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Previously on The Judge 13:
OTD Lite 2005 – Alonso signed early for a change
After the never ending saga of will he-won’t he join Mclaren for 2015, Fernando Alonso was finally announced as the new Mclaren-Honda driver last week. At the same time, Jenson Button was put out of his misery by being signed for a further two years; although as Alonso proved, these contracts are worth less than leading brands of toilet paper.
Of course this was all quite different to the announcement made on this day nine years ago which stunned the F1 world.
Mclaren announced to the world that the new World Champion Fred was to drive for the Woking outfit from 2007 onwards.. still over a full year away. Of course this put the proverbial noses of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Montoya firmly out of joint seeing as they were the teams current drivers.
Rumours had emerged in mid-season that Kimi had, in fact, signed for Ferrari for 2007 hence prompting Ron Dennis to pursue the Spaniard and unveil him to regain some pride. It would never do for Ron to be out-smarted by Il Padrino..
For any fans of Mclaren, they will be hoping that this time around the end results are very different. For any fans of any other team, they can’t wait to see the bearded Asturian throw his toys out of the pram again – especially if ol’ Jense happens to beat him. Heard it hear first….
The Grumpy Jackal
Mario illien signs up to the Renault PU roller coaster
Red Bull’s Christian Horner has confirmed that Renault is working in collaboration with Mario Illien who was spied in the Red Bull garage during the last Grand Prix weekend in Abu Dhabi.
He is investigating the current problems that Renault has suffered with their power unit. Although the unit has improved over the last few months, it has never attained the performance levels of the rival Mercedes engine.
Horner said “It’s positive that Renault have started working with Ilmor. The company has face similar technical challenges in Indycar. Mario has a lot of experience and will be able to look at the project from a different perspective.”
As to what Re Bull offered the engine manufacturer: ” We’re talking simulation models, the optimisation of the air flow and the like. These are areas we have experience in and we are able to help.”
The problem for Mercedes’ rivals is that whatever work they have implemented over the past season and winter months, many feel sceptical that they could close the gap significantly to the German manufacturer. Although Bernie Ecclestone wants to see a return to aspirated engines for 2016, it seems that if you have the choice – if you can’t beat them, join them!
Lotus has swapped from Renault power to the Stuttgart power unit and after tests found they have saved 18 pounds in weight; but perhaps most importantly added 85 BHP..
Williams aiming for race wins in 2015
Winning is the very clear goal for Claire Williams. After a slow start to the season where the FW36 proved the slipperiest car in race trim but lacking some downforce in comparison to Mercedes, the second half of the season saw much improved results.
With Red Bull being the only team to win a race other than Mercedes, Williams were always going to struggle to vault them in the final standings, Yet a pole position, nine podium finishes and third in the constructors was a huge turn around from 2013’s disappointing ninth place.
“This was amazing for our team. To come from P9 to P3 is an amazing transformation. One of the biggest in motorsport history. The guys in the factory the job they have to do in order to achieve wins. We closed the gap to Mercedes over the second half of the season so I don’t see why we can’t close it.”
“But it’s all about the competition. We don’t know where Ferrari or Red Bull are going to be, or what will happen with the engine regulations but tats part of the excitement of F1”