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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite – 1970 French Grand Prix
OTD Lite: 1970 – On this day, Jochen Rindt took victory at one of the greatest circuits ever built. The Charade circuit outside Clermont-Ferrand hosted just four races and was often described as an even twister and faster version of the Nurburgring. In 1969, the circuit forced some drivers to wear open-faced helmets due to the effects of motion sickness as they circulated the “Volcano Circuit”.
Due to drivers cutting corners, and the circuit being littered with rocks and stones, it was not unusual for punctures to occur and for drivers to even be hit by flying rocks. In 1970, Rindt got hit in the face by a rock and a similar incident occurred in 1972 to Helmut Marko, ending his Formula One career and ultimately the track’s.
In 1966, John Frankenheimer made the film in front of 3000 locals who posed as race fans – despite the circuit not hosting a Grand Prix that year – possibly amongst them would have been Patrick Depaillier, a native of the local city, as were the Michelin brothers.
The circuit remained in use until the 80’s but it’s original layout was the subject of criticism – and being built on the side of an extinct volcano run offs couldn’t be installed. Three marshals were killed in 1980 during a touring car race and by 1988 it was consigned to history.
Formula E gets off to a whizzzz
After the first two days of testing at the Donington Circuit, England – the initial reaction to the new generation of cars for the Formula E racing series has been surprisingly positive despite it being dubbed ‘Scalectrix racing’ by some. Soon to be going around central London, as the Battersea E Prix has been announced, the Formula is set to offer something different to racing fans. Below is a quick taster video of the first two days of testing, so what do you think TJ13 readers?
Thursday’s Press Conference Report
Valtteri Bottas, Jenson Button, Max Chilton, Lewis Hamilton, Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa attended this years’ drivers’ press conference at the Silverstone track.
The home of motorsport
Well… at least that is what they say in England about Silverstone. Maybe rightfully so, seeing that the track hosted the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950. Of course it is also the home race for many teams and drivers, including Jenson: “I think for every driver Silverstone is a special race. It’s a great layout; always a full house, whether it’s sunny, hot, raining, windy. But it’s especially special for a British driver racing at home.”
Hamilton of course was equally enthusiastic about coming home: “It’s very exciting for us and the feeling of being at home is really a great feeling. And the support, as I said, for me and Jenson and the guys here, it’s unlike any other place we experience.”
Hamilton was also talking about the show, maybe he was thinking about the discussions there were in the run up to the Austrian GP, but Chilton thought that at Silverstone the fans will have a good time, whether F1 brought the show or not: “I remember last year, free practice one was typical English, with lot of rain, but they were still there doing the Mexican waves and having amazing spirit, so I just hope we can put on a good show for them this year.” This is indeed typical for a European Grand Prix. The fans are amazing at these tracks and they make the event what it is. But more on that later.
One reporter asked Lewis and Jenson the exact same question as Murray Walker did 4 years ago, when the situation was exactly the same. After the world cup defeat of England and Murray being out of Wimbledon, the pressure is again on these guys to give the English fans something to cheer about. Jenson: “I personally feel all the pressure is on for Lewis. For us, for Max and I suppose a little bit for myself it’s going to be tricky to get on the top step of the podium and, yeah, it would be amazing to have a British victory. The crowd would go absolutely wild. So, I’d love to see that.” Well, as if Lewis didn’t have enough things on his mind already, Jenson just put the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders. Lewis will be thrilled by that I’m sure.
Jenson was also again confronted with the message from his team boss Ron Dennis, saying that Jenson should try harder. “I think Ron’s practicing to be a motivational speaker maybe. I think when we’re in the position that we have been in for 18 months, it’s not easy. For anyone within the team. It’s very, very difficult. So, no, I think we all need to work harder as a team. I don’t think we should be pointing a finger at any individual within the team.” So what he is actually saying is that Ron shouldn’t point fingers at him, but all of McLaren, because the car he has had for the last 16 months is rubbish. Okay than, happy home race for these guys.
Good form Williams one-off?
After an excellent performance in Austria with a front row lockout and their first podium of the year, the question is whether Williams will keep up the good form and can challenge Mercedes again at the Silverstone track. Massa said: “I hope we can have a very strong race, like we had in Austria, so I hope we carry on fighting [and we are] competitive. So I’m realty happy and I’m really happy with the team I’m celebrating 200 Grand Prix [with] as well, so I hope we have many races in front.”
About continuing their good form he replied: “We are working very hard to improve and be better and better race by race and I think that’s what we are managing to do and it’s really a great feeling and I hope we have a good one.” These are all very positive thought from our Brazilian friend, who is celebrating his 200th race which I’m sure will be a very special occasion for both of them.
Bottas was very happy with the result in Austria, his first ever podium in Formula 1 and also the first podium of the year for Williams. After a good pre-season test, it finally seems that Williams is living up to their promise. Bottas: “Well, we’re definitely happy with the result we got – third and fourth, a lot of points for the team, that’s the main thing.”
But what we all want to know of course is whether they can continue to attack Mercedes for pole-positions and race wins. Bottas was quite open and honest about that actually: “It’s been difficult to keep up with them (Mercedes) in most of the races – I think Austria was maybe a one-off, we will see. We know that we have been improving but you expect everyone else to do as well. It’s difficult to say. I think this season, we are going to see, the rest of the season, it’s going to vary quite a bit the performance between us and them, so we will see. We will do our best.”
So Austria was a one-off… What a shame. I’m not sure if the people at Williams, Redbull, Ferrari, Force India and McLaren will agree with Bottas though. I certainly hope not.
Finally someone asked the drivers what they thought of Bernie threatening to drop Monza, something he said earlier this week. Massa: “Yeah, I think we’re still carrying on racing in Monza. It’s a fantastic place, great fans, so for sure, if we are not racing in Monza any more it would not be good for Formula One.”. In similar fashion Button made his thoughts very clear about what they love about tracks like Monza: “It’s an iconic racetrack, one of the old school tracks. There’s so much history. The fans absolutely love this sport, they will do anything for this sport and they’re not going to be there to support us, they’re there to support a certain team, but that’s great to see. It’s nice to see their passion, they’re very patriotic and the circuit’s fun to drive.”
Hamilton was the last one to comment on this matter, stating that without fans the sport would be nowhere at all. He referred to races where there were barely any people in the grand stand, something that really affects the atmosphere during the weekend.
“Obviously there are certain business decisions people make but there’s tracks we’ve been to where there’s been no one in the grandstands and there’s a few, particularly, which are very very special like Monza where you have a full.. you know, the circuit’s just full of fans and it really does make the event. I think it’s important that we try and keep that in the sport”, Hamilton said, “That is what really matters in F1.”
Hopefully Bernie will read this, preferably here on TJ13 of course, but if he reads these comments from three very diverse and experienced drivers somewhere else, this is also fine. As long as he reads it!
Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza; these are the tracks that both drivers and fans love. The enthusiasm for motorsport overall is probably never greater than at Silverstone, while the passion from the Italians at Monza for Ferrari and anything that goes fast on tarmac in unrivaled. This is what matters. This is what makes a sport. Pay attention Bernie!!!
the picture that speaks a thousand words…
After a wait of 22 years for a female driver at a race weekend, it was a disappointing end to what had been a highly anticipated session for Susie Wolff. She tweeted this last night…
Yip, the picture that speaks a thousand words… pic.twitter.com/YRJUFHQULw
— Susie Wolff (@Susie_Wolff) July 4, 2014
Raikkonen will be ‘great’ again – Mattiacci (GMM)
New team boss Marco Mattiacci insists he is not afraid of making changes to put Ferrari back on the path to victory. His predecessor Stefano Domenicali has already gone, and the latest paddock rumour is that engine chief Luca Marmorini could be the next to pay the price for the fabled Italian marque’s poor start to the new V6 era. “I will not name names,” Mattiacci was quoted by Autosprint at Silverstone, as he refused to rule out personnel changes.
He insisted, however, that the struggling Kimi Raikkonen is safe. “Kimi is a great champion,” said Mattiacci, who already has the Finn under contract for 2015. “It makes no sense to talk about a problem of the individual, it is a problem of the team as a whole. He will return to being a great,” he added.
In other areas, however, Mattiacci said Ferrari needs to “change the mentality” and “take more risks“.
Leading that charge, he said, will be technical boss James Allison, who made his name by producing innovative Lotus cars on a much smaller budget. “He’s my right arm,” smiled Mattiacci. Siding so strongly with Allison appears to have marginalised Ferrari’s other technical chief, Pat Fry.
But he said Ferrari’s current problems date back to choices made in “past years” — including the once troubled wind tunnel, and not focusing strongly enough on computer simulation. The biggest issue is the turbo V6.”If Williams is so strong today,” said Mattiacci, “the predominant factor is the engine. And I do not think Red Bull is in a crisis. Give me time to work,” he insisted.
Button hurry-up printed on ‘chip paper’ – Neale (GMM)
Even the great Ayrton Senna got a ‘hurry-up’ from McLaren supremo Ron Dennis. That was the claim at Silverstone of Jonathan Neale, the Woking based team’s managing director, after Dennis this week told senior driver Jenson Button to “try harder”. Button is out of contract at the end of 2014, so many interpreted Dennis’ comments as the start of negotiations.
Champion trio Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have all been linked with Button’s seat, and the 34-year-old Briton – the most experienced driver on the grid today – reacted coolly to Dennis’ quip. “It isn’t the only team in formula one,” Button said.
It is believed members of McLaren’s senior management also did not appreciate Dennis’ message, but Neale insists the newspapers the words were printed on should be thrown away.
“It’s chip paper,” he said at Silverstone. “I think he (Dennis) did the same thing to Ayrton Senna. I’m pretty sure he did the same thing to Kevin (Magnussen). I think if you listen to my phone on a daily basis he’ll be doing the same thing to me,” said Neale.
In truth, both Button and rookie Dane Magnussen might have reason to worry. McLaren is on the hunt for a top driver to lead the new Honda era, and the team ousted newcomer Sergio Perez after a solid single season last year. Is Magnussen worried? “Everyone knows at McLaren that if you don’t deliver you don’t deserve the place,” the 21-year-old told F1’s official website. “I think that’s the way it should be.”
1) Jonathan Neale – Mclaren company man shockingly confirms boss is a good guy – look he even had a go at Senna!! 2) Lazy reporting once again. The author suggests that Senna got the hurry up, yet the direct quote says “thinks he did”
Ron Dennis is on record that it took Mclaren some years to recover from the Senna era because he formed a team round him that catered to his wishes as far as the car was concerned. When Senna joined Williams, Mclaren were left with an infrastructure which needed the brilliance of the Brazilian to claim victories. Allied to this was the time that Dennis offered a paid Formula Three seat to the Brazilian and was turned down – hardly the actions of a man who would be spoken down to by RD
As to the senior management not appreciating Dennis’ message, maybe it is nothing to do with Button but a veiled threat to the team generally..
It rained. That’s it. British summertime never lets the fans down, after a balmy afternoon yesterday, and with the Grand Prix weekend and Wimbledon coming to a close, it somehow seemed inappropriate that the circuit hadn’t been pi…. rained on yet.
Sebastian Vettel headed a session for the first time this year, impressively out-pacing his Stan Laurel inspired smiling team-mate, although with merely six laps completed by each it would seem hardly representative. Of more surprise was the pace of the Lotus in 3rd an 4th positions, it would seem that the lack of power of the French engined cars is a God send in these slippery conditions. Although Grosjean’s novel approach to crossing the line may well find copycats during the actual qualifying session, lose traction out of Club and cross the line in rear end first.
Next in line was Adrian Sutil’s Sauber…. hang on….
OK the big hitters were languishing down in the bottom three positions, both Mercedes and the Ferrari of Alonso. So the TV viewers are forced to listen to the varied musings of the Sky team, talking about the UK’s chancellor appearing at Silverstone and how every person in the paddock has good reason to fear HMRC appearing at the venue.
Further talking between the presenters “set off alarm bells in my head” according to Ted Kravitz when David Croft asked how the tax evading Mclaren team got away with the $100,000,000 fine they were given back in 2007 after spygate.
Of perhaps more significance was the decisions by stewards to not penalise either Daniel Ricciardo or Nico Rosberg after red flag infringements yesterday. They had respectively overtaken Kyvat and Alonso but by all accounts had done so in a safe manner whilst complying with the regulations. As Anthony Davidson said, regulations are regulations, they cannot be applied selectively yet smiler and Britney have no further punishment which can only add to the misery that Hamilton is currently feeling with his newly discovered allergy to pollen..