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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 1980 – Gilles Villeneuve survives huge accident
In 1994 Roland Ratzenberger succumbed to injuries he received during an accident at the Villeneuve corner. His front wing had failed, folded under the front wheels and he hit the concrete wall with sickening violence. The state-of-the-art carbonfibre tub came to rest with a hole in the monocoque and the driver unconscious.
Following this black weekend the authorities had to be seen to act and so the Imola circuit profile was changed with a chicane installed before the Villeneuve bend.
Yet 14 years previously a similar accident had proven that fate plays its hand everytime. On this day in 1980, on the 5th lap, Villeneuve suffered a tyre failure which launched his car into a horrific accident from which he leapt clear at the corner that would be renamed in his honour.
Before the introduction of carbon-fibre F1 cars were made of aluminum honey-comb; at the time recognised as the lightest and strongest material for these 200mph projectiles. Luck, and not the technology, meant that on this day the driver survived the accident.
Prost dynasty – Like father, like son
Alain Prost was a passable F1 driver. Unfortunately, his son has never achieved the same heady heights.. Prost Jr. led throughout the inaugural Formula E race and was ahead entering the final lap of the Beijing event.
The option of someone being faster didn’t quite compute, and as they approached the final corner Heidfeld began his over-taking move. The Frenchman glanced quickly in his right hand mirror before he cynically ploughed into Heidfeld’s car. Even Maldonado would describe such a move as ‘fairly nasty’.
Heidfeld: “I had been saving power and got a really good run out of the second to last corner; I was better on braking for the last corner and he braked early anyway. I was next to him and he moved over on me. That is clear, but he is a friend of mine [and team-mate at the Rebellion Racing World Endurance Championship squad], so I know he didn’t do it on purpose.”
Prost, meanwhile, initially accused Heidfeld of “totally overcooking it. I didn’t see him and it is disappointing to lose the victory like this. I was in the middle of the track when I braked for the corner, just to be safe. But he was next to me and already hit my wheel. I didn’t think he would try something like this.”
“There is no way to overtake there. The speed of the impact [with the wall] shows that he was going too fast,” he continued. “I was just starting to turn in at that point and he tried to dive-bomb me.”
Which belies the fact that the Frenchman was attempting to turn into the final corner some 100 metres earlier than he had the previous 24 laps of the race.. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the fact that young Prost didn’t go to check on his ‘friend’ to see if he was ok.
He did, however, later take to Twitter to accept responsibilty for the accident, saying: “I feel very bad about the incident and after looking at the videos I understand that I am responsible. I just did not see him, I feel very bad”
Needless to say, the 10 place grid penalty for the next race at Putrajaya, Malaysia takes a wee bit of wind out of the Prost attack. But it’s not the first time that a Prost has been involved in questionable driving in a World Championship – just that it normally plays out when a championship is at stake, eh Alain?
The four times F1 world champion claimed that he never thought that someone would “try such a suicidal move”. Unfortunately nobody but the Frenchman, who obviously suffers from a terminal detachment from reality, has yet identified an attempt to overtake someone named Prost as an offense punishable by death. Thankfully his son has a bit more common sense and later apologized to Heidfeld, if somewhat very belatedly.
FIA to investigate superlicence qualifying criteria
The FIA will be reviewing the issuing of the super licence system after several noted individuals have raised concerns about the way drivers qualify for them. Following the graduation of Max Vertsappen to F1 without completing a season in single seater racing, many inside the paddock and several noted ex drivers including Jacques Villeeuve have been vociferous of the state of play.
Following discussions at the recent Italian Grnad Prix, the FIA put out a statement: “A mandate has been given to the FIA Administration to review the qualification and conditions for the issuing of a super licence, in consultation with all parties concerned. A proposal will be put forward for WMSC approval in December for implementation in 2016.”
Eric Boullier also told Autosport: “there is not a clear path to F1. If you go to football, you have your academy and then you go to League 3, League 2 and League 1. Here we have different series and it is a bit confusing for drivers.”
“So the superlicence needs to be a little bit updated in the way it is given. Some series have disappeared, some series are still on, and the level of each series varies a lot.”
Marchionne promises to work like “madman” for Ferrari resurrection
During a recent launch of a new Jeep model, Sergio Marchionne spoke to the press about his ascendancy to the role of Ferrari president. “I was incredibly close to Ferrari and I started working with Luca (Montezemolo) about ten years ago during a difficult time. We shared in the development of the model line so effectively there is no-one else who can continue to take Ferrari forward.”
In 2004 Marchionne was assigned by Fiat heir John Elkann to take over the reins in Turin. In the past ten years he has overseen a complete turnaround of their fortunes from near-bankruptcy to claiming a place amongst the top 5 manufacturers in the world with their recent takeover of the Chyrsler group that Daimler-Mercedes failed with. At the same time, LdM was appointed the Chairman of Fiat so in effect the two worked closely.
With Marco Mattiacci installed at the Gestione Sportiva since April, changes in the Scuderia’s infrastructure is already in progress so the axe bearer won’t have as much work to put in place when he takes over on the 13th October. “How long am I willing to wait to return to the top? The minimum possible. I have committed myself to the team to work like hell to get Ferrari back winning. This is essential. Throughout, Luca and myself received messages from disappointed fans and this has bothered me for a long time.”
Which is an admirable sentiment from a man over-seeing a multi-billion dollar empire but unlikely to be the full truth. Ferrari is seen as the jewel in the crown of the Fiat-Chrysler corporation and with an imminent flotation scheduled in New York the intrinsic value of the company will rise with a healthy Ferrari.
And whilst Formula One teams believe the world revolves around them, the truth is that this sport is irrelevant to the conglomerate’s profit sheet. The likelihood is that Marchionne is the only man with the authority to oust Monte without too much of a power struggle before passing the control to one of his choosing – power that comes not only from the Fiat board but also from the fact he is on the board of directors of Phillip Morris, better known as Ferrari’s main sponsor Marlboro.
All we hear is, Radio Ga-Ga, Radio Goo-Goo…
Drivers being told what to do and when has long been a pet-peeve of fans. The battle of wills between Seb Vettel and his race engineer throughout the 2013 season have been a prime example of that. While ‘Rocky’ wanted to ‘save the car’, he was often brushed off by the German, who fancied himself a fastest lap or some doughnuts.
If it is for FIA, in a rare moment of ‘making sense’, these times are over as they plan to enforce §20.1 of the sporting regulation, that demands that ‘the driver operates the car unaided’. Gone could be the times of drivers being told at which angle and uttering which prayer they should attempt corner three.
Interestingly, Red Bull chief Christian Horner, the man who forgot how to operate a razor, likes the idea. “The drivers should be alone in the cockpit. You have to inform them about pitstops and anything pertaining security, but you need not tell them where their opponent shaves off a tenth of a second or which gear to use in which corner.”
Mercedes, meanwhile, fresh off a useless attempt at stage-managing a faux finale at Monza are not readily happy with the changed circumstances and Toto Wolff demands “clarification”. Maybe the Austrian is not convinced that Nico will miss the appropriate breaking points if the team is no longer allowed to tell him that his brakes need ‘saving’.
Ferrari, meanwhile, deploys the hand bags, citing that some drivers still can receive silent messages via LC display, while three teams (Sauber, Marussia, Caterham?) can’t. As this would hit two Ferrari teams the Italians are ‘molto pisse offed’.
FIA meanwhile, who seem to have found a can of ‘cojones’ in the back of the fridge, announce that they will run a ‘no-tolerance’ doctrine and will even go after messages that they think are coded instructions. Let the games commence…
Formula E boss Agag happy about Heidfeld crash
Not to be out-done by the short stuff from Suffolk in the cynicism department, Formula E boss Agag claims that the shunt of former Sauber, Williams, Jordan, Prost, BMW and Renault F1 driver Nick Heidfeld was “the best that could happen to us in terms of TV coverage”
The German, who was punted into a violent flip by his WEC team mate Nicola Prost might think a bit different. “What kind of sh!t was that?” the 37 year old is quoted as yelling over the team radio before climbing out of his wrecked car that belongs to the Venturi team, co-owned by Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio.
Another one, who most likely doesn’t share Agag’s ‘enthusiasm’, is Heidfeld’s younger brother Sven, who had to witness the shunt as commentator for Sky Germany. The German arm of the British pay TV broadcaster show all FE races live and Nick’s brother, who was a modestly successful racer himself is the regular Co-commentator for FE, GP2 and the Porsche super cup support races.
Meanwhile in Venezuela…
Oh dear……. The Master might be coming to Formula E !! pic.twitter.com/AEHAaNFnOD
— Taki Inoue (@takiinoue) September 13, 2014