#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 11th March 2015

 

DNandC

UPDATED 17:34 GMT – A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,


OTD Lite 1990 – Jean Alesi announces himself to Senna;

Briatore wants Mclaren to tell the truth;

Wolff – Mercedes to welcome driver battle;

Ricciardo aiming for ‘home’ podium;

Monisha is not yet done destroying Sauber;

FIA Press conference schedule;

Vettel does the unthinkable;

Horner suggests banning wind tunnels;

Renault against ‘significant’ engine changes;

Dennis admits he was dishonest over Alonso’s health


OTD Lite 1990 – Jean Alesi announces himself to Senna

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable re-passes in history and you know from Osamu Goto’s reaction and that of Ken Tyrrell that they were all smiling at the fight.

“For me it was a dream come true to race with Ayrton. Two years ago he was my hero when I was in Formula Three, so for it was incredible to fight with him.”

theJudge13_Logo3_GrumpyJ
The Grumpy Jackal

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Briatore wants Mclaren to tell the truth

On Monday evening, Italy’s ‘Porta a Porta’ television show concentrated on the nuances of neurological injuries. Amongst the guests present was a top professor and via video link was the former Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo – in addition to Flavio Briatore also offering his ‘considered’ verdict.

As ever in the goldfish bowl of Italian TV, the talk centered around the accident that befell former Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso and his manager’s call to Mclaren to clarify the exact cause of the accident.

Flavio has seen the footage of the incident which supposedly didn’t exist: “It wasn’t a big blow. I saw a movie which moreover was sent to me by Ecclestone, where you can see that the blow is not so strong.”

“Just behind was Vettel who passes it, you see that Fernando goes to slam into the wall for no reason. And then you have to see if it is a problem of steering. We have not had any information about it from Mclaren. What happened is a very strange thing, and Ron Dennis in his press conference has not clarified anything. I expect that eventually it will become clearer. “

“Even the communication of the team was not brilliant. There is an investigation by the Federation. I don’t think there was an electrical problem but if it was then it must be said, because it can happen to other drivers. We know that when F1 put Kers on the cars, some mechanics took an electric shock which caused them to pass out.”

“You know that there is a switch, the switch was closed for Fernando. So let’s see, there is an investigation and we should know for the peace of all what has happened. Obviously the team and driver have given out different versions of what happened.”

“So there was a lot of confusion because the accident, if you see it, is not something that you would say “my God that blow!” It is an accident such as one sees a lot. It’s a little the angle in which the machine took the wall that could have bothered to Fernando.”

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Wolff – Mercedes to welcome driver battle

At times last season, it appeared to the outside world that Mercedes was stage-managing its drivers to the World Title. Having delivered Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg the most dominant car of a generation – all F1 fans prayed for the fights that typified the final stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Yet as Paddy Lowe was heard over the team radio, the drivers were cautioned to not risk victory for the team. With the collision between the warring duo culminating at the Belgian Grand Prix, Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda read the pair the riot act back at the team’s Brackley base.

With what seems another dominant package Toto explained in an interview with AFP that Mercedes were prepared to let the drivers fight this year.

“This year we will not change our approach in regards the drivers battle. It would be difficult to be honest. For us, the company and for F1 it is important that Lewis and Nico battle each other.”

“We intervened after Spa to prevent a repeat of that happening again which was viewed negatively. But in this sport if you do not live the races that are emotional and you make rational decisions all the time – in the end you lose so much and you lose what sport is about. We run sports with our emotions.”

Of course, it remains to be seen if the Brackley squad has changed its ethos in regards the drivers title but with a dominant Silver Arrow once more it could be the paymasters have decided to entertain the masses.

Ominously Wolff suggested that Mercedes have not shown their hand at any stage this year, “We focused on systems tests and reliability. The performance will be shown when it count and that is the Sunday of Melbourne.”

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Ricciardo aiming for ‘home’ podium

Daniel Ricciardo is targeting a podium finish for the season opening Australian GP. After having claimed his first podium at his home race last year, Red Bull’s battle with the FIA over fuel-flow meter rates eventually led to his disqualification.

The three time winner knows it will be tough to compete with Mercedes, “Look, Mercedes proved during testing they are ahead but there will be a good fight between us, Ferrari and Williams. The podium is my goal.”

“Mercedes have done a great job to build the advantage they have but all sports need more teams fighting for victory. The fans would like it but Hamilton and Rosberg would get more satisfaction too. Ultimately it’s down to us to bridge the gap.”

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Monisha is not yet done destroying Sauber

It has barely been 12 hours since the verdict in the “causa VdG” was delivered in the Supreme Court of Victoria (available here as a video for the time being), and Monisha Kaltenborn is playing fast and loose with Sauber’s cash and more importantly – their reputation – and  seemingly without concern.

Shortly after Justice Croft delivered Sauber short shrift the team filed an appeal citing the same and already defeated protests over safety concerns. This line of reasoning was rubbished by VdG’s lawyer who reminded the court of events from the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. For those who don’t remember, Sauber’s driver – Sergio Perez – was unable to pilot the car and so still wearing his McLaren overalls and without a specialised seat fitting – Pedro de la Rosa jumped into and drove the Sauber car to help out the Swiss team.

Sauber’s lawyer looks ill-prepared and ‘some might say’ his law degree was something he found in a Kinder Surprise egg.

During the first short appeal hearing, the team’s lawyer had to be reminded that the racing starts on Friday, not Thursday, when he wheeled out the ‘we can’t make a seat in time’ excuse over and over again. This line of defence to anyone who understand F1 was embarrassing for Sauber’s legal team.

During the hearing, Sauber had insisted that Giedo van der Garde does not have a valid Superlicense, but they were proven wrong when VdG’s team produced the appropriate papers that proved the opposite.

Strike Three!

Sauber’s response was almost from the realms of pre-pubescent 12 year old logic. “Well he shouldn’t have one”.

The ruling on Saubers appeal will be delivered at 2230 Zulu (0930 local).

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FIA Press conference schedule

Thursday, March 12, 1500 hours local time (0400 GMT)
Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Friday, March 13, 1830 hours local time (0730 GMT)
Maurizio Arrivabene (Ferrari), Eric Boullier (McLaren), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber), Graeme Lowdon (Marussia), Claire Williams (Williams), Toto Wolff (Mercedes)

Clearly by Friday we’ll know what Sauber’s plan is. Yet whatever course of action they choose, Monisha Kaltneborn is going to get a disproportionate share of the limelight – and in a way some of her team sponsors may wish was not happening.

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Vettel does the unthinkable

There were those who thought the ‘nonsense’ of naming an F1 car would stop when Sebastian Vettel entered the hallowed portals of Maranello. Surely, this most establishment of Formula One car creators would not allow one of their drivers to denigrate the pinnacle of Italian race car design and engineering by giving the product of their endeavours a name – and a female one at that.

However, the newly cropped – though still unshaven – quadruple world champion has appeared in the paddock in Melbourne and announced his car will be called Eve.

Vettel has been clearly spending too much time with Lewis, because the spiritual connection is clear.

This is Vettel’s virginal Ferrari experience – and according to Genesis, Eve was the first woman on earth.

Whether Eve ‘begets’ or ‘begats’ any children for her partner in the form of trophies this season – is yet to be seen.

But it could be by the end of the year, she has turned to the dark side and ‘Evil Eve’ is the natural successor to ‘666’.

Buoyed by the new spirit of levity (and lack of blood smeared around the walls) in his place of work, Kimi Raikkonen has joined in the fun. His version of the FS15-T will be called “WALLY”. Fernando when he looks at his MP4-30, just sees “WALL E”.

Eva – as she will be known in Italian is an interesting marriage of first and second (family) names. Google ‘Eva Ferrari’ – but be careful which play button you press 😉

Untitled (Recovered)

 

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Horner suggests banning wind tunnels

Christian Horner has suggested if Formula One wants to get serious about controlling costs, wind tunnel bans should be considered.

Speaking in Melbourne, the Red Bull Team Principal explains: “If you wanted to go really extreme and be really controversial, get rid of the wind tunnel. It’s an expensive thing to run and to feed with components and parts. Get back to engineering ingenuity.

“Give everybody the same microchip for the CFD cluster and make it down to the brainpower within the team as opposed to computer or wind tunnel power.

“Why not be radical? Why not make everybody have the same processes?

“If I was Bernie or Jean, that’s the direction I would be looking at.”

“You can’t dictate how much money a team has and where they choose to spend that money, but what you can do with the regulations is to make diminishing returns.

Horner agrees some teams will still spend a fortune, “but if the regulations were in such a way, then it’s not necessarily going to buy you an advantage.”

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Renault against ‘significant’ engine changes

The matter of cost to customer teams and Mercedes dominance since the introduction of the new engine formula has led to discussions over whether engines should be revised or changed completely for the 2017 season and onwards.

Remi Taffin today explains Renault’s position on the matter. “Renault would first prefer to keep the same spirit of the regulations because we’ve spent years now to work on that engine.”

“For us it would be a shame and not efficient to go to a completely different technology.

“That’s where we are. Obviously we will take any changes into account but if we had to choose we would prefer to keep some stability.”

Having been caught on the back foot with their new F1 V6 Turbo power unit, Taffin reveals that Renault are a long way down the road to recovery and have a 2-3 year plan in place.

“We’ve gone into a way that we could develop for the next three or four years, that’s why we’ve got these tokens… It’s fair to say that we’ve spent a lot of energy on this.”

Renault’s F1 boss now believes radical change of the new PU’s is unlikely.

“I know they’ve been talking about potential regulation changes but from what I know it’s sort of on standby at the minute. From what I know, we’re looking at keeping the same sort of regulations.”

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Dennis admits he was dishonest over Alonso’s health

TJ13 has been reporting and commenting on the debacle that has followed Fernando’s crash in winter testing. McLaren were slow to comment on the matter and when they did, their version of events appeared to differ from the facts open for all to see.

Ron Dennis gave a press conference at the final winter test and assured the assembled media that Fernando Alonso had not suffered from concussion and was in every way “physically perfect”. Yet within hours it became evident Fernando Alonso had been advised not to race in Melbourne.

Today in the paddock, Dennis reveals to reporters he “failed” to be open and honest and misrepresented the state of Alonso’s health.

“I understand why the press beat me up for being inaccurate. I wanted to be open honest. I failed. But it is my objective to try to be as honest as possible in future.

“There are a lot of complexities about concussion. It is difficult to quantify, and it goes beyond my area of expertise,” he admitted. “It is not my decision. But as far as I know Fernando will be in Malaysia. I have every reason to believe he will be there.

“I spoke to him on the way over here. He wants to race there. I hope he does, but it is his decision, not mine. We have a mountain to climb and we are in the process of climbing that mountain. We will get to where we want to be.”

Cynics will suggest this is more Ron speak and is again heading off a further revelation out of his control which is soon to come to pass.

72 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 11th March 2015

  1. Briatore wanting Macca to spill the beans sounds extremely fair I believe.
    I also believe they should ask him to spill his guts on that Singapore race…….

  2. That was very decent thanks Mr Jackal.
    Was it my imagination or did that Tyrrell seem a little aerated around the front end?

  3. Not many years ago, F1 had became a much better place when two nefarious characters were forced to leave the paddock, Mr. Ron Dennis, and Mr. Flavio Briatore.

    The fact that both of them are back in F1 news, and both are saying silly things is a little bit dis-heartening.

    • The almosr complete rehabilitation of Pat Symonds needs a mention too. He’s doing pretty well for himself now given what he admitted to being a part of in Singapore, 2008. The mainstream press are either entirely ignorant of the incident or treat it as some kind of awkward faux pas – not to be mentioned for fear of embarrassing the guy.

      With Williams on the up, good old Pat is having more smoke blown up his backdoor than a bushfire fighter in a high wind.

      • He’s British so they don’t want to believe that he was involved in such a dispicable act.

        • I think we all are capable of accepting that he did something stupid and awful, and potentially any of us could do this under such situations. He clearly feels bad about it, and most reasonable people who see this remorse and the individuals desire to put it behind them and start again, are willing to give them a second shot. I thought his interview in F1 Racing magazine was good.

          • I’m far from a Code Hammurabi kinda guy, but calculatedly, deliberately and with a whole lot of forethought organising a deliberate crash during a live race so that his other driver could win?

            Life ban.

            He’s a nice guy and is sorry? Wait a tick… nope, I’ve checked my pockets and I’m all out of f*ks to give.

          • Ha Ha, fair enough, thing is, I’m talking about what was done, not what should have been done, not sure I disagree with the outcome you describe.

            However he wasn’t banned, and as a result I’m addressing Fortis’s “He’s British so they don’t want to believe that he was involved in such a dispicable act”, which I am proposing isn’t the case. We, or I at least, am not in denial that is happened/wasn’t bad/wasn’t really him, just that from a personal level, he did a thing, was judged, and has been allowed to carry on, and I can’t be arsed to keep banging on about it all the time? Senna, Prost, and schumacher should probably have had sanctions/harsher penalties for causing deliberate accidents to attempt to win a championship too?

            I’m not so sure he’s a nice guy though, looks like a toad to me, but I have never met the bloke.

        • A reputable British journalist called Alan Henry refused to write any balanced reports about Ron Dennis or the Mclaren team during Spygate.
          He insinuated the team was above reproach, honest and would never cheat.
          He is now their writer for their website…

      • RogerD said, “…rehabilitation of Pat Symonds needs a mention too. He’s doing pretty well for himself now given what he admitted to being a part of in Singapore, 2008.”

        Yes, I agree that Pat and Nelsinho are certainly not in the same class of riff raff as their former boss, Briatore. They’ve both come clean and moved on. Williams was very wise to pick up Pat Symonds, obviously.

        It was only Briatore who earned a life-time ban from motorsports by the FIA. That sentence seems almost long enough!

        Ron Dennis is another special case. He was able to earn his team one of the largest monetary penalties from the FIA for lying. He comes back and a few days ago gives that pathetic press conference in Barcelona full of lies again.

        So now we all know that nothing has changed. One has to feel for all the rational folks who work at McLaren and are obliged to put with the silliness that falls out of Ron’s mouth.

  4. I lost a significant amount of respect for Adrian Newey 12 months ago when Red Bull pulled their political stunt against the fuel regulations and sacrificed Daniel Ricciardo’s great podium finishing drive in the 2014 OZ GP.

    It was an immature, ‘sour grapes’ act by Newey, and very disrespectful of Ricciardo.

    I was glad they were able to work well together as a team with Ricciardo afterwards, despite the way they treated him in his home GP.

  5. In the run up to this weekend, we have a local news report regarding Melbourne “stealing” Adelaide’s GP all those years ago:

    … Asked whether [Adelaide] would ever consider trying to get the race back, Mr Bignell replied “you never say never” but said “while Bernie Ecclestone’s running Formula One, I wouldn’t be interested.” …

    http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-11/what-sa-gained-by-losing-the-grand-prix/6288836?section=sport

    • just thinking how cool it would be if the retain Melbourne as the opener and somehow manage to bring back Adelaide to wrap the season, it would be fantastic

    • You wouldn’t happen to live in Melbourne by any chance would you?

      • Who? Me?

        Our friends at google tell that my current abode is 3242km away from Albert Park. :p

        Roughly, stooge on up to Adelaide then head west-ish for another 2500km or so. If you hit the beach you’ve gone too far.

        FWIW, apparently that smiley kid with the fizzy drink mob grew up about a suburb east of where I sit 🙂

    • I’m pretty certain I have seen a report very recently that will obliterate, by housing development, a significant portion of the original track layout, which – regarding a return of F1 to that venue, completely scuppers that.

    • Sauber have filed an appeal and the hearing is posted for tomorrow morning. The saga goes on

  6. Why would Ecclestone send video of Alonso’s crash to Briatore? One could almost believe he did that, because he expected the disgraced Italian to talk about it publicly 😉

  7. Re Briatore’s comments…

    I thought they said there was no video footage of the actual impact? So how did Bernie manage to show Flávio a video of the accident?

  8. ” …. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Brackley squad has changed its ethos in regards the drivers title but with a dominant Silver Arrow once more it could be the paymasters have decided to entertain the masses. … ”

    Toto said they won’t change the ethos. As you yourself quote Toto in the article ” This year we will not change our approach in regards the drivers battle. “.

    Last year’s ethos, which Mercedes said repeatedly, was that the drivers were free to battle each other – with just one proviso: do NOT run in to each other.

    You can take it as guaranteed that the same proviso will apply this year.

  9. Re: ” …. The ruling on Saubers appeal will be delivered at 2230 Zulu (0930 local). … ”

    Not sure what is meant by the above times.

    Appeal hearing is on Thursday 12 March, expected to take about 5 hours according to James Allen: ” Van der Garde’s representative being granted two hours tomorrow morning to state their case, lawyers for current drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr having half an hour, and Sauber getting a further one and a half hours to re-state its case”
    Doesn’t leave much time for making Friday practice.
    .
    https://twitter.com/SCVSupremeCourt/status/575534927250350082

  10. “Monisha is not yet done destroying Sauber”

    This past month I’ve seen Force India and Sauber being incessantly lambasted here, but TJ13 is completely missing the point.

    Both FI and Sauber have been driven to despair and facing extinction by FOM’s incredibly inequitable revenue distribution. What they do to attempt to salvage their business and protect hundreds of jobs may not be elegant, but they’re in a position of no choice. A bit more consideration would be in order.

    If TJ13 wanted to point fingers and lambast someone, they should start with Bernard and FOM (for drafting the said contracts in the first place, whether Concorde or bi-lateral agreements), Ferrari (for kicking itself one hell of a bonus just for planting their red arse on circuits around the world) and Red Bull (for the generous kickbacks they’re getting from FOM, for no good reason, really). Others could be mentioned, of course, but let’s start with those clearly on the naughty step.

    The regressive revenue distribution in F1 means that the richest teams to begin with will get the biggest share of the income (e.g. according to Autosport, in 2013 Ferrari got £110m from FOM, including a £60m bonus), while the poorest teams get a big fat… well, not much really (e.g. Sauber got a scrawny £35m, while Marussia a ridiculous £10m). In other words, this revenue scheme is effectively a system taking money from the poor and distributing it to the rich, in the proudest traditions of the mildest of the North Korean dictatorships…

    As long as the Sauber’s and the Force India’s are effectively subsidizing the Ferrari’s and the Red Bull’s, PLEASE get off their back.

    • Pauper or prince – you still have to abide by the law. You may not like the law. The law may not be just or fair or equitable. But it’s still the law. Sauber have broken the law and someone’s holding them to it.

      • “Pauper or prince – you still have to abide by the law.”

        Sure you do. Gribkowski and Ecclestone, anyone?

    • You are missing the point. If your company gets into financial probs, you have to go into admin. It doesn’t matter if it is your fault or that of the environment you are doing business in.
      Sauber chose to secure their survival by illicit means – namely setting up a Ponzi scheme.
      Marussia showed the way. They went into administration, restructured and are back without being dragged to court because they refuse to fulfil their contractual obligations.

      • FH said, “If your company gets into financial probs, you have to go into admin.”

        That is one option, but not the only option.

        Then FH said, “Marussia showed the way. They went into administration, restructured and…”

        umm… and are going to trundle around by themselves at the back of the grid with last year’s dog of a motor from Ferrari. If this re-incarnation lasts the full season, we will all be impressed.

        So you really believe Sauber should have folded early? Wow, interesting advice…

        • Manor made sure they survived. They now work on the 2015 car with a solid financial base by claiming the Bernie money they are entitled to. Since Ferrari has to homologate the 2015 engine during the season, Marussia will get that one as well, as they are not allowed to run two different specs at the same time after official homologation.

          Marussia will finish last, but still eligable to Bernie Money and it’ll be the same or more after Sauber folds, because they’ll finish 9th again, even without points.

          Which approach is the better? Being the underdog that many cheer for their stubborn fighting spirit or the Whore of Rome, who’s dragged through the mud before courts all over the bloody planet? (Disclaimer: The reference has nothing to do with Monisha, but the outward impression the team gives away)

          • You’ve just conceded my point which is that Sauber had a choice, and they didn’t “…have to go into admin,” as you’ve said.

            As to whether either team will be around at the end of the season, we will have to wait and see.

            But Landroni has done an excellent job of pointing out how you, and I, and all of us getting excited here about this and that soap opera is symptomatic of the bigger problem.

            Bernie did his divide and conquer deals some years ago with the big British teams and Ferrari, and the result is we now have Caterham gone, Manor almost alive, with FI, Sauber, and Lotus fighting viciously for nickels and dimes. The costs are higher each season for F1 teams, with less overall revenue.

            Today’s news is about symptoms of that larger problem. Beating up folks in F1 who are suffering and fighting for survival may be personally therapeutic, and/or entertaining, but it’s not relevant to the problem.

          • @VM

            “all of us getting excited here about this and that soap opera is symptomatic of the bigger problem”

            Well put. The Caterham saga may have been supremely captivating, between Tony, Kolles, invisible sand-eating and cheese-dwelling Arab-Swiss investors, but it was only symptomatic of the larger problem.

            Same goes for Sauber and their upteenth pay driver contracts, and the delightful “how to fit 3 in 2” charade. Same for Force India’s “dog eat dog” incident. Marussia’s utter reliance on Russian money, that dried up immediately after Sochi. All these sagas and soap operas are nail-biting and popcorn-grabbing.

            But the thing is that Bernie’s income distribution attracts this kind of persons and/or behavior. THAT, folks, is the issue. And bashing the poor Monisha’s and Bob’s is not a very useful way to go about it; save your energy and amplify the protests against Bernie, CVC and Todt for the shameful way they’re running the industry…

        • Dude, no offense, but listen to what you’re saying: that criminal fraud is an acceptable business strategy in times of systemic failure and acute distress.

          Everyone knows that there are massive structural inequalities in F1 as a result of incredibly short-sighted decision-making by rapacious vulture fund CVC and their Toad, but citing those challenges still in no way can – or should – excuse an entity (a team) for committing fraud / intentionally violating contract law.

          VdG is simply seeking to protect and exercise his legal rights and it’s weird to see people criticizing him for this and defending Sauber for engaging in behavior that truly appears criminal.

          • No offense taken, Joe.

            Regarding criminal fraud, this is actually a civil matter, an enforcement of an arbitration agreement. AFAIK, there have not been criminal fraud charges filed. Perhaps I’ve overlooked something, though.

            This is a very bold play by van der Garde that may work to his favor. It’s still not clear to me if his ultimate goal is to retrieve some of his money back, or to race a F1 car.

            Either way, his F1 career is finished since behind closed doors other teams likely view van der Garde as risking his team’s very survival to satisfy his own desires. I suspect he realized this to be an affect, and it may have embolden him to play hardball this way.

            Contrast vdG’s play versus Sutil’s more traditional play for the return of his sponsorship monies.

            F1 has always been a piranha’s club, which is why I view this soap opera as an entertaining but sad symptom of the larger problem.

            Speaking criminal, Joe… Have you ever driven 56mph on 55mph highway? :-O 😉

          • “that criminal fraud is an acceptable business strategy in times of systemic failure and acute distress.”

            Lofty principles sound nice, but we often tend to forget that laws are an expression of the ethics of a society, and are ultimately there to benefit living, breathing human beings, and are rough guidelines towards appropriate, ethical behavior. I’ve too often seen laws and rules enforced when there was no need to, and laws and rules recklessly disregarded when following them is of vital necessity.

            Say, it is current law in certain American states, inscribed in contracts, not to rent apartments to Indians, unless they’re property of whites (from memory, but it goes along these lines). Would YOU follow this law?

            To come back to your example, I remember when the EU was in such a position a couple years back, the UK was against it, it was blatantly illegal, unconstitutional and against every treaty ever signed, but when the EU and Eurozone was faced with the abyss, all the legal niceties mattered little vs the urgent imperative of protecting living, human beings… Real life operates differently at times…

            (NOT to lambast VdG or to excuse Monisha!)

          • Ha, was just thinking it’s not so much what you have to do to survive, its how you do it. Manor did it well, FI and Team Clean less so.

          • @mattpt55

            “it’s not so much what you have to do to survive, its how you do it. Manor did it well, FI and Team Clean less so.”

            Hmm… I wouldn’t put Marussia on a pedestal just yet. Maria de Villota died in their hands, and we still know nothing of that. And interestingly, few and fewer have set the dogs onto Marussia for that incident… (When comparing to, say, Alonso and McLaren.)

            When Russian funding dried out, Marussia was left hanging to dry (after having presented one car as a trophy to Putin in Sochi). This isn’t unlike Tony at Caterham, who just packed bags and flew away.

            And Manor got incredibly lucky… Bianchi’s points in Monaco were a fluke, and things could’ve gone the other way round. If Caterham were to get Bernie’s cheque next year, Marussia would’ve still been dead now and Caterham would have relieved from its ashes…

            As far as I go, Marussia has no real prospects, and it’s likely to follow in the footsteps of HRT and Caterham sooner rather than later. If Sauber and Force India literally can’t find the cash to test/race, Manor won’t last a fortnight…

            And I’m profoundly amused by the Sleeping Beauty announcing tender for new teams? WHO THE HELL IS GOING TO WANT TO SINK CASH INTO F1? Having seen how HRT, Caterham, Marussia, Sauber, Force India, Lotus got treated by CVC and the fat, rich and politically astute grandees… Having seen how Tony Fernandez and Vijay Mallya sank millions to get naught… Having seen how you have no chance whatsoever to break even, unless you have a funder with a bottomless pit of funds… Having seen all this, who in their right mind will want in?

            Sure, there is Haas, but he is banking on Ferrari providing him hte chassis, and if that don’t happen, Haas is screwed. Forza Rossa? And that’s pretty much it…

          • And if Haas doesn’t get the global sales uplift he expects, he’ll be outta there a lot quicker than Fernandes

          • Ha, can’t resist. Was speaking of Manor going into administration and coming out the other side, without any of the nonsense that Sauber et al have been up to. The rest of it, of course you are correct.

            As far as who would put their money into F1, no one without a sweet deal would do it. Makes you wonder what Haas is getting promised out of sight. And make no mistake, about zero of his personal dollars will be at risk in that venture.

          • Haas will be done before he realizes how to set his machines to cen-ti-me-tres… (Did I get that right?)

    • You’re not incorrect as to the genesis of the cash flow problems, but when push came to shove last season rather than standing together each of the midfield teams (or rather their management) buckled under the pressure and missed their chance to stand up and take a piece out of Bernie.

      Subsequently we learn that Sauber *never* had a conversation with VdG, didn’t call him in the office, say we’re effed please help us nor did they give him a chance to match the deal they offered Ericsson. So yeah, thumbs down, survival or no.

      Then FI stab Manor firmly between the shoulder blades and Bob Fernley, who generally had become a voice I respected, turns around and justifies this act with a load of bollocks about safety and not having a proper plan, both of which are essentially untrue.

      So, frankly, they deserve their shellacking, too, IMO.

      Doesn’t change the bigger picture, but doesn’t mean we should ignore what they’re up to either.

      • All good points, Matt. Yet, I can’t help wonder: when you take two kids, beat ’em up, starve them to death, strangle them, and drive them to the point where they’re ready tear each other to pieces… Do you blame the kids, or the tutor? Precioussss….. springs to mind…

        Anyways… Sauber’s reckless behavior towards their drivers is hardly excusable, even if Force India’s affair is as clear as mud to me (until there is public access to the minutes of the SG, we don’t really know what happened, whichever righteous discourse from Wolff or Williams). But reporting only that, and focusing mostly on that, and lambasting the poor lads without respite, and without providing proper context for understanding their actions… That’s what I’m railing against…

        Sauber’s and FI’s acts should be properly contextualized, i.e. the reckless income distribution heaped upon the minnows of F1. Hunger and near-death will make persons do unspeakable things, and this is exactly what we’re witnessing, and not explaining it as such is a pity.

        • Landroni, you must have been late to the party. We’ve been slating the stuffing out of FOM and the inequitable distribution of money as well as the greed of the big teams for over two years. We are positively tame in our reporting about Sauber and FI in comparison.

        • @Landroni…

          Just a question….

          If you’ve already starved them to death, what’s the point strangling them after?…. 🙂 🙂

        • Agree that the backdrop of all this is FOM and CVC, and it is true human behavior in survival mode is often far less than pretty.

          W/R/T FI we have Fernley’s own words about why FI nixed the Manor exemption, and quite frankly they don’t pass the sniff test. Manor had put forth a plan to FIA and FOM that both knew of and already accepted, “done and dusted” I think is the proper Britishism.

          As to his safety concerns, on the whole having gone and had a look at the regs, primarily they concern the height difference between the ’14 and ’15 chassis, mostly the nosecone. The difference as far as I could parse it was 75mm in height and 80mm fwd of front impact structure, though they would still have to run 2015 spec nose. Cockpit crash structure got moved back 100mm and 25mm lower and they reduced by 50mm the distance in which 10g’s of deceleration was permissible in the frontal crash test. Total loads on g metre in dummies test reain the same however.

          I think, not an engineer and kind of hard to visualize, but the basic point is there are no huge changes in safety regs this year, it’s all smoke and mirrors when they’re banging on about it. And to be fair, the biggest beef is not so much that they did it as that they tried to pretend they were just nobly trying to make the sport safe instead of trying to save their own asses at the expense of Manor.

          • I share Landroni’s view that FI and Sauber are being criticized unfairly here by many.

            W/R/T FI raising safety concerns, the context of course is that FI is stringing along on a shoe-string budget now and have met the 2015 regs though it nearly broke their bank accounts to do so. But they did it.

            And the reason for the new 2015 regs? Safety. So the poorest teams, Sauber and FI scraped the bottom of their budget barrels to meet the 2015 regs, and along comes Manor who says “Hey guys! It’ll be difficult money-wise for us to be 2015 compliant. OK if we just run the 2014 cars?”

            The raison d’etre of the 2015 reg changes may be safety, but FI’s reason to raise their hand and say wait, what is your plan? When will you be compliant? is because Manor should have a plan to put a 2015 car on the track.

            The consequence is Manor has put a 2015 car on the track. Seems like it was the right thing to do…

            A wider view is often appreciated, but usually less exciting.

          • VM the main changes to safety regs are due to new height of cars. If Fernly meant that it wasn’t fair for Manor to get a pass after they’d busted ass to get their 2015 chassis done, then that’s reasonable, agree or not. Instead he insinuated their car would be unsafe (not true) and that they had no plan (also not true). That’s what cheesed everyone off so much IMO. And somewhat rightfully so.

          • That’s a whole different issue altogether. I never said they weren’t comically inept at it. They are. Sure, they didn’t stick together in Austin, but even if they did, there are no guarantees this would have changed anything substantively. Caterham and Marussia were already dying and with no pulse, Austin-boycott or no… And the wheels of EU justice are turning at the speed of the ice ages…

            And this doesn’t change anything as to what brought them in this position in the first place: years of Bernie diet… Today’s midfield teams’ fate was already written on the wall since the days of the RRA, and Red Bull’s withdrawal from any attempt to restrain costs (how hypocritical of Spice Boy to now advocate for reducing costs!!). The change in power units, CVC’s voluntarily dispensing of eye-balls by placing the show under a paywall, scared sponsors, etc., are nothing but the long-term policies put in place by Bernie & CVC (with a slight tint of the sleeping beauty), in their attempt to milk in the short-term what could be milked from the long-term prospects of the sport. And today’s utter despair of the teams is simply economic reality catching up…

            The real culprits are still the pampered and girthy fatsos, beginning with Bernard, CVC, Ferrari, Red Bull, etc. And they are the ones that should be fingered when we witness “dog eat dog” incidents, or “how to fit 3 in 2” charades…

    • What I find surprising about Landroni’s comment is that apparently according to his arguing it’s okay to be a bastard as long as you are treated like dirt too. Because they don’t get enough money is no reason to treat their drivers or the people working for them like dirt (a tactic often used by Lotus when Eric ‘The Beliebable’ Boullier still worked there). We all sympathize with the midfield teams but that doesn’t mean we wish them to use every means possible to stay on the grid, in my view ‘don’t become what you’ve been criticizing’ should be stronger than ‘stay alive at all costs’. Isn’t that the exact reason why TJ13 has been criticizing the actions of Force India?

      • “What I find surprising about Landroni’s comment is that apparently according to his arguing it’s okay to [..]”

        Explains, not excuses.

        • I kind of reasoned that you meant that with your reply on MattPt55’s comment, unfortunately I’ve read that comment just 5 minutes ago 😉

          In that case you’re comments do have some value since not everyone visiting this site knows about the relentless criticizing of the FOM business model that TJ13 does. Some come here for the first time and some come here only once in a while. Luckily the Fat Hippo has corrected some of that with his Voice of the Fans article just posted today 😉

  11. “I spoke to him on the way over here. He wants to race there. I hope he does, but it is his decision, not mine. We have a mountain to climb and we are in the process of climbing that mountain. We will get to where we want to be.”

    sounds a lot like alonso won’t be racing in malaysia.

      • Michael Schmidt black box data is good, but he misinterpreted it.

        From Michael’s data we see:

        1) His 215km/h corresponds to the verified GPS data as to when Alonso lost the car.

        2) Alonso then brakes as Michael’s data shows.

        3) Alonso’s slight oversteer arcs him to the wall and he hits it at 135km/h (using Michael’s black box data).

        4) Alonso is then badly concussed, and the car drifts (for the mysterious 3 seconds), and he then hits the wall a 2nd time at 105km/h.

        With that re-interpretation, Michael Schmidt’s data aligns very well with the verified GPS data from Andrew Benson, the McLaren analysis, the video from T1, and the photog’s action shots.

      • @Hippo said ….They still haven’t found out why he blacked out prior to slamming into the wall.

        It happened in catering. Alonso said ‘fu*k you to a Japanese person, and the Chef thought he wanted Fugu (Blowfish). Or else it was Italian revenge. Horses heads are so obvious.

        Say Fugu or 2 or 3fishy to the NSA & GCHQ. 🙂

  12. More Site Comments Judge:
    Like that you’ve changed the heading to eliminate the slide show.
    Like the new and improved font. Easier to read.
    Like that you can click on the comments right next to the headline.
    Like the partial photos.

    Would like a little less white space. Palish possible grey background behind “recent posts” and social media.
    The other nit is that comments are so confined width-wise that they are thin and long — with just a few words per line. I don’t know another way to describe it, but it’s like the margins are way too thin, especially when someone replies to a comment or replies to that comment. It’s still readable but not as pleasing as before. I guess the question is, can you widen the margins?
    On my office pc I have 1 1/2 inch / 4 cm margin on both sides beyond the body of the blog.

    • Thank you kiki

      Two things we are working on – side bar shading and a wider page for comments – it requires programming and possibly migrating the site away from WordPress – but they are THE priorities – bear with us.

  13. Seb’s new haircut and his ‘spiritual connection’ as mentioned in the article – He’s becoming more like Lewis by the day! Who’d have thunk it eh Hippo!

  14. Horner’s being disingenuous with his wind tunnel talk. He’s often demonstrated that by planting his big toes firmly apart and opening his mouth, he generates a more then ample wind tunnel effect so Red Bull will not be disadvantaged here in the least.

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