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The greatest F1 driver (00:01)
Toro Rosso unmasked (00:20)
Overtaking Grosjean explained (06:50)
In or out? Porsche (13:09)
Marko watch (13:29)
Considerations for the Indian GP (14:52)
Fernando’s new Helmet (15:01)
Russia F1 breeding programme (15:03)
How the mighty have fallen (15:04)
Classic Liveries on 2013 cars (15:24)
Indian GP FIA Press Conferences (16:26)
Lotus no Quantum deal (16:54)
The greatest F1 driver
The Telegraph have been running a poll on whether Sebastian Vettel is the greatest driver ever in Formula The candidates include, Moss, Clark, Brabham, Piquet, Alonso, Stewart, Lauda, Fangio, Prost Senna, Schumacher and Vettel.
Mmm. No Graham Hill says a lot about the newspaper’s F1 writers’ understanding of F1.
A number of the F1 glitterati have been recruited to comment on the greats of F1.
David Coultahrd: “Sebastian is a great driver in a great car, in the same way that Fernando Alonso is a great driver in a not-so-great car and Lewis Hamilton is a great driver in a sometimes great car.
This debate is endless – and pointless. The fact is Sebastian has found a way of getting the best out of his machinery on a consistent basis. You cannot knock him. And for those who say it is only the car, I would remind them of his win for Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi, on a wet track in Monza in 2008. He is a great. No doubt about it.”
Sir Sterling Moss: “For a man to be that much ahead every time, every race, whatever the circuit, whatever the conditions… he is just in a class of his own, as was (Juan Manuel) Fangio really. As was (Ayrton) Senna. I didn’t have a problem with what Sebastian did in Malaysia (defying team orders to pass his team mate).
“He’s a racer, what’s wrong with that? You’re either a racer or you’re a driver and there’s a big bloody difference. Drivers are easy to find and racers aren’t.”
The results so far are staggering. In reverse order the votes for the top 5 are…
Clearly Sebastian is not popular in the UK.
Toro Rosso unmasked
For years we’ve believed the Marko line that Toro Rosso is the Red Bull sister team to promote the best of the Red Bull young driver programme into F1. This is clearly no longer the case.
The appointment of Daniil Kvyat is a shock to most in the F1 world.
BBC expert on F1, Jonathan Legard, tweeted, “Not been their modus operandi previously [of Toro Rosso] but things may be changing.”
Adam Cooper, long standing independent F1 reporter, observes, “I’m sure Kvyat has potential but am not convinced that 2014 is the year to be running a teenager who hasn’t even raced Renault 3.5. It also blows Marko’s junior programme wide open if success in FR 3.5, the traditional step to F1, is now regarded as superfluous.”
“Just making point that both teams have same complete rear end and there will be a lot of data sharing as they prepare for 2014”, adds veteran Cooper.
Yet really given the context of F1, it shouldn’t be really. Ecclestone has been struggling to deliver the 20 plus races demanded by his masters who deliver the super profits to CVC and their cohorts.
Russia must be a sustainable success, and regardless of how much cash the country has to promote a grand prix, interest clearly wanes when there is no driver on the grid representing the country involved. Ecclestone has been pestering for 18 months about an Indian driver, and lo and behold, following a year where there is none – the Indian GP is taking ‘a break’.
The topic of Russian drivers has been one Ecclestone has returned to time and again, so surprise, surprise – we now have 2 Russian drivers lined up for 2014 – the inaugural year of the Russian GP.
Co-incidence? Make up you r own mind.
Neither Sorotkin nor Kvyat would be in most educated F1 people’s top ten, meriting a drive in F1 from the junior series. So how did this happen?
CVC and FOM have very deep pockets and the contract in hosting fee’s alone from Russia is worth several $100m. $15m for a team to take a Russian driver is but a drop in the ocean, particularly if it means a multi year contract is secured for FOM.
Methinks the pay-to-drive philosophy is more deep rooted than ever thought before.
Overtaking Grosjean explained
Many observers of the Japanese Grand Prix where left wondering why Sebastian Vettel seemingly cruised past the Lotus of Romain Grosjean on fresh prime tyres while Mark Webber needed six laps to do the same despite being on relatively fresh option tyres later in the race. Auto Motor und Sport have analysed and explained the difference in a recent article.
In lap 40 Mark Webber was leading by 15.1 seconds when Vettel closed in on Grosjean shortly after his final pit stop. The situation was a clear one: He had to get past Grosjean sooner rather than later, else his advantage of fresher prime tyres would have been neutralized and Webber would have time to open a bigger gap.
Vettel knew that Webber had to do another stop, but he also knew that Webber would get the softer, faster option tyres and only had to run less than 10 laps on them, so tyre preservation would not be required for Mark’s final stint. With newer, softer tyres and a setup geared towards higher top speed Mark could have become a danger late in the race.
When Vettel planned his attack on Grosjean, his tyres were only four laps old, those of Grosjean had already served twelve. The Germany planned to make his attack where his grip advantage would be most pronounced – in the final chicane:
I tricked Romain into defending the inner line on approach to the chicane, but made sure I was still in the DRS zone. That meant he automatically had the worse line upon exit of the chicane, as I could take the wider line entering it and could therefore could accelerate earlier. On top of that, my tyres were fresher than his and I had saved up about 20% of KERS charge for the final acceleration onto the start-finish straight. When I could open the DRS flap I almost didn’t need it any more as I was practically alongside already.
Webber meanwhile had on paper all the tools to make even quicker work of the Frenchman, but couldn’t make the move stick until both got stuck in lapped traffic. Grosjean’s tyres were even older then and he had a fresh set of options and even higher top speed than Vettel. The difference was the last chicane. As Grosjean managed to take it as well as any of the two Red Bull, Mark failed to make full use of the DRS, because he didn’t manage to force Grosjean to take an unfavourable line through it. On top of that he blew at least one chance by pressing the DRS button too early, team boss Horner explains. This resulted in the flap not opening at all.
One question remains though. If Vettel knew exactly how to get past the Lotus, so did the team. How come nobody could be bothered to tell that to Mark? Sure they could invest more time on inventing code-speak for that. Instead of thinking up codes like “Multi21”, which are about as useless as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest, how about “T15 left wide, Kers 20”?
FIA change the rules mid-election
The FIA is as described by David Ward, ‘a farce’ and ‘not fit for purpose’. Just 6 weeks before the election of the next president, the rules of the election have been altered.
In a letter to the FIA membership, Damien Clermont (head of admin) admits that confusion has stemmed from the conflicts between Articles 9.4 of the Statutes and 6 of the Internal Regulations.
The FIA presidential election rules require a candidate to present a ‘cabinet’ of 17 members standing in support of his campaign, from both the sporting and mobility branches of the organisation. Yet changes to how the mobility vice-presidents are now appointed have resulted in the FIA now issuing a clarification which states that the election rules will be changed and an amendment to Article 6 of the Internal Regulations will be formally proposed at the next meeting of the FIA General Assembly.
The presidential list will now consist of just 11 names, headed by the presidential candidate himself. Also on the list are nominations for the President of the Senate, a Deputy President for Automobile Mobility and Tourism, a Deputy President for Sport and seven vice-presidents of the FIA for Sport from among the candidates for the World Motor Sport Council.
David Ward has responded suggesting this is exactly the kind of mismanagement he is campaigning to end. “My point all along has been that the FIA’s governance is not fit for purpose. This is a fantastic example of that. They’ve launched an election and then realised they’ve screwed up the rules in the middle of an election,” Ward added.
Ward proposes all vice-presidents should also be directly elected, but the Todt campaign has rejected this idea as “not practical.” These positions will continue to be grace and favour appointments made by el president himself.
“It seems to work perfectly well in electing Vice Presidents for Mobility so why not in the Sport as well?” Ward states in a media release on Monday. “This would follow the precedent already used for the vice-presidents for Mobility who are elected by their regions independently. This approach is both much simpler, more democratic and accountable.”
Ward also picked notes that the current president of the Senate Nick Craw has signed these explanatory notes about the rules discrepancy were despite Clermont’s previous assurances that no one standing as a candidate on a presidential list for the 2013 election would allowed to take part in the process of changing the rules.
It’s one big mess. Couldn’t run a bath….. springs to mind….
Fuel flow regulators for 2014 inaccurate
British company, Gill HySpeed, has been tasked with designing and producing fuel flow rate sensors for 2014 that will police the 100 litre race fuel limit and the rate of flow of the fuel to the engine – regulations with which the teams must comply. These sensors were tested earlier this year at the Silverstone young drivers and are supposed to be accurate to within +-0.5%. They were not.
The sensors when checked against the actual amount of fuel used were in error to a margin 3 times greater than specified.
Whilst Gill HySpeed have been working on a fix for the problem, as yet the revised sensors have not been tested and bench testing alone is insufficient.
Should the solution prove to be inadequate, then the FIA would be forced to rely on information from the engine manufacturers which will open the door to the usual and obvious allegations of cheating.
It is hoped the sensors can be tested on one of the remaining Friday practice sessions and supplied fit for purpose a few weeks before winter testing begins.
Yet time is short.
In or out? Porsche
In last month’s employee magazine it was revealed that as a result of F1 deciding to develop turbo engines, Porsche engineers had contacted specifically Hans Mezger – the designer of the McLaren title winning TAG-Porsche engines in the 80s.
Porsche have continued to deny any plans to return to F1.
The public perception of the good doktor is not one of a man who likes to have fun and jests heartily over a stein beer with his close friends. Yet Helmut is attempting to change all this.
Following the shock news that Toro Rosso will be appointing the young Russian driver Kwjat, Marko explains the decision. “He made a very good impression at the young driver test at Silverstone, so we wanted to take the risk to move up a GP3 driver in Formula 1 No. risk, no fun!”
Fun! Excellent. Are we about to see the good doktor don the dirndl, leap into lederhosen and a loden… then cap it all off with a Tyrolean adornment of the pate?
Clearly Her Marko is indeed embibing something which helps him express his frivolous side as he describes young Kwjat as “a mix between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. The boy has exceptional speed and is an extremely meticulous worker. Doing so, he is very quiet and has good nerves.”
Even more surprisingly Bild reveals that Franz Tost has said that when examining the credentials of Felix da Costa, Carlos Sainz Jr and Kwjat, they came to the conclusion, “of our three young drivers Daniil was by far the best.”
So Franz has been consuming whatever potion of fun and frivolity Herr Marko has proffered. No pressure on the likely to be often mispronounced ‘Kwjat’ then…..
Shame Webber’s leaving F1 😉
Considerations for the Indian GP
TJ13 was critical of Pirelli over their conservative tyre choices for the last 6 races of the 2012 season. The compounds selected for India this year are the medium and soft which contrasts with last season’s hard and soft compounds.
Paul Hembery explains, “as a result, just like the last race in Japan, we’re not expecting to see a particularly big variation in lap times between the two compounds. Consequently, the strategy made a very big difference in Japan and this should be the same in India. We only had one pit stop per car in India last year, but this year we would expect two – which also provides the drivers and teams with more opportunities to make up places”.
It is in fact likely that the teams employing a split strategy will opt for 2 and 3 stops as in Japan and the temperatures in India will definitely be higher than last time out meaning thermal degradation will be more of an an issue. The first ever Indian safety car would possibly favour the 2 stop strategy depending on the timing of any deployment.
The dust in India can be an issue and Renault’s Remi Taffin explains. “To deal with this we will moderate the driver torque maps to give greater driveability and less wheelspin on the entrance and exit of corners to try to extend tyre life.”
Alan Permain from Lotus is confident; “It’s a circuit where we expect the E21 to work well. Although we saw in Suzuka that we can compete on the harder tyres, our car generally favours the softer compounds making this a race where we’re very much looking forward to continuing our run of strong recent performances”.
The soft tyre should perform better for Lotus in the higher temperatures as it is prone to graining when it struggles for heat.
Lotus should learn from Japan and manage well the number of tyres Grosjean uses during qualification. Whilst the car runs better on the softer compound, the Frenchman was forced to run soft-hard-hard in the Japananes GP. Further, if Kimi can haul his backside up the grid, they may have the opportunity to challenge Red Bull better by splitting strategies (2 and 3 stop) between their drivers too.
Fernando’s new Helmet
Having scored more points in F1 than anyone else, Alonso is celbrating this on his helmet for the Indian GP. Will he have to change this everytime he scores now?
Russia F1 breeding programme
How the mighty have fallen
Winning multiple races a year, title contenders etc etc. McLaren’s chance of a double podium is no better than Marussia’s or Caterham’s according to paddypower bookmakers.
Gotta be worth a pound for a McLaren fan though 😉
Classic Liveries on 2013 cars
Following yesterday’s discussions in the comments section, I thought you’d like this
Indian GP FIA Press Conferences
Thursday (time TBC)
Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber
Friday (time TBC)
Eric Boullier, Ross Brawn, Stefano Domenicali, Christian Horner, Monisha Kaltenborn, Vijay Mallya
Looks as though the latter will be more interesting.
Q: “Stefano, how’s the civil war panning out and when did you last speak with Fernando?”
Q: “Ross. Having contemplated the new role Lauda is offering – director of salmon procurement – how are you feeling and where will you be in F1 in 2014?”
Q: “Eric. Quantum Motorsports promised an announcement on Tuesday at 10:00am. Will a deal between Lotus and them ever actually get signed?”
Any other questions from the floor ladies and gentlemen?
Lotus no Quantum deal
Could it still go ‘pear shaped’ for Lotus and Genii? They made a big announcement back in June entitled, “To Infinity and beyond”. To coin another cheesy saying, Lotus’ “going boldy where none had gone” declared on their website the following on 18th June 2013.
“Lotus F1 Team has new part-owners as of today, with Infinity Racing Partners Limited (Infinity Racing) – an investment consortium comprised of private investors – acquiring a 35% minority stake in the team.
Lotus F1 Team was previously 100% owned by an investment vehicle of Genii Capital – a global investment management and financial advisory firm headquartered in Luxembourg – which retains a controlling stake of 65% in the team and remains as committed as ever to driving the team forwards in its quest for glory.
Gerard Lopez, co-founder of Genii Capital, will remain Chairman of Lotus F1 Team withEric Lux, CEO of Genii Capital, continuing in his role on the team’s Board of Directors. Infinity Racing will be represented at board level by Mansoor Ijaz, Chairman, and Suhail Al Dhaheri, Vice-Chairman of Infinity Racing.
This fresh investment will not only help consolidate the financial status of the team, but will also aid the Enstone outfit in maintaining development objectives as it bids for World Championship success.
Although the ownership structure may have changed, it will be business as usual for the team from a personnel point of view; the factory’s 500 employees continuing their excellent work in pursuit of victory with drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean spearheading the attack under the unchanged Lotus F1 Team banner”.
Of course, there have since been a couple of huge cock-ups. The team have lost their star driver, and Nissan-Renault threatened to sue the investment company unless they changed their name. They are now known as Quantum Motorsports.
Sometimes better to say nothing and look foolish than make a big announcement and remove all doubt. Anyway, Boldly – AGAIN – Quantum trailed a big announcement for today at GMT 10:00.
Apparently fluids of some description have prevented this from happening and the announcement has been delayed at least another week.
Genii already understand the roller coaster nature of F1’s Monte Carlo or bust existence, yet they are in danger of losing Nico Hulkenberg unless they can persuade their apparently cautious partners to stop dithering and sign on the dotted line.
In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be “quantized”. This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete values.
The current discrete value of Quantum Motorsports appears to be $000,000,000.00