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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite: 1957 – Germany’s lost champion born
Stefan Bellof was a mercurial talent who would be killed in an accident at Spa’s Eau Rouge corner as he attempted to pass Porsche team-mate Jacky Ickx into the fearsome corner.
A winner in Formula Two, the feeder series to Formula One back in the 80’s he rose to prominence with his works Porsche Group C drives and racing for two seasons with the Tyrrell organisation. Perhaps his most famous race was the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix when he finished third behind Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
Of course his sweet handling naturally aspirated car was the perfect tool around the rain swept streets of Monaco but his daunting speed in the Group C championship underlined his ability for the future.
At the time of his death, many thought that he was scheduled to become Germany’s first F1 world champion
The Grumpy Jackal
Mclaren delays announcement again
It would appear that Ron Dennis has learnt some valuable lessons at the hands of Eric Boullier this season. Throughout the year the french Racing Director has stated dates for a major sponsorship announcement and these have all slipped by.
In a similar vein, as recently as Monza at the start of September, Dennis stated that: “As for a decision on driver line-up, it certainly won’t be in the next few days and it won’t be at the end of the season, it will be something in between.”
Obviously as we enter the final two weeks of November this date has been changed once again. Mclaren issued a statement via their Twitter: ‘Guys, we know you’re awaiting news on our driver line-up. We’ll announce after Dec 1 – you’ll hear it here first. All eyes now on Abu Dhabi.‘
Therefore, in what appears to be a hugely discourteous campaign Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will have to wait until after the first of December for their futures to be resolved. With Fernando Alonso expected to return to the Woking-based team from 2015 the choice for the second seat is still undecided. Boullier prefers to keep Button due to his experience which would assist Alonso and Honda upon their return whereas Dennis prefers the youngster.
The Mclaren statement concluded that: ‘Selecting the optimal driver line-up for a Formula One team is clearly an important process, and it is therefore one that requires precise and prolonged analysis.
‘That being the case, and in order to avoid distracting the race team from its primary objective during the final grand prix weekend of the season, which is to secure the best possible on-track results, we have decided to defer our final deliberations relating to our 2015 driver line-up until a date no earlier than Monday December 1st.’
Schumacher and Bianchi facing long road to recovery
Phillipe Streiff reported to the media yesterday that Michael Schumacher remains unable to speak, he has memory problems and is confined to a wheelchair. Streiff himself suffered an accident whilst testing in Brazil in 1989 which left him a paraplegic.
The Frenchman, who is a good friend of Schumacher’s, said: ‘He is getting better but everything is relative. It’s very difficult. He can’t speak. Like me, he is in a wheelchair paralysed. He has memory problems and speech problems.’
Streiff is a good friend of Schumacher’s and visited him whilst he was in hospital. With a personal fortune of close to half a billion the family has the funds needed to pay for the army of physicians that he will need in his recuperation but the process will be a long one. Perhaps more poignantly is the family are still struggling to deal with the hand of fate that devastated the Formula One legend after a seemingly innocuous fall.
Further news from France confirms that Jules Bianchi who also suffered severe head injuries during the recent Japanese Grand Prix was flown home to Nice on Tuesday. It was decided that although his condition remains serious he was stable enough to be moved back to his home country.
Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury to his brain and had been kept in an induced coma since his accident but having been removed from the ventilator and breathing unaided the decision was made to return him home for the next stage of his recovery.
Get well soon gentlemen
Mercedes desperate to avoid title breakdown – Lauda (GMM)
Mercedes is determined to ensure the 2014 title is decided in Abu Dhabi by events other than a technical failure. Team boss Toto Wolff has already said that given the unpopular double points system for the championship finale, it would be a “nightmare” if Lewis Hamilton loses to Nico Rosberg because the British points leader breaks down.
The German outfit is remaining impartial for the decisive round of the drivers’ intense title battle. “For me, both are now world champion,” team chairman Niki Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL. “I have seen two Alpha males, top athletes at the very highest level.”
Lauda denounced Bernie Ecclestone’s double points system as “stupid”, but said Mercedes is determined that the title is at least decided through a fair sporting outcome.
“Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and myself have done everything possible to provide both drivers with the same conditions,” said the F1 legend, “so that technical problems do not decide the race. We have looked at every part of the car and engine and tried to shorten the life of the parts. Wherever we can, we have installed the newest components possible.”
“If there is still a technical problem,” Lauda concluded, “then it is not something that we could have done anything to prevent.”
Massa is Rosberg’s best hope for title – Glock (GMM)
A strong Williams driver is Nico Rosberg’s best hope of winning the 2014 title against the odds. That is the claim of former F1 driver Timo Glock, who six years ago played a starring role in the championship showdown when Lewis Hamilton managed to pass him on the thrilling last corner of the Brazil finale.
The infamous Glock pass deprived Felipe Massa of the title, and the Brazilian has never forgotten it, remarking mere days ago that “a certain German” ended his title chances. “After so many years, that (Massa’s comment) was surprising,” Glock, now a works BMW driver in the DTM series, told Germany’s Sport1. “I read what he (Massa) said with a smile.”
Curiously, Massa has now been put in the middle of Hamilton’s latest championship battle, this time against his Mercedes teammate Rosberg. Rosberg needs a driver to split the two silver cars on Sunday’s Abu Dhabi podium, and in Brazil two weeks ago the German nominated the on-form Massa, who now drives for Williams.
“The best chance for Rosberg would be a technical problem,” said Glock, “but nobody wants to see the title decided by that. I also believed that Williams can be very strong in Abu Dhabi again, so he (Rosberg) can also hope for Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas (to do well).
“He (Rosberg) still has a chance,” Glock continued. “I think in 2010 Sebastian Vettel was in an even more difficult position and he still managed it in the end. I think both of them would be deserved world champions,” he said. “At the end of the year Hamilton was definitely stronger, but Nico was stronger at the beginning.”
Asked about the highly controversial double points, meanwhile, Glock answered: “I have found the scheme of putting so much importance on one race a little strange. But if Hamilton’s car fails, then he probably would have lost the world championship with the normal scoring anyway,” Glock added.