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FOTA set to collapse (GMM)
Dark clouds form over Maranello
Whenever there is a state of all being well, one should take the opportunity to enjoy and take in the positive vibe that is all around before, inevitably, the harsh reality of life kicks in and the moment is lost. Perhaps this where the saying comes from, Nothing lasts forever, so live for the moment!
In light of the comments made last week by a certain Brazilian who has moved to Williams for 2014, it would seem the moment where all was well has passed for Fernando Alonso. Whilst he hardly spent any time in Maranello on the sim tirelessly plugging away learning new tracks, he actually did just this but in his home in Oviedo, Spain, instead.
In years gone by where the Spaniard was clearly the undisputed no.1 there was no need to embrace the Ferrari family sentiment as he was unchallenged and for all intents and purposes, untouchable. The man who twice had come within a whisker of claiming the title for the Scuderia, only for a team error to cost him in 2010 and lady luck to intervene in 2012 – (although I know there will be a few who disagree with the 2012 assessment).
Why all this matters I hear you ask? Kimi is hardly known for being the ‘friendly’ sort of team player who will ask ‘How high?’ every time the team says ‘Jump.’ TheJudge13 sources say that the Kimi that has returned is almost unrecognisable from the Kimi that left in 2009. Putting the hard hours into his simulator work both days of the weekend is a far cry from what would be expected normally from the Finn.
Furthermore, he spent Wednesday at the factory meeting up with ‘old friends’ and trying to persuade Luca to let him test the LaFerrari on the Fiorano track, only stopped in this pursuit by the fading light. Kimi had another seat fitting as he was unhappy with his previous ride position, demonstrating the perfectionist the Finn has become.
Not being reported elsewhere, but this is the third time Kimi has been to Marnello since resigning for the red team. Reportedly, he is welcomed back like a long lost son at every visit. If this is the case, then wouldn’t that now make Alonso the prodigal son?
Any avid football fans will remember how Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea during his stint with Inter Milan. That day he proved that actions do genuinely speak louder than words, seeking the custard cream distributor and munching away. He showed he still know that place like the back of his hand, exactly as Kimi is doing right now in Maranello.
So the man who journalists would have you believe ‘doesn’t do politics’ is putting in the hard hours to, once again, be the favoured one within the Ferrari family. No war of words is required with Alonso, leaving his Samurai quotes null and void. Kimi is not wasting his energy with multiple blows, just a few sharp ones – which is hurting Alonso. Dark clouds are forming over Maranello as the war begins.
Where is Il Padrino going?
It seems that when it rains it truly does pour, with news that is, from Scuderia Ferrari. Politics and Ferrari go hand in hand; and could become even closer very soon.
Friday saw the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, after just a year in the post. This has paved the way for Matteo Renzi to take the task of forming a new government. Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has strongly been linked to become one of the ministers, having already turned down the chance to be part of Mario Monti’s government back in 2011.
Rumours say that Il Padrino will take the job leaving question marks over whether his tenure as Ferrari President will come to an end. This seems likely, leaving Ferrari hunting for a new leader. The possible outcomes ahead could be devastating, especially during a team mate battle like no other in recent times.
The Taming of Kimi Räikkönen
As the gavel wielding one has written a few paragraphs north from here, Kimi 2.0 has become quite a perfectionist. And although he is still capable of pulling memorable moments, like the “leave me alone” comment over team radio, he’s a far cry from the wild boy, who was filmed falling off a boat in a drunken stupor. He was even caught a few times on camera actually talking to journalists last year.
Now, those of a naive disposition will conclude that Kimi has matured over the years, but they are deluding themselves. Men are and always will be oversized children. If you want to test the theory, lock several guys in a room with a model train set or a scalextric kit. The only difference to a group of small boys will be, that men will get hogwashly bladdered in the process as they’ll drink beer instead of soda. Give them BMX bikes in the summer or sleighs and a hill in the winter and you’ll witness an impromptu session of “jackass”.
What you just saw flying out of the window was the maturity theory. The only one, who can make a grown male of the species resemble something like a responsible adult is a woman, usually referred to as “the right one”, which means that not every woman has that effect on a man. Which would mean that Jenni Dahlman, former miss Scandinavia and wife to Kimi Räikkönen for eight years was not the one to achieve that.
The one, who seems to have pulled off the miracle goes by the name Minttu Virtanen and if the Finnish yellow press is to be believed she did not only tame Kimi into Kimi 2.0, she’s also working on a completely new one. Since the pair is one of the main interest of the Finnish rags, they are usually well informed about them and if that latest bit of news proves correct, Kimi will join Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in the club of those, who in recent years submitted their genetic make-up for long-time storage.
Maybe Bernie should invest in a Kindergarten, rather than the Nürburgring.
Ferrari engine stops spark to save fuel (GMM)
Ferrari looks to have come up with another of the big innovations of the 2014 season. It emerged last week that the new F14-T features an unique cooling system that allows the red single seater to have very small sidepods, notwithstanding the high demands of the all-new ‘power unit’ rules.
Now, Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Ferrari’s new V6 engine is also highly innovative. The report said the engine features a ‘cut-off’ system that works with the direct injection to keep engine temperatures low and save crucial fuel.
The system means that, at times, the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber is stopped altogether and the engine is not ‘sparked’.
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe has admitted he hopes the new rule limiting each driver to just 100 kilos of fuel per race does not dominate the 2014 season. “Sometimes it is very frustrating, but fuel and tyre wear have been factors in formula one for years,” he is quoted by Finland’s MTV3, adding that the fuel factor will be greatly “exaggerated” in 2014.
“I hope it does not detract from the racing,” added Lowe.
It has also emerged that Renault may not be prevented from fixing its obvious technical problems once the development ‘freeze’ deadline passes in just over a week. “There is a ‘fair and equitable’ rule which gives us the opportunity to change any of the components if we have reliability problems,” said Renault Sport’s Remi Taffin.
“I have to say, however, that we do not have big problems with the parts, as we have done successful tests on the dynamometer. We just have to make them all work together.”
FOTA set to collapse (GMM)
The F1 teams group FOTA, once a powerful and influential alliance, is on the verge of collapse. That is the claim of the Telegraph newspaper, revealing that with membership fees already going unpaid, the absence of FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh could now be the final straw.
Not only that, deputy FOTA chairman Eric Boullier, who has moved from Lotus to McLaren over the winter, “is expected to step back from any prominent role” with the association, correspondent Daniel Johnson claimed. A source told Johnson that FOTA, now with just 7 of the 11 teams on its books, is also facing “substantial” financial problems, as members baulk at paying up due to disputes about the group’s purpose.
Bob Fernley, the deputy team boss at Force India, said losing Red Bull and Ferrari was a key moment for FOTA. “I don’t think there’s any question about that one,” he admitted, “but we can’t undo where we are today.”
Ecclestone no longer in race for Nurburgring (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone is no longer a serious candidate to buy the embattled Nurburgring. The F1 chief executive revealed last month that he has made a bid for the fabled German grand prix venue, amid its financial problems.
“We want to make sure there is a formula one race in Germany every year in the future,” said Ecclestone.
The 83-year-old Briton said at the time that there are “one or two other interested parties“, and the Rhein newspaper now claims they are entities from Dusseldorf and the US, and a private equity firm. Correspondent Dietmar Bruck said the parties all have until Monday to submit their final proposals, with Ecclestone apparently no longer in the running.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Guardian newspaper claims the newly-retired former Mercedes boss Ross Brawn was approached to take over from Ecclestone, should the F1 chief executive lose his job amid the corruption affair. Adding that F1 owners CVC refused to comment, correspondent Richard Williams said the approach to Brawn had been “unsuccessful“.
Red Bull and Renault marches on to Infinity… (GMM)
Red Bull and Renault have denied rumours the reigning world champions could split.
Together, after Sebastian Vettel won the last nine grands prix of 2013, Red Bull and Renault are now embroiled in a technical crisis after the new V6 ‘power unit’ struggled to merely run in the rear of Adrian Newey’s RB10.
It has triggered rumours Red Bull is on the lookout for a new engine supplier.
Reports have emerged that Cosworth, without a customer for the 2014 season, has nonetheless completed its turbo V6 design that will not be raced this year. The wilder rumours indicate Red Bull could take over the project and run its own engines for 2015.
When asked about the split rumours, Renault Sport’s Remi Taffin told Sport Bild: “I know nothing about that.
“We are currently working very closely with Red Bull, and several teams of (Red Bull) engineers are even at our base in Viry and working on the integration of the power unit and chassis.”
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko also told the German publication: “We have a long term contract with Renault, which is of course linked with our results on the track. Nevertheless, we are not going to panic and are making a joint effort to solve the problems.”
World champion Vettel also sounded calm about the current situation, whilst admitting he hopes to finally get up to speed this week in Bahrain.
“Of course the Jerez test did not go the way we wanted,” he said. “Other teams did a lot more kilometres and that was important because we are talking about completely new technology.
“But it’s better to have the problems in testing than at the races. Hopefully the situation in Bahrain will already be better, and I’ll have a car not only that goes around the track, but that I can use at full throttle.”
Rosberg feeling bullish in his Mercedes (GMM)
In a rare show of brash confidence, Nico Rosberg has admitted he is expecting to win “a lot” of races in 2014. Bernie Ecclestone said recently that with Mercedes emerging from Jerez testing as the early season favourite, German Rosberg was his pick for the title.
“That’s a cool statement from him,” Rosberg told the Berliner Kurier newspaper on Monday at a sponsor event.
“We are in a good mood that this season we can win a lot of races,” he added.
For the calculated 28-year-old Rosberg, and the corporately cautious Mercedes, it is a surprising statement. But the silver camp has reason to be confident.
“The first test went really well,” said Rosberg. “We are doing well. My new car was very reliable from the beginning, but how we are as compared to the competition, we don’t know yet.
“Unfortunately it’s still a bit early to talk about the title,” he continued. “But on reliability it (Jerez) was a strong performance by the team. I did lap after lap when we have so much to learn, which is a nice feeling when you see that the others couldn’t drive very much.”
The main ‘others’, of course, are Red Bull, led by the reigning quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel. Rosberg insisted: “There is no joy in seeing that they can’t drive much; I’m happy if we are in a position to win. But it’s obvious that Red Bull and Renault have problems with the new powertrain.
“We have done our homework better. But the important thing is to see where we are on the grid in Melbourne — I would love to be able to fight against Sebastian,” Rosberg added.
From the Usher – Mark Webber reacts to TJ13 not posting a story on him
We like to think TJ13 takes reader comments seriously and today the Usher was set a task to go forth and discover some #Webberary news for the day after reading Bruznic’s comment. No news was found and the man himself was not impressed.
Bahrain testing drivers schedule
The first teams have announced their driver line-ups for the second preseason test in Bahrain starting Wednesday.
For Red Bull, Vettel will be in the car Wednesday and Thursday, hoping he can manager a few laps more than he did in Jerez. Ricciardo will pick up testing duties on Friday and Saturday.
Lotus will “officially” debut their E22 challenger with Romain Grosjean driving Wednesday and Thursday, while Pastor Maldonado will take over for Friday and Saturday. This may be an inspired decision by the team should they need more parts.
For the team from Woking, McLaren, rookie Kevin Magnussen will be exploring Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday and Thursday while Jenson Button will take his chance on Friday and Saturday.
Marussia has decided to split Jules Bianchi’s running to run the first and last day of testing, Wednesday and Saturday. Max Chilton will two days back to back, Thursday and Friday. hmmm…
For the green team, Caterham, test driver Robin Frijns will test on Wednesday and returning Japanese driver, Kamui Kobayashi will test on Thursday and Saturday. Rookie Marcus Ericsson only gets one day, Friday.
Force India will field Nico Hulkenberg on Wednesday and Thursday while Sergio Perez picks up duties on Friday and Saturday.
It is not clear yet how much of an improvement Renault have really made sorting out their engine so we may see their teams running a limited number of laps again. What is certain is that this second test will show up any flaws engine manufacturers may still have and give us a real indication of who will have a competitive early season.