Daily #F1 News & Comment: Tuesday 7th January 2014

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Ferrari let the fans decide (09:27)

Confusion over Schumacher’s condition (09:59)

Lotus circumstances critical (10:32)

No launch for the W05 (10:45)

McLaren launch online UPDATED (18:28)

2014 last race venue selected for religious reasons

Formula E on the strip


Ferrari let the fans decide

It’s that time of year again, the time where teams start rolling out their challengers for the coming season with much anticipation and fanfare. What is a car without a name though?

Ferrari are asking fans to name their challenger for 2014 and it appears there are a number of fans wanting some reference to Michael Schumacher included in the name of the new car.

The last time a car of the Scuderia carried reference to a person was in 2003 with the F2003 – GA, GA standing for Gianni Agnelli who passed away on the 24th January 2003.

Agnelli was an Italian industrialist and principal shareholder of Fiat. As the head of Fiat, he controlled 4.4% of Italy’s GDP, 3.1% of its industrial workforce and 16.5% of its industrial investment in research.

He was also the richest man in modern Italian history.

So what could it be, F2014 – MS? Or perhaps F1/7 – MS, referencing the 7 titles Schumacher had.

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Confusion over Schumacher’s condition

There has been a flurry of news across Europe regarding Michael Schumacher’s improvement. Bild had been reporting the grim news that a brain scan had shown ‘catastrophic’ damage and commented that “it looked as though he had lost the fight for life”.

However, El Mundo quoted Sabine Kehm as stating, “The most dangerous moment has passed. This is a definitely a relief and for the family, the situation is calmer. This is the start of a long, long period, but thankfully less difficult now”. Kehm added, “The most dangerous moment has passed,”

SID news agency reports there has been a ‘slight improvement’ in Michael’s position and Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport says that the family have “heaved a sigh of relief”.

An official statement issued by the hospital in Grenoble revealed little more than previously. It it described Schumacher’s medical condition as “stable”. Though added “the medical team in charge of his care underlines that they continue to consider Michael’s condition as critical.”

Schumacher’s doctor in attendance was quoted as saying, “While we emphasise that the danger has not yet passed, it is certainly no longer acute.” Following this Sabine Kehm released a statement playing down earlier reports claiming that Michael was no longer in danger. “I cannot confirm any expressions that he is no longer in danger,” she said. “I refer you to the statement that was issued by the doctors.”

Despite the flurry of news – the actual doctors’ report clearly states, “no change”.

Corina Schumacher has appealed to the assembled media outside the Grenoble hospital saying, “It is important to me that the doctors and the hospital be left in peace to work – please trust their statements and leave the clinic.”

Many people find the thirst for news of Michael Schumacher’s condition unsavoury, however, love him or not, Michael Schumacher changed F1 forever – and this dark time brings about the stark realisation that nothing is forever – maybe even Formula 1 itself.

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Lotus circumstances critical

The apparent saviour of the Enstone team – Pastor Maldonado with his $30m plus sponsorship – may in fact have added to Lotus woes. The Venezuelan’s sponsor insisted on a clause in the contract whereby Lotus must prove their financial stability before they receive a penny of the oil money.

Lotus requested a deferment of the Jerez test before Christmas, claiming the timeline was too tight. TJ13 has learned the team had no intention back then of spending the money on testing in the winter sun of southern Spain. Lotus confirmed yesterday they would not be attending the test.

Patrick Louis, the team’s chief executive has resigned and it was Louis whose leaked email back in November revealed to the world that the employees at Enstone should make arrangements to defer their monthly bank commitments because their salaries would be paid late.

The Enstone team have had to scale back in a number of areas to prove to Maldonado’s sponsors that they have a viable financial plan from the monies available in 2014 to complete the season. TJ13 believes this task is not yet complete, and that the Genii investors are again being asked to contribute for the coming year – something which had been made clear would not happen again.

Missing the first winter test is rarely positive for any of the teams who have taken this course of action. Further, it appears the team will not even run an older car in an attempt to benchmark the new Pirelli tyres –  a sure sign this is about money and not the pace of the E22’s development.

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No launch for the W05

Times are tough in F1 as already discussed above. Mercedes again plan no big glitz and glamour event for the reveal of the  W05. It will wheeled out an hour before testing begins in Jerez on January 28th.

Ferrari have declared their hand on the unveiling of their 2014 car and Lotus will show us theirs at the Bahrain test. Red Bull are believed to be launching their car on Sunday 26th January in the UK prior to departing for Jerez – of course the car at the launch won’t be ‘real’ and the one on track a couple of days later.

McLaren are the silent ones at present. Martin Whitmarsh in inferred in December that there would be a big media event for the launch of the MP4-29 prior to Jerez where the new title sponsor would also be revealed. When that will be, as yet no one is saying.

McLaren launch online

After arguably one of the worst years in McLaren’s 50 year history, the team will launch their car for this year online again. This will be presumably be unveiled at the MTC with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen present.

The reveal will take place on January 24th at high noon, which will of course be between 4 and 7am in the USA. Mmm.

There is still silence on whether the event will simultaneously see a title sponsor announced, though rumours of a partnership with Sony have once again begun circulating.

UPDATE GMT 18:28 – McLaren just tweeted, “It’s coming….”

untitled

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2014 last race venue selected for religious reasons

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed to the Wall Street journal that the reason Abu Dhabi has been selected as the last race of the season was to accommodate a religious festival.  “Abu Dhabi is the last race for religious reasons because when the race was going to take place they are closed. It is because of this holiday business which changes all the time.”

So next year we may see the return of Interlagos as the seasons finale, something many F1 fans were sad to see lost this year.

In the same interview, Ecclestone slams the teams for opposing the double points for the final 3 races he proposed. “It didn’t go through so I said, ‘I know, let’s do one race’ and everybody went along with it.” Mr. E is clear that he believes in the concept and that it is an attempt to reduce the opportunity of one team or driver dominating the title races.

Ecclestone reflects ion 2013, “It was a non-championship. It lost TV interest, it lost a lot. If the last three races were double points the teams would say, ‘let’s see about this’. If Fernando wins two out of the three, then even if Sebastian is second, the championship is still going to run until the end.”

As TJ13 reported earlier last month, this is in fact just the thin end of the wedge and Ecclestone is determined to see the double points extended to further races. “The idea is to move it to three races maybe before 2015,” asserts the F1 supremo.

This may be facilitated at the next meeting of the F1 strategy group should the FIA and Ecclestone vote together.

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Formula E on the strip

Here’s Lucas di Grassi at the wheel of the new Formula E car as he trundles along the famous Las Vegas Strip as part of the first public roadshow of the new fully-electric race car. www.fiaformulae.com

 

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34 responses to “Daily #F1 News & Comment: Tuesday 7th January 2014

  1. No to the MS at Ferrari.

    He’s not dead. Why honour him now? It’s tacky.

    If he did die, fine. But honouring someone who is hurt or I’ll, just because they’re in serious danger doesn’t feel right.

      • +1

        On another sad note, I remember Brian Hart as a first class racing driver in F3, FA etc who gave it up to build some excellent engines.

  2. Complete twoddle!!
    They honoured him enough to the tune of – according to estimates – $30.000,000 annually.
    Their annual spend was reportedly upwards of $250,000,000 via Marlboro, Bridgestone and othe big investors..

    Anyway Fiat has already covered that, his logo was plastered over sporty version of Stilo and cinquecento’s and seicento’s.

    Look, I feel for him and his family currently but this is going too far, there’s no class to this decision.

    To the point of sounding boring, Senna’s logo was only ever applied to high end products, this is the way his foundation works to this day. The only car that carries it is the Williams team.

    When Willy Weber secured the contracts with Ferrsri, he secured the use of the Ferrari badge for Michaels merchandising, worth in the region of $80-100,000,000 annually. On shit like car polish, rucksacks etc

    The silent vigil I understand, this sounds cynical and marketing led…

  3. I feel it is quite premature to name anything after Schumi.
    Let’s rather hope he will fully recover and will have an other good 40 years

  4. Twitter reporting online January 24th launch for McLaren MP4-29. Angry motorsport journalists the world over apparently bemoan the loss of world class canapes and champers. Said one, “What’s the point of flying economy class halfway round the world to rewrite PR releases if I don’t at least get to sneak home several hundred dollars worth of catered food and filch some pens at the release parties.”

    Reportedly McLaren title sponsor for this year to be Glidden brand housepaint. Said a Glidden spokesman, “We’ve got buckets of this orange paint laying about, apparently no one wants their living room this particular color. Glad to get rid of it to tell the truth. That Whitmarsh fellow seemed awfully happy when we gave him $50 to haul it away. He promised he wouldn’t sell it on Craigslist, too.”

    • Your comment wasn’t showing when I wrote my post but I forgot to press send, whenI did and saw your post i gutted, thought I could get the scoop lol

      • LOL, yesterday I asked for an explanation that had been posted in the main text when I wasn’t looking.

        Wondering what that means IRL for their title sponsor search, based yesterday’s post.

    • Sony McLaren Honda – orange and a splash of white, now wouldn’t that look interesting! The colour I really prefer is the GPL McLaren – 68 onwards’ yellowy/light orange colour. Or they could do the ’66 white and green, from the movie Grand Prix, close to the 70’s Yardley colours..

    • OK.It has been corrected in the article now.(before any of the fellow fans here start to tell me to get my eyes tested for not seeing properly)..
      (Judge,you could have just deleted my comment after the update)..

  5. Folks, can you please stop qouting “Bild”? They make The Sun look like a credible source…

    • I don’t know – is Bild only citing anonymous sources or ‘people close to …’ or do they have quotes to back up their stories, even if taken out of context?
      I’m asking because I’ve noticed in the Netherlands that people always look at ‘De Telegraaf’ as lying bitches, while they only use real journalists who just make hefty headlines out of any quote – do, it’s not blatant lying, but a sensationslistic approach which means you can trust the content but have to read very well to grasp the real story.

  6. I do not understand the Suffolk dwarf insistence with the double points scoring whether it be for the final race or final three races.
    Correct me if i’m wrong, but double points will be awarded for those confirmed races, right?
    So let’s say we get to the last three races and Red Bull and Vettel are dominating like last season, it just makes the gap larger, no?
    Or does it mean anyone but the championship leader scores double points?

    • Awarding double points and thus arbitrarily making a race ‘more important’ enables the toad to extract more money from the GP host. That’s all this is about.

    • It just makes it possible for someone else to win, even if ends up having the opposite effect (increasing points differential).

    • It’s all part of a syndrome of (falsely) manufacturing interest. The usual pathetic business of introducing regulations to negate a problem, which only introduces a new/different problem.
      If a team wins most of the ‘single’ races but have a bit of bad luck in the ‘doubles’ and thus loses the championship it is hardly fair… in which case fans will not be happy with the final result… in which case the final races will fail to garner the additional interest desired by the money-morons / business bastards / commercial ***** – take your pick…!
      – – –
      Why not have the last race(s) as either double events, with a (maybe shorter) race on Saturday as well… OR… make the double races double the length…? i.e. make the events justify double points – not just arbitrarily award them, for doing nothing…!
      [In case you missed it, that was BJF having a rant… 😉 ]
      [Normal service will be resumed on Sunday…]

      • How about at the end of each race, the drivers that finish all roll a dice and multiply the points from that race by the number on the dice roll? Any finishers outside the points that roll a 6 will get a point aswell. Qualifying will be a combination of best time on a single lap and time over a specially constructed ‘wipeout’ style course where all other driver get to throw/fire things to distract and disorient the competitor.

        Or we could stay sensible and boring.

  7. So, as you allude to in the article, mclaren’s new title sponsor will most certainly not be American or American-identified (note two continents included in there!).
    But noon in woking does work out for a nice dinner time in Japan, doesn’t it.

  8. Re Formula E – i actually laughed out loud watching the vid. it sounds like my nephew’s power wheel toy car.

    did anyone see the vid of him trying to do donuts? it was hilarious how it could barely do one sounded like a toy RC car running out of batteries.

    • I did see the donut video and I think I must be very odd as I actually liked it! Ok, I couldn’t feel the power like you can an F1 car, but the sound reminds me of my youth(and quite recent revisited youth) racing RC cars. I don’t think it will replace F1, but I think there is room for both definitely.

      • I think the power was hunkered down like for most of the public apperances so far.

        • doesn’t make sense to me why you would dial back the power when you’re trying to impress people. eh who cares.

          • Power is down on these demo models, apparently 25% of the real ones which kicks out:

            Max power (limited): 200kw, equivalent to 270bhp
            Race mode (power-saving): 133kw, equivalent to 180bhp
            ‘Push-to-Pass’: 67kw

            Now the funny thing is, nowhere can I find the torque figures… Hmmm

          • Torque is bound to be high though right, I mean, do electric motors not pump out far more torque pro rata? It is going to be weird without all the noise, but I don’t know what a group of these will be like, or even how they are going to develop. I saw an older donut video where they had an electric motor in a lower formula car of some kind, and that was pretty sweet, but the ones in the actual Fe car was pretty funny, total silence, and it did sound like when your RC car was running out of juice and you realised you’d have to turn it down and go home in 10 minuites, ha! Still, I am looking forward to it, its going to be an interesting series, and technologically, I’m fascinated.

          • They usually turn down the engine to avoid flattening the battery. Running out of juice would be a bigger PR desaster.

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