#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 24th February 2015

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Previously on TheJudge13:

#TJ13 #F1 Courtroom Podcast: “Slightly Drunk Qualifying”


OTD Lite: 1971 – PDLR – A mediocre driver

Mclaren provides official statement for Alonso accident

Ferrari legend – Byrne – returns to work in Maranello

Button about to rain on Alonso’s parade

Wolff finding Hamilton negotiations difficult

The Usher’s Caption Competition

McLaren title sponsor dead in the water for 2015

Problems with Renault engines’ driveability

Alonso wanted out of Ferrari years ago

Formula E Berlin unveiled

‘Halo’ Safety solution instead of closed cockpits


OTD Lite: 1971 – PDLR – A mediocre driver

Today, in a quiet corner in Barcelona – Pedro De La Rosa will be celebrating his 44th birthday. A quiet unassuming man who has carved himself an enviable reputation within F1 despite having achieved practically zero in his various dalliances with the sport.

As a race driver with Arrows, Jaguar, Sauber and HRT – he also drove a handful of races for the Woking based Mclaren team after having been their test driver since 2003. Often forgotten in the Spygate scandal that engulfed the team that Ron built, DLR was as responsble for the emails that him and Fernando Alonso poured over prior to the start of the 2007 season. Secret details of the Ferrari systems were tested and developed between the two Spaniards before the FIA stepped in.

As to his various duties as a test driver… is it just me that struggles to understand how DLR, Panis and Wurz were always singled out as the exceptional test drivers of their era? After all, if they were so good, why did Mclaren fail so miserably?

Luca Badoer tested extensively for Ferrari between 2000 and 2010 – contributing to thirteen titles yet not once has he ever been mentioned in the same breath as the Mclaren trio. And possibly this is the biggest clue. Mclaren has the support of a huge number of British journalists who will skew the picture in return for favourable access to the team.

Just in case anyone asks, the best test driver in my memory has to be…

1998-Jordan-Test-Driver-Pedro-De-La-Rosa-with_2714170

theJudge13_Logo3_GrumpyJ
The Grumpy Jackal

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Mclaren provides official statement for Alonso accident

In years gone by the news following Fernando Alonso’s accident in Barcelona would have filtered through the regular channels and would have been featured in a news article in the specialist press. But as it was witnessed over the weekend, rumours and theories have forced Mclaren to issue a statement.

Yet McLaren only have themselves to blame for the speculation surrounding the crash – had they issued a statement promptly, the ‘mysterious; silence would not have existed.

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In a world that recognises the cost of everything but the value of nothing – brands have to be very aware of what image is being portrayed and therefore what needs to be offered to the waiting world. The statement addressed a few of the more popular theories that had been gaining a foothold.

“Over the past 24 hours, we have been carrying out a detailed analysis of the damage to Fernando’s car, and its associated telemetry data, in order fully to understand the cause, or causes, of his accident. Even at this early stage, we have been able to reach some firm conclusions.”

“His car ran wide at the entry to Turn 3 – which is a fast uphill right-hander – allowing it to run onto the Astroturf that lines the outside of the track. A consequent loss of traction caused a degree of instability, spitting it back towards the inside of the circuit, where it regained traction and struck the wall side-on. Our findings indicate that the accident was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly.”

Many of the rumours shared on Twitter and countless forums suggested the Spaniard may have been electrocuted somehow and caused him to ‘black out’. Yet the statement is unequivocal in its wording:

“We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando’s car suffered mechanical failure of any kind. We can also confirm that absolutely no loss of aerodynamic pressure was recorded, which fact indicates that the car did not suffer any aerodynamic loss, despite the fact that it was subjected to a significant level of g-force. Finally, we can also disclose that no electrical discharge or irregularity of any kind occurred in the car’s ERS system, either before, during or after the incident.

“That last point refutes the erroneous rumours that have spread recently to the effect that Fernando was rendered unconscious by an electrical fault. That is simply not true. Our data clearly shows that he was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact – something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time.”

What does appear strange about this statement is that Alonso downshifted having lost control of the car and was breaking.

29127.2The statement continues, “Alonso suffered a concussion during the accident and was taken to hospital for: “a thorough and complete analysis of his condition was performed, involving CT scans and MRI scans, all of which were completely normal. In order to provide the privacy and tranquillity required to facilitate a peaceful recuperation, he is being kept in hospital for further observation, and to recover from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation yesterday.”

Despite this calm and measured update from McLaren, Flavio Briatore will fan the flames further having said this morning: “He [ALonso] does not remember the incident, but that is normal. I think tomorrow he will be out of the hospital”.

Understandably the news has brought relief to Fernando’s legions of fans worldwide. For many it appears strange to keep a world class athlete in hospital for possibly 3-4 days for concussion.

Yet surely now it is doubtful whether Alonso will take any further part in winter testing this week, but unless matters take a significant turn for the worst, the double World Champion will resume normal service by the time the F1 circus arrives in Melbourne.

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Ferrari legend – Byrne – returns to work in Maranello

From the land that brought you Opera, great food, jaw dropping architecture, fashion houses that rival the best in taste, class and design and cars that ignite every sense; we hear the words of Maurizio Arrivabene’s brotherly love for Ferrari’s legendary designer – Rory Byrne.

“Rory has my utmost respect, especially for that night I saw him eating with the light inside his eyes.” Possibly it is lost in the translation but what the Ferrari team principal is alluding to is the ‘fire in people’s eyes. Arrivabene had spoken with technical director James Allison about recruiting the veteran to mentor Simone Resta and then the call was made to the South African to return once more to Maranello.

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“I have to tell you something funny. I spoke with Rory, I’ve known him for a long time. I asked him ‘are you keen to work together with us, with your success, in the future to be a bit more involved?’ Without taking anything away from Simone Resta, who is our chief designer.”

“And you know, I saw in Rory a kind of light. It’s unbelievable, a guy like this of his age, and he’s still enthusiastic like a baby. I was really surprised. One night near to Christmas I went to a restaurant and I found Rory, who was eating very, very quickly, and I said ‘Rory, calm down, where do you have to run!?’ He had to run immediately back to the factory for a meeting with Resta.”

“Rory is working with Simone, he’s giving to Simone as a mentor because of his experience and he’s working on some detail of the car. Most people might think Rory is part of history, I don’t think so. We are talking about the chief designer guru all the time but Rory isn’t one of the guys who didn’t win, he’s one of the guys who won a lot.”

Of course, the sceptics will mock the Italian squad as it was believed that Byrne had worked with Nikolas Tombasiz on the 2014 challenger. Yet part of the revamp instigated by Marco Mattiacci and Sergio Marchionne was to remove the Greek designer and Pat Fry from their respective positions – thereby creating an atmosphere within the Gestione Sportiva of discipline, focus and a new mentatlity.

Having worked with Byrne at Ferrari back in the Schumacher era – Allison knows well the politics involved in the world’s most famous F1 team and Byrne’s reputation will prove a strong ally.

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Button about to rain on Alonso’s parade

A few weeks back on the TJ13 podcast, the panel were asked for their opinion in regards the driver battle at Mclaren this year. Practically to a person, the consensus was that if the Mclaren was not a settled car then Fernando Alonso would dominate his new team-mate. But, if the car was a balanced machine then Jenson Button was in with the possibility of causing an upset.

Lewis Hamilton and the Spaniard have proven over the years that they have the ability to drive a car – that isn’t working as well as it should – to potential podiums and wins. This gift allows for outrageous performances that others on the grid wouldn’t be ale to access but if the car’s performance is accessible to their respective team-mates then it makes for interesting viewing.

It would appear at this early stage of winter-testing and marginal unaffected running that Mclaren may well have provided the Brit with a car that will become a thorn in Alonso’s side this year.

“I feel every time when I get in the car everything feels right with the car, but I haven’t pushed this car yet. The car works when you drive it. What’s very positive already is the driveability of the engine has come a long way since Jerez which is great from the drivers point of view.”

“The engine packaging is fantastic on this car, which helps the airflow for the aerodynamics – Prod’s very happy – and that hasn’t caused any issues at all in terms of temperatures and stuff so it’s other issues that we’ve run into that can be solved and not hamper us in other ways which is good. It’s just fine-tuning driveability now which is great, a really nice position to be in.”

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Wolff finding Hamilton negotiations difficult

Over recent weeks much has been written about the protracted negotiations between reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team about extending his contract beyond the end of this year.

With Hamilton having severed his ties with management agency XIX last season it appears that negotiations have become far more delicate than usual, with Toto Wolff admitting that it is proving far more difficult than he imagined it would be.

An article on the Italian Omnicorse website carries an interview with the Austrian and he admits “It is even more difficult than I imagined. I won’t say anything negative about Lewis – he is part of the team. I want him to remain motivated and so therefore I have to choose the words I use with caution.”

“He is a very smart guy but we don’t have any pressure. We know what he wants and he knows what we want and in the end we will find common ground.”

Of course it was only recently that Wolff supposedly used the age old tactic of applying pressure to hasten the talks with Lewis along by suggesting that if an agreement couldn’t be reached, the German team wasn’t lacking in potential replacements with Alonso and Valtteri Bottas being mentioned.

Toto now seeks to clarify this rhetoric. “You have to stir things up all the time but that wasn’t the case this time. I want to maintain a good relationship with Lewis and if you start playing the media’s game you are taking the road to disaster.”

“I was asked who would I choose if Lewis went elsewhere and I said that it was unlikely but in my opinion Fernando and Valtteri would be obvious choices. Ultimately if you have belief in a relationship you do not need to play these games – even though F1 is a business”

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The Usher’s Caption Competition

for an alternative view on F1, follow TJ13’s Usher

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 10.12.58

http://f1-theusher13.tumblr.com/

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McLaren title sponsor dead in the water for 2015

McLaren Honda have just released the 2015 replica team apparel via the McLaren shop. The timing of this is not particularly late and at the first and second winter tests, many of the team personnel wear the previous years clothing.

The range of clothing, accessories and sizes is complete and the likelihood of adding a significant sponsor to this range is unlikely – though not impossible.

In the past two seasons, it appears McLaren have done a U-Turn away from bright and striking colour schemes, to a more minimalistic – some may say drab – look.

How do you like you F1 team clothing?

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Problems with Renault engines’ driveability

Christian Horner believes the current Renault PU offering is more powerful than last year’s iteration. However, whilst it does have more power, the distribution of torque is uneven.

Helmut Marko tells to AMuS , much of this can be solved with software changes – something Red Bull staff were sent to Viry to assist with in 2014.

“Then we will have eaten into a large part of Mercedes lead,” adds the Red Bull consultant.

It still remains that Toro Rosso have had far less problems with their Renault installation.

Further, is the Mercedes lead Marko refers to – the one at the end of last season – or the one which is at present unknown until after day 12 of the winter tests?

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Alonso wanted out of Ferrari years ago

For many F1 historians, it may have seemed Fernando Alonso’s persistence with the red team may have been based upon the timescales it took Michael Schumacher to turn around the leviathan that is Maranello.

Schumacher won his first title with the red team in five years after moving to Ferrari.

2014 was Fernando Alonso’s fifth year with the team.

Yet according to Felipe Massa speaking to Formula1.com, Alonso may have had enough after just a couple of seasons with Ferrari. “I think Fernando tried to leave the team two or three years ago, even when I was still at the team, but he couldn’t”.

Of course, now the notion is widely held that Il Padrino’s efforts to retain the Spanish driver’s services year on year, in fact held the team back. Their utter failings were masked by Fernando’s ability to score points with a car few other were capable of.

Even Flavio Briatore today reckons “I believe the change of drivers was appropriate,” for Ferrari. “Vettel brings something different to Ferrari and helps to motivate a group that, in terms of management, is completely new”, the Italian tells RAI.

TJ13 is leaning toward the view that Ferrari has been somewhat showboating in the tests so far, however, in just 6 more days’ time – the gulf yet to cross for the Italians will be a lot more clear.

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Formula E Berlin unveiled

Organisers of the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship have today unveiled the circuit layout for the Berlin ePrix on May 23 2015, sponsored by leading logistics company DHL.

The 17 turn, 2.47km circuit will be built within the ‘Apron’ section of the Tempelhof Airport, located in the city-centre. Designed by Rodrigo Nunes, it is the setting for the eighth race in the inaugural Formula E season.

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The announcement was made during a press conference held at the former airport and attended by Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, CEO of DHL Express Europe John Pearson, Berlin Senator Cornelia Yzer, members of the press, together with the championship’s two German drivers; Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt Team) and Nick Heidfeld (Venturi Team). During the event, guests could also view the Formula E race car, as well as enjoy a lap of the circuit in a fully-electric BMW i3 and a hybrid BMW i8 by Daniel and Nick.

Today also saw tickets for the DHL Berlin ePrix go on sale with general admission (standing) priced from just 10 euros if purchased before April 30, rising to 19 euros thereafter, with children aged six and under going free (if accompanied by a paying adult). As well as a full day’s racing, all tickets will give fans access to Formula E’s eVillage – or fan zone – featuring a variety of off track entertainment including eBike stunt displays, interactive stalls and a driver autograph session. (Formula E)

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‘Halo’ Safety solution instead of closed cockpits

Following the terrible accident Jules Bianchi suffered at the 2014 Japanese GP, there were renewed calls for closed cockpits, though the FIA rejected this in the summary report published from their ‘expert panel’s investigation’ into the incident.

At the latest meeting of the F1 technical working group, Mercedes have produced a solution which provides the driver’s head with incremental protection. It is an oval shaped ‘halo’ that encircles the helmet of the driver and attached to the front of the cockpit beyond the steering wheel.

Michael Schmidt writes, “less respectful voices are calling it ‘the toilet seat'”.

AMuS have provided the following graphic to illustrate the intended impact of the ‘halo’.

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86 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 24th February 2015

  1. But…..having said that, it’s pretty obvious the deck chairs are being shuffled at Mercedes…..wonder where he’s off too?…..

    • Peter, what was it that Lewis or Toto said to you, you overheard them saying to each other or to someone else, you were in close proximity to, which makes it ‘obvious that the deck chairs are being shuffled’? Do you have access to secret recording media? Maybe you where in the room or building at the time?
      All I know for certain is that Lewis, Toto and Mercedes have said on numerous occasions that they want a long term relationship.

      It looks like you have insider information, please enlighten us.

      • Lewish & Nicole said on numerous occasions that they wanted a long-term relationship…

        …but evidently couldn’t agree to terms regardless of their stated intentions.

        • The relationship between work mates is not the same as the relationship between Lewis and his bosses.

          I’m not sure how you confused the two?

          • “Intentions proudly stated for public consumption bare little or no relationship to what is discussed behind closed doors or the consequences of those discussions.”

            Add extra large coin, expectations, reputations and egoes (sp?) and you may as we’ll disregard anything these people say in public. They use words, but try to say nothing – much like politicians, diplomats, CEOs and the like.

            Soz, I’ll try to be more literal next time 🙂

          • Roger D, it seems like Peter and your good self was sitting next to each other in the same room as Lewis and Toto, so you win, not playing anymore!
            As an outsider, all I can say is that all side positions MAYBE exactly as stated. Is that my Mum calling…….

          • @Martin .. Your response says “relationship between work mates”. If this was in reply to PeterD I am wondering if you are mixing Nico with Nicole.

        • Funny thing is if you substitute Nico for Nicole in Peter’s comment the statement is just as true

          • Your error was when the red mist came down Martin……okay, I forgot to include one of these 🙂 …….hope you get well.

  2. tegarding Alonso, things are quite shady, there more stuff being hidden from the public than we think, yesterday Autosprint said he had collapsed twice inside the heli while being flown to the medical centre, also they quote some people from his circle saying he told them that he felt without any strength to move after the crash

    I hope, honestly, that we have some positive news, ’cause this situation is strange

    • I’m not sure ‘strange’ is right; worrying, maybe.
      Alonso has suffered previous, relatively severe concussions, which makes any further concussion more risky. I just hope he’s OK.

    • McLaren has been fairly candid and detailed.

      The only thing that is strange is people think that Alonso is uninjured though he suffered a concussion.

      One can go back to our friend Dr. Hartstein’s blog to review symptoms and recovery of MTBI, (mild freaking traumatic brain injury, to use Dr Hartstein’s definition).

      It’s worthwhile to go back to an early blog entry by Dr. Hartstein https://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/we-really-need-to-have-a-word-about-baseline-concussion-testing/ .

      He notes some symptoms of concussions (MTBI) include:

      * Nausea
      * Vomiting
      * Blank stare
      * Thought power reduced drastically (asking same question over and over)
      * Altered sleep / wake cycles
      * Headaches
      * (he lists more unfortunate symptoms)

      Furthermore, he describes a danger that Alonso is in now:

      “We know from other sports that when that still-recovering brain gets a mild hit, it can sometimes, and unpredictably, swell. This causes a coma, and is often, all too often, associated with a persistent vegetative state, or even death. We call it the second impact syndrome.”

        • Every case is different.
          I would not be surprised were he to miss the last test as a precaution, given his history. The risk of another accident so soon after this one is arguably not worth taking. The cost of missing the test is not severe – the risk, though small, is his future career.

          • Kevin is twiddling his thumbs.. and Jenson is short enough of mileage to do all 4 days.. that said, I wouldn’t be surprised had McLaren expected Alonso to do the last 2 days in the past.

          • For Fortis,

            I guess there’s no advantage at all in bringing ALO back to the track, in any early form of recovery from any head trauma…

            I suppose what I mean to say is I hope they don’t roll him out a bit prematurely / just for show, when he’d be better not put in the car at all. But, what you said, made me think there’ll be mighty pressures on this process of bringing him back to fitness.

            What’s striking about this accident is how it is so easily played down as well as may be so crucial in every way, and I just hope his team will allow that to be recognized form what it is or isn’t, if that helps relieve any unhelpful pressure on the situation,

      • In general, recovery from TBI 2 weeks plus. Sounds like it was more than a mild one and I would be floored if we saw ALO before Melbourne in a car, as the more TBI’s you accumulate the more susceptible you become to the next and the longer it takes to recover.

        • My brother suffered a severe concussion, broken facial bones, and other injuries from a bicycle racing accident a few years ago. The effect of the brain injury was dramatic; he became very depressed, his personality changed, he reports that things taste different now from before the injury, He has recovered but has changed. Recovery was a very long process, taking longer than the mending of bones. A common effect is increased thoughts of suicide.

          You are correct, Matt, repeated brain injury requires longer and longer periods of recovery and increases susceptibility to future injury. I think the doctors were correct to keep Alonso in hospital and under observation. After Mark Donohue crashed and hit his head on a fence post he seemed normal and was walking and talking until the next day when he experienced headaches, was admitted to hospital, and died from brain swelling. Brain trauma is not a small injury to be shrugged off.

          • @Gomer Sorry to hear about your brother, but you’re right, it’s nice to see TBI being taken more seriously. Especially with what’s being learned in the NFL about CTE and the long term effects of these type of repeated injuries.

            That said I used to race bikes myself, and what you wrote about your brother struck a real chord with me. One of my teammates (and friend) was out doing sprints when a rollerblader decided to change direction and took him down. He utterly destroyed his helmet, was unconscious for more than 10 minutes, according to those who were with him at the time. Even months later he was fairly aphasic and had a difficult time following conversations, it was a year or more before he really recovered enough to be kind of like himself.

        • I know we don’t know anything, but reading what you wrote, matt, I think Melbourne is maybe ambitious. I very much wanted to see FA start the season fully equipped mechanically and mentally. I’m still hoping for that. But the thing is, that if he comes to be good for the first race, then that I think will be testament to the speed and kind of care he’s getting right now, as much as any more obvious safety rules. I hope that that fact, hoping that all that’s going n gets the results everyone wishes for, I hope that that is a thing that’s well and clearly spoken of, in the pre race programs.

          • Concussion…which it certainly is from everything I’ve read…is a waiting game…the only reason he is still in hospital is not for “treatment” per say as there is really nothing doctors can do but wait…it is that his symptoms are severe enough that they want to be certain that he doesn’t deteriorate…he could have a slow bleed that isn’t picked up until later…

            His head injury was significant as they fully anaesthetised him to helicopter him to hospital…a decision that isn’t taken lightly. They have said he was “sedated” but that only means one thing in terms of medical retrievals…

            The advice I give in less severe situations is no contact sports for six weeks…not sure how many actually listen to me though…

  3. Good hint, Jackal. I’m guessing your use of the Jordan photo was no accident and your vote is for the man standing in the background, the former Williams test driver who took over Senna’s seat when he died? Hard to argue with that. I’m not sure that any other test drivers have ever become world champion?

  4. when that Wolff quote first hit the news cycle I didn’t realise he was answering a specific question about what he would do if Hamilton left. Thanks for clearing that up.

  5. I said it to the judge awhile back, that those words uttered by Toto could come back and haunt him and it look like it is.

    Toto thought by throwing out names, that it would force Lewis to put pen to paper because he doesn’t want to lose a race winning seat. Now it seems like those words are having some repercussions hence the attempt to clarify his words.

    Good on you Lewis, hold out for what you think you are worth. If you can’t get your full value, get as close to it as possible.

    • If Lewis wants a race winning seat, he has a steep hill to climb to also receive great gobs of money from Mercedes.

      Mercedes has the race winning seat, they already have another race winning driver who has shown he is capable of winning championships as well.

      Mercedes could offer Hamilton a single pound sterling annual salary in this situation, if they wanted to. And if Hamilton was more interested in winning championships than money, he would take it. Any F1 driver who is more interested in winning than money would take it.

      If Hamilton also wants great gobs of money, given that Niki Lauda may be involved, it could prove to be very entertaining negotiations…

      Much of it depends upon want Mercedes wants… They do hold the upper hand here.

      • Sorry, but which driver Mercedes also has that has shown he can win championships as well?

        What a load of crock!!!

      • Just to continue that thought, Hamilton will be fun to watch in these negotiations. He likely has a very good idea of what he wants from whichever team to which he provides his future services. And we know from the way he fought the championship last year, and things that he has said, that he is an intelligent, creative guy.

        It’s hard to say what Mercedes really wants. If they really really desire Hamilton, and want him around for another few seasons, then Hamilton will be in the driver’s seat in their negotiations.

        If they think that Hamilton is just another disposable F1 driver (aka the Frank Williams strategy when he had the superior team), then Hamilton will need to act quickly so that he doesn’t get hurt.

        Or if Mercedes’ desire for Hamilton’s services lies somewhere in between, then Hamilton must soon have some serious secret discussions with other teams to turn possibilities into viable options. That would enable Hamilton to be on stronger footing in discussions with Mercedes (and in the rest of the paddock).

    • I think it would be amazing, if Hamilton ran this season “solo” without a safe contract ongoing, and “just risked it”.

      I mean, that would be a kind of statement, would it not?

      Assuming it worked.

  6. Fernando has lived with Poland Syndrome long enough to know that sudden loss of upper body strength can come at any time.

  7. “What does appear strange about this statement is that Alonso downshifted having lost control of the car and was breaking.”

    I don’t think this is strange at all. In an astroturf copycat incident in Hungary 2014, Perez visibly slams hard on the brakes immediately after the car left its driving envelope and oversteered aggressively to the right:

        • I am not sure about pure luck, but I am fairly certain that Alonso and Vettel are a tad better at this F1 thing than Perez. That’s why I am puzzled by Alonso’s Sunday incident.

          • No question about that, but I don’t think Vettel could judge that spin to such accuracy, ergo; another few centimetres and he’d have torn the front off. These astro turfs strips seems to cause these weird batches of suddenwheel spin with traction loss and coupled with the wind it meant Fernando probably did catch it, but in this instance 10-20-50 centimetres too long!

      • In fairness to landroni, I went back and see you covered this yesterday. Curses to me living in Asia and this blog comes alive while I am asleep!

        • My first concern is more about how astroturf facilitating accidents, notwithstanding what Charlie says is safe… Than with what driver deals how well with it.

          My feeling is that Alonso actually handled it pretty well compared to both Perez and Vettel, as from the looks of it he avoided a full-fledged pirouette or head-on impact into the wall. Apparently he managed to recover the car just enough to get the car sliding along the wall, as witnessed by the little damage the car actually sustained.

          Now if that type of impact did any good to Alonso himself is quite another matter, and I’m genuinely worried if he shall be in a position to take the wheel in Melbourne. Economic imperatives will most likely decide that he shall, but I’m wondering if Alonso the human being wouldn’t be better served by a Massa-like break so as to fully recover…

          • The problem is not “a full-fledged pirouette or head-on impact into the wall”.
            The cars are designed to take the head-on impact to avoid hurting the driver. Had it occurred that way, “Fred” might be behind the wheel today, instead of in “intensive care”. The safety regulations are not designed to protect a driver from side impact. Not judging, just saying.

    • @landroni

      Yes, good point. I suspect Brundle is in off-season mode and not familiar with all the details, since he also doesn’t understand why Alonso is concussed.

    • Autosport ran an article earlier this month titled “Formula 1 team title sponsors are history – McLaren’s Ron Dennis” where he went on to explain “Where the budgets are for a competitive team, no company will come in and give you that kind of money …(40-50 per cent of your budget)”

      • I read that article, that just seemed like another ‘Ron speaks’ statement, because they’ve yet to deliver the title sponsor that they said would have come on board before last season ended.

        First it was Eric Boullier and now it’s Ron…….

        • Definite RonSpeak.

          I mean, he talked about how the day-glo/red (?) was more part of McLaren’s recent heritage than orange – and we know red and white are Honda’s colours – yet still just black and grey in the clothes???

      • @biondi
        Yes, thank you for mentioning that interview, as it came immediately to my mind also.

        The significance is that McLaren feels they have enough other revenue streams to forego a title sponsor.

        But I’d like to see the math on that… Does McLaren have enough revenues, or are they bleeding cash?

  8. Not buying McLaren’s story – Are we expected to believe that a double world champ, one of the best on the grid, could not keep his car in check after running wide onto the astroturf and losing traction momentarily, followed by a ‘gust of wind’ which therefore lead to his accident?….

    • Are we expected to believe…

      Yes.

      Both Vettel and Hamilton have had offs during testing; Hamilton being particularly scathing about the tyres in winter conditions:

      “If you are not weaving – you come in [the pits], and the tyres might be 80 degrees so it is hot but they don’t work and they are not in the operating window hardly ever. Then one lap you might feel it is not so bad, but then it drops off. I also ran the hard yesterday and it was even harder…”

      Add in gusty conditions, and it’s perfectly credible. Even world champions aren’t infallible.

      • Agree with Nigel here. We had enoguh incidents during this round of testing where folks like Vettel have ended up in the gravel. SO not surprising at all.

  9. The similarities are uncanny.

    Fred is stoked to be back on track, singing with joy. Not travelling too quick. Checking rear view to see what Seb is up to. Distracted suddenly, he veers to the outside of the corner, catches grass with the rear tyre, swerves uncontrollably to the other side of the road and crashes. Dazed and confuses after the incident.

    OK, Fred didn’t hit a dumpster but apart from that the prescience is amazing.

    http://youtu.be/Fl7o1EB0sYI

    The dude abides 🙂

    • Are you saying he got paranoid after seeing a red Ferrari being driven by a certain German in his mirrors so he panicked?…… 🙂

      • Fred was concerned with being passed. In the movie, Dude was concerned with being followed.

        Interestingly, Fred was being followed by a German in an Italian car. Dude was being followed by an Italian in a German car.

        Gotta go, nursie is here with my medication 😀

  10. Every time I see Formula E announcing a new track or track layout I get jealous. Formula E has done so many things as standard that F1 should really scratch itself on the head and ask themselves what can we learn from Formula E?

      • 10 Euro tickets, fan area with a lot of racing related things to do for the whole family, free admission for children (talk about creating fans that will still be fans in 20 years), being able to do a walk through the pitlane, even though there only street circuits most tracks are exciting tracks, etc.

    • Agag: “8 manufacturers to join next year. 6 are current teams. Also we have a cost cap, so any team can buy in any powertrain at low cost. Batteries for year 3, switch to a single car and design in year 5”. Looks like it’s here to stay..

      Renault is one of the manufacturers for next year. He also says “some are still hiding behind a team to see if they want to join”.. sounds like Honda with the Aguri team to me.

      • F1 should be jealous about these numbers. And if the Formula E development game is going well I wouldn’t be surprised if Formula E manufacturers are going to provide F1 teams with for instance batteries or electric engines.

        • Renault will be one of the manufacturers. Abt Sportline might be a front for Audi. Maybe Honda should join in with Aguri, seeing how they struggled to develop the electronics for the F1 power unit..

  11. Very happy about the McLaren article, it’s good to hear Button likes the car as on his day, he can be top draw. I hope both the drivers are able to really battle it out between themselves and others.

    Re-Formula E
    That track layout looks the best yet, there is a lot of good looking corners and I think with the improvements they have made with the camera work since the 1st race, this could be the 1st track the cars look pretty quick on because when there is a lot of straight, they look a bit slow.

  12. Another fantastic Formula E circuit and once again I’m left wondering why Formula 1 can’t create such good looking street circuits (or Road Circuits for that matter).

    The turn 7-8-9 complex is going to be pretty spectacular, especially given how little aero Formula E cars have. Great job 🙂

    • You would never get a permit to race F1 on Tempelhof airport even though it would be big enough if you use the taxiways and runways.

      DTM tried to get a Tempelhof race, but the Berlin senate nixed the idea for noise reasons. THF id smack bang in the middle of the city center. You get off the Metro – boom – you’re on the track.

  13. McLaren Title sponsor.

    It’s obvious. The new very practical all white uniform top, coupled to the persistent rumors of a Lewis return, and he does wear white driving gloves! It has to be the Fairy brand, part of Procter and Gamble.

    Not sure about merchandising sales. “I’m with the Fairy team” on a T-Shirt doesn’t really appeal.

    Usher. How about a mock-up.

  14. Yeah that toilet seat will never work unless that’s the frame underneath a closed cockpit.

    Give me step noses over that.

  15. When will we find out about where / prices for the London Formula E GP? (I refuse to call it an ePrix)

    I really want to take my little one for her first experience of racing and this will be a lot quieter (and cheaper I’m hoping!) then going to Silverstone.

    Seems that they all get announced only a few weeks before hand which is a little crazy.

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