#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 27th January 2015

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Previously on TheJudge13:

FOM improper use of DMCA to enforce trademarks

TJ13 Go-Karting Event on 28th March 2015 – Not Quite #F1 But Will Be Fun!

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

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Please use the comments section to ask an opening question for our podcast regulars to answer. Remember, the best answers are often given if the opening question is not F1 related. (Ed’s Note: What have we started!)


OTD Lite 1974- Brazilian GP legend’s sideburns

2015 Winter testing imminent

Mercedes likely to maintain engine advantage for some time

HP joins forces with Sauber

Ericsson wins Sweden’s top driver Award

The Usher’s Caption Competition

Wolff continues to fuel speculation


OTD Lite 1974- Brazilian GP legend’s sideburns

Forty one years ago today, Mclaren recorded their tenth Grand Prix victory when Emerson Fittipaldi survived a disintegrating Sao Paulo circuit and torrential rains to take his second home victory on his way to his second World title.

Of course F1 was sexier in the 70’s, drivers shared many of the fashions that rock stars sported and these stunning looking cars were both physical and dangerous to drive.

The race start had been delayed as the track was swept of broken glass which the partisan crowd had launched on to the tarmac ribbon. Possible reasons other than the Brazilians natural partying exuberance were the fact that local boy Fittipaldi had qualified on pole but after the start he found himself Carlos Reutemann and Ronnie Peterson.

Emo took the lead from the Super Swede and continued until on lap 31 the race was abandoned due to a monsoon hitting the circuit.

Emerson Fittipaldi – motor-racing legend, double world champion and a friend of the late Ayrton Senna but perhaps most impressive of all – sideburns to rival Elvis Presley!

70s_Racing_Drivers_01-472x295

The Grumpy Jackal.

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2015 Winter testing imminent

With the F1 teams in the middle of launching their new contenders for the 2015 F1 season, details are emerging of which of the teams drivers will be driving on the first day of winter testing in just five days time.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will be the first incumbent of the FW37 and will run on the first two days before Felipe Massa takes over on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ferrari will also be following a similar plan with new recruit Sebastian Vettel taking the reins of the Prancing Horse for the first two days at Jerez before his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, steps into Maranello’s new car which has been christened the SF15-T.

Of more interest is Mclaren running Fernando Alonso for the first and third days of the test with Jenson Button substituting for the Spaniard on the other days.

The first test at Jerez is generally a shakedown of the new designs and to iron out any problems the cars may have. Last year, everyone left Jerez knowing that they trailed Mercedes by some margin. This year their rivals will be hoping to be closer to the Silver Arrows and not allow them to dominate the time sheets once more.

That said, TJ13 has learned that only Williams and Mercedes AMG F1 will be running the  Mercedes 2015 hybrid development engine, while Force India and Lotus will use the 2014 version of the power unit.

It was only a few years ago that Alonso left all of the first four days to his team-mate Felipe Massa as he concentrated on his personal training regime knowing that this test was not about performance development but systems checks.

Last year, the Asturian was available to Ferrari for testing throughout – with the new systems requiring in-depth understanding. It was also an indication of his will to impose himself over the arrival of the Iceman.

Although he is a new recruit for this season, it would appear that it is more than likely that this most astute driver is singling out Jenson Button as a real threat within the Woking infrastructure rather than simply running systems checks with Mclaren and Honda.

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Mercedes likely to maintain engine advantage for some time

The Mercedes team’s Enforcer – Paddy Lowe – has maintained a remarkable silence this winter. With his fellow bosses of the Brackley team – Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff – giving interviews seemingly every other day, Lowe has kept his distance from the microphones.

Of course, in a sense, he is under far more pressure than either of his Austrian compatriots as he is the technical director that replaced Ross Brawn.

With his rhetoric last year suggesting the infrastructure that the big man had left behind was inadequate, the need to restructure the various departments and leading a ground breaking team to further glory was never going to be a difficult ask. But Lowe has a problem.

If the 2015 Mercedes does not carry a sizeable advantage over its rivals, it will be natural that Lowe’s leadership will be questioned. He doesn’t have the two decades of experience Ross Brawn had under his belt.

In an interview last year, Lowe proclaimed: “I’ve taken Mercedes Formula 1 team to the next level”. So any sign that the team has been caught would make a mockery of his comments.

Lowe’s recent track record is hardly inspiring. We must remember he was Mclaren’s Technical Director from 2011 – in other words responsible for two of the worst Woking cars the team has ever produced.

Lowe of course is not responsible for the engine design and building work that takes place at Brixworth and the Mercedes’ customer teams appear confident there has been a step forward in the capabilities of the power unit.

Force India technical director Andrew Green has no doubts of the engines improvements. “From the data we have it’s definitely got better from last year, and I’m expecting another step in the middle of the season too. We’re excited about that.”

Lotus CEO Matthew Carter was impressed by the Enstone team’s new working relationship with Mercedes. “Having Mercedes is a huge opportunity for us,” said Carter. “We don’t know what Honda is going to be like, but Ferrari and Renault are obviously looking at doing changes later in the year – which means there will not be that much early on. That could give us a bit of a big advantage earlier in the season.”

If all this is true, then the Mercedes power unit will continue to be the benchmark by which the others are judged – but if Williams is appreciably closer to the Stuttgart works team – questions will be asked of Lowe’s capabilities on the car design front.

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HP joins forces with Sauber

Sauber announced yesterday that they had entered a new sponsorship agreement with computer giant Hewlett-Packard after losing their ties with NEC.

HP are helping Sauber to develop a state of the art super computer to be used primarily in the field of computational fluid dynamics. CFD is an area that all the teams are investing heavily in – as real-time limitations of wind-tunnel usage begins have an impact.

Monisha Kalternborn: “We are very pleased to be working with a prestigious brand like Hewlett-Packard. The high technical expertise of Hewlett-Packard HPC Competence Center has allowed us to develop a high-performance computer that is based on the most innovative technologies of Hewlett-Packard. This will improve our performance in the area of CFD. “

Marcel Borgo, Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Switzerland: “Formula 1’s peak performance requires both human and technological inputs. Hewlett-Packard is very happy to support the Sauber in the High Performance Computing and in so doing to strengthen the team. This is key to helping Sauber’s development team gain a crucial advantage on the track. “

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Ericsson wins Sweden’s top driver Award

In possibly one of the most surreal award ceremonies in living memory – Marcus Ericsson won Sweden’s ‘Driver of the Year’ award this past weekend.

Ericsson was routinely beaten by Kamui Kobayashi and in a one off drive at Spa – WEC driver Andre Lotterer out-qualified him by a second.

Without doubt 2014 was a difficult season for the 24 year old Swede. Caterham struggled throughout the season due to financial difficulties – which eventually caused the team to enter administration – missing the American and Brazilian Grand Prix.

At the American event, Marcus and his sponsors decided to transfer their millions in the direction of Hinwil and he signed a deal to drive for the Sauber team.

So as Britain celebrated double World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s rise to glory, Sweden forgot about their true superstar – Ronnie Peterson – and gifted the award to a man who’s best result was an 11th place in Monaco.

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The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher

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http://f1-theusher13.tumblr.com/

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Wolff continues to fuel speculation

TJ13 has previously commented on the different treatment offered to Lewis Hamilton by Mercedes, when compared to how Red Bull and Ferrari have previously treated their star drivers.

Toto Wolff spoke publicly just after the new year about Alonso and Bottas being possible replacements for Hamilton next year, should the team and Lewis be unable to agree a new contract.

Speaking to Bild, Toto Wolff again is re-enforcing this position by stating. “It is always useful to be prepared for all eventualities. Alternatives are always important. But they are alternatives, not priorities,”

Previously, Toto had stated that there would be a meeting immediately following the Abu Dhabi GP, but both parties have since repeatedly sent out the message that no talks have yet taken place yet.

Toto is however positive about the future with Hamilton as he repeats, “Towards the end of last season, we didn’t want to disrupt Lewis’ focus. Now he is back from holiday, we will sit together in the near future,”

“I can say, both parties want to extend [Hamilton’s contract term]. For us, Lewis and Nico are the best and strongest driver combination and therefore we have no reason to change anything.

“Lewis is feeling good in the team and we give him the best car. All this suggests a common future.”

Speculation will regularly continue until a deal is resolved, which is why Ferrari and Red Bull kept these conversations about their star drivers behind closed doors and resolved them long before they became a topic of interest.

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

  1. Caption
    ‘….and best of all,this time next year ill be drinking pinot grigio.’

  2. Re: HP
    I thought Sauber had a massive supercomputer when they were BMW. Is HP replacing that one, or did BMW take it with them? (I would assume that a supercomputer Has a longer life than a regular PC)

    • True, but that was almost ten years ago… and PC power doubles every two years! Time for a new rig! Good to hear Sauber have a new sponsor partner tbh, they were all appearing on the Force India.

    • Sauber’s supercomputer history dates to December of 2004 with launch of “Albert” their first supercomputer, consisting of 530 AMD Opteron processors.

      Then when BMW bought Sauber, they brought with them Intel sponsorship / partnership, so they launched “Albert 2” in December 2006 with 1,024 Intel processor cores.

      They’re calling this one Albert3, (I believe I saw this somewhere), but I’ve not seen any specs on this one…

      Sauber was very clever in the mid-00’s, using their limited budget to invest in their own wind-tunnel, plus an affordable supercomputer. It enabled them to hit above their fiscal weight for a few seasons.

      Now I’m just glad they can still make the grid…

      • Thanks for that! I thought in the terraflops-world your multimultimillion dollar inestment had a longer life, maybe even by just upgrading the processors only once in every 5 years.

        I hope they can find speed with Albert.

  3. A little harsh and selective on Paddy Lowe today aren’t you?

    Does he not get credit for the 2012 McLaren? Sure the car broke a few times, but when it didn’t, it was still one of if not the best car on the grid and should’ve won the championship had the team not cocked up so badly.

    Also is it that impossible that he has in fact taken the team to another level since Ross went fishing? It seems like people’s anger are directed towards him because of how Ross left the team, surely that wasn’t Paddy’s doing.

    Further, if the other teams are closer this season, does that necessarily mean he has done a poor job or in fact the other have done a better job than what they did last season? As many have said on here before, “given the laws of diminishing returns, the teams gap would be pegged back at some point.”

    • I believe McLaren alternates, or at least used to m, alternate their design teams on a year by year thing so Paddy would have overseen the 2011 and 2013 cars while the other group would have done the 2010 and 2012 cars. When you look at it from that angle Ole’ Paddy doesn’t look so shiny and it would have been on his shoulders the blame landed for breaking the fastest car of 2012 and redesigning it slow! Maybe Williams dodged a bullet as Toto had lined up Lowe for a job their, but when he abruptly buggered off to Merc he took Lowe with him their instead. It’s hard to imagine Paddy Lowe taking Williams to where Pat Symonds had then now. It would be a stretch too far for my imagination.

      • Yes they alternate design teams, not technical directors, so he was in charge of the 2012 car as well.

        So a man that has been in the sport for such a long time and who was also apart of the 3 man team that worked on the Williams active ride suspension, gets his career boiled down to 2 bad cars? Not really fair is it?

          • this, plus he was responsible for the decision to redesign the 2013 car from scratch, which surely ranks among the baddest decisions a team has ever made in f1.

          • That’s a bold statement to make. Given the teams policy of rotating who designs the car, i think it is somewhat unjust to say it was his decision to do, after all we know, it could’ve been Whitmarsh who made that decision.

          • lowe and whitmarsh probably are equally responsible, but lowe was the technical director, responsible for the design of the car, meanwhile whitmarsh was c.e.o. and team principal, responsible for the business decisions and overall direction of the team. so the latter most likely had to sign of the decision to design the new car from scratch, but the idea must have come from the technical side, and therefore paddy lowe.

  4. Caption
    “This is Fosters!!, You gave me Daniel’s bottle again. WTF guys?! This is why I’m leaving.. cos of shit like this”

  5. Before we ridicule Ericsson’s win as driver of the year in Sweden, can someone tell me what other high-profile driver do they have? I can only recall the 36-year old Ekstrom at DTM. Noone else in GP2, WRC or MotoGP or other high-profile motorsport categories.

    • Eki has definitely shown more of merit than Ericson, so you don’t need anyone else. Two wins, a second, two thirds, best Audi driver, second in the DTM championship certainly is worth more than Ericsons distinctly mediocre showing. Even more so since he kept being beaten by whoever happened to be his team mate at the time.
      If I was Eki, I’d be very po’ed.

      • You seem to be in a good mood today hippo, you said Ericson’s performances were ‘distinctly mediocre’….. That’s a pleasant way to put it….

      • I agree that Eki would deserve it more, but F1’s profile is gazillion times bigger than DTM and it’s probably a move looking at the future. Had he not signed for Sauber, Eki would have won it, I’m certain.

    • You’ve forgotten Felix Rosengqvist. He has driven in F3 in 2014, won a race at Pau and won the Macau GP. He has driven in Formula Acceleration too. I believe he’s going to FR3.5 next year. Even though F3 is not the highest category his performances, in my eyes, were still better than Ericsson’s achievements

      • On that note, what about Swedish diaspora driver Tom Blomqvist? He used the Swedish national licence until 2010, and was the meat in an Ocon/Verstappen sandwich this year in F3.

  6. Something of a paraprax from Toto there:

    “Lewis … we give him the best car.”

    Nico’d be a tad peeved at that 😉

    • Can’t help but think that the McLaren nose there harks back to the fast 2012 car, while the Ferrari one just looks slow, with a double bend and too much bulk down low, like a nose from the early 90s..

    • So, the McLaren will be presented and tested all black because they can’t decide in the color and deals with sponsors? When was the last time a decision was taken in McLaren with some confidence instead of months of doubts?

    • Plus in UK

      Sky HD costs £763.

      TV licence required @ £145.50

      Grand Total = £ 908.50

      BARGAIN !

      • Meanwhile the WWE Network has broken 1 million subscribers, priced at $9.99 a month (they dropped the six month commitment). Quite impressed with the WWE network’s broadcast of the Royal Rumble (not too impressed with the Rumble itself, and yes I know Vince McMahon picks the winners and losers, bet Bernie would love to have that kind of power). No buffering or drops in image quality, during the 4 hour broadcast. Could be an option for F1 in the future, broadcasting online direct to fans on a variety of devices.

        • Well that eould be way too sensible …. Or too risky for FOM. Firstly it means they will gave to do marketing. Secondly, FOMs rather large viewership numbers… well maybe they will be foubd wanting as can be seen by the drop in viewership numbers since things have moved to subscription.

          • I think it will be sometime before FOM looks towards that particular business model. If it works out long term for WWE, then other sports may move towards it. I think traditional pay tv days are numbered in the long run in anycase.

          • What’s interesting though is RedBull TV and also John Malone’s Liberty Global.

            The former, RB, will be able to pick up all the rights and probably buy the sport if they want. Imagine the benefits. One shit hot broadcasting crew. Maybe even in different languages(?). But RB will do a great job.

            Available online and most smart TVs and top boxes can now get RB TV.

            John Malone’s model is interesting. Get my broadband and you have this for free… almost like BT in the UK. Again, loads of potential.

            I think the point here is that we need an industry player to get involved in content production and delivery. FOM has had the sport for so long and are too complacent with their model… and probably knows it’s artificially inflating the value of TV broadcasting.

          • Things won’t change on the broadcasting side of things until Bernie is gone from the sport. The trouble is if you want to run an over the top network thing like the WWE network with F1 you’d have to buy the commercial rights and FOM’s content library to go alongside the live events.

            Anyway I suspect Red Bull might buy FOM at some point if the price is right and all legal issues are sorted. I expect if Bernie dies whilst still in the job it will be one unholy mess to deal with. At this point, barring something unforeseen I reckon Bernie will be in the job until the day he dies. Just to spite his enemies.

      • I guess with the money coming from Honda and McLaren’s other revenue streams, finding a big name sponsor is probably not that important. Producing a title challenging car is the goal, lack of sponsors will only become an issue if McLaren start winning and they still don’t have any because sponsors won’t pay Ron Dennis asking price. Which he’d probably inflate a bit.

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