Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 19th December 2013

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How to see the Ferrari engine launch

Pirelli Bahrain tyre test

Red Bull lose more engineers

Gutierrez to get the nod

Boullier bothered

Another tweet goes missing

Formula E dropout

Fat Hippo 2

Whose hair line is it anyway?

Caption Competition

Ferrari engine launch part III (being regularly updated)


How to see the Ferrari engine launch

Tj13 has been discussing the launch of the new Ferrari engine for three days now, but little else is being said about it in social media

It appears the unveiling of the Maranello’s V6 Turbo 2014 engine has been restricted to a select group of people. In the UK, F1 writers from The Times, Reuters and Autosport have finally declared they will be in attendance.

TJ13 has contacted both the BBC and SKY who refused to comment on whether they will be in Maranello today.

Il Padrino is throwing a lunch for the guests, following which the long awaited prancing horse powertrain will be revealed at 14:00 CET.

It appears the more technically minded F1 writers have been overlooked for this occasion which opens up the speculation that maybe because Ferrari don’t want to field intrusive questioning.

‘Leaked’ information suggests Ferrari are in fact most proud of their creation as phrases such as “exotic materials” and “lightweight” have been muttered in hushed tones.

So far, the only way fans can be part of this event TJ13 has discovered is by following @ShellMotorsport on Twitter. Though exactly what coverage they will be providing is unclear.

They said last night, “There’s only one place to be tomorrow: here with us at the 2014 Ferrari Engine Launch”. They do say it will be a live event.

We will be publishing whatever live information we get at that time, though Maranello may be confiscating mobile phones for this event.

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Pirelli Bahrain tyre test

Little information is reaching us about how things are going in Bahrain. Pirelli finally managed to persuade the FIA and some of the teams of the importance of a pre-Jerez tyre test.

What we do know is that the tyre construction for 2014 will be based on a kevlar belt and not the steel belt construction we saw in the first half of 2013. This means the tyre under load will deform less and make the airflows more predictable for the aerodynamicists.

TJ13 believes some 15-20 compounds are being tested in Bahrain, however the teams are supposed to be testing blind. Yet, whenever a Formula 1 car is being run you’re always learning something – as Christian Horner famously observed during Mercedes tyregate,

In the past few minutes, Nico Rosberg had a rather scary moment as his tweet reveals.

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Mysteriously, the tweet was removed moments later.

It was Rosberg who dropped Mercedes in it at a driver briefing in Monaco when he inferred they’d been testing in Barcelona. Still, whatever the reason the tweet was removed, at least we can’t accuse Mercedes of performing a secret test this time.

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Red Bull lose more engineers

The perception of Mercedes is that they’ve been recruiting people in their droves. Big hitters like Bob Bell, Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis and Paddy Lowe have all joined the team over the past 18 months.

untitledThe recruitment continues as today Mercedes reveal they have poached a couple of Red Buller’s highly skilled engineers to join the massed ranks in Brackley. Milton Keynes have been the best ‘team’ for the past 4 seasons, though losing the likes of Chief designer Peter Prodromou and his right hand man to McLaren must be of concern to the team.

Mark Ellis will join Mercedes as Performance Director, and he should have no problem finding the way to his new place of work. Since 2000 Ellis has been employed by Brackley – Milton Keynes – back to Brackley – across to MK again – and now back to Brackley once more.

F1 analysts have suggested the a significant factor in Red Bull’s success has been their ability to run their simulator until the national grid is drained, and the lights flicker across the Midlands of Engand.

The second Mercedes headhunt from the world champions is Giles Wood who joins as Chief Engineer, Simulation and Development. Both will start work in June 2014.

In 3 sentence statement, Mercedes said the arrival of Mark Ellis and Giles Wood “will further strengthen the team’s technical organisation, particularly in the fields of simulation and vehicle dynamics”.

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Gutierrez to get the nod

After all the excitement when we thought ‘the Russians were coming” to Hinwil and that an unproven young gun called Sergey Sirotkin was about to take F1 by storm, the leaks (nay… waterfall torrents) emanating from the Sauber team today suggests more orderly thought processes have returned to the  team management.

untitledHaving landed Adrian Sutil and his $10-12m of contribution, the improving Esteban Gutiierez is apparently to be given another chance – announcement tomorrow.

A number of F1 writers had suggested that because the 3 year Mixican sponsorship deals were due to end this season, Gutierrez was out on his backside. Yet this is not the case as he has substantial backing for a 2014 drive. It was in fact Monisha Kaltenborn who wasn’t keen on retaining Gutierrez believing he  was not up to the job.

untitledYet as ever in F1, money talks. It appears another set of possible investors in the Swiss team have come and gone this week, so the cash the drivers brings will keep the team alive for the foreseeable future – and when Carlos Slim comes calling with his chequebook, team bosses like Kaltenborn are compelled to listen.

Giedo van de Garde’s management is putting up a valiant effort to persuade us their man is still in the running for a drive at Sauber, though today’s statement does not refer to the ‘three remaining teams with seats’ anymore. Jan Paul ten Hoopen states, “We are still very busy with negotiations. We are talking with all teams that have a seat free,”

untitledJohn Booth hinted this week that Marrusia’s driver contemplations were almost done when he suggested they were “very close” to resigning Max Chilton. This leaves Van der Garde no where to go, yet in today’s climate – another year at Caterham would be another opportunity for the likeable Dutchman to establish himself in the minds of other teams.

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Boullier bothered

I have little sympathy for the gripes of Eric Boullier and I will outline why later.

However, Eric has hit back at the stories last weekend which suggested he was offski from the Lotus team – whether sacked or having just walked. He tells Speedweek that the role of a team boss presently sees him putting in 14 hours a day and having to deal with the rumour was “an immense waste of time and energy.”

Such was the level of irritation for Eric that he took to twitter last Saturday to have his say.

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This clearly was a dramatic hiatus as it is rare for the Frenchman to utter anything at all in the land of the tweets. In 2013, he has made only 5 previous comments.

Boullier goes on to bemoan how people just write stories and don’t bother to pick up the phone and ask whether they are true or not. Yet the evasiveness demonstrated by Lotus on a range of matters has hardly inspired confidence that when either Lopez or Boullier speak – we are hearing anything other than something from fantasy-land-ia.

“Next week”, should be emblazoned on the teams livery for 2014… how many times were we assured of this when asking when the Infinity/Quantum deal would complete.

untitledThe fact that Boullier has tweeted 6 times in a year some may believe to be admirable when the likes of Horner, Whitmarsh and Domenicali avoid the social media like the plague.

Yet this is hardly someone embracing the future. Lotus are supposed to be ‘cool cats’ and ‘with it’ even ‘risque’ at times, yet the image of their leader is one of a cardboard cut out.

Rather bleatingly Eric informs us of his inconvenience. “It’s not just that I had to defend myself to the outside, I had to get together my people in the factory and tell them that there’s nothing to it. Rumours spread quickly in a racing car factory.

Further, try and call the PR and press people in Enstone, and unless you are one of a select few their ‘authorised’ media – you get diddly squat.

The Fat Hippo recently did a rant which I suggested had Nihilistic overtones, and this is exactly the attitude F1 needs to embrace over its obsession to control all messages coming out of the team.

The Nihilism to which I refer appears to be best characterised by Nietzsche who suggests it is a condition of tension, as a disproportion between what we want to value (or need) and how the world appears to operate.

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Corporate entities need to understand this – The clock cannot be rolled back.

The internet is here.

People have instant global communication opportunities of ‘one to one’ and ‘one to many’ never seen since the days God spoke from the clouds. (I know ironic use of metaphor when nihilism is the context).

So I posit, were Eric to tweet to us daily about matters of a non-secretive car design nature, then the story which ran and gathered momentum, would have been quashed much earlier and may never even properly found oxygen at its birth.

Here’s an amusing idea. Were the teams to put their collective genius minds together, they would realise if everyone began tweeting several times a day – there would be so much said… so much to read and analyse that we could never decipher it all – but let’s not tell them okay?

Still, F1 teams working for their collective good… now there’s a novel concept.

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Another tweet goes missing

As our top of the page story stated, Shell Motorsport told us yesterday that they would be covering the Ferrari engine launch live from their twitter account. With 10 minutes to go we have checked their timeline, and the tweet has gone missing.

We are presently attempting to discover whether they or anyone intend to still broadcast the event as promised. More when we have it….

…. 180 mins later, we have been unable to solicit an explanation from Shell Motorsport as to the reason for their faux pas.

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Formula E dropout

The FIA have ruled that Formula E test drivers will not be able to participate in the inaugural race series as this would give them too big an advantage over the other competitors.

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Appointed as test driver for the series in September 2013, Lucas de Grassi has immediately resigned from the role of Formula E development driver. “When I heard this news, I immediately terminated my test job. I want to race!” says de Grassi.

He is strongly linked with a drive for the ABT Formula E team which is backed by Audi Sport.

As yet there is no news on whether Takuma Sato, only appointed as a Formula E development driver recently, will continue in the role. Sato has recently signed for AJ Foyt and Indycar, so it may be he has no intention of racing in Formula E anyway.

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Fat Hippo 2

Northern Ireland’s own version of the Fat Hippo has been having a rant. Eddie Irvine in a lengthy interview with the Belfast Telegraph has a few things he wants to get off his chest. We have summerised the more interesting points Irvine makes for your sanity.

Eddie has always cultivated the image that he doesn’t give a s&^t about what anyone else thinks but to many appears to have a chip on his shoulder over lack of recognition for his F1 achievements and the subservient role he was forced to play to Schumacher. He dismisses this accusation, “I didn’t do it for anyone else. I did it for myself. I wasn’t expecting lots of praise for doing things for myself, so that has never bothered me.”

On the issue of double points Irvine is scathing, “It’s ridiculous, I’ve never heard such a joke in all my life. Talk about tinsel town bulls***!”

So incensed is our river horse 2 by the F1 law makers, he is now boycotting F1 indefinitely. “I think Formula One has lost its way. This latest rule of double points for the last race is insanity. That actually made me realise I am not going to watch another race until that rule gets kicked out. That is just embarrassing. It really is. They should be ashamed of themselves”.

I guess that’ll get Todt to change his mind.

Ego is something Eddie has in bag loads and he enjoys giving the impression he is part of the jetset playboy fraternity, though with a touch of environmental concern lumped in. “I’m developing an island in the Bahamas which I bought a few years ago. It is a virgin island and private island where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean and the plan is to develop it into a beautiful resort. At the moment I have three houses on it… three octagons and probably another five to go. That will be about it. It’s going to be very low impact.”

Though whatever criticism can be laid at Irvine’s door, the ability to make money isn’t one of them. The Sunday Times rich list states Irvine is worth some £83m – and he didn’t earn that from being a great F1 driver.

On Lewis Hamilton, the man from Belfast has some advice to give. “I think Lewis lost the plot a little bit because he went too showbiz. His entry into Formula One was fantastic and his talent was amazing. Then he wanted to be a movie star or a rapper or something else. People want their sports stars to be 100% committed to being sports stars”.

In the global panacea of sport in general, there is no one Irvine admires at present, “All people in sport are doing it for themselves and good luck to them. I don’t watch sport really because I have too much going on myself. I prefer watching the Discovery Channel. I do think, though, that sport is very important for kids because it shows them you have to work hard to be good at it and succeed”.

When asked if he ever has contact with anyone in F1, Fat Hippo 2 is candid. “Not really. I pretty much do my own thing. I don’t really keep in touch with anyone. Kimi Raikkonen rings me the odd time when he’s drunk!”

I think I prefer our own fat Hippo’s rants to be honest.

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Whose hair line is it anyway?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

answers….

1 Jones

2 Bottas

3 Hill

4 K Rosberg

5 Montoya

6 N Rosberg

7Mansell

8 Piquet

9 Prost

10 Webber

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Caption Competition

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Ferrari engine launch part III

Shell Motorsport (15:00 GMT) “We are here at Ferrari in Maranello today for the 2014 engine launch event. More updates coming soon….”

TJ13 has discovered, the Ferrari engine launch was shown to the select group of guests in a 3 dimensional presentation which may be available to the public soon.

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The engine is apparently badged – 059/3 – which appears at first strange as the previous Ferrari engines have been numbered consecutively. The newly retired V8 was the Tipo 056.

However, Luca Marmorini explained, the 0578 was the name given to an engine Ferrari were developing when there was a freeze on the rules in 2007. The 058 project was begun when the FIA had originally mandated the new engines for 2014 should be be 4-cylinder.

Stefano Dominicali revealed at the event that viewers will be getting new graphics from the FOM feed which show at least the fuel levels and the battery charge.

Apparently, whilst supping from his goblet over lunch, Il Padrino revealed that prior to his unfortunate rally accident – agreement had been reached with Robert Kubica to race for the Scuderia in 2011.

Montezemolo reconfirmed Ferrari’s interest in returning to the WEC as early as 2015 and using a design based on LaFerrari

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Ferrari engine boss, Luca Marmorini,  commented that an area where the teams may intervene would be around the second electric motor – the one connected to the turbo. “The teams will choose whether to use it to recover more energy or to move the turbo.”

It appears Fernando wasn’t in Maranello today, because as the news of the new Ferrari engine was trickling out he tweeted, “Visit the @alo_collection surprise…!” – along with the following picture

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more coming…

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34 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 19th December 2013

  1. Ah, the drama of it all…..

    They remind me a little of Lance Armstrong in his pomp, rewarding hacks that whisper sweet nothings in their readers ears, and slapping those who dare to say anything negative or slightly critical.

    Poor delicate dears, they’re easily upset.

    They might want to contact their mammas and ask can they borrow their balls back, just long enough to admit that a serious root and branch reform is required. Things will not change until the drama queen goes quietly into the night and allows new leadership and direction to take hold in the team.

    But he won’t, he’s drunk with the power of being the Ferrari capo.

    And so they are doomed to not win the championship, again, in 2014. More daggers will be handed out, more bullshite around drivers not performing, wind tunnels not being calibrated properly yada yada yada etc

    The solution is obvious. Go. Now. Luca. And let a once great team properly work towards being great again.

    They are doomed to be the nearly boys, and girls, until you do.

    • Losing Di Montezemolo is probably the worst thing that could happen to Ferrari, unless his successor goes by the name of John Elkann.

      • “Losing Di Montezemolo is probably the worst thing that could happen to Ferrari, unless his successor goes by the name of John Elkann.”

        You mean for Ferrari F1 team or Ferrari road car production? I only ask b/c, whilst LdM rocks it out for the road car and licensed merchandise business, he never seems to be having a positive effect (in public at least) on the success of the F1 program. But that’s just my semi-professional opinion.

  2. Come on now Colin, Ferrari may not have Newey or the tech of Woking, but they arguably have one of the best teams on the pitwall. Next year will prove that having a good team will pay off tremendously. Ferrari pits have been reliable, quick, and smart.

    • Sorry JJ, I don’t share your optimisim.

      The team have been a bit of a shambles since Michael, Todt and Brawn left. They’ve drafted Byrne back in to help recently, but its too little to reverse the recent trend.

      There are good people in the team, and Allison was an astute acquisition. But Luca is a destabilising force in the team.

      I really believe that agreeing to employ Todt was one of the few decisions he got right, todt basically built the team from there.

      He’s now being found seriously wanting.

      As long as he stays at the helm the team is fighting with one hand behind their back.

      • Sorry for late reply Colin and herowassenna, couple of points I would like to make

        Regarding Ferrari in last 5 years – qualifying poorly yet racing perfectly. I give a lot of credit to Ferrari team.

        I can count probably on my fingers how many pole positions Ferrari have had last 5 years. So no insult intended buy Ferrari have a weak aero department even Luca grumbles on about how he hates aero yet come Sunday team shows up gives great pitstops, car is reliable, etc. How many consecutive races did Alonso finish in row last year?
        Again count on your fingers how many times ferrari team error ie loose wheel nut, low fuel, etc. Compared to RBR and Mecca its quite amazing. I’d like to think Luca has to get some credit for rallying the troops amid the lack of a wind tunnel.

        McLaren –
        2009 poor start, great comeback.
        2010-2012 great cars, poor team.
        Had McLaren had Ferrari pitwall team in 2010 or 12 they could’ve won WDC and or WCC. So regarding technology (aero) that is their only positive as of late. 2013 was over too early to waste resources on IMHO.

    • I find that quite insulting JJ, the tech of Woking?
      I don’t see Mclaren building their own engines any time soon and I wouldn’t even suggest that Woking are anywhere close to Ferrari as a road car manufacturer despite Ron’s obsession with being the British Ferrari.
      As to the F1 team, they are as hit and miss as Ferrari since their last championship in 2008, incidentally the same year as Ferraris last one.
      They changed a successful car into a dud and all media, Button and Mclaren themselves commented how they would develop themselves out if it.
      The subtle overtones being they were better than Ferrari.
      Forget the genius of Alonso but even Massa managed podiums in the pig of a F2012, something neither Mclaten managed this year.

      As to Newey, where exactly was this man when this mighty organisation Mclaren was lining his pockets?
      There is something fundamentally wrong in the house that Ron built which doesn’t work with an F1 design culture. Then again, a budget that outweighs the competition, an engine manufacturer that is quite prepared to push sporting boundaries and a host of secret suppliers willing to work through imposed summer breaks helps.

      I’m an out and out Ferrari fan and maybe I have it all wrong, but Mclaren haven’t got it all right, whatever their arrogance suggest. There’s a world of difference between confidence and arrogance

      • Whatever you say about McLaren and your opinion of them, they will always be one of the two behemoths (the other being Ferrari of course) of this sport. They don’t always get it right, but quite often they do. And I’m certain that if they had kept Lewis for this year, they would have scored at least a podium.

      • I don’t disagree with you Carlo, things are not what they should be at McLaren.

        And I’m also a fan of Ferrari, hence my criticism of Luca.

        Enzo, I both agree and disagree with you (how deliciously schizophrenic of me :-)). I think Luca is a liability and John would be a fantastic new capo for Ferrari. The only issue is that he might not want the role due to all his other commitments. He’s a far bigger fish in the Agnelli world than Luca.

        I could see him eventually tire of underperformance though.

        From memory, I think he played a part in the appointment of Sergio M. That shows his capabilty to find the right person for the role.

    • That’s gold! Nico will be banned from Twitter shortly – just like Fred. Pirelli will be spewin’ just a smidge. What’s the Twitter equivalent of foot-in-mouth disease?

    • I hereby nominate Nico for the “Loose Lips” award, given annually to the driver who inadvertently does the most harm to the cause by telling the truth at inopportune moments. xD

  3. I will probably be rebuffed as before, but this constant engineering bleeding RBR are suffering, only points to one direction. Newey off to design boats and Vettel off to Ferrari in 2015/16. After that…who knows what will become of RBR…?

    • Personally, I hope RBR stay around as an F1 team and continue to mix it beat) with the other teams with rather more pedigree – Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren. That the fizzy-drinks crew has flogged all and sundry in recent times proves beyond a doubt that F1 is a money game and nothing more (but no less interesting for it). Personally I like seeing the performance car purveyors grumbling in their beards as they suffer at the hands of a soft drink manufacturer.
      On the RBR talent drain – from a management standpoint it will be interesting to see if RBR’s systems / succession planning can cover the recent losses to an acceptable degree.

    • I believe it was speculated that RBR would eventually sell the team to another unrelated company in a totally different segment, whilst Red Bull took over title sponsorship of the entire F1 series! I think this was projected to occur in 2 years time or something.

  4. Caption.
    Ladies and Gentlemen,we at the Lotus amateur dramatics society are proud to welcome you to the show.Tonight we will be performing Hamlet.

    • … That’s the one where they all kill each other int it?

      PS don’t take offence at any Scottish jokes I make – though with the exit of Di Resta from F1, only Sir Jock will be the only ‘north of the border’ citizen worthy of the odd mocking…

  5. Re- caption comp.

    They are performing a rendition of the birdie song with Romain on vocals, with Pastor one Eric demonstrating the dance…..

    They got no money for a really good Christmas party. Next best thing?

  6. ALONSO F1

    Hey Guys, not a lot of detail in this and so I don’t know if the Judge will run anything on it b/c of the dearth of very specific details that could be fact checked, but nevertheless, some of you might find this interesting:

    “Former Euskaltel manager criticizes F1 driver Alonso after deal falls through” | By Andrew Hood | Published 1 day ago

    Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, the former manager of the now-defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi team, had some pointed words about Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, insisting that he is being “poorly advised” in his entree into cycling…”

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/12/news/former-euskaltel-manager-criticizes-f1-driver-alonso-after-deal-falls-through_311443

    • Hi Joe,

      Seen this yesterday on cyclingnews (another sport we seem to have an interest in).

      Poor Igor doesn’t do himself much good with the overall story. He seems to be shooting reasons for failure at everyone except himself.

      There is no doubt that cycling is going through financial turmoil at the moment. If Riis had to sell out to Tinkoff of things are really bad (although it seems that BR’s past it starting to catch up with him at last) so our Basque friends were always going to suffer.

      I think things started to go bad when Mayo’s star started to wane. Beating Armstrong up the Tourmalet before the tour was his high point, he never scaled those heights again. And the team was never as popular again as they didn’t have a recognised potential superstar.

      Pity. I liked them!

      • on one hand i’m surprised that Euskaitel lasted as long as it did, on the other hand i’m not surprised that it’s gone…these are savage and very unsympathetic times we’re living in (i’ll leave it up to y’all to debate the merits of “austerity” in any given context! yikes) …

    • Frankly it looks to me like Galdeano is the one who was out of his depths here. This whole ‘basque only’ approach was always ridiculous. Euskatel was never established as a ‘complete’ team. They had lots of mountain goats who were so skinny they would’ve passed as concentration camp survivors, but anyone with half a brain knows that you can’t run a team without a strong sprinter departement with so many races in the season being potential sprint finished. Gorka Izagurre, Radochla and Ruben Perez were about the only people who fit that bill.
      The alternative to that is having one or two people with realistic chances at winning a GT, but Igor Anton was the only one remotely capable and he doesn’t have a chance against the drugged-up Froome’s, Rodriguez’es and Contador’s. Maybe Alonso just saw that it was a lost case. He isn’t as clueless as Galdeano wants us to believe.

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