Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 20th May 2014

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#F1 Features: The #MonacoGP for all the right or wrong reasons?


Lewis Hamilton’s ‘winter of discontent’ pays dividends at Mercedes

Fuel – The secret ingredient behind the fastest performance gains

Calling time on Pastor’s career?

Jenson sees mind games

F1 fails again in America

Customer teams are coming

Ecclestone illness halts bribery trial (GMM)

Magny Cours on pole for 2015 F1 return (GMM)

Haas building 200-strong F1 workforce – report (GMM)


Lewis Hamilton’s ‘winter of discontent’ pays dividends at Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes last year and struggled throughout the season having moved away from his familiar Mclaren set-up. His initial problems centred around a car that had been designed around the driving styles of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. It was not unusual to see him in post qualifying and race press conferences seemingly disappointed with his performance.

In a typical feeding frenzy, the media hypothesised that he was once again in a ‘bad place’ and his emotions were ruining his performances. With news this year that Lauda advised the young athlete that he should get rid of his dog from meetings and concentrate on the job it would be easy to believe he is a malleable individual needing a fatherly figure to guide him.

The truth is he has worked hard over the last few months with the Mercedes engineers to develop the car more to his liking. “It’s a lengthy process, Michael had a different driving style to me. He required different things, different seating position, different set-up. I guess Nico and Michael both kind of gelled and went in one direction with the balance and then as I’ve come along, mine is slightly different and I guess we’ve then created a hybrid: Nico’s come halfway, I’ve come halfway so we now require the same things from the car.”

One of Hamilton’s strengths has always been his modulation of the brakes as the high speed downforce bleeds away to just mechanical grip. Last year he struggled with this aspect more than any other. “Working on the simulator last year, analysing data of how hard you hit the brake, the brake pivot position, the master cylinder, different brake material and really focusing on brake settings. For example, I told them to go away and develop, I gave them a software idea and they went away and developed a piece of software which I use and which helps me come up with brake migration and all that kind of stuff.”

“Set-up wise, I’ve been really pushing the guys because I like an oversteering car, but the car is too oversteery now. Last year I was struggling generally and really uncomfortable understanding some of the technical things they have on the car that Nico had been using for years. He knew it, so every time we did the debrief I didn’t understand what he was talking about, but he was using it to his advantage, so it was really studying that and making sure that I knew how to use it to my advantage too. It took all of last year to really understand what feeling it was giving me. Last year things were happening and I just thought the car was not underneath me.”

With Button recently stating that Hamilton plays mind-games – at which, Jenson himself is quite adept – the merest suggestion of an advantage for Rosberg is revealing. The ‘secret’ document that Mercedes prepared for the Chinese Grand Prix for Nico to study was used by the press to sensationalise an otherwise humdrum story. No mention was made of these documents being available for Vettel to study when he spoke of having to look at Ricciardo’s pace. Nor have they ever been mentioned outside of any team’s motorhome – but as we all know Lewis sells papers.

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Fuel – The secret ingredient behind the fastest performance gains

In Enzo Ferrari’s time, aerodynamics were important for people who didn’t know how to build engines. Around the same time he was famously quoted saying ‘the horse should not be pushing the cart‘; an attack on the infiltration of the mid-engined concept. By the time of his death, aerodynamics were re-defining the new era of Formula One and engines, whilst still important, could not substitute for losses due to poor aero control.

During the previous turbo era and in to the early nineties, the chemists of the fuel companies began developing fuels – that required breathing apparatus and chemical protection due to the toxicity of the ‘rocket-fuel’ blends – that were provided to boost the engines beyond what a normal mixture of petroleum could provide. By the mid 90’s the FIA had brought in new regulations that prevented the use of anything other than ‘pump fuel‘.

Fast forward twenty years and whilst aerodynamics are still a fundamental part of the car design, and the Power Unit is in the process of development, one of the biggest areas for future battles centres around the fuel companies.

The general consensus was that the new 100kgs limit for fuel would be focused on fuel efficiency but teams have found that better fuel allows big power gains to made due to the energy recovery systems.

Ferrari has made significant gains with their supply of Shell lubricants and fuels. Not only do they power the car, but they aid in cooling and have less internal friction which in itself makes the unit more efficient.

What has also been noticed by the more astute observers is that the same engines using different fuel products have found differing gains in straight-line performance.

Renault’s F1 engine chief Rob White said: “if you gain sufficient fuel to be able to spend a little bit of fuel on generating electricity, it opens the door to energy deployment. There can be perhaps a biggish difference on end of straight speed, and a noticeable difference on lap time, from just a small change in fuel consumption.”

Rob Smedley – Williams Head of Vehicle Performance said: “There can be a lot of performance in it – especially as it’s a new breed of internal combustion engine – a V6 with different compression rates and all the rest of it. There’s a very different fuelling regime both in terms of efficiency and power so there’s lots to be gained there.”

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Calling time on Pastor’s career?

Venezuela’s new Sports Minister, Antonio Alvarez, is quoted by Ultimas Noticias about time running out for Pastor Maldonado’s Formula One tenure. He confirmed that funding from the state-owned oil company PDVSA will cease after this season.

“I know I’m going to win a lot of enemies but there will be not be one more dollar for motor-racing. Venezuelan sport has other priorities and it would be unfair to use state resources for disciplines that are not in line with the development of the country.”

article-2143761-1311936E000005DC-163_306x435Maldonado’s career had the personal support of the late President Hugo Chavez but it has also caused controversy within the country. Regarded as a national superstar after his solitary victory in Barcelona 2012, he remains a highly controversial figure in the paddock with questionable driving ethics causing penalty points to be applied to his licence.

It would seem that we will now finally have our answer. Is Maldonado a respected talent or just a very good pay driver…

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Jenson sees mind games

There are seasons where stories are prevalent and recurring, and there is usually a reason for that. At present, we are fascinated with the Mercedes battle between Rosberg and Hamitlon. The neutrals amongst us are probably rooting for Nico to turn the momentum his way for a short while, just to keep things interesting.

So… much is being made of the inter-team rivalry within Brackley, and many of us predict, the friendship will and damn well should suffer some time soon, if Nico is to have a tilt at the title. Lauda reckons he’ll be happy for his drivers to “drive over each other” when the competition has been seen off and the likes of Gerhard Berger and Alain Prost have been vocal about the need for Nico to get his elbows out and be more aggressive.

Such is the level of comment on the Mercedes pair even elder statesman Jenson Button has decided to chime in on the matter. Button suggests Lewis tried playing ‘mind games’ with him when they were team mates at McLaren, “There were a few things he played on me. It would work on some drivers, whereas others it just makes them stronger because they laugh it off”.

Button sees evidence that Lewis is at it again with Nico, “I am sure there will be – if there aren’t already – be mind games going on”, says Button. However, “Nico is intelligent to know if Lewis is playing mind games or not, which in some ways could help Nico or harm him. He might just end up getting fed up with it.”

Button doesn’t cite exactly what he believes could be happening, but one thing is certain, given the state of his MP4-29, this isn’t Button playing mind games with Lewis – because clearly, what would be the point?

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F1 fails again in America

Firstly, it must be noted that the Grand Prix of the America’s has been a raging success over its first 2 seasons. The teams and drivers love the venue that is COTA, the fans have been flocking to Austin and the government has been handing out rebates to the promoters based upon the increase in tax revenues the state has received from an uplift in visitors.

However, just the one Formula 1 race per season in the USA must be seen as a failure on behalf of the sport. Not long ago Bernie led us to believe we were on the cusp of a race in New York and for the older F1 fans, a nostalgic return to Long Beach California was seriously on the cards.

Little has been said regarding the New Jersey race since the final 2014 calendar was announced in December. A bullish Ecclestone at the time stated, “There is great demand for a race in New Jersey, and I have no doubt we’ll be racing at Port Imperial in 2015.” However, the prospect of a 2015 race at present is little above zero.

The IndyCar license to race in Long Beach was up for renewal also this year, and Ecclestone was confident F1 could challenge the status quo and agree a return to this nostalgic race venue.

Yet it may be that for certain would be hosts, F1 is perceived as far more of a risk since the failure of Korea and India – whose combined spend of over $1bn failed to secure a long term event.

Ecclestone attempted to play down the expense of upgrading the Long Beach facilities to satisfy Charlie Whiting and the FIA by claiming, “I could have a race at Long Beach this afternoon if I wanted.” Yet the city council were more circumspect, and awarded IndyCar an extension to their contract until 2018.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, it has to be suggested that FOM and Ecclestone missed an opportunity to acquire the bankrupt CART racing series if only to provide access to other racing circuits in the USA.

That said, at that time there was a long line of global wannabe F1 host nations all sending container ships of cash to the tax haven offices of the FOM group. Who cared about America then?

So, F1 is left for the near to medium future with just Austin as the single USA F1 event each year. Yet there are challenges to the state of Texas prized jewel just around the corner.

Mexico is coming, and what is yet unclear is how many of the Austin race fans had taken the short flight from across the border to watch what is their closets F1 event to the held at present. Will those fans continue to visit Austin when their country has its own event? No one knows.

What is true is that Austin has challenges it needs to face up to. Hotel prices are very high, and the cost of eating and drinking is inflated significantly during the week F1 is in town.

TJ13 is aware of significant anecdotal evidence which suggests European fans looking for a flyaway race to attend following the summer break are in fact favouring Singapore and Abu Dhabi, over Austin Texas.

Whoever takes over from Ecclestone needs to ensure F1 delivers another race to the USA. Because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Austin and COTA may find the medium term challenges of hosting F1 too great…. And then there were none…

Customer teams are coming

Speedweek is reporting that Toro Rosso and Red Bull are planning a future together with much closer ties than in recent years. This year, the ‘little bull’ is running the same gearbox internals as the RB10, though they continue to produce their own casing.

Having been refused an engine contract by Ferrari, the Italian based team was forced to switch to buy engines from the same manufacturer as ‘big brother bull’. In 2015, the cars for both teams will share the same rear suspension layout and possibly other components depending on regulation changes.

This by no means is an indication that Toro Rosso are winding down the size of their in house production operation. Franz Tost explains that there has been a quiet but continuous expansion of personnel for a number of years now. “Compared to 2008-2009 when we had about 135 people, now it is up to 325. We are growing and the process is not complete,”

This kind of collaboration is not unique in F1, as Force India and McLaren have had a shared technology partnership arrangement for a number of years, having access to gearbox and hydraulic components.

However, the whiff of A and B teams is in the air and is growing from strength to strength.

In a recent interview with Martin Brundle, Bernie Ecclestone admitted he felt this is the way F1 should go.

MB: “Where are you on customer cars? Do you think it would be better to have say six teams with six ‘B’ teams to go with them, so there’s some economies of scale and some structure to it – and the grid would be a lot closer too?”.

BE: “Yeah, I mean I’d like to see that. Whether it would work or not, have to wait and see”.

This debate is unlikely to be concluded in time for the 2015 season, though it makes sense for teams to share development and production of certain components, and should go some way to reduce the costs across the board.

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Ecclestone illness halts bribery trial (GMM)

The brakes were applied to Bernie Ecclestone’s corruption trial on Tuesday. The F1 chief executive is appearing once or twice per week in Munich for the court proceedings, in which he is charged with bribing the jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

But as the trial resumed on Tuesday, the 83-year-old Briton’s lawyers asked the judge for an adjournment, as Ecclestone is suffering from a bad cold. German publications like Bild and Handelsblatt – adding that Ecclestone’s voice was also hoarse – published photos of the unwell-looking F1 supremo repeatedly coughing in court.

After two hours, the judge agreed to the adjournment until Wednesday, and told Ecclestone he appeared tired. “I’m ok,” Ecclestone replied.

But a court spokesperson told SID news agency that Ecclestone was examined by doctors and a medical certificate was issued. In fact, Tuesday was arguably a good day for Ecclestone, with a public prosecutor appearing as a witness and admitting Gribkowsky had told a range of “fluctuating stories” to explain his sudden fortune years ago.

DPA news agency said Ecclestone’s lawyers were “visibly pleased” when that testimony was given.

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Magny Cours on pole for 2015 F1 return (GMM)

Magny Cours is on pole position to return to the F1 calendar next year, the boss of the former French grand prix venue has said. “If the will of a number of people is confirmed in the coming weeks, we are very close,” Magny Cours chief Serge Saulnier told France’s Infosport on Monday. France has been absent from the F1 calendar since Magny Cours, located in the centre of the country some 250 kilometres from Paris, lost the race after 2008.

“We are still in negotiations with FOM,” Saulnier added, referring to F1’s commercial rights company that is run by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. “We are a candidate for a date in 2015, but for now nothing is signed,” he said, revealing that representatives of local regions have been asked to contribute towards the race fee.

“I am hoping,” Saulnier continued. “We have been working on it for more than three years, it has built slowly but surely, and I feel that the time has arrived to sign this agreement. I hope and I would like it to be done before the summer,” he added.

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Haas building 200-strong F1 workforce – report (GMM)

Amid the F1 paddock’s usual scepticism, the sport’s newest team is pushing ahead with its plans. Gene Haas – a top Nascar team co-owner and boss of Haas Automation, a world-leading machine tool maker – has secured a two-year license to make his F1 debut either in 2015 or 2016.

After a visit to Haas’ North Carolina headquarters, Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt says the Gunther Steiner-led team’s “plan A” is to race next year. Schmidt said Steiner, who has worked with Jaguar and Red Bull, is now rapidly building a workforce, with many experienced F1 people showing interest because Haas can offer new challenges and high-ranking positions.

“There are many interested parties,” a source said, “but we can only hire people when we know who our engine partner is.” The front-runner is Ferrari, who are also keen to supply a lot of other components to Haas. Mercedes has already ruled itself out of the running to fill Haas’ needs. “We can only offer engines and transmission,” said team chairman Niki Lauda.

The Haas car will almost certainly be built by Dallara. Schmidt reports: “A 200-strong staff is under construction. In September, the factory in Mooresville will be ready.” At the same time, Haas is also looking for somewhere to base itself in England, the report added.

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56 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 20th May 2014

  1. good riddance to Maldonado. The definition of GP2 talent that never improves beyond that.

    • Love the photo, though.
      The contrast between Maldonado’s expression and those of Alonso/Kimi is priceless.

  2. Judge, could you confirm the fuel suppliers for each team/engine?

    If I’m not wrong, Ferrari engines use Shell, Renault engines use Total and Merc engines use Mobil. Now the exception here, interestingly, is the Merc works team which use Petronas. Could that Malaysian petrol company be the magic bullet or part of Merc’s success?

  3. Pastor is the BEST driver for entertainment and beautiful glamour too. He sometimes is unlucky, but other drivers do also like groesjean and perez. But the passion and fire and charm Pastor has! He is like Ayrton Senna. He is really good looking too. I am sure even if Venezuela stop sponsoring him another team like ferrari or mercedes will want his talent, you will see.

    • I woke up in a bad mood this morning, reading your comment just now, just cleared that mood up….

      ……that was one of the best laughs I’ve had in a longtime…😂😂😂😂😂

    • I’m sure his swarthy ‘good looks’ would be perfect in a remake of Al Pacino’s Scarface. Look at my little friend!! I can hear it now…

    • Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…

      AHHHHH hahahahahahahahahahaha!!

      AHHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

      -chokes a little-

      BWAHhahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

      -wipes tear from eye-

      -passed out from O2 deprevation-

      -wakes 1 minute later-

      Ahahahahahahahahahahahah….

      Sigh…. 🙂

      Thank you Paola. That was thoroughly invigorating.

  4. Lewis wins 4 straight and he’s being accused of playing “mind games”….

    If that had been Nico, he would’ve been praised for his intelligence, smarts, technical know how and cerebralsm (not sure if that’s a word)….

    The guy just can’t win, no matter what he does or doesn’t do…. But like the judge says, Lewis sells papers. Guess that’s why he was voted as the most marketable athlete at present.

    • Spot on Fortis. Mind games have been going on since day 1, whatever the theatre.

      In Formula One, Stirling Moss used to rub his hands together whenever it rained. He confessed years later it wasn’t that he enjoyed racing in the rain but because it defeated his rivals before he began.

      In more recent years, Senna and Prost came out of the pits together during qualifying and Senna got passed his adversary as quickly as possible. A journalist asked him in an interview why he had done that and he responded that it was psychological, Prost would get used to seeing his rear wing and it would be a normal view so it would lessen his racing resolve.

    • Of course Lewis sells papers. And especially when people twist his words and present it in a completely different manner.

      Look at his latest interview about the forthcoming race. Lewis says that he wants to win in Monaco and he needs to push harder because Rosberg was very close to him in Bahrain and Spain. That gets him worried a bit.

      Title of that interview in planetF1: Lewis targets Monaco victory (fine)
      Title of that interview in Autosport: Lewis: I want to dominate Rosberg (Ahh!!!!)

      • I read the autosport one, and after thought, did I miss something, but at no point did he say anything of the sort!

        …I’d suggest he doesn’t give any interviews at all, because if he gives his honest views, it gets misinterpreted to mean something completely different.

  5. Talking of Pastor, how many safety cars are we expecting this weekend should it rain ?
    (I’m assuming at least one if it doesn’t.)

  6. If I remember anything from when Button and Hamilton were team mates, it was the fact that Withmarsh, Button, Micheals and co were constantly in the news playing mind games on Hamilton, to the extent he felt it was better to leave the team as the atmosphere in there was poisoned. I just have a haunch Button has a lot of envy. He should focus on leading Mclaren.

    • ‘He should focus on leading Mclaren.’ First time for everything I guess. He has never led a team, even Brawn after their sensational start to 2009 developed in Barrichello’s direction because they obviously weren’t taking to much notice of Button. In the second half of the season RB won two races whereas JB struggled throughout. If he hadn’t won those early races he would have been nowhere.

      • He was much hyped when he entered F1, has he lived up to that hype, I’d say no.

      • I developed a theory on the F1fanatic forums with another poster that it was really Anthony Davidson behind most of the successes that Jenson has had.

        If we plot their careers together.. they both rose quickly through the Junior formulae, after multiple kart titles (same for Wheldon, but he moved to the USA to make it there instead). Button was in the right place at the right time to get the Williams F1 seat (that should have been driven by Montoya, who stayed in the USA to win the Indy 500). After that was the lacklustre years at Benetton/Renault, although he deserved a first podium at Malaysia 2002.

        Enter Davidson.. both pop up at BAR, Davidson behind Sato as test driver once JV is pushed out. 2004 is subsequently a huge success, with JB unlucky not to win at Imola, eventually winning in 2006. Once Super Aguri comes online however, Davidson and the momentum switches there from 2007, with Honda falling flat under Button/Barrichello.

        Lastly, the Brawn GP 001 was originally the new Super Aguri, and Davidson has stayed with Brawn since then, being the test driver for the current dominant Mercedes 2014 F1 Hybrid. Button has moved to McLaren after besting Rubens for the 2009 title, and since Hamilton has left the team it’s fallen flat on it’s face.

        Imagine if Davidson got a shot in the 2004 BAR.. could have all been different for his F1 career. As it is, he’s still employed in F1 while presenting it with Sky F1 and leading the WEC.

        • *instead of Sato, who only managed 1 podium and almost a pole position all year long. Add to that… Davidson’s frame is perfect for 2014 F1. He’d have more of an advantage this year than since the early KERS years, so if anyone would stand out this year it would probably be him.

        • Very interesting read, thanks.

          All this talk about Button’s (doubtful) technical prowess recalled me one bold interview that Button gave around December 2012, in the wake of Hamilton’s departure to Mercedes and Perez’s arrival:
          “Jenson Button has no doubts he is ready to lead McLaren in F1 2013”
          http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/104776

          With McLaren two years in a row being right around nowhere, eerily recalling the Honda works years, this has fallen wide off the mark. Some quotes (emphasis mine):
          ###
          [..]
          The Briton believes the role of team leader suits him perfectly.

          “Definitely,” said Button when asked if he was ready to lead McLaren. “It’s not the first time I’ve done that. When I got to BAR and Jacques [Villeneuve] left it was exactly the same situation.

          “I was there to lead the team and it’s something I really look forward to and *it’s something where the best comes out of me in that situation*.

          “I can really build that team around me and direct the team in a direction I like with the car.”

          [..]
          Button feels he is one of the best drivers when it comes to developing a car he feels comfortable with.

          “We all drive differently and have different styles,” he said. “For me I need a car I can develop beneath me and feel comfortable in.

          “If the car feels neutral and unbalanced it doesn’t work for me.

          “I need to develop a car and engineer a car in a position that feels comfortable for me, and *I don’t think anyone can do a better job than I can in that position*.
          ###

          With hindsight, those were some bold claims..

          • And he sure did lead them….down a bloody blind ally that’s where!!

          • What I find odd there is that with his precise style, a balanced and neutral car is what I would imagine to be perfect for Button. ‘Neutral and unbalanced’ totally threw me when reading that!

    • I think Button is frustrated, after all when it was announced that Lewis was off to Mercedes, he came out and said it was a bad move for Lewis. So for him to see Lewis finish 3rd last season and this season winning races and then being lapped by him, that sort of thing does play on ones mind.

      Lewis is not at Mclaren anymore, so now all the donkey work of pushing them forward is on his shoulders and based on his track record of being unable to develop a car, it’s not looking too good for him next season.

      He’s now the team leader and instead of doing so, he’s quick to throw his took I teammate under the bus.

      Your a former WDC Jenson, so lead from the front.

      • All that dummy spitting about wanting an experienced driver in the other seat too, suggests he not only isn’t, but can’t, lead the team.

      • Fortis96, Lewis finished 4th last season not 3rd. If Kimi didn’t skip the last couple of races Lewis would have probably been 5th. Still ahead of Button so your overall point is good.

    • There’s a word, projection. Psychologists use it when you accuse someone else of doing something you yourself do. It’s the first word that came to mind when reading Jenson’s comments.

    • “Withmarsh, Button, Micheals and co were constantly in the news playing mind games on Hamilton”

      Could you give us some examples of this? I was somehow under the impression that Whitmarsh was one of the few F1 types out there with a shred of integrity.. So Whitmarsh playing mind-games with Hamilton doesn’t quite add up for me.

      • Withmarsh and integrity, what a laugh. his first day on the job we had liegate and he lied directly into the camera.
        He does sound believable sometimes, but I’ve since learnt to ignore the charm and decipher the webs of deception.
        Mclaren’s currrent suffering is as result of his idiocy.

    • Speaking of Sam Michael… Is he still at mclaren? Haven’t seen or heard from him all year.

  7. in the US there are so many great road circuits that can be face lifted to meet F1 standards. (but hoping they don’t add chicanes and other neutering). Within a 1.5 hour drive of NYC there are so many places large enough to build a great F1 circuit. This area has the largest concentration of true F1 fans per capita. Forget about the damn street circuit in Port Imperial. It was funny and frustrating reading all of the international news about it while seeing with my own eyes the reality of what they were building. People would talk away about a “pit complex” when clearly this was a open wall parking garage with ground level retail storefronts and full sidewalks, fire hydrants, light posts where people said the “pits” would be. it was very revealing to me seeing this dichotomy. I see all talk of an F1 race in or near a one of the three largest American cities in a much more pragmatic perspective.

    • Personally my favourite US track is Road America – Elkhart Lake

      A gorgeous circuit with plenty of scope for development, and as far away from a Tilkedrome as you could wish for …

      • Sebring and Road America are absolutely brilliant. Sebring is just so narrow..such a thrill watching fast cars lap it.

    • So much space here in North America to build new circuits but the best thing about a track like Montreal is how easy it is to get to the track and back downtown. It is not difficult on the subway to zip out to the track on a Friday morning for FP1, come back downtown and meet some more friends for lunch and then head back to the track for FP2. It’s a bit of walking but not that big a deal. It’s actually really fun because on those days EVERYONE on the subway is an F1 fan, many decked out in team shirts and caps etc.

      If there was some way to add a station on an existing commuter train line in the Northeast you could have your new track built but still be within a few minutes of a major city center via rail. The atmosphere of being linked to the downtown of a big city is really fun.

      Not sure we NEED another USA GP but it would be nice. The more the merrier.

    • That was completely brilliant! What made you think to look there? I’m guessing there were no others, but if so, do share.

      • @mattpt55

        I was alerted to that site, by an ex employee of Behringer/Music Group. The comments about that company are amazing, and I just wondered if there might be a few F1 companies mentioned, and hey presto! Ex employees are always good for a quote – such bitterness and hatred. But the F1 comments are actually quite relevant, from an outsiders point of view. McLaren in need of management – Ron returns, Ferrari – chaos, Sauber – happy in the midfield, Red Bull – he worked in IT so that makes sense.

  8. Customer teams should have never been voted out. The benefits of shared costs between teams and having smaller teams race proven platforms are plenty. And they are actually greater the more testing becomes limited.

    I definitely won’t mind if they come back.

  9. Hey Judge! Great points on F1 in America!

    Just FYI, the F1 GP in Austin is the United States GP. The GP of the Americas is the name of the Moto GP race here.

  10. Hi there your honour, long time no speak 🙂

    My customer car requests from last year seem to be getting through to Bernard at last. I really think this will spice things up no end, and allow new teams to be far more competitive initially. I made a much more comprehensive argument at the time, so won’t rehash old ground.

    I know then you were against the principle so we’ll have to see if it comes to pass.

    Wishing you good health and continued success.

    Colin

    • I see the benefits of customer cars but I also see problems. Is a two-tier championship really what we want to see? How can a customer team transition to being a manufacturer after being spoon fed? I can’t help but be a bit cynical seeing it as just a way for the big teams to exploit their bigness at the expense of the other end of the grid. Then again it’s all way too expensive to do build cars alone and be competitive these days. Bugger…

  11. Lewis “told them to go away and develop”. Sounds like a bit of a prat to me. Slips of the tongue often reveal real attitudes. Surely a more rounded character would say he *asked* them to develop, or perhaps *worked with* them to develop.

  12. Well, if anyone knows about mind games it’s Jenson Button. Bit rich him saying Lewis played them on him after the shenanigans Jens got up to; all Lewis did wasdrive faster, set the car up better and lead development in the right direction. I guess that must have blown Buttons mind a little.

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