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Judgeless Court (07:00)
FIA approves Pirelli tyre test (07:00)
Quo Vadis, Lotus? (07:00)
Da Costa joins BMW DTM squad (07:30)
Ferrari wins something at last (12:00)
As you might have noticed, in contrast to Thursday, yesterday’s news list was somewhat sparsely populated and less grumpy than usual. Well, first and foremost you can’t really write a grumpy piece of comment on a day when one of the most inspiring persons in history has left us. Secondly, as the F1 circus is now on its short hiatus until winter testing commences at Jerez de la Frontera, news are generally harder to come by. And the third reason is that the Judge’s office is currently deserted.
In contrast to popular belief, his Honour wasn’t sent down to us by the gods in a glowing ball of shimmering light – he was actually born the natural way. To celebrate the anniversary of that event, he’s off for a few nights of debauchery, mostly getting hogwashly bladdered probably. Meanwhile the rest of us will try to hold the fort until his Honour is back.
FIA approves Pirelli tyre test
After they were done confirming Napoleon of France for another term, the FIA delegates of the world council found the time to do something uncharacteristically useful and issued a permit for Pirelli to conduct a three day tyre test using 2013 cars at Bahrain from Dec. 17th to Dec. 19th. Albeit forbidden by the regulations, with FIA’s blessing this test can now be conducted without anyone having to fear that they’ll accidentally miss a young drivers test later on.
Which teams will be present to run the cars has not yet been finally decided, although it is mostly believed that Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren will provide personell and machinery. To make sure that the additional running is not used for other purposes than to help out Pirelli, the other teams will be permitted to send observers and all gathered data will be shared among all teams.
Quo Vadis, Lotus?
It’s nearing that time of the year, when most of us will have to start staggering through the city aimlessly in search of some shiny trinkets to buy for family and other relatives. If you’ve met a ragged group of street singers with an Oxfordshire accent in your local town lately, it may have been the Lotus management trying to earn a few quid to pay their workforce.
At least partly they seem to have succeeded as the majority of unpaid wages has been handed over to the team members with the rest to follow, probably when the “Eric singers” have tormented the unsuspecting visitors of another shopping mall. Word from Enstone is that yesterday was the final deadline for Quantum to come up with the dough they promised as early as mid-season. Those who expect to be visited by a fat guy in late December, who roars into town on a non-IATA-approved airborne sleigh, might join Genii boss Gerard Lopez in believing that this will actually happen, but most of us without a habit of licking windows at night have long abandoned any hope of that actually happening.
That means the only realistic option for Boullier, Lopez & Co. is to find another investor in a darn hurry or they’ll repeat Lotus history and go bust, like the original team did after the 1994 season.
Da Costa joins BMW DTM squad
When it came to selecting a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso, Antonio Felix da Costa lost out to Daniil Kvyat of Russia. He will be retained as Red Bull’s test driver, but as the case of Davide Valsecchi proved quite unmistakably, such a role is even more ceremonial only than being President of Germany.
In a bid to find track time, Da Costa attended a DTM test with BMW earlier this week and his results were so convincing that he was offered the seat of touring car veteran Andy Priaulx immediately. Priaulx, who’s success in DTM has been less than flattering in the last two years will change to BMW’s american sportscar project, making way for Da Costa to drive the new 2014 BMW M4 DTM next year.
This move continues a peculiar history of Red Bull youngsters in BMW service. A certain Sebastian Vettel, part of the Red Bull junior program since age 11 served as BMW’s F1 test driver and made his F1 debut with the Munich outfit, before he returned to the mother ship in a Toro Rosso overall.
Ferrari wins something at last
When it came to be driven on the track this year’s Ferrari challenger didn’t really set the world on fire, but whenever it became stationary, things looked much better. Sky Sports F1 handed over a pitstop award to the Scuderia, who was the most consistent team when it came to servicing its cars. While their rivals in the Red Bull box snatched the record time at Austin, nobody came close to Ferrari’s level of consistency. 53 times out of 90 they serviced their cars in under 2.5 seconds and only 11 stops all season took longer than 3 seconds. Of those eleven, several were repair or emergency stops, like Alonso’s DRS failure at Bahrain or Massa’s blown tyres at Bahrain and Silverstone.
The average service time for Alonso’s car was 2.44 seconds, that of Massa’s just 0.05 slower at 2.49, both below the magical 2.5 mark, which separates a good from a great stop.