#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 26th February 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

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

OTD Lite: 2007 – Honda unveil sponsorship provided by Planet Earth

Nürburgring close to a deal

Webber – Ferrari the right place for Vettel

Ferrari’s Arrivabene confused over Vettel time line

Alonso returns home as FIA investigate accident data

Button frustrated by Honda’s repeated breakages

Force India finally unveil VJM08

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite: 2007 – Honda unveil sponsorship provided by Planet Earth

Of course the title is ridiculous as was the whole concept of the Honda team running what was essentially a map of the earth on their abysmal creation. Honda’s PR machine spoke of promoting environmental issues and seeking companies who would donate to their chosen charity. The cynical recognised that a poorly performing Honda team held no interest for potential sponsors and had been stuck with the cost themselves.

Jenson Button Honda Earth Car F1 2007 British Grand Prix

Fast forward eight years and we have another Honda connected enterprise that seemingly cannot pull in the big name title sponsor which Ron Dennis once held so dearly.

The Jackal remains in two minds as to how this latest adventure in F1 will pan out. Will the Honda that every body fears be the same company that has struggled to provide state-of-the-art machinery over the last quarter of a century. Or will it be the dominant force that propelled the Japanese manufacturer to mulitple titles during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Of course, with the driving talent of Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna back then, it would be a brave man – or a rose-tints wearing Mclaren fan – who believes that history will repeat itself..


The Grumpy Jackal


Nürburgring close to a deal

History is repeating itself. Nürburgring has announced they are prepared to host the German GP this year, but are handing all the risk over to Bernie E and FOM.

Track official Carsten Schumacher said the circuit is prepared to host the race, but with conditions attached.

“There is no question that, as a Formula One organiser, you deserve to make money, but the problem is the entry fee [FOM hosting fee} and we need to talk about that.

Ecclestone’s expansion of Formula One over the past ten years has relied on regional or state support to fund the hosting fee, as the race promoters have no chance of breaking even without it.

Nürburgring’s owners are not even asking to break even as Schumacher states, “We have said that, for the sake of the fans and the region, we are prepared even to make an economically acceptable loss. This is also the reason why we have said that we do not want to carry the organiser’s risk, “ which will see Ecclestone and FOM step in as the promoter and collect the ticket revenues.

Schumacher highlights the issues facing all traditional Formula One events where little or no government support is forthcoming. “I think it makes little sense to organise events in which you only spend money rather than making any. In the long run, no one can afford that, and that includes any other race track in Germany.”

Clearly there are ‘new world’ F1 promoters prepared to lose huge amounts of money to stage a Formula One weekend to develop their international status. They have vast public funding support to achieve this, but the old European venues do not gain the same incremental economic value from hosting Formula One.

This problem will not go away for Ecclestone, and so he must pursue the goal of 22-25 races if he is to grow the pie for CVC, without losing European circuit after circuit from the calendar.


Webber – Ferrari the right place for Vettel

Any long term readers of TJ13 will know that Mrs Judge has a particular soft spot for former F1 driver Mark Webber. In his time with Red Bull he was team-mate to Sebastian Vettel for five years and would suffer title defeat for four straight years before calling time on his single seater career and moving to the World Endurance Championship with Porsche.

Both the German and the Aussie would admit that they didn’t have the easiest of relationships with Vettel seemingly having the full support of the team – whereas Weber was marginalised and seemingly under constant attack from Red Bull’s Helmut Marko.

As straight talking as ever – it appears that Webber is in agreement with TJ13’s very own Fat Hippo when he was interviewed recently by the Herald Sun.

“Seb’s not a silly guy and he realised that he needed fresh motivation and a new change and I think the decision was made very early, probably before the season even started to be honest”

“The line is not ‘they won’t miss Vettel’, the line is that when he wants to do something else and be in a different environment, then he is better off going somewhere he might feel he will get more out of himself. That’s definitely a question for the team halfway through the season, whether they are missing some of that experience.”

“They are lacking a little bit of continuity at Red Bull now — there are a few people who have left the team. So that will be interesting to see how technically good the car is over the course of a full season, not just at the start.”

Of course, the cynic would say after a miserable year at Red Bull in 2014, taking the Ferrari option this year is a win – win for the quadruple world champion, because no one expects them to win much – and Kimi by comparison to Ricciardo is getting long in the tooth.


Ferrari’s Arrivabene confused over Vettel time line

Historically Ferrari were always run in a dictatorial manner by a man who would use the Press and any other hangers-on for the benefit of his team.

Enzo Ferrari made politics a way of life in Maranello with favoured journalists and publications being fed half truths if and when the situation demanded it.

This became less obvious during the Montezemolo reign although Jean Todt would use any means to keep the red cars at the front of the grid. The Frenchman’s tenure at the helm leaving many loyal fans bemused by the machinations to keep the steamroller winning.

In a recent interview the Scuderia’s team principal – Maurizio Arrivabene – has suggested that Sebastian Vettel only finalised the deal with Ferrari after he had taken the decision to leave Red Bull.

“In the case of Vettel, Sergio Marchionne and myself were both aware when we were told officially that Fernando was leaving the team – I’m talking more or less about Sochi – the name of Vettel was going around and the situation was unclear.”

“I put a phone call in to a person I know and that he knows very well – it’s Sabine Kehm, the manager of Michael [Schumacher]. Sabine called Sebastian. Sebastian had some doubt, he was asking ‘what about Ferrari, I don’t know the team’. Sabine described the atmosphere that she found at the time of Michael and said it’s a great team, it’s like a family and Seb was listening.”

“The phone call which made the difference after this phone call was from Sergio Marchionne. Without that phone call Sebastian would probably not be here with us. This is the truth.”

Which is somewhat confusing when one looks at the history behind this union. The press reported rumours as far back as 2011 that Vettel had signed a letter of intent to join the Maranello squad.

In April last year, after Stefano Domenicalli had tendered his resignation – he was called by three drivers – Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian but the outgoing Italian refused to expand on the nature of that particular call.

Then the timeline has to be called into question. The four time champion told Red Bull that he was leaving during the weekend of the Japanese GP to which Christian Horner ungraciously told the Press that Vettel was going to Ferrari.

The following weekend the circus arrived for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi and Marchionne officially took over the Presidency of Ferrari two days later. Arrivabene was only confirmed as Marco Mattiacci’s replacement on the 23rd November during the Abu Dhabi race weekend.

So in the finest melodramatic tones – that Ferrari have used throughout the years – it seems they have in place a leader who also re-writes history to suit the Italian team’s purposes. Or has inadvertently let slip the long term game plan that was in place all along.


Alonso returns home as FIA investigate accident data

Fernando Alonso left the hospital in Barcelona yesterday three days after having his accident during testing at the Montmelo circuit. He had undergone a number of diagnostic checks which gave him the all-clear to discharge himself and he left to go to his home in Oviedo to recover fully.


No statement was forthcoming from the Spanish Samurai and it was left to Mclaren to officially announce that Kevin Magnussen would replace the two-time champion during the forthcoming final winter test.

The FIA also announced they will conduct an enquiry into the accident that befell the Asturian. Despite the accident happening during what is regarded as a private test session – the Federation is obligated to investigate any crash that results in a driver having to stay in hospital.

The FIA’s Safety Officer – Charlie Whiting – is gathering all the information from the Catalan circuit including closed circuit images which will help break down the minutiae of the accident.

Mclaren have been contacted by the FIA to provide the telemetry of Alonso’s lap and they will attempt to analyse the data so as to learn from the accident for future safety drives.


Button frustrated by Honda’s repeated breakages

Rumours had been circulated from late summer onwards that Honda were actually about six months behind schedule with their power unit. A delay that has been attributed to the company’s delays in setting up test benches in their research centre in Sakura to conduct long run simulations.

Following the original failure of a seal on Thursday – which curtailed all running – Honda fitted an updated replacement for Saturday’s session. Yet once again, despite limiting the performance of their power unit to aid Mclaren with aero set-up work – the part failed.

Jenson Button was reported to have said: “They must have changed everything – except the piece that keeps breaking!”

The main problem lies with the MGU-K – the electric motor that recovers kinetic energy under braking. It was suggested that maybe the Japanese could substitute their current unit for a design developed by Mclaren Applied Technologies which would prove embarrassing to the Oriental giant.

Of perhaps more concern to Ron Dennis and his team is that Honda declared last year that they would work in the manner they have always worked. Slowly and methodically. Which may be acceptable to a lower rung team but not to an F1 grandee that wants to return to winning ways.


Force India finally unveil VJM08

Force India has confirmed that their 2015 car – the VJM08 – will be in Barcelona for its first run of the new season. Following a few delays whilst sub-contractors waited to be paid, the car has been assembled and fired up at the team’s Silverstone base.

48849_la-force-india-vjm08-arriver-a-barcellona-venerdForce India Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer confirmed. “It has progressed well over the last few days and the car has now been fired up at the factory. That’s always the key moment when the car truly comes to life. We have seen a tremendous effort from every department over the last few months to get us to this stage and we’re looking forward to seeing the car take to the track later this week.”

“The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set up will take place in the garage at the track. We are aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend.”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

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Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 10.15.14



33 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Thursday 26th February 2015

  1. Great news regarding Alonso, hopefully his lovely and beautiful new partner, Lara Alvares will help to provide some fast recovery 🙂

    next, the article about JB and Honda
    well, but as I hate Honda, I hate Toyota, I will avoid any comment

    and, regarding the Rosberg photo, well, I should say that I do miss those DTM seasons, 1993 to 1996, I was a teen but, how I loved those cars, those races, and if my mind serves me quite properly, there was a race in Avus and another at Singen at a tight street track
    and again, those cars, the “Martini” Alfa, those “D2” and “Warsteiner” C Klasse, and those Opel Calibra, the “Old Spice”, from Rosberg team and that “Cliff”, which I think it was from Joest Team

    how I miss that epoque …

    • also, Interlagos was host to a memorable race of the ITC in 1996, adding further credit to that fantastic era of Touring Cars, alongside the STW, Superturismo and BTCC

      unforgettable times, indeed

  2. Re: Alonso

    Its good to that he has left hospital. Another night in the hospital would have raised more questions only. Would he be ready for Melbourne is a real question. Its just two weeks and if you really look at it, most of the drivers reach the venue on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the weekend. Some even early. So effectively 10 or so days between now and his flight to Melbourne. I doubt whether he ll make it?

    • if I had a girlfriend like Lara, his partner, I would probably be ready … burn out, but somewhat ready :p

      just kidding, though

  3. Today’s news in brief
    The Jackal is STILL grumpy!
    The Nurbergring is STILL broke
    Webber STILL misses F1!
    Ferrari STILL don’t know their ass from their elbow!
    Fernando is STILL recovering from a bump on the head
    McLaren Honda are STILL chasing their tale without realizing it’s theirs already!
    Force India are STILL WAY behind with their car!

    Doesn’t make a great read, but it pretty much sums it up!

  4. Caption:
    Rosberg Snr – now son, the golden rule of motorsport is, if you have the best car by miles there is no excuse not to you win the championship, but only if you breath properly!

      • Actually I’ve been calling him Marlboro Man.

        He seems incompetent, and untrustworthy. If we combine those attributes with his “emperor’s new clothes” fashion sensibilities, and well… so far he is combining the worst attributes of Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatorre.

        If we look at his background, should we expect more from him?

        1) He is a marketing guy. For 30+ years, that is all he has done.
        2) Regarding the first point, Marketing is not a bad profession. But there is a good reason why engineers and marketing folks fail to work well together. Marketing folks are quick to throw away good engineering work and ideas, while assaulting engineering teams with a series of bad ideas. Engineers and marketing folks alike will gladly share anecdotes on this.
        3) He has no experience leading an engineering organization.

        Marlboro Man… he is unbelievable!

  5. Caption comp…..

    “Look Nico, if you don’t win the championship this year, this is what you have to look forward to….DTM”

      • I don’t understand… Would a flight be any more dangerous than other modes of transportation back home to recuperate? (…bicycling, or bouncing down the highway in a car, or walking to Asturias?)

        • I think he is referring to the fact a plane is pressurise. I thought I was only dangerous if you have got an active bleed as the pressure in the cabin can cause it to bleed worse.

  6. Copy of my post from last night

    Saw the BBC ‘Question of Sport’ F1 special with Christian Horner, David Coulthard, KMag and Suzi Perry. (Is to be repeated on Friday)

    What a slime that Horner is…

    But the interesting point that came out in one of the questions was that Williams have won one more Constructors Championship than McLaren. My son found that fascinating – his recollection is more recent (he is 13 years old).

    Was made more salient by DC’s quip earlier in the show to KMag re about Macca only having one reliable car!…

    Also caught the ‘Brits’ music awards briefly – at the point when Ellie Goulding flirted big time with Lewis as they presented an award together. Another notch on the bed post there…

  7. McLaren are holding an impromptu Press Conference. Up to the Doctors if Alonso races or not. Dennis called the FIA and asked them to investigate the accident. Dennis also said Alonso “unconscious in the car for a relatively short period of time”.

    • It’s been covered in the TJ13 live morning testing report….

      There’s another for this afternoon. News get’s dripped in during the day.

      Interesting picture of the scorched McLaren engine cover parked up after Alonso crash.

      • I’ve been trying to work, reading reports on Savile and keeping up with the testing. Too many tabs and Lightroom open have fried my brain again.

        I’ve not seen that picture yet, though the car has yet to catch fire in spectacular F1 fashion yet. Maybe that’s being saved for down under.

        • Hmmm… So they’re not scorch marks at all then. Thank you for that.

          OK. So for the tin-foil hat crowd, the space aliens zapping him in the cockpit with a ray-gun in turn 3 theory must have moved back up in credibility again.

          I hope the tin-foil hats have ventilation holes so that one doesn’t get to warm while working so hard and long at this…

      • espnf1 has published the full transcript.

        Reviewing what Ron said, two things jump out…

        1) Concussion, yes or no? Ron says no, while Dr. Hartstein responds right away yes.

        Resolving that issue involves a technical review of A) the definition of a concussion, and B) the methodology and parameters to measure concussions and their effects and symptoms.

        2) It’s the first mention I’ve seen of the G forces received by the car versus the G forces received by the driver’s head. “Less than half” was mentioned.

        It was reported the car received greater than 30G, and was 15G for 56ms.

        So the head received less than 15G would be a logical supposition. And (as expected) there two G force readings as his head bounced off both sides of the cockpit.

        The first point is more important. Unfortunately, from what we have seen so far, neither the F1 press, nor the fans are apt to do that research. (Pardon my pessimism.)

  8. News here in belgium is that manor gets mclaren aid. And that, as apposed to ferrari, they want a tight working together. But they have to give their second seat to vandoorne.

  9. “The FIA also announced they will conduct an enquiry into the accident that befell the Asturian. Despite the accident happening during what is regarded as a private test session – the Federation is obligated to investigate any crash that results in a driver having to stay in hospital.”

    Oh really? And was there an FIA investigation and report on De Villota’s lethal crash in Marussia’s private testing? Or was it too written in invisible ink, like the one for Bianchi?

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