Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 24th February 2014

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Di Montezemolo continues at Ferrari

CVC’s MacKenzie not happy

Bahrain Day 4 – in motion

Imminent F1 woman racer? No chance!

The emerging landscape

Schumacher’s chances diminish


Reflecting on Monaco, for a second time…



Di Montezemolo continues at Ferrari

When the now ex Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned last Friday it was widely expected that Matteo Renzi, the Democratic Party leader elected this past December, would become Prime Minister. And that is what happened. Renzi was sworn in on Saturday and was joined by his brand-new cabinet consisting of sixteen ministrant members.

Further, a number of political commentators in Italy believe that Renzi wanted Di Montezemolo to join this cabinet but it appears the love for the Scuderia is still so strong, so very strong. Di Montezemolo was offered the post of “Made in Italy” minister, which he refused. Renzi then offered him the post of Minister of Economic Development, something that would most definitely suit Il Pradino’s skill set but Di Montezemolo does not wan’t to leave Ferrari even though he is very passionate about politics too. As much as Renzi tried to convince him to join it was not to be.

Or …

The new Minister of Economic Development is Signora Federica Guidi. She was born in Modena (second home town of Ferrari) and worked at Ducati. She was also president of the Young Entrepreneurs in the Emlia Romagna area (where Ferrari is) as well as vice president and later president of Confindustria (the Italian employers organisation) and so was her father.

And how does this tie to De Montezemolo? Il Pradino was president of Confindustria between 2004 and 2008 and there are those who believe there is a connection between Guidi and Montezemolo…

So for the foreseeable future Mr E can enjoy the almost undivided attention of Montezemolo… talk about having you cake and eat it!


CVC’s MacKenzie not happy

This coming week the Formula 1 Strategy Group is meet and decide on a number of changes including Mr E’s double points for the last three races and a new format for qualifying.

AMuS reports that CVC’s Donald MacKenzie is not happy with teams taking tactical decisions in Q3 to save tyres and has been lobbying to change how the shootout for poll position gets conducted and it appears this is the driver for a new qualifying format in 2014.

TJ13 reported in February there was a new proposed qualifying format, which it now appears is sponsored by the majority shareholder of F1’s commercial rights.  Qualy will be split into three session, 18min, 15min and 12 min. Additionally the top 10 in Q3 will be given an extra set of options for this session. But here is the catch… they have to start the race with the tyres on which they set their fastest times on in Q2 to ensure they get no benefit by sitting out Q3.

AMuS are suggesting in addition the rest of the field that did not reach Q3 will also receive a set of options, but for the race, giving them a better chance in the race and apparently most teams have already agreed in principal to this new format.


Bahrain Day 4 – in motion

A compilation of footage taken during day 4 of Bahrain – enjoy


Imminent F1 woman racer? No chance!

There has been speculation that the Haas F1 application process will be the vehicle which delivers the first F1 woman racer for many years as the American racing team has Danica Patrick in their stable.

The topic of female F1 drivers has been surfacing regularly over the past 2 years and the driving force behind this mostly attributed to Mr. Ecclestone. Amusingly, Mr. E was asked back in 2005 about the possibility of women F1 drivers and he quipped, “I’ve got one of these wonderful ideas that women should be all dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.”

Times have indeed changed, and Bernie now realises potential of women drivers in F1. This could enhance viewer numbers and in turn sponsor opportunities to market the female dollar.

Back in March 2013, Ecclestone stated on the official F1 website, that he would like to see Danica Patrick try out in F, though added she would “hardly want to give up the exposure she has in the USA to come here and maybe not make it”

At the time Patrick was competing in her first full season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and remarked, “I did see something about Bernie’s comments. They sounded complimentary, and it looked like he was kind of acknowledging my ability to drive a car”. However, “I always said unless it would be something I would want to do for real, as in race a Formula One car, I don’t see any point in testing it. It’s a lot of work to get fitted in a car comfortable enough to be able to go drive it.”


Giavanna Amati struggling to control the Brabham

Today the world’s F1 media are getting excited because Williams have announced Susie Wolf will be driving in 2 Friday practice sessions and during a full 1 day test. It has been noted this will be a historic time because she will be the first woman to drive at a Grand Prix weekend since Giovanna Amati competed for Brabham in 1992.

Williams Technical director today said, “Susie has become a valued member of our driver line up and 2014 will see her take on more responsibilities as we seek to make a strong step forward in performance,” adding that she, “has demonstrated a natural talent for developing a car and providing strong feedback and these sort of characteristics will be key this season as teams seek to quickly understand and refine the radically overhauled 2014 cars.”

Wolff herself says, “I’m grateful for the support and belief Williams continue to show in me and 2014 promises to be a very important milestone in my career. My responsibilities within the team have steadily increased as I have proved myself, culminating in the opportunity to test the car at Silverstone and conduct straight line aero tests last season.

“Competing in two FP1 sessions, alongside an additional full test day this season will be a big step and I am looking forward to the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the FW36 on a Grand Prix weekend. It’s a challenge that I will relish and it will be a great chance for me to continue assisting the team.”

Yet this is hardly the female break though F1 may believe it needs. Susie Wolff joined Williams in 2012 and so far has taken part in just the young drivers test for a session at Silverstone last year.

Indeed, Sauber have appointed a woman test driver too, though the exact details of how much time Simona de Silvestra will get behind the wheel of an F1 car is unclear. The team say, “This year she is taking the next step in her career by joining a preparation programme with the Sauber F1 Team, with the goal to gain her super licence and prepare for a race seat in Formula One for 2015. The programme will include on track testing, simulator training, as well as mental and physical preparation”.

In stark contrast to Wolff’s snail like progress in the sport, Williams appointed Felipe Nasr as a test driver just a few days ago. He then immediately piloted the FW36 on day four of the first Bahrain test and will get not 2 – but 5 FP1 sessions in 2014.

Unless Haas makes it into F1 and delivers Danica Patrick – as many believe he will, it seems the chance of seeing a female driver doing anything meaningful in F1 is still some way off.

Woman F1 Drivers



The emerging landscape

Many thanks to Lorenzo for the articles illuminating our understanding on technical matters related to the new 2014 cars. Further, my heartfelt appreciation goes to all in the TJ13 team for keeping you informed of matters whilst I was fortunate enough to take a family break in the Italian Alps.

It appears that a number of matters are becoming clear now that 8 of the 12 days pre-season testing are complete. Firstly, Mercedes are strong, though I have a source that suggests Ferrari is hiding their true performance quite deliberately.

For the lay person, it will become evident fairly quickly that the new breed F1 cars are in fact quicker in a straight line, though slower through the corners. This is hardly surprising given the torque the engines produce and the likelihood of spinning up the wheels if the driver is too aggressive.

The class of 2014 engines are capable of 900 BHP and we saw Nico Rosberg clock a time in Bahrain test 1 pretty close to the pole position time for the race weekend in 2013.

The F14T in the hands of Fernando Alonso clocked a top speed in Bahrain of 336kph compared to a best from the 2013 entry from Maranello of 314kph. Nico Rosberg comments to AMuS, “we are incredibly fast on the straights. I guess at Monza we will be doing 360kph”.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg may be looking good for Melbourne and whilst the rest of the Mercedes teams may be feeling snug, not one of them has done the mileage required for 1 power train in 2014.

The 8 engines allowed in 2013 meant the teams had to complete some 2,200 kms with each power train. The reduction from 8 to 5 engines means now that 3,500kms must be achieved before the engine is changed.

The Mercedes team lead the way in distance covered with almost 3,000kms under their belts, though of course much of this has been delivered at well under ‘full clack’.

Mark Gallagher observes, “When I ran the F1 business at Cosworth, our standard durability test for a V8 was 3000kms; this gave us 800kms more than was absolutely required by our teams, and so provided a high level of assurance.  Under the new regulations the plan would have been a durability test of, say, 4500kms”.

This is a distance which the Renault teams combined have failed to reach. Mercedes have cumulatively delivered over 10,000kms under their team’s collective belts, while Ferrari may in fact be nervous by the fact they have only managed about half this distance.

Stories are emerging that Marussia’s testing in Bahrain was disrupted by a computer virus, though whatever the problem, they are the team really in the mire. It could be Caterham emerge the strongest from a war of attrition amongst the Renault teams and in Australia  score points for the first time. This would almost definitely put Marussia out of contention for 10th place in the season long constructors’ championship.

The returning Kobayashi is not so sure. “Currently we are not on Formula One level,” he told Speedweek as his Caterham was 10 seconds behind the fastest car on day 4 in Bahrain. “It’s more GP2 level. We have so many problems with the car and the times are incredibly slow.” said the Japanese driver adding, “When you look at what Mercedes is doing, it’s overwhelming, but it also shows us what is possible and in what direction we need to develop.”

The FIA are considering waiving the 107% qualifying rule for the immediate future, as they shakedown of the new powertrains continues. There are concerns that the current rule requiring a car to complete a qualifying session within 107% of the fastest time set could see several teams missing from the race.

The final test in Bahrain due to start this Thursday will see the teams will decent mileage under their belts pushing for performance, whilst the likes of Red Bull will be feeling the pressure and focusing on delivering a car that can complete the 307km of the Australian GP –  the weekend of which begins in 2 weeks and 3 and a bit days.


Schumacher’s chances diminish further

TJ13 has reported little on this matter and has to date certainly refused to speculate on matters which require a high level of specialist technical knowledge.

However, I do remember soon after Michael’s accident, a neurosurgeon told me that time would indicate the extent of the damage done during the skiing accident.

The days, weeks and now months have ticked by, and of course we must respect the devastating nature of this event on Michael’s immediate family. However, the complete silence on all matters to do with Michael’s condition is becoming quite unnatural.

Schumacher is only in the news because hundreds of thousands of fans around the world elevated him to celebrity status, and whilst they cannot be in the loop over every twist and turn, they are entitled to some official update on their hero from time to time.

Yet the silence from Grenoble is deafening.

Gary Harstein – former F1 doctor who succeeded Sid Watkins takes up this theme. “I fail to see how talking to us about the significant ups and downs of this long hard process damages Michael’s privacy or makes Corinna and the kids’ journey more difficult.

This is totally unfair to the people who made Michael the celebrity he is. The people who vibrated to his victories, and were saddened by his defeats. They deserve to be told something. I didn’t say it’s their right to know… rather I said they DESERVE to know. Why on earth is their pain not being considered? How is keeping the millions of fans in the dark helping ANYTHING?”

As was explained to me some time ago, Hartstein concurs that following the removal of sedation announced by the doctors, the next step would be to wean Michael form his ventilator. Surely had this been successfully achieved, there would have been an announcement from Grenoble and/or from the family – as this would be a joyous occasion.

The fact we have not heard this is a negative. Gary is blunt on the matter.

“Let’s cut to the chase.

“If Michael is not breathing on his own, and is (as we suspect) not showing signs of purposeful interaction with his environment (I am ignoring the mouth movements of which Felipe Massa spoke), AND if there is imaging and functional evidence of extensive and irreversible brainstem damage, Michael’s doctors will discuss withdrawing treatment with the family, as under these circumstances there is essentially no chance of recovery. It is possible that this discussion has already happened”.

The former F1 doc concludes with this caveat, “Lastly, if Michael is breathing on his own AND showing signs of meaningful interaction with his environment (I very much hope, but very much doubt that this is the situation), then a certain number of people should be ashamed of themselves for denying this good news to his fans. If there is indeed progress and good news ready to be told, then the current comms strategy will go down in the annals as among the most ill-guided, unprofessional, and hurtful in the history of Formula 1 PR”.

It’s clear at times how the angle the media take when reporting the news influences the mas consciousness. Having just completed a weeks skiing with my children, the matter of safety was one regularly on my mind. One ski shop owner told me he sold more helmets in the past 2 months than in 10 years.

Yet the issues of safety on the ski slopes are fare more complex than helmets and off piste skiing. O course wearing a helmet is a sensible thing to do when participating in such an activity, yet the dangers of skiing were made manifest to me even more on this trip.

I watched someone else’s child in 10 metre viability ski at high speed towards a blind crest, in blind faith there was no ravine. On another occasion, we had ventured on a mission to ski to France and back – which required a full day and some haste. The weather in the morning was fabulous, sunglasses and light ski wear only required – and the forecast was for this to continue for the rest of the day.

It didn’t. Within 30 minutes we went form these to blizzard conditions at 10,000 feet. A member in my  party had not brought goggles, we met a lady with no money and merely light clothing and my piste map blew away in the wind and my phone was out of battery.

In life, the unexpected is always around the corner – and despite experience and no matter the amount of clever forethought applied, there’s always the likelihood of an occasion catching us in a state of unreadiness.

For me, the lesson from Michael’s tragic situation is not about to helmet or not to helmet, to ski off piste or only between the markers (when they are visible). It is that life is transient; and above all the mundane routine of our lives – doing what really matters whilst there is time… is of paramount importance,

Former F1 doc’s piece in full here


80 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 24th February 2014

  1. So, one of Italy’s most renowned members of it’s business elite has managed to get “his girl” the Minister of economic development post?
    Well, it makes sense, why leave Ferrari’s delicate Fire & Ice project in the hands of Domenicali, to pursue your political ambitions, if you can have it both ways? A true puppet master at work.
    If you can successfully control the huge ego’s in a flamboyant environment like Scuderia Ferrari, then Italian politics should be just a walk in the park for Luca.

    • Astute comment, and the piece makes sense to me. The BBC news report pointed out the PM is Italy’s youngest, and that half of the cabinet were women. I sense a ‘changing of the guard’, to bring in younger politicians, a bit like what happened here 5 years ago post-crash, and perhaps get rid of that sense of Berlusconi/the older generation and the various scandals we hear of (which is all we have gotten to hear about concerning Italian politics for a while). Montezemolo couldn’t really be hired in that climate, although having a woman in the post and also his influence is a double win (allowing him to keep on pushing Ferrari forwards). Or, maybe we are looking too much into it..

      • No we’re not, that’s exactly what he’s doing.
        His next project is Alitalia.
        Source Avionews:
        ” The Italian Prime Minister elect has started working on the entry of Etihad in the ownership structure of Alitalia.

        The Middle Eastern company is expected to join Alitalia with an investment between 300 and 350 million Euros, for a stake ranging from 40% to 49%.

        Renzi met with Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Mubadala Development Company, the investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, which has the mandate of facilitating the diversification of the economy of the Emirate.

        The meeting took place in the house of Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who has been holding for years business relations with Al Mubarak: since 2005 Mubadala owns a 5% stake in Ferrari, and since 2007 it is an official sponsor of the Ferrari racing team.

        According to rumours which emerged during the past days Montezemolo, thanks to its good relationships in the United Arab Emirates, is reportedly the favourite to be appointed as new Chairman of Alitalia after the agreement for the entry of Etihad Airways in the main Italian carrier”

        The man is a business octopus, and we’re lucky to have him as Ferrari President.
        In case you might wonder, if Luca becomes Alitalia CEO, he will not leave Ferrari, he will do the restructuring of the airline and then put his people in key positions, Ferrari will always be his first love, and rightfully so!

        • Sounds like a good deal for everyone.. indeed, a lot of businessmen would just reap their profits and move on! But Luca (Ferrari since the 70s) will keep Ferrari at the top for as long as he can do so..

  2. Judge

    If i was sitting with someone who only had a passing interest in F1, 5 mins before the race, and they said ok, explain to me how qualy works and lets say for good measure, ones had an engine change, ones had a gearbox change and ones got a penalty from the previous race.

    To the casual viewer it just looks like you might as well put some names in hat, think i’d just have to shrug my shoulders and say enjoy the race.

    Then once the race has started, having to explain DRS (or as most people who aren’t f1 fanatics understand, a push to pass button) and then explaining why push to pass doesn’t work at some tracks, and why does the commentator keep talking about tyres and cliffs, is there a steep drop at the edge of one of the corners,?

    I enjoy F1, don’t think I’ve missed a qualy or race since 1994, but I just can’t see how F1 can attract new viewers or casual viewers, when its so frickin complicated, cause at its bares bones, it should be straight forward, cars qualify, no shuffling cause their car has fallen to pieces. They race round and round, overtake a few people and the best driver wins. That’s how it works when I go, go karting, and that seems to work quite well, but I could be being naive.

    • LOL my misses has watched every race with me for about 4 years now and if said explain DRS she looks at me blankly and says “what’s DRS?”. She still asks my why they have different colours and the tyres and why they ware out so quick…….and she is not a stupid woman (as women go lol). So if she can’t get her head round it after 4 years, what hope does the casual fan stand.

    • …I have sympathy for your point of view, however, I’ve tried explaining cricket and Rugby to American friends of mine and it’s just as complicated for a total novice.

      …Further, cars being out of position on track is fairly normal in any motorsport who have a pit stop as part of the race… even in my amateur karting career I’ve raced many times where we’ve re-fueled.

      Solve the ‘dirty air’ problem which sees a car genuinely 2 seconds a lap quicker failing to pass a slower car – and we can loose DRS. This can be done by aero regs but the teams don’t want to do it.

      Penalties are part of most sports and to the total novice are complicated in why they are awarded and what the resulting punishment is…

      I agree the new 5 second rule – which TJ13 first reported the detail of – is ill considered with cars being out of track position and time penalties added at the end… double points… nuff said 😯

      Yet many sports over the past decade have seen radical changes and F1 is facing a similar era…

      All we can hope for is that in the end its mostly sensible…

      • Your point kinda fell to peices when you said “i tried to explain this to some American’s” 🙂

        I hear what your saying, but with F1 pretty much behind a pay view wall, and what seems over complicated rules and the aero issues you mentioned, where do the new viewers come from, as we all start as casual viewers.

        I’m happy to watch F1 as it is, but i maybet the last generation of F1 followers, once we’re gone, who watches.

        I hazzard guess that most of F1’s fan base is over 30, judging by the f1 forums, you only have to see how many times the Hill/Schumacher debate comes up, and there are not many on forums who don’t remember this.

        Sorry Judge, dont mean to sound like im picking a fight, just i see the sport i enjoy very much eventually disappearing, it wont be the engine specs that make F! irrelevant anymore.

        10 years ago all my work colleagues followed f1, now I’m the only 1, at best a few of them have a passing interest now.

        • Speaking as someone from the other side of the pond, with any luck NASCAR will be providing some new viewers (congrats Dale Jr.) and it might surprise many here to know that serious NASCAR fans are just as unhappy with their coverage as serious F1 fans are. In addition, every year the format and points are changing and as a result there are many disgusted fans. Why so many changes? Dropping ratings.

          • At least Jr is in the chase now! He did well at Daytona.. I managed to catch the last 130 laps on a live stream. The tape getting stuck to his grill 3 laps from home felt like it was sent down from heaven! Maybe 2014 could be Jr’s best shot at the title, as he is nearing 40 as well (which seems strange in itself, even to me who is 15 years younger than him). I thought the racing was great, except for the frequent crashes near the end (which is inevitable as the jockeying for finishing positions starts to happen). Did the two-car tango detract from ratings at all? Or is it the frequent ad breaks.. Or Johnson wrapping up so many titles (which is aided by the chase, ironically, a bit like Vettel and Red Bull’s situation).

    • every sport is complicated. I dont know where you are from but Try explaining offside to someone who has never watched a game of football. Especially with the new fifa rules this year.

      • Someone explain to me – a brazillian – the Curling rules, please.

        ps.: I’m anxious to understand the sport of Yarnold and Williams (in love with both).

        • From my casual position – Curling is like Lawn Bowls, but on Ice, and it’s closest to the centre, as much as possible. Yarnold – banzai a Q lap down a huge ice slide, reminiscent of swimming pool slides, on an F1 designed tea-tray, and a helmet for safety..

    • I think that the key words in your comment are ‘passing interest’ and ‘casual observer’, caveats that would render impossible the task of explaining a complicated set of rules within 5 minutes to elevate someone’s enjoyment and understanding of the sport to ‘fanatic’ levels.

      There is a veritable cornucopia of motorsport categories to sate every possible appetite, all with varying levels of complexity and all with their own unique rules and regulations. F1 is a complicated sport. It always has been. Explaining that the cars now have fancy dynamos that charge a battery that give the car a boost every lap, that they have a button that counteracts the penalty incurred from being in the ‘wash’ of the car in front, or that the teams incur a penalty whenever they replace a part that is meant last for several races, doesn’t seem any more difficult than explaining how, in times gone by, the teams had a choice of tyre manufacturer, there nave been periods when there have been several different specifications of engine, and even occasions when drivers have jumped into someone else’s car and won a race!

      The problem, for me, isn’t understanding the rules, it’s comprehending the logic – or, sometimes, lack of – behind them.

    • Does anyone remember the Japanese GP (2009 I think) where literally half the grid had a grid penalty? It took some time for the FIA to figure out what the grid should actually be, as written in their own rules… We could have something similar here at some point should everyone be changing their ‘power units’ for reliability problems.

      We do need simplicity, and for the rules that remain to be better than what we have now. You could compare it to bureaucracy or regulation. Q – should be about the fastest driver/car combo on one lap. Make it so, and you would have all cars on track in Q3. Then, the race is about winning over a race distance, where strategy can come into play, be it a non-stop Lotus tyre strategy, or Barcelona Alonso attacking 4 stop, which caught Red Bull sleeping. Variety should be encouraged.. but linking Q and race means the Q won’t be a pure contest on pace, but also race strategy.. Keith at F1Fanatic has looked at this extensively.

      • And of course, the simpler the rules, the easier it is to get casual fans on-board, while leaving fans with the notion of a ‘purer sport’, and less likely to be confused when someone decides to do 4 pit stops to win a race.

        • A pitstop really is no more complicated or confusing to understand than, say, a substitution in a match of football (soccer!). I suppose if we wanted to attract more casual viewers we could simplify the rules, have one engine supplier, only race on oval circuits…

          • Interesting that the limit there is also 3 substitutions! I can remember Eriksson changing the whole England team at half-time..

            Simple, but not that simple! We have spec series for that.. Although watching the Daytona 500 and seeing what complexity was emerging from it was quite interesting to say the least. I think competition between a few engine suppliers is good for the sport, along with a few teams at least. There, the more the better usually.

  3. I listened to that clip through headphones and you can hear the tyres squeal under breaking and turn in, especially on the bit with the McLaren and Mercedes cars. I like the fact you can hear more than just a screening engine.

    Happy happy happy!

    • Yes, hearing the F1 tyres squealing was a new sensation.. one I’m used to from racing sims for gaining information on the tyres. But the clip is a great find.. so FOM do produce testing highlights.. but the broadcasters use their own stuff.. why not show us both! At least FOM have it on youtube (for the moment) to be viewed..

  4. I spent almost 25 years falling asleep after the first few laps of the race:) After we started getting qualifying televised a lot of what happened in the race started to make more sense and part way through 2012 I no longer fell asleep during the races! I think it was watching qualifying that made the difference; maybe just because the commentators have time to discuss a lot of the behind the scenes issues. It’s because F1 is so complicated that makes it so fascinating. There are so many factors involved that all have to come together for a driver and car to win.

    Another thing that helped was playing the F1 computer game – it meant that I could learn the tracks before the race and understand which were the tricky corners. I also learned to use DRS and Ker’s…

    And finally, reading TJ13 added so much to my understanding of what was happening. So give your wife another 20 years and maybe one day she’ll bore you with wanting to discuss F1 all the time like I do to my husband:) He has always watched F1 but he also follows all motor sport whereas I’m only interested in F1….

    • All GPs which take place after a large Sunday lunch have always seen me fall asleep, unless they are truly riveting.
      Which means I usually have to watch the European timezone GPs twice to make any sense of them.

      • Out European timezone races start at 10 pm but years ago they used to be delayed until after the football and didn’t start until closer to midnight so I had a good excuse for falling asleep:)

        At least our F1 is still free to air here in Australia though and we get all the races live now…

    • Indeed, like Raikkonen at Bahrain 2012. But with the tyres not wearing as much, lets hope this doesn’t happen.. Q rules could be improved so much, but we’ll likely be stuck with this latest CVC proposal.

      • IF I’ve understood CVC’s proposal correctly, I fail to see where we’re getting ‘stuck’ with anything 🙁

        Some means of ensuring that all cars that make it through Q2 actually at least attempt to set a time in Q3, can only be good as I see it.

        • Hmm, but it’s more artificial is it not Peter? Why not give the teams qualifying tyres and race tyres. You can use your qualifying allotment for qualifying only and race for race only.

          Does the new format mean if you qualify in 11th or 12th you can get on the podium? You get an extra set of tyres so the possibility is there.

        • I mean ‘stuck’ with whatever CVC comes up with, and are in the position to get done by Ecclestone and the FIA voting for it. Starting races on Q2 tyres.. Extra options for non-Q3 runners.. might as well give them push to pass!

          On getting all drivers to lap in Q3 – I addressed that point a few comments of mine above this one, and basically said what Don_Quixote said.

  5. Don’t forget Simona de Silvestra! With her attached to Sauber, The odds look better that F1 might actually enter the 20th century wrt women in sport.

    To be fair, outside of drivers they have made decent progress, but the next generation of fans will have no patience for such things and the drivers are the sharp end of the PR stick.

  6. “Fernando Alonso clocked a top speed in Bahrain of 336kph compared to a best from the 2013 entry from Maranello of 214kph.”

    314 kph, right?

  7. Unless Haas makes it into F1 and delivers Danica Patrick – as many believe he will,………..

    Patrick is 31. if Haas enters F1 (which I doubt he will) in a couple of years she’ll be 33 – which is well past the prime of an F1 driver, especially a rookie driver.

    Patrick’s star in NASCAR is already in descent. Her results have been poor at best. Her average finish was in the mid to low 20’s and her primary sponsor, Go-Daddy,is reducing the amount of money and exposure they have with her. In fact Go-Daddy nearly dropped her all together at the end of last year, but for a last minute deal at a significantly reduced cost kept her at Stewart-Haas. Fox and NASCAR got a lot of negative press for their constant rah-rahing of her last year.

    I have no doubt at some point a woman will get an F1 drive but it won’t be Patrick or Wollf.

    • Simona de Silvestro is the best option avaiable. She is younger than Patrick, more experienced than Wolff and is at Monisha’s squad.

    • If her star has waned in NASCAR by season end, it could be a good move to join the Haas F1 operation, even as a test driver like Susie Wolff. But I imagine staying in view of her market in the USA will be her main priority. She would also open doors for F1 in the US if she made the leap.. I’m thinking mainly among casual/female viewers, and increased media profile for the sport.

      But of course, Simona is our best hope.. however she’ll require sponsorship to make it in 2015, and Sauber have four big bets on that at the moment.. namely Sutil, Gutierrez, Van der Garde and Sirotkin. If the Russian money is slow to come forwards, then she could always replace him as the test driver, and Sutil has struggled so far with the brakes. He’s also over 30.. Gutierrez needs to impress and VDG could be in with a serious shot for 2015 if his backing is as much as is reported (up to $15m).

      Wolff has done well with what she has, and bringing development skills to the table is the only way to stay in F1 if you can’t do it on pace or cash. I’m thinking of the top test drivers here, or those involved in sim work, such as Paffett, Davidson, Turvey, Hartley etc. but these guys also won junior titles, so do have the pace as well to race if required. In that category would then also fall de la Rosa, Wurz, Badoer etc.

    • Women usually last a bit longer in the competitive sports than men, before they are past their prime. Sotchi was a good example. You had ‘oldies’ in their late 30s and early 40s in demanding disciplines like x-country, biathlon and speed skating and they were doing well.

      • And Patrick has a history with open wheel racing. when she raced IndyCar, ratings would jump every time she participated and even more so when she had a top 10. Her sponsors may not be happy (possibly because she got tired of wearing skimpy bathing suits all the time) and her star may be declining in NASCAR but from the POV of bringing new eyeballs to F1 and in particular American eyeballs, she would still be quite a good bet.

        First American Woman to race F1 on an American team, you could probably sell a few tickets based on that and get a few new fans.

        Besides, she looked good for a top 20 at the finish 500 before she got taken out. 😉

        • Write “American” on it and the yanks would buy a stinking bowl of diarrhea, such is their nationalistic and imperialistic frenzy, but I think Patrick has proven she can make it, regardless of gender or marketability.

  8. To me its obvious the Schumacher family has got the bad news about Michael,they dont need to announce to the world they are deciding when to take him of life support.

    This is a terrible thing for any family to go through,respect their privacy.

      • I agree! He regularly seems to demonstrate exactly how ill suited he was to a key role at the heart of a highly political global sport where the reputations of teams and sponsors are worth tens of millions.

        If your hobby is shooting your mouth off and you have the utmost belief in the veracity of your own views and see no need to keep your opinions to yourself, don’t act so surprised when you get canned from the political minefield that is F1!!

  9. Why complicate things so much. Racing like javelin or shot put is simple in essence. Fastest man wins. So why not keep the current quali as is but let teams decide what guess they want to start on. Just ensure that they use their quali tyres during the race at some point along with the other allocated tyres. Things are complicated enough as it is this year. Besides I wonder how much saving that two lap performance of the tire really matters this year with harder tyres unlike last year’s.

    That video from Bahrain is oodles better than standard fom camera work. There is a greater sense of speed and elevation changes and camber of the race track not to mention the violent change of direction that these cars undergo through esses. I think it has more to do with the lower angle of the camera, although I may be mistaken. I wish fom had similar camera work during the gps. Would help the fans appreciate the card and the drivers a lot more. I don’t want helicopter panning shots of a car down the straight each and every single time, except maybe on spa where it actually looks nice.

    • Indeed – Q3 as a contest, and then free tyre choice for the race. As it is, it is to help the slower cars challenge the faster cars e.g. Perez with 3 podiums. But, if they opened the tyre choices up to all 4 tyres (like in the past), we could really see some variety and strategy. Along with Q tyres/super-softs/fastest times of the weekend in Q3!

    • Even apparently simple sports need tweaking from time to time. The weight, balance, and composition of the javelin, for instance, have all been changed several times over the years, for reasons of safety, consistency, and, more fundamentally, to limit the maximum throw-able distance to the confines of the field contained within a standard running track – as the athletes, and their training methods, have improved to the point that to continue using the current iteration of javelin would result in the best throws landing in the running lanes. Not good if you’re an 800m runner!
      (Speaking of running, the fastest man, with this year’s iteration of high-performance, bespoke running shoe, wins.).

      It’s complicated, partly, because of the hundreds of millions ploughed into R&D every year. The rules are continually tweaked, for many reasons – to stop the cars become too fast to race safely on any of the world’s circuits; to curtail innovations that are deemed outside the spirit of the rules, to name but two.

      • True on the Javelin, although Athletics was also subjected to some pretty severe doping until relatively recently – so, unless we have 1994 Benetton happening every single year in F1.. (although some may think that about Red Bull!)

        But it’s true about keeping to the circuits.. perhaps the newer circuits could have been made wider/longer/able for faster cars etc. but that’s secondary to the ‘spirit of the rules’ and the direction the sport has taken. I would only quarrel with the aero dominance rather than close racing which would improve the show. R&D will develop fast no matter what – the new engines being a case in point.

        The great shame for women’s athletics in particular are the WRs that are never acknowledged, from bogus WRs still being on the books. Paula celebrated like she got the 10,000m WR in addition to Commonwealth Gold in Manchester in 2002 – because she would have had it, had the bogus 1990s Chinese times not been the official WRs. After that, it would be Defar and Dibaba.

        Just recently, the youngest Dibaba sister has just scored what should be the 1500m WR, although that was not noticed amongst the other WRs (in unusual events such as 2 miles indoors) that she could officially achieve, as no doped runners had bothered to try and claim them back in the 80s or 90s.

  10. On Schumacher, I disagree. I think the family is going through a lot more than the fans and they deserve solitude and help from professionals or close ones at the moment. Not fans badgering them for updates. I wonder if even they know what’s happening to him. In that case, I think the fans will be and should be told only when things turn definitively one way or the other. Constant media attention will sap whatever little strength they have left iam sure. They don’t need that.

    In that video, the Ferrari looks very twitchy, coming out of the previous corner. Are they struggling with grip/downforce? Many who were in Bahrain seem to be saying that. Problems?

  11. Your Honour. Is it just me, or does Lewis seem to have…, well…, more hair?* I’m sure he was thinning on top when he was at McLaren. Was it merely stress-related? Or has he ‘done a Rooney’? (albeit, with more success!). Either way, I don’t recall him previously having such a tufty thicket! What do other members of the jury think? Can we have some ‘before-and afters’? I demand a verdict!!!

    *As way of evidence, I refer you to the cover of this month’s F1Racing magazine.

    • Yes, he is going a bit retro and growing it out more, almost akin to his GP2 days.. but I also did notice what you are talking about, as I also did on myself within the last year (only a fraction, but still alarming!).

  12. Judge, on a different note, I’m guessing you might be able to tell Mclaren management they want advise their employees against racing and fucking about on the M1 around junction 6, northbound like they were today at 12.40, when they have Mclaren logo’s on the car, 4 v swish big black Mercs, 1 other Merc and a Merc estate which thought it was fun to undertake his buddies at 100mph plus and then slam his brakes on. I’d imagine that’d be PR disaster if caught on camera or worse still they crashed.

    Btw you don’t, have to put this in the comments sections, just figured as your a man in the know, you could have a quiet word in their shell like, as it looked like an accident waiting to happen.

    • It could also be deemed insensitive, given that some employees were recently killed in a car crash near to the McLaren base if I remember correctly.

      But I’ll admit that the amount of people who drive slowly in the middle or fast lanes of the motorway can be frustrating, and when you are in a fast car you can literally ‘drive around the problem’ in a split second. These modern cars are such an advance on those of even 15 years ago.. the comfortable cruising speed on the motorway has now gone up from around 70 to almost 100 IMO. As a passenger in them, I routinely underestimate the speed we are going by about 20-30 mph. This increasing car inequality is bound to lead to more and more incidents occurring, e.g. Webber and Kovalainen in Valencia to use a racing example. That didn’t happen in 2009..

  13. Now I’m not saying I was wrong, and I’ve not changed my mind. But……

    I’ve changed my mind and I was wrong.

    I like the engine sounds and they don’t, really, sound crap.

    As I said, not wrong and not changing my mind.

    Glad we cleared that up…….

  14. Judge – Welcome back!

    Thank you for that quote from Kobayashi. His candor in interviews at these tests has been refreshing.

  15. There’s an interesting comment on JS Blog regarding Lotus and Renault.
    A possibly unique solution Lotus have applied to their installation, not seen it raised anywhere else….if it’s accurate of course?

      • Joe, D_Q.
        Sorry got waylaid yesterday. It’s in a comment from a poster whose first language isn’t English; been picked up by another now and seems to tie up with an article in a racing engineering mag.

  16. I can only agree with your conclusions regarding the Schumacher-news article.

    However I don’t agree with Hartstein. I understand the nuance of deserving versus claiming a right.

    Fans might have given a lot to Schumacher, but they don’t DESERVE information in times where a family tries to cope with this.

    Maybe they ARE discussing stopping treatment, but That’s for them. To decide. And to cope with first.

    So I understand that Schumi’s manager only comes out when rumours are too bad.

    Fans just can hope. And cling to massa’s claims. But the family DESERVES and Has the RIGHT to privacy.

    Hartstein got too much ‘F1’ and too little ‘doc’.

    Shit – I’m angry. While I should be hoping.

  17. Development drivers will definitely need more than just sim. hours this year. However, it really does feel like Williams are only offering Wolff seat time because the recent de Silvestro/Sauber announcement looked like stealing some of their “look, we’ve got a female associated with us” thunder. Wolff’s got even less chance of driving in a race than Valsecchi did. I hope she sees that and just enjoys the practice sessions for what they are and what they offer alone.
    As for Montezemolo, while I’m sure the Scuderia sometimes wish he’d keep his mouth shut, I think it must be great to have a President who is a true fan of the company. Too many in these positions of power are there just for the status and perks that come with that and then ride off into the sunset as soon as something more personally beneficial comes along. Can’t see Luca ever giving up Ferrari voluntarily.

        • I can’t wait for both Luca and Bernie to be sent to pasture.

          Bernie I can understand, but you must also not be a Ferrari fan, b/c LdM has served Ferrari very effectively by any impartial measure.

  18. One lesson Schumacher’s fall taught us is that all skiers should wear helmets. I am an amateur skier (having taken the first ski lesson at like 26) skiing only on groomed green and blue trails and it never occurred to me to wear a helmet before. That’s because sometimes a day can go by without me falling, and it’s usually my butt that gets hurt. Still, now i can see that freak accidents can happen, and we should be ready for them.

    • It’s interesting, w/r/t helmet use in cycling, meta-analysis and more rigorous research is showing that mandatory helmet laws have a net-negative effect on the health and well-being of the population.

      That said, I always wear a helmet when snowboarding and have since 2007-8. I always wear helmet when riding MTB, but probably only half the time when riding on the road.

  19. I know+want to defend Dr. Gary Hartstein b/c I believe he’s been unjustly and unfairly abused by some since writing “Perplexity,” where he suggested fans deserved to know what’s happening w/ Michael Schumacher’s condition.

    Just imagine this written about him and not to him:

    Doc, I appreciate what you’ve tried to do here and I thought it was fair to suggest that the celebrity that facilitates super-stardom and the accumulation of massive wealth and fame should be a two-way street. So I was sorry to see that you seemed to backpedal on this, when fans finally had someone voice their concern.

    The information vacuum is the equivalent of giving the cold-shoulder to millions of kind, compassionate, loyal, enthusiastic supporters, even though no reasonable person is asking for gruesome details to be released daily, but rather, desires simply to understand the truth about their hero’s condition – however shattering.

    I saw some of the nasty comments in response to “Perplexity”, particularly from the keyboard monkeys who mistakenly believe they’ve inherited the legacy of Miss Manners and have self-appointed as Internet guardians of Michael Schumacher.

    In reality, you are a source of great insight and a calming influence during these sad days. It is disgraceful how ignorant Internet trolls and alleged “F1 Fanatics” have taken to abusing your good name just because you expressed something that countless other Schumacher fans have been thinking!

    Please don’t apologize for making eminently reasonable observations…

    Thanks for all you do &’ve done!


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