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Previously on TheJudge13:
#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “A sad and pathetic attempt to impose order”
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 – 2001: Traction Control rears its ugly head again
It was on this day, 14 years ago that the FIA and Formula One teams decided to lift the ban on Traction Control. It had originally been banned for the 1994 season but various intelligent ‘geeks’ had found ways to circumvent the regulations with coding – to the point that Max Mosley despaired they would ever be able to enforce the rule change.
Therefore traction control became part of the Formula One armoury from that years Spanish GP until it was finally banned for the 2008 season when a standard ECU was introduced. Having said that, once F1 engineers have learnt a technology they will do whatever possible to regain its advantage as argued by Giancarlo Minardi upon hearing the Red Bull at the 2013 Singapore GP.
As to 2001, this particular Grump remembers well Ron Dennis telling the world’s media gleefully that once the grid had traction control it would highlight who had been running it illegally to that point. The guilty team would find that the level playing field would see their cars drop back as the others were no longer at a disadvantage. The implication being that the dominant scarlet team would suffer the most.
At the Spanish GP therefore it was almost a shock to see Mclaren fall within the grasp of the rest of the grid whereas Ferrari became an even more dominant team… go figure.
Mercedes – Barcelona schedule confirmed
Mclaren and Sauber announced last week their driver line-up for the forthcoming Barcelona test that starts on February 19th. Over the weekend Mercedes have also announced that reigning World Champion will be taking the wheel of the championship favourite the W06 Hybrid for the first day before swapping over with Nico Rosberg on alternating days.
Mercedes completed 515 laps at Jerez to ensure all the systems were reliable without ever worrying about troubling the time-sheets and they head into Barcelona with their true speed still unknown. Although it will be the final test – before the cars are shipped to Melbourne – when the full suite of performance parts are fitted – this test should give an indication of how the respective teams are performing.
Ricciardo goes back to his roots
In the recent podcast, when asked which driver would the panel members support – the Grumpy Jackal said quite simply it would be Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo because of his links to the Italian motherland.
Although the beaming Colgate Kid is a nationalised Aussie, his father was just six years old when the Ricciardo family arrived from Sicily and as far as Daniel ca remember he has only visited Sicily once as a child.
A recent edition of the www.redbulltin.com carries a story of the Red Bull driver completing a lap of the historic Targa Florio circuit in an Alfa Romeo 33t as once raced by his boss Helmut Marko. Marko in fact still holds the outright lap record from his second place finish in 1972 at 33m 41s.
Marko was not a fan of the race, “The first few laps were a shock. During practice, Toine Hezemans collided with a donkey, rider and all. He was catapulted over the rear spoiler. Nino Vaccarella and his car disappeared under a truck. Locals nailed their doors and windows shut to be on the safe side. One car got lost up in the mountains. It took half a day just to find it again. There were no crash barriers, just outsized bales of hay here and there.”
Daniel ran around part of the course in what is a 43 year old car but with not only the value of the car to consider but also the poor state of the roads – racing speeds were not possible. Instead the young Aussie stopped at different points and was surrounded immediately by the locals.
After his run, he absentmindedly mentions he will have to ask his father why his grandparents left Sicily before adding “Maybe now I have a better understanding of what Helmut means when he talks about the past, even if I’ll never completely understand it. Even if there wasn’t a donkey on the course this time. But I know one thing. Now I want a historic racing car.”
Vettel gets to play at Ferrari playground
Michael Schumacher was part of the team that developed the Ferrari Enzo and would play a significant role in the first Ferrari FXX whcih was based on the car and would be offered to some of Maranello’s best customers. A $1.2million toy which was kept at Maranello and wheeled out for test days when requested.
Fernando Alonso was the next to have an input into Ferrari’s hyper cars when he put LaFerrari through it’s paces before it was finally launched at Geneva last year with all of the production run pre-sold to collectors.
Between the Jerez and Barcelona test, Sebastian Vettel continued this line of work by taking time out to test the new Euro 2.5 million Ferrari FXX-K. Packing a sizeable 1050bhp – it would appear that Seb’s Italian lessons have proven worthwhile and certainly more entertaining than an Infiniti…
Verstappen considered best ever by his Toro Rosso engineer
In recent months, Pat Symonds has been waxing lyrically about the talent that he can see in Valtteri Bottas. He has compared the young Finn to former drivers he has worked with – specifically Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
In much the same fashion Toro Rosso’s Xevi Pujolar is espousing his views on his young charge, Max Verstappen whose role in the Faenza team is that of race engineer.
“He is the finest I have worked with to date – you can already see his potential and and how he is progressing. He needs to gain experience of course, but he has talent and he is fast.”
“To date he has shown he can do well in the series he has raced in but he is also pushing the team to do even more. Some guys can be in motorsport for 10-15 years and their level of professionalism will never be as good as Max’s and he is really impressive in regards his discipline and concentration,”
“Most kids of his age are only interested in going out but all he cares about is the races. He wants to be the best and 100% focused on his goals. He is pushing people, as he wants them to work the same way.”
As to Xevi’s previous charges that he engineered for? Since Pujolar joined the F1 circus in 2002 he has looked after drivers of the calibre of Eddie Irvine, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Webber – and it is for this reason that maybe the orange army would be wise not placing any bets on the youngest F1 rookie ever – just yet.
The Usher’s Caption Competition
for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher
Hammy with new girl
It had to be the case that this story would out sooner rather than later following the umpteenth split between the World Champion F1 driver – Lewis Hamilton and Cat Woman, Nicole Shirtzinger.
When asked about his plans before the Barcelona test by TJ13’s Adam MacDonald, Lewis replied ‘travelling’ amongst other matters.
Well indeed, Lewis has been travelling, and the Mirror reports he attended a Naomi Campbell charity event in New York on Valentine ’s Day – WITH – model Irina Shayk – Christiano Ronaldo’s ex-girlfriend –
Irina Shayk is a mere 29 years of age and at the height of her career, whereas the relatively positively aged ex-Pussy Cat Doll singer has been feeling the tick of the biological clock – which caused frequent disagreements between the bling boy of Formula One and the fading pop star.
For Hammy fans concerned he would be begin acting in moody fashion and failing to concentrate on his racing, these fears appear to be misplaced. Whilst the pictures of Lewis and Irina don’t exactly present him as gleeful, the British sports star may well be slightly embarrassed at being caught in full public view so soon after he and Nicole “agreed to terminate their relationship.
Shirtzinger commented following the relationship breakdown, “It was the hardest decision we had to make, but we made it together. I love Lewis and I know he loves me. We wish nothing but happiness and the very best for one another. I’m trying to stay strong in my faith right now”.
As was mentioned on the TJ13 Podcast ‘comment of the week’ – it appears Lewis will be ensuring his ‘pipes are clear’ prior to hitting the track. Further, this ‘friendship’ may in fact pre-date the 2014 race in Sochi, which would explain Hamilton’s weekend long eulogising over Russia and what a ‘great place’ it was.
More trouble brewing between Renault and Red Bull
Renault took a kicking last year from Christian Horner and Red Bull, constantly being reminded that they were to blame for the pairings lack of competitiveness relative to the Mercedes AMG F1.
It appears that this season, Renualt will be more forthcoming with their side of the story as Remi Tafin explained to F1i.com the reasons for Red Bull’s lack of mileage in Jerez.
“Red Bull experienced more problems because the power unit integration process is different on the RB11, compared to Toro Rosso’s STR10; the intercooler installation is not the same for instance. We tried to anticipate by changing parts because it takes three or four hours to replace the whole engine.
“Fortunately, Toro Rosso was able to complete much more mileage, which helped their two rookies gain significant on-track experience.”
TJ13 has been informed that Red Bull have decided this year to hold back a substantial part of their new car development until the beginning of the European season. Whether this is tactical (as claimed) or down to incompetence over deadlines – is not clear.
However, what is apparent is that Red Bull expect the Renault engine to be delivering close to its full potential around the time when new RB11 is fully formed and on track in May for the race in Barcelona. However, Renault is now suggesting they may take a longer term view over the use of their 2015 development tokens.
“We have been capable of not only thinking of the next few races or next season, but the next seasons,” Cyril Abiteboul told Autosposrt.
“Even though we have two years of partnership to go before hopefully there is a renewal, we need to maximise the value of money from the token allocation that we have.
Renault’s contract to supply Formula One engines to the Red Bull family concludes at the end of 2016. It is therefore imperative that in 2016 the French engine manufacturer demonstrate they have a strong power unit to attract new customers should Red Bull and Toro Rosso choose to go in a different direction on their engines.
This longer term approach looks to be in conflict with Red Bull’s aspirations for 2015.
The fact that Cyril Abiteboul is referring to the expiration of their contract with Red Bull and getting ‘value for money’ is revealing. Renault are a handful of race wins from becoming the second most successful engine manufacturer in Formula One behind Ferrari, but have few customer options available beyond next year should Red Bull ditch them as engine supplier from the end of 2016.
That said, the Halcyon days of the Renault partnership with Williams may provide an opportunity for the future of the French engine manufacturer. Williams have demonstrated a resurgence in form since they became customer team of Mercedes for engines, but to win championships again may require the Grove outfit to once again find a ‘works supply’ engine arrangement.