#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 10th October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Episode 8 – Waiting for the Window Cleaner

The #F1 Bar Exam: 9th October 2014

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


OTD Lite: 2004 – Schumacher – Two records in one day

Marussia to run 1 car in tribute to Bianchi

Vettel goes to Ferrari, or maybe not!! That is the question

Father says ‘no change’ in Bianchi’s condition (GMM)

FP2 Report: Russian GP

Breaking News Engine Freeze rules abandoned

Mercedes go ‘creative’ on Rosberg’s car


OTD Lite: 2004 – Schumacher – Two records in one day

Michael Schumacher qualified on pole position. In itself, not something overly remarkable but this one was a little different and unlikely to ever be matched by anybody. That was until 2010 by his compatriot – little Schumi! The parallels are quite overwhelming!)

As Japan prepared for a typhoon, F1 could not run the normal scheduled qualifying sessions and the only decision available to the teams was the following day. Unlike the 70’s which would have  spoilt a good party, all the drivers would be up early on Sunday to run their two qualifying sessions for grid positions. The result of this was M.Schumacher on pole, whih he cpnverted to his thirteenth victory of the year – another record matched by young Seb.

The race started at the usual time with some team members openly worried that running so much in a single day would affect their reliability. Yet only Mark Webber would have reliability issues

The Jackal

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Marussia to run 1 car in tribute to Bianchi

Marussia have announced that they will only race with one car this weekend in Sochi. Following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident in Suzuka, they have spoken to his family and have decided in tribute to just run a single car for Max Chilton.

Marussia issued a statement: “The team have written to the stewards of the meeting to inform them that they have withdrawn their second car.

“Notwithstanding the presence in Sochi of Alexander Rossi, the nominated Official reserve driver for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the team feels strongly that fielding a single car, that of driver #4, Max Chilton, is the appropriate course of action under the difficult circumstances of the weekend.

Jules’ car will remain in the Marussia garage over the weekend and Chilton admitted: “I don’t know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules,” he said.
“The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules’ family at this difficult time.

“It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules.”

This is a blessing in disguise, as the sanctions/Russian customs had made it impossible for teams to draft supplies direct from their factories. Only F1 car parts brought from Suzuka were guaranteed to be accepted at the Russian border.

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Vettel goes to Ferrari, or maybe not!! That is the question

Last weekend Sebastian Vettel announced he was leaving Red Bull at the end of 2014 and that was it. No mention of wearing grey or silver next year, nor the opposing red but the majority of the world’s press announced – as if fact – that he was heading to Maranello.

Here within the TJ13 towers we have enjoyed the speculation that has been put forward by the press but we have used caution since young Seb made himself and Christian cry. We have also enjoyed the way that the German’s announcement has destroyed much of the bargaining power his outspoken rival, Alonso, had prior to the weekend.

The runes do indeed point in the direction of Southern Europe but not necessarily as the near future. With Il Padrino leaving his position this coming Monday it is expected an announcement will be made by Ferrari in regards their 2015 line up and Vettel himself has said during the build up to Sochi that “there is no update on my future. I hope to make an announcement soon. We still have to wait.”

The only confirmed news is that Alonso is not wanted by the Scuderia any longer, Vettel will not be at Red Bull and that Kyvat will replace him which means the Milton Keynes seat has been removed from the game of musical chairs.

Added to that equation is that Hamilton has been sighted in Woking recently but again with a view to next season or the one after? No one knows… yet Lewis pointed out, “Whoever is starting those silly conversations, I always have made it clear I’m here at Mercedes to do a job. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13, so I feel pretty relaxed. But I’m also aware of what goes on in the business and I’m aware that people are trying to intervene.”

Finally, to complicate matters, both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have flown into Farnborough airport (near Woking) and been whisked away VIP style by McLaren, to the MTC. So anything is possible.

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(Sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Father says ‘no change’ in Bianchi’s condition

Five days after Jules Bianchi’s life-threatening crash at Suzuka, there is “no significant change” in his health condition, father Philippe has revealed. Bianchi’s father was speaking on Thursday to the French daily Nice-Matin, adding that the messages of support from the F1 paddock and around the world have been encouraging to the family. “It really has been tremendous and something that I could not even imagine,” he said, “even if I know that Jules is a nice boy.”

As for 25-year-old Bianchi’s condition, however, Philippe admitted that the situation is very serious.

Professor Saillant and the Italian specialist who came at the request of Ferrari are cooperating fully with the local doctors,” said Philippe Bianchi. “So he could not be better cared for. There are no significant changes. Everyone knows that he is in a critical phase. But Jules fights like he has always fought. Just as in the races. He is strong.”

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Bianchi’s siblings Tom and Melanie have travelled to Japan to be with their brother, as has the Marussia driver’s best friend Lorenz. Philippe said he has not seen footage of his son’s crash.“I do not want to see the video,” he insisted. “It is difficult to speak of a racing incident. To me, it’s more like a traffic accident. Depending on what happens, I will surely have something to say later.”

Charlie Whiting’s investigation into the circumstances of Sunday’s crash is now set to be handed down, and Italy’s Autosprint claims video footage and team telemetry will show that Bianchi did not significantly slow despite yellow flags. Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen said: “It’s always easy afterwards to say what should have happened. It was an unfortunate accident,” the Finn told Turun Sanomat newspaper in Russia, “and none of us want to see someone get hurt. I hope Jules gets better.”

TJ13 comment: At TJ13 towers we have said for some time that Charlie Whiting’s ruling on yellow flags is shrouded in mystery for the drivers. The effect of the rules appear to change depending on the political climate at a particular event.

Of course team telemetry will show that Bianchi did not slow significantly despite yellow flags because this was declared ‘sufficient’ under Charlie’s 2014 directive. Be prepared to stop but you can travel just under your racing speed through the affected area is the message.

What the world has the right to know following the FIA leaks exclusively regarding Jules Bianchi’s speed, is the pace of each of the other drivers through that section on the lap after Adrian Sutil spun out. Only then will a clear picture emerge. Of course Bianchi was traveling too fast as was every driver bar Sutil and Fernando Alonso who retired after the initial safety car pulled in at the start.

Further, the paddock is already buzzing with red herrings such as closed cockpits and other such nonesense. THE question to be answered is “Have the FIA or Charlie Whiting acted in a manner which by their own standards and principles created an unsafe environment for the drivers in Suzuka?”.

One would have to question why the FIA would leak Jules Bianchi’s speed through sectors 7 and 8 last Sunday, unless it was a gut reaction of self defence.

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FP2 Report: Russian GP

FP1 saw the drivers reject the soft tyre unanimously, as the green nature of the track appeared to have solicited a universal agreement amongst the teams, to rubber it in.

Whilst the weekend is reportedly close to a sell out, Russian industry appears to have demanded its pound of flesh from the workers on Friday, prior to the weekend when they may indulge in an orgy of ultimate F1 ecstasy.

The lone Marussia of Max Cjhilton was first in line to hit the track as the lights went green. He was quickly joined by Gutierrez and Bottas, the latter having lost time in FP1 due to a failure in a tyre warmer.

12 minutes in and all the riders have at least warmed up their steeds with a gentle canter, bar the darling of Red Bull – Ricciardo, and the emotional Felipe Massa.

Simultaneously, Jenson gets his season underway with the quickest time of the day – 1m41.928s. Joking aside, Jenson was third fastest in FP1 just 0.196s off the pace and a cynic may suggest McLaren are looking good to potential driver suitor’s here in Sochi today.

That said, an old Ferrari trick is – look good on Friday, hope Alonso can get 5th on Sunday.

Interestingly, Jenson’s three best sectors in the morning session when combined into a lap was quicker than anything either the Mercedes drivers managed.

The local hero of Sochi can only manage a best of 1m43.348s. He describes his car as ‘lazy and unresponsive’ on pit/car radio, and instructs them he will be in his box very soon for them to sort it out.

15 minutes gone and Rosberg is quickest, quickly displaced by Team mate Hamilton.

On the half hour, the inevitable happens. Romain Grosjean reports, “Yeah, there is a problem guys, I cannot drive.” The Lotus looks like a pig and even Alain Prost wouldn’t be sacked for suggesting this.

Chilton is up to P17 just before the half hour, though his time is slower than Jolyon Palmer’s GP2 time set prior to this session.

On 35 minutes, the first runs on option tyres begin. Sutil and Hulkenburg are the fist to dash for the top of the timesheets. It takes two flying laps for Hulkneburg to post his quickest time, and he goes P4 – a 1.6 second gain on his medium tyre best run.

The session is almost half complete, when the first of the Merc’s dives for a run on the soft tyre. Rosberg beats Button’s time, but only by 0.169s with a 1m41.027s. Lewis first lap is only good enough for P4, though his due to track temperatures it appears to be th second flying lap which is delivering.

Sebastian is lucky at turn 13. This is one corner where there is no wall lurking a couple of metres beyond the white lie. To be fair, all the drivers are finding this tough as there is an off camber section which looks most tricky indeed.

Button goes quickest, but immediately is dispossessed by Rosberg. Magnussen then pops up on top with a 1m40.494s.

For the strategists amongst you, unfortunately, the tyre wear and pace suggests Sochi will only be a 1stop race. Track temperature is 32c and air temp at 22c by the way.

Lewis on his third lap, is the first to blast under the 1m40s mark, with a 1m39.817s. This is a phenomenal 2 seconds quicker than his best time on the harder medium tyre.

@RenaultSportF1 pipe up with 40 minutes to go. “Although fuel use is high at Sochi, it’s balanced by the tight turns and short power bursts which help energy recovery via the MGU-K & MGU-H. Upshot of that is we don’t expect to be on the 100kg fuel limit permitted for the race.”

The drivers are trying it on at turn 17. Car after car runs wide without apparent loss of speed, which hopefully Charlie will penalise in qualifying. Rosberg is on a monster lap, but runs very wide at this corner and compromises his time.

Great news is – qualifying action should be good, with drivers setting their best times on laps 2 and 3 having strapped on new soft tyre boots. Q3 will be congested and may see a big name fall from Grace.

Rosberg has been fiddling with his car all session. New torsion bar, nose change twice and some dark arts at the rear of the garage.

On the hour, the battle between Chilton and the hungry Caterham’s is intense. Chilton leads it by 0.03s in the sole Marussia, with Ericsson outpacing Kobayashi by four tenths.

Caterham appear happy, they tweet “Car feels good, we’ve improved” – Marcus seems happy with the set-up changes. He’s currently P19, 1:44.135”

The homeless hobo called Fred does his first run on the soft tyre. He is a monumental 1 and a quarter seconds slower then Hamilton.

With around 20 minutes to go, Hollywood HAM is grinning like a Cheshire cat as he glances at the timing sheets. He is over 8 tenths quicker than the rest of the field, though the aborted lap from his team mate, was there or there about.

OUT OF NOWHERE, a Ferrari flashes across the line third quickest…. Is it the Iceman??? ………………. nope, it’s the littlest hobo. Fred delivers again for the hapless Maranello outfit.

This was the Spaniards third lap on the soft tyre, and he’d had a massive lock up on the previous circulation.

After all the love shared between Rocky and Seb, a rather frosty exchange takes place whilst Vettel is on track.

Vettel: OK, something’s not right, I’m losing time down the straights. His engineer

Rocky: OK, we don’t see anything wrong, please try again.

Vettel: There was a clear feeling on the straight when I started losing power.

Rocky: OK, at the moment, we think it might be a headwind.

Or is this a case of, “Yes Seb, you got your friend the Jerez engine back again. (mutters) You diss us – we diss you back, but BIGGER 😉

The long run time comparison between Jenson and Rosberg on the soft tyre, would suggest the Mercedes is murdering the McLaren. Jenson has a massive lock up at 13, and his sting is over due to vibrations.

10 minutes to go. All the cars are on track.

Now there’s one less. Ricciardo stops on track. “I think she’s gone” is offered from the Aussie. Someone reckons Vettel grins beneath his helmet as the session is red flagged.

This brings us to the bain of our lives. If the odds are better than 2:1, a safety car bet has to be a smart move.

Horner is asked what has happened to Daniel’s car. He sarcastically replies, “3 guesses”. The engine is actually to be retired following this session. Not to be seen again this year. Christian does confirm there are no plans to make a strategic engine change and take a penalty for it being the 6th on Vettel’s car, though it will likely happen in Austin.

The Red Bull’s are nowhere at present, on both fastest lap or long run pace and would appear to be fortunate if they are fighting for minor points on Sunday.

Session will restart with 3 minutes to go. Mmm. 1 flying lap is all that will be achievable.

As if to rub it in, Vettel steams out first as the red light goes green. Danny boy is sipping a cool long – guess what?

Kvyat demands the team tell JEV to “get out of the way”, I’m sure JEV flips the bird as he carves across the Russians front wing. Maybe not.

So Lewis heads up the session, but as remarked earlier, the gap to Nico is misleading.

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.630 27
2 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:40.494 0.864 32
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.504 0.874 32
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.542 0.912 30
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:40.573 0.943 33
6 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.718 1.088 32
7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.731 1.101 30
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:41.108 1.478 32
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:41.396 1.766 30
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.531 1.901 33
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:41.630 2.000 24
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.677 2.047 27
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:42.061 2.431 25
14 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.090 2.460 29
15 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:42.233 2.603 31
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.892 3.262 30
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:42.905 3.275 33
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.055 3.425 33
19 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:44.135 4.505 22
20 Max Chilton Marussia 1:44.530 4.900 29
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:44.952 5.322 27

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Breaking News Engine Freeze rules abandoned

Once again, the F1 strategy group appears to be tinkering with the rules of Formula 1. We are in an unprecedented era of F1 where regulations that usually remain stable for significant periods of time, are being altered almost ‘at whim’.

Is it a co-incidence that this consistent meddling began almost as soon as the new F1 governance structures were introduced?

Power Unit regulations are now set to be ‘unfrozen’ for 2015, with Mercedes alone opposing the idea.

The F1 commission must now vote on the matter, though a bullish Christian Horner appears to think this will be a formality.

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Mercedes go ‘creative’ on Rosberg’s car

Well, we’re here – in Russia. So far no trouble, even though the Ukraine border is just a couple of hundred K’s away. The might of the Soviet Russian regime has prevented any sign of protest, men kissing each other, though as during the winter Olympics, there are dogs aplenty – but kept well away from the racing circuit.

Lewis you listening?

Anyway, Nico Rosberg was quickest in FP1 before Mercedes decided to crack the whip.. errr ..  ‘experiment’ with the German’s car setup.

But first to the magic of Putin. Some say, he can walk on water and each light footed step turns that said water – into wine. Others believe that in his sleep , Putin has subconsciously prepared for an assassination attempt by repeatedly inserting a stiletto switch blade between his own shoulders, whilst dreaming of Jiminy Cricket and listening to Disney’s ‘When you wish upon a star….’.

Sorry… what was that .. Vlad?

Oh…. you like the star song because…. you imagine invading it.

Nuff said. It does though seem that Vladimir Putin has clearly engaged the weight of Soviet Russian scientific knowledge into creating a revolutionary new surface for motor cars to race upon.

Rosberg acknowledges this. “It seems that there’s no tyre degradation here”.

WHAT???

No tyre degradation? Perpetual motion must be nigh and then the world’s energy future is secure…… well, if we pay Russian ransom demands and bow the knee to Putin, who by the way has secured the key to eternal life – and Ecclestone wants to buy it.

Nico repeats, “there’s no degradation, the tyres just stay the same. We need to review all that. Definitely it’s all a bit unusual here so we need to be a bit creative.”

When asked how the track had evolved, Nico replied, “A lot!”, then the German appeared to return to the state of bemusement that finding oneself unexpectedly in Narnia may bring about. “The whole track was very unique today, not just the layout but the way the tyres worked and everything – very unusual. That makes it very interesting from an engineering perspective because it’s unlike any other track we’ve seen this year”.

We posit “any track ever… Nico”

Having been bewitched by the magic of Mother Russia, Rosberg and his engineers set about tackling this brave new world where the laws of physics state that up is indeed down, and down the rabbit hole is never far away.

“We even went as far as trying something completely creative on my car”, Rosberg admits. Visions of the Mad Hatter ramming butter, milk, tea and sugar into the mechanisms of the White Rabbit’s pocket are quickly repressed.

Nico adds, “something we’ve not done so far. It didn’t work out so I have to go back on that but still, it’s going to be a challenging weekend”.

Since the declaration by Toto that mysterious and secret discipline has been administered to Nico, the lad has never looked quite the same.

Whilst Lewis got on with his usual preparation, Nico explains the plan given to him by the team, though does so in a strange hypnotic fashion. “We decided as a team that one guy does that, one guy does that. My thing didn’t work out so we need to go back on that tomorrow”.

But this is surely bad Nico? You’ve lost valuable time for setting up your car. Are you cross with the team for this failed experiment?

A sanguine Rosberg, smiling gently slowly retorts, “it’s OK”.

Then the vagaries of the day take over, “it’s a good track, a difficult track to get right. Nobody managed to do it on the first lap, you have to build up on it.”

Remarkably, Rosberg again without prompt returns to his polemic. “It seems that there’s no tyre degradation here, which we need for overtaking.”

A quick witted Gerog Nolte jumped in at this point and whisked the confused Rosberg away for a rest.

So folks…. There we have it…..there’s magic in Sochi…. or maybe the second coming of Christ has occurred unnoticed, he taking form in another surprising choice of human being.

So TJ13 advice for the weekend, which may at times get you a comin over all strange… Remember…. In Russia – you don’t watch the race…………. THE RACE WATCHES YOU.

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85 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 10th October 2014

  1. Are Marussia likely to face any penalties (from Bernie) for fielding only one car, given that they’ve got a reserve driver ready to go?

    • This situation will prove to the world what’s more important to Bernie. Pound signs or the drivers lives which earn him all the pound signs.
      I think we all already know the answer to that one though really unfortunately……

      • Autosport: “it is understood that Marussia chiefs have been in close contact with Bernie Ecclestone to clarify that there would be no consequences if it decided to race with just one car – or even pull out of the event entirely.”

        ESPN: “Teams are contracted to run two cars at each event, but the team will not face any penalties or sanctions in these circumstances.”

      • [quote]This situation will prove to the world what’s more important to Bernie. Pound signs or the drivers lives which earn him all the pound signs[/quote]
        Is that even a question, Beber only sees $$, $$ talks.

    • It is stupid of them to tie their own hands so.
      Points are what matters and they’re faced with an improving Caterham team.
      New driver in for next race, Austin.

      Would hate to see them overtaken at the end of the season and end up with a smaller purse then they could otherwise have achieved, Bianchi aside.
      If they subsequently fall their symbolic gesture will be forgotten quicktime.

      They should be running the second car if it is capable. Simple.

  2. “Be prepared to stop but you can travel just under your racing speed through the affected area is the message.”

    “Of course Bianchi was traveling too fast as was every driver bar Sutil and Fernando Alonso”

    So indeed.

    • Did you mean to imply that Bianchi is a crap F1 driver? Because that is one inference that can be drawn from that statement.
      All the others who were speeding through the yellow flag area managed to keep their cars on the black stuff, whereas Bianchi didn’t.
      If you didn’t mean to imply that, then I think you should perhaps reword the statement to make it clear exactly what you are saying.

      • I don’t think that that is the implication of the statement.

        As mentioned in the a TJ13 article earlier this week, aquaplaning can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Even the best of the best in the rain, the likes of Schumacher and Button, have fallen victims to spinning in the rain under the “right” circumstances.

        So accusing Jules that he was guilty of speeding *because* he crashed is risible, and can’t be taken seriously, especially if other drivers were going at the same speed through that corner. Moreover let’s not forget that drivers had been spinning the same day under the safety car, too. So something else must have happened… But the FIA won’t say what: they seem content to simply accuse Jules of speeding (by subterfuge, while not releasing any evidence) and steer the debate towards closed cockpits…

        • I tried to poke the Hippo yesterday with a comment on this.

          Really, the only way to be sure of avoiding aquaplaning, or at least to be able to recover the situation if you do, is to circulate at a very slow speed.

          All drivers were going well beyond this speed. Race Control are in a better position to know the state of the circuit at any point, if there was a risk of aquaplaning then a more suitable warning is needed to mandate a very slow speed.

          We discussed this earlier this year I believe but why can’t Race Control enforce a minimum time through a particular sector that would allow cars to slow significantly without losing a lot of advantage to others.

          • “why can’t Race Control enforce a minimum time through a particular sector that would allow cars to slow significantly without losing a lot of advantage to others.”

            Indeed so. Or request PL activation at 100km/h or similar in danger zones.

          • @mattpt55
            “Vettel reported aquaplaning at 80kph on formation lap.”

            At 80kph or 100kph, that’s fine. The ferocity of the spin/skidding is much diminished, and the chances for the driver to recover are greatly improved.

          • Initial argument from FH was if you aquaplane you’re going too fast. Just pointing out that’s not always the case. 😉 too busy to really play in the comments today

      • Oh, that was the point actually:
        Both Fred and Sutil weren’t speeding under DWY simply because they were both out and holding onto a very responsible 0kph. ALL OTHERS were speeding simply because they were still in the race.

  3. RE Vettel

    So, Judge, are you insinuating that Horner was lying when he mentioned Ferrari? Granted, he said “Ferrari made him a very good offer”, not that he goes to Ferrari. Still though…

    • Well if Vettel is not going to Ferrari then it’s probably Horner getting one over Ferrari. Though it shouldn’t be too much longer before we find out for certain where Vettel is headed. Alonso could end up in no man’s land if things shake out a certain way. Could be quite funny if the politically savvy Alonso’s only option is Lotus or a year off/retirement.

    • TJ13 also left out an important bit of what Lewis said.
      He said “I’m contracted to the end of next year.”

        • …. In fact, when TJ13 first penned the Alonso to leave Ferrari back in the summer, we were lambasted by those citing Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton’s 2015 contracts.

          I did reply in the comments somewhere, these contracts mean very little even if just one of the parties is determined they want out.

          A driver can create a highly negative image of the team via the media – and the threat of this would signify to the team the relationship is unworkable.

          The team can threaten the driver with a ‘B’ car and a host of other ‘disadvantages’ which may come the driver’s way the following year.

          Why so surprised? – THIS IS F1 🙂 ‘The Snake-pit’, says Lauda.

          • Except that Vettel’s contract was terminated legally. He had an exit clause and used it. So the contract was not broken, but ended as per the agreement. I would suspect that Fernando has a similar exit clause.

          • I couldn’t think of any clause that would make sense for Lewis, performancewise. So in that case it would be a broken contract or someone would have to buy him out of it, That’s probably something Honda would do. But a change to McLaren wouldn’t make much sense. Who leaves the best car deliberately?

          • Bear in mind hippo, few weeks back they were saying Alonso had penalty clauses and payment to make to leave Ferrari.
            Ferrari pulled that rug out from under him when they said if he wanted to leave there would be no penalty.
            Fred is political in F1 circles but he hasn’t got a clue how someone like Marchionne works.

          • he hasn’t got a clue how someone like Marchionne works.

            He has now.
            🙂

          • @ hello Mr The Judge.

            My name is Spanners Ready. You may recognise me from the podcast.

            “I did reply in the comments somewhere, these contracts mean very little even if just one of the parties is determined they want out”

            So why is every one so sure that Rosberg is staying at Mercedes? Surely then his contract can be broken/ended as well?

          • LOL then I’m guessing you missed Ron Dennis on the pre show basically saying that the contracts mean nothing. His quote was basically “yes Kmag and Button have contracts for next year but they don’t really mean anything if I change my mind”

    • …Christian Horner was seriously miffed. Vettel unexpectedly wandered into the Ice Station and interrupted Horner who was with people around 21:00 – and announced he was offski…

      The churlish attitude we have repeatedly alleged exists at the top of this team – mostly emanating from Christian – meant Horner’s response was almost entirely predictable.

  4. Lewis is Defo leaving Mercedes, he said that classic line “i’m 100% committed” that means he is off for sure! It’s all smoke and mirrors……

    • So that would mean Lauda’s assertions about new contract talks etc are also all smoke and mirrors…

      • The way he was phrasing things, what *I* heard was that he was desperately trying a last gap effort to sway Hamilton to stay. He sounded positively pissed at Hamilton leaving. If that weren’t the case, his public mutterings would have sounded different.

        But all that of course is reading the tea leaves…

          • That’s exactly the same question I keep asking?
            The only answer is that Wolff and co. have pushed him off. And it could well have been an agreement post-Spa that if Lewis wins the WDC, he then leaves the team. But in any case, it makes no sense.

          • Just all the talk for Toto, we are 99% certain we will have sane drivers next year, when Lewis is meant to have a solid yearc to run on his current contract and Nico signed and extension so the answer should have been 100% certain, Lewis saying I’m focused on winning the championship and I’m 100%committed to Merc, they always say that before they leave and Nikki Lauda just tried too hard to convince that they negotiating a 2 or 3 year extension when Toto has stated negotiations are on hold for now.
            It’s just a gut feeling I have, Lewis must surely be thinking about driving a McLaren Honda just like Senna did and the chance of taking a title with it would certainly emulate his hero.
            I just don’t see Alonso going to McLaren, can’t put my finger on it, but just don’t see it.

          • …and is it completely crazy to suggest that maybe Nico is the one that is to be replaced?

            …probably! (just answered my own question)

          • @McLaren78
            “But in any case, it makes no sense.”

            Yeah, chances are that Lewis felt pushed. As for it making sense, two years ago Lewis left McLaren in top-notch form for a perennially struggling Merc. That didn’t make any sense then, too.

          • The Senna/McLaren-Honda angle would be the only thing that makes sense for Lewis. But is his hero worship really so big that he would spurn a potential 3rd title for next year?

            I’d go a bit further than McLaren78 and say that post-Spa it was decided that Lewis would win the title and then leave. Rosberg had a wee bit too much badluck with contaminants, secret punishments and suddenly changing setups lately.

            This all would only make sense though if Vettel goes to Merc. They certainly don’t want Alonso in that car and I can’t see them bring in a youngster. They’ve damaged Nico too much with the post-Spa desaster. They would need another flagship driver. Preferably one that is marketable.

            Merc has always had a tradition of producing a series of sometimes quite hilarious TV commercials with their ‘star drivers’ (Häkkinen, Kimi, Montoya). I’ve never seen Lewis or Nico much on German TV.

          • @landroni…

            Sure he left a top notch car in 2012, but it wasn’t the dominate car was it? The Merc is, so to go to Mclaren hoping they get it right, is ridiculous.

            When he left in 2012, he had a season with the team before the rule change, so it was an easy gamble to make, especially since Merc had started work on the current car, years prior.

            @clear view…

            So you’d take Toto’s word but not Nikki’s?

            It made sense to renew Nico’s contract first because he was in the final year of his contract, lewis still had 18 months to go on his.

            MM said he was 100% certain that Ferrari’s driver lineup for 2016, would be Alonso and Kimi and that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

            Apart from calling out Nico for cheating in Monaco and refusing to give him track position in Hungary, what else is there to prove that he’s being pushed or fallen out with the team?

          • @Fat Hippo
            What would be your reasoning for thinking Rosberg would agree to that? Is he told, is he promised a placid number 2 next year? Surely, he’d rather duke it out for this WDC that he’s is within in a sniff of winning, against an opponent he feels he has the measure of, than risk having to start again against Alonso, Vettel, or Bottas or someone next year?

          • I think its all bollocks, but I promise this isn’t a wind up, I am sincere in that I am interested to see what you think is going on. My presumption was that this was tied in with the Monza conspiricy, with Rosbergs compliance. So you think Merc independantly decided Lewis would win, and then bin him off? Does Lewis know even, as in it is part of his payoff? I have a ton of questions, but really I čan’t fathom how any of this makes any sense, from the perspective of Lewis, Nico, or MB, so what makes you think this is desirable to any of these parties, and which ones are involved?

        • No No, the phrase in Japanese is the true key for all those wearing the tin foil hat! It’s a clear sign form the F1 gods Lewis is going back to McLAren-Honda who will have the best engine and go on to win 8 championships in a row.

          OK, possibly I’m exaggerating.

          • Mileage in that though

            Interesting how Lewis fans engaging with where it’s best for him to go.

            For me if I thought Lewis was priceless, I wouldn’t be able to see/want him to go anywhere else. Stay at Merc

            … Tin hat on…

      • The reason I think Toto’s comment about 99% certain was suspect, is because I saw him give the answer and his body language and the way he was looking just made me feel he knew more than he was letting on, that’s all.
        Don’t know if you ever seen the tv series called ‘Lie To Me’ about a guy who is expert in body language and facial expressions, it was amazing and when I looked up on line, there really is people who do this. Anyway I digress, what I’m saying is Toto didn’t seem to just be giving a throw away answer, I’d love to show one of those experts the denials that team bosses and drivers give with regard movement and see if any of them have any give tell tail traits that would sell them out.

  5. Hamilton quicker than Rosberg in the long runs – Looks like another all-nighter for clever, cerebral Nico to trawl through the data…. 🙂

    • …and then Nico qualifies on pole, SiS starts to post how Nico has whooped Lewis’ a@se, then Lewis wins the race and SiS and Hippo start talking about conspiracy theories.

      Just kidding you on guys, no offence intended 😉

  6. Aha! Engine freeze rules abandoned. Now we will see some movement with Alonso. Maybe these were the ‘doubts’ he was talking about. All bets are off. Whichever engine supplier spends the most, they will win!

    • So, if Honda chuck the bucket at it, they could drag the McLaren into contention, and same for Red Bull or Ferrari now that they can spend to make up for their engine problems.

      Will this increase the cost of the engines? Perhaps they should mandate a maximum engine cost…. so if anyone wants to sink in money, it’s on the proviso of pushing for positive winning PR..

        • I read on Autosport (yeah I know, you don’t take them seriously) that it’s still in Mercedes’s hands as to whether it gets the go ahead or not.

        • Cost not spending. I think the limit on cost is 20 million euros or pounds or whatever unit of currency they use. But Merc HPP Renault Ferrari and Honda are free to spend as much on developing the PU as they want.

          AFAIK, the only limit on spending is common sense, which we can all agree has departed the building once they decided to play in the F1 sandbox.

  7. Re: Mercedes goes creative………

    What! are you saying that the cerebral and mentally strong Rosberg has been broken?????

    I can hear the conspiracy theorist typing away…….. Mercedes and Pirelli have colluded together to hinder Rosberg as part of some secret deal with Hamilton, so that he can win the title this year before he leaves for Mclaren….

    Men in white coats are at my office door to take me away……..

    • …the fact Nico made a mistake out of the last corner which would have meant that they would be quite close in the timesheets, means nothing!

      0.8s difference + different set-up = conspiracy!

      • But what the article failed to mention was, even before that mistake, he was not going to better Lewis’ time and Lewis was behind him on a lap that was 2 tenths quicker. So sure, he might have reduced the gap from 8 tenths to probably 5 tenths.

        • That’s true, but what I was trying to convey was that the 0.8s difference was not necessarily because they were ‘experimenting’ on Nico’s set-up (which would then fuel the conspiracy theories), but rather his mistake.

  8. RE Rosberg’s set-up

    Let me guess. It’s a conspiracy, correct? Waste Nico’s set-up time so that Lewis benefits and wins the race. And it would all tie in if Lewis walks at the end of the year.

    But let me ask this. Is it that unlikely that Nico decided he wants to experiment in this new track that noone ever raced before? That both Lewis and Nico were asked who wants to experiment and Nico was happy to do it?He saw how close it was in FP1 and that even if he gets pole, Lewis still beats him in the race. So maybe he wanted to find a set-up that would blow Lewis away and give him confidence for the race. Just asking…

    • That’s why it makes sense to get rid of the man in the dominant car who has won 8 races, 1 more than Nico and Ric combined……..

      The voices, the voices, I can’t get them out of my head….arggghhhhhh!!!

      • I’m afraid F1 is a sport full of egomaniacs and sometimes it makes no sense for us lay people. Wasn’t Damon Hill dismissed a few races before he won his solitary WDC?

    • This is thejudge’s not so subtle way of trying to convince people that his perception of nico is not wrong by trying to make an argument that nico is being sabotaged…. since has not lived up to thejudge’s expectations of out-thinking lewis in the races and saving more fuel as a clever, cerebral, talks 5 million languages boy would inevitably be able to do…

      But don’t worry judge, you aren’t the only one surprised, you only have to look back at some of the comments from the mainstream journalists before the season began as to why these cars would be right up nico’s street to see that they were wrong as well….

      How about that hey judge? – you shared a view with the mainstream journalists….. 😉

  9. Breaking news from TK on the F1 show.

    They were shown the video of Bianchi’s crash and apparently he hit the same patch of water that Sutil hit and had snap oversteer and was unable to correct it in time. Also he stated that Charlie said no driver lift eased off at all in the DBY zone.

  10. Vettel going to Ferrari but not announcing it yet makes sense for a number of reasons:

    1) the uncertainty will distract rival teams in 2014 and/or disrupt their 2015 plans (benefitting Ferrari); same with rival drivers (not a bad thing for Seb)
    2) it allows Seb to get inside MTC and therefore get some info on McLaren/Honda’s progress, McLaren’s simulator, etc. (benefitting Ferrari again) – Lewis’ alleged visit might similarly have been a fishing expedition for Merc
    3) it’ll fuel speculation, keeping F1 in the news but also reduce the focus on other aspects, e.g. questions over going to Russia (benefitting Seb’s mate, Bernie)
    4) it’ll allow Ferrari to seem like they’re doing Fernando a favour (“out of respect to you, we’ll allow you some time to decide your future before going public…”), thereby reducing some of the tensions there

    Plus the delay allows Marchionne to start his tenure with a big announcement about luring a 4x and (currently) reigning world champion to Ferrari.

    Not sure about theories on Alonso taking a sabbatical – won’t he need to be earning big bucks if he’s going to fund his cycling team?

    • I think the only real reason is Marchionne’s start on Monday and the 1-4 you list further up are just a result of that. Just my opinion.

  11. We’ve got to thank Vettel for making the driver market interesting.

    My personal feeling is that Hamilton would leave Mercedes only after securing his 2nd title AND demanding a #1 spot in McLaren (and possibly getting rid of Button). The question would then be, which one of Vettel and Alonso gets to fight with Rosberg ? If Mercedes think Hamilton is a diva, they’re in for a hell of a drama when Alonso or Vettel come around.

    • I forgot to add that there might another factor : the Paddy Lowe effect. Hamilton jumped in 2012 knowing that Paddy Lowe was the one overseeing the 2013 car development and we all know how the 2013 car was. Maybe Hamilton is seeing something similar happening.

      Plus, if indeed the engine freeze rule has been abolished, then Renault, Ferrari and Honda will have a better chance of catching the Mercedes. We all know that Rosberg doesn’t feel that comfortable in wheel-to-wheel racing situations.

      Also : Hamilton can just sit on his contract for one more year (against the team’s expectation/agreement, whichever is appropriate) but then he will probably be Webberized and Rosberg will just walk towards his WDC title unopposed.

  12. If theres any truth to Hamilton leaving ,then Ferrari is the only logical option.Why leave a guarantee competitive car for the malaise and uncertainty of Mclaren.Lets not forget this is the same Mclaren that sabotage Lewis for 3yrs trying to get Jenslow to beat him to humiliate and bring Lewis stock down.when the nobbling didnt break Lewis they publicly chide him with a paycut while they gave Jenslow a big raise.
    Lewis told Berni that he would rather sit out 2013 than race for Macca.
    yea this is the same Mclaren that set Lewis up to fail in Spa 2012.the judge had an article stating that Ron himself ordered that no info to be shared with lewis ,translation noble him.Lewis had 3 consecutive races in 2012 where parts were soposidley wrongly installed on his car to wreck any chance at the championship.
    The judge also wrote an article saying that while Lewis was in contention in 2012,Mclaren was totally focus on button, giving him everthing he wanted at Lewis expense.
    yea the same mechanics that snob him for Button, when he was just trying to say goodbye,and the same guys that kicked out of the Macca garrage in 2113 when he just popped in to say hi.

    Yea Lewis is just dying to get back to DAT.

    The lure of wining championship with 3 different teams is far greater than any Senna worship.Plus Ferrari will embrace the celebrity and individuality of Lewis.Lewis is now recognised a the most complete Driver in f1 in term leading developement,shearing speed and incredible race craft..,..far superior to the inflate Alonso.

    Lewis is just what Ferrari needs to motivate and change the dynamic in the team.he did that for Merc and he will certainly do that for Farrari

    Im astonish that more people cant see that this is the only move that make sense if Lewis were to leave Merc,then again Im not ,people to seem to revel in the prospect of Lewis dimise or demotion and going to Macca will be that.suddenly Mer is to good for him and they want to associate every one but Lewis with that seat

  13. I loved reading this! “down the rabbit hole is never far away”……LOL. Truer words were never spoken, especially when forming an alliance Vlad……lol! Btw, do let us know if you run into Edward Snowden….lol. I can’t stop laughing. Thank you TJ13

  14. Am interested to know the best way of making cars slower during double waved yellows. If we are to take control away from the drivers, and put that into the hands of race control, then I see a couple of options.
    1. Put lane speed limiter.
    Am interested to know if race control can automatically turn this on for a car during a specific sector of the track.
    And – what happens to an F1 car travelling at 250km/hr when this is turned on? – would it immediately lose power until the reduced speed is achieved?
    2. Reduced engine power – what about just enforcing a 50% reduced power output in the engine (and no KERS boost) for the turn or turns where there is an incident?

    What is essential that must change is to reduce the potential –
    1. Risk to marshalls
    2. Risk to drivers hitting JCB

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