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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite – 1995 – Juan Manuel Fangio – Il Maestro
On this day, nearly two decades ago, arguably the greatest driver of all time passed away at the age of 84. Most people know that he won five World Titles – a record that was beaten by Michael Schumacher in 2003 – but he also won 24 Grand Prix from just 51 race starts.
Stirling Moss: “He was not only the greatest racing driver who ever lived but also a great man, he was a great artist of driving. He taught me how to live, how to behave, how to care about those around us. He was essentially such a good human being, mature, modest, quietly spoken and kind, always prepared to help the younger drivers.” Yet in the car he proved remorseless when switching teams, and whilst a humble human being out of the car, he had a killer instinct behind the wheel, a trait of all winners.
His greatest victory was at the 1957 German GP when he recovered a 50 second deficit to beat the Ferraris over the last seven laps, as he recalled: That day I had everything turned on and firing on all cylinders, I was ready to do anything. When it was all over, I was convinced that I would never be able to drive like that again, never. I had reached my final limit of concentration, and will to win.”
Luciano Burti’s miraculous escape
Earlier this year, as the world’s media focused on Imola on the anniversaries of Roland Ratzenberger’s and Ayrton Senna’s death, the general message emanating from the governing body, the teams and drivers of Formula One was that the legacy of the darkest weekend in F1 history was that there had been no fatalities in F1 since that day.
Of course this statistic is commendable and research and development continue apace to ensure that safety is never taken for granted. Yet it goes without saying that any human being traveling at considerable speed is at risk if the circumstance happen to change.
For Senna being killed at Tamburello, we had Alboreto, Piquet and Berger surviving huge accidents. Ratzenberger was killed in a carbon fibre car whilst Gilles Villeneuve survived in an aluminum car in 1980 colliding with the same stretch of concrete wall fourteen years apart.
Robert Kubica survived driving head on into a wall and was racing within days and Mark Webber in Valencia and ,often forgotten, Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi both launched spectacularly over other vehicles as we held our collective breaths.
Even an obscure event like Barrichello’s Brawn losing a spring that just happened to knock Massa unconscious was more the hand of fate than any inherent design brief by the safety commission.
Another example of the good fortune that accompanies many huge accidents is Luciano Burti at Spa in 2001 which bore many similarities to the crash that Schumacher had at the 1999 British Grand Prix, except Schumi broke his legs. If you’re new to the sport you may have missed this accident, but in 2001, Burti in his Prost Grand Prix car was racing Eddie Irvine at Spa in the opening laps. He got a good run at him on the approach to Blanchimont and drew alongside before the turn in point; but was unsighted as the Irishman’s Jaguar turned across him.
At a point of the track that these V10 cars would have been approaching 200mph, the accident was swift and he hurtled into the tyre wall at practically undiminished speed. The rescue took some time and Irvine was frantic trying to help the marshalls free the Brazilian from the car. For some time mixed messages were being broadcast within the pits and it was with relief that he was air-lifted to hospital alive.
Burti has this week had his helmet from that day thirteen years ago returned to him. He was moved to tears as the savagery of the impact is hard not to miss. “But for the grace of God…”, Burti uttered.
FIFA ‘wants to ban’ Rosberg’s world cup helmet (GMM)
FIFA, the governing body of world football, “wants to ban” Nico Rosberg’s special helmet livery for the German grand prix.
Earlier this week, delighted with the national team’s world cup victory in Brazil, Mercedes driver Rosberg announced he will wear a “special edition helmet” this weekend in Hockenheim.
The 29-year-old German revealed on social media that the livery includes an image of “the FIFA trophy”.
But according to the major German daily Bild-Zeitung, FIFA “wants to ban” Rosberg from wearing it. Indeed, in its public guidelines, FIFA warns that it vigorously protects the ‘official marks’ of the world cup, including the image of the famous golden trophy.
“Any unauthorised use of the official marks not only undermines the integrity of the FIFA world cup and its marketing programme,” said FIFA, “but also puts the interests of the worldwide football community at stake.”
If FIFA were banning this change to Rosberg’s helmet on the grounds that F1 drivers change their helmet designs too frequently…….. many would applaud.
However, all this is rather silly, though it is not insignificant that both FIFA and the Formula 1 are run by tin pot dictators who will sell their soul’s to the highest bidder.
As TJ13 contributor, Somers observed today, “apparently the cup on a helmet hurts their [FIFA} brand but slave labour and deaths in Quatar don’t…”.
Fans enjoyed ‘kindergarten’ complaining – Vettel (GMM)
World champion Sebastian Vettel has dismissed Niki Lauda’s criticism in the wake of the British grand prix. Having heard his excitable radio calls about Fernando Alonso’s driving during their thrilling Silverstone duel, Mercedes chairman Lauda denounced Vettel for “screaming like a small, startled child”.
“I don’t really know what he said exactly,” Vettel told the Spanish sports newspaper AS, “but I think that if you look at the fight Fernando and I had, it’s not important. I was told that Alonso was complaining so I thought I should do the same. Maybe it was a bit like kindergarten and so I can understand what Niki didn’t like, but I think that for the fans it was quite interesting,” he smiled.
In reality, Vettel has bigger problems than Lauda or Alonso, and its name is Daniel Ricciardo. “He’s doing a great job, no doubt,” agreed the reigning quadruple world champion, referring to his new Red Bull teammate, adding “it’s good to see that there is fresh blood in formula one. I’m happy for him. He’s having a very, very good start to the season.”
Elsewhere, in an interview for Britain’s Telegraph, Vettel admitted that he is getting his “a**e kicked” by the Australian so far. But he plays down any comparison of his struggles with those of Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who is failing to give Fernando Alonso a hard time at Ferrari in 2014.
“I don’t really know what kind of problems Kimi is having,” the German told AS, “but I think he is one of the most naturally talented drivers on the grid. He has demonstrated his talents on gravel and ice in rallying.” Vettel therefore implies that his and Raikkonen’s problems are simply in adapting to the radically different cars. “It not just my driving style,” he said, “I’ve had many reliability problems but also in terms of speed, I’m still far from where I want to be. I need to work on myself and get over it, and I think I can,” Vettel added.
TJ13 comment: Somewhere in the Fatherland, a large ‘Jabba the Hut’ like creature is getting through the haze of World Cup celebrations and opening his eyelids to read further attacks on the beloved lad Sebastian.
Contrary to what Vettel thinks or believes, the crowd did not enjoy either his or Alonso’s bleating as they battled at Silverstone – they enjoyed the tactics of driving on the edge. They would have heard nothing because it would not have been transmitted over the event speakers, but even on TV these are meant to be ‘men’ fighting for position.
Any historic race that had drivers pushing the limits is remembered for the fight not the squabble and it’s fascinating that todays generation of drivers uses the medium of car to pit radio knowing it goes beyond the team or Charlie’s attention but also into the wider world.
If Lauda mocks and attacks the childishness of the radio transmission, we can only begin to imagine what someone like James Hunt would have said to these ‘athletes’.
There is a misnomer around this week, that the grim reaper walked into Leafield over the past couple of days and sacked between 30-50 people (depending who is writing the story). What actually happened was that the team employed a number of contractors as well as employees, and as part of (and prior to the announcement of) the sale process, notice of cessation of employment was given to a number of contracting staff who have since been working a notice period.
Colin Kolles has implemented further cuts in the employed staff since arriving on the scene around two weeks ago..
Caterham released this stamement today.
“Following the first steps of restructuring, Caterham F1 Team has confirmed today that a number of new appointments have been made.
Christijan Albers is now Team Principal, supported by Manfredi Ravetto, General Manager and Deputy Team Principal. Simon Shinkins has also joined the team as COO, as well as Miodrag Kotur who is now Team Manager. Michael Willmer is the team’s new Director of Legal Affairs and Gianluca Pisanello is promoted to Head of Trackside Engineering. Finally, John Iley is now the team’s Technical Director, leading the work being done to improve the 2014 car and the 2015 new car project.
The team has also confirmed that it has parted company with a number of employees. This is a necessary step taken by the new owners of Caterham F1 Team whose priority is the future of the team.
No further comment will be made at this time”.
Today is the penultimate article in the TJ13 series which has sought to bring to F1 fans the mind of FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department.
Charlie Whiting was recently asked “what keeps you working with Bernie? – Bernie Ecclestone”. Whiting replied, “Well, because he’s such an inspiration really. Working with him is enlightening to say the least. He comes out with new things all the time and some things that you think are a little bit crazy actually more often than not turn out to be absolutely spot-on”.
When pressed to give an example, Charlie fumbled a little, “Given time, I could probably think of lots of examples.” He eventually settling on, “Articulated lorry trucks.
Who on earth would have ever thought that you would need a big truck. In the late ’60s and early ’70s everyone had small trucks, but one day Bernie decided he wanted an artic’ and everyone said; ‘He’s mad, what does he need that for?!’ Now they bring 40 of them. What Bernie did, others followed. That’s a relatively poor example… I can’t think of any more recent ones, but he’s not often wrong”.
It appears there may have been a small voice speaking in Charlie’s head as he quickly adds conclusively, “He has a great sense of humour, too.”
Charlie is one of the Brabham trio, which included Max Moseley and Bernie Ecclestone. As president of the FIA, Max persuaded the association to sell Bernie the commercial rights for what amounts to between $2-3m a year over a 99 year period.
As technical delegate, Charlie from time to time appears to be acting in rather strange ways – these have become more frequent recently – and it’s no secret Bernie has his ear and occasionally looks to Charlie to cash in the odd ‘insurance policy’ or two. 😉
Mercedes say F*&k it to FRIC
The hand of the commercial rights holder appears to have left finger prints all over the rather grubby and incoherent FRIC affair announced by Charlie Whiting last week.
Slow down the Mercedes car – believed to have been developing their FRIC system for longer than others – and for the casual corporate prawn sandwich once a year F1 watcher may see closer racing between the teams..
Yes, FRIC suspension systems are complex and are expensive, however, the manner by which Charlie Whiting has attempted to regulate against FRIC mid-season is laughable.
Toto Wolff responds as best he can to a technical directive out of the blue. “It makes no sense to complain,” he told AMuS. Whether it (banning Fric) makes sense during the season is a moot point. I have my personal opinion, but it doesn’t matter.
We need to analyse all of the data very carefully in order to be best prepared for the change.”
For the lesser advanced systems, the FRIC suspension has been cited as giving a lap performance improvement of around 2-3 10ths of a second. Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer of the Sahara Force India team, said that following extensive testing of their FRIC system at Silverstone, he believed it could offer up to half a second improvement in lap time.
For Mercedes it may be greater again. Wolff is defiant. “Everyone has said that a Fric ban will hurt us most, but we want to prove that is not the case.”
Mercedes appeared to perform tests at Silverstone without their FRIC syspension and Nico Rosberg comments, “The difference between ‘with Fric’ and ‘without Fric’ is not so great. For sure you notice it, but other teams have also been using it this season. I don’t even want to think about it too much”.
Rosberg lays down the gauntlet to the competition as he concludes, “I have the fastest car and I want to win at Hockenheim,”
Anything you can do…..
On more than one occasion, during the pre-race frivolities, Nico Rosberg has addressed the fans at the circuit in the local language. Lewis looked uncomfortable (as is normative when you don’t understand something) in Canada as he looked on whilst Rosberg received the applause of the crowd.
Rosberg of course speaks fluent German, English, French, Italian and is studying Spanish, though his Finnish at present is limited.
It appears Lewis believes being multi-lingual is admirable, and he may be having lessons in German because he tweeted this morning, “Hockenheim ist das Heimrennen für Mercedes-Benz und deshalb für das Team und auch für mich wichtig”. #GermanGP #TeamLH”.
That, or either Lewis is secretly German and we just didn’t know it. 😉
Reliability penalties loom
Approaching the half way point of this F1 season, here is the state of play on which drivers have used how many components of their power trains.
Each power unit has six different components: the internal combustion engine (ICE), the Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K), the Motor Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE).
Each driver is allocated five of each per season.
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Renault||4||4||3||4||2||4|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||Renault||3||3||3||3||2||2|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Mercedes||3||3||3||3||2||2|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||3||3||3||3||2||2|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||Renault||4||4||4||3||3||4|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Renault||5||4||5||3||2||2|
We began the year with wild predictions that half the field would not finish races, which of course didn’t happen. However, we are about to see grid penalties for drivers as they exceed their allowed quota’s.
Drovers will receive a ten-place grid penalty the first time they use a sixth power unit component. For the other components when they reach the tally of six, a further five-place grid penalty will be awarded..This pattern repeats for a seventh power unit component and so on.
If the drivers qualify too low in the order to receive their full grid slot drop, the balance will carry over for one more race.
Reliability is unrecognisable in the modern F1 era when compared to that of the 1980’s. This of course makes it harder for the modern smaller teams to ‘have a good day’ at other’s expense (cf Johnnie Herbert).
In 1984 across the whole season, a mere 38% of starters finished the races.
Next year – so long as there are less than 21 races, the drivers will only have 4 power units at their disposal. Charlie Whiting doesn’t believe this is too draconian.
“The first thing we need to remember is that four engines was always the goal. There was always going to be four engines per driver per season. That was the original intention and the five engines was a concession for the first year. There was never any doubt it was going to be four engines. It’s not a draconian change from five down to four. It’s just following the original intention.
Secondly, yes, some drivers are in a bit of trouble and will start to incur penalties, probably two thirds of the way through the season. It’s a shame, we don’t want to see this any more than anyone else does but those who appear to be better prepared for the start of the season are in good shape. That’s just the way it goes, unfortunately. The control electronics has been a surprise but I’m sure the second year will be a whole different matter”.