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Previously on TheJudge13:
Hamilton hits reverse after Monaco ‘tantrum’ (GMM)
Lewis Hamilton has hit reverse, after losing his temper two weeks ago in Monaco. The 2008 world champion’s reaction to the Mirabeau qualifying affair, after suggesting his teammate Nico Rosberg had sabotaged his run at pole position, was roundly criticised. Kevin Eason, the correspondent for The Times newspaper, said Hamilton was “on a fine line between tantrum and triumph”, even after the 29-year-old issued a ‘tweet’ last week that announced he and German Rosberg are still friends.
So Hamilton has continued to back-paddle.
The Telegraph’s Daniel Johnson wrote from Montreal: “Hamilton appeared to realise last night that his reaction to qualifying in Monaco had been too emotional, too hasty.” Indeed, the Mercedes driver admitted to British journalists ahead of the Canadian grand prix that he probably should have reacted differently to defeat in Monaco.
“The majority of the things I said that weekend were in the heat of the moment,” said Hamilton. “There was perhaps a negative tone that was taken from just one weekend but at the end of the day I don’t like losing. In the light of the way you guys (reporters) wrote stories I perhaps would,” he added, when asked if he should have behaved differently.
And in a BBC column linked from his official Facebook page, Hamilton’s ‘mea culpa‘ went on, as he recalls realising he was in the middle of “a mother of a situation“.
“For the first time in a while, I was on the back foot,” he added, at the same time insisting that his rivalry with Rosberg “has been overblown. In these moments, in the heat and noise of the battle, you can forget the bigger picture and with me I always feel better after I’ve slept on it,” said Hamilton.The immediate emotions start to subside, a sense of rationality taps on my shoulder and I realise that it wasn’t the end of the world as I thought it had been. I still had Canada and the rest of the season to look forward to,” he added.
On the other side, championship leader Rosberg is playing the ice-cool counterpart, telling reporters in Canada that “In general, I try to err towards the rational side”, and insisting he is taking a deliberately “disciplined” approach to 2014.
Told by The Times that Hamilton has admitted he was wrong in Monaco, Rosberg added: “Good to hear it. I was surprised by what happened. I was massively excited and happy to share Monaco with the team, but of course I did notice the situation,”.
Mercedes’ utter dominance at the moment is giving the team’s management the freedom to simply let the rivalry run its course, as a silver-clad driver will almost certainly win the title come late November. “I’m not going to spend any time managing the relationships between the drivers in a direct manner,” team boss Paddy Lowe told British radio 5 Live. “That’s something they really need to work out between themselves,” he added. “It’s not a school playground.”
Team chairman Niki Lauda agreed that Hamilton and Rosberg are smart enough to self-regulate the situation to their own benefit.
“If they continue to fight a millimetre apart, eventually there will be a crash,” the triple world champion is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “What happens if one of them can continue but the other cannot? That’s 25 points gone,” he said. “Until Monaco it was hard to keep them under control, but in Monaco it got out of hand,” Lauda acknowledged. “Now we are back on top it.”
Pirelli announce selections up to Hungary
Pirelli have announced their compound nomination for the Grand Prix’s to be held in Austria, Britain, Germany and Hungary.
For the return of Formula One to what was formally called the A1-Ring – Pirelli have chosen the two softest compounds in their range. F1 last visited the track in 2003 but the renamed Red Bull Ring still has the same layout. It contains several tight and twisty sections that require maximum mechanical grip from the tyre. If the Austrian circuit was still in its glorious layout known as the Osterreichring then the tyre selection may well have been in complete contrast.
Silverstone places high energy loads through the tyres as witnessed at last year’s British Grand Prix – with the very public exploding tyres. Once again Pirelli will furnish the teams with the two hardest tyres in their range.
The German Grand Prix is returning to Hockenheim this season. Pirelli used the medium and soft tyres the last time F1 visited the track in 2012 but whilst the circuit has some fast straights – the significant part of the track is slower sections hence the need for maximum mechanical grip and the use of soft and supersoft compounds.
The Hungaroring is a slow speed track but often run in hot conditions but as last year there is a step between compounds to encourage the use of differing strategies.
Pirelli Tyre Nominations for next four Grand Prix
|Date||Circuit||2014 Option||2014 Prime||2013 Option||2013 Prime|
|22/6||Red Bull Ring||Supersoft||Soft||n/a||n/a|
Free Practice 2 – Comparison Table
Friday Team Representatives Press Conference
TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Dave GREENWOOD (Marussia), Andrew GREEN (Force India), Giampaolo DALL’ARA (Sauber), Pat FRY (Ferrari), Paddy LOWE (Mercedes)
Q: Dave can we start with you? Obviously points for the team in Monaco. That must be a huge boost, a huge encouragement to the team. Can you tell us about the reaction within the team and also how you got there, the work that was involved in that?
Dave GREENWOOD: Yeah, obviously for the whole team they were very pleased on Sunday evening with the result. From the point of view of how we got there, really we’d actually brought some updates to the Barcelona race and we almost struggled a bit to get them working as we’d expected during the race weekend but the real positive for us was the fact that we had the two-day test after the Barcelona race. So, plenty of new tyres you to do some good testing and we had quite a good result on the first day. We got the car much better balanced with the parts that we had brought to the race. Certainly Max, on day one, was very happy with the car. Competitiveness-wise on day one? OK, it’s only a test and yes we did put the supersoft tyres on, but that vaulted us right up to the front of the timesheets, which was not normal for us. We were quite happy with that and Max did a good job to get the parts working on the first day. Confirmed with Jules, the situation had improved on the second day and really went into Monaco [where] we kind of thought ‘well, that’s great, they worked well at Barcelona, but Monaco is a completely different track’. So we were quite, not nervous, but you know we needed to make sure that the homework we did to translate the set-up from Barcelona to Monaco was the right direction. Monaco free practice went really well, really happy with the balance of the car again and the times we were posting. What we’re saying is that we were at the back of the midfield pack. I’m not saying we were further forward than that. But that’s the place you need to be on a Sunday when you have a race of attrition, which is obviously what we had. It enabled us to be in the right place to take hold of the places when they became available.
Q: Where do you go from here then? Can you repeat that result and how do you build from here and develop?
DG: Obviously on pure pace alone we’re not going to repeat that result this weekend. It’s clear we needed some luck. But the bottom line is if you’re fighting with the cars that are trying to take the eighth, ninth and tenth-place spots, they’re good cars, they’re good competitors, so you need to have a reasonable amount of pace to be able to stay with them. Obviously in Monaco, you’ve got the advantage of the fact that there is a huge lap time difference needed to overtake, there’s much less here, so that helped us. But we just need to keep progressing, keep bringing developments to the car, we’ve got some more developments this week, just keep chipping away at it and see how we get on.
Q: Well done, thank you. Giampaolo, coming to you, can you tell us from an engineering point of view why the first six races of the season have gone the way they have for Sauber?
Giampaolo Dall’Ara: Okay. It has been quite a tough beginning, especially entering the season. Even before racing we had quite a tough winter preparing the car and the team with the big changes this year and obviously the big hit we got was that the performance side of things was nowhere near where we were expecting. We have been identifying some of the reasons why. For some of them there was a kind of immediate follow-up but for others it took and is taking longer, that’s why we still lag quite a bit behind where we would like to be in terms of pure performance. In the early races we had some reliability issues, some accidents as well, but in all honesty, if you talk about scoring points we were never really in position on performance grounds. In the last of couple of events starting in Barcelona we could introduce a new aero package, we could finalise quite an extensive weight reduction campaign. The car came out for a number of reasons I’m not going to explain here, came out way heavier than we were expecting and targeting so we had to take on that problem as well. On top of this we worked together with our powertrain supplier Ferrari to get on top of some of the issues on that side of things and we believe we made quite a remarkable step and performance. Unfortunately, the kind of race we are able to perform is quite at the back and we would like to step up further, at least to fight in the midfield, regularly scoring points.
We are not quite there yet – but since Barcelona we feel that we are closer. In Barcelona we had to face some set-up issues related to the difference we had in the new package which, let’s say, was leading to some instability the drivers couldn’t cope with. Not all the issues were solvable and the race was… although we had both cars at the finish line we were quite far from the points. In Monaco, quite a few of those issues were addressed to our satisfaction. Also we had this test in between the two races, which helped a lot and we were reasonably happy about the performance there. We didn’t qualify well – not only due to performance, we had a couple of unfortunate rounds so we had to start from the back – but we felt in the race that we could fight which some of the guys we are normally not used to fighting with. Unfortunately we didn’t have the cars on the finish line due to accidents in this case which had a high price for us because right now we are, on the sporting side, not in an ideal situation. Definitely we are not happy about this but for sure we don’t take it too badly. We feel like we are on a growing pattern and we keep being optimistic about the future. We try to improve race-by-race and we are quite sure that at some point we will be back in the right fight.
Q: Pat, there has been quite a bit of discussion this weekend about the new package on the Ferrari. Fernando said yesterday that there were updates that needed validating here today. Can you tell us what you tried on the car, whether it worked and how you feel about it?
Pat Fry: There were quite a few bits: aero; a lot of the control system tuning; obviously reliability updates in the engine and that in itself allows us to push the engine a little bit harder as well. It’s far too early to be able to say whether it’s all working or not. Some things are looking promising, some we need to look into in more detail as normal really. So, yeah, reasonable and a broad spread set of developments. But we need to keep developing the car as quickly as we can really.
Q: I guess the big question is: is Mercedes catchable before the end of the season?
PF: I think that’s going to be a very tough challenge really – but we just need to keep on. There is quite a gap to close, let’s face it, but we just need to do our best and keep developing.
Q: Andy, following on from that, for you, for Force India, are Ferrari catchable? You’re 11 points behind them with one third of the season gone.
Andrew Green: I don’t think we’re really in that sort of position to be targeting Ferrari. I think we’re in our own fight with McLaren and Williams for fourth. The sort of teams ahead of us are the big budget teams. We can’t really look to compete with those. We’ll try to give them a fight wherever we can. If they slip up, we will be right behind them. But to be realistic, I don’t think we’re really in the same league.
Q: Tell us about today’s running. What did you learn about the performance of the tyres in particular on this track – obviously the temperatures today are projected to be lower than what we’re expecting for the rest of the weekend.
AG: It’s a tricky one for us. It’s quite a unique tarmac here in Montreal. It throws up a bit of a conundrum on car set-up. We’ve always looked to target the best car we can on Sunday afternoon, maybe at the cost of a Saturday afternoon performance. So, we’ll be looking at all that data again this evening and making some decisions on which way we go. We’ve also had our eye on the weather, knowing that it’s going to warm up a bit over the next couple of days. So, yeah, we’ve got some difficult decisions to make over the next few hours.
Q: Paddy, it’s a clean sweep so far for you in pole positions and race wins so far this season. It looked like very strong race pace for both cars this afternoon – do you see any areas where the opposition are catching up on you?
Paddy Lowe: We take each race at a time. They’re all different circuits with different challenges. This one in particular is very hard on the brakes and difficult to manage the fuel. I think we’ll all find that on Sunday. So, yeah, it’s not easy. I know we’ve had a fantastic record so far this year but we have to work very hard, we’ve got some great competitors out there who will grab everything we leave behind. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t.
Q: You mentioned the braking there. Obviously braking stability is a huge thing around this Montreal circuit and brake-by-wire obviously is a new thing in Formula 1 this year. Could you share any insights with us about setting it up for a place like this and what the key to it all is and how yours is working?
PL: In many ways it makes life easier because the brake-by-wire gives you some authority over brake balance, which we didn’t have in the past. So, in that sense, it’s taken some difficulties away. I don’t think there are any new challenges from that with these new cars.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Kate Walker – Crash.net) We’ve heard that there is talk about dropping the Friday morning practice session in light of cost-saving. What kind of impact is that going to have on a technical point of view, other than the time saved on the track?
DG: I think that with all things, initially, you meet these things with some alarm and you think ‘oh my God, how are we going to deal with that?’ But the reality is that you start to think about it, you come up with new ways that you’re going to structure your programme and I’m sure that ultimately a few races in we will have kind of forgotten about the old way we used to do it and we’ll all be used to it and it will just mean a slight re-structuring of the programme and changing the way we do things. But we’re all adaptable, that’s why we’re all in F1 so I’m sure we’ll cope.
AG: Well, first of all, from Force India’s perspective, we don’t see this as cost-saving at all. For us, we’ve always looked to use the FP1 session to blood in some new drivers and that was an income stream for us and if we lose that, that’s going to be a relatively severe blow, which, in turn, will have an impact on our technical ability. So in that respect, I don’t think it’s cost-saving. I agree, I think we’ll get used to it. With just one session, I don’t think we’ll just move straight into the… we’ll move up, we’ll condense our programme which was an FP1/FP2 and do it all in one session, so not a big issue.
GD: Yeah, pretty much in line. Obviously from where I sit, I can’t judge on the cost-saving side which is out of my area but technically, for a team like ours, the time at the track is very precious. Obviously we are more limited than other teams in simulation as a broad concept so time on track is extremely important for us. Obviously, if this happens, we would have to adapt our plans, try to – as mentioned – try to squeeze what we’re doing now in two sessions into one and move off other points, for sure.
PL: I think the rationale is to reduce the workload on the cars significantly through the weekend and also to reduce the consumption of parts, particularly power units, which is one of the major costs for all the teams, but that’s a particular burden for the smaller teams. That was the concept. It’s still to be finalised, by the way, so there’s a whole month in order to determine the small print and to finally approve it, but the concept was to save money. If teams are feeling it isn’t going to save money, then of course it could be reviewed.
PF: From a technical point of view, you just have to work out how to deal with it, so you need to do a little bit better homework, you’ve got one session fewer. Obviously we normally test car bits in one session and test tyres in the other. Now we’ve got to work out a way of combining the two. Years ago, when we got rid of warm-up and brought in parc ferme, initially hands were up in the air going ‘my God, we’ll never cope’ and now it’s great, you can actually sleep on a Saturday night rather than be working forever. So I think you just adapt to it really, so you need to do a little bit better preparation, maybe it leads more into trusting the results from the tunnel, from the simulation and things like that. You just have to adapt.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines) I guess Paddy’s the target for this one but if anybody else would like to comment afterwards feel free. Paddy, if we have a look at why there are restrictive regulations limiting the number of power units, transmissions, tyres, running, tests, whatever, head counts are restricted at races, if one looks at it, one comes to the conclusion that ultimately the cost of going racing is roughly or broadly the same, whether you’re a Marussia or a Ferrari or a Force India or a Mercedes. Yet if I have a look at Companies House records, a budget for a team like yours and the expenditure over a year is about three times that of Andrew’s. That leads me to believe that you’re actually spending twice as much on developing your cars, because that’s where their shortcomings are, than you are to actually build two cars and go racing for an entire season. Is that really a sustainable business model for the 21st century?
PL: I don’t see why it’s any less sustainable than it ever has been. Formula 1 has always existed with some differentials between the teams, some teams being better funded than others, and it’s always been that way and teams will sustain themselves, they have to manage themselves as businesses to break even at least. They have to be going concerns. If you can generate income then you chose how to spend it and that’s the nature of a team. So I don’t see any particular difficulty with that, it’s always been that way.
AG: I think you’ve pointed out a very valid fact. I think it’s something we’re aware of but we go racing on a minimal budget and what we have left over, we try and develop the car with. We can see that other teams have got an incredible amount more money to spend on car development, it’s not something we’re particularly concerned about. We do what we can with what we’ve got, that’s what we focus on; what everyone else has got is nothing really to do with us.
Q: (Matthew Walthert – Bleacher Report) Pat, yesterday Fernando said of Marco Mattiacci that he has good vision and a very clever approach so now that you’ve worked with him for almost two months, I’m wondering if you could maybe tell us a little bit about that approach and some changes he’s brought in – maybe from your perspective – that are working well?
PF: I think it’s good to come with a clean sheet and look at something and see where it works well, where it doesn’t work well and sometimes, with some of the engineering things, you do you end up getting so close to it that you miss the obvious things, so I think it’s good to come in with a clean set of eyes and see where we need to improve. There are a huge amount of opportunities for us to actually improve the place and we’re going through those and then working on how to fix them and improve them.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) Paddy, when you are in a position like Mercedes with both drivers going head-to-head the way they are for the world title, from a technical point of view, what difficulties have you encountered so far – in particular perhaps reassuring both men that they are getting exactly the same equipment, that the procedures over the weekend are followed to plan, that nothing is unfair effectively?
PL: You’re absolutely right, it puts a great pressure on us to more than ever make sure that both drivers are given an absolutely equal opportunity at every level to compete finally in the race, but we manage that. The cars are built identically, each driver has access to the same tools, the same time to develop the car and we just manage it that way. It is a challenge because you find very small, subtle things that you hadn’t thought of that can be seen as a difference but we work through those and I think we get a good result.
Big teams propose Friday practice axe (GMM)
F1 is proposing to shake up the format of the grand prix weekends for 2015.
It emerged in Montreal on Friday that the plan, already agreed by the powerful Strategy Group including the sport’s major teams, is designed to cut costs.
Under the proposal, Thursday’s media activities would be axed altogether, while Friday is reduced to just a single, 90-minute afternoon practice session. “I think the rationale is to reduce the workload on the cars significantly through the weekend and also to reduce the consumption of parts, particularly power units, which is one of the major costs for all the teams, but that’s a particular burden for the smaller teams,” said Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe.
Before the proposal can be approved, it would have to pass through the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, but the BBC claims the sport’s bosses Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone are already supportive. Lowe said the idea is to help the small teams, but within that group – already angered by the budget cap axe – there is opposition.
“From Force India’s perspective,” said the Silverstone based team’s Andy Green, “we don’t see this as cost-saving at all.” In fact, he said small teams often use Friday mornings to test young drivers, which is also an “income stream” as sponsors pay handsomely for the privilege. “If we lose that, that’s going to be a relatively severe blow,” added Green.
And Sauber’s Giampaolo Dall’ara explained that track time is “very precious” for the smaller teams. “Obviously we are more limited than other teams in simulation as a broad concept so time on track is extremely important for us,” he said.
Some sections of the media have also responded with criticism. Michael Schmidt, the respected correspondent for Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, said the big-budget top teams deciding cost-cutting rules is “a joke, because most of them don’t want to save money“. Schmidt argues that the plan will not reduce the fixed price of customer engines for the small teams, while their sponsors will lament the axe of Thursday’s media proceedings.
Mercedes’ Lowe added: “That was the concept. It’s still to be finalised, by the way, so there’s a whole month in order to determine the small print and to finally approve it but the concept was to save money. If teams are feeling it isn’t going to save money, then of course it could be reviewed.”
As the sun kisses the Canadian track, speculation amongst many in the paddock was if the pace of the Williams yesterday will be able to be replicated today and eventually in qualifying. Their long run pace was comparable to, a possibly sandbagging, Mercedes team and certainly better than the Red Bull and Ferrari teams managed. But could Botta, the descendant of Thor, and the man-boy Massa convert their race pace into a similar one lap pace for a good grid position…
TJ13 commented yesterday about ERS problems hitting Vergne, Massa and Bianchi. After the recent non-demanding nature of Monaco, which witnessed some power unit failures, it may prove problematic at a circuit that requires full throttle for 70% of the lap. Adding to this are two significant straights which precede a hairpin and the final chicane – the braking points for both are sufficient for recharging the ERS but the other sections are so short between corners that the airflow cannot disperse all the heat that the recharge/ discharge cycle generates within the cars.
A replay of Guitterez shows his digits tapping away on his steering wheel whilst listening to his in-car selection of the “Gypsy Kings”. He shakes the imaginary maracas as his car begins to pirouette into the concrete wall of turn four… after the session restarts we have more slow motion footage of the sublime artistry that these guys (Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen etc) possess – drifting and power sliding through corners.
Alexander Rossi when asked about how great it is to watch the cars sliding and drivers having to work., showed a complete disregard for the public with his reply. He has obviously been well versed in the history of Formula One! “No thats no good, we don’t want that at all, we want to go round on rails, grip, downforce – in fact turn 5 and 6 are really difficult here to control the car and some of the guys were saying that in Monaco the tunnel is no longer flat”
“Yes,” replied his co-commentator, “but the crowd and viewers love to see the best drivers in the world being challenged – having to work their ability” As in all the best comedy moments there was a countdown whilst the idea filtered through his mind, “1…2…3…4…13…14…15… oh. oh…I get it. Right…”
Just before the halfway point the leaderboard shows Alonso, Raikkonen followed closely by Hamilton which would prompt a double take of any tifosi at which point Hamilton finishes his installation lap and wipes half a second and countless smiles off of Ferrari faces. It’s hurts almost as badly as when Hamilton sauntered past a slick shod Timo Glock in Brazil 2008.
One mere glint of hope is the performance of the Williams cars, with Massa quietly beavering away and finishing the session second. It appears the Silver Arrows have got a chink in their armour beyond the management trio. In Montreal, they seem to be suffering with the supersoft tyre not returning a speed advantage as the other teams have found. It could be because Mercedes turned down their engines to run on a cylinder or they may have filled the cars up with fuel but if a genuine issue – does Mercedes have the speed on the soft tyre to claim the front row? As if to orchestrate the concept of competition we had Nico complaining of understeer…. and the lad from Stevenage claiming “‘me brakes is hot, innit”
A little later we are entertained by the pirouettes from Ericsson, Grosjean and Perez – spinning in Turn 9 – by all accounts these braking system are tricky little blighters. Tally ho Johhny, see you in Blighty.
‘Ah Jenson old boy, what ever is your concern?’ “Well my tyres they are unbalanced I’m afraid.” ‘A-ha, come back into the garage and we’ll re-balance them for you.’ “No, no – it’s OK, I’ll carry on.”
Why on earth would he transmit that over the radio is beyond most observers but apparently the only place he can get away from the Ron Dennis scowl is in the car..
With 24 minutes to go Ron’s protege spins his Mclaren into turn one. It all becomes clear why the car has good mechanical adhesion and yet aerodynamics of a brick. As he chugs away from the scene, the farmers in the crowd liken the car to their Massey-Ferguson. Poor old Ron, the great Mclaren reduced to a tractor sponsored by alcohol and called a ‘SAP”
Vettel is observed speaking on his mobile whilst his engineers struggle to work on his car. The grumpy World Champion disappeared momentarily out the back to pay the delivery boy. The team expecting a great Italian/ Canadian pizza are disappointed their efforts have been rewarded with cucumbers… although Christian Hornier is noted to have left his prat perch on the pit-wall…
Final thought from Canada. Alex Rossi drove Kobayashi’s car yesterday because it was National Sweden day and Ericsson wanted to represent his country. Young Rossi missing the point of irony, once again, proudly claimed “well, it was national donut day in America yesterday”
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:16.504||0.894||15|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:16.820||1.210||21|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:16.824||1.214||19|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:16.884||1.274||15|
|11||Nico Hulkenburg||Force India||1:16.944||1.334||17|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:16.188||1.578||19|
Lap/Sector Comparison Chart