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Previously on The Judge 13:
Record breaking punishment
without consequences (Updated 14:32)
OTD Lite: 1943 – Jacques Laffite birthday
Laffite lit up an era of Formula One during the late 70’s and early 80’s before suffering a career ending crash at the 1986 British Grand Prix. His sense of fun and humour was loved by all but behind the facade lay an extremely quick driver who challenged for the World Title in 1979 with the iconic Ligier Gitanes.
A winner of six Grand Prix, he ended his career at Ligier and broke both his legs in the crash at Paddock Hill bend at Brands Hatch. The subsequent safety regulations forced a design change thereafter that the drivers feet had to be positioned behind the front axle line.
He has since turned his attention to commentating for French TV and remains a popular figure around the F1 paddocks.
The Grumpy Jackal
Alonso admits Ferrari ‘love’ had faded (GMM)
Fernando Alonso endured an uncomfortable moment in Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon. On the day his Ferrari departure was finally confirmed officially, the Spaniard had to appear in the FIA’s press conference ahead of the 2014 finale. To his right was Sebastian Vettel, the man who replaces him at Maranello. And on his left was Jenson Button, his potential teammate at McLaren-Honda next year.
However, neither his McLaren move nor Button’s future are yet clear. So when asked by a journalist if he would like to have Button as his next teammate, Alonso wriggled in his seat and struggled to find an answer. A joking Button then leaned in, intensely grinning and staring at the Spaniard and saying “Take your time” amid the laughs of the press corps.
More seriously, Alonso admitted that he decided to quit Ferrari a couple of months ago when he realised he was no longer in “love” with his role in red. “I felt it was the time to find new projects and new motivation,” he said, admitting he “didn’t agree so much” with some of the decisions Ferrari was taking. “We waited for this year, for the new car, the new turbo era and this year around summer time, September, I felt that it was time to move.”
It is understood Alonso has definitely now signed for McLaren, but on Thursday he denied that when he made the decision to quit Ferrari in September, he already had an alternative lined up. “I had that decision (to leave),” said Alonso. “I have to be happy, I have to be motivated, I need to love what I’m doing and in September I felt that it was not the case. After that I started to look at some possibilities and I trust what I will have.”
Meanwhile, Alonso denied that McLaren’s delay of the driver announcement until after December 1 is so he can assess the results of the British team’s test with Honda power next week.
Politician says F1 breaching EU competition agreement (GMM)
With F1’s biggest names swapping teams and the 2014 championship entering its decisive showdown, the furore over the future of the sport enjoyed a brief sojourn on Thursday. But on Friday, the civil war between angry small teams on one side and Bernie Ecclestone, the grandees and owners CVC on the other will be back on pole position.
A meeting between Ecclestone and the furious Lotus, Force India and Sauber is set to take place in Abu Dhabi, as the teams suspect a concerted effort to drive them out is now well under way. They have now abandoned their boycott threats, but an even bigger threat for Ecclestone and the FIA may have emerged.
Anneliese Dodds, a British politician, has written to the European Commission’s competition arm with “grave concerns” about F1’s governance, according to the Times newspaper. It follows a letter from the small teams to Ecclestone last week accusing F1 authorities of operating a “cartel” through an inequitable distribution of income and the big team-dominated, rule-making ‘Strategy Group’.
“There was an agreement made between F1 and the European Union about competition some years ago and it seems that has not been stuck to,” Dodds said.
The Times said Dodds’ letter follows a dossier having been sent to the EU capital Brussels, revealing secret information about the Strategy Group and how the most powerful teams are also given the bulk of F1’s commercial income.
Also of interest to Brussels could be the way in which the FIA, despite its sole role as the sport’s regulator of rules and safety, recently concluded a deal with Ecclestone including a 1 per cent shareholding of the commercial rights.
Stuck in the middle of the civil war is Williams, a mid-sized private team enjoying a run of form that was granted a place in the controversial Strategy Group due to its history. Deputy boss Claire Williams confirmed: “We occupy an intermediate position between the two camps. On the one hand, we are sympathetic to the position of the three teams, but we also understand the position of the top teams.”
“At the same time, I do not agree when the Strategy Group is called a cartel, as it was formed with the consent of all the teams, including those who are not represented. But for us, the politics are not relevant. We do not come to a race weekend to spend our time in debate. If other teams want to do that, it’s their decision,” she is quoted by f1news.ru.
Record breaking punishment
His season was largely an anonymous one, because a) his car was utter ©rap and b) his team mate stole the little screen time the team got by mindlessly cluttering into anything that happened to cross his path – staionary or not. But finally Romain Grosjean has something to write home about as he is now officially the man, who was whacked with the biggest grid penalty ever – a massive 20 places penalty for changing ICE, MGU-K and Turbo for the 6th time. Since he will qualify on the butt-end of the pack anyway, the loss of positions will be minimal though and the penalty will not carry over into 2015.
The powers that be have decided that depending on how many places Romain cannot be dropped back, because he already is near the end, he’ll have to take a time penalty :
1-5 : 5 seconds
6-10 : 10 seconds
11-20 : drive through penalty
> 20 : 10 seconds pit stop penalty plus stop and go penalty
One has to wonder why Lotus didn’t do what RB and Vettel did in Austin. Change everything and start from the pitlane…
Vettel stars in hilarious Promo Video
Sebastian Vettel, disguised with a fat suite, a hilarious mullet and a fake beard appeared as a car mechanic in a hilarious prototion video for tyre dealer Tirendo. In a candid camera style prank he abuses customer cars with the customers still in it, telling them in a thick Cologne accent: “Your car makes squeaking noises, Mrs. Hansen”.