Tag: Formula One 2014

Formula One 2014: Hungaroring

Of course the big news is that Hamilton burnt up a car in qualifying and by burnt up I mean chassis (carbon fiber), engine, and gearbox.

The chassis would be ok, but the engine and gearbox have him starting from pit lane along with Maldonado and Magnussen.

Now they’re blaming it on a fuel leak which is no doubt correct, but the inherent problem with this year’s cars is the extensive electronics in the energy recovery system and the breaking force added by the kinetic drive that powers it have the engineering teams scrambling to produce a power plant that is fast and reliable.  Mercedes has done the best job so far which is why they’re in the lead.

As for Hamilton it remains to be seen is he can produce a comeback like he did last week when he drove himself into a third place.  The Hungaroring has limited passing opportunities, though starting from pit lane Hamilton will have his choice of Mediums and Softs and will likely use that to produce a different pit stop strategy.

At least they didn’t have to worry about dust as it’s been raining, but that also means the track isn’t rubbered in.  The slick track brought out red flags in Q3 as Magnussen bought a wall.

The way things stand now at the August break Hamilton is 14 behind Rosberg, Ricciardo 24 ahead of Vettel and Alonso and Ferrari have survived Nikki Lauda calling the Ferrari a piece of crap which, of course, it is.  Other than that Mercedes is the only team close to producing a good engine and the top half of the field shows that.

Formula One 2014: Hockenheimring

Practice saw Susie Wolff have an impressive session at the wheel of a Williams but clearly Mercedes is the class of the field even though Hamilton had a wreck in Qualifying and starts in 20th.  He blames his brakes.

The Hockenheimring is not exactly Rosberg’s home track despite his protestations, but it is in Germany and Mercedes is having a good year which is raising expectations.

In other off track action Maldonado is making an early commitment to Lotus for next season.  Rosberg likewise with Mercedes.  Ecclestone has started his bribery trial in which his defense is- I didn’t give him a bribe so I could take over the company at a discount, I gave him a bribe so I could cheat on my taxes!

Nice guy.

On offer will be Softs and Super Softs.  The Super Soft is about 2 seconds quicker per lap, but is only good for about 10 laps before it starts to show it’s age (today’s race is 67 laps).  Pirelli is predicting a 2 or 3 stop race.  Only Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Hamilton will be starting Softs.

What’s basically preventing Hamilton from starting last (15th in Qualifying and a Gearbox penalty) is that Ericsson must start from pit lane AND serve a Stop and Go because they didn’t seal the car last night.

Pretty tables below.

Formula One: Silverstone


And not even a Woodstock mosh pit mudslide.  Mediums and Hards on display.  Rosberg and Vettel, Hamilton unexpectedly low.  Gutierrez drops 10 places, unsafe release at previous round.  Chilton drops 5, unscheduled gearbox change.  Ericsson, Kobayashi fail to meet 107% requirement, race at stewards’ discretion.

Maldonado qualified 15th, excluded for fuel infringement.  We’ll see if they start 21 or not.

Coverage on CNBC since NBC/Universal refuses to drop Dancin’ Dave and his merry band of Beltway Buttkissers for anything except the most important sporting events.

Formula One 2014: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Renault’s engines are a huge FAIL and threaten everyone who uses them with 5 position grid penalties for the rest of the season.  Red Bull is threatening to sue.  Both drivers have been through 3 engines, transmissions, and kinetic energy units and Vettel has ripped through 4 engine control systems (3 for Ricciardo).  And this is race 7 of 19.  Kobayashi has already picked up a 5 Grid penalty this weekend which is not very effective since he was already starting 20th.  Gutierrez was unable to Qualify at all due to chassis damage.

Hamilton and Rosberg are feuding over Rosberg deliberately bringing out a Yellow at Monaco costing Hamilton the pole and the win.

Caterham is on the auction block and there is a great debate among the teams over further budget caps.  Haas Racing will definitely not field a car during the 2015 season and will stick with their plans for a 2016 debut.

While like Monaco the walls are very close, instead of being the slowest this is one of the fastest tracks.  On offer are Softs and Super Softs with about a 1 second per lap advantage.  They’ve just signed a new 10 year contract for the venue.

Pretty tables below.

Formula One 2014- Circuit de Monaco

So the preliminaries-

Softs and Super Softs as you might expect in the slowest and tightest (turn wise) race of the season.  Rosberg retains his home court advantage despite spoiling Hamilton’s fast lap, frankly it will come down to who gets off first from the pole since there is no passing and it’s a virtual parade unless something breaks or someone parks or it rains.

Oh, and did I mention it’s the most boring race of the year?

No reason really to interrupt a leisurely Memorial day weekend breakfast, I like waffles with blueberries (not quite in season yet) and strawberries (on special for some reason) drizzled with genuine 100% Maple syrup.  I’ve discovered the frozen toaster kind are quite acceptable which is nice because I could put my single purpose machine into deep storage (of course I didn’t throw it out, what are you thinking?).

Now for whipped cream there’s nothing like mixer made from scratch and it gives me an excuse for my Kitchen-Aide that mostly sits under a dust cover because I don’t bake, I cook.

Wha?  Ahh… automobile racing, I should really pay more attention.  My weekend at Bernie’s- apparently he’s too ill to continue his bribery trial for conspiring to undervalue the shares of the Bambino Trust which held the controlling interest in Formula One.  I feel as bad for him as you would expect me to feel for a misogynistic, homophobic, anti-semetic, thieving, 83 year old Billionaire with a bad cold.  Pobrecito.  Que lastima.

Pretty tables below.

Formula One 2014: Circuit de Catalunya

So Vettel starts in 15th because his gearbox blew up and Vergne in 21st because he left the pits with a loose wheel.  Maldonado could barely complete 2 laps in Qualifying before crashing.

It’s all very entertaining if you’re a Mercedes fan and this appears to be their year.  They have the only reliable power plant (ok, Ferrari is reliable but it’s also slow).

On offer are the Hards and Mediums because Circuit de Catalunya is notoriously abrasive.  It will be 66 laps and unlike other years there has been no testing there this season.  At that it may be a two stop race for the leaders.

Caterham has booted their technical director but honestly, who cares?  There may be the first woman driver since 1976 next year.  Renault is considering cutting off the deadbeat teams which, considering its power plants are unreliable and slow, may or may not be such a good idea.

This is Ayrton Senna Memorial weekend-

Other stories about Formula One-

Formula One Interactive Track

Oh, you want to hear about Bernie-

Formula One holds its breath as Bernie Ecclestone’s bribery trial begins

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Wednesday 23 April 2014 13.34 EDT

The judge Ecclestone will be up against does not take any prisoners; or rather, he does. Peter Noll convicted the former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, a central figure in the Munich hearing, and sent him down for eight-and-a-half years in 2012. In his concluding statement, Noll said: “In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone.”

Last month the same prosecutors, who have spent two years preparing for the Ecclestone case, brought down Uli Hoeness, then president of the European football champions Bayern Munich. Hoeness was jailed for three-and-a-half years for tax evasion.

If all this was not enough to seriously daunt Ecclestone – who will be 84 in October – Noll has also been handed what could be a loaded gun. In February Ecclestone – who denies any wrongdoing – won a civil case brought by the German media company Constantin Medien.

But although F1’s chief executive won that time, the comments by Mr Justice Newey were immensely damaging. He said it was “impossible” to regard him as a “reliable or truthful witness”.

Bernie Ecclestone launches defence against bribery charges

Philip Oltermann, The Guardian

Thursday 24 April 2014 08.44 EDT

The 256-page indictment against Ecclestone, formulated after a two-year investigation, accuses him of bribing a German banker with the intention of cementing his powerful position at the top of the motorsport.

The banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, was notionally the chief risk assessment officer for the Formula One shareholder Bayern Landesbank at the time. But, the indictment alleges, payments totalling $44m (£26m) and the promise of future employment in Formula One swayed Gribkowsky to act against his employers’ interests, easing the sale of Bayern LB’s share to a company that had guaranteed to keep Ecclestone in charge as chief executive.

Far from being an easily manipulated pawn, Ecclestone painted a picture of Gribkowsky as a power-hungry man who dreamed of becoming “Mr Formula One” and owning his own race team.

In one meeting, Ecclestone said, the German had made himself comfortable in the chief executive chair and smoked a cigar throughout, causing Flavio Briatore, then a senior figure in Formula One who had recently quit smoking, to storm out halfway through the meeting.

The indictment acknowledged that Gribkowsky had made “insinuations” about Ecclestone being ultimately in charge of Bambino, but seemed to dismiss the possibility of blackmail as Ecclestone had “no concrete evidence to hand”.

Ecclestone’s defence is that he had been forced to act even though he felt he had done nothing wrong in his affairs with Bambino, because the risk involved of a reputable banker like Gribkowsky contacting the UK tax authorities was “hard to calculate” and could have led to a fine of “more than £2bn”.

“Some people have asked me how it is possible that someone like Bernie Ecclestone can be put under pressure”, said his statement. “I say: Yes, it’s possible, if you know exactly where to apply the right pressure, and Gribkowksy got the right spot for me and Bambino”

Formula One 2014: Shanghai

Allow me to summarize the season so far- Mercedes dominance.  Nobody else has been able to put together a blown six that even comes close.  Renault is a poor second and Ricciardo’s penalty stands because Red Bull can’t even manage the fuel flow correctly.  Scuderia Marlboro sucks so bad the team manager has resigned to be replaced by the head of North American operations who’s only previous race experience is in LeMans style sports cars.

Speaking of, Haas Racing is putting together a team which makes me wonder where they’re going to come up with the half a Billion bucks a year it takes to be competitive.

On offer are Mediums (which last 10 to 20 laps longer) and Softs (which go like stink but are only good for 10 laps at best).  There is of course the possibility that the race will be run under the same torrential downpours that Qualifying was.

I reserve the right to revise and expand my remarks, but it will be in retrospect.  These 3 am races really disturb my wake sleep cycles (as if the seasonal change and moving to DST were not enough).

Formula One 2014: Bahrain

Horrible problems with Comodo Firewall (which is even now not functioning properly after a night of work).  There are things I could tell you but- We race!

Formula One 2014: Sepang

It’s Spring.  It’s Sepang.  And it’s raining.

Now yesterday that delayed qualifying for almost an hour and there’s no telling what it will do to today’s race if repeated.  It will certainly wreck my beauty sleep which is just beginning to recover.

If I may summarize the 2 most trenchant developments without having to source them they are these.

Tires are much harder and fall off faster than ever.  Formula One seems committed to controlling the race via rubber.  Some teams were preseving their stock of full Wets during yesterday’s qualifying which ruined their grid position but may pay off today if conditions are damp.

Only Mercedes has successfully created a new 6 cylinder power plant (and only somewhat given that one blew up under Lewis Hamilton at Albert Park).  The Renault guzzles too much gas putting Ricciardo in technical violation of fuel flow rate rules and erasing his second place finish.  Scuderia Marlboro has produced a mediocre product that seems beyond even the legendary Alonso’s ability to turn into a Sow’s Ear, let alone a Silk Purse.  ‘Lord bless his soul because nobody else will’ Bernie is unhappy about the noise, which creats excitement you see and gives you the impression the cars are moving fast even when they’re not.  You no longer have to buy commemorative $20 earplugs and can actually hear the tires and the turbo and KERS kick in.

Formula One 2014: Sepang Qualifying

You know, the reason I cover Formula One is that it’s a niche sport, a bizarre mix of all the decadent elements of the early 21st Century.

It’s a world wide cancer of carbon fueled excess packaged in funny looking vehicles and celebrity spectators designed to sucker the rubes and provide a platform for the high rollers to fleece each other in air-conditioned tents with Aramark catering (not much to write home about) and top shelf bars.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll write about this in greater detail, but for right now I’m so burned out you’re lucky I’m awake at all.

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