Barcelona pre-testing 1 draws to a close, Montreal GP under threat, Boullier ‘happy’ not ‘confident’, The Hulk, Big Foot and Cinderella

Barcelona pre-season test 1: Day 4

Pos  Driver                Team            Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes        1m23.282s            52
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren         1m23.633s  +0.351    70
 3.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso      1m24.071s  +0.789    80
 4.  Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber          1m25.239s  +1.957    61
 5.  Jules Bianchi         Force India     1m25.732s  +2.450    96
 6.  Giedo van der Garde   Caterham        1m27.429s  +4.147    50
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari         1m27.563s  +4.281    80
 8.  Mark Webber           Red Bull        1m27.616s  +4.334    64
 9.  Max Chilton           Marussia        1m29.902s  +6.620    51
10.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus           1m34.800s  +11.518   41
11.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams        no time              23
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams        no time              13

Today was predominantly a wet day. Track and air temperature this morning struggled to rise above 5 degrees c. I remember the final days testing in 2011 being stood freezing cold watching the occasional rooster tail thinking… well you can fill in the blanks.

Lewis Hamilton recorded the quickest time as he found a window between showers in the morning session to go top. The rain returned and his position was assured as the skies remained grey and damp for the rest of the afternoon.

Lewis was muttering this morning on twitter about testing in the rain being a waste of time because he could not get a feel for the car. He was promptly sent out and put in almost a race distance for the day. Realising the perception he had given, Hamilton then informed us he ‘loved racing in the wet’ but it was testing in such conditions that he found problematic.

untitledVan Der Garde caused 1 of the 8 red flags during the day further frustrated the teams from any prolonged runs and the session ended under 2 red flags in quick succession with both Hamilton and Bianchi stopping out on track. The Force India driver taking over from Sutil yesterday pounded out 96 laps and then Caterham finally managed to complete a day where they triumphantly claimed  the dizzy heights of 6th place ahead of Ferrari and Massa.

Williams drivers Bottas and Maldonado shared the morning and afternoon sessions respectively and managed a combined 36 laps without setting a time. Valtteri put in the 23 laps on a morning the team dedicated to pitstop practice and while Pastor delivered just put in 13 laps in the wet afternoon.

The pecking order at Marussia appears set as Max Chilton has been behind the wheel every day this week and is set to return again for the final Barcelona test. “Although the weather has now intervened, we were able to get the most out of the situation, as we have done important rain work”, explained  team boss John Booth. “This gave us useful information for our development and for the preparation of Max.”

John continues, “He has shown good performance and his feedback is fed together with the data obtained in the development cycle. We stride steady progress in the areas that we need to explore before the first race,” Booth says further and confirmed that the team coming into the Barcelona week will bring a new aero package on the track. “Then we can concentrate more on the performance.”

All in all a testing day to probably forget.

Montreal GP negotiations stalled

If you think that King Bernie always gets his way then think again. In 2008 one of the former British colonies played poker with F1’s supremo and whilst they lost the hand, the cleaned up on the game. FOM and Ecclestone were seeking a fee from the Canadian government of some 35m Canadian dollars (the value is similar in US$) and the said a polite ‘non’.

The race was replaced by the Turkish GP in 2009 and for the first time sine 1958 Formula 1 had no race in North America. The race returned to the calendar in 2009 with the organisers forced to make certain upgrades to the facility however they agreed a fee of just 15m Canadian dollars and were allowed to retain 30% of the money raised from ticket sales.

Île Notre-Dame (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve).svg

In the Autumn of 2012, Mr. E was again campaigning for the land of the ‘Mountie’ to upgrade its facility, particularly the paddock area which is partly a floating pontoon which rests upon the old rowing course in the Olympic Basin used for the 1976 summer games.

The Canadian race promoters have a contract until the end of 2014 and as would be expected as soon as Bernie began publicly calling for them to upgrade the circuit their response was to moot further fee negotiations.

Bernie Ecclestone has said he is happy to ink a new long-term deal for the Montreal race, so long as the track is brought up to standard with some renovations and the initial estimate for the renovations was $25m

However today, La Presse newspaper reports that the actual quote commissioned by the government has come back at $40 million. This has apparently forced a “reassessment”, and the delay of a definitive deal with F1’s chief executive for now. If the canny Canadians play it right they’ll have Bernie weeping at their plight once again and maybe get an even better deal than last time.

However with Austin on the calendar and possibly New York too – their poker hand may not be as strong this time around and Wild Bill Hickok usually wins either way.

untitledThe Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is famous for its final corner and the wall beyond which had the slogan Bienvenue au Québec (Welcome to Quebec in English). The wall became ironically known as the “Wall of Champions” due to the number of champions who have over cooked the final turn and ended their race hitting the wall – some whilst leading the GP.

Full list of victims:
Alexander Wurz, two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, in 1997.
Damon Hill, 1996 F1 World Champion, in 1999.
Michael Schumacher, 7 time F1 World Champion, in 1999.
Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 F1 World Champion, in 1997 and 1999.
Ricardo Zonta, 1998 FIA GT sports car Champion, in 1999.
Nico Rosberg, 2005 GP2 Champion.
Nick Heidfeld, 1999 International Formula 3000 Champion, in 2001.
Rubens Barrichello, 1991 British Formula Three Champion in 2002.
Jenson Button, 2009 F1 World Champion, in 2005.
Tiago Monteiro, in 2006.
Juan Pablo Montoya, 1999 CART Champion, in 2006.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 2004 International Formula 3000 Champion, in 2007.
Kamui Kobayashi, 2008-09 GP2 Asia Series Champion, in 2010.
Sebastian Vettel, 2010–12 F1 World Champion, in 2011.
Bruno Senna, nephew of 3 time World Champion Ayrton Senna, in 2012.
Pastor Maldonado, 2010 GP2 Series Champion, in 2012.

Lotus happy chappies

Hulkenberg commented last night, “The Lotus has been very good. We didn’t do the same programmes, and his fuel would have been down by then so you can’t tell [fully], but that [wasn’t] a bad effort. From how my own tyres felt, [Grosjean’s stint] wasn’t bad.” Grosjean had been running race simulations.

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As Barcelona testing drew to a close, team principle Eric had this to say. “Confident, no, but happy, yes. I know that next test everyone is going to bring a Melbourne spec, so we will see next weekend how it is going. Then you can stop to draw some conclusions. But the race is in Melbourne.”

The Enstone team will be bringing and upgraded package. “After today, I hope nobody will find one-second of performance between now and then, it doesn’t work like this.” Boullier added: “It should be a reasonable upgrade.”

The Hulk, Big Foot and Cinderella

TJ13 reported last week that the Sauber designed foot well is very tight for Nico’s rather large feet. The shaved off some of the rubber on the heels to make the fit more comfortable for Nico. The young German was in good form today as he suggested the media has blown this problem out of proportion.

Apparently the problem in Jerez was that Nico did not have the right size driving boots and had to compromise. He jested with reporters today that he may indeed be Cinderella – as his size 9 (eur 43) feet were the only ‘right size’ feet for driving an F1 car.

Nico is a bright individual with a good perception of F1 politics. He mischievously asked the media representatives, “I wonder who [around here] plays the Evil Stepmother”. We do too Nico, however in that moment Nico demonstrated he needs to return to Fairy Tale school and finish his diploma. Answers on a post card please.untitled


Monisha…Any chance I have some new shoes please?

16 responses to “Barcelona pre-testing 1 draws to a close, Montreal GP under threat, Boullier ‘happy’ not ‘confident’, The Hulk, Big Foot and Cinderella

  1. The most telling story of that list of the wall of champions is that Villeneuve was the only driver not content to crash just once but felt the need to join in the party of 1999

    • I’m not in the UK but I don’t really understand why a bit of horse meat has got everyone so wound up. With all the chemicals/steroids etc they pump into cattle these days the horse is probably the healthiest part of the mix.

        • I dined at a restaurant down my way which was closed for selling off the menu horse steaks and stews, as a specialty. No idea to this day if who took me there, who knew the French dude who owned the place, did not order us horse. Sort of thing my pal would do. All I know is it was very good what we ate, this tiny place had a wine list to ogle at and drool over, and it cost my mate a small fortune for dinner. I guess I draw the line at teddy bear cutlets if I am hungry.

          Craig’s bang on, though, with all the steroids and in particular antibiotics even a healthy horse will be fed. Since we do not habitually eat the animals, thee can be no safeguards, and even the best kept of their kind are pumped with incredible amounts of drugs. (Source, my best school friend as a boy is a farmer who studded horses. Not that I know any actual specifics.)

          Anyhow, shouldn’t F1 types be all for eating horses, what with cattle flatulence being the real source of global climate improvement, and a certain prancing animal always mucking with the game?

          • In times of yore I would have most certainly favoured the consumption by all of the cavallino rampante – partial or in its entirety.

            But now watching a beast of such pedigree chase its own tail – like a crazed mut – it’s desperately amusing. Forza!!!!

  2. The evil stepmother is in Snow White, not Cinderella… I think – I really had to dredge my old grey cells for this one… 😉

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