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Police to arrest Force India sponsor Sahara chief (GMM) + India Express
In our final Webbuary contribution ( really this is the final one) TJ13 contributor and artist Andries van Overbeeke produced a painting of Mark, trying to capture his character: a very down to earth guy who is not impressed by all the glitter & glamour. He sees the bigger picture of life and was one of the most mature and honest characters in Formula 1.
Completely missing the point
Having been at the Austin GP back in November, it puzzled me the recent statements in the media. As TJ13 has made clear, the people attending NASCAR and F1 are a different group of fans. The motor series competing against each other should be of little cause for concern to either party.
One aspect which was not very intelligent was to schedule qualifying and the UT (University of Texas) college (American) football match almost at the same time, only separated by an hour. Having been in the grandstands, the exodus was noticeable as people who were in town for the football match left. Scheduling the two so close to each other was an error, as it called into question the priorities of F1 fans who also wanted to watch the game.
Of course, F1 is a world sport and it would ludicrous to suggest that this is moved to accommodate a college football match, however, there would surely be scope to move the football match to a later time. This would also give the opportunity for someone with a mere passing interest in the sport to go along for the day and still go to the game.
Another example of organisation lacking with the organisation of a GP weekend. F1 may feel it does not need to have fans at a circuit to make it viable, but with the Mexican GP on the horizon there is every reason for the Austin organisers to worry. Whether the large number of Latin American fans would make the journey to America, when the Mexican GP would be cheaper to attend, is at best questionable.
While NASCAR may not be in competition with F1, putting a college football game on at the same time could damage attendance prospects which will surely diminish if and when the Mexican GP is added to the F1 calendar. Much of the mainstream media has missed this point, as some forethought is required for future events.
Police to arrest Force India sponsor Sahara chief
Amid team supremo Vijay Mallya’s high-profile problems, it emerges that another key Force India figure is also in major trouble.
Team boss Mallya’s grounded Kingfisher airline has hogged all the headlines, but now the owner of Force India title sponsor Sahara is also in hot water, according to domestic publications including The Indian Express.
The report said police have raided the house of Subrata Roy, after a non-bailable warrant for his arrest was issued by the supreme court.
The police “failed to find him there“, the newspaper said, but Roy insisted in a statement on Friday that he is not on the run.
“I am not that human being who will abscond,” he said. “In fact, being a law-abiding citizen, I shall hate myself to do any such thing ever in my life.”
The warrant was issued after Roy failed to appear in court to answer a case about unpaid refunds to investors.
Sahara Chief Subrata Roy was on Friday arrested in Lucknow after he surrendered to police, two days after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by the Supreme Court.
Appearing for Roy in the Supreme Court, Ram Jethmalani told a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan that 65-year-old Roy is in police custody.
Jethmalani also pleaded to the court for recalling of NBW issued by it on February 26. He submitted that the special bench, comprising Justices Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which heard the case be assembled today to hear his application.
Justice Radhakrishnan, who sat with Justice Vikramajit Sen, however, said that it is not possible for the special bench to assemble today.
Subrata’s son Seemanto Roy said his father has willfully submitted himself before Lucknow police and he is cooperating with all authorities.
“We will produce Subrata Roy before local court and will proceed as per the direction of the court,” Navneet Sikera, DIG, Lucknow range stated. The police said that transit remand will be sought from the local court for taking Subrata to Delhi for producing him before the court.
Earlier in the morning, Subrata Roy said he is not absconding from arrest and is ready to “unconditionally follow” whatever direction the Supreme Court gives him today.
A day after the police visited his home in Lucknow to arrest him as per Supreme Court’s orders but failed to find him there, Roy said he is still in Lucknow and had gone out for sometime to consult “a panel of doctors”. Roy said he has ”already informed police to do their duty”.
Through a statement signed by him, Roy also appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to be with his “ailing mother under house arrest till March 3, 2014″, while adding that he was ready to reach Delhi even today, if court wants him to do so.
Issuing a non-bailable warrant against Roy, the Supreme Court on February 26 asked the police to arrest him and present before the court on March 4.
Raising an emotional pitch, Roy said he was a “law abiding citizen” and not the one who will abscond.
“Last evening I had gone out of Sahara Shahar, Lucknow, to consult with a panel of doctors with certain medical reports of my mother and then I had gone to a lawyer’s house also,” he said. (Indian Express)
Law change puts London GP back in F1 headlines (GMM)
The prospect of a grand prix on the historic streets of London have raced back into the F1 headlines.
Two years ago, McLaren sponsor Santander dreamed up a layout taking in Big Ben and Buckingham Palace as a publicity stunt, but this week the famous British team said the plan is in fact “grounded in reality“.
McLaren said “new government legislation will make it easier for public streets to be sanctioned for motor sport events, and that means the much-vaunted London grand prix once again moves a step closer to reality“.
Also hoping to race on the streets of the British capital is the new FIA-sanctioned electric single seater series Formula E, with organisers having even scheduled a 2015 date.
The Times newspaper added: “Motor sport organisations, including F1, have been told that a consultation that will make it easier to hold races on public roads (in the UK) will be launched within days.”
Less convinced is the Guardian, saying that given the hurdles, top British driver Jenson Button “would be retired in the unlikely event of it (a London GP) ever taking place.”
And a spokesman for the UK’s motor sport association (MSA) said: “Silverstone’s got a long-term contract to host the British grand prix.
“The push from the MSA about getting this change in legislation is much more aimed at hill climbs, sprints and stage rallies around the country in less traffic heavy routes than Park Lane and Horse Guards Parade.”
Raikkonen unsure of Ferrari engine disadvantage (GMM)
With Mercedes clearly out front and Renault clearly at the rear, F1’s third engine supplier Ferrari has had a comparatively low-profile winter.
Many believe works team Scuderia Ferrari currently rank somewhere between the top Mercedes teams like Mercedes and McLaren and the struggling Renault-powered outfits. A more precise rumour in the paddock as the final pre-season test began in Bahrain on Thursday put Ferrari’s deficit to Mercedes at up to 75 horse power.
When that number was put to Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn said: “I can’t give an honest impression because I have not paid attention to it.
“I have only seen other cars when I’m passing them or when they’re passing me,” he is quoted by Speed Week, “but I can’t put a number on it.”
As for Maranello based Ferrari’s overall position with just three test days left until Melbourne, Raikkonen was quoted by Finland’s MTV3 broadcaster: “We are not yet where we want to be, but we are not far away.” He is quoted by Spain’s AS sports newspaper as admitting Ferrari intends to try a race simulation this week in Bahrain.
“Fernando (Alonso) will too, and then we will see where we are but really we are still working on the setup. I have had much worse winters and then the season has gone well, so I’m not worried. Things can change quickly during the season,” said Raikkonen.
Mercedes’ obvious advantage, however, is evidenced by the smiles in the Williams garage, with some paddock sources believing the new FW36 is currently a more competitive package than the works Ferrari.
But Mercedes-powered Williams driver Valtteri Bottas said: “They (Ferrari) also seem strong. Their reliability is not too bad, and we will see that Renault will improve.
“I don’t think we should underestimate anybody,” Bottas is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace, “but we’re hoping to be in the top ten and my feeling, at least for the start of the season, is that cars with Mercedes engines will be in front.”
Red Bull looks to ‘survive’ Melbourne (GMM)
Crisis-struck Red Bull is hoping to merely “survive” the looming first race of the 2014 season. The reigning world champion team looked to have taken a step forward as the final pre-season test began on Thursday in Bahrain. At the wheel of the troubled Renault-powered RB10, Daniel Ricciardo had a promising morning — until the latest technical problems left him stranded in the garage for most of the rest of the entire test day.
Afterwards, the Australian was his usual upbeat self.
“From the outside, it looks like we are not doing many laps and that the times are not good,” he is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “But as a team we are confident that we will be with the frontrunners (in 2014),” Ricciardo insisted. “It is difficult to really predict what will happen, but we can say that we will not dominate in Melbourne as we did at the end of last season.”
Red Bull’s always-blunt Marko, however, sounded a less positive note. “We have to somehow survive Melbourne,” the Austrian told Germany’s Sport Bild.
He said Renault’s troubled ‘power unit’ means Red Bull is often missing 165 horse power to the leading Mercedes, “which is about 30kph on the straights!
“That’s why we have sent a taskforce to France,” revealed Marko, referring to Renault’s Viry headquarters. “Our people have just helped Renault write a new software programme.”
Renault says it had made real progress, which is timely given the FIA’s looming engine development ‘freeze’ deadline of Friday.
“Yes, some problems we are yet to understand,” Remi Taffin acknowledged, according to the Russian website f1news.ru. “But over the past six years, approximately 95 per cent of the parts in the V8 engine were refined compared to the first version,” he said.
“We have made a big step forward between the first test and now with the new power unit. Yes we’re a little behind schedule, we still have certain problems, but they are gradually being resolved,” Taffin added.
Bahrain Test II Day 2 – 1st report GMT 10:30
Today we expect to hear from the FIA over who if anyone will be allowed to enter a new F1 team from 2015 – though for one of the hopefuls it appears to have been rather a long wait….
The strategy group is meeting today to rubber stamp the new Qualifying process and to decide on whether double points will apply for the last 3 races or just the final one. There may be some different tunes being played in Milton Keynes on this matter after 9 days of disastrous testing.
It is of course engine homologation day too. Madame Guillotine is about to fall 😉
Forgive me if a smile a little, but both the BBC and AMuS are finally reporting Renault’s request for an extension of the engine development period. Looks like Andrew Benson’s finally woken up. “It’s fair to say Renault’s request for an extension to the engine homologation deadline has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest. It’s a very controversial thing to request, for two reasons
1) these engine rules are effectively only in F1 because Renault wanted them and threatened to quit if they were not introduced;
2) the manufacturers have already had an extra year to develop the engines, after the initial date for the introduction of hybrid turbos was pushed back from 2013. Renault want an extra two months of development before specs are frozen, by the way. Contrary to what I wrote earlier, unanimity is needed for Renault’s request to pass. Apologies for any confusion.”
Anyway, here’s a list of the runners and riders today.
Red Bull – Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari – Fernando Alonso
Lotus – Pastor Maldonado
McLaren – Jenson Button
Force India – Sergio Perez
Sauber – Esteban Gutierrez
Williams – Felipe Massa
Toro Rosso – Jean-Eric Vergne
Marussia – Jules Bianchi
Caterham – Marcus Ericsson
TJ13 reported yesterday that Herr Doktor was taking a fatherly approach to his protégé Vettel, and advising him not to get angry about the state of the RB10 and its powertrain. Even Ricciardo, the new boy, candidly stated last evening that “It was pretty similar to last week; a few mechanical issues that put a stop to most of our running this afternoon. I think it’s clear that we probably won’t come out to Melbourne and dominate like the team finished last year but it’s still very early to say.”
Vettel’s irritation appears to be one of the reasons the team packed up early day 4 in Jerez and went back to Milton Keynes when following his final lap of the circuit, Seb jumped out of the car barking, “This is pointless; I’m not driving that again until it’s sorted out” or words to that effect.
Red Bull’s composites fitter had clearly been at work at night, as gashes have appeared in the body work in an attempt to improve cooling. They’ve been calling him “Mack the knife” since Jerez.
Daniel managed just 15 laps this morning before the chequered flag fell for lunch.
Kimi too was being his usual irritating minimalistic self when he commented on Ferrari’s paucity of laps on day 1, “I’m sure if we’d wanted to do 100 laps today, we could do.’ Mmm… I guess balls dangling in the pool is about right then Iceman?
The two red flags of the morning were caused by old best buddies, Lewis and Jenson. When the cars were recovered neither team was giving anything away on the reason for stopping out on track.
Interestingly, in terms of the 107% rule, if take take Rosberg’s fastest Bahrain time as the benchmark, in the two Bahrain tests so far only Caterham would fail to make the grid in Melbourne.
Segio Perez is again quickest of the morning…0.064 seconds clear of Fernando Alonso, with Jenson Button third.
|1||Perez||Force India||1m35.570s||33 laps|
|2||Alonso||Ferrari||1m35.634s +0.064||45 laps|
|3||Button||McLaren||1m36.901s +1.331||20 laps|
|4||Bianchi||Marussia||1m38.198s +2.628||33 laps|
|5||Hamilton||Mercedes||1m39.041s +3.471||61 laps|
|6||Massa||Williams||1m39.323s +3.753||44 laps|
|7||Vergne||Toro Rosso||1m39.756s +4.186||30 laps|
|8||Gutierrez||Sauber||1m40.428s +4.858||42 laps|
|9||Ricciardo||Red Bull||1m40.867s +5.297||15 laps|
|10||Maldonado||Lotus||1m41.762s +6.192||24 laps|
|11||Ericsson||Caterham||1m42.516s +6.946||22 laps|
The Secretary General of FOTA, Oliver Weingarten, has just revealed, “I can confirm that FOTA has today been disbanded as a result of its members’ having re-evaluated their requirements in the face of a changing political and commercial landscape in Formula 1.”
Oliver further adds this is, “as a result of insufficient funds to continue and a lack of consensus among all the teams on a revised, non-contentious mandate.”
FOTA finances have been affected because apparently some teams have refused to pay last year’s membership fees.
There are questions now over how the in season tests this year will be managed, since Ecclestone mandated FOTA with the responsibility for organising these three F1 tests.
FOTA has also been tasked with administering the teams’ returns on how they measure up under RRA rules. The submissions for the 2013 season are due next week.
This seems a crass and stupid move due to the tri-partite nature in which F1 is run. Further, in a sport where the revenues annually top $1.5bn, citing finance as a reason for this course of action is absurd.
At a time when Ecclestone appears mortally wounded, never before has there been such an opportunity for the teams to make their voice heard.
It is incredible that such highly intelligent individuals are so obsessed with their own back yard that they fail to see their collective lots could be hugely expanded if they worked together.
Still, this is F1, and we the fans watch on with wry amusement, as this bunch of so called global professionals delude and make fools of themselves.
Note: Respect to Oliver Weingarten for all he has tried to achieve and how he has tried to organise what appears to be a bunch of squabbling pubescent teenagers.
A statement from Renault
Carlos Ghosn met with Jean Todt earlier this week to discuss the gravity of the Renault engine situation. Here is the result.
“Renault is providing the reference Power Unit and appropriate supplementary material to the FIA, as per today’s homologation deadline.
There is a background request from some teams for alternative proposals (as will be discussed by the strategy group today) that regard some parts and components. However, the basic requirements of the homologation deadline will be delivered today as mandated by the FIA”.
This statement follows a rejection by the FIA of Renault’s request to open up the engine development for another 3 months
Renault are now left with trying to fix faulty parts, but they have not revealed which parts are troublesome.
Red Bull defend Vettel
Here’s a witty response from Milton Keynes on those of us who believe Sebastian is not happy with his RB10
“Afternoon all, Spy here, catching some Zzzees underneath the palm trees in the middle of the Bahrain paddock. So, what’s the best thing about testing in Bahrain? Well d’uh, it’s warm, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. After a winter in Milton Keynes it’s the little things that can really make your day.
For those of us with many, many winters waiting for the ice to melt in Spain, this, definitely, is better – you don’t need to put the driver on an aggressive brake warm-up strategy just so there’s something to huddle around when the car comes back in, and we’re getting to test the car rather than our eclectic selection of fingerless gloves, beanies and long trousers.
…and the car certainly needs testing. It won’t have escaped your notice that this hasn’t been our smoothest winter. The RB10 is a complicated beast and we’ve got a job list the length of the Shanghai back straight to get through. But we’re getting through it. Everyone’s doing long hours and we’re all fairly knackered – though actually that’s no different to when the car’s spot-on. The team manager and the chief bolt both firmly believe the Devil makes work for idle hands. Unfortunately the long list of things they consider evidence of idleness includes sleeping and eating regular meals.
We do, however, get the opportunity to make our own entertainment, one avenue to which is reading some of the more lurid speculation that’s flying around. Our favourite today is the one about Seb apparently having a massive hissy fit in Jerez, refusing to drive the car because it wasn’t very good, and storming off in a huff.~
A major news broadcaster posted the story this morning, along with the line “No-one outside the team knows whether it happened or not, and those on the inside wouldn’t say.
Eh? Run that by me again?
I suppose it could be true. Maybe four World Championships really have turned him into a screaming primadonna. Perhaps what really happened is Seb leapt out of the car and started foaming at the mouth. He made a very rude gesture in the direction of Adrian, snarled at Rocky, kicked Ole in the spanners and then stormed out of the garage, saddled his unicorn and rode back to Switzerland.
Meanwhile Adrian’s lost his copy of the Illustrated Junior Encyclopaedia of Motorsport and says he can’t design without it. Daniel’s sulking is really starting to get everyone down, Dr Marko has decided to return to his roots and become a dubstep producer under his street name DJ Graz and, after his New York residency last summer, Christian’s far more interested in street art than F1 anyway.
Seb, meanwhile has sent us a postcard, and says he’s really sorry for all the fuss. He’ll be back soon but has decided to chill for a while by spending a couple of weeks watching daytime soaps and eating crisps ’round at Mark’s house.
Maybe that’s what happening. It’s certainly a rumour. No one outside the team knows for sure and those inside won’t say…”
Why is everyone talking about Mark Webber?
Well, we know Seb’s alleged sleepover at Mark’s is unlikely to be true as Mrs. Judge is having the time of her life with Mark – finally!
Further, its about time someone muzzled the good doktor who gives credence to such ideas with his constant desire to comment on all the goings on in Milton Keynes.
Formula E car gets serious miles under its belt
Formula E’s fully-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E car has now completed 1,000km of testing without a single glitch – the equivalent of an entire season’s worth of racing.
Built by Spark Racing Technology together with a consortium of some of the leading names in motorsport, the 200kw (270bhp) single-seater has undergone an arduous testing programme since its unveiling in September 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The majority of the running has taken place at La Ferté-Gaucher circuit outside Paris together with sessions at Circuit du Luc in south east France, using the full 200kw battery as opposed to the quarter power one used previously.
Along with Spark Racing Technology, McLaren, Renault, Williams, Dallara and Michelin have all collaborated on the revolutionary racer which boasts a top speed of 225kph (150mph) and can accelerate from 0-100kph (0-62mph) in just over three seconds.
Théophile Gouzin from Spark Racing Technology, who has been overseeing all of the car’s development work, said: “To date we have clocked up around 750km at La Ferté-Gaucher with the remainder at Circuit du Luc. Since its maiden test back in November last year we have had nothing but hassle-free running which is fantastic for such a pioneering new car and is testament to the work and know-how of all our partners. Next month we move into the closing stages of the testing schedule focusing on tyre development.” (Formula E)
A comparison of driving styles
Double points decision
Breaking news: The F1 strategy group has decided not to extend double points to the final 3 races, which is a defeat for Ecclestone.
Renault’s Remi Taffin speaks out
In an exclusive interview with Ted Kravitz on SkySports, Remi Taffin – Renault Sport’s Head of Track Operation – revealed a few of the problems that the French manufacturer is hurriedly addressing.
With Melbourne merely two weeks away – and having covered ten days of testing since TheJudge13 first reported that Renault were experiencing serious problems – they seem to have finally acknowledged publicly what all observers have known for some time.
When asked about their development over the last few weeks – Taffin admitted that the situation was a difficult one: “I think we are where we wanted to be from last week. We now have a baseline to work on, so hardware issues are fixed or the main one… so now we can rev.”
Further questioning prompted the admission that the battery had been the main problem and with this, supposedly solved, the Renault teams have been able to run significantly more laps to allow redevelopment of the power unit and set up engine mapping. Whilst the soundbite makes this procedure seem easy to rectify, possibly the most damning revelation is that as they push the limits further, they are discovering more problems and having to fix them “one at a time. We are here – testing and developing – still trying to get everything right for Melbourne.”
It appears, as ever, in Formula One that a certain positive message has to be projected to not only the teams but to the media and the spectating world at large. Renault can run at full power but this in itself raises further issues. Not large issues which can take three days to fix, but smaller ones which can be isolated and the solution found quickly. “This prevents you from doing the full programme but you can still do 60, 70 or 80% of your programme.”
When asked about the regulations regarding the engine freeze and homologation which comes into effect at midnight, Taffin answered: “we will follow the same procedure that we have for the last six or seven years – we will give our spec for this year tomorrow to the FIA – and that will be spec for Melbourne. Then its fair to say that if we’re still facing issue, which I think we will – in complete fairness we will do as we did before and apply to the FIA and if engine manufacturers happy then will proceed and how we did for years now.”
As a final question Taffin was asked if once all the problems were fixed were Renault confident that they would have a really powerful engine that could rival Mercedes and Ferrari. In the best traditions of Chemical Ali and Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers not Steve Martin!):
“Difficult question because comparing to others is difficult at this time of the year but if we look at ourselves we are happy with every single component and with what we have done.”
It can only be surmised to how ‘happy’ Vettel, Marko and Newey are with the engine.