Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 20th April 2014

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Previously on TheJudge13

F1 Polls: 2014 CHINESE GRAND PRIX – Driver of the Weekend

F1 Forensics: Pre-Race Discovery – ChinaGP

On This Day in #F1 – 20th April 1927


Newey with Webber at Silverstone, not in China (GMM)

Dennis hits back at Horner’s stance on Fallows (GMM)

Whitmarsh set for $10m McLaren payout – report (GMM)

Lotus bullied over budget cap axe – Lopez (GMM)


Newey with Webber at Silverstone, not in China (GMM)

Adrian Newey chose overcast Silverstone over smoggy Shanghai for the weekend of the Chinese grand prix. Speed Week reports that Red Bull’s technical boss will not be on the Shanghai pitwall on Sunday because he is actually trackside at Silverstone.

It is at the British grand prix venue that the season opener of the world endurance sports car championship is taking place, and Newey has been spotted chatting with Red Bull’s newly-retired driver Mark Webber. This weekend, Australian Webber is kicking off his new career as Porsche’s lead prototype driver.

“It was just a shorter journey to Silverstone than it was to Shanghai,” a smiling Newey explained.

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Dennis hits back at Horner’s stance on Fallows (GMM)

Ron Dennis is keeping the pressure on Red Bull, after an employee reneged on a deal to switch teams. On Saturday, the McLaren supremo vowed to take F1’s reigning world champions all the way to the High Court, after Dan Fallows decided at the last minute to return to Red Bull rather than start work at Woking.

“He’d got no lawful right to change his mind in that way,” Dennis told us from Shanghai. Dennis said Fallows did not answer phone calls, texts or emails, but when asked about the legal battle on Saturday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hit back: “Perhaps Ron would have been better giving me a call.”

Dennis has now described Horner’s attitude as “a bit rich. We formally emailed Christian Horner more than two weeks ago, asking him about Dan Fallows’ whereabouts, so it’s a bit rich for him to say ‘Why didn’t Ron call me?’ now,” said the 66-year-old.

“The point is that Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren yet Red Bull chose to ignore that and instead convince him to return to Red Bull,” Dennis told us on Sunday before the Chinese grand prix.

TJ13 comment: It appears that Ron Dennis may be somewhat hypocritical in his choice of words. Adrian Newey had signed a contract with Jaguar F1 in June 2001 and was to take over for the 2002 season, yet Ron Dennis came back and made Newey an offer that would prove irresistible. Newey changed his mind and remained at Mclaren before the Red Bull team was created from the remnants of the Jaguar F1 team.

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Whitmarsh set for $10m McLaren payout – report (GMM)

Ousted boss Martin Whitmarsh could walk away from McLaren with a $10 million payout.

Last month, when Eric Boullier became the British team’s new chief in the wake of supremo Ron Dennis’ return to power, it was rumoured Whitmarsh agreed not to speak to the media while his contract payout is negotiated. “Martin is a friend,” Dennis said in March. “Some decisions you take in life are not that easy, and I will not elaborate.”

Britain’s Daily Mail now reports that while Whitmarsh’s severance package is still being negotiated, it is “likely” to be around $10 million. Correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said the figure is more than $400,000 for each of the 24 years Whitmarsh served at McLaren.

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Lotus bullied over budget cap axe – Lopez (GMM)

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez on Sunday indicated he was unhappy to have joined the opposition against the introduction of budget caps. The powerful ‘Strategy Group’ teams – comprising the ‘big four’ Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren but also Williams and Lotus – recently wrote to Jean Todt indicating they would not approve the FIA president’s cap proposal. Williams is included in the group due to the team’s past success and history, while Lotus is also a member after finishing the 2013 season in fourth place.

But Lopez hinted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the two smaller teams were bullied into signing the letter. “Williams and us were pulled over the table,” he is quoted as saying.

The biggest teams, however, argue not only that the proposed $200 million cap would not help their small rivals, but that it could not even be effectively policed. And Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is quoted on Sunday: “It makes no sense to introduce rules that are not supported by the three major teams.”

The big teams’ counter-proposal is for cost cuts to be achieved by introducing some new technical and sporting regulations. “We need to find meaningful limits,” Wolff explained, “such as extending the parc ferme or the curfew. We need to discuss, for example, whether it is sensible to fly in new parts on every day during a race weekend, or 24 hour shifts before races.”

The small teams, however, are sceptical, believing that the big teams are already finding ways around the existing cost-saving measures, such as limited wind tunnel use. “When I see the downforce of the big teams, it’s impossible within the allowable limits,” a representative of one small team is quoted as saying.

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14 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Sunday 20th April 2014

  1. Thought it would be a good time to bring this up. Hamilton is rarely given credit for being too bright, but can we admit that his move from mclaren to Mercedes was absolutely inspired? Even looking at last year alone you couldn’t argue with that, but you have to admit now that he probably had some info on the scale of Mercedes’ investment in the 2014 car (and PU in particular), so hats off to him for taking, what appeared at the time, to be a very bold step.

    • Lol, yes, I was just thinking what Joe Saward would say if someone would confront him with what he wrote about Hamiltons move to Mercedes back when it was a rumor. Unfortunately I’m banned for questioning his wisdom on another matter, so I can’t do it. I must say though that his credibility took permanent damage in my eyes.

      • I’m banned by coffee shop Joe too, he is a self-righteous bell end, who thinks he is important for some reason. I pretty much told him so when I took him to task over a story he had “copy & paste” from autosport pot all places and was still 3days later than the rest of the media getting it out. Suffice to say he didn’t like it up him much and as a consiquence I’m banned! Can’t say it was any real loss, TJ13 sorts me out just fine, now on my second full season and I got no plans to move on. Even JA on F1 was become swamped with blinkered fanboys who will argue black is white all day long!
        Maybe all the gimmicks F1 was been introducing has started to attract those with IQ’s so low they write their posts in text speak and think that Senna is something you take for constipation!

        • I do like JA’s site and articles with Mark Gillan, especially the race history graph (same one is in GPL Replay Analyser), which surprisingly confused a lot of commenters on that site. I don’t bother posting comments there.. but I remember congratulating Carlo on winning his competition and getting a go in the Ferrari simulator (unless that was posted here). Nice of JA to get fans involved behind the scenes too.

          But sometimes I wonder if some of the rowdy commenters are the same people who used to slag off his commentary! Fanboy-ism and low IQ probably correlate quite well. No wonder he sticks to Radio 5 Live and the Australian feed now, along with the press conferences. Personally, I would swap him with Ben Edwards, but radio is the one that needs a good commentator to know what’s really going on.

    • There’s no doubt that Merc and RB are the ‘big teams’ in F1 now, while Ferrari and McLaren are playing catch up. They no doubt made it clear to Hamilton they had an engine advantage and were going to be the lead Mercedes team (with a budget to rival Red Bull, the lead Renault team, and Ferrari were being Ferrari). Mercedes will now be Senna’s McLaren, while his time at McLaren was more like mid-80s Lotus.

      McLaren would be better served putting that £10m into getting some more downforce on their car, rather than making an old colleague comfy. At the moment, they are the worst Mercedes team… Honda can’t come quick enough! Sky: Imagine if they had a Ferrari or Renault engine… well, we’ll see in 2015 if the Honda move is a plus or negative!

      • Unless they strap on some more downforce, McLaren could be waiting for Montreal before their next points finish.

      • 10 million for making McLaren effectively a mid-table team while he was in charge is ridiculous. That amount would be better spent on developing their car.

        And yes, Hamilton was so right to leave McLaren. At least he is winning still or fighting at the front while McLaren are nowhere to be seen.

        • I think it is important for McLaren to do right by their exmployees (in this case, an executive, admittedly).

          And keep in mind, the alleged amt. is severance not just for work done at helm of F1 team, but rather, 24 total years of loyal service to the company.

          Furthermore, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that some of the richness of the alleged amount must be connected to MW’s not disparaging Macca in public or revealing any “secrets”.

          But the basic premise is sound: do well by your employees, especially when forcing them out despite (assumedly) a valid contract.

          • I can find nothing in your comment to disagree with. Based on what little I know about the situation, that amount sounds utterly plausible for such an “elite” exec.-employee.

            McLaren should give the appearance of being fair to Whitmarsh during the separation, and that, along with the payout, might neutralize any bad feelings and ensure no public fall-out or “tell-all” down the road.

            I really agree w/ what you conclude:

            > > “But the basic premise is sound: do well by your employees, especially when forcing them out despite (assumedly) a valid contract.” < <

  2. “Newey with Webber at Silverstone, not in China.”

    Looking for a new engine manufacturer?

  3. And Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is quoted on Sunday: “It makes no sense to introduce rules that are not supported by the three major teams.”
    Three major teams? Which one of the four has he relegated to an also-ran.

    • I read it that one of the four is supporting the budget cut rules or is not against them as strongly as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

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