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Category Archives: F1

Mercedes and Pirelli to appear before tribunal

F1 testingUp before the ‘beak’

Mercedes and Pirelli are to appear before an international tribunal constituted by the FIA to answer questions relating to allegations of illegal tyre testing in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix. Repports say that the test was performed with the current Mercedes F1 car and drivers, in contravention of the rules.

Initially Ferrari were also called upon to explain tests carried out by the Scuderia and the tyre supplier in Barcelona after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the FIA has now conceded those tests were within the rules as they were conducted with a two-year-okd car, not the current model, and using only reserve driver pedro de la Rosa.

The question is, why would Pirelli, Ross Brawn, Toto Wolf and Mercedes have conducted tests on a recognised track, open to public scrutiny, knowing they were breaking the rules? Among the rumours circulating is one that suggests Mercedes was actually given permission to test the 2013 car by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting. If that is true, what will the tribunal do?

The FIA Statement, issued on Wednesday night, said, “The FIA requested clarifications from Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1… The FIA also asked questions to Scuderia Ferrari Team, which took part in a tyre-testing with Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013.

“The FIA requested all the other F1 teams to provide the FIA with information they may have regarding any tests carried out by Pirelli during the 2013 season.

“In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered the president of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided: “To close the case as regard to Scuderia Ferrari team considering that its participation in a tyre testing organised by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.

“To bring the case concerning the tyre-testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA international tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.

“The FIA international tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules.”


Formula One – Monaco Grand Prix

Like father like son

NicowinsKeke winsJohn Bentley

I was at Monaco 30 years ago when Nico Rosberg’s Dad took his Williams-Cosworth to victory in the Principality. So for me there was an element of déja vu in this year’s race. But, though those wins by father and son were both brilliantly skilful performances, there’s where the similarity ends. For, whereas Keke’s victory came after a feisty drive in the nimble, underpowered Williams, which outclassed its comparatively clumsy turbo opposition on the twisty track, Nico’s was a controlled one by a consummate professional eking out his tyres while positioning his car perfectly on every corner of every lap of a circuit where the car in front, if driven ‘perfectly’ will always have the advantage.

Monaco, more than any race this year, played right into the hands of the ant-Pirelli camp, the faction of the grand prix fraternity that decries the fact that Formula One is no longer a flat-out blind, but a tyre-conservation game.

But one needs to remember that Monaco is a rather special circuit on which overtaking is difficult, but it treats tyres kindly. So a fast car, as the Mercedes undoubtedly is, just has to take pole position and, provided its driver keeps his nose clean, has to be a shoe-in for victory. Once in front, Rosberg, with Hamilton riding shotgun behind, was able to keep the pace slow in the early laps, conserving his tyres, something he has been unable to do in earlier races, where more easy overtaking has resulted in him losing the lead within a lap or two, despite having the single-lap pace to score poles in Spain and Bahrain. But the chances of a return to the status quo in Montreal are pretty strong… unless Mercedes has been advantaged by attempts by the tyre supplier to mollify the Silver Arrows after much complaining, particularly in the German media.

I’ve been a strong supporter of Pirelli all along, but I must say that reports that they ran a secret three-day test with Mercedes after the Spanish GP have left a bad taste. Such a test, using the current car, is patently illegal under the regulations, as were earlier suggestions that, after complaints from Red Bull and Mercedes, the rubber compounds were to be changed as from the Canadian race. The FIA pointed out that the 2013 tyres had all been approved by the teams at a test in September last year, and the rules forbid such a change, unless on safety grounds. So all Pirelli is allowed to do is take steps to prevent a recurrence of a few delaminations that have happened so far this season, though many suggest that these have simply been the result of cars picking up accident debris.

Anyway, full marks to Nico Rosberg for a brilliant drive. Although the manner in which he won was different from that of has ol’ man all those years ago, the achievement was on the same level. Now all he has to do is go on to win a world championship!

Hamilton wins Hungary, but beware the Iceman

Formula One went into its mid-season break with Fernando Alonso way out in front of the standings on 164 points. But, after a strong drive at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the final race before the recess, observers are tipping Lotus-Renault and Kimi Raikkonen as potential contenders for the title, despite the Finnish former world champion’s 48-point deficit to the Spanish points-leader.

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Alonso battles the Bulls to take F1 Germany

Is Fernando Alonso set to ‘go clear’ in the battle for this year’s world championship? There’s no doubt that, on current form, the Spanish four-wheel ‘torero’ is the pick of the field. Sadly, however, his masterly display in the German Grand Prix has taken a back seat to news reports about rule wrangles affecting reigning champion Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull Renault team.

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