#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 7th October 2014


This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.

You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly

Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Features: The Caterham Scam

 Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Suzuka 2014

OTD Lite: Gilles Villeneuve creates the legend

Spanish Samurai commits Harakiri

TAG boss wants to sell his Mclaren shares

Mattiacci continues remorseless rebuild of Scuderia

Questions explode as Bianchi crash video emerges (GMM with TJ13 comment)

A Statement from the family of Jules Bianchi

OTD Lite: Gilles Villeneuve creates the legend

On this day, thirty five years ago, Villeneuve took his Ferrari 312 T4 to his third victory of the season at the Watkins Glen circuit. The arrival of rain twenty minutes before the start made racing treacherous but if these conditions were made for anybody in the field it was the freakishly talented French Canadian.

Whilst he romped to a 48 second lead with mixed conditions, it was his performance on the wet Friday qualifying that would be scrawled into the memories of anyone who witnessed it. Of the cars that ventured out on the circuit that day, Villeneuve was the one the other drivers and their journalistic counterparts waited to see. He didn’t disappoint.

His Ferrari team-mate, World Champion Jody Scheckter, took to the track and set a time considerably quicker than any other runner. He returned to the pits certain that nobody would get anywhere near his time of 2m 11.029s. Except nobody had told Gilles who set a time of …… 2m 01.437s.


Spanish Samurai commits Harakiri

PAPhoto4srl_594722Fernando Alonso made his first mistake in his dismissive attitude towards Marco Mattiacci who replaced Stefano Domenicali after the Bahrain Grand Prix by stating that MM was not responsible for the podium that Ferrari scored in China. Fred remarked that he would wait to see what Marco could bring to the team as he was an F1 outsider.

The second mistake of the observer of the ways of the Samurai was to believe that the corporate world was insignificant in the F1 Scuderia grand scheme. Although Alonso later softened his rhetoric in favour of MM’s arrival, he felt secure in the knowledge that Il Padrino was the head of Ferrari and that his continued belief that he was the Scuderia’s saviour allowed him to treat Maranello as his own personal fiefdom.

The Spaniard’s final mistake was believing that Ferrari needed his services more than he needed them. Over the last few weeks it is clear the truth dawned upon Fernando that in fact his position at Ferrari was indeed in jeopardy with the result being any outburst had simmered down and suggesting he had always done “what is best for Ferrari” and “I have Ferrari in my heart“. Most staggeringly maybe that he the great Fernando had always been a ‘team-player’.

August 15th had been the initial cut off date Honda had expressed to Alonso as the time for his decision. Fernando requested an extension to the 20th of the month and by the end of September, rumours were circulating that there would be a significant announcement in Japan and the supposition was that Honda would announce the arrival of their new driver – Alonso.

Except, Alonso met Mattiacci on the Wednesday after the Singapore race believing he had all the cards in his hand to improve the deal. He was summarily dismissed as he encountered the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ of the Ferrari team principal.

The events of this past weekend would suggest it was around the time of Alonso’s big pow wow with Mattiacci that the contract was signed between Sebastien Vettel and Ferrari – who then informed Red Bull of his decision on Friday 3rd October. With Red Bull announcing their new team structure for next season, even without an official statement from Maranello, it appears that the reigning champion will be dressed in red next year, teamed up with his friend, Kimi Raikkonen.

Where does this leave our favourite angst ridden Asturian? With very little bargaining power for his services, sources are suggesting that Alonso was only after a single year contract with options because he is aware that Honda and Mclaren may not be in a position to compete next season. This would also leave him ideally placed to potentially replace Hamilton at Mercedes at the end of 2015, if as suspected Lewis and his baggage wants/is required to move on.

But another option on offer for Fred is that of a sabbatical. When asked about this in Japan, Alonso replied, “A sabbatical year, why not? There are options, you have to understand that externally you only see some things, but inside is very different. I have been thinking about it for two or three month in which direction to go but I’ll explain when you can understand better.”\

That said, Fernando’s body language during that interview was shifty to say the least.

One thing is for certain, it is unlikely there will ever be a “multi 21” situation arise at Ferrari. Unlike Christian Horner, or the three stooges at Mercedes, Marco Mattiacci has demonstrated he has a back bone made of steel.


TAG boss wants to sell his Mclaren shares

Mclaren is currently undergoing some changes with the only certainties being the partnership with Honda and the Paragon facility. In regards to the drivers – rumours in Suzuka – suggested that the futures of Jenson and K-Mag were secure for another season with Fernando Alonso seemingly not able to negotiate terms with the Woking team.

Ron Dennis has been seeking investment this year to buy out the Sovereign fund of Bahrain but news arrives that Mansour Ojjeh – his long time partner – is looking to sell his 25% of Mclaren following a period of ill health.

Ojjeh’s company TAG originally bought into the Dennis vision back in the early 80’s after having sponsored the Williams team for some years. TAG funded the Porsche designed turbo engine that dominated between 1984 – 1986 and he has maintained close links with the group throughout.

Recently the entrepreneur approached Lawrence Stroll about buying his shares in Mclaren – when the Canadian billionaire was looking at buying the Sauber team before talks collapsed during the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, rumours circulated that the name Gerhard Berger had been mentioned as taking over at Mclaren – which surprised many including a resolute Ron Dennis.

But, by a strange coincidence, Berger was the man that Stroll had asked to take over the running of the Sauber team if the acquisition had gone through..


Mattiacci continues remorseless rebuild of Scuderia

TJ13 recently published news of the arrival of ten new engineers to Maranello. Mattiacci is undergoing a complete revamp of the Gestione Sportiva and with the support and advice of his technical director – James Allison – has recruited from a select list of candidates to move the project forwards.

We reported last Thursday that Riccardo Adami had left Faenza and is moving in the direction of Emilia-Romagna. He has most recently been running the Red Bull simulator programme but is perhaps best known as Sebastien Vettel’s engineer at Toro Rosso where he won his first Grand Prix.

Wolf Zimmerman is arriving from the board of Mercedes AMG to help Mattia Binotto reorganise the power unit department and further engineers have arrived from Audi’s uber successful motorsport programme.

Daniel Casanova will be teaming up again with James Allison who he worked with previously at Lotus. After a career that included spells at Renault, Toyota and Red Bull Racing, he joined Lotus in September 2010 as Head of Performance at Enstone and Giacomo Tortora returns to Ferrari after eight years with Mclaren and will run the simulation department – which after comments from Pedro De La Rosa suggesting that Mclaren’s unit was some years ahead of the Italian counterpart – would appear to be quite a coup.

For all the Tifosi, it is encouraging to hear of the recruitment of people to what had seemed for years like a rudderless ship. In a little over six months the team principal has made his presence felt and is marching in time to the beat of the impressive saviour of FIAT, the incoming Ferrari president, Sergio Marchionne.

There will be no excuses, the objective is to return Ferrari to the winners enclosure, and to do this as quickly as possible.


(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Questions explode as Bianchi crash video emerges

As Jules Bianchi lies critically ill in a Japanese hospital, grave questions are being asked about the circumstances surrounding his terrifying collision with a recovery vehicle on Sunday.

Alain Prost, the F1 legend and quadruple world champion, told Europe 1 radio it is clear “serious misconduct” took place as the light faded and the rain intensified towards the end of the typhoon-affected Japanese grand prix. “There was an error, that is clear,” said the Frenchman. “Whose? I still have doubts. Was it the direction of the race or the officials who were at the corner?”

FOM, the Bernie Ecclestone-run company controlling the sport’s commercial rights, has suppressed the release of any official video footage of the crash. “I saw images that I will never forget,” Adrian Sutil, who was at the scene as Bianchi struck the vehicle and also when the French driver was extricated, is quoted by Switzerland’s Blick newspaper.

Late on Monday, terrifying amateur footage of the incident emerged, although FOM has been working busily to have copies quickly removed from social media sites. 20minutes.fr claims the video was shot by Phillip Dabrowiecki, a spectator in the grandstands. “FOM has not contacted me, but I think they are trying to bury the video because it shows all the mistakes,” he said. “I shared the video for the truth to be shown to all F1 fans.

One of the thousands to watch the video is Prost himself, who said he was alarmed to see that a marshal right next to the incident was waving a green flag. “It should have been at least a hundred metres away,” he insisted. Indeed, the green flag being waved from the marshal tower just after the incident scene is causing a great deal of controversy after the amateur footage emerged.

But former driver Emanuele Pirro, who also serves as a driver steward for the FIA, says that it is “perfectly regular” for green flags to be waving at the very next marshal post after a caution zone — even if this is just a metre away. He told Autosprint that those who say otherwise are “mistaken“.

Nonetheless, British newspapers report that the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone have ordered an urgent investigation into the circumstances of Bianchi’s life-threatening crash. The FIA confirmed that, and Ecclestone told The Times: “Things happen and we have to find out the cause.

Former FIA president Max Mosley described Sunday’s events as a “freak accident. I can’t really fault any of the people involved, the marshals or the race director or any of those people,” he is quoted by Britain’s Sky. “For some reason the driver didn’t see the yellow flags. It would appear he didn’t slow down as perhaps he should have done, but it’s certainly the case that the yellow flags were deployed.

Others also think it was simply a tragic accident. Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko told Servus TV on Monday that there was “no specific reason why driving was impossible” at the time of the crash. Williams driver Valtteri Bottas also played down concerns about the fading light, telling Auto Motor und Sport that he could “see the flags and there was also the flashing light” in his cockpit.

The driver steward on duty at Suzuka was Mika Salo, and he suggested that Bianchi was simply driving too quickly in the yellow flag zone. “No car should go out of control in that situation,” he is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. “I saw everything. There was way too much momentum.”

Salo also backed Charlie Whiting’s decision not to bring out the safety car. “It was the right decision,” he said. “At the corner was a single accident, the driver (Adrian Sutil) did not need help so there was no need to release the safety car. This was a standard situation.” Salo also played down claims the race should have been stopped for the intensifying rain. “Some of the drivers had switched again to heavy rain tyres, but some were staying on worn intermediates,” he said.

Red Bull’s Marko described what happened as “a chain of very, very unfortunate circumstances. After the safety car start, it was then a normal wet race,” said the Austrian. “When the accident happened, Sebastian (Vettel) did not request extreme wet tyres so it was justified for the race to go to the end,” Marko added.

Derek Warwick, another former driver and sometime FIA steward, told the Guardian: “Let’s not get too carried away, it was a one-off. You will always have these extraordinary situations and we have to be careful not to make knee jerk responses to them,” he told the Guardian. Warwick said one knee jerk response would be a rule change that every time a recovery vehicle is on track, the safety car should be deployed. “But I think it’s better to let people like Charlie and his team make the decision. Will he get it right every time? Probably not, but my vote will always be for the professionals to make the decision at the time,” he added.

This is precisely where opinions are starkly and emotionally split up and down the paddock.

Galvao Bueno, the influential lead commentator for Brazil’s Globo, described Sunday at Suzuka as “the biggest mistake I’ve seen in 40 years in formula one. I have no fear of speaking despite having a very good personal relationship with Charlie Whiting,” he insisted. “This was a race that had no condition to be run. I spoke with Felipe Massa and he said he saw nothing — if it looks dark on TV it’s because it’s dark as hell. This could have been avoided.”

TJ13 comment:  FOM tries to remove footage that has been shot by an amateur in a vain attempt to control what the world sees or believes about culpability?

Thank god we didn’t have this draconian all seeing, controlling monolith back in the 70’s when amateur footage explained what had happened to Lauda during his accident in 1976.

Isn’t that why we haven’t seen any official footage of the accident, after all how often do we see a driver go off track and moments later we have the tag at the top changed from lap counter to replay and the commentators dissect the available information.

It was only the lap before that Sutil himself pirouetted into the safety barrier but the first the TV audience knew was the car stationary against the barrier. The replay from the camera at Degner One showed the accident. Importantly it also showed Jules Bianchi barely 100 metres ahead of Sutil at racing speed seemingly managing to control his car.

A lap or around two minutes later he comes across the yellow flag zone and loses control spearing off the circuit at a far higher speed than Sutil had carried in green flag conditions. Yet the censors of FOM have not released any footage from the Degner camera, strange no?

As to Prost’s assertion about the green flag, it is simply astonishing what he has said. After a career in motorsport and with a son currently competing in top level motorsport  he would instinctively know that the green flag is waved at the nearest marshal’s post after the incident. Although following his questionable views on the Nico Prost/ Heidfeld accident in the inaugural Formula E race – when he blamed Heidfeld for the accident… we digress.

Of course people like Salo will complain that he was going too fast – but, lifting off in a yellow flag zone actually is worth around just half a second. Let’s not forget, this wasn’t keeping to a delta as a safety car had not been deployed, it was a yellow flag zone. Of course people will say he was on worn tyres and should have been on wets but as Marko said, Vettel changed to new inters during the safety car period. It is always important to remember that Bianchi had navigated through the Dunlop corner the lap before at racing speed.

Warwick is correct in that this accident was the ‘perfect storm’ but Martin Brundle reportedly went white-as-a-sheet in commentary when he learnt of the accident. Twenty years ago, he himself was heading towards that digger at speed. As to the TV Globo’s main commentator stating the worst thing he has seen in 40 years, of course as a seasoned professional he is allowed his opinion but over-reaction springs to mind. After all, we have had some dreadful incidents since 1974 several of which spring immediately to mind.


A Statement from the family of Jules Bianchi

Yokkaichi, Japan
7 October 2014, 23.00hrs local/15.00hrs BST

The following statement is provided by the family of Jules Bianchi, in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center, and is distributed on their behalf by the Marussia F1 Team.

“This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation.

Jules remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi. He has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition. The medical professionals at the hospital are providing the very best treatment and care and we are grateful for everything they have done for Jules since his accident.

We are also grateful for the presence of Professor Gerard Saillant, President of the FIA Medical Commission, and Professor Alessandro Frati, Neurosurgeon of the University of Rome La Sapienza, who has travelled to Japan at the request of Scuderia Ferrari. They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules’ treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family. Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues.

The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate.”
Read more at http://www.marussiaf1team.com/news/1035/bianchi-family-statement#OwpQSiHfPvVyOXIg.99

Wikipedia states

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury,[1] meaning that damage occurs over a more widespread area than in focal brain injury. DAI, which refers to extensive lesions in white matter tracts, is one of the major causes of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after head trauma.[2] It occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma.

The outcome is frequently coma, with over 90% of patients with severe DAI never regaining consciousness.[2] Those who do wake up often remain significantly impaired.[3]

Other authors state that DAI can occur in every degree of severity from (very) mild or moderate to (very) severe.[4][5] Concussion may be a milder type of diffuse axonal injury.[6]

Unlike brain trauma that occurs due to direct impact and deformation of the brain, DAI is the result of traumatic shearing forces that occur when the head is rapidly accelerated or decelerated, as may occur in auto accidents, falls, and assaults.[7] It usually results from rotational forces or severe deceleration.[8][9] Vehicle accidents are the most frequent cause of DAI; it can also occur as the result of child abuse[10] such as in shaken baby syndrome.[11]

The major cause of damage in DAI is the disruption of axons, the neural processes that allow one neuron to communicate with another. Tracts of axons, which appear white due to myelination, are referred to as white matter. Acceleration causes shearing injury, which refers to damage inflicted as tissue slides over other tissue. When the brain is accelerated, parts of differing densities and distances from the axis of rotation slide over one another, stretching axons that traverse junctions between areas of different density, especially at junctions between white and grey matter.[2] Two thirds of DAI lesions occur in areas where grey and white matter meet.[2]


On the hopeful side, Richard Hammond of Top Gear suffered from a DAI, and of course recovered. Yet the instance for the two injuries a very different

Full Wiki information

Gary Hartstein explanation

92 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 7th October 2014

  1. I do feel for Alonso, for all his faults, he has carried the Ferrari team, if Kimi and Massa had been paired together for the last five years, there would be a lot more P45’s floating round.

    I think we will find Vettel is much more at Kimi’s level, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out next year, we might find its Marco Mattiacci looking for a new job ,if Ferrari continue to produce cars at this level, and no Alonso to flatter the car.

    I would of prefered him to be paired against Vettel and then watch him dismantel the 4xWDC.

    I think Alonso would benefit from a stint with Williams, they’d keep him in check, whilst he could appear to himself be the saviour to fulfil his own ego needs.

    • Someone asked the question last week……

      Can Alonso develop a car and are the failings of the team a result of the direction he has lead them down?

      I think that’s a valid question, because prior to him joining the team, the team won a WDC, finished runners up in 08 and won back to back WCC titles, so clearly both Massa and Kimi were doing something right in developing the team. Things started to go awry for Ferrari when he came in and the team switched their focus on trying to get him his 3rd title. Drivers input are crucial to the design of a car, so some blame has to be attached to him as well.

      • Exactly my thoughts. Kimi proved his development skills (in my book) both at Ferrari and Lotus after he returned. Alonso hasn’t, neither at Renault, McLaren or Ferrari. The same goes for Vettel and Button I’m afraid.
        Schumacher, Rosberg, Hamilton, have shown that they can develop a car. The Ferrari years (Schuey), the 2013 Merc (Schuey/Rosberg), the McLaren 2009-2012 amd Merc 2014 (Hamilton/Rosberg) do show that in my perspective.
        Of course it’s not always as crystal clear as that. Having a Newey or a Byrne or an Allison does help.

        • “The same goes for Vettel and Button I’m afraid.”

          I’d hold judgment on Vettel.

          For 4 straight years he managed to guide Newey’s car development to perfectly suit his style of driving (but NOT Webber’s). He is also famous for spending inordinate amounts of time with the engineers, going through the session details. I suspect Finger boy is much better at developing cars than he’s given credit for, and with Allison (and Raikkonen) at Ferrari things may suddenly look much brighter for the Scuderia..

        • Well said! Alonso has build F14T around him so much, that it took Kimi half a season to find even a bit of comfort. He and Kimi have completely different driving styles. Alonso likes understeer and light front, whereas Kimi and Vettel like more controlled ride, with grippier front. I feel that Allison is exactly what Ferrari needs at this point, he had very good understanding of what Kimi needed at Lotus and will deliver a comparable car in Ferrari next year, which should suit Sebastien as well.

      • You guys are forgetting about the new reg’s after 2008. Both Ferrari and Mclaren were struggling since 2009. Driver development skills are overrated. Look at the cerebral Rosberg…..

        • They struggled at the start of the new regs, but caught up eventually. Both teams still managed to win races in 09 (2 Mclaren and 1 Ferrari), what’s the chance of seeing a Ferrari on the top step this season? This will be Ferrari’s worst season post the Schuey era.

        • But look at all the changes MM is making. That hardly says they have a driver who cant develop cars and therefor they fire 25% (random number) of the employees with him. Ferrari’s structure is simply f’ed up.

      • Testing was completely banned by the time Alonso joined Ferrari. Their problems have nothing to do with Alonso and his ability to develop their car but more so the outdated aero models and minimal CFD work performed by the team. Stefano was blind to it and LdM even rejected a wind tunnel upgrade in early 2011 when it was clear aero would be the dominating factor until the 2014 engine change.

        It was never the driver, it was everything else. MM has realised this straight away, just as EB/RD realised at Mclaren. Unfortunately the nice guys like Stefano and Whitmarsh are a bit too close to the workforce and are blind to it.

        • But why is the fault with everyone else and not the driver, is he not apart of the team? Aren’t the designers and engineers taking their lead from them?

          The most sophisticated CFD and wind tunnels, cannot replace a drivers input. Just ask Mclaren about their 2013 car. Didn’t JB come out and say that based on the numbers, the 2013 car would be a lot faster than the previous model? How did that turn out and they’ve got one of the most sophisticated systems.

        • “Their problems have nothing to do with Alonso and his ability to develop their car”

          A lot of valid points, but.. Just ask McLaren and Honda how they were doing under Button’s development direction. The driver is integral to appropriate feedback to the engineers in terms of what works better/worst. Alonso is capable of driving a red brick day in, day out, so for the most part his feedback must be inexistent.

          “It was never the driver, it was everything else. MM has realised this straight away”

          So do you reckon that it is for this reason that Alonso and Button are being harakiri-ed straight away, in the same restructuring process, along with the rest of the faulty structure in the technical team?

          • Why is Mercedes all of a sudden on top? Why was RBR on top for 5 years? Why did Mclaren sink into an abyss? Why did Sauber and Lotus? Knowledge and money is why. Not because of driver feedback. Teams do not rise or fall because of driver feedback.

            Is it possible for TJ13 gto et hold of some fishing rods and visit Ross Brawn to put this matter to rest?

          • …we heard something pretty concrete earlier this year…. though its all rather quiet at present…. nothing yet to suggest anything’s changed though.

    • That’s right. Even though Alonso is clearly the favorite Ferrari driver, without Alonso, Ferrari would frequently struggle just to finish in points. Alonso’s incredible performance simply helped to mask for years just how bad things were at Scuderia. When the exhaust blown diffusers were a must to win races, Ferrari people were quietly saying that blown diffusers are the part of car they understand the least. This year, aero gadgets gave way to innovative engine designs, and Ferrari is now sending the signals that they can’t get the V6 engines right either. They don’t seem to get anything right these days. Vettel is going to have quite a job ahead for him. Fortunately, time isn’t running out for him the way it does for Alonso.

      • A point was made some weeks ago that didn’t really get airtime. Maybe Alonso is so good that he masked the problems Ferrari had. Without him maybe Ferrari would have changes sooner.
        Historically Ronnie Peterson was a brilliant driver but had no idea on changes made to the car – he needed a Fittipaldi or Andretti to develop the car.
        I remember irvine once saying in 1998 that Schumi tried a front wing that gave no benefit. Team asked irvine to test it and it was 1/2 second quicker. Conclusion was that Schumi could drive round problems whereas Irvine needed the improvements and that was straight from Irvines mouth…

        • “Conclusion was that Schumi could drive round problems whereas Irvine needed the improvements”

          Exactly so. Seems to describe very well Alonso’s predicament, and the reason Mattiacci put him under the butcher’s cleaver.

          • I don’t think that is reason MM was willing to let FA walk, more to do with any and all credit for results going to the driver and making the car and therefore Ferrari look bad, it had become the Fernando show, featuring Ferrari, instead of the Ferrari show featuring x, y, z driver. Also it may have been the team were split into the pro FA and anti FA factions instead of all being pro Ferrari. All this is much more acceptable as reasons why MM has cut Alonso lose than sighting that he can’t develop a car.

          • I am inclined to agree with you on that point. Gone are the days that drivers stood over the mechanics telling them how and why they want parts adjusted or changed.

  2. Re: Alonso

    If the fallout reports are true, i am deeply disappointed. Though Fred was dismissive of MM earlier, later in the races i thought Fred started to recognise the MM’s pedigree and believed that he would continue with Ferrari. I really hope that he would continue with Ferrari and win races and titles as he craves and hope that Ferrari provides a car capable of doing it.

    Re: Seb to Ferrari

    @Pitlanetalk reports that Ferrari would announce it officially on Oct 13. Being a ferrari fan since the mid 90s and seeing vettel winning titles the last four years, i can’t imagine supporting for a Ferrari win with the finger boy.
    But if vettel manages to win the title it would be perceived that Vettel has done something that Alonso has’t (Ferrari should produce cars) which is appalling considering the determined restructuring Ferrari is under.

    Finally Forza Fred, WDC 2015 in a F2015 (Car no. 14).

    • On Vettel and Ferrari restructuring?

      In all fairness, didn’t Schumacher do the same in the 90s and got the fame of being able to develop a car? Of course during his Merc years we didn’t see that, although the 2013 Merc wasn’t that bad. The only people I can think of in the last few years that did develop a car without a major restructuring are Kimi (Lotus) and Hamilton (McLaren 2009-2010).
      From my perspective, Vettel will prove his ‘greatness’ now at Ferrari. If he’ll be able to win races the same manner Schuey and Alonso have been doing, then he’ll go down as a great of this era.

      • Couple of responses…

        Ferrari’s biggest problem this year has been the engine’s lack of power (which is why they’ve been recruiting powertrains engineers at such a rate). One can hardly blame Alonso for that.

        Secondly, Vettel is hardly going to prove his greatness racing against a driver who has been consistently 0.8sec slower than the guy leaving the team – and if Ferrarimdo develop a monster powertrain for next year, again it will have little to do with him.
        I’m not a Vettel basher – he may well be one of the greats, even if the jury is likely to be out for a year or two yet – but getting the best of Kimi next season is maybe not the ultimate test.

      • In 1991, Prost called his Ferrari car a truck and got fired. However, Ferrari’s problems did not end there. It turns out that they got the 3.5L engine just wrong, and it took years to redesign. They insisted on using the V12 when V10 was actually the optimal design in the long run (this was eventually found by trial and error).

        To get things straight, it’s important to note that when Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996, the car finally got a brand new 3.0L V10 engine, which really helped to make it more competitive. To be fair, the problems of Ferrari in the first half of 90s probably went beyond the engine problems. Some botched pit stops and strategy calls looked ridiculous. The team was truly chaotic before Schumacher arrived.

      • “The only people I can think of in the last few years that did develop a car without a major restructuring are Kimi (Lotus) and Hamilton (McLaren 2009-2010)”

        I really disagree. I don’t think any driver develops a car, none of them. Look at your examples, both of them are drivers who’ve being with a team for multiple years and we’ve seen the car performance go both up and down in those teams.

        • Then who does? They may not do it all themselves, but they play a very important role in the entire process.

          The cars are built to suit a drivers needs. Kimi likes his car to have more bite at the front, Lewis likes his to be a bit tail happy, it would then be counter productive to give either a car which is the complete opposite to what the y require to carry out their jobs effectively.

          • @Fortis96, the drivers role in developing a car is more to tell the engineers if what they have done is right for him or not. The drivers say stuff like x y z needs to be improved, the engineers take that info and look for possible solutions, once they think they have improved the situation, they give the car back to the driver and ask “is that better?” To which the answer is yes or no, the driver doesn’t stand there and say things like ” if we under cut to side pods more it will help with corner entry” or “if you make the defuser X shape it will help with tyre squirt” he simply gives his opinion of what is better or say set up A give good high speed stability but under steer in slow corners and set up B give the car more over steer but mid corner is very predictable. The driver is the just responsible for maximizing the performance of what he is given so the team know what is better and what still needs work on.

          • @clear view….

            Did you read the opening paragraph of my comment?.

            I’m fully aware of what role each individual plays in optimising the car.

          • @Clear View. Exactly that. The driver reports things like understeer on turn in, then span oversteer on exit, etc. etc. and the engineer tries to adjust/change stuff to make it work better. Really, the driver is given a package and helps optimize that package, but doesn’t make fundamental changes; that’s up to the designers and engineers.

            A good driver will give useful feedback; I once ran a guy who couldn’t describe s***. Finally, in desperation, we took the car to the track and, a la Lauda, I took it out; the damn shocks (dampers) were shot, the front wheels were bouncing all over the place. I didn’t go a lap it was so obvious. But this guy didn’t even notice; NOT a good development driver (or driver either – but he paid).

  3. Lets get one fact right. Even if we assume wrongly that the waved green flag was responsible for the accident, Bianchi was still in the yellow zone when he lost control of his car. At no point did he ever reach the green zone. One has to seriously question the judgement of Prost. Even if I don’t think race control were entirely blamelesss, this coming from Prost is irresponsible.
    The accident was scary but we think with level heads and not form a lynch mob.

    • Except you have to take into consideration how all the drivers treated the yellow flags. What they do is essentially just blip the throttle so the telemetry shows that they lifted, then they get on with it. The data posted yesterday showed Chilton and Ericson both ran through that zone quicker than Bianchi, after JB had crashed. And if the driver can see the green flag ahead of them they know that the track is clear – even if they’re still currently in a “yellow zone”.

      It seems clear that in a yellow zone, leaving the choice of speed up to the driver can lead to a mistake, unsurprisingly. So we either change the digger policy (no diggers, padded diggers, etc) or we change the yellow policy (use Le Mans style zoned speed limits). Or both.

  4. “Except, Alonso met Mattiacci on the Wednesday after the Singapore race believing he had all the cards in his hand to improve the deal. He was summarily dismissed as he encountered the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ of the Ferrari team principal.”

    Chilling account. (Still shivering..) Thanks Judge.

    “But another option on offer for Fred is that of a sabbatical. ”

    I think TJ13 should do a Fred-speak on that full interview. The only thing *I* heard from Fred was that he:
    – got kicked out of Ferrari
    – got his bargaining position completely screwed up by Vettel’s and Horner’s instantaneous revelations. I guess Fred is now buying himself a “How to make friends?” book, in Japanese.
    – had absolutely no choice on where to go, since RB and Merc don’t even want to hear of anything Asturian-related, while Ferrari pointed a firm middle finger at him. Moreover, since Williams is all loaded, while Lotus is dicing with the Marussia and Caterham boys; only Big Ron’s McLaren Honda is an option since it is desperate for a high-profile driver
    – a sabbatical scare the sh*t out of him, since if he goes out for a year he may easily find himself in no man’s land and with no team wanting a “retired”, “old” and mercurial character in their teams. Raikkonen managed to do this because Enstone and Eric were up for a gamble, but with the current age curve developments in F1 and with no Briatore-like character still in the pitlane, Fred may easily find himself only hearing the wind..

    I guess that the guy now is simply scared..

    • And don’t forget, Kimi was willing to take much of his salary in bonuses for finishing well rather than guaranteed salary.

      Of course, it took Lotus a while to pay him but…..

  5. RE: Spanish Samurai commits Harakiri

    “Fernando Alonso made his first mistake in his dismissive attitude towards Marco Mattiacci who replaced Stefano Domenicali after the Bahrain Grand Prix by stating that MM was not responsible for the podium that Ferrari scored in China. Fred remarked that he would wait to see what Marco could bring to the team as he was an F1 outsider.”

    Sounds like very realistic and honest to me. Should Alonso have started kissing Mattiaci’s ass right from the start because Mattiaci simply was the new (unexperienced) team principle? MM wasn’t responsible for the podium, neither was Ron Dennis in Melbourne.

    “The Spaniard’s final mistake was believing that Ferrari needed his services more than he needed them.”

    I dont want to be annoying but this point is yet to be proven in the coming years. Btw, Ferrari’s mistake is employing the 2 drivers (VET & RAI) struggling the most with the new regulations……

    • How can it be a mistake to employ Seb and Kimi?….

      Seb a quadruple WDC and Kimi the last man to win a WDC title for Ferrari (in his 1st season with them at that) as well as helping to deliver 2 WCC crowns. I’ve always viewed Alonso as being selfish and his only aim was to promote himself rarely has he put the ‘team’ first.

      Sure they’re struggling this year, but that’s not to say they’ll do the same next year. Give them both the car to perform with and I’m sure they’ll deliver the goods.

      • Seb is a quadruple WDC indeed. How did that work out for him this year? I just feel its a risky move..

      • It is kind of interesting how Ferrari have directly replaced a driver who said that he’d rather have more titles and less respect with a driver who has more titles but less respect.

    • I agree with Fortis. Kimi IS a team player. And Seb is way more of a team player than Alonso ever was. He may be a better driver than both Kimi and Seb, but what’s the point if your egocentricity does not allow the team to build a title-winner?

      • Not talking about teamplaying here because I agree with you both on that. Its the performance part i’m worried about.

        • And my argument is that if the new restructuring and team spirit delivers a title-winner in 2-3 years tailored around their lead driver, you don’t need an Alonso or a Hamilton in the car. Vettel, Rosberg, Kimi, Button, they would all do the job just fine. Look at Brawn 2009!

          • A tailored car is needed indeed. But thats hard to do with these regulations preventing exhaust blowing (which Vettel needs).

          • …. lols… just a random thought which hippo wouldn’t appreciate… So I papaphrase you @Alex…

            Vettel needs to be blowing solidly out of his arse to perform well…. (chuckle at the implication)

          • “Vettel needs to be blowing solidly out of his arse to perform well…. (chuckle at the implication)”

            @judge – Anyone told him about baked beans?….. 😉

    • Alonso was dismissive immediately without knowing anything about this man. He would have been better served keeping his opinion to himself but Alonso is an agitator.
      Bear in mind one of the most influential people in his working group is briatore – who had no automobile experience at all, just knitwear but he twice took charge at Enstone and won titles. So F1 experience is not important to being a winner.
      Tj13 wrote articles at the time speculating on MM’s appointment and whether it was LdM trying to scupper the golden boy or if Fiat was pushing change.
      An article on 5th August practically predicted what was to happen.
      For all his political savvy, Alonso believed his own hype a little too much and he was dismissed.
      Interestingly, rumours in Italy have suggested Domenicali has been in talks with Marchione about a return, it seems Fiat removed him to take out LdM from within.

      • Alonso was and is still correct. MM cannot make any immediate improvement matter of fact, look at what is happening, they’ve had 2 DNFs and have failed to score a point.

        • What if under MM’s leadership, they win a few races next season, will Alonso still be correct then?

          “They’ve had 2 DNFs and have failed to score a point”…..

          Mercedes, RB, Williams etc have all had DNFs, so what’s the relevance?

    • Vettel has been doing fine the last couple of races. Perhaps the learning curve was longer for him. I don’t know what to make of Kimi’s performance.

  6. “FOM tries to remove footage that has been shot by an amateur in a vain attempt to control what the world sees or believes about culpability?”

    Not much has changed from when both the FIA and FOCA TV withheld information about Senna’s accident.

    • The video is readily accessible (for now) on the front page of the Telegraph online.

      I don’t want to comment on the accident itself without more information, but as a general principle it seems fairly obvious that accidents are more likely to happen twice in the same place on a wet track than a dry one.

      • There was never any chance that FOM would be able to suppress any amateur video of the accident. There’s too many outlets available to upload video onto, and if you upload it to a US site – non-commercial amateur video is covered by law through a variation of fair use which means that any copyright claims by FOM don’t apply. I suspect the real reason that FOM took the decision was in case any legal actions were launched against them or the promoters – then they could control what images were available,

    • actually the tapes still exist and people from Gillette watched them, when they were making a promotional movie Senna, months ago, and that “cut” made at the intl feed was casual, but the whole thing exists and it is quite disturbing

  7. In the midst of the terrible news for Bianchi, a glimmer of hope for Schuey.

    “We may assume that Schumacher can live a relatively normal life within a short period of time,” Todt told French radio station RTL.

    • The cause of the FP ACCIDENTN his elbow got stuck between the chassis and the seat so he couldnt steer the car after having an oversteer moment.!!!!

  8. Jules has apparently suffered a “suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is in a critical but stable condition” according to Andrew Benson on twitter, this is from the family via Marussia.

  9. Conflicts of Interest.
    Bernie put Charlie in his post.
    Bernie put Jean Todt in his post.
    Jean Todt’s son is Bianchi’s Manager.

    Now Jean Todt (bernie), has ordered Charlie Whiting, to investigate what went wrong in the accident.
    So Charlie has been tasked with investigating himself, to make sure he didn’t do anything wrong, and the person that should be pushing Charlie the most for real answers, Jules manager, is Jean Todt’s son.
    This doesn’t seem ridiculous to everyone?

    An independent investigation wouldn’t be the correct way to handle this?
    If for no other reason that the APPEARANCE of impartiality?

    I can save F1 a lot of time, here is what Charlie’s report is going to say:
    Jules was going to fast. The flag marshalls did the right thing.
    It was a “freak accident” and could not have been prevented. The weather was not a factor. No video will be released, no telemetry or hard data, out of “respect for Jules”.

    Move along, nothing to see here..

    The drivers better grow some balls and demand real answers. If they don’t, bernie will have successfully crushed them into a powerless group of well paid crash test dummies. I fear for all of their lives.

    • This would be exactly the plan. Except it may be that Bernie and Jean have no love for each other, but due to Charlie being FOM in FIA clothing it’s the FIA with egg on its face should this turn out to be due to some negligence on their part. So they will cooperate and due their best to sweep it under the rug.

      • This is worth watching.
        This You-tuber noticed something no one else has yet. Important bit is at about 4:30. You see a reflection of a green box light in the approaching side of the digger.

        I am not sure it is a reflection of the light he surmises, but it definitely is a green light that is on the left side of the digger.


        Suppressing video of the actual event is only going to make this situation worse. The truth must come out.

        • His analysis is slightly flawed as the cars we can see are not about to do a right and head down to the area of the incident…

          They are about to enter the chicane – travel down the pit straight and then back through the Esses before hitting the dunlop curve – so there would be no yellow light there.

          However, the green light on reflection suggests the track was green prior to the position of the digger and marshal point 12 – hence the argument the marshal’s green flag is valid as the drivers can only accelerate after the green flag is not questionable – due to the position of the light.

          • I’m sorry I don’t accept that. That reflection of a green light may well be of a light placed further round the corner. If you think of the way a ball bounces off of a pool/ snooker table cushion it mirrors the angle it has travelled from.

            For the digger to reflect the yellow light on the left hand side of this image the digger would have to be angled at more of a right angle to the person filming.

            I’m also getting irritated by people suggesting that Bianchi lost control by travelling too fast. I watched the race again last night and on the 41st or 42nd lap you see Sutil buried in the barriers at Dunlop. Within twenty seconds, FOM play a replay which shows Sutil spinning across the gravel into the barrier. But of some significance is that just ahead of him on the track was Bianchi’s Marussia.

            Everyone who says he was on 17 laps old tyres, they were worn out etc, is missing the point that when Sutil lost control, Bianchi had navigated the Dunlop corner at racing speed, ie when the track was green.

            The next lap through the video shows him spearing off and hitting the digger. The marshal post with the green flag was waving because it was after the incident with Sutil’s car. He would have started waving the double yellows when they got instruction that the safety car was out. SC board is accompanied by double yellows throughout.

            Whether it was aquaplaning, or car malfunction I don’t know. Maybe it was driver error but and its a big but, if he was accelerating because he was reacting to the green, he would still have been travelling slower than he had the previous lap at racing speed.

          • Agreed Judge, his overall analysis is flawed, the cars do not make a turn just off camera to the left, they are coming back up the S curves before the point of the digger.
            The green flash in the window of the tractor is most intriguing though.
            More evidence is needed.

          • @Carlo

            “I’m also getting irritated by people suggesting that Bianchi lost control by travelling too fast.”

            Unfortunately, Carlo, this seems to be quickly becoming the party line. The FIA will refuse to release evidence (whether video or telemetry), and will simply throw red herrings at the public in the form of “traveling too fast” or “there was no closed cockpit”.


            It would be most illuminating if you could gain access to Jules’ telemetry (or sector times) for his:
            (1) best lap/sector times and
            (2) the sector times of the 5 laps previous to the crash.

            Given the worsening conditions—rain and darkness—and the worn tires, I’m willing to bet my bottom that Jules was traveling at 0.5sec less than his best sector time and thus fully in compliance with Charlie’s enforcement of the double-yellow rule. And if that were the case, the fault lies squarely on that idiot, and on the FIA.

        • Correction!!

          I have scrutinized the footage further. It appears the green reflection in the window of the tractor is from the high intensity green bulb that is emanating from Sutil’s car, on the roll hoop. As the car swings, it reflects in the glass. This does NOT appear to be a reflection of a safety light on the track. Sorry all. please do not use this as evidence of anything.

          In the absence of real answers, I have succumbed to the dark lure of speculation. Time out for me.

          • Yeah, good catch. It’s plausible for the reflection to have come from Sutil’s roll hoop.

            Also, it’s unrealistic for the tractor to reflect the light that was yellow, situated before the tractor (on the bottom-left of the video). For the simple reason that that light is placed with the *back* towards the tractor. It is simply flashing the light in the *other direction*. I don’t see how physically the light could be traveling from that unidirectional monitor, well not unless the world is a very non-euclidean place..

  10. Alonso looked so high and mighty but it was all talk. In business, it seems he cant walk the walk. Def still the best driver, but there are others not so diva.

  11. Autoweek was forced to take down Bianchi crash video. They’ve replaced it with video of Eccelstone’s revolving door incident.

  12. As an emergency medical practitioner, and with a strong history in motorsport medicine, I imagined the accident, and then, seeing the video, my worst fears were realised. It pains me to say that such an injury fits in with all reports so far. The statement from his family outlining Jules has a DAI is what I feared most.

    This is a horrible, debilitating injury with the poorest of prognoses and an exacerbated recovery timeline in even the luckiest of cases.

    Were I of the inclination, I would offer a prayer. Instead, I’d urge us all to remember these moments and frustrations so we don’t forget why safety is the most important consideration. With time to reflect, our sport can do better, and, it can do so without ruining the racing. Let’s make the sensible the loudest voices.

    • And, for the purposes of self-declaration, my two sensible cents are as follows:

      1. Red-herrings:
      1a. The rain played a part in Jules’ accident. It was not the cause of injury.
      1b. The visibility might have played a part. It was not the cause of injury.

      2. Cause of injury
      2a. A tractor, with exposed dangers at head height, and no crash absorbtion protection, was present in an area where open wheelers may approach.
      2b An open wheeled vehicle approached tractor at too fast a speed to stop due to
      i) Mechanical failure* in combination with
      ii) Driver error caused by:
      2c An open wheeled vehicle approached a tractor at too fast a speed to stop because double waved yellows are regularly ignored by drivers, and tacitly allowed to do so by race management.

      * Mechanical failure might be an isolated cause in a case of complete brake failure but otherwise includes the likelihood that the vehicle was already driving faster than conditions (yellows and rain) allowed.

      Therefore, how do we fix 2?

      Tractors not welcome on live race tracks.

      And then, how do we make areas where tractors are absolutely required safer?

      X) Mandatory safety car
      XX) enforce double yellow sectors with pit limiter (see Le Mans 24hr 2014)

      A mandatory safety car can alter an entire race for a single small incident so not my choice, especially where I see absolutely no reason why the pit limiter option would not work. The technology already exists on the vehicles and the tracks.

      Tear me down sensibly.

  13. Might be a bit late with this but talk of closed cockpits has ramped up a lot in the last few days, for obvious reasons. The thing is though there is no way a closed cockpit would have made a single iota of difference, if you look at what happened to the roll hoop and the rest of the car. From the videos I’ve seen of the FIA testing them they’ve just been firing tyres at the cockpit. I don’t think they were taking into account the car being fired at a 20 tonne truck.
    If only people involved in a lot of F1 journalism stopped with the narcissism for a minute and actually used their brains, the knee jerk reactions are off the scale.

  14. The relevance is the results I listed don’t mean anything. It is not an indication if the new man, MM, is making progress or not.
    Time is required to determine progress and stop getting aggitated over none issues.

  15. Not wanting to detract at all from the terrible situation but a few things I’ve been wondering about:

    Did the teams manage to get out of Japan and on the way to Russia OK?

    I’d guess that Jules car is irreparable and has probably been impounded anyway. Do Marussia have a spare available?

    If so, do they actually have a nominated driver, will they even try and run two cars at the next race – difficult but it is after all their ‘home’ race.

    • I believe that f1 teams need to do anything they can to get 2 cars on the grid. What ever the reason. They have contracts, not only with their sponsors but with bernie too. But i dont know the exact rules since when senna and Ratzenberger died, both teams only had 1 car on the grid the following weekend.

    • I would guess there is a bidding war for the 2nd Marussia seat as we speak. They can’t field just 1car because a) they have a contract with Mr E and to breach it would give him all the reason he would need to revoke their entry (on the way to 8x 3car teams) and b) Sochi is there patent companies home GP so they will want both cats on track for sponsor exposure.
      Unfortunately money over rides sensitivity!

    • I’d be surprised if teams don’t carry around at least one spare chassis, assembled or disassembled for parts.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.