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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite: 2013 – Rosberg wins at Silverstone
With the British Grand Prix around the corner let us reflect on last year’s race. Rosberg won his second race of the season and the third of his career, while Webber recovered from 14th to finish second and Alonso third.
The race will probably remembered more for the high speed tire blowouts we saw. First, coming out of the fast turn four, race leader Hamilton experienced a spectacular left rear delamination which forced him to navigate over three quarters of the lap back to the pitlane on three tyres.
This was followed by Massa, also coming out of turn four, spinning on to the tarmac run off – he dropped to 22nd and dead last. A third delamination occurred only seven laps after Hamilton’s. Jean Eric Vergne had yet to pit and was running in 7th when going into the fast Stowe corner his left rear too let go. Vergne’s tyre shredded it’s carcass and threw debris into the path of Raikkonen’s Lotus. Debris also hit Raikkonen’s helmet.
No one is expecting to see the same tyre problems this year though but can Rosberg win on Hamilton’s home track?
Who is buying Caterham?
Today we are expecting to learn who the new owners are of the Caterham F1 team. Word on the street is that the buyer is indeed from the Middle East. What is certain though is that they are in need of a new team principal as Cyril Abiteboul cleared his desk and left the building on Friday as he heads back to Viry to help Renault sort out their F1 engine problems.
TJ13 has received a report of unusual and substantial Caterham F1 truck sightings on a number of occasions during the past two weeks. These have been very early in the morning (4 truck convoy pre 6am Wednesday last)) on the town roads of Guilford and Woking…
Karun Chandhook believes it was inevitable that Tony Fernandes would eventually throw in the towel on F1. “You can understand why he’s sort of fallen out of love with F1 because they haven’t scored a point in five years. Tony’s spent an awful lot of money along with his business partner Kamarudin. (But Marussia) have scored two world championship points and it’s highly unlikely you are going to beat them.
So at the end of the year it could mean he has to spend another $30 million. I could think of a fairly big reason to stop loving Formula One,” Chandhok told SKY during the FOS weekend at Goodward.
“He’s got a football team that’s back in the premiership, a motorbike team that is doing exceedingly well in Moto2 — and it costs him a tenth of what it costs to run a Formula One team. Is it (F1) giving him the return he wants? Probably not,” said Chandhok.
Kamui Kobayashi following a year away from F1 doesn’t want to think about the worse case scenario. “Financially, I think we’re in a very difficult situation but I cannot do anything so I just focus on my job, I just hope that somebody can help this team. This is the only thing I can say.”
The Caterham staff in Leafield staff have been told nothing and as can be expected, morale is very low, though plans are being made for the green monsters to travel to Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand Prix.
Further, having been silent since last Wednesday, Caterham F1 began tweeting again this morning informing fans that “We’re delighted to confirm that @rharyantoracing will drive day two of the Silverstone Test for us”
Rio Haryanto is an Indonesian Racing Driver who competes in the GP2 series with Caterham Racing. Will Stephens will be driving for Caterham also during the test.
Drivers’ Championship Team-mate Comparison
About this time of the year I like to dis-entangle the techni-colour spaghetti of the Drivers’ Championship points graph, and boil it down to a strict comparison between team-mates, at least of anyone scoring any serious points.
I’ve kept each graph as simple as possible, roughly on the same scale. I thought about using Rosberg as a reference on all of them, but found it a bit distracting.
I hope you all have fun drawing your own conclusions from some squiggly lines on a screen! – Dobzizzle
Rosberg vs Hamilton
Alonso vs Raikkonen
Ricciardo vs Vettel
Button vs Magnussen
Bottas vs Massa
Hulkenburg vs Perez
Mercedes driver needle heads into Silverstone (GMM)
Heading into his home race at Silverstone, the pressure is on Lewis Hamilton. He may have the fastest car in the field, but so too does Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg, who successfully broke the Briton’s early-season four-race winning streak. “It’s good to know I have the momentum fully on my side. Definitely good,” the German said after winning the recent Austrian grand prix.
Undoubtedly, there is an element of psychological needle between Hamilton and Rosberg, whose long relationship almost completely imploded in Monaco a month ago. But team boss Toto Wolff is worried that the war is actually only just beginning. “We see that it’s getting very competitive,” said the Austrian. “Transparency is suffering a little bit and we need to make sure that this is not detrimental to the team.”
The ‘transparency’ he is talking about is having both sides of the silver-clad garage working together for united glory, rather than against each other for the drivers’ title. Rosberg admits: “It’s all open — the data, everything. It’s just that sometimes you are not going to put it on the table, and say ‘look here at what I’ve done’.”
One man who has seen a situation just like this go from bad to disastrous is Jo Ramirez, who was team manager at McLaren during the Ayrton Senna versus Alain Prost battle. “I probably see that they (Hamilton and Rosberg) are going to end up completely separate,” he predicted. “The first time that they collide is going to be the crunch. It’s not just the drivers it’s everyone behind them. I can see why Toto is saying that it can be contagious,” Ramirez told the Telegraph.
For now, even in the wake of the Monaco controversy, the battle is little more than an on-track rivalry and a light psychological needle between the races. Hamilton, for instance, told British reporters at the weekend that, back in his karting days, “Nico was quick but he wasn’t as quick as Robert Kubica”.
And he also intimated that Rosberg has been lucky to build his 29-point championship lead off the back of two Hamilton DNFs. “I want Nico to finish every race,” he said. “Then you can’t say I’m in the lead because he’s had problems — it can only be that I’ve done a better job.”
TJ13 Comment: It would seem that Formula One is desperately trying to bring fans in with every gimmick possible, chocolate-teapot grade tyres, DRS and stewards who put health and safety officials to shame with their blinkered approach to penalties and infringements. So what can be done to spice up this ‘vaguely interesting’ show? Hang on gentlemen, we need angst, hatred and paranoia, it’s always worked in the past..
So once again, the unimaginative British press wheel out Jo Ramirez to attempt to compare a battle that seared itself into the memory of all who witnessed it’s destructive qualities over two decades ago. Two giants of the sport being compared to the sugar-sweet stars of today. It would be akin to trying to compare The Beatles during their Sergeant Pepper phase with the throwaway pop of One Direction…
Hakkinen tips Ferrari to shed a driver (GMM)
Ferrari appears likely to shed at least one of its existing drivers. That is the view of retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen, who thinks the Maranello team is grappling not only with a less than fully competitive 2014 car. The Finn thinks Ferrari also has a driver problem.
“In my opinion Ferrari is more and more into the situation of eventually replacing one of the two drivers,” he said in his latest interview with his sponsor Hermes. “The comments being made by Fernando Alonso do not sound like someone who will be with Ferrari for much longer. And I don’t want to say anything against Kimi Raikkonen, except that he is constantly behind his teammate,” 45-year-old Hakkinen added.
The former McLaren driver also commented on the 2014 plight of F1’s reigning quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel. “I do not understand how it is possible that his (Red Bull) car is permanently broken. Incredible,” said Hakkinen.
Tweet of the day
After many months of silence, the F1 #Samurai is back…. so what’s going on?
Lewis Hamilton also joins in the philosophical musing on twitter by posting
Formula E: 75 days and counting
It’s fair to say Formula E is attracting more interest than some of my F1 associates believed would happen. It’s now just 75 days until the opening race in Beijing which will take place on a circuit that has been designed around the Olympic village and the iconic ‘bird’s nest’ stadium.
Many things will be different from F1 and the first being there is no sign on the Horizon of Mr. E’s chum – Mr. Tilke. The track has been designed by Rodrigo Nunes, is 3.44km in length and boasts an impressive cityscape backdrop taking in both the Beijing National Aquatics Centre and the Olympic Stadium itself. It will see the 20 Formula E drivers tackle a mix of tight left-hand turns – offering late braking and overtaking opportunities – together with twisty chicanes and two main straights. In addition, the track features a unique ‘U-shaped’ pitlane with spectator areas located inside giving fans and an incredible close-up view of the action.
Lucas di Grassi shares his thoughts on the circuit. “The Beijing track is an amazing facility. For the drivers, it will be a tremendous challenge to learn the limits of this track quickly, as well as to understand the best overtaking opportunities. The most obvious places are likely to be Turns 1, 2, 6, 19 and 20. The circuit will also require lots of traction and braking stability, while the energy recuperation at braking zones will help to stabilise the car. Also, it will be our first ever race, so all the drivers will be raring to go! The pit lane is also unique and requires some special practice to get right, also because drivers have to switch cars in their pit box.”
Silverstone Ticket Sales
Business is brisk for tickets for the British GP. However, at £170 for the weekend, the GA price at the Northamptonshire circuit is one of the most expensive in the world. In Monza, a three day GA ticket costs just over £80.
Yet, grandstand seat sales have been doing well. The National and International pit straights are sold out, as is Copse and Stowe. There is around 50% availability still in Becketts, Vale and the Village, Lufield and Woodcote, whilst Abby and Vale have plenty of availability.
There are ‘on circuit’ grandstand upgrade options for GA customers which usually fill up the stands for the Sunday race. These may sell out fairly quickly on Friday and Saturday should the current BBC weather forecast be correct. Rain Is highly likely on both Saturday and Sunday.
Mercedes divisions inevitable
Most F1 fans will have some knowledge of the 1989 season. A year where Senna and Prost were team mates. A year where the bitterness between the two grew from race to race. The year when for many Senna, deliberately drove Prost off the track in japan. At the end of the year, Prost was crowned champion and walked out of the team.
Jo Ramirez, McLaren’s team co-ordinator at the time recalls how it was between Senna and Prost. “When it got bad, it really got bad – we had two teams within one. They would hide things from each other. At McLaren it was almost like having two different briefings in two different places. Very often they had separate meetings, or in the same room but in different corners.”
Though the team attempted to prevent this division, insisting that the two sets of engineers travelled together and ate together, Ramirez remembers how it was behind closed doors. “Senna’s engineers would generally keep to themselves and Prost’s engineers would keep to themselves,” Ramirez says. “They were both more interested in their driver winning.”
There has been genuine concern within Mercedes over how close they were run in Austria by the Williams team. This is probably the usual F1 paranoia and business as usual will be resumed in Silverstone, yet Toto Wolff was most revealing following the race in Styria.
“The atmosphere wasn’t like in the races before: we see it’s getting very competitive, transparency is suffering a little bit,” said Toto Wolff. “I’m not saying this has happened, but we don’t want to see any sandbagging and aborted laps when we need to learn about the car.”
Nico Rosberg has since defied this call for transparency, “If I find a little bit of an advantage somewhere then I’m not going to tell everybody about it, I’ll keep it to myself,” said the German driver..
Ramirez see’s echo’s of McLaren 1989 in the Mercedes team right now. “I didn’t think it would happen before the half year – that they are getting so tight up between them. I probably see that they are going to end up completely separate. The first time that they collide is going to be the crunch. It’s not just the drivers it’s everyone behind them. I can see why Toto is saying that it can be contagious.”
It does appear inevitable that Rosberg and Hamilton will have ‘an incident’ during the season. Rosberg was deferential in Bahrain, where a coming together could easily have occurred with Lewis. That said, it appears Bahrain Nico has been consigned to history – and a new steely replacement Nico has emerged and is competing to the very limit with his team mate.
Hamilton is now on the back foot and can’t play the percentages game – he needs to win, beat his team mate and take some risks in getting this done.
This kind of desperation may well be the catalyst for an explosive weekend in Northamptonshire. Should the Mercedes collide, all hell will break lose within the team and the fireworks inside Brackley will be spectacular to behold.
Caterham to give Rio Haryanto a test drive at Silvestone
They may be down but they are not out! Today Caterham confirmed Rio Haryanto, their GP2 EQ8 Caterham Racing driver from Indonesia, will be in action during the Silverstone test which commences just after the British Grand Prix.
Haryanto tested for then Virgin Racing in 2010 Adu Dhabi Young Driver test and made another appearance in 2012 also at Silverstone with Marrusia.
As can be expected the young Indonesian is “delighted” that the test is with Caterham. Commenting on his test appointment Haryanto said, “The last time I drove an F1 car was at the young driver test at Silverstone in 2012 and with the new engine regulations this year I’m sure it’ll be a very different experience. The goal for me is to use this day as another learning experience, another chance to build on the F1 laps I’ve already done, and while my focus before the test is obviously to do the best job I can in GP2, I will be 100% ready to work to the plan the team set and help them develop as best I can.”
“I would like to take this chance to thank Pertamina [Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation] for their continued support during my GP2 season with EQ8 Caterham Racing, which has provided me with the opportunity to test the Caterham F1 Team car.”
Is he future Formula One material?
|2011||GP3 Series||Marussia Manor Racing||16||2||0||1||4||31||7th|
|2013||GP2 Series||Barwa Addax Team||22||0||0||0||1||22||19th|
|2014||GP2 Series||EQ8 Caterham Racing||6||0||0||0||1||26*||7th*|
Jury, what is the verdict?
Adam Cooper has just reported that, “A Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium is understood to be behind the takeover of Caterham F1, in a deal that will be confirmed in the coming days.
It’s believed that the consortium members, including interests from Dubai, intend to keep a low profile. The deal was brokered by a former F1 insider who will retain a role as an advisor.
A new team principal and new technical direction will be installed at Caterham’s Leafield base, and it’s understood that their brief will be to improve the efficiency of the team – and try to ensure that it finishes in the top 10 of this year’s World Championship.
The Caterham name will be retained, as there are no plans to request a change for 2015 and beyond. The team will also continue to use Renault engines”.
Finishing 10th with a Renault engine may be a serious challenge. Also, this is all very mysterious…..
Isn’t the whole point of people who know nothing about F1 buying teams… not to keep a low profile – but use the global platform it provides?
“Swiss/Middle Eastern consortium”…. Mmmm…. heard something like that before?
It is difficult not to suspect Mansoor Ijaz may have his sticky fingers somewhere in this pie… if only because of the car crash publicity so far……
Silverstone and Tyres
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the turgid and endless politicking and bitching over tyres in early 2013, we can never forget the iconic images as Hamilton’s left rear tyre shredded at high speed during the British GP.
The fact that certain teams were running ridiculous tyre pressures beyond Pirelli’s recommended limits was of course irrelevant – and will be remembered by few.
Anyway, based on the season so far, there will be no exploding Pirelli’s in Northamptonshire this weekend. Pirelli are for the third time this year, bringing the combination of hard and medium tyres for this GP – previously in Malaysia and Spain.
Silverstone will provide the highest levels of lateral energy loading the cars will have experienced this year, and Pirelli are taking no chances. With variable weather conditions and a high chance of rain this weekend, the cars will experience a wide range of track temperatures together with wind speeds.
It will be a challenge to have the car setup just right for whatever Sunday’s weather gods choose to send.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Silverstone is one of the truly great venues of the year, which is steeped in history and always thrilling for the drivers and fans because of the high speeds involved.
British fans are among the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic of the year: it’s absolutely fantastic to see them out in full force, whatever the weather. And the weather is always a talking point in Silverstone of course; in the past we’ve seen everything from bright sunshine to torrential rain.
As a result, the ability to make quick strategy decisions based on real-time conditions is always very important, as you can’t necessarily rely on previous data. We’ve brought our two hardest tyres, which should be well suited to the conditions, and after the race we look forward to the final dedicated in-season tyre test of the year, from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Ferrari and Marussia will be driving for us on the first day, with Red Bull and Lotus on the second day, as we continue our development test campaign.”
The tyre choices so far
|P Zero Red||P Zero Yellow||P Zero White||P Zero Orange|
At Silverstone, teams tend to run medium to high levels of downforce to obtain the best possible cornering speeds through the first half of the lap, with its sequence of fast corners. These settings are not too much of a handicap on the straights, as they tend to be quite short – with short braking areas over the course of the lap as a whole. This can make it quite challenging to overtake.
Silverstone is a high-energy circuit, as the fast and flowing nature of the circuit means that the tyres are constantly subjected to different forces: sometimes several different forces at the same time. Lateral accelerations peak at 5g while the surface temperature of the tyres can exceed 110 degrees centigrade.
Pirelli say that, “the medium tyre is a low working range compound, capable of achieving optimal performance even at low temperatures. The hard tyre is a high working range compound, suitable for higher temperatures and more strenuous track conditions. Temperatures in Silverstone are among the most varied of the year: there can sometimes be a shift of more than 15 degrees of track temperature between sessions, making strategy hard to predict”
Which tyre is best for the race will depend on what the weather is doing and expect to see the inters and maybe full wets at some point on either Saturday or Sunday.
The Silverstone track is quite intensively used during the season, especially with the support races during the grand prix weekend, so track evolution is not as much as a factor as it is at some other circuits.
The winning strategy last year was two stops. Sebastian Vettel completed two stints on the medium tyre before a final stint on the hard tyre, to win the race for Red Bull, from third on the grid.