HRT run out of cash, Lewis and wedding bells, Ferrari’s Padrino wants answers now, Austin traffic problems, Greek parliament vote on GP venue, Petrov gets shirty, Kimi’s radio t-shirt, Vettel predicted podium

HRT can’t afford 2013 entrance fee: German motor publication is reporting today that HRT do not have the 500,000 euro’s to pay for the entrance fee for 2013. F1 and Mr. E does not need their money however this represents a bigger concern over whether they have funds at all for 2013. The mechanical failures they have been having I am told is due to parts being run way beyond their intended life due to lack of funds for new ones. Looks grim!

Kimi pit radio: If you want to listen again, here’s the link to the Iceman’s irritation with Lotus team radio man, Simon. (LINK) You can have a shirt too, with Kimi’s memorable radio transmission as a statement for life in general (pic). I think the other one was better for flashing at the boss when getting your head pecked. “Yes yes yes yes I’m already doing it!!!”.

Vettel predicted podium: Horner told BBC TV late last night that he’d visited Sebastian in the morning prior to the race. He was playing a drum kit and causally waved at his boss saying – “See you on the podium later”. Christian to be fair said he thought 8th was the best they could get – and with less attrition it may have been the case.

Perez costing Sauber: In thejudge13 race review yesterday, we noted all the incidents Perez has been involved in during his consecutive non-points finishes since signing for McLaren. I missed the fact that following Kamui’s 6th place finish, Mercedes are a mere 12 points ahead of the Swiss team having scored ‘nil point’ in their last 4 outings. The value to Sauber of finishing 5th ahead of the German works team is immense, not just in prize money, but in Kudos for Sponsors.

I think Sergio needs sending to the naughty corner by Peter Sauber (or Monisha) because he had a car capable of 5th yesterday and a bag full of points.

Greece want F1: I don’t think I bothered reporting this last time it was doing the rounds, because I thought it was not serious. Apparently though, Reuters is reporting, “last month, Greece’s Ministry of Development confirmed it had unblocked a European funding subsidy of 29.46 million euros ($37.84 million) for the construction of an international-standard racetrack that could be used for staging a Formula One weekend.”

Of that subsidy, 15 percent will be covered by the Greek government and parliament will vote on whether to approve the move next week on November 15. The track will be built in Chalandritsa near the western port city of Patras and the ministry has set a total estimated cost of 94.6 million euros, 70 percent of which is to be funded by private investment company Racetrack Patras. “Critics in the foreign media believe that the state will subsidise the circuit running cost, this is a false idea,” Evangelos Floratos, who heads Racetrack Patras, told Reuters.

“Our chief aim is to operate the track 365 days per year, offer a high quality service to motor sport professionals and thus develop business and employment for the local community,” Floratos added.

There is a lack of testing appropriate facilities in southern Europe for the 15 days F1 teams are allowed pre-season. I usually go to testing and I’m only aware of Barcelona and Jerez being announced for 2013 so far. Valencia (the track) was used 2 years ago and this year there were 2 sessions in Barcelona, Jerez and the May testing in Mugello. The mid-season test has I believe been cancelled and all testing will again take place pre-season.

This alone is no business plan for a circuit then hoping to be awarded an F1 race. An official in Jerez told me the fee’s they received from the teams for the testing sessions was $130,000 a day.  I struggle to think of a race circuit anywhere in the world that operates 365 days a year, though Silverstone has a permanent Porsche car dealership on site. Therefore Floratos claims of utilising the facility 365 days a year seems wildly optimistic.

Then there is the small matter of Mr. E’s fees. $40-50m appears to be the going rate plus the other costs associated in an F1 weekend. Even at $500 per person, the Greek venue would require 120,000 visitors to break even. Silverstone managed 125,000 on race day this year and the average ticket price was lower than that. I’m not cracking the usual jokes made by others about Greek national debt, but this project seems beyond the funding required – not to build the facility – but to pay FOM fee’s to host an event. Korea loses $50-60,000 a year.

Expect traffic problems in Austin: Yesterday, the circuit held its first race, for runners. About 5,000 arrived for the fun run. “Congestion at the intersection of Texas 130 and FM 812 caused waits of more than an hour and a half Saturday morning. Some participants say they arrived 30 minutes after the race start, which organizers had already pushed back about 40 minutes.” (

Okay there were 5,000 people who turned up for this, in 2 weeks there will be 24 times as many on the Sunday – 120,000 – Mmm. Interestingly the paddock club is sold out. These tickets are about $3,000 for the Sunday alone and Austin has sold more of these tickets than any other race venue this year. God bless ‘Corporate America’.

McLaren new aero boss: Marcin Budkowski is now titled ‘Head of Aero’ on having been ‘Deputy Chief Aero’ since April.

Ferrari: Il Padrino is grandstanding again. “10 days to gain back 10 points”, says Montezemolo. Apparently following a ‘long’ meeting this morning with Stefano, he wants answers and results.

“The weekend was hard to read,” said Montezemolo. “That began with Saturday evening when I watched a situation that was not entirely clear. As far as Ferrari is concerned I want to understand why the new parts that we brought to the track only partially improved the performance of the F2012, which wasn’t enough to allow Alonso to fight for the very front positions on the grid – despite the contrasting expectations of our engineers. Yesterday Fernando nonetheless produced his umpteenth great race of the season, in which he again gave 120% and he managed to fight for victory right to the end.

But it’s clear that we have to do more for the coming races. That is what I requested today of Domenicali and his team: we have 10 crucial days ahead, during which we must do everything to arrive in Texas with a car that can fight for the victory. Words count for nothing: this must be our target”.

It’s really funny how everyone at Ferrari is adopting Alono’s 120% benchmark he first issued last week in India – I would have expected the godfather to raise him some – even to 125% 😉 Luca continues (at length – great length)

“To start sixth and finish second, despite only benefiting from one retirement from another car, clearly shows the pedigree of Fernando’s race yet again. Of course, yesterday morning we were all hoping to gain back a few more points in the championship given Vettel’s starting position. Instead he produced a fine race too, even if the two safety car periods certainly didn’t help us…Nonetheless I remain confident because everything is possible,” concluded Montezemolo.

“It depends on us: yet again in these last 15 years we are involved in the title battle right up to the end and we have seen how much more difficult situations in the championship standings have been overturned. It’s up to us not to leave any stone unturned: I am certain that the will to win drives the men and women who work for Ferrari and that everyone will work with absolute determination, giving the same 120% that Fernando keeps on giving. We want to win the World Championship – just as we have done this year in many Gran Turismo title fights thanks to the mighty 458 Italia, beating the most important constructors: I believe in us more than anyone.”

No wonder Ferrari struggle to get anything done if they have to listen to all that regularly. I think Luca sounds pretty miffed and his analysis of Fernando’s great drive is highly optimistic.

Had Vettel been starting 3rd he would have been ahead of Alonso – so now Fernando’s finishing 3rd

Had Lewis not DNF’d – Alonso 4th

Had Maldonado not had zero KERS from lap3 – Alonso may have had a battle like Webber did and fared equally badly – Alonso 5th.

Then there was old crazy dingo in the 2nd Red Bull (not usually like him) – a more circumspect race could have seen him regain his lost position from Alonso as the car was clearly quick enough.

Sorry Luca, I have Alonso 6th without others mistakes or car failures. Fair enough Fernando kept himself out of trouble, but qualifying on the 3rd or 4th row in Austin and merely keeping out of trouble won’t suffice – and we’ll have a German hat-trick.

I wonder who Luca will fire this year if Alonso doesn’t win the WDC. 2010: Chris Dyer, 2011: Aldo Costa, 2012: ??????? – Stefano?

Petrov: Reading it appears as though they have a quite robust and direct reporter who does not treat Vitaly with kid gloves at all. He persistently questions him over why he couldn’t pass Glock and was so slow and how his team mate in the same equipment was much quicker. Here’s an interpretation:-

Q: Why you can not get around Timo Glock?

Petrov: Marrussa have made progress and are faster than us

Q: So there is no other explanation, and your machine will work properly?

Petrov: I used both DRS and KERS but couldn’t get past Glock – I don’t know why

Q: How did you rate your work today?

Petrov: Heikki cut me up, I could have beat him into the first corner otherwise. We’ve talked about it.

Q: So your car was not slow, it was just you?

Petrov: Listen! I am telling you right now there was a problem with the car. If we made a mistake in setting up the car we did it together not just me. It is impossible I am slower than Haikki, something is obviously wrong.

Kingfisher: India will not renew Kingfisher Airlines’ licence to fly if the ailing carrier fails to provide a turnaround plan by end-December, a senior government official said today. The airline has not come up with any revival plan as of now, the official, who declined to be named, said, adding that the airlines’ licence is due to expire on Dec. 31.

Kingfisher, once India’s second-largest airline, has not flown since the start of October after an employee protest turned violent. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended its licence last month, after Kingfisher failed to address its concerns over safety. Further, the Indian Air Authority is slowly re-allocating its routes to other airline company’s – the equivalent of selling the family silver. (Reuters)

On this day in 1989: Thierry Boutsen in a Williams won a rain-hit Australian Grand Prix in which only 70 of the 81 laps could be completed and 13 of the 25 starters crashed. Ayrton Senna who piled into the back of Martin Brundle’s Brabham on the 14th lap, was indignant. “The responsibility for allowing this race to take place belongs to FISA,” he fumed, no doubt retaliating at FISA having been disqualified from the Japanese GP a fortnight earlier.

“It’s obvious when FISA complain we drivers are lunatics it is really they who are crazy.” There was meant to be a boycott of the race and Alain Prost was as good as his word and withdrew after 1 lap, but others soldiered on. Nelson Piquet, who with Boutsen was one of the ringleaders, said: “This is a dangerous sport which does not need to be made more dangerous. There is a difference between bravery and stupidity.” If the drivers thought the conditions in Adelaide were bad, they were nothing with what was to follow 2 years later.

Caterham & Renault: the judge13 reported last week that there was an announcement imminent over a joint venture in road car production. It appears the Alpine and Caterham brands will be used, one on each car,  and the 2 cars will have shared chassis, engine and other components. It is likely Renault will build a spyder version and Caterham a convertible. Priced around 30-40,000 euro’s.

Lewis and wedding bells: I’ve warmed somewhat to Lewis over the past few weeks. He appears more like the Lewis of 2007-08 at peace with himself. Yet if the top British tabloid is to be believed he may have storm clouds on the horizon. They report Nicole following a recording of X-factor holding up her left hand to photographers telling them Lewis needs to hurry up and put a ring on it.

She was reported last week as saying, “I wouldn’t wish a long-distance relationship on anyone.” Stone me as a cynic if you wish. Popstar – no where near as wealthy as F1 driver by some way – starts badgering very wealthy boyfriend  into getting married less than a year after they split up – Hot girlfriend seen recently in a private club very close to Mr. Brown – Look out Lewis, she could be after half. 🙁  (

Cost of F1 super license: This is shrouded in mystery, but we do know n 2010 Lewis Hamiltonpaid £242,000 ($387,000) for his licence for the season. There was discussions about reducing the licence cost after ex- FIA president Max Mosley wrote to Formula 1 drivers suggesting that they “race elsewhere if they were unable to pay for their super-licences.” At the conclusion of meeting on this subject in 2010, the FIA issued the this statement: “Following a very positive meeting between FIA President Max Mosley and representatives of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA), a proposal will be made to the World Motor Sport Council to revise super-licence fees for drivers in the 2010 championship.

The fee I believe is something like $20,000 p.a. plus a $1,000 per point scored at present. Wonder if you can get mobile banking from the car if you’re winning unexpectedly.

BBC audience: For UK viewers interested – it peaked at 4.9m and averaged 3.9m. Highest for the season

(This page will be updated today as more news develops – check back later)

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