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Comment of the weekend
Having listened to Lewis talking last week about… how he wished he’d raced in Senna’s time, this comment stands out for me from reader Dobzizzle.
“Just spoke to my bro, who said he can’t understand why Hamilton is complaining about battling with a Williams – he thought that he always wanted to emulate Senna!!”
TJ13 is back
After a weekend of busyness and absence from here, its good to see that you all had a good time and the TJ13 team is working well for the race weekends when I can’t be on the site very much. What is most amusing is that I’ve been following 2 stories particularly closely recently and whilst I heard on Saturday the Ecclestone Munich news, work commitments prevented me from writing about it.
Then of course we’ve had a lot of focus on New Jersey recently and there has been some pretty interesting developments there too. Sod’s law – we’ve had 3 weeks with little to discuss – race weekend arrives and Ecclestone is about to get arrested. Anyway, this kind of thing is more appropriate for a ‘Judges Chambers’ post which I’ll try to get out today or tomorrow.
FOM puts money into New Jersey
This was something I heard again before the Reuters piece was issued and surprisingly, it may not be everything it seems. We’ve discussed the flakiness of the F1 calendar and hosts a number of times recently. TJ13 predicted in the first week of writing we would have less races in 2013 than in 2012 – back then that was not the view of most.
Well Bernie has dug deep and now believes that for the New Jersey race, “There’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen. We’ve put money behind it to pay a lot of the things off, a lot of their debts. So I’m hoping now we are going to get it together. We’re going to try and make it happen next year.”
Of course Chris Pool joining the GPoA organisation was not insignificant. He was clearly parachuted in by Ecclestone to lend much needed credibility to a sinking ship where even the rats were long gone. This offer of money does in no way mean New Jersey is now a done deal because should this race ever go ahead – it would be a first in the modern F1 era.
No new circuit has been brought into existence without 10’s of millions of government money. The NJ Governor says ‘not a dime’ will be spent of tax payers cash and so will FOM make up the difference? I severely doubt it. What has been happening in the past 7 days is that the GPoA was a dead duck and has been revived for now to quack for at least another day.
The race promoter, Leo Hindery, needed an injection of confidence to continue carrying the hat around the district to find willing parties to cough up enough cash to get the race on. Ecclestone’s promise of a few debts being paid off and bringing Pook on board is tantamount at this time to a sop.
One thing is clear, those F1 experts who believe there will be a portfolio of 3 F1 races available in a couple of years for the US TV market suffered a blow to their theories. Mr. E did tell Reuters, “If we do this (New Jersey), it (Long Beach) won’t (happen again).”
TJ13 has connections with financial sources in New York and even last week they were extremely sceptical about Hindery finding the cash to organise this event. The annual costs of setting up a street circuit is so prohibitive even Ecclestone himself commented last year that Melbourne would have been better served financially with a purpose built track.
Then someone will have to sign up to underwrite FOM’s ‘costs’ should the contract be cancelled. This indemnity alone, based upon historic agreements, would be a few hundred million dollars – why do you think we keep trekking back to Yeongam – a grim port town of just whores, sailors and love hotels? Could it be the fines for cancelling the race are greater than the $50m a year fee the South Cholla government have to pay.
Bernie needs people to believe in him him more than ever right now. It may be that should he find himself in a Munich court – the lip service paid by many to his achievements will quickly fall silent – and friends…???
Alonso close to sanction
Fernando Alonso made Circuit de Catalunya history by winning the race from 5th on the grid – the previous best was Schumacher from third. In fact the top three drivers all started outside the top 3 grid positio9ns, so whatever your view on Pirelli – we saw something quite different in Barcelona than in the previous 22 years of racing there.
Only 5 F1 drivers have scored more home victories than Alonso, and Senna is behind him with just 2.
|Nigel Mansell||Great Britain||5|
|Jim Clark||Great Britain||5|
|Juan Manuel Fangio||Argentina||4|
What has been impressive this year is the lack of criticism we’ve been able to levy at the stewards. Okay, so there’s been no deployment of the safety car to collect a ladies handkerchief taken by a gust of wind and the giant antipodean globe-trotting rats have provided the race stewards with an excellent excuse up and till now – when the in car race control system I believe is now working perfectly.
Well out time has come. Finally and as inevitable as night follows day the stewards and sporting regulations are in the spotlight.
About 90 minutes after the chequered flag, a notice was posted summoning Alonso to face the stewards at 17:30 local time. His alleged crime, ‘receiving an object after the end of race signal’. Of course this related to the Spanish flag he collected and waved whilst driving his wind down victory lap.
What I enjoyed about this was seeing Alonso drive one handed waving his countries flag joyously was quite different from the Germanic efficiency we usually hear from Red Bull when Vettel wins. There is the of course the fake hype from Horner… “Sebastian – YOU -ARE -THE – WIN..N..ER” in some kind of ‘slow mo’ audio. Then we have Rocky telling Vettel to go to mode 18.104.22.168.976-ade231 and to remember to collect marbles – presumably because they may one day be rare and worth quite a lot of money.
Then we have this from the stewards.
The stewards’ verdict in full:
Driver – 3 Fernando Alonso
Competitor – Scuderia Ferrari
Fact: Receiving an object after the end-of-race signal
Offence: Alleged breach of Article 43.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
Article 43.3 is designed to stop drivers picking up anything that would add weight to their cars and this ensures an ‘illegal underweight’ car was not made to look legal. With this rule I have no problem, yet the parc ferme weight of the car is a farcical and regular part of the post race in lap anyway.
The drivers are told to drive this lap through the offline carpet of rubber to collect additional rubber which sticks to the hot tyres and in effect adds weight to the car. We have to endure the F1 commentators explaining this to us week in week out and then qualify the fact that if the stewards want to they could ask for this additional rubber to be scraped off and the additional weight disallowed – it never happens.
Having reviewed some of the footage later, Alonso’s flag flapped continually in the way of the on board camera, maybe this was why his was summoned for ruining FOM TV pictures rather than any other reason.
Back to the issue in hand. After ticking off Fernando the stewards posted the following notice.
Decision: No further action
Reason: No further action was taken to be consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances.
So why summon Alonso in the first place??? Either bin the rule or enforce it whether it relates to tyre rubber, flags or house bricks – who cares!!!.
Having a rule that is regularly ignored for reasons of precedent seems stupid and bureaucratic.
TJ13 has submitted an idea to Charlie Whiting to resolve these problems. To ensure the weight of the car is maintained, all cars must be fitted with the driver’s national flag, furled inside the rear wing. On winning the race, Charlie can press a button that deploys the winning car’s flag in a safe manner – not obscuring FOM TV and not endangering the driver who is breaking Bernie’s rule “THINK before you drive” – recklessly piloting a rocket ship with one hand in front of millions of impressionable fans.
McLaren Honda 2015 draws nearer
Martin Whitmarsh was questioned directly after the race as to whether McLaren have notified Mercedes that they will not be taking their option for the German engines in 2015. He referred the question to ‘our partner’. When pressed further being informed Mercedes had already been questioned over this and referred the matter to McLaren, he commented that this was ‘confidential’ and not his decision but was for others in the group to make.
Aligned to this ongoing story is another regarding the future livery of the McLaren cars. Whitmarsh was asked about the rumours that orange was being considered as a new colour for the Woking cars. “I really like the idea. Orange is a great colour, especially for McLaren,” he told the Russian website f1news.ru.
“We use it for our racing GT and it looks great, and we’ll continue to move in this direction. F1 is a bit different: the modern business model is one of the main tasks of the team — to promote the brands of our partners. But if we’re lucky enough to find a sponsor who likes orange, you could see that colour again in formula one,” added Whitmarsh.