Daily News and Comment: Sunday 7th April 2013

More to come later in the day

Pit stop record broken 4 times

Overshadowed by the ‘multi-21’ affair were 3 very quick pit stops which we are yet to receive official confirmation of their time. McLaren hold the record with a stop of 2.31 seconds from the German GP 2012.

Red Bull believe that the first stop they did for Vettel when he went to dry tyres a lap or so too soon was just 2.13 seconds. German publication AMuS says that they have clocked McLaren best stop in Sepang as 2.28 beating it’s own record.

Mercedes too are believed to have turned Nico Rosberg around under the previous record in a stop of 2.29 seconds. However, the new unofficial record sits with Mark Webber and Red Bull at his second stop. We believe the stop was an incredible 2.05 seconds and Red Bull have said that, “It’s possible this season we’ll see the magical two second barrier breached at some point”.

Ecclestone Foresees no problem with Bahrain

TJ13 reported a couple of weeks ago that unrest had returned to Bahrain, particularly with demonstrators protesting about the upcoming F1 race. Yet Bernie appears confident all will be well. “I haven’t had any negative reports from anybody there,” he told Reuters, “Somebody who actually lives there came to see me yesterday and said everything’s very normal.

“They do a very, very good job of the race, the whole support from the top is good. No problems. I think (the opposing sides) are talking now anyway, so I don’t think they’ll upset the talks by making protests,” Ecclestone rationalizes..

“It didn’t help them last year, so if they had any brains they’d just get on with their talks”. Ecclestone states he will be there and also suggested that the long term future of the controversial race is secure.

Brawn still the team boss

Ross Brawn in an interview with SKY has defended his decision to issue team orders in Malaysia stating both cars were marginal on fuel. He claimed neither Lauda nor Wolff realised the extent of the situation and when it was explained to them.

“I had to make a decision on the pit wall about what we were going to do. Now Niki and Toto might not agree with it. But I had all the facts, I had all the information, I have what I feel was all the information to make that decision – they didn’t – and I think they’ve both recognized after the event that it was the right decision.

I am cleared to make the decisions that I need to make – and I’m very happy to try and justify them – or indeed put my hands up if I make the wrong decision. But somebody has to make those decisions. What you can’t have is those decisions made by a group or a committee – there’s no time, its not effective”.

This means there is a pretty clear line in the sand on where the decisions and the responsibilities within the team lie. The problem is however, that both Wolff and Lauda did criticize Ross Brawn openly and will now have to retract their positions. Second race and we see open divisions expressed in the media from Mercedes – watch this space.

Interesting Brawn had this to say too.

“In the contractual negotiations we had with Lewis never was the issue of who was number one or number two mentioned – from his side – all he wants is parity, he wants the same equipment, the same opportunity – and that’s great that he’s got that confidence and approach that he doesn’t want favouritism he just wants parity and that’s why I think Lewis felt a little awkward about the situation.”

Fernandes -biggest joke’

Sometimes in life being amiable is just not enough, and whilst Tony Fernandes is not considered to have sinister business dealings – as maybe Vijay Mallya could be accused of – amiable but incompetent appears to be the view of the football writers of QPR football club.

Paul Smith of the Mirror said, “Tony Fernandes – biggest joke chairman in the premier league. He should keep his mouth shut he just makes himself look like a complete idiot time and time again.”

He cites on example of the team’s heavy defeat from Swansea by 4 goals to 1 when Fernandes post match analysis was, “It was a great performance from the lads”.

Smith mocks, “Is he having a laugh? Even Harry Potter couldn’t turn that club around, never mind Harry Rednapp. You go to QPR and it’s a mismatch of players, not playing as a team. They are an absolute mess – inside and out. On the field – a shambles; financially – rubbish; just a badly run football club”.

I watch this Sunday programme most weeks and I have to say this is the most damning tirade I remember hearing directed at anyone. To be honest, can we be sure that Caterham F1 is any better?This is a team not expected to make any significant aero changes until Barcelona – 4 races into the season.

So let’s rewind to my posts following Jerez on Caterham. I suggested they were a team in some disarray, the acting sporting director is held by a number in disdain and team morale is poor. It may appear that Fernandes stepping down and handing the title of team principle to Cyril Abiteboul was a good thing – maybe it was better than the status quo.

But who is Cyril? A very bright French educated applied mathematician – yep not even an engineering background. He joined the Renault F1 team in 2007 as a business development manager and was made deputy managing director of Renault Sport F1 in 2010.

Caterham’s technical director Mark Smith hardly has a resume that screams achievement or leadership, moving from Red Bull Racing to Force India in 2007 and then onto Caterham in 2011

Compare this to Marussia who have Pat Symonds, who joined F1 in the early 1980’s. Pat will have forgotten more about F1 than Cyril and Mark’s knowledge combined.

Graeme Lowden is an entrepreneur, who successfully set up, grew and floated an IT business on the stock exchange an whilst simultaneously developing Eiger racing who won in a number of classes before he joined Manor racing who entered F1 as Virgin racing in 2010.

This is a brief synopsis of the leadership presence and skills in both teams, and one looks fairly impressive and the other pretty flimsy. It looks as though Fernandes – as with QPR – has hired people for Caterham who are not capable of doing the job. This time of running an F1 team.

7 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Sunday 7th April 2013

  1. Re. your comment:
    “Interesting Brawn had this to say too.
    “In the contractual negotiations we had with Lewis never was the issue of who was number one or number two mentioned – from his side – all he wants is parity, ….. ”

    Hamilton has been saying that for some time. See this just two weeks ago:


    “We don’t have a one and two at Mercedes,” said Hamilton. “I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality.”

    “They didn’t offer me to be favoured but I just wanted to make the point that I am not a driver that comes and requests that like a lot of other drivers do.”

  2. Well I guess “normal” can mean a lot of things. If people are killed the majority of the time then it would be abnormal if that were to stop or it could stay normal during the race and people could still be killed.

    What I find strange is that the world media does not report on Barhain when it’s not Formula1 time so why are they getting so worked up about what happens there when a global sport is about to happen. Surely if people are being oppressed it is wrong for the other 360 odd days of the year as well?

  3. The Bahrain “talks” are still in the stage of arguing about who should be at the talks. I doubt any revelations will come from them since they are basically two or more tribes and two or more religions who have fundamentally different views on parts of their religion. Ironically the baath party of Saddam fame was a multi religion or faction party. In such areas of the world where religion and politics are one and the same, it is often the case that peace only reigns when there is strong and absolute rule.

  4. I wish other people were picking up the real news out of an interview the way you do. Over at the sky website the RB interview is presented around team orders and everyone comments about team orders. Have they not had enough? The real news is RB putting his foot down when he makes reference to Niki and Toto although not being asked about them at all.

    • Thanks – just takes someone who knows and understands F1 to get what’s important – team orders is an old tale.

      Funny that on the F1 show on SKY, Ted Kravitz from the Brawn interview singled out that Brawn had been criticised by Lauda and Wolff as significant. We reported that a day after the race (maybe 2)

  5. Completely off topic but I was amused, to put it mildly when, during the recent few news-less days I took a (VERY) rare look at the BBC’s F1 site where an article entitled: “Evolution of F1”, allbeit a waste-of-time piece of ‘Computer Graphics-101’ declares, unequivocably that: “Helmets were first introduced for drivers in 1963.” and shows a still of two drivers of the period sitting on the grid and, believe it or not, actually wearing these novel inventions…!
    I’ve not bothered with the Benson Bulletins since I discovered Smirnoff… (i.e. the Snirnoff of F1 blogs) ‘TJ13’… but this piece of whimsy really made me smile. 😉

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