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Previously on TheJudge13:
#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “A sad and pathetic attempt to impose order”
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OTD Lite – 2005: Briatore rises to Raikkonen’s defence
Kimi Raikkonen had received considerable criticism for exposing himself whilst in a lap-dancing club. On this day Flavio Briatore offered his views over the furore that had risen throughout the quiet and timid F1 tea party set.
“If Raikkonen was my driver and he went to a club for a drink and some fun, I would have no problem with that, we have to understand that a young driver is not a robot. As long as he is not drinking the night before a race, why not? You don’t want drivers to be like book-keepers. A driver needs to have a personality. What Raikkonen did is like a breath of fresh air. Maybe he should be given a drink before he speaks to the press in future.”
Is it any surprise that the other F1 team bosses hated this wild Italian who spoke as he found rather than to the corporate elite. As to Kimi’s views on this most sincere of defences?
Pro-F1 faction fails to convince Audi management
Rumours about Audi coming to F1 have probably had their tenth anniversary this year, but with the hiring of former Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali they were fuelled even further. Motorsport Total reports that this year however, those traditional rumours were close to becoming reality.
There is a strong faction within Audi that has been lobbying for entering F1 for years. Now that Volkswagen has two marques going up against each other in WEC/Le Mans, observers believe that one of them will leave WEC in the near future. With Audi having won everything multiple times and Porsche just having returned, the guess is not hard who would leave, should those speculations turn out to be true.
Domenicali and former BMW-Sauber engineer Jörg Zander, both now working in Audi’s motorsports department, had created a concept late last year, that envisioned entering F1 in 2017 by buying the Red Bull F1 team for an alleged 300 million euro.
Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is believed to try selling off Toro Rosso, but adequate takers are hard to come by. While speculation about a sale of the main team is regarded as a suprise, Mateschitz won’t be the only one pondering what PR value F1 still holds after several titles already won. In addition to that, other projects like the football club RB Leipzig will become a lot more expensive in the near future, as the east German club is expected – if not this year, then next season – to be promoted to Bundesliga.
We now know that Domenicali and Zander’s concept was nixed in January by Ferdinand Piech, the board of directors chairman of Volkswagen, because Piech has always categorically refused to enter F1 as long as Ecclestone is calling the shots.
Official: Manor no longer in administration
FPR Advisory have released a statement that Manor’s creditors have approved a Company Voluntary Agreement, which means that the responsibility for the company has been transferred back to its management.
The road back to F1 will not be easy for the team. For instance a new base is required as the factory in Banbury has been sold to Gene Haas. Their original base in Dinnington (retired in 2011) is apparently still an option for Manor, but would have to be revitalised.
According to Motorsport Total, the investor responsible for the survival of Manor is the founder of Ovo Energy – 37 year old Stephen Fitzpatrick from Northern Ireland.
Manor return: With the help of McLaren?
Germany’s Auto motor und Sport reports that Force India could have wrecked their reputation for nothing as the plan B to build a car to 2015 specification could be closer to success than expected. The team that left administration on Thursday 19th Feb can now act independently again. And part of that surprising turn-around could be McLaren.
According to AMuS, Manor has already submitted a model of the 2015 spec car for FIA crash tests in early March, which would make a miraculous return at Melbourne possible, but the problems are far from solved, as problems with PU unit supply and the manufacturing of suspensions could still endanger the project.
Support by McLaren is not only possible, but would also provide them with a means to side-step the wind tunnel restrictions. Already Manors previous incarnation Marussia had used the McLaren wind tunnel in Woking. If Manor were to do that as well, the Woking windtunnel could be in use for 50 hours per week as opposed to 25. And since it is unlikely that Manor would use all their allotted 25 hours/week, McLaren could gobble up the extra for themselves.
That would of course be not entirely within the rules, but while FIA can check how long a windtunnel is being used, there is no way to check what is being worked on.
The speculation is fuelled even further by the fact that Motorsport Total reports that it was McLaren’s Ron Dennis, who introduced the motion in the Strategy group to allow Manor to run with a modified 2014 car. The survival of Manor would be the best chance to get the 9.6 million euro that Manor still owes the Woking team.
In light of the ongoing difficulties with their exclusive power unit, McLaren are advising Honda an engine customer would be most advantageous to improve their data acquisition.
In the meantime, Ferrari appear to have been mollified with a 50 cents on the dollar payment for the 20 million they were owed from engine supply in 2014.
Congratulations I think
Early this morning Nico Rosberg tweeted (below) the news of his expanding family…
While congratulations are in order, a word of caution may be advised to the 2014 runner-up, given what happened to Sebastian Vettel when his first child arrived. As was reported by TJ13, Vettel found less time to visit his then Milton Keynes team’s base. An extra distraction that will not affect Lewis Hamilton thanks to the his more self-centred stance on readiness to entering fatherhood.
Due in August, just before the flyaway end to the season, perhaps not the best of timing for Rosberg junior to arrive if the Championship battle is as close as it was in the year just gone. There again, maybe the responsibility of being a father will drive Nico on…