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Previously on TJ13:
OTD Lite: 1993 – Damon Hill wins his first ever Grand Prix
It is scarcely believable that on this day twenty one years ago, Hill took his first ever victory. Why scarcely? Because in a car as dominant as the Williams FW15 it was incredible that it had taken so long to achieve despite him being a rookie.
In the previous two races in Britain and Germany he had suffered two retirements whilst leading and Prost inherited what should have been his victories. At the start of the race, Prost who had qualified on pole stalled on the parade lap and had to start from the back of the gird but of perhaps more significance was that after the round in Germany, Prost would never win another F1 race despite starting from pole position in three of his last five races.
When Hill took the title in 1996, Murray Walker got so emotional that he had to stop commentating. Yet to listen to him several years later when Hakkinen was winning his two titles, it was because of the Finn’s ‘huge’ talent. It always annoyed me the lack of credit that Hill got for winning in what Walker called a ‘Newey’ car, and Mansell, Prost and Villeneuve were tarred with the same brush. Yet Mika who took two titles – with his first two race wins gifted – was the exception to the rule.
Bear in mind your honour the facts. Damon Hill moved to the Arrows team and developed a car that was competitive in the latter half of 1997 and almost won the 1997 Hungarian GP. In 1998, he took a poor Jordan and developed it also into a race winner at Spa. In a list of World Champions, Hill should be significantly higher than many would place him..
Mclaren have ‘stopped getting down’ – Bouliier
After the failure of Mclaren not finishing in a podium position in 2013, Dennis fulfilled his own 5 year exile from the sport and took control back from Martin Whitmarsh over the winter.
Various whispers have suggested a grudging agreement between Dennis and his arch rival Max Mosley which forced him to leave the F1 sphere back in 2009; whereas Dennis himself suggests it was always his plan because he had to focus on the car manufacturing plant.
Whatever the truth, the return of Dennis to the bridge of the supertanker Mclaren has heralded a different work ethic within the team – at least if his racing director, Eric Boullier, is to be believed.
As Boullier has proven most adept at this season – not one French accented word he utters carries much in the way of concrete truth.
Periodically we are told that Mclaren’s title sponsor is just a sweep of the curtain away from being unveiled. Yet TJ13 reported before the season began that Mclaren would carry no title sponsorship this year. Updates promised for the start of the year, the Barcelona race and all subsequent races have failed to bring about the ‘half a second’ improvement that their wind tunnel findings have suggested.
Mclaren have always been famed for their rate of development over the course of a season, yet observers believe this is fundamental because generally they have more to recover than their opposition so this statistic is misleading.
To compound this view is the fact that Mclaren last year proved as adept as Ferrari at bringing upgrades to their car. They were both using the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne and both suffering poor seasons – although before the tyre change post British Grand Prix – Ferrari did win two races. Or rather Alonso did.
With Massa and Smedley recently commenting about how accurate the wind tunnel creations that Williams develops for the FW36 are when fitted to the car – in comparison to their time at Ferrari – the underlying message for F1’s grandee teams is that there is a huge amount of work to return to the front line.
Yet still big Eric utters words that would suggest the Münchausen syndrome is alive and well in this one. One aspect of this psychological disorder is that sufferers have a “history of dramatic, untrue and extremely improbable tales of their past experiences” (courtesy wikipedia)
“We have definitely stopped getting ‘down’ and in the past couple of months we have got back on track. It’s always difficult to stop a downwards spiral, but it now looks like we have. We know it is going to take time to get back to the top. We have to be realistic, but at least now it looks like we are coming up.
“I think by the end of the year 95 per cent will be completed and the foundation of McLaren for the next 10 years will be in place. They knew that something was going wrong and most of the people were open-minded and happy to welcome changes.”
“My feeling is they are starting to accept the change and are beginning to get motivated again.I expect the team to be much stronger next year and it will be good if we can deliver straight away.”
For fans of the grey cars, it will be little comfort hearing words uttered by the spectacled Frenchman.
Lotus want to revive the JPS livery
Colin Chapman introduced tobacco sponsorship into Formula One back in 1968 when the Gold Leaf red and gold colouring was added to the Lotus 49 cars.
Within years the likes of John Player Special, Marlboro, and Embassy had joined the ranks as they saw possibilities to achieve some form of advertising that had been banned across many markets previously.
By the 80’s and 90’s brands such as Gitanes, West, Barclay and Rothmans had been added to the Formula One tobacco roll call. In 1996 Ferrari signed over title sponsorship to Marlboro for the following season and in a precursor to Santander’s declaration that Ferrari is the number one attraction globally for sponsors, they broke their ties with Mclaren that had carried the legendary day glo orange and white logo since 1974.
As ever tightening regulations were introduced by various governments – signage displaying a tobacco products name was replaced by careful wording that was unmistakably skirting the law. Benson and Hedges on the Jordan became Be On Edge or West signage on Mclaren became the drivers names, Mika or David.
When the European laws governing events on European soil and TV distribution finally changed, all teams had been weaned off the addiction to the hundreds of millions of tobacco dollars except for Ferrari who continued their association with clever use of a bar code rather than wording.
It remained this way for a couple of seasons before warnings were issued that the barcode had to be removed as also the naming of the team as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. In spite of this, Marlboro has continued it’s association with the Maranello concern and their Italian partner team Ducati carries the same arrangement which was promoted annually by the winter Vroom event for both squads.
As ever in Formula One, designs are not forgotten and rumours have appeared in recent days that Lotus has been in contact with Imperial Tobacco about a potential sponsorship arrangement to revive the legendary JPS black and gold colours.
To the casual observers it makes no sense, after all tobacco sponsorship is banned but the Lotus team are running in the glorious black and gold livery and without question even without the legendary ‘JPS’ on the flanks – most fans have rejoiced at the livery chosen.
Simon Evans – Head of Communications at Imperial Tobacco – said “Our company would never embark on initiatives that amount to a breach of the law. I don’t have any knowledge of the details of the agreement between Philip Morris International and Ferrari. I can only repeat that we do not seek a sponsorship agreement with a team.”
Of course Lotus would be offering the historical connection as a reason to promote the brand but Imperial would appreciate it is getting advertising for free irrespective of outlay. As everybody knows, business is business – nothing personal.
MotoGP to sing in the Welsh Valley from 2015
Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow will all be plying their trade in the Welsh Valleys from next season after MotoGP signed a 5 year contract withe Circuit of Wales. Although with the circuit still to be built, it is very likely that the Circuit of Wales board will allow the series to remain at Silverstone or even a return to Donington.
Chief executive MIchael Carrick confirmed: “Our agreement with Dorna is a significant landmark in the development of the Circuit of Wales, MotoGP is the pinnacle of global motorcycle racing.”
“We look forward to meeting those expectations when we welcome MotoGP to Wales from 2016 and we are now working closely with Dorna and the FIM, MotoGP’s governing body, with regard to the 2015 British round of the MotoGP World Championship.”
If this all sounds familiar, it may be because you read about it originally on TJ13 back on 24th March in a news article titled ‘Silverstone writes to David Cameron‘.
Construction of this motor-sport facility was meant to have initiated back in spring but delays in planning permission have set the dates back. Investors have also seemingly turned their backs on the forecasted profits to be made and the application for support from the Welsh and UK governments for £50m has only found agreement from the Welsh side – unsurprisingly.
Back in March Richard Phillips, Silverstone’s managing director wrote to British Prime MInister – David Cameron – to prevent the funding of the Welsh project. “An injection of funds by the Welsh and/or UK governments to the Circuit of Wales project would amount to a transfer of state resources, which gives Circuit of Wales an economic and selective advantage over other circuits. As such, it could amount to illegal state aid.”
Around the same time Jonathan Plamer, chairman of AMRCO which represents 17 UK race tracks includinghis own Brands Hatch said: “An investment of this magnitude will never produce a return for investors. It is a real concern that this will turn into a white elephant at the expense of much needed public funds and we hope this project will new be subject to careful scrutiny by Welsh government inspectors and the Wales Audit office.”
Unsurprisingly, despite mounting political pressure, there are many concerns over the project with countless Freedom of Information requests being rejected.