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:
Questions explode as Bianchi crash video emerges (GMM with TJ13 comment)
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
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.
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
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
Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury, 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. It occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma.
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. It usually results from rotational forces or severe deceleration. Vehicle accidents are the most frequent cause of DAI; it can also occur as the result of child abuse such as in shaken baby syndrome.
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. Two thirds of DAI lesions occur in areas where grey and white matter meet.
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