Daily #F1 News & Comment: Sunday, 12th January 2014

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Gerhard Berger adds his 2 cent

Whiting: No minimum pitstop time

Fat Hippo’s Rant: Nori provides hope for us ‘elderly folk’

Gerhard Berger adds his 2 cent

berg_toro_sepa_2008_470313 Gerhard Berger, former team boss of Scuderia Toro Rosso, is the latest veteran to add his two minor currency units to the debate about the state of things in #F1 country.

FIA had promised a budget cap as early as 2010 and and recently they decided that it shall really come from 2015 onwards. Many experts have doubts about how such a system can be effectively enforced and Ferrari’s Il Padrino more or less explained, how they could easily go about cheating the system. Gerhard, too, hasn’t got any idea how to enforce it, but he has radical ideas about what a budget cap should look like. “All budgets need a zero scratched off the end.” the Austrian explains in an interview it Auto, Motor & Sport. Berger proposes a budget cap of 60 million, which would have all teams operating in Marussia country. Good Luck enforcing that, Gerhard. 😉

The fact that Gerhard’s only experience with the Iron Curtain was occasionally racing behind it in Hungary became abundently clear, when he started proposing more dictatorship in F1. “Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone need to work as one single force and need to hand down the rules in a dictatorship fashion. As an example, he cites the early 2013 debate about Pirelli’s woeful tyres, which lead nowhere as teams couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. Only after the scary blow-outs at Silverstone, safety concerns could be used to change the tyres.

That’s all jolly well, Gerhard, but the ‘one man hands down the rules’ approach has already been tried. It didn’t work awfully well.



Whiting: No minimum pitstop time

Over the course of the 2013 season Ferrari and Red Bull traded the honour of the fastest ever pitstop, until the distinction finally fell to Red Bull after an amazing 1.925 seconds service of Mark Webber’s car in Austin. The obvious problem with amazing feats like that is, that things can go wrong – a they did.

The team having failed to secure a rear wheel properly on Mark’s car during the German GP on the Nürburgring, the rogue component went its own ways and mowed down a camera man in the Mercedes pits. In true F1 tradition several knee-jerk reactions followed, accompanied by all kinds of suggestions, including a minimum pitstop time.

Charlie Whiting has now rubbished the idea. According to the FIA race director it would only lead to weird images. Teams would still change the wheels as fast as ever and the cars would then just sit around uselessly. Avoiding premature releases is the better way, according to Whiting. Buttons on the wheelguns, that each mechanic has to push after finishing his job, shall avoid releasing a car with unsecured wheels.


Fat Hippo’s Rant: Nori provides hope for us ‘elderly folk’

And now for something completely different…

Back in the day drivers arrived on the F1 scene in their mid twenties and buggered off before or shortly after they hit forty. These days drivers get their first chance at testing an F1 car before they’re old enough to shave or acquire a civilian drivers license. Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg are just two examples of drivers, who tested an F1 car before they turned 18. What this ‘youthism’ has led to, is that people like the Fat Hippo, who will turn 40 in six weeks time, are considered some sort of relic. Actually, I’m surprised that boyscouts don’t offer to guide me across the street yet.

When Michael Schumacher decided in 2010 to return to F1 at the age of 41, he was ridiculed as a has-been and a wash-out. While the numbers of his modest success over the three years of his second F1 career seem to back up this claim, the 2013 season and the comparison of Rosberg and Hamilton retroactively proved, just how competitive Schumacher had been at an age, when most of his rivals have long since hung up the helmet.

January 11th 2014 will go down in history as the day on which us ‘old hacks’ got our sweet revenge in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria. Forty-One year old Japanese Noriaki Kasai proved that Forty doesn’t need to be an express ticket to the gated community – you can still kick teenage butt. So what is the Hippo blathering on about?

Noriaki Kasai is a ski jumper. For those, who don’t know what it is – ski jumpers are nutters, who hurtle down a steep ramp on skis at 60 miles per hour and then jump into the valley. The supreme discipline is called ski flying during which jumpers reach distances in excess of 700 feet (210m). The sport is so hard, mentally and physically, that many bow out at about 30. Jumpers over 35 are almost unheard of, except for people like Kasai.

When the man had his world cup debut in 1989 there were still two German states and Ukraine was still a socialist republic of the U.S.S.R. Many of the people, he beat yesterday to score his 16th word cup victory weren’t even born yet at the time. What is most amazing about Kasai’s first win after 10 years (he won his last event in 2004) was, that it was entirely on merit, not a weather-influenced fluke. Jumping in unfavourable tail wind conditions Kasai used all his experience of 24 world cup seasons to post the longest jumps in both heats.

The sheer magnitude of the achievement became clear when the coaches of the jumpers he had just beaten, some of them younger than Kasai, started cheering wildly and all top jumpers, most barely half his age, rushed out into the run-off area to congratulate him. It was a glorious moment that reminded me that forty is still far from being useless. The Fat Hippo celebrated the occasion by downing more beer than any pimple-faced youth would manage without passing out.

I’ve made my point, now bring back Rubens Barrichello!!


11 responses to “Daily #F1 News & Comment: Sunday, 12th January 2014

  1. Well I’m going to disagree with you. I’m pro dictatorship. (In formula 1) democracy doesnt work… first of all because people are selfish. They only want something if they benefit by it. Wich in f1 is impossible to do for all the teams at the same time. Second of all how big of a democracy is it if need to be unanimous? Because if something would get past with a 10 to 1. And that one happens to be ferrari they just going to say they’ll leave the sport. I look at it like this. F1 is a classroom with a bunch of kids who all get a voice and glady speak(and argue amongst them self) up but in the end it’s the teacher that makes all the real decisions. And that’s the only way it works. Democracy doesn’t work. To give a real life example, democracy gave us not one but two times george w bush jr. And the whole world saw what a problem that was, but yet “democracy” didn’t. As many things in real life the idea of it is great but the selfishness (or stupidity) of people wreck it…

    • Wasn’t democracy that gave us GWB, it was an unelected panel of judges that had serious conflicts of interest. Oh and GWB’s first cousin who worked for FOX, so Rupert Murdoch gets a nod as well. And a hopelessly archaic system of voting, the electoral college. LOL I’m pretty sure on a popular vote level Democrats have won every election since 2000, but I’d have to look it up to be certain.

      That said, unless the teacher running the class has the respect of the students, you still have compete lunacy (I’m looking at you JT). And right now, all the teams think they’re smarter than the teacher. And they pretty much are right.

    • Agree. Democracy doesn’t work in business like F1. Of course, you have to find the right dictator and remove him from power after some time. Anyway, this kind of opinions will never be popular, for a reason one of the basic rules in dictators’ handbooks say something like “think like you want but talk and behave like majority”.

  2. Many advance returns for your 40th, Mr. Potamus. I wholeheartedly agree that experience trumps youth. This has nothing to do with the fact that I also turn 40 in 6 1/2 weeks time!

  3. Many thanks for the Noriaki piece… Can you imagine the reception he’ll get when he returns home…?

  4. RTFM…!
    Am I the only one who had to look this up…? 🙂
    Is it just me…? Yes, it’s me… What a saddie I’ve become… But I really laughed out loud (sorry, I mean LOL…) when ‘wiki’ filled me in…

    • I always knew it as RTFA, but was able to guess what the M stood for. I outscore the Hippo by about 10 years, so I always pull for the oldies when I’m not busy wiping spittle from my chin and forgetting to do up my fly, LOL.

  5. RE the minimum pitstop time. The greenies would have a field day if a engine sat in the box for 10s after it could have left in 3s. think of all the fuel wasted. Also, that is an additional 14s added to the race time which may not seem much but some races will come really… really close to their two hour limit 🙂

  6. In a tired, jayded and cynical world it is wonderfully refreshing and reinvigorating to see some genuine happiness and respect in sport.

    Danilo, that clip made me very happy. Thank you!

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