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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 2005 – Juan Pablo Montoya, most naturally gifted driver or…
Personally I have never been completely sold on the abilities fans raved about back in the day. Even to this day a self-destructive career path has not made his time in F1 any easier to define him. Was he misunderstood, a lout, charismatic, uncouth – the mind boggles. When people speak about Lewis Hamilton being unsettled within himself, then he doesn’t come close to the fiery Colombian.
From his first races with the WIlliams team he drew attention and criticism in equal measures. As the replacement for the British Jenson Button he had to have balls and as a contemporary of Michael Schumacher was possibly the only man the German feared physically, although on track Schumacher’s intelligence usually won the battles.
On this day in 2005, the glorious V10’s sang their tune for the last time around the fabled Royal Park of Monza and Montoya took victory from the Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella. During the race, JPM set a record for the highest ever top speed recorded by an F1 car – 372.6 km/h (231.5 mph). Astonishing to think that an engine just over half the size could possibly be in the same ball park this weekend – that’s progress.
Vettel plays for time in regards Mclaren offer
The first piece to move in the chess game that is Formula One was Fernando Alonso declaring he was staying at Ferrar – for now. Whatever the ultimate situation is in the future, he has spoken of staying at the team beyond his current contract and is negotiating terms for its extension.
This in turn has forced Honda to switch their attention to the second driver on their list, Sebastien Vettel. However, Seb has requested time before he makes any decision to sever the apron strings.
TJ13 sources are suggesting Honda have in fact fallen behind schedule with the development of the engine which would explain why they won’t be testing after the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi. This allied with Mclaren’s poor form over the last two years, is sufficient for the German to be considering things very carefully.
With his poor season showing no sign of improving and his team-mate having won three times this year and getting stronger, Red Bull have gravitated to the naturally cheerful Ricciardo leaving Vettel rather looking at the end of his natural cycle with the squad.
Red Bull former head of aerodynamics, Peter Prodromou, started at McLaren three days ago, so it isn’t hard to deduce Vettel will be digging for information as to the surety of the foundations Mclaren have laid for next year. With a number of engineers having exited Woking, as yet not replaced, it may be some time before Mclaren are in a position to win.
As hypothesised by Alonso last year – Vettel’s four titles may have become a something of a millstone around his neck and his next decision is crucial for his career progression. Alonso told Italy’s La Stampa that he had not been surprised by Vettel’s struggles this year. “I don’t know what problems Vettel is having this year, but I have not changed my mind about him – he is not the best. It is others who have to change their opinion. In my opinion, Lewis Hamilton is the best driver.” – or HAM as he’s known to his friend
“I’m not bitter” says Alguersuari after three years
In mid December 2011, Jaime Alguesuari and Sebastien Buemi were unceremoniously sacked by the Toro Rosso overseer Helmut Marko. To suggest they had had long enough to establish their credentials in F1 is debatable, but as discussed in this article – it was the late in the year timing of the pairs dismissal which was stunning.
Speaking recently, Alguersari expressed: “At the moment I don’t consider Formula One as a sport, it has lost everything because of the engines, the tyres and the performance in general. Driving the cars was difficult – very difficult – but today a 16-year-old can get into cars that are five or six seconds slower than they were and be competitive.”
“I find it disrespectful that someone like Carlos Sainz Jr, leading an international series like the world series that takes many years of training, is overlooked in what looks like a non-sporting decision. It seems that what is most important is the business and the money to be made.”
“I’ve moved on, (Ed: clearly not) I just say, publicly and openly, that I do not want to know anything about Formula One because I think what is happening is ridiculous and shameful for me and many other drivers who are at the level to be there.”
Three years on, the bitterness and rancour of the young Spaniard is clear in each of his utterances, though others have expressed similar concerns over F1, particularly regarding the ease with which Formula One cars can be driven by junior racing drivers.
As to Red Bull – of course theirs is a marketing decision but it seems with many of the older generation decrying the state of Formula One and how it was better in the old days, there is an army of people watching a sport dying because the young don’t interact with it on a social level.
Red Bull is aggressive in their marketing which is interestingly aimed at the young, so it must surely be the older non ‘social media’ savvy generation who dislike the ‘fizzy drinks’ manufacturer’s approach.
Then we can’t have it both ways – can we?
James Allison brings hope to the Ferrari faithful
Ferrari’s Technical Director, James Allison, was speaking to some journalists before the Italian Grand Prix weekend and answered a few of their questions about the team’s future direction.
He admitted that the current F14-T is lacking in both power and aerodynamic downforce but crucially also in the suspension and various systems. It is these aspects that have been the focus of Maranello for some months. “At the start of the project we made choices as to which areas we have to work on to end up being competitive. We have decided on the architecture of the car and in the coming months we will work on its performance based on the decisions we have taken.”
Has much been changed? “It will be different in every area”
“Our car’s reliability has never been a weak point, I think we have finished more races than anyone else. We have never had to retire with a technical problem linked to the car in the race and generally, our team at the track is one of the strongest ever seen in Formula 1. It’s a team that doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Of course the recent talk has been about Renault and Ferrari wanting to have the engine freeze rules relaxed for next season onwards; which considering the current domination of the Mercedes unit makes a mockery that the others have their hands tied in trying to recover performance. In a season of such huge technical change, the lack of testing before this year and the restrictive rules have highlighted the impotency of the FIA’s governance of F1.
But Allison suggests that what most believe to be restrictive changes to be made for next season are actually more liberal than the media would have us believe: “It’s true you can’t change every part of the engine, but the regulations say the majority of parts that can make a difference in terms of performance on the engine are still free. The 48% is not a binding figure and can be misleading compared to what are the real opportunities to improve the power output of the power unit. The way is completely open when it comes to the rules.”
”In fact, our problem is not the rules, it’s the time needed to close such a big gap. Therefore we must make the most of every available minute from now to the final moment before the homologation date, which is 28 February 2015. But as I said at the start, it’s not just the engine which has to improve, the chassis needs to also, as does the suspension and every part of the car. I don’t know if we can close the gap in just one year. We are trying, but as Mattiacci said, we are also looking at the medium to long-term future, not just the short term.”
“He wants to get this team back to being ahead of all the rest and to have it stay there for many years. Having said that, we are working as hard as possible for next year, to have a much more competitive car. At the same time however, we are establishing the basis to make Ferrari the benchmark team in Formula 1.”
As Aldo Costa stated a few weeks ago, when the racing department went to Il Padrino to request an updated wind-tunnel installed during 2008, he refused and said that the tools they had were sufficient. What possibly did not help their cause was that Ferrari won the Constructors title that year. But as in any business, not investing doesn’t mean you stand still, you fall behind because the competition will continue to push forward.
Pat Fry joined the team in 2010 with the role of assistant technical director under Aldo Costa. By 2011 he had been moved to director of chassis and was reporting directly to Domenicali. Speaking to the British press at the time – he claimed that Ferrari’s computer and simulation infrastructure was some years behind the best of the competitors and that it would require 2-3 years before Ferrari were in a position to challenge for the title.
Three years later it is still a mystery to many fans how Fry and, to an extent, Nicolas Tombasiz still have a position within the Gestione Sportiva.
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Teammate war ‘valuable’ for F1, Mercedes – Haug
F1 should thank the warring Mercedes teammates for their spicy championship battle in 2014. That is the view of Norbert Haug, the former Mercedes chief who is today removed from the stresses that his successors Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and Niki Lauda are facing as they manage the imploding relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Indeed, Mercedes has apparently struggled to handle the fallout of the silver-clad duo’s clash in Belgium two weeks ago, but Haug sees the controversy differently.
Unlike Wolff and Lauda, who heavily criticised and actually formally reprimanded Rosberg, he thinks the incident at Spa-Francorchamps was nothing out of the ordinary. “It should not happen, but it can happen — even among teammates,” Haug told Sport Bild. “Especially when they are the only opponents for the world title and – rightly – when they are racing without team orders. Hamilton and Rosberg are battling it out on the track, which I see as particularly valuable for the Silver Arrows.”
Mercedes’ new management has regarded the Spa crash as bad for the German marque’s image, but Haug thinks any damage will be quickly forgotten. “After a clean 1-2 victory at Monza, Spa will be yesterday’s news,” he said. And, anyway, he thinks that without the Hamilton-Rosberg battle for 2014 glory, “the world championship would not be even half as interesting in my opinion”.
He says incidents like Spa are unavoidable when a wheel-to-wheel battle for the title is taking place. “You don’t make omelette without breaking eggs,” Haug is quoted by Germany’s Sky. “I have seen it with David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen, with Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Fighting between two teammates was not invented this year!” he exclaimed.
Haug also said that if Mercedes had decided to impose team orders after Spa, the value of championship victory at the end would have been “less than half”. According to team Niki Lauda, the idea is to get the Mercedes duo clear of any third party title rival by the Abu Dhabi finale and then release Hamilton and Rosberg to fight unfettered for the drivers’ crown. “Then, sparks can sometimes fly, because we do not care which of them is first and which is second at the end,” the F1 legend told Auto Motor und Sport.
TJ13 comment:JPM vs Kimi – check. Fred vs Bling Bling – check. DC vs FF – stop it Norbert, OMG who said that Germans lacked a sense of humour!
DC was treated as the number three in a 2 car team. Twice he was forced to give up race wins because Mika kept tripping over his own shadow. Once handed a Newey designed Macca, with the advantage of having switched to Bridgestones against a Schumacher in a limping donkey all it needed was DC’s submission – check!
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Schumacher could return home by Christmas
Michael Schumacher could leave a rehabilitation clinic and return home by Christmas. That is the claim of the German weekly Bunte, citing sources at the facility in Lausanne where the F1 legend is recuperating after his long coma and skiing fall last December.
The report said it is possible Schumacher, 45, could return home to his mansion on the shore of Lake Geneva by Christmas. But the news is not all good. Bunte claims: “He (Schumacher) needs constant assistance throughout the day. And nobody is prepared to say how long it will be before his motor, language and memory skills are restored”.
TJ13 comment: As a champion driver, Schumacher was loved/ hated/ known around the world. As a tragic victim of an accident – that anybody could suffer on the slopes – he became a human tragedy whose legacy may lead to better safety in skiing. But – the hospital where he was treated stated at the time that they dealt with many severe head injuries a year. It was just ill-fortune.
As ever, the family have said nothing to the media, it is always simply a source that is cited which keeps lawyers away from the publications door. From everything that has been officially released and expert medical opinions offered – the prognosis tends to be that it would require a miracle for MSC to have any form of life again.
Ta Da! Sleeping ‘Beauty’ awakes
In probably the most pathetically transparent piece of comment but no comment from the president of the FIA, one of Jean Todt’s side kicks – Ari Vatanen – expresses his ‘personal’ views that the Russian GP should be cancelled.
Vatanen poses a rhetorical question, “Do we support the regime who is masterminding this bloodshed? Or do we say this is not correct?
It would send a message of acceptance if we went to Russia. It would say we condone, effectively, maybe not explicitly, but by our actions we condone what is going on because it is used in propaganda.
It is often said that Formula One should not mix politics and sport, but the Russian regime is already mixing politics and sport in a blatant way, so we have to respond. It is for Bernie and the owners to cancel the race.
It is an unprecedented situation since the Second World War, and we have to ask ourselves how history will remember us and what we did or did not do.”
Of course Ecclestone is quite chummy with Vladimir Putin, following his personal invitation to the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, More importantly, we can be sure that Mr. E has already counted the 7,400,000,000 roubles Putin has promised him over the next 5 years.
Ari Vatenan ran against Todt for the presidency of the FIA in 2009, but is now a close ally and confident of Le Presidente. The Finn is also the head of the Estonian Motorsport Federation, former member of the European parliament and a signatory to the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.
Given the latter, Vatanen’s views are hardly unexpected, however he reveals, “Of course Jean knows about my comments”, adding “I think he partly shares my view”.
The blatant apologetic continues, “It is true that his hands are tied. I can say things much more openly and freely than he can. I’m not saying he agrees with everything that I say, but he has a much more reduced room for manoeuvre. He cannot do big moves one day to another. Any movement by people starting to talk about it and then it can spread and lead to action.”
So Le Presidente wants us to know he’s not really in favour of the Russian GP going ahead. Ta Da!!!
It might be possible that Ari Vatanen explain to Jean Todt he is the head of the regulatory body of world motorsport – and he can prevent the race with a stroke of his pen.
This is another example of the insipid leadership the Frenchman has brought to he FIA as he washes his hands of the matter and kicks it into the court of the money changers…. Mmm….A Judge whose lost his gavel.
WOW. How Sorry is Nico
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” JK Rowling.
Nico has been doing a lot of ‘understanding’ by the looks of it recently. In his column for the Daily Mail he writes today about the events in Spa and his response.
Here are excerpts from a very long piece.
“I had to take responsibility for what happened because it was my error of judgement…. I did not do a good enough job to avoid a collision between our two cars.
I have since apologised to everybody that I can; starting with the fans….
I have apologised to my team, and to everybody involved with the team… I have also apologised to Lewis.
I really hope my apology will be accepted by the Formula One fans….I hope that in time they will accept my apology.(booing fans)…. the collision was my responsibility
I have to accept that I made a mistake and to apologise…. one driver is more responsible than the other, then there will be consequences. I’ve accepted that”.
So we now know what Nico’s punishment was – doing lines!
“I must accept responsibility and I’m truly sorry……..I must accept responsibility and I’m truly sorry…….I must accept responsibility and I’m truly sorry……I must accept…..”.
Niki Lauda was apoplectic following the chequered flag in Spa, calling down fire and brimstone on the team’s German driver.
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” Elizabeth Gilbert.
The love has clearly been flowing from Mercedes because – miracle of miracles – Niki Lauda too has been accepting some responsibility.
Nico reveals, “Niki has since apologised for what he said and, in the heat of the moment you often say things that you regret – that has happened to all of us”.
Good job Nico was wearing his anti fire and brimstone helmet, otherwise Lauda may be living with a lifetime of unappeasable regret.
“His eyes are so intense I want to look away . . . or never look away, I can’t decide.” Kasie West.
Clearly the Leprechaun in Brackley has been been putting his foot down – and doing the ‘eye thing’… you know the … “DON’T F^&K WITH ME” look.
We know this because Nico also reveals, “Last Friday, Lewis, Paddy Lowe, Toto Wolff and I met for talks at our headquarters in Brackley and it was very intense”.
It was obviously Lowe doing the ‘eye thing’ because Neither Wolff or Lauda can stop speaking long enough to be able to concentrate on doing the ‘eye thing’ which requires effort. Further, silence re-enforces the ‘eye thing’ better than a constant verbal stream of disconnected consciousness…
Then again, it may have been the torrent of white noise, which Nico found intense…
No matter. ‘Bouncebackability’ is clearly another characteristic this impressive young German driver is displaying this year, as Nico concludes, “Since Spa, I have been in the simulator preparing for Monza” and that “I am feeling good and I’m in full-on attack mode heading into this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix”.
I guess there’s just one response to that fiery arrow………”GO NICO!!!”
More resurfacing at Monza
It appears it’s not just the Parabolica run off area getting a shiny new surface. Charlie is getting a bit carried away though now.
Big Surprise at the FIA Press Conference
Captions on a SAE please
First Glimspe at Haas F1 car (from @WTF1)
Luca Di Montezemolo resignation imminent and Hamilton gets an offer from Ferrari
Having penned “The Family losing its grip on Ferrari’ the first week of August, TJ13 has been following the story closely in the Daily News and Comment. As predicted in the feature on 5th August, Il Padrino would be stepping down from his role as President of Ferrari and has since been appointed as CEO of AlItalia.
TJ13 has been informed today that Luca Corda Di Montezemolo will formally resign his position from Ferrari following the Italian GP.
This opens the door for Ross Brawn to return to the Red Team, with Marco Mattiacci taking over from Montezemolo.
The appointment of the next President of Ferrari is key to the next part of Mattiacci’s master plan.
Were John Elkann to be appointed ‘acting President’, this would suggest Ferrari believe they have got their man to run the Scuderia, but for now Mattiacci stays on. If the role of President is made permanent next week with either Elkann or Marchionne named, then as we’ve ‘carped’ on about – Brawn will most likely emerge soon at McLaren.
Montezemolo refused to countenance recruiting Lewis Hamilton, and this issue amongst others has seen the tide of favour turn against him. Il Padrino’s departure now opens the door for Lewis to join the Maranello outfit.
XIX leaking this information is a clever move on their part as it bolsters Hamilton’s position, which some would argue has been marginalised in Brackley since the departure of Ross Brawn.
Hamilton will be persuaded by his advisors that he is better off out of Mercedes, for all the reasons Lewis has alluded too.
Most recently when describing the Mercedes AMG F1 management, a downbeat and philosophical Hamilton stated, “It reminds me of being at school … teachers will talk but they don’t do nothing, You just get a detention. They won’t even do that. There’s nothing you can do.”
Romain Grosjean claimed earlier today that it was Alonso who was the key to unlocking the game of driver musical chairs for next year. However, it will be Lewis Hamilton who is now holding the cards in this respect and whether or not he takes up the offer from Ferrari which is currently on the table.
Interestingly, Alonso revealed during the Monza press conference that the difficulties he encountered at McLaren 2007 were not down to Hamilton, and also the Spaniard addressed him as ‘Lewis’. “As I’ve said many times before it wasn’t a problem with Lewis, we had a very professional relationship and there were very competitive people inside the team – that was quite normal
I think in 2007 the team didn’t work as we wanted. It didn’t work because I was not happy with some of the philosophies and the team management at that point and had more possibilities to go into different teams the year after and we decided to go on from there. But I never had a problem with Lewis and it’s not a surprise today we still have a good relationship.”
Toto Wolff made an remarkable admission to the BBC late on Thursday when asked what the consequence would be if disciplinary action failed to control the drivers. “We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up. If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that.”
This smacks of laying the ground to be able to claim, ‘we decided Lewis would have to go’. Clearly Rosberg will not have broken any contractual obligations when clipping Lewis’ rear wheel in Spa, and further he has a freshly inked multi-year deal in his pocket to drive for Mercedes.
It is with sadness TJ13 waves a fond farewell to Il Padrino. His self obsessed behaviour and ‘from another reality’ comments and assertions, have kept us entertained for some years.
Maybe he and Bernie can buy an Island together with their retirement funds and daily smoke the pipe of peace whilst reminiscing over ‘the good old days’.
Further, this remarkable sequence of events will see the ‘Hamfosi’ and the ‘Tifosi’ wed in an inextricable union. A formidable force to be reckoned with. And following the disappointment of the much awaited fire and ice Royal Rumble – which never made the first bell – we now have the mouthwatering prospect of the might of Hollywood HAM pitted against the ancient ways of the Spanish Samurai.
Monza, Monza – always the place for seismic activity.