#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 19th November 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: I can Shoot People in South Africa

#F1 Circuit Profile: Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit – Round 19


OTD Lite: 2009 – Raikkonen – History about to repeat itself?

Haas F1 expands in preparation for 2016

Renault appear to be in trouble heading towards 2015

Webber not surprised at Vettel switch (GMM)

Correspondent slams underperforming F1 drivers (GMM)


OTD Lite: 2009 – Raikkonen – History about to repeat itself?

On this day confirmation arrived that Kimi Raikkonen had decided to take a sabbatical from Formula One. He was being replaced at Ferrari by Spaniard Fernando Alonso who also brought his personal bank to offer funds to the sport’s richest team.

cf8f930be7159422ddcfb96a891bc3e9After having secured his World Title in 2007, the Iceman’s subsequent form showcased the talent of journeyman Felipe Massa who challenged for the 2008 title and was leading his illustrious team-mate before his season ending accident in Hungary in 2009.

Of course Mr “stop talking I know what I’m doing” went on to win in Belgium 2009 and all his fans decried that if Ferrari had followed his direction earlier they would have witnessed more success – except Mr Magnum Lollies is hardly the most demonstrative character in motor-sport.

So off he toddled to World Rallying before his journey returned him full circle to Maranello and another frankly disappointing season. Will Alonso leave the Scuderia or will he force Kimi out once again after Fred’s recent unsavoury contract negotiations with Mclaren-Honda. Either way, as when Schumacher retired in Brazil 2006, Kimi is unlikely to give a s**t…

The Grumpy Jackal

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Haas F1 expands in preparation for 2016

In 2011 – Ford ‘persuaded’ the Ferrari team to withdraw the name of F150 which they had christened their F1 challenger that year. It, of course, should be stated for the record that although this Ford truck and the Ferrari F1 cars could be mistaken for their colour, their individual architecture is unlikely to confuse even the hillbillys of the deep south.

Of course this is all old history except that Ferrari’s B team – otherwise known as Haas F1 – has appointed an engineer to oversee their entry into the pinnacle of international motor-sport whilst combining his duties running the Haas truck racing team, otherwise known as Nascar.

Matt Borland has assumed the position of vice president overseeing the technology transfer between the Formula One team and their sister team, the Stewart-Haas Nascar team. Using their combined technology base to enhance both factions competitiveness.

Having built himself an excellent reputation within the Indycar and Nascar worlds he is equally excited about the new challenges ahead, “I love being an engineer and building things. This way I have the best of both worlds. I contribute to Stewart-Haas’ increasing competitiveness and to also build an F1 team. There are method s we can apply to the Haas F1 team which will strengthen ot and I am proud to be able to handle this”

Of course no mention was made of similar bold statements emanating from a certain BAR team back in the late 90’s. Their brave rhetoric was that Reynard, their constructor, had won every time on their debut race – it was almost inviting failure.

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Renault appear to be in trouble heading towards 2015

Was Sebastien Vettel pre-warned about the state of play at Viry Chatillon? Red Bull has been pushing and lobbying the FIA to relax the engine freezing parameters to allow some in season development. It appears that Renault engineers are no happier with their 2015 engine design than they have been with this seasons lacklustre effort.

With Christian Horner claiming a horrific 75bhp deficit to the Mercedes engines – reports from Caterham suggest that all is not well in Milton Keynes land. Caterham is desperately attempting to finish the season and prepare for the 2015 season – although no mention is mentioned of the Romanians who wanted to fund an entry.

The real prospect of running a 2014 chassis for next year is negated by the fact that the engine fixings between the 2014 and 2015 power units are fundamentally different. In fact so much so that the FIA has been asked if they could run the engine in the old configuration otherwise Caterham would not be competing to which the FIA as ever chased the snails around trying to find answers from this most secretive of clubs.

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Webber not surprised at Vettel switch

Mark Webber has backed his former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel’s move to Ferrari. The duo shared a famously tense relationship whilst paired together, but Australian Webber has hailed quadruple world champion Vettel’s talent since retiring from F1.

Asked by Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten if Vettel’s expected switch from Red Bull to struggling Ferrari was a surprise, Webber answered: “No.

“I’ve always expected him to eventually go where we all now expect him to go now. His next team will be his last in F1,” 38-year-old Webber predicts. “He was frustrated, he wants results, but he also knows better than anyone that he will need to be patient. Perhaps the decision is really correct,” Webber continued. “When Lewis (Hamilton) left McLaren, everyone said he was crazy. Look at him now.”

TJ13 Comment: It’s been on the cards for some years that Vettel had a Ferrari arrangement in place with Stefano Domenicali. After his resignation back in April, Seb was one of the few who called him which SD alluded to cryptically in an interview.

Beyond that the wunderkid always wanted to emulate his hero, Michael Schumacher, and Ferrari was always on the horizon. Of perhaps more interest is the fact Webber believes Ferrari to be his last team. Does this mean he looks at this as a ten year project or would he be looking to retire in a handful of years, barely into his thirties?

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(sourced from GMM with TJ13 comment)

Correspondent slams underperforming F1 drivers

A journalist for a leading British newspaper has dealt a heavy critique of some of F1’s so-called ‘pay drivers’. As he ranked the performance of the field of 2014, Telegraph correspondent Daniel Johnson said Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado deserved to be dead last.

“How many Friday practice sessions passed without Maldonado crashing?” he wondered. “Around $43 million of sponsorship money ensures he’ll be there next year.”

Next in the firing line was Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson, who according to Johnson “was so poor that an F1 novice (Andre Lotterer) came in for one race in Belgium and was around a second a lap quicker. Explain that,” he said.

The correspondent said Ericsson is now switching from Caterham to Sauber “due to money, with his credentials slim at best”. The driver Ericsson is replacing at Sauber is Esteban Gutierrez, who according to Johnson was “utterly anonymous all season”.

Another well-backed driver struggling to find an alternate seat for 2015 is Marussia’s Max Chilton, who while “solid and likeable” is “not quick enough for formula one” according to Johnson.

Also critiqued in his 2014 ranking was the outgoing world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was listed as just the 13th best driver of the year. “Has this been the worst title defence ever?” he asked. “Unreliability has not helped, but he’s failed to quickly adapt to the new cars.”

TJ13 comment: The man is hardly a genius in his rating system – he really should contact BlackJack;sBriefs to obtain a more rounded calculator. After all we have been ridiculing Crashtor throughout this season in race reports, FP1, FP2 and FP3 sessions, erm, qualifying, DN&C articles…

As to Ericsson, look above at Maldonado comment…. and repeat.

But what we find completely reprehensible is that beautiful Max has been lined up for an attack…

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64 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 19th November 2014

      • Two excellent articles.
        The one on Rosberg was particularly illuminating, as I’d never really got any sense of his true character.

    • 2 well written articles. For me, the most profound parts of the Lewis article, were these paragraphs….

      “Perhaps the “natural ability” angle is one Hamilton himself is perfectly fine with accepting. A huge Ayrton Senna fan, he revels in the comparisons to his hero. But deep down, I think there’s an underlying sub-plot in doing so. For to propagate the myth, to give it credence, only serves to draw attention away from the fact that his natural gift behind the wheel is just one of the weapons in his armory. To make people think he isn’t as smart as his rivals is to hide perhaps his greatest strength.

      Hamilton Vs Rosberg has been billed as Senna Vs Prost II. But it’s not. These two drivers are completely unique and should take their own billing. Yes, there are shared similarities in personality and perceived strengths, but it isn’t as simple as all that. And yet, in simplifying it so much, the general opinion has been formed that Rosberg, as the Prost character, was always the more likely to prosper under the 2014 regulations. His superior intellect, so everyone had been led to believe, would carry him. His incredible mind would allow him to work with the complex cars, use the brakes, the energy harvesting, look after the tyres and moderate his fuel usage.

      In The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint comes out with the immortal line: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” I think of this line every time I hear somebody tell me that Hamilton isn’t as intelligent as Rosberg, or doesn’t have the capability to understand the cars.

      Because, for me, the greatest trick that Lewis Hamilton ever pulled, was convincing the world that he wasn’t smart.”

  1. “Has this been the worst title defence ever?”

    Mr. Johnson has obviously missed a few seasons in the past, like for instance the 1997 one?

    It’s hardly a secret that Vettel’s year hasn’t been stellar, but I think people still only consider the first half of the season. In the later races of the season Mr. RIC looked anything but as dominant as in the early days. And if he goes down hard on Vettel, I miss the same treatment for the team, who had a major part in Vettel’s lackluster results, especially in the early and middle parts of the season. Dubious strategy calls continued until as late as Japan.

    As for his criticism of the pay drivers. To me it sound like someone just wanting to stir up shyte. I agree with his assessment of Maldonado, but I disagree on Gutierrez, Ericsson and Chilton.
    Neither of them ever came into F1 on merit or claimed to have done so, in contrast to the nutter from Maracay.
    Chilton can still claim to have the record of most consecutive finishes by a rookie. Granted, he was too slow ro break something or actually have a crash, but still, a slow but reliable hand is not the worst idea if you hope to score 11th or 12th places in races of attrition.
    If Mr. Johnson really would have wanted to add to the pay driver discussion, he should point out the reasons why teams are so desperate that they break contracts, just to snatch up another useless moneybag over the one they’ve already contracted. He should ask the ‘Renken questions’ of how F1 could come to a point that a Monsiha Kaltenborn is desperate enough to turn into a cold-hearted business bitch, employing cringe-worthy business manners to boost their income.

          • In all fairness, Vettel would have won Canada had the team not gifted victory to Danny by making a monkey’s breakfast of Vettel’s pitstop. In that case he would have been the first non-Merc to win and the Rhetoric would have been ‘Vettel hits back in style’ instead of ‘Vettel is beaten… again’. You can’t leave that out and say it was the worst title defence ever, especially when we take into account that this years cars are completely different, so any comparison to last year is purely academic anyway.

          • since when is shoulda woulda coulda a remark that is so offensive that it needs to be moderated?

            vettel performed bad this season. maybe it wasn’t the worst title defense ever, but considering he is a four time wdc, this season was an embarassment and the worst title defense in the last twenty years. yes, villeneuve is up there as well, but he ran a year old engine. hill on the other hand dragged a hopeless arrows to second place.

            it’s quite surprising that someone, who, for the last couple of seasons, accused everybody who dared to suggest that mark webber wasn’t treated equally of being a conspiracy theorist, now all of a sudden argues that vettels disappointing season is entirely the teams fault.

            it wasn’t the team, it was vettels lack of adaptability, and maybe even a lack of motivation. we’ll see if he improves at ferrari, but this year, vettel put a dent in his reputation.

          • The other command went straight to the naughty bin as you’ve been put on moderated posting by the Chief Editor. It didn’t really add anything meaningfull (as opposed to this follow-up comment) to the debate, so I don’t think it needs restoring.

            You can’t absolve the team from their mistakes and blame it all on Vettel either. The abysmal reliability he’s had is certainly not his fault. And the team publicly apologized for ruining his race (CAN,ITA), so you can’t blame him for that either. In fact, I don’t buy the lack of motivation bit. He’s been getting stronger throughout the season. He was slow to adapt, but certainly not useless most of the large gap of RIC over VET comes from the first half of the season, since the summer break RIC only outscored him by 12 points and most of those are down to Spa (wonky chassis) and ITA (botched strategy).

          • Still agree with the hippo. Not only because I’m a vettel fan but mainly because some arguments here are only used against vettel when they can also used against others. The year started in favour of danny. And vettel encountered his bit of “webber luck” wich was one of the biggest arguments against vettel last couple of years but now that he has it its suddenly not got enough any more as a valuable reason. ..

          • In regards to comments being moderated, Hippo baiting is almost a sport😉, so people should be cut some slack, as long as it’s not vindictive or personal.

            btw Mr hippo, I appreciate the effort you put in, even if your world is a warped Vettel centric world, which can make for hard reading.

    • I would nominate the 2008 title defense by Kimi, defending his 2007 WC, as a better example of a guy who had to defend his championship and was not only bettered by a driver from another team but also bettered by his own teammate and he drove a competitive car.

      All your other points FH are very valid but I am a bit harsher towards Ericsson, Gutierrez and Chilton. They should all go 😛

      • What about 1980? Scheckter scored 0 points…. but in all these cases the cars the next year were not as good, or went in their team mate’s direction.

    • … and to give a little context to Crashtor (and I am by no means a fan) his failure rate this year has been awfull (as has Romain). I half wonder if when he doesn’t get a failure, whether he chucks it in the wall out of shock.

      When you get so little track time and such a poor car what was he expected to do? I think Pastors quick, very quick, but he is also erratic and excessively aggressive.

      • Lotus and Caterham are the cars that would be bottom of the list of cars that you would want to drive, for driving’s sake, this year…

    • I think the Angry Bird from Venezuela is very entertaining and F1 is all about entertainment.
      He brings a truckload of corruption money from a country where people use twitter to find a store with toilet paper, that is hilarious.

      Ericsson, who I share nationality with, improved at the end of season and I´m happy he got a seat for next year.
      I just don´t understand who are these Swedes bankrolling him?
      To find that kind of money in Sweden is mind boggling.

      Chilton, guess you have to be British to get exited about.

      Yesterday I saw a commercial for Telmex with the two Mexican heroes, they are not any better actors then drivers.
      Telmex is one of the worst telecoms there are and frigging ¨rateros¨ to the boot, so it was fitting.

      We have four Nordic drivers on the grid but no races, Arabian Gulf has two races and no drivers, Bernies world sucks.

  2. Come on Hippo, Chilton ‘s record means absolutely nothing. The guy should not be in F1. He hasn’t been fast enough to crash.

    • I didn’t say he should be in F1, but instead of slamming the pay drivers, which is a cheap shot, he should have slammed the conditions which lead to such people being promoted to F1 in the first place.

      • His reliability is only a result of his lack of pace. The odds of Marussia scoring would go up putting almost anyone else in the seat. If you have a driver never finding the limit of the cars abilities it’s pretty hard to improve the drivability. You would need 12 cars to drop out for Turtle to get into the points…and then worry about him making it across the line within the two hour time limit

        • They had better drivers in the car… bianchi, d’Ambrosio. .. but they chose Chilton. And that’s the bad part of this story. You can’t blame him for wanting to race f1. And by somehow getting the money together he manages to keep racing…

          • Bianchi certainly was and proved it. He was the quality of driver they should have hired. d’Ambrosio was better than Chilton but that’s pretty skinny and not much of a recommendation. One could put together a pretty long list of young guns who would have given d’Ambrosio or Chilton a good thrashing.

  3. I was surprised I haven’t seen a call to come up with a question for the podcast on Google+ or here on the site (only on Twitter). If you guys are still looking for a question then what about this one:

    “What’s the stupidest/idiotic thing you have done while driving a car?”

    • I wouldn’t say sex or drugs were stupid / idiotic …….

      maybe driving a car with no brakes and clutch tho ….. hmmm ?

    • Well, technically speaking, I wasn’t actually driving because we were standing on the roof of my FJ40 Landcruiser with no-one behind the wheel. Just managed to climb back in and throw out the picks before we merged with one of the few decent-sized trees on that section of gravel road. Gotta love that hand throttle…

        • There’s nothing in my world view that precludes suggesting to people that what they say and what they do don’t quite line up.

      • … except you forget the next bit, in Matthew 19:26, which is “but with God all things are possible.”

        Rich people aren’t condemned for being rich, but for what “type” of rich they are. Benevolent rich = yer goin’ to heaven man! A-hole rich = better luck next time.

        I see the last 4 letters on his plane’s tail fin are his initials, Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton.

    • So fitting in context to the link in the first comment: even posing in front of his own jet he looks uneasy.

      @RogerD, had to Google and then smile. SiS would be proud!

    • Yeah, I was just going to make the same comment. Wonder if it’s true. Well Judge???????? What’s the scoop??????

    • My god, I hope they make it. But how on earth they have raised millions more than Caterham (to pay Ferrari for their engines) I’ll never know.

      Also, the FIA might hamper who drives for Caterham… please, get a fax machine or a scanner for your brand spanking new HQ, jeez!

      • Bah, latest news now is that they have failed to make it. Ferrari engine guys were ready in Abu Dhabi, wearing Marussia team gear and everything. This might put Chilton back on the market for if Merhi (2011 Euro F3 champion) or Stevens still can’t get a superlicence.

  4. McLaren have announced that they are to delay any driver announcements until after the Abu Dhabi test

  5. Bernie the food samaritan has revealed that he came to the aid of the beleaguered outfit Caterham.

    “Caterham went into administration in the run-up to the United States Grand Prix, but the team turned to crowdfunding to raise £2,350,000 that would allow them to contest the final race.

    The Leafield squad’s administrator Finbarr O’Connell confirmed on Friday that “fans have made the impossible possible” and their freight have been transported to the Yas Marina Circuit.

    F1 surpremo Ecclestone has now also revealed that he helped them out.

    “They wanted to go, so we’ve transported them at no cost to them,” he told Press Association Sport.

    “We’ve at least helped them to some degree, something we need not have done. We’ve even chartered another plane to take them.

    “We’ve gone a little bit over the top, but anyway, we’ve done it.”

    3 cheers for Bernie…….

    • Travelling expenses – weren’t those for every participant in F1? Or only for the top 10?
      Generous that Bernie paid for the delay to give the arabs value for money, create headlines about an underdog and – again – providing himself with leverage against Sauber, Lotus and Force India.

  6. RE: Correspondent slams underperforming F1 drivers

    Thanks for this nugget of mainstream media…

  7. Hope the Jackal’s musing on Kimi’s future is wrong. F1 is shuttering under the weight of old men. F1 will lose another viewing fan if Kimi is not around to amuse and delight and distract from the politics and insanity.

    • The F1 journos seem very excited, but am I the only one who thinks that whilst its good he’s out of induced coma, and breathing for himself, the fact that he is unconcious still is very very bad. If the team are able to get Gary, or at least some more info from Gary on the next podcast it would be much appreciated.

      • Yes, it’s very sad. There is not much hope; I wish there was something we could do or say or change but there’s not. All our best wishes will not change anything but still we give them. My respect for Jules’ parents and the way they have handled this is enormous. Thank you for showing us true love and I am sorry, as a loving and feeling parent, for what happened. This is the nightmare of all parents.

  8. I’m unable to give any credence to Renault’s woes with 2015 p/u.
    At all, they’ve had 12 months. Even took back CCCCCCyril.

    Following on, the mount points for present p/u were FIA specified at the outset.
    Can understand if development for 2015 requires rethink for the system ancillaries; where/when did FIA mandate mount point change?

    • @Peter Sandlyn I thought the same about engine mounting points, I believe that all the engines by all the manufacturers have mounting points specified by the FIA, I think it’s in the part of the regs that deals with engine dimensions and V angles etc.
      The placement of the ancillary parts seems to be part of the key to Mercedes performance as they have got the layout that is most sympathetic to the chassis than say RedBull started with back in January. Mercedes have only passed on some of there layout concepts to their customers, with Williams getting more of a helping hand than even Force India and McLaren getting no help (i believe Mercedes changed their exhaust system so it was different than the mock-up engine McLaren were provided for initial build up purposes, then didn’t tell McLaren). Hopefully this year Ferrari, RedBull and McLaren can install their works PU’s as comfortably as Mercedes have installed theirs.

        • @Fortis96 said Here’s a better look at the Merc’s PU with analysis from Craig Scarborough…

          So what pearls of technical wisdom do we learn from a graphic artist?

          • @Adam ParsonsJ

            http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/craig-scarborough/9/80/a8b

            Should have read from “the graphic artist”, less negative. Yes he may well have studied some sort of Mech Eng at what was Middx Poly. But a friend who also went there, says that there was no facility for thermodynamics or vehicle dynamics. Y/N/? This shows in the stuff he writes. Not enough detail, or sometimes any. Nothing wrong with his illustrations, probably the best in motor sport journalism, that I’ve seen.

      • Yes CV and at the time of the specs release there were even suggestions that as far as straight mount up was concerned, all 3 manufacturers p/us could be interchanged. Plumbing? Well that was another matter……

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