#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th December 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Well that solved entirely nothing…


OTD Lite 1987 – Senna and Mansell clash

Ferrari ridicule heighten as culling continues

Villeneuve’s ex engineer looking to move to sunnier climes

BBC’esque scenes in the podcast shed


OTD Lite 1987 – Senna and Mansell clash

On this day – fifty nine years ago, Vijay Mallya entered this planetary sphere that we call Earth. God I’m bored already!

Let’s fast rewind back to 1987. The circuit, the imperious Spa-Francorchamps. The gladiators a young Brazilian called Senna driving a Camel Lotus and a moustachioed Leone called Nigel driving a Williams. From third on the grid Ayrton led Mansell on the fast lap and as they exited the fast Pouhon corner, our ‘Nige” went for the outside of a rapidly closing gap.

As would be repeated over the coming seasons, these two hardest of racers gave no quarter and on this occasion both pirouetted off the circuit. Senna into retirement and Mansell with a crippled car. When he finally retired he went to find the Brazilian to give him a little of his mind and the two began to argue and punches were thrown.

Of course, back in the day when drivers had balls, could shave properly and could use their fists without fear of stupid penalties these two titans went at each other. By the way, for any new F1 fans… what you see in the video beside the road… that’s grass and gravel traps but they have all been consigned to history now.

The Grumpy Jackal

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Ferrari ridicule heightens as culling continues

Not a day goes by, it seems, that the blades at Ferrari are sharpened ready to plunge in the next under-performing member of the Maranello staff that Sergio Marchionne has taken exception to. With recent high profile expulsions the social media, the world’s media has headlines which mock the current approach to team building being operated by the famous Stable.

Yesterday two more senior engineers were given their exit papers to leave Italy as the Scuderia appears to be plunging deeper into the quagmire that seems to have infiltrated the organisation.

Hirohide Hamashima was recruited to Ferrari back in 2012 after having been the head of the Bridgestone Sports programme previously. His task was to form a better understanding of the new Pirelli tyres, but since the 2014 Ferrari F1 cars’ tyre usage wasn’t the best – Hirohide is also now surplus to requirements.

Rumours in Italy are also suggesting the Neil Martin will soon join him through the red revolving door. Martin arrived in Maranello following the strategic debacle that lost Ferrari and Fernando Alonso the title in 2010 after having worked in a similar position with Red Bull. He was recruited by Pat Fry – who worked with Martin at McLaren. Yet since the departure of English colleague, Neil Martin’s position has been weakened.

It may appear to outsiders, that Sergio Marchionne is removing many of the foreign engineers and re-enforcing the Italian element of the squad. Yet it must be remembered that during the 2014 season, there were many non Italian designers and engineers recruited by Ferrari. And lest we forget, Sergio is in fact an Italian-Canadian-American, so it is unlikely he is adopting a Luca de Montezemolo style approach – which following the Brawn era set about attempting to build the team with mostly latin bred employees.

Marchionne has demonstrated he can turn around out-dated institutions with fresh ideas and people, and by implementing them quickly. Sergio took the helm of the Fiat group when they were close to bankruptcy in 2004 and by 2006 they were profitable again.

In 2009, as CEO, Marchionne negotiated the merger with Chyrsler to extend the empire and the resulting group, the FCA, became one of the fastest expanding automotive company stories to be written.

The leaqdership of Il Padrino became increasingly more autocratic during his final years – as he was unwilling to delegate even quite small decisions at times. This was revealed recently by the talented, and now Mercedes designer, Aldo Costa.

So there is hope amongst the tifosi – that just maybe – the ‘Marchionne Massacre’ will bear fruit. The methodology is simple – to change the culture quickly, you have to quickly change a lot of people.

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Villeneuve’s ex engineer looking to move to sunnier climes

More news has emerged on Twitter over the last twelve hours. In addition to the speculated signing of Bob Bell to Ferrari next year – it is being suggested from our TJ13 Italian sources that Jock Clear is about to leave Mercedes and join the Red Army around March next year.

As a high profile engineer – he would be quite a coup for the Italian team – considering his friendship with Jacques Villeneuve. They teamed up originally at Williams when JV joined the team and won the title together in 1997. At the time Clear had displayed animosity towards Micheal Schumacher after his clumsy attempt to push Jacques off the track failed.

He would go on to engineer the Canadian’s car at BAR and eventually took up more senior roles with Mercedes. But either NIki Lauda rubs people up the wrong way or these senior personnel don’t appreciate the way Mercedes works – that of course is an unknown but an exodus of staff to a rival is unprecedented in modern Formula one.

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BBC’esque scenes in the podcast shed

In a bid to make the TJ13 courtroom podcast even more awesome than it already is, we tried to solicit the British Boradcasting Company’s help with recording. Well, it didn’t go too well. But despite this little challenge, stay tuned for another release of TJ13’s flagship production coming soon…

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18 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 18th December 2014

  1. Poor Hamashima. He did a decent job of getting the best out of tyres in 2012 and in 2013 till Redbull moaned and cried to change the tires to suit their car better. I understand Silverstone fiasco but i thought it was a one off and because of extreme camber settings. In 2014, i think the design flaw led to them not taking the best of their tyres. He is also bloodied.

    • If it wasn’t for two ‘u-turns’, we would have had closer racing in 2011 and 2013. In 2011, the EBD should have stayed banned, and in 2013 setup rules should have been enforced.

      Without these, we would have still seen Vettel win both titles, but not with as much dominance. RB were still going to win 2013 on the early tyres, so why they didn’t then move to 2014 development, like everyone else, is a mystery, especially when they can see the numbers.

  2. I heard that over there in Maranello people are now getting stabbed in the front… Because the backs are all full. 🙂

  3. What’s this about Bernie being reappointed as a director to the board of directors? Along with LdM and Paul Walsh as non-executive dorectors. Is this Bernie being allowed back on the board but as a compromise? Hopefully. Hopefully it means his power is beginning to wane, even though it sounds like his positioned has been emopwered once again. There must have some strings to attached to being allowed back on the board. That’s what the romantic in me likes to think anyway

    • Tommo, I came across a comment posted to an article, somewhere, yesterday at around 4pm my time which would be around 5am UK, stating that CVC and Bernie had kissed and made up. (Had been reading various on the Walsh withdrawal). Though ‘yeah, right’ and dismissed it.

      This morning have scratched around trying to retrace my reading, nope.

      Like the spin you’ve put to it. I’ll console myself along that line 🙂

      • Does this mean with LdM’s added clout, that Bernie’s more likely to get his wish of getting rid of the current power units. Is there enough teams to have a large enough amount of the vote in the strategy group to change the rules.
        I’ve got my fingers crossed there isn’t. The four merc teams will say no, Honda will definitely not want the rules changed having just re-entered. Which leaves four other teams, Ferrari and there customer and Red Bull. In a way it’s fortunate Caterham and Marrusia have dropped out.
        Those two teams would have swayed the vote. Every cloud and all that I suppose.
        Interesting times ahead politically I reckon.

        • I doubt Renault would agree to that, given they were the one calling for the change of engines. Apart from noise, I really can’t see the need to revert back to these dinosaur engines. Will reverting back to the NA V8s/10s make the racing better? I doubt it will. Apart from the Mercs running away at the front, there has been some very good races this season.

          Like Ron said in Bahrain, “the noise can be fixed”

      • The only one missing is Flav. And maybe the dentist. I hope someone puts a News Of The World gaybar / S&M / …. on them like what happened to Mosley, who had very sound ideas, but took it too extreme. Oh if only he had set the budget at 200 million….

  4. Senna and Mansell clash…..Grumpy thought you were going to say ol’ Vij was conceived in the back of a Mahindra during the running of the Belgian GP for a moment. (with apologies to bruznic 😉

    • There are days when what actually happened on this day bore the S*** out of me. So I remember times when F1 was simpler and more angst ridden than the corporate twaddle we have these days.

      But liking the idea of carnal fun in the Belgian countryside… and it always rains there too!!

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