#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 27th February 2015


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Previously on TheJudge13:

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

OTD Lite: 1939 – Birth of Grand Prix winner and Revlon heir

Neurosurgeon speculates on Alonso’s injuries

Mercedes curtail running over minor MGU-K problem

Williams looking to mount challenge to Mercedes team

The Usher’s Caption Competition

OTD Lite: 1939 – Birth of Grand Prix winner and Revlon heir

Elio De Angelis was killed in a testing accident at Paul Ricard in 1986. During the following Grand Prix weekend – Ayrton Senna gave a tribute to his former team-mate stating that Elio was a gentleman and that he raced for the love of the sport and not because of monetary gain like many. Elio, like Senna, came from a very wealthy and privileged background and as stated had no need to compete in this dangerous sport.

Today marks the birth date of Peter Revson, a native New Yorker who reportedly inherited a $1billion fortune from his fathers share of the family Revlon business. When your life includes being surrounded by stunning models – cars, jets and homes that would grace the pages of any magazine and the possibility to choose any vocation in life – what is it that drives these individuals towards a sport that at the time had the propensity to prove fatal?

Revson started his F1 career in 1964 before pursuing different championship until he returned to F1 in 1972. In 1973 he won the British and Canadian Grand Prix before he suffered a fatal accident whilst testing at Kyalami in 1974. It is at times where the fragility of human life is exposed for all to see – that we possibly begin to understand that it’s not money that buys you happiness but tapping in to your soul.


The Grumpy Jackal


Neurosurgeon speculates on Alonso’s injuries

Over the last few days an inordinate amount of speculation has been voiced in regards Fernando Alonso’s hospitalisation following his accident during testing.

With statements from Mclaren seemingly contradicting themselves and no official word from Alonso’s management other than short snippets of memories – it has opened up the proverbial can of worms.

Omnicorse.it conducted an interview with Dr Nicola Acciari, a neurosurgeon from the Bellaria Hospital in Bologna who has formally helped the publication with articles in relation to the injuries suffered by Michael Schumacher and Jules Bianchi respectively.

“The accident may not have looked particularly dramatic but the FIA warning light registering an impact exceeding 15G tells us that the impact was violent and the sharp deceleration resulted in an abrupt movement of the head and neck.”

” Of course we do not know in which direction Alonso was looking or if he maintained his head facing in that direction and it’s impossible to state whether he had tensed his muscles before the impact. But don’t forget the deceleration of the head is magnified by the weight of the helmet itself. It’s also likely that the Hans device in this particular accident was less effective than in a frontal accident.”

“The angle of impact could have caused an intracranial cerebral concussion as the brain stem and spinal cord were stretched. His anxious state following the accident would support this. This type of injury would be sufficient to cause a state of wonderment with headaches and nausea.”

“As to his complaints of back pain it is possible due to the stretching and angle of the spine. As the drivers shoulders are fixed so securely the neck and head are still able to move and despite there being side protection there would still be the inertia to contain.”

“If i was the physician giving guidance to Alonso, I would suggest avoiding testing because the effect of these injuries will still be felt for some days from now. He should have further tests in 10 to 15 days time and only then can a decision be taken. The other thing to consider is that after 30 all people will begin to degenerate physiologically. I still remember seeing Nelson Piquets cervical radiograph after his accident whilst testing for the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix – and it wasn’t that of a young healthy man..”


Mercedes curtail running over minor MGU-K problem

It is unlikely that the troubled engineers of the Mclaren-Honda team took much solace from the brief pains felt by the Mercedes team as the Brackley operation encountered problems with their own MGU-K forcing the Silver Arrows to stop their running today.

Yet World Champion Lewis Hamilton was philosophical about what could be a chink in the armour of the title favourites.

“I feel much better this week. I have much more energy. Obviously we would have liked to run more today especially when the sun came out but you get days like this. It’s better to have problems now and have the time to solve them here than have them in the first race.”

Ominously Hammy confirmed what many suspect, “I had a positive feeling in the car and the tyres appear to be working properly. Now it is important that I use the last day to make final preparations for Melbourne.”


Williams looking to mount challenge to Mercedes team

With the teams arriving for the final test with updated parts in preparation for the start of the season – the realistic view is that unless you are furnished with a Mercedes power unit – the chances of success this year are poor.

With the Force India and Lotus concerns being in a precarious position financially – it is left to Williams to mount a possible challenge to the reigning champions.

On soft compound tyres, Felipe Massa recorded a time of 1’23 “500 but the FW37 proved fast on the medium compound also. Updates had been fitted to the car and once again it ran faultlessly.

The former Ferrari driver spoke about his day: “It ‘s been a good day for us and the car felt good. When we decided to use the new soft tires we were able to go a bit faster. In addition, the FW37 has never shown a minimum problem and this is true since the first test in Jerez. We are working a lot and it seems that we have taken a step forward.”

Rod Nelson also explained: “The program has been slightly modified due to the rain which arrived this morning, but we have intensified the work in the afternoon. We were able to complete what we had planned and we made some positive changes to the chassis, as well as some aerodynamic adjustments. Now we evaluating the package for Australia to make sure we are ready”


The Usher’s Caption Competition

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10 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Friday 27th February 2015

  1. Re: Alonso

    So KMag looking likely to start in Melbourne for Macca. won’t be surprised if he returns only for the Spanish GP. What a disaster at the start of the season for Fred?. It seems all his luck has evaporated and i fear more and more that he ll end up with only the 05-06 titles.

    • Surely Alonso’s racing days must be nearly over now. I can’t see it would be sensible to risk another head injury and this might make him lose some of his edge while driving.
      Do we know how long his contract is with McLaren? But, I wonder if they wouldn’t prefer another driver anyway, rather than risk some calamity with Alonso. Maybe Hamilton’s negotiations with Mercedes have the pendulum swinging his way now, if McLaren are going to be looking for a top driver next year. The benefit for Hamilton would be that McLaren will have had a year to iron out the niggles with (completely rebuild) the Honda powerunit.

      • >Surely Alonso’s racing days must be nearly over now.

        He’s only 32 years old. That’ll be at least another three to five years until he’s old enough to think about retirement.

        • Normally yes, but the next mild concussion could make him disabled or dead. So maybe with this increased risk he – or his or mclaren’s insurer – could indeed quit. Shame that would be.

        • Not sure you are familiar with the NFL….

          But if Junior Seau thought you did, he’d probably be alive today. Also it’s for that same reason (concussion) why the league is paying out billions to past players.

          It only takes one more and that could be him becoming a vegetable, so it really was a good question to ask.

        • It all really depends on how many concussions he’s had in the past, if he’s had too many then he’ll likely be forced into retirement sooner than he’d like by the FIA medical experts (if they care about Alonso’s future well being). My own view (putting health issues aside) is Alonso will only think about retirement from F1 once he’s clinched the 3rd title or he knows he’s not going to achieve it.

          On NFL concussions (which is worth reading) –
          And the story of an NFL player whose career was over at 24 due to concussions – http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/begin-again-ethan-johnsons-post-concussion-life-20140905

          The issue of repeated concussions is starting to effect all sports, F1 is perhaps especially vulnerable to concussions given the G Forces the drivers experience in normal racing incidents and when they crash.

          • I guess the Revson story illustrates the question at hand: how important is your passion to you? Is there a moment when you call it quids and pursue other things in life?

  2. This may be painful to the tin-foil hat brigade that populates the staff and readers here at TJ13, but there is some interesting data coming out today about Alonso’s crash.

    First, the BBC published a story by Andrew Benson stating that Alonso was travelling at 215km/h (134mph) when he lost control, per the GPS data that is provided to all the teams.

    Unfortunately, it appears that AMuS published perhaps made an error today on this same GPS data. Michael Schmidt wrote a story for AMuS stating that Alonso’s speed when he lost control was merely 134kph (only 83mph!). Here is Michael’s words in German, “GPS-Messungen anderer Teams haben ergeben, dass Alonso bei Tempo 135 die Kontrolle verlor und mit 105 km/h in die Mauer eingeschlagen ist.”

    Andrew Benson wrote that the 215km/h figure, “…has come from GPS data available to all the Formula 1 teams. This is about the speed an F1 car would be expected to be doing at this point on the track. It is not clear at what speed he hit the wall.”

    In addition, Andrew wrote, ” Data seen by teams indicates the Spaniard attempted the Barcelona track’s Turn Three faster than on his previous lap, which was his fastest of the day.

    A senior insider told BBC Sport the information suggested there were no suspicious circumstances to the accident.

    “It looks like he simply went into Turn Three quicker and ran wide,” he said.”

    • Second, Michael Schmidt’s AMuS article shared some detail about the G forces that I’ve not seen before.

      There were two decelerations that where high G force, which corresponds to McLaren telling us the front wheel struck the wall first, followed by the rear wheel.

      The car recorded the first hit at 31G. An accelerometer in Alonso’s earpieces recorded that first hit at 16G.

      Note that Ron Dennis told everyone in his press conference at Thursday lunch, “The G figures of the accident were… less than half of the accelerometers in his ears.”


      31G / 2 = 15.5G

      Alonso’s accelerometer recorded more, 16G.

      Ron should really stop speaking into microphones.

      The rear wheel hit was recorded at 18G by the car, and 8G in Alonso’s ears.

      I will guess it is this data that the FIA are most interested in. They may conclude that the cockpit side protection did OK at 18G, but need to be stronger for 31G, for example.

      • Third, BBC published a very good interview of Dr. Steve Olvey, whose primary interests during his career has been traumatic brain injury, concussion, and motorsports safety. He was for years the IndyCar version of Dr. Sid Watkins, has worked with Sid, and was a founding fellow of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety & Sustainability.

        The interview was conducted by Andrew Benson, and I recommend reading it, as it’s long and fairly thorough.

        Highlights include:
        * Alonso is concussed (Ron Dennis was clearly wrong about that)
        * Retrograde amnesia is not unusual for concussions
        * The signs point to this concussion being more than a mild one
        * It’s important for a concussion to heal prior to suffering another

        Dario Franchitti’s career ending crash was mentioned as an example of a driver who had suffered too many concussions. Dario retired because doctors advised the possible long term damage from future concussions was signficant. (Indycars are dangerous due to their love for concrete walls.)

        Well worth a read. http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/31654193

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