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Schumacher case closed
French authorities have closed the criminal investigation into Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident. The investigation found no indications that negligence on behalf of the resort nor deficiencies of the equipment played a part in the accident, leaving sole responsibility for the accident with Schumacher himself.
Such investigations after fatal or near fatal accidents are normal in Europe.
FIA gives rookies the green light
The FIA has finalized the last rule tweaks for 2014. From now on rookies, who do not have a superlicense will be required to have a green rear light, that is turned on at any time out on the track, regardless of weather conditions or visibility. Since participation in official testing sessions, like the upcoming winter tests at Bahrain, require a superlicense, this new rule does only apply to the Young drivers test and private testing sessions of the teams.
There are several candidates, who could be expected to be seen going out on track with this new form of illumination. Most likely candidate is ‘Swiss Miss’ Simona de Silvestro, who was recently signed as an ‘affiliate driver’ by the Sauber F1 team. The Sauber press release stated that one of the expressed goals of her 2014 program is to qualify for a FIA superlicense. To do that she would have to run at least 300km in a current car under FIA observation and post reasonably competitive times while doing so. This would ideally be done during one of the private testing days. The 2014 rules allow each team four 2-day tests, which would give Simona 7 chances to go out, as one of the 8 testing days has to be reserved for doing tyre testing under Pirelli’s control.
Another candidate would be Williams’s Susie Wolff, although she technically already fulfilled the minimum criteria for a supoerlicense during last season’s young drivers test.
Adrian Newey confesses
Since TJ13 always tries to reach out to new audiences, we present this article in a format comprehensible to the Youtube and 9gag generation:
Translation for those with a normal attention span:
In a statement for Autosport, Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has confessed that most of the blame for the Jerez test disaster has to be put on themselves rather than engine partner Renault. While he maintains that the French powertrain has an excessive need for cooling in comparison to Ferrari and Mercedes units, he admits that his approach to the tightly packed rear end of the RB10 was too risky and didn’t pay off, resulting in bodywork catching fire around the exhaust.
He implicitly admitted that the RB10 is a rush job, saying that they would have needed ‘another few weeks’ to produce all the parts necessary. This time problem is the direct result of Red Bulls misjudgement of last season. While big rivals Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari all quietly gave up on 2013 by the summer break and channelled all resources into the development for 2014, Red Bull kept developing the RB9 late into the season, expecting an R&D counter-attack that never came.
The new road to F1?
For many moons the road to F1 began by taking up karting at an age, when others stop believing in Santa, but for the first time a ‘new generation’ junior appears. For years now Nissan and Sony have run a joined yearly competition called ‘GT Acedemy’. Gamer kids go head to head using the playstation console simulation GranTurismo in officially sanctioned competitions. The best competitors do then congregate for a real driving experience, a hard and thorough racing drivers school, which is usually staged at Silverstone.
One of the first, who made the successful conversion from console kid to real racer was Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, who has made himself a name in Le Mans and other endurance racing events. 22 year old Brit Jann Mardenborough, who won the 2011 GT Academy has now been signed up to the Red Bull junior program after running the F3 European Championship last year and scoring a 3rd place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans.
It should be said however, that we should not think of the console racers as pimple-faced social misfits, who sustain themselves on Haribo and Cola – those are called programmers – we are talking about seriously competitive people here and the level of preparation approaches real life dimensions. The Fat Hippo served as a member of Race control at a digital 24h of Nürburgring last November. The race was run in real time. Teams brought in hundreds of dollars worth of equipment. The winning team, which included a former GT Academy finalist, had the problem that their two best drivers rely on different wheel and pedal installations, so they devised a rig that theoretically should allow them to change the complete installation in less than the 55-60 seconds it takes to refuel their GT500 class Nissan GTR at the end of the stint. Everybody said it was impossible and in the end they didn’t do in 55 seconds. They did it in 38, leading to spontaneous applause, even from rival teams:
Red Bull is currently setting up a GP3 program for their latest recruit. The digital generation has arrived.
Another 20 years be here he should
The rather distasteful public mutual stroking session between F1’s ageing tyrant Bernard Ecclestone and his overeager disciple and – if Bernie’s drivel is to be believed, favoured successor – Christian Horner of Red Bull continues. In an interview with SportBusiness International Horner adds more ridiculousness to the mutual praising: “I would never consider taking on Bernie’s role. My function and commitment is to Red Bull, and I certainly hope that Bernie will continue for another 20 years. It is in all our interests if he does. Bernie is still very much alive and in control of Formula One.”
(cue stomping sound of approaching well fed hippopotamus amphibius)
O really Christian? Another 20 years of Bernie? Somehow you missed that the toad had to step down recently and now is ‘in control’ under board supervision, because a bunch of ill-tempered Germans got it into their heads that business crimes like bribery and fraud are not really nice and want to lock up his carcass in jail. And even if he somehow buys his way out of that one, in 20 years he’ll be even more senile than he already is and will have relocated to Degobah, lifting things just by raising his hand.
And what does it mean you don’t want Bernie’s job? Yes Bernie said he wants you to be his successor, but somehow you’re the only one, who missed that it was Bernie’s rather poor attempt at making a joke. You couldn’t lead the way out of a paper bag. You were completely out of your depths with two squabbling drivers. How in the wild world of sports would you handle a dozen squabbling teams? Hilarious.
It’s really time that folks stop shoving microphones into the faces of Horner and Ecclestone, as both are monumental failures as stand-up comedians.
Williams finds money where others cannot
After years at Ferrari where Felipe Massa was paid to drive and had, or could, do very little to bring in sponsors from his country it now appears the new found freedom of the little Brazilian has a rather lucrative side.
Today Williams F1 announce that it has signed a new multi-year partnership agreement with Brazilian multi-national energy company Petrobras. The two companies had a previous relationship, starting in 1998 that lasted for 11 years.
As part of the new agreement Petrobras will help develop a new specialist motorsport fuel for use by the team starting in the 2015 season. The company claims to be a “global leader in energy production through deepwater oil and gas exploration and production,” and “pioneers in one of the world’s most promising oil and gas reserves: the pre-salt formation, which will aid the company in doubling its production by 2020.”
The company hopes this increase will have a significant impact global energy supply and further the development of society.
Petrobras President Maria das Graças Silva Foster expressed his happiness about returning to “the biggest motorsport competition in the world.” He goes on, “During the 11 years that Williams was by our side we made significant advances in product development, such as Podium gasoline. Participating in this competition is a huge challenge, since it requires us to always be ready to meet the highest standards for quality and efficiency demanded by the category. We are very excited to start this new challenge.”
Sir Frank Williams were thinking of the glory days and said, “Petrobras and Williams have had a successful partnership before and we are both looking forward to reuniting for 2014. Technologically they are very strong and that will be important for the team as the new regulations have made fuel efficiency increasingly important. They are also a very ambitious global company and we are looking forward to working together to further their marketing goals.”
It remains to be seen which fuel supplier would be better for the Mercedes engine, Williams’ Petrobras or Mercedes’ ‘in-house’ fuel manufacturer, Petronas.
Akebono becomes more than ‘just’ a supplier
Today McLaren Mercedes announced Japanese brake manufacturer Akebono has been ‘elevated’ to the status of ‘Technology Partner’ having designed and integrated the all-new brake by wire system in response to the latest changes in the Formula 1 regulations.
Due to the five-fold increase in the rate at which cars can harvest energy under braking (from 400 kJ per lap to 2,000 kJ per lap) the rear brakes have been significanly affected. To help control and prevent the rear of the car to lock-up Akebono’s engineers have developed the ‘brake-by-wire’ rear brake control system to aide the braking at the rear, negating the need for the driver to constantly alter the brake bias, and thus contributing in preventing rear lock-up.
Sounds like ABS does it not?
McLaren and Akebono started working together in 2007 and celebrating a world championship with Hamilton in 2008. Speaking at today’s announcement Hisataka Nobumoto (Akebono’s Chairman, President & CEO) said, “becoming a fully-integrated technology partner to McLaren Mercedes is another step in being recognised as the best brake manufacturer in the world.”
He continues, “Formula 1 represents the greatest of engineering challenges and the new regulations introduced this year give us an excellent opportunity to design and integrate a brand new electronic system that will further showcase our technical prowess.”
Jonathan Neale, as you can expect, was very complementary of Akebono. “Akebono has been a committed, unwavering ally of the team since 2007 and has continually innovated its product offering, not least in the face of this year’s new regulations which see a huge increase in energy recovery under braking. Akebono’s all-new electronic brake system will be a valuable technical asset.
“Status of ‘Technology Partner’ at McLaren is not to be taken lightly – it is a mark of technical excellence and product performance – and is well deserved by Akebono which now supplies bespoke brake systems to all of McLaren’s race cars across Formula 1 and GT as well being the OEM partner to the awe-inspiring McLaren P1™.
One can only hope these new braking systems don’t hold McLaren back, another year like 2013 and they may decide to completely remove any braking device from their cars!