Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day. New articles appear at the bottom. Posted 12:05 12:21 12:36 13:32 13:49 14:15 16:21 17:12 19:22 GMT

How does it take to switch teams and be familiar with the car?

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 reporter, Craig Slater, over the weekend Lewis said this. “When Jenson came to McLaren it took him a whole year to come to terms with things and get used to things.

I thought to myself I hope I’ll be able to do things a little bit quicker [when joining Mercedes] but I really don’t know how long it will take. It’s definitely not easy, I’ll just have to take my time and let it come to me”.

As TJ13 reported last week, it appears Lewis is having to come to terms with the different style of brakes used by Mercedes, and it is this which is inhibiting his 1 lap pace and driving style in general.

Yet, does the fact that 2 prior world champions expect up to a year to learn how to drive a different car not raise some issues? Why would Toro Rosso and Caterham choose to ditch both drivers voluntarily if this is the case?

How quick really is Adrian Sutil and will he blow Di Resta out of the water in 2015 assuming the pair stay together? Why would Red Bull ditch Webber in 2014, given he is capable of on average being close to his 3 times world champion team mate – and hence someone better will have a learning curve and not improve the team’s chance of another constructor’s title.

Or is it Jenson and Lewis just know how to make damn good excuses for being poor for a long time, and buy themselves some space?

Hankook met Ecclestone

Following TJ13 reports over the weekend of Hankook’s chief engineer saying F1 in 2014 was ‘impossible’ and unlikely for several years, Spanish publication, Diario, reveals today that Hankook people met with Ecclestone “several times” in April.

Germans join TJ13 and launch Lauda Watch

There is a growing disquiet with Lauda in the German media. TJ13 amongst others questioned how he would maintain his role as TV pundit for RTL when he was appointed chairman of Mercedes AMG F1. Following the Monaco GP, he apparently interviewed Horner for about 30 seconds and then sent him on his way.

Speedweek comment that in, “Monte Carlo we witnessed an undignified spectacle that must not continue unless RTL wishes to look absurd”. They add, “It was foolish and short-sighted for all concerned to allow Niki Lauda in maintain this dual role. The Austrian loses his credibility when he makes cheap propoganda and comment instead of being objectively informative”.

Vettel – 5 years left?

There is speculation in a number of the German media publications that Vettel may be looking to quit F1 in 5 years. He tells Motorsport-total, “Maybe I’ll go in five years, because I’ll have had enough. Maybe I’ll try another team in five years, because I feel a different challenge. People evolve each year, so my priorities may shift.

At the moment I feel very comfortable, and can not imagine going to another team. The car is fast, the team is good – I currently see no reason to go anywhere, but that does not mean I would stay forever. “
Is Mr. V inferring he has a 5 year contract we all know nothing about?

Lewis

Ahh. A man who is obviously in love and out walking his dog….

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yet here’s a picture Lewis tweeted a couple of weeks ago… Is all well with @NicoleSherzy and @LewisHamilton. Roscoe is rumoured to be getting a twitter account – now that would be revealing!!!

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John Watson in the Express has today lambasted the decision to provide Hamilton’s dog with a paddock pass. “There is no place for a dog in the F1 paddock. For one thing, it is not fair on the animal. It (also) shows that Mercedes are bending over too far to please Lewis. There is absolutely no way McLaren would have allowed it.

Lewis has to decide if he wants to be an F1 driver or a hip-hop star. He went to Mercedes with the reputation of being the man who would get the job done. But it is just not happening for him at the minute and he needs to start working out why.”

Montreal Weather

The current 5 day forecast, which of course may well change, is for rain on Friday. if there was no running in FP1 of the revised Pirelli tyres, then this sets back their possible introduction another weekend.

We have seen the torrential rain which can fall during the Canadian GP and this is a season when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued in Quebec.

On Sunday such a warning was in place and here was the information given to residents on how to manage behaviour during these events.

Before:

  • Before a severe thunderstorm, unplug radios and televisions – listen for weather updates on your battery-powered radio.

During:

  • During thunderstorms, you should also stay away from items that conduct electricity, such as telephones, appliances, sinks, bathtubs, radiators and metal pipes.
  • Do not go out to rescue the laundry on the clothesline because it may conduct electricity.
  • If you are outdoors when a thunderstorm hits, take shelter immediately, preferably in a building but, failing this, in a depressed area such as a ditch, culvert or cave. Never go under a tree.

Sounds exciting!

FIA may freeze V6 Turbo engine development

AMuS is reporting the FIA are looking to freeze development completely of the new turbo V6 engines, as early as 2018. This happened with the current V8 engines following an initial period of substantial development. Restrictions on development may begin as early as 2015 and be complete within 3 years.

This puts pressure on engine manufacturers to decide whether they are going to join the sport within the next 10-12 years. So if Audi, BMW and Toyota et al wish to join the F1 party, they will most likely need to throw their hats into the ring within the next year.

This of course will reduce cost over the life of the new engine powertrains and probably mean that engine manufacturers will look to lock in customers for a number of years with preferential deals.

Vettel – this is the real me

Following an excellent weekend of articles on TJ13 about Sebastian Vettel, he reveals to Welt am Sonntag that the media promotion of him and Raikkonen as best friends is ‘exaggerated’. “I do get on very well with him. We see each other at the races if time permits, as we are both straightforward, honest — so therefore we get on well together. But you don’t find your real friends in formula one”.

Vettel also states that prior to the ‘mulit21’ people’s perception of him may have been incorrect. “The image of me that existed before that day was simply wrong and Malaysia opened many people’s eyes in this regard. Whenever there has been something unpleasant to speak about, I have always done it, just normally in the presence of those who really need to hear it, not the people sitting in front of the television”.

Vettel adds, “This time, it was different.”

Canadian GP future uncertain

TJ13 reported a little circulated story back in November that the promoters of the Canadian GP, Octane, had been forced to wind up one of their sports promotion businesses with considerable debts. Whilst the Octane company which promotes the F1 GP is secure for now, La Presse are suggesting that the Federal Government of Ottowa is refusing to increase its contribution towards holding an annual event. The race promoter in no way can meet the funding gap.

Canada are at present believed to pay FOM $15m and the new 10 year contract will see a rise to $22.2m. Ecclestone is also insisting on the facility, particularly the paddock which is partly floated on a barge, be upgraded. Costs are estimated between $25-40m.

Ecclestone was hoping to announce the new deal this weekend, but this now appears unlikely as race promoter, François Dumontier comments, “I remain optimistic, the various levels of government will find a solution. It is to be seen whether if it can be done before or during the weekend of the Grand Prix or during the following weeks. “

Newey the racer

Adrian Newey is known to be a keen amateur racer and takes part in a number of historic events and last year competed in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo for the first time. He returned to the event this year to share the driving of the No.1 VIP car with Autosprint’seditor-in-chief, Alberto Sabbatini.

This series is particular close to Adrian’s heart as the organisers revealed last week. “Adrian acknowledges that he became captivated by Lamborghini at the tender age of ten after a visit to his local cinema where he witnessed the Roger Beckermann character in the opening scenes of The Italian Job driving a distinctive orange Miura above Aosta in the Italian Alps to the soundtrack of Matt Munro before meeting his untimely screen-death in the Grand St Bernard tunnel.”

And this is how he faired

Neweys record of destruction

He destroyed a Ford GT40 while competing in 2006, but escaped with only a cut finger.

He later that year wrecked a Jaguar E-Type at the Goodward Revival meeting.

In 2010, whilst taking part in the Ginetta G50 Cup at Snetterton, he spun into the path of Tony Hughes and his car sustained a heavy side-on impact. He was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, but sustained no serious injuries.

2013’s  Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo shunt was a lot more amusing.

The things you find on Ebay

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Rear tyre swapping

Following Adam Cooper’s report on teams switching the left and rear Pirelli tyre’s Paul Hembery addressed this matter at last weeks teleconference. He said the practice had been going on since at least when they joined the sport in 2011. (Sorry had a lot to mention Friday and forgot this one).

© Auto Motor und Sport

Mercedes reveal their clever tyre management technology

There are a number of F1 commentators who have suggested we should wait and see whether the Mercedes ‘development’ test with Pirelli gave them any benefit. The litmus test they argue will be Canada. TJ13 will be releasing its comprehensive Circuit review tomorrow, however this argument appears flawed.

Firstly Canada is in many ways similar to Monaco, no high speed corners and therefore less of the degradation, which so hurt Mercedes in Barcelona around the long turn 3 flat out bend. There is a huge traction zone out of the hairpin, yet should the cars be able to manage this, they again will be very quick on the long straights.

Further, this is a circuit which Hamilton loves and of the current crop of F1 drivers, he is the only one to have multiple wins – 3 of.

Yet there is more to the Mercedes tyre management than has previously been revealed. This years car has a more sophisticated brake ducts. “We can now better control the heat that is emitted to the rear tire on the brake calipers and wheels,” Brawn tells AMuS. This will reduce the tyre temperature by around 10 degrees if required.

Further, the W04 has a special feature in its gearbox design. “The carbon casing sits in a carbon frame. The suspension elements are bolted to this frame. Normally, the wishbone and Pullrods draw directly on the gearbox housing. The Mercedes-solution allows a high degree of flexibility and engineers can change the geometry for virtually every race”.

Of course a team must run a gearbox for 5 races and so other teams cannot change their fundamental configurations outside of that 5 race cycle without facing a 5 place grid penalty. Moving the pivot points and hence changing the housing requires the parts to be crash tested again too.

Mercedes say they were aware of this dilemma when designing the car and this solution meant they could react from circuit to circuit both “quickly and efficiently” and in time from projected track temperatures too.

When asked whether the current setup had been made prior to Monaco and prior to the test in Barcelona, Brawn was thin lipped and responded, “No comment”.

Woeful Williams

Having failed to score a single point in the first 6 races of the season, the Grove based outfit has had its worst start to the year since 1975. 2011 was deemed an annus horribilis, yet 2013 is worse still. The looming is the possibility the team will lose around£30m a year from Venezuelan sponsors PDVSA, following the death of the country’s president who ruled the company as his personal fiefdom. Things look gloomy on all fronts.

Yet Mike Coughlan, Technical Director, says on the teams website, “We had a difficult weekend in Monaco, but we did find a good direction for development which we will be carrying through to Canada with a number of new parts. There is still a lot of work to do, but we are confident that everyone in the team is pushing hard to get us back to where we need to be”.

Kovalainen goes it alone

Having failed to secure sponsorship and a drive for 2013, Heikki has taken matters into his own hands. “I’m not with IMG anymore,” he told SPEEDTV.com. “I can confirm that, but I’ve agreed not to talk about it any further than that. I’m working on my own now, but right now there are no discussions with anybody else. I’m just focusing on working with Caterham and trying to help the team to move forward this year.”

IMG are a global media rights agency and are at present up for sale and Sky News reported at the weekend, CVC Capital Partners are planning a $2 billion takeover bid. “IMG has grown its profitability considerably. In 2010, the company made $78m (£51.3m) while this year it is expected to make more than double that amount, and its emerging markets exposure provides it with a platform for rapid future growth”.

So at current projected profit rates ($170m), it would take 11.7 years without growth to get a buyers purchase cash back.

Mmm. More rolls in the Casino of Capital values based on a wing and a prayer.

Wolff on Vettel

Susie Wolff has cited Sebastian Vettel as an example of how women could compete head-to-head in formula one against men. She tells the Observer, “Look at the size of Sebastian Vettel. Do you see a big, muscular guy? “I know women have 30pc less muscle than men. And in DTM I had to train harder. But I was karting from such a young age that, year on year, my body was getting stronger in the right places.”

Danilo, avert your eyes please. We were doing so well…. learning to love Vettel and everything…. and now Susie says he’s like a girl.

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36 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd June 2013

  1. Alonso took second place in his first race for McLaren and won the next, he also won his first race for Ferrari.
    Jules Bianchi was at the young driver days in Abu Dhabi for Force India and Ferrari, was fastest with the FI car, took out his seat, put it in the Ferrari and was fastest again.
    Some drivers just adapt quicker or better to a changing situation.
    Ps. about the picture, don’t be to harsh on Lewis, that’s exactly the look i have on my face after being dragged into 10 shoe stores.

  2. “Or is it Jenson and Lewis just know how to make damn good excuses for being poor for a long time, and buy themselves some time?”

    It would be interesting to look into the past 20-30 years and how many drivers have gone to a new team where there is an established driver already there and beat them at the end of the season or in the first half of the season even.

    Senna ’88 springs to mind (even though if you count all results, it was Prost that came on top), but not sure about others. There is also the case of Mansell in ’89
    and Prost in ’90 but Berger and Mansell in turn were not tha tmany years at Ferrari as Lewis at McLaren and Rosberg at Merc.

    Any others?

    • Kimi @ Ferrari in 2007, he also won his first race for the team and beat Massa who was in his second year

      • True, but I’d be more interested in cases where there was a driver in that team for more than a year, rather than a solitary year. You could say Alonso when he joined Ferrari, but Massa was coming back from a horrible accident.

    • How about Schumacher joining Benetton in 1991 for the last 5 GPs vs Piquet who raced 30 GPs for the Italian team.
      Results : 5-6, 6-5, 6-11, ab engine-7, ab collision-4

  3. I am I the only one who is uninterested in stories about Lewis’ dog…? 😉

  4. Given the rainy weather forecast for Friday, Pirelli can invite someone for a 1,000km private test at a dry location? RBR maybe? Could be convenient to put ‘tyre-test-gate’ to bed…

  5. I would discount Sutil as he was already racing for FI before his involuntary vacation, apples and oranges (don’t get me wrong, he is clearly very fast, but he is going back to a team for which he formerly raced). Really, the person to look at would be Raikkonen, as he is racing for a completely different team, after a long vacation. Still, he has switched teams before so that experience may have benefited him a bit. And honestly, though Nico decidedly had some bad luck at the beginning of the season, Lewis thoroughly outqualified him in the first 3 races of the year, so as far as the season goes it’s pretty much a wash from my POV.

    Interestingly, from Bahrain forward Lewis has dropped his deficit to less than a tenth art Monaco, suggesting the updates at Bahrain did not favor his driving style in the least, and that he is getting closer to being on top of the car. I would be very interested to see what happens if they are willing to change his brakes out as he has asked. Je Me Souviens /I>

    • Maybe Raikkonen is a bit more nimble at adapting to his new team as he spent his hiatus adapting to a completely different discipline. Plus, I think that most of his learning curve upon his return to F1 related to how much the cars and tyres had changed during his absence, rather than just to the differences between two teams.

  6. Arrggh TJ13 you’re stealing my sketch material !! I was going to include that list in one if my upcoming episodes. (Pulls hair violently, bangs head on desk, heads to liquor cabinet then back to computer). LOL

  7. Ok, from the story it seems that Mercedes (unlike other teams) can change the suspension from race to race because they are not changing the gearbox, but rather the carbon frame outside the gearbox, have I got that right? Also, have they been running this since the start of the season? If not, I’m wondering if Hamilton’s gearbox penalty in Bahrain meant he got the not fully developed (or updated) version, which Rosberg could then have gotten (based on Hamilton’s data) post Spain for no penalty. Just curious..

    • It’s more a combination of suspension and the positioning on the gearbox I suspect.

      Hamilton’s penalty was because the gearbox was wrecked and needed a new on – of the same spec

  8. Hmmm Williams … surely (the lack of) consistency must be a big part of their lack of results in recent years

    Engines – The Mercedes engines being used will be the 6th ‘era’ of engines used since 2000 (5 manufacturers, since there were 2 cosworth eras). A reminder –

    2000-5 – BMW
    2006 – Cosworth
    2007-9 – Toyota
    2010-1 – Cosworth
    2012-3 – Renault
    2014 – ? Mercedes

    All this after the switch to Renault was going to be “really successful, like the last time Williams and Renault collaborated”. Okay, maybe the only reason for the change might be because, as we know, the new Merc engines are cheaper than Renault, but still a lack of consistency recently.

    Drivers – 2009 was the last time they kept the same 2 drivers from the previous year. Should the PDVSA money go, will be interesting to see if Maldonado stays on.

    Personnel – Adam Parr, Patrick Head (partly), Sam Michael, Toto Wolff – all have left Williams, for various different reasons since ’11, and all were at quite high levels.

    • I’ve always found it disappointing over the last decade or so that whenever Williams get some decent drivers and a bit of momentum, they seem to sell the talent on for a quick buck to compensate for a lack of sponsorship, rather than having the self-belief to fix the racing, and let everything else fall into place. They just don’t appear to me to be providing a stable enough platform for either the engineers or the drivers to be able to sustain a long-term development programme, never mind a championship challenge.

    • I agree in principle, but seeing as no-one knows what the 2014 engines will be like yet, I cant help but think 2014 is a bit of a clean slate, and switching from 2013 renault to 2014 merc is not going to effect their “consistency” too much

  9. Regarding Williams, Pastor gave an interesting interview in the Monaco GP weekend for Fox Sports Latinoamerica in spanish, saying that people in the factory needs to stop day dreaming and start working. According to him the team hasn’t developed this year’s car at all and what he and Valteri were told would be upgrades in past races were in reality parts from last year’s car. Would it be possible that they don’t have the resources for developing two cars and decided to put all the money in next year’s car?

    • Hi Juan

      Most interesting – shame we haven’t got some direct quotes…

      My sources tell me it’s not cash particularly and they have not done a huge amount of work for 2014

      The problem is more disorganisation and lack of morale….

      • That’s a real shame. Can we start an appeal to help them rediscover their confidence? What’s Mr. Motivator up to at the moment?

      • It’s interesting that you say it. That was the feeling I got listening to Pastor, that he felt nobody was organizing the team efforts back in the factory. I didn’t mention it because it was only my personal interpretation.
        I looked for the interview in YouTube but I couldn’t find it. It was in spanish anyway.

        • Couldn’t the honourable judge try to contact Fox Sports Latin America and maybe ask for a transcript of the interview?

  10. I beg to differ here, your honour. Suzie didn’t say that Vettel is like a girl. She merely said that he isn’t a big muscular guy. And with good reason, too. Driving an F1 car is more about stamina than muscles. The only muscles you REALLY have to train are neck muscles. Everywhere else they might actually be a hindrance. Getting some big muscle-bound dufus into the narrow cockpit of an racing car is going to require a helluva big shoehorn.

    What she was trying to say (at least that’s my impression) was that all the talk about female physical inferiority is just rubbish. In fact Danica Patrick has often been accused by her competitors to have an advantage due to her slight build.

    Hm, I was planning to prepare an article about them ladies in motorsport anyway. Maybe I just have to speed up the process 😉

    • Well, as I discovered earlier, best not wait around with TJ13 on the case. Still, if you are doing an article on the women in motorsports, I would politely suggest two for your consideration: Kenzie Ruston and Shirley Muldowney. Kenzie is a talented junior, Shirley a multiple world champion.

      By the way, loved your articles over the weekend. Can’t wait for the next installment.

  11. I’m beginning to think that Mercedes’ transmission is behind their tire woes. I believe McLaren designed their own transmission and also supply Force India which would explain why they have escaped their troubles. Compounding this is the problem of too many dials, if suspension changes are made from track to track and there is no data to work on they’re shooting in the dark.

  12. Hi ‘J’
    Whenever the likes/dislikes are at 0-0, and I click on ‘like’, it automatically registers 1-1…

  13. Latest news from Italy, there seems to be an agreement to have 4 in -season testsessions of 2 days, starting next year.

    Gazetta dello Sport and Omnicorse are reporting it.

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