Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 9th September, 2015


Force India theft

Force India have revealed a steering wheel worth 100,000 euros was stolen from their garage during the Monza weekend.

The Italian police are investigating, though Nico appears to have had something far more important removed.




Ferrari blame game – lite

Prior to the start of the 2015 Italian GP, Niki Lauda of Mercedes Benz revealed his main concern was a fast starting Kimi Raikkonen who would give no quarter into turn one if he found himself level with Lewis Hamilton.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Raikkonen was stuck on the grid as cars streamed past, ending up dead last on the first lap.

Maurizio Arivabene was questioned as to the cause of Raikkonen’s woes. “It looked like he was struggling, or messing a bit, with his finger to follow the procedure. But to make an accusation before I have data is wrong,” he told reporters at Monza.

What I can say to be positive is that on Saturday he made a fantastic qualifying and on Sunday into the race, starting from that position, he was doing very good overtaking and we were happy.

Of course, if you are asking what the ideal situation would be it was to see Kimi go and pass for first in the first corner and to have Vettel second or third.

This would be ideal, but we have to be happy because we had a driver who was second, we are still second in the constructors’ championship.

That’s fine.”

Kimi on the other hand was not so sure. Raikkonen unusually was quite detailed about the matter.

“It went into anti-stall when I let the first clutch go and as far as I understood, I did the correct thing but obviously we can see there was a problem in the second clutch in the way that it was not in the correct place.

I’m pretty sure I put everything correct as always but I don’t know exactly. Whatever it was, it triggered the anti-stall and obviously after a few seconds I was in last place.

From the data it’s like it’s in the incorrect place but as far as what I do always, I did the same thing, so I cannot explain why. There are only a few small chances as to why it could be but whatever the reason is, we have to make sure that we will understand it correctly 100% and make sure if we have to make changes that we do the right things.”

After that we did the best that we could. I’m obviously quite disappointed, the race was OK, I finished 5th but when you start in 2nd place and you end up in last place at the first corner, so it’s not ideal. It’s a bit disappointing but you have to learn on those and hopefully make a better result.

Obviously it’s not ideal, we were in a good position for the start then after a few seconds we were in last. The front row didn’t help us a lot but like I said, the race was OK and the weekend has been good, good apart from that issue. Obviously it’s fine to get back to 5th but like I said earlier, we started from second place and have that kind of start and end up in last place. It’s a bit disappointing but not the first time unfortunately that this happened after the race weekend. I’m sure we’re doing the right things but we keep having issues and compromising our race big time so, we’ll keep trying and I’m sure things will get better soon.”

Ferrari team members are now concerned Kimi will be unable to fulfil his media obligations in Singapore – because he may actually have run out of his word allowance for September.

A tale of two bosses

The man who runs a Formula One team with at present no engine for 2016, has commented on the Mercedes engine upgrade following the Italian GP.

“It looked quite frightening on Friday and then obviously they must have had some kind of issue with Rosberg, because [after that] it looked like they wound the engines back a little bit. But certainly the step they made on Friday look significant, quite worrying. I mean, they’re in a league of their own at the moment.”

Clearly Horner and Red Bull are facing down the barrel of a 2016 season where the chance of spoils is minimal.

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne though is bullish about his team’s opportunities for next year.

“For ’16, all bets are off,” Marchionne said. “I think we’re entering that season with a completely re-designed engine and a new car and I feel relatively comfortable Ferrari will be back as a true competitor rather than a catch-up artist, which it has had to do in 2015.”

The Ferrari chairman explains he believes the power unit development is the key.

“’16 is a different ball of wax, it’s a completely different environment. We have been working on the ’16 power unit for a while now. The difference between this year and the other seasons is that we have never abandoned ’15, ’15 has remained front and centre in our development work and that’s why we’re here today on the front row. In past seasons we would have given up after the initial bruises and started working on next year. We’ve been doing both concurrently, at some cost, but I think we have maintained our emphasis on ’15 and ’16.”

Ironically, this will be music to Christian Horner’s ears given that Ferrari is the only power unit option available to his quadruple championship winning outfit.

Formula One success has always ebbed and flowed in cycles, but for fans of the ‘keep you awake all night’ fizzy drinks car – 2017 can’t come soon enough.



15 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Wednesday 9th September, 2015

  1. I found the Marlboro Mans quote a bit funny when I read it alright

    “It looked like he was struggling, or messing a bit, with his finger to follow the procedure. But to make an accusation before I have data is wrong”

    So he’s saying Kimi screwed up, no problem with our car, but of course it would be wrong to rush to judgement before knowing the facts.

    Maybe Arivabene went to the same PR school as Lauda 🙂

  2. Couple of things that spring to mind with the engine front.
    1:- I was under the impression that the ice could only be developed rather than a total re design? the token system allowed the teams to improve key areas but under the watchful eye of the FIA thus controlling costs and waste.
    2:- again a daft question but I think a valid one. I thought that teams could only run one spec of an engine during the race weekend? I know Merc ran two different power unit designs at Monza. Is this down to the lack of clarity from the FIa following the loop hole of locking the engine specs this year but if not why can teams do this?

    • Ferrari for certain started the season with two different specs of engine and at one point had 3 different specs which might still he the case now.
      Mercedes have more or less the same spec until Monza.
      Honda perhaps use several different spec each weekend they take a massive penalty.

    • You got it right mostly. Teams can use any spec of anything they have in stock, launching a new spec doesn’t invalidate old motors you may have that are still working.

      About the redesign of the ICE, you can still redesign most of it in 2017. You can’t touch the “lower side” – the bore, cylinders and some other bits that overall make for much of the engine as % of the overall volume and weight. On the other hand the cylinder head is open and will continue to be for a while. This means injection, ignition, intake and exhaust are OK to modify provided you have enough tokens and here some say you can make quite a bit of difference.

    • I believe that you can only have 1 homologated PU at any 1 time and no manufactures will homologate a PU until 10minutes before the final race, so until the homologate an engine for 2015 they can run as many species engines as they wish. Hence why updates are not always being shared with engine customers, if the PU’s had all been homologated then all manufacturers must supply tthe samw spec of engine to their customers that they run in their works team.

      • Engine management software can be different though. In 2014 all engines were homologated, yet Red Bull and STR ran their own EMS while Lotus and Caterham ran the Vanilla version supplied by Renault.

      • Then it starts all over again on the homologation front in 2016. Unless the FIA have cleaned up the rules not really been paying attention. 2017 is when things will change, though as yet I don’t think they’ve agreed on the precise details for the regulation changes. Other than “Make it louder” which is merely wasted energy that could be used to make the cars go faster. Though maybe not a bad thing if Pirrelli get the tyre contract…..

      • @clearview jSeems like a slight slipup from the rule makers this yr. I know the rules state only one homologated pu per race but with these not been locked in yet then they are free to explore and evolve. It just makes a mockery of the whole token system,why they can’t just open up the rules is just FU,

  3. Re: Kimi

    What I think happened was, he had one or two cans of the new ‘iceman vodka’ drink he’s now endorsing before the race started.

  4. Nico Rosberg’s lightning fast reaction likely prevented a massive pile up at the start.

    He missed running in to the back of Kimi by just a few millimetres and a split second.

    I wonder if the FIA will now re-examine the radio ban on the pitwall coaching drivers for the start procedure.

  5. “Ferrari team members are now concerned Kimi will be unable to fulfil his media obligations in Singapore – because he may actually have run out of his word allowance for September.”
    Haha good one LOL

  6. About Marchione: http://www.joesherlock.com/Fiat-Chrysler.html#9-9-15 Text:

    Run! It’s A Giant Fiat! A few weeks ago, MotorWeek tested a 2016 Fiat 500X. I had no idea what it was. When I saw it, the thing looked huge. It was taller than MW’s host John Davis. I thought Fiats were small. It turns out that this is a Fiat-shaped SUV created by draping an oversized, cartoonish 500 body over a Jeep Renegade platform.

    Like the Renegade, it is powered by a 180 horsepower inline four-cylinder engine mated to Fiat-Chrysler’s troubled 9-speed transmission. MW said the shifts were sometimes jerky.

    The 101-inch wheelbase SUV has far less cargo space than the Renegade because of the rounded sloping rear end – a typical Italian style-over-function feature. Davis said that, “the white painted concave dash reflected light into the passenger’s eyes” – another bad design tidbit. MW reported that “the seats were stylish but not comfortable.”

    After traveling to Italy in 2002, I wrote this to my friend Ray:

    “Italy is really a land of stylish designs that don’t work: interesting-looking chairs that are uncomfortable as hell.

    Futuristic-looking toilets that don’t flush worth a … well … shit. (Once time I pressed the toilet-flushing mechanism and it fell off the wall and hit me on the head! And this in a four-star hotel! The device must have been manufactured by Fiat.) Shower controls which are ergonomic disasters. Light switches which are counter-intuitive.

    Nice-looking towels that don’t absorb water. And so on. Ad nauseum. It’s good to be home. Where everything works.”

    Back to the road test: The 500X’s ride was reported as “more jostling than the Renegade.” The funny thing is, MotorWeek rarely gives negative reviews but they sure didn’t seem to be enamored of this beastie.

    The model tested was the AWD Lounge edition which had a starting price of $27,650. Ouch.

    Watching the show segment made me wonder who the heck would buy this thing. I don’t think Fiat-Chrysler knows either. Fiat has sold just over 25,000 vehicles (500, 500L, 500X) in the U.S. during the first seven months of this year – a drop of 13% from last year. That’s a disaster and I think they’re just spitballing model and line-extension ideas in a desperate move to try anything.

    Part of the poor sales may be due to Fiat’s abysmal quality. The most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index gave Fiat its lowest rating of 27 nameplates tested in 2015. Fiat scored 73 out of 100 possible points – lower than the Mariana Trench and just above an 1981 Trabant 601.

    AutoExtremist Peter De Lorenzo noticed the extensive platform and component sharing at FCA, too. “Look no further than what ‘Sergio the Great’ Marchionne is campaigning to do. He believes that the auto industry – as defined by its separate corporate entities – is wasting billions upon billions of dollars on developing mechanical bits and on system redundancies that could instead be shared among multiple manufacturers, things “under the skin” that only the so-called enthusiast True Believers would know the difference, or even care about.”

    “Marchionne vehemently rejects the notion that his so-called “visionary” concept for the commoditization of the auto industry is being driven by the fact that FCA is on the edge of serious financial jeopardy, but the stark realities of the FCA numbers can’t be concealed. Marchionne, the consummate mercenary, desperately needs a partner, or his self-made industry “legend” status will be relegated to the dustbin of history, filed under “just another guy with a dream and an extraordinary talent for making the most out of other people’s money.””

    It has been reported that FCA is starving its Chrysler Group for new model development money and that planned new models have been substantially delayed. This is a bad sign of things to come at Fiat-Chrysler. (posted 9/8/15, permalink)

  7. “Ferrari is the only power unit option available to his quadruple championship winning outfit.”

    They could have Hondas. 😉

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