#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 21st March 2015


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

OTD Lite 1982 – British teams cheat better

Kvyat’s failure Red Bull’s fault

Alonso’s accident proves costly

Red Bull cannot leave F1

I should have had one of the Schumacher titles – Barrichello

OTD Lite 1982 – British teams cheat better

It’s easy for fans of Formula One to claim that Ferrari are a sinister corporation that has made its legend based on cheating throughout the years. Enzo Ferrari wa an infamous manipulator of the sport and used his team’s influence to further the reputation of the red cars.

In recent years, Ferrari’s controversial support of their ‘lead’ driver has led many to believe that it has always been this way in a land that fostered Machiavelli. But at times like this I choose to counter the popular British press and re-inform people of the British teams penchant for ‘proper’ cheating!


On this day, in 1982, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg were disqualified from their first and second places at the Brazilian Grand Prix.Their crime? Brabham and Williams – their respective teams – had run their cars underweight during the Grand Prix to nullify the advantage the turbo cars had. The practice at the time was to empty the ‘brake-cooling’ water tank and replenish the fluids after the race.

But this practice was outlawed after this event. In the event that people struggle to believe that the good ol’ bos would cheat so blatantly – it may serve to remember that the Brabham team owner at the time was Bernie Ecclestone – and we all know how honest he is…

The Grumpy Jackal


Kvyat’s failure Red Bull’s fault

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to take part in second practice at the 2015 Australian GP weekend, due to an engine failure.

“The engine is broken after 50 kilometres,” rasped Helmut Marko to ORF. “We are promised again and again ‘Next time it will be better, the test results are encouraging’.

“We have a meeting on Wednesday in England. Those in charge of Renault are not yet here, they’re coming tonight, but it cannot be like this,” he added.

“If you have an engine failure after 50km, that is incomprehensible.”

Of course we now know from Cyril Abiteboul, head of Renault Sport F1, that they had advised against Red Bull using that development engine in Melbourne, because it had not been fully tested.

More embarrassment for the team from Milton Keynes was to come. On the way to the grid, Danny Kvyat’s car ground to a halt. Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan now explains: “After investigating post-race, we found that the reason Daniil’s gearbox overheated and was unable to select a gear on the way to the grid was due to a lack of oil pressure.

Red Bull design and build their own gearboxes but have fallen victim to problems with this unit before. In 2014, TJ13 revealed the team were so far behind in their production schedule that for the Monaco GP weekend, Sebastian Vettel was forced to drive with a refurbished gearbox for the entire weekend, which, as predicted, did not survive the full programme.


Alonso’s accident proves costly

Italy’s Gazetto dello Sport reports that Fernando Alonso’s testing crash in Barcelona could become quite costly. That concerns not so much McLaren themselves, as the car appeared to be rather mildly damaged in comparison to the driver by the look of things.

Each team – at least those with a habit of paying their bills – are insured against losing the services of a driver through illness or injury. In such a case the insurance companies pay the driver’s salary for the time of convalescence. With Germany now officially scratched off the calendar, McLaren’s partners will have to cough up 1/19th of his alleged thirty-four million euro salary. That’s an impressive 1.8 million, and it could double if the Spaniard is not given a clean bill of health before the upcoming Malaysian GP.

The other interesting question is, if McLaren’s insurance provider will pay that much money without a dispute. Such companies are not known for their charitable nature and would most likely refuse to step in if the driver was injured due to a construction or design flaw on the car.

McLaren still insist that they cannot provide an explanation for the accident except for Ron Dennis’ “the wind did it”, which was widely laughed off as unbelievable. With no clear explanation, the man from Woking might have a bit of a dispute at hand.


Red Bull cannot leave F1

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport insist that Red Bull’s threats to leave F1 are empty, as that would work against the Austrian company’s real intentions to become the promoter of Formula One by replacing CVC.

The paper explains that most observers see CVC as a company that is looting F1. The Investment giant lends money from Formula 1 to invest in even more lucrative endeavors. Since those loans have to be refinanced within a short time period, Bernard Ecclestone squeezes money out of everyone and everything, and dismisses social media, because his clients would have to wait too long for any monetary return.

Red Bull meanwhile wants to market Formula One in a different way, which would most likely see silent engines and green ideas chucked on the scrap heap of history. Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix gave a first impression of the fun and games that Red Bull have in mind.

To help with that plan, the Austrians have started to follow Bernard’s lead and talked down the product. With the suffocating dominance of Mercedes, collapsing teams and TV viewership numbers in free-fall they get quite some help in that endeavor. This will assist them in driving down the extra-ordinary price CVC are still asking for their shares in the sport.

Of course, to reach that ultimate goal, Red Bull needs to get rid of its two teams. Nobody would accept if the sport’s promoter is also one of the competitors. The company’s mouth-piece Dr. Helmut Marko has recently confirmed that talks are ongoing about a potential sale of Toro Rosso to Renault, but selling the main team will be a bigger task.

Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technology employ around six hundred people and provide a state-of-the-art infrastructure. That is not something one could pay with the money you can find down the back of the sofa. The plan to sell the team to Audi fell through in January as Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piech vetoed the deal due to the continued presence of Bernard Ecclestone.

That does not mean the deal is necessarily off forever. If Red Bull were to replace CVC, Bernard would be gone too.


I should have had one of the Schumacher titles – Barrichello

There are countless people around the world who admire Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. But since his retirement from Formula One – his grievances with his former employer Ferrari are aired a little more firmly.

Last night dung an interview on Agora è Tarde he once again assumed the role of ‘cry-baby‘ – a role that he played at various stages of his career which transformed him into what the Italian Omnicorse call ‘Paperino’.

Paperino is the Italian name for Donald Duck – a famous Disney character who is seemingly always being mocked and teased by his contemporaries for his outbursts.

Rubens raced for Ferrari between 2000 and 2005 and he spoke of the problems of the infamous 2002 Austrian Grand Prix when he allowed Michael Schumacher to pass him as they approached the finish line. This followed a direct order from Jean Todt on the pitwall.

“I didn’t want to do it but the pitwall reminded me to think of my family. It was that that forced me to lift off the accelerator and I’m sure that 99% of Brazilians would have done the same as me. If I had refused my career would have probably been finished that day..”

Of course, that 1% of Brazilians would have included his mentor Ayrton Senna – who would most likely have been as disappointed in Rubinho’s submission as the rest of that 1% – although unofficially many would suggest the figure is higher.

This dramatic almost Mafia-like instruction seems startling this many years later but Barrichello wasn’t finished with his questionable recollections. “There were so many times that I helped Schumacher win and one of the seven titles should have been mine.”

Frankly, this is an absurd claim to make when one considers that during their years together the statistics read 48 vs 9 victories. Even in 2002 – his best season against the German – Rubens only won four times against Schumi’s 11 victories.

Of course, whatever goodwill Barrichello had garnered throughout his F1 career is slowly being eroded away when people realise that in Michael’s current state he is unable to defend himself.


15 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Saturday 21st March 2015

  1. I was never a fan of Schumi but don’t kick a man when he’s down, Rubens. He’s showing the world his true colours. ..

    • Fully agree. How sad to hear this from Rubens.

      Massa is just like him. Both decent drivers and excellent on their day but they are not mentally strong enough to be champs.

    • He should keep his mouth shut! I suppose, by that logic, he should also have been allowed to father one of Schumacher’s children.
      I still miss Eddie Irvine – he knew how to handle being in a team with Schumi. And if you’ve ever seen the SkyF1 documentary with him (I think the show’s called ‘Grand Prix Legends’) it’s a gem! He certainly isn’t bitter about the fact that he got paid millions of dollars to drive alongside one of the greats of the sport for the most iconic team in the world, almost won a championship, and boosting his prospects for his next drive.
      Barichello and Massa should think of all of those zeros on the end of their bank accounts before they next wax lyrical about how ‘unfair’ it all was.

      • I wonder if he’s referring to Schumi using his own setups to beat him? There were times where Barrichello was a match for Schumi, just not often enough to win titles.

        But seeing what happened in 2002, it’s conceivable that there could have been more going on behind the scenes, to swing things towards Schumacher.

        Todt: “Let Michael pass for the championship!!!” – Imagine if Horner told Webber that in Malaysia.. I wonder where this shady Todt character is now?

  2. “McLaren still insist that they cannot provide an explanation for the accident except for Ron Dennis’ “the wind did it”, which was widely laughed off as unbelievable. With no clear explanation, the man from Woking might have a bit of a dispute at hand.”

    Will TJ13 stop pandering this mysterious wishful thinking?

    Fred took too much speed into the corner, lost the car on the astroturf, oversteered, and barely managed to avoid a head-on impact (not that it did him any good). Copycat of Perez and Vettel in Hungary 2014. He bumped his head, got a concussion, and this is exactly what McLaren have let known to the world (even if Big Ron found himself babbling in front of the cameras).

    If you want to lynch someone, please start with Charles Whiting, as Charlie says… that astroturf is safe. Charlie also says… that sausage kerbs are safe. I think you have more prolific hunting ground there if you’re genuinely interested in safety (rather than just casting a long shadow of doubt on McLaren, for whatever bias that might be)…

  3. Sounds like Rubens can’t live with the decisions he made. The difference between him and Senna (or other drivers of that calibre) is self belief. Senna wouldn’t have slowed down, because he would have believed that even if they fire him, he was a good enough driver to be hired by another team and win a championship there. The difference between Rubens and drivers like Coulthardt or Irvine is, that he can’t accept that he wasn’t one of the greats. Couldhardt himself said that he was fast, but not consistent enough, and that that is why Mika won the championships and not him. He’s at peace with his racing career, because he knows he achieved a lot, but wasn’t quite good enough to be champion.

    • If I were Dieter and bought F1, I would start selling cans of Red Bull Vodka, branded ‘Red Bull F1’ – it would enhance both brands.

  4. Re Rubens

    Schumie doesn’t need to defend himself against any team mate except Rosberg, who he was beginning to put in the shade before retirement. Rubens should instead explain what he was doing during the first seven races of 2009. On par with Felipe claiming it was everyone but his fault the 08 title got away, maybe four spins at Silverstone instead of six would have given him the extra points.

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