Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 13th August 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Features: Enzo Ferrari – How do you measure a person’s life – Part II


OTD Lite: 1989 – The greatest over-taking move in F1 history

Paddy Lowe singing his praises once more

Verstappen chooses Red Bull over Mercedes

‘Unlikely’ Red Bull can catch Mercedes – Horner

FIA to approve RussianGP track next week (GMM)


OTD Lite: 1989 – The greatest over-taking move in F1 history

Stefan Johansson – check. Ayrton Senna – check. Nigel Mansell – check. We now have the ingredients to one of the most brilliant passing manouvres ever witnessed. After a dismal qualifying session that left ‘our Nige’ starting from twelfth position on the notorious Hungaroring, all hopes for victory seemed beyond the reach of the Ferrari star. Except no-one had told Mansell that it was impossible to overtake here.

He moved through the field in a car that was supremely set up for the race and hunted down the Mclaren-Honda of the World Champion Ayrton Senna. Collective breaths were held all round the world as they watched these two racers playing chess in their high speed procession.

They began to catch the Onyx of Stefan Johansson – who was struggling with gearbox issues – and trailed behind him as he accelerated through turn three. For some laps, the Ferrari had demonstrably better grip than the Mclaren but it’s engine was no match for the Japanese power plant. Even Mansell knew he needed some divine help to best Senna.

As they accelerated behind the Onyx, it’s driver struggled with a gear change, the loss of momentum forced Senna to lift and Mansell was through in a heart beat. He romped away to win by twenty six seconds from the Brazilian but for most,it was the brilliance in his reflexes that remain the highlight to this day.

I challenge you all to give me examples of better over-taking…

The Jackal

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Paddy Lowe singing his praises once more

No sooner has he been telling the world that he has moved Mercedes on to the next level and that Brawn’s input finished in December so it’s all history now, then Paddy Lowe once again decides he is all that’s relevant to the Mercedes team effort.

With the shocking admission that it was he that transformed the Silver Arrows into the dominant force after taking the helm in December and the cars rolling out in Jerez barely two months later, he has now taken it upon himself to preach to the assembled journalists and preach from the Gospel according to Paddy.

If seasoned followers of Formula One could suspend belief for a moment, Mr Lowe claims that it is not the Mercedes power unit that is allowing the team to dominate – “These cars are about system performance, not individual elements. It’s about how you put it all together. It”s the power unit, the unit’s efficiency, the aerodynamics and how they are all put together. Our car is very quick but others using the same unti aren’t as quick.”

Believing in the power of sanctimonious speeches, he continued that he believed Ferrari and Renault’s difficulties would have been solved by now and it was the Mercedes team’s advancements which masked the progress made by the others: “A lot of the deficit has been on the power unit side, and you wonder how much of that is fundamental and how much is short-term issues they need to learn to manage. It’s difficult to know because we’re pushing in so many different areas and you don’t know which areas they’re pushing in. We’ve been concentrating on our own programme and we keep pushing hard to improve the car race by race – what turns out, turns out, but I’m happy we’re managing to maintain a good gap.”

Following the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this year, Lowe proclaimed that the Mercedes success was directly attributable to the work Ross Brawn set down last year as he hadn’t been there to have made any impact on the car.

Four months later, the Paddy Lowe effect is beginning to be felt. The once hewn-from-granite Mercedes have become susceptible to small ailments that are impacting both qualifying and the races for their drivers and the predicted progress made by Renault and Ferrari still finds the four Mercedes powered teams occupying four of the top six places with only Mercedes powered cars having claimed pole position.

As winners of nine of the eleven races so far, only lapses in team race management has prevented a clean sweep allowing a fortuitous Ricciardo to steal victory from the team in Canada and Hungary.

Humility is obviously not a pre-requisite for employment as senior management within the Mercedes organisation but Brawn has conclusively proven the old adage “birds of a feather stick together.”

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(from GMM source with TJ13 comment)

Verstappen chooses Red Bull over Mercedes

Red Bull has confirmed reports that highly-rated teenage rookie Max Verstappen has joined the energy drink company’s driver development programme. Earlier, it was rumoured the young Dutchman, whose meteoric rise from karting to F3 this year caught the notice of the F1 world, had signed a deal with Mercedes. But then it emerged that Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko made a last-ditch effort to woo the son of former grand prix driver Jos Verstappen.

Responding to rumours Max might make his F1 debut for Toro Rosso next year at the tender age of 17, Verstappen snr answered: “He’s already quite mature. We are in a good situation,” he told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, “but it’s also tricky — what is the right decision, and also how often is a train like this going to pass by?”

Now, Red Bull has announced that Max Verstappen has “accepted” its offer to join the famous Red Bull Junior Team programme “effective immediately”.

He will remain in European formula 3 for now. “It goes without saying that I’m very happy and I feel honoured to be part of the Red Bull Junior Team, which has successfully brought and guided many drivers into formula one,” Max said.

TJ13 comment: Like father like son? For Max’s career we hope not but then again thinking clearly was not always a Verstappen strong point.

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(from GMM source with TJ13 comment)

‘Unlikely’ Red Bull can catch Mercedes – Horner

Boss Christian Horner has admitted it is “unlikely” Red Bull will catch up with dominant Mercedes in 2014.  But F1’s surprise on-form youngster Daniel Ricciardo, who entered the current summer break with a second win of the season, is more confident.

“When maybe some of us say it (the championship) is over, it’s just purely looking at the performance of Mercedes,” said the Australian. “But (teammate) Seb is right in saying until it’s mathematically over, it isn’t.

Although strong throughout 2013, it wasn’t until after the summer break a year ago that Red Bull – whose Sebastian Vettel then ran all the way to the finale without being beaten – really hit its utterly dominant stride. Ricciardo is similarly confident this year. “I feel since I entered formula one that the second part of the season has always gone better for me,” he told CNN. “So we’ll see how it’s going and try and get a few more wins.”

Boss Horner, however, doubts Red Bull can overcome or compensate for what he describes as a 65 horse power deficit to dominant Mercedes through the summer break and the remaining eight races of 2014.

“In all honesty it’s probably unlikely,” he said. “If you look at the gap, it’s a significant gap. Last year was more of a level playing field on the power unit side. But obviously with the big regulation change, Mercedes are in a position of real dominance; dominance we haven’t seen for a long, long time. We’re keeping pushing, we’re keeping the hammer down and hopefully after the summer break we’ll have some circuits coming up that we will be able to get even closer,” Horner added. “But I don’t think you’ll see a situation like we had last year.”

Given its slide behind Mercedes in 2014, Red Bull is at another crossroads — its highly-rated technical director Adrian Newey, frustrated with the sport’s ever-tightening rules, has decided to slip into a background role.

It’s no secret that Adrian wanted to lighten his commitment a little,” Horner is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint, “but it doesn’t mean that we are going to look for a new technical director. He will still be very involved with the technical choices,” Horner explained, “helping us to choose a direction in the design and development. We have a very strong technical team,” Horner insisted. “The situation allows us to promote and develop the people who work behind Adrian and give them more responsibility. We knew of his (Newey’s) design to slow down and we have prepared for it well, adapting to the situation in a way that will benefit everyone.”

TJ13 comment: Or in other words, as we aren’t fighting for the titles, all our suppliers have had a proper two week break this year…

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FIA to approve Russia GP track next week (GMM)

In just one week, Russia could get the final green-light for its inaugural grand prix.

F1_RussiaAmid construction of the Sochi layout and controversy surrounding the Crimean crisis and the MH17 atrocity, the country has had only a provisional place on the 2014 schedule.

In the meantime, organisers are almost completely ready for the FIA’s final circuit inspection next week.

Russian GP chief Sergei Vorobyov told the Ria Novosti news agency that the FIA delegation will carry out the inspection next Tuesday.

As you have seen,” he said, “except for the final cosmetic work – painting, cleaning, equipment installation – the circuit is ready for the grand prix,” he said.

On August 19 the FIA will come here to decide on the acceptance of the facility for formula one,” Vorobyov added.

The 2014 Russian Grand Prix is scheduled for October 12.

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52 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 13th August 2014

  1. @the Jackal re better over-taking move

    Spa 2000, Hakkinen on Schuey…yes, that move!

      • “Mrs Judge is insisting Mark Webber on Alonso”

        Dammit Judge, she’s right. Proper balls out move.

        What about Grosjean last year at Hungary. I know the stewards got involved but still.

        • Alonso on Webber at Spa 2013 was also pretty special, as was Alonso on Webber at Monza last year.

          I’d also say Lewis overtaking Alonso at Silverstone 2011 (Copse corner) was pretty spectacular. He was on cold, dry tyres and he went to the inside, onto the wet part of the track. How he made that stick is beyond me.

          • What the Ricciardo on Hamilton…

            He was just owned by Ricciardo in Hungary right at the end, and for the GP win.

            Hamilton threw away victory because he can’t defend and save tyres mid race just to beat his team mate.

            -runs-

          • @still I surprise

            With all due respect big man, but it has started becoming a bit tiring getting a dig at Hamilton with any opportunity. Hamilton ‘owned by Ric’? What about Alonso then? You know that Ric was on fresher tyres and started the race way further up the grid. Can’t compare apples and oranges.

          • @Still I Surprise

            Oops, sorry, didn’t get that. Almost feel like Sheldon not getting what sarcasm is 🙂

    • Spa 2000 was pretty insane. I have to pay that.

      I’m/was a Schumi fan, abd in the day of the red, a massive one. That day the title was in the balance. Mika had spun earlier. It seemed Michael was recovering from his mid season slump with this win. Putting an end to that quick sand feeling of losing form. It seemed like he was now re-set to bolster his campaign for Ferrari’s first WDC in 21 years. A sigh of relief.

      Them Mika just caught up. Then that move. That… move.

      I recall sitting in front of the TV, and the move happening, and then “what… what just happened”. What a move it was. And for the win and for the championship lead. It was hard to begrudge Hakkinen. Such a talent. Such a classy dude.

      Good stuff. I may have cried though.

      It’s been a long time since I supported a driver or race team in that way. Ahhhh young love.

      • @still – yes I too remember standing and going “Wow” or words to that effect when I saw what Mila was attempting. And Mrs judge was close with Spa 2012.

  2. Interesting. Senna makes a mistake, but a pumped up Nige is on it…

    Staying with the Senna Mansell them, wheel to wheel down the main straight Barcelona 1991, Mansell completes the move squeezing up the inside….

    BTW it was watching a replay of this which gave Bernie the idea for fake sparks….

    • Another Mansell on Senna pass, during Monza ’91. The build-up to the eventual overtake for the lead lasted for just under two-thirds of the race! Mansell harried Senna lap after lap, before letting Patrese through to push Senna to burn his tires. It was great b/c of how close the cars were on performance. There’s a great YouTube video about that race, runs around 9 minutes.

  3. Mansell on Berger round the Peraltada, 1990.
    The way he set Berger up for the pass, and managed to pull it off around the outside was simply outstanding.

    • There is a video still up:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqaXktfn90M

      Couple of things…
      I’d forgotten that Mansell pulled this off on much older tyres, after being nearly punted off by Berger’s earlier rather clumsier manouevre.
      The onboard from Berger shows what a handful those cars were, which makes the car control even more impressive.

  4. Re: Paddy Lowe,
    “Believing in the power of sanctimonious speeches…” has got to be the funniest line of the day.

  5. Christian Horner has admitted it is “unlikely” Red Bull will catch up with dominant Mercedes in 2014.

    Christian seems to have two modes: stating the bleeding obvious… and swearing blind that the bleeding obvious just isn’t true.

    • “I have a tendency to root a little bit more for Lewis, mainly because of the bad luck he’s had mechanically. When anything happens, it happens to his car…”

      Guess Nico losing a gearbox whilst leading in Britain doesn’t count. Suppose Nico being hit with exact same issue at Lewis in Canada (and managing it better) doesn’t count either? Oh well.

      “And look at the performances he’s had: starting from the pits in Hungary – it was fabulous to see [his drive].”

      Erm, the spin was pretty good. Not. Pure luck allowed him to keep going and not crystallise his lap1 mistake. And yeah, destroying a teams chances at winning a Grand Prix by ignoring previously agreed to protocol (cheating?) and then having no tyres left to fight for the win because of the fight to disrupt Nico? Hardly amazing.

      “How could you not root for him?”

      Because of the above. Because he disrespects the work of over 500ppl. They deserved at least a shot at a win and double podium with that car.

      “…but he’s shown a lot of character this season…”

      He sure has. Talking smack in Monaco re: privledge (hypocrisy?), then getting owned. Talking more about nationality in Germany, then getting owned again. Crying when he loses. Cheating on power settings in Spain. Disregarding jointly agreed protocol in Hungary. The list goes on… Yeah he’s shown his character all right… A sh^#ty one.

      Andretti? Pfft. All this from a guy who thinks his grandson is good. Hmmm…

    • “I have a tendency to root a little bit more for Lewis, mainly because of the bad luck he’s had mechanically. When anything happens, it happens to his car…”

      Guess Nico losing a gearbox whilst leading in Britain doesn’t count. Suppose Nico being hit with exact same issue at Lewis in Canada (and managing it better) doesn’t count either? Oh well.

      “And look at the performances he’s had: starting from the pits in Hungary – it was fabulous to see [his drive].”

      Erm, the spin was pretty good. Not. Pure luck allowed him to keep going and not crystallise his lap1 mistake. And yeah, destroying a teams chances at winning a Grand Prix by ignoring previously agreed to protocol (cheating?) and then having no tyres left to fight for the win because of the fight to disrupt Nico? Hardly amazing.

      “How could you not root for him?”

      Because of the above. Because he disrespects the work of over 500ppl. They deserved at least a shot at a win and double podium with that car.

      “…but he’s shown a lot of character this season…”

      He sure has. Talking smack in Monaco re: privledge (hypocrisy?), then getting owned. Talking more about nationality in Germany, then getting owned again. Crying when he loses. Cheating on power settings in Spain. Disregarding jointly agreed protocol in Hungary. The list goes on… Yeah he’s shown his character all right… A sh|t one.

      Andretti? Pfft. All this from a guy who thinks his grandson is good. Hmmm…

      • Guess if Andretti was rubbishing Lewis and praising Nico your last sentence would read:

        “Andretti? Legend! All this from a guy who has mentored his talented grandson.”

      • Different day….same old shxt. Only you and a few others believe what you say.

          • If that remark was directed at me, then I apologise for my comment. But it seems that some people just re-write the same old stuff every day. I am sure it is just being done for effect and to see who will “bite”. But I think the joke has run its course now. 🙂

          • @Mike Cloud.

            In case you haven’t noticed, Vettel and Raikkonen haven’t escaped either. Also, I have praised Hamilton many times. In this case, I just genuinely think Andretti’s assessment of Hamilton’s character this season and his reliability statements are wrong. So I said it.

            Just like I don’t think Vet or Rai can be excused. What more can I say? Paint me how you like.

      • Nico’s gearbox of course counts … still Lewis has had more mechanical problems affect his car. As for Canada, I believe Wolff and Lowe both said it was more luck that Nico’s car didn’t fail, but who knows, perhaps Nico was the factor that allowed it to get to the end.

        As for destroying the teams’ chances of a win in Hungary, I think it’s the other way ’round. The team inexplicably put Lewis on the slower strategy, when he was then ahead on the track (after clearing Nico’s pit window after lap 36). If Merc had put Lewis on the 3-stop, on his brand new option rubber, then he would beat any forecast outcome for Nico’s race strategy. Seeing as Wolff said that Nico could’ve won the race, this would mean that Lewis could’ve won the race more easily. Merc pitwall just blew the chance at another 1-2, while also claiming a historic win from pit lane!

        As for power settings, of course you know that Nico first used the “illegal” settings in Bahrain, right?

        Lewis was “owned” in Monaco and Germany?? I guess your definition of “owned” differs from mine. I would say Nico got “owned” by Lewis in Malaysia, Bahrain, China, and Hungary. In Malaysia and China he simply blew him away, while in Bahrain with his lead wiped out by the SC he defended brilliantly while on the slower tires. Nico had it all laid out for him, but couldn’t take it. As for Hungary, that’s pretty self-evident, no? When was the last time someone starting from pit lane beat the pole-man when both finished? Forget the same car factor, has that ever happened before?

        This season there’s one points-scoring driver on the grid that’s always finished equal to or better than their starting position. Mario knows a thing or two about F1, methinks.

        • I guess we are all entitled to our opinions. Including Mercedes. Which since Hungary has sounded collectively similar to mine, despite their requirement to use corporate speak.

          Still no contract extension there for Hamilton. That happens I guess when a team feel you cost them too much, including a win.

          Interesting times…

          • I guess Lauda wasn’t included in your Mercedes “collective”, right?

            You really think they would hold back a contract extension, b/c of the result of that race?

            Fact is we don’t know what’s going on, regarding contract talks between Mercedes and Hamilton. We’ve seen stories that say Hamilton would like to sign a new contract, from Wolff claiming he wants his drivers “’til the cows come home”, or claiming that they only won in Hungary in 2013 b/c of “the Lewis factor”. There were others from Lauda saying they are already in contract discussions with Hamilton, from Lowe claiming their drivers are incredible, etc. I don’t think there’s any rush to this. You or I don’t know if Mercedes is stalling, or whether Hamilton’s side is stalling. Maybe Hamilton wants to see how this season plays out, before committing himself to the team. Rosberg didn’t agree terms until 5 races into his final contracted season, and only signed 9 races in. With the car head-and-shoulders better than all others this season, it’s the worst period for Lewis to negotiate. When the teams are closer next year (presumably), Lewis will be in a better negotiating position. If the Honda PU is up there, even moreso.

            There’s no need to rush it.

          • @KRB

            “You really think they would hold back a contract extension, b/c of the result of that race?”

            Yes, I do. That and a few other moments too. He has started to tip over that fine line of being too much to manage. He can come back from that, it’s not foregone, but also he is less valuable in a way too given Rosberg is clearly not exactly slow amd capable of leading the world title as he has done most of the season. So the ‘put up with it’ ratio is diminishing. I am not sure Lewis is aware of that.

            The Judge alluded to something similar after Hungary I think. A contract extension by Belgium or watch this place closely.

            Anyway, just an opinion.

          • @SiS, I just can’t believe that Mercedes would deal like that. Knee-jerk reactions in negotiating are pure amateur hour, and I doubt Merc are amateurs at this.

            I would say that Mercedes realize that Hamilton has aided Rosberg’s general pace, in that he has shown what’s possible with the car. Hence, the infamous post-Malaysia dossier for Rosberg. Of course it’s not all one-way, but I think they know which side benefits more from it.

            Nico is having a great year, no doubt about it. But as for leading the standings, the 25-0 right off the bat in AUS certainly helped. If the season started in MAL, then ROS would only have led after AUT.

            Rosberg has led the DWC standings for 10 total rounds in his career (all this year of course). It’s an interesting stat, as others that you might suspect would be higher either aren’t, or are but not by as much as you’d think. Here are some notables:

            ALO 52
            VET 45
            HAM 33
            BUT 20
            RAI 12
            N.ROS 10
            WEB 6
            J.VIL 5
            K.ROS 3
            MAS 2
            KUB 1

            I would’ve thought RAI, WEB, and especially MAS would be higher than they are. MAS on 2 is only one more than Kubica! I’m quite sure that MAS led the table briefly near the start of the 2010 season, so that leaves only one round that he led in 2008. I just wouldn’t have thought that.

            Now back to HAM’s new contract, or extension. What if it’s substantially more than what ROS just signed for? Wouldn’t that light up the conspiracy theories, just as many thought Hamilton was the de facto #1 when he signed for near double what Rosberg was on in the Fall of 2012? I think it’s perfectly possible that Lewis and Mercedes could agree on a contract, more like a Letter of Intent, and not announce it until the end of the season, or even into next year. Maybe one or both of them are waiting to see what Alonso gets in any extension deal. There are so many variables at play, that for anyone outside of the small circle of negotiators, all that’s left is idle speculation.

            As you say, it’s all just opinion(s). Fascinating to watch play out though, even if it doesn’t happen on our desired timetable.

  6. I’d rate the arnoux villeneuve battle at dijon or the rindt ickx at Germany higher. Because it’s not just one move. It’s countless moves on each other. The way they will never be done again, due to aerodynamics and fia…

    • Totally agree. And as overtakes are something to marvel, I think the same should go for good defending drives. Lewis v Nico in Bahrain had people on the edge of their seat!

    • Agreed.

      Which is why I still rate Mansell/Berger, Mexico 1990 (see above) – Mansell retakes second place from Berger, after stalking him for a lap, and then holds him off to the finish.
      Evenly matched cars – if anything the McLaren was quicker, and on fresher tyres.
      The Peraltada move was seriously ballsy.

  7. Interesting move by Max Verstappen…. if Marko so desired, we could now see Kvyat/Verstappen in 2015… or Kvyat/Sainz, with Gasly and Verstappen duking it out in FR 3.5… now, what year was Vettel moving to Ferrari again?!

      • Indeed, it might be that that was already part of signing up for RB Juniors over Mercedes, as rumoured… I wouldn’t put it past Marko tbh, if he feels Max is the next big thing, then who are Sainz or Gasly to stand in his way!

        Not to mention Sainz can always do a season at Caterham if so desired… Is it too far-fetched to imagine Red Bull running 6 Red Bull drivers in the 6 Renault engined cars? Vettel-Ricciardo, Kvyat-Verstappen, Sainz-Lynn? With Gasly standing by for Vettel to move to Ferrari..

  8. so many equally great overtakes over the course of history. like different fine wines. all great but subjectively different.

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