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On this day lite quiz
For the second race in a row, Ayrton Senna suffered a DNF whilst leading.
Where and when?
In and out of Formula One
As much as the older constabulary of the Formula One hierarchy may resist it, change is inevitable within the sport we love as the premier racing series in the world moves with the times. Changing with the times is essential if the sport is to remain relevant to the wider world which is much of the reason why the regulations were changed for this season regarding
engines powertrains and other ‘green’ technology on the cars.
The concept for the cars was thought up around 5 years ago as, in particular Renault, the teams pushed the FIA to move with the times and push the sporting regulations in the direction they have moved towards currently. However, the idea had been banded around for a long time prior to that was previously rejected by those in charge of the sport.
It was 2009 that saw the withdrawal of BMW, Toyota and Honda from the sport, with BMW and Toyota withdrawing as engine manufacturers. Toyota are now the highest producer of green technology cars around the world with BMW recently launching their latest sports car, the i8. Adam Macdonald of the TheJudge13 team went along to an event in London last week to check out the latest must have car.
With the look of a supercar, but not with a price tag to match, this is the future of the inner city sports car. The tag line the company prefers to use is a “progressive sports car.” Exactly what it is progressing to is disputable, but one thing that is not is the price tag, at £99,000 it is a very affordable dream.
The difference with this progressive car is the fact it has a powertrain below the car which is much the same to that of Formula One. A hybrid of an internal combustion engine mixed with the electrical power systems. Perfect for the inner city drive with the car’s computer system trying to make you drive only using electrical power until you reach around 60 mph.
Having elected to follow their own route away from Formula One and develop this hybrid powertrain, it would surely pave the way for a possible return in the future. Of course, this would not be in the immediate future but could be towards the end of the decade. Leading designer of the project was on hand to dampen these flames when asked, but did say that a return was not out of the question.
For anybody interested in, the first year’s allocation has already been reserved, which is mainly down to the longer production times of the car. These cars are rumoured to take up to 3 times as long to produce compared with the predecessors.
For anybody who has still not accepted the news regulations and feels they are a waste of time, then think again. This is the future and the fact the sport has embraced it is an exciting movement in the right direction. The drive for new technology is working.
More headless chickens
Today sees a meeting of the F1 commission at Bernie’s place in Biggin Hill with a number of items for the agenda.
A Sceptic may look at the composition of the meeting… teams, promoters, sponsors and key representatives from the FIA and FOM including Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt…. and with a wry smile surmise it was designed to do anything but make any decisions.
There are a couple of items on the agenda, “Improving the show” which will focus on how to make F1 more attractive to fans. Presumably this is aimed at attracting new fans and driven by the news that F1 viewership globally may be as much as 10% down this year.
Also on the agenda is ‘social media’. It appears one or two folk believe F1 is making a big mistake by not embracing social media and that other sports are in fact making huge advances in this area.
Of course Bernie doesn’t believe in social media as he apparently cannot find a way to monetarise ‘it’ and that people will just pack it al;l in soon and go back to watching TV.
To be fair to Il Padrino, he did suggest last week there be a meeting of F1 ‘heads’ with social media giants like Google to explore possible futures.
One of the reasons this eclectic mix will continue to ‘piss into the wind’ is the fact they are again going to discuss the matter of the engine noise. F1 fans have spoken on this and it is a none issue for those who have heard the cars in the flesh, yet we all want FOM TV to stop worrying about virtual advertising, missing crucial race moves and sort out their noise capture and transmission.
Today will be the last chance for these people to get to grips with cost cutting measures proposed by the F1 strategy group – and from others like Force India et al too. The dominant theme is that standardising parts is the route forward and clearly the singular reason Gene Haas has been excitably filling our screens for months.
The opportunity to ram through regulation changes without unanimous support is closing quickly and disappears by the end of the month. So anything that can be agreed by a majority today will be ratified by the FIA’s World Motorsport Council on June 26th. If the FIA has any regulatory rabbits up its sleeve, now may be the time to pull them out
So what will we hear following this meeting? Little we’ve not heard before. The best hope we have of seeing serious cost cutting measures will be if the FIA follows through on its idea of serious aero development restrictions during the season.
We could endlessly discuss the pro’s and con’s of various options for F1’s future, yet it is becoming patently clear that until the FIA can act against ‘self interest’ by governing the sport accordingly, the shifting sands of the debate about what is palatable for whom and when will never end.
Caterham young driver opportunity
The Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that its Test Driver and Caterham Racing Academy member Will Stevens will drive the team’s car at the Silverstone test in July.
Will is currently fourth in the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series with 68 points, having won the opening race of the season in Monza and with two further podium finishes to his name.
The team state, “In addition to his commitments in that championship he has also been playing a central role in the development of Caterham F1 Team’s driver-in-the-loop simulator at its Leafield Technical Centre HQ in the UK. The simulator is now an integral part of the team’s engineering toolbox and as well as helping to develop and fine-tune its technical capabilities, Will has also been providing race weekend support in the cockpit in his role as the team’s Test Driver”.
Will Stevens: “It’ll be great to be back in an F1 car for the first time since the 2013 Silverstone test and with the amount of time I’ve already spent in the virtual car in the simulator, I can’t wait to see how it compares to the real thing. I’m sure we’ll have a busy runplan set for the day and my focus will be on doing the best job I can for the team, building on the work I’ve been doing all year in the sim at Leafield.”
Red Bull caught trousers down
Adrian Newey’s announcement of his ‘retirement’ from Formula 1 was clearly not on the Red Bull Racing team’s agenda. Newey has been stating for some time this is his intention, though the team refused to listen.
Speaking to Martin Brundle on the grid in Canada, Newey’s consistent use of the past tense… “It has been great”, etc etc… and specifically how he will only be involved in the 2015 car moving forward forced the Red Bull PR machine to issue the statement, “Adrian Newey is not retiring”.
A couple of days later of course was the Ben Ainslie announcement in Portsmouth and what most suspect was an edited reference to Newey’s future involvement – to appease a possible new sponsor (Red Bull).
Christian Horner’s flippant use of anything mechanical he could think of “boats, planes…. and cars” when asked to describe the focus of the new Red Bull Technology Centre’s focus was entertaining to say the least.
Yet the impact this has had on the team appears to be akin to that of losing the goose who lays the golden eggs. Marko had recently been at his most bombastic, threatening to withdraw from Formula 1 and sack Renault, but now we have the good doctor spinning a U-Turn.. stating Red Bull are in F1 for “the long term”. Just for clarification, that means until 2020 in line with the contract signed with FOM.
Marko appears flustered when he states, “we will do whatever is necessary”, to mitigate the departure of Newey and admits, “The team was built around Adrian”, adding, “but we have a group of really good people and are prepared for the challenge.”
TJ13 believes the Red Bull hierarchy – probably Marko – had accused Newey of tipping off Peter Pedromou last year of his impending departure as a level to get Adrian to commit for longer. This clearly had the opposite effect with the announcement in Canada smelling of a “damn you all, I’m doing what I’ve got to do”, state of desperation.
The fact that Newey refuses to even commit to being the ultimate singular point of reference for the design of the 2015 car is disturbing and may indicate how far the relationship has deteriorated within the team.
Adrian is a very rich bloke and doesn’t need a Red Bull Technology Centre placing at his disposal to pursue the life he wants to lead and the psychology of the good doctor’s behaviour and his rhetoric is most interesting. It smacks of a naughty boy who has been found out to be bullying, so he is now running around trying to make amends – IMHO….
Hockenheim furious as Ecclestone eyes F1 axe (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone could terminate Hockenheim’s contract, as he looks to secure the long-term future of formula one in Germany.
Currently, Hockenheim – to host the German grand prix next month – annually alternates the race with the country’s other F1 venue, the fabled Nurburgring. But it emerged this week that, following the formerly insolvent Nurburgring’s sale to a Dusseldorf group called Capricorn, the new owners are close to agreeing a contract to stage the German grand prix every year between 2015 and 2019.
A press release to that effect was issued by Capricorn on Tuesday. “It is outrageous that this press release was issued,” Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler told the German news agency SID. “In formula one there is an unwritten law that says ‘No press releases while you are negotiating’. This is scandalous.”
After hosting July’s 2014 race, the remainder of Hockenheim’s current contract is for grands prix in 2016 and 2018. Referring to F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, Seiler said: “He cannot and will not terminate.”
And DPA news agency also quoted him as saying: “I know Mr Ecclestone as a fair and good partner. The fact is that I was surprised by this news.”
Ecclestone, however, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the new annual Nurburgring deal would result in Hockenheim’s contract being terminated. “I met with the people from Capricorn,” he confirmed. “The problem is that they need to find revenues on the level of other European races.
“Since the Nurburgring is close to Spa, I offered them the same deal that Belgium has,” added Ecclestone, referring to an arrangement where Spa gives up ticket revenues in exchange for a low race fee.
“I have nothing against Hockenheim,” he explained, “but it seems that they are not able to meet our requirements.
“To help them, we had to enter into an agreement with special conditions. But it can’t stay like that forever,” said Ecclestone. “If we sign a long-term agreement with the Nurburgring, it’s best to end the existing contract and begin the new one as early as 2015.”
TJ13 note: Due to the legalities of the Nurburgring sale, the new owners will not be able to contract to F1 until January 2015.
Clock ticking on Leimer’s Marussia chance (GMM)
Fabio Leimer is at F1’s crossroads. The reigning GP2 champion missed out on a race seat on this year’s grid, but Tages-Anzeiger newspaper says he now has a solid offer on the table.
Marussia is offering to make Swiss Leimer, 25, its test and reserve driver with immediate effect. “He could enter right now as a test driver for Marussia,” his manager, Sven-Oliver Mangold, confirmed.
“It has even been promised that next year he will be one of the regular drivers,” Mangold added. He said it will cost Leimer a sponsorship figure in the “low single-digit million range“.
Therein lies the problem. Until now, Leimer’s career has been bankrolled by the wealthy Rainer Gantenbein, who over the years has ploughed over EUR 15 million into the burgeoning driver.
But Gantenbein said some months ago that he is “no longer willing” to burn money on the F1 dream, because the sport’s system of pay-drivers is “sick“.
“It’s a bottomless pit,” he insisted. “At some point you have to pull the plug.”
Leimer’s manager Mangold, therefore, is scrabbling to raise the necessary money before other opportunities also start to slip away. He said talks with a “prominent Swiss company” have fallen through.
“I always get the same answer: we only sponsor teams, not individual athletes,” said Mangold. In the meantime, the clock is ticking. “Marussia has suggested (Leimer contest) the test at Silverstone and then to target the next race,” said Mangold, referring to the German grand prix next month.
And what if that deadline passes? “Then formula E would be an alternative,” he said, amid reports many well-known names are rescuing and rebuilding their careers in the FIA’s new all-electric single seater series.