This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly
Previously on The Judge 13:
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
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Marussia issued a statement: “The team have written to the stewards of the meeting to inform them that they have withdrawn their second car.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.
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.
(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.
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.
|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|
|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|
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.
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”.
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.