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.
Ecclestone in court (UPDATED)
From : AHJ
Just to help TJ13 readers understand how the news works. I develop/write up/post verbatim the news for TJ mostly between 10am and 5-6pm GMT (Mon-Fri). At times there are stories out there – like for example, the injured marshal yesterday, which we have but don’t have time to write up.
There are a number of ad-hoc news writers who assist with the news, but if any of you out there can help – TJ13’s coverage will be more comprehensive.
Ecclestone in court
Day 2 of Ecclestone’s trial, he made it successfully through the front door. In court, Philip Marshall QC representing Constantin, intended to demonstrate that Ecclestone had a track record of paying bribes.
Marshall stated that Eddie Jordan, Alain Prost and the late Tom Walkinshaw, all team bosses accepted bankers’ drafts from Valper Holdings, a subsidiary of Bambino Holdings, Ecclestone’s family trust. Jordan was paid $10 million, while Prost and Walkinshaw were paid £7 million each.
Marshall quizzed, “They were paid to ensure that their teams did sign [the Concorde Agreement]. Isn’t that right?” Ecclestone replied, “Yes.”
Marshall suggested to Ecclestone that it was “very strange” the payments had been to the individuals and not the teams. Ecclestone responded that he had “not the slightest idea” what the recipients had done with the money. “I’ve no idea. They were paid to sign the Concorde Agreement and that’s what they did”.
Defiantly Ecclestone retorted, “What you’re inferring is these people haven’t been acting correctly, Alain Prost and whatever.”
Marshall was attempting to present to the court Ecclestone’s philosophy on bribes, so he asked, “Do you regard the payment of bribes to people who are not public officials as acceptable?”
“I will have to think about that,” Ecclestone said. “I wish I would have thought about it before actually.”
Mr E’s replies are often a muttered “Hmm”. And he has to be reminded that “the transcript doesn’t see you nodding your head. You have to say ‘Yes'”
Other one liners from Ecclestone of interest include, “I forgot what I signed and never signed..When I was 50 years old I might have been able to remember..” Bernie goes on to explain, “I do sign everything that is put in front of me..if I read everything that I signed I wouldn’t be able to do what I do on my day-to-day job”.
Whether Ecclestone is going to plead insanity or infimrity who knows, but this wasn’t the cleverest explanation he gave all day. “Today I don’t remember the things I…what happened three days ago, some things.”
Other than laughing off the suggestion that Gibrowsky, to whom Ecclestone allegedly paid $44m in bribes, felt threatened by Ecclestone – that was about it for the day. No wonder the case is set to run for several weeks.
Canadian GP Promoter culpable for marshal’s death
The Canadian Worker’s Health and Safety Board (CSST) has criticised the organisers of the Canadian GP for causing the death of Marshal, Mark Robinson, during this year’s GP.
As the race was coming to an end, the recovery crew hoisted the stricken Sauber of Gutierrez on a crane, and began to move the car as fans began to stream onto the track.
The car was about 2 metres from the ground and Robinson was running beside the crane, helping to keep the race car balanced. He dropped his radio and bent down to pick it up. The crane operator didn’t see him and ran over him, inflicting injuries that led to his death.
Failures noted by the CSST included,
1) The crane was moving at 11 km/h while carrying the car, which was much too fast.
2) The race car was held nearly 2 m off the ground, when it should have been just 30 cm off the track
3) The crew and volunteers were not trained to move cars.
The CSST have now implemented regulations which ban on using forklifts, cranes and other hoists from transporting vehicles on the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack. Further, when vehicles or any heavy load are moved they should be properly balanced by the hoist, and not rely on people to keep them in place.
The agency also says all heavy machinery operators should be properly trained in their use, and that cranes should have a speed limit sign attached as a reminder.
Octane who organise the race will be fined between $16-63,000 yet race promoter Francois Dumontier said that the operation wasn’t done differently in Montreal than normally would have been anywhere else.
Once again regulation and enforcement by the FIA raises its ugly head. We have all seen the swinging cars 2 metres plus above the ground and thought – ‘hope the stay holds’. Basic safety rules such as speed limits for vehicles operating in conjunction with operators on foot.
The problem is these people are all volunteers and on the whole do a great job but they may be recruited for this kind of activity once a year. TJ13 has argued for a core group of marshals to be employed by FOM, who form the backbone of all the track marshalling at all the circuits around the world.
One year today and the Formula E cars will be
roaring whirring around the Hong Kong landscape. This will be the third event of the inaugural season which will begin in Shanghai on 20th September and wend it’s way across 10 global destinations finishing in June in London.
Formula E has the kind of fascination that English society had with freak shows. For those of you from more civilised society, freak shows were exhibitions of live human curiosities had appeared in travelling fairs, circuses and taverns in England since the 1600s. These included so-called giants, dwarves, fat people, the very thin, conjoined twins and even people from exotic climes. Freak shows were a particularly popular form of entertainment during the Victorian period, when people from all classes flocked to gawp at these unusual examples of human life.
Formula E is kind of wrong – but fascinating. There will be 10 teams in year 1, each with two drivers from a variety of top, global championships. It will be down to the individual teams to select their drivers but they’re expected to bring with them a high-profile international background gained from the likes of IndyCar, GP2 and Formula One.
For the inaugural season, each team will run four Spark-Renault SRT_01E single-seaters, two per driver, with the cars being transported to and from each race venue by Formula E. This, in addition to the cars being housed at a central workshop, is designed to reduce running costs along with measures such as restricting the number of team personnel, fixing the car’s gear ratios, and not having in-race tyre changes in order to reduce the need for expensive pit stop equipment.
Formula E is also an ‘open championship’ allowing teams to design and develop their own cars – in accordance to the technical specifications set out by the FIA – and showcasing their electrical energy innovations in a competitive, racing environment.
6 teams have announced so far and the latest was this week – Super Aguri – many will be pleased to hear is alive and well.
Drayson Racing – founder, Lord Drayson, Team Principal Gian Avignone. Since 2007 the team have pioneered low carbon motor racing initiatives in GT and Le Mans prototype endurance racing. The team have also designed, built and tested its own hyper EV race car – the 850hp Lola-Drayson B12/69EV – as well as set a new world record for the fastest speed recorded by a lightweigth electric vehicle
China Racing – Steven Lu, CEO, Yu Liu, Chairman. This team have evolved from the original China A1 GP organisation. China Racing has also competed in Superleague Formula and FIA GT1, and has supported many Chinese drivers such as Qinghua Ma, CongFu Cheng and HopIn Tung. Team China Racing also has rich experience in motorsport
Andretti Autosport – founder, Michael Andretti. Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series and also campaigns multiple cars in Firestone Indy Lights, the Pro Mazda Championship and in the USF2000 National Championship. The company boasts four IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012)
Dragon Racing – founder Jay Penske. Dragon Racing first began in 2006 founded by both Penske and Steve Luczo. In May 2007, they made their debut at the Indianapolis 500 finishing an impressive fifth with Ryan Briscoe. Two years later they completed their first full IndyCar season claiming Rookie of the Year with Raphael Matos. Currently Dragon Racing fields two cars in the IndyCar Series with drivers Sebastian Saavedra and four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sébastien Bourdais.
E.DAMS – Co-founders, Jean-Paul Driot and Alain Prost, This brand new team based just outside Le Mans sees two of Europe’s biggest racing names partner. Jean-Paul Driot, founder of top single-seater team Dams has almost 25 years’ experience, Jean-Paul has led his squad to numerous team and driver titles including International F3000, A1GP, Auto GP, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5. Alain Prost is of course four F1 titles (1985, 86, 89 & 93), 51 Grand Prix victories and 108 podiums to his name and ex Prost team owner.
Super Aguri – Aguri Suzuki, Executive Chairman, Mark Preston, Team Principal, Peter McCool, Technical Director. Super Aguri Formula E is a brand new racing team headquartered in Tokyo and the team’s name is best known for its association in Formula 1 where Super Aguri F1 competed from 2006 until 2008. Aguri claims, the expertise and knowledge gained in F1 “will now be applied to creating eco-conscious technological solutions which can be used in major urban cities such as Tokyo”.
No drivers have yet been announced, however, this will not become a ‘seniors’ series for the likes of Mansell et al, as each driver has 2 cars and has to change car twice during the race- like the old days at Le Mans sort of…
The event format is interesting. All rounds will be one-day events with practice, qualifying and the race taking place in a single day in order to reduce costs and minimise disruption to the host city.
All events will open with a one-hour practice session giving drivers their first experience of the circuit. They will have up to two cars available to them giving them the option to change cars should they wish. Full power (200kw / 270bhp) will be available throughout.
The qualifying session is a straight fight for the fastest laptime and determines the order for the day’s race. Drivers will only be able to use one car and have a maximum of four laps – two timed laps plus and out and an in lap – in order to set their fastest time. Cars will take to the track in stages in order to avoid congestion with the running order being chosen by the driver who sets the quickest time in practice. Full power (200kw / 270bhp) will be available throughout.
Races will begin by standing start and last for approximately one hour with drivers making two mandatory pit stops in order to change cars. Engines will be restricted to power saving mode (133kw / 180bhp) but can be temporarily increased to maximum power (200kw / 270bhp) by using the ‘Push-to-Pass’ boost system.
The FIA Formula E Championship will consist of both a drivers and a teams’ championship. A driver’s end of season total is made up of his/her best results less two. A team’s total is made up of all its results from the season.
Pit stops/Car changes
During races, drivers must make two mandatory pit stops in order to change cars. This must take place in their box and be observed by an FIA steward to ensure all safety equipment is correctly applied. Tyre changes, unless a puncture, are not permitted during this pit stop.
During races only, drivers will be able to use a pre-determined number of power boosts to aid overtaking. This will increase the car’s power output from 133kw (180bhp) to 200Kw (270bhp) for a limited period of time.
Part of me cannot wait, and I intend to try and be at the inaugural event in Shanghai – yet that gives just one day to dash over to Singapore for the F1 race. You would have thought the FIA would schedule this series not to clash with F1 weekends. Hey ho.
Yet there is a morbid fascination Formula E will all be a disaster – or just a frothy promo event with little substance at all. Can’t wait!!!
For now here’s the 850hp Electric Drayson B12/69EV. Chris Harris driving it says, “The batteries only last 10-15 minutes, but when it’s running this thing scrambles your brain. Welcome to the future”. (Skip to 5:50 if you want the driver experience only)
Vettel’s 2013 helmets
So Vettel fans, which is your favourite….