This page will be updated throughout the day. Updated 19:06 GMT
Morning all… grab a coffee and a Danish before we start. Miss Zargosa (my court clerk) is most adept at tending to your needs – just ask.
It’s great to see so many people joining the F1 debate and getting to know each other in thejudge13 community. This month we have seen an unprecedented rise in people commenting. The site started mid-September 2012 and is as such eight months old. Nearly 20% of all comments since then have been made in this month.
Fantastic as this is, this has begun to make it difficult to scan for comments of particular interest.
So, following an inspired call from TJ13 contributor/commentator McLaren78 we have provided a ‘like’ facility for comments. If you enjoy a comment particularly, click thumbs up, and it will register a vote.
On the right-hand side of the page is a vertical column. If you go to the bottom item there you will see a heading called ‘Top rated’. Although it appears that there is nothing there, if you click on ‘day’, ‘week’, or ‘month’, it will bring up the top rated comments for that period.
Apologies for those of you who are on Pacific time as the time on the site is set to GMT – we have to choose somewhere, and seeing as the English invented time – in Greenwich – that’s just the way it is.
However, even if the day is new and you wish to check previous days, it’s a lot easier to scan the comments section and pick up those with a vote – so it should be better for you regardless.
We’ve lost a few friends along the way who have become upset with other members, and whilst this is a shame, on the whole I feel the quality of reader participation here is second to none – and I know all the main sites. TJ13 readers are intelligent, humorous and just ‘good to be here’ kind of people and I personally enjoy sharing my life with you all.
We want to increase our circle of friends, so when you see a new person making a comment, please make them feel welcome. I can tell from the site statistics that many readers never comment, and of course that is fine. However, if you like what someone says, give their comment a vote or even just leave a reply with “+1” to show you agree.
One last thing. I’ve noticed people are using the Twitter button at the bottom of the article more and more (only if you have a twitter account). This is great for spreading the word and to help. You may have noticed I’ve changed the F1 in the Daily News title to #F1, which means that when you tweet the article, it will automatically go into the busy #F1 twitter stream without you needing to edit it.
Please do press the twitter button if you have an account – it really helps.
Now, on with the news, and sorry folks … it again starts with tyres.
Lopez is ‘not for turning’
Gerard Lopez is doing an impression of the late (and some think great) Margaret Thatcher – he is not for turning on the 2013 tyres.
He told AMuS last night, “We will not race tyres that we have not tested first. And we will not allow tyres that change the sporting hierarchy — that would be simply unfair.
If there is suddenly a team winning that previously had problems with the tyres, then the people at home would feel fooled and turn off the TV”.
Lopez mocks Red Bull’s argument that the tyres should be altered on safety grounds. “A tyre that loses its tread is safer than a tyre that bursts. I don’t see it (the safety argument) as such a big deal — it’s still all about money and politics. But the spectators are not fools.
If we are making decisions not on the race track but in offices and committees, then one day there will be no spectators left.” Defending Pirelli to the hilt, Lopez issues a rallying call to a beleaguered Paul H, “Stand tall – rather than be defensive. Actually, they should stand up and say ‘We built a good tyre, a tyre that was requested, so the teams will just have to adjust and build reasonable cars’.”
I think I suggested yesterday that Pirelli’s ambitions to have agreement on the new rubber for Silverstone may be a long shot. So, it’s looking good for Ferrari in Northamptonshire then – unless it rains. Stet that: WHEN IT POURS.
Thailand: F1 to trample on ancient sacred sites
Two days ago, TJ13 reported that the Bangkok ministry for pollution had completed its extensive study of the effects of an F1 race on the inhabitants close to the proposed circuit. Their conclusions were that, under Thai health and safety regulations, the impact is reasonable.
Yet, there is trouble in F1 paradise – not yet lost. The Bankok Post is reporting that the residents of 20 communities that constitute the area of the proposed circuit are up in arms. They strongly opposed the plan to use roads on the historical Rattanakosin island and nearby areas, including Phrang Phutorn, for the race.
Opposition leader of the residents, Theeraphol Kachachiva, said last night, “We didn’t know anything about it from government agencies. We only learned about it from the media and social networks.”
You may not realise this, but TJ13 is well-read in Thailand. Since our inception, we have had nearly 3,000 visits from resident Thai readers.
Kachachiva is not unreasonable and makes clear that “[w]e don’t oppose an F1 event in Thailand. But it should not be raced on that route. It should be held elsewhere.”
The proposed F1 circuit would also see the western powered, prototype rocket-ship cars thundering alongside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most sacred temple in Thailand and is located in the historic center of Bangkok, in the precincts of the Grand Palace.
Thailand has an amazing historic culture and there is no universal acceptance of the Thai government’s soliciting the favors of Mr. E. and F1. Another spokesperson said, “Shouldn’t we promote our culture and heritage, as they last forever? We should ask ourselves, just what selling points we should promote.”
It appears that the Thai government has picked this particular route both for its dramatic impact and to impress the F1 benefactors. Yet, the report from the pollution ministry does not convince many: “[t]he race would harm the environment along the planned route and endanger the local people,” another community leader remarked.
RAAT secretary-general Prasert Apipunya said he expected the planned route would entice the FIA to agree to the race, because the attractions along the route could make it very profitable. “Some venues could not make money, because the circuit is not attractive. There are only a few sports in the world besides football could attract millions of watchers around the world,” he added.
Fair point Mr. Prasert. We all know about South Korea. Yet you don’t need to prostitute your finest historic heritage sites to attract the attention of the F1 megalomaniacs. New Jersey is offering a barren strip of industrial wasteland, and Mr. E. et al. have bought into the dream that come race day it will have been transformed into a whole new waterside – Monte Carlo style.
So, you say it’s a done deal, Bernie? At times F1 just appears to be a disgusting global automotive machine that tramples anything at will – all in the advance of cash and ‘the show’. It’s not as though there is no offer of a purpose-built circuit on offer to the Thai government elsewhere – see TJ13 article – Thailand: A Joker in the pack
Anyway, it may be Mr. E. soon will have bigger fish to fry, and the good people of Thailand and their finely preserved ancient sites of heritage will remain unmolested.
Readers from Thailand, please share your views.
Lewis struggling, but will get there – Brawn
Having out qualified and raced Rosberg in the early part of the season, he is now staring at his team mates 3 consecutive pole positions and a race win in the principality of Monaco. Yet Lewis admits he’s not yet got it together properly since joining Mercedes.
Speaking to ESPNF1 lewis admits, “It’s been this way since the first race and even in winter testing I was struggling,” he said. “The set-up I have on the car in terms of brake cylinders and the steering wheel is very different to what I had before.
I was very comfortable after being there [at McLaren] for years and I was used to it being always the same. That’s been a slight weakness for me this year in the first few races and particularly in the last three I’ve been pretty poor. This one was one of the toughest for me so far.”
Ross Brawn believes it is a matter of due course before Hamilton and the team gel fully.
“I think it is quite a subtle thing, the way a driver communicates and how you understand what he wants to achieve with the car and how you tune the car to suit his needs. We’ve got a very good group with Lewis and very experienced people, and it is just working out exactly what he needs and is looking for.
That might vary from what Nico needs and is looking for, although they are pretty close in the cars, but it will just take time. Nico’s been with the team for four or five years and he knows exactly what buttons to press within the team and Lewis is developing his understanding of that – who he needs to go to if he wants to debate some aspects of the car.
That just takes a little bit of time and I think Lewis is up against a very fierce and talented competitor in Nico. We want the drivers to be as close as they can and pushing each other, and I don’t want to see a driver here saying he is quite happy being second. I want both drivers, when they are not ahead, saying they’ve got to improve and find ways of getting more out of the package, out of the car and out of the team.”
Hamilton appears not to fully concur with his boss – Ross (been waiting to do that for some time 🙂 ).
“It’s nothing to do with the engineers, it’s just a general feeling with me. It’s difficult to really explain it but I’ve just not been on it all weekend. It’s not through not being focused or not being centred, it’s just about being comfortable in the car.
When I was at McLaren I had been there for a very long time and I had 100% confidence in the car, particularly at this track [Monaco] where you need 100% confidence in the car beneath you. It worked will in the past, it’s just that I’ve been struggling gaining that confidence and that means I can’t brake late enough.”
SKY analyst Mark Hughes has identified a the possible source of lewis’ problems. “It’s interesting that Hamilton identifies braking as a key part of his struggle. Just as at McLaren he has a preference for Carbone Industrie brake discs rather than the Brembos used by Rosberg in conjunction with the Brembo calipers that are a standard part of both Mercedes. Hamilton’s braking style is very aggressive – which has been a core part of his skill ever since his junior days”.
So Lewis likes a go-kart type car and he moved to a team described by German media as having manufactured a highly sophisticated suspension system which in engineering terms and technology is akin to ‘a spaceship’.
Williams and Mercedes
TJ13 reported Williams were likely to join the Mercedes engine fold for 2014 and today the announcement was made official.
Toto Wolff, Executive Director of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, said: “The proud heritage of Williams and the company’s commitment to technological excellence make it a perfect long-term partner for Mercedes-Benz under the new powertrain regulations. It is a win-win situation for both HPP and Williams, which will ensure HPP is able to supply at least three teams on a long-term basis under the new regulations and could open interesting new perspectives for technology transfer. We look forward to enjoying much success together over the coming years.”
There were some Williams fans hoping this would be a stop-gap measure before they too reunited with Honda in 2015 or beyond. Toto appears to kill that rumour.
Spurned but still proud, Renault Sport F1 president Jean-Michel Jalinier commented, “Three or up to four teams is the ideal for us so the departure of Williams normalises the situation and makes things much clearer from our side. We will announce the next team within a matter of days, and then confirm the final stage before the end of June.”
Better the devil you know
Mmm. Remember this, ladies and gentlemen, when you’re raging against the petulance of Vettel, a moody Lewis or the supercilious and superior Button. Remember this.
3 times Indy500 winner, Helio Castroneves must have been one of the million plus viewers in the States watching live F1 at the weekend. He catches on quick ,does the lad, as he tells Forbes magazine, “F1? It’s a bunch of politics”. After a moment of reflection he adds, “Every sport has politics, but it’s so bad [in F1]. Who you know, who you contact — that’s what it’s all about”.
Castroneves appears to have intimate knowledge with how the sport is run. “They don’t care if you are good, they don’t care if you are a great person. It feels like Hollywood business. But that’s exactly what it is.”
Brazilian born Helio has apparently had sufficient time to grasp the basics of modern F1 history and he observes, “I think Alonso, Felipe Massa is a friend of mine, Schumacher. Schumacher is not racing anymore, but … I think Lou..eh, no. I would say Sebastian Vettel. Even Mark Webber. He is a good driver…. That’s it. The rest of it is just prima donna drivers and spoiled kids.”
Castroneves insists he was offered an F1 opportunity, “I did get a chance, but I respect much more what Roger (Penske) did to me. Loyalty and what an incredible team that I wouldn’t even think about changing.”
It appears the could be something we both share in common Helio – better the devil you know!!! (Whispering behind hand… #OMG #WTF #StayWhereYouArePLEASE).