#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 8th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#F1 Features: Twitter ‘moralisers’ just don’t get it

#F1 Circuit Profile: 2014 – Russia, Sochi, Sochi International Circuit – Round 16

#F1 Forensics : Mercedes typhoon in Suzuka


OTD Lite: 2000 – The day Schumacher made me cry

Marussia’s feelings of deja vu

Dinner party with Marko or Minardi…

Aquaplaning will happen anywhere,anytime to anyone

Alonso in ‘tough’ McLaren negotiations – report

Baku revelation

Statement from Marussia and an impromptu meeting

Hamilton to McLaren, Alonso to Mercedes

Trolling Ecclestone

Pirelli not too conservative on tyre choice

Ericsson’s new vocation revealed


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.”

The Jackal

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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.”

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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..

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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.”

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Alonso in ‘tough’ McLaren negotiations – report

Original 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.

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Baku revelation

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”.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Give us a kiss Vlad……. What……, you didn’t know I was gay?

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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.

 

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However, Marussia Racing have issued the following annouc=ncment today.

Banbury, UK
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.

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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.

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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],”

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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.”

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Trolling Ecclestone

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)

Bernie TRWBT painting

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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

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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”.

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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.

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91 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 8th October 2014

  1. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is how primitive the wet weather Pirelli tyres are compared to the old Michelin/Bridgestone, they could race with far more water on the track without aquaplaning.
    And thats not me guessing at that, the drivers have commented on it before, but then i supposed if they were allowed to test, they’d have a better product.

    Maybe if the tyres were of better quality, we wouldn’t have drivers sliding off the track so readily.

    • To be honest, I think that’s a little unfair. Prior to Sutil’s off, how many cars slide off the track due to the tyres? And we don’t know for certain if his off was caused by the tyres, it could be, but that’s yet to proven.

      At present all we’ve got to work with is assumptions on all fronts. Not until a full and thorough investigation is done and the findings released to the public, will we know what really caused his accident.

      • I’m not necessarily blaming the tyres for the accident, but it might be a contributing factor. Anyone remember the Bridgestone intermediate, those things were legendary.

        And whatever happened to the monsoon tyre?

    • I’m assuming you didn’t watch the 2003 Brazilian Grand prix then – when the teams were furnished by Michelin and Bridgestone. As the report suggests a number of cars spun through the Senna Esses. Mark Webber lost control up the hill towards the startline and Alonso smashed into his errant wheel on track – despite full course yellows at the time.

      Okay, other occasions over the years have had cars spinning off as the planks underneath hit puddles of water and they become boats but with the mighty Bridgestone providing tyres in 2007 the European Grand Prix had to be stopped because the extreme wets as they were labelled couldn’t remove the water…

      Maybe if you thought about it logically, Pirelli make dry weather tyres to suit the FIA mandate, not because they do not how to make tyres. They have taken considerable flak over the years for what they were asked to do.

      Wet tyres do not come under that mandate

      • To be fair the rain in 2007 was absolutely torrential. The puddles were massive and I was very very wet…

        • I’m guessing you mean the rain is drier in Brazil then? 😜

          Of course what I mean is that when rain is heavy enough to consider switching from inters to full wets, anything can happen. Button changed to wets whilst Vettel changed to fresh inters during final safety car but it was my way of saying you can’t blame tyre manufacturers.
          Otherwise, I blame Englebert tyres back in the 50′, Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear…

          • lol fair point. I think even with extreme wets at Nurburgring there was a good chance of flying off the road at anything above road car speeds.

    • If Michelin or Bridgestone intermediates were 20 laps old they could just as easily spun off the track…

    • What a bland monstrosity… Someone should inform them not to build street circuits in provincial Soviet Union capitals. What would be the idyllic background? Grey, 9-storey buildings?

      • Quit your complaining, or the next year its going to be #2017ChernobylGPAsia.
        bernie found out the land there is reallly cheap, and the hotels are always empty.

    • Yo Bernie, I have heard Milton Keynes council have come up with some readies for a race around their grid system? What say you – you truncated Beatle haired fan-boi!!

      Imagine taking Red Bull on at their own game.

      Then again Swindon has been rumoured….

      History, no-one seems to learn. Las Vegas – car park. Phoenix – had more fans at local ostrich race that weekend. Detroit… oh the list goes on

      • Oh, they learned all right. What they learned (and I mean FOM & Bernie) is that they can sucker governments into paying $25 million or so for the right to a race. Once they have their money they don’t give a s*** about the fans, the promoters, or anyone. Their business plan is to get the race fee, all the advertising fees at the track, TV money, etc. etc. They don’t HAVE to care about the fans. They make their money up front, whether anyone shows up to watch the race or not.

    • track layout makes me think about the Phoenix street circuit that was used in 89,90 and 91

  2. “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.”

    It is also scandalous that he focuses solely on the tractor. As I mentioned yesterday, had the trajectory been 2m to the left or happened 5sec later, Bianchi would have beheaded a marshal or two. And we would now be discussing how outrageous it is that marshals were on the track under these terrible conditions, on that trajectory, etc., etc.

    Moreover, including this season, it very often happens that marshals are on the side of the racetrack and on potential understeer or skidding trajectories. Exactly as it was in Germany 2014, when the idiots at race control instructed marshals to run towards the track and then cross the track under double-yellow conditions, with drivers required to lift a mere 0.5sec from their *best* sector time. Spin it as you will, but this is still damn dangerous and fast with these monsters of racing cars. Such current enforcement of double-yellows is simply dangerous for both drivers and marshals.

    Thankfully even Autosport seems to warm to the need of imposing the PL in double-yellow zones:
    http://plus.autosport.com/premium/feature/6218/gary-anderson-the-lessons-of-suzuka/

    “The cars have electronic speed limiters. They are very effective and are used for pit speed control. We have seen races with 60 or more pitstops without anyone being caught for speeding. Surely it’s possible for this system to be adapted for use on the track…

    A yellow flag means slow down. As a driver enters the yellow flag zone, he presses the track speed button on the steering wheel, which means the maximum speed – which I suggest is set at 100km/h to begin with – is controlled by the electronics.

    When he sees the next green flag, he can reset it and off he goes back up to racing speed. This way everyone slows to the same speed, so no one gets an advantage by just going that little bit faster.”

    • I have watched the accident and you can see from the marhalls reaction to the way the digger was moving that it was not doctored footage.

      If he sustained a 50G impact and lifted a xxx tonnage vehicle so easily and yet still finished in the middle of an off track rescue area – how much further would the car have travelled without the collision?

      As to the going too fast, he was ahead of Sutil on the lap Sutil aquaplaned off. In effect at racing speed.. Unless Mosley and all other observers believe that the racing speed of a Marussia is slower than when it is confronted with a yellow flag situation, it makes no sense people bringing this up as a possible cause.

    • Agree with every bit of that.

      The only thing possibly missing is this point from above;
      (in wet conditions)If one car goes off in a certain position there’s so much greater chance of another one going off in the same place.

      Whether a more promptly deployed safety car would have made any difference last weekend is entirely a matter of conjecture, but in wet conditions like last weekend, it’s hard to think that sending it out straight away would have been wrong.

      • Yeah, but we know from Germany 2014 that Charles doesn’t like sending out the SC towards the end of the race, to avoid hurting the show and having a finish under the SC. He prefers sending volunteer marshals running like scared rabbits across the active racetrack (Kyalami anyone?), or parking tractors and marshals along the skidding trajectories.

        Why, you ask? Well, you see, in the interest of the show our beloved safety expert Charles insists on lapped cars unlapping themselves (a dangerous activity in itself, one would argue, and certainly more dangerous than lapped cars simply dropping down the order via the pitlane), which can effectively double the time of the SC. And the commercial overlords don’t want to see that, do they Bernard? Not at the end of race, anyway…

        • I agree with everything you’ve said here (and in the initial post) landroni. To focus on the recovery vehicle wouldn’t stop something similar happening again, it’d merely mean that drivers would hit people or broken F1 cars… to focus on the driving in the yellow zone though? That could largely prevent the the whole lot.

          We said post German GP the FIA needed to look at driving under yellows. They didn’t, the results were on display in Suzuka.

      • …Read the article coming at 5pm – it will explain a few things – especially some strange decisions from Charlie

      • Over 200kph that’s quick when there is a signal to be prepared to stop, you can’t emergency stop from that speed safely on a wet surface that’s for sure. F1 car or not!

  3. “Recent denials of Mclaren being bought by Lawrence Stroller and Gerhard Berger taking control carry little meat”, meaning McLaren is being bought by Stroller? Or just an error in your report?

  4. “In 2007,rain brought the European GP to a halt after several cars slid off the track at the first corner.”

    F^ck my duck!!

    So you have 5-6 cars that spin uncontrollably and end up in the gravel after having skid on the exact same trajectory, and 4-5 cars that lose it but somehow slow down and return to the track. And what’s the first thing that the FIA does? They send two tractors and two marshals onto the skidding trajectory (while cars were still skidding along!!), and put the safety car out. Then you have yet another car that almost collects the SC, and then collects the tractor (although gently).

    You’d figure that lessons would’ve been learned by now..

  5. There appear to be rumours from within McLaren that Hamilton has signed for 2015, which would obviously open up the seat at Mercedes for Alonso.

    Judge, could there be any truth to these rumours?

    • I don’t see Bozo moving this year. He has finally regained the lead. The car seems to be breaking down less often. And all signs are that next year Merc will still be seconds ahead of the opposition. Why would he move?

    • …. We did fly the kite following Mercedes unprecedented public discipline of Rosberg for a ‘racing incident’ as declared by the stewards, that a deal may be done, allowing Hamilton to leave should he win the WDC this year.

      He has been sighted at the McLaren technology centre recently…. then again we should expect him to have visited Maranello too.

      • why would mercedes want to sign alonso though? getting rid of hamilton only makes sense if they want to make rosberg no.2. considering the weak leadership of mercedes, can you imagine the implosion alonso would cause if rosberg would successfully challenge him?

        and if hamilton were to leave mercedes, it would make much more sense to sign for ferrari than to sign with mclaren. he’s been there and know their weaknesses, nothing suggests they have gotten on top of them. in addition their future budget is insecure and nobody knows how the honda powertrain will perform.

      • Should Ham win the WDC and leave merc and Alonso goes to Merc, that would effectively wipe out any chance Nico has of ever winning WDC how could he be ok with that? I can’t see Nico saying “ok Toto I’ll let Lewis win so he leaves and you can then employ Fernando as #1” not gonna happen, that means Rosberg is resigned to #2 for the remainder of his career, unless he can worry Alonso Luke he was worried Hamilton this year.

        • K, except that Fred is very used to the Ferrari. He’s been driving a car (granted a bit of a pig) that has been tailored to him for quite a while now. Even Lewis, who would be fast in a wheel barrow, had a bit of a settling in period at Merc. Plus, I suspect development of Merc has shaded to HAM a bit and I’m not sure that would be optimum for ALO. I’d put ROS in for a shout if ALO joins. Could be an excellent bet.

    • I’ve always felt like that scenario, VET to Ferrari, ALO to Merc, HAM to McLaren is one that makes a lot of sense for all involved on a personal basis.

      Sure HAM wouldn’t have that massive car advantage anymore, but equally he’d not have a team mate alongside him who is very similar in pace terms (he’d be back to #1 like he was with KOV), and he’d get away from a team who I’m not really sure he has warmed too. That one suits Merc too, they swap out HAM who is often outspoken for ALO who would be like the cat who got the cream if he had any kind of car advantage, let alone 2s+!

      ALO wants titles, nothing less, so he just wants the best car he can get, and VET? He’s at the stage Lewis was a couple of years back, not wanting to go stale with one team and wanting to try out something new – and what better way than driving for the one team that everyone dreams of driving for, if nothing else it will increase his popularity with fans and booing will be a thing of the past for him.

      That said, when has F1 ever made sense!

      • “Sure HAM wouldn’t have that massive car advantage anymore, but equally he’d not have a team mate alongside him who is very similar in pace terms ”

        Are you mad? No way no how, no way no how will Hamilton walk away from a car about 2 seconds a lap quicker than the rest. Especially after the last four years of losing to Vettel. I imagine him and Rosberg are jammed in their seats like limpets. He ain’t going nowhere.

        • To be fair though, Lewis left McLaren in 2012, a year when the McLaren was the fastest car in F1 for 75% of the season. Red Bull won that years titles on reliability and strategy, not on having the fastest car all season. They often picked up the pieces when things went wrong for the Woking team.

          Lewis left that fastest motor in F1 for Mercedes who were nowhere at that point.

          Don’t think it can’t happen because of the car, Lewis has proven that’s not the case. For a kid who said Senna is his hero the opportunity to drive a turbo powered McLaren Honda to glory with a wage packet that would beat Mercedes (thanks to Honda) would surely tempt him. If the team keep either JB or KM he’s got nothing to worry about team mate wise either, which surely appeals.

          There’s far too much logic in Hamilton to McLaren to dismiss it, especially given the alternative is Alonso to McLaren and we all know how much bad blood there was between the Spaniard and the team.

          • “Lewis left that fastest motor in F1 for Mercedes who were nowhere at that point.”

            Hang on though because he left the fastest motor to go to the same fastest motor, but this time in the back of the works team. And don’t forget how the McLaren was fast, but kept breaking down. It was a tactical move. Granted I thought it was a risk at the time but it made sense. This idea doesn’t make sense on any level other than money (but he’s got lots already, and more to come) and history (but he’s already won a title with McLaren).

        • @Mark, depends on what he saw in Japan, doesn’t it. After all, what Merc showed him in 2012 got him to walk at a time when everyone (well, most) felt he was making a huge error.

          Winning a 2nd WDC puts him into a different category, and he may feel it’s more worth it to go back to Macca and try with Honda for a 3rd, in terms of how he sees himself and his career.

          • But by having to go back to Ron and the McLaren home? I think it could be seen more as a retreat as anything else. It would certainly change my perception of him anyway.

        • And what guaranty is there that next year’s car will still be this dominant?

          • unless paddy convinces the team to completely redesign the car and start from scratch, i think i is a pretty sure bet that mercedes will have the dominant car next season.

          • @anijs. You forget that the competition won’t be sitting by the pool. I’m not saying they’ll have a bad car. But if someone managed to build a better one lewis or nico might end up actualy fighting for the titel. Or maybe someone even builds an more than awesome car and mercedes will be trailing them by a big margin. In f1, much as in football, anything can happen.

    • Whichever one is at Mercedes has to be title favourite in 2015.. hopefully a 3rd title for either Alonso or Hamilton.

    • I think so. Mattiacci (and Marchionne) clearly has no taste for political intrigues and capricious prima donnas (yes, Luca and Fred, talking about you here). He wants the business to be done. And that’s not how Fred operates.

      • Moreover, in couple year’s time Fred will be 93 years old, and no one would want to put him in a car for safety reasons..

      • Stupid this.
        Here I am, an adult with no personal connection to the best driver in the world. So I have only reports and interviews about Fred to rely on. But fock, I just don’t like him and want him to leave Ferrari. Ain’t that strange?

    • It was apparent some months ago. Mattiacci got rid of Marmorini because he was the type who blamed everybody else and didn’t take responsibility.

      He wants people who will accept if they have made mistakes and move on because to err is human.

      Alonso also has taken credit for the performances over the last few years to the point that it is him that is saving Ferrari’s skin. Historically this doesn’t go down well in Italy.

      Whatever the rights and wrongs, Alonso is not Ferrari and Ferrari will still be contesting Grand Prix after he retires. He has also shown a complete lack of humility and whereas Schumacher would attack the team in private after failures, he never once voiced displeasure outside of the motorhome.

      For all his political savvy, Alonso is certainly no team player and it would appear at times he isn’t too bright when it comes to personal relationship with the people that matter.

  6. Another rumour for today: Hamilton visited Woking a few weeks ago and left the building smiling after a couple hours. That implies Hamilton to Mclaren and Alonso to Mercedes.

    Personally I feel Hamilton is gonna stay (he better be if he’s smart).
    Especially watching this interview:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyTQOwNSOsw
    Or that would be the best pokerface ever…

        • I know, lapse in judgement….;-)

          I’ll use Lauda’s comments then, when he rubbished the Alonso to Merc rumours and then stated they’re in negotiations to renew his contract.

          It was I who mentioned the Maria De Villota incident, for which someone said was incorrect. Luckily Carlo knew what I was talking about. 😉

      • The ONLY other scenario I can think of:

        Hamilton wants to stay, Lauda wants Hamilton to stay.
        How about Wolff and co? They are awfully quiet, maybe for a reason.
        Alonso said he has had a plan for 3 months, maybe its been moving to Mercedes all along with Ferrari as a plan B? Before the summer stop there were the first rumours of a Alonso to Mercedes move. Maybe there has been a gentlemans agreement in place like with Vettel and Ferrari?

        Alonso’s interview does sound like a storm is coming. It doesn’t suggest a predictable move to Mclaren.

    • …Not convinced, especially when asked the killer question at the end….

      Vettel denied leaving Red Bull twice to 2 different journo’s in the Thursday FIA press conference in Japan….

      • A few months late, but Autosport and F1.com are now reporting on Lotus’s switch to the Merc PU next season.

        Ever thought about taking over as cheif editor?… 😉

      • Judge,

        When would we likely know the positions of the 3 drivers. Is Vettel really headed for Ferrari or it is Redbull PR work to damage Ferrari and Alonso. Can you clear the doubts. We have been hearing so many rumours for the past fortnight on this topic.

        • @ramanan1987 Thanks for your post

          There is a new article just been added to the news which details what we know so far….

      • I think thats for a number of reasons. At times she can be quite provocative with her questions as she seeks to get an answer to a leading question. He’s been caught out by her before. She was also the journalist in Monaco when he made the Ali G reference.
        Natalie Pinkham is eye candy..

        • Lee McKenzie is an accomplished journalist, I don’t think it’s fair to compare Natalie Pinkham with her as she’s more of a presenter and often does a better job at holding Sky F1’s coverage together than Simon Lazenby does (he still seems out of his depth).

          What baffles me is the decision the BBC made to not have Lee McKenzie be the main F1 presenter. When she’s done the job in recent times she’s given the coverage a boost in credibility it’s otherwise lacked. Perry looks bored and disinterested.

  7. Hold up…

    How can Baku have a 2.2km straight? Not only is that absurdly long but doesn’t it break an FIA regulation which says the straights can’t be long long?

    The track doesn’t look great but if the track is lined with walls and has a huge straight, I’d personally prefer it to Singapore. I also like how both this track and Russia don’t have very slow corners/chicanes before the straights; it seems they’ve learnt lessons from recent tracks like America and Abu Dhabi where the hairpins just cause severe field spread.

  8. Lewis will not be going to Macca next year – utter BS. Why would he leave this car he has right now and is pretty much guaranteed a title winning car with merc for at least another year…

    Pitlane talk on twitter have said that lewis has an extension with merc until 2017 and it is merely a formality to finalize the deal….

  9. My Money is still firmly on Hamilton to stay at Merc for 2015 and beyond

    • Your money is safe. The only question is: Alonso to McLaren and how much?

  10. Funny that, there is a report in ‘F1 today’ and most have fallen head over heel to ‘buy’ their story, including the judge (?). It doesn’t make sense for Lewis to leave Merc right now, end of.
    Then, there is another report at ‘planet F1’ where Lewis declares his ‘love’ with the ‘cool’ brand that is Merc and Judge questions it as a source.

    So am I to believe that ‘F1 today’ is more reliable than ‘planet F1’?

    Has anyone thought that maybe that ‘source’ in ‘F1 today’ is someone from Fred’s environment wanting to circulate rumours about him going to Merc so that he has a stronger hand in the negotiations with Honda? Just saying…

    • That bluff wouldn’t quite work out though, since McLaren should know whether or not they signed Hamilton.

    • …I suggest you read our review of their story again… we do not endorse it… in fact the concluding para does exactly the opposite

  11. According to the report today both Hamilton and Alonso have signed contracts wit McLaren.
    I think this would be a really funny team with both drivers clearly inssiting to be Nr 1.
    BTW: I´d understand Ham to leave Merc as he is let say not happy about his standing in the team compared to Ros.

    • Both Alonso and Hamilton to McLaren? It would be really funny next year if the Honda PU is a dog and the McLaren chassis is too. Watching Alonso and Hamilton fight it out for 14th place would be a hoot.

    • It would be funny if it turned out to be a repeat of 2007.. I could imagine Alonso blowing up again after being promised he would be the number one driver, only to see Hamilton turn up and not being able to get to Mercedes in time. Button, who was tipped for retirement, then goes there as the only available driver, and wins in a dominant car….

      • Maurice Hamilton is even saying Alonso/Vettel at McLaren-Honda, if it’s actually a killer package… wow.. so Button/Raikkonen at Ferrari?!

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