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Previously on TheJudge13:
Perez v. Massa Controversy Contraversifies
Bosses around the world are in despair as on Day 2 of the brouhaha both parties took to social media to prove their case and the internet failed once again to get any work done.
Said Boss Solomon Bigbritches “One of my guys spent 7 hours yesterday looking for grainy cell phone videos of the incident that FOM hadn’t pulled yet so he could prove just one guy wrong on the internet. And that was his co-worker who sat right next to him. Meanwhile, all of my projects are on hold while he does frame by frame analysis with protractors. The Warren Commission spent less time on their findings”
Leading economists predict the global economy will screech to a halt if the matter is not soon resolved. Fortunately we here at TJ13 have found what the cousins like to call the “smoking gun” which clearly demonstrates the fact that depending on the point of view the guilt or innocence of the correct party is clearly established beyond a shadow of a doubt a racing incident.
The Silver Star lining in all this is that the oxygen is being sucked out of the Rosberg-Hamilton feud, meaning life is back to normal for the duo. “Thank #@$%!@# God” shared the naturally talented Hamilton. “Does this finally mean you’ll finally ask me something other than whether I’m still friends with Nico?”
Meanwhile the cool and cerebral Rosberg replied “Thank !@#%@#$ God. Does this mean you’ll finally ask me something other than whether I’m still friends with Lewis?”
Team Boss Toto Lauda weighed in with the definitive statement “Thank !@#$@!# God. I’m sick of all the bull!@#$. They’re !@#$!@#$ professionals and employees and if they can’t get their f!@#ing sh$%^ together then I will fire both their lazy f@#$%#ing asses.” He then headed off to elocution lessons with Samuel L. Jackson.
Of course astute readers will note that the common thread between these incidents is the stewards, or rather more to the point, not the same stewards. Where Monaco was adjudged no foul by Rosberg, Canada was apparently worthy of a five grid spot penalty. The more cynically minded will observe that the stewards might feel more comfortable “getting tough” with the smaller teams.
Long memoried commenter and testing analysis contributor Vortex Motio noted that despite everyone’s obsession with observing steward Fernandez’ apparent conflict of interest, actual steward Derek Daly might have an axe of his own to grind as well.
Derek’s son Conor was involved in a horrifying accident with similar parameters during the Monaco 2012 GP3 race, with Conor playing the part of Massa. The difference was that the stewards found Conor to be at fault and imposed a 10 spot grid penalty on him, negatively affecting his career. Is it possible that Derek’s view of the Massa-Perez incident was influenced by his son’s experience? As they say in politics, it’s the appearance of impropriety that will get you.
The real disgrace in all of this is the fact that such important decisions are left to a group of dilettante playboys and ex-drivers with heavy industry connections. No other global multi-billion dollar sporting enterprise would embarrass itself this way. It’s time for F1 to grow up and employ professional stewards to ensure consistency in its judgements.
Potential candidates could train in the lower ranks and advance as they gain experience. More training would be required as one advanced upwards and at the top decisions would be reviewed to ensure consistent standards and treatment of all the teams. Sure you could have guest stewards as a link to the past, but it would need to be made clear that they were mostly guest, not so much steward.
Ferrari refutes Raikkonen to be replaced for 2015
If in the UK papers concentrate on the principle story that is Lewis Hamilton, in Italy to sell newspapers and associated advertising an avalanche of reports are written daily in regards to Ferrari. When people speak of the huge pressure that the Italian team exists in, it is this constant rumour and counter-rumour that feeds the hordes.
Over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend rumours started that Ferrari were looking to offload Kimi Raikkonen. Whether started within the Italian camp or their origin is some ruthless hack in the media is irrelevant, Ferrari creates headlines.
The press were likening the current situation at Ferrari with the situation that the team faced back in 2009 – a driver that had lost his desire for racing. Alonso may currently be beating Raikkonen on a consistent basis but on the few occasions that Raikkonen has been competitive with the Spaniard he has raced hard and as in Monaco ahead of him. Ultimately, everyone knows that the driving talent at Maranello is not behind the problems Ferrari are suffering.
Mattiacci has made no secret of his admiration for the cool-headed Iceman and it is only in recent weeks that Alonso has changed his tune in regards the overall boss. Alonso is a competitive animal and wants to win races and titles but Raikkonen didn’t join the hotbed of Ferrari simply because he wanted to be paid.
By all accounts, he is signed for 2015 with an extra year’s option which would cost Ferrari in the region of $30 million to terminate. A Ferrari source said: “ Kimi will not leave home a second time and Ferrari doesn’t want to do that again.”
Massa struggled for years to compete against the Alonso juggernaut and despite public outcries to have him replaced, Ferrari kept the faith. Until they have a car that is competing with the best the question remains who would they replace Kimi with?
F1 Mind Games
In life one thing is certain, “you can’t unlearn anything”. Of course In the strictest sense we can gather incremental information which may change the way we view things, but when we become aware of an idea or concept, it’s impossible to deny its existence in what ever form we eventually come to view it.
Mind games are a part of life and are particularly prevalent in sport and broadly could be defined as “a largely conscious struggle for psychological one-upmanship , often employing passive-aggressive behaviour to specifically demoralize or empower the thinking subject, making the aggressor look superior” (Gita Mamman).
A.P. Sands believes, “The serious sportsman will also be prepared to meet a variety of gambits and head-games from their rivals, attempting meanwhile to tread the fine line between competitive psychology and paranoia”.
At the start of the season we heard a lot from Mercedes and their drivers about how good the friendship between Lewis and Nico was – together in its 15 year historical context. Yet no one is really surprised that with Mercedes so dominant and the stakes so high that this relationship will become most strained at times.
Rosberg, this weekend, recognised that this mental side to sport is inevitable. “The mental aspect is always a part,” he said. “It’s always there and I do think about it, because in sport it is a factor, the mental side to it”.
Most observers would agree that Lewis Hamilton is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, which at times means his emotions appear more intense. Then we have the stereotype that Nico is less obviously demonstrative of his feelings, which draws the conclusion he may be more cerebral.
Prior to the Canadian GP Rosberg re-enforced this idea when he commented, “I don’t want to compare myself to him [Hamilton]. In general I try to err towards the rational side, but it’s sometimes very difficult in this sport and in the heat of the moment. I try to be a little bit towards the rational side, but that is not compared to anyone else”.
Interestingly, during that interview Nico went to great lengths to exclude Lewis from any comparison to himself – once directly and the second time in general terms, yet all this does is draw in the listener to underline those comparisons once they have been suggested.
We cannot unlearn the idea that there is a difference between Lewis and Nico and how they approach their tasks, and the seed is planted that one is ‘emo’ and the other rational.
This is not the first time this suggestion has been made and it was Lewis who sowed the seed this year that there were differences between himself and Rosberg. Back in March he admitted, “Nico often spends much more time with the engineers than I do,” and what followed was a whole debate about whether Hamilton had a lesser technical depth of understanding than his team mate.
The basis of any mind game between 2 competitors is rooted in an observed difference between them. The job of each competitor is to spin their differentiating characteristic as positive in comparison to a negative characteristic of their opponent.
So we have, Nico is more rational…. Lewis is emotional.
The positive/negative spins possible from this comparison are indeed many and so far Rosberg appears to be 5 love up in the first set.
‘Lewis is thick’, ‘Lewis is out of control’, Lewis acts in haste and regrets at leisure’, the list of negative constructions could go on for some time.
Rosberg re-enforces these negative stereotypes whilst protesting he is making no comment on his team mate. He adds as a positive conclusion of his rational abilities, “I am confident enough to believe at any track, if I get my car to my liking, then the chance is there to win. So I don’t go into this weekend any different.”
So it is impossible for us, the F1 fans, to unlearn that there are significant differences between these two Mercedes drivers.
Where Lewis could box clever is to redefine his ‘heart on the sleeve’ label in a positive way and couch it in terms which defeat the considered and rational image of Nico.
More passion is a positive spin on the stereotype of being ‘more emotional’. Hamilton’s corner need to be lauding his abilities in this context.
Maybe this looks something like, ‘passion beats rationale. it takes you to a place beyond belief. And if you believe that place is real and achievable, then you can out perform the rational’.
Most F1 observers would agree that like Alonso, Hamilton is a rare kind of driver who can ‘out-perform’ his car. Why? Because he believes it can do more than is rationally possible. Of course that extra 0.001% belief is the difference in a qualification lap time.
So Hamilton’s PR are failing him. Lewis was inevitably asked in the FIA press conference last Thursday about Monaco and his relationship with Nico. He was initially reluctant to speak about it replying, “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”.
He was asked multiple times over the weekend the same kind of questions and at best sounded as though the matter was being swept under the carpet.
In fact Lewis’ appeared to be going out of his way to demonstrate his buddy buddy relationship with Nico, About 2 hours before the race, the Mercedes pair were sent down to turn one to be interviewed together in front of the crowd. Nico did his cerebral thing, speaking to the assembled masses in French – and Lewis shouted “Yo”.
Worse was to come, in what looked like a pre-planned attempt to make the pair look united, Lewis casually hung off Nico’s shoulder smiling and relaxed… only for Rosberg to most obviously shrug him off and cast him a glance of disdain.
Do not be mistaken, Rosberg has found a modus operandi which is best described as being cool toward Lewis and attempting to make his friendly advances look silly. Then behind the scenes, Rosberg is drawing the negative comparisons between Lewis and himself – which he claims he is not really making.,,, honest gov.
Lewis needs to learn to embrace who he is. Let Lewis be Lewis and come out fighting and say – “Hey, I’m passionate – so what? At times I may get things wrong in the heat of the moment, but it’s who I am- and it’s the reason I can beat those who are cool, calm and collected”.
In reality it will require some clever work and a planned agenda from Lewis’ PR people, but in essence what is required is for the exuberant, joyous Lewis of 2007/08 to re-emerge. Like a chrysalis, he needs to break free from all the layers of ‘crap’ which have wound their way around him – something that at Mercedes is more possible than if Hamilton were still at McLaren.
We cannot ‘un-learn’ that Lewis is emotional – because in fact he is. We could be re-educated as to the positive benefits of being an emotional personality.
Lewis can then play positive mind games instead of the catchup he has been forced into for the past couple of weeks. He can compare the benefits of passion to the negatives of being of a staid and steady nature, which we may plausibly accept is the ‘obvious’ conclusion of someone who is first and foremost living by the rule of reason.
The rise and fall of the F1 magnates
Tony Fernandes is counting the cost of what many have tried and failed to do – make money out of building cars and funding a Formula 1 team. In fact many who were far better qualified than Fernandes have failed at both of these ventures.
TJ13 reported back in January that the ‘collaboration’ between Renault and Caterham on the venture to resurrect the Alpine marquee was all but over. Caterham were not delivering on their part of the deal and it was merely a matter of time before the partnership was collapsed formally.
Today, Autocar reports, “Problems between Renault and Caterham first surfaced at the beginning of this year, with insiders admitting to creative tensions between the two brands”.
Renault have now acquired 100% of the project, “by mutual consent”.
Just 18 months ago we all were treated to a Tony Fernandes special, as his PR spun the story of his passion to resurrect the Alpine marquee. As an independent car manufacturer established in post-War Dieppe, Alpine became one of the leading rally marques of 1960s and 1970s. Working in partnership with Renault, Alpine completed 1-2-3s in the Monte Carlo rally in both 1971 and 1973. In 1973, the company was bought by Renault, who continued to build Alpine road cars until 1995.
At a press conference in Paris. November 2012, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Chairman, stated, “We know the markets we are going into, and there is a huge opportunity to give consumers access to exciting, affordable products that marry our interests in F1 and technology, and help make their dreams come true.”
Well the dream of owning a car manufacture – now up for sale, has turned into a nightmare for Fernandes. Further, during the Monaco GP there were talks between senior Caterham F1 personnel and Colin Kolles observed by a sharp eyed observer.
In an extra-ordinary move Fernandes publicly threatened his Caterham F1 team workforce earlier this year that he was thinking of quitting unless they pulled up their socks and delivered something better than finishing last
This petulant speech, couldn’t have trashed the Caterham brand any more than the most malicious act of competitor – and now Fernandes much lauded collaboration to restore a historic racing marquee is in tatters too.
Renault will still launch its Alpine sports car in 2016, which the French manufacturer describes as the “Berlinette of the 21st century.” 90% of the design of the new car is complete, with an interior design set to be finished before the end of the summer.
Caterham claim they will use the technology it has already developed on this project to produce its own car. However, the company admits that there will be job losses at its Norfolk-based tech centre as a result.
So another multi-millionaire has come and is going who thought it would be cool to build sports cars and race in F1.
Meanwhile at the Canadian GP Gene Haas has again strongly refuted he needs to base his F1 operations in Europe. “I think we will be OK. America has an awful lot of advantages,” Haas told the BBC. “We have great infrastructure, good communications, very mobile people we can do things with. I think we have a lot of flexibility that will surprise people how quickly we can respond.”
Haas also claims his motivation for joining F1 is to promote his successful machine tools business outside the US market. Yet hardly anyone, other than Ferrari periodically, has been successful in F1 when setting up and running a team outside England’s “Motorsport Valley”.
Yet Haas is uber confident. “We’re Americans, we’re racers; we know how to do this. A lot of people think we don’t know how to do this, but we’re stubborn, we’ll stick with it and we’ll get the job done. We know it’s going to take a lot to get it done. On the revenue side, Stewart-Haas racing is a profitable business. F1 it’s going to take a while to do that but I have no doubt that we will do OK.”
In a parallel universe, Colin Kolles is strongly linked with a takeover in Leafield, though he is driving down the price Fernades is asking. So far Forza Rossa is making no comment, though they are keen to complete the transaction soon so as to compete in 2015.
Fernandes will sell because this gives him a face saving exit, jobs and futures secured… bla bla bla. The alternative is, in his own words, to continue and “trail around at the back”, pouring more and more money down an ever increasing black hole.
Was Lewis just unlucky?
James Allen described the fact the Nico Rosberg finished the race in Canada as “a miracle”. Others have suggested that this was a “remarkable” performance from the German to be able to drive around the myriad of problems thrown at him whilst trying to pilot his car at over 300kph.
The official tale is that both cars Control Electronics unit failed, shutting down the MGU-K (energy recovery system) which meant more breaking had to be done by the brakes than was usual. The MGU-K system as it harvests energy is used much more significantly for rear breaking in 2014, so Mercedes have reduced the capacity of their rear braking systems.
Toto Wolff whimsically offers of both his drivers, “they had exactly the same problem and I think, at the end of the day, that Nico was just a bit luckier. The brakes failed, both of them were compliant when we told them to save the brakes, and when Lewis came into the pits, the car was standing, he started the car, the temperatures just peaked, the brake pedal got soft and then faded completely.
It didn’t happen with Nico, but that was just luck I would say.”
Paddy Lowe when questioned by SKY immediately after the chequered flag initially stated that Lewis braking problems were independent of the MGU-K failure – yet when pressed he admitted the latter may have been a contributory factor.
Lewis reveals that “early in the second stint” he and Nico were aware of the problem and given information of how to mitigate the situation.
Toto adds, “It was a problem we didn’t see coming – or did see coming too late – and mixed fortunes. I’m very sad for Lewis, having lost all the valuable points. Equally, Nico drove a sensational race with a really handicapped car to finish second. So ups and downs.”
Yet Nico Rosberg questioned the team on the radio just before pit stop number 2 about the relative brake bias settings between his and Lewis’ car. He was informed that Lewis was running more rear brake bias than himself?
Surely, from around lap 20 or so (early in stint 2), both cars would have been running an optimum rear/forward brake balance to mitigate the incremental wear on the rear braking systems. Clearly running a more forward bias would improve reliability possibilities.
So. Did the team give Lewis a different setting to offset the impending brake wear difficulties? Then again, was Lewis even given a setting to mitigate rear brake wear? Or did Lewis ignore a given brake bias setting and choose to run a bias incrementally towards his rear brakes which meant he could attack Rosberg more easily under braking – but which also inevitably contributed to their ultimate failure?
Ainslie announces – almost
As TJ13 reported in May, June would see Ben Ainslie launch his bid to enter the world’s premier yachting event – the America’s Cup. Today at a huge media event and before the eyes of the world in Portsmouth, one of Britain’s most successful Olympians announces the launch of Ben Ainslie Racing… interestingly shortened to BAR. .
Ainslie is tasked with raising some £80m to pull off a British entry to a competition previously only ever won by USA, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland since the inaugural competition in the mid-19th century.
Of course, all F1 eyes were on a possible announcement of the design team, which is normative at such an event. Ainslie restricted himself to the following. “Although our hands have been tied somewhat due to the uncertainty, I am delighted with the signings we have made, particularly on the design side which has really been our key focus. We have some really experienced and talented people on board, led by our technical director and two-time America’s Cup winner Andy Claughton”.
- Claughton’s America’s Cup experience.
|1983Newport||Victory 83||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests. VPP calculations.
Development of onboard computer systems.
|1987Fremantle||White Crusader||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests. VPP Calculations|
|Team New Zealand||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests.Performance analysis.|
|1988San Diego||New Zealand ChallengeK Boat||Execution and analysis of towing tank tests.|
|1992San Diego||New Zealand Challenge||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests. VPP CalculationsFull scale scientific studies|
|1995San Diego||New Zealand Challenge||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests. VPP CalculationsFull scale scientific studies|
|TAG Heuer||Execution and analysis of towing tank tests.|
|2000||Team New Zealand||Execution and analysis of towing tank and wind tunnel tests. VPP CalculationsFull scale scientific studies|
|2003||Team New Zealand||Research Co-ordinator, responsible for all design research projects and contributed to boat development.|
|2007||Emirates Team New Zealand||Design Co-ordinator|
|2010-2011||America’s Cup Race Management||Design Co-ordinator.Shared Design Package with VPLP & North Sails.|
Ainslie added, “There has been a lot of speculation about Adrian Newey getting involved. I have been fortunate enough to meet with Adrian a couple of times, which as a massive F1 fan has been a real privilege. Adrian is a great guy and clearly it would be huge for the team if he felt able to contribute”.
Newey is determined to be involved in this project, and you can read what you like into the timing and content of the Red Bull announcements on Sunday, TJ13 is led to believe, in the end Newey just issued them with an ultimatum.
A less than usually well drilled Christian Horner explained Newey’s future in Canada as follows, “We’re going to sit down in the summer and explain some of the projects we’re looking at. There’s some exciting things in the pipeline for Adrian, for Red Bull and for the team.”
Of these three parties, it appears the team has the less exciting prospects on the agenda. Even Horner speak couldn’t disguise the deal done with Newey means he will be stepping down form his current role.
“He’s fully focused on F1 this year,” Horner stated, “[Beyond that] he’s still going to be drawing, he’s still going to be contributing, he’s still going to be planning for the office in Milton Keynes, he’s still going to be spending a percentage of his time focused on assisting the F1 teams, so it is great situation for the team for the future.
He’s committed to a long-term agreement with Red Bull, he’s not retiring completely from F1, he’s going to be mentoring and advising the team and we’ve got a great strength in depth. I think it’s fantastic that were still going to have Adrian around, and access to him, [but] as the group continues to develop, it’s exciting for Adrian to have other projects as well, so think the future’s actually extremely bright.”
….Retirement…. but not completely….
….a developing group to take over from him….. ie we’re not ready for succession….
Red Bull may have won an unlikely race in Canada 2014, but it will be Mercedes and the other F1 teams rejoicing at the latest news from Milton Keynes.
Ecclestone cut and run
The promoters of the Canadian GP were proud to announce during the 2014 event of a new 10 year contract to host an F1 race. The Montreal Gazette commented, “The good news for racing fans is we get to keep our Grand Prix for another 10 years. The good news for taxpayers – whether they are racing fans or not – is we get to keep it at a bargain-basement price”.
The deal is reportedly costing Montreal a starting $18.5m year, with a 2% annual inflation multiplier.
Caroline Reid of Formula Money puts this into context. “We estimate that the average hosting fee in 2014 is $30.5 million – more than double what Montreal will be paying.
The 2 per cent escalator is also a good deal, as many circuits pay 10 per cent.” As host of the oldest GP event. Silverstone has an escalator of 7% pa.
Clearly the local administrators are cock a hoop at the deal they have cut with Ecclestone and Denis Lebel, the federal minister responsible for infrastructure, explained that Mr. E has bestowed a special status on Montreal – as the oldest Grand Prix outside Europe, hence the sweet deal.
The 2013 edition of Formula Money reveals only two other “historic” races pay less than Montreal; Italy, at $7 million, and Monaco, listed at “zero.” The industry ‘Bible’ on F1 finances believes that at the other end of the scale Abu Dhabi will pay an estimated $72.5 million for the right to host its season-ending Grand Prix in November.
This is clearly a fantastic deal for Montreal as Lebel states that the F1 race creates economic benefits estimated at more than $70 million. Reid of Formula Money cites a Quebec-government figure of “more than $80 million annually.”
This begs the question on how did the BRDC get duped into the deal they struck with Ecclestone back in 2009. Their 17 year deal began at around $20m in 2010 and has (depending on sources) between a 5 and 7% compound escalator built in for each subsequent year.
This would mean by 2026, Silverstone would be coughing up some $60m a year (at 7% escalator) to host the British GP, whilst Canada’s fee in 2024 will have risen to just over $22m p.a.
It would seem that either the promoter of the Canadian GP is better at playing hardball with Ecclestone than a bunch of ex-British racing drivers, or Mr. E has simply cut and run.
The ‘world feed’ produced by FOM TV has repeatedly fallen foul of the gavel for its poor coverage during races and Sunday’s Canadian GP again saw the TV director getting his knickers in a twist.
The most outrageous omission was the build up through several corners and the pass by Ricciardo on Rosberg – which was the crux of nearly 2 hours of viewing.
We also saw nothing of Button’s charge through the field, and his ultimate double pass to move from 6th to 4th on the penultimate lap.
The problem is that the FOM TV director does not follow and expert race commentary – which usually provides details of all the action and looming events regardless of what’s going on at the head of the field.
Yet, having reviewed this year the TV coverage of some ‘historic’ F1 races, the crack of the judges implement of justice shall today remain a mere tap.
Anyway, here’s Jenson…
Tweet of the month