A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
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.
Claire Williams calls for more common sense
Claire 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.
The 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
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.