#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 9th January 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

The #TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “The Counselling HAS Helped”

On This Day in #F1: 9th January 2007 – Jean Todt sparks fury

#F1 Features: Hiding in Plain Sight – The Future of Formula One

OTD Lite 1997 – The Italian who was always ‘veree veree appee’

Bottas will be a World Champion – Symonds

Mclaren to unveil MP4/30 – 29th January

Ferrari announce launch date amidst team restructuring

Italians vote with their tablets/laptops/smart-phones technology

Silverstone personnel restructure in place

Formula E develops towards becoming an F1 feeder series

Late changes for Parc Ferme regulations 2015

Safety car regulations clarified

Virtual Safety Car Sporting Code Regulation 41

Caption Competition

Hembery sees 2015 as ‘record breaking’

OTD Lite 1997 – The Italian who was always ‘veree veree appee’

On this day, Giancarlo Fisichella was signed to the Jordan team for the coming season. He would be teamed with Ralf Schumacher who always seemed to be chewing a wasp. As for the young Roman, he was considered a future star due to performances with the Minardi team the previous season and his career up to that point.

Photo by Anthony Fosh

Photo by Anthony Fosh

In the gorgeous Benson and Hedges sponsored Jordan, he would finish 3rd in Canada and finish second behind a rampant Michael Schumacher in a wet Belgian GP. Over the course of the season he emphatically out-drove Ralf and was signed for the Benetton team for 1998.

With a limited English vocabulary he was always “‘veree veree appee” and would remain a firm favourite of the Jordan team. Sadly his career never hit the heights expected of him and although he won a handful of races with Jordan and Renault, he retired after an embarrassing series of races in the 2009 Ferrari.

The Grumpy Jackal


Bottas will be a World Champion – Symonds

Pat Symonds, Williams Chief Technical Officer has had a chequered history in F1. Having experienced great success he has also tasted the bitterness of shame and humiliation after being banned from F1 for his part in the 2008 Singapore Crashgate saga.

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FridayWith Symonds appointment to Williams, the team has experienced a turn around in fortunes and Pat has also had the pleasure of working and evaluating his young charge, Valtteri Bottas, who he believes is World Champion material.

“I’m really impressed with him, he’s very bright and very quick. He’s got a great personality and he’s a real team player. I’m absolutely convinced that he has the potential to be a world champion.”

“Its certainly not just about onething, being quick is a given. It’s the intelligence, the application, thinking about things and the hard work and attention to detail… that wins championships.”

“I’ve worked with a few World Champions in their early days and I’ve no doubt that Valtteri will be a World Champion.”

It’s worth remembering that when Symonds speaks he is probably in a unique position of having worked with three of the greatest talents in history.

He was chief engineer on Ayrton Senna’s Toleman in the Brazilian’s first season in 1984, worked with Michael Schumacher from 1991 through to 1995 and then was with the Renault team when Fernando Alonso won his two titles.

It could be worth taking a punt on Bottas becoming a multiple champion although Symonds’ wish could possibly be fanciful, “I just would really, really want that to be in a Williams car and it would be a great story”


Mclaren to unveil MP4/30 – 29th January

Mclaren has announced that it will unveil it’s 2015 car, the MP4/30 on 29th January at the Mclaren Technology centre. As yet there is no mention of a likely title sponsors nor the colours the car will be adorned with but the red and chrome of recent seasons would seemingly be consigned to history.


Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will be present for the unveiling and unlike recent years the presentation will be a live event because representatives from Honda, Including Head of Motorsport Yasuhisa Arai will be present.

There are rumours that Mclaren may well run a filming day at Silverstone a few days before which would prove of interest after the problems the team had in Abu Dhabi with running the MP4/29H.


Ferrari announce launch date amidst team restructuring

Around the same period, Ferrari have announced they will present their new car between the 28th and 30th January. But unlike Mclaren, this will be an internet unveiling because team principal, Maurizio Arrivabene wants the team to continue working in the windtunnel. Stopping for an such an event would cost the squad up to three working days.

Already Maranello is talking of a significant update for their new car which will be ready for the start of the European season. The 666 project saw its birth under the watchful eye of Nikolas Tombasiz but Simone Resta – the new chief designer – has made numerous changes to the car.

With more accurate data coming from the simulation tools, a new software bringing benefits in the actual simulator and a host of engineers who have been metaphorically released from the restricted management of Tombasiz and Pat Fry – they are prepared to take the opportunity to show their true abilities.

Another part of the Italian team’s jigsaw is about to find a place when ex-Mercedes engineer, Cedric Cornebois arrives. He specialises in the combustion engine and will be developing the new power unit to use the injection system at 500 bar. To date Ferrari have merely used 350bar to avoid issues with reliability.


Italians vote with their tablets/laptops/smart-phones technology

With recent news from different countries of diminishing F1 TV ratings – a study conducted by Deloitte’s Global Research Centre titled – ‘State of Media Democracy’ into sources of entertainment in Italy reveals that the Internet dominates as the primary source. With Bernie Ecclestone – and seemingly the Formula One teams – focusing on how to monetise the social media revolution, they appear guilty of ignoring the surge of potential new customers. The findings make fascinating reading.

201102-b-ipadIt seems more and more Italians follow events through the Internet than on television. Of the people surveyed, 77% use the web as their primary source and of those respondents – 85% use a smartphone, 77% a laptop and 58% use a tablet. Of those questioned, 44% make use of all three.

In Italy, some 26.9 million people have used the internet at least once, and on average 13 million users are connected for 1 hour 17mins per person per day based around 57% male and 43% female usage.

The survey found that – like the TJ13 support cast – the Italians connect with their smartphones within five minutes of waking up and check it at least 50 times a day.

The love of technology from the descendants of the Romans doesn’t follow through to the service providers with just 7% of the country taking up the faster 4G service that is available.

By all accounts, Italy is the number one user of instant messaging in the world but also highlights Italians as the biggest users of the tablet outside the home. Of course in a climate such as Italy’s why would anyone ever stay in; and whilst out you have to promote ‘la bella figura’


Silverstone personnel restructure in place

The British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) has completed an overhaul and personnel restructure at Silverstone.
Patrick Allen , the new managing director and Stuart Pringle, new sporting director have replaced Ed Brookes and David Thompson respectively after they were suspended in October whilst an investigation into the running of the British Grand Prix was conducted.

“Silverstone has great potential to become the ultimate entertainment venue and with the support of the team I believe we can make it the place to go,” Allen said. “I want our customers to know that they can visit the circuit any weekend of the year and be guaranteed an amazing value for money experience whether that is to watch motor racing, visit a music concert, enjoy a food festival or attend an exhibition.”

The statement continued by thanking the out-going executives. “This executive team has overseen significant growth and diversification of Silverstone’s business during its tenure, during which the Wing was built and the future of the British F1 Grand Prix secured,” BRDC chairman John Grant said. “I would like to thank them for their contributions to Silverstone and wish them well for the future.”


Formula E develops towards becoming an F1 feeder series

Given the new Formula One super license point system announced by the FIA, opinions are divided on how this will affect the opportunity for young drivers to make it into Formula One.

One train of thought is that having to be successful in the lower formula will reduce the amount of big bucks drivers arriving at the pinnacle of motorsport. However, the points system could see a revival in the interest in national Formula 3 championships which could lead a ‘big bucks’ driver to spend two years in outer Mongolian F3 and be eligible for an F1 super license.

Former Mercedes test driver and current top Formula E driver, Sam Bird, believes that Formula One no longer looking across the panorama of global motor racing in a quest to find new drivers. Further, that Formula E at present is of no interest to the F1 recruiters.

Speaking to the Times, the winner of the Malaysain E-Prix says: “Formula one won’t look at this and think ‘Gosh he’s a good driver, I’ve got to have him. Unless you’ve got a bottomless pit of money, they don’t really look at you anymore.”

“It’s very frustrating but that’s the way it is and it’s not going to change

Formula E is obviously in its inaugural year, and the sport will progress and the cars become much quicker and when this happens, the E-Prix competitors may look more attractive to Formula One teams.

Ex-Indycar multiple champion, Dario Franchetti who commentates on Formula E told Motorsport.com: “The infrastructure is getting set up. The championship is running its first year and making sure everything works well from moving things around, building the tracks, and certainly working with the cars is the biggest thing actually.”

“Next season, when they open up the power trains, then the performance of the cars will really step up. But I have to say, I’ve been surprised at how good the racing’s been.”

FE Series promotor Alejando Agag recently announced, “We hope to have three or four different makers of motors & batteries in the championship for year two.” This was something of a surprise for E-Prix fans as the original FIA plan was for the cars to be the same specification for the first two years.

This is a clear signal that Formula E has been a success, over and beyond the hopes of the FIA and the series promoter. One of the reasons the series is developing a solid fan base is because racing purists can see the racing is hard and the cars are not easy to handle.

“The cars are sliding around a lot,” Franchetti notes. “There’s not a lot of down force and the cars are all about momentum, so they are trying to carry as much as possible into the corners. The guys are having a good time driving them, it really seems that way”.

The developments coming downstream will clearly silence some of the naysayers as Dario explains: “When the open competition comes, you’re really going to see that ramp up. Moving forward, there’s probably one of two things that are going to happen … Either they’ll do away with the car swap or I think more likely, the cars will get a lot quicker.”

At present, Formula E is not listed as a series recognised for point scoring to achieve an F1 super license. Yet, as the series develops, of course the FIA will look again at the cars performance and it would be surprising if Formula E doesn’t join the list of other categories which count towards a driver being accredited to drive in Formula One.


Late changes for Parc Ferme regulations 2015

The following sporting regulations for parce ferme are of note

34.1 Parc ferme was to be moved for 2015 to the beginning of FP3, however, the FIA have relented to the pressure from the teams and returned it to its current allotted slot prior to the start of qualifying.

Moving the parc ferme would have levelled the playing field somewhat for the smaller teams, who have a lesser capability to substantively change the cars between FP3 and Qualifying

34.2 It must be clear that any replacement part a team wishes to fit is similar in mass, inertia and function to the original. Any parts removed will be retained by the FIA.

Interestingly, this regulation is unaltered despite the ‘who-ha’ in Germany 2014 when Mercedes successfully argued they should not be penalised for changing Hamilton’s brakes following his crash in qualifying. Brembo was swapped for Carbon Industrie and Christian Horner complained but didn’t eventually lodge a protest.

“We obviously now need clarification,” said Horner, “because if you can do that, then what else can you change?”

Ferrari’s Marco Mattiacci also admitted discussions took place about a potential protest but, “We decided not to move forward on this because I don’t think we wanted to get into it.”


Safety car regulations clarified

Many Formula One fans have been frustrated by the closing phases of a safety car period. The lapped cars are allowed to unlap themselves and then trundle round until they re-join the rear of the snake of cars behind the safety car.

In Singapore 2012, some 20% of the race was carried out behind the safety car, much of which felt unnecessary.

The FIA have now added the following to the rules and the safety car no longer will wait for the cars to re-join the rear of those cars in line on the lead lap.

“40.12 Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap”.

Interestingly, there was nothing in the regulations prior to this new sentence which prevented this from becoming the operational practice.

The problem of the lapped cars has not gone away completely, because theoretically, it is still possible for the safety car to complete almost 2 full laps following the release of the lapped cars – depending on the timing of when the signal to overtake is given to the lapped cars.

It is not clear why the lapped cars could not be forced to drive through the pits during the safety car phase one and re-join the rear of the lead lap cars and therefore be good to go as soon as the track is clear.


Virtual Safety Car Sporting Code Regulation 41

Having trialled a virtual safety car at the final four rounds of the 2014 season, Charlie Whiting and the FIA have now delivered the definitive regulations on its use.

Clearly, the idea of a pit lane type speed limiter has been abandoned, and the drivers will have to cope with managing their speed by the method of time deltas. This is more difficult than under the safety car actual ‘gathering’ period’ because the sectors where the drivers must remain above a minimum time are smaller than the traditional 3 timed sectors a circuit is broken up into.

The time delta’s are subject to race control’s discretion and as such would not necessarily prevent a Jules Bianchi type crash, should the race director deem the minimum time through a mini secotr be based upon a mere 0.5 seconds slower than previous ‘flat out’ through the same mini sector – as an appropriate speed.

These decisions have not always been well assessed by race control for risk. Just last year in Japan 2014, Sutil’s stricken car was a mere 17 metres from the edge of the asphalt being handled by marshals in torrential rain conditions and yet the cars were allowed to hurtle past at around 85-90% of their flat out speeds.

A simpler solution would have been to select as ‘hazardous’, one of the three timing sectors of a lap. Then simply require the all cars to apply their pit lane speed limiters – ensuring each car passed through that sector the same number of times before flagging it green.

Yet as will be stated by those media personnel deflecting criticism of this new practice, “Charlie knows best”.

41.1 The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course.

It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.

41.2 When the order is given to initiate the VSC procedure a message “VSC DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the official messaging system and all FIA light panels will display “VSC”.

41.3 No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the VSC procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

41.4 No car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.

41.5 All competing cars must reduce speed and stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector (a marshalling sector is defined as the section of track between each of the FIA light panels). All cars must also be above this minimum time when the FIA light panels change to green (see 41.7 below).

The stewards may impose either of the penalties under Article 16.3a), b), c) or d) on any driver who fails to stay above the minimum time as required by the above.

41.6 With the exception of the cases listed under a) to d) below, no driver may overtake another car on the track whilst the VSC procedure is in use.

The exceptions are :

  1. a) When entering the pits a driver may pass another car remaining on the track after he has reached the first safety car line.
  2. b) When leaving the pits a driver may overtake, or be overtaken by, another car on the track before he reaches the second safety car line.
  3. c) Whilst in the pit entry, pit lane or pit exit a driver may overtake another car which is also in one of these three areas.
  4. d) If any car slows with an obvious problem.

41.7 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message “VSC ENDING” will be displayed on the official messaging system and, at any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, “VSC” on the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers may continue racing immediately. After 30 seconds the green lights will be extinguished.

41.8 Each lap completed whist the VSC procedure is in use will be counted as a race lap

What will be amusing is when commentators get excited about the actions of race control, yelp “Virtual Safety car…virtual saftey car…the virtual safety car is out”, sounds rather a mouthful 😉


Caption Competition


Hembery sees 2015 as ‘record breaking’

The commercial director of Pirelli believes that we are in for some surprises this season on track. The Italian tyre company had taken a conservative view when producing the tyres for the new high torque 2014 engines, and following their anus horibilus of 2013, Pirelli avoided the limelight mostly during last season.

They were forced to change their original selection for Brazil, following concerns their calculations had failed to take into account the reduced abrasion the F1 cars would experience on the newly asphalted Interlagos circuit.

This race weekend of course followed the ‘magic’ of Sochi, as Nico Rosberg completed over 300km and 52 laps on a single set of tyres – which at the conclusion of the race  looked good for another GP around the Russian winter Olympic park.

Speaking to F1news.ru, Paul Hembery states: “It will be very interesting to see what awaits us in Australia, only then will we get a real idea of the scale of changes that have occurred.

“At Pirelli we already have specific information about what we can expect in the new season, and I can say that some of it is very interesting, and that is to put it mildly.

“We expect a significant increase in pace, and when you consider how much lap times normally improve through a season, I think by the end of 2015 we will be getting close to breaking records,” Hembery added.


56 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 9th January 2015

  1. With apologies to Ron D and Eric “The Half” B, word from the gutter is that it will soon to be announced:

    Tomorrow McLaren Honda

    (Always coming, never arrives)

    • ….it was an unofficial codename awarded to the project by certain disaffected Maranello engineers….

      TJ13 reported this back in August – but it has since been widely reported in the media.

      • Ah. Every time I would read it I kept picturing the faces of the race fans at the Vatican. Although with the hell hounds Ferrari have built in the last few years and the recent blood bath, the number of the beast may be fitting.

        • I don’t believe Catholics assign such nonsense to the 666 thing as do Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals. Raised in a Catholic home and educated in Catholic elementary and secondary schools I never heard of it until post-university and in the military. Doubt the Vatican cares.

          • ….indeed it was a Jewish theology which found its roots in their exile from the ‘promised land’ to Babylon – made popular over the past century by Millennialist Christians…

            Yet most anyone who has seen “The Omen” – will be aware of these ideas – I’d like to think the odd pope or two has watched this movie on his giant plasma screen bedroom TV…. This is likely as Richard Donner’s classic film stars good ole Gregory Peck.

          • I learned it at Sunday School at the Abby in my village, they were Catholic nuns as I was bought up in a very very Catholic household. If you read the book of Revelations (should be the last section of a bible) it will tell you about the number of the beast and the breaking of the 7seals blah blah blah blah……
            It’s not a part of the bible that is referred to that much as its felt if you focus on talking about the devil and evil too much, you will invoke evil into your life and open your spiritual self for attack.

            This is not a personal view but just wat I was taught as a kid.

          • @tj13 The Omen was released in 1976; I was in the army.
            @mankster Not a metal fan.
            @ClearView The Marist brother teaching bible study during my freshman year said Revelations should be ignored.

            Actually it was a fellow soldier with Chick comics who introduced me to the 666 notion.

  2. In season testing venues:

    Spain is fine with the mixed nature of the track. However the second in season could have been on a different location. Its a track where aero inputs may be very minimal.

    • Well tbh I’m far more interested in how the pre season testing goes than seeing what the MP4-30 looks like. Could be the best looking car on the grid but if the Honda Power Unit is not reliable or slower than Renault and Ferrari then it’s all for naught.

      My own view is the time to judge McLaren Honda is next season, 2015 is going to be a year of woe and development work.

      • Just the fact the McLaren aren’t screaming bloody murder across every media outlet that will listen about the homologation issues Honda face this year and they they have said they have spoken to the FIA but don’t want to comment further, says to me they are reasonably confident. If they were in trouble they would be shouting far louder about just how unfair it all is and make sure there were comments in the media every day so it became a top story.

        Just my take on it for now anyway.

    • What a silly comment, there are millions of us loyal McLaren fans that will stick with them through thick and thin, the only time I wavered was the poor treatment of Jenson, but if he can get over it, so can I, I am certain the good times will come again…

    • Is that black and silver? No Honda ‘white’? Silver is Merc’s legacy? What is it still doing there? That can’t be the finished product!

        • It’s Abu Dhabi isn’t it? It’s only the MP4/29H1x1 not the MP4/30 that they will field this season. I did read the chrome/silver will GO as it was a hat tip to the silver arrows. I also read that the Mercedes works team is going chrome this year. I hope the red and white livery gets a 21st century make over, who knows maybe the delay in signing Fernando was because he wanted to drive a car painted like Senna’s and the go-kart he had as a kid. LoL

  3. Re: VSC and this regulation – I’m looking for wisdom…

    “41.4 No car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.”

    At the risk of asking silly questions:

    1. why else would anyone, normally, enter the pits other than to change tyres? We don’t have refuelling any more or any other strategic or competitive reason to pit so why the restriction?

    2. Does this mean that if you run over some debris from the crash and break your front wing clean off, you have to wait until after the VSC period before getting a new one?

    3. What if your car is mortally wounded and you have to retire – do you HAVE to park it at the side of the track, even though you are right by the pit entrance and could make it into your garage?

    I must be missing something which some other reader can explain, because this just seems a weird regulation…

      • Yes, that’s possible. Two thoughts:

        They have to be served in full with no other work going on – if the VSC rules keep everyone at the same speed relative to each other on all points of the circuit (unlike the actual SC were you can go faster when not actually behind the SC) then a 5second penalty is still a 5 second penalty. Er…I think… 😉

        If they really have this rule just for penalties, why not just specifically say you can’t serve stop/go penalties during the VSC?


        • …after the past few weeks discoveries re: FIA regulation writing – I’m afraid nobody quite knows why… and anything for any reason is possible.

      • But does it not state that you can’t serve a penalty whilst under the safety car? Or it won’t apply to the VSC this season?

        • I don’t know – and it’s certainly not clear (to me).

          What seems odd (again, to me) is that many journalists seem to be reporting the new rules, but there’s no explanation or questioning of what this actually means. I’m assuming that I’m just a bit stupid and there’s actually a sensible and simple reason for this clause. But in my (very unscientific) investigation, so far the only people raising the question are fans.

          • Most “journalist” only copy and paste the information from the original source, then don’t do any investigations or critical thinking these days. Real journalism, like many other things that require a worthy effort, is almost dead in current society.

  4. “Former Mercedes test driver and current top Formula E driver, Sam Bird, believes that Formula One no longer looking across the panacea of global motor racing in a quest to find new drivers. Further, that Formula E at present is of no interest to the F1 recruiters.” I think the word needed to replace “panacea” (universal cure-all; remedy)) is “panorama”.

    • Interesting all the spin the doctors’ are putting to this series……

      I’m sure that there is great scope to develop power trains, better batteries etc.
      I’m lost though how people like Dario can enthuse on handling when, with a little thinking the FIA, not their strength I know, could re-spec one of the existing formulae to achieve the same.

  5. RE: Hembery sees 2015 as ‘record breaking’

    I wonder which records he means because the 2013 and 2014 fastest lap records are of a different level of ‘record breaking’ than fastest lap ever set at Monza (improving on the 2004 lap record by Barrichello, official track record, or even Montoya, unofficial track record).

    I hope part of why some records might be broken is an improvement on the tires, and not just the tires falling apart after looking at them but also in the level of grip they provide. A lot of lap time can be gained by just that.

    • Wider wheel base and bigger tyres would do the racing the world of good. I have to defend Pirelli a little as they are doing exactly what is being asked of them. I should think it’s very easy to make a super grippy tyre that lasts ages, but near alchemy to produce tyres that perform then slowly degrade and over ‘the cliff’. It’s the opposite of what they have been doing with road car tyres since the company was started

      • I absolutely agree with that, wider and bigger rear wheels to make it possible to actually use most of the enormous amount of torque the engines produce. And I agree that Pirelli is just producing what they are asked and it has to be said that for what is asked, which isn’t easy to do, the tyres weren’t bad. They had their moments in the past but it could be worse, let’s just hope they don’t miscalculate again like at Silverstone 2013

    • Hope Hembery’s comment doesn’t indicate Pirelli are returning to their free thinking days….

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