#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 20th January 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

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

OTD Lite 2005 – Professor Sid Watkins retires

Verstappen to score points on debut

Toro Rosso celebrates 10th anniversary

CNN new McLaren Sponsor

F1 race times confirmed to start earlier

Force India VJM07 to miss Jerez test

Haas set to buy Marussia

Jolyon Palmer announced as Lotus F1 Team Third Driver for 2015

OTD Lite 2005 – Professor Sid Watkins retires

That Bernie Ecclestone is losing his power within the incestuous world of Formula One is a given. At 84 years of age, he should be assigned a bed with water-proof layers in a secure institution. There is no doubt that his contributions to Formula One have changed a cottage industry into a global business which attracts governments to the playground.

Sid Watkins

Yet for all his greed every Formula One driver has to give thanks to the Gospel according to Bernie. In 1978, Ecclestone visited Professor Watkins and invited him to become F1’s official medic. He accepted and would revolutionise medical facilities throughout the world over the course of the next thirty years.

Sid’s first official appointment was at the 1978 Swedish GP but it was the Italian race that year that changed the course of safety within the sport. Ronnie Peterson had crashed heavily after the start – fracturing his legs in 27 places and needed the assistance of Regazzoni, Hunt and Depailler to free him from the wreckage.

Watkins arrived at the scene but was barred by the human wall of police surrounding the injured driver. It would take 18 minutes for the ambulance to arrive to take Peterson to hospital. Brambilla had also been injured during the accident, being knocked unconscious when a wheel hit his head.

In the US for the following event, Ecclestone had provided the Prof with better safety equipment, an anaesthetist, medical car and helicopter. The decision was made that the medical car would follow the pack round for the first lap thereby being available immediately in the aftermath of an accident.

Sid Watkins worked tirelessly to improve safety; never for personal gain but because he cared about the sport. He passed away in 2012 and perhaps the most fitting epitaph was given by the man who started the whole safety process.

Jackie Stewart: “Unfortunately I have been to far too many memorial services. But I would have been to many more were it not for the Prof”

The Grumpy Jackal.


Verstappen to score points on debut

Helmut Marko is regarded as a tough task master within the Red Bull hierachy, Be it world champion drivers or rookies that have barely covered a race distance – he is nothing but forthright. It would appear that his fellow Austrian, Franz Tost, carries the same burdensome qualities about him. He sys of young Verstappen: “I’m really convinced that if we provide him with a good car that he will immediately score points. It will be a similar story to Daniil. I don’t expect any problems for him. He will be well prepared for Melbourne.”

As to the continuing controversy surrounding his age, Tost adds, “Last year at this stage I got the same questions about Kvyat.”

“Max comes into Formula 1 with, I would say, 10 years’ experience – including karting – and if you go back 20 years or whatever it was a completely different scenario. You can now drive a formula car at 15 years old. The FIA regulations allow this, and now it’s possible for a 16- or 17-year-old to come into Formula 1.”

But only for 2015 Franz. New rules for 2016 will mean that 18 is the earliest a driver can begin in Formula One.

“Times have changed. It’s not the age [that counts], it’s the performance the driver shows. I’m convinced Max will do this if we provide him with a proper car.”

Whilst Tost’s support for his young charge is encouraging – it is hardly surprising. Franz after all runs the team and whether the decision was his or further up the Red Bull food chain is irrelevant – you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

Yet clearly the FIA disagree with Tost and Red Bull and have changed the entry regulations accordingly.


Toro Rosso celebrates 10th anniversary

46529_toro-rosso-un-logo-per-festeggiare-i-10-anni-di-gpScuderia Toro Rosso celebrates its tenth year of in Formula 1.The team that is led by Franz Tost took over ownership of the popular Minardi team at the start of 2006 and as a junior team for Red Bull has helped train and promote young drivers to the senior squad- including Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kyvat.

As they head into their tenth season, the team has commissioned a new logo celebrating their 10th anniversary which will be featured on the new car driven by Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr.

The team reached its zenith when a young Vettel stormed to pole position and a commanding win in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix with the STR3 – thereby breaking the youngest ever Grand Prix winner and securing the first ever win for a Ferrari customer engine team.


CNN new McLaren Sponsor

Having signed a new multi year deal in 2013 with the doomed Caterham F1, CNN is back looking to have a presence in Formula One.


At the time the American TV Network announced their Caterham partnership, Rani R. Raad, Chief Commercial Officer for CNN International said: “Our partnership with Caterham F1 Team provides CNN with a powerful worldwide marketing platform and we’re delighted to continue the alliance of two aspirational global brands. As a forward thinking company this sponsorship plays to the heart of what CNN is all about, engaging new audiences and exploring new affiliations beyond the traditional or the expected.”

Today McLaren reveal they have signed a deal with CNN. “The multi-year global partnership brings together two world-class pioneering brands, both of which have spent decades building a strong reputation for being first in their field. In a natural fit for both CNN International and McLaren Technology Group, each company operates in a dynamic, dizzyingly fast environment where success is judged as much by speed of response as by continual innovation and quality of product”.

Rani R. Raad is quoted as saying, “This is a ground breaking partnership between two trusted brands with a passion for high performance and continued innovation. Committed to being first, we share a mutual respect for each other’s operations – whether that’s the tenacity of CNN journalists in going to the heart of a story or McLaren’s forensic focus for every F1 race. With a shared global footprint and highly engaged audience, there’s a lot of expertise and best practice that we can both invest in this partnership”.

Ron Dennis engaged in some familier coded Ron-speak when he added. “The partnership between McLaren and CNN is unique in that it operates on a very broad scope. Our shared love of technology has united us: together we will pursue new opportunities far beyond the conventional scope of a Formula 1 partnership.

“I think the executives at CNN are as excited as we are about the potential of this relationship.”

The CNN logo will not be enormous as it is to feature only on the MP4-30 front wing end plates.

However, CNN are being given access to the McLaren “thought leadership centre” within the bowels of the MTC. From there they plan to broadcast several programmes across their global network.


TJ13 has been forwarded what looks like a photograph taken of a monitor screen – we see a CAD rendered image of the MP4-30 – Though the true source of this is unverified at this stage.

UPDATE: (GMT 12:19) TJ13 now believes this is in fact a clever fake. Here’s one similar produced last year.



F1 race times confirmed to start earlier

TJ13 reported last week that the promoter of the Malaysian GP was delighted with the FIA proposal to schedule the Sepang race earlier in the day.

As a result of Jules Bianchi’s crash which started late in the day at a tropical storm battered Suzuka, the FIA has moved the start times of a number of races. This is despite the fact that the start time of the race and weather conditions were excluded by Charlie Whiting and the FIA investigation panel of experts – as contributory factors

The reasoning behind this recommendation made by the investigating panel of experts is simple, moving the races forward from late in the day creates a bigger window of daylight in which to get races completed should there be a delay for bad weather or any other reason.

There were rumours that commercial pressures forced Charlie Whiting to start the ill-fated 2014 Japanese GP in conditions which were not suitable. The safety car led the cars around for just 2 laps and then brought them into the pits. This satisfied the minimum requirement within the commercial contract with the promoters that a race had been held and a hosting fee was payable.

There should now be 4 hours prior to the sunset time at a given Formula One venue for the race to begin. Five races have been brought forward by an hour. Australia (4pm local), Malaysia (3pm), China (2pm), Japan (2pm) and Russia (2pm).

Qualifying begins two hours later in Malaysia and one hour later in each of the others. This makes the TV broadcast times in Europe more palatable.

The Mexican GP will commence at 1pm local time.


Force India VJM07 to miss Jerez test

Force India is to be the first team to reveal their 2015 Formula One challenger in Mexico tomorrow. However, they have announced they will not be taking the new VJM07 to test in Jerez, instead they will be running their 2014 car.

German F1 writer, Michael Schmidt reveals this is because “the team has changed wind tunnels from a facility in Brackley to the Toyota (facility) in Cologne”.

Results from the new wind tunnel have apparently provided technical director Andy Green and the engineers new insights into the aerodynamic problems of the past.

Clearly, the upside is that the team are making what must be substantial aero changes to the VJM07, and Schmidt concludes this is surely better than taking a half-baked solution to Jerez.

Since the in season testing bans/restrictions were imposed, a small number of Formula One teams have chosen not run their new challenger for the up-coming season at the first of the winter test.

However, these teams have claimed that this will allow an extra period for design and development, yet the loss of what is predominantly a 4 day ‘shakedown’ exercise’ merely has a knock on impact into the remaining 8 days of pre-season testing.

The results of losing a third of the testing days pre-season were plain to see with the Williams 2013 FW35 and the Lotus E22 cars.


Haas set to buy Marussia

On Monday, TJ13 reported that the impending auction of the vital equipment to build a Formula One car from the defunct Marussia team had been suspended by the administrators.

There are now rumours that Gene Haas is set to buy or invest in the stricken Marussia team. Further that he has already acquired their factory and is in negotiations to buy the intellectual property for the partly developed 2015 Marussia F1 car.

Clearly the lure of $65m dollars and some existing F1 technology and engineers could be a great opportunity for the American as he launches into unchartered territory to build a Formula One racing car.

Around half of Marussia’s debt was to Ferrari, who would also benefit from a revival of the ex-Russian owned team. At present there will be just four cars running in 2015 with Ferrari engines, whilst Mercedes have eight.

With Ferrari trying to play catch-up on the engine front, the extra data from another two cars running their development and 2015 engines.

Were Ferrari to write of their debt and the creditors agree 50 cents on the dollar – which is far more than many of them could have hoped for prior to this week – Haas could acquire Marussia for around $10m.

Given the prize money earned by Jules Bianchi which would be paid in monthly instalments from March to the end of the season, on the condition Marussia have a team attending the Formula One events. Haas would then appear to have around half the budget required to run an entity managed by Manor Racing for half a season.

Were Ferrari to oblige by providing the engines, the $25m Haas would need to find to see out the year and develop the 2016 car is peanuts compared to doing this from scratch.

When asked yesterday by the BBC as to how high his level of confidence was that a deal could be done to revive his team, John Booth replied, “Pretty high.”

Marussia’s cars are reported to be currently stranded in Abu Dhabi following a last dirch effort to make the grid for the final race of the 2014 season. Booth remarked it would be a “fairly straightforward job” to prepare them for Melbourne.

This would require agreement from the other teams and a ruling from the FIA that Marussia can run their 2014 cars.

If Haas pulls this off, he would in effect be acquiring the services of John Booth, Graham Lowden and a group of dedicated and skilled racers and engineers – which may be the greatest asset Haas could possibly lay his hands on, to launch his Formula One dream.


Jolyon Palmer announced as Lotus F1 Team Third Driver for 2015

Joylon Palmer - Lotus F1Reigning GP2 Series Champion Jolyon Palmer today joined Lotus F1 Team as Third Driver for the 2015 season.

Jolyon will attend all Grands Prix and Formula 1 tests throughout 2015 for Lotus F1 Team, including driving in a significant number of Free Practice 1 sessions, as well as contributing to the car’s testing and development during the season. Jolyon will also fulfil the role of Reserve Driver.

Jolyon is the first British driver to win the GP2 Series since two-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. He won the 2014 GP2 title in record-breaking fashion, with the greatest amount of points scored in a season (276) and the most consecutive points finishes (19). Lotus F1 Team’s two race drivers, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, are both also former GP2 Champions.

Gerard Lopez, Chairman and Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team:
Jolyon is a fantastic talent and a very credible driver to fulfil the role of Third Driver at Lotus F1 Team. Romain and Pastor are both GP2 Series Champions, so we know what a fantastic proving ground GP2 provides. For Jolyon to have enjoyed such a successful season as he took his title last year shows his superb potential for the future. We are looking forward to seeing him in team colours and behind the wheel of our 2015 car, the E23 Hybrid, which represents an exciting new era for Lotus F1 Team.

Jolyon Palmer:
I’m delighted to be moving into F1 with Lotus F1 Team this year as Third Driver and I’m very grateful for the opportunity they have given me. My goal has been to become a race driver in a competitive F1 team for 2016 and Lotus F1 Team is a great opportunity for me, particularly with Mercedes engines now. To be able to learn with a major F1 team by working closely with them in every area and getting a lot of mileage in the car is the best way possible, as Valtteri Bottas proved. I am delighted to be joining Lotus F1 Team at such an exciting time and my objective is to earn a long term future with them.

While Valtteri Bottas proved being a test driver is one way into Formula One, so, as Maldonado/Chilton/Ericsson/etc proved, is having lots of wonga. I’m sure the irony will not have been lost on Palmer that he has followed the same path as Davide Valsecchi, in winning the GP2 Championship with DAMS before jumping into a Lotus F1 test role.  The Briton will be hoping it is not an omen, as the Italian was unceremoniously turned down for the drive in Austin and Brazil, in 2013, after Raikkonen quit the team for back surgery.

The Italian’s career now having stagnated somewhat.


27 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 20th January 2015

  1. That McLaren / CNN press release is just friggin’ woeful. That rubbish is so bad it must be computer-generated, surely.

    In plain language:

    “CNN stumped up some coin today. In return, we’ll whack their sticker on our car and put a keg / trough on in Austin”.

    • I particularly liked the bit from Ron – “Our shared love of technology has united us and together we will pursue new opportunities FAR BEYOND the conventional scope of a Formula 1 partnership”.

      They’ve got Buzz Lightyear working in PR

      • Doesn’t he have a conflict of interest with RedBull?
        The Beyond is ok, it’s the Infinity bit, maybe the EU commission can wade in and clarify things….

        • But, with numbers beyond Infinity, unable to be calculated, surely this is all just virgin territory to be grabbed?

          A friend once undertook a second PhD, on calculating numbers close to infinity. Many years later, it turns out he wrote a (very good) book… on the solitude of maths and addictions and conquering atrocious habits. Apparently heavy indulgence is common, in certain mathematical fields.

      • I suspect Ron inspects all McLaren PR statements and gets irate if it doesn’t follow Ron Speak Grammar Rules.


        As for Honda ? Plenty of attention will be thrown at them once the MP4-30 rolls out of the garage and hits the track at the first test. You’d hope they’ve sorted out the issues from the first test and hit the ground running. Best case for Honda’s PR department, they are ahead of Ferrari and Renault and not too far behind Mercedes.

  2. why on earth are people still using that windtunnel in cologne? if i remember correctly, every team that went there produced a dog of a car afterwards. ferrari did, mclaren did and toyota itself wasn’t known for designing rocket ships either.

  3. CNN was first in the cable news network business, but is now 4th in the ratings in the US. CNN is one reason why Americans hate airports–all TVs show CNN. And the logo will be on front endplates? Not on the sidepods or airbox? Sounds like a minor sponsorship to me.

    • It looks like a minor sponsorship deal indeed. Yes, CNN is a crappy news network. They’re no longer a credible news source. They strive on controversy, drama, and scandal. If a news worthy incident does not involve any of these ingredients or if it is not politically correct, then they don’t air it. I am glad BBC News and Al Jazeera are slowly coming to the American cable networks.

  4. Haas buying Marussia and turning it into Haas F1 makes total sense. I’m sure we were saying it here a while back. The main issue was not losing money while running the team in 2015.

    I thought they would just pick up the remaining employees and enter in 2016, clear of debt. However, if that is now solved.. they could even run as Manor in 2015, while concentrating fully on the 2016 Haas.

    Who will be the drivers? Ferrari have too many, so could place one for taking a haircut. Sutil is still around, not yet committed to WEC.. Sutil-Gutierrez at Haas?

    Chilton, if he has any more money (and will haircut their £3m loan), or Van der Garde, free from Sauber, also are, while others have now committed elsewhere, e.g. Palmer at Lotus. Stevens could replace Chilton, in a third driver role..

  5. German F1 writer, Michael Schmidt reveals this is because “the team has changed wind tunnels from a facility in Brackley to the Toyota (facility) in Cologne”.

    No it isn’t – the clue as to the real reason is in the ‘half baked’ comment! 🙂

  6. Re Jolyon Palmer and Davide Valsecchi

    Hold your horses! Both are literally the least exciting GP2 champions in a decade:

    Their path to victory as anything but Hamiltonesque:
    Valsecchi: 15th, 17th, 8th, 8th, 1st
    Palmer: 28th, 11th, 7th, 1st

    The rough methodology to score youngsters by f1metrics places both Valsecchi and Palmer miles behind the likes of Rosberg, Hamilton, Hulkenberg or Grosjean.

    In short, don’t even bother… It shall be a travesty if he ends up with a race seat while the likes of JEV, Magnussen or Vandoorne are overlooked…

    “Consequently, Formula 1 teams have stopped paying attention to drivers who earn GP2 titles only through repeated attempts. Valsecchi was overlooked for the proven talent Kovalainen (156 achievement points as a junior) when Lotus needed a replacement for Raikkonen. Leimer was told that $14 million couldn’t buy him a seat at Sauber last year. Palmer has no current prospects of a seat in Formula 1 next year or beyond.”

    • Well, he’s managed to get a third driver role with FP1s.. that’s an achievement in itself. But true, McLaren badly need a junior team to run Magnussen and Vandoorne. Unless they will run one driver next year for Button and have the other as the reserve?

  7. FI have lost e plot even before seasons start with having to waste funds on a sponsor’s ego trip to Mehico. Why launch the car at all? It’ll be another car before Barcelona testing.

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