Mallya: The judge13 has been following more closely than elsewhere the events unfolding that affect the Indian owner of Force India. Having sold a chunk of the Kingfisher empire this week, paid overdue airport dues and had the warrant for arrest withdrawn, Mallya has now had his airline license withdrawn. The suspension signalled the regulator’s lack of patience with Kingfisher after months of cancelled flights and staff walkouts, and marked a rare tough stance by the government against a high-profile corporate (Reuters)
The move had been widely expected after Kingfisher failed to respond properly to queries from the regulator regarding its ability to provide a “safe, efficient and reliable service”. The airline has never made a profit since its inception in 2004, and a well know airline commentator suggests it could take $1bn to turn Kingfisher Airlines around. (Force India: How the card tower will collapse)
Max Mosely: A very plausible and knowledgeable guest on the Sky F1 show admitted the expose of his by the News of the World of ‘spankgate’ weakened his hand in pushing through cost reforms. In 2003 Mosely, then head of the FIA, cancelled the use of special qualifying cars and engines in a move to level the playing field for the competing F1 teams. He instigated a ‘parc ferme’ following qualifying that meant the teams could not change engines and other components designed to provide ultra 1 lap speed but not be capable of lasting the full race distance.
In 2008-9 Mosely was trying force the teams to agree to a cost cap on expenditure, and Ferrari in particular were refusing to comply, there were threats of a breakaway series and Moseley admits he should have faced them down as he did in 2003. The reason he gave for avoiding all out confrontation was that Williams and Ferrari in particular had supported Mosely during the highly embarrassing matter of ‘spankgate’ and he felt he owed them for this loyalty. So Max agreed not to stand for re-election and the fudged Resource Restriction Agreement was accepted, something Mosely now admits is not working.
Birkett 6 Hour Relay Race: Next Saturday see’s the 62nd running of this event at Silverstone on the full GP circuit. I only became aware of it through some friends this weekend, and will probably attend after watching qualifying for the Indian GP. This event is quite remarkable as over 60 teams will be entering this years event and each team has six cars and six drivers – over 360 vehicles will take part in the race.
The drivers and cars are all amateur and Silverstone will be inundated by hundreds of caravans and trailers as the 400 or so competitors arrive Friday night for scrutineering. The cars are all from different amateur classes, Caterham’s, K Series single seaters, Saloon cars such as BMW M3’s and Subaru’s will all be on track at the same time. Obviously the different class of cars have different capabilities and a handicap system is used to level the playing field. This event strikes me as quite remarkable and demonstrates the depth of motor sport in the UK and that it will take decades for the new Asian F1 hosts to generate this level of grass-roots interest in car racing – if ever.
Some links to Youtube footage of this race. in yers gone by:
Wet start grid with 50 competitors 2009 (link)
Start grid 2008 (link)
General footage from 2007 (link)
Lotus: James Allison, technical director, admits that they are actually developing an unprecidented 3 cars at the same time – the current car, 2013’s car and the 2014 car too.. This is an unusual season because most of the teams are still working on fairly big upgrades with just 4 races to go. The reason for this is that the rule changes for next year are as small as they’ve been for quite some time and so the 2013 cars, although their will be some fundamental changes, will carry a lot of the present development through from work being done now.
This means that it may be more difficult for teams like Williams and Sauber to be as close to the front in 2013 as they’ve been at times this year, but certainly the top 5 teams should be very competitive. James Allison reckons the rule changes for 2014 are far more radical a step than the ones from 2008-09 when Brawn got the jump on everyone else, exploiting the double diffuser way ahead of the other teams.
2014 also see’s the V8 engines which have been run since 2006 being replaced by V6’s. The V10 engines were phased out at the end of 2005, and that year Lotus in a previous incarnation as Renault won both titles with Alonso.
F1 in the USA: This shows how much work F1 has to do to persuade America to watch. The big announcement of the postponement of New York’s first F1 street race catches but a by-line. Try and spot it (NY Times). Everyone in F1 agrees when you ask them, that its important for F1 to make an impact in the USA. Sponsorship exposure for European brands is an enormous opportunity, but F1 is plagued with the usual factions that have divided the sport for years.
A huge splash was to be made for the inaugural race in Austin. All the teams were to take over the whole of Times square and a massive event from the whole F1 circus was to take place. Yet I believe the teams couldn’t agree who would do what and so it ended up with Red Bull alone doing a promo organised by them alone, driving around areas of New Jersey where the circuit will be.
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