Daily News and Comment: Thursday 17th September, 2015

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Mercedes change their tune and Rosberg’s engine.

TJ13 reported earlier this week that Mercedes intended to reuse Nico Rosbergs #3PU in Singapore, the one reported to have a “water leak” and was removed from the car before qualifying in Monza.

This power unit was the new spec engine with development tokens deployed. Rosberg qualified and raced with an engine that was nearing the end of its life, and unsurprisingly it went boom, for all the world to see.

TJ13 questioned Mercedes’ decision to reuse the new PU#3 and suggested given the ‘water’ and ‘head gasket’ issues, this was a risk for Nico.

Since then we’ve had a Toto Wolff ‘clarification’ on the issues with Nico’s PU#3, following the explanations given by Paddy Lowe, AND Andy Cowell.

But this ‘clarification’ told a whole different tale.

“It turns out it  had nothing to do with the engine,” said Wolff. “It was a chassis component that we’ve had on the car for a long time. So with hindsight, it was perfectly ok to put the new engine in.”

So yesterday, Nico’s #3 PU was ‘perfectly OK’.

However, the question Toto’s comments raises is; if the chassis component that failed was not regularly changed out when the PU was, wouldn’t it have caused the same issue when they swapped back in Monza to the old unit?

The old unit chewed up its pistons in the Monza race, something the chassis is unlikely to be responsible for.

Anyway, the latest news from Mercedes is that Nico will NOT now PU#3 for qualifying and the race, but just for the practice sessions 1&2.

What on earth is going on at Mercedes?

The senior management cannot agree on their stories. They didn’t read the lap time data correctly in Monaco costing Lewis the race win, and there was dithering during the race in Monza too as they spent 5 laps deciding what to do following the FIA message to the team they were under investigation for a tyre pressure infringement.

The many headed hydra that is the Mercedes management stands in stark contrast to the leadership of Ross Brawn. Its simply a good thing their car is so superior to the rest of the field.

As TJ13 suggested previously, it is now almost certain Nico Rosberg will have to use a 5th ICE this year, forcing him to take a 10 place grid penalty at some point.

The TJ13 Chancery’s (check it out) estimations are that it will come as early as Sochi, as Nico’s performance there last year with the “magic tyres” proves he has the measure of the track, and is capable of overtaking.

Force India B-Spec ‘plus’ to arrive in Singapore

The much anticipated Force India B-spec car with all its gubbins is due to begin it’s testing in Singapore. Force India has been pedantic in bringing car updates this year, with of course budget being the major issue.

The most significant change the Silverstone based outfit have delivered this year was the unveiling of the unique “nostrils” nose at Silverstone, which given subsequent results has to be judged a success.

However, the team will be bringing a plethora of new parts during the practice sessions in Singapore, though how many of those parts make it into the race is anyones guess.

“We hope to have the whole package working in Singapore”, said Force India’s COO Otmar Szafnauer. “We can optimise anything. From then on, it’ll be little increments. We are looking at bringing something significant to Mexico if we can do it in time because it is Checo’s home race. We want to give him the best shot to be on the podium if we can but we’re not sure of the timing yet.”

Deputy team Principal and the man who really runs Force India, Bob Fernley adds: “I’m pleased. The progression has been continuous since Silverstone There have been no changes to the programme and the B-spec will be finished in Singapore. What we need to make sure is that we get the reliability We’ve had some DNFs recently so we need to get both cars in the points if we want to challenge for fifth.”

Force India are currently just 13 points ahead of Lotus, who have been hampered by Pastor Maldonado’s penchant to exit races early this year. He has scored just 12 points to Romain Grosjean’s  38 – and is proving the value of a pay driver with 10’s of millions may not in fact be worth the funds.

Global Auto manufacturers want nothing to do with F1.

Formula One has a problem and equally long term decisions to make.

The problem is many of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world are shunning the sport on the whole. Presently F1 has Renault, FCA, Mercedes and Honda as manufacturers who are committed to the sport.

Renault appear to be on the brink of bailing out. Honda’s new supremo has expressed his views on the lack of value he sees in F1 and when the deal with McLaren expires, the Japanese company could once again withdraw from the sport.

This leaves Mercedes and Ferrari (who are part of the FCA group).

So where are VW (Audi, Porsche), GM, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Peugeot and BMW?

What does all this say about the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’, that most of the top ten auto-manufacturers on the planet refuse to get involved in Formula One?

This week Harald Kruger, CEO of BMW, was asked about the prospect of BMW entering F1.

“No,” was his curt response. “Motor sport is part of the core brand of BMW, and the DTM is important for us.” He did concede, “I would not categorically rule out Le Mans.” 

Kruger revealed BMW are currently examining at present a way to enter Formula E.

Toyota survived just 7 years in Formula One. They arrived in 2002, and announcing their abrupt withdrawal in 2009.

Peugeot similarly were involved in F1 for just 7 years in the sport from 1994-2000. They failed to win even one race, and then promptly sold off their engine division.

Honda most recently pulled out of F1 in 2008. The Japanese auto manufacturer had been predominantly involved in F1 since 1964, though heir most current foray with McLaren is going poorly enough that there is already speculation that the may cut their losses at any time.

U.S. based companies, GM and Ford, have shown Zero interest in F1, despite the fact that there is potential PR for the Americans in Eastern markets where F1 races.

Then again, the majority of GM’s world sales are delivered via the “Chevy” brand, which is not a name recognisable outsiode of the good old US of A.

Ford, with the surprise introduction of its new “GT” model, together with its race spec sister, have shown that Ford International racing tastes bend more toward Endurance and sports car racing.

Perhaps they learned their lesson in the 60’s.

While one can argue that the Cosworth Engine was a Ford, we all know that the Cosi had little or nothing to do with Ford by the time it was dominating F1. You could even call it ‘early badge engineering’.

Our own Matt Trumpets has strongly advocated that Kia to jump into F1, especially now that they are building a 1.6 turbo hybrid for mass market, the PR value could be immense. This is of course is not even a wild rumour, but just wishful thinking, but the prospect would be intriguing given that the Koreans have been beating the Japanese at their own game for nigh on a decade now in the reasonably-priced-but-not-total-junk car market.

And finally we have Audi. There have been stories suggesting the German marque is about to join F1 for years. The conclusion was this could not happen whilst there was a man standing in the way – Ferdinand Piech.

Piech consistently was a most vocal opponent to Audi being involved in Formula One, and he was not afraid to give his reason – Bernie Ecclestone.

So in April when Mr. Pieche was forced to step down, a whole new flood of speculation began about VAG group and F1.

This happened to coincide with the ever deepening rift at Red Bull/Renault, so all the ‘insiders’ were convinced Audi was about to join the game, as a partner of Red Bull.

Bernie even offered to “step down”, were he to be the barrier to Audi’s F1 entrance and feigned surprise when confronted with this information by Sky news just prior to Ferdinand leaving.

However, Bernie had read the tea leaves and knew this request would never be made and it was plain for all to see that Pieche’s day was over,

Simply, there is no F1 without cars with engines. The cigarette money is gone, and the liquor money could be next, and the power unit technology development costs are way too extravagant for an independent team to build a bespoke engine and gearbox for their car.

Formula 1 needs automobile manufacturers to invest in the sport, so it can stay alive

And when most of the top ten manufacturers refuse to give Formula One the time of day, it has to be time for a rethink.

39 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Thursday 17th September, 2015

    • Hippo…..

      Sounds similar to a what happened to another #2 doesn’t it?

      “Not bad for a #2 driver, is it?”….

      Go back to your watering hole with that nonsense.

      • I suspect I’m not the only one getting thoroughly sick of your constant jibes at the Hippo – someone who makes far more worthwhile contributions so this site. If you can’t get on, just resist the temptation to reply at all.

        • I am sure the hippo is well capable of defending himself if he feels like I’m attacking him.

          But it’s nice of you to jump to his defence, just wish you’d do the same when he’s attacking me or anyone else.

          • Nobody is defending anyone, just stating a fact (that I support too) – you’re getting too personal and poluting the conversation. I’m not saying we should be clinically factual, just maybe try to combat with something other than dirt

          • And where’s the ‘dirt’ that I’m throwing at hippo?

            I made a factual comment and then ended with a throw away statement, one that I’ve used many times before and the hippo has replied in kind if he felt I was being abusive.

            Geezzzzzz 😏😏😏😏

          • Put bluntly, I know which of you I’d rather not lose from this site if it came to it. And at some point these spats will more than likely lead to one or the other of you walking away. It’s getting too personal and is damaging the conversation – something for which this site has a reputation for encouraging.

          • I may not always agree with what Fortis96 says, or with Fat Hippo either, for that matter, but at least they both take the time and effort to contribute to this site. I would hate to lose either of them, they are both entertaining. 🙂

  1. yeah sure, Merc fixed their number 2 driver to fail 10 – 1 in quali, Nico is much better all round than Lewis and is been held back eh? maybe since Monza 2014 when he was ordered to give up a place and not complain?

    Please give Nico some more respect

  2. Questioning Mercedes’s decision not to put in a power unit that they’ve now decided they’re not comfortable with is just ridiculous. Would it have been better had they put it in and then see it go bang? Then what? There’d be a piece written questioning their decision to do so in the first place and how ‘Saint Ross’ would not have made such a decision.

    “Senior management cannot agree on their story”….

    What are you talking about? The response Toto gave was the same one both Paddy and Andy Cowell gave.

    Take off the ‘tin foil hat’, you’re trying to make this sound like s storm in a tea cup.

    • What on earth are *you* talking about? Toto says it wasn’t an engine issue at all while previously the team has blamed engine-related parts.

      How is that them giving the same story?

      And it is a very good point, if what Toto says is correct then changing the engine but not the part he claims is faulty would lead to a risk for the old engine.

      Basically, we have no idea what is actually wrong and it seems neither do Merc. But the question of whether the engine is usable again is very valid for the WDC battle. Lewis has been lucky with reliability so far, if he has similar issues and drops out of a couple of races then Nico or even Seb could be back in the fight. However, if Nico has issues then Seb may even beat him in to second.

      • It’s the same because that’s what they all said.

        Speaking to Sky before the race on Sunday, Paddy told Pinkham that the part that failed has nothing to do with the power unit itself. It was a part related to the cooling system that’s been in use since last year. No one said it was engine related.

        They all said that they’re not sure if the coolant liquid got into the engine and that’s why they took the decision to replace it. So what’s the big deal?

        • You’ve just contradicted yourself. Even considering the cooling system to not be part of the engine the coolant runs through the engine and the only place it could mix with anything in the engine is…. You guessed it, the engine!

          So either there was an issue inside the engine and coolant mixed with something else – a serious problem – or at worst the coolant path of the engine has been contaminated which can easily be flushed out and the engine is fine.

          • “The part that failed has nothing to do with the power unit itself”….

            What makes up the “power unit”?….

      • Cont’d….

        Don’t you think that the part that failed was replaced before installing the back up unit at Monza?

        Like I said, storm in a tea cup

      • All Mercedes “senior management” have said the same thing.
        It was a well worn part on the cooling system attached to the chassis that failed.
        On 6 September, Adam Cooper reported:
        “The part that failed on Rosberg’s engine was well proven and had been in use for some time, and was thus not associated with the Monza upgrade package.
        A Mercedes spokesman told Motorsport.com that it was too early to determine whether Rosberg’s original upgraded engine will still be useable at a future event.”
        http://uk.motorsport.com/f1/news/hamilton-s-engine-gets-all-clear-for-monza-race-641003/?v=11&s=1

        I think it would make a welcome change, if for a trial period of one month, TJ13 starts to write stories from a half-full positive perspective rather than the half-empty negativity that abounds with most articles on here.

        • “I think it would make a welcome change, if for a trial period of one month, TJ13 starts to write stories from a half-full positive perspective….”

          I suspect they are written to promote debate and be slightly controvertial. It’s been like this as long as I can remember and is almost the trademark style of the site! 🙂

          • Tin foil gets used less these days what with all these microwave meals. Might as well snap it all up whilst it cheap, get some fancy hats made 😛

      • I think you’ll find not all members of the expert panel were happy with the remit and scope of the investigation, which is why we got the summary findings and recommendation in the form we did.

        • In the absence of a minority report or public statements expressing disapproval of the findings, anyone with their autograph on the approvals page agrees with the report – that’s what signing a document means.

          Brawn is / was a big enough character with more than enough credibility to call BS at the time, if that was his considered opinion. His reputation would have been enhanced even.

          Back then I would have tended to believe Brawn over any of the other characters or institutions involved – now I’m not so sure :/

          • There were liability and insurance implications to be considered and confidentiality orders were signed by the members of the panel – the investigation was an FIA internal matter – and one day when the matter is considered by an external organisation with proper clout, these confidentiality agreements will become null and void.

          • Make whatever excuses you like, I think the truth would be a sufficient shield for a forthright whistle blower, especially one with the standing of Brawn.

            All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

      • “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.” – William Shakespeare

        Perhaps Ross falls into this category; an inflated reputation of integrity that he may lose (as far as you’re concerned) on the back of that report, perhaps undeservedly.

        Personally, I’ve not linked my perspective of his reputation to his participation in that probably farcical report, but simply understand that in F1 is full of shit people and even the better ones begin to smell like it, on occasion.

        We live in a relative world. He still was/is relatively one of the good guys of F1 in my anonymous, irrelevant of uninformed opinion.

        • Yes, it is all relative.

          Ross managed a sports team with what seemed like some degree of prowess. Jolly good show, old chap.

          Ross assisted in the investigation of an accident in which someone was killed. Only those in “the industry” accept the report’s findings. Rumours of a whitewash. Mumbles of dissent amongst the other participants. The dead guy cops most of the blame, with the balance effectively written off as “shit happens”…. errr…. sorry… “motorsport is dangerous”.

          In relative terms, the weight of Brawn’s affable managerial ability doesn’t come close to what I see as his failure to subvert the injustice meted out to JB17.

          • I’m inclined to, more or less, agree with you given some thought on the matter.

            Comment more, Roger.

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