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Previously on The Judge 13:
Editor’s Note: A word about pictures
In recent months there has been a growing tendency of some people to post links to memes and other pictures in comments, often to gloat, mock or provocate. Sometimes ‘normal pictures’ are posted, too.
Memes will go right to the trashcan and repeat offenders risk being put on moderated posting. If you don’t trust your written communication skills enough, so that you have to communicate in ‘funny’ pictures, we are afraid 4chan or 9gag are more suitable places for you.
The real problem with hot-linked pictures is of legal nature though. First of all, we have no way of knowing, if you linked that picture with the owner’s consent or not and the moment a picture shows up on our site, because you hot-linked it without permission from it’s original author, the site owner of TJ13 comes under threat of being charged with copyright violation.
The second problem is a social one. If you link a picture that is hosted on a different site, it generates network traffic on someone else’s server when someone visits our site. Like fuel, network traffic is a chargeable resource and it is not infinite. Many servers have a traffic limit and if that is exceeded, their website gets blocked or they’re charged substantial extra-fees. So by posting links to pictures on other sites, you may incur costs or even outages for people who have nothing to do with TJ13.
A third problem is, that we have no control over what happens to content of external sites. If they delete the pictures, we end up with a bunch of broken links.
If you think your comment absolutely needs a picture to make sense, please link it, add a source information to it and we’ll edit the comment to load it from our site’s media library. Direct links to pictures from other sites will be removed from now on.
TJ13 Chief Editor AHJ, Fat Hippo
Mercedes MGU-K and the FIA regulations
Back in Silverstone, in Free Practice 2 , Lewis Hamilton suffered an engine failure. This, in and of itself was not an unusual thing. Though in general, Mercedes’ engines have been remarkably reliable this season, F1 engines are delicate beasties at best and for them to occasionally decide to have a diva fit and quit working was to be expected, particularly in the first year of the new engine design. In this case, the failure was in the MGU-K driveshaft, fortunately for the Mercs a part that is allowed to be replaced under Article 5.22 and Appendix 2.
What happened next, however, offers a little insight into the off camera action that surrounds much of F1, and offers a glimpse of an FIA process working exactly as intended, to ensure that the championship battle is decided on track, not by reliability issues.
After a teardown of Hamilton’s engine back in Brackley, it was discovered by Mercedes’ engineers that there was a flaw in the design of the MGU-K driveshaft, one that had the potential for the failure suffered by Lewis to affect all the Mercedes engines. Under the Sporting Regulations Appendix 4, they (and all manufacturers) are allowed to upgrade parts for reliability.
The process is simple, and, according to Bradley Lord, the very helpful head of Mercedes Communications, robust and frequently used by all the manufacturers. Basically, the manufacturer first applies to the FIA, the request is then sent round to all manufacturers for comment and then the FIA renders its decision.
In this instance, and despite the impression that many have of the FIA, the process worked swiftly and by the German Grand Prix, Mercedes were allowed to replace the MGU-K driveline with the updated part for reliability in all Mercedes engined cars, Mercedes AMG, Williams, McLaren and Force India, a fact first noted in the regular “#TechF1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents” for the German GP.
For most of the runners it was ICE #3 that received the immediate attention, but for Hamilton it was also ICE #2 as both engines were to see running that weekend. According to Lord, it was a process that would continue as new engines came online throughout the season, with the latest iteration being just prior to Austin.
With all the squealing about FIA regs currently on order, it is interesting to note that the basic nuts and bolts of the process appear to be working just fine to keep the cars on track and out of the garages during the race.Kindly contributed by Mattpt55
Vettel: No recriminations
Sebastian Vettel may be listening to a track from Oasis as his annus horribilis draws to a close. The four times world champion believes in fact he could have won races this year, given proper support from his team.
Yet Seb is still positive about the upcoming Brazilian GP and this in fact be Vettel’s best chance of winning his first race for nearly a year. “I think there’s always a chance to win no matter the race. But it seems that, somehow, in Brazil we have more things can happen. I think the weather forecast looks quite interesting as well”.
The fall from grace couldn’t have been harder for the German driver, as the close of his fourth consecutive F1 title winning season in 2013, saw him smash record after record – and win the most consecutive races ever by an F1 driver.
“I think there’s people that haven’t won for a longer time and I think it’s part of Formula 1 as well sometimes,” Vettel reflects. ‘I think I had races where if things had gone a little bit different this year I could have won. But equally it has been like this in the past and it probably will be like that in the future.”
The races in Canada and Hungary are clearly the ones to which Sebastian is referring. In line with TJ13 writer, Fat Hippo’s line of reasoning, Vettel believes he has been let down by his team occasionally.
“Performance-wise, I think we got very close to win in Canada. If I’d pitted a lap later it’s a different story,” muses the four time world champion. “In terms of pace we looked very strong in Singapore as well and in Hungary. But obviously where I was when the Safety Car came out in Hungary, it didn’t really favour me”.
Sebastian doesn’t appear bitter, as he admits, “There were other races where I struggled more than Daniel. If you take Belgium, for instance”, he recalls, philospically observing, “So pretty much up and down. But it has been like that for the whole season.”
Having been outed by his team unceremoniously when he informed them he was leaving, Vettel has been in limbo as Ferrari and Alonso continue their rather petty game of who is going to blink first.
However, Sebastian is confident of his future. “I know what I’m doing [next year], so that’s clear. I’m obviously hoping that I will be able to announce very soon.”
Finger boy, as he was known to many of his detractors in previous F1 seasons, has on the whole been remarkable humble this year. Yes there’s been the occasional outburst describing the new F1 engine regulations as “shit” – but no matter, people respect forthrightness.
There is now a fascination amongst the F1 fans who are not avid driver/team supporters, to see what Vettel will deliver when he goes to Ferrari. Maranello are busting the back at present as they begin a programme of revolution, and as sure as eggs are eggs, money spent wins F1 championships.
Though one important ingredient for a team with ambitions of winning titles will always include a top class driver, and so long as Vettel leaves recriminations behind him and stays focused, he has every chance of dragging Ferrari forward into the second decade of the twenty first century.
Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don’t you know you might find
A better place to play
You said that you’d never been
But all the things that you’ve seen
Will slowly fade away
Take me to the place where you go
Where nobody knows if it’s night or day
But please don’t put your life in the hands
Of a Rock n Roll band
Who’ll throw it all away
So I start a revolution from my bed
‘Cos you said the brains I had went to my head.
Step outside, summertime’s in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain’t ever gonna burn my heart out
And so Sally can wait, she knows it’s too late
as we’re walking on by
Her soul slides away, but don’t look back in anger
I heard you say.
Lewis Hamilton pleads Jenson Button’s case
With the never ending and undignified dancing-around-each-other of McLaren and Fernando Alonso, this leaves both Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in limbo. Neither driver knows whether or not they will have a job for next year.
The spectre of Button’s departure leaves the possibility that on next year’s grid for the Australian GP, Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa may be the most experienced F1 driver left competing. Yet Massa may have a clear run at the title of ‘oldest F1 driver’ still competing should the Spanish Samurai overplay his poker hand and be forced to take a sabbatical.
Formula One’s current Methuselah however looks likely to suffer the same fate as his 2009 Brawn team mate Rubens Barrichello and be kicked out of F1 ina a rather unceremonious manner and before he is ready to hang up his helmet for good. These days, where the size of your sponsor package is more important than talent or experience, the Brit faces little demand for his services from other teams and might be forced to seek shelter in the traditional F1 rejects heaven – sports cars.
Jenson’s talents however have a prominent advocate in current championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who insists in an interview with The Guardian that McLaren does not need a faster driver, but rather a faster car. Lewis also claims that, were he the owner of a team, he would want Jenson on it, which is remarkable, considering that Jenson is so far the only man to outscore Lewis over a season. So is this just a case of Lewis talking Jenson up? I think not. If Honda, especially with their self-imposed restriction to one team and the resulting disadvantage in data acquisition, need one thing – it’s lots of experience behind the volant.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Jenson has admitted that his eyes are opening to other possibilities. The view from the waterhole appears to reveal there are several options for Mr. Button. He could follow Mark Webber into the WEC and try his hand at winning one of the other crown jewels of international motorsport – the Le Mans 24h.
Another option could be Indycars. Since Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Emmerson Fittipaldi in 1994, there hasn’t been a Formula One champion on the starting grid of the Indy 500.
Maybe even if offered a drive for 2015, Jenson should tell McLaren to ‘shove it’, and demonstrate that – classless behaviour be-gets its own appropriate response.
Ecclestone avoids another legal judgement
Bluewaters Communications Holdings LLC v. Ecclestone, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 13436.
Bluewater have brought a case against Bernie Ecclestone claiming that he sold the F1 commercial rights – not to the highest bidder – but to CVC who had guaranteed to retain his services as CEO of Formula One Commercial.
The US based Communications Company claimed they had offered a higher price than CVC but had refused to guarantee Ecclestone a future role in the sport of F1. They also allege that a bribe paid by Ecclestone to German Banker –Gerhard Gribkowsky – guided his employers who held the commercial rights to the sport at the time – to sell to CVC and not to Bluewater.
The New York courts dismissed the case in January, for the reason it was being contested in the wrong jurisdiction. Yesterday, the decision was upheld.
The appeal court in Manhattan on Thursday stated that the claim could not be heard in a New York court because the case had no ties to the state. It would be more appropriate to issue proceedings in either Germany, England or the Jersey tax haven where the FOM companies are registered.
“This case stems from the failure of a Jersey company to acquire the shares of another Jersey company from a German bank, allegedly because an Englishman bribed a German,” the court concluded. “New York’s interest is minimal.”
Ecclestone recently paid $100m to a Bavarian court to ensure the charges of bribery were dropped. At the same time the person he bribed has been convicted and is serving 7 years for corruption and bribery.
In January, Judge Newey of the London High Court, dismissed a lawsuit from the owner of the commercial rights which were sold by proxy by the German bank who employed Gribkowsky.
He did however brand Ecclestone as “an unreliable witness” – rhetoric which in coded legal parlance – means a “liar”.
Kent Yalowitz, representing Bluewaters, said he was ‘disappointed’ with the New York decision but is expected to file a suit in a jurisdiction more appropriate to adjudicate on the matter.
Symonds says Alonso not right for Williams (GMM)
Williams is not ready to welcome a driver of Fernando Alonso’s stature. That is the claim of Pat Symonds, a veteran engineer who has led the British team’s technical progress in 2014 to an impressive third spot in the constructors’ championship.
As Alonso considers his next move after his apparent relationship breakdown with Ferrari, Williams has often been named as a potential dark horse destination — perhaps as a Mercedes-powered stepping stone to a full works seat in 2016. But Williams has already announced that Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are staying put.
Symonds, who worked with Alonso when he won his world titles at Renault, argues that Williams should not yet be thinking about accommodating a driver like him.
“Our process of creating a winning team is not yet complete,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“We have a few areas that we still need to work on.
“For me, Fernando is the best driver in the sport,” Symonds agreed, “but he also needs a team around him that can handle him.
“With Alonso’s expectations, the pressure would rise at Williams to an unhealthy level that would disturb the progress the team is making,” he added.
Lotus set to announce Grosjean for 2015 (GMM)
Lotus is set to announce that Romain Grosjean is staying with the Enstone team in 2015. Just a week ago, the Frenchman was saying he had the power to step out of his contract and move to a bigger team.
But a lot – albeit all apparently behind the scenes – has changed in the intervening days, including reports that Fernando Alonso is definitely heading to McLaren-Honda.
Asked where he will be in 2015, Grosjean smiled his famous smile to France’s RMC as he answered: “I will have a different engine!
“You should know more about my future very soon, maybe even as early as this weekend,” he added in the Interlagos paddock.
Grosjean denied, however, that the Alonso situation had made his own plans certain.
“I do not think it has something to do with it,” he said. “In fact, now it is not easy to find a place at all in formula one — it is a difficult situation for the drivers with two teams (Caterham and Marussia) going away, but for me everything is going well.
“We are very close. I’m in a good position in the team,” he added.
Elsewhere, Force India and Sergio Perez are on the verge of prolonging their marriage, while Jean-Eric Vergne is set to get one more year at Toro Rosso. Another open secret is that Sebastian Vettel is going to Ferrari to replace Alonso.
“When the cameras are on,” the German smiled on Thursday, “it is difficult to say anything, but when they turn off, everyone seems to know what is going on.”
Vettel took his Red Bull crew out for a farewell dinner in downtown Sao Paulo on Wednesday night, but he admitted to reporters that he will not be sad when the curtain comes down on his difficult 2014 campaign.
As for 2015, “I know what I’m doing, that’s for sure,” Vettel insisted. “And I know who my teammate will be.”
It appears likely he is referring to his friend Kimi Raikkonen, but the Finn’s high-profile struggles in 2014 have produced a cloud of speculation. “Everyone has his own opinion,” Raikkonen told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. “Many times we have seen that they are wrong.
“It is the way it is here (in F1),” he said. “It is probably the saddest thing about Formula One.
“The main thing is that you know yourself how things are and to trust in what you are doing,” said Raikkonen.
Interlagos up close and personal
The first of a two phase development of the Interlagos circuit has been completed this year. TJ13 has followed the work from time to time which has been focused on track improvements and resurfacing.
The first thing to note is the change of configuration to the pitlane exit, seen here behind the Lotus lads off on a track walk. This is predominantly a safety reconfiguration.
The enitre track has been resurfaced, and around much of the circuit, rain grooves have been cut into the asphalt. In places small amounts of camber have been added to assist drainage too.
Pirelli are not unhappy should most of the running be in wet conditions this weekend, so long as they get a dry 30 minute period to asses tyre wear due to the grooves.
Interestingly, Pirelli had considered the grooved surface, which is why they initially intended to bring the harder compound tyres. However, following Sochi they could not risk being accused AGAIN of being too conservative in their tyre compound selection.
The banking through turn 1, is in fact epic. And the new pitlane ‘in’ configuration, looks interesting.
Secret Sauber test
To prevent him from trampling the furniture to pieces in the Judge’s office again, the gavel wielding one sent the Hippo on a random errand to Switzerland, where the heavy one discovered a secret test clandestinely conducted by Sauber in an abandoned industrial estate near Hinwil, adorned by cheeky mechanics with signs reading ‘Circuit de la Up Yours’. TJ13 is now convinced to know why Monisha Kaltenborn has been handing out Sauber contracts to so many drivers at the same time.
Brazil, Free Practice 1
It’s a warm, dry but cloudy FP1 at Interlagos, Brazil and the new track surface is the talk of the town. The surface is allegedly 20% smoother, though the rain grooves are an unknown in terms of the impact on tyre degradation.
Pirelli are saying at the outset, @pirellisport: “Objective for FP1 will be to run the medium tyre and find out more about what the new asphalt is like.”
The altitude here, 800m above sea level, means that the turbo element of the new Power Unit will be spinning much harder to force the thinner air through the engine, so reliability of that component may become an issue.
The cars used to lose 40-50 HP when running the normally aspirated engines here in Sao Paulo, so the uphill drive at the end of the lap will feel most different for the drivers.
Felipe Nasr, who has been announced as a Sauber driver for 2015 gets Valtteri Bottas’ Williams seat for FP1, and Max Vertstappen is borrowing Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. Daniel Juncadella makes his third first practice appearance of the year, stepping in to Sergio Perez’s Force India.
Jenson’s weekend starts badly as on his installation lap, he hits the pit lane speed limiter and “Everything’s just shut off – everything’s just switched off. All the power, everything’s gone.”
Jenson gets out of the car, helmet off, car up on the jacks and the floor is being removed. This will be no less than a 45-60 minute fix.
McLaren are claiming they will be bringing a ‘large update’ to the final race of the season, and K-Mag’s car is a mobile test rig.
16 minutes gone and Verstappen is the first to complete a lap in 1m19.999s.
The ‘Laranjinha’ right-hander is causing a few problems, as on consecutive laps, Verstappen and then Adrian Sutil run wide as the grip appears to be low.
Double points being awarded for the final race next in Abu Dhabi and its impact is becoming a stark reality.
Normally, Lewis would only Hamilton would need to score only one more point than Rosberg this weekend to become F1 driver champion for 2014. Lewis is philosophical, ‘What is fair? It’s the same for everyone. this whole double things has always been a question. It is the way it is. I don’t really know what to say about it.”
25 minutes have gone and we have Hamilton and Rosberg 1&2 at the top of the time sheets. Rosberg is complaining, “Generally too much understeer.” Both Mercedes drivers go quicker as the green track begins to rubber in, but Rosberg now jumps ahead of his team mate by 0.171s with a lap time of 1m14.001s.
It looks clear that the times for FP1 will be much quicker than in 2013, so the trend which began in Austin is set to continue.
As the first 30 minutes comes to an end, and the drivers prepare to hand back the set of tyres they have been running, Hamilton regains top spot with a 1:13:468 and the top 10 look like this.1 Rosberg 1:12:764 – (Pole position 2013 from Vettel 1:12:458) 2 Hamilton 3 Kvyat 4 Alonso 5 Vettel 6 Ricciardo 7 Verstappen 8 Grosjean 9 Raikkonen 10 Nasr 11 Massa 12 Hulkenberg 13 Maldonado 14 Sutil 15 Juncadella
Button, Gutierrez and Magnussen have failed to set times.
Alan McNish comments, “The right front tyre of all of the cars looks as though its taking a real beating.”
@MercedesAMGF1: “@LewisHamilton commenting on how smooth this new surface is. The traditional Interlagos bumps seemingly now less severe”
First out after the break is K-Mag. He’s told, “You’ve got clear track – we’re going to be doing five timed laps.” The car is being run very low and @McLarenF1 say, “Kev’s been testing titanium skid blocks during this morning’s session – hence the sparks!”
With 57 minutes gone here in Brazil, the administrator of Manor GP has announced the firm will formally cease trading and the employees will now be made redundant. This is not the end as now the creditors will be forced to reconsider previous demands, though if staff begin to leave, it will be hard to come back.
“It goes without saying that it’s deeply regrettable that a business with such a great following in Britain and worldwide has had to cease trading and close its doors,” says Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory who were appointed as Marussia’s administrators.
With an hour gone, Nico Rosberg goes quickest 1:12:764 and Max Verstappen is third quickest. The order is1 Rosberg
9 Sutil 10 Hulkenberg
No time: Button, Gutierrez
With 61 minutes gone, Daniel Juncadella puts the car of Sergio Perez hard into the wall at turn 6. Perez looks concerned – then again – given events in Austin – “doeth the Lord give and take away – Sergio”?
20 minutes to go and the Force India has been removed and the green light is go.
Verstappen in third place reports the car is handling better, “It’s much easier to save the rear tyres”. The youngster then has a big lock up into turn one and careers toward an exit road and part of the old circuit. Its a save and Verstappen negotiates a route back to the track from behind the barriers – Kimi-esque.
Alonso has a moment at the same point where Juncadella left the circuit, but saves it.
With 6 minutes to go, Nasr is just over 0.3s behind the sister Williams of Massa in 9th.
Jenson gets into the car – just 3 minutes to go though. Gutierrez also managed to get out following problems – delivering 6 installation laps.
Kimi is struggling, but spins at the end of the middle sector – having made a mistake and put the wheel on the grass.
Chequered flag is out.
|3||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:13.723||0.959||38|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:13.827||1.063||26|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:14.197||1.433||26|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:14.678||1.914||32|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:14.902||2.138||23|
|16||Daniel Juncadella||Force India||1:16.030||3.266||17|
Jenson failed to get out and the virtual safety car is being tested again. In Austin the drivers were receiving delta times for every 50m. This apparently was difficult to manage, so the sector has been extended to 200m.
Sebastian Vettel has another troubled session and Max Verstappen was just over 0.1s slower than Daniel Kvyat. If JEV gets another year at Toro Rosso, he may well find he has another super fast partner to test him.
Felipe Junior’s effort was not so competitive, as he was almost three quarters of a second slower than Felipe senior.