Daily News and Comment: Thursday 28th March 2013

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What a diffrence a year makes

TJ13 did some analysis in a post “Why Sauber will fall back in 2013” back in october 2012 and it appears this may be the case. At the beginning of the 2012 season the Swiss outfit were flying and surprising the big boys of F1.

Ferrari having launched a ‘truck’ of a car then copied some of the clever C31’s design such that the Italian magazine Autosprint mischievously christened the updated Ferrari F2012B a ‘Ferrauber’.

According to German language sources, Hulkenberg was most blunt with his team on the car to pit radio stating, “Thank you guys, but we have to improve in many areas. This is not acceptable.”

Blick quotes Nico as stating, “When I go at the speed of Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren, I quickly ruin the tyres. Now we have a lot of data and impressions and I hope we can draw the right conclusions.”

“There are still some areas where there are gaps. The car does not fit me like a shoe.”

Mmm. Didn’t the Hulk have to cut the rubber from his driving boots in Jerez. Surely this isn’t a Nigel Mansell scenario where in 1995 after he signed for McLaren following a year in Indycar they found he was too big for the car.

He was unable to drive until Imola by which time his problems had been eased by cutting back on the burgers and hot dogs a tad. Nico doesn’t look as though he is a regular pie and chips man, but this is a serious problem because the car cannot be re-designed from scratch.

William’s woes

Maldonado suffered piston damage before the race in Sepang and was forced to make an engine change after qualifying. The 8 engine rule meant that there was no grid penalty so long as this engine is now only used in free practice on Friday for the rest of the season.

Grosjean beats Kimi in the B spec car.

France’s RMC Sport claims Romain Grosjean came home in Malaysia ahead of his world champion team mate in what was essentially the same Lotus that Kimi drove to victory in Melbourne. Raikkonen by contrast had the latest upgrades, a similar situation to the one in Melbourne where Grosjean did not have the latest bells and whistles to emerge from Enstone.

French commentator Patrick Tambay concluded: “Romain was on par with him [Kimi] all weekend”, and Eric Boullier wryly noted that “We have two strong drivers.”

More Vettel criticism

Sir Jock, who famously confronted Ayrton Senna after he took out Alan Prost in Suzuka in 1990, is highly critical of Sebastian Vettel’s behaviour at the weekend.

“I used to regard him as the most intelligent and worldly 25-year-old I have ever seen racing, but not any more. I think he made a major mistake, and I really cannot understand what was going on in his head. He made a very serious error of judgement over what was right and what was wrong.”

Jenson Button believes this is a long term problem for Vettel and Red Bull. “I think that will hurt Sebastian in the long run. I am surprised he did that, but there you go. We all want to win, but he drives for Red Bull, and they have to call the shots.

So many times it has worked in his favour. Instead of worrying about all the other guys on the grid, they are worrying about what their team-mate is going to do. If you are told to save tyres and your team-mate is behind you and he overtakes you, you are going to get annoyed.

It can cause an issue. Even if they sit down and discuss it, it is not going to change the outcome. It is still in their minds what has happened. It does not go away.”

His boss Martin Whitmarsh suggests Vettel’s behaviour on Sunday would for other drivers have meant immediate sacking. “It is a very serious affair if you tell a driver to do something and he doesn’t do it. It could also be a breach of his contract.”

David Coultard who stated after the race he believed this to be a ‘red mist’ moment rather than a calculated plan is easier on Sebastian. “The fact that the public’s reaction has been so enormous, will ensure that he will never forget. Everybody has such experiences, and he must learn his lessons – just like teenagers as they get older – he is only 25 years old”.

Bernie Ecclestone adds: “I don’t think I’d give that (a race ban for Vettel) any consideration. (Instead) I’d say to Sebastian, ‘in future don’t make me look an idiot’.”

Webber hit the nail on the head. It really is a good job for Red Bull and Vettel that the next race in China is 3 weeks away, because the public debate and media interest so far show no sign of abating.

KingFisher airlines: The slow death continues

Indian aviation regulator DGCA yesterday deregistered 15 aircraft of Kingfisher Airlines to enable global leasing companies to take them back on grounds of default on their lease rentals by the grounded carrier.

The Director General Civil Aviation, Arun Mishra, said he would now be discussing the issues concerning Kingfisher’s dues to tax authorities, airport operators and other vendors.

The airport operators, particularly the Airports Authority of India, had seized several aircraft of the liqour baron Vijay Mallya and decided not to release them untill Kingfisher clears their dues.

However, some leasing companies including German aviation bank DVB moved the Delhi high court which ordered that they had an international legal claim to reposes these aircraft.

Following the DGCA decision, aircraft lessor International Lease Finance Corp said it had successfully removed one of six Kingfisher aircraft — an Airbus A-321, stranded in India.

A demand for deregistration of two more Kingfisher planes was made by DVB at a meeting with aviation regulator DGCA here on Monday.

The two planes had been sent to Turkey for repairs and maintenance where DVB had seized them. However, unless the planes were deregistered by the Indian authority, the German Bank ws prevented from repossessing them.

Kingfisher has ten planes of its own and another 15 leased which are yet to be deregistered. The dispute over Kingfisher’s leased planes is seen as a major test of the Cape Town convention, a global treaty to standardise transactions involving moveable property like aircraft, including contracts of sale and leases.

This treaty provides legal remedies for default in financing agreements, including repossession and the effect of bankruptcy laws.

Ferrari lose out in battle with Mercedes

The dithering over which driver to recruit for 2014 – which made the Silverstone team rather a joke in the F1 world – was believed to be based upon a power struggle between Ferrari and Mercedes to supply the team with engines from 2014. The minute Bianchi lost out to Sutil TJ13 expected the following announcement sooner or later.

Vijay Mallya – Sahara Force India Team Principal: “Our new agreement with Mercedes-Benz for the coming years is the most significant in the history of Sahara Force India. With new powertrain regulations being introduced next year, I can’t think of a better partner to work with as Formula One enters a new and exciting era. The agreement gives us the long term stability we require and will enable us to continue our journey towards the front of the Formula One grid.”

Toto Wolff – Mercedes AMG Executive Director: “It is a significant milestone to announce our first long term agreement for powertrain supply under the 2014 regulations. Sahara Force India was our first genuine customer in Formula One back in 2009 and we are delighted to enter an expanded, long term relationship with them from 2014 onwards. This long term agreement offers excellent value in terms of the balance between price and performance. We hope it will mean Mercedes-Benz and Sahara Force India working together for the entire life cycle of the new powertrain generation.”

Toto and Niki play a game where Toto picks a phrase and has to say it as many times as possible over the next seven days and Niki has to guess. Mmm. I wonder what it is this week?

No details of the term of the deal has been released as yet but the ever closer ties between Force India and Mercedes is evidenced from the agreement to extend their use the Mercedes systems to include the gear box and hydraulic systems too.

Mark Webber retains his sense of humour

untitledLast night on a road trip in Australia, Webber almost ran over a cute little Koala bear. He tweeted the picture with the words, “Stopped in my tracks. He’s on a mission the little fella”. Fans of Mark immediately understood the parallel reference and commented, “Good man. Vettel would have hit the other pedal (by mistake of course)”.

Another was less understanding suggesting Mark, “splat him, like u shoulda with the last shit”. These creatures can drop from the trees and a re a hazard when they do so and another @aussiegrit supported hoped, “Wish they’d drop a drop bear on Vettel”.

From left field

I must be losing my touch, or the crystal ball is not working well today. Infiniti announced at the New York International Auto Show that world champion Sebastian Vettel will act as the new performance director at the Renault-Nissan’s premium brand.

What does this mean? Has Seb been axed from driving the RB9? Or is it just an ill timed pre-planned PR announcement that now makes Infiniti look as stupid as their so called new performance director?

When will it end?

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Twitter Banter

The merciless abuse of the events in Sepang still rages. Martin Brundled observed in a tweet
, ‘Webber Betel saga has been brilliant for F1. Heated debate still raging Thursday after the race. You can’t buy that kind of publicity’.

Jeremy Clarkson asks Brundle, ‘Has Seb got a girlfriend? Could Mark pork her perhaps?’.

Steve Parish then chips in, ‘and then come first’.

The sober and sombre Coulthard being the voice of reason informs them all, ‘they are both vegetarians’.

12 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Thursday 28th March 2013

  1. BBC has a really good line up now but Coulthard bias about drivers he likes or doesn’t is getting harder to listen to. It seems he would be more suited on the Sky platform alongside the totally unbearable Herbert and Lazenby.

    • Its been suggested to me that it is a shame the January transfer window didn’t see Davidson in a swap for DC. So what would TJ13 UK viewers see as the best F1 presentation team?

      • Davidson would be a great replacement and is actually the only one on Sky alongside Kratiz and Hill can lisen too. Karun Chandock also comes to mind as he was exceptional on practice commentary. Both come across as genuine fans not some bitter old war horse like Coulthard or Herbert.

        Think the problem is BBC would see Coulthard as the bigger name so there is no way they would swap him for Davidson but then again you would imagine they are wasting a lot of money for that big name.

        • Ted Kravitz simply drives me crazy. As soon as he starts to talk I reflexively start shouting insults at him and my wife looks in to see what’s going on. It’s lucky I don’t keep bricks in the house or the TV screen would be shattered.

      • Don’t know if DC is still linked to Red Bull, but his attitude suggests he is. Someone suggested he and Suzi were not hitting it off and I agree – DC is not a pro TV presenter and is missing Jake, I detect a bit of mcp and look forward to Eddie’s return. Chandok was good when he appeared and would make a good replacement for DC.

  2. yes judge, u r proving to be right on the money on the subject of sauber and now lukin at FIF1 pace,nico now must be regretting on his move.
    Regarding Mercedes engine deal it was all but certain that they will go with them when they announce Sutil as their driver.
    There is a question 4 u. Isn’t that FIF1 has to announce their 3rd driver. Then
    Who do u think that seat will go to?
    Thanx in advance.

  3. Well, that very much likeable character that is Bernie, has said that Vettel was right to ignore orders because he’s a winner.
    I apologise in advance, but it seems to be that Bernie is a bit like this combustible gas our of a human rear end, making noise or controversy for the sake of noise and controversy.

    No comment about DC. He’s been a Vettel fanboy for years now. He’s the reason BBC voted Vettel 8th best driver ever!

  4. I wonder if Sauber’s thin sidepods didn’t pay off. It’s something that sounds good but I imagine the evidence would say it doesn’t give good returns on other parts of the car, e.g. coanda effect even if there is more space for air to the diffuser. It’ll be hard with only Nico giving a consistent points stream until later in the year perhaps. So a battle for 7th in the constructors money with Williams (off form for a while) and Toro Rosso (still a slow car but drivers doing well in mixed conditions with it’s handy balance).

    Force India into a reliable 6th (5th until McLaren bring their B-spec car out) and a chance for a good points score for now via money spent wisely on bankable performance i.e. McLaren technology from last year (sticky wheel nuts and botched pit stops aside).

    So that’s 2013 sorted, now 2014, that’s another matter… Looks like Caterham have been focussing more on 2014 than 2013 atm, to try and get into the midfield with a Honda-Brawn touch..

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