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Monday, February 20, 2012

Money must be Tight!

Let's begin by making it clear that I have no real issue with pay drivers and, if we look at my history I wrote last year on this very matter and said, in relation to Petrov in particular:

Petrov has shown he has talent and probably deserves a place on the grid

On Di Resta - who was added to the list because it seemed that a price reduction on the Mercedes Engine formed part of his deal:

Great things are expected from Di Resta given his racing history

And in relation to Perez:

Perez may turn out to be a find

Even with that in mind I'm afraid that I have to agree with Jarno that Petrov got the seat because of his money.  This was further confirmed by Caterham:

Caterham F1 team has today announced that it has signed a deal with SIBUR  to be an official Team Partner. SIBUR, the largest petrochemical company in Russia and Eastern Europe, has also confirmed that it is continuing the partnership agreement it began in 2011 with Vitaly Petrov in his new role as Race Driver for the Anglo / Malaysian Caterham F1 Team. The SIBUR logo will feature on the CT01 cars and on Vitaly’s race suits throughout the 2012 season.

Vitaly appears to be very sensitive in relation to this matter of paying for a drive, attributing the Caterham drive to his abilities as a driver and his results in 2010 and 2011.  That may be true, to a point, and he does have youth on his side (Jarno at 37 is considered an "old boy" now) but, let's face it, Give Jarno a CAR rather than a tractor and he'd put it into the mix at every GP (he may crash out during the GP, he may drive the car beyond its capability, or he may slot in another great drive).

The other side of the coin may be that Jarno has been driving a pig for so long that he'd suffer the way Giancarlo Fisichella did when dropped into the Ferrari.  No time to prepare or test and a massively disappointing result.

I do think that Petrov's backing was a major factor though - read Tony Fernandes:

We are delighted to welcome SIBUR into our team and to help them continue their relationship in F1 with Vitaly, and now with Caterham F1 Team.
F1 is a truly global sport, and SIBUR’s investment in our sport is proof of the value F1 can bring, on a national and international level, so we are looking forward to working closely with Mr Konov [company CEO] and his team at SIBUR to help them realize maximum benefit from this partnership."

This is a make or break year for Vitaly.  To be so far back on the grid after only 2 years in the sport does not speak volumes about the confidence of the sharp end in his abilities.  He has to do a Webbo/Alonso/Trulli Minardi job in order to show that he has the something special which the rest of the grid wants.  If he can't you can be sure that come 2014 SIBUR will be fashioning their own links within the sport - who's to say that RBR can't have a young russian driver in their yound driver programme?

AND in an off the scale story I spotted a "Perez to Ferrari" headline or two which gives the impression that, in the end it's all about money - Massively rich Mexican, Carlos Slim son has tipped him for Ferrari in 2013.  To which all I can add is... (watch this advertising space!).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On the half-witted ravings of a man imitating an ostrich!

(Groucho) Marko finally agrees with me!

Last year, in June, Helmut, was all over Algie and Sebuemi like the proverbial rash.  At that stage, with the rumour mill in full flow, he was saying that if Webbo retired he'd expect Jaime or Sebastian to be in the RBR seat for 2012.

Now he's told La Gazzetta dello Sport that while both drivers were good enough to compete in Formula One, they weren't good enough for either Red Bull or Toro Rosso.

I said that at the time Groucho - I said you were losing your marbles. I said then that:

"Buemi and Alguersuari have never shown any particular talent which would lead us to believe they should be in a top four team.  Don't get me wrong, the guys are OK, but if they're all that the Red Bull FDaD scheme can produce (Find Deitrich another Driver - pronounced eFFdad funnily enough) then the Red Bull Team's future is in doubt...Great drivers make the most of their cars and their teams to do whatever can be done to get the best achieveable result - this often results in the drivers actually making the cars look better than they actually are.  Persistence, skill, a strong team ethic, talent, fitness, flair, aptitude, ability, skill, talent, flair - did I mention talent?"

And what has Marko done for the two lads?  Given them expectations above their station if Algie is to be believed.

Algie has said that he had talks with Williams and HRT but that he wouldn't go to Williams because he will never pay to drive and wouldn't go to HRT because they're not good enough for him, i.e. not far enough up the grid to compete.  I have news for you Algie - your ex-boss says you're not good enough for a second class Red Bull, i.e. you're not good enough to compete in the midfield! Swallow the pride, take any seat you can find (pay for it if you have to), beat your teammate, make the car look better than it is, make me swallow my words from last year and show Groucho both fingers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bernie on Bahrain: Plus ca change

Feb 2012 Bernie says

"The only message I got was that there were some kids in trouble with the police, Last year was a more clear-cut decision not to go but things have changed a lot since then. We've always been non-political," he said. "Any decision will be made on grounds of safety." "

Feb 2011 Bernie said

"Our people there say: 'It's quiet, no problems. We've never been involved in religion or politics. We've never made a decision on this. It's not for us to run a country'

Plus ca change plus la meme chose - Eh Bernie?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I want the FIA or FOCA or FOTA or God above or Bernie or you to BAN these UGLY NOSES. Send your snotty tissues to Bernie E, Formula One Management Ltd., 6 Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1QJ, England.

Get your tissues out to save the F1 aesthetic.

OK everyone's got a rummy nose

I'm not impressed with the rules if this is what we get.  If F1 is going to get progressively uglier then the cars will require a complete redesign.  I WANT PRETTY. I don't want tacked on retrofitting of last years aero package with unwieldy elements I want smooth, sleek, gorgeous cars with ear-splitting engines working at maximum revs and cornering like they're on rails.

I'll even take a really ugly looking car that's been designed from the ground up to be fast - all angles and attitude - but designed as a single package not as a Tyrell sidepod winglet sprouting up mid-season in order to compensate for minimal downforce loss.

(I will give Tyrell this - their innovation even mid-season - was copied and copied all the way down the pitlane - but I'm pretty sure it was banned because it interfered with the look of the cars - in other words cos it was ugly!).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sauber joins the funny nose competition

With the launches coming thick and fast at Jerez today Sauber launched another odd nose.

Sauber C31, 2012
Sauber C31, 2012

All the Tech Directors must have gotten together over the winter! It's silly but even I'm tired of making silly nose puns.  I really hope that Adrian Newey has produced a prettier solution - a la McLaren.  As they've all said - it's only ugle if it doesn't go fast.

Lotus has a neatish nose

That's all right then.  The E20's proboscis is a little more pleasing to the eye than Ferrari, Caterham, or Force India.  Roll on Red Bull today.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gary Anderson on Ferrari 2012


The step on the top of the Ferrari chassis mystifies me. What it does allow them to do is to have the underside of the chassis higher because, unlike other cars, they do not need to mirror the concave top surface with a convex bottom surface. But a curved underside is actually more efficient in terms of airflow than a flat-bottomed one. The exhaust clearly points at the rear wheels, but they'll need a very narrow-diameter pipe to get enough gas velocity to make a difference in terms of downforce. Pull-rod front suspension does have some centre-of-gravity benefits but the benefits are very small compared to the aggravation of the design

The Ferrari F2012

All images Ferrari Copyright

Oh Thank You BBC + Gary Anderson

Beeb does it again - THIS is why F1 should always be on the great British Broadcasting Corporation. Deconstruction of the McLaren at it's moment of Birth. Fantastic insight into the reason behind those Noses, the operation of airflow around the new car and a discussion as to when ugly cars become pretty.

Mike Gascoyne Spot on!!

By all that's holy I'm in a position where I have to kowtow to Mike Gascoyne in a serious way.  His belief that a lot of teams would be stepping their nose was absolutely right.  Both Ferrari and Sahara Force India have followed where Caterham lead.  Unfortunately, due to Force India's clearly stated policy with regard to the use of their photo's I'm not currently in a position to show you their new car without clearly breaching copyright.  I would have thought that they could use the publicity generated by showing the new car with sponsors intact but...

Anyway, no such problem at the HQ of the Prancing Horse and so here is the stepped nose 2012 Ferrari in all of its, debatable, glory.

All images Ferrari Copyright

The four unveilings all feel a little bit like evolution rather than revolution - particularly the nose solution - as if it's been tacked on as a compliance measure rather than as an integrated element of the overall car.  McLaren have avoided that look and have produced a pretty car (as always) but comments, by those who know a lot better than me, are suggesting that this too is simply an evolution - (they do have a pretty nose though!).  Let's see which approach is up for it in Melbourne!

Can't wait to see Adrian Newey's design - that might put a few noses out of joint (had to get the bad pun in somewhere).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who Nose?

Caterham made a big deal about their nose - even the website pics of the new car appear to linger over it in a slightly unhealthy way.

 Looking along the nose
Copyright: Caterham

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Tech, wibbled on about it at the launch saying that he expected a lot of teams to come to the same solution as themselves.

Have they reached an innovative solution or is it all a blind designed to waste the time of other teams tech staff?

It could be a design that they came up with and then discarded as unworkable but decided to launch simply to put a question in the minds of others.  That would be fun!

Or, it could be ground breaking in the simplicity of the origin of it's design - picture the tech meeting

"Mike:        The new rules say we've got to lower the nose for 2012 any suggestions?

Tea-boy:     How about keeping the rest of the car and just building a step to accommodate the new regs!

Mike:          That's so simple that it might just work! I like your thinking!"

Ferrari Internet Launch

It looks as if Ferrari are going to launch tomorrow after all. @inside Ferrari tweeted:

"Pictures, interviews and technical analysis of the new car will be available tomorrow on"

Obviously they must have had pictures of the car from before the crash!

What does this mean?

McLaren Tech Director, Paddy Lowe said the following at the launch of the new car yesterday.  What does it mean?

"There's still is a very narrow extent to which you can use exhaust gas to generate performance, but it's much, much reduced from last year. Inevitably we've been looking at ways to make the most out of that in the face of the new constraints."

How? What? Where? Does anyone know? Can someone enlighten me?

"Ist Lewis ein Feigling?"

German F1 fans were delighted yesterday when Hamo tweeted from the launch of the new McLaren that he'd try to take a "sneaky pic" but were waiting for ages for Lewis to take the snap.  When it finally emerged a "sneaky Pic" was all it was.

Hamo had taken his tweet literally and had sneaked up behind the new car to snap the photo when it wasn't looking!

Copyright Lewis Hamilton - Twitter pic

"Ist Lewis ein Feigling?" asked one disappointed German follower "Er hätte ein Foto von der Front nehmen können aber er hat von gefangen zu werden durch Ron erschrocken. Wir wissen, dass Diffusoren so verboten sind, gibt es nichts, an der Rückseite zu sehen"

Ferrari No to Winter Races - No to F1 Snow Tyres!

In alternate news:

Following on from the PR success of Red Bull's Himalayan hill climb Ferrari have made a categorical statement that they will pull out of F1 for good if their cars are required to race on snow.  The unsurprising decision was made following secret testing of specially made Hancook snow tyres on a new "drone" 2012 F1 challenger.

Tifosi peeking over the fence at the track yesterday said that the new car managed to make it to the hairpin 2nd bend before a catastrophic wipeout claimed the entire chassis with only the drivers cell surviving.  The "drone" was allegedly being driven from Felipe Massa's PS3.

It is not unexpected therefore that Ferrari have cancelled tomorrow's planned car launch.

Copyright of Ferrari

The Fiorano Circuit is famous for being able to recreate wet conditions for the purpose of testing however, until now nobody realised they could also carpet the track in snow.

Bernie, as usual, was bullish stating that if rally fans could enjoy seeing their heroes racing on snow and ice there was no reason that F!, the pinnacle of motorsport, shouldn't provide fans with the same spectacle.

The official Ferrari statement read:

"There was no let up from the snow last night, which continued to fall on Maranello and the surrounding area and the situation does not appear to be changing this morning," Ferrari said on its official website. "The forecast is still bad both in terms of predictions of more snow fall and of a further drop in temperature.
"Therefore, the decision has been taken to cancel the presentation ceremony for the new car, which was to have taken place at 10.30 tomorrow. The decision was taken because of the weather conditions and because of the difficulties that would have faced the 300 or so people due to attend from the team partners, the authorities and representatives of the media in their attempts to get to Maranello."

No mention of the secret and embarrassing test was made which is not surprising, given the fact that nobody is sure whether or not the use of a "drone" car breaches testing rules.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Let's Go 2012

I'm going to Silverstone this year - a birthday pressie from my best mate (though any mate who gives you GP tickets as a pressie is at least elevated to the ranks of "very good").  Last year we went to Spa and, while he didn't lose his shirt, everything else was nicked on Friday night from the tent.  A valuable lesson of which he will be aware come July.

I've been to Silverstone for testing - remember testing - and have great memories of the track, the pits and the paddock, as well as the accessibility to the drivers.  Backstage passes are always cherished but I think they'll be outside the boundaries of my circle of influence (Not to mind the paypacket).

No Worries - I'm well happy with GA and look forward to seeing the new layout in the flesh (so to speak).

I won't get to see all of the races live this year, unless someone can persuade Sky to make it free to air, so it'll be highlights only for at least half.  I haven't looked at which races are live on the Beeb so can't grumble too much yet.  But those of you who've been reading my rants last year know how I feel about the whole bad business.

To Luca (who is an avid reader of this Blog) and to all may it be a great season, with great Tam ratings everywhere but the UK and Ireland, and may we see all of the races on BBC next season.

Martin B - I'm afraid I had to relegate you on my twitter widget - I understand your desire but, unfortunately, as I'm not using sky sports you are falling off my radar too.

McLaren 2012 Reveal

McLaren MP4-27, 2012
McLaren MP4-27, 2012