Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 28th December 2013

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Il Padrino thinks change is the answer

The changing faces of Nico Hulkenberg

Abiteboul: Cars easier to drive

Il Padrino thinks change is the answer

Il Padrino has once again paid the back-handed compliment to Bernie Ecclestone stating he feels change is necessary, but that one man will not be able to replace the F1 supremo when he eventually does step aside.

The Ferrari head honcho feels that F1 should be run by a group of people instead of one person with one vision. The addressed the media at a lunch saying, “I think after Bernie, who is unique, it is necessary to approach a different governance for the sport.

Bernie is Bernie, with a lot of pluses and even some minuses as all of us.

I hope for him that he can stay there for a long time, for this is not a today problem. We have to discuss this because at the end of the day this is our business. It is not a question of after Bernie you put a Rob, a Jon, or a Mario – it is a question how to approach it. You have to approach commercial problems, TV rights, and where to race?

So 10 years too late, it has dawned on Il Padrino that the TV and commercial rights are an issue that needs to be addressed. With the foreseeable future of the sport being controlled by CVC, it begs the question of what can really be done to change the situation if anything?

Di Montezemolo went on to question racing in places where there are hardly any fans turning up to the races, barring the associated press and team personnel. “What kind of relation do we have with the public?

The short answer to this would be little and none. For example, in Bahrain, the race is merely seen as an opportunity to get their struggles broadcast to the world. Korea has been taken off the map because the mirage of F1 riches failed to materialise in Mokpo.

Returning to Austria is a sensible move, in an area where F1 was once extremely popular and as has been shown by the ticket sales; it is as ever very popular (even if this is largely down to the tickets being so very reasonably priced).

Whether F1 will be a success in Sochi we will have to wait and see. Coming off the back of an Olympic legacy can only help though.


The changing faces of Nico Hulkenberg

They say no matter what you go through, don’t change who you are.  It seems Nico Hulkenberg takes this very literally.

credit to @19Jessy90

Either that, or the wind changed direction when he first pulled this face.


Abiteboul: Cars easier to drive

4 years in to their Formula One life and Caterham are still yet to score a single point in Formula One. Marussia are the same, who pipped Caterham to 10th spot this year as well as HRT who went bust at the end of 2012.

Even though points used to be only awarded to the top 6, which was extended to the top and now top 10, the two team setups share the record for the most team starts without scoring a grand prix point.

Speaking to Autosport, Abiteboul said, “Honestly reliability is something that is just crazy. A few years ago you knew that just through reliability some cars would not finish.”

The Caterham team principal attributes this to changes to cars and circuits meaning retirements are much less likely due to driver error. He comments on the ‘new tracks’ being very forgiving to drivers with their large run off areas.

Not wanting to stir up that debate again I will leave this to your own judgement. One thing that should be noted is the reduction in RPM. Since the cap at 18,000 RPM was introduced, there were many less engine blow outs leading to a much fuller field at the completion of a race. Abiteboul conveniently misses this point when being interviewed.

He then goes on to comment on suspension systems, and uses the example of Giedo van der Garde lowering the rate of mistakes when a more driver-friendly system was brought in.

We could see how much better and how much easier the car was, and that is the thing that has benefited Giedo. We saw how he was suffering at the start of the season, and we see also that it looks like he has improved as a driver.

Using a driver as an example who was in his first season was probably not the most concrete bit of evidence for his argument. Van der Garde was always going to improve as he became more used to driving a Formula One car in his rookie season.

If what Abiteboul says is true, then it could be a very even pack next year in terms of driver ability as the drivers get to grips with the higher torque levels that the powertrains will produce. Roll on 2014 then Cyril and let’s hope whoever you choose for your race seats can handle the power of the Renault engine.


28 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 28th December 2013

  1. Monte…..Feeling lonely? Call a meeting……One clusterfuck coming up.

    I think what C, C, C, Cyril was trying to say was Giedo gave decent feedback so they could improve their car enough to finish last.

    • “So 10 years too late, it has dawned on Il Padrino that the TV and commercial rights are an issue that needs to be addressed. With the foreseeable future of the sport being controlled by CVC, it begs the question of what can really be done to change the situation if anything?”

      il Padrino nukes FOTA and then laments (implicitly) the need to address concerns that FOTA was previously so so well-positioned to address. bloody hell!

      (btw: i’m watching some 2013 DTM now! Apparently some bloke by the name of Timo Glock wins a race in Germany! Hmmm)

        • Perhaps that shows you that he was actually a much better driver than given the credit for but always hamstrung in a bad car. That said, it’s one win in a top team, lets see what next year brings…

          • Perhaps it shows you that in DTM, as in F1, success is dependent on having a good car. Sadly in F1 Timo never capitalised when he did have a good car. Maybe he’ll make amends in DTM.

    • He could hand out a few more daggers and tweek a few more ears. And then tell everyone just how chest thumpingly alpha male he was…

      If ever a man needed to be given a trinket with ‘speak softly, but carry a big stick’ its Luca.

      He’s more coco il clown than the Il Commendatore he wants to be.

      Honestly, I really don’t get want he brings to the party for Ferrari other than drama, hysteria and embarrassment.

  2. On the request of cyril the 2014 ferrari and redbull RB10 will be fitted with wooden brakes and bullocart wheels and a low revving chevy V8 to produce more engine blowouts to make life easier for caterham.
    Come on cyril even marussia didn’t complain of any petty issues like this.

    • I’m not sure Cyril is moaning, more lamenting that his team happen to have been born at a time when reliability is at its best. If someone asked him what he thought were the reasons his team are yet to score a point, what is he going to say? ‘We are cr*p, our staff are not good enough, we might aswell give up!’. It’s easy to say the back of the grid are moaning, but I honestly feel they are being let down in the way the funds are distributed, I’d moan more about that if anything!.

      • All well and good but don’t moan about the drivers not being made to retire then. He isn’t criticising the right people.

        • Sorry, but I don’t know how he has said that. He says that drivers have it easier now because the tracks have run offs rather than gravel traps, which I agree with. He says the cars have become easier to drive too as he has evidence that a suspension upgrade allowed one of his drivers to be more consistent. I can’t argue that this is not the fact. I’m no Caterham fan, I just don’t like that a few comments are interpreted into moaning when he is just stating facts to explain another poor season.

          • Yes, whether or not driver X could make it out of an inadvertent trip to the gravel trap often added great excitement to otherwise boring GP’s LOL.

      • The main hole that can be picked in this argument is that there are 22 cars (24 while HRT were still around). Of those, the other 18 managed to score a point during the last season.

        If reliability was the only reason for smaller teams not scoring points then only 10 drivers would have points. You could extend that to maybe 12 or 14 based on a few retirements and teams being close, but the fact is that Caterham and Marrusia have never been close to a point. They are so far off the back that there would literally have to be 9 cars from the other teams fail to finish before they had a chance.

        I like the teams but they aren’t even close to challenging the established teams so there is no way they should be moaning about missing out on points due to reliability.

        • 100% agree. When at Austin back in November, on race day it was painfully obvious how slow the back 2 were. Shame the Marussia could only manage 2 laps ahead of Maldonado

  3. Is it just me or has QPR with wheels lost quite a bit of allure?

    I used to root for them, but I’m currently a little ambivalent.

    Ah, but I’m misty eyed (with a smigen of rose tintedness) for Minardi – now they were an underdog you could really get behind!!

    • I have a thing to say colin,that former jordan technical director Gary Anderson says that he doesn’t know what is happening in f1 because the backmarkers are still not getting into points,he even says though that he has spent time in a backmarker team (jordan late 90’s) he has had times that the backmarkers even had a chane for podiums.but this isn’t happening now,why?

    • Minardi collected the odd point here or there, when ten or less cars finished the race. That simply doesn’t happen anymore and with gearbox and engine reliability rules, teams like Caterham and Marussia are forbidden from scoring points in a Minardi fashion more or less by the rule book, because the rules now mandate bullet proof components.
      Also, car development is all but forbidden these days, so you won’t see teams running borderline components that would blow up in the race.
      Like Caterham and Marussia, Minardi usually was a second and more behind everybody else, but they lucked into a 6th or 7th once in a while, when everybody in front of them retired with mechanical failures or beached it in the gravel trap. Caterham and Marussia don’t have that option.

        • Webber scored in a race in which 8 cars finished of which one was already 5 laps down and after that never again. He was 2 laps behind the winner, which is where Caterham and Marussia are in most races, too. Except that we don’t have races anymore in which more than 10 cars retire. You are comparing apples and oranges. Try to find the last race in which a driver, who was 2 laps down, scored points. Then you’ll know how much of a chance Caterham and marussia have these days to come near a point.

          • I want to know how the racing of today can be made into the type of racing that was a decade ago!
            It seems that caterham and marussia must pour an ocean of money just to become a point scorer.

          • 2014 might provide Caterham and Marussia with a chance of scoring points early on as we may see various parts of the new powertrain failing. Then you have to take into account that the drivers not only have to get to grips with the torque the engines will produce (changes in driving style) i.e. school boy error spins and crashes taking the unaware out of races, you may also see drivers running out of fuel if they can’t manage the consumption either due to a team failure or the driver not paying heed to their engineers. Vettel may have to listen to Rocky for a change when he’s being told to slow down.

          • I was making the same point as you Danilo, that we won’t get those kind of situations occuring in modern F1.

            I don’t remember the year or exact races but didn’t Jordan get a win maybe 2 from the same kind of situations.

            Although few and far between, it’s nice to see the underdog get the prize occasionally

          • Jordan grabbed two wins by being at the right place at the right time, when the others fell apart. Ironically it were their first and last wins – Spa 1998 and Interlagos 2003.

      • The smaller teams in the past could sometimes pull a blinder in the odd race and get their cars up higher than they should have been. That is the main difference, not reliability.

        I think the problem is partly that they simply haven’t produced a car to compete with the established teams to get in the mix for the lower points but partly that everything is optimised so much now that there simply isn’t the scope for someone to hit on a perfect setup.

        Not exactly technical but maybe the best way to improve the racing is to ban computer simulations of the tracks as that way the setup will be from the driver alone and there will be more variability.

        • As stated in the article to spice up the results we also need more unforgiving race circuits, less like a glorified car park and more of a challenge for man and machine!
          Maybe some random water traps as Ecclestone suggested would be good, also an inability to rejoin following a mistake or at least a decent time penalty as a result of going off.

    • Hi Jamie – yes I did but no additional news at the moment. Reports are conflicting though. Some say not serious and he was conscious while others say he has “severe brain trauma”. Latest though says he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, it does not sound good. If we hear anything we will let everyone know.

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