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Table of contents… click on a title to go to the story.
Day 2 Young Driver test times (18:01)
Caterham ‘fric’system (09:46)
Problems for Williams (09:46)
Pirelli’s ‘spygate’ (11:04)
Vergne not in the running: Horner (11:28) updated
GSK. The right fit for F1? (12:38)
Day 2 Young Driver test times
1) Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:32.972, 48 laps.
2. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:33.016, 39 laps.
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:33.187, 59 laps.
4. Davide Valsecchi, Lotus, 1:33.554, 91 laps.
5. Oliver Turvey, McLaren, 1:33.864, 97 laps.
6. James Calado, Force India, 1:33.957, 47 laps.
7. Antonio Felix da Costa, Red Bull, 1:33.958, 19 laps
8. Davide Rigon, Ferrari, 1:34.053, 97 laps.
9. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:34.116, 71 laps.
10. Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, 1:34.224, 52 laps.
11. Daniel Juncadella, Williams, 1:34.631, 33 laps.
12. Robin Frijns, Sauber, 1:34.731, 17 laps,
13. Will Stevens, Caterham, 1:36.082, 98 laps.
14. Paul Di Resta, Force India, 1:36.356, 41 laps.
15. Rodolfo Gonzalez, Marussia, 1:37.949, 92 laps.
Maldonado says the car has improved
Having done little running by yesterday, by mid-morning Williams were still struggling to get the car out on track this meant that Daniel Juncadella completed just 33 laps before he handed over to Pastor Maldonado for the afternoon.
The team’s race driver had a number of good runs clocking up 77 laps and he had this to say about the developing FW-35. “I think there is an improvement in terms of reliability and performance as well. Maybe the tyres are not quicker than what we had in the past, but they are very consistent, which is quite good. We don’t exactly have a clear idea because we don’t know, as always in the test, what the others are testing but it seems to be quite normal.”
The Williams car has been difficult and far inferior to their 2012 offering and Maldonado describes the being behind the wheel saying, “I’m not driving the car; I’m just following the car…”
There has been talk that Chavez may have delivered Pastor with a sponsorship fund prior to his death and this means the Venezuelan may remain in F1 in 2014. There is some suggestion that with the oil fund backing Pastor may be a target for Lotus in the coming year but he refuses to contemplate this.
“At the moment I’ve not been concentrating on next year. We have an order in the team which is to work very hard to try and fix the problems and improve our performance,” Maldonado said.
“I really want to continue here. It’s one of the best places for a young driver to be. For sure we are not happy with the result of this year, we struggled quite a lot to improve the car and be quite competitive – everyone knows, everyone saw what we have this year. But the team have a great future, great potential and there’s no point to change.”
Of course Pat Symonds is joining the team and his experience guiding Renault to a double world championship may give some hope to Williams fans that they may return to some form in 2014.
Maldonado is not just looking to next year, he believes Symonds influence could have immediate results. “He is new in the team. We need some time to make everything work together. I think he’s been very successful in the past – it’s quite good. We hope to improve together, to work very hard and before the end of the season to achieve something very good.”
Indiscreet Wolff receives Daimler board support
F1 is if not anything, a ‘snake pit’ – to use Lauda’s analogy – where it’s ‘dog eat dog’ as everyone clambers to be ‘king of the hill’ (other such analogies from TJ13 readers are welcome).
We’ve seen this year Vettel vilified for disobeying team orders to further his own ends. Jenson has regularly been heard squealing on the car radio when his rookie team mate has bested him and the Mercedes chiefs have succumbed to their cannibalistic instincts.
Lauda tries to do an old style back door deal to avoid his team facing the International tribunal, whilst Brawn and Wolf oppose him and throw themselves on the mercy of the judges. Yesterday TJ13 reported that Toto Wolff was the possible victim of a bribery attempt believed to have been instigated by Colin Kolles.
Yet Kolles is respected by many in the paddock for his work with Force India and with the nigh on impossible task he faced at HRT. It’s difficult to believe he is capable of such a thing.
The facts as reported by Bild are that during a conversation in Barcelona during February testing, Wolff was disparaging about Ross Brawn, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Niki Lauda the Chairman of the Mercedes Formula 1 team. both Wolff and Kolles are tight lipped and refusing to comment on the matter and whether the police have begun an investigation.
In the meantime the Daimler board has issued a statement via Jörg Howe, the communications director says, “If you are successful, you will suffer some mud slinging. Toto Wolff enjoys our full confidence. Mercedes wants him to continue his successful work. “
Is this another draded vote of confidence?
Caterham ‘fric system
Following a day in the green goddess, Alexander Rossi revealed the days work had been mostly to do with Caterham’s version of a ‘fric’ system. “We were running a new mechanical system of balancing understeer and oversteer between high speed and low speed corners. Its something we have never run before, this was the first time. We understand what it does, and tomorrow will offer another chance to tune it”.
It appears much of this work is indeed for next year as Alexander adds, “The rule changes are so big that any idea you can get before the actual car comes to the track is going to be a benefit, so our focus was on the mechanical side of things, working a lot on trying things out for next year. It means going into next year we’re not bolting something on that has never had track mileage; we’ve done that now. Every day I get to drive an F1 car is good anyway, but running quite a few new things, and genuinely helping the team, was great.”
Rossi has only had the one FP1 outing previously and in that was in the 2012 car. but he is clear about the difference. “To be perfectly honest the 2012 and ’13 car are not massively different and I do have a lot of experience in the 2012 car, so putting this on I was very easily able to determine what the pros and cons were. This was the first time we’ve put it on the car and the initial impressions were very good. If the development continues, I think there will be a massive buzz in the factory because of it.”
Problems for Williams
Daniel Juncadella’s will be the beneficiary of what turned out to be a difficult day for Williams at Silverstone yesterday. The car was limited to just 55 laps due to an aero rake behaving in an unexpected manner. This took quite some time to resolve which meant Daniel was 45 laps short of the McLaren driver, Magnussen, who was quickest and racked up 100 laps – just under 2 GP’s distance.
Williams were going to test with Maldonado today, however Juncadella will now take over this afternoon. “Because the morning was cut short due to some issues, I didn’t get all the running that was planned. They are giving me a chance to do some laps tomorrow”.
It’s clear Juncadella is keen to get a benchmark on how quick he is from his comment, “Running the same day as Pastor, although we have different programmes, we have the real comparison on track. That’s a pretty good thing because I can really learn from him in the same day, so it’s a good chance.”
Daniel was obviously pushing hard when he got the opportunity, “We did a few new tyre runs and also a long run to evaluate myself and give me some confidence with the car on both sets of tyres. I felt really good with the car and when we had the new tyres, I took the most from them for my experience right now on the first lap, which is usually where you have to make the difference and use the peak of the tyre“.
CVC: Feverish discussions behind the scenes
TJ13 is led to believe that the board members who control the rights for Formula 1, spent a tortuous amount of time discussing the matter. The result would not suggest so as they released the following statement.
“The Board of Formula One Group notes the following developments in Munich:
Mr Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Group has now received a bill of indictment, in English, from the Munich Regional Court.
Mr Ecclestone has 6 weeks to provide a response to this bill of indictment, prior to a decision being made by the Court on opening proceedings.
The Board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly“.
Clearly F1’s Mr. Teflon is in unchartered waters and the signs are not good. Yet when asked whether he should step down by Bild, Eclestone responded, “I don’t see why I should do that. I will do what I have always done: keep working and do my job. I won’t be doing anything else because of this.”
I recently read an independent F1 writer suggest Bernie may ‘disappear’ to a South American country with his billions and avoid extradition. People who know Ecclestone realise this is a ridiculous idea, yet the possibility of 6-7 years in a German prison with his old colleague Gribkowsky could force Ecclestone to change his ‘devil may care’ attitude to it all.
For now, Bernie says he will attend the Munich court should the matter go to trial. “If I need to be, sure, I’ll be there. Why not?” Bernie added that yesterday’s ruling had, “not really affected” him.
This may be so but there are other forces at work which CVC must consider.
Mercedes have informed the FIA and CVC that their involvement in F1 is qualified, and that certain criteria may trigger their departure should corruption become a matter of public record. Whilst just a few people know the exact clauses and how they are written, it is believed that should the trial commence, Mercedes have demanded Ecclestone be replaced.
It’s no co-incidence that Luca de Montezemolo demanded last year that Ecclestone ‘step down’ should formal charges of bribery be brought, and Il Padrino does not forget what he says.
Ecclestone’s lawyers said they would respond to the charges shortly. “The main topic of the response will be the changing ‘confessions’ of Mr. Gribkowsky,” Duesseldorf-based law firm Thomas Deckers Wehnert Elsner said in an e-mailed statement”.
There is almost a sense of the quiet before the storm at present. It is fairly likely a trial will be scheduled by the Munich court and so there is this period of 6 weeks where feverish discussions will be taking place across F1 on what should happen if a trial date is eventually set.
For now CVC back their man and the mouthpiece of FOM, Christian Sylt informs us that a source inside CVC told him that they “could have asked Bernie to leave any time in the past three years but haven’t because we support him“.
Yet in all likelihood and somewhat sadly Bernie has just 6 weeks left.
A Milan court handed the chairman of tyre maker Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera, a 20 month suspended jail sentence yesterday in a case involving the use of Telecom Italia’s data to spy on Italy’s elite.
Tronchetti Provera, one of Italy’s most prominent businessmen who was head of Telecom Italia from 2001 to 2006, was convicted on charges of receiving illegal information from stolen phone data in 2004. He was also ordered to pay 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) to the telecoms company.
A lawyer for Tronchetti Provera, who denies any wrongdoing, said there was “no logic” in the verdict and that he would appeal. The sentence will not take effect until the appeal process is exhausted.
The case centres on accusations that some Telecom Italia employees spied on Italian public figures by stealing sensitive data.
Tronchetti Provera was not in court. In the past he has repeatedly said Telecom Italia had reported the suspected abuse to the authorities and had seen its reputation damaged as a result.
It would be fascinating to know the scope of Mercedes corruption opt out clause.
Vergne not in the running: Horner
Speaking to SKY, Christian Horner was asked whether the replacement for Webber was between Ricciardo and Raikkonen. He responded that categorically it was “Essentially, probably“.
Known for his shy and retiring demeanour, the Red Bull boss begins most sentences with “Yes…No” whilst buying himself some time to think of other qualifications he can use in his relentless pursuit of not answering a direct question.
JEV must be feeling pretty sore because he outscored his team mate in 2012 and is leading him in the driver standings in 2013. TJ13 did report that Ricciardo had a secret test last Sunday in Idiada and is aware the Red Bull management are unsurprisingly divided over who should drive alongside Vettel in 2014.
UPDATE: TJ13 has heard that Christian Horner is keen to get Raikkonen and Ted Kravitz reports Bernie is also pushing to see the two paired together. However, Herr Marko – who runs the team’s young driver programme – is concerned it may be falling somewhat into disrepute.
We saw the mysterious double sacking of both Toro Rosso drivers at the end of 2011, Robin Frijns turned down an offer to be a ‘young bull’ preferring Sauber and a Ferrari association. There are those who believe should the programme continue failing to deliver another top flight driver since Vettel is a matter for concern with the team owner – Mateshitz.
But what do you think about Red Bull’s decision to exclude JEV from the selection process? Why have they done this – is it right or wrong?
The penalty handed down by the International Tribunal to Mercedes – that they should miss the YDT at Silverstone – was derided by many as no penalty at all. Yet we are seeing now that testing for Pirelli may not be as advantageous as was first thought.
Max Chilton explains the restrictions the race drivers are facing this week. “We are allowed the current hard, the proto[type] hard and one set of mediums. Jules [Bianchi] is going to have the set of mediums on Friday, we decided to go with the hard because we had limited time to get just a long race run in on these proto hards and we now know how they work.
There’s set pressures, we weren’t allowed to adjust the car at all. The only thing we could change was brake balance and a flap of front wing. That’s why the race drivers are just doing lots of laps and not really setting [competitive] times.”
Chilton concedes though that he has benefited from trying out the new Pirelli rubber. “I did a long race run stint at the end and I could really get a feel of what these new tyres are like so at least I know what these tyres are doing. They’re harder to get the tyre temp up and they don’t have as much grip, but they last very well and they are very consistent.”
Di Resta appears non-plussed by the change Pirelli have made which has clearly affected the Silverstone team. He droly observes of the new tyres, “they are round, they have the same logos on the side!”
Former McLaren garage crew Mark Priestly adds his view in a series of tweet, “YDT useful for F1 teams in an era without testing, not only to develop cars, but to give young/new team members experience at the track. Assistant engineers/no.2 mechs given chance to run cars for experience.
Traditional route of team development no longer exists without tests. Only in last few years has it become clear how hard it now is to introduce new engineering talent without chance to ‘bed’ them in at tests.
The upshot is that this week’s as much of a chance & learning opportunity for rising tech stars within teams as it is for the young drivers.”
GSK. The right fit for F1?
There are days where if you take public transport in England, 3 busses will all arrive at the same time. Today is dirt and corruption day as CNN reports.
Like many other multinationals over the past few decades, GlaxoSmithKline came to China for the chance to sell to 1.3 billion new customers in the world’s fastest growing drugs market.
The company has invested heavily here, setting up clinical centers and research facilities in Tianjin and Shanghai. The drugmaker boasts that it has spent more than 1 billion yuan on research and development in China.
GlaxoSmithKline now stands accused of orchestrating a massive bribery and corruption scheme that included hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks in China. Four of the company’s top executives have been detained by police and others have reportedly left the country.
It’s not yet clear how much damage the scandal will do to GSK’s reputation or bottom line. But the episode underscores the challenges of doing business in China, an enormous, rapidly developing market in which bribes and corruption are often deeply ingrained.
“There are certain industries where corruption is still very common,” said Ben Cavender, an associate principal at China Market Research Group. The pharmaceutical industry, he said, is one in which bribery is endemic.
“GSK is not special in terms of what they do,” Cavender said. “Most companies in this sector are probably using kickbacks or bribes.”
It’s not yet clear whether the GlaxoSmithKline allegations are tied to a probe of price setting practices at 60 pharmaceutical companies announced last month by authorities. But there are signs that investigators might soon name and shame more drug companies as part of a larger anti-corruption crackdown.
Wendy Wysong, head of Clifford Chance’s anti-corruption practice in Asia Pacific, said Tuesday that her law firm is aware of four other pharmaceutical companies that are being investigated by local anti-corruption authorities.
Wysong declined to name the companies or say whether she represented any of the firms in question.
GSK of course partner McLaren and may become their title sponsor replacing Vodafone in 2014. Looks as though they are a perfect fit for F1.