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Previously on TheJudge 13:
Toto Wolff believes in the ‘heart on sleeve’ emotions UPDATE (11:50 GMT)
OTD Lite: 2006 – Panis retires from Formula One
On this day Oliver Panis announced his retirement from Formula One. He was 40 years old, had not driven an F1 car since the year before and had won a single remarkable Monaco race in 1996. He had broken his legs in the 1997 Canadian GP and returned to the Prost team before stints with BAR and Toyota.
In 2000 he spent some time as the Mclaren test driver where with general consensus from the partisan British media he was generally acknowledged as the best test driver in the world…. What complete and utter poppycock!!
A year spent equaling the times set by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard proved nothing except he was as quick, yet Ferrari trounced the Woking cars comprehensively. In fact after their Constructors title in 1998, Mclaren fell backwards year on year despite the genius of Adrian Newey and his right hand man Peter Podromou.
Ferrari’s test driver at the time was Luca Badoer and he never received the praise his work deserved – yet Ferrari got stronger and stronger.
Toto Wolff believes in the ‘heart on sleeve’ emotions
For some F1 devotees, Toto Wolff is becoming more irritable than amusing. The daily missives from Toto HQ just smack of someone who has discovered karaoke and following the loss of his public performance virginity, just won’t share the microphone with anyone else.
Prior to Spa this season we’ve seen Toto the rational, Toto the herald for the Mercedes brand, Toto the voice of reason informing us all is under control, Toto the peacemaker revealing conciliation talks have resulted in harmony within the Mercedes camp and Toto the mysterious – who informs the world Mercedes F1 have taken the unprecedented action of disciplining a driver for a racing incident with his team mate – but refusing to state the punishment.
Now we are to see, Toto the ‘honest joe’. Opening his heart he claims, “It is so intense and we are breaking new ground in letting the boys race in the way we do. So we are bound to make mistakes I think that’s the way it should be. You can be a politician or you can express your frustration”.
As TJ13 has commented before, Toto the newbie appears to be out of his depth running a championship leading F1 team and his inexperience is laid bare for all to see.
Clearly Toto the historian has not much more than the last couple of years of Autosport magazines as a point of chronicled reference for F1 as his latest claim, “we are breaking new ground in letting the boys race”, is delusional. That T-Shirt has been bought, worn many times before and with greater class and integrity than the Austrian brings to Mercedes AMG F1.
Toto the confused also now appears. To be a politician or not to be a politician – THAT is the question. “I don’t know which one is right or wrong,” confesses Toto, “ but as a matter of fact it doesn’t matter because if we lose the two championships with the cars we have, we have failed. We would be a laughing stock – and rightly so.
And if we win, people are going to remember we had difficult situations and we managed them probably in the right way.”
Comme ci comme ca, eh Toto. His latest wheeze is to associate Mercedes culture with the stereotypical Hamilton ‘heart on the sleeve’ byline. “We wear our heart on our sleeves, as they often say about Lewis. Emotion is an integral part of the success of the team”.
Really? Well that explains a lot. Traditionally clear thinking and a sound strategy for all eventualities is a value which is highly desirable for an F1 team. Going ‘emo’ is Nicole’s job when she feels the biological clock is ticking and in turn gives Lewis a good ‘ticking off’..
In conclusion, Toto decides to spew more incomprehensible ‘mouth speak before brain engaged’ into the public domain.
“If you look at Lewis’s career – it is just thinking out loud – drama and glory were always very near each other,” says Wolff. “I don’t know why that is. But when you describe this year – drama and glory; very much beside each other.”
Lob in some ignominy – calling your team mate and bosses liars in Monaco – and maybe this then becomes the most accurate assessment Toto has yet constructed in the world which features – Toto the great.
Latest News: TJ13 has learned that Lewis and Nico have been told to curb it on twitter and other forms of social media. They only now have ‘freedom’ – allegedly on the track.
Caterham allow Kobayashi to play so all can laugh at Ericsson
The troubled Caterham team has been auctioning it’s race seat off to the highest bidder since the Belgian Grand Prix in the attempt to keep the team afloat until an investor can save the Green beast. The Leafield team has confirmed that fan favourite, Kamui Kobayashi, will be in fact pedaling the sister car to the Swedish embarrassment that is Marcus Ericsson.
The team has recognized that to compete at the Singapore Grand Prix, it needs an experienced driver rather than a novice. With the possible attrition that a street circuit traditionally suffers the hopes remain that they can emulate Marussia in Monaco and score some points
“I can not wait to have another battle in Singapore, it will be interesting to see what we can do with the innovations that we brought. On a street circuit anything can happen and we must be sure to do our best.“ said Kobayashi.
Witnesses of what remains of the Caterham staff spoke of tears flowing and how they all held their sides in painful laughter as they listened to Sweden’s own Taki Inoue – Marcus Ericsson – “Singapore is one of my favourite cities and I can not wait to run my first night race in Formula 1 . It’s a circuit I know well enough, and have always finished on the podium every time I raced there in GP2 ), so I have some great memories.“
Ericsoon continued whilst quizzically looking at his engineers. “The track is undulating and reminds me a lot Monaco, although the layout of Singapore is more physical and requires twice as much energy to make a turn compared to Monte Carlo. The heat and humidity contribute to make it a tough weekend, but I trained hard. “
At the time of writing, it hadn’t been confirmed that the F1 Medical centre had run out of ventilators which the Caterham crew had commandeered as they fought for breath.
Mclaren funded survey states ‘bleeding obvious!’
In further news from the delusional, Mclaren have commissioned a study into why they had failed to secure a podium in 2013. The research was led by the expert Dr Paolo Aversa, lecturer in strategy at London City University’s Cass Business School and his team of very impressive sounding doctors.
They statistically examined all the strategic factors influencing F1 races between 1981 and 2010. The conclusion was that when regulations change significantly, it is better to focus on smaller improvements in existing technology than trying to reinvent the tech. Which of course would make sense except 2013 was run under a stable set of rules and 2014 was the main change of hybrid technology allied to chassis demands.
Perhaps of more significance that Mclaren’s legal director Tim Murnane presented this report and went on to suggest that Mclaren were aiming to win races this year – despite running Force India close to being the last of the Mercedes powered teams….
Where’s Eric the believable when you need need him? He can always inject humour into a humourless diatribe..
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Billionaire now looking to buy Marussia – report
Lawrence Stroll may now have moved his attention from Sauber to Marussia. In the paddock at Monza recently, it was strongly rumoured that the Canadian fashion industry billionaire and racing enthusiast was in detailed negotiations to buy financially embattled Sauber.
Rumours quickly followed, however, that the deal had collapsed at the final hurdle. “Lawrence Stroll received a negative response from Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn regarding his offer to take over the Swiss team,” said a report by Italiaracing.
But Stroll may now be switching his attention from one embattled Ferrari customer to the next, the Italian report added. He has close links to the Maranello marque, with his son Lance also a member of Ferrari’s driver ‘academy’. Ferrari’s other ‘power unit’ customer in F1 is Marussia; another team grappling with obvious financial problems, and already housing ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi.
TJ13 comment: It is still astonishing that Sauber would rather face financial collapse than sell his team to an enthusiast that has deep pockets and very strong connections with Ferrari. It would seem even the negotiating power of a Suffolk toad couldn’t make the Swiss Clark Kent give up his team.. Stubborness may well see Sauber go the way of Tyrrell, Brabham, Lotus ( the real one ), Ligier – all teams that used to grace the grid – but now appear in a BJF article on TJ13.
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Drivers welcome FIA radio clampdown
Mercedes’ title-warring teammates are the first F1 drivers to welcome the FIA’s banning of “performance”-related radio communications. At a sponsor event in downtown Singapore, championship leader Rosberg said the clampdown was a major talking point ahead of its debut at the popular street race.
“All the fans were cheering so it looks like the right way to go,” the German told Britain’s Sky. “In my opinion it’s definitely a good thing, because it’s just more pure racing. Until now we did so much based on what they (engineers) told us to do on the radio. Now it’s up to us,” said Rosberg.
He tipped the strict new radio rules to make the challenge as drivers “totally different because we are just on our own and need to figure out our own way. I think it could make it a lot more interesting,” added Rosberg. “It’s going from 100 per cent communication to about 20pc, so it’s a massive change.”
Rosberg, with a 22-point advantage over teammate Lewis Hamilton, said he practiced driving the W05 without radio communications in Mercedes’ simulator this week, and had to “remember a lot more” details about the functionality of the car. “But everything is good,” he said. “It’s the right way.”
Hamilton also welcomed the change, but he expressed some concerns about the steep learning curve for the drivers. “I quite like the idea,” he said. “In some ways it makes it harder, like engine strategy — how are we to know what strategy to use?”
Hamilton also said the clampdown could affect the intense title battle between himself and Rosberg. “It’s going to be really important that we’re on the same strategy always,” he said. “There’s been a couple of times when Nico has been on a different strategy to me that gives either more or less power and those things disadvantage you,” he explained. “So as long as you don’t have any problems there, the rest of it we’ll manage.”
In fact, Hamilton said that because the clampdown means F1 will now resemble the “old school days” of racing, he hopes to gain an advantage over his rivals. “I hope it’s a plus for me,” he said. “I remember way back in karts, we didn’t have any data, so nobody could ever see where I was quick, anything I did, any trick I had. So maybe it’s a bit of a step back in that direction. I quite like that we’re left to do it ourselves,” Hamilton added.
Elsewhere in Singapore, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo played down the clampdown with a joke, laughing that without engineers in their ears, F1 drivers will “all take a wrong turn and end up in the wall“. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the Australian should not be laughing too hard.
Most teams are using the big, sophisticated McLaren-supplied digital steering wheel display in 2014, providing plenty of data for the drivers. But some, like Red Bull, Williams and Lotus, are using older equipment. “That would be really hard,” Rosberg is quoted as saying. “But we still need to learn every procedure by heart, where before the engineer would be telling you which switch to put in what position.”
And, anyway, the FIA clampdown extends not only to the radio, but also instructions to drivers on the pit board or on the steering wheel display — whether coded or not. “There is not time anyway,” Rosberg said, “to pull up any instructions on the screen while you’re driving and read it.” He believes thinking drivers like himself could get an advantage, as he always tried to understand the reasons for the engineers’ instructions rather than “someone who just made the changes automatically”.
TJ13 comment: This subject has divided the courtroom. As we await the final verdict of the gavel wielding Judge, the minions argue amongst themselves and ponder on why this rule has been introduced in the run up to the title conclusion.
Interestingly, there may be a loophole in Charlie’s dictat re: third party messages. “Lewis, your dad says he can’t afford another engine”.
Hamilton may believe it will bring back his karting days, but many would welcome a complete ban on the radios full stop. Others like the interaction that allows us to listen to drivers in their least corporate protected bubble and yet you only have to listen to Button. He engages with his engineers to raise penalties against other drivers so as has been proven by others – these drivers are fairly aware of the use of radio anyway.
Of course it is FOM which selects the transmissions for broadcast to the viewers. One team sent and received over 300 messages in Monza, whilst FOM broadcast just 75 in total to the world feed during the entire race.
The likelehood is that under ‘mission make the drivers heroes’, we will hear less and less of what is truly representative and thus loose the emotional interaction we have had with the driver racing the car. Prior to pit/car radio broadcasts being transmitted, the viewer felt the emotion of the driver as they could see them manhandling angry beasts of awesome power around the track.
With the modern Sony Play station style F1 racing, the driver appears to not be under any physical duress. Appreciating their mental strain was an important factor in us understanding F1 was still tough in some manner.
Engine penalties imminent
ICE – Internal Combustion Engine
TC – Turbo Charger
MGU-K – Motor Generator Energy-Kinetic
MGU-H – Motor Generator Energy-Heat
ES – Energy Store
CE – Control Electronics
10 drivers are facing 10 place grid drops imminently.
Each driver is allowed to use 5 of each of the power unit components, however the sixth will trigger the penalty
For the title contenders matters are evenly balanced, though, both Lewis and Nico have at least one more spare component in all areas of the PU before hitting the precipice that is 5.
If this were a modified game of craps, then Crashtor would be looking good.
Vettel is facing a further handicap in his race with Aussie upstart Ricciardo as he has no more Internal Combustion Engines in hand.
Ferrari once again are not covering themselves in glory. Having opted for a more reliable engine over speed, Kimi and Fred have the same number of 5’s between them as the Lotus team.
All of the Mercedes teams have components in hand for each car, once again demonstrating the dominance of the efforts from Brixworth.
Kimi in Press Conference
Kimi managed to raise one eye lid long enough to answer a question on the radio ban.
“Obviously we don’t speak a lot in the radio in my case,” said the Ferrari number two driver, “usually when there is no issues. But obviously it might get quite complicated if there’s some problems with the car and they have to change certain things to try to finish the race so I don’t know how the rule goes on those times.
It makes it more complicated for us but it’s part of the game so it’s OK.”
Kimi clearly talks a lot more in his sleep than when awake.
The FIA sleeps whilst Ecclestone usurps their authority
The FIA sleeps whilst Ecclestone usurps their authority
There will be a meeting today between the FIA and the teams to iron out any potential misunderstanding over the new team radio protocols.
F1 fans may be forgiven for believing that the regulatory side of the sport is the responsibility of the FIA, but apparently the “Sleeping Beauty-esque” reign of Jean Todt as President of the Federation, has seen this role passed to another.
The clamp down on article 20.1 and the subsequent banning of the majority of radio transmissions made between the car and the pits during the race was in fact driven though by A.N. Other. “I was the one who started it off, yes,” said Ecclestone while attending the PR event to celebrate a new sponsorship deal between Johnnie Walker and F1.
“I think none of the drivers want it (radio communications). They are all happy that it has gone,” asserts Mr. E. “They drive the cars, they should know what is wrong or right. They don’t need someone on the pit wall telling them what to do.”
TJ13 commented on the day John Noble of Autosport flew a kite for the idea of banning pit to car radio, that such a broad interpretation of article 20.1 would certainly lead to other carte blanche regulation changes via the back door.
This now appears to the case, as Ecclestone is now advocating a ban on live telemetry from the cars to the pits. “We have a regulation in force that drivers must drive the car unaided. They have been aided – and still are.
Even if we get rid of this ship to shore, as I call it, there are still a lot of aids that they should not have.”
The top Cock of the headless chicken coup has spoken – so watch out – Mr. Spock will now “make it so”.
The FIA Hokey Cokey
“You put a radio ban on – a radio ban off – on – off – on – off – then shake it all about…”
Well not quite, yet the impression the FIA is giving to the fans of Formula 1 hardly breeds confidence and neither does it portray an image of even vague competence.
Having set out specifically what will and will not be allowed under the new and fantastical spin on article 20.1,
Certain restrictions were set to be deferred to Japan, in relation to tyres and brakes, however the following list was confirmed by the FIA to, “apply at all times the car is out of its garage during the Event.”
Messages not permitted from eirther radio or pit board
Sector time detail of a competitor and where a competitor is faster or slower.
Adjustment of power unit settings.
Adjustment of power unit setting to de-rate the systems.
Adjustment of gearbox settings.
Learning of gears of the gearbox (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).
Balancing the SOC [‘State of charge’, ie ERS battery charge level – AC] or adjusting for performance.
Information on fuel flow settings (except if requested to do so by race control).
Information on level of fuel saving needed.
Information on tyre pressures or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).
Information on differential settings.
Start maps related to clutch position, for race start and pit stops.
Information on clutch maps or settings, eg bite point.
Burn-outs prior to race starts.
Information on brake balance or BBW settings.
Warning on brake wear or temperatures (will only be enforced from the Japanese GP onwards).
Selection of driver default settings (other than in the case of a clearly identified problem with the
Answering a direct question from a driver, eg “Am I using the right torque map?”
Any message that appears to be coded.
Whilst the drivers deflected questions at a rather muted FIA press conference on the topic of the radio ban, the teams had demanded a meeting with the FIA, which lasted for nearly 4 hours. On leaving, one team principal commented, “there were more questions than answers”.
At times the debate became ‘most heated’ as angry team bosses bombarded Charlie Whiting with example after example of why the new ruling was either dangerous or unenforceable.
The result was that Whiting skulked away, tail between his legs with a promise to review the matter and deliver a final verdict by 10:00am Friday, Singapore time.
It was pointed out to Whiting that the change in interpretation at this time left certain teams highly disadvantaged, depending on what steering wheel they had opted to develop along with the car. Further, veiled threats were made that should this prejudicial position be maintained this would lead to the FIA becoming embroiled in legal wranglings.
So once again, Formula 1 is in a state of flux. Make a rule – renege on it,discuss it, review it… then God knows what. And all because Charlie Whiting is fighting to save his job and curry favour with Mr. E.
The most likely outcome will be that systems advice will be allowable, but driver coaching will be banned.
Lunatics running the asylum would do an infinitely better job.