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Lopez does his best not to gloat, following Lotus debut (GMM) – updated 11:42
Di Resta settles out of court
Paul Di Resta has settled Anthony Hamilton’s claim for wrongful dismissal prior to the judge giving his verdict.
Di Resta had justified his dismissal of his former manager on the grounds that he believed Hamilton had tried to make a personal profit of £800,000 from a sponsorship deal with Go Fast deal. In court he told the Judge that he felt particularly let down because he expected his relationship with a manager to be “almost closer than with your father, your girlfriend/wife.”
Di Resta has not been reported to be in a girlfriend relationship for quite some time.
It appears the settlement may have been moved along because Di Resta could have been guilty of ‘entrapment’ following him recording in secret a meeting with his manager Hamilton. “I didn’t know it was illegal at the time,” Di Resta told the court.
In law and love, unfortunately Ignorance is no defence. Di Resta communicated the results of his recording of the meeting with Hamilton to friend and business associate Jordan Wise. Wise had already informed Di Resta that, at the time of the negotiations with GoFast, the Scott’s manager had been “smashed up“, to which Di Resta replied, “Don’t worry we got him (Hamilton).”
Anthony Hamilton reflected last night, “I am very sorry that Paul and I fell out to the extent we did, and I am pleased to put this matter to bed,”
Paul Di Resta’s F1 career is pretty much over and the ex-Force India drier who is off to German touring cars had this to say. “This was a difficult year for me, and I’m just glad that I have behind me and I can now focus on the racing,” Paul di Resta is quoted. “I now look forward to this year in the DTM for Mercedes drive and on the future.”
No Renault crisis for new Lotus debut (GMM)
Lotus enjoyed a trouble-free track debut with its 2014 car, the E22, at Jerez. Earlier rumours suggested the Enstone team had struck the same sort of Renault-powered trouble that left the French engine supplier’s grandee partner, Red Bull, with only a handful of laps of running at the official Jerez test recently.
Now, it emerges that while the E22’s Friday debut late last week amounted to a mere 1 lap, the new Lotus in fact completed 100 kilometres the following day – the maximum amount of mileage allowed for ‘filming’ test purposes. The team did not release any detailed information, but a spokesman told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that both the car and the Renault V6 ran successfully without any major problems.
Team owner Gerard Lopez told France’s Infosport Plus: “We were very well prepared. No problems, no overheating, nothing — the car ran like clockwork, which was quite surprising when you look at what happened at Jerez the first time.
“We are ready to go to Bahrain and start running in the first hour,” he added.
Renault also suggested that its tweaks since the Jerez calamity seemed to have borne fruit, saying officially that the Lotus ran “without any reliability problems“. Continuing they said, “Updates developed in the dyno at Viry during and post Jerez test were run,” adding that preparations for the next official test in Bahrain “are ongoing“.
Renault’s use of the Lotus ‘filming’ day to fix its problems would seem to breach the regulations, but the marque insisted it merely “validated” fixes that were developed at the factory.
“As usual, everyone is committed to providing performance and reliability required for normal PU (power unit) operation and a fully competitive 2014 season,” said Renault.
Gerard Lopez, the Lotus team owner, has played down suggestions the Enstone squad is still grappling with financial problems.
The team’s problems of late last year, when Kimi Raikkonen went unpaid and crucial negotiations with the Quantum group faltered, are well known.
But Lopez said that the decision not to test the new car at Jerez recently is not because Lotus had no money.
“We said that there would be some (technical) trouble and it was actually the case,” the Luxembourger, referring to the Red Bull-Renault crisis, told France’s Infosport Plus.
“I know we had a lot of criticism, people said we lack the budget but that is wrong because it cost us the same to go (to Jerez) a week later,” Lopez insisted.
Lotus gave its new E22 a successful rollout at Jerez on Saturday, a week after the other Renault powered teams, notably world champions Red Bull, faltered so badly.
“Maybe we are better prepared,” said Lopez. “Maybe our strategy to wait and work at the factory was the better one.
“We will see in Bahrain. We will not mention the others, or at least not as much as they mention us.”
Pujolar leaving Williams F1 – Sour Grapes? (GMM)
With one leaving and another joining, two well-known F1 names have given their view about the once-great British team Williams. Arriving at Grove is the long-time Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who told Brazilian television Rede Globo: “I’m very happy.
“It is a time when I needed a change and it’s at an important moment in formula one when everything is changing.”
With similar reasoning for departing Williams, however, is Xevi Pujolar, a long-serving engineer who has quit the team to join Toro Rosso. “Last year,” he told Spain’s El Confidencial, “the situation was quite difficult and Williams did not feel right. So I decided to change.
“When Pat Symonds arrived I was fine with it because he is someone with great experience, there were other factors as well. I had spoken several times with Toro Rosso and it looked like a growing team with great potential.”
Spaniard Pujolar, 40, said part of the problem at Williams was its difficulty in adapting from life at the very front of the grid. “You have to accept that times are changing and make different plans and accept that you’re not world champion anymore.
“But now I think they are making many changes and will improve. Personally, I needed a change of scenery.”
Webber backs Ricciardo
Mark Webber has been out of the news for quite some time, yet his head appears above the parapet for a 2nd time in 2 days. Speaking to Motor Sport magazine he believes his countryman and replacement at Red Bull, will push Vettel hard.
“He’ll go well,” Webber says of Ricciardo, “I think he’ll give Seb a real hard time in qualifying — it’ll be 50:50 in the first year, I reckon.”
Bold words from Webber one may suggests, still no one will be holding him to account over this come the end of the year, so why not indulge in some mind games against your former nemesis?
Yet Webber believes there are reasons why Daniel will be closer to Vettel than the bookies and most people think. Webber’s comments infer that much of Vettel’s advantage under the former regulations were because he best learned to drive in a counter intuitive manner – accelerating when you should be braking. This gave him superiority in slow corners and all this was necessary to extract the most from the car due to Newey’s ‘blown floor’ designs.
“I took a few off Seb last year — and the blown floor is gone now,” says Webber. I think Daniel will be fine, and it certainly won’t hurt him that he’s come through the Red Bull system. I just hope he gets better starts than I did!”
Whilst we wouldn’t want to criticise the dearly departed Mark, Vettel’s recent dominance in part is due to another characteristic which made the German 4 times world champion. His dedication to learn and Newey recently commented that Sebastian’s aptitude levels were as high as any he’d seen. The there is the obsessiveness to leave no stone unturned when trying to understand how best to drive the cars.
The whole new resource deployment decisions the drivers will have to make, together with race strategy and engine differentials, should mean this learning curve is one that will be long and not just some 5 races. Regardless, whatever the length of time it takes to understand the 2014 F1 rocket ships, you still can’t back anyone other than Vettel to get there faster – unless of course ‘fatherhood’ has enticed him to dangle his procreative organs ain the swimming pool..
By Abu Dhabi, we’ll know whether the frailties of the French engine or Newey’s obsession with a tight ‘rear end’ will have been a mountain too far for Sebastian to climb and win his 5th championship.
I suspect what in fact 2014 will reveal is how good Mark Webber was, and we’ll see Ricciardo struggling to keep up with his German co-driver who already has the team and those back at the factory in his pocket – good style.
(Oh I’d forgotten how the words flow when writing about Mark……….. I think we should have a Mark Webber week TJ13 writers – what do you think?).
For those of you new to TJ13 this is an in-joke as I have been accused in days of yore of being a Mark Webber ‘lover’. 😉
In fact whilst on the topic of inter-team rivalry, late one day last week, we published the team battles, but many of you may have missed them. So here they are, and who will beat who?
We have a couple of famous pundits to get the debate going. On leaving the team Felipe complimented his Spanish co-driver stating, “Fernando combines talent with brains. He really is clever, and that is what you need for rule changes as drastic as these”.
Conversley, Mika Hakkinen has nailed his colours to the mast in support of his countryman. “I think Kimi’s driving style is really perfect for these turbo cars. Alonso pushes too hard, so I think Kimi will beat him”
Personally, I think Fernando will become the team’s number one driver, if he isn’t already. TJ13 reported prior to Christmas Il Padrino inferred this when dining with journalists in Maranello.
Formula E expected regular announcements on drivers being signed, though the teams appear to be taking their time over this.
Last month, Formula E decided to inaugurate a drivers club for their sport. “The new scheme features a pool of top, international names that all officially endorse the new FIA Formula E Championship and have expressed a willingness to race in the future”.
Of the first eight names to be announced last month, Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, Indian driver Karun Chandhok, Italy’s Vitantonio Liuzzi, Lucas di Grassi from Brazil and Japanese driver Takuma Sato have all previously raced in Formula One, while China’s Ma Qing Hua has been a test driver for both HRT and Caterham F1.
The remaining names were USA racer Marco Andretti – grandson of the legendary Mario Andretti – who is one of IndyCar’s top drivers finishing fifth last season and Frenchman Adrien Tambay who has raced in Formula 3, GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and more recently DTM.
The most recent to join the club and bring the number of participants to 16 are, Bruno Senna, Sébastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia, Daniel Abt, Narain Karthikeyan, Christijan Albers, Franck Montagny & John R. Hildebrand Jr.
Bruno Senna commented, “I’m very excited to be part of the Formula E Drivers’ Club as Formula E and electric cars are the path for racing and motoring for a better future.”
Equally ebullient, Narain Karthikeyan who believes, “Sustainability is the current buzzword in automotive technology, and its application in a gruelling motorsport environment like Formula E will definitely help at many different levels. On the racing front as well, the series is breaking new ground by taking the sport to the fans in an unprecedented way across the world. I am happy to be named as a part of the Drivers’ Club and eagerly look forward to the experience.”
These announcements are all very well and good, but they are in reality an international beauty pageant where the contestants do not have to strut their stuff in swimwear or wax every inch imaginable. It is a parade of wannabe drivers, who are committed to the cause and give Formula E some PR to keep the new series in the news.
Being part of this club does not guarantee a driver will be selected by a team to drive in the Formula E inaugural series.
UPDATE 13:21 GMT Formula E just announced the first driver will be announced by the German ABT team on Thursday 13th February 10:00 GMT. Their twitter handle is @abt_formula_e
With five titles to its credit in the DTM series alone ABT Sportsline is one of the most successful German teams, which has also achieved victories and titles in GT and endurance racing.
Led by Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt, the squad is located in Germany’s Allgäu region, and will compete under the name of Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team – which is based on the name used in its successful commitment as an Audi factory team in the popular international touring car series DTM.
The team’s new venture marks a return to the outfit’s early Formula outings in the 1990s when ABT scored its initial successes in Formel ADAC and Formula Three. (Formula E)
Quick quiz picture
Who and when?
Aussie V8’s adopt double points
V8 Supercars have adopted the formula one-style double-points decider add spice to the major support races at next month’s Australian Grand Prix.
The final of four V8 races at the Albert Park street circuit from March 14-16 will be worth twice as many points as an added incentive to drivers. This is exactly the format which has been proposed for the last round of this year’s F1 calendar at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Double points is catching as the SoutherXC bike race series will be awarding double points in their final round this year.
TJ13 reported Damon Hill’s comments on the matter, around the day it was announced weeks ago. “Personally, I don’t see what the story is about. Winning the World Championship is the goal and if it gets more and more intense towards the end, and there is more at stake at the end of the championship, then that should be more exciting.”
For some reason the world and his dog are writing it up today???
What probably is new, is that Damon now uses Wimbledon as an example of how the longer a tournament progresses, the more important the events become. “If you go to Wimbledon and you are in a knock-out competition it then gets more crucial and more important the closer you get to the final – and the final is worth a lot more points than the first round,” Hill tells SKY.
Yet this is a flawed analogy, simply because he is comparing a knockout tournament with one where all the competitors compete in each round an accumulate points for a final table of results. Hey ho, and I thought Damon was one of Sky’s better pundits.
Maybe double points is Ecclestone’s stalking horse for double fee’s – promoter, TV and attendance….
Wow, the split second thinking required to be an F1 Champion
It appears Sebastian Vettel is not the only one to have a trademark finger salute
Marussia learning lessons fast
Having finally arrived in Jerez with more than 2 days testing complete, Marussia are getting ahead of the game that will see them once again do battle with fellow 2010 entrants Caterham. The Russian owned team beat their fellow ‘back of the fielders’ in 2013 and are bullish and on the front foot for 2014.
They have a Ferrari engine which by all accounts is a fair way ahead of Caterham’s Renault powertrain. Though to be fair, of the Renault runners at the first winter test, Caterham managed to put in the most laps.
Today the team announce through their Facebook page, “The sun is shining at our Technical Centre as the big Bahrain-Australia pack-up begins. The cars won’t see the factory for quite a while now!”.
Its all change for this year, as cars will leave the UK and not return for many weeks after just 4 days testing in Jerez. This creates new challenges for the logistics teams and those producing daily new components back at base.
Red Bull for the first time had a charter jet available for the Jerez test as historically teams ship additional components out with staff on commercial airlines. However, the charter company made little more than their retainer from the world champions, as it was clear from day 1 there would be not much track time for the RB10.
Toro Rosso fires chief designer
The Faenza based team has ended the contract with Luca Furbatto, their chief designer, with immediate effect. The Turin born engineer worked on the new STR9 in close collaboration with Technical Director James Key.
Furbatto started his F1 career in 1998 with Tyrell, then worked for British American Racing and played an important role at McLaren from 2000 to 2011 and was hired by Scuderia Torro Rosso in December 2011.
It’s not yet clear whether this was a unilateral decision or that they have both agreed on the separation.
What is clear is that, at the start of such a complex season as 2014, the Faenza team’s technical department has been severely weakened by losing one of their key players, something that could serious affect the development of the STR9.
Could this be as a result of an internal power struggle between Furbatto and James Key or has he received offers from another team busy rebuilding their technical department?