Kamui website raises $800,000, HRT have ‘miracle’ hope, Melbourne tax payers cough up $55m, Brawn warns Red Bull, RB staff bonys £10,000, Grosjean in the naughty boy corner, Lewis expects 1/4 of sponsor work with Mercedes

I think it might be a little early for thejudge13, but you could try voting for us at the Silverstone media awards – “Best F1 blogger”. (Link). Still nearly 55,000 reads in 10 weeks – not bad I guess

Support Kamui: The website set up last week to help Kobayashi get the funds to find an F1 seat is seriously working. They have raised 65,813,672 yen as of today (I think this is about $800,000). This is fairly startling and it will be interesting to see if the momentum and rate of donation can be maintained or increased.

Kamui is a very good driver, and as one of thejudge13 readers demonstrated in the comments to yesterdays news, if points were awarded 24 for 1st place down to 1 for last place (a consistency analysis) Kamui is way ahead of Perez this year. So if KK can raise $4m or more, he has to be in with a chance at Marusia or Caterham. I still think Mallya will take Senna’s $10-12m and sign him for that reason.

Last hope for HRT: I’m not going to pen much on this because the source is most likely being more hopeful than objective, however there are some new ‘alleged’ facts which could possibly make a difference. El confidential are suggesting today there is a realistic chance that there will be a complete Chinese buyout of HRT with Ma Quing Ha getting a permanent seat for 2013. I think De La Rosa suggested this eventuality would be a ‘miracle’ at the weekend.

The main reason they give for why the deal with the Chinese collapsed about 3 weeks ago is this. El Confidential proposes that the original deal was merely to replace Karthikeyan and his Tata rupees with Hang Qua and some yen. De La Rosa (a Spanish driver) was to be retained as mentor to Hang Qua – and conveniently the team kept a Spanish driver in what was conceived to be a Spanish team.

The investors are a consortium led by Yingua Zhao, president of the Automobile Association of Shanghai. Apparently now that they have the opportunity to buy the whole team this is allegedly an entirely different and more engaging proposition. The reason why is not clear, other than getting Ma Quing Hua into F1 – but this was previously on offer.

I have previously dismissed the idea that there is any worth in the assets of HRT, and this is still true as setting up an F1 team from scratch may be preferable from a cost point of view.

Yet there is value in the immediacy of entry into F1 should this be important for new investors to get a team onto the grid in Australia 2013 – then acquiring HRT is the only solution. They do have a car design of some sorts for 2013 but something will have to be paid to Thesan Capital who are out of pocket some $40m but a good negotiator may be able to do a deal which merely takes up redundancy costs.

Yet this still leaves the investors with a team in rented premises, thousands of miles from where the majority of F1 is located even with the 83 people they had previously doomed to trail around at the back of the field coming last in the WCC and WDC tables in 2013.

It all seems a bit desperate to me, but we’ll know by Sunday.

Melbourne tax payers counting the cost: There is a report out today that puts the cost for hosting the 2012 season opener Australian GP at $55m to the citizens of  Victoria. Co-incidentally, the fee paid to Mr. E and FOM is around $55m demonstrating that even without this fee the organisers struggle to break even.

Of course Australia as a temporary circuit has to spend around $27m on setting up the track and infrastructure and taking it down the week after the event. They managed to increase the number of spectators to 310,000 over the weekend with 115,000 attending on race day (Beware Austin). These are the best crowds the race meeting has seen since 2005, but the takings are still nearly $7m down on the best year pre-world economic crisis.

The report concludes that the payments made by the State Government of Victoria should not be viewed as a subsidy but as “an investment in the image and reputation of the city and the region”. Formula Money have also done some economic analysis of the Australian F1 and claims as the season opener the media interest is much larger than for many other races. Apparently in terms of marketing spend, to generate such media coverage produced by the 700 journalists on the spot would cost $ 217.2 million.

Further, the report tells us in addition are the additional tax revenues paid by visitors for their consumption on site (hotels, restaurants, bars, souvenirs …). It concludes nicely that, “the return on investment is significantly positive for the city, even if it is not obvious at first. The situation is very different from South Korea who lost $36m in 2012, as the Yeongam circuit is located in the middle of the field and the stands were largely empty”.

I learned from a young age to ask when being presented with statistics, who had produced them. This is the annual report of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the company that manages the Melbourne race in F1.

Grosjean in the nauighty boy corner: Despite looking safe to keep his Formula One race drive seat for 2013, Lotus F1 is making Romain Grosjean wait. Boullier has consistently told us how good the young Frenchman is but he has had a difficult season and a 9g impact crash in Brazil was typical of his year.

“At the moment we are having a few days or a few weeks of consideration,” team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by RMC Sport. “This season, there were not terrible things and not great things. But we’re not going to bury the kid, he did three podiums.” Team owner Genii’s Gerard Lopez told Speed Week: “The chance that he races with us in 2013 is great.”
Grosjean, 26, admitted in Brazil that after the ups and downs of his return to Formula 1 this year, he is exhausted. “It is time to stop and take two months off,” he said. “I hope I’ll be there next year”. Lopez told L’Equipe: “Romain is one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1. He understands the car, he can get the most from it, but he has not done everything we asked of him, especially in terms of consistency. “But the kind of speed he has does not grow on trees”.

This bit seems quite strange – like Romain has been sent to the naughty corner. Lopez continues “The reason he is not yet confirmed for 2013 is because we have not yet had time to sit down and discuss it together with the engineers. Then we’ll see. My desire is to see Romain in the car, but it depends more on him than me”.

So to summarise: Romain is very quick, is intuitive with the car, has rare talent and the Lotus management want him in the car next year – but it is up to Romain? What!!! How does that conversation go?

Lopez: “My boy, you are a very talented driver and we want you to drive for us next year”

Grosjean: “Ok boss”

Lopez: “But first you have to promise me to crash less than you have done this year”

Grosjean: “Ok boss – I promise not to do it again”

Lopez: “Great here’s a contract and we’ll pay you $5m a year too”

Grosjean: “Merci boss”


McLaren flexible: A couple of stories in the British tabloids have suggested that McLaren are going to be flexible in allowing Lewis to spend time with Mercedes before his official contract finishes with them on December 31st.

Lewis is asked whether he is going to have a long holiday before Melbourne (gotta love ignorant tabloid reporters) and dutifully Hamilton tell’s him he has a lot of work to do before the season opener down under. In true Red Top newspaper style Lewis is quoted as saying, “I don’t need to blow smoke up my own arse. I know what I am capable of, although it won’t take a major effect until halfway through next season, although more so with the car for 2014.”

We get an interesting insight into what many believe was an important factor in Mercedes being able to entice him away from McLaren. Lewis states, “I look forward to having, like, a third of the PR events that I have here (at McLaren). Maybe even a quarter. I’m looking forward to having a bit more time in my life to be able to train and prepare.”


Vettel and yellow flags: We discussed this yesterday and here’s some footage for you

Brawn warns Red Bull: Ross Brawn fires a shot across the Red Bull bows in an interview with Autosport today. The former Ferrari boss from their most dominant era suggests their joy of success will be short lived when he says, “To win a race is a massive challenge, to win enough races to win a championship is pretty special, and to do it consecutive years is even more special”.

“But I know their pleasure is going to be short-lived in that they are already thinking about next year. In our case, it was fantastic to win it, but always there is the pressure of the following year – you want to win it, repeat it, and do it again. “It is so intense in F1, you rarely sit back and feel job done, fantastic.

“There is a feeling of elation and achievement, but a fear of failure that is immediately there for the following year. You have that mixture of emotions. It is very special to win any championship and to win consecutive championships. It is a great achievement, and one they should be proud of.”

Here’s the comparison between the last and present dominant team:

Ferrari 2000-04

Races: 85
Drivers' titles: 5
Constructors' titles: 5
Wins: 57 (67%)
Poles: 51 (60%)
Fastest laps: 42
Podiums: 117

Red Bull 2010-12

Races: 58
Drivers' titles: 3
Constructors' titles: 3
Wins: 28 (48%)
Poles: 41 (71%)
Fastest laps: 23
Podiums: 61

Red Bull staff bonus: Apparently according to the telegraph, every person who works for the Milton Keynes based team is to get a £10,000 bonus.

Alguesuari: Its a bit like being a Nostradamus supporter following Jaime. He now intends to announce his F1 plans in january. I remember sitting in the Monza sunshine when he first tweeted his announcement was imminent.

Mateschitz Watch: What is Red Bull’s problem? Seems to me like everyone from Dietrich down has got a chip on their shoulders. We had Vettel moaning about others ‘dirty tricks’ when he should have been just celebrating and enjoying the moment.

I have to say after Vettel’s 3rd consecutive title win on Sunday I don’t remember a single media person asking about the Vettel to Ferrari story. Yet speaking to Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung Mateschitz said: “Every driver wants to go to Ferrari one day, but for the moment for Vettel it is complete nonsense”.

He then goes on to explain his reasoning, “While Fernando Alonso is there, it is absurd to think Vettel would go there too.”

Give it up lads – Ferrari got you with that one…and you’re still proving they can mess with your minds. Crack the champagne – caviar – live it up a little – relax – get some therapy 🙂

Driver’s hunting for 2013 seats: Assuming HRT are gone, we have To be confirmed and vacancies as follow’s

Lotus: Grosjean (TBC)

Force India: Di Resta (TBC) plus vacancy

Williams: Maldonado (TBC) plus vacant. (I know this is not strictly true but..)

Caterham: 1 vacancy

Marrusia: 1 vacancy

Chasing seats we have Senna, Kovaleinan, Petrov, Kobayashi, Bottas, Razia, Bianchi, Chiltern, Razia, Alguesuari, Sutil – so 11 realistic contenders for 3 seats. We’ve heard from a number of them and today its the turn of Razia. “I am negotiating with all three,” the Brazilian told Agencia Estado. “Before, it was all the teams, now only these three.”

Most astutely, the 23 year old GP2 runner up this year admitted his preference is Force India. “There is still a chance to close (a deal) with them,” said Razia, referring to the vacancy alongside probably to be confirmed Paul di Resta even though many believe Adrian Sutil is regarded as the favourite.

“But I can’t afford to be choosy,” he admitted. “I’m still not a Formula 1 driver, just a wannabe.Fortunately, I have good relationships,” he said. “Here (Formula 1), it’s not so much about what you deserve, but what you can get. I’d like to have something by early December, so I can relax more for Christmas. Maybe next week we will have something.”

Who do thejudge13 readers think will get a drive and why? Or who do you think will not get a seat and again why?

I’ll kick the ball off. Sutil is many people’s favourite for a seat at Force India. thejudge13 has even quoted Mallya saying he will consider him. Unfortunately Vijay often speaks before he knows what he is talking about. Sutil is serving an 18 month suspended sentence for a criminal conviction he received in Germany. There are certain countries where getting a visa whilst serving a suspended criminal sentence is very difficult indeed. The USA, Canada and China spring to mind and there could be others.

Then there is the matter of finance. I have to ask myself how my sponsors would feel about it and has Sutil got any backers left to bring some finance to assist Vijya’s $80m announced spend. Sutil is 30 years of age, which is not too old but has been out of F1 for a year. Hulkenberg could easily have been considered for the McLaren seat had he been more comfortable in the first 6 or 7 races – it takes time to get back up to speed (unless you are Kimi).

I think its a NO for Adrian I’m afraid. You have 10 left to go at…

Mercedes: Gave Schumacher his race car as a farewell. Was close to getting some damage though.

Embedded image permalink

On this day in F1, Nov 27th

Ken Tyrrell’s announcement that rookie Didier Pironi would be the team’s No. 2 driver behind Patrick Depallier was nothing earth-shattering but it was the first time in a decade in the sport that Tyrrell had officially announced a No. 1 and No. 2. Even when Jackie Stewart was winning world titles from the team, he was never publically regarded as the No. 1

The first year of the Circuit Ile Notre Dame. The race was won by Ferrari’s Gilles Villeneuve

Pironi’s Ferrari, or what was left of it Hockenheim 1982


The FIA unveiled a 17-race schedule for 1976, the most Grands Prix ever staged in one season. There were two new events, a second US Grand Prix in Long Beach California early in the year and then the first Japanese Grand Prix to end the season at the Fuji Speedway.

(This page will update throughout the day – as stories arise)

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15 responses to “Kamui website raises $800,000, HRT have ‘miracle’ hope, Melbourne tax payers cough up $55m, Brawn warns Red Bull, RB staff bonys £10,000, Grosjean in the naughty boy corner, Lewis expects 1/4 of sponsor work with Mercedes

  1. Actually, you could include 1999 in Ferrari’s dominant years. Had Schumacher not broken his leg that year, he would have won the driver’s title.
    And RBR’s dominance started mid-2010.

  2. I won’t rant on about Kamui and Sauber as you already know my views on this and I’ve talked about it in other posts, suffice to say I hope Sauber fade into well deserved obscurity next year and if Gutiérrez scores more points next season than Kobayashi did this season I’ll eat my hat.

    • You know my view too – Sauber’s clever design department hasn’t got as much to go at for 2013 with minimal rule changes and FI look to be coming on strong.

      If the Mallya $80m isn’t a figment of his imagination – they should easily overtake the Swiss outfit IMHO

  3. I wonder when Perez starts at Mclaren – if it is before Jan 1st, then techincally Mclaren could have 3 drivers at Woking on the same day.

  4. I must admit I’ve never heard of the Razia twins before! 🙂

    Seriously, there are more drivers than I realised chasing seats. My gut feeling is that now Marussia have dropped to 11th they’ll sign Chilton just for his Dad’s millions.

    Does Bottas bring any money with him? If not, Williams may end up sticking with Senna. It is interesting that Maldonado got more than half his season’s total in one race… I’d be minded to say that Frank would happily get rid of him if only he could find some way to make up the deficit as a more consistent driver would almost certainly get the team higher in the WCC. It is a shame actually that Kimi signed for Lotus rather than Williams as I’d say Pastor would maybe make a better second driver who occasionally puts in stellar performances than a ‘lead’ driver who the team is supposed to be relying on for points. I guess that is their gamble, Bottas for the results and hopefully a better share of TV money in 2014, or Senna and resources this season.

    There is one driver not on your list – Karthikeyan. OK, so he’s slow but he seems to have considerable backing from Tata. How much do FI need the money? Presumably PDR brings cheap or free engines with him but with the money worries elsewhere in the Mallya empire, if he can’t hook someone like Senna with a decent budget, how much will he be pushed towards a pay driver?

    Actually, a left-field suggestion here, presumably Petrov still has some backing. I personally think he is under rated as a driver as he has shown fairly well against all his team mates. Maybe a safe bet for FI as someone who should get a decent haul of points and may come with some backing?

    On the subject of Vettel’s passes, the video you posted shows clearly that he did do a pass under yellow. Is there scope within the regulations for this to be looked at and the result adjusted, or is the race weekend now a closed book and it is too late for anything to happen? Indeed, now the subject is out in the open, are the FIA bound to look in to it, or would a team have to protest? My gut feeling is that it may acually be a bit of a mistake by Torro Rosso. The driver seems to drop back from the cars he was following to allow Vettel past, possibly not noticing they hadn’t cleared the yellow flag zone.

    It would be bad for the sport though if the result was overturned this late after the race. I’m surprised they can’t pick these things up automatically – they track the cars and know where the zones are, it can’t be that hard to program their computers to automatically flag up potentially illegal passes for the stewards to look in to?

    • Thank you for that Stephen – you have seriously presented some quality content to be considered. I’ll address some of your points and see what others have to say on the rest.

      I’m about to post the next news roundup – and in it I point out the Italian press have just picked up on the Vettel yellow flag matters – so who knows what storm may occur.

      I have been bitching about 20th century standard race management all year, and once again we have another issue. I don’t blame Charlie as his budget and staff are way too small. Its classic F1, spend as little as possible where they can. But by allowing SKY TV in they have unwittingly opened themselves to a scrutiny they’ve never had before.

      It all depends on how big a stink Ferrari make over this. I suspect they will be pursauded to let it lie. There are serious media people not making mischief who believe Vettel has avoided sanction over yellow flags. You never know with F1, it could be a mighty storm or quashed without address from the FIA.

      For me Senna will get a drive either Williams or Force India

  5. Is that a good gift for Schui or a smack in the face? Rosberg’s car is probably in the dumpster out the back of the factory – if you hurry you can probably snag it!

  6. Another to add to the list of drivers hunting for a seat: Giedo van de Garde. Currently reserve driver for Caterham and said to be negotiating with Caterham for a race seat in 2013. And he seems to be able to bring some cash as well.

    • Of course Bas, can’t believe I missed him – he’s had a few Friday sessions. Seems a lot in with a chance this year, compared to usual – doin’t you think?

      • Add Robert Wickens to the list maybe? I seem to recall he was being seriously spoken about fairly recently. There do seem to be a lot of drivers who reach a peak in either GP2 or FR3.5 and go no further.

        • I see you are a man who knows his feeder series – He was on my ‘long list’ but the short list was so long I felt he was an outsider. But I believe he is a talented driver.

          We need more F1 teams – back to the days when there were 30 cars on the grid

  7. As much as i like Kamui but this is ridicules now. People are donating now money for a driver to pay for a team to be able to drive further? WTF is happening is here.
    What is wrong whit people these days. Some dont have for food or roofs over there head and this is where the money must go now?
    Ive seen they raised about 800k sofar. How many people could be helped whit that? stupid world

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