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Toro Rosso in the dark (GMM)
No offences to any of our Australian followers 🙂
Mark Webber credits his 1998 FIA GT Championship team mate, Bernd Schneider, as a major influence on his career.
“He was like a big brother to me and taught me about preparation. But mostly about the technical stuff. I was embarrassed to look at telemetry back then. I thought it was a weakness.”
Webber believes Bernd Schnieder went to F1 to early, “…but fuck he was quick. It was bizarre actually, because I wanted to do well in F1, but he should have had that career as well. Great guy”.
Mark of course returns to the WEC for 2014 driving for Porsche.
How many cars will finish in Australia?
Reliability may be the key to the early pat of the 2014 season. Clearly some teams have not yet managed to complete a run of race distance length.
This may all change of course over the next few days. However, its time for TJ13 readers to take a punt on how many cars they think will be classified in Melbourne 2 weeks on Sunday.
The order of importance, F1 is master of them all (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone has hit back after an American motor racing figure called him “foolish“.
Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas motor speedway, this week blasted the F1 chief executive for scheduling this year’s US grand prix on the same November date as the major Nascar race in the same state.
“I can’t say I was surprised because Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things,” he said.
But 83-year-old Briton Ecclestone has hit back, insisting Gossage and other Nascar officials do not understand the logistical tasks faced by a global sport like formula one. “We’ve a small problem they don’t have,” he told the Press Association. “We have six jumbo jets to move around all our equipment, and we have to find the most sensible way to use them to do that.
“There are issues that can occur, but he and other people do not realise these things.
“The race prior to the one in the US is in Russia, in Sochi. We’ve never been before, and we have to get out of there and into Austin. That is probably a lot easier than trying to get into Brazil, and then we have to get out of there to go to Abu Dhabi,” Ecclestone explained.
“So he (Gossage) is extremely lucky he doesn’t have to do what we have to do.”
Ecclestone also defended his colleagues at the US grand prix venue in Austin, after Gossage accused them of lacking the “fortitude” to “say no” to the Nascar date clash.
“I’ve spoken to the people that run the race at COTA (circuit of the Americas) and they believe the Nascar crowd is a different crowd to formula one — different people, different customers,” he insisted. “At the end of the day they (Nascar) run a domestic series in America – we run a world championship,” said Ecclestone.
Melbourne: Who will make the cut and who will not? (GMM) + TJ13 comment
Formula one’s next challenge will be putting together a full grid for the opening races of 2014.
As teams grapple with the technological revolution of the all-new V6 era amid severely tight testing restrictions, it emerged after the recent Bahrain test that many 2014 cars – notably the Red Bull of reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel – might struggle simply to qualify for grands prix.
Indeed, according to F1’s 107 per cent qualifying rule, only 14 of the sport’s 22 cars would have been quick enough to race had Nico Rosberg’s best time in Bahrain last week actually been an official pole lap. “There can be exceptions (to the rule), this is true as we have seen in past seasons,” former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi told his website.
“But you must at least have done a time in practice within the 107 per cent. The reality today is that cars are struggling just to do a handful of laps consecutively,” said the Italian.
The most stark problems are being suffered by Red Bull and Renault; the title-winning combination in the last four years of the now-historic V8 era. “We are working day and night,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said in the German press this week. “We stand with Renault to solve the problems.”
Former F1 driver Mika Salo tipped Renault to work it out. “I believe an organisation of the size of Renault – a car and engine manufacturer – to sort this problem out very quickly,” he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, however, must also take the blame, according to former technical director and now F1 media analyst Gary Anderson. “They (Red Bull) haven’t left any room for manoeuvre,” he is quoted by the Telegraph, accusing Red Bull of being too extreme with the design of the troubled RB10.
But if the might of big-spending world champions Red Bull can ultimately emerge from the crisis, what of a similarly Renault-powered backmarker like Caterham? Team driver Kamui Kobayashi is openly troubled.
“We are not able to race,” the Japanese is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial. “But if we were, I think we should use a GP2 car, as we would be faster.
“At this point, if we were to race … I don’t think this is formula one,” he added.
TJ13 Comment: We reported in the daily news last week that the FIA are already looking at this matter, and following the Bahrain test results this week, a decision will be taken which may see the rule waived for a defined period of time.
This matter will be considered in conjunction with Renault’s request to continue their engine development, and the time period they believe necessary to sort out their issues.
When will Cosworth return to F1? (GMM)
Cosworth is not ruling out a return to formula one.
As the sport prepared for the all-new and even more expensive turbo V6 era, the independent British outfit found itself without a customer for 2014.
But it emerged last week that Cosworth nonetheless completed an engine design for the new rules, even though it will not be built and raced this year.
America’s premier open-wheel category also runs turbo V6 engines, and Cosworth chief executive Hal Reisiger said the marque is “committed” to finding an Indycar partner.
As for returning to F1, he told NBC Sports that Cosworth only abandoned its 2014 project because “there wasn’t a team or teams plural that were willing to sponsor the development”.
But Reisiger admitted that if current or subsequent talks with teams came to fruition, “Absolutely we would” want to return to formula one.
“I think that we provide a very cost effective solution for people to be on the grid,” he said.
“We’d look forward to the right opportunity if we could find the right collaboration.”
Toro Rosso in the dark (GMM)
Team boss Franz Tost has admitted Toro Rosso is in the dark just two weeks before the 2014 season opener.
The crisis suffered by Red Bull is in the spotlight, but sister team Toro Rosso has also been almost completely unable to test its new car amid engine partner Renault’s troubles.
Asked to summarise the progress with the new Faenza-built STR9 car, Tost answered: “It is difficult to assess because we have hardly been able to drive.
“Both the performance and the reliability are unknowns.”
Much clearer, the Austrian admitted, is the pecking order at the front. “The Mercedes factory team is clearly in the lead, followed by McLaren and Ferrari,” Tost told the German-language Speed Week.
“Williams and Force India have also shown good performance. I have the impression Ferrari has not shown everything yet.” He admitted that, compared to the disastrous opening test at Jerez, troubled Renault began to solve some of its problems last week in Bahrain.
“The systems started to work,” said Tost. “Renault has made progress.
“The time window for Melbourne is tight, but if everything works at the last test in Bahrain, there is a real opportunity to catch up to the Mercedes teams,” he added.
Di Resta needs 2014 role for F1 return (GMM)
Paul di Resta’s hopes of returning to formula one depend on him securing a key role in 2014. That is the claim of Scottish countryman and former grand prix winner David Coulthard.
Having lost his Force India seat after three consecutive seasons in F1, 27-year-old di Resta has returned to the scene of his 2010 title win driving for Mercedes in the German touring car series DTM. It is believed the DTM role could involve di Resta becoming the German squad’s new F1 reserve driver.
“Mercedes are well aware that (F1) is where I want to be, and I have their full support,” he said in January.
“We’ll see how it goes, but at the moment there is nothing.”
Former McLaren and Red Bull driver Coulthard, now a commentator for British television, believes Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is wise enough to give di Resta a key F1 role in 2014. “He (Wolff) knows Paul and brought him in because he knows he can do a job for Mercedes,” Coulthard told The Scotsman newspaper.
“The F1 test-reserve role would be a big chance for Paul. I hope he gets that opportunity.
“If he doesn’t, it might be difficult to find his way back into F1, simply because of the political and financial nature of the business,” he added.
Picture Quick Quiz
So… if as TJ13 reported yesterday, Gene Haas gets approved to enter a team in F1 for 2014, the big question is will he give Danica Patrick a drive?
Anyway, who is this Patrick? Where, in what, why and how?
Bahrain Test II Day 1 – so far
|5||Ricciardo||Red Bull||1m37.908s +2.618|
|9||Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1m39.242s +3.952|
Times at 12:30 GMT
It appears the access fans could have to live lap time information has been restricted and is only available to the teams. So, you either have to have approval from all teams to use the data or you need to be in the media center to get the data from the media screens.
Anyway, clearly lap times are not yet the order of the day as Sergio Perez topped the time sheets by some margin. However, the Mexican was still around 2 seconds off the best time set last week by Nico Rosberg.
Maldonado, Kvyat and Kobayashi have been the only cars stopping on track, each causing the session to be red flagged, and each Renault customers suggesting the French manufacturer is still suffering some difficulties.
The slowest 3 times so far are also from Renault teams with only Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo bucking the recent trend and managing a time 2.6 seconds off Perez’s pace. The RB10 also managed 30 laps in the morning session and a much improved time on anything it could deliver last week.
Speaking today to Germany’s Bild, Herr Helmut admitted that a certain Mr. Vettel is “not amused” the team is “so far behind” the other challengers with just four days of track time left before Melbourne.
It appears Mr. Vettel has been kicking over the traces as Marko remarks, “But getting angry won’t bring us anything. Sebastian is always informed of any developments but even ten million euros wouldn’t simply solve the problems. Renault needs to get a grip on the engine.
As TJ13 reported from Jerez, the Renault fix will be a long one, some 15-20 weeks from the day they first hit the track in January.
An observant Helmut Marko concludes, “Mercedes is a big step ahead of us, as they have already been able to do long-distance testing with their new car. We have worries about Australia and probably beyond.”
Indeed the top three times are from Mercedes engine cars, with Adrian Sutil in his Sauber posting the best time for a Ferrari powered unit. Kimi’s Ferrari was only separated from Sutil’s Sauber by the Red Bull, so the engine pecking order would appear fairly obvious at present.
Day 1 of the Bahrain test finished
Raikkonen’s Ferrari stops on track 2 minutes before the end of the session to complete proceedings for the day
|1||Perez||Force India||1m35.290s||105 laps|
|2||Bottas||Williams||1m36.184s +0.894||128 laps|
|3||Raikkonen||Ferrari||1m36.432s +1.142||54 laps|
|4||Rosberg||Mercedes||1m36.624s +1.334||89 laps|
|5||Sutil||Sauber||1m37.700s +2.410||89 laps|
|6||Magnussen||McLaren||1m37.825s +2.535||109 laps|
|7||Ricciardo||Red Bull||1m37.908s +2.618||39 laps|
|8||Chilton||Marussia||1m38.610s +3.320||44 laps|
|9||Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1m39.242s +3.952||56 laps|
|10||Maldonado||Lotus||1m40.599s +5.309||31 laps|
|11||Kobayashi||Caterham||1m42.285s +6.995||19 laps|
Whilst the Mercedes engine teams plough on, with each with close to another 2 GP’s mileage under their belts, Red Bull were again restricted to just 39 laps, the third lowest count of the day.
2 hours before the end of the session, Daniel Ricciardo was out of the car doing promo work due to more overheating issues with the RB10. He managed to get a couple of laps in towards the end, but all in the world champions are falling further behind their main rivals.
Renault claim the RB10 problems today were not engine related, but each time Ricciardo pushed the temperature warning lights were flashing and he had to pit. Newey has refused to completely overhaul the rear end of his latest design believing he can overcome the problems further down the line.
Yet, even though the RB10 looks one of the most aerodynamically efficient of the new crop of F1 cars, if its design fails to incorporate proper cooling then at some time the guru F1 designer will be forced to begin sketching an RB10-B.
Only Chilton’s Marussia prevented all the Renault teams occupying the bottom four slots in the time standings, and whilst time is not necessarily an indication of the cars potential pace, it demonstrates the Renault cars are all limited by their powertrains at present.
Ferrari came into this test gung ho claiming they were going to push their car to the max. Though they failed to deliver either a race simulation or qualifying run, despite Raikkonen finally managing a last ditch 3rd in the times for the day.
After completing just 12 laps during the morning, a Ferrari spokesperson briefly commented, “We found a small problem that needed fixing and required some time, then fitting some new parts simply elapsed the time a bit more.”
One observer commented that Kimi appeared at times to be pushing hard and was clearly braking much later than anyone else at the end of the back straight. Ben Anderson also noted, “There are distinct upshift differences between the Mercedes and Ferrari cars. The Mercedes short shift quickly out of Turn 1 and into Turn 2, particularly Magnussen in the McLaren. The Ferrari-powered cars hold onto each gear for longer.” This was first noticeable back in Jerez when Magnussen was in the car.
Lotus quirky exhaust has raised a few eyebrows since it’s debut last week, though it caused problems for them today which were terminal and they finished having completed just 31 laps.
Mercedes ran a couple of different cooling options last week, and today they appeared to be running one today which has an extra large diameter canon exit on the back of the engine mounting. Unlike Newey’s pert little coke bottle, this is less drag efficient and will probably be used when the ambient temperatures are high.
The team from Brackley are clearly testing different aero packages now as they also ran a couple of different diffuser and sidepod configurations. Rosberg’s running was curtailed at 89 laps by what the team described precisely as “problems”.
McLaren stated that they had no new parts to evaluate and so the next 2 days would be focused on mileage and reliability. Magnussen spent the morning undertaking a series of short set-up runs. After lunch a full race simulation was delivered and finally some more set-up analysis.
The McLaren engineers had the opportunity to run a number of ‘prove outs’, testing the car whilst running on the pitlane speed limiter and practising starts.
Williams began the day with 2 ugly aero rake sensors on either side of the car, however, in the afternoon Bottas was release and not only completed more laps than anyone else, but was within a second of Perez’s fastest lap – though the Williams best time was delivered on a stint much longer than a qualifying run.
Sauber have been plugging away and getting some miles under their belts, though Sutil commented afterwards, “We did a lot of mileage today. However, we have to work on our performance. We still had a few issues”
Both Caterham and Marussia failed to get significant mileage in, and it appears those at back of the grid from the past few years will not be advancing towards the midfield due to the regulation changes.
All in all, the picture is as it has been. Mercedes powered engines on top, and Ferrari powered cars sandwiched between them and Renault.
Mercedes engines 431 laps
Ferrari engines 187 laps
Renault engines 135 laps
Lotus F1 value plummets
It is being reported that Lotus have sold 9% of the team to JAG Shaw Baker for £6.74 million. JAG Shaw Baker is yet another equity/venture capital fund as is CVC and Genii. They state, “We represent many of the leading venture capital funds active in Europe and the continent’s most exciting emerging companies, structuring equity, debt and hybrid investments often involving several institutional investors and angels”.
One commentator believes they have acquired this stake to sell on, though either the numbers reported are incorrect, or Lotus as a team is valued at a mere £75m ($125m).
When Mansoor Ijaz reared his head again in January, claiming he had new investors ready to conclude a deal with Lotus, he stated, “We have targeted completion at a date between conclusion of the Jerez tests (end January) and the start of Bahrain tests on February 19th”.
During a lengthy monologue, Ijaz slated those who questioned his continued claims to be ready to complete “next week”.
Oh dear, it seems Mansoor was once again “doing an Ijaz” (a phrase coined by TJ13 to infer one who is engaging in a delusional state and not one of reality).
At that time, Gerard Lopez revealed that the Lotus F1 team had debts totalling £114 million, of which £80 million was owed to Genii.
Selling a 9% stake for the amount stated above means if Genii sold all their shares at the same price, they would come up plenty of millions short of what they were owed.
Is this a sign Lopez et al are offski – cutting their losses and running? If so what will Lotus be left with as owners? A smorgasbord of money men all disagreeing on how to fund the team and who should do what and when?
Mercedes decide on a new floor
Eagle eyed friend of TJ13 spotted this just now. “New Floor for @MercedesAMGF1 being carried in,note the twin vertical floor strakes that’ll be ahead of the rear wheel.
Seems Nico’s “problems” are not a quick fix. To build the car up from here is many hours of work.