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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.
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?
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.
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???