#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 7th January 2015


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OTD Lite 1985 – Buon compleanno Signore Hameelton

Bad news for Kimi and Sebastian

FIA Superlicense Points System

Lauda – Lewis and Nico will get along better in 2015

Fry – Raikkonen not to blame for 2014 performance

BBC live race schedule 2015

EU luke warm response to F1 anti trust allegations

FIA forced to reconsider its position on Honda

OTD Lite 1985 – Buon compleanno Signore Hameelton

On this day, in the British town of Tewin, a young baby boy was born who would go on to become one of sports biggest idols – Lewis Hamilton. As a double World Champion his place in the pantheon of motor-sports greatest is secure but at just 30 years of age, just how much more can he achieve?

I like Hamilton, I like the fact that he is not some corporate dummy and speaks with his heart on his sleeve. Admittedly this has become rarer as he has developed a better understanding of the media, but on the rare occasion that the mask slips – the fallout can be like watching car crash TV.


I remember turning thirty, surprisingly. Many I knew became desperate at the thought – depressed they were no longer a young adult. But with Lewis having been trained in the Mclaren methodology since childhood – has he ever been anything other than an child in a mans world. The forthcoming decade will be a fascinating roller-coaster ride..

The Grumpy Jackal


Bad news for Kimi and Sebastian

Ferrari’s much anticipated 2015 car – codenamed ‘666’ last autumn – will retain the pull-rod suspension system the team introduced in 2012. The pull-rod suspension system was first seen on a Brabham Formula One car designed by Gordon Murray back in the 1970’s and it has the advantage of lowering the centre of gravity of the car.

However, this was not the reason Pat Fry gave at the time for re-introducing an old idea last used by Minardi. He suggested the system was a little lighter, though the wins from this are not worth the trouble caused – so it was assumed that some aero effect was being chased – hence the reason for Ferrari’s decision.

The downside of the pull-rod system is that it is harder to work on and so fine tuning becomes more time consuming and therefore less adjustments can be made in the same amount of time as on a push rod design.

A number of F1 commentators suggested throughout 2014 that this was the cause of Kimi Raikkonen’s woes. AutoSprint author Roberto Chinchero observed, “Raikkonen consistently complained over the lack of precision at the front, which is a characteristic of the pullrod suspension. And the Finn’s style is not so different to that of Sebastian Vettel, who also thrived with a precise and responsive front end,”

A push rod system is attached to the upright and this allows adjustment which sees the load being transferred across the car as the driver gives steering input – effectively ‘lightens’ the front wheel. So the car can be made to work better in both high and low speed corners simultaneously because the car is softer and more compliant in the low speed corners but loses less of its mechanical stiffness through the high speed turns.

Conversely, the pull-rod system Ferrari use is connected to the wishbone, and this in itself limits the total amount of tuning which can actually be achieved. In layman’s terms adjustments for the low speed corners hurt the handling of the car more in the higher speed turns with a pull rod configuration.

Eyebrows were raised by the F1 technical intelligentsia at the time Ferrari introduced this front suspension system, and it may be a legacy of the departed – but not dearly loved Pat Fry – that Maranello’s 2015 challenger retained the pull-rod system.


FIA Superlicense Points System

It may have been unintentional or not, but the new regulations regarding the points required for an FIA Superlicense all but finish the hopes that we will see a female driver in Formula One any time soon. Female drivers recently considered as possible F1 drivers, Suzie Wolff, Danica Patrick and Simona de Silvestro – all fail to qualify for an F1 license under the new regulations arriving for 2016.

Further, the FIA regulation writing still leaves a lot to be desired and their in house legal team clearly failed to do a gender check prior to the regulations being published as we can see.



Lauda – Lewis and Nico will get along better in 2015

Speaking to Autosport, Niki ‘man manager’ Lauda explains how he believes there will be a better team dynamic in Brackley in 2015 because the drivers now have more respect for one another.

The belief that all the controversy from last year has made their relationship stronger is in part also to his own experience as a driver. “I never like (Alain) Prost, I never liked (Clay) Regazzoni and I never liked (John) Watson when it came down to racing as this is normal. But there is a certain respect for each other.”

“It’s going to be fun again between the two of them and I hope nobody else will interfere. When you overcome all these issues, one won the championship, the other didn’t, one hit the other and the other didn’t – it’s going to be easier because they respect each other on their level of performance.”

“Spa was the heat, then we got it all under control again, all together. Not us telling them, them realising what they should do.From then on it all worked and the outcome was unbelievable.”

“Nico will fight back and there is something to come out of his speed and performance and the technical inputs he gives.”

As a Hamilton apologist and given the rumours that Lewis burned his bridges with Stuttgart post Monaco 2014, this Lauda message of peace and goodwill in Brackley, is not surprising.

Also worthy of consideration, is that Niki is a dyed-in-the-wool racer but it remains to be seen how Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe believe the team should be run. There were a number of indications last season that within the Mercedes AMG F1 hierarchy, significant differences of opinion were aired on how matters should be handled.

Yet if the Silver Arrows remain uber dominant, the fans will be clamouring for less love and peace and more internal battling – irrespective of the drivers respect for one another.


Fry – Raikkonen not to blame for 2014 performance

The old saying “Can’t keep a good man down” would seemingly apply to football managers – who face the wrath of owners and fans on equal measure – and ex F1 employees.

Despite being sacked by their previous employer, the senior staff will always find positions in other teams – and often given the right infrastructure make the mark even more bold than before – a great example being the Mercedes W05 being designed by Aldo Costa who was ‘released’ by Ferrari back in 2011 for unadventurous design.

Pat Fry was released by Maranello in mid December and currently is at a crossroads in his career. However, he recently offered an insight into Kimi Raikkonens problems last year.

According to Fry, it would be unfair to draw similarities between the Iceman’s 2014 season and the preceding four, which saw Felipe Massa comprehensively beaten by Fernando Alonso.

“There are two reasons why Kimi encountered difficulties last year. First is that Alonso can drive around any problem and second Kimi’s driving style was badly affected by the aerodynamics and tyres.”

“Every time we found the right set up for the front, the rear became a problem although with the softer tyres, it was not so bad. For example in Singpore, when Kimi had the supersoft he gained a lot of time but with these cars and these tyres the problem was more of an issue on other compounds.”

“With the aero generating less grip it made it more difficult to get heat into the tyres and then to exploit them properly. With saving fuel, you lose even more heat in the tyres and it’s impossible to find the right balance. Then you push and things improve but it doesn’t always work. Fernando has a driving style that works around the problem as he pushes the front harder and it then runs better.”

“But Raikkonen is the same driver as when he was at Mclaren. He is super sensitive to the front end. To get the best from Kimi you need to provide the perfect car for his driving style”

Following the recent bloodbath in Maranello, the Ferraristi can only hope that James Allison will provide a car similar to the Lotus designs in which the Iceman excelled in recent seasons – otherwise it could be a disappointing final year for the fans favourite.


BBC live race schedule 2015

This is now the 4th year where the BBC and SKY have shared the coverage of Formula One in a deal which runs until 2017.



In 2014, the BBC chose the following as for their 9 live broadcasts

30 March: Malaysia

11 May: Spain

8 June: Canada

6 July: Britain

24 August: Belgium

7 September: Italy

5 October: Japan

12 October: Russia

23 November: Abu Dhabi

Out goes the Spanish and Italian GP’s and in comes Bahrain, Hungary and Brazil.

Also the return of the Mexican GP after over 20 years absence will be only free to air in the UK as a highlights programme as again will Monaco.


EU luke warm over F1 anti trust allegations

It appears the Bernie Ecclestone, CVC and the FIA have all been presented with a New Year gift from the EU commission.

In November British European MP, Anneliese Dodds, wrote to the EU Competition Commissioner asking for an investigation into anti competitive practices within the governance of Formula One.


Specifically raised was the fact that the FIA had acquired a stake in the F1 commercial rights holding company of 1%, which was believed to be in contravention of a previous EU commission ruling. In 2001 the FIA were ordered to sell all their shares in the commercial rights for Formula One as it was deemed a conflict of interest.

Ms Dodds specifically requested the commission “look into this possible breach of competition rules and the 2001 agreement as a matter of urgency and take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the undertakings made by the FIA are being observed as originally intended.”

The second area of concern expressed by Ms Dodds, was over the creation of the F1 Strategy Group. The FIA received a payment from the commercial rights owners of $40m in return for creating what is argued to be a regulatory governance within F1, which also is in breach of the 2001 ruling, which stated: “The role of FIA will be limited to that of a sports regulator, with no commercial conflicts of interest”.

Being handed $40m to allow other parties to write Formula One’s regulations, looks suspiciously like a breach of this ruling. (Read TJ13 post from November for further detail on these regulations and rulings here)

Ms Dodds’ received a response from Krzysztof Kuik on December 9th 2014.


For those who were expecting the EU commission to act on Ms Dodds’, the commission’s reply is less than inspiring.

“The Commission monitors possible anticompetitive market practices and abusive conduct. This includes behaviour by operators active in the sports sector. We are aware of the recent allegations regarding Formula One’s governance, as described in your letter and the recent press reports. I appreciate it that you have provided information about those issues and have taken note of your concerns.”

Yet refusing to be brushed aside, Anneliese Dodds presses the matter in a further piece of correspondence.



“What are the steps that the Commission intends to take next in this case? Does the Commission intend to open an own initiative investigation into these allegations? If not, why not? What information would the Commission require in order to open such an investigation, and what would the trigger be? Does the Commission believe that its current sports industry policy is suitably up to date and still adequate, given the pace at which the industry keeps growing within the EU market?

“I would be very grateful if either you or Mr Kuik could answer those questions and explain in a bit more detail exactly what the Commission is doing to look into this matter, and what you expect the next steps to be. If there is any more information that you require from me, or anything more that I can do to be of assistance, then please do not hesitate to let me know.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Eason of the Times reports that, “representatives from Force India, Lotus and Sauber have all been interviewed by Kuik in Brussels and at least two more figures, whose names have been withheld, have given critical accounts of the way F1 is run.”

So whether there is a behind the scenes investigation actually occurring or the EU is merely kicking the matter into the long grass – the response to Ms Dodds’ second letter should eventually shed more light on the matter.


FIA forced to reconsider its position on Honda

At a meeting in Geneva yesterday, the Formula One engine manufacturers met to discuss the power unit regulations for 2016, though it is unlikely the final decision will be made until March.

Honda however, took the opportunity to protest against the recent comments made by Charlie Whiting: “As the existing manufacturers were obliged to homologate their power units by 28 February 2014 it would seem fair and equitable to ask a new manufacturer to homologate their power unit before February 28 2015.

“We therefore consider this to be a requirement for a new power unit manufacturer.”

This ‘clarification’ from Whiting was issued following the discovery due to an oversight by Whiting and the FIA, no engine homologation date was set for 2015. The result being it appeared that the three 2014 engine manufacturers would be free to develop their engines throughout the year – but Honda would not.

The very fact there is no regulation which states that by a certain date a new manufacturer should have to have their engine homologated, meant Whiting was enforcing the original intent of the FIA on Honda – but not on the others.

However, it appears the FIA are now faced with ‘Hobson’s choice’.

Either Honda will be allowed to act as Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault do, or they and McLaren will lodge a protest at each update the other manufacturers bring – invoking the technical regulation which prohibits multiple homologations of the power unit – even if the updates are on the grounds of safety or cost saving.


“And here’s another fine mess you’ve got me into”




49 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 7th January 2015

  1. Ha Ha not only can they not get a single female driver racing in F1 they are no longer even pretending to try. I suppose the whole Women in Motorsport thing was just a dodge as they couldn’t convince anyone to go get the coffee.. And it’s not like the new points system is going to help in any way whatsoever. Words do truly fail at their spectacular incompetencies.

    • While I share the sentiment, you have to allow for the fact that this document was set up by French people, most likely a French to English translation (so as not to confuse Monsieur Todt), and that French language and culture is notoriously less sensitive to gender issues than English is.

      In France no one really ever questions themselves about whether he, she, he/she or they should have been used in a particular context. Definitely NOT like in English-speaking environments! Sometimes they do try to make an effort wrt this, in writing, but it’s more often than not a waste of effort, as no one really ever takes notice or takes these things seriously, and more often than not it simply makes for contrived reading (as you need to also take care of agreement in quite a few more places than in an equivalent English phrase).

      So “le pilote” (“the driver”) will stay masculine, and “il” (“he”) will unquestionably be associated in this context. Using “elle” in this case (or any awkward alternative like “il/elle” or “ils/elles”) would grate most French people’s ears, and would ring loud alarm bells in the French Academy… Hey, French doesn’t even have a gender-neutral plural like “they”!

      So you know what they say… “All men are created equal” in the US, unless of course you’re poor, a woman, or slave property. And the French, not being far behind, have their very own “Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen” (“Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”), promptly reaffirming slavery legal less than a year later… And comprehensively ignoring the “Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne” (“Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen”). Go figure…

      • Actually the reason I noticed it is because Le pilote is translated as the driver throughout the document , it’s only the implied reflexive pronoun construction where he is used.

        As far as excusing them for being French, well, if it were a small collective effort I would be inclined to but given the fact that the regulations all state that for the avoidance of doubt the English version of the regulations is the official one, at the least you would expect someone to be paying attention to such things before they hit publish.

        But mostly it was funny given their very public effort to get more women in Motorsport.

        • The French version is actually well-written and landroni summed it up well. Being French myself, “Le pilote” has masculine gender because of the noun being “pilote”, but it doesn’t to the person being a man. If the pilot is in fact a woman, you would still use “Le pilote”. When you read the whole text in French, you see that “le pilote” is referred to as “il”, which is used for masculine words but because of context we know that “il” refers to the noun “pilote”. The function occupied by the person and the person itself are decoupled, so to speak.

          Now in English, if you want to be fool-proof you would want to use “it” to avoid getting into he/she situations but I guess “it” makes the regulation sound like the pilot is not a person but rather an object. I think that the person who translated did an honest *literal* translation but forgot to account for the nuances implying by the wording. Translating is not an easy task and understanding the various aspects and nuances each language carries is no easy task. I navigate between French and English and sometimes I make some silly stupid mistakes because I thought something in French but just blurted it out in English literally (or vice-versa).

          I think too much is being made out of this, I have some sympathy for the translator but somebody should have double-checked, definitely.

          • “Now in English, if you want to be fool-proof you would want to use “it” to avoid getting into he/she situations”

            Not quite. Nowadays “they” is getting traction, to avoid “he/she” constructs. So it should have been either “they” or “he or she”, IMO.

            The real trouble, I think, is that the translators were keenly trying to avoid upsetting Monsieur Todt’s breakfast by serving him “when he or she applies” as the “exact” so to speak equivalent of “lorsqu’il demande”. That surely would have accounted for some spilled coffee in Place de la Concorde…

            Imagine the horror in Monsieur Todt’s eyes when realizing that the *form* of the French text is not perfectly, exactly the same as that of the English text, cultural differences be damned… The horror!

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYrHn2NPgJ0&w=420&h=315%5D

          • Lol…. it would have been a very simple job that even my rudimentary understanding of French could have managed to translate this as none-gender specific.

            Its just sloppy – lack of attention to detail – as is the case when the regulations are being written – and when they are being enforced during race weekends…

          • @landroni: Oh, really ? People use “They” now ? But the pilot is one “entity”, making it plural by using “They” would sound very awkward, wouldn’t it ? How would you phrase the whole thing in plural form, for instance ? Honest question, not meaning this in a way to make fun at all by the way. The other brute-force solution could simply be to use “The pilot” everywhere as then you dodge the grammatical bullet.

            I’ve done translations in a different (and certainly not legally sensitive) context, from Japanese to French and sometimes Japanese to English, it’s impossible to make a translation sound both natural and true to the meaning in the original language. Nouns don’t have genders in English but they do in French, there’s nothing you can do about that (and sometimes the choice of the gender can be pretty arbitrary). I think the safer but somewhat long-winded solution would be to use “The driver” everywhere.

            That said, I can easily picture what you describe with Jean Todt wanting a literal translation just for the sake of it and I can definitely visualize him saying “J’en ai rien à foutre de l’Anglais.” if someone points out that there might be a few discrepancies here and there with literal English translations.

          • “But the pilot is one “entity”, making it plural by using “They” would sound very awkward, wouldn’t it ?”

            Yup, this may sound strange at first, but it’s not the first such use case in English:
            Grammar versus meaning

            Singular “they”: everyone has their own opinion

            “from Japanese to French and sometimes Japanese to English, it’s impossible to make a translation sound both natural and true to the meaning in the original language”

            Indeed, that’s a tough cookie. There is always a trade-off between literal translation rendering the exact meaning of the original text, and a translation that would sound natural—grammatically and stylistically—to the reader. And it’s most always a personal choice made by the translator…

          • what would be wrong with ‘he/she’…. ‘his/her’

            ‘their’ singular is acceptable so ‘they’ singular is fine too.

          • @thejudge13

            “what would be wrong with ‘he/she’…. ‘his/her’”

            Not much, really, it’s just cumbersome and annoying. This is why “they” is becoming more and more the preferred gender-neutral singular form, since it’s simpler to use.

            “Johnson: Singular they”

            “Faced with this conundrum, what to do? To recap, the options are

            – be inaccurate and potentially sexist (generic he)

            – be awkward and ugly (he or she)

            – switch he and she at random

            – invent something that will never work (new pronouns)

            – do what Caxton, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Thackeray, Spenser and countless others have done, and what you probably do in informal speech yourself (singular they)”

  2. Thanks for the idiots guide to push and pull suspension. . Was that aimed at me?

    Did Macca also have pull rod at some point?

    • Yup!

      Martin Whitmarsh proudly introduced pull-rod suspension in 2013, their first annus horribilis, completely breaking their flying 2012 challenger. And then Ron Dennis pushed to ditch the concept, either in 2014 or for 2015 (not sure).

        • when I very first read about the 2015 Ferrari being codenamed 666, I instantly thought it read condemned 666.
          I now know I was correct the first time 🙂

    • There have been lots and lots of cars with pull rod front suspensions; it was the favored solution in the not too distant past. One benefit of the pull rod is that the load bearing part is in tension instead of compression, a much better way to carry load. I think most of the problem with the current pull rod setups (Caterham are also front pull rod) is that the aerodynamics nowadays demand a very high front end, making the suspension mechanical connections more difficult; with previous flat front floors the pull rod was a natural – not so much anymore.

      It’s interesting to look at the drooping A-arms on the current cars; they would lead to positive camber generation on bump or roll if the suspensions weren’t so stiff and moved so little. Seems like most of the suspension travel is now in the tire sidewall; going to 18″ wheels would cause a lot of grief because of the tire aspect ratio change and reduced sidewall height.

    • Yeah i dont know where they make that loss. Everytime it’s more crowded than ever and more expensive…

        • Some thing went wrong with my answer. Its now at the bottem. So I’ll say it again here… It’s more like Mr e isn’t the only one who knows how to make money disappear in his own direction…

    • So I can delay my visit again. I definitely want to be there once in my life for an F1 race, but the amount of money vs the amount of comfort make me postpone it year after year.

      • Until you’ve been there once. It is totally worth it. And if you go go the whole weekend. Because every part of the day has an other feel to it…

  3. Kimi, the driver that can do a good job when everything goes his way, flash news, in motorsport and even more in life, things rarely go our way, you have to adapt and handle things as they come.

    • you hit the nail on the head @ Martin!! I like Kimi, but enough is enough. man up and deal with your uncomfortable fears, dude… true talent is a very fickle thing. I am not a Fernando fan, but I have the feeling he is truely capable of regularly winning in anything from Solo ll to F1 in todays’ World. am doubtful their is another singular recent F1 driver in that catagory… I so long for the days when our heros in the making had the opportunity to prove that!
      keep in mind I am merely referencing amateur US and Canadian Club racing and the such from way back in the ’70’s and ’80’s here… I had a close friend who drove the wheels off ANYTHING – ANYWHERE. swing axle Beetle to FWD Rabbit to RX2 to Z-28 to F-Vee to 500hp F5000. asking him if he needed more bite, less push, more front brake bias, etc., resulted in an identical “I don’t know” response!!!
      on the other hand, I was merely a bit better than ave when driving classes where there was few mods allowed. but when I bought the ’69 Titan Mk V FF, I thrived as a driver. I re-engineered/modified every aspect of the car from FF to FA with a Lotus Twincam to FA with a BDA and then was able to re-learn how to make use of the mechanical improvements I devised with graph paper, protractor, ruler, sliderule, and simple calculator and many awesome books and magazines. thankfully, aero meant nearly zero back then. I wish it meant nearly zero today…
      the point is that their are several means to become a really good driver – with all the great and not so great attributes

  4. What I find amusing is about the FIA point system is not so much the intention, which is good, but the complete lack of preventing the Grosjean’s and Maldonado’s of this world to enter F1. Nowadays these 2 have learned how to behave themselves, especially Grosjean has proven that when he behaves he is a quick driver. But in Grosjean first entry in F1 he proved he was not ready, got kicked out, managed to get back and was still not ready despite twice fulfilling the FIA requirements. The same can be said of Maldonado, he won GP2 because of 5 years of driving in GP2 but then proved the next 2 years that he was clearly not ready for F1 in his approach to racing with other drivers. While if you look at Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen who were according to the FIA not ready for F1 but all three of them have never made the grid as dangerous as Grosjean and Maldonado… how is the FIA point system going to prevent these kinds of drivers from entering F1?

    What I find even more amusing is how the FIA has decided which championships can give a driver points to enter F1. With the selection the FIA has made it essentially has killed AutoGP, Formula Acceleration and International Euro F3 (born out of the Spanish F3 championship). And the way the FIA has appointed points to the various championships essentially assign an importance to those championships and locks those championships. Formula Nippon was very popular in the 90’s and produced various great drivers but now Super Formula is graded so low it will never be as big and popular as it was then.

    The FIA might discover that their grading system has a lot of unintentional consequences and I for one am curious on how they plan to handle these issues.

      • Thank you titanracer69, just the first things that came to mind when I read about how the FIA is going to ensure only the ‘best’ drivers enter F1.

        Another unintended consequences is that the smaller teams, nowadays those are Force India, Sauber and Lotus, are no longer able to top of their budget with the help of some rich test drivers. In itself that is a good thing but with the financial crisis those teams are in it means that it is almost impossible to survive. It is too costly to compete in F1 and be somewhat competitive and now it’s not even possible to scrape together the rest of the needed budget to be more than somewhat competitive. The FIA should have first fixed the budget issues before making this rule change.

  5. Re: Super licenses points system….

    So what about the additional £20m+ these drivers are going to need to buy there way into a race seat? Surely that’s just as important.

  6. Just a side note from today’s news…

    Just saw the Queens New Years honours list and yet again racing legend John Surtees has not been awarded a Knighthood.

    Now I find it shocking that the only man to this very day that has won world titles on both 2 and 4 wheels, something I doubt will EVER happen again, cannot get a Knighthood, but Bradely Wiggins can be given such an award, solely because he won the Tour De France and Olympic gold on home soil.

    An OBE is an insult in my book.

    • Not only that but John has done a lot of charity work, which they like and use in assessing who is worthy of receiving honours. The Wiggins one was preceded by overstepping to Hoy – once they gave him an honour, they had to subsequently give one to everyone that matched his achievements.

  7. It’s more like Mr e isn’t the only one who knows how to make money disappear in his own direction…

  8. Re: EU correspondence…

    I read the reply to Ms Dodds from the commission as more of a “thanks for letting us know” which does not necessarily imply they are attempting to brush it aside.

    Similarly, I read her follow up as “good: what’s next?” and therefore as keeping the pressure on.

    I’m not sure there’s anything here from which we can infer that the EU are “lukewarm” – rather, they are being bureaucratically formal. Should we expect anything different?

    • when reading that letter, one has to keep in mind that the new commission just came into office and that there was the christmas break. that means there is just not much going on currently in brussels.

        • yes, things can get quite busy. but with the change of guards there is currently a bit of a standstill, where new projects will only be started once everything is settled in. you don’t want to produce headlines investigating f1, while your boss is still decorating his office.

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