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