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Previously on TheJudge13
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.