#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 18th March 2015


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

OTD Lite 2008 – Jean Todt resigns from Ferrari

Hamilton joins the chorus of Red Bull criticism

Renault blame Red Bull for problems in Australia

Force India’s Fernley sheds no tears for Red Bull

Manor to race in Malaysia

Bernie “detonates” the bomb according to Italian Press

Williams certain customer Mercedes unit not equal to works unit

Honda’s new President not a fan of F1

OTD Lite 2008 – Jean Todt resigns from Ferrari

It’s a difficult call for any true Ferrari supporter when asked about their memories of Jean Todt with the famous Italian team. He of course brought about a change in the Italian culture that permeated throughout the organisation and transformed them into the greatest force F1 had ever seen.

But at what cost?

Enzo Ferrari’s mantra was that Ferrari cars won races – the drivers lost them. This mantra had held true ever since Enzo had run the Alfa Romeo works team back in the 1930’s. Yet within a handful of years of Todt’s assignment, Ferrari had been tarnished with the infamous number 1 & 2 driver policy.

To this day, the fans believe that Ferrari have notoriously always upheld this policy – even suggesting that Raikkonen was sacrificed for the glory of Vettel in Australia last weekend, despite Kimi not once having been ahead all weekend.

So for this Grumpy Ferrari fan, I say thanks for the snoozefest that Ferrari brought to our TV’s and circuits back in the early 2000’s.

Michael Schumacher wins formula 1 world championship

P.S. Thanks Mr President for the cynical manipulation of the team’s drivers as you chased bigger numbers.

P.P.S. And thanks again for the ridiculous rules that govern our sport and your apathetic leadership of the crumbling gentlemen’s club known as the FIA!

The Grumpy Jackal


Hamilton joins the chorus of Red Bull criticism

Red Bull’s threats issued by Helmut Marko and Christian Horner that the fizzy drinks company could pull out of Formula One at the end of the year, has received an unprecedented response.

With the predictable exception of Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull have received no sympathy and a fair measure of criticism and ridicule for their demands for the rules of Formula One to be changed.

Ferrari’s team principle responded to Horner’s call for the rules to be changed: “Our job is to attack Mercedes on the track, not to change the rules.”

Yesterday, Jenson Button questioned the integrity of the Milton Keynes team: “Would Red Bull be upset about it if they were the team out front by one second? No.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Lewis Hamilton was interviewed on Australian daytime TV. When asked about Red Bull’s threat to quit F1 he replied, “It’s very interesting to hear that when they dominated for four years, big time.” Hamilton reflected on the first year of the new rules and observed, “They [Red Bull] didn’t do so bad last year”.

In fact Red Bull were second in the constructors’ championship and their new driver Daniel Ricciardo was the lead driver placed behind the Mercedes pair in the drivers’ championship.

However, a disastrous start to the season together with a Renault engine which looks significantly behind the revised 2015 Ferrari power unit, it appears Red Bull could struggle to finish even third in the constructors’ championship in 2015. This would have a significant knock on effect in terms of the prize money they receive.

During the Red Bull’s dominance of Formula One, Sebastian Vettel suggested it was for the other teams to try harder and stop “dangling their balls in the pool”.

Lewis Hamilton has more constructive advice for Christian Horner and the fizzy drinks company’s hierarchy. “So you’ve got to hire some better people I guess. Ultimately it’s a test and a challenge of evolution, of innovation and we’ve hired great people too – and we’ve done a great job and we weren’t complaining when they were doing.”

This suggestion is particularly stinging since Adrian Newey announced this year’s car design would be his last full time project in Formula One and Red Bull lost his number two, Peter Prodromou to rivals McLaren.


Renault blame Red Bull for problems in Australia

It’s no secret that the course of the Renault – Red Bull relationship has never run smoothly.

In the glory days, Renault felt that the Red Bull publicity favoured Infiniti and that as the brains behind much of the air blowing technology, which Newey was able to utilise to great effect, they received too little credit.

Following criticism of their French engine partner early last year, Autosport reported: Red Bull has already begun recruiting engine staff to help lead a new division that will offer support to Renault’s own engineers at Viry-Chatillon”.

Christian Horner added, We are looking to bolster areas that we have strength and Renault have weaknesses in. We are looking to the areas of strength that we have: whether it be simulation, or modeling. It’ll be working hand-in-hand with Renault rather than independently of Renault.”

TJ13 reported prior to Jerez, that Red Bull was behind schedule and that the full blown RB11 would not be ready until the start of the European season. Yet at the same time Red Bull have been relentlessly pushing their engine supplier and their staff in Viry have been forced to quicken the development race.

Now Renault Sport F1’s CEO, Cyril Abiteboul, reveals that over the winter, “Red Bull has taken us on a ferocious race in development. And these changes caused problems at Melbourne. This is what we will focus on upon when returning to the factory before heading to Sepang.”

Speaking to L’Equipe, Abiteboul added: “We have to ask ourselves questions as to how we have allowed this to happen and forgotten our traditional working methods. We’ve been producing F1 engines for 37 years now. We know what to do.”

Renault was in the process of developing enhancements for their engine in the days prior to the Australian Grand Prix. Red Bull demanded Renault provide them with this latest power unit evolution for the season’s opening event, even though it had not passed through the usual test bench phase.

When asked about the future and the rumours Renault are considering buying a ‘works team’, Abiteboul commented: “Toro Rosso is still a possibility. It could be the solution as to whether we do more F1 or not. But before thinking about chassis development, we have to make sure the engine issues are resolved”.

The relationship between the French engine manufacturer and the quadruple world champion chassis designers is clearly at an all time low. Abiteboul reflects, “We’ve won together but today we’re not comfortable. Until now, we’ve followed their lead and listened to them.

Perhaps today they are realising that chassis and engine design are worlds apart and that each of us should do what we do best.”


Force India’s Fernley sheds no tears for Red Bull

Last year as the teams arrived in Austin for the US Grand Prix – Sauber, Lotus and Force India spoke of potentially boycotting the race due to the inequitable distribution of TV monies placing them under huge financial difficulties.

Of course, Bernie Ecclestone was always going to play hardball with his financial payouts. The big four teams of Mercedes, Mclaren, Red Bull and Ferrari all declared that there was ‘nothing to see here‘ and that nothing could be done because their share had been negotiated some years before. Therefore the minnows were left to struggle along in the wake of Caterham and Marussia entering administration.

Before the start of the 2015 season even began, Sauber were involved in a court dispute with Giedo van der Garde. Lotus have had to pay monies up front in regards their Mercedes engine supply and Force India’s boss Vijay Mallya can only travel with special court permission following his catastrophic mismanagement of the business his father had left him.

Force India’s deputy Bob Fernley made few friends earlier this year when in a Strategy Group vote he elected not to support the Manor/Marussia application for the 2015 season despite Marussia having submitted all the required paperwork back in December.

With Red Bull vociferously attacking their engine supplier – and demanding the FIA to change the rules because their pram has lost one of its wheels – other teams’ senior members have voiced strong opinion about the hypocritical nature of the Milton Keynes based squad.

Bob Fernley now joins the list of Red Bull non-sympathisers.

“The four big teams, including Red Bull, were adamant nothing needed to be done, and now Red Bull are getting squeezed a bit, and probably coming under pressure from their owners. The reality is now setting in — welcome to the real world. You can’t blame Mercedes for doing a good job. Everybody else has the same opportunity.”

With the Red Bull team constantly attacking Renault, Fernley is equally adamant – “Is it entirely Renault? Their sister team – Toro Rosso – performed reasonably well in Australia and with two young guys in the car.”


Manor to race in Malaysia

Manor F1 suffered the ignominy of spending an entire weekend in their garage at the Albert Park circuit, as they were unable to get their cars running on track.

This attracted criticism from Bernie Ecclestone and TV pundits including Martin Brundle. Manor have also been fined the costs of travel to and from Australia by F1’s Supremo, because they were unable to take part in the weekend.

When asked whether the team had any intention of competing in the season’s opening race, team principal John Booth had this to say. “I can understand people being cynical, but if that was the case we wouldn’t have brought 30 tonnes of equipment, 40 people, fulfilled our contracts with all suppliers – Pirelli, Ferrari, whoever – with our best endeavours to go round and round a circuit.”

That said, had Manor not appeared in Australia, they risked exclusion from the 2015 F1 championship as Bernie Ecclestone made clear the week before the event.

Booth also revealed that another day would have been sufficient for the team to solve the problems preventing their cars appearing on track.

When asked whether his drivers will appear in practice for the Malaysian GP weekend, Booth replied: Absolutely. We’re in a massively different place now than where we were at the start of last week.

‘The progress was colossal, just not quite enough, but now we’ll get to Malaysia on Monday, start setting up at the circuit on Tuesday, and for sure we’ll be ready to run on Friday.”

Given the attitude from Ecclestone towards the team’s ‘no show’ in Australia, this response is rather predictable and necessary to avoid further sanction from the commercial rights holder.

The number of cars starting the Australian Grand Prix was the smallest since the debacle that was the 2005 F1 race in Indianapolis. As such, Ecclestone should be delighted that Manor F1 are pulling out all the stops to ensure there are 20 cars starting the majority of the races on this year’s F1 calendar.



Bernie “detonates” the bomb according to Italian Press

For anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Italy – it is a country that seems to run on passion, pasta and prosecco. To non-Italian speakers, folk in shops and restaurants appear to be about to wage war on their neighbour as they shout and wave their limbs about in reply to some verbal affront.

In fact, they are merely replying to a question like – ‘do you want parmesan with that?’

Venture further afield and passion is reflected in the form of art and architecture. Visitors throughout the ages have marvelled at the splendour of the natives imagination. Opera buffs gaze upon unintelligible singers, dying a dramatic death with every breath – and the show doesn’t stop when the fat lady sings.

TJ13’s very own Adam Macdonald visited Monza last year and left spellbound by the Autodromo where the atmosphere has a tangible quality. This is reflected in recent articles from Italian publication ‘Omnicorse’ where the journalists nurture a dramatic sense of wordplay, to report what is in actuality, the mundane of Formula One.

Though now, Omnicourse is suggesting Mercedes have their huge advantage because Brackely’s engineers worked more closely than others with the FIA as the new engine regulations were drawn up. By all accounts Bernie E has now ‘fired a bomb‘ or ‘acted as a detonator‘ to unleash a storm on the silver arrows.

The corroborating circumstantial evidence is that Charlie Whiting and Ross Brawn are close friends, yet the writer strangely ignores the fact that Brawn and Todt worked closely together for some years at Ferrari.

Ecclestone stated yesterday: “The people of Mercedes were in close contact with the FIA when they defined their concept. They had a massive advantage last year and they should be reined back this year.”

With a true Italian style for the dramatic, Omnicourse calls for the head of Jean Todt, should these revelations prove to be of substance.

The only question remaining is why only now has Mr. E has decided to voice his concerns. “Another violent conflict between F1’s promoter and the Federation appears to be looming” concludes the article.


Williams certain customer Mercedes unit not equal to works unit

TJ13 reported on Monday that Felipe Massa had claimed that the Williams car couldn’t be running the same engine as the works Mercedes team. Now comes further rumours which appears to support the Brazilian’s claims.

All teams who have dominated Formula One for a period of time have been subject to criticism as fans become disillusioned with the lack of fight for glory.

So Mercedes is under attack from a cynical Red Bull, a potentially slanderous Mr. E and now from one of its customer teams. Williams’ technical director, Pat Symonds, has added his concerns to those of Massa’s and is asking that Mercedes makes adjustments to the power of the PU106B to defend against the resurgent Ferrari team.

With Mercedes having used a number of their allocated tokens, Williams is asking why their unit is not as powerful as the works team. According to Symond’s calculations the differential is around 3/10ths a lap slower.

The implication is that Mercedes is happy to take risks with reliability of the ‘works team’s’ engine but is being more conservative with their customer teams who require their engines to run for 5 race weekends.

However, following their data analysis Williams’ is adamant they now want the latest configuration of the PU 106B.


Honda’s new President not a fan of F1

Italian sources last year stated that Honda was around six months behind with their Power Unit design. Many observers believed this to be misinformation and an attempt to convince Fernando Alonso to stay at Maranello.

On the evidence of winter testing and the first race in Melbourne – Honda were and are in some trouble.

As the meritocracy of Formula One and its distribution of funds has decimated the smaller teams, we see the inevitable has come to pass. A big team at the bottom of the pile, a situation Ron Dennis described as ‘abhorrent’.

Honda’s fundamental problems lie with their underestimating the preparation required. Their Research Centre at Sakura with it’s digital research benches is nearing completion. The current technicians have no F1 experience and are assisted by ex-Ferrari engine designer Gilles Simon.

Without question, Simon’s designs and solutions are ambitious, but Honda are struggling to implement them. Add in to the mix the extreme and tight packaging demands of the Peter Prodromou designed MP4/30 chassis and the result is the car has enormous cooling problems.

Rumours persist that during winter testing Honda had just one operational power unit which required extensive rebuilding after each one of the reliability issues suffered. A lack of spares together with the inexperience of the Japanese engineers meant Mclaren’s help was sought – but the Woking team had few ideas of how to progress.

Of more concern to the fans of Mclaren could be that new Honda President – Takahiro Hachigo is not a fan of Formula One.

Hachigo replaced Takanobu Ito in February this year, following five separate airbag related fatalities in Honda cars and a disastrous recall of 20 million vehicles.

Whilst Ito was passionate about a return to F1, Honda’s traumatic re-birthing process could persuade Hachigo this is an expense the company can ill afford.


50 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 18th March 2015

  1. For a moment I thought the title was “Jean Todt resigns from FIA” and understood the meaning of nirvana… then back to reality.

  2. Would laugh a good hearty laugh if McLaren beat RedBull too by the end of the year. Once they have chomped through a few more PU’s and grid penalties kick in, it could be anybody’s guess. I can see Williams beating them too, so 4th possibly 5th wouldn’t be such a ridiculous prediction at this stage.
    That will really hurt their budget……

  3. “With Mercedes having used a number of their allocated tokens, Williams is asking why their unit is not as powerful as the works team and according to calculations is in the region of 3/10ths a lap slower.”

    What is the source of this?

    • I’m guessing that the source is probably someone with several orders of magnitude better access to data and inside intel than keyboard experts with acute confirmation bias who rely on obsequious media reports for their info.

      That’s just my opinion though 🙂

    • I still can’t understand why the front right wheel and suspension was ripped off upon hitting the wall at that speed.

    • I’m kinda glad you shared this because it will become relevant again before Sepang.

      This video illustrates a funny story about two very good F1 journalists.

      Beyond McLaren’s own analysis, there are two sets of objective data on this crash that gave us a good picture of what happened, (and meshed w/McLaren’s analysis).

      BBC’s F1 journalist Andrew Benson obtained the GPS data that all the teams have. He consulted an F1 engineer, and wrote up a couple of articles on that data. That data was good, primarily as it showed that Alonso was traveling about 215km/h when he lost control, and that he went in faster to T3 than his prior lap. After he lost control the GPS data showed he slowed and arced into the wall.

      The other objective that we have is the black box, aka the FIA crash recorder data. Michael Schmidt of AMuS obtained that data, and it’s great because it shows what happened after Alonso lost control at 215km/h.

      The problem, (and it’s illustrated in this video, btw), is that Michael Schmidt didn’t have an engineer to help him analyze the black box data. Consequently he accidentally thought that Alonso entered the turn at 215km/h and then immediately stood on the brakes while turning toward the wall.

      But his data and his two articles both make good sense by simply correcting it to align with the other objective data from the GPS.

      When both objective data sets are aligned we see Alonso loses it on the outside at 215km/h, brakes and arcs toward the wall. He hits the wall at 135km/h (thank you Michael Schmidt!), and is heavily concussed. For about 3 seconds, the car rolls along the grass and bounces into the wall a second time at 105km/h.

      The black box data has data from two different accelerometers (which measure G-force). One is on the chassis near the driver, and the other is inside Alonso’s earpiece. So we know exactly how much G-force the car and the driver took, as well.

      Because of Michael Schmidt’s accidental error, a whole bunch of weird excercises in logical contortionism populated the internet to try to explain that data.

      I must thank Fat Hippo here, because he did a wonderful thing and wrote a nice translation of Michael Schmidt’s 2nd article. Once I saw that, it became clear how all three sets of data, (teams’ GPS, McLaren’s analysis, & the FIA black box) mesh together.

      Anyway, the funny story about these two gentlemen, Mr. Benson and Mr. Schmidt, is that even though they’re both very good journalists, by coincidence they each published their original stories on the Friday night after Alonso whacked his head (which was on the preceding Sunday morning). But because of the one small error, their stories didn’t match up. That calls into question a good journalist’s reputation, his ability to correctly communicate the facts, his sources, etc.

      So three days later Andrew Benson went back, wrote a more detailed report on the same story, referencing obtusely Mr. Schmidt’s story, while detailing how he has verified his data to be correct, talking to more than one engineer, blah, blah… (good journalistic practice stuff). The reaction was hilarious. The BBC readers comments were along the lines of, “What?! You already wrote this story! Why is this story appearing again! OMG”, etc.

      So a day later, Michael Schmidt basically rewrites his original story as well in response. He also refers to Mr. Benson’s latest report, and insists his report and data is correct (which the data is of course, except for the slight misinterpretation), and he fleshed out more of the objective data itself. The reader comments he received were great because, well… it spawned all sorts of wild, entertaining theories, of course!

      This video is tries to mesh Mr. Schmidt’s misinterpreted data with the McLaren analysis, btw.

      I’m curious how many folks still believe Mr. Schmidt’s error…

    • Thanks for posting this, it really makes a lot of things clearer regarding what happened after Alonso lost control. Not sure why he initially got back on the throttle after he had run wide off the track – but it could be he felt the speed had bled off enough that he could accellerate the car back onto the racing line, and didn’t take into account how slippery it was off line.

  4. I think the Renault Sport F1 story today is huge!

    “Red Bull demanded Renault provide them with this latest power unit evolution for the season’s opening event, even though it had not passed through the usual test bench phase.”

    And the lovely quote at the end is brilliant, “Abiteboul reflects, “We’ve won together but today we’re not comfortable. Until now, we’ve followed their lead and listened to them.

    Perhaps today they are realising that chassis and engine design are worlds apart and that each of us should do what we do best.”

    That is an amazing story!

    In addition, it was behind a paywall so the general public would not have seen it, (likely non of us English speaking F1 spectators anyway), if not for the Judge.

    Merci beaucoup!

    • Spot on @VM, for all Horner’s ‘little bitch’ impressions, he omits to tell anyone that maybe RedBull pushed Renault into something they shouldn’t have. As for Renault, they could have given RedBull anything they liked really, as RedBull aren’t going to strip the thing down in the garage to check are they!

      I dislike Horner massively, always have and he has again reminded me why.

    • This is a huge story no doubt. I normally defend RBR a little, as sometimes I think they genuinely get a bit of short straw from F1 fans, primarily on the basis that they’re not a Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes type of name. This time however you cannot defend them in the slightest if they pushed Renault to deliver something that wasn’t fully tested.

      The Renault power unit is pathetic, but it’s hard to blame Renault when you consider the relative budgets. Mercedes went to town on their V6, with rumours that they’ve spent something like five times the amount on development than Renault. That’s what comes of having a manufacturer as the team owner.

      I was going to say they’ve ruined Ricciardo’s chances this year, but then I remembered he had no chance anyhow.

  5. “As such, Ecclestone should be delighted that Manor F1 are pulling out all the stops to ensure there are 20 cars starting the majority of the races on this year’s F1 calendar.


    Wrong assumption. Most likely not Bernie’s end-game.

    The moment Mosley brought HRT, Caterham and Manor in the sport, the Little Dwarf said he didn’t want those teams in the sport. His position was consistent throughout the years, by never throwing any useful income to the last placed teams. He didn’t blink once when HRT gave up the ghost; he was clearly the master puppeteer behind Kolles in the death knell at Caterham; and his public musings on Manor shows that he shall be delighted for Manor to give up the ghost.

    Last year he didn’t blink once when Force India, Sauber and Lotus expressed their financial despair. In Austin, he sent them all a hearty “bugger off”. At the beginning of the season, he simply showed off as if he were magnanimous, but from what I see he is doing all to push small independent teams on the brink of extinction and into bankruptcy.

    Last year Bernard also spent a number of his waking hours to talk down the sport, beginning with the noise. (Never mind he’s too old to properly hear anything.)

    From what I see, the Toad is purposely ramming the sport into the ground, probably with the intention of wrestling it on the cheap from CVC (there ain’t be any flotation anytime soon, anywhere, btw). Maybe he wants to simply take the sport into his grave. Either way, the future ain’t looking bright for any of the small teams, or for F1 the institution…

    • I thought the smaller teams hurt FOM’s bottom line, but I can’t remember exactly how. It might be the logistics expenses, and the prize monies.

      I think this is why he proposed three car teams also, as it would help his profit margins.

      • “teams hurt FOM’s bottom line”

        Well, if we think in terms of religiously maximizing shareholder value, then ALL teams hurt FOM’s bottom line. If it were up to the FOM’s Dwarf or CVC’s Mackenzie, they’d gladly dispense of ALL teams to maximize the income flowing from the sport’s revenue into the bottom line profits.

        Of course without these stakeholders there would be no sport to talk of no more. But hey, they’re all there to blindly maximize profit, aren’t they?

  6. For some reason I get the feeling that Redbull thought by coming out with these public outburst demanding something be done about Mercedes’s advantage, would garner the publics support. However it seems to have backfired spectacularly, because the only person to share their opinion is Bernie and we all know Bernie loves Me Halliwell. It worked with the equalisation of the V8s and with the tyre debacle in ’13.

    Their image has taken a massive hit, by being labeled cry babies, sore losers and overall hypocrits. The use of the “look what they did to us when we were winning” is pathetic. The changes that were made didn’t just affected them, it did every other team. What they (Horner & Newey) along Mr Dinosaur are prosposing is to cripple one teams advantage so as to aid their own failure to do a better job. That’s like saying Usain Bolt should run the 100m on one leg because he’s too fast.

    Mercedes ran the exact same car they used in the final test with no upgrades in Australia, so reading Toto’s comment earlier that the gap could be much bigger come Malaysia, must be giving them both nightmares, if they weren’t having one already.

    The flaunted the rules, was caught cheating twice last year.

  7. Re Williams concerns….

    Did Massa not saw during testing that the power unit felt far more powerful than last seasons? So because they got beat by Ferrari in the race they’re of the assumption that Mercedes are holding back? Could it not be he just didn’t have the pace to beat Seb to 3rd?

    It’s only race one, how about giving it another 2 races to be certain that that’s the case before coming out with such comments?

    • I’m not surprised Mercedes haven’t given Williams their top spec power unit really. Whilst 3 tenths is nothing to Mercedes they’d still 1-2 every race and giving Williams the top spec PU would see them possibly take 3-4 at most races it’s not common place to give customers the same spec PU as you develop. That’s the exact reason why McLaren had to move on. Customer teams, where the PU owner has a full works team on the grid, virtually never win championships. There was 2009 where the factory supported Merc team was McLaren (Brawn won), and 2010 where we had a factory Renault team and RBR won. Other than that? You’ve really got to dig around history a bit!

      The normal reason to hold back on the power unit is in order to protect yourself (but Merc certainly don’t need to, especially given Malaysia upgrades!!) or the more likely scenario, Williams don’t pay enough to get the top spec PU.

      • I’m genuinely staggered that anyone is in the remotest bit surprised that MB keep some of their high-end PU goodness for themselves.

        No doubt there are regulations and contractual obligations covering technology transfer to customer teams, but there’s no way that MB would agree to hand over everything, immediately, all the time.

      • “I’m not surprised Mercedes haven’t given Williams their top spec power unit really.”

        Is it legal? Or are Merc blatant cheats in manipulating where their customers end up? If they’re intentionally floating the law and contractual obligations, then McLaren’s plight from 2014 can be easily explained then.

        • I believe the way to handle it is to give the clients the best hardware, but not the best software.

          • And that’s my question, precisely: Software. Is it legal for the teams to run different software for the same hardware, and for the works team to (intentionally) withhold code? Do the rules say *anything* about software? Couldn’t/Shouldn’t the ECU pass a checksum to ensure that ALL customer and works teams run the exact same code binaries on their engines? Or should the FIA require that engine manufacturers submit source code, and ensure that all teams are treated equally (as I suspect the contracts would imply) and that power units run the same code specs, and the works hackers aren’t playing at hidden games?

            If it is not regulated at all by Little Jean, then the incentives for malevolent, intentional cheating and manipulation of race outcomes is incredibly high. In my view the “Merc, Williams, …, McLaren/Force India” sorting order in 2014 wasn’t mere coincidence. Last year Big Ron complained of not getting the same package that’s used by the Merc. This year Massa and Symonds have sounded the same alarm bells early on.

            Last year Red Bull were clearly running software on their Renault different from that on Lotus. This year we hear the exact same happening, one team getting privileged access to the manufacturer, both hardware and software… Something’s not right…

            I touched on some of these points in this feature, but without more info I kept it relatively tame:

        • I doubt the FIA have the expertise to properly assess the complex software the teams and manufacturers use to run the power units. I think because the teams all use a McLaren manufactured ECU, the FIA has been a bit lax on the software side of things.

          I’d not be surprised if Mercedes are using the best power unit designs and software for themselves and withholding it from it’s customer teams.

        • @landroni re post on ECU software checksum, your question etc

          They do check the version of the software in the standard ECU, at every race. But these PUs have localised/distributed/embedded computing at other points. This is not covered by the rules. It would be easy to limit electrical energy flows in the system. Just a little, to knock off the odd 1/10th in performance.

          • Now that’s nice! 🙂

            So basically you can stamp the same version on all PUs (that’s easy enough whichever the actual underlying code), but deliberately introduce bugs and/or remove efficient or performant code in customers’ units and NO ONE shall ever know about this. Especially if it’s not regulated, and there are no penalties in sight.

            Thanks a bunch Little Jean! It’s a good thing that we keep talking about the FIA impotence…

      • “2010 where we had a factory Renault team and RBR won”

        Actually by then Enstone was “Renault” in name only. Following Singapore 2008 with Briatore’s, Symonds’ and Alonso’s cheating win, and the 2009 catastrophic PR experience when Nelsinho dropped the bomb, Carlos Ghosn pulled the plugs on Renault the works team and they divested. Here cometh Gerard Lopez and soon enough “Lotus”. So “Renault” the F1 team (more accurately, Enstone with a “Renault” badge) was merely a customer by then to Renault the engine manufacturer…


  8. I can’t believe Honda would be looking to pull out already. Doing so would tarnish their reputation even further. Coming back to F1 with an engine 5 seconds a lap slower than Mercedes and then just pulling the plug. That would be commercial suicide wouldn’t it?
    I mean I was a bit sceptical about their return to be honest but did anyone really expect them to produce an engine that bad?!

    • On the contrary, I think that if they pull out quite soon, noone will remember this unsuccessful parenthesis in 5-10 years’ time. If they stay on and end finishing 5th every year, then that would be more damaging from my perspective.

      Take for example Mansell (OK, he’s not a car, but it illustrates my point). How many people (not passionate F1 fans) really remember his disastrous experience with McLaren in ’95 before he retires for good?

      • I used to think Honda = Williams/McLaren Honda. Then they returned as a full factory team, now? Now I still think of Honda’s rather dire Earth Car, which was rumoured to be up to 80hp down on the Mercedes of the time. I have little confidence in them to be honest.

    • “I can’t believe Honda would be looking to pull out already.”

      They have contractual obligations to fulfill. Not sure how many years…

      The implication is that the new CEO less likely to want to extend the length of such contracts.

      • I guess any contract extension will depend on if the McLaren Honda partnership is challenging for titles and what the marketing value is by that stage. Pulling out early will damage Honda’s reputation a bit and it will be seen as being further adrift from it’s past motor sport excellence of the past. Honda needs to get it’s latest adventure in F1 correct.

        Anyway from what I’ve read on various parts of the internet (taken with mountains of salt), it appears Honda’s issues are likely to be due to specific components being overly sensitive to temperature changes and a few issues with McLaren’s cooling systems. So I expect we might see Honda asking for reliability changes soon and an MP4-30 in Barcelona with rejigged cooling systems. And I’m sure the software side of things needs a lot of work as well.

    • If McLaren-Honda are still 5 seconds a lap off the pace in Melbourne 2016 then yeah, I could see them wanting to get out. But at the moment I’m confident that they’ll dig in and work out how to make the car faster.

  9. “… recent articles from Italian publication ‘Omnicorse’ where the journalists nurture a dramatic sense of wordplay, to report what is in actuality, the mundane of Formula One.”

    Hold it,….

    “… recent articles from blogsite thejudge13.com where the journalists nurture a dramatic sense of wordplay, to report what is in actuality, the mundane of Formula One.”

    Fixed. You’re more than welcome 🙂

    P.S. I’m expecting the formation of a new band to lay down musical accompaniment for the podcasts

    “TJ and the Histrionics”

  10. With RBR’s relationship with Renault at an all-time low and Honda’s engine being light years behind the others, imagine if next year or in 2017 we see on the grid…McLAREN-RENAULT

  11. Just seen Guido Van der Garde’s statement: apparently his sponsors paid the fee for his 2015 driver’s seat IN FULL in the first half of 2014… All in ‘good faith’.

    Wow. Welcome to the shark pool indeed!

  12. Comments today on this website have been top notch guys! Very much enjoyed reading them 🙂

    Darren heath (F1 photographer) has posted his first race blog of the season here – http://www.darrenheath.com/blog/face-hugger

    Didn’t TJ13 cover the story of the possibility that RedBull are/were trying to take a controlling interest of the sport at one point?

  13. I’ve just realized that Ms Kaltenborn has silently snugged up behind Mr. Horner and during the Australian GP has confidently overtaken Mr. Horner in the race to who is going to be the successor to the poisonous dwarf when he finally leaves the sport, either by his own choice or when the grim reaper decides he has been corrupting the earth for long enough… 😉

  14. Off topic I know but….. I was just looking at some forums on F! Technical and came across this video of Indycar. Man, F1 could really learn some lessons in broadcasting!!!!!!!!!! Great sound, GREAT video. Come on FOM, give us some good feeds. Worth a watch – the Yanks get some things right.

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