#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 21st November 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

The #F1 Bar Exam: 20 November 2014

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Romanians in the cupboard

OTD Lite: 1943 – Jacques Laffite birthday

Alonso admits Ferrari ‘love’ had faded (GMM)

Politician says F1 breaching EU competition agreement

Record breaking punishment without consequences (Updated 14:32)

Vettel stars in hilarious Promo Video

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 without consequences

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 :

positions/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”.


68 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 21st November 2014

  1. In reply to “Politician says F1 breaching EU competition agreement (GMM)”

    Let’s hope the EU can do what the impotent small one from France can’t, make F1 fair again… (and if we’re lucky the poisonous dwarf is also removed from F1 as a result :-D)

  2. Not a good FP1 for Williams. They will need to get on top of the issues and have some proper running in if they are to upset Merc this weekend.

    • Williams always seem uncompetitive in FP1, I think they use it more for testing parts and evaluation with heavy fuel, then from FP2 onwards they appear to pick up the pace. Also to be considered is most engines are close to maximum mileage and the practice engine they use most likely needs to be run under full power just to makes sure it lasts for today.

      • They were testing out a new cooling configuration … guess the test failed. They seem better on race pace though in FP2 … in tight with RBR for 2nd best on that score.

        • Did you hear the brief interview by Ted w/ Rob Smedley? RS is such a charismatic and articulate character. I thought it was interesting how he was able to explain that an air pressure differential caused by the new configuration – which they’d never utilized before – was the catalyst for the failure. Idk…I hope next season there’s even more of an effort to engage with him.

          Claire Williams is disappointing in her impotent politicking, which surely doesn’t fool anyone, but Symonds and Smedley are fascinating.

          OH, and props to Adam Parr, the Judge and myself for identifying the inevitable EU intervention in F1 months ago. lol 😉

    • Is it bad that I watch that, and analyse to see how many “solo’s” Nico and Lewis get? By my count, there was 2 Nico solo’s, and none for Lewis. Lewis did have the one with him and the Silverstone crowd.

      Overall, the impression I got was a video more sympathetic to Rosberg. Maybe that’s just me lookin’ for conspiracies.

  3. My goodness, the Mercs are 1.7 secs clear of everyone else in FP1! And you’re telling me Alonso is waiting to see how the Honda test goes? Or Macca are just waiting to see who will partner him? Hogwash, he doesn’t care how Honda does at the test. He just wants to see if Lewis wins the title or not. Because if not, then he can still hope for a Merc drive, simple as that!

      • But he’s been ‘whoring’ to get into a superior car since the start of Seb’s run of titles. What we are witnessing is a man whose only focus is personal achievements, he could careless what happens to the team.

        • Well, that’s why I support Seb and not Alonso. Wherever Alonso went, he left a trail of destruction – race fixing, blackmailing the team and whatnot.
          Seb was part of RB’s junior programe since it’s inception, stayed with them and was rewarded. I bet, if he had tried, he could have gotten into Merc from 2016. I mean a four-times WDC and a German on top of it would have been PR gold for Merc. Instead he goes to Ferrari, knowing that more titles might be years away.
          That’s why ALO’s mind games last year sounded so ridiculous.

          • I wouldn’t call Vettel PR gold for Merc or any other team for that matter – His popularity doesn’t seem to be anywhere near some others on the grid, let alone someone like schumi in his years of racing.

          • Mercedes from 2016 would make sense from a winning POV, moving there as the number 1 driver, or joint top with Hamilton, but 25m per year from Ferrari is the money route.

            However, I imagine Seb just wants to replicate Schumi’s career, including the move to a Ferrari in the doldrums, taking years to turn around.

          • I’m pretty sure the money was the least of his reasons to go to Ferrari. He’s not yet old enough to start cashing in on a waning career.

        • Did you hear what Alonso said today?

          “I do not like to compare with my peers,” Fernando Alonso insisted [ed. before doing exactly that]. “But when you have a champion on the other side of the garage that if not for technical problems you beat them almost 19 to zero, I’m so proud and I think it’s impossible to say it has been bad years.”

          His head is growing by the minute … better watch out, he’ll be taking flight soon!

          • Arguably, Alonso is the only driver currently on Schumi’s level, some statistics have him as worthy of the same number of titles!

          • @f1esty, what stats are those? His podium rate is very good, but his win rate less so (though understandable).

          • https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/who-was-the-greatest-f1-driver/ – Basically, average points scored (non-DNF) vs. the strength of competition, ranked by how the driver would fare in the dominant 2013 Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

            It states that team performance counts for 3/5ths, with the driver the remaining 2/5ths. The model ends before Ricciardo’s wins, so he would now be solidly in the top 60.

            Many interesting graphs are shown, e.g. the ‘Newey performance effect’ for Hakkinen, the 70s competition glut, and Alonso being on Schumi’s level, from his debut, with MSc best in 1994.

            It also says Alonso is driving the best he ever has, something Fred said himself. How he got 3rd in China is still beyond me. 2014 part I: Alonso, Hamilton, Bottas, Rosberg, Button, Ricciardo (pre-wins).

            These parts stand out for me: “If anybody ever combined the very best of both Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, then I think it can only be Alonso” – mechanic of all 3.

            “His six best years — 2014, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2012, and 2013 – are all ranked within the top 20 best single-year performances, making him the driver with the most top 20 single-year performances.”

            “By the model’s reckoning, in equal cars, Alonso would have won 2003, 2005, 2006, and each year from 2008-2013. With these 9 championships, he is only one short of Schumacher’s hypothetical 10.”

          • @f1esty, hmm, a lot that can be debated about the methodology used there. Why the 10-6-4-3-2-1 system, which was only in place from 1991-2002? Better would be the 9-6-4-3-2-1 system, which was the system in place for more championship years (1961-1990) than any other points system.

            Heard an interesting stat about Alonso … he was never part of any championship win (WDC or WCC) with Ferrari. The last Ferrari drivers that applies to are Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger (1995). In the 19 seasons since then, a total of 6 Ferrari race drivers (MSC, IRV, SAL, BAR, MAS, RAI) have driven for Ferrari and been part of a WDC or WCC win.

        • Unless he sticks around until 40, no. Why should Merc hire Alonso? He’s shown in the past that he’s not a team player. His name still shines enough to trick Honda, but in reality as a team boss you’d have to be stark raving mad hiring an egomaniac like Alonso, who has shown in the past that he considers himself bigger than the team.

          • i think this is the first hippo post i can wholeheartedly agree with. i’ve been thinking this about alonso ever since he couldn’t stop complaining about renault even though they had delivered him a world title and were about to deliver him a second. he redeemed himself somewhat through performance after he joined ferrari, but if i was a teamboss i wouldn’t hire him no matter how good he is. especially not with the current grid

          • Not as hard as Seb will be….

            You can already hear Seb preparing his comeback statement…..

            “Well I didn’t win in a Newey rocketship”

        • I’ll probably get blasted for this, but I honestly don’t see him winning another championship.

          On the contrary – it appears you are preaching to the choir.

          Just to inject a note of mild dissent, I think many are writing off McLaren’s chances rather prematurely. They seem to be moving a bit quicker with Promodrou, and I’m impressed by the way they’re already trying out a (more or less) full copy of the Red Bull style front wing in FP1.
          If Honda can deliver powerplant somewhere near, then they have a real shot at winning races next year, and the championship in 2016.

          Likely – no; but possible, I think.

          • Prod: “Just let me design the whole car. We might as well start from scratch, RB are miles ahead with their old designs..”

            I also thought “wow, McLaren are trying a modern front wing” when I saw it. Notably, McLaren have struggled for front downforce all year.

      • @ Fat Hippo,

        I think you are being mean here to Fred. Its not that he is looking for the best car in his first season in f1. He has been in f1 since 2001. He was WC in 05 and 06 and has seen Hamilton and Vettel take titles while he was left behind in the Renault and ferrari. Also it is not that he has had a competitive car in all seasons and is looking for the best car. He has suffered 5 years of mediocre equipment in Ferrari and he is leaving at the end of five years. He ultimately wants a third championship and he feels that the ferrari development not in the right direction. Simple. He achieves it or not is a topic for later discussion. But calling him whoring for the best car is not appropriate.

        If i say that vettel after having won four titles with Redbull, has ditched the team for pastures new after just one poor season and is running away from Ricciardo, is that appropriate. No. Vettel understood that this is the right moment in his career to take on a new challenge and has done so after contemplating various decisions including retirement.

        • Well maybe if he had given a little more thought in 07 not to try and blackmail Ron, then maybe he’d be the one sitting on 4 titles and not Seb.

          For some reason, people seem to think he’s entitled to win another championship.

          • To put a bit more perspective, as the jackal wrote earlier here, had he handled 2007 maturely, he would have got his 3rd title and there would not have been a need to exit the team. Considering Hamilton’s form in 2008, he would have sealed his 4th in 2008. For a different challenge he signed for Ferrari and with a bit more luck with safety car in 2010, he would have got his 5th title. And in 2012, with a bit more luck at Spa and suzuka, at just 31 years he would have sealed his 6th title.

            Its just that one season that led to a chain reaction in him ending up with mediocre cars. They say hindsight is always good. But for fred, may be he could have had the power to predict and in that case would have done things differently.

          • @Fortis

            Yes. Remember when Alonso had all the new parts, and Massa was left to run the standard configuration with his own set up. Massa was way ahead. Also in the same period PdlR was given the initial testing, whilst Alonso ‘worked on his training’. Huh!

        • Good points ramanan, but I disagree on some of them. First of all, he had a competitive car in 2007, but was stopped by a rookie and his own mindgames that more often than not backfired. His return to Renault was self-inflicted – he had nowhere else to go.
          And that he achieved little in five years at Ferrari is not solely down to Ferrari, but also Alonso. It is part of the package of a champion driver to not only be quick, but also having the ability to direct development and I think he’s lacking in that regard. His raw talent will only take him so far…

          • Thanks for the acknowledgement. But i seriously wonder that in today’s technological world, where development is done in CFD and simulators, to what extent a driver can contribute. In the days of Schumi, they had unlimited testing and it was easy for them to recover ground. I remember Mclaren lapping the entire field in Australia 98 but Ferrari came back two or three races later to complete a dominant win. Such days are, i feel over. If u dont get your basic design right, how can a driver be blamed for development.

          • The past four years people were saying Vettel won because the car was tailored to his liking. Well, doesn’t that mean he was the one giving the according feedback to the engineers? It was reported that he spent simulator time before each and every race, adapting his driving to the characteristics of the track, reporting back to Renault how he wanted the engine to react and they tried to do that within the 2% margin that was allowed for mapping changes.
            About Fernando we know that he never used the simulator at Ferrari, but rather an own one at home. Who of the two is more likely to help the engineers by giving useful input?

          • I agree your points if the Ferrari was say a tenth or two tenths off pace. But they were more than 7 to 8 tenths. That being the case i dont think a driver alone can bridge that gap

          • It is still the driver who drives the car. How many computers and simulations and what not used. Maybe the info that the driver gives is more important than ever due to the limited time in the car. Alonso has the strength to drive around problems. Where as others can’t. Look at kimi. But he how ever has the ability to work on said problems and find a solution… together with the unsung hero’s of the garage and factory of course.

        • Ramanan , your right, drivers don’t develop cars, designers and engineers do. Drivers give in put that makes the car more drivable not faster. Obviously there are a group posting here that have a dislike of Alonso. Can anyone, with any knowledge, really believe that Vettel could tell Newey anything about designing a car. As a matter of fact it was Newey that convinced Vettel that he had to change his driving style to be able to take advantage of the down force created by blown diffusers.

          The same group will tell you Alonso was responsible for the problems at McLaren even while witnessing the way Dennis is treating his current drivers. Alonso’s deal, done in 2005, with Dennis was based on him being the focus of McLaren’s efforts. Dennis brought in Hamilton and threw his support behind him throwing his commitment to Alonso out the window.

          The true mark of a great driver is their ability to drive whatever they are given to the edge of it’s capability. That is why Alonso is considered, by the real experts, to be the best. All this negative drivel is just that.

          • Fantastic comment.

            All this talk of it being Alonso’s fault/responsibility for McLaren’s huge fine and humiliation ignores the simple fact that, if McLaren hadn’t engaged in corporate espionage, there’d have been nothing for Alonso to blow the whistle on…

  4. Not sure how much that has to do with Vettel’s arrival, but Gazetto dello Sport is reporting that Ferrari has hired 60 engineering staff. That’s quite an expansion. Looks like the M&M’s are serious about rebuilding the Scuderia

    • Don’t think has to do anything with Vettel’s appointment, on the contrary Vettel is just another piece to the puzzle that will have MM’s signature all over.

    • That would be big news for them. What James Allen was talking about during FP2 today, was that they (Ferrari and RBR) might change the engine regulations for 2016 and after, perhaps make it twin turbo instead, remove the ERS-K and replace with a pre-2014 KERS unit instead.

      Maybe Vettel is banking on that to propel Ferrari forward.

      • They (Redbull & Ferrari) can not change the engine regs for 2016, unless they somehow morph into the WMSC. I think what he was alluding to, was more on the development side of the PUs

        • It looks as if the non merc teams would like to use the ‘majority’ requirement, for a rule change for 2016. Just as interesting, was the presence of Mario Ilien in the RBR/Renault garage. Last week Renault denied any connection. Hmm! Ferrari have just employed a Mercedes HPP combustion specialist. Hmm!

      • James Allen seems to have a lot to say on engines during FP2 generally…….
        He was extremely clear with his opinion during Austin FP2. Didn’t even come close to the same POV today.

        Starting to think he’s just another woofter journo loves the sound of his own voice and feeling of self importance. Muddying the water is all…….

  5. Is this penalty for Romain actually in the rule book, or just something they made up on the spot? Hardly worth him bothering taking part, with that much of a penalty he’ll be lucky to get beyond the last classified finisher. (After the Caterhams either fall apart or are retired on safety grounds…)

    • Why doesn’t he just take another full PU on top of this one, and start from pit lane? Surely that would supercede the other penalty.

    • Saw this on a tweet, thought it was funny: why don’t they just have Grosjean start the race on foot from his hotel lobby, and we’ll call it even?

    • I don’t know why he wouldn’t start from pit lane as Vettel did in Austin. I can’t see the difference in the situations.

  6. In response to the Vettel ad, which I found very amusing, here’s Jeff Gordon doing a similar prank on a journalist.

  7. Silly question, probably been addressed previously, but what would stop Renault (or any other manufacturer) get their engine improved throughout 2015 with no restrictions and then enter it in a RBR for 2016 re-branded as one of their affiliates, Dacia for example for Renault? Or Ferrari doing the same as Lambo, or Maserati?

    Imagine having a Dacia winning the WCC. Priceless!

  8. Re-Vettel advert
    Even though I don’t speak German, that was effing brilliant.
    Would have liked to see the reveal when the customers realised who he actually was.

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