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Previously on TheJudge13:
Sir Jack Brabham passes away aged 88
Brabham had been a Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic and ran a small engineering workshop before he started racing midget cars in 1948. Initially he was not taken with the idea of driving as the drivers “were all lunatics” but he eventually took over his friend’s Schonberg car and found he was competitive – winning on his third night’s racing. Success continued with Brabham stating that it was “terrific driver training, you had to have quick reflexes: in effect you lived – or possibly died on them”
By 1951 he began road racing and bought and modified racing cars from Cooper Car Company and from 1953 focused on closed circuit events. In competed in Australia and New Zealand until early 1955 by which time he had picked up the name ‘Black Jack’. This has been attributed to his dark hair and stubble, his ruthless approach on track and for maintaining a shadowy silence.
After the 1955 New Zealand Grand Prix he was persuaded to try a season of racing in Europe. He based himself in the UK and bought another Cooper to go racing with. The crowds loved his driving as he took corners “by using full steering lock and lots of throttle”
He became part of the Cooper Racing team, both driving and racing the cars and contributed to the design of the mid-engined cars that would revolutionise Formula One.
He made his Grand Prix debut at the 1955 British Grand Prix and retired but it was a non-Championship race at Snetterton that Brabham saw as the turning point. In a race where he fought Stirling Moss over third place, it would be a race that proved he could compete at the top level.
Sporadic appearances in a Maserati and Coopers during 1956 and 1957 gave no real indication of his ability although he won the 1958 Autocar Formula Two title and scored minor points in the World Championship.
By 1959, Cooper obtained 2.5 litre engines for the first time and Brabham won his first Grand Prix in Monaco. Three other podiums and a victory in Britain meant he was one of three men who could claim the title in the U.S Grand Prix as featured here.
Despite being champion he felt he could do better and asked his friend Ron Tauranac to come to the UK. Initially working on upgrade kits for his dealership – Jack Brabham Motors – the long term aim was to design race cars.
On the flight back from the 1960 Argentina Grand Prix, Brabham talked to John Cooper as Charlie Cooper had been reluctant to update their car, but the race had proven that others had been quicker prior to breaking down. Brabham helped design the advance Cooper T53 and after spinning out of the Monaco Grand Prix, won the next five races. His expertise in setting up the cars was a significant factor in the 1960 titles.
Brabham and Tauranac set up Motor Racing Developments and produced customer cars. In 1962 Brabham left Cooper to drive for his own team but the 1,500cc formula did not suit Jack Brabham and he did not win a single race during this era. “There was no way you could call those 1,500cc machines Formula One”
In 1965 he considered retirement and Dan Gurney was the teams lead driver but at season end he decided to set up his own team and Brabham decided to carry on.
1966 was the dawning of a new 3 litre era and he persuaded Repco – an Australian engineering company – to develop a V8 for him. Although Repco had no experience in designing engines, Brabham had identified aluminum V8 engine blocks from Oldmobile as suitable using existing components. They were aware that they wouldn’t compete in outright power but felt a lightweight reliable engine would achieve good results whilst other teams were developing their own..
At the 1966 French Grand Prix, Brabham became the first man to win a race in a car of his own construction. Three further victories in Britain, Holland and Germany were added to with a second at Monza and he secured his third World Championship in a car bearing his name and won the Constructors trophy too. The only man ever to achieve this accolade.
In 1967, Brabham’s team-mate Denny Hulme won the title. In a move that would be unheard of today, Jack tested all the new parts on his car first and suffered more unreliability issues than Hulme. Even so, the team took 1 and 2 in the drivers championship and won the Constructors too.
1968-69 were poor seasons for the Aussie and having no top driver to replace him for 1970 carried on in what would prove to be his final year in Formula One at the age of 44. During his career he lost 30 friends to accidents but in June 1970 the death of his friend Bruce Mclaren pushed him towards retirement.
“Losing Bruce McLaren actually was probably the biggest thing that turned me towards retirement. And that was something that really hurt – when Bruce McLaren was killed,” he said. He won his final F1 race in South Africa and raced successfully with Matra in sports-car racing but after his final top level race retired to Australia after selling his 50% of the team to Tauranac.
Murray Walker: “He became the first ever driver to win the world championship in a car carrying his own name. It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me that Jack has never had the recognition that I feel he deserves, I would describe Jack Brabham’s racing style as ‘forceful’. Woe betide you if you were behind Jack, if there was an opportunity for him to put a wheel off the circuit, and spray stones into your face to put you off your racing line, because Jack was a hard man on the track.”
Stirling Moss: “Brabham was always held in the highest esteem in racing circles. Sir Jack was the first Australian to come over and really make a mark. I mean, he is after all, he is one of the best known Australians in the world, I mean, you’ve got Don Bradman and a few other guys, but very few people in the world have achieved what he’s achieved in his sport. He was a really tough driver, I’ll tell you. I wouldn’t say dirty, but he really would push you around. Most of the drivers, once you’d passed them, you could forget about them. But Sir Jack – you never knew. He was always there, hunting along. He was competitive, I mean, he wanted to win.”
He was knighted for his services to motor-sport in 1978 and is succeeded by his sons Geoff, Gary and David, all of whom reached the top levels of motor racing.
“It’s a very sad day for all of us. My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning,” son David Brabham said in a statement.
“He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.”
Ferrari bury their heads in the sand – Back to the Future
Ferrari are doing well. In fact the results they have shown have been sensational.
Despite the fact they haven’t yet delivered the new California Turbo model and last year’s decision to limit output to retain the exclusivity of the Ferrari brand – the first quarter of the 2014 year has shown considerable growth. Sales value grew by 12% whereas delivery of cars dropped by 6%.
There is always high demand in the U.S market and despite limiting worldwide deliveries – sales there increased by 8% – or 494 cars. There have also been further increases in sale in the Middle East and the Far East. These figures were discussed by the Board of Directors recently and perhaps for the first time shows why Marco Mattiacci is regarded so highly within the corporate world.
These glad tidings have also brought promises from Il Padrino to make the necessary investments in the Formula One team, breaking budget constraints that had hampered Stefano Domenicali’s tenure.
Is this the Italian equivalent of bolting the stable door after the limping horse has bolted? They say everything is cyclical and obviously this applies to the most famous racing brand in the world too. Is it mere coincidence that the two greatest adversaries of the last forty years are having to make wholesale changes to their infrastructure to recapture their perceived rightful place at the helm of the sport?
Ron Dennis has not been shy in his return to the forefront of the team and yet he runs a concern that has always been acknowledged as being at the cutting edge of F1. Ferrari took years of rebuilding in the late 90’s and huge investments made by their partners brought unprecedented success but have they allowed the arrogance of being ‘Ferrari’ to undermine all the great progress.
With the departure of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne – it took merely two years for the team to seemingly fall apart. Of course the decision to ban in season testing affected the team more than any other. They had invested heavily with two test circuits available to them, Bridgestone paid for the constant testing and their simulation technology was not comparable to the British teams that have been using these sophisticated tools for years.
Pat Fry joined the team and reported it would take two to three years to get the infrastructure to acceptable levels and yet Ferrari continues to grasp at any engineer that they deem would be ‘honoured’ to work for the Italian Scuderia.
Aldo Cota was unceremoniously sacked when his 2011 design proved other than the fastest car, yet Brawn signed him immediately and his work is currently dominating Formula One. Other high profile employees have been dismissed or moved within the empire as they fell on their swords and still the whirlpool that is Ferrari continues avoiding responsibility.
Without guidance from a dedicated leader, old engineers have been enticed out of retirement to aid the cause. Rory Byrne, formally a brilliant chassis designer took over the 2014 design after completing his work with the road car division’s – LaFerrari – but his anticipated design is seemingly ready to be replaced.
Jean Jacques His, the retired Ferrari power train director has also been drafted in to the troubled race division. He joined Ferrari in 2003 and had most recently been responsible for the road car engines in the acclaimed 458, the California and LaFerrari.
His CV would suggest a brilliant engineer. Trained in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure du Petrole et des Moteurs – his career began with the Renault concern. In 1984 he was promoted to Renault Sport to work with their F1 turbo engines. As Renault pulled out of F1 he joined Ferrari and worked on their turbo engines and the new 3.5 litre V12 before rejoining Renault for 1988 where he pioneered the design of the V10 engines which took Williams to a new era of domination.
The 2001 Benetton was powered by one of his design concepts, the wide angle V10 which proved a failure ultimately and an increasingly difficult collaboration with Flavio Briatore pushed him away to Ferrari where he took over the design of Maserati and Ferrari road car engines. He joins Luca Marmorini and Mattia Mariz who direct the engine department within Maranello – after a break from Formula One engine technology of thirteen years.
The only ex-engineers not called up yet are Mauro Forghieri, Osamu Goto, Vittorio Jano, Carlo Chiti – it’s a comedy of tragic proportions. For all the benefits that the Ferrari collaboration has gained from Montezemolo leading the team, it may be that this is the beginning of his final act.
Monaco – engine matters or not?
Renault and Red Bull are hoping Monaco will be less about engine performance and thus give them a better chance of competing. Toto Wolff agrees, stating last week, “the power of the power plant there [Monaco] is not significant”.
Yet the wily old man of F1, Jenson Button, has a contra opinion and believes there will be more emphasis on engine performance in Monaco which should play for the Mercedes-powered teams.
“Obviously, I’ve never driven a turbocharged F1 car around Monaco before – and I’m relishing the opportunity, more than any other 2014 race, I think this event will show us the most pronounced difference between ‘old F1’ and the new formula we have. There’s far less of an aerodynamic influence here – it’s just about bolting as much to the car as possible in a bid to find grip – so I think the engine’s influence will be greater.
So, with less significance placed on aerodynamics, I hope we can enjoy a better race than our two previous outings in China and Spain. Monaco is such a special case – in every respect – I just hope we can string together a good weekend: we’ll need to get the absolute maximum from the car in qualifying and on the first lap to be in with a chance to put up a fair showing.
I’m up for the challenge, and the whole team is doing a great job of staying strong and working flat-out to bring updates to every race – and Monaco is no exception.”
Interesting indeed. So we will see “the most pronounced difference’ this weekend between the V8’s and V6’s huh Jenson?
Vettel gets nostalgic
Be careful what you wish for, it just may come true, Grandpappy Judge used to relentlessly advise me. There were a significant number of paddock folk who believed Sebastian Vettel couldn’t wait to see the back of team mate Mark Webber, particularly prior to the 2014 season. Well Mark decided to hang up his bull encrusted boots.
Last June, when announcing his retirement from F1, Webber almost had a spider sense as to how big F1 changes would affect certain drivers and may take quite some getting used to. “There’s going to be big, big changes in the sport next year so I may as well going to do those big, big changes where my future’s going to be. So let’s see how the category is next year in Formula 1. I’ll be interested to watch every now and then and watch these guys do their stuff.”
Well, the media darling, beaming Daniel Ricciardo has taken to F1 2014 like a duck to water, whereas his quadruple world champion team mate has looked more like a fish out of water.
Sebastian has never really got to grips with Monaco, He was beaten 2 wins to 1 by Webber during their years as team mates. And Vettel’s solitary win had a touch of good fortune attached to it as the race was red flagged with a struggling Sebastian in the lead.
Vettel’s tyres were shot and Alonso and Button were reeling him in with the expertise of a big game fisherman about to land a prized giant tuna.
So it is with some surprise that Sebastian declares, “Monaco is one of my favourite tracks, it’s an absolute challenge. You cannot afford to make one single mistake, because you would easily crash into the railings”.
More surprisingly, Vettel begins to muse on times gone by in the principality. “Monaco offers some really great memories with the team, especially when everyone ended up jumping in the pool and one year Mark and I even ended up in the harbour”.
Mark??? Who is Mark….. Sebastian?
Interesting that Vettel in citing his favourite memories doesn’t include winning the race, lifting the trophy, having dinner with the Monaco Royalty….. but he remembers the camaraderie of the team celebrating a Webber win with the result that both drivers ended up in the harbour.
Fascinating… absolutely fascinating….
I feel a song coming on…..
“What a difference a
day year makes…..”
“the difference is you” miss you xxx love Seb….
Could it even be that somewhere in that precision drilled mechanism which pumps the blood around Sebastian’s body, he has some mild regret at stealing Mark’s last chance of a race win in Sepang
“I hear a beat………. how sweet!……..Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion………..And really feel the part”
Bernie’s heir is now apparent
Richard Scudamore has been mentioned previously as an ideal CEO for F1 and successor to the Ecclestone throne. He has been integral and developing the English Premier League into the most watched annual national competition across the globe.
Scudamore was appointed CEO of the Premier League in November 1999 and his first TV rights negotiations saw him extract from broadcasters, £1.2 billion for the 2001-04 season. During the latest round of rights to be sold, Scudamore has increased this to £3.018 billion for the 2013-16 season, and the average cost paid by broadcasters per game rise from £2.79 million to £6.53 million.
In the UK alone, there are over 150 games broadcast live each season.
Of course timing is everything, and suddenly, as the manacles are tightening on Ecclestone’s wrists and ankles, the craziness of the last week exploded into Scudamore’s world.
A temporary PA has revealed private emails from Scudamore to the chairman of the premier league which were disgusting and highly sexists in their content.
Scudamore in these emails referred to certain members of the female sex as ‘gash’ and as “big-titted broads” often displaying ’female irrationality”.
A number of media writers believe Scuadmore’s position is untenable and his future prospects in F1 are all but dead. Yet in actuality…….
The structure Scudamore has built in the premier league means his fate will now be decided by some of his closest allies in football as the Premier League’s audit and remuneration committee considers the matter in London on Monday. This is the kind of tribunal structure Ecclestone wishes he was facing at present.
To his detractors, Richard Scudamore is a ruthless operator who has ensured the rich get richer – he has been handsomely rewarded for that with his last bonus coming in at £2.8m – but has not spread that wealth to the lower reaches of the game.
TJ13 believes that at an emergency board meeting over the weekend, CVC enthusiastically ratified Scudamore as the CEO elect of Formula 1. Whilst Scudamore’s comments about women are not quite in the league of Ecclestone, when he suggested in 2005, “women should all be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances,” the board of CVC believes Scudamore has recently demonstrated enough promise and they are confident he will develop further the qualities required to become Ecclestone’s heir.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Simona de Silvestro wants what she can’t have
Simona de Silvestro, former IndyCar driver, claims she doesn’t want the fact that she is a woman to affect the way she is judged. Having left the American series this year and joined Sauber as a ‘development’ driver, Simona is firm in her beliefs. “I don’t think I’m getting this shot just because I’m a girl. That’s never been how I’ve wanted to be portrayed. I’m just a driver first.”
Yet it appears Silvestro’s hopes are already being dashed. In a report published today by SportsPro magazine Simona is listed as the 50th most marketable athletes in the world. This ranking is clearly not based upon her global sporting prowess to date, and in fact the report projects the potential marketing revenue of each individual listed over the next 5 years.
Lewis Hamilton rises from 7th position in 2013 to top the list as SportsPro editor-in-chief David Cushnan explains, “Several of the final top ten were considered but Hamilton scored highly in every area and certainly deserves to top the list”.
By contrast, Sebastian Vettel was ranked 27th and Danil Kvyat was 40th.
In a bizarre twist of the sexism debate, Silvestro will most likely get her full F1 drive because she is a woman – and the first in decades to do so. That in itself will make her a marketeers dream, attracting huge sponsorship – regardless of her performance.
The world’s 50 most marketable athletes 2014 – the top ten
1) Lewis Hamilton – motorsport, Great Britain
2) Virat Kohli – cricket, India
3) Robert Griffin III – NFL, USA
4) Cristiano Ronaldo – football, Portugal
5) Grigor Dimitrov – tennis, Bulgaria
6) Usain Bolt – athletics, Jamaica
7) Neymar – football, Brazil
8) Missy Franklin – swimming, USA
9) Blake Griffin – NBA, USA
10) Sloane Stephens – tennis, USA
Manufacturers returning to F1
News in Brief: There have been persistent rumours for several weeks now that BMW and TOYOTA are planning to return in F1. The whispers have a fairly specific element to them, stating neither party has the apatite to enter a full works team due to the cost. They will supply engines only.
TJ13 suggests, both Toyota and BMW have a word with Mercedes and ask them how much it cost to design, develop and build their F1 engine over the past 2-3 years before seeing this as an economy route into F1.