#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday, 26th September 2014

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OTD Lite: 1993 – Overrated Hakkinen legend created on this day.

OTD video

Jenson Button annoyed by radio messages

Rosberg – In my day lad, sex was safe and motor-racing was dangerous

Ferrari testing ground breaking technology for the Fiat Group

Aussie Press call for Red Bull team orders

F1 calendar 2015

Subtle hint at Alonso move to McLaren?

Caterham. Is the game up?


OTD Lite: 1993 – Overrated Hakkinen legend created on this day.

Murray Walker would champion the Mika Hakkinen legend throughout his broadcasting career and his entry line whenever he rated him was that he had out-qualified Ayrton Senna once… Editors note: by forty eight thousandths of a second.

Mika Hakkinen had replaced, the frankly insipid, Michael Andretti and his first race against Senna was here in Portugal. After what had been a hugely disappointing season for the Brazilian, the Finn’s Mclaren debut woke up his combative spirit and Senna would go on to win the final two Grand Prix of the year – whereas Mika..

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Of course when Hakkinen achieved success in 1998 and 1999 the mutterings of Walker would always bring up the fact he out-qualified ‘the great Brazilian’ without adding any context to it.

Perhaps of more interest was the fact that he considered Mika a great champion – ignoring the fact that his only success was in a dominant Newey designed car. Those championships proved how ‘great’ the Flying Finn was according to “good ol’ Murray”… yet Mansell, Prost, Hill and Villeneuve had only won because they were in ‘Newey’ cars.

For the lads and ladettes who are too young to remember events of 21 years ago, a modern day comparison would be the criticism that is thrown at Vettel. He only wins because he has the superior car – which makes one wonder what happened to perma stubbled Mark Webber?

As an aside, Prost secured his fourth World title and ended his 13 year career with 51 race wins. Over the same period Schumacher won 83 races and seven titles but maybe of particular interest to Alonso fans – over a 13 year career he has 32 wins and just two titles..

The Jackal

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OTD video

10 years ago today saw the inaugural running of the Chinese GP. It was won by Rubens Barrichello, 2nd was Jenson in the BAR and Kimi Raikkonen was third in a McLaren.

 

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Jenson Button annoyed by radio messages

Jenson Button is an enigma? Certainly not in the enigmatic fashion of an Alonso or a Senna but in the way that no-one can really describe his talent with any real conviction.

The highlight of his professional career will rightly be his 2009 World Championship and yet for the fans maybe his courage to join the Hamilton-centric Mclaren and going toe to toe showcased a steely core that nobody expected.

Yet whilst some drivers and teams lament the FIA wanting to get rid of radio messages – Button welcomes the changes and perhaps gives away a little of why they have in fact been brought in: “The new guys coming in are told when to go faster, when to brake, how much heat, how much fuel – it is something that has annoyed me.

“In the years I have raced I have had help from a team, which is what it is about – you learn from things, you make your own mistakes, and you benefit from that as a driver and individual. For me, the way I have learned has been the best way.”

If in the new tech regs, the radio limitations end up where they should have ended up in terms of not telling us anything, that is what it should be,” Button said. “We should have to do our homework and plan ahead. And I think the more experienced drivers are better at that.”

What is perhaps ironic is that Button uses his radio to a greater extent than others – to complain of other’s driving standards or transgressing the limits of the track.

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Rosberg – In my day lad, sex was safe and motor-racing was dangerous

Two steering wheels from an era that the modern viewers of the sport have never witnessed and yet the simple circle with the three spokes perhaps underlines the simplicity of a by gone era when the sport still had a soul and engaged millions of fans worldwide.

 

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Nico Rosberg tweeted the above picture with the message:

Just found my Dad’s steering wheel in the office. Dad, it was so much easier in those days!

Britney, by all accounts speaks a number of languages fluently. He proved his cerebral capacity with exams at Williams and placements offered to study engineering at elite universities and yet he believes that the cars were easier in his father’s era – or does he mean they were simpler?

When readers comment on the misplacement of apostrophes and differences between choices of words maybe it’s time we all applied this critique! Of course if Nico was referring to the daunting fact that a wheel could actually be used to navigate a car around a track rather than control everything that the car is capable of doing then yes, his words are correct.

But what should be remembered is that both the Formula One wheel and the Peugeot sportscar wheels were attached to steering rods connected directly to the front wheels. Power steering had not been developed to any significant point at that stage.

It was only in the early 90’s that it began to appear on Formula One cars and in 1994 – following Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident – the Williams team disconnected the system on Damon Hill’s car due to safety concerns.

So yes, Mr Roserg Jr, F1 cars were simpler devices then but drivers had forearms to turn the wheel in their grip rather than what amounts to a tablet with handles today..

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Ferrari testing ground breaking technology for the Fiat Group

Mattpt55 mentioned this incident in this week’s podcast but our sources from inside Maranello have revealed the real reason for Fernando’s off-track excursion. With the demise of Il Padrino and the newly self appointed President of Ferrari being none other than Fiat/ Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne – the new business plan is to develop technologies across all the companies in the group.

Fiat asked Ferrari to test their new Sat Nav system..

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Aussie Press call for Red Bull team orders

Following years of torment which saw their national hero ‘marginalised and abused’ by Red Bull, the Aussie press appears to have had enough. Speed, in an extensive article argues Red Bull must issue team orders to maximise Danile Riciardo’s chance of challenging for the WDC.

Team principal Christian Horner maintained that it would be “wrong” of them to intervene when both men are still in with a chance of the world title.

Speed’s direct response is, “Sorry, Red Bull, but no they are not”.

The argument is simple. Red Bull have no realistic chance of winning the constructors’ title, being 174 points behind Mercedes with just 215 on offer by the end of the season. There is a greater possibility that Ricciardoi could slip through and steal the WDC.

Had the team reversed their cars in Singapore, their Aussie driver would be just 57 points behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel is 57 points behind his team mate with an almost definite penalty coming for the quadruple world champion.

Ricciardo looks like a man up for the fight and he was a mere 0.166 seconds slower than Rosberg in Singapore qualifying.

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Vettel raced in Singapore with his fifth engine, fifth turbocharger, and fifth MGU-H unit. With five races still remaining Vettel is expected to need, at the least, a sixth engine, more likely sooner rather than later.

Following an engine problem in Friday Practice, Renault conceded, “With this failure, we will have to commit to a sixth ICE (internal combustion engine for Sebastian’s car). It is now a question of where we are going to strategically introduce it, instead of how we are going to avoid it.”

In contrast, Ricciardo’s tally sits at four across each of his Power Unit’s parts, while both Mercedes drivers have an additional Energy Store and Control Electronics change up their sleeve.

If Hamilton wins in Japan and Vettel is lower than second, then the game s up for a fifth straight title for the German.

So why hasn’t Red Bull put their best foot forward in the drivers’ championship? Here are four possibilities. Firstly, Sebastian has an agreement that team orders cannot be issued to him.

Secondly, Christian Horner remembers all too well Malaysia 2013 and how Vettel usurped his authority and posed metaphorically before the world with his Geox clad boot firmly on Horner’s neck. Therefore it would be pointless issuing orders because Vettel just do his own thing anyway and make Christian look silly again.

Thirdly, Red Bull are making sure Ricciardo knows who is boss. Teach em whilst they are young… and all that.

Finally, Red Bull are a little sentimental over their time together with Sebastian. They have given him by far the worst car this year and don’t want him running off to Ferrari just yet – so be nice to Seb and he’ll stay.

Speed are not happy with Red Bull’s attitude as they conclude that failing to switch their drivers in Singapore could be costly for Aussie hero, the colgate kid. “Let’s hope those three points aren’t the difference between Ricciardo and the title”.

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F1 calendar 2015

It’s been more than 2 weeks now since the draft F1 calendar for 2015 was released leaked. It is with fear and dread that I dare broach the topic, because it appears to be the kiss of death . Yet once opened, Pandora’s box cannot be closed.

As expected the Mexican GP will return after 23 years absence. There is still no New York race and clearly all the talk of Baku has abated for now.

“We’re going to Azerbaijan,” Ecclestone told the world’s media in MArch this year. “The people out there are talking about holding a race in 2015. That may be a bit soon – unless it’s at the end of the season; that’s a possibility. But 2016 is more likely.”

It could be Ecclestone has learned from previous mistakes and released leaked the 2015 calendar only with those races which are certain, whilst working behind the scenes on securing one more race.

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Subtle hint at Alonso move to McLaren?

Sometimes the smallest hints can be telling. The McLaren website has a ‘heritage driver’ section, which includes Fernando Alonso, yet a friend of mine claimed it had only been added very recently. Thankfully there is www.archive.org, a website that stores archived versions of other websites – and lo and behold – at the start of the season, Alonso’s profile was not yet part of the ‘heritage drivers’ section. Hm…

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Caterham. Is the game up?

Just in.

Caterham Staff have been called at short notice this afternoon to an emergency meeting. The 2 cars from 2013 were removed yesterday, supervised by unknown men in suits – possibly administrators.

The race team were fed in Singapore by other teams, including Saturday breakfast at Toro Rosso. Reports are they owe Red Bull

Further, Renault are owed several million on the engine contract and similarly Red Bull Racing are owed a big 7 figure sums for technology they supply to the Leafield team.

Interestingly, the team have done a lot of work on the 2015 car, including wind tunnel testing in Germany. A cynic may suggest this is all very handy free information for Mr. Kolles.

A number of the race team were refusing to go to Sochi, though it now appears that Japan may be abridge too far for the green goddesses.

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79 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday, 26th September 2014

  1. I’m suspicious of reports berating Häkkinen.. In BJF’s ratings he stacks top 15 ever, nicely tucked in between Nigel Mansell and Niki Lauda. He couldn’t have been *that* bad..

      • But you will necessarily use evidence (stats like nr of wins, anecdotal like outqualified Senna by only a slim margin, etc., etc.) to form an opinion. 🙂 You don’t just get your opinions from thin air..

    • ….BJF is becoming the standard – excellent!!!

      I think the writer is regaling slightly more against Walker’s obsequiousness than slighting Hakkinen and may also be something of a closet Senna fan :):):)

      • “Closet”?! 🙂

        I loved BJF’s work and quantitative approach (much better than what Autosport did!!). I still think there are weaknesses, like his “manual” nudges here and there to account for good/bad cars; it would be much nicer if that were done quantitatively, in the spirit of regression controls. But overall it seems to me that these are good estimates of driver’s actual past achievements.

        If only BJF considered to publish the data used in his work! Under a suitable CC license, of course. Maybe then others could take the data and improve upon the methodology. (Judge, if you can whisper in BJF’s ears, please nudge him on this.)

      • I think I’ve missed that list. I only know the one about greatest drivers who did not win a championship.

      • I think the writer is regaling slightly more against Walker’s obsequiousness than slighting Hakkinen and may also be something of a closet Senna fan

        It’s still a shame, however, that the author feels the need to run down and/or insult great Formula 1 drivers like multiple-GP winner Juan Pablo Montoya (described previously as “thuggish”) and double world champions Mika Pauli Häkkinen y Fernando Alonso Díaz (scoffed at above) just to give a boost to his favorites.

        Sneering at someone in print doesn’t automatically translate to interesting, engaging writing, and I would prefer to read retrospectives that highlight the achievements of past heroes (or even underappreciated drivers) without such distasteful put downs of others.

        Save that for the comments section(s)…

    • He wasn’t that bad; he was bloody good.
      I’d rate him a bit below Mansell, though, much as I admire BJF’s analysis.

  2. “Jenson Button is an enigma. ”

    I was actually thinking about this the other day and it strikes me that possibly all the radio babysitting and tarmac run-off areas (and Tilkedromes) are elements hurting drivers like Jense. Let me explain myself:

    One of the few (the only at McLaren?) race wins in dry for Jense came at Suzuka, which as we all know is one hell of a challenge. No Smedley-like babysitter can teach you how to efficiently take ‘S’ curves lap in lap out, or how to avoid binning it at Degna or at the Spoon. And yet Jense in a McLaren managed to trick Seb at Suzuka, which I suspect is a good showcase of his talent.

    If more challenging circuits were around (start by scrapping the Tilkedromes) along with more grass and gravel traps (think of this year’s monstrosity at Parabolica), then drivers like Jense would be in a much stronger position and their talent would quickly become much more obvious.

    (Of course, in Jense’s case some needs to already have developed and set-up the car for him, but that’s secondary here.)

  3. Hakkinen is a sentimental favourite owing to his near death experience in 1995, and the fact that he comes across as a hell of a nice guy…
    and Murray Walker, much as I love him, is hardly the ultimate arbiter of F1 greatness.

    The fact that Coulthard outscored him in 1997 (even though being on the wrong end of team orders at the controversial race at Jerez) provides a bit of context, and I always wondered just how much his being the favoured son at McLaren contributed to his eclipsing Coulthard the following season.

    A very very good driver, certainly.
    One of the greats, though… ? Not for me.

      • In which case judge, may I add in Allan Mcnish. They were team-mates in Formula Vauxhall/Lotus in Uk and Opel/ Lotus in Europe. They both won a championship each that year and Mcnish was considered a decent pedalled – nothing more..

    • there is a very interesting and honest interview with david coulthard, where he assesses hiw own career. he says that compared to guys like mika, he lacked consistency and that was what prevented him from winning championships and becoming one of the greats.

      • That’s the interview done by the same guy who did those similarly long (30-40min?) interviews w/ Dr. Gary Hartstein and others, no? They’re all on YouTube but I forget the name of the guy…

  4. “Let’s hope those three points aren’t the difference between Ricciardo and the title”.

    Let’s hope Colgate Boy doesn’t whine like Fred does, year in year out. 🙂

    • “Let’s hope those three points aren’t the difference between Ricciardo and the title”.

      Surely Ricciardo fans should be hoping for just that to happen ?
      It would represent an amazing performance (or some serious bad luck for Mercedes).

  5. I think the 18 Redbull gave up at the start of the year, by being twats could be more costly.

    • 18 points right now means he’d be inside the window in the *totally unlikely* event that both Mercs fail to finish in the points in the last race.

  6. Hmmm…radios again. After an expletive-ridden exercise in Ford Territory starter motor changing last night, I indulged in a celebratory home brew while I picked the loose bark from my knuckles.
    An idea sprang forth…
    Turn the cars into double-seaters like those fan-experience show cars and install a co-driver /co-pilot who manages the car’s myriad systems leaving the driver to drive while giving closed-circuit feedback on how the car feels.
    I’m thinking Maverick / Goose. I’m thinking Dick Dastardly / Muttley. I’m thinking Luke Skywalker / R2D2.
    Waddayarekon?

  7. I think Häkkinen is criticized a bit unfairly here. He came 8th in the championship in a midfield car (Lotus ’92).
    I can’t believe that people still go by the notion that a Newey car means automatic win. All the McLaren drivers until 2006 will find that an interesting proposition, as will all Red Bull drivers before 2009.

    When it comes to gauging Mikka’s talent, I rather rely on the expertise of one Michael Schumacher, who described Mikka as the one rival challenging him the most and who he had the utmost respect for. I think if you impress Schumacher, you certainly aren’t rubbish or overrated.

    • The general tone on Hakkinen is extremely negative and, to my mind, not very impartial. Winning titles in a dominant car doesn’t disqualify you from being a great driver. How many titles are won in an inferior car? Evidence suggests hardly any.

      As for Senna in 1993; he’d probably been going through the motions. Hakkinen appears and all of a sudden he actually has to make an effort not to look bad against a rookie. Wonder of wonders, he wins! Ron must have been seething.

        • 30 GP’s in carp cars, and he was most certainly a rookie in a McLaren when compared with Senna who was a thoroughly embedded World Champion.

          The fact that he wasn’t strictly a rookie is largely irrelevant, as it has little to do with the point I was making, which was that certain drivers achievements get diminished for no reason beyond personal bias.

          I find it ironic that such sentiment is expressed in much the same way as Murray did. When Murray expressed a subjective opinion it was bad, simply because you found it disagreeable; but expressing an equally subjective opinion is acceptable if you agree with it. What balls.

          From an objective sense, Hakkinen is a double World Champion. The fact that Murray Walker eulogized him excessively may make him less appealing if you happen to not agree with Murray, but how can that be conflated into determining he is just ‘average’?

          I wouldn’t normally comment so vocally on a topic, but the attacks on Mika from this site have been fairly consistent. I’m not a massive fan, but I think it is a bit rich performing no meaningful analysis whatsoever when performing a character assassination.

          I would be very interested to have Mika’s mediocrity confirmed by a thorough analysis, but somehow I doubt this can be proven.

          • I find it ironic that such sentiment is expressed in much the same way as Murray did. When Murray expressed a subjective opinion it was bad, simply because you found it disagreeable; but expressing an equally subjective opinion is acceptable if you agree with it. What balls.

            Very well said. I salute you.

    • “I think if you impress Schumacher, you certainly aren’t rubbish or overrated.”

      Makes sense to anyone but Senna fans. They would say MSC was overrated himself. 🙂
      Watching Schumacher battling Hakkinen was the best part of my childhood.

    • Michael Schumacher, who described Mikka as the one rival challenging him the most and who he had the utmost respect for.

      Fair point, but was that not before Alonso smoked him around 130R ?
      (and I always had the impression that remark was rather directed at Hill / Villeneuve / Coulthard)

      I always rooted for Hakkinen to beat Schumacher, and the pass at Spa in 2000 after Schumacher had almost edged him off the track was phenomenal, but in the end, I feel that he didn’t stick around long enough to be in the same category.
      I don’t blame him in the slightest for walking away when he did – and it probably makes him a more rounded person – but he lacks the sheer dogged persistence of a Schumacher, Senna, Mansell…

      • Alonso/Schumi 130R was in 2005, the year that tire brand was a big factor in race results. Michael was on the wrong end of that battle with Bridgestone that day and may have felt that was the deciding factor rather than Alonso’s skill.

      • Don’t forget that they were battling for a long time, way back to F3. Example – Schumi blocks Hakkinen, who crashes trying to pass, to win Macau GP 1990. So, he knew that for over ten years, he would have a tough time to beat Hakkinen.

    • In their tiny run as Haas Beatrice Lola (various configs) that team had both AN and RB.

  8. Re- McLaren heritage drivers

    Did anyone notice that last year on the McLaren doomed series they went through all the McLaren championship winners except Lewis, who was in face their last championship success. They got funny ways at MTC wouldn’t you say.
    They are soooooo fickle.

  9. -Another interesting OTD… Does me enjoying OTD’s mean I’m getting on?!

    -RE: Ric, it’s so strange to me that he should even be in this drivers title challenge this late in the season, even on a super outside chance, considering a silver arrow 2sec/lap gap most of the season. Wait for it…. #WhatAWastedArrow

    • You dont get bonus points based on the amount of seconds per lap your faster. Mclaren drivers like Raikkonen and Hakkinen know what its like to be in the best car but still losing a truck load full of points (even championships) because of reliability.

      Even RBR had an off year in 2013, but in the end Webber was the only victim (2 botched pitstops, too many KERS failures). A clear 1st and 2nd driver might have improved Mercedes track record this year.

    • Five languages – English, German, Italian, French, & Spanish. Thought I had a smart kid who works in three. Understand Nico holds two passports. How is his Finnish? 🙂

      • He barely speaks any Finnish. He was born to a German mother and Kek spent most of his post-F1 time in Germany as well. The Finnish passport isn’t much more than a formality, really.

  10. Like past Newey RB creations the RB10 does turns better than any 2014 F1 car (making Seb’s distaste for the RB10 all the note puzzling). Until proven otherwise, we can chalk up Ricciardo’s qualifying proximity to Rosberg to the nature of the track rather than Ricciardo or advancements in the car design.

    As far as Red Bull Speed and F1, the real quandary here is how Christian Horner got away with a flagrant communication rules violation. Sure, Ricciardo’s battery was said to be balky. However, that cannot be an excuse to coach fair Danny around the track. Instructing Ricciardo to avoid kerbs is a driving instruction – period, despite all of Horner’s and F1’s double-speak to the contrary.

    It’s just another example of knowing which side your bread’s buttered on — and, more importantly, who’s paying for the bread and the butter. And it’s been baldly apparent that Red Bull has risen to the top of the F1 money/power heap.

    • It’s not that puzzling, he’s merely having a tough time adapting to the new Power Trains, brake by wire systems and lower levels of down force. He drove the RB’s in a certain way to get the most out of Newey’s designs.
      Vettel has shown signs of improvement recently, given enough time I think we’ll see Vettel back to his very best and in a position to push Riccardo as hard as he pushed Webber. However unless Renault deliver a significantly improved power train next season (assuming Vettel sticks around), Vettel and Riccardo will likely be trundling around in the Mercedes wake.

  11. Interesting rumor from Mathias Brunner that following Cosworth’s opening of its’ government grant supported ‘Advanced Manufacturing Centre’ next January, it maybe working on an affordable F1 V6 turbo.

    Some funding will supposedly come from the ‘Poison Dwarf’ (BE).

    Cosworth are refusing to comment!

    • IF Caterham make it to 2015, there’s a cheaper engine alternative for them to use…. or 2016, if RB decide to quit Renault..

      • BE probably realised he could bring down engine prices with a cheaper Cosworth unit available.. thus ending team calls for more money from him, just to pay for these expensive engines..

  12. LEWIS REACTION TIME SLOWER THAN 8yr OLD GIRL!

    In yesterday’s DN&C and comments, much was made of Lewis’s speed of reaction to the start lights. Yeah right! 8yr old girls are faster than Lewis. Of course we already knew that.

    http://tinyurl.com/q3lx44x

    • Yeah, but a little bit different when you can see the lights sequentially lighting and know the intervals between them are the same. Still ……… pretty cool.

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