Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 11th April 2014


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Previously on TheJudge13

On This Day in #F1: 11th April

The #F1 Bar Exam: 10 April 2014

Sauber’s female driver to make F1 test debut (GMM)

Title sponsor removed from Force India sidepods (GMM)

Engine makers to discuss V6 noise in China (GMM)

FIA to confirm Haas entry – two others being considered

Marko attacks Renault again..

Tyre-warmer ban for 2015 in doubt (GMM)

Promoter worried about Canada GP future (GMM)

First races have shown Williams ‘weaknesses’ – Bottas (GMM)

Sauber’s female driver to make F1 test debut (GMM)

Simona de Silvestro will shortly make her formula one test debut. The 25-year-old female Swiss driver, best known for her Indycar exploits, recently became “affiliated” with the Ferrari-powered Sauber team. It emerged early this week that she underwent a seat fitting at Sauber’s Hinwil factory, and Speed Week now reports that she will make her test debut at the end of this month. The report said de Silvestro will drive a few-year-old Ferrari at the Italian marque’s Fiorano test track.

Another Sauber test driver, Russian teen Sergey Sirotkin, tested for the Swiss team in Bahrain earlier this week. It is believed Sauber prioritised the test for Sirotkin so that he can obtain his mandatory super license and take part in Friday practice at Sochi later this year. Linked with new Russian team backers, the 18-year-old managed the necessary 300 kilometres at a competitive pace.

“My shoes were too small,” said Sirotkin, “and 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,” he added, “but I am glad we completed the 300kms.”


Title sponsor removed from Force India sidepods (GMM)

Force India has denied it is set to split with its title sponsor Sahara.

The Indian conglomerate is headed by Subrata Roy, who is currently sitting in jail for failing to pay billions in refunds to investors. The supreme court on Wednesday refused to release Roy, despite the Sahara Group saying the company is having trouble raising money while he is in jail. “The intention behind putting him in jail is to raise money,” Indian media quote Sahara’s lawyer as having told the court, “but it is not possible to do so when he is inside.”

At precisely the same time, the prominent ‘Sahara’ branding disappeared from the sidepods of Force India’s car during post-race testing in Bahrain. But the Silverstone based team insisted that the all-black sidepods were simply due to the testing of “development parts”.

“The Sahara logo will be found in its usual places in China,” the spokesperson is quoted by German-language Speed Week.


Engine makers to discuss V6 noise in China (GMM)

F1’s three engine makers will discuss how to turn up the volume of their controversial turbo V6s ahead of the Chinese grand prix. Germany’s Auto Bild reports that Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will get together next Thursday ahead of the race in Shanghai.

Although dominant Mercedes has ruled out agreeing to any mid-season rule changes, the German marque is open to discussing ways to make the engines louder to appease disappointed fans. Auto Bild reports that one proposal made by Mercedes is to simply look into sound amplification. That is because “Mechanically, (making the engines louder) is not so easy,” insisted Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell.


FIA to confirm Haas entry – two others being considered

Bernie Ecclestone’s favoured journalist, Christian Sylt, has been told that the Haas team will be accepted today by the FIA.

As reported by TJ13 on Tuesday – Gene Haas warned he’d not had any official confirmation from the FIA and if it was delayed another month they would not be able to ‘entertain 2015’

“The FIA has accepted him for sure, They (the FIA) are going to put out that (confirmation). We are looking at the other two,” Ecclestone said, “but Haas has been accepted.”

The other two? Former HRT boss Colin Kolles is one possibility with Romanian backing from reportedly Dacia cars(Renault Group); but Serbian Zoran Stefanovich had withdrawn his bid after failing to reach agreement with an engine manufacturer.

Possibly, possibly not. It’s been reported that Mclaren’s deal with Honda is not exclusive. Honda is opening a new factory in Milton Keynes in June but this is not merely for service and support of one team. There are rumours that they will be providing engines as well as significant backing to an un-named new team – in similar fashion to Super Aguri.

Cosworth had developed it’s own power unit for this season but wouldn’t commit to the project without a major manufacturer behind it. The company recently opened a new office in Detroit and rumours have reached TJ13 that a number of Brixworth employees have been offered beneficial contracts to move across the county of Northamptonshire to Cosworth. There are interesting times ahead.


Marko attacks Renault again..

Maybe it’s something in the water but it seems that Austrians are unusually undiplomatic business people. Niki Lauda has proven a hard nosed business man in his airline business and throughout his F1 career – whether as a driver or a team director.

His counterpart – Helmut Marko has gone on the attack again.”If our engine starts to work, then we have the opportunity to be back at the top, otherwise I have to congratulate Niki (Lauda) that his two drivers will stay lost and lonely out the front.”

Marko – who has a doctorate in Law revealed “I have often been in France and know a lot more about modern engine technology. In this emergency situation, we have made it an issue of Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Renault. We discovered a lot of mistakes and are now somewhat positive that we can make a strong step forward for the European races,” added Marko.


Tyre-warmer ban for 2015 in doubt (GMM)

The plan to ban tyre warmers in 2015 is currently in doubt. This week at the Bahrain test, after Williams test driver Felipe Nasr tried an experimental Pirelli tyre, the Brazilian said it was “very difficult to get them up to temperature, even in the Bahrain heat. It will be even more of a challenge at tracks such as Silverstone or Spa,” he warned.

Pirelli boss Paul Hembery said the main issue is tyre pressure, as the difference between a cold and a hot tyre is significant. “At present,” he is quoted by Speed Week, “we believe it will be difficult to implement the FIA’s plan for 2015.”

F1’s governing body wants to get rid of expensive tyre warmers on cost grounds, but Hembery said safety is a consideration. “We need to consider how the tyre behaves during, for example, a safety car period, when the pressures and temperatures fall,” he said.

Told, however, that other racing series cope without tyre blankets, Hembery responded: “Yes, as in GP2. But we are talking about different tyre sizes, and the pressure at the start is much higher.”

One possible solution is that, along with the warmer ban, F1 simultaneously ditches its “old fashioned” tyre design and switch to a low-profile. “If we had a lower profile tyre with a stiffer sidewall and a lower volume of air cavity, it would certainly be much easier to manage,” said Williams’ Pat Symonds. But Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe warned: “Introducing the low profile (tyre) is a very non-trivial task in terms of engineering and cost, so not an easy one.”


Promoter worried about Canada GP future (GMM)

Race promoter Francois Dumontier is worried about the future of the Canadian grand prix. He told French-language La Presse newspaper that Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve needs to urgently conclude its talks with F1 authorities about extending the current contract beyond the June race.

“60 days before the 2014 grand prix, there is an urgency,” the usually low-profile Dumontier admitted. “It is true, unfortunately, the sustainability of the Canadian grand prix is not yet assured.” He said he is in negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone for a new ten-year contract, “covering the period 2015 to 2024″.

But he not only has to conclude the deal with F1, but also with the various levels of federal, provincial and city governments who split up the costs. “Time has gone past and there are still no signatures at the bottom of the documents,” said Dumontier.

He said he wants the deals to be secured before June’s 2014 race in Montreal.

“Following the grand prix in June, the rights of my business to the race will be non-existent,” Dumontier warned. “We must act now.”

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, one of the parties who must agree, said he is “very confident” the deal will be struck “in the coming weeks”. “This (delay) is normal when it comes to events in which you sign for ten years,” he said. “I want there to be a grand prix, but you understand that it must be in a responsible way.”

A spokesman for federal minister Denis Lebel added: “We are working with our partners to see if we can keep this important event in Montreal. “But the involvement of the federal government will have respect for the ability of the taxpayers (to pay),” he added.


First races have shown Williams ‘weaknesses’ – Bottas (GMM)

Valtteri Bottas has admitted Williams is yet to display its full potential in 2014. Despite a horror 2013 season, following its switch to Mercedes power the Grove based team was billed as a contender for wins and even the title this year on the basis of its performance in winter testing. But although performing solidly in the three races so far, Bottas or Felipe Massa are yet to finish on the podium.

“Sundays have not been a complete success for us,” Finn Bottas told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. “Certain things, like strategy, have been left to be desired. But we think really good results are still to happen, hopefully as soon as possible,” he added.

The 24-year-old admitted that the industry-leading Mercedes engine had been an early boost to Williams’ 2014 form. “Especially in Melbourne we felt that the engine was a definite advantage,” said Bottas. “But the difference was smaller in Malaysia and Bahrain, as the others are developing all the time.”

At the same time, the FW36 is consistently showing some of the highest overall top speeds at circuits. “That also reflects the weaknesses of our car. Maybe we have a little less drag than the others, because we also have less downforce. Sometimes, what we gain on the straight, we lose in the corners,” he added.

It means that, although a pre-season favourite, Williams is currently the lowest-ranked team with Mercedes power, behind the works team, Force India and McLaren.


28 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 11th April 2014

  1. Unless being replaced by something better…richer…one never likes to consider the potential disappearance of a team’s sponsor’s branding from the car, less still only 3 races into the season…

  2. Austrians, undiplomatic, what did Bernie say about getting things done!? That is the beauty of this blog, the ability to make me laugh.

  3. I don’t get this. Why would anyone move from Merc engines to Cosworth? Makes no sense to me.

    • I agree McL –

      it would be more likely these Brixworth employees being offered beneficial contracts to move to France or Italy …..

      • I know someone who works at Brixworth, they are on an annual contract. If Mercedes decides to leave there would be no severance pay etc.

        I’d imagine that other companies would offer fixed contracts with all benefits that brings.

        • Fair enough…but with Merc doing so good, they won’t go anywhere for the next 5 years at least, plus their pay is likely to go up if Merc become constructor champions a few times in a row.

          • You’re basically asking why would anyone ever leave a job for another job… So the answer is any and all possible reasons! Money, location, benefits, weather, school districts, supervisor, challenge, boredom, etc etc.

    • thinking more into the question, maybe Ford will join Cosworth again, as they are offering more turbo engines along their model range, therefore this partnership could be useful in terms of engineering and marketing for them

  4. I don’t get it. Who’s shoes was Sirotkin wearing? Why not his own? Is he so young he’s still having growth spurts and his feet were a size bigger the morning of probably his most important day of his life so far?

  5. I’m holding off buying a Singapore grandstand ticket now. If they decide to make the cars louder then I probably will not go. No more aural condoms for me, thank you.

    • Hi Craig – I think you should please buy a ticket and go to the race armed with one of those Nokia smartphones w/ 20 mp image sensor and 4 microphones and then you can record footage for us that we’ll know is genuine and not doctored when we hear the audio!

      Don’t be a ball-buster, man! Please go to the race for all of us who can’t be there – or at any F1 GP – this year!! lol

  6. Re V6 noise: I have found the power unit noise on TV transmissions to be “improving” from trackside mics. I can now hear the typical growl of a V6 with the addition of a turbo whine and even “scream” in some situations, either accelerating away from the mic or being tracked down a high speed section, occasionally quite spine tingling! Not quite old enough to have heard supercharged cars racing pre-war, but have heard the sounds at the like of Goodwood FoS etc and there is a recording of the BRM V16 Mk2 with centrifugal supercharger on the CD with Nick Mason’s book “Into the Red, now that did scream – when it was going! As with the V8s the current in-car sound is rubbish, but probably not worth attention. Hopefully the FIA will resist pressure from Ferrari et al to interfere too soon.

  7. So, low-profile tyres and enhanced engine sounds, eh? Given that F1 already has kickass wings front and back, swoopy body kits, cold air intakes and heaps of irrelevant stickers, my tip is for the introduction of aero fenders so that Hammo can wheel out a slammed / hellaflush / stanced car for season 2015.
    Then there’s some quality doof-doof gear for when DJ Hamm feels the need for choons mid race.
    And extra noisy dump / blow-off valves.
    Oh, and neons for the night races 🙂

    • “…and neons for the night races…”
      That bit I understood… 😉
      “doof-doof”…?, “choons”…? I have enough trouble with stuff like ‘IIRC’… 🙂

      • Hamilton’s genetic heritage never even crossed my mind until you mentioned it. You’re making so many assumptions here, it’s ridic 🙂

        • lol. you’re funny, RogerD! 😉

          I knew what you meant (“ethnic heritage”) but this was a good opportunity to look up “genetic heritage”, which I learned was based on “the application of genetics to traditional genealogy…[it]…involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.”

          Sounds expensive, right?

          Ok dude, good job not taking the bait 😉 I’ll know not to mess w/ you in the future!! ha

  8. Judge, any news on the rumour that Briatore is set to replace Domenicalli? I have a feeling that the latest blog post by Turrini is a veiled reference to that. Looks like Kimi’s luck went from bad to worse.

    • Hmm, what a surprise, same thing happened in summer 2010 and 2013. Maybe rumours about Brawn will also surface too!
      Who knows, this time it might be more serious.

  9. FYI Williams didn’t run enough laps to tell during FP2 but I think race wise they were ahead of McLaren. SC just bollixed their strategy.

    • They were very much ahead of Mclaren. On a par with the FI cars, just a shame of the timing for them.

  10. Fun fact ; A bank said its putting up the Kingfisher brand for sale, to pay for their loans.

  11. It’s funny (not really) how governments the world over have become penny-pinching austerity fiends for everything except military and civil-liberties-suppression spending.

    If the Canadian GP fell off the calendar, I hope it would be replaced by a full-fee paying race in Belarus, or, idk (stands up at desk to look at “world map” hanging on office wall) – Ukraine? err, I mean CCCP v2.0.

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