This page will be updated throughout the day GMT
09:45 11:03 11:45 12:37 (Wolff sill not confirmed updated) 14:40 14:46 16:13 17:12 17:48 (Update – Bernie solves the bouncing tyre problem) 20:01
Wolff still not confirmed
Rumours over the weekend suggest Williams have given the green light to Susie to go testing. In 9 days from now the cars will roll out on track to test in Silverstone and the Grove team have not officially confirmed Wolff will drive.
“It’s not official,” commented Toto her husband but Susie believes she will be in the car at some point. “It’s not clear yet how many sets of tyres the team will have available, but I’m getting ready and I expect to drive — at least one day. I’m very happy, it’s a big challenge and I’m ready. I’ll do my best and hopefully that’s enough.”
Considering this is considered by many as ‘big news’ by many – a woman driver doing a full days testing in front of all the other teams and fans – Williams are playing this close to their chest.
Marrusia have confirmed just now they will not use Bianchi or Chilton in the YDT next week. Cypriot Ellinas who is currently leading the GP3 series will get to drive on the opening day. The Thursday and Friday will see reserve driver Gonzalez take over. He started his third FP1 in Germany this weekend.
Hamilton roller coaster
TJ13 gave a little insight about 2 weeks ago, that all was not well in Lewis’ world. The problem is his girlfriend who is a number of years older than Lewis feels her biological clock is ticking and wants more from Lewis, and soon. Lewis has been disinclined to be pressurised on the matter, presumably because he doesn’t want little Lewis’s running around distracting him for the next few years whilst he is focusing on trying to win races and titles.
5 days later the Daily Mail revealed Nicole and Lewis had again separated and TJ13 believes Lewis was given an ultimatum with which he refused to comply.
Lewis spoke at length with Martin Brundle on the matter this weekend and the Sky commentator reveals, “He got quite emotional… when talking about Nicole”. H concluded, “he’s on a roller coaster”.
Hamilton revealed to Brundle, “I’m trying my hardest to be positive but I’m going through a really, really tough time at the moment with the loss of someone really, really special in my life. My world’s turned upside down, but I have a job. If I come in with my head down and negative energy then that goes around to all my mechanics who work day and night, and I don’t ever want that. So I’m really trying to pull myself together and keep my head up but it’s so hard to do.”
To be fair to Lewis he appears to have done as good a job as he could this weekend, as the Mercedes and the softer compounds are still not a marriage made in heaven. The hard and medium compounds available for Hungary will suit the car much better regardless of the temperature.
Pit Lane chaos
Yesterday saw the Red Bull team once again bungle the servicing of their Australian driver’s car. They failed to fit the right rear tyre correctly and it sailed down the pit lane as Webber pulled away from his box. Conspiracy theorists will question why Webber was even called in at that point.
Vettel had just pitted from the lead and Webber had clear air in front of him. He was faster on the first two sectors of the lap than he had previously managed and was likely to arrive at the end of the pit straight level if not ahead of his team mate.
Those with a skeptical eye suggest that it appears to be Webber who always suffers these ‘incidents’ though of course Vettel lost 25 points in Silverstone when dominating the race and heading for a win.
Red Bull were fined 30,000 euro’s for an ‘unsafe release’ of he car and an FOM camera man is in hospital under observation with a broken collar bone and broken ribs.
We now hear the predictable calls for improved safety, a war that can seemingly never be won. Christian Horner commented, “It was a timely reminder that life in the pitlane is still a pretty dangerous place to be, that things can go wrong.
“Mechanics have to wear safety gear and helmets, and maybe it’s time some of the other operational people in the pitlane have some safety equipment as well,” he added.
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn agrees: “On the basis of what we have seen here, we should be thinking that all people in the pitlane are properly dressed, equipped and should have a helmet on.”
You may well hear a new suggestion being advanced in the near future, I heard Christian Horner even prior to the race and the incident that super fast pit stops may not be necessary. He was advancing the idea of a reduced number of mechanics being allowed to service the car at each stop.
This appears a strange message to come from Red Bull as they are currently constantly the quickest at turning around their car. If you believe that team principal’s never advance an idea unless they would benefit from it, then Horner could be suggesting this because it reduces strategic options and makes matters more predictable.
Bad race management and stewarding – AGAIN.
It really is quite unacceptable that the law enforcers are silent following the decisions they issue during a race. On lap 6, Force India released Di Resta directly into the path of JEV. Unanimously, the opinion I canvassed from experienced F1 observers believed it was a stop go penalty – without question.
The team were awarded a 5,000 euro fine following the conclusion of the race.
Those of you who have been reading TJ13 since its inception September 2012, will know I have advanced the idea that technology should make the safety car nigh on redundant. On the commencement of a safety car period each driver recovers a delta time to which they must drive.
There was no need for a safety car yesterday. The stricken Marussia was in a far safer position ultimately than where Bianchi had abandoned it on fire. Double waved yellows mean ‘slow right down and be prepared to stop’ – this would have been more than adequate to deal with the runaway Marussia which was on the loose for just a few seconds.
The result of the safety car did indeed improve most drivers’ gap to Vettel, Particularly Alonso, Hamilton and Webber. In fact anyone losing points to Mark Webber (1 lap and 67 seconds down) yesterday would be justifiably highly irritated by this. The rule which allowed Webber to trundle round and unlap himself is a complete joke and the problem it was designed to solve was a pimple compared to the mountain of injustice we now see.
In reality, the safety car may also have robbed us of an even more exciting finale as the 10% loss of race distance gave Vettel a greater margin for comfort on his final 2 stints tyre wear.
The wildfire rumour in the paddock this weekend is that Nico Hulkneberg has been released from his contract with the Swiss team. Peter Sauber fanned the flames of speculation telling Sportpanoramam, “Basically, I won’t talk about contracts, but I am convinced that Nico will be with us in the second half of the season. It is very difficult at the moment, our resources are very limited and the situation is uncomfortable and embarrassing.”
Sauber denies the staff have not been paid, “In 20 years in Formula one, we have never not paid wages on time,” but admits the shortage of finance, “is affecting not only the development of the car, and also the suppliers. For the large part, we are being met with understanding, but it is very stressful for us and in many regards painful.”
Sauber do appear to be in advanced conversations for a rescue plan, “We are very confident in this regard. If it runs smoothly, we can give the all-clear by the end of the month. It is a good plan, but time is the big problem — we’re running out of it. Mainly because we might not be able to drive if suppliers begin to stop supplying us.”
The unthinkable has been thought by Peter Sauber – that of selling the team. “If there is no other way out, that is a possibility. But we are far from that. Closure is not an option. The fire inside me is kindled by situations like this. There is nothing else to do than fight.”
It has been some time since we have since a driver of Hulkneberg’s stature switch teams or replaced mid-season. Were the hulk to be a free agent, his options are limited – most probably to replacing Massa at Ferrari.
The time of the year when the team from Maranello lose all sense of common purpose and begin the blame game may well be fast approaching. The use of the royal ‘we’ as a collective pronoun has become standard speak in Formula 1.
‘We’, is often used to refer to the entire team, but drivers do us the term in a more restricted manner when they are referring exclusively to themselves, their car and personnel. Fernando is a master exponent of the more exclusive use of the term ‘we’ as he often uses phrases such as, ‘we extracted the maximum’ or ‘we did the perfect lap’.
What we hear rarely is the differentiation which Alonso made during his post race interview with the BBC. Looking forward to the rest of the season and his chance of challenging for the WDC he stated bluntly, “They need to do something and they need to do it now.”
Fernando has a contract until 2016, but each year comes and goes and he isn’t adding to his 2 world titles. This time last year Fernando was ahead in the table and going into the summer break was 40 points ahead of the field.
There is a sense that Ferrari are a long way off even being the second best team, regardless of their mere 3 point deficit to Mercedes who are in second place.
It may be that Fernando believes the team are burying their heads in the sand as a downbeat Dominicali appeared to suggest getting on top of the new tyres would be the key o the rest of their season.
“Now there is a very important element that has to be considered on top of the normal development of the car and that is understanding how the new tyres will affect the performance of the car. This is the most important thing that everyone has to deal with and it is essential for us if we want to believe in fighting for the championship.
What happens from Hungary onwards, I don’t know because we know what the construction is and we know what the compounds are but we have never tested them together. We see how things can change so quickly with a couple of degrees [in track temperature] so you have one car that is very quick on Friday and then struggling on Sunday. I think this is really the challenge that all the engineers at the teams will have to face over the next few weeks.”
All this is of course true, however Ferrari have not looked as though they will be dominant for even consecutive races, whereas Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes have all had periods of momentum.
Some of Alonso’s post race comments were a little disingenuous, “We finished four seconds behind the leader of the race so we did a good 60 laps overall, though not good enough for the podium”. Alonso was 25 seconds behind the leader on the lap the safety car was deployed. Fernando knows if ‘they’ don’t deliver improvements to the car soon, another year is slipping away fast.
Mercedes request to join Young Drivers’ Test
There is a feeling of some injustice in Brackley, that the YDT from which they were excluded has now become a test platform for a whole new set of tyres which will be used for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Mercedes do have the option to pursue the matter legally because the specific activity they were prohibited from is not what a number of teams will be doing in Silverstone.
Today they will be asking the FIA whether they can participate in part of the testing in Silverstone What response they receive – who only knows.
Tyres for the Silverstone test
With the test a just over a week away, Pirelli will be busy again. having manufactured some 200 tyres in 36 hours to be ready for the German GP, the Italian tyre manufacturer has little time to ready themselves for the young driver test July 17-19th.
The exact nature of the tyres will define the rest of the 2013 season and Paul Hembery told Sky Sports News, “We’re bringing along five sets tyres with the Hard and Medium compound, three of the Hard and two of the Medium, of the 2012 structure which is the tyre we’re going to be using going forward this season. Plus we’ve got a prototype compound as well, a hard compound, we’re taking there. So we’ve set out a schedule for teams to run and hopefully that’s what they’re going to do.”
Pirelli still have no contract for 2014 and beyond, something which is a source of bemusement for their commercial director. “We’re in a bit of strange situation knowing whether we should be spending millions or not at the moment, But we’re working in good faith at the moment and we need to start seriously getting ready for next year because the cars are dramatically different and a huge challenge for the tyres.”
Winners and loses
There were always going to be teams that benefited from the change in tyres and those who were penalised, and whilst we won’t understand the final picture until Pirelli have revealed the new compounds in Hungary, Force India were losers in Germany.
Bob Fernley feels aggrieved and explains why, “The tyre is so significantly different, and the car is designed specifically around that ’13 specification tyre, that we will have to re-engage design work on something that we’d actually thought we’d stopped, because obviously we want to move on to the ’14 car.
So it’s not good. It’s not healthy for Force India.”
Force India were off the pace all weekend, and both drivers failed to collect any points. Having to divert 2014 resources back to the 2013 car will hurt Force India going forward and may prove a pointless activity.
McLaren are now just 10 points behind Force India, so the Silverstone team will most likely fighting to hold of Toro Rosso rather thsn finishing ahead of Jenson and Checo.
Bernie solves bouncing tyre problem
In a moment of inspiration, Bernie Ecclestone has solved the problem of camera people getting injured. “It’s a terrible thing to say, but it was just one of those things. There was a whole bunch of mechanics and the tyre could have hit any one of those guys.
The cameraman just happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time. In future, all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pit wall. If the camera guys are on the pit wall, then that’s normally higher than the track.”
At present a maximum of 6 FOM camera crew and 6 photographer’s are allowed in the pit lane. The photographer’s must be positioned on the pit wall at all times and now the film crew will have to stay there too.
As from next year it will be mandatory for all team personnel working on a car in a pit stop to wear head protection, paving the way to the suggestion others should follow suit.
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “Luckily our guys saw the wheel coming but the cameraman didn’t. They were able to swerve out the way to avoid it but it was pretty nasty.
On the basis of what we have seen, we should be thinking that all people in the pit lane are properly dressed and equipped. Everyone in the pit lane should have a helmet on. It is certainly worth reviewing the whole thing.”
Mmm. Not sure how much Bernie’s been watching motor racing over the years, but…..
So will we see Newey, Brawn, Whitmarsh and Horner all wearing helmet’s soon? I guess it will add to the comedy value, however they should be banned from changing the colours and designs from race to race, otherwise we’ll never know who is who 🙂
Seriously, where does this stop? Do we really need a bunch of blokes and computers sat on the pit wall in the 21st century? The answer is no. They could all sit in a truck in the paddock if we want to reduce risk and improve safety.
TJ13 has solved the problem taking into consideration other matters no one is evening thinking of at present – such as law suits for carbon monoxide poisoning – and other nasty pit lane possibilities. Here is the pit lane attire as recommended by this court.
The German GP according to Paul Hembery