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In the coming days TJ13 will be introducing a new contributor, Eve Reynolds. She will be reporting on the 2014 season, more on that later.
Bernie trial begins (10:13)
25,000 Euro Donuts (10:55)
Vettel learns from multi 21 (11:50)
Tempting fate (12:20)
Title deciders (12:26)
Ferrari worrying rhetoric (12:58)
Lotus’ messy race organisation (13:49)
F1 to Return to India? (15:17)
Kimi set for overtaking record (16:03)
Is Vettel really so dominant? (16:59)
Bernie trial begins
Whilst the prosecutors in Munich appear to procrastinate on bringing their criminal charges against Ecclestone to trial, a civil cas begins tomoroow in London against the F1 magnate.
Bloomberg suggests that the Munich officers of the court “may be watching for anything that will help their case,” as media company Constantin sues F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone for $171 million.
Bayerische Landesbank, represented by the jailed German banker Gerhard Grobowsky, held a substantial part of the F1 commercial share rights owned by the owners of Constantin as security against a loan. These shares were sold to CVC by the bank but Constantin will argue the price agreed between Ecclestone, Gibrowsky and CVC was at the time below the offer of a New York based. Constantin are seeking the difference from Ecclestone.
Bluewaters Communications Holdings filed a $650million lawsuit at the Supreme Court of New York State last December, arguing that it lost that amount after Ecclestone paid a $44million bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in 2006 to ensure that BayernLB’s stake in Formula One was sold to present owners CVC Capital Partners.
Bluewaters says it should have been sold the stake as it had offered “10 per cent above any genuine bona fide offer put forward by any other competing buyer”.
This really is a pincer movement. Should Constantin be able to persuade the London court that the shares were sold at a value lower than could have been achieved by Grobowksy, then the claim from Blue Water has greater merit and the Munich prosecutors from both these trials will likely have incremental supporting documentation for the criminal case against Ecclestone.
Bernie is 83 today.
25,000 Euro Donuts
The FIA have predictably fined Red Bull for Sebastian Vettel’s failure to complete the parc ferme protocols following the chequered flag. This will cost the team 25,000 euros, though it didn’t dent the fizz in the air as Bild reports today the Red Bull Hotel partied until 2am. There will be a bigger party down the road as most of the team fly today to Abu Dhabi.
TJ13 takes great delight in issuing a rap of the gavel over inexplicable FIA comment or action, however, the fact that FIA stated they had not levied a harsher penalty, “due to the special circumstance”, meant their actions didn’t appear churlish – as other wise they would.
There have to be some rules and sanctions for what is allowed at the end of an F1 session, be it practice, qualifying or the race. This is to prevent the kind of lunatic behaviour we have seen from Maldonado on Hamilton and a general free for all, which may be quite fun to watch, but difficult for the organisers to police post event necessary srutineering.
All in all, the post chequered flag routine of Vettel appears to have matured somewhat, no more blubbing over the airwaves and even the finger appeared to be pretty much absent. The spontaneous exuberance and spectacle of the donuts was fabulous to behold and as Vettel slowly climbed from his car amongst the smog and the tyre smoke – there was an epic spine tingling moment – where the young German justifiably celebrated and received acclaim from the crowd
The bowing before the car was an act of humility and recognition which was perfectly judged and it was all framed in a panoramic scene even Hollywood couldn’t have delivered any better.
Of course there was the usual media obsession over how Vettel fits in the panacea of ‘greatness’. Yet Sebastian is a truly great now – and maybe on his way to becoming the greatest – operator in his field of specialism, winning Formula 1 races.
Sebastian drank a lot more than the usual from the magnum of champers as he gave extended interviews to each broadcaster and publication. His interviews had a feel of ‘genuineness’ and Vettel appeared to be speaking from the heart.
“We will celebrate a little bit,” said the on message Marko, “with Sebastian’s favourite drink. It is jagermeister with lots of Red Bull. Most of the team flies out tonight or tomorrow morning so we’re planning a proper celebration for Abu Dhabi.”
Another endearing moment was when Vettel admitted he had found the booing difficult, even though from the outside he appeared to handle the hecklers well. “I didn’t find it easy,” he told Bild newspaper, “especially when I had done nothing wrong. My girlfriend really helped me with that.”
The humanity and humility of Sebastian was on display for all to see and this is a ‘real person’ who can be afforded respect, even admired, by F1 fans across the world.
More please, Sebastian!!!
More strain on the Pirelli/F1 relationship
Due to the blistering experienced by the teams and the usual nonsense from the likes of Horner who stated, “the softer tyre is only good for 10 miles”, Pirelli were under scrutiny again going into the race in India.
Such was the chatter, the Italian tyre manufacturer felt it necessary to issue parameters which the teams should stay within for a ‘safe’ operation of the tyres. The soft tyre was supposed to be used no more than 15 laps and the harder medium tyre no more than 35.
This was a clear shift in Pirelli’s rhetoric, as previously during tyregate they had consistently refused to say the tyres were unsafe. Yet the FIA ignored the Pirelli advice, refusing enforcement on the grounds that some teams have the advantage of being better able to manage Pirelli’s heavily-degrading tyres.
Paul Hembery said following the race, “We are disappointed to see that some teams went against our recommendations and used the compounds for longer than we advised them to do.”
Sutil managed 19 laps on the soft tyre in his 1 stop strategy and Kimi went 51 laps on the medium tyre, with the result that was plain to all.
To be fair to Pirelli having been blasted by a certain Mexican driver in recent times, this position was a sensible defensive line to which they could return should teams use the tyres for longer and suffer explosions or delaminations.
There has been no resolution of Pirelli’s request to test the 2014 tyres prior to Jerez, and there are those in the paddock who feel that the tyre manufacturer “is not exactly winning many friends in F1 at the moment.” A view expressed by Andrew Benson of the BBC.
Interesting that an F1 race in the Pirelli era has still not been won from a competitor starting the race on the prime tyre.
Vettel learns from multi 21
Stating the obvious, Adrian Newey tells Autosport, “There has been a bitter needle in the past between Mark and Sebastian, as has been well known. From Sebastian’s point of view that [multi 21] was a little bit of payback”.
Interestingly, Newey believes Vettel didn’t know how to handle the aftermath of his decision to take advantage of Webber’s reduced engine power settings and steal the lead of the race. “Afterwards he knew he shouldn’t have done it and perhaps he got himself a bit tongue tied in his excuses, but he is a young lad and the bottom line is he was in a race, there were those reasons and there was adrenaline.
After the race, we all learn from our mistakes. That for me is one of the great things about Sebastian, that like all of us he makes mistakes but he always learns from it.”
Newey isn’t suggesting though that Vettel wouldn’t do something similar again as he adds, “I’m not saying he won’t disobey team orders again, but he will learn how to handle things.
He is very humble. The success and fame he has achieved over the past four or five years, many people that would have gone to their head, and it hasn’t with Sebastian at all.
He remains totally feet on the ground, a very private person, a very bright lad.”
Sebastian has remained boo free on the podium since the race in Korea and he is on course to win the 3 remaining races of the season, barring mechanical failure. We shall see whether his response to winning his 4th WDC title this weekend has won over those who want to bait him following each race.
Vettel commented on the booing to the BBC, ““It’s very difficult for me personally, to receive boos, even though you haven’t done anything wrong. At the time it hurts not to get the reception you expect but I think I’m clever enough to understand why they do it. I’m not blaming them”.
The explanation Sebastian appears to have settled on is that he is being booed because he comes from a ‘non-traditional’ team and is winning too often. “Maybe if I was a fan of McLaren, Ferrari, whatever, one of the traditional teams, I wouldn’t like it if the same kind of guys, same team wins again and again.”
However, Adrian Newey brings sage wisdom to the heckling debate. He believes there has been an accumulation of issues which have culminated in Vettel being jeered. “This booing, you can see how it’s happened. First of all, it’s that jealousy of success people have.
“It’s perhaps been wound up a little bit by one or two other drivers, let’s say, and yes perhaps annoying habits, gesticulations, and perhaps a little bit of the Malaysia thing.”
As TJ13 noted in another post above, the finger was conspicuous in by its absence in India. Could it be if Sebastian were to appear to modify some of his victory routine, the booers will give him a pass?
Sometimes in life all it takes is for one side to give a little – and then both parties feel they have something they want.
Fernando made a big deal over him achieving the highest tally ever of F1 points scored by having a special helmet designed for the Indian GP to celebrates this.
It was ironic then that he can now wear this again in Abu Dhabi as it was the first time he finished the race outside the points since Silverstone 2010. Somehow I think we won’t see that helmet again… 🙂
F1Fanatics stato has worked out that India is the 20th different country to host a title deciding F1 race.
|Japan||13||Suzuka (11), Fuji (1), TI Aida (1)|
|USA||6||Watkins Glen (3), Caesar’s Palace (2), Sebring (1)|
|Portugal||3||Estoril (2), Porto (1)|
|Mexico||3||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (3)|
|Spain||2||Pedralbes (1), Jerez (1)|
|South Africa||2||East London (1), Kyalami (1)|
|Great Britain||2||Aintree (1), Brands Hatch (1)|
|India||1||Buddh International Circuit (1)|
|Canada||1||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (1)|
|Abu Dhabi||1||Yas Marina (1)|
Further, Vettel’s fourth title smashes the records set by his statistical peers…
|Driver||Age at fourth title||Race title was won at||Titles||Years|
|Fangio||45 years, 82 days||1956 Italian Grand Prix||5||1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957|
|Prost||38 years, 224 days||1993 Portuguese Grand Prix||4||1985, 1986, 1989, 1993|
|Schumacher||32 years, 236 days||2001 Hungarian Grand Prix||7||1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004|
|Vettel||26 years, 123 days||2013 Indian Grand Prix||4||2010, 2011, 2012, 2013|
Germany now has 11 F1 WDC titles, all shared between Vettel and Schumacher. The nation winning the most titles is Britain, with 14 share amongst 10 drives – despite Motorsport-total a German site claiming German drivers lead the way. They appear to have forgotten Sir Jock and Jim Clark who have 5 titles between them – easily done I guess 😉
Vettel now has 36 wins and is chasing down Senna’s 41. If we wins the remaining 3 races he will score 397 points, five more than in 2011 and even Schumacher would have failed to achieve this in his most dominant season of 2002. Points adjusted for new scoring system would give Schumacher 380 for that year – though with only 19 races, Schumachers ave points per race would be 21.11 and Sebastian will have 20.89.
Ferrari worrying rhetoric
Stefano Dominicali praised the efforts of Felipe Massa in the Indian GP, “who drove a truly amazing opening lap” to save Ferrari blushes as Alonso failed to score a single point. Yet in the same statement on Ferrari.com, Stefano appears to be going through the motions with regard to this year’s season conclusion. “We have an obligation to push right to the end in a very close fight, for the runner-up position”.
Obligation??? What kind of comment is that even allowing for the translation? ‘We are determined’ may be slightly more inspiring
Luca de Montezemolo intervened last week following similar rhetoric from both Dominicali and Pat Fry suggesting that the team wouldn’t be trying too hard now they couldn’t win either title.
“I read about assumed bellyaching or about the team concentrating only on 2014,” said Montezemolo. “I don’t even want to hear that kind of talk: there are still four races to go where we will field Ferraris that are fighting for the podium with maximum determination from the drivers and the whole team. As for next season, there will be time enough to talk about it, and in fact I am pleased to see that the group dedicated to that task is working very hard with maximum concentration. Everyone is well aware what they must do.”
Yet Stefano appears downcast, musing on the ‘woulda, coulda shoulda’. Speaking to ESPN, he reflects, “I think we have to learn from many points of view. There’s no doubt that last year we could have won the title without having the best car at the beginning of the season and even at the end, but we were very good in other elements of things that make sure you are a winning team.
This year for sure we were not really good at developing the car and managing the tyres was a big thing for our performance, no doubt”.
All is not well in Maranello, and TJ13 is not a lone voice suggesting, there is rancour amongst key players in the Scuderia – yet nothing is being done about it – and what will this mean for 2014?
Lotus’ messy race organisation
With 8 laps to go Grosjean was just under 8s behind Raikkonen, but began to close quickly, 2 laps later the gap was just 4s. The gap 1 lap later was a mere 1.4s and it was clear Raikkonen’s tyres were falling off a cliff.
Kimi had pitted on lap 8 for the medium compound and the plan appeared to be to run 52 laps on a set of tyres Pirelli suggested were good for just 35 laps. Grosjean who had started 17th and was also on the softer compound made it to lap 14 before he stopped for the harder tyre.
As Grosjean was closing on Kimi he was also under pressure from Massa whose tyres were 18 laps newer and he was tracking the Frenchman’s Lotus just under 2 seconds behind. Then the inevitable occurred. Lap 56, Romain attempts to pass Kimi who defends, pushing him off the track. Grosjean completed the pass but was forced to give the place back, eventually taking it on the next lap legally.
An as yet unidentified voice on the Lotus radio shouted at Kimi to “Kimi, get out of the f***ing way.” To which the somewhat melting iceman replied, “Don’t f***ing shout at me.”
Raikkonen did not complete his media interviews, though he was heard to suggest that the manner in which the team spoke to him was inappropriate.
Speaking to SKY F1 Romain was asked why Kimi had pushed him off the track. “No idea. Ask him, though I’m not sure he’d answer,” Grosjean shrugged. He added, “We could have lost two cars. Honestly, I don’t know – it’s not my problem. I overtook him and thankfully we did not lose any points.”
Lotus’ Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane didn’t pull his punches when he said after the race, “It was a little disappointing, to be honest. He [Kimi] knew his tyres were finished and there was no need to have a battle, Romain was racing hard and I’m sure we’ll have a chat in the office about it.”
It would be easy for the casual viewer to think that Kimi was being a bit of a twit. So obvious was Grosjean’s closing speed on his team mate and even more obvious was the fact that Raikkonen was losing between 1 and 2 seconds a lap to the coasting Vettel with 10 laps to go.
Yet until we can review the pit radio communications, it’s not clear whether the team had make Kimi aware of the situation or indeed asked him to let Grosjean by.
The BBC asked Eric Boullier whether Kimi had ignored team orders and he replied, “They are free to race each other. It’s true that we may be expected a little bit of an easier manoeuvre, let’s say. You are never happy when you see both cars fighting and one car going off so you just make sure everything is going in the team interest.”
So did the team just hope Grosjean would pass his team mate easily and therefore not inform Raikkonen of the situation? Again you could have sympathy if the team chose to handle the situation this way as they have been rebuked by the Finn in the past when speaking to him on the radio.
Boullier continued, “I’m going to speak to both of them in Abu Dhabi. We are working for these guys to deliver, but there is a team behind them and you always have to think about the team.
If Kimi’s tyres would not have dropped off he would have been on the podium. We let them race, which is normal, but the tyres dropped off and we tried to save the maximum number of points for Kimi”.
The team boss’ next comments adds to the speculation they didn’t inform Raikkonen as they were unsure whether Romain was about to suffer an immediate performance drop off on the tyres.
“We had the fear of the tyres dropping off for Romain. We had an engine issue as well when we had to switch off everything to make sure the engine would last to the end. There was a lot of stress behind which is not always easy to manage.”
Boullier defends Kimi’s approach, “Kimi is a competitor. He is racing everybody and I can understand this,” yet suggests common sense should prevail. “When you are racing in certain conditions, you are racing and I am fine with that. When the tyres are dropping off and you are two seconds off the pace against your team-mate you try not to make a drama of this.”
It all seems rather messy and unnecessary.
F1 to Return to India?
The English speaking media went all gooey over being in India for possibly the last time – tweeting cows, tuc tucs, elephants and generally hyping up how wonderful the Indian people are – which indeed they are. Yet the cold hard facts are that official figures suggest just 50,000 turned up for the Grand Prix this year, another drop in attendance from the previous event.
The continental media are less sycophantic. Jaypee Sports claim, “We simply need more time to attract the fans. But we are convinced that we will be here again in 2015 have a Formula 1 race.” Speedweek’s mocking response is was to question whether the spokesman also believed that the stork brought babies.
Then there’s the bureaucratic difficulties the team’s face getting in and out of India together with the 25% tax levied by the state, forcing Jaypee Sports to beg Ecclestone to reduce his hosting fee.
Ecclestone was notable by his absence at this year’s event, though at 83 years of age he may require more than a day to recover from a 10 hour flight before facing the judge.
Motorsport-total ran a poll on whether their readers believed F1 should return to India in 2015. The overwhelming response was that “no one needs it”.
So TJ13 readers, here’s time for you to have your say.
Kimi set for overtaking record
The ‘iceman’ may have melted somewhat during heated exchanges with other members of the team yesterday, but he is set to set the record for the most number of passes completed in a season. He currently has 56 and the record (since reliable records are available) is 60. This is shared by Lauda (1984), Schumacher (2003) and Vettel (2012).
He currently leads a top 5 overtakers list for 2013 which looks like this.
The bottom four for 2013 are
Van de Garde 13
Is Vettel really so dominant?
Much has been made of the fact that Vettel’s dominance, consistent record breaking and race wins are making F1 boring and causing people to boo him. Yet a quick look at the statistics demonstrates in the panacea of F1, there are others who were far more dominant over the period of their careers
Looking at the number of pole positions is interesting. The top 3 in absolute numbers are as follows
1 Michael Schumacher 68
2 Ayrton Senna 65
3 Sebastian Vettel 43
Yet if we look at pole positions as a percentage of qualifying sessions entered, the list is more revealing. Vettel is just 5th and Schumacher doesn’t make the top 5.
1 Juan Manuel Fangio, 55.77%
2 Jim Clark, 45.21%
3 Alberto Ascari, 42.42%
4 Ayrton Senna, 40.12%
5 Sebastian Vettel, 36.75%
Similarly should we take the number of wins as a percentage of races started, Fangio dominates the list once again.
1 Juan Manuel Fangio, 1950-1951, 1953-1958, 46.15%
2 Alberto Ascari, 1950-1955, 39.39%
3 Jim Clark, 1960-1968, 34.25%
4 Sebastian Vettel, 2007-2013, 30.77%
We regularly hear the radio battle between Rocky and Vettel towards the end of a race. Sebastian’s engineer wants him to bring the car home safely and Vettel wants to improve his numbers for fastest lap. Currently Kimi ‘obliterating’ Sebastian’s best time in India means he remains just joint 10th with Gerhard Berger on this all time absolute list.
1 Michael Schumacher 77
2 Alain Prost 41
3 Kimi Raikkonen 39
4 Nigel Mansell 30
5 Jim Clark 28
6 Mika Hakkinen 25
7 Niki Lauda 24
8 Juan Manuel Fangio 23
Nelson Piquet 23
10 Gerhard Berger 21
Sebastian Vettel 21
Starting from the front row is a statistic that demonstrates the dominance of a driver over 1 lap. Surely Vettel is up there. Here’s the list of starts from the front row as a percentage
1 Juan Manuel Fangio 92.31%
2 Jim Clark 65.75%
3 Ayrton Senna 53.70%
4 Sebastian Vettel 52.14%
Similarly, here is the the number of consecutive front row starts and Vettel is just 5th on the list.
1 Ayrton Senna, 24, Germany GP 1988 – Australian Grand Prix 1989
2 Damon Hill, 17, Australian Grand Prix 1995 – Japanese Grand Prix 1996
3 Alain Prost GP-16 South Africa 1993 – 1993 Australian Grand Prix
4 Nigel Mansell, 15, Australian Grand Prix 1986 – Mexico GP 1987
5 14 Sebastian Vettel, Singapore GP 2010 – Great Britain GP 2011
Of course Vettel’s career to date spans 2007-2013 and is ongoing, whereas Schumacher’s was 18 years. Yet Schumacher is perceived as the statistically best driver ever, but when you look behind the absolute numbers, his career as is Sebastian’s to date are not so dominant as were the likes of Fangio, Ascari, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna.
Vettel’s next target may be to improve his standings in the all time consecutive GP victories in a row. 3 more wins in 2013 is most doable and would see him equal Alberto Ascari (who did not enter the Indy 500 race during his run – and the debate over whether that then counts or not will rumble on).
1 Alberto Ascari, 1952-1953, 9 wins
2 Michael Schumacher, in 2004, 7 wins
3 Jim Clark, 1965, 6 wins
Michael Schumacher, 2000-2001, 6 wins
Sebastian Vettel, 2013 *, 6 wins
Now here’s a dominant/boring championship from 2013
Tweets of the weekend
Lewis begins by spreading the love and elsewhere he tells Autosport that in his opinion Vettel may well be on his way to becoming the greatest F1 driver of all time.
TJ13 highlighted last week the rather stereotypical attitude many of the western F1 fraternity have to India. So we noted it had just been cows on tour shared on the twittershpere. Yet today, we have a rather excited Jock tweeting us his view of an elephant….
Ferrari and Alonso didn’t have the best weekend, and the ‘bitchin’ in Maranello appears to be continuing….
One English journalist notes a possible candidate for the much needed PR recruitment drive at Red Bull. Both self deprecating and obviously funny….