Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 12th March 2014

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The month of March

Australian Race Stewards

Capricorn Group saves Nürburgring

Vettel names Red Bull RB10

Stoddard: Ricciardo will not get equal opportunity

Luca di Montezemolo worried about “taxi rides”

Ron Dennis: McLaren had lost focus

‘Encouraging signs’ in Schumacher recovery – manager (GMM)

Vettel could exit amid Red Bull crisis – Marko (GMM)

Is Red Bull Racing stretching the rules again? (Updated)

The seriousness of F1

Ecclestone should be ‘suspended’

Aussie Opportunism

Amended McLaren livery

FIA Press Conference Schedule: Australia

The all new F1 podium

Lauda denies money powered Mercedes dominance (GMM)

Lauda ‘annoyed’ by Schumacher rumours (GMM)

New V6 era is ‘pure F1’- Berger (GMM)

India GP problems ‘money related’ – Ecclestone (GMM)


The month of March

1972_March_721G_Ford_Ronnie_Peterson_ALE03

The legendary Ronnie Peterson literally flies on his way to a – season best – third place finish at the 1972 German Grand Prix, around the fearsome 14.1 miles of the Nurburgring, in the STP March 721G

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Australian Race Stewards

DR GERD ENNSER – MEMBER OF THE DMSB’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR AUTOMOBILE SPORT, FORMULA ONE AND DTM STEWARD
prvw-steward-ennser.jpgDr Gerd Ennser has successfully combined his formal education in law with his passion for motor racing. While still active as a racing driver he began helping out with the management of his local motor sport club and since 2006 has been a permanent steward at every round of Germany’s DTM championship. Since 2010 he has also been a Formula One steward. Dr Ennser, who has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and in the legal department of an automotive-industry company, has also acted as a member of the steering committee of German motor sport body, the DMSB, since spring 2010, where he is responsible for automobile sport. In addition, Dr Ennser is a board member of the South Bavarian Section of ADAC, Germany’s biggest auto club.

TIM MAYER – FIA ALTERNATE DELEGATE TO THE USA, FIA STEWARD
prvw-steward-mayer.jpgAs the son of former McLaren team principal Teddy Mayer, Tim Mayer grew up around motor sport. He organised IndyCar races internationally from 1992-98, aided the construction of several circuits, and produced international TV for multiple series. In 1998 he became CART’s Senior VP for Racing Operations. He also became VP of ACCUS, the US ASN. In 2003, Mayer became COO of IMSA, operating multiple series at all levels, and also took on the role of COO and Race Director of the American Le Mans Series. He was elected an independent Director of ACCUS and FIA US Alternate Delegate, responsible for US World Championship events.

EMANUELE PIRRO – FORMER F1 DRIVER AND FIVE-TIME LE MANS WINNER
prvw-steward-pirro.jpgDuring a motor sport career spanning almost 40 years, Emanuele Pirro has achieved a huge amount of success, most notably in sportscar racing, with five Le Mans wins, victory at the Daytona 24 Hours and two wins at the Sebring 12 Hours. In addition, the Italian driver has won the German and Italian Touring Car championships (the latter twice) and has twice been American Le Mans Series Champion. Pirro enjoyed a three-season F1 career from 1989 to 1991, firstly with Benetton and then for Scuderia Italia. His debut as an FIA Steward came at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and he has returned regularly since.

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Capricorn Group saves Nürburgring


Nurburgring 1

It was the news many fans of the legendary Nordschleife had been waiting for. The track that was under threat of closure over a subsidising scandal (the fat hippo ranted about it last year) has been bought and on top of it, the buyer is not an investment group of which at least one was in the running, too.

The buyer turns out to be the Capricorn Group, a German consortium that produces engine parts, like crankshafts, pistons and piston rods for racing engines as well as composite materials. The company has production facilities in Mönchengladbach (Germany), at the Nürburgring, St. Etienne (France), Basingstoke (England), Charlotte (USA), Anzola Dell’Emillia (Italy) and Modena (Italy).

Capricorn has been running a production and test facility at the Ring since 2002 and plans to expand it into a Technology Cluster. A new company capricorn Nürburgring GmbH has been founded and added to the Capricorn Group to run the Nürburgring, the associated hotels and the amusement park. The company’s press release assured that all current racing, driving and test activities, among them the F1 Grand Prix and the hugely popular tourist weekends that allow anyone with a valid license and an insured road legal car to drive on the Northern Loop track will be continued and even extended.

For fans of the legendary track this is the best case scenario. The full press release is available for viewing on the capricorn group website

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Vettel names Red Bull RB10

That Sebastian Vettel has a special relationship to his car became obvious, when he celebrated his fourth championship title in India. After performing doughnuts on the start-finish straight, he got out and worshipped his machine. Since his switch to Red Bull he has traditionally named his cars.

While the German word for car Auto[mobil] is a neuter, he chooses to give his cars female names. His first Red Bull car the 2009 RB5 was called Katie and after crashing his first chassis, he named the new one Kate’s Dirty Sister. The 2010 RB6 was named Luscious Liz (because ‘she has a nice back-end’ according to Vettel’s Top Gear interview) a second chassis in use after Monaco was christened Randy Mandy. The dominant 2011 car was called Kinky Kylie, the RB8 Abbey and the all-conquering RB9 was called Hungry Heidi.

A hippo rant at the time of Jerez suggested that Vettel name his 2014 RB10 Hideous Hilda or Gross Gertie, but the German went for naming it Suzie. According to Vettel, the name has no connection to any real person and the name was carefully spelt with a Z to avoid being seen as a jab at Susie Wolff, who will appear in at least two Friday practices during the season.

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Stoddard: Ricciardo will not get equal opportunity

In an interview with GPUdate.net former Minardi boss Paul Stoddard has claimed that Daniel Ricciardo, the successor of fellow Australian Mark Webber, will be a dedicated number two at Red Bull.

“It’s very hard to be a team-mate to Sebastian,” Stoddart is quoted as saying. “Despite all the efforts to downplay that it’s not his [Vettel’s] team, it is his team. Daniel has to accept that he’s going to be second best, which is very hard for a racing driver to do, especially a young racing driver. If he can accept that, he’s going to do fine. If he can’t accept that, he’ll struggle. Daniel has certainly got the talent and the coolness, but he’ll never get equal opportunity.”

One could wonder, whom Stoddard expects to be surprised about that. Vettel gave both Red Bull teams their respective first wins ever, scored 100% of TR’s wins and about 75% of all RB wins, along with 4 titles. Did he seriously expect that RB would not cater for Vettel’s needs and preferences first and above all? It sounds more like a pre-emptive excuse being made up for the case that Ricciardo could struggle to match his team mate, which strikes me as an odd way to motivate a young driver.

If early signs are any indication, Danny boy already fares better than his compatriot, as the majority of testing troubles happened when Vettel was supposed to drive, including the third testing day at the second Bahrain test during which Vettel didn’t manage a single lap. It appears that Danny R. hasn’t inherited Mark’s streak of bad luck, although like his predecessor he is taller and heavier than his team-mate and may face the same challenges in terms of setup and the car’s cooling.

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Luca di Montezemolo worried about “taxi rides”

Ferrari president has told Autosprint that he is worried about early races becoming “taxi rides” with drivers having to go slow to keep the fuel consumption below the allowed 100 kilogram limit for the race. The Italian admitted that he would prefer a Formula One that required drivers to drive at the limit, something that would clearly play into the hands of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. After a strong 2012, when Alonso came close to winning the title in what was clearly not the fastest car, he struggled in some races in 2013 which required a lot less raw driving skills in favour of going fast, but slow enough to keep the flimsy Pirelli tyres alive.

The latter aspect still irks LdM. “Yesterday all we looked at were the tyres. Almost all attention was focused on tyre management. It was confusing to see a driver in the lead, who wasn’t really in the lead, because he would have to come in for tyres soon. Races were too hard to follow. Now we get the fuel limit on top of that.”

But not all rule changes are met by di Montezemolos disapproval. He welcomes the additional engineering challenges of the hybrid engine systems. He thinks that experience with these complex systems will be helpful for the company’s road car division.

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Ron Dennis: McLaren had lost focus

Based on their speed over the year, McLaren should have won the 2012 title with Lewis Hamilton. More often than not the “chrome arrows” were as fast or even faster than Vettel’s Red Bull, but they left the title fight to Alonso and Vettel due to lack of reliability, a string of botched pit stops and questionable strategy calls. Instead of following Adrian Newey’s example by developing a car that already was a proven winner, they binned the 2012 design and started from scratch even though 2013 was a transition year. It all went spectacularly wrong and McLaren suffered the first season in 30 years without a single podium finish.

According to Jonathan Noble, writing for Motorsport Total, returning McLaren boss Ron Dennis identified detractions due to other projects and a general loss of focus as the main culprit for the lack of success in recent years. Dennis, who admits that he got bored of a non-executive position at McLaren after just two days, names the signing of Eric Boullier as one decision that is part of his plans to bring McLaren back on track. The former Lotus man is supposed to concentrate solely on the team, something that Whitmarsh obviously didn’t do. The other projects at Woking will be overseen by a separate Executive Officer.

Not known for making empty promises, Dennis showed faith in a refocused team to deliver wins this year, which considering that they use Mercedes engines this year appears not to be the riskiest of predictions.

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‘Encouraging signs’ in Schumacher recovery – manager (GMM)

Michael Schumacher is showing “small, encouraging signs” in his long recovery from “severe injuries”, the seven time world champion’s management announced on Wednesday in a rare official update.

The statement follows speculation the great former Ferrari and Mercedes driver’s family has now been told Schumacher, 45, is unlikely to recover, almost eleven weeks into his coma after a skiing fall in the French alps.

But Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm said in the communique on Wednesday: “We are confident Michael will pull through and will wake up.

“There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know this is the time to be very patient.”

The Schumacher camp has been criticised for not disclosing enough information to the media and his legions of fans about the German’s recovery.

Wednesday’s statement said the family is in fact “extremely grateful” for the sympathy and interest, but “it should not be forgotten Michael’s family is dealing with an extremely intimate and fragile situation.

“It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation,” Kehm said.

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Vettel could exit amid Red Bull crisis – Marko (GMM)

Red Bull needs to up its game or risk losing Sebastian Vettel.

That is the admission of the team’s always-blunt Dr Helmut Marko, as quadruple reigning world champion Vettel prepares to either retire or finish outside the points as the 2014 season kicks off this weekend in Melbourne.

Marko admitted to Germany’s Bild newspaper: “If our disastrous state does not change soon, I could not blame him for thinking about a change.”

Vettel, 26, sat down with his mechanics in Melbourne on Tuesday for his traditional pre-season dinner, where he named his uncompetitive RB10 car an unspectacular ‘Suzie’.

Marko told Sport Bild magazine: “After the test in Bahrain, we would be happy if we finish in the points in Australia.

“We know that we have a good car,” he added, “but we’ll only know if the engine is good if we get it to work properly.

“The decisive factor is the new software that our engineers wrote for Renault.”

The undoubted favourite for the Albert Park opener is Mercedes, and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday tipped Lewis Hamilton to win the title.

But 1996 world champion Damon Hill told the Daily Mail: “I would warn Lewis not to underestimate Nico (Rosberg).”

Indeed, the flamboyant 2008 world champion Hamilton is often the Mercedes driver on everybody’s lips, but the German told the DPA news agency that he doesn’t mind.

“I do feel that the fans appreciate me,” Rosberg said, “and I am grateful for their support.”

Team chairman Niki Lauda said opinions about Mercedes’ drivers are often formed because of Hamilton’s “brutal force of talent”.

But he told the Austrian broadcaster ORF: “Nico is characterised in that he thinks in a very technical way — almost like Vettel.

“The two (Hamilton and Rosberg) complement each other very well.”

Rosberg said: “I have a feeling that this could be our year and that’s very exciting.”

Still, the 28-year-old and the Brackley based team are cautious. “To say now that we will become world champions because of the good tests would be totally wrong and premature,” boss Toto Wolff told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

And a forecast of rain for Melbourne is making Lauda nervous.

“We have never driven with these turbo engines in the rain,” he said, “so it is possible that even more problems could turn up.”

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Is Red Bull Racing stretching the rules again? (Rubbished)

It appears that Red Bull are circumventing the rules once again in their search for speed for their troubled car.

This morning at the RAAF Air Force base in Victoria (around two and half hours from Melbourne) a ‘filming’ day had been organised which had an F/A-18 Hornet drag racing the Red Bull car. This in itself is not a problem – it’s straight line running after all.

An observer told TJ13, “it was a great event and the noise of both powerplants was awesome!”

However after the actual filming was completed, and the jet removed, the Red Bull car would appear periodically and complete a number of laps using the runways and taxiways as a form of track.

With the venue being a military base, photography was banned and any brave individual who felt the slightest inclination to secretly record anything was informed explicitly by the military police they would be arrested if they did so.

Mmm…. How many filming days have RBR now had? Was there an F1 observer there to count mileage?

For now we don’t know.

As the judge was meanwhile informed, Red Bull used an RB7 to film a feature with the RAAF for Top Gear Australia. This therefore does not concern the testing regulations.

(FH)

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The seriousness of F1

F1 is indeed a serious business, and historically was even more so. The ‘Daddy of the Garagistes’, Colin Chapman, was accused of killing his drivers with excessive designs which reduced driver protection during a crash. Serious stuff.

Of course today, a driver can crash head on with a barrier at 300 kph and most likely avoid even a broken bone. But F1 is still a very serious business.

It may be that there are so few competitive events, 19,20 or 21 races, which focuses the mind of the fans and those in the sport on a whole range of other topics – which become most serious indeed.

The weight of history bears heavily on the shoulders of certain individuals such as Montezemolo, Sir Frank and Ron Dennis, together with the weight of a wage bill which see’s the industry employ both directly and indirectly over 6,000 people. Livelihoods are a very serious matter.

We the fans bitch and squabble in the forums over who is better than whom, where the line between cheating and playing the system should be drawn and quicker than ‘jumping jack flash’ a serious feud develops where the matters of decency and morality become points of principle. Seriously serious.

The uproar double points has caused is indeed a measure of how deadly serious we the fans are. Yet as I suggested when this news broke, it is inevitable F1 will find a solution to ensure the championship is decided regularly in the dying moments of the season. This is just the beginning.

Regularly, the heightened DefCon One nature of the seriousness rolls unintentionally into parody – akin to an ‘end of the world movie’ by Steve Martin – and there is nothing more amusing than watching one of our F1 players take themselves way,way too seriously to the point of farce.

TJ13 since its inception recognises this is a large part of F1, and at times the only way to remain serious about the over egged mega seriousness we may be presented with, is to recognise the parody and chuckle heartily.

Hence last year we had “Christian Aid” week in honour of a certain Mr. Horner. Many readers were surprised by the buff nature of Christian’s body once his team Red Bull uniform was stripped away. Daily News and Comment: 23rd April 2013

What is really tremendous to observe is when the much over egged seriousness, becomes parody to all looking on AND this is also recognised by the purveyor of the uber seriousness.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christian Horner amiably chats through where Red Bull are at, and indeed there are encouraging signs the smouldering relationship with Renault is on the mend and no divorce will be necessary.

“The split between chassis and engine is obviously different in our team than it is at Mercedes and Ferrari. We’re not totally integrated. We have an extremely close working relationship, and there’s an awful lot of exchange of information and ideas”, Horner reveals. All of our 47 grands prix have been with Renault power.”

Good ole Chris leaves us with a slight but sneaking suspicion that a Renault works team based in Milton Keynes is not an impossibility at some point in the future. Especially when we consider that Lotus lobbied so very for this, but were refused.

Mateschitz at some point will have had enough of F1, so the battle between Red Bull and Lotus this year could indeed be for the exclusive affections of… and a marriage to… their current French mistress from across the channel.

In a way, it appears that for the first time in many a moon, the pressure is off Christian. He calmly suggests, “The bottom line is Mercedes have got a bit of a march on people. They invested more, they invested earlier. They’ve got themselves into a good position. If Mercedes were to finish two laps ahead of the opposition in Melbourne, that wouldn’t be a surprise, based on what we’ve seen in preseason testing. It’s massive”.

Wow. No protests of breaking the RRA with 400 engineers working on the Brixworth engine project compared to Renaults sub-200???

Apparently not.

Further, Monsieur Horner takes responsibility for the plight his team finds themselves in at present. “We aggressively pushed the boundaries on the packaging of the car, as Adrian always does, to try and get every bit of aerodynamic advantage. Pushing the boundaries in all areas is what Formula One is all about. It’s about getting the most out of every single element”.

Has Christian undergone a personality transplant? Thankfully not, as momentarily he slips back into self justification mode. “Sometimes to find the limit you’ve got to go over where the limit is, otherwise you don’t know where it is. We’d rather make a quick car reliable than a reliable car quick. It’s far harder that way round, and I think fundamentally the car we’ve got is good.”

Aha. So the plan for all teams should be to build a car that is so aggressive it cannot run properly for the 12 days of pre-season testing, because….. in the end….errr…. this is in fact the best way of doing things???

We’ll forgive Christian this minor lapse as it is likely we will be continuing to see a very different Mr. Horner over the coming few weeks. Chastened…yes… and possibly even prepared to manage some self deprecation – poking fun at himself, Newey and the team.

There was a glimmer of this during the conclusion of his Q&A with the Guardian. Christian reveals – with a grin – that at the last F1 strategy Group meeting, “I was voting for double points from Silverstone onwards.”

The acceptance by Horner of Red Bull’s state of unreadiness and that Mercedes lead is “massive”, could be interpreted as defeatism, but I think this is not the case. Christian is just learning that as the famous Danish physicist, Niels Bohr once said, “There are some things in life so serious… you just have to laugh”.

Back to the Helium balloons for now!

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Ecclestone should be ‘suspended’

TJ13 reported yesterday in the Daily News that one of the investors who purchased 21% of F1’s commercial rights from CVC in 2012, may have been hoodwinked into doing so.

Today, the CEO of Norges Bank – Yngve Slyngstad – tells Dagens Naeringsliv the fund may try to offload its stake admitting, “Yes, we have made a mistake.”

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund invests oil revenues to ensure the future of the country’s welfare benefits for future generations, but the acquisition of the F1 shares has been criticised by politicians and by Norwegian media as failing the fund’s strict ethical rules.

“We have clearly indicated that we have a zero tolerance to corruption,” Mr Slyngstad states. “Obviously if this affair is not handled properly we would not want to be a shareholder. In that case we would not hold on to our shares.”

In the continuing debate amongst CVC and its partners over the whether Ecclestone should be allowed to continue in his current F1 role, Slyngstad is categorical, stating Ecclestone should be “suspended”.

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Aussie Opportunism

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Amended McLaren livery

Having no title sponsor for 2014, McLaren have been running in the chrome livery of recent times. However, for the season opener this weekend, the sidepods of the MP4-29 will be coloured black.

No explanation is yet forthcoming from the team.

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FIA Press Conference Schedule: Australia

The first of the FIA race weekend press conferences has been announced

Thursday, 15:00 local time clock (clock 5:00 CET)

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)
Felipe Massa (Williams)
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

Friday, 18:30 clock local time (between 8:30 clock CET)

Eric Boullier (McLaren)
Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari)
Christian Horner (Red Bull)
Remi Taffin (Renault)
Claire Williams (Williams)
Toto Wolff (Mercedes)

Unusually we will have 2 drivers from the same team, Red Bull.

Eric has been given the platform to speak for McLaren, though if the weekend goes well, Big Ron will be grabbing the microphone for sure.

Lotus and Force India may feel a little disgruntled as one of the team ‘boss’ slots has been given to Renault.

Most interesting!!! The FIA actually tweeted this schedule. There were times in 2013 where TJ13 had reported the schedule and line up for the FIA press events some 24 hours before it was officially released by the FIA.

Do we have a new boy in the Place de Concorde with a twitter machine?

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The all new F1 podium

With past champions, but retains the silly fake flags….and at some point Jonny Herbert too!

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Lauda denies money powered Mercedes dominance (GMM)

Niki Lauda has dismissed claims Mercedes is set to dominate the 2014 season because the German carmaker spent more on its new turbo V6 ‘power unit’.

“It is no secret,” Renault-powered Lotus’ team owner Gerard Lopez said this week, “that we face an extremely well-resourced rival in Mercedes who have dedicated considerable efforts to their power units for the 2014 season.”

Red Bull’s Christian Horner added this week: “They (Mercedes) invested more, they invested earlier.”

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger told the APA news agency: “They (Mercedes) are ahead of the game because they invested more money.”

And even Ferrari is claiming it has been out-powered in the resources department by Mercedes as F1 makes its revolutionary technical shift.

“If we had more time,” boss Stefano Domenicali told Italy’s Autosprint, “maybe we would be more prepared for the start of the season.

“The complexity of this project is really high and our resources are, so to speak, limited.”

Domenicali said that on the other hand, Mercedes has “more specific” engine-related “firepower”, that has “exaggerated” the early phase of F1’s new era.

“It is clear that they have been in a position to arrive at the start having solved all the problems that we have only found,” the Italian insisted.

But Lauda, who is Mercedes’ F1 chairman, disputes the claim that Mercedes is so far ahead.

“We will only know when the first three races are over,” he told RTL television, “but I think Ferrari is on roughly the same level as Mercedes.

“The only one that really struggles at the moment is Renault. They do not have the reliability that we have, simply because we have done a better job.

“But that has nothing to do with money,” Lauda insisted.

Told, however, that Mercedes has clearly invested more than its rivals in the development of its new V6, the great Austrian answered: “No.

“Our team is the same as it has been; the investments for all three engine manufacturers are the same.

“Nothing has changed in the basic structure of the three companies,” said Lauda.

He also thinks Renault is probably not far away from solving its problems, however dramatic the French marque’s situation appears.

“We all know that in formula one, rapid development jumps are possible,” said Lauda.

“And if Renault just has software problems, it (Renault’s recovery) could be really fast.”

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Lauda ‘annoyed’ by Schumacher rumours (GMM)

Niki Lauda has admitted to being “saddened” and “annoyed” by the constant rumours of Michael Schumacher’s medical condition. While official news is scarce, publications continue to speculate about the great seven time world champion’s health and prospects in the wake of his late December skiing crash and coma.

“Unfortunately, at the moment there is no news,” triple world champion and Mercedes F1 chairman Lauda told the Austrian broadcaster ORF. “But the rumours are constantly appearing, and it saddens me because every day I wait for some encouraging news that the situation is beginning to improve,” he said.

“Recently it was reported that Michael can breathe on his own, which would be great news but then it turned out to be wrong,” said Lauda, who is still scarred from his near-fatal Nurburgring crash in 1976. “I am annoyed by these reports,” he admitted. “Nevertheless, we are all waiting for better news.”

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New V6 era is ‘pure F1’ – Berger (GMM)

Gerhard Berger is no longer critical of F1’s technological revolution. Having counted himself among the ‘purists’ who dislike the complicated energy recovery systems and fuel-saving limitations, the former Ferrari and Benetton driver told APA news agency he has now changed his mind.

“From my perspective,” he told the Austrian agency, “it is a big step forward. Until my visit to (the) Bahrain (test), I was critical,” said 54-year-old Berger, currently recovering from badly breaking his arm in a skiing crash.

“At first I found it too technical, too complicated for the fans,” he explained. “But I need to revise that. This is pure formula one. The cars are 20kph faster on the straights and they also have real power out of the corners.”

10-time grand prix Berger, perhaps best known as F1 legend Ayrton Senna’s McLaren teammate, also said he has no problem with the milder tones of the new V6 engines.

“The criticism (of the sound) is coming mainly from people who have not heard them,” he said.

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India GP problems ‘money related’ – Ecclestone (GMM)

The promoter of India’s beleaguered formula one race breached its contract, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed. Last week, as Ecclestone announced the New Delhi race will not be run either in 2014 or 2015, the 83-year-old said the problems were mainly related to tax and bureaucracy.

But he has now told the IANS news agency: “The race promoters there (Jaypee) have not been able to comply with parts of the contract and they (the breaches) are mostly money related.”

Ecclestone said he is hoping the problems can be resolved so that F1 can return to India. “India is among the few new F1 venues where people understand the sport and want to understand it better,” said the Briton. “That is why I have greater faith in India than China.’

“I must clarify here that we still have very good relations with the (Indian) promoters and we still want to see through the remaining two years of our contract. But that can happen only if we get the financial guarantees,” Ecclestone added.

Last week, Ecclestone said an Indian grand prix was unlikely to return in 2015, but he has now opened the door to that possibility. “I am still trying for 2015 and we have got about two months time to make that happen,” he said. “We really want to get back.”

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89 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 12th March 2014

  1. Re; taxi. I wonder if kimi would give alonso a taxi ride ( a tow) around monza like massa did…

    • I don’t think anyone will want a ride anymore if they break down on track, as it appears they have a decent chance to get burnt or electrocuted…

      Imagine the bill Ferrari would send! 🙂

  2. Regarding inicators: What about: GMM, FH, TJ?
    Although guessing it from the tone was also a nice little extra. Who would’ve that the lay out was on purpose? On my iPhone the fontSize differs sometimes within the news.

  3. Only ‘Suzie’? Not Stalling, Sucking, Slutty, Shitty or Sleazy?
    In some ways rain would be a shame, it could mask and elevate performances – which I normally like, but not when there’s already so much to look forward to and to learn about the new cars.

  4. re: RB Test at the air base:

    Can someone please explain to me why that could possibly be ‘stretching the rules’? Aren’t the rules clear on what is allowed and what isn’t in regards to filming days?

    One doesn’t need no filming equipment to count the number of laps they did on the improvised track. Take an airport chart and calculate if the length of the track multiplied with number of laps is below 100km – easy stuff.

    Is it just me of is that headline just humbug?

    • Didn’t they complete their 100kms filming day after the Bahrain test?

        • …wouldn’t it be better if the regulations forced the teams to announce when they were scheduling a ‘filming day’.

          …the draconian threats re: no pictures/filming just create the impression of deviousness….

          • While it might entertain those, who fear that RB could actually finish the Melbourne Grand Prix, I’m afraid I must call male bovine excrement on the judges assessment.
            First of all, the staging of a filming day is perfectly legal as RB have only used one so far. Unless they have run more than 100km, used anything but Pirelli’s demo tyres or forgotten to announce their attention to hold a filming day, there is nothing fishy about it.
            The drag race with the fighter plane sounds more like the first thing we hear this year that actually sounds like some real promotional filming as opposed to just additional 100km of testing. That they use the rest of the 100km to see if their revised car has a better chance at not combusting spontaneously is par for the course. Mercedes,RB, Toro Rosso and Lotus have made little secret of the fact that they used their filming days so far mainly for mileage purposes.
            If you want to film a drag race with an army fighter plane you’ll need an airbase and the permission and cooperation of the army. That excludes the option of the filming being a spontaneous decision. Unless your name is Vladimir and you have a penchant for invading neighbouring countries, you can’t just roll up to a military installation just like that. That the army threatens any one not explicitly permitted to film with consequences in case they do is the normal MO of any army in the world.
            So, sure this speculation of about devious villainy is jolly funny for some, it doesn’t quite hold water if a light spot of common sense is applied.

          • “…wouldn’t it be better if the regulations forced the teams to announce when they were scheduling a ‘filming day’.” Competitors have to inform the FIA 72 hours before such an “promotional event” takes place.

          • So if anything, the FIA’s to blame for any deviousness then? Maybe you are just not awfully unbiased when RB is involved? I cannot remember you being awfully critical of just about any other team that had a filming day without prior announcement?

            If anything, the idea to hold the filming day in an active military installation is quite a clever idea, since everybody who knows the business end of a rifle from a wooden stick knows that the army is prohibiting any filming/photography. Everybody including the other teams says that the RB itself is a bloody good car that is currently mainly neutered by the powertrain. If RB don’t want the opposition to copy the clever bits before they can catch up themselves they have even more incentive than in previous years to keep their car from inquisitive looks. That was never considered devious before?

          • …in these days where teams announce matters such as Alonso has gone for a number 2, it wouldn’t be hard to tell fans about a filming day….

            The RB filming atop of the Burg Al Arab was trailed in a muchos plentiful manner….

          • The Burj al something donuts was a publicity stunt to stick it up the FIAs bottom for fining them over Vettels India doughnuts. Not announcing it beforehand would have defeated the purpose of the stunt.

            Why should RB tell the fans about it, knowing that they won’t be able to watch it anyways as the army is unlikely to invite hordes of hecklers onto the premises. It doesn’t make sense. What point are you trying to make? Filming days are private, non-public activities of the respective teams. The only obligation is to register the intent with FIA and thus make the info available to all competing teams, who as far as I know have the right to send observers – a possibility that I suppose RB had discussed with their hosts beforehand.

        • So they’re done and dusted on that front it seems.
          We’ll all be watching…..

  5. I must say there’s some Australian with a rather weird sense of humour. 😉 Isn’t advertising a F1 race in Australia with a big honking picture of Vettel a trifle counter-productive? :p

  6. “… then it would be helpful if the FIA publicly reported such events….” or possibly the reporters tasked with covering the sport….LOL.

    • As far as I know, official tests are actually announced. Since filming days are not official business, but rather private activities of the teams, the call for prior announcement doesn’t make sense. Filming could get interrupted quite often if you find yourself surrounded by dozens of onlookers with cameras. And some teams actually do some filming 😉
      The teams usually announce them if they have an interest in an audience. If not it is their right to keep quite about it as long as they inform the gouverning body. Where’s the part that obviously eludes my understanding?

      • ….Ya boo and poop to you too….. 🙄

        …so why invite anyone at all???

        Anyway, I hear the feature is for Top Gear Australia, and the F1 car is supposed to be so quick it evades the missile lock of the warplane….

        However, the Red Bull unfortunately was much slower than expected….

        …then broke down mid-runway….

        ….with the result that….

      • Perhaps because reporters should report things, even when the teams might not want us to know about them. 😉 In fact, especially if the teams don’t want us to know about them.

        For example, I’m pretty sure Nixon didn’t want Watergate reported on. Still, turned out to be in the best interests that the WaPo did.

        • Following that logic, why don’t we request to be told whenever a team fires up the wind tunnel? Or whenever Renault puts an engine on the dyno? As far as I know, the FIA data are available to any team and FIA themselves, so no team can stage a filming day in secret. Whether we as the public need to know any detail of the teams commercial operations is debatable.

          In the end its an academic debate anyway, since all the judges Cassandra-ing and his little conspiracy theory fell somewhat flat in the light of not knowing that they used a prehistoric car, so it wasn’t even a filming day in the sense that would concern the rules.

          • I’m simply requesting that the reporters actually do some reporting. It might be interesting and useful to know when teams were testing and what sorts of testing they were doing. The fact that apparently no one knew in advance about this to me is a comment on the lazy nature of the reporters covering the sport.

            Or, perhaps to use an example nearer and dearer, how is it that we never heard of Mercedes’ test last year until Rosberg opened up about it in Monaco. Don’t you think that would have been worth being reported as it happened?

          • That’s a bad example as Mercedes and Pirelli actively took measures to keep it secret. That was the whole point of it – it was a breach of regulations. You aren’t likely to advertise the intent, are you? 😉
            And some reporters must have known about it as pictures were made, so why they kept it hidden is a question only they can answer.

          • Danilo, Carlo called. He’s wondering how much longer you will be borrowing his pills?

          • Do you have a point to make, Sir? Unless I’m very much mistaken, I merely argued that filming days need not be announced publically. Is anything wrong with that?

  7. Maybe the reason why drivers’ PC includes 2 RBR drivers is because that Vettel,the reigning F1 champion should be present(may not be absolutely necessary,but still you would have the driver who won a GP in the recent memory)..As for Daniel Ricciardo,he is the only Aussie on the current grid,and presence of an Aussie driver in the PC for his home GP could be justified..

    • …seems a sensible explanation to me – but I don’t remember it happening much previously..

      – a bit more Webbe/Vettel in the same room might have filled the half empty conferences at certain races last year…

      • Both Vettel and Webber were present last year. In fact Danny boy was, too, so jee’s suggestion makes sense.

        • I agree that what jee1 has said is very plausible.

          Still I was disappointed that Vettel is there when his team-mate is already there. It would’ve been better to have a driver from another team instead.

          • Well he’s the reigning WC. Would look a trifle weird to exclude him from the PC of the first race?

  8. On McLaren’s livery, maybe those black side pods do point towards the Gillette rumours. Besides if you look at Gillette’s livery across its products, it’s predominantly black with some other dark colour (blue, green, etc).

      • Cav is usually wrong anyway. He also said he won’t be coming back at least half a dozen times, yet he does 😉

        • Cav’s right on the nose with that comment.

          Paul Stoddart!…… WTF!
          And not attributed to GMM even; that bit of ‘news’ is the sort of crap they drag up, every day.
          Cav is justified here.

          • thats just one of the problems which raises up if you takeover content from a mostly incapable site like motorsport-total.

          • Nobody complained when Giancarlo Minardi was quoted last year – he was even from before Stoddards time. We are on the run-up to the Australian GP. Does it really surprise you that Australians are asked for comments?

  9. To get us back to something a little more interesting… 😉
    Re: News credits / ID’s
    It has always been normal for the media to give by-lines. It can be useful sometimes for readers but it is always more honourable to thus credit someone, especially when they are doing it for free.
    Using different justification is frankly ridiculous – are we supposed to remember which is which, or will you continually give explanations for new readers…?
    To be honest I’ve never understood why you’ve never seemed concerned about this enough to just do it. Put the FULL name (whatever by-line the writer desires) in brackets instead of (GMM) i.e. (Fat Hippo). Initials only are also useless to new readers…
    Equally important is for (The JUDGE) to also be identified – just saying, if it isn’t ‘right-justified’, and not in ‘italic-condensed’, and not this that or the other just seems absurdly twee… What are you trying to avoid disclosing.?

    • ….we are blooding new writers and it is unfair for them to get stick….

      …Seeing as Danilo thought a piece was written by me yesterday and it wasn’t proves the point….

      When we have 4-5 regular news writers, confident in what they’re doing, we’ll move towards identifying the writers easily…

      There’s been a lot of bitching here recently on all kinds of matters, so I want to protect them and help them develop.

      Go and read some of the badly written material I produced in Sept 2012…. it takes a little time…

  10. Never mind dear Judge. Some days you’re the statue…..

    In other news a colleague at work who semi-follows F1 gleefully told me today how he’d got 16/1 on vettel to win in Melbourne… Oh what fun it was to explain **why** the 4 times champ was available at 16/1! I think he’s still crying….

    And – big news everyone – F1 starts again in a few days!!! Stop chewing each other’s butts in the TJ13 comments section and pause to get super excited about it…!!! :))

  11. A question for judge et al.

    A number of team engineers have reportedly suggested that it will take about 3hrs + to change a complete power unit, assuming that it is fully dressed(has all ancillaries already fitted). Between P1 and P2 there is a gap of 2.5hrs, and between P3 and Q1 a gap of 2hrs. Surely this will affect the running of the third driver in P1 & 2? An engine problem in P3 could mean, somebody missing qualifying?

      • I don’t think they are super capacitors or supplied by FIA

        It’s more likely they are Li-ion type batteries.

        As far as I know teams/engine manufacturers can use any supplier they choose.

        Renault for example get their batteries from Poundland.

    • Iain:R8 – Thanks for sharing a very relevant question regarding the length of time of the repairs.

      It’s a significant problem that became very exposed during the winter testing. Small problems were shown to be able to wipe out hours of testing.

      Pat Fry over at Ferrari has spoken twice about this issue, and he has emphasized it most recently in the last 24 hours.

      There is a very real possibility that we may see cars miss whole practice sessions. It also causes one to want to check the sporting regs as to what exactly is required to allow a car to grid for the race.

      In any case, there is a reasonable chance that we won’t have 22 cars on the grid in OZ.

  12. Here is an interesting discussion titled “Key Corners in Melbourne”.
    http://youtu.be/M2jqz8Zo34g
    It’s good news for taflach has a ticket for T3.

    I half expected them to include T13 as well, based upon what taflach had mentioned as it being one of the more difficult corners in a video game, and it’s history too of course.

    It was interesting, I thought, that the highly rated Valtteri tweeted once from his track walk today, and it was a pic of T13 from the apex of T12. He labeled it as “my favorite corners”.
    https://twitter.com/ValtteriBottas/status/443649861045350400

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