Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 06 June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day – 15:30 18:52

Canadian GP Race Stewards

Canadian GP Race Stewards Biographies GARRY CONNELLY DEPUTY PRESIDENT, FIA INSTITUTE; DIRECTOR, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF MOTOR SPORT SAFETY; F1 AND WTCC STEWARD; FIA WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL MEMBER	 Garry Connelly has been involved in motor sport since the late 1960s. A long-time rally competitor, Connelly was instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to Australia in 1988 and served as Chairman of the Organising Committee, Board member and Clerk of Course of Rally Australia until December 2002. He has been an FIA Steward and FIA Observer since 1989, covering the FIA’s World Rally Championship, World Touring Car Championship and Formula One Championship. He is a director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety and a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.  RADOVAN NOVAK SEC. GENERAL OF THE ACCR (AUTOCLUB OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC); WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL MEMBER	 Radovan Novak has been actively involved in motorsport since 1963 and rose to become Secretary General of the ACCR in 1990.Since 1991 he has held the role of President of the FIA Central Europe Zone and over the past two decades he has acted as a steward and observer in WRC and ERC rallies, EC autocross and rallycross events and WTCC and GT races. He has been a Formula One steward since 1994. From 1994 to 2006, he was a member of the FIA Off-road Commission and was made a member of the World Motor Sport Council in 1998. In 2000 he became a member of the Sport Commission at the Ministry of Sport of the Czech Republic. An avid racer and co-driver, Radovan Novak has won a number of Czech rallying events.  MARTIN DONNELLY FORMULA ONE DRIVER 1989-90	 Ulsterman Martin Donnelly, 47, was a star of junior racing categories in the 1980s before making his grand prix debut with the Arrows team at the 1989 French GP at Paul Ricard, substituting for Derek Warwick. He qualified 14th and raced to a creditable 12th. He was offered a race drive at Lotus alongside Warwick for 1990 and started 12 races, recording a best finish of seventh at the Hungarian GP. However, his time in Formula One was cut short when, later in the season, a suspension failure caused a huge accident in practice for the Spanish GP at Jerez. Despite the serious injuries he suffered, Donnelly recovered sufficiently to race competitively in national events. He now runs Donnelly Track Academy in Norfolk, England and has held a number of racing team management positions.GARRY CONNELLY
DEPUTY PRESIDENT, FIA INSTITUTE; DIRECTOR, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF MOTOR SPORT SAFETY; F1 AND WTCC STEWARD; FIA WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL MEMBER
Garry Connelly has been involved in motor sport since the late 1960s. A long-time rally competitor, Connelly was instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to Australia in 1988 and served as Chairman of the Organising Committee, Board member and Clerk of Course of Rally Australia until December 2002.

He has been an FIA Steward and FIA Observer since 1989, covering the FIA’s World Rally Championship, World Touring Car Championship and Formula One Championship. He is a director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety and a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

prvw-steward-novak © FIARADOVAN NOVAK
SEC. GENERAL OF THE ACCR (AUTOCLUB OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC); WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL MEMBER
Radovan Novak has been actively involved in motorsport since 1963 and rose to become Secretary General of the ACCR in 1990.Since 1991 he has held the role of President of the FIA Central Europe Zone and over the past two decades he has acted as a steward and observer in WRC and ERC rallies, EC autocross and rallycross events and WTCC and GT races.

He has been a Formula One steward since 1994. From 1994 to 2006, he was a member of the FIA Off-road Commission and was made a member of the World Motor Sport Council in 1998. In 2000 he became a member of the Sport Commission at the Ministry of Sport of the Czech Republic. An avid racer and co-driver, Radovan Novak has won a number of Czech rallying events.

prvw-steward-donnelly © FIAMARTIN DONNELLY
FORMULA ONE DRIVER 1989-90
Ulsterman Martin Donnelly, 47, was a star of junior racing categories in the 1980s before making his grand prix debut with the Arrows team at the 1989 French GP at Paul Ricard, substituting for Derek Warwick. He qualified 14th and raced to a creditable 12th. He was offered a race drive at Lotus alongside Warwick for 1990 and started 12 races, recording a best finish of seventh at the Hungarian GP.

However, his time in Formula One was cut short when, later in the season, a suspension failure caused a huge accident in practice for the Spanish GP at Jerez. Despite the serious injuries he suffered, Donnelly recovered sufficiently to race competitively in national events. He now runs Donnelly Track Academy in Norfolk, England and has held a number of racing team management positions.

Not tired of tyre-gate

It appears tyre-gate will continue to be a hotly debated topic this weekend, with the two Red Bull teams continuing to put pressure on the FIA.  Franz Tost is quoted as saying, “This is the most blatant rule violation of recent years.”  Vettel said to Sport Bild: “It’s funny, when the rules prohibit testing, and then a team goes testing.”  It seems to Sebastian that it’s a closed case and that punishment is imminent.  However, fellow German Nico Rosberg disagreed whilst speaking to Sky Sports commenting, “We have no say whatsoever — they (Pirelli) say ‘you are doing that, that, that and that’ and the engineers that they have run our programme.”

At this point the motives for all involved can be questioned with a tribunal date set, it would seem best to leave it up to the tribunal to decide the fate of Mercedes.

Furthermore, if found to be in breach of the sporting regulations, where does this leave Ross Brawn?  With the news from the start of the year, of Paddy Lowe leaving McLaren, Brawn’s position was questioned.  For how much longer he will be wearing the colours of the Brackley based team still remains to be seen.  Especially, given the possible departure and changing ownership of the team, as well as the questions that hang over Bernie Ecclestone and his potential spell in jail.

Baby steps for McLaren

During a Vodafone media phone-in, Sam Michael has admitted that the development of the car is not a quick as they would like.  Whilst the team is moving in the right direction, the improvements to the MP4-28 is “not as fast as we would hope.”

By not having Jenson as the clearly defined lead driver for the Woking based outfit, it leaves the team in a rather undesirable position.  Sergio Perez doesn’t seem ready to drive the team forward in terms of car development, with Jenson Button’s authority continuing to be undermined with the seeming lack of support he gets from the team following Bahrain and Monaco incidents with his teammate.  Interesting times ahead for the team.

2014 the target for Vitaly

Petrov is still insistent that he will make a return to the Formula One paddock as a driver in 2014, even without a manager or his original Russian sponsors.  After being dropped from the Caterham line up in favour of Giedo van der Garde, Petrov split with his manager Oksana Kosachenko, who is now the commercial director of Caterham.

Formula One is still the priority for the Russian as he admitted, “I  have received many offers from other series and attended their races,” but maintains his focus is to drive at the Sochi GP when the Olympic park track is added to the calendar.

Whilst talking to Speed Week Petrov noted that “ideally I’d like to go back to formula one with Russian partners.  The negotiations are in progress and I’m working hard.”  He finished by saying, “I will use all my strength to go back to F1, because it’s my life.”

In-season testing to return in 2014
Christian Horner has been quoted saying that additional limited testing will be allowed in 2014 which will be good for Pirelli and the engine manufactures. It appears that this agreement was reached in the tranquil setting that was Monaco a couple of weeks ago however not all team are in favour of this testing comeback. Running a testing team could cost between $5-$10million more per season.

TJ13 reported a while ago that the Mercedes test will most likely result in testing making a comeback. One has to wonder if this was the plan all along as Pirelli has been quite vocal about the need to test a “relevant” car. Mercedes released a statement saying, “We welcome the fact that we get the opportunity the tribunal to explain the full facts openly and transparently. The sporting integrity is for Mercedes-Benz of utmost importance and we have great confidence in the method of the FIA.”

Could it be the reason they were so secretive was because they were in fact testing 2014 tyres with a very relevant (to 2014) car package?

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29 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 06 June 2013

  1. Nico, a small word of advice “You have the right to remain silent, use that right, Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law”

    • The underlying logic of Nico’s comments is that the FIA provided conditional approval for that test because it was Pirelli’s test, not Mercedes’ test. Article 22 would not be applicable.

        • The FIA’s May 27th statement on the matter (http://bit.ly/19gul1U ) said they told Pirelli and Mercedes that the test would be OK if 1) the test was “…carried out by Pirelli”, and 2) “every team [was] given the same opportunity…”

  2. Jenson needs to speed up or shut up. McLaren gives equal status to drivers, he knows this. Checo got the go ahead to “use his elbows”. Additionally, I think he is now in the correct frame of mind to drive for a top team. At Sauber he just had to bring the car home, hopefully in the points. Now he can go for it, and Jenson can’t handle it, judging by what he says on the radio.

    • Agree. In any case Button is overrated. His main success was down to the short time that the Brawn double diffuser worked for him (and Barrichello).

      Also, McLaren know where the dosh is coming from in future. Button costs them money, Perez will bring much needed sponsorship and support from South America.

      • Button is marketable. Easy sell to on the ‘sexy’ image and a reformed playboy story as well.

      • To be fair to Barrichello, Jenson won 6 of the first 7 races when the Brawn advantage was at it’s peak. Barrichello won 2 races from the last 10, whereas in the last 10 races Button only managed 2 podiums.

    • Would you say Button fell in the honey in 2009? Not a deserving world champion?

      If it was not for him we could have seen Mr Vettel a 4 time world champ 😀

      • In a word, YES.

        Obviously he still had to beat the others but it was men against boys for the first few races. Especially when the RBs had such poor reliability at the start of the year.

      • No such thing as an undeserving World Chanpion, the amount of pressure at that point means (to me0 that anyone who pulls it off, no matter how shakily executed, deserves it. And yes, that would include Vettel, much as it pains me to admit it.

        That said, Button totally found the honeypot with the double diffuser. Just because you’re a World Champion doesn’t make you the best driver, or fastest, or even best development driver.

        Funny how McLaren have a habit of turning on their “lead” driver, even when they don’t technically have one. Must be something in the Kool-Aid.

        • Hi, mattpt55. I agree with your sentiment. The Champion is the driver with the most points at the end of the season. Whether or not the driver/team/car reached the peak of their performance at the beginning/middle/end of the season, their advantage down to engine/tyres/aero, they became champions at the 10th/15th/20th race of the season, they’re likable/moody/downright nasty, it’s all academic. And if you believe in more than just cold, hard numbers on a page then you’ll appreciate that ‘results’ are just snapshots in time, never representative of the excitement, drama, and wider narratives of a race weekend.

      • @Don_Quixote,
        About your question earlier today, Hmm…Pirelli saying that the old Renault car was not up to standard to develop or test the tyres, and a very secret test with a 2014 car with turbo engine might give them some very valuable data for next year?
        That would be something.

        • That be awesome if that was the case… You could not write this stuff even if you tried… Although Matt does get close 🙂

  3. I just don’t see Brawn thinking he could just hide the test away and hoping no one noticed. Pirelli are very direct that the car being brought was between Merc and the FIA so whatever Brawn or Wolff received as an exemption it must have been convincing enough for them to OK it. To me the situation for Mercedes is like being waved through a red light by a cop and then being given a ticket for running the same red light by a different cop.

    For the conspiracy mongers, it certainly would be to Red Bulls benefit for Mercedes to have lots of drama going into next year, and I would be very curious to find out who gave this exemption to Mercedes. Whether they wind up in Stuttgart or Salzburg after getting fired would let us know whether Brawn wired it for his own purposes or whether Red Bull baited a trap Mercedes walked right into.

    Or, most likely, that’s giving all of them way to much credit and it’s a typical matter of a small incompetence being handled in the worst way possible for everyone’s interest.

  4. Yes and having read the link it refers both to ” tests would be conditional upon every team being given the same opportunity to test in order to ensure full sporting equity” which means one thing, that all the teams would be given the opportunity to test with Pirelli in the same manner at some point, but later on goes on to say ” no confirmation that all teams had been given an opportunity to take part in this test.” which contradicts directly the language in the earlier part of the document.

    If memory serves, last season Red Bull escaped getting into trouble by insisting on a much more shaky interpretation of one sentence of a technical document regarding engine maps, which ultimately lead to a “clarification” and their subsequent disallowance.

    The fact that we haven’t seen the actual document (email?) giving Mercedes and Pirelli conditional approval is also fascinating. You’d think by now someone would have ferreted it out. or Lewis would’ve tweeted it at the very least.

    The FIA press release also flatly contradicts Pirelli’s statement that the car approval was between Mercedes and the FIA, and clearly states that Pirelli wanted to test with current cars. Of course it goes on to confuse the matter by referring to ” Pirelli Mercedes-AMG” in the very next para, so who knows.

    Pretty much a crap job by the FIA is all I’m willing to conclude at this point.

      • 😀 excellent, looking like it was Nico’s fault for blabbering to Seb according to the Sky Sports site… and he’s the one being a gobshite in interviews too… maybe Lewis’s loose tongue and media faux pas, are catching!

        (Before I get a wealth of thumbs down, I am by the way a huge Lewis fan, just having a bit of fun and all that, after all if the boot fits…)

    • If one examines closely the FIA’s May 27th statement and their June 5th statement one see some intriguing subtleties.

      The May 27th is prior to the FIA’s full investigation. They indicate they’re concerned about “the application of the sport’s rules, including principles of sporting equity”, and they foreshadow bringing the matter to the IT.

      Next, on Friday, May 31st Pirelli spends considerable time and effort to state and discuss how “sporting equity” is their primary concern.

      Finally, the FIA’s June 5th statement (http://bit.ly/11igpwP ), is particularly interesting in two ways to me. First, the concept of “sporting equity” is no longer mentioned.

      Second, they’re very specific regarding why the Mercedes tire test was referred to the IT, which is “…the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules”.

      In addition, Ferrari is off the hook because “… a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules”.

      So three things there… 1) Pirelli is off the hook. 2) What are “the applicable FIA rules”? and 3) Ferrari’s 2011 car deemed to not “contravene the applicable FIA rules” pretty clearly identifies the rules in question.

      The whole case will pivot around the FIA 2013 Sporting Regulations Article 22 which governs the teams’ track testing. And the particular pivot point will be the definition of “track testing” in 22.1, which has the phrase, “testing… undertaken by a competitor entered in the Championship…”

      This means that Mercedes will need to prove to the IT that the test was “undertaken” purely by Pirelli.

      What is more interesting is that there is no mention of the contract between Pirelli and the FIA. It is that contract which makes these 1000km tire tests legal, (with the stipulated FIA conditions of course). So Pirelli is not on the hook here.

      Finally, (and of much lessor importance) it may be worth noting that the title of the FIA’s statement is “Pirelli and Mercedes”. Given the FIA’s knowledge of this case from its investigation, the order of the parties in this title may be significant, as well as its simplicity…

    • “The FIA press release also flatly contradicts Pirelli’s statement that the car approval was between Mercedes and the FIA, and clearly states that Pirelli wanted to test with current car”

      That’s what i would like to know, it seems Todt didn’t know anything about it, so who is high enough in the FIA’s corporate rank hierarchy to give such an approval?

    • re: all the teams WOULD be given the opportunity . . . . . . no confirmation that all teams HAD been given…

      Hi Matt – I agree with you but maybe you missed the FIA contradicting itself in the above… The first part ‘suggests’ all teams would have the same chance, either at the same time OR in the future. The first would be impractical so it presumably means the future.
      The second part claims this didn’t happen simply because the other teams were not invited… yet…! BUT I don’t see anywhere that Pirelli had to first invite everybody BEFORE the Merc test could legitimately take place.
      I reckon the FIA is using this to either oust Pirelli, or bring them to heel… and, if the former, I blame Pirelli for even thinking about next year when they don’t have a contract. If they didn’t have a contract by the first race this year they should have stopped all development for 2014…!
      The power games here are pathetic… and the FIA brings itself into disrepute 😉

      • Maybe I expressed it poorly, but I was trying to say exactly this. It’s just a press release and yet every single paragraph is contradicted by the next. How is that even possible?? It’s like they didn’t even bother to proofread the thing because they already knew what they wanted to happen.

        • Sorry – I didn’t mean to imply you expressed it poorly – I was just trying to add to your points.
          “they already knew what they wanted to happen”
          – I feel sure this is the case. Merc will get their knuckles rapped and Pirelli will feel obliged to withdraw.

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