Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd March 2014


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Staying for final test right (GMM)

The Melbourne favorites (GMM)

Melbourne to get new F1 deal (GMM)

Long Beach anyone? (GMM)

Pirelli to sponsor two grands prix in 2014 (GMM)

Pirelli’s state of play

FIA’s D-Day


Global music artists for ALL Formula E events

Porsche LMP1 livery

Sochi race at risk?


How to fool an F1 team

Join the TJ13 Predictor League

If you missed it – TJ13 has now set up our GP Predictor league for 2014.

Last year we had a great response to our TJ13 Castrol Predictor League. GR Racing was our official TJ13 champion with 886 points. Mattpt55 Racing went into the final round with, in truth, everything to lose. Leading and looking comfortable for the league victory, Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean cost the team the honour of the inaugural TJ13 title.

Mist Army finished 3rd place in the league, dropping 1 place in the final round.

Who will win this year and where will you finish?

To be part of the TJ13 league click on the link below and once logged in select “Join Existing League” and then enter the league code. You will now be a part of TheJudge13 league and hopefully this year we can get a top 10.

Unique league link: http://gppredictor.com/league/join/code/6a70171018802287a2ef60e04396f1a0
Unique code to join this league: 6a70171018802287a2ef60e04396f1a0

Good luck!


Staying for final test right (GMM)

Bahrain 2nd Test - Day 3 - VettelWorld champion Sebastian Vettel has hinted crisis-struck Red Bull might have achieved more simply by staying at its factory last week. Instead, the troubled reigning champions tested alongside F1’s other ten teams in Bahrain, just two weeks before the revolutionary 2014 season kicks off.

In England we could respond more quickly,” Vettel admitted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, as the team continued to struggle with the RB10. Some insiders think Red Bull will struggle to get out of the initial ‘Q1’ segment in Melbourne later this month.

Vettel hinted Red Bull remained committed to the final pre-season test only to help engine supplier Renault more generally get up to speed.

I think it was absolutely the right decision to come here,” he said before leaving Bahrain. “It is down to us that we have not done enough.

The Austrian team, boss Christian Horner and now the German himself have denied reports Vettel recently threw a “hissy fit” when he realised the scale of Red Bull’s crisis.

I’m annoyed of course that I cannot drive,” he admitted. “I think it’s worse for the mechanics, crawling around all day on the floor putting the car together for the umpteenth time.

But I don’t see anybody getting upset, even if it is a hard time at the moment of course,” added Vettel.

And at the end of the day, it might not be all bad for Red Bull — insiders at Mercedes claim that GPS data has proved that when the Adrian Newey-penned car is running properly, it is fast in the corners.

Of the few laps we have had, the feeling was pretty good,” Vettel confirmed. “But I can’t tell you more.


The Melbourne favorites (GMM)

Bahrain 2nd Test - Day 4 - HamiltonNo one in the paddock doubts that Mercedes is significantly ahead of the game as the 2014 season opener looms. But when told he is an absolute favourite, works driver Lewis Hamilton clearly does not want the label to stick, furrowing his brow as he answered: “Why do you believe that?

At the very least, the Briton admits the German squad has produced the very best new V6 engine, compared to rival suppliers Ferrari and troubled Renault.

You have Williams, who look like they could be a competitive team, and you have Force India who could be much further ahead,” Hamilton is quoted by F1’s official website.

Maybe Felipe Massa will take the Williams to the front!

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, confirms that estimation of the pecking order, with Ferrari “a little bit behind” and Renault “far away” from the pace. Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali also thinks the Mercedes-powered works team and its customer Williams are “better prepared” than Ferrari for Melbourne.

I see us behind those two,” the Italian is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “but our car has a lot of development potential.

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, watching trackside in Bahrain, hailed the progress made over the winter by Williams.

They have stopped the downward trend,” he said.

They made the right decision to go to the Mercedes engine and with Massa and (Valtteri) Bottas they have a good mix of experience and youth, and a strong technical guy at the top with Pat Symonds.

Their performance in testing is no accident,” Berger insisted.

However, he thinks Williams’ superiority might not last. “In the long term I see McLaren and Ferrari more in the challenging role to Mercedes,” said Berger.

But what about Red Bull, the reigning champions, and the similarly Renault-powered Lotus?

You cannot rule out teams like that,” Williams’ Massa is quoted by Totalrace, “because when they solve their problems, they know how to win races.

It’s nice to think Red Bull is going to be fighting with Caterham, but forget it,” said the Brazilian. “They have a problem to solve and when they solve it, they will be there.

MassaAt the moment, however, it is Massa who is ‘there’ as a genuine podium favourite in Melbourne. “As of now, our biggest enemy is from our own (Mercedes-powered) house,” said Lauda.

Massa admitted: “I’m really happy with how the tests have been with our speed and reliability, but I see the Mercedes works team as slightly ahead of us.


Melbourne to get new F1 deal (GMM)

Bernie Ecclestone says he is confident Melbourne is staying on the F1 calendar beyond its 2015 contract.

Yes,” he told the Herald Sun newspaper. “Sure, sure, sure.

The F1 chief executive said a new contract will be signed “as soon as we get the lawyers sorted“.

Ecclestone’s comments follow reports from within the state government that race organisers are pushing hard for a better financial deal. But the 83-year-old Briton insisted: “It will happen, don’t worry about it.

Ecclestone said the government is no longer arguing with F1 over money.

I think that’s all been sorted,” he said. “It’s just the bits and pieces. It will happen.


Long Beach anyone? (GMM)

Long Beach F1New reports suggesting Long Beach could return to F1’s annual calendar have emerged.

Last year, bosses of the iconic US street race denied reports F1 figures had expressed interest in snapping up a deal when Indycar’s contract expires in 2015.

Race president Jim Michaelian said then: “The race isn’t for sale and there’s been no contact between anyone and (owner) Kevin (Kalkhoven) about a sale.

But the Long Beach Press Telegram is now reporting that, at a meeting on Tuesday, the city council will discuss the issue of the race lease, claiming F1 bosses “want the city to open up the bidding process“.

We just want a fair process where qualified people can bid on it,” confirmed Chris Pook, F1’s original Long Beach pioneer who is now working closely with Bernie Ecclestone. “We would like to be one of those entities,” he confirmed.

The Long Beach Press Telegram revealed that, in a letter to mayor Bob Foster last May, Ecclestone expressed interest in taking F1 back to the streets.

If you and the city council so determine, the opportunity to operate an automobile race through the city streets of Long Beach can be put out to open bid,” he wrote.

Please be advised that Formula One is interested in returning to your city, and we will consider the appropriate entity to make such a bid if you decide to permit such a process,” Ecclestone added.


Pirelli to sponsor two grands prix in 2014 (GMM)

Paul Hembery © PirelliPirelli will become the naming sponsor of two grands prix in 2014. The Italian company has been F1’s often-controversial sole supplier of tyres since 2011, but this season will be the first time grands prix are actually named after Pirelli. It emerged that the Spanish Grand Prix in May will officially be called ‘Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Pirelli’, while the Budapest race in July will be ‘Formula 1 Pirelli Magyar Nagydij’.

Pirelli’s motor sport boss Paul Hembery told reporters as the Bahrain test concluded on Sunday that the news will soon be announced officially.


Pirelli’s state of play

As Paul Hembery predicted, we would be hearing much less about the Italian tyre manufacturers product for F1 than this time last year.

Indeed in the 3rd and final test, 309 sets of Pirelli’s saw action and a total of 3,307 laps were completed.

Hembery is pleased with two issues in particular. “The new tires are more durable and are degrading less than their predecessors without compromising performance. There are now less marbles on the track and the graining has reduced”.

It is probable that the engine manufacturers and the teams will achieve steep gains in terms of lap times via ongoing development. So this and the fact there were a limited number of qualifying simulations together mean we may yet see some teams complaining of marginal tyres further down the road.

Interestingly, the first big test for the new Pirelli tyre will be at the Spanish GP at the circuit de Barcelona, Catalunya where high corner loadings combined with a very abrasive track surface make this venue one which is particularly tough on tyres. It is, in fact, what might be termed a classic tyre circuit – a strong contrast to new venues such as Sepang, which possess a very different type of track surface, even though tyre energies or high there too.

Pat Symonds, explained ahead of last years Spanish GP. “Tyre energy is a measure of the total work a tyre must do, and represents the sum of the energy requirements produced during cornering, braking and under traction. While these are separate forces, generally acting in separate directions, they act in combination with each other, as a driver is typically braking and cornering, or accelerating and cornering, simultaneously. This total energy is a good measure of how hard the circuit is going to be on tyres, and the requirements can be divided up to give a separate figure for each tyre, indicating which corners of the car are under the most load”.

“Thus, at Barcelona, the hardest worked tyre is the left rear. Assuming the total energy of this tyre to be 100%, the right rear requires 86%, the left front 63% and the right front 42%. These figures allow us to draw some basic conclusions about how the tyres work in Barcelona: the left front works 150% harder than the right front, owing to the clockwise direction of the circuit and long right-hand corners such as turn three. Equally, the other major difference is between the energy requirements of the front and rear tyres: even though Barcelona is a particularly tough circuit on tyres, and especially the left front, the requirements of the front wheels are still only 56% of the total energy of the rear tyres: this gives some measure of the energy demanded by traction and controlling engine power”.

With the huge increases in torque this year, we could see the rear tyres, particularly through turn 3, being work 3-400% as much as the fronts and to date, nobody knowns how the 2014 Pirelli’s will stand up to this.

Pirelli has opted for a conservative approach to the first 4 races. The supersofts will remain mothballed and in Melbourne, China and Bahrain we will see the soft and medium compounds in use. As mentioned above, Sepang is a high energy circuit and the dry tyres supplied to the teams will be the medium and hard compounds.

The time differences in Bahrain across the compounds were as follows. Supersoft around 0.7 seconds a lap quicker than the soft. This is turn is .13-5 seconds quicker than the medium tyre  which has a similar gap between itself and the hard compound.

These gaps between the compounds will shrink as the teams begin to understand the tyres better later in the season.


FIA’s D-Day

If the FIA had been planning the 2nd world war Normandy landings, a famous part of our modern calendar would be called something quite different. Last Friday was supposed to be when we heard whether any new teams were being licensed to compete in F1.

TJ13 reported last week that Gene Haas had been in London, Paris and Italy for meetings with various parties concerning his application to form a US owned F1 team.

Haas told NBC sports last night his meeting with the FIA involved “six or seven various people”, quipping that the group appeared to have a “formal way of processing applications – in the sense that there is no application.”

“It was about a hour-and-a-half [long] meeting where they asked us a lot of questions about how we intend to do this, how do we intend to pay for it, what are the logistics of how you’re going to do this,” Haas relates. “We answered those questions as best we could. I was there. [SHR executive vice-president] Joe Custer was there. [Former F1 technical director] Gunther Steiner was there.

They’re pretty intense. They had a lot of good questions. I think what they do is they take that information, evaluate it, make their recommendations to I think it’s the Formula One’s owners association or next group of people, and the process goes on.”

In Fact a certain Mr. E and his associates have a veto over any new teams entering the sport and the reason the FIA announcement was delayed was due to an apparent last minute objection from the commercial right’s holder.

Haas impression of this is, “They don’t really make a decision until they’re sure what they want the decision to be.”

Oh the delicious innocence of you… Gene 😉

Anyway, the FIA may now see a significant number of letters of the alphabet consumed, even alien alphabets engaged before D-Day eventually becomes the day of decision.



The self proclaimed, “worst Formula 1 driver of all time” has graduated into team management. The former Simtek and Footwork’s driver – Taki Inouse will manage team Euro Nova Japan in the almost established “Formula Acceleration 1” series.

Despite the inevitable legal problems they will have with Mr. E over the series name, the Dutch initiative will see the moth balled A1 GP cars race again and a calendar has already been agreed.

“2014 will be an historic year. Between April and Ocotber, Europe will be the venue for unique events packed with horse power and musical notes taking place on 10 tracks in 10 countries”.

The events are called “Acceleration”. They “will include motorcycle races at a high European elevel, the Nations Cup, tractor pulling, world’s best DJ’s, kids activities and more. In short an affordable mega event for family, friends and car and motorcycle fans”.

The next bit is not quite true, but hey, this is a publicity announcement. “Exclusively for ACCELERATION, a new single-seater series is born. This spectacular category is a springboard to Formula 1 for the drivers with engines roaring up to 550 hp!

“In this category, each FA1 team represents a nation. Drivers should not be the same nationality as the team and the car should represent the country. Each car is mechanically identical, built with technical restrictions to limit performance and reduce costs.

This provides a level in which the driver’s skills and team effort become the main factors to achieve results”.

TJ13 believes the 10 country calendar currently only has agreements with 8.

Yet, whether Acceleration fails or is a success, there is much food for thought here…..

website here


Global music artists for ALL Formula E events

Organisers of the FIA Formula E Championship have today (3, March) appointed experienced event company CDC Entertainment as its official FELive™ concert promoters, bringing top, global music stars to perform live at all 10 Formula E race events.

Founded by a team of industry professionals, CDC Entertainment boasts more than 30 years’ experience – together with 50 international awards – producing concerts for international acts such as Beyonce, Robbie Williams and Adele.

Providing a ‘soundtrack’ to all Formula E events, concerts will take place after the racing in venues close to the city-centre circuits offering spectacular backdrops. Top DJs will begin the evening entertainment followed by a live set from the headline act.

“Formula E is much more than just a racing series,” said Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. “We want to ensure fans have a fantastic and unforgettable experience by providing an array of on and off track entertainment from the morning through to the evening. We hope this will further increase the appeal of Formula E, far beyond racing fans, so that there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

He added: “Whilst providing close, exciting racing remains our main priority, we want our Formula E events to have a unique festival atmosphere where people interact every step of the way and better understand the benefits of clean mobility.”

Confirmed artists, along with full ticketing details, will be announced in due course via the championship’s official website. All Formula E events take place in a single day.

Chris Frampton from CDC Entertainment added: “We’re delighted to be part of the FIA Formula E Championship and are looking forward to putting on 10 electrifying FELive™ concerts in city-centres around the world. Music and sport are a natural fit, and we will bring together vibrant electric dance music, the best DJs with worldwide A-list artists. FELive™ will be announcing further details over the coming weeks and months so fans can not only look forward to great racing but great music too. The Formula E calendar features some of the world’s leading cities meaning fans are going to be able to enjoy live music at some truly amazing locations, from beaches to stadiums. Formula E is hoping to educate through entertainment and we’re very pleased to be a part of that and to be reaching out to a new generation of fans.” (Formula E).

Funny how the news falls. Formula E and Acceleration appear to understand what F1 doesn’t about finding a new generation of fans.


Porsche LMP1 livery

Webbuary may be a distant memory for some, however, here is the livery revealed for the WEC LMP1 category car a certain Australian will be driving this year.



Sochi race at risk?

The crisis between Russia and the Ukraine is deepening quickly, and it appears both Ukraine and the West will not tolerate the Russian occupation of the Crimea.

The BBC reports, “Two large Ukrainian military bases are surrounded, with Russian troops standing alongside local self-defence groups, who demand that the Ukrainian soldiers inside defect from Kiev to Crimea’s new pro-Russia government.

The naval headquarters remains blockaded and key installations like airports are still occupied. Thousands of newly-arrived Russian elite troops far outnumber Ukraine’s military presence here. Crimea has in effect been cut off by roadblocks, where vehicles are being denied access to the peninsula”.

A seasoned war zone correspondent suggests Europe’s response to date has been most surprising.

“To a remarkable degree EU officials championed their cause. They stood shoulder to shoulder with the protesters. They chose to ignore the fact that – tolerate or loathe him – Viktor Yanukovych was an elected leader. They glossed over the significant role played by nationalist groups in the defence of Independence Square. And they were clear with their intentions – “the future of Ukraine belongs with the EU,” said EU President Herman Van Rompuy. It infuriated Moscow who saw it as a power grab in its own zone of influence”.

Russia says Kiev is in the hands of an illegitimate government of “far-right extremists” with “xenophobic, anti-Semitic and neo-fascist” views, installed as the result of a “coup d’etat”, which deposed President Victor Yanukovych illegally.

The USA have declared they are putting on hold their plans to attend the G8 meeting to be chaired by Russia in Sochi.

The US secretary of state talks of visa bans and asset freezes as part of a programme to isolate Russia economically. John Kerry said that other G8 countries would “go to the hilt to isolate Russia”

The G7 of major industrialised powers condemned Moscow’s military build-up, “the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

The battle lines are drawn as Ukraine calls up 10’s of thousands of reserves to report for military training.

Were the Russian GP to be imminent, it is impossible to see it taking place given the current profile of the international condemnation of Russia.

Of course this may all blow over, but this is no Bahrain and the current level of rhetoric is infinitely higher than used to condemn China’s human rights record. The risk is there is an incident which leads to a retaliation and an unplanned escalation.

Should this be a prolonged dispute leading to the eventual cancelation of the Russian GP, will Mr. E take resort to his usual tactics and threaten to take Mr. P to court for breaching his contractual obligations to FOM?



Sauber just rather proudly tweeted this…



How to fool an F1 team

“Don’t worry lads, join our party. Budget’s will be just £40m and that silly expensive KERS idea will never see the light of day”.

Then there’s, “We understand winter testing in Bahrain will be more expensive, but heh, we worked something out between ourselves and the Al Khalifa’s to make sure you’re not out of pocket”.

The attraction of sunny Bahrain and the pleasant hospitality of the Sheiks called Al Khalifa was a most alluring prospect when compared to the ice on the car windows at 7am in Barcelona – February 2013.

Lewis Hamilton was exuberant in his praise to the Gulf state’s hosting of this year’s pre-season events, commenting it was the “best ever test”. With temperatures between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius, it’s understandable why.

Yet despite assurances on costs, smaller teams are adding up the incremental bills and calculating it in fact cost them more than half a million Euros more than Barcelona would have been. Top teams spent more than a million Euros extra according to AMuS.

One of the problems apparently is because Mr. E had promised the teams they would pay nothing extra for the stopover for freight to Melbourne despite their stopover in Bahrain. They have been charged $9.90 per kilogram.

Thos who criticise Judge Newey’s closing comments branding Ecclestone ‘unreliable’ and ‘untruthful’ may ask the Bob Fernley’s of this world, how annoyed he is.

On a more positive note pertaining to costs, it appears the teams via the F1 strategy group are actually discussing moves towards a budget cap. Not so positive is the red line certain teams are currently drawing underneath a number of 265 million Euro’s.

What cost crisis?..you may well ask.


20 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd March 2014

  1. Button confirms the Mercedes view of the Red Bull (from the BBC report):

    “I was driving with Ricciardo for quite a few laps and he couldn’t get past me on the straights. He overtook me around the outside of Turn 11 instead, which is a high-speed left-hander. I’ve never seen anything like that before.
    “If they can complete a race distance, they’ll be near the front.”

    • Aerodynamically I think the RB will be top of the class but at what prize. Obviously the Renault engine wants looked after. Once Renault sorts their problems I expect to see them at the front.

      • Powertrains problems aside (I know, that’s a very large aside), the Bull looks very interesting. Their diffuser is remarkably simple compared to other cars, and they are running a lot of rake.
        Suggests that some clever aero tricks are going on.

          • What of McLaren? Do the use a lot of rake? It seems strange to me that they’ve slipped off-pace. Or is that they planned all their upgrade for P1 in Melbourne?

          • Would have to go back and look to see what kind of rake they are running, but I think the bigger issue for them is if you look carefully, you will notice that their rear suspension has evolved for Bahrain, and I have seen speculation that it was causing heating issues with the tires. Especially because you don’t see any of the other teams copying it, it may well be there are other problems with that area of development that they are only now discovering.

    • When Porsche first jioned McLaren mid-1983 the could hardly finish a GP due to Barnard’s tight design. But guess who won the double for the next two years with Lauda and Prost?
      Button and Hamilton are right, once RBR sort their problems with the Renault engine, they will be fast, so next year at the latest they’ll be challenging for the titles again.

      • Hmmm. In 1983 when McLaren switched over to the TAG-Porsche engine they only suffered one engine failure – Brands. Prior to using the TAG-Porsche engine, Lauda and Watson had 10 DNF’s with the Cosworth powered car.

  2. Stefano Domenicali “Our car has a lot of development potential.“
    Translation: “Our car is much worse than expected!”

  3. Excellent article on the Pirelli tires today… I particularly enjoyed Symonds analysis of the work of the tire at each corner at Barcelona, as I’d not seen that before.

    One interesting thing about Pirelli’s statement today is that their estimated performance gaps between Soft, Medium and Hard compounds actually increased slightly between Bahrain 1 and Bahrain 2:

    S -> M || 1.2s @ Bahrain 1 || 1.3s to 1.5s @ Bahrain 2 || Increase of 0.3s
    M-> H || 1.3s @ Bahrain 1 || 1.3s to 1.5s @ Bahrain 2 || Increase of 0.2s

    In both statements they predicted these gaps to fall, apparently as a result of the expected increase in downforce to be gained by development during the season.

  4. Thanks for the coverage of testing. I wonder if you have any data you could share on the failure of engine units in comparison to the ERS failures. Whilst the ERS/electrical failures have been been spectacular and much publicised, an early fix is much simpler than a block/head/hydraulics redesign. Domenicali in addition to Renault has stated that the real need is to get all the PU elements working together. I am not too worried about the ability of Renault to come up with a solution, sooner rather than later. In another place, Adrian Newey made some interesting remarks about the Renault engine and its ability to run very hot. He also spoke about its requirement for the cooling charge, all of which he considered to give an advantage. This and other factors, indicates to me that Renault might well have taken a fairly radical approach, which will allow them to run their engine for a significant time, on the edge of the performance envelope. Remember that Renault were in the lead last year when it came to engine management and various neat tricks with cylinder ducking etc. Last year the Mercedes engine was considered the most powerful with Renault a little behind. But the Renault was much more flexible and fuel efficient, something that is going to be required this season. Whilst Renault have some problems, I’m not writing them off just yet. Of course they could have made a lemon…..

    • … The Bahrain II test was at times a bit of a lock down. lap times no longer available… entrance to the circuit restricted to the public….

      However, the normal course of affairs will occur as information trickles out.

      For example I believe the rear cover of the RB10 is currently undergoing a redesign which will see it significantly increased in dimension – and hence lose some of its tight aero advantage.

  5. I think in most democratic countries people only can vote for people instead of ideas. It’s like the Southpark episode where the vote was between a vaginal douche and a turd sandwich.

    Ideally you follow the majority while taking minorities into account.

    What Ukraine shows us – amongst many other things – is that money talks and representatie democracy is flawed.

    In the end, F1 is the melting pot which shows us perfectly what can go wrong: self interest conflicting with the sport at large, some people sucking all money out of it, nobody making a real stance, and in the end it dissolves. You’re not going to protest F1 – you just stop watching.

    And also discouraging that other innovations in motorsport aren’t about motorsport but about Beyoncé, running to your car and something with Facebook.

    Fuck. I’m old.

    • …Hey we were attracted to F1 in the old days by do or die heroes, racing at their own mortal peril – in machines as slippery as a snake…

      … today we have car park run off areas, cars that have run on rails and thankfully monocoques capable of dissipating head on crashes at ridiculous speeds….

      …a new pull is required for the generation with their arses hanging out of their jeans…..

  6. On a completely unrelated note, I see Carlos Slim is no longer the world’s richest person (some bloke called Bill Gates is instead), I feel “so” sorry for him.

  7. I think that Sauber tweet is very valuable to a large number of fans – just needs some simple, but equally clear diagrams…

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