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Previously on TheJudge13:
Williams unveils 2015 challenger (UPDATED GMT:13:58)
Monza in talks with authorities (UPDATED GMT 14:16)
OTD Lite 1979 – Ligier “Those were the days”
Oh how we all wish we could go back to the good ol’ days of close racing and cars being equal rather than the sleep inducing dominations of Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams over the last couple of decades. Seriously, are you sure? Have any of you seen races from the 70’s? Or earlier?
What makes anyone believe that these races were any better? To attract the new viewer in we have DRS and self limiting tyres – all in the name of competition because we believe our product is broken. So why iis it that a football match could be an engrossing game even if there is no score and yet some one sided games are merely watching humiliation?
On this day in 1979, Jacques Laffite took his stunningly beautiful Ligier to victory in the season opening Argentine Grand Prix. He won by 15 seconds from Carlos Reutemann, with John Watson’s Mclaren a further 1 minute 13 seconds behind. The last of the runners to be on the lead lap, Ligier team-mate Patrick Depailler finished 1m 42 behind Laffite.
The more things change the more they stay the same!
The Grumpy Jackal.
Williams unveils 2015 challenger (UPDATED GMT:13:58)
Williams became the first team to unveil images of its 2015 Formula 1 car, with its new FW37 appearing on the front cover of publication F1 Racing.
As ever the Martini colour scheme proves striking on any car although many will be disappointed that the bands of colours haven’t been further accentuated on the new Mercedes-powered car. The first obvious differences are the much shorter nose and what appear more refined aerodynamics than the FW36..
Technical director Pat Symonds spoke to Autosport about his hopes for the 2015 season and he said: “How competitive you are is a relative thing. It is not just what you do, it is what your rivals do. We were probably fortunate that some of our rivals had some problems last year, but let’s not take it away from what we achieved as well.”
“Yes, we had a great power unit but equally in 2013 we had the same power unit as the guys that won the constructors’ championship. So I think we had moved on a lot. But we are fighting with the big boys. We are fighting with the guys who are spending twice as much money as us – and that makes it very, very difficult to go forward.”
“If we fully acknowledge all the things that brought us success in 2014, make sure we consolidate those, make sure we fully understand and incrementally move forward in all of those areas, then we can at least maintain if not improve where we are.”
Independent Formula One writer, Joe Saward, has been critical of Williams decision to reveal their car exclusively through F1 Racing magazine. “If you give the car [unveil] to one single outlet, they will love you, but you cannot expect everyone else to think good things about you. The media world is a competitive one and handing someone victory without a fight means that everyone else feels cheated”.
Saward suggests other publications, possibly including his own, may well now write less favourably about the team because, “they have not been fair to us”. He argues car launches have been an ‘open’ event to prevent favouritism and accuses Williams of ‘re-inventing the wheel’.
The litmus test of whether publications write favourably or not about Williams will in fact be based how the FW37 performs on track and with start of the season is merely days away, the Grove team’s new challenger will hit the track in Jerez on 1st Feb.
As ever TJ13 will have representatives at the first test and will be reporting back every day with insider whispers and information that just isn’t available anywhere else on the net. It was at the same test last year, that we reported on a Renault engine problem that was only confirmed a few days later to the official media.
Monza in talks with authorities (UPDATED GMT 14:16)
Despite the rhetoric last season that Monza would lose its place on the F1 calendar – Bernie Ecclestone is believed to be pressing to close a deal with the current organisers of the Italian GP or otherwise make arrangements elsewhere. There is just 18 months to go before what could possibly be the final F1 event at the historic Autodromo – and the clock is ticking.
The problem is Monza has had an agreement with Ecclestone which sees them pay one of the smallest F1 hosting fees of any current circuit – bar Monaco.
Ecclestone recently described the negotiations for a contract extension with Monza to be a ‘disaster’ and sarcastically uttered the words “bye bye”.
Yet there appears to be some good news for the Monza principals as they may find the circuit exempt from the proposed new ‘Stability Law’. This was estimated to cost the financially struggling race venue with an incremental tax bill of $20m. The final decision will be made in court tomorrow.
Roberto Maroni, President of the Lombardy Region, is willing to acquire the shares of two municipalities, Milan and Monza along with the management company of the circuit. The reasoning is to form a new entity which will continue to operate the Monza facility – that will celebrate its centenary in 2022. Maroni is willing to invest EUR 20 million on condition that this is tax exempt. At loggerheads though is the ICA President, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, who insists that this money is simply not available.
With Monza having recently lost nearly all the blue riband events at the circuit – including World Superbikes, the 1000kms and the WTCC – Andrea Orto, Ivan Capelli and Francesco Ferri, the new director of the Autodromo, want to provide a boost to the track which has seen its revenue decline by 80% since its heyday.
Ferri appears philosophical over whether a new F1 contract can be agreed. “2017 will arrive anyway, with or without Bernie Ecclestone,” states Italian publication Corriere della Sera. “If we don’t extend the contract that expires next year, we have a ‘plan B’ for the maintenance of the circuit and a number of other competitions together with the development of complementary activities,”
Monza completely refurbished the old banked track in 2014 to its original glory – and it is presumably to a standard that may see cars driving around there in the future.
Ferrari continues to strengthen squad
It has been confirmed that Toni Cuquerella is the latest addition to arrive in Maranello where he will be tasked with strengthening the technical structure. At present there is no confirmation of his direct role but it’s understood he will be coordinating the race engineers.
Jock Clear, who has joined from Mercedes is assumed to be taking over the role vacated by Pat Fry and will be the Director of engineering but other roles will be taken by other new arrivals to the team.
Cuquerella was running the Mtek BMW team in DTM but had previously worked for HRT, Sauber and Super Aguri. The Spaniard would assume responsibility of the two race engineers – with Riccardo Adami arriving from Toro Rosso and taking over as Sebastian Vettel’s engineer and Kimi replacing Antonio Spagnolo with Davd Greenwood.
It’s unusual for any team to make wholesale changes to every level of their structure and Ferrari may initially experience integration issues with all the new personnel, but after such a poor 2014, it is a clear message to all that Ferrari is looking at the longer term and will suffer the inevitable teething problems sooner rather than later.
Villeneuve new circuit designed for maximum attack
1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has announced that his race circuit project Area 27 has been given the green light. The circuit is called Area 27, in tribute to his legendary father’s race number and will be a new complex built in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
There will be commercial buildings, driving schools, an ice kart track and a three mile circuit that was actually designed by Villeneuve Jr himself. The facility has been designed to accommodate the FIA regulations for future motorsport events and the group behind the project includes President Bill Drossos, Trevor Seibert and David King who all make up the management structure.
On Area 27’s official website Jacques said, “I have been lucky to race all over the globe on a diversity of tracks over the years. Some tracks were amazing for that single qually lap excitement of driving on the edge and pushing the limit. Other tracks provided for great races with incredible overtaking opportunities. With all these options for rushes of adrenalin, there were also the tracks that seemed to lack soul or excitement. I have always relished the challenge of designing an exciting track, taking into account the single lap excitement, combined with wheel-to-wheel racing opportunities, all while avoiding the pitfalls of the uninteresting tracks. The goal is to design a track I would be proud of getting pole position on, where the fans would also enjoy watching an exciting race.”
As to co-founder Drossos inspiration behind the new faciity: “When I was a kid I saw Gilles Villeneuve win the Canadian Grand Prix (1978), and from that moment on all I wanted to do was drive a race car on a road circuit. My first opportunity came right after high school, when I competed in the F2000 Championship for two seasons at the Richard Spenard Racing School. When I returned to British Columbia I formed my own professional racing team to enter the highly competitive GM Motorsport series. It was during those early days in motorsports where I met and established friendships with the co-founders of Area 27.”
“Two years ago when returning from skiing at Mt. Baldy, I saw the perfect piece of land for a motorsports country club. I met with Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band, and he personally gave me a tour of the land and showed me an even better site for the club. Then it was a matter of calling my old friends and convincing them that a Country Club track was a good idea.”
2015 F1 car angles
The Usher found some very realistic and interesting renders by CGI artist, @erteclas on Twitter of a potential 2015 nose. With the coming speculation of imminent car launches, what does the court think of this design?