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Ecclestone ‘win’ is fairly hollow
Ecclestone may have ‘won’ the case against Constantin Medien AG, but he won on a technicality. As TJ13 reported yesterday, Justice Newey ruled that Ecclestone had paid a bribe to Mr. Gribkowsky as part of a ‘corrupt agreement’ to make sure that the Formula One shares of BayernLB were sold to someone he preferred. Newey stated that Ecclestone wanted to get rid of F1 shares in the hands of Banks and therefore bribed Gribkowsky to make sure that the shares were sold to the right bidder. He also ruled that even in light of his advanced age, Ecclestone wasn’t an honest and reliable witness. In non-legalise: A lying (insert expletive here).
So how could he ‘win’ that case then? That’s very simple. Constantin Medien had sued him for damages, because they say that due to Ecclestone’s meddling the shares were sold under value, which Newey said “was not part of Ecclestone’s goals”.
Mr. E should enjoy it while it lasts, because for the Munich case this verdict doesn’t bode well, as Newey basically ruled that the major accusation of bribery is true and that’s what he stands trial for in the Bavarian capitol. In that case it won’t matter what his motives were, it will only matter if he paid a bribe or not and Justice Newey said – he did. It is unlikely that the Munich court will come to a different conclusion. I bet you look good in stripes, Mr. E.
Raised eyebrows over Ferrari’s turbo cover
The turbos in the new V6 engines spool up to more than 100.000 rpm and FIA mandated a sturdy cover to prevent spectators or track-side personnel being hit by shrapnel in case of a major turbo failure. Mercedes and Renault have done so at the expense of weight. Their covers allegedly weight three kilograms, while the two manufacturers say that Ferrari uses a much lighter cover that doesn’t fit its intended purpose.
Ferrari however counters that their turbo parts are rated for much higher rpms than it will ever achieve and shall therefore not break in the first place. Additionally, sensors shall monitor the turbo and deactivate it in case of abnormal rpms, claiming that even in case of turbo failure, it would happen at low rpms, for which their cover is sufficient to avoid shrapnel.
As a result there are two scenarios. Mercedes and Renault could protest the cover at Melbourne, but it would take considerable time until FIA’s tech experts come to a conclusion, which would mean early race results would remain provisional. A second scenario would be a catastrophic failure of a turbo and spectators with redecorated faces, in which case the turbo cover would be deemed unsafe and Ferrari powered cars were banned from races until it has been redesigned.
How about the sensible option? Instead of saving 2 kg of weight, how about they just strengthen their cover, too and put safety first until we know how reliable the turbos really are?
TJ13 has been doing some research to gain a better understanding of the issue at hand with the Ferrari turbo unit. It appears Ferrari is the only manufacturer that have outsourced the development of their turbo to Honeywell (formerly known as Garrett). The significance you ask? Honeywell has a rich history in motorsport and even more in aeronautics.
Dictators – ‘surprise’ support for each other
Bernard Ecclestone, now officially a liar and criminal according to Justice Newey, has come to the defence of fellow tyrant Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Not too long ago the Russian parliament Duma passed a law that forbids education of minors about homosexuality. Putin, always the sabre rattler, coined the phrase ‘homosexual propaganda’ for it.
Of course the west erupted in righteous anger, although some forget that most western countries needed up to 50 years to abolish anti-gay laws and cannot understand why Russia doesn’t come to grips with it in just 20.
Formula One’s ‘dear leader’ and ‘president for life’ however is perfectly happy with Putin’s homophobic stance and says he is “in complete agreement” with Putin’s views. He claims that his fellow despot has been “misunderstood” and says that Putin has no problem with homosexuality and merely doesn’t want it to be “advertised to an under-age audience“. Of course the slightly senile career criminal from Suffolk conveniently omits that Putin, like many Russians, regularly refers to homosexuals as “abnormal people” (and that’s the printable variant).
The dictators love-in continues with Ecclestone expressing his deep admiration for Putin and the fact that he “says what he thinks“. Well, Mr. E, Putin also ‘removes’ people he doesn’t like. Oh, wait, is that a snort from Adam Parr I heard?
Pastor gets his hand on the E22
A very determined looking Pastor Maldonado took to the track this morning in Bahrain…
Red Bull ‘has lots of problems’ (GMM)
World champion Sebastian Vettel finally managed some laps but at a sluggish pace on Thursday as Red Bull’s pre-season crisis continues. His tally of 59 laps in the troubled Renault-powered RB10 ended fears Adrian Newey’s latest creation might never run at all, but he was more than five seconds off the pace set by Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren.
“We still have lots of problems – large and small – that we need to fix,” Vettel is quoted by the German newspaper Die Welt. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko admitted that the task now achieved was simply to get the RB10 to work, and that on Thursday the car “was just rolling around“.
Vettel is quoted by Bild newspaper: “The laptimes are not the best, but the first thing was to get the car running.” The reigning quadruple world champion, who won the last 9 races of 2013 on the trot, is now returning to Europe, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo now to complete the first week of running in Bahrain.
Ahead of his turn in the RB10, Australian Ricciardo was his usual positive self in the midst of what many are calling the Red Bull ‘crisis’.
“We are not halfway through testing yet, there’s still seven days, which is a lot,” he told Australian media Fairfax. “Then we have got Melbourne and even if – and this is just me talking – even if the first six races don’t go to plan, there’s still 13 or 14 left,” he insisted.
Gamblers would currently be putting their title money on Mercedes.
“They are strong, no doubts,” said Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on Thursday. “But this is (only) a test,” the Spaniard insisted. “You don’t really know how much fuel the cars have, how is the usage of the tyres etcetera at the moment.
“So it’s not a worry,” said Alonso.
And he thinks the most important thing in Melbourne next month will be reliability, not performance. “To have the fewest problems and to finish will almost guarantee a good result,” he told Spanish-language reporters in Bahrain.
And a source told a Spanish sports daily that Ferrari – and probably other top teams as well – is keeping its full performance up its sleeve for now.
“The fact that Mercedes looks strong was expected, it’s no accident,” said Alonso, “but we also feel good. And I also think that Red Bull will be very strong in Australia.”
But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agrees with Alonso that Mercedes is currently leading the pack. “They’ve done an impressive job,” he told the BBC. “You’d have to say they look the favourites.
“They’re doing mileage, running round competitively and they’re in a strong position if the race was tomorrow. Thankfully, the race isn’t tomorrow.”
McLaren, despite its 2013 troubles, is another Mercedes-powered team that is looking strong ahead of the new season.
Danish rookie Magnussen’s best time on Thursday was just 2.5 seconds shy of the Bahrain pole last year. “He seemed to be pretty fast, yes,” agreed Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg. “But laptimes are not really on our radar right now.”
Faring less well in Bahrain this week is Lotus, who after sitting out the opening test at Jerez are now struggling simply to run the Renault-powered E22. “Renault I think can say more about it,” said Romain Grosjean when asked why his programme on Thursday was limited to just 18 laps, “but some things we need to take the blame for as well.”
Lotus team bosses have insisted the decision to sit out Jerez was right, but Grosjean admitted to Auto Motor und Sport that running in Spain “would have helped a bit“.
“But now it’s just the way it is,” he added. “Our day of filming at Jerez worked very well and we thought everything was fine, but here we have had some things that have needed hours to fix. It was a surprise that we could have done without.”
‘New’ F1 already catching up with V8 era speed (GMM)
Fears that the pace of second-tier GP2 cars could overtake formula one in 2014 are now easing.
After the opening test of the all-new V6 ‘power unit’ era at Jerez recently, Jenson Button warned that GP2 will run F1 close on some circuits this year.
But in Bahrain on Thursday, Button’s new rookie teammate Kevin Magnussen surprised the entire paddock with his best lap of just under 1m35 — a shade over 2.5 seconds shy of Nico Rosberg’s V8-powered 2013 pole position.
Afterwards, Magnussen said: “I never believed that we would be five seconds slower than last year.
“It won’t be too long until we have caught up with the old formula one,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas agreed: “By the end of the year we will be at 2013 pace — for sure we are not as slow as GP2!”
Many paddock figures are now wondering what the works Mercedes cars might be capable of if – like Magnussen’s McLaren – they pushed hard with a fresh set of super-soft tyres.
Mercedes has reportedly been running with the medium tyre only, because the Brackley squad did not ask Pirelli to supply the softest in its range, which are never used in competition in Bahrain.
Team chairman Niki Lauda, however, is now curious.
“A test is there for testing, to see the whole picture. You have to know what you can do on each tyre and I would like to know if we could do the Magnussen time on the super-soft tyre,” the Austrian legend said.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, second fastest on Thursday but 1.5 seconds slower than Magnussen, said he is not surprised the ‘new’ F1 is already catching up to the V8 era.
“No matter what rule changes there are, the engineers always manage to catch up the lost time,” the German is quoted by Speed Week. “And we are only at the very beginning.”
Williams to show Martini livery on March 6 (GMM)
Williams’ new Martini-themed 2014 livery will be unveiled on 6 March, a week before the F1 circus gathers in Melbourne for the season opener.
Initially, it was believed the Grove team would pull the official wraps off its highly-anticipated new title sponsorship deal during Bahrain testing.
But that theory was dismissed on the basis that alcohol advertising is not allowed in Arab countries.
So Speed Week reported that Williams’ deal with the iconic Italian vermouth label would be announced on the Wednesday or Thursday of Australian grand prix week.
But according to France’s Auto Hebdo, the British team has finally confirmed the real launch date — March 6, exactly a week before the paddock bursts to life in Melbourne.
Pic ‘expects’ Friday work with Lotus in 2014 (GMM)
Charles Pic is expecting to appear on the timesheets in some Friday practice sessions this year, after signing up as the new Lotus third driver.
Officially, after the Frenchman lost his Caterham race seat, Lotus on Thursday said only that Pic will work on the simulator and provide support at the grands prix.
“I am very excited to join a top team,” the 24-year-old, who will work with fellow support drivers Marco Sorensen and Nicolas Prost, said.
“Obviously, the big change is that I won’t be racing, but I will be at the races and working in meetings which will help me develop and progress as a driver,” Pic added.
And he told France’s RMC Sport that his new role will involve driving the actual F1 car.
“It is expected that I will take the wheel on Friday,” said Pic, who was presented as the new Lotus driver on Thursday afternoon in Bahrain.
“It’s important when you are a third driver that you actually drive, and I will,” he insisted, without specifying his precise test and driving programme.
“I hope I can use it (the opportunity) to come back to a race seat in 2015,” said Pic.
Photos from Bahrain Testing Day 3
Here is a gallery of some photos from Twitter this morning of the 3rd test in day at Bahrain. This will be updated throughout the day.