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Previously on TJ13:
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…
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.”
(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.
(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…
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.
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.