Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 24th April 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Pirelli are calling the shots

TJ13 reported at the weekend that the issues surrounding the Pirelli contract beyond 2013 were in fact not resolved despite the claims by Ecclestone – and subsequent leaks to the media – that a deal was ‘done’.

untitledThe reason for this is Pirelli are seeking contractual assurance that the current philosophy on F1 tyre wear remains broadly the same. It is true that matters are broadly settled between the parties, but as with all such complicated legal agreements there needs to be the finishing touches in terms of ‘opt outs’ agreed for a variety of scenarios that may entail a breach of contract.

It is clear that in recent years Bernie has become a ‘born again believer’ in the need for F1 to provide entertainment value following the years of tedium when Schumacher and Ferrari swept the board with ease. Speaking to Reuters he makes a most sensible observation when he says, “If the tyres lasted from January to December, there’d be something else to talk about.  What is good about this (situation) is that it really comes back a little bit to what it used to be when the guys had to look after their brakes and gearboxes and things like that.”

Ecclestone is of course harking back to days gone by when it was normative for there to be several retirements in each race, and also where the top competitors used to have far smaller race completion rates than we see today.

It is not surprising that this – recreating the nostalgia of yesteryear – was not in fact the stated brief given to Pirelli. Though it nicely attempts to connects those of us who are more advanced in years and critical of the current tyre design with days of F1 yore when it was all ‘just so’.

In fact Paul Hembery states quite clearly the brief given to Pirelli, “we were asked to replicate Canada 2010 and we are doing what we were asked to do”.


A non-F1 Pirelli marketing campaign

More interesting is the explanation Paul is for the first time suggesting as to why the last tyre supplier left the sport. He makes it clear that the current publicity Pirelli are getting from the F1 participants is in fact good for the Italian manufacture and the lack of such exposure “was one of the reasons why the previous suppliers [Bridgestone] had to go, because they were anonymous”.

For those who at present criticise Pirelli, Hembery issues a threat. “We could build the tyres to last the whole race, go to sleep, if we [Pirelli] were not worried about any publicity. But if we do that, maybe it doesn’t appeal to us any more being in the sport where you get no visibility.

As it is a very dramatic and significant net cost to the business [supplying Formula 1 with tyres], we have to justify why we are here. So we need to have visibility, we need to have a profile, otherwise quite frankly we won’t be here.”

It may be rare, but it is good to see that it is not always the ‘master of the F1 universe’ who is calling the shots and the following jokes are now amusing for a different reason.


Quick nostlgia quiz: Name the race(s) and venue(s) for the most DNF’s in F1 history…

Marussia stronger than ever

Following the news that LDC have sold their 25% stake in the Marussia F1 team the Russian sports car company wishes to make it clear this was a contractual and planned exit planned for this time. Andy Webb the teams CEO of Marussia F1 adds , “In terms of stability, the team is now in its strongest position since it was founded in 2009.”


A Marussia Sports Car

LDC have issued a statement which says, “LDC has sold its minority shareholding in the Marussia F1 Team to Marussia. Whilst the details will remain undisclosed, the terms of the transaction will enable LDC to recoup the full value of its investment in the business.”

Christian Aid week

Seeing as Christian Horner has been stripped of the perception of authority as head of the F1 Red Bull Racing team. TJ13 would like to encourage readers to look behind the facade that his Christian on our TV’s each week and try to understand the boy behind the man.

Yesterday we had an authentic ‘glamour’ shot’ of an aspiring Christian in his mid twenties, pouting and looking moody whilst sat naked astride his racing machine. Today we would like to take you back further – to his formative years – this will aid us in our understanding of life’s early forces that shaped the recently demoted man we see today.

If you have scrapbook album pictures, memories or cine 8 video clips of Christian from days gone by. Please forward them to thejudge13@hotmail.co.uk and we will include them in ‘Christian Aid week.

Yesterday’s tribute to Christian is here

Silverstone to host young driver tests

In 2012 we saw the farcical scenario where the so called ‘young driver’ tests were held on the different dates at 3 different locations. Silverstone in July saw HRT, Marussia and Williams test while Ferrari and Force India chose September and Magny Cours. The rest stayed on after the Abu Dhabi GP and tested in the days that followed.

It appears a most unusual common sense consensus has broken out amongst the F1 competitors who have set aside their normal modus operandi of self interest and lack of consideration for the collective. They have all agreed to hold the test at Silverstone between 17th and 19th July during the 3 week break between the German and Hungarian GP’s.

Fans are already experiencing the tedium of the scheduling of the early part of the 2013 season where there will have been 2 lots of 3 week breaks between F1 action weekends.

Susie Wolff aged 30, will provide us with some interest at an F1 event which usually goes unnoticed by all but the hard core F1 fans.

She is targeting a drive at Silverstone in the Williams. She said earlier this month, “I’m on a fantastic path but I don’t look too far ahead. I look at each small step and now it’s about doing the young drivers days and proving I’m quick enough – and then getting a super licence.”

So we’ll have a benchmark by which to measure our only female driver on the fringe of F1, and it could be the fans turn out in force. This is a rare opportunity since the testing restrictions came into force to catch a glimpse of F1 cars at the historic circuit where on most Wednesdays there used to be a Formula 1 car trying out new parts.

The British grand Prix will have been held just over 2 weeks earlier and so it will be interesting to see how the rookies compare in the same (almost) cars as their seniors.

The only confirmed drivers to date are Portugese driver Felix da Costa for Red Bull, Dutchman Robin Frijns – who spurned the Red Bull team – for Sauber and for McLaren it will be Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

Will the Japanese really return?

There’s a lot of excitement about the 2014 F1 engine revolution which was supposed to entice more manufacturers into the sport. Honda technicians have been spied at the MTC presumably working in a secret bunker only known to a few.

The latest rumour is that Paddy Lowe having designed McLaren’s latest rocket ship has been posted to the hideaway to provide all night sustenance to the scientists from the east as they work tirelessly on a joint venture with the Woking outfit.

Renault’s senior technician Rob White is not so sure of the alleged Japanese interest in the new V6 Turbo programme. He wonders why when “the first project meetings were held four years ago – Audi, Cosworth, Ilmor, Honda, Toyota, Mecachrome [attended] and more.

However, during the phase where the regulations were being discussed in detail, there was only PURE left and the present three. I simply can not imagine that a company would wish to join the programme in 2015 without wanting to have a say in the rules.

If they had actually wanted to come back, then why did these engine manufacturers not take part in the planning meetings? We never received a request in this regard. The meetings were attended only by representatives from Ferrari, Mercedes and us. Honda or Toyota could easily ask the FIA ​​for permission to attend”.

Maybe it’s not Honda technicians which have been sighted at night inside the Mclaren Technology Centre, but busy martians secretly collecting information on what they have been told are the best designs on earth for a single seater racing car.

40 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 24th April 2013

  1. Good, now that Pirelli are standing up to be counted and KERS will be implemented into the power train units, the time has come to ban DRS or dramatically reduce its effect.

    • Good answer. There is some debate though as to whether the number was 3 or 4.

      If we accept the premise it was 4, there was another race with the same number of cars finishing. Which one was it?

      Good to hear from you Peter

      • “Name the race(s) and venue(s) for the most DNF’s in F1 history…”

        It’s actually the wrong answer as the question was most DNF’s not least number of finishers.

        • Thank’s Cav, you are indeed correct.

          So, as the question was phrased badly but was intended to discover the race(s) with the least finishers – which one are we missing if Monaco 1996 was indeed 4 not 3.

          • Only 3 finished Monaco ’96. Seeing as he had no chance of improving (being over a lap down), Frentzen withdrew before the end of the race to accept a classification of 4th place; however he never actually crossed the line.

  2. Judge, just read some news, sorry for spoiling the fun and mentioning it here instead of waiting for your newsfeed.
    Apparently Toto Wolff has said that by next month more than 50% will be working on the 2014 car and that:
    “Of course it all depends on where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year’s car.”
    So he has given up on this year and if you’re into conspiracy theories it will be an easy way to say to Ross Brawn at the end of the year that he failed.

    • No problem… no fun spoiled. Whilst we are developing the writing team at TJ13 we can’t get to every story. Yesterday I heard Kubica has been testing in the Sim in Brackley – but the evidence was scant so I omitted it.

      With reference to Mercedes the outline resource allocation to the 2014 project was in place prior to the Wolff’s acquisition – as was the timing of the resource probable shifts.

      Brawn repeated ad nauseam that 2014 was where the team’s best chances lay prior to the launch of the car – and Lewis joined the chorus.

      It won’t be the team’s performance this year that kills him or see’s him walk away – it will be politics and interference. So the conspiracy opportunities live on, but with no substance at present.

      • Still, I hope that Lewis has a crack at it this year, what a year it’ll be if you have Alonso, Kimi, Vettel and Lewis fighting for the title in 4 different cars.

  3. Detroit 1984 – 20 retirements. 21 if you include Brundle who was disqualified a couple of weeks later for having a banned water injection system

        • Does that mean a number of World Championship races from 1951-53 are therefore excluded as well?

          • ‘Flaminius’ is referring to the fact that the Indianapolis races were run under the American Automobile Association (AAA) regulations. The points scored did count towards the ‘World Championship’ but they were not Formula 1 races.

            Numerous other races have been run as Formula 1 races which were not championship races and as such did not count towards the ‘World Championship’ tables of their year.

            Formula 1 statistics I believe are compiled from all Formula 1 regulated races.

          • I was referring to the F1 world championship run to F2 regulations in the early 50s.

          • Mischief making Leigh is not appreciated as it confuses the jury. As an expert witness you can maybe now explain why Ferrari were the only real Formula 1 contender in 1952 and the subsequent action therefore taken by the FIA on how the ‘World Championship’ would be fought.

            Please make clear whether Ferrari were permitted to run an F1 spec car in F2 races – good luck! (grinning grumpily).

            Seriously if you would write an article on this we can publish here, it would be most welcome. It will probably be too extensive for the comments section – plus I wouldn’t want people who have been here and don’t return to miss it.

          • As an aside, there was no F1 World Drivers Championship until 1980/1; back then it was merely the World Drivers Championship.

          • No sweat Miseur Judge,
            I’ll see if something can be pulled together. It may be a while though – I have a tendency to sink in research and detail.

          • I know the feeling. I did a few historic pieces last year and loved every minute of it – but got absorbed and fascinated with every tangental issue

  4. Silverstone to host young driver tests – Susie Wolff aged 30

    Amusing that if Wolff was actually driving in F1 today she would be the sixth oldest driver.

  5. “I’m on a fantastic path but I don’t look too far ahead. – Susie Wolff

    Yeah sure Susie. What did you see in 2005 which was the last time you drove a single seater competitively? Seven years of DTM where in 70+ starts you had two points finishes?

      • She drove in two F3 races in 2005. Finishing 9th and 11th. Both races had 15 starters. Interesting to note that of all the drivers that competed in F3 that year, Bruno Senna was the only one who would later drive in an F1 race.

  6. I’ve read in several places that the new turbo engines are expected to produce (excluding ERS) around 600BHP. I wonder if Honda looked at the 2014 engine spec and said to themselves, “we produced a more powerful turbo engine almost 30 years ago”.

    The FIA have also touted this engine as something that manufacturers might adapt for uses in their road cars. Even though they produced what was probably the best F1 turbo engine in the 80’s, does anyone remember Honda ever producing a turbo engine for their road cars. I don’t.

    • Aha that would be Trent Razor and Atticus Ross – the track is called ‘in motion’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yczul_609Gg

      Trent is a friend from my era – born in the 60’s and is an American singer/songwriter composer, producer, multi instrumentalist – known for ‘industrial rock’ – influenced by Lou Reed.

      He is currently part of a post industrial group of the name ‘How to destroy angels’.

      He and Atticus have worked on the score for a couple of Fincher films, most famously ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’ – winning a grammy.

      They won an academy award for another Fincher movie – ‘the social network’ – best original score. This track is from that movie.

      hope that helps – good to hear from you Richard.

  7. Ok, hate to ruin the otherwise enlightened discourse here, but am I the only one who looks at the sniffpetrol mock ad and thinks “goatse”, or am I just dating myself in Internet terms. If you don’t know goatse, be warned NSFW and maybe life too.

    • Lol. I didn’t have the internet in 1999.

      I love the fact that after they were ‘taken down’ they tried to auction the domain and thought they’d made a cool $500,000 but just had a load of fake bidders. The domain was last on the market for about $10,000 if i remember.

  8. “maybe now explain why Ferrari were the only real Formula 1 contender in 1952”

    After Alfa and BRM pulled out they were the only F1 manufacturer left.

    • But ran an F2 regulated car; however it was the only car designed specifically to meet the 1952 regulations, whereas opposing machinery were mostly pre-existing F2 cars.

        • Yep, pretty much, but I’m pretty certain it was the only car tailored specifically to the new regs.

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