Daily F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 21st May 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day

Monaco GP Race Stewards

Lars Osterland ©FIA.comLARS ÖSTERLIND

Swede Lars Österlind is a highly experienced FIA steward, who has officiated at more than 100 grands prix and a similar number of World Rally Championship rounds. A social sciences graduate and lifelong motor sport enthusiast, Österlind was President of the Swedish Rally Commission from 1978-1982, then President of the Swedish Automobile Sport Federation from 1982-1996. He became honorary president in 1996 and has been a member of the FIA World Council since 1984. Outside motor sport Österlind has specialised in management, working as a management consultant and pursuing his own business interests. He is also experienced in local government at city council level.

Jose Abed ©FIA.comJOSE ABED

José Abed, an FIA Vice President since 2006, began competing in motor sport in 1961. In 1985, as a motor sport official, Abed founded the Mexican Organisation of International Motor Sport (OMDAI) which represents Mexico in the FIA. He sat as its Vice- President from 1985 to 1999, becoming President in 2003. In 1986, Abed began promoting truck racing events in Mexico and from 1986 to 1992, he was President of Mexican Grand Prix organising committee. In 1990 and 1991, he was President of the organising committee for the International Championship of Prototype Cars and from 1990 to 1995, Abed was designated Steward for various international Grand Prix events. Since 1990, Abed has been involved in manufacturing prototype chassis, electric cars, rally cars and kart chassis.


Denmark’s Tom Kristensen is the most successful driver in the history of the Le Mans 24-Hour race. He has won the classic endurance event eight times, racing for Porsche, Audi and Bentley. Kristensen, 45, has a broad racing CV, having competed in single-seaters, touring cars and a range of sportscars. He has also tested in F1. A popular and respected figure, he is this year again contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship, driving for Audi Sport Team Joest. Along with team mates Loïc Duval and Allan McNish he recently finished second in the opening round of this year’s championship at Spa-Francorchamps and will next month attempt to win a ninth Le Mans crown.

(Source: FIA.com)

Ecclestone on Pirelli

Someone must have been telling porkies after the Barcelona GP, but who I’m not sure. Anyway, here is the latest from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on the tyre debate.

“I asked Pirelli to make tyres that would not complete 50 percent of a race – meaning we need pit stops. And that’s what they did. It is very, very difficult to predict and say these tyres will last 15 or 20 percent of the race because each circuit is different, we are facing very different temperatures, the cars are different, and last but not least each driver has a different driving style.

In the times when Niki [Lauda] was racing his biggest concern was looking after the gearbox and the brakes – not the tyres. Then we got away from that and the drivers didn’t have to think about anything. Now they have to use their brains and start thinking about how to win races”.

The Express reported after Barcelona, “The tyres are wrong, not what we intended when we asked Pirelli to produce something which did a half race,” said Mr.E’s twin brother. “Pirelli know it and they’re doing something about it. We’ll go back to last season’s type of tyres, which gave us some close racing.”

Last year on the whole we had 1-2 stops and Pirelli stated they would increase that this year to 2-3 stops. So clearly the brief wasa little more than ‘not half the race’ as 3 stops is obviously just 1/4 race distance.

To be fair to Bernie, he is now supporting Pirelli who are indeed acting on instructions and jokes, “The easiest thing for Pirelli would be to produce tyres that you put on at the first race of the season and take off at the last. That would be easy, easy” (quotes from Formula 1 official website).

Bangkok Bargain

Thailand have thrown their hat into the ring to host one of the 10 races to be held by the inaugural Formula E series in 2014. Since launching in August 2012, Formula E Holdings (FEH) has received formal letters of interest from 23 cities across five continents with the final calendar being presented to the FIA for its approval at the September 2013 World Motor Sport Council.

Cities approved so far include, London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysai),  Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and now Bangkok. There has been no indication of what funding is required to host a race, however it is likely to be significantly less than for a Formula 1 event.

Formula E is a flagship project of Jean Todt and the FIA who have refused to sign and agree the F1 Concorde agreement with Ecclestone/FOM. One of the key issues unresolved is that Jean Todt has been demanding a significant increase into the funding of the FIA.

Mr. E and co. are getting rather short of potential host cities, and whilst Sochi Russia have a contract for 2014, none others are in issue at present, and Bangkok has been much lauded as one of Bernie’s 2015 hopeful F1 hosts.

This announcement must surely call into question Bangkok’s commitment to hosting an F1 event and is probably being offered Formula E as an alternative at a fraction of the cost.

Mercedes tyre-less-ly working

Mercedes engineers are working night and day to understand how they can set up the car to be more gentle on it’s tires. Lewis is clearly bored with all the technical stuff and tweets us this.


Lauda Watch

Some days in life just have a weirdness to them which is inexplicable. Then again there is usually a precedent for everything and “In conversation – Bernie Ecclestone & Niki Lauda”, on the F1 official website I’d like to say is  reminiscent of Statler and Waldorf – but it’s too ‘loved up’.

© tumblr.com

Each of the questions are fairly un-connected, so there is no context at all to this other than the question.

Q:  Can you still learn from each other?

BE: “Ah, you learn something every day. I speak with Niki about something and you get new ideas – and I think that also goes for Niki”. 

NL: “Let me say this: I have a clear relationship with my ex-boss Bernie Ecclestone. There are so many things going on in Formula One, but one thing has never changed: I come and look in his eyes, he looks in mine, and within five seconds we know which route to take”.

He is the master who knows what his concerns are, I can say what other people’s concerns are, and we had never an issue in finding a viable solution. I am straightforward and he was born like this. Therefore it is easy for me to deal with him”.

Paddy. How much?

Speculation has been rife in the media as to why McLaren let Paddy go early. McLaren Mercedes at the top are no longer lovers and partners. They ceased joint car production, McLaren began building their own cars and Daimler Benz bought an F1 works team so the divorce was inevitable.

There appears no reason for McLaren then to operate with Mercedes AMG F1 and release Paddy early from his contract. James Allen has suggested, “the German manufacturer was very unhappy that Honda engineers would potentially have access to information about its 2014 hybrid turbo engines and would learn a great deal about them, which would help with its own preparations for 2015 entry.

So it appears that they have leveraged this situation to trigger the early release of Lowe. It will be a major boost for Mercedes to have Lowe’s input into the 2014 chassis and engine integration as well as a longer term view on 2015 and 2016 designs”.

Much as I respect James opinion on most things, I cannot agree this is the reason. This leverage would be tantamount to Mercedes giving McLaren carte blanche to reveal all about their 2014 V6 Turbo to Honda. Certainly, Mercedes would be admitting that there was nothing they could do about some levels of espionage and at least getting something in return.

German publication Die Welt appears to be closer to the mark when they state, “Mercedes will have to pay a handsome fee for 51-year-old”, though Mercedes rebuff this, “This is speculation, and we don’t comment on that,” a Mercedes spokesman said.

TJ13 will throw something into the pot. In their attempts to recruit James Allison, they need to demonstrate Paddy is indeed on his way, following Whitmarsh’s comments about ‘wishing’ Paddy would stay and help out fixing the MP4-28.

Either that or James’ arrival is imminent at the MTC, and they would look churlish to force Paddy to continue garden leave having procured Allison at a shorter period. Either that or McLaren do believe that Paddy’s input into the Mercedes 2014 car will slow them down to the level of his latest design, the MP4-28.

UPDATE GMT 11:44 Speaking to journalists in Monaco, Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed the early release of Paddy Lowe is nothing to do with the Honda deal. “In terms of the reasons why, Paddy’s been a loyal servant here and we felt it was the right thing to release him.”

Honda – Cosworth

Rumours are emerging today that Honda are looking for a UK base of operations. At the big reunion announcement last Thursday we heard, “Honda will develop its engines at its facility in Tochigi, Japan, where it has already begun development.” Well today, the ‘Cosworth’ word is being mentioned again.

TJ13 wrote back in October an article charting the relationship between McLaren and Mercedes. I heard whispers back then about Cosworth and wrote, “a little bird told me that McLaren are more than very, very interested”. Check out McLaren-Mercedes divorce and Cosworth need a new partner.

Barcelona – Valencia

TJ13 reported last week that the president of Catalunya had said if Valencia wish to alternate an F1 race every other year with Barcelona, then an agreement will be made. Of course the Catalunya government heavily subsidised the race at the Circuit de Catalunya, and in tough times this eases the burden with the region of Valencia.

During the Spanish GPO, local Spanish radio had officials from the Circuit de Catalunya playing down these suggestions, arguing race sponsors had not been included within the discussions.

Speaking to EFE today,  Jose Ciscar who is vice president of Valencia’s regional government said, “We are negotiating a discount for it (the F1 race). When this is done I believe that we can sign the contract between the three parties,” referring to Valencia, Barcelona and F1’s Bernie Ecclestone.

Ciscar said F1 could return to Valencia in 2014, but added, “But I’m very cautious. When we can announce that the deal is done, it will be announced.” Aha. Another example of logic that we have been discussing. It’s breaking out everywhere in F1 these days.

Track Changes to Monaco

Changes to the circuit since 2012:

  • The track has been resurfaced on the pit straight and between turns 1 and 3.
  • A number of improvements have been made to the left-side debris fencing on the approach to turn 3 and on the left between turns 8 and 10.
  • A new 50cm wide kerb has been installed at the apex of turn 5.
  • The kerb at the exit of turn 19 has been widened by 20cm.

COTA and tax

During 2012, the Circuit of the America’s was valued by the local taxation authorities at $92m. For 2013 the assessed tax value will be slightly more than $290 million according to the chief appraiser for the Travis Central Appraisal District said Wednesday.

The appraisal could result in a tax bill for the circuit of more than $7.8 million.

This appraisal will rise again in 2014 on the completion of the amphitheatre and other infrastructure projects. (Source: Statesman.com)

NASCAR consider F1 lead

Whilst the ‘Generation 6’ cars have on recently been introduced, NASCAR is looking toward the specifications of the Generation 7 that would probably debut in 2017.

Pat Suhy of GM says, “The questions we are asking ourselves right now are what does the Generation 7 engine look like? is it a direct injection engine? is it a V8? is it a V6? is it turbocharged? all of that stuff. Whilst we are not talking in great detail at the moment, we will be starting to discuss it seriously soon and I don’t think anything is off the table.”

What is indubitable is that the Generation 7 car will be lighter and more efficient. Suhy explains, “We could introduce both a new car and a new engine together and make it more relevant to the products we are selling today, smaller, lighter cars with lower displacement higher specific output engines.

There are plenty of other ways we can reduce the mass of the cars, things like using composite materials, using other materials other than steel for body panels. It changes the demand on the car too, if you reduce the mass of the vehicle do you need as much roll cage? there are a whole bunch of knock on effects like that” (Source: Stockcar Engineer)

13 responses to “Daily F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 21st May 2013

  1. Could it be that senility has taken Mr. Bern E. to the night already? He’s saying one thing this week ans something completely different the next. Maybe LdM wasn’t that far off when he said that the dwarf’s mental faculties are going south quickly…

  2. Working with the media I have experienced first hand that two journalists listening to the same remarks from one source can lead to wildly different reports. So I would not automatically conclude that it is senility at play in this particular case. But then again: This is Bernie we are talking about. He’s been double talking since he was born.

      • Had a bit of a break from F1 recouperating after an extended Barcelona stay. Is it the best city for visiting F1 fans? I think it might be.

        • It’s certainly my favourite European city. Been about 11 times in the last 6 years. Always find new sights – old/new – places to eat, sit, cycle.

          You been up Tibidabo – the mountain on the funicular railway?

          • No. But I think maybe some of that was out of commission last weekend if I recall correctly. Will remember for next time.

    • Not at present, though whether they were one of the 14 cities who expressed an interest but are not on the list – I can’t say

  3. I thought Alison had turned down Mclaren. Most of the other press keep suggesting Ferrsri..

    Plus , I’m glad the FIA is refusing to sign the Concorde Agreement. After all, it was arranged between two allies to pay the FIA a minimal amount for a 100 year lease? The Bernie and Max double act?
    I doubt Todt is doing this in support of Luca, but it seems people have started to see the beginning of the end of Bernie.
    LdM has been vocal in recent years, circuits are renegotiating their fees, new circuits like Thailand are likely to follow the Formula E route to World Championship prestige and Bernie may well be facing court in the near future.
    Maybe not as career destroying as being bent over a hobby horse with some strangely fashioned women behind you but…

  4. So NASCAR is thinking about upgrading their engine technology to this century? How shocking! Imagine they would adopt an engine formula close or at least similar to F1. We could have Chevy or Ford engines in F1.

    One should be allowed to dream…

  5. Surely the paddy to Merck early is simply about money? And not even real money, but probably a discount on next years engines.

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