#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 24th 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 2000 – Jenson Button’s debut announced

Renault chases German horsepower

Vettel will be punching table within 4 races – Berger

Chilton to ‘help’ Carlin in Indy Lights

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite 2000 – Jenson Button’s debut announced

Back in the late 80’s, when the Jackal was still a tousle-haired young seedling I used to frequent the bars and clubs attempting to emulate the exploits of the future AJH and Hippo!

One evening on my return home, around three in the morning, I switched on the TV whilst eating a greasy kebab and watched some go-karting on the TV. The category was Kadets and was for drivers aged between 8 and 11. Of course names meant little back in 1989 but one stood out over all the others – Jenson Button.

The name was so unusual that I had a premonition that I should visit the bookies and place a bet on him becoming a Grand Prix winner. The fact he was leading was a good sign too.

Fast forward eleven short years and on this day Jenson Button was confirmed as a Williams-BMW driver. Who would have believed that this fresh faced cherub would still be competing so long after and with a WDC to boot!

As to the bet? Well, it was never placed, the inebriated mind conveniently forgetting it by the morning. Only when I saw his name in a Formula Ford round did it strike a nerve….

The Grumpy Jackal.


Renault chases German horsepower

The Head of Renault Sport F1, Cyril Abiteboul, was speaking to Canal+ about the upcoming season and the work the French manufacturer has been conducting ahead of the 2015 season.

“We estimate that at the end of last season we had a 60bhp deficit to the Mercedes engine. The aim is to halve that by the start of the season and unlike Mercedes we will be in Melbourne with our 2015 engine.”

“Of the 32 tokens we have used around 2/3rds so far and the engine is an evolution of last years rather than revolutionary. Despite the layout of the Mercedes engine we have left the turbo and compressor in their original positions as we feel it’s a better solution for us.”

“We now have 24 test benches at Viry which in terms of computing power is equal to the rest of the Renault Group combined. New additions are engineers from Porsche and Ferrari but we could not entice anyone from Mercedes to join us.”

After the problems suffered in winter testing last season, the hope is that engine guru Mario Ilien will be able to develop solutions which provide a step forward. ” Lat season, the main problem we face concerned the internal combustion engine’s heat and the direct injection turbo.”

“As you know, we wanted to work with Ilmor and entrusted the engineers to Ilien in relation to the ICE. This way our ideas and their solutions will eliminate the least effective components.”

Vive le France


Vettel will be punching table within 4 races – Berger

Gerhard Berger had what many would agree was a good F1 career. He was not considered as one of the greats of his era, but he was respected for his speed – not least when he out-qualified Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna on occasion.

His career path from his 1984 F1 debut with ATS through to his final season with Benetton in 1997 included periods at both Mclaren and, perhaps most significantly, Ferrari.

He was not away long from F1 when he returned as BMW’s Competitions Director until 2003 before buying 50% of Toro Rosso with his friend and long time backer Dietrich Mateschitz three years later.

He would run the Italian-Austrian concern until he resigned his position in 2008 but in that time he worked with a young Sebastien Vettel and hence knows the German well. Seb went on to dominate the 2008 Italian Grand Prix and Berger is on record at the time stating he would be World Champion.

Next week Vettel is expected to begin his Ferrari career in earnest as he undertakes the first two days of running in the new challenger form Maranello. But Berger suggests that Seb will be anything but light-hearted once the season begins.

With Marchionne suggesting Ferrari will be competitive for the last 5 or 6 races of the season, Berger paints a very different picture of the man from Heppenheim.

“I know Sebastian and he will be beating his fists on the table after four races because he will not be willing to wait until 2016 to win races.”

It’s well known that Vettel’s hero is Michael Schumacher and it seems that their work methods are surprisingly the same. Schumi also used to voice his displeasure in private with the team but never to the outside world. Seemingly quite a change from an Asturian who tweeted the world about his angst.


Chilton to ‘help’ Carlin in Indy Lights

With the collapse of Marussia and the few remianing seats having been snapped up it seems that the money from Chilton senior will not be furnishing any paddock clubs this year.

Max Chilton hardly set the world alight during his two year F1 career yet managed to set a record for most consecutive finishes for a rookie.

Of course, with the cars being easier to drive these day and reliability so strong – allied to a talent that is a few per cent less than his contemporaries – he was hardly likely to be in huge demand for the 2015 season.

It appears that the pretty one will be heading stateside to assist Carlin – his former team – set up an Indy Lights team this year with an eye on a 2016 IndyCar seat.

“I’m very excited to be assisting Carlin in the USA,” Chilton said. “While I’m still considering my options for 2015, the IndyCar package presents an interesting challenge and by assisting with the development of the Indy Lights team I’m keeping my options open for an IndyCar programme in 2016 based on a strong foundation of knowledge and experience. Hopefully I can also help the guys at Carlin get as much as possible out of their first season in the USA.”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

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11 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 24th January 2015

  1. “but we could not entice anyone from Mercedes to join us.”….. Is that where the other 30bhp is?….

    Did Mercedes actually say they won’t be using their 2015 PU in Melbourne or did they say they’ll teating it at Jerez?

    • Well if they can figure out the problems, come up with workable solutions then they might get close to Mercedes. I’ve got a better chance of running F1 with an iron fist…..

  2. Looks like Honda may only have a handful of tokens if Renault have used 2 thirds of theirs and I would guess Mercedes will use as many as they can too. The FiA role over with regards Honda position could be looking like a very shallow victory for McHonda!

  3. Caption Comp
    James Hunt- I do wish they’d hurry up old boy, my beer is getting warm and my woman is going cold!

    Nikki Lauda- (under his breath) Shut up Hunt you a$$hole….

    • Minor change:

      Nikki Lauda – (under his breath) Shut up Hunt, I just warmed her up for you…

  4. The Abiteboul article is badly translated, in French it says that Renault is estimating that they will have used two thirds of tokens come the season opener in Melbourne. So that would mean app. 10 tokens for Honda in their ‘average count’.

    I’m also confused about Abiteboul’s statement that Mercedes will not bring its 2015 engine to Australia: does that mean that they will simply race their 2014 engine, and how will the FIA then determine the amount of unused Mercedes tokens for the Honda count as I understand that such count will be made at the time of the season opener? Will Mercedes have to bring a current state version of their 2015 engine that they will NOT use in the race? And would that not be opening the door for a juicy conspiracy theorie that Mercedes would build and bring an engine that is seemingly more developed (tokens used) that it actually is just to disadvantage Honda?

    I get a feeling that 2015 will be the year of ‘tokengate’…

    The link to the French article: http://www.canalplus.fr/c-sport/c-formule-1/cid1202418-l-heure-de-verite-pour-renault-sport-f1.html

    • Yes and AMuS reported last week that Merc was bringing 2015 engine to Melbourne for that very reason, to reduce the number of tokens Honda would be able to use. In fact they had figured that Honda would wind up with around 8 tokens based on what they had heard, with Merc reserving 6, Renault 8 and Ferrari barely getting out of the gate and having 10 left over.

      So I don’t know why CA said that unless he just hadn’t yet heard, or perhaps Mercedes have again changed their minds, but I doubt it.

      • It could end up whereby McLaren Honda protest power trains at every race until the FIA gives in. Anyway we shall have to wait and see just how powerful and reliable the Honda power unit is. If it’s close to the Mercedes then tokens will be an issue or if it’s seriously flawed Honda will want as many tokens as they can get their hands on. But if it’s got a slight edge over the Mercedes (I highly doubt it) then reliability and safety changes might just be enough.

        If McLaren Honda rolls out of the garage on day 1 of testing with Alonso behind the wheel with no Abu Dhabi like problems and he pounds the laps out of it, and Jenson does the same on Day 2 then things will be looking good. If not Alonso’s body language will be the most interesting thing to watch if possible and the glum smile on Jensons face we’ve seen for the last couple of seasons at McLaren will also be telling. Of course the litmus test for McLaren Honda will be at the first race.

  5. Re: OTD Lite
    Great wheel-to-wheel action, and a very touching interview with John Button.
    Dads and lads, eh? : )

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