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Previously on TheJudge13
Domenicalli ‘resigns’ from Ferrari UPDATED 11:41 GMT
Time to grow up Pastor
A well spent weekend saw the 2012 season review being dug out from the archives and enjoyed between reunions and much merriment. It’s amazing how much changes in a year and a half, not with the cars as this is a given with the great changes of 2014, but with the drivers’ race craft, maturity and style.
In what was a remarkable season that went right down to the wire, it was easy to see who was learning and who was developing. Furthermore, who believed in their own reputation and who was willing to work for everything and anything they could achieve. The findings, though obvious, are staggering.
Four main drivers were consistently involved in accidents or incidents due to recklessness, inexperience or immaturity. The names will not surprise you – Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado – as they dominate the incident list.
All of those drivers have had their comeuppance as they were punished in different ways; apart from one. Grosjean was given the one-race ban for Monza after his wrecking ball impression at Spa in the race previously. Following this he made mistakes, but was nurtured by the caring hand of his (then) team principal and manager, Eric Boullier. The Spa misdemeanour seen below.
Sergio Perez was calmed down by his move to McLaren and then subsequent exit from the Woking setup, even if Nico Hulkenberg felt he was slightly over aggressive in his defence in Bahrain. Checo came of age as he learn to control his racing.
Kamui Kobayashi has been forced to rethink his racing tactics after a year on the sidelines watching the sport he loves so dearly from the comfort of the Ferrari garage. His rash overtaking and unique bravery ultimately forced him to depart from Sauber which looks to have done the Japanese driver the world of good. He has returned a different and more refined beast!
That just leaves us with everyone’s favourite impact test driver Pastor ‘Crashtor’ Maldonado. Leaving in acromonious circumstances from the Williams fold which gave him his first chance in Formula One demonstrated just how far he still has to go in order to mature and fulfill his potential. His maiden, and to date only, race win in Barcelona demonstrated the best of Pastor as he did not panic after losing the lead to Alonso at the start of the race and was not flustered in the closing stages as the man from Oviedo tried in vain to hunt him down.
However, the many crashes that occurred due to him leave a bitter taste for many. Incidents are forgotten as well, like when the red mist descended on him in Monaco FP1 and he decided to ‘pay back’ Perez for when he felt he had been wronged by the Mexican previously deciding to give him a clip as he passed him before the tunnel or when he missed his pit box in Malaysia and was forced into another lap on the wrong type of rubber.
The other three drivers seem to have matured and moved on from the GP2 style driving that left them as great acquaintances with the gravel traps and run off areas. All have shown they have listened to advice from others and adapted their driving accordingly. In this respect, nobody more so than Romain Grosjean who took the advice of Jackie Stewart and ended up going from strength to strength at the tail end of 2013.
The most frustrating part about the Venezuelan is that he can be that good as he duly demonstrated. However, at what point is someone going to sit down with him and ‘put him back on the straight and narrow’ as they force him to reflect on his personal development. Are teams too scared to do this due to the mega bucks of oil money that he brings?
The most recent incident with the other Mexican on the grid, Esteban Gutierrez could be put down to poor concentration or even frustration. However, acts of stupidity like his crash into Hamilton at the European GP (Valencia) 2012 show the exact opposite of the thinking that is required to become a great of the sport. Instead of waiting to pass Hamilton at another part of the circuit he wanted to pass him there and then which ultimately cost them both.
Should he not develop as a driver he will carry with him forever this reputation of purely being a pay driver, which he more than has the potential to change. At what point and whether this will ever happen can only be speculated on, but while he is at the back of the grid he has the chance to focus on this away from the spotlight. Whether a Boullier like figure will appear from the background to aid him in this pursuit remains to be seen, but Pastor’s sake let’s hope he/she emerges soon.
Enjoy the commercials
With the recent suggestion that Jenson Button was not the most useful in terms of marketability, eyebrows were raised in TJ13 towers. TJ13’s man on the ground in Mexico has frequently reported of how recognisable the man from Frome is on his side of the Atlantic. Many will have seen the ‘Head & Shoulders’ adverts he has appeared in, but may not be familiar with other drivers who have been used in such a manner. A short video below shows just a handful…
I don’t suppose drivers will be tucking into pizzas like Damon Hill is seen doing here, or that Mercedes would be so happy to promote Red Bull in the advert with Schumi and Rosberg, or maybe Jenson should not have so much on his mind and just focus on the racing, or even we should have seen the troubles of the 2007 McLaren teammates given the advert.
If we can take anything away from those adverts it is this, Mika Hakkinen will always win – whether it be in a restaurant, a sauna or wherever else.
Wrong deal at the wrong time? Subway to sponsor F1
The hilarious timing of the world of Formula One has one again been demonstrated with the news that Subway the US sandwich chain is ‘exploring‘ the possibility of sponsoring the sport in the not too distant future. Reported by UK newspaper The Telegraph, the company are said to be looking into becoming a major feature on ‘several of the sport’s teams and superstar drivers.
The fast food chain already play a major role within the US in both NASCAR and IndyCar sponsorship, with F1 being seen as the logical platform to promote the brand within Europe. Subway have grown considerably since their introduction on the other side of the pond in 1994.
Chief executive of JMI which is in charge of Subway’s motorsport interest, Zak Brown, says that the series would be the “perfect” fit.
“I took the Subway Chief Marketing Officer to meet Bernie in Montreal last year, and I would say they have been exploring it for a year. They are all about the consumer, they are massive media buyers so they would look at a sport and see if it stacks up from a media point of view and Formula One does.”
There is a significant irony that Subway would see a time when drivers are forced to starve themselves to extreme lengths and in some cases dehydrate themselves as well just to race, as the ideal time to invest heavily in the sport. Is it really going to be believable to see a driver endorsing fast food with the current state of affairs? Furthermore, could we see certain drivers bringing with them a specific food company as part of a team of backers?
Working with it since 2002, Subway are JMI oldest client and have already successfully led them into NASCAR sponsorship. Given Subway’s $18.2 billion revenue in 2012, they would not struggle to raise the required $20 million for an F1 affiliation as well as separate agreements with ‘multiple’ teams they wish for. However, one has to consider if it will really be worth it?
With an estimated 75 million people following NASCAR (1 in 3 American adults) it would seem to be more than worthwhile as a means to reach out to a wide audience. However, would sponsoring an F1 team(s) really prove the good value for money as the company looks to increase the currrent 1,731 stores to 3,000 by 2020?
According to Austosport, France, Germany, Poland and Spain all reported a significant drop in viewing figures last year making it a strange time to invest. The US and Italy saw dramatic increases in the coverage of the sport which aided viewing figures, as the UK increased in 2013 by 2% as well.
Last week Forbes reported that JMI (Just Marketing Inc) has now passed the $1 billion mark for sponsorship since 1995. Christian Sylt reported, “Although its origins lie in NASCAR, the company’s chief executive Zak Brown says that 70% of its profits now come through deals in Formula One.”
JMI introduced Johnnie Walker to McLaren in 2005 and also LG in 2009, both times picking up a tidy sum along the way. With the seemingly imminent departure of the F1 supremo on the horizon, could this instead be Brown angling at a way get inside the F1 circles and follow in the footsteps of Bernie? After all, it is well known that Brown had dreamt of being an F1 driver in his younger years.
Brown realises how lucrative F1 can be and has every motivation to use Subway to increase his foothold within the sport. He was the one who was responsible for bringing Martini back to Williams this season in a deal said to be worth $20 million. Are the fast food chain being led down a blind alley as Brown works his way further into F1 and makes a decent figure along the way?
Furthermore, would the money not be better spent on backing a US driver into a seat (Alex Rossi or Connor Daly spring to mind) which in turn will help the sport grow stateside?
Max Mosley – The Poacher becomes Gamekeeper
Max Mosley was one of the founders of March Engineering. He had trained as a lawyer and he became Bernie Ecclestone’s right hand man during the infamous FISA/ FOCA war of the late 70’s – early 80’s and was instrumental in drawing up the Concorde Agreement. This document gave the FISA control of the rules but crucially gave FOCA control of the promotions and TV rights. Balestre believing he had won the war accepted this compromise and effectively made Ecclestone the most powerful man in the sport.
By 1991, Mosley had ascended to the Presidency of the FIA, and the man who had championed for the rights of the ‘garagista’ against the manufacturers transformed from the poacher to the gamekeeper. The safety campaigns he instigated are possibly his biggest legacies to F1 and the motor industry.
But there are a number of whispers surrounding the deals he made with Ecclestone – for example, a payment of $300million for a 100 year contract is hardly generous when compared to year on year deals which TV companies pay for football rights yet Mr E argued that he had built F1 into the entity it is today. Mosley’s solution was to make the FIA the sporting regulator and FOM would retain it’s commercial role – a situation that the FIA is still looking into to this day.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, 74 year old Max Mosley offered himself as the originator of the new Formula One era.
“We are the ones who looked at bringing in the new technology. It was ten years in the making, and actually I like the noise. I wear these things in both my ears (hearing aids) because the noise of the engines went right through me for 40 years or more. It’s too late to save my hearing but not for the next generation. The quieter engines are better for families. You can take children to races without fear of their being deafened. If anybody should be ‘blamed’ it’s me. Safety was the big challenge of the 20th century and the environment is the big challenge of the 21st.”
Mosley continued by saying the quieter power trains would increase the spectacle of watching a car at somewhere like the swimming pool where you could appreciate the violence of the car in motion as opposed to the over-riding scream of the multi-cylinder engines. The introduction of this new technology was also defining new frontiers in motor-sport rather than becoming an irrelevance. Beyond these arguments he underlined the fact that if energy saving technology had not been introduced, Formula One may have lost one, if not two of the engine manufacturers. Yet something does not add up..
Is this the same man who in 2009 stated, “If someone said, ‘Will you stake your entire worldly goods on all of the current manufacturers being in Melbourne in 2010?’ I would be very reluctant to do that. I’d stake my worldly goods, for example, on Ferrari being there. But not on all the manufacturers. But I may be wrong.”
Domenicalli ‘resigns’ from Ferrari
The word is, Stefano Domenicali has fallen on his sword. (09:40 GMT) Ferrari are to make an announcement today at 12:00 CET.
With the Red Bull disqualification hearing at FIA HQ today and possible huge ramifications for the fuel flow regulations being challenged, this is a classic PR trick to ‘bury’ (well at least reduce the impact) of Ferrari ‘bad news’.
For many, the surprise is that the parting of the ways between the Scuderia and its most unsuccessful principal has taken so long.
Domenicali has become the ‘nearly man’ at Ferrari. He was close to leading the team to drivers’ titles in both 2010 and 2012, but for errors and mistakes made by the team. These mistakes eventually frustrated Alonso’s efforts to bring glory to Maranello.
In addition, there was another close call for Domenicali in 2008. Felipe Massa crossed the line in the final race of the season, and was world champion – but only for a few seconds. Hamilton found a more than friendly Timo Glock with just 2 corners to go. The Britain made the pass on the Toyota driver and this was enough to clinch the title for Hamilton.
Ferrari did win the constructors’ title that year, which may be why Domenicali survived as long as he did.
Domenicali was hand picked to succeed Jean Todt, The previous season saw Todt and Raikkonen take the title for Ferrari in the drivers’ championship. Further, the previous 7 years had seen Ferrari, Todt, Brawn and Schumacher dominate in a manner rarely seen in F1 history.
Yet, it was just last September when Luca di Montezemolo defended his ‘nearly man’ to the hilt when asked by Gazzetta dello Sport if Domenicali would be replaced, Il Padrino replied, “Never, he would be missed.
He was the first to advocate the choice of Kimi. He has worked well, preparing for the future and now I expect to see results in the present. But, over the past three years, we have lost two world titles at the last race and it was not his fault”.
Kimi will certainly feel the departure of Domenical, as Alonso begins to draw the team around him even more tightly.
When Il Padrino chose to defend his team principal to the hilt just 6 months ago, he stated, “I’ve been around a long time, from the point eleven years on from [John] Surtees’ title. Then as president, with Schumacher and the [Jean] Todt-[Ross] Brawn-[Rory] Byrne triumvirate, we created a golden era and now the team is ready to start winning again.
The void since the Schumacher era was caused by delays on the simulation front and with the aerodynamics. However, in all but three years, Ferrari has always been in the title fight right to the last race.
I am counting a lot on James Allison. With him came the head of aerodynamics from Lotus [Dirk de Beer] and other new faces. Finally, we will have the creativity we were lacking. Allison knows the team and the men and he speaks Italian.
Others wanted him, but he preferred us and his arrival will also bring a change in working methods in many areas. Pat Fry will concentrate on improving our on-track operations, our methodology and the simulator.”
So what changed? That statement by the president of Ferrari clearly avoids placing too much responsibility on Domenicali and infers James Allison’s magic will take some time to work.
TJ13 believes that behind the scenes Alonso upped the anti and has been agitating for change. Since he threatened to tweet to the world during the Indian GP in 2012 that Fry and Domenicali were incompetent, to suggests the internal relationships were strained would be an understatement. In fact at times, there has been a full blown been civil war raging in Maranello.
Alonso’s hand is immeasurably strengthened at present. Froma simple observation of the current state of the prancing horse, Vettel is unlikely to invoke his side of the ‘pre-contract’ believed to be in place with Ferrari for 2015, Add to this, there are early indicators that Kimi will be ‘bested’ by Alonso this year which means Maranello can’t afford to lose their double world champion team leader driver.
It is also now clear, Fernando can’t be blamed for Ferrari building an engine which could be 3rd best behind Mercedes and the Red Bull installation. In fact it strengthens his position that it is the inferior equipment he has been provided with – year after year which is preventing Ferrari from claiming F1 glory.
Like Martin Whitmarsh, Stefano Domenicali has presided over an era in F1 where there has been a relative tranquillity between the team principals, with them often co-interviewed by the media following a race. Not many can recall Ron Dennis and Jean Todt sharing friendly banter in front of the TV cameras?
Following the “Spygate” scandals between McLaren and Ferrari and the “Crashgate” scandal surrounding Flavio and Renault just a couple of years later, this air of Bonne Homme has been suggested by a number of F1 commentators to be good for the sport.
But times are changing.
This year, McLaren ousted Martin – ‘the nice’ and big bad ass kicking, results demanding Ron Dennis is back.
These nice guys aren’t winning… and Horner, Marko et all have been all dominating.
With the Scuderia in such disarray, the only option open to Il Padrino is to demonstrate change must happen – and happen now. His biggest statement possible is to facilitate such a high profile personnel reshuffle.
Domenicali will be replaced by the current CEO of Ferrari Americas – Marco Mattiacci. The 41 year old Roman started his career at Jaguar in 1989, where he learned about American management processes and styles. By 2000 he received his dream assignment and was called by Ferrari.
Marco established networks in South America, then the MIddle East, followed by others in Finland and Russia. He then focused his attention on the Chinese market and in Japan before being appointed CEO of America. Less than two years ago, he was honoured with the auto manufacturer’s most prestigious award, 2012 Automotive Executive of the Year Award.
TJ13 has been informed there has even been discussion within FIAT suggesting Marco Mattiacci could even replace Il Padrino – should his political aspirations prove to become irresistible. Marco is indeed building a powerful reputation both inside and outside Ferrari.
Of course the cynics may suggests that ‘Cordero di Montezemolo’ is in actuality presenting a potential challenger to his throne with a poisoned chalice from which he may never recover.
Di Montezemolo is a wily fox who has survived nigh on 25 years as Enzo Ferrari’s successor; a length of tenure which clearly indicates Il Padrino knows how to play politics – most skilfully.
So the old guard is moving on… Martin Whitmarsh, Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn… though we will definitely be seeing one of them again in F1 – and in the not too distant future.
UPDATE 11:32 GMT
Stefano Domenicali explains what he claims to be his decision.
“It ‘s time to implement a major change. Again, I take responsibility, as I always did, of the situation we are experiencing”.
Domenicali believes it is a bridge too far for him to initiate the change now required at Ferrari.
It is a choice taken with the desire to do something to shake up to our environment and for the sake of this group. I sincerely thank all the men and women of the team, the drivers and partners for the wonderful relationship had in years.
I wish all of you can quickly return to the levels that Ferrari deserves. I give the final thanks to our President for having always supported me.
I wish the best to all the fans with the regret of not having gathered as hard as we sown in recent years.”
Mercedes car ‘on par’ with Newey’s Red Bull – Costa (GMM)
Mercedes insists its 2014 car is “on par” with the chassis being fielded by reigning world champions Red Bull this season.
The more common perception in the F1 paddock so far this year is that while the silver W05 is a tidy single seater, its clear dominance is being fuelled mainly by its vastly superior turbo V6 ‘power unit’.
Red Bull, meanwhile, is apparently only managing to stay relatively competitive amid engine supplier Renault’s problems due to the once again field-leading car design efforts of Adrian Newey.
But Aldo Costa, the Mercedes car designer, insisted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that his W05 is “about on par with Red Bull. There are certain corners, especially the fast ones, where Red Bull is better than us,” he acknowledged, “but in other places it is us with the edge. According to our measurements,” the former Ferrari technical director added, “Ferrari is behind us.”
Costa also hit back at suggestions F1’s new engine rules have made the sport too slow. Actually, he said it is “quite simple” to calculate precisely why lap times are slower in 2014, explaining that the engines are in fact compensating for most of the losses.
“The cars are 50kg heavier (than in 2013),” he started. “This alone costs 1.5 seconds. The downforce was reduced, which is another half a second,” said Costa. “Add to that the harder tyre, then without these factors we would be faster (than in 2013),” said the Italian.
Prosecutors dismiss Ecclestone ‘blackmail’ – report (GMM)
The pre-trial documents outlining the case against Bernie Ecclestone make no mention of the possibility he was blackmailed by Gerhard Gribkowsky. That is the claim of the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, revealing that it has seen and read the 223-page document ahead of the Munich hearings that begin next week. F1’s chief executive claims he only paid the millions to jailed banker Gribkowsky because he was threatening to divulge details of Ecclestone’s tax affairs to authorities.
But Welt am Sonntag claims prosecutors do not regard Ecclestone’s account as legitimate, insisting the almost $44 million in payments to Gribkowsky was solely so the 83-year-old Briton can “secure his position of power” in charge of F1.
Citing the court documents, the newspaper also says 40 witnesses are scheduled to testify at the trial, which will be attended by Ecclestone himself. Ecclestone said in Bahrain last weekend that F1 will “do our best” to run the sport while he is occupied in court.
“The judge has been very good,” he told British television Sky. “He has said you’ve just got two days a week in court, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On the Wednesday’s he’s going to try and get things out of the way a little bit earlier so I can leave and carry on doing what I normally do.”
Haas driver Busch says no to F1 (GMM)
Kurt Busch, a leading NASCAR driver, has ruled himself out of the running to enter F1 next year with Gene Haas. Busch, 35, drives for Haas’ NASCAR team, and this year he will try his hand at single-seater racing, driving for former F1 driver Michael Andretti’s team at the fabled Indy 500.
But the Associated Press has quoted him as ruling out a F1 foray, despite his close ties to Haas. “My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1,” he said. “But a test session? I’d jump on that every time.”
Busch warned that Haas is “serious” about his new F1 adventure. “You just don’t drop $40 million on a wind tunnel and not think that you’re serious about racing,” he said.
“It will be an incredible challenge. He knows that,” Busch added. “We’ve had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad. We had Scott Speed as a driver. Now we have an (American) owner. It will be interesting to see how the driver lineup shapes up.”
Vandoorne to replace Button ‘possible’ – Dennis (GMM)
McLaren could oust Jenson Button at the end of 2014 and replace him with the team’s next young development driver talent. That is the admission of returned McLaren supremo Ron Dennis, who told F1’s official website that it was mainly his decision to axe Sergio Perez after a single season and replace him with in-house rookie Kevin Magnussen.
Dane Magnussen, 21, has subsequently been hailed by Dennis as having “all the ingredients necessary” to follow in Button’s footsteps and win a title. “The decision to take Kevin (in 2014) was mine,” said Dennis.
“I took the decision because I felt that we needed to see if he could meet the expectations of our engineers, and so far he has done a great job. And also Stoffel Vandoorne did a great job last weekend in Bahrain,” Dennis added, “so I think he will be highly desirable by the end of the season.”
Belgian Vandoorne, who is actually a year older than Magnussen, has this year been placed by McLaren in GP2, where at the Bahrain season opener he won a race. Vandoorne is driving for ART, after Nicolas Todt’s GP2 team entered an agreement to work not only with McLaren but also the team’s 2015 engine supplier Honda.
At the same time, Button’s contract is up for renewal. The 34-year-old driver said in Bahrain: “I have no worries that a guy in his thirties is as good as a guy in his twenties in a formula one car.”
Nonetheless, Dennis admitted it is “possible” McLaren’s 2015 lineup could see Magnussen alongside Vandoorne. “Anything is possible,” he said, “but Jenson is doing a great job. He is quick and he is dedicated so there is no reason not to stay with Jenson from any perspective.
“But we still have a whole season to go.”
Red Bull taking ‘new evidence’ to Monday appeal (GMM)
Red Bull claims to have “a very strong case” as the world champions try on Monday to overturn Daniel Ricciardo’s Melbourne disqualification.
Initially, many believed the team would surely fail to convince the FIA’s international court of appeal to quash the stewards’ ruling in Paris. That is because Red Bull admittedly ignored the readings of the mandatory fuel flow sensor, claiming the devices supplied by a British company called Gill are inaccurate.
Team boss Christian Horner now says: “As more races have progressed, issues have become more evident, new evidence has come to light and new understandings have come to light.
“We believe we have a very strong case,” British broadcasters the BBC and Sky separately quote him as saying. Following a disastrous winter pre-season for Red Bull and its engine supplier Renault, the team is only fourth in the constructors’ championship after three races. Defending Red Bull’s push to recover Ricciardo’s second place finish, Horner insisted: “Those points are vital, every point is vital.”
The FIA says it intends to publish the results of Monday’s appeal “as soon as possible” after the hearing is complete.
Red Bull hearing – a summary of the events
Today sees a fascinating gathering at the FIA headquarters, as Red Bull and their lawyers, Mercedes represented by the enigmatic Paul (bulldog) Harris and the FIA and with legal team fight out the validity of the stewards decision to disqualify Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo from the season opening race in Melbourne.
Lotus, Williams, McLaren, Force India attended but only as observers.
The Court of Appeal in this case is composed of Harry Duijm (senior judge, Holland), Rui Botica Santos (Portugal), Philippe Narmino (Monaco), Antonio Rigozzi (Switzerland) and January Šťovíček (Czech Republic).
Judge Duijm commenced proceedings and urged all parties not to waste time. “The facts are in the statements”, he states. The lawyers are asked to question the witnesses only to details that are not already listed in the files.
This means we may not be party to everything the varies sides are saying, however the contentious matters should be cross-examined.
Red Bull lawyer Ali Malek speaks first and questions whether the Stewards had the right to disqualify Daniel Ricciardo. He questions whether the FIA measurement was correct suggesting the FIA must prove that Ricciardo was at any time outside the required flow rate.
Everything revolves around the sensor FF73 and Malek argues that Red Bull’s position is that it was not working correctly. He further argues that there is no rule which justifies the FIA sensor as the only usable measurement.
FIA lawyer Sebastien Bernard interjects stating that there can be only one official measurement. “If everyone [each team] measures at will, because they are of the opinion, the official measurement is wrong, we have anarchy.”
The FIA representative explains how the calibration of the FIA sensor works. In a test, the measurements are established and any errors are provided for with a correction factor. Only this creates equal conditions for all parties involved.
Sebastian Bernard argues, the deviations on Sunday were exactly the same on the sensor which Red Bull had installed on Friday. Hence there was no reason for Red Bull to defy the instruction to operate the same correction factor.
Further, with the exception of 5 laps, Ricciardo’s car was consistently above the 100 kgs/ph limit as evidenced by the Gill sensor. However, at times Red Bull increased the fuel flow rate, to around 104kgs/ph. Under the safety car the rate fell as low as 95% of the maximum.
Interestingly, later in the proceeding Red Bull made a minimalist effort to argue the flow rate across the entire race was legal. The fact that it dropped during the safety car period would have assisted in making that possible whilst retaining 2nd place from Magnussen.
Bernard for the FIA questions why Ricciardo’s car only ran to the correct fuel flow rate during the period behind the safety car, no satisfactory reply is forthcoming.
The Mercedes attack dog enters the fray. He states Mercedes calculations indicate that by ignoring the FIA instruction, Red Bull had gained an advantage of 0.4 seconds per lap. Harris continues by dismissing Red Bull’s actions as arrogant.
“Red Bull believe their measurement is better than that of the FIA?. It is not even a physical measurement, but a software model”. Harris suggests Red Bull are motivated by what suits them best and not what is proper and fair.
Paul Harris observes that if Mercedes had applied Red Bull’s philosophy, “we could have gone even faster in these circumstances. And what happens next? Should everyone be allowed to use their own measurement model when they are not satisfied with the FIA measures?”
Paul Monaghan, Red Bull engineer takes the stand and agrees with the previous statements, that by ignoring the FIA instructions, Ricciardo’s car ran around 0.4 seconds a lap quicker.
He presents the argument that all the engine data in FP1 on 2 separate laps gave identical readings, yet the fuel flow sensor gave two different readings. One read 1.2% different from Red Bulls algorithmic calculations and the second time 1.3% difference.
He argues this should not happen. Given the same engine data, the fuel flow rate should be the same.
The Red Bull man then claims that the team did not need to ignore the FIA directives in Malaysia due to the temperature differences between there and at the Australian GP – hence the teams calculations in Sepang revealed there was no need to exceed the FIA regulated fuel flow rate.
The FIA representative asks Monaghan whether Red Bull are in fact measuring the flow of fuel directly. Monaghan denies this stating “it is a calculation based on differing measurements which include the amount of time the fuel injectors are open, the injection quantity, fuel density, and fuel temperature.” Monaghan claims that this measurement has an accuracy range of plus and minus one percent.
Mercedes lawyer Harris interjects. “So Red Bull present figures of a computing model and data – not a direct measurement. Nobody knows what or why data is entered into the model.” He summarises, to agree a process like this and all the underlying assumptions team by team would be impossible for the FIA.
Horner sits apparently disinterestedly fiddling with his smart phone.
Monaghan is asked why the team did not use the spare sensor they had available in Australia. He initially just restates the Red Bull position on sensors being temperamental. When pressed by Mercedes Paul Harris, he reveals that this sensor had been fitted to the spare chassis, which was flown back to the UK during the weekend.
Harris acerbically asks, “and no one thought to remove it?”
It then becomes apparent that on lap 37, Red Bull increased further the fuel flow rate into the engine. When questioned Monaghan replied that the conditions had changed and their calculations would now allow even more fuel to be used to stay within the 100kgs/ph for the entire race.
David Mart, a Renault engineer who works with the Red Bull team is called. He explains it was not his decision to refuse the FIA request to reduce the fuel flow as the car is legally Red Bull’s. He also suggests the offset requested by the FIA was not applied to the fuel flow calculations.
Newey interjects, taking responsibility for the team’s defiance, stating he made the decision. It also becomes apparent that prior to the race, Red Bull had been given an offset calculation to programme into the sensor. This was not done.
In his defence, Newey states he told FIA representative, Fabrice Lom, prior to the race he had doubts over the calculations. Mercedes Paul Harris quizzes the Red Bull guru asking if any other team refused to run the FIA fuel flow rates, would that be reasonable. “If they have plausible evidence, yes”, was Newey’s response.
Red Bull argue the sensor drifted during FP1 and hence cannot provide accurate measurements. The FIA say it did not drift – and indeed that the 13 failed sensors this year, when fail, stop operating completely. The vast majority of these failures have been on Renault engined cars.
Witness Jeff Calam of Red Bull is called. No one has a question for him. He is excused amidst general chuckling.
Fabrice Lom, the FIA expert takes the stand. He explains that even during the practice sessions, Red Bull had failed to run the correct offset value, and so their calculations were wrong.
Further, the ‘dodgy’ sensor FF73 used by Ricciardo in Australia was replaced by sensor FF210 in Malaysia, and the exact same readings were produced, despite the temperature differences.
Lom concludes this must mean that Renault and Red Bull’s algorithms were incorrect.
Fabrice Lom then presents an interesting chart. It lists all 58 laps of Daniel Ricciardo’s car with the lap times and the corresponding flow rate. With the exception of laps 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 Ricciardo drives consistently above 100 kg / h mark.
In the first 12 laps before the safety car phase the value is 100.5 to 100.8 kg / h. Following the safety car it rises to 100.4 to 101.1 kg / h.
In the last four laps when Ricciardo is fighting Kevin Magnussen for second place, interestingly the average fuel flow rate is at its highest for the race and increases again in range from to from 101.0 – 101.0 to between 101 0 and 101.1 kg / h.
Lom produces another chart which shows the effect of Red Bull’s actions with the applied offset. This shows the corrected Red Bull model would have shown values ranged from 99.02 kg / h during the safety car phase to 103.37 kg / h in the race.
Mercedes electronics engineer, Evan Short is called. He explains, “A sensor provides a direct measurement, the calculation of the team can be at best an approximation.”
Evan Short reveals during qualifying in Melbourne, the FIA had informed them Rosberg was using too high a fuel flow rate. It was immediately brought in line with the correction as instructed,
There was a huge argument over consumption peaks and averages, much of which was unintelligible unless one has a PhD in mathematics, yet herein may hang the key to the Judges decision.
In conclusion, the FIA representative spins Red Bull’s arguments on their head. He demands, “they should indeed provide proof that the sensor fluctuated unnecessarily. If they decide not to follow the instructions of the referee, they must provide solid good evidence that the sensor has not been working properly. Their alleged evidence has convinced no one.”
Mercedes Paul Harris clearly remembers being on the other side of the fence last summer over ‘testgate’ along with Red Bull’s demands for punitive punishment against the team from Brackley. In fact during the day, he was probably a more effective prosecutor of the issues than the FIA’s own legal representatives.
He reminds the court that this is a violation of section 12.1.1 c as Red Bull denied the instructions of FIA officials and that this in fact harms the interest of fair competition.
Harris recalls the case of the BAR fraudulent fuel case in 2005 where the team was banned for 2 races in Barcelona and Monaco and given a six month suspended ban with a disqualification from the race where their fuel irregularities were discovered.
The Mercedes legal representative then argued Red Bull’s actions were indeed more serious than those of BAR, because they intentionally defied the FIA regulators and are attempting to protests a physical measurement with a mere calculation.
“We are, frankly, and with great respect, concerned that Red Bull have shown such a flagrant and deliberate disregard for these rules that there is a real risk they will do it again,” said Harris. “We are here to seek to ensure that that does not happen, we must have a level playing field going forward for the remainder of the season.
We apprehend that the other teams represented here today take the same view, which is why they are here today”.
Harris pressed the court to make a statement to Red Bull about the severity of their behaviour with “further sanctions”, over and above the DQ already issued. He concede these may be suspended for the rest of the season “so that they [Red Bull] are acutely aware of their actions”.
Red Bull’s decision to appeal is a high stakes gamble, as clearly Ricciardo’s DQ is no longer the maximum penalty they could suffer. The precedents are there for a ban or a further loss of constructor and driver points.
Red Bull’s position is that technical directives are not binding and that the fuel sensor drifted. Ali Malek concluded, “The only evidence car three has exceeded that flow rate was the measurement supplied by the FFM [fuel-flow meter],” said Red Bull’s lead representative Ali Malek QC.
We say that there was strong evidence before the stewards that this FFM was unreliable. You will recall that passage in the technical directive, if it is obviously unreliable then it is correct to use the secondary method or the backup measure.
We say that it was unreliable and therefore we were entitled to use the secondary measurement.”
The FIA are in direct opposition to this position. Jonathan Taylor concluded succinctly for the FIA. “The most important point of this appeal [is] the technical directives because that is how you are told to demonstrate compliance, Everyone follows those rules and if you do not follow those rules, you do not have a competition.”
This is a completely different case from the Mercedes hearing in 2013, because then the Brackley team were deemed to have acted in good faith and with the co-operation of the FIA’s representative Charlie Whiting.
“We will announce the decision tomorrow morning at the latest,” said Jean-Christophe Breillat at the end today’s six-hour hearing. A full explanation of the reasoning behind the decision will be published “by the end of the week”.
Bell leaves Mercedes
Mercedes confirm that Bob Bell joined Ross Brawn and resigned early last December. The statement confirmed the timing and that Bell will stay with the team to the end of this season, then leave ‘with the intention of pursuing new challenges outside the company’.
Paddy Lowe will ultimately take charge of Bell’s remit.
Clearly Bob Bell isn’t ruling out another role in F1 but is being prevented from doing so immediately by being held to the notice period of his contract of employment.
Having changed the terms of Brawn’s employment which commanded ultimate control, the team were unable to prevent him leaving immediately.
Rumours will no doubt abound that Bell left in conjunction with Brawn, and wherever he may surface, Bell will also.
Sochi F1 GP under threat
Following the Russian annexing of Crimea, TJ13 reported there were moves under way to cancel the inaugural F1 GP in Sochi. Whilst at this time, those who are pressing for this course of action remain unidentified, should there be no change in relations between Russia and the rest of the G8 and the majority of the United Nations representatives, this will become inevitable.
Yesterday, World Superbike event organisers decided to cancel the Russian round which was scheduled to be held in Moscow on September 21.
They stated, “The current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event. Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail. It is a common intention to continue with the organisation of the WSBK Russian Round in 2015 and for the remainder of the contract period up to 2021”.
Ecclestone travelled to Sochi to meet president Putin following the winter para-Olympics closing ceremony as an act of unity over the schedule race later this year. The Russian president has associated himself personally with the up-coming event and its preparations.
Clearly F1 has global international partner’s who find it impossible at present due to their host governments’ political positions to contemplate being associated with an event held in Russia. It is merely a matter of time before one of them breaks ranks and says ‘no to Sochi’.
In days past, there have been punitive clauses imposed by FOM which prevents sponsors from withdrawing their brands and logo’s from the teams under any circumstances.
Many believe Ecclestone and FOM’s hardline stance on refusing to allow Vodafone to abstain from advertising on the McLaren car during the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, was the reason they pulled out of F1 one year early.
These kinds of international corporations will already be demanding exclusion clauses which allow them to abstain from advertising their brands in countries where they feel this course of action is counter productive to their value.
A moralistic argument that sport and politics should remain separate may be tenable when the rights of individual athletes are most at stake. But when brands worth billions begin to take the hit – to coin a phrase, “it’s a whole new ball game”.
Haas gets F1 license
If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, this may be very interesting. Haas speaks openly and takes Q&A regarding his newly granted F1 license and the team he is quickly putting together.
@F1 in America provided a live twitter stream of the main points during the interview. Here it is if you don’t have time to what the entire video.
AS WITH ALL THINGS TWITTER – YOU MUST READ FROM THE BOTTOM TO TOP FOR CHRONOLOGY
Q: What gives you the confidence to succeed where USF1 failed? Gene Haas: “I think I have 50% of the parts right now [to build an #F1 car]”
Gene Haas: “We have a plan to make [#HaasF1] profitable over 5 years”
Q from Joe Saward: Is there a simulation program already in place, how quickly can car be developed? #HaasF1
Timetable set around June to set a start date for racing – Gene Haas: “2015 too close, 2016 too far” for 1st race #HaasF1
Q: Will your chassis accept a driver the size of Tony Stewart? Gene Haas: “I don’t think there’s a problem” #haasformula
Guenther Steiner on putting team together – talking to Stefano Dominicali, Niki Lauda regarding partners #haasformula
Gene Haas: “I have a wind tunnel..build machine tools…race cars…maybe where [others] have failed I [will succeed]” #haasformula
Joe Saward Q: “How do you go about getting everything together” Guenther: “Define our tech. partner, then go from there…” #haasformula
Q: What did you learn from NASCAR to apply in #F1? Gene Haas: “We’re not making the same mistakes…this is going to be a people organization”
Gene Haas: “I’ll try it even if I do fail…the greatest satisfaction is to do what other Americans haven’t done” #haasformula
Q: Did USF1 cast a shadow over your efforts? Gene Haas: “Cast a long shadow…I respect that they tried…I’m here to prove [America] can do it”
Gene Haas on #F1: “Its a challenge, difficult to do . . . we do this every day . . . lot of similarities to what happens in a NASCAR garage”
Gene Haas and the American way of doing things: “We do things that others think can’t be done all the time” #haasformula
#HaasFormula team costs: “Billions and billions [jokingly] . . . exponential rise in costs are in the past, rules look much more favorable”
Gene Haas: “we would like 2015” for a start, coming weeks will determine tech partners and timeline to 1st race #HaasFormula
Ferrari push for regulation change
Ferrari are still raging against the machine that is the new F1. Their leader left the Bahrain GP 10 laps before the end, so it could be his Consigliere have not advised him how riveting the rest of the world found the closing laps of the race.
Today Maranello publish the following on Ferrari.com
“The president of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagò, agrees with the survey run by the Ferrari website on the new Formula 1 format: ‘I speak on behalf of Italian sports people and fans, I don’t like this Formula 1 and in my opinion it’s delivered a product that has absolutely no sense,’ said the top man of Italian sport at the launch of the Italian International Tennis tournament in Rome.
‘In my opinion, it’s a form of self-harm. I hope the people who run the sport look again at the rules because the way Formula 1 is now, it has much less appeal and that’s a shame as it is an extraordinary world.’”
Ferrari’s poll was the most ridiculous PR stunt ever and as even the most disreputable polling organisation would admit was a farce in its remit and collection of opinion.
Unfortunately, with the exception of maybe the tifosi, this damaged Ferrari’s credibility in the eyes of most F1 commentators and fans alike. During the radio 5 live transmission from Bahrain, James Allan, one of the sports senior media analysts repeatedly referred to the comments of Il Padrino – suggesting the new F1 was for taxi drivers – in a most disparaging manner.
One of the F1 twitter comedians, @WTF1, commented. “Who gives a shit what the Italian Olympic Committee think of Formula One? That’s like asking if Royal Ballet like football?”
It wouldn’t be unfair for casual observers to believe F1 is currently losing the plot at present with internal strife and bitter division rising by the day. All this during a period when teams and the sport are searching for new sponsors and money. In fact F1 merely presents as a group of insulated small minded people who cannot see the stupidity of their actions; and who in fact are not the smartest at anything much… other than building fast cars.