Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 8th February 2014

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You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly

Things not to worry about (09:30)

8 months to go (09:30)

Formula E looking good (09:30)

Mercedes comedy (10:00)

Two new teams for 2015? (13:00)

Newey present revised car (13:10)

Things not to worry about

When I started TJ13 it was because I met someone who had made their way in twitter land and had some 18,000 F1 followers. This person’s interest in F1 fascinated me. They appeared to be not particularly well informed though survived on pithy 120 character comments and tweeting links of foreign media F1 stories which the English speaking media had not yet got.

I was already hacked off with most of the F1 daily reporting, and held the same opinion as that of senior member of the FIA who commented to me that “80% of what Autosport write is bollocks”.

In fact, my opinion of the world’s largest F1 media machine is that their features are unfairly described as excrement; and at times they are most informative. However, the daily news spiel appears to being written by a posse of media students whose daddy is paying for their internships.

Haymarket Publications are a serious player and Autosport is a blue chip division of their revenue portfolio. However, in my humble opinion restricting people to 20 reads per month of their daily news was a poor and ill considered move. Then again it does us all a favour in another way I guess.

My problem with the F1 writers who are employed by established publications is that they appear to be living in the days of yore. Before the internet and social media, we the fans had no choice but to listen to the pronouncements of the “one too many” who were privileged and ‘in the know’.

Further, to get their exclusives these people could not upset the establishment which included the FIA, Ecclestone, team principals and prima donna drivers because expressing a critical view of any of these people may result in a loss of press access privileges. At best no one would tell you anything again.

In days gone by of course we would read stories dictated in smokey rooms behind closed doors, and paddock access was a license to deliver exclusive scoops. Yet over the past 10 years, the F1 established writers are now fed information that the establishment wants to out.

I’m frequently amused at GP weekends when the written press are herded into a room and sit around a table with Jenson or whoever. Each have their recording machines thrust as close to his lips as they can, and the result unsurprisingly is a plethora of stories across various publications which all pretty much say the same thing.

Having scooped Gutierrez flying off the track in Jerez on day 2 when no other photographer was within 500 metres, I have the technology to Bluetooth the pics from camera to smartphone and had it up on twitter in a flash. Autosport appeared to pinch it and add it to their live text feed. Hey, imitation and flattery….

Many F1 fans may see the life of an F1 approved media person as the most glamorous job in the world. Yet since Bernie’s global expansion of the sport, the older generation find it less scintillating than when F1 was predominantly in Europe.

These people travel the world, talk to Ade, Christian, Seb and Bernie – what could be a more fabulous life? Get these guys unguarded and they’ll tell you the travel alone has become arduous, even the Times correspondent Kevin Eason tweeted if the season went to 23 races it would force him to consider quitting.

Then there’s the issue of output. Unlike English Premier League football writers who have to churn out several thousand words a week, the F1 writers have done their duty if they put out a couple of decent stories every seven days.

A few of them blog, but I was amazed at the decisions of some of the independent writers not to attend Jerez this year and post merely the times for the days running as their daily contribution. They all either receive a nice wage and expenses or have cultivated syndicate arrangements for their odd articles with the likes of the New York Times et al.

All things F1 are now elitist including the approved press and media and few who get involved survive the institutionalisation of the grace and favour culture that prevails in the sport.

The abuse TJ13 gets at times for being ‘nom de plume’ is ridiculous. It is for this very reason I can report things no prominent media writer will ever hear. The rank and file in the teams know the difference between the reality they face every day and the corporate propaganda which is published through the media. They speak to someone who cannot identify them, but can reveal the truth of the reality behind the corporate façade.

So worry not. TJ13 is not going away. Our USP is very strong, and all the comments over the past 2 days have encouraged me that we are doing exactly what I set out to do.

I hear all your complaints over GMM and unlike the gnome in Concorde or the vertically challenged citizen of Suffolk facing criminal charges – I’m listening.

TJ13 was designed to be everything that I have described above. Yet I have an agenda. To rally people to our cause that we force the powers that be in F1 to listen to the fans. The FIA, FOM and the teams are represented on the strategy group, but not the people, who are supposed to buy tickets at the track or to subscribe to pay TV channels to watch the races on telly. Its time our voices were heard.

This may appear delusional, yet in life I’ve learned if you don’t aim big, you end up small. Better to try… than to whinge or rant once sentry to no effect. Yet to be heard by those who are in power we need numbers and to increase our presence amongst the establishment.

I don’t need to ever make a penny from this venture, so ‘selling out’ can never be levied against me as a motive for trying to increase our circulation.

We would like to find sponsors, who can contribute to funding staff who at present are voluntary, but the numbers will dictate that in the end.

Rest assured, my time may be more limited over the next months, so my contributions have to be qualitatively targeted – hence the thinking behind using GMM for basic news.

Ultimately, TJ13 aims to demonstrate the power of the fans through social media to effect positive change in the sport we all love. Trust me, you getting involved will move you inextricably closer to F1.


8 months to go

With a little over 8 months to go until the inaugural Sochi GP, the country hosted the opening ceremony to one of the most controversial Olympic games of recent times. The ceremony happened without any major hitches which bodes well for the GP later in the year.

However, you would need to have been in an underground bunker to have missed the news coverage of the gay rights issues the country has. The major coverage of the games puts pay to any sinister action occurring as Russia is put onto the ‘world stage’ for the coming period of sport, however, where could this leave F1? A sport which, naturally, has a much lower global coverage than the Winter Olympics and therefore much less media weight behind it?

TJ13 examined (back in May) how there is no current ‘issue’ with being gay in Formula One. However, one has to ponder over the issue of whether Formula One, a sport dictated by $$$ and hierarchy, will stand up against such prejudice stances as the Olympics has.

Money has a funny habit of making controversy disappear from the media spotlight (Bahrain in 2012 being the perfect example), so will it do the same in Sochi?


Formula E looking good

There has been so much negativity in the press recently about how ‘ugly’ the new F1 cars are with the revised regulations. Here at TJ13 we are maintaining a glass half full perspective; at least the Formula E cars are looking fine.

Mahindra Formula E

The Mahindra racing Formula E car was released, with (almost) all at TJ13 HQ agreeing it looks good. A cause for optimism if ever there was one!


Mercedes comedy

Pretty much at the same time when yesterday’s hillarious Lotus flick appeared on the interwebs, Mercedes presented a comedy video of their own with Lewis and Nico poking fun at Bernies rule changes for 2014. Enjoy.


Two new teams for 2015?
Summary of German article by Roman Wittemeier & Dieter Rencken of Motorsport Total. Translation and comment by Fat Hippo

Last December FIA offered an open slot for a new team to join F1 in 2015 or 2016. It didn’t take long for the tentative offer of Team Haas, currently running as Team Steward-Haas in NASCAR, to materialize, fuelling suspicions that the FIA offer was a token gesture with a team already decided beforehand. Shortly afterwards, however a Romanian offer rolled in (TJ13 reported on January 19th) headed by Colin Kolles.

Motorsport Total claims they have learned that not one, but both these entries are considered to be allowed into F1, which would bring the number of teams to 13, a field size not seen since the early 90s. Apparently the offers of both teams have been deemed viable and financially sound by FIA. There was a third offer by Zoran Stefanovic (Stefan GP), but the man from Serbia seems to have been dismissed again. He was also in the running, when the batch of new teams arrived in 2010.

Both entries have presented themselves most favourably and both come with an engine partner already agreed. Haas is almost certainly cooperating with Ferrari. Their base car will be designed by Dallara in Italy and Haas’ project director, Günther Steiner, an Italian from the German speaking part of Italy – South Tyrol – has excellent connections to both Ferrari and Dallara.

The time to submit offers ends on Monday. This will be followed by two weeks of review and deliberation by FIA. Most likely the development centres in Kannapolis (Haas) and Greding (Kodewa, Kolles) will be paid a visit to evaluate their suitability. A final decision is expected to be made on February 28th.

The initial tender was only for one team, but the final amount is still a matter of debate between perennial adversaries FIA and the short stuff from Suffolk. Ecclestone would prefer to reduce the number of team to eight and have all of them run with three cars, while FIA would prefer 13 teams to be more independent and less vulnerable to pressure from single teams. Most F1 tracks are designed for a capacity of 26 cars, which would prefer the FIA model.


Newey present revised car

After the problems at Jerez Adrian Newey presents the hastily revised car for Bahrain


50 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 8th February 2014

  1. When was the last time Lewis had a decent meal?
    He looks like sh*t, is he on hunger strike against FIA regulations?

  2. Regarding GMM/TJ13:
    What I don’t get is how you expect to be critical and influential while at the same maintain your accreditation.
    Can you perhaps elaborate?
    (Critical questions asked because you answer them and because I like coming here)

    • For the life of me I cant remember the name but there is a South African journalist that sticks it up to Ecclestone et al every so often and he still has his press pass…

      The winds of change is on us Verstappen, I think the dictatorship that is Ecclestone will crumble soon enough. TJ13 community just need to be there to speak for the fans when it does happen.

        • Dieter Rencken gets the knife out on a regular basis – pretty much w/ every column!

          The only instance I can recall of him defending the Establishment was after the kinda-recent “re-election” of Jean Todt as Prez of FIA, when he (Rencken) wrote a column that lauded Todt while mocking the Max Mosley acolyte who ran against him.

    • No probs. being critical is apparently acceptable, having Daily News which isn’t daily apparently isn’t… But this is the FIA

      Sent from my iPhone


  3. Nice to see some of the teams have a sense of humour in a sport where it can all get a bit serious for something that doesn’t really matter!!

  4. Mercedes: 1 – Lotus: 0…
    No question. I have never laughed out loud so much at a monitor… I’ll never know how they kept such straight faces in the first half – this knocks Maldo’s so-called acting into a cocked hat. More of this please…
    [Or should that be a shirtlifter’s hat… 😉 ]

    • That reminds me…. someone mentioned Lotus.
      Thought there might’ve been a bit out there on their Jerez expedition, not so apparantly – wonder if the motivation/motivator failed?

  5. Re-Nico & Lewis Clip – GOLD! Much more amusing than the Lotus rubbish. One thing is certain, I don’t think Lewis will be swapping winning silver wear for the silver screen any time soon, that’s for sure!

  6. Re: Not Worrying. Hear hear Judge! A speech of Ron-esque proportions, which I for one am roused by. Thank you for putting my fears to rest.

    • We’ve done the hard bit, get a USP – the hard bit, now why can’t we have a site which offers other resources for F1 fans.. Eg Databases of historic F1 stats and info for example… Again someone will come along with a passion for this and take it on…

      • Hey TJ, I’m quite happy to take this on, I have F1 magazines going back to the early 80’s countless books and I love the history of the sport. I’ll speak to John about this if you’re interested..

        • … interested????… awesome offer… Thank you kindly

          I have to go to God knows where when writing a piece to get the facts of who finished where in a race 20 years ago..

          What were the points standings in 1991? – drivers or constructors?

          – I know this is a huge project, but something again which in a few years along with other content gives us the complete offering to F1 readers.

          For my final Jerez day 4 report I needed to know total laps in Jerez testing last year – by engine, by team and in total. Not many places to find that info…

          You may need some help… any offers readers?

          At least its a defined piece of research and data accumulation which can be done.

          • I have accumulated a fair amount of Books and bits from F1 days of yore. I would be happy to put them to use to help out if needed.

  7. I heard Stefanovic withdrew because he couldn’t get his container back from Bahrein after which Villeneuve refused the drive…

    • Stefanovic just pretended he sent containers with spare parts and all sorts of equipment to Bahrain and Malaysia, but in reality it was a container filled with chairs and tables.
      The guy is a joke, he has a “few” outstanding bills with Toyota to, and that’s an understatement.

  8. Screw the nay sayers judge. We like what we read here and that’s why we keep coming back. The commentators are also not mouth breathers on most other f1 sites. So that’s another big plus. As I said on another post, established fellows always find ways to put down newcomers.
    If not for anything, atleast for getting the Kimi sorry I’ll respect your ability to get inside news. Nobody else came close.

  9. re Formula E looking good… you sure you posted right photo there Judge?
    Thought the photo of Newey’s latest looked more apt.

    • Well if Mahindra do as well as they’ve done in Moto GP – they’ll be one of the favourites.

      For those that don’t follow motorcycling – in F1 terms – they stated of as HRT and are now at Merecedes level. All in 3 years.

      I’m really looking forward to Formula E 🙂

  10. I don’t remember how I first came to this site, but I remember thinking to myself, finally someone has gone and done a real job of not just reporting but also analyzing what’s happening. And then the comments turned out to be genuine and not just a bunch of fanboi’s screaming at each other. And so much technical and historical knowledge.

    Hunter Thompson wrote specifically about the issues of access journalism in “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” and it’s obvious that similar issues plague F1 reporting. So hat’s off and cocktails up to you for building such an amazing site. Can’t wait to see where the ride takes us next but as long as your Honour graces us with his perspicacious commentary it can’t be anything but good.

    With regards to Sochi though, have you seen reports from the journalists who arrived early to begin coverage. I’m thinking they might have finished the track by time the race happens, but as far as accommodations for the circus I would be very concerned.

  11. Wow, His Honor’s reasoned opinion delivered in “State of the Nation” form was an impressive read! Talk about setting a precedent!

    You go, Judge!!!

      • Well let’s make it 252,999th!!!

        BTW: did you post the “8 mos to go” Russia/Sochi blurb before or after Lotus tweeted – then retracted and apologized for – the Olympic cheer msg w/ a pic of 2 dudes lip-locking?

        If the former…whoa – talk about timing!!!

        Here’s the prestigious la Gazzetta dello Sport’s take on what happened:


        Bacio gay, imbarazzo Lotus: il tweet fa arrabbiare gli investitori russi

        “La squadra di Enstone ha twittato il bacio di due uomini per augurare buone Olimpiadi agli atleti di Sochi. Ma i numerosi sponsor russi del team non hanno gradito e minacciato: immediata la cancellazione e le scuse”


        Gay kiss, embarrassment Lotus: the tweet angers Russian investors

        “The Enstone team tweeted the kiss of two men to wish good Olympics athletes to Sochi. But the many sponsors of the Russian team did not like and threatened: immediate cancellation and an apology”

  12. The Rant from TJ13 was a bit confusing, and not too clear as to the message. TJ13, you dont need to do that. After finding this site, it’s been the primary info for me (exluding the Finnish gossip).

    As an interested party without any affiliations, I would suggest not to ruin a winning formula which this site has.


  13. I agree this has been a good week for you, Judge.

    1) I too noticed that some of your readers come here first, or come here exclusively for their F1 news. For those folks, sharing GMM stories here is a wise choice.

    2) Amongst the wire feeds of F1 stories, GMM is better than most because, like you, they grab news stories published in other countries and languages. That is one of the reasons why I’ve followed GMM for a few seasons, and also why I follow TJ13.

    3) Your candor about Autosport, and the state of today’s F1 corps is refreshing. I too have been frustrated. My view of Autosport is perhaps more nuanced, as I see that PR is a big part of F1 these days, and Autosport does a very good job of producing PR fed stories. But your spot on about the antiquated print model of reporting. (Of course many other news organizations are in the same boat, trying to figure out the best way to deal with “new media”…) The irony there was raised by PeterScandlyn, as he, like myself, had been a fan of AtlasF1. That site was by F1 fans, for F1 fans, and had healthy thoughtful dialogue between readers and writers. Then Autosport bought that site to gain better traction in new media. To their credit, Autosport initially tried to straddle the new and old media ways. But then the crusty print crowd in the editorial offices won the day, and the interactive strengths of AtlasF1 disappeared from Autosport.com, for the reasons you stated.

    4) You’ve been fairly explicit in asking for volunteers. My time can be limted too, but I can help on occasions. I have a couple of ideas…

    5) Thank you for sharing your vision. I’ve wondered about that. I think your path is a good one.

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