#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 4th December 2014


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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: We will fight them on the beaches

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Sidebar Outtake from Ep 12: Most embarrassing sporting moment ever?

OTD Lite 2009 – Iceman confirms move to rallying

Vettel Helmet takes auction record

FIA changes rules for superlicence qualification – finally

100 days

The Fake F1 Race

The effect of a new ‘4 hour before sunset’ race start regulation

German viewers ‘turned off’ and F1 Pay per View creep continues

OTD Lite 2009 – Iceman confirms move to rallying

“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point. Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citron C4. This is a very exciting challenge. I’m really looking forward to testing the car and taking it to the start of the first rally”

With this confirmation, on this day the tifosi waved a warm farewell to the 2007 champion who had proven underwhelming in his title defense and his final season in red. Well so we thought at the time…

When news first appeared on TJ13 back in July last year that a Richter scale announcement in regards Kimi to Ferrari had been completed, it wasn’t only the media but fans of the red cars that shook their heads in disbelief. Surely Raikkonen had proven his ability the first time round and this return would simply end in tears.


Sadly, the 2014 seasons results for Kimi appeared to prove those sceptical amongst the tifosi to be correct. Did Ferrari in fact waste a precious seat at the Scuderia on mere hype which has fuelled the ‘Iceman’ legend for the past decade..

The Grumpy Grumpy Jackal


Vettel Helmet takes auction record

Back in 2012, a genuine Senna helmet sold for £71,000 at an auction at Silverstone. At the time this was the highest price ever paid for an F1 helmet which has now been surpassed by a helmet worn by Sebastian Vettel at the 2013 German Grand Prix.

Bonhams sold the helmet for a reported £72,500 and the proceeds were donated to a charity that conducts research into spinal cord diseases.

At that same auction, another helmet that belonged to the late 1976 World Champion, James Hunt, also sold for over £37,500.

It’s difficult to predict the rising value of this type of memorabilia or even to suggest how much more a Senna helmet would achieve now. Ultimately Senna is hailed as a legend of Formula One, and his helmet design remained the same – whereas young Seb seemingly changes his design at every event.

The proliferation of helmets and designs means that is is difficult for collectors to place particular significance to any particular Formula One helmet design, unless it was linked with world title success.

Further, the price of Vettel’s helmet probably was influenced given it was placed in a charity auction.

Yet the price of current Formula One driver memorabilia may be argued demonstrates well just how difficult it is to get close to the drivers in Formula One.


FIA changes rules for superlicence qualification – finally

If Max Verstappen had been born two years later, he would not have been in a position to obtain an FIA superlicence when the new regulations come in for 2016. The FIA announced some months ago that they would be looking in to the system and how drivers were being selected for F1 positions.

Following the announcement by Toro Rosso that they had signed Max Verstappen for 2015, apparently the general criticism from most quarters in Formula One has pressed the sport’s governing body into action.

From 2016, the driver will need to have a driver’s licence, be of age 18 or older and must demonstrate a proper understanding and knowledge of the Sporting Regulations. The driver’s experience must include 300kms in either an old car (at least two years old) or a modern car at a test. More importantly, as many fans here at TJ13 have suggested, the driver must have two years of experience in one of the lower formulas.

‘Lower Formula’ is vague – and possibly deliberately so. However, surely the FIA will predominantly restrict this to Renault World Series 3.5, GP3 and GP2.

So Max Verstappen will most likely hold the record for the youngest ever F1 driver in history for many a year. These regulations make sense, because for PR purposes, Verstappen’s record age could have been usedas merely a target to be beaten

Interestingly, Max fails to meet the new criteria the FIA have listed – on three of the five counts!


100 days


source @GrandPrixDiary


The Fake F1 Race

The 2015 Formula One World Championship calendar is confirmed by the FIA as follows:

15/03 Australia
29/03 Malaysia
12/04 China
19/04 Bahrain
03/05 Korea (TBC)
10/05 Spain
24/05 Monaco
07/06 Canada
21/06 Austria
05/07 Britain
19/07 Germany
26/07 Hungary
23/08 Belgium
06/09 Italy
20/09 Singapore
27/09 Japan
11/10 Russia
25/10 USA
01/11 Mexico
15/11 Brazil
29/11 Abu Dhabi

There was a significant amount of surprise as to the reappearance of the Mokpo event in South Korea. However, the rumour within F1 circles is that this is in fact a fake race – and will never take place.

Formula One engine regulations for 2015 state that each driver has just four engines for the season, one less than in 2014 – EXCEPT –  “if the number of events in the championship, as originally scheduled, exceeds 20”.

Korea back to back the week before Barcelona looks a tough ask, though not impossible.



Further, ill considered plans are often exposed for what they are. The FIA report following the crash of Jules Bianchi which was released just yesterday recommends, states. “It is also recommended that the F1 Calendar is reviewed in order to avoid, where possible, races taking place during local rainy seasons”.

A logical extension of this notion, would surely be not to reschedule an F1 race – without good reason – to a time of the year when the local rainfall statistics are significantly higher than during the originally allotted month for the race.

Rainfall in the South Jelloa region of S. Korea in May is at least three times greater in average volume than when the race was scheduled in its usual October slot.

It could be there is a genuine political reason for scheduling and running this race when the FIA have declared it will be. This weekend sees Spa, Belgium host their round of the WEC series race – “The six hours of Spa”. So Nico Hulkenberg has some choices to make.

Having been previously threatened by Bernie Ecclestone with a French Formula One GP on the same weekend as Le Mans, the FIA regulated last year that there can be no F1 events on the same weekend as the historic 24 hour race.

So, has the FIA finally decided it can regulate unilaterally on Formula One after all? The process is usually that FOM propose a race schedule and it is ratified by the FIA.

If this scheduling is an act of trickery to deliver the same effect as would a simple FIA edict on engine regulations – say on the grounds of safety – does this do anything to dispel the stereotype of a timid FIA administration led by the invisible man? Or is this the beginning of a brave new world?

That said, maybe the fans are hoping that the proposed race in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016, is also a ploy of some mysterious kind. This is after all Formula One in the twenty first century.


The effect of a new ‘4 hour before sunset’ race start regulation 

One recommendation from the FIA panel investigating the circumstances around Jules Bianchi’s crash in japan, states. “It is proposed that a regulation or guideline be established such that the Start time of an event shall not be less than 4 hours before either sunset or dusk, except in the case of night races.”

The F1 Broadcasting blog has produced a list of races which would be affected by this recommendations implementation.

The first time listed is the local time and the second is GMT. Given the dates of the 2014 races, here is how the changes would look.

Australian Grand Prix – 16 March

=> Actual: 17:00 / 06:00
=> Proposed: 15:00 / 04:00
=> Sunset is 19:38

Malaysian Grand Prix – 30 March

=> Actual: 16:00 / 09:00
=> Proposed: 15:00 / 08:00
=> Sunset is 19:22

Chinese Grand Prix – 20 April

=> Actual: 15:00 / 08:00
=> Proposed: 14:00 / 07:00
=> Sunset is 18:26

Japanese Grand Prix – 5 October

=> Actual: 15:00 / 07:00
=> Proposed: 13:00 / 05:00
=> Sunset is 17:33

Russian Grand Prix – 12 October

=> Actual: 15:00 / 12:00
=> Proposed: 14:00 / 11:00
=> Sunset is 18:43

US Grand Prix – 2 November

=> Actual: 14:00 / 20:00
=> Proposed: 13:00 / 19:00
=> Sunset is 17:43

It is Ecclestone and FOM who have in the past stated when the race start should be, based upon the audience reach achievable for broadcasters to the European F1 audience. So races East of Europe are pushed as close as possible to the end of the day, to prevent them being broadcast live through the night when people are most usually asleep.

The big losers under this proposal would be the Australian and Japanese GP’s. Then again, rain, and the subsequent ‘time out’ of daylight, have been problematic at both of these events in recent times.


German viewers ‘turned off’ and F1 Pay per View creep continues 

The F1 TV viewership in Germany this year has seen a slump of spectacular proportions. 30% less Germans are watching the sport, which is an unparalleled drop never seen in the UK for a year on year comparisons since audiences have been properly counted.

German viewers have a choice of Free to Air channel RTL or Sky Germany, though unlike in the UK, both channels broadcast the full season’s races live.

Sky Germany managed to attract just 180,000 viewers at the peak time during its Abu Dhabu broadcast of the showdown between German driver Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. RTL by comparison peaked at 5.7m viewers for the F1 season finale.

However, Free to air broadcaster RTL has said it is considering pulling out of Formula One when its contract expires at the end of 2015. They cite “incomprehensible rules” and what is tantamount to consistent bad publicity for the sport as the reasons they believe their viewers are not tuning in.

RTL are believed to pay FOM around 50m euros a year for their full season of races package. Which appears good value when stacked up against the BBC deal believed to be around 36m euros for just less than half the races live.

The inevitable drift in Formula One broadcasting continued this year as an Australia, Network Ten will be sharing their rights with pay TV group Foxtel from 2016 onwards. Network Ten will still broadcast every race live, though Foxtel will have exclusive access to the free practice and qualifying sessions.

In South America, there is a new F1 channel to be launched by MediaPro. This deal excludes Brazil, however, the new channel will have exclusive access to every F1 session and share just 10 race weekends with Fox Sport.

Despite claims that the new engine sound, lack of competitive on track action and consistant negative publicity are to blame for F1’s falling TV audiences.

The fact of the matter is simple.

Pay-per-view TV deals restrict the total audience available for a sport. This particularly hurts when the sport is ‘occasional’ in its competition and irregular in the timings of its live broadcasting.

depends of course on the pay TV penetration, but it is not good from a viewer perspective seeing Formula 1 behind a pay wall.

72 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 4th December 2014

  1. Re: Iceman moves to rallying

    Looks like a very grumpy jackal out there in disbelief. However as a ferrari fan myself, i am disappointed with his results. This was the man who was considered the fastest driver in the last decade (sorry to hamfosi) and he challenged MSC for WDC in only his third season and nearly snatched it.

    He needs the front end to bite but surely he is much better than his 2014 performance. When he was announced as a ferrari driver last year, i was jumping up and down to celebrate my dream team of Ferrari Alonso and Kimi. All of them were shattered to pieces in Bahrain when the Ferrari was struggling to keep pace with Force India.

    Hopefully he should comeback strongly in 2015.

    • Agree to the fullest! Kimi does know how to drive… A year before this one everybody was lyrical (even tj13) when he had this wonderful lotus year that none expected… I for one am exited to see both vettel and kimi at ferrari…

      • i think the combination of ferrari and kimi doesn’t work for some reason. add to that a dog of a car and you have a disastrous season.

        other than that, when kimi was considered the fastest man in f1, hamilton was still racing in junior categories, so no need to apologize 😛

      • I agree. Kimi did not forget how to drive in one year. I like the idea of the pals, Kimi and Vettel, teaming up. This ought to be interesting times at Ferrari. It will be great fun or a sad slow train wreck. Hoping for the first option.

        • Indeed, what it shows is how much Alonso and Raikkonen carried this year’s Ferrari. Without Alonso, they might have finished behind McLaren and even Force India.

          Vettel and Raikkonen will have to develop the car in their direction, else their lack of adaptability to an ill-handling car will push both them and Ferrari onto the back foot for another year.

  2. Superlicence: With this rules Kimi would have not be a F1 driver too, as he had not driven 2 complete years in formula racers

    • Kimi became an F1 driver in another century.
      There was a lot of controversy about his creds at that time (just in case you weren’t aware).

  3. “Sadly it came to pass and so we have a Ferrari seat being wasted on some hype which has fueled his legend for the past decade.”

    Wow, Im sad alright. Not about Kimi’s talent though…
    Zero to hero and hero to zero in 60 seconds, thats F1 for ya.

  4. Having an article about the highest selling helmet ever,then withholding the sum it finally went for is an interesting angle to take.

  5. 21 races on the approved calendar for 2015, the sly old dogs. Teams can use 5 engines next year as the calendar is over 20 races, instead of the proposed 4, even though there’s more chance of a Grand Prix on the moon than Korea.
    As it’s FOM who sort out the number of races, what’s the bet old Chrissy Horner’s been wining and dining Bernie a lot recently, the little wh@re!

    • TJ13 thinks it is FIA trickery to get around it’s OWN rules! :
      “It appears the FIA has finally decided it can regulate unilaterally on F1 after all. Though, whether this trickery …. “

      • I’m not sure how the FIA benefit from that though. The teams with a Renault Fisher Price engine in the back definitely do though!! Which makes me think the teams have been doing a bit of leaning on the boys at the top.

  6. Wow so much Raikkonen love, TJ13!

    Of course, being an F1 website you (conveniently) don’t want to remember he scored the second(or most?) highest points in second half of the season driving that useless Ferrari in 2009 – this after he knew he was leaving!

    And let’s not forget the stellar results in a Lotus – after not being paid for almost all of the season.

    Oh wait, what am I doing stating facts – most of F1 and its fanboys don’t work on facts!

    That this car was built for Alonso’s specifications was not Raikkonen’s fault. But again a tribute to his professionalism that he continued to give it his best.

  7. RE: FIA changes rules for superlicence qualification – finally

    If (when) Verstappen does do (very) well as soon as next year, please dont come back here crying out of pure joy how he is so good, the next Senna and your his biggest fan. I can’t stand
    [mod inappropriate provocative language]

    about his age before he has actually driven an official F1-race.

    As soon as he does do well, his age will become irrelevant. Everybody will forget it ever came up. Just like Kimi is enduring now: His previous years suddenly have become completely irrelevant, he is not as good as we think he was; merely because of 2014 (according to 50% of the F1 fans).

      • Like the article says though – it becomes a PR stunt – not that Max Verstappen is not a great potential – next will be a 16 year old.. then what?

          • He’s 15.. he’d need to do one year of single seaters and jump up. I don’t think that’s possible, he’s not had Max’s domination of karts until now, although he’s at the front, along with Enaam Ahmed and Lando Norris from what I saw recently.

    • How on earth was that inappropriate language? You learn those specific words when your 6 years old. Anyway, I have not seen ONE article stating any positive things that can come of Max Verstappen competing in F1 next year. Its all the same bashing about his age…

      And Sirotkin was a PR stunt, one that failed miserably.

      • What I’m trying to say is, my so-called “provocative comment” was justified in my eyes as the articles about Verstappen have been awfully lopsided towards the negative. Hence the “inappropriate” language.

        • None of the articles in the dutch press had any negativity about them… you’re only getting input of the British press, I geuss. And they are always negative about something that doesn’t come from the island… 😉

  8. Re: Vettel Helmet takes auction record.
    Does anyone know how much DC’s ‘lucky’ underpants went for?

    • Were they ‘lucky’ for the number of race wins or the number of notches on the bed head he achieved while wearing them?
      If they were ‘lucky’ because he survived a big crash in them then I suggest that their value would have been rather diminished by what was likely to be deposited in them immediately prior to impact.
      Soz, DC,. Overall I’m not sure I’d even polish my work car with them – even if they were free.

  9. Proposed Race times

    Judge, In the comments section of yesterday i noted the same point asking for its effect on race times of Australia Malaysia and Japan but three more races are affected.

  10. Being in the hinterlands of the USA, I have one choice on TV: Cable or Satellite. Either way, the DVR records and I watch the race when it’s over to fast-forward thru the commercials. Night-time, early mornings, day-time; makes no difference to me. I would think those in Europe and Asia would have the same technology available, but I have no way of knowing.

    • The problem is that because European fans have always had it this way, they don’t accept change.

      This is why Ecclestone pushes the boundaries of acceptability on race start times – he has even threatened Australia with no new contract unless they run a night race… why? – better time for European audience.

      The reality is F1 has grown its footprint globally – but not its core TV audience – so Europeans are still the vast majority of the big paying broadcasters customers – and are pandered to.

      • Re: australia

        Oh great.. another Asia-Pacific race that starts at 6-7am on Sunday morning in USA. I am a night person and love the Australian or Asian races that I can watch just past midnight on Saturdays. With the advent of night racing, those are becoming rare.

  11. German TV: from my point of view there are two points for the reduction of viewers.
    First are the commentators, espciallly Heiko Vasser, who is there sind about 20 year and still has no clue about racing, is not able to see any event on track right and is more or less responsible to trashtalk about all not german drivers. The other guy Christian Danner is a former race driver and obviousliy tired to correct every word from Vasser, so he says most of the time nothing at all.
    This constellation is pointed to get new viewers in, but at the same time race fans are trying to get rid of this kind of “information”

    Second point, no one was buying the “war” between the Merc drivers, especially after Spa, when everyone from the team was hitting on Nico. At this point it was clear, that there will be no german wolrd champion and this was a real squeeze to the quotes.

    • “The global advertising value of Mercedes’ television appearances during its F1 campaign in 2014 was $2.8bn (£1.8bn).

      Experts believe the equivalent value for VAG of their sportscar and touring car programmes was about $30m (£19m).

      Mercedes spent a net 130m euros (£103m) on F1, once external sponsorship and prize money is taken into account. VAG spent about 320m euros (£254m) on DTM and sportscars.”

      DTM and WEC is that expensive? That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

      “But sources say that VAG turned down an approach from Red Bull some years ago and that if it did enter F1 it would be with its own team based in Germany.” – Interesting…. RB exit plan might be on hold then. But Domenicali is definitely now involved in this!

  12. Appears that the McLaren board failed to decide on it’s 2015 line up. I’m shocked by that….

  13. So, McLaren still don’t know who to pick out of Button and Magnussen and Vandoorne, when the choice is fairy evident (and no, it’s not Button). They just keep digging their own hole…

    • Looks like it’s a Dennis shaped hole. If he controls McLaren in January, backed perhaps by Danish sponsors, Magnussen is in. If not, Dennis is out, and Button probably stays with Vandoorne as his protege in reserve..

  14. “The driver’s experience must include 300kms in either an old car (at least two years old) or a modern car at a test.”

    I don’t understand this… 😉
    Why don’t they just say:
    “The driver’s experience must include 300kms in a car.”

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