#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 4th February 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

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

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: I thought that was gonna be funnier

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 – 1979: A brilliant talent unrecognised by F1

Ferrari on the road to recovery it seems

Mclaren increases running to relief of Boullier

More Newey-Red Bull secrets revealed

#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 3, morning

#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 3, afternoon

#F1 Testing Jerez Day 3 Video: Nasr Puts Sauber On Top

OTD Lite – 1979: A brilliant talent unrecognised by F1

Fernando Alonso once said: “When I arrived in go karts at the top level, racing in World and European championships, he was winning all of them. I thought that guy was very special, a very good talent.

In another interview he called him “invincible” and he certainly wasn’t referring to Hamilton or Schumacher when he made his comment. Nico Rosberg remembers him as “probably the best of all time in go karts.

giorgio pantano3

The man that both these F1 winners were speaking about was the forgotten Giorgio Pantano who celebrates his birthday today. Between 1993 and 1999 the Italian dominated the karting world to a degree never witnessed before or since. He won three Italian, three European and two World titles.

In 2000 he took the German F3 title in his rookie season and graduated to F3000 the following season. By 2003 he was impressing during F1 tests but with no seats available remained in the feeder series for another season.

His time in F1 is regrettably best forgotten but for all who witnessed him at his peak, Pantano was one of the greatest lost talents the sport has ever seen.


The Grumpy Jackal


Ferrari on the road to recovery it seems

If Ferrari return to winning ways this year – much of the credit will fall at the feet of the bespectacled President – Sergio Marchionne. Since forcibly replacing Luca di Montezemolo he has promised that anything that was required to turn the stable around would be provided.

Of course having only taken control in mid October 2014 it would perhaps be a step to far to truly consider his input as significant. After all James Allison has been directing the team’s design for over 12 months and there have been countless heads ‘rolled’ in recent months.

Having said that, changes that were implemented back in the summer by Marco Mattiacci seem to have bore fruit in regards the power unit that Ferrari and Sauber have been using in Jerez – having respectively topped the time sheets on all three days.

As notorious as winter testing can prove – Nico Rosberg has spoken of the surprise of the pace of the Ferrari relative to the work being conducted by the Silver Arrows.

“The general feeling is a feeling that we’ve come a long way as a team, we’re a strong team. We’re keeping an eye on the opposition and especially Ferrari has been an eye-opener for us in the last couple of days. But still, we’re confident we can start the season well and in terms of development be strong.”

Sebastian Vettel had two constructive days with the new SF15-T and declared the car was in good shape. But the acid test was always how the new car would compare to the F14-T and Kimi Raikkonen believes that the two main shortcomings – primarily the power unit and front end grip – have been successfully remedied.

“I think the whole team has done a very good job over the winter after last year was difficult at times,” he said. “It was a positive first day and there were a lot of improvements in the areas we had difficulties.”

Obviously it’s the first day and we were unfortunate with the weather today – somehow the circuit stayed damp for most of the day. I think we had good running and some decent mileage and I give thanks to the team for building us a really good starting point. It was a good first day.”

The Iceman continued: “The atmosphere is very good within the team, there have been a lot of changes, but for the right reasons. Like I’ve said, hopefully we can have a good year and good results which will only make things better for everybody. Right now everybody is pushing, working together hard, the feeling is good within the team. It’s early days, but it’s great to see how good it is, how well people are working together.”

As FIAT and Chrysler would attest to, Marchionne is a corporate genius and it’s possible that his brand of leadership is just what the Prancing Horse ordered.


Mclaren increases running to relief of Boullier

There was tangible relief from the Mclaren team following their run of 32 laps yesterday. After problems at last year’s Abu Dhabi test and a mere six laps completed on both Sunday and Monday this week, Tuesday was seen as progress.

“It was very important and a huge relief,” Eric Boullier said. “Ever since last night we are a little bit happier after the last lap of Jenson [on Monday] because we believed we had fixed the issues, but as I said yesterday, sometimes you just open the Pandora’s box and you pick up one and another one is coming. This morning it was just a relief to see the car getting out of the garage at 9:00 and running actually faultlessly for a few hours.”

A water leak brought the team’s running to a close as they sought to locate the issue but despite the improved laps run by Fernando Alonso Boullier admits that the team is currently short of its target for the test.

“It’s not enough, obviously. We are maybe less than 50%. But it’s better than nothing and at least operationally we have covered everything we wanted. The good thing as well is that the car is running, as you saw in the morning, 10 laps in a row so we have no design concept or conceptual issues or architectural issues with the car. The cooling is working, everything is fine.”


More Newey-Red Bull secrets revealed

It was once suggested by an F1 designer that if you weren’t pushing the spirit of the rules in some manner you were not going to be winning very much.

Over the last two decades one man – above everybody else – has pushed the design parameters set down by FIA regulations more robustly than anybody else, Adrian Newey.

With Red Bull seemingly decorating their car in camouflage to divert attention from some of their most ‘interesting’ features the photographers have had to work harder to discover some of the RB11’s hidden gems.

On Monday TJ13 carried news of the ‘S-duct which the Milton Keynes squad have utilised in their designs for some years. With Danill Kyvat’s loss of the front wing it opened up the area for the lenses to capture and show the latest circumvention of the rules.

The regulations do not allow for any opening underneath the chassis and yet as can be seen clearly in the photograph, Newey and his chief designer Rob Marshall have developed a solution.

A set of nostrils (seen under the camera mounting) on either side of the nose structure allows the collection of air from under the car and feeds it through to the upper most surface.

Inevitably every great career comes to an end. With the restrictive designs that the rules force engineers into, the challenge has almost disappeared for Newey. Without doubt the ensuing weeks will see many lenses focused on his last challenger as they seek to uncover the minutest details.


#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 3, morning

(Ed: For anyone who missed yesterday’s TJ13 exclusive reports from Jerez)


A flurry of activity greets us here at an overcast Circuito de Jerez as the only team yet to make it out on circuit is Lotus. Times out on the circuit are in the 1:30s currently as the teams ease into the morning.

Raikkonen has a wobble on his first lap out, then misses the turn in to the Ayrton Senna Chicane on his second lap.  He seems less happy in this car than Vettel, but its still very early.

Carlos Sainz Jr is in the car once more for Toro Rosso.  He almost spins off as he turns into turn 1 after putting his tyres out on a damp patch of the track.  He locks up, but holds it together to.

35 minutes in and we have a lull on track. Rosberg 11 laps, Nasr 9 laps, Sainz 6 laps, Ricciardo 5 laps.

Felipe Massa heads out on track with intermediate boots on. Multiple burnouts as he heads along the pit lane.  Williams have been consistent, but unspectacular so far.

Felipa Nasr is out on track, but far from the limit as he circulates the 4.42km circuit.  After a positive day yesterday the Brazilian was bullish about his chances in the coming season.

Track and air temperature hovering around 11°C here at Jerez. A light westerly wind which is drying the track nicely, although a clear dry line remains on the pit straight. Nico Rosberg returns to the track as he cruises along the past an empty grandstand.

If you missed the report from day 2 in Jerez, then catch it here… Vettel was on top, as the new boys at Sauber went from strength to strength.

10:00 –

Track and air temperature hovering around 11°C here at Jerez. A light westerly wind which is drying the track nicely

Alonso has now completed 11 laps as the work today starts with a sensor on the left of the nose.  He returns to the pits after setting a 1:35.027 last lap.

Carlos Sainz Jr breaks the silence here as he does a practice start at the end of the pit lane. The Renault powertrain a farcry from the limp and choking machine 12 months ago. TJ13’s @ajhuntf1 is out on track and recorded this…

Red Flag as GP2 graduate Nasr takes a trip into the gravel at turn 9. After all the plaudits that were afforded to him yesterday the bubble bursts for the F1 rookie. 21 laps completed before this.

A brief pause to catch a cup of tea then...

A brief pause to catch a cup of tea then…

Green flag so we are GO GO GO once more. Fernando Alonso wastes no time in getting back out on track.

Kimi Raikkonen back out on track now as he pushes towards a double-digit lap count. Lapping in the 1:37s currently.

11:00 –

2 hours in and it is Nico Rosberg who leads the way with both the fastest lap time and most laps completed, a 1:33.059 and 27.  Nasr, who is now back to the Sauber garage, 22 laps, Alonso completes 19 and Sainz Jr through 18 laps.

Kimi Raikkonen back out on track now as he pushes towards a double-digit lap count. Lapping in the 1:37s currently, although he seems to be struggling in the wet conditions.

On-track TJ13 man @ajhuntf1 reports of Kimi being “very twitchy through turn 1. Back keeps on stepping out. Tentative through turn 2. Merc hooked up through both.”

Mercedes are relentless in their work, looking set to pass 300 laps by lunchtime… there’s not even any points on offer yet!  Undoubtedly the strongest car of the field, they have picked up where left off in 2014 – that’s what Champions are made of!

The 2014 runner up now passes Carlos Sainz Jr into turn 2 after the young Spaniard joined the track ahead of him. The Mercedes man is on a charge.

Lotus makes their first appearance of the day as the E23 is in the hands of Pastor Maldonado. After a drivetrain issue yesterday they will be hoping for a smooth day to catch up on the time they missed on day 1.

Kimi Raikkonen is now fastest with a 1:28.137.

Nico Rosberg then takes the top spot back with a 1:27.575, then a 1:27.400 and now a 1:27.073. The W06 starting to push.

Rosberg glued to the track

Rosberg glued to the track

12:00 –

Still only 5 laps for the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. The team’s Jerez woes continue, but the Lotus E23 is now back on track.  Pastor Maldonado sets a 1:26.911 on his eleventh lap of the day.

Nico Rosberg remains in close pursuit of the new Mercedes powered team, Lotus, then overtakes into turn 13 on lap 80.

Carlos Sainz Jr is still out on track with Nico Rosberg for company. 51 laps completed for the Madrid born rookie as he makes the step up from Formula Renault series.  After taking the title with 7 wins from 17 races, he’ll be hoping to continue that success.

After all the strong running today the Mercedes W06 now stops out on track at turn 10, causing the second red flag of the day.

Truck now deployed to pick up the Mercedes 2015 challenger

Truck now deployed to pick up the Mercedes 2015 challenger

The lack of running this morning from Red Bull has been caused by an engine change. The team say they expect to make it out later this afternoon.


#F1 Testing: Jerez 2015 – Day 3, afternoon

(Ed: For anyone who missed yesterday’s TJ13 exclusive reports from Jerez)

After a fast start to the morning at a cold and windy Circuito de Jerez it was Nico Rosberg for Mercedes who completed the most laps.  We saw the red flag twice, firstly for Felipe Nasr and then for Nico Rosberg shortly before 13:00 local time. Conditions have brightened slightly from this morning, but track temperatures remain low as the wind picks up and the cloud cover remains.

13:00 – 

Nasr now fastest with a 1:24.052. Settled into long runs as Sainz is also on track with him.

Red Bull the only team not into double lap figures as they change their power unit.  A decent crowd has filed into the grandstand at turn 11, but the rest of the circuit is rather empty.

With 3 hours to Rosberg goes fastest with a 1:22.835

14:00 –

Nico Rosberg passes the 100 lap mark in his Mercedes for the day.  This team just go on and on and on…

Other than that everyone else is back in the garage. A hush sets in over the media centre as there is little to report.

McLaren says it will be able to replace the components before tomorrow’s running. While it was a more positive day for them, they were nowhere near the pace of those at the front.

When Niki Lauda being spotted taking a pee out on circuit becomes a big talking point on Twitter you know it’s a slow afternoon.

Felipe Nasr takes back the top spot with a 1:22.750 as the Williams of Massa joins him on track, followed by Raikkonen in the Ferrari.

15:00 – 

Rosberg is still out there pumping in the lap times, up to 121 now, as a chill descends over the Circuito de Jerez.

Time for some quicker running perhaps from Pastor Maldonado as he heads out for a stint on the soft tyre.

And that is the ton – Carlos Sainz Jr crosses the line for the 100th time setting a 1:24.696.

Meanwhile, away from Jerez, Caterham’s former owner Tony Fernandes has had his manager resign from QPR today.

 16:00 –

Into the final hour here and it is still Felipe Nasr who tops the time charts.  Red Bull did surface after the engine problems earlier, but they have only set 20 laps so far.  Out on track now, but still 12 laps less than McLaren-Honda have managed.

Ricciardo now up to 33 laps for the day, although still 2.356 seconds slower than the time set by Nasr earlier.


#F1 Testing Jerez Day 3 Video: Nasr Puts Sauber On Top

Today’s roundup from Jerez. We are aware that the quality is not the best but please bear with us. We are limited by bandwidth but will upload the high quality visuals when we have decent internet.


36 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 4th February 2015

  1. Pantano… like Lotterer or Davidson.. maybe he would have had a long F1 career, if not beaten to a Jaguar F1 seat by Klien and $10m from Red Bull/Marko! Really, he should have been in F1 from 2002, but didn’t have the cash to force the issue.

    • Its still early days and a real trend or competitive order can be seen only from say Spain in May. We saw Williams and Force India create headlines in the last pre-season but Force India faded and Williams dint achieve too much whereas Redbull and especially Renault received lots of flak but performed well since Melboune. So the real racing has not begun and its too early to conclude Alonso is sleeping badly. Lets wait and see hippo. Further Ferrari being Ferrari who were near the top 5 on all Fridays only to fade come Saturday and Sunday.

    • His sleep may get progressively worse if the Ferrari is good enough to enable Vettel and Kimi to mount a serious challenge to the Mercedes. Or given the relationship broke down completely between himself and the new Ferrari bosses he may not care all that much. The only thing that matters is staying in F1 and getting a car that will deliver that much desired 3rd title. Might pee him off more if Lewis wraps up a 3rd title in 2015 or 2016.

      • As long as someone is taking it to Mercedes.. be it Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull or Williams. But the old guard have 4x WDC chomping at the bit to get a shot.. the others 3 young guns and a resurgent oldie.

  2. So is Kimi still struggling with his new Ferrari? Looks like they haven’t balanced the front and rear from what I read?

    • It looked quite well balanced for Seb, according to AJ. I think Kimi’s wobbles had more to do with the less than ideal track conditions (damp most of the day)

  3. Interestingly, Force India is likely to skip the second pre-season test too. Looks like they are in real trouble

  4. Rumor: Marussia/Manor shows up at Melburne with 2014 chassis and Honda powertrain, MAG piloting one of the cars…

  5. Judge et al.

    Site organisation has been pretty poor the past few days; with multiple duplicates of stories on the main page.

    Where was this site re-vamp I was hearing about?

    Maybe its time to separate features and DN&C into different areas of the site?

    I for one would welcome any sensible re-organisation. Or at least for you to come up with an ad-hoc solution while you are uploading test reports.


  6. 11:00 am

    With three hours gone, here’s the lap count:

    Lewis Hamilton: 44
    Max Verstappen: 41
    Kimi Raikkonen: 33
    Romain Grosjean: 30
    Marcus Ericsson: 25
    Felipe Massa: 15
    Daniil Kvyat: 8
    Jenson Button: 4

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