#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 25th March 2015


UPDATED 09:51 GMT A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

OTD Lite 1984 – Balestre cunningly disqualifies Tyrrell team – sacre bleu

Renault demonstrate Red Bull as much to blame

Hamilton new deal AGAIN is closea>

Ex-Lotus engineers strengthen Ferrari technical squad

Is Alfa Romeo coming back to Formula One

Boullier changes his reasoning once again

Malaysia: FIA Press Conferences

OTD Lite 1984 – Balestre cunningly disqualifies Tyrrell team – sacre bleu

Uncle Ken, the bastion of true Britishness, a cricket fan, drinker of tea and upholder of all things honest and true. Or so we are led to believe, yet on this day his team fielded cars for Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof that later in the season would see the team disqualifed.

Tyrrell 012 Brundle

To this day, controversy remains as to whether Tyrrell added lead ballast to their cars during late pitstops or there was an additive in the water to help the engine. Either way, disqualification from the championship was deemed by neutrals too excessive but such was the way of the FISA run by the autocratic Jean Marie Balestre.

At the time the FIA wanted to change the fuel limit for 1985 from 220 litres to just 195 but Tyrrell was the one dissenting voice. He had also fallen out with all the other teams over the previous two years for various conflicts – be it the FOCA boycott at Imola in 1982 or the teams all signing up to turbo engines.

With Tyrrell disqualified, the fuel limit was changed by unanimous vote. If only Jean Todt had the cunning of his French counterpart..

The Grumpy Jackal


Renault demonstrate Red Bull as much to blame

As TJ13 reported yesterday, Renault have come out fighting following the waves of criticism they have received from their ‘works’ partner Red Bull. Cyril Abiteboul accused Red Bull of telling ‘lies’ and Newey of being guilty of a life of moaning about his engine suppliers.

Abiteboul also revealed, “Our figures have shown that the laptime deficit between Red Bull and Mercedes in Melbourne was equally split between driveability issues, engine performance and chassis performance,” 

“It’s therefore the overall package that needs some help and we have been working with the team to move forward.”

The Frenchman repeats his previous assertions that Renault are pushing hard. “We’ve been particularly aggressive in development and we should see the results a lot more clearly in Malaysia, particularly since we have had the opportunity to refine the PU using the data from Australia”.

“Work is still ongoing but even now we are in a completely different place to where we finished Melbourne.”

Aggressive development in engine-speak often results in more than a normal amount of failures. Should we see another Renault engine blow in the heat of Malaysia, who knows what will come from Horner and Marko next.


Hamilton new deal AGAIN is close

The words penned over the saga that has become Lewis Hamilton’s contract extension with F1 world champion team Mercedes in relative terms places the tome that is Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ in the flimsy magazine category.

Negotiations were afoot last summer soon after Rosberg’s new deal was announced, then they were put on hold to prevent Lewis from being distracted in his world championship title battle.

The deal was to be done over the winter period, but Hamilton’s break up with long time girlfriend and his subsequent travel put pay to that.

Then Toto Wolff announced it would be done by Australia as Hamilton revealed he was negotiating the contract himself.

Last night, speaking to Sky Sports F1, Lewis confirmed the deal was almost done. “It is going back between the lawyers so hopefully it is done before the weekend,” adding, “That would be great, but if not in due time.”

The perpetual delays have led to diverse speculation as to what the sticking points are and whether Hamilton is actually talking to Ferrari. The Daily Mail reported this week, “the Scuderia’s president, Sergio Marchionne, rates Hamilton top of the drivers available to him”.

And of course the lure of the red team will be strong for Lewis as will their ability to make him the highest paid F1 driver in history.

Should Mercedes and Hamilton fail to agree a deal by this weekend, then the rhetoric will surely change as one of the parties will again be required to explain why another deadline has passed with yet another failure for them to find agreement.


Ex-Lotus engineers strengthen Ferrari technical squad

Sergio Marchionne wasted little time in dismantling the cosy structure in Maranello once he ascended to the Presidency of Ferrari. The swift culling of staff was shocking and led to many Italian publications searching for hope amongst the ashes that remained.

James Allison was given carte-blanche in his rebuilding of the technical team with the full support of the President who brought in Maurizio Arrivabene to oversee the overall team performance.

Despite a promising return to the front of the grid, Melbourne also highlighted some of the shortcomings of the current team with the pit-stops proving that Ferrari had fallen behind what was required of the top teams.

The Scuderia have been preparing extensively prior to the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix and some changes have been made within the strategy group to accommodate new arrivals from Lotus.

Iñaki Rueda has assumed the role that used to be Neil Martin’s – a Spaniard despite a Japanese sounding name. In addition is another Lotus signing who arrives after completing his gardening leave from Enstone – Daniele Casanova.

Both men enjoy the full confidence of their former Lotus colleague – Allison and will be working in the simulation department under the directorship of James Tortora. Rueda will be the reference point of the virtual garage that operates in the Gestione Sportiva and his tasks include analyzing data coming from the track and reprocessing in the same place, while Daniel Casanova – who was Head of the Performance Systems Group at Lotus – will develop the performance of the SF15-T.


Is Alfa Romeo coming back to Formula One

Last Friday the FIA World Council in Geneva ratified the birth of a Formula 2 championship which is designed to be the new step between Formula 3 and Formula One. The clear intention appears to be to undermine the role of GP2 and World Series by Renault as the reference series’ for young drivers.

Stefano Domenicali – the current vice president of Audi and former Ferrari team principal – is currently working on the project that will be submitted to the FIA ​​World Council in July for approval. The intention is then to open up invites to chassis builders who are interested in producing the spec-cars which will be designed to accommodate a V6 Turbo engine that will run without hybrid technology.

Renault Sport Technologies’s CEO, Patrice Ratti, speaking in Geneva stated that the French manufacturer is interested in getting involved with the new series as they believe that there is not sufficient interest to have three similar categories running as the feeder series into F1.

Italian sources have learnt that Ferrari is interested in providing the engine for the new series but the suggestions are that the engines will be identified as Alfa Romeo.

For some time, rumours have been circulating that Fiat – the company that owns both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo – is looking to expand the marketing reach of the Alfa brand in anticipation of a return to the American market. Halo models such as the 8C – and the recently launched 4C – do not make the profits that please company accountants. These models merely bring the brand to peoples attention.

To casual observers, much head scratching has ensued when attempting to understand Gene Haas building a team to enter F1 next year. With Haas sponsoring the Maranello squad and having a supply of engines confirmed for next year – along with the Italian Dallara company designing and building the American team’s first chassis – could it be possible that ‘Alfa’ branded engines will power the new concern?

After all, Marchionne alluded to the Alfa connection in a press conference just a few months ago and Ferrari is running with the famous ‘snake’ logo on its flanks.



Boullier changes his reasoning once again

Last Thursday Mclaren’s racing director Eric Boullier told the press that the MP4/30 would prove successful: “Yes, it is still possible, although not in three, four or five races. But I do believe that we will be competitive.”

No doubt having travelled and wined and dined over the weekend he had come to the conclusion by Monday that – “it may take more than a couple of years to catch up.”

Merely another 48 hours later and we have the bewildered Frenchman suggesting that in fact the team was satisfied with how Melbourne turned out.. eleventh and two laps down.

“Obviously I’m not smiling because we are not yet at the level where we would like to be. We are currently working on a program to develop the reliability so that we can test and recover data which may be helpful towards progress.”

“We are working on different parameters, we also had to reduce engine performance and consequently there is still much potential that must be exploited. We know that some of the changes that we have applied in the last race worked, then we will try to optimize them to improve the efficiency of the engine.”

Jenson Button had been enthusiastic following how the actual car performed during the Australian weekend – although as Andrew Benson wrote in his column on the BBC website:

“Button said the car was “about equal” to the Red Bull and Sauber in the corners. But that’s not exactly encouraging – one is, well, a Sauber; and Red Bull have massive problems with the driveability of the Renault engine, which is badly holding back its cornering performance.”

Still, as they say, you can’t keep a good man down and Eric returned with, no doubt, a Ron Dennis inspired speech to motivate the troops.

“We must not lose our motivation. We are professionals and members of the racing world and then we always want to be competitive. Our goal is to run and compete at a higher level in the shortest possible time. When you are in situations like this, you always try to find some positives and we are happy to have found them through the machine. It is good for the morale of the team that the car is a good base. “

Of course with the return of Alonso just a couple of days away, we will no doubt hear from the bespectacled director once more – although with their current issues Woking must be praying that Manor have similar problems to the ones they suffered in Australia – i.e. not running.


Malaysia: FIA Press Conferences

Thursday, March 26, 1500 hrs (local)

  • Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
  • Daniil Kyvat (Red Bull)
  • Felipe Nasr (Sauber)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
  • Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)

Friday, March 27 1600 hrs local

  • Cyril Abiteboul (Renault)
  • Matthew Carter (Lotus)
  • Robert Fernley (Force India)
  • Paul Hembery (Pirelli)
  • Christian Horner (Red Bull)
  • Franz Tost (Toro Rosso)

I wonder where Horner and Abiteboul will be located. Is it better to be on the back row, then you can see what object is travelling towards you?

38 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 25th March 2015

  1. Okay, one more time…slowly. Carl Haas was the exclusive Lola importer for the U.S. and, from the late ’60s through the 2000s was a team owner in many series, including CART (and, for a time, F1). Meanwhile, Gene Haas is the CNC machine tool businessman and current NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner who is launching a new F1 team.

  2. I would love to see Renault buy STR and they at the end of this year or even a couple of weeks before the 2016 opener, Renault just tell RedBull to ‘sod off’ and buy themselves out of their last year of engine contract.
    Not because I don’t like RedBull as a team, but because Horner and Marko are a pair of prize twats and I’d love to see them completely loose the plot.

  3. ” Iñaki Rueda …… – a Spaniard despite a Japanese sounding name.”
    Eh? What is the above supposed to mean or add to the story?
    Are you trying to give us some idea of his race or heritage?
    Is he a person of Japanese origin, either born or naturalised as Spanish in Spain?
    Or is he of Spanish heritage and has been a Japanese sounding name?
    Or is it that the name is Spanish but just looks Japanese to a British observer/
    How would you describe Lewis Hamilton, Mo Farah, Amir Khan, Mark Ramprakash, Monisha Kaltenborn, etc. ?
    Why does any of it matter except maybe to a UKipper?
    You get the drift ….

    • Especially since Iñaki isn’t japanese sounding at all. It’s a pretty common basque Name.

    • Oh come on, you’re over-reacting here, and there’s no reason whatsoever to brand anyone a UKipper. Anyone reading the story would have thought ‘aha, a Japanese engineer’, and this is to just clarify that he’s actually Spanish. They don’t do just good drivers nowadays but engineers too.

      In a similar vein, had you known nothing of boxing and seen someone called ‘Amir Khan’, wouldn’t you think ‘interesting, a Pakistani A-lister in boxing’. And you would almost feel happy for a country that has no heritage in boxing, probably not as good training facilities as the leading boxing nations, to suddenly have someone compete at the top. And then they tell you he’s British (of Pakistani heritage of course) and all makes sense.

      • If the story has said “Iñaki common basque Name”, I agree that would have been something worth stating and adding to my knowledge.

        ” … someone called ‘Amir Khan’, wouldn’t you think ‘interesting, a Pakistani A-lister in boxing’. …. ”

        Maybe people of a certain age might think along those lines. I don’t. Where do you stop with that type of inquiring mind?

        Kevin Pietersen – English with a Dutch name but born in South Africa to an English mother.

        Lewis Carl Hamilton – English (with a given name after Carl Lewis the American athlete) and Scottish surname. Born to a to English father Antony Hamilton and English mother Carmen Larbalestier. Does the name Larbalestier sound English? Was the Hamilton male line descended from slaves owned by Robert Hamilton in West Indies (due to the fact the slaves owned by him had to take his name) or did Robert Hamilton also procreate a line of Hamiltons by taking slave women as his “wives” ?

        My point is that in today’s world the sound of your name or the colour of your skin or the country of your residence should not matter. What does matter is the country that you call your home.

        Otherwise you get in to Ukipper type deabte, see:


        • I’d be interested to hear from you as to where you think the. Name Larbalestier originates.

      • As I stated above, I’m not quite sure what would make anyone think that Iñaki is Japanese sounding. It’s a spanish, or more accurately basque name, and quite common. There is also one rather infamous member of the spanish royal family called Iñaki. And even if you never heard the name before, the Ñ should give it away, as it is a letter specific to the spanish language. Anyways, this is not meant to be overly critical, but just what went through my head when I read that part of the article.

      • McL78, I agree with you that there’s no reason to overreact, but to be honest I wouldn’t have even thought about it being Japanese until our esteemed scribe mentioned it. I’d have thought the ‘ñ’ was pretty much a dead giveaway that it’s a Spanish name, and “Rueda” just finished that off.

        I mean, Japanese … seriously?

    • PK – You have a good point here.

      I’ll just add, in Carlo’s defense, that phrase was in the original OmniCorse article yesterday, and he has included it as part of his well appreciated translation.

      So that was view of the original writer, Franco Nugnes.

      – – – – – –

      I’m impressed by Ferrari to pick this guy up. My opinion is being turned toward favorable regarding Marlboro Man.

      Williams desperately needs good strategic talents like this, as has been apparent since last season. In Australia a few days ago, Williams were incredibly inept strategically. I’d like to think Ferrari moved quickly for Iñaki because Williams also wanted him, but I doubt that is true. I’ve not seen any indication that Williams aims to correct this major weakness. (Sigh)

    • Remember a few years back all the heavy metal bands did umlauts over letters in band names? If the Japanese act Baby Metal could figure out where to drop a tilde or two in their name they would be HUGE!

  4. Completely unrelated to any news today, but we do know that Seb will be paid (allegedly) $240m over the next 3 years by Ferrari. Well,,,Mayweather Jr will bank $180m for his single fight with Pacquiao!
    Maybe Seb, Lewis and Fred need to get in a ring… 😉

    • Lol, I’d love to see that, although alonso would probably only fight on his ‘terms’ 😀

    • Seb’s numbers are inflated as are the numbers coming out today on Hamilton’s contract. Reporters are having extreme currency unit conversion problems, taking total contract value and stating it is per year. TJ13 did a good job recently figuring that Fred is receiving 34 mil Eur per year. Expect Lewis to get about 1 million more, and Seb is likely in third place.

  5. Re the tweet..

    Given Toto’s penchant for causing bodily harm to himself just by walking, if I was Paddy, I’d decline that invite.

  6. Ok, I will try and make this relevant. After umpteen dozen years only on PPV, boxing has started coming back to FTA. F1 take note, paywalls only get you so far! And will not increase your audience size or fan base.

  7. Re Boullier….

    Listening to him talking must be like looking into a kaleidoscope for too long, you’re guaranteed to get dizzy and confused.

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