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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)
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)