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.
#TJ13 Social Media Competition
We’re giving away replica F1 team polo shirts. If you want to enter you can via our Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus pages. Look out for the picture and share if you’re on Facebook / Google Plus and retweet on Twitter to enter the competition. We’ll be announcing the winner by the 21st July. Good luck!
Terms and conditions here.
Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite – 1977 – Villeneuve: The birth of a legend
On this day, thirty-seven years ago, a quiet and unremarkable young French-Canadian made his debut in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Gilles Villeneuve had been given an opportunity after James Hunt and other Formula One stars had been soundly beaten in a race at Trois-Riviers by this unassuming man.
In testing before the race, he had astonished onlookers by spinning at practically every corner but never at the same one twice. They learnt from him afterwards that he had to find the limits quickly as this was his only opportunity to display his talent and he would go above the limit until he spun; thus establishing the car’s limit.
Villeneuve qualified ninth – two places ahead of his fellow Mclaren driver, Jochen Mass, but needed to stop when the engine temperatures rose in his car. The mechanics soon deduced it was a faulty gauge and sent him out again. Once he let the leaders through, he trailed them until the end matching their times throughout.
Teddy Mayer surprisingly didn’t sign him for the following season but Enzo Ferrari did. The rest as they say is history.
Haas admits to being asked to invest on failed USF1 team
TJ13 recently published an article about the internal power struggles between team owner Gene Haas and his technical director Gunther Steiner – titled “Team Haas is falling apart with the American dream”.
One of the revelations mentioned at the time was that the Haas Formula One facility will be based in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The failed USF1 team would have been based in Charlotte, NC. A distance of a mere 30 miles.
Reports from Forbes reveal that Gene Haas turned down the opportunity to invest in the ill-fated USF1 team that was being planned for a debut in 2010. The team was set up by journalist Peter Windsor and a newcomer called Ken Anderson who would have been team principal. They had interest from YouTube founder, Chad Hurley and had links with Haas as Anderson was formerly the technical director of Haas’ NASCAR team.
Forbes – ” However, until now it had not come to light that Haas had been asked to invest in US F1.” Well, until a month ago when someone joined up the dots..
Haas had seen little of the project because of Anderson but at the time was not really interested. This changed when his executive vice president, Joe Custer, of his NASCAR team and Gunther Steiner approached him about new Formula One regulations that were to be introduced from 2014.
“Maybe a year after talking to Ken Anderson, Gunther kind of approached Joe Custer and myself and he said ‘hey would you guys be interested in doing a customer type deal?’ He was saying we could do this for a very reasonable price and that discussion went on for a while back and forth.
I started watching the races more out of curiosity about it. I was kind of amazed that there weren’t more people trying to do it. There are so many super rich people in America I kind of thought ‘why haven’t any other Americans done this?’
There’s a lot of interest but nobody seems to want to sit round the table and do it. We are not going to be swayed by any smooth talking about dreams. This is a tough business and we know what we have got to do. It is hiring the right people to execute and there is a lot of learning. There is a tremendous amount that we need to learn from this whole sport because we are pretty novice at it.”
Ecclestone was initially sceptical about the Haas application being processed by the FIA and given the failure of the previous US F1 entrant, he suggested to Jean Todt, “see how honest they are. Tell Haas to put a deposit down’ reports Forbes. And some $30m later, Haas had his entry approved.
Hamilton’s comments on Rosberg ‘a joke’ (GMM)
Recently at Silverstone, Briton Lewis Hamilton thrilled his fans with a popular home victory, closing the championship gap to just 4 points due to teammate Rosberg’s gearbox breakdown. Contemplating the next race at Hockenheim, Hamilton said the German grand prix is “not really his home race“, as Rosberg’s father is Finnish and he has spent most of his life living in Monaco.
Rosberg, who has since been posting Germany-themed photos on Twitter and Facebook to mark the world cup and will wear a special helmet this weekend, hit back that he considers himself “100 per cent German”.
Mercedes boss Wolff, however, said the saga triggered by Hamilton’s comments has been overblown.” It was meant as a joke,” he said during an interview with the German news agency DPA.
“It (Hamilton’s comments) was not reproduced in the way that he intended it. But they are fighting each other for the world championship, so there are bound to be situations that are less spectacular in reality than they are presented to the public,” Wolff added.
Asked if he was surprised by the reaction to Hamilton’s comments, the German answered: “Formula one has an incredibly high media presence, and so if something sounds controversial then this effect is only multiplied. Then there can be a momentum that is impossible to stop.
“For us, the important that was to discuss this internally in a very timely and transparent way. In this case it was resolved quickly,” said Wolff.
Until Silverstone, German Rosberg appeared to have regained the upper hand in the title scrap, apparently with a clear emotional and psychological edge over Hamilton.
But Hamilton’s British grand prix win has now closed the gap to within four points. “It’s almost a fresh start heading into the second half of the season and it’s going to be a really close battle between us,” the British driver said on Tuesday.
Wolff also denied that Rosberg still has the psychological edge.
“Both of them are incredibly strong mentally,” he insisted. “Every time we talk about one of them having momentum on his side, it flips around to the other one again,” Wolff explained. “So it’s difficult to see any pattern.”
TJ13 comment: Interesting the matter was discussed ‘internally’ at all. What Lewis’ may have intended as a throwaway jovial story, may have had just too much detail for it to be easily explained away as such.
Van der Garde to race for Sauber … or not (GMM)
Giedo van der Garde has played down rumours linking him with a race seat at Sauber. The 29-year-old Dutchman is currently the Swiss team’s reserve driver, having lost his Caterham race seat at the end of last year.
He will drive the C33 at Hockenheim on Friday morning. But there have been paddock rumours in recent weeks about struggling Sauber’s existing 2014 race lineup, comprising Adrian Sutil alongside Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.
Reports have said van der Garde’s sponsors, including the fashion label McGregor, are offering “many millions” to Sauber if he is promoted to the race seat. De Telegraaf newspaper quotes van der Garde as saying: “I’m just focusing entirely on the first free practice on Friday.”
Van der Garde, who is married to billionaire backer Marcel Boekhoorn’s daughter Denise, added that he is also ready should “the team have other things for me to do”.
Mercedes announces Rosberg contract extension
Having led the drivers’ world championship for all but one weekend this year, Mercedes have now formally announced Nico Rosberg and Mercedes have signed new “multi-year contract extension.”
So two contracts in less than a week for Nico, as he signed up for marriage with long time girlfriend Vivian Sibold just days ago.
As TJ13 reported the Thursday before the 2014 Monaco GP, this deal was done back then, though leaked and not formally confirmed by either party. This contract is for several years and worth in the region of $75m.
Going into his home GP, Rosberg leads team mate Hamilton by just 4 points, though Hockenheim is a favourite circuit of the German who has won here in every category in which he has raced.
“I am very proud to drive for the Formula One Silver Arrow of the modern era,” Rosberg says. “As a German, the heritage of Mercedes-Benz is very special for me, and I am proud to be able to represent the best car brand around the world.
It has been a difficult road to get to where we are now but everybody kept believing and, thanks to the fantastic support from Mercedes-Benz, we are now leading the way in F1.”
Hamilton has a contract which runs to the end of 2015, and there will be speculation that Mercedes may not be looking to retain his services beyond then.
This reasoning is less to do with Nico’s contract extension, and more pertinent to the kind of deals top drivers Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have been afforded. Both Seb and Fred signed contract extensions with their current teams with more than 2 years left on the original deal, which raises questions as to why Hamilton has not been afforded the same opportunity from Mercedes..
Rosberg has answered his doubters having finally been given a car capable of winning races consistently. He began his F1 career in 2006 with Williams and remained with them 4 years until the call came from Ross Brawn and the newly formed Mercedes team.
Many thought Rosberg would be soundly beaten by 7 times world champion team mate, Michael Schumacher, though over the 3 years the raced for the Silver Arrows, Rosberg got the better of Michael.
In the meantime Sebastian Vettel joined F1 18 months later than Nico, and was quickly in a car capable of winning the championship by 2009. Vettel of course had an ageing Mark Webber as his directly comparable rival during his 4 world titles, whereas now, Nico has lightening quick former world champion to beat in a straight race for the drivers’ championship.
Toto Wolff recognises Rosberg’s longevity of commitment to the Mercedes AMG F1 programme. “Nico has been part of the Silver Arrows project since day one and he has had a big stake in the development of the team since 2010. His speed, commitment and focus have all helped to give clear direction and to drive the team forward. With his performances in 2014, Nico has demonstrated to the outside world what we knew already in the team; that he is one of the very top drivers in Formula One.
This new contract brings us important stability and continuity for the future and I am delighted to be able to make the announcement in time for the home race of Mercedes-Benz and Nico in Hockenheim.”
Rossi parts with Caterham
Alexander Rossi has announced he is parting with both Caterham F1 and GP2 teams. Rossi raced for Caterham in Renault 3.5 and GP2 since 2011 and stepped up us test driver to the F1 team in 2013.
Rossi has had a fairly disastrous year this far with Caterham GP2, scoring just 10 points and lying 16th in the drivers’ championship. He is however appreciative of the opportunity, “I’m very thankful to everyone at Caterham throughout the time I have worked with the team. We had meetings over the past couple months with the previous and new management.
The decision we took to leave Caterham is the right decision for my career.
I take with me only the positives from my time there, where I logged considerable F1 mileage, driving each of their F1 cars since Lotus Racing entered the F1 World Championship in 2010. I have proven my abilities in F1 equipment, in both testing and free practice sessions, and I’m ready for the next step.”
With one eye on his next move – which he believes should be into F1, Rossi obviously sees the Haas venture as a good opportunity for him as an American driver.
“We have a great opportunity to grow the sport in the States and I believe the timing is perfect. I’m also very pleased to see an American F1 entry, Haas Formula with plans to join the F1 grid in 2016.”
Kamui Kobayashi’s position is said to also be in jeopardy as the team are looking for drivers with truck loads of cash – and probably little driving aptitude.
More Frick-less teams announce
Yesterday, McLaren announced they would not be running a FRIC suspension system this weekend in Germany. The unnamed spokesperson stated, “McLaren will comply with the FIA’s rulings on the matter.”
There is some confusion over what exactly the FIA’s position is on FRIC. McLaren state above, there is a ruling yet the BBC F1 writer Andrew Benson states, “To be clear, FRIC suspension has not been banned, FIA’s Charlie Whiting has said its ‘legality could be called into question.’ Teams could still choose to run it – but they would be running the risk of a rival protesting. Stewards may not back Whiting’s view.”
This is rather naïve of Benson because, this is what Whiting actually said in a technical directive issued to all the teams two days after the British GP.
“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).”
Having issued this technical directive, Whiting does not require a team to protest and he makes this clear. If the teams fail to arrive at a unanimous agreement to continue for the remainder of the year with FRICS, “we would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system.”
This is evident from the process Red Bull were involved in following the Australian GP. The FIA had issued a technical directive over fuel flow, the FIA believed Red Bull to be in breach of the directive and the FIA reported the matter to the stewards.
Today Red Bull and Toro Rosso announce they will not be running FRIC suspension systems in Germany.
Pole is crucial in Hockenheim
Since the circuit was redesigned in 2002, there have been 8 races at the Hockenheim circuit. 5 have been won from pole and in 2006 and 2010 the race was won from second. Just one win has been achieved here from off the front row, Fernando Alonso in 2005.
Based on historical performance at this track, Hamilton needs to put his recent qualifying woes behind him to maximise his chance of winning this year’s race and overtaking his German rival for the WDC.
The pole sitter – assuming it is a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying – will further gain the advantage of the team strategist offering that driver the optimal pit stop strategy for the race.