#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 7th March 2015



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Till divorce does us part…

RTL reduces Formula One coverage

Priorities: Swearing first

Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Stop whining and do something about it!

Ford trolls Ferrari at Geneva auto show

Till divorce does us part…

The marriage between Red Bull and Renault was once a very happy one. The French bride fulfilled every wish of her dashing Austrian’s beau. No matter what kinky plays of engine mapping was his desire, it was catered for by his willing partner. But woe betide he who fails to complement his wife.

It wasn’t before long that Renault grew tired of the arrangement that can be summarized in two sentences: If it’s a win – it’s all Red Bull. If it is a defeat, Renault is to blame. Even more so since the Austrians did not make too much of an effort to promote their engine supplier.

Meanwhile the atmosphere in this relationship is seriously strained. Renault have been publicly pilloried by their biggest customer for the bag o’ balls they delivered last year and Red Bull has demanded a massive improvement for 2015. Renault restructured, hired Mario Illien and accepted additional expertise from Graz based company AVL. Both measures, as word has it, did not exactly happen entirely voluntarily. Although there is no confirmation of that from either side, one is inclined to think that the frequent visits of Dr. Helmut Marko to Viry Chatillon were not for sight seeing purposes.

The winter tests have not been what Red Bull had hoped for. Adrian Newey likes to pack things so tightly he would make a killing at a tetris tournament, but the Renault unit still radiates too much heat for that to work reliably. Frequent defects disrupted the testing days. Remi Taffin explained that with the use of older spec components, but he might want to prepare for having a better excuse at hand when RB asks him about which part of ‘pre-season testing’ he needs an explanation for. Promising new components, that have never been tested is a rather peculiar way to reassure a customer, who is displeased already.

But the heat is only a small problem in comparison to the main deficiency of the Renault unit – its power delivery. The power comes in a ragged fashion, as opposed to being evenly spread over the whole rev band and obviously some of the promised additional horses have sadly escaped into the prairie, too.

Since Renault seem unable to remedy that problem, Red Bull has taken more and more of the development off the French’s hands. In the aftermath of the less than convincing winter tests the programming for energy management will now be done by the Austrians and after straightening out the 2014 version themselves they already do much of the R&D on the electrical side.

This growing loss of competences puts Renault at RB’s mercy. And they can’t really expect the Austrians to give more credit to their supplier when they have to do half of the job themselves anyway. After Ferdinand Piëch shot down Audi’s F1 ambitions Red Bull is running out of options. It looks more and more like the appearance of the Red Bull engine is no longer a question of ‘if’, but rather one of ‘when’. Having taken already many tasks away from Renault, their expertise is not getting smaller.

And they may just as well know that this is the only way. Not wanting to be a customer team, the other three PU’s are no option for them, and Renault is not going to take this public humiliation for long, especially as now Renault heavy-weights like brand ambassador Alain Prost are calling the return as a full fledged works effort ‘inevitable’.

And Prost is the one who can convince Renault boss Carlos Ghosn of it. However, if Renault wants to go through with that, they need to act soon, unless they want to spend another two seasons with a not-quite-so-liked customer.

For Red Bull there are two possible options. They could either develop the engine completely by themselves, for instance by taking aboard Mario Illien, or they could go back to the roots and return to their first engine manufacturer – Cosworth, who had developed a prototype engine for the current engine formula, but stopped further R&D because of lack of potential customers.


RTL reduces Formula One coverage

German broadcaster RTL is going to reduce the amount of airtime it will give to its formula one coverage. While race and qualifying will still be shown in full length on free-to-air TV and as a free livestream on their website, the pre-race and post-race elements will be reduced by at lest 30 minutes per race weekend. News coverage in in follow-up shows, like “18:30” will be shortened as well.

The private broadcaster explains this with the heavy loss of viewership. In 2014 the viewer figures dropped by seventeen and a half percent and were worse than before Schumacher’s first title in 1994.

RTL has been showing F1 since 1991 and their contract is the longest continuously running one of any broadcaster worldwide. Since starting in ’91, RTL has paid 1.1 billion euros for broadcasting rights. The contract that is running out after this season has so far not yet been extended.


Priorities: Swearing first

New team – new language. Sebastian Vettel, who was often commended for his grasp of the English language will not find that talent to be a big asset at his new team. The the lingua franca in Maranello is, ever was, and will ever be Italian.

Thankfully the German has a bit of a head-start on that as the situation was quite similar at Faenza based Toro Rosso. “He actually understands it quite well,” Maurizio Arrivabene is quoted as saying by Motorsport Total. “But he prefers to just listen, because he thinks he’s not perfect enough to speak freely. In that regard he reminds me of Schumacher, he was exactly the same perfectionist.”

Arrivabene is quite aware of the unique circumstances of his drivers lineup as both Seb and Kimi have a past of using, let’s say, less than lady-like language in interviews. But the team principal is still able to joke about it.

“The swear words were the first he learned,” the Italian explains and exhibits no ambitions to enforce a language code. “It’s important though that we allow ourselves to have a little fun once in a while. That makes the drivers relaxed and improves the team spirit. That is important in a phase when all have to work hard to catch up.”

As I write this, I’m cackling over the mental image of Seb and Kimi being “relaxed” in the Ferrari motorhome, providing a linguistic experience that one would expect in a road-side truckers’ joint. At least those pit-to-car radio calls will be interesting. We might see a lot of asterisks in the translations.


Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Stop whining and do something about it!

Hippo Rant Lite articles are comments made by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the TJ13 staff as a whole.

Much has been written about the plight of the new teams and we’ve covered that extensively. I would go as far as claiming that we have shown a lot of sympathy for the situation that F1’s minnows find themselves in. But I’m growing thoroughly sick of it, as the whole lot of them is pretty good at whinging, but when it comes to doing something about it they just go back to caring about nobody but themselves.

Manor have shown the way. Despite the odds they fought on and have not tried any underhanded tactics to secure their unlikely survival. The others? B*tch, Please!

I’ve said enough about Force India, it doesn’t need repeating and Monisha Kaltenborn is getting bitten in the rear-end by her own shady approach to driver contracts.

My colleages on the TJ13 team like to joke about my alleged crush on Sauber’s principal, but the truth is, I would not exactly be labelled a gentleman for what I would say to her if we met. Instead of treating Sutil, Gutierrez and van der Gaarde like something she scraped off the sole of her boots she should have teamed up with FI and Lotus and not backed out of their threats to boycott Austin.

Alas, an empty phrase from Ecclestone that he retracted as soon as they were out on track, and the lot soldiered on. And instead of begging for money pre-Melbourne, how about just not bloody going there? Let Ecclestone cope with just 14 cars on the grid! You have the right to miss up to 3 GP’s – Manor made it work in their advantage.

So, instead of completely shedding any remnants of dignity that you might have left: Don’t beg – demand!

It doesn’t take many instruments to make a noise:


Ford trolls Ferrari at Geneva auto show

This one came in from TheUsher13 this morning. Doesn’t need much words…




56 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 7th March 2015

  1. @thefathippo you have been on fire just recently Danilo, I always appreciated your articles even if I don’t always agree, but the last few weeks you have continuously hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Good Job Hippo.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Good job Hippo. I’d rather have marmite than tofu, so long as its not compulsory to like Marmite! (I don’t like Marmite, and but at least its got a strong flavour!)

  2. Haven’t read beyond the first piece….but absolutely classic Hippo.
    Like CV, doesn’t always work but this piece is spot on.

  3. On Monisha, though I realise I’m gonna be hated: Vege (VJ), Tony ( him of the f’ing green team) and HER all have one thing in common – beyond that they’ve totally and royally cocked up – they’re from that place that still believes cows are better then being merely being givers of milk and meat..

    • yeah they’re from the place that believes cows are better than milk and meat givers and look what they’ve done they’ve pretty much embarrassed teams like mclaren and Ferrari on a regular basis in the last 2-3 years at a quarter of a budget , coming from such a land apparently makes you alot more efficient than the great europeans who can’t do better than making a third grade machinery despite having all those resources

  4. just a point
    I think the longest F1 broadcasting contract is here in BR with the dreadful fascist Rede Glob

    I think their contract is running since 1983, and they pay huge amounts of cash to Bernie to mantain it FTA, though since 2009 or earlier, they’re using their subscription channels to broadcast the FP sessions

    also the BR GP organisation is also run by a “facade” entterprise of Globo, also with Bernie’s consent

    so, vis a vis, it’s all under the same mafia control

      • Nope that Rede Globo contract was interrupted at some point (I think after Senna’s death) for at least a year or two. RTL is the longest continuous contract

        • no, it wasn’t

          I live here, you know, and they never suspended it, also in 1995, the first season without Senna, they tried at any cost to “sell” Rubens into his place, the even helped to sign a contract with Pepsi to help

        • also they have the longest serving commentator team since Murray, that idiot Galvão Bueno and his friend Reginaldo Leme, they are in the “informal” club created by Bernie, of people who attended 500 GP or more

  5. McLaren testing reminds me of a punchline. “Naw, you got a blown seal!”

    So, what was that seal that failed 3 or more times? Does anyone know it’s proper name and purpose?

  6. Redbull got too big too soon and overly cocky. The dream team is disbanding, Seb wasn’t getting blown anymore from his foursome of lovely ladies, Newey’s love of blue skies, crystal clear waters and the feel of the wind blowing through his hair (well what’s left of it) has taken his talents to Americas to build yachts/boats/dingy’s, Prodomu is now designing ‘size 0’ rear ends at McHonda and now Renault are looking to do the same.

    What’s next if they are no longer able to compete at the front of the grid on a consistent basis? Could DM pull the plug and offload the team? Hopefully this season will reveal more.

    • Oh, Fortis used a double entendre! Wait for the Hippo-krits to descend upon you. Think of the children!!!

      As for your question on DM, please consider that RBR has has been a profitable operation in addition to getting lots of screen time during race weekends. If those conditions stop he may very likely decide from a business point of view that mission accomplished, call it a day, collect a profit from a team(s) sale. Dieter is getting older, too. I agree should be interesting.

      • Mateschitz has a 22 year old son, who I would guess was raised in the Red Bull spirit. I don’t think anything would change if Didi died.

        Red Bull entered F1 as a sponsor when the lad was three (1996). He hardly knows other than that RB was always part of F1 in some way.

        • Yes all well and good. Defend you and Fortis about certain uses of the English language that certain moralists find horrendous and you strike back with Germanic logic. And Seb did ride Julie to his first win!

        • I do think Red Bull will remain part of F1, but possibly as the Commercial rights holder if the circumstances align for that to happen (cheap and no legal ramifications from the Bernie era).

          Otherwise ? Red Bull will likely ditch Renault, buy/hire cosworth and alongside red bull advanced technologies develop a more competitive power unit. Or at least attempt it.

  7. Ford can troll all they like but I would much rather have a Ferrari any day (if I could afford one).

    • I miss the black. Talking about blindness, coming to TJ13 after the change expecting the black and then BLAM!

      • Yeah, I’m starting to miss it too now. How ironic.

        I really hate the new layout though – the fact that on landing you have to go search for the current news article, rather than arriving on it. oh well.

        • All feedback is appreciated Joe 🙂 To clarify some of the reasons for the change, we really wanted to address the readability issues of the old site including the fact that if we published more than one article in a day, the older ones were not getting any readers as they became less noticeable. As is the case with all things, there is a compromise

          • It is not very easy to find the most recent article though. So I feel you have gone too far in the wrong direction. Or possibly, there is a bug where you don’t show the most recent articles under: ‘recent articles’.

          • Agree here:
            I now have to wait or use the menu to go to the last DNAC.
            For the rest, maybe I will visit this site from an actual pc if the white on black is gone!

          • I disagree that the old format didn’t allow for that. All it would have taken was to substitute the useless “highest-voted posts” widget on the right-hand side for a “recent articles” widget.

            Anything is better than the new version… it’s loading way too slowly, it feels unprofessional, the UI is opaque, and it’s useless on mobile. All of these are big steps back, and I cannot see any steps forward.

            I’m posting this, because I think the change will cause a decline in readership. If not, it’ll only be because the change is tolerated (rather than appreciated).

          • Perhaps. Maybe if lots of other websites ran the pure blog format I could agree with you. They do not. On the flip side we do take all of your comments seriously and please be patient because the layout will no doubt develop and change based on all our valuable regulars giving their feedback. You will be listened too 🙂

  8. Were you guys going for most unreadable format on a mobile ever? If so, congratulations and well executed.

    • Yeah, I’ve been viewing on mobile recently as I’ve been on the road a lot and it definitely seems a big step backward in that sense. I missed the latest news in the scrolling list at the top of the home page and when I scrolled down looking for it was wondering why the most up to date post was days old…

      • +1

        It all confused the sh!t out of me as well – that’s not hard to do, but jeez the word ‘busy’ was invented for this Oxygen Theme look.

        Way bright on PC too. Flipping the colours with the High Contrast extension for Chrome doesn’t do much for it either 🙁

        You have to fire up the archive of the month we’re in just to see the list of stories in chronological order.

        …henceforth I’ll be sucking it up, dealing with it, moving on, etc…. grumbling as I go 🙂

      • … and the site search function still doesn’t pick up comments. WordPress says the functionality is available and can be loaded at the administrator end.

    • Indeed, basically impossible to use on mobile.

      Also on PC, there are several issues:
      – the site now takes up a lot more RAM;
      – it is slower because there is a bunch of stuff (which I’m not looking for) that is being downloaded;
      – the most recent articles are hard to reach from the homepage because they cycle at the top of the page;
      – you can no longer directly go to the comments on an article from the homepage.

      Just some well-intended feedback…

    • Clicking the articles button at the top next to the home button should solve most of your woes. You will get a list of articles in chronological order and when you select one that should automatically load comments.

      • But in the old format we went to the newest article upon connection….who can be bothered searching for stuff?
        …not I.
        I usually visit on my phone so I was horrified with what i found when i visited last night.
        Seems to be back to the ild site hfor m

      • But in the old format we went to the newest article upon connection….who can be bothered searching for stuff?
        …not I.
        I usually visit on my phone so I was horrified ar what i saw when i connected last night.
        Seems to be back to the old site for me now.Theres something about the old unpolished look that adds to the charm of this place.

        • Answer is bookmark the articles, not the main site if that’s what you want. Then you will get a list in chronological order. The idea was to continue to promote longer site visits by offering up recent content to new visitors without unduly inconveniencing regulars.

          Change is hard and I can imagine fiddling about the edges will continue for a while. Personally would prefer an off white for desktop but beggars can’t be choosers and I had nought to do with this, though it took a lot of hard work. 😉

  9. Just viewed the new site design on my laptop for the first time….

    Fck me I had to close it down straight away, damn its bright!

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