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Previously on TJ13:
Vettel’s super-strong carbon fibre chassis was ‘bent’
It was to be expected, certainly. Sebastian Vettel trailing Daniel Ricciardo this season was not on the agenda.
A four time World Champion who had won against the odds, defeating the mercurial Mark Webber and the rest of the world. Old Aussie retired for young Aussie but it would be like training a new puppy…. so went the logic.
During the winter, Vettel and Ricciardo both used the first chassis out of Red Bull’s autoclave. The engine was hopeless but when it ran it looked as good as any other car that has been produced by Milton Keynes over the years.
In Australia, Red Bull brought along two new chassis and young Dan qualified second, but that was OK, Vettel had failed to make Q3 because of the inclement weather. With the MGU-K not functioning his race was short.
At the next event, he out-qualified Danny and finished third. Bahrain he had to make way for the Aussie and the same order was given in China after seemingly another poor race. In Spain he was given the original winter testing chassis and despite problems throughout the weekend raced to an eventual fourth position.
Of course, the German media is as biased for their “boy” as the Brits are for their Lewis and Jenson or in fact any national newspaper would be towards a countryman – it sells papers.
Auto Motor und Sport – a German paper – is reporting that the chassis Vettel had been using was in fact bent. Red Bull themselves confirmed they had found no problems, yet Michael Schimdt, the newspapers journalist said further investigations revealed the problem.
Which is all fine and dandy if this was aluminium that the teams were using, Carbon fibre revolutionised that motor-sport industry because of it’s inherent strengths vs lightness. Never in the annals of F1 history has there been suggestion that a carbon fibre chassis had ‘bent’. Cracked certainly, written off due to damage – also, but bent…
Of course, Vettel this hyper sensitive driver that Mr Horner speaks about is quoted as saying, “I do think it made a difference – a second down to Ricciardo was too much. I had not forgotten how to drive.”
You’ve got to laugh
There are times in life when the utter absurdity of something – regardless of the seriousness of the issues – will just make you laugh. Should the decision be made to run these style of head protectors… designed to stop dogs scratching their ears… for the remainder of the season, I will never be able to look the rear end of a 2014 F1 car seriously in the eye – again.
In fact, for a few dollars more, the teams should invest in projecting a holographic image of each of the drivers’ faces into the mouth of the trumpet, because it would be a damn site easier recognising who is who than by trying to read the car numbers or keep up to date with the latest helmet fashions.
Mercedes are clearly taking the p%6s out of Bernie Ecclestone, though he’s probably too old and missing some of his faculties, so he won’t notice. We really need someone to be running F1 who gets what is important and isn’t prone to continually make the sport a laughing stock.
Mercedes need to be careful with this idea, it may already be patented.
A couple of wacky race promoters moan about the sound of the new V6 Turbo’s and FOM TV either can’t or won’t deliver more realistic sound from their broadcasts and we have to strap on apnedagaes to the rear of the F1 cars, last seen when Arthur Scargill was manning the picket lines.
As Motorsport in Pubs suggested on twitter, “Maybe drivers could pick their own sound”, just as they do with their number. Here’s an idea for Kimi.
The cars in the flesh sound great. I can confirm this from attending circuit after circuit. It is time FOM TV coughed up the cash required to properly record the sound of the cars for the global and important viewing audience – unless of course Ecclestone is trying to knock down the price of the sport and buy it back on the cheap.
As an aside, the Mercedes megaphone exhaust – rather predictably – is producing a significantly louder sound than the previous exhaust outlet, say some……. Others say not. Mmm.
Things at Woking are not going well at present – in fact about as badly s they could be. Yet the historic British marque have decided to throw their two penneth into the cost cutting debate. This solution not only saves money but brings a retro feel to how things were when McLaren last won anything of note.
Following Super Max’s table topping time in the test in Barcelona yesterday – set on the super softs… which would have been P4 in Q3 on Saturday – TJ13 suggests, teams spending under $100m should be allow to use softer compounds in qualifying than the others.. just saying!
Caterham withdraw from test
“Team spirit is what Airasia has. A can do attitude and what QPR didn’t have last season. This season amazing ream spirit. Wr have learnt” So tweeted Tony Fernandez less than 24 hours ago.
Two out of three isn’t bad, eh Tony? With recent tweets about purchasing a new Airbus for his aviation business, and further multi-million pound investments made with players for his football club – it would seem that team spirit starts from the very top – except with Formula One. Observers cannot help wondering if the team’s attempts to establish a mid-field position wouldn’t be better served by a stronger team focus from the boss. It has long been felt that Fernandez doesn’t have his heart in Formula One and maybe their cutting their testing short is due to financial reasons rather than purely technical.
Fernandez told the Caterham team at the start of the season, “If we’re at the back I don’t think I’m going to carry on. Nothing is set in stone but after five years with no points there is a limit to one’s patience, money, motivation, etc, so it’s an important year. I need to feel like we’re going somewhere. If I feel we can compete, then great but if we’re not competing then we have to seriously examine ourselves and ask ‘does this make sense?’ If we’re not competing, two seconds behind everybody else, then we haven’t made any progress.”
Yesterday, Kamui Kobayashi was testing the Caterham in Barcelona when he lost control and spun: “Unfortunately in the last half hour I went off in turn three on run 22 and hit the barriers pretty hard. There is quite a lot of damage to the car so I’m sorry for the guys in the garage who now have a long night ahead to fix the car, but the only good thing is that it was at the end of the day after we’d got through most of the runplan.”
In a brief statement this morning, Caterham announced, “Having assessed the damage to chassis CT05-#03 after Kamui’s accident yesterday in the final half hour of T05 day one we have decided not to run on day two. While obviously not ideal, this ensures the team can now focus on the next Grand Prix in Monaco starting next week.”
Robin Frijns was set to drive today.
Other early morning test news see’s Sebastian Vettel absent from the circuit for the first 2 hours. The obsession to continue developing the RB9 to win 9 consecutive races at the end of 2013, together with the game of catchup for the RB10 – has left the team critical on a range of vital spare components. Vettel may not take to the circuit at all today, and if he does expect some ‘gentle times’.
Vettel catching some rays as his car is fixed again
Susie Wolff is in the Williams car today and has to date spun off several times, causing one of 3 red flags so far. She is currently 6 seconds slower than pace setter Pastor Maldonado.
Smedley, glad to be out of Ferrari
Sometimes when trying to summarise a story in a headline, you just have to say what may not being actually said verbatim.
Whilst initially refusing to criticise Ferrari and stating, “I don’t like to talk about Ferrari,” Rob Smedley has revealed that Ferrari are still in a mess over the correlation between part design, projected impact on the car of new aero designs – and the reality when the part is fitted and the car runs on track..
Massa’s former race engineer is stunned by the difference between the results he is seeing at Williams when compared to his old stomping ground. “At Williams, the correlation between the wind tunnel and the track is amazing. When compared to my previous experience, it is something that has impressed me. Everything we take to the track ends up on the car, so it really does improve from race to race,”
Let’s hope Fernando Alonso doesn’t read this, yet for all the money Ferrari spend, the idea that their car development is some kind of blind search for improvements, is shocking indeed.
Ferrari Designer: “try this winglet lads… it should be great… wind tunnel results are impressive”.
1 hour later after running the car with the new part
Ferrari Designer: “So it was good…. Yes? Fernando will be happy?”
Garage crew member: “Nope….sorry….its slower and he’s not happy… anything else?”
Ferrari Designer: “Funny you should ask. Try this winglet….. it should be great….. wind tunnel results are impressive”.
Garage Crew member: “Ok… thanks…… Lads, register this. New part number 5934. Expectation to be better…. place your bets now please”
Berger says Lauda will become a nanny
In an interesting choice of phrase, Gerhard Berger claims he has already told Niki Lauda he is in for a tough year. Speaking to the APA news agency, “I have already told him [Lauda] that he will be like a nanny this year,” quipped Berger, the former co-owner of Toro Rosso.
Berger in an apparent dissent from the majority, believes that the Brackley based team will not dominate for the rest of the season. Even the at times delusional Dr. Marko told Bild yesterday, “We probably cannot catch up the advantage that Mercedes has”.
Yet Berger is insistent that the current state of affairs between the two Mercedes drivers will not remain. “It’s still early, with everyone getting on well,” he said. “But I don’t think it will be long before Rosberg and Hamilton clash.”
TJ13 penned a piece prior to the Barcelona which stated Nico needs to begin getting under Hamilton’s skin if he wants to become world champion this year. In another article, we suggested a less compromising approach on track from Rosberg was necessary, to remind Hamilton he has no right to defend at all costs.
Berger is saying much the same thing when he observes, “Hamilton is maybe the fastest in the field, but he’s very emotional,” However, “I think it is possible to put him out of balance. Rosberg knows that he must be clever to compensate for the slight advantage Hamilton has with natural speed”.
Niki Lauda has said he wants his drivers to keep it clean amongst themselves until the competition is out of sight – “then they can drive over each other if they want,” stated the maverick Austrian.
Yet for Nico to regain the momentum Lewis has at present, Berger thinks this will happen sooner rather than later. “Niki will have his hands full soon. I am sure that with his [Rosberg] determination and perseverance, he will make Hamilton’s life difficult,”
In terms of the balance of power within the Mercedes AMG F1 Hybrid team, Monaco becomes the next pivotal moment. This circuit is one infamous for incidents during the race on the narrow and windy streets of the principality.
Rosberg has in the past been quick over 1 lap in Monaco and a pole position with Hamilton finding trouble from say – a charging Maldonado 😉 – could see all of Lewis’ hard work over the past four races wiped away.
25 points for Nico and a DNF for Lewis, means the Englishman will be battling until almost the summer break to once again some kind of lead in the driver standings.
Conversely, if Hamilton demonstrates he is the complete package, and finds a way to start ahead of his team mate. Then as Gerhard Berger suggests, Rosberg must resort to more desperate tactics to unsettle Lewis and test his metal strength.
Hamilton wants some competition this year
Michael Schumacher won the 1994 F1 championship despite being disqualified from effectively 25% of the races. His deliberate crash into Damon Hill in Adelaide assured him his first title. That he had little respect for Hill was highlighted in the following season when he expressed on a number of occasions how little regard he had for his abilities. Without doubt this psychological attack on his British rival affected him as his title challenge crumbled and Schumacher secured his second title with some ease.
Somebody in authority mentioned to Schumacher that his constant criticism of his only championship rival was actually de-valuing his own contribution as many suspected the Benetton team was run with its focus on the German driver, the Williams was constantly breaking down and Hill was obviously not a worthy challenger. At which point Michael began speaking of how much respect he had for Damon and for having pushed him so hard…
Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly said he does not want to run away with an unchallenged F1 title this year, which suggests much about how he really feels about Nico Rosberg’s true level. Following winter testing which reported that Rosberg spent considerably more time with his engineers than Lewis – he retorted that he gave the same feedback but in less time. It would not have escaped his notice that for all Nico’s technical input, he has been asked by Mercedes to test Nico’s clutch..
Speaking to Italy’s Autosprint after testing in Barcelona he declared he wants competitors like Red Bull to close the gap. “I hope so, I need competition. At the beginning of the year Nico and I ran away from the others, but I don’t think that will happen in Monaco. Anyway, it doesn’t affect my motivation. If I was all alone with a huge advantage every time, maybe it would.” then remembered to add, “But Nico is always close anyway.”
The British media are typically condescending of anyone that doesn’t speak with a plummy accent. Nigel Mansell for years was lampooned for being a Brummie (born in England’s Midlands region) yet he was a qualified engineer. In similar fashion, mention is made of Hamilton being educated in Stevenage – another area of the UK which is not seen in a favourable light whereas his team-mate had the best of educations, a Monaco resident and speaks fluently in a number of languages.
Having the ability to memorise information that an education system requires you to use to answer pre-set questions supposedly defines your ability. But nowhere in these vaunted systems is there a test which applies to ‘real-life’.
Barcelona day 2 – Lotus on top
Similar to yesterday’s ‘shock’ results, Lotus and Maldonado topped today’s testing with an impressive 1m 24.871s. Maldonado also managed to keep the
pitchfork car on track and completed a total 102 laps, a number equaled by the Mercedes of Rosberg (with attached vuvuzella) and bested by young Stoffel Vandoorne who managed a total of 136 laps.
Commenting on his apperance Vandoorne said “This has been a fantastic day for me: my first experience in a Formula One car, and a really great opportunity to get plenty of laps under my belt,”
“I want to say a big thank-you to the team – everyone has been incredibly helpful and positive. It’s also great to have been able to contribute to the test programme: 136 laps today was a fantastic achievement, and it’s great that it’s earned me my Formula 1 Superlicence.”
Williams development driver Suzie Wolf had her chance to shine on track today. Her programme for today involved some aero test work and control systems testing and which she completed in the morning, even with a spin and a trip into the kitty litter.
After the test session Suzie commented saying she learnt a lot about how to drive the new car and compared with last year’s car where a driver went faster if he pushed harder, this years car was more about management. Mentioning her trip off the tarmac she played it down to the car having “a lot more torque which was a steep learning curve, and this caught me out at the beginning of the session.”
Satisfied with a good day’s work but will we see her in a race at some point or is this as good as it gets for the lady from Scotland?