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Previously on TJ13:
TJ13 consults the readers
As TJ’s long term objective is to be a site ‘of the fans, for the fans’ we want to consult you on something important for the ever nearing new web presence being developed.
TJ always believed the life of the site would become evident through the comments from the community and it is important we make this better and more easily accessible for readers.
We understand the mobile issues and will deal with them as best we can.
At present we plan for the comments section on the page to be a lot wider and allow for easier nesting of 7-10 comments down from the primary comment.
However, the Daily News and comment will be a set of single stories in an index, each with its own page to click on – no need to scroll down – but we are concerned if we just put a comments section at the bottom of each, there will be a diaspora.
We may be able to have just one comments section for the day – but features, competitions and historical articles will have their own.
Whilst it is fantastic we have recently been scoring regularly over 100 comments a day, it has begun to feel more like a forum – and this may be good or bad.
So in a manner truly the antithesis of the FIA and FOM, its over to you to help us think through these issues.
PS, If you missed the comments section yesterday, it was a classic, so check it out.
OTD Lite: 1982 – Arnoux leads home a Renault 1 – 2
The first indications of Alain Prost’s driven personality appeared after the 1982 French Grand Prix. Up to this point he had appeared as a genteel quietly spoken man with his political machinations discreetly hidden within the Renault teams motorhome.
The Renaults had dominated qualifying but withe Brabhams prepared to stop to re-fuel, they fell back to third and fourth. After the Brabham retired due to mechanical problems, Arnoux once again led from Prost and they continued in these placings until the end.
Prost was livid because he felt he should have been allowed through due to a better placing in the championship – he also claimed they had made a pre-race agreement something that Arnoux always refuted. In the remaining races of the season, Arnoux would win again and finish second, taking his points tally to 28. Prost secured a second and a fourth, thus finishing with 34 points. With Arnoux having suffered ten retirements against Prost’s seven, the differences were too small to argue.
Seven years later, as a double World Champion, Prost was still displaying petulant behaviour in regards not receiving preferential treatment when he insinuated that Honda were not supplying him with equal engines to Senna. Except this time he had the power of the corrupt President Balestre to manipulate the rules as they saw fit. Vive le France…
On this day in 1993, Prost took his 53rd and final victory and sine then there have been just two French drivers to win an F1 GP.
Capelli elected to be sacrificial lamb for Ecclestone
Ivan Capelli is another of those seemingly mercurial Italians that won titles on their ascent to Formula One but seemed over-whelmed once they actually arrived.
A well liked figure in the F1 paddock he was recently voted in by the SIAS as the new president of A.C.I Milan. The SIAS controls the Autodromo di Monza and Capelli has stepped into the shoes of Carlo Valli, a former president of Monza’s Chamber of Commerce.
Bernie Ecclestone has recently threatened Monza will be removed from the calendar when their current contract expires in 2016 and it is Capelli’s task to open talks with Mr E in Hungary. The problem is that however ‘nice’ Capelli is, Mr E has reduced may a good man to tears with lost empires and this decision by the Italian authorities has left observers under-whelmed.
Ferrari has remained surprisingly silent since the little man’s outburst against the Italian circuit. Luca de Montezemolo is well aware of the games Bernie plays, and at the time the Monza authorities were clear they understood the game as well.
Which makes the appointment of Capelli a fascinating one. With Bernie in trial and supposedly with his powers being drained, CVC looking for ways to get out of the sport, the landscape is changing, Canada, Spa, the German circuits – they are all signing deals that are far less lucrative for Bernie and his high powered legally trained gangster friends as the government backed Grand Prixs in the ‘new world’ have started collapsing like a pack of cards.
Cpelli had a short career in F1, he raced for a variety of teams from his debut in 1985 to his retirement, two races atter joining the Jordan team in 1993. Many thought of him as a future champion but a season at Ferrari in 1992 appeared to destroy his spirit.
Then again for any driver to refer to another in such nauseating terms as “the great Mr Prost” after finishing second to the Frenchman in Portugal 1988, for many demonstrates there is little steel to their core. Ivan left Formula One a broken man and eventually turned up as an F1 commentator for Rai 1 in Italy.
Has Monza capitulated with their choice going forwards or is this an inspired move in the changing sands of Formula One…
Alonso ‘really’ values Raikkonen’s contribution
The Spanish Samurai has long been considered one of the more cerebral drivers on the grid. He has made good use of the media to get his views across to the teams by whom his employed, whether it was ‘feeling alone’ at Renault or being marginalised at Mclaren throughout a fraught 2007 campaign.
In recent years, increasing frustration with the Ferrari situation has resulted in even greater use of the media – both social and television – messages seemingly coated in sugar but laced with acid for those at whom the are directed.
Unlike Hamilton who seems genuinely caught out by off the cuff questions, Alonso is too street smart and savvy to fall for those tricks. Any answer he gives is fully measured for impact, as was the case with this recent nugget:
“Definitely Kimi and I work together a lot and all the meetings are quite long this year because we have a lot of things to sort out after the races. We’ve been constantly making our suggestions and comments from what we see on the track and try to help the engineers to transfer that to Maranello and translate those comments into ideas for the car. It’s not a big change compared to the work I did with Felipe or other team mates.”
Yet in other interviews he has suggested his driving level this year is similar to his 2012 performances. “Last year was also good, but like 2012 I think this year was a step above. Also compared to my teammate, who has the same car, I have rarely felt better, with the new rules I have been almost every day in the simulator, also working with Pedro (de la Rosa). I’ve spent more time in Italy, with the team, than ever before. As to Kimi? I don’t know what problems he has.”
So Luca. Your man Fred did tell you last year that Massa was as quick as any team-mate he’d ever had -and to date – Kimi has proven frankly out-classed and out-witted by the whirling of the scarlet matador’s cape.. The Iceman has proven anything but cool, and most unusually when interviewed following the Spanish GP when the team appeared to mess his race strategy up, Kimi was angry enough to walk away from the camera and questions.
In the meantime Alonso is being feted as the greatest driver on the grid, though as he remarked recently – Fred would rather have more titles than everybody’s respect for his driving qualities.
Rosberg not worried about ‘Hamilton track’ Hungary (GMM)
Championship leader Nico Rosberg insists he is not worried about racing on ‘a Hamilton track’ this weekend in Hungary. Determined to hit back at his teammate after a mixed weekend in Hockenheim, Lewis Hamilton has won no fewer than four times on the Hungaroring, and another victory on Sunday will be a year-on-year hat-trick. “It’s a great circuit,” said the Briton, who after his qualifying crash in Germany and fight through the field to third, lies 14 points behind German Rosberg. “Maybe it suits my driving style more than perhaps some other circuits, or maybe it’s luck, I don’t know. Let’s see this weekend.”
Rosberg, however, said Hamilton’s Hungary record does not faze him. “I don’t care about statistics,” he is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat in Budapest. “I know that if I am able to bring out my best performance, I can win the race. I assume that I can extend my lead here,” Rosberg added. There is also a slight question-mark about Hamilton’s physical condition in Hungary, mere days after his 30G crash and resulting knee, neck and back pain. “I’m not 100 per cent fit,” he admitted to Speed Week, “but I’m not far from it.”
Meanwhile, after boss Toto Wolff joked that one Mercedes driver this year will require “psychological treatment” should they lose the WDC title due to the double points in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg admitted he too is no fan of Bernie Ecclestone’s Abu Dhabi finale. “The (double points) concept is really artificial, I don’t like it and that is a pity,” he said in his Daily Mail column. On the other hand, “winning is winning, and obviously I will be happy if I win this year’s championship whatever the circumstances”.
On this, we have a rare moment of agreement between the Mercedes pair as Hamilton has also stated, “I’m not going to get to the end of the season, and if I won it that way, say I didn’t want to win it that way. I just want to win the world championship.”
TJ13 Comment: Bear in mind that Canada was also recognised as a Hamilton speciality track – yet Rosberg claimed pole and was leading throughout. Many observers said if he didn’t dominate there, he would struggle mentally – will Hungary be the same.
Vettel refuses to stamp out Mercedes rumours (GMM)
The big paddock rumour in Hungary is that Mercedes has made a move to sign Sebastian Vettel. The speculation was even pushed along by Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, who suggested rivals like McLaren and Mercedes have indeed made big-money approaches to the German.
“I don’t know which sources Helmut has, or doesn’t have, but they seem to vary, let’s say,” Vettel smiled on Thursday. But at the same time, the 27-year-old did not issue a categorical denial. In an interview with F1’s official website, he agreed that “sometimes a change can work miracles“. And then Vettel issued a classic diversionary answer. “I am focused and busy with what we do here,” he said in Budapest, “because it is not so easy to make progress.”
Like Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Vettel is firmly under contract for 2015, but that doesn’t mean offers and approaches are not flying about among the sport’s top teams and drivers. “I think any offer has to be considered,” Vettel admitted to reporters, “but nothing has changed. I don’t talk about these things. I am very satisfied in my current team,” he is quoted by Der Spiegel. “At the moment, it’s not a question.”
But, still, an outright denial that he could be seeking a change of scene sounds different. Vettel was asked, for example, if he thinks the Mercedes star is “sexy”. “At the moment no,” he is quoted by Bild newspaper, “because it is constantly in front of us. But if stars mean titles, then stars are something great, as a sportsmen should always have the goal to be as high as possible,” Vettel added. He even failed to deny that talks with paddock figures like Mercedes’ Toto Wolff or Niki Lauda might be beginning.
“Today, there are many ways to make contact with someone. We all know each other and it’s not as though I have an unfamiliar face,” said Vettel. “There’s lots of ways to contact someone without everyone knowing,” he added.
TJ13 Comment: Is Vettel being completely honest? Of course it goes without saying these guys want the best deal possible for themselves, but it is also common knowledge that drivers use other teams interest to push through improvement to their contracts, earnings and less commitments because of what team a offered.
Lauda amusingly tells Marko today, “We’ve never talked to Vettel about driving for us. There is no demand for new drivers at Mercedes.”
So maybe Sebastian is playing games with Hamilton’s head in pay back for comment he made two season ago suggesting he didn’t rate his ability or his success because it was all down to the design of the car. Rosberg told Vettel in Monaco last year about the ‘secret’ test Mercedes ran in Barcelona, so maybe they are / were friends and Vettel wants to help his fellow German out.
Either way, rumours of Hamilton’s impending contract renewal seem a trifle premature..
Hungary 2014: FP1 Report
Just 5 minutes and 15 seconds following the chequered flag, here’s TJ13’s free practice report
It was a glorious morning in Budapest, cloudless skies and temperatures rising when the cars took to the Hungaroring to begin the weekend of the 29th Hungarian GP.
TJ13 commented before Germany, that the loss of FRIC would be less important in Hockenheim, but more so here due to the bumpy, stop/start nature of the circuit. Would that be the case?
Alan McNish suggested recently, his analysis was that Ferrari and McLaren looked last weekend to have been more affected in Germany by the loss of the Front and Rear Linked Suspension (FRIC), with Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams less so.
6 seconds after the pit lane lights went green, it was an eager Valtteri Bottas who took to the circuit with a new high down force rear wing on display. Massa will gain less benefit from this upgrade than Bottas because he is forced to use the same floor which was damaged in his barrel roll through turn one in Hockenheim.
Prior to the session, a coy Bottas was playing down Williams chances. “Hungary might be tough for Williams, as the strong point of their car is efficiency rather than total downforce, and most are expecting Red Bull to be closest to Mercedes this weekend”.
Having completed just the installation lap, Chilton’s Marussia, freshly fitted with a shiny new chassi, came steaming down the pit lane (literally) as Chilton’s car, exuding plumes of smoke, pulling up short of his garage area as flames licked around the gear box. Max would be subsequently be given unscheduled leave from driving this morning, to go strut his stuff in the paddock and radiate his beauty to all the chicks.
Mercedes broke with ‘big team’ tradition and most helpfully joined in with the track cleaning for the first half hour, as Rosberg and Hamilton traded early lap after lap, searching for any incremental information they could glean in their private duel for supremacy.
The Ferrari F14T looked flaky at the rear on the prime tyre, though Alonso always finds a way of flattering to deceive by the end of FP1. However, today Fernando was less than optimistic prior to the session. “The circuit layout is not particularly good for us. It is a traction-demanding circuit. On the other hand, some circuits we have thought to be more competitive and were less and vice versa”.
Niki Lauda was observed inside the Ferrari garage, apparently welcome. Most strange,…. but it would be uncharitable to assume Ferrari don’t really care who catches sight of their secrets, because there is little of worth to be learned from their 2014 F1 design.
If all else fails, the Ferrari mechanics can always console themselves with the fact the Maranello Red paint job looked tremendous in the morning sunlight.
A disconsolate sounding Vettel complained of a dodgy steering wheel, “Laptime doesn’t work, I don’t get anything on the dash.” That said, Seb needn’t have worried too much, because after 30 minutes his RB10 was over 2 seconds slower than the lap time set by Rosberg.
Interestingly, the angle of rake on the RB10 appeared more pronounced than ever, presumably because the straights at the Hungaroring are the length of a school sports day egg and spoon race. Thus increased drag from an elevated rear end hurts top speed less.
Vettel looked far more ragged through the slower corners, than the smoother Ricciardo, whose driving style mean he was getting the power down earlier on the corner exits.
As the option tyres were fitted, it was as though the F14T had finally digested its early day double espresso. Kimi was suddenly third quickest and purple in sector one, with Fernando popping up fourth, but 0.4s back.
Was this the glimpse of the dawning of a new ice age?
This appeared to irk Fernando, who for some reason began a conversation with his engineer in Italian over the radio. He was visibly unhappy at the end of the session as he sat in the car, shaking his head, almost refusing to get out until matters were righted.
“I just don’t have rear grip, not at all, especially in low-speed corners,” complained Jenson after a rather disconcerting mid corner snap. Though with 30 minutes to go, McLaren were the 4th best team just behind Red Bull.
Max was recalled from his paddock soiree with 15 minutes of the session to go, because the Marussia boys had worked wonders and repaired his singed Marussia. After being waved out of the garage three times, without success, Chilton entertainingly revved his Ferrari engine to the limit, and then crept out onto the concrete apron and off down the pit lane.
JEV had a happier session than his Russian team mate, who complained several times about the lack of rear grip. Toro Rosso were consistently ahead of Williams throughout the morning, behind an incrementally resurgent McLaren.
At the back of the mid-field, Force India, Sauber and Lotus were all fairly anonymous in terms of radio chat and more importantly lap times.
And in the war of the minnows, Caterham appeared to be having a better day than in recent times, as they hauled themselves ahead of Marussia in the final standings,
Hamilton topped the times, just over a tenth ahead of his team mate with the Mercedes gap to Ferrari a mere four tenths of a second. This is a circuit the Hamfosi have targeted as a ‘Lewis’ track, and with good reason. Yet the margin he edged out over Rosberg was hardly a sign of domination and Lewis will have to get it together in Q3, or there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on the morrow.
Despite getting his coded lunch order in early, Alonso failed to get ahead of Kimi who finished ahead by four tenths of a second.
Vettel found half a second on Ricciardo, despite his rally cross style driving, whilst Magnussen again provided Jenson Button with a reason to colour code match his cheeks and his most pink helmet.
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:27.220||1.406||28|
|7||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:27.683||1.869||30|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:27.782||1.968||16|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:28.101||2.287||28|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:28.208||2.394||32|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:28.376||2.562||24|
Hungary 2014: Free Practice 2 Report
A record breaking 3 minutes and 15 seconds following the end of FP2, here is our report
FP1 in Hungary always feels somewhat disjointed, as drivers fiddle around with setup more than usual as they configure the car to the stop start nature of the circuit. So FP2 should provide a better insight as to where the teams behind Mercedes are really at this weekend.
The big question was, would McLaren continue to lead Williams? Jenson Button said this morning that the upgrades introduced in Germany were “definitely a step forward and it should help us around here – the downforce package we had on the car was more of a Hungary-type package so it should benefit us here more than in Hockenheim”.
Maybe Woking forgot which way round the races were?
Lewis Hamilton had a floor change between the morning and afternoon session.
With a track temperature topping 54 degrees, the pit lane light went green.
After a morning spent socialising in the sun drenched paddock, whilst the team fixed his Marussia, Max Chilton is keen to go, He sets the first time, though its somewhat off the pace at 1:34:239
8 minutes in, team mate Kevin Magnussen did some off-roading down at Turn Six, out-braking himself and running through the gravel before rejoining the track. Not an ideal start to FP2. Maybe the new shark teeth style serrated rear wing wasn’t doing its job properly, and took a bite out of Magnussen when he didn’t expect it.
At the 180 degree penultimate corner, Nico Hulkenberg was carrying good speed on entry, while Alonso was struggling with a Ferrari which looks as though it hasn’t woken up from a long lunch. The Spaniard was sawing away on the steering wheel – as though trying to shake the F14T into life.
Vettel was taking this corner in one smooth sweep, whilst Ricciardo appeared to have less confidence in his car, lifting and applying the throttle 2 or 3 times mid bend.
20 minutes in and Lewis blasted to the top of the timesheets, with a 1:26:161, with Rosberg 0.6s behind having been balked by an RB10. Over 2.4s covered the top ten at this stage.
Then, Pastor Maldonado sends his Lotus spinning off the sticky stuff, but the Lotus mechanics breathed a sigh of relief as there were no broken bits to fix. Kobayashi spun at turn 8 and Ericson had a big moment at turn 11 running well wide.
Kvyat then clipped the kerbs at the chicane, sending his Toro Rosso airborne.
It was noticeable that all the cars appeared to be scruffy, sliding around all over the place as the F1 cars resemble go-karts. Clearly this circuit is no Hockenheim and the Fric-less machines are being affected.
Romain Grosjean, is told, “Box Romain, box, we’ve still got the leak, sorry.” He did, jumped out of the car and stomped out of the back of the garage.
Half way through the session, the Bulls topped the timesheets after bolting on the option tyres, and as Lewis set off from the garage with his own fresh rubber, he was told, “In terms of braking you were on the limit with that prime tyre.”
On a fresh set of soft tyres, Nico Rosberg then blew the Bulls away, going 4 tenths quicker than Vettel. Hamilton on the same lap had a huge lockup into turn 2, gave up on the corner, running wide.
Massa continued the catalogue of driver errors, had a huge spin at the chicane after locking up on entry. Gravel spewed everywhere. The Williams car then skulked sheepishly out of the kitty litter and trundled off back to the pits.
Rob Smedley rather strangely was then seen grappling heartily with Massa’s left rear wheel inside the garage, as though he was an entrant in the Commonwealth Games Judo competition.
With 40 minutes to go, Raikkonen pulled one out of the bag and jumped into 4th place, a second behind Rosberg, who himself had now been unseated from the top spot by a flying Hamilton.
It wasn’t long before proper order returned to the Ferrari team, as Alonso hooked one up, pushing his team mate down a place by just over a tenth of a second.
Jenson has a new race engineer this weekend, Tom Stallard, ex-Olympic rowing silver medallist. This appears a rather panic reaction from McLaren, as surely changing race engineer between back to back races is not ideal – unless there’s torrential rain maybe?
An hour gone, soft tyre runs complete, and it was 4 different teams in the top five with Hamilton top then, Rosberg, Vettel, Alonso and Magnussen – all covered by 1.1s
Team mate splits after those runs were
Hamilton to Rosberg, -0.238s
Vettel to Ricciardo, -0.827s
Alonso to Raikkonen, -0.293s
Magnussen to Button, 0.654s
Bottas to Massa, -0.401s
The long run simulations then began. On a set of the harder medium tyres, Massa didn’t look happy and pitted after just 7 laps.
The gap between the soft and the medium looked to be as much as 1.6 seconds, which if proven to the case will mean more… rather than less pit stops… will be the way to go if the rain stays away on Sunday.
The Mercedes pair churned out lap after lap, and were consistently separated by just a tenth of a second. Then pit radio created the drama of the session.
Rosberg was instructed, “Nico, we need a lower gear in Turn 1 – engine damage”.
“Did you ask me to take fourth gear for Turn 1?” Rosberg enquired.
“Yes, we wanted a longer gear but it’s too much for the engine,” came the reply.
Rosberg had been told previously to use a lower gear for turn 1, to conserve fuel. This apparently began to damage the engine, as the torque from fourth gear and the new hybrid engine in an 80mph turn was massive.
With cars running race simulations over the final 30 minutes, the earlier driver errors abated. So it’s time to crunch the long run lap times and try to work out some kind of pecking order for Sunday.
Gut feeling would suggest, Red Bull are Mercedes closest challengers, followed by Alonso and Force India. That said, Williams were nowhere 2 weeks ago on the Friday, but certainly came good for qualifying and the race.
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:25.111||0.629||33|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:25.983||1.501||29|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:26.689||2.207||42|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:26.703||2.221||37|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:26.789||2.307||39|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:27.013||2.531||39|
BREMBO find no clear evidence for Hamilton’s failure
Today BREMBO issued a press release stating that “no clear evidence of a single cause of failure” was found and they are “continuing rigorous analysis will take into account multiple factors which could have contributed to the incident.”
Of course once the results of this technical analysis is available it will be communicated. The did however state that “Formula One is a domain of advanced development where technologies are pushed to their limits and in which strong partnerships are crucially important.”
And to this end Mercedes will continue to use BREMBO products and work closely with the supplier.