#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 21st October 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

Does #GP2 need DRS?

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Craig – “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Heard”


OTD Lite: 1984 – My kingdom for half a point

Enter a new party in the Caterham con (UPDATE 14:20 GMT)

Kobayashi Concerned over safety of his Caterham car

Sid Watkins’ hometown – Liverpool – to honour memory with new building

Verstappen has same English teacher as Vettel

Mclaren and Podromou gearing up for 2016

Hulkenberg secure for 2015

FIA panel of experts appointed to examine Bianchi crash encouraging

Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1


OTD Lite: 1984 – My kingdom for half a point

In the days before electronics controlled everything, HD TV transmissions and race meetings worth 50 points to the winning driver – men used to sweat to complete race distances, fighting their cars, circuits and each other. Only the top 6 would score points – 9 for a win,followed by 6,4,3,2,1. Unlike the 21st century, scoring a point meant achievement rather than everybody gets a prize for completing the egg and spoon race..

Formel 1: Niki Lauda und Alain Prost 1984

Thirty years ago today, Niki Lauda secured his third world title with just a half point separating him from Alain Prost. If the numbering system makes little sense in where the half point came from, you have to go back to the Monaco Gp that year.

Run in torrential conditions, the race was stopped barely past half distance as the itsy-bitsy Toleman team was about to win with a young newcomer called Senna at the wheel – hence the awarding of half points only.

If the FIA had allowed the race to run its full distance – even if this Brazilian interloper had won the race, Prost would have taken six points for second rather than the 4 1/2 he received for the win.

With that cheery thought we would now be calling Prost the five time World Champion, and Niki merely a double champion…

The Jackal

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Enter a new party in the Caterham con

UPDATE: 14:20

TJ13 has been informed that Caterham F1 have now defaulted on contracts with their Academy drivers. They are owed prize money which the team is retaining.

Neither the drivers nor their representatives have been contacted, but they have been deleted from the Caterham website.

UPDATE END

AS TJ13 reported would happen last week, Caterham Sports Ltd has now been taken into administration. London based accountants Smith & Williamson have been appointed as Administrators for the Leafield based F1 car manufacturer.

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Unlike certain writers who have little knowledge of how these things are handled, this may well offer some security to employees still remaining as employees of the Caterham company referred to above.

Further, the bailiffs have not sold any of the goods they removed from the Leafield premises – not because there is uncertainty over which company owns them as implied by Manfredi Ravetto and publicised by his favourite F1 writers, but because a creditor not represented by the bailiffs when they were given permission to remove assets act – filed a separate legal action – petitioning for the winding up of the company on the 11th November.

This action by the latter creditor protected their interests from being jeopardised in the sale by the bailiffs, where only the creditors who had the seizure order were benefiting.

The owner(s) of Caterham Sports Ltd have since recovered the ball back into their own court from the court hearing listed for Remembrance Day, by applying themselves for Administrative oversight. This action today was a result of Caterham’s own doing.

This will presumably buy them time beyond the hearing on the 11th November (when they may have been ordered to cease activity), to beyond the date of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Employees have been forced to play the “which company is employing me” Hokey Cokey as letters informing them their contracts would be moved to 1MRT (foreign holding company) were issued, then apparently revoked.

There will be NO CONFUSION as to who owns what as the accountants will quickly get to work.

Also, there are UK laws which prevent assets from simply being shifted from one company to another with the intention of asset stripping, particularly when one is listed in the UK and one is listed abroad eg from Caterham Sports Ltd to 1MRT. To avoid this requires highly skilled operatives, detailed planning and usually a string of international operations.

The management/owner(s) of the Caterham F1 team appear clearly to not fit the description in the paragraph above

As TJ13 has stated many times, this appears to be little to do with saving the precious F1 racing license, held by 1MRT – and more about milking parts of the current pay drivers revenue stream to design a car for 2015.

This car is unlikely to appear in green colours and under the name of Caterham.

For now, the Administrators believe, “Positive discussions were held between the administrators and the team manager, Manfredi Ravetto, and also with the financial backers of the team on Friday 17 October and it is hoped that these will lead to a financially acceptable arrangement for the continuation of the relationship between the Company and the F1 Team”.

This illusion may well subside should the misrepresentations which have been made to current creditors and staff continue.

In that case, “if a financially acceptable arrangement cannot be agreed between the administrators and the Caterham F1 Team the administrators will then enter into dialogue with other interested parties with regard to a sale of the business and assets of the Company”.

What is for sure – proper scrutiny of the shady dealings behind the scenes will now occur, and the “Swiss based Arab Investors” will have to put up – or shut up.

If you wish to acquire an F1 team, there are things more precious than running it into the ground to avoid paying creditors a few million pounds in the Administration process.

It may be the creditors are awarded 10 pence in the pound for the monies they are owed and some form of Caterham could rise as a phoenix to continue. Though with the brain drain and bad reputation as an employer within the industry, good staff will be reticent to darken the doors of Leafield if they have other opportunities in F1 valley.

Then again, if you just want to pillage a company for all its worth, buy it out of insolvency on the cheap and ship it off abroad – you wouldn’t care.

Sometimes being an F1 writer and close to those at the top of an F1 entity has its disadvantages, when their explanations are deceptive by intent, and you are too close to the tree to see the forest.

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Kobayashi Concerned over safety of his Caterham car

kamui1

Drivers rarely drive into the team pit garage during a race, climb out of their cars without knowing what is wrong with them. Even when this happens, by the time they speak to the press, they are ‘in line’ with the teams thoughts on the matter.

The news from Russia once again saw Manfredi Ravetto doing his Fawlty Towers wide eyed uncomprehending Manuel stare, as he declared “Hi know nothing” about the claims made by Kamui Kobayashi that the team had retired the car to save mileage.

Ravetto added, “We saw an issue on the brakes – a problem that Kamui had already reported on Saturday during FP3 – so we decided to change them, but the problem persisted so we decided to stop.”

What we didn’t know was that Kamui had seen something on his car which scared the life out of him. He posted on his facebook page, “Scary! Last night a suspension defect was found. There’s no spare so it was repaired by wrapping it in carbon.

It’s checked all the time but, even so, being asked to race like this is too scary! I want to go home already.

From here on there are still practices and the race to go. I’m seriously troubled. As a racing driver, should I drive? Should I safely decline? I drive again in 15 minutes…”

Kamuifacebook

In Japanese this means F^@k, S*^t Bo()ocks, I'm going to die

The team confirmed there had been “small defects” discovered and rectified. 

Lets see whether the FIA act to ensure there are no safety issues with the Caterham cars, following what some see as remiss safety decisions made by FIA representatives – which may have led to the tragedy in Suzuka.

Its one thing being a bunch of allegedly rich “Swiss based Arab Investors” who refuse to pay the debts of the previous owner, but another when they can’t be bothered providing proper funding to build sufficient components for the car.

These people surely do not exist – and are a creation not of Kolles imagination, but of wilful impropriety.

Neither do serious investors in Formula 1 have a revolving door of directors listed at companies house.

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F1 fans remember the death throes of HRT where the drivers were flying off the circuit into tyre walls a few laps into the races, because the team had no money for decent brakes.

Charlie Whiting needs to order repeated and systematic scrutineering of the Caterham cars from now to the end of the season – and prior to each session the drivers are obliged to drive.

Any doubt about their safety – must lead to them being disqualified from participating.

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Sid Watkins’ hometown – Liverpool – to honour memory with new building

Professor-Sid-WatkinsProfessor Sid Watkins is to be honoured with a new three-storey building named after him. The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust building will include a complex rehabilitation unit, pain management programme, medical training facilities as well as a brain injuries unit run by mental health trust Mersey Care.

The Sid Watkins building will open in January.

His widow Mrs Susan Watkins said: “My husband would have been proud to know that his name has been attached to this rehabilitation facility, both its calibre and scope reflect his own attitudes to patient care, and his concern for the ongoing needs of those who suffer from neurological diseases.”

‘Sid’ as he was affectionately known, was one of the true pioneers of Formula One. He never raced a Grand Prix car but from 1978 through to his retirement in January 2005 he was a pivotal figure in the enhancement of safety throughout the F1 circus.

His passing on 12th September 2012 was mourned and celebrated equally amongst motor-racing fans throughout the world but none had greater cause to thank him than the generations of Formula One drivers who escaped serious injury because of advancements he made to circuit safety.

Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart OBE said: “Professor Sid Watkins was one of the greatest men of medicine that I have ever encountered. His dedication to the cause, his constant search for new methods of treatment and prevention have been a boon to the world of medicine, and for all those who have had the good fortune to be treated by him. His contribution to saving the lives of many people in motorsport will never be forgotten”

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Verstappen has same English teacher as Vettel

“It’s bulls**t”, exclaims young Max Verstappen about the application of mental strength in the pinnacle of motorsport. At just 17 years of age, the talented teenager is about to embark on his maiden season in F1 after having finished third in his first season of single seater racing.

“I have no problems at all with mental strength,” he told Red Bull’s website. “I’m really relaxed and I don’t want to think about mental stress, or how strong you are mentally because, to be honest, I find it a bit bullshit.”

Shockingly, since the world collapsed in outrage when Vettel used the four letter word – whilst discussing the acoustics merits of the current engines – it would seem that Red Bull were quite enamoured by their young protege.

Although considering his talents were being offered to Mercedes before the fizzy drinks company took over, it is difficult to appreciate how much influence Red Bull has had – other than to force the FIA to actually look at the qualification process for a Superlicence – in their usual considered manner – from 2017..

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Mclaren and Podromou gearing up for 2016

The highly regarded James Allison was courted by Red Bull back in mid 2013 to replace Adrian Newey. After leaving Lotus, many rumours emanated from F1 of the different teams he would sign for and eventually decided to join the Italians in Maranello.

His arrival in autumn last year was too late to have any impact on the 2014 design and he set about working with the different departments leading up to his 2015 design.

Peter Podromou was Adrian Newey’s right hand man at Red Bull and decided to leave the Milton Keynes based squad to return to the Woking squad. He assumed his new role in mid September after his required gardening leave and has set about integrating himself within the depleted team that he has found there.

With Pat Fry having joined Ferrari in 2010 he then recruited from Woking – James Tortora, Ioannis Veludis and Rupart Daraker to the Gestione Sportiva. Similarly a number of engineers followed our favourite enforcer, Paddy Lowe, to Mercedes with the effect of destabilising Ron’s team further.

By all accounts, the Anglo-Cypriot has already designed a new front wing that will debut at the Abu-Dhabi finale and is having an influence over the design direction of the Mclaren MP4/30. This car will be more Red Bull inspired than traditional Macca – which may not be a bad thing.

Either way, Ron Dennis is aware that Mclaren is likely to have to write 2015 off as they seek to establish a new engineering matrix. Beyond this is talk from several Italian sources that due to no title sponsor Mclaren is having to streamline their operation with rumours suggesting a culling of staff including current CEO Jonathan Neale, technical director Tim Goss and sporting director Sam Michael – with Racing Director, Eric Boullier taking on more responsibility within the team… surely a Technical Director in everything bar name.

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Hulkenberg secure for 2015

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “Everybody in the team is delighted to see Nico remain a Sahara Force India driver for next season. We rate him very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points. We know him extremely well: he’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid and I am proud that he will continue to race in the colours of Sahara Force India.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s good to confirm my plans for next season. This is a team I know extremely well and we’ve enjoyed a great year together with some special results. The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year. We have a strong partner in Mercedes and everyone in the team is motivated and hungry for more success. I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year.” (Sahara Force IndiaTeam).

So this year Vijay Mallya is not playing his usual party game of ‘here’s a lovely Christmas present Mr. now ex-driver – your P45 notice”. Nico Hulkenberg gets another season in Formula 1 racing for the Silverstone outfit.

There had been rumours the much liked and talented German driver would be forced to give way for a driver bringing more cash, though as yet the Indian government hasn’t caught up with Vijay – as they have with Sahara boss Rubrata Roy.

Force India consistently punch above their weight, given the meagre budget their once billionaire owner affords them. It appears that for now, the Slim family are putting on hold their search for a Formula 1 team to play with, and so Nico has another year of relative disappointment to look forward to.

Force India’s modus operandi is – start well – run out of money to develop the car – slide back towards the head of the rest of the field.

It may be tougher for the team next year, as Vijay’s co-share holder is clearly is short of cash.

Subrata Roy was jailed in March this year for defrauding $billions from millions of small Indian investors who were sold outlawed bonds. He was ordered to repay the investors in full, but its been a long hot summer for Roy in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

He did win the right to special privileges, 14 hours a day access to a conference room to facilitate him negotiating the sale of assets to meet the $1.4bn bail tariff.

Having failed for months to deliver on his promises, Roy was given a final 15 days to sell his hotels, which include the Grosvenor house in London and the Plaza in New York.

It is presumably difficult to sell such real estate at market value when potential buyers are aware of your situation.

Roy came up with nothing.

So on October 1st, Roy was sent back to his cell and the privilege of the use of an air conditioned luxury conference suite was removed.

Tihar jail DIG Mukesh Prasad informed the media (one imagines with a grin), “We received no further extension orders from the court and the duration for which Subrata Roy was allowed to use the conference room with special facilities ended yesterday. He has been shifted back to the jail today. He will be staying at the central jail here in jail number one,” reported the Indian Times.

Mallya is more fortunate than Roy. He has defrauded defaulted on billions too, however, his victims are the financial institutions of India, which is a country that has no bankruptcy laws, foreclosing on assets pledged against loans is a long and difficult road.

Vijay oowns an Indian cricket team in the lucrative IPL as well as a share in Sahara Force India, however, he is the the first such high-profile businessman to be declared a ‘wilful defaulter’ by the banking institutions of India.

The Indian Times suggests this reflects, “a growing frustration within India’s banking system, and beyond, about local tycoons living luxurious lifestyles, even while claiming their companies cannot repay debts to state banks”.

For now Vijay is tantalisingly beyond the reach of those who would see him put on trial. However, his public image in India has been substantially tarnished. There are still thousands of Kingfisher employees who worked to keep Vijay’s symbol of vanity and pride in the air – and have not been paid for several months work.

In the meantime – F1’s Jabba the Hutt – continues to gorge himself on any publicity – amongst other things – he can claw into his grasp.

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FIA panel of experts appointed to examine Bianchi crash encouraging

Following Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident at the Japanese GP, the FIA pressed F1 Race Director and safety delegate, Charlie Whiting, to complete a report into the surrounding circumstances and within four days faced the accredited F1 media – behind closed doors.

An emotional Jean Todt attended the media event in Sochi, promising he would establish a ‘panel of expert witnesses’ to examine what should be done going forward.

This may have been a loose form of words, however, many F1 fans are angry with the implication – who did what and when in Suzuka, is now complete.

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The FIA have now announced the panel, which will be headed up by Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission, and it includes some eye catching names.

In a statement released by the FIA, they said: “The group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA President.

The work of the group will start this week and a full presentation of its findings is to be made at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 3 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar.

Peter Wright, Chairman of the FIA Safety Commission, has been entrusted with the Presidency of the newly established accident panel.”

Panel members:-

Presidency :
Peter Wright, President of the Safety Commission
 
Members :
Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of Mercedes F1 Team, Brawn Grand Prix and former Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari
Stefano Domenicali, former Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari
Gerd Ennser, Chief Stewards’ representative
Emerson Fittipaldi, President of the FIA Drivers’ Commission, F1 Steward
Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director
Roger Peart, President of the Circuits Commission, President of the ASN of Canada, F1 Steward
Antonio Rigozzi, Advocate, Judge at the International Court of Appeal of the FIA co-opted by the teams
Gérard Saillant, President of the FIA Institute and President of the Medical Commission
Alex Wurz, President of the GPDA, drivers’ representative

It has been amusing to read some of the F1 media writers’ impressions of this investigation once the panel was announced; particularly those who dismiss this exercise as a sham.

First to consider, is the personal connection between Jean Todt and the Bianchi family, and for that reason alone there is hope to believe the FIA president will insist proper scrutiny is applied. His selection of experts demonstrates this most convincingly.

On the whole, this is a group of individuals with a diverse and substantive weight of appropriate experience and the inclusion of Ross Brawn and Stefano Dominicali adds gravitas and an element of integrity, for those unaware of the other members and their background.

Specifically, TJ13 is highly encouraged to see the appointment of Eduardo de Freitas, WEC Race Director, on the panel. He is a calm and measured individual, who is recognisable to sports car racers around the world and perceived as a reassuring and consistent presence to not only the series’ organisers but also to its competitors.

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As race director of the WEC, Freitas has multi class series races to oversee, where the braking capabilities, acceleration – and therefore closing speeds, together with top speed of the cars in the lowest class – are a gulf apart from those racing in the premier class. Ensuring the safety of all on and around the track in this form of racing, is probably the biggest challenge in world motorsport.

The Portuguese WEC Race Director, speaks five languages fluently and first became involved in motorsport almost 40 years ago briefly as a mechanic.

However, he quickly moved trackside spending time as a marshal then a Clerk of the Course.  He has been an FIA WEC Race Director since 2002 and has unparalleled experience in covering single seater, touring car and endurance racing championships on a global basis.

UntitledThis contrasts with F1’s Race Director and his assistant Herbie Blash, who began their association together working for Bernie Ecclestone in the Brabham days.

Whiting’s background is as a grease monkey. He was chief mechanic for the World Drivers’ Championship successes of Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. Charlie was appointed by the FIA as F1 Technical Delegate in 1988 and in 1997 became the Race Director and Safety Delegate.

UntitledBlash too has a motorsports mechanical background, and having hung up his spanner, he moved into various team management roles, until he was recruited by the FIA in 1995 as their Deputy Race Director at all GP’s.

The different dynamic of how Race Control in the WEC operates as compared to F1, is notable. Though this is the remit for another piece, maybe from ‘the voice of the fans’.

What is of absolute certainty, is when Eduardo is called upon to make split second decisions during a race, his experience of manhandling wrecked cars trackside… as a marshal – whilst racers hurtle past – is firmly embedded in his psyche.

We shall know whether trust in this body is well placed or not, presuming that post the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Qatar, December 3rd,  a proper public presentation of their reports findings is made.

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Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1

The FIA have upgraded the Moscow Raceway circuit license to a Grade 1 so it cold host a Formula 1 GP.

This would add to Hermann Tilke’s ever expanding portfolio of Formula 1 events, should President Putin feel he has more chance of making the race on time, if it’s in his back yard.

The F1 journalists who were not privileged to be accommodated in Alders Disney Hotel, were universally critical of the location of the inaugural Russian GP. Some likening it to Mokpo, but without the bars and restaurants which actually had food in their larders.

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However, Moscow Raceway is actually located 100 km from the capital city near the villages of Sheludkovo and Fedyukovo, so whether this will prove to be much more cosmopolitan than Alders is questionable.

Still even an upgrade from the Alders staple diet of the cold soup Okroshka, to the hardly extravagant but warm borscht or shchi may at least warm the cockles of the scribblers’ hearts as they bash out another interview with Jenson – or not.

A statement on the Raceway’s website says, “Moscow Raceway now has a new FIA Grade 1 license

Since its opening in 2012 the track was approved by the highest sporting authorities and received T1 license which allowed to host world racing races and F1 tests and rides. After three successful international seasons Moscow Raceway has upgraded its status and now can host all kind of races including Formula 1.

Who knows, maybe we’ll have two Grand Prix in the largest land mass country on planet earth.

94 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 21st October 2014

  1. Re: Kamui concerns

    Surely the FIA tech director Bauer has to look into this suspension issue? It’s one thing to be cheap sods, but to put any drivers life at risk like that is an absolute NO NO in anyone’s book.

    • …Another long standing call from TJ13 for more investment in the F1 scrutineering team by the FIA…

      And then when something happens to a driver due to a car failure in a cash strapped team…. ‘we’ll learn by experience – its never happened before…..let’s recruit’.

      • Yet again more reactive thinking rather than being proactive.

        So it begs to question, what exactly does the scrutiners look at after qualifying? Because is assumed that brakes and suspension would be at the top of the list.

        This is something kamui should bring to the attention of the FIA personally, because he has got to get behind the wheels of this potential death trap.

        • If you really want to know I’ll happily add the scrutineering sheets into the documents article next weekend, or DM me your email and I’ll send you screenshots. It’s very routine and mainly focused on rules compliance, though I would imagine that is they saw something egregious they would reguire a fix.

          • It would be nice if you did, it would tie in well with the whole theme of your work.

          • Yes, usually one of the few things I skip because there’s really nothing in it. Just a bunch of checked this checked that where nothing untoward is ever found.

            I usually do include different versions of ECU software,because it’s interesting that they are allowed to run different versions and I don’t yet know the story. That is generally the last thing that is in the scrutineering documents

          • …it is mostly reg checks – not safety matters though?

            There’s no obligation for Caterham to have scrutineering check these kind of running repairs

          • @tj13 yes mostly regulatory checks, FFM density of fuel that sort of thing. They do check bodywork and there was one check of Rosberg’s car a couple of GP ago that seemed unusual, but it passed. Things like not exceeding RPM, checksums on the ECU… I’ll chuck it in next week.

          • Matt, I think that was the gear ratio’s on Rosberg’s car. The FIA checked them in Sochi I believe, to make sure they were the same ratio’s as the team had nominated for the season (after using their joker and changing them in Singapore).

          • Good way to avoid any blame……

            You can already hear the excuses….’teams are responsible for safety (which they do), we just check to make sure the measurements are correct and within the design regs’

          • @tj13 et al.

            No. Under FIA and local regulations, a car can be inspected at any time for rules compliance and safety issues. Any car that has been involved in an accident, will get a visit from one of Joe Bauer’s’ technical team. This concept applies to all forms of FIA controlled motor sport.

            http://tinyurl.com/cnknxv

          • ….Thanks Iain – I do understand that

            Maybe I wasn’t clear, as a matter of course, this doesn’t happen as a matter of course…. Stuff can break on a car, and they’ll never know…. teams should declare certain failures on track which don’t cause an off… suspension, brakes….etc

            This covers neither “accident” nor “significant changes”

            The complexity of F1 cars is too much for the scrutineering team to manage properly and I believe it should be bolstered.

          • @tj13

            Misunderstandings all round. When did that bodge job happen? The Caterham suspension part is ‘somewhat questionable’ to say the least. Surely that could be interpreted as a modification. Not so sure about your comment on the scrutineering team. The team is bigger than the people you see in the garage. Since ‘traction control-gate Mark 1’ they have a network of outside specialists to call on when required. Jo Bauer is no mug, and neither is the software guy, whose name I forget.

        • That picture looks like the suspension of an aged and uncared for Formula Ford (well, except for the carbon parts).

  2. Did Lauda really have a Haribo logo on his arm like Prost?! With his face….? “Hey kids, would you take sweets from this guy?” Hand over a medal to whatever McLaren sales guy managed to pull that off, perhaps they should re-employ him stat!

      • Possibly, but the most disgraceful thing I heard was a personal sponsor of his – Austrian mineral water supplier – told him that for 1977, they were paying him half his fee because he only had half a face!!! Utter disgrace!

        • That’s evil…

          It’s at that time one gets the CEO of that company, sits him/her down, smiles, looks him/her dead in the eye and says, “This is how it’s going to go… You will be honouring your sponsorship commitment to me, in full, and for your half payment ‘proposal’, you will be matching my sponsorship, dollar for dollar, and making a public donation to the closest burns unit in Austria”

          “And before you say, ‘and if we don’t’, I have a public press conference booked in 15 minutes to announce either your donation, or your refusal to honour your agreement based in my accident and subsequent scarred face.”

          “Oh and please, by all means say no to this, threaten libel and defamation if I go ahead, because the publicity from that protracted case in Austria will bring you to your knees. And I am loud. And no judge will touch me, after this accident, for outrage about your offer. So please, by all means, test the theory about ‘all publicity being good publicity’.”

          “You have 14 minutes to make a choice… Oh, would you like a glass of water?”

          (Yes, I’ve had a few bust up’s)

          • …Comic book movies weren’t so big back then… he could have starred in one….

            Niki is cool about his visage and frequently uses it as a fulcrum to flirt with the ladies

        • …..Craig has an extraordinary mental range and agility rarely seen…

          It ranges from the childish, through juvenile and on to sage old Grandpappy – who adjudicates on the delicate matters of propriety discussed amongst the TJ13 team.

  3. Gosh, if Neale and Goss go, that will be quite a chink in Macca’s armour. As for Sam Michael, not sure if he’s added much to the organisation, although I may be mistaken here as pit stops did improve actually following 2012’s fiasco.

    Maybe that’s what Alonso is seeing happening and he realises that no matter how good aero is, if engineering is depleted and the engine is not as powerful as Merc’s from the word ‘go’, then struggling for another 2 years to just get a podium is on the cards.

    • Sam Michaels seems to some sort of ‘bad omen’ at present. Williams new found fortune, seems to coincide with his departure and now it is McLaren’s turn.

      • This has also been my opinion of Mr. Michaels over the time covering his tenure at both Williams and McLaren. In fact, one Mr. Whitmarsh, last seen…………….has anybody seen Martin? One Mr. Whitmarsh once defended Sam Michael rather vigorously and look where he is. So, for me at least, watching what happens with Sam Michael is the easiest way to tell when McLaren has turned the corner and beginning to head in the right direction.

      • Wow! Just read Wednesday’s ‘Breaking News’, looks like McLaren are headed in the right direction.

    • …..All the teams knew in advance they would not be allowed to import parts/etc except from Suzuka…

      What may have hurt them, was the arrival of the Bailiff’s prior to Japan – who in fact did remove parts for the 2014 car despite Manfredi’s “hi know nothing”… routine… “it was all worthless memorabilia from another related company”.


      This is not anti-Spanish or racist re: Cataluyna. It’s a famous John Cleese line 😉

  4. Very happy to see the Sid Watkins tribute. One of the very good guys and missed by many.

    • … I couldn’t agree more – and he knew how to handle Ecclestone too….. He’d take no shit about ‘the show must go on’ – when safety was genuinely in question.

      • Agreed. Miss his steadying influence at race weekends. I think he would be disgusted at the way safety has slid from the being the primary concern over the past 18 months or so.

  5. Just my opinion:

    You should ease back on the “one-upmanship” towards other F1 writers (who could you possibly mean?). It’s unbecoming and makes you sound like some of those desperate “journalists” who think they can only appear bigger by making others seem smaller.

    This site is trying to do something different from most others, don’t lose your way.

    • ….. it was in response to another writer stating in person about TJ13, “He does not know his arse from his elbow” – as pointed out by the readers here yesterday…

      PLus, as the self appointed publicist for Caterham F1, the story written there yesterday is vague and misleading.

      But you are right – rising above the fray is best.

      Thanks Tim.

    • I would say that anyone, who like Mr. Saward, has to resort to badmouthing other journalists, has already disqualified himself. Even dogs only bite if they feel threatened or are badly trained. I’d say there are worse things than the ‘establishment’ feeling threatened by our presence.

    • @tim
      Agreed. I like reading TJ13 and Joe Saward and a bit of F1fanatic. For the rest I check out newsnow. And that sometimes takes me to pitpass…
      All in all, I use these sources to get info about F1 and all have their ups and downs, pro’s and cons but not one of them will make me stop looking at other sites/blogs.
      The fun / banter / rude jokes here make this one a favourite!

      • ….. Look we usually refrain from this – but Joe did cite TJ13 specifically in an abusive fashion yesterday – a reader pointed it out.

        I used to read Joe’s stuff a lot and still do occasionally (time is short) – and when he stops moaning about the internet and other content providers, his well researched pieces are thought provoking and enlightening.

        He must be pissed off with people posting Caterham info from here over there recently – as we’ve had exclusive information from sources no one else was getting…

        Joe over the past couple of years tried to forge a kind of an exclusive link to Caterham – as their unofficial mouthpiece and so get stories first…so it must hurt that TJ13 has been ahead of him all the way on the demise of the team….

        But it goes to show, the old sources of the accredited F1 writers – now lie to them so they’ll publish their propaganda – that’s when they manage to get a one on one of course. – which is hardly ever.

        You have to mine further down for better information….

        We protect all our sources – and they are growing in number over time….

        The F1 teams are so big, there’s places for even well placed individuals with high level information to hide.

        People tell us stuff because they like seeing the truth being outed and having a hand in it – or even just exposing lies…

        We have even facilitated recruitment opportunities behind the scenes for F1 employees…. LoL

        But we’re here because we are fans and love F1 – our blog may look a little untidy – but we don’t care – its home for now 😉

        I noticed today – a leading shiny looking F1 blog had the Sepang Qualifying report 2014 as their feature item on the home page – amusing – shiny and wrong

        • Hi Judge,

          Seems my referral to Joe’s comment stirred everything up a bit. Maybe letting everything cool down and not letting him get to you is indeed a good thing, although showing once in a while who’s ruling in court is nice! 🙂

          • …No problem….. AJ

            I admit I did go and check it out… its unusual for Joe – but hey ho…

            We had a couple of attacks recently. @FakeCharlie got all uppertity on twitter at me… “Respect Jules…. questioning the FIA is disrespectful…” sort of stuff

            We’re cool here. We know who we are 😀

        • didn’t saward also get payed by catherham as some sort of consultant back when they were entering f1? he was singing the praise of tony fernandes (while at the same time constantly bashing danny bahar) and i seem to remember that he got pretty rude when some of his readers told him that it was bad journalism not to disclose his consultancy role.

          • Not sure it was consultancy. He is (was?) on the Board of Directors for Caterham cars, but not associated with the F1 team is what Joe says.

            Joe does some very good pieces, has lots of contacts, but is a bit grumpy in his replies. I do admire people like Joe, James Allen, TJ13, etc. who actually read all the comments and respond to them. That’s a lot of work and time and is appreciated.

            I also agree there is no need to attack other blogs; simply do a better job and you will be much appreciated.

          • ..It is a lot of interaction – at least an hour a day – plus all the writing, twitter responsibilities, research, talking to sources, planning the podcast……

            But we have a good team now – still open to offers for people to join… so the load is shared….

          • JS has the thinnest skin in journalism. He is extremely sensitive to any criticism perceived or otherwise. He has a lot of interesting information from the inside and often writes about topics not seen elsewhere but in this one he is between a rock (Kolles) and a hard place (Tony) I struggle to see how he can thread his way through this and come out with his dignity intact unless

            a, he is right
            or
            b, umm see a,

          • Lol…. Joe will be fine… he produces good content… just backs himself into corners at times….

            I really respect Joe’s tenacity sticking at being an independent F1 Journo – its tough – the good old days are over.. he should collaborate with tTJ13…. he could be the substantive Sunday supplement type content – op ed… the offer has been made….

          • @tj13 he’s already recycling on your favourite motorsport publication, out every Monday……:-)

          • …. Lol… The guy who owns MM wanted to ‘buy us’. MM is a lovely 21st century glossy page turning experience….. we allowed an article we’d written to be published there once… promises made were broken – so we say, ‘adios dude’

  6. The Chief Executive of Total was killed in an accident lastnight in Moscow, his private jet collided with a snow plough during take off.

    • I bet speed was involved… The plane is reported to have backed off only 0.5sec…

      ———

      Too soon? Yeah, I know, I know… Lemme have it.

      At least I beat Craig.

      (Puts helmet on)

      • ….Drunken snow plough driver promises to provide a comprehensive report into the surrounding circumstances – when sober

      • The report said the driver of the snow plough was drunk at the time and there will be a criminal investigation into the accident.

          • Nah, Total is not the only one, his big mistake was to question the Petro Dollar, only tinhats are allowed to do that, not CEO’s for oil majors, can get you accidented.

          • Oh well… maybe he can send his report from ‘the beyond’…. BTW when was he killed? It is Russia -not an unreasonable supposition

          • …. indeed…. but hey… in civilised countries…. airport operatives are now breathalysed… The global effort put into flight safety is second to none.

            Per hour, F1 is way less than way over 1000/1 times as safe – for a marshal – its just not right

  7. It is also interesting to see Brawn, Fittipaldi, and Domenicali on there, three figures who (despite the plentiful evidence of Ross’s nefarious ‘doings’) are well respected and trusted in the paddock, clearly the FIA are looking to make a big statement here, to appear as honest and sincere as they dare… take that last bit as you will.

    • Fair play to Todt on this count then. He promised big changes if he remained in charge of the FIA (even if he did all but restrict anyone else from running against him) and he has followed through with this. A new era compared to the Mosley-Ecclestone love in that preceded.

    • It is obvious there are some heavy hitters on the investigatory panel. Unfortunately, there are at least 4 members who are on the payroll of the FIA. That doesn’t sit well with me.
      In addition, I feel that the most obvious choice for this panel was passed over. There has been 1 man, for 20 years, that has been most vocal about safety procedures, especially those regarding recovery vehicles on the track.

      That man is Martin Brundle. If he was on this panel, I would have much more confidence in its investigation.

      It is sadly ironic, that Mr. Brundle made reference to the dangers of tractors on the track, a mere 10 seconds before Jules impact in Suzuka.

      • …it’s way better than expected….. but I take your point…. and Brundle wouldn’t be able to commit – due to broadcasting duties….

      • @tourdoogy & judge judy

        Martin Brundle. Are you guys kidding? Yes you have to be, can’t see the smiley.

        • You are consistent.
          Attack the poster instead of contributing something useful.
          Doesn’t 4chan miss you?

          • @🎤🔊

            I’m consistent in attacking misguided comments. What could Brundle possibly contribute to that expert group?
            🎌

          • … I hear what you both say… You can’t argue Brundle wasn’t the prophet of doom – before and during the race…. he called it…

            Yet I perceive his broadcasting duties have dulled what was the Brundle of old…. and his need to be politically correct shone through in his video on SKY reviewing safety (shown during Russian GP) based on Jules accident….

            Maybe too much ‘comme ci comme ça’ – but that is reflecting the demands of TV…..

          • @tj13

            I seriously thought you were both joking about Brundle. Even though Alex Wurz, the new GPDA chairman, is on the panel, wouldn’t it be better to also have a current F1 driver? Question time on double waved yellows would be interesting!

  8. The Moscow Raceway is 100x better than the racetrack in Sochi..some great corners and a decent straight too for overtaking.

    Hopefully Putin will get bored of Sochi fairly quickly.

    • That said, I do like the fast sweeper into the last sector at Sochi. I think Sochi is actually a better track.. junior races at Moscow are generally processionary, but there are some good corners like T1 and the fast right, with overtaking theoretically possible into the last corner.

      But GP2/GP3 showed the potential of Sochi, when not hamstrung like in F1.. the GP3 sprint finish was one of the best I’ve seen.

      • I thought Sochi was a nice track, I just think it got criticise due to the tyre choice for the race.

        That last sector looks very similar to that of Abu Dhabi.

        • Yes, but in the words of a certain Kimi Raikkonen, “Abu Dhabi is sh!t!!!!!”

  9. “Moscow Raceway gets green light for F1”

    Interesting to note that the other two announcements of potential races, Las Vegas and Madrid, are both street circuits. Are Ecclestone and FOM starting to worry that Formula E may be beginning to undercut them?

    • You’ll now for sure when they announce they’re off to Miami……

    • Slower than F3 cars, boring racing, car changes at half distance, street circuits, and no noise. I seriously doubt FOM is scared.

  10. Not related to any story here today, but the rumour about Alonso buying into a team seemed to gain some traction, it’s clearly not lotus, so it died away,but I thought about it and the only other vulnerable team owner I can think of is Ron Dennis, hence alonso signing directly with Honda or am I barking up the wrong tree?

  11. Here’s something for “Japanese GP incident committee” to consider. They will have access to all the team/driver conversations that took place, but is there any unedited audio available of what went on in race control during the day? Charlie gets to say what he claims happened, but is there any audio proof that what he says actually took place?

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