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With the teams hunkered down in their factories, beavering away on the 2014 cars, not much is happening in the world of F1. However, today of course is the birthday of 7 times world champion, Michael Schumacher who is 45 years of age.
The usual scrum of paparazzi awaited the arrival Michael’s wife Corinna at the hospital, maybe some are beginning to realise she looks the same today as she did yesterday. There is no change in Michael’s situation.
However, Professor Uwe Kehler – a respected German neurosurgeon – has been outlining some timelines for severe trauma cases in his home media.
“In a severe craniocerebral trauma, the first hours and days are crucial to see if the pressure and swelling continues to increase. Especially critical are the first three to four days. When patients get through those first few days, everyone can breathe a little. But no statement can be made yet about the patient’s survival or the outcome”.
Clearly we have passed this period and yet it could be quite some time before the extent of Michael’s injuries are actually known. “Generally, it takes two to three weeks until a patient with such a severe trauma can be woken up,” Kehler adds. Though, “After a severe traumatic brain injury, if three weeks passes and there are no signs of awakening, then from a prognostic point of view it is very bad.”
Ferrari fans are expected to hold a silent vigil outside the Grenoble hospital today in a show of solidarity and support for the most successful Maranello driver of all time. The Scuderia team posted on their website, “Today there is double reason to wish him all the best. Forza Michael,”
Red Bull Ring permit granted
The promoters of the Austrian GP believed the event was never in doubt and sold 100,000 tickets in just 2 days towards the end of 2013. However, only today has the permit for the event been granted as confirmed by Harald Schnedl of the District of Mur Authority.
Karl Arbesser, a regional omburdsman, has been at the forefront in protesting against the race being sanctioned. He has not yet indicated whether there will be a formal protest or not.
The permit has upped the limit of 40,000 spectators’ per day to a total of 225,000 for the weekend of the Grand Prix of Austria. Work is still under way to deliver the infrastructure required for the circuit to host this number of spectator’s though the organisers are confident they will be ready for the race.
Noise and pollution levels from an F1 weekend would contravene regional and national regulations, however, the Austrians have passed a new ‘events law’ which can approve 1 off events – without appeal.
Lewis and Nicole reunited?
It appears that whilst neither party has told their twitter followers, Lewis and Nicole attended the same New Year’s party in Colarado where they previously shared a house together.
Whilst Nicole posted this picture.
Sherzinger had previously written on twitter. “What better way to kick off 2014 in God’s Country! Praying and snow mobiling!”
Similarly, Hamilton revealed, “Great way to enter the year….snowmobiling with Gods view. Truly am blessed to have a great family with me. #OneLove”.
Mmm, now there’s a coincidence!!!
Of course – “we’re just good friends” could be the standard line we soon hear trotted out, though Nicole seems to believe she is beginning something new.
“2014! Here’s to new beginnings, a new road, new path, to a #NEW year! #NeverGiveUp on what ur dreams & what ur meant to do & be!” She adds, “Looks like heaven is just beyond those trees! #TheRays! Philippians 4:13”
The Biblical reference she makes is to the verse written by the apostle Paul when facing extreme trouble. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.
Most F1 fans haven’t got a clue what Sebastian Vettel’s girlfriend looks like, however, Lewis has pursued a public celebrity lifestyle which has previously affected his racing.
Hamilton supporters must hope he can stay focused on his driving in 2014, and not be distracted by the biological clock of his girlfriend – which she has admitted publicly is ticking – and was previously the significant cause of disputes between the two of them.
Works team advantage in 2014
James Allison believes that the works teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull will have a significant head start at the beginning of 2014. “One of the massive advantages that this team has is that it has the engine and chassis under one roof. That is an advantage in any year. But in one like this one, where you are packaging such a different power unit as has been necessary in a year like this – that advantage I think becomes quite large.”
Clearly the proximity of the engine manufacturing site to that of the one building the car is an important consideration as Claire Williams observes about their new relationship with Mercedes. “The easiest thing for us in the whole thing is that they are just down the road, which makes it easier when you are trying to work with them. Going over to France is a long trip and not necessarily conducive. But our engineers can dash to Mercedes countless times and they come to us. We are really pleased.”
Specific problems Mercedes have been experiencing are outlined by Niki Lauda.”We are constantly learning new things. Suddenly you have to take care of things like water pressure or intercooling. Oil and water must be in a precise temperature window. If it goes beyond just a few degrees above a certain limit, it tears up everything.”
Of course for the customer teams issues such as this become even more difficult to manage as Lauda observes, “They must hope their cooling is functioning on the basis of information provided by the engine partner.”
Toto Wolff plays down the rumours that the Mercedes engine will trump the other two in 2014. “We do not know [this], they are just rumors and speculation. Everyone can give their opinion, but I do not think there will be an engine that will have a large advantage over the others.”
Christian Horner believes, “Reliability is the number one challenge,” for 2014 and the world champions are not feeling complacent because testing may be something even they have little time to do as Christian explains. “Adrian Newey does not have a reputation for having a car ready ahead of time, so I am sure there will be several sleepless nights before the car is in running order.”
Whilst we will see drivers being given delta times to drive to a various points in the race, 2014 is sure to be a fascinating year as they will have to manage reliability, fuel, tyres and decide when to push the car and when to be conservative – sounds like the pre- Michael Schumacher era all over again… 🙂
Double points here to stay
One issue which has incensed many fans of F1, is the rule to award double points for the season’s finale in Abu Dhabi. There were those in the F1 strategy group who advocated this be applied to the final 4 races of the season, but were forced to concede ground.
Well it looks as though the rule is here to stay, as the mouthpiece of Bernie Ecclestone and FOM states. “Whether the championship is on the line or not, there’s no doubt that added significance has been given to the final round of the 2014 title race in Abu Dhabi thanks to a new rule which will award drivers and teams double points for that Grand Prix, and that Grand Prix alone. Whether you love or loathe the idea, it’s impossible to believe that there won’t be an additional intensity to the racing at Yas Marina and that can only be a good thing”. (Formula1.com)
This is apparently not the end of the matter.
TJ13 has learned that should the titles in 2014 be settled well in advance of the final race, then the matter will be raised again and the proposal that double points be awarded for the final 4 races of the season is likely to be pushed through by FOM and the FIA against the teams’ wishes.
Da Costa better than Kvyat
This time last year, Luis Razia was hoping to make his F1 debut with Marussia – though the lack of dollars coming from his sponsors eventually thwarted him and saw Jules Bianchi grasp the nettle.
However, Razia has spoken out suggesting the Red Bull regime have made a mistake in signing the GP3 Russian driver Daniil Kvyat ahead of Felix da Costa who competed last year in the Renault World Series along with Kevin Magnussen. “I think he was much stronger in pace,” Razia told Total-Race.
Despite early season troubles, Felix da Costa won a third of all the races in which he competed and came 3rd in the series final driver standings.
Of course 2014 will see the inaugural Russian GP, and Red Bull and Ecclestone at times appear to operate as a tag team. Razia claims, “Toro Rosso has difficulties like everyone else, so there was a situation where everything fell into place.
It is very clear that next year there is a race in Russia and F1 needs a Russian. [F1] is a category with a lot of politics and [Kvyat] is sponsored by a Russian bank, which also helped.”
Felix da Costa has been retained by the Red Bull driver programme for 2014 in a test and development capacity, and will race in the DTM. However, one has to feel his chance in F1 may just have passed him by.