Daily #F1 news and comment: Thursday 17th

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1

Executive Editor’s note from Andrew Huntley Jacobs (00:01)

Mud-slinging at Williams (00:01)

Räikkönen: I would simply bugger off (00:01)

Vettel ‘shit himself’ in an F1 car (00:31)

Ferrari reap what they sowed (01:26) updated (13:01)

No Hulk deal this week (11:22)

Happy Birthday Kimi (11:35) updated (14:40)

Caption competition (11:37)

The kids will miss Webber (12:47)

Magnussen to Marrusia!!! but then again… (14:00)

Haug finds Hapiness (14:20)

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Executive Editor’s note from Andrew Huntley Jacobs

The tweeting of the daily news story links recently has been fantastic from TJ13 readers. We are continually receiving around 600% more new readers from twitter than previously.

Just to put this in perspective, in 2013 we have received 30,000 new people from twitter. Sinc eTJ13 readers began their twitter activities, today alone there have been over 700 daily.

This run rate would give us 255,500 twitter referrals alone in a calendar year. This is on top of the regular TJ13 readers.

This kind of traffic will facilitate us being able to develop the structure of the site and hopefully attract a sponsor we then can employ a full time project manager. Further, we hope to get FIA accreditation and be able to provide TJ13 readers who contribute, press access to their national GP.

(don’t worry, we’ll still stick it to em when they deserve it 😉 – well maybe not…. as that would be a daily activity)

Thank you so much for your support.

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Mud-slinging at Williams

If you are “grumpy cat” or otherwise fond of a rotten atmosphere the place to go seems to be the hospitality area of Team Williams at the moment.

Last year’s Barcelona winner and perennial crash test pilot Pastor Maldonado doesn’t even try to hide that he is fairly fed up with his uncompetitive machinery. In the aftermath of the Japanese Grand Prix, during which he narrowly beat his rookie team mate to a disappointing 16th position, the south american hits out against his employer,

“I was faster than him, but my strategy was completely wrong,” he complains, obviously not fond of fighting with a Finnish rookie for backend positions. Funny though that except for a one lap difference, he ran exactly the same strategy as his team mate.

Said Finnish rookie doesn’t seem to be planning to found a Maldonado fanclub anytime soon either and lashed out against Maldonado’s idea of overtaking.

“He didn’t leave me any space on the track, that’s not fair,” the former GP3 champion fumes, who had to cut the chicane to avoid a collision. Bottas can’t warm to the inactivity of the otherwise fairly trigger happy stewards either: “If I hadn’t gone straight on [in the chicane] it would have ended in a shunt. Such things are unneccessary in Formula 1.”

Maybe Bottas doesn’t need to tolerate Maldonado’s presence much longer. According to usually well informed BBC pundit Eddie Jordan, Maldonado will leave the team. The Irishman claims to know that Claire Williams has already been to Venezuela for talks with Maldonado’s sponsor PDVSA.  Since the state owned oil company is contractually bound to Williams until 2015 the only realistic option would be to hire another driver from the south american country.

Another option seems to be the exit of PDVSA and bringing in much needed moula in the form of fashion company McGregor, who would bring Caterham pilot Guido van der Garde with them.

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Räikkönen: I would simply bugger off

Ferrari-bound Kimi Räikkönen denies that his transfer to the Scuderia has killed off his motivation at Lotus. On the back of two lackluster showings in qualifying for the Korean and Japanese Grand Prix observers had doubted his commitment to his current employer.

The Finn insists in an interview with GPUpdate that his motivation has not faded and he still intends to win at least one of the four remaining races this year. He stresses that should he lose motivation he would simply ‘bugger off’.

Remarkably TJ13 feels privileged in assisting Kimi to express himself in a more concise manner than his usual rambling and garrulous style. This is clear because the Finn did rather woffle his way through this explanation stating, “I’ve always said that if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t come to the next race,”

Lotus better have Davide Valsecchi on speed dial…

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Vettel ‘shit himself’ in an F1 car

Sebastian Vettel speaks to ESPN about his first experience in an F1 car.

“The first time I tested the car, Mark drove in the morning and I drove in the afternoon. I shat myself for the first couple of laps and I thought, alright, that’s for real men, not for me. Then I got used to it and obviously wanted to do more.”

Vettel is referring to 2005 Jerez testing, where he shared the car with Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. He was just 18 and struggled to set a time within 3 seconds of Mark Webber.

3 years later following an incident in Japan in 2008 where Vettel crashed into Mark under the safety car, the Aussie called him a kid; “It’s kids isn’t it… kids with not enough experience – you do a good job and then they fuck it all up.”

Of course Sebastian is now an F1 statistical ‘great’ racking up 35 wins and will complete his fourth consecutive world championship, in either India or Abu Dhabi. However. Young Seb claims he still gets nervous on race day mornings.

“Nothing has changed in the way that I still love racing, I love the challenge, I’m still nervous when I wake up on Sunday, still excited when I walk on the grid and tense, looking forward to the race.

I think it would be a shame if you were too tense and if you tried to force things too much. I think you have to allow yourself to enjoy it because this is not normal, it doesn’t happen to everyone. I think I’m very fortunate that I’m one of these 22/24 guys in Formula One.”

It’s good to hear an F1 driver appreciate how very fortunate they are, and at some point we’ll see how good Sebastian really is.

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Ferrari reap what they sowed

The GP of India has been given the privilege of a slot in the calendar that is 2 weeks on from the previous race. FOM has sensibly realised that the Indian border is more complex and time consuming when it comes to shipping in F1 freight than most other nations the F1 circus attends.

Interestingly, Ferrari appears to have its own hanger where their equipment is inspected and cleared to progress on to the BIC where the race will take place. This apparent VIP treatment has not been paid for or requested by the team from Maranello.

The Times of India reports that some 700 tonnes of equipment, including parts and accessories of the F1 cars, arrived in several jets over two days, beginning from 4 pm on Tuesday”.

So why the Ferrari special treatment? Indian authorities deny there is any connection to the diplomatic incident highlighted by Ferrari who added to their cars livery the Italian Navy’s military flag in 2012.

The Italian military personnel accused of murdering Indian fishermen, were released back to Italy by the Indian authorities following the 2012 Indian GP in ‘good faith’. It was agreed they would to return to India when required to face trial. (full TJ13 story here).

The Italian state has offered India the possibility to hear the 4 marines evidence via video conference, and to fly the Indian investigators to examine the ship to which they were assigned.

The Indian authorities have refused this offer.

But for now, Ferrari are enjoying the diligent VIP treatment of the Indian border control authorities.

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No Hulk deal this week

Not being one to crowing – much – but once again Martin Brundle’s ‘inside knowledge’ has proven to be as useful as some ‘balls dangling in the pool’. Since Sunday, Lotus have dropped all pretence there is a decision to be made between Massa and Hulkenberg and are courting him openly.

In fact so obvious are Lotus’ attentions that it is probable behind the scenes bunches of flowers, chocolates, the very best eau de Cologne, Cristal champagne, cavier, garlic snails and frogs legs are all being delivered to the Hulk’s house with messages of love from Eric and the lads.

However, denial after denial is emanating from Hulkenberg and his manager Heinz that a deal is done. This is clearly to re-assure an interested party they are in with a shout if the act soon.

This is borne out by various German media reports which quote Heinz stating there are three or four teams interested in signing the 26-year-old for 2014, “but first they need to do their homework”. Clearly, if 3 or 4 teams are in the running then Lotus are far from assured of winning the race for Nico’s signature.

Who would these teams be? Not Williams, Caterham, Toro Rosso or Marrusia. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are all booked up so….Lotus, Sauber, Force India and maybe McLaren.

The Lotus’ deal with Quantum is not yet announced and after all this time Lopez will be chomping at the bit to make a statement. The deal is reported to be worth in total $200m and will leave the Enstone outfit debt free – and the Sultan of Brunei is believed to be behind the acquisition mooted to be a 35% stake in the team.

It has been reported Lotus’ crucial Quantum investment deal is now imminently ready, and that an announcement about Hulkenberg joining Romain Grosjean at the Enstone based team in 2014 would shortly follow.

But Werner repeats again today that the sort of timeline to secure his protégés services by the end of this week is “unrealistic”.

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Happy Birthday Kimi

Today the iceman celebrates his 34th birthday and no doubt there will be celebrations of an alcoholic nature. If the reports are accurate regarding his new Ferrari contract, he could buy us all a drink and have plenty to spare.

Then again he probably couldn’t be a%*d waiting at the bar and just ‘bugger off’.

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Niki has been invited to Kimi’s party at the bowling ring with all his close friends, but appears to be having a memory lapse over who actually the party is for. Then again, Kimi still believes he is James Hunt re-incarnated – so he won’t notice.

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Lotus however, suggest next years birthday may be an affair with less Kimi love

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Caption competition

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The kids will miss Webber

Little has been reported on this matter, but the young aspiring F1 drivers are in mourning following Mark Webber’s decision to quit the sport. Webber has been highly influential in bringing on such young hopeful’s and giving them the edge to become world beaters.

In 2007 many thought Vettel’s career may be over before he really got going when he stupidly crashed into Mark Webber’s RB3 under a safety period during the Japanese GP.

Sebastian explained, “I was behind Lewis (Hamilton) and Mark and exiting Turn 13, I looked to the right and saw Lewis going really slowly, I don’t know why, but I thought he had a problem,” said Vettel, who had also collided with Fernando Alonso earlier in the race. “Probably he was heating his brakes. Then, by the time I looked forward again, I was already in the back of Mark’s car and I think he had also reacted to Lewis. I apologise now to Mark because I ruined both our races.”

untitledWebber was not impressed, Well, it’s kids, isn’t it? Kids with not enough experience, doing a good job, then they fuck it all up”. An anguished Vettel who out of reverence to his Australian idol vowed that day to make amends and so went on to beat Webber as his team mate 4 years in a row and win the F1 driver’s crown.

In Spa last year, Romain Grosjean was castigated by many in the F1 Fraternity. Such were the gravity of his sins that he received the first race ban awarded to an F1 driver for some 18 years.

A chastened Frenchman returned to the grid, and promptly careered into the back of Mark Webber during the Japanese Grand Prix earning him a verbal lashing from the Aussie. When asked what he knew of the incident at the 3rd corner, Webber replied, “The guys confirmed that it was the first-lap nutcase again — Grosjean.’

Never one to miss a chance of hamming things up a bit, the Daily Mail reported Webber ‘raging’ over Romain, The rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he is trying to get to the third corner as fast as he can at every race. It makes it frustrating because a few big guys probably suffered from that and maybe he needs another holiday.

He needs to have a look at himself — it was completely his fault. How many mistakes can you make, how many times can you make the same error? First-lap incidents. It’s quite embarrassing at this level for him.’

untitledA chastened Romain took the holiday over Christmas as a mark of respect to the sage advice issued to him by his hero Webber. The vacation didn’t appear to have done Romain any favours though early this year as

appears to have taken time to learn his lessons, and early in the season there were concerns the criticism had caused him to lose his racer’s edge which makes him lightning quick.

Not at all. As with Vettel, Romain now has the motivation to demonstrate to his Aussie hero how good he really is by almost beating him just one year on at the venue of their unfortunate mishap.

Webber has changed his tune 12 months on. “I think it’s very clear that Romain has a very different mental approach to the job at the moment this year. He’s driven some quite strong races, putting together the whole weekend which is a sign of a driver starting to get a bit more relaxed and confident. A lot less mistakes, not just in races but in practice.

You know, we’re not here to blow smoke up his arse but in the end he’s doing a very good job this year and it’s a big step for him because last year, in Formula One, also the first year against Fernando [at Renault] in Formula One wasn’t easy for him and to come back… yeah, he’s doing a good job.

It starts and stops with him. I Hope he doesn’t improve too much more before the end of the year! And we can keep going.”

The art of blowing smoke into another persons backside appears to have it’s roots in the 18th century European era known as ‘the enlightenment’. Who knows, maybe a revival in this historic practice is the secret to Romain’s resurgence and development. So much for the ways of the Samurai.

What is certain, the young Frenchman is a lucky lad, as it appears he will be the last to graduate from the Mark Webber academy of education on how not to drive a F1 car.

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Magnussen to Marrusia!!! but then again…

Alternative heaadline: Max May Make way for McLaren Man Magnussen at Marussia

After lecturing the amateurs for indulging in ‘silly season’ speculation during August whilst the pro’s were all in Mauritius, SKY themselves appear to be failing to heed their own advice. Today there is a piece on their website suggesting that Kevin Magnussen is in line for the drive at Marussia.

What Graham Lowden actually says is a rather more long winded version of the Monisha line, “We don’t discuss our driver appointments in public. When we have decided we will announce them’.

Lowden states, “Like any team that hasn’t confirmed drivers, there are a number of possibilities. Certainly Kevin has impressed in the tests he has done, and as a team that has brought young drivers into Formula One, he is in the frame.

But there are probably three or four drivers with good potential looking to get into Formula One, and we’re talking to a number of them, along with other teams.”

untitledMmm. So there’s a number of drivers a number of teams are talking to about something which may or may not happen.

Bianchi is confirmed by Marussia for 2014, so any new driver would mean the beautiful Max Chilton would get the axe.

Lowden clouds the waters further by adding, “Max is definitely an option because on the driving side he is doing a really good job,”

Aha. Is there big trouble in little Russia? What is Graham inferring? Is he suggesting ‘on the driving side’ Max is doing a really good job, but elsewhere he isn’t? Is the model-esque young man indulging in a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll? We’re all left wodering.

Surely Max hasn’t been tweeting his millions of worshipers with top secret information about Marussia’s 2014 design?

I digress. Graham now continues his analysis of the driver market by indulging in something the American’s call – covering all bases – I believe

untitled“If we decide to retain the current line-up it would be the first time we go into a new season with two drivers with some experience, so there’s something to be said for that”.

Phew… Max’s adoring fans can breathe a sigh of relief – he’s safe.

Max being safe appears to be the message Lowden decides to settle on as he adds, “The key thing from our point of view, knowing for both drivers it’s their first year in F1, you expect to see progress. It’s a case of: are we happy with the rate of progress and the form that progress takes?”

So the litmus test becomes – are the team happy with Max? If so he can stay.

Lowden becomes positively assertive by adding, “I would say we’ve been really happy with both drivers.”

Is that the same as being just “happy with the rate of progress”.

God knows, it all sounds ‘Double Dutch’ to me…. Which of course would mean Williams F1 are somewhere, somehow involved in this caper too…Ichiban?….Itchy head!

Bloody silly season

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Haug finds Hapiness

The horizon looked bleak. Dark days were ahead for the staff in Mercedes AMG. Niki Lauda had been appointed chairman by Dailmer Benz.

The ensuing cull expected would deliver rivers of blood in the streets of the village of Brackley.

A year later, the staff who build Lewis’ and Nico’s rocket ships are predominantly safe. The single fallen soldier who we all loved and held close to our hearts was the large, rotund but loveable Norbert Haug. He was replaced it appears by the younger and more svelte but interestingly christened ‘Toto Wolff’.

After considering a career in the clubs of Berlin, perusing his boyhood dream of wearing a catsuit, swinging a microphone in circles whist belting out Rock and Roll numbers, Norbert Haug has found his calling.

Speaking on German TV, the 60 year old ex-Mercedes servant of 20 years declared mysteriously that he had “found a new challenge”.

Today this becomes clear. Norbert has joined the Paravan Technology Group. What is this company you cry in unison? With Haug’s experience it must be cutting edge and futuristic… well it is!

Paravan is a German company. They boldly declare on their homepage, “We get the world moving with revolutionary mobility solutions. Discover the fascination of pioneering world-class technology from the cutting edge!”

The company is “Germany’s top award-winning mid-sized company” and they have developed already, “the world’s most innovative wheelchair”.

So what is Haug’s role? Apparently he will co-ordinate “future strategic development”.

Mmm. I can’t see them passing up the opportunity to get Haug’s bulk plonked in a wheelchair and starring in an advert – Victor Kiam style – who declared for years on my TV, “When my wife bought me a Remington shaver, I was so impressed I bought the company”.

We miss you Norbert….

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25 responses to “Daily #F1 news and comment: Thursday 17th

  1. Shall we go through the open seats from top to bottom? I’ll need some help:

    Lotus: 2 seats (I don’t recall seeing Grosjean’s contract announced)
    McLaren: 1 seat (no announced deal for the Perez seat, Button 2014 unofficial, but public?)
    Force India: 2 seats (or does di Resta have a 2014 contract already?)
    Sauber: 1 seat (The oligarch’s little kid has already been announced, correct?)
    STR: 1 seat (I recall they signed Vergne)
    Williams: 2 seats
    Marussia: 1 seat (Bianchi signed)
    Caterham: 1 (I saw someplace Pic has signed, might be wrong)

    Many seats that are not yet locked down…

    • That’s about right i reckon, with a possibility the young Russian may be a Friday driver for Sauber.

      You’d think Massa might get something from this, wouldn’t you.

      Also, I’m not sure if JEV is formally signed with the mini bulls….Jaime would tell you a written contract is needed to guarantee your place on the grid.

    • OK, using JAF1’s Connect site, I researched these teams, and here are some updates, (in order of current team points):

      Lotus: 2 seats (1 really, as Boullier manages Grosjean, so slam-dunk)
      McLaren: 1 seat
      Force India: 2 seats
      Sauber: 1 seat (The oligarch’s little kid does have a contract)
      STR: 1 seat (for a Red Bull program/sponsored driver)
      Williams: 2 seats
      Marussia: 1 seat (Bianchi signed)
      Caterham: 2 seats

      So if we take out the seat for Boullier’s Grosjean at Lotus, and the STR seat for a Red Bull program driver, that leaves a total of 10 seats open.

      There are only 5 decent seats available. Quality seats should probably start with 1) McLaren (based on engineering depth, and team budget, etc).

      Followed by 2) Lotus, (shaky finances possibly, and some critical top-tier engineering talents have consequently fled).

      Sauber and Force India are about equal but have their own unique problems.

      Sauber will need a fast driver to carry the team, but may prefer one that brings a sponsor due to team poverty.

      Force India is unique, in that they wait too long to decide on their drivers. But they don’t accept pay-drivers, so they will have their pick of the fastest driver(s) left standing come the holiday season.

      The remaining 5 seats are at the back of the 2013 grid.

      • Have STR signed Vergne? In many ways I’d be surprised – they’ve chosen Ricciardo for the Red Bull seat so based on past form, JEV will be ditched and they’ll bring on the next lot of talent to nurture them for the future.

        It would be sensible to keep JEV partly to have a yardstick for anyone coming in and partly to help the team get the best WCC position, but that doesn’t seem to be the way they work.

        As for Sauber, has the rich Russian got his superlicense yet? If not then it may be there are two seats there…

        I’d guess Marussia will be full – doesn’t Max Chilton’s Dad own part of the team now?

        • Sauber plan to get Sirotkin testing in the car towards the end of the season, or immediately after…

          JEV is not confirmed – and who knows what the erstwhile Marko will do

          • True on both points.

            Regarding STR, from what I’ve seen, Tost and Marko have consistently indicated they are only looking for one driver. Vergne pushed Ricciardo hard, and I’ve not found any recent negative (or ambiguous) comments about Vergne’s future from within RB/STR.

            In any case, STR seats are most likely to be filled by RB’s junior formula drivers. For the silly season merry-go-round, STR is outside of the game for current F1 drivers (excepting Vergne).

            So this leaves us with 5 mid-field seats open… 1 Lotus, 1 McLaren, 1 Sauber, plus the 2 Force India seats.

        • I think I have read in a few places around the traps that Vergne isn’t confirmed. I think given Marko’s previous actions that it might be 50:50 whether Vergne remains. Perhaps he will make way for another junior?

  2. To be honest, Pastor leaving Williams would be no big loss. I think if whines too much.

    And good press for Seb! Does this mean you’ve someone else in the crosshairs now? Waiting with bated breath to see who’ll get the tap of the gavel 😉

    • Nah, Seb just has too many gavel-shaped dents on the forehead already. A little gentle stroking of blonde hair is needed lest the poor boy looks like a golf ball 😉

      • “…and at some point we’ll see how good Sebastian really is.”

        Small dent, but still there. Look, judge is considerate, he couldn’t stroke his blonde hair throughout that article, he had to think of us too… 😉

  3. Thanks for putting up the link to India 2012, Judge.
    It filled a few gaps nicely; as well as highlighting what Jean and his FIA excel at. I was amazed at he time the way things panned out – I hope redress is achieved in the hanger this trip. After all, it may be the last!

  4. Agree, that it was an excellent article.

    I remember reading this at the time, not here, and thought that i could see this being Luca’s style, but was surprised that Sergio M would have allowed this.

    I’m still surprised it happened, to be honest.

  5. Although I do enjoy the extra scrutiny for Ferrari (c’mon, I’m a McLaren fan, what d’you expect?), that’s probably the last nail on India’s circuit lid. You don’t play games with the red team…

  6. Rumours that Magnussen might be moving to Marussia. Imagine if we have a McLaren protege versus a Ferrari protege next year

  7. RE Caption

    “Ahead of the 2014 regulations, it’s rumoured Williams are planning to recruit Mr Miyagi as Head of Strategy.”

    • Caption Competition:
      Valtteri Bottas has just learned that for the last two days his agent has been discussing 2014 with Martin Whitmarsh and Jonathan Neale…

  8. Nothing to do with today’s news but I have finally delete PF1 from bookmarks. The complete Fuckwits that are leaving posts all sewm to have started following F1 in the last 2weeks and have no idea about having facts to back up their ludicrous opinions. I shall not be visiting that neck of the internet again. It’s one thing to have a logical opinion backed with knowledge, even if it’s not correct, but to pull things from thin air and then try to defend then to the death is beyond my understanding.

    If anyone doesn’t know what um on about check out the news story on Van Der Garde taking about the weight issues for next year and you will see what has finally tipped my temper!

  9. There’s no way that FIA press accreditation of TJ13 wouldn’t impact the way you report the news and I for one would mourn the loss of the edgy “tell it like it is” style. If you go that route it’ll be the death of TJ13 as we know it. Sad to hear that’s your ambition for the site.

  10. Pingback: Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 18th October 2013 | thejudge13·

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