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Previously on TheJudge 13:
Mallya’s fraudulent funding of Force India
TJ13 has reported the Vijay Mallya/Kingfisher airlines debacle for nearly two years. The last update saw Rubrata Roy, co-owner in Force India banged up for fraud in a New Dehli jail. Further, Mallya has been cited as a wilful defaulter’, a legal status which means he can no longer be a director of an Indian company or raise funds from Indian banks.
The steady road to justice in India continues to expose Mallya’s illegal dealings as a summons for tax fraud is already outstanding. Vijay’s family home has been repossessed by the banks who loaned him the money for Kingfisher Airlines and other assets are in the throes of being sold to repay creditors.
The latest news is that Mallya’s creditors are now investigating the funding of Force India. Loans made to Mallya for his airline have allegedly found their way into the Silverstone based F1 team. If proven, this is a serious criminal offence for which Mallya would serve jail time.
Vijay continues to behave as though none of this is happening, most recently seen reclining his large frame in the Force India motor home in Monza… staff ran to the click of his finger, whilst he entertained Lewis’ dad, Anthony Hamilton.
Force India have suffered since the first third of the season was over, due to a lack of cash which Mallya has failed to provide. In winter testing and early season racing, they had a good package, though clearly the lack of funds has badly hurt their development.
The good news for the team is that Sergio Perez said today he was close to agreeing a deal to stay at Force India for 2015, though the once frequent sightings of Mexican in suits, have been non existant at the Silverstone factory for some time.
8 teams 3 cars imminent says Ecclestone
Adam Parr ex CEO of Williams F1 racing, tweeted during the Monza race that “This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars”.
Parr crossed Ecclestone by daring to suggest the current F1 financial model was bust, and Ecclestone was missing the boat on new revenue opportunities. He was exited swiftly by Williams, who later in their accounts revealed a one off payment of £25m from FOM.
Today Ecclestone confirms Parr’s revelation that 8 teams with 3 cars is his goal. “It has always been on the cards if we lose up to three teams the others will run three cars”.
The teams permanently in financial turmoil are Sauber, Lotus, Marrusia and Caterham though of course Haas F1 has been approved to enter the sport when they are ready.
Ecclestone ups the anti when he adds, “I think we should do it anyway. I would rather see Ferrari with three cars, or any of the other top teams with three cars, than having teams that are struggling.”
Clearly Parr’s assertion this could be as soon as next season is a view emanating from Ecclestone. “We’ll know after the next two or three races [whether these teams will make it to 2015], but it is being looked at.”
TJ13 has been reporting the plight of Caterham and suggested they have funds up to and only for the Singapore GP and Mr. E confirms this. “The trouble with the teams – which is all normal – they think of themselves short term. You ask about next year, but they’re worried about the next race, which is the problem.”
Ecclestone’s survive or die model has presided over many a team coming and going from F1, and he is unrepentant about this. “I’ve been around – most people would say too long – but long enough to know there are always people at the back of the grid,” remarked the 83-year-old.
When asked about double points for the final race of the season, Ecclestone was remarkably open.
Another issue for Ecclestone to resolve is whether to continue with the controversial double-points system for the final race of a year. “I wanted it (double points) to be for the last three races. Then people would believe it still possible somebody else could win, but everyone said I was mad, so we won’t do it.
Formula fans may grasp a glimmer of hope that the weigting of races toward the end of the season may be scrapped for next year. “As for keeping it for the last race, I don’t know. Probably not. We can’t yet see whether it has worked, it depends.
“It just seemed to me the right way to keep the championship open, otherwise for the last three or four races people are running in non-championship races.”
This is not as catagoric response from Ecclestone that most of the F1 press is reporting. “Double points to go”.
Reading between the lines, Mr. E still could easily be hedging his bets to get double points for the last 3 races of 2015 and so there will be no double points for just the last race of the season. A cliff hanger in Abu Dhabi may clinch it.
Massa scathing over team radio ban
The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience, while the error of age is to believe experience is a substitute for intelligence. – Hemingway.
In an era where we are seeing, protégé drivers signed to Formula 1 teams aged 13, the prospect of drivers still being within the sport beyond aged 30 diminishes by the month. Felipe Massa(aged 33) has in his 13 years in the sport, accumulated a fortune and duked it out on the last lap of the season for a drivers’ world title – he knows a thing or two.
Unlike the young submissive clones who fear for their seats, Massa just like Webber is comfortable enough to speak his mind.
According to Bernie, all the drivers are in favour of his missive on pit radio.
Well not one, at least. Felipe Massa criticises the FIA for acting in a hasty and presumptuous manner. “It’s something they could have done more professionally, not just speak too much with the old drivers. They always believe that now it’s too complicated and too easy for us, but they’ve never driven the car. If you want to go back [to the past] then just bring the car from that time and we’ll race them. It’s not a problem.”
Of all the drivers in Formula 1, Massa knows what a coded message is all about. “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you…” and is hence most qualified to speak on the matter.
He observes, “You have a lot of codes that you guys don’t know about. Whatever you invent, maybe the driver will understand and change that and nobody will know. Maybe they penalise a car because of something they heard, but what he said you cannot prove what is a code or not. It’s not good.”
Mmm. Some possible coded messages
For Kimi: “Fried artichokes cook faster than Kale ravioli”
For Nico: “Lovely hams are more royally baked because that’s why they taste better”
For Lewis: “Noodles Romanov, 10% better the third night”
For Ericsson: “Marcus, the peddle on the right… push it to the floor”
Things F1 really needed…
It was announced on Thursday that Johnny Walker is now the “official whisky of Formula One”, which is an important contribution to road safety, one might think. The rolex deal brought huge watches to the paddock, and one tends to think that the mob of journos has now an ‘official’ way to get hogwashly bladdered.
Late night bomb alarm in Singapore
Caterham, Marussia and Toro Rosso had to evacuate their Motorhomes and hospitality areas, after police came in to investigate a bomb alarm. After no explosives were found, each team member was searched individually and later allowed to return.
Everybody needs a hobby. Some people collect stamps, others collect dead beetles. Kevin Magnussen of McLaren fame collects time – penalty seconds to be precise and he scored an impressive cumulative twenty-five of them in the last two rounds at Spa and Monza. Talk about paying proper homage to F1’s few remaining historical venues.
But just as his competitors send a sigh of relief towards the heavens, their hopes are flattened, as the Dane announces he will not change his aggressive style. “I try to make the best of what we have at the moment and that means I have to drive hard”. Admittedly, now and then the young Viking drives as if the team forgot to tell him, that the transparent bit of the helmet actually goes to the front, but then, people don’t watch F1 in hope of finding the next Alain Prost.
Magnussen acknowledged that he was in the wrong at Spa, but still insists that his harsh maneuvre against fellow Scandinavian Valtteri Bottas was not a punishable offense.
FIA latest attempt at a definitive list of banned radio messages
After being alomost pecked to death in the chicken coup yesterday, Charlie dutifully returned this morning with a revised set of banned radio messages. As TJ13 suggested yesterday, Whiting has been most compliant in his latest scribblings, restricting his veto on transmissions to broadly driver coaching.
The updated messages banned from radio or pit board are:-
– Driving lines on the circuit.
– Contact with kerbs.
– Car set up parameters for specific corners.
– Comparative or absolute sector time detail of another driver.
– Speeds in corners compared to another driver.
– Gear selection compared with another driver.
– Gear selection in general.
– Braking points.
– Rate of braking compared to another driver.
– Rate of braking or application of brakes in general.
– Car stability under braking.
– Throttle application compared to another driver.
– Throttle application in general.
– Use of DRS compared with another driver.
– Use of any overtake button.
– Driving technique in general.
The arguments which held sway were that
1) Drivers are not capable of delivering the sophisticated balancing act of managing the brake input into the hybrid system, overheat and or destroy very very expensive kit, and this was just unreasonable.
2) Balancing the SOC (battery charge) and the appropriate brake by wire settings were alos deemed nigh on impossible for the drivers to manage properly
3) Fuel consumption has also escaped the butcher’s knife, though Sebastian Vettel isn’t sure why. “The main difficulty is not necessarily stuff like the fuel because it’s simple to put up a certain target to follow [on the car’s dash]. But in terms of managing the components, and the way they work with each other, it will be very difficult for us,”
Massa adds, “We don’t know what the temperature is for the battery, we cannot see. We don’t know that. There’s a very complicated power unit in the car which is not related to the driver. If you’re not using the right settings, forget it. You’ll not do two laps.”
This botch job designed by Ecclestone to make us F1 fans fall to our knees in wonder and admiration at the skills of the drivers, has in fact re-emphasised the critical nature of the task in hand for the FIA, and it may be too late for them to act for 2015.
The controls on these cars must be simplified – or the components dropped.
Singapore GP: FP1 Report
It’s been an interesting two weeks since Monza. As TJ13 wrote on 5th August, Luca Cordera de Montezemolo would be forced out of Maranello – the surprise was the brutality of the kill.
The FIA and Charlie Whiting have once again given the impression they are desperately seeking ‘new ideas’ at the cost of proper consideration of the matters in hand. Charlie this morning returned cap in hand to the mob of angry team bosses with a much diluted list of banned radio messages.
What is most unusual about the Singapore F1 event is that the entire F1 circus remains on European Time. This means going to bed when everyone else is getting up and getting up for afternoon tea – mine’s a Lapsang Souchong please.
Popular consent is that this is a Lewis Hamilton circuit, then again, Nico Rosberg has surprised us this year at previous track favourites of Hamilton’s, so FP1 will be most illuminating (sorry about the pun).
Rosberg was 3 tenths quicker in qualifying here last year, so he’ll be no pushover.
Nico Rosberg has been commenting on the effect of the radio ban. “It is the right way for the sport to go because it makes the racing pure,” says Rosberg. “For example, earlier this season when I was trying to overtake Lewis.
But whenever I went to increase my electronic boost power, which I can only do for a couple of corners, Lewis’s engineer did a great job, spotted it and told him to do the same.
Every time I adjusted my settings, Lewis would replicate that, so there was not a difference in performance in our respective cars which never gave me the opportunity to surprise him. But with the new rules that should be over now.”
Even this morning’s castrated radio regulations revision, will now ban this kind of information transfer.
The high downforce aero requirements would suggest Red Bull will mount a fightback against the Williams teams, and Sebastian Vettel has another shiny new chassis.
There are thunderstorms expected, though their random nature makes it difficult to predict when they will arrive. One or two of the paddock folk have already been caught in a short torrential downpour.
So to the circuit; This is the 7th Singapore GP, the 1600 lights are ablaze ask dusk settles across Singapore night sky, and we’re ready to go for FP1. Twenty Three corners face the drivers – the most for any circuit on the current calendar.
First out is Max Chilton, but within 1 minute of the green light, we see Bianchi, Grosjean, Button, Ericsson, Alonso, Magnussen. Bottas, Gutierrez, Maldonado, Vergne, Raikkonen and Kvyat all out on track.
Here we go. 5 minutes in and Jenson is told by his engineer, “190kph, 5th gear.”
Hey Charlie…. Charlie….. did you hear that? (Whiting eating a pastry and drinking coffee).
Nico Rosberg suffers another full on cockpit attack. This time it’s his own wing mirror attempting to interfere with his driving – so the German tears from it’s mounting and lobs the offending $5,000 component away into the Armco.
Will that be 7 years of bad luck?
Pirelli have stated, they expect the teams to just use the soft tyre in FP1, with the supersoft making its debut in the next session.
It’s Ferrari Friday. 22 minutes in Alonso goes quickest. He loves Singapore having been on the podium each time but once when he was 4th. It appears Ferrari fuel their cars light on Friday’s as they never carry the same pace into Saturday.
Mechanical issues for Rosberg on 24 minutes. “Problem on the upshift up to Turn Five. Big problem on the upshift.” At 9/1, Danny Ricciardo looks a good bet if the two Merc’s DNF.
Rumour has it, Sebastian Vettel has taken the unprecedented step of naming this new chassis ‘Colin’. Whatever, he blasts into the top spot with a 1:50:411 at around the 27 minute mark.
And as the 30 minute mark arrives, all the cars head for the pits to hand back their extra set of Pirelli’s.
Nico Rosberg admonishes his team, “You forgot to adjust the mirror. This is very importat for the next run. Try to remember”.
1 Vettel 1m50.411s
2 Alonso 1m50.678s
3 Rosberg 1m51.031s
4 Raikkonen 1m51.269s
5 Ricciardo 1m51.506s
6 Hamilton 1m51.934s
7 Perez 1m52.320s
8 Hulkenberg 1m52.385s
9 Magnussen 1m52.401s
10 Massa 1m52.645s
And Rosberg is first out after the break on a new set of soft tyres, immediately setting the fastest time, 1.2 seconds ahead of Vettel and Colin. Lewis is out too and goes P5.
“You’re 1.2 seconds faster, Nico.”……… “I don’t want to know, thank you.”
7 seconds now covers Nico Rosberg down to the Caterham in 20th. The gaps will be much bigger here than in Monza due to the length of the circuit and disproportionate aero packages.
Sebastian’s chassis, is getting some angle grinding attention in the garage, looks painful for the faithful Colin.
42 minutes gone Hamilton takes the fastest lap and is 2700ths ahead of Rosberg. He was 0.128s up after the second split, but lost time in the final sector.
Lewis questions how the tyres are holding up for ‘other drivers’. The careful reply is “We’ll just carry on with our programme and discuss it in the garage.” This is close to the mark of what is allowed, even under Whiting’s subdued dictat.
Renault tweet, “With just 2 straights, the pits and down Raffles Boulevard between T5 and 7, the ICE and turbo are given an easy time here. The Energy Store and MGU-K are really put through their paces. Each braking event is long and hard, particularly around the ‘hotel’ section”.
At the half way point of the session, there is a flurry of activity on track, with Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Vettel and Ricciardo all improving, and Jenson sets his first timed lap of the day with just 37 minutes of the session remaining.
Crashtor has a big moment as he crosses the Anderson bridge between turns 12 and 13 – huge amounts of oversteer, but he saves it and the pre-prepared chilled perspiration towels are handed out in the Lotus garage. Maldonado improves to 14th.
The Lotus still looks pretty ugly to drive, both drivers struggling with the brake by wire systems as the cars buck and weave when slowed into the corners.
Sebastian forces Colin to kiss the barrier at turn 21, informs the team of his mistake and dives into the pits for a quick reccie.
Ferrari Friday continues as Fernando goes fastest in sector 1, then continues to the surprise of many to pull out a lap quicker than Hamilton’s best by 0.122.
The Williams cars are languishing in 13th and 15th, whilst they were not expecting a result like Monza, this is clearly disappointing from the body language inside the garage.
Charlie Whiting will be briefing the press later on the penalties likely to be awarded for breaches of the new radio protocols. These will presumably be those prescribed under breaches in article 20.1. This ranges from a reprimand to exclusion from the event and a race ban.
With 25 minutes to go, Jenson Button hauls himself up to 8th position. McLaren have made a ride height change since his first run because Jenson was complaining about the bumps. Bruised heels are not uncommon for drivers here in Singapore.
All is not obviously resolved though as Jenson reports, “The car’s hitting the ground a lot under braking and still a big problem with oscillation,” adding a little later, “The ride’s a lot worse than I remember it around here.”
Remember the taxi ride Alonso gave to Webber here last year? How time flies.
Alonso is having a rear wing change for comparative purposes before the session ends.
Most cars are high fuel runs now with 15 minutes to go. It’s unlikely the order at the top will change, though Lewis is always up for a last ditch challenge.
The once infamous triple apex Singapore Sling turn has been modified since last year, and Rosberg locks up and runs wide at the revised Turn 10.
Oh dear. The most blatant breach yet. JEV asks, “Is anyone improving after the first timed lap?”. A knowing response follows, “Just keep pushing.”
Mechanics from different teams are running down the pit lane with 10 minutes to go. Have 2 cars crashed into each other? Fire extinguishers at the ready…. It appears there has been an incident between a Williams and JEV. Both Williams are now on track but JEV is out of the session.
JEV requests ‘medicine’ over his radio, as he is pushed back down the pit lane.
Ok, so it appears both Williams were stuck overheating behind a JEV who had a steaming and failing ERS. They were too close to pass. Williams were not happy.
An amusing tweet sent in to Sky reads, “This team radio sounds like teachers not trying to give their student the answer.”
5 minutes to go and Kvyat is not happy. “Hulkenberg is blocking me…..stupid,”
Smoke billows from the Ferrari pit box. Kimi’s brakes look as though they are on fire. The team are cooling the area of the car, nervous of getting too near. It could be Kimi’s suspension has melted too.
It must have been hot in their as the brakes operate at over 1,000 degrees.
So the flag falls, Lewis is not top. Ferrari Friday it truly is, as Fernando is top of the pile.
WOW. Sebastian pulls up on track just past the start finish line reporting an engine failure. Vettel is on his fifth ICE. Of course this may be an older engine, getting towards the end of it’s life, so its not necessarily the case
However, an engine change between FP1 and FP2 will be a challenge for the Red Bull mechanics.
FP 1 Result:
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:49.874||0.818||27|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:50.122||1.066||21|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:50.539||1.483||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:50.990||1.934||26|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:51.131||2.075||23|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:51.604||2.548||23|
Formula E to use revised Monaco Circuit
The Grey is the F1 circuit and the Black the circuit to be used by Formua E
Singapore GP: FP2 Report – F1 Ying and Yang
Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)
The second free practice session seemed to be over before it had even begun for Sebastian Vettel as mechanics continued to work on his ailing Red Bull. The German enjoyed some relaxation time at the motorhome as the rest of the field put the hard work in on track, now under the floodlights.
Max Chilton was first out onto the tight turns of the Singapore track, struggling with handling at first. The drop in temperatures had been expected to increase oversteer as well as lowering back end grip. This became evident when Kamui Kobayashi became the first to spin down into the right-hander turn 8. Many others soon followed out onto the track, with times tumbling by the minute as drivers ‘found their feet’ on tarmac.
The aero test continued for the McLaren boys, as Jenson switched front wings to continue their drive for more rear downforce. Their work back at Woking has clearly started to pay dividends as the pair topped the timesheets earlier in the early parts of the session. A testament to the challenge the drivers will face this weekend came as the car with the most downforce, the remaining Red Bull, was forced wide after the car started to step out on their young Aussie pilot.
Martin Brundle, on the SKYF1 coverage, commented on the “fantastic” sound of the cars as the sound reverberated off the barriers of the street circuit. If the grandstands could just be sorted out then Singapore could become a great place to watch the sport, where at the moment the lack of good viewing areas inhibits this.
With just under 25 minutes run into the session, Lewis Hamilton was struggling with car setup saying “something doesn’t feel right” as he trailed Rosberg by 1.064 seconds. As he was unable to fiddle with knobs and buttons to fix the problem, he retreated to the garage to fix the issue. A clear example of how this new rule will work came when Jenson Button came into his ‘box’ after giving clear instructions about changes to his front wing. He pitted, they adjusted, then he went on his way.
The two Mexican drivers were the first to go for flying laps on the supersoft tyre. Perez immediately went quickest by 0.422 seconds with a respectable 1:48.653. The delta between the two tyres was larger than expected which will bode well for split strategies come Sunday. One thing that did not surprise was the drop off of the red walled tyre after the first flying lap. Those who do not make Q3 on Saturday could have crucial role to play in the narrative of this year’s race given how difficult it is to overtake here.
With 53 minutes of the session still to run, Daniel Ricciardo went quickest with 1.47.790. Only the two Mercedes drivers and Fernando Alonso were yet to show their hand as Kimi Raikkonen slotted into second place, 2 tenths down. Pastor Maldonado continued to uphold his reputation as he played bumper cars with the wall of the exit of turn 10. He carried too much speed into the corner, making the impact inevitable meaning the red flag soon followed.
The Lotus wreckage interrupted Rosberg’s flying lap, robbing us of the chance to see a genuine lap comparison on a Silver Arrow. When Hamilton emerged to set his flying lap he did manage to go quickest, but looked ill at ease with his car reporting vibrations from his brakes. The Briton went 3 tenths quicker than Daniel Ricciardo, while Alonso went purple in the middle sector before losing time in sector 3 with an error. It would seem that it will be normal service for the Mercedes pair, but the wrestle for positions behind will be a closely fought battle.
Ricciardo was very quickly put to work on the long-run on the option tyre, being required to do the data collection for his teammate, as he could only watch from the garage. Vettel’s car was fired fired up as his hope of emerging this session improved, when there had seemingly been no hope earlier on.
The long-run pace of Daniil Kvyat was impressive as he diced with the Force India and Williams running. The general consensus was that they would be fighting the McLarens on Sunday, provided they can qualify well.
Unsurprisingly, it was the Mercedes package that looked the best on the long-run running with the most consistent time and managing to stretch the stint the longest on the supersoft tyre. Lewis appeared to have a bit of pace in hand over his teammate, although fuel loads were an unknown. Max Chilton became a fire starter with 9 minutes left of the session as the turbo was reported to be having issues.
The ying and yang of Formula One equalled out Chilton’s misfortune with a slice of luck for Vettel, as just 58 seconds later he emerged from the garage to put in a cameo appearance for the session. Out on the supersoft tyre, Vettel was able to put in a couple of qualifying laps leaving nothing on the table. He managed a total of 5 laps and fifth position on the timing sheets.
A lot of information to mull over for the engineers now, late into the night. It would seem Nico has some catching up to do, but how many time have we said that this year before he then took pole?
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:47.790||0.300||28|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:48.041||0.551||5|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:48.653||1.163||30|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:48.751||1.261||31|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:48.770||1.280||31|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:48.800||1.310||33|