Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 29th July 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please press the twitter button at the bottom of the post if you are on twitter.

Pirelli and the future (11:12) updated (17:10)

The F1 2014 calendar (11:51)

McLaren take the rest of the season off (12:45)

Questions over Force India finances again (13:28)

Heartache the key for Lewis (14:51)

Earthquake (14:55)

Ferrari announce Alison (15:30)

Dubai favourite for a hot winter test (17:17)

Montezemolo: “This Ferrari does not sit well with me” (17:37) UPDATE 1 (18:55) UPDATE 2 (19:23)

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Pirelli and the future

It was not just Dominicali who was conspicuous by his absence from contact with the media yesterday. The genial – even though at times obviously under pressure – Paul Hembery did not feature in either of the British TV feeds before of after the race. Rumours again were in abundance around the paddock that Michelin were close to making an announcement.

Much of this began with a report from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the French supplier, could imminently announce its interest in bidding for an F1 tender. Of course Jean Todt has in the past been known to favour Michelin, particularly during the last bidding process, which in the end saw Ecclestone’s preferred choice – Pirelli – win the day.

Pirelli claim they have long contracts in place with the commercial rights holder and with a number of the teams, and so it appears it is the FIA who are delaying matters even though September the 1st is they day Pirelli should provide the teams with the new tyre specification for 2014.

Pirelli are now suggesting they need to make the rear tyres wider to deliver a sufficient contact patch between the car and the track due to the new higher torque turbo V6’s. Pirelli’s Barcelona testing partner Mercedes have indicated their numbers agree with the Italian manufacturer, however Ferrari and Red Bull are determined to retain the same tyre dimensions as are currently used.

UPDATE: Pirelli is calling for tyres which are 20mm wider and 30mm taller than those currently used on the rear of the car and this will have a huge impact on mechanical (gearbox\suspension) and aero design for 2014 which is another reason for deciding upon who will supply F1 tyres in 2014.

Hembery tells AMuS that in the end, “We will decide alone, no matter what the teams want. They just need to give us their data.”

However, variations of the Michelin return to F1 story persist. Another being that they are happy to be 1 or 2 tyre suppliers as used to be the case when they were last involved in 2006. Hembery points out, “We have a contract with the teams, but the rules do not allow competition between tyre manufacturers. If the rules change, we will be told about it”.

TJ13 spoke with Pirelli who from their experience when they entered the sport believe it is too late for another manufacturer to be ready to provide the tyres for 2014, plus the risk of failing to find the right balance between exploding or boring tyres is at its highest for a long time due to the extreme change within the rules. No new manufacturer is likely to want such bad publicity.

One new suggestion on the matter is that the FIA are pressing that Pirelli get only a 1 year contract and then the bidding process is re-opened to allow Michelin an opportunity.  Paul Hembery dismisses this saying, “We want clarity this year. Our contracts with the rights holder and some of the teams are for the next five years. If we are confronted with a tender for 2015, we’ll be gone.”

So once again, Le Presidente appears to be fiddling whilst Paris is on a long lunch.

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The F1 2014 calendar

Dread fills my every fibre as I begin to pen this new story because it may be one we revisit regularly until March 2014. I remember when TJ13 was first launched, one of the first pieces suggested there would be big problems with the 2013 calendar, and 2 weeks before F1 went racing in Australia Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the calendar would only be finalised after the start of the season.

We now know that the Nurburgring organisers held a gun to the head of F1 for weeks and the deal was only signed some 8 weeks before the race was held. Gratis.. no hosting fee. TJ13 also wrote a feature called Ecclestone, Korea and the Emperor’s new clothes, highlighting the mis-selling of races by FOM’s lawyers as a means to unlimited riches and as the genesis of a region where the result of agreeing to host and F1 race would ensure that milk and honey flow to the immediate community with abundance.

Clearly, Bernie would not be human were the pending charges in Munich and his very future in F1 be somewhat on his mind. However, he is behaving in a rather unusual manner for the time of year. It is around this time and early September when questions arise over the viability of certain races for the following year.  Ecclestone’s initial response is usually to shore up the ship and deny there is a problem. Last year he was on record suggesting that in fact no races would be lost and the additional races in the pipeline could result in 23 races being possible in 2013. Mark Webber was publically dismissive of the idea.

The expansion into the Asian markets – Korea builder of cars, India home to a billion potential F1 fans was – trumpeted by Ecclestone as part of his huge achievement in making F1 truly global, yet in a short time it appears these two venues will disappear.

Speaking to Reuters Bernie is asked whether India will happen in 2014. He replies, “Probably not.” Asked what the problem was with the race at near New Delhi, Mr. E curtly replied, “Very political.”

Love him or otherwise, you have to feel when Bernie is gone, something of the simplicity and the origins of F1 will be lost forever. It is as though from all the manipulation and behind the scenes deals he has orchestrated over the years, Bernie has developed a menu of stock phrases – each of which can be selected for a pre-prescribed range of topics. This one is for matters to do with the calendar.

Political is the word for the week because the organisers of the Indian GP – Jaypee Sports International – have been very unhappy with these rumours. They responded last month stating such suggestions were, “totally baseless and malicious”.

Now Ecclestone has given them credence, they appear to be taking a softer approach stating, “”We are keen that Formula One races take place in India at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) till our contract is in operation that is 2015″. Further, as to any changes in the contract or plans they add, “We have not got anything in writing from the Formula One management regarding the status of the 2014 Indian Grand Prix,”

The team’s are apparently moaning because they have to pay some tax to the Indian government. The Indian born principal of Sauber (for now) observes, “It would be a pity if for these (tax) reasons we don’t go there. India is an important market for partners who are already in Formula One or who could get into Formula One because of that market so it really would be a pity if we would not manage to sort out these problems.”

Apparently, the uncertainty has arisen due to FOM demanding the Indian promoters hold the 2014 race late in the year, and then wish to schedule their 2015 race early on the calendar. 2015 race in March 2015. Indian motorsport federation boss Vicky Chandhok tells the BBC today, “To have it in October 2014 and again in March or April 2015 would be impossible for us in terms of finances and resources,”

Shifting the race date could be merely be to destabilise the Indian promoters and cause them to excercise influence over the tax concerns the teams are expressing. Chandhook adds, “Much as some people complain about all the negatives to do with F1, the race has done for India what nothing else has done. We keep talking about ourselves as a high-tech country and this event proves it.

It shows India is capable of holding an event of this magnitude, so it would be a shame if it was off the calendar. I hope whatever issues there are between the Jaypee Group and F1 are resolved soon.”

So what next, will it be be the turn of Korea shortly, because the teams detest going all the way to the industrial port town of Mokpo, in the souther most region of South Korea.

Bernie’s hopeful 23 races for 2013 became just 19 following the loss of Valencia. Sochi is looking likely to come on stream, though now the Russian President – Vladimir Putin – is involved behind the scenes with the Sauber deal – were that to collapse who knows what may happen to the Russian GPO.

So if we are to lose India and Korea, who will replace them. Some dive community in Thailand has been suggested though a region has not even been properly identified never mind an actual location. There is no time for anyone to build a new circuit, and the street race in New Jersey is far from certain as bureaucracy and a lack of cash continues to frustrate the promoters.

Austria is now mooted to be a possibility, though their limited capacity of around 25,000 spectators as regulated by the region’s authorities is still a problem.

Interestingly, in recent weeks Monza has been inferred to be at risk by Ecclestone himself. During the Hungarian GP, Bernie  had a meeting with Angelo Sticchi Damiani (president of ACI/CSAI-Commissione Sportiva Automobilistica Italiana, but also vice president for sport with the FIA) and TJ13 is informed Sticchi Damiani was told that Monza is safe until 2016, but nothing could be guaranteed after then.

Mr. E has gone on record more than once saying the European leg of the F1 calendar will be reduced by 2 or 3 – due to a lack of cash to pay the FOM hosting fees, but who is lined up in replacement. Cape Town told Ecclestone where to go and Mexico are a strong possibility to host a race but in 2015. Yet the familiar long line of rich and respectable people with their truckloads of cash at the ready, to buy themselves some F1 favour is now strangely thin.

Could it be Bernie knows he is off, and the shambles of an F1 calendar for 2015 will be proof of how invaluable he has been to the sport. Surely he is not so churlish – or maybe it is the case that his energy and faculties are waning as suggested by Il Padrino in November last year.

Some say in life only two things which are certain – I suggest there are 3. This matter will rumble on for months as the political twists and turns unfold.

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McLaren take the rest of the season off

Here’s a piece from the amusing but at times quite rude boys and girls from Sniff Petrol

After another disappointing showing in this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, McLaren has announced that it will ‘sit out’ the rest of the 2013 season.

‘Jenson is ninth in the drivers’ table, Checo is 12th and in the constructors’ league we’re behind Force bloody India,’ sighed a spokesman for the British team. ‘I mean really, what’s the point? So sod it, we’re going to save ourselves a load of bother by taking the rest of the season off.’

Sources in Woking say the entire team is now taking a leisurely drive back to the factory where Ron Dennis has already got a barbecue going on the lawn. ‘This whole decision to take the rest of 2013 off was actually Ron’s idea,’ explained an insider. ‘He called everyone in this morning and said, “Look, the car is shite and the weather is great. Screw it, let’s fire up the barbie, get in a bucket of cold ones and just chill the fuck out”. So that’s what we’re going to do. Ron’s sent everyone home to fetch their trunks so they can have a swim in the lake and when Martin Whitmarsh gets back he’s going to get his decks out and spin some mad tunes.’

‘Wait, what, I could have had the rest of the season off?’ wailed former McLaren Technical Director Paddy Lowe, who recently moved to Mercedes. ‘Oh God, that is so unfair. Please send help, Toto Wolff beats me with sticks…’

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Questions over Force India finances again

It is not strange that the same F1 themes continue to rumble on month by month and year by year, and the reason for this is the failure to address certain problems. Ex-Billionaire Vijay Mallya has been suffering a cash squeeze in recent times and TJ13 covered his legal difficulties with the Indian authorities extensively in January.

The Silverstone based team recently decided to forgo building their own wind tunnel which has been in the planning for nearly 4 years and was a flagship project Mallya announced for the team. There are at present other plans for the team to have constructed a striking building opposite the main entrance to Silverstone which will be impressive and make a statement.

However, the matter of funding is still in question as the team is supported almost entirely by its prize money and Vijay’s benefactoral status. Vijay is looking to offload much of his liquor empire to Diageo to generate some much needed cash as some have suggested he may be scratching around in his last few million of liquid assets. This is unlikely – there should be a few ten’s of million left due to cost savings made this year following the cancellation of the Mallya annual BBQ extravaganza. This event takes place at his palatial residence in Goa but was deemed to be less than ideal for a celebration as it is currently being held as collateral against Mallya loans by a bank.

Further, Bloomberg reported in May that two helicopters, a building in Mumbai and shares in United Spirits have been used as collateral for loans as since November 2011, Namo Narain Meena, an Indian finance minister, added that, “that the total value of the guarantees, including furniture and fixtures worth 3.3 billion rupees ($61 million), was 52.4 billion rupees”.

The Diageo deal was announced around October last year and has been trundling through various Indian and international regulatory authorities since then. However, certain city analysts have suggested that Diegeo is not behaving like a buyer desperate to conclude the deal.  The process has now been further frustrated as the UK Office of Fair Trading said last week it would investigate whether the deal signed between the Johnnie Walker owner and Indian tycoon will have a detrimental impact on the spirits market.

The focus is likely to be on United Spirits’ Whyte & Mackay business, owner of brands including Jura and Dalmore. Diageo, behind the likes of Buchanan’s and Lagavulin, is the world’s biggest Scotch whisky producer. The OFT will consider whether the combined company will have an excessively dominant position in the UK market.

A key issue in the competition decision will be whether 
Whyte & Mackay’s own-label whisky production is viewed as being in the same category as Diageo’s low-end Bell’s whisky brand. At the beginning of this month Diageo has spent £344 million to acquire another 14.98% stake in Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits business.

This took its stake to 25% after it earlier acquired a 10% stake in the Indian drinks giant through the issuing of new shares. With a voting agreement, Diageo has control of the business. It had intended to take a majority stake but this was stymied by a surge in United Spirits’ share price above Diageo’s open offer bid.

The Office of Fair Trading said any representations should be made by August 2. The OFT has 40 working days to come to a conclusion. It can opt to clear the merger or it could ask the companies to agree to sell offer certain brands or businesses.

If it regards neither of these options as being possible then it can opt to refer the merger to the Competition Commission for a more thorough investigation.

Mallya needs the deal to go through to pay debts and release assets such as his the villa built by his father to which he is known to be particularly emotionally attached. Further, the result of Vijay’s cash squeeze has been the delay of most of the $75m investment he promised to the team in September 2012 and it now appears the unlucky Nico Hulkenberg – who is not being paid by Sauber – is still owed money from his previous employer.

Blick is reporting that when asked whether his previously employer had paid him all his dues, Hulkenberg gave a knowing smile and responded, “Is that even in question?”, presumably inferring Mallya’s reputation is well known. He added more seriously, “As far as numbers or salaries go, I cannot say anything. There are contracts.”

Blick reporter, Roger Benoit adds that Hulkenberg then “laughed and said nothing” when it was suggested to him that he might be able to live comfortably for the rest of his life on the money Vijay owes him.

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Heartache the key for Lewis

TJ13 reported a week before it was revealed by the Sun newspaper that Hamilton and Shirtzinger had split, that Lewis’ girlfriend was currently giving him an ultimatum which Lewis was not prepared to accede to. Nicole wants babies, but Lewis believes he is too young.

The following weekend, Shertzinger was absent from Silverstone. An emotional Hamilton spoke from the giant stage to the fans gathered in the village after the race suggesting he may consider proposing marriage. Since then both have bemoaned their loneliness and grief in the media.

Yet in Silverstone we saw a Lewis Hamilton driving like the kid of old an he was unfortunate to only achieve P5 having suffered a tyre blow out whilst leading the race comfortably. Again in Hungary, most F1 commentators were stunned by his skill and precision in qualifying and were even more impressed by his controlled aggression during the race – recognising at key moments who he must overtake immediately and at all costs.

An emotional Hamilton spoke to SKY afterwards and  revealed he had been quite down throughout the weekend. Lewis devoted the win to his former girlfriend Nicole. “It’s been the toughest couple of months of my life,” Hamilton revealed in a breaking voice and he said that he had been so grateful for the many calls of support he had received from his family, his father in particular and friends alike.

Yet Lewis drove like Lewis of old. It was inspiring and breath taking to watch at times and we all remember the Lewis we knew before the bright red jet, celebrity management team and international ex-pole dancing celebrity girfriend – who sings songs about being dominated by men.

Lewis fans need to hope his close friends keep him on the straight and narrow – away from her; because if this is what he is like when feeling down but is able to focus on driving and not babies and nesting, this year’s title is not yet Vettel’s for sure.

Lauda compasionate as ever joked to Bild, “As long as he drives as he did in Hungary, long may his heartache live!”

And for once Niki – I agree with you.

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Earthquake

TJ13 has just heard from a fairly reliable source, there will be a driver announcement in Monza that will resonate throughout F1 with the equivalent force as would an earth tremor which registers as a 9.0 on the Richter scale. I give this source a 7 out of 10 on the reliability scale.

Further, in my opinion and experience of F1, it will be tricky to keep this quiet beyond the weekend of Spa and the Belgium GP.

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Ferrari announce Alison

TJ13 reported back on July 10th that the deal was completed with Ferrari to sign James Allison. Today Maranello reveal their hand. It was thought that for political reasons Allison work be seen to work with teams chief design engineer Nicholas Tombazis initially, yet he has been appointed as been slotted in alongside Pat Fry with the title, “chassis technical director’. No pressure there then.

When Pat Fry replaced the dismissed Aldo Costa, the role he took up was downgraded to ‘director of chassis’ from Costa’s ‘technical director’ position. Pat Fry also operates as Ferrari’s head strategist and is assisted in this by specialist Neil Martin – officially ‘head of operations research’.

As of today Fry is to receive a new position – that of ‘director of engineering’.

The other two ‘directors’  are Corrado Lanzone – ‘production director’ and Luca Marmorini – ‘electronics director’, though Luca often speaks on engine matters as well. The 3 engineering ‘directors’ operate on an equal footing within the team and all report directly to team boss Domenicali who assumed responsibility for circuit strategy and other functions previously assigned to the ‘technical director’.

So Ferrari are adopting the Mercedes hierarchical model of ‘many chiefs make car work better’. Some say….. McLaren’s Tim Goss is feeling as though he is being left to get on with things, and he too would like some engineering buddies with which to share the load. It was fine for one man to run the show when they employed the genius of Gordan Murray who was very much the role model for the manner in which Red Bull and ‘Newey’ operate.

There’ll be calls shortly for Ron to return following his BBQ, and at least then there will be 2 whilst Whitmarsh becomes more and more seemingly irrelevant except in his role of apologising to McLaren fans and telling the media their car is slowly improving.

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Dubai favourite for a hot winter test

Further discussions took place this weekend over the new winter testing arrangements and following a meeting amongst the teams’ senior personnel, Dubai is the favoured location. Dubai publicatiopn, “The National newspaper” reports that Abu Dhabi is still in the running and that Pirelli do in fact favour Bahrain.

Paul Hembery of Pirelli comments, “We have agreed that some of the (winter) tests will be in the Middle East, in hot weather, which from our point of view is progress even though we are talking about before the start of the season, We have been there [Dubai] before, for many kinds of different races, but the problem is that the circuit is used rarely and there’s a lot of sand on the asphalt. I would regard Bahrain as the best option for testing.”

Testing venues are beyond the remit of F1 supremo Mr. E and there are senior members in a number of the teams who will be unlikely to agree to on Bahrain for a winter test.

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Montezemolo: “This Ferrari does not sit well with me”

This is a statement just published by Ferrari with the above headline and subtitled, “A turning point to tackle with a knife between the teeth”

Maranello, 29 July – “The Ferrari I saw in yesterday’s race doesn’t sit well with me.” President Montezemolo was very clear when, early in the morning, he opened the meeting with Stefano Domenicali and the Scuderia engineers, the day after a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix, especially on the performance front. The President asked for an immediate upping of the tempo, right from Spa, to start being a contender for victory again, as had been the case up to the Canadian Grand Prix.

As usual, Montezemolo did not mince his words when it came to asking the team to step up a gear. Each one of the engineers present received a “gift” of a knife, along with an invitation – metaphorical up to a point – to put it between their teeth when thinking how to tackle the second half of the season.

This is definitely not the time to start arguing over who was responsible for this or that decision, partly because everything is still possible with nine Grand Prix to go. The points are available and so is the potential to score enough of them to win. Montezemolo is doing his utmost to ensure that the team has all the support and resources it needs, starting with the announcement that James Allison, formerly with Lotus, will join the Maranello team, starting work already on 1st September. However, there is a need to close ranks, without giving in to rash outbursts that, while understandable in the immediate aftermath of a bad result, are no use to anyone.

That was a reference to the latest comments from Fernando Alonso, which did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team. So, when Montezemolo called the Spaniard this morning to wish him a happy birthday, he also tweaked his ear, reminding him that, “all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”

Montezemolo also attended the technical analysis, which went into every detail, leaving no stone unturned, including the subject of the introduction of the new tyres over the course of the last two races, a variable that definitely did not suit the Ferrari. Pirelli’s choice contributed to artificially altering the hierarchy in the field, something that has not pleased the President or the men of the Scuderia. This topic will be the subject of further debate in the near future.

TJ13 comment: Well knock me down with a fiddle stick, Having written up the Ferrari/Alonso/Red Bull report last evening I did predict a possible re-action from La Stampa or the Horse Whisper. This is from the horses own mouth – so to speak – and Alonso can be under no illusions he may be on thin ice – as was Alain Prost who famously described his Ferrari as no better than ‘a truck’. He was fired almost immediately.

We are hearing there was a Horse Whisper article being written ridiculing the idea of a rift between Alonso and the Il Padrino. I guess that will now never see the light of day. Happy Birthday indeed Fernando.

Alonso’s response to the mornings ructions was to tweet around 12:30, Gracias por todas las felicitaciones!! translated… Thank you for all the compliments.

UPDATE 1: Maybe Fernando doesn’t realise what Ferrari have put out. He just tweeted (18:56 GMT) Día fantástico de cumpleaños ! Gracias a todoooos!! Feliz!! ;))) Fantastic birthday!!! Thanks to all..!!!! Happy!!

UPDATE 2: The long knives are definitely out as the BBC is reporting “Sources close to Ferrari say the team are not entirely convinced Alonso always gets the best out the car in qualifying”. Yet analysts I’ve spoken with have been saying for a long time Fernando is dragging a lame duck of a car around the circuits and is extracting the most any one could from it.

There was a chill running down my spine and I broke out in goose pimples when I read this statement. Il Padrino is clearly apoplectic with rage. He has firmly taken over the reigns and “is leaving no stone unturned”. He has declared the FIA/Bernie instructions to Pirelli to change the tyres has had the result of “artificially altering the hierarchy in the field”, and is threatening repercussions of some enormity.

Maranello favours offered and secrets which have been kept hidden from times gone will now being wielded threateningly as the culprits are forced to stare into the piercing cold eyes of the Godfather.

Little Bernie in his hour of need may find himself on the wrong side a force majeure – who instead of giving him a character reference – will have his character assassinated.

Todt will be running around quickly gathering his collection of antique and precious metal forged garden gnomes – in case they are kidnapped tonight.

Stefano is in for long nights ahead as he sits and takes dictation on the plans which must be laid quickly and who must be contacted for the ‘pow wow’ where allegiances will be promised or withheld.

I did say last night that the Ferrari fun and games were about to begin – I just didn’t believe they would be of such – size and scope – veritably Olympic proportions.

(Hear frenzied orchestral sounds with frenetic and shrill hyperactive violin type music here)……………………..

……. However……. There is of course there is an alternative way……………..

Everyone else can ignore the latest in fighting in Maranello, tell Ferrari to s.d off, stop paying them the extra 2.5% of F1 revenue and crack on humiliating them on the track – where it matters.

Or should we be all be very afraid?

(If you missed TJ13’s predictions over this matter from last night – here is the link)

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~ by thejudge13 on July 29, 2013.

116 Responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 29th July 2013”

  1. With Balestre meddling with regulations to get the French manufacturer Michelin back in the sport… sorry I had a flash back to the 80’s and a corrupt presidency.
    I meant to say with Todt meddling…

    And the New World Order of Grand Prix’s is crumbling. European races that have been the main stay of the sport since it’s inception are finally fighting back against the Ecclestone blueprint and getting race fees either reduced or waived.
    What a joke.

  2. The F1 calendar these days has been an absolute f****** mess.

    As brilliant and machiavelic a politician Ecclestone is, he really screwed up by signing so many exotic races just for the sake of it. What’s the f****** point of racing in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, India, Korea, even Japan, if F1 itself is not ready to promote both the sport and drivers from those regions in the first place ? Do we have a Japanese driver right now ? Kobayashi has been reduced to doing testing for Ferrari, yet it seems ok to bring a total noob like Gutierrez in F1. Korea and India don’t really have any interest in automobile sport, nor is there even a shred of history suggesting they might like it. So, yeah, it’s just because some wealthy guys wanted their country to host a GP that these races are here in the first place.

    In my humble opinion, F1 should remain within Europe, the reality is that pretty much all teams are based in Europe, the staff is mostly European too, and obviously most of the successful drivers are from Europe. I think the last non-European WDC was Villeneuve in 1997, and before him it was Senna and Piquet back in the late 80s/early 90s. Non-Europeans have generally not had massive success in the sport unless they were ridiculously talented. So the races should be held in Europe, rather than go fannying around throughout the world.

    That last piece on McLaren taking the season off drove me in pee-in-your-pants laughter XD

    • I think you’re going a bit over the top here. I agree with you about India and Korea where there was never any interest in motorsport, but Japan? Come on! Japan always had races in various guises, and you don’t need a Japanese driver in F1 necessarily, Japanese will watch and follow F1. US, Canada, Australia, all make sense. Any other exotic places, if they’ve never had history in motorsport, forget them! It’s very much similar to trying to promote football in the US or basketball in the UK.

      • Football does very well over here thank you very much. Oh, wait, you mean the OTHER football (LOL).

        For that matter, basketball does do well in a number of non-US locations, including Italy, Argentina, Greece and Spain. Which is not to say that it will ever become something in the UK, but that the search for new F1 markets will necessarily involve some rather spectacular failures, but might also include some surprising successes too in the long run.

    • Interesting argument about the ‘home of F1′ being Europe.

      Some would say the The North Americans don’t particularly bother trying to foist grid iron and baseball on countries and regions of the world where there is no history of ground level competition.

      • I remember when the Super Bowl (American football championship) was shown on TV in New Zealand; nobody gave a s**t and for good reason. I heard comments about how boring it was (which is true) compared to Rugby. As a Kiwi mostly raised in the States, I get to see both sides.

        • Some would argue the idea of taking a sport to regions where hitherto it is unknown is also to promote it at grass roots level.

          They would add we are not seeing much South Korean development in club motor racing – or any promotion of it by the FIA/FOM

  3. I’m sure Checo would love a good “Parrillada”, Button is a vegetarian i believe.
    The family BBQ, corporate communication Il Padrino style.

  4. I came here expecting to see ‘We need MOAR European Races and less Asian races!’ and I wasn’t disappointed. Typical and pitiful.

    First things first, lets look at 2012 viewership numbers. Overall fall in numbers mainly due to a massive 34% fall in China. Why? Europe. Bernie decided Europeans had to watch the races Sunday mid-morning so chinese races viewing times were 10 PM. People had better things to watch than F1 and as expected numbers fell there. The bloody Australian race start time was what, 5 PM local time? Which race other than the abu dhabi and singapore races starts later? Aussies complain all the time about having to stay up late to watch the races. But they’re not important because they’re not european. American viewership suffers due to much the same reason. Races start at 7 AM (Central)/ 6 AM (Western) on a Sunday for the european races and past-midnight for the asian/australian races. How tf do they expect greater viewership numbers then? Its not like America lacks for a motorsport culture. So unless european audiences aren’t pandered to by F1, you’ll never get more numbers from other regions.

    ‘Heritage’ gets my goat every time its mentioned. All the countries which are mentioned in breathless tones immediately after the word heritage are european. Why aren’t any south american, african or asian countries mentioned? When did GP racing start? 1950s. Why didn’t any country from asia/africa/america not participate? Oh right. They were busy getting independence from the europeans! Of course, they wont have any historic tracks you numbskulls! They were too busy fighting europeans who had their boots on their necks and gallivanting on tree lined roads. China alone accounted for 74.5m in 2011 and 48.9m in 2012. India was in the league of 30m. Brazil is the largest in terms of numbers at 85m. Last I saw, Brazil isn’t in Europe.

    Anyway. What really hurts these new tracks is the fiddling that Tilke did with them leading to long straights and hairpin circuits that aren’t really that interesting to watch. And why does F1 bounce around the whole globe instead of joining the dots, so to speak. Canada is after 2 european races. Brazil and US gp’s are at the end of the season. Take a look at the calendar and see how much time and energy could be saved by arranging races geographically.

    Enough ranting now. Sorry abt the language Judge but if those guys want to their bat and go home, rename the damn thing to F1 European championship or it’ll end up like the World Series baseball tournament played by the US!

    • A passionate and fair argument. All nationalities and voices of opinion are welcome in the court.

      I couldn’t agree more about the nonsense that is the calendar – and in fact I would like to see more than 20 races. This could be easily done if say Australia, China, Malaysia and AN Other were back to backed to get the season under way. This would further create continuous interest with the more casual viewers who haven’t got a damn clue when the next race is.

      The teams show no inclination toward cutting costs so make them stay away longer for certain legs of the globe trot rather than hiking to Japan/S Korea – coming back then a week later heading back to India and Abu Dhabi. I have no time for those who say, “what about their poor families?”. If you choose to be a diver who works from an off shore oil rig, then there are family consequences. Working in F1 is seen by most as privilege and they happily do the travel and are rewarded with decent holiday’s in between.

      The UK – where most of the teams are based – is subject to working time regulations, and nobody in F1 is doing the annual hours of a 19th century coal miner.

    • Chill Iceman (no pun intended), I agree that KimKas went a bit over the top, but no reason calling names here (i.e. numbskulls). You do make a good case and races could run in local time, but with so many overseas races Bernie would then risk turning the Europeans away who (like it or not) are the biggest audience. And it’s not so much to do with colonial wars here, it’s simply a case of what sport in popular in each country.
      In my opinion, what needs to be done is progressively introduce overseas races and slowly, steadily start running races in local time. Much what happened with races in Australia and Japan. As the Europeans start getting used to this and the local market grows stronger and stronger, then this market and race becomes established. What Bernie did, was to go gung-ho all around the globe for a quick buck, which has now backfired of course. Simple as that.

      • Yeah. Sorry about the language there. Not cool.
        And you’re right about phasing in races. Perfectly agree on the approach to the timing of the races.

        • Hey Iceman,

          My own post was a rant to be honest and I expected to irk some people but then again: this is a place where constructive arguments can take place. After re-reading my own post, I feel it was over the top. Apologies for that.

          I maintain my view that, at this point in time, F1 remains a sport only really appreciated by westerners. However the organization of the calendar remains a bloody mess. I’ll dare to say that you agree as well, you and McLaren78 offer a sensible solution of grouping the races per region together. That would allow the locals to actually get a taste of the sport, hopefully enjoy it and the value of F1 there goes up. Normally this approach would allow the sport to grow by its own and there would be an actual local community to follow F1.

          I had raised the point that if F1 wants to develop its market in a given region then it has to promote the sport there (sensibly) and over time : this promotion would also lead to having either F1 teams and/or drivers from those regions. But that should be a consequence of the above, and in my humble opinion it would show that the community is sufficiently invested in F1 to actively participate, have tracks built to develop young racers, etc… For Brazil and Japan for instance, this has worked. Although we used to have the BAR-Honda and Toyota teams until not long ago, and Bridgestone as a tyre-supplier, Japan can (should ?) take a more active part into F1. Honda returning as engine suppliers for McLaren is a very good in that respect.

          My rant was with India and Korea, specifically. I’m Indian myself, but born in France. I have seen that here in France, there is real and concrete effort in promoting sports (pretty much all kinds of sports). And there are people here to train, guide, coach children to become sportsmen. In India : we have over a 1 billion people, and that lot is only invested in ONE sport : cricket. 1 billion people, and we can’t even produce athletes, nevermind racers, just look at how many athletes India sends out at each Olympics, compare that with China for instance. Culturally, I still see Indians telling their children “Stop playing, go in your room and study, study, get a good degree and a good-paying job”. That’s it, kids are not encouraged to pursue sports or even arts. It’s cultural, the only craze in India is for cricket, for that we happen to have a good team, though massively corrupt. I’ll say it : India is not ready to embrace F1 yet. It’s just a spur of the moment thing, F1 is like a new toy right now, then they’ll get bored, if they haven’t already.

          Anyway, back on the calendar thing : F1 should really start by letting races be organized by regions. Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain for the “eastern” group. Then the GPs located in Europe, and finally Canada, USA and Brazil for the last 3. Each region should get to enjoy the races at times that are reasonable over there, rather than trying to adjust them for European viewers (I don’t mind watching race highlights/replays personally). Has common sense ever made it into F1 though… ?

          Hope that clears out a few things,

          • Hmm. As someone who grew up in India, I’ll say you’re wrong about interest in F1. F1 interest isnt a spur of the moment thing. The numbers are growing because the general population figures are growing and there are more youngsters today than ever before. More than half of the indian population is below 30. Ive been watching f1 since 97 and im not even 30. Motorsports have a pretty long history here even if you’re not aware of it. Your idea that because they dont produce high class athletes at the moment they do not have any interest in the Olympics or games other than cricket is just plain wrong. Just lookup viewership numbers for premier league football in India and you’ll realise that you don’t need a strong indian football team to have Interest. Reasons for not being able to produce world class athletes or drivers or teams is a whole another discussion. Qhy do australians or americans have to go to european junior formulae to get picked for f1? Its because its euurocentric at the moment. Just like force india today, we will have other teams who have allegiance s to other countries. It takes time. Wont be done in 5 years. Withouta race to go to, hoe do you inspire? Darren Heath, the photographer, said his experiences at racetracks as a young boy inspired him to photograph f1. Without taking races to countries outside the sport will not grow.

    • Races are at 5 AM on the American west coast. I get up at 4:30 to watch them. You forgot about the Mountain time zone.

      But besides that, what’s with the anti colonial rant? Of course F1 fans think of Brazil and Japan and used to think of Kylami, Watkins Glen, and lots of others as heritage races. Most of these no longer exist. Bernie follows the money, and the Asian races have plateaued and are in decline so what’s he to do? Korea, for God’s sake? Frankly, I believe F1 is in serious trouble and is heading for a big fall because of the way Bernie did follow the money.

      • Sorry about the time thing. Forgot its a 2 hr difference to central.I remember how little I saw of the 2009 and 2010 seasons when I was in az.

        Anti-colonial thing. Well its a peeve of mine, especially when european racing started before the first world war. And people then go on and talk of history and pedigree and all that. without even letting people hold races, how is that going to build? :) But I do accept that it was a bit of a rant though :)

        • In addition to the ‘heritage’ argument (with which I mostly agree, though I do include other ‘western’ countries – North & South America and Australia, and I’m not ‘Euro-blinded’) my main sentiment is that F1 races are being ‘awarded’ (i.e. SOLD) to countries that not only have no F1 heritage but no international-level motor-sport involvement of any kind.
          I can remember when a new circuit, even in precious Europe, was obliged to hold some other kind of event (F2, F3, or even non-championship F1… – and who remembers those…?) before it was allowed by the FIA to hold an F1 Championship race. If this rule still pertained (in the form it was intended) many of the current races perhaps would not exist.
          On the other hand, as a TV viewer who is simply unable to visit all these venues I just regard them as unidentifiable, anonymous F1 races. This week’s contribution could have been from Watkins Glen or Brands Hatch for all I knew I was in Hungary… ;)

          • Hi BlackJackFan,

            makes me wonder who collects what literature exists as applies to course construction. Of even where to start looking. My brother is retired, but his career was with a major transport research lab. He was always very sniffy about road construction. He thought it neglected, hardy advanced in his 50 year career, and fun jobs he took on were e.g. modelling traffic flow so Tokyo could repair roads with less disruption (late 70s and 80s, they certainly moved their work on.. i guess unions played a role in staying advances here and elsewhere) so *someone* is sitting on lots of data that might be applicable to building courses _interestingly _and cheaply _and quickly. Austin’s build impressed me but that looked more like JFDI attitude and work ethic as much as anything.

            One of my little dreams is that we have a skunkworks company thrashing out course designs which can be helicoptered in situ almost anywhere. When I was a kid, my dad would drive me around Sussex, pointing out the estates he mortgaged after the war when death duty his landowners hard, and loved to comment on the sudden smoothness of the roads around these estates, muttering the likelihood the landowners used their sway to get a nicer ride. All could think of was how cool it would be to race along these winding roads. There must be any number of spots where you could parachute in plenty good enough surface for first class racing.

            Oh, you can drive a truck through my fantasy, but the circuit / promoter model is bankrupt. Better start thinking what to do now.

          • +1 :)

    • Maybe what is needed is a ‘second string’ series. Not GP2, that is aimed at training up new drivers, something a bit closer to F1 but cheaper.

      It could be a condition of new races joining the calendar that they have to run a candidate event (as in the WRC) and this has to be evaluated to prove they are up to scratch before being allowed in to the big time.

      This second-string series would serve a number of uses. It would keep drivers who can’t get a regular F1 seat fresh, allow new circuits to be evaluated and keep the old but still popular circuits on the radar. It would also offer a training ground for new teams so they didn’t come to F1 ‘cold’.

      Think about it, who wouldn’t want to see top class racing around Imola, Jerez, Paul Rickard, Mugello, maybe add in places like Fuji, a couple of American tracks including one or two in South America, Kyalami etc?

      • I like this idea – though cost would be the teams problem. They want to plough every penny into F1.

        • Year old cars run by private teams? Maybe with a spec engine – could be a lifeline to Cosworth. Plenty of teams just below F1 level who could do a great job of running a car but don’t have the depth to design one from scratch.

          • I really like this idea but would it gain traction? I though the A1 gp concept was a good one but it failed due to lack of interest. F1 seems to be a black hole for all other single seater racing. I think people have been sold the pup – the best drivers in the best cars.

          • When F1 had 13,14,15 teams there were plenty of opportunities for drivers to prove themselves and make a name. It is now so hard to get in to F1 in the first place and harder still to stay there unless you have strong backing.

            A good, competitive second tier series with experienced drivers could well offer racing just as good for a fraction of the cost. Deliberately separating it from the F1 calendar gives the opportunity for the fans to see more races without bloating the F1 calendar too much.

            It is noticeable now that so many drivers who drop out of F1 end up in sportscars. Great for that series, but not so good for the fans who don’t get to see them race.

  5. Worst kept secret is out, Allison chassis technical director at Ferrari, what a surprise!

  6. Oh come on TJ, COME ON, don’t play with us, give us a hint of what this earthquake might be. Alonso to RBR? Because Kimi to RBR is not much of an earthquake anymore.

    • My role is to sift the evidence and judge it’s integrity. At 7 out of 10 this is all you get :D

      • ALO to RBR and RAI to Ferrari? Or that’s beyond 9.0 in Richter scale?

        • What if it’s JUST Kimi to Ferrari, replacing Massa AND reuniting with Allison?

        • We judges tend to be conservative (small c) and may at times be guilty of an understatement :)

          • 2014 : Brawn, Schumacher return to Scuderia and Haug rejoin them!
            Romain Grosjean will have Fernando Alonso as n°2 driver at Lotus
            Vettel joined by Hulkenberg at RBR
            While Kimi will disappear in thin air forever and ever.

          • You are forgetting one very important item….

            Fangio has been resurrected….and is re-incarnated into the form of Eddie Irvine, who in turn has been rejuvenated by a clinical age reversal process invented by the aero team in Maranello who have been bored out of their minds while their wind tunnel has been out of action.

          • For such an earthquake it has to be :
            Danica Patrick has signed with RBR to replace Webber with the help of Bernie E.

    • It’s obvious, Vettel has realised that to have any chance of eclipsing what Schumacher achieved he needs to build a historic team back to their former glory from the depths to which they have fallen in recent times.

      Therefore, expect him to be partnering Maldonado in a Williams next season.

      Remember, you heard it here first!

  7. Announcing at Monza? Maybe Vettel to Ferrari and Alonso to Red Bull in 2014. STILL doesn’t answer who is going to be the second Red Bull driver next year!!

  8. Why does everyone believe it’s just VJ’s team to do with what he wants?

    • Hi there – good to hear from you

      Rob Roy (or whatever he is called) owns a big slice too, but we hear he has just had 4 billion forcibly removed from his and Sahara’s stash by the Indian authorities and they too are very short of moula.

      Plus Vijay likes to play at being team principal and delights in presenting himself as the face of the billions behind the Silverstone team we love.

      When it is no longer Force India, it will be called something else, just as has been the case in the past.

      • Doesn’t cut it as an answer. Roy is the real money behind the team and is Chairman IE he is the ultimate authority. Those who follow F1 should be well aware of this so if they are it’s lazy red top journalism to play the VJ joker at every available opportunity. Force India as a company is far more complex than ‘It’s VJ’s toy’ .

        Team Principal means little to some teams (ask Christian) so again a deeper understanding of the hierarchy is required if credibility is to be retained. VJ does have more understanding of F1 and out of the two is by far the most enthusiastic but do not discount Roy and his business acumen.
        Sure Sahara has a little local difficulty but VJ’s demise was forecast very loudly with a high degree of certainty some 20 months ago on another blog and as yet the team remains and is investing so money is coming from somewhere.
        I agree it could all go pete tong -ask Sauber- but we should not assume they are in trouble by adding 2+2 and getting zero.

        • I hear what your saying, and TJ13 is not predicting the team’s iminet demise. But we do know the £50m has not materialised and the question is why? – This is fair enquiry. Add to this that Sahara have indicated they will be pulling out of certain long standing sport’s sponsorship in India and the question of how much liquid funds their owners have is indeed uncertain.

          Further, to these people an F1 team is either a glamourous toy, or something which can give them an incremental return on their investment. Brawn made some £40m from buying and selling the Honda team.

          You can also argue from the flip side, if Rob Roy is so loaded and wealthy, why is he not spending the money to move the team forward in the pecking order in the constructor’s championship. A good business decision – it increases the sale value of the team and improves prize money revenues.

          People see ‘Billionaires’ and believe they have liquid assets worth hundreds of millions – this is rarely the case. Both Mallya’s empire and Sahara have leveraged their businesses to the hilt with debt, such that their actual cash is miniscule when compared to alleged asset values.

          • the flip side is that billionaires remain billionaires by not splashing the cash.!

            However IAH I simply cannot see how F1 can ever be considered a profitable business in a similar manner to Premiership football .

            The justification for spending money in F1 is advertising. Redbull are only in it for that very reason and when/if that business plan doesn’t balance they will be off.
            Force India (IMHO) was for two reasons.
            1 VJ actually does love fast cars and racing. He was a sponsor of Benetton and it has been alleged Maclaren before then.
            2 as advertising for the UB range of companies.

            It’s the second one which caught him out. All was fine until the airline went tit’s up. This is what has caused the cash flow issues and why 40% was sold. Of course now Sahara have been caught up in financial wrangling which has further muddied the water.
            Without that mess FI would be in a very strong position. Will it ever be resolved? Who knows?
            But what can be admired is their willingness to continue despite of the constant battle they face.

          • I think we all admire the lads at FI, but VJ is a character who divides opinion most strongly even in his own country and there are those who question his values and integrity.

            Someone questioned me months ago when I was defending his right to allow the airline to operate at arms length – Would Branson fly around the world in a private airliner whilst his staff remained unpaid for 7 months?

            There were even allegations one employee’s wife killed herself due to financial stress in the Hyderabad Press – back in January if I remember correctly.

            It would be interesting to hear from any Indian reader(s) who would share how Mallya is perceived back home.

          • Judge, his name is subroto roy. You’re forgetting one major thing. Sahara in all probability had a falling out with the current govt and hence the ‘witch-hunt’. General elections aren’t far away and if he throws in his lot with the current opposition Nd they win, it might mean an end to their troubles. But no guarantee on that front either, given that they’ll be a lot less corrupt. Who knows. Very interesting but it will be sad if the owners change though, personally.

            Mallyas problems are entirely borne out of Kingfisher airlines’ problems. It was a really good airline. But poor management cost him. There haven’t been very many profitable airlines in the country or around the world for that matter.

        • The idea of VJ ‘going Pete Tong’… Loved it.

        • re r.bartlett’s not splashing the cash,

          i think there’s a variation here which is the flip side to that, which being Sahara and Mallaya are all about raking in the cash to prop themselves up. Very different from the accumulated fortunes of say a Thyssen or other industrial fortune. By comparison, VJM and his ilk are like buy to let “owners” who are stacking the leverage.

          • I disagree. VJ only got into trouble when the airline got into difficulties. He then went round leveraging to prop up that as I guess he thought business would turn around and he’d be ok. Sadly the recession or bad management meant that all that’s left is a defunct airline and crippling debt. Once into this it’s very difficult to get out without bankruptcy which would put a shed load of people out of work.

  9. […] UPDATE: Luca de Montezemolo is furious with Alonso (link here) […]

    • Montezemolo is seriously suggesting that Alonso put the team before his own interests ?

      Clearly losing it.

  10. But Alonso has nowhere to go…RBR are considering Ricciardo and Kimi only , not others..Also , Kimi is in talks as he has no contract unlike Alonso(though he may have some opt-out clause)..
    Also,Vettel would never agree to partner Alonso..Kimi gets the nod from him as both are comfortable on and off field..
    Red Bull will not be foolish to put two world-class drivers in same equipment, who does not see each other well..It may lead us to incidents like Turkey 2010 , or latest,Malaysia 2013..(Which RBR clearly does not want given the new regulations..They would want two drivers who gets sufficient points for them to win Constructors’)..

  11. And about the “Earthquake news”..

    If you give 7 out of 10 , it might be Kimi to RBR..Because if it was Ricciardo to RBR , it would be 5 out of 10….

    And if it is Alonso to RBR,it would have been 9 out of 10..

    And if it was Vettel to Ferrari and Alonso to RBR , it would have got 10 out of 10(Maybe a tsunami scale earthquake)..:)

    • 7 out of 10 was my assessment on the accuracy of the information. It just went to an 8.

      9 and above on the Richter scale is described as the following

      “Near or at total destruction – severe damage or collapse to all buildings. Damage and shaking extends to distant locations. Permanent changes in ground topography. Death toll usually over 1,000″.

      There are maybe between 2 and five per century

      • well, considering the monza bit, it sounds like it involves a ferrari signing. i’d say that can only mean that alonso is either getting fired or swapped for somebody else, since a 9 on the richter scale suggests that it’s another high level driver (hamilton, vettel or raikonnen, to be exact). out of those, kimi is the only one that could be paired with alonso, but he was already fired by ferrari, and i’m not sure he would be willing to go back there. hamilton and alonso led to a meltdown at mclaren and besides, he just arrived at mercedes. the fallout of a pairing of vettel and alonso would make senna and prost or villeneuve and pironi look like friendly sparring.

        so my money is on a swap alonso/vettel or alonso/raikonnen. raikonnen is more likely, since he is going to be a free agent, but i’m not quite sure i would consider that a nine.

        • Alonso going back to Renault for a third time would be a 9. Maybe Brawn going there too? Gosh we’re all in Wonderland with so many crazy scenarios.

      • I know what it is – Ferrari have found somebody to fix their DRS system so they can stop paying derisory fines for misuse! Or maybe the FIA have done away with DRS altogether?

      • For a Richter-9 I would have to go for Suzie (or someone physically similar…) in a Williams seat… but hopefully with big, BIG moula alongside her… Don’t do it for publicity, in the hope of subsequent sponsorship… Get the sponsor(s) to pay up in advance.

        • You mean Montoya is returning to his former employer? All the burgers have probably given him similar attributes…. :)

          I can’t see Susie being such a major shock to be honest. Interesting, but not that high up on the Richter scale.

    • the earthquake theory is a good one, irrespective the source’s reliability.

      I think it is simple plate tectonics.

      Like the Loma Prieta ‘quake of ’89, it’s a complex system, and fault lines riddle the territory. Like Loma Prieta, IIRC, it was a smaller, unexpected, shift which began the wider trigger along the anticipated big fault line.

      Nice to see the currency of the idea reflected at my other hidey-hole ;-)

      Actually, I am going to comment on that difference in styles, between the two sites which need no mention. Both are true to their aims, no doubt about that, but the other place is frank as to intent to promote one person’s work – excellent work without comparison, and we’re talking about my favorite F1 writer of all time in any event, bias disclosed – but when we run fast and loose here, far more (apologies to the geologists out there for the pun) bubbles to the surface.*

      *mud pools emanating methane or other trapped gas, and liquefaction being typical quake precursors.

      if we extrapolate further, one of the reactions to the Loma Prieta quake was to learn than monitoring apparently insignificant fault lines was of real importance in understanding the systems.

  12. Funny, it was over a year ago that reports were saying Vettel was signed for 2014 with Ferrari. Around that time, Alonso renewed his contract till 2016. RBR extended Vettel’s contract.
    But what if there was a get out clause, in respect of if he wins 4 WDC he can leave? Be an unusual performance clause, I grant you.
    Wasn’t Mateschitz quoted as saying earlier this year that he wouldn’t stand in his way if he wanted to leave? And we all know Vettels love of history, I believe he would love to go to Ferrari, like his hero, and emulate the victories too. It would be even sweeter to prove that he can win when Alonso couldn’t?
    There was also talk that RBR were talking to Allison about taking over from Newey, maybe Newey wants to retire? What would happen if Vettel knew all this and had contract talks with that information in line.

    He could turn up at Ferrari as they hit the rising wave, just as Red Bull start to dip. I’m a Ferrari fan foremost, and I want to see them successful, a happy Alonso would make a quality team, formidable, but a petulant Alonso may be too much trouble.

    As to the what if’s surrounding Ferrari if they decided to leave? F1 would still continue, of course, but it wouldn’t have the same level of interest. In a couple of years time, Rossi will retire from MotoGP, when that happens attendances will level back to the 20,000’s from current levels because he is the sport.

    Ferrari doesn’t need F1 to sell cars around the world, their brand is powerful enough anyway. But is F1?
    After all, Ferrari already sells cars around the world, be it China, America or Abu Dhabi. They sell merchandising as well. They don’t need these new circuits in new growth areas. But the others do.

    A few years back, in Business F1 magazine, Tom Rubython wrote an article about F1 revenue streams.

    Ferrari were the only team that had all sponsorship space on their car accounted for at $300,000,000. They turned down an annual $80,000,000 from Vodafone as secondary sponsorship because Marlboro had bought the car effectively. Hence why Vodafone signed with Mclaren.

    Their merchandising of toys, models, clothing etc was valued at $292,000,000…

    The next largest amount, I believe was Mclaren, and they barely reached $48,000,000. Williams who were winning races at that stage were $19,000,000.
    In total, all the other teams combined, were less than a third of Ferrari.
    It is quite numbing/ sobering numbers and may be a reason why the Concorde Agreement does provide Ferrari with a sweetener of $50,000,000 odd.

    • Great information – puts Ferrari power into perspective

    • Some 2012 financial info

      Ferrari Is Still Formula One’s Most Valuable Team – a valuation of $1.15 billion with revenues of $384 million ( profit unknown )

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrissmith/2012/11/20/red-bull-soars-but-ferrari-is-still-formula-ones-most-valuable-team/

      Ferrari ( the whole company not just F1 ) – revenues of 2.433 billion euro and gross profit of 350 million euro ( 1 euro = 1.33 US dollars approx. )

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/18/ferrari-sales-report-idUSnPnNY61722+160+PRN20130218

      And to put these monies into context –

      BMW had revenues of 77 billion euro and a gross profit of 5.1 billion euro

      VW had revenues of 194 billion euro and a gross profit of 11.6 billion euro

      So BMW pulled out of F1 and have no intention of returning, and Audi & Porsche ( VW ) aren’t interested in F1.

      Ferrari are a big fish in a little pond when it comes to F1 – but in global motoring terms they’re just minnows.

      ” Ferrari doesn’t need F1 to sell cars around the world, their brand is powerful enough anyway. ”

      Hmmm ….. maybe Ferrari need F1 more than you think ? The loss of F1 revenues and associated merchandising, would have a major impact on their business.

      • Some great information but I want to throw some thoughts out there

        If Ferrari is this big fish in a little pond, why did BMW not win championships with Williams or with their own squad? Why did Toyota not buy success, or Honda? Why has Mercedes failed to deliver as an engine partner and a manufacturer? After all between 98-99 and 2008, Ferrari trounced them. Even then you can’t simply suggest it was the team, because they have been partners with Mclaren since 1995.
        The only true manufacturers that have ever measured up to Ferrari are Renault and Honda.
        I could mention Ford with the Cosworth DFV, but to my mind it was 2 Ferrari against 20 odd Cosworth powered cars. If Ferrari had a bad race or year, of course the others would win.
        I’d hazard a guess that everyone I mentioned is somewhat bigger than the team from Maranello.

        Last point, I remember writing about this a year or so ago on another site, Red Bull in 2011 made profits of $1 billion against revenue of $4.25 billion.
        So Red Bull, who have a budget that is effectively disposable, makes annual profits that are practically triple what the whole of the Ferrari makes.

        • Or maybe the question should be – why have Ferrari not won more championships ?

          We know that during the Schumacher years they were spending more on tyres alone than many teams total budgets …..

          So money alone clearly doesn’t guarantee success.

          “After all between 98-99 and 2008, Ferrari trounced them.”

          And what about 1950 – 2000 ?
          Or 2005 – present ?
          I don’t remember very much Ferrari “touncing” during these periods …….

          ” I could mention Ford with the Cosworth DFV, but to my mind it was 2 Ferrari against 20 odd Cosworth powered cars.”

          The DFV – a period from 1968 – 82. I guess no one else has ever built an engine that has beaten Ferrari then ?

          ” If Ferrari had a bad race or year, of course the others would win.”

          You make it sound like the other teams didn’t beat Ferrari on merit – i.e. beating a good Ferrari team – but only won by default when Ferrari were bad.

          What a load of rubbish !

          ” The only true manufacturers that have ever measured up to Ferrari are Renault and Honda. ”

          We won’t mention Lotus then eh ?

          ” Last point, I remember writing about this a year or so ago on another site, Red Bull in 2011 made profits of $1 billion against revenue of $4.25 billion.
          So Red Bull, who have a budget that is effectively disposable, makes annual profits that are practically triple what the whole of the Ferrari makes.”

          Red Bull increased its revenue from 2.06 billion to 2.31 billion euros, ( $ 3 billion ) and saw its net profit jump nearly 40 per cent to 311 million euros (406 million dollars) in 2012.

          http://www.timeslive.co.za/lifestyle/2012/10/08/red-bull-profits-jump-40-percent-to-406-million

          So the reality is that Ferrari revenues and profits are about the same as Red Bull’s – and that Ferrari F1 revenues ( and thereby their spend ) are clearly greater than RBR F1

          If you have to “cherry pick” to justify your argument, your argument isn’t particularly valid in the first place.

    • Carlo,

      SF did not exactly turn down Voda’s 80MM.

      Philip Morris bought the rights to resell the livery, bar technical sponsors, for which they paid 300MM. (2010 IIRC, a renewal of a long standing deal, but they did not find a major sponsor initially, hence the white stripe “subliminal” swatches that sparked controversy)

      Ferrari booked that 300MM, and that’s known.

      Now I have to get fuzzy:

      Voda’s 80MM IIRC came out, I believe, as a measure of the goodwill attached to the livery, over and above the underlying long term deal.

      I am not informed as to the arrangements in place where PM and SF respectively benefit from new livery opportunities, but clearly the PM influence is tight, hence the sub branding, paint color tweaks, occasional sparseness of bodywork.

      It would be quite normal nonetheless to record the going offered rate for a name sponsorship – and this is I expect is where conflict arose, because until IIRC ’11 it was SF Marlboro, but that had no legs* . . – so that other assumptions as to income booked as cash and goodwill accrued may be attested, both for accounting, and for marketing future deals. The accounting matters for both parties to account for their deductibles, in this case PM is booking goodwill costs involved in their role marketing the livery.

      * What I think happened is that, with a twist of dog in manger, PM knew that their brand attached to long standing F1 fans irrespective, and possibly not quite enough was on the table for a suffix formal team name as recorded by the entry. When you have that kind of budget, you can make your absence felt as much as your presence. It also keeps just a little top of pressure on Santander, that there’s always some possibility, however remote, there will be a entry naming deal to come.

  13. You know, everyone talks about next year, what if the earthquake is for 2015 or 2016, i.e. a Vettel/Alonso swap. That would be more probable. Or some other scenario that doesn’t involve Alonso. Why would Santander want to partner Red Bull for example and share the livery. Or maybe they do want to do that so Santander gets a foot in Asia and Red Bull in South America.
    My word my head is going to explode by the end of the summer break.

    • Santander have big gigantic debt problems in their European banks. They will most likely withdraw from F1 at the end of their contract

      • nota also my point about the lack of entry sponsor name Scuderia Ferrari ?????.

        I would be very surprised if PM were not eyes down getting the next deal in motion, right now. Bank sponsorship doesn’t seem to be all that wonderful with F1. Might as well call it SF Gribobank. . . .

  14. Wow, time for speculation I guess. Unless this has to do with a certain unlicensed Russian, a 9.0 event would almost certainly have to involve Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen. If it’s a 9.0, then further narrowing would have to be something not already the subject of widespread silly season rumors. I tend to think Hamilton stays at Merc till Brawn leaves, and seems like Ross is there through 2014 at a minimum, so unlikely that Lewis is part of this equation. Likewise, Raikkonen to RBR would surprise almost no one, particularly if Lotus still have money woes.

    That leaves Vettel and Alonso, or Raikkonen to a team other than RBR.
    The most likely would be Alonso to RBR so it should immediately be ruled out (as a 9.0 remember) which leaves either Vettel or Raikkonen to Ferrari. Since Horner seems so smug these days, either Vettel has truly deceived him or he is sitting in the cat bird’s seat so Raikkonen to Ferrari it is, putting pressure on Alonso so off to RBR he goes and Ferrari take Hulkenberg for a second and there you have it. Never get involved in a land war in Asia!

    Now Drink!!

    • A 9 would also be Alonso going to Mclaren… Or would that be the world exploding??

      • Don’t type things like that, my laptop almost exploded, EXPLODED I tell ya!

        • It would be alright, he’ll bring his .5 second with him, and there’s no Hammy or Ron to disrupt him, lol

      • The problem with you lot is you get regular snippets eg the Allison role on 10 July – confirmed today by Ferrari so that a 9 to everyone else is only a 7.5-8 in tj13 land :)

        • my Richter scale ratings for a “driver announcement in Monza”:

          9. Lewis retires from F1 and/or Vettel moves to Mercedes
          8. Alonso moves to Red Bull
          7. Button retires and/or Raikonnen and/or Hulkenberg moves to McLaren
          6. Grosjean moves to Torro Rosso
          5. Grosjean moves to Marusia
          4. All four drivers currently with Sauber and Force India retire with the demise of those teams.
          3. Massa retires
          2. Pedro DeLa Rosa takes over as no.1 driver for Ferrari
          1. Kamui Kobayashi takes over as no.2 driver for Ferrari

          but topping scale 9 with a 10 Gigtonne hydrogen bomb blast is:
          10. Mark Webber decides to re-sign for Red Bull alongside Alonso, as Vettel decides to go to Mercedes to fill the vacancy created by Hamilton giving up on F1.

          • “but topping scale 9 with a 10 Gigtonne hydrogen bomb blast is:
            10. Mark Webber decides to re-sign for Red Bull alongside Alonso, as Vettel decides to go to Mercedes to fill the vacancy created by Hamilton giving up on F1….”

            …to have babies with his boo

            love it :)

            I guess in this scenario, Webber is also No. 1

          • 11 on the scale – Alonso returns to Mclaren, in a straight swap with Button…

          • I like this one … The thought has crossed my mind but in terms of sponsorship potential I can’t see it happen.

          • I beg your pardon KP, but

            8. Alonso moves to Red Bull/Grosjean moves to Red Bull/Grosjean moves to Ferrari

      • That would be Alonception

        Ron plays the old man at the end of the table, who Fernando finds having been washed up on the beach.

  15. What a great post, host, what a great post. Entertaining, amusing, it has fine comedy, a lot of drama…

    9 Richter earthquake on “a driver announcement” cannot be related to Kimi (he is so understated), I don’t think it can be Hamilton after Mercedes has found the pace and it seems they are going to have a good powertrain for the new Turbo era. I cannot think of other driver involvement in a 9 Richter earthquake but… Alonso and Vettel. Considering how passionate Il Padrino is, my bet goes for Alonso fired.

    What a great post.

    • Fired, to be replaced by Schumacher and Barrichello. Worked last time..

      • Well, Ferrari’s market is older men with too much money, so makes sense from a marketing POV…

        :-b

    • Imagine that! Alonso sitting out 2014 because no top team would take him back. Unless he goes back to Renault/Lotus. I’m starting to think this might be even more probable than Alonso going to RBR.

      • Mmm. Are you suggesting Alonso sacked, Hulkenberg to Ferrari for the rest of the season?

        • I’ll admit this is what I first thought. But Ferrari would effectively be conceding the dwc – which is always their first priority. Maybe a massa hulk swap? In return for wiping out some of Sauber’s outstanding £16m debt for Ferrari engines? Although who would then test the braking parts that Massa was… Still Massa? :P

          Bigger shock – Ferrari takes paul di resta on account of his half Italian heritage, lol.

          • You may laugh about it but I wouldn’t be surprised at all Ferrari going for Di Resta with part of the reasoning being his Italian heritage…they’re Ferrari!

          • This is my old mantra and why I love Ferrari…

            “Ferrari would rather bask in the glory of being Ferrari, than make the common sense or pragmatic choices that improve their chance of winning”

          • Although I also read somewhere that RB are set to confirm Ricciardo at Spa.. but then I read on Autosport it’s now not set in stone with Alonso possibly under consideration…

          • New theory – Vettel and Alonso swap deal! Lol :D (Which infuriates Alonso when Vettel wins in 2014 with Ferrari now having a dominant engine package haha)

  16. Recently I believe the biggest liability of Ferrari has been Montezemelo himself. His open disliking of the rules and dependency on aerodynamics, can affect the team. What message is he sending to the Scuderia. While other teams have adapted, we have seen him screaming time and time again how rules have to go back to what they were.

    The fact of the matter is that Ferrari has not been the same since the dream team was broken up. The ’07 had Brawn’s fingerprints and the ’08 car was the evolution of ’07.

    • Agree with you. Monty should be put out to pasture, if only to stop his endless hysterionics. The lad is an over emotional manchild. The drama involved is insufferable.

    • +1

      L di M seems a distracted man. I like to check out his attire. Seen a few too many “comforting” knitwear items lately . .

      But for all that genuinely respect the guy. He has a unenviable job in his position, torn many directions, in a a environment which to call political is to dismiss Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli as a amateur commentator.

      Hmm, dei Machiavelli’s timeline of events and contemporary influence compared with his latter-day reputation by those who look no further than The Prince . . .

      I note the histrionic moments, but think them merely frustrated outbursts. He’s of a age he wants to leave a different kind of mark, hence dabbling in public politics. If only Italy once could decide on a prime minister and keep them, but I think – and I am not lately more than in passing self- informed – there will be a de facto technocracy now for a good while.

      Carlo, any thoughts on Luca di in real politics? Could he hack it? Could he do anything useful?

  17. I heard Bernie has been signed for the 2014 Ferrari drive……9?

  18. Sorry to be late to the party so to speak but I was following it at work on my phone. A total left field suggestion for maximum impact….

    Swap Alonso and Rosberg. Ferrari get rid of Alonso because of his behavior and he fancies his chances now him and Lewis are being so respectful and joins him at Merc. There is an expectation that they will have the best engine and if they can sort the tires they could be the car to be in. Rosberg then goes to Ferrari to replace him. I think he was linked there in the past? Massa gets replaced by someone else.

    That would surely be big????

    • That’s a very fine idea.

      I’m a big Nico fan, which started because he has such a upbeat and charming – and consistent – demeanor.

      But that Merc could well be as good going into next year. Might be worth watching how this year’s car is developed, as a hint to next year’s efforts. Though I think the tannoy in Brackley is still playing Jagger’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup),” * ti could just be they have got a plan to tool up for the new engines,and that’s why the cooks.

      But will that be all?

      I mean all as affects what Nico could do in a red car?

      Turbos are no matter the new refinements, a different beast, and the character of the driver I think is going to matter.

      Now allowing Nico is one of the most placid and genteel of the drivers, will a different environment help him adjust?

      Obviously I simply cannot answer that.

      But Lewis’ move seems to have done him a power of good mentally. (How that would be if the car was not so fast, well, we can make a educated guess what the radio would sound like)

      One thing for sure, it’s not following his father’s footsteps. And the Tifosi never say no to a starred name.

      As a fan, I like the sound of Rosberg, Ferrari.

      But read the commentary abounding on this site (it’s a slog to wade through, but that was my job until life intervened, sorry) because it does seem very scatterbrained.

      Flip side to a bit of scatterbrain in a organisation, is it can set some characters loose. If the ’24 Ferrari is a (comparable) dog, he might enjoy wrestling it, and learn fast.

      All told, I do like – as a fan – your idea, very much. It would excite me. Whether it would excite the career logic of those involved, is nothing I can fathom.

      For the curious:

      http://www.stereogum.com/6234/new_old_mick_jagger_john_lennon_too_many_cooks_spo/news/

      • in a clearer summary, would be a fascinating contrast to see FA in a “stricter” team, and Nico hanging it loose in a relatively headless chicken team. Nico letting it all hang out (inevitable with the new engines?!) would be a delight for this fan. I’d love too the rivalry between he and Lewis to develop from there.

  19. Well, if that monumental announcement is really to come, it has to involve Ferrari. Now there are two options:

    a) That there’s no hope for Massa should be obvious to most people, so that would be as surprising as someone yelling ‘Amen’ in church, but his replacement could be a Humdinger. Ferrari could have signed up a fast Signora or a really big name from across the puddle (or both if they snagged Danica)

    b) Ferrari shows Alonso were the door is and bring in Vettel or the Hulk in 2014. All teams start with a clean sheet in 2014, so it would make more sense to bring in a new lead driver than 2015. You’d spend a transition year in 2014 to adapt the car to your new star’s preference and go for bingo in 2015

    I think the fat lady is done singing for Alonso. He’s dragged the car to positions it didn’t belong on many occasions, but he also delivered ridiculously lackluster races (Austin 2012 and Monaco 2013 come to mind). Her came to Ferrari with much fanfare, but he had to live up to the legacy of M. Schumacher and he failed miserably at that. He isn’t a team builder. Schumacher never went about slagging off the team in public, not even in 1996 when he would have had every reason to. He put his head down and went to work, whereas Alonso wastes his time making himself look like a complete berk with inane Samurai tweets and hopeless psycho-games with RB/Vettel, which are as effective as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking contest.

    • Still not sure you can say Alonso has failed to live up to the Schumacher legacy. The Spaniard has put up with 3 years of a sub-standard car, almost claiming the title in 2 of them.

      • Schumacher had the same substandard tech at the start of his Ferrari tenure, but he rallied the team behind him and I don’t remember him getting petulant and slagging off the team if things didn’t work out. He once publicly told Goodyear to get their shyte together, but he never attacked the team, like Alonso did recently. In that regard Alonso simply thinks he’s bigger than the team. Vettel has the same problem as was evident in Malysia and Monaco.

        • Hmm, FA in a team he won’t be able to treat as his own? Hmmm.

          If he can work out who he has to slag off / report to, dear me . .

      • I believe you’ve answered your own question :
        Q. Alonso failed ?
        A. [Alonso] almost claiming

        in other words ‘close but no cigars’…

    • but I do agree with you about the Samurai tweets.

  20. […] thoroughly sick of each other if their spat of yesterday is anything to go by and into that chaos The Judge13 dropped this bomb of a news bit: Originally Posted by thejudge13 Earthquake TJ13 has just […]

  21. Wow, you know you have hit paydirt with the news if it sparks over 70 comments :)

    • excluding this, 100 and counting!

      I dunno the moderation system, sometimes my posts await moderation, sometimes they go right up.

      But if there is moderation going on, and there’s certainly thoughtful eyes watching, that’s a score for the TJ team!

      Not only that, but being picked up plenty elsewhere. Including by who does not think this kind of website has credibility. (I’m not slating him, I never would just noting the challenge of the media approaches).

      Now I really want to know when I first scribbled I reckoned the only way ahead was a big move at the top . . just to demolish my own ego, of course ;-)

      • Thanks to AHJ by the way for his notes today. I am at present bored waiting for transport so I’ll add my bit.

        The only moderation is automatic by the site. If it is the first comment made – it sits in pending until attended to.

        If a comment is made with 2 or more links, that too will sit in moderation until attended to – worth remembering for regulars – make two comments each with one link and it is automatically posted.

        After some 9,000 comments, I believe only one has been edited – and then it was one word that was slightly altered to avoid offense.

        • Yup, AHJ’s notes are outstanding today!

          Well, that speaks very highly of the community here. Not having to wade through rudeness and personal attacks . . hmmm…

          Check your inbox, TJ, just bunged you a development thought that I don’t want to orphan and which suits here far better even in a few moments’ thought.

          Thanks for the link / comment tip. Duly noted.

  22. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake kind of news would be Alonso fired on the spot by di Montezemolo, Massa taking the n°1 driver role and Kobayashi put as n°2 with immediate effect.

    • see my reply earlier – (KP said this on July 30, 2013 at 00:00) – where I said it will be Pedro who replaces Alonso, when hel gets sacked at Monza.

      Pedro is getting in some mileage in a Ferrari to do so. See today’s report by James Allen:
      “… * According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferrari is starting a three day test today at Magny Cours with test driver Pedro de la Rosa. The team is using a 2011 Ferrari, as the FIA Sporting Regulations permit, but it appears not to be a Pirelli test – that would be ironic given that Montezemolo also criticised the Italian tyre manufacturer for changing tyres mid-season and artificially affecting the competition, contributing to Ferrari’s loss of form. … “

    • It really looks like ‘nando has locked horns with the team one time too many, but considering his pre-YDT ‘I don’t work for Pirelli’ antics, his work ethics don’t look too good either.

  23. Not much to note, but I’ve had a few complaints elsewhere about me going on a bit, when I want to drawn in context.

    So, despite a false start a few months ago, I am now planning to link my references through a Twitter account @JOJONF1

    This isn’t so much a reaction to a handful of people saying they are fed up with me, as the simple fact it is _hard to navigate long comment threads.

    (though i wrote a comment on a super blog by my pal Nate, techopsguys, how Windows8 plus the new browser means I can do everything from the keyboard and am stunned really that that is possible. No, not touch or anything, just typing gets me around plenty fine. Link below, for my idea of how the new command line is seeping in through the cracks. Be my guest if you want to claim I am a microsoft fanboi, please, oh, go on .. pretty please .. it’s the disgust of it all that led me to dig around and find what’s good. It’s called VMS, a bloke called Cutler pinched it .. )

    So, if I seem particularly strange, try looking for the references @JOJONF1.

    I am not using this for promotion, either of this site nor the other one I respect. Though I may link to things on my company website, maybe, time to time.

    I may also throw there all sorts of things I’ve filed away of anecdotal interest, but I do not have the time to blog in any form, so they might be arcane programming language links or all sorts. I’ll tag those away separately.

    Yup, I am very new to this, despite 30 years mucking writing code.

    Maybe the occasional person who wants to have a crack at me, will do so there not on Joe’s blog, or here. I’m cool with that.

    But I am not promising immediate service. This came to me as a plan today, and I’ll be thinking how to use this best over the summer racing break.

    No, I am in no way connected at all with F1, not even at a distance. Though a acquaintance did date a famous driver’s daughter, I nebver even met them together. So if you want true stories, inside opinion, or intelligent guesswork, I am not your man. I plan to use the Twitter thing for what most do not: actually underpinning some ideas, and cross referencing thoughts which are linked to different disciplines, not throwing sh** at the wall.

    – – – – –

    I am STUNNED, truly stunned and delighted to learn this blog operates without moderation.

    My great respect to all who come here for keeping it clean and serene, immune interpersonal stupidities. Ya’ll my heroes, mkay??

    Let there be debate!

    ~ joj

    link to view on Windows 8 being usable, for me, at least, and why it has come about, and the transformation in our usage of machines:

    http://www.techopsguys.com/2013/06/04/infoworld-suggests-radical-windows-8-changes/

    • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news JoJ but ……

      IT IS MODERATED

      at least my posts are :(

      • No it isn’t. The site automatically moderates on the following criteria.

        1st time an email is used for a comment.

        More than 1 link attached to a comment.

        Please email thejudge13@hotmail.com if you have a comment you cannot see. WE NEED TO KNOW!

        • We are attacked daily by spambots and receive 2000 comments a week from automated sources. We cannot read all of these and once or twice a week we group delete everything that our software puts into the spam filter. If your comment does not appear immediately and is not the first time you comment or does not have 2 or URL links then….

          YOU MUST email thejudge13@hotmail.co.uk and we will immediately find the comment in the spam inbox and validate it manually.

          • TJ, have you tried CloudFlare?

            http://www.cloudflare.com/overview

            blogger pal of mine Nate is awesome with spam handling also, though his place very quiet still, he wrangles huge sites at work.

            fact is, the tech is very very good, it takes effort to not be well set for anything but a direct attack. Even then, see above.

            Well, I’m off the fence (was ‘e pushed?) and into that world for myself now . .

            (I have not decided how this will all work out, because my company is going to come out of “stealth” this fall also – it’s allowed now, at 18! – and I’m expected to blog for that, and there are some overlapping areas of possible F1 interest, e.g. one mentioned in my last mail to you)

  24. Interesting bit about moving the Indian GP to april is that new delhi gets really hot in summer. bBy april temps will start hitting late 30s and sometimes even 40 odd. I was pretty surprised with a lot of F1 folk calling hungary’s temperature as hot. I wonder what they’d say about this then. Malaysian gp when dry is usually as hot with high humidity to boot. I remember trulli looking totally drained after the race during his Renault days.

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