Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 10th July 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 11:35 11:52 12:45 13:39 14:19 14:54 15:26 17:30 18:27

Crack’s appearing in Ferrari’s unity

TJ13 reported Alonso prior to the race in Germany informing the world that he didn’t work for Pirelli and as such would not be going to the Young Driver Test in Silverstone to test the prototype new tyres. Further, it was noted here that some of the furore over the Mercedes/Pirelli test would be exposed as fraudulent gamesmanship when the FIA opened up the Silverstone test to current drivers running Pirelli prototype tyres.

TJ13 also observed on Monday the use of Fernando’s rhetoric, distancing himself from the team and stating that “they” need to do something to develop the car quickly. Clearly Alonso is close to accepting the title hunt for him is almost over for another year.

Marca reports today that they have questioned Stefano Dominicali on whether Alonso will be present at the test next week and he replies, “Right now we do not know as it depends upon the programme that we can do there”.

Ferrari are caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue. Should they refuse to help Pirelli develop the tyres, then they will appear churlish and the position they took over the Mercedes/Pirelli test will be seen to be ‘of straw’. They could of course task Massa with the duty of assisting Pirelli, but again a big deal was made over the advantage Lewis and Nico received by attending the Barcelona test so if this was true why would Ferrari’s lead driver not wish to benefit similarly.

Red Bull face a similar dilemma and we have heard nothing from them over who will drive next week.

Could it be we see Luca Di Montezemolo authorise a story via La Stampa that puts Fernando firmly back in his place? It was La Stampa who revealed the rage of Alonso in India when he threatened Pat Fry and Dominicali that he would send a tweet to the world saying the Maranello team had failed to developed his car for 6 months.

Indy copies F1

2013 will see the Indy series again experiment with Formula 1 style standing starts. This was first seen in Portland in 2007, but not adopted afterwards. Standing starts will be seen at 2 IndyCar races this year, in Toronto this coming weekend and in Houston (Texas) on 5th October.

The procedure is based largely on the one used by Formula 1, with the only difference that the rows of red signals do not simply go out at the end, but become green for go, go, go. Rolling starts are deemed safer in the US, so it will be interesting to see if there is any 1st corner carnage that kills the idea stone dead again.
Interestingly, the World Endurance Series Webber is joining in 2014 has rolling starts. so that will be another travail he no longer has to deal with.
Here is the only previous (modern history) standing start for open wheel premier class racing cars – It was Champ Car not Indy.
Williams gets government help

Williams Advanced Engineering, a division of the English historic racing team, will receive a financial grant from the government to continue to conduct research on applications of renewable energy. This is an area where Williams have been particularly notable for developing the F1 technology for use in road going vehicles. The grant for 18.5 million euros will be spread over some 30 different projects.

One of Williams Advanced Engineering’s key R&D projects is the development of flywheel based energy storage systems. Originally pioneered by Williams for Grand Prix racing, this technology has since been adapted and introduced into a range of mobile applications outside of Formula One such as hybrid buses and Le Mans winning racing cars.

Williams is also developing powerful static flywheel systems for the rapid transit (metros, trams and monorails) and electric power stabilisation sectors and it is the potential use of these static flywheel systems in an electric power grid stabilisation role that has received funding from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. This technology can help smooth output from and increase penetration of intermittent renewable generation sources, provide fast response frequency regulation and short term demand peak shaving to help strengthen electricity grids.

Commenting on the grant award, Williams Group Chief Executive Officer Mike O’Driscoll commented; “Energy efficient technologies are at the very heart of our diversification strategy and we‘re delighted to have been successful in our application for the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. It is encouraging to see the government support clean technology entrepreneurs in this way and help them bring a range of innovative new products to market. The goal is for an energy storage system first developed for a Formula One car to be installed on a power grid within the next two years – demonstrating the increasing relevance of Formula One technology to the wider world.” (Source: williamsf1.com)

Installations and applications delivering scaled solutions to a national grid could be worth fortunes to the Williams group and could these be the golden calf that returns the racing team to financial success and provides the funds in the coming years to see them fight back to the front of the grid?

Lotus have a pile of upgrades ready

Alan Parmaine nsays today, “We’re very happy to be back on the podium again after a short spell of somewhat bleak races. Both cars ran faultlessly from start to finish and for a good portion of the race it did look like we would be able to take the fight to Sebastian, but ultimately we didn’t quite manage it.

The win may have eluded us, but to have both drivers pick up silverware and also outscore our rivals in the Constructor’s Championship means we can’t be too disappointed.

We’ve now got the Silverstone test to prepare for – with plenty of interesting new parts on the way for assessment – so there’s actually not much in the way of rest before we head to Hungary, but we’ll be looking to head into the shutdown on the back of another good result to give everyone a satisfying and well-earned break.”

This appears to suggests that next week in Silverstone Lotus are committing to predominantly develop the car with ‘test’ drivers as opposed to Pirelli work.

Permane is sticking to the party line that the race was lost for Kimi early doors when he was stuck behind Lewis Hamilton. “The damage was done when Kimi was held up by Lewis after his first pit stop [on lap 8], but he came back fighting at the end of the race to finish a very close second with a little help from the safety car. We did consider running him on a two-stop strategy, but it would have meant an incredibly long final stint and ultimately represented a sizeable risk, as we could see the tyre performance dropping.

The path we chose guaranteed second place with the possibility of a late charge for the win, while the alternative – despite also offering the potential for victory – would have very likely resulted in the tyres falling off a cliff and dropping Kimi behind Fernando [Alonso].

To be honest we did expect slightly more performance from his final set of soft tyres, but he was right with Sebastian at the end so I think the right call was made”. 

To be fair to Permane this is the  view an F1 analyst conveyed to me. However, they believe from their understanding of actual tyre wear on race day that the ‘cliff’ would not have been reached.

Over the 4 laps prior to Kimi’s stop he was losing around 0.5s per lap (excluding traffic etc) but he had a gap of 13.83 seconds by the end of lap 48. Assuming he didn’t hit the tyre wear ‘cliff’, he would have held off Vettel.

Sauber – sink or swim says Ecclestone

There have been a number of voices in F1 claiming the smaller teams will begin to fail and soon. TJ13 has reported on the difficulties experienced by Sauber particularly over the past 2 weeks. The team does appear to be on the brink of extinctsion and Ecclestone tells Swiss broadcaster SRF that no extra assistance will be offered to the Hinwil based team. “We have agreements that require us to treat all the teams equally. They’re a good team, and I’m sure there is more than one possible buyer.

I don’t want to imagine F1 without Sauber. Ideally, they will find new sponsors in the long term, but even companies who are willing to support them in the short term would be fine. I don’t know exactly what their financial situation is, but I know it’s not as good as it should be.”

Ecclestone suggests other teams financial difficulties may soon come to the fore. “There are others too, that are spending more money than they have.”

You can’t please all of the people

Did Silverstone happen this year, or am I dreaming. Here’s a tweet from an F1 blogger. “I wish Pirelli would stick to one tyre design. The more they change it, the harder it is for teams to understand how they work”.

Pirelli now taking softer rubber to Hungary

Pirelli announced the tyres for Silverstone, Germany and Hungary together following the Canadian GP. The tyres for the British GP and the Hungaroring were to be the medium and the hard tyre and Pirelli were particularly concerned about how the tyres would perform at Silverstone ever since they saw the degradation in Barcelona. Both are circuits have the highest levels of lateral G-force over more of the lap than any other on the F1 calendar.

Having resumed tyre manufacture based upon 2012 construction techniques, Pirelli know it is now safe to take the soft and the medium tyre to Hungary. A Pirelli spokesperson said today, “The change to the 2012 construction means that Hungary doesn’t require such a hard compound now.”

This now means Pirelli are back on track to deliver 2-3 stop races – with tyres that can cope with the surprising amount of incremental down force the 2013 car designers have managed to find. They resorted to selecting the harder compounds in the pre-Silverstone tyres for safety reasons and were accused in certain quarters by selecting tyres for a race weekend which were too conservative.

Red Bull and Mercedes prefer the harder compounds, whilst Lotus, Ferrari and Force India are content and more competitive with the softer compounds. Missing the YTD is now very bad news for Mercedes as they will have to use softer tyres next time out with no knowledge of their performance windows – other than from theoretical calculations.

With tyres affecting race weekends so dramatically, it begs the question, “who should decide which compounds go to which race?”. Clearly this favours certain teams and disadvantages others.

Hill the third calls it a day

Graham and Damon fans hoping for a 3rd generation of F1 drivers from the family will today be disappointed. Josh Hill announces his retirement from Formula 3 Euro series saying, “Coming from the Hill family it was inevitable that I would be drawn to racing. I have learned an enormous amount and really enjoyed the experience, but I do not want to compete unless I am 100 percent devoted.”

As I now have ambitions in other fields I feel it is the right move to withdraw from racing.”

Josh had a fairly big ‘off’ this weekend when competing in FP2 in Zandvoort. There is no suggestion this had any bearing on his decision.

BBC cockup

Having received 713 complaints the BBC has apologised for revealing the results of qualifying for the German GP before it had screened the highlights programme. It was a commentator at Wimbledon who revealed Lewis had taken pole position following a trailer for the corporations weekend coverage of the event. The BBC statement reads:

“The reference to Lewis Hamilton having secured pole position in the Formula One German Grand Prix Qualifying earlier that day was an unfortunate error made by the Wimbledon production team. The intention was to promote BBC1’s coverage of the German Grand Prix final the following day but, in doing so, the team failed to realise that at that point BBC1’shighlights of the qualifying had yet to be broadcast. We apologise for this error and that it affected some viewers’ enjoyment of our qualifying highlights programme.

BBC Sport have reminded their teams of the importance of checking transmission schedules before such promotions.”

Toro Rosso to use race drivers to test

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo will both be behind the wheel for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team for the test at Silverstone July 17-19. JEV has a blog oin the teams website and had this to say, “I hope that we will get some answers, particularly in regard to what to expect from the revised Pirelli tyres, which is what us race drivers will work on. We’re getting 2013 compounds built on 2012 constructions, so it will be interesting to see how we handle those.”

He does say the exact schedule has not been finalised by the team as yet.

Ferrari follow Mercedes’ lead.

TJ13 is hearing the deal is now done and James Allison will join Ferrari. He will initially work initially alongside the teams chief design engineer Nicholas Tombazis. This position appears to exist in rather a “no man’s land”.

Ferrari’s hierarchy is beginning to resemble that of Mercedes as they now have 3 technical director roles. When Pat Fry replaced the dismissed Aldo Costa, the role Fry took up was downgraded to ‘director of chassis’ from Costa’s ‘technical director’ position. Pat Fry also operates as Ferrari’s head strategist and is assisted in this by specialist Neil Martin – officially ‘head of operations research’.

The other two ‘directors’  are Corrado Lanzone – ‘production director’ and Luca Marmorini – ‘electronics director’, though Luca often speaks on engine matters as well. The 3 engineering ‘directors’ operate on an equal footing within the team and all report directly to team boss Domenicali who assumed responsibility for circuit strategy and other functions previously assigned to the ‘technical director’.

This will most likely be an interim step for James Allison and we may see the ‘technical director’ role re-instated in time, with James the incumbent. Dominicali will then be freed up for the inevitable media demands on a race weekend and it will add specialist attention to track side operations.

However, it has been suggested picking the winning Euro Millions numbers is simpler than predicting where the cards will fall following a Ferrari operational reshuffle

Anyone, good at drawing organisational charts???

26 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 10th July 2013

  1. Snr Alonso has been known to exhibit occasional fits of pique for many years but now… after three years of ‘nearly’, but with little apparent solution from Ferrari much of the time, I can hardly blame him for his frustration. He knows he’s good, and he is known to pull good results out of the bag – sometimes from the bottom of very deep bags… How can he be expected to smile whenever Vettel, or anyone else, romps away from him… I’m not an Alonso fan but I can sympathise.

    • Totally agree. I don’t like the man and don’t like Ferrari either, but you have to say he’s at the top and Ferrari have thrown the title away last year by not being able to develop the car as fast (or at all) as RBR. Alonso had a 40-point lead over Webber and nearly 50 over Vettel after Hungary, and yet he still missed out on the title…again!

  2. Isn’t it strange how Ferrari had correlation issues in the last 2 or 3 years and have selected to do all their work in the Toyota tunnel, until theirs is repaired or recalibrated by August.
    Mclaren is also using the Toyota tunnel as theirs, I believe, is more dated and it is being used by Marussia.
    Toyota may have spent the money when they competed, but they were never at the cutting edge of chassis design. Is it purely coincidence that Toyota, Mclaren and Ferrari are struggling with development?

  3. I feel sorry for Alonso and Ferrari being almost there, and it looks like its going to be the same story for a fourth straight year.

    Its not just even Ferrari though, I cannot understand that in 4 years none of the big teams seem to be able to catch up to Red Bull to such an extent that I am sure F1 is losing viewers because of it.

    It would be interesting to see what the relative spend of the big teams is to see if Red Bull are just outspending everyone???

    • Gordon Murray, Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey have all been responsible for periods of dominance over the past 20+ years in F1.

      Ferrari spend will not be too dissimilar to RB’s if not more

    • I had seen somewhere (can’t remember where, maybe JA?) that the spending of the top 5 teams correlated exactly with their WCC position lat year, i.e. RBR spent the most followed by Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Merc.

      • according to German media. Ferrari has the biggest budget – about 20 million more than McLaren and Red Bull. who are about the same. After these three comes nothing for a long time and then Merc. I’ll post a link if I find the article.

        • “according to German media. Ferrari has the biggest budget…”

          I thought that was the case too – plus all the hidden work done elsewhere in the operation

          • All that hidden work doesnt seem to help much !

            Maybe its time the big teams pool their resources against RB, they may have better success.

          • Actually, i have a better idea, maybe the big teams should just club together to pay/find an alternative challenge for Newey.

        • Red Bull run their F1 operations through two companies, Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technology, so it’s not really clear how much they spend.
          It may look like Ferrari spends the most, about $250 million, some think it’s safe to assume Red Bull spends somewhere between $300 and $350 million.
          I believe this lack of trust made Ferrari (and Red Bull) pull out of FOTA.

          • I don’t get how RBR manage to get away without spending anything on KERS or the engine development. Theirs appears to be purely an aero and chassis budget and such is far in excess of the other top teams. And I find it unlikely that they pay any more for their drive chain than say Caterham….

          • You can’t add up all spending of Red Bull Technology to the F1 Budget. While they are mainly responsible for building the car (Adrian Newey is an employee of RBT, not RBR), I remember seeing a docu that they were also involved in the development of that baloon, which was used in the record breaking stratosphere jump, so not all of their spending goes to F1.

            Ferrari also hides costs in other divisions. For instance they probably didn’t pay a dime for the Pirelli test, which was run by Corse Clienti. I’m pretty sure they lines are blurry in places between F1 and the road car division at McLaren, too. Same goes for Merc. Their buget is only that of the team, it doesn’t include the spending of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, which do the engine development.

            I don’t think that RB outspends the other top teams, if at all. And there is no direct connection in spending and success, else Toyota would have been serial champions.

          • “…there is no direct connection in spending and success, else Toyota would have been serial champions.”

            I think paying Mike Gascoyne over 1m euros a year to run the team was their first mistake.

    • Reposting from an F1Fanatic thread – RB have a holding company as well which spends a significant amount, and I think RBR and Toro Rosso are both under this holding company (no doubt that the spend probably goes on designing Red Bull development parts. Red Bull Technology, I think it is called). This is what I can remember from Joe Saward’s blog analysis.

      For 2012 figures, I have:
      Red Bull – 605 employees, $344m.
      Ferrari – 600 employees, $240m.
      McLaren – 600 employees, $240m. (Interesting this is the same as Ferrari, considering Ferrari’s extra FOM deal)
      Mercedes – 550 employees, $225m.
      Lotus – 4-500 employees, $190m.
      Williams – 4-500 employees, $145m.
      Toro Rosso – 300 employees, $110m.
      Sauber – 300 employees, $104m.
      Force India – 300 employees, $100m.
      Caterham – 260 employees, $96m.
      Marussia – 175 employees, $105m.

      Guessing that Lotus have near 500 people, Williams near 400. Mercedes have publicised that their 2013 spend has increased, throwing away their 2010-12 strategy of winning with a little less spend, and also taking into account the 2014 engine spend they now spend more than Red Bull (and the car development would back this up – RB are always best through the year, Merc have gained multiple seconds this year and are now keeping up in development). These figures show how Williams did so well last year, as they should do, with a boost from the PDVSA money, but this year they’ve gone down a development blind alley somewhat. Sauber did very well last year, and their star people have now been poached for more money, putting them in a similar position. Force India’s strategy of buying in speed from McLaren has worked well to propel them above their midfield rivals, securing more FOM money each time out. Marussia are now looking to do the same strategy and they are in a lot of bank debt to try and secure this critical 10th place/FOM money, as shown by their spend to employee ratio. Lotus are punching above their weight, and with some significant Honeywell or investor backing, could really challenge the top four teams, but perhaps they need to replace James Allison first.

      I wonder if the knowledge of these figures would change any opinions on who best deserves another WDC, given we now know what machinery they have (and how much it cost to make it).

      • The knowledge about spending doesn’t change a thing. There’s still only one, who deserves the title and that’s the one, who has the most points when the fat lady has finished her singing. If spending would have a direct influence on the result Ferrari would have won 80% of championships in F1, as they were traditionally the team with the biggest money. That only changed with the arrival the big manufacturers (may it be lemonade or cars).
        The real factor are the people. Whoever has Adrian Newey has the best shot at winning, because that man is utterly brilliant. The only one, who could challenge him with any sort of consistency was Rory Byrne and word has it that he is heavily involved in the design of the 2014 Ferrari.

        • ‘If spending would have a direct influence…’

          I guess that heavily depends on where you spend the money! You have only got to look at Lotus and if the figures are only even remotely correct, they are spending a lot less money and are actually close………. (but no cigar….).

          I hate to mention tyres again, but they are influencing too much the advantage / disadvantage to specific teams, ie RB favour harder compounds, Lotus et al softer. Also Ferrari has a tyre expert on staff and that doesn’t seem to be helping much!!

          I guess what I am trying to ask in all this is what is it going to take to even out the competition, that Newey leaves F1 (surely not)???

          • I do agree with you Danilo, Toyota spent a lot of money indeed and built infrastructure such as the Cologne windtunnel, but without that special design talent (instead trying to grow their own in house) never came close to a championship challenge. It’s no surprise to me that Ferrari, if it turns out to be true, have re-poached James Allison to try and beat Red Bull (and got Rory Byrne back for the 2014 car!). They need this to help Fernando get his deserved 3rd title! McLaren have also now got Sauber’s Matt Morris to try and capture some of that 2012 Sauber form, which, looking at the numbers, really punched above its weight, perhaps the best efficiency on the board.

        • You’re right, he was heavily involved in the carbon fibre workings on their latest hyper car – LaFerrari.
          Once that was completed, he turned his attention to the 2014 car, from around MarchApril time I believe. To paraphrase, he reportedly said that the 2014 design, makes the current car look antiquated.

          Whether that is the change in regulations, or the simple fact he doesn’t believe the F138 is that good, I don’t know, but Allison joining Ferrari when he has worked there previously under Rory Byrne can only be a good thing. Personally I cannot see a future for Pat Fry there. I guess it depends on ego and hierachy.

  4. I always thought one of the reasons for a rolling start at the Indy 500 was the inability of the cars to stagger off the line with the very high gearing and few ratios that they have. At pit stops (and it is a long time since I have been able to watch Indy car racing) the pit crew gave them a shove to get some momentum before the driver engaged the clutch.

    • Just re-read your article and I see the standing start applies to Indy car racing in general and not simply the 500.

  5. If Kimi -> Red Bull and Hulk -> Lotus and if Sauber magically find some money for next year, would we see Kamui back in F1? He does have a bit more money now I suppose and if Honda can help them with some money and engines for 2016 and onwards, it might just work.

  6. Pingback: Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 29th July 2013 | thejudge13·

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