Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 31st March 2014

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#F1 Polls: 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

Rivals say Mercedes not easily caught (GMM)

More fuel flow problems for Red Bull (GMM)

Drivers stall over new boss for F1 union (GMM)

Marko keeps pressure on ‘sick’ engine supplier (GMM)

Reader Poll

Vettel could be charged by the FIA

Deja Vu for Felipe Massa

FIA regulate to punish hard ‘unsafe releases’

Sauber’s Russian deal may be back on

Massa – Out of the Frying pan – into the fire.

Tension grows between Rosberg and Vettel

Bizarre Bahrain

Boullier criticises Red Bull

Deadline for cost reduction/spending limits looms

Caterham’s accounts


Rivals say Mercedes not easily caught (GMM)

Mercedes’ rivals have acknowledged the gap to the dominant championship leaders will not be easily overcome.

Reports on Sunday suggested Red Bull was quickly catching up with the silver clad team in the development race, after Sebastian Vettel finished within striking distance of the second-placed Nico Rosberg in Malaysia. But Red Bull’s Christian Horner said after Sepang: “It’s a big gap. They have plenty up their sleeve.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, acknowledged the Italian team is not yet even in a position to beat the second force of 2014, Red Bull.

“For Bahrain we can’t expect any miracles, because we are practicing again in just five days and so no teams are going to make any sudden, giant steps,” said the Spaniard. “Top speed is also important in Bahrain and so I expect Williams to be strong as well. I want to be in the top five again. “We need to keep finishing as close as we can to the top, so that we can think about the championship later on if the car is more competitive,” Alonso is quoted by Speed Week.

As for McLaren, racing boss Eric Boullier was forthright when asked if the British team can close the gap to Mercedes for the start of the European season, when the first major development steps will be made.

“No,” he answered. Is Boullier confident the gap can be closed at all in 2014? “That’s the right question,” he added. “Maybe by Europe next year, yes.”

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More fuel flow problems for Red Bull (GMM)

Red Bull continued to grapple with fuel flow problems in Sunday’s Malaysian grand prix.

While Sebastian Vettel finished third, it was his teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s sister RB10 – disqualified in Melbourne over the very same issue – that was once again affected. The sensor failed early on, but the team avoided disqualification this time around by simply following the FIA’s advice about how to comply with the rules in the absence of the troublesome Gill device.

“Yes,” Dr Helmut Marko told German television Sky, “this time the FIA asked us to check the correlation of our data and we did it.”

Team boss Christian Horner suggested the continuing problems demonstrates that Red Bull has a strong argument to put forward at the forthcoming appeal hearing. “I think it clearly demonstrates that there are issues with these sensors,” he said. Horner added that he has “no idea” why Red Bull is having more problems than any other rival.

A theory has been bouncing around the paddock that Red Bull’s Total fuel might be a contributing factor. “We are yet to understand why we always have problems when the others don’t — it could be something related to the fuel, but we are trying to understand,” said Marko.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the Lotus driven by Pastor Maldonado in Malaysia also had a fuel sensor problem, so another theory is that the frequencies produced by Renault’s turbo unit could be causing issues. The publication also said it is possible that installation modifications made to the Gill unit by the Renault-powered teams could be damaging it.

Ricciardo’s problems did not stop at the fuel sensor at Sepang, as he struggled with a pitstop problem and a subsequent stop-go penalty and a wing failure. The ‘unsafe release’ from the pitstop will also cost him ten grid places in Bahrain this weekend, but boss Horner says he has been impressed with the Australian so far in 2014.

“Today didn’t go his way but he gets out of the car and he’s got a smile on his face,” he said. “He knows that it will come right.”

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Drivers stall over new boss for F1 union (GMM)

The future of the F1 drivers’ association appears in danger.

We reported after the season-opening Australian grand prix that current GPDA president Pedro de la Rosa wants to step down. Speed Week said the Ferrari reserve driver informed his colleagues in Melbourne and scheduled a vote for his successor to take place in Malaysia.But the same publication now reports that while the matter was put on the table at a meeting at Sepang, the drivers could not find a willing candidate.

The issue will reportedly be back on the agenda this weekend in Bahrain. Alongside 43-year-old Spaniard de la Rosa, the other GPDA directors at present are Jenson Button and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

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Marko keeps pressure on ‘sick’ engine supplier (GMM)

Dr Helmut Marko is continuing to pile pressure on Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault.

Although the total calamity of the winter season was overcome, the always-outspoken team director Marko insists Renault cannot even take the credit for that. He told F1’s official website that when the seriousness of the winter problems became clear, Red Bull “intervened”.

“Together with Toro Rosso and Renault (we) started a collaboration to move forward,” said Marko. However, he still claims the only “sick” part of the RB10 package is the engine, insisting designer Adrian Newey’s 2014 car is better than the dominant Mercedes.

“Yes, (with a better engine) we would be at the top again,” said the blunt Austrian. “But right now with a deficit of around 80 horse power that’s simply not possible.” Marko hinted that if it was technically possibly to simply dump Renault and switch to a better engine, Red Bull would do it.

“You are bound to what you have,” he said, “as there is no way of saying ‘hey, from tomorrow we will use a Mercedes engine’ – if they would give it to us – because this car is built around the Renault powertrain,” he said.

Marko claimed that Red Bull had to use Renault’s Melbourne-spec software in Malaysia because the Sepang version was “not working”. But Renault insists it is now ready to take the next development step for Bahrain. “The positive is that, unlike Melbourne we don’t go to the next race with a substantial job list of rectifications, rather items that will deliver more power and performance in Bahrain,” said Remi Taffin.

Marko, however, suggested Red Bull is taking the problem of its straight-line speed deficit into its own hands. “We are trying everything possible to find more speed on the straights without affecting the corners,” he is quoted by German television Sky, “and I have to say that from this point of view we are progressing.” Marko told Bild newspaper: “We are bringing a few new parts from our factory to Bahrain, and also Renault has yet another update for the engine software.”

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Reader Poll

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

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Vettel could be charged by the FIA

‘Band-waggoning’ appears to be a favourite pastime for some in F1, and particularly at the start of the year following regulation changes which see some benefit and others not.

Of course some waggons have been rolling a lot longer than others, however as TJ13 reported at the weekend, it appears the ‘engine noise’ wagon train headed up by F1 ringmaster Mr. E has reached its destination.

Ecclestone has been prophesying doom over the sound of the new V6 turbo’s for some years, but we learned at the weekend, he hadn’t bothered to go check them out in person, even though they were on track in Jerez 9 weeks ago.

Anyway, all is well with the world. Bernie says, “it’s better than I thought, though we could do with getting it up a bit”.

In Bernie speak – that’s a huge U-Turn. Then surprisingly on Saturday, Ecclestone told the BBC that he believed they could ‘get it up’. “They’re working on it and I think we’re going to get it done.”

The difficulty is that ‘Bernie speak’ means its not clear whether he was referring to the engine manufacturers or the sound engineers of FOM.

No matter, but there are reports coming to TJ13 that the SKY F1 UK TV broadcast was far better balanced between track noise and the commentators than was the case in Australia. That said, at times the track noise appeared not to correlate with the pictures. Speculation is that SKY have mixed in some additional sound to improve the balance between the commentator’s and the cars.

The BBC broadcast sound levels however, were similar to those recorded in Australia.

TJ13 was critical of the quadruple world champion last week when asked about the sound of the new F1 power units “It’s shit,” said Vettel, “I think we have to [change it]. I was on the pit wall during the race [in Melbourne]. It’s better in a bar! That’s my opinion. I think for the fans it’s not good. I think F1 has to be spectacular, and the sound is one of the most important things.

I remember when I was a small child, I don’t remember much, but the first time I was about 5 years old, 6 years old when we went to see the cars live during free practice in Germany. The one thing I remember was the sound, how loud the cars actually were, and to feel the cars through the ground. The whole ground was vibrating. It’s a shame that we don’t have that any more.”

Speaking in German, Vettel criticised the the entire direction in which F1’s course has been plotted by mocking the energy recovery emphasis of the new engines – stating that batteries should be kept for phones.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner disagrees and believes his number one driver was entitled to share his thoughts. “He should be applauded for saying what he thinks. We live in quite a politically correct world but part of Red Bull’s philosophy, which has sometimes been quite uncomfortable, is to allow the drivers freedom of expression. Sebastian has expressed his opinion and I don’t think anyone would blame a driver for making an opinion. He’s not alone. There are different opinions and he’s entitled to his.”

Very true Mr. H – there are very different opinions around on this matter. Not everyone jumped on the ‘noise’ band wagon and Valtteri Bottas had this to say in the drivers’ press conference. “I like it. I really think the cars are good fun to drive. I hope it looked good from outside I think we made an exciting race with the new cars, new engines, so I think it’s good”.

F1’s elder statement Jenson Button is dismissive of Vettel’s position. “Go and race something else if you’re not happy,” said Jenson. “As drivers, we don’t have an opinion where the cars are in terms of sound and feel. When you’ve crossed the finish line first and you’ve won a Grand Prix, you don’t care what it sounds or what it feels like. You’ve beaten the best in the world, and that’s what you care about.”

You’d be forgiven for not realising these are the words of a 19 year old kid and not a world champion as Kvyat observed. “Well, it’s quite popular to criticise Formula One nowadays, I think, and there is always some new technology coming and it has happened for me to debut in a new Formula One, let’s say.  It’s quite interesting, I would say. The standard, with the new technology, has to change at some point and I think it’s quite interesting. It’s still fast, it’s going to be faster all the time and we will see at the end of the year how much better it is or not, so it’s early days”.

Kobayashi remembers the last time there were big changes in F1. “I think I definitely enjoy driving them [the new cars] because of course it’s definitely not easy at the beginning but I remember there were quite similar headlines before, but after a few years or a few months everybody forgot, so I don’t think it’s a big problem. But for us we’re still enjoying driving. It’s more challenging to drive in dry races, so I’m pretty happy”.

And of course Nico Rosberg could afford to be blunt and speak his mind, “I think it’s been all good for F1. It’s changed around the pecking order which is definitely good for everybody because the same guy winning last year… we needed a bit of a change to that, so that’s been good. The cars are great to drive, that’s fine, so I think it’s all good”.

Following the race, there were reports from various F1 paddock pundits suggesting the president of the FIA, Jean Todt, was unhappy with Vettel’s comments. Mark Huighs, Sky Sports analyst and Autosport/Sunday Times columnists states, “FIA president Jean Todt is said to be ‘furious’ with the World Champion after he disparaged F1’s new soundtrack as “s***”. Todt was dismayed that the World Champion should be so publicly critical,’ added Hughes.

Todt could punish Vettel under a regulation which stipulates that drivers “cannot bring the sport into disrepute”, which includes openly criticising the sport. Hughes writes, “Threatening to punish Vettel for his negative comments could conceivably be used as leverage by the FIA to convince his team to withdraw their appeal.”

Christian Horner denied anyone from the FIA had mentioned the matter of Vettel’s comments to him.

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Deja Vu for Felipe Massa

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from Die Hard F1 Fans

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FIA regulate to punish hard ‘unsafe releases’

“We win as a team, we lose as a team” is a mantra we often hear from drivers when they feel they have ‘done their bit’ but been let down by the team.

At present, no one must be feeling the harsh reality of the togetherness of ‘losing as a team’ than Daniel Ricciardo. After a stirring drive in Melbourne, he was stripped of his podium prize and record due to the decision of ‘the team’ to disobey the FIA. Hopefully in time we will discover what performance it would have cost Ricciardo had the team complied with the instructions to reduce the fuel flow rate. Then we will also be able to judge if Ricciardo was made a sacrificial lamb as part of a Milton Keynes agenda.

It was beyond irony that following the events of “multi 21” in Malaysia last year, were heard a team instruction “default 1-3” issued by Red Bull yesterday – which was amusingly interpreted by some as “the default position of our cars’ running order will be 1 (Vettel) and 3 (Ricciardo)”.

Within minutes of the radio message, the spectre of Mark Webber descended further upon proceedings as Ricciardo was released from a pit stop without one of the wheels being properly secured. The TV footage shows clearly the red light has been extinguished on the gantry above the car and the car dropped from the jacks before the Aussie pulled away – so driver error is eliminated immediately

Daniel lost the best part of a lap as the garage crew retrieved their number 3 car, and fitted the wheels properly and as per the regulations, Ricciardo was subsequently issued with a drive through penalty to add to his misery.

Most people watching the race didn’t realise that this would not be the end of the matter. The teams agreed over the winter with the FIA that any unsafe release this year would be further punished with a 10 place grid drop for the car in breach at the following GP. Nobody cares for an errant F1 wheel hurtling down the pit lane which could kill someone given the right set of factors.

It must be clearly understood that TJ13 is NOT suggesting, Red Bull deliberately sabotaged Ricciardo’s race to ensure that Vettel’s pre-eminence was ensured. However, it didn’t take long for the “luck” conversations to begin following the chequered flag.

It used to be Webber who was declared to have all the ‘bad luck’ at Red Bull, and after qualifying 2nd and 5th in his first 2 races for the world champions – both followed up with determined drives – the ‘unlucky mantle’ appears to have fallen on the shoulders of Daniel Ricciardo.

Particularly galling must be the knowledge that wherever the Aussie qualifies next Saturday in Bahrain – he will be at least half way down the grid by the time the lights go out for the race.

Yet, “we win as a team, we lose as a team” is the accepted notion – so that’s just the way it is. This philosophy is enshrined further by the fact that the teams can legally issue team order to their drivers which if obeyed will result in their relative finishing positions being determined by that instruction.

So, why is it just Ricciardo who suffers because of the team’s error yesterday? Red Bull and every team has two drivers who both score points for them in the constructors’ championship. Surely if ‘unsafe releases’ are the new category 1 offence, why not punish both cars with a grid drop in the following race?

One thing is for certain, conspiracy theories about teams sabotaging their No. 2 driver and the notion that it is this driver who gets all the ‘bad luck’ would be dissipated in a moment.

Still, Ricciardo comes out of all this more than impressively. Given the opportunity, he is clearly capable of challenging Vettel when he discovered he would be starting in the mid-field in Bahrain, Daniel tweeted the following which says it all about this young man’s character.

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Sauber’s Russian deal may be back on

We learned in 2013 that buying into an F1 team can be a process which is incredibly elongated, and has more up’s and down’s than a ‘whore’s drawers’ – so to speak.

Further, it is prudent to weigh the desperate need to announce inward investment which may keep drivers and suppliers happy against the huge loss of creditability when a supposed ‘done deal’ is incomplete 6 months later.

Both Lotus and Sauber fell into this trap and whilst it is clear the details of control under a partial equity sale can often take months to resolve, better this done before a new ‘love in’ is announced, otherwise the public negotiations which follow leave one party with a sour feeling and a poor public image.

Sauber have announced that Sergey Sirotkin will drive on day 1 of the test in Bahrain – the week following the race. This will enable him to gain his super license.

We can only assume there is still an opportunity for Sirotkin’s backers to invest in the Swiss team as common consensus appeared to rule him out as an F1 protégé deserving of a chance.

Meanwhile, ex-Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde will be getting his first outing in a 2014 this Friday in Bahrain, as he will replace Esteban Gutierrez in FP1.

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Massa – Out of the Frying pan – into the fire.

Williams has never had the best of relationships with its South American drivers. Maybe it was the no nonsense attitude of founder Frank Williams, and his partner Patrick Head, which didn’t communicate well with the continent’s natives but relationships between the team and drivers including Carlos Reutemann, Nelson Piquet and Juan Pablo Montoya have not finished well.

Over the winter Felipe Massa had spoken at length about his new found freedom, “I have very good respect for the team and I believe they respect me and that is very important,” and yet in his first competitive race for the Williams team he heard the words that have given his fans nightmares for four years.

“Okay Felipe, Valtteri (Bottas) is faster than you, do not hold him up,”
Massa ignored the initial order and the team then told him, “Valtteri has better tyres, we need to let him go. Do not hold him up.” Massa ignored the order once more.

He spoke to the BBC afterwards, “I was just fighting to the end, that’s the way I wanted to do it and I will fight for my career and for what is right. I don’t regret what I did.”

Bottas – of course thought otherwise – he believed Massa should have obeyed. “I think there was a really good chance for me to get Jenson. I was approaching really quickly but, like I said, we need to speak with the team.”

He was supported by Toni Vilander, a Finnish racing driver who believes Massa should have “swallowed his pride and let Valtteri through.

Despite team-orders being once again recognised as part of Formula One – following the infamous Ferrari call in 2010 – teams still carry issues regarding their use – (multi 21)?

When questioned by Sky, Claire Williams responded “How could we do that to Felipe?” It was not elaborated if the meaning was because of what Massa has been through previously or if it was a denial of team-orders within the Williams camp. “At the end of the day, Felipe finished ahead of Valtteri,” she insisted. “They were both told to cool it.

Williams’ chief engineer Rod Nelson simply replied that Massa, “didn’t do what we would have preferred him to do.The facts are we felt that Valtteri stood quite a good chance of getting past Button because his tyres were about five laps younger”

“There’s nothing else going on in the background,” Nelson insisted. “We don’t run like that — it’s not like other teams where they have a number 1 driver and a number 2 driver. We’ve got two number one drivers, the idea was simply to give Bottas “a go” at passing Button, and if he failed to do it, we would have swapped our drivers over again. We will go through it with the drivers and discuss what we expect,

Niki Lauda, mischievously commented he believed Massa did nothing wrong. “Racing drivers are racing drivers – they race for themselves. I would do exactly the same and my drivers would do the same,” added Lauda.

Even if Mercedes continue to dominate, Niki may find his team having to adjudicate on one or two matters during this year.

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Tension grows between Rosberg and Vettel

untitledContrary to opinions in certain quarters, Sebastian Vettel is not universally liked in the paddock. Of course it irks all the wannabe world champions that Vettel has won 4 consecutive drivers’ F1 titles in a row – and this alone would lead to some carping.

Yet Sebastian has been outspoken over a number of issues, and he has used his platform as world champion to add weight to the causes which his team boss has griped about. To this end the Red Bull PR machine have done their man no favours. It would have been best for Sebastian had he stayed aloof and let his servant Christian slug it out with the FIA and whoever else over ‘unsafe tyres’ and ‘dodgy sensors’.

Nico Rosberg took an extra-ordinary public exception to comments made by Vettel during the Autumn of 2013. Buoyed by his invincible RB9 and defending accusations that RB had been the main influence behind the change in the Pirelli 2013 tyres, Vettel had unwisely suggested the real reason for his team’s advantage was because the good ole folks at Milton Keynes simply worked harder than everyone else in all the other teams.

The silly nature of this observation was not lost on Rosberg because clearly how could Sebastian know how many hours people worked in all the other F1 factories. Nico was swift to oppose his fellow countryman and observed that Vettel’s was getting what he deserved when he was booed by the crowd.

“Sebastian brings the boos on himself. He talks about my b***s that I hang in the pool and then the boos come”.

Jenson Button was more circumspect in his response to Vettel, though no less dismissive of his claims. “It is incorrect and wrong of him to say that,’ said Button speaking ahead of this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix. We are obviously not doing a good enough job to beat Red Bull and no one is at the moment but that doesn’t mean we are not working hard. Every team is working as hard as Red Bull.’

It could be the needle between Rosberg and Vettel has its roots in the events occurring during the Monaco GP weekend. It was Rosberg who revealed that Mercedes had tested with Pirelli and Vettel who told Marko. The rest – as we know – is history.

Interestingly, the comments made by Nico about the Pirelli test were clearly of a private nature and not a public declaration at the drivers’ briefing otherwise the rest of the drivers would have returned to their teams and the story would have been far more widespread more quickly.

This weekend just gone, it appeared during the dying seconds of Q3, Rosberg darted ahead of Vettel into the final corner, and then was very slow to begin his run at a final last lap. Vettel waited for the spray to clear and to begin his run to the start finish line for one final effort.

Yet Sebastian misjudged the clock and subsequently failed to get over the line for his final attempt before the chequered flag fell by a mere second.

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During the post qualifying FIA press conference the following exchange occurred.

SV: Nico couldn’t see much in his mirrors, I guess. Obviously I was on a flying lap and Nico was preparing his hot lap, if that’s correct, and not much happened. Obviously I was pissed off at the time because… sorry, I was angry at that time, at that moment because I turned into turn 12 not knowing where to turn in because I couldn’t see anything. The lap was lost but equally I think there was another car in front of Nico…

NR: I don’t think that was me.

SV: No, so then it was Lewis. I think it was a Mercedes.

NR: I don’t think it was me. I never had anybody behind me.

SV: Anyways, I ran into traffic, not really, there were two seconds or three seconds gap but enough so that the next corner was completely blind. That’s it.

Lewis was then asked another question and during his answer, the following occurred. “Red Bulls get a little bit closer to us when it is wet. That’s something we have to work on but naturally I think, they’re always quick in the wet. [Turns to Vettel – Hey guys, I can’t even hear myself talk.]

SV: We’re still figuring out who it was…

Vettel was adamant Rosberg had baulked him and Rosberg was indignant protesting his innocence –  though by now the TV broadcast had finished. The conversation above is part of the post qualifying drivers conference interview posted on the FIA’s website.

For the record, on the final laps of qualifying, Sebastian was actually following Fernando Alonso, who was following Lewis Hamilton who was behind Ricciardo. Rosberg was behind Vettel until he lunged up the inside at the end of the back straight.

If Vettel was upset about Nico, he had the perfect opportunity to repay the favour during the start phase of the race on Sunday. Both cars got away fairly similarly then 3 into the race, Rosberg’s Mercedes began making swift progress as the second phase of the start began.

Vettel saw this and swerved across to try and block Rosberg, however even though Nico was inches from the wall, he refused to be cowed, kept is foot in and the German powered car out dragged the RB10 into the first corner.

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Rosberg was clearly rattled by this and he made an icy reference to it during the post race podium press conference.

“I had a really good start, so I was happy about that because it’s not so easy this year. The rear tyres are harder and we have more torque. So it’s very difficult to get it right – but it felt great and got away well……… and then Sebastian…….. I thought he was going to put me right into the wall, but he stopped just before – so thank you for that!” Nico added with a hint of sarcasm.

Vettel was ready and quipped immediately, “I had a similar experience last year…”. Sebastian was of course referring to his forbidden overtake attempt on Webber up the main straight, where Mark pushed him across towards the wall.

Rosberg clearly not happy refused to let the matter drop with Sebastian. “…that doesn’t make it right to do it again! My heartbeat skipped a beat a little bit but I kept right on it”,

Having made his point Nico clearly didn’t want to let Vettel see he had been overly affected by the incident, so he concluded, “it was OK….. anyway…. it wasn’t that bad”.

This could be an interesting one to watch this year, as there is clearly no kindred spirit between these 2 drivers based on nationality.

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Bizarre Bahrain

Reports are emerging that the Williams team will not run its regular Martini livery during the upcoming weekend in Bahrain due to the countries anti-alcohol laws. Of course Bahrain has strong anti alcohol laws and the UK government advice is as follows

“The consumption, importation and brewing of, and trafficking in liquor is strictly against the law. Drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is a punishable offence, making the offender liable to a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and withdrawal of the driving licence. Sentences in prison are not uncommon.

Bahrain has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. You can be charged and imprisoned if you are caught with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system”

Yet, despite Bernie Ecclestone’s best efforts to make the Force India car invisible during qualifying, in 2012, they have clearly run at the Sakhir track in Bahrain with Kingfisher premium lager, Valdivar and White and MaKaye emblazoned on the livery.

Williams will in fact run with a “Williams Martini” logo, rather than the usual “Martini” branding previously seen.

No explanation has been given by the Al Khalifa arm of the ruling family which runs the Bahrain GP as to exactly what difference this will make.

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Boullier criticises Red Bull

Graham Lowden commented last week that were the Red Bull appeal against Ricciardo’s DQ in Australia to be upheld, the entire governance of F1’s rules would fall into “chaos”. He has been joined by McLaren’s Eric Boullier who criticises Red Bull’s stance on the fuel flow sensor matter.

“We have been told to use it, so we use it. No debate. When you have two systems to measure your fuel flow, there will always be discrepancy between them. If you find an interest in using system A because you find more performance, I understand you may choose this way”.

But if in a regulated championship you are told to use B, [it’s] out of the question [not to]. We have to respect the fuel flow so we have to have a system to measure it. The FIA went with the sensors and we have to respect it”.

There appears to be a glimmer of support for Horner’s suggestion there should be a discussion over the sensors, as Boullier adds, “Whether we change the way we measure the fuel flow is another debate.”

Red Bull admitted to having a sensor fail completely on Daniel Ricciardo’s car last weekend, however unlike in Australia, the Milton Keynes team chose to run with the advised offset given to them by the FIA technical delegate.

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Deadline for cost reduction/spending limits looms

In an extensive Q&A, the president of the FIA was asked by Germany’s Welt am Sonntag, how after 3 failed attempts did he envisage enforcing spending limits in F1.

“They all want this limit and it must be in writing,” says Jean Todt. “Then it will be binding. The teams came to me and Bernie Ecclestone and implored us to finally introduce a budget limit.

Lotus has reportedly not paid its driver. I hear that Sauber and also Williams have problems. It can’t go on,” the Frenchman insisted.

“I am worried that we will lose teams. Many are crying out for help, and our job is to listen to these cries. Formula one is in intensive care and time is running out — by the end of June, a solution to this problem must be found,” came the grace warning from Todt.

The world of F1 is consumed with fuel flow sensors at present, where there is the time to take seriously the matter of cost control is anyone’s guess.

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Caterham’s accounts

The latest accounts for Caterham F1 show that pre-tax profits trebled to £4.8 million and revenue more than double to £46.7 million. This due in part to a major sponsorship deal with American industrial giant GE, which pays the firm an estimated $15 million (£9 million) annually.

Caterham’s turnover is however mainly derived from the management fees it receives from its Malaysian parent company, which in turn gets its income from sponsors such as GE.

However, these numbers are for 2012, and in 2013 Caterham failed to get the tenth spot in the championship and the associated cash prize associated with the ‘last prize paying’ position. This would have cost the team some $14m (£8.4m).

Further, costs in 2014 will soar by over well over $10m (£6m) due to the cost of the new engines.

The accounts also revealed that Caterham received £5.3 million loan from Export-Import Bank of Malaysia, part of which was used to invest in a new plant and machinery.

Since Caterham joined the sport in 2010, Fernandes and his co-owners have invested an estimated $219.5 million (£132 million) into the team. This gives them the dubious honour of investing more money in an F1 team without the success of a point – than anyone else in the history of the sport.

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95 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 31st March 2014

  1. I liked that we got the % of fuel they used. (And the engines sounded better this race)

    • I did too… Except it seemed a little meaningless if it wasn’t an absolute figure (meaning, we don’t know if all teams started on 100kg). Further, it seemed like Williams could have run the race on less than 100kg… Or maybe they did, we don’t know?

      • Looks like they did.. they only took one attempt to pass the McLarens as well both times with Massa, then dropped back for fuel saving.

        • This actually fits in quite nicely with the comment they were running hot. There was a previous discussion about stoicheometry and the fact that few engines are run at a perfect ratio even though it is most efficient, because it also generates the most heat.

          If Williams used least fuel and ran hot, likely they were too close to that ratio in order to run as light (i.e. start with less fuel) as possible and thereby gain time. Very tricky trade off

          • Indeed.. and this is backed up by Massa pulling out of drafts to get cooler air onto the engine all race long. I wonder if they should be doing this strategy when leading from the front, rather than when racing up from the back!

          • Well, they are low on DF so they lighter they run the more effective DF they have, plus reduced wear on tyres. Dunno, I think they are still trying to solve Quali, as that is truly their problem at the moment.

            Lorenzo de Luca has a fascinating chart on his tumblr which I liberated here: http://goo.gl/vK8oIr as it was blinking and hard to read, but it has fuel % for the top 10 at intervals from lap 15-lap 54. Followed by a brief twitter conversation with Edd Straw, essentially we can read each % as a kg used.

            Thus looking at fuel consumption and adding 1 liter for FIA purposes, looks like most of the top 10 would have been running close to 100 kg with the exception of Williams, who at lap 54 were at an astonishing 87 and 89 KG used with 2 laps to go.

            It would also appear that when they are pushing, the cars use around 2 kg per lap, so several of the cars could have been in trouble if they were being seriously threatened in the closing laps. Biggest team mate difference was Rosbergs 94 to Hamiltons 90.

            I don’t know where he found this info, but I sure hope he writes about it this week.

            BTW if you are on twitter #techf1 is a good search. Hope you didn’t have anything planned for today 😉

      • If you think about it, the only info the FIA will have is the accumulated flow thru the sensor. They have no way of knowing how many kg the team put into the car at the start so the percentage figure shown onscreen must be the percentage of 100kg which has been used. If I’m right, you’ll never see those fuel used percentages beyond about 2/3 of race distance because it’ll become obvious that the figures are wrong if in the final laps one car still carries a disproportionate amount. Teams will take a view on whether they can make it through the race with less than 100kg and will fuel their cars to suit, but the FIA will only ever give you a percentage based on an assumed 100kg starting weight.

      • See my comment above on why that’s not possible. The starting fuel weight is such sensitive info, even if the FIA asked the teams to disclose it they’d be unlikely to get honest answers.

        • Yes, but if the FIA make these figures available, as they do lap times and other event data, might it be possible to come up with a rough estimate of fuel load by looking across several races and examining in detail the % finished with vs action in the race? Then assign a guess as to the margin of error the team might allow itself?

          I bet you could get closer than a lot of the teams would like if you had both the patience and the maths to scrape the data

          • “…and examining in detail the % finished with vs action in the race…”

            The amount of fuel at the finish is not measured, as far as I know. (I believe the FIA only require a small amount to enable pulling a post-race fuel sample.)

            Are you talking about the total amount of fuel used during the race?

          • Not exactly, but if we can see the percentage finish, say team A hits the last lap at 90%, it’s a good bet that they ran with less than 100 kg. Over the course of several races if that figure is consistent then you might be able to make some reasonable assumptions about actual fuel loads.

            Take the Williams, running the lowest percentage it’s a fair bet they were under 100 kg but backing off in the last laps, say it happened when they hit 88% they backed off! then also reasonable to assume at that point they were getting close to running out of fuel if they pushed. A combination of enough races with behavioral observation might yield some useful clues about fuel load.

            That’s my theory anyway. It might require too much data or not possible due to the variation in tracks, but at a quick glance it seems reasonable

  2. Hmmmmm, only Redbull struggling with this much sensor, what are they doing different to everyone else? They kinda remind of me son not wanting to do his home, as in they’ll do anything just so they don’t have to.

    • Maybe they’re exploring some *cough cough…illegal…cough* innovation or loophole and the sensor doesn’t play along. Or their engine doesn’t play along? Or the fuel? After Renault, time to start blaming Total. After Total who’s next? AT&T? Casio? Maybe Singha beer!

  3. I’ve got 2 question, why is it, that it’s only redbull that are having so much problems with FFM sensors, could this be down to a design flaw in the car or engine?

    Given that the engines are now hamolgomated, are they still allowed to develop them?

    • They also had problems with the sensor on Ricciardo’s front left that signaled OK before the wheel was all the way on.

  4. Unless some of you forgot, how that ‘reading’ malarkey works – Sensor problems also appeared on at least one Toro Rosso car and the car of Pastor Maldonado – that looks more like a Renault problem.

    Also, congratulations on the ‘bandwaggon item’ – 12 paragraphs of slagging off Sebastian Vettel with exactly the same shit that was repeated three times on a single day last week and only the very last paragraph has any relation to the bloody head-line.

    The hate is strong with that one.

    • …Oh Sorry – how should it have read?

      “Vettel may be charged over his comments”

      ..NEXT story???

      Its a development of a story from last week. New comments from other drivers now substantiate the position – plus Horner asked about whether Vettel will be charged….

      Story re: quadruple world champion possible charge for “bringing the sport into disrepute” is ‘hate’.???

      Pretty easy to write opinionated rants from your waterhole without substantiation, corroboration from authoritative sources etc…

      … try writing some news instead of your constant abusive and critical comments which are biased and well wide of the mark!!!

      Either that or just bugger off….

      • Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

        Aristotle

        You can only lose following this path. Remember you are the moderator. Maybe Lewis’s back tattoo might be more easily understood than some ancient Greek.

          • …. I won’t have people repeatedly criticise writers of TJ13 for having a “hate” agenda… whether they have written a column for the site or not. Further, if I genuinely believed that was the motive behind the writer(s) of any place I read any content, I wouldn’t bother going back….

            Part of the alleged ‘hate’ of RB here at TJ13 was the observation made before anyone else and within hours of Red Bull’s declared appeal that this appeal smacked of a hidden agenda to get the fuel flow regulations cancelled. A week later, Horner admits he wants a wider debate on the whole issue of fuel flow sensors… and suggests scrapping idea of fuel flow restrictions abandoned.

            Red Bull are the Marmite of the F1 world at present and they choose to put themselves in the space labelled ‘controversy’ regularly. They may believe – as did Pirelli – that bad publicity is better than no publicity.

            But this is the F1 news. “World champion may face sanctions for bringing his sport into disrepute” – also in the news Jenson says ‘if you don’t like it, bugger off’ and that a week after receiving the coveted Laureus award.

          • Oh ye of few words… 🙂 and every one worth a thousand pictures.

          • I neither love nor hate Vettel or Red Bull, or any other of the drivers or teams, for that matter. All I want is good and fair racing from dedicated teams and skilled drivers, all at the peak of their game.
            There is a fine line between innovation, bending the rules and cheating. But the job of the people working for each team is to find a way to make their car the fastest round the circuit and most reliable for each race. I think any hint of underhand behaviour by a team leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Nobody wants a team perceived as a cheat to win.
            As for what the drivers say sometimes…. I take it with a pinch of salt. They have microphones thrust in their faces after just finishing a gruelling race, when they are still emotionally charged and there are bound to be times they say the wrong thing without thinking first.

          • Golly!

            Nice to have that out there, Judge.

            My only comment is tangential, and to the benefit of other non-British readers like myself.

            The meaning of “Marmite” used as an adjective, as done here, is a British colloquial metaphor meaning “causing a strong feeling of either liking or disliking”, as per the friendly folks at macmillandictionary.com. 🙂

      • I hope they don’t charge Vettel for his comments.. that would be China-like censorship. If he thinks it’s shit, then I would defend his right to say so.

        I do however like the brewing Vettel vs. Rosberg rivalry! Long overdue in my opinion! It’s the ‘new top German in F1’ rivalry, although I’m not sure how German Rosberg feels (he does drive for Mercedes).

        Hulk should hopefully join that battle sometime.. while Vietoris, who was in attendance in Malaysia, can only hope to have that position in DTM.. no space for a 4th top German in F1! Especially as Mercedes are pushing Juncadella into F1 and not him..

  5. I have to say, I’m liking some of the young’uns that have showed up this year in a good way. Bottas, KMag, Kvyat and Ricciardo have all impressed thus far. Full of piss and vinegar they are.

    You left out my favorite moment of the race, when Ricciardo was told to back off further from Vettel, to “preserve tyres”. His response made me grateful for the new engines just so I could hear the tone of outraged bafflement in his reply “What???!!! I’ve got pressure from behind. And if Seb catches Nico I want to be part of it”.

    I have to admit I’m starting to like him despite myself.

    • I’m with you on this one. There was a time so long ago that I was thinking that F1 would be really poor once Lewis, Alonso, Vettel and Kimi retire. Not any more. With these kids, the future looks bright, especially Bottas!

      • Watching the youngsters has been one of the highlights of the year so far.
        Interesting after all the talk of pay drivers and drivers not good enough for F1 we still get some excellent prospects turning up and entertaining us.
        By the way Bianchi seems rather quiet this year.

        • If by ‘quiet’ you mean thrashing Chilton as much as Hulk did Perez then I guess he should take it slower and bring the car home in 4th last.. but a race between him and KK looks positively appetising. Throw in the heavy Saubers not far down the road (Kvyat was only 43 seconds clear of KK, who was 43 clear of Ericsson/Chilton) and the scene is set for a giant-killing of embarrassing proportions.

          I was initially weary of the post-30s F1 (Raikkonen, Button, Massa, Alonso).. but we do have Lewis, Rosberg, Vettel in dominant cars, with the next generation of Ricciardo etc. set to join them. Hulk and Grosjean are already established and old timers like Sutil, Maldonado, VDG, KK will gradually be replaced with young guns such as Vergne, Bottas, Bianchi, Perez, Gutierrez, Magnussen, Kvyat.. then the ones just on the fringe, like Frijns, Vandoorne, Nasr, Rossi etc. and fresh faced guys like de Vries and Verstappen are still to come.

          The future is bright.. especially if lower costs reduces the niche of pay drivers. Then we could genuinely see the top 22/24/26 drivers once more, rather than the top 16+. However as I usually state, all the drivers on the grid are champions, except Chilton, whose sole aim was to make it to F1 (like Pic, although he could probably win a championship given more time to do so).

    • Matt – I enjoyed that moment also of Ricciardo telling his engineer he was focused on being part of any potential party between Vettel and Rosberg.

      Two weeks ago at Melbourne, DR was the clear Driver of the Weekend to my eyes for his stellar performance in qualifying and his race performance there.

      He showed a good race performance here again. And he was quick to point the finger to himself for his qualifying performance. He’s fast, and has an incredible attitude.

      Those are two of the significant common factors of that group you’ve mentioned, (DR, K-Mag, Bottas, and Kvyat)… It is not only their speed but their attitudes are strong, mature, and professional… An impressive group!

    • Yeah Matt, I like aussies a lot since ‘Crocodillo Dundee’. Love when Webber ran without his helmet and love when Ricciardo said that to his engineer.

  6. I found it interesting to see the fuel flow rates for the cars. I assume the teams have access to this information, for all the cars, for all the race, in real time. I don’t remember seeing it displayed on screen at the Melbourne race, but it probably meant the powers that be didn’t think we would be interested in the information. Obviously now it is big news and everyone wants to know how the cars are doing.
    It seems strange to me then, that Red Bull, in Melbourne, could not see how Ricciardo was performing compared with his team mate, for the time he was on track, and the rest of the field all race. No other team has mentioned that they found the flow reading to be significantly abnormal. There has been no release, as far as I know, of the flow rates for all the teams for all the race, from Melbourne, which surely would have put this story to bed.
    I still think it is odd that Red Bull wouldn’t err on the side of caution, and reduce Ricciardo’s flow rate. I am sure he would have still made the podium if it had been managed properly.
    If we want to go to conspiracy theories again, though, it is interesting. In Melbourne after Vettel retired it could be said the team didn’t want Ricciardo to get any points and so challenge Vettel in the championship. There must be transcripts somewhere, surely, of radio messages between the pits and Ricciardo asking him to conserve fuel if he was that close to the limit. By letting him come second, knowing he would be disqualified, they could challenge the flow rate rules, get fantastic publicity for Red Bull and ensure he scored no points. Perfect.
    In Malaysia it looked as though he was told to let Vettel pass, then told to drop back, which he reasonably refused to do. Low and behold, he gets a Mark Webber pitstop and a 10 second drive through. Plus, because the FIA are vindictive it seems, he gets a second penalty of a 10 place grid drop next race. That seems a tad unfair on the driver, when it is the team’s fault. Maybe it would be better in future to either deduct points from the team or impose a big fine.
    The way it has worked out, assuming Red Bull lose their appeal, is that Ricciardo will have few, if any points as compared with Vettel.

    • “Maybe it would be better in future to either deduct points from the team or impose a big fine.”

      Or even, deduct a similar number of points from both drivers, that would make them pay enough attention and be more risk averse for both drivers.

    • Ted Kravitz said on Sky pre-race that if RB had dialled it down then by their own calculations he would have finished 5th or so… I forget the exact number but the illustration was that if he was at the 4th last corner when Rosberg crossed the line then he would have been on the back straight (curved one) if he had turned it down.

      They would have had the new graphics at Melbourne but as it was the first race I don’t think everything was exactly working!

  7. I have to say that the outpouring of man-love for LouLou in the UK-based media in the last 24 hours has been rather embarrassing. Maybe it was the same in the German press when Sebrina was winning, I’m a pig-ignorant mono-lingual slob, so I have no idea. I mean I actually feel a bit dirty when I read it, like I’m looking in on a fap session or something. Awkward….

    • If Lewis is LouLou and Seb is Sebriba, who is Fernando? Who is Kimi? Have to admit that my pop knowledge is not very good. More of a heavy metal fun, myself.

      • Haven’t got a clue who LouLou or Sebrina are in the pop world but if we have to think up some connections how about Abba for Alonso and Kraftwerk for the Iceman..

      • For mine, female sobriquets come with limp-wristed hair styles. Sebrina going blonde in the off season and Lulu with his current perm are pretty amusing. They should put a mirror in the podium blue room so we can see who checks their look. On the Malaysia podium, Lulu spent half his national anthem primping his hair and his eyebrows FFS. You can call it a generational thing perhaps, but I’m happy to be a grumpy old bastard on that point and reserve the right to hang sh*t where I deem appropriate. Just like my son does to me 🙂

    • The German press was rather neutral on Vettel, mainly because they’re still high on the Schumacher hype and because Red Bull as a brand is not very popular in Germany. If he drove for Ferrari or even Mercedes, they would probably go as potty over him as they did with Schumacher.

      • When you say ‘hype’ do you mean it still dates back to the Ferrari days and his return with Mercedes or is the hype to do with the tragic accident?

        • Both. You have to remember that Schumacher was the first really successfull German driver. We had Graf Berghe von Trips in the 60s, but Schumacher was the first to win consistently and over such a long time. The hype never went away and was only reinforced by the accident. With four WDC to his belt, Vettel is still pretty much in Schumachers shadow.

          • Or maybe, they still wait for him to prove his colours in an underachieving car. Schuey did that consistently in his early Ferrari years and that’s what made him legend in some people’s eyes, not the dominant Ferrari years. Similar to Alonso’s 2012 heroics.
            Just my opinion.

          • Well, I wouldn’t peg this years RB for an overachieving car, neither was the 2008 Toro Rosso. Vettel is still the only one to have ever finished better than 6th in a STR and he did that six times.
            I know y’all hate to hear that, but I think he is a championship deserving driver.

          • Trouble is Fats, the 2008 Toro Rosso was a Red Bull in everything but name.
            It was supplied to the Faenza team from Red Bull Technologies as the RB4 was to Red Bull Racing. The only difference between them was the engines.
            Still a great performance in what was essentially his rookie season.

            As to this year’s car, we’re only two races in. If Mercedes follows their typical performance curve and starts falling back after the return to Europe and Red Bull follows their usual path and obliterates everybody to the end of the year, will it still be under-achieving?

            Whatever happened with the tyre change last year, the crucial point was that Vettel was leading the WDC before the tyres became a news item.

            His driving was quite out-standing. Which made Red Bull’s sickening bleating on about the tyres not working properly nauseating. If they had been struggling up to that point and then it changed their season around, that would be one thing, but to have won races and be leading the championship was just wanting the cake and eating it.

            At times people get too caught up with opinions, I have nothing against the kid, the same as I had nothing against Schumacher when he was winning everything in sight.

            But when Todt protested the Michelin tyres in 2003 following a Monza test, it de-railed Mclaren and Williams’ championship challenge to Ferrari’s advantage.

            Many other insistences where the arrogance of the collective over-ruled better judgement can also be found throughout motor-sport history.

          • I’m with the hippo on this one, as I stated on many social media Sunday. This race was vettel (and danny boy) showing the world how good racers they truly are. And hamilton just won because of the car, wich is the best of the field. Or does that only hold up as an argument when vettel is winning…

          • Well you could say Hamilton only won because he had the best car. Let’s face it, the talent we have in F1, if you don’t have the best car you’re not going to win, Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton… They all want the best car and then extract the maximum out of it.

            The arguments about Seb not being a great driver because he is in an RB… rubbish. He wins in a car that is capable of winning, and when it is not he puts it in places where it does not belong. Similar to Alonso and Hamilton (and Hulkenberg)

          • As I said last year, even with a dominant car – you still have to keep it on the black stuff. Winning in a dominant Merc doesn’t dimminish Lewis’ talent.But it also doesn’t make him the class of the field.
            We all know what he is capable of. The difference is that some people can’t accept that.

          • I have to say that Germany was unlucky with its drivers pre-Schumacher. Von Trips – killed on the verge of the 1961 title. Bellof – killed just as he received an offer to drive for Ferrari for 1986. Now it seems that sadly Schumi could be the next in line to suffer a similar early downfall. I say downfall.. using that word connected with Germany now just makes me think of Hitler parodies left right and centre.

            Carlo – I agree on the assessment of last year. It was plainly obvious that Vettel was the title favourite even before the tyre change. The change just opened the door to a full-scale domination and at that point Newey should have just moved on to 2014 full time.

          • You know Hippo, I used to be a Vettel hater before I see what he is capable. I ate histories that Monza ’08 was because was raining, ate things that he can’t overtake without DRS and stuff like that.

            Now, I still being a Lewis and – in first place – McLaren fan, but Vettel proved himself as a true champion many times.

            The way he used those RB’s over the years is amazing, he is a driver who adapts to many conditions and variations in cars, tyres, tracks – just a few guys coul do it, he’s one of them.

          • Indeed Will.. I think it’s plain to see that now he will end up in that perpetual ‘best 5-10 drivers in F1’ discussion once he has retired. Alonso is close and perhaps Hamilton can join them with a second title/few more years of success.

      • Oh no…..@ 11.54 you said you’d choose the bugger off option….yet here we are still with our balls hanging cool @ 12.29??

        • What part of ‘still commenting, but no longer contributing’ is so hard to undertstand?

          • Would this have anything to do with the general Austria vs Germany issue. Isn’t Didi Austrian as is his company? Might that play some part? I know there is *some* animosity between the two on occasion 🙂

          • Oi, meant to post this in your discussion of how German media treat Vettel, which insight is appreciated since what little German I had has deteriorated extensively over the years.

            Having had friends who’ve lived in Austria, I am aware of how the Austrians (some of them) view Germans, was wondering if German media treatment of Vettel might have some relation to that.

          • Where did it say: “… still commenting, but no longer contributing…” ?

      • Mr. Hippo – This is a great comment about the German press and Vettel, as I wasn’t aware of that.

        It seems incredible to me, given that Vettel is probably the best driver on the grid now, that the German press leans towards neutral on Vettel. The context you give, of Schumacher, makes sense.

        Thanks!

        • Mainstream media often don’t even report on him. Case in point – Der Spiegel – a major paper ran a feature about Nico Hülkenberg, who – truth be told – had a stellar race, but Vettel’s 3rd doesn’t even figure. German media only want winners or David vs. Goliath with David winning. Even when Vettel won everything in sight it wasn’t enough:

          “Oh, so he won his 31st race?” But Schumacher won 3 times as many

          That’s the German media for ya. I’ve met the man twice and he isn’t even remotely deserving of the abuse he gets. I’ve met Jean Alesi, Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis, too – give me Vettel any day.

          • I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Vettel yet, but I never had a problem with Alesi. Although that might be when I met him I was talking Italian.

  8. Re: Felipe Massa / Ignoring Team Orders

    Whatever ones opinion on team orders are, and the multitude of variations of what that term means, one can not, in all good faith, have expected Massa to move aside from a pitwall request such as that. Especially considering the race strategies were not substantially divergent and also the echo of history in the way it was uncannily delivered. Frankly, I think it was a BIG home goal for Williams pit wall race strategy management when all things considered. One hires these drivers with full knowledge of their strengths and foibles. Surely a huge potential soul destroying call was not nessecary 2 races into a brand new driver/team relationship. And all for 6th, 7th and 8th…

    As Obi Wan Kenobi says in Episode 3 after killing Grevious with a blaster, “how uncivilised”.

    • Well, Williams claim they would have reversed the positions again at the end had bo77as not been successful in passing but20n… So it seems like a win-win situation to me.
      Williams, more than any other team, has consistently been about WCC points over WDC points and both drivers must know that.

    • Yes, “home goal” would be the right metaphor here.

      But I think the real problem is that it reflects the lack of trust, or confidence in the relationships between the two drivers and Williams.

      Given what Williams had hoped to accomplish, (to let Valtteri use his fresher tires to attack and pass Button), it would need to be shown how that could be implemented in a way that respects each driver’s #1 status with in the team.

      In other words both drivers would need to have known how all the scenarios could have played out, both drivers would need to be fully confident in how their team-mate would implement the scenarios, and understand how they each could benefit from each scenario.

      For instance:

      1) If VB successfully passes Button. Then FM also passes a weakened Button, would VB then need to let FM pass, since FM provided the courtesy pass to enable the whole action?

      If yes, then the gain in that scenario would be +1 position net for each Williams drivers, and +2 position net gain for Williams WCC tally.

      2) If VB is unsuccessful in his attempts to pass Button, would VB then drop back and let FM back in front?

      If yes, the result is net neutral to all parties, no change.

      3) If VB successfully passes Button, but Massa is unable to pass Button, then what is the advantage to Massa?

      In this case, Massa loses one position, VB gains two positions, and Williams’ WCC tally nets +1 position. Would a team ask a #1 driver to expose himself to that potential outcome? If yes, then how does this benefit him?

      Mercedes said they had ran through many such permutations during their pre-season with Lewis and Nico. Given Red Bull’s pace, Mercedes was smart to have already executed this preparatory exercise. I hope Williams now does the same.

  9. Re: Vettel’s comments on the new F1.

    I think CH is right on this one – it’s great that drivers can speak their minds and use some plain speaking instead of convoluted PR-speak.

    I also 100% disagree with Seb’s opinion. The capability of the new power units is shockingly brilliant and part of that is precisely why they are quieter – much of that wasted energy is now being harnessed. Good.

    And as for the “batteries belong in mobile phones” nonsense…I thought he was “director of performance” at Infiniti or somesuch made up title. He should probably have a look at the power trains of the Porsche 918, La Ferrari and McLaren P1.

    I’m glad he gets to tell us what he thinks – it’s just what he thinks that’s the problem. Or maybe he actually IS toeing the Red Bull corporate message after all.. 🙂

  10. What is it with Aussie pilots, their fanboys and conspiracies? Really, give it a break. There is no reason for Red Bull to sacrifice and sabotage its own WCC bid while Mecerdes makes good use of their current form and runs away with wins and a lot of points.

    • Right now they can’t win the WCC, Mercedes would win it, but if FIA change the rules…

    • And I think they only botched the pit stop as they were coming under pressure from an undercutting Alonso, after he almost undercut DR in the first stops.

    • “There is no reason for Red Bull to sacrifice and sabotage its own WCC bid…”

      OK, agreed.

      There is no apparent reason for RB to sacrifice DR’s Australia points… and yet they have.

  11. Lets face it, Massa probably thinks he has more right to stay where he was on track as he’s actually paying to be at Williams.

    Also, as soon as he heard that badly scripted message come over the radio I truly believe the Judge’s GIF animation was probably a fair reflection of his mind in the cockpit!

    • Yeah the way I imagine Massa hearing that is, ‘I did not just hear that, did I?’

      Then quickly transitioning to, ‘Pfft, like fucking hell I’ll move over. Come take the position off me superstar… I dare you’

      Then eventually feeling as he got out of the car, ‘well that felt ok. i’ll sleep well tonight.’

      Then off flew the demons… And I haven’t seen a more vibrant and wide eyed Massa than him protesting, ‘we are going for the championship.’ Delusional maybe, but it was nice to see the child reemerge within that battered Brazilian skull.

      Deep down, I’m a poor ol’ romantic.

    • I wanted to make this point myself. Instead of teams paying drivers most drivers are paying the teams so the idea of the team principal being the absolute boss only makes sense based on tradition.

    • That is good news.

      I tried their neutered freebie version and was surprised by the size of that big bomber of an app. So after OZ I took it off my phone.

      I’ve been waiting for a nice straight hack as was done a few seasons ago for example when someone sniffed the data stream and then created a non-java linux x-windows app.

      • Really loving that FIA App for iPhone, with speed / revs / gearing at all turns. Great stuff.

  12. I lean towards Fatman on the Vettel debate, tho I can see he’s a little off his game today, a little preoccupied maybe…

    Interested in carlo’s ‘trouble is’ post – Carlo it seems to me that Seb’s achievements in the 2008 Toro justify his position as a ‘championship deserving driver’ (as per Fatman’s) because he was able to drag a performance from the car over and above that achieved by other punters.

    • Indeed you could say 2008 was a story of what was to come. Vettel besting Webber, with Coulthard over the hill and retired, Bourdais forgotten and Sato then not picked to replace him in 2009, clearing the way for RB juniors to battle each other at Toro Rosso from then onwards.

      The only difference is in the engine – Ferrari vs. Renault, and there was a feeling at the time that the Renault was down on power, so the Ferrari powered Toro Rosso was in effect the RB team leader, with Vettel at the wheel! But the team itself was still based where the old Minardi team was at Faenza!

  13. Regarding Red Bull’s controversial actions regarding the fuel flow sensors, I hold two seemingly opposed views:

    1) – A more common view: Red Bull’s case is weak, argumentative, and wasteful.

    2) – The more nuanced, appreciative view: Just like a brave, talented driver, Red Bull as an engineering organization, aims to run on the very ragged edge of the limits. The courage of Red Bull to identify a gray area, and then push hard against it, will probably be good for the sport, and (in some unknown way) profitable to Red Bull.

    If I were to bet a dollar, I’d bet that RB will lose this appeal. But it is interesting to watch and I admire the underlying courage of their actions.

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