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Previously on TheJudge13
The Eccleston Poker Game (GMM)
Hear ye, “Gulf Daily News – The Voice of Bahrain…”
The Gulf Daily News (GDN) was the first daily English newspaper to be published in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Founded in 1978, it was created to provide news to the English speaking residents of Bahrain. By all accounts the newspaper used to be pro-government but political reforms after 2001 means it now includes Islamists and liberals on its staff. What is impossible to say is if these staff are actual correspondents or not.
In a recent article, much was made of the quotes by various internationally known stars. One such celebrity was rock legend Brian Johnson, lead singer of AC/DC. Johnson is a renowned car and racing enthusiast and was in attendance for all three days of the Grand Prix weekend before receiving the honour of conducting the interviews of the three drivers on the podium.
This is a direct quote from the newspaper: “You get to hear all this bad news about Bahrain, but when you get here it is so positive,” he told the GDN from the Bahrain International Airport’s VIP Terminal before he boarded a flight to London. “People here are smiling always and are so positive and I was glad to be part of this race. I would also like to thank His Royal Highness – Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier who is a gracious man.”
Having seen this man performing in concert and more recently interviewed on the UK’s BBC Top Gear programme for their feature ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ it would surprise nobody if it was suggested that his gratitude to His Royal Highness…. was indeed scripted by some infamous ghost-writer. The man is from Newcastle and whilst the city is a cultural eye-opener – the British, themselves, struggle with the regional accent!
Similarly cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was a guest of the Crown Prince, “I would like to thank His Royal Highness for inviting me for this great event and he is a humble and down-to-earth person,” he said. “This is the first time I have watched a night race and it feels great to see the track lit beautifully. We were actually going from one end to another (VIP Tower) to see the competition in the end between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.”
The 41-year-old was sitting with his wife Anjali and close friends as they waited to board a flight to Mumbai. He was seen off by Dadabhai Group chairman Mohammed Dadabhai and officials from the Crown Prince’s Court.
A rock legend, cricketing hero, a gracious, humble and down-to earth Crown Prince, a Group Chairman all assembled in a VIP Terminal… somewhere there’s a punchline to be shared.
Giampaolo Dallara – Ferrari has hit rock bottom
Dallara – a name synonymous with motorsport has declared Ferrari in serious trouble. The man responsible for the cars that dominate International Formula 3 and provide the chassis for Indycar racing is fearful for Ferrari’s ambitions this year. Having worked at Ferrari back in the 60’s his passion for the Italian squad is a little closer than most tifosi.
“Whilst watching the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton, I kept looking for where the Ferraris were. They were fighting with these kids as young as Bottas and Ricciardo and my only thought was look where we ended up! The difference of 10km/h and 10% less power, it scares me.”
“It’s not simply a case of saying it’s the Power Unit at fault either like for Mclaren. They are in crisis at the moment but they have to worry on only one front – their chassis – they know their PU is fine. Ferrari have many issues which demand a huge recovery as the others that use their engine have similar problems with straight line speed.
People are blaming Domenicali but he is not responsible for the design of the car, just as you can’t blame the drivers. They were trailing Massa who wasn’t the strongest of the Ferrari drivers..
Montezemolo met with Jean Todt,, with Ecclestone supporting his argument but Todt was indifferent. Ultimately he had to consider how Ferrari would react if their position were reversed with Mercedes.
They will not be significantly better in China, ultimately they were not quickest in any sector in Bahrain and they can”t take pride in their reliability, nearly all the teams have it anyway. They will recover, if I’m in pain then they will be feeling it 20 to 30 times more.They will work like crazy and eventually bring back a little pride to Modena.”
Teenager Sirotkin completes mileage to qualify for F1 super-licence
With Daniil Kyvat impressing so many with his Grand Prix rookie season – Russia have a home grown talent that could well be competing for wins and titles very soon. More astonishing, he is still a teenager – at least for another three weeks.
His fellow countryman – Sergey Sirotkin – has also been linked to a Formula One drive but at a mere 18 years old some concerns were raised about his fast-tracking to Grand Prix stardom. Yesterday afternoon Sirotkin completed over 75 laps during the official test session in Bahrain. He completed more than 300kms to qualify for his super license and finished the day with a best time of 1’39.023; eighth on the time-sheets and just over three seconds off the pace.
“In comparison to what I am used to driving in World Series by Renault, I have quite a lot more engine power and more acceleration with the Sauber C33,” he said. “On my fast lap in the morning I made a few mistakes, so I probably lost a second. But, all in all, it was a good start to the session.”
“In the afternoon, we had some difficulties with my shoes. They were too small, so it was pretty painful when I was braking. When we changed the shoes, it was still not the best and difficult to drive. It was not easy, but I am glad we completed the 300 kms. We know that there is a lot of potential for improvement, and we should all be happy with this.”
Red Bull-Fallows promoted to Head of Aero, Podromou on gardening leave
In January this year Mclaren announced the recruitment of engineers from Red Bull – Peter Prodromou and Dan Fallows and Lotus – Ettore Griffini and Ciaron Pilbeam; to bolster a squad that had lost a significant number of top-level engineers over the last few years and as Christian Horner expressed at the time “it’s only natural that they (Mclaren) are looking to recruit.”
As ever in the world of F1 – where contracts are barely worth the paper they are written on – Red Bull announced that in fact the announcement had been premature and the engineers would in fact be staying in Milton Keynes.
TJ13 has been informed that, as of today, Prodromou is going on immediate gardening leave and that Fallows has been promoted to the position of Head of Aero. It would appear that Prodromou has been enticed by the Japanese yen and will be moving to Mclaren shortly.
Fallows’ position had previously been aerodynamics team leader but has chosen to remain with the reigning champions. After completing his Aeronautics and Astronautics degree at Southampton University in 1997 he joined Lola Cars. In 2001 he joined the Jaguar team where he took over the position of Senior Aerodynamicist before joining Dallara in 2005. With Jaguar being bought by Red Bull in 2006 he returned once more and has remained an integral part of the Newey team.
It has been speculated for some time that Newey is looking for new challenges for the future – with the America’s cup entry being a personal ambition. It’s possible that much of the behind the scenes political gamesmanship is the beginning of the end of the super team and could, in part, explain the rumours about Red Bull looking to buy the rights to Formula One.
Marussia no longer owned by Russian supercar maker (GMM)
F1 team Marussia has split with its Russian supercar maker owner. The sports arm of the Russian news agency Ria Novosti reports that Marussia Motors, headed by Nikolai Fomenko, is no longer making cars and has given up ownership of the UK-based formula one team that bears its name.
R-Sport said Marussia staff have “left the company en masse and joined a government-run technical institute. The supercar project was ambitious, but it is disappointing that it was unable to get to market,” team spokeswoman Tracy Novak confirmed. “There is no impact whatsoever on the formula one team’s operation,” she insisted.
Novak explained that the team is now owned by another company with a Marussia-themed name, Marussia Communications Limited.
There is a company called Marussia Communications Ireland Limited, which is registered to a house on a street in Dublin.
“There is no link between the two companies financially or technically,” Novak said. “The F1 team has been an independent operation for some time.” It was reported recently that Marussia Motors president Fomenko was in F1 takeover talks with Zoran Stefanovich, but Novak played down fears the future of the backmarker team is in doubt. “The F1 team has had a positive start to the 2014 season and looks forward to continued success in the pursuit of its racing ambitions,” she said.
TJ13 Comment: After checking the dates it appears that this is not an April Fool. Marussia Communications – registered to an obscure house in a Dublin street..
Briatore – Ferrari not excellent in F1
Flavio Briatore has few friends within the Formula One paddock after his race-fixing became public knowledge. The few he had before certainly didn’t include people like Max Mosley – “Max has to act as he does because we can never reach an agreement. It is normal that occasionally this results in not so good decisions.”; Ron Dennis – “Dennis is not the immaculate saint he pretends to be in his statements.” and not forgetting his favourite driver – Jenson Button “is a decent bloke but like a roadside post”
It is not difficult to understand why the other team bosses didn’t appreciate this multi-millionaire coming in and questioning the cost of competing in Formula One: “The GP2 championship costs 0.65 percent of what the Formula One championship costs. I don’t understand why GP2 cost $2.5 million and our team and other teams cost maybe between $300 and $500 million. I do not see what the difference is.”
He was viewed as a business man who Luciano Benetton enticed into the sport to run his team more successfully. He admitted: “I’m not particularly passionate about Formula One. I just want to win.”
Win he did. It took five years from his first visit to a paddock – to win titles with Schumacher; a feat he would repeat in 2005/6 with Fernando Alonso.
By that point he had plenty to offer in regards the spectacle of F1: “I don’t think the public are interested in what your suspension is made of. We need to keep technology, but races are too predictable. Every time we have a good race it’s because something happened with a Safety Car or the weather. We need more fights between drivers. The races should be held at a better time as well. 2pm on a Sunday night is not right. We need to be starting 6pm or 7pm.”
In Italy where Ferrari is a religion – Italian Radio 105 asked the views of Briatore as to the current situation in Maranello. With increasing fears that the 2014 campaign is over almost before it began he offered his views on the company.
“The brand is excellent,” the 63-year-old former Renault and Benetton boss said. “For the team, at the moment it is very difficult. It is not an excellence in competitiveness – in Formula One – but the brand is very strong in the world.”
At least Bernie loves him… like attracts like.
The Eccleston Poker Game
Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday revealed that a group of teams is considering buying into Formula One. It was rumoured in Bahrain that the F1 chief executive, who owns just 5 per cent of the sport, was putting the group of teams together in a possible move to buy out the majority shareholder CVC.
Ecclestone is facing trial in Germany later this month on bribery charges, and if convicted CVC has committed to standing him down. It is also rumoured that fronting the prospective team shareholders could be a way for him to remain in control no matter the outcome in Munich.
The 83-year-old told the Bloomberg news agency on Wednesday that a group of teams are indeed “having a conversation” about buying into F1 however he would not identify the teams, and insisted he is not part of the talks.
“We’ll see what the group comes up with,” said Ecclestone. “Maybe they will get enough together to buy shares.” He added that the talks for now are “just a conversation” and “may not go anywhere“.
Also rumoured in Bahrain was that Ferrari and Red Bull are the major players in the consortium, having joined with Ecclestone in being highly critical of the new 2014 rules in a bid to devalue the sport ahead of a takeover bid.
When asked by the British broadcaster Sky in Bahrain if devaluing F1 was his plan, Ecclestone answered “Not really“.