#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 10th March 2015



A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

Sauber’s legal defence is ridiculous

Red Bull Solution for McLaren-Honda

Feedback appreciated

Bianchi’s father: “Someone should pay”

Formula E sells equity

Lauda scorns Hamilton to Ferrari notion

SKY F1 cover the news that matters

Haas builds 60% scale model of their 2016 car

Sauber’s legal defence is ridiculous

The court in Australia will rule on Wednesday, if Sauber shall be forced to honour Guido van der Gaarde’s contract and the injunction he won before a court in Switzerland.

Having already defended their position and been ruled against by Swiss jurisdiction, Sauber decided to argue the Swiss decision cannot be honoured. A lawyer for Sauber insisted that putting van der Gaarde into the car on such short notice would be “reckless and dangerous” and could result “in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death”

Force India have damaged their image this year by vetoing the Manor/Marussia return to Formula One; now Sauber now appears to be following suit. This defence is clearly a nonesense.

On June 10th 2011, after the first free practice for the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez complained of being unwell, having just returned after his Monaco accident. On extremely short notice his car was taken over by McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa. The switch happened on such short notice, the Spaniard contested the second free practice wearing McLaren branded overalls.

The car he had jumped into was a Sauber C30.

That wouldn’t have happened with a lawyer as the team principal… oh wait…


Red Bull Solution for McLaren-Honda

Calling McLaren’s winter tests shambolic would be quite the understatement. Only 1.751 kilometers is the laughable distance covered by the team over the 12 days of winter testing. To put it into perspective: Force India did the same with an untested car in two and a half days.

The only highlight was the 10th day of testing when Jenson Button managed 101 laps around the Circuit de Catalunya with minimal ERS input. At 59 laps the second best day was barely above half of that. Stubborn electronics problems, sealgate and a myriad of leakages meant that on 9 out of 12 days the team had to pack in early or was hindered by lengthy breaks.

Auto Motor und Sport report that McLaren have now opted to choose the Red Bull way of solving the dilemma as the Woking squad has taken responsibility for the programming of the engine and energy management systems. Red Bull’s in-housing of this part of R&D was key to last years miracle cure of the engine problems that had hampered them in the winter tests. Melbourne will therefore be an indication if the Austrians or the Brits have the better programmers.

During the few times that the Honda PU actually worked, it wasn’t hard to see that it has potential and both Button and Magnussen praise the driveability of the Japanese product. Not all may be lost yet for the once mighty combo McLaren-Honda.


Feedback Appreciated

We would like to thank you all for the feedback you have given on the new site.

We have already returned the mobile site to a rolling blog type style and made an interim font change for readability. There are a number of other ways were are looking to improve both the clarity of the look and functionality.

However, one benefit from a revised layout – demonstrated by the back end information the site provides  – is that the 3-400 new readers who find us by various means every day engaged much more with the site yesterday, because other content rather than just the post they landed on was more easily identifiable.

We are currently working on making

1) The latest post very easily identifiable

2) The chronological list of posts easily identifiable

A number of other changes are in the pipeline too

Keep the ideas coming


Bianchi’s father: “Someone should pay”

It’s been five months since the terrible events at the Suzuka circuit. Jules Bianchi is still in a coma, but the world of Formula One moves relentlessly on.

The FIA have investigated, reported on their examination of the circumstances at the 2014 Japanese GP with the conclusion that no-one – other than possibly Jules himself – can be held accountable for what happened.

Speaking to Gazzetta, Jules father Philippe describes the uncertainty as ‘unbearable’.

“Jules is not giving up and neither do we,” says Philippe. “We try to be as tough as him, but it is certainly not easy. As long as he is in this state, they [the doctors] cannot say anything. Jules could wake up or not, but he is definitely fighting on”.

Jules father is however adamant. “This was not a normal racing incident. If there is someone who is responsible for this, they will pay, without question,” says Bianchi senior.

Yet Jules father is not sure of the next move, adding, “We are still unsure how we will handle this.”


Formula E sells equity

Liberty Global who were linked with buying a controlling stake in F1 last year have become stakeholders in Formula E. One third of the equity in electric racing series has been sold to two companies, Formula E announced with one of them being John Malone’s media empire.

“It is a significant step forward for Formula E to receive the backing of two major global media companies when we are barely halfway through our first season,” said Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag.

“The experience and knowhow they bring will provide a significant boost to Formula E.”

The fifth round of the inaugural Formula E championships will be held this Saturday in Miami.


Lauda scorns Hamilton to Ferrari notion

Niki Lauda has poured scorn on the idea that Ferrari will steal Lewis Hamilton from under their noses.

However, the former F1 world champion and chairman of Mercedes AMG F1 refused to be pressed on whether the contract would now be signed before Melbourne. Speaking to RTL he stated, “No, there is no timetable and we have no pressure because Lewis has a contract with Mercedes to the end of the year.”

Lauda asserted there would be a new contract signed and that Lewis Hamilton would be racing with Mercedes in 2016.

Oh well, so much for Toto’s deadline of ‘before Australia’ and then again will we soon hear – ‘Lewis is competing for a title, so we wouldn’t want to distract him’?


SKY F1 cover the news that matters



Haas builds 60% scale model of their 2016 car

Getting a start-up team to the grid in F1 is a substantial logistical and technical undertaking. Under the guiding hand of team principal Guenther Steiner, the Haas F1 Team is slowly putting the pieces together for them to arrive at winter testing in 2016.

HQ is in the United States – Kannapolis, in North Carolina, yet Haas recently purchased the ex-Marussia team’s facility in Banbury which is some 39,350 square-feet in total.

The order and manufacture of team equipment such as transporters, pit apparatus and much of what is required to set up an F1 team garage Haas says is underway.

Today the team announce they have recruited “key personnel, notably Dave O’Neill as team manager, Rob Taylor as chief designer and Ben Agathangelou as chief aerodynamicis”t.

O’Neill came to Haas F1 Team from Marussia F1 Team, joining what was originally Manor GP in 2009. O’Neill’s experience is quite valuable to Haas F1 Team, for his task upon joining Manor was to set up a Formula One team in six months. Recruitment of personnel, the purchase of equipment and infrastructure, oversight of car design and supplier selection were just a few of O’Neill’s many duties. O’Neill was the team manager for Jordan Grand Prix from 1998 through 2005 before joining A1GP, a racing series promoted as the “World Cup of Motorsport”. As the chief technical coordinator for A1GP, O’Neill set up the series and track testing of cars. During this time, he also served in the role of team manager for A1GP’s Team Ireland, winning the A1GP championship in the series’ fourth season (2008-2009).

Taylor also joined Haas F1 Team from Marussia, where he held the post of deputy chief designer. Prior to Marussia, Taylor was the senior design team leader at McLaren from April 2006 through December 2010. Before McLaren, Taylor was head of vehicle design for Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Jaguar beginning in 2002. Senior design roles at Arrows (1997-2002) and Scuderia Ferrari (1992-1997) were achieved after stints at Cosworth (1987-1989) and Benetton (1989-1992). Taylor’s role with Haas F1 Team marks his 28th year in Formula One, a tenure that has provided a range of experience in all disciplines of Formula One design.

Agathangelou paired with Haas F1 Team from Scuderia Ferrari where he managed the upgrade of the team’s wind tunnel and testing systems in Maranello, Italy, in March 2012. Prior to that, Agathangelou was with Dallara, serving as an engineering consultant for a number of projects the Italian racecar manufacturer had dating back to 2009, which included the technical lead for the Campos F1 project, 2012 technical upgrades for GP2 and the World Series Renault, design and development of the DW12 Indycar chassis, and management of the Alfa Romeo 4C “low cost” sports road car project. Agathangelou has a wealth of Formula One experience, for he was the head of aerodynamics for Jaguar and later Red Bull Racing from 2002 through 2007. Agathangelou held the same role with Renault F1/Benetton from September 1999 to March 2002. Agathangelou began his Formula One career in 1994 with McLaren as an aerodynamics analyst, moved to Tyrrell in August 1997 as senior aerodynamicist and then joined Honda Racing Development in April 1998 as chief aerodynamicist to prepare Honda’s 2000 Formula One entry.

Agathangelou and Taylor have already designed the 60-percent scale model of the car Haas F1 Team will race in 2016. The duo has logged numerous hours in the wind tunnel it shares with Haas F1 Team technical partner Scuderia Ferrari. By working diligently to develop the scale model now, Haas F1 Team will be ready to go racing in 2016. (Haas F1)

58 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 10th March 2015

  1. Really hope for Button that the car is decent, to be messed around and then given a crap heap to drive, just seems unjust on top of everything else the team, sorry Ron put him through last year.

  2. But does VDG even want to be in the car? I’ve not seen anything that spells that out. I have seen a lot of assumptions though. I gathered the action was about money paid and delivery not fulfilled.

        • He was test driver last year, so Sauber are bound to have a his bespoke seat. What I wonder is whether VdG may be too tall for this year’s car, as Erickson and Nasr are a lot shorter than VdG so the car may not have the leg room, VdG is quite a tall guy.

  3. El Señor Gordo Hippo spaketh, “Melbourne will therefore be an indication if the Austrians or the Brits have the better programmers.”

    Is there an Austrian amongst the tuning / programmer folks at Milton Keynes?

    It’s possible there may be more Austrians 100kms down the road at MTC in Woking. 😉

    • Yh, we know what you mean, but I’m sure our favourite dirigible, herbivorous mammal was just using Austrians / Brits as a more colourful turn of phrase than straight Red Bull / McLaren. 🙂

  4. Merhi in at Manor – for now. Maybe after 5 races a change, when FR3.5 clashes at Monaco? Italy is another clash.. so if we surmise that King will drive 5 races to get a superlicence for 2016, they will probably use all 4 drivers. Lucas di Grassi is free for those two races that clash, if they want a former Manor champion to drive..

      • True, but thinking about it, Mercedes need Wehrlein to hold a super-licence after this year, so he is the perfect candidate to do 10 races mid-season, with Merhi in the first 5 and King with 5 near the end. DTM doesn’t clash with F1 from Monaco to Monza, May – September.

        Plus, Mercedes cash can then go to Manor to pay debts owed to McLaren/Ferrari.. think of it as redistribution to the poorer teams!

        • Yep, I can see any/all of these, plus some FP sessions too, I think we might get a good old fashioned musical drivers thing going on at Manor, at least in one of the seats!

      • Wouldn’t surprise me if the 2016 Manor line-up was Marciello-King. Or Vandoorne-King if they move to a Honda unit? Marciello could always go to Sauber.

  5. I like the new color scheme, but the template is way, way too busy. For instance: from the home page, the snippet for each day is your first n lines which reads “this page is updated throughout the day blah blah blah”. This is useless and repetitive clutter for the homepage. Also, the 4th column listing the latest comments seems of little value (to me at least) as it presents the comments out of context…

    Just the 2cents of an F1 fan who also happens to work in the e-commerce and online news space. Keep up the good work and study your analytics data and iterate.

    And don’t forget that blank space is actually a good thing when used appropriately. 🙂

  6. Off topic: F1 season starts in three days and it still not possible to buy 2015 F1 timing app, or 2015 season pass, or whatever…. anyone has the answer? Am I missing something?

      • Don’t worry, Matt – Bernie is averse to the internet (probably thinks typing is women’s work) so he won’t see these comments. The secret’s safe!

    • They are working on a new F1 pay-wall website which will include the app subscription:

      The report says :
      ” … behind a pay-wall. Pricing for UK users will be £1.99 a month or £19.99 a year. Neither of those prices seem extortionate to me, although it depends on whether you feel the content will justify the price, we will only find out the answer to that in the coming months. However, eagle eyed readers quickly spotted that US users will have to pay $12.99 a month or $129.99 a year. .. ”

      I suspect that the US price may be correct and the UK price is a typo.

      • I’d just like them to put the local time converter back. Is that asking so much F1.com? And no, I won’t pay $130/year to you.

  7. Glad to see the white background has been toned down a bit, makes a big difference. I don’t find navigating the site that difficult, if anything its pretty straightforward. My only gripe is that it could do with a little more colour.

  8. The only feedback I would give is that it is definitely better with the white turned down but when quoting other sites the colour used is very hard to read. Maybe use something darker or even totally different?

  9. Ok now you’ve gone and messed it up. Having the list of DN&C on the left hand side of the page was perfectly ok and easily indentifiable, now i’ve got to go to the home drop down menu to find todays news.

    You guys are playing with my emotions 🙁

    • Correct if using the continental style separator – is this due to favourite amphibious mammal?!?

    • As a dutchman I would have been infinitely more worried about Mclaren if they had only driven a km and a half (1,751 km).

  10. I trust that we’re going to get a chance to pick the WDC & WCC winners for season 2015 with a readers poll before FP1 on Friday. Last year the overwhelming WDC poll favourite was Kimi 🙂

    But… can I ask the admin crew if there’s a poll widget available that lets you pick a 1-2-3? With MB’s overall dominance set to continue there’s only a couple of fish in a very small barrel. Under those circumstances a WDC / WCC poll wouldn’t be terribly useful if you only get the one vote – “Who’s gonna win?”.

    For 2015, I hope that there’ll be some other GP winners apart from Lewis & Nico. Similarly, I hope that the MB internecine warfare will regularly spill out onto the track and we’ll see more than a couple of laps of hard racing on more than a couple of weekends. I also hope that we see new faces in the top ten / on the podium.

    Having said that:
    “Hoping is the last thing you do before you fail”
    (Thanks very much, H. Rollins)

  11. regarding the new layout

    that “dislike” thing at the comments wasn’t a great idea, just because it leads to childish behaviour from people who doesn’t get along with you, they go and “dislike” your posts without criteria

    also is a great idea to enable some forme of highlighting the new comments since your last visit, I think it possible to do this

    • Trouble is there is no way to register your disagreement. On a controvertial topic (Monaco last year springs to mind!) you could well get a lot of likes but there is no way for those who disagree to negate that so a topic may look unrepresentatively popular.

      Personally, I’d prefer a more thread-based comment system and also the ability to collapse/expand threads. Oh, and it would be good if the comments used more than a quarter of the screen width! Still don’t understand why they can’t scale to the available width to make them work on mobiles but be more readable on a PC…

      • everything has its pros and cnts, but in this case that option only fuels rivalry

        for that brief moment when it was activated, Hippo for instance was getting “dislikes” for nothing, and me too, probably in both cases, from people who we clashed before, so, it’s not a fair system

        • Sorry, I can’t agree. I see the down-side but I still feel that some context is needed. Any form of rating system needs the ability to express both opinions to have any credibility.

          You can just as easily make the claim that pro-Hamilton posts will get up-votes from the Hamilfosi regardless of the actual merit of the argument.

          It seems wrong when TJ13 encourages discussion yet implements a voting system that prevents anything other than a positive being registered…

  12. I read every day on a moblie, I find the blog format with comments below easy to use / read. Thanks especially for the coverage of winter testing

    • I’ll second that. Absolutely sterling work from all of the team over the ‘barren’ winter months…I’ve enjoyed the reporting/testing coverage/articles/podcasts so much I hardly noticed that the season was over. A big round of applause and a massive thank-you to everyone who contributed to TJ13.
      : )

    • Trouble is there is now no quick way to see if new items have been added to the Daily News page. Previously the ‘header’ was easily accessible from the main page, now you need to actually open the Daily News page to see if there is anything new…

        • I was originally going to comment against this, but having given it some thought it may work… It would also solve the problem I posted about above where it is difficult to see the context of comments on the daily news due to the wide range of topics covered most days.

          I would suggest, however, that the site then be split in to several areas so we can see quickly what has been added. For example, a day with a dozen news items could quickly push out of sight one of the fascinating technical or historical articles that make the site the gem that it is.

          I don’t have an idea how best to present it, but if you could have say 4 ‘areas’ to list the latest posts for News, Technical, Historical and Features that would allow us to quickly see new things in any category of interest. News would need to be big enough to fit the most ‘active’ day while I’d imagine the other three would need less ‘real estate’ on the home page to be displayed.

        • Judge, please don’t. This will make one ungodly mess of the website — imagine if each Usher pic or Hippo Meme were a separate article —, and the DN&C is the lifeblood of this site. Kill that, and you risk killing the sense of community and of discussion/debate.

          What would help though, is to religiously note in the title when there was a major update (e.g. added new news item, or major revamp of an existing one). So you could always include in the title smth like: (updated 3.13 GMT).

          • I remember going back towards the start of the site when we discussed the best format for DN&C and at the time – with the existing layout of the site – the idea of having a single post with an ‘index’ at the top worked best.

            If TJ now has better control over the site layout then it may be that individual articles could be made to work in a way which would not have worked previously, but as I commented, they need to be separated so content of each ‘type’ can be found easily.

            Personally, I feel that currently the site is a step back from that we had previously, but if the TJ team now have more control than previously I hope the tweaking will improve the layout and give something potentially better.

          • @Stephen Hughes
            “Personally, I feel that currently the site is a step back from that we had previously”

            Personally I feel it’s a definite step-up. Making very accessible last 5-6 articles allows new users to easily spot them and fully appreciate them .For instance, one of my features got a new comment after the site revamp, simply because it was easy for users to missed it earlier to find it, and appreciate the content. So in this sense, kudos to the webmaster.

            “they need to be separated so content of each ‘type’ can be found easily.”

            It’s this very separation that scares me most. Separate things, and people will need to choose what they want to look at. Some items will simply not get the same number of eye-balls as now, which is a pity. And you won’t be able to have discussions, sometimes specialized, sometimes veering on tangential points. For this is one of the awesomest things about TJ13: serious, broad, tangential discussions in DN&C, which allows fostering a sense of community, a talking shop… Well, I like it. But that’s me…

          • @landroni

            Maybe I’ll get used to it but personally it feels too cluttered, less readable and less logically laid out. The comments especially are much harder to follow and nothing has been done to fix the visible width issue that so blights the site when viewed on a ‘proper PC’.

            Separation – needs to be done right I agree. But the problem I’ve found for a while – and the new layout has amplified it – is that checking for updates to the Daily News is not easy. As The Judge comments, splitting each news item in to a separate article would solve this issue and IMO would make it far, far easier to discuss a particular story. At the moment the comments on the DN&C articles get so mixed up, not helped by the poor layout of the comments function.

            But yes, a lot of news would quickly push the quality articles aside unless the site is formatted well and they are kept visible. Personally I can see two or three columns working, with the latest item in News / Tech / Comment highlighted as now at the top with older items having a text description below.

            For me, at the moment, the narrow space used for the main content coupled with the relatively poor use of space for each ‘headline’ makes it much harder to navigate than previously.

          • “the narrow space used for the main content ”

            This is actually a readability aspect, and very much needed. There are very good arguments for keeping content at ~80 characters width, and this is what the site is now doing more or less. Make it wider, and things become harder to read.

            “checking for updates to the Daily News is not easy.”

            It wasn’t easy before eitehr. Best would be for TJ13 to religiously log updates (updated at 1.23 GMT) for each individual piece, whenever something major is added. This is independent of old/current layout. I know TJ13 was doing that in the past, and perhaps this should be revived.

            “poor layout of the comments function.”

            I also find the comments harder to read now. Perhaps smaller font size for the commenter names should help with that…

            “feels too cluttered”

            I would argue taht this is excatly what the order has ordered. The site before was a piss-poor blog (no offence intended), with latest post cluttering half the interface on the home page. Now it is a proper news website, allowing people to choose news articles and find most of the recent ones easily. Very, very useful change. (NOt unlike economist.com ). Also, the Youtube channel, is very usefully promoted now, as the content is excellent.

            Perhaps some things (like three images promoting just one podcast) should be toned down, but overall changes are for the better and makes the site less blogy and more professional. Some rough edges around, but these can be addressed. Eg. I don’t know if we need the Facebook likes taking so much real-estate. Or the Usher tweets would be best if actual pictures were shown…

    • There is a distinct smack of hypocrisy from Haas. “We are different from these new guys that came in, they did it all wrong amd didn’t know what they are doing. BTW we hired a load of their old staff and premises to help us set the business up” … Ermm but…

  13. More site feedback…

    I like the approach and ongoing improvements, thanks for listening and it’s great to hear that the numbers are moving in the right direction.

    Another suggestion is to either make the blue title “daily news and comments ” smaller or/and actually remove the date since the date is appended automatically right below the title anyway and/or use a numerical only date format to free up some space and make the overall layout less text-heavy. You may be worried about negative SEO impact if you take the text out of the link, but I would try it and see.

    I’m just trying to come up with ways to free up more space to the resident Hippo’s legendary rants btw…

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