#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 29th December 2014

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Previously on The Judge 13:

The #TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: Happy as a Hippo


OTD Lite 1962 – Title won after 3 month wait

Ferrari remembers Schumi One year on

Ferrari restarted 2015 challenger in October

Sauber accepts blame for car

Hamilton selfie with Tom and Nicole

Marussia – As ever bank still gets paid


OTD Lite 1962 – Title won after 3 month wait

If you believe the Jackal is a Grumpy sod at the best of times – just imagine how much grumpier I would have been in 1962. There was none of this three week summer break back then – F1 was just a sport after all, but in the years B.E. ( before Ecclestone ) the calendar was at best a somewhat haphazard affair which would have driven any fan spare.

On this day 52 years ago, Graham Hill and Jim Clark lined up for the last race of the season to decide a World Title – nearly three MONTHS after the penultimate race had been run. Clark took pole position and from the start built an unassailable lead but with just over 75% of the race distance completed the Lotus suffered an oil leak leaving Hill in the lead.

He crossed the line over 49 seconds ahead of Bruce Mclaren and thus took his first title and consequently took BRM to their only Constructor’s title. As the teams celebrated the end of another season, preparations were being made for the new F1 season to come – which would kick off in Monaco on the 26th May….

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The Grumpy Jackal

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Ferrari remembers Schumi One year on

It is numbing to think that today marks the first anniversary of Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher’s devastating accident. As he is remembered in people prayers throughout the world Ferrari placed a statement of support for him on their website.

One year ago, on 29th December, all Michael Schumacher’s fans and everyone at Ferrari was shocked by the news of the tragic accident he suffered on the slopes of Meribel. From then on, everyone was quick to show their support for the German champion and his family. Over the years, Michael’s great prowess and many victories have been proof of his strength and amazing determination. Along the way, he has earned a special place in the history of the Scuderia and especially in the hearts of all its fans. Now, 12 months on from that terrible day, Ferrari and its fans continue to show support for him, his wife Corinna and the rest of his family, urging him to continue to make progress on the long road to recovery.

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Ferrari restarted 2015 challenger in October

Sources in Italy have seemingly discovered one of the reasons behind the recent ‘departure’ of Pat Fry and Nikolas Tombazis.

With the ascendency of Sergio Marchionne to the Presidency of Ferrari in mid-October he was left shocked when he took a glimpse at the 2015 challenger that was being prepared. As he was being shown the new 666 car he initially thought he was looking at the 2014 challenger.

What followed was a purge that has stunned the motor-sport world and undoubtedly delighted their competition. Simone Resta was promoted to chief designer and was instructed to re-open the 666 project once again – despite the first chassis having been constructed and having passed the FIA crash test as confirmed by Maurizio Arrivabene.

It was in late September last year that Ross Brawn famously tore up the Mercedes design of the 2014 challenger and instructed his technicians to ‘think outside the box’. Although all rumours of Brawn at Ferrari have faded – it is possible that his example has been embraced by Maranello as they search to recover from their worst season in over twenty years.

Whilst the much derided pull-rod suspension seems likely to remain, it appears that Ferrari’s ‘vacuum cleaner’ snout will make way for a more Red Bull inspired nose treatment as the designers have found this solution to be a more efficient solution. Lotus, in fact, tried a new nose in Austin but abandoned its direction as the load values were worse than expected.

Of perhaps more importance to the Ferrari legacy is the work that is being completed on their power unit which will take on a more traditional architecture in regards oil tanks and MGU-K placements. The single biggest issue Ferrari is chasing currently – with Red Bull and Mclaren also being in agreement – is the rules governing the freezing of developments to the PU’s because any gains that have been found by the Scuderia may have to be placed on the back burner if the design freeze remains.

Marchionne is no fool and this could well be the real reason behind Arrivabene’s replacement of Marco Mattiacci. Maurizio is a seasoned political mover and shaker for Marlboro – who understands where the power behind the throne truly lies.

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Sauber accepts blame for car

Monisha Kaltenborn has admitted for the first time this year that Sauber cannot make Ferrari’s power unit the sole scape goat for what is their worst results since the Hinwill team’s inception in 1993.

“Now that the season’s over, I can say that we did not expect to finish the season without a single point in either championship. The package of chassis and power unit have proven to not be sufficiently competitive and the lessons of 2014 will serve us well for the future. As in the past we have the experience and tools necessary to recover our competitiveness and we continue to look for new sponsors for further funding to develop the new car.”

The Swiss team remain confident that Ferrari’s new power unit will be more competitive and should approach the levels that the Mercedes team achieved. There is little doubt that the new driver pairing of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson would appreciate a more competitive mount than the teams previous incumbents Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.

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Hamilton selfie with Tom and Nicole

If you were in London last night – you may have been in the same audience as two global superstars. Lewis Hamilton and Tom Cruise.

Lewis was in attendance to watch his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger at London’s Palladium Theatre as she starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical ‘Cats”

Tom Cruise is also currently in the UK filming his latest Mission Impossible film and decided to attend Ncole’s performance where she stars in the role of Grizabella.

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A different type of feline to her original fame as a Pussycat Doll.

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Marussia – As ever bank still gets paid

Following on from last weeks revelations about Caterham’s accounts comes news from the other team that went into administration earlier this year – Marussia.

With debts totalling £31.4m and over 200 creditors who are owed money it appears that the majority will lose all their money. The biggest bill is the £16.6m owed to Ferrari for the supply of engines with a further £7.1m being owed to Mclaren.

The Lloyds Banking Group are owed £13.2m but have secured loans against the Marussia assets. This gives the private equity division Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) priority over the other creditors but even so are unlikely to receive more than £1.6m at most.

Geoff Rowley of the administrators FRP Advisory declared “the secured creditors will suffer a significant shortfall – there is insufficient property to enable a distribution to be made to unsecured creditors”

Formed in 2010 with funding from LDC – Marussia occupied the same performance envelop of the Caterham and HRT teams. After four years of effort, their best performance was Jules Bianchi points winning position back in Monaco this year.

But the debts incurred by the team were mounting. By the end of 2013, Marussia had made a net loss of £11m from revenue of £61.2m. 2014 followed in a similar vein and the team had made a net loss of £29.2m on revenues of just £24.7 by the end of August.

Marussia’s owner, Russian businessman Andrei Cheglakov, was the main source of funding but the team also received £7m annually from Max Chilton.

As FRP began to sell off assets in last weeks auction, Mr Rowley said that “on a close down break-up basis, realisations of assets would be in the region of £1.5m” and although there remains another £670k cash in the bank – the chances of Marussia returning to the track were slim.

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15 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 29th December 2014

  1. Re-Ferrari cull.

    As mentioned Ross Brawn did indeed put a decent size rocket under his design team, but, what a design team! Mercedes are top heavy with high class and proven engineers (which they hoovered up over the 2 years previous). Ferrari on the other hand have sacked such a large number of high level engineers, that they have very few proven winners on their books, heck, I’d go as far to say that they seem to think James Allison can do the lot himself. But seriously, it’s ok turning to a group of great engineers and asking them to have a re-think, but to sack the managers and then expect their #2 to step up and risk loosing his job too is going a bit far, people will become too scared to take risks for big gains, in case the risk flops and then they have no way to feed their families. That cannot be a productive atmosphere where people feel they can give it their all.
    Until Ferrari can stop placing blame on individuals, their engineers won’t be wanting to take even remotely risky solutions to the problems the face.

  2. So with McHonda now joining the Redbull and Ferrari led group calling for the lifting of the engine freeze regs, could this then mean that the rumours about the Honda PU being a fuel guzzler and limited on performance are actually true?

    What other reasons could they have? because prior, they stood on the fence. So surely something must be wrong with their PU’s

      • Could just be McLaren and Honda either hedging it’s bets on the need to make performance and reliability changes or they are getting people to set their expectations low so that if the Power Train is any good the PR teams of both will have a field day. It’s too early to make any snap judgements about the Honda Power Train, the first indication of what it’s like will be during the winter tests and then the real test comes at the first Grand Prix of the season. If McLaren Honda manages to qualify well and scores more points than Ferrari and Red Bull that would be a good start. Or it could be a weekend of reliability and performance woes. I’m not expecting McLaren Honda to be anywhere near Mercedes power train’s level of performance and reliability right off the bat. 2015 may well be a development year for McLaren and Honda in car and power train ways.

        What I think will happen during the course of 2015 is increasing pressure from Red Bull and Ferrari (possibly Honda as well) to get the restrictions on implementing changes to the power trains removed, while Mercedes resist it with the line “Remove the restrictions and the costs of F1 will sky rocket”. Of course the nightmare for Red Bull is that even with the freeze removed, Renault could still find itself behind Mercedes and a long way behind Ferrari and Honda.

        • Considering how much money Mercedes spent to be miles ahead (half a billion), and reports that Honda ‘have messed up and must apologise to McLaren’, that seems doubtful!

          • I’ve read most F1 sites and haven’t read that. What other sites do you go, if you’re alowed to say….. Thanks

            (I’ve read mixed reports of Honda, everything from it couldn’t pull a skin off a rice pudding to its a match for the merc)

          • No idea where I read it, similarly I find info anywhere and everywhere. But, I have heard that someone from Red Bull knows it not to be ‘a match for the Merc’, rather that the others haven’t improved much, while Merc did find that extra hp….

            I also remember a story on Honda apologising for creating problems for McLaren, possibly on the new electrics side, hence the electrical failures at Abu Dhabi.

  3. Considering how Haas is buying the factory, 2015 car design etc., I wonder why not just buy Manor and the team already in place? Run the 2015 car as is and start design on 2016 in NC.

    Unless this way (buying up the assets) is much cheaper? It’s been said you could get the 2014 prize money and race 2015, by adding another £30m. Chilton could add £7m, so that’s another £23m to be found.. how much cash does Gutierrez bring! Vergne-Gutierrez would be a strong line-up in 2016.. Sutil-Gutierrez wholly ironic.

    • It probably helped them with the bullet of a car that was 2012.. Red Bull were even copying things off that car! And hired the designer..

      • The designer was a bit of a wiz if i remember correctly, came from Jordan (or whatever incarnation it was at the tine) and turned sauber round, shame he left.

  4. Don’t forget the 20 non-championship F1 races that were held in 1962…eight of which were held in the UK…that might have cheered you up 🙂

    • Indeed, it was basically always around 15-20 GPs per year, however, only the classics counted as World Championship GPs back then!

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