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‘Submarine’ risk with new noses realised – report (GMM)
Adrian Newey’s pre-season fears about ‘submarining’ formula one cars may have been realised. Red Bull’s criticism of F1’s all-new era had to be heard amid the depth of the reigning world champions’ winter crisis after four consecutive seasons of dominance.
Designer Newey, however, had expressed alarm about the new, low front noses, arguing not only that they are ugly, but they might also be dangerous. The reduced height minimised the risk of cars being launched into the air, but “I am concerned the opposite may now happen, that cars now (will) submarine effectively,” the Briton had said.
Indeed, an alarming image of the crash involving Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa at the first corner in Melbourne has now emerged.
The photograph depicts precisely what Newey had feared — the low front of Kobayashi’s Caterham ‘submarining’ under the diffuser of Massa’s Williams, which is lifted perhaps a foot off the Albert Park tarmac. A similar incident at a higher speed could foreseeably result in contact between the elevated rear-end and the head of the ‘submarining’ driver.
FIA open to making F1 louder, less fuel-efficient – Todt (GMM)
The FIA is not closed-minded about making its brave new engines louder and less fuel-efficient, president Jean Todt has revealed.
The low-profile Frenchman made the comments to the Italian broadcaster RAI following fierce criticism of the sport’s new ‘power unit’ era in the wake of the 2014 opener in Australia.
“There should be calm before reaction,” Todt is quoted as saying. However, he indicated that he agrees with those who think the amount of fuel-saving necessary to get to the end of grands prix this year is excessive. “I do not want formula one ‘economy runs’,” said the former Ferrari team boss. “The permitted amount of fuel, 100 kilograms, was proposed by the teams. For me it is not a problem if they want it to be 100kg.”
But Todt said fuel-saving had nothing to do with the lack of overtaking in Melbourne. “Instead it is the aerodynamics of the cars and the circuit in Melbourne, for example, has never been very good for overtaking. I am convinced that very soon we will see a lot of overtaking,” he added. “So let’s wait before making judgements.”
Todt also indicated he is alert to the shrill criticism of F1’s new turbo V6 ‘power units’, which trackside at Albert Park were recently likened to ‘sewing machines on wheels’ “The noise is obviously different now, and if there is a problem with it then if the teams agree we can look at a way to make it noisier,” he said, adding that he personally finds the tones of the new F1 era “fascinating”.
Todt urges Domenicali to ignore criticism (GMM)
Jean Todt has urged his Ferrari successor to buck the criticism and keep pushing Ferrari to the front in formula one.
Before Todt – currently the FIA president – handed over Maranello’s reigns to Stefano Domenicali, he guided the Italian team to six drivers’ titles; five with Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen’s in 2007. Since then, in Domenicali’s reign, Ferrari has failed to win a title and the new turbo V6 era has got off to a shaky start with a mere fourth for Fernando Alonso in Melbourne.
But Todt urged Domenicali, 48, to ignore the criticism. “I was always criticised,” Frenchman Todt said, “even when we won a lot. “They criticised us for winning too much and making the championship boring,” he reportedly told the Italian broadcaster Rai.
Todt said Ferrari has usually been competitive during the Domenicali years. “In the past years Ferrari was always one of the protagonists even if they did not win a championship, but I am sure they will again. All I would say to Domenicali is that he should keep his feet on the ground and his focus on the real problems, not on what others are saying,” he added.
Montoya admits Schumacher is the Greatest?
Many years ago, a son of Monza – Vittorio Brambilla – was re-christened by the Formula One fraternity “The Monza Gorilla”. He gained this moniker from his often overly aggressive driving style and sense of machismo.
There are no records that Brambilla ever raced in Colombia but his neanderthal reputation is well and truly alive in Juan Pablo Montoya.
In a recent interview the fiery Montoya proved once again that controversy is never far from his gurning frown. The German news agency DPA quotes Montoya on the current situation with Ferrari – and his conclusion?
“The only time Ferrari did well was when Michael Schumacher was there.”
Obviously this wizened, foul-mouthed South American hasn’t added intelligence to his considerable driving talent whilst driving round in circles. He conveniently dismissed the talents of designers, the technical director and the team boss that all played their part in the legendary German’s Ferrari career.
The Mercedes team did not escape his scrutiny or bitter words either. The talented group of engineers that have been assembled at Mercedes under the stewardship of Ross Brawn were similarly at fault for Schumacher’s poor results on his return.
“He didn’t just forget how to drive. It’s how it’s always been on Formula One.”
Of course the fact that Nico Rosberg was the quicker driver over their three seasons together was fortuitous but the Colombian wouldn’t have known this nugget of information because he added without the slightest sense of irony,
“it is difficult to comment on the current state of the sport, as for seven years I have not watched Formula One.”
The winner of the Australian GP tweets, “I did a showrun at the Petronas towers in KL. What you think for the race? Another good result possible?”
One amusing response to this posted elsewhere states. “Really can’t condone the exercise in gratuitous noise and air-polluting that = Rosberg’s run of the W03 in KL during this new age of environmentally & socially-responsible, transparently-governed and fan-responsive 2014 Formula 1™.
FIA should immediately introduce regulations to ban forevermore the running of outdated, wasteful, inefficient & obsolete F1 cars like the V8-powered Mercedes F1 W03. We have a planet to save, and desperate, malevolent corps. to dupe…”
Just 4 days before the cars with the most revolutionary changes in living F1 memory hit the Sepang circuit, you would expect F1 to be on everyone’s lips in Malaysia. We are regularly reminded by FOM that F1 is the 3rd largest global sport behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.
We have seen the expansion of the F1 calendar into Asia and the Far East over the past decade or so, but is F1 as important as those of us within the sport like to think?
It’s understandable that in Malaysia the media focus at present is on the mystery surrounding the tragedy of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. However, this does not diminish the column inches in the sports section of the local news services.
There are many articles about the English Premier League, the result of last night’s El Classico and Marc Marques victory following a thrilling duel with ‘the doctor’ in the season MotoGP opener held last night in Qatar. There is nothing about F1.
Even Australia’s hockey team get a story, along with various US sports. Even the Welwyn Hatfield Times
of Welwyn Garden City has a story about Lewis bouncing back this weekend, but as yet the Malaysian Press appear to have forgotten F1 is in town.
It has been reported to TJ13 that ticket sales are down this year, and substantial discounts are available to entice locals to attend and fill the stands.
Should the crowds not appear this weekend, then we will hear all the usual the mantra about engine noises being disappointing from Ecclestone et al. Yet F1 at the circuits has in many places being dying a slow death.
The Spanish GP, for example, has seen attendances collapse over recent years as prices for tickets soar and Europe has been suffering a ‘once in a generation’ recession.
Trackside commentary was cancelled by Ecclestone from the end of the 2012 season, as he kicked out FanVision from the sport.
If F1 coming to town can’t get a single column inch in the local dailys – 4 days before the cars hit the track – there is a problem Houston!!! And it’s time all involved in the sport woke up and smelled the roses.
Indian GP promoters call for new government support
Sameer Gaur, CEO of Indian Grand Prix promoters Jaypee Sports International, says Formula 1’s proposed return to the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in 2015 will depend on how the next central government treats the sport.
Gaur told Indo Asian News Service (IANS) on Sunday that he will meet F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone next month in his bid to get the race back next year after it was dropped from the 2014 calendar owing to bureaucratic and tax issues faced by the stakeholders.
Ecclestone told IANS earlier in the month that he wanted financial guarantees from Jaypee Group for the race to see out the remainder of its five-year contract. Gaur explains however, that a lot of Eccelestone’s demands depend on the next union government that is likely to take office by end of May.
“I will be meeting with Mr. Ecclestone in April and we will talk about all the issues which ensure F1 comes back to India. Having said that, a lot will also depend on the support of the next government at the centre. Hopefully, the government will make things easier for us,” said Gaur ahead of the April-May general elections”.
Gaur was confident that he would convince Ecclestone for a round next year, but in the long run the government support to the event was a must.
“We made this facility for F1 and we will try everything for the race to stay here. The government needs to realise F1’s potential and embrace the sport,” Gaur stressed.
“Most F1 races around the world are backed by government funds which contributes huge sums to the Formula One Management as hosting fees. Jaypee, as a private entity, pays around $40 million annually to host the race”.
Though is India really ready for F1?
India has the second lowest GDP per head of all the countries F1 visits. The tickets are relatively expensive as the promoters seek to inspire a middle class of F1 fans – which just doesn’t exist.
The attendances halved over the first 3 years of the F1 event and why should the government in a country with hardly any motorsport heritage support an elitist activity such as F1. Surely they have a long list of far more pressing matters to consider.
Did Ferrari force out grieving relatives from luxury hotel?
Reports began emerging over the weekend – from different sources – that the grieving relatives of the passengers who were on the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 had to change hotels due to the Formula One circus arriving in town for this weekends Grand Prix.
The Ferrari team arrived at the 5-star Cyberview Resort and were reportedly told their rooms were occupied. As ever, certain newspapers report with fervent gusto – using selective words that portray aggressive actions. The grieving families have been ‘forced’ or ‘kicked out’, they have had to ‘make way’ and any quotes from hotel officials are gained on condition of anonymity.
One of the more balanced reports is from the German newspaper Die Welt and yet the publication chooses to use the cliched caricature of Italians to re-enforce it’s story with credibility.
“When the first Ferrari employees wanted to check in, they were told that their rooms were occupied – after heated discussions, the Italians prevailed.”
It is disappointing that the newspapers would use an event as tragic as a missing airliner to attack Formula One but there are some particulars that need to be remembered.
Both the Cyberview and the other hotel – the Sama Sama – are five star luxury establishments. They are used by the teams and sponsors – it would not be only Ferrari at the resorts – it would be all the teams, personnel, drivers and the Formula One media too.
Bear in mind the logistics of transporting tonnes of equipment and getting all the relevant team members around the world; these are not arranged via your local Thomas Cook travel agent. These are arrangements that are made months, if not years, in advance and with the Malaysian Grand Prix being the country’s biggest sporting occasion – none of the hotels or Malaysian Airline staff would have been in any doubt of the approaching race.
The hotel managers would have known they were fully booked for the Grand Prix week but what no-one could have predicted was that three weeks on – the authorities would still be trying to locate the missing airliner.
There is little doubt that the hotels and the airline would have moved the Chinese families to new accommodation – days before the Formula One people arrived.
A hotel spokeswoman confirmed: “It is true that the Chinese families were here, but they are already gone as we are fully booked because of the Formula One race.”
The 7 day weather forecast summary for Sepang Circuit
For Sepang Circuit in the coming week the average daytime maximum temperature will be around 36°C, with a high for the week of 37°C expected on the afternoon of Tuesday 25th. The mean minimum temperature will be 23°C, dipping to its lowest on the morning of Monday 24th at 23°C. The week will have some days seeing a little precipitation and some days with rain. Current predictions suggest Saturday 24th will have the most precipitation with an accumulation of around 8.0mm. On the whole winds are likely to be light. (Weather2).
Red Bull risk exclusion from 1st 3 races
As announced at the weekend, the FIA will hear Red Bull Racing’s appeal against their exclusion from the Melbourne GP on April 14th. It was hoped this could have been resolved prior to this weekend’s event in Malaysia, however, due to the technical issues involved and the data to be analysed, the FIA will not be ready prior to the date now set.
The row over the fuel flow rates incited by the team from Milton Keynes threatens to envelope the sport for some time instead of allowing the world to focusing on the dawn of F1’s new ‘eco-friendly’ era.
The problem facing Red Bull now is what to do this weekend. Do they continue to claim the FIA approved fuel flow sensors are faulty and insist upon using their own measurements? Mercedes have confirmed they too were instructed to reduce their fuel flow and complied immediately.
Should they choose to persist in defiance of the FIA’s directives and be found in breach of the regulations on April 14th, the world champion F1` team risks being disqualified from each of the first 3 races of the season.
On the other hand, if Red Bull back down and accept the FIA homologated fuel flow sensor for the next 2 races, it raises the question as to why they failed to accept this course of action in Australia.
Dietrich Mateschitz challenges the FIA’s stance over the fuel flow metres stating, “The fact is that the federation’s sensor has given inaccurate values since the beginning of the (winter) tests. We can prove that we were within the limits” he informed Vienna daily Kurier.
In a repeat of a previous warning that his energy drinks company Red Bull, is not necessarily committed to Formula One long term, Mateschitz adds. “The question is not so much about whether it makes economic sense, but more to do with the sporting value, political influence and the like. We have had it all but on these things from our perspective there is a clear limit to what we can accept.
“Formula one should be again what it always has been: the ultimate discipline. It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tyres. I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series GP2 is almost as fast as formula one with a fraction of the budget,”
In actuality, GP2 is some way away from the speeds of the current F1 cars, and this gap will dramatically increase during this season.
Whether Mateschitz is sabre rattling or has something more serious in mind, he apparently finds little joy the current incarnation of F1.
Ferrari have in the past threatened to walk away from Formula 1, though the historic nature of the Italian marque is seen to carry far more weight than the Red Bull team. The Milton Keynes team was born n in 1997 then morphed from Stewart to Jaguar only to be ultimately acquired by the Austrian billionaire – who has since lavished untold spending upon them in a relentless pursuit of winning.
Hamilton gets a title
It’s not clear whether any ‘spreadsheeting’ is involved, however XIX are delighted they have been able to facilitate this technical partnership.
Marussia for sale
Italian publication Omnicourse claims that the Marussia team owner’s interest is waning in F1. Nikolay Fomenko is apparently considering selling the team due to the financial pressures of the more expensive 2014 version of F1.
It could be that a deal can be done to sell Marussia to Zoran Stefanovich, who attempted to join F1 in 2010 with a team using the defunct Toyata F1’s assets. Serbian born Stefanovich was believed to have submitted an application under the FIA’s current process to identify potential entrants to F1 for 2015.
During the Australian GP, Brazil’s Globo publication was linking a return to F1 for Rubens Barichello with sponsorship for a new Stefanovich backed venture.
The only way is Essex
Apologies to TJ13 readers not from the UK. However, I’m sure the Usher will help you understand the reputation lads and ladettes from the English county of Essex have gained for themselves in recent times.
Anyway, the beautiful Max Chilton just revealed his real roots when tweeting, “Just drank a glass of orange cordial in the Emirates lounge thinking it was a strong orange juice. Won’t be doing that again in a hurry!”
Mmm – A WHOLE glass before you realised. GO MAX!
Silverstone writes to David Cameron – funding for Circuit of Wales
Richard Phillips, Silverstone’s managing director has written to the British Prime Minister – David Cameron – to prevent an investment of £50million in the Circuit of Wales project.
“An injection of funds by the Welsh and/or UK governments to the Circuit of Wales project would amount to a transfer of state resources, which gives Circuit of Wales an economic and selective advantage over other circuits. As such, it could amount to illegal state aid.”
Back in July 2013 – Welsh councillors gave unanimous approval to plans for a £280m race track near Ebbw Vale amid claims it would make Blaenau Gwent a “go to destination” for up to 750,000 motor-sport fans. It was projected to create 4,000-6,000 new jobs and boost the local economy by £50million.
Michael Carrick, chief executive of developers – Heads of the Valleys Development Company, pledged to “deliver a truly innovative and sustainable business, helping to deliver long term economic and social benefits for the region.”
“It is a hugely important development, not just for the regeneration of Blaenau Gwent but also for the UK economy, and will enable significant private capital to be mobilised. This is a showcase for a new type of investment model, a partnership between private investment and government to deliver a transformational business to the region.”
The reminder of the £150million needed would be borrowed from banks and institutional investors such as pension funds. These would all become part-owners of the track and if this sounds familiar there are similarities to another investment opportunity in the Midlands five years ago.
Simon Gillett – Donington Park’s chief executive – failed in his ambitious plans to redevelop the circuit and it’s facilities to host the 2010 British Grand Prix. The original plan was to raise the funding using a debenture scheme but this was replaced with attempts to get a £135million bond issue in October 2009.
Donington Ventures Leisure Limited lost a 17 year contract to stage the Grand Prix and went into administration in November 2009.
Silverstone, itself, attempted to get government funding to upgrade the track on a number of occasions when the fixture was placed under threat by Bernie Ecclestone. The fixture is seen as an important event in the British sporting calendar and the motor-racing industry contributes billions to the British economy.
Yet the government refused to approve any funding for a sport that is recognised for it’s obscene wealth; despite how much income is generated by the expertise within these shores. Silverstone had to raise the £30million funds for the upgrades themselves – which secured the circuit a 17 year contract.
Jonathan Palmer, chairman of AMRCO which represents 17 UK race tracks, said: “The UK circuit industry welcomes innovation and investment, however history and experience suggest that an investment of this magnitude in a motor racing circuit will never produce a return for investors.”
“It is a real concern that this will turn into a white elephant at the expense of much needed public funds, and we hope this project will now be subject to careful scrutiny by Welsh government inspectors and the Wales Audit Office.”
Mercedes saves Hamilton’s Melbourne Power Unit
Lewis Hamilton’s title challenge is, it seems, back on target; at least if the information coming from Mercedes is correct.
The Mercedes’ engineers instructions to pit immediately would appear to have saved the V6 Power Unit and, according to Hamilton, will be used in the up-coming Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
Hamilton had problems with his power unit from the moment he left the pits in Australia to assemble on the grid. He was instructed to retire after the second lap of the Grand Prix
“I didn’t want to stop,” he admitted in Australia. “The car was going but not very fast. I am keeping my fingers crossed and I think it (the engine) is going to be usable. There was nothing we could do to avoid it. The fortunate thing is that we did stop when we did.”
In Kuala Lumpar, Hamilton explained, “We had to play safe and save the engine as something went wrong with the wiring. I’ve been talking to my engineers quite a lot over the last few days and they are still investigating but they have found that something went wrong with the wiring to the engine just as I left the garage.”
Amongst the many changes to the Formula One regulations this year is the allocation of Power Units. The teams are all restricted to five units for the 19 race season and a failure in the first race could have had severe consequences as the season reached its finale; with what many observers believe will be his main rival – his own team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
Now all that is required of Lewis is to recover the twenty-five point lead that Nico has after the first round.