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Previously on The Judge 13:
BREAKING NEWS (Updated as stories come in)
OTD Lite: 1989 – Prost drives into Senna
Alain Prost had declared his intention before the race weekend had even begun. If Ayrton Senna attempted to pass him, he would not back out of a potential collision as he had previously. The Professor had the advantage of leading the title race by 16 points and did not need to win either of the remaining two races. Senna did.
On the 47th lap, six from the end, Senna took the inside line into the chicane and Prost turned into him.
Of course as a Senna fan, I would see it that way, but aerial footage of the collision (impossible to find it seems) shows that Prost turned in far too early to have made the apex – a similar trait that his son Nicolas displayed admirably when he collided with Nick Heidfeld in the inaugural Formula E race. Immovable object meets irresistible force.
Senna received a push start as his car was still on the race track – something that was allowed – and went on to win the race passing Alessandro Nannini in a similar manouvre. But it was now that Jean Marie Balestre – the French President of the FIA – came bearing his power over the sport. Senna was excluded from the race, effectively securing the title for Prost.
It was this that Max Mosley found to be utterly disturbing and would lead to his running for Presidency against what he believed was a manipulative regime and for once the British publications voiced their opinions in favour of the Brazilian and against the French collusion.
Sam Michael leaves McLaren to return to Australia
Mclaren partners prepare to go to war
In recent weeks TJ13 has been reporting that things do not look rosy for the Mclaren group currently. With another lacklustre year almost over, the return of Honda is causing huge media interest for the coming season.
Speculation continues as to the stage that the Japanese manufacturer is currently at – with its engine – and talks with Fernando Alonso are daily in the rumour mill yet get no closer to finalisation. The latest news is that the Spaniard is waiting on ‘developments at Woking’, before inking the offered contract to join.
The TJ13 DN&C yesterday reported the a major shake-up and culling of staff within the McLaren motorsport division, following the whisper that the relationship between the founding partners of Mclaren International had collapsed.
Italy’s Autosprint reveals today, that there is a serious division between Mansour Ojjeh and Ron Dennis, who joined forces in 1981 to establish the team. Ojjeh has always been a close friend’s of Ron’s and funded the Porsche designed Tag-Turbo engine that dominated F1 for three years. But recently, Mansour underwent a double lung transplant, and whilst during his recuperation – the Ronster was making it known he was looking for funding, to buy our his partners.completely.
Ojjeh is currently in talks with billionaire Lawrence Stroll, over acquiring a controlling interest in the Mclaren Group from the Mumtalakat holding company. Were this to happen, , Ron Dennis would most likely be ousted from the Woking team – ironically in much the same fashion that Martin Whitmarsh was removed.
With the investors sensing blood, Big Ron is currently preparing a financial report to be released to the shareholders at the end of November. The subsequent meeting may prove to be pivotal in deciding whether – as did Ferrari with Il Padrino – the days of the McLaren godfather have now passed.
Villeneuve – Mclaren wronged Alonso in 2007
Americans’ often harbour a certain disdain toward their Canadian neighbours, in a similar manner to the one which exists between England and Scotland. However, the abrasive character of Jacques Villeneuve at times appears to make ‘Muricans’ of us all..
The 1997 World Champion has almost become a caricature of himself and most comments he makes to the press appear to be met from the readers with ridicule and scorn. With the backdrop of Alonso’s uncertain future, Jacques Villeneuve decided that it was appropriate to revisit the 2007 season and discuss how Mclaren gifted Ferrari the title.
Of course this review from Villeneuve is superficial at best. There is no recognition of the ‘secret information’ which Mclaren had in their possession; information of such a sensitive nature that a interpreter was engaged, to convey the Fred the precise meaning of what was being said.
Never one to demonstrate his cerebral prowess, Villeneuve merely waxes lyrical – on what Woking did wrong.
“When Fernando stepped in the Mclaren, he faced more or less the same situation I had with the arrival of Jenson Button at Bar-Honda. Basically, they said “Lewis is our future, you’re just the World Champion, so shut up. They used Alonso as a teacher for Hamilton so that the Briton would learn as much as possible in his first season. It was also the main reason he caused the team to implode.”
“It wasn’t necessary to focus on a rookie winning the title immediately. Lewis would have soon made it to the top. They could have been patient. Fernando was the World Champion – that they recruited from Renault. It was basically Mclaren that made the mistake. Fernando only did what he could do.”
Or in English parlance, the pseudo Samurai thought first of himself, as always..
Weber says Vettel ‘too sensitive’
On the few occasions this year that we’ve seen mark Webber at an F1 weekend, he has been remarkably gracious in his defence of his former team mates inability to master the Newey 2014 Bull as he is regularly out performed by Webber’s “son and heir”.
Yet now, in a surprising attack….. Oh….. hang on…..Errm…
Will Weber, Michael Schumacher’s former manager who brokered the mega remuneration deals with Ferrari for Michael – then took his 20% – has decided it’s time for 5 last minutes of fame.
With the world expecting Ferrari to imminently confirm their new driver as Sebastian Vettel, Weber says that Vettel will never emulate his former client – because he is “too sensitive”.
“If something is not working well, the pressure at Ferrari is greater than it is anywhere else. It is not always ‘peace, joy and pancakes’, but a lot of politics.
I think if a Fernando Alonso cannot deal with it, then no one can,” Weber said. “Sebastian is much more sensitive than Michael.”
The man in Formula 1 who always looks on the bright side of life, Helmut Marko, reckons Weber is right.
“Michael benefitted in his time from an unlimited number of test kilometres and close cooperation with the tyre partner Bridgestone,” Marko observes. That said, four dominant years at Red Bull, would suggest that with a level playing field for all – this didn’t and shouldn’t hinder Seb.
It may be that Sebastian indeed has his work cut our for him should he arrive in Maranello. The latest car for 2015 is not good, so much so that already the ‘spoken only behind closed doors’ working title for the project is codename “666”
The 2015 F1 offering from Ferrari will be the first designed from scratch by James Allison
That said, this year in Ferrari-land has felt like a re run of the Great Italian Wars, such has been the general carnage, in fighting and blood-letting.
Schumacher arrived at Ferrari when the Tifosi had been beaten into submission year on year, such that the expectation of wining much was none existant.
The Schumacher years in the minds of the Red Team fans are still fresh, and expectation high.
However, should Vettel deliver, then surely his contribution would rank ahead of Fernando’s and even greater than Michael Schumacher’s, when considering the lowest of low ebbs Ferrari find themselves at right now.
Remember Seb’s got 4 fingers up and some time to go. Michael finished on 7.
Caterham Adminstrator gets tough
As reported by TJ13, the Caterham cars returned from a short vacation in Germany following the Russian GP. The plan was to spruce up the livery, add some windscreen wash and oil, then send them on their way to Austin.
However, the Administrator appointed to manage the affairs of the Caterham F1 debacle has scuppered this plan. Finbarr O’Connell now says, “My legal advice is that I own the cars and won’t be allowing the cars out of the factory until I reach an acceptable agreement,” said Finbarr O’Connell
Further, last week TJ13 received reports that a factory in Banbury was being prepared as a contingent should the team be forced from its current base in Leafield. This may now be necessary fairly soon, as O’Connell is insistent, “We are allowing 1MRT (the team) to use our facility while we negotiate a settlement. They need to reach an agreement with us.”
All the alleged fuss and bother about who owns what, appears to have been resolved already as the administrator is flexing his muscle to ensure assets (cars) are not about to head to the land of Disney anytime soon.
This ‘confused ownership’ nonsense has been perpetrated since Ravetto attempted a smoke and mirrors charade prior to the Japanese GP, with another of his “Hi know nothing” Fawlty Towers soliloquies.
The fact is, if 1MRT have been paying or appropriate fees to Caterham Sports Ltd who were contracted to supply and maintain the F1 cars, then the assets – the cars and race equipment and factory fixtures and fittings – still belong to the company now under the control of the administrator.
Manfredi and his buddies are left with little and stand Gollum like clutching the precious racing license signed by the FIA.
It is unbelievable that anyone still buys the ‘Swiss based Arab investor’ nonsense. Even were these ghosts of the night real, and refusing to pay debt left undisclosed by Fernandes, they should know how much it costs to run even a shoestring version of operations at Caterham.
It appears the Administrator may have struck a fatal blow to the Kolles master plan of syphoning away cash provided from the pay drivers to develop his Forza Rosso car on the QT – whilst barely maintaining a skeleton effort to run the Caterham 2014 cars until Abu Dhabi.
So then, 20 cars for Austin? Yes, unless a real world oil backed cheque of some significance, lands on the Administrators desk and arrives with the precision of the historic reputation of the Swiss based clockmakers.