Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 15th October 2013

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Pirelli ponders protective measures against slashed tyres (00:17)

Kimi and Vettel: Bosom buddies (00:45)

The sound of Honda (07:26)

The Ghost of Ascari (11:06)

Mansell changeth not (11:18)

Mercedes Pit Mistake (14:05)

‘Dominicali is not the problem’, says Dominicali (16:23)

Hulk no deal done (18:48)

Free F1 timing for Android (19:15)


Pirelli ponders protective measures against slashed tyres

Lewis Hamilton’s race was over before it began. Diving into a gap between the two slow starting Red Bulls, the opening proved a few inches too narrow and he clipped Sebastian Vettel’s front wing, resulting in a slashed rear tyre.

Pirelli spokesman Paul Hembery confirms that Pirelli is thinking about making their tyres more resistant to slashes. “We are conducting experiments to determine if we can protect our tyres better against that sort of damage,” he explains. “Unfortunately in this sport, if you solve one problem you bring about twenty new ones. But we try to look into such things of course.”

Clearly a simple solution in reducing the risk of this problem would be for the FIA to regulate that front wings be smaller and their extremities be designed in a way that is less inclined to puncture another cars tyres. Yet the simplest things the FIA could deliver appear the hardest for them to conceive of..


Kimi and Vettel: Bosom buddies

If you seek for the two most different people on the grid there is a good chance you’ll end up with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen. On one side there’s the bubbly German, who gleefully performs a not entirely convincing Fred Feuerstein or Crazy Frog impression over the team radio and had to run away from some of Michael Schumacher’s beer bashes after their numerous victories in the Race Of Champion’s nation cup.

A mildly beer buzzed Vettel had this to say……..

On the other side you have the not exactly chatty Finn, who would never pass up the chance to empty a bottle of Vodka and has to be paid extra to speak more than two sentences or empties his bowels while a seven times world champion is presented a life-time achievement award by Brazilian legend Pelé and has no qualms to announce that in poetic words on live TV

Strangely enough both have confirmed in several interviews over the time that they are good buddies. This came to widespread attention at the height of the silly season, when Alonso, Räikkönen and the two Toro Rosso drivers were in the running for the coveted second seat at Red Bull.

Especially in German language interviews Vettel didn’t tire to reiterate that his preferred team mate would be Kimi and that he definitely preferred him over Alonso.

While many observers rubbished the idea as just mere smokescreen, both Auto Motor und Sport and Motorsport Total reported after the signing of Daniel Ricciardo that it was Dr. Marko who had vetoed Kimi’s transfer to Red Bull, overriding Vettel’s preference in favour of an alumnus from his Red Bull young drivers program.

Confirmation that the unlikely friendship is more than a spiel put up for the media came in two guises before and after the Japan GrandPrix. Showing their rivals Alonso and Webber how to give someone a ride after the race without incurring a reprimand, Räikkönen offered Vettel a seat on his private jet and they traveled back to Europe together.

Another confirmation came from Nico Hülkenberg. After his stunning drive in the Korean Grand Prix, German Broadcaster RTL produced a lengthy pre-race feature during which the world’s worst dressed man, RTL reporter Kai Ebel, interviewed the Hulk in a Japanese sushi bar. Asked how he gets along with the other German drivers, Nico confirmed that he gets along quite well with the other Nico (Rosberg) and especially Adrian Sutil. He ominously left out Vettel.

“Erm, there is that chap called Sebastian Vettel, too,” Ebel probed.

Yeah well, we don’t really meet a lot,” Hulk answered. “He hangs out with Kimi all the time anyway, but we respect each other of course.

It looks as if Dr. Marko deprived us of a really interesting and potentially hilarious scenario – two world champions in the same team, who don’t hate each other. With the two polar opposites Vettel and Kimi in the mix Red Bull could well have returned to the ‘cool days’ when they collected their trophies wearing a Superman cape or jumped into the pool at Monaco naked.


The sound of Honda

Earlier this year Honda said they will have their first turbo engine ready by Autumn and they did not disappoint. This is what it sounds like:

Compared to the Renault…

… and the Mercedes

It is early but which one is your favourite? Obviously Honda now needs to invest in building a gearbox for comparable laps etc but it does raise the question about how ‘safe” Mercedes’ IP is with McLaren next year…


The Ghost of Ascari

Sebastian Vettel has now won all five races since the summer break this year. Following the wins in Spa and Monza where low down force packages reign and Red Bull have traditionally been less dominant, the RB9 looks capable of winning anywhere and everywhere.

Should Sebastian win the last 4 races of the season, he will equal an F1 record set 60 years ago by an F1 driver who was truly a great – Albert Ascari. Ascari won the last 6 races of the 1952 championship and the first 3 of 1953, His run came to an end in France when he came 4th but still a mere 4s behind the winner.

Vettel appears to enjoy clocking up entries in the record books, something Rocky is all to well aware of as he tries to restrain his driver from risking a win while attempting to clock the fastest lap of the race.

Lewis Hamilton believes just one thing would stop Vettel winning the next 4 GP’s. If he doesn’t have any reliability issues, most likely. He’s just walking it.’

Here’s an article on the great Italian driver Albert Ascari. Unless you were here many moons ago, you will have missed this. Some great footage too when blue F1 cars were the norm.


Mansell changeth not

Whilst Mansell was an exciting racing driver to watch – the British bulldog charger – he has always been as dull as dishwater to listen to.

I have recorded the SKY F1 legends interview with Steve Ryder and whenever insomnia strikes, a mere 10 minutes of listening to Nige’s midland’s drawl and I’m away with the fairies.

Anyway, Nigel has been working on his used car business website – which is much improved. Further, here is the reason you should by from good ole Nige, “Whether it’s your first car or that dream you’ve been saving for all your life, we believe that exceptional customer care should be standard for everyone. We’re passionate about motoring, it’s in our blood and we want to share that passion with each and every one of our customers. For us, it’s personal.

That’s why if you buy a car from us and Nigel Mansell will give you and 3 friends a guided tour of The Story – an exclusive collection of trophies, memorabilia and racing cars from his racing career”.

Yesterday, twitter followers of Nigel on twitter are treated to some pearls of Mansell wisdom as the nights draw in…….



Mercedes Pit Mistake

Predictably, Niki Lauda has spoken over the matter of Ross Brawn’s future being with Mercedes. He tells The Mirror, “It’s down to him now. I’d say its 50-50” Lauda admits, “We have had some small problems in the team in the past but everything is sorted now. It’s all agreed between him and Paddy and everyone else. He’s No.1. I have tried to persuade him to stay. I want him to stay. We will talk again at the end of the season.”

So that’s that then. Ross declared number 1 – He’ll then stay.

Yet TJ13 is aware that it is not merely the Brawn/Lowe relationship that has been problematic, but difficulties have reared their head between Toto and Ross both in Brackley and during the race weekend.

Toto’s latest briefing in the German media may be another reason Brawn wishes greater control over who release what information to whom.

Speaking to AMuS Wolff attempts to explain the debacle that was Rosberg’s unsafe release into the path of Perez during a routine pit stop at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“There is a marker on the pit wall. If an inbound car hasn’t yet passed the marker, we release our [outbound] car. In this case the car was exactly at the marker and we gave the green light. Obviously our methods were not perfect. The marker may have been misplaced. We had the same problem on Thursday, too. It was a clear mistake by the team.”

Rosberg appeared to be careful when addressing the pit stop immediately following the race. “I made a good start today and was in a strong position until my first pit stop. Unfortunately we then had the incident as I left the pit box which ultimately cost me a top position. We will analyse internally with the team what went wrong but it was immediately clear that we would get a penalty”.

Wolff appears to have volunteered a clarification which in fact gives rise to more questions than are answered.

The world feed footage from a camera in front of the car clearly shows the light above the front jack is still red when Rosberg is dropped to the floor and takes off. There is corroborating evidence from the onboard footage which again reveals Nico get’s the green light after he has pulled away.

Why Toto is rambling about the positioning of the marker for deciding whether an approaching car is too close for a safe release of the Mercedes car following a stop – is beyond me.

Brawn commented following the race to SKY TV, “With Nico, we had the issue with the pit stop which led to the drive through penalty. We’re normally a pretty reliable team in the pits and I don’t fully understand what happened yet but we will investigate and take any necessary actions”. 

Brawn has had to mop up behind Lauda and Wolff on a number of occasions this year beginning with Wolff’s bungled efforts at managing the media of the announcement of his arrival. Lauda tried to do a back door deal to avoid the International Tribunal and was critical of Brawn’s refusal to allow this.

Toto does feel as though he should be in the eye of the media, and it was amusing following Hamilton’s win in Hungary how he and Brawn were interviewed together by SKY TV in front of the Mercedes garage. Toto was clearly eager to contribute, yet all the questions were directed at Brawn and Wolff was surplus to requirements.

Lauda’s estimate of the odds on Ross Brawn staying appear fair, but the lure of Honda is strong for Brawn as he has many friends from his previous time there. Infinately more important is the Japanese way of doing things is certainly more Brawn like than the Wolff & Lauda Punch and Judy show.


‘Dominicali is not the problem’, says Dominicali

Rumblings continue in the Italian social media over the problems at Ferrari. One solution proposed in certain quarters would be to sack the team principal, Stefano Dominicali. Other’s targeted include ‘the scoundrel that is Fry” whilst Tombazis fares little better”.

Il Padrino himself is under fire from Ferrari fans who believe the team is failing to attract the best technicians. McLaren’s ‘theft’ of Prodromou – “the guardian of the F1 secrets of ‘bibitara’” – from under the nose of the Bull is cited by way of example.

Poor Luca must at times feel a ghostly presence when evocative memories of how Enzo did things are relayed amongst the tifosi on the fans forums.

Stefano attempts to head things off at the pass by speaking today with Spanish publication AS. Ignoring the bizaree references to himself in the 3rd person the message is clear.

“You wouldn’t change Domenicali and win tomorrow,” he insists. “Sure, my boss could do it, and if he does, I would always be grateful to Ferrari. But in Italy there is a saying, ‘When you leave the road you know, the other could be worse’”.

In England we have a similar saying which reflects more the green and pleasant land where F1 is primarily based. “The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence”.

Stefano is adamant. “The problem is not Domenicali. Domenicali is the first to come to work in the morning and the last to leave. If we had won in 2012, Domenicali would be a phenomenon, he would have done his job well”.

Indeed my Italian friend, but as was pointed out to me some time ago, ‘F1’ transposed is not in fact ‘IF’.

However, great faith by some is placed in the services of Byrne and Allison who it is hoped will bring some “genius to design a machine that will give Alonso the Raikkonen the performance they expect”.

All is not well in Ferrari-land, though remarkable is the unswerving devotion offered to the Scuderia with “Always Ferrari” and “Ferrari till I die” signing off the most barbed of fans criticisms.


Hulk no deal done

(Warning: This is a speculative piece. No claims to inside information are being made) – Hey, just saying……

As TJ13 suggested yesterday, it was highly unlikely just 2 days after issuing a hurry up call to his suitors, Nico Hulkenberg had in fact signed a deal prior to the weekend. Eddie Jordan is not usually far off the money, however his Force India sources may be feeling a little optimistic. Ferrari have no clout in this area as Force India will be a Mercedes customer in 2014, so suggestions Maranello are ‘paving the way’ for the Hulk to drive for the Silverstone based outfit are improbable.

Of course Nico has historic strong connections with Mercedes Motorsport, yet that did not stop him fleeing Force India into a Ferrari customer’s arms for 2013.

Today, Hulkenberg’s manager again confirms to the SID news agency, “We are continuing to sort through the options. No decision has been made,” Heinz adds, “His chances have definitely not been made worse by his recent good performances. So I’m not worried and I am firmly convinced that Nico will continue to drive in Formula One,”

Why is Hulkenberg’s camp continually denying he has signed a contract? Either to hurry interested parties along or entice another into play.

McLaren are keeping their cards firmly to their chest as they finalise the new title sponsor arrangements which will replace Vodafone. History would suggest, McLaren’s title partners are signed up for the long haul and so short term driver appointments will not be part of the arrangement. Telmex or no Telmex, Perez is not safe.

Were Alonso to jump ship soon, it would have to be for McLaren, and so Whitmarsh has been playing down the idea that Hulkenberg may join them for 2014. Yet, this could still be the case were Alonso to remain at Ferrari.

The Ferrari civil war is the problem, if Fernando thinks there is a concerted effort to oust him – then matters may come to a head very quickly and any further public comments designed to undermine Alonso could persuade him this is the case. Last week Maranello goaded the Spaniard suggesting he needed ‘baby sitting’ by needlessly adding to a Ferrari.com story that he was ‘under the watchful eye of Stefano Dominical’.

Alonso’s fear must be that he may end up with no where to go, were he to be ousted late in the day by Ferrari.

McLaren prefer to refrain from engaging with Hulkenberg whilst Alonso may still be a possibility… so is Heinz ‘enticing them to play‘?

Lotus may believe they are in the box seat, but Heinz is ‘hurrying them along‘ so they must press ‘Quantum’ to deliver them ‘Solace by coughing up some cash.

Lotus concern would be, Alonso leaves for McLaren… Ferrari rescind and apologise to the Hulk for the ‘au revoir’ text they sent him… leaving Boullier et al with plan B – Massa… or Barichello if they are really short of moula.

Massa would then of course be appointed by Toro Rosso 😉


Free F1 timing for Android

Some people miss things put into the comments, so I thought it worthwhile to post this information from TJ13 reader ‘Clear View’

Off topic slightly, but of anyone has an android phone, go to Google play store and search “F1LT” this app gives you free live timing for all sessions in a race weekend from FP1 on Friday, to the end of the race on Sunday.

It’s got driver tracker on the circuit, also you can choose which driver you want all the times to be compared to. All you need is a Formula1.com user name and password, which is free to register by the way and you use this password and the email address that goes with it to log in through this app and Bob’s ya uncle, free live timing.

I like it because you can see who is on a charge during the race and setting personal best times etc. The app is free to download and you can put a delay on it as it is in real time and the TV is often 5-7 seconds behind so you can adjust it so when the TV feed shows a car going over the timing line that what you see on the tracker and timing screen.

Great app guys, well worth a look, not sure if you can get it on IPhone, but I’m not payin 20quid for the official app. I have got sky F1 but my TV screen is too small to read the timing screen on the red button and have the live pictures too.

(Not available for IPhone it appears)


89 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 15th October 2013

  1. Agree with the wing comment. Those frequent tyre slashed only started when someone in the FIA bunker said: “Y’know what guys, lets uglify the cars by making the front wings into snow plows and the rear wing narrow.”

    • Didn’t they make the rear wings taller and smaller to eradicate the whole dirty air problem? That worked out real nice! Nice job FIA.

      • The FIA haven’t got a clue about matters such as this. They rely on ad-hoc working parties which include the likes of Patrick Head and others to advise them.

        If this slap happy methodology was applied to F1 medical issues or any health and safety matters – the world would be up in arms……..

        Yet front wings slashing tyres is a constant irritation for drivers and fans alike, and is predominantly preventable through simple design reg changes……..

    • We agree. Hurrah……..

      I was speaking to a team designer this year about this, and he told me the risk of puncture could be reduced by 80% given simple changes in the front wing design regulations……..

      Where is Jean et al?????

  2. This entire tyre business stinks! Pirelli are running old cars, they ask for more testing with relevant cars, especially with current cars to help make next years’ tyres. And yet we have politicking and nonsense from the teams and no leadership from the FIA. At this rate I wouldn’t blame Pirelli if they just throw their hands up in the air and said “F**k this! I’m outa here”. Testing is what, 4 months away? And they’re still saying they need more data.

    Judge, I know I’ve harped on this issue earlier too. But the recent asian races have made me think if F1 is serious about the US market at all. Bernie keeps saying they want it but I don’t see how they’re going to do it. I just looked at this season and this is what I found.
    past midnight – aus, mal, chin, kor, jap, ind,
    am – bahrain, spain, monaco, brit, ger, hung, bel, ita, sing, uae,
    day – can, usa, bra
    So 3/19 races are at a decent hour. If you’re on the eastern coast, all the am races are at 8 AM. If you’re like me and aren’t on EST or even Central time, you’re SOL. Close to or past midnight and 5 AM races? You will not penetrate any market if this is the timing of your show. There are a few people who give up watching F1 since it is difficult to fit it into your schedule (yes, even if it is on sundays). DVR is a great thing but come on, watching live is the thing.

    • F1 i.e. Ecclestone is not serious about the US market. He plays to the manufacturers/teams ideals suggesting the US is the next big market for them, but fails to deliver….

      • I’m stoked to be in the Singapore timezone (+8 GMT) – sixteen of this year’s races are either arvo or evening affairs. Only Canada (2AM), USA (3AM) and Brasil (midnight) suck a bagful.

  3. Judge. I’ve mentioned it several times. Both here and on forums. The.simplr answer to.both front and rear wings. Both aero and safety is simple.



    Of course we may get a more understeery car. But then it will be about the drivers ability to find the grip of the tyre and not allow it to understeer as much.

    Plus another advantage is no blown diffusers As the exhaust outlet would be 1 constant pipe to the top of the engine cover. (like the Ferraris of 2000)

    I divulge a bit over the exhaust. But my 2 cents worth.

    Take note fia

    • As I’ve been saying for years, reduce aero and real racing will return. Next year’s cars will resemble those of ’07-’08, so fingers crossed.

      • The ’07/’08 cars were said to be THE most aerodynamicly complex ever built, creating way too much dirty air and that is why there was a significant rule change for ’09 in hope the cars could follow one and other more closely for longer. I have to say though, I really liked the way they looked. I would like to see single element front wing with no striations infront of side pods (i think that that is the technical term, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) and ditch the tea tray, have standarised break ducts for all which have an adjustment system to allow more or less cooling only. Bin off DRS and simplify the rear wing too. Then the cars could follow far closer with reduced terbulant air coming off the back, less problems with understeer wrecking the tyres because the front wing will be less effected. I would love to see a driver all over the gear box if the car in front for 20 or 30 laps trying to push his opponent into a mistake. Webber pointed it out on Sunday, saying he was going to cruise up to the back of the lotus just before the pit stop phase, he could have been on him like a rash if it wasn’t gonna kill his tyres.
        I hope David Ward wins the FIA election as I think it would do F1 a world of good to have a dedicated postion to solely deal with F1 issues as they arise. Someone who really understands the whole picture.

    • Yeah, and if that was done the front/rear enforced weight balance rule would have to be removed. I’ve never understood the reason for that rule.

      • That’s a pretty good description!

        There is no deep, guttural, bark; no sense of menace. They’ve been neutered…

        • How about Macca being sponsored by Mr Kippling cakes:-
          McLaren Kippling Honda,
          incredibly good cars! Maybe they could make the tyres look like cupcakes lol

          Elsewhere, Ferrari are holding talks with a major wave machine manufacturer. If the deal goes through, the teams new title will be
          Scuderia Tsunami

          I score myself 3/10 and apoligise for my piss poor attempt at humour.

      • Yeah , they sound kind of asthmatic.. i hope that the mix is bad on the Honda engine because you wont be able to hear the motor for the turbo otherwise

      • That’s not saying much really 😕 A Dyson sounds better than a Vorwerk, but they’re both still bloody hoovers,

  4. As are most things motorsport wise, engines always sound completely different at the trackside compared to the TV. IMO the current V8’s don’t sound that good through the limited spectrum of trackside microphones then eventually through the TV set. Personally my wife would probably prefer the F1 engines not to sound so much like a high pitched squeal like they do now and stop making the complaints I get when I’m watching it on TV! I have to admit, I prefer the lower reving, chunkier sound of the older F1 years. I’m hoping these new engines will be a bit more like those

  5. RB have clearly dominated since Hungary, but is it just the Renault engine mapping, Newey’s aero work, or is it also that Merc is a wee bit destabilised with the ongoing power struggle and trying to fit Brawn and Lowe in?

  6. **********BIG NEWS**********

    Off topic slightly, but of anyone has an android phone, go to Google play store and search “F1LT” this app gives you free live timing for all sessions in a race weekend from FP1 on Friday, to the end of the race on Sunday. It’s got driver tracker on the circuit, also you can choose which driver you want all the times to be compared to. All you need is a formula1.com user name and password, which is free to register by the way and you use this password and the emial address that goes with it to log in through this app and Bob’s ya uncle, free live timing. I like it because you can see who is on a charge during the race and setting personal best times etc. The app is free to download and you can put a delay on it as it is in real time and the TV is often 5-7 seconds behind so you can adjust it so when the TV feed shows a car going over the timing line that what you see on the tracker and timing screen. Great app guys, well worth a look, not sure if you can get it on IPhone, but I’m not payin 20quid for the official app. I have got sky F1 but my tv screen is too small to read the timing screen onthe red button and have the live pictures too.

    • I use this app, it is easily the best free live timing app I’ve found. Especially in a race like Japan 2013, it helped me keep up with the strategic game of chess in a way that the television just doesn’t allow for. Other apps seem quite laggy or overpriced, but this one is perfect.

      • Yes, it’s a great tool in this era of tyre strategy. You can see who is closing up on who and how fast they are doing it, love the fact it tells you which lap their last stop was on so you can work out exactly how old their rubber is. I only found it just before Spa and it has really helped me to more complete experience when following the races, as the pictures on tell part of the story at any 1 time. For a free app it’s truly unbeatable.

        • Let me say (on behalf of all the rest of us who are thinking the same thing) thank you very much for the info on this app! I was not aware of this till now.

          Thank you to Clear View for sharing this info here in the comments.

          And thank you to TJ13 for incorporating this information into today’s blog, (otherwise, many would never have seen this).

  7. I agree with making the front wing a little narrower, but I do think Vettel was a bit naughty as it was Hamilton’s rear true which meant Seb could see where he was and he had room to move over a little even with RoGro coming down the right hand side, or lift I little. I don’t have a true favorite driver as its too hard to split the hairs between the top 5 or 6. I do feel that it was avoidable cantact.

    That clip of Seb doing a Kimi impression is great, I saw it a while ago and it made me chuckle.

    Regards the engine sounds, it’s hard to say much about them as they have been digitised and uploaded to YouTube so you can’t really take much away from comparing. Also, I belive that the clever engineers are able to analyse engine sound and work out some characteristics of that particuler engine so I doubt very much these sounds are wholly accurate due to this fact and the way information highly prided in F1

    • Had Vettel lifted, he could have been bumf***ed by one of the cars behind as the field was still bunched up so close after the start. That was a contact that has happened dozens of times in the past. HAM dived into a gap that was just an inch too narrow, because Webber swerved right and Vettel had nowhere to go lest risk cluttering into RoGro.

      • The gap HAM dived into was fine, WHEN he dived into it, the gap closed on him by Webbers move, which I think was particularly stupid given his criticism of ROGro last year, a hard fast swerve at Lewis, the front view of the pack particularly shows this.

        I think Seb did lift slightly to be honest, but it was a very tight call, not a lot he could have done. If it was anyone fault I ‘d say Marks for swerving like that.

        Sorry TJ13 mods, could you delete the above, its a work blog account!

      • I totally understand where your coming from and it was literally millimeters that caused the problem, that said Seb could have given those few mm as RoGro was a good half meter to the right.
        I agree that it went down as a racing incident as let’s face it, 99% of contact within the 1st 3 corners is often unavoidable. I’m no Vettel hater, I actuall like him as a man give hum the credit he deserves as a 3 times champion on track. On this occasion I feel if he had really wanted to it could have been avoided, but of course this would have meant he was behind Not only RoGro and Webber but Hamilton too. We will never really know if it was a calculated risk or a simple mistake, but unlike others I will not be holding a grudge against the guy. The boy deserves his titles and I feel they are more deserved than some of Shumi’s as he crashed into people so he could take the title, was on the test track at Marinello every second he could tweeking the set up of the car and had tyres designed especially for him. Seb has none of the extra track time or “special” tyres so I feel he has well and truly done a better job than the rest on a playing field tgts as level as it can be between the top 4 teams. It can’t possibly be all down to the car as it would be a RedBull 1-2 every race. No-one said the ’88 championship was tainted because the McLaren was soooooo dominant, people just said fair play we must try harder next season.

        • Well, the ’88 season was still an interesting affair as you had the worlds best drivers of the time in the same car.
          Still bummed that Marko obstructed Kimi’s move to Red Bull. 🙁 It would have made a bloody good combo. :mrgreen:

          • Agreed, I really think it would have been one of THE driver pairings of all time, if it had happened it may have even rivaled the Senna/Prost legacy. I genuinely think if they had been paired this season we woud have seen a repeat of the ’88 domination and a RedBull 1-2 in pretty much every event. Unfortunately we can now only speculate and indulge our imaginations. The Kimi/Fernando pairing for Ferrari (if Alonso doesn’t jump ship 1st) is going to be a bit of an anticlimax in all honesty. I don’t believe Ferrari in their current state are capable of producing AND developing a car
            that can consistently fight fir poles and wins. They have been blaming the inconsistent correlation between CDF/windtunnel/track for at least 2 seasons now. They claimed to be updating their own windtunnel, I don’t know how long that will take, but they have been using the Toyota tunnel and still can’t get it right so I hold little or no hope they can cure this issue any time soon. It’s a shame really as I’m sure they have the same, if not more budget as RedBull, yet can’t organise themselves to utilise what they have got. I reckon that part of RedBull’s successful recipe is not just Newey, but the fact they don’t have are large turn around of staff in the design team. This allows the team to really knit together and work as a unit with no ‘new guys’ trying to prove their worth. Look how Mercedes are starting to implode because all the recent recruits are trying to make their mark and pulling in different directions instead if having a clear path to follow. I know McLaren have managed to poach 1 guy from RB but they are not hemorrhaging tallent and knowledge like Lotus are and McIaren did. Its obvious that the longer a group of people work towards a common goal the better they perform.
            I really hope next years power trains are not as different as is currently being claimed.
            I’m already dribbling with excitment for 2014, if I can I want to get to Jerez for the 1st pre-season shake-down. I could a decisive moment in F1 history the moment those cars take to the track.

            I can’t wait!

  8. Great article about Alberto Ascari, good read a cool clip. Can you imagine one of today’s drivers ditching in the sea at the final chicane lol.

    Really enjoy all the content judge, I used to go to JA on F1 as my 1st daily F1site but have found its getting over run with halfwit fanboys who have been watching our beloved sport for all of 5 minutes and think they are experts, although the content of said site is of good substance, I don’t comment very often as it often ends in an attack by some deluded school kid who just wants to see his/her favorite driver win and if they don’t it’s cos the rest are cheating, it’s all the car or their team screwed them over. So I now make TJ13 the 1st port of call. The debates in the comments can get heated occasionally, but both sides of any disagreement are generally put out with a large amount of knowledge to back up the posters comments.

    I wish the “Fanboys/girls” would realise that F1 is about the coming together of driver, car and team. No individual element can fuction without the other 2. If people are only interested in the winner, they are watching/following the wrong series. I love the tech side if F1 and appreciate the engineering prowess that goes into the development and running of an F1 car. Even if Vettel won the next 20 races, I wouldn’t get board. Providing the teams are still trying to achieve perfection and pushing hard, you still get to see wheel to wheel battles even if it’s not for the lead you have give credit to the drivers for their cat-like reactions and determination.

    Keep it up Your Honour, please don’t let this page go in the same direction as many others (BBC, PlanetF1and JA on F1 to a certain extent) and become a pissing competition between what seems like a bunch of school kids who don’t have enough intelligence to have a constructive debate without resorting to personal insults (not so bad on JA as all comments are moderated before they go up) and blatant delusional opinions that have no factual foundation.

    Thanks again TJ13 and team, keep doing what your doing guys.

    • Thank you for taking the time to pen your thoughts – it is much appreciated.

      Also thank you for your contributions since joining us, they bring new information and a different perspective most times I read them.

      On that note everyone, often when new commentators arrive, we are often busy debating amongst ourselves and I think we could do a better job of making an effort to interact with them – not a huge problem – but a point of order….

      • Thanks Judge, I have a massive passion for all things F1 and really enjoy interacting with like minded people as off-line I know no-one who follows it, I have tried to recruit some new fans but they don’t seem to get that is a different and unique series compared to others. I grew up with F1 being like a Sunday ritual, my father and I would often eat our pudding after Sunday lunch infront of the TV, I watched from a very young age and was only 12 in 1988 when McLaren had that dominant car and Senna and Prost driving, It was only around that time I started to pay attention to what F1 really was, before then I would just root for which ever driver my dad liked. It’s quite odd seeing iconic clips from the 80’s, it’s a bit like de-jar-voo as I realise I saw them when they happened but never realised their significance at the time.

        I hope to continue to make a meaningful contribution with my comments and observations.

        • He did, and what a gr8 contribution.

          I love his passion, and i also enjoy his comments as they are well informed and logical.

          He’s also helped to make of see Seb in a different way by his cogent arguments.

          I foot want to pick anyone dotted in particular, but we are lucky to have him in our little community. I could say the same for quite a few others also, contributors I’ve namechecked in the past.

          Its what makes this the best F1 site, bar none.

          • My intention wasn’t to pick on Danilo. I was only making a subtle joke. He’s definitely one of the best in this site.

          • If yesterday was”Kraut bashing”, today must be “Kraut love-in”. On the bed, Dan, and get ya dacks off 😉

          • Mmm.

            James Allen race strategy analysis just published.

            He says of Red Bull and a 2 stop strategy for Webber, “Had they been thinking solely of what was the best way to get Webber to win the race, that’s what Red Bull would have done”.


          • Yep Mc, i got that.
            Just read my post again, may have seemed defensive over Danilo. Wasn’t my intention. Just pointing out his excellent contribution. No intention of a dig at you. He’d be the last to need any assistance anyway!

      • Thanks @TitanRacer69, I asume you are refering to the comment about F1 being a driver,car and team series and the little rant about the poor quality of comments on other F1 sites.

        I like discussing the ins and out of the sport I love in depth, with people who are capable of understanding and accepting my opinion even if they don’t agree with it. Rather than resorting to play ground talk.
        As little as 5years ago F1 fans seemed to be quite an intelligent bunch with a decent understanding of how the sport functions on and off track and if they didn’t they were keen to enlighten. These days a large percentage seem to think they could jump in one if those cars and get better lap times than the real drivers, due I think in part, to them racing the tracks on computer games and thinking the times they set are real. Let’s face, it the drivers on the current grid have at most 5 seconds between the quickest and slowest in an average Q1 session. I would give my house, my car and every other worldly possesion I own to anyone who, with no previous ‘real world’ track experience can jump into any one of the 22 cars and match that car drivers time within 5 laps. Then I’d like to see then call Jenson ‘slow’ or Alonso past his best. I wouldn’t be surprised if a large proportion of the ‘fanboys’ and ‘haters’ don’t even hold a full driving licence let alone a super licence, because let’s face it, the FIA don’t dish out super licences to any Tom, Dick or Harry (they do however do it if your called Sergei and one of the teams will fold if they don’t lol). I love hearing the drivers talking about how different lines on corner entry give a pre-determined result on the exit and how you can use these variants to suit different situations, o knowing you can carry a lot more speed through 1 corner may cause you a problem on entry to the next one so you have to judge where the gains and losses are. I am truly in awe of those 22 guys, we all should be. We don’t call any of the 8 guys who ran the 100m final at last years olimpics slow even though 1 has to come last. I know some help their pursuit by bringing sponsor money, but you don’t get multi-million $ sponsorship for being shit, these sponsors want to be associated with people at the top of their game. It makes me so angry when people attack the drivers and take it too far,

        • Well said Sir.
          I wrote a small piece about this for an On This Day article back on the 12th October.
          The latest F12013 contains a classic section and some youtube clips has the 20 something lad talking about a “kick in the spine when the turbos spool up”

          Look, I have been playing racing arcade games since the original Pole Position, have played racing games on ZX Spectrum, Vic 20, Megadrive, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS1, 2 and 3 and on the PC.

          The games are escapism but sadly watching F1 today is like watching yourself on screen.

          Watch Senna on board and tell me it doesn’t look bloody frightening?
          I have also raced karts since I was at school and Classic Formula Ford back in the early 90’s.
          Friends have often challenged me in indoor go-karting, with mixed success, but as soon as we hit a proper out door track with proper spec-ed karts, or have track days with proper racing cars, their ability has suddenly disappeared.

          Do kids join the army because they can take on whole wars and win, dropping their gun for a more powerful weapon? They win on FIFA, or PGA Golf and suddenly they have the ability of Messi or Tiger Woods?

          Anyway enough ranting, back to the meds!

        • I would so love to try and take you up on that offer, CV! I have a feeling that some of the top sim racers could do ok, if they have the physical conditioning and ability to transfer sim speed to real world. This adaptation is a skill, similar to how some drivers can adapt to cars/series fast (usually an indicator of natural talent), and some of the top sim racers do have real world karting experience. Someone I know that raced UK national karting levels and also in the iRacing drivers world championship has beaten the likes of Alexander Sims, doing very well this year in F3/GP3 level (McLaren GT driver) in charity kart events, so it really depends on the individual’s plasticity.

          If you haven’t seen it, watch the Huttu test at Road Atlanta, they basically wanted to see if this could happen for the world’s best sim racer, who doesn’t even have a driving licence (he’s a remote Finnish fisherman, same age as Kimi…).

          Sim racing really uses the visual cortex to take on other feedback you get in the real world, such as G force, so probably trains your driving skills in that direction. Nowadays, there are some good sims, such as IRacing and sims by Kunos (commercial releases and also for Ferrari), that really replicate the driving experience well. We’re now waiting for the F1 team level sims to filter down to home usage 😛

          I posited on F1F that we mere mortals could do as well as Max Chilton, given the same 10+ years training.. The cars look relatively easy to drive nowadays too, since the return of slicks/regs changes. I agree that the turbo days look really daunting! Wish I had been around to see it live!

          • May I add that the top driver on the oval side of iRacing is actually Dale Earnhardt Jr himself! He used to drive online mainly during the NASCAR off season, but it might have co-incided with a dip in his real world form…. Now as I understand it he’s back in the chase and contending for wins. Quite a few NASCAR and IndyCar drivers are actually on there, including some up and coming Europeans, and I’ve seen footage of Vandoorne racing online in an F1 series (not sure which sim). IRacing host a real world pros celebrity race annually. Richie Stanaway won the 2012 Pro series while recovering from his broken vertebrae from FR3.5 Spa.

            Trevor Bayne practiced Daytona on iRacing and then actually won the Daytona 500! Crazy stuff. Similar with Justin Wilson and Indycars at Watkins Glen. Tracks are laser scanned to give 100% accuracy, including bump maps. It’s gotten to the point where, if you can transfer the skills, you could gain car/track knowledge advantage (critical for limited running), while much has been said of Hartley’s sim dev work for RB’s dominant 2011 and Vettel mastering counter-intuitive driving styles to maximise the car.

    • halfwit fanboys who have been watching our beloved sport for all of 5 minutes and think they are experts

      Interesting comment. Be aware there are just as many half wit females out there.

      I hate to say it but a couple of years ago I frequented other F1 sites, but in my defence TJ hadn’t started his global takeover.

      One woman in particular was a huge Vettel fan. Nothing wrong in that, although some of her comments angered people and it was so blatant.
      As “herowassenna” I countered one of her points when she decided to attack some vague point about Senna. Her immediate reply was Senna wasn’t anywhere as good as Vettel.
      The stubborn fool I am countered with facts and figures and races to take into consideration.

      She admitted that she had only been watching F1 for a couple of seasons and had never even seen a Senna race.

      In the politest words that an Italian can muster, I laughed at her words and told her she had just proved how unbelievably stupid she was.
      Have an opinion, but don’t spout off. I stopped using that site.

      It’s better to keep your mouth shut and to be thought a fool;
      Than open it and remove all doubt!

  9. On the Ascari record of 9 consecutive race wins: he didn’t win the 1953 Indianapolis race which at that time was part of the F1 championship, so he only won 7 races in succession, not 9…

    • That’s akin to a cat-person vs dog-person discussion as many argue that the Indy 500 was run to different regulations. Basically it was a guest start in a different racing series the result of which was counted in F1. The vocabulary usually is that the Indy500 ‘counted towards the F1 championship standings’ but was technically not an F1 race as it wasn’t sanctioned by FIA, but by USAC/CART/IRL/whatever.

      • Not sure that Ascari himself would agree with that position as in 1952 he had high ambitions to win that year’s Indianapolis race saying that it was an integral part of the F1 championship…

  10. Judge, there’s news around, Lauda says that Brawn is 50-50 to stay and Macca talk about 3-year deal for Button (I don’t believe this!…I can’t believe I’ll have to put up with him for another 3 years…and all becuase of Honda!)

    • It that news – i.e. 3 more years for Button at McLaren – were to be confirmed, then I see it as a strong indication that the team will be looking for a clear #1 driver (Alonso?) for 2015 with Button then in a Webber-like support role.

      • Can’t see Button playing second fiddle to Alonso. Honda want a strong driver partnership when they come in 2015. I believe McLaren offer Button a long-term deal as plan B in case Alonso doesn’t come. And I’m sure Button will have a clause to walk away in 2015 if Alonso does come over. If RBR or Ferrari or even Merc offer Button a good deal he’ll walk rather than be Alonso’s lacky.

        • Sign Hulk! He must be faster than Button and if Alonso comes over you will have a young gun and an old dog in a team… That be a great partnership and if Hulk is faster than Alonso and he kicks off again then he can leave 🙂

          • Totally agree. Get rid off both of them (Button and Perez) and bring in two young(er) guns! Hulk and Di Resta maybe. I don’t rate Di Resta much but he can warm the seat till Alonso returns.

          • If McLaren were to get rid off both Button and Perez right now then McLaren will soon be fighting the Williams… Both men are too important from a funding/marketing perspective, sad but true…

        • You are probably right about the walk away clause in his contract, but surely Ferrari and RBR would be looking at younger drivers if ever they were to replace a driver for 2015. So unless Button would be willing to go to a second-tier team I’m not sure that clause will be very helpful to avoid a #2 status as of 2015…

          Button’s Honda connections and Japanese girlfriend are already stretching his F1 career in a top team, he would be stupid to walk away from that when another top driver joins ‘his’ team…

          • RBR already look to the future with Ricciardo. After Vettel walks they would like an experienced driver to partner Ricciardo. Besides, what happens if Ricciardo doesn’t prove to be much of championship material?
            And Ferrari will get Vettel, that’s their future, what’s wrong with having another experienced driver that could bring them the constructor’s title too?

          • Button/Alonso would definitely be fascinating. Jenson handled Lewis well and we have to remember everyone thought he’d be annihilated as McLaren was ‘Lewis’ team’.

            Fernando though would be a different challenge altogether

          • Hamilton is a puppy compared to the political animal that’s called Alonso. But I agree that the background battle between Alonso and Button would be even more fascinating than that on track. It would be like Thatcher vs Heath or Blair vs Brown all over again!

          • If Marko vetoed Kimi then I guess he will also veto Button to favor the next RB young driver academy product. And if Ferrari want they have Kimi until the end of 2016, I would consider him a better guarantee to clinch the WCC as #2 behind Vettel…

        • I think Button would relish it and I think he knows how to unsettle the ‘samurai’
          If Button isn’t the greatest qualifier, he has no fears as nor is Alonso.
          Also if Hamilton wanted to return in 2016, where would Alonso go then? Is he doing a Prost and forbidding any driver from joining the team like Prost did at Williams.

          Trouble is, Senna had the cojunes to tell the world that Prost was a coward. Who speaks like that now in corporate F1.

          Do you know, if I ran a multi billion corporation, I’d fire people for talking bullshit. I want passion, I want controversy and I want real emotion.

  11. “…the lure of Honda is strong for Brawn as he has many friends from his previous time there.”

    I may be wrong but Brawn recently said that he found it difficult working with Honda, so I wouldn’t describe it as a big lure, more like running out of options for a championship-challenging team if he wants to stay in F1. RBR will soon become Newey-less, Ferrari are back to their Italian-led ways of the late 80s/early 90s, Lotus are money-less, which only leaves McLaren and Merc as better placed for the new era.

  12. Forget the sound of the engine, the real question for Honda and the everyone but Renault is can they replicate the traction advantage through clever use of ERS next year. From the sound of it, Merc might be ahead on power, but very slow coming out of corners unless they get on top of this. And since the rears aren’t increasing in width, much of their power will be unusable in the first 3 or 4 (or 5 maybe) gears.

    Still, it will be a relief to be rid of EBD, which, though clever, has moved most of the interesting racing to the middle of the field.

  13. re. Mercedes pit mistake: ” … The world feed footage from a camera in front of the car clearly shows the light above the front jack is still red when Rosberg is dropped to the floor and takes off. There is corroborating evidence from the onboard footage which again reveals Nico get’s the green light after he has pulled away. … ”

    I think Ross Brawn said in a post race interview that the light went green for a split second and Nico took off, but then the light changed to red and it was too late for Rosberg to stop.

    • I reviewed the world live feed footage in slo-mo, and that may well be true. At the moment in question, a crew member walks in front of the camera. As the lights become visible again, it appears that the red light was off, and is then turned on again (green light still obscured).

      Which may indicate that Toto was factually correct. But to the general point of the article, I don’t see Toto contributing much value to this team beyond his big money which has purchased a minority position of ownership. Niki Lauda is also a minority owner. Is it three owners and three chiefs for Brawn to report to? That does need to be resolved if the team want to succeed. This speaks poorly of the majority owners, Mercedes, if this team is missing a simple, clear decision structure at the top of the team for the rapid-fire day to day decisions needed to manage an F1 team.

      I find it very interesting Ross’ public comments to Sky about needing his team to clarify whether or not he is in charge, and that he will be properly motivated at Mercedes.

      He would not make his request to Mercedes public unless he had prepared himself to walk away from his team.

      In which case, we should ask to where may he go?

      1) McLaren is an obvious choice. An earlier comment here about difficulties working with Honda is interesting. But this time, instead of working for Honda, he would have Honda working for him as a vendor (so to speak), as Honda will supply McLaren with the power units.

      2) He is old enough that Salmon fishing and gardening may be appealing.

      3) What about other teams? He once spent time in Maranello, so if they want to make a change… Speculating beyond that particular option, one would think that many teams would likely be pleased to have him on board.

      • Purely speculation but…

        Domenicalli has been very defensive in his interviews lately, I wonder if LdM has approached Brawn in the same manner he signed Kimi again and will make him overseer of Ferrari.
        He was technical director before but maybe this would be a position that would appeal to him.

        We got Byrne back, Allison and now Kimi, what say Brawn.. oh I can dream.

      • I completely agree with your analysis of Brawn’s options.

        The point about the Toto story is – he completely ignores the red, yellow or green light matter as though it never existed and once again Brawn will have to deal with this in India when questioned.

  14. Button wise ? I think he’d be up for the challenge of benchmarking himself against Alonso. Though it is sad to see Alonso’s time at Ferrari coming to a seemingly messy end. But it’s probably just a symptom of the malaise that’s over taken Ferrari since Ross Brawn and co departed. Seems they’ve slipped back into Ferrari feeling they should win everything due to sheer entitlement given their history only to be miffed that somebody else is doing a better job than them. Then Burying their collective heads in the sand about it. Blaming the drivers and so on.

    I don’t mind the sound of the new engines, they will probably sound much different once they are off a test bench and encased in an F1 car pounding round a track. Not long until that happens.

    • I think we are all too harsh on Ferrari.
      I agree there is vast room for improvement, but since Red Bull came to prominence, it’s not only Ferrari that have failed in the quest to beat them.
      Mclaren, Mercedes and Enstone have all promised but failed to deliver.

      It’s not ideal, that Ferrari with a little bit better luck would have secured the 2010 and 2012 WDC, but the fact is they did challenge.
      Mclaren have been failing for a generation, 2008 luck aside.

      Pat Fry joined Ferrari in June 2010 on Alonso’s recommendation. He knew straight away that the Ferrari infrastructure was years behind the times, someone said it dated back to 2006. He has set up a programme to bring in the required upgrades and spoke of it taking 2 to 3 years.
      The simulator programme was something else that has been attacked this year, as again it was too far behind the pace setters.

      Jean Todt is a vindictive little man, who after losing to Montezemolo (who in their right mind would take on LdM in Ferrari) became FIA president. One of the first things he accomplished was removing Ferrari’s right to test on both of their circuits.
      He was fully aware of how this would affect Ferrari, as he ran the team for 14 years.
      Ferrari has been using Fiorano since 1972 and Mugello I believe 2002. The other teams invested in technology which is where and why the lapse is there.

      Ultimately, these teams have to beat Red Bull, why does everyone focus on Ferrari? Is it because their name is the biggest? Are they the only ones who can stand up to RBR?

      Thinking about it, alot of fans hate the Ferrari name, the Schumacher era ethics and the historical payment they receive and yet, which team disappoints the most when its not competing?

      • Agree with this Carlo.

        I was a Ferrari nut until the Michael era. Not because of him, but the bullshite way the team was run for him.

        Austria and Indy finished them for me.

        And i was a guy who cried with joy when they won the championship after the years of wilderness.

        Now i could care less.


        • Yep, I cried in 2000 when they won, I also had tears when Schumi came out of the pits in Jerez in 1997 in the lead. I was shaking with joy.
          When he chose to drive into Villeneuve, I’m not sure I have felt such hatred towards somebody. I was with family in Italy at the time and I can tell you now categorically, in Italy, they despised what he done.
          It’s one thing to lose after a good fight but to lose after blatantly cheating.

          It’s frustrated me for 17 years that people believe that Ferrari were a no1 and no2 racing team. They never were, the Old Man hated any driver getting too big for the team.
          I hope Luca has decided to run the strongest line up available from now on.

      • I know you’re not questioning this, but I love Ferrari for everything they represent – particularly when juxtaposed to Red Bull’s corporate global marketing campaign.

        They will disappear from F1 when they no longer are winning and the spend is not driving the required product sales.

        Forza Ferrari!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – from a Williams fan

        • Sir, as we know, I am a proud Tifoso.
          My second favourite team was always Williams. Funny really, I didn’t particularly like Head, but I have the most enormous respect for Frank. He was a latter day Enzo.

      • I appreciate the write-up on the recent history of Ferrari. (I don’t fit in to the generalization that prompted this good comment, btw.)

        It’s interesting that you didn’t mention the wind tunnel calibration issues that have plagued them since (at least) early 2011.

        Ferrari recently claimed that the rebuild of their tunnel is nearly complete, and it will be re-opened this later this month…

        • I’d forgotten about that. I hope you’re right, it was meant to be completed in August.
          I’m not so sure that’s the cure though.
          They used the Toyota facility exclusively for this years car and are having similar problems.
          Then again, 2013 was the first year Mclaren have used the Toyota facility exclusively as theirs was hired out to Marussia I believe. Was this because it’s a smaller scale tunnel?
          So could it be, that Ferrari had correlation issues when they upgraded their tunnel to 60% size models and then that’s been compounded by a poor facility in Germany?

          • I was under the impression the Toyota windtunnel is state of the art where windtunnels are involved. I thought that was why Macca hire out theirs as its not as good as Toyota’s. Maybe someone in the know can give us a definitive answer

          • That is indeed the common perception – yet both Ferrari and Macca have been using it – notably, Lotus, Red Bull and Mercedes have not…

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