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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite 1957 – Legendary Lotus announces entry into Formula One
Fifty seven years ago today and well before my time, however you count – yes life did exist before the young Jackal fled the lair.
But I digress. So fifty seven years ago, the ambitious Colin Chapman announced that his Lotus company would be entering the Formula One championship with a modified F2 car.
The Lotus 12 would have an updated ‘five’ speed transmission and would field both Graham Hill, Cliff Allison and Alan Stacey for what proved a solid formative year for the new constructor.
By 1961 Lotus had won their first Grand Prix and the following year Jim Clark secured his first ever victory. By the time the team had been involved in the sport just five years they were dominating the F1 championship. The last championship winning season was 1978 and Lotus had won the Drivers title on six occasions and the Constructors prize seven times.
To give some perspective to these statistics, by 1978, Ferrari had secured eight WDC and five WCC. When people speak of the real Team Lotus and it’s significance to the sport – the numbers never lie..
The Grumpy Jackal
FIA report into Bianchi crash all but ignored
The FIA report from the 10 man ‘expert’ panel was published a week ago. Yet the F1 accredited media and the mainstream daily publications have barely failed to engage properly with the report – other than for a few headline grabbing snippets.
The 2 page summary of an alleged 350+ page document of ‘evidence’ – which the public are prohibited from reading – should leave F1 fans cold as the intended message was clear. ‘Jules was speeding and the Marussia car may have been in breach of the design regulations for 2014’.
Further, the FIA appointed panel have raised not one question regarding the FIA’s policing of safety standards, the FIA delegates decisions made given the impending and specific storm conditions approaching Suzuka and neither do they address the legitimacy of the decisions made prior to the race, which saw the race sanctioned to proceed – when the transport options for a trauma patient by road, were significantly outside the strict governances which are clear and simple for all to understand.
TJ13 will be recording a podcast tonight with former F1 doctor, Gary Hartstein, where all the issues will be examined fully.
There will then be a series of articles posted here which reflect the forensic analysis listeners to the podcast will hear.
Yet it was never going to end well when the FIA investigate their own people and the appropriate nature of their own regulations together with the manner in which they were enforced.
Jules is still in hospital, catagorised as ‘critical’ and fighting for some kind of existence, which will see him at best – become a physical shadow of himself prior to the accident. He was a talent rated very highly by Ferrari for the future.
The family stated last night that Jules is still in a coma, but now breathing without artificial assistance.
“Jules is strong, so we try to show strength”, remarked his father. “We’re just trying to give him all our positive energy. “
Set against this, there has been a threadbare and negative report delivered to the world, which has directly implied criticism of Jules and Marussia without a shred of supporting evidence.
This has been the response of our beloved FIA, headed up by a supposed friend of the Bianchi family.
Niki Lauda somewhat annoyed his co-management
Niki Lauda is rightly considered a legend in Formula One – not only as a member of a select group of triple World Champions but also for his unbreakable spirit in his return from an accident that had caused a priest to believe it appropriate to administer the Last Rites in 1976.
Following his retirement from the sport he turned his full attention to building an airline and by all accounts he was as brusque in his business dealings as he was when he was ‘just’ a racing driver.
Lauda’s time in team management has been a challenge at times and many believed when he first was signed as a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes F1 team that this also would end in tears.
Yet due to Ross Brawn’s years of work, the tears eschewed by the Silver Arrows team at the end of the season, were in fact tears of joy.
In a rare moment of self-reflection – Niki – formerly known as ‘the Rat’ – admitted that his forthright manner has upset the Mercedes board – though he added, this was despite the fact that he was right!
“Sometimes management is pissed off with me because I tell them what’s going to happen, we had a board meeting in Stuttgart with all our bosses there and I said: ‘They will hit each other’. ‘How can you say this?’ they asked. ‘Because I know.’
Of course it goes without saying that a brand as well known internationally as Mercedes should be aghast at this potential outcome but Lauda continued,
“The drivers know that I also defend them. I’m the only one who speaks the same language – being part of them and part of the management. So we have a very good relationship. They find it very hard to convince me of things I don’t think are right.”
Only after the collision in Belgium did the Austrian legend feel he had to step in and take some serious decisions.
“We’ve only had one serious discussion about these things – only in Spa. There was nowhere else we had a problem, so really we’ve had peace between the two, no aggravation. In our meetings before the race they are relaxed, they know what they are doing.”
“They know the responsibility for Mercedes – that we want to finish first and second. This is a team order. And then one or the other wins the race and the other one has to be second.”
So Niki will continue to be the go between in the team – whilst Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe continue to direct the juggernaut that is Mercedes.
But watch this space – Lauda ‘the destroyer’ is not done yet.
DTM superstar Eki rubbishes F1
AUDI DTM driver Matthias Ekström, twice champion of the series aboard a four-ringed vehicle, has rubbished the claim that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. He did this when speaking to Red Bull owned Austrian broadcaster ServusTV.
Following the rather unflattering comments from Jarno Trulli, the Swede, who drives everything if asked to, as long as it makes ‘vroom’ noises upon pressing a pedal and has at least three wheels attached to it, is already the second driver, who refuses to consider F1 the top-flight of motorsports any longer.
“Everyone says F1 is the biggest thing,” Ekström says, commenting on a replay of Lewis Hamilton’s off-track excursion at Interlagos. “But if you do such a mistake, you should end up in the woods or the gravel trap and then forced to go home.”
Eki, as he is called by fans and opponents alike has long been a critic of tarmac run-off areas and is credited with coining the phrase ‘parking lots’ for the vast areas of asphalt that used to be gravel beds on most tracks.
“There is no denying that they have the fastest cars, but that does not mean that the Räikkönens and Hamiltons of this world are any good in rallying for instance,” he mocks Kimi’s less than flattering foray into rallying and NASCAR racing during the Finns F1 hiatus.
Unlike fellow Scandinavian Räikkönen, Eki has won rallys, rallycross races and dazzled the ‘murricans when he was leading the NASCAR race at Sonoma in 2010, one of the few road courses in the series, after having started 38th! Only being punted off the track by one of the series regulars prevented the sensation with only 18 more laps to go. So one is inclined to believe that Ekström knows what he’s talking about.
In light of people coming to F1, who are barely old enough to shave, one might agree with Eki’s scathing verdict. The more interesting question however is, why Red Bull let one of their sponsored drivers (he drives a RB branded Audi in DTM) make such disparaging remarks about a series they’ve won four times on the trot. Could it be that Red Bull follow the Bernard Ecclestone school of wrecking the product before taking control of it for a bargain?
Mclaren encourages new wave of Latin into MTC
It would appear that the Mclaren canteen may need to brush up on its Italian menu, to facilitate the palette of imminent new recruits heading down to Surrey in time for the 2015 season.
Andrea Stella – Fernando Alonso’s race engineer of the last few seasons – is reportedly following his driver’s lead and will be leaving the cauldron that is Ferrari and settling into the much calmer waters of the McLaren Technology Centre. He will presumably be lined up to take on the role of race engineer for the Spaniard – should he ever be declared as signed.
So even though pit to car radio is now limited in the TV broadcast, it is looking likely that we will once again be hearing coded conversations in Italian gracing the airwaves.
Another significant arrival at the WTC is reportedly Luca Furbatto, although it would be misleading to refer to him as a new signing in the strictest sense.
Early in 2014, Furbatto informed Toro Rosso that he was to leave the team and he has been on a rather extended gardening leave ever since. He joined the Faenza team in 2011 – having left Mclaren. Considering the small budget he has was given to work with – his reputation has been enhanced through his work with the former Minardi team.
His initial brief from Mclaren is said to be running the company’s GT program with a view to progressing to the F1 team some time next year – but a fly in the ointment is that Ferrari have already sounded him out in regards a placement in Maranello. With the impending departure of the Greek designer Nikolas Tombazis, this could prove too big an opportunity for Luca to refuse.
Hulkenburg seriously impressed by hybrid Porsche
Nico Hulkenburg – Force India’s 2015 driver has begun his preparation for the two events he will compete in with the Porsche WEC team next year. The 6 hours of Spa and the classic Le Mans 24 hour race.
This of course is dependent on whether the ‘fake’ Korean GP takes place which clashes with the WEC event in Spa.
In the cool winter sun at the Aragon circuit in Southern Spain, the Hulk completed 33 laps of the 5.345km circuit before midday. He then tested the car later in the evening as the cooling conditions reflected better the conditions in which the classic races would be run.
Interestingly Nico’s tweet mirrored the comments of Andre Lotterer after his F1 debut in Spa. “Great to drive, impressive loads in the fast corners and enormous hybrid power”
With Formula One seemingly hitting the self-destruct button and drivers of the quality of Alonso, Jenson Button and Hulkenburg looking to join ex-F1 star Mark Webber in the WEC series – could this be the renaissance of the World Endurance championship, which in its heyday fifty years ago, was credited more highly by even the great Ferrari when compared to F1..