Daily #F1 News and comment: Friday 4th October 2013

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Editor’s note

2014 F1 Winter Testing (09:57)

Korea FP1 and FP2 (10:09)

Sauber engine announcement (10:16)

Renault break silence and an agreement with Milton Keynes (11:20)

Bahrain twilight race (11:51)

Shambolic announcements and back tracking from the FIA (12:26)

Mmm. Ecclestone and TJ13 (12:29)

Part 2: Inside Race Control (13:17)

Vettel’s popularity grows (15:09)

Lauda Watch (15:54)

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Editor’s note

Okay we’ll all a bit Seb’d and Bulled out, so its time to move on – of course until something else outrageous comes from HQ MK.

Seriously, I wrote yesterday that there was a death pall in the paddock, and it really appears this way.  It could be we are in for a long hall to the end of the season where nobody is getting upset with their team and requiring public tweaking of their bodily members. No complaints about the tyres and even Di Resta is being nice about his co-employees from Silverstone.

This is all very much NOT F1. However, we’ll press on.

For those of you who enjoyed the Formula1.com article from last year on Stewarding, I’ll publish part II today. For those who feel this is pointless, skip it and read on. It takes about 2 minutes to reproduce and won’t prevent us from bringing you the news and gossip as it happens.

We’ve  an interesting piece coming from our man in Mexico in the next week and of course we have a race/procession – who knows this weekend.

At least Pirelli have provided us with tyres this year with a larger pace differential, so we should see different strategies for the race. The fans favourite Scottish driver will most likely doing what Scots do well, saving cash wherever they can and using less tyres than the rest of the field.

So up, up and away………

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2014 F1 Winter Testing

The winter F1 testing schedule has now been confirmed. There had been concerns that Jerez may be dropped from the schedule, following the teams and Pirelli complaining about sections of the track breaking up.

Assurances have been given these problems have been rectified. Further, the first 4 days testing undertaken by the teams is mostly a shakedown of the car to test all the bits actually work.

This was demonstrated by Lewis this year, when on his first 10 lap stint for his new team, the was a failure causing him to plough into a barrier and sit out the rest of the day.

Alonso didn’t even bother turning up in Jerez in 2013, he left the shakedown work to his worthy Ferrari assistant drivers.

Barcelona has been dropped from the schedule and Bahrain now has the 2nd and 3rd tests. The weather in Barcelona was terrible this year, and one morning at 7am during the middle test, I had to clear ice from my car.

Jerez is many hundreds of miles south – just an hour from Gibraltor, and the early afternoon temperatures can easily get to mid 20c.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s Autodrome had been suggested as venues for the Middle Eastern tests, yet Martin Whitmarsh claims Bahrain is the better option.

“The idea is that you get into some temperature testing and, if you look at the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is not a good circuit for testing, and Dubai is a bit Mickey Mouse, The best circuit for testing out there is Bahrain, so that is why we are going there.”

At the FIA Press Conference, Force India Team Manager Andy Stevenson also believes the right decision regarding Bahrain has been made.

“As far as a pre-season test venue for the new power units, I couldn’t think of a better place to go, The temperatures aren’t going to be that hot – they will probably be 22c or 23c at that time of year and it is actually a very good way of bringing the crews up to speed and ready for a hard season. I think the dates that are scheduled are pretty good.”

So, if you want to get the first sights and sounds of the new V6 Turbo era, get booking now. Hotel’s will escalate in price, yet the entrance fee to the circuit is between 10 and 20 euros each day for 8 hours where you can walk the circuit and compare the cars cornering, engine sounds, and get a lot closer to the action than on a typical F1 race weekend.

TJ13 hears that a number of teams had raised concerns over the substantial incremental cost of travelling to and from Bahrain instead of Barcelona. Yet Mr. E has assured them that his friends – the Al Khalifa’s – will be picking up the tab…which will also be first class (maybe business class for some)…….. all the way…. in its entirety.

Jerez:                 28-31st January

Bahrain:              19-22nd February

Bahrain               27th February – 2nd March

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Korea FP1 and FP2

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the Korean Grand Prix weekend so far during the second free practice session today, running on Pirelli’s P Zero Red supersoft tyre. This has been nominated alongside the P Zero White medium compound: exactly the same combination as used in Singapore two weeks ago.

Hamilton completed a clean sweep of both sessions at the Yeongam circuit, going fastest in the morning as well on the P Zero White as he worked towards a race set-up. But it was his time in the afternoon, 1m38.673s, which proved to be quicker than anybody else could manage all day. Hamilton set his fastest time halfway through the afternoon session, with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel going second-quickest, also on the supersoft compound.

Both sessions were held in warm and dry weather with ambient temperatures peaking at 24 degrees centigrade. However, more mixed conditions are predicted for the rest of the weekend, which could lead to a wet race on Sunday.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The teams have quite a lot of data on the medium and supersoft already from Singapore, but this circuit is a completely different proposition. The lateral energy loadings in particular are much higher, which makes the process of reading the wear and degradation rates accurately on differing fuel loads absolutely essential when it comes to formulating a strategy.

The track was very ‘green’ at the start of free practice this morning but this is what we expected and it got quicker as more rubber was laid down. Despite the slippery surface the teams didn’t encounter much graining and there were no big surprises generally speaking, which allowed everybody to get on with their programmes as anticipated.

We’re seeing a time difference of about a second between the two compounds at the moment, although we would expect this to come down a bit tomorrow. So there is plenty of scope to formulate some interesting strategies, but the big question mark will be surrounding the weather and safety cars.

Some uncertain weather is expected over the remainder of the weekend and Korea also has quite a high safety car probability, which can obviously change the complexion of the race. Under these variable circumstances, it’s always best to have as much information under your belt as possible, which is why the work done in free practice is so important.”

FP1

  1. Hamiton          1m39.630s       Medium Used
  2. Vettel               1m39.667s       Medium Used
  3. Rosberg           1m39.816s       Medium Used

FP2

  1. Hamilton         1m38.673s       Supersoft New
  2. Vettel               1m38.781s       Supersoft New
  3. Rosberg           1m38.797s       Supersoft New
Supersoft Medium
kms driven 1,785 4,458
sets used overall 22 44
highest number of laps 21 26

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Sauber engine announcement

No big surprise here, but now we know the good news that all Formula 1 teams have an engine for 2014.

Today the Sauber F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari announce they are extending their current technical partnership, which is for the supply of the complete powertrain, including engine, gearbox and ERS in a multi-year agreement.

The current partnership is entering the fifth year of a strong relationship that has produced four podiums in 2012.

Monisha Kaltenborn, explains: “We are pleased to extend our technical partnership with Ferrari taking Sauber into the new era of engines that starts in 2014. Ferrari has been a long standing partner of the team, first from 1997 to 2005 and then again from 2010 onwards. We are proud to extend our relationship with such a prestigious and renowned brand and look forward to entering the 2014 season with a strong and reliable partner like Ferrari.”(SauberF1.com)

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Renault break silence and an agreement with Milton Keynes

Apparently powering the driver and the team to 3 (almost 4) suceesive F1` world titles has not been a source of europhoria for Renault the car manufacturer and their Sporting division.

In the close season 2012-13 there were statements issued from Renault to this effect, one such example to Autocar by Carlos Tavares. “We are frustrated by the lack of recognition we get for beating the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes. It is true that I think we deserve better.”

Much of the deductive media reasoning for this has suggested this is primarily due to the branding of the team from Milton Keynes as “Infiniti Red Bull Renault”.

Yet behind the scenes, the French engine manufacturer is highly frustrated because the development of the RB6-7-8-9 (especially the latter versions) has relied heavily on an evolutionary design approach from Newey of the aerodynamics around the rear of the car, in particular, the diffuser.

Renault have worked tirelessly and used a highly technical approach to delivery exactly what Newey needs to make his aero concept work. This includes flows of very hot and consistent exhaust gases used to seal the diffuser and suck the car onto the circuit.

Yet Renault have been unable to explain that their input has not merely been in the form of powering the car. Of course we’ve all heard of engine maps and have a broad understanding that tinkering with the timing of the firing of the engine can help with the aerodynamics somewhat.

Further, to enable Newey to evolve the car year on year there has been an agreement between Milton Keynes and Renault that they will keep quiet over the kind of contribution they have been delivering, for fear that other engine suppliers would catch on.

However, this silence over the past week has been broken. Renault have briefed a number of F1 writers and websites with stories similar to the last post here on TJ13.

As much as I respect Michael Schmidt for his connections and F1 experience how on earth would he know the following. “In the split second required for gear changes, at least in lower gears, the four-cylinder mode can be engaged in small intervals of 50 milliseconds”; or even, “that the engine is phasing at this time three cylinders on the inner bank and one on the outer bank in the four-cylinder mode”.

Vettel in a gleeful rebuttal of the accusations that the team had used a traction control system in Singapore felt that this kind of boffin like knowledge inside Renault could not be observed or copied by the others.

“We are pretty proud of the system we have because other people will never figure out how we have done it. Constantly we try to improve the car, that is part of the homework we try to do.

We were playing around quite a lot in practice [in Singapore] and the first time it worked was in the race. I’m quite confident because other people will never figure out how we do it.”

Little did Sebastian know but Renault Sport was already briefing over their clever engine management configurations – so the rest of the teams don’t need to ‘figure out how we do it’. More importantly, Vettel’s royal ‘we’ will now be interpreted to include significant contribution from Renault – and not exclusively Newey.

Milton Keynes are miffed, but they understand that with the championships all but but won and the other teams now focusing almost entirely on 2014 car development, this Renault revelation will not allow a loss of competitive advantage this year.

Then of course for 2014, much of this engine configuration information will obsolete as the streams of perfectly configured exhaust gases delivered so expertly by Renault, will be useless for Newey’s RB10 design.

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Bahrain twilight race

The Bahrain Grand Prix will join its regional sister nation Abu Dhabi in running their F1 event and race in the twilight.

Bahrain has hosted 9 Formula 1 events, all of which have been run at 3pm local time to avoid the midday heat. However, in 2014 the event in April will be pushed back and Martin Whitmarsh confirms, “I think they are going to call it a twilight race. I’ve seen pictures of all the floodlights on it, so for their 10th anniversary they’ve got floodlights.”

David Ward has raised concerns over the continuing relationship between F1 and Bahrain, and so the political football that is the Bahrain GP may not yet be assured of even hosting a race in 2014, depending on the outcome of the FIA presidential elections.

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Shambolic announcements and back tracking from the FIA

The FIA was written to the various team principals to assure them they have no intention of implementing a single fuel supplier for Formula One.

In a statement following the framework agreement signed with FOM, the FIA had said that the subsequent Concorde Agreement’ governing the sport would give it responsibility for conducting tenders for tyres and fuel”. This new procedure would facilitate, appointing single suppliers in the tyre and fuel categories, for the FIA F1 World Championship”.

Of course this led to a certain amount of uproar as the teams as they use different fuel suppliers and derive a significant amount of income through their sponsorship and promotion of the brands.

Oil companies such as “ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, Petronas and PDVSA, amongst others are all presently supplying the sport with a huge amount of income.

The FIA have backtracked quickly/explained the situation stating that in fact, “Fuel was mentioned purely for illustrative purposes. There are no plans at present to have a fuel tender.”

Martin Whitmarsh was highly surprised by the suggestion that the FIA would be implementing a single fuel supplier for F1 stating, “We knew nothing about it until it emerged [last week]. Some of us spoke to the FIA about it and the FIA stated that they wanted to make it clear that on any single supply issue they wanted to control the process.”

Whitmarsh astutely points out, “Look at the post-tobacco era and probably one of the biggest sectors of investors into the sport is the petro-chemical industry, You wouldn’t want to jeopardise that, so commercially it doesn’t make sense [to have a sole supplier]. And technically it doesn’t either”.

Rather generously Whitmarsh suggests that rather than this being a complete and utter balls up by people who have little insight into how F1 operates, “I think it was just one of those little scare wobbles that the sport throws into itself occasionally.”

On another related matter, it has been reported widely that the Pirelli sole supplier arrangement has been agreed by the FIA. Pirelli have commercial agreements with all the teams and with FOM for the next 5 years, yet the FIA are not clear on this.

All that has been issued from the Place de Concorde is a tacit agreement for Pirelli to continue through a “transition period” before any eventual tender process is instigated.

Paul Hembery told assembled reporters in Korea that the Italian manufacturer is “working on five years.”

To outsiders this appears chaos for a multi-billion dollar global sport, yet Hembery amusingly reminds us, “Bear in mind that when we came into the sport [in 2011] it [the contract] wasn’t signed until February of the year in which we started racing”.

The situation is clear yet some would say ‘as mud’ as the cars go testing for 2014 in a mere 16 weeks.

“There’s meetings still going on,” Pirelli’s commercial director explains, “Unfortunately. When you’ve got lots of different groups involved and lots of different lawyers there’s lots of details but the principles are all working.”

Though Pirelli are not in the least concerned, “There might be more anxiety from the other people’s point of view because we could walk away,”

The theory that the last minute deal brings power to those awarding the contract is not necessarily true. If the FIA refuse Pirelli’s request and offer merely a 1 year transitional arrangement for 2014 prior to the new tendering process beginning, we could see the Italian tyre manufacturer withdraw during and F1 weekend – and the cars on the grid with just shiny metal rims for grip.

Tyres may yet AGAIN be a big story in 2014.

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Mmm. Ecclestone and TJ13

Back in the early days, commentators on TJ13 played games trying to guess who was behind TJ13. Someone even suggested that I was Mr. Bernard Charles Eclestone and maybe this was because back in September 2012, we predicted the race calendar for 2014 to contain just 19 races.

Following the Richter scale 9 predictions days after the Hungarian GP, there were those doubters over the truth in the most unlikely story that Kimi was to return to Ferrari. Shortly following the Ferrari announcement, TJ13 suggested Massa may be on his way to Toro Rosso.

Mr. E is known to be actively assisting Massa to find a drive for the 2014 season. He tells Bild today, “I’m a big fan of Felipe’s. I think he’s a fast driver; just terribly unlucky. But with his situation, I can’t do anything.”

The mainstream media have all reported tales of possibilities for the Brazilian driver in 2014 with Lotus, Williams, Sauber and perhaps even Force India.

Today, Mr. E suggest, “I think he could even go to Toro Rosso. It’s a better team than many people think. The only problem is that they have young drivers. What I can say is that Formula One needs a driver from Brazil.”

Remember, you heard it here first 😉 – and maybe one day I’ll tell you why.

Oh and by the way, Bernie needs something to keep him connected to F1 when he’s ousted – so why not TJ13? 😎

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Part 2: Inside Race Control

(from Formula1.com who reprinted the article from AUTO) This is a 1500 word article and is not original TJ13 content.

TJ13 note: Having asked questions of the stewards since TJ13 launched, this is an opportunity to hear from the other side.

In the past the weight of race-affecting decisions was regularly handed to a group who all too often had little or no experience of racing at a high level and, unsurprisingly, confidence in the process on the part of drivers and teams was occasionally in short supply. But that changed in 2010 when the FIA began regularly to bring in a number of former and current racers to the Stewards’ Room to add a driver’s perspective to proceedings. One of the first called up was eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen. The Dane made his stewarding debut at the 2010 Australian Grand Prix, has officiated three times since and says it’s a role he takes very seriously.

“I take it as a big responsibility, because I just don’t want to make a mistake,” he says. “I want to have all the facts in front of me in a very short time and make the right decision. And this is the pressure of being in that room. You need to gather all the information possible in as short a time as possible and make the right decision in a short space of time too.”

untitledAudi sports car star and two-times Le Mans winner Allan McNish agrees, admitting that his first event, the Monaco Grand Prix in 2011, was a daunting experience.

“It was quite a baptism of fire, because while I’d spoken to Tom [Kristensen] and Alex Wurz about how it works, when you get there you realise that there’s a huge responsibility not just on your shoulders but on all the stewards’ shoulders,” says the former Toyota F1 driver.

The decisions you make can effectively turn a race weekend or a season, if you’re working at an end-of-year race as Tom did in Brazil. In that respect, you have to be very professional about it, you also have to be aware of the part you can potentially play in proceedings.”

In Kristensen’s view the role of drivers’ representative on the stewards’ panel is just that. “I feel that in some ways it’s my job to be there almost as the lawyer for the driver,” he says. “But nowadays there is so much information at hand – all the onboard, the real-time data, radio transmissions – that while you can quite easily justify an action, the question is: does that justification match the data. Sometimes the answer is no.”

According to Connelly, the addition of drivers of the calibre of Kristensen and McNish has had a profound effect on how judgements are made at Grands Prix.

“This has been in my view one of the most revolutionary and outstanding initiatives taken in the sport for years,” he says emphatically. “It brings a depth of experience and knowledge to the Stewards’ Room that is irreplaceable. The drivers take it seriously too. They are constructive and they are, in some cases, tougher than the toughest stewards I’ve ever worked with.”

Race director Whiting agrees, adding that it is the intuition of an experienced driver that often makes the difference to how situations are read.

“They have a common sense approach to incidents that helps the process enormously,” he says. “Guys like Tom Kristensen will be able to look at an incident and immediately say, ‘I understand why he did that’. That speed of analysis is invaluable to the other guys in the room. The input from people like Tom, Allan McNish, Mika Salo… all of them, is fantastic. It also adds credibility to decisions in the eyes of the drivers.”

McNish agrees that, for F1 drivers, having a peer in the judgement mix has made the handing down of penalties a more believable process.

“I do think driver involvement has given a little bit of extra credibility to the process,” he says. “It’s a face and a name that the other drivers know. It’s someone who has lived their experience and it’s someone the drivers can speak to in a slightly different way. Unless you’ve experienced going through Eau Rouge at 175mph, experienced the g build-up on the steering wheel, the reaction of the car going up and over the top of Raidillon, then it’s very hard to understand what happens when an incident occurs in that environment.”

untitledIf that makes the whole process sound relentlessly positive – as if the business of Grand Prix stewarding is now a warm and fuzzy endeavour warmly embraced by drivers and teams alike – then it isn’t. Whiting admits that drivers are still often dismayed by what they see as inconsistency in the penalties handed out and frequently ask for cut-and-dried sanctions for particular crimes.

“At the drivers’ briefing in Korea, for example, they were calling for a one-size fits all, five-grid place penalty for impeding,” he says. “My answer to that is ‘no problem, it’s very simple for us to do that’. It would take the choice out of the stewards’ hands and would be similar to the mandatory five-place penalty for a gearbox change – end of… But, you have to be careful what you wish for, because while you might feel justice has been done on one occasion, the same rule will inevitably bite you on the backside on another day and you might not be so happy with a harshly defined rule then.”

There is also a feeling in some quarters that the sport is becoming increasingly litigious, with teams demanding investigation of even the most minor hampering of their drivers’ progress. But Connelly is sanguine about the teams’ zealous pursuit of justice, saying that, by and large, the current rules have fed into the situation.

“It has become more legal, though I wouldn’t call it that – I think the teams are just being more precise. Five years ago a lot of the alleged impeding incidents you wouldn’t even bother investigating. But those were pre the current qualifying format and the current tyre regulations. Under the current regulations some of those impeding incidents have the potential to cause enormous damage to a team’s quest for points.

If you’ve used your last set of more advantageous tyres but the lap has been compromised then it could have a big say in how your race goes,” he adds. “For example, at one race this year, Nico Hulkenberg was forced to use another set of tyres because of a relatively minor impeding incident, but that cost him a set of tyres. That meant he started the race with one less set than the people that caused him to use that set. Is that fair? There are always new aspects of the sport to consider.”

And that extends to improving the stewarding process, as Connelly acknowledges.

“There’s always room for improvement. I don’t think the system will ever be perfect because we’re all human beings,” he says. “But we are striving for improvement all the time. We’re getting very good feedback from some of the teams, very constructive feedback and that’s really helpful. We also now have an internal communication that goes from each set of race stewards to all the stewards in the championship after each race, and that goes into all the decisions and why they were taken. That’s very helpful and, again, a lot of good ideas come out of that.”

Currently those ideas include the possibility of introducing a points system on superlicences so that instances of bad behaviour would build cumulatively, leading to an eventual ban.

We’ve discussed it only once so far, but we’ll discuss again the possibility of introducing a system whereby if you are penalised three times for causing a collision then you get a one-race ban,” says Whiting. “I know president Todt is keen on introducing a points-based system, whereby you might incur a certain number of points for a certain offence, and then if you reach a certain total you would lose your licence for a race. That makes sense on paper but I think it would need a lot of discussion to get right.”

untitledKristensen, meanwhile, believes there is scope for a new sanction, a penalty less severe than a drive-through.

“I think it would be good to have something that’s a little bit less severe than a drive-through,” he says. “Sometimes a drive-through can be very harsh and definitely spoil someone’s whole race, especially if they’re going for points, unless you’re running at the very front. Perhaps there could be a penalty in which you’re held for a slightly longer time at a pit stop.”

The future of how F1 racing rules on the split-second decisions that can make or break a race is open to question. But just as F1 racing itself has morphed, over the past three decades, from a championship built more on the pursuit of excellence than on its achievement, into a technological powerhouse defined by an obsessive focus on perfection, so the Stewards’ Room has developed from a coterie of knowledgeable fans gathered around a couple of TV sets, into a group of highly informed experts operating at the cutting edge of technology.

The ultimate point of all that technology is straightforward, however, as Kristensen concludes:

“When the chequered flag is shown, the score should be on the board, everybody should understand exactly why it is that way and everybody should leave feeling the right result has been achieved.”

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Vettel’s popularity grows

Sorry folks… I’m tired of writing it as much as you may be bored of reading it. Yet…..

It appears that Sebastian Vettel cares not a jot about the repeated wrath of the fans which is thrust in his face each time he takes to the podium. Further, Vettel’s attitude would seem to suggests that he cares not a jot about anyone’s opinion of him at all; and the irritation of the fans is now spreading throughout the paddock.

In an attempt to explain his dominance in the RB9 during the Singapore GP, Vettel commented to Martin Brundle on the podium, ‘Whilst there’s a lot of people hanging their b***s in the pool on Fridays, we’re still working very hard and pushing very hard so that we have a strong race.’

Call me naïve, but the repercussions from slagging off the rest of the Formula 1 competitors were always going to grave.

Two of F1’s ‘nice guys’ in the public mind have spoken out against Vettel’s arrogance and suggest he does nothing but in fact encourage the jeers.

Rosberg states, “Sebastian brings the boos on himself. He talks about my b***s that I hang in the pool and then the boos come.” Indignantly Nico retorts, “My guys are working hard day and night. He couldn’t know if his boys work harder. We give it full throttle.

His comments are aloof and were almost his undoing during qualifying [in Singapore]. I almost stole pole from him and if I had I would have laughed. Sebastian should think less about my b***s and more about himself. With comments like that he is running the risk of losing the respect of his fellow drivers.”

untitled

A slightly more politically correct Jenson Button also criticises Vettel’s outburst. “It is incorrect and wrong of him to say that,’ said Button speaking ahead of this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix. ‘We are obviously not doing a good enough job to beat Red Bull and no one is at the moment but that doesn’t mean we are not working hard. Every team is working as hard as Red Bull.”

Jenson suggests Sebastian may yet rue his cocky attitude when the wheel of F1 fortune turns as eventually one day it will. ‘The problem is that being at the front, winning races and championships comes to an end, it always does for everyone. It could turn around as soon as next year, so it is unfair to every individual working in every single team for him to say they are not trying or working hard enough.”

Marc Surer, that famous ex F1 driver, now SKY pundit believes he knows how Sebastian can turn his popularity fortunes around. “He would finally get rid of the perception that he can only win in a Red Bull, and the boos would fall silent.”

Mmm. Glad I don’t watch F1 on German TV… then again…

So, where are we up to? Sebastian has now managed to upset the F1 fans…. the drivers and by implication…. all the male pit and factory crews and team bosses elsewhere in F1. Come to think of it he’s probably upset the female team employees even more… and also those of a trans-gender persuasion.  

Who next?

Surely not the Queen!

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Lauda Watch

In a remarkable turn of events, Niki Lauda is admitting, in a highly unusual moment and most self deprecating manner, that it may not have been himself who is responsible for the turn around of the Mercedes team’s fortunes.

Then again, Lauda feels it necessary to put the boot in somewhere, so he blames Schumacher – suggesting in the end Schuey was merely a ‘has been’.

untitled“It was the right decision to sign Lewis. He woke the team up. And he can push the other driver in a way Michael couldn’t anymore.

Hamilton with Rosberg was the most important part of turning Mercedes around. Lewis is such a natural talent and he complements Nico so well with his (Rosberg’s) attention to every technical detail. It is the best driver lineup there is — not even Alonso and Raikkonen will be as good”, crows Lauda

Challenging his view, the Bild reporter ask 3 time Austrian world champion what would really have happened if Schumacher had stayed. Niki is dismissive of this notion and reports, “Not much.

After a certain time you need a whole new motivation for a team, and a new top driver can do that.

Reminiscent of Sebastian recent attempts to make friends and influence people – those particularly who have worked for the Mercedes team for sometime – Lauda marches on to claim some limelight for himself. “I said from the beginning, ‘Forget this RRA-system — we need new and better people if we want to beat Red Bull’”.

Lauda admits there was tension following the arrival of McLaren’s Paddy Lowe, but “we have clarified it .Paddy came to us earlier than we expected, but he is now responsible for the technical side. The collaboration between him and Ross works.

Ross is the team boss, Paddy [is in charge of] the technical side. Our results this year have shown we made the right decisions.”

It’s Friday… and I’m feeling fine…..

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57 responses to “Daily #F1 News and comment: Friday 4th October 2013

  1. “Alonso didn’t even bother turning up in Jerez in 2013, he left the shakedown work to his worthy Ferrari assistant drivers.”

    It will be fascinating to see if neither Kimi or Alonso can be arsed and let Pedro do Jerez this year, or if they are both there keen as mustard… heh heh, could be an intriguing year!

  2. I’m sure Judge will get to that, but:

    (i) Both Rosberg and Button have hit out at Vettel for his ‘dangling bo**ocks’ comments, and
    (ii) Mark Hughes says Macca are still trying to lure Alonso over.

    • Makes sense but don’t have much faith in Mark Hughes as I have seen different times he comes across as knowing more than he actually does (maybe a sky association thing)

      Sky also tried to make out Hughes broke the Kimi to Ferrari story when I first saw it here and in the Finnish media way before anywhere else.

    • Co-incidentally, Hamilton is offering to cut his off to make the weight next season….

  3. I was critical of the Massa to TR rumors when it was mentioned here as thought it made no sense whatsoever. Still think the same and will not happen but at least know now everything reported here no matter how strange seems to have some substance behind it.

  4. Just wondering judge, should a merry band of TJ13 followers descend upon Jerez at the end of january, will the judge be hosting a “meet the man himself” soirée on the Friday evening?

  5. “There are no plans at present to have a fuel tender.”

    I suspect that Ecclestone was the one who had that inserted by the FIA. He’s seen that NASCAR already has an exclusive fuel supplier deal with Sunoco and engine oil deal with Mobil1 and figured he could do the same in F1. Yet another scheme by the English dwarf to enrich himself and his masters at CVC while reducing the sponsorship options of the teams.

    • With Ferrari and Mercedes (to name just two) having € 25 – € 30 million deals a year with Shell and Petronas, there’s no way that’s going to happen.

      • That single fuel supplier announcement was a shocker.

        I believe that Jean Todt is fairly smart. If that is the case, then floating the idea of having a single approved tender was merely a message. But what was the message, and to whom was it directed?

        • My guess would be it was a message to Bernie, telling him that deals of this magnitude pass through the FIA’s office first and then FOM’s, and not the other way around like it did with the Pirelli deal.

  6. “Mr. E is known to be actively assisting Massa to find a drive for the 2014 season.”

    if you listened to Ecclestone you’d believe he was responsible for every driver getting a seat with a team. Ecclestone’s only interest in Brazil is getting their contract extended, it end’s in 2014. Without a Brazilian driver the organizers will probably be pushing for a reduction in the hosting fee.

    Massa doesn’t have loads of sponsorship money, Santander is tied up with Ferrari and McLaren. A third team makes little sense. Large Brazilian companies, like Embraer, have shown little interest in F1. I suspect he’ll be out of F1 at the end of the season.

    • If Massa were to go to Toro Rosso, he wouldn’t need sponsorship money. And Santander is tied to Alonso, not Massa.

      • Toro Rosso gets nothing from Massa. It’s a development team, that’s why Red Bull sponsor them. If they change their reason for existing and become independent they become competitors to Red Bull, and why would you sponsor a competitor.

        Santander’s second largest market is Brazil and was partially responsible for keeping Massa at Ferrari.

      • Put the newspaper page of all the company’s listed on the stock exchange on a wall and have a chimp throw darts at it. The chimp may get lucky and hit one worth investing in.

  7. LOL, I like all the upset about Vettel’s testicular bathing comment, because nobody actually got what he actually said and the funny thing is they didn’t because they all work those crazy hours instead of a normal day job 🙂

    The important bit in Vettels statement is, that he said ‘while others got home early and hang their balls in the pool ON FRIDAYS’. What it does reference is a German saying

    “Freitag nach eins, macht jeder seins.” (Friday after 1pm, everyone minds their own business), coming from the fact that many gouvernment offices and banks close on Friday noon and people go home early. So basically what he said was “we’re not on a 9/5 job here, we work hard for our success.” At least Nico should have gotten the reference, but then again he grew up in Monaco. The big mistake he makes sometimes is translating German vernecular 1:1 into English, not accounting for background info that’s missing in the foreign crowd.

      • Not really, but he made the same statement in German and there the reference was pretty obvious, which is why I think it is a stupid idea to translate German phrases literallly into English.

        • …. really DS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!… are you admitting Seb did wrong????…nay…something even that may be stupid?????

          Time to go…………get me a ‘long island ice tea….and a large one 😀

        • Well, the point is that he likened the rest of the paddock to employees of the German civil service then, so he still offended them. And afterwards he went on talking about how superior their engineering team is and that the others will never figure out how they do it, i.e. the others are thick. I call this arrogant behaviour, not appropriate. There is a difference between a ‘character’ and someone that the bubbly from all the success has gone into his head.
          I think Button is right, the wheel will turn and then he’ll realise how stupid he was with all these remarks, they will come back to bite him.

          • See, McLaren. The balls comment was a stupid idea, but the ‘they will never figure it out’ statement is taken out of context. Because what it is was taking the piss out of the TC roumor mongers. People, who use that to start a shitstorm deliberately, leave out the other half of the statement.

            It went like “Yes we have a system. We worked on it the whole weekend and got it to work just in time for the race andthe others will never find out how it works. We’ll improve it so we can profit some more from it.”
            People are so hell-bent to find something to be upset about, they forget that the kid has a sense of humor. Or maybe the fact that he was grinning like a border-line idiot should have tipped him off. The same happened today after free practice, when he was asked how (bad) he feels not being on top of the timing sheets. His reaction:

            “There’s room for improvement, once we switch TC on.”

            Had Kimi said that, we would all be hailing him, how great he is. But it seems the world is not yet ready for a German with a wicked sense of humour.

          • See!!!!!!!!!!!…. I was right… Vettel is the Pantomime Villain……… and is now playing up to it with comments like that….

            The crowd’s response is boo… boo – no traction control for you…. boo…. boo

            And everyone knows there is no TC – just like Jack of giant Beanstalk fame doesn’t really have magic beans….

            Roll on Christmas – we need an F1 Pantomime… well as well as the real one… one that we can go to the theatre and watch for less than 50 quid….

          • Well, in a way I like it, because he’s finally starting to bite back, but not with sullen complains but rather snippy remarks. I think the ‘they never figure it out’ comment was a real zinger – a classic piss take. Beats the hell out of Horner’s response of self-righteous indignation 😉

          • I agree that today’s comment is definitely a funny one and no one takes it seriously. But the other two, mmm, not too sure. You see, sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. And if people are not very fond of you, then things can get twisted.

          • Knowing the German cultural context of the finger’s remarks is pretty helpful. Thanks!

            I find the booing of the finger at races to be abhorrent.

            It was not clear to me till now why folks booed the finger. The excuses given, (he wins too much, it’s only a pantomine thing) seemed inadequate at best.

            I realize now that Vettel is childish, immature, and disrespectful to those closest around him. This is clear from 1) his recent attempts at playful comments which (perhaps inadvertently) denigrate other teams’, and other drivers’, work ethics. It’s clear from 2) the immature style of celebrating his victories by waving his finger at his audience. It’s clear from 3) his habit of disobeying directions and orders from his own team, (how many times have we heard Rocky telling Vettel to not push it, yet he willfully disobeys anyway).

            When we combine this rather public character flaw of immaturity with the fact that other drivers and fans believe that some of the other world champions that he competes against are likely more talented, then we see their view of an offensive immature person who is winning primarily because his car is superior. Which irritates folks. Doing it over and over again causes those irritated people to step over the line and boo.

            I now better understand why the booing happens, but it is still very wrong. In the context of F1, the act of booing is immature, and disrespectful (ironically).

          • …’the act of booing is immature, and disrespectful (ironically)’…

            See now you’re getting it.

            In Lauda’s paddock snake pit, expecting no booing or jeering from the fans whist the players are consistently hypocritical and disrespectful is a farce

      • Just for reference – this was the German statement.

        “Während andere Freitags um eins nach Hause gehen und die Eier in den Pool hängen, bleiben wir noch da und tüfteln am Auto.”
        (While other [can] go home 1pm on Friday, we stick around tinkering with the car.)

        Everybody with half a brain knows that this cannot be directed at the opposition as FP2 tends to be run a wee bit after 1pm. The whole thing comes from a) people saying he gets everything fed with a spoon and not having to work for it and b) a rather nasty tendency of most Germans to be jealous about people, who make lots of money. That’s where the testicular reference originates. Cliché about Millionaires in Germany is that they are all a bunch of lazy bums attending pool parties every weekend.

        • Oh Ds… I’m getting all patriotic for the land of one of my ancestor’s – who by the way had only 1 ball – he was from my mother’s side..

          Best tune (melody… if I’me being less ‘homie’) of all the national anthems….is… Haydn’s accompaniment to..

          Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
          für das deutsche Vaterland!
          Danach lasst uns alle streben
          Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
          Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
          Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
          Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,
          Blühe, deutsches Vaterland.

          Though I think England should have it’s own anthem and it be ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ – what a tune from Elgar.

          I reckon Elgar has Haydn here….

          Anyway, both completely top the musical dirge that is ‘the flower of Scotland’…

          • “..both completely top the musical dirge that is ‘the flower of Scotland’…”

            I respectfully disagree!

          • It’s depressing both lyrically and the melody written by Roy Williamson of the folk group ‘The Corries’, sounds like he composed it after breaking a string on his Kum by yah guitar.

            Granted the are threads in the lyrics of the one great victory the Scots had over the English at Bannockburn (1317 AD)

            And to this day you can relive that great military achievement by wandering into almost any Scottish pub and hear a drunk Scot muttering about the ‘Bruce’, ‘Stirling Castle’ and beating the English – whilst he downs several pints of 80 shilling…

            Good job the English don’t have a song for the other 847 celtic victories they claimed…… see.. never be smug!

            PS – PdR…. It’s Friday and all this is all just good English/Scottish banter. Please don’t let it affect your qualifying 😉

          • Bannockburn was 1314 Judge! Hence the referendum next year and not in 2017 😉

          • Damn…. obviously forgotten the spiel I listened to weekend after weekend when I lived there…

            Better go back before we build a wall I suppose….

          • Damn, I thought this was the Scottish one…

  8. As an initial aside, is it just me or will others be surprised if Red Bull don’t use “RBX” as their next chassis designation in lieu of RB10?

    On #tractioncontrolgate (yes, these ” -gate” things are out of hand, please stop!): the regulations outlawing traction control / torque management are pretty clear (or maybe I’m just not smart enough to see a work-around). That thing about fiddling with cutting cylinders and their ignition timing sounds funky but still illegal to my semi-trained eye.

    The FIA must know what RBR have done by now. We haven’t heard about it so some official boffin-dude must have said it’s OK, I guess.

    Curious…

    FWIW:

    2013 FORMULA ONE TECHNICAL REGULATIONS

    9.3 Traction control :
    No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.
    Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.

    • You’ve missed the clever bit in the four cylinder mode. Yes it sort of prevents wheel spin, but not reacting to the onset of wheel spin. the key remark here is “preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver.”
      Neither applies, because the FCM explicitely demands that the driver does not request more than 50% of available torque via throttle input, which tosses the ‘excessive torque bit’ right out of the window. The whole FCM is more like a simulated EBD, that it mimmicks a crude form of wheelspin protection is a positive side effect. It also cannot prevent wheelspin like a TC, it merely makes it less likely through higher downforce, curtesy of the diffuser.

    • Damn that’s an awfully worded rule. The way I read it, all cars are illegal, they all have a traction control device, it’s called the accelerator pedal 😉

  9. Luckily I’ve been around long enough that I don’t have to postulate over what your name is 😉

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