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Previously on TheJudge13:
OTD Lite: 1944 – Cevert: A legendary name… but why?
I would hazard a guess that there have been thesis and books written about how certain stars who die young are immortalised forever. Film stars such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe remain icons – struck down in their respective primes and their image never grows old.
Music also has it’s share of legends who lost their lives such as Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley etc. But is it their body of work and untapped potential that raises them to immortality?
In motorsport, there have been many drivers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and inevitably they are all young and yet some remain fallen icons to this day whereas others are mere statistics. Who here for example remembers the name Helmuth Koinigg. He was killed at Watkins Glen in 1974 – merely a year after the fatal accident of Francois Cevert.
Today would have been Cevert’s 71st birthday – yet he remains one of the most celebrated talents lost to the sport. A promising talent with a single Grand Prix victory but what is it about his story that has raised his death above the forgotten memories of others…
Renault looking for more permanent fixture in F1
Rumours have surfaced in Italy that Renault Sport is interested in purchasing a F1 team to keep an active presence in Formula One. With the threat of Red Bull looking to fund an engine of their own design – this could leave the French manufacturer with no teams at the pinnacle of motor-sport.
With the collapse of Caterham in 2014 and the financial difficulties being experienced by Lotus, Force India and Sauber – these teams have become unattractive to Renault who have cast their attention in the direction of Toro Rosso, apparently unwanted by Red Bull long term.
Cyril Abiteboul has made no secret of his ambitious plans but has one obstacle which he will need to overcome – Renault’s President Carlos Ghosn has no desire to see the Regie return as a manufacturer but to remain merely as suppliers of the power unit.
With consistent rumours sugesting a possible partnership between the Volkswagen Group with the Red Bull team via the Audi brand – the relationship between Viry-Chatillon and the Milton Keynes squad is proving difficult to say the least.for the two individual groups.
The French have not taken kindly to the imposition of Mario Illien as a consultant and his design work on the ‘head of the engine’ has been shelved as it has not produced the desired results. The Swiss engineer’s developments have been discarded whilst the Rob White headed group concentrate on solutions that were tried successfully in Barcelona in both the RB11 and STR10.
There is a far better relationship between the Faenza squad and their French partners than between Renault and Red bull. Allied to this is the team, led by Franz Tost, is currently restructuring the factory facilities to bring it in line with its competitors. With the fifth largest budget in F1, no debt and a factory that will be refurbished by the end of this year – it is easy to see why Renault are attracted to acquiring Toro Rosso.
Italian media scathing of Mclaren’s ‘truth’
Anyone who has had the pleasure of reading or watching Italian sports coverage will know they do not take prisoners. Despite Ferrari being an institution they are not spared from frequent scathing attacks from the national media.
Michael Schumacher once ‘conducted’ the Italian national anthem during a victory celebration. The following weeks found him to be vilified and with the press seeking his immediate resignation!
In similar fashion, last year following the Jules Bianchi crash, Italy proved to be the only copy – other than TJ13 – who questioned and attacked the FIA findings.
Once again, with reports of Fernando Alonso’s hospitalisation the Italian media have been dissecting all the known facts to date. He is known to be still suffering from headaches and severe pain in the shoulders and back despite diagnostic tests showing nothing untoward.
The Asturian’ manager Jose Luis Garcia Abad reported: “I cannot say if it will take a day , two or three. As to his presence in the next testing session? The most important tests are what the doctors are doing at the moment.”
As to Mclaren’s statement which seeks to portray the view ‘there’s nothing out of the ordinary here – move on’, Omnicorse and several other Italian publications made no secret of their opinion in regards to Mclaren’s position.
With Mclaren blaming a gust of wind for the crash, the Italian website concluded: “It was a beautiful excuse which followed a well established pattern – lets blame the driver. “ Alonso, of course was not accepting the theory and as the article continued: “it was hardly the best way to start a relationship with the Spaniard.”
From statements made by the Samurai, he hit the wall sideways and although the impact speed was slow – the car’s deformable area didn’t protect the driver and Fred’s body would have taken the brunt of the forces generated.
The Hans collar that is worn by the drivers is designed to minimise frontal whiplash injuries but proves less effective when the impact is side on. Omnicorse had spoken to the neurosurgeon who attended Fernando and states he suffered various injuries due to the sideways movement which would have resulted in vomiting and a ‘shock’ to the spine’.
As hard-hitting as ever, the publication offered their firm opinion in that they didn’t believe the ‘gust of wind’ as the cause of the accident and then offered advice to Jenson Button to seek reassurances about potential cross winds affecting his MP4/30.
Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Just tell the truth, dammit!
Hippo Rant Lite articles are comments made by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the TJ13 staff as a whole
Many fans complain about the conspiracy theories that have surfaced following Fernando Alonso’s freak accident. They gathered momentum as McLaren remained silent and now are still circulating the interweb. While some perhaps are closer to fiction than the truth, McLaren have nobody else to blame but themselves for their continued existence. The Woking team’s dissemination of information policy puts Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali, truly to shame.
Since I was covering the test for TJ13 at the time, I quite vividly recall how piss-poor the information politic at Barcelona was at the time. Although a photo clearly shows that monitors seven, eight and nine in the Circuit de Catalunya’s control room show the corner in question, the only pictures so far available of how the accident happened, are a few grainy snaps made with mobile phones and published on Twitter.
What else is one to believe other than that something is amiss? The team took twenty-eight hours to release an official statement and then chose to cloak it with words that would make even the most gullible grandmother suspicious.
It’s worth looking at the situation with more than forty-eight hours having now passed.
Alonso’s transfer, together with Sebastian Vettel taking his place at Ferrari, was the transfer of the winter. So a team of McLaren’s experience should know that each of the fifteen remaining Formula One fans would be keen to know how the double world champion would get on in his new office; particularly given that Honda had provided a somewhat humiliating public demonstration in the preceding days of their parts quality assurance processes.
The morning prior to Alonso’s accident had seen large gusts of wind upsetting the cars’ handling in several corners, including the one at which Alonso crashed. Yet during the entire day only one other driver – a rookie – was caught out by this. But we are supposed to believe, that the man, whom most regard as the best of his generation, is sent into a violent crash by a gust of wind.
While that is not completely impossible – even with all his talent – Fernando has to bend the knees when taking a dump… like any other mere mortal, ie. he isn’t infallible. But with the amount of telemetry data, the team would have been able to determine and publish the exact trajectory of the car within the hour.
Instead they said nothing for over a day, letting wild speculations take on a dynamic of their own. Then perhaps most tellingly was McLaren’s announcement that they would not comment on the accident until they had a verdict from the hospital. Is there a more obvious way to say: “We’ll grudgingly admit what happened, if Fernando is badly injured, but if he’s okay we want to leave ourselves the option of selling you a nice bullcrap story”?
But Fernando isn’t okay. While Badgdad Bob Eric Boullier still maintains that Fernando is merely kept for observation, he’s now spent his third night in the intensive care unit. Bicycle riders, like Jens Voigt of Germany have face-planted the asphalt at 80kph on a downhill run in the Alps, leaving half their skin behind, yet they were released from hospital within 24 hours. However we are being told that an allegedly uninjured world class athlete is required to stay under intense supervision for half a week?
And while nobody – least of all Fernando – can be forced to release medical information, after all doctor-patient confidentiality exists for a reason, this isn’t Fernando having contracted a case of Chlamydia on a sex safari to Phuket.
This is a driver, who following an accident where no one wishes to release footage of – was airlifted to hospital before the eyes of the world. The last driver, who was airlifted away – or at least was supposed to – is still fighting for his life. In this case a less North-Korean approach would have prevented the tin-foil hat brigade from hyperventilating.
We live in an age, where a driver after a mild contact gets told within two laps how much downforce he has lost due to leaving his front-wind endplate stuck in the rear-wheel tyre of a Sauber. Similarly he can be told exactly where he can find another two nanoseconds by breaking a microsecond later before a certain corner.
Modern technology allows the teams to remotely see exactly what the driver is doing at any point in time, and this is why there could have been an exact analysis within two hours.
Instead McLaren releases a statement that doesn’t square up with what eyewitnesses, including a four-time world champion, say. Forgive me for not believing them for a minute.
And now we have an eye witness photographer claiming Alonso never touched the astro turf on the outside of the turn – whilst Flavio Briatore asserts, Fernando has no recollection of the incident.
The Usher’s Caption Competition
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