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TJ13’s 1st Birthday (10:09)
Pirelli tests with 2011 cars – yeah right (10:32) Updated (12:54)
Ferrari: Chiefs and Indians? (12:42)
Dominicali pays tribute to Massa (16:07)
TJ13’s 1st Birthday
Hey hey. We’re 1-year-old today. Walking, talking and using computers – not bad huh?
TJ13 was born because as an F1 fan foremost of 30 odd years and also someone who has been involved in F1 and knows a few people, I looked at what was out on the internet there and thought. I bet a dedicated group of fans could do a better job.
Let me say I have high regard for F1Fanatic, James Allen, Joe Saward and Adam Cooper to name but a few, but the English-speaking F1 journalism and fan sites appeared to be missing something, or each have good bits but not the complete package. Let me say, TJ13 is just beginning – those of you here today will see that journey and there are many who comment who became a fundamental part of TJ13 back in September-December last year.
Those of you who have been joining in here for some time will remember I have ranted occasionally against the stilted nature of English F1 journalism and reporting. There’s Autosport – who now charge unless you want to read the news snippets written by an apprentice journalist, and even then you get 20 visits a month.
James Allen’s site is great but you may get one post a day from James. F1Fanatic have a large debating community, though most of the content is summarised and links to other articles. I wanted news – a bit more tabloid style or say ‘Private Eye’ even. I wanted less respectful and less sycophantic writing about F1.
Of course F1 is glamorous and global, but why not call a spade a spade – whether its Dominicali, Whitmarsh, Ecclestone or Todt. Who cares? They’re only human and at times get too close to matters and don’t see the bigger picture as we do..
So for me I hoped we could develop a community of commentator’s like F1Fanatic and we hit 102 comments on Monday just gone – our record ever. It’s building, and thank you to all of you who join in – as Colin commented yesterday – some of the new guys who’ve arrived whilst I was in ‘the jungle’, have brought some fabulous insights, wit and humour.
Then there’s the authors, Danilo, Enzo, Carlo, Adam, Matt, John, BDP, BJF, Alastair, James, Ernie and the good doctor Beck… God I know I’ve forgotten people… sorry! I have to say some of the contributions from you guys are first rate and any motorsport publication in the world would be graced and enhanced by the content.
@F1Extra particularly, along with too many others to mention have promoted us well on twitter. Lots of re-tweets and links to the stories. Many Thanks
The moment of change came when a guy called Lloyd who is travelling the world contacted me over Christmas and persuaded me to ask for help – I was sinking – I run a business and at times was struggling to get content out. The irreplaceable, incredible and the mainstay of TJ13 put his hand up and offered to help. John Myburgh.
There was another individual who I think prefers to remain anonymous – if not you know who you are – and it was then TJ13 had its second birth.
Anyway, I’m feeling like I’m getting a bit sycophantic about TJ13, so time to shut up. If I’ve forgotten anyone, I’m writing this in between meetings – apologies.
We have a lot more to come, but if you wish to get involved just ask. Some of our writers had never written articles before and English is not even their mother tongue.
We could really use some help early morning on the news desk would be most appreciated, as from 00:00 to about 10:00 GMT we have no cover. I’m aware we are truly across all time zones.
Anyway – some champers later I think – onwards and upwards.. “to infinity and beyond” – not Infiniti by the way 😉
Ferrari pairing: Universally questioned
Former 7 times world champion Michael Schumacher tells Bild, “For motor sport fans it will certainly be a blast, and make for a tough competition,” adding, “It will be exciting to watch. But Ferrari with Fernando and Kimi — it sounds like an explosive mixture.”
Schumacher was ‘forced’ into retirement when Ferrari recruited Kimi, who then went on to win the world title in his first year with the team.
Speaking in a French TV broadcast, Alain Prost adds his 2 francs worth to the debate, “Speaking as a fan I would say it is good to have two number ones together. I think it’s a choice born from a certain tension between Fernando and the Scuderia that has been clearly evident during the year.
Prost infers internal difficulties lie ahead for the Scuderia and questions whether Dominicali can handle what he has been presented with. “Now he [Alonso] will no longer be the undisputed number 1, at least not initially, and I’m not sure Stefano Domenicali has the ability of a Jean Todt or a Ross Brawn to handle a situation like this. In Italy the press applies a lot of pressure, so I presume that sooner or later there will be trouble.”
Prior to the signing of Alonso, when the Spaniard was touting himself to anyone and everyone, Martin Whitmarsh commented on a Kimi Fernando pairing to Turun Sanomat. “I cannot imagine they will be happy together,” said Whitmarsh. Kimi generally doesn’t care about who is at the wheel of the other car, but Fernando will not deal with it well. Of course, both of them are clearly among the best drivers in Formula One, so Ferrari has an incredibly strong line up, but it could also put the team in a difficult situation.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport, runs with, “bold but dangerous. They are two roosters in one henhouse, so they say, even if Kimi is not a rooster at the level of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. But it will no longer be a team at the feet of one driver.”
There is still a very strong possibility Alonso will leave Ferrari before 2014 – but I’ll explain another time.
Pirelli tests with 2011 cars – yeah right
During the Monza weekend, it became public knowledge that this week Red Bull were doing a Pirelli test in Barcelona. McLaren too have mooted interest in ‘helping out’ the Italian Tyre manufacturer.
Sometimes in life you just have to trust me. I said before the summer shutdown that no such thing existed for certain teams – even for the mandatory 2 weeks – car development was being delivered.
Take my word on this too, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren (should they test) have and will significantly modify their 2011 cars for these tests. To the extent that much of what was underneath the bodywork in 2011 has been replaced or revised to replicate performance dynamics of the 2013 cars.
You may understand why I gave Horner et al a hard time over ‘testgate’ and issues surrounding the investigation by the International Tribunal. It was hypocritical – but all part of F1 I agree.
Ferrari: Chiefs and Indians?
Though mocked and regularly criticised for recruiting too many chiefs, Mercedes appear to have blazed a trail which may have serious implications for F1 in the future.
Ferrari have caught on, and as the team with allegedly the ability to apply the most resource to delivering a racing car, their recruitment continues too. Autosport reports today that they have signed Lotus’ head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer.
There as yet is no official announcement from Ferrari, but it is believed de Beer’s contract at Enstone runs only to the end of 2013. He will apparently be deployed in Maranello to work alongside current head of aerodynamics, Loic Bigois.
This again is a break from the norm, where in past times there would be 1 individual responsible for such a technical area of the team.
Of course Ferrari demonstrated their commitment to ramping up their technical structure when they signed Lotus’ technical director, James Allison earlier this year. It is likely James has identified de Beer and maybe others he believes will lead the charge to restoring the prancing horse to the head of the field in 2014-15.
This of course is another blow to Lotus, who it appears are shipping key individuals like a sinking ship taking on water below.
It is desperately important that Lopez et al deliver the investment deal from Infinity Racing to shore up confidence that the team will have sufficient resource with which to deliver and develop a competitive car in the future
Rumours of Renault investing heavily too still abound, yet TJ13 believes this is not imminent, and there is a ‘wait and see’ state of mind in the upper echelons of Renault/Nissan over how competitive the French designed power train will be in 2014.
This relentless drive to add high level technical director’s into their infrastructure by Mercedes and Ferrari looks to be leaving McLaren a little light in the high level brain power stakes, yet only time will tell.
Dominicali pays tribute to Massa
“At the start of the summer, we had a meeting to assess the situation and I reiterated that renewing our agreement was one of the options on the table, maybe it was even the most likely. Then came a series of difficult races, for him and for the team and in the end, we realised the best choice, for both parties, was to make a change.
I think that, even for Felipe, the time had come to look outside what had become his home for twelve years and which, to a certain extent, will always be his home. You see, I saw Felipe arrive in Maranello when he was just a kid and I will see him walk out of here a grown man.
Together we have lived through some great moments and some dramatic times, which has made the personal rapport between us something special. Obviously, the biggest disappointment is that I didn’t get to see him become world champion, which he almost did in 2008.
That day and indeed that whole year, there were some incredible incidents which went against him. The lesson in sporting dignity he gave the world that day on the Interlagos podium and also the maturity he displayed while talking to me last night will always stay with me.
I am proud to have worked with him in our team for so many years and I’m sure he will know how to do some great things outside the Maranello environment.” (Ferrari.com)