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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 2004 – Mclaren finally emerge from self-inflicted doom
If you have Adrian Newey on board then success is guaranteed; or so the popular opinion is within Formula One. But whatever the truth about Mclaren’s fabled matrix system, Newey at Mclaren failed miserably once Rory Byrne and Ferrari came on song.
In their desperation to counter what many believed was a perfect Ferrari system, Newey developed ideas that pushed the boundaries of physics into esoteric realms with the experiments culminating in the abject failure called the MP4/19. A reworking of the previous seasons MP4/18 proved no more competitive and Mclaren undertook a hugely expensive campaign to build the 19B which debuted in France.
On this day, Kimi Raikkonen took the vastly improved ‘B’ spec car to victory in Belgium. Starting the race from 10th position, safety cars and cold conditions aided his drive to the front. Of particular importance for his win was the fact that the Michelins had vastly quicker heating up properties in comparison to the Bridgestones on the Ferrari. At the restart, Raikkonen passed a slithering Schumacher and romped away to victory.
Schumacher began to close once his tyres had reached their operating temperature but failed by three seconds to take victory. The Mclaren victory was only the second time that season that Schumacher had failed to win a race – a scarcely unbelievable twelve victories from fourteen races.
Jordan attacks Mercedes management
In Italy, they have Giancarlo Minardi. In Canada they have been blessed with Jacques Villeneuve but for our sins in the UK we have the imported lunacy that is known as Eddie Jordan.
There are times his questions failed to make sense to even his co-hosts, leaving Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard smirking whilst they attempted to recover some broadcasting ability. It can only be imagined what the BBC executives thought when he introduced one of the most famous musicians of the last fifty years, Paul Mcartney, as deceased fellow band member George Harrison.
Yet at times, his nuggets of insider information have left people bemused with his audacity and then staggered by his accuracy. For instance he was one of the first to put his name to the suggestion that Lewis Hamilton had signed for Mercedes. All parties denied this rumour at the Italian Grand Prix yet mere weeks later, Niki Lauda proudly confirmed that Lewis was indeed joining the Silver Arrows.
With his sporadic visits to the Grand Prix circuits this year, we have heard far fewer brown-nosing comments from the fashionably dyslexic Irishman and less seismic revelations. Which probably explains why he is so late to the party in regards his views on Ross Brawn and Mercedes.
“The fault of what happened at Spa is down to the team. They said they were allowing them to race and there would be no team orders, yet in Hungary they made a mistake by issuing them. Hamilton didn’t respect the instruction who didn’t want to let Rosberg past because they are fighting for the championship.”
“But who is there to tell them that whether right or wrong they have to be followed. I remember clearly Ross telling Rosberg that he wasn’t allowed to pass Lewis. If Brawn had been on the pitfall at Spa the SIlver Arrows would have finished 1-2. The drivers are like spoilt children who just do what they choose.”
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Ferrari looking to Haas for F1 ‘satellite’ team
Ferrari is looking to deploy the Red Bull-like approach of installing a ‘satellite’ team in formula one. Alarmed by its poor start to the new turbo V6 era, it has been all change at Maranello in 2014, including the ousting of boss Stefano Domenicali and engine chief Luca Marmorini.
New chief Marco Mattiacci is now plotting a further change of gear for the iconic marque. “We have decided to invest in new infrastructures and people to create a more modern and slimmed down organisation, but one that at the same time puts the emphasis on the team and on individuality,” he said recently.
One of the new strategies, according to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, is following the lead of Red Bull by having a Toro Rosso-like ‘B-team’. Ferrari has historically had close alliances with ‘customer’ teams, such as Sauber, and also Marussia, where leading team ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi is currently housed.
The report said Ferrari is not looking to ‘buy’ a second team, as Red Bull did with Minardi, but to trial and develop technology with a preferred partner team. The obvious candidate is the new American team, set to debut in 2016. Gene Haas’ machine tool company Haas Automation has already joined Ferrari as a sponsor.
Haas also intends to deploy Ferrari technology throughout its F1 project, while other ‘academy’ drivers like Raffaele Marciello and Antonio Fuoco are frontrunners to take a race seat. La Gazzetta said that, ahead of the Haas tie-up, Mattiacci is lobbying hard for alterations to the rules in terms of the allowed transfer of technology between teams.
He also wants teams to be allowed to use more components and engines per season, and a relaxation of the engine development ‘freeze’.
“To return to winning ways, Ferrari must first think of improving itself, the performance of the group and the development of the car,” Mattiacci said recently. “We must be innovative and ahead of the others. As for making its weight felt, the voice of Ferrari, one of formula one’s main players, is always listened to: clearly we need to work with common interests to truly understand what formula one should be in the future,” he added.
TJ13 comment: Stop the press! Stop the press! Mattiacci has been trained by LdM and Enzo’s ghost. We are Ferrari and we won’t play with the others if you don’t follow our rules.
The chambers have been speculating for some time as to the reasons behind Mattiacci’s true appointment. With LdM still ‘in charge’ at Maranello observers have to respect what the company reports but as suggested when Gene Haas first put forward his proposal of entering F1 it appears that the intention was always to be a satellite team to Ferrari.
As to his rhetoric about improving itself, the group and development of the car, it seems that the senior management have finally caught on to secret behind the other teams design culture. Wasn’t it the racing department that wanted a new wind-tunnel six years ago..
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Teen Verstappen ‘not ready’ for 2015 debut – Hakkinen
Mika Hakkinen has added yet another disparaging response to the news Max Verstappen will make history next year as by far F1’s youngest ever driver. And the 1998 and 1999 world champion does not only criticise Red Bull’s decision to sign the young Dutchman just half a year out of karts, but also his former F1 rival Jos Verstappan, who is Max’s father and manager.
“In no case is a driver ready for formula one at 16 or 17,” Hakkinen said in an interview with his sponsor Hermes. Hakkinen, who was involved in Valtteri Bottas’ management and also has a son (Hugo) in the world of highly-competitive karting, insisted: “Either as a manager or a father, I would never let a driver as young as that race in F1. It’s too early, and if it fails, it can cause considerable damage,”
Meanwhile, Hakkinen said Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo cannot be ruled out of the running for the 2014 world championship, amid the escalating in-team battle between dominant Mercedes’ warring teammates. “Mercedes’ dominance has decreased compared to what we saw at the beginning of the season,” he noted. “In my view, Ricciardo is dangerous. He drives for a team that has won the championship several times in a row, they have a lot of experience in these situations and show a lot of composure. At Mercedes, there is more pressure and the conflict between the drivers is not helpful to the aim of bringing home the title.”
And he predicted that despite Mercedes’ concerted efforts to cool the feud between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the pair will continue to wage their war. “Both drivers will be saying ‘Hey, I want to be world champion’. Of course,” Hakkinen explained, “the team can implement internal rules, like collisions early in the race cannot happen under any circumstances. But then the next race comes. I believe that despite every effort, no one will be able to stop the intense competition between Nico and Lewis.”
TJ13 comment: It appears that the recruitment of Verstappen by Red Bull will continue to make waves through until the 2015 season begins. Some have considered arguments whereas others seem to be stuck in the belief that Formula One is still comparable to their time in the sport.
As to fears of Red Bull being a dangerous adversary, when their poor start to the year is taken into account and historically their progress after the summer break is unparalled by the others, concerns within Mercedes must be mounting. As an ambassador for Mercedes – the source of Hakkinen’s words could well be senior management within the Stuttgart concern.
Caterham on the brink of extinction
Rumours are reaching the Judge’s inner chambers about the health of Caterham F1. The team are appearing in court today against the ex-employees who are seeking damages after being made redundant without warning.
With the team costing airline tycoon, Tony Fernandes, £500k a week he gave it all away including the assets to the new Swiss/Middle Eastern consortium run by Colin Kolles supposedly backed by Arab money. The first move by the new ‘owners’ was to make 50 employees redundant without warning so as “to prioritse the future of the team”
Chris Felton, partner at Gardner Leader law firm, said “the employees concerned were dismissed without consultation or warning, either in person or on the telephone”.
“They have not been paid for July or offered any further payments in accordance with their contract or their employment rights,” Felton added. “The fact that they are not being told anything at all by Caterham is concerning.”
“Running roughshod over employees’ rights is not usual behaviour in Formula One where, although difficult decisions are sometimes made about appointments, employees are always adequately compensated and usually treated with dignity by their teams.
“We would not expect any former Caterham employee to be prejudiced for standing up for their rights when they have been unfairly dismissed with no pay for July, no future earnings and families to support.
“The FIA expect certain standards from its F1 teams and it is these standards we are asking them to uphold and provide assurances that the new owners of Caterham are seen as fit and proper.”
The solicitor has told them that they will win the case, which is to be expected, seeing as the fee involved included an initial payment of £150 per person. The class action the legal team are chasing is for £30k per person of which they are contracted for 10% of the victory.
Caterham have funds in place that will see the team survive until the middle of October which is why Kamui Kobayashi stepped down in favour of Andre Lotterer last weekend and Roberto Merhi is scheduled to drive the Monza weekend. These pay drivers are bringing between £0.5-1 million per weekend which allows the team to continue, but if the todays case goes against the Caterham owners, their time in Formula One will be over.
One thing that won’t save Caterham is holding out for the $35million payment that the teams are paid for arriving in Australia. Bernie Ecclestone does a health check around the September/ October period which prevents this form of action.
Which could well explain one of the more spurious rumours emanating from the Leafield factory that it is being stripped of equipment at night time which is then taken to a holding company in Germany close to the old Toyota premises. Against this background, staff have been ‘borrowing’ equipment themselves to use as collateral…
Niki Lauda changes tune – again
Mercedes’ chief rantist Niki Lauda, who blasted Rosberg mere minutes after the checquered flag as being the sole culprit and had recently updated his stance on Nico’s move to “unforgivable mistake” and “a huge damage for Lewis and the Mercedes brand as a whole”, did now change his tune to “normal racing accident, that came however at the wrong time and the wrong place.”
It makes one wonder if Niki might have long-term memory problems as in forgetting what he said yesterday, or if the fact that the head honcho of Mercedes-Benz, Dieter Zetsche, has thrown in his two cents on the matter has anything to do with the U-turn that is remarkable even for someone as two-faced as Lauda.
Lauda confirmed that Zetsche had summoned him to a talk and that Zetsche was ‘not amused’ about the public image the team is currently presenting. The F1 team meanwhile is busy on Twitter, asking their followers what sort of sanctions they are supposed to impose on Rosberg. The options seem to range from a one-race time-out to setting quali slots or imposing team orders, although the latter was voted against by 92% of the users. Considering that most of the Mercedes followers are likely to be Hamfosi, they’ll probably get ‘creative’ suggestions like public beheading or immediate dismissal.
The one question that presents itself however: If even Lauda now claims that it was a normal racing incident, if perhaps a rather unfortunate one, why is there a need for punishing Nico? Isn’t the nature of a racing incident that, while avoidable, it is not a punishable offense?