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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)
Caption of the day (17:30)
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)
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.