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.
You may not realise how significant this is and has helped grow our community significantly in the past couple of months – thank you.
Vettel on Newey’s yachts UPDATED
Räikkönen: Title or nothing
In his legendary philosophic style Kimi Räikkönen confirmed in an interview with the German paper Express that he doesn’t care about much else than adding a second title to his palmarès.
Asked whether he thinks he’s able to take second in the driver’s championship off Fernando’s hands in the remaining races, the Finn answered: I don’t give a sh*t. It makes no difference if you’re second, fifth or tenth. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m here to win – nothing else.
Räikkönen emphasized however that he still has a job to do at Lotus and that his dissatisfaction doesn’t extend to the whole team. I’ve only been there [Maranello] to sign the contract. I’m still driving for Lotus, he explained when asked if he already spoke to the Scuderia about next year. It’s not nice, when they tell you that you’re not a teamplayer when at the same time they don’t pay you, but that doesn’t change my relationship to the other Lotus guys.
What’s interesting has been the response to Raikkonen since his whinge about the team and money and the suggestion he may fail to turn up and race in Austin or Brazil. TJ13’s take on the matter is that there has been a lot of sympathy for Lotus and less so for Raikkonen.
Kumho eyeing F1?
South Korean tyre manufacturer has conducted a tyre test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona using F1 spec tyres. According to the company the three day test was used to “validate our technology for future Formula 1 business”.
How serious this is, is hard to judge. Back in 2010 the company made a lot of noise about “just waiting for the correct time to enter F1”. But earlier this year, when Pirelli was in a veritable storm of criticism from teams and observers alike about their flimsy tyres and was left dangling by the FIA regarding a new contract, Kumho was suspiciously silent.
Webber: Motivation diminishes
Many have linked Mark Webber’s decision to leave F1 to the Multi21 debacle in Malaysia earlier this year, but the Australian revealed in an interview with Speedweek that the decision was a done deal by Christmas time last year.
A lot of people have trained with me over the years, but most of them were more or less gone again after two years. I never had to be motivated to stay fit. But in recent years this drive has gone and when I tried to work out why, I came to the simple conclusion: ‘You’re not 19 anymore, Mark.’
The Australian confirms that the decision to leave F1 was made at Christmas time, but already earlier in 2012 retirement had been part of his considerations. Porsche wanted me for 2013 already, but I told them that I’m not yet ready to make the step. I’ve been with Red Bull for a long time now. It’s human nature that you start thinking about other things in life.
Mark Webbers retirement from F1 has mostly personal reasons. I want to have more time for my fiance, family and friends. You’re just starting to enjoy the Australian summer and you have to leave for a winter test at Jerez already. You start to think ‘Hmm..’. I’ve often heard other sportsmen talk about motivation problems and never understood it. But it’s a fact – the motivation starts to go away at some point.
Record Watch: almost overlooked
While the fact that Vettel equalized Schumachers record of seven straight wins in a single season has only been mentioned a bazillion times during Sunday’s race broadcast, two other records went almost unnoticed.
Fernando Alonso’s fifth place finish in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grandprix was the 65th consecutive time that at least one Ferrari finished in the points. That means they take this record off the hands of their arch rivals McLaren, who had established a points scoring streak of 64 races, which came to an end in this year’s Canadian Grandprix. The last time that neither Ferrari scored was the 2010 British Grandprix, when Alonso and Massa finished 14th and 11th respectively.
Not exactly a rightful heir to Ayrton Senna, Max Chilton has nonetheless scribbled his name in the record books by finishing the 17th out of 17 races. No other driver in the history of the sport has ever achieved that in his rookie season. Some say he’s actually not fast enough to have a crash or break something on his car, but consistency is not the worst virtue of a racing driver and bringing a Marussia home in every single race is vastly more impressive than let’s say stuffing a Williams into armco.
Vettel on Newey’s yachts
Oh to live in Austria – I here you all cry – as Servus TV is awash weekly with Formula 1 celebs like no other channel in Europe. Well Helmut Marko is definitely on most weeks and this week they have Sebastian Vettel too.
The background to this week’s chat was the fact that Ben Ainslie was in the paddock – well on the marina unsurprisingly – for the Abu Dhabi GP. As TJ13 reported last week, Ainslie met Newey, as the Brit is beginning to launch a 3 year long $120m sponsorship search to build and race a British oat in the next America’s cup.
When asked about Newey building boats, Sebastian replied, “I can’t imagine him doing that. I’ve never seen him go boating — he loves driving and has a lot of fun doing it.”
In fact Vettel realises that Newey does go ‘boating’ whether Sebastian himself has been invited or not, so he adds smiling, “If he goes boating, he will always come back with a huge sunburn, which is not right.”
Newey has in fact talked on more than one occasion about designing an America’s cup boat and his latest comment on the matter was, “Maybe someday, but not in the near future.”
Well the next possible timing for an America’s cup will be 2016 and it could be as far away as 2018 depending on the whims of the current champions – the USA.
Vettel continued to tell the Austrian viewers of Servus TV that the rule changes for 2014 could shake up the pecking order in F1. Marko however, gloatingly contradicts Sebastian exclaiming, “We have Adrian Newey! Whenever there is a change of rules, his cars are unbeatable.”
UPDATE: It appears Ross Brawn concurs with the view that Red Bull will be tough to beat in 2014, though for different reasons than Marko suggests. “Some of the performance I have observed they have gained in the second half of the year, it looks like performance that will translate into next year,
They suddenly have the car that sometimes tops the speed trap times, and they have never done that in years. They have managed to shed some drag off the car, so some of the car’s performance in certain areas of the track, if carried over in to next year, will make it very challenging.
It is a new slate in many ways [in 2014], but I think you don’t unlearn things. So things they have modified with this year’s car will be applicable for next year.”
From the information and conversations going around 4 months ago, TJ13 had the feeling that 2014 would be a year for a Mercedes powered car. However, certain noises coming from Milton Keynes are uber confident and unless we have a Brawn-esque ‘double diffuser’ row to set Newey back for 6 months – I fear the rampaging bulls and Vettel in particular, may dominate 2014 – and if they get a flying start it could be in an 18 out of 20 race wins kind of fashion.
Italian bitch slapping
I’m reliably informed, a good bitch slapping session is quite enthralling to watch. Apparently, more so when the slappers have some kind of relationship or connection. Though having no personal experience of these matters I can neither understand this from a cerebral standpoint or visualise the event at all.
I suspect the spat between Alonso and Pirelli during the Korean GP may fit the category though. Having been lambasted by his own team boss for disloyalty, Fernando was trying to find some other reason besides the dodgy wind tunnel and useless aero designers for why he had qualified just 6th.
When questioned following the session, Alonso spat out, “We have to be honest; the quality of the tyres is very on the limit. If all the cars push 100% from the start of the lap, the tyres will not do 5km. It is not very helpful and not very nice to drive at 95% all the lap.”
Representing the other great Italian team – Pirelli – Paul Hembery appeared to unusually loose his cool and responded, “Of course Alonso is one of the great F1 drivers, so to hear such comments is disappointing and below the standards you would expect from such a champion. I can only suggest he goes to ask the soon-to-be four-times champion how to get the best from the same tyres.”
Whilst the matter was allegedly closed a week later in Japan, apologies all round having been offered and accepted, the big chiefs in Pirelli are still not amused by these comments.
CNN reports today that Pirelli big chief, Marco Tronchetti Provera, has this to say about ALonso’s comments. “I have to say that he was very nervous when he said that, It was not because of tires — he wasn’t able to win for a number of reasons. If they didn’t use the tires properly, it’s not our fault.”
Provera goes on to point out that Pirelli have merely acted under the instructions of FOM and further teams have were using excessive camber angles and tyre pressures outside the Pirelli recommended limits. “We can do whatever is needed, but with the respect of the rules. It means tires have to be used within the limits we provide teams.”
Despite the humourous and negative comments made about Pirelli tyres, Marco believes the brand has so far profited from its relationship with F1 as sales in 2012 were globally $8bn, though post Silverstone there was a short period of adverse reaction. “We had some damages for a few weeks after Silverstone, but I think today people understand it wasn’t Pirelli’s fault.”
So folks, from Pirelli’s perspective it looks as though they are here for the long haul and they make it patently clear that the kind of tyres F1 wishes to have is down to those who decide on the specifications Pirelli are are given ie Ecclestone/FOM – and to some degree the FIA..
Chilton stays – maybe?
Graham Lowden is an intelligent and highly engaging individual. He can be pretty direct when he wants to – as he did at the FOTA fans forum in Austin last year, when he made it plain that the new teams were mislead by Ecclestone when joining F1.
Yet TJ13 reported last month and interview with Lowden on driver contracts at Marussia which was highly entertaining from the standpoint that over a page of comments were recorded, yet each qualified the other delivering no sene or meaning to the question – ‘will Max Chilton be staying for 2014?’ Lowden continues in that vein today.
Asked what he was looking for in their second driver for 2014 he quipped, “It sounds simple to say a quick one but that’s what everybody wants – a quick driver. I think something special about next year are the new regulations for the power unit. That’s going to create really quite a few new challenges for everybody up and down the grid. I think there’s a very strong argument to say keeping the same line-up we currently have would be a good thing”.
Aha – so Max stays….. but then again….
“That said, typically at this stage of the year, in previous years we wouldn’t have finalised our driver line-up and it’s the same this time. I think we’ll just have to evaluate where we stand, what’s the best solution for the team moving forward and then announce in due course. I have to say both drivers this year have done an exceptional job”.
“I think a lot of people have forgotten that we started this year with a rookie line-up and that’s quite unusual and I think both guys have done a very, very good job, sometimes under some difficult and challenging circumstances. So, we’ll see how we move into next year but I think there is a strong argument to say that trying to keep the same line-up would be a very positive thing for the team.”
Was Luca right about Ecclestone?
This blatent ‘donutting’ and failure to make parc ferme should see the court award Ecclestone a 25,000 euro fine…
Kimi regretting Ferrari decision
TJ13 at times indulges – openly – in a little speculation, though ex driver and RTL TV pundit Christian Danner – appears to be taking this dark art to whole new level. He claims Kimi Raikkonen is already regretting his imminent return to Ferrari.
Kimi had a bad tempered exchange with Lotus’ Alan Parmane over the pit to car radio in India and this continued publically in the hospitality suite following the race, Subsequently, Kimi decided to show who’s boss and refused to arrive on time for the Abu Dhabi GP weekend.
His first lap crash left him in no mood for idle chat and after about 3 sentences to the media Kimi was seen stomping off to an SUV and disappearing from the track before 10 laps were completed.
As if all that was not bad enough, Danner claims, “Kimi is annoyed that his manager is sending him back to Ferrari. He sees that Alonso at the moment is driving for the ‘golden pineapple’ (German readers may be able to assist with helping us understand this metaphor] at best – and is nowhere near winning anything”.
Christian Danner also questions how Kimi is going to handle the relative straight jacket life as a Ferrari driver. “Lotus gave him all the freedom he wants, and at the moment quite clearly a better car as well. What’s he going to do when Luca di Montezemolo tells him he’s going to too many parties?”
Maybe the ‘golden apple’ will have a centre full of flavoured vodka – who knows?
The last couple of days I have to say TJ13 readers have really excelled themselves with the caption competition. Today’s has a multiplicity of potential subjects… over to you…
Red Bull Chappel of Newey
I was asked this in October in the comments…..
Why doesn’t your honour write an article “Inside the Red Bull Empire”? You seem to have quite an insight into the inner workings of the team and many people around here have properly never seen what a massive operation an F1 team is, It could also stop the silly myth that it is all about Adrian Newey only.
My response was…..
You’re right DS – it is a huge operation, around 600 employees and countless contractors (this helps with the defunct RRA resource headcount)
But it is indeed all about Newey. The day begins in the sanctuary erected by Mateschitz known as ‘Kapelle der Glatzenbildung eine’ – where repentance for sins (leaking information etc) is requested.. and absolution granted…
Then there is a brief Quaker like silence, where all offer prayers to the spirit of ‘Taurine’ – they believe to still be residing somewhere deep in the jungles of Thailand
This is all rounded off with a hearty song of worship and adoration to Newey – and as they file past his shrine the workers are presented with large gently warmed mugs of Red Bull to fire their productivity levels as they begin the day’s toil in hand…
And here it is… and here they all are…. The ‘Newey Bullers’ at worship…. Hanging on every word from the Newey pulpit today…..
Vandoorme GP2 test
If yoy missed yesterdays news, you’ll not know that Kevin Magnussen was withdrawn at the last moment from a long planned GP2 test with the DAMS team. He would of course have been driving a car he doesn’t know against GP2 drivers who have been using their cars and tyres all season – this may have made him look relatively poor.
Anyway, today McLaren’s other young superstar driver again took to the GP2 test track in Abu Dhabi. With 30 minutes to go… he’s doing all right..
Secret 2014 front nose technical drawings
Back in Suzuka, Newey revealed, “The new Red Bull is ugly…. Unfortunately.” He blames the 2014 car’s unfortunate appearance on new aerodynamic rules forcing a lower nose maximum height of 18.5 inches instead of this years 55 inches.
There has been speculation amongst TJ13 readers that thejudge13 may indeed be none other than Adrian Newey. I take great exception to this suggestion because Adrian – whilst being a lovely guy – is boring and certainly could not be capable of penning many of the witty and carefully crafted pieces seen here.
Ade is trying to be more humourous and when asked today whether he spoke any German, he replied “Achtung Messerschmitt”.
I will admit though, he is much better at drawing than I am, because here is my version from memory of the front nose of a certain 2014 team’s car. There is a steep angle down from where the current kink is found, and a bulbous nose – similar to that of the object seen at the front of many ocean going liners keels…
On the left is the front on view and on the right the side view….
After 8 years in the service of Maranello, only Michael Schumacher donned the Scuderia F1 driver’s overalls for longer than Felipe Massa. There is to be a huge party this weekend in Mugello which Massa will attend and say his farewell to the tifosi.
When asked today who had been his strongest teammate, Felipe was quick to answer, “Fernando. Schumacher was as quick, but in terms of intelligence, Alonso is better because he manages to put everything together perfectly.”
Felipe raced only the one year with Schumacher and has been Alonso’s team mate for the past 4, but he interestingly identifies Jean Todt as key to his racing career. “My best teacher. I first knew him when I was 19 and he has been the most important person in my career”. So there we have it, the invisible head of the FIA can’t be all bad then.
Massa was asked whether Vettel’s titles were more down to him or his team. He dodged the issue saying, “It is 100% down to him and his car. Because it’s true he drives the quickest and most consistent car. But then it’s he who manages to extract its potential, who takes pole, who puts 6 tenths over on everyone, including his team-mate! He’s a fantastic driver”.
Who knows whether we are about to see the popular Brazilian’s last to races in F1 and Massa is philosophic. “I love racing, it’s part of my life and makes me happy. Maybe after F1 I’ll try my hand at some other category… DTM or Brazilian Stock Cars.”