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McLaren crash test failure normative
Reports have been circulating over the weekend that McLaren have failed to pass all its mandatory crash tests and speculation has grown that they will not make the Jerez test.
McLaren say, “It is normal at this time of the year for teams to push to the limit to achieve maximum performance, It’s no different when it comes to the crash tests,” There are further tests scheduled for the MP4-29 this week.
Eric Boullier’s said he knew for a ‘fact’ that Lotus would not be the only team missing the Jerez test and this appears to have fueled speculation that McLaren will be the missing team to which Boullier refers..
However, this is the same individual who uttered repeated assurances at each GP that during the ‘next week’ the phantom Quantum monies would arrive. He also assured lotus fans that the team had done proper due diligence on Quantum and this deal was no repeat of the failed Honeywell saga.
Grandpappy Judge used to tell me a the tale of the little boy ‘who cried wolf’ in an attempt to impress upon me the importance of credibility, Clearly Eric’s schooling or family tradition had no such fable to impress upon him the importance of this truth.
Fat Hippo’s Rant: Don’t drink during pregnancy, dammit!
It appears that Mr. Agag, the Spanish lunatic that someone lets play promoter for Formula E is trying to kill it, before before it even starts. He might not be a career criminal like his F1 counterpart, but if his ideas are anything to go by, he does the same illegal drugs.
I really like the idea of Formula E. The part that appeals to me the most is, that while all teams start out with a spec chassis and powertrain, they will be allowed to bring own solutions for the second season and beyond. Today’s electric cars are as useless as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest. They are expensive and don’t manage any more that 5 yards before needing to be recharged with nuclear powered ‘green electricity’ for the next 3 weeks before you can tackle the next 5 yards. But give a bunch of ultra-competitive motorsport teams 5 years and they’ll have cars that run to the moon and back on an AA battery.
Audi already has registered a team. With Andretti Autosport another motorsport heavyweight has signed up, so the contestants aren’t a bunch of lentil eating ecomentalists, there’s some major motoring history involved. There are people, who truly believe in the concept of the electrically powered motor vehicle. It’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to predict that sooner or later Tesla Motors will become involved, either as a team or as a partner to Andretti.
The problem is that Mr. Agag is trying his utmost to make sure that Formula E never sees a second season. If you think that Bernies double-points idea is stark raving mad, you’ll like Agag’s brain fart called ‘fan boost’. The idea is that fans can go on a Twatter or a Faceborg and have a jolly voting on which 5 drivers get an extra-boost.
*deep breath* 3… 2… 1…
What’s wrong with you people?? Are ye nuckin’ futs?? There you are with a series that could provide a great alternative to a Formula One that’s trying hard to kill itself by introducing brain-dead gimmicks that nobody wants and not to be outdone you introduce gimmicks that are so ridiculous, they make the double-points idea look like the work of Sokrates. If you happen to knock up your wife and she goes on a friggin’ bender each weekend, believe me, the result (if there is one) after nine months will not be what you expected or hoped for. Oh and it doesn’t end with the ‘Faceborg Kers’ either. Due to the limited range of today’s battery solutions, drivers will have to switch cars halfway into the race. That’s not ideal, but a necessary evil, at least for the first few seasons. I expect five years in some teams will have batteries that can make a whole race distance. But to make this limitation of Formula E cars just a little bit more obvious, Mr. Agag wants the two cars parked 100 metres apart with the driver having to sprint from one car to the other.
The only way you can make up something like that is being high as a kite on synthetic drugs. Nobody wants to see a scrawny guy run about, who looks like a power ranger that fell into a box of company logo stickers. have the second car parked in the garage. Driver comes into the pits, gets out, gets into the second car and drives off. Where’s the bloody problem?
Formula E on paper is a fantastic prospect. Unlike F1 they don’t race on god-forsaken Tilke-dromes in the middle of nowhere. Instead you’ll get to see them in place like Berlin’s legendary Tempelhof airfield, bang smack in the city center. With the rules allowing extensive R&D it will do more to advance e-vehicles than all car manufacturers put together. The problem is, whoever is trying to carry this brainchild to terms has a problem with alcohol, or more specifically without it by the looks of things.
For those who read German… click here
No Orange livery for McLaren
Italian sources are suggesting this morning that there will be no return to the Orange livery favoured by Martin Whitmarsh. When asked about the historic colours during the Japanese GP, Whitmarsh revealed, “I really like the idea. If we’re lucky enough to find a sponsor who likes orange, you could see that colour again in Formula One,”
TJ13 reported over the Christmas break that McLaren were not necessarily going to sign a title sponsor for 2014 as Honda would fulfil that role in 2015. On that basis the MP4-29 would not look dissimilar to its predecessor with big livery changes awaiting the return of the Woking team’s engine partner’s from the east in 2015.
There has been quite a response to Big Ron’s 20 minute speech to the troops at the MTC last week. Dennis promised change and that “we will win again” and received a standing ovation. Whitmarsh was not present at the event.
Claire Martin who is a race and test co-ordinator tweeted, “It’s safe to say today’s news was received well!” and team design engineer Giovanni Banzola added: “So inspired by Ron’s speech yesterday!”
However, the return of Big Ron is unlikely to solve McLaren’s woes overnight, but TJ13 has learned that the disaster of 2013 led many within the McLaren family to begin the debate (all be it behind closed doors) about the need for some kind of change.
New Lotus partner
Today cash strapped Lotus unveil a new F1 partner, Saxo Bank. The Danish online investment bank is interestingly one of the new breed of gambling entities that have sprung up over the past decade. For those who feel as though they missed their vocation in life as a finance broker, Saxo offers platforms for placing ‘bet’s’ on movements in Foreign Exchange rates, CFD’s, ETF’s, stocks and futures.
Just like the major bookmakers, you can play on your mobile or tablet and the platform has been adopted by around 100 other institutions who use the ‘white’ label’ (brand the page up with their own logo, but Saxo’s software sits behind the transactions).
Founded in 1992, Saxo’s headquarters are in Copenhagen, though they have offices in 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Australia. Saxo Bank is privately owned with co-founders Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen holding majority stakes.
Saxo entered into a sponsorship arrangement with Riis Cycling A/S because they believed the team “has the international reach and name recognition that means we will be able to get our message our to most of our client groups around the globe. We love the sport, and believe that together we will be winners.”
The exact nature of financial arrangement between Lotus and Saxo Bank has not been disclosed, though this looks like a Genii type deal where partners join the club to gain access to other partners.
The banks co-founders have this to say, “Saxo Bank is excited to have the opportunity to diversify its sporting partnerships, which now forge close ties to two of the world’s most popular sports.The philosophy and ambitions of Saxo Bank resonate closely with those of Lotus F1 Team, a team which has emerged as a genuine challenger in a sport which is dominated by bigger and more established players.We look forward to being a key partner of Lotus F1 Team as they embark on the new season and will be supporting them trackside over the coming year.”
Genii wheeled out the willing Eric Boullier who sang from the corporate hymn sheet whilst privately hoping there is some actual money involved in this deal. “We are delighted to begin a relationship with Saxo Bank, a fast-growing online trading and investment specialist who have demonstrated strong support in sport through sponsorships in the world of cycling at the highest level with Team Tinkoff-Saxo. Saxo Bank is taking an exciting and proactive approach to this new partnership with Lotus F1 Team and we are looking forward to enjoying a long and fruitful relationship.”
Marco Sorensen will be named as Davide Valsecchi’s replacement as team PR gopher for 2014. Though if Saxo are contributing some actual cash, then Eric may have to agree to Marco getting some FP1 drives and testing outings.
Lauda Watch: Time for a new hat
TJ13 has alluded to the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes when previously discussing the fantasy certain race promoters have been promised if they would spend hundreds of millions building a circuit and then paying Ecclestone et al a few hundred million more.
However this story is about a very famous and real piece of clothing. The Lauda hat.
Following his career defining accident in 1976, Lauda was left permanently disfigured and took to wearing a cap pretty much most of the time to hide the worst of the scaring. Having left motor racing, Lauda realised he could earn a nice pension by getting sponsors for his famed head gear.
F1 fans will have most recently seen the red Lauda cap adorned with Aabar, who are a middle eastern sovereign fund. TJ13 reported 4th January 2013, “Following their disastrous exit from owning 9% of Daimler Benz shares and around 40% of the F1 AMG team, Aabar will be withdrawing from their relationship with Niki Lauda at the end of 2013.
Aabar entered into an arrangement following the 2011 Italian GP on September 9th where Niki Lauda was announced as their brand ambassador around the world. Aabar announced, ”With this partnership, Aabar highlights its commitment to Formula One. Since 2009, Aabar has been a major shareholder in Mercedes Grand Prix, the Formula One team of Daimler AG. Aabar is also a shareholder in Daimler AG, holding a 9% share”.
Having gambled incorrectly on the movement of Daimler Benz share price, a punt which cost billions of dollars, Aabar realised drilling oil and other activities was a lot simpler than playing the international game of futures
Lauda now commands 500,000 euro’s a year for a sponsor to have the privilege of being emblazoned across his head – and they have to pay for the caps too.
Yet for Niki all has not gone well with cap sponsors, he was conned by an Ijaz Mansoor kind of character who owned a Liechtenstein based firm called the Money Service Group. The Austrian was persuaded to ditch his famous red cap in favour of a blue one in the company’s corporate colours for 2011.
Not only did the 500,000 never arrive, but Lauda was persuaded to invest in a Money Service Group fund 500,000 euro’s of his own cash. The fund was supposedly backed by fine wines, cigars and precious works of art.
It turned out to be a few crates of Liebfraumilch, 25 sleeves of B&H and a scribbling of a burglar with a bag of swag on his back penned apparently by the child Ecclestone.
Having failed to aid Rush to win diddly squat with his appearance at the Golden Globes, Niki is never a man to let an opportunity pass him buy. He proudly wore his latest version of the red cap, emblazoned with his new sponsors logo.
New F1 teams
1+1=2, 2+2=4 …………….. and in F1 land 4+4=1,234,587.
Since the FIA announced a process to allow new teams to express an interest in joining Formul 1, TJ13 has expressed scepticism.
Firstly, the time scales were ridiculously short, giving the impression the FIA wished to abridge the process for some unknown reason.
Secondly, the announcement of Haas application, the idea of a team starting from scratch in the USA appears more fantastical as each day passes. This is not low budget NASCAR/Indycar, but the world’s leading prototype racing series.
There’s a reason why silicon valley exists and for that same reason the home counties of England have become the place to be if you want to run a Formula 1 team – with a couple of notable exceptions.
Then there is the name of a certain HRT player being muttered about. Colin Kolles. Who of course was born in Romania which must mean that Dacia – a Romanian car manufacturer much loved by Top Gear’s James May – will be entering F1.
Dacia is in fact owned by Renault which makes the proposition even more ludicrous, and today a wide eyed and bewildered spokesperson from the company was forced to admit, “We know nothing about these rumours. There has been no mention of interest, and time is much too short.”
I’m sure TJ13 readers are capable of devising more rational potential F1 entrants and their collaborators… so off you go….
It appears that Caterham have decided to remove the team’s partner McGregor from their website – who co-incidentally is Giedo Van der Garde’s main sponsor.
Not looking good for the Dutchman.
McLaren P1 eclipses the Porsche 918 spyder
Being just one of a handful of people to have driven both cars, Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe delivers his verdict in notation form.
1) The P1 is faster than the 918. Everywhere. On paper it looks close enough for there not to be much difference in the real world. But in that real world the McLaren feels of-another-solar-system quicker the Porsche. It feels as fast as anything I’ve ever driven to be honest, including Honda’s 2007 F1 car, whereas the 918 feels merely very fast indeed.
2) The P1 generates so much downforce in third gear and beyond when it’s in Race mode that the 918 driver will not see which way it’s gone around a circuit. They, McLaren, reckon the P1 generates as much as 5g of cornering force around corners like Blanchimont (at Spa) and Copse (at Silverstone), and having driven it around Bahrain, I believe them. The 918, on the other hand, doesn’t even get close to that sort of grip.
4) The V8 engine in the P1 sounds not just sweeter but also more refined that of the 918, despite it being turbocharged (unlike the Porsche’s).
5) The P1 will, says McLaren, make money for the company – whereas, if pushed, Porsche bosses will admit that the 918 is a loss leader, a halo car that has cost the company money in the short term, even if they do manage to sell all nine hundred and eighteen 918 Spyders that are due to be built.
7) The Porsche is just not as exciting to drive as the P1 generally, judging from my albeit fairly brief experience of both. You feel like you are right out there on the edge when driving the P1, especially in Race mode, with great big tail slides happening at the merest twitch of your right foot, even with the traction control system switched on. I never quite got that from the 918.
Now the boys and girls in Woking just need to build a world beating F1 car.
Ecclestone faces 10 years
When summing up at the Gribkowsky trial, the judge made a comment which appeared to suggest it was nailed on Ecclestone would be found guilty if the Munich prosecutors could field the forests of paperwork objections submitted by Mr. E’s lawyers – prior to his ultimate passing on to the F1 land in the sky.
I’ve been looking for those quotes on and off for the past week in vain, but today German publications have provided us with a couple of extracts. Amongst all the froth about the maximum term of 10 years Ecclestone would serve if found guilty is the fact that Justice Peter Noll who presided over the Gribkowsky trial will preside over Mr. E’s hearing too.
Sifting the evidence at the conclusion of the Gribkowsky trial, Judge Noll explained whilst summing up that it clearly demonstrated that Mr. Ecclestone was the “driving force” behind the corruption and not Mr. Grobkowsky.
So what, you ask? Well, Ecclestone’s team will have to do more than throw up smoke and mirrors, and present a senile Mr. E who can’t remember what he signed 2 days ago – as they did in the Constantin trial. There is evidence previously brought before the court, which persuaded Judge Noll to express his opinion prior to sentencing Gribkowsky that Ecclestone was more than complicit.
Following Gribkowsky’s conviction in the summer of 2012, Mr. E was nonchalant. “There’s nothing to worry about,” he said, shrugging after breaking off from a game of backgammon. “I’m not worried. I’m aggravated with the nonsense I’m being put through for all this. I sold the bloody shares for the bank. It was something they couldn’t sell. They had six people look at it and wouldn’t buy. I got them out of trouble and now I’m in trouble. Life is like that sometimes.”
There are those who believe that the German establishment is determined to gain a conviction against Ecclestone, to send a clear message that bribing a German official will not be tolerated.
Mercedes too will be interesting to watch, as it was widely reported that their anti-corruption governance would force them to withdraw from F1 entirely given certain sets of circumstances surrounding a prosecution and conviction of Ecclestone. Though innocent at present, Ecclestone has been forced to resign from the FOM executive and whispers abound this was the result of a deal between Mercedes and CVC given the scenario currently playing out.
Outbursts of Bernie nostalgia have been spreading since the announcement that he will face criminal proceedings in Munich. Yet, for every winner in lifethere is a loser, and Bernie has done his fair share of crushing people who stand in his way, along with his apparent corrupt and criminal behaviour in transacting other peoples property in a whimsical fashion for his own personal gain.
Williams ahead of schedule
Having been culprits in the past of rocking up to Jerez with the previous years car and realising during the season it was not the best iodea, Williams report they fired up the FW36 for the first time 2 days ago.
The team confirms on twitter they will be raring to go on day 1 in Jerez and Valtteri Bottas will drive on days 1&2, with Felipe Massa taking the wheel on the final two days.
The FW36 car will apparently have a front end similar to this.
Teams to declare whether they will make the shakedown in Jerez are Marussia, Sauber and Force India.
That said, Graham Lowden said last week he expects Marussia to make winter test 1 and today Force India tweeted, “Morning @clubforce fans! Not long till testing!!! Who’s excited….?”