Daily News and F1 Comment: Thursday 24th September, 2015







VW Chief and Red Bull ally – Martin Winterkorn – resigns

On Wednesday Sept 23rd the VW Board of Directors met. The only item on the agenda was the story that broke last Friday and is now being referred to as “Diesel-gate.”

The revelations of VW’s epic deception has sent automotive related companies share prices into decline and even entire market indexes have been affected negatively.

VW’s share price has now fallen by almost 35% since the markets opened on Monday, wiping a whopping €24bn off the company valuation. Until yesterdays meeting, Winterkorn had stood his ground, apologising for the incident, but refusing to step down as head of the company.

That changed at the VW Board meeting yesterday. Winterkorn was in fact made the sacrificial lamb for VW’s sins and is expected to be replaced by the Porsche CEO – Matthias Müller.

Under the previous tenure of CEO Ferdinand Piëch, there was never a chance of Audi or any other of the VW brands joining Formula One due to a mutual hatred between Piëch and Bernie Ecclestone.

Earlier this year, Winterkorn ousted Piëch and the F1 media believed Audi would now be joining F1. Winterkorn is known to have a good personal relationship with Dietrich Mateschitz, and was the likely force driving any future partnership proposals between Red Bull racing and VW.

The Porsche family have been cool on the idea of a return to Formula One, and the new CEO of VW is unlikely to see F1 as a must for the VW group to be involved with.

Toto Wolf, Conspiracy Theorist.

Pirelli has taken a lot of heat in the weeks since the Belgian GP.Sebastian Vettel’s tirade of abuse towards the F1 tyre supplier following the deflation of his tyre towards the end of the race opened the floodgates for criticism of Pirelli.

Since then, new tyre pressure regulations have come into force, followed by their ‘reinterpretations’ due to a cockup by the FIA. Pirelli have also been canonised by Pope Bernie the first, and presented the as the best thing for F1 since Jackie Stewart.

This week saw the Mercedes cars stumble for the first time this season, and it is no surprise that now it is Mercedes turn to blame the F1 tyre manufacturer for ruining everything.

Toto Wolf explains why his cars were light years behind the Ferrari’s the Red Bulls in Singapore.

“For a moment I thought ‘Have Pirelli given us a different tyre to the others?’ I’m not saying that it happened, just that I thought it.”

The Wolff should consider a post F1 career in USA politics, this kind of assumptive reasoning would fit well with the tea party.

I’m not saying that Toto is an alien that eats babies, just that it occurred to me – that he could be.

All kidding aside, this should not even be possible if things were run correctly.  All teams should draw lots for the tyre they will use. It should be a completely random process as to who gets which set of tires, after all they are all supposed to be identical.

Jenson Button Helmet on Ebay

The speculation train, on the future of Jenson Button’s career left the station weeks ago, and we here at the TJ13 towers were one of the first to blow the whistle. It is expected by most in the paddock that Jenson will announce his retirement some time this weekend in Suzuka.

And, if you are a Button fan, there is a piece of his history up for sale this week on Ebay.

Jenson is offering one of his race helmets for sale as part of the benefit for Justin Wilson’s Children’s Fund, through the Graham Rahal Foundation.

According to his twitter this will be the only 2015 helmet made available to the public. If you are a Jenson fan, this will probably be your only chance to get a real racing helmet, but due to the fact Jenson will be announcing his retirement this weekend, and the helmets auction ends on Monday, expect the price, which currently sits at just over $30,000, to rise significantly.


Jenson Button wore this helmet while driving a McLAREN Honda MP4-30 in the following races.

• 2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
• 2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
• 2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying
• 2015 Canadian Grand Prix – Race
• 2015 Austrian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3
• 2015 Austrian Grand Prix – Qualifying
• 2015 Italian Grand Prix – Free Practice 3

 This helmet comes with a certificate of authenticity from McLaren.
Perez to stay at Force India
There has in recent weeks been much speculation that Sergio Perez and his Telmex millions was set to join cash strapped lotus and Pastor Maldonado for 2016.
Force India themselves are hardly awash with cash since the fall from grace of their once billionaire owner, Vijay Mallya.

Perez stated, “I am very happy to confirm that I will be staying with Sahara Force India. It means I can simply focus on the important stuff – driving the car and scoring points for the team”.

Perez had a troubled season and joined the Silverstone team in 2014 and the Mexican reflects: “Since coming here I’ve really grown as a driver and I feel I’m performing at my best. I’ve always said I want to establish myself in a team and it’s the right moment to announce my commitment for the future with Sahara Force India.

“I can feel the potential in the team and there is a good energy, which gives me confidence for next year. I think we can continue to deliver strong results and I will do my best to help drive the team forward.”

Vijay Mallya is of course delighted that the Perez millions are not about to leave his team and he praises Sergio’s contributions over the past two seasons.

“I’m very happy Sergio has committed his future to Sahara Force India,” he said. “He’s done a fantastic job for us already and when we give him a competitive car we know he can get the job done.

“He’s also got a great attitude and never gives up – it’s that fighting spirit which fits well with this team. You only have to look at his results in the last three races to see that he is performing at the top of his game.

“It’s an exciting time for Sergio, especially with the upcoming race in Mexico next month, and with our close connections to the country I’m sure it will be a highlight for everybody in the team.”

This means the substantive driver market is relatively simple to analysis. Romain Grosjean is most likely set to join Haas F1 and replace Kimi at Ferrari in 2017.

Stoffel Vandoorne will fill retiring world champion Jenson Button’s seat at McLaren and Kevin Magnussen and Jean Eric Vergne are both chasing the vacant Lotus seat.
McLaren and Honda hold crisis talks ahead of the Japanese GP
It has come to light that in recent weeks, McLaren have put pressure on Honda to sack Yasuhisa Arai, the head of their F1 programme. The Telegraph
Honda are being asked for more cash, given the lack of performance of the team is about to cost them £30m in the loss of Jonnie Walker and Santander.
At present Honda pay for half the driver’s salaries, provide ‘free’ power units and a further £25 million a year towards the team efforts.
Ferrari ‘frightened’ of giving Red Bull an engine
Bernie Ecclestone admits he has been attempting to broker a deal that would see Red Bull and Toro Rosso run Ferrari engines in 2016.
However, Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, has expressed the same concerns about doing this as did his counterpart at Daimler, Dieter Zetsche. Autosport
Yet Red Bull can only blame themselves for this situation, they chose to cancel the contract which saw them as the Renault ‘works team’ whilst having no other options on the table.

18 responses to “Daily News and F1 Comment: Thursday 24th September, 2015

  1. RBR want the same “A” spec engine that Ferrari uses and The Scuderia are only offering the customer spec unit which they don’t want so they’re threatening to quit. I would call their bluff, RBR aren’t going anywhere, if they do leave it will cost them millions. They made their bed now they have to sleep in it!

    • It might cost them millions but Redbull have a real history of dumping a sport when the thing isn’t going where they want it. The company will plow billions into the latest new toy and when they hit the top its all good,however when the tide starts to pull back and things get rocky its really bad for the image and so its…’screw you guys..I’m going home!’ Que the next fad,extreme ironing.

    • I can understand Ferrari not wanting to give a rival engine parity, that is stupid. There isn’t anything wrong with giving them a customer engine though, just as Merc do with all their clients. Sure it might be 30hp down on the factory engine, but that’s the benefit of making your own power unit, you get the best of it, even at that surely they’d be in the running for titles as it’d still be a huge improvement on the Renault PU.

      • It’s interesting that now Ferrari aren’t so willing, almost everyone is onboard, but when Mercedes said no, they were cowards.

        • That’s because Mercedes harped on about enjoying competition and looked forward to rivals challenging them. Ferrari didn’t said anything of the sort, ergo Mercedes were yet again full of shit when push comes to shove.

  2. I was a bit surprised to see Grosjean linked to a Ferrari seat – TBH, I’ve never really rated him as a potential champion – but if I think of him more in the vein of a Barrichello / Massa / Webber then it seems to make more sense.
    Still, I have my doubts that, come 2017, we’ll be seeing him in red overalls…

    • he’s says he talked to Ferrari, so wouldn’t be surprised if he got the same words of encouragement that Hulk got when he moved to Sauber, no commitment from Ferrari, just promise of being a candidate in the shop window, knock our socks off and we’ll consider you. He has matured into a more consistent driver, so would be a good points hoovering number 2 driver for Seb. Given where Lotus are now, think 2016 would be a write off year for him anyway. So I don’t see any harm in it for Grosjean, nothing ventured nothing gained, but yes I still expect him to be driving for Renault come 2017 not Ferrari. Or maybe Haas will have red overalls 🙂

      Continuing on Lotus, couldn’t for the life of me see what would be the attraction of a Lotus 2016 drive for Checo, though at this stage I think as long as he and the Hulk are team-mates neither will get a big chance anywhere, as I don’t see one dominating the other.

    • I think Grosjean is heavily underrated. Just because he had a couple of incidents in the beginning. Unlike maldonado he did learn from his mistakes. (Verstappen fans will disagree maybe 😂)

      • Like Maldonado Grosjean was a danger on track when he first entered F1 (and the second time too) but unlike Maldonado he recognized that he needed to change, sought help and became a better driver. That’s the kind of intelligence you’d expect from a professional driver. And that’s also why it stings so much to read that Maldonado has renewed his contract with likely a factory team while Grosjean is possibly going to end up like Timo Glock and Heiki Kovailinen with one of the smaller teams.

  3. That’s the way to be a winner again eh, that’s the fighting spirit McLaren…. Red Bull are pussies for pushing Renault out. You just should have asked Renault for more cash…. Maybe Honda should use the cash that McLaren wants to fix the engine….. F1 is sliding down a slippery slope.

    • Renault are #$@% for letting themselves be pushed around by Red Bull. Red Bull built one of the best chassis on the grid. Renault built a pile of crap and made it worse in the 2nd generation. Havent spent a single token and have the record for most grid penalties due to engine failures over a 2 year period (Honda is closing in though).

      Good bye Renault, your POS power units and terrible “i surrender” yellow will not be missed.

  4. Wolff is ridiculous with his “conspiracy theory”. And Ecclestone along with Red Bull people is pressuring Ferrari into giving their works engine to Red Bull.

  5. Judge, you’ve apparently read only our US self-proclaimed “main stream media” on the Tea Party folks. Our MSM is much like the BBC and The Grauniad.

  6. When it all “shakes out”, and assuming Renault do buy Lotus, will they only be supplying one team? How does that leave the rest of the teams? And, will the “only supply” 4 teams with engines rule be relaxed or withdrawn?

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