This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly.
Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite – 1990 French Grand Prix
Twenty four years ago today, Alain Prost won his fifth French Grand Prix, at Paul Ricard, in arguably one of the most stunning Grand Prix cars ever designed – Ferrari 641. The victory had not been a straight forward drive as the Leyton House team of Ivan Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin did not stop for tyres and were leading in 1-2 position. Three laps from the end, with Capelli’s car misfiring, Prost overtook to take victory.
Significant happenings of this race – this was the final Grand Prix ever held at Paul Ricard as the Grand Prix moved to Magny Cours for the following season. The Leyton House design was one of the first designs from the technical genius Adrian Newey which caught Patrick Head’s eye at Williams and the Ferrari victory was the 100th in their history.
Hamilton – Nico’s not a German anyway
Weeks after the qualifying session at Monaco, most people are still undecided whether Nico Rosberg deliberately took to an escape road to unsettle Lewis Hamilton or not. Ever since, the mass media interest in the 2008 F1 World Champion has been unceasing as to whether he is being mentally affected by his team-mate or not.
Team management speak of wanting transparency between the drivers and yet Rosberg states categorically that if he learns a little secret he will keep it to himself. Opinion is also divided as to whether the German management are helping the young German with supposedly ‘secret’ files that explain all of Hamilton’s advantages during race weekends. The Briton’s pit-stops are generally slower than his compatriots and once again, the press and the mischievous Mark Webber ask the emotional Lewis what his thoughts are. Almost as if they expect him to crumble before their eyes.
This gives the appearance of Lewis’ recent comments about Rosberg, being more pointed. Forget about the hunger – “Let me tell you this: I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad’s apartment, while Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kind of things, so the hunger is different.” Most recently, to counter the idea that the German team wants a German winner,
Hamilton chose to create mischief by questioning Rosberg’s true nationality.
“To be honest, Nico has never been in Germany, so he’s not really German. I remember when we used to race during karting, he never stood next to a German flag – not ever.”
“We would have to go on the start line and all the drivers would have to stand next to a grid girl in a line. The girls would be holding the flags or a sign saying Hungary or whatever, and he always stood by the Monaco one. He never stood by a German flag. He is German-Finnish-Monaco-esque, or whatever. So it would be great to win in Germany.”
Rosberg was born in Weisbaden, south-west Germany. His father was the Finnish 1982 World Champion – Keke Rosberg – and his mother was German. By the time he was four weeks old, he was living in Monaco. Rosberg has dual nationality, being both Finnish and German, but as he carries a German passport the FIA rules state he is confirmed as German.
Lewis is unlikely to receive much of a welcome in Germany following his post race comments, in which he stated that Germans give “one-eighth” the support of British fans. Considering Hamilton is employed by ultimately ‘the Germans’ he would do well to me more considered in his remarks. There are already some reports suggesting Lewis believes the German team is favouring the German driver.
Kevin Eason of the Times defends Hamilton, suggesting he noticed an ironic tone in the Brit’s voice when he made the comments. “It seems Lewis Hamilton disappointed by his treatment in some newspapers/websites on “Nico is not German” quotes. Said to be stoking their feud”, tweeted Eason.
Yet all the F1 drivers in the media’s sharp focus realise their every word is reported verbatim, and at times they most deliberately use this as an opportunity to stir the pot – and then claim they were misrepresented – either by translation or misrepresented humour.
Ask Vettel about ‘balls in the pool’ and Alonso about his whimsical comments wishing for a Red Bull car for his birthday – which earned him a public ear tweaking from Ferrari’s president.
You do the crime – you get the time.
There was one more offering from Hamilton this weekend, which when seen ‘live’, appeared to be more flippant than considered. Toto Wolff had informed reporters that following his retirement Rosberg had offered some advice to Hamilton on his way to the chequered flag. When Hamilton was told about this he replied “Toto said that? That’s good. Toto likes being on that side of the garage.” Hamilton added, “I don’t think I needed it [Rosberg’s tip]. There was no tip as I was catching him.”
This sentiment that Lewis would have won regardless of Nico’s retirement, was one first vocalised by Anthony Hamilton immediately following the race. Yet the evidence for this is scant.
Nico had his first gearbox problem according to Paddy Lowe, early in the race. “There was an early sign of a problem with a strange down shift, then it went away for 10 laps before recurring”.
Following this report Lewis closed the gap from 5.78 seconds to 3.41 seconds over the 9 laps prior to Rosberg pitting on lap 19. Though how much of this was Rosberg starting to look after the car – we don’t know.
Further, post race discussions with a tyre strategist revealed that Rosberg would have taken more life out of his tyres over the opening 9 laps whilst building the 5 second gap to Lewis, and Hamilton closing that gap over laps 10 and 19 may simply have been tyre pay-back time.
We can’t know whether Lewis would have won or not. But he did and now with four points separating the drivers, we have essentially a 10 race world championship and the gloves are being removed as we speak..
Lauda slams ‘balls out’ Raikkonen for Brit GP crash (GMM)
Kimi Raikkonen will sit out the post-British grand prix test, after his high speed crash on Sunday. Sharing the Ferrari duties at Silverstone instead will be Pedro de la Rosa and the Maranello marque’s junior driver Jules Bianchi, who races in F1 for Marussia.
Many paddock cynics suggested the laid-back Finn Raikkonen might not be too upset with Ferrari’s rest order, but a spokesman insisted: “He wanted to drive.” Ferrari says he needs to rest a bruised ankle and knee. The injuries were caused by Raikkonen’s incredible 47G impact against the Silverstone armco, after he ran off the track and then lost control trying to rejoin.
Raikkonen’s crashed car also took out Williams’ Felipe Massa, and a photograph taken by a trackside fan showed how close a flying tyre from the Ferrari came to hitting Max Chilton on the head. “It was a scary moment,” the Marussia driver confirmed. Some, therefore, have been highly critical of Raikkonen, suggesting the crash was caused because he refuses to do otherwise customary pre-race walks of the F1 circuits, noting sites of potential hazards and irregularities.
F1 legend Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, has slammed the Finn. “He went wide, so why does he come in balls out and then crash?” the great Austrian is quoted by AFP news agency. “It was unnecessary.” But Lauda also had a wider criticism, insisting the one-hour race delay to fully repair the damaged armco was “ridiculous”. “This over-nursing of F1, being over cautious, over-controlling and over-regulating drives me mad,” he said.
Indeed, Lauda’s fear that television viewers would switch over to other sporting spectacles, like the Tour de France or Wimbledon, apparently proved correct, with the British Grand Prix recording its worst ratings since 2006.
Lauda even slammed Sebastian Vettel for “screaming like a child” on the radio during his thrilling duel with fellow champion Fernando Alonso. But according to Spain’s Marca, Red Bull’s Christian Horner said the real problem between Vettel and Alonso was “all these rules on the limits of the circuit“.
TJ13 comment: There are times when Lauda comes across in the same manner as Helmut Marko – bristling and bad tempered – but where as Mateschitz’s lap dog does it all in the name of love for the wings, Lauda speaks as he finds for Formula One.
His accident made him a legend and whatever his shortcomings as a man manager, his direct views on Formula One are refreshing. In recent weeks he has attacked the governance of the sport and its complete suffocation of freedom within the sporting events. Everything has to be covered by rules that would excite only Swiss time keepers. Penalties handed out to drivers have stifled their competitiveness and led to children crying that their toy has been taken away as Alonso and Vettel showed us so dramatically at Silverstone.
Eddie Jordan was bemused by Lauda attacking the authoritites that Jordan kisses the hand of constantly, and was apologising for his words, yet viewers around the world rejoiced that at last someone had the balls to say it as it was.
A little Order
Generally TJ13 hasn’t needed to interfere with those readers wishing to comment or debate in the comments section.
Recently, there have been one or two exchanges which was outside what we expect from commentators.
We are committed to not moderating, and this works as long as the ‘majority’ ignore and don’t engage the ‘minority’. However, should a minority persistently engage each other in what is not even really offensive to others – but just puerile and abusive name calling each other- we may need to intervene.
Childish name calling does happen a lot around us – recently ex-England captain of a ‘gentlemen’s’ game called another ex-player “a c^%t”. The once highly respected name caller now just looks rather silly.
If necessary we will exclude IP addresses and monikers. We could even introduce a subscription system for comments with a login, though we would rather do neither.
However, be warned those ‘for whom the cap fits’, the gavel is twitching as we speak and hasn’t been cracked for some time 😉
Why are Mercedes leading formation laps so slowly?
This is the question Felipe Massa would like answering. The consequence for Massa meant he was on a part of the track where he then collided with Kimi during the 2014 British GP.
“All of these cars go very slow on the formation lap,” he said. “We stopped on the track and my clutch went up to a very high temperature so it didn’t work. I started to move the clutch, but the car went into anti-stall so I dropped to last [at the start].
It is a shame because the start is never normally a problem and it would have been a good start and a good race because the car was flying. We would have finished on the podium and we would be third in the [constructors’] championship, so it is a shame what happened.”
Massa claims this has been an issue raised a number of times at the driver briefings this year, yet the FIA has refused to penalise the Mercedes drivers.
“The FIA say we can’t go so slow but they didn’t do anything or penalise anyone. I think if they penalise one car for that by giving them a five grid penalty for the next race, everything will change. I stopped two times, I pulled the clutch and I was waiting because it was so slow. It was so slow we couldn’t do burnouts. You cannot go slow just because you want to. For sure they do it on purpose and they have done it for most of the races, so they are doing it for a reason.
We have complained at many races this year. At the last race [in Austria when Massa was on pole], I think if you check, it was much quicker than the normal races because I was in front. I’m sure it was much quicker than the other races.
Mercedes go slow for a reason but it is sometimes bad for other teams, especially for us. My car was smoking at the rear on the grid and it is thanks to the slow formation lap.”
Since both Mercedes drivers have been doing this, the reason for this tactic there are two main possible reasons.
Firstly, Mercedes believe it protects their car from itself. Travelling at a higher speed may have a negative impact on their car.
However, Mercedes can’t guarantee they will be on pole and this would then bring another possibility into play. Mercedes believe it hurts others more than themselves – something Massa testifies to from Silverstone.
Race start procedure, article 38 states…
38.6 When the green lights are illuminated, the cars will begin the formation lap with the pole position driver leading. When leaving the grid all drivers must respect the pit lane speed limit until they pass pole position. Marshals will be instructed to push any car (or cars) which remain on the grid into the pit lane by the fastest route immediately after cars able to do so have left the grid. Any driver being pushed from the grid may not attempt to start the car and must follow the instructions of the marshals.
38.7 During the formation lap practice starts are forbidden and the formation must be kept as tight as possible.
38.8 Overtaking during the formation lap is only permitted if a car is delayed and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. In this case, drivers may only overtake to re-establish the original starting order. Any driver delayed in this way, and who is unable to re-establish the original starting order before he reaches the first safety car line, must enter the pit lane and start from the end of the pit lane as specified in Article 38.2.
Any driver who is delayed leaving the grid may not overtake another moving car if he was stationary after the remainder of the cars had crossed the Line, and must start the race from the back of the grid. If more than one driver is affected, they must form up at the back of the grid in the order they left to complete the formation lap. If the Line is not situated in front of pole position, and for the purposes of this Article as well as Articles 40.14 and 42.6, it will be deemed to be a white line one metre in front of pole position.
Either of the penalties under Articles 16.3a) or b) will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the formation lap.
So no mention is made of slow formation laps, or potential penalties for such actions from the pole sitter.
However, 38.7 does state, “During the formation lap…… the formation must be kept as tight as possible”.
So it appears Felipe will receive little sympathy from the FIA, and if the Williams is not suited to slow formation laps, they better work out how to fix this soon – or get pole.
Rosberg and Hamilton are clearly attempting to do this during the formation lap – which reduces the time they are sat on the grid waiting.
Had Massa’s car not gone into anti stall, it is most likely he would never have been involved in the Kimi accident.
To ensure consistency on the formation lap, the FIA – were they to think of this – could easily enforce all the drivers to drive to a fixed delta time for the various sectors of the formation lap, as they do when the safety car is deployed.
Testing at Silverstone
The teams stayed behind at Silverstone after this weekend’s race for the final test this season.
So far today Massa has used his frustration and disappointment from the weekend to good effect and was topping the timesheets at noon followed by Rosberg in the Mercedes. Bianchi made good use of his extra time in the Marussia (before taking the wheel of the F14 T tomorrow) and finished the morning session 3rd fastest.
De la Rosa in the Ferrari though was down in 7th place while rookies Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) and Will Stevens (Caterham) 8th and 10th respectively. At the bottom of the timesheets was Ricciardo who, although completing 23 laps failed to set a timed lap.
|7||28||De la Rosa||1m37.988||48|
The Pirelli 18inch Future
In a bid to make Formula One more road relevant and allow for greater technology transfer between Formula One tyres and road car tyres, Pirelli has been promoting the use of larger diameter tyres since joining the sport as official tyre supplier in 2010.
The company claims this change to 18inch is a genuine desire from the teams, promoter and other stakeholders to move in such a direction. They feel the technology is already in place to produce this type of tyre with the same standards of performance and reliability set by the current 13-inch rubber and, as the new tyre concept is at the beginning of its development curve, they believe the possibilities are almost limitless. This could include even larger sizes in future.
Hembery made it clear that they are not pushing for the change, “as our [Pirelli] role in Formula One is not to instigate changes. Instead, it’s to help teams and drivers make the most out of the equipment, regulations and resources they have at their disposal – whatever they decide that framework is going to be.”
Tomorrow Charles Pic will drive an 18inch shod Lotus E22 as part of Pirelli’s test programme. (a dentist will also on standby due to the reduced damping expected from the new tyres and wheels :P)
Formula E takes to the track
The sport took an interesting decision to run its first public test days for all the teams involved in the Formula E, during the Thursday and Friday of the Silverstone GP weekend. By doing so, Formula E certainly sacrificed some of the potential limelight, yet maybe at just an hour’s drive from Silverstone, the Donnington Park tests for the electric cars may have tempted some F1 fans to pop in and have a look.
Considering this is a spec series, the day 1 times were a wide spread. Over the 4.02 km circuit. Even extracting the double digit deficits of the Dragon Racing, the other 17 drivers were spread across 5.442 seconds on day 2.
Unsurprisingly, Lucas di Grassi of Audi Sport topped the time sheets, having been privileged to drive the Formula E cars a number of times before at promotional events.
He was closely followed by ex-Toro Rosso driver, Sebastian Buemi who was just over 0.1s back in the e.Dams Renault. In third place was Nick Heidfeld for the Monte Carlo based team, Venturi.
The debate amongst the spectator’s on day 1 was predominantly about the noise – part space ship, part jet engine – and whether the 80 decibel volume was really loud enough.
For those who believe this is a mere whimsical idea emanating from Paris (FIA), Alain Prost and Sir Frank Williams are backing the new series, with Emerson Fittipaldi enthusiastically announcing a “new era for motor racing”.
Just like F1 at present, Formula E boasts 3 major car manufacturer’s participating, Audi, Renault and Indian giant Mahindra.
Formula E has bold ambitions – including, to change the world. Racing in cities where congestion and smog rule people’s lives is the “natural environment for electric cars” , insists Formula E CEO,Alejandro Agag.
Steven Lu, CEO of the China Racing Formula Eteam says: “It is very important to get more electric cars on the streets of Chinese cities. Beijing went from having 800,000 to 6.5m cars in 10 years and there is a lot of pollution in China and in cities around the world. The problem for electric cars in China is that people think the safety, reliability and range is not so good. But people will think that if they can race, they are safe.”
Formula E may conquer another problem F1 is struggling with. Agag believes the not having to travel to remote racing circuits and free access to the sport will attract and intrigue young people, something Prost reckons F1 is failing to do. “In Formula One it is difficult to attract younger people today.”
Whilst the cars looked somewhat underpowered on the pit straight at Donnington, reaching top speed with a third of the run to the first corner to go, their lack of top speed will be irrelevant on the street circuits where they race.
This was evident at the Donnington Circuit’s, Melbourne hairpin corner, where the drivers repeatedly experimented with different lines. Without exception, each driver found the back end hard to control as they applied the power and the torque from the electric engines kicked in with gusto.
It’s unlikely we will hear squealing car to pit radio complaints, such as was evident from Alonso and Vettel at the British GP, as Sam Bird of Virgin Racing explains. “The difference between a street circuit and conventional circuit is, if you make a mistake, you are in the barrier, not in a gravel trap or spinning onto extra tarmac.”
Further, someone responsible for Formula E track logistics informed this writer they don’t believe they will experience embarrassing 1 hour delays to races following crashes into the barriers, due to “innovative solutions for quick trackside repairs, which may show F1 a thing or two”.
The next test begins at Donnington tomorrow and entry is free to the public; the first race in Beijing is just 67 days away.
A third of Caterham staff to be sacked
The mysterious new owners behind Caterham may not have the deep pockets many fans of the team had hoped. Colin Kolles, advisor to the new mysteriously anonymous owners, has said “I prefer to have 200 safe jobs than 300 lost jobs. Sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions,” he insisted.
Ecclestone himself admitted at the weekend he had ‘no idea’ who the investors behind the Caterham acquisition were.
The Airbus and General Electric logo’s were gone from the cars last weekend, though there was no time to remove them from the team clothing at the Silverstone GP.
Kolles reveals the Fernandes regime was “a mess” and that “a lot has been resolved within three days. We still have creditors to sort out, who are normal trade creditors. This is what we are trying to do. To bring everything to calm waters”.
One or both of the Caterham drivers may also be feeling the cut of the grim reaper’s blade as Kolles adds, “In terms of performance we have to look into this. And we are looking into this. I don’t want to spread rumours around because it makes no sense.
I had meetings with the management and drivers. I think I am always transparent. The last driver I sacked out of Formula One was Christijan Albers. And he’s my team principal. This should give you a taste of how I deal with people.”
There have been suggestions this is an asset striping exercise, which sees the team eventually wound up and shut down.
Kolles denies this explaining, “This is a Malaysian company, running under a Malaysian flag currently. It has nothing to do with the Romanian project,” he said. “It’s difficult to change the name and to change a company which is registered in Malaysia and bring it to Romania.
This company (1Malaysia Racing Team) has the entry and you cannot transfer this. If that company no longer exists you lose the entry. The entry is related not to a name but a company number.”
However, this is slightly disingenuous as Kolles himself managed the former Jordan team through various incarnations as Midland, Spyker and then Force India.
It could be that should the FIA not grant the final permissions for the planned Forza Rossa new entry for 2016, that Caterham will morph into that team for 2015.
In any case, it may be advantageous for the investors to pursue this path regardless of the FIA permissions for the current new application, as the bond required for start up teams, some $30m, should still be in place from Caterham.
The ‘1Malaysai Racing Team’ could easily stop trading as Caterham for F1 purposes and become Formula Rossa.
Fan viewing areas being obscured by FOM
It became apparent this year at Silverstone, that certain areas, particularly on the infield, were being screened with 4 metre high green mesh at the instructions of FOM. One fan asked a spectator viewing marshal why this was and was informed, “Bernie doesn’t like the advertising on the side of the busses going by”
Further, a number of fans complained to marshals about not being able to get to their ‘regular’ viewing points which had now been restricted. Again, the response given inferred fans were not welcome into that area anymore as virtual advertising was being used.
GA is a way of life for many who attend the British GP year in year out – and it’s not just about buying the cheapest ticket. It is about being able to choose different places from where to view the race and after all a fold away chair can be more comfortable than the Silverstone Grandstand flip up seating.
FOM would rather everyone sit in a grandstand because it is easier to control the crowd shots they broadcast around the world. In Monza two years ago, the first two stands on the outside of the circuit coming out of the last corner, Parabolica, were almost completely empty. They never featured in the TV footage.
If this is the case and Silverstone are obliged to reduce the GA viewing areas, then it may be the crowds over time begin to diminish.
No official figures have yet been released, however 2 days before the race Silverstone organisers expected a crowd of 120,000, the third-highest in history behind 2011 and 2012.
That said, to this writers naked eye, it appeared as though parts of the circuit were not as well populated as in 2013 – by some margin.
Silverstone has the most expensive General Admission tickets on the F1 calendar at £170 for 3 days this year, £140 for race day. Compare this to tickets being sold in Abu Dhabi earlier this month at the Yas Marina Circuit – just £210 for a grandstand seat with a great view for 3 days.
The cost of GA at Silverstone is moving towards the cost of a grandstand seat. Maybe this is designed to persuade the fans to stop being such a bloody nuisance by getting in the camera shot when they are not wanted.
Caterham sign new driver
GP2 race winner Nathanaël Berthon has today been confirmed as one of the drivers in Caterham F1 Team’s new Development Driver Program. The Development Driver Program is allegedly there to provide “up-and-coming racing drivers the opportunity to embed themselves in Caterham F1 Team’s on and off-track operations, helping to prepare them fully for the step up to Formula One”.
Some say…..also to provide cash and receive FP1 drives.
Nathanaël already has F1 experience, having driven in the 2011 young driver test at Abu Dhabi for HRT – a Colin Kolles previous connection.
Since 2012 he has been competing in GP2, winning the GP2 sprint race in Hungary in 2013 when he was with Trident Racing, and now competing in the 2014 season with Venezuela GP Lazarus.
Christijan Albers, CEO, Caterham F1 Team: “We are very pleased to welcome Nathanaël into our team as the first driver in our Development Driver Program. He is an exciting young talent with a proven track record in the feeder series for F1 and as he already has F1 experience he fits very neatly into our team. We will work closely with him to help him reach his full potential and are all excited about seeing him continue to grow as a driver, in and out of the cockpit.” (Caterhamf1.com)
FIA invites teams to protest Mercedes superior technology
There are times in life where such whimsical and pernicious evil is evident, even those of no religious persuasion sense the hand of Satan is at work.
Today, the FIA have written to the Formula 1 teams informing them they believe that a number of the (FRIC) Front-and-Rear-Interconnected-Suspension systems may be illegal.
Charlie Whiting issued a technical directive today stating. “Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front-to-rear linked suspension system, as well as reviewing future developments some teams have shared with us, we are firmly of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question, particularly with respect to compliance with Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations.
As these systems, in one form or another, have been in use for some time we are inclined to permit their continued use for the remainder of the current season, however, we feel we would need the agreement of all participating teams to take this approach. We would therefore be very grateful if you could indicate whether you may be in a position to agree with such an approach.
Failing this, we would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system which appears to allow the response of the suspension at either or both of the rear corners to drive the response of the suspension at either or both of the front corners (or vice versa).”
Article 3.15 is being cited as the regulation in question. It makes illegal any part of the car that influences the aerodynamics that is not “rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car.”
Indeed as Charlie states, FRIC systems have been in existence for some time. Adrian Newey had a form of FRIC in use back in the day at Leyton House back in the early nineties. More recent iterations are credited to Renault in 2008, and Aldo Costa is believed to have masterminded the Mercedes system, which has been under development for some years.
Put simply, this system links the front and rear suspension to maintain a constant ride height and reduce pitch and roll.
Under Ross Brawn, Mercedes took FRIC to a whole new level, such that a TJ13 article in December 2012 described the system as akin in its advancement to “spaceship technology”. At the time Mercedes were under performing badly and one commentator quipped that ‘no trophies were being awarded for space ship racing’.
Scarbs revealed to TJ13 in the past few minutes that all the teams have some form of FRIC system, though behind Mercedes…. Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull and Marrusia have the most developed mechanisms.
Whilst Whiting does state, “all such systems COULD be called into question,” clearly one team has a lot more to lose with an interuptus to the status quo. Mercedes.
The biggest effect of losing FRIC will be that ride heights would increase with a subsequent loss of down force.
The shocking part of today’s communication is that the FIA have challenged the teams to make a unanimous decision; to in effect decide upon a regulation allowing FRIC to the end of the year. Failure to do so will mean the consequence will be one team’s suspension system will be open to protest from another in Hockenheim.
When were the F1 teams in unanimous agreement over anything? And surely at least one team with a relatively basic system will seek to leverage their position over this.
The timing given for compliance gives this technical directive the appearance of being a political act – and the evidence for that is in the timings allowed for teams to comply. The Renault teams who were drilling into the fuel flow sensor earlier this year, were given several weeks to desist and then use only unmodified versions of the sensor. A fairly simple process.
There is less than two weeks to Hockenheim and the ramifications could be enormous.
Let’s speculate a little….
Charlie Whiting has been a close friend and supporter of Ecclestone for many years, harking back to the days of Brabham.
To suggest Ecclestone and Stuttgart are not exactly on the best of terms, would be the understatement of the millennium.
One of Max Moselys’s last acts as president of the FIA (at Bernie’s behest) gave Charlie a long contract as Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department – just before he handed the reigns over to Todt.
Todt was not amused to have Bernie’s pal practically running F1 from the FIA’s perspective.
The fact that Whiting’s contract is shortly up for renewal by Todt is impossible to ignore.
As an attempt to cause deep division between Mercedes and F1 this could easily be viewed as resembling some sort of scorched earth policy one would associate with none other than Ecclestone himself.
Of course other conspiracy theories are possible as to why this bizarre technical directive has been issued, and why particularly now.