Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 29th March 2014


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#F1 Features: An extraordinary FIA public offensive

#F1 Features: #MalaysianGP – Friday Fun

Vettel needing lesson from Alonso?

Reader Poll

Heavy drivers deliberately dehydrating – Button (GMM)

Ecclestone working hard to turn up the volume (GMM)

Conspiracy theorists leap on F1 criticism (GMM)

FP3 – Mercedes stakes their claim

Vettel needing lessons from Alonso

As has been evidenced this weekend – all news outlets have deliberately been misquoting the reigning Champion’s poorly considered response to a question of what he thought of the new engines noise.

“It is s**t”.

The four time champion expanded his reasoning in explaining how it was a “shame” that young fans would not be able to “feel the ground vibrating” in the same manner he had experience as a child. It wasn’t long after, that F1’s elder statesman – Jenson Button – responded telling him to stop complaining or “go race something else”.

Fans repeatedly want their sporting heroes to be honest, accessible and speak their minds – which is practically impossible with so many corporate ideals to be mindful of – and yet when they do express themselves the public and media immediately draw out their response for criticism.

For some years now, Fernando Alonso has been regarded as the racer’s racer. Aggressive, relentless and respected by his contemporaries. People forget he is also highly intelligent in his use of tools to gain an advantage; be it the Ferrari team, his interaction with people on Twitter or more specifically – subtle use of the press.

In 2005/ 2006 when Fernando won his World Titles he would tell the press he “felt lonely” when he felt the Renault team was not supporting him. When he was handed a grid penalty at Monza for “holding up” Massa he claimed Formula One was “no longer a sport”. By 2007 he attempted to use the press in his battle against Ron Dennis. Whatever the truth, his reputation was torn to pieces but a vital lesson was learnt. In many ways his reputation was forever tarnished when he ‘threw his toys out of the pram‘ and whatever he says now is scrutinised and meanings discovered that he never suggested.

Hence why in Malaysia this week he steered clear of all controversy.

“This is a very uncomfortable matter to speak about, because if I say I like this Formula 1, I will be criticised because this is no longer Formula 1 for the fans,” he said. “If I say I don’t like this Formula 1, the fans will criticise because I only like it when I win.”

“I think we need to give more time to see how the races are, how the show is, and how people react from this new Formula 1”

In the same manner that Lewis Hamilton brought into question the morals of the Monaco stewards with his clumsy attempt at humour – “cos I’m black”; there are times that Vettel uses humour that is seized upon by a hungry media wanting to distort facts irrespective of the truth..


Reader Poll

Please if you haven’t voted, tell us what you think….


Heavy drivers deliberately dehydrating – Button (GMM)

F1 drivers are deliberately dehydrating in order to get their weight down at grand prix weekends. That is the claim of the experienced McLaren driver Jenson Button, who said drivers are so desperate to be lighter that they are cutting out food and water even at sweltering Sepang.

“I am sure they are dehydrating themselves because that is what I was going to do — go in a sauna, steam room, not drink or eat until after qualifying,” he is quoted in Malaysia by the Mirror newspaper. “I was going to do it and did all year until now, but it is a shame for the guys who have to do it.”

Button admitted he has “luckily” managed to get his weight down to a point at which he is no longer worried about the sport’s 692kg car-plus-driver minimum. The problem of driver weight has been amplified for 2014 given the much heavier turbo V6 ‘power units’.

“It’s hardcore what people are doing,” agreed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. “You can go into qualifying a little bit dehydrated. I heard someone was doing that, exhausting themselves,” he added.

Button revealed that, until he got his weight down, he was not eating any carbohydrates, including bread. Hamilton said: “You don’t want drivers being anorexic.”


Ecclestone working hard to turn up the volume (GMM)

If a question ever requires a cool answer, reporters flock to ‘iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen. The tamer tones of this year’s turbo V6s is the hottest topic at sweltering Sepang, but the Finn just shrugged when asked the inevitable question. “It (the sound) has changed a bit, but not much — the volume is just a little lower,” he told the Spanish sports daily AS.

Indeed, the rumblings in the F1 paddock have often made more noise even than the screaming V8 and V10s that many are now professing to miss so much. For instance, when Dietrich Mateschitz complained about the ‘new’ F1, some conspiracy theorists concluded that he might be driving down the sport’s price ahead of an audacious takeover bid.

And perhaps he is only complaining because his team, reigning world champions Red Bull Racing, is struggling. “That’s nothing to do with it,” F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, another fierce critic of the V6 sound, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “He (Mateschitz) is just a racer. And don’t forget that he is also the promoter of the Austrian grand prix. His concerns are legitimate,” he added.

Whatever the real story behind the conspiracies, Ecclestone professes to be working hard to turn up F1’s volume.

“I asked (Stefano) Domenicali if we can make the engines sound like they were,” he said at Sepang on Friday, having heard the V6s for real for the very first time.

“He (Domenicali) doesn’t know,” Ecclestone is quoted by The Times. “I asked him to check with his engineers.”

The 83-year-old said he is worried race promoters, sponsors and spectators may race away from F1.

But Lotus driver Romain Grosjean thinks the sport should give its all-new formula a bit more time.

“At the moment we are at 12, 13,000 rpm with the engines. I think later when we are using 14,000, the noise will be a little higher,” he is quoted by France’s RMC.

And Adrian Sutil, for one, quite likes the sound of 2014.

“The sound is more pleasant that the scream of the other (V8) engines,” the Sauber driver told German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

“I think it’s also more interesting now because you can hear a difference between the Ferrari, the Mercedes, the Renault.”

World champion Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, thinks the turbo V6 noise is “shit”, and his Red Bull colleague Dr Helmut Marko agrees.

“For many people, motor sport was a last bit of freedom in a totally regimented world,” he said.

Ecclestone admits that, if he had his way, the cars would be hurriedly retrofitted with V8s.

“Technically, it would be no problem,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “But the manufacturers would have to admit they made a mistake after investing a lot of money.

“And Honda couldn’t come back because they don’t have a V8,” Ecclestone admitted.

Honda, however, would not be the only departure, according to Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda.

“If we still had the V8,” he insists, “Ferrari, Renault and ourselves would no longer be here.

“The FIA decided five years ago that we need to move with the times and have a pioneering technology.

“The promoters who are complaining now are only putting pressure on Bernie over their (race fee) prices. But if the racing is exciting, the discussion about the sound will be gone in three races,” he predicted.

Red Bull’s Marko, however, questions the politics of Lauda’s appreciation of the milder engine note. “Niki likes the new sound because his cars are winning,” he said.


Conspiracy theorists leap on F1 criticism (GMM)

Amid all the moaning about F1’s lower volume, the conspiracy theorists are now beginning to raise their voices in the F1 paddock. Bernie Ecclestone has been the staunchest critic of the sound being made by F1’s new turbo V6s, causing some to wonder if he is deliberating trying to devalue the sport.

“He will then orchestrate the purchase of the majority share in the business at a reduced price and remain in charge for the rest of eternity,” proposed one such theorist, Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy.

McEvoy, however, is not alone.

Also vocally critical of the new, greener and quieter F1 has been Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz. Michael Schmidt, the Auto Motor und Sport correspondent, asked Ecclestone in Malaysia if he thinks the Austrian billionaire might also be trying to drive F1’s price down ahead of an audacious takeover bid. “No idea,” the F1 chief executive responded. The logic of the takeover rumours are obvious, given the ferocity with which known allies including Ecclestone, Mateschitz and world champion Sebastian Vettel have been slamming the new F1.

But Christian Horner, although also in the Red Bull camp and constantly touted as a potential long-term successor to Ecclestone, seemed to count himself out of the conspiracy. “It (F1) is Bernie’s product and he has to sell it. F1 isn’t rubbish,” the Briton is quoted by The Times newspaper. But Ecclestone hit back: “May I remind you that this is not my product. I did not want this, so you can’t blame me.”

Also asked by Schmidt if he is aware his criticism could be driving down F1’s takeover price, Ecclestone responded: “I’m not happy with what we have now. Why do we have these rules? Because they were written by engineers. Don’t get me wrong, these engines are wonderful pieces of engineering. But I don’t think it’s what the sport needed.”


FP3 – Mercedes stakes their claim

Mercedes continued to lead the way and staked their claim for their second consecutive pole for the 2014 season with Nico Rosberg leading Lewis Hamilton by 0.232s in a time of 1m39.008.

While the Silver Arrows are the clear favourites for pole, Raikkonen managed to get his Ferrari up to third in a time of 1m40.156, more than 1.1s slower than the time set by Mercedes. He was followed by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg in is Force India, 1.5 seconds down on the Mercedes of Rosberg.

Further down the grid Ricciardo trails Hulkenberg with Alonso on his heels. Massa appears to be faster than Bottas but we have to wait for qualifying as there is very litttle to choose between the two teammates.

Perez rounds out the top 10 in his Force India, things not looking good for Perez as Hulkenberg definitely has the measure of him.

Rain falling in Malaysia will make qualifying and the race interesting though.

FP3 Results

Malaysia FP3


11 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 29th March 2014

  1. Rain predicted so Suzi wears a white top… BBC deciding thats her main use my chance?

  2. “… all news outlets have deliberately been misquoting the reigning Champion’s poorly considered response…”
    Yesterday, Judge13 was one of those, quick to jump on Vettel, for his s–t remark.
    Today, Judge13 does an about-turn and seems to suggest he should be praised for being out-spoken.
    What is the ‘official’ Judge13 attitude…? Is there one…?
    If these two items are written by different people then I can only repeat: the authors deserve their own by-line. ALL authors.
    Otherwise the site starts to look hypocritical, changing editorial views after other media have commented. It is also confusing for readers not to know whose work/opinions they are reading.
    I don’t know of any other media outlet that follows this anonymous practice.
    While I’m at it… can I also suggest the occasional literary spats Your Honour has with your staff, in the comments section, might sometimes be better conducted in private… 😉

  3. Red Bull’s Marko, however, questions the politics of Lauda’s appreciation of the milder engine note. “Niki likes the new sound because his cars are winning,” he said.

    Hmm her Marko, and there is of course no way your opinion on the sound is because you have had a torrid time and gone from obliterating everyone to fighting for a cheeky podium. I sincerely hope these clowns say all this shit whilst fighting to keep a grin from their faces.

  4. Having heard the engines in the flesh in Melbourne, and now sat back in front of my B&W 600 surrounds for Malayasia qualy, I can understand why there are so many people out and about, worried about the sound.

    In the flesh, these beasts sound entirely different to the telly. They are louder than the coverage suggests, and the tones angrier than the coverage suggests. They absolutely still sound like racing machines. Just different to the murderous tenacity of the old V8s and V10s.

    With that in mind, I might bypass the Gill meter, and add fuel to the conspiracy by reminding everyone that FOM is owned and run by Bernie, and provides all broadcast track side sound. I somehow doubt they’re in a hurry to provide a realistic representation of the aural experience.

  5. Wasn’t there some kind of noise conflict for the Austrian GP – too loud for the local council’s liking? So, the quieter PUs should be perfect for Didi.

    Re: anorexia. It’s ridiculous (but isn’t so much in F1), but maybe the minimum weight needs to be car + BMI-indexed driver?

  6. What is it you Brits have with the sound of an F1 engine on TV? Having attended races since the 1970’s, and heard Cosworths, Ferrari / Alfa V12’s, turbo’s in the 70’s / 80’s and the atmo’s since then – they’ve never sounded on TV like they do at a race – ever. I guess if you’re not complaining about something you’re not happy.

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