This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly.
Jordan master of winning FIA appeals GMT 16:01
Jordan believes Red Bull appeal will ultimately fail
The Irish brogue has finally been released on to the Formula One public for the first time this season. Eddie Jordan, the outspoken BBC F1 presenter and former team boss of Jordan, has weighed in with his opinion of the Red Bull appeal.
Jordan has developed a reputation as the jester for BBC F1 and is often ridiculed by his co-presenters Suzi Perry and David Coulthard. Yet his ‘insider knowledge’ was seen to great effect with his stating that Lewis Hamilton had signed for Mercedes in Monza 2012; although most people only credit the signing to the Singapore event when Hamilton failed to finish.
Speaking to the German ‘T-online’ – Germany’s biggest internet service provider – Jordan felt it unlikely that the International Court of Appeal would overturn the penalty and that Red Bull were “quite arrogant” in their decision: “They say the (fuel flow) sensor was unreliable but rules are rules.”
Alberto Antonini – the highly respected correspondent for Italy’s Autosprint publication also noted the appeal could well take some time. “With two races in sequence, Malaysia and Bahrain, it would be ideal to get a ruling before the end of next week. But the timing may not allow it.”
Tobias Gruner of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport concurs. “When the case will be held is not known, depending on the complexity of the information that is submitted, it could take weeks. It will probably not be before the third race in Bahrain.”
Jordan master of winning FIA appeals
Eddie Jordan is a past master at appealing to the FIA and getting a DQ overturned.
Jarno Trulli and Jordan had their fourth place in the 2001 USGP at Indianapolis reinstated following an appeal to the FIA. Two weeks after the chequered flag came down on the 2001 Formula One World Championship at Suzuka in Japan, Jordan were handed fifth place in the Constructors Championship by the FIA following a successful appeal over the disqualification of Italian driver Jarno Trulli back in September.
Trulli finished the race in fourth place behind winner Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard but was disqualified after the race when the wooden skid plank underneath his Jordan-Honda EJ11 was found to have worn beyond the legal limit. An appeal was immediately lodged and after hearing the case at FIA headquarters in Paris, the three man Court of Appeal headed by Dutchman Jan van Rosmalen, decreed that due to a stewards error in hearing Jordan’s original appeal in Indianapolis, the disqualification should not be allowed to stand.
In a press release, the FIA stated:
“The International Court of Appeal met in Paris on 26th October 2001 in order to examine the appeal brought by the Royal Irish Automobile Club on behalf of Jordan Grand Prix against stewards’ decision set out in document number 31 of the 2001 SAP United States Grand Prix (exclusion of car number 11 – Jarno Trulli – for non-conformity of skid block dimensions).
Having listened to the explanations of the parties and examined the various documents and other evidence the International Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal of Jordan Grand Prix on the grounds that a steward was absent during the hearing of the team at the United States Grand Prix.
The Court found that this was a breach of article 134 of the International Sporting Code (which provides that all decisions by the College of Stewards should be taken collectively) and thus a breach of the right of defence.
The International Court of Appeal has therefore pronounced the above-mentioned stewards’ decision null and void; the original classification of the event is, as a consequence, confirmed.
The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Jan van Rosmalen (Holland) and was composed of Messrs Vassilis Koussis (Greece) and Philippe Roberti de Winghe (Belgium)”.
So what might Red Bull have up their collective sleeve?
Melbourne GP stalwart Ron Walker steps down
The long-serving chairman of Australia’s grand prix in Melbourne is stepping down.
Ron Walker, a stalwart of the almost twenty-year-old Albert Park race and a close friend and political ally of Bernie Ecclestone, will retire after the 2015 event. “I’m 75 this year and it’s good governance to let someone fresh take the reins,” he told News Limited publications in Australia.
Walker, a former Melbourne lord mayor and a multimillionaire businessman, selected his own replacement, current cricket world cup chairman John Harnden. “It’s not public knowledge,” said Walker. “We haven’t made the announcements, because we wanted to continue to do what we do without any fanfare.”
The fact that Harnden will only take over for the 2016 race is a clear sign that Melbourne wants to keep the grand prix beyond its 2015 contract. Walker, who was recently battling lung cancer, revealed last week that he has negotiated a basic new deal with Ecclestone.
“I think the foreplay is over so to speak and it’s now a case of talking to the government about whether it is worth it or not,” he is quoted by the AFP news agency. “I think everyone in the government wants the race. The assessment is going to be made over the price,” Walker added. He told News Limited: “We are asking for three extra years. We are not like the Arab states and some other countries — we have to be very careful the way we spend taxpayers’ money.”
Rivals think Mercedes has big advantage
Mercedes’ advantage over its 2014 rivals might be bigger than is currently thought.
Nico Rosberg won the Melbourne race with a half-minute advantage, but Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was quoted afterwards by Auto Motor und Sport as suspecting the German was “playing with us” on the roads around Albert Park. Indeed, Rosberg’s best lap of the race was set on lap 19, with a still relatively high fuel load, while most of his rivals had their best pace in the last 20 laps, with lighter tanks.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner suspects: “I think Mercedes were simply maintaining a pace without pushing hard. Probably they have some more tricks up their sleeve, so we have a lot of work to do,” he is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport.
Horner said he thinks Red Bull is currently in a group behind Mercedes that also includes McLaren and Ferrari. And he thinks Williams has the edge on that group. “I’m sure they did not give their best and that they are at least second best at the moment.” It is clear that Red Bull’s biggest handicap is with its Renault powertrain. “90 per cent of the problems are associated with the software and how the ERS and the engine work together,” Horner is quoted by Germany’s Sport1.
Daniel Ricciardo, although disqualified, finished second behind Rosberg in Australia, but Horner doubts Red Bull is ready to challenge for outright wins. “The break after Australia is just too short (to win in Malaysia),” he said.
Worse still for Mercedes’ rivals is that the Brackley based team is not resting on its laurels. The team took an updated front wing to Melbourne but decided not to use it. “We only had two, and we didn’t want to risk damaging one and then running one car with the new wing and one with the old wing,” said Mercedes designer Aldo Costa. The other issue is that the new, radically-short nose that goes with the new wing design reportedly failed the mandatory FIA crash test.
Teams will regret the demise of FOTA
The former secretary to the recently disbanded FOTA, the Formula One Team’s Association, has given a revealing interview to sportconnecty, published today. “I think there is a genuine need for the teams to work together in this environment because they are very easily picked off and communicating collectively is in their benefit.”
His overarching message is that the inability of the teams to function as a collective is one they will come to regret.
“There is no doubt a crisis around the corner whether it is on a commercial side, whether it’s on the track or whether it’s in the governance area.”
In December 2011, Ferrari and Red Bull decided they would leave FOTA, and unsurprisingly Toro Rosso and the Ferrari powered Sauber team followed ‘tout suite’. “I had a significantly reduced budget which had been forecast due to the resignation of Ferrari, Red Bull and the sister team to Red Bull and the engine customer from Ferrari,” said Weingarten. “But the positives were until March 2014 we managed to continue with FOTA.”
Oliver Weingarten had joined the association back in September 2011 as general secretary and recalls, “When I joined they were in the middle of heated debate and discussion about cost control. And I think there was a lot of procrastination on behalf of my former chairman [Martin Whitmarsh] that may have antagonised some of the other members. I couldn’t do anything about that – as I say I joined, that was all going on and that very quickly came to a head – and thereafter the teams resigned and went off and did their commercial bilaterals with the commercial rights holder.
There’s no point in denying that Red Bull and Ferrari leaving FOTA didn’t significantly impact upon it,” adds Weingarten, “and people in the paddock may have perceived that FOTA wasn’t as relevant as it was when it was originally set up.
But actually FOTA continued to conduct a number of activities not just on behalf of its members but on behalf of all the teams including those who had recently resigned.
Whether that was auditing the Resource Restriction Agreement submissions, conducting a carbon emissions sustainability report across Formula One, doing fan forums and events, and a large amount of fan engagement in which teams who resigned still participated, and even the circuits agreements for all the teams to go testing was conducted by FOTA. And actually more recently the Pirelli agreement addendum and tyre blanket branding was done by FOTA once again.”
To be fair, Oliver’s efforts to co-ordinate the teams to act as one was doomed from the start as attitudes to FOTA were in general dismissive. “People in the paddock used to say to me ‘I’m surprised you’re still around’. But actually I had a former chairman, Martin Whitmarsh, who used to be at McLaren, who was a very strong ally of FOTA. And he managed to persuade a lot of the teams, along with myself, that actually there were good reasons for the team to work together.
“They needed a forum around which they could coalesce, in which they could discuss issues without the commercial rights holder or the FIA being present. And also if FOTA wasn’t around – and there’s a big question mark now – who will do the fan engagement? Who will be the single point of contact to deal with the promoters to help them in respect of sales of their tickets or getting show cars to promote their grands prix? Who will look, on behalf of the teams, at the costs being imposed upon them annually across the world at each grand prix?
“So I think the teams recognised that there’s definitely a role for FOTA and that’s why the remaining teams stayed in it.”
There are a number of threats the teams face and the failure to agree a Concorde agreement does not improve their position of strength. Weingarten states, “Teams had resigned, were arguing over cost control, the Geneva office was being closed down, and most significantly teams struck individual deals with the Commercial Rights Holder (CRH), meaning that the idea of collectively bargaining to achieve a better commercial position, was made redundant
Were CVC able to exit from their F1 commercial rights shareholding, who knows what arrangements someone like John Malone may wish to instigate. Even the great Ferrari may be marginalised and as a new F1 rights owner could seek to remove their exclusive and privileged 2.5% annual payment from the revenues.
Were the shift of F1 from free-to air to subscription TV be completed, this will almost definitely reduce the rack rates the teams can charge sponsors for painting their logo’s on the cars. Weingarten revealed earlier to the F1 broadcasting blog, “I believe sponsorship deals are not conducted anymore in F1 just on the basis of the amount of exposure on free to air. Sponsors are becoming a lot more sophisticated and understanding of the business model”.
The historic inability of the teams to act in Unison will further see them marginalised in the F1 strategy group from time to time.
Oliver concludes, “My biggest regret is not achieving what I was hired to achieve, or at least provide assistance to achieve. The perception of FOTA became negative, and whilst there were a lot of positives, these were never championed loudly, and sometimes not even publicly.
Prior to taking up his role with FOTA, Weingarten had worked for the English Premier League, where he was General Counsel responsible for commercial and IP issues for 7 years.
“A lot of ideas I had from my previous role, were therefore never utilised. The teams recognise that whilst there is so much competitiveness and self-interest across the paddock, it makes it difficult for FOTA to operate on contentious issues, particularly when the structure of the CRH is as it currently is”.
There are big events looming on the F1 horizon, and who knows which way the wind will blow. Instead of standing together and insisting on reclaiming their birthright, the teams would rather squabble and argue over millions, when in fact billions are at stake.
Battle of the Mercedes drivers
TJ13 asked you the readers back on March 10th, which driver from the silver arrows would best his team mate by the end of 2014.
Surprisingly, 63% of you voted for Nico Rosberg and just 37% for Lewis Hamilton
How did Melbourne race pace compare?
Most accept that Nico Rosbergs race winning time was significantly longer than was possible had the Mercedes been pushed harder.
Here are the race wining times form the past 5 years.
With the exception of 2010, all were dry races,
The winner this year was over 3 seconds a lap slower than in 2012. Given the concerns over reliability and the subsequent caution of Rosberg who asked on the radio, “is there nothing anything else I can do for reliability” on lap 42, analysts believe Mercedes were capable of running over a second a lap more quickly.
Add into the equation the more conservative Pirelli tyres for 2014, and the comparison to 2013 is not as unfavourable as many predicted.
Many of the myths around the new Formula 1 are slowly be de-bunked. Only 7 cars retired in Melbourne – not more than 50% as some had predicted.
The cars are not in fact falling into the clutches of their GP2 rivals in terms of lap pace, and with the steep development curve expected this year, we may see the class of 2014 F1 machines just below or on a par with their 2013 predecessors by the end of the season.
Race 2 for the USA
Here at TJ13 we have mourned the lamentable efforts of the New Jersey promoters to get their race off the ground. Much has been written about a New York grand prix and surely all F1 fans would love to see such an event come to pass.
Yet the credibility of the organisers in both their comment and action has left a lot to be desired. This together with the lack of $100m required to get the event up and running and the hosting fee paid to FOM.
Bernie shipped in his buddie Chris Pook to spur matters along, though as yet there is zip in terms of tangable progress to report.
Chris Pook of course is the promoter who took Formula One to Long Beach, California back in the 70’s before the Indycar series took over in 1984. The Indycar license to race in Long Beach expires in 2015, and the local authorities have been considering bringing back Formula 1 instead.
Pook this week presented F1’s case to a group of local businessmen, in particular to allay fears with regard to cost. He claimed jus it will cost just over $9m to upgrade the current circuit to F1 class A standards, and assures the local authority this sum that will be met by the promoter.
“People have been saying it would cost 100 million (US) dollars (£60million), and that number has just stuck in people’s minds. It’s not even close to that,” says Pook. He also claims the city will not be charged a penny to hold the race, and the promoter will meet all the expenses.
Chris Pook claims F1 has delivered a net tax gain for Austin (2013) was $4.9 million and the net gain for Texas was $17.2 million. “The value of F1 is that it provides new money. F1 racing draws a worldwide audience. You would be tapping into new consumers.”
It appears F1 is not really at base one with this proposal as with local council officials due to meet and make decision on the tender in the next few weeks, Pook is pleading, “We just want the opportunity to state our case, to be considered. We just want them to take a look at what we bring to the table. That’s all we’re asking.”
Here we go again. Promises of a race that cost the public purse zip with untold fortunes of revenue for the region… Wonder where we heard that before…
Misleading medical reports about Schumi
Italy’s respected daily sports paper La Gazetta dello Sport and the German daily tabloid Bild-Zeitung have both been reporting that Michael Schumacher now weighs just 55 kilos – meaning he has lost over twenty-five percent of his original body weight from when he crashed on the ski slopes at Meribel.
In this never-ending ‘tragedia’ it would appear that the lack of official notification from Schumacher’s family, and his manager Sabine Kehm, is creating a demand for up to date information that is encouraging medical experts to offer conjecture as to his condition.
It goes without saying that his family and close friends have not given up on the hope of a full recovery but after almost twelve weeks in a medically induced coma – fears amongst some medical professionals have been reported by the more sensationalistic vultures of the press.
Professor Dr Curt Diehm, of the Karlsbad Teaching Hospital in Germany said he was alarmed by reports Michael Schumacher has lost a quarter of his bodyweight whilst laying comatose in France.
“While a weight loss in coma patients is normal, 20 kilos is a lot for people with a normal body weight. One must assume that his muscles have degraded greatly due to the immobility,” he surmised.
This summation is hardly a shock or surprise as any lay-person would know that – without proper nutrition to support the body – it will lose weight and with someone as physically fit as Schumacher it would be lost from the muscle mass.
Yet the press project the story as relevant information. Irrespective of people views on the ex-F1 Doctor Gary Harstein – he is as frustrated by this journalistic behaviour as any fans of Schumacher.
As ever, the family and hospital maintain press silence.
Red Bull appeal date set
It has finally been confirmed that the F.I.A will hear the case for Red Bull Racing’s appeal on Monday 14th April.
This date falls between the Bahrain and Chinese Grand Prix on the 6th and 20th April respectively.