Friday, 29 August 2014

Rosberg / Hamilton / Mercedes - What next?

So the dust has settled on the eventful Belgian Grand Prix in which a moment of madness cost Mercedes F1 team 25 points and Lewis Hamilton any chance of scoring points in that event.

It is clear in my mind that Nico did not set out on Sunday with the aim of hitting Lewis, It wasn't pre-mediated or planned. He went for an overtaking opportunity and then refused to back out of an ever closing gap to prove that he wont be spooked by Lewis during wheel to wheel racing. That split second decision caused the accident.

The incident however is in reality no different to what we've seen all through the field, or look back to Hamilton and Massa's famous scrapes in 2011.

The mystifying thing however is why the stewards didn't act. Had it been a Grosjean or Maldonado I think there would have been a drive through penalty for 'causing an avoidable collision'. There should have been some kind of penalty for that because good clean racing is what we're after!

After the on track exploits we had lewis claiming that it was 'on purpose' which appears to be a mis-quote of Nico saying, "I was going for the gap but wasn't going to back and look weak or like I'm a push-over" and Nico has released a statement admitting it wasn't the best day on track and was
an unfortunate incident. Most of the press seem to want to pull these waring fractions together to make headlines telling tales of deliberate cheating etc but it really isnt like that.

This situation requires the team to be strong, sit both drivers down and have a very serious word. We've been applauding the team all year for letting the drivers race and giving us a show, long may it continue but the golden rule has to be, dont hit your team mate. No real punishments need to be given and certainly some of the ideas being banded around some of the other 'more connected' F1 news sites are utter rubbish. Mercedes are not going to punish Nico for racing, they'll tell him its unacceptable and at worst give him a small fine for losing the team points that day.

You can't help but feel that with Toto Wolff doing his best angry terminator impression on Sunday that the team is really missing the strong leader it had in Ross Brawn, someone with a real authority. Could Mercedes be in the situation where too many chiefs make the situation so muddy that no one really knows who the boss is. Could this indecision / failure to work cohesively in the end cost the team the drivers title? Because Red Bull are improving and Daniel Ricciardo can win this title with a bonus double points win in the last race... That would be a disaster for Brackley.. And Stuttgart

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

André Lotterer to replace Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix

André Lotterer will drive for Caterham F1 Team at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team will benefit from having another experienced driver at the wheel of the car throughout the weekend and the German’s feedback will contribute to improve the performance of the car. The weather also plays a big role at Spa-Francorchamps and Lotterer is one of the most experienced drivers racing under mixed conditions.

Lotterer will replace Kamui Kobayashi for this round of the championship. The Japanese driver still remains part of the team.

Born in Duisburg in Germany, Lotterer moved to Belgium when he was only two years of age and grew up close to Nivelles, a city that’s only 150km from Spa-Francorchamps. Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, Lotterer started racing in the early 90s, succeeding in both German and British Formula 3 championships before being named Jaguar Racing’s Formula One test driver in 2002. A year later he moved to Japan, doing very well in both Formula Nippon and the Japanese Super GT Championship, which he won in 2006 and 2009. He made his debut in endurance racing in 2009, taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. His impressive performance that year earned him a drive with the works Audi Sport team in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, remaining with the team and winning the prestigious race three times (2011, 2012 and 2014). In 2011 he won the Formula Nippon championship. Since 2012, the German competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

André Lotterer: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take part in a Formula One race weekend – I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this chance. I’m ready for this challenge and I cannot wait to jump in the car and make the most out of the weekend ahead. I will need to get settled and used to the car quickly, as the team has worked on a number of updates and we will need to have as much time as possible out on track to optimise the car’s performance. I really enjoy racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it’s one of my favourite tracks and it’s very close to where I grew up, so this makes the weekend even more special and one to remember.”

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Brembo Brake Facts Belgium

The hardest braking point on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps lies at the end of Blanchimont. The Formula One driver has to brake hard, slowing by 231 km/h over just 116 metres. The calculated braking energy here is 1,984 kW. The driver is subjected to 5.04 g and has to push with 122 kg onto the brake.

video

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Di Montezemolo leaves FERRARI

In a few days time we will receive confirmation from Ferrari that Luca Di Montezemolo has left the company, perhaps he feels now that after so long without winning the pressure has really mounted and to leave now rather than be pushed makes sense so he can concentrate on his political ambitions.

Luca di Montezemolo is presently Chairman of Ferrari, and formerly Chairman of Fiat S.p.A and President of Confindustria and FIEG. He comes from an aristocratic family from the region of Piedmont in Italy. First he graduated in law from La Sapienza University in 1971. He then studied for a masters in International commercial law at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is one of the founders and former president of NTV, an Italian company which is Europe's first private open access operator of 300 km/h high-speed trains. In 2009, Montezemolo founded Future Italy, a free-market think tank that joined Civic Choice in the 2013 parliamentary election

His departure from Ferrari comes amongst a season of change at the company with team principal Stefano Domenicali being replaced early on in the season by Marco Mattiacci and the departures of Luca Marmorini and Pat Fry (Fry's departure also not yet confirmed) 

Friday, 8 August 2014

#PGF1 on Bernie

Bernard Charles Ecclestone is a wiley negotiator, a man who will go down in history as changing F1 into the powerful, multi-billion-dollar sport it is today has this week negotiated a deal that will see the charges against him for bribery dropped.

His payment of $100 dollars to the local German government will see him as neither guilty nor innocent and ensure that he cannot be re-tried on the same charges and leaves him free to keep control of the sport that he has controlled for so long. They will also ensure that he doesn't go to prison as is the usual punishment for such a crime.

The German law states that the court can reach a settlement if:
a) It will be difficult to secure a conviction (very possible in a complex case like this as this really could have been decided either way)
b) the defendant is too old / ill to spend the time in prison if found guilty (Mr E is certainly not getting any younger)

This is perfect timing for Bernie as it looks like the business he sold F1 to (venture capitalists CVC) are now ready to sell on F1 and claim their investment back (after making a very pretty penny from F1) and one man who has been bashing the sport to bring the price down, and could do a deal to buy back the sport is Mr E himself.

It certainly is a very interesting time to watch the business world behind the scenes of F1, could Bernie be back in the pound seats to wrestle back control of the billion dollar business and re-sell it yet again for a huge profit. If anyone can its this man.


Time to reflect.. The F1 race weekend format

With those inside the sport running around worrying that F1 is broken, the show we see on a sunday afternoon seems to be pretty awesome and really doesn't need much tweaking. But with fans demanding more for their money and smaller audiences at some tracks, does F1 need to innovate and offer more value for a fans ticket? Does F1 need to re-think the format of the race weekend?

Kevin Eason of the times believes that it does and that a possibility would be to have a session on a friday where all cars need to be on track, and whoever sets the fastest time gets 5 points towards a friday championship. 

Do you think this could be a way of getting rookies mileage? Could we have a saturday morning sprint race for half points? Could we increase the presence of the junior formulae by running a full GP2 & GP3 series in parallel with F1 races rather than select events? Does anything really need to change at all? 

The one thing I would say is that any idea that gives fans more value for money is a great idea, but it can't be at too high a cost as teams are struggling as it is. F1 needs to do more to market itself and putting on a better show for the ticket buyer could well be a good start.

Please comment below, on twitter (@PG_F1) or on the facebook page to let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

CATERHAM F1 TEAM STATEMENT

Leafield Technical Centre, UK – 29th July 2014

Caterham F1 Team has read with great concern recent reports about a group of individuals who are claiming unfair dismissal from the Formula 1 team following its takeover by new owners.

The team is now taking legal action against those parties representing the individuals concerned, and each person involved, seeking compensation for the damages suffered by the team due to the gross misrepresentation of the facts made by all those concerned.

These claims include the statement that they have been released from Caterham F1 Team – this is incorrect. Caterham F1 Team’s staff are employed by a company that is a supplier to the company that holds its F1 licence, the licence that allows it to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship.

Additionally, the team has read claims that its staff were not paid in July – again, this is wholly untrue. Every individual currently employed by Caterham F1 Team was paid their July salary in full on 25th July, one week before it is formally due on the last day of the month, in this case 31st July.

A formal request for the withdrawal of the relevant press statement issued on 28th July has been made by Caterham F1 Team and the team will vigorously pursue its action against all those concerned. However, it will not allow its core focus to be distracted from achieving tenth place in the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, and building for the 2015 campaign and beyond.