Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 30th September 2013

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Red Bull using illegal technology? (14:15)

Lotus and Caterham to drop the Renault logo 14:34)

Vettel boo pandemic: part II (in case you missed it)

Kimi crocked? (14:51)

Ward scathing of Todt and the FIA’s handling of Bahrain (16:29)

Pirelli learn from 2012 mistakes (16:41)

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Red Bull using illegal technology?

Gian Carlo Minardi has questioned the legitimacy of Sebastian Vettel’s RB9. Minardi, who sold his team in 2001 which in turn subsequently became Toro Rosso, was trackside in Singapore.

GMM report, “It’s not my intention to devalue Sebastian Vettel, who always manages his Red Bull in the best way. I just want to tell what I personally saw and heard during the three day event.

Referring to the first chicane Minardi claims Vettel appeared to have a far superior handling car and negotiated the corners, “without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals and also his teammate. His laptime was also remarkable in T3, which is the track’s sector with the highest concentration of corners. On the same stretch, Sebastian was able to speed up 50 metres before any other driver, Webber included.

Minardi then explains what he observed. “The thing that surprised me the most was the engine’s sound. It sounded like none of the other Renault engines on track, including Mark’s. It sounded similar to the engines in past seasons when traction control went into action. Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances. For example, after the safety car went in. In those moments it was more powerful [in sound] than any other engines — Renault and the other brands”.

The 66 year olds conclusion is that, “I would like to have some answers,” he continued. “I don’t want to blame anyone, I just want to get to the bottom of it.

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Before anyone asks, you will not see the traditional Renault logo on the Lotus and Caterham cars in Korea. There has been no fall out or dispute, merely that Renault wish to run the Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) brand logo to promote the business the undertake in Korea.

Renault Sport marketing director, Olivier Gillet states, “F1 is a global sport, but it is also a perfect way for markets to deal with their local media and customers. This name change is part of a full 360-degree marketing campaign in South Korea., The change is a precedent for us, but Korea is a unique market.”

The normal logo’s will return for the Japanese GP.

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Kimi crocked?

Last week TJ13 reported sources had suggested Kimi may require a back operation prior to the conclusion of the 2013 season. Subsequently Mark Arnall stated that the Finn would indeed be fit for the weekend in Korea.

Yet Raikkonen is not 100% certain about how things will be as he explains, “It’s better than it was on Saturday in Singapore which is when it didn’t feel too good. The important thing was that I was able to race and we did a pretty good job with the podium finish. It’s not the first time I’ve had a problem, as there have been some issues with my back for a long time. For sure, we will have to see how it is when I get out on track on Friday in Korea.”

Erci Boulier has suggested that the team is in no rush to name Kimi’s successor, and hints that it is unlikely to be an experienced driver like Massa who they recruit.

“When it comes to drivers, we are not simply looking for a short-term replacement for Kimi. We are looking at where we are going to be in the next five years.” Eric adds, “We can afford to be patient — to ask the candidates to wait as we formulate our strategy for the coming years.”

It would appear that Nico Hulkenberg is in prime position for the Lotus’ drive in 2014 and beyond, let’s hope he gets paid in full unlike in his time at Force India and currently at Sauber.

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Ward scathing of Todt and the FIA’s handling of Bahrain

David Ward is clearly running on a mandate popular with the fans – ‘to clean up the FIA’ – but it is yet to be seen whether this will find resonance with the 183 motoring organisations from around the globe who have the power to decide upon the Federations next president.

Speaking to the BBC, Ward is openly critical of the FIA’s handling of the Bahrain issue. Following the cancelation of the 2011 race, Ward suggests that the manner in which the FIA attempted to establish whether the 2012 race should be re-instated was an example of “poor decision-making”.

The head of the Spanish Motoring Federation was sent to the Kingdom by Jean Toodt as an FIA envoy in an attempt to understand the state of the nations civil unrest. Ward does not blame Carlos Gracia and states that, I think he was rather badly served in that mission. I felt sorry for him, actually.”

David Ward states, “The reasons I’m running is I can see failures going on in terms of governance that I think are quite serious”. One clear example of this was, “Bahrain had all the hallmarks of decision-making on the hoof right up to 24 hours before the race”.

Clearly the FIA allowed the promoters to breach article one of the Federation’s own constitution when the did not impose sanctions for the politicising of the 2012 event with the slogans, “UniF1ed” and “Back on track”. Ecclestone at the time meekly suggested, “we did ask them to take it down”.

There were many people within the sport who felt the race should not have been re-instated in 2012 and Ward accuses the FIA of having, “crossed over a line”, by facilitlating the politicising of the race. Further he believes, “If it looks like the situation is deteriorating or not improving, what there should be – because this could happen tomorrow in another part of the world – is a standard process to handle this, that is immune from suggestions that one place is being treated differently from another,”

To examine the situation properly, David Ward says he would send again to Bahrain “someone with expertise in the area.” Someone of the standing of Edwin Glasgow QC, who chaired the Bloody Sunday inquiry Ward believes would add professionalism and credibility to the investigation.

Ward a former supporter of Max Mosley supported Jean Todt’s subsequent election, indeed he wrote his manifesto for election. However, he is now highly critical of Todt and the FIA whoch he describes as “not fit for purpose”.

Part of David’s manifesto is to appoint a paid chief executive to the FIA and a special commissioner to deal with F1 exclusively. He describes the current arrangements as, “amateur, antiquated and rather archaic”.

This is something TJ13 has suggested for sometime. When the big issues are boiling over in the sport, where has Jean Todt been? Who is commenting on behalf of the regulatory body of F1? Nowhere and nobody are the answers to both questions.

In the light of Ecclestones imminent trial, David Ward wants to see the FIA “strengthen its provisions” on corruption and bribery, by ensuring the sporting code “would be clear about the requirements we would have in terms of partners”.

He expects it is “very likely” Ecclestone would falls foul of that code if he were to be convicted in Germany.

The more we hear from David Ward, the more TJ13 backs his candidacy for the upcoming elections in December. Of course words are one thing, finding a way of cutting through the bureaucratic processes embedded in the FIA may take more than some popularist speeches.

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Pirelli learn from 2012 mistakes

The tyres selected for Korean 2013 by Pirelli are the medium and the supersoft. Last year we saw a fairly processional race as the tyre supplier selected the soft and supersoft. However, the incremental step between the compounds for 2013 should provide for a more interesting race.

Paul Hembery explains, “We would expect there to be a significant difference in lap time between the two compounds we have selected, as was the case in Singapore, and that should help the teams to put together some interesting strategies.

Korea is an interesting mix: you get some fast corners as well as some slower ones but actually it has the highest lateral energy demand of all the circuits where the supersoft is used, so tyre management is going to be important once more. In particular, the work done in free practice when it comes to assessing the wear and degradation levels on each compound with different fuel loads is going to be especially important, as that will hold the key to the correct strategy.

We saw the difference that having the right strategy could make in Singapore, and although there is a lower probability of a safety car in Korea, this is still something that the teams will be paying a lot of attention to in the build-up to the Grand Prix, as the championship enters its final phase.”

It’s good to see that Pirelli have learned from 2012, when their tyre selections for the closing races appeared too conservative. This is one reason why F1 requires continuity of a supplier to refine over time the supply of tyres.

36 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 30th September 2013

  1. Judge, what’s are your thoughts on this? I know all the teams have a standard ecu to try prevent this. With all technology there are ways round things. Even the most sophisticated IT security devices are nothing more than a glorified car alarm, if some one really wants your car, they will just take it.

    Ask sony:)

    • Ok. There are at times questions about who I maybe – well I’m not Newey 😉

      My guess is that the RB9 advantage .. and maybe just on Vettel’s car …. is in the suspension system…

      Further, from the information I have, I do wonder about the FIA’s technical knowledge and ability to police the finer points of the technology.

      • my guess is that it is some clever interpretation of a loophole in the regulations. probably in conncetion to engine mapping. red bull did these things before. i don’t think that they actually have something blatantly illegal in the car, like the supposed 1994 traction control in the benetton.

        as far as webbers rb9 goes, he was fast at the beginning of the season and started disappearing in races after the clash in malaysia. might be a conspiracy theory, but then again, the same thing happened every time he agreed to a contract extension.

        i never understood why webber stayed at red bull instead of signing for ferrari. my inititial suspicion was that webber was told he would get a fair shot at the wdc once vettel bagged his third title. this is what triggered multi 21, the team subsequently reneged on the agreement and tried their best to keep webber and vettel away from each other at the race track. thus it would make sense not to put all the newest upgrades on webbers car. maybe this is what caused webber to retire, because with ferrari firing massa, he could have very well gotten an offer from maranello again.

        • Webber had decided to retire before the season had even started, which means neither the ‘agreement’ had been in place, nor was he deliberately given an inferior car.

      • TJ…. doesn’t stand for Teddy Jordan does it, Eddie’s twin?
        Hmmm, and he broke news of Lewis and Kimi to the world before the other media outlets. I mean, EJ isn’t at all the race meeting either and he got an interview with LdM and is quite vocal regards Horner.

        I think the truth needs outing sir! 😉

        • Teddy is the new nick name Carlo – lol!!

          However, if it were Eddie I’d suggest he wouldn’t be able to keep it to himself. He’d have to announce the news on the BBC as an exclusive.

  2. I think senility is taking poor Gianni to the night, really. So he really thinks that RB have an illegal TC-like system and just for good measure they ‘forget’ to install it in Marks car? And somehow hundreds of people, like for instance Eddie Jordan, who unlike Mr. Minardi actually managed to build cars that won something, they all missed it for six months? Thanks for the laugh, old chap 😀

    • Oh, Danilo, I really like you, and I know you’ll go to great lengths to defend Vettel, but actually quoting the ‘ever reliable Eddie Jordan’ as a counter-weight to Minardi doesn’t do you any good 😉

      I agree though that we need to take comments as such with a pinch of salt, but the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe there isn’t an illegal traction control there, but some other clever machination by Newey that really borders on the legality of things. It’s now new, he was always doing this kind of things since his Williams and McLaren days, until they discovered it and he was forced to change things. But by that time the championship was all but wrapped up.

      • The thing that irks me is, that suddenly someone comes and offers a theory that is so outlandish, it could have been commissioned by some of the shadier parts of the English yellow press. How come that FIA personell, 11 teams and assorted experts all noticed nothing wrong, yet some semi-retired former team boss immediately works it out. It’s just ridiculous.
        The absolutely funny thing is, how he starts with ‘I don’t want to belittle Vettels achievement’ and then gives a verbatim copy of what the Sun or the Daily fail want to hear to keep stoking the fire.

        • It appears to me that some of the problem in Singapore after the safety car was the moving road block that was Rosberg.

          At first I thought it may be a ploy to allow Vettel to get just far enough ahead for Nico to retain the lead following Vettel’s final pitstop.

          The we heard the Mercedes driver had rubber marbles in his front wing – which clearly affected his performance. On that note, why the hell Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton earlier to get the undercut God only knows.

          This certainly contributed to the lap time differential Vettel had on the field.

          Secondly, Newey certainly knows how to push the limits and I have to say if he believes RB have a foolproof manner of circumventing the rules and not being discovered – are we saying they would not use it?

          This is F1 by the way 🙂

        • Further, on the engine comments from Minardi – When I was in Jerez this year, RB had a guy at turn 1 with a sound measuring/recording device.

          He was clearly monitoring the engine sounds of the other teams for nearly an hour…

          The other teams also do this and so I’d put little credence on Minardi’s comments over that particular issue.

          • I agree, I don’t think Minardi’s comments are so outlandish. I don’t think there is anything to do with traction control though as the ECU is the same for everyone, probably engine mapping is the likeliest scenario.

          • To say Vettel was dominant in Singapore is an understatement. To be able to pull a 2 sec a lap gap (at will) on a quality field is mind boggling. I am no expert on things F1 but something does seem to be amiss. Could something like this happen and no one in F1 sees and says nothing? or are the teams preparing for a bigger move in this chess game called F1?

        • When I entered into the stock market at a very young age my broker told me “if it sounds to good to be true it is to good to be true”. I wish I listened to him as I lost a lot of money.. anyway, onto Red Bull… if it sounds to good to be true… 😉

        • In the early 2000’s Stoddart, the boss of Minardi, was used by several of the other teams to highlight a problem with the FIA or other teams that some of the competition couldn’t throw around.
          I remember Ron Dennis doing this over several issues. For Dennis it was also due to his hostile relationship with Max Mosley.

          One in 2001 was the illegal use of traction control.
          Once Mr S had brought this into the public domain, Ron grabbed the opportunity and spoke about it ad nauseum.
          In May 2001, the FIA decided to re-allow TC to be used once more because it was too difficult to police.
          To paraphrase Ron, “you will see now who has been using TC illegally because the relative performance of their car will fall back in comparison to where they have been the last couple of years” His implications were not subtle.

          Ferrari had won the 2000 WCC with 10 victories and ran the 2000 chassis at the start of 2001 also.

          With traction control, Ferrari became even stronger than before, yet Mclaren strangely proceeded backwards, with Newey at the helm!

          Ron never apologised.

          In 2001, the teams knew that TC was being re-introduced in Spain 2001 and developed their systems accordingly.
          Only Ferrari developed a gearbox that changed gear within 160ms and it’s electronics could hold gears or change them earlier than necessary to maximise traction. This was introduced before Spain and they openly admitted to this.
          Whats important is that this was within the rules because it was gearbox coding that worked with the engine mapping, it wasn’t based on wheel speeds.
          All other teams appreciated what had been done but they couldn’t afford to do this. Something else to bear in mind, all transmissions were automatic at that stage, only years later did they have to be manually operated.

          The only other time that TC has been suggested, and Danilo, this isn’t a dig at German drivers, honest, was 1994.
          Benetton were found to have hidden software in their system that could only be accessed by a very distinct paddle and button procedure. The FIA couldn’t prove it hadn’t been used therefore they couldn’t prosecute.
          Mclaren and Ferrari also had to give their systems over to the FIA but Mclaren refused to give passwords because of security. Mosley made a point that the experts dealing with the coding dealt with military contracts, F1 didn’t even come close to secrecy.

          At the British GP that year I could hear a difference between MSC and Herbert, his team-mate coming out of Club, what it was, I don’t know, but Senna stood for some time in AIda and listened and wanted to protest the system on the Benetton. Williams refused to do this. I’d guess Senna would have been a better witness than a Minardi who just ran a team.

          The problem was in 1994, you had two guys who were questionable in their ethics to say the least.
          One was Briatore, a confirmed cheat now. The other was Tom Walkinshaw, an intimidating guy who was well known for bending rules in British motor-sport.
          I could mention Pat Symonds, another confirmed cheat, and Ross Brawn as he links Benetton and Ferrari, but who really knows?

          When will the teams learn that the majority of fans tune in to watch a race, not an engineering display by the biggest eggheads.

          If the FIA is really determined to have road transferable technology, then write rules that forbid the bullshit aero wars.

          If I want to travel to Italy, or America or the Maldives, I want to know that the airline employs engineers who service the plane and know their job. They have pilots who are trained to the highest standards and that it’s as enjoyable as possible.

          I couldn’t give a rat’s arse what lift or drag is produced by the aileron.

          • In the case of 1994 the FIA statement was:

            “In the absence of any evidence that the device was used and certain evidence that it was not, the World Council imposed no penalty involving the results of the event.”

            Unfortunately only the part of they couldn’t prove it is quoted but nothing about “certain evidence it was not”

            Interesting about Ron and McLaren in 2001.

  3. Proof positive that Vettel and Red Bull are cheats. You can’t argue with Minardi’s 66 year old ears. The English media must be salivating at the opportunity to have their “real” WC crowned. Here’s how they will formulate it.

    Red Bull have to be banned and their drivers excluded from the WC, both drivers and constructors. Sorry Mark, you’re a nice guy but you are an Australian.

    Since Renault probably were aware, even if they weren’t, then they are guilty too. All cars with Renault engines teams are excluded from the WC, both drivers and constructors.

    Ferrari have to be banned as to not ban them would look like favouritism. And they are probably running something illegal anyway.

    Sauber are banned because they use Ferrari engines. Guilt by association.

    Toro Rosso are banned because they are associated with Red Bull and use Ferrari engines. Can’t be more guilty than that.

    Sutil gets banned because he’s an ex-con and Di Resta for being Scottish.

    Rosberg gets banned because he’s German, well half-German, and since Vettel is German that enough to be banned.

    Bianchi gets banned because he’s associated with Ferrari.

    Perez gets banned because Tel-Mex’s cell service is terrible.

    The final results of the 2013 FIA F1 WC are:

    1. Lewis Hamilton

    2. Jenson Button

    3. Max Chilton

  4. Well, now I know why Minardi were always last and had no money. It’s because this fool ran the team.

    If he genuinely thinks something is amiss go to the FIA rather than blabber all to some journalist to try and tarnish Vettel’s reputation.

    • A little unfair. This “fool” ran a team from 1985 to 2001 in F1, he introduced several drivers who would become GP winners (the most famous being Alonso) and was very respected amongst the paddock because he didn’t do corporate BS.
      They finished fourth on a few occasions and once qualified on the front row in Phoenix in 1990.

      The team was eventually sold to Toro Rosso in 2005 and after the high of running a Newey designed chassis in 2008 and winning at Monza with Vettel, they have fallen back to where they always ran.

      One of their designers, Aldo Costa, is responsible for this years Mercedes, which is a far better car than the previous model.

      • Ya your right, I know and supported them but just irritates me when someone opens their mouth to do untold damage against someone who already has gotten an extremely raw deal by the media and fans in general.

    • I’ve read your report and it’s about the only sane thing written on the subject.

  5. I’ve been thinking about that old clip on you tube with Scumacher compared to Johnny Herbert at Silverstone. In it, you can see Scumacher using throttle and brake in a ‘tractiion controlling’ way.
    So now I think is Vettel mastering this, or did they both have traction control?

  6. Words fail me, reading this mental diarrhea excreted by some people… Yeah, we really need a semi-retired Italian idiot telling us what’s what, because all the teams failed to get the clue.
    Trying to catch my flying pig…

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