Massa – part of the strategy
It appears horses heads are aplenty at present. Charles Pic must have received one for almost taking out Alonso in Melbourne and Felipe has been clearly ‘got at’ by Il Padrino and the boys.
Protocol amongst a number of teams is that the leading car on the agreed lap for a planned pitstop get’s the call to come in first – or at least the option, and despite running ahead of Alonso in the Melbourne GP Alonso got the nod for the first stop ahead of Massa.
This appeared to give Fernando the undercut which put him past Massa and Vettel when the round of pit stops had been concluded. Flavio Briatore commented, “Felipe should not be at all happy,” and following the race itself Felipe was clear when he stated, “Yes I was upset when Fernando got ahead of me. That was the only problem of my race, where I lost two positions.”
One week and a horses head later, Felipe is singing a different tune. Speaking to Brazil’s Totalrace he now claims, “I was not penalised or disadvantaged. When we were in a group of cars, Fernando came in earlier … it’s always easier when you take more of a risk.
“It looked like it was going to hurt him, but it ended up working out. Of course, if you’re fighting for the best and that happens, you’re upset, but of course it was not a disadvantage or even team orders. Not at all. I was part of that strategy and it didn’t work out. It was not easy to understand the tyres with such little practice.”
TJ13 is hearing that lovers and friends of the equine fraternity are concerned about their recent rapidly dwindling numbers in the Italian countryside.
UPDATE: Felipe has also been replaced as one of the 2 directors of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GDPA) today by a vote that has promoted Jenson Button. Pedro De La Rosa, chairman said “”It’s good for the GPDA as we have two world champions as directors now.” The other ‘director’ is Sebastian Vettel.
Matters under discussion included the recent fines handed out by the stewards in Australia. The drivers understood that were they to pay significantly higher fees for their F1 super license that they would not be fined for misdemeanours. Two drivers were fined for pit lane speeding in Melbourne.
The decision was to leave the matter with the FIA for now.
Kubica rejected DTM
Robert Kubica tested a DTM car in Portugal over the winter break and it was believed that he would race in that series during 2013. However, with little notice Kubica announced he was entering the WRC, in modified class 2 car.
DTM as a circuit racing event may have given some indication as to whether Kubica could realistically expect to return to F1 at all. Following the DTM test and the failure for Kubica to be declared for the series it was presumed in certain quarters that the team had declined to offer Robert a drive.
However, today in Spanish publication AS, Robert informs us “I had an offer to race in DTM, but I chose rally even though it’s a hundred times more difficult. I made the decision late because I wanted it to be right and, hopefully, later this year I will be happy with my choice. DTM is a very difficult championship, with a very high level, and maybe for me it would have been easier to race on circuits, as it’s what I know.”
Dissapointingly for many Kubica confesses, “I don’t think much about Formula One. Definitely the easiest choice would have been to do the DTM. But today my limitations mean I cannot drive Formula One on some of the most physically demanding circuits.
I also have limitations to do the rallies and so I will work hard this year and if I can overcome my limitations, I’ll have time to think about returning to Formula One,” he added hopefully.
Grosjean gets B-spec car again
Many people were not aware that in Melbourne, Romain Grosjean did not have the same specification of car as did his team mate Kimi. Certain parts arrived late on Saturday which meant he had little time to properly set up the car. The result was Grosjean qualified nearly 3/10ths of a second slower than Kimi and finished a disappointing 10th in the race.
Speaking in Sepang today James Allison confirmed this, “He’s [Grosjean] not had an easy weekend either here or there, because we haven’t been able to provide two cars in exactly the same configuration on either occasion. Here, once again, we only have one set of kit and we’ve chosen to run that with Kimi and Romain is disadvantaged for that.”
TJ13 believes the missing bits are a key aero upgrade and Allison explains, “We will always try to get two sets available but (it’s) not always possible. So he’s had a difficult set of circumstances and he’s also up against a team-mate who is really firing on all cylinders.”
When Eric Boullier answered in the principal’s press meeting last week that the team had the budget for the development fight, I didn’t realise it meant by just planning to do this for just one car. Romain is entitled to expect as many buttons on his steering wheel as Kimi – in my humble opinion’
Hey, but that is the life of a number 2 Formula 1 driver. Unfortunately, this disadvantage will not be reflected in Adam’s adjusted ‘Victim’s of Circumstance’ table for publication next week.
The word is that Lotus will try their passive DRS system this weekend which could make Kimi even quicker. Air is taken in above the driver’s head, either side of the main air intake for the engine – via 2 ‘ear bud’ like slots and piped down the car. The air exists at the rear and is used to reduce drag at the rear of the car when travelling at high speed.
Surprise surprise – not
The worst kept secret in F1 is sneaking out. TJ13 was one of the first to report the Paddy Lowe story and from the moment Toto Wolff bought a share in the AGM F1 team there had to be a question mark over Nick Fry’s position of CEO in Brackley. Whilst Toto has managed to fudge the issue with Ross Brawn nicely and slipped into the FIA press conference last week, “Ross does not report to me”.
Apparently despite stating last week that “the team has gone through many shareholdings and restructurings. It was BAR, then Honda, then Ross brought the team, it won the world championship and now it is Mercedes. So it is about calming down the situation and giving the long term view and commitment”, the hungry Wolff has decided on his first prey.
Nick Fry will step down quietly as CEO of Mercedes but will retain a consultancy position with the team for the rest of the season. He joined the team in 2002 when the were called BAR and so a 12 year association with Brackley will slowly fizzle out by the end of the year. I wonder if he and Paddy will be ‘consulting’ together over the coming months – on how to make the perfect cup of tea.