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Force India Criticism Continues
As if their cash problems aren’t enough Force India’s desperation is still hurting them in public as they loose more and more support from other teams. Bob Fernley’s assurances that Force India’s veto against Manor’s return was just an unfortunate side-effect of the session protocol and that other teams would have voted no had his team not done so were soon contradicted by public support for the former Marussia squad by Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Now Mercedes, who have so far remained silent on the issue, have gone even further and criticise their customer team for their Strategy Group antics.
Formula One is a pool of sharks where even the small teams prey on other small teams, Toto Wolff tells Motorsport Total. If one goes away, more [of the money] remains for the survivors. That is feirly annoying as behind the teams are people and their jobs that many families reply upon. We need safe jobs, everything else is secondary.”
Hm, Mr. Wolff, how about a more equitable distribution of the money then?
Bad press for Lotus’… err… Development Driver
Many in the paddock and outside of it, including most media outfits, share the opinion that the signing of Carmen Jorda by Lotus as a ‘development driver’ has set back the cause of bringing a serious female entrant to F1 by many years. The fact of the matter is that the results of Ms. Jorda, or rather the woeful lack of it, does not warrant a place in F1. The sheer ineptitude of the young lady is highlighted by the fact that she was sacked by her GP3 team Koiranen GP two weekends before the end of the season, because she had failed to score a single point. The man, who took her car – Dean Stoneman – scored two wins in those two remaining races. Ouch!
Rob Cregan, her 2012 GP3 team mate puts it like that: Carmen Jorda couldn’t develop a roll of film, let alone a hybrid F1 car. The clearly somewhat dellusional Jorda counters that Cregan is just jealous of her achievement to make it to F1 through hard work and determination.
Where exactly that ‘hard work’ is supposed to have taken place remains a mystery as, if her results are anything to go by, the track was no such place. In best Lotus-Development-Driver tradition, no real racing program has been established yet for her. Except for some simulator rides and the use as eyecandy on the track and for select sponsor events, Lotus have no real plan for the 26 year old.
Less testing and no “South Korea Trick”
Along with the ‘open to interpretation’ regulation on helmet design restrictions, the FIA sought to tidy up a couple of loopholes in other existing rules yesterday.
Back in December a new version of the proposed 2015 F1 calendar began circulating which included the Korean GP.
As though the revival of the bankrupt race in Mokpo wasn’t surprising enough, the fact it was scheduled the week before the Spanish GP clearly revealed the ulterior motive behind this race inclusion.
Prior to this there had been much disagreement over the ‘freeze’ on engines and concerns expressed by some of the engine manufacturers that the proposed reduction from five to four engines per car for 2015 was too punishing.
With Mexico joining the circus this year, this meant before Bernie proposed adding South Korea to the calendar – there were now 20 races scheduled.
The addition of South Korea opened up the clause to allow an extra engine per car in 2015 because more than 20 races were now listed on the ‘proposed schedule’.
The FIA have changed this regulation and will only allow the extra engine per car should there be more than 20 races listed ‘at the time of the first GP of the year’.
Further, teams had requested that the regulation for 2016 reducing winter testing from 12 to 8 days be delayed. The FIA has confirmed there will be just 8 days of pre-season testing in 2016 – and these can be run in a block of up to 4 days.
TJ13 has learned that one team is still proposing there be three separate tests. This would see the ‘shake down’ test in Jerez reduced to three days scheduled from February 1 to February 3 – which is the earliest the teams are allowed cars on track in the new year – and a further two tests in Barcelona of 3 days and then a 2 more days a week later.
Another team is agitating to return to Bahrain for winter testing, though the costs of this to the smaller teams proved to be prohibitive in 2014. Force India didn’t even make Jerez due to the £500,000 price tag this year.
A reduction in the number of pre-season testing days will serve to level the playing field somewhat, as clearly the teams with the greater resources can do more with each additional day their cars are on track.
Well the die is cast – at least somewhat. Honda has presented to the FIA a homologated engine, yet the other engine manufacturers have another week before they declare their hands.
Of course there year 32 development tokens available this year to be used almost as the engine designers wish to change the architecture and build of their V6 turbo power units. Depending on how many the 2014 engine manufacturers’ use for Melbourne will determine how many Honda are allowed to use for the rest of the season.
With Renault threatening Red Bull they will defer the majority use of their tokens to later in the year, it could be that the average of the unused tokens by the 2014 suppliers is between 10-15. Honda will then have this many tokens to deploy this season.
“We do not know what tokens we will have, because we do not know yet what the others have used,” said Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai yesterday.
Remi Taffin surmised in Barcelona, “Most likely, Mercedes and Ferrari will have a similar approach. I cannot imagine that they have used up all the tokens in two months.”
Despite the trials of testing, Honda’s Arai remains positive and describes the base of their 2015 power unit as ‘good’. Further, “We have solved many things and it is fully homologated.”
Forever, not together
Fans of the British F1 world champion could have been forgiven for thinking the latest breakup between their hero and pop pole dancer, Nicole Shertzinger, was just another of their spats – and soon, they would be back together. This after all is the fourth time they have publically declared a separation.
Yet something is different this time. Nicole decided to jet off to Venice last weekend, “enjoying a quick getaway with a few of her close friends,” according to Hello magazine.
The Sun reports “The split has been devastating for Nicole. She feels the only way she can move on is by putting distance between her and Lewis.”
And as ‘hell hath no fury…’, Nicole has done just that. Not only did she release a selection of the private snaps from her Venice sojourn with her close friends, but she ‘unfollowed’ Lewis on twitter.
With 2,640,321 other followers, Lewis’ fans will be hoping he hasn’t noticed – and also missed the well thought out snaps of his ex in the weekend publications.
Clearly, Shertzinger’s teenage girl ‘emo’ antics should be seen for what they are by Hamilton, and he must not let himself be distracted. Lewis has a golden opportunity to join an exclusive club this year and become a triple world champion by the end of 2015.
There will always be, ‘plenty more fish in the Pacific Sea’.
Formula One’s most hopeful female driver
After the disappearance of Simona de Silvestre back to the USA, Suzie Wolff remains the only realistic chance of seeing a woman drive an F1 car in the near future.
It was unfortunate that a rather reckless Felipe Nasr took out Suzie Wolff during the recent Barcelona test because she was about to perform some low fuel runs which would have given us some relative comparison of her pace.
British and Spanish fans are to get to see Suzie drive in FP1 at their home Grand Prix this year and Suzie is playing her part to move the Williams team forward. “Our focus this year is to build on the success of 2014 – I’ve been training hard all winter and I am physically in the best shape I’ve ever been, so I am ready for the season ahead,” said Wolff.
“As official test driver I will have additional time in the FW37 and by correlating this with my work in the simulator, the team can ensure we are getting the best from the car and check how updates are performing. All of us drivers on the Williams roster have been working closely together on this and we are ready to give everything we can to the 2015 season.”
Suzie made her F1 debut at the F1 weekend in Silverstone last year and also drove a practice session in Germany.
Whether the latest pretty recruit to the F1 circus will get to drive an F1 car is unclear, but Carmen Jorda apparently believes she will pilot the E23 at some point this year. She is set for imminent ‘work in the simulator but, “first I must understand how the team works,” Jorda insists. “This cannot be compared with GP3.”
There have been a number of those from the racing fraternity who have publicly denounced the recruitment of Jorda by Lotus as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Jorda has hit back at the sarcastic comments made by her former GP3 team mate on twitter.
The Lotus development driver dismisses Cregan as being jealous. Bild reports her stating, “Formula one is full of jealousy. There are only a few seats available, so only a few can make it. Rob is obviously jealous that I’m here and he is not”.
Jordan adds, “I wish him all the best, that’s all I can say,”
Alonso out for Melbourne
Here is a statement just issued by McLaren F1.
“Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.
However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.
In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.
Fernando has understood and accepted that advice, and the two McLaren-Honda cars will therefore be driven in Australia by Fernando’s team-mate Jenson Button and the team’s test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.
Fernando’s doctors acknowledge that he feels fit and well, and that he regards himself as ready to race, and, that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already recommenced physical training, with a view to preparing for a return to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting on March 27th, 28th and 29th. Indeed, his doctors are supportive of that ambition, satisfied as they are that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on February 22nd.
All at McLaren-Honda fully support Fernando’s decision in respect of his doctors’ advice”.
This will be the first time since the USA GP in 2005, when Alonso will not be part of a Formula One race.
McLaren have been dogged by bad publicity since Fernando crashed during the second winter test. Questions were asked about the ‘strange’ nature of the incident and now Spanish publication El Mundo is reporting that in fact Fernando may have refused to drive the MP4-30 until the FIA investigation has taken place into the incident.
Concussion has in recent years been treated far more seriously by the medical profession, and as was discussed on last week’s TJ13 podcast, this turn of events is no surprise. Podcast Episode 27 here