#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 16th January 2015

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Holy shit! Let’s just make stuff up.”

Voice of the #F1 Fans: The decline of British drivers in F1…


OTD Lite 2004 – Whatever happened to the French GP

Vettel charms everyone during visit to Maranello

Wolff admits Mercedes coasting currently

Pirelli wants bigger tyres for F1 spectacle

Monaco undergoing expansion plans

Caption Competition


OTD Lite 2004 – Whatever happened to the French GP

Grand Prix.

No this isn’t anything to do with the 1966 film of the same title, nor is it to describe any historic Grand Prix from history. This little snippet of history is a look back at the demise of the French Grand Prix.

On this day in 2004, it was announced that the French Grand Prix had secured its future after financial matters had been sorted. IE, Bernie received what he asked! But it lasted merely four more years and F1 is now entering its eighth season without a race on French soil. For the pedantics amongst you, Monaco is not French soil, and nor is it a race!

The word Grand Prix means Great Prize and the first race was the 1906 French GP. Its place in the history of the sport is beyond doubt and with the FIA being a French organisation led by a French President it seems astonishing that there is no race there. Especially when you consider some of the classic circuits that have held a race – Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand and Paul Ricard.

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Au revoir

The Grumpy Jackal.

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Vettel charms everyone during visit to Maranello

Sebastian Vettel was in Maranello yesterday – practising his rapidly improving Italian and meeting the team who will be toiling in their efforts to bring the Scuderia back to the winners circle.

The invitation had been extended by the team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and young Seb inspected the progress and updates of the new 2015 car – currently codenamed 666.

By all accounts the German has settled in well with this most Latin of teams who appreciate his humble nature and warmth. After the years spent with the demanding Fernando Alonso, Seb has already become a firm favourite amongst the men and women of the Gestione Sportiva.

As the self continues to expand across the world, Seb released his own – taken in the composite department of the Reparto Corse were all employees are dressed similarly to surgeons in an operating theatre so as not to contaminate the composite materials and glues with impurities.

As the picture proves it wan’t deemed necessary for the four-time champion to wear a hair cover – it seems that he truly is the Golden Child.

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Wolff admits Mercedes coasting currently

As ever in the smoke and mirrors world of F1 – subterfuge isn’t just contained with spy photography or in certain cases transfer of intellectual property. On many occasions, teams are known to sand bag their opposition into believing their car is not competitive.

On others, the teams decided to show their pace so as to demoralise their opposition, as happened when Mclaren arrived at Imola in 1988 with the newly finished MP4/4.

Within the first laps of testing – the new Honda powered machine had beaten the best winter testing time of Ferrari by 2.5 seconds. The cumulative effect on the others proved insurmountable.

It would be impossible to predict how Mercedes is approaching the new season. With an advantage in 2014 that at times could be measured with a sun dial, they are likely to carry a great portion of that into the new season – obviously dependant on the work being done by the car’s designers.

Toto Wolff was clearly in a confident mood when he stated that the Silver Arrows will start the season with the Power Unit that took the season by storm last year. The new six cylinder turbo engine will not be debuted until the circus returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We are planning ahead and focusing on 2016 already. Around September we will begin testing components for the following season so we are as prepared as possible.”

As far as the development between the manufacturers is concerned Wolff is adamant: “Thinking about what has been decided, it will be us who will gain the most from the ‘unfreezing’ of the regulations and not our competition.”

Without doubt, the Stuttgart power-plant achieved levels closer to perfection than any of their rivals. Yet it would be foolhardy to believe that the returns for Mercedes would prove as significant as for two seasoned manufacturers that are both aware of the various shortcomings in their own designs.

In addition, with the Brackley base having lost a number of significant engineers to other teams, any technical advantage would have been disseminated already.

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Pirelli wants bigger tyres for F1 spectacle

Any fans of the movie ‘Spinal Tap’ would appreciate the volume control that goes beyond the maximum of 10 – to 11 – just because.

Of course it would be simple to mock this ingrained human belief that bigger numbers means the product is essentially better.

Yet Pirelli motorsport boss, Paul Hembrey, was speaking to Autosport recently about improving the F1 show and his belief is that wider tyres would bring part of the missing ‘wow’ factor back to the sport.

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With talk of 1,000bhp being achievable in the near future, Hembrey also echoes this: “It is like if we have 1000bhp – that would be great. I think there is an element of our sport that needs to get some big numbers back in there.”

Talks are at an early stage but the Pirelli boss has spoken with Charlier Whiting: “We’ve had the discussion with Charlie about that and we’ve always said that we are open to do what the sport needs. I think when you see the images of the 1970’s cars you think wow, look at that.”

“At the moment the tyres are quite small from my point of view. But we are open to discussion. For 2016 it would be very, very difficult to achieve so therefore would have to be 2017. Also our contract finished in 2016, so if we’re renewing it should combine with that.”

The F1 tyres currently measure 245mm wide at the front and 325mm wide at the rear but Hembrey believes the rears should be significantly larger. “I would love mentally to get above 400mm – because it sounds better.”

So as F1 heads back to the future, we have bigger horsepower and bigger tyres – yet smaller noise and smaller jockeys pressed behind the wheel.

With the FIA having seemingly knee-jerked a reaction to the Superlicense application process and failed to include dates for something as important as multi-million dollar engine development budgets – maybe it is time Le President came out from behind his desk and actually provided guidance to the patients of the world’s richest asylum.

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Monaco undergoing expansion plans

In an ever-changing world, the more things stay the same. Except in Monaco it seems. Reports have been heard that Monte Carlo, the playground of the rich and famous, is to have significant upgrades to the Principality which in turn will alter the layout of the track as we have come to know it.

Over the next four years, changes are expected around the famous town that will impact the Tabac corner, Lowes Hairpin, Ste. Devote and even the penultimate corner of Rascasse.

Initially the modifications will be small but a shopping centre is scheduled to be built near to the finish line which will have a 300 car Automobile museum adjacent to the summing pool.

At the same time, construction will move the waterfront further out into the Mediterranean and finally to improve access to the pitlane and paddock many of the old buildings will be demolished to give better viewing to the moneyed customers.

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57 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 16th January 2015

  1. French GP. heck yes!! bigger tires. heck yes. more simple front and rear wing aero, more ICE HP. heck yes! changes to Monaco? who cares??? 🙂

  2. The tyrrell p 34. My favorite f1 car of all time. Was working on a article about it (got half of it all ready, but then didn’t find no time any more)

  3. Wider tyres aren’t going to mean a thing if they don’t significantly reduce the downforce levels first. Even then the compounds would need to change since modern tyres aren’t able to slide without failing. I think it’s probably too complicated to ever happen, sadly.

    • Wider tyres will disrupt aerodynamics by default as with no increase in front wing width the aero-whizzkids will no longer be able to direct the air along the chassis undisrupted. They already had a hard enough time last year, which lead to those weird RB front wings.

      • They’re also going to have to change the front/rear mandatory weight rule; larger rear tires would require more rear weight bias or you’re just going to have an understeering pig with a sticky rear end.

  4. This might be controversial, but I consider France served by Spa + Monaco, not to mention other races are literally on their doorstep (around them in a circle, Silverstone – Monza – Barcelona). However, if Germany can only host one race a year, then why not alternate it with France? It would be the true European GP…

    That said, 3 GPs in French areas and just Austria for German would feel odd, unless we count Silverstone as well :P?! I guess Spa would get a lot of German attendance under that scenario, with French then turning up at the French GP.

  5. Re: Mercedes coasting…

    Since there’s no set date for engine homologation, are the teams allowed to use both their 2014 & 15′ PUs during testing or are they only allowed just one?

    • And with the 2015 P/U not debuting before return to Europe, will the other Mercedes teams have to fall into line?

      • Given that mercedes are supplying majority of the teams on the grid, then yes all the teams would have to fall in line. So if they think their 2015 PU is ready to use from the first race, then all the teams will have to use that unit.

        • ?????

          There didn’t seem to be ambiguity in the article; like you’ve now introduced?

  6. Bigger tyres? Why?
    Again some F1-head focussing on stupid things. Just Remove all wings and give m rock hard tyres. And 1000 or more BHP. That’ll do.

    • But then they’ll be slower than the feeder motorsport formulas and LMP probably.

      Can you sell / market F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport to the great unwashed crowds of casual motorsport fans if the cars are “slow”?

      • F1 hasn’t been the pinnacle of motorsport for over 30 years

        Yet they’ve managed to sell that lie so far – so why couldn’t they continue. ?

        BTW –

        F1 is already slower than LMP1 – ask McNish or André Lotterer

        • Lotterer drove a Caterham, so naturally a LMP1 car will be faster, so there’s nothing surprising there.

          • why naturally would an LMP1 car be faster ?

            or are you just spouting drivel as per usual ?

          • I do agree with fortis. Comparing an winning audi to a Caterham that doesn’t even make it to the end of the season is not quite fair. And the times of spa (where both classes race) are in favour of f1… (quali times)

          • I bet if he had driven one of the front running cars, he’d have a different opinion than driving a car that was on average 2-4 seconds per lap slower. So of course he’s going to say LMP1 cars are faster.

            I’ve not heard Mark Webber coming out and saying that they’re faster, neither did Hulkenberg when he drove the Porsche.

          • LMP cars are slower. They were slower by a matter of seconds at Interlagos. That race was just weeks after the F1 race in comparable wheather.

          • And why shouldn’t they be slower. They are much heavier (trough regulations)

          • yet more drivel

            last time McNish drove a car in an F1 race was 2002 …….

  7. I see in another place that Hockenheim are reported to not know anything about Bernie’s “plan” to hold the 2015 German GP there.

    I still think this may be just another of BE’s negotiating ploys to push Nurburgring to agree to his demands.

    Opinion anyone?

    • Why don’t they just scrap Monaco as a “race” circuit? It is surely the most boring event of the racing calendar. I know it is wrapped in tradition and history, but it is NOT a race circuit.

      • Monaco is one of the best gp’s on the calendar. Nowhere else is there more danger, nowhere else is there no room for error. Nowhere else is there a sensation like the olden days (especially on a onboard camera) i dont give a horse Ass about the glitz and glamour. But i love the monaco grand prix. That’s the only circuit where they really have to prove that they are Übermensch. There are enough tilke tracks where there isn’t any overtaking either. But the sensation is missing there too. A sensation that monaco does have.

          • I think the FIA/ruleset is the problem there.. Mexico only needs butchering to cater for modern F1 cars. There was no problem there for overtaking with older F1 cars.

        • Monaco shouldn’t be a race. Racing should be about people racing, not just a procession that some claim is amazing because the barriers are close to the track. It has no place in 21st century F1. Get rid of it immediately!

          • True, but it’s still a race.. 2013. Hamilton lost second to Vettel because the team sucked at the pit procedure. With passing in the pits, it’s just more like Bridgestone/post-97 F1.

          • Not a fan of Monaco. Should change the format to maybe 2 sprint races – Sat/Sun and two qualifications – awarding points for all four sessions…

    • I remember reading on JS that Tabac might stay the same, Rascasse might change a little from all the building reprofiling in that area, while at Portier it might go onto the new section, possibly to provide an overtaking area, before rejoining before for the tunnel.

  8. “That front front left looks off, how’s the front back front left, there, Derek!… Derek? . … I’m short a nut wrench, here…”

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