Tag Archives: 2013

New Noses Could Cause ‘Submarine’ Crashes, Warns Newey

Red Bull’s chief technical officer, Adrian Newey, has warned that the new mandatory low nose cones could cause cars to ‘submarine’ in a crash.

In an attempt to stop cars being launched into the air in crashes, the 2014 regulations state that tip of a car’s nose cone must no higher than 185mm, as opposed to 550mm which the previous regulations allowed. Airborne crashes are the final frontier for those trying to make F1 safer, with crashes like Mark Webber’s airborne adventure in Valencia 2010 or the pile-up in Belgium in 2012 all caused by cars mounting other cars.

However, Adrian Newey has warned that the opposite could occur in a crash, and cars could be forced down – potentially prompting a more dangerous situation.

“The regulation has been introduced following some research by the FIA which suggests that nose height reduces the chances of cars being launched,” Newey told reporters in Jerez, where the first of three pre-season tests are ongoing.

“So the accident that Mark had when he hit the back of Kovalainen in Valencia a few years ago. I must admit I am concerned that the opposite may now happen, that cars submarine effectively. So if you hit the back of the car square-on, you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face which I think is a much worse scenario.

“And there have been some accidents where you think if a low nose would have possibly made things much worse? There was the accident a couple of years ago where Schumacher spun at the first corner and somebody mounted him – with a low nose that might that have made that worse.

“I guess it’s like all these things; it might help in some scenarios, it hurts in others. It’s one which I must admit I’m personally not in favour of.”

Aside from the job that the new noses are supposed to do, much has been made by the aesthetics of the new rule. With most teams opting to put a pole sticking down from the main nose cone instead of affecting aerodynamics by putting the entire nose cone close to the ground, the finished product looks like a cucumber hanging from the car.

Image courtesy Getty Images.

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Caterham Confirm Kobayashi And Ericsson For 2014

Kamui Kobayashi (left), Robin Frijns (center), Marcus Ericsson (right)

Caterham today finalized their 2014 line-up, becoming the last team on the grid to do so.

After announcing on Monday night that Charles Pic had left the team, Caterham announced that they were on the verge of announcing their pairing. Giedo van der Garde, the team’s 2013 driver, then confirmed that he was off to Sauber to act as the reserve and test driver for the Swiss outfit.

With last year’s drivers gone, it was widely expected that Kamui Kobayashi would be back on the grid with the team in green – and this was confirmed this morning. Marcus Ericsson, who finished sixth in last year’s GP2 Championship, was confirmed as the team’s second driver.

Dutchman Robin Frijns was also wearing green today after the team named him as their reserve driver.

“It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it’s with Caterham F1 Team,” Kobayashi said today. “We’ve been talking to Cyril [Abiteboul] and Tony [Fernandes] since last year about driving for the team for 2014 and beyond. 

“Throughout all our discussions I’ve been very impressed with where they want to take the team and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals. For me, it’s a great honour that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms and the experience I have. 

“I am so happy that I am able to make this announcement today. I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets.”

His team-mate, Marcus Ericsson, said “This is a very proud day for me and everyone who has helped make my F1 dream come true.” 

“I’ll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham F1 Team in 2014 and I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular. It’s obviously great for Sweden that we’ll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014. This is what I’ve been working for since I first started racing karts back when I was nine years old, and now I know I’m ready for the step up to F1. 

“Caterham is a young team and together we can take on the challenges the new rules will present in 2014 – learning together and continuing to develop as the season progresses.”

Kobayashi drove with Toyota and Sauber until 2012, when he lost his drive over financial issues. Ericsson won the German Feature Race in GP2 in 2012. He was crowned champion of Formula BMW UK in 2007 and Japanese Formula Three in 2009.

Image courtesy Caterham F1 Team

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Lotus Confirm Absence From First Pre-Season Test

2013 Chinese Grand Prix - Saturday

Lotus are the first team to confirm that they will not attend the first of three pre-season tests.

The Enstone based team were recently rumoured to be in financial trouble with speculation that they may fold before the season kicks off in March. They had previously asked the FIA for a week-long delay to the first test, which was denied.

“We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” Lotus technical director Nick Chester said. “We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development programme.

“We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.”

He also confirmed that the team have completed several of the mandatory crash tests, “We’ve made very good progress with the various homologation tests which took place before Christmas including chassis squeeze and side impact loading tests as well as the rear crash structure, meaning we just have the nose test to complete the car’s homologation.

“We’ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain and Pastor. Certainly, our partners who have seen the car have reported themselves to be very impressed with the layout and various solutions to the new technical challenges.”

The decision to skip the test could be costly for Lotus with the huge shift in regulations towards a ‘greener’ F1 necessitating every possible mile of testing. Lotus will instead have to wait until the second test in Bahrain before they get any on-track feedback.

The first test begins in Jerez on the 28th of January and will be followed by two more in Bahrain. The season gets underway in Australia on the 16th of March .

Image courtesy Lotus F1 Team

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Schumacher Fell Trying To Help A Friend, Says His Manager

Sabhine Kehm, Michael Schumacher’s agent, has described how Schumacher’s accident occurred while trying to help a friend.

Schumacher, 44, remains in a medically induced coma today as doctors at the Grenoble hospital fight to save his life. He fell on an unmarked ski slope on Sunday morning, hitting his head on a rock and causing serious head injuries. Doctors today said that his condition had improved slightly, but that he remains critical.

“Michael and a group had been skiing on a slope which was a normal slope.” Ms. Kehm told journalists outside Grenoble hospital. “There was a slope with deep snow. Michael went into that and what people tell me is that he was not going at high-speed.”

“It seemed that he had helped a friend that had just fallen. So he started to ski again and went into deep snow, and apparently, this is what we guess, he hit a rock which he had not seen when he wanted to do a curve and he was catapulted in the air and he fell down hitting another rock which was extreme bad luck and circumstance.”

“I’ve spoken with several people and ski teachers and they tell me it can happen at even 10 kilometres per hour, it is just very unfortunate.”

She also told of how a journalist, whose identity has not been revealed, disguised himself as a priest in an attempt to get into Schumacher’s room yesterday.

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Doctors Report ‘Slight Improvement’, But Warn Schumacher Still Critical

Doctors treating Michael Schumacher in Grenoble have today said that the 44-year-old has shown a slight improvement, but warned that he is still in a critical condition.

Schumacher has been in a medically induced coma since Sunday morning after suffering a ski fall at the Meribel Ski Resort in France. Upon arriving at Grenoble, he underwent immediate surgery to alleviate pressure on his brain.

After examinations on Monday night, doctors noticed an unexpected improvement in Schumacher’s condition and discovered a large hematoma on the left side of his brain which they could access. They conducted a surgery at 10pm on Monday and this helped to relieve the inter-cranial pressure.

“There was one hematoma that was larger and more accessible, so we were able to get rid of it without any risk,” said Dr. Emmanual Gay in a press-conference this morning. “Thanks to that we were better able to control inter-cranial pressure. There’s still a lot of hemorrhaging.”

They say that Schumacher’s condition has stabilised and that they will keep him in a coma until his condition improved. However, they said that a number of lesions remain on his brain which make it impossible to give a prognosis.

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Schumacher In Critical Condition After Skiing Accident

Michael Schumacher is in a coma as a result of head trauma sustained in an accident at a ski resort in France. His condition was tonight described as ‘critical’.

The accident happened when Schumacher and his son, Mick, were skiing on an unmarked slope at the Meribel ski resort. Schumacher fell and hit his head on a rock. Rescue workers were at the scene within minutes and immediately requested an air-ambulance to transport Schumacher to the local Moutiers hospital.

After arriving at the hospital, Schumacher was then forwarded to Grenoble hospital where he remains. A French neurologist, Gerard Saillant, who is also close friends with Schumacher, was rushed to the his bedside, where his wife Corinna and his two children already held vigil.

His condition was initially described as “not very serious”, by the Meribel resort director, Gernignon Christophe Lecomte. However, this claim was contradicted by the local mountain guard who reported Schumacher’s condition as being “relatively serious” but not life threatening.

Schumacher’s agent, Sabine Kehm, then released a short statement in which she said, “Michael fell on his head during a private ski trip in the French Alps. He was hospitalised and is receiving medical care. We ask for your understanding that we cannot give a running commentary on his state of health.” 

An official update was scheduled for 8pm local time, but the hospital then cancelled the press conference and Schumacher’s management was due to release a written statement shortly afterwards, which did not come for some time.

At almost twenty-to-eleven local time, Schumacher’s management broke the news that he was in a coma following major head injuries he suffered in the fall. They classified his condition as ‘critical’ and said that he required urgent neurological treatment upon arrival at Grenoble.

No further details have yet been released.

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Tyre Explosion At Pirelli Test

Paul Hembery (Pirelli) stands beside 2013 compounds

Nico Rosberg today took to Twitter to report a tyre explosion at the three-day Pirelli tyre test in Bahrain.

The test, which is being held to establish a grounding for both tyre supplier and teams for the coming season, features six teams, including Mercedes who nominated Rosberg as their driver for all three days.

“Just spun at full speed 320km/h on Bahrain straight cause my tire blew up without warning,” Rosberg tweeted before hastily deleting it.

In their press release this afternoon, Pirelli said, “This morning Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again.”

They also moved to quell fears over the safety of the tyres, “Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next Championship is not in question. The accident which happened to Rosberg’s car is being investigated and the findings will be communicated to the FIA and the teams.”

The Pirelli tyres came under much criticism after the Silverstone Grand Prix which saw numerous tyre explosions in the opening laps prompting a red flag. Rosberg’s team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, was the biggest loser – losing his comfortable lead at his home Grand Prix following a spontaneous explosion.

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