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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’.
The 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”.
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.”
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 email@example.com 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.