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V12 Coffee in TJ13 office (10:00)
Lotus next bell boy (10:50)
New Development in Schumacher case
A German Tourist might have caught the Schumacher accident with his camera. German magazine Der Spiegel reports that an Airline steward was standing just metres from the scene of the accident, filming his girlfriend with a smartphone camera. The recording shows an off-piste skiing accident in the background – the Schumacher accident. The tourist has provided the recording to the authorities.
Meanwhile the French authorities have announced that there will be a press conference this week in which they will inform about their preliminary findings. An investigation after a serious accident in a public area is common in Europe. Among other things, it tries to find out if the ski ressort is liable through negligence or if Schumacher is solely responsible for his accident.
While the doctors have not released any new information about Schumacher’s condition, there were conflicting statements about it over the weekend. Schumacher’s friend Philippe Streiff had commented to the press that Schumacher was still in critical, but no longer life-threatening condition, the Schumacher Management denied that this information is true.
Horner: Sleepless nights because of Adrian Newey
In an interview with Finnish paper Turun Sanomat Christian horner admits that Adrian Newey will most likely be the culprit for sleepless nights and some graying hair in January. The British design ace likes to build his cars on the limit, often at the cost of the car’s reliability. This was best demonstrated in 2013. The packaging of the RB9 was so tight, that cooling was barely adequately possible and so border-line that Mark Webber’s car was hit by temperature-induced KERS problems simply because he was taller than his team mate, whose diminutive frame didn’t interfere with cooling.
This year of course a lot will depend on reliability, so the new complex power trains empahsize the only weakness in Newey’s approach. Another concern for Horner is, that Newey is not exactly known for completing his designs early, so the Red Bull team boss expects sleepless nights before the first test. As the last five years have shown, however, this is not neccessarily a bad thing.
Honda tests twin-turbo engine design at Sebring
They still have a full year before the first Honda Turbo since 1988 will spring to life in the back of a McLaren car, but F1 is not the only category in which Honda provides turbocharged race engines. After the comeback of Chevrolet in 2012 and the short but ill-fated life of the Judd designed Lotus engine, 2014 marks the third year in which Indycars, America’s premier openwheel series, see an engine competition. While Chevrolet had been using a twin-turbo design since 2012, Honda preferred a single turbo approach until this year. But a rule change now makes twin-turbo designs mandatory and Honda have been testing their new designs successfully at Sebring and the Superspeedway at Fontana.
Since in Indycars anyone can roll up to the Dallara factory and buy a DW12 chassis, it remains to be seen whether Honda might use one of them as a test bed for their 2015 F1 powertrain. The rules of both series have enough loopholes to make it possible.
From the Usher- Insight into TJ13 office
As budding F1 fans I’m sure you will appreciate this early morning pick me up. We usually don’t plug products but this is an exception. How fast do you want your expresso sir?
Lotus next bell boy
ItaliaRacing is reporting Lotus are about to sign Danish driver Marco Sorenson as their third driver for 2014.
For now the man who held that position in 2013, ex-GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, still claims in his twitter header to be with the Lotus team, though he has not spoken publically since December 2nd.
Valesecchi was publically furious with Lotus for recruiting Kovalainen as Kimi’s replacement for the final 2 race weekends of the 2013 season, however, as TJ13 wrote at the time, these reserve drivers are often little more than gofer’s or bell boys – useful for parking the cars.
They are wheeled out on PR events for employees of sponsors who know little or nothing about F1. For them to see a man in racing overalls – called the team’s ‘driver’ – appears to satisfy the uneducated who can then endlessly spin a celebrity encounter story to their friends.
Sorenson drove for Lotus in the same series that Magnussen won – Renault 3.5 – but was just 7th. In fact that flatters Sorenson’s year because without his double headed winning weekend in Austria, things would have been much worse.
Marco did gain a debut drive in an F1 car, testing in the Autumn at Paul Ricard in a 2 year old car. Will he get to drive the ‘real’ car in an FP1? Probably, as the team will spin him some ‘driver development’ story whose timeline will have Sorenson ‘ready’ by the middle of the European season for his ‘big FP1 chance’.
MOVE ALONG…..NEXT PLEASE….
Web of lies surrounding Ecclestone
In a bizarre twist of irony, in an interview by the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Gerhard Gribkowsky’s lawyer repeatedly offered the opinion that in fact “the deciding man behind Bambino” is Bernard Ecclestone. Ie that Bernie controls the Bambino Trust Fund.
This could indeed help Ecclestone’s case currently being considered by the London High Court judge – justice Newey. The case has been brought by German media rights firm, Constantin Medien, who claim Ecclestone knowingly influenced the German Bank – BayernLB – to sell Constantin’s F1 shares (held by the bank as collateral) for less than their market value.
The alleged motive for Ecclestone to influence the sale of the F1 shares is that the Bluewater company – who are also suing Ecclestone in the New York courts’ jurisdiction – would have paid more than CVC, but would have retired Ecclestone from his role of F1 chief executive.
Ecclestone says the $44m he paid to the bank’s director Grobkowsky was to keep him quiet; to prevent him telling Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (UK tax authorities) that Ecclestone did indeed control the Bambino Trust Fund – which is worth billions.
Of course, were the HMRC to rule Mr. E did control the trust fund, this would wipe out much of his fortune accumulated over 30 years in fines and taxes due for breach of UK trust law, hence why a payment of $44m to Gribkowsky was small fry.
Yet, Gribkowsky told the court in November, “I have never seen any sign or indication that Mr Ecclestone exerts any control or influence, or has attempted to exert any control or influence, over… the trustees.” It appears strange that his lawyer now contradicts this.
During this case, Donald McKenzie – head of CVC – admitted Ecclestone had initially denied making any payment to Grobkowsky, a matter later proven in the German courts and for this the German banker is doing 7 years of porridge.
One would be forgiven from gaining the impression that Ecclestone’s defense is creating such a web of lies contradicting other lies, that the truth is impossible to know – and therefore Ecclestone can’t be convicted.
Justice Newey will decide the matter in the next 3-4 weeks.