Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 3rd April 2014


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#F1 Circuit Profile: 2014 – Bahrain, Sakhir, Bahrain International Circuit – Round 3

#F1 Features: The FIA’s last stand

#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Sepang 2014 – #MalaysianGP

Red Bull considering alternatives to Renault (GMM)

Lotus ‘faster than Williams and McLaren’ – Permane (GMM) (GMM)

From the Ledger….

Where’s Martin?

McLaren fiddle with their livery

The F1 stalking horse

Fuel flow sensors tampered with UPDATE GMT (15:08)

Technical Delegate’s Report

Formula E challenges F1

The craziness must stop

Felipe Baby

FIA drivers’ press conference

Massa and Bottas sort it out

Rosberg admits problems

Red Bull considering alternatives to Renault (GMM)

After struggling to get up to speed in F1’s new V6 era with Renault, Red Bull is beginning to think about alternatives. Dr Helmut Marko has already issued an ultimatum to Renault. “If there is no noticeable improvement in two or three months, we will definitely be talking about an alternative,” he told the German newspaper Bild.

But the German magazine Sport Bild claims that the industry-leading Mercedes power unit is not an option for Red Bull, as the German marque “does not want to support its biggest competitor”.

Rather, the publication revealed that, two years ago, Red Bull looked into working on an engine project with AVL, an Austrian automotive company. There have also been paddock rumours Red Bull could take over Renault’s F1 operations at Viry-Chatillon.

“There are some considerations,” Marko admitted. “But for now we are hoping that Renault can get its problems under control. “We are currently 80 horse power behind. An increase of 40 horse power would be enough, because we can make up that difference with the chassis.” 

Renault is hopeful.

“Red Bull is supporting us 100 per cent,” Rob White said. “We want to, and we will solve the problems together. The data we have from the V6 turbo and the electric motors tells us that if we get all the parts of the powertrain working in harmony, we will be really competitive.”

Marko ruled out as “utter nonsense” speculation Red Bull could simply pull out of F1 and race elsewhere with Cosworth engines.


Ecclestone says Haas set for F1 in 2015 (GMM)

Gene Haas looks set to take his place on the pitwall as F1’s newest team owner in 2015. Having earlier played down the Nascar team co-owner’s chances of securing the twelfth team entry, Bernie Ecclestone said this week: “I think Haas will be accepted. They have got the money but it’s a question of whether they are going to spend it,” the Independent newspaper quotes him as having told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

It is believed the FIA recently delayed a decision over Haas’ 2015 application pending F1s chief executive Ecclestone’s ‘ok’. Money seems to have been the 83-year-old Briton’s main concern. “A billion would last a new team owner four years,” Ecclestone said. “I’ve spoken to Haas but I don’t know what they are going to do. It’s America, so I don’t know.”He also didn’t rule out the possibility more teams could soon be following Haas into F1. “Every year we or the FIA have approaches from new teams,” he said.


Lotus ‘faster than Williams and McLaren’ – Permane (GMM)

Lotus claims its troubled 2014 car is often better than a Williams or a McLaren. Actually, the Enstone based team is badly suffering with its E22, plagued with issues related to the problematic Renault ‘power unit’.

We are still in the learning process,” chief engineer Alan Permane told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “I suppose we need to make exactly the step that Red Bull made between the Bahrain test and Melbourne.”

There was, however, a glimmer of hope for crisis-struck Lotus in Malaysia, when Romain Grosjean at least managed to finish the race, albeit outside the points. “For us it’s a big step,” Permane insisted, “even though we’re not usually happy with eleventh. “But the times in the second sector showed that our car is fast in the corners. Faster than a Williams or McLaren,” he claims. “In the other two sectors we are behind, especially in braking,” Permane admitted. “We have a decent car, but we’re lagging behind with the power unit, even compared with other Renault teams. But that’s our fault,”

Permane admitted that skipping the first official test at Jerez has had consequences. “We are just behind in time,” he explained. “We missed the opportunity to recognise the problems early on and sort them out. We will make a development step with the drivetrain in Bahrain, a major one in China and then another one in Spain,” Permane revealed.


From the Ledger…..

Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill re-enact ‘Multi-21’

_The Ushers ledger template_Crop





Where’s Martin?

The whereabouts of one of a once well known paddock character has in recent times been of concern to many McLaren fans. Following Big Ron’s rumbustious return to the helm of the space ship that is the MTC, the once public face of the famous British racing marquee has disappeared without a trace.

Wild rumours still swirl around the MTC; one report is that Whitmarsh has in fact been abducted by aliens who believe understanding the mind of Martin could indeed unlock the secrets to the domination of the entire human race.

untitledAnother suggestion is that Whitmarsh has in fact followed in the footsteps of Jobe Smith, and dissolved himself into a virtual reality, and will at some point cause all the telephones on planet earth to ring simultaneously.

Yet, the reality of the “Where’s Martin” mystery may have been solved by Joe Bloggs and his baby. Joe – whose real name is John McGregor – “loves Cars, F1 and the Ford Racing Puma. Also likes bikes, motorcycles, photography, hi-fi and technology” and he resides in the county which is diametrically opposite on the compass to the one from where Bernie Ecclestone hails.

Tired of the endless propaganda from the F1 anti noise lobby and his chalkboard’s full of algorithms – which John has been creating to help his friend Christian solve the Y = Y is our car slow? – Mr. McGregor has fled from the endless flat wheat growing plains surrounding his home town of Norwich, and taken to the hills of North Yorkshire. He is there inducting his baby into the ancient ways of the ‘fell walker’.

Much to John’s surprise, he was wandering through the streets of Richmond, near Darlington, and who should he bump into??? The missing Martin Whitmarsh, who is dressed to walk.


Martin assured John that Big Ron does not have a white fluffy cat on his lap after all, and the shop frontage outside which the 2 men and a baby are pictured belongs interestingly to a company called “Gekko Creative”; one of whose motto’s is “say what you mean – and mean what you say”.

Is Big Ron branching out and Martin is the scout?

#TheThingsYouFindOnTwiiter @RacingPuma (John McGregor)


McLaren fiddle with their livery

As TJ13 reported in November 2013, that McLaren would run this year without a title sponsor. In February, Big Ron did say that whilst no such sponsor would be evident for the first few races, one would emerge later in the season. Sources close to TJ13 are still advising us that McLaren will partner only with Honda for 2015, and the team will be entered into the F1 championship as “McLaren Honda”

This arrangement gives the Japanese manufacturer more visibility than the beleaguered Renault gets from the muddle that is “Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault”.

For now though, the team from Woking continue to fiddle with their livery and sponsors. Here’s the latest from Bahrain

untitled untitled


The F1 stalking horse

The mystery of the hurried and truncated application process for new teams to join the 2015 F1 line up is as unclear today as when the FIA announced it in December 2013.

Bernie Ecclestone has stated on a number of occasions that he is against having more than 10 teams in F1. To that end, the team finishing 11th in last and this year’s constructors’ championship receives no money from the prize pot.

Haas has indicated his F1 team would be based in the USA, which would create incremental logistical and personnel difficulties previously discussed here. This together with a $200m spend to open a factory equipped to design and build F1 cars, means an F1 start-up is a seriously expensive proposition.

Ecclestone highlights this, stating “A billion would last a new team owner four years,”

Whilst dismissive initially of the Haas application, it appears Mr. E is now open to the idea. “I think Haas will be accepted,” said Ecclestone. “They have got the money but it’s a question of whether they are going to spend it.”

TJ13 has previously questioned the motives behind the Haas application which proposes to use a Ferrari engine and a Dallara chassis, both companies are based in Italy and are less than 2 hours drive apart.

With Tony Fernandes threatening to withdraw Caterham from the sport at the end of the year and seeing as Lotus, Sauber and Marrussia are financially on the edge of a precipice, to have some new F1 entrants in the wings seems a sensible idea.

Yet something just doesn’t stack up. The FIA process for new entrants and the timescales outlined to get a new team up and running and on the grid, are ridiculously short. It’s as though there is a team good to go and awaiting the FIA’s rubber stamp of approval. Haas may in fact be a mere stalking horse for what is in effect a Ferrari ‘B’ team.

TJ13 has been informed that at the next F1 strategy Group, there will be an extended discussion again on the topic of customer cars and some half way house proposal will be recommended. This will see incremental freedom for the teams to collaborate and buy in parts of the car which they currently have to make for themselves.

This addresses in some way the matter of cost in F1, because if a chassis can be shared, then all the cash the likes of Marussia and Caterham spend in CFD and wind tunnels designing their cars would be saved.

The problem is that Williams feel they will eventually disappear as a team designing and building F1 cars and they have a heritage as an F1 team which many believe should be preserved. Whether the bigger boys can agree a way to support the Williams brand and ensure they too can supply F1 cars is a thorny issue, and one which will not sit well with the likes of Sauber and Force India.

The route to customer cars will see Formula 1 become more like a specification series, not from a regulatory point of view, but because groups of cars will be very much the same – as is the case for all cars in a spec series.

For now, Ecclestone admits, “I’ve spoken to Haas but I don’t know what they are going to do. It’s America, so I don’t know.”

Bernie is a little disenchanted with ‘America’ at present. A team known as US F1 was due to join the championship in 2010, but had insufficient financial backing to get up and running. New York’s iconic skyline has been touted for some time as a possible venue for an F1 race, though already 2 years late, Ecclestone probably believes it’s a dead duck.

More recently there have been moves for F1 to return to Long Beach California, though the city council yesterday proposed a 3 year extension to the IndyCar series, though there is still an opportunity for F1 to bid.

What will be will be – as the old song goes, but there are some monumental decisions about to be made behind the scenes and depending on the outcomes, the face F1 will be forever changed.


Fuel flow sensors tampered with 

The FIA have issued a new technical directive, that following the Spanish GP only sensors which have not been modified, may be fitted to the cars. Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus, have been modifying the sensors provided by Gill prior to their calibration by Calibra.

The modifications are apparently intended to facilitate the installation of the sensor between the fuel tank and the engine and the threads on the sensor have been drilled where the fuel lines are attached.

We hope to have more on this from Lorenzo soon, yet the FIA has revealed 95% of the fuel flow sensor problems to date have mysteriously occurred on Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Lotus cars.

From Barcelona onwards, only sensors in their original condition as supplied by Gill sensors will be legal. This statement of intent indicates that the FIA have no intention of sitting down with Horner, Marko or anyone and discussing “a better system” to replace the fuel flow sensors.

Further, Caterham may be asking themselves why they are the only team in the Renault club not party to the advice that modifying the fuel flow sensor may assist them. Whether this was a Renault ‘wheeze’ or the original idea came from Milton Keynes, we’ll probably never know.

One thing appears certain now, Daniel Ricciardo was made a sacrificial lamb in Melbourne and lost 10-12 points because his team decided the best way to fight a cause that would see them return more quickly to the front was by challenging the FIA to back down and remove the fuel flow sensors.

This has backfired on two fronts. Firstly, on past form, Red Bull would have expected Charlie and his merry band to have kept their heads down and say little or nothing until April 14th. In the meantime, such constant denunciations of the fuel flow sensors by Horner et al, would create the illusion in the mind of the public that something was terribly wrong and required immediate change.

As I wrote last weekend, the FIA made an unprecedented public briefing to the media to explain why fuel flow sensors were a fundamental part of the new regulations, and the response has been that anti FIA ‘fuel flow gate’ hysteria has been prevented from the headlines of the F1 writers publications.

The second reason this has backfired on Red Bull is because most of the ‘clarifications’ Charlie issues take place behind closed doors. Teams are cut some slack and given time to quietly sort themselves out and come into compliance with the regulations.

However, once again, the FIA have not acted to type. The way today’s technical directive has been leaked by the FIA is designed to inflict maximum embarrassment on Red Bull who have been taking the lead in rubbishing the fuel flow sensor equipment and the associated regulations.

By the way, you may remember TJ13 in the Daily News and Comment on the Monday after the Australian GP, did suggest that Joe Baur checked out the RB10 fuel delivery system. Seems like the FIA got there in the end.


Technical Delegate’s Report

Filed this afternoon, here is the drivers entered in the 2014 Formula One Championship have used the below listed number of power unit elements during this season so far:

ICE Internal Combustion Engine

TC Turbo Charger

MGU-K Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic

MGU-H Motor Generator Unit – Heat

ES Energy Store

CE Control Electronics

Red Bull Vettel 1 1 1 1 1 3
Red Bull Ricciardo 1 1 2 1 1 1
Mercedes Hamilton 1 1 1 1 1 1
Mercedes Rosberg 1 1 1 1 1 1
Ferrari Alonso 1 1 1 1 1 1
Ferrari Raikkonen 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lotus Grosjean 1 1 1 1 1 1
Lotus Crashtor 2 2 2 2 2 2
McLaren Button 1 1 1 1 1 1
McLaren Magnussen 1 1 1 1 1 1
F India Hulkenberg 1 1 1 1 1 1
F India Mendoza 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sauber Sutil 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sauber Guitierrez 1 1 1 1 1 2
T Rosso JEV 1 1 2 1 1 1
T Rosso Kvyat 1 1 2 1 1 1
Williams Massa 1 1 1 1 2 2
Williams Bottas 1 1 1 1 1 1
Marussia Bianchi 1 1 1 1 1 2
Marussia Chilton 1 1 1 1 1 2
Caterham Kobayashi 1 1 1 1 3 4
Caterham Ericsson 1 1 1 1 2 3


Poor Kamui is having a rough return to F1, and the new rules grid drops are going to see him starting P24 plenty.

Of the 8 Mercedes cars only Massa has been forced to change an engine component. 1 new energy store and 1 new electronics control.


Formula E challenges F1

The cars may be a little slower, at a top speed of 250 kph; the sound may be a little quieter than the rumble of the new V6 F1 engines; the race will be shorter and the spectacle will be different, but Formula E is 6 months away from taking to its globe trot of the sexy cities of the world.

untitledNo one suggests Formula E will steal F1’s audience, yet as the cars race beneath the famous skylines of the world, there will be a sense of occasion that these great cities have opened their hearts to a brand new racing series.

In surprising news which may make Mr. E groan inwardly, Formula E series organiser Alejandro Agag told Forbes that talks with New York city authorities are underway. Bernie desperately wants a race with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop, but it is now 2 years late and there’s no sign of the $100m required to stage the event being forthcoming anytime soon.

“We are working with New York,” says Agag – adding with a modicum of deference, “but we are kind of waiting to see what happens with Formula One.”

Formula E is offering to rock up and race within the city limits for free, unlike the pricetag for an F1 race which can be as high as $60m per annum. All Formula E request is their host cities provide prime landmark locations for the circuit together with the track preparations and introductions to local sponsors.

Agag shamelessly indicates he has been wooing wannabe F1 promoter Leo Hindery. “In New York the hospitality revenues would be huge so Hindery should put the money forward and he would recover it.”

untitledWith a fight for his freedom in a Munich court starting in 3 weeks, the uncertainty over CVC’s continuing ownership of F1 and an Aussie promoter threatening a mass legal action from the collective F1 organisers around the world, Bernie has a lot on his mind at present. The news Formula E is trying to steal the crown jewels of city-scape racing will irritate him greatly, but in his heart he knows F1 in New York is probably dead in the water.

However, Formula E may not stop at New York, they have a proposed expansion to 20 races by 2020 and it could be they pick off a dissatisfied F1 host.

Malaysian GP organiser Razlan Razali hinted this weekend, his country were in no hurry to sign an extension beyond 2015. “As for the contract talks, whether or not it is extended is up to the government, but I foresee a final decision only about six months before next year’s race.”

He added a note of caution too, “The new regulations and the quieter engines have received a lot of negative feedback as well. This affects the atmosphere of the race, so we’ll want to see more of how this issue develops too,”

Were Formula E to pinch a host from F1, due Ecclestone failing to re-negotiate a new contract because of the exorbitant hosting fee; then as they say, “the cat would be truly amongst the proverbial pigeons” for the future of the current F1 business plan.


The craziness must stop

We heard a lot about safety last year when certain teams wanted Pirelli to re-design midseason the tyres they had produced for the 2013 competition. Yet behind the scenes teams were running more aggressive cambers and lower tyre pressures than recommended by Pirelli.

The explosion Lewis Hamilton suffered during the British GP appeared to be the final straw and the last team – Force India – was persuaded to agree with the others to allow the tyres to be re-configured.

Pirelli refused to admit there were safety issues, so it required the agreement of all the teams to allow the FIA to instruct Pirelli to act accordingly.

There is a far greater danger to safety this year lurking within the paddock garages. It’s a danger that could see a driver lose control of his car at high speed and suffer serious injury – but why?

Certain drivers are having to starve themselves to keep the combined weight of the car and driver down to minimise the advantage the smaller drivers have in lap times. Last weekend there was an unofficial report that one driver had indeed fainted during the Thursday media day, though whether this was a diet related incident or not is unclear.

Today Adrian Sutil explains the seriousness of the situation. “We [heavier drivers] have to lose so much weight. There is not much we can lose anyway, so we can’t even train because we have to lose the smaller muscles. It is a difficult situation and I don’t think it’s fair.

Small drivers can eat what they want but we are just naturally heavier and we get a penalty of half-a-second a lap, or more. Not because the smaller ones are better drivers, they are just lighter. That is not how it should be.”

Astonishingly Sutil reveals he will forgo his drinks bottle this weekend in an attempt to reduce the weight of his Sauber, “For Bahrain it’ll be one and a half hours in the car, no drink. In Malaysia I had a little bit of tea. There is a danger of fainting and dehydration. We are driving at more than 300km/h along the straight, so it’s not so easy any more. You can’t guarantee that every driver is 100 per cent from a physical point of view.”

During the winter Red Bull amongst other teams requested that the minimum weight of the cars be increased by 10 kilos to prevent drivers dieting to the extreme. Ferrari blocked the move, believing they had a lighter engine package and 2 of the shorter drivers who are not affected by the weight regulation.

Unlike the Pirelli tyres, it should be clear to everyone that the minimum weight regulation is creating a dangerous set of circumstances. This is a safety issue – full stop – and Jean Todt must increase the minimum weight regulation immediately to stop the craziness of a driver refusing his drinks bottle and unnecessarily risking life and limb.


Felipe Baby

Well, Felipe he’s no baby anymore…



FIA drivers’ press conference

For those of you who don’t get this – enjoy.

part 1

part 2


Massa and Bottas sort it out

Felipe Massa today states the matter of the instruction for him to let Bottas past at the Malaysian GP is resolved. “Everything was discussed and it should be fine,” said the Brazilian. “It won’t happen again until it is the right time. That was not the right time.”

Felipe is a team player and he remarked that he was happy to allow his then team mate Kimi Raikkonen through in 2007 to win the Brazilian Grand Prix in order to claim the drivers’ title.

“I’m not against team orders,” says Massa. “It is part of our sport. But I didn’t expect what happened last weekend and it was not correct and the team knows that.”

Amusingly for those watching, the instruction given from the Williams pit wall used exactly the same phrase as Ferrari did when they instructed the Brazilian to hand the victory to Fernando Alonso in the 2010 German GP.

Felipe commented that he had found this “funny”.

The team have admitted they were wrong to issue the order last week and Massa is gracious about the whole thing. “I don’t think it damaged my relationship with the team,” he said. “If I do a mistake, I will be the first one to say sorry.”

I don’t know about you, but this picture would suggest if it came to fisticuffs, there’d only be one winner.



Rosberg admits problems

In the DN&C ealier this week, TJ13 suggested that it was inconceivable that Lewis Hamilton alone was the reason for the 17 second difference between himself and his team mate at the chequered flag.

Today Rosberg reveals this to be the case. “There’s been a big analysis of what happened. Of course, I want to win, I don’t want to be second because second is the first loser. I don’t want to be a loser. We’ve reviewed everything and gone into a lot of detail and learnt a lot. I’ve had a long sit down with everybody. There’s things on my side that I can do better and then there’s some things going on we don’t understand, some very strange things happening where we think, ‘woa, what’s going on there’, like on tyre temperatures for example. That’s a group effort and we will step it up again.”

TJ13 also questioned how long the bromance would last when the Mercedes drivers fully realised they were in direct combat with each other for the drivers’ crown in 2014. Rosberg admits, the potential for conflict will raise its head at some point this year. “At the moment it hasn’t changed at all.

Maybe because we are not thinking about championship yet and we’re taking it race by race, making the most of what we have and winning races. It’s early days. But of course I understand it could change if we are still in a similar position. We’ve been in this position before. In go-karts we were fighting for the championship there, and it’s exactly the same, but with a little bit more people around and more media and spectators.

We managed to get through there with respect and I’m confident we are going to be able to manage in any circumstance. I’m sure there will be tough times inevitably, but I’m confident we can work through it now and move on”.

Clearly determined to beat his team mate this year, Nico concludes. “Lewis won that kart championship, so it’s my turn now.”

This weekend his huge for both drivers. Should reliability prevail for both cars and Nico win the race, then the psychological advantage Lewis may feel he has following the Malaysian GP will evaporate very quickly.

Should Lewis beat Rosberg in a 1-2, he will still trail his team mate by 11 points. Bring on Sunday’s sundown in Bahrain, when the circuit lights will be on and the red lights go out.


55 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Thursday 3rd April 2014

  1. I haven’t commented on using GMM and was supportive as I understand the constraints. However, I do come to this blog because I genuinely think it’s the best F1 site. Every morning, it’s the first web page I visit, definitely for F1.

    Reading GMM’s title this morning (Lotus ‘faster than Williams and McLaren’ ) didn’t make me happy especially after reading the content. Permane talked about the corners and that they’re lagging behind in the straights. The title is to say the least misleading and it’s the type of journalism I despise since they only try to get you to read their story and spend more time on their site.

    Anyhoo, I thought I share my thoughts on this.

    • Lotus builds the car, Renault builds the engine. The car is faster is faster than the engine is what Permane is saying, as is Red Bull and Caterham.

      That article title seemed OK.

      I knew enough of what was likely to be in the article, and why, that after reading the title (and who wrote the article), I opted to not read it. (I read it just now, and I had been correct.)

      And the article featured Permane quotes too. I’m not sure I understand your complaint about the title.

  2. There is something intrinsically wrong with a showing off legs that orange whilst simultaneously wearing a scarf and coat….

    Is he in fact now king of the Umpa Lumpa’s?

  3. If there is a will, there is a way!

    …and I refer to the whole customer teams idea. You can set up limits, e.g. (i) each team can have only one customer/client
    (ii) there would need to be at least 5 factory teams
    (iii) a customer team can source their chassis parts for a maximum of 3 years. After this time, they would have to convert to a factory team.

    These may sound like daft proposals, but you get my drift, there’s always a happy medium to ensure the viability of smaller teams and not lose some of the historic marques.

  4. I wonder if redbull will ignore this new “technical directive”, because it’s not “technically” a rule?

  5. Interesting to see the technical delegate also refers to Maldonado as “Chrashtor” 🙂

  6. So Red Bull and their customer team Torro Rosso have both made ‘modifications’ to the sensor. And coincidentally they are the ones with faulty sensors. So Horner and co. laments the sensors accuracy but still find it reasonable to drill holes in them to do whatever Newey thought was smart (or the other way around). Is all this one big, messy, political cluster****? Impossible to navigate through all this…

  7. So with new information today, that redbull, Torro Rosso along with Renault making modifications to the sensors, will the FIA come down very hard on redbull, especially after how they’ve been trying to paint the FIA and Gill in a very bad light.

    • Hopefully.

      Hopefully extensive additional sanctions for “bringing the sport into disrepute” and “abusing the appeals process” (Crimes I just made up)…

      • Pity Max isn’t still running the French International Automobile…sorry, the Federation – not French!
        Benetton couldn’t be punished for having traction control in their system because it couldn’t be proven it had been used. Although Senna in Aida listened during the race and wanted to protest their system yet Williams refused.
        They got disqualified for black flag infringement at Silverstone and banned for two races as well and then they had the pit-lane fire whilst re-fueling.
        If Todt is fed up of their behavior punishment will be significant.

        • If FIA wants to continue to collect $$$ from F1 long-term, Todt would be well-served by cracking down on governance, administration and rules-implementation and adjudication (of disputes) across the governing body’s sporting properties (and inside its own house!).

          The time has come for F1 especially, though, to be subjected to at least a wee bit more scrutiny and fairer application of rules and standards!

          • It seems from time to time there are matters arising that should be attracting scrutiny from the European Court of Justice. Yet it doesn’t happen….Sitting firmly on one’s hands must be a European thing….a la Toad.

  8. Victim of Circumstances could/should be renamed to my imaginary and happier F1 championship.

    Relax, you’re not the only one to do it. 😉

  9. However, Formula E may not stop at New York, they have a proposed expansion to 20 races by 2020 and it could be they pick off a dissatisfied F1 host…

    And by then, of course, the energy density of batteries will be approaching that of gasoline.
    By the mid 2020s, the internal combustion engine will be obsolete.

    Beyond the Ecclestone planning horizon, understandably. Anyone else ought to be making plans.

    • ….and we will be burning twice as many fossil fuels in our power stations to generate the electricity to charge our vehicles….so that is the planet saved, then.

      • Even if that were right – which it ain’t – the takeover of electric powertrains has nothing to do with saving the planet.
        They will just be superior.

        • Yes, they look good, the technology is wonderfully innovative…. except you need to run 2 cars per driver, because they run out of power so quickly. So hardly superior. 🙂

  10. Sooo…what do people think/say about Suzi Perry now that BBC is in second season w/ her (and no Gary A.)?

    I keep trying to watch this clip w/ Sherlock in it, but can’t get through more than 10sec or so before I have to stop it when I hear Suzi’s voice. Idk why – that woman just grates on me…

    • Quite agree… I reached three minutes but couldn’t stand ‘sherlock’ either…!

  11. McLaren fiddle with their livery

    “As TJ13 reported in November 2013, that McLaren would run this year without a title sponsor….For now though, the team from Woking continue to fiddle with their livery and sponsors. Here’s the latest from Bahrain ….. “


    Am I the only one who didn’t see any image there?

  12. So what were the problems that nico encountered that made him finish so far behind Lewis? I’ve heard of him flat spotting his tires, which I think is billshit! Given he didn’t lock up his tires at the start.

    Furthermore, isn’t he the one that everyone said would adapt more to these new rules, because he spends more time with his engineers, he’s more technical, has an engineering decreeing. So based on that, then he should get his setup and everything else perfectly sorted. He shouldn’t be having problems warming up his tires. Personally, he’s just clutching at straws, just man up and accept he got trounced and stop trying to find excuses.

    • If he wasn’t allowed to challenge Lewis for 3rd last year, what makes anyone think that Merc would risk 1-2 finish? Nico is a team player in that way. He knows that he needs to win in quali to beat Lewis, and now partly due to rain it didn’t happen. So rather save car and just guarantee 2nd place and be ready to take over if Lewis has problems.

    • He had a big moment of oppo around T3 (I think) and almost let both Red Bulls by. He never really got back on top of his tyres for the rest of that stint.

      Of course, things didn’t get better after his first stop, which indicates that he had some kind of set up issue that didn’t affect Lewis. You would think after Lewis rescued Button in 2012 from his set up woes folks might have a little respect for his skills, but well there you go.

      • The problem is that you have drivers throughout history that need the car perfectly set-up to drive it to the maximum. There is no way that we could possibly know that Rosberg wouldn’t have been beaten similarly in Aus… the Merc is that good.

        Where drivers like Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher and others of their ilk are so good is that they can drive around problems and still win. There’s a reason why Alonso mentioned that point a couple of seasons ago as well as taking a swipe at Vettel.

        The problem I find is that Hamilton is very emotionally motivated and if his head drops his performance is gone. Who can forget his ’emotions’ in 2011. Yet during December we heard that Alonso had been going through a divorce, yet never was it mentioned and by his performances no-one assumed there was anything wrong.

        Lewis also carries a chip on his shoulder when it comes to what others think of him, who can forget in Spain a couple of years back when he raced through on one set of tyres less than Button and he made a point as though to prove something to everyone – that he could look after his tyres better.

        Nico is a clever man, schooled in Formula One from when he was born, his father has managed a variety of drivers and know the paddock whereas Lewis doesn’t have that support behind him. If the rumours about Mercedes wanting Nico to win are true, expect huge fall-outs.

        • Wouldn’t you have a chip on your shoulder too, if everyone keep talking about you, like you’re Incapable of adapting to changes?

          As for the button Spain incident, can you blame him for rubbing ppls nose in it, if all you’re hearing is, “jenson is so good at looking after his tyres, because he has a smooth driving style, where as Lewis is just useless at doing the same?”

          Yes nico has been schooled in the ways of f1 all his life, but it’s one thing to be schooled in something and a next to actually being able to put that education to good use. Clearly Lewis, Vettel, Kimi and Alonso wasn’t, but are 100 times better than him. So I guess his education hasn’t really paid off. Granted he was in F1 before Lewis.

          As for those rumours of them wanting him to win rather than Lewis, that’s what they are rumours. The fact that they went all out to sign Lewis, says how much they think of nico. Because if they wanted him to win, why go out and sign one of, if not the fastest man in the game and a former WDC, who is hungry for another title and pay him twice as much as nico?

          • Also remember, if a happy Lewis is a fast Lewis, then it may be that these rumors are coming from outside Merc in an attempt to sow discord between both sides of the garage, weakening their advantage and pitting the team mates at each other’s throats.

            Just a thought. 🙂

      • He had the same incident like K-mag in Australia on lap 1. He didn’t lock up and severely damaged his tyres, if that was the case, he would’ve pitted on that same lap.

        So should stop trying to find an excuse as to why he couldn’t match Lewis’s pace. Lewis had the measure of him that day, plain n simple as that.

    • The simple answer is Lewis is in a happy place and is able to extract more performance out of the car than Rosberg can and exploit his natural speed to the full. People seem to have forgotten just how good Lewis can be when he’s in top form. Rosberg will just have to up his game. Lewis has done his growing up in the last few years, hopefully he’s got it out of his system now.

  13. Normally I wouldn’t spam-in an entire column as comment, but since it’s paywalled and I found this copy in China…

    F1’s impossible cost-cut deadline 由 liebgott 发表在虎扑赛车·翻译团-赛车

    Formula 1 has declared its new cost-cutting plans will be finalised within three months ready for a 2015 introduction, but DIETER RENCKEN sees major obstacles in the way

    “In January, shortly before Formula 1 found itself consumed by testing of its radical new technology, FIA president Jean Todt vowed that one of the governing body’s immediate priorities was to enshrine cost control in the 2015 technical and sporting regulations.
    Indeed, following a January 22 meeting in Geneva of f1’s Strategy Group (comprising six major teams, the FIA and Formula One Management), itself preceded by a summit attended by all teams, the following was released by the FIA:
    “The FIA president reaffirmed to members of the World Motor Sport Council the FIA’s intention to assure a healthy, affordable and spectacular FIA Formula 1 World Championship for the long-term future.
    “At a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group yesterday, chaired by the FIA president, and attended by Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, it was unanimously agreed that cost reduction and cost-control regulations will be presented to the WMSC in June 2014 for introduction in January 2015.”
    In a subsequent exclusive interview granted to this column by Todt in February, the Frenchman reiterated his determination to impose cost control, stating unequivocally that the topic was his top priority where F1 is concerned.
    “I feel costs are kind of insane,” he said. “We don’t need about 46,000km a year, with two cars in Formula 1. We don’t need to have 800 people. I think you can do a proper job with half or one third of this amount of people. We have a responsibility, together with the commercial-rights holder.
    “We could say, ‘OK, leave the money to the commercial-rights holder,’ but I think we have to, together, protect our sport and to go into cost reduction.”

    In order to achieve his objective of 2015 introduction, Todt needs to have all his ducks in a row by the end of June, for F1’s current governance structure demands that any rule change first be passed by simple majority by the Strategy Group before being accepted by the Formula 1 Commission by a 70 per cent margin. Only then may the WMSC ratify regulation changes.
    Four of the six teams on the Strategy Group enjoy astronomical FOM income (made up of race-hosting fees, TV revenues and licensing deals) in comparison with lesser teams. The comparative numbers are eye-watering, with, for example, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing last year pocketing $70m more than McLaren and Mercedes, and close on $100m over Lotus. The spread from first to last (11th) spans over $150m.
    According to Bob Fernley, deputy team principal of Force India, therein lies the problem: “I think the Strategy Group is fundamentally wrong. There are 11 teams that go racing and put on the show in Formula 1. Those 11 teams fundamentally have the same costs as each other, so we have an inequitable split in terms of finances, but it costs each team roughly the same amount of money to support the show.”
    Fernley believes that with the regulations already policing race-team headcount numbers, the number of chassis at each event plus the quantity of tyres, engines and transmissions each team may use over a season – and roughly the same freight costs across the board – the actual cost of teams setting up stalls at race meetings is roughly the same, whether the outfit be Ferrari red or Marussia scarlet.
    The major differences in relative performance lie back at base, being mainly in development costs, for the majors have the budgets to support windtunnel and simulation programmes. Hence Fernley believes that the cost of racing is controlled, while driver/executive should be excluded, as should marketing/hospitality, for teams are in the sport for different reasons. So the main variable is engineering development.
    Under those circumstances, why would any team with Strategy Group privileges vote for cost caps unless any limit is set at over $200m – against average mid-pack budgets of around half that – particularly as F1’s way is to spend what is available, and then some?
    During the Friday FIA press conference at this month’s Australian Grand Prix, those team bosses present – saliently representing Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams – not only totally avoided a direct question about the sort of progress they collectively wished to see made on cost/budget caps, but were rather cagey in what responses they allowed. Witness some excerpts:
    Christian Horner of Red Bull: “How to make it happen is obviously something much more complex. Then there’s obviously discussions about caps and this and that. You’ve got to look at the root causes for why costs are the way they are and then, in my opinion, address it that way,” adding after the follow-up: “We’ve done an incredible job of reducing costs for this year with the introduction of a new powertrain that’s probably 25 per cent more, so we’re doing a great job so far!”

    Eric Boullier, McLaren: “I think Ron [Dennis] has maybe said he’s not in favour of caps – again, it’s words.”
    Toto Wolff, Mercedes: “Maybe Stefano [Domenicali] wants to say something…”
    Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari: “I think that Christian and Eric have summarised the situation very clearly, so nothing to add. We are always saying the same thing,” later adding: “I think that progress is on the way because we are discussing what to do at the level of the Strategy Group. I’m sure that you’re aware of the work that is around that. I think that at this moment it’s better to stay quiet and tell you when the thing is done, and say we are doing something without going into the details of it.”
    Claire Williams (Williams) declined to comment, while in a subsequent interview Jonathan Neale, COO/acting CEO of McLaren Racing, stated that in his opinion cost controls could not be introduced by 2015 – if at all – due to the complexities inherent in such a framework, which would need to take into account the different team structures, locations and local factors and various currencies.
    If the ‘majors’ were reticent to comment, so too were the very teams for which cost controls are vital, namely Marussia and Caterham. Asked in Malaysia this week what level of cost controls they wished to see implemented, the principals of those teams plus Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso skillfully circumvented the question without providing a preference.
    All did, though, agree that some progress was being made in this respect, although Graeme Lowdon of Marussia stated it was impossible to measure the schedule “as no blueprint exists”. True, but civil engineers use flowcharts to measure progress on projects that don’t have precedents. All teams know the timeframe; all know what is required to institute cost controls – having previously done so with the contentious Resource Restriction Agreement – so where lies the implementation problem?
    Both Fernley and Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn are adamant that the necessary steps can be completed by June 30, with Fernley stressing that “there has to be time, because I think there is a covert plan to be able to, by enriching certain teams and empowering certain teams and disenfranchising all others, manipulate a customer-car process [see below].”

    Kaltenborn, who has long pushed for cost control, is equally bullish, telling this column in Australia that June 30 is “absolutely do-able. The basis for it has been laid, with the decision of the FIA, the decision of all the teams at our [Geneva] meeting, the agreement to implement cost-cutting measures. We know that all teams are being asked for their positions on different matters and there are many aspects which we can consider there, and all that is happening.”
    She believes that the broad parameters are in place: “We are still in the process of defining and agreeing on the areas, so it would be premature to discuss this already in public. But I think as a principle you can definitely take that we should control what is decisive for the sport.”
    But, Matthew Carter, the newly appointed CEO of Lotus, does not believe that cost control can be implemented by 2015, responding with a blunt “No” when asked in the paddock in Melbourne. He does, though, believe that ultimately one will be introduced, but that too many loose ends exist for ratification by June 30.
    “I think it’s feasible that it can be achieved,” he said. “A decision needs to be made as to whether it’s done through the Strategy Group or through the finance directors, the chief financial officers’ group. And that decision needs to be made quickly, otherwise the timeframes are not going to be adhered to.”
    Like his peers, Carter is reluctant to provide a preferred level, simply because he doesn’t believe that the final parameters have been defined: “What they need to do is decide what is and what isn’t included in the cost cap, and that’s going to be fundamental to whether it’s going to work or not.”
    He uses driver salaries to illustrate the point, which is particularly apt as Lotus employs arguably the best-heeled driver in the paddock, namely Pastor Maldonado: “If, for example, drivers’ remunerations are not included… there’s obviously a vast difference between the driver remunerations that are paid in the top four as opposed to us…”

    Fernley sees the question of cost control inching towards customer cars of some sort, with five or six majors supplying technology to the mid-grid and tail-end.
    “In my view the FIA are key to this,” he says. “The FIA actually could become the saviours of Formula 1, in that without the introduction of a cost cap, we’re onto a strategy that’s already in place and already being enacted by CVC.”
    Asked what the ‘strategy’ is elicits a straight answer: “Customer cars. I believe that a deal has been done in principle, and it’s not by coincidence that the five teams that are benefiting from a non-equitable split of funds from the commercial-rights holder are also the same five teams that are in the Strategy Group, and also the five teams that potentially could benefit hugely from customer cars.”
    Kaltenborn is more diplomatic, refusing to go into specifics but stressing that, to her, Formula 1 is about competition, about responsibility and about diversity: “Because that’s what everyone is going for. And we certainly don’t want to go a way where we are maybe creating monopolies.”
    Eleven teams, 13 opinions (including the FIA and FOM), at least three different currencies (possibly four if a US team makes the cut), and a spread of teams, inclusions, exclusions, marketing, hospitality, in-house engines, in-house manufacture versus outsourcing – all aspects that need to be factored into the equation by June 30.
    Regardless of how bullish the teams are, regardless of how forceful the FIA is, the reality is that just three months remain before the cut-off date, and the sport has yet to define whether cost control is a finance or sporting issue.

    PS: After this was written, F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone called a meeting of team bosses in Malaysia. According to sources two items were on the agenda: the 2014 sound – allegedly he was persuaded to tone down his criticism of the new technology on the basis that his comments were damaging the sport – and cost control.
    In this regard he is said to have told the meeting that all teams need to agree on a cost-control mechanism or, by implication, none would be implemented…”

    • So all teams need to agree or no cost-control will be implemented….since when do the teams ever all agree on anything? It’s always going to be the big fish against the little fish…

      Probably no matter what the limit is it will be more than the little teams spend anyway, and the big teams will have all manner of ways of hiding what they’re spending…

      Just call me cynical – lol:)

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