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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite – 1976 – Hunt wins riotous British Grand Prix
Britain in 1976 was having a heat wave that would become legendary. To this day it is unlikely any other British summer has been comparable. “Gran Bretagne” had won the Eurovision song contest and James Hunt, the caddish darling of the British public was sticking it up ’em to Johnny Foreigner.
The season was proving a titanic struggle between Mclaren and Ferrari with disqualifications causing tension between the two camps. The 1976 British Grand Prix began with a collison between the two scarlet machines that led to a race stoppage but Hunt had been caught in the melee and driven back via a shortcut to the pits.
The rules were unambiguous – he had not completed the lap and would not be allowed to restart. Except the 1,000’s of English supporters made themselves heard, acting like the typical tifosi and throwing rubbish on the track. The organisers had little choice and started the race with Hunt in the field. Lauda led until lap 45 when his transmission began to fail and Hunt passed and took victory from the wily Austrian.
It was in September following a protest from not only Ferrari but also Tyrrell and Copersucar that Hunt was disqualified for contravening red flag rules.
Today we conclude 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.
Lewis Hamilton is the latest driver to express reservations about the proposed standing restart following a safety car period. When asked in a Mercedes Q&A, whether he was in favour of the proposal, Lewis replied, “No not really, we’ll have to wait and see”.
No current F1 driver has come out in favour of this idea, and it appears they’ve not been consulted about it by the FIA.
Charlie is clear on the matter, “The teams pay their drivers and they are employees of the teams. I don’t think we would necessarily consult the drivers. We keep them informed about what’s going on but it’s really up to the teams to make sure that, if they need to engage their drivers in this decision-making process, to actually do so.
Whiting also dismisses the suggestion that the standing restart is unfair or unsafe.
“I have heard some drivers express concerns but I think we can allay those fears. Their first concern was in regard to fairness. They felt that a race leader was more likely to lose his lead from a standing start than he is from a rolling start. Equally, however, if you are in second place you might actually like the idea of being able to take the lead, which you probably wouldn’t do with a rolling start.
There was also some concern about taking a standing start on worn tyres. However, until you get to the point where there is a standing start, the safety car procedure will be exactly the same as before. As happens now any driver on worn tyres is likely to pit. If you’ve just made a pit stop then you probably wouldn’t do it, but anyone else will, as they will want to take the advantage of what is effectively a free stop. I think the chances of any driver resuming the race from a standing start on very badly worn tyres is very low. Those are the only concerns I’ve heard so far”.
Mmm. No mention of the marbles on the dirty side of the starting grid huh?
Williams reserve drivers Felipe Nasr interviewd
Vittorio Alfieri of F1WEB.it conducted a short interview with Felipe Nasr recently. The Brazilian is currently racing in GP2 and lies second in the championship after scoring three victories and a handful of other podiums. In February he was announced as the Williams reserve driver and would be taking part in a few Friday test sessions.
Nasr also won the 2011 British Formula Three championship beating his team-mate – future Mclaren star Kevin Magnussen – by 123 points.
After the initial questions and answers about his GP2 season, Nasr was asked about how his relationship with the Williams drivers was. “It is a very good relationship with all of them. With Massa it’s easy to understand as we are both Brazilians, with Bottas it is also easy to comprehend as we are both young and with Susie we are both in the position of making our dream come true. I have huge respect for all of them and we all have to thanks Williams for the positive atmosphere.”
And what about your future with the team: “I will drive two or three more times during the Friday Practice this year and hopefully in one of the free tests as well. I can’t wait for it”.
The fans from your country are famous for the support they give to the Brazilian drivers. How much support do you receive?: “The Brazilian are treating me very, very well. The support back home is enormous and sincere and that gives you an extra push. Even being far away they are very important”.
McLaren change stirs up Hamilton, Alonso rumours (GMM)
Deep into a second consecutive bad season for the grandee team, the changes at McLaren have begun. The most noticeable sign of the restructuring process at the Woking based team in Hockenheim is that Jenson Button – whose own future in grey is also under review – is working with a new race engineer. If Tom Stallard’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he won a silver medal rowing for Britain in the 2008 olympics. He replaces Dave Robson, who is heading for a factory-based job.
“It’s not about getting rid of people,” Button insists, “it’s moving people to better suited roles or making them feel refreshed. There are people who are being employed as well, because I think we need that.” The experienced British driver, however, hopes he is not involved in the McLaren reshuffles, as the team prepares for its works Honda era beginning next year.
Among the highest profile names linked with Button’s seat have been his former McLaren teammate, Lewis Hamilton, and another 2007 McLaren driver, Fernando Alonso. According to the Hamilton rumour, the highly-rated Briton might not want to stay at Mercedes in 2015 if his newly re-signed and now highly paid teammate Nico Rosberg is wearing the number ‘1’ on the silver car. Hamilton played a straight bat to the rumour at Hockenheim. “I’m very happy in the team and naturally I assume I’ll sit down with the bosses,” he said. “It’s very difficult for me to see myself anywhere else but you never know what the future may hold,” Hamilton added.
As for the Alonso rumour, the Spaniard is famous for being central to F1’s driver mill rumours, particularly since he began to show signs of frustration with his continuing struggle to win a title wearing Ferrari red. Alonso was at Maranello last week for simulator tests, but perhaps he also sat down with Marco Mattiacci and Luca di Montezemolo to talk about the future.
“I talk to the president and Mattiacci every day,” he said on Thursday. “There is no news in that regard. The same thing has always happened to me in July, probably since 2003. These questions about contracts, signings and extensions,” said Alonso. “I haven’t talked to any team, or anything of the sort. It’s not the priority.”
TJ13 Comment: Martin Whitmarsh was running a Mclaren that enticed Honda back to Formula One. He was also leading a team that changed what was arguably the fastest car of 2012 into the donkey that failed so gloriously in 2013. Ron Dennis garnered support and came charging back to save the damsel in distress – except, unlike in the movies, teams don’t turn around in a matter of weeks.
It was inevitable that Mercedes would not entertain Japanese eyes pouring over their power unit and talk from Japan is that they are taking a steady approach to the new engine design. But whilst teams are ‘bigger’ than the drivers, the drivers only have a short career span and cannot afford to make mistakes in their search for glory.
Alonso is in a similar team-restructuring that Mclaren is under-going and would know well what Ferrari has planned. He would remember the problems he had with Dennis previously but he would also know that other than a fortuitous driver’s title in 2008 with Hamilton, they have not won anything of significance since Adrian Newey and Mika Hakkinen teamed up.
Hamilton? Whilst he would know the Mclaren team intimately, he’s in a dominant car and whatever his head is suggesting this week, he’s changeable and will be musing something different next week. Any driver of note will never run from a team because he can’t beat his team-mate, these competitive animals instinctively believe they are the best. Hamilton didn’t leave Mclaren because Button had beaten him in 2011, he left because he saw more potential elsewhere.
F1 in shock as plane crash piles doubt on Russia GP (GMM)
The F1 paddock in Hockenheim has joined the rest of the world in shock at the terrible news emerging from violence-torn Ukraine. Almost 300 people are dead after a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed, apparently after the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a missile fired by pro-Moscow Russian separatists.
“The news has really got to me,” Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde, a Dutchman, said on Twitter. “I’ve been on a MH flight from Amsterdam to KL often. Thoughts go out to everyone involved.” The shocking development will put more pressure on organisers of October’s inaugural Russian grand prix, who were already fending off rumours the deepening Crimean crisis could force the race’s cancellation.
At least 27 Australians were on the doomed flight MH17, and Australian federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has described their deaths as “murder”. Prime minister Tony Abbott, meanwhile, called on Russia to “fully cooperation in this investigation”, even though his counterpart Vladimir Putin is clearly blaming Ukraine.
“Undoubtedly,” he said, “the state on whose territory this happened is responsible for this awful tragedy.”
FRIC Free German GP
The FIA has confirmed that none of the teams will run the controversial FRIC [Front and Rear Interconnected] suspension system this weekend at the German Grand Prix.
The teams were issued with a technical directive from Charlie Whiting warning them that in his opinion the FRIC systems were illegal which raised the prospect of one or more teams being excluded from racing this weekend.
However, all the cars faced scrutineering yesterday and Jo Bauer, the FIA technical delegate confirmed, “For information purposes, I can confirm that no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension system of any sort,” in his technical report to the stewards.
When asked how he thought the removal of the FRIC systems would affect matters, a grinning Daniel Riciardo quipped, “We’ll fricking see.’
German GP: FP1 report
This much anticipated weekend finally begins. The battle between the Mercedes drivers is closer than ever, the sun is scorching the Hockenheim asphalt and torturing the tyres, rumours abound in the driver market and there may just be some technical controversies coming our way as an aside.
Marcus Ericsson who was the first to venture out on track, with a car that was reminiscent of days gone by, as the new look Caterham was conspicuous by its lack of sponsors.
Following her disappointing outing in Silverstone FP1, which saw Susie Wolff complete just 4 laps before her Williams ground to a halt, Susie returned to pilot the resurgent Williams car and was out early on track – looking keen to go.
There was a calm after the installation laps until about 20 past the hour when K Magnussen set the fastest lap and simultaneously had a fairly big moment as the back end or the car snapped round on him. Yet with the aplomb reminiscent of any of the great Scandinavian rally drivers, Magnussen collected it up with ease and blasted on his way.
For the techies out there, Scarbs reported that Magnussen was sporting a new rear wing and explained the thinking behind it. “Rather than the gap between the two rear wing elements (in between Johnny and Walker) being straight, it is instead a wavy line. Also the wing’s endplate features two rows of strakes rising up their sides.
The wavy slot gap forms serrated edges, and each creates a break in the airflow and the wings wake is broken into smaller vortices for less drag and lower pressure. The strakes at the side of the wing also create vortices to create lower pressure for more down force.
Teams have used serrated gurney flaps on rear wings before and Le Mans cars have exploited serrated slot gaps for similar reasons.”
25 minutes gone and the first signs that Mercedes may be hurting from the loss of their FRIC system were evident. Within a minute of each other Rosberg was into the run-off area at turn 8, whilst a scrappy looking Lewis Hamilton locked up at Turn 2 and then took to some off circuit exploration the next lap at turn 6.
Hamilton then set 2 purple sectors on the next lap, but appears to quit on it. News emerged from the Ferrari garage that the increasingly unfortunate ‘Iceman’ hadn’t graced the track during the first 40 minutes, due to a leaking water pump.
With the first runs completed on the soft tyres, the order was Rosberg, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, Sutil, Vergne, Massa, Perez, Hulkenberg, Wolff, van der Garde, Kvyat, Grosjean, Maldonado, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Bianchi and Ericsson. Chilton and Raikkonen had yet to set a time.
Just short of the hour, Rosberg put in the fastest lap of the session, Jenson was second quickest – though some 8 tenth’s down – and Kimi emerges from the Ferrari garage. Lewis was languishing in 19th spot.
Many of the non-Mercedes cars were struggling to get the power down on the exit of the 180 degree Sach’s Kurve, but Alonso looked mighty there, lining it up the corner before and hanging out the rear end in an exhibition of high speed prototype car drifting.
With about 20 minutes of the session left, Hamilton’s engineer emphasised the recent problems Lewis has been having on the pit to car radio. “You have purple sectors in one and two, we just have to put the lap together.” Hamilton closed to within 0.065 seconds of team mate Nico Rosberg’s best effort.
Ricciardo once again popped in a time quicker than 4 time world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel, When asked earlier why he thought Seb’s car had been more troublesome than his own, the Aussie grinned telling the assembled masses, “I give mine a kiss every night……with tongues [pause]…………err I don’t really.”
The spectre of the Mercedes duo sandbagging each other emerged as Hamilton set a sector 2 time 6 tenths quicker than Rosberg’s best – on an in lap.
The Force India car is running the slimmed down bodywork tested at Silverstone. Scarbs noted, “This set-up creates a shark fin above the engine cover, as the coolers previously mounted above the gearbox have been repackaged into the sidepods.
Both the gearbox and ERS coolers previously filled a bulge in the engine cover, necessitating a rounded outlet to vent their heat. With the area above the engine and gearbox now clear of ducting and coolers, the bodywork can be slimmed for less drag and a better airflow to the rear wing”.
10 minutes to go and Hamilton reports a power problem and returns to the pits, just as the team had announced they would be doing some practice starts to calibrate the launch systems.
Button climbed out of his car with 5 minutes to go, 5th quickest and 7 tenths of a second behind the leading time. Having qualified third in the Silverstone rain, but managed fourth in the dry race – McLaren and Jenson are hoping they’ve turned the long dark corner.
With minutes to go, ex driver and BBC analysts, Allan McNish commented, “I don’t think the regulation change, with the FIA taking off the FRIC suspension, has shaken the order up. The Red Bull looks nice and neat, Mercedes still have the advantage. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will be the one to lead charge and I’m surprised Williams haven’t got much pace, but we’ll have to wait for second practice for a clearer picture.”
When the chequered flag fell, the order at the top looked familiar with Ricciardo again quicker than Vettel and a content Sutil in an elevated 10th spot.
The big question is, has the FRIC ‘ban’ given the non Mercedes work teams an advantage? Alonso was also third in FP1 in Silverstone, but some 8 tenths off the leading silver arrow.
Despite collecting 2 speeding in the pit lane fines of 1000 euros each, Susie Wolff put in an admirable effort, clocking up 20. Her best time was just over 2 tenths slower than veteran team mate, Felipe Massa.
That said, this is a circuit she knows well from her DTM days, and at times she appeared to be using a DTM through the Sachs Kurve – running wide and using the banking – then straightening the car early for the exit.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:19.697||0.566||27|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:20.097||0.966||28|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:20.337||1.206||28|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:20.586||1.455||23|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:20.592||1.461||22|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:20.598||1.467||24|
|16||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:20.782||1.651||23|
German GP: FP2 report
The temperatures soared for the start of FP2 as track temperatures reached a scorching 56C! That did not stop Daniel Ricciardo from doing some questionable dance moves to warm up in the garage. Marcus Ericsson once again was the first to venture out on circuit on the prime, soft tyre. They are two teams that could not be further apart in their attitudes, with the Red Bull Aussie’s free spirited dancing an ode to how positive they are at the moment. Marcus Ericsson soon stopped out on track as a sensor showed something on his car was overheating – the woes continue.
Once again, cars struggled with braking into many of the corners, with turn 1 in particular proving problematic. With 16 minutes gone, Nico Rosberg emerged and set the fastest lap with his car seemingly glued to the circuit – a 1:19.729. A setup change from earlier in the day helping immensely, as well as the removal of the sandbags they were carrying around earlier. He then improved by 0.305 seconds as the car seemed to come more and more to him, as the car stretched its muscles. Lewis Hamilton twice backed out in the middle sector as he kept his lap time potential shrouded in mystery for the moment (on the soft tyres).
With around half an hour gone only a handful of drivers were left out on track, as Alonso had charged around left nothing in the garage driving his flying lap right on the ragged edge, slotting into 5th fastest ahead of Felipe Massa. Eric ‘the believable’ Boullier mumbled his way through some direct questioning from David Croft of SKYF1 to fill the gap of racing cars out on track. The favourite quote being we will be “some tenths slower” without the FRIC system on the McLaren this weekend.
Nico Hulkenberg then ventured onto the track on the option, supersoft tyre. He went 2nd at the same time Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham caught fire. Despite the best efforts of the Japanese driver with the extinguisher in hand, the smouldering green mess took a long while to come to rest which will almost certainly mean a big repair job is in order.
Following the yellow flag, the Mercedes drivers descended out onto the circuit to set their flying laps. Sutil, Massa and Ricciardo had all gone faster before being told to cool the tyres. This will make qualifying a very interesting spectacle tomorrow. Rosberg, then Hamilton, went faster even with the German setting the lap on his second lap on the tyres, after running wide on his first lap. Most importantly for him, he went faster in the final sector than Hamilton. Hamilton’s second flying lap was 6 tenths down on his first, a 1:18.341, showing just how extreme the degradation of the supersoft tyre is.
Before the long runs started, we were treated to many replays in a highlight reel fashion, of cars running wide at various points on the circuit. Various drivers circulated in the 1:22s which is a good time for a high fuel run, although much of the data gathered today will be of diminished use if the forecasted rain does come on Sunday. Only Felipe Massa elected to start his long run on the soft tyre, opening the window for the team to run a reverse strategy.
More interesting watching was the amount of work drivers were putting into practice starts as they repeatedly stopped to try them at the end of the pit lane. Both Mercedes drivers and Fernando Alonso reported issues as they perfected the clutch points, paying homage to the paramount role your race start can play to your weekend (especially here).
The Hockenheimring is known to be a fuel hungry circuit which will require careful management if the race is a dry one. Sergio Perez continued to work on ‘lifting and coasting’ to prepare the team as best possible in terms of fuel economy.
Slight confusion occurred when Lewis Hamilton came in to change his tyres and the soft tyres were not ready. Rosberg followed closely behind, running into problems as his brakes started to overheat as they were grilled under the sun. He was soon able to change his rubber boots and be on his way, but not before a brief moment of panic over the team radio.
The session slowly trundled on to the finish with little of great significance happening before the chequered flag fell. Lewis Hamilton had managed to lap slightly faster than his teammate on the long runs, as well as Bottas to Massa, and Vettel to Ricciardo.
Allan McNish said, “The circuit has been very slippery and greasy with high track temperatures. It’s nip and tuck between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I’m interested to see who will be best of Red Bulls tomorrow in qualifying.”
All to play for in Germany, with conditions set to change.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:18.443||0.102||35|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:19.248||0.907||35|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:19.452||1.111||27|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:19.581||1.240||28|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:19.593||1.252||32|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:19.760||1.419||32|