Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 9th July 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Polls: Should the FIA be allowed to change regulations mid season?


OTD Lite – 1989 French Grand Prix

FIA invites teams to protest Mercedes superior technology

Alonso being offered an extended contract whilst in Italy

Whiting slams Lauda for race delay criticism (GMM)

Time to change the guard

A glimpse at 18 inch F1 wheels in motion

Changes at Silverstone

What did Lewis say?

Boullier ‘the believable’

Silverstone Testing Day 2


OTD Lite – 1989 French Grand Prix

On this day in 1989 Jean Alesi made his Formula One debut in the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard. Mid-season is an unusual time to make a debut, but he was in fact replacing the incumbent Michele Alboreto who – being a Marlboro sponsored driver – could not continue with a Tyrrell team that had signed to carry Camel sponsorship from then on. Famous for his talent-spotting skills, Ken Tyrrell looked at the F3000 championship to see who was the leading Camel sponsored driver and ‘discovered’ Alesi.

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Jean Alesi was born to Sicilian parents in Avignon, France. He won the 1987 French F3 championship before moving up to F3000 in 1988. In 1989 he won the championship and from mid-season on dovetailed his F3000 commitments with his Formula One contract.

His race debut proved astonishing as he finished fourth and on the same lap as eventual winner Alain Prost. His team-mate Jonathan Palmer finished 10th, two laps down and would retire at the end of 1989. Championed as the next big thing it was his first race of 1990 in Phoenix that would confirm his arrival on the world stage with his famous repass of Senna.

As his flawed career choices would later prove – this much-loved character backed out of a signed contract with Williams for 1991 to join his childhood love Ferrari, a deal which culminated with Williams taking delivery of a Ferrari 640 and Alesi rueing the day he turned his back on a 1990’s Williams contract…

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FIA invites teams to protest Mercedes superior technology

Editor’s Note: On occasion TJ13 has published articles in the Daily News & Comment which have been repeated ad verbatim from a different author or source. The news released late yesterday afternoon may have been missed by many of the readers of this site as different time zones have to be taken into account. For this reason, it is felt that the latest technical regulation change from the FIA is sufficiently important that yesterday’s published article is worth repeating.

Also, included in the ‘Previously on TJ13’ header links is a poll that was published on the site at 22.41 GMT in regards changing the regulations. We would appreciate if every reader would assist in this and cast their vote and possibly comment.


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.

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Alonso being offered an extended contract whilst in Italy

With Kimi Raikkonen injured, Ferrari’s testing duties at Silverstone this week have fallen on to the shoulders of their test and simulator driver, Pedro de la Rosa, and their Academy driver, Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. To many, it made little sense why their talisman – Fernando Alonso – is back in Maranello being shaken about in a virtual mule instead of comparing data retrieved by the on track running with the data collected from the sensors of the simulator.

Rumours from Italy suggest there is more to his return to the Gestione Sportiva than just development work for Ferrari. Marco Mattiacci has begun making changes with the restructuring of the Italian dinosaur, and with imminent departures of senior personnel like Luca Marmorini in the pipeline, both he and Il Padrino know that they want to rebuild the team around the one constant – Alonso.

Alonso has a contract until the end of 2016 but Ferrari want to strengthen the relationship with its lead driver who has seemed cold and aloof at times this year. Until a few months ago, he wanted to finish his career at Ferrari but with what is proving to be his worst season since joining the Scuderia – with a solitary podium in China – there is little doubt that he is unsatisfied. As he said recently, he would prefer more titles and less respect.

This week could prove crucial because Ferrari are to offer him a contract until 2019 – made up of an extension until 2017 and a further two years under options. If he takes the contract – no doubt with huge performance penalties written in the small print – then he is committed to Ferrari, if he chooses to keep it as it is, then Ferrari knows that they have to start searching for his replacement.

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Whiting slams Lauda for race delay criticism (GMM)

F1 race director Charlie Whiting has hit back at Niki Lauda, after the Mercedes team chairman slammed as “ridiculous” the delayed British grand prix. “The chances of it happening again are zero,” F1 legend Lauda said as Silverstone track workers were ordered to replace armco fencing damaged by Kimi Raikkonen’s crash. The repairs took an hour. “They (the FIA) take care of every little detail and a lot of people will switch the television off,” triple world champion Lauda added. The great Austrian said that because the chance of an identical incident was “zero”, a better solution would have been to quickly drag a tyre barrier in front of the damaged armco.

Asked if Lauda has a point, the FIA’s Whiting insisted: “Absolutely not. Niki’s comment was not very helpful, because he has shown that he knows nothing about safety,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “It is ridiculous to say that an accident at the same spot will not occur. If we had said after Felipe Massa’s accident in 2009 that a spring will never again hit a driver’s head, then there would not have been the campaign for stronger visors. It should also be mentioned that Kimi emerged basically unhurt from this massive accident, which is proof of how much has been done for the safety of the cars in recent years,” added Whiting.

Where Whiting does agree with Lauda, however, is in criticising the Finn for crashing in the first place. “It would have been better,” said the Briton, “if Kimi was a little more cautious in cutting back onto the track.” He denied that Silverstone is to blame for the uneven area of grass that unsettled the Ferrari.

“This is a problem at every circuit,” said Whiting. “It is impossible to make these grass surfaces perfectly even with the track or the curbs. The drivers should be advised that, in future, they should return to the track at a reasonable speed.”

TJ13 comment: Mr E’s right hand man has been regarded as an amiable fool for some years but with his overlords protection has also developed an aura of invincibility. Mercedes faced the FIA tribunal last year because of a secret test with a 2013 car given on Charlie’s ‘OK’.

Yet the arrogance of being a race director has obviously affected his judgement over which arguments to pick a fight over. Lauda was right in his assertions that lightning doesn’t strike twice and as a man who survived a near fatal accident during Formula One’s most dangerous era his words carry a certain weight behind them.

By their very nature, accidents are unpredictable events which will be studied and will be used to improve the safety. Robert Kubica’s accident in Canada 2007 forced a changed in the Canadian circuits barrier for the following year but his survival cell was part of the continuous study and improvements that the FIA has implemented since the 1994 Imola weekend tragedies. Think of any significant accident over the years and every one is very different in execution and result.

When conditions are poor, drivers can arrive in a corner and find they are aqua-planing off the circuit in the same direction as others. But to call up Felipe Massa’s spring as an example shows an innate stupidity. The visors were already bullet proof, but the mounting was found to be a potential weakness so further improved to prevent a similar “object to helmet” incident having the same outcome again.

As to blaming a competitive animal such as an F1 driver returning to the track too quickly, then we know that the race director should consider retiring to sunnier climes with a team of medical attendants administering sedatives by the capful. What F1 needs is a change in circuit layouts where a driver cannot simply drive off a circuit and maintain a speed advantage. Kimi made a mistake but Vettel and Alonso showed cynicism with their constant use to defend and attack.

There is a solution which is fairly simple. Reduce the Silverstone hosting fee by the amount it would take to fit the modern Techpro barriers around the entire circuit. These can generally be fixed more quickly – though of course this would cost Mr. Whiting’s buddy, a few million.

So who really cares about safety now?

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Time to change the guard

You can tell when it’s time to wave somebody goodbye from a role which requires an ever forward thinking attitude. It is when they continually cite as their defence, the achievements of the past.

In his defence of why a Formula 1 race with a global audience had to be delayed for an hour, Charlie Whiting reverts to the old cliché, “Kimi is practically unhurt… the chassis was broken almost in half…which is proof of how much has been done for the safety of the cars in recent years,” 

Yes, yes, yes… and a Formula 1 driver has not been killed since 1994 Charlie – you forgot to mention that.

TJ13 has questioned whether Whiting is just another box ticking bureaucrat previously; his lack of inventiveness over developing the laborious safety car procedures has been regularly questioned on this site along with other matters, such a steward dalliances.

Here’s another example of the incompetence of the guardian of the rules of F1 racing. Neither Charlie or anyone related to track control on Sunday noticed Fernando Alonso was half a car length outside of his starting position for the original race start.

Having spent some time in the F1 race control room, this is farcical beyond belief. The only reason this was noticed was because of the extended delay following Kimi’s crash and it was members of two other teams who spotted Fernando’s offence on the repeated TV replays and reported it to race control.

When asked about why the stewards are not immediately aware of such a transgression, Whiting’s response is simple. “The sensors on the grid measure the movement, not the position”.

Whiting claims that there was an observer at the start who reported this to them, however, the process for an investigation by the stewards is that as soon as they are aware of an issue, it is reported to FOM TV and communicated on.

Charlie adds, “The investigation was delayed because of the accident”.

Yet something similar happened with Felipe Massa in Spa, and Massa avoided sanction. Whiting admitted then, “Massa’s rule violation was only reported two days after the Grand Prix. It was then too late to punish him”.

In a multi-billion dollar sport, this kind of oversight is absolutely bonkers and adds to the general image of F1 being some shabby, unprofessional outfit, who can’t even do simple things properly l – like enforce the rules.

A glimpse at 18 inch F1 wheels in motion

 

And this is what they look like on the Lotus….

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Some say, Lewis…. is excited about getting bigger rims as they will be more impressive when blinged up!!! All we know is…. you won’t be able to pierce them and put pretty diamonds in the side 😉

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Changes at Silverstone

Just 2 days after the British GP, Neil England resigns with immediate effect from the board of the circuit’s operating company, Silverstone Holdings, owned by the BRDC.

So after 6 years, “The BRDC Board would like to thank Neil for his hard work, his reliability and his commitment to Silverstone,” said a statement from BRDC presidency John Grant. “He should be proud of everything he has achieved in this time, and his significant contribution he has brought Silverstone.”

England was mostly responsible for the new 17-year contract with Formula 1 which included  7% (some say 5%) compound annual escalator which will see the circuit paying over $60m to FOM in the year before the contract expires.

Canada recently did a deal for $10m with a miniscule escalator. Their final year’s bill will be around $12m.

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What did Lewis say?

There has been a storm in a tea cup in recent days, as the newspaper headlines printed in bold headlines, Lewis Hamilton’s latest edicts.

These included tongue in cheek comments over Rosberg’s nationality along with some rather jingoistic comments about the relative support offered by the German and British crowds.

When asked after the British GP whether he thought Nico would receive similar support in Germany, Hamilton replied, “I know whilst it’s Nico’s home Grand Prix, he doesn’t have even one eighth of the support us Brits get here. The fans are unlike anywhere else so I’m not worried in that sense.”

Rosberg chose to play down the matter when confronted with Hamilton’s comments at Silverstone testing yesterday. “I was actually there when he said it and I think it was actually the person interviewing who said those questions and Lewis didn’t really answer much really,”

Nico did though add, “What do you want me to say? Everyone can judge [what Lewis said] however they want.”  This provided certain publications with the latitude to suggest Rosberg wasn’t too impressed with Lewis’ detailed revelations about him and his preference for the Monaco flag during his early karting days.

Maybe one man’s careless humour causes embarrassment to another.

A Sky reporter asked Nico whether he considered himself to be as German as Hamilton was British, Rosberg replied, “Not really, I didn’t grow up in Germany so I guess I am not as British as he is, but I consider myself 100% German.”

On the matter of the German GP, Rosberg was phlegmatic. “It will be great going there driving the Silver Arrow, the dominant Silver Arrow, and I am looking forward to it.”

“…dominant Silver Arrow…” It appears Nico hasn’t heard about the brewing FRIC storm….

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Boullier ‘the believable’

McLaren and Ron Dennis would have us believe that they operate as a racing team under the highest code of morality. Well certainly since the most embarrassing ‘spygate’ scandal.

Lotus however, proved during the 2013 season to be a team where not a word from anyone with any kind of seniority could be believed.

Here at TJ13, we coined the phrase, “Doing an Ijaz” to represent the relative position which one finds oneself in, and the ensuing necessary expediency of speaking the truth.

A certain Monsieur Boullier was chosen by Lotus to attend fairly extensive training course on “doing an Ijaz” and appeared to master the art supremely.

Yes, McLaren were without a team principal, something which Dennis denies in Eric they recruited, whilst at the same time Boullier believes himself in fact to be just that – so recruit they did….

Clearly Ron recognised, acquiring the services of an employee with the “Ijaz” diploma would get Ron out of some tricky situations when the truth and an expedient explanation were at loggerheads.

Enter Eric.

Following the FRIC subterranean tremours, Eric has briefly popped his head above the parapet to explain the Woking team’s interest in this matter.

When asked by Autosport how the correspondence from the FIA had been received – which suggest all the teams must agree to make legal an illegal suspension system – or its use would be banned by the next race, Eric didn’t disappoint.

“It came as a total surprise,” said Boullier.

Then without apparent prompting he offered. “It was not based on any team’s action, it was an FIA action”.

Boullier reveals the teams had been warned at the weekend, something may be in the pipeline but was completely surprised when the FIA technical directive arrived yesterday.

In an effort maybe to present a collegiate response, Eric continues. “I think most of the teams, if not all the teams on the grid, are using this kind of suspension system, which connects the vehicle dynamics better”.

But crucially….”Some teams may have been extreme [with their FRIC technology], this is maybe why the FIA is questioning the legality of the system.”

As the first team principal to pop his head above the parapet on this matter, Eric appears well informed of the consequences. “In the case of McLaren, we are quite relaxed. We don’t see any issue with this for us. I don’t think it will be too much disturbance for the rest of the season”.

Aha. So McLaren will not be voting to keep things as they are. They can modify their system relatively easily.

Eric the truthful morphs into Eric the ‘I am now just thinking aloud – casting thoughts asunder……’.

“We don’t like it when there is a technical change in the season, but maybe there is a reason why the FIA wants to do it. Maybe a couple of teams have been extreme and could potentially maybe be in trouble to switch back to a non-connected system, but for most teams I think it won’t be a game-changer.”

And there ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you are privileged to observe a true master practising the fine art of…….. “doing an Ijaz”.

PS Jenson who has been a rather glum boy this year – was reported to be skipping around the MTC this morning, whistling with gay abandon and beaming with unadulterated delight to all and sundry.

PPS Red Bull are undecided on which way they will vote on this matter. Mercedes are presently lobbying Christian to join their cause – as his most believable arguments over tyre safety won the day in 2013. It would therefore surely be the case that a Christian H….dressed in just sack cloth and ashes, lamenting the change with much gnashing of teeth…..  would win the day and persuade the FIA a new and untested suspension systems will create great risk for drivers, team operatives, marshals, spectator, local wildlife and FOM camera crew safety.

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Silverstone Testing Day 2

As the curtain is drawn on the final day of in season testing it was the young Frenchman Jules Bianchi who topped the timesheets for Ferrari. He also completed the second highest number of laps for the day. More significantly, faster than Raikkonen the whole weekend and only marginally slower than Alonso achieved in FP2 on Friday afternoon.

It could be argued there is more rubber on the track today than over the weekend or the temperature was more favourable but Ferrari have tested their young talent and he produced the goods.

Second was Toro Rosso’s Russian star Daniil Kvyat followed closely by McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen with the latter working on aerodynamic tests, which included completing several runs with a large measuring rake fitted behind the front wheels to measure airflow.

Giedo van der Garde also made the most of his opportunity and finished 4th fastest in the Sauber however it was not all good news as he hit a barrier 15min from the end of the session which brought out red flags. Lewis Hamilton was 5th, focusing on car setup, aero development testing and data collection as well as some engine setting changes.

In 6th was Williams’ Valtteri Bottas who tested parts for races later in the year as well as for next year. (Super) Max Chilton was 7th in the Marussia and Daniel Juncadella was 8th in the Force India.

Vettel had a productive day with 76 laps but was only 9th fastest while Charles Pic was 10th in his Lotus “Bling Mobile” with the 18inch wheels on. Julian Leal was in the Caterham although he lost significant running time with a MGU-H issue.

Final timings

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1m35.262s 89 laps
2 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m35.544s 56 laps
3 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m35.593s 91 laps
4 Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1m36.327s 84 laps
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.680s 47 laps
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m37.193s 40 laps
7 Max Chilton Marussia 1m37.359s 77 laps
8 Daniel Juncadella Force India 1m37.449s 52 laps
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m39.410s 76 laps
10 Charles Pic Lotus 1m41.906s 38 laps
11 Julian Leal Caterham 1m42.635s 51 laps

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99 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 9th July 2014

  1. “the latest technical regulation change from the FIA”

    Your Honour,
    Is this indeed a “technical regulation change”, especially in the light of the Red Bull appeals earlier this season and the judges’ opinion? Are now Technical Directives de facto full-blown regulations?

    And is it conceivable that a Technical Directive be issued by Charlie Whiting’s own accord, without the full blessing of Jean Todt?

    • Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court:

      I understand that His Honour the Judge (13) is not very much part of the Establishment media in F1, and so he speaks without being mind or wallet-controlled by Mr. E’s private equity henchmen, but just like in response to FIA’s shameful abandonment of promise to pursue substantial cost reductions / reduced spending, I really think He should voice more explicit criticism of FIA here for:

      1) adopting a cynical approach to F1 governance that seeks to cravenly cause disharmony and conflict over accepted FRIC technology, pitting the teams against each other (rather than emphasizing collaborative process that legitimizes the concerns of all relevant stakeholders, and

      2) threatening to take a ridiculous, potentially-punitive regulatory action mid-season that would invalidate technology that’s been in use for several seasons without complaint, the scrapping of which would impose additional costs on the teams to redesign FRIC-dependent systems and parts and revise wind tunnel development programmes currently under study in order to factor in the loss of the optimised ride height that all had reason to believe was/is legal and safe-from-protest.

      I’m not suggesting that FIA under Todt is corrupt per se, but their governance process and decisions (especially as concerns the shameful Strategy Group, which is likely illegal under EU-law) are not in keeping with best practices for international federations accredited to IOC, except in the area anti-doping. But that’s only b/c FIA’s anti-doping programme is implemented externally, by WADA, with the Federation only responsible for assigning driver-athletes to international out-of-competition testing pool, and results dissemination (but not management) – god forbid…

      The Judge must lead from the front and show “respected” Establishment journalists like James Allen how to adopt a more adversarial and investigative approach to covering FIA and the Formula 1!

      This is necessary if our sport is EVER to recover from the stage-managed theatrics of Ecclestone’s asset-stripping dark ages.

      Funnily, FOM considers social media irrelevant b/c it can’t be monetized to fill CVC’s already-bursting vault of pillaged F1 wealth, but ironically, social media is providing a mechanism to delegitimize Ecclestone and his CVC cohort, and FIA allies, in the eyes of the very same global fan base – newly-empowered and educated by jurists like His Honour – that Bernie has consistently ignored, abused and offended.

  2. Alonso seems in a tight spot, but there’s an escape: ‘I’m sorry I can’t commit yet as I can’t judge our new leader and his influence on our cars.’

    • The sad thing is that the problems at Ferrari and McLaren probably run much deeper than just the man at the top…

  3. I see the potential banning of the FRIC as similar to what happened with mass dampers. That is, one team stole a march on the idea others were trying to use them as well, albeit not as successfully. The FIA having previously saying ‘fine’ then decided to ban them mid season (Turkey IIRC!).

    This kind of thing has happened time and time again in F1. The common denominator is that these rules only come out to play when one team is really dominating. We went through 4 years of the FIA (and everyone else) picking at RBR (tweeking rules to slow them), prior to that we’ve seen the FIA take issue with all kinds of things at Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton and Williams to name but a few more.

    So Mercedes will just have to suck it up, because rightly or wrongly that’s exactly what goes with the territory of winning but such large margins in F1. Whilst I’d love for F1 to be a pure sport, it’s income stream comes from entertainment, and if people are turning off (which stats say they are) because it’s normally a no brainer who’ll finish 1-2, then F1 ends up having to try and redress that balance of sport vs entertainment.

    If you’re a Rosberg, Hamilton or Mercedes fan I’m quite sure the whole thing stinks, but perhaps Karma is coming back to bite for their fans many snipes about Red Bull?

    Would I change it? From a sporting perspective, absolutely not. From a pure entertainment perspective? Probably so, yes.

    • Is it fair?

      No.

      Will other teams suddenly be more competitive?

      Not necessarily, the Merc is fast period. Would be funny if they went even faster, though.

      Is it potentially dangerous to replace the suspension and run it in a race with no testing?

      Possibly to probably, depending on the team (anyone want to trust their life to an untested suspension from Lotus?)

      Will FIA look even worse should a big shunt occur due to suspension failure at speed?

      Not possible, infinity plus 1 is still infinity. 😛

    • And that’s the key of it Paul, your last line.

      If its not sport, its sports entertainment. A motorised WWE. A joke.

      And its why many manufacturers don’t stick around. Spend millions, nay billions, to beat the rest. And the poisoned dwarfs yes man will pull the plug if you get too good.

      Imagine if they regulated athletics. Sorry Usain, we need you to wear Churchill brogues in this race cause you’re winning too much.

      A. Total. Farce.

  4. Re: lauda/race restart
    Would be interesting if they confirmed how the barrier functions? If it’s something like a tensioned crash cushion then there will be a large cable behind the metal plate which needs to be slackened off gradually with a key, like the ones on the UK motorways.
    It then needs to be brought back up after the plate/uprights are replaced presuming it’s not damaged itself as It can do some rather unpleasant things if it snaps.
    This might go some way to explain why it took around an hour for the race to restart.

      • I had a look at them trackside, as the judge said, they were not tensioned in any way, and the crash had just flattened the bottom two a bit, but not damaged them, they were still fully secured. At the angle they were positioned, were they to be hit again they’d do the same again, just bounce the car back out onto the track.

        • thanks Fortis69 will check that out later as i was a bit surprised nothing was said at the time.

          sorry thejudge13, TCC is a general works term, bit like coke where Pepsi/Coca Cola or Armco is a specific product.

          Adam, thanks again. i did say i wasn’t sure as i have seen some rather dull and precise technical manuals at work on barriers. i would imagine that since the plate had been flattened rather like flagging a damaged car, the impact characteristics were no longer certain so it was better to swap it out.

        • Sorry Adam, but there isn’t a way to support that “were (the barriers) to be hit again they’d do the same again, just bounce the car back out onto the track”. The fact that they were still secured doesn’t mean anything, but that they were flattened as you point and as everybody saw on TV meant that their mechanical characteristics weren’t the same as before the crash. How much those characteristics were changed is impossible to say by a visual inspection. I totally disagree with the Judge and Lauda this time, changing the barriers was the right thing to do.

          • i took a look at the video, the most interesting bit is not whats said, there is a over-bridge, maybe 20 meters further down the track so if a vehicle were to leave at the point of the first hit its likely to go straight up the foundations and beyond.

  5. New day, same FIA bull excrement!!!

    When will all this nonsense end and the sport gets back to actually living up to its modus operandi? This is suppose to be the “pinnacle” of motor sports with the best technology and men smarter than rocket scientist.

    But everyday instead of talking about and promoting the sport, it’s instead tearing Itself apart from the inside out.

    • The nonsense doesn’t end Fortis. This has been going on since the beginning of the FIA F1 world championship in 1950, and indeed before.

      I am not sure if you are a scholar of the history of the sport, but rarely does a single year pass without these sorts of things. You should sit back and get used to it.

      • And wait for FE to overtake.
        Seriously, I think Lauda’s right about overregulation. I still think the way forward is more freedom on engines and less freedom in aero – even customer chassis are ok. As long as Ferrari can have their V12, next to Volkswagen’s Hybrid Turbo Diesel, next to Teslas all electric solution and Googles one on thorium. Major relevant engineering which really would attract younger audiences.

        • Boo to spec chassis say I. IMO a better solution would be to limit total DF in a straight line at a given speed, say a max of x kg at 250 km/h. That way teams would be forced to focus on slow speed and yaw to find improvement. Then allow aero updates only every 4 or 6 races. So teams could still update software and mechanical every race, just not aero.

  6. I can see Ferrari’s point of view, without Alonso they would look very ordinary, he maybe a pain, but he works wonders with whatever they give him. I could give him my vectra and he’d still be right up there lol

    • Imagine how many points they would have with Raikkonen and Massa.. Although 07-09 tells us they would still develop the car for one of them, even if it was with Schumacher’s input not Kimi’s…

  7. “What F1 needs is a change in circuit layouts where a driver cannot simply drive off a circuit and maintain a speed advantage.”
    How about curbs at the edge of the circuit that are curbs and not painted pieces of concrete. Then there will be no need to penalise drivers for have two wheels over the line, which never happens at circuits like Monaco, for obvious reasons.

    • The kerbs vary from corner to corner. At Silverstone in the arena section they are higher and more punitive – practically non existent at Copse….

      • Surely they could and should be consistent, and higher to punish an excursion without causing an accident.

        • ….. lower kerbs possible when there is a gravel trap…

          …with tarmac run off areas, higher kerbs required to prevent drivers using the run off areas as part of the track…

          …higher kerbs launch the car – and are therefore dangerous…..

          …return to lower kerbs and enforce track limits – and then everyone complains….

          SIMPLES ;).

          • “….. lower kerbs possible when there is a gravel trap…

            …with tarmac run off areas”

            …. (as suggested by other posters) put a mandatory 2m grass or gravel strip before any parking lot that the FIA fancies prior to the barriers. If a pilot fancies to exceed track limits they will either end up in the gravel or in need of backing off to retake control of their car. Any serious accident would be avoided thanks to surrounding parking space, but pilots will think thrice before putting a wheel off the track limits.

  8. 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).”

    This is utterly absurd.
    By all means implement this as regulation for next season. That would be entirely defensible.

    Under current regulations, though, how is such a system any different in principle from a system which allows the response of one of the rear corners to “drive the response” of the other rear corner (& ditto the front corners) – eg an anti roll bar ?

  9. I’m not a Ferrari fan, but if you follow formula one in detail for any length of time its hard to not be a fan of Ferrari. If this sounds contradictory, it is a little, but I simply mean whilst they are not my team, there is something to them that you can’t help but be fascinated by and admire.

    From that perspective, I’ve moved positions from ‘who the hell is he’ to ‘blimey, he might actually be going to do something here’ over Mattiacci. I hope he is the off the wall inspired choice Ferrari needed, because its getting sickening to watch Fred flogging a dead horse, albeit a rampant one.

    • its hard to not be a fan of Ferrari.

      I’ve managed it. 🙂

      Though I am great admirer of the Ferrari fans.

      • That is sort of what I meant, its not that I support the team and want them to win races etc, but the Tifosi, and the drama, and the heritage, and the road cars… its brilliant to watch, F1 would be much duller without them.

        • Could we not just throw a heap of vowels at McLaren instead?

          Ron to Ronaldini

          Eric to Enrico

          Jenson to Jensone

          McLaren to MaLareninio

          Woking to, eh, em, OK maybe not my best idea ever guys….

    • Adam,

      Mattiacci might not have a motorsports background, but he has a documented track record of success at Ferrari in organizational and people management, business development, and national and int’l-regional operations.

      Perhaps he is an inspired choice for TP, as he seems to understand the importance of employing the best, most effective specialist subordinates possible, shedding non-performers and replacing them with more promising talent, while not trying to meddle like a dilettante when those trusted lieutenants can and should exercise the responsibility and trust he’s extended to them.

      I hope…

  10. I bet Mercedes are frantically on the phone to Uncle Ross, wondering if he’ll help them out of this little mess? If they give him the Universe!

    • I will confirm I am a Lewis fan before I write this. If and only if Merc lose their FRIC system I find it hard to believe that it alone is worth 2 seconds so likely they will still have the best car. However might be closer with more teams getting ahead or splitting the cars.
      On this basis I still fancy 1 of the Merc’s for the championship due to their lead. I just wonder if this favours Lewis? Given it is widely viewed that he will get the best of a car that isnt quite set up perfect a less stable Merc may work to his advantage?

      • “I find it hard to believe that it alone is worth 2 seconds”

        I remember in Austria we were all rather surprised by how poorly Merc was fairing. Williams stole the pole, and Merc had to sweat to get their one-two. What if their issues there wasn’t just the brake temperatures; what if their FRIC was finding hard to cope with the uber-bumpy surface of the Austrian Ring? (Just wondering out-loud..)

      • According to Establishment F1 journalist James Allen, FRIC is worth three to four tenths (3/10 to 4/10) per lap …

        (note: iirc)

          • … more than the tenths suggested…

            Yet Merc have extra power they’ve not yet deployed and were 1.5-2s a lap quicker in Silverstone so…. guess they don’t care…

          • Yes, even if it cost them 1.5 seconds, the first 5-10 laps they were putting 2.5 seconds a lap on the field, so they have some pace in hand.

            But if they are planning to not run it in Germany chances are they are fairly well along with their non-FRIC suspension anyway and it may not be as big a disadvantage.

            Have Red Bull decided what they will do yet?

          • Well, that’s that, then. If RB aren’t going to put up a fuss then I guess they’re fairly well along too.

  11. 17-year contract with Formula 1 which included 7% (some say 5%) compound annual escalator which will see the circuit paying over $60m to FOM in the year before the contract expires…

    It was stupid at the time (and not with the benefit of hindsight).
    It looks imbecilic now.

    • There was a real risk of losing the British GP so they took what they could. At that time there were other circuits lining up to take their place if we didnt want it. Now there isn’t Canada etc can negotiate far better

      • so they took what they could

        No, they failed to call the greedy geriatric’s bluff.

  12. “…. Felipe Massa in Spa, and Massa avoided sanction. Whiting admitted then, “Massa’s rule violation was only reported two days after the Grand Prix. It was then too late to punish him”. …. ”

    And based on yesterday’s daily news on TJ13, at Silverstone, it seems FIA missed spotting Massa starting from back of the grid instead of the pti lane as he should have done under article 38.2

    ” .. 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. … ”

    In the event, Massa got taken out by Raikonnen, a fate he would have easily avoided, had he taken the correct “penalty” of starting from the pit lane rather than from the back of the grid.

    • I have just checked videos of the start. It seems Massa was actually in his correct position on the grid, but that he then had a very poor start, ending up last to leave the grid.

      • Massa burned up his clutch waiting for Rosberg to take his spot. Then he went into anti stall because clutch was toast. Much wailing from Massa.

    • Sounds like they didn’t have Twitter to bust Massa in Spa.. The video footage was only uploaded later on!

      • Mmm. So Charlie’s claims they would have got there in the end because if an independent observer sound like he’s ‘doing an Ijaz’

        It was other teams who reported it.

        Again I ask, what were the stewards doing???

        They missed ‘the danger’ of Alonso picking up Webber… Till some bloke wandered in with security camera footage

        • I wonder if it’s a case of too many cameras and not enough people. Sky showed the insides of the race directors room once I think (unless I’m thinking of their race broadcast HQ).

          • If not… not enough cameras?! Well, someone said they only had 2/3 of the cars on the grid with a T cam… we never saw Chilton’s T-cam view of a tyre nailing it either.. wouldn’t surprise me if they only had 4 T-cams per event tbh.

  13. I remember the days when we were trying to decipher Ron-speak. Let’s decipher Eric-speak now.

    “It came as a total surprise”

    We knew this was coming

    We don’t see any issue with this for us. I don’t think it will be too much disturbance for the rest of the season”

    We have such a crap car anyway that it won’t make any difference

    We don’t like it when there is a technical change in the season, but maybe there is a reason why the FIA wants to do it.

    We don’t like it when we are challenging for the title and there are changes mid-season, but it we’re crap then that’s OK.

    Apologies, a bit harsh, I know, but couldn’t resist being a Macca supporter.

  14. I respectfully object to the judge’s assertion that “lightning doesn’t strike twice” … in the same place.
    Anyone who has had the dubious pleasure of being responsible for sensitive telecommunications equipment connected to a twenty metre mast installed on a hill in a desert subject to seasonal cyclones can tell you that lightning strikes the same place rather too frequently. Free tip: lightning arrestors are entirely useless – you can’t argue with a million volts. But I digress…
    That barrier that Kimi struck had been changed a number times before, judging by the different colours of barrier sections on display. Changing the damaged section was completely the right thing to do. Sure, they should be better at it, but changing it was an absolute must.
    Also…
    “By their very nature, accidents are unpredictable events which will be studied and will be used to improve the safety.”
    If you are right about accidents being unpredictable (and you are wrong) then what’s the point in studying them? Anyone capable of improving safety by studying random, unpredictable events must have some kind of super power.
    The fact is that the vast majority of accidents are predictable (the mechanisms, not the timing) and they can be studied to find ways reduce their frequency.

    • Yeah, I can’t even believe we’re debating whether or not replacing the barrier was the right thing to do.

      It was the ONLY responsible decision that could be made, both from circuit liability and participant safety.

      Lauda is usually entertaining, but in this instance he’s plain wrong and should shut-up. You don’t restart a race w/ ineffective circuit components in-place.

      • The option wasn’t to do nothing. The option was to drag a section of tire barrier over and place it in front of the damaged section.

        Not sure what I think about that solution to be honest.

  15. FRIC

    I’m wondering if a FRIC failure, such as the front failing, which could pitch the front of the car up and if effect turn the front wing from providing downforce into providing lift could cause an accident similar to what happened to Berger at Imola in 1989.

    • Safety will definitely be Merc’s defence and will try to get other teams that have decent FRIC systems to back them up.

  16. “What did Lewis say?”

    Was Hamilton’s father born in the UK?

  17. “A glimpse at 18 inch F1 wheels in motion”

    More “road relevance” BS from the FIA and Pirelli. Multi-element front wings aren’t road relevant so why not get rid of them as well. DRS isn’t road relevant either – so that should go too. It won’t be too long before an F1 car looks like a Ford Focus

    • Money Quote:

      “As always with F1 it is the teams with resources and budget that will adapt to the change quickest regardless of their FRIC status.

      It is unlikely to knock Mercedes’ dominance of the sport this year, nor have a huge effect on the running order behind it.”

      So basically it will punish teams using it who have the least resources to adapt and will probably not make much difference otherwise.

      Way to go, Charlie. *slow clap*

      • Putting aide which teams use it. If you are judging a FRIC systems legality against an active suspension system, because a FRIC system is passive – then it’s clearly legal. If however you are judging it against a mass damper system it’s not as cut and dried. Whiting seems to be arguing that because the system uses moveable hydraulic fluid, which is not specific to either the front or rear systems, you then have a moveable system which does in fact have significant impact on aerodynamic performance. And that’s how the mass damper was banned.

        • Interesting point cav. Thinking gearboxes now….. and the implication of ‘movable hydraulic fluid’…..Getting even more interesting…..

      • @mattpt5

        “So basically it will punish teams using it who have the least resources to adapt and will probably not make much difference otherwise.”

        I wouldn’t read too much into this analysis. I’m no engineering expert in any way, but the reasoning seams flawed to me.

        From I understand it took Merc years of development and piles of greenback to get their FRIC to a useful and advanced state (“spaceship-like”); which means that your run-of-the-mill F1 team wouldn’t have the resources/inclination to genuinely advance a FRIC in any way, shape or form. So your average Sauber would have nothing much to adapt to; they don’t really have it in the first place. (While not perfect an example, think of it as when Williams decided to scrap its blowing technology in 2013, to find out that its car flied much faster without the supposedly “helpful” technology. And suddenly they got the first points of the season on merit.)

        Moreover, Merc *might*, just might be severely affected by the ban. The timing of the ban smacks me of the extreme engine maps ban in 2011, designed to slow Red Bull. I would suspect that the FIA has more data than any individual team (or us, for the matter), and it can see what team does what, and where teams get their advantage from. If Merc indeed has a significant competitive advantage within this cycle of regulations that would take years and hundreds of millions for others to catch up, I can see the FIA intervening in the way it just did..

        • Yes, it *might* affect Mercedes, possibly even for a couple of races. But at the end of the day banning those software mappings hardly slowed Red Bull’s dominance.

          FRIC is already leaving anyway on cost grounds. Teams with large budgets no doubt already have solutions underway, teams with smaller budgets not necessarily (Lotus maybe? Do they even have a budget at this point?).

          Regardless, teams with piles of cash can afford to remanufacture chassis etc., and still carry on with development for this year, whereas it will have much more significant impact on midfield teams with smaller budgets,this being the part of it all that galls me.

          FRIC being banned on cost grounds is perfectly fine, but banning it unexpectedly mid season will cost teams more and it will hurt most the teams cost cuts were supposed to help. Of course, speculation is that it’s a move by Ecclestone to bring viewers in, never mind his scheduling the British GP opposite Wimbledon and Tour de France both carrying on in England at the same time.

          I just wish if they were going to do this sort of thing they would just nut up and use BOP and be done with it. Tell Merc they’re very clever and all, but we’d like to see some actual racing so please turn the MGU off until further notice.

  18. I rather enjoyed watching the barriers being repaired, and thought an hour was pretty reasonable to ensure that the repair was done to a reasonable standard, especially considering how long it has taken the marshals to simply clear the track of debris at some of the less well-practiced/experienced venues. I think that the guys deserve some credit, it’s hard enough doing your job with your boss looking over your shoulder – imagine doing it with a worldwide feed to tens of millions watching!
    Not that they’ll be getting any appreciation from motorway construction workers. Now their bosses have seen how quickly they can be installed.

  19. FRICS BAN.

    If the system is passive then it is questionable if the quoted regulation would apply. Following that thinking, as quoted, would mean that any element of the suspension could be considered to affect the aerodynamics. A spring/torsion bar moving would affect aerodynamics. Banning suspension would be the ludicrous end game. Formula tea tray! A more reasoned argument is that some teams have taken their design beyond the limit of being purely passive, and have added active elements. I don’t mean electronically controlled, because you can do it with mechanical elements. Will a ban change things. Yes, but any team that ‘crossed the line’, will have a back up plan in reserve for such an eventuality. All teams sail close to the wind with regard to rules interpretation, otherwise they would be permanently at the back of the grid.

  20. I can’t believe the FIA are suggesting rule changes mid season again. Surely you can’t change the rules of a game once the game has started. It’s completely unprofessional and smacks of Mosley days. I hope the teams stand up to the FIA, And say you can’t change the rules now, but I suspect they will do what helps their team the most.

  21. Ok so let me get this right…

    Lewis born in GBR, identifies with Grenada (helmet colour), ‘lives’ in Monaco re Tax, hangs out (lives) in the USA, fathered by a Grenadian? to a British mother and he has the Gaul to call out Nico?

    What a muppet. Sounds the same as Nico frankly.

    Born in GER, identifies with Monaco, actually lives and raised in Monaco, fathered by a Finn to a German mother. Actually sounds much simpler.

    Looks like Hamilton is as British as Obama is American. Still no birth certificate?

    • You’re wrong here. I’m in the (un)fortunate position of knowing first-hand how it feels to deal with multiple… cultural affiliations, let’s say, and it’s trickier than you make it sound.

      Nowadays nominal tribal identity (e.g. your citizenship) is getting more and more nominal than ever (e.g. we’re all Sapiens on this god-forsaken hunk of rock), and it seems that Nico and Lewis are excellent examples. So what really matters at the end of the day is not race (whatever that might be given the genetic continuum of the Sapiens), religion, parents’ actual place of birth or growth, the individual’s actual place of birth or growth, the stamp on your forehead, etc., etc., but *how the individual identifies themselves*. And to which culture they associate themselves with.

      By this metric, Obama is clearly American (whatever the naysayers may howl). Lewis is clearly British, as he most clearly, strongly associates himself with the place where he grew up and with its cultural heritage (even if he *recently*, after acquiring star status in F1, moved to another bit of Europe).

      Nico is more of a mixed case. He was born in a mixed European family (Finnish and German), was born and raised in Europe (in Germany, and Monaco), speaks 5 languages (apparently excluding Finnish), and it seems isn’t overly fond of the German flag. I hear he started racing as a Finnish, and switched to a German passport later on for career expediency. All symptoms are that he doesn’t associate himself overly with Germany and German culture, and by this metric he wouldn’t be “predominantly” German. (And as such Lewis wouldn’t exactly be wrong in his latest press tirade.)

      If I were to speculate, given Nico’s background and history, he identifies himself more as a European than anything else, since he has so many cultures to which he was exposed and can associate himself with, that it may be difficult to pick out one in particular (e.g. German) and hold it more dearly than all others.

      • He does however support German sporting teams. In both the Olympics and World Cup he’s supported their national teams – quite avidly too! To do so suggests at heart he feels German.

        Not that any of this really matters, he could be from the planet Zog and I’d not care a jot. Likewise with Lewis – although obviously when a driver claims to love X country so much (as LH reiterates at each GB GP) it’s a bit galling that they love it so much they move off to Monaco, or Switzerland for tax purposes. Kinda makes me think they don’t really love it at all, or they’d stay and stump up the money. Same applies to JB, but at least he tried Guernsey!

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