When your average Viking was slain (messily) in battle, a complicated business followed. A valkyrie would arrive (presumably with a clipboard), alerted by mystical forces. Valkyries are female. Their role is to guide dead warriors to one of two places, depending on their mood. The cool place for a dead Viking to go with his valkyrie is Valhalla, a sort of hall of fame for newly-departed Norsemen.
The mythology has all been confused by Aston Martin, which likes to have cars with names beginning with V. The Vegetarian, Vanilla, Vacuum, Va-va-voom, Vesper and Verruca may be still to come, but the recent models have been the Valkyrie, followed by the Valhalla.
I guess this is because Valkyries have been cool since the days when Francis Ford Coppola used Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie, from his Der Ring des Nibelungen series of operas, as background music in his drug-influenced but impressive Apocalypse Now movie.
Anyway, before there was a united Germany, there were lots of Germanic folk in search of a nation to belong to, and some felt that they should unite and become one nation, rather than slaughtering one another. It was a good idea.
While this process was going on Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) came up with the idea of creating a hall of fame for eminent German sovereigns, politicians, scientists and artists and decided it should be called Walhalla (Germans pronounce W as V). Ludwig believed that a hall of fame needed a hall (which is not the case today) and so funded the construction of a neo-classical box, atop a hillside overlooking the Danube, to the east of Regensburg, where he put busts of famous Germanics. It isn’t exactly Disneyland… but it happens to be just off my usual route to the Austrian Grand Prix and so this year I stopped off to check it out.
The purpose of this visit was really to get away from the vast numbers of Dutch cars that were pottering down the autobahn towards Passau. It was reckoned that there were 55,000 Dutch folk in Austria, following the cult of Verstappen. This has created other problems in Styria, which was not designed to have 55,000 Dutch all visiting on the same weekend. The result of this was that while many of the orange-folk stayed in camper vans, tents, transit vans, or simply lay where they fell, others booked every available room for many miles around, and there are not that many… This year the first available hotel I found when I first looked was 120 km from the track, admittedly on the motorway. But this was ridiculous and so I kept looking and found something about 40km away. It looked fine, but I didn’t really check. I was happy to have it, whatever it was. We learn lessons in life and I discovered that the route between Zeltweg and the oddly-named Maria Lankowitz is about 40 km, but it has to climb up the Lavanttal Alps, through the Gaberl Pass. The road made the old Nurburgring look dull. I did it eight times in total and to pass the time I counted 215 corners (all quite quick). By the end of the weekend, I had concluded that it was roads like this which nurtured talents such as Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda, Gerhard Berger and Helmut Marko. What I also discovered was that of the 16 Austrian F1 drivers, four went to the same school: Rindt, Marko, Lauda and Harald Ertl. It was a place in the town of Bad Aussee, designed to get troublesome children back on the straight and narrow. This was run by a man who could have been a character from a John Le Carré novel. His name was Wilhelm Höttl, who in addition to being an author, he had served with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the rather nasty security service of the SS, in Hungary during the war. Höttl was clever and recognising that he did not have much of a future, offered his services to the Americans and became a key witness against SS members in the Nuremberg Trials. After that the Americans used him to organise a couple of anti-communist spy networks in Austria and then let him run his school. Instilling some discipline in wild youngsters was probably not such a big deal for a man with such a background, but whatever he did, the school produced young men who knew how to get what they wanted…
Marko runs the Red Bull operations with an iron fist and if you do not do the job he wants, you get axed without emotion, even if it means that your career is over. He has made a lot of stars and destroyed a few others, who did not fit his view of what makes a great racing driver. The man behind Marko’s empire is Dietrich Mateschitz, who has created all things Red Bull. The next big deal was going to be announced last weekend but faffing about at the FIA (and some can-kicking by rival manufacturers) has meant that the 2026 engine regulations are still not yet finished and no-one is announcing anything until these are set in concrete. And so Porsche’s F1 plans will have to wait – and Audi’s as well. Some rapid action would now be a good idea as there are others who are thinking along similar lines.
This has combined with a subtle industry-wide acceptance that electric cars are not perhaps the immediate future – and the Tesla share price has been trending downwards for some months. The problem is that in this world of judgmental idealists with social media tools, no-one wants to admit that the only really sensible step today is efficient hybrids with synthetic fuels, which will buy the industry more time to get electric cars to a point where people want to buy them. F1 completely failed to tell the world about its amazing engines back in 2014, but the car manufacturers have now begun to realise (and accept) that F1 got it right.
The true genius in F1 came after that when Chase Carey talked the teams into accepting a budget cap, thus ending the unlimited spending that had driven the car manufacturers away. Now, they are looking at F1 and seeing a business that will not only put value in to their firms, but will promote their activities as well. It really is a win-win despite the best efforts of those who want to go on spending crazy amounts to stay ahead. One might add that when you boil it all down, some of the teams these days are frightened of Porsche. Anyway, the new engines will be simpler, cheaper and more relevance for series production and when one adds this to the sport’s advertising power and its growth in new markets – team ownership is not a bad idea, which is why the value of teams has sky-rocketed.
The problem is that those who did not seen the opportunity have now missed the boat and if they want to get involved they will have to pay more. But for big manufacturers the billion they need to get into the game is no big deal, while for some of those currently involved, landing that kind of money for selling the team makes a heap of sense.
This is not just conjecture because in Austria, the entire top management of Honda popped up in the paddock, led by President Toshihiro Mibe, chairman Seiji Kuraishi, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe and the man in charge of Honda’s F1 efforts Yasuaki Asaki. I don’t think it is unfair to say that Honda screwed up in 2020 when the firm decided that it should focus on electric cars and quit F1, agreeing to sell its IP to Red Bull. That was a decision taken by Takahiro Hachigo, the then president. And guess what, in the finest tradition of Honda in F1, the next year saw success… Hachigo was politely shown a different future by Honda in April last year and the signs are that Mibe may reverse the decision, but now he must find a team to take over. Several are for sale if the sum of money offered is sufficiently high.
Another rumour that has popped up in recent days, as the result of a possible road car deal between McLaren and BMW, has been the suggestion that the Munich firm might come back to F1, in order to compete head-on with rivals Mercedes, Porsche and Audi.
McLaren and BMW have long history back to the F1 supercar programme in the 1990s. McLaren does not have the money to do its own F1 engine programme, so perhaps falling into bed with BMW might be a good idea.
For the moment Formula 1 is still allowing manufacturers to get a free ride in F1 with Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and McLaren all using engines which are coming from elsewhere. How many fans really know that the Alfa Romeo team is really Sauber-Ferrari, that Aston Martin is Aston Martin-Mercedes and that McLaren is also running Mercedes engines? I see a marketing problem with this but not really a problem if manufacturers can get away with it. The word is that Aston Martin will be building its own F1 engines (with help from Aramco), while the Sauber-Ferrari operation will be taken over by Audi. Alfa Romeo will be looking for alternatives – it is interesting to see that Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato was in Austria – and while continuing to use Ferrari engines is a possibility, it might also be sensible for Alfa Romeo’s parent company Stellantis to invest. Why? Because it has 14 different brands that it wants – and needs – to promote. A Stellantis-engine could be branded by several of them… and why not have a Dodge F1 engine alongside an Alfa Romeo or even a Peugeot? If the brands share the cost, it is really not a big deal and Dodge could be portrayed as an American team, which might stop Michael Andretti saying silly things about F1 in interviews because at the moment he cannot find a cheap way into the game. If he turned up and promised to deliver an Andretti-Dodge F1 car, F1 might be more interested in having him aboard. Last summer Stellantis confirmed plans for the launch of a Dodge plug-in hybrid, to be known as the Dodge Hornet, a revamped version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale, and it makes sense to share F1 technology around as well.
But what really gets sales going is not the involvement of a certain manufacturer, but rather the success of a driver. Everyone wants an American now that F1 is getting bigger in the US and Zak Brawn at McLaren seems to be trying to get his team to look very American. In recent days the Colton Herta testing programme has begun with a 2021 McLaren MCL35M being run in Portugal for Herta. Brown says that Daniel Ricciardo is still going to be at McLaren next year, but Herta is obviously someone who might replace the Australian in 2024. It would be lovely to report that Daniel is getting to grips with the car, but after a year and a half with the team, he is still having weekends like Silverstone. It is also interesting to note that the only other driver who is close to Formula 1 – Formula 2 racer Logan Sargeant, a Williams young driver, has recently started looking very good, winning two Feature races (the ones that count), and is now second in the championship, admittedly a ways behind the leader Felipe Drugovich, although he is in his third year of Formula 2.
Of course, everyone would love to have a Chinese driver as well, if we can get a Chinese GP back on the calendar again.
China is a monster market where F1 could make a big impact if Guanyu Zhou does well. Thus far he’s doing a very good job, scoring twice so far but suffering three mechanical failures and the crash in Britain, which was not his fault. In other races he has been hobbled by pit stops that have gone wrong and in which strategy calls did not work out, so while it looks Valtteri Bottas has dominated him, it is worth pointing out that this may not continue. He has out-qualified Bottas on three occasions which is good given their relative F1 experience.
The word is that Zhou will stay where he is next year and Sauber protege Theo Pourchaire has been pretty disappointing. Pourchaire has pace, but expectations were perhaps too high after last year.
F1 does need to sort out China, but it is hard at the moment because of politics. The biggest thing is the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party , which will take place in Beijing in November. No-one really doubts that Xi Jinping, who has ruled the country since 2013, will stay in power, but the big question is who will be around him and whether the same bosses will survive in Shanghai. If not, there have long been rumours of a desire to move the Chinese GP to a street venue in Beijing. But then there is also the question of COVID… If there is a Chinese GP in 2023, it will be in the autumn, which will give the Chinese time to sort out more stuff.
The new calendar is still only chugging along and things may become a little clearer after a meeting between F1 and the Automobile Club de Monaco, which is scheduled for the French GP weekend…
Elsewhere, Sebastian Vettel is beginning to behave more and more like a driver who will be off at the end of the year. His decision to walk out of the Drivers’ Briefing in Austria meant that he has been fined €25,000, although this is suspended for the rest of the season. Vettel fixed things up with Race Director Niels Wittich afterwards, but this is not the act of someone who is trying to build good relations with officials who will probably be around for a while…
Never mind, perhaps he will get a place in Walhalla (the earthly version) instead, although it is not easy and it takes time. Richard Strauss died in 1949 and only got into Walhalla in 1973. Albert Einstein died in 1955 and only snuck into the hall of fame in 1990. Konrad Adenauer, who oversaw the rebuilding of the country after World War II, made it in 1999, 32 years after his death while Johannes Brahms was in transit with his Valkyrie for 103 years before being allowed into Walhalla in 2000.
62 thoughts on “Green Notebook from Walhalla”
So Mario hasn’t retired lol!
Sent from Jan’s iPhone
Sick as a dog.. having read about W Hottle and his pupils. In all the years I’ve known him never heard ab antisemitic remark from Niki and I met him when Max asked me to look after him.
His best friend was was Hungarian Thomas Frank. Jochen and I never had a proper conversation apart from the one regarding the 56 uprising. He claimed to have thrown stones at the Russian Embassy.
Gerhard? Who knows. As for Helmut I could well believe that he was a good pupil and I will leave at that. MUst remind myself to read the green book only from countries with relatively few Nazis.
Am I getting it right:
– Audi taking over Sauber
– Honda buying Alpha Tauri
– Andretti building Dodge from scratch?
And how about Williams?
Who knows if you are right. They don’t even know.
If Vettel does retire (which seems reasonably likely at this point), who is expected to replace him?
Also, is Nicholas Latifi on his way out of Williams?
You should read earlier Green Notebooks
I had read them before.. so I’m guessing little has changed in that respect, right?
Joe, it’s a good job you found lodging and didn’t have to share a bed with some of Max’s orange crowd.
But they might have told you that they know racist chanting is illegal, and rightly so, so they don’t do it. Booing, on the other hand, is not illegal, and if Lewis is going to cry every time they boo then he should leave F1 and do ballet.
(I seem to remember someone else famously advising him to do ballet some years back…)
Joe. Clearly your blog and your rules – but this guy Al Byrn adds nothing.
Thirded! A barnacle if ever I saw one!
Well said Paul.
I think China is challenging – with the strict zero-Covid policy that would be in place for the next five years, including mass mandatory testing and travel restrictions. I can’t see how F1 could commit with such uncertainty, unless there was an obvious backup race?
Hi Joe, the Palou situation seems to have exploded into life! I remember reading about Palou in Super Formula and he was quite hot property then, and now as an indycar champion – would Palou be ahead of O’ Ward and Herta for an F1 seat?
Love these blogs, thoroughly enjoy reading them after every race.
I disagree with your opinion on synthetic fuels though. Even Paddy Lowe admitted that their use is most suited to things like aircraft, motorsport etc, not passenger cars. They are still very expensive, and highly inefficient (when compared to BEV) so best suited to applications where weight is an issue so it’s worth the trade off.
Perhaps they might allow someone to drive their classic porsche into the middle of London, but I don’t see mass adoption of them, unless the cost drops rapidly in the next 5 years.
Happy to be wrong though, we’ll be better off for it.
Like everything the cost will come down as the technology develops and economies of scale kick in.
For me the big question is whether the processes like Paddy is working on can be made economic. The idea of using bio-fuels when there is a finite amount of agricultural land but people don’t have enough food already is delusional, at best, and the idea that we can grow crops instead of meat is also not based on reality either, over 50% of UK land is only suitable for grazing, for example. Electric motor characteristics and cost are better than and IC engine in pretty well every way already but batteries are expensive and heavy. I like plug-in hybrids but they seem out of fashion just now.
Porsche is doing it already and it will scale up its production in a new factory in Tasmania
What Joe the synthesis of CO2 into fuel using sunlight and some patented process, if I understand Paddy correctly?
Lots of people/companies are working on improving the synthesis process, for example developing novel catalysts to reduce the energy “hump” required in the synthesis so the energy required is lower. They have already made discoveries, and they’ll make more.
It is also useful to think of synthetic fuel as an energy store too, a lot of renewable energy production goes to waste, because there is no demand, so having fuel production from renewables is effectively free for energy input at certain times of the day. Makes for better return on capital for the renewable source.
Overall, I think there will be a mixed energy environment for vehicles. Some will run on hydrogen, especially high duty cycle vehicles like HGV/Plant tools, some on synthetic carbon neutral GTL fuels and some on electricity. Especially after EV users start to pay the equivalent duty as exists on petrol & diesel. In the UK EV’s only run ~15% cheaper to run with equivalent duty added into the costs, and that doesn’t consider the additional costs of a beefed up grid and conversion of the generation sources to non fossil fuel, if you added those costs onto EV power then I daresay they’ll be more expensive to run.
Economics of this conversion to EV’s is sorely missing in all of the rhetoric that is out there, again in the UK there needs to be approx 140GW of new generating capacity built to cover the existing fossil fueled capacity and that required to generate electricity for conversion to EV’s. Anybody seen the plan for this? Using the likely best cost for new nuclear (Gen IV reactors etc.) that is likely £140-280B (~£1-2B/GW) or existing gen III PWR type reactors @~£6-10B/GW (think Sizewell C costs).
With all the above, having a mixed “fuel” ecosystem that allows making money on net zero GTL fuels makes a lot of sense, as it can help spread conversion costs over time.
Good point about considering synthetic fuel as energy storage.
The thing for me, though, is how much better electric motors are for cars than IC engines. They don’t need a clutch or multi ratio gearbox because they don’t depend on the vagaries of fluctuating oxygen flow through them, I had been told they were better by my old lecturer in 1969 but needed to try for myself to realise how right he was. Unless you want to make a lot of noise, and even that isn’t as nice now we have fewer cylinders and turbos…
I have been running a hybrid as well as my normal car for 17 years now and ordered an EV a year ago but am still waiting for it to be made 😦
Aston Martin Va-va-voom? Hmmm… grows on you.
Although Colton Herta is young (22) he is not pulling up many trees in Indycar to warrant an F1 seat. I have seen a few races – his win on the Indy road course was a good, skillful, mature drive on a wet day – but nothing else looks much beyond “steady”. He is in 10th place in the standings, a long way back, after 9 races, of which only 2 were speedways.
If you look back at those that made it to F1, they had some strong, if not dominant results in lesser series which lit up the way for them.
Logan Sargeant is starting to look the deal in F2. He won the Austria feature race when finishing 3rd but showed some real style in coming from well back on a wet /dry track. ( and yes, I would equate F2’s competitiveness the equal, if not better than Indycar…)
Dear Zak,…take a peek elsewhere mate…
I agree about Herta and would add Palou and O’Ward as well. The series is being led by Marcus Ericsson, followed by Will Power and Josef Newgarden, all good drivers but none of F1 calibre. I really can’t understand all the fuss over these three young guys.
Agreed Pourchaire has disappointed but the dynamic rise of Algerian Isack Hadjar could ‘put the cat among the pigeons’ fairly soon?
Andrea “Kimi” Antonelli – now doing nothing but winning in F4 – could be the next Ascari.
Given Sargeant’s recent performance, I’d be unsurprised if he becomes a darkhorse Latifi replacement option & since he’s already in the team, he’d be an easier choice than, for example, Piastri in comparison.
Moving Chinese GP to autumn, i.e., its original time of year from 2004-2008, would be very wise as 5+ months longer lead time could prove crucial for probability.
“He has made a lot of stars and destroyed a few others, who did not fit his view of what makes a great racing driver”
It seems to me, that there is increased ammount of pressureis being put on Perez these days. Given his crash in Austria, can we say he cracked and failed to satisfy Marko’s expectations? Thus rendering himself disposable sooner rather than later.
He’s currently third in the table with one win and four second places. This is by far the strongest driver pairing Red Bull have had since Danny Ricc left, and they don’t really have anyone else lined up in their driver programme who could replace him. I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while yet if he keeps up the form he’s shown so far this year.
I think the thing that will keep him employed for another season or so is his apparent willingness – despite his public protestations – to accept a No.2 driver role in the team.
Personally I prefer it when teammates are allowed to fight for position within the team – at least until one has a clear advantage over the other, at which point common sense says that one should support the other; however, no-one can deny that the tactic worked well for Ferrari and Schumacher as well as RB with VET’s 4 WDCs.
Although I have fears of them walking away once again…. Williams might be Honda’s better option.
Haas has also not been mentioned..
Is it plausible for 2026 to see:-
Red Bull (TAG Heuer) Porsche
AlphaTauri Lamborghini (it’s VW owned)
Haas Dodge SRT
The astronomical cost for an engine manufacturer to get into F1 today seems light years away from when, in 1965, Keith Duckworth said that £100,000 would be sufficient to build the DFV. Walter Hayes (Ford UK) came up with the cheque for an engine that won first time out and eventually won it’s last GP in 1983. Talk about value for money for Ford!
Walter Hayes opined that the DFV might win a few races and maybe the odd championship when he casually slipped a request for $323,000* into Any Other Business at a meeting of Ford’s high heidyins. I don’t know how much Henry spent on kicking sand in Ferrari’s face in the 1960s but I’m fairly sure it was a lot more than $323,000…
* about £115,000 at the then-current exchange rate
Good old Honda! It really is another world where car companies chuck this sort of money around without, it appears, a care in the world!
Before this edition of the Green Notebook, I wanted to ask you about Michael Andretti’s efforts to get an F1 entry. However, your comments here are not overly positive. I never expected the resistance he’s run into. Michael’s got the budget, a Renault engine (I suspect his buddy Alonso must have made the right introductions in this regard…) and he’s absolutely ready to go.
Toto Wolf’s position is that new entrants must show proof they can add value to the sport. I would think that an Andretti entry would do just that, especially now with the sport’s growth in the US.
Has F1 reached a stage where the only way to enter is with a new car manufacturer? It seems to me that only a few years ago F1 would have bent over backwards to add a team of Andretti’s stature…
If Michael had what F1 wanted, a way would be found. Obviously he hasn’t yet found what he needs.
Brilliant read as usual. Big thanks to you Joe. F1 seems to be in a really good place now and the prospects also look promising. How large corporations like Honda can make such decisions to walk away from possibly the best communication ride in the automotive world is beyond me! Although not on the same planet as F1, I wonder whether Suzuki’s decision to bail out of MotoGP is not also destined to backfire?
“Marko runs the Red Bull operations with an iron fist and if you do not do the job he wants, you get axed without emotion, even if it means that your career is over. He has made a lot of stars and destroyed a few others, who did not fit his view of what makes a great racing driver.”
And therein lies the problem for Red Bull. The cult (sic) of Verstappen is so overbearing that there are no other drivers coming through for them.
The underlying worry with an increasing reliance on manufacturers is that- regardless of cost- manufacturers who aren’t winning lose interest and wander off. I hope the new engine regs prevent this happening, but I fear history just repeats itself.
Looking at F2 and F3 half the field seem to be carrying RB colours and even more seem to have the logo on their racesuits!
Joe, Such a fun read, love the Green Book articles.
Joe, IIRC in one of your earlier blogs you mentioned that ‘option contracts’ often have an end-of-July deadline so that drivers have time to seek employment elsewhere if necessary; do you know if this is the case with Piastri?
They can also be end of August, end of September… etc
“Zak Brawn” is this a typo or a humorous aside? 🙂
Say what you will but they sure have a sense of humour in Austria. A school for wayward kids in a town called Bad Aussee…
Any thoughts on expanding the calendar by adding South Africa? For a country so mired in corruption, disease and poverty, seems a bit insensitive to the realities of the vast majority of the population.
So you just leave it there, or try to help bring about change?
Has the red bull driver pathway really delivered for them over the years? Verstappen was bought-in already on the verge of F1, and as for Perez…! Neither of the Alpha Tauri drivers are going to Red Bull any time soon.
Meanwhile they’ve provided Ferrari, Williams and McLaren with a driver each.
The only true “grow your own champion” success they’ve had is Vettel
Given that, it means Red Bull’s driver pathway has produced 1/4 of the current drivers in F1, including two World Champions.
But (mostly) not for Red Bull, is my point…
Joe, do you know if F1-Management have a view on flares being taken to GPs.? As a fan i would like to be able to see clearly, I would like to be able to breathe without having to breathe in dubious chemicals, I would like to be able to take photographs, as best as you can from the public areas, without it looking like a battlefield scene..with smoke bombs all over the shop
It would be an FIA issue
I am all for new F1 teams joining. They have to add value. Porsche/Audi would definitely add excitement to the show.
With respect to Andretti not sure the team would add value to F1 as a whole. M. Andretti would get an asset that would appreciate quickly if the team manages to launch successfully. Success would be point scoring the 1st year. Anyways, nah I don’t think they are going to let Andretti in easily.
Steve, if you listen to F1 podcasts you will have heard of Tom Clarkson’s Beyond the Grid. If not it’s a must. And among all of Clarkson’s regular gems the Mario Andretti story is probably the best. If you listen to it you might change your mind.
In the team principals’ press conferences at Montreal there was quite a bit of discussion about the TD that was issued post-Baku to address the safety concerns raised by some of the drivers over the ongoing oscillating/porpoising issues of some of the cars. In the conferences there were those teams like Alfa Tauri and Alpine who suggested that there was “an easy solution” for those teams that were experiencing this issue at dangerous levels, with Otmar Szafnaer cutting right to the heart of it saying “we can all run the cars in an unsafe manner but we choose not to”. Fred Vasseur called into question the validity of the TD as a safety issue due to “all the teams are able to stop the bouncing… many it is because they don’t want to do it”. And Jost Capito reinforced the near universal opinion of the teams that the solution to propoising is already in the regulations and that stopping it is the challenge that the teams have to solve on their own.
While it appears that the FIA has chosen to take action and that this action has undergone a few changes in direction from where it was in Canada, there is still one issue that has gone completely undiscussed since that weekend which is how Mercedes arrived with a second stay. If they are that much better at manufacturing parts than all of the other teams, capable of doing what the other teams stated was impossible, I think that’s something. If Mercedes are somehow steering these efforts by the FIA to change the regulations or to shift them in ways that favor their team to make them competitive again that’s something as well.
Given all of the issues with race and culture that have been the focus of much of the media starting with Silverstone I have been awaiting some further discussion of the Mercedes’ second stay to come in their due time. But I found it odd that the second stay was almost entirely undiscussed in any of the podcasts on the Canadian GP practice sessions or race reviews, and only received the scantest mention in the press.
Franz Tost said that the Mercedes arrival to the race with a second stay warranted some investigation. To your knowledge has there been any discussion or investigation that confirms whether Mercedes was tipped off or instrumental in drafting the TD?
Is it possible (/plausible) that Mercedes had no advance knowledge but either a) lobbied privately for a second stay and had it manufactured in advance in the *hope* they succeeded, or b) knowingly designed and manufactured a non-compliant part with the intention of running it in FP as a short cut to validating their theories about what was causing porpoising? Much easier and cheaper to build and run an illegal stay and see whether and to what degree it works, then put that knowledge in to designing a stiffer single-stay floor, then build up a whole new floor that’s legal but might not work
I wouldn’t want to answer for Joe, but to my view, given that the team did not respond to the skepticism from the other teams with either of these explanations (as far as I know), it would seem less likely to me that either of those hypothetical scenarios were the case. But considering the first scenario, there is still the issue of how the TD was ultimately issued and the lack of the topic being discussed in any of the previous principal’s technical meetings with the FIA on the topic of bouncy cars. I think it was Vasseur who mentioned in the Montreal press conference that it was irregular for the FIA to issue a TD after having not previously discussed the specifics with the teams. Or at least all of the teams but one?
Is Paul Ricard in fire zone?
Joe, got a follow from you on Twitter and a DM indicating you’re doing some show about crypto. Seemed odd…