Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 12th July 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 11:04 11:20 11:38 12:25 13:15 14:39 (updated – who is doing what…) 15:31

Who is doing what in at the Silverstone test?

Following the International Tribunal and all the blather and debate about whether it is better to test with a race driver on unknown tyres – or with a reserve driver trying out new parts and changes in-car setup, the picture is becoming clear who will do what at the Silverstone test next week.

Today Bob Fernley says, “Yes [race drivers will run] I think for a number of reasons, just safety alone. The last thing you want to do is to put an untried tyre on to Silverstone with young drivers. I think that it’s important for your own peace of mind as a team, and each team has to make its own decision.

But it’s quite important for each team to make its own mind up as to how it wants to expose a young driver, and I would feel more comfortable if our race drivers – having got the experience of the previous tyre to this one – were actually the first part of that process.”

James Rossiter is at some point likely to get some time behind the wheel since his FP1 drive at Silverstone was cancelled.

Is it me or has the F1 world gone safety mad. First we have Bernie and FOM jumping to introduce safety measures for pit lane TV people. Then Todt and the FIA not to be outdone send some safety recommendations for urgent consideration to the World Motor Sport Council which propose banning everyone in the media from almost anywhere in the pit lane.

Now Yorkshire Bob is almost apologising for using his race drivers at the YDT but defending it on safety grounds.

So, who is doing what at Silverstone? Of the bigger teams we now know Force India will use Sutil and Di Resta predominantly to test tyres. Lotus have said they have a lot of new parts to test and Nicolas Prost and Davide Valsecchi will be put to work on days 1 and 2. Kimi is attending to drive on day 3 but Romain Grosjean is given some time off.

Alan Parmane said today, “We have a lot planned across the three days. Obviously we want to give all three drivers the maximum track time possible as well as assessing the latest upgrades to the car. Our aim on the third day will be to help Pirelli understand the latest changes to their tyres at the same venue where they most notably had issues this season.

For Nico and Davide it’s an opportunity to learn and improve, while for the team it is a great opportunity to try to refine some of the latest developments we have for the E21.

Kimi is also allowed to run, enabling him and other race drivers to test tyres for Pirelli. This will benefit both him and Romain [Grosjean, the other race driver] by granting us a better understanding of these tyres before we head to the next event in Hungary.”

Torro Rosso will have both their race driver’s present, but also have some new parts to test, thought their programme is as yet unknown.

Marussia, Sauber and Caterham are inclined towards primarily testing new parts, though Hulkenberg will drive on the afternoon of day 2 for the Swiss team.

McLaren, Red Bull, Williams and Ferrari have yet to declare their hands, though Alonso made the point he will not be there as he doesn’t work for Pirelli.

1,2,3..4,5,6..7..8,9….that’s only 10?…. Oh yes Mercedes are banned!

Ferrari family reconciled – for now

TJ13 reported on Monday that this is usually 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.

It’s interesting how 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.”

Then yesterday, loved up in Maranello Ferrari, Il Padrino and little Felipe all told us how like a true Italian family stuck together and were there for each other through thick and thin – and this despite how many million pound monocoques Massa trashes.

TJ13 noted Alonso was absent form the family BBQ and may have been left in the cold due to his curt words following the German GP.

Well Fernando is no fool. He saw the family partying together from afar whilst he was eating the pig swill and has decided he wants back in – just like the prodigal son.

In an interview with the German broadcaster RTL, Alonso observes, “Sometimes finishing second is of great satisfaction, at other times a big disappointment. There are never two results alike, as it depends on the circumstances and who is in first place. If your biggest rival is not the winner, it may be a very good result”.

Turning to ‘them’ – the team, Fernando is upbeat about his families effort’s this season to date. “It has been good… so I think we can give it an eight out of ten — a good score. Clearly we are not the fastest, but our car is very complete, so I would say I am satisfied.”

Maybe a threat of sleeping with the fishes or just the fact he missed the love of Il Padrino means – for now – Alosno is on his way home.

Red Bull aero test

Red Bull will be testing in Idiada this Sunday. The circuit south-west of Barcelona is a privately owned circuit belonging to the IDIADA company, where vehicles and prototypes are tested for safety, quality, etc. It has a speed circuit which is used by the F1 teams together with a a selection of road surfaces.


TJ13 believes a certain Australian will be present but a certain Frenchman will not. Any TJ13 operatives in the region – your long lenses would be most useful.

FIA getting busy, busy busy


Marussia driver Max Chilton’s helmet suffered some damage after a stone was whirled up by Kimi in FP3 at the Nurburgring. The stone caught the Zylon visor strip which is prescribed by the FIA ​​for the 2011 season and aims to strengthen the area between helmet and visor.

The FIA have commandeered the visor for further investigations of the FIA. A spokesperson for the team said, “Our Team Manager submitted the visor to the FIA and it is now with them. It happened in FP3 when Max was slowing on an in-lap to the pits.”

Zylon has 5.8 GPa of tensile strength which is 1.6 times higher than that of Kevlar. Like Kevlar, Zylon is used in a number of applications that require very high strength with excellent thermal stability. Tennis racquets, table tennis blades, various medical applications, and some of the Martian rovers are some of the better known instances. More common usage is in drive belts for snow mobiles manufactured.

Zylon tethers were introduced to Formula 1 cars in 2001 to ensure the wheels were properly fixed to the chassis to prevent a wheel from being propelled in to a crowded area in the event of an accident which caused the wheel to become airborne. It was in this year we saw the last F1 death when marshal Graham Beveridge was struck by an errant tyre, which shot through a gap in the safety fence following a collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher.

Since 2007, the driver’s cockpit must now be clad in special anti-penetration panels made of Zylon and in 2011, a the Zylon strip was introduced to reinforce the top of the racing helmet visor and provide an overlap between the visor and helmet for additional protection after Felipe Massa’s head injury in 2009.

Interlagos still in jeopardy

Mr. E has made no bones about the fact that unless the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo is upgraded there will be no more F1 racing there following the expiry of the present contract in 2015.

For years, the “Autódromo José Carlos Pace” has been a sorry state by modern F1 circuit standards. The buildings are in decay and the facilities for the teams, race management and fans are decrepit. Bernie has made it clear he is negotiating with a promoter to move the Brazilian GP to Rio de Janeiro who will be hosting the Soccer World Cup and the Olympics over the next 3 years.

F1 has raced in Rio previously at the Jacarepaguá circuit between 1981-1989, however this facility has been demolished to make way for Olympic venues. The talk is of building a new modern facility on the site of a former military base.

The costs of upgrading Interlagos are estimated at around $90m, and this would see the pit lane moved to the back straight and modern garages, hospitality areas and a 21st century media centre erected. However, the local government does not have the money and has appealed to the Ministry of Tourism to provide $100m of funds.
Construction is tentatively agreed to start this Autumn, but this will not mean it is finalised in time for the 2014 Brazilian race. FOM has provided a business model which calculates the city receives $100m in spending benefits from hosting the F1 event, and the mayor is desperate for a 5 year extension on the present contract with F1.
Pirelli got it wrong

With the Silverstone test coming up next week, Martin WHitmarsh believes Pirelli got it wrong the way they allowed the teams to call the shots over tyres.

“When you have made mistakes, and certainty we’ve made them over the years, there is always a reluctance to admit them. 

There is always a fear of what the media will make it. But it was also clear to many that there were issues with the tyres.

There was a reluctance to admit it – and teams will always lobby for their own competitive self-interest. As I said to Pirelli for quite a few weeks before Silverstone: ‘You cannot listen to the teams on this one. You guys are the tyre experts; you have responsibility to give us safe tyres. You have to make the right call’.

Pirelli got themselves a bit caught in the middle listening to the teams, especially those that didn’t want anything to change.”

Paul Hembery, when asked if he felt Pirelli should have shouted more for changes when the delamination issue first came up, he said: “Probably. I think sometimes we have been too good citizens trying to do everything right, and every time we try and push something we get into trouble. We are only interested in doing our job; we are not interested in helping anyone else.”

Whitmarsh thinks following the introduction of the prototype rear tyres in Germany, the pecking order was fairly unaffected. “If you look at where people are now [after Germany] I don’t think it has been greatly changed by this belt change, and I don’t think it will be greatly changed by the construction change for Hungary.

They will have a different shape, so there will be marginal winners and losers. It is an area that is difficult to have correlation with the wind tunnel, and that is why teams do a lot of work around the tyres at the circuit. I don’t think anyone can accurately predict what will happen, but it will not reverse the grid or anything like that – unfortunately.”

Cynics might suggest that McLaren’s 2 previous races had seen neither car finish in the top 10 – something which hadn’t happened for over 3 years – but we’re not cynical here Martin.
World Record

A 1954 Mercedes W196 has sold for a world record £17.5m at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The auction – carried out by Bonhams – saw the car eclipse the previous record of £11m ($16.7m) paid for a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa in 2011.

The W196 went up for auction having been found in a warehouse earlier this year, with initial estimates expecting the car to sell for around £5m.

This made me chuckle following the comments yesterday of one TJ13 reader who was hoping he had found a rare Masserati in a shed ion the middle of nowhere.

24 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 12th July 2013

  1. Mr E threatening Interlagos reminds me of the same tactics he used for Silverstone a few years back. I’m sure some upgrades will occur and Bernie will not dare to drop it, there would be an outcry.

    Will a certain Finnish driver go to Idiada? Of course not…

    If I was a RBR fan, I’d probably prefer Ricciardo, you would want someone young and talented there before Vettel flies off, Newey swims off to designing boats and Kimi drinks himself to retirement. But if you’re an F1 fan, then you would want Vettel to go up against Kimi. For the sake of Vettel’s legacy too. I’m not the only one (there are numerous F1 fans) that regards Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi higher than Vettel who by the end of the year will have as many world titles as all 3 of them together.

    PS If Kimi goes to RBR, I would still expect Vettel to outqualify him. For some reason I don’t feel Kimi is as a fast qualifier as he used to be in his McLaren days.

    • Kimi to RBR is actually Vettel’s preferred option according to German media. I suppose it is because he’s tired of the hostile atmosphere within the team. He never got along with Mark, mainly because the latter was bitter about others coming to F1 at a way younger age than himself.

      Vettel does not seem to give a rat’s tail about public poerception however, because if hew did, Kimi as his team mate is a no-win scenario. If he gets beaten, people will say ‘told you it was all down to the car’ and if he beats Kimi it’ll be ‘he’s the teams golden boy’ excuse.

      • I don’t get it. What does wanting Kimi in the team have to do with averting a hostile atmosphere? Does he expect Ricciardo to be another Webber and cause friction while Kimi will just lay back and do nothing?

        As for the argument of a no-win situation if Kimi goes to RBR, I can understand it, but still he would have compared himself against an elite driver. Look at Rosberg, he beat Schuey 3 years in a row and people were saying it was because Schuey got old. Yes, that was true and it would be true in Kimi’s case, but at least Rosberg proved he’s a top-rated driver. Better go up against an old and elite driver and beat them, rather than having good but not top drivers as your team-mates.
        That’s why I don’t rate Schuey highly during his Ferrari years, but rather during his team at Benetton and first year at Ferrari when he was really pushing the car. So far, I haven’t seen Vettel outperforming a mediocre car (and don’t give the Toro Rosso win nonsense, even Maldonado won last year and Perez almost got a win too) and haven’t seen him going up against an elite driver. So for me, the jury’s out there.

        • McLaren – Vettel and Kimi are known to be friends of sort. They get along very well – you could see that in the backroom before the podium ceremony at Nürburgring. I suppose Vettel wants Kimi because he knows he gets along well with him.

        • Nobody ever finished 4th or 5th in a Toro Rosso except Vettel and he did it more than once. if we still had the old 1-6 point scheme Toro Rosso would have 26 points in all of their history and 24 of them would have been scored by Vettel, so saying he never outperformed a mediocre car is not quite realistic.

          • But it was also a time when freak tyres didn’t allow midfield teams to punch above their weight 😉 Face it – even if it was a RB in disguise, he outscore the original and it is Vettel 24 – 1 all his team mates in points according to the only real point system.

          • I’m sorry but that Toro Rosso was a very good car that Vettel did very well and Bourdais not so good. Bourdais was even beaten the next year by Buemi (in Buemi’s first year) and then replaced. I liked Bourdais but he wasn’t F1 material really.

          • The Toro Rosso was still a second-hand Red Bull and Vettel outscored the first-hand one in it. What’s so difficult in admitting that?

          • Never said that Vettel is not an elite driver. All I’m trying to say is that he’s not as good as his recent dominance may make him look. He’s not above heads and shoulders from the rest of the competition as Senna was for example. He’s at best equal to Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi.

          • Vettel is a damn good driver, but his recent dominance is a result of a top-level driver being in a top-level car, as was Schumacher’s dominance in the early noughts. Senna wasn’t head and shoulders above the rest either – he got beaten by Schumacher in an inferior Benetton and by Mansell and by Prost and by Piquet etc etc. Senna was a brilliant driver, but he wasn’t god.
            This is what I don’t understand. There are brilliant drivers, like Kimi, Lewis. Fernando, Seb – but none of them could be singled out. Neither of them is god. They have their off-days (Alonso@Monaco springs to mind). We should be happy that we witness a time when so much talent is assembled on the grid instead of making up stuff why driver A is better than driver B.

          • Well, I can’t disagree with you on that one, this is the best era since the 80s where we have 4 top drivers battling it out. I only hope Newey retires tomorrow so that the machinery field can level up a bit.

      • smh, the team atmosphere at red bull became hostile when vettel couldn’t handle the fact that his team mate was leading him in the championship, crashed into him in a desperate attempt to overtake and instead of admitting his mistake, threw a tantrum. before that, webber and vettel got along perfectly fine. who is to say that the same is not going to happen with raikonnen?

        • Vettel was still at Toro Rosso, when Mark already blasted him after the incident at Fuji.

          “It’s always the kids – they fuck up.” – remember that?

          Mark already thought not much of Vettel before he even joined the team. And while Fuji definitely was Vettel’s fault, it was clear early on that Mark was outpaced from the word go – if it wasn’t for Vettel suffering the majority of mechanicals in ’09 and ’10, Mark would never have gotten within shouting distance of the title. He’s a good driver, but he was never in the same league. His speed is not the problem – he can challenge the best there are – he is just way too inconsistent, ever was, even before he joined Red Bull.

  2. Just had to look it up – they really bombed the Speedway at Rio. And it’ll probablybe another Tilke-drome. People have no shame anymore these days…

  3. I don’t quite understand the ‘Zylon’ story…
    What helmets, etc., require is protection against penetration and need to have high compression strengths. Tensile strength is irrelevant, although it is the requirement of wheel tethers.
    Maybe Zylon also has high compression strength… but these two characteristics aren’t often associated in the same material…

    • Does seem to be a tricky material:

      “TOYOBO CO., LTD. Technical Information (Revised 2001.9):
      – ZYLON® should be protected not only from ultraviolet light but also from visible light.
      – The compressive strength of ZYLON® is much less than the tensile strength. ”

      a search for “zylon compressive” yields a few papers including polymer / epoxy blends, but I’m not qualified to interpret and certainly not from one test application to another.

      Nevertheless, compressive strength is consistently noted as relatively poor.

      I hazard a guess that it is used in composite to allow a helmet to flex safely, or maintain shape, rather than to take impact from objects?

      That may be consistent with application at the cutaways for the visor.

        • Thanks for the help – it’s a long time since I was at school and my physics / mechanics / engineering is a tad rusty…
          And J(oJ) – have you been on holiday…? Hope you’re well.

    • The reason is because it’s used as a composite material, like carbon fibre reinforced plastic.

      The hint is all in the name, but most people don’t realise this as we’re lazy and don’t use the whole thing.

      In a composite like this, the matrix, usually a plastic, gives the toughness and energy absorption and protects the fibres, which have a high strength but are also brittle. This high modulus gives the resulting product stiffness which could not be achieved with any other material (an advantage over other high strength-to-weight materials, metals for example).

      You’re right that the compressive strength of these fibres is low, but the other trick of a fibre composite is the weaving. F1 cars go way beyond a 0/90 or 60 degree construction of layers of alternating fibres, but you can imagine even with the simplest pattern, there will be fibres in all directions, some in tensile loading during a collision.

      The matrix will also transfer stress across the composite, and this together with directional weaving designed with the shape of the component in mind, gives both the high strength and exceptional energy-absorbing properties.

      If you need a composite with absolute compressive strength, look at using a ceramic as the matrix. This is done in vehicle armour, where weight isn’t such a consideration.

      Hope this made some sense!

      • Hey Lloyd, it certainly did – many thanks… It also reminded me of my old fibreglass days… Exactly the same (I think) principle.
        Where would we be without all you guys sharing your knowledge and opinions…

  4. Pingback: Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 16th July 2013 | thejudge13·

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