#F1 Daily News and Comment: 4th April 2015

DNandC

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


Bad times being a Mercedes Customer

Gambling means you can lose

Bernard weeps over loss of dictatorship

Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Carmen Jorda – How about no?

WEC abolishes Grid girls


Bad times being a Mercedes Customer

It appears that being in possession of the best power unit in the business is not doing much good for Force India and Lotus. The Silverstone squad that is busy trying to kill other teams instead of developing a car scored seven points in Melbourne courtesy of the fact that except for the glacially slow McLaren there were not enough cars to have anyone finish outside the points scoring positions but from Malaysia both teams went home empty-handed.

Pastor Maldonado was at his usual best, taking the fight to Kimi before another Finn, Valteri Bottas, ever so gently sliced his rear wheel tyre – with love from Helsinki. And just a couple of laps later he added to his impressive tally of penalty points as he undercut the delta time during the safety car period.

The TJ13 gang likes to take the mickey out of the hapless reverend, but in this case he was free of blame. Normally the drivers have an indicator on their dashboard showing if they are within the required delta time, unless you are sitting in a Lotus as the team decided to spend the eight quid thirty they found in the back of the sofa into aerodynamics instead of displaying useful things for their drivers.

Grosjean didn’t fare much better. He was one of the drivers staying out during the safety car period. But he couldn’t get past Hülkenberg as his Mercedes engine was lobotomised by a sensor issue. The electronic part in question, installed to tell if something was wrong, was wrong itself and turned down the precious power plant. It all would matter little as the Frenchman’s under-tray was damaged after Sergio Perez had ploughed into his car.

You have to admire Mercedes. They even managed to outsource their bad luck.

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Gambling means you can lose

There is no denying that the Mercedes W06 is still the car to beat, but the dominance comes at a cost. It was apparent as early as the second Barcelona test that the newest product from Brackley is tricky to setup with both Lewis and Nico complaining about borderline handling.

The two Ferrari boys, both heavily trounced last year, seem to be much more comfortable with their steed and as a result both are enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately. The SF15-T seems to be easy to setup, gentle on the tyres and for the first time since the introduction of the new engine formula someone used less fuel than the silver arrows during the Malaysian GP.

Over a single lap the Mercedes is unbeatable. Their higher downforce setup means they get heat in the tyres more readily than anyone else, but over the race distance the Ferrari comes perilously close, especially if the temperatures are high or the tarmac is hard on the tyres.

Ferrari had planned a two-stop race from the very start. “That was impossible for us,” Niki Lauda of Mercedes fame admits.

Each car has its DNA and it can’t deny it unless you build a new car. Mercedes have chosen the Red Bull method. Put your car on pole and dictate the race upfront using a high downforce setup. If by any chance they find themselves in traffic it all goes pear-shaped.

We had all that in the second half of 2013, when Seb Vettel went on to win nine races on the trot, but this time the other teams haven’t given up development. In fact Ferrari seem to be on a good way to break the Mercedes strangle-hold on the sport.

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Bernard weeps over loss of dictatorship

Kim Jong E is not best pleased with the state of affairs in Formula One these days. He failed to stop the unloved V6 turbo dysons and that was only the first defeat in a long line of drubbings the once omnipotent ‘maximo líder’ has taken in recent months.

In the days of yore he could deal with things knowing that Adolf Max Mosley would nod his approval indiscriminately, but now he has to deal with a Frenchman who would rather surrender to the Dutch instead of dealing with hot issues.

“It’s completely wrong that the participants have a say in decisions,” he tells Germany’s Motorsport Total. “Committees like the Strategy Group where the top teams flex their muscles are wrong. But we have a system that prevents us from stopping them. Only if they all agree we can decide something.”

The ‘dear leader’ blames the teams for the current lack of reforms in Formula One. “If they grow up – and I told them as much this morning – we could come to an agreement and change things at the next race.”

Asked if this was the end of dictatorship in Formula One, Bernard plays the coy game.

“I shouldn’t talk about dictators, but if someone is admitted to hospital and the surgeon says the arm has to be amputated, you don’t put up the issue for discussion – you chop it off.”

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Fat Hippo’s Rant Lite: Carmen Jorda – How about no?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in Fat Hippo’s Rants are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.

snarky_hippoFormula One’s most useless development driver ever has put her support to Bernard’s idea of a Formula One for women. Citing that other sports have women’s and men’s competitions as well, Lotus’ token pair o’ X chromosomes development driver says that F1 for women is a good idea.

“Well, I think society has changed a lot in the last few decades. You see women in better jobs, managing to have careers of their own in areas that were deemed male for a long time. Nowadays you see women competing in their own championships in most sports: football, tennis, skiing – you name it – and in none of these championships are men and women competing against each other. So the question is: why not have a F1 world championship for women? “

While one could say that this would spell the end of women being cynically used as PR tokens by the teams, it doesn’t change the fact that the motor racing community is yet to smell the cordite. In 2000 the Swiss karting championship was utterly dominated by two women – Cyndie Allemann and Natacha Gachnang. The best placed male in the championship, a certain Sebastian Buemi, who came third, has had a try at F1 and is now a works driver at Le Mans – the girls who beat him never got a chance.

Instead of inventing a woman’s league – let them drive under fair conditions with competitive material first. How about that?

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WEC abolishes Grid girls

Speaking of mistreating women. The WEC, which has become the better F1, has decided to abolish the practice of parading women as eye-candy on the grid. Have your say. Should F1 do the same?

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48 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: 4th April 2015

  1. “Over a single lap the Mercedes is unbeatable. Their higher downforce setup means they get heat in the tyres more readily than anyone else, but over the race distance the Ferrari comes perilously close, especially if the temperatures are high or the tarmac is hard on the tyres.”

    I’m sorry, but parts of that statement is premature assumptions. Ok they lost in Malaysia, but if you look at the lap times compared to both Ferrari’s on the same tyres, the Mercedes were still the faster cars. On the option tyres, Nico’s fastest lap was over a second faster than Seb managed on the same tyres. Lewis was able to reduce Seb’s 24+ seconds lead to a mere 10 (14 lap stint I think it was) when he made his final stop for the hards. As Matt said to me, “they just ran slower so as to try and do a 2 stopper”

    We’ve only had one race with a combination of both conditions, so there’s not enough evidence to make any meaningful suggestions as to how close the Ferrari’s are in lap times over a race distance. If that’s the case, then we can also assume based on the Australian Grand Prix, that in cold conditions with less abrasive tracks, the Ferrari is miles away in performance. But we just don’t know. They could go on and win the Chinese Grand Prix which is expected to be cooler and then the Mercedes proceeds to win in Bahrain, which is hotter and more abrasive.

    Your argument could be true, but I think the Spanish round is when we should be able to make a more informed observation.

      • You should do more fact checking instead of coming up with ridiculous sarcastic remarks…

        “and for the first time since the introduction of the new engine formula someone used less fuel than the silver arrows during the Malaysian GP.”….. Williams!!

        What next, your going to tell me Rosberg won more than once in China?

        • Glad I haven’t been around long enough to garner such consistent disdain from hippo ;-). But I have to agree with Fortis (as I mostly, do).

          BTW hippo, “token pair o’ X chromosomes” is priceless. And your call for fair play for women to have a shot at advancing through the ranks should they show the requisite promise is, s they say across the pond, “spot on.”

          Finally, had the situation been reversed, or had Pastor pulled what the imagined to be “next great F1 driver,” Bottas, pulled on any other driver, the F1 media multiverse would’ve exploded in derision, calling for Maldo’s head on the end a Grid Girl’s position pole.

          • >BTW hippo, “token pair o’ X chromosomes” is priceless.

            I can’t take credit for that as our resident rules expert Matt wrote that to replace the much stronger term I used in the original draft 😉

      • Uh, what is wrong in his statement? He said basically “more data needed”, which is true.

        What’s tiresome are glib comments of the “you don’t know what you’re talking about, but I won’t say where I think you’re wrong” variety.

      • Well, Fortis rubs me the wrong way too, but his post is thoughtful, clearly stated, and without Lewis love. Good one Fortis.

  2. Why should they abandon grid girls? The poor girls need to have a job too. I had a conversation once, when fia gt1 still existed, and they like doing it. It pays well. They are in the spotlight and some of them actually like racing.

    • I think it’s about the role they have: just being eye candy. Cheerleaders to me are different. They perform and have an aura of self respect while grid girls are just holding umbrella’s. We can do without that, I can’t explain it to my kids – which most of the time is a good indication something’s wrong.

    • I think the drivers can find their spot on the grid without the sign. The girls still have a job as race hostess, however there will be less than cars on the grid.

      • They are not there for the drivers but for the spectators. people complain about bad visibility of numbers on the cars, well this is the equivalent on the grid… nothing more, nothing less. If you’re at the track you don’t get those massive pre show like on the telly.

  3. “The Silverstone squad that is busy trying to kill other teams”

    Yeah, TJ13 should really stop paddling this nonsense. FI is not kiling other teams. Bernard and FOM are. Mackenzie and CVC are. Ferrari and Red Bull are. Whereas FI, Lotus and Sauber are merely struggling to survive.

    Please do a reality check…

    • But ask yourself this. Why would FI want investigation of Manor? What’s their endgame? it’s not like Manor are faster, nor are they competing with FI for engines or any other resources.

      I would understand had they asked for Caterham investigation after what they did with KK’s suspension, but really, what do FI have to gain by pursuing this course of action.

      I have my thoughts, but absolutely no proof. Curious as to what you think.

      • “Why would FI want investigation of Manor? What’s their endgame?”

        That’s a good question Matt. On the face of it, it makes little to no sense for Force India. So something else must be going on.

        One speculative bullet point would be that FI struck a deal with grandpa Bernie. Bernard gives them a lifeline (e.g. the advance payments this year) in exchange for either wrecking havoc in the Strategy Group, or finishing off Manor (e.g. get rid of King as a possible replacement), or simply an additional vote for FOM (for a total of 7).

        Let’s not forget that the Dwarf’s end-game is a 8×3 series, something that he announced loud and clear quite some time ago, so this means killing off another team or two. The Dwarf’s poisonous hands were clearly noticeable in the Caterham debacle, with Kolles chumming up with the wrinkled one. So Caterham’s death can be seen as being the Dwarf’s work. There is no doubt that HRT was his work (as in NO MONEY).

        When (not if) Manor are down, before the end of this year in all likelihood given FOM coverage of their cars and Bernie’s piss-poor incontinence attacks, there will be 9 teams remaining. One too many still. At that point having a sympathetic ear around the Dwarf shall represent the difference between life and death. By this count, Sauber will have to go, not that this will be a difficult task…

        If we’re talking end-game, this would be one eventuality for FI: survive in this utterly unsustainable business environment.

        So for me there is very little shred of doubt that the real culprit and ultimate responsibility lies fully on the ball-less vultures that pass for venture capitalists these days: *CVC and Donald Mackenzie*.

        THEY (and no one else!) have ensured that grandpa Bernie kept his position for half a decade longer than healthy. They couldn’t even get rid of the toad when he was under criminal investigation. How lame does it get? And recently the half-hearted attempt to replace him with Justin King, who ultimately ended up in… Manor. How lame does it get?

        THEY too have ensured that no teams get any money out of F1, not even enough to break even. CVC has never blinked at raising the pot distributed to the teams. CVC has never blinked at equilibrating how the pot is being distributed. CVC has asked of their management (i.e. grandpa Bernie) to raise the prices extracted on ALL stakeholders (fans, circuits, teams, etc.) up to pushing ’em all into bankruptcy (how many teams and circuits need to go down, and fans run away, before this fact becomes obvious?). To quote Adam Parr, this is without any shred of doubt an abuse of dominant position.

        http://thejudge13.com/2013/01/23/adam-parr-calls-ecclestones-concorde-deal-a-crime-and-the-eu-commission-negligent/

        “It’s wrong, it’s just wrong”, Parr asserts. “To force a team into bankruptcy and cause the loss of all those jobs is in my view absolutely and categorically an abuse of a dominant position”.

        I sure do hope that CVC will get hefty retroactive penalties from the European regulator for the years of abuse of dominant position…

        Force India on Manor, Sauber on VdG, Kolles on Caterham, HRT, McLaren and their invisible title sponsors, I hear Williams starts feeling a pinch… All these are merely symptoms of one big, serious problem: CVC and their abysmal running of the F1 business.

        If TJ13 has to pick a fight, do it with them… And leave those poor, broke, hopeless, incompetent and lame small teams alone. Putting small and petty criminals behind bars doesn’t address a social problem (so throwing rocks at them may be fun, but of little use); tweaking the system to ensure that those less fortunate don’t end up in the street starving and hopelessly begging and stealing does address the actual problem at hand.

        • Hmmmm… That was my surmise as well, that some sort of back room deal had been done with Uncle Bernie as he wants King dispatched as quickly as possible, and the way cleared for customer cars, a stated aim for sometime.

          As far as attacking Force India, as I said in my comment, my view is that survival is never pretty, but we as humans have and take choices in those situations that reflect our fundamental character.

          The midfield teams had their chance to make a final stand to extract concessions and failed to stick together, thus hanging separately in the words of Mr. Franklin. Of course, this was true of the large teams as well, where both Red Bull and Ferrari have variously been accused of first taking the thirty pieces of silver that has led to the destruction of the Concorde agreement, loss of FTA in many countries and the overall worsening of our sport.

          None of this is pretty and is worth comment, but at the end of the day you are correct, it is CVC and the banksters whom we must hold accountable for this abysmal state of affairs, along with Bernie who, like an evil fungus, seems impossible to be rid of, no matter how strong the medicine applied. I am disappointed in Force India, I expect better from Fernley in particular. CVC and Bernie make me angry, not just for what they have done but also because the paradigm they represent has done so much damage to the world in which I grew up.

          • @ Landroni & Matt……..good comments. I was curious how Bernie can unilaterally decide to ‘fine’ Manor for their show (or no show) in Oz; didn’t Manor/Marussia earn their payment for 9th place LAST season? How can Bernie withhold part of that payment just because he wants to? It really is time for the EU to clamp down on this monopoly.

            The FIA nee Todt has totally given up even the pretense of controlling F1; Bernie seems free to do whatever he wants by simply paying them $25 million or whatever. When I think back to how the Dwarf seemed cornered in Germany and the way he bought his verdict and innocence I am frankly astounded. Time for this blemish on the ass of humanity (and F1) to go.

            The owner of the winery I work for is 78 years old and thinks he is doing a great job as the man in charge; the truth is he is driving our label into the ground. Unfortunately he writes the checks and now I’m in it simply for the money. A sad state of affairs, and so is F1 with our octogenarian overlord.

          • @Gomer

            “I was curious how Bernie can unilaterally decide to ‘fine’ Manor for their show (or no show) in Oz; didn’t Manor/Marussia earn their payment for 9th place LAST season?”

            I would go with “he can because he can”. A universal truth is that the law is only as good as its enforcement, and enforcement depends on whole host of variables: interest of the authorities (i.e. EU commission), financial might of the criminal, financial duress of the aggrieved, arbitrary and subjective interpretation by authorities or lawyers or judges, etc.

            Grandpa Bernie has proven in Germany—where he bribed his way from bribing charges, all in conformance to German bribing laws—that he has the financial might and the lawyerly coverage of anyone’s dreams. The Strategy Group was created in direct contravention to the previous EU commission ruling, as in it takes regulating powers away from the FIA (i.e. our impotent Little Jean) and gives regulating powers to the commercial rights holder (i.e. CVC and Granpa Bernie), the latter being explicitly banned by the EU regulator as it creates a direct conflict of interest.

            And what happened? Not much, really. For at least a year now they’re breaking EU law out in the open, and no one lifts a finger. So, you know, if the police won’t care to chase a white-collar criminal, what can you do?

            So when Granpa Bernie sees that, why would he care about twisting a contract or two here and there? Even giving previous year’s revenue during the current year, under a tight schedule, is quite possibly illegal, yet he’s been doing this for years and no one seems to be able to do anything about that. If the teams try to rebel (i.e. Austin 2014), then Bernard could simply play a game of hide and seek and withhold payments (for whatever reasons!) until the teams go belly-up; and that’s too much of a risk to take for businesses with liquidity issues. So Grandpa Bernie must think that twisting another contract or two can’t do much harm.

            I secretly wish Justin King shall flex muscles and take Grandpa Bernie to court over this incident (and the ostensibly lacking FOM coverage in Malaysia). But there is little chance of this happening, as King is Mackenzie’s man… Surely King can’t go nuclear on FOM & CVC…

          • Actually it’s likely down to what’s in the bilateral contract with FOM. They might very well have discretion as to whether or not they pay the freight.

            The other issue, of course, is cost of enforcement. It might just be prohibitive to collect the money, even if it is owed. I suspect the former, though, as we’d have likely heard some grumbling otherwise.

    • Landroni I have to agree with you on this one. The “vote against Manor” several weeks ago was completely justified. FI is taking all the heat, because they are the “new kid” at the strategy group, and they had to vote first. Sure, all the other teams leaked that they would have voted for Manor, but its all lies, and you all know it. Manor did not bring any formal plan as to how they were going to accomplish the goals of meeting the 2015 requirements. Their only justification for not being prepared was “we were broke, but we found some money very recently”.
      Saying FI is trying to force Manor out for the “4 million” dollars, or pounds, or Euros, is nonsense. It’s a drop in the bucket, and probably wouldn’t extend their life a single race. They wouldn’t even see that money for another few months at the earliest. The idea is ridiculous.
      So why is FI speaking up? Well, if you were scraping by, running an underdeveloped chassis because you were forced to spend money making changes to the Nose, (Bernie didn’t like the way they looked), wouldn’t you be pissed if another team was given a “pass” just because they have less money?
      I would be. Why does Manor get special dispensation?
      As I said moths ago. FI’s real value right now is its vote in the strategy group.
      Every single race that goes by where they are outscored by Lotus, TR, and Sauber they get closer to losing that vote. VJ Should have sold before Australia. If their current trajectory continues, they won’t make it through the season.

        • Hippo is right. FI is calling their 2015 car a ‘B spec’ to be introduced sometime after the Europe season begins. What we see now is last year’s car with a new paint job.

      • Tourdog, the Manor and Caterham, for it was both teams, survival plan was approved in the December Strategy Group meeting. Manor received approval to begin January 5th, and were well underway when Force India brought the matter back up at the January meeting and voted no. Manor was never asked to supply anything to that meeting, for the obvious reason that would rather give away the game: The team says this request was submitted on December 17 of last year and received approval on January 5, with work ongoing since then – including recruitment – in order to prepare the cars in time. Team representative Graeme Lowdon explained the approval received in January meant no submission was made or requested at yesterday’s Strategy Group meeting, despite Force India comments to the contrary.

        So it’s an unfortunate zombie lie peddled by Force India to make them look less bad, and, if my hunch correct, provide a smokescreen for what’s really going on behind the scenes which would be your typical Bernard shenanigans.

  4. Completely off topic. Did anyone notice Lewis with headphones and umbrella for the Malaysian anthem. Isn’t it disrespectful from a world champion

    • To be precise it’s disrespectful from any driver let alone a world champion. Although its a procedure that no driver may like they are supposed to do so I guess.

    • I make a point of missing that part of F1, so no. It’s only a song and that’s what it used to be, untill mr Putin entered F1. If the drivers only had the balls to show their middle fingers in Sochi!

      • For my part they can cancel all those anthems. Before the race and on the podium.

      • Why is everyone bringing up Russia. That’s one bad example. But don’t the paying public expect their f1 Heroes to stand for their country’s anthems? Is it wrong. So f1 drivers have the privilege of racing in all countries but not the responsibility to respect the anthem of a country.

  5. Pastor Maldonado never even got close to Kimi. You were listening to Coulthard who later corrected himself. Maldonado was ahead of Kimi when Nasr and Kimi touched.

  6. Michele Mouton did give some nice interviews about F1 for women. According to her (and probably others) women prefer to be measured to the same standard as men.

    I guess it says something about the race craft of Jorda if she wants to compete in a women only series.

  7. Hippo, I need to express my regrets on the loss of your friend. You have new friends around the world, if that is any small condolence. Take care.

  8. I see “Female F1 series” as nothing more than Bernie being the witch stirring the cauldron, singing (off key) “eye of frog, toe of newt, tongue of lizard, scent of skunk–no,two skunk scent glands–“

  9. Way too much media hype surrounding the Ferrari win – Fortis pretty much summed up my thoughts. Only the other week everyone was banging on about how it’s going to be a boring season with the mercs winning every race. After last weekend, it’s about how Merc may have f*cked up their new car and how Ferrari are ‘back’.

    If Merc come out and utterly dominate the next race it will be back to “oh, how boring, the same old team at it again”. Let’s just wait and bl00dy see how things turn out in the next couple of races to get a better idea instead of drawing conclusions from one race that happened to include extreme track conditions, with Merc losing out valuable running, from their seemingly so far strongest driver, in FP1 and FP2……*sigh*

    • Not to mention the strategy errors from Mercedes too. Interesting to note that “If by any chance they find themselves in traffic it all goes pear-shaped.” That doesn’t seem to be a particularly accurate statement…

      • I was going to point that out as well, by referring back to Germany, China (Rosberg), Spa, Austria, Silverstone as well as Hungary last year.

        Even in this Malaysia race made that statement redundant, because both were as low as 6th and 9th

  10. “football, tennis, skiing”
    All of those sports have a physical component where men have a significant strength advantage, an inherent advantage over women. Motor racing, in particular F1, does not have that same physical differentiation that football, tennis or skiing. Even compared to other motorsports, F1 may have it easier, as they have power steering. Indycar does not use power steering.

    Anyhow, Jorda wasn’t chosen for her racing skills, was she?

    • Care to share with us what skills she was chosen for? After all, when the helmet goes on, even Pastor looks like he may just belong on this planet…..

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