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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite 1994 – Professor lays blame for Senna crash on steering
Earlier this year, the motor-sport world celebrated the 20th anniversary of Senna’s death with various events including a four day festival at Imola. His death remains – until this day – the last fatality ever suffered by the F1 community at a Grand Prix and his legacy of improved safety is still felt around the world.
His legend has increased over the intervening years and he has become an all-consuming passion for many with the Senna film portraying a man that many, including myself, felt was a little to clean-cut.
On this day, Professor Enrico Lorenzini released the first official quote as to the likeliest reason behind his fatal accident. “The rod joining the steering wheel to the wheels was virtually sliced in half … it had been badly welded together about a third of the way down and could not stand the strain of the race. It seemed like the job had been done in a hurry but I can’t say how long before the race. Someone had tried to smooth over the join following the welding. I have never seen anything like it.”
Of course, the search for the truth continued until the trial in 1997 and no-one was ever found culpable for the accident although Williams did accept that there was steering column fatigue. Ultimately, the correct decision was made. Any verdict was not going to bring the superstar back, he died following a dream that many others have chased but failed to attain and ultimately any participants of motor-racing events understand the dangers of competing.
The Grumpy Jackal
Bob Bell on his way to Italy suggest Italian sources
During the summer break, TJ13 revealed that Bob Bell was off to Ferrari. He had informed Mercedes late last year that he wanted to resign from the Brackley based team and had been in talks with the top management at Ferrari. He had left the Silver Arrows officially in December 2013 and had completed his gardening leave in September this year.
Before resigning his position in April at Ferrari, Stefano Domenicali apparently reached an agreement with Bell to take over as technical director at Maranello, but subsequent meetings with Marco Mattiacci did not impress the Irishman and despite there being a contract on offer, Bell’s interest had cooled somewhat.
Sources in Italy are suggesting that the Scuderia, who are currently moving the Racing Department in to its new headquarters which should be operational by mid-January, have re-opened talks with Bell who could start his new role with them in March 2015.
Bob Bell’s career has seen him work with McLaren, Benetton, Renault and Mercedes in both chief designer and technical director roles. The question is then – what will his role be and what will happen to the current incumbents at the Gestione Sportiva?
James Allison and Bell have worked together previously at Renault during the campaigns that garnered Fernando Alonso his two titles in 2005-6. Yet, is there room for these two big guns in the new Sucderia management structure.
Of course much depends on the new 666 chassis and it’s performance against the competition. Will it be another season of transition or will there be opportunities for victory?
With many staff from Brixworth having relocated to the warmer climes of central Italy, it is surely only a matter of time before Ferrari delivers a competitive engine.
That said, unlike Marco Mattiacci, recent rhetoric from Sergio Marchionne would suggest – waiting is not on the agenda.
Vergne to race in Uruguay’s Formula E race
Ex-F1 Toro Rosso star Jean-Eric Vergne will make his Formula E debut next week racing with the Andretti Autosport Formula E team. Uruguay’s Punta del Este circuit will be hosting the latest round of the FIA electric championship and the Frenchman has decided to join the American team to continue racing throughout the winter as he makes his plans for 2015.
With Toro Rosso having chosen the rookie pairing of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen – it has left the young Frenchman out in the wilderness and he joins fellow French star Franck Montagny for his electric debut.
“It’s not always easy to race this time of year, so I’m really happy to have this opportunity, especially in a location such as Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this series, I’m excited to race in Formula E for a team as prestigious as the Andretti Autosport. It will be a bit ‘a journey into the unknown, but they are eager to do it. ” said Vergne
No F1 cars at a race weekend, theoretically is no breach of contract
Somehow, elements of the contract for the F1 Spanish GP have entered the public domain – and as always the question to be posed – is why?
The contract states that F1 [Ecclestone/FOM] “shall use its reasonable endeavours” to ensure that at least 16 cars are ready to start the race on Sunday.
This same clause is also contained within the details of F1’s contract with the FIA, known – also as the Umbrella Agreement, as disclosed in the prospectus for the stalled stock market flotation of the racing series.
Theoretically, Ecclestone can therefore deliver a mere handful of cars – or maybe even none at all – for a Formula One GP weekend – and not be in breach of his duty to either the FIA or the race promoters.
Yet with the current EU Commission investigation into Formula One – including the collapse of the Concorde agreement and the replacement bi-lateral agreements forced upon certain teams – this could see the Umbrella agreement between FOM and the FIA declared void.
Then a return to the terms under Concorde would see FOM required to deliver 20 cars to each race weekend – or be in breach of their 99 year deal for the commercial rights.