Breaking News: Thursday 7th March 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day as news is released. Click on the tab above for the latest updated version. If you follow @thejudge13 on twitter you will see when I tweet a new headline and know the post has been updated.

Quick Question: Did anyone notice the make of Lewis Hamilton’s motor home in the paddock in Barcelona?

Renault lobbying FIA

In my article “Evidence mounts that the Renault engine mapping fiasco is hurting Red Bull and Lotus” James Alison attempts to persuade us that the engine mapping set back suffered by Renault is of no importance to them. “We were experimenting in testing, on the last day of the last test [Barca 1], with an engine map and we explained to the FIA what we were doing. But having run it on the track we found it did not work very well anyway. We learned from the FIA that they were not so happy with what we proposed, so we are not doing it.”

Alan Parmane was positively dismissive informing us, “Kimi hated them” and “they were not what we want” and they “served no purpose”. Williams were silent on the matter and Red Bull admitted they had fairly serious issues with getting the car setup with Vettel blaming the tyres.

untitledIt appears the nonchalance of James Alison and Alan Parmane of Lotus is not shared by their engine supplier, who I hear have escalated the issue of their engine maps with the FIA. Jean-Michel Jalinier is putting forward the argument that they are having reliability problems with the Renault V8 when it racks up high mileage.

For Renault’s request for a regulation change to find favour with the FIA, they first have to obtain the agreement of Mercedes and Ferrari. Ferrari had a request rejected this winter over a mapping and exhaust layout they wished to run that was deemed outside the regulations by the FIA. Mercedes and Renault refused to accept Ferrari’s reasoning.

The problem for Renault is that if they have stability issues with the power train, it is unlikely that simply reprogramming – or running different engine maps – will solve the problem completely.

What appears strange to me is that from a political viewpoint alone this appeal has less chance of success than hell freezing over, so why bother? It may well be that one of Renault’s customers is particularly concerned over their design and the associated development programme set out for the year.

untitledOf course this does not mean the team(s) cannot recover from starting down a blind alley. Yet this area of aero dynamics is crucial to the modern F1 car and as such is fundamental to the core design that began back in the Autumn of 2012.

It may be just me missing this previously, but I was informed last night that Adrian Newey was not in Barcelona at all last week during the final testing.

VW will enter F1

Last spring, VW chairman Martin Winterkorn set about a huge corporate executive restructuring programme for the entire giant car group with the singular goal to be “the world’s largest-selling automaker by 2018”. The group includes the brands Volkswagen, Audi, MAN, Seat, ŠKODA, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ducati, Scania and Bugatti.

untitledWolfgang Dürheimer, had been successfully running the Bentley brand and was interestingly moved to the role of Head of Audi Research. Dürheimer is a most gifted engineer as well as now being a corporate big hitter. When asked exactly how good the Bugatti Veyron was, he responded in his typical clipped efficient style  “A Bugatti is not close to perfection—it must be the ultimate in perfection.When you hand over a car to a customer that costs $1.5 million, it needs to be perfect.”

Yesterday when speaking to the German media, Herr Dürheimer  commented, “I can imagine a commitment to F1 in 2018, when the corporation is at the top of the car industry”.

Shame. Why so long Wolfgang?

Lotus partner with CNBC

untitledThe news network CNBC is the new partner of the Lotus F1 racing team.The logo of the media company will appear on the nose of the car, the drivers race suits and the crew members tops too. In return, Lotus will benefit from a greater presence than other teams presence on the various CNBC platforms media outlets.

Official Business Media Partner in a move which cements the team’s position as the number one Formula 1 team for business.

CNBC takes business news to a global audience of 390 million homes around the world. Throughout the 2013 Formula 1 season, this new agreement will allow Lotus F1 Team’s partners to benefit from CNBC’s unmatched reach of affluent and influential business leaders with commercial advertising campaigns airing on its international network. This new relationship builds on the team’s recent partnerships with brands such as Microsoft, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company.

untitledA delighted Eric Boullier said, “CNBC is a fantastic partner which highlights the growing importance of Lotus F1 Team as a vehicle for the business world. We are working with household brands such as Microsoft, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company;brands whose actions are watched closely in the business world. Our partnership with CNBC brings us greater exposure in this environment and allows our business-to-business platform to flourish.”

Charlotte Westgate was equally ebullient about the new relationship, “We believe Formula 1 will be great with our audience base around the world, we look forward to working with Lotus and wish them every success in the 2013 season.”

CNBC were last involved in F1 in 2011 when they had a similar arrangement with the Marussia team

Bianchi ‘the meek’

Last week we looked at Sergio ‘the poignant’ in the article “Big Time Boxing and F1 competitors of Latin descent”. We tracked Sergio’s attitude from the cold January day when he first arrived in his MP12-C spyder to the rhetoric he was using after watching Button blitz around the circuit de Catalunya.

It began well for Perez with some fiery Mexican attitude akin to ‘I’m goin kick Jenson’s ass’ type talk, “win races and maybe the WDC in 2013” . By the time we arrived for final testing in Barcelona we had a softer, more sensitive Perez who noted that “Jenson is obviously a very experienced driver and has put a lot into the car. It is slightly adapted to his style, so it’s up to me to adapt to that.”

untitledJules Bianchi (I shall refrain from comments of a nationalistic nature) appears to have hoisted the white flag before the weigh in has taken place. When asked whether he thought he could beat team mate Max Chilton he replied, “Obviously we are always driving to be quick, but it’s not only to beat your team-mate but also to improve the car and beat the other teams in the paddock”.

When asked about specific targets for 2013, he merely retorted, “We are trying to do our best and we will see.” Bianchi is the only driver to have driven 2 of the 2013 F1 teams offering and he was asked to compare the Marussia car to Force India’s and observed, “We are trying to improve but we need time. Maybe before Melbourne it will be a bit tight, but during the season I’m sure we will improve a lot.”

So far then we have Bianchi – ‘the meek’. Nice guy but what else has he got? Maybe he’s a ‘lover… not a fighter’. Still, as is the case with all the new boys it’s going to be fascinating finding out who they really are.

STILL continue Official Supplier to Sahara Force India

STILL supply of various forklift trucks to the Force India F1 team for use throughout the factory and logistics operation. STILL says they “keep the wind tunnel running with an RX50 to move the supplies that are needed to run the operation 24/7


.”The RX70’s based at the factory and the airfreight logistics centres make sure that the team can move cars and equipment around the world from race to race. The supply of a 12 tonne STILL machine moves all the airfreight needed for the fly away races.

Sorry…. can’t continue with this story…. Is it just me laughing… or does anyone else see the funny side of this?

22 responses to “Breaking News: Thursday 7th March 2013

  1. Was Lewis’ motor home not a MAN? Merc obviously do not mind that he is using a competitor’s vehicle. Perhaps he has a personal deal with VW to race a Bugatti when they return in 2018 😛

  2. “The problem for Renault is that if they have stability issues with the power train,”

    What exactly does that mean? Neither Red Bull nor Lotus had any engine failures in 2012. And Renault engined cars won almost won half the races last year across three different chassis’s.

  3. Running an F1 team would make very little sense for VW, IMO.
    Their brands emphasise reliability (even Lamborghini, these days) – and F1 is a very risky business in that respect.

    Engine supplier might be a possibility, so long as they can get a deal with at least one strong championship contender. Being an also ran will do nothing for them – and it looks as though they will have Honda to contend with if they want to sign up (say) McLaren.
    Ferrari and Mercedes aren’t available. obviously, and Red Bull are a Renault shop.

    Unless Renault walk away, that doesn’t leave them with many options.

    • Hi Nigel – good to hear from you. I agree entirely re: VW/Audi etc running a team being unlikely.

      I suspect iot is the V6 Turbo multi-platform possibilities cf Le Mans etc that may tempt them to offer an engine, but then as you say – who would they partner with?

      Still 5 years is an eternity in F1 – who knows where we’ll be then. 5 years ago we had Honda, Toyota BMW…and now???

  4. CNBC’s sponsorship probably has more to do with the fact that the new NBC sports network now has the rights for F1 in the US, and it will get them better access to a top team.

  5. “Ferrari had a request rejected this winter over a mapping and exhaust layout they wished to run that was deemed outside the regulations by the FIA. Mercedes and Renault refused to accept Ferrari’s reasoning.”

    Must have missed that competely, and cannot find anything on the www. TJ, is this public information or just you doing a terrific networking job?:-) Anything else you can tell about it, anywhere where we can have more details on the rejected exhaust layout?

  6. Ah that pic of Adrian takes me back, I used a drafting machine just like that for several years, though being left handed I re-built it the other way round. Anyone remember Mifa automatic pencils with flat leads “Process White” and Rotring stencil pens with the wire down the middle, that clogged? Thank heavens for Lettraset!

  7. Am I the only one thinking Lotus F1 is really good at creating value for their partners? I think the link with CNBC is absolutely brilliant! It will link them to affluent viewers which could create even more opportunities for their marketing department… I like the way they think!

    • The latest ratings (March 5) in the US during prime time for CNBC were 222,000 people. Hardly a massive audience.

          • Not a lot but you need the owners of those companies to believe you have a marketing platform that works. But apart from that. Genii is a VC company. They can use F1 as a platform to engage with the right people and get investment or get opportunities to invest in.

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