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09:52 10:11 10:24 10:59 13:43 14:44 15:17 15:34 17:02 17:51 (McLaren know the problem updated)
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Michelin stirred the pot yesterday suggesting they may be able to step into F1 should Pirelli walk away or the FIA refuse to offer them a contract. Time is running out, the teams are supposed to receive the specification for the 2014 tyres by September 1st.
Ecclestone has stated he has a long-term contract with Pirelli, but it is the FIA who have yet to commit. Time is indeed short.
The FIA have not said whether they will appeal the verdict of the International Tribunal, but they are unlikely to do so. Pirelli have kept their options open knowing that should the FIA have acted outside their jurisdiction and they appeal the reprimand, this will take some weeks to resolve.
Whilst the International Tribunal verdict is under appeal the FIA can hardly award the 2014 tyre supply contract elsewhere, without looking like the whole matters was cooked up to oust Pirelli and bring in their alleged preferred French manufacturer.
Any appeal will need to be lodged by first thing Friday morning.
Silverstone Build up
In the build up to the British GP, we will be sourcing all kinds of interesting material for you to hopefully enjoy. Here is part 2 of the video we provided yesterday
Alain Prost began his Formula 1 career in 1980 as a driver for McLaren and he was a child of the Turbo engine era which saw the first engines raced in 1977. Prost earned the nickname ‘the professor’ because of his approach to driving a formula one car. He didn’t race the car flat-out from start to finish, but realised that if he managed his race well, he could optimise the resources available to him and deliver the best finishing position.
Prost remembers, “There was a turbo lag of two to three seconds, you had to find the right moment for the acceleration, and you had to accept when the power would be used. The right timing depended on many factors – the type of curve, the speed, the grip, the type of tires and how they were already wearing.
In some corners you had to brake earlier, so it was important to get it right so you could get on the gas, and therefore get the necessary power at the right time.’s The reason there was such a big difference between the performance of the cars, was partly due to the fact that drivers were exhausted at the end of the race. Your brain had a lot to deal with. “
(For more on Alain Prost’s views of the 2014 v6 turbo engines, see yesterdays News)
Red Bull working flat out on 2014 car
Red Bull will crash test the monocoque of the RB10 today. Further, TJ13 has learned that the team has taken the decision to work almost exclusively on the 2014 car because they have such an advantage in both 2013 championships.
Very little work is being done on the RB9 as Adrian Newey believes the fundamentals of the car are now where they need to be. Having analysed the nature of the circuits remaining on the calendar, Red Bull believe there are enough that suit their car for them to win both titles without requiring major upgrades to the RB9, or fundamental base line engineering work.
If this is true, it is ominous for the rest of F1 and fans hoping for a close competition. Silverstone will be a litmus test of this strategy for Red Bull. If they perform reasonably well, then their tyre wear problems will have been largely solved. If not, maybe there will be a shift of resource back to the 2013 car.
Munich defer until July
As part of the master plan which schedules the Formula One show meticulously, it appears the Munich judges have deferred their decision on whether Ecclestone must stand trial until July. It was originally expected this judgement would be made in June, however the unforeseen drama of International Tribunal and the subsequent fallout, means column inches in the media are in short supply this month for the Munich prosecutors to receive appropriate coverage.
Ecclestone charged with bribing a public official with $44m has resigned himself to ‘what will be, will be’ telling the Times, “I am not guilty, but if I am sent to jail, I have to deal with it. I do not think it would particularly like me, but you have to deal with certain things.”
The youngest ever 3 time world champion has never won a race in the month of July.
Even though the actual landmark will be reached at the German GP, Williams will celebrate its 600th race at the British Grand Prix this weekend with a special livery. It is the same as the one which adorned the car for its first grand prix win and also it’s 100th.
‘600’ will be emblazoned across both FW35’s sidepods and the livery will also feature the names of all 691 Williams employees who work across all divisions of the Williams Group as a tribute to their continued hard work and dedication.
Sir Frank Williams describes this as follows. “For an independent team like Williams to reach 600 races at the pinnacle of motorsport is a remarkable achievement. 78 teams have come and gone or changed ownership since our foundation and our longevity is a testament to the thousands of people who have sacrificed so much to keep us here. It seems only right to mark this milestone at the home of British motorsport alongside our loyal British fans.”
His daughter and deputy team principla Claire Williams, adds “Williams has never been an organisation to dwell on what has gone before, but this weekend we will be rightly celebrating our heritage and reflecting on some of our defining moments over the past 36 years. “This is also an opportunity for us to take stock and look ahead to the future, making sure that we have the necessary pieces in place to make our next 600 races just as memorable.”
Here are the top 10 moments as voted by Williams fans in the history of the team
1. Nigel Mansell’s Championship winning season in 1992. He was absolutely dominant behind the wheel of the Williams.
2. Mansell vs Piquet at Silverstone in 1987. Mansell chased Piquet down over the last 20 laps and won the race in what was an electrifying finish.
Damon Hill’s Championship winning season in 1996. Fighting for the title against a very strong Williams driving partner of Jacques Villeneuve.
3. Senna vs Mansell at Silverstone in 1991. The track was invaded by overjoyed fans and the iconic image of Mansell giving Senna a lift on his sidepod back to the pits. The respect between these two was fantastic on and off the track.
4. Nelson Piquet’s 1986, Hungarian Grand Prix win where he beat Ayrton Senna in what was a spectacular race.
Pastor’s famous win in Barcelona last year. The team’s first win in eight years.
5. Villeneuve’s rivalry with Schumacher in 1997 which came to a head in the last race of the season where Jacques won the championship after a collision between the two of them put Michael out of the race.
6. Keke Rosberg’s Championship winning season in 1982.
7. The active suspension system which was prominent in Prost’s Championship win in 1993.
8. Clay Regazzoni’s Silverstone win in 1979.
9. Alan Jones’ Championship winning season in 1980.
10. Keke Rosberg breaking the 160mph average speed with his lap at Silverstone in 1985.
Pirelli – 3 more years
Italian publication La Gazzetta is reporting Pirelli expect to stay in the sport for 3 further years until 2016. Paul Hembery is quoted saying, “We will stay in Formula 1 we have signed with most of the teams an agreement and in 15 days, all outstanding contracts should also be signed.”
Clearly the outstanding party to sign is the FIA, however, this is a confident assertion from Pirelli and the odd team which in effect puts to bed the Michelin rumours and also suggestions that the Italian manufacturer’s hierarchy wish to withdraw from F1.
Ecclestone referred to Pirelli’s ‘long term contracts with other F1 parties’ 2 weeks ago, rather mysteriously and excluded the FIA from this status. Since then TJ13 has learned the contracts with the teams are Pirelli’s way of forcing agreement on future testing regulations. Having been held to ransom by the lack of agreement among the teams in 2013, this is a step necessary to ensure Pirelli do not again find themselves facing an impossible task.
Though this is not the 7 year deal Pirelli were hoping to negotiate, it is probable that Pirelli prefer a ‘suck it and see’ approach to their next term in F1, and who can blame them.
New side impact structures
The FIA and the teams have been collaborating for some time on improving the side impact structures for increased driver safety. Most of us may not realise there is a problem with the current arrangements, so Andy Mellor, FIA research consultant explains, “The current side impact system deploys crushable tube structures attached to the side of the chassis. Although extremely effective during normal impacts, they can break off during oblique impacts due to the extremely high tangential forces that are generated during the first few milliseconds of an impact”.
The analysis was based upon the Kubica horrific crash in Montreal, and the specific incremental damage was caused by the acute angle of impact.
The new design was conceived by Marussia and was then revised and developed by Red Bull Racing. It is an evolution of the current system, but using high-performance carbon fibre with a very bespoke external and internal geometry and precise layup configuration.
Paul Monaghan, Head of Car Engineering at Red Bull Racing, explains: “There were three teams that ultimately submitted impact devices that were subjected to a physical test, and ours was deemed to be the best of the bunch, so we pursued that device further.”
The solution is a pair of structures fitted to each side of the car that do not shatter on impact but progressively crush and decelerate the car in a very controlled manner. During testing, the pair of structures were able to absorb nearly 40kJ of energy in both normal and oblique impact directions – a major advancement over current designs. In order to achieve this, the structures must develop huge forces; over 15 tonnes squeezing the chassis and 11 tonnes trying to tear the structure off the chassis.
The teams agreed to implement this system for 2014 at the F1 Technical Working Group meeting on 17 May 2013. At the same time, the technical requirements for mounting the structures to the chassis were defined, in order to ensure compatibility with all cars whilst providing the teams with a large degree of design freedom. Now it is up to each team to decide precisely how best to incorporate it into the design of their cars from 2014 onwards.
Monaghan says: “The tube has a common specification but how teams put it into their cars is entirely their business. The static tests that will be undertaken on the monocoque will determine the strength of the mounts and make sure that they are sufficient to support the tube. After that, it’s down to the teams as to how they integrate it and how they design their car around it.”
What is certain is that the new system will further improve safety while at the same time reducing costs for the teams. “One of the driving forces for this was to spare teams extra expense in the testing process,” explains Monaghan. “Assuming everybody has a monocoque which is strong enough and passes the static tests, then they’ve saved money, as they’re not doing an impact test. It should be a cheaper solution.”
Monaghan adds that working with the FIA Institute on this project was “very easy, very straightforward” and he is delighted with the results. As he puts it: “We have a good solution, based upon sensible and sound engineering with some pretty good rationale behind it.” (Source FIA Institute)
No wonder Red Bull are able to run a crash test today.
Lewis ponders the future
After being accused in the media of lacking in focus, Lewis may have been better advised to set the agenda rather than respond to fairly inane questions from F1 Racing magazine. He reveals, “I would go up against any driver. Any time, any place. Any team. Whoever it is, that’s not a worry for me.” He adds interestingly, “I would have happily been Sebastian’s team-mate. He has a great car, so it would have been a great experience.”
Then remembering the PR brief, Hamilton returns to the script, “At the moment I can’t see myself anywhere else because I’m really happy where I am.”
Asked about whether he would drive for Ferrari, Lewis replies, “But what I can say is that throughout my racing career and through karting and everything Ferrari have always been one of the top teams and it’s always a desire for any driver to drive for them.
So anyone who gets that chance, no matter where you are or what car you drive, you look at a Ferrari and think: ‘That’s pretty cool.’ But like I said, at the moment I’m really happy where I am and I hope Mercedes keep me for even longer.”
The Lewis is asked about McLaren. “Back to McLaren? I could never rule that out. That’s the team I grew up in and it still has a really good place in my heart. People have tried to build negativity around it when there isn’t any. There’s a really good vibe between us. So yeah, who knows?”
Hey! We just report it 🙂
McLaren preview of Silverstone
After their worst start to s season since 1980, McLaren limp into their home grand prix not really sure what to expect. Here are their views.
Jenson Button: “Any driver’s home race is a special thing, but racing at Silverstone means so much to me: it’s the place where I grew up watching Formula 1 – I first came here in 1994 – and it’s also a race that means so much to grand prix racing’s history and heritage.
It’s just unique: to race on the same track as Fangio, Clark, Stewart and Senna is cool, and you always feel the echoes of the past when you arrive at the circuit for the first time. Even though it’s almost changed beyond recognition since 1950, and is now one of the best grand prix facilities in the world, it’s still lost none of that special atmosphere. I love it.
One of the most amazing things at Silverstone has been the level of support I’ve seen every single year. From the garage, on the slow-down lap, on the drivers’ parade, or just on the way to the paddock in the morning, you see the fans cheering you on. Silverstone really reverberates to fan-power.
After our difficult weekend in Canada, I’ll be hoping for a more representative weekend at home. Although the race in Montreal was disappointing, I still feel that it wasn’t a fully accurate reflection of where we are as a team – on a smoother track like Silverstone, I’m optimistic that we’ll fare better.
Of course, I don’t want to raise everyone’s expectations: I think the fans know what to expect. For me, my goal will be to get the maximum from the package and to race as hard as I can – that’ll be a satisfactory outcome for me next weekend.”
Over to Sergio: “It’s exciting to be going to Silverstone for my first ‘home’ race with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Like McLaren, Silverstone is a place with an incredible amount of history – it’s cool that you can look at old black-and-white photos of the British Grand Prix and still clearly recognise corners like Copse and Stowe, and the Hangar Straight. It’s amazing to think that the circuit has been in use since the very first race of the Formula 1 World Championship.
“I like Silverstone, and I usually go well there: I had a good race in 2011, when I finished seventh, and I feel confident I could have had a points finish last year until I had an accident with Pastor [Maldonado].
“After a tough weekend in Canada, we’ll be looking for a stronger showing in front of the team’s home fans. We are steadily making progress – I’m hopeful of a better showing next weekend.”
And now under fire Team principal, Martin Whitmarsh: “The Santander British Grand Prix is an extremely special race for everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Of course, Silverstone is our home race, which naturally makes it feel different from every other event on the calendar, but, regardless, there’s a unique atmosphere on display at Silverstone.
It’s a place where Formula 1 encounters both the support and expectation of the most passionate and knowledgeable crowd of the entire season. That can be uplifting and daunting in equal measure.
The circuit itself is tough to master: it still retains enough of the original wartime layout to successfully link it to the past, but it’s probably the best example in the world of how a track can be updated and re-profiled in order to meet modern safety standards and yet still maintain the challenge required for contemporary Formula 1.
Most importantly, it’s an absolutely fabulous high-speed challenge that the drivers love, and which provides the opportunity to witness Formula 1 at its unfettered best.”
Tough life this reporting mallarky…
THE CODE 20
You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a Red Bull team order gone wrong. Well, it is not. This is a brand for a party, a celebrity party, where people can pay extortionate amounts of money to be seen with the great and good in F1.
There was one held in Shanghai and now in Montreal, where the title of the event was ‘food porn’. Oysters, and exotic shellfish and other seafood were served by scantily dressed models. The guest list was described as ‘exclusive and high quality’, and the drivers present were Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg, Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi.
Music came from the house music DJ Jojoflores who was followed by the official DJ of the Red Bull Racing Team, DJ EROK. He had already ‘worked the turntables’ at THE CODE 20 Grand Prix Party in Shanghai. The sponsors were Lexus Canada, Pommerry Champagne and CondoLab Miami.
THE CODE 20 is seeking to establish itself as an organizer of parties, which attract both the elite of the Formula 1 scene and international celebrities. The next opportunity for guests to attend will be on November 3rd at the closing party for the Abu Dhabi GP.
Here is a picture from their facebook page. Presumably the girls who get in for free.
A Wet Silverstone
Whilst the weather may be forecast dry this year for the British Grand Prix, this will be an event that can be described as anything other than ‘dry’. Last year some 6,000 bottles of champagne were consumed along with 10,000 bottles of wine, and the vendors sold 20,000 bottles of water. There would have been tens of thousands of beers and other drinks brought into the circuit by F1 fans on top.
If the hot dogs consumed were laid end to end, they would created a sausage line around 1.75 kilometres in length.
There will be 24 large screens and 85 kilometres of TV cabling set up for the weekend.
Indeed the circuit is the life blood for many who live in the hinterlands south of Birmingham. Silverstone hosts more than 40 events per year, and this drives over 750,000 visitors to the ‘home of Formula 1’. These visitors spend some £80m (94 million euros) and the surrounding area is the home to around 200 motorsport industries and companies that employ more than 6,000 people.
Lotus F1 – passive DDRS ready to go
Earlier this year there was a lot of discussion about passive Double DRS systems. In 2012, Mercedes had a double DRS system which was operated when the DRS flap was engaged by the driver. This was banned in 2013.
Lotus have developed a system of guiding the air flow, without the need for driver input – which is legal. In the picture below, you can see the smaller air intakes alongside the main engine cooling air intake. Behind these openings are ducts which will guide fast flows of air to vital parts of at the rear of the car creating more downforce.
The system is passive because it is air pressure operated. When the air reaches a certain speed, the valves are forced open and the air can flow down the ‘ear type’ buds’ to its designated destination.
TJ13 has been informed Lotus signed off this system at an aero test, a few days ago and are confident they will gain performance this weekend in Silverstone. Alan Permane told Formula1.com earlier this week that the test has delivered, “our biggest step forward of the year”.
McLaren now know the problem
Jonathan Neale tells Autosport, “the only issue with our car is downforce”. Mmm. In the modern aero era isn’t like like saying…. (fill in the blank)
Earlier in the day Neal took part in one of the teams regular phone ins and had this to say. “To some extent I think you’re right [the next three races are crucial], however there are some programs on the car that we will want to run through much later in to the season which is important as a fundamental for next year as well. Broadly you’re right; I think that we recognise that at the moment there isn’t going to be a golden bullet. We are pushing hard but the reality of the situation is that there’s still a big gap from us to the front of the grid”.
Interestingly, TJ13 reports Red Bull who are leading both F1 championships have already switched a large part of their resource into the 2014 car. This runs contrary to previous thought that teams in the hunt for titles would be sucked into staying with 2013 for longer.
In contrast, Neale reveals McLaren are still focusing on the 2013 car and that there would still be certain areas of the 2013 car where further development will prove beneficial going forward.
“I think if you looked in to any of the Formula One teams when you’re coming up against a step change in the regulations as we are in 2014 – not just in powertrain but in aerodynamics as well – then I’m pretty sure that all of the teams will have been running some kind of car concept research work in the last quarter of last year, maybe some even sooner than that. So we have been contemplating what we’re going to do from a car concept point of view throughout the winter and we’re still doing it.
Progressively as we need to meet the deadlines for decision making on that car matched by the readiness of our engine suppliers to be ready with the relevant bits of information then we obviously need to put resource on 2014. We’re working very closely with Mercedes in that respect; Mercedes have got a huge program going on up at Brixworth and we’re very close to the guys up there. They’re doing some great stuff at the moment and they need to be given some extra time this year to be able to maximise the performance of that engine.
So the program is to some extent fluid. In terms of this year’s car versus next year’s car then we’re still learning a lot. I think that some of the fundamental work that we’ll continue to do beyond the shutdown is useful in to next year but inevitably once we’re through in to August we will be migrating some resource across in to 2014.”
Nurburgring attracts a lot of interest
300m euro’s in debt and up for sale, the iconic circuit has been attracting significant interest from potential buyers. The debt will be written off by the regional government whose auditors place a value on the entire facility of around 120m euro’s.
Yet since May there have been 200 expressions of interest, the latest from the ADAC who claim to be the second largest automobile club in the world. The entire facility includes two circuits – the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit – together with grounds which incorporate a leisure park with hotels, a nightclub and a roller coaster. Interested parties can either purchase the ring as a whole or individual packets. Business Week are reporting the ADAC is only interested in the circuits.
The bidding and negotiating process is likely to be concluded in early 2014.
Tweet of the day
From Will Buxton, who says.. “Excluded from the Young Driver Test, Sam Bird accepts his consolation from Mercedes AMG F1 with good grace”.