Translate this Blog

Friday, June 29, 2012

London GP Video

Just because everyone wants to see it here's the expensive Santander Advert which shows a possible London GP.  It's as realistic as Bernie offering to pay for it.  Nothing but a pretty wish which will never be granted.

As I tweeted to Adam Cooper last night, Is this not a Spanish Bank who Europe is about to recapitalise?  Everything the now do is going to be paid for by each citizen of the Euro zone.  I find it difficult to understand how they can justify the expenditure when they as a bank are carrying massive amounts of debt.

Still as I tweeted after my rant - It's a very cool idea.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

France will not alternate GP's with Spa

In what looks like a serious body blow for the future of Formula 1 racing Spa Francochamp the French Government Minister for Sport would appear to have put the kibosh on giving any Government financial assistance to either Magny Cours or Circuit Paul Ricard to enable them to host Formula 1 races in the future.

Fourneyron has said that the two circuits are competing for the rights to hold a race which will not be supported by Government this while also saying that "when you see what Romain Grosjean is  you want to say that we should have a Grand Prix"  She said that Europe has gone through the states book and that the state will not fund the organisation of a formula 1 grand prix in 2013.

Fourneyron as asked FFSAF to examine the Castellet (Paul Ricard) and Magny Cours proposals and manage the bid for the GP of France in 2013.

No French race equals no cooperation between the circuits and this effectively means that Spa will struggle mightily to raise the necessary funds to run the GP.

McLaren's Sam Michael feels the heat

Poor Sam.  I've never had anything but the greatest of respect for the guy and my only criticism of him was that perhaps he wasn't ready for the role of Tech Director at Williams, a position that he had to relinquish last year on top of Williams worst ever season.

Having left Williams he rejoined McLaren as Sporting Director and now the twitter world are pointing fingers at him as a Jonah, due to the miserable performances of McLaren in the Pitlane this season.  The Telegraph journalist Tom Cary wrote the following on June 24th:

While the team’s stops have undoubtedly got faster as the season has progressed, the errors are still costing their drivers vital points. Michael was the target of numerous tweets from irate race fans during and after the race.
"Can somebody please tell me how Sam Michael still has a job at McLaren?" went one typical post. "I thought he was brought in to improve the team including pit stops."
Michael said before the Valencia race he was confident McLaren had found a solution to the problems.
"Pit stops are definitely better," he said. "What we’ve done is work a lot on equipment, and also the people. We brought a lot of things like retained wheel nuts, quick release jacks, a traffic light system, so really we’ve been on an upward curve on equipment to get it right. We’ve changed a lot of people around as well.
"We’ve been fixed now for the last three races. We think we can average here sub 3 sec, which is better than any other team in the pit lane."
Its worth pointing out that McLaren did do a sub 3 second pitstop in Valencia, but then there was the failure of the quick release jack which ultimately put paid to Hamilton's race, as Eddie Jordan correctly pointed out afterwards that if it hadn't been for that error Lewis would have been clear of Alonso and would never have gotten caught by Maldonado.

Is is Sam Michael's fault?  I don't know the inner workings of the McLaren pitcrew and I've ask  Marc Priestly for his opinion given his connection to the team.  He's said that "ultimately" Sam is responsible but that there's a long answer to this one which he'll deal with in his blog later. You can get to his blog through the above link to check it out.

I'm afraid I have to give the last work on this to Pitflaps on twitter: 

When I see Sam Michael at Mclaren I conjure up a picture of Frank Williams in his wheelchair stroking a white cat, chuckling to himself

Unfortunately Sam that one was too humorous to let pass

Mercedes will quit Formula 1 if Bernie's charged for Bribery

What would the loss of Mercedes mean for Formula 1 as a sport?

On foot of yesterday's 8.5 year Gaol term handed down to Gerhard Gribkowsky, convicted of a breach of trust, tax evasion and bribery of around £28 Million from Bernie Ecclestone, Mercedes participation in Formula 1 has once again come under threat.

The German Marque is governed by strict statutes for good corporate governance which Handelsblatt, the German newspaper, has quoted as including "Daimler will not tolerate unethical or corrupt practices by employees or by their business partners".  The paper quotes a Partner with Linklaters, a global law firm with links to F1, who says that "Ecclestone's bribery payments would fall under this company guideline"

F1SA is reporting that Bild quoted a Mercedes spokesperson as saying "we welcome the evaluation of the recent allegations in Formula One and now await the clarification of the authorities".

The prosecuting attorney in the Gribkowsky case, in wrapping up stated that Ecclestone was "not the victim of extortion but the accomplice in an act of bribery".

To date Bernie has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

  With the new 1.6 turbo engine due to be used in the 2013 cars the loss of Mercedes, along with Cosworth who probably can't afford the cost of design and production, would leave only two engine suppliers in the Paddock, Renault/Infiniti and Ferrari, to service 12 teams, Could they do it? Probably, but I'd be afraid that the prestige of the sporting phenomenon would be severely compromised, the sport would be moving towards a single engine formula which will reduce its credibility as being the cutting edge of motor-racing.

Single engine formulae tend to promote stagnation on the mechanical side with all gains within the formulae centring around aero and electrical innovation.  It would significantly impact on the sports appeal apart from the fact that one team would be lost while McLaren and Force India would have no engine supplier for 2013.

Now McLaren are rumoured to be building their own engine and these news stories may push them to redouble their efforts on this side, but officially they have committed themselves to Mercedes for at least 2013, which would give the impression that they are not finished development.

No Mercedes, No Cosworth would leave at least four teams without engines, five, if Mercedes were to sell their works team.  Of course there are mutterings about Honda and VW/Audi, coming into the sport now that the 2013 engine will be more relevant to their core business of making road cars but the Mercedes rumour is a bit more concrete, a bit more tangible and quite likely, particularly given the recent murmurings coming from HQ in relation to the distribution of power and money on foot of any flotation.

Of course, not to have a go at Linklaters, but McLaren and Williams did sue them for negligence in 2004 along with B&M claiming that the firms had been negligent in negotiating and drafting an agreement with Bernie.

They said the negligent advice meant that in 1999 the teams missed out on proceeds from the £812 million sale of a stake in SLEC Holding, the parent company of Formula One Holdings. Under the Concorde Agreement all the F1 teams are entitled to a share of the revenue arising from the sale of commercial rights.

The upshot of that action was that both B&M and Linklaters settled with the two teams out of court.

At that time McLaren were the only team to run Mercedes engines.

Perhaps the Linklater comments are the "dish best served cold". What do you think?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Williams Honda 2013?

As I posited in my last post the introduction of a new 1.6 V4 Turbo charged engine into F1 in 2013 raises the enticing prospect of the return of Honda to the Paddock.

The relevance of this new engine to the production of better, greener, road car technologies is an opportunity that Honda would be keen to exploit.  We all know that the company encourage their engineers to explore and play with ideas for new products and technologies and the new F1 engine could easily be created under such conditions.

The manufacturer would have a number of teams interested in the works engine but surely Williams and McLaren are the two which have the best history and relationship with the Honda company; Both teams having produced winning cars with the manufacturer in the past.

McLaren are rumoured to be working on producing their own engine however at the McLaren car Launch in February this year Martin Whitmarsh scotched these rumours and said that they expected to continue with Mercedes into the new engine era.  There's no question but that McLaren would be capable and have the funds, staff and expertise on hand at the MTC.  Even more importantly, it's unlikely that Cosworth will be able to afford to produce a customer engine next year so they are off the grid and probably for hire to the right team.

Williams then must remain the favourites to grab the Honda badge, with Honda keen to lead the "Green" market by pushing innovation in engine design, increased fuel efficiencies and utilising the KERS technology.

We all saw that the Audi Hybrid won Le Mans a couple of weeks ago and should have had a 1-2 using the Williams flywheel KERS technology.  There are rumours that Williams is chasing Audi for engines (which based on the foregoing could be well-founded) but I'd have to say that I would love to see Williams Honda back in the mix, not just for the historical connections but, with the financial benefits of having a works engine rather than a customer engine, Williams would free up the funding to go about building yet another Championship winning car.

Come back Honda and give us another superb F1 engine.

Frank Williams discusses F1

Sir Frank Williams is interviewed on and talks about pay drivers, making F1 work for the team, Adam Parr, and the future of the sport.  He's also confirmed what we all know; that his enthusiasm and love of the sport remains undiminished.

In respect of pay drivers he says:

It is very expensive to be in Formula One. The manufacturers have taken over - correct? So if you wish to participate you have to find the money. A little bit of this and a little bit of that - money that is honest. You have to make a budget that gives you the chance to truly compete and not just participate. And it might happen that you take on a driver who brings along some money. There is no shame in that whatsoever.

True statement, however if Williams were where they used to be, would they consider a pay driver? Probably, as long as he came with a racing pedigree! (my thoughts not Franks)

He was asked why he has retaken the top seat at the board of Williams - obviously the resignation of Adam Parr was the cause, however the interviewer did not ask why Adam Parr resigned.  Particularly important given the fact that Frank would appear to have enormous respect for him:

it is sad Adam Parr didn’t achieve what we would have liked together, after all that he did.

and in response to the question "what prompted this season's upward trend" he once again references Parr:

Adam Parr - to his credit - played a significant role in his all too short time with the team. I am very sad that he left as he is a terribly clever man who took on two or three key people, like Mike Coughlan for instance, and some key people in engineering, and that makes all the difference. We do see that.

The "We" in that final sentence is telling, meaning, I presume, the Williams Board, including, I suspect, those behind making Parr's position in the Team untenable.

On balding he has this to say:

there are 12 teams and each operates in different circumstances. We have several manufacturer teams. One of them is Ferrari, who seem to have a great deal of money and who are in effect subsidized. But that is fine - they are Ferrari. They are the core of Formula One and that is how it should be. That is fine with me. Take me, there are so many men in the paddock who have more hair than me and it has always p*ssed me off, but I live with it! (laughs) You learn to get on with it. 

Okay it's really about the Resource Restriction Agreement, but the comment on losing his hair is much more fun to highlight.  He is rightly against any interference by a third party in his ability to run his company and Team.  As he points out:

I don’t want any third-party interference with one’s business, to have people sneaking around wanting to check this and that. It’s just like waiting for the taxman every day.

However he appears to be a supporter of the new engines and green technologies, from the perspective of being at the cutting edge of development rather than as a racing supporter:

Formula One is a high-profile sport - a high-profile business - and many companies seem to worry about being associated with Formula One, as in the eyes of many uninformed people it is a wasteful activity. True, there will always be people who are against it for one reason or another, but if you ask manufacturers why they are in Formula One they will tell you it’s for publicity. At such an exposed level as Formula One is, we probably should pay some consideration to the fact people expect us to be at the edge of development. We have to go with the flow. 

I wonder if he's been talking to Honda, building a turbo 1.6 engine might just be enough of a draw to tempt them to re-enter the paddock as an engine supplier, and who better than Williams to revive the spirit of 1983-1987 using a 1.6 turbo rather than the previous Honda 1.5 V6 turbo which brought Williams two constructor's championships and their first driver's championship.

If you were sentimental, which Frank rarely appears to be, you could even bring back a Rosberg or, God forbid (he'd have to bring a LOT O'DOSH), sign a Piquet to sit in the car.  Karma, Kismet, Destiny...I feel the stars beginning to align...(okay enough tosh back to the Interview - self ed.)

He has a little sideways crack at Ferrari and their unnamed advertiser (I tried to be smart and show on rollover but couldn't).

But finished off with a class response to the question

Q: So you’re still a fan of the sport after all these years?
I love speed, I love noise, I love competition and if I wasn’t still a fan I wouldn’t be here.

Going to Silverstone? Read these guides and bring your camera

Grand Prix Photographs, i.e. Peter Maynard, F1 Photographer has put together a valuable and essential 3 part guide to taking your own GP photographs.

In Part 1 - How to approach the Day - do you want to take photos or spectate?  He says you can't do both at the same time.

Part 2 covers the equipment you'll need and how to use it to frame your shots, and

Part 3 Silverstone - Where to take your shots from with a General Admission ticket.

they're definitely worth checking out if you want to have a go at getting more out of your camera than you currently do.

I've printed my copy of the three out so that I can study up and will attempt, in my amateurish fashion, to put some or all of them into practice during the Friday and Saturday Sessions - On Sunday I'm afraid that I'll have to be a spectator but hopefully the first two days will have me set up in a good spot to capture some reasonably good "spectator" photos for the F1 album.

Silverstone Track Guide and Preview

Here's Force India's Paul Di Resta on Youtube discussing and analysing Silverstone:

While below is a lap of the track in the 2011 Caterham by Jarno Trulli. Had to use a 2011 lap due to the recent circuit changes. Hope there's someone out there who'll do a translation of Jarno's commentary for me, perhaps as a comment, so that I can stick it in underneath.

Jenson Button - Is it the McLaren, the tyres or him?

As a massive fan of Jenson I've found it distressing to watch him slide down the pecking order.  I'm sure it's not him because everyone knows his form has been consistent throughout his F1 career, even in the bad days of BAR Honda he could manage the car and the tyres and achieve the maximum return in a race (even though that return was relatively paltry). So what's the problem?  I was looking at a Formula 1 Blog story today which raised that question and one of the comments on that Negative Camber piece had a good go at explaining just what the problem might be.  I hand you over to Jack Flash (Aust):

"As a F1 fan following the sport since 1978, and a fan/pundit with hightened fascinations in the technical side of the sport, and being an engineer to boot; I offer the following observation on Jenson’s apparent plight this year.
Jenson has a very distinctive driving style. He drives very smoothly as we have all been told so many times over the years, but it is more than that. He takes a very different approach to corner entry/exit and maintaining apex speed over other drivers. He doesn’t attack the braking zones to corner entry at all like most others. A few other F1 pilots possess similar mid-to-exit cornering techniques to Jenson, but his style is the antithesis of a driver like Lewis Hamilton. These two drivers are polar opposites in constructing their lap-times.
So in years gone by, when the tyres had a wider operating temperature window, (less on the knife edge for wear sensitivity vs temperature cycling); and previously when keeping tyre temperatures a little lower provided a benefit of tyre durability without performance loss; Jenson had a definite advantage in his driving style. Longer stints. If the race could strategically benefit from longer tyre stints at pace; Jenson’s style enabled him to do that.
However in F1 2012, it is all different. The Pirelli’s are finickey (very narrrow) in the temperature range they require to “switch on” performance, and if you get above the temp range – you permanently injure them (or worst case shred their life), and if you run them too cold they don’t turn on grip and they slip around and ‘grain up’; thus they get even slipperier and colder and grain even worse (they are slow and soapy). A slippery slope. It is almost impossible to retrieve the tyres from this cold slide. Jenson’s style pushes him onto the ‘too cold’ side. This is why Jenson and McLaren engineers have been trying different brake materials on his car to try an BUY more heat to radiate into the rims/tyres. Couple this to the noticeable drop in overall downforce levels – post FIA’s Blown Diffusser bans, and the double whammy is set in place.
If Jenson could drive in a typical Lewis Hamilton manner in the braking zones and corner entry, he possibly could get on top of keeping the 2012 Pirellis up to temp and manage their temp/wear from there. But this leopard Jenson Button just can’t change his spots that much.
McLaren should possibly install a Butane/Propane burners in his wheel rim spaces…. A steering wheel button for flaming fronts, and a button for flaming rears. Activated when the low-temperature light-array on his wheel warn him his tyres are entering a “Ice Age” again. (of course I’m taking the piss here…) Jack Flash."

I think it's an excellent analytical piece which sets out why Jense may not be able to manage the tyres in his usually, highly competent way.  Fingers crossed that, if Jack Flash is right, McLaren can find a solution for Button's sake and for all his fans.

While I asked for Jack Flashes agreement to the use of his comment I have not had a reply to date.  If he requests it I'll have to remove his comment but will retain the link to F1B for you to go and see it for yourselves.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Possible Future GP locations

With the latest proposals which could see an increase in the number of races from the current 20 to 23 I've decided to have a look at the possibilities, particularly given the fact that the historic racetracks are in serious difficulty.

Ideas are being thrown around of Barcelona teaming up with Valencia and Spa Francochamps with Circuit Paul Ricard; The Nurburgring's future hangs in the balance; Melbourne is fighting a rearguard action against its citizenry, and Turkey, well, turned out to be a turkey.  There's also discussions about Montreal (again), this time on the back of COTA in Austin and the proposed New Jersey shore race in 2013/2014, with questions being raised as to whether North America has the fan base to support three GP's.

The return of Mexico's  Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is being mooted now that Perez is firmly ensconced on the grid and Brazil is under pressure to upgrade the track.

The shift from the old circuits to new locations is very apparent in the current F1 era with China, Korea, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.  In light of this where will F1 be going in 2014 should the finances bite the old circuits in a terminal way?

Given Bernie's apparent lack of care as to the political and social turmoils which are going on in a country I put forward the following as monied locations which would support future GP's on a quid pro quo basis; Their quids, F1's quos (in the form of the application of a public relations thin veneer of respectability):

North Korea

Kim Jong-Un is still relatively new to power and has yet to get his feet firmly under the table.  A gridwalk with Bernie would surely give him kudos and provide him with the impetus required to ensure his longevity as leader.  It would also help him internationally in that the exceptionally thin coating would raise expectations that he might come in from the cold.

Prediction:  North Korean (possibly Kim Jong-Un himself) to qualify on Pole, win the GP, and take the Driver's and Constructor's Championships


If Mugabe's latest coup is anything to go by, being appointed a UN tourism Ambassador, he will only benefit further from holding an F1 race.  I can see him now leading the driver's parade in front of "adoring" home support.  The ban on the international press corp will allow F1 sports journalists to wax lyrical about the new figure of 8 track wending through and over old "abandoned" diamond mines and of course to report the news that the whole Zimbabwe thing is blown out of all proportion and is not reflective of what they are seeing on the ground.

Prediction:  A la Jaguar in Monaco the cars will all carry a diamond in the nose.  A la Indy, Vettel and Hamilton will attempt to draw, the result will be contested, and security will step in and evict all the teams from the pits, forcing them to flee the country.


Perhaps the race might be held in Darfur, I hear it's completely despoiled these days.  Plenty of vacant accommodation available, good weather, etc.  A strong security detail could ensure the safety of the F1 circus, I think there's a state backed militia in place there that could do the job, the Janjaweed. Of course the teams would have to bring their own food to the area given the scorched earth policy which applied, but there wouldn't be too many locals to worry about, most of them have already fled the country and those that remain are held in tightly controlled desert camps all of which would be miles away from the F1 camp.  The only problem is money, I don't think that al-Bashir has been taking care of the country's finances too well, but there's lots of free labour available.

Prediction:  Long shot for a race, just not enough cash to tempt the Bernster.  Of course the recent marriage of dynastys between Sudan and Chad may bring in the necessaries should B be tempted.


While we're here in Uzbekistan we might go sightseeing in the East, perhaps Andijan where we could visit the historic Babur Square.  No cameras allowed of course.  The track could be located at the recently abandoned US K2 Military Base where the ex-military buildings could be renditioned, sorry, rendered useful for the teams tech HQ's throughout the race weekend.  No doubt "friendly" media will be allowed to interview the teams on such positive and uplifting topics as their delight to visit the country of the beloved Karimov and their expressed wish that he be elected for the 4th time running as president with yet another massive majority.

Prediction:  Plenty of cash, friendly with Putin so can't be all bad...However, given that he has total control of the state and has the ear of Moscow he probably isn't too bothered about Western PR. It would probably take a visit from Flavio the Schmooz to land this fish.


Now this is a real contender.  Since Niyazov died in 2006 the country has been run by the unspellable and unpronounceable Berdimuhamedow who apparently has been making tentative overtures to the West in terms of opening the country up.  Since we want access to their massive natural gas reserves this makes the country prime meat in the Bernie sandwich.

They want out and we want in (not politically of course) and how better to bring this about but through sport UniF1ed would make a great slogan don't you think, however, may my tongue shrivel if I slander the country, flag or president.

Prediction:  Eager to make money from the National Gas Reserves there's no question but that Berdimuhamedow would be likely to fund a racetrack, [after all it's nothing to Niyazov's excesses which included building a palace of ice (in a desert country) so that everyone could learn the important life skill of ice skating, banning all dogs from the capital because he didn't like the smell, and closing down all hospitals and libraries outside the capital on the basis that, in the case of the former all sick people should go to the capital and the latter because his autobiography and the Koran were the only two books that anyone needed to read].  All it'll take is a little coaxing and a promise that all media reports will pass through the interior ministry prior to publication.

There you have it, 5 leaders that could use a non-political, non-judgemental sporting event to promote their country as a wonderful and caring place, a place where they make a difference, a place where there are few who are disaffected (and those that are are locked up tight), and a place with a "democratically elected" president/Benificent Leader/beatific dictator/ benign despot/King/Sheikh/Emperor/Saint (delete as appropriate) rules over a peaceful and pleasant society.

Just a few locations to think about.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Caterham show their potential

I've been critical of Caterham (previously Lotus) on a number of occasions and most recently I basically gave them a "must do better" rating if I wasn't to put them into the same category as HRT and Marussia.

Since their inception they have distanced themselves from those two teams and marketed themselves as "other": i.e.being the only one of the new teams to actually have the potential to pull themselves up into the midfield pack and challenge for points.

Just as I was beginning to despair they arrived in Valencia and, in free practice sessions, regularly outpaced the two Toro Rosso's (who I feel are beginning to slide backwards towards the back three).

In qualifying Heikki made it into Quali 2 which was an amazing achievement, and then capped that off by out-qualifying the two Toro Rossos on merit.

I was over the moon and focused my attentions on the battle for the back of the midfield.  Who was going to win the honours?

As it turned out the battle for position continued throughout the race and it was almost as if the Toro Rosso drivers had been told by their team not to allow themselves to be beaten by the Caterham "upstarts".

We saw it on Lap 26 first, with Vergne on a DRS fuelled overtaking charge past Heikki.  Whether he was unsure of his rival's position on the track or not he pulled over to take up a racing line and drove into Heikki's front wing causing each of the cars a puncture, taking off Heikki's wing and damaging his own car beyond the "McGyver" abilities of his pit crew.

The first concern of any overtaking manoeuvre, whether on track or on the roads, is to ensure than you are completely in front of the car you have passed before you turn in.  That's one of the primary purposes of your wing mirrors Jean-Eric - Halfway past is not past.

Still, up to that point Heikki was doing alright.  Even though he'd lost two places at the start, to Ricciardo and Webber, he was pootling around in 17th up to his first pitstop, emerging in 21st and fighting back up to position before colliding with Vergne.  The resultant stop saw him re-emerge in 21st.  After that, as he said himself:

"From that point on I was just trying to get to the end of the race and with about 5 or 6 laps left the tyres were gone"

Verdict:  Finished 14th.

Ifs, Ands, and Buts:  If he'd had a clean getaway and been able to hold position on lap 1 And If the accident hadn't forced him into the pits early, which included replacing the front wing, Heikki could well have been slugging it out in front of Ricciardo in the closing stages for a solid and impressive 11th or 12th (maybe even a point).  Improved performance from the team evident all weekend But unimpressed with Vergne's DRS manoeuvre.

Petrov was another who fell foul of the Toro Rosso approach to maintaining Fourth-last position.  He too was doing pretty well in the race up until lap 46 when he fell foul of the overtaking Toro Rosso of Ricciardo.

Ricciardo stated that Vitaly pushed into him

"I went to get around him and he defended by going a bit wide, I tried to switch back and I feel I gave him some racing room, but we still made contact because perhaps his move was a bit too aggressive.  That cost me the chance to get into the points"

From my armchair perspective it seemed like there was plenty of track on the outside of the Toro Rosso to allow him to avoid the Caterham and any move by Petrov looked relatively benign on the TV replay

We'd need to be able to do a Playstation replay from differing viewpoints to get any accurate idea as to fault, however from the above we'd have to call it on the basis that there was plenty of track available outside for Ricciardo.

There's no question but that Ricciardo had the pace on Petrov and Petrov was pretty gracious afterwards:

"I'm not sure a point was quite within reach today, but it's really encouraging to see how we've progressed here and we know we have more to come in Silverstone so we have something good to fight for"

Verdict:  13th place.  Needs to conquer Qualifying.

Coulda's Shoulda's Woulda's:  Coulda done better, Shoulda matched his teammate in Quali which Woulda given him a better platform to attack the Toro Rosso's which Coulda seen him luck into the Maldonado penalty point.

Overall I'm impressed with Caterham this Weekend.  They've shown me, for the first time, that they really are committed to catching up to the Midfield.  The problem for Caterham is that the Midfield, minus the Toro Rosso's, are catching up to the front.

Verdict:  More to do.  The goal of the season must be to consistently fight the Toro Rosso pairing and beat them regularly.  Good Luck Caterham.  I might say that I'm officially adopting you for the rest of the season. Please continue the good work.

Pastor Maldonado & Lewis Hamilton meet again in Valencia - Who's to blame?

I'm in the Maldonado corner on this one.  Having watched this particular incident over and over I think the penalty on Maldonado was very harsh; and Hamilton's driving was very aggressive.  I apologise for the quality of the following slideshow but they are screengrabs simply provided in order to illustrate my point of view.

Maldonado said afterwards:

"He tried to put me off the track. He didn't leave any room for me to stay on and do the corner side by side, I jumped over the kerb and I couldn't avoid the accident"

Hamilton's view, of course, was slightly different:

"You never let people past, you've got to race for every position you can get. I don't know what happened if I'm honest, I went into the corner and I didn't come out"

The way the TV and replays show it, Maldonado was pushed wide and off the track and Hamilton did not give him any space to rejoin and make the next corner.  As we all know, if you gain an advantage by not taking the corner you must immediately relinquish it.

So the question is: what was Pastor to do? Either he made no attempt to make the corner and would have to give the place back to Hamilton or he attempted to rejoin the track and take the corner and could keep fighting for the position.

There is no doubt but that Hamilton squeezed Maldonado off the track and did not provide the opportunity for him to rejoin.  The slideshow above shows that he pushes Pastor wide through the exist of the first corner and then hugs the outside kerb before kinking away from the kerbing to give himself a line into the following left hander.  When he kinks out Maldonado attempts to rejoin but Hamilton then squeezes in towards the apex and, when Maldonado hits the kerbing there is a little jump, he hits the side of Lewis's McLaren, loses his front wing, and then Hamilton's rear tyre makes contact with Pastor's front and the McLaren is doomed.  The minute he lost his wing in mid corner Pastor was a passenger and could not take avoiding action.

I'm not particularly blaming Hamilton, in that I firmly believe it was a racing incident and neither party should be penalised however, in the current F1 framework where penalties are applied to everything, this particular incident should have been laid at Hamilton's door for not providing sufficient space to allow Maldonado rejoin the track.

What do you think? I'm putting up a poll and would be obliged for your opinion.

Alonso in Valencia makes me eat my words

"I'm not a particular fan of Valencia as a circuit" was how I began a recent pre-GP post.  How a couple of days can make you change your mind.  The race had everything really, great overtaking from Alonso, more controversy with Maldonado/Hamilton, a great showing by Caterham which was predicted in Friday's Free Practice, Vettel and Grosjean retiring from the race with a less than bulletproof Renault engine, Schumi back on the podium.  All in all it made for great viewing.

I thought that the BBC had been given the short end of a particularly shitty stick when Valencia was pulled out of the hat as one of their 10 live races, and in any other year it would have been.  I guess they lucked in.  I just hope that Sky sports takes it next year when it reverts to its usual dismal self.

Great for Spain, Great for F1, Great for Alonso, Great for us.

So why should I go on about the majority of overtaking being courtesy of DRS and Tyres?  I won't - this time- even though it's true.

Lots of better stories to talk about, which I would hope to do over the next couple of days when I'll also update my (- Bahrain) championship leaderboards.

The Maldonado/Hamilton Crash will be the first to be tackled...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Petrov & Kovalainen split the Toro Rossos in FP2

If the race to the rear can be predicted from Free Practice it looks as though the Toro Rosso's will have to work hard this week to avoid becoming one of the bottom three teams.  In Free Practice 1 Heikki set a faster lap than both Vergne and Ricciardo, and Petrov has replicated that feat in Free Practice 2 beating his team mate and the Red Bull sister team in the timing sheets.

Heikki managed to split the Toro Rossos this afternoon meaning that the live FP2 timing sheet shows the following:

17th Petrov                          1.40.963s
18th Ricciardo                      1.41.121s
19th Kovalainen                   1.41.197s
20th Vergne                         1.41.263s

If Petrov can continue this into the weekend we might see him out-qualify his team mate for only the second time so far this season

Heikki Rocks as Caterham pulls up its socks

Is this the renaissance of Caterham?  I know that Free Practice is no particular indicator but in Valencia Caterham in the guise of Heikki Kovalainen have outpaced the two Toro Rosso's in Free Practice 1.

Heikki posted a    1.42.442s
Vergne posted     1.42.758s
Ricciardo posted  1.42.777s

The Caterham is reportedly benefiting from a new floor which would appear to improve the aero package.  In line with my previous post that rated the team as having to produce some kind of on track result (other than keeping the McLaren behind them at Monaco) which would justify their F1 survival , this might just be a signal to Toro Rosso that they too must move forward and can't hang on the midfield's coat-tails any longer.

Congrats to Heikki and to the Caterham Team for giving him the car to pull off this result.  Let's aim for 10th in Silverstone

Williams Valencia Trackwalk Thursday

The Williams Team trackwalk was tweeted on Thursday, picture by picture.  I've tried to put it into a slideshow to give an impression of the circuit on the ground.  Here's my attempt.  Full copyright is obviously Williams so I hope they approve.  I'll tweet them to give them the opportunity to ask me to remove it.  Here's hoping Sir F and the boys have no objections.  There is a random photo in there with the Williams caption

Nice viewing spot as we head down to turn 12!

See if you can spot it - cute!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Burnout Question: Pirelli?

I've been banging on about the tyres now for most of the two years that I've been blogging - about 20% of my 209 posts refer to boots in one way or another and really (if you'll pardon my penchant for puns) it wears me out.

There's no question but that the tyres are the most significant factor in a GP weekend at the moment in terms of how your car will perform in the GP itself.  Getting to grips (oops) with the car set up and how it affects the tyres is probably the primary concern of the F1 engineers at race weekends and as such it has generated a lot of headlines and has also created a vigorous online and in paddock debate with some people delighting in the unpredictability created and others (myself included) disappointed that they have failed to show the stability needed to provide the platform to showcase the engineering (and driving) talent along the pitlane.

I'm old fashioned in that I want my racing unencumbered by unknown quantities.  I really don't care who wins [even though I have my favourite team - Williams (previously Jordan), driver - Button (previously Alesi/Fisi), and team/driver combo - Red Bull/Webber (previously Heidfeld/Sauber/BMW Sauber)] once they and the team have done the job on raceday.

So on the one hand I'm delighted with Sauber's great results based on Perez and the teams uncanny ability to nurse these tyres through a race but I'm disappointed that this ability is becoming the defining factor on raceday. Alonso in Canada is the most recent example of a trend that began to show itself in China 2011 - the "falling off the cliff" moment when your car is passed by everyone because you find midway through a lap that you have no more grip.

The debate continues to rage on but I thought I'd give you a couple of links to stories which do not reflect my opinion and one to a story which upsets me which is Peter Windsor's Article in GP Week Link Here.

His article is well thought out and well expressed but its tone is all about media spin.  It tells the teams to rein in the drivers; don't allow any criticism of the tyres in case Pirelli decide to pull out of supplying them.  It's about press management, positive spin, and the "don't rock the boat" principle.  It's not about the tyres themselves rather about making sure that no-one talks about the tyres (what's the first rule of the F1 club? No-one talks about F1).  It is wrong to stifle debate

I hate media spin.  Peter Windsor's approach is typical of PR speak, beware the impact of criticism on the Global Social Media.  Any criticism is to be internal only.  Positivity is the first rule.

He forgets the first rule of advertising and PR - there's no such thing as bad publicity.  Pirelli have had a massive amount of press this year from every race.  The first question that is asked is what compounds they'll be bringing and the debate continues as to tyre management through Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The Sunday and Monday papers are full of references to the tyres and the F1 coverage itself revolves around the issue.

I think Peter Windsor is a great F1 analyst but I wouldn't want to hire him as a PR guru - his attitude smacks of the Alastair Campbell method.

Here are the links to the guys with whom I disagree - It doesn't mean I don't respect their opinion or take it on board it just means that I think they're more interested in the spectacle rather than the racing:

If the fans, the journalists, the F1 paddock and the tyre manufacturers can't have a healthy debate on the future of the sport how will the sport move forward?

Nobody is blaming Pirelli for the tyres - they have produced exactly what they were asked for - the burnout question is whether this type of tyre should be used next year & the year after that & ...

F1 in Valencia from the McLaren Garage

I'm not a particular fan of Valencia as a circuit but there's no question that it has provided some controversy over its four year history and then there was THAT crash with Webber launching himself over the back of Kovalainen's Lotus in 2010.

Ed Note:    I've given a basic history of the circuit below but I had to come back and slot this paragraph in because the real point of this post is to link you to the F1Elvis site of Mark Priestly, ex-McLaren Mechanic who has put together a great post about his memories of working at the circuit.
It is definitely worth checking out his first person view from the pit garage.

In 2008 it was Massa beating Hamilton even though he nearly took out Sutil in the pits with an unsafe release.  He ended up with a financial penalty but no in race sanction, no doubt much to Lewis Hamilton's disgust.

2009 was pretty uneventful on track, as they all have been, to date.

Apart from the crash in 2010 there was the incident after Webbo's crash where Hamilton overtook the Safety Car as it came out of the pits, leaving Alonso stuck behind it.  this gave Lewis the opportunity to pull out a massive gap and, while Alonso fumed very publicly about it over the radio and later through the press, Hamilton had built a huge lead over the Ferrari and his McLaren took a drive through penalty and still came out to take second place from Vettel, while Alonso came ninth due to staying behind the Safety Car.

Of the four races three have been won by the pole sitter, with only Brawn, in the guise of Barrichello, winning it in 2009.

The circuit has the dubious honour, won in 2011, of hosting the only F1 race with no retirements and 24 finishers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Marussia Wants You!

I guess I'm unlikely to be chosen for this particular task given my recent assessment of Marussia as a team that should not be competing in F1.  This does not however take away from the fact that they are an F1 team and that I am in awe of their achievements in actually making it to the grid and competing at GP's.  I am in awe of every F1 team but, simply wish that the three guys at the rear would move a little closer and mix it up with the midfield.  Anyway, to use the word AWE again, this is a great opportunity for someone, other than me probably to win an awesome opportunity to work with Marussia at the British GP as a Social Media Driver.

What does this mean?

Well It's all explained in this little video:

You get to interview the drivers, the team, (un)restricted access to the Marussia pit/paddock? Tweet, Blog, describe the team, the atmosphere, ask all those difficult questions (like what's your 5 year goal?) and generally get wildly excited about spending the GP with a real F1 team.

Good luck and get your applications in.  I wish it was me, I wish it was me!

Does anyone know where can I get a pair or ruby slippers?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bahrain: the F1 question is answered

While I hate to continuously bring politics into an F1 Blog the latest news from Bahrain make disturbing reading.  Regardless of the BICI report, which recommended reform and reconciliation and formed the basis for the Al-Kalifa ruling minority's arguments in favour of the race taking place this year, it would appear that the regime has signalled a bit of a u-turn in its latest court decision handed down to a number of Shi'ite doctors who treated the wounded resulting from last year's pro-democracy uprising.

While 9 of 20 medics were acquitted the courts upheld the convictions against 9 others, albeit with reduced sentences.

In September of last year a military court sentenced the 20 to between 5 & 15 years on charges which ranged from occupying a hospital to incitement to overthrow the government and possession of arms.  The revised sentences range from a one month term to 5 years.  The two medics who were not present in this instance are believed to have left the country after a Military Court handed down 15 year sentences, reports state that they had their sentences upheld.

The medics argue that they are being prosecuted for treating protesters while the ruling monarchy argue, as per the charges, that they were politicizing their profession and calling for the overthrow of the government.  A direct quote from The Bahrain News Agency states:

It is important to note that no medic is being charged for treating protestors. The charges brought against the medics were primarily for their involvement in politicizing their profession, breaching medical ethics and, most serious of which, was their call and involvement in the overthrow of the monarchy.

Make of it what you will, however I feel that the courts have made the point for the Regime that any reform will be at their whim and behest and will not be based on the will of the people.

The medics have the right to appeal the verdict of the courts and I would be surprised if, at this final judgement, the majority of the remaining convictions were not quashed on the grounds of "clemency", in order to underline the power of the Monarchy, their compassion, and in the spirit of forgiveness.  It could well be the case that the appeals court upholds the convictions and the Monarchy pardons them for the foregoing - no doubt with reference to the "sins of the past" and as a gesture to "reconciliation".

F1, the FIA, and all of the other "stakeholders" stuck their head in the Bahraini sand on this one.  I remain convinced that the race should not have gone ahead in the absence of any real and significant reform and that, as of yet, it should not go ahead in 2013.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sebastian Vettel does Letterman

Seb being interviewed by David Letterman - Worth a Look!

F1 TV Viewing Figures

Further to an earlier post where Bernie was extolling the virtues of Sky F1 it's interesting to have a look at the TV viewing figures for the seven races to date as they compared to last season.

I think they make interesting reading for sponsors, fans and the FIA

PA = Peak Audience


BBC 2011 PA  =  3.18m
Sky F1 2012 PA  =  1.02m
BBC 2012 (highlights) PA  =  3.28m


BBC 2011 PA  =  4.4m
Sky 2012 PA  =  1.5m
BBC 2012 (highlights) PA  =  3.2m


BBC 2011 PA  =  4.3m
Sky 2012 PA  =  0.85m
BBC 2012 PA  =  4.1m


BBC 2010 PA (no race 2011)  =  6.1m
Sky 2012 PA  =  1.6m
BBC 2012 (highlights) PA  =  4.1m


BBC 2011 PA  =  6.2m
Sky 2012 PA  =  1.05m
BBC 2012 PA  =  4.6m


BBC 2011 PA  =  6.1m
Sky 2012 PA  =  0.56m
BBC 2012 PA =  4.16m


BBC 2011 PA  =  8.5m
Sky 2012 PA  =  1.8m
BBC 2012 (highlights) PA  =  3.1m

Montreal: Formula 1 Exposed

Another fantastic Canadian Grand Prix with brilliant racing and interesting strategies but once again, ultimately, it was all about tyres.

From Qualifying, where Button had to sit in the garage during Q3 because of his lack of option tyres and then went backward in the race to ultimately end up in no-man's land, to Alonso in first place with the end in sight finally finishing up in fifth.

It was all about tyres.

Hamilton's radio message to the pits asking if the crew were sure that Alonso and Vettel were two-stopping summed up the serious question of the day.

It turned out that his crew got the answer wrong, but the strategy right.  Alonso stayed out and Vettel would have if he thought he'd get away with it.

Alonso made the call and Alonso got it wrong.  Great driving, on a one stopper, saw Grosjean and Perez steam past the stricken Ferrari in the way a speedboat passes a canoe.  He didn't even register on the radar.  For the first time in years Ferrari became a mobile chicane.

By the way, Hamilton won the race with a great drive but...

It's all about tyres.

On the grid we saw Adrian Newey drawing pictures of the other cars on the grid - I wonder if they were Lotus and Sauber - How, once again, can Perez get so much out of these tyres?  How did Grosjean manage the same feat?  It's incomprehensible, so incomprehensible that when Ron Dennis was being interviewed by the Sky lass and started talking technical her eyes and ours began to glaze over: So incomprehensible that Brundle said that when he asked Ross Brawn to explain it Ross ended up scribbling pages upon pages of graphs as part of his explanation.  When asked by his co-commentator whether he understood it, Brundle said he did.

How could he? Brawn himself doesn't seem to understand it - certainly Mercedes only seem to work the tyres well in very particular circumstances.

Who understands these tyres?  It's all about the tyres.

Montreal, once again served us up a cracking GP, as it nearly always does; it was night and day to Monaco. I just wish I could actually see car racing rather than tyre management.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bernie Ecclestone is not usually daft

Bernie has been mouthing off again about how great Sky coverage has been and has said that the sport gets enough exposure on Sky to warrant the end of free-to-air GPs.

In the Guardian he's quoted as saying that of the 25 million households in the UK "Sky reaches over 10 million we don't get 10 million on the BBC normally about 6 or 7 million".

Isn't that a bit of a silly statement given that all of the 25 million households have BBC while less than the 10 million households with Sky have Sky Sports?  That's 6 or 7 million households that watch the race live on the BBC while Sky's figures, according to the Guardian article averages at about 1 million viewers.

Were Sky to get full control of the races this would represents a reduction in UK exposure for the sponsors of F1 cars and tracks of 83.4%.  If this were replicated in other countries it would lead to a commensurate reduction in car sponsorship figures, a demand from the tracks for a commensurate reduction in the cost of hosting races and, once the pay broadcasters have control, then we'd be looking at reduced broadcasting costs.

All in all the pay TV option is bad for the sport and might ultimately lead to its ruination.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Force India Assessed - Has the team peaked?

There's a lot of positive talk from Force India in the lead up to Montreal; most of it based on the fact that the tyres have brought a lack of predictability to the season - in their eyes anyone can win any race.  This is not entirely inaccurate looking at the form, however neither is it accurate to assume that it's a total lottery, which is the basis of all of the positive talk.

Since they were set up in 2008 the team have been moving forward, achieving good results and consistency.  2008 - 2011 they have finished 10th, 9th, 7th and 6th respectively, from 0 points to last years 69.

10th was second-last in 2008, effectively last given that Super Aguri only competed in the first 4 races and finished 11th.

Second-last again in 2009, beating Toro Rosso only thanks to a superb Belgian GP from Giancarlo Fisichella who qualified on Pole and finished in second, followed by a 4th place finish from Adrian Sutil at Monza.  These were the only two points finishes of the Season versus 6 from the Toro Rosso team however the placing gave them the points to ensure they did not end the season in last place.

2010 was a lot better with a 7th place finish, convincingly beating BMW, Toro Rosso and the three newbie backmarker teams with a points haul of 68 points.  This was a season in which at least one of the cars was knocking on the points door at every GP, apart from Germany where the pitcrews fitted Liuzzi's tyres to Sutil's car and vice versa, necessitating a second pitstop to change them back again.

2011 saw Liuzzi's replacement by Paul di Resta in the second Force India car.  Last season, once again they finished convincingly in 6th place ahead of the three backmarker teams, Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber.  Last Season saw the two drivers achieve 9 points finishes for Sutil and 8 for diResta who was the Rookie driver.  The team finished only 4 points behind Renault, and were it not for another pitcrew tyre error similar to Germany in 2010 Paul diResta looked set for a strong points finish which might well have seen the team take 5th place from Renault. As it was, Heidfeld took 4 points from the British GP - the number of points Renault finished ahead of Force India in the Constructors.

So in 2012 there's a lot of pressure on the Force India Team.  While Vijay Mallya is also under pressure from various business interests he really needs to keep his eye on the F1 scene in order that the team do not move backward in the standings.  This year they're up against a revitalised and restaffed Williams team, a Sauber team that has gotten back into the groove under Peter after the disastrous BMW decision to leave the series, and an unpredictable set of tyres whose durability appears to alter from hour to hour.

So far in the season, with 6 races under our belt, the team have recorded 7 points finishes from the two cars with one retirement.  This is in comparison to Sauber, 15 points ahead of them in the Constructor's in 7th place, who have achieved 5 points finishes but have Perez' second place finish in Malaysia and the 18 points which followed.  Williams are in 6th place with 44 points, 25 of which are the Maldonado win in Spain, they like Sauber have achieved 5 points finishes and 3 retirements: however it is worth noting from Williams perspective that every time a Williams has finished a race this season it has come home in the points.  If they can finish they can score.  They could be one to watch.

It would appear that the top 5 teams may well be out of reach of Force India this year.  Once Schumacher begins to finish races I'm expecting Mercedes to overtake Lotus, a team that is also solidly and consistently scoring.

Force India therefore must aim for 6th place and a greater points tally than last year's 69 if they are to count this season a success.  Toro Rosso would appear to be out of the fight even at this early stage and perhaps even slipping back into the clutches of Caterham, were that team to luck into a couple of points finishes.

Sauber and Williams to beat. I think it's a big ask particularly if Williams were to be reliable and accident free for a few races.  Of the Force India drivers, di Resta is looking good on 21 points, were he to continue in that vein of form his tally for the season would see him take the 69 points on his own, however Hulkenburg is on only 7 points and needs to get his head in the game to show us what he's capable of, otherwise we might see the return of Sutil - who has been seen hanging around the paddock - just after mid-season.

VERDICT:  A seventh place finish would be solid for Force India were they to score over 70 points, sixth should be their goal.

The problem is that both Williams and Sauber have had a taste and will be looking at 4th and 5th as being possible. Should Lotus and Mercedes get involved in scrapping for 4th one of them might lose out to the guys snapping at their heels.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Robert Kubica surgery confirmed by Autosport

In a story dated today June 6th Autosport have confirmed the surgery to Kubica's elbow:

The doctor said that the Polish driver had tested the mobility of his arm in a simulator prior to the operation.
"This way the driver will be able to fully handle the steering wheel, while before he was unable to rotate the palm down, so he was forced to release the steering wheel in order to turn left," head surgeon Ruggero Testoni was quoted as saying by Italian media.
"It will take at least one month in order to stabilize."

Scuderia Toro Rosso Progress Report (or lack thereof)

Toro Rosso was purchased from Minardi and made its competitive debut in 2006.  It managed 1 point in the season thanks to Liuzzi, which leapfrogged it above Toyota and Super Aguri in the Constructors Championship.

In 2007 the team ditched American Scott Speed in favour of a little known German driver, Sebastian Vettel, who rewarded the team with a 4th place finish (5 points) in China to complement Liuzzi's 6th Place (3 points).  The team could have scored more points but Vettel crashed into the back of the Red bull of Webber in the Japanese Downpour and lost the team the opportunity of their first podium finish.  This gave them a final position in the championship above Honda, Super Aguri and Spyker and of course above McLaren who were excluded from the Constructor's that year (Spygate).

In 2008 Vettel showed both his talent and the potential of the Toro Rosso.  The team beat its sister, Red Bull Racing, thanks to the abilities of the German.  He brought it the Team's first and only win and gave them an impressive haul of 35 points in comparison with Bourdais who got only 4.  He achieved 9 points finishes in 2008 our of 12 finishes with 6 retirements.  The team were moving onward and upward as per the wishes of Paul Stoddart (Minardi Owner) when he sold the team to Red Bull.

2009 saw Vettel moved to Red Bull and Bourdais lost his seat to Jaime Alguersuari mid season, with Sebastian Buemi taking over from Vettel.  The season served to highlight Vettel's driving abilities as the team slid back down the pecking order to finish 10th, and last, on 8 points.

2010 saw the introduction of HRT, Virgin (Marussia), and Lotus (Caterham) and the Toro Rosso placing above these three new teams flattered to deceive.  Effectively, given the fact that the three new teams were massively slow in comparison, Toro Rosso came 9th and last of the established teams with a combined points haul of 13 from Buemi and Alguersuari.

2011 saw the team finish above Williams, who had suffered their worst ever season with just two points finishes, and the three backmarker teams but saw the team bag their biggest points total of 41, thanks to the 1st to 10th points scoring introduced in 2010. Alguersuari and Buemi were difficult to separate with the former scoring  26 and the latter 15.  Over the course of the season their racing abilities were about even.

For the current season, 2012, Toro Rosso ditched their two drivers, holding onto Buemi as test driver.  They took on Jean Eric Vergne (French) and Daniel Ricciardo (Aus).  After 6 races the results are no better than last years.  Certainly neither of the new drivers has so far shown any particular skill which would identify them as future Red Bull material.  It's worth waiting for mid-season to evaluate the drivers' potential however the car looks to remain locked in last place ahead of the three teams who I have earlier assessed as being worthy of expulsion.

So - The assessment is that, apart from the Vettel performances of 2007 & 2008 Toro Rosso is a failed team incapable of moving off the bottom of the leaderboard.  It certainly had the potential to move forward however, perhaps all of the money has been focussed on Red Bull Racing while they are getting by on a shoestring budget.  The drivers, other than Vettel, have shown no great ability to outperform the car and perhaps that indicates the car is the weakness in the team.

If we should expel the HRT, Caterham, & Marussia teams then we should look closely at Toro Rosso and see if it has any chance to redeem itself in its current guise.  Perhaps it needs the focus of a new owner who would only be interested in this team.  It seems that Red Bull have too many fingers in too many pies to concentrate on moving Toro Rosso forward.

VERDICT:  Must pull their Socks up or Sell up

Caterham, HRT, & Marussia Reflections

It is with regret that, upon reviewing the constructor's and driver's championship leaderboards it remains the case that the three backmarker teams of Caterham, HRT, & Marussia all languish at the bottom of the tables with no points.  This amounts to 3 years of failure in a sport that only rewards success.  Should they be expelled or do any of them have enough potential to warrant giving them a little bit more rope?

Marussia (Virgin) who entered F1 in 2010 with a plan to design a car using only computer design software (Computational Fluid Dynamics) - Once the reality set in last year they made a decision to return to the tried and tested method.  They have scored no points since their inception and their highest finish has been 14th. If, after 3 years a team is so slow that they haven't even lucked into a single point they should be ejected from the F1 grid to make way for a new team.

VERDICT: Not worth the effort. It's time for them to leave.

HRT have spectacularly failed to make a car fit for pre-season testing since they began in 2010.  The car has turned up at the first race for the last 3 years with no track time under its belt.  In 2011 and 2012 they have failed to make the 107% qualifying time and in 2010 they both began the race from the pitlane.  once again their highest finish in a race has been 14th.  It's amazing that neither HRT nor Marussia have lucked into a single point particularly given the fact that all cars to 10th place get points.  Minardi, etc. used to gain the odd point even when only the first 6 places were scored.

VERDICT:  Bottom of the class - Go Now

Caterham (Team Lotus/1Malaysia Team)  On first viewing the team looks like it should have the makings of a neat little team; certainly best of the three.  Mike Gascoyne is on board as Chief Tech and Heikki Kovalainen is in the car.  Theoretically they should be moving upwards and onwards to bigger and better things.  Why then do they still languish at the bottom of the table, just above HRT and Marussia?  They too have never managed to score a single point, lucky or otherwise, in the three years that they've been there.  Gascoyne has been with the team since it began and they've been using the Renault engine, which we all know is pretty good given that Red Bull have won a championship with it and Lotus (Renault) have been using it.

Why can they not make the car work? The team claim to be catching the rest of the teams but, even in the topsy-turvy world of F1 2012 they haven't been able to, as of yet, find that point and, though I dislike saying it, with Vitaly Petrov in the second car they've lessened their chances of capitalising on an opportunity should it arise.  If anyone is going to give them the point they need its likely to be Heikki.  Still, its sad that the only claim to fame for the team so far is that they've managed to keep a McLaren behind them at Monaco.  That result showed that the pitcrew is pretty good, in that they managed to turn the car around and get it back out ahead of Jenson, but it doesn't say much for the car itself.  Their highest ever finish for no points, 12th.

VERDICT:  Must do better, position safe till the end of the year - but if it's another Null Point next year they too must go

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Will Robert Kubica Test the Ferrari F10 later this Month?

If you remember, or even if you didn't know before, the Italian publication Omnicourse said in January that Kubica had signed a letter of intent with Ferrari to race for them in 2013 and that he would get behind the wheel of a Ferrari F10 fitted with the new 2014 1.6, turbocharged V6 engine, in June of this year.  They said that because the car was outside the test ban regulations it would allow him to put in the miles which would allow Robert to evaluate his progress without any pressure.

This idea was apparently based on everything going to plan and I see from that he's apparently recovering from elbow surgery on 25th May which they say was probably to put in a titanium element to stabilize it and make it more functional.

Given what he's been through so far this sounds like a pretty minor surgical intervention for him and I'm hoping that, if the Omnicourse story was correct, that we might hear of him blasting around Maranello in the near future.

Kubica testing a Ferrari would give credence to my May predictions for next season.

Anonymous - Take Heed I am an individual and I'm asserting my Rights

Not to seem too pedantic on this matter but I fail to see or understand why this "Anonymous" bunch have targeted the GP in Canada.  From reading the Wiki page on this loose affiliation of hackers with no particular agenda it struck me that they have, to some extent, been able to make connections between whichever cause they claim to be supporting and the disruption which they then seek to cause.

I'm not a supporter of their activities but, given my opposition to the GP in Bahrain, I too felt that there was a connection to be made between the Bahraini Government and the arrival of the F1 circus into the country.  You  could appreciate that the event was being used as a political tool, a PR exercise.  It also created a situation on the ground where reports were coming in of mass demonstrations which coincided with the staging of the race and the death of at least one protester over the course of the GP weekend.  The connection was not tenuous in that instance.

But now we're in Canada and there is no connection between student protests and the Canada GP.  This raises the question as to whether this Anonymous group has any function other than chaos and anarchy.  If these are their functions then they are remarkably co-ordinated.

Anarchy is all about the lack of any cohesive political and economic structure and is based totally on the freedom of the individual.  Any co-ordinated effort, by definition, must be considered to constitute order which is entirely contrary to the tenet of an Anarchic society.

Much like the Mayday rioting in London and the presence of Anarchist Groups (another anathema) at G8 and G12 summits I always like to have a laugh at the fact they wear a uniform, and in their current guise the Guy Fawkes mask.  No anarchist worth their salt should be identifiable as part of a group as this represents the beginning of the replacement of the existing social and political order by an anonymous group seeking to progress the Anarchist Principles.  Replacement of one order by another, regardless of its origin, must irrevocably lead to the resumption of the status quo whereby the individual finds him/her self subject to government by others and by the dogma of a state whether local, regional or national.

Marx understood this which is why he severed his links to the anarchist movement in the 1870's.  Anarchy is appropriate only as an individuals political ideology, when it forms groups which dedicate themselves to a particular cause and on foot of that threatens the rights of an individual or individuals it defines itself as other than anarchy.

This is the case with Anonymous, they seek to use the umbrella of Anarchy to progress what is essentially an alternate world order perspective.  They claim to be anti-globalisation but cannot operate without the tools provided by Globalisation: They claim to represent an ideology which supports the rights of the individual but  refuse, in this instance, to allow the individual to exercise their right to attend a Formula 1 race, instead they support a student protest which is not motivated at destabilising the government but rather by winning concessions from the established order.

The students do not seek regime change, they simply want their position to be heard - they are seeking to provide alternatives to the current proposals which will see tuition fees rise by up to 75% over the next few years.  Their goal may be laudable but it is not anarchic in any form, if anything these protests have been sparked by elected leaders of student groups - these will be the next generation of the political class and a true Anarchist would belittle these protests as no more than a battle for power within the established political structure.  The outcome of this protest will see no more than a minor economic amendment to the existing Government's proposals.

The fact that Anonymous refers to F1 as the crass elite shows just how far removed from reality their members are.  Personally I'm a massive fan of Formula 1, I don't have a lot of money, I attend those races which I can afford and those to which I have been given tickets as a present, I am blessed that I have a wife who understands my love for the sport, even if she doesn't like it herself and, like most fans, I would love to be able to spend my weekends going to all of the F1 races, I would love to be able to stroll around the paddock and pitlane and rub shoulders with the great and the good of the sport.  I cannot and do not and like the majority of fans I work hard for the money which allows me to attend the events.

I like F1 even though it is not perfect - leave it, and me, alone.  I am an individual and I'm asserting my rights.