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Previously on TheJudge13
Paid F1 ‘app’ to debut in June – Ecclestone (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to race formula one into the digital age. Early this week, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali urged the F1 chief executive to embrace the internet, as the “young generation” does not want “to see an entire race for one and a half hours”. A report by the Bloomberg news agency said the official F1 website is only the 39th most popular among rival sports, worryingly outpaced by the likes of Egyptian soccer and American entertainment wrestling.
The report said chief executive Ecclestone has until now resisted embracing the internet to protect the huge revenue stream of exclusive television rights. Now, Bloomberg reports that F1’s media strategy will get a modern facelift as quickly as June of this year. The report said the sport will have a new website and ‘app’ that offers subscription-only video options, improving on the current three minute race highlights edit put to music.
“We’re planning a new app; it’s a decent-size project,” Ecclestone confirmed. “It’s something that we are working to get right.”
The 83-year-old warned, however, that television will continue to be the “mainstay” of F1 coverage. And he said fans will be charged for the new ‘app’.
“We don’t do things for free,” said Briton Ecclestone.
F1 return still ‘impossible’ for now – Kubica (GMM)
Robert Kubica has revealed his physical limitations are still standing in the way of his return to formula one. The Pole, now 29, was regarded as one of the most talented drivers in F1 ahead of his sixth season. But in the 2011 pre-season, he was almost fatally wounded in a rally crash that has left him with only limited mobility in his right arm and hand.
Kubica now drives competitively in the world rally championship, and he has dabbled with circuit racing with a highly-competitive DTM test, and regular stints at the wheel of Mercedes’ sophisticated F1 simulator. But there are also things he can no longer do. Germany’s Welt newspaper reports that, once right-handed, Kubica has had to learn to write with his left hand since the crash. He even prefers to drink a cup of coffee with his left hand nowadays.
“The limitations have made my life more difficult,” Kubica admitted. The most difficult of all, he said, is that a return to F1 is currently “impossible”.
“Not now. With my limitations, it is impossible, but maybe one day I will be there again.”
The only problem, he said, is that the small F1 cockpits make it difficult for him to turn the steering wheel in the way he needs to — with his elbow and shoulder rather than his forearm and wrist.
“Some tracks are not a problem,” Kubica explained, “like Montreal and Barcelona. But the hairpin in Monaco, with my hand, is not easy.”
Grosjean frustrated by lack of Renault progress
Inadvertently, Renault’s failure with it’s engine design has forced Red Bull to expose the truth behind their method of working. With Toro Rosso using the same engines they also highlight any changes made to the Red Bull-Renault power-unit.
Without question the Renault power units in the Red Bull – and their sister team – have significantly better performance than those supplied to Lotus and Caterham. It appears that whatever the engineers from Red Bull have done as a quick fix has certainly helped the reigning champions. It’s also proving frustrating to the other Renault users who have not got access to these updates which give better reliability and improved dynamics.
In Bahrain testing, Pastor Maldonado completed 16 laps throughout day one but stopped having developed problems with the Renault “power-unit”. On the second day Romain Grosjean was limited to just 16 laps with once again – “power-unit problems.”
“I have to say that these two days have been quite tough on all of us, we were hoping for more, but again they say China or Barcelona will be a good step forward. Let’s see. We just have to believe that Renault will be capable of bringing better performance and reliability because today was just not acceptable.” he offered.
“I think we are already quite a long way behind.” Grosjean stated with frustrated understatement; the Frenchman’s best time for the day, a 1:43.732, was almost 10 seconds behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton
It would probably be close to the truth to suggest that a corporation like Renault has pay structures in place for software engineers whilst a money-no-object outfit such as Red Bull can pay whatever for the best experts in their field. The software engineers employed by Red Bull appear to be of a higher standard ( or just better paid ) than those employed by Renault which in itself brings into question all the engine maps that Renault ‘developed’ for their number one customer over the years.
It seems highly unlikely that RBR would have allowed Renault any access to their programming for exhaust blown diffusers and ‘supposed’ traction control either – which could possibly explain the Infiniti naming rights on the car rather than Renault and Marko’s arrogant attacks upon Renault.
Giancarlo Minardi – BMW ready to return to F1
Giancarlo Minardi may never have achieved much success with his Formula One outfit but he has developed quite a stir with his comments in recent months.
He was the first to mention a form of traction control being used by Red Bull in Singapore last year which – although it was never substantiated how it worked – led to many observers believing that it was the use of KERS that Red Bull had developed legally to provide an advantage. Vettel was right with his assertions that the others would never work out how they had gained an advantage..
MInardi’s measured comments last week about the development of Formula One, the provocative subject of the noise and his stance against the over-bearing ‘nanny’ rules punishing drivers for infringements which in previous years would have resulted in memories won him new fans.
This week – he wrote on Minardi.it about a possible return of the German giant – BMW.
“Rumours from Germany have suggested a top-level board meeting will take place in May with the subject of a return to Formula One in 2015. Dr. Steven F. Althaus. Director of Brand Management, BMW and Marketing Services, BMW Group is promoting the idea to the board and confirmation of this interest has been fuelled by the presence of BMW engineers at the pre-season tests and and the first races gathering important information.”
“The arrival of the German manufacturer would bring a breath of fresh air to Formula 1, both from the technical and financial backing it can bring to a team that is currently suffering. If a manufacturer like BMW is confirmed, it would validate the new technical rules and confirm that F1 is still relevant as the foremost global motor-sport event.”
Peugeot has recently denied they have spoken to Christian Horner about developing a hybrid unit – derived from their Le Mans 908 racer for F1 – but there are many who believe that BMW may well be the best long term partner due to Renault failing to conquer the new rules adequately.
Considering that Mercedes have been working on their power unit for around three years and Honda is entering the competition next year after a significant amount of development time, the likelihood of BMW being prepared within six months is very unlikely.
Helmut Marko attacks the rules once again
It goes without saying that Formula One teams pursue their own agendas without concern for the sport as a whole.
Irrespective of the team – every piece of propaganda presented to the media, and therefore the public, is used to gain an advantage beyond the normal on-track competition.
Once again Dr Helmut Marko is petitioning the FIA by raising concerns about different aspects of the current Formula One regulations. Coincidentally things that appear to be punishing the Red Bull concern.
Speaking to Red Bull owned Servus TV, Marko claimed that Jean Todt has vowed to ‘think about‘ their criticisms.
Speaking about Daniel Ricciardo’s 10 place grid penalty for an unsafe release he insisted: “There was no danger. As Daniel drove out he said ‘Hello, my wheel is loose,’ so we pushed him back. In my eyes it was not even an unsafe release.”
Obviously Dr Marko wasn’t present when Red Bull released Mark Webber’s car last year and a tyre knocked down a camera-man, thankfully without serious injury or fatality.
Mr Mateschitz ‘s mouthpiece continued by bringing up the new low noses that have appeared this season; mentioning the collision between Massa and Kobayashi in Australia and contrary to TV replays showing contact between the wheels – claimed that the collision between Maldonado and Gutierrez was caused by the unsightly noses.
“You can see that the nose is so low that it can go underneath the other car, lift it up and roll it over,” he said. “Unfortunately we cannot change it during the season because it is about the chassis, but we need to respond as quickly as possible for next season,”
It’s interesting that as we near 65 years of Formula One, high noses and their benefits to the aerodynamic loadings for a Formula One car have been part of the sport for just over twenty years. The only people who desire the high noses – irrespective of driver safety – are the designers.
Ultimately the majority of incidents in which cars have been launched or rolled over are when the tyres of two cars come into contact. Some recent examples are Mark Webber flying over Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus when his front tyre hit the rear tyre of the Lotus, Nico Rosberg launching over the top of a HRT in the same fashion and Grosjean was launched over the top of Alonso in Belgium 2012 when his wheels interlocked with Lewis Hamilton’s car.
No ‘harakiri’ between Mercedes teammates – Wolff (GMM)
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been told the ‘rules’ for their future wheel-to-wheel battles. The Mercedes pair thrilled the F1 world last Sunday with their duel for victory in Bahrain, despite bosses urging them to “bring both cars home”.
It was rumoured that the team denied the drivers ignored team orders for appearance only, and would quietly curb that sort of behaviour behind the scenes ahead of future races. The fight in Bahrain was also timely for F1’s ‘show’, in the wake of hefty criticism of the controversial new rules.
“I am so happy the race was so well received by the fans,” said German Rosberg, “because the welfare of the sport is very important to me. In my eyes, the criticism of the new regulations was very unfair, especially so early on, and the negativity was getting louder and louder. For me, there was no better way to silence it than to deliver one of the most exciting races in the history of formula one.”
But team director Toto Wolff insists Bahrain was not simply a one-off. “They can fight against each other,” he told Sport Bild magazine, “so long as there are no harakiri-manoeuvres. So you’re not driving with the same aggressiveness against your own teammate as you would against the others,” Wolff explained.
He said Mercedes’ attitude to ‘team orders’ is important, given that both Hamilton and Rosberg are conferred equal status inside the Brackley based team, whose W05 car is currently utterly dominant. “We are here to race,” said Wolff, “we have two really good drivers who can win races and deserve to be world champion.”
Christian Danner, a former driver turned commentator, says Mercedes’ “approach will be welcomed by many. Mercedes is very dominant,” he told German television n-tv, “but in contrast to what we have seen over the years with Ferrari and Red Bull, Rosberg and Hamilton can race freely. This is not only a very brave decision, but also the right decision for the sport,” he applauded.
Mercedes explain their PU
The Usher introduces – Giancarlo ‘The Mouth’ Minardi
Often we hear comment from Giancarlo and for some time now been part of the F1 rumour circus. In tribute to this fact the Usher would like to introduce ‘the mouth’ Minardi. Aways got something to shout about!