Daily F1 News and Comment: Thursday 23rd May 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day

Lewis Looses it So it’s Thursday not Friday, we’re all confused and the cars have been fired up and screaming around the circuit. Yet Swiss publication Blick is reporting Lewis was up to speed on Wednesday, but on the water. Apparently Lewis lost his temper with a group of photographers on a boat and put in a particularly tight turn, covering them with a deluge of Monaco harbour water. TV camera equipment, expensive still shot photographic cameras and mobile phones were damaged and Mercedes coughed up 150,000CHF (c. 120,000 euro) to rectify the problem.


McLaren Honda exclusive

TJ13 reported at the time of the McLaren Honda announcement that we believed there was a McLaren veto agreed to prevent Honda supplying certain competitors.

Martin Whitmarsh has told ‘The Racers Edge’ podcast, “To my knowledge there is nothing in the regulations forcing an engine supplier to supply several teams,” he reportedly told The Racer’s Edge. So we look forward to an exclusive collaboration with Honda.”

The Tyres BBC reporter Jennie Gow commented that Sebastian Vettel had been clearly and in distinction to other drivers been speaking out against the Pirelli tyres this weekend. In a radio interview he said, “I don’t want to speak ill of people or names names, but in this context they need to do a better job.”, wonder who he could be discussing? “It’s like a professional skier having to change for the following season to wooden skis. We have seen repeatedly that the surface of the tyre comes off. This is because they are not good enough. None of us want our tread to come off in the tunnel”. Vettel attempts to dismiss the suggestion that it is Red Bull who are shouting the loudest about the 2013 Pirelli tyres. “I think you [journalists] would rather quote us than Marussia for example. But in the driver meetings I even hear Lotus complain that they have the same problem as us, but less extremely. So we’re not the only ones complaining.”  In contrast Kimi Raikkonen tells Finnish TV, “The fairest thing would be to continue with the current tyres, but I know there is a lot of pressure to change something.” However, the strong rumour is that Pirelli will now only tweak the rear tyres and do this in time for Canada. When asked about this AMuS reports Kimi saying, “Anything else would be unfair. You can’t change everything just because some teams can’t cope with the tyres”. Alonso is enjoying this immensely and In an interview for the British media he grinned and said, “It sometimes happens when you win too easily for some years, it’s difficult to lose some races after that.”

Di Resta Helmet – blinged up

Paul Di Resta has let his brother loose on his helmet design for the Monaco GP. Whilst fairly close to the normal design, there are touches of chrome added to “glint in the sunshine” as Di Resta explains.


Webber can take or leave Monaco

It has been amusing to see world champion Lewis Hamilton wandering around with his small dog Roscoe. Lewis did a press conference for the British media yesterday afternoon and Roscoe sat beside him snoring loadly throughout the session.

When asked about what he thought about Monaco, Webber replied “I think it’s a very dramatic backdrop, I love the ocean and I love the cliff faces. To have a race track here is quite exceptional. But for me, in terms of all the small dogs and the handbags and that sort of stuff, it’s not really my thing mate.” Mmm. I’m getting the feeling Roscoe is losing his novelty value too. Wait till he bites a small child or tears up Nicole’s favourite scarf. Webber did admit he enjoyed racing in Monaco, “It’s been good to me, mate. Long may it continue,” he grinned. “We’ve got another chance this weekend, which is exciting. I grew up on street circuits in Australia; Adelaide with Formula Ford, Surfers’s Paradise. So from a young age I was used to having the barriers pretty close.”

Monaco: Free Practice 1


Not too much can be read into FP1 at Monaco as the drivers and teams are particularly keen not to wreck the cars. During the last 15 minutes of FP2 we may see some more spectacular duels with the barrier, as the engineers have a whole day to rebuild the machines before qualifying on Saturday.

Both Ferrari and Lotus looked to be handling particularly easily when observing the ride through corners and the onboard shots of the drivers’ hands working the steering wheels. The Red Bulls looked to be a handful and clearly they have some work to do.

Both young guns Grosjean and Maldonado looked good throughout the session and recorded top six times which demonstrates whilst prone to ‘incidents’ these drivers are quick.

Nico Rosberg finishes the session quickest and continues his run of great form. He was a quarter of a second ahead of team mate Hamilton, who never looked on top of the car during the 90 minutes practice.

Caterham fined again

Having received a fine (€10,000) for an unsafe release during the Spanish GP – which saw the left rear wheel making a break for freedom at turn 10 on the Circuit de Catalnya, Caterham coffers have been hit again this morning with Giedo van der Garde breaking the pit lane limit. He was clocked at 74.7km/h in the pit lane where the speed is 60kph and the fine is €1,000.

GP2 close shave

The use of super slo motion camera’s has been on an exponential growth curve in many sports over the past few years. Watching each grain of sand drift slowly through the air as a golfer hits a bunker shot is impressive on the first few viewings.

Formula 1 has had super slo mo for a while though at times during the race it is irritating to see the front left wheel of a Ferrari as it climbs over the kerb, takes flight and lands – squashing the tyre… particularly if there is a battle between 2 other drivers taking place live.

In the GP2 session following FP1, a pigeon was playing chicken (I know bad joke) at the swimming pool. The TV feed re-replayed the event in graphic super slo mo.

Pigeons in Monaco? I hear you say. Indeed how does the principality allow such a common bird to take up residence. However, TJ13 is hearing the Prince’s press office is briefing strongly that it was in fact a white collared dove.

Monaco losing it’s appeal?

TJ13 suggested in Time F1 said goodbye to Monaco? , “parties are legendary and the principality goes out of its way to seduce the F1 folk and perpetuate the event’s status as the ‘jewel in F1’s crown’. In days of yore, this was ‘THE’ place for sponsors to entertain their executives and ‘do business’.

Yet in recent years a number of new F1 venues such as Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Singapore have diluted Monaco’s attraction as the exclusive place to do business”.

Today ESPN writer Kate Walker agrees that times have indeed changed. “In the run-up to this year’s Grand Prix, the emails landing in F1 inboxes were queries from fellow colleagues, everyone asking where the invitations were. Had we dropped off the list, or were there no parties? Oddly, it turned out that the answer was the latter.”

Kate argues this is most strange, “Given that recent months have seen a number of big-ticket sponsors arriving in the sport – Rolex and Emirates spring to mind, although they are far from alone – it is baffling that none of them would choose to use the Monaco weekend as an opportunity to promote their brand and secure a return on their hefty investment in the form of some publicity.

Rolex had a party in Australia, and got some promotion there, but Emirates have yet to do anything to celebrate their involvement in the sport. The assumption was that everyone was waiting for Monaco, but the assumption has been proved incorrect – there’s simply nothing on”.

As I suggested 2 days ago, a number of people in control of the corporate purse strings have told me that Monaco is now no longer on their radar as a place to provide the lavish entertainment of yesteryear. In fact lavish entertainment on the scale it was once delivered is now gone – if not forever, for a very long time.

If you follow the TJ13 daily news you would have seen a couple of days ago what €200 a night buys you for accommodation several miles outside of the town itself. An associate of mine (who doesn’t like F1) was telling me yesterday, how much the Automotive manufacturers used to spend on taking him and other car dealership personnel to Monaco in the early ‘naughties’. €1,500 euro a night for the room (he did share) was common, plus food and drink for the 4 days could easily rack up a bill getting on toward  €10,000.

Interestingly, I just checked booking.com and the famous Fairmont Hotel does have availability for this weekend even now (GMT 11:55 Thursday). 4 nights will set you back  €8,735.75 which does include breakfast. A room with no view would give you a saving of €1,844.25.

Many of the Monaco Hotels right now have plenty of availability should you wish to avail yourself of a last minute booking.

Indy 500

For those of you who prefer to stay focused on F1, there is another fairly important world motorsport event taking place this weekend at the ‘brickyard’. The Indy 500.

The Grand Slam of motorsport – otherwise known as the triple crown – includes winning Monaco, the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 hour race. Anyone know who was the only person to complete this winning hat-trick?

Mercedes measuring everything

Eagle eyed Lewis Hamilton Facebook fan site spotted this heat camera recording Lewis’ front left tyre. Hamilton had less tyre degradation than Rosberg in FP1


Force India vetoe tyre change

Paul Hembery was seen in deep discussions with Bob Fearnley at the Force India garage today. Force India, Ferrari and Lotus are believed to be questioning whether any change can be made to the tyres at all. It appears as I stated last week, Hembery has been on record stating the tyres delaminations are not ‘unsafe’, and therefore no change – including a tweak to the rear tyres – should be allowed under the sporting regulations.

The revised changes proposed by Pirelli would reduce the operating temperature of the rear tyres by about 10 degress. This would help Mercedes, but not Red Bull who are front grip limited.

Hembery has stated, “We are trying to seek a solution that is supported by everyone, and is fair to all the teams,” yet this appears more difficult than first thought.


Red Bulls not running for 1st 15 minutes of the session, as there are fairly major set-up changes occurring following excessive tyre graining in FP1 on both cars.

James Allen, “Romain Grosjean is looking very quick. He’s either going to win or put it in the barriers”.

Track temperature is 10 degrees higher in FP2, around 44 degress, and this will be more representative of the race temperature. Keeping KERS cool with the low average speed will be a challenge.

Both Mercedes when on super soft are doing a ‘curing’ lap – where they put in a time several seconds off the pace – and then do their flying lap.

Grosjean in barrier at Saint devote – left front ripped off car – session over. Ferrari’s were on first qualifying simulation run of the afteroon and had to abort.

Vettel has KERS problem. Pit radio: Rocky, “Fail 14, Fail 14, 3 clicks rearwards, no KERS”. Vettel’s KERS has failed and adjusted brake bias rearwards to compensate.

00:38 into the session we have a Red Flag – Kerb damage at T13 – left hander into swimming pool. A metal stay was protruding through the kerb, would tear a tyre to shreds.

00:41 Green lights

Mercedes are adding ballast to the front of Nico’s car. Tiny piece of metal, incredibly dense. Imagine a 1 litre of water which weighs 1 kilo, same volume of ballast weighs about 18-20 kilo’s.

Ferrari doing the same as Mercedes. Alonso informed from pit radio that the 1st timed lap “is required for warmup, then we’ll see how it looks”.

Button struggling with traction and bouncing over the kerbs – 12th fastest – then up to 8th.

Torsion bar change for Kimi – he’s not happy at all.

Alonso on a long run – is 1/2 second a lap quicker than the Mercedes long run.

Hamilton does 15 laps on super soft – dropped about 1/2 sec per lap over the duration – looks better for Mercedes.

JB asks what lap times everyone’s doing. Informed he’s “competitive” to Rosberg and “looks good”

Massa told to drop back as he’s only 1.5s behind car in front on a long run. Then Smedley says, “Obviously, you will hold up Sutil and Rosberg, but that’s life”

Webber being asked to lift as brakes are overheating.

Rosberg did a 27 lap stint on the supersoft tyres. Hamilton managed 31 laps. Both are finishing session on the soft tyre. This could mean Mercedes may not as I suggested only require 2 stops not 3. Rosberg was doing better times at the end of his sting, suggesting Lewis’ still harder on the rubber boots.

Perez car after pit stop comes to a standstill just before pit lane exit onto the track. Radio: “Stop, stop, Checo, we may have a problem with the Front Left”

17 responses to “Daily F1 News and Comment: Thursday 23rd May 2013

    • It was bound to calm down eventually, especially when people were able to measure Nicos talent. Was interesting that in FP2 Lewis looked better on the tyres than Nico, in FP1 seemed the other way round, though I doubt it will ever be Lewis’s strong point.

      Going to be fascinating seeing the Ferraris and Grosjean and the Mercs battling this one out… I’m rooting for Romain, I’d LOVE to see him win!

      • Hi there Yowsis

        Thanks for that. It was on a Mercedes Fansite.

        Still it looks as though they’ve resolved some of the tyre issues with the runs they managed on the super soft tyres.

  1. Impressively that bird managed to rotate 180° through two axes! It’s his lucky day… he’s probably having a flutter over at the casino now 😉

      • Actually I’m back at my couch now, just taking a break from a morning of pouting and taking my sunglasses off then immediately replacing them 90% up the bridge of my nose. Mixing it with the stars in Cannes today…

  2. Q. what is the mystery exotic metal used as ballast in Nico’s car…?
    [“same volume of ballast weighs about 18-20 kilo’s.”]

    >Gold – 19.3 kg/litre – this is Monaco but…hey 🙂
    >Plutonium – 19.8 kg/litre – probably not, hehe
    >Uranium – 19.1 kg/litre – also has well known, and undesirable properties..
    >Tungsten – 19.1 kg/litre – most likely contender..?

    but they could go even heavier…, but likely more expensive, radioactive and unmachineable too

    >Iridium – 22.7 kg/litre
    >Neptunium – 20.5 kg/litre
    >Osmium – 22.6 kg/litre
    >Platinum – 21.9 kg/litre
    >Rhenium – 21.0 kg/litre

    or maybe they use an alloy of the above elements…

    for reference Lead as something most of us have held, lead is a mere 11.3kg/litre

  3. Regarding your question about the ‘Grand Slam’…

    Graham Hill is the only one who managed to win Monaco, Le Mans and Indy.

    • CORRECT!!! You win a prize.

      You have permission to go to Monte Carlo this weekend from the court – whatever anyone else in your life says 🙂

  4. I wonder why the photographers deserve any sympathy in that case. You were shooting somebody on a jetski? Get covers on your equipment for god sakes! Why not get on a jetski yourself and then ask for compensation for water damage?!

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