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We all know Webber is a fan of sport so what do you do when driving a Formula 1 car is just not enough anymore? Hurdles naturally!
As TJ13 continues to strive to be the most diverse and most complete Formula One website, there comes the need for growth from within. In a recent discussion between myself (Adam) and John we considered the idea of an odds analysis page comparing the available prices from a range of markets prior to a race weekend.
As an introduction to this we have our first analysis piece looking at the Australian GP, prior to the final test in Bahrain.
According to SkyBet and WilliamHill, Mercedes are now the favourites to claim the constructors title in 2014 as the RBs chances slowly slip away. This will come as little surprise, but with odds of 6/5 on offer they seem a very good price.
According to WilliamHill, Lewis Hamilton is now equal favourite to take the chequered flag in Melbourne at 10/3, the same as Sebastian Vettel. One surprise in the odds for Australia though is Nico Rosberg, being priced at a hefty 8/1 to win.
While many expect the Briton to come out on top in this teammate battle, 8/1 seems an outrageously long odd to offer. The brave hearted of us would see this as an ideal opportunity, especially as he is offer each way (places 1-3) at 1/5 of the price. Effectively giving him a price of 1.6/1 for a podium on March 16th.
Those who are devout Kimi fans will have read the news of Kimi once again making Maranello his – so at 12/1 he is a very good outside bet for the WDC. So even if only figuratively, who will you be placing your money on?
Senna samba celebration
As the 20th anniversary of the death of one the best, if not the, best drivers in Formula One ever approaches, Brazil is getting ready to honour the occasion in style. The late great Ayrton Senna is not being forgotten in his beloved South American home.
The Unidos da Tijuca parade, in Rio de Janeiro, is centred around the national hero. The festival will celebrate the life of the three-time World Champion. The BBC states “Unidos da Tijuca will be harnessing Senna’s confidence and competitiveness during carnival, which takes place at the end of February.”
Bruno Tenorio, marketing manager for Unidos da Tijuca said, “We’re going to use one line, which is velocidade. It’s everything that’s associated with speed, and the king of speed is Ayrton Senna. We’re going to use all kinds of categories of things associated with speed: internet, animals, technology, trains.”
With the Senna family being closely involved with the planning of the event, it is expected that the theme of education will be central throughout. Tenorio continues to state, “It’s 20 years of his legacy. During the 80s and 90s, there was a big economic depression. Everything was very bad here but suddenly, we had one guy who was the number one in a very elite sport in rich countries.”
In one of only a handful of celebrations which don’t base themselves on the World Cup to be held in the country this year, the festival will tie in nicely with the start of the 2014 F1 season.
Sochi progressing well
Race promoter Oleg Zabara has said the track is coming on well and will be ready in time for the Grand Prix later in the year. Only days since the Winter Olympics drew to a close, the focus has firmly shifted on towards the Formula One race.
He said, the track is “91 per cent complete” as he sought to reassure the relevant parties all preparations were developing at an appropriate pace.
German track designer, Herman Tilke agrees, “Everything is on schedule. There will be a very special and definitely unique atmosphere.” Would this be the unique atmosphere which is enjoyed in Abu Dhabi/Bahrain/etc?
Of course this track does have the potential to be different given it is set in the Olympic Park and will occur at the sharp end of the season, but can his words truly be believed?
Given Zabara has signed a 3 year contract with the former Abu Dhabi mastermind, Richard Cregan, we can expect to see much of the middle east ‘wonder’ to be in Russia as well. There is one significant positive though, as the track is reported to be costing around a quarter of that of Abu Dhabi.
Ecclestone is already proposing the Russian GP become a night race from 2015. Apparently all the sparkling lights at the opening and closing ceremonies have dazzled F1’s supremo who feels the current surroundings for the F1 track are rather “shabby”.
Ironically, Abu Dhabi is next up to host the Winter Games. It remains to be seen whether Sochi will be able to claim the ‘best GP of the year’ as Abu Dhabi did in 2009, it’s inaugural year.
Engine pecking order to ‘dominate’ 2014 (GMM)
Just as Renault’s problems mounted, the troubled F1 engine supplier’s track boss Remi Taffin was rushed to hospital.
Blogf1.it reports that the Frenchman missed the first week of testing in Bahrain, where Renault’s V6 ‘power unit’ crisis continued to unfurl, because he had to have his appendix removed. The report said Taffin is now recovering.
It is an awkward time for Renault Sport, mere days before performance development of its troubled 2014 ‘power unit’ is mandatorily frozen by the FIA. Clearly, the Mercedes-powered teams Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India – in roughly that order – are leading the pack.
“It would be engine dominated this year,” said Force India’s deputy boss Bob Fernley, “and the biggest differential for teams would be who got the right engine and at the right time.”
It is said Ferrari is next best, but Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport repeated paddock rumours that the Italian marque is taking a very cautious approach to the revolutionary new era and could have plenty of performance still up its sleeve.
France’s L’Equipe quotes Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen as admitting: “Our laptimes are so far not very impressive, but we will see where we really are in Australia. On reliability, everything is fine, but on performance, we don’t know too much, although I don’t think it’s bad,” said the Finn.
Force India’s Fernley added: “It looks at the moment that Mercedes have a slight lead,” he told Britain’s Sky, “but that will change — it’s only a matter of time.”
For Renault, however, it could be a matter of a substantial amount of time, with world champion Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko admitting the current situation is “not pleasing”.
“It is not Renault(‘s fault) exclusively, but the main problems are with Renault,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper. “And it applies not only to Red Bull, but to all the Renault teams.” When asked for details of the problems, Marko answered: “It’s a collection of things with such complexity that cannot be explained in two sentences.”
Auto Motor und Sport claims the current laptime gap between Mercedes and McLaren, the leading Mercedes-powered teams, is nine tenths. But Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda suggested the Brackley team might simply be having a smoother time in the winter amid the sport’s radical transition phase.
“We probably have the same problems as the others,” he said, “only less of it.”
Vettel denies Nurburgring buyout bid (GMM)
Sebastian Vettel’s manager has denied the reigning world champion is involved in a possible buyout of the Nurburgring.
With the German grand prix venue’s future uncertain, we reported last week that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is no longer a candidate to buy it. Ecclestone had confirmed in January he made a bid for the financially-troubled track.
“We want to make sure there is a formula one race in Germany every year in the future,” he said. But last week, it emerged that Ecclestone was not among the latest candidates – entities from Dusseldorf and the US, and a private equity firm – in the running to buy the Nurburgring.
Germany’s Sport Bild now reports that German driver and reigning world champion Vettel could be involved in a Nurburgring buyout bid.
But the Austrian news agency APA quoted his spokesman Britta Roeske as saying: “There’s nothing to it (the report).”
The current bidding process will reportedly conclude at the end of March.
Williams’ Nasr the ‘real third driver’ – manager (GMM)
Felipe Nasr’s uncle and manager insists the Brazilian is the “real third driver” at Williams this year.
The comments made by Amir Nasr, a well-known figure in the world of Brazilian motor racing, follow news Susie Wolff will drive the new Williams on Friday at both the British and German grands prix this year.
Just days earlier, the Grove based team appointed the Banco do Brasil-backed 21-year-old Felipe Nasr to the test and reserve role, saying he will appear in the Mercedes-powered FW36 on five Friday mornings in 2014. Speaking to Jovem Pan radio, Amir Nasr played down suggestions Felipe’s new role could be a shared or back-seat one, such as when Lotus reserve Davide Valsecchi last year was overlooked when Kimi Raikkonen headed for back surgery.
“Felipe is the real third driver of the team — it is in the contract,” Amir Nasr insisted.
“In case of any problem with the race drivers, he is the natural replacement. He will have to go to all of the grands prix and he will work in the simulator each week to compensate for the lack of track time. It is a more complex task than it seems,” Amir added.
Amir Nasr said only a one-year contract with Williams was agreed because the chance the British team can offer him a race seat for 2015 is slim. “Williams has two very good (race) drivers,” he said. “Massa has a three-year contract while Bottas is 23 and a potential world champion.
“We could not agree a longer contract because we would not have a guarantee he will be promoted,” Amir explained.
Back ‘ok’ after Bahrain crash – Raikkonen (GMM)
Kimi Raikkonen’s newly-healed back withstood a hefty shunt as the first week of Bahrain testing came to a close.
The Finn sat out the last races of 2013 to have surgery and physiotherapy on an old and increasingly painful back injury. When he returned to the wheel of Ferrari’s new F14-T car at Jerez late last month, he reported: “At least now, on the first day of driving, I did not have any problems. And I don’t expect any either, even if you never know what’s going to happen in the future.”
What happened on the last day of Bahrain testing on Saturday was a sizeable crash, causing plenty of damage to the new red single seater. However, it caused no damage to Raikkonen’s back. “The back has been quite ok since the surgery,” Raikkonen told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
“I hope it stays that way, but for now it seems pretty normal.”
Rob Smedley’s role at Williams revealed
The latest ‘worst kept secret’ in F1 is finally over. TJ13 reported last year that Rob Smedley would be moving to Williams prior to the announcement of Massa as their driver. I was informed the role on offer was not as race engineer, but of greater responsibility.
Today Williams announce they have bolstered their senior race operations line-up by appointing Rob Smedley and Richard Lockwood from Marussia. They have created a new role entitled, “Head of Vehicle Performance” to strengthen the trackside team and which liaises with the factory over development work in an effort to extract more performance from the car throughout the season. Rob’s proven track record and experience stand him in good stead for the challenges that 2014 bring. Rob will join Williams prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Rob will be supported by Race Engineers Andrew Murdoch, who is engineer to Felipe Massa, and Jonathan Eddolls, who remains with Valtteri Bottas in 2014.
Richard Lockwood will be given responsibility as “Head of Race Strategy” and will work with current Strategist Randeep Singh who remains with the team for the 2014 season.
Commenting on the new line-up Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer, said; “Williams is undergoing change and these new appointments reflect how high our ambitions are. We have a number of senior people joining us to assist us in the pursuit of those ambitions and I am extremely excited to welcome them on-board. 2014 gives us the biggest change to the technical regulations that I have seen in my career, and so it will be important to add further depth to the talent we already have here as we head into the new season. Williams has always prided itself on engineering excellence and this latest announcement is part of our continued goal to bring success back to the team.”
It appears the appointment of Pat Symonds, whose connections in F1 run deep, has enabled the team to press on with the work begun by Adam Parr in recruiting new specialist skills to Grove,
TJ13 reported more than once that the team had suffered internal political difficulties under the management of Mike Coughlan which culminated in Mark Gillan – one of the architects of Williams 2012 renaissance – leaving the team suddenly for “family reasons”.
James Allen further observes that Coughlin’s stewardship saw a “disastrous technical foray” for the team as they failed to grasp the intricacies of the exhaust blown diffuser technology. The result was they “paid a heavy price, given how far ahead of the game their then engine partner Renault was in that technology”.
Symonds of course is no angel – as we all know – following the revelations of his involvement in Renault’s “crashgate” affair which saw Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately put his car into the wall in Singapore. Yet at times the team from Grove appear to be “very nice” and Sir Frank of course is the ultimate gentleman. So, maybe ‘bad boy’ Pat will bring some edge to proceedings and we’ll see Williams with its elbows out a little more during the coming season.
The team this year have a nicely balanced driver line-up with the experience of multiple GP winner Massa and young gun Bottas at the wheel of the FW36.
Many felt the loss of the PDVSA dollars would prove costly for the historic British racing marque, however recent announcements that Brazilian oil giant Petrobras will be rejoining the team after an absence of several years appears to have mitigated their divorce with the Venezuelan’s quite nicely.
Add to this new sponsorship from Banco do Brasil, whose logo appearing on the engine cover of the car, as well as the drivers’ overalls, means the Brazilian investment is a serious amount of cash.
Then on March 6th, the team will unveil its new Martini livery at a ceremony in London’s West End around the time Ron Dennis announces the McLaren team principal for this year.
Things are on the up at Williams both in terms of finance and the recruitment of experienced & skilled personnel. One has to wonder whether Pastor Maldonado must now be questioning the wisdom of the agitation he caused last year which resulted in him leaving the Grove based team for Lotus with their faulty Renault engine.
Rendering by Martini Paddock Racing. Original design is by Monil Santilal and it was repainted by Maikel de Boer
Just a thought
Kamui Kobayashi commented in Bahrain that, “We are not in race conditions here, but if we were in race conditions I think I should bring a GP2 car.”
Should we then return to the good old days where we race F1 cars alongside another Formula?
Please take Jonny H…
Jaques Villeneuve is off to compete in the Indianapolis 500 some 19 years after he won the event. Villeneuve raced in the then Champcar series during 1994 and 1995 and won the 500 in his second season taking the drivers’ title that year too.
He will race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, alongside Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin. Now 43 years of age, Jaques will also be competing in Rallycross this year.
It is unclear whether SKY Italia will be retaining Villeneuve’s services as an F1 commentator, however if anyone can find some racing series who will take SKY UK’s Jonny Herbert, please contact thejudge13 with the swiftest of haste.
Maybe there should be a racing series for old F1 drivers, like the Seniors’ Tour in golf. It appears the producers of SKY F1 believe stacking their F1 presenting team with ex-racers is the way to go. Clearly this is not the case for us the viewers.
F1 is a team event and the views of ex- team bosses/principal’s, car designers and even ex-race strategists would deliver a more complete analysis for the fans.
Driver’s losing weight for 2014
There has been a lot of talk about F1 drivers and weight penalties for 2014. This picture from the twittersphere suggests that Fred’s – whilst not the largest – is taking the matter seriously.
Lewis is looking a touch on the anorexic side too…. Unless its a trick of the light, the lens…… or any of a host of other female protestations over pictures and perceived size 😉
New Qualy format to be confirmed
TJ13 first reported that there were new Qualy formats under discussion back in January before Jerez. Last week it emerged that there appeared to be a consensus on change. This is now the case and the FIA World Motor Sport Council will ratify this next week.
Q1 will now last 18 minutes, two less than previously, whilst Q2 will remain at 15 minutes and the final top-ten shootout, Q3, will be extended by two minutes to 12 in total. The 16 cars making it through to Q2 will receive an extra set of option tyres for use should they make Q3.
Those failing to progress will retain this additional set of tyres for use in the race.
Teams in Q3 must use the extra set of options to set a time, but must hand them back to Pirelli. This is designed to ensure all cars in Q3 will attempt a quick lap.
The Q3 teams will then start the race on the tyres they used to set their fastest lap in Q2.
Over the years we have seen the top teams gamble and run the prime tyre in an attempt to get out of Q2 and save a set of options. This strategy is still available to them.
However, they would then begin the race on the prime tyre. This may bring a benefit should the driver nail pole and be able to hold of the rest at the start, as they would begin the race on the more durable prime tyre they used in Q2- which will see them run longer before their first stop.
However, starting on the prime at certain venues may not be desirable due to grip levels, and so the strategic option to use the prime in Q2 to save a set of the softer tyres for the race would then be null and void.
Exciting News from Sauber
There are times in life where stereotypes are indeed a perfect representation of reality.
Today Sauber F1 released their annual environmental report.
“Ever since we introduced our environmental management system in 2012 it has well established”, explained Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “It’s very important that our employees are familiar with it, which we can also see through the suggestions we are getting from them.”
In 2012 Sauber F1 Team’s environmental management system was ISO 14001 certified. Furthermore the company has operated greenhouse gas neutral since 2011. Last year indirect greenhouse gas emissions were determined as well, in order to build a basis for the compensation.
The ISO 14001 requires regular assessment of the environmental management system by the company’s management. This is done through the annual report, showing the results of the teams’ environmental efforts. The report is available to the public and includes environmental targets, measures and projects from the previous year as well as a summary of the most important results of the environmental-controlling and a list of targets for the current year.
Time for a Fondue… or if you fancy some real excitement – try a Raclette
An F1 race every day
SKY F1 UK have announced they will be featuring an extended highlights package or full race coverage each day of 2014 beginning March 7th.This may appear no big deal in itself, but behind the scenes there has been some wrangling with Mr. E to drop the royalty fees. Sky argue this will promote F1 and it appears their argument has held sway.
All of the races will be from 1982 onwards and there will also be themed weeks, with classic races to be shown of previous grands prix in the build-up to their 2014 installment.
For the 3 days before they begin the Australia GP classics, SKY have asked viewers to nominate the “three Races of the Century” which they will then broadcast.
Early voting suggests the fanbouys are out in force.
Let’s see how differently TJ13 readers vote on the options sky have offered.
The 2000 German GP
Rubens Barrichello’s first F1 win, achieved from 18th on the grid in a dry-wet-dry classic which also featured a protestor running across the circuit mid-way through the race!
The 2000 Belgian GP
The definitive driver duel in the first decade of the new century? Yes, it’s that battle between Mika Hakkinen and arch-rival Michael Schumacher featuring that overtaking move to clinch an unforgettable victory.
The 2003 British GP
A race that had it all – another track invader, two Safety Car deployments, and a breathtaking overtake for victory. No wonder the Silverstone crowd were in raptures.
The 2005 Japanese GP
The comeback victory of the century so far? In an unforgettable finish, Kimi Raikkonen passes Giancarlo Fisichella on the final lap to prevail from 17th on the grid – and don’t forget about Fernando Alonso, complete with a pass around Michael Schumacher at 130R, claiming third from 16th!
The 2008 Brazilian GP
No explanation necessary – it’s the race of Felipe Massa’s heartbreak in front of his home support as Lewis Hamilton secures the title at the final corner.
The 2010 Abu Dhabi GP
F1’s only four-way title showdown culminates with Sebastian Vettel securing his first World Championship as Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso miss out.
The 2011 Chinese GP
In a topsy-turvy race, Lewis Hamilton clinches victory after a late charge from fourth to first sees him pass both Vettel and Jenson Button.
The 2011 Canadian GP
The most epic of epic races with the sting in the tale as Button passes Vettel on the final lap having been listed as last midway through the grand prix!
The 2012 European GP
Who said Valencia only served up dull races? In front of his home crowd, Alonso triumphs from 11th on the grid in an action-packed race, while Michael Schumacher finishes on the podium for the final time in his F1 career.
The 2012 Brazilian GP
The classic title showdown. Vettel spins at the first corner but fights back to claim the title ahead of Alonso, while Button is victorious in the race after Nico Hulkenberg collides with Hamilton.
Di Resta becomes politically correct
PdR tweets: “Not every day you see this as a police car, bet it’s a fight for the keys. Only in Italy…. Perks of the job!”
Some may argue this is the most interesting thing Paul has ever uttered.
Bahrain test II driver line ups
So far, 3 teams today have revealed their driver schedules for Bahrain II starting on Thursday
The world champions have declared their hand for the final test in Bahrain. Clearly the favoured son of Christian and Herr Helmut gets the final two days in the hope the RB10 and its French powertrain will be ready by then to get a few laps in.
McLaren have announced their schedule too. Rookie Kevin Magnussen will get days 1 & 3, whilst F1’s elder statesman driver – Jenson Button will drive on days 2 & 4.
Force India have decided Checo should be the early bird – driving the first two days – though whether there’ll be any worms in the desert – he can only hope. Hulkenberg completes the Silverstone teams final 2 days of pre-season testing before they head off for what should be the most interesting Australian GP for years.
End of an era
As reported above, Rob Smedley is now officially to join his F1 sidekick, Felipe Massa, at Williams, though not as his race engineer. TJ13 thinks it’s time to put to bed the “….is faster than you” once and for all – but before we do, here’s a short clip from massafansite on Youtube of F1’s most visible bromance best exchanges.