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Previously on TJ13:
Mercedes secret confirmed
Paddy Lowe met up with Giorgio Piola before the Chinese Grand Prix and congratulated him on his discovery of one the secrets that has provided Mercedes with a dominant car.
“Giorgio, you have uncovered one of our secrets but I’d like you to see the car at the end of the season so you can appreciate the other innovations we have designed which deserve as much credit for the car’s performance.”
Last year, Ross Brawn had spoken before his departure that the initial design route for the Mercedes W05 was too conservative and a decision was made after the summer break to chase very specific design goals with the new car.
As has been reported in recent weeks, the turbo and a smaller compressor are located at either end of the engine with the MGU-H mounted in the middle and connected by a shaft. The compressor is situated nearest the bulkhead whilst the turbo is located close to the gearbox. This design route was chosen because in its original spec – the hot air was heating the air coming through the air intake that was feeding the engine.
The heat exchanger for the engine has also been housed within the chassis with cooling ducts designed into the chassis. The Mercedes team also chose to use a very short exhaust which loses about 15bhp from the optimum; but the team felt the benefits of more efficient cooling allied to a less aerodynamic compromise out-weighed the loss of this power.
Aldo Costa and his team have thus been able to reduce the frontal area of the car and the placement of the relevant parts have allowed the team to reduce their dependency on longer cables, wires and pipework, which in turn has brought the car closer to the 692kg weight limit.
Mercedes have also chosen to run a larger turbo than the opposition and its reduction of turbo lag means less power needs to be harvested from the ERS to keep the turbine spooled off throttle. The surplus energy is transferred to MGU-K which delivers instant energy to the power train whilst increasing economy.
The significance of this design is that although the MGU-K is limited to recovering only 2MJ from the braking system, the MGU-H is unlimited and the Mercedes can therefore recover all it’s power levels in the regulated 36 seconds per lap that would require the other teams 50 seconds to achieve. In essence Mercedes do not have to waste a lap replenishing the full amount of electrical charge as their competition currently has to.
Ferrari and Renault are aware of this ‘secret’ installation but due to the FIA’s homologation freeze of February 28th, they are powerless to do anything this year. In a year of massive change, with limited testing both before and during the season and with the biggest change in technology in a generation, it would have made more sense to allow the manufacturers a twelve month period to get their technology up to requirements.
There are arguments for and against testing but in a similar manner to last year’s disgraceful witch-hunt of Pirelli, something has to change. Why would any company want to get involved in F1 when the supposed benefit to road car development is hampered by restrictive rules that do not allow progress.
Mattiacci begins flexing his power
Reports from Italy are suggesting that the new team principal Marco Mattiacci has already begun making changes to the Ferrari infrastructure. He has received confirmation from Luca di Montezemolo that both human and financial resources will be made available to identify and effect a change for the 2014 season.
LdM and MM are reorganising the race department to produce technical solutions faster than the competition by streamlining internal procedures – “…implementing a simplification of the organisation aimed at strengthening key areas to add to the performance of the car. In addition support will be given to suppliers to reduce the reaction time to requests arriving from Maranello, limiting the delay of each component from prototype to the finished product.”
The Reparto Corse is still unsure if the F14-T’s current form was displayed in Alonso’s drive to the podium or if it’s true pace is what was displayed by Raikkonen. In similar fashion to Vettel, Raikkonen is struggling with his new car and despite him “looking like the man who left Ferrari in 2009” observers insist he hasn’t lost his ability over the winter after an impressive season last year.
In Spain in three weeks time Ferrari is expected to debut a new ‘extreme’ nose that has been kept under wraps since the launch of the car and further developments in fuel are coming from Shell who have reduced the horsepower deficit to Mercedes to around 20bhp. The software technicians are working on updates that will allow better integration of the two electric motors and a new aero package will be ready for the F14-T’s first major upgrade.
Perhaps of most significance is the message coming from Ferrari. There are still 15 races to go and it’s the ideal opportunity to assimilate the working groups into a collective whole. The 2015 design has already had about two months of work dedicated to it but any developments from this season will be built into the design of the new car.
Mattiacci is seen by the Agnelli family as Ferrari’s ‘Golden Boy’ and has delivered record sales to the company in different zones around the world. The politics behind his appointment will become clearer as time goes on but it’s a remarkable coincidence that he is taking over the most demanding job in Formula One at the same age that LdM took over the presidency of Ferrari in 1991.
Chinese flag official in need of hearing aid
The first indication the world had of the chequered flag being waved before the scheduled number of laps had been completed was when Lewis Hamilton stated to the Mercedes team – “I’ve just seen the flag”.
Martin Brundle and David Croft argued the message and couldn’t come to any definitive conclusion as to what Lewis had meant. It was shortly after the race that the full implications became clear.
Article 43.2 of the sporting regulations dictates that if the chequered flag is waved early, even in error, the race is over which nullified Kamui Kobayashi’s last-lap pass. A fight over 17th position will never make the headlines but it does not bear thinking about the legal consequences if it had been a pass for the race victory.
With two laps left to run, local race director Zhunag Tao asked Charlie Whiting if a white flag should be shown for the penultimate lap. Zhuang relayed Whiting’s response to the flag man saying “No flag now” but the Chinese official did not hear or misunderstood the word “No.”
Considering the vitriol being expressed by different factions of F1 – as to the lack of noise with the new era – it seems astonishing that an official could even suggest ‘sound’ as being a problem.
Hakkinen blasts Vettel for ignoring orders (GMM)
Fellow world champion Mika Hakkinen has criticised Sebastian Vettel for ignoring team orders. Although Red Bull and the German driver have claimed Vettel ultimately decided to let teammate Daniel Ricciardo past in China, initially he answered “tough luck” when the radio call came. Finn Hakkinen, the now-retired 1998 and 1999 title winner, is unimpressed.
“For Vettel it’s an unpleasant surprise that Ricciardo is beating him,” he said, “but instructions from the team have to be followed. Even last year I was surprised by Vettel’s behaviour towards his team, and now it goes on,” Hakkinen, obviously referring to the ‘Multi-21’ scandal involving Mark Webber in 2013, told Hermes in an interview.
“Behaving like that will, sooner or later, hurt him. Maybe he (Vettel) is planning to change teams, but right now he’s not behaving in the right way,” he added.
Hakkinen also commented on Ferrari’s shock management switch, after Stefano Domenicali was suddenly replaced as team boss by the mainly unknown Marco Mattiacci.
“Stefano is a friend,” Hakkinen said, “but sometimes change is necessary. It’s difficult to say whether Ferrari has made the right decision, but when large companies are not getting results, heads can roll.”
When asked about Mattiacci, the former McLaren driver said: “Only time will tell how he will go, but if you don’t have much experience in formula one, it will be difficult to get straight down to work.”
The first morning’s proceedings from Munich courtroom A101
TJ13 reported a number of months ago that the Ecclestone trial beginning today in Munich, would sit for just 2 days a week to facilitate the F1 – so called – “supremo’s” schedule, much to the incredulity of some of our German colleagues.
Today the long awaited trial begins, and it is scheduled for no less than 13 weeks.
The man who has shaped Formula 1 for the past 4 decades arrived in a dark suit and told the jostling media, “I’m confident, the sun is shining,” Ecclestone faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Ecclestone is sat between his lawyer and his interpreter. The Judge, Peter Noll, begins proceedings by asking the defendant politely, “How should I pronounce your name?”.Ecclestone appeared before Noll previously as a witness in the Gribkowsky trial, but he responds “Ecclestone is fine”.
Judge Noll practices the name out loud, “Ecclestone”, emphasising the “o” as in “stone”, which performed with a German accent sounds grand and proper.
In what would appear to be light hearted banter Judge Noll observes that the indictment states Ecclestone is divorced. “I thought you were married”, queries Noll. “Both are correct”, replies Ecclestone to much amusement in the courtroom. On a roll, Bernie adds, “I like to remember the divorce part”
Judge Noll reminds Ecclestone that his current marital status may be crucial in relation to certain financial transactions. Then in a very judge like manner he concludes the checking of technicalities reminding Ecclestone, “Those were the simpler questions in this process.”
The counsel for the prosecution then read the 22 page indictment. This is followed by Ecclestone’s lawyer commencing reading of a statement on behalf of his client, it is in the first person, and he advises the court this may take several hours.
Back at base in London it appears matters are unravelling much more quickly than expected. CVC are already briefing that Bernie Ecclestone’s time in Formula 1 is over. Sources close to CVC are quoted by Kevin Eason of the Times stating, “In truth, it (Ecclestone’s reign) has been over for a while, but Bernie has been allowed to continue as the face of the sport until this legal advice, which was devastating.”
The advice referred to is that of CVC’s lawyers. Following Judge Newey brandishing Mr. E as “untruthful and unreliable” in his summation of the Constantin vs Ecclestone case, the board of CVC were advised that Ecclestone must now be removed from his public role in Formula 1.
Ecclestone was forced to resign his statutory directorships from the myriad of inter-connected companies which own the commercial rights to Formula 1. All contractual matters requiring signatures were reassigned from Ecclestone to Donald MacKenzie along with all decisions on anything more than mundane day to day matters.
CVC have been biding their time before finalising the severance with Ecclestone, believing that damming evidence of a criminal nature will emerge from the proceedings in Munich, deflecting any criticism of them acting in a precipitous manner.
The way it once was at McLaren