FIA tells Williams exhaust solution is not legal

Williams have been told by the FIA that the exhaust solution for their FW35 car is not legal.

It was already believed a similar solution for the Coanda-effect exhaust on Caterham’s 2013 car definitely falls foul of this year’s rules. Williams’ chief designer Mike Coughlan said in Barcelona on Tuesday, where the team’s new Renault-powered car was revealed and tested for the first time, that he was confident the FW35 complied.

In fact, the two solutions were very similar, but the Williams one more cleverly exploited a loophole about aerodynamics-influencing apertures.

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting was at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, and according to Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt, “it was rumoured Williams had got the FIA’s blessing” before revealing its solution.

“It may be a technicality,” Mercedes’ Ross Brawn is quoted as saying, “but if you read the rules word for word, Williams is on the safe side.”

But Schmidt reported: “This is not the case.”

Schmidt even quoted Whiting as saying both the Caterham and the Williams solution indeed “violate” the rules.

A Williams spokesperson confirmed: “The team spoke with the FIA this morning, which is when they gave us their view.

“The team are now seeking further clarification on this and a decision as to whether this design will be carried forward will be made before the first race.”

Source:GMM

Two more 2013 cars pass FIA crash tests

The monocoque of two more F1 teams’ 2013 cars have passed the mandatory FIA crash tests.

According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, one of them is Mercedes’ W04, to be raced next year by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The report said the silver single seater will have a new and smaller gearbox, totally different sidepods for the Coanda exhaust, and rear suspension designed to be flexible to geometry changes if required to suit Pirelli’s new tyres.

Meanwhile, Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo said the successor to Ferrari’s 2012 car has also passed the FIA’s monocoque crash tests.

Earlier this month, Sauber became the first team to announce that its new car, the C32, had passed the FIA crash tests and was therefore clear to begin winter testing in February.

Source:GMM

FIA feared F1 to be too slow in 2014

F1’s governing body backtracked on aerodynamic changes for the 2014 season because of fears the next generation of cars would be too slow.

After the recent World Motor Sport Council meeting in Turkey, the FIA announced that scheduled bodywork rule changes for 2014 to reduce downforce have been replaced by “2012 specification”.

“There was concern that formula one cars would become too slow,” read a report by the authoritative German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

One problem is that the all-new turbo V6 and energy recovery systems will add considerable weight – and more than initially expected – to the 2014 single seaters.

With the 2014 rules, the FIA is reportedly aiming to slow down the F1 cars by no more than five seconds per lap.

Any more than that, the German report claimed, runs the risk that formula one could be genuinely outpaced by Le Mans prototype cars, or the US-based Indycars.

Sacked F1 doctor admits fury at FIA

Gary Hartstein has admitted his fury at F1’s governing body.

Last month, the 57-year-old American revealed on Twitter that the Jean Todt-led FIA had decided not to renew his contract as F1’s chief doctor beyond 2012. He said at the time: “Not sure about the ‘why’s’ of the decision, but not down to me to know.”

But Hartstein’s tone changed radically this week, when he admitted to his almost 8,000 Twitter followers that he is “righteously pissed off” to have lost his job.

“I might launch a crusade to get some answers, or get my f***ing job back, or let the world know what’s really going on on the medical side of the FIA. “Understand this: I am not bitter or sad,” Hartstein insisted. “I am seriously angry. And that’s bad.

“Not sure how or when, but there’s dark clouds a-gatherin’. This is gonna be a f***ing blast!”

Source:GMM

FIA completing push for more F1 revenue

The FIA is close to completing a successful push for a bigger slice of F1’s financial pie, according to a report by the expert financial source Bloomberg.

Citing ‘two people familiar with the situation’, the media report said the now Jean Todt-led Paris federation is set to boost its coffers to about $40 million per year. That represents a 40 per cent revenue increase, thanks to a new deal with F1’s owner CVC and much higher entry fees paid by successful teams like Red Bull.

Bloomberg said the reigning champion team, for example, will pay $3.3 million simply to enter the 2013 championship, which is ten times what it paid last year. Runners-up Ferrari’s 2013 entry bill is a reported $2.5 million.

“They (the FIA) are harvesting: they’re trying to make as much money as possible while it’s there,” said sports marketing strategy professor Simon Chadwick, of Coventry University.

One of the unnamed sources said the new CVC agreement will benefit the FIA to the tune of about $25 million. But former FIA president Max Mosley – Frenchman Todt’s predecessor – cast doubt on suggestions F1’s governing body is in dire need of more money.

He said the FIA has “always balanced the books”, and kept almost $40 million in the bank.

“The FIA isn’t in financial difficulty,” Mosley insisted.

Source:GMM

Ferrari checked with FIA before changing Austin grid

Nov.19 (GMM) Stefano Domenicali had his head held high when he answered a clear “yes” to a post-race question from the media on Sunday.

Just before the race, Ferrari’s team boss had approved mechanics breaking a seal on Felipe Massa’s gearbox not to fix the unit, but simply to create a penalty that would benefit Fernando Alonso.

Asked if that is within the so-called ‘spirit’ of the rules, Domenicali insisted: “Yes, otherwise I would not have done it.

“It is something that is within our possibility to do it,” said the Italian, revealing that the famous Maranello based team even checked with the FIA beforehand.

As ever in F1, the purists were split over the decency of the Massa sabotage, but most had to agree that legendary team founder Enzo Ferrari would have approved.

But a rival team boss is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: “That is not what the gearbox rule is for.”

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh was happy to put his name to his critique.

“Lest we forget, when Fernando was with us it was not doing those things that meant that Fernando left us,” he said.

“You all have to go racing the way you see fit. But I think if I had qualified on the fast side of the grid and then been moved to the slow side I would have been very pissed off.”

Britain’s Daily Mail said the Massa drop is “at odds with the wider sporting ethos”, while the Times said F1 should be about racing on track “as fairly as possible”.

Domenicali pointed out that Ferrari was at least honest.

“We could have easily simulated something but we wanted to be completely transparent. If another team boss said we did not make the right decision, he’s lying.”

Indeed, Domenicali said Ferrari made the decision so late in the day because there were rumours Red Bull was ready to respond by breaking into Mark Webber’s gearbox.

“That’s part of the strategic decisions. It’s part of the game,” he insisted.

Massa, who has signed on for another year in 2013, took the decision on the chin but admitted he was not “jumping for joy”. “It’s difficult to find a driver like me,” smiled the 31-year-old, whose countryman, friend and former Ferrari number 2 Rubens Barrichello was in the paddock on Sunday.

Soucrce:GMM

FIA not renewing F1 doctor Hartstein’s contract

F1 is replacing its chief doctor, Gary Hartstein.

The 57-year-old American, who has worked alongside the late Sid Watkins since 1997, replaced the retiring Briton altogether in 2005.

Dr Hartstein wrote on Twitter: “Have just been informed that president of the FIA and president of FIA medical commission have decided not to renew my contract.

“Brazil will therefore be my 247th and last Formula One grand prix. It’s been a life-changing experience and something I’ll never forget.”

He added: “Not sure about the ‘why’s’ of the decision, but not down to me to know.”

Source:GMM

FIA reminds drivers to watch their bad language

Formula One teams have been instructed to pull their drivers into line, after world champion Sebastian Vettel and former title winner Kimi Raikkonen swore during their post-race podium interviews in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Speaking to former driver David Coulthard for the ‘world feed’-broadcast new podium interviews at Yas Marina, Raikkonen said the word “sh*t” and Red Bull’s Vettel “f**k”.

“I should just remind our audience that he (Vettel) is speaking in his second language,” Coulthard said immediately on the podium, “and so we apologise for the choice of words.”

But in a letter to team bosses, the FIA’s communications head Norman Howell said it is now their “responsibility to make sure drivers are aware such language has no place during media events”. Howell said the letter was just a “friendly” reminder, but that incidents in the future could lead to disciplinary action, according to a report by the BBC.

Source:GMM

Todt denies FIA to lighten grip on F1

Jean Todt has dismissed suggestions he is willing to loosen the FIA’s grip on Formula One in return for more money.

Ahead of a crucial meeting between the FIA president, Bernie Ecclestone and the teams in Paris on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported speculation Frenchman Todt will agree to trade some of the federation’s rule-making power for a bigger share of the sport’s financial pie.

“For me,” Todt said, “the FIA must have a bigger impact, not erosion.

“It makes me smile when I read that we are going to lose control … I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anybody else.”

It is rumoured that one way Todt will boost the FIA’s coffers is by increasing the cost of the entry fees for F1 teams.

“We cannot be a federation without having any revenue. So where do we find our revenues?” he said.

At the same time, he said he has been “a bit disappointed” by the teams’ efforts to reduce costs, insisting he will “expect more drastic proposals” to come.

Todt said he has asked 2014 engine suppliers Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes to also “take that (reducing costs) into consideration”.

Max Mosley, who backed Todt to succeed him when he stepped down as FIA president a few years ago, is slightly critical of the former Ferrari boss’s approach.

“At the moment maybe he’s a little bit too reluctant to confront,” Mosley told Sky Sports. “He seeks consensus. It’s good to have consensus but sometimes you’ve got to get them (the teams) to just do something.”

Source:GMM

FIA putting a lid on aggressive drivers

Romain Grosjean may not be racing this weekend, but his name was still triggering a lot of conversation at Monza on Thursday.

Lotus’ Frenchman is serving a one-race ban for the Spa crash a week ago, and most paddock pundits believe the FIA is also ready to clamp down on Pastor Maldonado’s shaky driving in 2012.

The Venezuelan will already serve a 10-place grid penalty on Sunday’s grid.

“This year the stewards seem to be harder, not just for me but generally,” the Williams driver is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “We have to respect that and adapt to it.”

Mentioning Grosjean or Maldonado’s names to pundits throughout the Monza paddock, and the answer is unanimous: ‘Aggressive’.

“It is one of my characteristics, some like it; some don’t,” Maldonado said. “It’s difficult to say ‘now I will get this style or I will change that’. I need to think more and evaluate more the situation in the car,” he acknowledged.

Some think Grosjean’s ban is harsh, some say fair, but it is unanimously agreed that the FIA is laying down the law about those sorts of incidents needing to stop.

“Yes, there have been a lot of mistakes this year; things that you just wouldn’t imagine happening at this level,” Spa winner Jenson Button told F1’s official website. “Maybe this is a good thing to show people that it won’t be tolerated because we are still racing in a dangerous sport.”

Like it or not, it is believed that further action in the area of driving cockpit protection is now inevitable.

The paddock is split.

Michael Schumacher told German reporters that he thinks a forward roll-hoop or a canopy – whatever solution – “must be the future”.

Sebastian Vettel is less enthusiastic, but he agrees: “It is probably unavoidable now. I’m not a big fan of it, but probably if you had the chance to choose in the moment when someone comes flying at you, everybody chooses the closed option. Therefore it will not take too long before we have it.”

Source:GMM