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Previously on TheJudge 13:
OTD Lite: 2000 – Todt shows leadership – what happened since?
With what appears one of the most ineffective Presidency’s in living memory, Jean Todt walks cautiously around the international paddocks of the world with an inane grin and knowing twinkle in his eye. He role as the leader of the governing body of World Motorsport is continuously shown as a submissive organisation – very different in texture to his predecessor’s role within the FIA.
It wasn’t always so.
Having joined Ferrari in 1993 with the remit from the much missed Padrino, Todt set about rebuilding a squad that had become rudderless over the previous seasons. The changes he brought into the organisation transformed the Scuderia from has beens to the most daunting force the sport had ever seen.
On this day, Schumacher won the US Grand Prix held at Indianapolis and took a decided advantage in his quest for championship glory. But Todt shocked many by his attention to detail in regards the start procedure. With rain having fallen an hour before the race, the yard of bricks on the start/finish line were like ice which would have punished the accelerating Ferrari of poleman Schumi.
After his request to have the surface ground down – so as to give better adhesion – was declined, he suggested moving the grid back one row. Of course, as has been famously pointed out – this Ferrari ‘cheating and lobbying’ earnt the FIA the title of Ferrari International Assistance. I wonder if he could be enticed back now Luca has departed the building…\
Doubt cast on Mercedes explanation for Rosberg failure
A report appeared on the Italian website – Omnicorse – yesterday which alluded to the unlikely retirement of Nico Rosberg being a simple breakage in the steering column or steering wheel as was initially suspected by the Brackley based team.
Twice the technicians tried to change the steering wheel – believing this to be the cause of the problem. First whilst assembled on the grid before the race started and then subsequently at his pit-stop. To quote the site: “the operation did not yield the results the engineers led by Paddy Lowe expected.” (Which to readers of this site is hardly a ground-breaking revelation).
Rosberg suffered a malfunction of significant parts of his electronic package; including a radio that worked intermittently, the loss of DRS and a hybrid system which worked sporadically.
But according to an electronics technician who works in F1 it is very unlikely that these connectors would break in an environment as aggressive as an F1 cockpit – no matter how much easier the cars are physically to drive now. The steering wheels have become essentially real-time computers and if it was a physical problem it would have been remedied by a pitstop costing a few seconds.
The source was awarded anonymity by the publication and it is unclear if he was employed by the German team or a rival but the likely scenario is that the problem was down to engine mapping which if incorrectly run would have sent conflicting information to the steering wheels computer and preventing its correct operation.
The next Schumacher is coming?
Not many people paid attention to a 14 year old called Mick Betsch racing in the Kart world championship’s KF-junior class. Some might have raised a puzzled eyebrow when said youngster suddenly changed his name and now was filing his entry under the name Mick Junior. The teenager in question is none other than Michael Schumacher’s oldest son Mick. The trick of using his mother’s maiden name worked well until recently, but coming second in the world championship is not lending itself well to staying under the radar, and ‘Mick Junior’ did exactly that.
The youngster won five qualification races at the final round at Ennay, France and finished the final race in the runner-up position, driving as a works driver for Tony Kart, a position he shared with his father until Michael’s near-fatal accident last year. The chassis that Mick is driving this year has been developed by none other than Schumacher Snr, a luxury we won’t be able to enjoy next year.
What he does have, undoubtedly is the Schumacher genes. With the runner-up spot in the K-Junior class, he surpassed the karting pedigree of both his father and the latter’s close fiend Sebastian Vettel, who both ‘merely’ managed a European title and never made it to champion or runner-up in the world championship at that age.
But from now on it might be an uphill struggle for young Mick. With a seven times world champion for a father and another multiple Grand Prix winner for an uncle, he’ll probably have no shortage of high-profile contacts and the Schumacher family isn’t exactly known to be poor, so his career won’t run dry for lack of funds, but that’s about it.
He has to go up against a mammoth legacy. If it was bad for the likes of Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve – imagine being compared to Michael Schumacher! Ask Seb – it’s a bloody uphill battle. Since Michael will most likely never fully recover, the intense support of his famous father is now gone as well, although Mick Junior is hardly an abandoned puppy. In addition to the world championship for Tony Kart, he also contests the German Championship for the KSM Motorsports team of Peter Kaiser, who took over as Mick’s mentor after Michael’s accident.
Kaiser already mentored Michael and Ralf and seems to have another promising Schumacher at hand. Ahead of the final round at Genk, Belgium, Mick is championship leader in the German championship.
We are red, but we are also very green
For Ferrari the race at Singapore was everything but a resounding success. While Kimi – again – managed to pull off the miracle of being completely and utterly invisible, despite sitting in a bright red car, Fernando Alonso, who for all intents and purposes should have finished on the podium was shafted by the safety car.
Alonso’s pace, however was quite good and one is left to speculate if that was helped by the new Shell fuel that was used for the first time in Singapore. Now, you’re not much fun at parties if you know a lot about fuel, but Shell’s ‘juice’ in Singapore was noteworthy in the fact that for the first time it wasn’t made from oil, but from natural gas as the primary resource.
In addition to the smaller environmental footprint, Shell expects that the new fuel also reduces wear on the engine.
Valentino Rossi was offered a Ferrari contract
“I always watch F1 and I really like Ricciardo and Bottas, they are going strong and are as great as Alonso and Vettel. There is also Hamilton who often comes to see the MotoGP races and even in F1 there are so many young drivers that are improving.”
If he had made different choices a few years ago, these drivers would be his contemporaries rather than athletes in a different series. Valentino Rossi had a contract to drive for Ferrari in 2007 and partner Kimi Raikkonen. He had tested for Ferrari extensively since 2004 and had impressed both the team and its lead driver, a certain Michael Schumacher.
In the 2006 F1 test at Valencia a crowd of over 20,000 turned up to watch him in action – something that riled Fernando Alonso considerably and led to him suggesting that he could take on Rossi on bikes. Rossi extended a challenge, F1 cars, motor bikes and rally cars but the impetuous Fernando claimed he was too busy.
Sadly, the dream was never to be and he remained in MotoGP. “I went to Valencia to make a test with the Ferrari and it was beautiful, very charming but honestly I did not have the heart to stop with the bike because I knew I still have many years ahead, good for a bet very charming but also very risky , and then I decided to stay in MotoGP. “
“At first I tried to joke, I liked it, but after the first test I started to get serious. It was a very fascinating and risky bet. In 2006, I was already a step away from trying at the wheel of Ferrari. “
“I’ve never regretted it, I think I made the right choice, because then I won two more World titles. In 2008 I passed Stoner at the Corkscrew and Lorenzo at last corner in Barcelona in 2009, this alone has made it all worth while.”
Cartoonist unlocks real reason for Rosberg’s failure
Who said it was only the British and Vettel who could do humour..
F1 enters new technology race with 4K transmission
With all attention on the action on the track, most people would not have realised the historic event being played out against the Asian backdrop. During a Free Practice session, 4K television was transmitted to the FOM headquarters in Biggin Hill with employees being the guinea pigs of this new chapter in television.
Mehuk Kapadia, Managing Director of Tata F1 Business Communication was pleased with the results, ” For the first time in history, we sent an F1 event in 4K. This date is a landmark in the history of the sport, and show the real potential of new technologies. Quality and speed of transmission of images have never been so high. “
The challenge to broadcast across the fibre optic network is still considerable. Whereas a normal transmission requires 120 megabits of bandwidth – the test at Biggin Hill required speeds in excess of 480 mbps.
Kapadia continued, “Consumers rightly become more and more demanding and as a leader in the fibre optic industry we can provide them with what they want. The test from Singapore has been very useful in this regard.”
Obviously, Bernie is currently using his abacus to work out what he can charge a diminishing audience… and then add 80%.
Caterham will have rubber to compete in Japan
For some weeks news has filtered through of the imminent demise of the Caterham team. Since early in the year when Tony Fernandes gave the workforce a rousing speech of without success this would be their final season to the sale of the team to a Swiss/ Middle Eastern concern that has never placed funds in the direction of Leafield things are distinctly not rosy in the Camp of the Green Monster.
Yesterday, it was reported by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that Caterham were in such dire financial troubles that they would be without Pirelli tyres at the forthcoming Japanese Grand Prix. Today Pirelli has confirmed that Caterham will have tyres until the end of the season and there are no problems.
Roberto Boccafogli – Pirelli’s Communication Manager confirmed that the perennial back markers have redefined the terms of payment as have many other F1 teams as they struggle in difficult economic times. What could be more worrisome for the outfit is unexplained costs in connection with QPR boss Fernandes which were apparently swept “under the carpet” and were not used for the development of the project.
With the Japanese Grand Prix scheduled next, the thought of Kamui Kobayashi having to sit out the race would not have been popular with the Japanese fans. In the teams desperate search for funds – his seat has been offered to monied drivers in recent weeks. And whilst no source has been quoted it would not be a stretch of the imagination that an ex Dutch employee may have a bone to grind.
(sourced from (GMM) with TJ13 comment)
Vergne hopes 2015 employer noticed Singapore drive
Jean-Eric Vergne hopes his impressive drive in Singapore will open a rival team’s garage door for him in 2015. Dumped as a Red Bull-backed driver, the Frenchman will leave the energy drink company’s second team Toro Rosso at the end of the season, to be replaced by teenager Max Verstappen. Vergne, 24, has had a largely anonymous 2014 season alongside the impressive rookie Daniil Kvyat, but in Singapore he left all his regular rivals in the shade with a spectacular drive to sixth place.
The homepage at Faenza based Toro Rosso’s website still exclaims ‘Vergne Va Va Voom!” “Wow! What can we say?” the official report reads. “Jean-Eric Vergne delivered one of the best drives of his formula one career”. According to France’s Auto Hebdo, Vergne hopes Toro Rosso was not the only impressed F1 team on Sunday.
“When you have a good car, that’s when you need to show what you can do, and that’s what I did,” he said. “I think I showed my potential, I did everything I could. Let’s see if it can change things. I keep my fingers crossed for a cockpit for next year with a good team. I really hope so.
TJ13 comment: It is always derisory when a driver who is out of contract suddenly starts performing in an attempt to save his career. Where has the effort been all season? Of course it is simple to suggest that at a certain race he could have experienced problems but in general people form their opinions over the longer term.
When you have a good car, you are expected to perform well but the superstars perform well despite the car not because of it.
Hamilton worth the money
TJ13 reported following the summer break, that the negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG F1 were stalled due to the German parent company refusing to pay Lewis the same level of remuneration for any contract extension.
This of course is déjà vu for Lewis since Ron Dennis went public on TV in Canada 2012, stating Lewis would have to take a pay cut should he stay at McLaren.
Immediately following the race in Singapore, Lauda hailed Hamilton as “worth his money, I can tell you that,” when speaking to SKY.
Toto Wolff was also gushing over Hamilton’s performance, “That was really awesome…. These are the Lewis Hamilton days. These are the days when you recognise how great he is and it makes the difference between the superstars and the stars.”
Yet the debate which raged amongst fans in the comments section following a Sky written piece recording this – and across other forums and fan sites was not so conclusive.
T-Bone observed, “Someone please explain the difference between Vettel having the best car for the last 4 years and Lewis having the best car now. Lewis has done nothing great the last few years. He has had car’s that have not been very good, I’ll give you that but now has a great car and is winning again. Seem’s like the car to me. You could say Lewis and Nico are winning because they have the best car”.
It is worthy of note that despite the efforts of the chasing pack in this season’s development race, Mercedes appear to have consistently something in hand when it comes to race pace, between 1 and 3 seconds per lap.
So there we have it, the pro’s and con’s – awesome or expected?
Back to Lauda’s assertions. There is a tussle playing out inside Daimler Benz at present. The board members are of the view that the current payments to Hamilton are unnecessary. Nico Rosberg has proven that Lewis is not the one lap master in qualification many assumed he was, though of course Hamilton has 7 race wins to Rosberg’s 4.
Further, if as expected, Mercedes continue with a dominant car in 2015, then it is likely that a Mercedes driver will win the WDC and the German team again win the WCC.
Add to this the disastrous relationships developing within the AMG F1 team due to the animosity being spread by both drivers – which Stuttgart believe is damaging to their brand – and it is hardly surprising the board of the Automotive company are open to Hamilton leaving the team before serving his full three year contract.
The device to enact this, offer Lewis a substantial pay cut for 2016, and give the impression ‘he is not appreciated’.
XIX predictably will do their thing, which by moving Lewis Hamilton from team to team delivers them an incremental ‘finder’s fee’ over and above the cash already rolling into their coffers.
Hey Presto, we have Lewis to Ferrari and Alonso to Mercedes.
Yet somehow Niki Lauda believes by shouting loudly what good value Lewis really is, will change the bean counters in Stuttgart’s mind.
It’s all rather silly….. isn’t it?
Worryingly for the next generation of F1 drivers, the fact that the cars are much easier to drive physically these days, will see the teams recruit young inexpensive drivers and not spend tens of millions on the Lewis and Fernando’s of this world. The cash will go into car development and not drivers, after all the car is around 80% of the performance and the driver just 20%.
Nothing like piling on the pressure eh Marko?
To be fair to the good doctor Marko, this is a lose/lose conversation. Though his decision to announce that a 16 year old kid will drive in a half decent F1 car in 2015 is the reason he is answering questions.
When asked by Formula1.com what he expected from Max Berstappen in 2015, Marko nigh on trumpets, “He is an exceptional talent that comes along only once in decades”.
A rather bold claim, one may suggest? As if this is not enough of a weight of expectation to place on the young lad’s shoulders, Marko continues when asked if Verstappen reminds him of anyone.
“Most likely Ayrton Senna. And in such a case you must not look at his age. He has been talking with people who are experts when it comes to the development of youngsters and they all say that (in terms of) his mind he is more like 22 than 16”.
Old before your time huh! Still many people are excited to see what the first test tube Formula 1 driver looks like behind the wheel.
Marko reveals, “we work with him intensively. He will do some Friday runs. Not long ago he did a 400 km test in Italy, he’s in the simulator whenever possible and he’s working on his physique and psychology with top experts. Yes, some things became visible that we will have to address for the 2015 season. Having said that, he is getting the perfect ‘schooling’ before he gets on the grid.”
And there we have it folks, the future of your F1 drivers. Professional from the age of 4, ready foir F1 by 16 years of age and retired by the ripe old age of 22.
What a strange day indeed. We’ve discovered both the next Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna all in one go. Lucky us.
Aldous Huxley, clearly knew a thing or two about the future back in the 1932.