cloth 2000 people in the travelling F1 circus and and even save me from having to pay Tony Fernandes £30k for Tamara’s champers.

      [leans in even further, lifts his glasses and wipes a tear from his eye; and in a cracked voice whispers] Give generously folks – lives depend on it”

      Sorry…I get side tracked too often.Anyway the drivel that is much of professional ‘comment and opinion’ will die a death and be replaced by high quality ‘amateurs’ who have a route to be heard – if they produce good enough quality work.

      Did anyone see McNish’s piece in the Express. The premise was fine, but the comparison was absurd.

      Anyway, I’m supposed to be demob happy – and not having my F1 media rant until later in the year when Johhny H returns to wind me up.

      Hey, if we agree Lauda is Freddie, can we set him on Johhny?

      • Maybe Johnny is saving them all the press passes for himself and his army? Meanwhile Anthony Davidson is confined to the studio to analyse countless hours of video replay.

        Social media allows the fans to get closer (especially when Lewis asks their opinion on the telemetry!) and the informed ones to make intelligent comments. Let’s hope QEII follows tj13, so she adds you to her honours list 🙂

        It could be one day a virtual car launch, saving time and money for all. Merry Christmas Bernie

  3. I don’t really see Marko as a Rottweiler. Firstly, it’s a German breed, and secondly and more appropriately, it actually has a bite, not just a bark.

    No, I see the Helmut more as an Austrian Pinscher – “a type of dog developed originally as ratters on farms and for fighting or guarding, although today they are most often kept as pets”. (wiki) Doesn’t that describe Marko a T? Dietrich’s pet ratter.

    • Like it – like it a lot. A Pinscher Marko is. This takes me to Lauda – he shoudn’t be a canine.

      Something scary methinks, maybe Freddie? ‘Freddie Lauda’ Mmm. Speak now TJ13 readers, the caricature committee is in session.

  4. It’s probably Purple Bull’s front wing again, that is “bending” the rules while all the diversions are pointing at the rear. Not that the real wing was on the car for the launch anyway.

    Cheko would have got a telling off if he had not stuck to the McLaren script, though it must indeed be very tempting to tell journalists several different answers to the inevitable same questions, just to see what happens.

    McLaren had the best idea I reckon and let Gary Anderson show Suzi Perry over the car live on video. We saw pretty much all of the car. Again not that it will be the same at the track.

    • V Funny. I can see it now

      Reporter 1 Checo how do you feel about Jenson? “I love him like a brother, he has welcomed me to the team as though we are blood related and even buys me coffee at Starbucks”.

      Reporter 2: Checo how do you feel about being in the same team as Jenson? “Don’t be deceived, under that amiable Jenson banter is a cold calculating mean machine that is driven to win at all costs.

      He’s shafted me already getting the sunny and warm part of the day for testing, while I have to be there 8am when its 1 degree and freezing.

      Don’t you worry this all makes me stronger and more determined to beat his sorry ass”

  5. Has anyone yet painted the rear of the car in hypnotic stripy patterns designed to have any following car off at the next bend?

  6. If the legally suspect suspension system on the RB is true then that is a great insight because I have not seen anybody else say anything about this.

    “The need for middle men (people) between the F1 players and the public who have the exclusive power to communicate to us what we can know may well be quickly coming to an end.”

    Thankful if that happens as quite frankly a lot of these middle men journalists are exceptionally poor at what they do. They seem more intent on manipulating the public by their own views rather than being open and transparent.

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