#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 23rd January 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: FIA on Life support!!!

FIA to sue paralysed ex-F1 driver

OTD Lite 2005 – For the Project Manager – JM

Niki Lauda believes more pressing issues than Hamilton contract

Iceman impervious to pressure

New engines for 2017 edge closer

Junior love for Alonso

Haas F1 up and running

Day 1 Jerez drivers

Streiff Apologises

OTD Lite 2005 – For the Project Manager – JM

For anybody who has had the pleasure of listening to the latest Podcast, you will have John Myburgh stumble over who competed in the 2005 US Grand Prix. Of course, it has nothing to do with on this day in particular but I felt it worthy to clear up any confusion that out trusty South African friend may have caused.

The answer to the three teams that actually competed were of course Ferrari, Jordan and especially for Mr Myburgh, the Minardi team with Christjian Albers and Patrick Friesacher. Of course with all the Michelin runners having withdrawn due to the French tyres being not suitable for purpose, we had both Minardis finishing in the points.

So there we have it sir. Anytime you have a question about an historic article ask the trusty Jackal who will supply the information a darn sight quicker than a Google search.

The Grumpy Jackal.


Niki Lauda believes more pressing issues than Hamilton contract

Triple World Champion Niki Lauda has always been forthright with his opinions and as non executive Chairman of the Mercedes AMG F1 team is certainly not afraid to hit out at rumours which have appeared in the press in recent weeks.

Although the contract talks with Lewis Hamilton continue to be of interest to the international media – Lauda offers that in fact it’s all nonsense. “We always agreed that we would talk when he returns from Colorado to the first test in Jerez. So far, neither I, nor Totto, nor anyone else at Mercedes has spoken to Lewis about contractual details such as money or length of contract. Don’t forget he is still under contract to the end of this year.”

Of more pressing concern to the Brackley concern is the competition. “Whether Lewis is favourite or not, I think he will win. Mercedes has done a great job with the power unit and we are ahead of everybody but they have a real chance of catching us fast. It might take them three years, but we can’t rest on our laurels for three years or two or even one.

“Everyone at Brackley is concerned by us not running any testing outside of Europe. In Spain, the temperatures will be too low in February compared to what we will be running in during the year. We’ll go straight to Melbourne and have to compete in a warmer climate.”

As to the future and the impending changes scheduled for 2017 Lauda is adamant that he wants to see the drivers challenged: “These machines allow any driver from Formula 3 or GP2 to be fast straight away – without taking any risks. We need more powerful cars, which are more difficult to drive and maybe less expensive too. These F1 cars are like driving road cars but in future I want a car that has 1,200hp and wide tyres. Formula 1 has to be faster and more difficult. It should be as it once was.”


Iceman impervious to pressure

Raikkonen-Maranello-2015-206x141After the recent Ferrari factory visits by Sebastian Vettel, Jean-Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez it was the turn of fans favourite, Kimi Raikkonen. He arrived in Maranello yesterday to take part in a series of preparatory activities in preparation for the first test in Jerez in less than two weeks.

The Iceman who is due to be a father soon wanted to spend part of his visit with the engineers in the Gestione Sportiva where the new car is being built in preparation for the Spanish test.

After Sergio Marchionne’s recent outpourings to the Press – it was left to the generally silent power behind the FIAT empire to speak about the need for change within Ferrari. John Elkann: “At Ferrari we are all working. We all know where we start but the important thing is to show that this year there is an improvement. It IS important to improve.”

Following the culling of recent months, the metaphorical blood flow from the Scuderia has been stemmed and the new collective are working hard to implement the changes made under the ruthless eye of Marchionne – the Ferrari President. The aim is to put the poor memories behind them and return to being competitive.


New engines for 2017 edge closer

The Formula One engine manufacturers have met twice this month to discuss the future of the sport’s power units. Bernie Ecclestone is demanding more powerful – over 1000BHP – and louder engines according to AMuS.

Niki Lauda has insisted that this process needs to be done properly and not in half measures, to avoid the mistakes on cost and specification made during the development of the current V6 Turbo Hybrids.

All this means, the new engines will not be seen running in anger before 2017.

The devil – as always – is in the detail of what each manufacturer would like to do.

Unsurprisingly, Ferrari want to see a return to the ‘halcyon days’ and propose V8 engines with twin turbo chargers revving to 17,000 RPM. These power units would ditch the MGU-H and run with a version of the old KERS.

This is almost an identical proposal to the one Christian Horner was making during the autumn of 2014. No doubt the rumours that he is off to join Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari at the end of the year when his current contract expires with Red Bull will gather pace.

Mercedes obviously aren’t playing ball. They are insisting the new hybrid technology must remain and to change course completely on engine design will incur huge costs again. Stuttgart is willing to give up the current fuel flow restrictions and increase the limit of 100kg per race, to facilitate the 1,000 BHP requirement from the current engine design.

Honda too are happy for the engines to change for 2017, but they are putting on the table pioneering developments such as four electric motors in addition to assist drive with each wheel.

There appear broad agreement, the price to customers for the new engines should be restricted to around 10 million euros.

The FIA are not absent from the party as Charlie Whiting has proposed simplifying the design regulations and allowing more freedom and Niki Lauda has called for new thinking so a younger generation will say, “Cool. We’ve never seen that before.

Lauda is on record as stating that F1 cars should be difficult to drive and has been openly critical of the fact that Max Verstappen and his likes are capable of driving in Formula One. Niki suggests the new cars have a high level of grip, which may be aligned with Pirelli’s wish to supply larger and wider tyres to F1.

Lauda wants fans to see the drama when a driver loses the increased grip and the skill required to catch the car from sliding, or presumably crash.

Despite their differences and Ferrari looking to the past rather than the future, it appears there is improving consensus on the need to scrap the current programme of ever increasing engine development restrictions planned up to the year 2020.

Yet the parties are a long way apart and Bernie Ecclestone is threatening to impose his will on the subject.

“Peace for our time” –  Neville Chamberlain 1938


Junior love for Alonso

When asked to name the best driver currently on the grid, new boy Max Verstappen had no hesitation and replied “Alonso”. And team mate Carlo Sainz Jnr agreed: “Fernando of course

Both however agree that the likely winner of the 2015 F1 drivers’ championship will be Lewis Hamilton, because he has the best car, according to Spanish publication, AS.


Haas F1 up and running

Having denied the rumours he is about to acquire Marussia, Gene Haas Formula One programme is officially up and running.

Haas F1 will be based in America, although it has been reported widely that the team has acquired the base in Banbury of the defunct Marussia team, from where the final preparation of the  cars will be completed.

The American team owner’s plan is to sub-contract out the chassis design and build to Dallara. The Italian chassis manufacturer already designs and builds cars for IndyCar, Indy Lights, GP2, GP3, World Series Renault and ADAC Formel masters.

Italian publication Omnicourse is reporting that Haas has now commissioned the design of a 2016 Formula One car chassis and signed off the work to produce a wind tunnel model.

The world of Formula One watches on as Haas charts a new course which may change the way non-automotive manufacturing teams can compete in Formula One.

The deadline for the following season’s technical and sporting regulations has been moved by the FIA from June to March this year, which is intended to provide new entrants into the sport more certainty as the begin the task of building their car for the following year.

That said, given the recent form of the FIA when it comes to last minute regulation changes and glaring omissions from the rules – such as the absence of engine homologation dates for 2015 – nothing is certain in Formula One, until it actually happens.


Day 1 Jerez drivers

Yesterday we reported that Fernando Alonso would be the first driver to pilot the all new MP4-30 in Jerez. Lewis Hamilton has alternated with Nico Rosberg each year and the German will begin the test on February 1st 2014.

Ferrari have now named Sebastian Vettel as their day one test driver but are being ridiculed by Red Bull for signing John Eric-Vergne as a test driver.

A source from the energy drinks company has stated, Vergne “was our worst simulator driver”. This comment may though be more a reflection of the culture within Red Bull rather than actual fact.

Sauber have announced Marcus Ericcson will drive on day one and four with Nasr doing his duty for the team on day two and three.


Streiff Apologises

Having been threatened by the FIA with a law suit for defamation, Philippe Streiff has in the last hour been forced to issue an apology on his Facebook page.

The post explains that Streiff had given an interview to a journalist from a little know TV website.

“I went over the board [berserk] in front of the camera, the interview has lasted (too) long and I understand having uttered serious and defamatory remarks towards Jean TODT, Gérard SAILLANT and the FIA and I sincerely regret them.

“I deny and retract these remarks which are without any basis and I request the media to retract them from their outlet channels.”

“Lastly I ask Jean TODT and Gérard SAILLANT, who know full well my health issues, to excuse me. I regret having expressed thoughts related to them which do not correspond to the high consideration that the two deserve.”It also appears that many media sites have removed Streiff’s original comments from their archives, presumably following contact from the legal representatives of the FIA” (translation from TJ13 contributor Landroni).

Streiff’s comments about Jean Todt and Gerard Sailant misappropriating funds are the ones likely to have incensed the FIA president, which is unfortunate as his observations on the FIA investigation panel into the Bianchi crash have clearly struck a chord with other voices dissatisfied with this enquiry.


20 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 23rd January 2015

  1. There’s been a mistake. The quoted paragraph “Whether Lewis is favorite or not…” was said by Bernie, not Lauda!

      • Press misquoting something ? Well I never.
        Wild speculation time – Lewis could have bypassed Totto and Lauda entirely and gone directly to the Daimler board over his contract, thus the two of them are running around like headless chickens. Who knows in F1, contracts are as murky as ever.

        Anyway I’m more interested in seeing if the new nose regulations have caught teams out on the aero side of things, Williams had to change everything by the sounds of it, as it had a bigger impact on the aerodynamics than they expected.

    • Yeah that middle section is word-for-word what Bernie said. Then the laurels business was Bernie saying they couldn’t afford to have Mercedes dominate all the way to 2020.

      Niki also said that there had been no discussions about term or money, in relation to Lewis’ contract. Two pretty specific areas for him to mention, leading one to think that initial meetings have been about ancillaries.

      Still a whole lotta nothing-to-see-here about this story.

        • Had to correct the inaccuracies, y’know. Insert pertinent information oddly left out in the TJ13 articles. Y’know, simple reporting stuff.

          Also Lewis is testing on day 2 & 4, unlike what a post said yesterday.

          • Lol, annoying to you perhaps! (there’s irony for ya: takes a thick-skinned animal as a nickname)

            Just sayin’, the people that come here aren’t F1 newbies, so if you’re gonna consolidate and present info for them, then it’s gotta be on the mark. Regard me as an antagonist if you want, but I’m not saying this site can do no right. The articles on F1 finance, and the geopolitical entanglements in F1, are usually top drawer. Just demanding better, in certain areas. Positive criticism. If your reaction to that is of the “up yours” variety, well then that’s on you.

  2. Why have Haas left all the chassis side stuff to Dallara? All the series that they are contracted to build chassis for are spec formulas. I can’t imagine they’ll be able to be especially competitive without doing that sort of thing in-house. It’s seeming more and more like Haas are just going to be another HRT/Marussia/Caterham type trainwreck.

    • I’m eagerly waiting to see them using hydraulic car jacks and changing two tyres at the time during their pit stops.

    • I imagine it’s less expensive for Haas to contract Dallara to engineer the chassis versus trying build the needed infrastructures, and hire the all engineers to build the chassis in-house, (which was the business model of HRT, Marussia, and Caterham).

      But you’re correct that you should not bet much money on Haas winning the WCC in their first year or two…

  3. re 2017 engines:
    sounds like an open formula with a simple finite amount of fuel per race weekend would be very welcome to manufacturers. this would open true paths to innovation and not the gimmicks we currently endure.

    • While I too find the concept of an open engine formula limited by the amount of fuel to be very attractive, it would be extremely, prohibitively expensive.

      The F1 teams can barely afford these less expensive, highly regulated, very restricted engines as it is. Two teams could not afford them last year, and collapsed.

      • its a free market world. if you run your business as a constant loss, then its your own fault for failing. besides, it could easily be moved to R&D costs to major manufacturers and absorbed into the billions in revenue they generate.

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