A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
Mercedes’ weakness found
The AMG Mercedes team seems to have sorted out the few weaknesses from last year. The brakes are still a trifle wonky, but even with deceleration problems the team managed to finish 1st and 3rd in Bahrain. That means, nobody can hope for gifted wins like the three wins Mercedes tossed away in 2014 in an attempt to soften the fall for Red bull from dizzying heights of four consecutive world and driver titles.
The only remaining Achilles heel seems to be the soft bit between the seat and the steering wheel.
The unexpected driver change at Force India yesterday was caused by the fact that Pascal Wehrlein had fallen ill. As a result Nick Yelloly drove a day earlier than expected and today Esteban Ocon gets his chance and he succeeds in making Max Verstappen look positively parental.
This is the second time that there has been a major reshuffling during testing. Earlier this year, a testing day for Wehrlein at Force India had to be cancelled, because his services were required at the big boy Mercedes team. Lewis was broken and Nico fancied the day off.
The twenty-year old Wehrlein is scheduled to drive the W06 today, and seemed reasonably confident that he’ll be fixed overnight. But if not, Nico will probably be happy to nail another 600+ kilometres experience advantage over his footballing mate Lewis.
Sebastian Vettel demonstrated in 2014 ostensibly, the large effect lost track time can have. Which makes it all the more surprising how many of the regular drivers are absent from the test – Mr. Vettel included.
Teams informally agree on Budget cap ahead of Strategy Group Meeting
Criticism mounting on F1 – by Fat Hippo
Red Bull’s mouth-piece Dr. Helmut Marko is no longer the only one critical of the current state of F1. Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Daniel Ricciardo and David Coulthard have chipped in, mainly targeting the engine regulations and the complexity of the not-quit-so-loud bits in the back of the cars.
Keen followers of this publication will most likely have seen us dissect the problem already – All those except Prost are historically or currently associated with Red Bull, and Alain’s criticism was offered during an interview with Red Bull owned broadcaster ServusTV.
In a way this is a shame, because these commentators may well have a point. But due to Red Bull’s incessant whining over the years, nobody listens anymore, even if their contribution is worth hearing now.
Dr. Marko’s insistence that the Strategy Group must go is an opinion shared by most people with a modicum of common sense. The Strategy Group is like having a bunch of petulant kindergarten rug-rats vote on who gets to play with the fire truck.
For the more aged, Turkey’s voting for Christmas is an alternative metaphor.
F1 has decided to travel a path where the engines are tightly specified and the development paths of the different manufacturers will eventually converge with very similar results. Whether this contributes to the road going cars of the future is questionable.
On the other hand, the WEC allows more creative engine development programmes. The hybrids solutions from the engine manufacturers are substantially different. This offers a diversity of implementation into the road car solutions of the future.
That said, an Endurance championship is much more suited to road car development, as your normal family box is supposed to do two-hundred thousand kilometres before it is shipped to Azerbaijan to run for another 200K. Formula one engines are built to last 5 race weekends. But given that between every race, each of the manufacturer replaces worn and damaged existing engine parts under the ‘safety and cost efficiency’ mandate, this is a joke – but sadly not to the standard of Tommy Cooper.
It maybe time to say goodbye to F1 as the research lab of manufacturers. Volkswagen didn’t build the Bugatti Veyron to research anything. They built it to show that they could. And maybe that’s what F1 should be doing. Becoming once again a prototype racing series where people showcase what they can build – just because.
If the fans of F1 are to be saved from the sight of a self imploding kingdom where brimstone and fire is raining in, then on pain of execution the following phases should be banned: “Save fuel”, “manage tyres”, “leave a gap”.
F1 should be politically incorrect – carving up whales for food when they beach instead of dragging them back into the water so they can beach again and die anyway.
Or if we really wish to please the eco-mentalists, let F1 be the trail-blazer for developing a safe storage infrastructure for Hydrogen gas and run cars equipped with combustable H2O fuel cells. Let’s show Formula-E that you don’t need to switch cars halfway into the race when we can race to the moon and back.
A Thank You to our readers
On Monday night there was much rejoicing in the Judge’s chambers as we clocked up a new record number of views on a single day. Okay, beating the rest English speaking media to the Mateschitz offering Toro Rosso was a decent effort, and TJ13’s readership has been on a significant rise since the new site was introduced anyway.
Smack bang in the middle of the lunch break of the Barcelona test, readership numbers for the day shot upwards like a homesick angel. The new record of Monday was history at some point around 8pm last night.
An especially heartfelt 今日は goes to the almost 1.000 readers, who reached us from the distant shores of Japan yesterday.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank all our regular viewers and welcome the new ones. Everybody is free to contribute – we are a site for the fans, by fans. If you want to contribute a small nugget to the news or a full-fledged article. Feel free to use the contact form to contact us.
muchas gracias, vielen Dank, どうもありがとう, большое спасибо, suurkiitos, nice one(Aussie)… and in the country where we are the 521st most read site of all – suur tänu