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Previously on TheJudge13:
An open invitation to all members of the TJ13 community – “What do YOU want to know about our podcast crew?
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 1978 – Michelins first ever F1 victory
Enzo Ferrari made an inspired choice to invite Michelin to provide tyres for his cars. He told Pierre Dupasquier after the 1977 Italian GP that he wanted Michelin for the following season.
As Dupasquier remembers: “We had a very difficult time with our friends from Renault since as tyres manufacturer, when the car doesn’t perform and when you have only one machine, no one knows what is wrong. Then having the confidence of E. Ferrari, who I used to know from the Daytona tyres business, was definitely a fantastic opportunity for us.”
Michelin tyres used a different construction to the products of their rivals – Goodyear. The French manufacturer used radial tyres as opposed to the American cross-plies and this would have dramatic effect on their relative performances. Throughout 1978, especially when the weather was blisteringly hot, the Michelins would have a distinct advantage over the Goodyear runners and so it proved in the second race of the 1978 season.
The Brazilian Grand Prix had moved from Interlagos to its new home at Jacarepagua near Rio De Janeiro. The conditions were sweltering and many of the Goodyear runners felt wary – after the morning warm-up – when Reutemann in the previous season’s Ferrari 312T2 proved conclusively fastest.
Starting fourth on the grid, behind pole man Ronnie Peterson, James Hunt and Mario Andretti, he was in front before the first corner and literally disappeared finishing fifty seconds ahead of Fittipaldi in the Copersucar.
After as the sun settled on the Brazilian circuit, Reutemann celebrated his first Ferrari victory and Michelin their first ever Grand Prix victory.
In 1979, they would secure their first ever F1 title with Ferrari and add further titles in 1981, 83 and 84 before withdrawing from the sport until 2001. Goodyear finally adopted a radial construction for the 1985 season..
The Grumpy Jackal.
San Marino circuit is ready to step in to replace Monza
The Imola Grand Prix was held on one of the classic circuits which drivers loved to race on. The blast past the pit straight and then flat out through Tamburello and into the hairpin of Tosa was incredible to watch. The races were high speed duels followed by a highly vocal and passionate crowd.
The hills which formed part of the circuit made this a challenge to the drivers and for years a Ferrari win here was celebrated with more relish than perhaps even Monza.
With the tragic deaths that struck Imola in 1994 – the circuit was inevitably changed to slow the cars down. A circuit arrangement that neutered the once great track and ultimately led to its downfall.
The race continued until its last entry back in 2006 and Imola has remained in the F1 wilderness since. With the Monza circuit at loggerheads with the Italian government and, more importantly, Bernie Ecclestone – proposals are being aired to run the Italian GP at Imola.
Vittorio, from F1WEB.it – a friend of TJ13 – wrote to us recently about an interview he had conducted with Pietro Benvenuti – the general director of the Imola circuit.
The interview was in principal to discuss the situation in regards Monza. Imola it was explained was a venue that was used for a number of events beyond racing such as concerts and fairs.
Benvenuti said during the interview, “Last June, Charlie Whiting inspected the circuit and confirmed a Grade 1 licence until 2017 meaning the circuit complies with all technical requirements to host any FIA sanctioned event including F1.”
“Of course, currently, there are no capable venues to afford the costs to host a Formula 1 race without the support of governments or wealthy sponsors. I think the entire F1 world must be changed, taking into account that the economics conditions have changed. Otherwise, the risk is in losing the historical venues which created the myth of the sport”
Losing Monza would for many be tragic – but gaining Imola would be more than a consolation.
RB11 in danger of missing opening test
Following on from the story TJ13 published yesterday,the news today is that Red Bull aren’t merely leaving the build of their car to the last possible moment – but also the mandatory crash test.
With the first winter test merely days away, the Milton Keynes squad is racing against time to get their car ready for the FIA licensed tests which will be conducted in nearby Cranfield.
Of course a team designs what they believe is both a safe and competitive mount but Adrian Newey is infamous for pushing the envelope of the regulations to the absolute limit.
If the RB11 fails to pass the tests, the team will be forced to start their winter test programme with a previously approved chassis. That said F1 cars fail crash tests and are re-tested a few days later, but its tight for the RB11 which is expected to be crash tested today.
There is still plenty of mileage in Red Bull going testing even without the RB11, as TJ13 observed when Force India announced they were pulling out of next weeks shakedown in Jerez. There are a wide range of components which can be fitted to the latest iteration of the RB10 to test in Jerez, plus the new Renault engine will require some significant running so the French manufacturer can properly benchmark where they are.
Omnicourse is reporting that Red Bull are planning to do a pit lane reveal of the car, on Sunday morning just before testing begins.
TJ13 however, is led to believe, this will not happen – but the car will be first on view when it pulls out of the garage for its first installation lap.
Rob White, the Technical Director of Renault Sport F1 spoke about the forthcoming season and their hopes as they begin a new collaboration with only ‘works’ team Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso using the French products.
“We updated each system within the power unit – with the main changes concerning the engine, turbo charger and battery. The actual 6 cylinder has a new combustion chamber and trumpets as allow by the new 2015 regulations.
The efficiency of the compressor has been improved and the recovery systems will withstand greater workloads. The engines positioning was already very good so whilst we have made a better integration with the chase there are very few identical parts between the 2014 and 2015 engines.”
As to the token system, White admits that Renault has used most of the allocation for this season already. The reasoning being that strategically by making changes early on they will be working on a more technologically advanced engine.
The only drawback being that the new design will be too early in its cycle to reap the full potential – whereas others would be able to develop their enhancements throughout the season and apply them at little overall cost against the Mercedes powered favourites.
Although the tokens are based around performance there is no restrictions on changes to improve reliability – something that White confirms – “I remember that we can still make changes aimed at reliability.”
With a power unit that Renault themselves claim has 850bhp and they believe they have halved the gap to the dominant Mercedes powerplant – and it would seem that F1 is not far away from breaching the 1000bhp barriers soon.
Berger denies wanting to step in to take-over Ron Dennis
Gerhard Berger has denied once again rumours linking him to taking over the position of Ron Dennis at Mclaren. The Austrian was teamed up with Ayrton Senna at Mclaren from 1990 and 1992 and has been mentioned in the press recently as a possible replacement for the 66 year old Englishman.
In recent months, Dennis has been trying to raise the funding to take over the whole of the Mclaren Group after a falling out with his previous partner Mansour Ojjeh. Ojjeh had been in hospital undergoing a double lung transplant when Dennis resumed control of the F1 team and there has been speculation that Ojjeh wanted to bring in Canadian Lawrence Stroll to push Dennis out.
Auto Motor und Sport has reported that Berger has put to rest any rumours about his involvement in the future of the Woking team: “Who else would they like to sign? Ron and I may not be the best of friends but he knows how to do his job better than anyone. Don’t forget he also secured Fernando Alonso to drive for Mclaren which is another strong point in his favour.”
TJ13 has been repeatedly asserting since December 2013, that McLaren have no intention of adorning their new Honda powered car with a title sponsor. Honda do not want to suffer the same fate of diluted publicity that Renault have bitterly complained about during the Infiniti Red Bull title winning years.
It appears that Mclaren will unveil the MP4-30 in an entirely in black livery. This will be a testing livery only and by the time Melbourne comes around, the debate over a title sponsor will be put to bed for another year.
Silverstone offers incentive to increase spectators through the turnstyle
Following the news from 13th January that Silverstone’s new Managing Director – Patrick Allen – wanted to reduce prices and increase the numbers of people at the British Grand Prix comes an incentive for this years race.
Silverstone has brought forward an initiative that was intended to be introduced for the 2016 season in time for this years race. 1,000 tickets have been offered at just £99 for general admission on the actual race day.
The reason is to ‘celebrate Lewis Hamilton’s title success and the £99 is the same as a ticket would have cost in 2008 when he won his last title. This significant breakthrough follows the announcements that children under 10 will be allowed in free and children aged between 11 and 15 will cost just £49.
In addition anyone who had already purchased a General Admission ticket will find their tickets have been upgraded to include a grandstand seat.
“We must begin to reach out to a wider audience. An element of this is, of course, the right product but we offer good value for money.”
Of course this last point is a marketing mans point of view and whereas the cynical will see it as a ploy to get more people in and make more money from sale of goods rather than entry fees – the fans will rejoice that for once an F1 organisation isn’t attempting to fleece them once again.
The Usher’s Caption Competition
for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher
McLaren MP4-30 revealed
This was how McLaren delivered the launch of their car in 1997. Today was a much lower key affair. Plus Geri wouldn’t be allowed to take part now, unless she had camera’s secreted about her person.
McLaren have revealed the 2015 F1 challenger – the MP4-30. When under the tutelage of Paddy Lowe, McLaren made mistakes made by creating necessary ‘revolutions’ in their car design.
The team say of the MP4-30, it is a “thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren“. The rear end looks more tidily packaged and the nose is an improvement on that used in 2014.
Whilst there’s lots of movement in the video, McLaren are cleverly hiding most of what their competitors would like to see. This appears to be a testing livery, as the black lower body is particularly useful for disguising detail form prying lenses and eyes.
Interestingly, McLaren are allowing their ‘reveal’ video to be shared on social media, with sites like TJ13. This will ramp up their marketing credits, ranking their brand higher in the marketing rack rate stakes.
“McLaren-Honda is a partnership focused on performance, technology and innovation, and there’s no better example of that than the results achieved in our first collaboration in the 1980s and 1990s,” said McLaren chairman Ron Dennis.
This may be nostalgic, yet the team in that era won 44 races and 8 F1 championships.
“I was Team Principal all those years ago”, Dennis added, “and while I don’t tend to like looking back to the past, our previous record of sustained success was certainly instrumental in creating the confidence to make the decision to partner with Honda again. Now, there’s real hunger to demonstrate the capabilities of the huge talent pool we share between us, and I’m totally committed to driving progress and achieving further success”.
McLaren are once again, ‘a works F1 team’ due to the exclusive supply of their power unit for 2015 from Honda.
The central struct supporting the rear wing has gone from last years design.
Which also means there is a change in the DRS activator.
McLaren have bi-directional focusing capabilities on their air intake, remember Lotus had 3 inlets above the roll hoop
Note the new high angle of the suspension arms