Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 19th April 2014


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Previously on TheJudge13

#F1 Qualifying Review: Hamilton on Fire at the #ChineseGP

#F1 Circuit Profile – 2014: China, Shanghai International Circuit – Round 4

#F1 History: Chinese Grand Prix – 7th October 2007

Vettel admits struggling to beat Ricciardo (GMM)

Engine makers get to work on louder F1 (GMM)

Lotus wants engine equality with Red Bull (GMM)

‘Tactical’ rivals playing down chase – Rosberg (GMM)

Mercedes wanted three-race ban for Red Bull (GMM)

Lauda denies 80hp advantage for Mercedes (GMM)

Vettel admits struggling to beat Ricciardo (GMM)

World champion Sebastian Vettel on Saturday admitted he needs to up his game. The German has won the last four drivers’ titles on the trot, but all of them were alongside Mark Webber, who retired at the end of last season. Australian Webber was replaced at Red Bull by his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, who so far in 2014 has outqualified Vettel on no fewer than three out of four attempts.

Told that Ricciardo is clearly more competitive than Webber, Vettel said after qualifying in China: “Well, that’s (not) a compliment to Mark, I should say, in his absence. I think this year is very, very different, the cars are very different so I don’t think you can compare last year to this year,” he insisted.

“But nevertheless, I think Daniel is doing a very good job, he has not just had one good weekend, he had good weekends and so far he seems to be able to get the maximum out of the car,” Vettel admitted. “On my side, maybe I’m struggling a little bit more, but at the end of the day we have the same car — there’s nothing between cars, so if he manages to beat me, then he beats me on the circuit, fair and square.”

“Of course, that’s not to my liking but equally, I know that I have to do a little bit better.”


Engine makers get to work on louder F1(GMM)

F1’s engine manufacturers will focus their attention on the exhaust pipe as they work on spicing up the sound of the turbo V6 engines. Unhappy with the milder noise of the new and ‘green’ F1, Bernie Ecclestone recently said Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will work on making the 1.6 litre, turbocharged and energy recovery-boosted ‘power units’ sound better.

Told, however, that making the V6s loud would require a total redesign, Ecclestone told Sky: “All the air exits in the end out of what we call the exhaust pipe. So they can maybe do something there to make it sound a lot better.”

Indeed, F1’s three engine suppliers sat down in Shanghai on Friday for the first ‘noise’ meeting. Renault’s Rob White warned that the V6s will never sound like a normally-aspirated V8. “I think we need to be realistic about the scope of any action we might take,” he told reporters in China. Mercedes’ Andy Cowell added: “There are things we can do with the tailpipe, perhaps, to change the noise.”

Former F1 driver David Coulthard, meanwhile, said there are other aspects of the new engines that should be better appreciated. “We shouldn’t forget that these engines are very powerful and have more than 750 horse power when you factor in the renewable energy,” he told Austria’s Laola1.

“I’m a big fan of the louder F1 but in the days of Charlie Chaplin, there was a picture and no sound at all, and still the people were entertained. Certainly a bit more sound would not hurt,” Coulthard added.


Lotus wants engine equality with Red Bull (GMM)

Lotus has discovered it is second or even third in line for the best service offered by F1 engine supplier Renault. That is the claim of Michael Schmidt, the highly respected correspondent for Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. Earlier, we reported that Lotus has in China finally taken delivery of the latest incarnation of Renault’s turbo V6 ‘power unit’, as used by Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso in Bahrain.

Italy’s Autosprint had said the struggling Enstone team was unable to use the unit two weeks ago due to “other technical difficulties” with the E22 car. But it appears there is more to the story. Schmidt claims Renault, having invested only half the money in its V6 programme compared to dominant Mercedes, has been unable to produce enough parts to supply all of its team partners with the latest 2014 unit. “As the unofficial works team, Red Bull gets the best service,” he explained.

And as Red Bull has drafted its second team Toro Rosso into the process of speeding up the fixes to Renault’s problems, the Faenza team has “also benefited by getting the better engines every now and then”, Schmidt added. The Auto Motor und Sport report claimed that, in some cases, the engines used by Lotus this year have been 30 horse power off the pace of the leading Red Bull versions.

“Lotus is now sounding the alarm and is calling on Renault for equality with Red Bull,” said Schmidt. He explained that Red Bull has defended its status on the basis that title sponsor Infiniti is putting money into the engine development, but nonetheless Lotus will get full equality as from next month’s Spanish grand prix. “It is only a matter of time before we can deliver what we expect from the car,” Lotus’ Alan Permane is quoted as saying.


‘Tactical’ rivals playing down chase – Rosberg (GMM)

Nico Rosberg is sure Red Bull is playing down its title chances for “tactical” reasons. Although Mercedes’ chasers Red Bull and Ferrari appear closer to the pace in Shanghai, world champion Sebastian Vettel on Friday said he was driving behind a W05 in Shanghai and “it looked as though they could do whatever they liked. Maybe they are not showing us everything they are capable of,” Germany’s DPA news agency quotes him as saying.

As Mercedes’ rivals apparently catch up with the Brackley team, however, championship leader Rosberg admitted he smells tactics at play. “We will certainly not make the mistake of writing off Red Bull,” he told Der Spiegel. “They are trying to convey the impression that they have little chance of the championship,” Rosberg explained. “All tactical, I think. I am quite sure that Sebastian and Daniel (Ricciardo) will win races this season,” he added.

On the other hand, perhaps Mercedes is also playing its own tactical game. McLaren’s Jenson Button said on Friday that the German squad should not be overly concerned about the development pace of its rival teams. “It is not like Mercedes are going to stand still, it is going to be half a season before anyone else can challenge for a win,” Button argued.

Former F1 driver David Coulthard agrees, saying he has not seen one team with such a gap over the field since he drove for McLaren in 1998. “But even then, and also in the Ferrari era, they weren’t this far ahead,” he told Austria’s Laola1. “At that time it was half a second or one second per lap, but Mercedes is almost two seconds faster than anyone else. I very much hope that Ferrari and Renault can catch up,” said Coulthard, “otherwise it will be a very one-sided year.”


Mercedes wanted three-race ban for Red Bull (GMM)

Mercedes wanted reigning world champions Red Bull to serve a three-race ban for appealing against its Melbourne disqualification. Earlier rumours in the Shanghai paddock had hinted at Mercedes’ push for a ban, after Dr Helmut Marko said he was surprised by the “aggressiveness” with which Mercedes argued at the Paris appeal on Monday.

Although McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India also attended the appeal hearing, none of them “submitted any written observations, and none took any active part in the hearing”.

The information emerged officially late on Friday, as F1’s governing body revealed the full text of its decision to reject Red Bull’s appeal. Mercedes, on the other hand, did indeed play an active and forceful role in Paris, the car-maker’s lawyer saying Red Bull actually deserves “a more severe sanction”. It was believed Mercedes only wanted a suspended further penalty for Red Bull, but in fact it argued in writing that the court should ban the reigning world champions for “no less than three races”.

On top of the race ban, Mercedes called for “a disqualification for a further six months, suspended for a year”. Bild newspaper said Mercedes’ tough stance might be viewed in the context of 2013, when Red Bull attacked the Brackley team when the ‘secret’ Pirelli tyre test was revealed. “Was this the Silver Arrows’ revenge?” wondered correspondents Nicola Pohl and Lennart Wermke.

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda on Saturday tried to ease any bad feeling between the two camps by delivering a chocolate cake to the Red Bull hospitality area.

“I personally brought them an Austrian Sachertorte,” he told German television RTL. “It was just a nice gesture.”


Lauda denies 80hp advantage for Mercedes (GMM)

Niki Lauda has rejected suggestions Renault is trailing the pace by a figure of 80 horse power. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko has mentioned the figure – dominant Mercedes’ supposed advantage with its field-leading turbo V6 – on several occasions in the past weeks. But Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, said on Saturday: “How can anyone really know? The answer is that no one knows the horse power figures; not Mercedes, not Renault, not Ferrari,” he told German television RTL in Shanghai.

“We all know roughly what our engines are producing, but not the differences,” triple world champion Lauda continued. “You can make an estimate based on GPS data,” he said, “and how fast the cars are on the straight, but it also depends on whether the tyres are working, whether the aerodynamics are right … So many factors come together that you can’t clearly say that someone has 20 horse power more, or 80. We cannot judge that,” added Lauda.


37 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 19th April 2014

    • Speaking of the malign and retardative-influence of Ecclestone on Formula 1, why doesn’t our sport have in-car footage like the following that we can access via YouTube?

      INDYCAR® In-Car Theatre: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach


      It begins with Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe nearly stalling from second place during the standing start for the 2014 edition of the Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach and, sadly, ends with the talented Canadian embroiled in a hard, race-altering crash.

      During the intervening 18 minutes of in-car action, The Mayor of Hinchtown, his teammate, polesitter Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball, former teammates turned street course sparring partners Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal make wild passes, scrape bodywork and race fearlessly around the 1.9-mile seaside venue.

      Which driver made the best start? Which passes were fair and which ones went too far? Did Pagenaud leave the door open for Power, or did Power use force to make his way through?

      Enjoy as the hits, misses and high emotions continue to build throughout IndyCar’s latest In-Car Theatre. – indycars·

      • Heh heh, there is some up Skin old son. First 3 races all in car edited footage, half hour segments. Just gotta know the right buttons to push. Not expecting it to be there too long though……

        • Peter, this proves my point (I think)!

          The video I linked to above is produced and distributed/uploaded by Indycar themselves, so there’s no danger it will disappear (no jokes about little danger it’ll be watched, either lol 😉

  1. Much as I enjoy the GMM articles… I’m waiting for (1) TJ13s review of the full statement from the FIA on flowgate and (2) the Friday technical review from Dr JB.

      • It’s a news agency (i.e., the articles marked GMM are not written by TJ13 or her cohorts). I’m not sure if they are curated (that is, whether it’s a feed of *everything* GMM publishes, or whether it’s just selected articles – I think probably the latter from what I remember of the announcement, but I might be wrong).

        When a day passes with *just* GMM content, people can get a bit tetchy (especially on a race weekend), ’cause we primarily come here for the more opinionated content that this site carries 😀

        I personally feel that the GMM stuff does add to the site – if it means the Judge et al can spend more time on opinion pieces and speculative articles and not just the day to day fact reporting (and yet we still get to read that here), then it’s win-win.

        • just to ease the question, GMM stands for “German Mainstream Media”, but it better to ask his honour The Judge, as he may clarify if my assumption has some accuracy

        • The problem with GMM content is that it is often wrong and/or contains technical errors; for example, GMM confused kg/hour with kilograms of fuel for race distance. That may be a minor error, but it shows how GMM is not on top of things. GMM content is always suspect and, frankly, I think thejudge13 is making a BIG mistake filling this site with this unedited shit; I’m rapidly losing faith. The first sites I look at for news are F1fanatic, then Saward, then here; Saward is off line during race weekends, but he is at the races and has to work, so other sites can fill in with the timely details. TheJudge13 needs to up his game if he wants FIA passes to races. Just saying.

  2. What a massive waste of time and money this noise summit is.
    We dont use V8 anymore,the new PU’s will never sound like v8,can we please move on now?
    If Bernie bought a dog,would he complain that it doesnt sound like a cat?

    • Have to say after watching the 3 videos I mentioned above, there seems to be something of a muted 2-stroke coming thru – to me anyway – but I can still enjoy them.

  3. What’s going on with The Judge lately? Disappointing content, and a huge drop in comments. Could this be connected? Too much GMM, IMHO.

    • Regardless of GMM it’s a big holiday weekend, probably many folks are away. Plus, overall, quali was underwhelming compared to Bahrain and no more pointless arguing as ICA has rendered its decision. Fear not, I’m sure we could get into a Vettel v Ricciardo dialogue if you’re that bored. 🙂

    • I think it is very much connected.
      The quality of articles and quantity of comments has dropped dramatically since GMM showed up.
      Has anyone here ever read a GMM article and considered it to be ‘news’?

  4. I almost didn’t click on article due to the low # of comments. But quali was not as exciting as I expected. I’m in a Bahrain hangover.

    • That would be silly, no?

      Low # of comments should be an incentive, I woudl think, b/c you’d have great chacne to get heard your voice, no?

        • No, more like, “Here’s my really well thought-out expression of opinion on topic-x, which I’m very happy to share with you in the knowledge and excitement that it will most likely be seen by all who read comments, and not missed and/or not replied to if its buried 55 comments deep.”

  5. regarding noise, still I think there’s much to do with the huge single turbo, as it muffles more than the previous twin turbo setup

    broadcasting wise FOM is certain lacking or being hampered something in terms of sound capturing, I watched Indycars last week and it appears they do a better job regarding this area, of course there is also the lack of MGU and ERS, but they use twin turbo V6 running at same revs and, at least on transmission, they sound much better

      • well the answer is simple …..
        go watch Indycars then

        That’s a bit unfair and kinda rude to R/T, who isn’t talking shit on Formula 1 or saying that IndyCar is all that and a bagga chips.

        He’s just made a comparative reference to IndyCar’s success capturing and producing race coverage, and cites it as an example of the aural quality that F1 broadcasting could aspire to.

        The answer isn’t for R/T to go watch IndyCar. Rather, it’s for Formula 1 to figure out what – if anything – it’s TV production could learn from IndyCar (and/or any other series, for that matter) to improve what viewers hear at home.

        Some GP attendees say that the cars sound very good in-person, but that the full depth of the exhaust note and the rich texture of engine tone isn’t being conveyed faithfully…

        • I agree, the TV sound is atrocious. But IMHO that was true in the V8 era too. I’ve heard the V8s in the flesh and they were LOUD and SCREAMING. But, everyone wore earplugs to make them quieter anyway (so now they are relatively quiet, but SCREAMING). Except that now with earplugs in, you can’t hold a conversation with the person you’re sat next to (even when there are no cars going past) so the experience of watching a race live is all a bit awkward.

          It’s the pitch of the engine that I think people aren’t happy with (often referred to as a “growl”). So, this “noise working group” will hopefully come up with some clever geared exhaust noise generator that runs at twice the pitch of the actual engine. I remember using clothes pegs on the forks of my bicycle to attach playing cards between the spokes of the wheels when I was young – same sort of idea, I think.

          Anyway, back to TV. The car sound IMHO has *always* been too quiet. For the 5.1 surround mix, why don’t they just put the car noise feed into everything but the centre speaker, where the commentators would then go? Surround systems allow you to adjust the various levels of the speakers, so that would give us the ability to ramp up the car volume as much as we like in relation to the voices.

          • For me the appeal of the V8’s was the sound of potential destruction. I was amazed when the V10 engines revved to 21,000 rpm and survived. That sound was the sound of extreme machines at the edge; that’s what’s missing today. These current engines will last forever at maximum 15,000 rpm with pneumatic valves; I’d rather see some extreme machinery.

          • Addendum to my previous post: and the current engines are mostly running at 10,500 revs, the fuel flow cutoff.

      • Skinny Rhinno
        thanks for the support, you really got what I wanted to say

        you were quite harsh, as others stated, but I will not take it personally, so relax

        what I tried to point out, is the better sound dynamics of the Indycar broadcasting

        maybe as an user explained here before, they use different microphones that result in a much better sound “harvesting”, mainly depth wise, when compared to F1

        and without jumping at “conspiracy theory” bandwagon, or FOM is conciously doing the whole thing crooked, something I doubt, or they are incompetent to handle the “new” sound setup, ’cause when the transmission feed goes from fixed to moving cameras, everybody could notice that the sound is deeper, coherent to racing cars, not that dampened, dentist machine sounding thing

  6. Surely GMM’s info is better than no info. His honour can’t be expected to work 24/7 – he already works late into the night getting what he can out.
    At least with some info (albeit mainstream) it allows for discussion 24/7 from different timezones around the world, and keeps diehard F1 news hungry fans satiated!
    I’m still hungry….!

      • I believe His Honour introduced the GMM feed to guarantee a minimum amount of content – something which is required by FOM (?) to become “accredited” and thus get press access in the paddock. He is doing it with the plan to make this site even better than it already is, I think, as with that sort of access there would be more stories coming from “the horse’s mouth”.

        • So if I open a website with GMM feed will I also get ‘accredited’? No, this site needs original investigative content and comment. The Judge started off well, but……..somethings changed. Fat Hippo seems to be gone and that’s too bad, because his input made this place interesting. The Judge made some bold predictions that panned out; I would like to see more of that. There is some sort of critical mass that needs to be met for a site to be successful, and I thought His Honor The Judge had achieved that, but am now I’m wondering………

  7. 18 degrees C at Shanghai.
    Unfortunately only small chance of rain – will be interesting to see the cars that suffered in rain during quali come thru the field.
    Hopefully ric can hang on to ham, while ros and vet come together in the first corner! Alo for last podium spot – sweet

  8. I think we’re seeing Vettel’s weakness being amplified with the new PU and reduction of downforce. Vettel doesn’t like the rear end moving about so much. Remember Silverstone 2 (?) years ago when they lost the blown diffuser for the race and Webber out gunned him? So I guess Daniel is more comfortable with a loose rear. However, you will still notice that Vettel makes up a lot in the race, due to his superior strategic thinking/planning. This is to be expected, due to his experience, but Daniel will probably be catching him up in this regard. It will be interesting to see whether Daniel’s racecraft or Vettel’s driving improves the most over the year.

    • I think you’re right, that perhaps Ricciardo is more accustomed to a less-stable car producing less downforce.

      I wonder if that makes him a “better” driver than Vettel tho? Surely Vettel must still be considered a very talented driver. This confuses me.

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