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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite: 1973 – Roger Williamson perishes in Dutch Grand Prix
On this day forty one years ago, a promising British driver lost his life in the most tragic circumstances. Roger Williamson had a suspected tyre failure which pitched his car over on to its side rupturing a fuel tank which ignited as it slid to a stop. In the car he was uninjured but could not extricate himself.
David Purley stopped at the scene abandoning his own race and film shows an increasingly desperate man attempting to save his friend from within the blazing inferno. Marshalls near by were ill-equipped with fire extinguishers and appropriate clothing and he fought in vain to combat the flames or to push the car back on to it wheels.
Even today, perhaps the most shocking thing about the accident is the other drivers who scythe past the blazing wreck, running over extinguisher powder on the track and nobody stopped to help. Maybe they had become blase to death – accepted the risk as part of their job, or maybe as the character Jean Pierre Sarti said in the film Grand Prix – “When I see an accident I put my foot down harder because I know everybody else will be lifting theirs..”
David Purley was awarded the George medal for his display of bravery.
Raikkonen beginning to emerge from his stupor
The chill that the Iceman has suffered this season is beginning to thaw if recent report from Kimi Raikkonen are to be believed. After a disastrous qualifying mistake which lumbered him in a disappointing 17th position, his recovery drive to finish in 6th position in Hungary has revealed a happier Finn than has been seen this year to date.
Of course, it’s not as impressive as Lewis Hamilton’s driver from pit-lane to the podium, but then again Hamilton is blessed to be pedalling the fastest car in Formula One whereas Raikkonen has been saddled with a bucking bronco that until recently only a Spaniard could tame.
“Today’s race was difficult,” admitted Kimi, “but much more fun than the others, as I had a good feeling with the car, the pace was good and I felt I could push. After the way qualifying went yesterday, sixth was the most we could hope for. At the start, I got away well but then I lost vital time behind a Sauber and when I caught Massa’s Williams, I couldn’t get past: here in general, overtaking is not easy and we lack speed down the straights.”
He continued in a similar vein to both Fernando Alonso’s statement and the team principal’s about keeping their feet on the ground, “Sure, this is a good team result, but we must not get too excited, because even if there are signs of improvement, we still have much work to do in a lot of areas to get to where we want to be. We’ve had a very complicated start to the season, but I hope the second part of the championship will go better. – “I don’t see things changing much in three or four weeks. Next year things will get better. I trust Ferrari and I know they are working hard, so that’s why I am confident about next year. Then we should be able to fight for race wins again,” he concluded.
Villeneuve slams Rosberg performance
As the year has progressed factions within the Mercedes power-base have begun to play their cards. For some, it is becoming apparent that Toto Wolff – representing the grey corporate monolith – favours a clean cut Rosberg victory. It is suggested that this would suit the German brand’s client base far more than an edgy controversial high maintenance superstar as protected by triple World Champion – Niki Lauda.
Following the weekends’ Grand Prix, Wolff moaned about the effect the safety car had on the Silver Arrows race strategy. “Finishing in third or fourth position was perhaps the best we could hope for. We have to sit down at the table and analyse some aspects, such as when Lewis was asked to let Nico through. Needless to say we are not satisfied with the results but now we move on to Spa.”
Wolff’s brother in arms, Paddy Lowe, took up the cudgels, “That was not an easy race, it must be said. For reasons still unknown the safety car divided the group into two parts and Nico found himself unable to follow the strategy we had prepared for such an eventuality. Rosberg was on three stops, where Lewis was on two. This misunderstanding has caused the drivers to question our motives, but whatever strategy was applied we would have finished in similar positions.”
Which begs the question – Why ask Lewis to move over then?
Charging in on his fine Austrian steed came Hamilton’s saviour, Niki. “They were close, but Rosberg was not even in DRS range. I fully understand why Hamilton asked why do I have to let my team-mate past. They are both fighting for the title and from my point of view, lewis has every reason in the world to refuse.”
Jacques Villeneuve having obviously in his normative judicial manner, heard the evidence from either side and proffered his opinion.
In a marked change of tack, Villneuve decided that in fact this time it was Nico Rosberg who had behaved in a childish manner during the Hungarian Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton didn’t immediately concede position to the teams supposed favoured son.
“Nico’s message made no sense as it was obvious Lewis would have lost several seconds to let him through. In addition, it would not have helped Nico win the race because his tyres were starting to fall apart and within two laps he was falling away from Lewis.”
“Then we began to hear Nico moaning and whimpering; but he wasn’t interested in helping the team or himself just in ruining Hamilton’s race. Ultimately Ricciardo was too fast for him so all he would have accomplished would to have beaten Hamilton to his final position…”
For once Villeneuve’s views may appear to represent a more balanced opinion, which he promptly wrecked by suggesting that this tension in Brackley will favour Hamilton. “He’s a fighter and seems to react better when things go wrong.”
Obviously Master Jacques read the recent interview where Hamilton declared his hunger as being different to Rosberg’s due to their respective upbringing, but failed to take into account the very public emotions that the rest of the world has seen. After all, Hamilton himself stated that he would be lucky to get in the Top 10 after his Mercedes self combusted into a raging inferno..
JV concluded with an original thought – one the rest of the world has held for some time – “well at least now they can stop acting as if they are the best of friends!”
‘Hired to race’ not obey team orders – Hamilton (GMM)
Lewis Hamilton has hit back at suggestions he was wrong to ignore team orders during Sunday’s Hungarian grand prix. Niki Lauda, who after Hamilton’s qualifying fire had cheered the Briton up over pizza, insisting with typical clarity that the driver was “right” and the German team “wrong”.
“Lewis ignored it because he remembered before the season that we said they could fight freely against each other. That’s why he did the right thing,” the great Austrian told Bild newspaper.
Not everyone is as convinced. The headline in the major German daily Welt claims Mercedes is the victim of “Hamilton’s ego-show”. “With his disobedience, Hamilton weakened the authority of the team leadership and provoked his teammate Nico Rosberg, for a comparatively low reward.” But according to Hamilton, that’s not the point. On Monday, he insisted he is “hired to race. It is not questioning authority,” the 2008 world champion explained. “I am hired to be me, and race my heart out.”
Team boss Toto Wolff and Rosberg agreed after the race that Hamilton’s defiance had cost Mercedes a race win. Again, Hamilton doesn’t see it that way. “I did not cost Nico a win,” he insisted. “I was racing against him! Why would I be concerned for him? I don’t think I was being ruthless. I was not even being bloody minded. I was doing my job. I tried my hardest to be ahead and I don’t feel as though I was obligated to help.”
John Watson, a former F1 driver turned commentator, thinks the problem is home grown. “Is Toto Wolff more interested in projecting himself?” he wondered. “Does he really have the authority?” the former McLaren driver told the Daily Mail.
“Paddy Lowe is a fantastic guy, but he is not the person to deal with this. Lauda is a very clever man, but I don’t know what authority he has. If there was one person who could kick ass in that team, it is the person that they let go, Ross (Brawn),” said Watson.
TJ13 comment: It’s intriguing that the German daily described Hamilton as an ego show. In much the same manner, David Beckham’s career faltered as his management company chased lucrative image contracts and forgot that he was in fact a footballer. It’s surprising that XIX management are using their original blue print to mould Hamilton into a music pop star, in a relationship with a fading pop-star and making demands as he builds his brand.
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity but it will not have gone unnoticed in Germany that Mercedes as a brand comes second to Lewis Hamilton…
Also interesting, Yesterday TJ13 likened Lewis Hamilton’s refusal to follow the team race strategy protocol to Sebastian’s multi 21 affair. Lewis similarly borrows from the Vettel book of “explanations”, “I’m paid to race”, first aired by the quadruple world champion following the Malyasian GP 2013.
F1 to ‘look at rules’ to stop ‘negativity’ – Ecclestone (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone thinks Formula one needs to act now to prevent a downward trend of unpopularity. Before qualifying in Hungary, amid a climate of paddock doom about dwindling spectator and television numbers, the F1 chief executive met with team bosses. Afterwards, it emerged that Ecclestone would revive the F1 career of Flavio Briatore in the wake of his ‘crash-gate’ ban by appointing him the head of a new ‘popularity working group’.
When asked about the flamboyant yet divisive Italian figure, Ecclestone is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport: “We’ll see. We’ll see what we can do.” Ecclestone is following up the Hungarian meeting with another meeting involving the governing FIA this Thursday, after Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo urged the need for a crisis ‘summit’.
Confirming that team boss Marco Mattiacci will be there, Maranello based Ferrari confirmed on Monday that the meeting is to “look at the general situation of formula one and how to increase the sport’s appeal”. Ecclestone added: “We simply want to see if there is the possibility to look at the rules, because there has been so much negativity. We need to have a look at all of this and clear some things up,” he added.
TJ13 comment: Most octogenarians I know have this wonderful habit of having a conversation and immediately forgetting the details. Asked if they would like a cup of tea, they normally answer something about the milkman passing by for payment of a Friday evening and they often sit there smiling for the simple fact that the nurse has to clear out the bag….
Bernie would be wise to look throughout the history of F1 and appreciate that not every race was fantastic. There were an amazing number that had little or no passing at all, era’s of domination were accepted as part of the fabric and because the dominant team still allowed their drivers to race – well except the Todt/Schumacher era at Ferrari! Some of the racing recently has been electrifying and the added bonus of unreliability has brought the unpredictability back into motor-sport.
Bernie would receive the greatest applause if he took his withered claws out of Formula One. If CVC had had the balls to get rid of him earlier this year we would not have to be enduring this insufferable man any longer. Yet he hangs on and the Constructors continue to pander to him. The hypocrisy of these teams is sickening because if/when Bernie “goes down” only then will they have the courage to voice an opinion.
LdM attacked Mr E a few years ago in regards his governance of F1 and as usual opinions followed that Ferrari only cared for themselves, Luca was too old, should retire etc. It’s more than obvious – with the faltering talks in regards cutting costs – that ALL Formula One teams think only of themselves but for Ferrari that is a crime. Which is once again, what the British dominated media wants us all to believe.
It was interesting that over the weekend Mclaren’s Eric Boullier believed he had the power to speak to the FIA about taking a journalists press accreditation away, simply because the journalist asked questions in reference to the upcoming trip to Russia. If you can’t stand the heat…
All we need is heroes
Why do you follow Formula 1? Looking at the reaction after this weekend’s race the questions are not about who supports Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams or other teams. Rather, most, if not all discussion has been about Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Ricciardo and Vettel.
Speaking on Sunday Christian Horner said the racing is great but F1 needs drivers that are heroes. “When we focus on the racing we have got a great sport.
“Formula One needs to be about the drivers being the heroes, and today they were. That’s Formula One at its best – not just this weekend but last weekend [in Germany] as well.
“That’s what I enjoy, that’s what I love to see and that’s all part of competition. We need to keep going down that direction.”
Asked why drivers are not seen as heroes Horner said races are too managed. He then continues to talk about Alonso, Hamilton and Ricciardo who drove great races and in the case of the latter made his strategy work.
He argues for more freedom for the drivers saying “We need to allow the drivers to be able to express themselves more without being criticised. We need to allow their personalities to come out. They have opinions and they’ve got personalities, we should encourage them to see some of them.”
Does he have a valid point, are the races too managed and the driver’s skill becoming secondary to the team of engineers and strategists working away in the background?
Or have the drivers historically taken all the credit and fame, for what is very much a team sport?
Maybe the drivers should be given no tactical information from the pit wall, thus placing the racing decisions into their hands alone.
Barr being one of the Tifosi, do you support the “heroes” or do you support the teams?
Mr E the stressed
Today AMuS reports Ecclestone’s defence lawyers have submitted a settlement plea, citing the ‘extremely stressful process’ Mr E is currently in. As part of the settlement offer, BayrenLB is being offered a rather nominal sum of 23 million Euros despite the bank suffering no financial loss.
The deal is said to be under evaluation of the prosecutor and they have until next Friday (8th August) to accept/reject the offer.
Maybe Judge Noll, will see this as an opportunity to truncate the overall spread of time allocated to the case, and insist all parties from herein attend not 2 days, but 4 days a week.
1 Malaysia Racing workers to be sued by Caterham F1
The Caterham F1 Team announces today that it has filed legal proceedings against a group of former workers who were recently relieved from their responsibilities within the team.
This is a legal counter action against the one already brought by the ‘ex-employees’. Caterham F1’s is claiming alleged misrepresentation by former F1 workers.
A statement from the team says,
“Caterham F1 Team has read with great concern recent reports about a group of individuals who are claiming unfair dismissal from the Formula 1 team following its takeover by new owners. The team is now taking legal action against those parties representing the individuals concerned, and each person involved, seeking compensation for the damages suffered by the team due to the gross misrepresentation of the facts made by all those concerned.”
This is a technical action, because the employees were in fact contracted by a company of the name, “1 Malaysia Racing”, not the Caterham F1 team directly.
Caterham F1 continue, “Additionally, the team has read claims that its staff were not paid in July – again, this is wholly untrue. Every individual currently employed by Caterham F1 Team was paid their July salary in full on 25th July, one week before it is formally due on the last day of the month, in this case 31st July.
A formal request for the withdrawal of the relevant press statement issued on 28th July has been made by Caterham F1 Team and the team will vigorously pursue its action against all those concerned.
However, it will not allow its core focus to be distracted from achieving tenth place in the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, and building for the 2015 campaign and beyond.”
TJ13 did comment earlier last month, that the staff released from their responsibility’s were of a contracted nature. Further, to complicate matters, were the staff ‘provided’ by 1 Malaysia Racing deemed self employed for tax purposes, their statutory rights under their conditions of engagement will be at best fairly minimal.
Should 1 Malaysia Racing have been placed into “bankruptcy”, there may be little or no assets to meet any claims at all.
Certain teams employ a very significant number of their staff in this manner, or on a self employed basis. The workers may believe they work for a team, however, the are in effect agency staff whose employment rights are significantly smaller than directly contracted employees.
This practice was extended by some teams when the Resource Restriction Allocation was agreed. It provided the teams with the opportunity to cite a maximum number of “employees”, whilst utilising the additional services of ‘contracted’ or self employed individuals over and above their declared resource.
One team has more than 100 of these non-employed workers, and another’s workforce engaged on similar terms represents over 50% of the labour employed.