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Whinging and Scheming (14:40)
Red Bull appeal is lodged UPDATED GMT 12:40, 13:26
Briatore, Rossi dislike ‘new’ F1 era (GMM)
Former team boss Flavio Briatore has slammed the new face of formula one.
The 63-year-old Italian, absent from F1 in the wake of the ‘crashgate’ scandal, said he watched the Melbourne race last weekend and thought it was “disrespectful” to the spectators and television audience. “They (the spectators) do not understand why the drivers do not attack, why and how they’re saving fuel, and why champion drivers refuse even to defend their position. This was a strange spectacle, leaving behind the most beautiful sport in the world,” Briatore told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
He said it was wrong to let the car manufacturers succeed in their push for the all-new regulations, featuring ‘greener’ engines that use less fuel.
“They delegated the writing of rules to engineers who do not care about the fans or entertainment,” said Briatore. “The result is terrible. Of course it is true that the principles of the rules are correct, but we must not forget that formula one must be about the competition between drivers. Obliging them to drive slowly is contrary to common sense. It’s like introducing a rule that means Ronaldo can only touch the ball ten times in a match. Now we have the stars (drivers) forced to behave on the track like accountants.”
“If formula one does not change again in the near future, then the audience will be lost. Look at the comments on the internet, in blogs, on Twitter — they did not like the Australian grand prix. It was an indecipherable and depressing show. This new F1 came too fast with too little testing, so at the very beginning Vettel and Hamilton were missing from the fight. This is unacceptable and now we have chaos.”
Also unhappy with the ‘new’ F1 is the flamboyant MotoGP veteran Valentino Rossi.
“I was expecting something different from the new formula one rules, instead I just found it boring,” the Italian is quoted by Tuttosport. “I think motorcycles and cars should race with the fuel they need, but what is happening now is just an exercise for the engineers,” added Rossi.
Whinging and Scheming
I’m not sure if its because I’m getting older and less tolerant, or in fact the level of asinine comments broadcast and published has increased in recent times due to 24/7 news and the internet. Probably the most disrespectful, conniving and corrupt manipulation of the fans in recent years was orchestrated by our blonde haired Italian ex-F1 team boss in Singapore. Though, Briatore’s decision to join those who appear hell bent on putting F1 down is no surprise.
People have short memories. F1 was on the brink following the manufacturer withdrawal’s of Toyota, BMW and Honda. Whether we like it or not, F1 needs Automotive manufacturer’s, even if this diminishes Ecclestone’s power base somewhat. Honda’s decision to return to F1 alone vindicates the move to the new V6 turbo era.
Then we have the naysayers talking down the noise of the new cars. The choir is lead by Bernie with his Ya Boo, “I told you so…” stance. If Ecclestone believes whinging about the new noise of F1 will reopen the V8/V6 debate, he is deluded and another of Il Padrino’s prophecies is true.. He should realise we the fans are not so easily conned these days, due to the power of the internet and social media which connects lovers of F1 across the globe.
Fan numbers attending F1 races have been falling for some years due to the high price the organisers are forced to charge to pay FOM’s exorbitant fees. Further, FanVision was cancelled by Ecclestone last year, which substantive anecdotal evidence I gathered in 2013 proves this has deterred fans from attending races.
Ecclestone is no friend of the F1 fan who wants to attend a Formula 1 event, and his intervention now on our behalf is laughable.
Here is some footage I recorded on an Iphone and a 4 thirds Olympus M1 camera (using the video HD recording function)
Here’s some YouTube footage produced of the race in Melbourne. How does it compare?
The positioning of the in car microphone could produce an earth shattering sound if it was so desired and the microphones around the track are also clearly not positioned properly, or require upgrading.
Fans have been reporting that they noticed a significant difference in the engine sounds from Friday to Saturday. The sound of the engines was significantly more impressive prior to whatever intervention FOM TV made before broadcasting the qualifying session and then the race.
If this is as a result of interference from Ecclestone, who appears hell bent on making a point about the new V6 engine note, then once again F1 is plunged into the murky depths of lies and deceit. Not that we the fans should be surprised.
The once ‘F1 supremo’ has for some time been behaving like a tardy rip off merchant who knows his days are numbered. If Ecclestone did intervene over broadcast sound levels, he is clearly operating a scorched earth policy in some vain attempt to ensure that we’ll remember the F1 halcyon days when he had total control.
Mr. E this week mourned the passing of entrepreneurial era of F1 and expressed his dismay at the creeping ‘corporatism’ he believes to be enveloping the sport. Yet it would be difficult to argue with F1 fans opinions that the sport couldn’t be much less ‘for them’ or ‘about them’ than it is under Ecclestone’s present governance. Many would concur with the view that Ecclestone should be dismissed summarily, even if it is ‘Uncle Tom Cobbly’ who takes his place.
UPDATE: 13:16 GMT Contribution from TJ13 reader av2290 – a professional sound engineer.
“In F1 they are using standard hyper cardioid directional mics attached to the camera on screen. There is also a general “ambience” track of the venue mixed in low and on the whole time.
FOM need to hire a better sound crew to design a system that captures the ambience of the immediate area by combining hyper cardioid and omni directional mics at each camera station. if this already exists, then they need to improved the levels mix.
Ambience and reverb are key elements that create a sense of loudness and excitement to the listener, and that needs to be dealt with carefully.
I don’t know where the onboard mic is but it sounds like some cars have it closer to the turbo, which is incredibly annoying to me because you get this dentist drill sound (which is a sound I’m sure everyone hates). The onboard mic should be set near in the exhaust area and be omnidirectional”.
Red Bull appeal is lodged
Today was D-Day for Newey and the gang in Milton Keynes. They had to either submit an appeal against the DQ of Daniel Ricciardo from the Australian GP, or issue a statement explaining why they were not pursuing this course of action.
There has been some surprise in Milton Keynes at the backlash from the FIA’s technical delegate and Charlie Whiting himself, together with the cold indifference of other F1 competitors to Red Bull’s complaints about the sensors.
Eric Boullier is the latest to speak out on the matter of inaccurate sensors. “It’s clear that this was raised in the winter that there were maybe some accuracy issues between the two sensors. We have been working closely with the FIA since early January to understand and improve the system.
All the teams are currently working together. In the end the FIA took a position at the second test that their fuel sensor would be the reference and it had to be used. We knew we had to be careful with the fuel flow.
Amusingly, Boullier is hardly coded in his distancing himself and McLaren from Red Bull. “We have been fully compliant during the race and for the whole weekend…. so have most of teams”.
And for now, “This is a matter between the Red Bull and the FIA and we don’t want to comment,” Eric indeed commented.
Red Bull have lodged their appeal GMT 13:00, and should the appeal be upheld, you can be sure the ‘no comment’ position of McLaren and the rest will quickly be reversed.
Yet the Formula 1 world champions should consider the negative PR this appeal will bring. There was initial outrage from fans directed at the FIA following the stewards’ DQ decision late Sunday night in Melbourne, However, since then the other teams have revealed that they too were suffering from similar sensor fluctuations – just as were Red Bull – however they chose to comply with the regulations.
TJ13 wrote on Monday, there may be much more at stake than 18 points and a podium for Ricciardo, and a successful Red Bull appeal may go some way to solving some of the Renault engine’s performance problems.
The risk is that the team from Milton Keynes will start the year considered somewhat pariahs in the eyes of the F1 world… to put it kindly, for ‘trying it on’ – or as Il Padrino predicted.. “trickery”.
Rivals begin chase to catch Mercedes (GMM)
Given Mercedes’ dominance in Australia, the German marque’s rivals have now begun their chase. Second on the road in Melbourne was the later-disqualified Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
“When you think about where they were three weeks ago,” said Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, “then we need to be really aware of what they are capable of. “We are yet to see a reliable Vettel, and when that happens he’ll be really fast,” the German told Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.
Williams is currently regarded as the second-fastest team behind Mercedes, but technical boss Pat Symonds is expecting a tough fight in 2014. “Look at how quickly Renault has caught up,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “Three weeks ago they were nowhere, suddenly they have a car that can be second.”
Indeed, a lot of the responsibility for Red Bull’s issues is in engine supplier Renault’s court.
“It is obvious that we are slower on the straights than Mercedes,” the French marque’s Remi Taffin is quoted by Italiaracing. “I don’t know if it’s a second, and it’s definitely more than a tenth, but there are no unsolvable problems,” he insisted.
Also chasing Mercedes hard are McLaren and Ferrari. “We believe that their (Mercedes’) advantage is between five tenths and three quarters of a second,” McLaren team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by France’s Auto Hebdo. “From our side we wanted above all to develop a reliable car, as we think it is essential to win a lot of points early in the season.
New F1 to struggle in Malaysian heat (GMM)
‘Cooling’ will be the buzzword in Malaysia, according to Mercedes.
The German marque dominated in Melbourne, but Sepang is always among the very hottest destinations on the F1 calendar — and the new ‘power unit’ rules for 2014 are posing much greater cooling problems for the teams.
“New GP, new problems,” Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda told Osterreich newspaper. He also told German broadcaster RTL: “Malaysia will be more difficult (than Melbourne). In Sepang actually we are starting from scratch because of the high humidity and temperature — I doubt it will be below 35C. In such circumstances, effective cooling of the power unit would indeed be a problem. We will have to make changes to the car to resolve the issue.”
Lauda’s Mercedes colleague Toto Wolff agrees: “I think all the teams are seeking to create the most efficient cooling system. Every test or race weekend has been more difficult than we expected, so it will be difficult to cope with the heat in Malaysia,” he admitted.
Vettel’s hissy fits
The more I engage with social media, the more impressive the apparent power of the medium becomes. In days of yore we were told what select individuals wanted us to hear, and our opinions were formed by another select view of commentators.
Now, a story can take on a life of its own despite the protestations of those who wish to control our beliefs.
Andrew Benson wrote following the test in Jerez. “One of the best rumours of the winter is about Sebastian Vettel. At the first test in Jerez, it is said anecdotally, midway through the second day, after a fractured and massively truncated programme of kangaroo-hopping around laps as a result of the chronic problems of the Renault engine, the world champion got out of his car and said something along the lines of: ‘This is pointless; I’m not driving that again until it’s sorted out.’ And left”.
The expected torrent of Vettel and Red Bull related comment ensued on the F1 sites, forums and in newsprint. Though even it’s author stated that It was an uncorroborated story.
Unlike Premier League Football in the UK, Formula 1 has traditionally been reported by the more serious and reverent kind of writer, with occasional juicy interventions from the tabloids. This has protected the stars of the F1 circus somewhat from stereotyping and the kind of soap opera drama kind of representation of events.
Just a few years ago, should the Vettel unhappy with his car story have broken, it would have been reported something like this. “The four times world champion was today rather irked with his Newey designed RB10. The car repeatedly stuttered and refused to run properly as he tried to get some pre-season laps completed,
Eventually, Sebastian Vettel decided enough was enough. He climbed from the cockpit and requested the mechanics sort out the problems before asking him to drive again”.
What actually happened was that within a few seconds, someone had posted Benson’s comments on a forum and the label given to Vettel’s outburst was “hissy fit” This then was posted repeatedly around the internet, and the description of Vettel’s state of mind was established in the common consciousness.
So, did Sebastian actually say what Andrew Benson claims? We don’t know.
Yet even if Vettel was quoted verbatim, “This is pointless; I’m not driving that again until it’s sorted out”, is it fair top describe that as a ‘hissy fit?
What is certain, is that Sebastian would have been very unhappy on day 4 of Jerez, and it is inconceivable Vettel would not express his opinions frankly within the confines of the garage.
Sebastian has had the privilege of being at the top of the F1 heap for some 5 years, which is a very long time in absolute terms. He expects to have the best car, he expects to win races and relatively it was nearly 20% of his life ago he wasn’t in that position.
To some extent, given those circumstances, it’s not difficult to rise above the fray. Knowing today’s problem will result in next week’s race victory would have been of great comfort to Vettel, whatever the trials of the moment.
So for the first time for many a year, Sebastian is facing the stark reality he may not win a race for some time. He has already been overtaken by a Caterham – look at Lewis disbelief when it was a Williams.
It is likely this year we will see a different – and until now private – face of Seb, as I wrote in my pre-season musings.
One of the benefits of the current sound recordings FOM TV are providing is that we can hear the Pit to car radio messages even more clearly than before – voice crackles and all.
During Seb’s rather short outing in Melbourne, we heard a desperate sounding appeal to the team. “OK, is it normal that I have no power?”
This was either bemusement at how he should be operating the car, or sarcasm. What is not normal is seeing Vettel starting outside the top 10 and going in rapid reverse down the race order from there.
As the end drew near, we heard, “Engine is not running smoothly. I will get passed, so you are aware……Do something! I have no power, less IC than normal and no ‘K’! No ‘K’!…..That’s ridiculous guys!”
We are hearing a fairly stressed out and desperate Sebastian. “Do something!!!”
All but to no avail.
Even these outbursts are probably not deserving of the label, ‘hissy fit’, though one mainstream broadcaster commented on Vettel’s distress as follows. “And Vettel’s mood gets worse a few laps later, as he throws toys out of his turbo-engined pram when realising retirement is probably imminent in his stuttering Red Bull”.
To be fair to Vettel, he is 4 times world champion because he is obsessive down to the finest detail about how to win – and maybe Lewis could learn from this. Yet this year we will see very much in public how Sebastian handles big disappointments like he’s never experienced before – and this is newsworthy and of interest.
Should Vettel have a poor outing in Malaysia – where the temperatures will rocket and the RB10 is not best known for its heat management – we’ll hear more desperation from Sebastian both over pit radio and in front of the microphone as he cranks up the pressure on his team.
We may even get an actual full blown ‘hissy fit’. So who was that person who coined the phrase?… because it is sticking.
F1 cannot just turn up the volume – Lauda (GMM)
It is “absurd” to suggest formula one should urgently turn up the volume of the new turbo V6 engines.
That is the view of Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, who days ago in Melbourne admitted the sound of the 22 cars charging to the first corner left him underwhelmed. Williams technical boss Pat Symonds agrees: “For me the start is the most exciting part of the race, and I loved it when the 22 drivers revved up their engines. I don’t generally complain about the sound, but at the start (in Melbourne) it did seem a bit quiet,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
Lauda, however, said: “The debate about the engine noise is absurd — you can’t change that now. It was decided by all parties five years ago that they wanted turbo engines, and so we put in a turbocharger before the exhaust. It has a different sound, any child knows that,” the great Austrian told Osterreich newspaper. “If you take the turbo away, you don’t have hybrid engines anymore. As for the duller sound, “We have to get used to it,” Lauda insisted.
With a slightly more open attitude, however, is Lauda’s Mercedes colleague Toto Wolff.
“I’m not much of an engineer,” he told Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper. “These things will be looked at. If it is decided that something must be done, then we would have to think about it carefully. I would think that it is possible, but whether it is right, I don’t know.”
“The V8 engines sounded fantastic, but I saw this race (Melbourne) up close and I can assure you that F1 is still the top of motor sports, it’s not GP2. This (move to V6) was the right step,” Wolff insisted.
Williams thanks Maldonado for his contributions to their FW36
The general consensus within Formula One currently is that the Williams FW36 is the second best car after Mercedes. After years of under-performance and the poor results of the last few seasons, Williams have returned to the front in style.
With title sponsorship from the iconic Martini brand, the inspired change of engine manufacturer to the Mercedes power unit and a new technical director – Pat Symonds – Williams seems to have finally turned the corner.
Williams served notice of intent throughout winter testing but struggled throughout the wet conditions of qualifying last weekend.
Despite Felipe Massa’s early retirement – his Finnish team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, once again proved his natural ability with two storming drives through the field – the second after hitting the wall and destroying his wheel. Symonds said afterwards that Bottas should be thankful to his former team-mate due to his destructive race-craft in his tenure at the team.
Speaking to Auto Motor undo Sport Symonds commented: “Our suspension is very strong, Pastor pushed the limits very often in the past and that probably had an influence on the design.” It would seem that the Venezuelan benefitted the Williams outfit with more than the huge petro dollars he brought to secure his race seat…
Symonds said that if Massa and Bottas had had clean races, they would have set their sights on the podium. This is a view that’s shared amongst the other teams and the media – as former driver Mika Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3: “Williams’ car is the second fastest after Mercedes.”
Asked if Williams can now challenge every single team except Mercedes, Symonds insisted: “I want to beat Mercedes as well. Our view is that Mercedes is at the front, and then there is a group of cars and we feel that in optimal conditions, we are narrowly at the front of that group.”
Pastor Maldonado was unavailable for comment.