Daily News and Comment: Monday 1st April 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day as news breaks.

BREAKING NEWS: Ecclestone Resigns

In a surprise move following a CVC board meeting, it will be announced today the long term F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will resign as CEO of FOM. CVC have been actively seeking a successor to the long time top dog of F1 and he has been recently criticised by old friend Luca de Montezemolo for losing his grip and not having the full possession of his faculties.

The failure to negotiate a 20th GP and the subsequent loss of coffers to FOM are rumoured to have been the final straw in the F1 owner’s minds. Further, Ecclestone has been criticised by the likes of Adam Parr for failing to understand ‘new media’ revenue opportunities and CVC now see his lack of technological nowse as highly restrictive in the evolution of the role he has fulfilled for many years.

The Guardian is reporting that the favourite to succeed Ecclestone is Justin King, CEO of UK retail giant Sainsbury’s. Ecclestone has refused to dismiss that Kind will indeed be his replacement. “I’ve no idea whether the boss of Sainsbury’s could do my job, maybe he could”.

Justin King is a huge motor racing fan and clearly has the qualities required to run Formula 1 He recently was at the centre of a storm of controversy when it was exposed that 5 brands who supply Sainsbury’s were key sponsors of his son Jordan who competed and came second in the Renault Northern European championship in 2012.

Such nepotism is an essential quality for any candidate wishing to succeed Ecclestone and CVC are impressed by King believing he can continue furthering their interests at the expense of others and the sport at large.

Crunching the numbers

I thought it may be interesting to look at the race pace of the teams and drivers in Malaysia with a view to understanding where the teams are at. So there’s been some number crunching going on and here is the analysis of the data.

If we take the pace of Webber on the medium tyre as the base line for our analysis then this is what we can deduce. Webber was 0.2s slower on the hard tyre than he was on the medium tyre. So all times are referenced to Webber’s medium tyre pace.

Vettel was 0.1s slower than Webber on the medium tyre and 0.3s slower on the prime (ie 0.1s slower than Webber on the prime). As I’ve stated before he stopped 1-2 laps too early for the dry tyres, but was not as quick as Webber from then on. He did an incredible out lap following his final pit stop and the new set of mediums put him on the tail of Webber.

So for the final stint, Vettel was on the medium tyre which he had proved he was 0.1s quicker a lap than Webber on the primes over a full stint. However the rapid pace of his outlap would have meant there would have been payback big time later in the final stint had the drivers raced to the finish.

If you add to this that most analysts suggest Mark let Sebastian through – had Webber fought Vettel for another lap or so – Vettel’s tyres would have taken such a pounding way beyond how he had managed the tyres in the previous stints.  Therefore, Webber would have easily been able to hold him off or if not would have retaken the position within the final laps of the race.

These projected statistics make Vettel’s crime even more obtuse, and it begs the question as to what Webber was told when he let Vettel past rather than pushing him to the line. If Webber has this analysis now, he will surely fight Vettel even more going forward than he has ever done in the past.

Of course we have no data on Alonso’s lap times, however had he maintained his race pace advantage over Massa from Australia, he would have been certainly within the top three.

Jenson was 0.5s slower on the medium tyre and 0.9s slower on the hard tyre, however he was on a 3 stop strategy and his pace placed him 5th had the team not have messed up the pit stop. Button would have been challenging the Mercedes and would have most likely been capable of taking a fuel short Hamilton.

The week’s debate has been about team orders, and had Jenson had been given a proper pit stop, a situation would most likely have evolved where Ross Brawn would surely have released Rosberg from behind Hamilton and sent him after the Red Bull cars.

A fourth or podium was very much possible for Button.

Button Easter Triathlon

No rest for McLaren’s lead F1 driver over the easter weekend. He competed in the Oceanside Californian traithlon event. the amatuers compete over a course that is about half the iron man distance and at 33 years of age, Button delivered a new personal best time.

The course included a 1.9 km swim, 90 km cycling and 21.1 km of running  and the McLaren driver crossed the finish line after 4:29:00 hours.

In the overall standings, Jenson was 78 our of the 2308 participants. In the class of 30-to-34-year-old amateur athletes he finished even fifth. “It was very tough, but also rewarding,” Button tweeted. “A big thanks also to the support crew”, which includes among others girfriend Jessica Michibata and his sister Sam.

(PS – the Ecclestone resigning bit is an ‘April fool’ joke – dunno if you have these outside the UK. The rest of the story is true re: King being considered as CEO of FOM and his son being sponsored by 5 key Sainsbury suppliers) 😉

18 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Monday 1st April 2013

  1. If it wasn’t the wheel nut issue with the force india then they would hv fought 4 the victory with the red bull. As the pace gap to rbr was mere 2 tenth(webber for di resta) and they were on 3 stop strategy too like button.

    • nns – you’re right. Di Resta was 0.3s off Webber’s pace on the medium tyre but didn’t run the hard so we have no comparison. In that first stint he was quicker than Button and Massa and after the hammering he has had was quicker than Sutil by some way.

  2. Given what you say about the life left in the tyres, and their relative lap times, it makes me wonder why Webber didn’t make it more difficult for Vettel to pass. Or at least chase him to retake first place later, as he was on the longer lasting harder tyre. Perhaps Webber was given team orders not to retake the position, given how wayward Vettel can be when they fight for position. Red Bull were probably worried about 2 DNF for their cars. However, it seems odd to me they pitted Vettel first at the last pit stop even though he was in second place, about 4 seconds behind Webber. It gave him the chance to challenge for the lead. But , of course, there is no favouritism at Red Bull. …lmao So, who caused the problem? Vettel? Or the team, who were giving every opportunity for Vettel to win the race?
    By the way, love the April Fool joke, had me fooled for a while.

  3. “Webber was 0.2s slower on the medium time than he was on the medium tyre”

    I presume you mean the hard tyre.
    Apart from that, it’s quite a convincing analysis, and goes some way to explaining just how upset Webber appeared at the end of the race.

    I still think it’s a shame he gave Vettel room of turn 4, but I guess that’s what you have to do when you’re the ‘unprotected’ member of the team (as it were…).

  4. You little devil, your April Fool had me heading off around t’internet for more information, I was very impressed by the head start you appeared to have on others lol. . . seriously though, the fact that the story made such sense is quite alarming !

    • Conspiracy theory, ‘the full facts..become clear in years to come’. Give me a break…

      The beauty of F1 is that on and just after the race we have raw opinion and emotion… Only by the time the drivers get to the pen have they been debriefed by PR.

      Also some not too clever reporting which ignores certain facts.

      We heard Rocky tell Vettel it was his call when he wanted tyres and which tyres he wished getting ready – stint one.

      We are led to question what Mark’s strategy was, and no comment is made on Vettel’s mistake. This cost him the race.

      The opening sentence infers RB will be tough on Vettel – ‘sort out’ his ‘wilful disobedience’ which is rubbish. Horner has made it clear in his opinion both drivers have ignored team orders at various times.

      Also Marko is pitched as against Webber when in this instance he was crystal clear, Vettel was out of line. He said the ‘team must have a word with him’ as the team has to control the drivers.

      Webber and Vettel were given regular times delta’s to drive to and the only time Mark was told to ‘pick up’ his pace was after Vettel complained and Webber had done a low 1:42 and was told to drive marginally quicker at high 1:41’s.

      Martin Brundle wrote on sky’s website that Horner told him the drivers were told for 3 laps to hold station… He told Brundle this as part of the reasoning they didn’t ask Vettel to hand back the place.

      This means engines were turned down prior to the last pit stop – and if not delta times were still being issued.

      In the end the conclusion is about right… But this was no calculating scheming Webber, he had won the race by making a far better call on when to go from inter’s to dry tyres.

      I wrote last week Vettel would have been fuming from his mistake all race and it was no red mist – he knew the whole race had been planned driving to delta times and he was now behind.

      Of course Mark could have gone faster – it’s no secret, he said on the podium they were driving 8/10ths slower than they could…

      Not really sure what the writer is trying to say in the end. Rather confused story… The drama is in the early inference and then it all fizzles out.

      But I am about to get on an aeroplane in 5 hours 🙂

      • Totally agree. The article is nothing but one of those trying to spin the story in favour of Vettel. At the end of the day it makes people keep reading stuff on this story days after it happened.

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