Marlboro McLaren becomes McLaren Nicorette, COTA business plan highly optimistic, Lewis leaving was all about the money, Austin Council votes to tax COTA, New F1 film for release in Austin

Vodafone scale down sponsorship:  It has been widely rumoured that Vodafone will be pulling out of its 6 year relationship with McLaren at the end of 2013. This has been considered to be worth as much as $75m a year, which is stratospheric compared to the fee’s most sponsors of F1 teams pay. Joe Seward has done a great article on this today, the link is at the end if this section.

The points worthy of comment are, Glaxo Smith Klien (GSK) has been extending its relationship with McLaren, and in a big announcement in the summer the announced a “ground-breaking collaboration” which will apply McLaren’s winning expertise to the needs of GSK, the aim being to help it to function more efficiently with more efficient planning processes and better modelling tools to drive faster decision-making. This includes the construction of a learning facility called the ‘McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance’, which is under construction at McLaren’s Headquarters in Woking.they announcedis setting up.

McLaren already ran the GSK health drink brand “Boost” on the car in India, and Joe notes the other products in GSK’s portfolio include, toothpaste brands, such as Macleans and Aquafresh, anti-smoking products such as Nicorette and Niquitin, drinks products such as Horlicks and Ribena and remedies from Beechams and Panadol. (Seward)

You have to smile, the team famously known for many years as Marlboro McLaren (cigarette sponsorship) is now receiving Carbon Trust Status, fighting gum disease, curing our physical ill’s and helping us quit smoking. How the F1 wheel turns.     🙂 😀

McLaren get’s arty: This video is a light painting which mimics the effects of wind over the new McLaren $750,000 P1 supercar due out next year.  (Full story on James Allen)

Kimi buys 500 shirts: For the full Lotus team with the logo “leave me alone I know what I’m doing”. makes you think, I’m sure it was Jackie Stewart who commented when joining a certain team in the 1960’s that they had 18 employees. (I’ll check the driver and team – but it was him, Surtees or Moss).

It wasn’t that long ago an F1 team like Caterham could be run for $800,000 p.a – maybe 15 years ago. Now Caterham is likely to spend $80m.

COTA business plan highly suspect: Having ousted Tavo Hellmund who originally got F1 to agree to return to the USA and Austin, Red McCombs has put up some $450m to establish the Circuit of the America’s as confirmed by chairman Bobby Epstein. He said, “$350 million had been spent directly in Central Texas, with the largest portion going to laborers. He added that $150 million in contracts had been awarded to women- and minority-owned businesses”.

The circuit was originally estimated as a $200 million project yet Epstein expressed confidence that the track makes economic sense. He said the math was actually pretty simple. “If 75,000 people attend the Formula One race weekend and spend $3,000 per person during a four or five-day stay that would add up to $225 million”.

Further bad news as today the Austin City Council voted Thursday to annex Circuit of the Americas and add it to the city’s tax roll next year. The property was valued at $92.2 million this year, with a taxable value of $80.7 million. Annexation also extends the city’s regulatory authority on the site (The Statesman).

Oh dear me. I flew from Heathrow to Basel, hired a car and had a lovely drive through the alps to Como (about 45 mins from Monza) – stayed 3 nights and bought a 3 day general admission ticket for the track. Car parking in the UK, fuel in Europe, hotels, food and track entry for the grand total of $650. That’s a $175m possible black hole in the promoter’s budget. I keep saying F1 costs hosts money – and does not make it for them.

Korea are 3 years into their 7 year contract and have spent/lost (are down) $410m. I know McCombs is the 491th richest man listed by Forbes – but this could make a serious dent in his fortune. Makes his failed ski resort and casino plans look like printing money.

See thejudge13 article from Tuesday on “COTA’s present law suit“.

Whitmarsh admits it may have been about the money: In an interview with Formula1, Martin Whitmarsh tells us, “we made Lewis an offer – an offer, which I believe is more money than any other driver at the moment is being paid. That leads us to suspect that our competitor and our partner Mercedes-Benz offered a bit more money. I don’t know that, but I think for Lewis made his decision. I am disappointed in one sense, but you have to focus on going forward.”

thejudge13 did an article on “Whitmarsh: It was all about the money” at the beginning of October when at the time it appeared Martin was repeatedly saying how much McLaren had offered Lewis to stay, almost protesting too much. It appears we identified some truth from what the McLaren team principal now thinks.

I have to say, Lewis demeanour at times since Singapore suggests to me someone who is very sad about leaving the team he has grown up with. He did an interview in Japan with SKY suggesting he would like to think he could go back in 3 years if the Mercedes move didn’t work out.

Whitmarsh echoes this,  “I think he has on occasions [regretted his decision to leave McLaren], yes. Probably, when you make a decision you have to tell yourself that the decision is made so you have to look forward. You say okay, that it is in the past so you don’t spend too much time thinking about why. You just look forward and make the best out of the new situation… maybe he is completely dispassionate about it, but my guess is that we both will have very emotional moments in Brazil. When the separation has arrived”.

It is clear that Sergio may not be fully aware yet of what he’s letting himself in for, Whitmarsh – “He will spend a lot less time in Mexico than he realises at the moment. (laughs) That means he will be in the simulator, will be with the race engineers, he will be with the strategy people, he will be with the general engineering team, he will turn up considerably fitter and stronger than he is today”.

At least the team know his nickname “checo” and apparently even Ron Dennis addresses him by this too.

Jenson leads Lewis: Over the 3 years they have raced together at McLaren, Jenson now leads Lewis by 5 points – who will finish top dog?

Austin gets release of new F1 film: A spectacular new Formula One documentary will be unveiled next Thursday in Austin during the build-up to the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Entitled ‘1’, the film tells the story of the drivers who raced during the sport’s most dangerous era in the 1960s and ‘70s and those who stood up to improve safety standards.

Using rare archive footage, ‘1’ features the largest list of F1 interviewees ever assembled for a single film, among them 12 world champions. Contributors include Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Sid Watkins, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jacky Ickx and Martin Brundle.

This film is produced by Nigel Sinclair who is a noted film and documentary maker. He has previously won Grammys for ‘No Direction Home: Bob Dylan’ and ‘Foo Fighters: Back And Forth’. Spitfire Pictures who are releasing this documentary are a of Los Angeles company currently in post-production on ‘Rush’, the highly anticipated Formula One feature film directed by Ron Howard.

Sincalir comments, “the early days of Formula One racing was a very different time – the risks were high and the characters were more than larger than life,” said Sinclair. “Our film is a big screen experience in which we travel across the world with the glamorous circus surrounding this death defying sport but also experience the tragedy that came with it. It’s emotional, frightening and so very, very exciting, but ultimately about humanity and friendship between the drivers.”

“Millions of people worldwide watch the Formula One races as the circus travels the globe, but there are many who just don’t know the history behind this, at one time, incredibly dangerous sport,” added Crowder. “Our film conveys the essence of the era while telling this story and giving intimate insight into the life and personality, struggles and triumphs of racing’s pivotal characters.”

Gutierrez splahes out on Austin tickets: Blick tells us, or the penultimate World Championship race on 18th November in Austin, Sauber reserve driver Estaban Gutierrez has bought 150 tickets for family members, friends and close relatives! Texas will be flooded with thousands of Mexicans!

Dutch press say Van de Garde and Pic to Caterham 2013 (LINK)

Robin Frijns, no mention of dogs: Here is what the young dutchman had to say after a day driving the 2012 F1championship leading car. “It was a long day and we tested a lot on the car. I think I did a good job for the team and team worked hard with me so I’m pleased with how it all went. In the morning I was driving a little in cruise control as we were doing some aero work and the team needed accurate data with the flow-vis. In the afternoon there was some mechanical work, which was good and I think the team gathered a lot of useful data.

“I’d like to thank Renault for the opportunity to come to Red Bull Racing for this test in the RB8,” he added. “It’s the quickest car at the moment, so it was a real pleasure to drive for them today. Thanks also to Red Bull Racing for giving me this opportunity to drive the car.”

(For those of you new to thejudge13, we reported earlier this week Frijns had turned down twice RB offer to join their young driver programme suggesting, “they treated young drivers like dogs”).

On this day in F1 – 9th november: Two events worthy of note


Renault was forced to admit that it had been using data from McLaren, acquired when an engineer moved between the teams bringing sensitive information with him which was then shared within Renault. McLaren, who had been fined $100 million in the notorious Spygate affair, were left incredulous when the FIA in effect let Renault off after accepting none of the information had been used in its designs.

“I am absolutely at ease with it.’ Renault boss Flavio Briatore said: ‘I wish to pay tribute to the team, who have handled the matter with integrity and dignity.” The media could not help compare his reaction with his splenetic attacks on McLaren during Spygate … nor of his close relationship with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. “Is it fair?” Ecclestone said. “We are always fair.”

On the eve of the title decider, it emerged Damon Hill was locked in a row with Williams over money. Hill’s retainer of £300,000 was overshadowed by the £950,000 per race paid to Nigel Mansell on his occasional outings.

“I’m pretty disgusted with some of the things that have gone on,” he said on his arrival in Adelaide. “I feel they [Williams] have not contributed to making me feel that the team is behind me to win the championship. I have been in negotiation with the team about my contract. I do have a contract: they have taken up their option on my services for next year, but I reckon I am a lot better than my contract says I am”.

“The dispute is about the team recognising what you feel yourself to be worth. I have won nine grands prix. This year I have had to carry the role of No. 1 driver in only my second season in F1. I’m one point off the championship lead with one race to go.”

Hill lost the championship but did agree a new contract. He eventually won the title in 1996, but did so after Williams had already dumped him for the following season.

£300,000 retainer – how times have changed!!!

(This page will be updated throughout the day with news stories as they break)

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10 responses to “Marlboro McLaren becomes McLaren Nicorette, COTA business plan highly optimistic, Lewis leaving was all about the money, Austin Council votes to tax COTA, New F1 film for release in Austin

  1. The fascination with which of the two British drivers outscores the other on cumulative points, is something I find rather dubious.
    Does winning more points indicate a better driver or a more fortunate one?
    I hold the quality of your articles to a very high standard, and I believe going down such a route only fosters division when we have two very fine drivers at Mclaren.

    • No you’re right – I think Lewis is a better all round driver than Jenson. But thejudge13 like different things – I’ve been asked for polls, facts, in depth stories and historic profiles on races and drivers – so I try to give everyone a bit of everything.

  2. Do you think it really is about the money itself with Lewis, or is the money a result, and indicator, whatever, in effect, the smoking gun of the actual issue?

    I can’t back it up at all, so take this as nothing but pure opinion, but then again, Whitmarsh saying it may have been about the money, is almost certainly also just pure speculation too.

    I have been a big fan of F1 since ’94, and been following, and a fan of, Lewis for a good few years, and the ACTUAL money, i.e just earning more, as opposed to what that represents in terms of respect, ability, talent, worth, challenge, just doesn’t seem to sit right with anything I have seen from him, I just don’t believe it.

    I have been in a similar agonising position with regard to jobs, do I stay with my friends and colleagues in a job I know well, or leave else where for a challenge… in my situation, I stayed, but I was very very torn to leave, had they offered more money, it may have tipped the balance, but it wasn’t what that motivated me primarily. Perhaps I am drawing too much of my own experience in here, but I always thought like Lewis seemed like a decent, if highly insecure and petulent on occasion, fella.

    What do you think, personally, do you think he just wants more cash?

    • Hi Adam

      I honestly believe from friends within the team that the relationship between Lewis and Ron Dennis had deteriorated quite badly (Lewis says they’re friends now and I’m sure they are). Ron made a big deal in Canada about who in fact was the employee and who was the boss and further that Lewis should expect a smaller contract than last time because of the economic realities being different.

      Add XIX into the mix and this offer was in effect insulting 2/3 of he previous contract. Eventually McLaren upped it by more than £5m but the damage was done – Lewis by now had Lauda and XIX in his ear.

      I do think some of his refelctions since have been quite sad and emotional – he now realises what he has done – left his F1 family for a hugely underperforming team who themselves are under pressure from Daimler Benz board in Munich.

      • Your Honour,

        Good thing Lewis just won three GPs in a row, after his teammate won the first (where he still had won the pole! 😉

        [this is neat – I feel like I’m leaving a Back-to-the-Future-like comment for Nov 2012-Judge!]

  3. Money was just one of many things why Lewis quit McLaren. But more importantly, he alienated some people in the team and it came to a point that they couldn’t tolerate his behaviour. McLaren offered more money probably because they couldn’t find a better driver. Di Resta is good but apparently he too doesn’t get on well with engineers and other team personnel. After signing for McLaren, Perez has not done anything good for him and McLaren too have second thoughts on their new second driver. It is shame that Whitmarsh doesn’t like Vettel.

    • @Rob Newman: May I ask where you got the idea that Whitmarsh doesn’t like Vettel. I never heard it before. I have heard about DiResta not a being as popular than Hulkenberg with the team and such.

      • Whitmarsh doesn’t like Vettel and that is a fact. He also hates when Vettel goes yee-haa when he wins a race. If you listen to Whitmarsh when he speaks about Vettel, he clearly shows how he dislikes him.

        • Funny that now, going on 1.5 years later, Whitmarsh was shit-canned by McLaren, Perez was booted out too; Dennis is back, yet the team is STILL going backwards, and Lewis just recorded a hat-trick of victories in what’s for sure the most dominant car on the 2014 grid: Mercedes!

          Yay Lewis, sooo brilliant quitting McLaren and moving on to more promising work!!

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