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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite: 2000 – The day Schumacher made me cry
I’m a bloke – which means I don’t do tears…. well not unless it’s important. My father passing away, watching the harrowing scenes from Imola 1994, seeing my girls in school plays…. sometimes a piece of music, at times a sunset then on occasions a rainbow cast by the drops of rain against the….
oh big swimming pool dangling bollocks!
Like I said, I don’t do tears. But On This Day Mr Michael Schumacher made me bloody cry!
Watching Schumi enter the pits for the second time after a meteoric in-lap with rain spitting, he paused long enough to take on the heady mixture of chemicals they call Shell fuel, four new Bridgestone boots and he was trundling down the pit lane.
Looking back towards the chicane, Hakkinen appeared but it was too late and as the red missile accelerated into turn one – I began weeping!
“…as I went down the pit lane, Ross Brawn was saying ‘it’s looking good, it’s looking good’. Then he said ‘it’s looking bloody good!’ It was the most amazing moment of my racing career.”
“This is simply outstanding and special because it is with Ferrari and means much more to me than my other titles. Imagine what is happening in Italy right now. It must be fantastic. We will have to improvise our celebration as I told everyone not to plan anything as I felt it would be unlucky.”
Marussia’s feelings of deja vu
They say lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice but there is no doubt that some devastated people would argue that point. On Sunday, the ever intrusive lenses of FOM decided that it would be OK to show people that looked stunned and distraught.
On the BBC, David Coulthard and Ben Edwards continued talking about the race and different factors that had shaped it. It’s unfair to criticise them too heavily as they had received the same world feed that we the viewers did and to all intents and purposes, FOM had decided to not show whatever footage they had of the shocking accident.
With FOM attempting to remove all amateur footage of the accident from websites around the world questions were being asked as to the reasons why. Yet FOM obviously thought that the viewers would accept continued glimpses into a disbelieving Marussia garage and senior figures on the pitwall reacting to events as they happened. It was only at this point that news begin to filter in that Bianchi had been involved in an accident.
Over at Sky, witnesses claim that Brundle turned white when he realised where the car tracker showed Bianchi’s car – he after all had endured a similar horrific experience in the rain-hit 1994 Japanese Grand Prix.
A comment here on TJ13 after the race spoke of Marussia having been through a similar incident in 2012 when Maria De Villota crashed into the lowered tail lift of a lorry at Duxford Airfield whilst straightline testing a car. It is also a situation that Nicolas Todt has experienced before too as the manager of both Felipe Massa and Bianchi.
In 2009 at the Hungarian GP, Felipe Massa was injured when he collided with an errant spring that had fallen off the back of Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn. The impact put the Brazilian into hospital after having crashed out unconscious at the wheel and it would take weeks before he could resume his career.
Nicolas had flown in to Japan with Professor Gerard Saillant, a top trauma surgeon who had assisted with Michael Schumacher after his accident last December. A close friend of the Todt family he flew in after a request from the Ferrari team to aid the team working with the young Frenchman and it will be under his guidance that the family will release further news to the press and well wishers across the world.
In the meantime the new chairman of the GPDA, Alex Wurz has stated, “I’ve asked the drivers to refrain from commenting publicly on what happened, and to ensure the respect and privacy of the Bianchi family so that the analysis of what happened occurs in the best way possible without unnecessary pressure.”
Wurz adds, “Before drawing conclusions it is right to listen to the views of all the parties involved, though often we want to have all the answers right away.”
Dinner party with Marko or Minardi…
Hypothetically, if you were to have a dinner party with ten select guests, who would you invite? They can be from any period of history, living, dead or even fictional..
Forgetting the language barrier would you choose Julius Ceaser as one, maybe Beethoven as another, would a typical male select ten delectable women – or men – we don’t judge! Would you dare invite Homer Simpson who would dominate the buffet cart? Or make a space for the Flying Mantuan – Nuvolari…
Now if the rules of engagement are changed slightly and you had to include one of Helmut Marko or Giancarlo Minardi- which would you choose? The abrasive Marko, Matescitch’s tethered bulldog or the buffoon like Minardi.
Following the Japanese Grand prix, both men have voiced their opinions as to the eventual resting place of the Spanish Samurai. According to Marko, taking on Alonso would have been a no brainer – “he is a safe pair of hands, yet it would have distorted the philosophy of the team to focus on its youth programme. Anyway, according to our sources there was a relatively strong approach from Mclaren.”
Minardi opposed this view – “Fernando and his management have not handled the situation well. For several weeks he has had on his desk a contract offer from Mclaren Honda but the Spaniard is holding out for a Mercedes in the event that Lewis Hamilton were to lose the title and want a change of scenery. Ultimately it seems that he may well take a year off and return to a winning situation in 2016”
Of course it hardly needs saying but Minardi ran Fred for a season in 2001 – whereas Marko didn’t know anything about his own young man leaving the team until he was called on the Friday evening – so maybe he needs to check his sources… or if he asks The Judge nicely, maybe he can borrow his. After all the gavel wielder knew before Red Bull that Renault was in dire trouble..
Choices, choices…. Schnitzel or Bistecca alla Fiorentina..
Aquaplaning will happen anywhere,anytime to anyone
At the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, heavy rains swept across the track causing cars to aquaplane out of control. Into the downhill section of the Senna esses, Juan Montoya was the first to slide off the road.
Shortly after Antonio Pizzonia also slid out of control and collided with the Williams. The next victim was arguably one of the greatest wet weather drivers in history – Michael Schumacher – who spun out and almost collided with the stricken cars and the crane that was recovering them.
Mark Webber also rotated his car through the corner but luck smiled on him that day and he collected it up and continued; eventually crashing out as he approached the start finish line.
Scenes like this have been seen throughout motor-sport history whenever the rain has brought a deluge which eliminates cars in a particular way. The 1975 British GP saw several cars aquaplane into the crash barriers at Stowe – all following the same trajectory.
In 2007,rain brought the European GP to a halt after several cars slid off the track at the first corner. All overwhelmed by the amount of water that the Bridgestone tyres couldn’t cope with effectively.
Why is any of this important?
Max Mosley was interviewed by Sky after the Japanese Grand Prix and he offered his views in his own inimitable style. When asked about the safety campaign that has improved so much over the last 20 years through rigorous and exhaustive research he stated, “It’s an ongoing situation…it is constantly ongoing. But in this particular case, I don’t think any of those precautions would have helped because as I understand it he went in under the tractor and that’s what caused the danger”.
Turning the Bianchi accident, the ex-FIA president speculates, “It remains to be seen, when there is an enquiry, but for anyone to get hurt in modern-day Formula 1 several things need to happen at once: here you had, difficult conditions, a tractor on the track and 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. Why that happened remains to be seen, but it’s certainly the case that the yellow flags were deployed, so he should have slowed down and there should have been no risk of him going off, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.”
Of course as Max states, it is mere conjecture at the moment as to what caused his loss of adhesion but equally it is scandalous that he suggests at this stage that the driver was going too fast and ignoring warning flags.
Possibly the best qualified person to comment on the circumstances of the accident is Martin Brundle who survived a similar crash in 1994 at the same corner. “I nearly lost my life against one of them and just missed it and then hit a marshal. Obviously I have grave concerns, if it’s a career-ending incident he’s had or more grave than that.”
“The things are too high, and you’re sitting down too low, especially on that corner because you just keep turning left, so you’re going into the barriers if you go off there, there’s no way of recovering, you’re going too fast.”
“Some will say ‘well there’s yellow flags’, even double-waved yellow flags but that doesn’t stop you actually spinning off because we saw Ericsson spinning off behind the safety car. I spun off with yellow flags there, there was so much spray I couldn’t actually see my own steering wheel let alone the yellow flags on the day. If one car goes off in a certain position there’s so much greater chance of another one going off in the same place.”
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Alonso in ‘tough’ McLaren negotiations – report
Fernando Alonso is locked in “tough negotiations” with McLaren, the F1 correspondent Luis Vasconcelos claims. Although the Spanish driver insists Sebastian Vettel’s switch to Ferrari is a mere symptom of his own plans for the future, there are sections of the media who think the German actually caught Alonso off guard.
Some well-placed Spanish correspondents, for instance, think Alonso expected to be replaced at Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton, therefore opening up the prime seat at dominant Mercedes. That suspicion would tie in with the fact that, like the rest of F1, even Red Bull was apparently caught off guard by Vettel’s news, which was revealed to the team mere hours before it was made globally public.
But when Red Bull made it official, the energy drink company simultaneously closed the door to Alonso, saying the junior Daniil Kvyat will be promoted instead. “This is a better solution than to have a star in the final years of his career,” Dr Helmut Marko insisted to Austrian broadcaster Servus TV on Monday.
Vasconcelos, reporting for the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, said Red Bull’s Marko “told Kvyat the good news just half an hour before it was officially announced”. Arguably the best driver in F1 but also perhaps the most temperamental, the dramatic turn of events may have left Alonso with only two choices for the 2015 season.
Vasconcelos claims that taking a sabbatical next year, just as Alain Prost had to do when he left Ferrari acrimoniously in 1991, is now a very real possibility for Alonso. His only other option appears to be McLaren-Honda. But those negotiations, Vasconcelos claims, are “tough”. Indeed, a McLaren source told us “no one” currently knows how the situation with the Woking team’s 2015 driver lineup will ultimately turn out.
“The Spanish star wants only a one-year contract, while Alonso is insisting on a commitment of at least two years,” said Vasconcelos. A one-year deal would leave Alonso theoretically free to leave McLaren after earning up to an incredible EUR 40 million in 2015, and then jump into Hamilton’s plum seat at Mercedes for 2016.
TJ13 comment: So Alonso wants a one year contract insisting on a two year commitment…? What the?? Either the Spanish correspondent failed maths catastrophically at school or Alonso has become too reliant on his engineers for information.
This report misses the one thing that TJ13 has been stating in any article connected to Alonso or Vettel. It was Christian Horner who told the press that Vettel was moving to Ferrari. Not Vettel, not Ferrari – there has been no official confirmation. With Toto Wolff recently saying that they were 99% certain they would have the same drivers next year, who is to say that the German team hasn’t secured the services of young Vettel.
The likelihood that Vettel is wearing red next year is high but there is no guarantee that Fred will be wearing grey – although the Honda flag is a possibility because the money quoted would not be paid by a proud Ron Dennis to a driver who has no options and wanting just a single year deal.
The Ronster has maintained a fixed value of what title sponsorship is worth to Mclaren and endured a year with no sponsor worthy of the name. He told Lewis Hamilton in 2012 that he was the employee not employer and his stance towards Fred will not have lightened after the 2007 debacle.
Recent denials of Mclaren being bought by Lawrence Stroller and Gerhard Berger taking control carry little meat, but what happens in regards Alonso will be very illuminating as to Ron’s own future. If he employs the Spanish mercenary for a year then Honda are effectively the miserable one’s paymasters.
Anyway Luis, there are too many errors in the reporting to take any of the figures too seriously but one thing he has called correctly – Vettel’s announcement of ‘leaving’ Red Bull has caught Alonso off guard. At this level, psychology plays a huge part and Vettel has morphed from likeable young kid into a ruthless sniper.
Corrected GMM version includes this line now –
“The Spanish star wants only a one-year contract, while McLaren is insisting on a commitment of at least two years,” said Vasconcelos.
Interestingly, Bernie Ecclestone was not in Sochi yesterday, but a guest of the Azerbaijan government in Baku. The circuit for the “European Grand Prix” of 2016 was unveiled by Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport. Azad Rahimov and F1’s Mr. Big (well not literally).
“Azerbaijan is the latest addition to the Formula One calendar,” said Ecclestone. “And I am pleased to see they have designed an innovative new street circuit that will definitely help to create a world class event when we race there in 2016”.
All F1 fans will be delighted to know that Hemann Tilke has been involved in the design of the circuit, and as the proud father of the track, he had this to say. “We have created a challenging street circuit, in terms of engineering and design, and one that thrives on Baku’s very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city centre, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track.
An unusually verbose Tlke continues, “Obviously street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but we have been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing. For example, there will be an extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall that will reward pinpoint accuracy and courage, and we have an acceleration section of almost 2.2kms along the promenade which will see the cars running flat out at very high top speeds – something that will create an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home.”
Not to be outdone at the love in, Rahimov minster for sport declared, “Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple – create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about. Most importantly, we wanted a track that would showcase the best of Baku, our capital city, and I am delighted that the circuit the F1 teams will race on in 2016 has achieved exactly that aim.
Now the next phase of hard work begins and we are all excited about seeing the circuit evolve over the coming months. We know there will be challenges, but with the support of Mr Ecclestone, Tilke Engineering and everyone involved in helping to create F1’s newest Grand Prix, we know we will deliver a spectacular event in 2016 that will add to Azerbaraijan’s well-earned reputation as a modern European country that is the perfect venue for the planet’s highest profile sports and entertainment events.”
The F1 journalists who heralded this great proclamation were soon to discover that remarkably, the F1 fans of the world were not delirious with anticipation in response.
touched up with a nice blue artists pen
This weekend, we await the concrete jungle that is Sochi to be unveiled on our super widescreen HD TV’s. It may however, look quite different from the empty bleak monstrosity of Russian architecture when filled with the press ganged throng of Russians delighted to finally see an F1 Grand Prix.
The hope has been, despite the grim setting the circuit may provide an interesting race. That said, Lotus Technical director, Nick Chester, should check any enthusiasm as his coded description of the track layout is hardly encouraging. “Overall, the whole track looks quite technical, so it certainly will be a challenging one for the drivers”.
Oh well. If the rumour is true and Vladimir Putin does indeed deliver the podium interviews, the mental images of the Western leaders fuming in front of their TV screens should keep us entertained if only briefly.
Give us a kiss Vlad……. What……, you didn’t know I was gay?
Statement from Marussia and an impromptu meeting
For those wondering, the Marussia F1 team are preparing two cars today for the race in Sochi, though as yet no announcement has been made as to who will replace Jules Bianchi. It will most likely be Alexander Rossi who takes the seat for this weekend.
However, Marussia Racing have issued the following annouc=ncment today.
Wednesday 8 October 2014, 08.30hrs BST
Marussia Manor Racing GP3, which competes in the GP3 Series and is part of the Marussia F1 Team Young Driver Programme, will not participate in this weekend’s round of the championship in Sochi, Russia. Regrettably, the team has been forced to withdraw from the event for commercial reasons.
The Team would like to praise the hard work and dedication of the Manor Motorsport staff, who run the racing operations of the Marussia Manor Racing GP3 team, as well as the efforts of Dean Stoneman, Patrick Kujala and Ryan Cullen, three very talented young drivers who have been a credit to the team during its 2014 campaign. That Marussia Manor Racing GP3 currently lies in fifth place in the GP3 Series standings, and only recently celebrated its third win of the season, in Monza on 7 September, makes this withdrawal all the more difficult for the team.
Marussia Manor Racing GP3 would also like to thank the organisers of the GP3 Series, and the wider GP3 community, for their continued support.
A decision regarding the team’s ability to participate in the final round of the GP3 Series in Abu Dhabi next month will be taken in due course.
Marussia Manor Racing GP3 would like to make clear that its non-participation in the Sochi event is for purely commercial reasons and these have not been influenced in any way by events at last weekend’s Formula One race in Suzuka. The team’s GP3 freight deadline was last Thursday, 2 October.
As part of the Marussia racing family, the GP3 team does however share the concern of the Marussia F1 Team and the whole international motor sport community for Jules Bianchi, following his serious accident in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Jules may be missing, but his garage is ready in Sochi
TJ13’s mole in the Monza paddock reported that certain GP3 teams had been having difficulty with staff refusing to go to Sochi for reasons of conscience. Whether this is the case for Marussia, we can but speculate.
Certain F1 teams are travelling ‘lite’ this weekend, as race crew have opted not to travel to Sochi,
Further, all the teams were instructed this morning to be available for an ‘impromtu’ meeting in their race bays at 10am. We will bring you more on this when we have the information.
Hamilton to McLaren, Alonso to Mercedes
TJ13 reported a seismic shift in the feeling around the Mercedes AMG F1 race team following the events in Spa and the subsequentweek. One doesn’t require sources to realise that the unprecedented public announcement that Nico Rosberg would be disciplined by his team for what was deemed a racing incident by the stewards – was indeed incredible.
To then refuse to reveal the nature of the ‘discipline’ has left the hapless Mercedes management open to continual scrutiny and questions over potential deals of reparation done with Lewis. These are now impossible for Lauda and Toto to quash.
It was confirmed to TJ13 that Nico had indeed been instructed to ‘give back’ points to Lewis when he found himself leading the race, which was also confirmed by more than one source happened in Monza. That said, no further information has come to TJ13 suggesting a similar situation has occurred since where Nico has forfeited points – ie in Japan.
TJ13 has repeatedly commented since the 2014 German GP on the failure by Mercedes AMG F1 to secure the services of Hamilton beyond 2015, which when compared to Alonso and Vettel in recent years is outside ‘the norm’.
Further, it has been suggested to TJ13, though we have not reported this as confirmed and authoritative, that a deal may have been done within Mercedes AMG F1 which sees Lewis leave Mercedes at the end of 2014.
Niki Lauda catagorically denied this at the Japanese GP insisting Lewis’ will be at Mercedes for 2015 and that contract negotiations with the British driver for 2016 and beyond are “well advanced”.
In the same interview, Niki insisted, “We never even discussed with him [Alonso],”
Today, an F1 website is reporting catagorically that Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of this year.
“F1Today.net has had sources reveal to them that Hamilton visited the Woking base three weeks ago to sign for the team starting from next season. The source said: ‘Lewis was in the Woking factory three weeks ago. He arrived by helicopter, had a conversation about two hours with the management and then left with a big smile on his face. He signed here, I can assure you. A seat fitting has not happened yet, but that will take place in the foreseeable future.'”
This indeed is a categoric claim and F1Today.net are laying their entire credibility on the line. There is wriggle room here for the deal to be one for 2016, yet F1Today state in their commentary, “Lewis Hamilton has signed a contract for next season to return to his old team McLaren and spear head their new era with old partners Honda”.
TJ13 cannot comment on the credibility of this site, however, were TJ13 to make such a claim – we would be confident of the outcome.
That said, Ron Dennis who is the master of no comment or just not being available when he does not wish to answer questions, stated categorically in Japan, McLaren has finalised, ” no contracts with any drivers for 2015.”
There are few in the world who would hassle Bernie Ecclestone for fear of the fallout, but what about people who have nothing to lose?
The BBC tv show ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ were such people to, for want of a better word, troll Bernie E over his payment to end his German bribery case. They entered the Formula One HQ with a paintings, donning the title beneath saying ‘No Money, No Problem’.
They continued to taunt the supremo by saying “please don’t judge me. If I pay you, will you not judge me.”
The man from Suffolk showed impressive restraint before snapping, after becoming tired of their persistent insults.
To watch the clip, follow this link and skip to 24:31. (UK IP addresses only unfortunately)
Pirelli not too conservative on tyre choice
This weekend in Sochi, Pirelli have brought the soft and medium tyre. Today they announced the tyre selection for the final three races of the season.
For the US Grand Prix – soft/medium – (2013) medium/hard (2012) medium/hard
For Brazil – medium/hard – (2013) medium/hard (2012) medium/hard
For Abu Dhabi – super soft/soft – (2013) soft/medium (2012) soft/medium
“For the Circuit of the Americas, the medium and soft tyres will be nominated,” Pirelli confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.
“This has been the most frequent nomination this year, and is well suited to circuits with a wide-ranging series of demands, such as Austin with its combination of fast corners and more technical sections.
“The two hardest compounds in the range have been nominated for Brazil. While Interlagos is the shortest lap of the year, the energy demands are high as the anti-clockwise track essentially consists of a series of non-stop corners, with a high level of asphalt roughness.
“By contrast, Abu Dhabi is one of the smoothest tracks of the year, and well-known territory for Pirelli with a lot of the company’s testing carried out there prior to its arrival in Formula 1.
“The race takes place into the evening, with ambient and track temperatures dropping, [so] the most suitable tyre choice is the soft and super-soft, which will put the accent on strategy.”
Having been criticised in previous years for being too conservative in their tyre choice for the closing races of the season, Pirelli have gone a step softer for both COTA and Abu Dhabi. That said, the compounds this year on the whole are slightly harder than in previous seasons.
Ericsson’s new vocation revealed
Marcus Ericsson has been persuaded his talents may lie somewhere other than behind the wheel of an F1 car – probably any car come to think of it.
Today he plays in front of a packed crowd at the Sochi stadium.
This is the new home of FC Sochi 04, who surprisingly were founded in 2004. They reached the dizzy heights of the South Zone in the Russian Second Division in 2008, but were denied a license to play in 2009 – for ‘reasons unknown’.
Having signed a new ‘manager of politics’ (Igor Iganofsky) Sochi are back playing in the Russian professional league once again. Iganofsky’s influence has become instantly obvious, as on 19th September, Sochi were delighted with the perfect result against Moscow’s newest acquisition Sevastapol. The result was confidence boosting 0-0 for bottom of the table Sevastapol.
Sochi may be struggling in the league as it stands, but they now know their future is secure. Because in Russia its, “Better to play the game and lose…knowing the rules, rather than win in ignorance of them “.
When asked how life was in Russia since the sanctions began to bite following the annexing of Crimea, one fan commented. “If we’re playing Kiev next year, lets hope the cook puts rat poison in our players pre-match lunch, or we’re all f*%$king doomed”.
Today see’s the F1 drivers versus – well none knows who picked them or what the criterea was, but everyone assumes it’s a select Putin 11 (well….. they’re allowed 15 on the pitch actually).
In what was rather a surprise, Daniel Kvyat scored the opening two goals of the game, though he did allow his team mates to pass also to Checo – who has scored the third goal. 3-0 to F1 at half time.