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Where is Kimi? (12:20)
McLaren progress (12:05)
Hamilton: Distracted but focused (10:29)
Ricciardo on top (09:42)
Ecclestone support on the wain (09:41)
Ecclestone requires a pass for German GP
It appears the price for a weekend in the beautiful Eiffel region has soared astronomically. The German GP race usually raises around$18m for FOM’s coffers. Yet this year due to Mr. E’s headaches with the Turks, Austrians, French, Valencians and more sinisterly the boys from New Jersey – he waived the hosting fee – to ensure the race in Nurburg went ahead.
Many commented with surprise to see Ecclestone at the race due to his impending court case in Munich; but Bernie clearly had a pass because after the Gribkowsky case in 2012 he did not attend the race in Hockenheim – so what changed?
Well Mr. E was not being brave or full of bravado, it transpires his lawyers had sought indication that he would be free to travel in and out of Germany that weekend without molestation from the German legal system. It was granted – but surely not for services rendered to Eiffel? (sueddeutsche.de)
Where is Kimi?
Lotus are entertaining their fans who probably hope the answer to their question is – “about to drive”. Lotus like to play friendly games with their fans on twitter and always have a #calledsomething for every race. For example all tweets from Lotus and Lotus fans in Malaysia included the following #SepangSundae.
This morning eagle eyed Lotus fans spotted something on the car
All the tweets between them all then had #WhereIsKimi included and the latest one said, “So, the plot thickens… Kimi’s physio is here… So surely?..”
Kimi was supposed to drive this afternoon, but on Wednesday the team announced they were changing their plans as he would gain little from the restrictions Pirelli enforce.
I suppose it would be difficult for the team to regress, anyway, they are hopeful of progress in the next race in Hungary. The Woking team have been trying experimental parts in the Young Driver Days at Silverstone on MP4-28 seems to be getting back on track (sorry). “”Certainly there are some things that we tested today that can be raced in Hungary, but next season is going to be important and we are already working on next year’s car so it is key for our learning on this year’s car to benefit next year’s as well.”
Turvery continues, “It was an interesting test and we will analyse the data more closely. We still want to understand this year’s car and I think that is still going to be a benefit for 2014 and everyone is still pushing on to improve this year’s car.”
McLaren were running experimental changes to the exhaust system yesterday.
Hembery: F1 can find someone else
It appears Pirelli are losing patience with F1, and may be on the verge of pulling out of the sport.
Pirelli were aware of the likely problems they would face in Silverstone. This became clear in Barcelona where Paul Hembery stated, ‘the tyres need to change’. What followed was bickering and in-fighting amongst the teams which prevented this happening – and so we saw exploding tyres.
Pirelli already had been surprised at the incremental levels of down force the car designers had found for 2013 – worth some 2-3 seconds per lap quicker than the cars in 2012. This led the Italian tyre manufacturer to conclude their tyre design for this year would struggle in places like Barcelona, Silverstone, Suzuka and Spa where there are long fast high downforce corners and the lateral G-forces on the rubber are huge.
Due to the F1 calendar, Pirelli had a matter of hours to produce new tyres for the German GP the weekend following the Silverstone debacle. When questioned by ESPN about the cost of this excercise, Paul Hembery responds, “I’m quite sure when everything comes out it will run in to well over €1million, I’m quite sure of that. I haven’t counted it; I don’t want to count it yet because I’ve got to sign it off yet, but you’re looking at that sort of sum of money”
Hembery claims the teams are losing the plot and that Pirelli have noticed a difference over their 3 years in attitudes and co-operation levels. “I’m not going to criticise the FIA because I don’t think it’s necessarily their issue. The teams in the first year were quite a lot better at working together and we’ve seen that dissipate over the last two and a half years”.
A number of issues as big if not bigger than the tyres Paul believes are consuming the teams. “I think there’s lots of things going on there behind the scenes with new agreements – the Concorde Agreement – and things like that, some teams struggling, so there’s a lot more friction between the teams than we’ve seen before”.
And time is getting short, we still have no announcement of the 2014 tyre supplier, but Hembery makes it clear they at present it is Pirelli who are refusing to sign an agreement. “They’re things that have to change, we couldn’t possibly risk putting ourselves in that situation again”. He bluntly adds, “If the sport doesn’t want to change then they can find someone else”.
It appears Bernie may have even more correspondence to wade through in a week he’d rather forget. Paul Hembery reveals that nearly all the issues are not yet agreed. “No they’re being discussed – I’ve got a big letter here at the moment! (For Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt).”
Formula 1 really does have an 11th hour problem to resolve and whoever is playing games – time is short.
Hamilton: Distracted but focused
Having finished his turbulent relationship with celebrity Nicole Scherzinger, Lewis appeared to be very focused on his driving. He led in Silverstone until he was robbed by a puncture, yet he delivered a stellar performance – charging through the field driving back though the field to finish just outside the podium places.
Then in Germany, Lewis compromised by his team mate and the revised tyres again produced one of the drives of the day to claim fifth spot. It appears having rejected his long time girlfriends ultimatum Lewis is getting back in the metaphorical saddle – and in more than one metaphor too.
Australian publication news.com.au is reporting Hamilton cooing with another song bird, Rihanna, at home in Monte Carlo. “RIHANNA has been seen partying until dawn with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger’s ex Lewis Hamilton. The pair were both in Monaco and met up at Jimmy’z Monte Carlo nightclub at 3am”.
Rihanna went straight to Hamilton’s table, the club’s DJ Or’elle told RadarOnline.com. “Rihanna requested that I play only hip hop, and she and Lewis were drinking, dancing and having fun,” she said. “He came with his friends but when she arrived they were together.”
Sometimes distraction is better than fixation, and Lewis fans won’t care who the pretty doll is, so long as he can and wants to race hard.
Meantime in broken-hearts-ville, Shirzinger is clearly suffering from the break up of her 5 year relationship. The Daily Mail reports her saying, “I don’t have anyone here, I don’t have my family, I don’t even have any friends here. My publicist is my closest friend”.
‘It gets lonely but I’m working all the time. If I’m not doing X Factor I put myself in the studio or I also love good food, so I’m getting to explore lots of different restaurants here. I take my publicist and my assistant as my dates, literally.’
Sometimes the spin of the wheel is one gamble too many.
Ricciardo on top
Having bested his team-mate Jean Eric Vergne, Daniel is now the sole contender for the empty Webber seat from the Toro Rosso team. Yesterday Ricciardo topped the time sheets in Silverstone too and whilst probably not unique he drove one team’s current F1 car in the morning (TR) and another in the afternoon (RB).
Due to the tyres available to the team and for Vettel today, bizarrely it was his session in the Toro Rosso that was the quickest of the day.
Daniel explains the constraints of testing for Pirelli, “It was a bit tricky with Pirelli and the circumstances, as we were not really allowed to adjust the car. Ideally you would like to make some mechanical changes and set the car up for the conditions; but it is going to be the same for all the other guys,” but he quips, “It was a good opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience two different beasts.”
If you consider the enormity of the opportunity ahead of the young Australian, many current F1 drivers would be feeling and showing the pressure. Not Ricciardo, “It was just fun. Just excitement,” he explained. “It is nice to get the opportunity to drive the car and I definitely treated it as something more of excitement than a pressure. It was exciting. I think I did what I could. Let’s see what happens.”
The ebullient young Aussie driver is quickly winning friends in F1 and with the fans for his easy-going nature yet lightening quick 1 lap pace. With regard to whether he tops Kimi to the Red Bull 2014 drive Daniel appears relaxed, “We will see what happens. It is not my decision. I’ve still got the season ahead with Toro Rosso. The last few races have been better so we need to keep continuing like that, and I think this test is something for them, for Red Bull, to look at. But there is still the rest of the season to observe. I wouldn’t get too caught up in today; I need to switch back my focus to Toro Rosso.”
Whilst the ‘rest of the season’ to concentrate on comment may be true – there is probably just 1 more race before Red Bull will decide on who replaces Mark Webber. An Aussie for and Aussie – or another flying Finn?
Ecclestone support on the wain?
TJ13 reported in the news yesterday the reasons for CVC’s marathon meeting which resulted in a rather terse and short statement from the board. stating, “The Board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly.”
The media today are questioning CVC and their position and asking how much support Ecclestone does in fact have left. Tom Cary from the telegraph writes, “In most sports it would be difficult to imagine a chief executive remaining in power with these sorts of charges swirling about”. He does concede, ““But formula one is not most sports — and Ecclestone is not most men.”
German writer Helmut Uhl of Bild reveals, “Team bosses, sponsors, big companies such as Ferrari, Red Bull and their partners are wondering whether Ecclestone is still viable as formula one boss?”. Michael Schmidt of Auto Motor und Sport, reading between the lines suggests, “It (CVC’s statement) does not sound like unconditional support.” and Die Welt summarise the situation succinctly, “An oath of loyalty sounds different,” the major German newspaper Die Welt surmised.
The focus of much of the F1 camp this week is upon Silverstone and the young drivers who are testing, so for now we have little comment from the paddock on the possibilities surrounding Ecclestone’s indictment. Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper writes that when questioned Monisha Kaltenbrom observed, “In general, such headlines are not good for formula one,” but we know Monisha has her own problems to consider. The main uncertainty she faces is whether she be ousted as Sauber team principal by the Russians who want Nicholas Todt in situ?
For now Ecclestone ploughs on apparently regardless telling the Daily Express, “I have heard from them [CVC} and they are very happy as I am for me to continue to run the business.Nothing has changed. Nothing affects how I look after the best interests of F1. No one has said anything to the contrary.”
In good old TJ13 F1 vaudeville fashion… “Bernie…behind you!!!”