#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 23rd March 2015


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

OTD Lite 1976 – So-called ‘greatest-ever’ overtaking move

Claire Williams calls for more common sense

Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Monisha Kaltenborn pities herself

Motorsports Council finalizes loss of German Grand Prix

Rare picture of Strategy Group Meeting

Boullier – At least 2 years to catch Mercs

Have some teams circumvented fuel flow rules?

Alonso cleared to return in Malaysia

OTD Lite 1976 – So-called ‘greatest-ever’ overtaking move

We really should celebrate the 39th birthday of Ricardo Zonta. Not for any particular reason in regards to his F1 career but for his contribution to what many consider one of the greatest over-taking moves in history.

Zonta climbed the hill to Les Combes when Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen approached at speed from behind. The Brazilian moved off the racing line to give way to the two leaders and Schumi stayed on the racing line as Mika moved to the inside taking the corner and the race win.

Of course, countless viewers will claim the Finn was sensational but ignore the fact that he was running a dry setup as opposed to Schuey’s wet set-up – thus gaining a considerable advantage in what had started out as a wet race at the circuit but had then dried out completely.


Personally I didn’t think much to it and to my mind much has been made of the move because on the previous lap Michael had played his usual hand and swerved towards the Mclaren of his opponent. A move that resulted in the usually unflappable Finn having a quiet word after the race.


The Grumpy Jackal


Claire Williams calls for more common sense

fezzaClaire Williams, currently the only woman in F1 able to lead a team without trashing it, has done the unthinkable and asked for more common sense from the F1 Strategy Group. In an interview with French website f1i.com she demands that the F1 Strategy Group concentrate on what the fans want when deciding rule changes.

“We think Formula One is a great sport, but as a member of the Strategy Group and being a part of that group there are conversations going on about what we can do to make it a better sport,” Williams told f1i.com. “So those conversations are focusing around changing the engine formula as it currently is in order to make it louder – which is what fans want – and changing technical regulations to make the cars more radical, more forward looking and more innovative.

“So those are the conversations that we’re having, those are the areas that we’re looking at and it’s about improving what is already a great platform. If that drives more fans to watch our sport and engage with our sport and ensures the sustainability of our sport in to the long term then Williams is 100% behind those conversations.”

Ferrari has recently presented a radical concept car that seemed quite popular with fans. A radical Red Bull concept car has been part of the Gran Turismo video game series for over five years. For more info on the topic of radical F1 concepts, please listen to the upcoming TJ13 #F1 Court Room Podcast when our project manager John Myburgh will argue the case of radical car designs.

Asked how the strategy group can be improved, fair Lady Claire has this to say:

“As a group we probably need to do more research in to what our fans want and listen to what our fans do want before actually doing things that maybe the fans aren’t interested in us changing because it’s not going to have an impact on them. So it’s really important that you have that two-way conversation rather than just pushing changes out for the sake of it.”


Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Monisha Kaltenborn pities herself

This news item is an opinionated comment by the author and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the TJ13 staff as a whole.

snarky_hippoThe Dutch test driver Giedo van der Garde has caused Monisha Kaltenborn days of horror. Now the Sauber team principal speaks for the first time about the days of terror at Melbourne.

That is how the Blick, a Swiss yellow press rag opens their apologetic of Monisha Kaltenborn. The article opens citing several less than flattering headlines, including TJ13’s Has Monisha Kaltenborn become untenable? The Swiss paper then tries to paint a picture of Kaltenborn as the victim rather than the perpetrator of the outrage.

“If you are sitting in an Australian court and the word prison is mentioned, that’s a shock,” Kaltenborn is quoted as saying. “If he [VdG] had gotten the Superlicense, he would have tried everything to drive.”

Mrs. Kaltenborn conveniently omits the fact that it was her own team that prevented the issuing of a Superlicense. Van der Garde and the Dutch motorsport authorities had filed the necessary papers with the FIA, but Sauber refused to put their signature on the line.

“Yes, I made mistakes,” Kaltenborn continues. “I was naïve and trusted him. And I was punished badly for that.”

Despite the fact that the paper tried everything to blame the whole deal on the victim (van der Garde), it isn’t quite enough to motivate Mrs. Kaltenborn to reveal where the sudden flow of cash came from which enabled the team to buy VdG out of his contract.

“I cannot and do not want to speak about that”

It would have been helpful had you applied that principle before accepting the interview with Blick Frau Kaltenborn. It didn’t do your already tarnished reputation any favours.


Motorsports Council finalizes loss of German Grand Prix

As TJ13 reported several days ago, after weeks of haggling, both Nürburgring and Hockenheimring in Germany have shown Bernard Ecclestone the door, which means that for the first time since 1960 there will not be a German Grand Prix. The FIA world motorsports council has now finally struck the race from the calendar.

Hockenheim officials released a statement that explains why the track in the state Baden-Würtemberg, not far from Mercedes’ headquarters in the state capitol Stuttgart, did not accept taking over from the financially troubled Nürburgring.

According to the promoters, Bernard was simply asking too much money. 60.000 tickets at steep prices would have to be sold just to cover the fee for the privilege of hosting an F1 race. With the negotiations dragging on interminably, the track owners reckoned that the time would not be sufficient to sell that many tickets. The problem is that Germany spectator’s have been losing interest in Formula One, despite nine German world championship titles in 15 years as well as a current dominant German.

With both Nürburgring and Hockenheim saying nyet, there was no alternative but to cancel the race. The only other remotely valid facility, the Eurospeedway in Lusatia only has a FIA Grade-1T rating, which allows F1 tests, but not championship races. Additionally the track is situated in one of Germany’s poorest regions and is not exactly financially stable itself.


Rare picture of Strategy Group Meeting

That moment when Force India were asked to vote on Manor's return...

That moment when Force India were asked to vote on Manor’s return…


Boullier – At least 2 years to catch Mercs

Last year, time without number Mclaren’s racing director, Eric Boullier, announced that a big title sponsor was imminent or that promised updates for the MP4/29 were scheduled for introduction. As each deadline passed Eric would update the timeline and the reasons for failing to deliver.

Just four days ago, Boullier was asked if the MP4-30 can be a winner in 2015: “Yes, it is still possible, although not in three, four or five races. But I do believe that we will be competitive.”

Once again the Woking man has appeared to consider his comments and hit the refresh button – with the printout suggesting that it could take more than two years to catch up!

“Everyone wants all the cars racing together like we had in 2012, but any technical change in the regulations is opening the door to creating gaps and loopholes. I’m not surprised, this is the price you pay if you change the regulations as drastically as has been changed. You have to be patient to catch up.”

With Honda once again teaming up with Mclaren, many of the team’s fans believed this to be the dawn of a new era – yet following qualifying for the 2015 seasons’s first Grand Prix – the combination trailed Mercedes by over five seconds a lap.

“In our case, Mercedes has been developing the engine for more than three years, and Honda for 18 months – that’s already a huge part of the answer. For Ferrari and Renault I don’t have any answers, but Mercedes has a good team in place and have done a pretty good job already last year, so you can expect them to do an even better job. I’m not very surprised. These engines still have a lot of potential to unlock, so it may take more than a couple of years to catch up.”


Have some teams circumvented fuel flow rules?

From the Chinese Grand Prix onwards the FIA will introduce a new technical directive to measure the fuel pressure throughout the fuel system not just on the fuel flow meter as originally imposed by the FIA.

There are suspicions within F1 that the regulation which limits fuel flow to a maximum of 100kg/h above 10,500rpm is being circumvented by some of the engine manufacturers.

With the sound of the newest generation of engines being louder and the maximum revs being attained in the region of 13,500rpm – engineers believe that some of the competitors have found a means to control the fuel pressure upstream of the fuel flow meter and will use the fuel to cool the cylinder head of the engines.

Omnicorse.it suggests that with the 500 bar injection units being used by Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda the systems can reduce the pressure momentarily – whilst at maximum power – then re-apply the full flow producing a surplus of power above the 100kg/h limit without displaying any abnormalities within the fuel-flow meter.

With Renault still running a 250bar system and Honda suffering reliability issues with their Power Unit – it is left to Ferrari and Mercedes to exploit this.

Although Ferrari ran a 500 bar system last year, fears for reliability made the Maranello concern shelve this technology for further testing at the time.

Mercedes upgraded to a 500 bar injection unit for 2015 and it is this development that has brought about paddock whispers and the attention of Jo Bauer and his team.


Alonso cleared to return in Malaysia

Fernando Alonso is just two tests away from returning to race in Malaysia. Following his accident in Barcelona which hospitalised him, Alonso missed the Australian Grand Prix and has been working towards a comeback.

Three FIA appointed doctors at Cambridge University analysed the results of several medical tests conducted in Spain and subjected the Spaniard to further psychophysical eaxminations yesterday as requested by the governing body. The three have passed Alonso as fit to compete this coming weekend.

The two-time World Champion now travels to Dubai before continuing on to Sepang where two further tests will be run on Thursday before the race meeting starts.

The first will be undertaken by the chief doctor at the circuit before the final examination which is conducted by FIA chief medical officer, Jean_Charles Piette. This is known as the ‘impact test’ and measures a drivers reaction times against a previous score from before the accident.


69 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Monday 23rd March 2015

  1. Interesting piece about fuel flow, I’ve always wondered if it was possible to pull maximum through the flow-meter for longer than the speed of the engine requires it, building up a surplus of fuel, so the next time you apply the throttle, the engine has all the fuel it needs without restriction.
    If it seemed obvious to me, so you can bet your life the F1 boffins have thought of it too.

    • It would be epic if Merc were caught cheating and all the people who bashed Red Bull for their liberal attitude towards the rules would be left spluttering and grasping for excuses 😀


      • And, if such were to happen, with their ethical and high moral
        standards they have no choice but to fall on their sword…….
        End result, 4 teams gone…..;-)

      • I would love to see Toto and Paddy give a presser if this was proven to be so.
        Now that would make e laugh far more than RedBull’s crying has LoL

      • Isn’t your claim of possible cheating a bit far fetched? Is the aim of a technical directive not used to clarify any ambiguity within the rules? So if the fuel flow sensor gives the same reading as written in the rules, then they have not broken that rule at all. It wouldn’t be no different to the one issued for the FRIC system last year. These are some of the smartest men on the planet, did we or the FIA really think they wouldn’t have found someway around the system?

        I’m sure this in no way it compares to anything that Redbull has done in the past. They’ve been caught cheating, big difference.

        • There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there on this matter…..usual nutters too…..
          One thing for certain IF the German cars drop back into the ruck come China and beyond, expect the cheat/not cheat debate to be going, hot, for a long, long time…..

          • Again I ask, is it cheating? The rule says 100 kg/h above 10500 rpm, if that’s what the sensor is reading then it’s legal. The rule didn’t cover the entire fuel system (yet another loophole) so there was room there within the rules to do something clever.

        • Just like the rules said if the fia put that amount of pressure on it and the wing don’t flex, the wing don’t flex. Yet you all called it cheating when the wing did flex during the race. Even if it did pass the fit test…

        • Very similar to flexi-wings (pre-Abu Dhabi 2014) and Red Bull. The test methodology was understood and the wings were designed to pass the test

          • The flexi wings were designed to deliberately get round the intention of the FIA rule that wings should be rigid. It was at Abu Dhabi 2014 that Red Bull’s clever cheat was discovered; no one knows how long they had been using it.

            As for fuel flow, technical regulation 5.10.5 states that “any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate after the measurement point is prohibited”.

            So if any engine design circumvents regulation 5.10.5, then clearly it is cheating.

            The new pressure measuring points will ensure anyone attempting to cheat is found out.

            As things stand, there is no proof that anyone is cheating – seems to me that it is just conjecture based on the FIA introducing the means to catch cheats. The fact you install a preventative measure doesn’t imply that cheating exists.

        • “I’m sure this in no way it compares to anything that Redbull has done in the past”

          How very balanced of you….

          • He’s a very balanced person…..until someone says a bad thing about the present WDC 🙂 that is…..

      • One would expect any teams using a higher upstream pressure than passes through the fuel flow metre, to turn it down when the new measuring device is fitted.

        It is worthy of note that the FIA have given the teams some respite to sort themselves out – rather than insist this be done for next weekend in Malaysia.

        • Unlike the flexi-wings for instance. I think they know damn well what’s going on. Just hope this isn’t the secret of Ferrari’s resurgence or we are in for one hell of a long season

          • ” Unlike the flexi-wings for instance … ”

            No. The flexi-wings cheats were eventually found out using a hidden clever device. It took a long time, despite the suspected cheats having been warned and reminded often enough about the rigid wings rules. But they were never caught, that is until Abu Dhabi 2014.

            As far as I can make out, no fuel flow cheat has been found. There may be some suspicion that TJ13 is alluding to, and hence the new requirement to prevent and/or catch cheats.

        • The fuel flow meter is on the low pressure (about 20 bar IIRC) side of the system; the fuel is pressurized to 500 bar (about 7350 lb/in²) for injection AFTER going through the flow meter.

      • I hear you, FH 🙂

        Generally though, I think that charges of cheating when it comes to this kind of stuff are pretty wide of the mark. Cheating surely means breaking a written rule deliberately, with malice and forethought.

        This latest fuel flow thing is not cheating (not that we know what they’ve done yet). Either were the flexi-wings. It’s smart bastards finding a gap in the rules and taking advantage. It’s called ingenuity.


        • Absolutely, its what they are paid for!

          That said, what is sauvce for the goose is sauce for the gander, you call its whatever, but if any fuel flow measure circumvention is going on, then its exactly what RB did with the flexi wings.

          Thing is, what I am not clear on, is whether it is an enforcable and penalisable rule that fuel flow must be XXX, or wings must not flex, and then the tests are just mechanisms are to look for that, or whether the text themselves are in effect the rule that is penalisable. To me its like how there are speed limits, and they are finite, you break them and they just have to prove you did somehow, as opposed to passing a speed camera, or average speed zone within the law, you can pass that test but still break the law.

          • Yeah, seems to me that unless everyone is saying that the trick wing adjusters, which stalled the FW at high speeds, is the same thing as flexi wings then really we are conflating two different issues.

            Flexi wings drooped at high speed sealing underside better and providing more DF while still passing FIA static load tests. While seemingly against spirit of rules, wings always passed and eventually rest of teams got on with copying solution.

            OTOH trick adjusters were plain cheating, violating the actual rules, just hard to catch unless a disgruntled former employee narcs on you. That’s what RB got dinged for in Abu Dhabi.

            Currently, seems that the fuel flow falls more into flexi wing than trick adjuster category, but I remain open to persuasion as more info trickles (sorry, couldn’t resist) out.

          • @all
            Don’t confuse fuel flow rate with injection pressure. The latter is concerned with combustion dynamics and spray patterns etc. Flow rate is what the FIA is governing, and using to try to equalize potential output, and efficiency. I suggested last week http://tinyurl.com/katnry8
            what teams might be doing. Of course they won’t have a huge container. All they need is a little bit more power to gain extra 1/10ths at appropriate places.

          • This is why this site is so great, I’m genuinely interested but utterly ignorant of the technical details, yet I can get some thoughts and ideas from those who do.

        • RogerD.
          Just to help, re. Adam Parson’s comment below about having seen my earlier comment – this is what I think he is referring to:
          “….. technical regulation 5.10.5 states that “any device, system or procedure the purpose and/or effect of which is to increase the flow rate after the measurement point is prohibited”.
          So if any engine design circumvents regulation 5.10.5, then clearly it is cheating. …. “

      • Even more Epic if taking this away doesn’t impact upon their advantage in any shape or form. Cue Benny Hill music and the FIA trying to discover more “cheats”. Lewis and Nico might be using the Konami cheat code.

  2. You could discount any overtake ever, by emphasizing this or that factor. Wet vs. dry setup, that likely helped Schumacher to attain the lead earlier in the race (Hakkinen spun), so can’t complain about it later when it goes against you. It was a great overtake, and an exciting finish to a great race. That’s all that needs to be said.

    • I wouldn’t pay too much attention to that comment. He is so obviously biased against Hakkinen, constantly denigrating him at every available opportunity, that saying something positive would be a surprise.

  3. Re Boullier…..

    So that means Alonso’s gonna have to wait possibly 2 years before he’s able to challenge for a win? Oh I don’t think he’s going to like the sound of that, especially if Ferrari gets their before he does.

    Poor Eric just made Jenson look really bad, “I’m certain that this is the car that can take the fight to Mercedes”. Only wished they had given him this bit of news first.

  4. “Although Ferrari ran a 500 bar system last year, fears for reliability made the Maranello concern shelve this technology for further testing at the time.

    Mercedes upgraded to a 500 bar injection unit for 2015 and it is this development that has brought about paddock whispers and the attention of Jo Bauer and his team.”…….

    So because Mercedes upgraded to that system, the assumption is they’re the ones circumventing the rules? Do we know for certain that Ferrari aren’t using the same system this year? Can the same thing not be done running 250 bar as well?

    • Ferrari would be the more likely culprit, since it is them who made an astonishing step forward with their power unit over the winter.

      • The article makes mention of increased noise. That suggests two PUs are potentially in the frame, Ferrari & Mercedes, both are louder this year.

    • And so far, without being funny…

      Exactly which team has been reprimanded for disregarding the fuel regulations? In the first race no less.

      Red Bull!

      Yet everyone jumps on the bandwagon…

  5. They are speaking Russian in Nürburg and Hockenheim now?
    “With both Nürburgring and Hockenheim saying nyet”

  6. Re. Claire Williams:
    ” … “We think Formula One … conversations going on …. those conversations … conversations … those conversations.”

    Has she joined Ed Miliband and the Labour Party? She sounds like a seasoned Labour politician on target to meet Mliband’s 4 million conversations.

  7. Re. “Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Monisha Kaltenborn pities herself” :

    To paraphrase Mark Twain “reports of Monisha’s demise are greatly exaggerated”.

    • Since we know mostly van der Garde’s side of that saga, I appreciate FH’s translation of small portions of that interview.

      I hope we learn more about Sauber’s last few months.

      It now appears that Sauber’s world may have turned upside back at the Japanese GP when Jules was badly injured.

      Was Ferrari to provide large funding to Sauber for 2015 to have Bianchi race there?

      This mess with GvdG may have been triggered by the sudden loss of Bianchi and his accompanying money.

    • That’s a great pass. In modern F1 it’s hard to pick one since the introduction of DRS, as it makes passing so much easier. That’s why I like the pass that Vettel stuck on Alonso at Monza in 2011, no DRS, both fat on fuel and IIRC the Red Bull had the nearly the slowest straight line speed on the grid. The result? two wheels on the grass required… perhaps we can conclude a good pass requires some grass !

      Certainly agree RE: Hakkinens move on MSC though, Mika had a full dry setup and far far superior top end speed. It was far easier than it looked IMO.

        • As Bill McKidd and curmudgeon52 correctly note, the pass I mention didn’t involve DRS, it was a pure racing overtake. No worn vs new tyres or different fuel loads, no silly overtaking aids etc. That’s why I really rate that one, plus it was an overtake against Alonso in his prime, and he’s the best driver in F1.

          That plus the proper use of slipstream and wheels on the grass and so on make it a great great pass. I’d rate both this and the Piquet one above the Hakkinen move.

      • Top end speed not really important there, but a greater power curve, which the RB7 had in spades, especially over the Ferrari.

        Haven’t thought too long about it, but in modern F1 (say 2010-) Hamilton’s pass around the outside of Alonso at the tight turn 2 of the Nurburgring in 2011 ranks highly in my books. Danny Ric’s dummy on Seb last year in Monza was also impressive (in its own right, and visually too).

    • That’s the most impressive pass in my list, too. Hats off for what Piquet did on Senna…

  8. “Claire Williams calls for more common sense”

    should read:
    “Claire Williams panders to the SG”

    There, fixed it. She basically advocates for all the nonsense talk of louder engines and hugely disrupting changes in aerodynamics… Way to get rid of more F1 teams…

  9. “Alonso cleared to return in Malaysia”

    CONSPIRACY I tells ye!!

    After getting a nasty electric shock (from DC source, no less), having the Honda blown into his face as proven by the serious scorch marks on the car, and being subject to Big Ron’s voodoo as proven by the press-conferences… Now Alonso is being shockingly and mysteriously announced as fit and given an all-clear by 3 doctors, no less… Which would be consistent with a concussion, as was reported (even if belatedly) by McLaren.

    This can’t be right! Someone set the hounds on McLaren as they’re lying through their nose! Alonso got electrocuted and inhaled gushes of poisonous gas form the improperly sealed MGU-K, so McLaren’s decision to force Fred into the car in Malaysia is an act of utter hate and disregard for the safety of Alonso!!!

    • I would bet many of the doctors involved, with the decision on his fitness, are from the insurance company. It is very likely their call on when he would be allowed to get back in the car.

    • Those weren’t scorch marks, it was the shadow of the side camera mount. Enough conspiracy already; this gets old fast.

  10. Did Eric Boullier receive his training at the Iraq Ministry of Information?
    He comes across as a nice bloke, but I’d not buy anything from him.

  11. “The victim”…geez Hippo it was a civil law suit, a contract dispute, it was about money. Sauber did what they thought was best for them and their survival, van de Garde’s side did what they felt they needed to and took Sauber to court. Sauber lost, paid van de Garde the equivalent of F1 pocket money and it is over, with the settlement terms taking place outside the court, as with most lawsuits. It was just business.

    • And would it come as any surprise if the source of the funds that the honourable Mrs Kaltenborn could not – and did not want to – speak about turn out to the equally honourable Great-uncle Bernie ?

  12. “That moment when Force India were asked to vote on Manor’s return…”

    That looks more like the knife that Mackenzie and Ecclestone propose to desperate teams, to either stab a fellow team, stab a contracted driver, or simply commit seppuku… Rumor has it it’s in free-service, and the entrance of the SG.

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