Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 5th February 2014

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Editor’s note

Ecclestone’s trial begins

TV documentation about Sebastian Vettel

Lauda Watch

Ericsson avoiding the burgers

F1 not much quicker than GP2?

The mystery of Haas

From the Usher’s Ledger – The Russian GP field of one

Editor’s note

Here at TJ13 our goal is to build the ‘go to’ community for F1 fans. We believe our writers who are just F1 fans bring reports of historic F1 to you – which are second to none. Further, the comment on the news and our inside reveals are par excellence as evidenced by the recent world exclusive expose which predicted before the first V6 turbo engine was fired up in Jerez that Renault had instructed their customers to restrict the running of their new powertrain.

Yet as we build our team of news writers, we feel the demand for the breadth of news is beyond our capabilities as present. This has affected the quality of the comment on each of the day’s news items we can provide at present as we are stretched too thin.

Of course we continue to look for new writers who we can help develop and can assist us with the daily 24/7 news desk, but this takes time.

So, in the meantime we propose to take news feeds from a F1 news agency by the name of GMM. They have the infrastructure to bring you the ‘who said what’ across a wide range of stories more quickly than we can at present. This will mean you have a panacea of daily F1 topics for you all to debate and chew the cud over.

GMM reports are on the whole fairly objective, concise and without opinion, however it may be that if GMM articles express an opinion, TJ13 is not in agreement with this. We see this not as a problem but in fact a way of broadening the daily topics we all care about regarding F1.

We will be trialing this for 3 months to see how it goes, and of course value your feedback on  the change.

This is merely part of our ongoing efforts to deliver the first class F1 community we believe is possible and we must attempt change to see whether we can  improve or not.


Ecclestone’s trial begins

The smoking remains of  a plethora of F1 cars will have barely been removed from the Melbourne circuit, before a monumental occasion in F1 history will begin. The criminal trial of Bernie Ecclestone has been set to start on the 24th April

Ecclestone’s lawyers for the past 18 months have  filed a rain forest of paper work with the Munich court in an attempt to defer or ultimately have the case removed from the docket.

Yet the persistence of the Munich prosecutors has been dogged. The trial will begin and it has been schedule for an initial 26 days. Yet such is the power of F1’s supremo, he has managed to negotiate that the hearings will take place only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to allow him to continue with his busy F1 duties.

This apparent pandering to Mr. E is not in fact a legal jurisdiction paying homage to Ecclestone. The Judge and the prospectors by allowing such unprecedented exemptions are ensuring there are no grounds being created for Ecclestone to make an appeal.

The Judge is the same one who convicted Ecclestone’s cohort, Gribkowsky, to 8 some years and in his summing up of the German bankers case stated that clearly he believed “Ecclstone was the driving force” behind the corruption”,

This will be Ecclestone’s sternest challenge yet in his long career in F1.


TV documentation about Sebastian Vettel

Production company News2Use has completed production of a 26 minute documentary about the career of 26 year old 4-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, called Sebastian Vettel: On Road and Track. The finished product is now available for purchase by interested TV broadcasters.

The documentary focuses on Vettel’s early career and his preparation for the 2014 F1 season. A short 2 Minute Trailer is available on the Internet.


Lauda Watch

Mercedes non-executive Chairman, Niki Lauda believes his team are well placed for the new season based on the (somewhat) unimportant first test results in Jerez last week. Never one to miss out on self promotion, the former triple world champion took great pleasure in emphasising how strong the position the Brackley based team find themselves.

Speaking to the newspaper Osterreich he said, “This (Jerez) was purely an engine test, so the teams had the chance to try the new engines. We drove three and a half Grand Prix distances and I am very satisfied.

He continued, “At the moment it looks as though we have the edge, but that could change very quickly.

While it remains to be seen whether the Renault running teams will continue to struggle in Bahrain, Mercedes look set to go from strength-to-strength…that is if you believe everything the Austrian would have you believe.


Ericsson avoiding the burgers

With the new regulations dictating a much stricter weight allowance (690kg driver and car combined) than in years previously, the taller drivers on the grid are set to struggle as they fight the constant battle of weight. It has been well documented how Nico Hulkneberg will find it difficult being 184cm tall, but other drivers seem to have missed this tag until recently.

Caterham newbie, Marcus Ericsson, has reportedly been told by engineers to trim slightly before the season opener in March. The Kumla born Swedish national stands only 4cm shorter than Hulkenberg, so will face similar problems to those the Force India man will encounter.

The 2014 rookie said, “They haven’t said I need to be any particular weight, but I’ll go down as much as I can, ensuring I can still race for two hours. We will work closely making sure I am at the right level,” he said, “as you still need the highest concentration for two hours.

He raises a very interesting point. How far is too far in the pursuit of losing weight? Formula One has always favoured those who don’t tower over the rest, but could the new regulations see drivers going to extreme limits in order to achieve incremental weight losses? At what point could this become a danger to the drivers?

He continued, “It is extremely hot and with high G-forces, so it’s impossible to be a skeleton. I won’t be eating burgers for lunch and dinner but I still need to eat, because I train hard every day.

Considering Eurosport lists him as weighing 69kg, a full 5kg lighter than Nico Hulkenberg’s official website lists the German as, how light exactly is he intending to go?

It’s a shame the FIA and Formula 1 can’t just make a decision and increase the weight by 10kg,” he stated. “Then it wouldn’t be a big deal and everyone would have the same opportunities.

But what can you do? I can’t chop off a leg. Three kilos is a tenth per lap in this game, and my teammate (Kamui Kobayashi) is 7 or 8kg lighter than me.” 2015 cannot come soon enough by the sounds of it, when the weight limit for car and driver will increased to 701kg. Until then though, the Swede will be forced to stick to the salad and keep training.

Making excuses and feeling the pressure are we already Mr Ericsson?


F1 not much quicker than GP2?

Jenson Button has weighed into the argument about the 2014 spec cars, stating “We’ll be quicker [than GP2], but not that much quicker.” The feeder series is set to be doing similar lap times if the first test times from Jerez are anything to go by.

The man from Frome continued, “Then again it was the first test with a very new package. They’ll be a lot closer on certain circuits. Last year, in terms of the regulations, things hardly changed at all so at the first test we were going to be quite quick, and you improve for the first race, but it wasn’t a massive chunk.

The McLaren man has views that are similar to those of Adrian Newey, who feels it will be an engine formula for the first part of the season until the engine manufacturers all align as they gain understanding. Button summarised, “This year’s tyres, we think, are half a second slower. The cars are also heavier, about one to 1.2 seconds through weight, so that’s 1.6, 1.8 seconds already from those two changes. So this year we were always going to be slower.

Aha, so all is not so bad then Jenson. In fact, considering the huge overhaul the regulations have undergone, the picture is actually a rather positive one. To put the raw times into perspective though, Kevin Magnussed, Button’s 2014 rookie partner set the fastest time of the 4 days in Jerez clocking a 1.23.276.

When this is compared to the fastest time of the Jerez 2013 test, a 1.17.879 set by Felipe Massa and the fastest GP2 time at the circuit, a 1.24.262 (2008) set by the returning F1 driver, Kamui Kobayashi, one can see why there was an initial cause for concern on the part of F1’s new elder statesman.

Food for thought – does having faster cars really make for better racing?


The mystery of Haas

When the FIA announced late last year they were opening up the opportunity for new teams to enter F1 it was evident to all there was more to this than meets the eye. The process was highly truncated, giving potential applicants a mere 5 weeks to cough up around $5,000 and have some kind of business plan in place.

When we consider Honda began commissioning their engine plant in Milton Keynes around 18 months before the Japanese engine manufacturer will see its V6 run in anger, the kind of timescales for a new start up in F1 – be it car or engine are clear. So why the rush?

It is highly unlikely any new team will be able to make the Winter tests and the grid in Melbourne for 2015 unless they are under way already. Specifying machines and tools which are often bespoke can take months, and the recruitment of a hundred or so specialised F1 folk will also take some time. Those currently employed will have contracts to at least the end of 2014 and the best talent beyond that.

Whilst Mr. E at times may appear deluded and confused, his comments that Haas is “most unlikely” to start an F1 team are rooted in a sensible analysis of the costs of F1. Haas is worth around $750m, though much of this is not liquid and Ecclestone added, “They (Haas) have been talking about it for three years. Somebody can have 10 billion in the bank but it doesn’t mean they are going to spend it.”

Yet Haas insists he will press onto stage 2 of his application to the FIA which must be complete by February 10th. This will cost him in the region of $100,000 and he will need to demonstrate he has a proper business plan for setup capital spend and a budget to compete in all the races for a year.

Apparently the Haas plan is to become a Ferrari engine customer and commission Dallara to design a chassis – though Autosprint’s insistence this combination will be brought together under the watchful eye of Gunther Steiner in time for 2015 cannot be based upon any realistic information.

In response to Ecclestone’s withering opinions of Haas application, the American is hardly brimming with confidence. “He doesn’t think we will get the license, so my chances probably aren’t that great of a shot.”

Yet there has to be some reason the FIA suddenly decided to open up this application process to new teams. The simplistic answer is that this is another bargaining tool to be traded in the eternal conflict between motorsport’s governing body and Ecclestone. If this is the case what does Haas have to gain from it?

There are of course a few here today gone tomorrow headlines and some publicity, but this will be followed by the legacy of Haas being branded as a failure with his F1 application.

There have been rumours in certain quarters that this is merely Haas lurking in the wings to snap up a Lotus or Marussia should they run out of funding. Yet, why bother do this? Should either team or indeed another be open to takeover, the FIA scrutiny on ownership is far less stringent than start up – Mansoor Ijaz is the evidence of that.

The devil will be in the detail of what is possible should Haas get the nod from the FIA. Will he be able to trade his right of entry to someone else who can equally prove their ability to deliver the business plan and budget. This sale would save face for Haas and provide anonymity for whoever is at present stalking F1 in the shadows… who may possibly now be at an advanced stage of car development and be good to go in 2015.


From the Usher’s Ledger – The Russian GP field of one

The Usher has been researching the possibility that Sochi might well be a target for terrorism in the coming season. Whilst looking into what the Russian government might do should the unthinkable happen and teams actually boycott a race (not just Force India this time!), he got his answer from Putin himself; “The show must go on!”.



89 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 5th February 2014

  1. I can live with less news and more comment. So to me, my feelings toward using GMM…. it depends whether you just copy paste GMM or comment on those scraps of news.
    But the quality of the comment is what brings me here. Not speed, because newsnow.co.uk solved that long long time ago.

    • Judge

      I’m kinda nervous of the setup you are proposing, i come here because in general your news has tendancy to be unique and accurate. However if you are just streaming from other sites, i might as well (heaven forbid) just use planetf1.com.

      Also this wiill limit us to just either James Allen, who’s site is good, but he err’s on the side caution, and Joe Saward (who is so far up his own arse, im amazed he hasn’t vanished) for unique news.

      I rate your site highly, as i think do many others, i’d rather sacrafice the features, and keep the interesting news if its a resources issue.

      Anyway its a not moan, just an opinion, i think your sight and comments are great.

      • +1.

        But will give it a go regardless.

        If you stay still, in any aspect of life, you’re going backwards.

        • …indeed and we’ve tried things in the past and when they don’t work we drop them.

          We have developed writers since early last year and will continue to do so – but this has mostly been in the area of features. Longer term we need more news writers.

          • If you do this GMM thing, which I wish you wouldn’t, please clearly identify the source(s).

        • … You say that but daily we see commentators post links to stories elsewhere which we don’t have the resource yet to follow. This then causes debate in the comments section which is good.

          So we’re trying to deliver higher quality current affairs unique content, whilst providing the stimulus for other topics to be discussed.

          • I see your point, but I do think it would be good in such a case to allow readers to distinguish between original and sourced stories. Is that technically feasible?

          • By distinguishing I mean: use a different layout for the sourced items, or mark them somehow.

      • Hopefully the by reducing the task of reporting of the “he said she said comments” will free up more time for comment.

        That’s the idea… if it doesn’t happen we’ll revert back.

        • Just my pennies worth – I really appreciate the historical and technical insight articles. I don’t want to be swamped with loads of news articles. I find reading the comments enlightening (not something you can say for other sites).

        • …the stories will be limited and intended as topics for conversation on matters we cannot get to in detail ….

          …We’ll give it a go for 3 months and as and when we can cover the panacea of current affairs in house – we’ll do so…

      • “I’m kinda nervous of the setup you are proposing, i come here because in general your news has tendancy to be unique and accurate. However if you are just streaming from other sites, i might as well (heaven forbid) just use planetf1.com.” <<<< OK, firstly let me admit I haven't read through any comments or the Judge's response(s).

        Secondly, however, this comment (above) perfectly encapsulates my concerns. What draws me to this site is the reader comments, sure, but not independent of the Judge's original "reporting"/opining.

        I fear there would not be much reason to visit if you remove the latter, and wouldn't expect the former to endure.

        But I don't serve on the Court, and just throw peanuts from the galley.

    • Even so, they still MUCH slower. Although, one must remember testing was much earlier this time being in January instead of the usual February slot!

      • from what I heard last week, I suspect come Melbourne we’ll be around 3-4 seconds a lap slower – One thing F1 does is find ever increasing ways to go faster despite the attempts of the regulators to slow down the cars.

        • Agree with your last sentence Judge.
          I really expect by Melbourne the ones that matter would have found their straps and be hitting them.
          Testing, as usual, is just that. No indication of racing reality.
          (fingers crossed here :-).

  2. “Food for thought – does having faster cars really make for better racing?”

    My answer: Certainly not. It only adds to the credibility of the series in their claims of being the fastest and most technical formula race series in the world. The best racing I have seen in my 20 years of following F1 and watching a lot of races from the years before that were when the cars were difficult to drive not necessarily the fastest. Looking at the times the last 10/15 years were the fastest cars that F1 have raced with but it was hardly exciting to watch. And especially the period from 2000 to 2007 was probably the most boring period to watch because there was hardly any overtaking or fighting on track. The fighting was done in the pits and in qually. I still remember the first 3 races of Kamui Kobayashi where he ran the last 3 races of 2008. The excitement of a driver who could overtake where others couldn’t was a good indication of how desperate F1 has become for overtaking and real racing. That last couple of years was not bad but a bit artificial at times. For me there was some really good racing in the 80’s and 70’s because the cars were difficult and the talent of the driver was important. I hope that the new engine formula makes F1 cars more difficult to drive so that a driver’s talent can be seen by the average fan.

    • I am tempted to agree with you, but a closer analysis will reveal, the true culprit preventing true competitive racing, was the FIA’s inability or unwillingness to police rules infringements that bothered on outright cheating, such as the alleged Ferrari moving floor, RBR’s flexible wings.
      These were key performance differentiators that enabled the teams with these performance advantage to drive away with the championship, leaving the others to scramble for the lower positions.

      I also believe the limiting factor as regards car performance, is deteremined by the circuit on which they race on. If the cars can go round a circuit well within their performance limits, cornering, traction, top speed, braking, etc, then there isn’t a sufficient margin within which a skilled driver can maybe make a difference and we end up ordinary races and drivers.

  3. I’m not sure I understand the whole “oh no, the cars aren’t very fast” stuff that has been kicking about this week after Jerez. It was made very clear that the engines were not running at full chat and that this test was about anything EXCEPT ultimate pace.

    If the cars are still doing GP2 times by final testing, I have a very delicious hat put aside…

  4. I am also in the camp of thinking it’s a very bad idea to use GMM. They are notorious for providing poorly fact checked stories which then spread like wildfire across the internet.

    I like the quality of your analysis and speculation on the deeper issues behind the scenes of F1, and I’ll take that over identikit ‘New Jersey Back On, says Ecclestone’ agency stories any day of the week.

    • To be fair, if GMM have got it wrong at times, its not regular. They do have the resource to report a wider number of issues than TJ13 does at this point.

      Certain people make a lot more of their errors than is in fact reality.

      I remember they got slated for a Brabham story last year – but in fact what they wrote was proven correct.

      • I have been a visitor here from nearly the beginning and I love this site. It gives much more information than most other sites and lively debate too. I hope you are not in danger of doing an “Ecclestone”, and changing things just for the sake of it. If its not broken, then dont fix it.

    • I second this – I’m happy to check Autosport, PlanetF1, etc for “bla” news and TJ13 for more in-depth information. Reserving judgement, but my current feeling is it’d be a bad idea.

      • I think it is a bad idea too.
        This is one of the few sites i still read in its entirety on a daily basis.
        On most other F1sites,the headlines tell me all i need to know,here i find there is a proper story behind them,usually followed by well thought and interesting comment.
        This blog should avoid becoming just another F1 news site,lest we end up with the silly comment that plagues other,lesser F1sites.

        • ” This is one of the few sites i still read in its entirety on a daily basis.” < < < me too, but what to do? I don't pay Judge's Court a fee to operate, and I don't see any advertising.

          Coincidentally, I was just worrying about this very situation and amazing that Judge has been on the bench giving us F1 news and insight for this long…

  5. +1 The main reason for me to visit this site daily are the opinions and comments on the news, not the news in itself.

    Maybe an option is to segregate the two within the Daily News Section. Continue as it is with a set (maybe less) news items including opinion and comments, and a separate section called “Other News” or something, aggregating news flashes from GMM without opinion. This would keep the uniqueness of the site, and adds also speed + completeness. As long as there is a clear distinction between the two, I think it could really add value.

    • …and when we launch the new site we will be able to do this.

      For now in the daily news and comment list of contents we will be crediting GMM with their stories.

      This is the only way we can keep all your comments together on any given day regarding the current affairs of F1.

  6. Also sitting in the cautious corner… at the risk of lowering the tone, I prefer quality over quantity. I come to thejudge for the truth behind the stories, not for the headlines. Does thejudge want to create one site to rule them all?

  7. Again, another view from the Quality over Quantity side of the fence here….
    There have been some pretty vocal comments against GMM by respected F1 scribes and hacks over the years.

    Judge, are you saying that this proposal is to free up resources to be diverted towards the comments and discussions sections, rather than writing stories?

    If so, I would much rather a bit less interaction from the article contributors and writers and fewer articles, if it means continuing to maintain the high quality of the articles in the first place…..


    • … No I will continue to write my opinions and comment on the news – but spend less time chasing sources for driver/team bosses quotes….. and on that GMM are very reliable.

      So you may get a brief GMM story – which I can then extend by further incremental information and analysis…

  8. Don’t know from GMM, I suppose if it works like a newsfeed on the side it might be nice, but I do agree with others, the main draw for me is the analytical commentary etc., and a very high signal to noise ratio. That said, I would suggest maybe starting a twitter hashtag #tj13 and encouraging commenters to post items as I see you already have @F1extra doing.

    Personally think that cars will be fast, but hoping the racing will closer, as that’s where the real excitement comes from IMO.

  9. Hey Judge,
    “Malo nodo, malus quærendus cuneus”

    It’s been a fabulous journey so far, we’re not gonna jump ship because one engine is down, we’ll just have to row a little harder. 😉

  10. I like this site for its distinctive voice and identity. Signing up with GMM, in my opinion, is a mistake.

    • …. thanks for your candid opinion….

      One other driving forces behind us considering this move is we had a plan this year to get press accreditation for each race and for an indigenous TJ13 reader from each country where there is an F1 weekend to attend on behalf of TJ13.

      They would be have access to the media centres where they could pen content for us each day.

      You’ll notice on race weekends I’m often busy and can’t write or dictate the news.

      Reading behind the feedback we got as to why this was refused, was it was felt our breadth of coverage on F1 was at times to narrow.

      GMM allow us to post incremental content. We still intend posting the content we do now and incrementally more as resources allow.

      • I wish you luck. It’s a great site that you’ve got going here, so I hope it continues to grow to the point where you no longer need to buy in content from the likes of GMM. I am a Brit living in Norway; I hope that one day there will be a Norwegian Grand Prix, but I won’t hold my breath…

        • Good to hear from you BR and thank you for your appreciation – its a temporary measure because we are concerned that not being able to put out 7-10 different stories a day – the breadth of discussion will suffer.

  11. Equally matched cars, not higher speeds, make better racing – look at a lot of the tin-top and one-make series for proof. F1 needs to remain quickest (or lose the name) but even after five years of fairly static regulations there remained a distinct lack of parity, with a large performance gap in the (relatively small) F1 field roughly proportional to budget. Fads like DRS and KERS give us some manufactured overtaking but Christ, it was still pretty dull for much of the time.
    This year there’s hope for a shake up of the running order, at least until deep development pockets begin to dictate once more. Looking at the times from Jerez I feel there’s a lot more to come from the 2014 cars… hopefully not wishful thinking!

    As for the GMM feed, this site has a ‘feel’ and an ‘identity’ which you need to take care not to dilute. Like most I’d prefer quality over quantity but I’m sure we’ll give it a fair chance to impress.

  12. RE: Haas, his was one of three applications. Will the other two go to 2nd level application?

    The time frame is too short. Teams spend 18 to 24 months (and more) designing F1 cars.

    • …. Haas is the only one confirming he will move to stage 2 at present.

      The same reasoning applies for any team gaining a ticket to the F1 circus though – and the bizarre time scales and apparent rush to approve someone suggests something is afoot – beyond the obvious.

      So as I wrote when I first reported the FIA process in November – is there someone good to go for 2015 – and is it an existing entrant looking to introduce a B team?

      • It seems to make more sense for Haas to buy out an existing team. All the infrastrucure is in place already.
        If an existing entrant was going to have a B team then it would be reasonable to assume it would be McLaren or Mercedes? Red Bull have Torro Rosso, Ferrari have Sauber. Which of them has the finance to run a second team?

  13. RE gp2/f1 times. it is imperative to me that F1 machines are substantially faster than the next fastest racing machines available. By substantially I mean 10 seconds per lap on a track like Jerez.

    • Why is the driver’s weight included at all? Surely that is immaterial and it should only be the weight of the car that is checked.

      • In theory – to provide a level playing field ……. but with such a low minimum weight, as has been reported, it doesn’t.

        Many drivers are still being asked to lose weight.

        It’s simple physics.

        For a given car weight and power – a car with a lighter driver will be faster than a car with a driver that’s heavier.

        Which is why drivers like Nico Hulkenburg are at a disadvantage ….

        regardless of talent.

        • The need to lose weight could also impact on a drivers health.I personally have felt that Webber looked ghastly for several years as he has had to suppress his natural body weight.

          • I was just about to post the same thing about Webber, who knows how long term heavy dieting can effect your reactions or your on the spot decision making ability. I’m sure the effects are subtle but in a sport where a few 100ths of a second can mean the difference between pole or 3rd. I’m sure this disadvantaged mark to an extent, especially as he had to keep it up for a very long period. I think that combined with the slightly larger cockpit witch effects the layout of the car and I would guess must have some aero implications in the external measurements are fractionally different and we all know only too well how Mr Newey likes to keep things as tight as possible.

          • As someone who’s been that fit before – and that lean – yes and no… He’s not really doing any long term damage (Assuming no doping) and if he’s not suppressing his immune system, then no short term damage, either.

            The real issue is that it is bloody hard to stay that lean and requires inevitable caloric restrictions, since F1 drivers simply aren’t doing enough aerobic exercise (like a pro cyclist would) to consistently run a caloric deficit even w/ eating as much healthy food as possible.

            But even if it’s not damaging – and just extremely unpleasant – there’s something “wrong” imo w/ racing drivers having to be as lean and “make weight” like endurance athletes. At the same time, though, if 85% of the grid doesn’t have a problem, and it’s just Hulk and Ricciardo who are disadvantaged by being big…oh well?

            idk, really. I dont feel that strongly about it right now. maybe if Lewis starts complaining I’ll suddenly feel sympathetic! lol or KIMI! ha!

          • Kimi will just have to drink one vodka and RedBull less per day and he’s sorted!

            But I agree re weight loss. It’s bloody hard and rubbish to be hungry constantly!

            Personally I think the cars are to easy to drive. If you have a beast of an engine in the back and NO power-steering the whippersnappers won’t last long… I can dream huh?

  14. judge, please keep in mind that quality, not quantity, is paramount. I hope that this site does not become a bloated mess of low level “news”. There are other ways of acquiring visitors. Remember that this high level of f1 editorial commentary / news isn’t for the casual f1 consumer. The layman will get their f1 news from the official f1 website or some other mindless aggregator.

  15. From the Usher’s Ledger – The Russian GP field of one

    Or Putin could just impale any terrorists on the new noses ………

  16. …and to the point of the changes that the Judge proposes, here I post an article from another source, regarding the new brake-by-wire system.


    Two points I want to make:

    (i) The fact we post news from other sources, doesn’t mean that Judge does a poor job. On the contrary, I do it so that I get the feedback from the Judge himself, prompt an article to be written about it, and also hear the views of this excellent community.

    (ii) Following on from above, I’d like to know whether people feel that this will hurt drivers like Lewis, or other late-brakers.

    • As mentioned by Spyros in the JA article – it effectively gives a driver ABS on the back wheels.

      And as the majority of braking comes from the front wheels anyway – not sure the exactly percentage ? – I don’t see it materially affecting drivers performance.

      Wasn’t Lewis’s problems related to the disc / pad material and the actual caliper manufacturer at Mercedes compared to what he was used to at McLaren ?

      I don’t see the fly by wire rear brakes affecting him anymore than any other driver.

      I think ( as Massa said ) – it’s more a case of adapting to a new feel / system for all drivers.

      • Re: use as ABS, the complete text of relevant Tech Regs include:
        “11.5.1 No braking system may be designed to prevent wheels from locking when the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal.”

        “11.7 Rear brake control system :
        The pressure in the rear braking circuit may be provided by a powered control system provided that :
        a) The driver brake pedal is connected to a hydraulic master cylinder that generates a pressure source that can be applied to the rear braking circuit if the powered system is disabled.
        b) The powered system is controlled by the…” (main ECU)

        So, in other words, 1) ABS is specifically forbidden. And 2) that can be enforced by FIA as the rear brake system must run through the (heavily FIA monitored) main ECU.

        Re: it’s effect upon drivers, … you’ve asked a great question MacLaren78, and it’s safe to say it will be immense.

        Each team, in coordination with their power unit manufacturer, will need to focus on programming the rear brake system to be smooth, and seamless for their drivers.

        One of the more interesting things I noted from Jerez was that Sauber realized they have much work to do on better programming and controlling their rear braking system. At the same time it appeared (reading through write-ups by folks there) that Ferrari did not share that level of problems with their rear brake system, though it’s the same system.

        It is this rear brake by wire system that may be the reason why Hamilton was noted by the Judge to have been experimenting extensively in the braking zones, in contrast to Magnusson who was metronomicly consistent (in braking, downshifting, throttle, line, etc.) in the afternoon of the 3rd day of testing. (That was some of the most valuable insights from anyone I saw, btw.)

        Driver confidence in the braking system can be worth tenths of a second per lap, so we should expect to see teams’ resources focused on this area.

        • Whilst ABS is specifically banned as you said – the JA article says this –

          ” With brake-by-wire, an electronic system measures how hard the driver presses the brake pedal and then – using the additional information from energy recuperation – determines in a split-second the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers.”

          The important bit being –

          the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers.

          This IS effectively ABS by any other name.

          ” But as it’s written into the regulations it doesn’t fall foul of the regulation saying that the driver must drive “alone and unaided” – a rule that prevents the use of traction control, ABS and countless other technical goodies. ”

          Just as traction controlled is banned – we know Renault by carefully cutting cylinders to modify the torque curve achieved a form of traction control that was still within the rules.

          Even with the heavily FIA monitored main ECU.

          I’m sure teams are already looking at or using this area of the fly by wire system to give ersatz ABS.

          • “…determines …the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers… IS effectively ABS by any other name.”

            An Anti-Lock Brake System would need to measure the rotation of the wheels, determine lock-up (or pending lock-up) and then have logic cause the brake systems to reduce the braking on that wheel. As you say, the ECU units are standardized and heavily monitored so it would probably be very difficult for a team to get away with that.

            Red Bull had Renault create engine maps that blew their rear diffuser at partial throttle to create more downforce near the apex of some turns. That is not “traction control”.

          • ” Red Bull had Renault create engine maps that blew their rear diffuser at partial throttle to create more downforce near the apex of some turns. That is not “traction control”. ”

            Indeed they did.

            But that was not what I said – nor what I was talking about.

            They cut cylinders as a form of traction control.

            This was in the acceleration phase when the throttle is full or close to full – NOT off or partial throttle in a corner ……

            In the interview with Ted Kravits on Sky – the Renault engineer clearly stated that they can cut cylinders on the new V6’s and they were likely to do so.

            So you can have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or all cylinders firing.

            This has nothing to do with partial / off throttle blown diffusers.

            So why do it ?

          • ” An Anti-Lock Brake System would need to measure the rotation of the wheels, determine lock-up (or pending lock-up) and then have logic cause the brake systems to reduce the braking on that wheel. ”

            Do you really believe that F1 cars do NOT have wheel speed sensors ?

            The rear wheels are braked by the energy harvesting of the KERS unit as well as the calipers.

            JA clearly stated that the pressure to the calipers ARE modulated.

            This is how a road car ABS system works – but by using wheel speed sensors directly.

            They are obviously using other sensors in an F1 car to get the same data.

            Even if the pressures to the calipers weren’t modulated ( but they are ) – the KERS harvesting can be modulated to prevent wheel lock up.

            I’ll say it again – this is ABS by another name.

        • “11.5.1 No braking system may be designed to prevent wheels from locking when the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal.”

          It does NOT say –

          No energy recovery system may be designed to prevent wheels from locking when the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal.

          • I think this might be an area where there will be protests, as the rule(s) is (are) unclear. Is the energy recovery system that modulates the rear brakes part of the braking system? I don’t know; I suspect we will find out.

            If you think about what the energy recovery system does (acts as a brake and converts inertia of the car into electricity; the rear brakes don’t have to be applied as hard) then the system has to modulate the rear pressure so that less work is done by the brakes. The work not done by the brakes is done by the recovery system.

            When stopping the car the total amount of energy removed by both systems is the same as if the brakes were acting alone. So how would the system work as ABS? ABS modulates the pressure to the brake caliper to prevent lockup of the brake; if the car was stopping at maximum deceleration and the recovery system was removing maximum possible energy, the brakes would be supplying the rest of the required braking effect. If the wheels locked, how would the recovery system act? It would already be operating at maximum energy (braking force) removal, so if the rears started to lock there system could do one of three things to rear brake pressure:

            1) Nothing. The brakes would lock.
            2) Reduce braking pressure to the caliper. The wheels would not lock from the caliper force, but the energy has to now be removed by the energy recovery system. But this means energy is taken from the rear drive line which is equivalent to increasing the brake pressure. The rears lock up.
            3) Increase braking pressure to the rears. The wheels will lock up.

            So maybe there is not really an issue. Corrections to this off the cuff analysis appreciated.

          • Hi Steve

            in scenario 2) – here’s an alternative option

            Reduce braking pressure to the caliper. The wheels would not lock from the caliper force, but the energy recovery system stays at the same level, therefore the TOTAL energy taken from the rear drive line is reduced.

            The rear wheels don’t lock.


            The braking pressure to the caliper is NOT reduced, but the energy recovered by the system is reduced, and as in the above, the TOTAL energy taken from the rear drive line is reduced.

            The rear wheels don’t lock.

            There is no requirement that the energy recovery system needs to work at maximum during braking.

            It is infinitely variable.

            It may well be that at times it is zero – and the calipers / discs do ALL the braking. But this scenario gives you no leeway in varying the caliper pressure to prevent wheel lock up. This would be ABS pure and simple – and it’s banned.

            But if I were designing the system – I’d always have some energy recovery as ” headroom ” in the overall ERS / caliper system to allow variations in caliper pressure and / or energy recovery to try and prevent rear wheel lock up. This is the ersatz ABS I am talking about, and it is legal.

            Remember that this year there is no driver’s manually adjustable brake bias front to rear. It’s all electronic. Which means it can be programmed not to allow rear wheel locking.

    • Re- commentators posting links

      I agree with McLaren78, I never think the site is slacking because I found something interesting else where. I simply want to share it with the great community we have here and because I appreciate that you guys have limited time and resourses, its simply to help bring it to your attention. I never ever think to myself that TJ13 is slacking today.
      I trust your honur with these changes to the news, I don’t for one minute think you would intentionally want to lower the quality of this site. The only reservations I have is if you start attracting some of the frankly brain dead commenters that plague some of the lesser sites, as I feel the regular posters here are all well informed and understand where things are coming from. The last thing I think any of us want is a bunch of teenage fanboys who are convinced their chosen driver is at the same level as their preferred deity, meaning there is no reasoning or logic behing the comments they make. But for now you won’t hear any negativity from this poster.

    • So many questions re brake by wire and energy recovery, I’m starting to become concerned at my lack of understanding…
      Does harvesting occur automatically under all braking events, past a certain threshold, or can it be configured per track?
      Is ERS energy released at a controlled rate, under any throttle application, or is it configurable per track?
      If there’s no driver control of (K)ERS, won’t that reduce a drivers ability to defend against DRS?
      If they’re only allowed to harvest at half the rate they can deploy, doesn’t that imply some kind of tactical control by the driver?
      Does anyone have any links, as I obviously need to do some reading?! Apologies if any/all of these are stupid questions 🙂

  17. I’m amazed that, given the volume of boneheaded cock-ups they pull, the FIA has the expertise to be able to judge a new entrant that seemingly has cred. Does anyone know who these faceless experts are? And further, do they have a real job – like beyond sucking the FIA tit for all it is worth.

  18. Dear Judge, I am from California where F1 is just non existent. I’ve followed F1 since 2006 and had a hard time following the sport as a whole up until recently. Obviously DVR is the most important investment for watching the races but also this website I’ve found is rarely dull or redundant. I have a small group of f1 friends and they often I ask me how I know so much about f1 rumors before anyone else. I have since pushed them to this website.

    In conclusion, this is one of just a handful of websites that are worth my few minutes a day. The others I enjoy are Somersf1 and intelligentf1. which miraculously are now both on your site. I find it odd that I followed both those sites prior to them joining us over here. Is this the Truman show?

    I imagine this website is a ton of work and your income will grow by adding GMM, but I would kindly request you keep doing what you are doing. I have no idea who you are or how you know so much about f1 but I do not believe a website exists that has the unique content of this one. I believe in time you will reep the benefits.

  19. I’m late to the commenting party today, but what’s fascinating is the total consensus of opinion on proposed changes to the site… When does that ever happen on the internet?!
    So, let me agree with everyone else… Slightly skeptical on the GMM thing (whatever that is!), as I value most your added insight/angle on the stories. TJ13 is the only F1 site I reAd cover to cover, ergo, I do kind of want all the news to be here…
    Lastly, I can’t sit here and complain about a service that’s been provided free to us for 18 months and counting. I’ve done a couple of personal blogs over the years and find it exhausting enough trying to create a quality bi-monthly post, never mind multiple per day. I hope you’re not getting burned out and I also ho

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