Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 24th June 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 11:10 13:31 14:12 14:53 16:21 16:33

Ferrari disappointed

A Ferrari spokespersons has told Bild that they are disappointed with Mercedes’ defence.  “It was unfortunate that we became the object of their defence in this way.”

At the outset of this debacle, it was repeatedly referred to as a ‘secret’ test and the lack of Mercedes openess over the test was derided and claimed to be fraudulent. Yet since the International Tribunal sat, many details are now emerging which would never have been known otherwise.

Ferrari tested in 2012 and in 2013, and now it is emerging they didn’t just use a test driver because Felipe Massa drove the car too.

Red Bull rebellion

The Times is reporting that Red Bull have leaked that they intend to skip the young driver test next month and run their own private test instead.

Following the ruling of the IT, the FIA said it will strengthen the restrictions on testing and too this end it is unlikely Red Bull will act as suggested.

Michelin refuse to rule out F1

Speedweek are reporting that were Pirelli not to be given a new  contract, Michelin racing chief, Pascal Couasnon, is refusing to rule out a return to F1.

However, they will refuse to produce the kind of tyres as requested by the FIA and Ecclestone of Pirelli. “A tyre which lasts just 7 laps hardly connects with the idea of being green”, says Couasnon.

Michelin would suggest other changes too. “For example, change the tyre dimension in Formula 1. Today in GP racing 13-inch wheels are used. That does not interest us. 18 inches wheels, that’s a whole different matter. It would be great to see a single-seater running on 18-inch wheels. Perhaps we will see it too someday.”

Lauda deal

Niki Lauda says that he tried to ensure the testgate matter could be resolved without resorting to a court hearing. He tells Motorsport-total, “Red Bull have been very aggressive since this story broke, and they only wished to interpret the facts in one particular way“.

Lauda reflects philosophically, “But this is F1. It is a snake pit where rumour and intrigue run wild in the paddock. But the decision made is all the matters”.

Lauda had the bones of a deal outlined which may have satisfied all parties, had there not been a formal protest made by Red Bull and Ferrari and Maranello had agreed to withdraw their protest.

Brawn makes it clear, the persistent criticism and comment and demands for big punishments – which came primarily from Red Bull – had pushed matters too far for a negotiated solution to be found. It is clear Ross was personally determined to allay the mis-information over ‘secret’ test accusations, suggestions Mercedes alone had used race drivers and other titbits which had created a ‘partial story’.

He says, “There were all sorts of views propounded on the incident… and it was critical for me personally…  [being seen to] act in good faith was a very important point for me. I was keen that we actually presented the facts in front of the independent tribunal in order to establish what had happened and a judgement could be made.” 

Whether his job was on the line we may never know, but Brawn surprisingly stuck out his neck in Canada insisting the decision to go testing was his alone. Since the verdict Brawn’s explanation to shoulder the responsibility and somewhat go it alone was because he had been personally affected by the inbound accusations of deliberate fraud and cheating.

Brawn told Craig Slater of Sky News, it had been for him “an emotional time, when a lot has been said about the why’s and wherefores of what went on. I’m just glad the Tribunal saw I and the team acted in good faith”.

Marko refutes British Media

Helmut Marko has spoken this afternoon to refute accusations in the Times that Red Bull plan to skip the driver test and run their own. He says, “We will not of course break he rules”.

He continues to state he does not believe that the penalty reflects the crime because of “what Mercedes achieved in the private test before the Monaco GP”.

Marko appears to believe the information the teams get from the young driver test is minimal. “You can’t really try anything in the young drivers test, the drivers at the wheel are just learning about formula one, while Mercedes had three days with their regular drivers.”

Lowe gets to wear a Petronas rain jacket

Paddy Lowe will appear in Silverstone in the colours of Mercedes for the first time. The team say that Lowe’s role is to work closely with team boss Ross Brawn and motorsport boss Toto Wolff. Previously, there had been repeated speculation that Lowe could sooner or later replace Brawn as team boss, following the International Tribunal verdict that will be unlikely in 2013.

Prost on the new Turbo engines

TJ13 has been treated to an excellent series on the Turbo engines and F1 from James Parker, and here are Alain Prost thoughts on matters, issued by Renault F1.

Asked whether the drivers will have to adapt thir driving style, Prost replies, “First of all, there will be a tiny lag, in terms of response time. I imagine it’ll probably be very small next year, but the drivers will nonetheless have to get used to it. But it’s not just a question of the turbocharger: the interaction between the combustion engine and the electric motors will also be very complex.

The combustion engine generates around 600bhp and the electric motors around 160bhp, so power management will be much more of an issue than with the normally-aspirated engines used currently. The engines, and all the resulting energy use strategies, will be utilised by the engineers and the drivers in a variety of ways. In fact, it’s a return to an era when the driver will need to be strategic and very calculating in how he used his racing car. Being quick will no longer be enough on its own ; you’ll need to be quick and sensitive”.

Prost explains why the majority of F1 design in recent years has been on aerodynamics. “As soon as you freeze engine development, the chassis and aerodynamics become more important again. In 2014, the situation will be rebalanced.

There’ll be a very interesting technical side to the sport, where greater emphasis will be again placed on engines. Whoever manages to get the various parts to gel most effectively will benefit the most and innovation will stem from good working relationships between the chassis and engine departments.

And then the engines, and all the resulting energy use strategies, will be utilised by the engineers and the drivers in a variety of ways. In short, there will be new strategies that will increase the importance of the engines. On paper, it sounds perfect !

Many people watching F1 are disappointed with the racing and the fact there are restrictions this year, even if they are subjective, and the engines are all more or less the same.

In the 1980s, you have to say that the turbo engine years generated interest in F1 : everyone was interested in this new technical challenge. It was also a bit of an emotional journey, insofar as huge developments were expected at each race.”

On the matter of engine noise, Alain suggests, “I know that it’s an argument against them for some people, but I don’t think it makes sense. You need noise, of course, but there’ll be plenty of it. It’s true that we have had V8s, V10s and V12 engines which have made a terrific racket ; you could even tell the engine just from the noise it made, without having to turn around. Personally speaking, I really like the noise of the turbo engines – they’re not diesel engines, that’s for sure ! There will always be people who say that it was better before, but the noise levels should be perfectly acceptable”.

Comment of the week

For those of you new to TJ13, the comments section allows each reader to give a comment a ‘thumbs up’ if they particularly like or agree with what is said.

On the right hand side of the page, you will see the top comments for the day, week and of all time listed should you have missed a day or two visiting the site.

In a meteoric week for F1, CavallinoRampanteF1 has your vote thus far, saying

“The Tribunal commented that had Ferrari adopted the same approach as Mercedes when testing in 2012 and 2013, “It would appear to be equally unsatisfactory that this consent was also given by Charlie Whiting”.

As Ferrari were not the ones “on trial” the statement is irrelevant and outside the scope of the IT mandate, and should not have been made.

“Maybe there is a sigh of relief in Maranello tonight.”

Today’s Horse Whisperer column, which as I previously mentioned, would certainly have been approved at the highest levels of Ferrari, doesn’t indicate the least amount of relief that the IT decision has been made as it has. Ferrari clearly believe that Mercedes got away with an illegal test and to put that belief into writing indicates the matter is far from over.

What I believe actually happened was it was made crystal clear to the FIA and the IT that any serious penalties would result in Mercedes withdrawing from F1. The big winner today is Ferrari and probably Renault, who can make it quite clear, that if they are brought before the IT, and receive a sanction they don’t like will withdraw from the sport. The decision today renders Ferrari untouchable.

Silverstone build up

Here’s something you may enjoy and I love the comment from Sir Stirling about driver camaraderie. “We used to go shopping together.. chase crumpet together…

TJ13 You Tube TV channel has 143 videos – all F1 related – and publishes new ones each week, not all come through this website. Why not click on ‘subscribe’ button on you Tube and get an email when a new posting is made.

10 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 24th June 2013

  1. Awesome, 3 days after the verdict and things keep coming out, enough material for a second series!

    Can they not keep some of it for the summer break? What are we going to do those 6 weeks?

    • One can only hope! xD

      I suppose Red Bull aren’t going to ask for an opinion from Charlie, are they? I do believe they are trying to set a new low for the behavior of a professional organization after things don’t go the their way. Staggering degree of entitlement on display at the moment.

      Ah Well, it’s Summer and I suppose fireworks are in order.

  2. Now I need a good summary of all that has happened and answers to more questions.

    Was the verdict fair?
    Was there really a deal struck by Lauda?
    Have Merc learnt anything in the test?
    Can FIA reprimand Pirelli, legally?
    Is Todt going to lose the presidency in the coming elections?
    What about Whiting’s position? Are we going to go back to the Mad Max days with court ruling after court ruling for every little complain?
    Was Massa driving in the secret 2011-2012 Ferrari tests?
    If Merc knew about the secret Ferrari tests, so must have others? So why go all out to ‘kill’ Merc and never touch Ferrari?
    Are RBR in panic mode over the new regs and try to score an early victory over their potential big competitors of 2014/2015?
    Why are Lotus and McLaren so quiet over the whole thing?

    • This is my little theory and it really is a stretch.

      Both Merc’s and Red Bull’s car were extremely hard on tires. The common theory is that aggressive downforce leads to this wear. However Red Bull uses aerodynamics to find downforce whereas Mercedes has the mechanical FRIC system to find downforce.

      Whether Mercedes derived an advantage from the test isn’t Red Bull’s or even Ferrari’s concern, its the fact that the Pirelli test results would end up with tires that favor the FRIC system over aerodynamics in 2014.

      If my theory holds true then Mercedes has gained an advantage far greater than anything they could gain from a young driver’s test. Red Bull has sufficently pissed off Pirelli so there is even more incentive to develop tires to favor Merc in 2014.

      • It depends whether indeed there was ‘fraudulent’ collaboration between Pirelli and Mercedes.

        If they had 15 different prototype tyres to test, it would be unlikely they would know which is which – without Pirelli telling them their plans

        • I think Rosberg’s comment is more down to the fact that the combination of what times and how Pirelli asked them to drive, plus the level of grip they could sense while driving, gave them an indication of the type of compound being tested.

          If it was a proper test, then the info Pirelli were after would have been hidden in such a way as to not prejudice the driver and therefore their data, even if the driver was aware of the type of compound being tested.

          Of course, Pirelli’s conflicting statements about exactly what they were testing didn’t really help the conspiracy minded. As well as never exactly explaining how that happened. 😉

      • I completely agree with your tire theory, the big advantage for Merc (and Ferrari) is going to be in next year’s tires. Look at it this way, Ferrari did one of these tests in 2012 and look at how much better the are with the tires this year.

        I do really think that Pirelli are trying to make a fairer tire for the whole grid, but that they realized they didn’t have enough data to do so and as a result (due to using a Lotus chassis) had given Lotus an advantage. Which they were trying to solve with these tests.

        The problem they have now is they made changes for safety (which they are allowed to do), but changing compounds can only happen if all the teams say yes. Naturally Lotus will not agree, since they lose their advantage, and most likely Force India (who of all the teams actually seem to have figured out the tires) since they already have a good solution. Red Bull (which also apparently gives one paranoia) is also likely to say no, just on the principle that they are currently sulking in their room.

    • I guess Massa drove last year in the “secret” tests because he needed the practice more than test drivers and young drivers. He was after all, hopeless at the beginning of last year.

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