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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 1976 – The extraordinary power of the human spirit
“Rush’ gave the story a Hollywood sheen, a dramatic realisation of a story that truly defied the scriptwriters but ultimately a story of the staggering courage of one man who demonstrated just what humans are capable of when they choose to harness their ability properly.
From an author who can move the readers to tears, to the artist who captures your soul and forever scars its memory upon you – humans move one another. The horrifying crash that Niki Lauda endured has gone into Formula One folklore and almost forty years later it’s just a footnote in history.
Yet on this day, in 1976, Lauda took his position on the starting grid at Monza; just six weeks after having received the last rites. In an era which is considered the most dangerous in F1 history this superhuman effort is almost impossible to quantify now and his legacy as a racing driver has been diminished with his poor performances at race management.
To enter a war zone as a trained soldier is fearsome, as I would imagine flying into space in the early pioneering days was – but to get into a car after being roasted alive when he could just have easily walked away takes a different form of courage. Mr Lauda, we thank you for demonstrating that a human being truly has no limits if they desire it sufficiently.
Mercedes drivers. Job Done
Verstappen has first proper run in F1 car
Max Verstappen recently completed his first test of a Formula One car driving a 2012 Toro Rosso at the Adria International Raceway in Italy. The young boy completed 148 laps of the 1.7-mile circuit to qualify for an F1 superlicence.
Xevi Pujolar, who will be Verstappen’s race engineer for his debut season in 2015, was highly impressed with the youngster’s performance.
“Max started his run on Intermediates and got up to speed, making no mistakes. We worked through various procedures that make up a race weekend. He was very focused and precise and learned quickly, without having to ask many questions.”
“Once we were able to fit slicks, he got used to the car in the dry and built up his speed, while we tried various fuel levels, replicating both qualifying and race trim, doing a mix of short and long runs. For a first day, it was very impressive.”
Which is all well and good except it highlights an important point. Namely that a still maturing, gaunt and skinny teenager had no problems running 300 miles in a Formula One car.
Why is this significant? Because years ago drivers who were unaccustomed to an F1 car would suffer neck problems within a handful of laps. Even the fittest of them all, Schumacher, had a training machine which built up weights so he could train his neck.
Yet no driver complains anymore and in fact this year many drivers have said how much easier the cars are to drive compared to recent seasons. This may be a 2012 heritage but it would still have significantly more downforce and the V8 engine as used that season. The ease with which a new driver can adapt to F1 could well be the reasoning behind the FIA banning pit-stop radio. Their rhetoric is to make the drivers heroes again, something that Formula One in their chase of aero performance has simply forgotten.
Verstappen added: “I was looking forward to my first drive in a Formula 1 car on a proper race track and I really enjoyed it. It was a good opportunity to work with Xevi, who will be my race engineer next year, as well as having a chance to get used to all the buttons on the steering wheel. I think it went well and I can’t wait to get back into a Formula 1 car as soon as possible.”
It’s reassuring that he said steering wheel rather than control pad..
“Da Boss” Marchionne – makes sweeping changes advised by Mattiacci<?strong>
Sergio Marchionne doesn’t officially take over the Maranello presidency until October 14th when Il Padrino steps down, he is a FIAT company man that has turned round an ailing concern in FIAT/ Chrysler and placed it in a powerful position globally – yet within four days in Maranello has determined that the Power Unit is the biggest priority to sort out.
Of course as a business genius we have to assume this man has intelligence but to suggest that he understands the sport of F1 when his lieutenant has been universally derided for not being F1 is somewhat naive.
It goes without saying that Marco Mattiacci has briefed him throughout and the machinations happening behind the scenes will all make sense over the remainder of 2014 but for all the chest-beating it’s somewhat saddening that the previous tenant wasn’t fully aware of what was happening within his realm.
Marchionne: “We know the problem, we have a power unit problem. I have faith in Ferrari and its sporting arm, and that it will be able to resurrect as it did in the past. The sporting arm continues to be an essential element for Ferrari. We’ll work in order to try to win, because it’s part of this company’s DNA.”
“The important thing is to get back to winning ways, this is essential. The problem is not about the problem we have here on the market. We need to give credibility to Ferrari on the track and fixed on that we need to return to the top. That will give us support to Ferrari. Winning on the track is something that is not negotiable. We must get there, and I don’t have the slightest doubt we’ll be able to do it.”
Luca Montezemolo then continued, “This is a very important day for me. Ferrari means culture. Ferrari means passion. Ferrari means to look ahead. That’s precisely what we have tried to do throughout these years on all fronts.”
Which is disconcerting when a number of ex-employees all sing from the same hymn-sheet in regards his dictatorial leadership which needed everything to be authorised by himself personally. Whilst that attitude of passion and culture underlines the business of selling dreams to customers it buys you nothing in the racing world.
Then the final proof that his self-aggrandisement and political ambitions had meant his not focusing on the task in hand. “We must develop a competitive car, the rest is just talk. Any second thoughts on the past? But as far as technicians yes, because as I said earlier we had a lack of specific knowledge in the power unit project.”
Mattiacci had learnt very quickly where the problems were and has taken control of the Gestione Sportiva by dismissing the dead wood and re-enforcing his trust in the others. In effect delegating the work accordingly and trusting the people. Luca Marmorini was an early dismissal not because his work was poor but essentially because he placed responsibility on everybody else. Hardly the actions of a proactive leader.
As “Da Boss’ said, the problem is not the market, the problem is on track.
(Sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Alonso source says Montezemolo exit ‘changes nothing’
Sources close to Fernando Alonso insist this week’s news from Maranello will not affect his future. Even before long-time Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’s demise, and the shock death of his friend and sponsor, Santander’s Emilio Botin, Alonso was already being linked with a move to McLaren.
Publications have suggested the week’s events at the increasingly crisis-struck Ferrari may be the final straw for an increasingly frustrated Alonso.
But a source close to the Ferrari driver, who remains under contract until 2016, told the Spanish sports daily Marca: “The press has overblown everything. For a driver, the arrival of a new president of the company does not change anything.”
Nonetheless, Montezemolo’s departure is big news not only for Ferrari but also for F1, as the 67-year-old was a powerful influence. Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, whose relationship with Montezemolo dates all the way back to his driving days at Ferrari, said this week’s news was a surprise.
“In my opinion Montezemolo didn’t want to go to Alitalia, he has been the president of Ferrari for 23 years and he achieved so many things. But, as happens in all companies, when things start to go wrong it is logical that these changes occur,” F1 legend Lauda told Italian-language Metro.
“I understand (Sergio) Marchionne and I am not critical of his decision. I hope to meet him soon, now that he is president of Ferrari, to talk about formula one. It will not be easy to bring Ferrari back to the competitiveness of the past, but it is the right time to make decisions for the following season,” said Lauda.
“It was the time for a change. It will be hard for them to come back this year but they can plan for next season and get to work to improve the engine, which is Ferrari’s real problem,” he added.
TJ13 comment: It’s interesting that Lauda feels the need to appease the Ferrari team. A few months back he made the relevant point that Ferrari and Mclaren had built ‘shit’ cars and merely days later his connection with LdM and Ferrari made him apologise internationally for what he had said. The interesting omission being that he made no effort to apologise to Mclaren for whom he also drove.
As to this week’s news being a surprise, here at the towers we ask again, just how far have these guys got their heads – buried in the sand. The fraternity in the paddock has been running round the goldfish bowl believing that F1 is all that matters and they are lauded by the official press who will repeat ad nauseum everything that they are told.
As to Alonso, whether he stays or whether he goes, Marchionne won’t be interested his concern is for profits and brand which is why winning is so important. But one thing is for certain, the Asturian had no time for Luca despite the public niceties.