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10:12 10:21 11:12 12:47 13:01 13:14 14:10 14:27 14:38 16:49 16:59 17:04 17:14 17:39 18:10 18:17 (Updated.. “Selflessness breaks out in F1 – and then again….”) 18:30 (Updated.. “Tyregate #3,456”) 19:22 19:37 19:51
Shifting sands and the calendar
2 weeks ago in Canada, the Bahraini contingent were out in force with smiles all round and the world was that Bahrain would be getting the 2014 opening race, with a test the week before. Clearly there has been a problem since. The World Motor Sport Council met in Goodwood last week and for a second year in a row, the provisional calendar was not published on time.
Ron Walker was in London before the race weekend and had talks with Bernie Ecclestone. He tells the Australian Financial Review, “We will be the first race (in 2014). Everything is going to plan for that.” Mr. E and Walker go back a long way together and it appears the Bahraini’s are out of favour as the F1 supremo adds, “No, we aren’t making Bahrain the first race next year. I think we will keep it as it is. It is just a rumour that it will change.”
Ferrari to test before Hungary
TJ13 reported at the weekend that Red Bull have requested clarification on a test they would like to do with Pirelli. In the mean time it is rumoured last night Ferrari have already agreed a Pirelli test sometime between the German GP and the Hungarian GP to test a 2011 car, with 2013 components and a current competing driver.
Lotus did run the DRD
Quick reminder for those doubters – and we had a lot of Lotus fans visit us from links posted on a couple of sites last week. TJ13 reported it first the Enstone team had signed off this device and were going to run it at the British Grand Prix for the first time since its expected debut in Spa 2012.
Bild is reporting that Nico Hulkenberg is yet to be paid for May. Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn confirms, “It’s true, we’re in trouble at the moment. But we will get out of it again, and in any case will still be here at the end of the season.”
Nico tweets today, “Back home now…happy to have come away with a point yesterday in this difficult time. Now 2 days of tennis & prep for my – Home GP”.
Fi fiddles whilst F1 burns.
Lewis and Nicole split
The Daily Mail is reporting Lewis Hamitlon and Girlfriend have split up. Lewis interviewed on the big stage after the race told around 20,000 fans gathered in the village he had “never been more in love” and that a proposal of marriage may be coming from him in the next year.
It appears the basis for this speculation is that Scherzinger was not present in any of the photographs and their work schedules mean they are not able to spend enough time together. The British newspaper claims ‘a source’ close to Nicole confirm they have separated, and that she is “heartbroken and completely devastated”.
Ex pussy cat doll has admitted she doesn’t understand F1 racing and “it really is like trying to understand rocket science when I’m there, trackside”. Further, “I only go to a Grand Prix to support Lewis”.
The couple have been having an on and off relationship for 5 years. They briefly split in January 2010 when they had been together for 20 months, before later reconciling. Again in 2011, before giving their relationship another go in early 2012.
Last November the Sun published pictures of Sherzinger up close and personal with rapper Chris Brown and stated, “she won’t apologise for her friendship with the controversial star”. Lewis had gone AWOL in Asia following the announcement he was leaving boyhood team, McLaren. During that time he even claimed to his fans he had not tweeted for a couple of weeks because his phone had been damaged.
At that time Nicole (35) went public stating she wanted to marry Lewis and for them to have babies together. However, Hamilton (28) is in the prime time of his F1 career so Nicole offered to have her eggs frozen so that when Lewis finished driving she would still be able to have their children.
The problem was she spoke as though this would be by the time she was 39. It could be their expectations on this matter are irreconcilable. Nicole is due to spend the coming weekend working for X Factor in Cardiff whilst Lewis travels to the German GP.
It’s been alleged that Nicole has attempted to reel Lewis into a more formal and public commitment to the relationship, whilst Lewis was happy with the arrangement the way things are. Who knows, but Hamilton displayed no sense of this imminent trouble in his life yesterday. The next few days will reveal whether the Mail is reporting mere shadows, or whether again Lewis’ ‘bubble’ has been burst.
FIA call crisis tyre meeting
Derek Warwick, President of the BRDC, has hit out at F1 over the tyre problems experienced at Silverstone and previously this year. “I think Bernie, the FIA and Pirelli are bringing the sport into disrepute and they need to have a serious look at themselves and change these tyres and not expect all the teams to agree,” said Warwick to Reuters.
The FIA has called an emergency meeting of the F1 Sporting Working Committee, which includes representatives of the teams, and Pirelli have been summoned to attend. It will take place at the Nurburgring on Wednesday and the matter of the 2013 tyres will be again discussed.
Pirelli wanted to introduce a new version of the 2013 tyres immediately following the Spanish GP and announced they would be raced in Canada. Lotus and Force India refused to agree to this and the tyres were issued for practice evaluation on the Friday only. Vettel did not even run the tyres preferring to concentrate on setting up his car for the race which he eventually won at a canter.
Todt will be pressing the teams for agreement, as he does not wish to issue an FIA edict, though surely this will be necessary given recent comments from Lopez and Lotus, Ferrari and Lotus.
TJ13 learned this weekend is that Pirelli believe the problem is that the 2013 tyre construction side wall is softer than in 2012. This creates more flex and the aerodynamic implications create a new challenge. Yet certain teams are persistently running the tyres with lower pressures than Pirelli recommends and degrees of camber above those Pirelli have said are safe.
This is nothing new, in 2011 there was a stand off between Red Bull and Pirelli in Spa where in qualifying several teams experienced severe blistering, Red Bull’s tyres being the most extreme. Mark Webber had to stop after just three laps of the race, Sebastian Vettel after five.
The issue revolved around camber angle, the degree to which the tyres lean inwards at the top, relative to the bottom. Pirelli sets a recommended camber angle at each Grand Prix. Pirelli had been uneasy that Red Bull and others were pushing beyond the limits. The teams do this to help get heat into the tyres and to improve front grip on turn-in to corners. But Pirelli say they set the camber limits for safety reasons.
Red Bull cut open ‘ tyres to analyse the extent of the problem and they could see that the blistering was moving towards the outside of the tyre. This was communicated immediately to the strategists working on Vettel’s race and then formed the basis of how he planned the race, opting to do a long third stint on the soft tyre. It won him the race, and was clever work by the team.
Team’s also will run the tyres at a lower than recommended optimum pressure. They again do this to get more traction before the tyre fully heats up – particularly at the beginning of a race. As the tyre gets hotter, the air inside expands which also changes the profile of the tyre and makes it stiffer.
When fully heated, the stiffer tyre continues to gets good traction because the operating temperature on the surface of the tyre has risen from when it was fitted to the car, thus the tyre is more ‘sticky’.
TJ13 has constantly been critical of the teams’ attitude, particularly for blaming the 2013 tyre problem on Pirelli. Yet Hembery has commented that the tyre manufacturer have been surprised at the incremental down force some of the teams have managed to create over and above their 2012 cars. Their hands are tied requiring the teams to agree for changes to be implemented.
So, once again there are contributing factors to the tyre issues, yet the teams cannot agree on solutions Pirelli have offered. This is a Formula 1 problem and self-interest must be put aside by all parties concerned to find a resolution. Either that or monsieur Le Presidente will have to show leadership and issue a dictat with which everyone must comply.
F1 Fans allowed to watch the ‘Young Drivers’ Test’
Speaking to Silverstone 2 weeks ago, TJ13 learned that they were not clear whether they would be allowed to sell tickets and provide access to Formula 1 fans to watch the YDT this month. The allegedly required the permission of the commercial rights holder and at that time they had received no approval despite a number of requests.
Tickets have gone on Sale to day on the Silverstone website for Wed 17th – Fri 19th July. £15 per day or £35 for 3 days. The tests would be better attended were they to be held during a weekend and people have more than just over 2 weeks notice to organise their work commitments.
Kimi a ‘wimp’?
Sir Jock has spoken out over the speculation Kimi will be recruited by Red Bull. Unsurprisingly in his role as a consultant to the Lotus owners he suggests it would be a bad move for the Fin. He tells Turun Sanomat, “I wouldn’t want to go into the garage next to another top driver who for many years has established his place within that team.”
Fellow triple world champion Niki Lauda and equally opinionated F1 commentator, Lauda tells Bild, “If Kimi doesn’t go, he’s a wimp. Yes, he might have to do a few days work, but all that means is a few less drinking days!. The question is what does he want?: freedom, less money and not to have to do anything?”
Ooh err Niki. You do realise he is James Hunt’s protoge
Silverstone crowds come last minute
TJ13 reported the sluggish ticket sales in the weeks leading up to the British Grand Prix, yet Silverstone claim they had 80,000 present on Friday, 94,000 on Saturday and 120,000 on Sunday. During Friday and Saturday there were upgrades available to people with general admission tickets to a number of grandstands.
A number of people have challenged Silverstone’s numbers suggesting they were optimistic and whilst race day certainly was not as chaotic as in 1992 when a reported 200,000 showed up to watch Mansell win, Sunday was indeed very busy with very long queues at many of the food and concession outlets and the toilets around the circuit.
This attendance would be the third highest at the circuit ever, and could well have been influenced by Hamilton’s pole position and an improving weather forecast over the weekend.
Pirelli to get unrestricted tyre tests this year
Mr. E has spoken out on the tyre problems ahead of Wednesday’s meeting in Nurburgring. He defends Pirelli stating, ‘They’ve said they’d like to sort it out, but they don’t have a chance to do any testing because of these bloody silly restrictions we have. But I spoke to Jean Todt over the weekend and he has said ‘Let them test’. So he has allowed them to run two three-day tests between now and…well, when they want, to try and do something for next year, as well as this year, so that’s exactly what’s going to happen”.
The tests will be completely unrestricted as Mr. E adds, “They can use what they like. No restrictions. None at all, so they can do what they want. There could have been big accidents in the race, but we have to be careful and know exactly what went wrong before we say anything more.
One thing for sure is Pirelli don’t want problems and would rather there be no troubles”.
Pirelli and Mercedes received reprimands over the testing they performed in Barcelona as the International Tribunal deemed them to be in breach of F1’s sporting regulations. How will Mercedes now feel that Pirelli is allowed to use a 2013 car and do testing relatively unrestricted.
If anyone believes that following the tyre explosions at Silverstone, agreement for these tests amongst the teams will be a foregone conclusion, they obviously know little about how F1 works. Will Mercedes now be allowed back into the young driver test?
Pirelli can make changes unilaterally on safety grounds, however they have never said that the tyres are unsafe and resolving the problems experienced at Silverstone will not necessarily please everyone.
Ferrari, Force India and Lotus now accept change – maybe
It appears the 3 teams who previously blocked the change of tyre construction Pirelli offered are willing to concede ground. Stefano Dominicali said, “For me it is important that we go ahead and solve this problem”. Eric Boullier is more specific, “We must work together and find a solution with Pirelli. Maybe you replace the steel belt with Kevlar – that we would support – safety must come first,”
Bob Fernly was also asked about his previous opposition to the change of tyres and replied, “It’s a completely different situation. Soon as there is a safety issue, we will not risk the welfare of the people, for technical reasons.”
So the arguments will be about the technical solution. Should the change be merely one to the base construction of the tyre, reducing delaminations and explosions, or as certain teams want, do we return to the compounds of 2012?
Anderson’s kerb theory developed further
I heard Gary Anderson’s analysis and went to look at the kerb on turn 4 myself. You could see on the inner lip black rubber worn from the inside of the tyre as it travelled over the edge of the kerbing furthest from the driver. Anderson describes it as follows on the BBC website. “The kerb’s top surface is fine, but if the driver cuts the corner a tiny bit more than usual, the inside shoulder of the tyre will go over the edge of the kerb and that is about 30-40mm high and at a 90-degree edge with a radius of 2-3mm. At F1 speeds, that is a sharp edge.
Those corners are kinks, so the inside wheel will be slipping and spinning. The inside shoulder will be pulled tight and under great stress, so the kerb edge is acting like a knife on that shoulder. It may not cut it through, but it will certainly damage it”.
It is almost comical as Bernie wants to spice up the show, so we now have exploding tyres and kerbs with edges that have the effect of razor blades. I did suggest earlier this year Ben Hur style blades inside each wheel rim and maybe that is yet to come. (moment of amusement over).
Gary is not suggesting Silverstone have done anything wrong but the apoplectic response from Derrick Warrick has also been amusing and given him a chance to have a dig at the old foe – Mr. E.
I digress. Of course the kerbs have been fine historically, however if the FIA/Mr. E instruct their tyre manufacturer to produce tyres to perform in a certain manner and this results in a product with a softer tyre wall then other factors require consideration.
Anderson has a solution. Other kerbs of this specification exist on tracks other than Silverstone and for next weekend, “The FIA needs to chamfer the kerbs so the tyres are not as under stress as they are now. That will eliminate the problem – and if they think that’s not possible I have some mates who can come and do it for them in a few minutes”.
To be fair to Anderson, this was a different failure than we have seen before this year, and the kerb forensics is the only explanation on offer which explains the phenomena we saw at Silverstone.
F1 race director Charlie Whiting agrees that we were seeing something new and that he nearly did red flag the race on safety grounds. “It was quite close to being red-flagged,” he said. “It did occur to me to do that. We haven’t seen a failure like this before; we have seen other types of failure – and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.”
I’ve now given up writing new headlines for the stories coming at me today.
The teams will discuss a test following the Brazilian GP where Pirelli will be able to trial tyres for 2014. Further, it is being mooted the Young Driver Test be cancelled and a full test be run by Pirelli.
Horner is quoted by Motorsport-total saying, “the tyre damage happened at Silverstone, so it would only be logical to simulate the stresses of the race there again”. Dominicali adds, “These tests can really only be done by the regular driver. A young driver – who has yet to learn the car – cannot push the tyre to the limit”.
Mercedes head of motorsport, Toto Wolff, is eager to assist. “If that [the YTD] is now declared a free test, you have to think about what you should be doing there. If it is a pure tyre test, I’m for it immediately.”
Having suffered severe criticism of performing ‘secret’ Mercedes tests, Wolff cautions the other teams not to get carried away. For any Pirelli test he argues teams must install sensors Pirelli require, “but only to test the tyres. I guess without prejudging the detail, I imagine we’ll say, ‘We’re happy for that to happen'”.
(Where is that movie director)
Selflessness breaks out in F1 – and then again….
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has expressed grave concern for one of the F1 driver’s and not Sebastian. “It’s a safety issue now,” said Horner. “We need to think of driver safety. Make no mistake about it, Alonso is a very lucky boy to be going home. It’s not right. Forget performance, forget who has an advantage and who doesn’t. The sport has to be safe. The most important thing is driver safety. I’m surprised they didn’t stop the race in many respects.”
Thank you Christian for those kind sentiments – or are they a re-iteration of the safety complaints (polemic) Red Bull issued in Barcelona before they became obsessed with the Pirelli tyre test designed to improve tyre safety.
Self interest still pervades others who are now positioning themselves for the tyre debate which will take place on Wednesday. The Telegraph is reporting that Ferrari and Force India have also now acknowledged “that safety came before their own competitive interests”.
Apparently Fernando was so slow because the team did not set the camber and tyre pressures at dangerous angles.
Force India owner, Mallya, never one to miss a chance for publicity wades in with his own self-righteous brand of comment and questions the seriousness of the tyre explosions. “Other than the car behind and the driver who might get a bit startled with the sudden explosion in front, it really isn’t a major safety issue from that point of view. We didn’t see cars wildly spinning off and crashing into the barriers”.
Vijay issues a caution on others counting on Force India’s co-operation and states, “We are having no issue, so why should we make other people’s issues our issues?
But there is no question of this team being irresponsible in any way, and objecting for the sake of objecting to any proposed change that impacts on safety in Formula 1 – no question. However, if we believe that a few teams have understood the tyres better, and are able to manage the tyres better, without compromising safety, why should we vote for change?”
TJ13 commented last night there were accusations flying around the paddock about teams deliberately ignoring the safety parameters of the tyres as advised by Pirelli, and it is reported above from this morning. Lotus’ Alan Permane told Auto Motor und Sport that Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had no problems at all on Sunday, explaining “Maybe it’s because we adhere strictly to Pirelli’s guidelines regarding tyre pressures and camber.”
Something more light hearted
The Silverstone crowd received their newest race winner with warmth and rapturous applause about 2 hours following the conclusion of the race. He visited the village and appeared on the stage in front of some 15,000 fans who joined his birthday celebrations from earlier in the week.
Rosberg promised his team would do it’s best to hunt down Red Bull and prevent them from winning another title. This received one of the biggest cheers from the crowd in the 3 and a half hours of entertainment provided on the stage. Red Bull are not loved by the British fans.
An emotional Webber also appeared briefly on the stage, to thank the Silverstone crowd and say goodbye. He did offer to come back next year and just do this F1 race. Some wag shouted “In Vettel’s car”. There were ripples of amusement.
McLaren confirm Morris
Over the weekend it was made known at Silverstone that Sauber’s Matt Morris was leaving for McLaren, though his new role had not been revealed. Today McLaren say, “Matt Morris will join McLaren Racing as engineering director once his current contractual situation with Sauber is resolved.
Matt will work for our technical director, Tim Goss, to ensure our engineering standards and technical decision-making capabilities are of the highest quality. During a period of intense technical challenge within Formula 1, Matt’s appointment is the first step in an ongoing programme to strengthen the engineering department as our organisation prepares for the arrival of Honda in 2015.”
McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael said: “With the amount of work we have ahead of next year’s regulation changes and also the Honda project, it’s quite a chunky piece of work. It’s happening at the moment but Matt coming will definitely help us add to that engineering strength. I’m looking forward to him joining.”
Monish Kaltenborn puts a brace face on matters stating, “It’s just part of the natural movement that happens in the paddock. People decide to change teams and we have a replacement who I am very confident is the right person to take up this job and the challenges.
In our business, you never have much warning [of such a move] and that is part of it. You have to be able to react very quickly and we have resolved it.”
There will be more and more suggestions of rats and ships in the coming days I fear.
Kimi criticises team
When Vettel decided to park his broken car on the pit straight having suffered a gear box failure coming out of Stowe, some claim he may have avoided pitting the car to help his team mate Mark Webber. The ensuing safety car gave the Aussie chance to close up on the leader, and provided him the opportunity to challenge for the race win.
The big loser was Raikkonen who didn’t immediately pit whilst others did. Speaking to Sky he placed the blame squarely on the team saying, “We had an easy P2. I asked the team whether we ought to change the tyres and they said ‘no’. Absolutely the wrong call”, adding, “Not my fault this time.”
In Lotus’ own post-race press release, Raikkonen was only slightly less critical claiming, “I tried to hold on at the end of the race, but with tyres that were maybe twenty laps older than the others’ it was impossible to keep them behind,” he said. “It’s three races now where we haven’t had the result we maybe expect, but hopefully if we can have a bit more luck and also get rid of some of the mistakes we’ll be able to get back to the front.”
Silverstone – Game changer?
I keep hearing in my mind the lyrics from RENEE OLSTEAD’s classic number,
What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain
My yesterday was blue, dear
Today I’m a part of you, dear
My lonely nights are through, dear
Since you said you were mine
If we substitute the word ‘test’ for ‘day’, we have a sentiment I’m sure I heard Ross Brawn crooning on Sunday night in the Crown Hotel, Brackley.
Seriously, what has happened to the Mercedes car? Toto Wolff claimed to SKY it was down to a small group of people back in Brackley who he wouldn’t name in case they were headhunted. Yes they’ve had pole position in 5 or the 8 races this year – China, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco and Silverstone – and would probably have been fastest in Q3 in Malaysia but for the weather.
Yet in Barcelona, Lewis started 2nd and was 11th by lap 10. Nico kept the snake behind until his first pit stop and then also fell back to 11th – before recovering to 6th place at the chequered flag. Silverstone has similar characteristics to the Circuit de Catalunya, high speed corners with big lateral G for the tyres, yet this race could easily have seen 2 Mercedes on the podium.
Whilst disappointed over his tyre failure, Lewis was genuinely pleased for his team-mate following the race in Silverstone. “The team and Nico won, and we got some good points. We are second in the constructors’ championship now, which is a real big plus. I am grateful I could come back through the field and get the points that I did, because I am now 43 points off Sebastian and we have a good car.
We are improving. Just look at the improvements we have made for tyre degradation.”
Mercedes have to be taken seriously as title contenders now both in the WDC and the WCC. There is little Newey can do to beat them on qualifying pace, such is the gap. Hamilton was 0.6s faster than Vettel last weekend in Q3 and a mere 0.1 behind him in Canada which is a stop start circuit and doesn’t best suit the Mercedes power overall
Lewis is clearly up for the challenge stating, “I am just trying to stay within shooting distance and stay within the fight. That is all I am focusing on at the moment. I look forward to the next races and I hope we can do something positive. I am sure at some stage my time will come.”
Will it be we look back on Silverstone 2013, and recognise this was the first genuine sign that the Red Bull domination may indeed be coming to an end?
FIA rule Silverstone Young Driver Test is now open
In a press release, the FIA have just released they say, “’Our priority is to ensure safety for all in Formula One and we believe the incidents at Silverstone represent a genuine safety concern for the drivers’, said President Todt. ‘We have thus taken the decision to alter the Young Driver Test to allow teams to use drivers they deem fit to carry out tyre development work in a bid to solve the problems we saw at the British Grand Prix. I believe it is fitting to carry out this work at the circuit upon which the issues were manifested.’
The test, scheduled for July 17-19 at Silverstone, will now allow teams to field drivers who have competed in more than two F1 World Championship events provided it is clear that the purpose of them doing this is to test tyres for Pirelli. The test may also be extended by one day.
To provide for this, the FIA today informed Formula One’s teams that the approval of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) will be immediately sought for a change to article 22.4h (i)* of the 2013 Formula One Sporting Regulations.
Approval will also be sought for a change to the wording of article 12.6.3 of the 2013 Formula One Technical Regulations** to allow for a modification of the specification of the tyres during the Championship season without the unanimous agreement of all competing teams.
This will allow the FIA to take all necessary actions to ensure safety.
Notwithstanding the revised conditions as set out above, in the interests of the sport the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team has accepted to not participate in this test, as per the recent decision of the International Tribunal.
In the meantime, the FIA has asked Pirelli for an assurance that there will be no repetition of the tyre problems at this weekend’s German Grand Prix or at subsequent grand prix.
*Formula One Sporting Regulations 2013, Article 22.4h (i) states: No track testing may take place between the start of a ten-day period which precedes the start of the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year with the following exceptions: i) One three day young driver training test carried out on a date and site approved by the FIA following consultation with all teams. No driver who has competed in more than two F1 World Championship races may take part in this test and all drivers must be in possession of an International A Licence.
** Formula One Technical Regulations 2013 Article 12.6.3 states: Tyre specifications will be determined by the FIA no later than 1 September of the previous season. Once determined in this way, the specification of the tyres will not be changed during the Championship season without the agreement of all competing teams.
This is not crystal clear. Can teams refuse to assist Pirelli and continue to use their young drivers to test aero and other 2013 parts and car setup? If so it will be interesting to see how much of the time each team allocates to the Pirelli test with their regular drivers and how much they allocate to the young drivers.
I have to say, on the face of it this appears to be completely unexpected and mind blowing piece of genius from Le Presidente – JT – to flush out hypocrisy. We’ll see whether those who argued Mercedes received no punishment at all from the IT will still test with their young drivers and experimental parts, or submit to a Pirelli run test where the car is not a variable.
Silverstone are selling tickets as noted above 🙂