Now JV says drivers needs to shut up! JV of all people

Just when I reference Jacques Villeneuve, 24 hours later he completely destroys my recollection of his outspoken stance on Formula 1 when he was a driver. It’s like having a front wing torn off at turn one this season only to recall that Pastor Maldonado isn’t on the grid or like suggesting that Lena Dunham should win an Oscar only to recall that she’s got the acting range of a Daisy Air Rifle or like suggesting that I am a crap driver only to watch me set a lap record at Sonoma under the keen tutelage of Paul Charsley (that didn’t happen and it wasn’t Paul’s fault, trust me).

Nope, I just said in this piece that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are starting to call out F1 on its decision-making process and what’s plaguing the series. I suggested that this reminded me of JV when he was never short of an opinion about the sport.

Not 24 hours later and I see AUTOSPORT run a story in which JV says, like Bernie Ecclestone, that the drivers need to shut up a little bit:

“The way the drivers have been complaining is terrible for F1,” he said. “It’s not their problem.

“They should just shut up. It’s not their problem how good or bad the show is on TV.

“They should just get on with their job.

“In a classroom, how many of your classmates would be able to make educated decisions? Not many.

“Take a group of 20 drivers. Take maybe two of them and the rest should just shut up.

“So why would you want to give them power?”

Seriously? This is a guy, who in baggie Nomex, had an opinion on just about everything in F1 and beyond. He never shied away from telling it like it was and it’s one thing I appreciated about him. He was critical (right or wrong) when he felt the system was out of bounds.

This is a bit of a pot/kettle thing if you ask me. JV has remained vocal about F1’s ills even when he had no ride or was toying with the idea of driving stock cars in Brazil or winning the soapbox derby championship in Salt Lick Iowa for crying out loud. He’s been a staple of the press and media outlets that need a good and oft times controversial quote.

They got one from him now but I’ll be honest, It wouldn’t have thought it would be slating drivers for speaking their minds because that was a hallmark of his era in F1.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

Thanks to formula1blog.com

Alonso out of Bahrain GP, Vandoorne in

It’s been a tough beginning to the season for Fernando Alonso in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. After the massive crash in this season’s opening race in Australia, Alonso has had further medical tests and McLaren released a statement:

“Following an examination undertaken this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit Medical Centre, it has been decided that McLaren Honda F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso should not take part in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Two sets of chest CT scans were compared and it was decide that there was insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete on safety grounds.

“A repeat chest scan has been requested before the Chinese Grand Prix and the results will be considered before allowing him to race there.”

I’m not sure what issue this statement is referring to with regards to his chest but my immediate worry was concussion given the violent nature of the wreck and compound with his concussion from last years incident (that prompted him to miss the first race of the 2015 season), I was very concerned about the cumulative effect. There is no mention of a concussion in the McLaren statement, rather concerns over his chest.

Reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will now stand in for Alonso and make his debut in Formula 1 at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race of the season.

Via formula1blog

Lewis says what we’re all thinking (saying)

Most, but not all of us, have been saying this for the better part of seven years now and it’s never taken root in the decision making in Formula 1 because, in my mind, of two reasons.

Less aero which should beget less aero wake and more mechanical grip for more overtaking. At least that’s our consistent refrain. After all these years, the sport has not changed the levels we feel is needed to achieve this.

With all deference to F1, they have reduced some aero but not enough because teams continually claw back much of the lost aero through crafty interpretation of the regulations.

Reason One

Aerodynamics is the least expensive way to claw serious time out of an F1 car. Sure, it’s expensive but not as expensive as other more radical means like an all-new hybrid engine development program or changing wheel size and drastically altering the entire chassis design. Before you heap scorn on me, I’ve spoken with a few key engineers in the sport who have told me this, I’m not making it up so it isn’t just my silly hunch here.

Reason Two

Teams know that big gains can be made through magical interpretation of the regulation via aero tricks when the FIA makes big changes to the technical regulations. They still recall 2009 when Brawn GP showed up with a dual diffuser and rubbed everyone’s nose in the dirt over a relatively inexpensive stroke of genius. They also don’t want to eliminate their current performance advantages or mothball their enormous wind tunnels they spent millions on.

Reason Lewis

Leave it to our friend Lewis Hamilton to say what other drivers won’t and certainly team boss won’t or can’t.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the rules and whether the drivers should be more involved in decision making,” Hamilton said. “It’s not our job to come up with ideas and we all have different opinions anyway.

“But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.

“I speak as somebody who loves this sport and loves racing. I don’t have all the answers – but I know that the changes we’re making won’t deliver better racing.”

Good on him I say! It’s great Lewis has the brand equity at this stage in his career to call it out when it needs calling out.

It’s not a popular opinion and I know this but it may be one of the biggest ways to get F1 back on track and fans reinvigorated again.

We’ve done the hybrid sustainable thing and the gimmicky baubles like HD Tires and DRS so let’s try something different for the next 4 or 5 years. What do ya say? It couldn’t be any worse could it? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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Jock Clear: Ferrari title would be greatest

I’m a bit of a fan boy, admittedly, but I also feel like Ferrari are doing a lot of the right things to get the team positioned for moving back to winning ways. Whether that was all down to the draconian acts of Sergio Marchionne or simply the culmination of what was already set in motion prior to the exodus of Ferrari senior management, it did leave a vacancy that was cleverly filled by Jock Clear.

Jock is no stranger to F1 having been Jacques Villeneuve’s engineer as well as Lewis Hamilton’s at Mercedes. Now he is the engineering director for Ferrari and says that winning the title here would be the biggest in his storied career:

“The championship that I’m going to win with Ferrari is going to be at a new level,” said Clear, who will be responsible for trackside operations at his new team.

“It will be better than we ever were when I won championships with other teams and that’s the same for all of us.

“What I know about winning championships is no longer enough to win championships so I have to evolve as well.

“I’m not coming here and saying ‘I know what you need to do to win the championship’ because that won’t work anymore.

“I’m developing with the team and we’re confident we’re developing in a direction to win a championship with Ferrari.”

Jock says that James Allison has done a terrific job of getting the team motivated and ready to win and win they have. With the sublime driving talents of Sebastian Vettel—a driver who has also slipped into the racing team like a hand in a Mechanix glove—won three races last year and led for the first 17 laps of this season’s opening race in Australia.

Can they win more than three races this year? Many F1 pundits believe they will and some even believe they may put up a serious fight against Mercedes. I’ll reserve my optimism for mid-summer but it does appear that Jock and the team are heading in the right direction.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

Source: formula1blog.com

Fastest street circuit in F1?

Long-time Formula 1 circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, has done a quick Q&A about the new circuit in Baku. While some folks have been scratching their heads about the race itself, it seems that if Herman has this right, it could be an interesting circuit nonetheless. Here’s Hermann:

What was your first thought when you heard of the opportunity to build a street circuit in Baku? At the time I first heard about the opportunity to build a street circuit in Baku, I had no idea about the city. After my first visit to Baku I was left with just one thought: Amazing! From the very first moment, I was really proud to be a part of the project and the team here.

How long ago were you approached by FIA to design the track for Baku? We have been working on this project since June 2014 and at this stage we are beginning to get really excited. It`s only a few months to go and we can’t wait!

When did you first visit Baku? My first time in Baku was in June 2014. I was really surprised in a positive way. Baku is fascinating. I had a really warm welcome.

What makes Baku City Circuit so unique? Baku City Circuit stands out due to many factors: Baku will be the world’s fastest city circuit and the track loop around the city’s historical centre will create a unique and remarkable atmosphere for fans watching in the grandstands and at home. The City Circuit of Baku is located in a vibrant city. The streets are really narrow and this is exactly what makes it so appealing.

What was the most challenging part of the Baku City Circuit construction process? The most challenging task was to come up with an idea for the routing of a city track, which will be suitable for F1 in Baku. City circuits are always challenging to build, because the team has to construct the racetrack within the city. Various problems arise when designing a circuit in the city. But together with the Baku City Circuit team we successfully solved every problem!

What is the most similar track to Baku City Circuit? There is no track like Baku City Circuit –  it will be one of the most exciting ones on the calendar. Baku, of course, is not comparable with any of the permanent circuits, because it is a city circuit. But even when compared to city circuits, Baku is unique.

Baku City Circuit is expected be the fastest street circuit on the F1 calendar. What is the average lap time expected to be? We calculated a lap time of 101 seconds, but that depends on the individual set-up of the racing cars and on the developments of this year’s new cars.

What is the expected speed in the most challenging sequence of turns on the track, beginning at Turn 8? The brake point in front of Turn 8 is V max= 204km/h. Between T8 and T9 we expect a V min of 86 km/h.

What impact did the culture and history of the city have on your design?  The culture and history of Baku is the framework for Baku City Circuit’s design. The layout of the track is designed to show off the beauty of the historic and modern views and sights of Baku.

How often do you collaborate with Baku City Circuit team? How are preparations going? We constantly collaborate with the Baku City Circuit team. We are pleased to work with such amazing colleagues. The atmosphere between all participants is just great. The entire team will work until the last minute, but everything is currently on time.

What can F1 fans expect when they visit Baku City Circuit this June? Baku fans can expect a remarkable atmosphere at and around the Baku City Circuit. I can’t wait to see the race take place now!

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