Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 31st July 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day

Editor’s note from AHJ:

Please if you use twitter, retweet our tweets particularly those which have the hashtag #F1. That particular discussion stream is global and often gets 20 comments a minute. We have collected now regular readers who found us this way on twitter from all over the world. Bhutan is my favourite mysterious location to date.

If you don’t usually comment, why not today just give a shout and say ‘Hi’ and which country you are from. We have grown to over 15,000 unique readers every month since starting in September. There are around 100 people who comment each month too, some only occasionally.

Also, why not tell us how you found TJ13 and how long you have been reading The Judges insights.

Anyway on with the news….

Be careful what you wish for (11:49) UPDATED (18:00) video added

Alonso/Ferrari rift grows (12:54)

Ferrari offer to Raikkonen (13:57)

Tost wants Ricciardo to stay (15:06)

Pedro gets race fit (15:13)

F1 calendar 2014: part 3 of…. (15:46)

Comment of the month (16:17)

Ferrari considers ending F1 exclusivity (16:30)

Where not to take a break from F1 (16:50)

Caption of the day (17:30)

Sauber would have survived anyway (17:38)

If you missed them, here’s the links to yesterday’s stories. To come back to this page press ‘home’ tab afterwards

Editor’s note (12:05)

2014 F1 calendar: part 2 or 156 (12:07)

Vijay: Pot and Kettle (13:18)

Sauber: Defending the indefensible (14:13)

The F1 debt farce (16:06)

Lewis on the up(pers) (17:15)


Be careful what you wish for

Most people would probably perceive that the most noise over the alleged unsatisfactory nature of mark 1 of the 2013 Pirelli F1 tyres came from Red Bull. I seem to remember Ferrari prior to Barcelona not being too happy either, but my overriding impression is of comments such as, ‘driving the car at 80%’, ‘not proper racing’ and other such performance related issues.

Fairly quickly the proponents for change realised there was no way the tyres could be changed without unanimous agreement of the teams (which they were not going to get) – or unilaterally by Pirelli or the FIA on safety grounds. Pirelli have consistently refused to accept their product is unsafe if operated properly – which is most understandable.

So now we have Pirelli P zero 2013 mark II, and what appears to be the result. Il Padrino is clearly most upset, In his dictat from the throne on high in Maranello on Monday, de Montezemolo makes it clear, “the introduction of the new tyres over the course of the last two races, is a variable that definitely did not suit the Ferrari. Pirelli’s choice contributed to artificially altering the hierarchy in the field, something that has not pleased the President or the men of the Scuderia”.

(Sorry I can’t resist this – it popped into my head the moment I read the phrase from the Ferrari statement on Monday, ‘the men of the Scuderia’.)

Anyway, where was I.

Red Bull it appeared had already got on top of the Pirelli 2013 tyres mark 1 better than anyone except Lotus, as Vettel proved by romping to Victory at the Canadian GP and would easily have won the next race at Silverstone without his gearbox failure. Indeed the Red Bull cars were strong prior to this in Monaco and after Alonso had routed them on his home patch.

In fact it was Mercedes who were hurting the most from the mark 1 Pirelli’s, 5 pole positions in the 6 races prior to the 1st tyre change in Germany, and just a single win in Monte Carlo – where a diesel engine bus could win if it started up front. One of the most amusing things I’ve heard on pit radio this year was a confused and bemused Hamilton reporting he had just been overtaken by a Williams.

Yet it appears the huge winner from the tyre re-design is Mercedes. Ross Brawn played down matters after the race when he remarked that Spa and Monza were very different circuits. However, Paul Hermbery believes Hungary was a milestone for the Brackley team. “The big difference is that they didn’t have the overheating problems that we saw them have on the rear tyres in the past 18 months. If they’ve solved those problems, Mercedes will be very strong in the second half of the season,”

So Alonso who was in the hunt for the drivers’ title and Vettel’s closest rival has by his own teams admission even more of a mountain to climb. Kimi is Sebastian’s closest pursuer, but if the Mercedes has solved it’s rubber hungry race machine, we could see Lewis Hamilton hunting down the German triple champion, on revitalised rubber, all thanks to the critique from Milton Keynes earlier in the season.

The lightening 1 lap pace of Mercedes should see their cars starting at or close to the front, and this reduces the risk of races being ruined by others mistakes or moving road blocks.

Oh why is it so long until Spa 🙁


Alonso/Ferrari rift grows

The events of the weekend which has seen the very public dressing down by Il Padrino of Fernando Alonso has been brewing for quite some time. There was the incident in India 2012 where a furious Aonso threatened Dominicali and Fry he would tweet to his millions of fans how lack lustre the team’s development and upgrade programme had been for 6 months.

TJ13 reported last year as the debate over Massa and 2013 raged that Montezemolo commented whilst attending the Geneva car, “Fernando should concentrate on winning the title – and then we will decide who to put up against him”.

During testing in 2013, we saw a pretty positive Alonso and Dominicali who were delighted the Ferrari was not so far behind the field as they had been in 2012, yet Fernando has gradually been upping the critique of the team as Vettel’s points gap has increased since his win in Barcelona.

This is now the 3rd time I’ve commented about people being conspicuous by their absence during the Hungarian GP. Fernando’s entourage were not in their usual haunt in the paddock where thy are welcomed and entertained within the Ferrari hospitality facility. This weekend they were daily present in the Philip Morris hospitality suite instead.

TJ13 has learned that for some time in his absence, certain individuals at Maranello have been referring to their lead driver  ‘merdaccia’ and Alonso has been criticised for complaining about the tyres and then refusing to test tyres at Silverstone. Even Vettel deigned to trundle out to try the prototype rubber at the young driver test; but then again, following his team boss’s insistance that ‘every time you run a current F1 car you are learning something’ he could hardly refuse.

What will be of great fascination will be if Il Padrino rocks up in Monza with Sergio Marchionne, John Elkann and Piero Ferrari in close attendance. If this is the case, we could easily see something which last happened in 1991 which could be likened to an earthquake registering 9.0 on the Richter scale.

22 years ago, Steve Nichols and Jean-Claude Migeot designed Maranello’s proud offering for competition – the Ferrari 643. It was introduced in July at the 7th race of the year which was held in France and the initial impression was that the car looked to have potential to run at the front. Alain Prost qualified on the front row and took the lead early in the race. However, he was eventually passed by Mansell in his Renault powered Williams FW14 but a 2nd place for Prost in the car’s first race looked promising.

The car continued to perform well in qualifying, and though arguably one of the prettier cars in the field, the car was not as competitive a car as the Williams FW14 and McLaren MP4/6 cars; and the car’s lack of results casued Prost to increase his critique of the team.

Prost’s frustration grew and grew and eventually he made the following public comment,  “a truck would be easier to drive than this car”.

The men in grey suits arrived from Italy for the 15th and penultimate round of the F1 season, and following the race Prost was sacked for the second time in his career and the team replaced him for the final round in Australia by test driver Gianni Morbidelli.

The saving grace for Alonso may be that Monza this year will be only the 12th race of the season, and at this time it would be most precipitate of Ferrari to sack their lead driver who is considered one of the top 3 in the world at present.

However, the level of rebuke issued by Il Padrino to Fernando on his birthday is pretty unusual from a Ferrari president, but TJ13 readers will I’m sure help us unearth similar occasions in days gone by.


Ferrari offer to Raikkonen

Christian Horner admitted a couple of weeks ago that the replacement for Mark Webber in 2014 was between Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen. He did add in a post Hungarian GP race interview that though this matter had been fairly much settled at Red Bull, ‘another option’ had recently emerged.

Kimi drove for Formula One’s most historic of teams between 2007 and 2009, winning the drivers’ championship in his first year. He was replaced in 2010 by Fernando Alonso following his ‘retirement’ from the sport.

Alonso is under contract with Maranello runs to 2016 but Felipe Massa is employed on a year by year basis.

Nicola Pohl and Helmut Uhl report for the infamous German red top publication that Ferrari “has made the Finn an offer“. It was apparently made on the Thursday prior to the Hungarian GP.

They claim to have information that this offer is more lucrative than the $15m Red Bull have tabled. Red Bull’s offer is alleged to include the $15m retainer plus performance bonuses and sponsorship of Kimi’s motocross team.

During more normal times in F1, this news would be considered to relate to replaceing Massa who has been under the microscope for some time, and rumour has it Santander wanted him replaced for 2013.

Yet Ferrari are adamant Alonso will be staying with them. A Ferrari spokesperson told Spanish publication AS, “”The president is 100 per cent with Alonso. Luca de Montezemolo is the first one to support the call of our driver to improve, as soon as possible, the competitiveness of the car.”

A move which sees Kimi return to Ferrari would be rather a strange when we consider he left the team in somewhat mysterious circumstances in 2009, after activating his option to stay for the 2010 season. TJ13 will be bringing an article soon which examines this time in Kimi’s life and it appears Kimi was undermined by Michael Schumacher at a time when the team were keen to bring Santander on board as a sponsor.


Tost wants Ricciardo to stay

Of all the team principals, one who is least in the limelight is Franz Tost. He was track operations manager for BMW Williams until in 2006 Toro Rosso appointed him head honcho.

It may be that Daniel Ricciardo, favoured to replace Webber by the powerful voice in Red Bull that is Helmut Marko, is now losing ground to Kimi and Horner’s surprise new ‘option’.

Tost discusses Ricciardo with Speed Week, stating, “Personally, I would rather see him get another year in the maturing process at Toro Rosso. I mean, we are talking here about Red Bull Racing, the champion team of the last three years. Daniel has never been on a formula one podium, he has not won a race — because our car was not good enough. That’s the only negative I see for him. Otherwise, I think he will have great successes in Formula 1″

Yet the young Vettel was not so different, except for the fact that the Toro Rosso car Sebastian drove shared a number of the senior Red Bull Racing car’s characteristics and design.

However, Tost wisely observes, “The biggest difference between Vettel and Ricciardo was that Vettel went to Red Bull when it was not a winning team. They grew up together. But Ricciardo must immediately be on the podium and fighting for wins. Perhaps the chance has come a year too early,” adds Tost.

The matter which kicked off all the speculation of Alonso moving to Red Bull was when his manager Luis Garcia Abad was photographed visiting Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Garcia is also the manager for the young Spaniard driver Carlos Sainz, whose father was world renown for his dominance in the world of rallying.

Tost comments on Sainz saying, “he is not yet ready for F1. I told him that he needs to win races in GP3. He is 18 years old now. I assume that he could be at Formula 1 maturity in about two or three years”. Tost concludes, “He has not yet attained the results in GP3 that are expected of him.”

So if Ricciardo does get Webber’s seat, then the impressive Antonio Felix da Costa may well find himself in a Toro Rosso in 2014.

When considering Ricciardo, Kimi and Fernando, Red Bull know they deprive a close competititor of a top driver if the recruit one of the latter 2.


Pedro gets race fit

On the Friday prior to the Silverstone YDT, TJ13 reported that Red Bull were planning to test on the Sunday at Idiada with Daniel Riccardio in the 2013 car. This was a straight line test and is allowed within the testing rules.

As predicted at the time, this was to allow Daniel some time to familiarise himself with the controls and the handling of the RB9 which he subsequently drove at Silverstone the following week.

Ferrari today begin a 3 day test in Magny Cours with Pedro de la Rosa pumping in 2 GP distances each day. Unlike Red Bull, they are using a 2011 car – or at least something which resembles the F150 – and Spanish publication AS claims this is designed to assist the team improve the correlation between the wind tunnel, simulator and what happens when the car takes to the track.

Still, the Birthday greeting lined with a ‘tweak’ in Alonso’s ear from Il Padrino appears to have worked. Last night Alonso tweeted, “Done for today. 4;30h in the simulator, 96 laps at Spa. Some interesting things. Tomorrow more! Keep pushing”. He informs us again this afternoon, “Another 52 laps this morning at the simulator”.

So with Fernando back hard at work in the simulator late on his Birthday, it won’t do Il Padrino any harm should his lead driver see the reports of a race fit de la Rosa who is pounding the asphalt, lap after lap and day after day.


F1 calendar 2014: part 3 of….

India will not appear on the 2014 calendar as they cannot host a race in October and then again in March/April.

It appears Karun Chandhook has become involved in discussions somehow this week, as he tells Indian broadcaster NDTV, “We are trying to work out a way for the Indian GP to coexist in a now packed calendar, for both sides — Jaypee Group and the Formula One Group. I was on call with Bernie earlier today and what we’ve come to know that everyone must understand is that both sides want an Indian grand prix.”

Apparently the idea of ‘rotating’ or ‘alternating’ the Indian GP with another venue has also been discussed, yet as TJ13 has commented there are not a long line of new host circuits imminently joining the schedule.

Chandhook adds to this, “However, then you have to figure out whether hosting a race every alternate year will be a viable option for all host countries or not. Let’s not forget that a lot of investment is done for hosting a race, for keeping the safety norms in place. Does it then makes sense to invest so much on the circuits just for one year?

There will be much deliberation on such matters,” added Chandhok, who raised the possibility of India sharing its date with Malaysia.

He said: “But much of it is just speculation. We just need to see how the cards unfold.”

India out – Russia in… who else???

Korea want out. The teams hate going to Mokpo, but Bernie needs the $50m

New Jersey… can’t see it.

Mexico.. possible but more likely for 2015… but then in 2015 Nurburgring will drop out and regional government only wants to cough up for Hockenheim every two years.

Austria in? Dunno – any Austrians know how rigid the authorities are likely to be on noise and attendance. About 20,000 allowed at present I seem to remember.

Spa is on life support from FOM and the dive community of Thailand are ‘sub-aqua’ today and incommunicado.

Turkey comes back – nope they told Bernie to shove it for 2013 even though he offered them a reduced fee of a few mill.

Cape Town said no.

France said no cash from the Republic stash is being spent on an aristocratic pastimes to relieve the boredom.

However, Jean Todt has been touring the world – saving lives with the FIA’s campaign to get everyone wearing seatbelts. He did indicate on his recent visit to Afghanistan that they have expressed an interest in hosting an F1 race – but they have a couple of other pressing matters to deal with first.

What about a desert race – the teams always complain the temperatures are too cold at certain venues. The Gobi is pretty warm I believe.

(Note to self: Must stop writing about this topic or the men in white coats will come and take me away)


Comment of the month

You can rate the comments when you read them by clicking on the thumbs up. Seeing as today is the last day of July, I thought we’d publish this one which received the most votes in the month. It was made following the news that Ferarri wanted Italians to talk to each other more – emails banned.

It was in fact one of the longer contributions for the month which even JOJ would struggle to match in terms of word count

Ferrari? Emails? Judge, have you been on the vino?
Ron told me that “those pesky eyeties” still use a hammer and mace for their tablets.
Kind of makes sense now why Luca signed up an ex Apple employee.
Ron, and the majority of his cohorts in the British press still continue to peddle the myth that they can out-develop the foreign brigade. Many “unbiased” observers said at Mclaren’s launch that they would not have the same issues Ferrari did because they would have done their sums etc.

As to Senna, I’m not sure I’d agree with him “courting” controversy. He certainly didn’t care what people thought about him, he had what would be termed supreme self-confidence. Maybe he courted controversy because of his actions rather than any preconception to it.

As to the age old Tifosi hating him, I am Italian, and cut me down the middle and I’d read Ferrari. But as my name suggests, I loved his attitude, his astonishing skills and could even overlook the fact that he drove for the enemy.

The problem with Senna was fundamentally a British media bias. It started in F3 in 1983 when he was competing against a local boy Brundle. I accept that the underdog will always have extra support, but when they had a coming together at Snetterton, Senna protested. Brundle observed, that they were never likely to punish the “local” boy.

In 1984, a lot of the media was caught completely unaware by this individual. Monaco that year introduced him to the outside world. I saw him at Silverstone at the 1983 British GP support race and something about him made him worth following.

I remember seeing F3 racing on Sunday Grandstand back then, for anybody who is not from these shores, or was too young, GP’s back in the day were a few laps shown live from the start, then a break to watch snooker, horse riding, badminton or cricket. They would come back about an hour later and show 3 or 4 more laps before heading off again, to return for the last 3 or 4. So seeing F3 on TV was unheard of.

1984 also introduced us to his utter self belief and ruthlessness, I guess there was still a view that sports people were “nice’ people. When he left “poor little” Toleman for Lotus, the British media vilified him.
This wasn’t helped by his correct actions when he stopped Lotus signing Warwick to the team for 1986. Many called him scared, something that was astonishing and put to bed when he signed for Mclaren.

Prost, with his close friendship with Nigel Roebuck, always came across as a nice guy. Balestre was in full support of his campaigns and Senna was always cast as the villain.
Suzuka 1990 has been written about to the point of death, but as I sat in front of the TV at 6am, I was wanting Senna – in a Mclaren! – to beat the whinging French prick.
I fully understood why he didn’t back off. In a perverse way, his passion made him more human.

I had been at Silverstone’s Club Corner when he retired in 1991. It has now become a famous image of Mansell picking him up on his sidepod. Yet for the last lap of the race, the abuse he got from the British crowd, whilst he stood there, would have put Millwall FC to shame.

I used to race single seaters until 1994, but part of me died when I watched him crash at Imola.

He was brilliant, he was dominant, he was compelling to listen to and watch, especially when it rained, and he walked his own path through life, irrespective of the people’s opinions.

Last point, just to add to your dominating sports stars.
Valentino Rossi, loved wherever he goes, the crowds reaction when he took the lead at Assen was incredible. MotoGP has a real problem when he leaves. He is also probably the only man who a Spanish crowd would favour over one of their own.
Or snooker, Steve Davis or Steven Hendry, not universally popular, yet Ronnie O’Sullivan with skills beyond any other player keeps the crowd captivated.

Thankyou Judge for allowing us a voice :)

herowassenna said this on July 4, 2013 at 17:12

Ferrari considers ending F1 exclusivity

German publication AMuS is reporting today that Scuderia Ferrari racing team is seriously considering returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The Italians would compete with other manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi and Toyota, and the team are contemplated the construction of a LMP1 sports car.


Where not to take a break from F1

The F1 factories are shutting down, and the workers and shirkers alike from the world of F1 are off on they’re hols. Mark Webber is beginning his last break in his Formula 1 racing schedule for the final year and he remembers that these times away from the racing have not always been idyllic.

10  years ago Webber’s partner Ann wanted to go to Bora Bora, so Mark dutifully agreed.  Mark recalls.  “My worst holiday memory was a trip to Bora Bora about ten years ago. Ann had always wanted to go, but it took a really, really long time to get there – I think it was the furthest place on the globe that we could have travelled to.

On arrival our hotel wasn’t what we expected at all; the weather was crap the whole time and I’m pretty sure they were shooting a porno in the villa next to us.

Everything that should have been nice just wasn’t.

It was just one of those trips; we ended up coming back early and haven’t been back since!” (Source: Mirror)

I’m surprised looking at this ‘lil beauty’ – used by the Australian government in a promotion – Mark wasn’t offered a role and decent fee for services rendered.



Caption of the day

Our friend and brilliant ex-F1 racing driver just brought this to my attention. Apologies for those who may find this offensive – so close your eyes now!



Sauber would have survived anyway

Monisha Kaltenborn is today shoring up public opinion. There has been much critique in the continental media of the deal to bring over $100m from new Russian partner’s into the Swiss based team.

“We focused on getting our deal done. We’ve been working with these partners for a while. It wouldn’t be right for us to think that ‘if we don’t get this, we can’t survive’. We’ve gone through tough times before and we know we can survive.

‘The plan’  – whatever it is because Sauber aren’t telling us exactly – will apparently ensure a long term future in Hinwil and provide the team with the resources to surge forward in the F1 pecking order. We do know ‘the plan’ conveniently includes an option for one of the Russian business leader’s son to get to play in an F1 car – even if he’s utterly useless and so far has not demonstrated he is anywhere near one of the top 100 drivers in the world – never mind top 22.

Monisha continues, “We had other options, clearly, but we felt that this was the best for the team. It’s just a question of do you want to just survive or sustainably stay here and sometime, sooner or later, make a step ahead again. That was our focus and we knew that if this deal came through in this way, we had that basis for the long term to really make our way up again. “That’s what’s going to happen now.”

Mmm. A fair amount of ‘praxis’ going on here methinks.


74 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 31st July 2013

  1. This is gonna be the longest 4 weeks of the year!
    Least at seasons end we got chritsmas then testing starts in January……
    Blow the factory shutdowns, we could get at least another 2 races into the calendar without it LOL

    Yes yes yes, before anyone mugs me for my post I know the factory guys and girls work relentlessly in persute of gaining an advantage and without the shutdown the teams management would work them 24/7-365……
    But, I don’t really care!
    I wanna see racing!

    • Interesting perception and at times a misconception at times propounded by the media

      Factory Employees do have fairly long standard hours and often work extra (and are paid for it).

      However, one of the title contending teams in the past few weeks has had many of it’s factory staff on standard hours only, and has even been letting them go early on rotation.

      • Has to be Ferrari, with how they’ve fallen back, and they are always praised as one of the best places to work in Europe, maybe the hours comes into this! Although you could say it could be McLaren for lack of progress made, or RB as they know they are home and dry…

        • Although Mercedes have enough top level staff that they could do a rotation policy…

    • …the employees who have fairly relentless lives for several days on end are those who attend the races. Then even they get a few days off when the races are not back to back.

      The toughest schedule for these people is from Singapore onwards. Long distance flights to the far east for that race, then they return home with a weekend off

      Then another long distance flight to Japan and the next weekend they are in Korea – back home for a weekend

      long distance flight to India and Abu Dhabi – back home for a weekend – then off to Austin and Brazil.

      The calendar is seriously loaded toward the backend of the season, where we have 7 races in just 9 weeks.

      Whereas from Australia to Monza is 25 weeks with just 12 races.

      More F1 warped logic….

      • Well it looks like India will be one of the first races form 2015 – maybe this is the first sign of a time where ‘F1’ and ‘logic’ can be used in the same sentence!

        (especially since it now seems more unlikely that Bernie will be in charge of F1 by the time this race happens, although never say never).

      • Do the travelling mechanics have any other options? If I was involved in F1, I could ‘pivot’ around Malaysia in the opening and closing parts of the season, as I have family there (and also in Canada), and stay there between races, thus cutting out long distance flights. I wonder if maybe single mechanics do things like that?

  2. I’m really hoping Lewis can surprise everyone & give Seb a run for his money in the Autumn (& yes you’re right, having to wait 4 weeks till we see is torture!)
    What an irony that would be for RedBull 😉

    P.S. As you asked I’m from the UK. Not terribly exciting I’m afraid. If you’d like to post me somewhere more exotic to make your readership more global, I’m happy to oblige…

    • I believe Le Presidente has been to far flung places during his campaign for re-election – such as Ubezikstan and Kazakhstan where we have no TJ13 operatives to cover his movements 🙂

      I’ll take Bhutan to discover who there is our reader

  3. To answer the opening point, I found your honour via the BBC website in Septmeber or October I think? Not 100% on that, but I read for a while before commenting, probably November I think… hard to see from my WP as I do sometimes comment with a different email.

    Either way, I remember when you honour would occasionally approve some clear spam comments in his blogging noobness, and as such it has been impressive to watch the meteoric rise! So do I get an ‘old skool’ badge for that?

    Keep up the great work, from both yourself and the team, and I hope you have a good break.

    • Haha – Wow that was the early days. I had no help at that time and didn’t spot the spambots well.

      TJ13 was lucky to get 1 comment per post back then..

      Here’s a spambot from today, and I must defend the cause strongly and state categorically this kind of thing never got through….

      from Piraino32284@yahoo.com buy hydrocodone hydrocodone cough syrup pregnant – hydrocodone dosage to get high.

      I think on the odd the occasion something like this got through,

      “I have just come across your blog and it is easy on the eye. The writing is also good and could I ask which blog platform you are using as I am about to set one up for my community”.

      But hey, if anyone said anything complimentary – it made it through.

    • Adam – Hate to go off topic, especially since it’s not F1 related, but when you say WP, do you mean what I think you mean?

  4. Hughes at Sky (sorry for posting another’s site link) explains the new tyres and Merc’s turn of fortunes pretty well.


    On to the topic of the summer, most probably things will stay as is in terms of Alonso and Ferrari. BUT…
    Ferrari approached Kimi prior to Hungary (apparently) so I won’t be surprised to see a Alonso/Kimi swap rather than a Alonso/Vettel swap. Or if Kimi goes to RBR and Alonso back to Renault/Lotus, could we see Button at Ferrari and the Hulk or Di Resta at McLaren? Or maybe Hulk or Di Resta at Ferrari.
    Seriously, someone needs to make a chart of all the options and cascades, it will be much like snakes and ladders…

    • Kimi going to Ferrari is about as likely as a Caterham winning a race. Don’t you remember how and why he left……? He’s never going back there.

      • He never spoke ill of Ferrari though the way Alonso did of McLaren. And if Kimi is peed off, it shows and he WILL say it! So maybe there were more things going on that we don’t know off.

      • …plus, Kimi might want to be in a factory team for next year with the new regs, so what would you prefer, RBR who are wrapped around Vettel, or back to Ferrari without Alonso and Schuey meddling with things!

  5. I think Ferrari are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Love or hate him alonso is special, there is generally 2-3 teams quicker than Ferrari, but he’s 2nd in the championship, not 7th. Without alonso, I can’t help but feel a lot more heads would of roled at Ferrari the last few years. And who could they replace him with that could do that? Hamiltons/vettel going nowhere, Kimi who knows. After that the only other driver I could think of was Button, he’s not one of the top four, but he collects the points he’s supposed to, and he never drops the car.

    • Except that Button is not a development driver and, from hearing incar radio, seems only able to whine. ‘Boo hoo, my teammate is faster than me, slow him down….’ Man up a bit, Jensen.

  6. Damn. “They claim to have information that this offer is more lucrative than the $15m Red Bull have tabled.”

    So does this mean Ricciardo is not the driver of choice any more? Or Red Bull just covering their options?

  7. Ferrari offer to Kimi is just pissing in Red Bulls energy drink punch. By offering more money they (potentially) force Red Bull to respond by upping Kimi’s offer. Would be surprised to see Kimi head back to Maranello, but stranger things have happened.

    I actually think Horner’s new option might be Hulkenberg, now that the state of Sauber’s distress is plain for all to see. Looks like he won’t be back to Hinwil next year and he’s generally a highly rated driver, who could probably be picked up for much less than Kimi (especially given the fact that both FI and Sauber owe him money at this point) since he would probably be happy with anyone who could guarantee him regular paychecks 😀

  8. Incidentally, Alonso “has been testing this week at Magny-Cours with a 2011 car to complete a programme to check its simulator and track correlation”, which of course is not illegal..
    “The test is taking place on Pirelli’s demonstration tyres, and the team has completed the necessary approval process with the FIA for running the car.”

    What are these demonstration tyres? Are they the same as the ones used in Hungary, i.e. the new ones?

    …plus, LDM “fully understands Fernando’s frustrations after what has been the most challenging race of the year. He is his chief supporter and has full trust in him.”
    OUCH! Reminiscent of a manager’s “full support” in a football player a few months before he’s kicked out of the starting XI.

    • Bit confused as to who is testing at Magny – is it FA or Pedro?

      Anyway, reading your lead in – NZ. Had read ‘references’ to your blog via JS’s, never paid too much attention then scratching around one day, bored, came across Somers, scanned his recommended and here we are, all great stuff, thank you!

      • Hi Peter, great to hear from you

        Pedro is testing for Ferrari for 3 days.

        Somers does some technical stuff for us around car launch time and his posts are quite superb.

        Glad you are here. Feel free to chuck your 3 penneth worth in whenever….

    • It was Pedro, who did the test, not Fernando. ‘nando doesn’t do testing these days. He’s too busy thinking of more Samurai crap to tweet.

  9. Man, this calendar discussion is so much idle speculation that its pointless. But its so much fun trying to figure out who is going to get screwed and who is paying how much money to bernie 🙂

    Interesting bit about Mallya talking about taxing in India, given how much tax evasion (albeit legal) goes on in the UK by F1, I’d say Indian govt can claim as much as they usually do. If F1 wants a tax-free holiday to ‘bring F1 to India’ they can take a running hike. The circuit is funded out of public money. The govt sees it as a rich-people’s sport (even though tons of people don’t – standard govt head in sand attitude) and hence doesn’t see whats wrong in asking for the teams/f1 to pay taxes and duties as they would elsewhere. Interestingly, I read that the govt doesn’t consider the Indian GP as a sporting event but an entertainment event. Hence taxation is different! I’d say F1 and the Indian govt deserve each other! 🙂 But that stuff coming out of Mallya is a bit rich!

    If Ferrari pull out of F1 and go to Le Mans, I’d love for Ford to announce they’re also planning a WEC campaign! That would set the cat amongst the pigeons.

    Last but not least, would Kimi go back to Ferrari? Unless domenicali and anyone else who pushed him out (LdM can’t be pushed out unless politics comes calling) is pushed out. I can’t see how he can gell with the team that put schumacher above him in terms of car development when Kimi was the lead driver. Kimi is a class act and hence none of the santander/ferrari shenanigans came out. Kimi being kimi, took the lumpsum he got, enjoyed his time in nascar and wrc and came back with lotus who’re now doing better than ferrari and can now claim top dollar. Funny how things go in circles don’t they.

    • Damn, I meant the circuit isn’t funded out of public money. So the govt has no stake and hence doesn’t care.

      Anyway, looks like the swiss bank UBS loaned the NJGP $100m. So maybe they’re not out yet? Given the yes/no that happened with Austin, I’d say they still aren’t out of the game yet. What they really need is for some big sponsor to come in and get it done. Too bad, we don’t have an american manufacturer in F1.

      • Yeah they have the $100m loan, but it’s supposed to create a $100m of value so other investor’s will say… “Hey, they’ve got some money – this must be now be a goer…let’s invest too… don’t wanna miss out guys”.

        And as soon as they put their moula in (if anyone does) then USGP will pay back UBS and the investors will lose their cash when they learn like every other race – F1 weekends don’t make a profit for promoter’s – just Bernie.

        $100m is a lot to pay to meet a few F1 celebs and get into the paddock club for 3 days.

        My advice to the good financiers of NY/NJ is – cough up the $5,000, get a nice first class flight for a couple of thou more – and get down to the paddock club in Austin.

        The other option is – I hear there’s some interesting ‘under the mattress cash’ in certain refuse companies director’s houses in NJ.

        They might be interested in ‘investing’ if they can give their green backs a quick rinse. 😀

  10. Kimi’s motocross team are already sponsored by Red Bull. According to some reports from Finnish Red Bull and Kimi might be negotiating on a 10 year contract/ partnership. The deal is suppose to be for F1, and also for when Kimi retires from F1. He would become a Red Bull representative and they would support him doing WRC, Nascar and Motocross or whatever type of motorsport he wants to try next. This sounds like an interesting deal and something I could see Kimi go for. It would also explain why such a contract would take a long time to negotiate.

    As for the tyres, a big part of the reason why Red Bull suddenly improved more on the first Pirelli’s was because Pirelli got more and more conservative with tyre selections as the complaints against them increased. In Canada and Silverstone harder tyres was used then what was planned at first.

    • Hi Amanda

      You make a good observation on the tyres – and I wasn’t aware of the existing sponsorship so thanks for providing us with that info.

      • I should have added that the rumour about the long contract comes from Jukka Mildh he is the former manager of Mika Salo and he currently works with Nico Rosberg.

  11. I don’t think it’s Karoon Chandhok but an Indian Minister called Vicky Chandhook. I may be wrong ,but I’ve often wandered in the past if it’s is Karoon’s mother that’s if it’s a woman at all….. Have seen the name on multiple occasions when ever there is a political discussion about the Indian GP.

    • That’s his dad, and he’s the head of the Indian Motorsports federation. Probably how Karun got his breaks to get up the Motorsport ladder.

  12. Has everyone else seen the results for the recent DTM race – no winner! Never seen any decision like this before.

    • It’s a bit like Tour de France. For the ’99-’05 there’s ‘Awards Stripped’. Not sure if wins should be awarded retrospectively, it does happen in the Olympics and in a way it’s fairer, but I guess you win something later on without being able to celebrate the win.

    • That has to go down as the most stupid thing in history. How can Audi allow people in the paddock, that have not been briefed on the parc fermé rules?? Seriously, if I was Eckström, I’d be a half-orphan by now. It was his OWN FATHER, who undid a whole day’s work. I mean, how dense can you be?

      • Totally hilarious is my reaction to this, but it just makes everyone concerned look stupid (the series, the manufacturer, the team/driver), which is a concern given that there was something similar bonkers happening with Paffett and blue flag delta times a couple of months ago as well. DTM’s credibility as a series is now in the garbage for me, maybe it should have been all along, who knows.

        • DTM’s reaction was by the book. The parc fermé rules say that no weight shall be added to the driver and they doused him in 1 litre of water. That’s a bloody kilogram. How window-licking mad do you have to be??
          IF they hadn’r reacted, we’d soon see drivers being doused in water regularly and in contrast to Ekström, they’d be marginal on weight. DTM had no other option, it’s his posse, who were absolute idiots.

  13. In reply to your editors note. I found this awesome site through a retweet – don’t remember from who exactly. Used to think Joe Saward had the best F1 site, now you’re my go to site if I want the juicy inside stories with content and let’s face it, a lot less arrogance than Saward lol. As far as where I’m reading from, now from belgium, which isn’t very exotic, but I live in Nigeria, so when head back there next month that’ll be another ‘exotic’ location to add t your list. Keep up the great work, really love this site, wish I’d discovered it sooner!

    • TJ13 is being mentioned in many places by now. I saw it being mentioned at the TopGear torrentist hideout FinalGear today and I’ve mentioned it myself at GTRP and motorsportforums.com. Me thinks we iz famous 😉

      • Great to hear – and may your articles for TJ13 go viral.

        Seriously, really appreciate the work you put in to enlighten our souls with the articles you write – which can be spicey and divide opinion… EXCELLENT!

      • I can remember being one of those lone commenters near the start.. amazing to see how this has grown, and from the start I did think it would be successful, it had all the right messages to be, but you never know how successful something will turn out to be in the end.

        • Same here, I can still remember the days of 10 comments per article max, TJ hit a century the day before.

  14. As its 31st July – Hello! I followed a link from James Allen F1 a month or two back and have been a regular visitor since.

    Good stuff, good insight and inside info.

    I love Alonso, but I think – if it is all true – the recent activity is a political play too far. But with Il Padre – well, the latter is the is the politician above all politicians bar Bernie. Dance with the Devil… Be careful Ferdinand!

    • Great to hear from you probe V

      I agree, we get leaks of info all the time, most of which we don’t publish because we know it is politiking..

      As I said in the news – its too early for Ferrari to bin Alonso. But we shall see.

    • There was only one man Bernie ever bowed down to, and that was Enzo.

      If I remember correctly, it was originally to be called the Maranello agreement but the CSI, which morphed into the FISA, now FIA, wanted it named after the Place Del Concorde where their office were based.

      LdM, trained as an international lawyer, has family connected to the Agnellis, ran Ferrari between 1974 to 1976 and after jaunts with the Americas Cup and Italia 90 World Cup returned to Ferrari in 1991.
      He has studied F1 politics under the best and I sense is the one person that isn’t cowed by Bernie or owes his wealth to Bernie.

      I always sense that all other teams are grudgingly accepting of Bernie. He led them during the Fisa/ Foca wars in 1981 and has transformed them all into multi-millionaires.
      Ferrari never owed their livelihood or their earnings on Bernie. They always negotiated start money for themselves which is why the threat of Ferrari not entering a race was so common back then.

      • Thanks for that Carlo

        I really do love Ferrari – I say this even as a boyhood Williams fan.

        I take the micky out of my own children and family, so when I have a pop at Marenello, it’s with “brother-esque” like familiarity.

        Get me. I sound like I’ll be getting the ‘little Felipe’ treatment soon and a BBQ with Il Padsrino 😉

        It’s interesting you mention the Agnellis. Most non-Italian F1 fans may not realise they own the influential Turin Publication – La Stampa.

        Which prior to the Horse Whisperer, would often say what the Ferrari Godfather would rather not say in person when inward criticism was required.

        It was La Stampa who broke the story about a furious Alonso threatening to tweet the world from India – if I remember correctly

        • Get Me? Get Me?
          Judge, that is unbecoming language for your honour. Or is you getting down with the homies like our bro Lew?


          • It is important that we communicate properly to everyone so that they understand in their own idioms that justice is for all……

  15. Ive been reading judge pretty much since it started.. I think I found your website through a post on james’ allen on F1.. Although im not sure!

    I check this website everyday and its by far the most informative, entertaining and interesting website about F1 that I’ve seen.

    Keep up the amazing work! 😀

  16. Found the site through a James Allen post about 6 months ago and read every day, with multiple visits most days.

    Delighted to share that after causing Joe S some existential angst, which sent him into a non commenting period of non posting reflection, i got banned from making coments on his site. My crime? To point out that his aggressive and dismisive response to a comment was a bit over the top.

    This wonderful site is a more than adequate replacement!

    And i live if the very windswept and exotic Ireland. Which i suppose is slightly more on the windswept side of things, come to think of it…..

    • Hey Colin.Thanks for your post

      Please share your thoughts or questions in future because I for one have learned a huge amount from the commentators here and whilst at times the debate gets robust, nobody gets hurtr

      Appreciate your kind sentiments

      • Have stepped up my commenting, Your Honor, at your previous request to do so.

        A gentleman must always action a direction from the court!

        Delighted to do so. You have a real gem of a site, and an unparalleled community of contributors. You and your team should be very proud of what you are building.

    • I should point out that my comment to JS was in defence of another poster, not myself, and that i emailed him my concerns. I don’t wash dirty linen in public.

      Still got excommunicated from the church of saward though!

      • Welcome to the courtroom, Colin. We don’t do excommunications here. It’s all down to our benevolent dictator, his honour himself 😉 The thing that I like about this place is, that I can lock horns with people, without anyone reverting to foul language or ad-hominem attacks. The battle of words is fierce, but fair 🙂

        • I have been witness to said locking of horns Danilo, you inspire people to react at times, lol. But this is without question the best F1 site. Newcomers will find information on here that is weeks ahead of the mainstream press.
          Recently, Allison was confirmed at Ferrari on the 29th. TJ reported the news back on the 10th July and before that was mentioning that Ferrari shouldn’t get petty over contract negotiations to get his services.
          I have mentioned TJ in conversations in Twitter and the people are staggered by the site when they look at what is written.
          It’s a great community and thankfully we’re all adults.

          I was at Silverstone back in 1991, as I wrote in the comment of the month above. I witnessed a crowd so aggressive and disgusting towards Senna, I didn’t want to be part of the F1 experience. When the football mentality gets involved in F1, it ruins everything, which is why I love this site and contribute as often as I can

      • I have no truck with Joe. I’ve stated many times he has a wealth of F1 experience to die for. I read his blog daily.

        But he seems unable to embrace that F1 news has changed because of the internet and there are people who have contacts within the teams who provide legitimate insight – who are not in the paddock – press authorised.

        Of course this information cannot be confirmed absolutely under old school journalism rules, but if the writer has a degree of confidence, they will publish.

        TJ13 has even been open recently about the level of confidence in our sources. One revelation got a 7 out of 10 and another 9.9.

        So Joe has a lot of fantastic stuff to share, but he is still in the paper based mentality where the writer is communicating one to many as a privileged expert speaking from a position of special authority.

        The internet created one to many – and many to one back.

        No one can know everything about F1, but Joe is the ultimate fount of knowledge on his blog. So if anyone disagrees he becomes defensive.

        Here we embrace all additional info – links to other sites and articles which substantiate or contradict the analysis TJ13 gives.

        F1 media and press used to be a very exclusive club, but now the hottest news on a race weekend is delivered to the TV media.

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