Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 30th October 2013

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Keeping your enemies even closer (04:00)

Life before F1 (04:00)

Fat Hippo’s Rant: Bore Me Again, Sam (04:00)

F1: Drugs for drivers (10:02)

Testing for Pirelli gets worse (10:59)

Lotus PR team get busy (11:22)

Why Brawn will go (11:24)

FIA Press Conferences (11:47)

Hakkinen criticises Lotus (12:43)

More safety for F1 (13:06)

The life of a modern racing driver (13:16)

Dangerous Donuts (13:25)

Changes to the Yas Marina Circuit (13:55)

SKY F1 UK falls to new lows (14:45)

TJ13 performance 15:17)

McLaren M26 for sale (17:03)

Halloween for Pirelli (17:40)

Caption competition (18:36)

Keeping your enemies even closer

As the battle at the back of the field for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship continues to bubble, it appears Max Chilton is following an age-old saying in English. Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer!

The English rookie posted a picture to his twitter account yesterday, as he played a round of golf with Heikki Kovalainen ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP. They played at the Yas Island links course, which the website proudly boasts to be the ‘first Links golf course in the Middle East region.’

Max Chilton Yas Island Golf

As was alluded to yesterday in the news, this just goes to show how close the F1 community is. Even though the two teams may be fighting with all their might out on circuit, they can still be friends away from the spotlight. Furthermore, it enhances the notion that Heikki cannot get enough sponsors together due to spending too much time out on the golf course and not in the company of potential partners, given he is in a place with some of the wealthiest oil tycoons in the world.

Another statement from the Yas Island website caught my attention, ‘Yas Links presents the kind of challenges golfers the world over dream about.’ It’s only a shame that the Yas Marina circuit is not quite on the same level as the golf course then.


Life before F1

The creation story is, to some, a myth shrowded in different versions of events. Many F1 fans would like to believe that on the 6th day, God created F1. On the Sunday, he rested with his feet up watching the race.

Of course, Formula One has become the home to many a celebrity over the years, as the allure of the bright lights and fast cars attracts even the most in demand VIPs. David Beckham was an example of this, as he was seen in Singapore in September. Some have even tried out the cars. Tom Cruise was one high profile case, where he drove a Red Bull in Willow Springs, California, back in 2011. Red Bull had flown a 12 man strong team along with the instruction of David Coulthard to help the Hollywood actor. (No teams protested about the ‘secret’ test)

Recently, former France and Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez, has converted to motor racing. After his retirement from football, he has driven in the Porsche Carrera Cup France and in 2012 won his first race in the FFSA GT Championship. He is currently competing in the FIA GT Series, although he has had little success in it.

It seems he is not the only footballer who is looking to convert their profession into racing cars instead. Amidst all the controversy surrounding Sepp Blatter’s comments, Cristian Ronaldo posted a picture of himself in a prancing horse, saying “Playing to be the next F1 pilot.” It appears there is life before becoming an F1 driver.

Cristiano Ronaldo F1 driver

Fat Hippo’s Rant : Bore Me Again, Sam

It was about as surprising as someone uttering “Amen” in church. Not too long after the smoke of Sebastian Vettel’s 25K victory celebration had quietly merged into the smog over Greater Noida, one could hear the distinctive ‘oompha’ sound of the “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” bandwaggon, full of beer-soaked people in ridiculous clothes, declaring that Christian clergymen around the world would no longer make the sign of the cross, but wag their index finger from now on. No longer would the great unwashed worship ‘The Lord’ – their prayers would henceforward be offered to ‘The Seb’.

But what is that? Here comes Her Majesty’s Imperial Bandwaggon, ‘God save the Queen’ blaring from the speakers at a volume normally reserved for Russian jet aircraft, demanding that the church folk now bow and scrape to The Newey. Not only was he from the correct nation, but he was the only reason that this annoying German was able to steal another victory that rightfully belonged to the crown.

I’m properly sick of it. On one hand there’s the folk, who declare that because he’s the first, who scores his first 4 titles in a row, Vettel will go on to make Michael Schumacher look like Taki Inoue. On the other hand is a mainly anglophone crowd, who don’t find anything contrived or embarrassing enough just to prove to us that, if it wasn’t for Newey, Vettel would never have won a race, let alone multiple titles. And both crowds are full of window-licking idiots, who wake up in the morning and happily declare that they’re an onion.

The latest fad is ‘trying to work out’ if Vettel is a true great or if he’s just some lucky bastard, who was positioned in the best car and nefariously stole the titles that should have been won by Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Lewis Hamilton or Batman Bin Suparman. Many people, mainly in German speaking countries, will happily explain to you in an atrocious accent that ‘Super Seb’ is now one of the greatest the sport has seen, while most in the anglophone world, like the journalistically challenged chap, who wrote this gem of dialectic diarrhoea goes to great lengths to prove that despite the same number of world titles, Vettel is a mere dwarf in comparison to the giant that is Alain Prost.

Vettel is good, but one of the greats? Not even close
Thanks to TJ13 regular McLaren78 for finding that piece of comedy

Guess what? Both sides completely miss the boat. Only 104 people ever managed to win a Formula One Grand Prix. That’s little over one hundred out of billions of people over more than sixty years. By the very definition that’s a great achievement. Is there a measure to compare, which win was ‘greater’? Is there a measure to say one driver is greater than the other, even if they have the same amount of wins? Hardly.

Of course the number of world championships is the ultimate measure, but can you really put it down to pure numbers? Can you compare it at all? Not even slightly. How are you going to compare Vettel and Fangio? When Fangio raced, Vettel’s father was still a wet dream of his dad or at best still slobbering all over mum’s boobies and soiling his pampers. What’s the point in saying Fangio would have had more titles if he had started at 19 like Seb? He couldn’t. He was already pushing forty when F1 was invented.

How do you compare Schumacher to Vettel? In Schumacher’s time cars still used to disintegrate regularly, while they were more or less bullet proof towards the end of his career. In fact it was his team Ferrari, who more or less introduced ultra-reliability to F1. Which brings us to the teams. The favourite argument is that Vettel only wins because of the car. Oh really? So did Schumacher, so did Senna, Prost, Fangio and Moss. Look at Fangio’s Mercedes of 1954. It was so ridiculously superior, it makes Vettel’s 2013 campaign look like an uphill struggle. Does that take away from Fangio’s ’54 title? Not even remotely.

Everyone, who becomes world champion, first and foremost has to beat another guy in exactly the same car and since top-teams usually don’t hire slow-pokes they’re not going up against Jean-Deniz Deletraz. Everyone, who becomes champion more than once has automatically scratched ‘blind luck’ as the reason from the list, too.
Internet forums are the battleground for endless flamefests of ‘my driver is better than yours’. But how do you measure, how good a driver really is? How do you measure raw speed? You either have it or you don’t. Each driver has his own particular strengths and weaknesses. Prost wasn’t called ‘The Professor’ for nothing. While drivers like Senna relied on their sheer speed and dare-devilness to win, Prost often succeeded by intelligence and patience rather than outright maximum velocity. Does that make Prost better than Senna or Senna better than Prost? They both were able to use their strengths to their advantage and get the job done.

So instead of trying to explain away achievements that we don’t like, how about we enjoy the privilege that we can witness one of the most competitive grids in recent history. We have five world champions on the grid, at times it were even six. We are a very privileged generation. We have seen some of the truly great competitors in the sport – Senna, Prost, Mansell, Häkkinen, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Räikkönen, Vettel. Instead of trying to argue, which one of these is greater than the others, how about just being grateful that we could witness them all in our lifetime.


F1: Drugs for drivers

Fernando Alonso is regularly telling us how much training he has done and Ferrari described his fitness as “worthy of an Olympian”. Ex-F1 driver TV pundits too marvel at the fitness of F1 drivers and it is probably true to say, Michael Schumacher led the modern revolution that has become almost the nor, as F1 drivers relentlessly seek anything that will give them a tenth of a second advantage here or there.

Kimi Raikkonen of course does not necessarily subscribe to the most obsessive of fitness regimes, as a regular smoker and alcohol drinker, the Finn lives life in a different way to say Alonso and Vettel.

Maybe it’s a Finnish thing, but Heikki Kovaleinen doesn’t believe being uber fit is necessary for an F1 driver. “We don’t really need to be in such an extreme physical condition, because we don’t have one target like the Olympic Games that we want to compete in. We need to stay fit and well throughout the season and at a relatively good level, but not necessarily an Olympic level.”

Yet surely, the training regime and the mental attrition required to attain Alonso like levels of fitness, must improve mental faculties. Endurance and developing an indomitable state of mind which ignores the physical state when applied to racing adds an element of mental toughness for a range of circumstances both on and off the track.

Earlier this year, the French senate published a report detailing drug usage in sport, paying particular attention to cycling. During the subsequent media publicity, Marc Sanson, the former head of France’s anti-doping council, claimed during his time in charge, between 2003 and 2005, that F1 drivers used performance-enhancing drugs.

“For many years, drivers used tacrine, a product used in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, to remember the circuits more easily,” claimed Sanson.

Gary Hartstein, the former F1 medical delegate, dismissed Sanson’s claim tweeting that it smacked of a “loudmouth know-nothing looking for a headline.”.

Later Hartstein spoke on the matter and stated, “I saw that silly story and was shocked because, unfortunately, that drug doesn’t even work for the people it is supposed to work for. There is the kind of practical aspect of things in that, if it did work, we would probably all be taking it.

Everybody over the age of 50 would be pounding at the door of their GP asking for it. And it has tons of side effects.

The interesting thing is this is an anti-doping expert – and I have nothing against him, I don’t even know him, but I just get annoyed that people blab off to the press about stuff – it’s not even on the prohibited list and never has been.

By definition, if it is not on the prohibited list, then you can take it all day every day and it’s not doping. You may get a performance advantage, you may die, any number of things might happen, but it’s not doping – maybe stupid, but not doping.”

Jean-Charles Piette, an F1 medical delegate and deputy president of the FIA Medical Commission disagrees with Hartstein. Speaking to ESPN he explained that the minuscule margins in race qualifying sessions that drivers could imagine doping might be beneficial.

Hartstein is adamant, “These guys are clean. I don’t say that because I am optimistic or naive, I say it because I was deeply involved in the FIA’s anti-doping and I know what these guys need to drive to the best of their ability. There is nothing on the prohibited list that would allow them to do that, period. And they know that.”

Yet there are those who are not so sure. Mark Webber has been relentless on this subject though among the drivers – something of a lone voice. “The other drivers have never been super strong on it, so it’s never really been a huge issue”.

Mark does believe there is a problem. “I’ve always been championing the idea to do more of it, but the FIA have never really been that strong on it,” he told news.com.au last year.

Having upped its game on anti doping, the FIA has been accepted into the Olympic movement and as such must respect the Olympic Charter. Further, having become a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code there are minimum required actions they must take. However this is not particularly onerous on the drivers as Mark Webber explains. I was tested after Germany and it was the first time they had done blood [tests], “ adding, “which was good”.

The problem with a lack of drug testing is that it always leaves questions over legacies. Yes Armstrong deceived the world for years, but was eventually caught. There are drugs that can increase focus and mental agility such as amphetamines and methamphetamines which deliver heightened levels of alertness, concentration, and energy.

Versions of these drugs were used by the Allied bomber crews and dubbed “Pilot’s chocolate” or “Pilot’s salt”, dispensed to sustain them by fighting off fatigue and enhancing focus during long flights. Japanese industrial workers in the 40′s and 50′s were also administered this class of drug to improve productivity. Is it not the case that an F1 driver would benefit from relatively small doses of these drugs and gain a benefit?

On the specific topic of tacrine, Heikki Kovalainen said he had never even heard of it. Further, “It sounds strange because, at least for me, I don’t have any trouble remembering the circuits. If we were going to circuits like Nordschleife [the 22.8km, 160-turn northern loop of the Nurburgring] and you only had two laps to practice, then maybe. But I don’t think it would be of any use to modern-day F1 drivers.”

Yet being seen to be act appropriately is part of supporting the Olympic Charter and the fact that Mark Webber received his first blood test this year in Germany is hardly re-assuring. Gary Hartstein is an honourable man, but if an F1 driver were to be taking drugs, I’m sorry Gary – you would have been the last to know.

We do not need to rely on the “it’s extremely unlikely” or “there’s no drugs F1 drivers can take to gain an advantage” arguments. Just do more drug testing, and publicise the activities of the programme.


Testing for Pirelli gets worse

At times in life, certain decisions appear to be not just stupid – but blatantly au contraire. The new F1 Working Strategy group have voted to change the sporting regulations on testing from next year. From January 2014, F1 cars will be categorised as follows.

‘Current cars’ will be 2013/2014/2015, ‘previous cars’ will be those from the preceding 4 years (2009-11) and ‘historic cars’ be anything that precedes the ‘previous cars’.

Sam Michael identifies the problem. “One of the issues you have got is that we can test a 2011 car for 1000km this year, and every team can do that,”, but these new regulations mean, “we cannot send a 2011 car tyre testing once we go beyond January [2014]”.

Pirelli have been appealing more frequently and with increasing volume for some kind of testing for the 2014 tyres, prior to Jerez. They fear the design brief they have been given may drive them towards delivering a tyre for next year unable to cope with the torque demands of the new V6 engines.

Last week the Italian tyre manufacturer stated this problem was stark enough for them to have decided to pull out of F1 at the end of the year, unless the matter is resolved.

The teams have responded to the appeal for a pre-Jerez 2014 tyre test. Eric Boullier of cash strapped Lotus states, “If it doesn’t cost a penny, yes. We could support this.”

Soon to be the main public voice of Mercedes AMG, Toto Wolff, believes, “We have to support the tyre supplier in the best possible way and it is a matter of extracting performance and being supportive. We need to support them and try to give them the mileage. It is a safety issue and it is only through safety they can decide what type of tyre compounds they need for next year.

So we are prepared to support them if any test is needed before the beginning of the season.”

McLaren have already offered a 2011 car for testing at Vallelunga next month.

So if you were bored with the all consuming topic of tyres earlier this year, we may be in for part II as the new season commences in Jerez in just under weeks..


Lotus PR team get busy

Life has been difficult in this division of the Enstone empire for some weeks now. We’ve seen copulating bunnies, slap stick pie throwing amongst other amusing images that porray the teams feelings about Kimi leaving. However, a new air of positivity has swept through the team, as they believe a bag of Venezuelan cash is on it’s way, so here we go….




Why Brawn will go

TJ13 has asserted for some time, the tension within Mercedes AMG F1 is between Wolff and Brawn particularly. Wolff wants to be the PR voice of the team, but Brawn believes that mixed messages are given and that he should speak on the team’s behalf.

Here’s the Mercedes AMG F1 preview of the Abu Dhabi weekend. Make up your own mind.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the highlights on the Formula One calendar and a weekend that everyone at the team always enjoys,” said Ross. “The uniqueness of the twilight racing and the wonderful facilities at the Yas Marina Circuit make for quite a spectacular show, both for the crowds at the track and for those watching on television. 

The circuit layout is challenging with the brakes under particular strain and overtaking can be tricky despite the long straights,” explained Ross. “12 of the circuit’s 21 corners are taken in second gear of below, with six taken at less than 100 km/h.

This is a demanding period with four of the seven season-ending flyaway races now completed and I am pleased with how the motivation and commitment levels at our team are remaining so high”, added Ross. “India was a strong weekend for us with some valuable points scored and we will aim to have another positive weekend in Abu Dhabi to consolidate our position.”

The 26-point haul for Nico and Lewis last weekend in India was the best team result since the Belgian Grand Prix in late August. “We delivered a good team result in India, with podium number eight this year and our biggest points total since the Belgian Grand Prix,” affirmed Toto. “Our target now is to build on that momentum in Abu Dhabi.”

The team knows what to expect at Yas Marina: “A circuit where good traction is important, as well as strong straight-line speed, and conditions in which it’s important to look after the rear tyres, especially through the first stint when the track temperatures are still high,” explained Toto. “All of us in the team know that the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship will go down to the final race. We are ready for the fight.”

untitledNiki Lauda again asserts today that he is trying to persuade Ross Brawn to stay on as team principal. Speaking to the Mail Lauda is dismissive, “‘I hate all this bull****. The speculation is total rubbish”. Niki clarifies matters,The situation is absolutely clear. I spoke to Ross a while ago and we agreed that he will come back to me after the final race of the season in Brazil to tell me whether he wants to stay or go.

I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay. I want him to do it but it is not my decision, it is his decision. If he stays he will be team principal – nothing else – or he will retire.”

Whoever leaked the story to the BBC suggesting Ross Brawn’s departure was finalised, clearly has an agenda. Brawn has so far avoided comment on the matter since, suggesting it was him. Unless we hear Brawn deny a decision has been made this weekend – we can assume we are observing highly skillfull political manoeuvring by F1’s greatest poker player of modern times.

Niki probably fails to understand that Ross just doesn’t want to be part of an F1 Abbott and Costello routine.


FIA Press Conferences

Thursday drivers

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

Friday team personnel 

Cyril Abiteboul (Caterham), John Booth (Marussia), Paul Hembery (Pirelli), Franz Tost (Toro Rosso), Claire Williams (Williams), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren)

MC – James Allen

Will Lewis and Adrian sit next to each other? Also can Lewis’ new found divine love penetrate the bitter soul of his once dear friend Adrian?


Hakkinen criticises Lotus

Former double world champion believes any criticism of Raikkonen’s defence of his position against team mate Grosjean demonstrates naivety. “Kimi was thinking as experienced drivers think. If he let Grosjean past in the wrong place, someone else may also have been able to pass him too.

He explains that Kimi needed to take a fast line through the corner to preserve the performance of his failing tyres and to slow right down may have cost him a further 3-4 seconds.

There may be some national brothered-hood backside covering going on here, because Kimi appeared to take defensive line against Grosjean and not the fastest line into the corner.

On the situation as a whole, Hakkinen suggests calm reflection. “All parties should think about what was done wrong and should also ask why Grosjean had to be so aggressive such that the tyres banged together”.

Turning to the radio call made my the team’s trackside director, Alan Permane, Hakkinen believes, “Permane’s behavior was not really smart, or correct. In all the teams I drove for, radio messages never had any profanity. I understand that emotions can be close to the surface when the pressure is on, but swearing and shouting will only aggravate the situation”, Hakkinen tells Finnish publication, Turin Sanomat.


More safety for F1

Safety 1st in F1 has given us hypermarket car park run off areas on corners that were once a challenge, restrictions on pit lane personnel during F1 track sessions and the change from perfectly reasonable tyres mid-season to others which changed the competitors’ hard earned 2013 championship hierarchy.

So is it unreasonable that F1’s history of allowing teenagers to drive in the racing series with the world’s most expensive and quickest racing prototype machines should be reconsidered too? Adrian Sutil believes this is the case.

“It’s not easy to drive a car like this, and at 17 what do you have? Maybe GP3 experience and then what? So, yes, I think it’s probably dangerous for everyone because it’s the fastest car in the world and they are not easy to handle. Especially with these tyres it is very technical and you need to know how they work. Sometimes they don’t have grip and they grain.

There is a certain age and a certain experience you need to drive a Formula One car and this is important.”

Then in modern times when drivers are here today and gone tomorrow, is such an exposure to Formula 1 in fact detrimental to their careers too? Again Adrian believes this to be the case, “Yes, I think it’s far too early [for them]. They are kids and you need to be a grown up man here in Formula One. It’s a tough business and it’s sometimes a shame because I think you burn a good talent too early. There is no reason to put drivers in so early, but of course we have a Russian Grand Prix next year and it would be nice to have a Russian driver.

Let’s see, maybe I’m wrong and they perform even better than I do. But at 17 or 19 it’s a big risk and it’s not necessary, especially with all these new engines and new regulations.”

With Webber leaving the sport, there is a need for a senior member of the drivers’ fraternity to carry the mantle of kid bashing, for the good of all those aspiring to drive in F1. Adrian Sutil, aged 30, appears to be that man.

There is a certain fascination for F1 fans to see how Russian F1 driver newbies Kvyat and Sirotkin will handle 2014. Yet surely in an era where we cow tow to the supreme god of safety and worship at the altar of risk aversion – kids should be banned from F1.


The life of a modern racing driver

In the modern era of uber reliability, obsession on fitness and technical mastery of the drivers – its good to see some things don’t change for the world’s elite racers. Well.. almost. If this was James Hunt with a couple of other historic racing drivers, there’d be a bevy of beauties framing the boys in shot….


at Yas Water World today



Dangerous Donuts

Anyone know where this is? Clue: a couple of leading world golfers have hit balls from here and a brace of top tennis stars had a set here too.

Delivering some donuts may have a drivers eyes on stalks though.



Changes to the Yas Marina Circuit

Charlie and the FIA continue in their efforts to ensure off track excursions are not rewarded. Speed bumps – similar to those used around the first chicane at Monza – have been installed two metres from the track edge around the outside of Turns 8 and 11.


That said, on both these corners running too deep compromises the line and speed through the next corner significantly


Inside apex of turn 8


SKY F1 UK falls to new lows

F1’s business plan for the future has been consistently challenged for some time now. Adam Parr suggested Ecclestone and his crew were missing huge opportunities worth hundred’s of millions a year – he was promptly exited from F1.

Challenging economic times for free-to-air broadcasters have seen subscription TV snatch a significant chunk of the European audience, who have traditionally not paid to watch live F1. SKY UK are now 2 years in and their F1 channel appears to not only have failed to gain incremental traction, but is sliding into oblivion.

‘The F1 Show’, which is the channel’s premier studio based weekly F1 programme, recorded one of its lowest figures to date for a studio based edition on Friday 18th October. It averaged across the hour of broadcasting just 18,000 viewers – the lowest of the year to date. That week only 5 shows on the dedicated F1 channel saw audiences in excess of 10,000. David Nelson, broadcasting analyst states, “this is really disastrous overall nearly two years in. I think the mid-week schedule outside of race weekends has to be more structured, because there is absolutely zero flow to the schedules at the moment, it could be described as one programme after the other with no real meaning”.

The news for Sky Sports F1 gets worse. The live F1 race programme failed to make ITV media’s multi-channel top ten for last Sunday. This means the viewing figures were less than 626,000. Compare this to the BBC’s last live airing of the event which in 2011 saw 4.18 million viewers tune in and SKY F1 is making little or no headway.

Total UK viewing figures for the Indian GP are as follows.

2011 – 5.61m (BBC live)

2012 – 3.66m (SKY live, BBC highlights only)

2013 – 4.27m (SKY and BBC live, with BBC re-run later)

There was a recovery this year in the F1 viewing audience for the Indian GP, though the major impact would be the fact this year the BBC ran the race as a live event. Nelson observes, “I think it is an okay rating, but not spectacular when you consider that it was the title decider”.

The question has to be asked is whether F1 is losing traction with it’s TV viewing audience? If so, the teams abilities to raise money from sponsorship will become increasingly difficult, and again the F1 business model will be in the spotlight.


TJ13 performance

Interesting to see some of the debate in the comments today. TJ13 has been growing strongly over the past 5 months and there are many more readers and contributors who have joined our community – which is fantastic. We get site statistics on all kinds of things, and our latest run rate of hits per annum is now at around 1,100,000.

Yet I judge a site by the strength of its community and participation by those who visit. So here’s a graphic that shows how the depth of contribution to our debates have been improving recently. 4 of the most commented of all time days have been this month.

All new commentators are welcome and if you’re a ‘lurker’ out in the beyond – say hello sometime.



McLaren M26 for sale

We reported recently in the news that the last of the wide track Ferrari’s was to be auctioned in New York. Well, this has been the year of James Hunt nostalgia for those in F1 and there is the opportunity for someone to own a piece of that history this weekend.

We reported recently in the news that the last of the wide track Ferrari’s is to be auctioned in New York. Well, 2013 has been the year of James Hunt nostalgia for those in F1 and there is the opportunity for someone to own a piece of that history this weekend.

At the start of the 1977 season James Hunt ploughed on with his title winning McLaren M23 before the team unveiled their latest racing equipment in a redesigned M26. Hunt was instrumental in making the M26 Competitive.

The M26 was powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV 90º V8 that pumps out an incredible 525 horsepower at 10,600RPMs. The aluminium monocoque chassis features double wishbone, coil over dampers, and a rack and pinion steering.

This particular chassis for sale is number 3, and it was the one which saw James Hunt capture the win in the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix. This was Hunt’s last victory in Formula 1.

It is expected to sell for a bargain $1.2 – 1.8m.


Halloween for Pirelli

The ‘jack-o’-lanterns’ were carried on all Hallows Eve to ward off feared evil spirits.

Recognise this face anyone?



Caption competition



49 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 30th October 2013

  1. I think anti-doping is in the same league as ‘war on drugs’. It’s not profuctive and doesn’t help.

    I say: if you find a pill which makes you better? Good for you. And if you stay alive, I might try it as well. What’s dishonest about optimising your nutrition to the extreme? Of course drugs like alcohol, which make driving unsafe, should be policed.

    Furthermore, do you know how testing works? It’s not like ‘Here’s some blood/piss from Webber. Let’s check it for the entire list of forbidden doping!’
    No. You cannot check for everything, so what’s the use?

    Political correctness. That’s it.

    • Do you have children Jos? He you did would you be happy for them to take whatever it took to be able to get to the top of their sport?

      Drugs foot just happen at the pinnacle of sport, to get there you need to take them also.

      I’ve been await cycling fan for over 30 years now, and the sport was riddled with dopers. The really sad part was not the fact that many were cheated out of a career at the top level, it was the amount of deaths on the way to the top for guys who didn’t have the money to have a doctor to look after them. Especially the guys who died from heart attacks when their blood turned to jam due to the EPO they were taking.

      Drugs should never be acceptable in sport. Ever.

      • Yes, I have children.
        And I can buy sigarettes and alcohol everywhere. Both have a way higher death toll than doping or even other drugs.
        The roaring 20’s have shown how good forbidding works.

        If people wanna be stupid, let them. As a parent, I educate my children on drugs. I’ll give them self esteem and confidence. That’s the only way. You can’t create a drug free world, all you do is making the stakes (and the rewards!) higher.

        • To be fair you have to say that you’re dutch. The Netherlands and Belgium are the capitals of drugs… in our countries it’s mutch more “accepted” than in any other country

          • Its not that Bruznic. I’m very liberal in my outlook, and i have no problem with people doing whatever they want to do. Within reason.

            Cigs and alcohol are not performance enhancing drugs for sport so, to me, they don’t count.

            If you read any good books on sport by convicted doper you always read about the fact that either they felt they had to do drugs to earn a living, or they were pressured into it by teammates / management or they justified it by normalizing it because everyone else was doing it.

            That’s what is wrong.

            The notion that most sports people do it because they’d like to isn’t correct.

            There’ll always be the few who just don’t think, or care, about the consequences. But most would prefer to do it clean.

            I seriously doubt that any kid decides at am early age that drugs are the path to the top. Those lonely and difficult decisions come much later when the personal stakes are higher.

        • I know Stirling Moss said he was given something (amphetamines?) to keep him awake for the Mille Miglia in the mid 50’s… he drove through the night, fully on it, and duly won the race!

          I’m sure that there are probably no drugs relevant to F1, maybe alertness ones as is said above, but it is a back thought, hence it hasn’t been investigated until now. Cycling is different in that it seems from the top down everyone was not concerned to uncover it, even when evidence was presented for it’s use throughout the 90s and 00s.

          The French guy’s statements show how far off the mark he is as an ‘expert’, as the F1 doc claims the drug he cites isn’t even on the banned list, and doesn’t work for treatment anyway. Anyone citing track learning (it’s not hard to learn 15 corners in 2 laps if you are a driver) is clearly bonkers. Nordschleife can be learned in one session, with a few more for all the intricacies.

          What should really happen is investigation of drugs scientifically, with bad ones banned and good ones legalised and taxed, or used for medicine. It’s well known that a few banned drugs could actually have a very high medical component, and the legalised drugs of alcohol and tobacco are very big business, and like their monopoly positions on legal drugs. But until we know the science, we are blind to say what is right and wrong. Unlike GM foods, where a lot of people don’t want to believe the evidence (in this country anyway)! :p

  2. Hi Danilo,

    re driver comparisons, I’ve moved your comments above, and through entries. Allow me to politely disagree.

    I think it is fine for anyone to compare drivers to drivers in another generation. Or now, for that matter. The ability to debate the positives and negatives of a driver, or a team, or an engineer is crucial to welcoming others to look at F1.

    I often think of the discussions i had with my mates when i was a kid of why Gilles was better than everyone else. These passionate arguments deepened my love of the sport. Debate was how i learned new things about what to look for in drivers and teams. It helped sustain my interest in the sport when it was boring, for me, like during the latter years of Michaels domination.

    I’ve followed the sport for nearly 40 years now, and have expanded my outlook and knowledge by listening to newbies to the sport and deeply knowledgeable people alike.

    Indeed, it was your passionate arguments around Seb that helped of to change my opinion of him.

    Debates around drivers between my nephew and i is what is currently firing his passion for the sport. For all i know he could be posting here about Lewis, who is his current favourite.

    I believe that those of up who have amassed a significant amount of knowledge by investing a lot of our time and energy should be tolerant towards everyone. After all, there are many who know significantly more than i do, and i try to learn from them.

    Let people debate. Say your piece. Try not to be dismissive. We all need references to learn and expand our knowledge.

    • I’ll second that.

      And if we’re ranting, can I get in my own effort about commenters who proclaim they wish to be above the fray, while simultaneously throwing in a few jabs about British chauvinism…

    • Agreed, accept everyone has their opinions and that’s all they are, one persons opinion. There is no need to tear strips off them cos you don’t support your their arguments. Debate is great for sharing info, but taking to the Nth degree is what spoils it. I lobe this site as people agree to disagree and are mature enough to say so. Other sites they just argue to the death till they run out of rational argument and start on personal insults. It’s just unnecessary, we are all suposed to have a common interest that is ment to bring us together not cause WW3……

      • Agreed. And this site is excellent for its level of tolerance.

        Hat tip to the main man also. Its genuinely heart warming to see TJ welcome someone new to the site. His deflection of criticism in a mannerly and lighthearted fashion is also a reason why contributors are so respectful towards each other.

        He’s the anti ‘smokin’ Joe 🙂

        • You may have seen my post a while back, I’m banned from coffee shop Joe’s drivvle blog! I only told him his story was a non-story as I it had been coverd for 3 days before he just went over the same as the rest had. I said it politely and said it wasn’t one of his better blogs, but he didn’t take it well, now I can’t post a comment!

          • And you may have seen my post in response to yours. What’s your point? It’s pretty hard to get banned by Joe; some of the comments he gets (and posts) are astounding, but not banned. I suspect you should take a look in the mirror and quit whining. If it’s a drivel (check your spelling) blog why do you want to post there?

        • I got banned too, for pointing out that his comment towards an Indian commentator was too harsh.

          I emailed him directly, and didn’t put my comment on the site for everyone to see.

          It seems like i wasn’t the only one to do so because he shut down the comments on the site for a few days and then wrote a blog about it. The gist of the blog was that he had received some comments from trolls who questioned how he spoke to commenters. He then started to drivel on about others in the F1 media questioning why he bothered to do his blog etc etc, reaching out for support and a little hug from the ‘non’ trolls.

          The poor sycophants lined up to massage his bruised ego, and Joe was ready once again to fight the good fight. All trolls were banned from commenting on his site.

          I found out that i fell into this category when i tried to post on the site later that day. I mailed him again to express my surprise that i fell into the troll category, but wished him the best. I haven’t been back.

          The thing that surprised me the most, and still does, is how a guy reporting in the Darwinham world ofF1 was so sensitive, and thin skinned. But that’s Joe for you. Agree with him and all is good. Disagree with him and you’re likely to be branded a troll. Nice….

          • I remember the incident and also remember some of the posts. As I commented above, I was astounded at the vitriolic way some people posted and the things they said. Quite a trollers didn’t use real email addresses. Frankly, I sympathized with Joe’s attitude, as he is/was spending a lot of time reading and responding to postings. Some of the posters are very knowledgeable and thoughtful and represent a wide spectrum of opinion and experience. I have had disagreements with Joe and have argued with him, but not in an in-your-face FU way.

            I appreciate a lot of his insights and I am not a ‘sycophant’ – you are lumping a whole lot of people together under one label and I for one don’t appreciate being labeled by you. It’s his blog and if you don’t like the way he runs it, don’t read it.

          • I think you should read my post again Steve to see what it says, not what you want it to say.

            If you read your post again you’ll see you made some generalizations also.

            Finally you’ll see i haven’t been back since the incident.

            I don’t like bullying. That’s why i contacted Joe, discreetly, to express my view.

            Nobody said he should put up with abuse.

            My point is that blogs will generally function according to how they are run. You don’t see TJ getting flittered by commentators, and theirs a reason for that.

            I don’t recall having a go at you in my posts. Could i politely suggest that you consider not trying to personalize my comments for the purpose of allowing yourself to be outraged?

            If you don’t like comments that’s totally fine. Disagree all you wish. But play the ball, not the player.

    • If it’s a debate than people can change opinions after a good conversation with certain points they never considered them self. But this isn’t a debate. This is people pro and contra. And no changing their mind is possible. Whatever happens. Most of them say vettel needs to win in a bad car in order to become a great(what I consider BS) because for some reason that time in monza doesnt count. And if they are talking about championships I never get an answer on the question who did win a championship in a bad car…

  3. Hippo’s rant is spot on. I love F1 and yo be fair don’t give a shit which driver wins a GP or WDC as who ever it is has beaten the best of the rest and are surely worthy of being recognized for the what they have achieved. Yes it would be nice to see all the drivers in the same car just once, but it ain’t gonna happen! Same as comparing era to era, it doesn’t work, too many things are different. I’m sure if we had bullet proof tyres this season, Mercedes would stand a good chance but it’s all it’s, but’s and maybe’s……. makes no sense even trying to split then. F1 is also a team sport, so a great driver in a shit car is in a worse place than a shit driver in a great car. It needs everything to cone together at the same time, Brawn GP springs to mind.

    So as the Hippo says, enjoy it for what it is right now.

    God had the world finished on Thursday afternoon, so he could watch drivers press conference and FP1, 2 and 3 as well as qually and race, but just lied about finishing it early so he wasn’t a) moaned at by the misses and b) would have been expected to keep that work rate up permenantly by his employer!

    • Public rants are rarely attractive… and sadly this “Fat Hippo’s Rant” is not an exception.

      However, ranting can be a good therapeutic experience. Hope you feel better now Judge! 🙂

      • Hi VM – and thank you for your twitter support… But let me explain….

        To broaden our ability to post news 24/7 as half of our readers are not in Europe, we have an early morning GMT news team who post while I am away with the fairies (or the delectable Mrs Judge).

        The purpose of thejudge13 is to be ‘of the fans – for the fans’ of which I am but one.

        So I took the decision early this year to allow a panacea of thought and opinion to be expressed on TJ13 even if at times it does not fit with my own views.

        It should be obvious when I post, though there are times where I give the bones of a story to AHJ who communicates this for me.

        But you are correct, rants are therapeutic and drive interesting debate…. 🙂

        Fat Hippo posts are not from me, but Create a space for un Judge like expressions of passion and will drive debate and alternative opinions…

        Witnesses in the court are most diverse and for some unpalatable, yet we will hear evidence from all – then weigh and sift it for truth…

        • Thank for explaining that. I suspected it wasn’t you, but it wasn’t clear who posted.

          So are all early AM posts authored by “Fat Hippo”? I’m not sure how to discern who posts an article.

          (Overall, today was a good set of interesting articles, btw.)

  4. Don’t want to sound malicious, but I’ll be glad to see even lower figures for Sky. F1 needs to return to free-to-air channel. Let BCC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 all share some of the races. That should work for Bernie and his cronnies.

    • I agree, I do have sky but only cos I got it for like £4 extra a month on my package but I would like to see the BBC utilise BBC3 that only has programs from 7pm do they could use it to show F1 on with disruption to their main channels. I have complained to them many times but you get the same blanket response about trying to provide the best for the majority.

      Felt let down by BBC, but hate SKY, like I say I only get the F1 channel as part of an extra and it came free with a £4 a month upgrade. If I had to pay for it as a stand alone extra I wouldn’t take it.

      I’ve said for a long time that sponsors want massive exposure but pay TV is going to hinder that and the teams will suffer for it. CVC will sell up when they can’t cream vast sums out of it all and the sponsors start walking away. CVC don’t give a fuck about F1 they only care for $’s. F1 will be almost dead when they have finished with it. Would love to see ALL the teams create a breakaway series of their own and keep all the money for themselves. That would leave CVC with a BIG fat white elephant on their hands they couldn’t sell as they had no-one who wanted to race in their series, now that would be funny! Lol

      • If Bernie wants more money then distribute between ITV and C4 where they can probably get some additional money from advertising. By the time Sky finishes with F1, it might not be dead, but all the real fans will be really disillusioned. Look at football nowadays.

      • If you think viewing in the British Isles is down, you should take a look at the American numbers. Invisible.

        • yup. zero marketing. zero news coverage on normal channels or sports channels. only two f1 related commercials (mobil 1 and infiniti) only played during races (don’t see them at any other time on any other channel and its the same commercial all season). races only played live so i have to DVR it (most are at 8am and 2am in NYC and only gets worse for rest of country). imagine the amount of people that don’t have DVR. One time the DVR didnt list the race as a new event and it didnt record, and there were no re-runs. God forbid there is a red flag during the race, i’ll miss the end and never be able to catch it again. Its more valuable for ESPN to air a college girl’s field hockey game than re-run an F1 race.

  5. Congrats on those stats TJ, defo the best F1 website around, even Seb would be envious of those numbers 😉

    • And that someone knocks them over after lap 1 of the race (barring that there is no ‘debris safety’ just to put them back again)!

  6. Judge, I had a huge row with James Allen about sky getting the contract, he was in support of it, I said he had a voice that would listened too and he should support the fans, he disagreed. Whitmarsh went down in my estimation as well, he was supportive of bbc till Bernie had a word.

    F1, boxing, the ashes, tractor pulling, how many more sports must be lost to sky.

    For sports to grow they need a fanbase, someone who flicks through a channel as a teenager, like me and f1 and becomes addicted.

    Where does the next generation of fans come for any of these sports? Eventually they will die, there has to be a better way.

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