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OTD Lite 2005 – British journalists as biased as ever!
“The fact yesterday’s meeting went ahead with only one team present will aggravate the divisions already splitting the sport,” noted the Guardian. “It reinforces the view that Ferrari has an uncomfortably close relationship with the governing body.”
For any long time readers of my articles or postings – it will come as no surprise that I am not fond of the British F1 press. In the same manner that Ferrari carries a certain presence about them for being simply Ferrari, many of the British media carry their arrogance and bias on to the printed parchment too.
The above quote comes from Britain’s Guardian newspaper and was in reference to a meeting that the FIA’s President Max Mosley called about possible rule changes. The only team that was present was Ferrari as the newspaper’s correspondent gleefully wrote.
It was views like this which saw the FIA re-branded as the Ferrari International Assistance. However, the reality was that the rules in 2005 penalised Ferrari heavily due to handicapping their single biggest advantage – tyres.
Until recently, the Guardian’s F1 correspondent was journalist Alan Henry – who writes the internet entries for Mclaren – no doubt alongside another ex-journalist Matt Bishop who also wrote prejudicially about the Scuderia.
Further back in the annuls of F1 print, another associate of these chaps is Nigel Roebuck – who made no attempt to hide his dislike for Ayrton Senna and Didier Pironi – whilst being close personal friends of both Alain Prost and Gilles Villeneuve.
Be aware – be very aware..
The Grumpy Jackal.
Red Bull still designing/ building their 2015 challenger
In days of yore – before the internet took over as the de rigeur manner by which to reveal a new F1 car – teams would work until the last possible moment to take advantage of wind tunnel time. The team would then depart for a remote and distant location and begin testing their new challenger before the start of the season.
Much of this running would help identify faults inherent in the car before it turned a wheel in anger or would guide the engineers in their never-ending search for more speed. Mclaren famously turned up at the Imola test session before the start of the 1988 season with a new car and a new engine. By the end of the morning, the MP4-4 had delivered lap times 2.5 seconds faster than anything the competition had managed all winter.
Maybe there’s hope for Mclaren fans this year….
In the 21st century, cars have been built to finer tolerances with reliability that is almost unheard of and several teams will leave their unveiling until the last possible moment. The reasons behind this haven’t really changed in a generation. Primarily this prevents the teams rivals from copying their solutions and it allows the team further time to refine their design.
If we are to believe Spiceboy Horner, in 2015, Red Bull has found itself chaotic final stages of preparation before this weekend’s test session in Jerez.
“The car is not ready yet,” Horner said at a media event in Milton Keynes on Tuesday. “The car is flat out into car build at the moment, so it is probably the shortest production and assembly in ten seasons. It is unbelievable what the factory has turned around so far, but there is plenty to do before Sunday.”
Making a mistake once is unfortunate. Twice is becoming a habit. Adrian Newey told a crowd gathered at the Austosport awards in January 2014 that the late start on the RB10 had created “something between mild panic and crisis management,”
Horner too admitted they had probably pushed the development of the RB9 for longer than was ideal, leaving Red Bull short of time to produce and assemble the RB10. The result was the aero packaging was too tight and the car kept catching fire in Jerez. Red Bull managed just 17 laps at the first winter test last year.
“After the first test last year, hopefully this one cannot be any worse than that. I think we managed about four laps over four days and the car would either stop on track or set on fire. It has been a far more positive winter compared to last year. We know where the benchmark is and what we need to achieve.”
“As the team continues to evolve and grow, it has been I think the most impressive winter we have had as a team. That is in terms of everything coming together – in terms of the car being produced in the shortest time ever, and the design hitting all their deadlines and targets.”
So have Red Bull cocked up their design and build programme once again? Or is this all a ploy to lull the opposition into a false sense of security.
After all, the RB10 did turn out to be the second best car to the Mercedes work’s team entry in 2014 – and given the impotence of the Renault power unit, this was one hell of a car design.
When the 2015 Red Bull car finally hits the track in anger, it will be the last of the Adrian Newey creations. Christian Horner tells AMuS that, “He [Newey] is the designer of this car.”
Horner confirms going forward, Adrian Newey will spend no more than 50% of his time on F1 projects, but will be relieved to assist with other ventures such as the British America’s cup project.
Car reveals remaining
Friday: Ferrari & Sauber
Saturday: Toro Rosso (pit lane Jeez)
Sunday: Mercedes launch (pit lane Jerez)
Red Bull: Will just roll out of the garage and begin testing (TJ13 exclusive)
Ferrari confident of direction heading into Jerez
Williams launched their FW37 last week and their technical director, Pat Symonds, spoke of the impact that the new nose regulations for 2015 had had on the design of the new car. Yet his counter part at Ferrari was somewhat more measured in his views but Allison asserts that Ferrari has adapted well to the change.
“We’ve had to change the way we package the front end of the car to some extent, the way the front wing works and the nose and the turning vanes. But it’s not so big a deal for us, it’s something we adopted early on in the year and just moved on from there … This year’s car is certainly a lot better looking than last year’s car – prettier round the front, tighter round the back and that makes for a nicer car.”
Unsurprisingly Allison believes the team has focused on three main areas for improvement and that the new Ferrari SF15-T can close the gap to both Mercedes and Renault.
“The guidelines are pretty simple; last year we were too slow, not good enough, so fundamentally make a competitive car. As always the challenge for a competitive car is lots of downforce, lots of horsepower, good driveability, so we’ve been working all three of those things”
Lotus confirms 2015 Mercedes PU for Jerez test
Tobias Grunner of AMuS has been reporting that only two Mercedes powered cars at Jerez using the 2015 PU, would be the Brackley based team and their primary customer Williams. Both Lotus and Force India were expected to be running the 2014 engine at the first test session.
However, yesterday Enstone tweeted rather curtly. “Contrary to what you may read, we are using the latest Mercedes engine in the E23, not something from the archives”.
The German correspondent was contrite and tweeted his apologies.
Much of the confusion emanated from an interview given by Toto Wolff last week, where he appeared to mock the efforts of his rivals by suggesting that Mercedes would not be running their new engine until the teams return to Spain for the first race of the European season.
Since then both the Silver Arrows and Williams have confirmed they will use the 2015 power-plant but Lotus also will be using the same specification.
THAT SAID, it would be ridiculous not to run the test engines during the test – but this is no guarantee they will be used down under at the season opener in March.
The Usher’s Caption Competition
for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher
Force India pull out of Jerez
Force India had indicated to AMuS last week, that they would be running the 2014 VJM07 in Jerez this year.
The breaking news is that the team will not be running in Jerez at all.
The team just tweeted, “We have chosen not to run the old (2014) car in Jerez. The learning opportunities would have been limited so the focus is now on Barcelona”.
Last week, Michael Schmidt revealed, “The team has changed wind tunnels from its own facility in Brackley to the Toyota [tunnel] in Cologne. The engineers under technical director Andy Green have found new insights into the aerodynamic problems of the past,”
For this reason, the 2014 car was to be used whilst the team finalised the VJM08 in time for the Barcelona test.
TJ13 commented at the time that teams failing to bring their new designs to the first winter test, have never faired well during the ensuing racing season.
However, there was still significant mileage ( 😉 )in Force India running their 2014 car. if only to collect data form the updated Mercedes 2015 power unit. Further, whilst the aero packages may not be finalised, shaking down the core elements of the car which take months to design and fabricate is a vital process which must be done at some point.
Once again, this will lead to speculation that money’s too tight too mention in Silverstone. Mallya, who once who once bought Gandhi’s wire rimmed spectacles, pocket watch and other personal possessions, has been under increasing financial pressure over the winter break as the last power house of his empire (United Breweries) is being chased to recover some of the estimated $2bn of debt owed by the defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Despite the car launch in Mexico and the new sponsors, Force India is short on its budget for 2015.
At the launch of the 2015 livery in Mexico 6 days ago, the name Sahara is still prominent as the title sponsor. Yet the joint owner of Force India, Subrata Roy, known as Mr. Sahara within the finance organisation was imprisoned last March and remains in jail in New Dehli.
Sahara is alleged to have defrauded millions of small Indian investors in a pyramid style scheme – set up to invest in property. However, the Indian Authorities believe there is growing evidence that there are few if any investors, and the funds Sahara received were from the ‘black market’ and Sahara was laundering this cash.
TJ13 has been informed that Force India is close to collapse. Suppliers have not been paid and this is the reason that the car is not ready for Jerez.
Unless funds are injected into the team in the near future, Force India will be unlikely to make the grid in Australia and Malaysia.
With Force India now absent along with Marussia and Caterham, just 8 teams are wending their way down to the Andalucian region to begin the long journey that leads to the finale in Abu Dhabi in 10 months time.