Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 4th February 2014

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Black stuff for 2014 (09:30)

Ferrari wind tunnel fixed (09:30)

Lotus goes Filming (11:50)

Gone in 5s… (12:38)


Black stuff for 2014

Not an espresso. No, we are talking about the Pirelli’s for 2014. Last year Paul Hembery said 2014 will see people have big problems and tyres won’t be one of them.

It appears that Pirelli has indeed built more durable tyres for this season, which one would expect considering the higher demand the engines will place on the tyres and the bad publicity they received last year. Although Pirelli says it is too early to assess the performance of its 2014 tyres, considering the limited running and below par performance of cars, Lewis Hamilton feels there is an improvement.

Speaking to Sky Hamilton had this to say, “They’re more durable, so you can do maybe 30 laps and have a lot less wear on them.” He then went on to state the obvious, “But they still overheat, like any other tyre.” Hamilton’s confidence is not supported by Pirelli though. Speaking to media Hembery said we will see the tyres tested more thoroughly after teams had time to develop their cars and fix issues identified at Jerez.

As the Pirelli tyres never really suited Hamilton’s style, should they be more durable, could this be his year for WDC number two or will the suspected conservative driving style required for the V6 turbos be another achilles heel for him?

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Wind tunnel fixed says Ferrari

Confidence is high in Maranello. In the last couple of years Ferrari has struggle to correlate their wind tunnel data with that gathered on track. The team was forced to shut their tunnel down and use Toyota’s facilities in Cologne, Germany which ironically was also the one used by McLaren while they were developing their new tunnel. Both the Ferrari and McLaren suffered with aerodynamic problems last year.

For this year however the Scuderia have their wind tunnel facility back on track with Domenicali stating they saw the expected results on track last week at Jerez.

It looks like our Spanish Samurai will have the necessary weapons to enter into battle now. Speaking to CNN Alonso said, “The car has some good signs and, let’s say, the philosophy that the car has been designed too is just what we are seeing now on the data. So there is nothing wrong, nothing to be pessimistic about, but a lot of work to do.

A happy confident Alonso? Fireworks in Maranello when both Alonso and Kimi are in with a chance for the title?

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Lotus goes Filming

TJ13 has learned that Lotus have packed their trucks and set off for Spain. Although a bit late for the first test, which wound up last Friday, Lotus has decided to use their 100km ‘filming’ day for some unofficial testing this coming Friday, 7th February.

Lotus E22 Top View

Lotus E22 Top View

While many may have been hoping the car Lotus showed us online was just a mock-up it appears this is really their challenger for the 2014 season.

With Lotus probably having the most radical design of all the cars to date could it be that they have another development up their sleeve that they did not want to show the rest of the F1 world just yet? We saw how Brawn GP stole a march on the competition winning 6 out of the first 7 races and by doing so secured enough of a margin to net themselves both Driver and Constructors Championship.

At this point in time it is still unclear who will take over the Team Principal role from Lopez but Lotus is said to be in discussions with four candidates including Whitmarsh. However, if they can afford the ex McLaren man remains to be seen.

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Gone in 5s…

So, here we are on the brink of a new F1 season and behind the scenes feverous activity can be found in places other than just the nib of Newey’s 2H carbon scriber. Both the FIA and Bernie are pressing strongly for the last 3 races of the year to be awarded double points and the release this week of the F1 viewing figures for 2013 is a happy coincidence.

Previously we’ve been led to believe this is all Bernie’s (FOM) idea, but TJ13 can reveal this is not the case. A senior source from the world’s Motorsport’s governing body confirmed to me in Jerez they are certain that due to the voting count at the next F1 strategy meeting, double points will be awarded for the last 3 races of the year. It was even inferred a number of the teams did not object.

During the same conversation TJ13 was told, the new 5s penalty had been conceived of to ensure the bigger teams and drivers were more easily penalised without the threat of all manner of protests becoming normative.

Interestingly, the enforcement of such a penalty will be administered by the guilty team prior to any pit stop. The car will arrive at its own box, stop and no less than 5s must elapse before the mechanics touch the car.

I asked what would happen if the 5s “no contact with the car” was breached. “A further penalty will be awarded“. When I pressed what the secondary penalty would be, it became apparent this had not yet been finalised, though another 5s penalty ‘may be appropriate’.

I suggest the FIA tread carefully on this one if we are not to see this new penalty degenerate into farce. A trade of track position now for a later secondary time penalty may suit a driver at a particular point in the race.

Should the car being penalised make no further stops, the 5s will be added at the end of the race and if necessary positions and points lost.

Let’s hope the Lotus super computer has the latest adding up modules ready and good to go.

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38 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 4th February 2014

  1. Tyres may have seemed more durable, but I don’t think Merc or Ferrari were operating at full revs, so let’s wait and see.

    On the driver front, everyone believes that this is the era for the ‘thinking’ driver. People believe Hamilton’s all-out racing style is not suited for this formula and Massa believes Alonso will get the better of Kimi. So could this be the era for Alonso, Vettel, Rosberg and Button? Or will Hamilton manage to get in there too? The intra-Merc battle will show.

    • I think ‘everyone’ may be assuming too much.

      I think this could be a cracking season. The intra team battles at Ferrari and Mercedes (and possibly McLaren) are going to be very interesting.
      The championship is wide open – and to cap it all, we’re (temporarily) back to the exploding engines era.

  2. Looking forward to seeing some reflecting comments on the suggestion (or admission) that Ecclestone invented the double points to benefit Ferrari. Pretty hilarious and non-sensical in my view – it wouldn’t have worked in previous years because RB always outscore the other teams in the second half of the season, so I guess this just goes to show how little Bernie understands of basic maths…

    • It would have worked in 2012 and 2008 😉

      I wonder if Ecclestone is suffering the first signs of dementia. He’s talking an awful lot of incoherent rubbish lately.

  3. Ah the tires, last season Pirelli were demonized for their ‘black stuff”, now everything has gone quiet, maybe most teams don’t even expect to make it to the first pitstop?

    • Slightly OT, but related … I find James Allen so much more informative and like his output so much better when I don’t have to listen to him doing race commentary 🙂

  4. If lotus had a revolutionary idea that could provide them with a serious advantage over the rest, why wouls their tp jump ship shortly before the season starts?

    • Because he’s sick of not being paid and sick of having to motivate a large workforce who haven’t been paid either…??

      Having said that, I don’t see any reason to think Lotus will have come up with something uniquely brilliant that Newey, Brawn et al can’t imagine

  5. In the past, many of the teams were abandoning major updates for the last few races of the season and were focusing on next year’s car. The exception was usually the 2 (max 3) teams still wrapped in the championship battle. I guess that If the last three races are awarded double points, then this will change and prob all top 4-5 teams will be pushing till the end. That would then mean that some middle-field team could make a surprise start for the season after until the big teams catch up after race 4 or 5.

  6. I’m hoping Lotus have ‘hit gold’ with their nose design.. It’s completely different to ALL the other cars… 🙂 Carnt wait to ‘really’ see it! Other teams appear to be concerned too – if the rumors of the all complaints are to be believed – time will tell.
    Perhaps Eric B was made an offer he couldn’t refuse from McLaren; he must be exhausted from micro-managing Lotus’s cash flow, driver & sponsorship problems…. He was an excellent advocate for them… How uncomfortable did he look stood next to Ijaz when he was still trying to convince Lotus that he had the cash coming ‘in a week, in a week’…. You could tell from EBs face he didn’t believe a word of it………

    • I had heard that the Merc nose solution was similar to Lotus, but that they added a vanity panel to make it look better. Do you know if that is the case?

      • Why would they bother adding a vanity panel ?

        Efficiency is the prime objective – Looks are not …..

        plus it adds weight – and the Merc is overweight already.

        And looks are also subjective.

        Is the Merc’s nose nicer looking than the Lotus ?

        • Don’t know, that’s why I’m asking. When Lotus came out, couple of commenters said Merc had a similar solution but with vanity panel.

  7. Bernie just admitted that the double points idea in the last race was to help Ferrari. Isn’t the extra money on top of the normal prize money enough? No! Isn’t a veto enough? No! We need to go all out and try tip the balance once again…irrespective of the fact that this idea is silly to achieve that goal.

    • How exactly does this help Ferrari?
      The past seasons Red Bull was mostly dominant in the second half of the season, so this would help RB more than Ferrari.
      Second, Abu Dhabi is now the closing race of the F1 season, the reason being that Ferrari was hugely successful at the Yas Marina circuit of course 🙂
      2009 Yas Marina Circuit Sebastian Vettel
      2010 Yas Marina Circuit Sebastian Vettel
      2011 Yas Marina Circuit Lewis Hamilton
      2012 Yas Marina Circuit Kimi Räikkönen
      2013 Yas Marina Circuit Sebastian Vettel
      The only way this would really help Ferrari is when they’re the only team scoring double points the last 3 races.

      If you ask me the poison dwarf is getting back at LCDM because the latter publicly questioned Bernie’s mental state.

      • If you ask me the poison dwarf is getting back at LCDM because the latter publicly questioned Bernie’s mental state.

        If you’re worried about having your mental state questioned, then convincing the rest of the world that you’ve finally gone gaga seems somewhat counterproductive.

        • He seems still sane enough to shift the focus away from himself and towards Ferrari.

          • Well, in theory it could have worked. Of all the top teams Ferrari has been the most reliable and Red Bull the one with the lowest reliability. Considering what a huge knock a DNF in a double-points race is, it would shift the statistical properly substantially towards Ferrari and Merc. Also it would have given Ferrari the titles in ’08 and ’12, so maybe Ecclestone really believed he’d be helping them.

    • Let’s wait for Bahrain first and see where they are. If they top the time sheets at least twice I’ll say that, yeah, doing a Brawn is defo a possibility.

  8. I fear they start to give ridiculous amount of penalties with this new system. Every little touch will be a penalty. Inconsistency won´t go away either.
    Personally I did´t like even the policy they had last couple of years. Way too much penalties.

    • Have to agree. You don’t want idiots driving but some robust challenging for position or brave overtaking gets penalised nowadays.

      In a way the kids that race GP2 do much better overtake moves than F1 drivers.

  9. Strange that the cash strapped team can waste funds doing a 100km filming day in Spain…..

    • Maybe they need to prove that their car can drive before they get money from their sponsors.

      • Sure, prolly do at that but there must be a track a little closer to their base…. Could be have rouble, will travel?

  10. Having double points at the last 3 races will not help Ferrari … it will only help teams (read RBR) who did not get it right at the beginning of season to make up points … daft idea!

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