Daily #F1 News & Comment: Monday 6th January 2014

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New Development in Schumacher case (07:00)

Horner: Sleepless nights because of Adrian Newey (07:00)

Honda tests twin-turbo engine design at Sebring (07:00)

V12 Coffee in TJ13 office (10:00)

Lotus next bell boy (10:50)

Web of lies surrounding Ecclestone (11:35)


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.

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Horner: Sleepless nights because of Adrian Newey

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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.

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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.

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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? 

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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.

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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….

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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.

38 responses to “Daily #F1 News & Comment: Monday 6th January 2014

  1. If reliability will be a key factor in 2014, I feel a (cautious) smile come across my face 🙂

    Toro Rosso 6 dnf (Ricciardo, AUS, exhaust – Ricciardo, MAL, exhaust – Vergne, GER, hydraulics – Vergne, ITA, gearbox – Ricciardo e Vergne, SIN, mechanical)
    Caterham 5 dnf (Van der Garde, SPA, tyre – Pic, MON, gearbox – Pic, BEL, oil leak – Pic, IND, hydraulics– Pic, BRA, suspension)
    Force India 4 dnf (Di Resta e Sutil, MAL, wheel nut – Di Resta e Sutil, UNG, hydraulics)
    Red Bull 4 dnf (Webber, CIN, whell– Vettel, GBR, gearbox – Webber, SIN, engine – Webber, IND, alternator)
    Mercedes 3 dnf (Rosberg, AUS, electronics – Rosberg, CIN, suspension– Rosberg, UNG, engine)
    Sauber 3 dnf (Hulkenberg, AUS, fuel pump, – Gutierrez, UNG, transmission– Hulkenberg, IND, brakes)
    Lotus 3 dnf (Grosjean, SPA, suspension – Grosjean, SIN, engine– Grosjean, BRA, engine)
    McLaren 2 dnf (Button, MAL, wheel – Perez, MON, brakes)
    Marussia 2 dnf (Bianchi, MON, brakes– Bianchi, GER, engine)
    Williams 2 dnf (Maldonado, MAL, KERS – Bottas, UNG, hydraulics)
    Ferrari 1 dnf (Massa, MON, suspension)

    Forza Ferrari! 😉

    • Keep in mind though, that they’ll all face the same problem – powertrain reliability. There is no guarantee that the Ferrari engine will be any more reliable than the Merc or Renault. Ferrari was relatively late to the party with unveiling their engine, so they were either deliberately secretive, because they’ve found something the others didn’t, or they were just late and could face a tricky start. 😉

      • Very true Danilo, but i thought Renault asked for the tests to be postponed a week or two, due to assembling problems with the new power unit 😉

      • The problem for Red Bull might be that Newey has once again packaged the car tightly, to the point that it could exacerbate flaws in the Renault Power train or he has had to compromise the aero package (still important, lots of downforce to try and claw back) to maintain reliability of the power train. I think for this winters pre season testing, you’ll want to have a version of the 2014 car ready to hit the ground running so you have more time to devote to solving problems with the power train and seeing how different fuel levels effects the performance of the power train i.e. can you slow down enough to have enough fuel to finish a race but still remain competitive or will it mean you go backwards very quickly. I don’t think it would be wise to be running late on getting the cars to the track as you also have to remember the drivers need to get to grips with how the cars handle. A simulator is fine and dandy, but I would think it can’t replicate the real thing enough for the drivers to attune themselves to the power trains and to adapt their driving styles. Vettel will either take to it like a duck to water or he may struggle given he’s been driving in a certain way for the last 3 or 4 seasons to suit Newey’s design philosophy and the mapping from Renault.

        People forget that for all Newey’s genius he can make some astoundingly bad decisions at times that leads to a car that is a bit of a dogs dinner. Whichever Driver and Team gets the hang of the new power trains first and has good reliability will probably win the titles. Or it could go down to the last race. Or Vettel will waltz it yet again.

      • just a little aside note. nobody knows what 2014 will bring. for the last few years, it has been intimated that Renault was the least powerful but best mileage Mercedes was the most powerful but most fuel thirsty. and Ferrari was in between.
        regardless, I am not a Ferrari F1 fan, but I sure liked their sound better than Renault, Merc, and Cosworth. therefore, Ferrari wins – oops, my bad 🙂

    • And dear Enzo, was the suspension failure not something to do with a test they (Ferrari) were running? So technically they were doing their R&D on track so maybe you can forgive them for that?

  2. There may be a so-called engine competition happening in Indycar but no one really cares or is paying attention anymore….

    • Well now, if I was Honda… Sometimes we need to cast the net wider than just Formula 1 to understand why things are happening in F1. And in Honda’s case, I think there is a good argument to say why not shove a F1 turbo into one of the Dallaras. It be a good way to test the engine and get some useful (comparable to Merc 😉 ) information don’t you think?

      Also, you guys know the WRC run 1.6 turbos… from the WRC website:
      The FIA requires all WRC engines to have a 34mm restrictor in the air intake, which holds down power output to around 300bhp. The cylinder block and head(s) must be based on those in the standard road car, but the crankshaft, con-rods, pistons, cylinder linings, valves and camshafts can be modified. Typical turbo boost is 4-5 bar – compared with up to 1 bar for an average road car – while anti-lag systems mean the turbocharger delivers maximum boost from tick-over. The result is massive torque – typically more than 600Nm – about the same as a Ferrari Enzo.

      Although the published stats from Hyundai says 300bhp at 6,000rpm and 400Nm at 5,000rpm.

      F1 engines will ref up to 15,000 but it is said that due to fuel restrictions it will most likely make it’s peak power at about 12,000rpm.

      Maybe Merc, Renault and Ferrari need to go have a look at WRC for ideas 🙂

      • Yes, I would expect them to have scoured the earth looking at all technologies. I read an account of a trip to Brixworth where the fan who won the trip got to drive the simulator. And they mentioned the virtual 2014 car had been up and running since late 2012.

    • It’s a shame that Indycars split up in 1996, effectively splitting and killing the series (as it has now come back together as a smaller entity). While the GPWC was mentioned after the recession hit, it serves as a warning for what may befall F1 if the same situation happened.

      On one side, we would have the breakaway teams, with a new series and new (old) tracks, while on the F1 side we would have Ferrari, Williams possibly, and the usual tracks and multiple cars (at least 3) from the teams left. The strength of the F1 TV rights and incumbent F1 tracks and the main F1 team in Ferrari would see it win (like Indycars with Indy), while the other teams (despite having a more successful financial spread for teams and probably more cutting-edge cars and technology) would eventually cave in and apply for rejoining F1 post-Bernie (unless the loss of Bernie makes F1 a headless chicken and unable to move itself forwards, at which point the split could continue for 15 years like in Indycar).

      • Ultimately, Bernie knows this, and, like it appears with the trial, holds the upper hand with all of the cards he has pre-arranged to make sure he wins (a bit like a magician performing card tricks, with the knowledge of how to execute them). I doubt we will hear “Ecclestone convicted by Newey” come the end of the trial. Ecclestone knows it is on the prosecution to prove he is guilty (and HMRC are too understaffed to chase him up on Bambino.. I would apply but I doubt they are hiring!).

        • Re that, there was a Christian Sylt article in the (I think ) Guardian yesterday, in which he concluded that because Gribkowsky admitted he thought Bernie controlled Bambino, therefore the prosecutions whole case was in tatters. Short of sycophantic bootlicking, to my simple colonial mind evidence of more wrongdoing on Bernie’s part hardly invalidates the case against him. I know UK law has some different user features than American, but if anyone can explain this to me I would be grateful.

          • OK, just saw the additional material and I must say I still don’t get it. Unless Gribkowsky himself opined that he actually thought Bernie controlled Bambino at the time the money changed hands, where’s the damage to the case? The lawyer’s opinion is completely irrelevant to the trial in the courtroom, although possibly useful in the simultaneous media trial.

          • This appears to be the reason that there are a number of’ sympathetic’ cases against Ecclestone.

            Certain evidence in one case may be useful in another…

            The Sylt claims that the comments that Gribkowsky’s lawyer discredits Gribkowsky’s evidence is of course nonsense and not part of justice Newey’s consideration.

          • JS always calls Sylt ‘Bernie’s lapdog’, so we can take what he writes as what Bernie wants out there. On the specifics of the trial, I’m not sure on what will happen but I guess that the Judge will throw out anything that is deemed peripheral to the actual case and the facts that are needed.

          • IMHO the purpose of bringing this case was to solicit evidence not obtainable under pre-trial disclosure rules in other current cases.

  3. You guys should have posted the lotus development rather then all this crap. There was a time when tj13 was my first source of f1 news. Now you’ll are just a bunch of f1 groupies who like to gossip.

    Just in case, lotus has confirmed that they will be skipping the first Jerez test. Lopez thinks the team will benefit with the extra development time.

    I want my old, reliable, news- breaking tj13 back. Stop effing around and get to work or else there are many more sites who don’t “hang there balls in a swimming pool”.

    • Patience Elf. Come the start of winter testing and the 2014 season I suspect TJ13 will be breaking plenty of F1 news. However it’s currently the off-season so it must be difficult for any site covering the sport to come up with a daily mix of stories. I would imagine most teams will be making greater-than-usual efforts to keep their developments secret given the change of rules so probably not many leads at present on the racing/technical side. And of course most F1 news sources are currently focused solely on Schumacher, somewhat understandably given the seriousness of his condition. Therefore I think TJ13 and contributors are doing a pretty good job right now of coming up with alternative posts for us each day (and I’d like to add that for those of us who enjoy other motorsports too it’s nice to see a bit of crossover at times). By the way, didn’t TJ13 report Lotus would skip the Jerez test back in the beginning of last month? Perhaps the story wasn’t confirmed at that point but I don’t recall other sites over here picking up on that titbit.

    • Isn’t that a bit harsh, elf? First of all. We noticed the Lotus bit, but as Lynn pointed out. We already posted that way before any other site got a wiff of it. Secondly, we all do this in our spare time and we have day jobs to attend to. We cannot afford to snoop around all day. This isn’t autosport, where you have to pay after 20 news items and we all do the work for free. I’m not saying “it’s free, so deal with it, if we’re shyte”, because we aren’t, but please accept that we cannot spend the same amount of time on things as a commercial outfit.
      I think we’re doing not too shabby. You can roll up any time without having to pay for it and you aren’t constantly bombarded with ad popups. That’s more than could be said for other sites.

    • Hey elf, ‘Lotus development’ eh!???
      Must be something to share with the rest of us, surely.
      Can’t recall news of power unit being confirmed…can you tell us if they actually building a car?

    • Some days meetings keep me busy but the rest of the guys help out. I did get the story about Lotus but meetings have kept me away unfortunately.

      In a nutshell, Lotus will keep their car “hidden” from the competition a little bit longer. According to Nick Chester the E22 is an evolution of the E21, the only car that could keep pace with the Red Bull…

      Therefore they are actually ahead of development, and if the simulations they ran can be trusted it is looking very promising. Chester added that they have found some very good solutions for the 2014 season so they don’t feel the need to show their car to the world during the Jerez tests just yet.

      Bluffing?

      • Agreed that it is either a good sign or a bad sign. It’s definitely not neutral that’s for sure. Maybe in a month or two we will know for sure.

        • Could it be that they will unveil a massive title sponsor.. nah…

          Maybe they have learn’t from Quantum … oh dear, will they make it to the grid in 2014? I’ve also seen rumours that they wont be there at all so who knows.

    • Find the other sites who reported Lotus asked for a delay to the Jerez test…. Was reported here…

      Same article some 4 weeks ago predicted they would not be ready for Jerez… For TJ13 daily readers today’s announcement was not hot news… But the inevitable….

      • Then their CEO throws in the towel, possibly aided and aided by a real, as opposed to pretend, investor moving to protect his investment?

  4. A little harsh elf, completely unnecessary. This site is far better than the others. But that is just my opinion, but I have a feeling plenty will agree. If you don’t find it satisfying go somewhere else. I highly doubt you will hurt anyone’s feelings…… on another note, I have a feeling some people close to Bernie will be distancing themselves in the near future. IMO he has nothing to offer beneficial anymore to the sport. He needs to move on, because this type of attachment he brings is doing nothing but hindering the sport from progressing forward in a positive light.

  5. I wonder how much technology is going to be shared between Honda’s IndyCar and F1 V6 engines. Are the engineering teams working on the two engines exchanging information about engines?

    • I wonder how much technology is going to be “shared” between Honda and Mercedes 😉

  6. Let me get this very clear. I am a massive fan of tj13. I have been a regular since almost a year and the sight of the sentence- ‘news and comments’ followed by the current date makes my heart race and brings a smile on my face. So lets get this straight I am a fan!

    Now to all those who kept saying “a bit harsh elf” I’d say this, it is a normal procedure for all motorsport fans to always go through multiple sources to get the latest updates. But I remember a time when tj13 was my only source. Because these guys wetter so awesome, this used to be a platform of speculation and current news. I would read articles in tj13 and then watch them unfold on other sources. It was incredible!

    But since day the past 3 months its got a bit cold! Now I read stories on other platforms which are never covered by the judge or published late.

    I know you guys have day jobs and im probably being too unfair, but mate you guys were so awesome it seriously breaks my heart to see a change. I won’t read it first on tj13. That’s all I’m asking. More of a brand loyal suggestion rather then a critic.

    And one of you guys commented that if you don’t like it just leave, that itvwont make too much of a difference. I have to disagree mate, it matters maybe not to you, but an indie site like tj13 had a lot to lose. Such forums survive on the very REGULAR attendants of their follower. And if I am in a position to point out in any flaw I might add well use that platform.
    Ps-my apologies for any grammatical errors, this reply was typed in a phone.

    • You missed the little fact that we still ARE the first to post many news. Your main complaint seemed to be the Lotus story, but we had that a mammoth 4 weeks ago. So how much earlier than anyone else can you get?
      And another thing that you’ve overlooked. The Judge has been working on this site flat-out since September 2012. Is it so bad a thing that he takes a bit of time off in the off-season, when news is sparse anyway?
      Mind you, nobody took offense in your criticism. Most of us in here prefer honest criticism to ‘ZOMFG You guyz is awesum’ type comments, but your wording was a little unneccessarily harsh.

      • Please bring back the ‘thumbs down’ button – then we have a better idea whose opinions are liked/not liked. Now all we get is a biased, one-sided, view. People either approve or keep quiet – or write insulting comments… and I’d rather see thumbs-down than read the latter.
        Just a thought…

        • But then we’ll see coffee shop Joe again, coming in and downrating every comment each day, because ‘fuck you’. We tried – it failed.

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