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Previously on TheJudge13:
Alonso no longer worried by recruitment of Mattiacci
Just weeks ago, Dieter Zetsche – the Daimler chairman stated: “Alonso is perhaps the best driver on the grid, demonstrating it even in a slightly less competitive car”. Certainly in 2012, Alonso was lauded by everybody for almost winning the title in what was recognised as possibly the third best car of the season.
This year in Monaco he was asked about Zetsche’s praise and replied: “It’s always welcome when people see your job in a good way and respect what you try to do and what you try to achieve. It’s sometimes, not sad, but sometimes strange to see good comments and good compliments from people from outside and from the side that is supposed to be close to you there are the opposite comments. That’s motivating for me.”
Soon after Il Padrino released a statement to the press in praise of their main driver, “Fernando is the best driver in the world, who always gives 200% in the races. He knows how much I count on him, even away from the race track, in terms of his contribution and the impetus he gives to the team. I think it’s incredible that there are still some so-called experts who don’t understand that and are always looking for a polemical situation that simply doesn’t exist.”
Since the ‘resignation’ of his friend Stefano Domenicali, Fernando Alonso has been decidedly cool towards his replacement – Marco Mattiacci. In recent events he has been guarded over what difference a non-F1 man can bring to the stumbling Prancing Horse stable and this has led to repeated speculation that he may be on the verge of leaving the Red team for pastures new in Woking.
Although he has constantly denied the rumours, the press have continued suggesting it is only a matter of time before arguably the best driver in the world cuts his losses and high-tails it back to the Mclaren team. The fact that Jenson Button is still trying to secure a renewed contract with McLaren for next season has done nothing to quell the debate.
And yet, “I must, and need to believe. There is the potential there. We have all the ingredients and we just need to put them all together. I am very proud to be part of this team and I know that winning with Ferrari will mean more than winning with another team. We must continue to fight for important goals but without jeopardising next years car. I must say though that I do not worry about this. Since Marco Mattiacci joined, everything is moving in the right direction. He has clear ideas and a very clever approach. and every year we will become stronger and stronger.”
With Alonso recently calling Ferrari his family and his public change of tact, in regards the ascendancy of this new arrival, is this the first sign of the power behind the throne?
Thursdays Press Conference
Drivers – Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Nico Hulkenburg (Force India), Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham), Felipe Massa (Williams), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Jenson Button (McLaren)
Q: Jenson, we’ll start with you if we may. A 2011 winner here, of course, memorably, and you’re currently eighth in the championship. This circuit has the famous wall of champions on the outside of the final corner. The back of the cars this year, of these designs, is quite light. I wonder if you could a little bit about how you read the challenge of driving these cars around this track this weekend.
Jenson BUTTON: OK. Good morning. Yeah, it’s going to be tricky here, It always is, especially with the cold circuit temperatures we’ll probably have on Friday. So yeah, the last corner will be tricky, but we’re sort of used to that I think. We’ve been driving these cars all year and if we can drive these cars around Monaco I think we’ll be alright around here. It should be an interesting circuit. It’s a circuit where you don’t really use downforce so much, it’s a lot more mechanical grip. There are long straights, so we can use the power of the engine – for us that’s great, with the Mercedes engine. And it’s about working with the tyres. I think it’s going to be tricky around here. It’s supposed to be hot on Sunday, so you’re going to have to really look after them. But we’re reasonably good at that.
Q: Talking about McLaren’s situation: how do you compare this year to last year and the competitiveness and the problems that you have? Are they more fixable than last year’s problems?
JB: Yeah, I think from the outside it doesn’t look spectacular, our season this year, and you’d say it looks quite similar to last year but it’s very different. In terms of the feel of the car, it’s much better. In terms of the development of the car, it is working and we’re going in the right direction. Yeah, it’s tough. When you’ve been fighting for wins and the team is used to fighting for wins, it’s difficult when you find yourself in this situation. But also there are a lot of positives right now. With Ron back in charge, and Eric, I think they’re doing a great job of really moving the team on and changing certain things so that we will be fighting at the front again. But it just takes time. Things don’t change overnight, even though we’re pushing very hard.
Q: OK, thank you. Coming to you now Lewis. You’re a three-time winner here, three times on pole here. What is it about you and this Montreal circuit and it’s walls around the outside? Is it the braking? Is about technique? What is it that somehow clicks with you here?
Lewis HAMILTON: I’m not sure. Good morning everyone. I guess there are certain tracks you like more than others and this is one of those circuits I particularly like. I really like coming out to Canada, I always have a great response from the fans here. It is one of the best grands prix of the year in terms of the turnout, the city, just in general the weekend, it’s a good fun weekend and I guess all of that packed into one makes it fun to drive.
Q: You’ve said this week that you and your team-mate Nico Rosberg are friends again after Monaco. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
LH: There’s not really much to say. I said it in my message. We spoke after the race and just like friends we have our ups and down, we’ve known each other a long, long time, so it’s done and dusted and we look forward to working together to try to help this team win the Constructors’ Championship.
Q: OK, thank you for that. Coming on to Felipe. Three seventh-place finishes so far this season, your best result here in Montreal a fourth. Williams is tied with McLaren at the moment in the Constructors’ Championship with 52 points after six races. Is that in line with your expectations?
Felipe MASSA: No. Definitely I think I didn’t have great results until now. It should be much better than what I had until now. So I had not very great races, starting with the race, where I didn’t get to corner two and you know in Bahrain I was fighting for third, fourth the whole race and then I lost a lot of positions because of the safety car. So I think it was not very great results but I’m sure we can do much better and I hope this track can be also a bit better for our car compared to Monaco, compared to other tracks. So really looking forward that we can have a lot better results, starting here in Montreal, a lot better than seventh I hope.
Q: I wonder if you could tell us what Rob Smedley has brought to the team, because you obviously have got a very long working relationship with him. He’s now in a senior role on the engineering side, can you tell a little bit about what he’s brought to the team?
FM: A lot of experience. A lot of good direction, different things in terms of how to work, you know, in many different areas. I think he’s a very intelligent engineer, has a lot of experience. For sure, things don’t change from one day to the other, so it takes a little bit of time but not just him, we have a lot of great engineers, a lot of good people and things are getting better all the time inside the team and I’m really looking forward that from now until the end of the of the championship things will get better and better all the time.
Q: Nico, coming to you. Fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and points scored in every round so far but no podium personally yet. Given the confidence that Force India has in the package for this weekend in Montreal, is this you weekend do you think?
Nico HULKENBERG: I don’t know. Obviously I hope and like every weekend we’re going to try to make the most of our chances here. I think the track should be OK for us. Also, it’s one of my favourite grands prix, so I really look forward to this weekend – the track, the city, everything is pretty cool. So hopefully we can have a strong result again.
Q: Monaco showed that you can get results by doing a different strategy from the people around you. As a midfield team I wonder, is that something you feel you need to do to get the results or do you feel you can compete with front running teams on equal terms?
NH: Not really, and I think looking back in hindsight we made it a bit harder for ourselves, starting on the harder tyre – the other way around with how it turned out, Safety Car etcetera may have been easier – but I think it’s always different and you always have to look at each race and each case and decide then but, generally, we’re having a good package, we’re competitive and that puts us in a good position in general.
Q: Kamui, you’ve twice finished in the points here in Montreal but after Marussia’s result at the last round in Monaco I wonder what the reaction was in the Caterham team? Is it encouragement that it’s possible to score points or concern about the position it leaves you in?
Kamui KOBAYASHI: For us the Monaco result for us was a bit of a pain but at least we know Marussia made a great step from their updates so I have to say, I think, we have to say it’s a well done job. I think for us for sure I think we need to work. I think what happened in Monaco was a little bit… strange but at least we check with the FIA and that’s through so we have nothing to say but at least we have some upgrades for that first point.
Q: So what is the way forward for the Caterham team this season?KK: The thing about a Formula One team is we cannot change day-by-day. We progress. Of course, it’s not an easy life for us, it’s a difficult moment right now but for sure everybody is working really hard and we know, I think, that we will progress. We need a little bit of time and we are looking forward to more later on this season.
Q: Adrian, two points finishes also for you in your career here in Montreal – but still none this year for you with the Sauber team. Your thoughts on the start that the team has made and how the upgrades have worked out so far.
Adrian SUTIL: Well, a difficult start of course. I thought it would be a little bit more easy but that’s how it is. That’s how our situation is. We try, of course, to get out and improve the car, improve general performance – yeah, coming here we try it again. We had a tough weekend in Monaco but I think Monaco was a little bit more on the better side, the car was behaving a little bit better and so it’s not only bad everything. There are a few positive things – but it’s very complicated to make it altogether at the moment. To understand the car is quite difficult for us still, so we have to work on that and we need a bit more time and hopefully it really goes soon in the right direction. It’s quite hard to be in the back there always, lot of problems come together in racing at the back.
Q: And tell us from your perspective what you think it will be like to race these hybrid turbo cars around this circuit – the specific challenges of this circuit?
AS: Well I think here we’re going to have quite high top speeds, with the new engines and the low drag the cars have so we should really be quick on the straights, maybe also a quicker overall lap time than last year – maybe – so I don’t know. It should be a circuit that suits the car in general. All the Formula One cars, not only us. And, as everyone said, it’s quite an enjoyable track with a lot of possibilities to overtake. The race should be quite interesting as well. Lot of chicanes… yeah, good weekend and I look forward to it, hopefully with a quite good result in the end.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes – PA) Jenson, I don’t know if you read the team’s pre-race press release this week but there were some very complimentary words from Eric Boullier with regard to yourself, taking about your quality of input, your experience, your ambassadorial role. It all sounded very positive and almost as if they’re looking to next year, perhaps wanting to keep you. Any further progress on that? As I say, it was all very complimentary towards yourself.
JB: er…no. No more progress at all. But that’s just the way it is. We’re here, we’ve spent four good years together already. In our fifth year together. And we both want to work together in the future but it’s just not time yet. Not the right time. We have a lot of other issues to solve first before we start thinking about the future too much. We’re in a good place and y’know, I think my experience does help me a lot. I still feel very young at heart, fitter than ever and I have all that experience. I’m in a great position and I feel I’ve got a lot more to give in the future in Formula One. I definitely can’t see an end to my career. This is my life and where I want to be in the future.
Q: (Bill Beacon – La Presse Canadienne) Because this track is different to most with the braking and long straights and everything, do you think that that in any way will close the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field?
LH: I’d be guessing but I don’t feel that will be the case. We’re particularly strong on the straights, Mercedes are but I don’t know, maybe we will be surprised this weekend but long straights do suit us very well. We have a very good power curve on our engine, Mercedes have done the best job with the engines. Renault and Ferrari would have to have done an exceptional job coming into this weekend, in terms of that area, to be able to keep up with us on the straights..
FM: Definitely it can be a good track for most of the cars that are using Mercedes (engines) so I think maybe we will see even maybe a big difference compared to Mercedes and the other teams, because as Lewis said, the engine is amazing, it’s been a very good job done by Mercedes and they have a good car under braking and everything, so for sure maybe we can see maybe even a big difference.
NH: I don’t think it will be very different to the other weeks before.
Q: (Chris Medland – crash.net) Lewis, you said that the air has been cleared between yourself and Nico between races. Did you feel the need to do the same with the team and was anything different with the way the team handled the two of you between Monaco and coming here now?
LH: There was no difference. Collectively with the team… me and Nico spoke and we individually spoke to the team and saw the team. Nothing’s really changed. We know the team has done a great job in terms of supporting us and the way it’s run with Paddy and Toto. Their support for the both of us has been great. We’re now full steam ahead. We had dinner with the team yesterday and things have never been better. We’re just going from strength to strength. People have ups and downs, as I said, so it’s no different to any other experience me and Nico have had in our whole – God knows how many years we’ve been racing together. We move on, we’re pushing forward. There’s a long long way to go in the season so we’re looking forward to that battle.
Q: (Gerhard Kuntschik – Salzburger Nachrichten) Jenson, as kind of the older statesman, you raced on the old A1 Ring; we’re coming up to Austria again, Red Bull Ring, in a fortnight; what are your memories of the Austrian Grand Prix?
JB: Lots of campsites and lots of very merry Austrians over the Grand Prix weekend. It’s one of those races that they really embrace the sort of party scene and the camping scene, which is really cool. It reminds me very much of Spa, British Grand Prix and those sort of races. It’s a true racing fan’s Grand Prix, I feel. The circuit itself… you look at it and you think ‘there’s like seven corners, it can’t be that fun to drive.’ But it is, it’s a really good circuit. I’ve enjoyed racing there in the past, I don’t know what it’s going to be like with these cars. I’ve always had fun racing there. I don’t know how much has changed, either. Turn one, we used to drive off through the gravel because that was the quickest way on the exit. I’m sure it’s not going to be the case any more. I think we’re in for a good Grand Prix.
Q: (Luis Fernando Ramos – Racing Magazine) To all drivers: the World Cup is coming and your countries are going to be there, playing, so on a personal note, how much are you interested in football? Are you going to follow all the matches or you don’t care much about what’s going on there? And a second brief question: who do you think is going to win the World Cup?
Q: Kamui, would you like to kick us off?
KK: Me? On soccer? I don’t really care so I don’t follow anything. All I know is that Japan is not really strong so I don’t…
NH: Well I hope that Gemany is going to be good but I’m not a football expert but I’m sure I’m going to be behind the TV following the World Cup.
AS: I’ll be watching, cheering for Uruguay and Germany, because I’m half Uruguayan.
FM: Yeah, I love football, I watch everything, so I will maybe be watching most of the games. I really hope that Brazil can be there in the final. To win the championship at home would be fantastic so I will be there watching and supporting Brazil.
LH: I don’t follow it as much (as I used to) but I will probably catch a few games and I want to try and see if we can go out to one of the games at least. The dream will be to go and watch Brazil and England play, that would be pretty awesome.
JB: Yes, I totally agree. I’m not a massive football fan, I don’t support a team but when it comes to nationalities, countries playing, obviously I will be supporting England and I’m really looking forward to it.
As time goes by
Anyone who has been watching Formula One over the last twenty years will have very definite views on what it’s is about. Cars that corner on rails, electronics that make life easy for the drivers, safety beyond what is possible to imagine and circuits that are designed with the passion of binary code.
The arrival of Kimi Raikkonen and his blunt responses has won him an army of fans and many observers believing he was born in the wrong era of F1. He should have been racing his ‘hero’ James Hunt back in the 70’s. Spinning the rear tyres up a la Ronnie Peterson and probably smiling because life would have been simpler.
As the teams and associated circus followers arrive at the Montreal circuit many of us remember the era of F1 that somehow died back in 1982.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was named in honour of Canada’s most famous racing son. In a little over four seasons, he captured the hearts of race fans across the world as he carved his way through countless Ferraris with spectacular driving and lurid accidents.
Leo Turrini pondered the legend as he arrived in Canada and the conclusion resulted in Villeneuve being “the last of the Mohicans”, racing in an era where change within the technology was already moving the sport away from the drifting and power slides that had been the core of motor-sport since it’s inception.
“Villeneuve was like a child inside, and like all children if they want to win a race don’t bother thinking about the next race and working with the long term view. Despite us all worshiping him, he was out of fashion already and most will say he would never have won a title because his way of thinking was the immediate race.”
Perhaps the most damning critique of where Formula One is today is a simple comment about how the authorities would today deal with a G. Villeneuve mark 2.0. His driving was lauded as combatative and when he crashed out at the start of races everyone just said, “Ahhh, that’s just Gilles.”
Yet in 2012 and Grosjean was banned for a race after being launched over Alonso in Belgium.. Sir Jock pressed Romain to spend some time learning from him, but Romain preferred to speak to a sports psychologist in an attempt to ‘temper’ his outrageous behaviour on the first laps of races.
Grosjean was described as ‘a nutter’ and an apoplectic Johnnie Herbert demanded he be thrown out of F1..
Anyway, all’s well that ended well, Romain is now being a good boy and earning plaudits for his transformation – yet 30 years ago Villeneuve’s behaviour created a legend…
Ferrari focus is 2015
Fernando Alonso has admitted Ferrari’s primary focus has shifted to 2015. “Whether these updates provide us with the result we want or they don’t, we just need to keep working on both sides [2014 and 2015],” he said. “This year we are still fighting for important things, such as second place in the constructors’ championship and all the targets that we want to achieve. But we can’t do something this year that compromises next year’s time for the car”.
Fighting for second place may be a target that Ferrari would like to achieve given the inevitable that by Hungary, Mercedes could have all but wrapped up this year’s constructors’ title. However, they will not be a slave to this objective and should Renault have really sorted out their ‘fire-fighting’, the RB10 looks a fundamentally better car than the F14T.
Therefore it makes more sense for Ferrari to focus their resources on next year’s F1 entrant. James Allison will have been with the team for sufficient time as to be able to fully put his fingerprint on the design and repay the faith Maranello have placed in him.
Alonso adds, rather stating the obvious, “We need to keep developing for 2014 because many things we carry on to next year’s car”, however he again re-enforces the real focus in Maranello adding, “but if there is something fundamental that requires some time in the 2015 project then obviously we need to not take any time from that project”.
TJ13 is led to believe that McLaren have adopted a similar approach to the remainder of the 2014 season, with the imminent arrival of their new engine supplier Honda. Further, rumours persist that Mercedes are not providing McLaren with the full panacea of resources to maximise the engine potential that even Williams and Force India are receiving.
Then again, it’s not unreasonable for Mercedes to believe that Woking is predominantly looking to their new partnership in 2015 and don’t wish to make life any easier for Honda than they have to.
Secret rolling road test
TJ13 published an article earlier this week, entitled “Give a dog a bad name”. The inference being that “someone has been accused of behaving badly in the past, with the result is that people expect them to behave as such in the future”. (Cambridge Online Dictionary).
Having been presented with evidence that a rolling road test took place in Gratz, Austria between the Bahrain test and the Australian GP – with a Renault engine and a chassis which looked like one from the fizzy drinks company’s stable, TJ13 published a story, though did so under a title which cast doubt upon certain evidence of the one of the participants with which we were provided.
It now transpires a number of ‘anonymous letters were sent to the FIA, Ferrari, Mercedes and Sauber accusing Red Bull of wrongdoing.
Rolling road tests are allowable given certain circumstances under the Sporting regulations providing no aerodynamic analysis is taking place.
What was of interest here was the facility at AVL in Austria is one of few whose rolling road has an advanced wind tunnel capability too.
The TJ13 story stated one could speculate that following a disastrous winter testing programme, the radical transformation of Red Bull’s fortunes at the Australian GP surprised many, and maybe there was a reason for this.
Certain long standing journalists who appear to believe should be in sole possession of anything there is to know about F1 appear miffed because they were not in the loop earlier this week.
TJ13’s daily page is entitled “News and Comment”. Comment by its very nature is either speculative or an interpretation of the evidence.
There is a story here whatever the outcome and as Ted Kravitz tweeted, ‘“Red Bull tell me they didn’t perform the rolling road test. So either another team or engine co did, or it didn’t happen”. Plot thickens’.
Toro Rosso appear to be oblivious to it all and tweet only, “We all are passionate about F1! Like our Italian Team Coordinator, Gilles Carraro”.
Lotus ‘security’ partner
Lotus have a new partner for the Canadian GP
“EMC trusted infrastructure solutions help customers to accelerate their IT transformation. Our products, services, and solutions help them to ensure availability of their applications and systems, identify and repel cyber security threats, and protect their data” (EMC).
Maybe Lotus could do with a partner to ‘repel threats’ and ‘protect’ them from dodgy investors?
We’re all doomed
The actor who played Private James Frazer, John Laurie, may have been in his grave for over 30 years, yet his famous catch phrase from Dad’s Army (British 70’s Sit-Com based upon the home guard) ring regularly in my ears when many and varied considering aspects of modern F1.
Mr. E has managed to find the time to wax lyrical on his views of the digital future in between attending his weekly sessions in room 101, Munich.
When questioned whether the falling F1 TV audience is of concern, he muttered, “It matters obviously, but when you say it is falling, it is changing.”
Mmm. Apparently someone has told Bernie that the era of social media is coming to an end, and he believes them. Ecclestone adds, “But I think the change that is currently taking place is very shortlived, as these social media people are starting to think it is not as good as they thought.”
Ecclestone was asked whether he should consider embracing social media to attract more fans to F1. His response was predictable and curt. “No. We’re commercial… If they find people to pay us [to do that] then I will be happy.”
And in that very moment Private Frazier floods my mind. “We’re all doomed”.
Team’s with 2 heads
The bull in a China shop that is the good doctor Her Marko, threatened to ditch Renault if they didn’t get their act together by the Hungarian GP. Visions of him stomping into VW and demanding a V6 turbo engine for his racing cars amused the TJ13 editorial team greatly.
Anyway, it’s not just Punch and Judy at Mercedes who appear to have differing opinions, Red Bull are speaking with forked tongue once again.
Christian Horner today confirms, “A Renault engine will be in our car next year, 100%”. He reflects philosophically, “We musn’t forget that we’ve had a lot of success with them, and we trust them to solve the problems”.
Mmm. That’s a sentiment one or two of us have been expressing for some time, Christian, when the Viry/Milton Keynes hand bags have been used as pugels.
Ah…. All’s well that ended well.
BRP Inc. unveil the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix winners trophy
Bombadier Recreational Products – BRP Inc. – has unveiled the trophy that will most likely be presented to one of the two Mercedes drivers after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix. It was created by a trio of BRP designers – Canadian Gyslain Béland, Russian Alexei Mikhailov and American Matt Tandrup and it’s the fourth year running that the design team has created the winner’s trophy for the Grand Prix Du Canada.
The stunning trophy started as a digital design before being machined from raw materials and handcrafted in Quebec. Its clear glass cup was shaped as an abstract form of the Canadian maple leaf, while the three precision-built arms are intended to look like a perfect driving line on a race track and the prongs feature an air intake shape like those found on F1 cars.
The new regulation which provides the teams with an extra set of tyres for FP1 delivered once again as all the cars produced a time by the 20th minute of the session. So why the world of F1 is discussing depriving the fans of FP1 to save money is beyond most of us.
Lewis was told early doors that big stops were better than riding the brakes. The Red Bull’s and Williams looked most stable, whilst Kimi was battling the ugly handling F14T and producing a spectacle and the Lotus cars looked unstable on corner entry.
Nico Hulkenberg was querying brake settings on the radio and the Toro Rosso pair locked up into the chicanes time and time again.
The hero of Monaco, Jules Bianchi, came down to earth with a bump as he hit the wall on the exit of the chicane.
Sebastian Vettel queried the team’s strategy of keeping him out doing lap after lap, but was told mysteriously by Rocky that he would explain ‘the plan’ later. The ‘plan’ clearly worked as he managed to finish the session ahead of his team mate, though Ricciardo issued a coded message of his own to the team saying he was ‘still struggling with the same stuff‘.
Jenson, almost collected a bird with his front left which one wag whimsically observed was reminiscent of his father in his younger years, though like Vettel he managed to finish the session just ahead of his team mate.
Alexander Rossi was getting an outing in the Caterham, though the team found it necessary to hurry him up, because the tyres were at the bottom of the operating range. Rossi promptly delivered a lap over a second quicker than team race driver Ericsson.
The Caterham’s look doomed, as their fastest driver Ericsson’s best time was over a second slower than that of Jules Bianchi and even three quarters of a second slower than the beautiful Max.
With 20 minutes to go, Fernando pulled one out of the bag to knock Lewis Hamilton off the top of the time sheets. And there he remained at the end of the session – a mere 0.016s ahead of the Mercedes man.
So there were no major crashes delaying the session, which hopefully bodes well for an absence of the safety car during the race, and the Mercedes pair were 2nd and 3rd, separated by just a tenth of a second.
The top 10 were covered by almost 1.5s, though the mix of engines was interesting. 2 Ferrari’s, 3 Renault’s and just 5 Mercedes powered cars as both the Force India cars failed to deliver, as did Massa whos ERS failed with just 30 minutes to the end of the session.
Alonso’s time was just 2 and a half seconds slower than the time he set in FP2 last year (FP1 damp), so as predicted, the gap between GP2 and F1 cars will increase over the course of the year.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:18.131||0.893||28|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:18.435||1.197||26|
|10||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:18.643||1.405||14|
|11||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||1:18.733||1.495||30|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:18.959||1.721||22|
Free Practice 2 threw up more ponderables in an absorbing session this afternoon. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has always been notoriously heavy on braking and fuel consumption and, along with Bahrain, is one of the few circuits that all the manufacturers are expecting to be pushing the regulation 100 litres of fuel to the absolute limit.
Fernando Alonso was speaking in the week about Montreal and said that although it only has seven corners, they all have their inherent dangers attached. A mistake around here can penalise the driver quite heavily. But it’s the combination of long straights which are preceded by slow corners which require heavy acceleration out of them and full throttle being used for 70% of the lap that punishes the power-units.
Renault stated before the Spanish Grand Prix that the Barcelona and Monaco tracks did not make heavy demands of the engine power. Yet engine components failed over the Monaco weekend. In FP1 in Canada, both Vergne and Massa suffered problems with their ERS and in FP2 Bianchi managed just three laps before being side-lined with PU problems too – this could prove significant in the race for the smaller teams scrambling to win points that could prove ‘make or break’ for their survival.
What’s probably of greater concern to the Renault hierarchy is at a race where they have publicly stated they will finally be at 100% of their performance, not one of their teams troubled the Mercedes powered cars until the last minutes of the session when Vettel vaulted from 16th to 3rd but of equal concern is the Ferrari team whose updates seem to have rejuvenated the car completely – at least in comparison to the RBR team.
The Sky commentary team claimed that the Mercedes is the perfect car for Montreal due to it having “loads of torque and loads of power” conveniently forgetting that the same power unit is used by the Williams, Force India and Mclaren teams who dominated the proceedings and speed trap times.. In fact through the speed trap, Rosberg clocked 333kph (206mph) and Perez 331kph..
Button reported that Mclaren had great mechanical grip from the suspension and tyres but they are lacking in aero performance which is causing them problems. The other problem that Jenson simply forgot was if the track temperature rises this also affects Mclaren as was proved late in the session when he complained about his rear…
Maldonado at this point decided to attempt a practice start at the end of the pit lane and promptly stalled, the team had gotten the idiot cards prepared for his highway code test but he has to date proven surprisingly stubborn.
After 30 minutes of the session, the scoreboard showed the animals went in two by two – hurrah! Hamilton led from Rosberg, Alonso – Kimi, Bottas – Massa, Magnussen – Button and Hulkenburg – Perez. The Renault powered Red Bulls languishing in 12th and 16th. A telling exchange between Rosberg and his engineer was heard over the radio as he asked where he was losing time to ‘my team-mate‘. So much for the cold beer in the fridge Nico.
As Sutil arrived at the last chicane on the track it seemed likely he was about to crash into Magnussen who was dawdling on the track. Sutil has obviously a good memory of Raikkonen taking him from behind in Monaco a few years ago because he expertly avoided contact and despite the incident being reviewed by the stewards – no further action was taken.
Brundle was out and about observing the cars around the island track and described the sounds at turn 3 as incredible. The puzzled look on the FOM sound engineers faces was un-nerving as mutterings were heard of “Bernie’s gonna kill us” and they went in search of the SKY team who hadn’t edited Brundle’s comments.
A statistician had written in about covering the circuit with a 5cm layer of maple syrup. By all accounts this would be sufficient for 60million pancakes… and, whilst discussing idiots, mention should be made of proposals to change the weekend format for F1. The hot favourite at the moment is not running on the Friday, yet for once Damon Hill proved a wizened one when he suggested that 90 minute sessions when nobody tries too hard and none of the times are truly meaningful should be scrapped and replaced with just one practice session in the morning but importantly a qualifying session for the Friday as well as Saturday. They say things come back round and so it would prove if this original format returned once again with customer cars.
The most sobering thought as the session ran down was that Hamilton and Rosberg were circulating easily in the 1:19’s. The Ferraris and Red Bulls around half a second off the pace but most interestingly, considering the lack of downforce in their design, both the Williams were trading places with the Silver Arrows.
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:16.573||0.455||26|
|10||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:17.180||1.062||40|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:17.644||1.526||36|
|13||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||1:17.712||1.594||35|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:17.819||1.701||33|
|19||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:18.732||2.614||9|