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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite: 1977 – Villeneuve huge accident in Japan
It’s amazing how perceptions change over a given subject as the years pass by. With music and film, moments of genius that truly took the breath away at their inception become merely parts of the fabric of life and their significance and relevance become neutered.
On this day in 1977, Gilles Villeneuve somersaulted out of the Japanese Grand Prix after hitting Ronnie Peterson on the sixth lap. His flight took him into an that was forbidden to the public and his car hit several spectators and a marshal – killing two of the people. The French-Canadian was unhurt and when interviewed later spoke of it being sad that the two had died but he felt no guilt because they were in a restricted area.
What was an acceptable remark nearly four decades ago – in an era of immense danger in F1 – would be abhorrent today and peoples sensibilities have changed enormously. Motorsport is dangerous – reads the legend on the ticket – something that had been considered banished forever.
Michael calls time on his F1 journey
“If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all” goes the old saying and if it were to apply to any person in Formula One, not many would argue that Sam Michael’s carries this particular epitaph with him.
TJ13 commented on Monday that several names at Mclaren were about to be culled from the employee register and confirmation was received yesterday that Michael would be returning to Australia with his family after the culmination of the season. Reports suggest that he had resigned back in March which would appear a little unusual as he still holds his post seven months later..
At times over the years, any misfortune that befell any team he was employed by created mirth on forums and motor-sport sites – yet it was difficult not to believe he had upset somebody in a previous life. He joined Jordan in 1994 after his previous employer, Team Lotus, went bankrupt.
He was race engineer to Ralf Schumacher and later Heinz Harald Frentzen before joining the Williams team as Senior Operations Engineer before being promoted to the role of Technical Director in 2004. Finishing fourth that season was the highlight of his years in charge as the team stumbled aimlessly towards the back of the grid. He resigned in May 2011 after the Grove’s team worst ever start to a season and emerged at Mclaren in 2012.
Irrespective of any beliefs in the esoteric realms, Mclaren have steadily fallen away from their usual position at the head of the field and it would seem that Ron Dennis suggested a nice life in the sun may be best for his family.
One down, how many more heads to roll?
Vettel just a simple boy at heart
With the three week break between Sochi and Austin, Sebastien Vettel took advantage of the break and visited the Staffordshire County showground for the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show – not as a celebrity with all the VIP passes in place but as a regular customer with three friends.
Sharon Tasker said: “We were working our way through the queue and then my colleague Helen just stopped talking. I looked over and there was Sebastian asking for four tickets. We’ve had many star guests come to our Stafford events but they are always a part of the show and are on stage speaking or doing signing sessions.”
“It was a surreal experience to see one of the world’s most famous sporting stars come wandering in and it certainly caused a buzz among staff and visitors.”
The show is about restorations of historic bikes and they have an auction that raises money for charities. Star guests at the event included former World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty and his former rival Pierfrancesco Chili.
Classic bikes and racing memorabilia helped raise more than £1 million for children’s charities at the Bonhams auction. Blur’s guitarist Graham Coxon auctioned seven of his bikes which raised £25,000 in funds for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) and a further £104,540 was received for a 1914 Flying Merkel V-Twin.
(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)
Rosberg appoints himself ‘title hunter’
Nico Rosberg has admitted he will think more about his own interests now after Mercedes wrapped up the constructors’ championship in Russia. The German has fallen 17 points behind in the intra-team chase for the drivers’ title, after Lewis Hamilton won the last four grands prix on the trot.
Some believe Rosberg is tightening up just as Hamilton is hitting his stride, but the German announced he will “attack with full force” beginning with next weekend’s US grand prix. “The remaining tracks are among my favourites,” he said, referring to the final flyaway trio of races in Austin, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“I have never felt pushed into a corner,” Rosberg is quoted by Germany’s Sport Bild. “I am a hunter, I am hunting for the title and I have no reason to give up. There will be a tough fight over three challenging races,” he continued, “and I have no doubt that after thinking about the team, now it is going to be more about our own interests.”
Alain Prost, the F1 legend, agreed that although Hamilton is ahead in the standings and on form, Rosberg cannot be counted out yet. “It’s more in favour of Hamilton,” said the Frenchman, “but he can always make a mistake at the wrong time. I would say it is 55-45,” he told Spain’s AS newspaper.
TJ comment: ……………………………
It’s fine to take a few moments to recollect yourselves. If this were a war zone, Hamilton would be the Special Forces operative, stationed within yards of the target on which he has sent the co-ordinates back to action a bombing run or gathering intelligence reports in dangerous live environments.
Nico would be grasping his rifle in hand, more than likely taking a swig of water to keep hydrated and then immerse himself in the latest Call of Duty game…
Doctor asks for patience with Schumacher’s recovery (sourced from Der Spiegel)
Jean-Francois Payen was one of the doctors, who worked with Michael Schumacher for months after the German’s skiing accident last December. After visiting the seven-times world champion in his home in Switzerland, the medic gave a few encouraging words to RTL Radio.
According to Payen, Schumacher is no longer comatose, but will need a lot of time. He reckons that a recovery from the massive brain injuries is possible in one to three years. “Live after brain trauma progresses in stages.”
The Doctor said he visited Schumacher to assess the progress of the patient and asserts that Michael is in best hands. Schumacher’s wife Corinna cares perfectly for him.
“The wife has done everything possible to assure he can make progress. Being surrounded by family is good for the recovery. She has an unbelievable strength of will”
After 9 months in hospital Schumacher returned home on Sept. 9th and has since been continuing his road to recovery with the family.
Official Statement from Tony Fernandes and Caterham Group
Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group co-Chairman:
“In June 2014, I decided, together with my co-shareholders, to sell my stake in the Caterham F1 team. We agreed in good faith to sell the shares to a Swiss company named ‘Engavest’ on the basis that Engavest undertook to pay all of the existing and future creditors, including the staff. The continued payment of staff and creditors was so important to me that I ensured that the shares would not be transferred to the new buyers unless they complied with this condition.
“Sadly, Engavest has failed to comply with any of the conditions in the agreement and Caterham Sports Ltd (the UK operating company of the F1 team) has had to be put into administration by the bank, with large sums owing to numerous creditors. Our agreement with Engavest was very clear: there was no legal obligation to transfer the shares to them unless certain conditions – which included paying creditors – were met. Those conditions have not been met. Our lawyers have asked Engavest several times to comply with these conditions but they have failed to engage.
“If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case and that a solution can be found.”
Graham Macdonald, Caterham Group CEO:
“We genuinely believed, at the time, that the sale of the team was the best route for the staff and creditors of the Company, as we felt it secured its long term future. The whole agreement with Engavest was based around a low consideration for the business, with easy payment terms so that creditors and staff could be paid.
“The buyers were made fully aware at the time of all outstanding liabilities. However, it appears to me that they never had any intention of paying these liabilities.
I go on to question how anyone who was interested in the long term future of the business would appoint one of their cleaners – Constantin Cojocar – as the sole director and shareholder of the UK operating Company?
“We continue to see claims and counter claims from the F1 team which are totally unfounded. Not only have they failed to pay the creditors (and have even left our shareholders to pay some of the creditors on their behalf), but they have failed to pay us anything for use of our factory and site, or anything for the use our brand name.
“In short the new owners have paid us nothing and now the administrators have been appointed they want to walk away from their liabilities.”