Daily News and Comment: Thursday 25th April 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day

Pirelli bow to pressure
Pirelli have announced today that they will change the hard compound (orange) tyre from Barcelona onwards.

Christian Horner and Bernie Ecclestone

The Italian tyre manufacturer’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “After evaluating tyre performance over the balance of the first four races, we took the decision – in consultation with all of the teams – to change the hard compound from Spain onwards, as we did in Barcelona two years ago when we also introduced a new hard tyre for the rest of the season. This latest version of the hard compound is much closer to the 2012 tyre, with the aim of giving the teams more opportunity to run a wider range of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged.”

The tyre selection for the next 3 races is as follows:

Spain: Orange hard and White medium tyres will be nominated: the two hardest tyres in Pirelli’s range, which will cope perfectly with the high-energy demands of the Circuit de Catalunya.

Monaco: Yellow soft and Red supersoft have been selected. This is the same nomination that has been in place for the Principality for the last two years, ideal for the tight and twisty street circuit.

Canada: The teams will have the White medium tyre and Red supersoft: two compounds with a low working range that are well-suited to the low ambient temperatures and specific requirements of the Montreal track.

The rules stipulate that under normal circumstances each team will receive six sets of the harder compound and five sets of the softer compound for the race weekend. Pirelli will also bring its Cinturato Green intermediate tyre for damp track conditions (four sets per driver) as well as the Cinturato Blue rain tyre (three sets per driver) to each race.

P Zero Red P Zero Yellow P Zero White P Zero Orange
Australia Supersoft Medium
Malaysia Medium Hard
China Soft Medium
Bahrain Medium
Spain Medium Hard
Monaco Supersoft Soft
Canada Supersoft Medium

Want to buy an F1 car?
HRT_PirelliPirelli bought one of the defunct HRT team’s cars minus the engine during the fire sale of assets last December. the plan was to paint it in Pirelli colours and allow dealerships to use it for promotional purposes and corporate events.

Yet Paul Hemebry says, “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm, it’s a bit of a shame really. Our marketing department said nobody seems to want to use it. So I said let’s put it on eBay for charity.

Now we are trying to find a category on eBay for an F1 car.” #Bric-a-brac ?

Does Toto know what he is talking about?
In a Q&A with Formula1.com, he is asked about what he thinks of the other 2 of Mercedes 3 amigos. “The quality I value most with Niki is his straightforwardness and his efficiency and, needless to say, his value as a sportsman. Ross has all the virtues that a great engineer must have: the preciseness, the focused and structured working mode, the calmness and the leadership he exhibits with his technicians”.

By all accounts Ross Brawn is not an engineer. He was recruited from school by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority as a trainee and specialised in ‘instrumentation’. This kind of study is the science of measurement and control of process variables within a production or manufacturing area. Excellent skills for a project manager.

Ross Brawn and Toto WolffOk, maybe we strain at a gnat. Most interestingly Toto is questioned about the possible friction between Brawn and Paddy Lowe when he arrives in 2014. He believes there will be no problem. “Why? One doesn’t obviate the other. Ross is team principal and I don’t want to change that. We need to get stability in the team as we have a mountain of work to do. From where this team is coming it is important to have as many good people as possible – that is my focus in all these discussions”.

So in the mind of Wolff the ideal is now for Ross Brawn to stay and Paddy to work for him. That of course is no different from the situation Paddy was in at McLaren with Martin Whitmarsh but you have to question whether this is what Paddy thought he was signing up for.

Surely after the years he spent at McLaren, Paddy was first amongst equals underneath Martin and to surrender this and leave for Mercedes, one might expect him to have been offered a promotion.

Toto clearly believes the rocky days an strained relationships surrounding his arrival at Brackley are now over. He and Ross are apparently making a deep connection now. “What I witness is that we are on the way towards a non-verbal communication where a glance is all that is needed to understand what’s on the other’s mind”.


Lewis in love
Lewis HamiltonWhenever Lewis Hamilton is interviewed this year, he appears to be evoking an emotional response akin to the weepy bit in every chic flick where the guy/girl is fighting back bravely from being unjustly dumped by their ‘partner’ (covers all bases 😛 ).

Lewis Hamilton said in an interview with SKY during the Bahrain weekend that he ‘loved’ Martin Whitmarsh. This was no ‘I love ice cream’ comment, but it was said with feeling and a touch of nostalgia.

When asked about his ejection from the McLaren garage by Sam Michael in Jerez he offered this explanation.

“Yes. I went in to see the guys during winter testing, just to say hi, and they were stripping the car down as they were having some problems with it. I did have my back to the car so I wasn’t looking at it but I was swiftly escorted out. But, it is ok – got a message from Martin [Whitmarsh] saying I am welcome down anytime. Martin has been really supportive throughout my racing career and still is today – I have got nothing but love for him.”

Toto offers his opinion on the difference between Lewis and Nico. “Maybe you could say that Nico (Rosberg) has a Teutonic way of approaching things. Lewis’ approach is more emotional – and he has a lot of emotions. But if you look at the lap times, both ways work equally well – it’s only a different avenue! (laughs)”

martin whitmarshSpeaking to the Sun newspaper it is clear Lewis is not ‘over’ McLaren and his old boss. When asked about Jenson and Perez’s on track antics he didn’t pass up the opportunity to express admiration for the way Whitmarsh runs the team.

“They had a good battle. That’s the good thing about Martin, he allows his drivers to race. That’s what he has always done from the time that I was there. He doesn’t change in that respect”.

F1 fans need to be careful, because just as Lilith contrived to emotionally seduce Dr Who and cause one of his 2 hearts to cease beating – we too are in danger of a similar Lewis inspired emotive collapse and we will find our F1 weekends require copiuous amounts of chocolate and a giant box of tissues.

Schumacher back in an F1 car
As part of the entertainment surrounding the 24 hour race in May at the Nurburgring, Michael Schumacher is going to drive a the Mercedes 2011 Formula 1 car around the infamous 15 miles of the Nordschleife!

The last F1 race held on the treacherous circuit was in 1976 when Niki Lauda had his horrific accident.

Michael recounts, “I have very fond memories of the Nürburgring and I look forward to giving the fans a good show. Above all, I am looking forward to driving a modern GP racing car to drive on the Nordschleife, where many chapters of the Silver Arrow legend was written.

The last reasonably modern Formula 1 car on the track was the BMW Sauber of Nick Heidfeld 2007.

Christian Aid Week
The Horner family have issued a statement saying that, “Christian is well within himself and is slowly coming to terms with his loss [of authority]”.

They continue warmly thanking TJ13 for the attention being brought to Christian’s “historic endeavours and legacy to motor sport and look forward to the remaining instalments of ‘Christian Aid’ week”.

Okay folks day 3. We’ve seen the aspiring glamour model, Christian aged 27 on day one. Yesterday we boarded ‘the tardis’ and travelled back to the beginning to see Christian racing karts as a young man, day two.

Today on ‘Christian Aid’ we present a montage of Horner as he rapidly grew in stature in single seater racing and made his Formula 1 aspirations crystal clear.

Tomorrow on ‘Christian Aid’, we will examine the recognition Christian has received from institutes revered and respected globally for their century’s of heritage.

Due to some technical problems, here are a couple of videos we hoped to bring you soon after the Bahrain GP. Remember you can click through at the bottom of the frame on the ‘YouTube button, and then hit the ‘subscribe’ button to receive notification of all TJ13 TV videos. Many are not included in the blog.

First up a short video from Paul Hembery on the tyres and the Bahrain race.

10 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Thursday 25th April 2013

  1. The track was changed after the 1976 crash, and shortened by a mile, I believe it’s current length to be 13.1.
    The track used to be a long straight, through a right/ left high speed chicane then straight on past the pits into a left hand corner followed by a long sweeping right hander then past the rear of the pits into a left hander before rejoining what is the first part of the legendary circuit.
    The current track is based upon where this loop existed previously.


    This link shows lap record holders throughout the years and the circuit length for each milestone
    A 1975 Ferrari 312t qualified on pole with 6.58 on the original track
    8 years later, with far better aero and ground effect, a 956 qualified on pole with 6.11, but around a shorter track

    It will be fascinating to see what Schumacher makes of it, I do remember that Heidfeld’s was restricted because they couldn’t get enough ground clearance on the car

    • The track was also modified in the mid-sixties when one or two chicanes were added. I’ve read in several places that a modern F1 car would have a lot of trouble with the old Nurburgring circuit due to the rapid changes in terrain. Old F1 cars could handle it because of the large amount (inches) of suspension travel. Today’s cars suspension travel is almost no-existent and on a track like the old Nurburgring would be bottoming out all the time.

      The original track I would like to see an F1 car do a test run is the old Monza circuit with its banking. Unfortunately that will never happen.

  2. Horner’s time in F3000 is as unremarkable as Susie Wolff’s in DTM. In 2 seasons (22 races) he failed to qualify in 8 and scored 1 point. His average finishing place over those 2 seasons is 15th. Once he was behind the pitwall and getting funding substantial funding from Red Bull, Arden became a force in F3000, GP2, etc. His move to Red Bull coincided with Newey’s move.

    One the face of it his time at Arden and Red Bull look very successful, though you have to wonder whether it’s as remarkable as it seems, when he had the largest budgets at Arden, and Newey at Red Bull. I have the opinion that Horner’s pretty much sold his soul to Red Bull and wouldn’t be much without them.

  3. Without knowing the specifics of Ross Brawn’s earlier work I can safely say that instrumentation can well be a strong engineering discipline. I was an instrument engineer for the last 15 years, with a bias toward electronics. There can be a lot to it, working out ways to monitor the various parameters accurately and safely. You also tend to have to cover lots of areas so it can be a good grounding for an engineering manager.

    • There is no legal definition in the UK for use of the term “engineer”. Anybody can call themselves an engineer. Even a Chartered Engineer may not be a true engineer. In Canada and the US someone with the P.Eng designation has legal standing and legal obligations as an engineer.

      As Brawn doesn’t have a university engineering degree, or any university degree for that matter , ok he has an honorary degree, he wouldn’t qualify as either a Chartered Engineer or a P.Eng. Therefore Brawn isn’t a real engineer but a technician.

      • I’ll pass your comments on to my colleague who doesn’t have a degree but who has been working as an electronic engineer for the last 20 years…

        Legal definitions have nothing to do with whether you are capable of doing a job or not. I know quite a few very good engineers with no formal qualifications beyond O levels but who have the skills and feel for engineering to do a better job than many who have passed the theoretical degree course.

        You also don’t need to degree to become an incorporated or chartered engineer – that is the easiest route, but you can obtain it through experience and proving leadship in your field, something I think Ross would have no trouble doing, should he want to.

        • I hear what your saying Stephen and agree with your observations.

          What I found mildly amusing was Ross does not refer to himself as an engineer – in fact I heard him be quite self deprecating on the matter, deferring to the understanding of those with ‘proper engineering knowledge’.

          Further, he is widely considered to be a great F1 PM and maybe one reason for that is his understanding of control systems for testing which are more universal across a number of specific engineering disciplines.

          Toto who apparently knows him now intimately, should evidently know his views better.

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