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Previously on TheJudge13:
The Sound of Formula One 2014
On numerous occasions TJ13 has reported that the sound of the new 2014 car are much better in person and that broadcasters need to look at the way they transmit the sound. Although the UK feed has improved significantly there is still much to do however the sound coming from these cars can be made to sound impressive, with nice graphics as well.
Monaco mind games good for Rosberg
Monaco was a victory for Nico Rosberg not only on the track, but also in the mind. That is the view of Felipe Massa, who in 2008 only just lost the battle to Hamilton when the Briton won his sole title.
“He’s a guy who needs to be perfect on the psychological side,” Brazilian Massa is quoted by Totalrace, “otherwise there is the chance of him making mistakes.
“He lost in 2007 because he lost the car in China, also in Brazil. It was his mistakes,” the former Ferrari driver explained.
So Massa thinks Hamilton’s reaction to the events in Monaco, where he missed the chance at pole position due to Rosberg’s controversial mistake, is a big victory for the German. “If Rosberg did that on purpose then that is not something that is part of my mentality,” said Massa.
“But without a doubt it is something that could hurt Hamilton on the psychological side and end up being good for Rosberg.”
However, Hamilton’s previous F1 teammate, Jenson Button, doubts Rosberg will get the mental upper hand that easily. He recalls beating the sister McLaren in the past, prompting Hamilton to be “quite outspoken and emotional” immediately afterwards.
“And the next race he would destroy me,” Button said. “He would arrive at the next race very quiet and then go and blitz it. He will do the same in Canada.The mind games people play on him will not work.”
Qualifying aside, there were plenty of ‘mind games’ at play in Monaco. Hamilton made his foul mood with Rosberg clear by complaining about the noise outside his quarters by the German’s kicking of a football with his trainer Daniel.
And the 2008 world champion initially refused to appear for the post-race Mercedes victory photo, until it was reportedly made clear to him that his snub was also against the waiting Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche.
“Perhaps he was in the toilet,” joked Sport Bild correspondent Bianca Garloff, referring to Hamilton’s excuse for not attending a post-qualifying team briefing. And Hamilton also did not attend Thursday’s pre-practice briefing, telling reporters he “overslept“.
Rosberg is also guilty, reportedly not inviting Hamilton to his forthcoming wedding, and after the Spanish grand prix reacting furiously when it emerged that Hamilton had won by using a forbidden engine setting.
“On the Sunday in Barcelona we had some emotions from the other side; Nico felt aggrieved by what had happened, which is understandable,” said team boss Toto Wolff.
It is understood that Hamilton and Rosberg have been told, and will be told again, that if their rivalry spins out of control, Mercedes may have to resort to ‘team orders’. The big ‘no-no’ is a crash.
“And the one who is to blame will have big trouble from the top management of Mercedes,” team chairman Niki Lauda told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “We must be careful that it doesn’t get out of control.”
But in the wake of the Monaco trouble, the driver duo insists they remain in control. “I am sure when we turn up in the next place (Canada) we will be as professional as ever,” said Hamilton.
And Rosberg added: “There is a psychological battle now, but there always has been since we were 13.
“His attitude over the weekend did not surprise me. It is hard to be amazed by someone you’ve known for that long. We had some very difficult times in karting and things always calmed down and we moved forward.”
Those with short memories
As the debate continued to boil over about Formula One’s favourite topic of recent times, it seemed many had forgotten events of such a short time ago.
Those with short memories skipped over many facts in the Hamilton vs Rosberg debate. Malaysia 2013 was dominated by the call of Multi 21 and how Sebastian Vettel had “robbed” his Australian teammate of a victory in what turned out to be his final season. Following the revelation that Nico had done similar in Bahrain, then Hamilton copying that in Spain, many jumped to this situation we had seen in the past.
Of course the saying goes “let bygones lay to rest”, as the facts of this incident are long gone and have little effect on the present. However, in that race Vettel was repeatedly told by his engineer Rocky to conserve in the early stages as he would get the chance to fight for the lead later in the race. When the call came to stop challenging Mark Webber, those on Vettel’s side of the garage must have been confused beyond belief.
Either it was a charade from those on the Red Bull prat perch or they genuinely thought they would be able to control their driver to the point he would give up on the race win. At least in this situation they were facing stiff competition from other areas on the field.
Furthermore, that day there was another team order that was given. The words “Negative Nico” must have haunted Rosberg for many nights after that fateful day as he said “Remember this one” the race. Although, I divulge from the topic in hand.
The Red Bulls faced competition from a range of other cars at the start of 2013. 2014 has been a completely different story as the Mercedes GP cars have sailed away from the rest of the field in each race. It begs the question then of what is all the kerfuffle about if they do use “illegal” engine mapping settings?
Why do Mercedes GP not just let the two push their cars to the limits? It would keep each happy and give a great show to see who could get the most out of the car. It would also keep both drivers happy as they would be without limits on their car performance and would have no suspicions as to whether their teammate was cheating them. Finally, as the teams are having to pay per point they score, would it not be better to save a few $$$ with some non-finishes.
We all know this will never happen, although it really would make sense to do so. The Mercedes management now have a test as they have forced their own hand in meaning they will need to show a strength against their drivers now. Having ousted Ross Brawn, they will be left with egg on their face if they now deal with situation in a poor way.
Having made Nico feel like a number 2 driver in Malaysia, they have a difficult job to make both feel they are being treated equally now. If they have both broken the engine mapping settings once, then to date the score is 1-1. Now is the perfect time to keep it all balanced, although I don’t see Nico’s great favour being “remembered” anytime soon.
As for a certain someone saying people are getting on the anti-German bangwagon, that can only be described as tosh. If anything it is about the perceived wrongdoing being against a fan favourite in the UK, Lewis Hamilton.
One view that does not seem to have been observed over recent days is that Lewis has played this situation all wrong. He could have put a positive spin on the qualifying incident instead of sulking in a similar manner to a family pet that is ignored when a baby is brought into the family. Rather than using the Senna example and deciding to once again compare himself he could have hinted at the fact Nico had his off in Hamilton’s strongest sector of the track. He could have said, “we’ll never know if I could have gone quicker, Nico going off caused that.” Although this goes completely against Lewis’ personality.
The petulant behaviour we saw was silly, but in fact could be taken as a sign of maturity. If he had stayed there and uttered some drivel back at Benedict Cumberbatch’s questions he would be even more of a laughing stock. Maybe it was in fact Lewis realising his limitations.
This game of chess that is unfolding before us will rumble on both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes in Brackley and Stuttgart. Canada will be important for Hamilton to show that he can’t be controlled in a puppet like fashion, as it was Nico who called the shots in Monaco. The narrative of 2014 will rumble on for all to see, so relish it while it lasts.
Verstappen says F1 world ‘talking about’ son Max (GMM)
Jos Verstappen was in the Monaco paddock. The 42-year-old Dutchman was a highly popular formula one driver for multiple teams until 2003, including Benetton and Minardi.
In 1998 he replaced Jan Magnussen at Stewart. This year, Dane Magnussen’s son Kevin made his F1 debut for the top team McLaren. Now Verstappen is hoping his own son is close to making the leap.
De Telegraaf newspaper reports that the reason for Jos Verstappen’s Monte Carlo paddock visit was to talk to his F1 contacts about his son, 16-year-old Max.
Last year, Verstappen jr made the step from karts to cars, and in 2014 he is racing in the FIA’s highly-regarded European F3 championship.
Verstappen has already secured his first pole and win, and so his well-known father was keen to spread the word among the decision-makers in the world of F1.
“It’s nice to see that there is plenty of interest in Max,” Jos is quoted as saying afterwards. “His performances have not gone unnoticed, people are talking about him, and that’s always a good sign,” he added of Verstappen jr, whose mother Sophie Kumpen was a successful kart driver.
Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat raced in the European F3 series last year, and on the grid this year is Lucas Auer, the nephew of F1 legend Gerhard Berger.
Rules and Regulations
Hotly debated in the TJ13 World Headquaters was the Rosberg incident in qualifying that not only cost Lewis Hamilton a second shot at pole, but also impeded other drivers further down the grid.
To debate the issue of whether it was a vindictive act is a fruitless task as nothing will change from the event. If Nico did do it on purpose he has shown that not only could he be a body double for Leonardo di Caprio, but can also act like him as well as he delivered what would have been a flawless manner in the press conference that followed. If anything, it was a smart move.
The more polemic topic was whether Nico was correct to reverse back on to the circuit as he claimed he did not know where Lewis was out on track (even though he would have known he was behind him as Rosberg had left the garage first).
One member of the team thought it was an unfair situation that was brought on by the rule book and nobody else. There is no regulation in place for prohibiting a driver from reversing back onto the track having gone off. With team radio and modern technology, it is easy to see where each driver is on the track.
One member argued the point that too much regulation would take away the luck part sport and potentially kill the spectacle. Another argued that the lack of regulation leaves a loophole to be exploited by a cunning driver.
Had Rosberg been forced to stay down the escape road until there were a big enough gap on track to not affect anyone else’s lap, then there would be no Rosberg incident to speak about. However, not only could the rule be difficult to write and enforce, it could also make the sport even more difficult to understand for the casual viewer.
What do you the TJ13 readers think? Where do you stand on this issue?
Jordan tells friend Sauber to sell F1 team (GMM)
Eddie Jordan has urged Peter Sauber to follow him into F1 retirement.
Actually, having sold his Silverstone based team back in 2005 that today is called Force India, Irishman Jordan is now an outspoken expert pundit for British television.
But selling up, he told the Swiss newspaper Blick, “was the best decision of my career. Since then I have enjoyed every day of my life.”
Earlier, the veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit described Sauber’s 2014 predicament as “embarrassing“, after the backmarker Marussia in Monaco moved ahead in the constructors’ world championship.
“We talked in Monaco for a long time about Sauber,” Benoit said, recounting his conversation with the 66-year-old Jordan.
Jordan said: “Sauber are in the biggest crisis they’ve ever been in, but I’ve always rooted for him. Because he (Peter Sauber) is the most honest guy in the paddock. I can’t say the same thing about me!” he laughed.
“But it’s obvious that they’ve reached the point where it can’t go on like this. Before the damage is even greater, the best solution would be to stop and sell the team. I don’t say this lightly, but Sauber can no longer compensate for their disadvantages on the financial side, and also on the engine side as well,” Jordan added.
Already reportedly up for sale is the Caterham team, and in Monaco it was said that an obvious potential buyer was the former Benetton and Renault chief Flavio Briatore.
But the flamboyant Italian told the news agency PA Sport that he would rather hang on to his millions.
“What you are sure of is the team is losing money, and I’m not interested in buying any team that loses money,” said Briatore.
Caterham’s current team owner, Tony Fernandes, is yet to respond to multiple media enquiries about the situation, after his London football club Queens Park Rangers earned promotion to the premier league.
“Am so behind on tweets and emails and sms,” he wrote on Twitter. “Got thousands of congratulations. Apologises for delay.”
Leimer finally gets F1 chance
Having being snubbed by F1 mainly on account of his bank balance and lack of big money sponsors, Leimer will drive 300km today as part of a Pirelli tyre test.
Having previously tested for Sauber back in 2011, Leimer will be hoping the further mileage now will improve his chances of a 2015 drive. Having taken the 2013 GP2 crown, as per the rules of the series, he is excluded from competing in GP2 again. Having failed to secure a drive, he was left out in the racing cold so the laps at Paul Ricard, in France, will be somewhat like gold dust to the Swiss driver.
Pirelli tweeted this earlier this morning.
— GP2 Series Official (@GP2_Official) May 27, 2014
Lewis, master strategist or not?
The way to win the Monaco GP is simple for a strategist. Get your driver on pole position, then keep him driving until a safety car is deployed, Then, get your man to make the mandatory one tyre change and send him on his way to the chequered flag and victory.
Lewis Hamilton knew his only chance to win the race would be to adopt a contra strategy during the pit stops to his team mate. Hamilton realised when he arrived upon the scene of the Adrian Sutil wipe-out on the exit of the tunnel that the debris everywhere would require a period under the safety car.
However, during the 26 seconds it took for the two Mercedes cars to pass Sutil and reach the pit lane entry, the safety car was not deployed. There was possibly a gamble to be made and stop anyway, knowing it was inevitable that there would imminently be a period under the safety car.
Lewis failed to make the call and the team decided it would be prudent to wait for Charlie Whiting to make a decision.
When the safety car was deployed during the following lap, the team issued the same instructions as last year for Lewis to create a 4 second gap to Nico and pit on the same lap as the race leader, Hamilton’s chance was gone.
Lewis lambasted himself over the pit to car radio because it appeared he had missed a chance to pit a lap before Rosberg in an effort to gain the advantage.
In a separate transmission on the same theme, Lewis questioned the team saying, “we should have pitted on that lap before but I knew you wouldn’t call me in, guys.”
Following the Mercedes pantomime in Monaco, we now know from Toto Wolff and from Hamilton that the drivers do not have a race tactician each. The team decides the race strategy for both cars which is optimum for the team’s result.
There are clear rules on what the driver can and cannot do, and one of those includes calling pit stop strategy. In a number of teams there is a rule that permits the lead driver first choice of lap number they wish to stop on; the driver behind gets second choice.
This is not the case in Mercedes as the team strategist will make the call and hence why Lewis was complaining both during and after the race.
Yet some pundits have questioned what was there to stop Hamilton just informing the team he will be arriving for tyres with minimal notice? Had Hamilton made that call would Mercedes have refused to service his car? If they had waved him through onto another lap still shod with his old boots, that would not have been in the interest of the team.
So maybe Lewis should have acted with the courage of his convictions and forced the issue.
Had Lewis taken matters into his own hands, forced the team to change his tyres – and even if he’d had a perfect stop – the strategy would have failed.
The track temperature on Sunday was in the mid 20 degrees and earlier stoppers had demonstrated that the undercut wasn’t working because the new rubber was taking time to get up to full speed.
To add to this, Lewis was only 15 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso in fitth place, and following his stop would have rejoined behind Raikkonen (3), Ricciardo (4) and Alonso (5).
So with no faster new tyres and traffic in front of him, Lewis having stopped would be seeing his team mate blast through sector 1 and into sector 2 at full pace before the deployment of the safety car. At this point all the cars on track wherever they were would have been required to slow to a delta time until they caught the safety car.
Nico would have pitted and returned to the race still ahead of his team mate. Then, had either Raikkonen, Ricciardo or Alonso decided not to pit, then Hamilton would have been disadvantaged further.
The team made the right call for Lewis, even though he is beginning to see favouritism for his German colleague in the clouds of paranoia.
This mentality may not be helped by some of the rumours doing the rounds over the mysteriously slow pit stop Hamilton suffered from the pit crew during the Spanish GP.
Its one thing for Hamilton to wage war with Nico in the psychological arena, yet if Lewis begins to really believe the team is against him and favours Nico, then as Damon Hill stated, “the most likely way Lewis will be beaten – is by himself”.
Monaco must must change or die
Thankfully, Monaco is over for another year. The pros all agree, anyone proposing a new F1 circuit with Monaco’s layout would be immediately captured by men in white suits. The stats say it all; only 1 driver in over 10 years has won here when not starting on pole.
Further, the farce of qualifying being ruined in the closing stages of a pole shoot-out by yellow flags – is far more probable here than anywhere else on the calendar.
Even the corporate entertaining has faded, as during tough economic times, company directors have realised their shareholders may not be impressed with huge expenses in the annual accounts listed under the heading of “Monte Carlo”. Singapore and the Middle East are easier to justify as places where business in the 21st century is likely to be done.
Yes there were a few sparkling moments to match the flash of sunlight on the azure coloured waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The F1 historians will be hard pressed to find another example of Hulkenberg passing Magnussen at Portier whilst racing for position.
Then the hustle that Bianchi pulled on Kobayashi – who is infamously tricky to go wheel to wheel with – defined Marussia’s day. All F1 fans must have been delighted to see the team with the smallest F1 budget score their first championship points.
The short sighted thinking of Charlie Whiting, FIA’s rule maker, was once again prevalent. Whilst the new 5 second penalty introduced this year has almost universally been accepted as positive, the lack of clarity in the writing of the rule left teams unsure as to exactly how it should be operated.
The penalty must be taken at a pit stop, or if the car does not stop again since receiving the penalty, 5 seconds will be added to the race time. Of course we all now know the penalty cannot be taken under the safety car, but Charlie failed to think through the scenario where the only pit stop would be during a safety car period.
Marussia stopped Bianchi for 5 seconds during his one stop under the safety car anyway – to ensure they didn’t fall foul of the ‘deep magic’ hidden within Charlie’s book. They suffered a 5 second penalty added to Bianchi’s time in addition, which may have cost the Frenchman eigth position.
Formula 1 has to seriously look at this event. It is no co-incidence the BBC didn’t bother wasting one of their 9 live F1 weekends to broadcast Monaco this year.
Monaco was once glamorous when the rest of the year was spent racing in fields, yet billions has been spent around the world building world class F1 racing facilities for both drivers and the fans. We have night races and day-night races, together with circuits far better suited to the monster power and acceleration of the modern F1 cars.
Pirelli didn’t help this year as their tyres are much more durable than in the past. This meant Rosberg could have maybe held position for even 45-50 laps – waiting for a safety car – before having to pit. Yet the Italian tyre manufacturer cannot be blamed due to the lack of available testing time with the new engines delivering 4-5 times the amount of twisting power.
Yes, watching the 2014 torque beasts hurtle through the first section of the swimming pool was mesmerising, but this does not justify a 78 lap procession.
The final nail in the coffin of Monaco, maybe the quality of life the F1 writers now endure. 200 Euros a night for a room with 2 small bunk beds and just a small chest of drawers and at some distance from the city centre. A number of them are becoming increasingly negative about Monaco which is understandable when in Abu Dhabi for the same price they acquire a 100 sq metre suite.
If the Monaco F1 weekend is to survive, it must change. Options include time trials for points and two shorter sprint races on both Saturday and Sunday, or even make the entire weekend a celebration of F1 through the ages.
Any new commercial owners of F1 could well have far less patience with this style over substance event which contributes zero financially to their coffers. Further, this writer and others would not shed a tear with the burial of a once great event.
Nico Rosberg uninjured in tragic accident with bystanders
World Championship leader, Nico Rosberg, was involved in an accident that has left two bystanders hospitalised. A security guard and a tourist were left with injuries, the latter in a serious condition was transported by helicopter to the local hospital.
Rosberg was visiting the German national football team at their training camp in St.Leonhard as they prepared for the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil. The team were joined by Rosberg and an upcoming DTM star, Pascal Wehrlein.
Mercedes had set up a closed circuit near the grounds and were using the drivers to film a commercial. for advertising purposes. Two players from Schalke 04, Julian Draxler and Benedikt Howedes, were passengers in the cars being driven by the racing stars. According to eye-witnesses, the cars were travelling at high speed along a stretch of track and the Mercedes driven by Wehrlein lost control as he swerved to avoid contact with Rosberg.
Mercedes have just realised a statement: “An incident occurred during a visit to the training camp of the German National Football team: while driving on a closed circuit, the DTM driver Pascal Wehrlein wounded two people who they unexpectedly encountered as they walked along part of a stretch of the closed track. We can not make any statement regarding the severity of the injury, as both the injured parties are currently undergoing medical treatment. Pascal Wehrlein was unhurt in the incident. We are deeply saddened by this incident and we send best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured. We will work in full cooperation with the authorities to determine the exact circumstances of the accident. “